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Friday, May 27, 2011


Beignets always make me smile.

The first time I had a beignet, I was probably 4 years old. My Uncle Gary lived next door and he would make them and run them hot to our house in a paper bag. The first bite of this airy donut left an impression. I was always excited when I heard him knock on the door. A special treat that we didn't have often.

The year I turned 30, my parents, Craig, Max and I went to New Orleans to celebrate Halloween. One of our first stops was Cafe du Monde. The beignets there are a little bite of heaven. I remember Max's little face full of powdered sugar and his smile was large.

We get them at the French Quarter hotel at Disney World and occasionally I make them at home. My kids are super excited when they see the dough rising. "Remember not to breath in when you take a bite" they remind each other. See, if you breath in at the same time you take a bite of a hot beignet, you'll cough because you inhale some of the powdered sugar;)

My favorite way to eat them is hot or warm. The good news with that is if you make the full recipe, you'll have plenty to share with your friends and neighbors. But, for the first time EVER we had some leftovers so the kids took them to school the next day. They said they weren't as good as they are warm but they were still a good donut.

I couldn't find the recipe I usually use so this recipe is Paula Dean's and I only changed a couple of things. For example, I prefer to fry in Crisco shortening instead of oil because I think oil makes them a bit greasy. If you don't achieve the hole in the middle, it's ok...they are still a tasty donut.

Here's what you'll need:

1 1/2 C lukewarm water
1/2 C Sugar
1 envelope active dry yeast
2 Eggs, slightly beaten
1 1/4 t Salt
1 C Evaporated Milk
7 C Flour
1/4 C Shortening
Nonstick spray
Shortening, for deep-frying
3 C Powdered Sugar

Mix water, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl and let sit for 10 minutes.

In another bowl, beat the eggs, salt and evaporated milk together. Mix egg mixture to the yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, measure out the flour. Add 3 cups of the flour to the yeast mixture and stir to combine. Add the shortening and continue to stir while adding the remaining flour. Remove dough from the bowl, place onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth. Spray a large bowl with nonstick spray. Put dough into the bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a towel. Let rise in a warm place for at least 2 hours.

Preheat shortening in a cast iron pan. I usually have my burner at an 8.

Add the confectioners' sugar to a paper bag or bowl and set aside.

Roll the dough out to about 1/4-inch thickness and cut into 1-inch squares. Deep-fry, flipping, until they become a golden color. After beignets are fried, drain them for a few seconds on paper towels, and then toss them into powdered sugar. Hold bag closed and shake to coat evenly.

All kneaded and ready to rest for a couple of hours.
Ready to roll out!! I'm getting SO excited.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and put a little flour on top for rolling.
Roll the dough out to about 1/4 of an inch. You don't want the dough to flat or they want puff when they hit the grease. I cut them with a pizza cutter and let them sit another 5-10 minutes. I actually got about 50 beignets out of this dough.
See how they puff when you put them in the grease
Powdered and ready to go.
Light and airy, that's a perfect beignet.
They make Claire smile too!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Congratulations Kayla

One of my best memories from school was making the danceline the end of 8th grade. The chanting of my name coming down the street in the middle of the night..I can still feel the excitement.

The entire danceline in my bedroom, taking me out into the night to celebrate with them and the new recruits. Doing kicks across Lake Street and wearing my banner to school the next day. It was so much fun.

I have life long friends from my years dancing and it really shaped my high school experience.

Alanna's daughter just tried out for the danceline at the high school she'll be attending next year. They do things different now. They post it on line, so I wanted to do something to help make her day special so I made her a cake in her new school colors, Blue and Gold. The STAR is because she is the newest Starliner!!

I made my Skor Cake, dyed the cake navy blue and used my favorite frosting instead of the whipped cream one. A star shaped cookie cutter helped with the design and edible blue glitter finished it off.

Cut the cake in half with a serrated knife. Put frosting in the middle.

Top with Heath candy pieces


Congratulations Kayla! I'm so proud of you!!

Monday, May 23, 2011

Mexican Beef

I pulled two packages of stew meat out of the freezer intending on making something different. Lack of time and inspiration caused me to throw it in a crock pot and the result was tasty. We had chopped beef on tortillas and I made a Mexican lasagna (I'll be posting that recipe soon) with the rest.

Here's what you'll need:

2 packages of Stew Meat ~ I think I had a little over 2 lbs
1 pkg Onion soup mix
1 Beer or 12 oz water
1 t Cumin
1 t Chili Powder
1 t Chipotle Powder
3 cloves Garlic
2 Chipotle Peppers chopped

Put it all in the crock pot and crock on low for 10 hours. It might have been done sooner but that's when I got around to it and it was perfect. I don't think you can really over cook beef in the crock pot unless you run out of liquid anyway.

Pull it out, give it a rough chop and wrap up in tortillas. My kids actually ate these and asked for seconds..SCORE!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

Easiest thing EVER and my son's absolute favorite. Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows. Put them on a stick, dip them in some sprinkles and TA DA...special treat! I did these for Claire and Serena's Golden Birthday treat table.

For these you'll need:

Bag of Large Marshmallows
2 C Chocolate ~ This time I used White Chocolate Melts golden colored
Lollipop stick

Melt your chocolate. For me that means 1 1/2 minutes and give the chocolate a stir. Put a stick into marshmallow and dip into chocolate. I also dipped into some sprinkles but you can skip that step if you want. Put on wax paper to dry. Store in air tight container and eat within a week.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Spinach and Asparagus Frittata

I was starving and wanted a quick dinner and since my kids had left over pizza, I decided to make a frittata. The bonus...only 7 points for the entire thing. I only ate half with a side of fresh strawberries so it was easy on the calories too!

What you'll need:

6 spears Asparagus ~ snapped into pieces
Handful of Spinach
3 Eggs beaten
Salt and Pepper~I probably used 1/4 t of each
2 T Feta Cheese

Using a non stick, oven safe pan. Stir fry the asparagus in a couple of teaspoons of water for about 2 minutes. Add spinach and cook until wilted, another minute. Turn off the heat on your stove and spray with cooking spray. Pour eggs over vegetables, sprinkle with salt and pepper. DON'T stir, cook until edges set up, about 2 minutes. Sprinkle feta and pop under broiler for 2 minutes or until eggs are set in the center. Invert onto dinner plate and serve.

Just cook the asparagus in a couple teaspoons of water
Wilt the spinach like this, spray with cooking spray..don't forget to take off the heat. Pour beaten eggs on top
See how the egg is setting up on the edges
Add cheese and throw under the broiler to set the middle
Flip onto a plate and serve

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Why I hate Verizon Wireless

I have had the month from hell with Verizon Wireless and I need to get it OFF of my CHEST! So, thank you in advance for listening to my rant or thanks for stopping by and I'll see you tomorrow with a new recipe:)

Please allow me to recap. On April 8, I drop my phone in water. I immediately go to the Verizon store in Richfield, MN to purchase another one. I find out that the backup assistance that was installed on my phone was not working and I have lost the 200+ contacts I had. 100+ are clients! I purchase two Samsung phones and the accessories. One for me and one for Claire. I change my texting plan for all three of my lines to unlimited. I have to pay for that texting plan for my third line even though that phone will never text because it is the best “deal” for my situation and all phones must be on that plan. Time spent in store, approximately 75 minutes.

I present the phone to Claire and tell her she can start texting tomorrow.

The week of April 11th, my phone randomly doesn’t work. Randomly, I can’t hear ANYthing when I make a call or receive one. I bring the phone into Verizon, they confirm the problem and they give me a new phone. Time spent in store, approximately 45 minutes.

The week of April 25th I believe it was, my phone goes INSANE. If for example you pulled up the contacts, it flipped fast and continuous and if you pushed a button, it didn’t matter, it wouldn’t stop. It was doing this in every area of the phone.
Took the phone in and they replaced it with a different brand. I lost my stored calendar information. Time spent in store, approximately 75 minutes.

Week of May 9, Claire’s phone randomly started having issues. Same as my phone, make a call, couldn’t hear anything. Random texts not going through. Took the phone in, recognized the problems because they were happening in the store. She took the phone apart and it appeared to be working. When I got home, my daughter tried it…not working properly. Again, it randomly works but not always. Time spent in store 45 minutes.

This phone is our house phone that Claire uses. This phone needs to work.

I also realize that my phone charger is not working.

May 16, I receive a bill for $350+ because when I changed over my plan to texting, the woman did not enter it correctly into the computer. I was on the phone for 45 minutes with customer service trying to get it straightened out until she told me she would call me back. Another 6 phone calls to iron out the details to get it fixed. I'm guessing it was over well over an hour and I have a HEADACHE!

Also on May 16 I bring Claire’s phone back in and tell them the problem. The customer service person tries a few things and claims that the phone is working. We walk out of the store and the phone does not work. I walk back into the store and show them that it is not working. The customer service person tries several things and has to admit that the phone is broken. She’ll order another one, it will be here in 3 days. I told her that was unacceptable. That it was our house phone and you can’t even call 911 should you need to.

“Sorry, policy is after 14 days the phone has to be ordered”.

I ask to speak to the manager.

I tell the manager everything that I’ve typed out here. I further explain that this phone is not just a phone, it is my daughter’s safety line to the outside world if she is home alone. I state policies should have some leeway in cases such as this. He states there is nothing he can do. I am told that I need to come back into the store to have the phone activated when it arrives. I stormed out of the store. Time spent in store, 60 minutes.

I call customer service immediately after leaving the store to simply put on record what a crap system I think Verizon has in place and that clearly they are NOT family friendly. The customer service agent apologizes and says he needs to do some checking. I am put on hold. He comes back and tells me that since the phone is already ordered there is nothing he can do, I should have it on Wednesday. Already ordered, that was exactly 5 minutes ago! It can't be cancelled? Nope, sorry. To be fair, I think he really was. First person I've talked to at Verizon that didn't sound like a robot!

So, two-three days I have to wait because Verizon would not replace a DEFECTIVE phone that is just a month old and barely used. A phone that I brought in at just over the 14 day period and was told they “fixed”. A useless phone that I get to pay the fees for 3 days when it can’t be used!

I am so completely disgusted by Verizon and their inability to adjust policies when safety of a child is at stake. To add insult to injury, I cannot cancel my phones because I would pay $600 in early termination fees. Perhaps that is why Verizon doesn’t care, they don’t have to because they know I can’t afford to leave!

Verizon received a copy of this message...wonder if I'll hear back??

Monday, May 16, 2011

Beer Bread

My friend Karol gave me this recipe years ago and I make it often. Since it's been a tad chilly in these parts, I made it again last week to go with soup.

What you'll need:

3 C Flour
3 t Baking Powder
1 t Salt
3 T Sugar
12 oz Beer
3 T Butter ~ optional

Combine the ingredients and put into greased loaf pan. The dough isn't very sticky, you have to push into pan.

Bake at 350 for 50-60 minutes until golden brown and skewer poked in middle comes out clean. At about 30 minutes, put butter on top~I cut the 3 T into pieces and put on top.

If you have self rising flour you can use 3 Cups and NOT add the baking powder and salt.

Sunday, May 15, 2011


I still can't believe Dylan is old enough to go to his first prom. How did he get so old? How did my little guy who would wake me on Saturday mornings so he could color with his chalk on the front sidewalk become such a handsome man.

Yes, MAN...I can't pretend anymore that he is my little snuggle bunny. I had a knot in my stomach for the past two weeks while we received minor details of how the night would play out. I was sure that I would cry because I had been holding down that lump in my throat for so long. Tina and I not making eye contact with each other because we didn't want to set each other off. But as we prepared his pocket square and tightened his tie just right, all I felt was anticipation.

I was excited to see his date, to take the photos. It was a drizzly day so outside photos were out of the question so the kids re-routed to an inside location. It was hard not to grab and hold his hand as I've done on his many firsts as we walked into the Guthrie to take pre-prom photos.

The mood was festive. A bit chaotic with all the couples and parents trying to get the best shot. His date was late but that didn't ruffle Dylan's always calm demeanor. Genevieve came bubbling in and the snapping started. I kissed his cheek goodbye and told him to have a great time, he simply nodded and said thank you.

I have watched him grow without really seeing it until I reviewed the photos I took last night and that's when the tears slid from my eyes. I'm no longer able to deny the young man that is smiling back at me is growing up. And, this is just one more memory to tuck into my heart.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Strawberry Cupcakes

How did I come up with this? I had strawberries that needed to be used:)

What you'll need:

White Cake Mix
2 eggs
1/3 C Oil
Quart of Strawberries blended

Put all of the ingredients in a bowl, mix up. If it seems really thick, you could add 1/4 C of milk. Fill cupcake tin 3/4 full and bake according to directions on box. Flip out, sprinkle with powdered sugar and serve.

Put strawberries in a blender

And, give them a whirl

Top with Powdered Sugar


Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Happy Birthday Claire

I cannot believe another year has passed and Claire turned 11 today. It's her golden birthday and she couldn't be more excited. That's my Bells, always excited and almost always smiling. The little girl who used to chime when the alarm went off..."BEEP, BEEP, BEEP..time to get up".

The thing that I've realized over the past year is that I've taken for granted how easy going she is. Because of her brother's activities, she has grown up in a hockey rink and at ball fields and she has never complained, she just does her thing. We used to joke that she is the girl that lives at the rink but doesn't know what off sides is;) She took that joke to heart this year and learned all she could about hockey and sat cheering her brother on and telling him what a good game he had.

She has amazing generosity, donating her hair several times to Locks of Love, raising money for kids who have cancer by doing the Miracles For Mitch Triathlon and always wanting to do that little something extra for her friends and family, sometimes spending her own money on their birthdays or holidays.

Claire is a wonderful dancer, a great ice skater and a creative artist. She is also a good cook and a gentle care giver. She is an old soul who is even tempered and wise beyond her years. She is the best daughter a girl could ask for and I am very lucky to have her smiling face to love.

Happy Birthday Claire!!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

A Gift

I don't remember being told much about what it was to be Native American growing up. My Grandma was one of the children that was taken from her home and brought to a boarding school because that's what the government deemed most appropriate. To "civilize" the Native children. It was because of that experience she didn't talk about being Native much. She had either forgotten or chose not to tell the stories and traditions. I received a random tidbit here or there. Heard the language a bit from her older sisters who hung onto their native tongue.

I honestly don't remember how learning to bead came about. But my Grandma pulled out a loom when I was probably around 10 and showed me how to do beadwork.

I've made some headband type things over the years but nothing fancy. Nothing that I even kept in a safe place but I always kept my loom and remembered the things that she told me about beading.

I taught Dylan how to bead first. He has made some beautiful things over the years. I also showed Max and Claire but neither really showed a strong interest in doing it. So, I was completely surprised when Max presented me with this on Mother's Day.

It is a gift of tradition, a gift that I will treasure.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Turkey Breast

Summer is around the corner and it's time to break out the crock pot and keep the house cool!! Here is one of my favorite crock pot recipes and also the easiest.

Buy a turkey breast, I think mine was 5 lbs. Defrost in your refrigerator a couple of days. Put 1/2 C water in bottom of crock. Wash turkey breast and put meaty side down.

Sprinkle with 1 t of salt, pepper and garlic powder. Put a few pats of butter on the breast and crock on low for 8 hours.

It's falling apart tender. Yummy!!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

I've done some talking about my Dad and what a wonderful person he was but I haven't talked about the rock in my Mom, Carolyn.

We have always been close with the exception of the years between 14 and 16 when she said she was just trying to survive me;) But even then, she gave me the boundaries and space to grow and become the person I am today.

My Mom is amazing. It's something that I will admit I've taken for granted over the years because she is always in my corner. She is honest and will answer absolutely any question you ask. She doesn't mince words, she tells you like it is. She expects honesty because she gives honesty. Sometimes blunt, but always the truth. Make no excuses, you made your decisions, now own them. You are in control of who you give your good mood to. Those are just a few of the things that she has instilled in me.

She is an amazing cook and hostess as you know from all the recipes of hers that I've shared. You will never leave a function at her house hungry.

She is not only a wonderful Mom but a spectacular Nana. She attends all her grandchildren's big events and quite a few of the little ones. She spoils her grandchildren with love.

She is kind of an introvert but has a quick wit and you don't want to mess with someone she loves because she will be ALL over you. She is the person you want to call when you are in crisis because she is locked and loaded with how to figure it out.

One of my little crisis moments was when I was in high school and the marching uniforms for my entire danceline, 32 girls, all of sudden were out of stock and we needed them for Saturday. It was a Tuesday afternoon and she found something that would work in New York and had them shipped so we had them by Thursday afternoon. This was back in 1985 when the internet didn't exist..I'm still not sure how she managed it. That's my Mom, she's like Santa Claus, never quite sure how things happen, they just do.

I have watched her take care of my Aunt and Uncle when they were dying. She never missed a beat, she stepped up and did what needed to be done. And, when the love of her life died suddenly, she made sure all of us were ok first. Her strength amazes me.

People have told me how lucky I am to have such a wonderful role model and I couldn't agree more. So today...this post is dedicated to you Mom. I love you and I am very thankful to have you in my life. Thanks for all that you do, for the days you bite your tongue or offer a snide quip to make me smile but most of all for being a constant in my life.

Happy Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 7, 2011


Every once in awhile I get a photo that makes me really smile. I snapped this during the hustle of the spring show.

Claire and Serena were waiting to be presented with their 5 year medals.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Crockpot Mac and Cheese

Always looking an easy thing to make for the kids at family get togethers and this worked completely. Paula Dean's crockpot Mac and Cheese.

I simply copied and pasted the recipe and put my changes in BOLD.

2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni (an 8-ounce box isn't quite 2 cups)
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter, cut into pieces
2 1/2 cups (about 10 ounces) grated sharp Cheddar cheese
3 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup sour cream I used Reduced Fat
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can condensed Cheddar cheese soup
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup whole milk I used skim
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Boil the macaroni in a 2 quart saucepan in plenty of water until tender (I went al dente on this because there is nothing worse than over cooked noodles. I think my choice was a good one), about 7 minutes. Drain.

In a medium saucepan, mix butter and cheese. Stir until the cheese melts. (I did this but it was a bit messy. I think I would just stir the melted butter and shredded cheese with the pasta next time)

In a slow cooker, combine cheese/butter mixture and add the eggs, sour cream, soup, salt, milk, mustard and pepper and stir well. Then add drained macaroni and stir again. Set the slow cooker on low setting and cook for 3 hours (I think 2 would work), stirring occasionally.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Ham and Black Bean Soup

I always make a ham on Easter and I always give the bone to someone so they can make bean or split pea soup. I'm not a fan of either. This year, no one wanted the bone and I didn't want to throw it away, so I went looking around the internet and found something that sounded interesting.

The recipe called for dry black beans, I've never made beans dry from the bag so this was a whole new experience for me. What I found out...I apparently bought "old" beans because they didn't soften in the cooking time that was recommended. But, I didn't give up and just cooked it longer and it worked. I shared with friends and everyone LOVED this soup so I'll be making it again.

What you'll need:

6 quart slow cooker

16 oz dry Black Beans
6 C water ~ recipe said to cover ingredients and that's what fit in my crock
Ham bone ~ my ham was a 7 lb ham and there was still quite a bit of meat on it
1 Red Bell Pepper~chopped
1 Green Bell Pepper~chopped
1 Jalapeno Pepper~minced..I left in half the seeds for heat
1 Anaheim Pepper~minced ~ I left in all the seeds
2 Chipolte Peppers~minced I bought a can and used 2
1 Red Onion~chopped
2 cans Diced Tomatoes with Green Chilis
1 t Chili Powder
6 cloves Garlic~minced
1 t Kosher Salt
1/4 t Pepper

The night before, put the beans in a pot with 8 cups water. Remove any beans that float and any that don't look right. Allow to soak overnight. Drain

Place the ham bone in the crockpot. Add the beans and everything else on top except salt and pepper. Cover with water and cook on low for 10 hours.

Because my beans weren't soft at that point, I put the soup in the fridge and cooked again the next day for another 6 and that was the ticket. This actually turned out to be an added bonus because when I took the soup out of the fridge, I was able to skim the fat from the top easily because it had chilled.

Remove the ham bone, shred the ham that fell off the bone, nothing was left on my ham bone after that long.

I also want to explain the difference between chop and mince. Chop means a small size that you can bite, mince means small enough that you can barely detect it. When recipes call for mince, I use my mini food processor and give it a whirl.
Ham Bone
Chopped green and red
Anaheim pepper is the larger of the two
Can of Chipotle Peppers I bought
Ready to crock


Monday, May 2, 2011

Sombrero Cake

Claire wanted to decorate her own cake so I only helped with assembly. You'll need to make two cakes according to directions. One in a batter bowl from Pampered Chef and one in a large round cake pan. I actually used a deep dish pizza pan.

Turn both cakes out onto plates about 10 minutes after you take them out of the oven. Allow both cakes to cool completely.

Now, let's get the party started.

Measure around where you'll need to cut, you want a small dip so the "hat" can sit into the brim.
Hollow out the "hat" part
Put the top of the hat on the brim and decorate

She did a FABULOUS Job!!