Pages

Homemade Cheddar Cheese Straws

Friday, December 12, 2014

Pin It
As a little girl growing up, these were a common sight at my nana's house. She made cheese straws all the time because she knew everyone loved them. She did that often. She spent hours in her kitchen, humming songs under her breath that I am sure she learned by listening to her mother and grandmother hum those same notes so many years ago. Along with lemon bundt cake and homemade chex mix, these cheese straws were on a constant rotation on her kitchen counter. I can still see the old, rectangular Tupperware container in my mind. She layered the straws in wax paper ( wrinkly and thin from the last time she made a batch. She was an avid recycler long before it was the cool thing to do ;) ) and you could see the deep orange straws through the container and we all knew what she had done all afternoon. She knew it made us all happy and she  baked these with love every time . In the later years of her life, she still made them. Only my papa would step in and help her. He would pipe them onto a cookie sheet while she watched. The visual in my mind of the two of them together, working their old, tired hands in the dough, will forever be a part of me.  When I grew up  , married and moved away, they both knew that my kids had developed a love for them as well, and they would trek to their home town an hour or so away and they would pick up  a half block of aged cheddar cheese from the country store that has supplied my family with nourishment for decades. From cheese to sausage to old fashioned candy, the store holds as many cherished memories as the food itself. I still remember climbing in their big old Cadillac , all the grandkids in the back seat, and taking a road trip to that old homestead and the old store on the way back home. So when they got word we were on our way, they would go on a cheese run. And my kids learned quickly what that old Tupperware container held and they appreciated it and looked forward to them each and every time we would venture home. I havent had any cheese straws in many months. My nana passed away  a few years ago. Needless to say, that is also when my heart shattered into a million pieces. I haven't made a batch of cheese straws since she left us. So today I woke up, got the kids ready and off to school, and made a batch of her cheese straws. I didn't have her cheese. I don't have the same container to put them in. But they are made. They are waiting on the counter for my babies to enjoy when they walk in the door. And I know when they see them, they will smile. And their bellies will be full. Not just food full, but soul full. And for that I am thankful. So here is her recipe. With a twist. I hope she is looking down today and smiling.


Cheddar Cheese Straws
2 c all purpose flour
2 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese (the sharper the better)
3/4 c unsalted butter, very cold and cubed
black pepper to taste ( I use about 1/4tsp)
whole milk

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray. Set aside.
In a large bowl, add the flour, cheese, butter  and black pepper.Using your hands, mix together, adding milk by 1 T as you work. Knead until you get a dough, using more milk as needed.
When you get a smooth dough, press a bit of dough into a cookie press fitted with the star shaped disk. Pipe the dough into straight lines on the cookie sheets.
Repeat until all of the dough is used.
Bake until lightly browned, @ 20 minutes ( depending on your oven. Keep an eye on them) Let them cool on the pans. Carefully remove off the pans and store in an airtight container.

* You can use a food processor or mixer to mix the dough if you prefer. I do it my nana's way , by hand. If you choose to use the processor or mixer, add all ingredients except the milk and slowly add the milk to form the dough.
** If you  do not have a cookie press you can roll aout the dough and cut strips with a pizza cutter or sharp knife. Or you can make small cookies. Just flatten slightly and adjust the cook time.

Maple Cinnamon Pecans

Wednesday, December 10, 2014



Pecans are one of my family's favorite foods. I like to have them on hands for snacks, salads and baked goods. During the holidays I like to make these sweet pecans for munching and to use as gifts. I love how they are very simple to make, using ingredients that are always in the pantry!

Maple Cinnamon Pecans

 1 egg white
2 T real maple syrup
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 lb pecan halves
parchment paper

1.Preheat oven to 300* . Whisk egg white until frothy in a large bowl. Whisk in maple syrup, brown sugar and ground cinnamon. Add pecans, stirring to coat all of the pecans.

2.Place pecans in a single layer on  a parchment  lined jelly roll pan. Bake at 300* for 20-25 minutes, or until pecans are toasted and a crunchy crust forms on them. Stir halfway through the cooking time.Cool in the pan on a wire rack. Store in an airtight container when completely cooled.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

Sunday, November 23, 2014






About a year ago I purchased two doughnut pans. My kids love doughnuts. So on lazy weekend mornings I make up a few batches of doughnuts to feed the kids for a late breakfast/brunch. They usually snack on them until lunch. I have made quite a few different kinds of doughnuts these past few months, but they all ask for the cinnamon sugar ones. The batter is so easy to make and once they are in the doughnut pan and baking it goes fast. If all 3 boys and my husband are home I double the recipe. 2 dozen doughnuts seems like a lot, but with teenagers , they go fast.

Baked Cinnamon Sugar Doughnuts

Ingredients

    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
    • 1/4 teaspoon mace
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1 1/2 cups sugar
    • 1 large eggs, beaten
    • 1 1/4 cups milk
    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
    • 2 teaspoons vanilla
    • TOPPING
    • 3/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
    • 1/4 cup butter, melted

Directions

  1. Mix all 7 dry ingredients in a medium size bowl.
  2. In a smaller bowl, beat egg. Mix egg with milk and melted butter. Add vanilla.
  3. Stir milk mixture into dry ingredients until just combined being careful NOT to overmix. Pour into greased donut baking tin, filling approximately 3/4 full.
  4. In a shallow bowl, mix cinnamon into brown sugar . Set aside . I another shallow bowl, melt 1/4 c butter.
  5. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15-18 minutes.
  6. Let the doughnuts cool for a few minutes. While still warm, dip each doughnut into the melted butter, then into the cinnamon sigar mixture. Serve while warm. 

Happy Eating,

Liz

Pin It

Cream Cheese Stuffed Strawberries

Thursday, November 20, 2014




These strawberries are the best dessert that I have made in a long time.I have made them a few times before and when I find wonderful, big , juicy berries I make this recipe.Great for parties and wedding and baby showers.The taste and the presentation will really wow your guests. I put them on a black plate and they were so pretty!


SERVES 24
24 large strawberries, hulls removed
12 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar


Place cream cheese in a bowl, and microwave for 30 seconds, so that it's soft.
Whip together the cream cheese, vanilla, and sugar.
In the center of each strawberry, using a sharp knife, make a hole in each one, as deep as you can without going out the bottom.
Spoon or pipe the filling into each hole.
Lay strawberries in a pretty serving dish.
Chill, and serve.
Makes 24 servings.

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix

Tuesday, November 18, 2014



This is the first time I have made this chex mix ( I printed it last fall from the Pillsbury site) . I never got around to making it but decided to make it today to usher in the freezing cold weather   as a treat for the family. And I have to say, it rocks! The house smelled amazing while it was in the oven and it was so easy to put together. I did not add the pecans this time. I didn't have any , so I left them out. My husband mentioned the omission, so next time there will be pecans. I think next time I will also double the recipe. My kids inhaled it when they got home from school.

Pumpkin Pie Chex Mix

adapted from Pillsbury

Ingredients:
1/2 cup butter
3 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon plus  pumpkin pie spice
2 cups cinnamon Chex cereal
2 cups wheat  Chex cereal
2 cups Honey Nut cheerios
1 cup pecan halves

Directions:

1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Place parchment paper on a cookie sheet and set aside. In small bowl, mix brown sugar and pumpkin pie spice; set aside. In small microwave-safe dish, microwave butter on High about 30 seconds or until melted. Stir in vanilla. In large  bowl, mix all cereals and pecans. Pour butter mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until evenly distributed. Add sugar and spice mixture and stir until coated.

2. Place the mixture on  the parchment lined cookie sheet and spread evenly . Bake at 250 for  about an hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so. Let it cool and store in an airtight container.

Pin It

Favorite Things 2014

Monday, November 17, 2014



For the past few years I have participated in the link up Favorite Things post that Melissa over at 320 Sycamore does every year. Well, folks, this year she has asked me to participate in the 2014 edition and I am giddy with excitement! It really is one of my favorite posts to publish every year. I am in fine company with the blogs participating this year. Make sure you check out every one of the them. You won't regret it. So without further adieu, here are My Favorite Things : 2014 Edition


You guys know I have to have a cookbook on my list! Reading cookbooks are my guilty pleasure and Skinnytaste by Gina Homolka is one of my favorites from 2014. Gina has an awesome food blog aptly named, you guessed it, Skinnytaste  . If you are looking for great healthy recipes , full of flavor and variety , this book is for you!


If you are a reader of my blog and follow my Instagram feed you might already know that I have a slight obsession with pillows. I change them out for holidays, seasons, themes. I really think I need an intervention ! One of my favorite shops to purchase my pillows is Simply Marilee .  I have purchased bunny pillows for Easter and the bat ones I recently used this Halloween. I have never been disappointed . The quality is superb .My next purchase is going to be a pair of these chalkboard pillows. Swooning!

I have been using Philosophy products for years and I have never found one that I do not love, While my go to  fragrance is Amazing Grace, I have been using the Fresh Cream line for a few months now and I love it! Especially for the holiday season. It is sweet with hints of vanilla and whipped cream and caramel. I layer with the lotion and the eau du toilette and it lasts all day. 



Candles are always burning in our house. Always. So much so that it is a ritual to walk in every room before we leave the house to make sure that all of the candles are snuffed.I love walking in and smelling  yumminess in the house. And it also masks the fact that I live in a house with my husband and three sons :) My favorite candle ( and is perfect for the holiday season) is Nana's Pecan Pie from a great site Steph's Stuph. It smells like pecans. And chocolate. And cinnamon. It smells divine! She carries  a line of candles, as well as linen sprays. You have to head over to her site and check out her line of candles based on bourbons from around the United States. Perfect gifts for the hard to buy for men on your list. The owner, Steph, is an aromatherapist, reflexologist, and Hot Sacred Stone and Reiki practitioner based in Brooklyn, NY . She also happens to be my sister . 





I do not watch much television, but one show is on my list on Thursdays on HGTV. I love to decorate our home and I get so many great ideas from Chip and Joanna Gaines from Fixer Upper. Based in Waco, TX ( and wishing they were based in Northern Virginia) these two take fixer uppers and transform them into beautiful homes, inside and out.  I am always in awe at how they make the homes modern and livable. And Joanna's design aesthetic is spot on. And the fact that they work together , raise a family and are still happily married! Yes!



These are one of my favorite pieces of jewelry. Handmade from pieces of repurposed dinner plates! These are vintage watches made into bracelets. After Dinner Designs is my passion and every single piece is handcrafted into wearable pieces of art. * And if you use code GIVETHANKS14 at checkout you can get free shipping!


I am one of those people who are visual. I write everything down. I have notebooks and cute notepads all over the house to jot down things as I go about my day. I  get so much use out of this prayer journal from Val Marie Paper . I have the undated one and I write down  people I want to pray for, things on my mind, things  I want to remember to be thankful for. It is compact enough to fit in my purse when I am out and about , which I love. 




I spend most of my time in my studio while the kids are in school and it gets messy . I usually have my hair in a ponytail , no makeup and jeans and  flannel shirts on when I am working. I am one of those girls that always wears earrings. Usually just posts for everyday wear. These bamboo chevron earrings from Maple & Mauve are my go to. The perfect size and they go with most any outfit I put on.  They also have a pair of concrete pearl earrings I have my eye on. Maybe I will treat myself to an early Christmas present :)


I visit this website and their instagram feed daily. She Reads Truth is a daily dose of , well, truth. I look forward to the daily readings . There is even an app for your iphone or android! 



 

Did you guys know that Monica Potter ( aka Kristina Braverman from Parenthood) has a Lifestyle Website? She does! And I think it is great! It is called Mrs.Potter . Videos, recipes, DIY, beauty tips, crafting,cooking,gardening. And they have hand crafted goods for sale.Yes, please.

So there you go. My Favorite Things 2014. I hope that you enjoyed the list and you visit some of the highlighted talent. Until next year...



The next stop is Carmel  @Our Fifth House . Head on over and enjoy her Favorite Things 2014


Liz

After Dinner Designs : Vintage Plate Jewelry

Sunday, November 16, 2014

If you are a new reader of The Fresh Plate , welcome! I am so happy to have you here. In addition to blogging , I am an artisan. I create jewelry and accessories from vintage dinner plates. I keep busy doing custom work and thought that I would share some of my work with you. 




For the men I have these cuff links! Pieces cut and fit into silver bezels. 

New cuffs with crosses and small round pieces of dinner plate set in the center.


                                                          Nine link round bracelet




                                              Currier & Ives Winter Scene Round Necklace




Silver Adjustable Rings


                                                   Large Filigree Oval Necklaces




                                        Custom set made from Swiss Alpine plates

You can find some of my pieces at my After Dinner Designs store on Etsy. If you are interested in a custom piece or one of these pieces, feel free to email me at afterdinnerdesigns@gmail.com

Liz

Spicy Honey Chicken Thighs

Friday, November 14, 2014


This is a go- to recipe for those really busy weeknights.Super simple to put together and the end result is a super tasty chicken dish. I use local honey from a local apiary and it is soooo good. I read somewhere that when cooking with honey, try using local honey produced by bees indigenous to your region. The honey tasted wonderful, but I am not sure if it was because of the local bees or if it was all in my head. Who knows. But I will add this meal to my weeknight rotation. And if I do have leftovers, they are great the next day as pulled chicken sandwiches . * And as always, I double the recipe to feed my family of 5.


Spicy Honey-Brushed Chicken Thighs
From Cooking Light
Serves 4

  • 2  teaspoons  garlic powder
  • 2  teaspoons  chili powder
  • 1  teaspoon  salt
  • 1  teaspoon  ground cumin
  • 1  teaspoon  paprika
  • 1/2  teaspoon  ground red pepper
  • 8  skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • Cooking spray
  • 6  tablespoons  honey
  • 2  teaspoons  cider vinegar
1. Preheat broiler. Combine first 6 spice ingredients in a large bowl. Add chicken to bowl; toss to coat. Place chicken on a broiler pan coated with cooking spray. Broil chicken 5 minutes on each side.
2. Combine honey and vinegar in a small bowl, stirring well. Remove chicken from oven; brush 1/4 cup honey mixture on chicken. Broil 1 minute. Remove chicken from oven and turn over. Brush other side with remaining honey mixture. Broil 1 additional minute or until chicken is done.

Thanksgiving / Fall Home Tour

Sunday, November 9, 2014

















Liz

Easy Baked Rice


I have to admit I feel a bit silly posting a recipe for rice. Cooking rice is a very basic thing, and most everyone can do it, This recipe, however, is the only way I cook rice. And it is baked. And it is super easy to do. You basically start it on the stovetop and as it comes to a boil, you lid the pan and put it in the oven to bake. I swear, y'all. it is perfect rice every time. And you can add veggies ( I have added chopped broccoli, cranberries and fresh herbs with success) and you can get creative with the spices. I use cumin and chili powder for a rice to serve along side tacos or enchiladas.

I figure you guys are looking for quick sides too, and with the holidays approaching, this would be perfect for Thanksgiving and Christmas menus. I highly recommend this side dish, on any occasion.

Easy Baked Rice

Ingredients
1 T butter (or olive oil)
1/2 c chopped onion
1 c long grain rice
2 c chicken stock (or vegetable stock)
salt and pepper , to taste

Directions
1,Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2.In a medium stove top to oven pot, melt the butter over medium heat.
3. Add the onion to the butter and cook 3 minutes.Add the rice and stir to coat.
4.Add the chicken stock and salt and pepper to taste.
5. Bring to a boil.
6.Cover and place the pot in the oven.
7. Bake 20-25 minutes, until all of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is tender.
8. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

Liz

Sweet Potato Casserole



These sweet potatoes are made in our house every Thanksgiving. A warning though: they are very rich. But with the richness comes the yumminess. This is the only sweet potato dish my children will touch without coersion and promises of ice cream after dinner . More like dessert if you ask me. But man are they good!

Sweet Potatoes

3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup butter
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup milk

Topping
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup broken pecans
1/3 cup flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup melted butter
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Beat all sweet potato ingredients together and pour into greased 81/2"x11" baking pan.
In a small bowl mix the topping ingredients together,stirring well.
Crumble the mixture over top of sweet potatoes.
Bake in oven for 35-45 minutes until sweet potatoes are set and topping looks crunchy.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff

Monday, November 3, 2014


This is one  of those go-to recipes I use when I really do not want to cook,but  I know that I will be  even more inclined not to cook as the day goes on.Every now and then I am a total sucker for convenience foods.In fact, I always make sure I have packets of italian salad dressing mix and a can or two of Healthy Choice reduced fat cream of chicken soup on hand so I can make this meal on days like today.  I first had this chicken stroganoff nine  years ago when our youngest child was born. A friend from our church brought us over   chicken stroganoff ,and my  husband and older sons loved it. So it became a favorite meal very quickly. I love that it is so versatile.You can add mushrooms,onions,  or even broccoli florets.You could also use sour cream instead of the cream cheese.Or use  both to make it super rich.It can easily be doubled for a larger family. I use reduced  fat  cream of chicken soup  and cream cheese. Who doesn't love a tasty, kid friendly meal that cooks in the crock pot all day?



Slow Cooker Chicken Stroganoff


Ingredients

4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves - cubed

 2 T butter

1 (.7 ounce) package dry Italian-style salad dressing mix

1 (8 ounce) package  reduced fat cream cheese (or you can use sour cream)

1 (10.75 ounce) can reduced fat condensed cream of chicken soup


Directions


Put chicken, butter and dressing mix in slow cooker; mix together and cook on low for 5 to 6 hours.

In a bowl, whisk together the cream cheese and soup. Pour over the chicken and cook on high for another 1/2 hour or until heated through and warm.


Serve  with rice ,egg noodles or  pasta of your choice.


Jalapeno Cream Cheese Pinwheels

Thursday, October 30, 2014



This is an appetizer that I made last  weekend to share with friends. So easy to make with three ingredients. These little pinwheels are great for cookouts and football games as well. (translation: good with beer) I doubled  the recipe yesterday and by the time we were ready to head out the door, there were only about 20 left. My kids and hubby ate most of them before I could get them out the door. They are that good! I used reduced fat cream cheese and reduced fat crescent rolls and they turned out awesome. I will definitely be making these again.

Jalapeno Cream Cheese Pinwheels


Ingredients
1 8oz block cream cheese, softened
1 3 oz can sliced jalapenos, chopped small (or more for hotter pinwheels)
2 cans reduced fat crescent roll dough

Directions
Preheat oven to 375
Prepare a lightly greased cookie sheet
Mix the softened cream cheese and  jalapenos  together in a bowl until blended.
Separate 2 cans of dough into 4 long rectangles and firmly press perforations together to seal.
Spread the cheese mixture evenly over the four rectangles.Starting at the short side, roll up each rectangle then pinch edges to seal. Cut each roll into 8 slices. Place cut side down on the baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 mins or until lightly golden brown. Immediately remove from baking sheet. Cool 3-4 mins. Serve warm.

Chicken Pot Pie Pasta

Wednesday, October 29, 2014




This past week was a very hectic one. I made a menu plan, but did not make all of the dishes that I had planned. Either I was too lazy, my kids had a special request , or we just wanted something easy.  This dinner was created out of laziness. I really did not want to slave in the kitchen . I had done laundry all day and had no desire to try something adventurous. I had a refrigerator of this and that  left over from the past few days and I decided on a chicken pot pie. But then I realized I would have to make , from scratch, the pie crust. NOT. So I came up with the idea of making the filling and serving it over pasta. Hello... where have I been that I did not think of this sooner? My kids and husband inhaled it. Smooth, creamy chicken and vegetable filling over warm pasta. I think I will probably be making this dish more than the actual pie. And  you can add and subtract different vegetables you have on hand. I had leftover green beans, and no frozen corn, so I changed it up. And I added half of a sliced red pepper that needed to be eaten, as well as a handful of broccoli florets. Be creative.

CHICKEN POT PIE PASTA

1 box pasta of choice( I chose farfelle)
1 T butter
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup diced onions
2/3 cup diced carrots
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 c chicken broth
2/3 c frozen peas
2/3 cup frozen corn ( i subbed green beans, broccoli and red pepper)
2/3 cup milk
1/2 cup flour
2 cups cooked chicken, cubed

1.In a large pan, boil the pasta until al dente. Drain . Set aside and keep warm.
2.In a medium saucepan, combine butter,garlic,onion,carrots, salt ,pepper and chicken broth. Bring to a boil and simmer until carrots are tender.
3.When carrots are tender, add peas and corn and simmer about 5 more minutes. In a measuring cup or small bow, whisk together the milk and the flour.
4.Add the milk mixture to the vegetable mixture and bring to a boil, stirring constantly.Boil until thickened, about a minute or so.Add the chicken and stir. Reduce heat to medium and let the chicken warm, about 1-2 minutes.
5. Place pasta on a serving platter and top with chicken mixture. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Old Fashioned Candied Apples

Monday, October 13, 2014


One of the best things about the holiday season ( I think of the holiday season from October  to New Year's)  is making goodies for my family and friends. We live so near the apple orchards of Northern Virginia and I knew that this year I would be going to visit the orchards to get apples to make so many yummy treats. On my short list are candied apples. Our family loves these things They are so easy to make. All you need to make it work is a candy thermometer. You just add ingredients to a saucepan, bring to a boil, wait for hard crack stage ( which is where the thermometer comes in handy) and start dipping. They turn out wonderful every time! One thing I do want to mention. If you do make these apples, use a sweet/tart variety like granny smith, braeburn, fuji or gala. Red Delicious and other soft apples will get mushy. Choose ones that are firm and ripe. You will want to run them under hot water and gently scrub the layer of wax off if you buy the apples from a grocery store. The wax will make the candy coating slide off. If you use local apples from an orchard ( buy local!!!) you will not have to scrub them. Just make sure they are dry.

Old Fashioned Candied Apples
Ingredients
3c sugar
1 c water
1/2 c light corn syrup
1/4 c cinnamon red hot candies
1/4 tsp red food coloring
8 wooden sticks
8 small apples

Directions
1.In a heavy bottomed saucepan combine the sugar, corn syrup, candies, food coloring, and one cup of water.
2.Place over medium heat and bring to a boil without stirring.
3.Set a candy thermometer in the side of the pot , and continue cooking, without stirring, until the temperature reaches 290F (18-20 min)
4. Meanwhile, grease a cookie sheet. Remove the stems from the apples and insert a wooden stick into each apple.
5.When candy is ready, remove pan from heat and remove thermometer. Swirl each apple into the candy syrup  until it is coated and hold the apple over the pot to allow any drips to fall back into the saucepan.
6.Place apples on the cookie sheet to cool.
* Work fast. The syrup begins to harden fast. If the syrup hardens, place the saucepan on low heat to loosen it up.
7.Let cool completely. wrap tight.

Balsamic Beef Stew

Saturday, October 11, 2014



One of the things that I love most about blogging is meeting so many wonderful bloggers and reaading their fabulous recipes. Over the years I have read hundreds of blogs and there are a few that I come back to time and time again. One of those blogs that I adore is Baked Bree . She has the most amazing recipes. I have never made a recipe from her blog that has not been wonderful. I was going through my very neglected Google Reader and I found this recipe for balsamic beef stew and knew I had to make it. My family loves beef stew and I knew that they would love this. I was right and it do not disappoint. The beef was tender and the gravy was just the right consistency with a hint of sweetness from the balsamic. If you can, use the highest quality ingredients. The earthiness of the fresh rosemary and fresh thyme and the boldness of the wine was wonderful.  The addition of the balsamic was great. I used balsamic from my favorite vendor in Pittsburgh, Olio Fresca and the flavors put the stew over the top good. The original recipe called for 3T of balsamic vinegar , but I used a scant 2T and it was enough. I chose Olio Fresca's Traditional Style Balsamic and it was ah-mazing. PS - the peach balsamic is my absolute favorite. So good on salads!

Balsamic Beef Stew
adapted from Baked Bree
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. beef chuck, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 3 Tablespoons flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 red onion, diced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 sprig fresh rosemary
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • 2 Tablespoons cornstarch
  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Instructions
  1. Place beef in a large plastic zipper bag. Add flour, salt, and pepper. Shake until beef is coated with flour.
  2. Heat a Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add oil. Add beef and cook until browned on all sides. Transfer to a plate.
  3. Add the onions to the pot, adding more oil if needed. Cook for 5 minutes, or until soft. Add bay leaves, rosemary, and thyme. Add the beef back to pot. Add red wine and beef broth. Bring to a simmer and reduce heat to low.
  4. Cover and cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until beef is fork tender. Add the carrots and cook for another 30 minutes more.
  5. In a small bowl, mix together cornstarch and water. Add to stew and bring to a bubble. Add balsamic vinegar. Serve hot on rice, potatoes or noodles.

DIY Striped Halloween Candelabra

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

I have had such a positive reaction to my Halloween home tour this year. Thank you to everyone who has stopped by and left a comment , pinned the pictures or shared on Facebook. I really appreciate it. One of the do it yourself projects that I did this year were the black and white striped candles that I used in my hanging candelabra. I have been looking for striped candles for months to no avail. actually, I did find some similar to what I was looking for, but the price tag of $12 each made me figure out how to make my own. I came up with the idea of using black  electrical tape , and wrapping them around plain white candles to get the striped effect I wanted. I think they turned out beautifully! And they are so simple to do! You can use any color candle and tape you choose.

You will need:
Candles in your choice of size and color
Electrical Tape
Scissors

All you do is cut the tape and wrap it around the candles!  How easy is that! You can make the stripes as thin or as wide as you like. And the tape comes right off if you mess up and need to realign it on the candle.







Liz

Halloween Home Tour

Sunday, October 5, 2014


 Welcome to our Halloween Home Tour 2014 !

I love to decorate our home for holidays. The month of October brings a Halloween theme into our rooms . Lots of black and white.  This year I decided to use black bats as a recurring theme. You can see them in the burlap banner , the walls and on the burlap pillows.   I hope you enjoy the tour!