Day 114: No bake cookies – why have I never made these before?

nobake1

Tonight’s project is something I came across by accident on Pinterest.  I saw these Chocolate No-Bake Cookies and I thought – yum, those are my favorite cookies and I’ve never made them.  Whenever I see them on a cookie platter, I always go for them first.  I think it says a lot about me that I’ve never thought about trying to find the recipe and make them myself.  I was always just content to wait until someone else made them!

The recipe came from a site called “One More Moore”.  It’s a VERY cute blog about a young family and their adventures in eating, decorating and playing.  Kind of makes me wish I was a little cooler!    Anyway, she had the recipe for the elusive no-bake cookies that I’ve been dreaming of and had to try.  Here’s the link: http://morganmoore.typepad.com/one_more_moore/2009/04/when-its-too-hot-to-bake-we-nobake.html.

Turns out that these are very easy to make.  The only ingredient I didn’t have was, oddly enough, peanut butter.  This ended up costing me a lot because I had to send my daughter and her boyfriend to the store with my debit card to buy the peanut butter (and $50 of other stuff) because I was just too lazy to brush my hair and expose my previously mentioned white legs to the light of day.

The ingredients - the peanut butter only cost me $50!

The ingredients – the peanut butter only cost me $50!

These seriously took only about 15 minutes to make – if you don’t count the additional 5 minutes spent shooing Big Daddio away from the cookies before they cooled.  Even that only took about 20 minutes and believe me, we know because we were hovering around them waiting for them to cool enough to start eating!  They are really good, although Big Daddio said (rather rudely, I thought) that they look a little like something our Granddogs left behind in the yard!  Haha, I have to admit he has a point but they are still really good.

The cooling cookies - you can't see me holding Big Daddio back!

The cooling cookies – you can’t see me holding Big Daddio back!

That is about all I accomplished tonight.  Big Daddio watched a number of episodes of Pawn Stars and Swamp People – honestly, why can’t he have better taste and watch classy stuff like I do – things like The Kardashians and Fashion Star!   Anywho, it’s time to call it a night and see what tomorrow brings.

Advertisements

Day 113: Caprese Salad – It’s a great summer day

Just wanted to include this picture of the adorable "Thyme Tree" that was sent as a gift for my dad.  What a cute idea!

Just wanted to include this picture of the adorable “Thyme Tree” that was sent as a gift for my dad. What a cute idea!

Today was a beautiful summer day.  I really kind of missed spring and Memorial Day with everything that was going on with my dad, so it’s a bit of a surprise to me that it’s full-out summer already!  Of course my completely white,pasty legs haven’t done anything to tip me off.  Definitely time to get some sun!

Maybe that’s why this recipe for Caprese Salad caught my eye.  It was at a site called Sweet Remedy – An Antidote for your Appetite.  It’s full of recipes with fresh fruits and vegetables.  Here’s the link:  http://www.sweet-remedy.com/2012/06/caprese-salad-with-cucumbers/.

The Island of Capri - I didn't take this picture, but I sure wish I had.

The Island of Capri – I didn’t take this picture, but I sure wish I had.

Seeing this recipe got me thinking about what Caprese meant, so I looked it up.  Turns out it means “salad in the style of Capri”.  That got me wondering what Capri looks like,  because it definitely sounds wonderful.  So I googled some images and it really looks fabulous.  It’s an island off the southern coast of Italy and I think I really need to go there, but for now I’ll just have to settle for eating some Caprese Salad.

My Caprese Salad ready to be mixed up.

My Caprese Salad ready to be mixed up.

The recipe is simple and fresh, much like the Caprese appetizers I’ve made before with tomatoes, basil and mozzarella balls.  This also includes cucumber – I peeled mine, but when I looked at the picture on the original blog it looks like she didn’t.  I think that’s a better idea because it would give it a little more color.

I was in the process of mixing up this salad late in the evening.  My plan was to take it for lunch tomorrow, so I wouldn’t have to pay $6.00 for a meager salad in the cafeteria at work.  Imagine my surprise when Big Daddio wandered in and started showing a lot of interest in what I was making.  Normally he doesn’t like tomatoes or basil for that matter.  I didn’t even know he likes cucumbers, so I was shocked that he wanted to try some.  And even more surprised that he seemed to like it!

Caprese Salad - This will have to do until I can actually go to Capri

Caprese Salad – This will have to do until I can actually go to Capri

It certainly is easy to make and I think it would be really fun to make for a little party and put it in the nifty appetizer mini bowls I put it in tonight.  The only problem I had with it is that the balsamic vinegar turns the mozzarella balls kind of brown and they look a lot like mushrooms.  I really don’t like mushrooms, so that is kind of off-putting to me.  But it tastes good and it sure reminds me of summer, so I will add it to the “keep” list and hopefully make it for the little cocktail party I’d like to have once I get caught up a little around here.

Day 112 – Back to life, back to reality – and a Strawberry Mango Smoothie

One of the beautiful arrangements from my dad's funeral.

One of the beautiful arrangements from my dad’s funeral.

Well, I don’t know if anyone has noticed but I haven’t been blogging for the past few weeks.  Unfortunately, my father passed away last week after an extended illness.  I spent over a month going back and forth to my parent’s house and helping with my dad’s care. It was a heart-wrenching process, one that I hope to not repeat anytime soon.  We had the funeral last Friday and then spent the weekend with the whole extended family.  It was one of those “silver lining in every cloud” situations – we really ended up having a lot of good times even during such a difficult situation.  We are so grateful for all the support from our friends and family.

Anyway, I decided to go on hiatus while all of this was going on.  It was just too stressful to try to keep it up and that was never the purpose of my blog.  So, I decided to take a break and come back to Project Pinterest 365 when the time was right.  Now that I’m home again, I’ve decided to get back to work.  I’ve missed the writing and my household projects have completely stalled, so I’m excited to get started again.

Tonight’s project is pretty simple, but surprisingly hard to find.  For some reason I really wanted a good smoothie when I got home today.  I’ve been eating a lot of cake and other sweets that were sent to my mom’s house during the funeral.   Very good –  but not so good for my waistline.  Some fruit sounded like a very good idea!

Smoothie ingredients - perfect summer food

Smoothie ingredients – perfect summer food

I really spent a lot of time looking at smoothie recipes before I decided on one.  A lot of them have weird ingredients that are hard to find.  Some of them are called “Vegan” and “Gluten-free” which sound suspicious to me.  Also, I’ve decided that I don’t really like  bananas in smoothies.  They are probably healthy, but they give them a texture that’s too much like baby food for me.  Anyway, I finally found a recipe that sounded reasonable called “Strawberry Nectarine Smoothie”  at a site called Ms. Chow.  Here is the link:  http://www.mschow.com/recipes/protein/strawberry-nectarine-smoothie/.  Most of Ms. Chow’s recipes look pretty healthy, so I’ll have to take another look someday when I’m looking for something healthy – which isn’t every day!

You may remember an earlier recipe that I tried to make using nectarines.  I had forgotten that it’s hard to find them this time of year, so once again I had to improvise.  I decided to use a mango instead of the nectarine and I got some orange/mango juice.  When I got home, I threw everything shown above into my food processor.  I think a blender is probably the preferred appliance, but I was too lazy to get it out of the cupboard.

My smoothie - it turned out just the way I wanted!

My smoothie – it turned out just the way I wanted!

It turned out good – nice and icy, without any banana babyfood taste.  Just what I had in mind and Big Daddio was pretty happy to see a surprise snack show up while he was watching something on TV.

I’m glad to be back writing my blog.  It will be nice to get back to some normal day-to-day things.

Day 111: Back to Reality – and a little smoothie making

I don't usually "drink my calories" but I might have to make an exception in this case.

I don’t usually “drink my calories” but I might have to make an exception in this case.

 

 

I’m back home and just as I feared there is a lot of work to do around here.  I need to get this place cleaned up before the weekend because we have family coming home.  The baby will be here and my youngest daughter is moving home for the summer.  It will be fun, but there’s a lot to do to get ready.

Ingredients for a Sunrise Surprise

Ingredients for a Sunrise Surprise

Before I can even tackle the house I need to do something for work.  I’m doing a little workshop for “Bring your Child to Work Day” and am having a smoothie demonstration.  This means that I need to try a lot of different recipes and I figured I could easily roll this into a Pinterest project.  I’m really happy that I will have a little time to do some things around the house again, at least for a few days.

I found a few recipes that I thought the kids might like and headed out to get everything I need.  It takes a lot of stuff and is pretty expensive because of all the fruit that’s needed.  The checkout lady looked in my cart and said “making smoothies?”  so I guess it was pretty obvious what I was doing.

One of the random things I think about is whether people working in checkout lines have any curiosity about what people buy.  I know I would – I guess I’m just nosy!  I always think about what’s in my cart because I don’t want the clerk to think I’m buying a bunch of junk food.  Haha, they could probably care less!

I took all my supplies home and mixed up the smoothies.  Big Daddio wasn’t home yet so I had to try them myself.  Too bad, because I think he would have enjoyed this activity.

My new immersion blender!

My new immersion blender!

I pulled out my new immersion blender.  I had to get a new one because I broke my old one trying to use it to mix up cookie dough.  I think I mentioned this in my very first blog post and I finally got a new one last week.  They have lots of fun colors and I decided on apple green.  I don’t know why – I just liked it!

I made four different recipes.  Very Berry Smoothie, Sunrise Smoothie, Orange Dreamsicle Smoothie, Strawberry-Kiwi Smoothie

Here are the links to the recipes:  http://recipes.prevention.com/Recipe/berry-good-smoothie.aspxhttp://pinterest.com/pin/22518066859454580/http://recipes.prevention.com/Recipe/SunriseSmoothies.aspxhttp://pinterest.com/pin/22518066859454668/

Smoothie3

Smoothie making is not hard once you get started, but it is rather messy.  There’s a lot of sticky fruit and juice involved and you have to be really careful with the immersion blender.  One slip of the hand and things can go flying.  Also, be careful around the blade because I knew a woman who cut her finger REALLY bad on one of these.  There’s no guard or anything, so you have to really watch it.

The general agreement was that the Sunrise Smoothie was the best.  I guess it all depends on what you like.  The good thing about these is that you can play around with them until you come up with your own perfect recipe!

Day 107 : White Bean Dip with Pesto – yes, this IS what we’re having for dinner!

This dip makes a nice little no-meat dinner.

This dip makes a nice little no-meat dinner.

For tonight’s project I decided we needed something healthy.  There’s been a little too much eating out and eating pizza for me to make any progress on my diet.  Fortunately, we just started a new healthy initiative at work this week so maybe that will finally get me motivated.  I wish they’d make me weigh in each week in front of the whole department.  I have a feeling that would keep me away from the junk food.  Can you even image what that would be like?  Well, I guess it would be like being on The Biggest Loser, except a lot worse.

This reminds me of another great idea I came up with the other day.  I was talking to Big Daddio about a bad day I had coming up at work that I just wished I could completely skip and come out on the other side on the next day!  And then I started thinking – what if every person started life with a handful of “skip” days.  Anytime you just didn’t want to go thru that day you could use one of your skips.  But you would only have a few – maybe four or five for your whole life.   I started thinking about how hard it would be to decide when to use your days.  How would it change your life?  Anyway, just a weird thing that popped into my mind.

Anywho, back to the bean dip.  I found this recipe on a blog that I really like called A House in the Hills.  She has a lot of great stuff and one of the things I like best are her portraits of dogs in costumes.  Hilarious and all for an animal aid charity.   Take a look – all you dog lovers will enjoy it.  Here’s the link for the bean dip recipe:  http://www.ahouseinthehills.com/ahouseinthehills/2013/4/9/white-bean-dip-with-pesto.html.

Only a few ingredients and my favorite - GARLIC

Only a few ingredients and my favorite – GARLIC

I loved this recipe for several reasons:

1)  Only 6 ingredients

2) Everything goes in the food processor as is – no chopping, no prepping, no other pans or bowls

3) It tastes and looks excellent – foolproof

4) It has garlic

4) I kept thinking about those dog in the costumes while I was cooking.  They made me laugh!

It all goes right in the food processor

It all goes right in the food processor

Once it was all mixed up, I put the dip in some cute little bowls.  I topped it with some pesto and olive oil and then put it on a plate with some crackers and fruit.  After a little photo session, I took it in to Big Daddio.  By now you know him well enough to know that he was not going to eat White Bean Dip with Pesto and fruit for dinner without putting up a fight.  A couple of comments I heard were – “Is this what we’re having for dinner?”  and “This looks a little fancy”.  I gave him a look – you know, THE look – and he just quietly ate his dinner.

Yes, this is what we're having for dinner!

Yes, this is what we’re having for dinner!

We actually both liked it a lot.  I think it would make a great appetizer for a party.  If I ever get time to have a party again!

And that’s the story of our White Bean Dip Dinner.

Day 105: Peanut Butter Cup Brownies

Very pretty, don't you think? I used a serving dish my daughter gave me - one of my favorites.

Very pretty, don’t you think? I used a serving dish my daughter gave me – one of my favorites.

Well, I’ve really gotten behind this time.  I’ve just haven’t been able to sit down and write my blog due to traveling, working (new job) and trying to finish my taxes.  My apologies to anyone who has been desperately waiting for a new post (haha) but I’ll try once again to get caught up.

Today’s project is related to my brother’s birthday.  It’s hard to believe that my “baby brother” is turning 50 this weekend!  Hmmm, I hate to think about what that says about me.  Anyway, I wanted to send him a little something and by now you realize that pretty much everything I do involves a Pinterest project.  I found a very good sounding recipe called Peanut Butter Cup Brownies from “The First Year Blog”.  I’ve visited this blog before and there are some great ideas.  Here is the link:  http://thefirstyearblog.com/2013/04/09/peanut-butter-cup-brownies/.

I love brownies and I love peanut butter.  In fact, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups are my favorite candy.  So this recipe was a no-brainer.  Even better, I had all the ingredients at home so no trip to the store.  Yeah – sign me up!

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies - Only a few ingredients

Peanut Butter Cup Brownies – Only a few ingredients

This was pretty easy.  I mixed up a box of brownies that I had in the cupboard.  Big Daddio bought them – you can tell because he always buys the kind with nuts and I never do.  He regularly complains when I make brownies with no nuts.  Anyway, I didn’t think it would make any difference so I mixed them up and put them in my nifty mini-muffin pan.  It made 1 1/2 pans of brownies.  As you can see from the picture, I didn’t use paper muffin cups.  I just sprayed the little compartments really well with Pam.

This whole project made me think about a couple of products that I regularly use.  I don’t know if people still go to Pampered Chef parties, but when my kids were little we all had parties.  We were just happy to get out of the house and have a glass a wine while our husbands watched the kids.  I bought a couple of things that I use quite a bit.  One is my mini-muffin pan that you can see in the picture above and the other is the “peanut butter measurer” shown below.

The "Peanut Butter Measurer" .  You need one of these.

The “Peanut Butter Measurer” . You need one of these.

No – it’s not really called a peanut butter measurer.  It’s actually called a Metric WonderCup, but I almost always use it to measure either peanut butter or shortening.  It is very handy for this procedure.  You just push the bottom up and the sticky stuff pops right out.  I have two sizes and I really love them.  If you don’t have one, check around.  Maybe one of your friends is having a Pampered Chef party.

Once the brownies are done, you just need to melt the peanut butter in the microwave for a few seconds and then fill the little divets in the top with a little.  I had to actually push the top of a spoon in the top to make the indentation.  I topped them with some chocolate chips.  I didn’t have any peanut butter chips, so I wouldn’t rush out and buy them but they probably would be good.

Yum  - these are good!

Yum – these are good!

These were good right out of the oven, but they were better the next morning after being in the refrigerator.  I think they are really cute, easy and taste great.  I will definitely be making these again!  Hope my brother likes peanut butter. I also hope I can get them in the mail before Big Daddio eats them all!

Day 104 : Tilapia-en-Papillote – there’s something fishy about this recipe!

My beautiful fish dinner - too bad Big Daddio doesn't eat fish

My beautiful fish dinner – too bad Big Daddio doesn’t eat fish

Back home, back to work and back to having to cook for myself instead of going to fabulous restaurants for every meal.  I don’t think I even had  lunch today, but I guess I could afford to miss a meal after the eat-a-thon we had this weekend.

I decided to stop at the store and pick up the ingredients for a recipe I pinned last week for Tilapia-en-Papillote – fish in parchment paper. Usually I’m kind of afraid to cook fish, but I’ve had something like this in a restaurant and it was good.  How could I go wrong?  This is from a blog called Southern Boy Dishes.  There are lots of good recipes there and I will definitely go back and check out some of the other dishes.  Here’s the link:  http://www.southernboydishes.com/2013/01/17/tilapia-en-papillote/.

The only really time consuming part of this recipe is cutting the julienne vegetables.  I was hoping that I had a julienne blade for my food processor, but after looking thru the box it appears that I don’t have one.  I think I might order one, because it’s somewhat time-consuming and mine didn’t look quite as good as the picture in the recipe.

The julienned vegetables.  I think they look pretty good.

The julienned vegetables. I think they look pretty good.

Since I wasn’t quite sure how to do this process, I checked out a video online for directions.  Here’s the link, in case you find yourself in a similar situation:  http://www.videojug.com/film/chef-skills-how-to-julienne.  I think I did a pretty good job with the cutting.  No missing fingers!

Unfortunately I couldn’t find the double-sided parchment paper mentioned in the blog that has parchment paper on one side and foil on the other.  I’m going to keep looking because it sounds like it would be pretty handy.  I just had to use plain parchment paper which is easy enough to find.

I assembled everything as directed and wrapped it up to look as much like the picture as possible.  I cooked the four packets for 20 minutes and then another 5 minutes just in case.  I’m always afraid I’ll undercook fish and get some kind of food poisoning.  Big Daddio says that won’t happen, but I’d rather not take a chance.

This boiling-over trick really works!

This boiling-over trick really works!

I also made some rice using the wooden-spoon-over-the-pan method that Brooke taught me a couple of weeks ago.  I put everything on a plate very artfully.  I thought it turned out very beautiful – almost like a restaurant presentation.  I have to say that it tasted quite good. I did have to use a different seasoning since I think I threw away my Old Bay seasoning in my last purge of out-of-date spices – but I didn’t think it hurt anything.  In fact, it was a little spicy and I like that.

What it looks like when it's all assembled.

What it looks like when it’s all assembled.

So that’s my adventure in cooking fish.  It was a nice and quick dinner.  I think I’ll try this again, but next time might try the author’s suggestion for using tomatoes and feta cheese.  Yum!

Day 99: Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini

This is a picture of what my attempt DID NOT look like.

This is a picture of what my attempt DID NOT look like.

Whew – I’m finally home and back to work.  Real work and Pinterest project work.  But don’t get too used to it because I’m only going to be home for two days and then I’m off to Chicago for another three days.  I’m already looking forward to all the great pictures and travel ideas I can get for my blog on that trip.

By necessity I needed to keep tonight’s project pretty quick and simple.  I still need to unpack, do laundry and re-pack for the next trip.  Also, we still have to finish our taxes!  I don’t know why we put this off so much every year, but it’s an annual tradition to rush around for a couple of days  – all the while asking ourselves why we didn’t get started earlier.  I have literally been sitting in a line at the Post Office at 11:55 pm many, many times.  Of course that was back in the day before you could do everything online, which is even more convenient for procrastinators like us!

Anyway, I saw a post in one of the blogs I follow (A Food Centric Life)  for Nectarine and Goat Cheese Crostini Appetizers.   Here is the link: http://afoodcentriclife.com/nectarine-and-goat-cheese-crostini/ .   I don’t know why, but this really appealed to me.  Maybe because it sounded kind of springy and fresh.  And I’m really ready for that, especially after being in Atlanta for a few days.  Unfortunately, it’s supposed to snow tonight so all my spring ideas may have to wait a couple of days.

I discovered that it’s hard to find nectarines at the grocery store this time of year.  As in impossible.  So I decided to improvise and buy a couple of peaches.  They’re pretty much the same thing, right?

At least I got the bread cutting right.

At least I got the bread cutting right.

I got right to work when I got home.  First I had to slice the bread diagonally (not too hard) and then mix up a butter, olive oil and granulated garlic mixture.  I didn’t know what granulated garlic was, so I just chopped up a couple of garlic cloves as fine as I could without cutting off my fingers.  I spread that on the bread and stuck it in the oven to crisp. Believe me, things started smelling good right away,

Ingredients I started out with, before things went haywire.  I totally forgot to use the pistachios!

Ingredients I started out with, before things went haywire. I totally forgot to use the pistachios!

Next I was supposed to prepare the peaches/nectarines for roasting.  Unfortunately, when I cut them in half they looked all gray and rotten.  Arghh – that made me mad because I paid quite a lot for them and I really needed them for the recipe – they have a title role!  Well, I couldn’t quit at that point or I’d basically have garlic bread – not too exciting.  So I started thinking about what else I could use and came up with the idea of  using some raspberry jam I had in the frig.

I spread the goat cheese and a little jam on the tops of the bread and proceeded to make the Balsamic Reduction suggested in the recipe.  This is simple – just boil down the vinegar with a little brown sugar until it’s kind of syrupy and then drizzle over the crostini.

My attempt did not look as good as the original - but I'm going to try this again!

My attempt did not look as good as the original – but I’m going to try this again!

Here’s what I can tell you – this tasted really good to me.  Kind of sweet, but the garlic and vinegar give it an interesting flavor.  I ate quite a lot of this because Big Daddio said it looked weird and he doesn’t like goat cheese.  Honestly!

Here’s what I can’t tell you – what the actual recipe would taste like.  But I’m no quitter and I’m going to try again.  I’ll give you a full report when I do!

Postscript:

After reading this to Big Daddio, he took exception to my comment that he doesn’t like goat cheese.  Turns out that  it’s the vinegar he objected to!  Just wanted to clear that up!

Day 93: Roasted Veges, bread, olive oil and wine – a little vegetarian for Big Daddio!

Roasting veges with Parmesan cheese - yum!

Roasting veges with Parmesan cheese – yum!

Tonight, we had a little pre-vacation celebration after work.  We opened a bottle of Big Daddio’s good red wine and settled down to watch our favorite night of TV  – American Idol, Project Runway and Glee.  Of course, the wine did cut down on our productivity later in the evening – which explains why I’m posting this a day late!  But it was fun and after the first glass I decided we’d better figure out what to eat.

A nice glass of wine is always a good ending to the end (almost) of the week.

A nice glass of wine is always a good ending to the end (almost) of the week.

Before I “reveal” the recipe of the night, I wanted to explain that Big Daddio along with  his partner and good friend Tom make quite a large supply of home-crafted wine each year.  Tom actually grows the grapes and they work together on the process.  They have all the necessary equipment, so don’t feel sorry for me having to drink home-made wine.  It’s very good and they make a number of different varieties.  I’ve shown a picture of the bottle below.  You can see how professional it looks.

Very professional home-crafted wine.  I'm lucky to have a supply of this in the basement!

Very professional home-crafted wine. I’m lucky to have a supply of this in the basement!

One of the coolest things John and Tom have done with their wine is to make a couple of special varieties for our daughter’s wedding last year.  They made one white and one red.  They were served at the reception to almost 300 people.  It was a very special addition to the wedding!

Anyway, enough about wine.  We needed something to eat, so I looked up a pin I remembered saving for roasted vegetables.  I’ve attached the link, but it’s just  pin so don’t bother clicking on it.  It takes you to some computer website place and I don’t want anyone to get hacked.  Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/pin/22518066859225862/.

I made the recipe pretty much as listed.  I decided I should try it once before I started playing around with it!

The vegetables look so pretty when they're all cut up.

The vegetables look so pretty when they’re all cut up.

It looked very pretty and tasted good.  I baked some “Take and Bake” ciabatta rolls I picked up at the store.  Then I mixed up some olive oil, herbs and parmesan cheese.  This really got Big Daddio’s attention.  I put everything together and made a little “vegetarian” feast.  He was skeptical at first, but ended up liking it.  Of course, he added a bologna sandwich just to finish things off!  Honestly!

The perfect dinner as far as I'm concerned.

The perfect dinner as far as I’m concerned.

I would make this again – it’s simple and quick.  However, I’d do it a little differently.  I would use cherry tomatoes instead of cut up tomatoes – they got a little smooshy for my taste.  I would chop up the garlic and spread it all over instead of leaving the cloves whole.   Finally, I would substitute asparagus for the sweet potatoes.  I thought they were a little soft and I just didn’t care for the texture.  But of course, you could put in whatever vegetables you like.

So that’s my last cooking project before we head off to Atlanta.  Not quite sure what I’ll do while I’m gone, but I’m sure I’ll come up with something.  Have a good weekend.

Day 92: Beef Stew with Bacon – well, a girl has to eat!

An excellent dinner. Even Big Daddio liked this!

An excellent dinner. Even Big Daddio liked this!

My daughter Brooke is never impressed when my project is cooking.  But I haven’t done a CrockPot recipe for awhile and it’s SO nice to come home and know that my project is all ready and we have a good dinner waiting.

I know I’ve mentioned before that Big Daddio isn’t a huge fan of CrockPot food.  So I looked around for a recipe that I thought he’d like.  I finally found one at a site called Parenting.com.  Here is the link: http://www.parenting.com/gallery/crock-pot-recipes?pnid=617552.   It’s part of an article called 11 Easy Crock Pot Recipes and there were a couple of others that looked good, but I thought this one would have the best chance of appealing to John.

The ingredients - I did make a few substitutions

The ingredients – I did make a few substitutions

I got most of the ingredients together, but I had to make a few substitutions.  I couldn’t find the frozen pearl onions at the store so I just left them out.  I wasn’t sure how the fresh ones would work since I’ve only used them once before.  I used cooking sherry in place of the wine because I didn’t want to open a whole bottle.  Finally, I didn’t have any tomato paste so I just used ketchup.  I don’t think any of those changes caused any problems.

I got everything ready this morning before work.  One thing to know about this recipe is that it takes quite a lot of prep work.  I was a little late for work because I was busy cooking bacon, cutting and browning beef, making the sauce and getting everything in the CrockPot.  It also created quite a few dirty dishes that were waiting for me when I got home.  Where is that darn maid when I need her!

Anyway, the stew cooked all day while I worked.  When I got home I added the bacon and rosemary.  It was starting to look pretty good at that point.  Big Daddio came in, looked at it and nodded non-commitedly.  That meant that he MIGHT like it.  Next, he asked if I was making noodles to go with it.  Actually, the recipe didn’t mention noodles but that did sound like a pretty good idea.

Did anyone else know this trick about not having the water not boil over?

Did anyone else know this trick about not having the water not boil over?

This brings me to an interesting item that my daughter Brooke shared with me over the weekend.  Lots of other people probably already know this, but she told me that if you put a wooden spoon across the pot it won’t boil over.  I figured that this was a good chance to put it to the test and you know what?  It actually worked!  I have absolutely no idea why, but I’m going to do that from now on.  No more boiling over !

Looks pretty good, doesn't it?

Looks pretty good, doesn’t it?

We sat down to our good dinner and both agreed that this was pretty great.  It would even be good to make for company – it definitely has a different taste and texture than a lot of generic Crockpot recipes.  This one is a keeper!