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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Vegas Good Mac-n-Cheese


This has to be the MOST fabulous, MOST taste worthy Mac-N-Cheese ever!!!! When my husband had it for dinner the other night he said "This is Vegas Style Good!". The best compliment ever since we love to go to Vegas and eat at the best restaurants out there. So with that compliment, mama had to share this recipe with all of you!!!! The best thing about this recipe is you can adapt it to your family's taste. If you like it full of flavor and a little kick, you add more flavor to it. If your kids are picky eaters, then leave it bland. I quadrupled this recipe for a client of mine and could see me doing it again and freezing several 9x13 disposable pans for later. Try this recipe!!!!

Mac&Cheese From Scratch (Found at Intentional By Grace)

Ingredients:
  • 1 pound freshly cooked pasta (we like to try fun shapes!)
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups cold milk
  • 10 ounces of shredded cheese (we use cheddar)
  • herbs and spices (we like a pinch of nutmeg and 1/4 teaspoon of mustard powder)
  • 6 slices prosciutto (optional)
Instructions:
  1. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, cook the butter until it starts to foam; then whisk in the flour. Continue whisking until the mixture turns golden-brown and smells “cooked”.
  2. Whisk in a few ounces of the cold milk, until there are no lumps. Keep adding and whisking until all the milk is added.
  3. Simmer on medium-low, whisking often, until the sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon (about 5-10 minutes), then remove from heat.
  4. Add the cheese by handfuls and whisk until each addition is melted. Taste, and add any salt, pepper or seasonings. (I added Garlic Salt, LOTS of sea salt and black coarse pepper, dash of red pepper, a little onion powder...you name, you add it! It's your call.)
  5. Stir the sauce into cooked pasta and add chopped prosciutto, or any other additions.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sinful Caramel Brownies



This is the picture of the brownies I created from a recipe I found online the other day. And can I just tell you Oh My Goodness!!!! These were sinful! I say sinful because I sinned, licking the entire pot and then sampling a few...and I have been good for quite some time on the sweet tooth wheel! Below is the recipe and PLEASE make these ASAP, preferably NOT when your kids nor your spouse or anyone you love is near you! You will NOT want to share...you WILL want to eat it ALL...and then some! On top of the energizing taste, the clean up is a breeze!
Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups (3/4 lb.) butter
  • 3 cups sugar 
  • large eggs 
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 14 ounces (40 to 50) square caramel candies such as Kraft or See's, unwrapped 

  • Preparation
  • 1. In a 3- to 4-quart pan over medium-high heat, melt butter, stirring occasionally, about 4 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • 2. Stir in sugar, then eggs and vanilla, until blended. Stir in salt and baking powder. Add flour and cocoa and stir until batter is smooth.
  • 3. Butter a 12- by 20-inch piece of foil. Line a 9- by 13-inch pan with foil, buttered side up, letting foil hang over pan ends. Scrape batter into pan. Evenly space caramels over batter.
  • 4. Bake brownies in a 325° oven just until a toothpick inserted in the center (not in a caramel) comes out clean, 55 to 60 minutes. Let cool.
  • 5. Lift brownies with foil from pan to a counter. Peel back sides of foil. With a long, hot knife, cut between caramels into 35 squares; occasionally rinse knife in very hot water and wipe clean.
  • Chris Schaefer, Everett, WA, Sunset 
  • FEBRUARY 2005






Sunday, May 12, 2013

Mother's Day 2013

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Mother's Day 2013
So this year my children are getting older and they have this innate desire to actually celebrate me without their father's help. (Not that he ever helped them celebrate me...it was always me reminding them as I was yelling at them that it's my day-be nice!)Anyways, this morning I woke up to an aroma of pancakes. However, my husband was still in bed so who could be making pancakes? My kids would never...or I hope they wouldn't as a burned down house on Mother's day would never be a great memory! So we both looked at each other puzzled. I peaked out and saw 4 children working together with the stove-yes fire and oil-trying to make their mother breakfast in bed. How sweet was this? I crawled back into bed praying to God above that there would be no FIRE on this lovely mother's day. In a few mins these four rug rats-what are those anyways?-came into my room so proud of their accomplishment. When I asked how did they know how to make me this fabulous breakfast, Niko quickly replied I followed the directions! He did confess that he couldn't find oil so he used some nut oil he found in the spice cabinet and although the directions called for low fire, he put it on high so it's a little burned. And since I always remind them to eat their fruits and veggies, they added that to my plate. A breakfast only a mother could love... 

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Looks delicious, right? You know what I mean all you mothers and fathers out there. This made my day because it showed me how much these little people in my life love me and really listen to MOST of the things I say and ALL of the things they SEE me do in the kitchen. I was showered with hand made gifts this morning and the best part of each gift was my children's faces of pride that they had something to give to me to honor me on this very special day. I love my kiddos, at least today! 
Happy Mother's Day to everyone!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Birthday Cake

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Birthday Cake
Tonight I made a funfetti birthday cake from scratch. I love seeing simple ingredients like butter and sugar turn into something so special. What is it about a simple homemade birthday cake that can make anyone feel loved and special? Is it the swirls of the frosting that you see how time was spent? Is the the yumminess of the cake itself and how it shows that someone took the time to make it just for you? Or is the pure simple fact that a mother or father took time to make it, smiling big when they walk it out to their child singing the infamous "Happy Birthday" song while walking carefully as to not allow the candles to be blown out? Whatever it is, my memories of my youth and my mom and all her cakes were running rapidly through my mind tonight as she turns 68 tomorrow.
I made this cake for my mom tonight, something she always enjoyed on her birthday, a cake from her girls. Whether we bought it from La Boulangerie or picked one up from Eddie's, she always loved how we would end the day singing to her, celebrating her. This cake is unlike any other cake I have made or purchased for my mom. You see as I was frosting this cake I thought about all the parties she threw for me and my siblings and all the cakes she has brought out to me, holding it with one hand and using her other one to shield any slight breeze from the candle flames. No matter how old I got, she'd bring me a cake on my birthday. They were always homemade, but as time passed they became smaller treats as baking slowly slipped away from her abilty. Sometimes it was a chocolate eclair-our favorite-and other times a cream cheese puff-another all time favorite. So tomorrow, I will go see my mom and bring her her birthday cake; sing to her, love her, and blow out the candles for her. She will smile and we will eat cake together. And I know she will think how special this moment is and how it is familiar to her, like birthday cake.
Happy Birthday sweet mother of mine. I love you. 

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Baby Love


My mother always loved babies. Even more when she started getting some grandbabies. I remember how she would light up when anyone of them entered the room shouting "yiayia". She would come to my home everyday to watch Niko at 6:30am while I went to work. She always came over with a smile and a coffee; she'd spend the rest of the day playing on the floor with Niko and rocking him to sleep while singing a very famous Greek lullaby "Nani nani to morro mou", which means "sleep, sleep my baby." All the kids know it to this very day. Well along with many things, this love hasn't been able to shine as bright as it once used to, but just the other day her very best friend Popi came for her visit-which she always does and I LOVE that-and she had our newest little family member (as we call them) Aris. This is Popi's grandbaby which mom would've considered her 10th grandchild (8 from us and 2 from Anna of course!) and to her amazement on that visit mom's face lit up and she said in her Greek, "how are you, my sweet baby?", and began to play with him as she so often has in the past with all her grandbabies. Thank you Popi for being a true friend, giving my mother, your best friend, opportunities to express herself. Her love is still here, readily available to give and receive. Thank you for capturing this moment for us all to enjoy! Filakia!

Monday, May 6, 2013

Amazingly tasty BBQ pulled pork in a crockpot!

Okay, I don't have any pictures for you today, so sorry! But you know when you think you're Betty Crocker in the kitchen, and you try to create something for dinner using your own knowledge and it turns out great? Well today was my BC moment! I had a pork tenderloin roast (the 4 pack from Costco that I always keep on hand) and I needed a quick dinner because life is a moving Target (ha-ha) so I put one of those in the crock pot at noon-defrosted-sprinkled salt, corse pepper, Montreal Steak seasoning, and some garlic powder. I added a Clean BBQ Sauce I made from scratch and about a cup of strawberry jam (from Costco of course) and a few shakes of Red Wine Vinegar. Turn on the crock pot on low and left! Came home at 6:00 to some tasty pulled pork. Filled up some Hoagie Rolls, covered in sharp cheddar, added broccoli  celery with PB, strawberries and cuties! Dinner was served! Fast, easy, and the kids ate it!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Happy May Day

Photo: A visit to downtown today=a stroll with dad through farmers market and my fictions business name filed! We're official


Today I got to go downtown and enjoy an hour with my dad. Just me. Just him. I rarely talk about him on here, but he is a MAJOR part of my life. He is the reason my family functions and the part of the  reason I am who I am. So today I went downtown to apply for a fictitious business name for my candy business, SugarPalooza. Since it was downtown dad insisted I go to see him first and we could do it together. I just LOVE how my dad wants to still take care of me. I love that quality. He always is the first to solve any and all of my problems. So I did. We walked down to the county clerk office and went through the process together. Everyone knew him in there and he proudly showed me off, like I was still 4 years old. I bet through his eyes, I still am. Since we were waiting for a while my dad ofcourse, worried about my parking meter and took my keys and a quarter and walked to my car refilling the meter...gush I know! After a few couples getting married and some interesting people watching, I officially own the name SugarPalooza. So we continued walking and ran into a farmer's market and we bought his favorite-apricots. The rest of the way back to my car I just captured in my mind and heart this tender moment between a father and his daughter, walking side by side, eating apricots out of a nylon bag and listening to a father's story of where he worked in the past downtown and pointing out all the different offices he used to know. Everything was right in that very moment and the words of my little Zoe rang loudly in my head..."Mommy, why do girls LOVE their daddy's so much?" Maybe because they always look at us as their little girl. Love you dad, thanks for today's moment.