Finding your place in the world can be hard.

Being a SAHM or SAHD has its own set of challenges.

For instance, do I really give enough of a crap to shower and put on deodorant today? That reminds me, I need to do both.

Do I use my time effectively? Or do I sit and play games and read blogs when I should be doing --- (cleaning, cooking, working at home type task)?

Well, I think I can answer that one pretty easily.

It is hard for me to find that balance. Some days I get a ton of work done, while some days it is as if I need a mental break and just veg out reading random crap on the internet. At least that is the excuse I tell myself.

I try to imagine what my grandmother's generation would have accomplished on a daily basis, and my guess would be, a helluva lot more than I do.

Have you found that balance? Sometimes I feel like the odd woman out for struggling to get it all done. Or heck, getting even part of it done. I know my work ethic isn't quite what it should be. I know I need to grow up. To tone my temper down. To think before I speak.

Who would have thought that being a mom doesn't mean you will automatically become mature? Hmph.

Daily Recipe - Old Fashioned Chocolate Birthday Cake with Mom's Special Fluffy Chocolate Frosting

by Divine Domesticity on April 30th, 2008

Old Fashioned Chocolate Birthday Cake with Mom's Special Fluffy Chocolate Frosting
Makes many servings

For the cake:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup water (or substitute water with 1 cup cold brewed coffee)
1 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vinegar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan. (We used three 9-inch round cake pans)

2. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Make a well in the center and pour in the eggs, coffee, milk, oil and vinegar. Mix until smooth, batter will be thin. Pour into prepared pan.

3. Bake in the preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Allow to cool.

For the frosting:

10 oz. butter, softened
2 lb bag of powdered sugar, 3/4 cup withheld
1/2 cup cocoa powder (eye ball it)
3 big spoonfuls powdered egg whites (the secret ingredient!)
2 tsp. vanilla
Milk or half and half, to thin to desired consistency

1. Cream the butter and sugar. Add milk and cocoa, alternating. Add powdered egg white and vanilla. Beat until fluffy and delicious!

Both recipes from my mom!

Wait -- who let the crazy lookin' white guy on my carousel?!

Daily Recipe - Raspberry, Honey & Lavender (Freezer) Jam

by Divine Domesticity on April 29th, 2008

Raspberry, Honey and Lavender Freezer Jam
Makes Five - 8 oz. Jars

4 cups raspberries
1/2 cup good quality honey (My kind had a bit of honeycomb still in it, yum)
1/2 cup sugar
5 oz. dried lavender (to rehydrate, see instructions above) or 1-2 Sprigs, fresh lavender
1 packet Fruit Jell - Freezer Jam Pectin
5 jam containers, ready to use (They sell specialty Freezer Jam Jars, I believe by the same manufacturer, with cute purple tops. Look here for example)

1. In a large bowl, crush raspberries until only small pieces remain and mixture is quite liquid. This may take a few minutes.

2. In a small bowl, mix Pectin and sugar together until incorporated. Add to mashed raspberries. Add honey (microwaving if necessary to get it thin enough to pour). Stir for 3 minutes. Add lavender and lightly stir.

3. Ladle into clean jam jars, leaving 1/2″ space at the top. Cap and let sit for 30 minutes. Store in your freezer until ready to use, or transfer to fridge and eat!

Jam keeps several weeks in the fridge or up to one year in the freezer.


I know I'm going crazy with the carousel widgets lately, but if I can earn a few bucks, baby I am gonna do it! Please check out my hand picked PB and J selections below:

Daily Recipe - Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

by Divine Domesticity on April 28th, 2008

Paula's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich
Makes 4 servings

1/2 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
3 tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 to 3 ripe bananas
8 slices white bread
Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In a frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Make sure butter does not burn. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices. Spread the peanut butter mixture on 4 slices of bread and cover with banana slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Spread the remaining butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches in the frying pan until each side is golden brown.

2. For topping, combine the sugar and cinnamon in shallow plate. Coat the grilled sandwiches with the mixture. Cut diagonally and serve hot.

Recipe from Foodnetwork.com

The one where dislocated my knee. Then switched to glass baby bottles.

Lately I have no inspiration when it comes to titling my posts.

Last Friday as my husband was getting ready for work, I was scooting off our bed and somehow, I dislocated my knee. I've done this many times before, too many to count really, but this time, it would NOT POP BACK. There I was, knee hanging there at a weird angle, screaming and freaking out. The freaking out was two-fold. Obv., I was freaking from the pain, but the second reason was having your lower leg dangling at a very unnatural angle FEELS WEIRD.

After my husband tried twisting my leg to get it to pop back, which did not work, oh no, it only made it hurt more, I bumped my kneecap with my hand, accidentally, and POP, back it went.

I hate my knees.

--------------------

After reading a few articles about the Dr. Browns plastic baby bottles and dangerous chemicals, we're switching to glass bottles. I have read a few articles that have said it was much ado about nothing, but I don't even want to chance it when it comes to by babeh.

For the first 5 or so months, I hand washed all of my bottles. In the past two months I've been using the dishwasher to save time. Apparently putting the plastic bottles in the dishwasher gets them too hot and they may leach chemicals into the formula. Supposedly if you hand wash in warm water it is okay to use the plastic, but since I've already washed them in the dishwasher, we're gonna replace them all. Stupid chemicals!

Anyone else switching to glass? Pros and cons?

--------------------

only took her 2.8 seconds to get them out of the package. troublemaker.

Violet turned 7 months old yesterday. We took a quick family walk (with my knee being jacked up and all) and she loved it. There is something about having the wind in her face that makes her incredibly happy.

I still get my weekly emails from babycenter.com, which I've been getting since I was pregnant. They fill you in on what is going on with your baby and what milestones they may be approaching in the coming weeks.

One snippet said it may be time to offer your baby a sippy cup. Also, bits of food that can be mushed easily in the mouth. Are they for reals? SIPPY CUPS?

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I'm not ready for this baby. Let's hit the pause button for a few months so I can catch up!

Need a Mother's Day present?

Here are my top picks. Enjoy!


Rhi asked me a while back what were my 'must have' kitchen items. I designed a little carousel to showcase my favorites. Check em out!

And please dish, what am I missing that you consider a must have?

(Hover over each item to see the description)

Daily Recipe - Alton's Chicken Curry Pot Pie

Super delicious! The curry gave it such a nice flavor. Next time around I'm adding more chicken and making more sauce. I was really surprised at the small amount this recipe made. There was NO WAY it would serve 6-8 as it was. I'll forgive you for that mistake, Alton, because I love you.

I used less of the veggie mix and I baked the puff pastry rounds separately from the pot pie. Otherwise, followed this one exactly. Good Eats!

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

4 servings - Recipe from Alton Brown

4 cups frozen vegetable mix, peas, carrots
1 to 2 tablespoons canola oil
3 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1/2 cup milk
3 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 tablespoons dried parsley
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
1 package puff pastry


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

2. Toss frozen vegetables with canola oil and spread evenly onto a sheet pan. Place into oven and cook until golden brown.

3. In a saute pan heat 1 tablespoon of butter and sweat the onion and celery. In another saucepan, heat the broth and milk. Add 2 more tablespoons of butter to the celery mix and cook out the water. Add the flour and curry and cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Whisk in the hot milk mixture and cook until thickened. Add the parsley, salt and pepper. Toss the browned vegetables and the chicken. Pour into a shallow baking pan, or a large terra cotta pot base, lined with foil, and top with 6 to 8 circles of puff pastry. Place into the oven and cook until puff pastry has browned and the mixture is hot and bubbly, about 25 minutes.

Daily Recipe - Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole

by Divine Domesticity on April 24th, 2008
 

Made this one last night. Super delicious!! It has a lot of great players: beer, cheese, hot dogs, spicy mustard and ketchup. How could you go wrong?

My sauce initially didn't thicken at all. I added a bit of cornstarch, which was mixed with a small bit of cold water and stirred, then added to the hot milk mixture. (Probably about 2 tbsp. cornstarch added to 1/4 cup water)

 

Mac and Cheese Dog Casserole
4-6 servings, recipe from Rachael Ray

1 pound elbow macaroni
salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 package beef or pork hot dogs, chopped into 1-inch pieces
1 tablespoon butter
1 medium onion, finely chopped
2 tablespoons all- purpose flour
1/2 cup beer, 1/3 of a bottle - whatever you have on hand, chicken broth can be substituted
2 cups milk
Pepper
1 rounded tablespoon spicy mustard
2 rounded tablespoons ketchup
3 cups yellow sharp Cheddar, shredded, divided (Buy pre-shredded cheese. You will need 1 1/2 sacks of 10-ounce packages.)

1. Boil a large pot of water for macaroni. Salt water and under cook macaroni, cook about 7 minutes until just under al dente in doneness.

2. Preheat broiler and set rack 12 inches from heat.

3. While pasta works, heat a large deep nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, then add hot dogs and brown on both sides, 4 minutes total. Remove the dogs with a slotted spoon to a paper towel lined plate. Add another tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 turn of the pan, and the butter. When butter melts, cook onions 4 to 5 minutes, then add flour and cook another minute. Add beer and cook off completely, 1 minute. Whisk in milk and bring to a bubble, then season the sauce with salt and pepper and stir in the mustard and ketchup. Lower heat and add 2 cups of the cheese. Stir to melt, 1 minute. Adjust mustard, ketchup, and salt and pepper, to your taste.

4. Drain pasta well. Combine pasta and hot dogs with sauce and coat evenly then pour into large casserole and top with remaining cheese. Melt and brown cheese under broiler, 2 minutes. Serve.

Daily Recipe - Scalloped Potatoes, AKA, OMFG SPAM POTATOES!

What can I say? I grew up with it and I love it. Don't knock it till you've tried it.

Scalloped Potatoes

4-6 servings

potatoes, peeled and sliced
1 onion, diced
1 container Spam, chopped
Milk, enough to nearly cover potatoes, heated through

1. Layer all ingredients:

Potatoes - Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Sprinkle liberally with flour.

Add some of the onion and spam pieces.

Repeat, ending with potatoes.

2. Bring milk to a simmer, pour onto potatoes. Bake at 350-f degrees 1 hour.

Recipe from my mom!

What-EVER.

I don't know what my deal is lately but I don't have a lot to say.

Part of it, I'm sure, is that I've been having a lot of stress lately. It is taking me forever to fall asleep at night. I lay there thinking, processing, making a mental to-do list for tomorrow. All the realities of life pressing down on me...marriage, kids, chores, work, finances, family, God.

Kind of causing me to have a mental block at the moment.

I want to write, to try to articulate this rough time I've been going through, but I can't seem to get started. The majority of days I feel good. A decent amount I feel bad. What else is there to say?

I'm trying hard to get through it.

Daily Recipe - My Mom's Liver and Onions

I love liver and onions. My mom didn't make it very often, but when she did, YUM-O. There is something about the mixture of the caramelized onions (which are delicious just by themselves) paired with bacon and liver...well, it is just divine.

My Mom's Liver and Onions
Several servings

Bacon
Onions, sliced
Liver
Flour for dredging
Oil

1. Cook bacon. Set aside. Cook sliced onions in bacon grease until caramelized. Put bacon and onions in serving dish.

2. Put a little oil in pan. Set to medium to medium-high heat. Dredge liver in flour. Fry both sides quickly, add a little water to pan to braise. Cook until still a little pink in center. Be sure to not overcrowd the pan. Add liver to bacon and onions mixture. Serve over noodles (see notes).

*Serve with butter and parsley egg noodles and peas and carrots.

Daily Recipe - The Grove Chicken Parisienne

The Grove Chicken Parisienne
Makes 4-6 servings - Recipe from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

¼ cup (½ stick) butter
1 cup milk
¼ cup finely chopped green onions (regular onions can be substituted)
¼ cup chopped green bell pepper
¼ cup sliced fresh mushrooms
½ jar (4 ounces) chopped pimentos
3 jars (5 ounces each) Kraft olive pimento spread
⅛ cup flour mixed with ⅛ cup water to thicken
2 cups cooked chicken breast, cubed
Salt and pepper to taste

1. In large saucepan, combine butter, milk, green onions, green pepper, mushrooms and pimentos and cook over medium heat until peppers are soft; about 5 minutes.

2. Add pimento spread and cook over medium-low heat until spread is melted, stirring occasionally. Add flour and water to thicken as needed. Sauce should be consistency of thick gravy and should stick to chicken. Add cooked chicken, salt and pepper and heat through if needed. Serve in potato baskets or over linguine.

Daily Recipe - Cincinnati Chili and Cornbread Supreme

by Divine Domesticity on April 20th, 2008

Here's the scoop. I originally used a recipe from The Kitchn but I found it to be incredibly bitter and frankly, just gross. I hate to say that, but it is the truth.

Their recipe calls for twice as much unsweetened cocoa as most others on the net, so I have reduced the cocoa from the recipe. To offset the bitterness, I added sugar to the chili. Weird, I know, but it made it not just edible -- but GOOD.

Next time around I'd add brown sugar or honey, but I just wasn't thinking clearly at the time. I also omitted the cumin, chili peppers and the chipotle pepper, but only because I didn't have it on hand and didn't want to make a trip to the store.

There you have it! My slightly sweeter version of Cincinnati Chili. Traditionally you would serve this with any combination of the following: heaping mound of shredded cheddar, minced raw onions and red beans.

Ali's Slightly Sweet Cincinnati Chili
serves 4-6


1 pound ground beef
1 onion, minced
4 garlic cloves, minced
2 small dried red peppers
2 tablespoons chili powder
1 1/2 tablespoons natural unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chipotle pepper
1 teaspoon salt
2 bay leaves
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1 cup chicken or beef broth
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup brown sugar (optional)

red beans (optional), for garnish
minced raw onions (optional), for garnish
shredded cheddar cheese (optional), for garnish

1. Fill a large, heavy frying pan with olive oil. Heat over medium high heat and when hot add the beef, minced onion and garlic, and chili powder. Crumble in the dried red peppers. Cook for about eight minutes or until the meat is browned.

2. In a separate bowl combine the cocoa, cinnamon, allspice, cumin, chipotle pepper, and salt. Add and stir fry for another couple minutes until fragrant.

3. Add the bay leaves, Worcestershire sauce, vinegar, tomato sauce, broth, water and brown sugar. Turn heat to low and simmer for an hour. Fish out the bay leaves.


4. Serve over spaghetti with minced onion, cheddar cheese, and red beans.



Cornbread Supreme
Makes one 9" x 13" pan

1 (16 oz.) can whole kernel corn, drained
1 (16 oz.) can cream style corn
16 oz. container sour cream
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 cup margarine or butter, melted
2 boxs Jiffy cornbread mix (7 1/2 oz. each)
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

1. In a large bowl, combine cornbread mix, sour cream, butter, whole kernel corn, cream style corn, and eggs. Place in a lightly greased 9" x 13" baking dish and sprinkle with 2 cups shredded cheddar cheese. Bake at 350-f degrees for 45 to 50 minutes or until golden on top and cooked through.

Daily Recipe - Homemade Salsa

Homemade Salsa
Many servings - Recipe from my sis, who got it from her husband's family

6 quarts roma tomatoes (peeled, squeezed and drained)
1 bunch fresh cilantro (or ⅔ C dried)
2-3 med onions
3 small bell peppers
⅓ c. garlic powder
6 tsp. cumin
4 Tbsp. salt
¼ c. sugar
⅓ c. basil
⅓ c. parsley
a few or a lot of jalapeños depending on your taste. De-seed them for a less intense flavor.
2 limes, squeeze all juice, grate and peel.

1.Boil tomatoes for 30 seconds to loosen skin. Peel, squeeze out water. Chop in food processor and add to large stock pot.

2. Chop rest of veggies in food processor, add to large stock pot. Bring to a boil to meld flavor in.

3. Chill, jar/can them to last longer.

Daily Recipe - Chicken and Broccoli Casserole

Chicken and Broccoli Casserole
Makes 6 servings


2 boxes broccoli spears
1 roaster chicken, chicken pieces removed
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can mayo (use empty cream of chicken soup can)
1 tsp. paprika
2 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3 Tbsp. butter
1 c. dried breadcrumbs

1. Spray a 9“x13” baking dish.

2. Thaw and drain broccoli spears in a colander. Place in bottom of baking dish.

3. Tear apart roaster chicken. Add chicken pieces on top of broccoli.

4. Mix cream of chicken soup with mayo and paprika. Spread on chicken. Top with cheese.

5. Melt butter in skillet and add dried breadcrumbs. Mix.

6. Add breadcrumb mixture to top of cheese.

7. Bake at 350-f degrees for 30 minutes.

Recipe from my mom!

Daily Recipe - My Sister's Old School Peanut Butter Fudge

When my sister's husband was a child, he made this fudge with his grandfather. It is an old recipe that is very special to their family.

My Sister's Old School Peanut Butter Fudge
Makes several servings

2 c. sugar
2 Tbsp. light corn syrup
⅛ tsp. salt
¾ c. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
⅓ c. peanut butter

1. In deep saucepan, mix sugar, syrup, salt and milk. Cool over medium heat without stirring until soft ball stage, let syrup mixture cool. While cooling, butter a player or pan. (I use a 1" deep oval dish, about 5" x 8") Add vanilla, peanut butter to cooled candy. Beat vigorously until it loses it’s shine and starts to thicken. Pour into dish. Cool. Cut into squares.

Daily Recipe - Sunshine Cake

Sunshine Cake
8-10 servings - Recipe from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

For the cake:
9 eggs, separated
¼ cup water
1 cup sugar (divided)
1 cup cake flour (sifted three times)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon cream of tartar
¼ teaspoon salt
French custard filling (see recipe)
Boiled frosting (see recipe)
Grated rind of 2 large oranges for garnish

Boiled Frosting:
1⅓ cups sugar
½ cup water
3 egg whites (see note)
Pinch of salt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

French Custard Filling:
4 egg yolks, beaten
¾ cup sifted powdered sugar
¾ cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup (2 sticks) butter


To make cake:
1. Beat together egg yolks, water and ½ cup of the sugar. Beat until light and fluffy. Add flour gradually, beating well after each addition. Mix in vanilla.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3. In metal bowl, whip egg whites with cream of tartar and salt until whites are stiff. Add remaining ½ cup sugar and beat just until peaks begin. Fold into batter. Pour batter into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake in preheated oven 45 minutes or until light brown. When done, remove from oven and cool completely on wire rack.

4. Meanwhile, prepare French custard filling and boiled frosting.

5. To assemble, carefully cut cooled cake into three layers. Fill between layers with French custard, then frost top and sides with boiled frosting. Grate orange rind over top of cake. Makes 8 to 10 servings.


For the boiled frosting:
1. Combine sugar and water and boil just until syrup spins a thread, (220 degrees on a candy thermometer.) In another bowl, beat egg whites with salt until soft peaks form. Very slowly drizzle hot syrup into beaten egg whites with electric mixer mixing at medium speed. Beat constantly until frosting stands in stiff peaks and is of spreading consistency. Add vanilla and beat well.

For the custard filling:
1. Combine egg yolks, powdered sugar and milk in top of double boiler. Cook over medium heat until mixture thickens and coats the back of spoon; stirring constantly. Cool to room temperature. Add vanilla.

2. In medium bowl, cream butter thoroughly. Slowly add cooled custard to butter mixture, beating well.

Daily Recipe - North Woods Inn Red Cabbage Salad

North Woods Inn Red Cabbage Salad
4 servings

½ head red cabbage
½ cup vegetable oil
½ cup plus 2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
¼ tsp black pepper
¾ tsp onion powder

1. Shred half of the cabbage finely and the other half coarsely. Place in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together vegetable oil, red wine vinegar, sugar, salt, seasoned salt, black pepper, and onion powder.

3. Toss the dressing with the cabbage.

4. Scrape the salad with the dressing into a zip-top bag or covered container and refrigerate at least 48 hours or until cabbage turns deep red, softens a bit, and flavors meld. It’s even better after 4 or 5 days.

Daily Recipe - North Woods Inn Buttermilk Blue Cheese Salad

North Woods Inn Buttermilk Blue Cheese Salad
Serves 4

For the Dressing:
1 up buttermilk
1 cup sour cream
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon sweet Hungarian paprika
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon sugar
⅓ cup crumbled blue cheese

shredded iceberg lettuce, 1 head

1. Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor. Blend until smooth. Chill at least 3-4 hours to let flavors meld.

2. Add dressing to shredded iceberg lettuce and serve.

Spanx Bra-llelujah: My Review

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So, does that about sum it up?

Seriously though, what a disappointment. I'd heard so much hype about this new bra. AND it even came in plus sizes. I ordered one and hoped for the best.

When I opened the package I noticed it instructed you to step into the bra. As in, throw it on the floor, step into it, and pull it up over your hips, butt, belly and boobs. Then, it is supposed to magically mold to your body.

Uh, no. No, no, no.

This thing is all one piece of fabric - no snaps, no fasteners. And its tight as hell. There was no way it was fitting over my booty. It certainly did not mold to my body shape, either. It was uncomfortable, it created back fat -- CREATED IT! The whole point of Spanx products is to eliminate stuff like that.

All in all, a big thumbs down.

For skinny girls, I would imagine it might work well. Not for my plus sized ladies though, no way.

Daily Recipe - North Woods Inn Garlic Cheese Bread

This is one of my very special, very secret recipes. When I was young my parents would take me to the North Woods Inn restaurant in California. With your meal you get a basket of garlic cheese bread, and a big family size bowl blue cheese salad and red cabbage salad. So much delicious food...it makes me want to take a nap just thinking about it.

North Woods Inn Garlic Cheese Bread

Makes many servings

1 pound grated Cheddar cheese
2 ounces grated Romano cheese
1-½ pounds butter
¾ teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon Hungarian sweet paprika
⅛ teaspoon hot sauce
2-¼ teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 loaves French or sourdough bread, sliced ½-inch thick
Additional Hungarian sweet paprika for sprinkling

1. Preheat oven broiler. Line jellyroll pans with foil.

2. Place Cheddar cheese, Romano cheese, butter, garlic powder, paprika, hot sauce, and Worcestershire sauce in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade. Pulse until smooth.

3. Spread cheese mixture on bread slices and sprinkle lightly with paprika. Place on prepared pans.

4. Broil in batches until very browned and bubbly.

Daily Recipe - Hot Chocolate Mix

A recipe straight from my mom. I had this a lot while I was growing up. So tasty!

Hot Chocolate Mix
Makes many servings

8 qt. box of dried instant milk
1 small jar coffee creamer
1 c. powdered sugar
1 small box of Quik

1. Mix all ingredients together and store in an airtight container. A large plastic ice cream container is good to store this in.

2. Fill cup about ⅓ full of mix and add hot water. Stir and serve.

Recipe from my mom!

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Cranberry Chutney and Rosemary Spread Hors d'oeuvre

by Divine Domesticity on April 13th, 2008

The super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!


Cranberry Chutney and Rosemary Spread Hors d'oeuvre
Makes several servings

Cranberry Chutney:
1 bag fresh cranberries
2 med apples diced
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cup water
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp cinnamon

1. Mix everything in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce and simmer for 20 min. You want to sort of mash the fruit with your spoon a bit so that it thickens. Refrigerate.

Rosemary Spread:
1 cup cooked shredded chicken or turkey
1 8 oz pkg cream cheese
2 Tablespoons fresh Rosemary chopped.

1. Soften Cream Cheese and mix in other ingredients. Also salt and pepper to taste.

To assemble:

1. Spread on toasted bread or crackers, dot with chutney and garnish with rosemary.

Daily Recipe - Corn Salsa Dip

Another very special, and very secret recipe. This one comes from my sister! She uses Miracle Whip. I use Mayo. I think it is a tomato/to-mah-toh thing.

Corn Salsa Dip
Makes many servings

¼ C. mayo
¼ C. sour cream
¼ C. salsa
1-2 C. shredded cheddar
1 can corn, drained
tortilla chips, for serving (Frito’s 'Scoops' also work well)

1. Mix mayo and sour cream. Add salsa, mix. Add corn and cheese. refrigerate. Its best to give it a couple of hours for the flavors to develop. Serve with tortilla chips or Frito's Scoops.

Daily Recipe - Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie

by Divine Domesticity on April 12th, 2008

The ultimate party food. Sweet apples and pears, buttery crackers, crunchy nuts and creamy cheese. The great news is it is SO SIMPLE.


So, don't tell anyone, but I nuked my brie in the microwave. I've actually made this in the oven as well, and from what I can tell, microwaving is a lot easier and faster. I nuked mine for about 45 seconds. Just keep an eye on it, and heat it in 15 second increments.

Sugar and Nut Glazed Brie
18-20 servings, depending on size of brie

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped macadamia nuts or pecans (I used walnuts)
1 tablespoon brandy
1 (14-ounce) round brie
Apple wedges, for serving
Pear wedges, for serving
2 to 3 tablespoons lemon juice
Crackers, for serving

1. In a small bowl stir together the sugar, nuts, and brandy. Cover and chill for at least 24 hours or up to 1 week.
2. Preheat oven to 500 degrees F.
3. Place the brie on an oven proof platter or pie plate. Bake for 4 or 5 minutes or until the brie is slightly softened. Spread the sugar mixture in an even layer on top of the warm brie and bake for 2 to 3 minutes longer, or until the sugar melts. Brush the fruit wedges with lemon juice and arrange them around 1 side of the brie. Place crackers around the other side.


As always, Violet was supervising.

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Steak Pizza Aioli Sandwich

by Divine Domesticity on April 11th, 2008

The super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!


Steak Pizza Aioli Sandwich
Serves 4-6

1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 lbs. beef round cut into thin strips (any good lean piece of steak)
1/2 lb mushrooms sliced (optional)
1/2 large onion chopped
2 cloves garlic
3/4 cup tomato juice
1/2 cup fresh parsley chopped
1/2 teaspoon fresh oregano
salt and fresh ground pepper
1 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
4-6 hoagie rolls

1. In a skillet heat olive oil and butter. Add and quickly brown & remove from skillet beef round cut into thin strips. Add mushrooms to skillet and brown 3-5 minutes then remove. Add to skillet onion and garlic...brown 3-5 minutes. Stir in tomato juice, parsley, oregano, salt and pepper. Simmer for 30 minutes. Add wine and Parmesan cheese and simmer for 15 minutes. Add meat and mushrooms. Simmer 1 hour covered.

2. Serve this on a hoagie that has been toasted in the oven with a little olive oil brushed on it. A little Italian seasoning on the bread is also good. You can top with grated provolone or your favorite cheese.

Daily Recipe - Bacon Almond Dip

I'm pretty sure my sister Laurie made this dip a few years back at a family get together. Man, it was so good. Here is my best guess at the amounts used.

Bacon Almond Dip

Makes 4-6 servings
View printer friendly recipe

1/2 package bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/2 cup slivered almonds
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/3 cup finely diced onions
1/2 to 1 cup mayo

1. Mix all ingredients. Let sit in fridge for a bit to enhance flavors. Serve with butter crackers.

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Seafood Enchiladas

by Divine Domesticity on  April 10th, 2008

The super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!


Seafood Enchiladas
Makes 6-8 servings

1 small onion finely chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 pound fresh crabmeat
1/4 pound shrimp - peeled, de-veined and coarsely chopped
8 ounces Monterey Jack cheese
6 (10 inch) flour tortillas (It’s worth making your own!)
1 cup half-and-half
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
Paprika

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

2. In a large skillet, sauté onions in 1 tablespoon butter until transparent. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in crabmeat and shrimp. Shred the cheese and mix half of it into the seafood. Place a large spoonful of the mixture into each tortilla. Roll the tortillas up around the mixture and arrange the rolled tortillas in a 9x13 inch baking dish.

3. In a saucepan over medium-low heat, combine half-and-half, sour cream, 1/4 cup butter, and garlic salt. Stir until the mixture is lukewarm and blended. Pour sauce over the enchiladas, and sprinkle with remaining cheese and paprika.

4. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes.

LIVE AND UNCENSORED!

Flickr now supports videos, which is a great relief as I didn't want to pay even more money to a place like dropshots to host videos when I was already paying Flickr to host pictures. SO ANYWAYS! I'm just testing their video stuff with this short video of Violet from this morning.

UPDATED! I changed the original video. I thought this new one was cuter than the first one. Plus you can hear her squawking. :)


(Feed Readers: There is a video here!)

Side note. I was wearing a sorta low cut sweater (brand new! first time wearing it!) this morning and I go to burp her, and I swear I say, "Please don't puke on me" and not two seconds later, BLECH!!! all down the inside of my shirt. Score one, little girl.

Family Cookbooks - How to Preserve Precious Family Recipes

For years I have thrown around the idea of creating a family cookbook. Sure, keeping a blog of recipes is fun, but I wanted something tangible. A cookbook filled with family recipes that I could pass down to my daughter. My final demand: I wanted color photographs.
I looked and looked, there was nothing to be found. Well, nothing within a reasonable price range anyways. Then, last year, I heard of a new website, Tastebook, that offered beautiful cookbooks that you could fill with your own recipes. I signed up for a free account. They allow you to have 100 recipes per cookbook, so I began building up my collection of recipes right away.
Pros:
  • Adding recipes is a cinch. No need to try to format the page yourself, they have everything all set up.
  • Dozens of covers to choose from. Plus you can change the color scheme for the text on the cover and spine of the book to match your cover image.
  • Customer support. AMAZING customer support. I cannot emphasize that enough. My sister and I had a snafu where she ordered a cookbook that I made, not knowing that I had already purchased one for her. Even though they had already printed her cookbook, because it had not shipped yet, they refunded her money. I was stunned that they cared so much about pleasing their customers.
  • Fast printing and shipping. I've bought 3 cookbooks so far: one for myself, and one for both my sister and mom. In all cases, the cookbooks were printed the next day and shipped ASAP.
  • If you don't already have 100 recipes to add to the cookbook, you have options: You can import recipes from Epicurious to your cookbook or you can receive a credit to add more recipes later. This means that you can have your cookbook printed and shipped to you, then later on print more pages that can be added to you cookbook. Easy!
  • The price is extremely reasonable, considering the quality of the product, the great customer service, and the ease of adding recipes and setting everything up.
  • If you are Epicurious recipe fans, you can make a cookbook filled entirely with Epicurious recipes as easily as clicking your mouse and importing their recipes. They even have many premade cookbooks available to purchase.
Cons:
  • Currently you cannot upload your own image to be used on the cover.
  • Currently you can only print 100 recipes per cookbook. For some that may be plenty, but I would have liked 3 times that many recipes. That may be completely unfeasible, but I wished that they had binders that were larger so I didn't have to order multiple cookbooks in the future.
That being said, I will happily order many more cookbooks from Tastebook as I enter in more family recipes. Just as a side note, I did not receive anything for free and this is not a sponsored review. I purchased all three cookbooks with my own money.

You would be hard pressed to find a more thoughtful gift than a cookbook filled with your favorite recipes. Want to do something sweet for Mother's Day? How about creating a cookbook with tried and true recipes from your mom, along with a few of your own recipes? Need a special gift for newlyweds? You get the idea.
A company that cares about customers. A product that satisfies. I wish we had more companies like this!

Full Disclosure: This post was NOT sponsored by Tastebook. Nor was I given a Tastebook for free. I paid for mine and the copies I ordered for family members. I am simply reviewing this product because I loved it and found it relevant to my website.

Daily Recipe - Cherry and Vanilla Layered Cake

by Divine Domesticity on April 9th, 2008

I know, okay? I know, I know, I know. Cake mixes are evil. No one should ever stoop so low as to make them. Blah-dee-dah. If I lie and say that I agree with all that, can we just move on? Good. now make this cake.

Cherry and Vanilla Layered Cake
6-8 servings

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1/3 c. oil
1/2 c. water
2 -3 eggs, depending on instructions on box of cake mix.
15 maraschino cherries, approximately
3/4 c. maraschino juice
Seeds of one vanilla bean
Frosting recipe of your choice or *dare I say it* a premade jar of frosting

1. Preheat oven to box directions. Drain the cherries reserving juice; chop cherries in half and reserve.

2. Prepare cake mix according to box directions, adding water and cherry juice to equal the amount of liquid needed for cake mix. (In my case, the amount of water called for on the box was 1 1/4 c. I substituted 3/4 c. cherry juice and 1/2 c. water instead)

3. Fold the cherries and vanilla bean seeds into the cake mix; stirring by hand. Pour mix into 2 round cake pans and bake in preheated oven.

4. When cake has completely cooled, frost; serve and keep unused portions in refrigerator.

Adapted from Allrecipes.com

Daily Recipe - Jicama Citrus Salad

by Divine Domesticity on April 8th, 2008

It was eating this salad that made me realize that I do not like grapefruit. Not one bit really. It does smack of spring time though, and would be great for those that embrace grapefruits, in all of their sour horror.

Jicama Citrus Salad
Serves 4

1 red grapefruit, peel and pith removed
1 navel orange, peel and pith removed
3 tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
4 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh cilantro, plus leaves for garnish
1/8 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
1 small jicama, (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled and cut into thin matchsticks
1 medium Granny Smith apple, cut into 3/4-inch chunks
1 Kirby cucumber, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch-thick rounds

1. Working over a large bowl, carefully carve out sections of grapefruit and orange from membranes using a paring knife, letting sections fall into bowl and reserving membranes. Transfer juices to a small non-reactive bowl; squeeze membranes into bowl. Discard membranes.

2. Add lime juice, cilantro, red pepper flakes, and salt to the small bowl with the juices; stir to combine. Add jicama, apple, and cucumber to the large bowl with the fruit. Pour juice mixture over fruit mixture. Gently toss to coat. Let salad stand for 10 minutes before serving.

Adapted from MarthaStewart.com

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Apricot Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast

by Divine Domesticity on April 8th, 2008

PhotobucketThe super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!



Apricot Cream Cheese Stuffed French Toast
4-6 servings

1 loaf Italian Bread
1/4 cup cream cheese room temperature
2 Tablespoons Apricot Jam
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp cinnamon
Butter for frying

1. Cut Bread into 1" thick slices. Cut a slit in the center of the slice all the way down to the crust to create a pocket. In a bowl mix your cream cheese and jam. It will be lumpy, that is how you want it! In a shallow dish whisk egg, milk and cinnamon together. Spread your cream cheese/ jam mixture into the pocket of the bread. Dip in the egg mixture for 5 seconds on each side. Fry in pan till golden brown on each side.

Daily Recipe - Moist Ginger Pumpkin Bread

by Divine Domesticity on  April 8th, 2008

Spicy and sweet. Moist and delicious. It is hard to beat that!


Moist Ginger Pumpkin Bread
Makes 2 - Using 8"x 4" Loaf Pans

12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted, plus room-temperature butter for pan
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled), plus more for pan
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 can (15 ounces) pumpkin purée (1 3/4 cups)
3 large eggs

Sugar glaze (optional, see below)

1. Preheat oven to 375°. Butter and flour two 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch (6-cup) loaf pans (or use Pam with Flour. I think it works best anyhow); set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, ginger, and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together sugars, pumpkin, melted butter, and eggs; add flour mixture, and stir until just combined.

2. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of loaves comes out clean, about 50 minutes. Let cool 10 minutes; invert pans and transfer loaves to a wire rack to cool completely. Glaze, if desired.

3. For the sugar glaze: In a small bowl, mix 1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar with 2 to 3 tablespoons water until mixture is smooth but thick. Place waxed paper under rack for a quick cleanup. For easy pouring, transfer glaze to a liquid-measuring cup, and drizzle over loaves. Let dry 15 minutes before serving. Makes enough for 2 loaves.

Recipe courtesy of Martha Stewart - Everyday Food

Daily Recipe - Spicy Stuffed Peppers

by Divine Domesticity on April 7th, 2008

If you want to go the vegetarian route, you could cook some boca burgers then chop them up. My RLF (real life friend) Amy tried this variation and said it turned out great. (Hey Amy! Sup Biatch?!)

Spicy Stuffed Peppers
Makes 4 Stuffed Peppers

2 cups water
1 cup uncooked white rice
4 large bell peppers, colors of your choice
1 1/2 lbs lean ground beef
1 onion, diced
garlic powder to taste
salt to taste
ground black pepper to taste
red pepper flakes, amount varies depending on how spicy you want it. I used about 1 tsp.
2 8 ounce cans tomato sauce
1/2 cup mozzarella cheese (Add more if you are a cheese hound, which I am, but my husband is not. You can add more cheese to the meat mixture as well as on top.)

1. In a medium saucepan, bring water to a boil. Add rice and stir. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

3. Cut off tops of bell peppers. Remove seeds and white parts. Place bell peppers in medium saucepan with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil and cook for 10 minutes. Remove peppers from the water and set aside in a baking dish.

4. In a large saucepan over medium heat, brown the ground beef; drain. Return to heat and mix in onion, cooked rice, garlic powder, salt, pepper and red pepper flakes. Pour in tomato sauce and mix thoroughly. Let simmer for 10 minutes. Remove from heat.

5. Spoon the meat mixture into bell peppers. Bake in preheated oven for 30 minutes or until the mixture begins to turn golden brown.

6. Sprinkle with mozzarella cheese over the top of each stuffed pepper. Return to the oven and bake until the cheese is lightly browned, about 5 to 10 minutes.

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Terriyaki Roasted Chicken

by Divine Domesticity on April 6th, 2008

The super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!


Terriyaki Roasted Chicken
4 servings
1 3 1/2 lb chicken
3/4 cups teriyaki sauce (recipe follows)

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse chicken and pat dry with paper towels. Tuck wings under back and tie legs together with kitchen string. With a pastry brush, coat chicken inside and out with teriyaki sauce. Put chicken in a roasting pan and roast for about 1 hour, basting every 15 minutes. If you want a darker colored bird, baste more frequently. Chicken is done when juices from leg, when pierced with a knife, run clear. Allow chicken to rest for 20 minutes before carving. Garnish with scallions and spoon small amount of teriyaki sauce over bird.

Terriyaki Sauce

1 cup shoyu
1 cup sugar
3" piece fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
4 cloves garlic crushed and peeled
2 tablespoons bourbon

1. Stir together shoyu and sugar in a small saucepan over low heat until sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes. Add ginger, garlic and Bourbon and simmer for about 30 minutes. Remove and discard ginger and garlic. Sauce will keep in a sealed container in refrigerator for at least a month. Makes about 1 1/2 cups.

Daily Recipe - German Apple Pancakes

by Divine Domesticity on April 6th, 2008

These probably don't look like your average pancake. Martha doesn't explain why these little crosses between french toast, apple pie and bread pudding are called German Pancakes, but one thing is clear: These are damn tasty! Sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve alongside a bowl of vanilla ice cream. Perfect for breakfast or dessert, these are incredibly comforting and delicious!





German Apple Pancakes
Makes 6-7 Pancakes

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, plus more for tin, and 2 tablespoons melted unsalted butter
5 tablespoons granulated sugar, plus more for tin
2 Granny Smith apples (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup light brown sugar
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
3/4 cup milk Confectioner's sugar, for dusting

1. Preheat oven to 450°. Butter inside each muffin cup of a 6-cup nonstick jumbo muffin tin; coat with granulated sugar.

2. Peel, core, and slice apples into 12 wedges, then cut wedges into 3 pieces. In a medium bowl, toss apples with brown sugar, lemon juice, and cinnamon.

3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add apples and saute, turning occasionally, until caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove pan from stove; let cool 5 minutes. Divide caramelized apples among prepared muffin cups. Set aside.

4. In the bowl of a food processor, combine flour, salt, 5 tablespoons granulated sugar, 2 tablespoons melted butter, eggs, and milk; process for 3 minutes.

5. Pour batter over apples. Transfer tin to oven; reduce heat to 400°. Bake until pancakes puff up, about 15 minutes.

6. Remove tin from oven; invert onto a flat work surface. Dust with confectioner's sugar; serve immediately.

Recipe courtesy of Marthastewart.com

faq *updated*

1. How can I take better food pictures?
  • Natural lighting. Don't use a flash. Not ever.
  • A steady hand. Use a small tripod if necessary.
  • Make it better. Use software like Photoshop Elements, Picasa or Pxn8 to boost saturation, lighting and contrast.
  • Practice. Take 50 photos instead of 5.
2. May I send you something to review on your blog?
  • Sure! The product needs to be relevant to the sight, though. I welcome all books with open arms. Heck, I even reviewed a children's book put out by Bush's Baked Beans because the profits went to the Humane Society and I have a soft spot in my heart for animals. You can email me with a request at: divinedomesticity{at}gmail{dot}com
3. Do you really make all the food posted on your blog?
  • Unless otherwise noted, yes, I sure do.
4. Can I post a recipe from your site on my own blog? Can I post a picture from your site on my own blog?
  • Feel free to repost recipes, but please do me right and provide a link back to me if you do.
  • Please contact me before posting ANY pictures from my site. I get very huffy when it comes to my pictures. If you write me a nice email asking permission, I almost always say yes. If I stumble across a picture used without permission, I tend to turn into a snarling, devilish creature that wants to cut you. So please, don't do it.
5. How do you find time to blog and cook so much?
  • Planning ahead!
  1. For cooking, I do menu plans each week, prepping as much as I can on the weekend or the morning of. I like making waffles and blueberry ricotta pancakes on the weekend and storing them in the freezer for quick breakfasts. It saves me a lot of time in the mornings. No dirty dishes as an added bonus! I use that time in the morning to clean up anything dirty in the kitchen and if I have extra time, prepping ingredients.
  2. For blogging, I take a chunk of free time (when the baby is napping) and I will do a weeks worth of posts all in a row, then save them and publish one or two posts each day. By doing this, I stay one to two weeks ahead of schedule. It saves me so much time in the long run. Oh, I also have a backlog of probably 100+ recipes that are from my old website that I am working on transferring, so I'm not actually making all this food each and every day. I made it a few weeks ago, or a few months ago, or even a few years ago, in some cases.
6. Where do you find your recipes?

Lots of places. A few of my favorites, besides other food blogs of course, are:
There you have it. I'll think of more later. Do you have any other questions?

Daily Recipe - Pasta with Peas, Ham and Cream

by Divine Domesticity on April 5th, 2008

Fettuccine with Peas, Ham, Cream and Parmesan
Serves 4

2 Tbsp. olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken broth
1 cup heavy cream
3 ounces cooked Parma ham, cut into 1/8" matchsticks
1 cup frozen peas, defrosted
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 pound fresh or dried fettuccine
Parmesan cheese for garnish

1. Heat olive oil in large skillet over medium-low heat. Add garlic and cook until softened, 2-3 minutes. Raise the heat to medium-high. Add chicken stock, cream, ham and peas; season with salt and pepper. Let the sauce cook until it is reduced by half, stirring frequently until it has thickened. (This took me about 12-15 minutes)

2. Salt the boiling water, add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain fettuccine, and return to pot. Add sauce to fettuccine, and toss to combine. Transfer to a serving dish, sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, and serve.

Adapted from a recipe from MarthaStewart.com

Daily Recipe - Key Lime Torte with Butter Cookies

by Divine Domesticity on April 4th, 2008

Well, it isn't a recipe. It is a store bought Key Lime Torte found in the deli/cheese section in most major grocery stores, and runs about $8-$12. Spendy, I know, but it is SO TASTY. Along side the torte are a variety of butter cookies. Add some torte onto a cookie and you've got a bite of heaven.

In other words...I Sandra Leed It!

Har. Honestly, I don't have any problems with Sandra Lee. Sure, she makes some wackadoo food every so often (maybe even more than 'every so often'). I have noticed in her new episodes that she is attempting to fancy up the food a bit. More crock pot recipes, more of a focus on fresh ingredients that may come pre-chopped and ready for use. I can't say that I have a burning desire to make many of her recipes. That being said, I think she gets judged way too harshly by a lot of folks.

Just be glad Aunt Sandy doesn't wear the kind of revealing tops that Giada does. Eeck.

Daily Recipe - Soft Cutout Sugar Cookies

by Divine Domesticity on April 3rd, 2008

Just look at these darling little cookies. Sanding sugar on top of colored icing makes these gems really sparkle.

These are a great little cookie for the holidays. Not super soft by any means, but more tender than a lot of crispy sugar cookies.


Soft Cutout Sugar Cookies
Makes 4-5 dozen, depending on cookie cutter size

2 3/4 cups ap flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, very soft
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract

1. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.

2. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter. Beat in buttermilk, egg and extracts. With the mixer on low speed or by hand, add in the flour mixture, mixing until no flour remains.

3. Divide dough into two pieces. Wrap in plastic wrap and freeze for at least 2 hours.

4. Preheat oven to 375-F degrees.

5. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time, roll out to 1/4-inch thick on a lightly floured surface and use a floured cookie cutter to make desired shapes. Transfer cookies to a parchment lined baking sheet. Re-roll remaining dough, chilling for a few minutes if it becomes too warm to handle easily. Repeat with second piece of dough.

6. Bake for 6-7 minutes at 375F, until the edges are slightly firm to the touch but cookies are not browned (The bottom of the cookies will be light brown).
Cool completely on a wire rack before icing.

Simple Colored Icing

4 cups confectioners sugar, divided
2 tbsp milk or light cream per bowl
1/2 tsp vanilla extract per bowl
white, red, green and blue food coloring

1. Place 1 cup of sugar in each of 4 small bowls. Add 2 tbsp milk or light cream, 1/2 tsp vanilla and a few drops of your desired food color to each bowl. Mix thoroughly with a fork, until smooth and a good consistency: thin for filling in large spaces and thick for making clear lines. Add extra milk if necessary.

2. Scrape each color into a small zip-lock plastic bag. Snip the corner of the bag to ice cookies.

Many thanks to Baking Bites for providing this recipe.

My Vintage Kitchen Special - Sweet Espresso Cake

by Divine Domesticity on April 2nd, 2008

The super funny girls over at My Vintage Kitchen posted a while back that they were changing URLs and they weren't taking their old recipes with them. I got their permission to post some of their recipes with a link to their new site, My Vintage Kitchen (now at blogger.com). Enjoy!


Sweet Espresso Cake
Makes 8 servings


For the cake:
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, separated
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup water
1 tablespoon instate espresso powder (instant coffee works too but it's not as fine)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

For the frosting:
1/3 cup milk ( this is what the recipe called for I added an extra 1/2 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
6 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup butter (1 stick) softened
1 tablespoon instate espresso powder

For the garnish:
1/4 cup coffee beans
pastry bag fitted with a small star tip

To make the cake:

1. Preheat oven to 375-f. Grease two 9-inch round cake pans.

2. In a small bowl combine flour, sugar, baking powder & salt. In a separate bowl beat egg yolks, vegetable oil, water, espresso powder and vanilla for 1 min with an electric mixer on medium. Add the flour mixture a little at a time until the mix is thick and smooth, about 2 minutes. Set aside.

3. In a medium bowl, beat egg whites and cram of tartar on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Fold egg whites into batter and pour into the pans. Bake cakes until they are golden and spring back when touched, about 17-20 minutes. Remove cakes from pans and cook completely on wire racks.

To make the frosting:

1. In a small bowl combine milk and vanilla; set aside.

2. In a large bowl with an electric mixer on medium, beat 3 1/2 cups confectioners sugar and butter until light and fluffy. Beat in milk mixture. Add remaining confectioners sugar a little at a time, until frosting is light and fluffy.

3. Spoon 1/3 cup frosting into a pastry bag fitted with the small star tip; set aside. Using a wooden spoon, stir espresso powder into remaining frosting.

To assemble the cake:

1. Using a serrated knife, cut the cakes in half horizontally. Place 1 cake layer on a plate; spread
with 1/2 cup frosting. Continue with remaining cake layers and frosting. Frost the top and sides.

2. Using reserved frosting in the pastry bag, pipe rosettes around top of cake. Garnish with a coffee bean.

Daily Recipe - Smoked Salmon Dip

by Divine Domesticity on April 2nd, 2008

I used the dried, flaky variety of smoked salmon, as opposed to the super soft orange stuff. I would recommend making a double batch if this is for a party. This stuff goes fast!

Smoked Salmon Dip
Makes several servings

8 oz. whipped cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sour cream
8 oz. smoked salmon (I used the flaky kind, not the super soft, bright orange kind)
Dash of lemon juice or lemon zest
4 Tbsp. fresh chopped chives

1. Mix all ingredients and store in the fridge for a few hours to let flavors develop. Let come to room temperature before serving.

If making this a day ahead, mix all ingredients except the chives -- add them right before serving instead.

Serve with your favorite buttery crackers.

Top Ten Places to Buy Plus Sized Womens Clothing Online

Seriously. It is so hard to find trendy plus sized clothing. Forget looking in stores. It never fails that they have about five size 4's, and nothing beyond the 12+ sizes. Save a little time and check out these stores online.

Remember, ALWAYS check for coupon codes before ordering. RetailMeNot.com is a good place to start. Or just Google the name of the store + coupon code.

A few items I found and loved...the numbers correspond to the list below.
Photobucket



  1. Avenue
  2. Old Navy
  3. b&lu
  4. IGIGI - Casual Dresses
  5. Missphit
  6. Belle Avenue
  7. Spanx - bras, panties, and body shapers (I just ordered one of their new bras, the Bra-llelujah. I'm excited. Also, TMI.)
  8. Lane Bryant
  9. JCPenny
  10. alight
  11. Bonus: Kiyonna