Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {{linky}}


Look what I got!

Food on the Table

And look what my Daughter did!

My daughter finally mastered her "back-hip-circle"!! Its taken her a while for it to actually "click" with her...but she got it!!

~Please follow Cookin' for my Captain via GFC!
~Leave a comment if you're a new follower, so I can return the follow!
~Grab the WW button if you want to...
...and add your "Wordless Wednesdays" up below!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Do you wear Eyeglasses?

As I get older (I'm almost 30--EEEEK!) I've noticed that not only does my metabolism decrease, but my eyes are slowly getting worse. So, now I need to wear glasses to work on the computer (and I'm on it a lot!).

This is me and my glasses:
Aren't I just soooo cute? Ha! Something else about me: I'm a penny-pincher. I never buy things at full price, especially when I know it will eventually go on sale. So I'm constantly looking for steals and deals. It took me 3 months to find eyeglasses that I wanted that were actually affordable on my military budget.

I was contacted by GlassesUSA.com to tell about the deals and what  this company is about and I was very happy to share, especially since I wear glasses myself and always looking for deals.

They have great quality discount eyeglasses that is incredibly easy to pick out. Not sure which ones are for you? They have a tips guide to help you choose which frames are best to suit you! Amazing!

You might ask, "How on earth can you buy glasses online?" I sure did! But Glasses USA offers guarantees that stores you would walk-in don't.

Besides our high quality frames and lenses, Glasses USA offers a 110% lowest price guarantee and a 100% satisfaction guarantee along with a generous refer-a-friend program. Additionally, you can stay up-to-date on all GlassesUSA happenings through our Facebook page (http://www.facebook.com/glassesusa) and our Twitter feed (@GlassesUSA).

Right now, take advantage of their SPECIAL OFFER!
Take 20% off your entire order of $80 or more and get FREE US shipping with the code: FS20
Take 10% off any order of prescription glasses. Code: Blog10

So after going online and following the tips and guidelines, these are a pair I picked out.
Cute, right? They have so many to choose from, you'd be amazed! Don't miss out on these special offers, you can't go wrong with Glasses USA!

I'm curious to hear from you, please take the poll below!

If there is a link listed on this site which takes you to another site where you can purchase something, chances are it is an affiliate link, and I am making money off of it. The FCC requires that all websites with affiliate connections inform their viewers about this.  I want to let you know that I only recommend a great product, and chances are I use this product on my site.  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me at cmclain0517@gmail.com.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Basic Biscuits

Audax Artifex was our January 2012 Daring Bakers’ host. Aud worked tirelessly to master light and fluffy scones (a/k/a biscuits) to help us create delicious and perfect batches in our own kitchens!


The images are mine, but the recipe is from the Daring Kitchen Challenge
Click HERE to see entire recipe/instructions for more variations and/or more detailed directions

1 cup plain all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons fresh baking powder
¼ teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons frozen grated butter [I froze a batch and it was hard to combine with flour. I tried a batch of just cold butter and it worked better, for me anyway.]
Approximately ½ cup cold milk 
Optional 1 tablespoon milk, for glazing the tops of the scones

1. Preheat oven to very hot 475°F. 

2. Triple sift the dry ingredients into a large bowl. (If your room temperature is very hot refrigerate the sifted ingredients until cold.) 

3. Rub the frozen grated butter into the dry ingredients until it resembles very coarse bread crumbs with some pea-sized pieces if you want flaky scones or until it resembles coarse beach sand if you want tender scones. 

4. Add nearly all of the liquid at once into the rubbed-in flour/fat mixture and mix until it just forms a sticky dough (add the remaining liquid if needed). The wetter the dough the lighter the scones (biscuits) will be!

5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board, lightly flour the top of the dough. To achieve an even homogeneous crumb to your scones knead very gently about 4 or 5 times (do not press too firmly) the dough until it is smooth. To achieve a layered effect in your scones knead very gently once (do not press too firmly) then fold and turn the kneaded dough about 3 or 4 times until the dough has formed a smooth texture. (Use a floured plastic scraper to help you knead and/or fold and turn the dough if you wish.) 

6. Pat or roll out the dough into a 6 inch by 4 inch rectangle by about ¾ inch thick. Using a well-floured 2-inch (5 cm) scone cutter (biscuit cutter), stamp out without twisting six 2-inch rounds, gently reform the scraps into another ¾ inch layer and cut two more scones (these two scones will not raise as well as the others since the extra handling will slightly toughen the dough).  Or use a well-floured sharp knife to form squares or wedges as you desire.

7. Place the rounds just touching on a baking dish if you wish to have soft-sided scones or place the rounds spaced widely apart on the baking dish if you wish to have crisp-sided scones. Glaze the tops with milk if you want a golden color on your scones or lightly flour if you want a more traditional look to your scones.

8. Bake in the preheated very hot oven for about 10 minutes  (check at 8 minutes since home ovens at these high temperatures are very unreliable) until the scones are well risen and are lightly colored on the tops [mine took more of 12 minutes until started browning]. The scones are ready when the sides are set. 

9. Immediately place onto cooling rack to stop the cooking process, serve while still warm. 

Thursday, January 26, 2012

The Ultimate Mashed Potatoes

So a few years ago, one of my amazing friends, Catherine, invited us for a Thanksgiving dinner. So, of course we went and had a ton of food and turkey and the whole sha-bang. With the whole sha-bang, were these incredible mashed potatoes. I mean INCREDIBLE. I just HAD to know how to make them. So she told me. And I've been making my mashed potatoes this way ever since.

This isn't exactly "low fat" or "low carb" either...but using "low fat" cream cheese instead helps...just a smiggen.


6-8 red potatoes, diced
1 block cream cheese (8oz)
2 tablespoons Milk (maybe more/less)
1-1/2 tsp kosher salt

  • Boil diced potatoes, skin on, in water until tender. Drain.
  • Place potatoes and cream cheese in stand mixer (doing this by hand is extremely difficult, be warned, you might hurt in places you didn't dream about having after you do!) and beat on medium until mixed together.
  • Carefully add milk (this is where it would be more/less. If its too thick, add more milk!) and add the salt.
  • Make sure you taste them and add more salt if needed. NO PEPPER!
  • Beat the potatoes in the stand mixer for a good 3 minutes. You want them whipped pretty good!
  • Serve warm (of course!) and enjoy!

This is a great recipe to freeze as well. I usually make OVER the amount I need and freeze in little batches. I use the little batches when my hubby is out of town and I need a quicker dinner--just pop in microwave and heat for a few minutes, stirring in between.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Cheddar Bay Biscuits

Oh yes. The infamous Red Lobster Biscuits! We don't eat out much, but while visiting my parents, we decided to go out to Reb Lobster after church--its my kids' favorite place...but because of the "live" lobsters, not the food. I GO for the FOOD, particularly the "Cheddar Bay Biscuits." I found this version and had to try.


1 package of Bisquick buttermilk Biscuit Mix (about 1-3/4 cups)
1/2 cup milk
1-1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
4 Tbls butter
1-1/2 tsp oregano
3/4 tsp garlic salt

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Mix the biscuit mix with the milk and cheese until blended.
  • Lightly grease a baking sheet and drop spoonfulls of mix 2 inches apart. Bake for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, melt butter and combine with garlic salt and oregano.
  • After the 10 min of baking, lightly brush the butter mix over the tops, then bake for another 5 minutes.
  • Lower heat to 350 degrees F. Brush the tops again with butter mix and bake another 5-6 minutes or until tops are golden brown. Serve warm.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hang Tight!

Hey guys! Hang in tight, so don't give up. I got a new computer and I'm in the process of transferring pictures and files and might take a few days. Did I mention going from using a desktop for decades to a lap top? Wow. Talk about different. See ya'll soon!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Wordless Wednesday [with LINKY]

The ONE day of snow we had this winter...had to "frame" it! =D


You are going to start seeing a few changes happening here! 

First, check out the new look on my Facebook page! Kinda cool, huh? (I think so!)

Second, by now everyone knows that google's GFC is retiring in March this year. So on that note, make sure you add me to one of your circles in Google+ or subscribe to my blog via RSS feed, or at the very least, "like" me on Facebook!

If you add me in a circle on google+, I will add you back!

And third, I'll be giving my blog a fully up-to-dated little lift and some amazing recipes are coming soon! I'm partnering up with Carli at Grandma's Guide to Life

So keep an eye out for those upcoming events!

Monday, January 16, 2012

PW's Twice-Baked Potato

This is one of my favorite recipes from Pioneer Woman. I saw one of her episodes on TV and this was one of them she cooked on it, and it "reminded" me. Love it when that happens. =)

Pioneer Woman's
This image is my own!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Daring Kitchen Challenge: Tamales

Maranda of Jolts & Jollies was our January 2012 Daring Cooks hostess with the mostess! Maranda challenged us to make traditional Mexican Tamales as our first challenge of the year! 
Vegan Black Bean and Green Chile Tamales

Servings: About 12 tamales

Ingredients1 – 8 ounce (225 grams) bag dried corn husks
For the filling:
1 – 15.5 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – 14 ounce can diced tomato with green chiles, drained
1 – 10 ounce can diced green chiles, drained
1 teaspoon garlic salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin
For the masa dough:
4 cups masa harina (corn tortilla mix), I used instant masa mix
2 ½-3 cups vegetable broth
½ cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1. Follow the directions from the below recipe for soaking the corn husks.
2. Make the filling. Combine all ingredients for the filling in a medium mixing bowl.
3. Make the masa dough. Combine the olive oil, salt and masa mix in the bowl of an electric mixer. Beat on medium speed until combined.
4. Reduce the mixer speed to low and gradually add 2 cups (480 ml) of vegetable broth. If the mixture seems to dry (you can taste it for moistness at this point) add more broth 2 tablespoons (30 ml) at a time.
5. Follow the directions in the below recipe for filling and cooking instructions.
Storage & Freezing Instructions/Tips:
The fillings can be made a day in advance and kept in an air tight container in the refrigerator.
The tamales can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Tamales can be made 2 days in advance. Let cool one hour, place in refrigerator in an air tight container.
 Take 3 large corn husks and tear them into ¼ inch (6 mm) strips. (I would suggest you put these back in the water until use because they dry out and start breaking when you try to work with them.
 Take a large pot with a steamer attachment. Pour about 2 inches (5 cm) of water into the bottom of the pot, or enough to touch the bottom of the steamer. Line the bottom of the steamer with corn husks.
 Unfold 2 corn husks onto a work surface. Take ¼ cup (60 ml) of dough and, starting near the top of the husk, press it out into a 4 inch (10 cm) square, leaving 2-3 inches (5 -7½ cm) at the bottom of the husk. Place a heaping tablespoon (15 ml) of the filling in a line down the center of the dough square.
 Fold the dough into the corn husk.
 And wrap the husk around the dough.
Fold up the skinny bottom part of the husk.
And secure it with one of the corn husk ties.
Stand them up in the steamer. If there aren’t enough tamales to tightly pack the steamer, place crumpled aluminum foil in the excess space.
 Steam the tamales for about 40 minutes or until the dough deepens in color and easily pulls away from the husk.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Risotto with Prosciutto, Mushrooms and Peas

When I saw this recipe, I immediately knew I had to try. It has all the stuff I love. The recipe calls for Mascarpone, but if you can't find it, I have a recipe below for a wonderful substitute!


6-8 cups chicken broth
4 tblsp butter, divided
3 tblsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), divided
1 yellow onion, minced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb mushrooms, sliced
2 cups Arborio rice
10 oz frozen peas, defrosted
1/2 cup rich and creamy Mascarpone
1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus shaving for garnish
8 oz prosciutto (about 12 slices), each slice cut into 3 long pieces (reserve a few pieces for garnish)
3 tblsp chopped fresh parsley
salt & pepper

  • In a saucepan, bring chicken broth to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. [be careful, it will overflow in a flash!]
  • In a dutch oven, heat 2 tablespoons butter and 2 tablespoons EVOO over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic; saute until soft, then remove from the pan and set aside. Add 2 tablespoons butter and 1 tablespoon EVOO to the pan. Add the mushrooms and saute until soft and just brown. Set aside with the onions and mushrooms.
  • Add rice to the pan, stirring constantly to prevent sticking. Add a large ladleful of hot chicken broth, reduce the heat to medium-low, and cook, stirring, until all the liquid is absorbed. Continue the process, adding broth one ladleful at a time. After 20 minutes, add peas, mushrooms and onions. Continue to add broth and cook until the rice is tender.
  • Remove the pan from the heat. Stir in Mascarpone, grated cheese and prosciutto. Add parsley and salt and pepper to taste.
  • Transfer to a serving dish. Garish with shaved Parm cheese and reserves prosciutto. Serve Immediatly.
  • Serves 4-6.
Substitute for the Mascarpone cheese:
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2-1/2 tablespoons sour cream
8 oz cream cheese (not the lowfat)

Recipe derived from "A Decade of Cooking The Costco Way" recipe book

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {{linky}}

Ya right, when am I ever REALLY wordless? haha

We tried writing "2012" with the fireworks using a longer exposure with the camera. By the time I figured out it needed to be a lot longer, we were out of sparklers. LOL I wish it worked--the "partial" I got is soooo cool!! =)

Experimenting before calculating how many sparkles there was! haha

Monday, January 9, 2012

My Meatloaf Peppers

Meatloaf is a staple in our house. Over the years I've perfected it, at least to our liking. There is that special seasoning, TexJoy, that is the key ingredient! I have a roast in the crock pot HERE using TexJoy too, which is fantastic as well. So to "spice" this meatloaf up, I'll put them in some green peppers--it adds an entire new level to my meatloaf.


1 pound extra lean ground beef
4 oz tomato paste
1 egg,  lightly beaten
20 crackers [Club multi-grain are the best!], crushed
1-1/2 teaspoon TexJoy
4 green bell peppers

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Mix the first 5 ingredients into a large bowl and mix until well combined. Divide mixture into 4 parts.
  • Cut tops off of peppers and clean out the seeds. Place into a square baking dish (or 2 loaf pans). Fill each pepper with 1/4 of the meat mixture.
  • Cook for 45 minutes to an hour, or until center reads at least 160 degrees F.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Olive Oil Infusion Danger

Ok, back in September I posted a recipe for flavored Olive Oil.

Click HERE to see it

I was contacted and notified that the infusion is safe for a little while, but putting fresh sprig of the herbs "for looks" is actually a bad thing to do.
Flavored oils can add excitement to salads, marinades and sauces but infused oils have the potential to support the growth of Clostridium (C.) botulinum. Although the oil by itself does not pose a risk for botulism, the trendy addition of vegetables, herbs and fruits to oils, to make an oil infusion, can make this product potentially unsafe.
Are people aware of the slight, but deadly risk presented when these oil infusions are not prepared properly? Consumers need to understand the potentially life-threatening hazard of oil infusions. Oil infusion recipes can still be tasty and safe as long as the following precautions are clearly stated and adhered to:
  • Wash all soil-contaminated produce before adding it to an oil infusion,
  • Add an acidifying agent such as lemon juice or vinegar to the recipe at the rate of one tablespoon per cup of oil,
  • Keep oil infusions refrigerated in order to retard the growth of any microbes,
  • Discard infusions after one week, or sooner if apparent cloudiness, gas bubbles, or foul odor develop and,
  • When in doubt, throw it out.
So there it is folks. I've already tossed mine out, so please do to if you've had it for a while! 

This was important for me to share, so please take the precautions!

Friday, January 6, 2012


I will get back with "Flash-Back Friday" next week. Right now, I have news to share, if you haven't heard already. My friend Ramona with Create with Joy shared this information on her web page:

Are you a GFC follower? In case you haven’t heard, Google will soon be retiring GFC! To stay in touch and receive all of the latest updates, please:

Kinda scared me...ok, REALLY scared me. Then she wrote me an email explaining it. She said:
On March 1, 2012, Google is officially retiring GFC for non-Blogger blogs (which, effectively, is the end of February). What this means  is that on or before that date, GFC will no longer work for anyone not on Blogger - and, if you are on Blogger, you willl no longer be able to read the blogs of anyone (like me!) who is no longer on Blogger. All of those blogs and subscribers will be lost...after all of the hard work everyone has put into building up their readership!

For the moment, they are indicating that they are not removing GFC from Blogger blogs. However, the reason that the GFC code is so unstable to begin with is that Google officially stopped supporting and maintaining GFC quite some time ago (I was officially told this by one of the Blogger support people months ago, before the GFC retirement announcement was made!) So - it makes absolutely no sense that they are now saying that they are going to try to stablizie the GFC code for Blogger blogs when they are taking it away from non-Blogger sites. I believe that it is ultimately going to be retired from Blogger as well, and I am encouraging everyone to plan for that.

*sigh* So what does this mean? I have no idea. So, as I try to figure this all out, I have set up a G+ account, and you are welcome to add me in your circle or "plue 1" me, or subscribe to my RSS feed.

***She also pointed out to me that just GFC is retiring, not blogspot. So you won't loose you web page on blogger.***

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Artichoke w/ Hollandaise Sauce

You know you've made something amazing when your kids ask what it is AFTER its been devoured in less than 1 minute!


4 artichokes
2 sticks + 2 Tbls unsalted butter,
3 egg yolks
1 Tbls cold water
Salt & White pepper

For Artichokes:
  • Remove stem by bending it at the base until it snaps off. Break off small leaves at the base of the artichoke. Trim the base with a knife so the artichoke will stand solidly upright. Lay the artichoke on its side and slice 1/2 inch to 1 inch off the top of the center cone of leaves. Trim off the points of the rest of the leaves with scissors [see bottom image to see detail of the leaves and where to cut]. Wash under cold water.
  • Boil a large pan of salted water (1 tsp salt for every quart of water) so that all the artichokes can fit in it at the same time. When its brought to a boil, gently place artichokes in the water, stem side down. If the water doesn't cover them fully, place a cheese cloth over the top to prevent discoloration (optional, I don't see much of a difference). Bring the water back up to a rapid boil and then boil slowly for 35-45 minutes. [I boiled mine for 50 minutes (on accident) and the leaves were just falling off from the stem. This was amazing, and really easy for the kids to eat, but not as pretty for a presentation. Just keep that in mind!]
  • Remove from water and place on serving platter. Gently pull leaves outwards so the center can be reached. [Optional: Remove the heart] The center creates a perfect well to hold the sauce!
For Sauce:
  • Cut 2 sticks of the butter into bits and place in a small saucepan over low heat. Remove after all the butter is melted and set aside.
  • In a medium saucepan, beat the 3 egg yolks for about 1 minute with a wire whisk until they become thick and sticky.
  • Add the water, lemon juice, and a big pinch of salt to the yolks and beat for half a minute more.
  • Add 1 tablespoon of cold butter, but do not beat it in. Then place the saucepan over very low heat and stir the yolks with a wire whip until the slowly thicken into a smooth cream. This will take 1 to 2 minutes. The egg yolks have thickened enough when you can begin to see the bottom of the pan between strokes and the mixture forms a light cream on the wires of the whip.
  • Immediately remove from heat and beat in the cold butter, which will stop the eggs from cooking any more.
  • The beating the egg yolks with a wire whip, pour on the melted butter by droplets or quarter-teaspoonfuls until the sauce begins to thicken into a very heavy cream. Then pour the butter a little more rapidly. Omit the milky residue at the bottom of the butter pan.
  • Season the sauce to taste with salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

This recipe is from Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" Cookbook

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Wordless Wednesday {{linky}}

I'm baaaaaaaaaaaaaaack!

How was your Christmas? Ours was the best! I'm so blessed to have an amazing family!

My hubby got me the "girls best friend" earring! *GASP!* So pretty =)

And of course, our Elf on the Shelf had to go back to the north pole, but not without leaving 1 more thing! That way we can't forget him!

How was your Christmas?

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