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

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

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.


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
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

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
  • 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
  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

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.


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!

DIY Halloween Picture Frames

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

I am one of those people who loves to decorate for the different seasons and the different holidays that come around each year. I love black and white in my decor and Halloween is one of my favorite times of year to decorate. I love the cooler weather , the leaves all over the yard and pumpkins, owls and crows all over the house. I was browsing through the dollar bins at Michael's Craft Store and picked up these small frames in orange and  black. I already had the newspaper/spiderweb scrapbook paper in my stash and I bought these cute glitter stickers ( yes, stickers) to stick to the front of the frame. All you have to do is cut the scrapbook paper to fit the frame and stick on the sticker. Pop it in the frame and you have cute Halloween art to display non your table! You can also do this with any holiday theme, just use different colored frames , paper and stickers. I think I will make a few more for friends! These are easy to do in an afternoon and the kids can help you with it.
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