Monday, March 2, 2015

grandma's meatloaf

We don't have meatloaf often in our house, usually because it's a lot of ground beef and I personally prefer my ground beef as Italian-related recipes or a burger.  But I wanted to try my grandma's recipe!  It came out very pretty:

Although for some reason a lot of juice in there!  I put additional ketchup on mine because I love ketchup :)

All in all it was tasty but we were hoping for a bit more flavor.  In looking at the recipe there isn't a ton of seasoning or flavor in there, so it tasted a lot like regular beef so to speak.  So if I made this again, I would add some more seasonings (although what kind, I'm not sure!)

Meat Loaf
2 lbs ground beef
1 egg
1/4 cup milk
15 soda crackers, crushed (i.e. Saltines)
1 medium onion, diced
1/4 tsp dried sage
salt and pepper to taste (not sure how you put that in the recipe since you don't taste the raw meat!)

Mix together and bake at 350 for 1.5 hours

FYI it did not have any topping in the recipe, so I used the topping recipe for ham loaf because we always like that.  I put that topping on after about an hour in the oven.

Friday, February 27, 2015

sweet potato casserole

I never usually make sweet potatoes when it comes to holiday meals because growing up we never really had it and I don't love them.  Well this past Christmas I decided to make them because there was a recipe in my wedding cookbook and my mom and husband enjoy them!  They turned out very tasty and were a hit! 

My topping never really got crumbly, even after adding extra flour, but it just looked less crumbly but was still tasty!  My butter could have been too warm or who knows what.

Grandma Mary Esmond's Sweet Potato Casserole
(FYI I did cut this in half because I knew there weren't a lot of people eating them, but here is the full recipe)
3 lbs yams
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
2 eggs
1 Tbsp vanilla
  1. peel yams and cut up, then boil until tender
  2. drain and mash
  3. beat in rest of ingredients above
  4. put in 9x11 greased baking dish
3/4 cup grown sugar
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup butter
1 cup chopped pecans
  1. mis flour and butter together like you would a pie crust
  2. add rest of ingredients until crumbly
  3. put on top of yams
  4. bake at 350 for about 45 minutes
The only change to the recipe I made was the cut the sugar in the topping to about 1/2.  My mom remembered (having eaten it at my Aunts before) that this recipe was maybe a little sweet for her liking.  So I made that change and everyone liked it - no one thought it wasn't sweet enough!

It was a great addition to our holiday dinner!

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

whitefish (talapia or bluegill) recipe and baked fish method

I'm doing a little two-fold recipe blogging here.  One is for the flavoring of the fish and one is for the baked breadcrumb method, and you could use these together or separately.  So the fish flavoring comes from my wedding cookbook, and does use a lot of spices:

But I had them all on hand so that was nice.
  • 2/3 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp dry mustard
  • 1/3 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/3 tsp cumin
  • 1/3 tsp basil
  • 1/3 tsp oregano
  • 1 1/3 dash pepper
  • 1 1/3 dash thyme
(as I'm retyping this, I have no idea what a 1 1/3 dash is, but I must have done something!)
Basically mix all the spices together, keep any extra sealed tight for next use.

Then I used my other fish related recipe that mixes 3 egg whites with seasoning (typically it's Old Bay seasoning, but this time I used the seasoning mixture I made above).  I take the fish, dip in the seasoned egg whites, then dip in panko breadcrumbs.  Then I place it on a wire wrack on a baking sheet.  Spray it with cooking spray (this helps golden it up pretty).

I bake it at 450 degrees for 12 minutes until flaky!

It has a nice crisp for being baked and not fried.  Honestly I couldn't tell much difference with the spices in this recipe as opposed to Old Bay Seasoning, but I am not that sophisticated when it comes to flavor details like that.  I'm never one you'll hear saying, "I detect a hint of rosemary in that dish".  My taste buds don't operate that way.  So this spice seasoning made our fish just as tasty as it always is, so if you're looking for a way to flavor your fish....this is a good one!

Sunday, February 22, 2015

my new chevron wrap

As I progress in my crocheting, I'm having a fun time picking yarn and making new things.  I had some 'fancy yarn' (which to me means from a specialty store that costs more - ha) so I decided to make a wrap.  That basically means a wider scarf.  I found the pattern online and liked the chevron shape, so I chose to make it for myself!

Since my yarn was two different colors, I was striping the chevrons:

This was the first project I "blocked" which means i got it wet and laid it out evenly to give it good shape. 

The final product!

Overall the yarn was nice but it is hand-dyed, which makes it vary in color within the yarn itself like some areas were dyed darker/more than others.  I'm not sure I'm crazy about that look because although the dark purple looks pretty in all shades, the less dyed areas of the teal look an odd gray blue color that isn't as pretty as the teal.  But still fun and I love scarves so I can never have enough!

Friday, February 20, 2015

"they are not cookies" hot pepper thumbprints

Most people think of thumbprints as cookies, and I thought so too until I came across this recipe my mom put in my wedding cookbook, for "Cheddar-Pepper Jelly Thumbprint 'Cookies'".  They use a cheese-based dough and the 'filling' is hot pepper jelly (which I always love).  I made them as a little appetizer for our Christmas turkey dinner. 

The pepper jelly makes them pretty.  Honestly it was very hard to find, and I finally found it on a display round in Kroger and not at any of the other stores or in the normal jelly areas.  I assume that was because it was Christmas time since they had hot pepper jelly, green bell pepper jelly, and red bell pepper jelly on display.  At WalMart they only had bell pepper jellies, and I really think this needs to be made with hot:

So honestly I really liked these.  Dough, cheese, nuts, hot pepper jelly - it's all good!  Andy thought they were too dry, which I could see how you'd think that of any cheese-based dough.  I had made them the week before and froze them (which is why in the picture above there are only two with jelly...that was so we could try them before freezing).  I honestly didn't notice ANY difference in them fresh out of the oven or re-out of the oven after freezing.  I probably won't keep these since Andy didn't love them, but I would eat multiples of them anytime they were available :) 

FYI I made half the recipe and it gave me 14 of them (still can't call them cookies). 

Cheddar-Pepper Jelly Thumbprint "Cookies"
1.5 cups shredded white old cheddar cheese (or extra sharp yellow cheddar)
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 cup flour
1 cup finely chipped pecans
1 cup hot pepper jelly

Mix cheddar, Parmesan, and butter until smooth.  Add egg yolk and pepper until blended.  Add flour and mix just until soft dough forms.  With hands, roll scant Tablespoonfuls of dough into nuts to coat.  Place on ungreased baking sheet and make indention in center of each with thumb.  Refrigerate for 15 minutes.  Bake in 350 degree oven about 15 minutes or until firm outside and lightly golden.  Let cool on baking sheet on rack.

(can be prepared to this point and frozen in layers separated by waxed paper in rigid airtight container for up to two weeks; bake in 350 oven for about 3 minute to recrisp).

Fill indentions with hot pepper jelly.  Makes about 36 appetizers.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

useful randomness in my car

Andy got this trunk organizer thing for me as part of a free rebate thing when he took my car in last year.  We forgot about it until it arrived the week before Christmas, so he put it under the tree for fun.

It is SO HANDY!  It folds up accordion style when not in use.  The day I used it above, I had eggs in the left compartment so they would be protected.  And no more rolling milk!  Not sure how I got along without this, especially with a hatchback where there is a ton of room for groceries to flop around.

This is one of those things I'm not sure I'd ever spend money on because I don't need need it, but man am I glad I have this one!

Sunday, February 15, 2015

top recipes of 2010

I mentioned in my post of 2014 favorite recipes that I had not done that post for 2010, 2009, or 2008.  So I'm going to play catch up on that in the next few weeks.  So here is the 2010 collection:

Our Favorites (in no particular order):
These are recipes that we both really loved and went into the keeper file.  They are ones we make repeatedly and still love even after 4+ years!

Apple Dumpling Casserole:
This is a great apple dessert (which is probably my favorite dessert category, more than chocolate).  It is very easy and beginning baker friendly, but delicious enough to serve to anyone or eat yourself!  I don't make it a whole lot because we don't go apple picking in Ohio anymore, and I would want to eat the whole thing which is not a good thing.  But it's one of my top go-to apple recipes

Potato Soup:
When I first made this, he told me it's the best potato soup he's ever had.  Years later, I still make this on a regular basis and he has labeled it as his favorite soup ever.  This is a staple and if we have potatoes, we always have the other ingredients on hand!

Snickerdoodles/Cinnamon Cookies:
This is one of my favorite cookies I make...but I am a lover of cinnamon.  I have found this recipe better than any other snickerdoodle I've had, specifically because there is lots of cinnamon flavor and they stay soft.  Double bonus!

Biscuit Pizza Casserole:
I have never met a pizza I didn't like, but this is a great alternative to traditional pizza with the same flavors.  We both really like this recipe, and it is one of our favorite ways to use canned biscuits!  The only change I've made over the years is to often cut the recipe in half and make it in an 8x8 pan. 

Biscuit Monkey Bread:
Speaking of canned biscuits, this is the best dessert way to use them.  I was so impressed with how tasty this was for using canned biscuits, and it looks fancy enough to serve to anyone.  Just be'll want to keep a lot for yourself!

Sharon add-on favorites (in no particular order):
These are the recipes that Andy does not like/eat but that I deem keepers!  Sometimes he just doesn't love a recipe like I do, or it uses foods he doesn't care to eat.  Either way, I can still recommend them because I loved them!

Rhubarb Squares:
I love rhubarb desserts, and although rhubarb pie is my favorite, this is a tasty alternative that has a crust bottom similar to sugar cookies.  Delicious!

Creamy Parmesan Dressing:
I don't often make my own dressing, but this one was so good I was trying to find anything to dip into it and eat it :)

Although I do not make coleslaw very often, if I'm ever having a barbecue or taking a salad of some type to a gathering, this is my go-to recipe.  It is delicious and super easy to make (especially if you buy the bags of cabbage).

Corn Salad:
Speaking of taking salads to a gathering, this is a great alternative to potato or macaroni salad in the summer.  It uses corn, but still has a creamy base, and was great!

I love guac - a lot!  I usually prefer it with chips by itself more than I enjoy it mixed in with my other dishes (like in a burrito).  This recipe is so delicious and very easy.  As evidenced by the picture below, I could barely stop to take a photo!  This is the recipe I make for guacamole all the time. 

Thursday, February 12, 2015

i made mittens!

I'm just cruising right along my crochet projects, and I wanted to make mittens because I only have a black pair, and I hate wearing them with a brown coat (yes, this from the person who will go out shopping in sweat pants!)  In any case, I found a pattern online for some easily crocheted mittens, and the pattern made a lot of sense to me because I had already crocheted in the round on previous projects!

I appreciated the pictures, and so I used the white yarn left over from my neckwarmer to make them! You crochet the finger section first:

Then the thumb...just making the lengths until they work (the photos on the original pattern blog were helpful!).  I made the finger section of one, then the finger section of the second.  Then the thumb of one, then the thumb of the second....that way it's fresh in my brain when I make the second one!

Uh oh, ran out of cream yarn.  So I decided to use leftover teal from the little birdie I made:

Turned out great and I like the little wrist "decoration" by using different stitches.  Had never done those stitches before, but YouTube is great for finding demos of crochet stitches!

Conveniently enough, the teal from the birdie yarn matches my purse:

These work great and no longer require me to wear clashing mittens with my brown coat.  Yay!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

meatballs from scratch

I made this recipe a long time ago, and have made it repeatedly since then, but I'm really bad about getting pictures of it for some reason.  This time wasn't perfect with pictures, but I decided to blog about it anyway so everyone can get their meatball fix!  I found this easy recipe online and thought I would try it.

Basically you mix up all the ingredients, make balls, and bake on a cookie sheet for 20 minutes.  I tried it once with dried, minced onions, then the second time with real onions and we both agreed the real onions were way better (even though Andy doesn't love onions).  I cut them small.

So sadly, here are the pictures I got....missing it up ready to put it on the cookie sheet:

And the final baked version of the meatball sub casserole I used them in:

No picture of the balls by themselves, no picture of them out of the oven.  Nope!

Anyway, this is quick enough to make on a weeknight, and very tasty.  My advice is to spray your foil (I don't have a silpat or parchment paper, so it's foil in our house) because the meatballs will stick a little.  The spray does the trick.  This is definitely a keeper - tasty and I like it!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

our dead body christmas tree

Our regular Christmas tree fits in the attic, but we have another tree, free from my parents (yep, never too old for free stuff from the parentals).  All of 2014 it sat in the garage, being in the way.  We have a tiny garage for being a two-car garage, and after you get some ladders, shelves, and a lawn mower in there, we only park my car in there.  Not to mention Andy's van doesn't even fit front to back in it.

We were going to get rid of our outdoor Christmas tree, except this past Christmas three people specifically mentioned it when they talked about liking our outdoor decorations.  Well shoot, then we should keep it!  So begins the mission to fit it in the attic with the other tree.

The other tree is in its original box, so that fits up there easy.  The outdoor tree is in a big (and I mean big) Christmas tree bag that wouldn't fit up there.  So, we bungee corded it to size it down.

Hence the dead body tree:

But that helped it fit up here:

So it worked, and we kept it for next year's outdoor Christmas decorations!