Friday, April 24, 2015

noodles and rice in one dish!

When I told my mom I was making this dish from my wedding cookbook, which SHE put in there, she had no memory or recollection of the dish.  Hilarious!  I don't ever remember her making it growing up, so it must be a newer dish.  However, it was very tasty and a nice twist on a typical side dish.  Plus you don't have to choose between rice or noodles!

I recommend this as a tasty side dish and also looks quite fancy for guests!

American Pilaf
Melt one stick butter and add 3/4 cup thin egg noodles to butter.  Brown in heavy skillet until noodles are slightly brown.  This this, add one cup rice to coat with butter.  Add one can beef consume and one soup can of water.  Cover skillet, simmer 25 minutes on low heat.  Can add 1 can mushroooms (drained) if desired.

We did not add the mushrooms, but I bet that would be delicious.  This was a keeper that went into the recipe box!

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

spinach balls

I like spinach, but usually eat it raw in salads and on subway sandwiches.  But this recipe calls for ingredients I like, so I thought it was worth a try!  Pre-cooked:

Out of the oven they don't look much different:

However, I was very pleasantly surprised by how tasty I found these!  They were a great side dish and would make a lovely appetizer if they were a bit smaller (mine were bigger than the recipe's 1-inch directions).  Andy didn't try them, which was no shocker because spinach doesn't do it for him (which is putting it mildly).  However, I do think that even those who don't love spinach would like these because the spinach taste is not strong with the other tasty ingredients in there as well.  I cut the recipe in half, but the full recipe is below.

Spinach Balls
2 pkgs chopped spinach
1 stuck of melted butter
1 pkg stovetop dressing
1 cup parmesan cheese
6 eggs

Cook and drain spinach.  Mix spinach with remaining ingredients and form mixture into one-inch balls.  Bake at 350 for 15 minutes. 

Monday, April 20, 2015

our new front door color

Yes, we are gravitating toward an Ohio State house (which for those of you with a good memory is similar to our Ohio house in terms of color theme)!!  Last weekend I painted our door red:

It used to be white, so here is the before:

This is "outdoor house" year with landscaping and whatnot, so we started with the door.  (The plants with pots are also new, but trust me, the landscaping is NOT done.)  I love red - it's my favorite color.  So I knew that the red door would look sharp, but honestly it looks way better than I thought because it really adds some nice character and appeal to our house. When we painted our door red at our Ohio house, it came out pink-looking, so we were hoping we got red red this time - and we did!  Since our house is so light gray, and the trim is white, there is just a lack of color and interest around our house right now.  I thought a red door would only help a little because it is set back far under the roof line, but it's bright enough to really add a pop of color!

Now to some details about our door....I got Olympic Icon exterior paint in flat.  Although it is very shaded under the front porch, exterior should last longer for weather - not necessarily rain, sun, or snow but more temperature ranges.

The color is "red gumball" (B33-6) from Olympic.  So I started with a brush on the insets and around the white glass trim (which we decided to leave white for contrast).  Then I used a small roller on the wider sections.  So the paint dried REALLY fast, but did not cover well to start.  Although the paint was self-priming, it took a lot of coats to cover.  Here is a picture of about four coats:

Four coats!!  But you can see above it is all over the place with coverage  and some places are covering better than others.  Below this picture is about nine coats:

Getting better, but I stopped for the night and then finished with about four to five more coats the next day, which really added a lot of coverage.  The first day I used mostly the roller but also used a bristle brush.  The second day I used a foam brush, and the finished with two coats with the roller so that you couldn't see any brush strokes.

Although all the coats sound terrible, it really wasn't bad because it dried SUPER FAST.  Like as soon as I got through with one coat, I could immediately start the next coat.  This was especially on the first day with early coats.  There was a little longer dry time the second day since there were more layers built up, and I was trying to put it on thicker for even coverage.

So I did it over Saturday (probably took about 2-3 hours total counting taping and cleanup) and left the door open the whole time until evening.  Then Sunday I did it for about 2-3 hours again with everything and drying times.  I also left the door open most of the day to make sure it was dry before locking it for the night.  Only a few bugs got in, and one loose dog almost ran in our house, but other than that it was a gorgeous day and worked out well.

So here is the before (complete with scuff marks on the bottom):

 And here is the after:

I still have a little white touch up to do on the glass oval trim and the rubber strip on the bottom with painting them white, but that will be easy with a tiny brush and shouldn't take much time OR drying time with the door open!

We love our new red door :)

Next up....landscaping needs help - but it's a multistage process so we are working on it.  We've already torn out all the existing bushes since they were all dead but one!  That's why in the picture at the top you only see two planters.  We are also painting the bottom foundation of our house because the red clay dirt has stained the white to a reddish-brown that will not power wash off!

Saturday, April 18, 2015

beef and noodles

My mom makes a beef and noodle recipe in the crockpot with a roast.  I was interested to try this recipe from my sister-in-law (the other Sharon Holderman) because it uses ground beef:

It is a very simple recipe, and the problem is that it was dry because I drained all the good juices off the beef and noodles.  So if I made this again in the future, I would keep some of the juice!

Beef and Noodles
When you put on the water to boil for the noodles, add 1 or 2 beef bouillon cubes.  Fry the burger and add to water when you add the noodles.

See - simple?  But I recommend reserving some of the noodle liquid to use on the final product and not draining it all!

Thursday, April 16, 2015

apple cheese dish

I have often heard that apples and cheddar cheese go together...something about the bite of sharp cheddar and the sweet of the apple?  In any case, I like both and I'm not against putting them together, so I was looking forward to trying the recipe in my wedding cookbook that was a side dish of the two.  Pre-baked, it looks very much like a cheese dish:

Afterwards, it looked like dessert:

In all honesty, I thought this was very good, but it was like a dessert to me.  It was too sweet for a side dish, but tasted like a delicious apple pie casserole to me! 

(FYI the full recipe is below but I cut it in half for just two of us, which is why mine is in a pie dish)

Apple-Cheese Casserole
2 cans of apple pie filling (sliced)
place in a greased 9x13 casserole dish

sprinkle with two cups shredded cheddar cheese

Mix together:
1 stick softened butter
1 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar

sprinkle this misture over the apples and cheese

Bake at 350 until golden brown

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

p.s. I did work in chicago

Although I took lots of Chicago pictures while I was playing tourist, I did work there.  It was the national library conference and I attended some meetings and did resume reviews and career advising sessions.  I just don't take pictures of the work-related stuff!  I did have lunch with Peter while I was there, a friend I met through Jeph. 

That's as close as I have to a work picture :)

Sunday, April 12, 2015

cheesy potatoes

Cheese on anything is good, and potatoes is one of my favorite food groups - potatoes and pizza.  So I was looking forward to trying any recipe from my wedding cookbook titled "cheese potatoes".  Typically the Holderman cheese potatoes are hash-brown like.  This recipe is from Andy's sister and it uses chunks of baked potatoes.  So the final pre-baked version shows I was trying half of it covered with cornflakes:

Afterwards it got nice and golden brown:

Overall it was tasty, but we both said we preferred the texture of the hashbrown casserole type cheesy potatoes that his family makes.  But it is a nice alternative and feels less like breakfast since it has a different texture!

Cheese Potatoes
10 medium sized potatoes, cooked, cooled, peeled and cubed
6 stales lices of bread, cubed
1 medium onion, chopped

combine the above and cover with cheese sauce

cheese sauce:
1/2 pound Velveeta
3/4 cup milk
1 cup butter or margarine
salt and pepper to taste
heat ingredients of cheese sauce until bubbly, pour over potato mix and stir carefully

Bake for one hour at 325.

Friday, April 10, 2015

angry travelers...and me

The day before I was to leave Chicago, they got a blizzard.  A full 16 inches of snow to be exact.  It was very pretty and I was able to get to and from the conference on that day.  I also managed to walk to the grocery store for dinner that night, although my pant legs got a little wet not having my snow boots (since I flew).

The next day I was leaving on an early afternoon flight, and I took the shuttle to the airport.  On the shuttle there were multiple people calling the airlines trying to get rescheduled because their flights were cancelled.  I figured they were supposed to have left the day before in the blizzard, but the airport had been shut down.

I got the airport, got through security, and looked at the board for my gate and found this:

Turns out there was quite the aftermath from the blizzard, and a TON of flights for that day were cancelled.  Luckily my flight was delayed a bit to wait for deadhead flight attendants and pilots, but it was not cancelled.  It was shocking how many people had to reroute and reschedule. 

It was also shocking to me how angry people were.  I was at a gate and could hear a man literally SCREAMING at an airline worker about his cancelled flight, and he was not at my gate.  He was multiple gates away.  I understand traveling can be a pain and no one likes to hear their plans have changed, but it was due to a blizzard, which is beyond the airlines' control!  I felt bad for the person who worked there, and even if they are used to it, no one deserves to hear language and anger from a total stranger like that.

I kept to myself and watched them deicing plans, because that was cool:

And I made it home safe and sound, thank goodness!  I was so lucky that all my stuff was on time!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

homemade burger buns

Although I have made many breads from scratch, I have never attempted buns of the hamburger or hot dog variety.  However, I wanted to be able to have burgers even if I didn't have burger buns on hand.  So I found a blog recipe that ultimately led to King Arthur Flour's recipe for burger buns

They looked pretty before I baked them:

And got a LITTLE too brown while I was baking them:

But they didn't taste burnt and weren't hard or anything, which was lucky.

Inside they were soft and delicious, and even lasted a few days in an airtight bag on the counter:

I divided them into 8 buns, but I recommend 12 because they were too big for our burgers and our chicken patties.  Also, I put sesame seeds on some, but those fall right off when you cut them in half and load up your bread, so it's not worth it in my mind.

Next time I'm going to freeze them so I'll have buns in the freezer.  They do take some time to make, so these are not weeknight friendly for me.  However, they are a total keeper because they are very tasty and soft and perfect for hamburger buns....I just need to make them on a weekend.  So if you're looking to make your own hamburger buns, I highly recommend this recipe!

Monday, April 6, 2015

angel puff (egg dish)

Egg dishes are always pretty easy, and I'm not sure why I don't make them more for dinner.  So this recipe in my wedding cookbook gave me an opportunity to try one!  It's called Angel Puff, which is just egg and cheeses basically - no breakfast meats:

It does have cottage cheese in it, which does show up in the dish:

I don't normally eat cottage cheese - when I bought some for this dish was probably the first time ever I had bought it myself?  Although I ate it growing up.  Anyway, this recipe is very light and fluffy, and great to serve at a breakfast, especially for vegetarians.  I'm not sure how adding breakfast meats would affect its fluffiness....and you don't want to lose that because that is one of the best things about this dish!

(FYI the full recipe is below, but I did cut this in half for the two of us)

Angel Puff
12 eggs
2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups cottage cheese

Beat eggs until light and fluffy.  Add remaining ingredients and stir gently until well blended.  Pour into a 9x13 baking dish.  Bake for 30 minutes at 350.  Serves 6-8.