Sunday, March 29, 2015

Strawberry Shortcake

I'm going to enlighten you today.  Those round spongy things that you get at the grocery store - well, they aren't shortcakes.  I thought they were, didn't you?  Its ok.  I too, was fooled into thinking thats what you used for your shortcake.  A shortcake is actually a large sweet biscuit. After you try this recipe for actual shortcakes, I promise, you'll pass those by every time.  So lets begin.

I got this recipe out of Southern Living Magazine a really long time ago.  The page is brown and has dried whipped cream on it. Its the only way we have strawberry shortcake now.  There's no going back after these.  I promise.

Real Shortcakes

2 16 oz containers of fresh strawberries, sliced
3/4 C sugar, divded
1 Cup whipping cream
2 Tbsp sugar
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
4 tsp baking powder
3/4 C cold butter, cut up into small pieces
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 (8oz) container sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

Combine strawberries and 1/2 C sugar, mix, and set aside or refrigerate.

Combine flour, remaining 1/4 C sugar and baking powder in a large bowl.  Cut butter into flour mixture with a pastry blender.  Whisk eggs together and add to sour cream with vanilla.  Mix until blended.  Add to flour mixture and stir just until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Dough will be slightly crumbly.

Drop 1/3 cup fulls onto a lightly greased baking pan.  Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Mix whipping cream with 2 tbsp sugar until soft peaks form.

Dish up the strawberries on a split shortcake and top with whipped cream.

Don't ever look back at those perfectly round, store-bought, shortcakes.  Ever.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Sunflower cupcakes

A decade and a half ago, I was really into cake decorating.  My sister taught the Wilton method classes and my sister duty was to be a student. I even did two of my brothers in laws (is that how you say that? ) wedding cakes.  I had not idea what I was getting myself into.  After those, I put away the cake decorating tips and moved on to things like having children.

I was actually kind of excited when I was asked to make some sunflower cupcakes for a shower I was helping host.  I could dig out those tips!  And now with the world of Pinterest, I was able to get some instant know how.  So my project of the morning were these.

Thank goodness I have copying skills.  Don't ask me to create anything on my own.  But I can copy the heck out of anything.  I like to pass along the copy love.  Whoever has to make sunflower cupcakes, here you go!  If I can do it, you can do it!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring is here!

With the threat of hail, high winds, and tornadoes, we Okies all know spring is here!  Its no secret I love winter, but Spring is a season I am usually ready to welcome.  I love nothing more than strolling in my little flower bed and seeing some of my favorite plants poking their heads out to greet me after a long winter's nap.

I get sucked in by the summer color.  But the problem with the summer color is that it doesn't come back.  So last year I splurged on some perennials.  Here are a few that are coming back, showing me it was worth the extra expense.

My hydrangea bush.  I am in love with hydrangeas.  Those large globe blooms make me so happy.  I just wish I had more on this bush so I could cut them and bring them in the house the entire blooming season.

Chocolate chip.  I don't know where this got its name because it reminds me nothing of chocolate chips.  However I love the little purple blooms I'm going to see very soon.

Some sort of ground cover?  I can not remember what this is called, but I don't remember thinking it would come back, so this is a fun surprise!!!

My hosta.  This is the star of the show.  Its huge, has little maintenance, and I look forward to these little spiky things poking out of the ground every year.  I have had problems with snails and grasshoppers eating it, but last year I threw some pennies in the soil to ward them off.  It seemed to work.

I want to know whats growing in your flower beds that your excited to see this spring!

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Cookie Butter Bugles

Last weekend, when we were in Dallas, I got to visit Trader Joe's for the first time.  I've heard so many people talk about it. And our poor little state doesn't have any.  So I shot a quick text to a couple of friends on the way and asked what needed to be on my list.  And this was one of the things they mentioned.  Trader Joe's Cookie Butter.  

Oh.  My.  Goodness.

Fast forward to this morning when a quick trip to the store had me scoring a bag of these.  Bugles.  I don't know what it is about these things, but I start eating them and I can not stop.

Fast forward to this afternoon when I had an epiphany.  Bugles + cookie butter = perfection.  So I got busy. First I filled the bugles with the delicious cookie butter.

Then, I had this chocolate,  that I have been just waiting for the perfect opportunity to use.

And then I decided they needed some color so I grabbed the leftover Valentine's day sprinkles and the ice cream sprinkles.

And then once they were almost dry, and not a second longer, Neely, Karly, and I devoured them.

And there you have it.  Cookie Butter Bugles are born.  And then eaten.  And then you wish you would have made more.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Whats been happenin'!

I've neglected the ole blog.  Shame on me!  

This is what my kids do when it snows.  They play in the snow, and then they wrestle on the trampoline.  And I say, more power to you, dear offspring.  Get that energy out any way you can!

Its Spring Break Week!!!  One of the things I love about my kids getting older is that they actually sleep in, or they actually let me sleep in.  My secret is to set out everything they could possibly need for breakfast on the table the night before.  They just wake up and help themselves and I've got another good hour of sleep. Thats a JFS tip right there.  It will change your life.

Over the weekend we headed to McKinney to visit my bro and his fam.  It just happened to be McKinney Trade Days, which I loved.  I scored this cute chalkboard, and took a pitiful stab at chalkboard art. And I scraped the side before I even got it home.  I'm still displaying it - perfection is overrated.

This week will be full of a little work, a lot of play, and me getting spring cleaning fever and making everyone organize their rooms.  I love spring break!!!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Vegetable Beef Soup

I'm going to let you in on something that I hope revolutionizes your soup eating experience.  Are you ready?  Soup from scratch is not that hard.  There.  Your Welcome.

I grew up on the soup from a can.  And that soup was super good.  But that soup was also packed with sodium, among other things I can't pronounce.  So when I started taking cooking seriously, I knew I wanted to tackle soup.  Here are some things you do need.  Time, time, and more time.  Because a good soup needs to simmer and all the ingredients need to get cozy and the flavors need to meld.  But that's the beauty of it.  After you've honed your chopping skills, you can just drop it all in the pot and let it do its thing, for hours if need be.  We're going to start off with my favorite - Vegetable Beef Soup.

Start with browning your ground beef and some onion together in a big pot.  Drain off the grease - but maybe leave a little because we all know grease = flavor.

Now, add a box of beef stock.  Here's a tip.  Whole Foods has organic beef broth starting at like $2.29.  Bargain.  Then add about the same amount of water.

Now we are going to start seasoning the broth.  You can get all creative here.  Worcheshire sauce, salt, pepper, garlic powder, whatever your fancy.

Time for veggies.  I shoot for 4-5 veggies.  I always start with tomatoes.  Tomatoes in a can are so fancy these days.  Fire roasted, Italian, Mexican, Rotel, throw in whatever can you have in your pantry.    I always do the staples of celery, potatoes, and carrots.  That last veggie tends to be whatever I have in the veggie bin.  If they are soft veggies like corn, spinach, or squash, add those later.

Now for the time part. Bring to a simmer and let it simmer it's little heart out for at least an hour.

Add those soft veggies if your adding any and let it simmer for 20 more minutes.

Grab you some fresh bread, if your into that sort of thing and enjoy your soup!

Its not that hard, I promise! I'm so glad I thought to share this soup experience now that winter is over...

Monday, March 2, 2015

Family Game Morning….Afternoon….Evening.

I love me a good game night.  I have so many fond memories of being at my grandparents with popcorn, Coca Cola  in Tupperware cups and Skipbo cards.  So a few years ago, I decide I want to make this a regular thing at our house.  But I didn't take a couple of things into consideration.  1.  I married someone who really does not enjoy playing games…This makes for frustrating couple game nights, when one part of the couple is crazy competitive and wants to win and then the other part of the couple is just trying to make it though the night.  And then 2.  Little kids and games where everyone isn't a winner make for tempter tantrums, by both mom and child, and end with throwing cards and pieces, by both mom and child.  I'm sorry, I'm just not that parent that lets my kids win.  How will they get any better? Its my duty to prepare them. So I've postponed the family game night dream.

The weather had us gathered in our pi's around the fireplace all day. I decided it was time to give it one more try.  Andy has graciously learned that I need to play games.  So he obliges when requested.  I began the game by saying " Now, there are 5 of us.  4 of us are not going to win.  So chances are, that's you.  Lets just enjoy playing the game and remember you will most likely be one of the 4 losers".  Then I proceeded to teach them all Phase 10.  The thing about Phase 10 is that it takes a really long time to get through all 10 phases.  Especially when we have one player who insists on sitting on the exercise ball and can be found rolling around the living room when its her turn.  And when you have a player who likes to tease everyone by pretending to lay down her phase, only to say, ohhhhh, I don't have it, and pick all her cards back up again.  And also when one player likes to really think through his  cards and ponder, and think, and ponder, and think.    It required a few breaks, which made it a day long event, and we have yet to finish all 10 Phases. 

But I have to say, I am super pumped that no one threw the cards in anger, or was sent to their room, or was banished for life from the game.  We've turned a corner people.  It was a good weekend.