Sunday, March 18, 2012

For the Birds Project, Part 3

The end results of my For the Birds the link of this post to see the pics.
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Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Random Post: The many uses of plastic grocery bags

If you are anything like me, I forget to bring my reusable grocery bags into the store with me. When I go to the grocery store I always end up putting my groceries in those plastic bags. The plastic bag storage I keep under my kitchen sink gets over full and starts spilling over and getting in the way of everything. There are places that recycle these plastic bags (I know for sure Target has a container inside the store), but these plastic bags have some handy household and everyday uses.

· Use them for a small trash can liner.
· Use them for putting dirty diapers in.
· Use it as a container for used cat liter.
· If you are going on a walk with your dog who decided to do the doo in your neighbor’s lawn. Use it as a container for picking up after your dog.
· Use it as packing material.
· You don’t have any rain boots and have to walk through some mud. Take a bag, put your foot inside, and tie the handles together around your ankle. You may need more than one for this one.
· Use them as small lawn clean up bags.
· Use them in place of rubber gloves if you don’t have any gloves handy.
· Use a bag to get a credit/debit card to swipe. Place the card inside the bag tightly against the card, and swipe. I have no idea why this works, but it does.
· Use them as flags.
· Use them as dirty laundry when you are traveling.
· Use them to protect a plaster cast so you can take a shower.
· Use them as freezer bags.
· Use larger bags to cover clothes in a closet or while traveling to keep clothes clean.
· Use large ones to slip over ceiling fans when cleaning the blades to catch the dust and keep it from falling on the floor.
· Use them as a toy parachute.
· Use them as sick bags when someone has a sour stomach.
· Use them as a rain bonnet.
· Put them on your wiper blades and mirrors in the winter to keep them free from snow and ice.
· Store your shoes in plastic bags when you have to travel to the rest of your clothes don’t smell like stinky feet.
· Store wet paint brushes in them after you’ve washed out the paintbrush.
· Use them to store rags in.
· Use one to store the rest of your plastic bags in.
· Stuff one or a few in the bottom of a flower pot, then add your dirt, and flowers. It helps the flowers stay moist and not have the water run out of the bottom of your pot (if it has holes in the bottom).
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Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Recipe: Balsamic Pork with Shallots

Yet another sucessful dinner! Tonight was this amazing balsamic pork with shallots, asparagras, and a ceasar salad.

5 teaspoons olive oil, divided
1 (1 pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed and cut crosswise into (1/2 inch thick) slices
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
2 1/4 cups thinly sliced shallots (about 8)
1 garlic clove, minced (I sliced mine with a nifty Pampered Chef gadget- Garlic Slicer)
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
Sprinkle pork with 1/4 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper.
Add pork to pan; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done.
Remove from pan, and keep warm.
Add remaining 4 teaspoons oil to pan; reduce heat to medium.
Add shallots to pan; cook 10 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally.
Add garlic; cook 2 minutes.
Stir in 1/2 water and vinegar; simmer 6 minutes.
Stir in remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt and remaining pepper.
Spoon shallot mixture over pork.
Serve immediately.

Cooking Light March 2009
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Monday, March 5, 2012

Recipe: Rib-Eye Steaks with Spring Mix, Pear, and Blue Cheese Salad

Tonight's dinner menu:
Rib-Eye Steaks
Spring Mix Salad with Pear and Crumbled Blue Cheese
Roasted Potato slices
Sopapilla Cheesecake

I have definitely mastered cooking chicken. One of my goals is to master cooking beef. In the past times I have tried to cook it, it usually ends up being tough or overcooked. But the only way I am going to learn to cook a great piece of beef is to keep trying to cook it. Tonight, I think, I finally came to that point. I’m getting closer, not quite there, but almost, so close.

Rib-Eye Steaks
4 8-9 ounce rib-eye steaks (each about 1 inch thick), trimmed
Coarsely cracked black pepper
Olive Oil

I used a grill pan and poured a little drizzle of olive oil and turned the heat up (to medium-high) till the pan was smoking hot. I seasoned each steak with salt and pepper, and placed the steaks in my square grill pan. I cooked each side until I couldn’t see any red meat, about 4-5 minutes per side. My hubby likes a well done steak. I tend to like mine a little pink in the middle. Once the steak was done to our likeness I put it in a dish to let it rest.

Potato Slices
3-4 Russet potatoes, sliced
Olive oil
Seasoning salt
Herb Mix

I took some russet potatoes, scrubbed the outside and sliced each potato on my mandolin so the slices were thin and would cook evenly. I took a rectangle baking sheet and added a piece of aluminum foil to the bottom, drizzled olive oil on the foil (so the potatoes wouldn’t stick), added the potato slices so there were no overlaps, drizzled a little bit more olive oil on each potato slice, sprinkled with seasoning salt and herb mix and put them in the oven at 450 degrees for 20 minutes.

Spring Mix salad with Crumbled Blue Cheese and Pear
Spring Mix lettuce
3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon Sherry wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1 ½ tablespoon honey
1 small ripe pear
1/3 cup crumbled chilled blue cheese

I had a Spring mix of lettuce I added to a bowl. I added the blue cheese, and pear on top of the lettuce. In a small mixing bowl I combined the oil, vinegar, shallot, and honey. The very last thing I added to the salad is the dressing. You don’t want the salad to get wilted and soggy before it is served, so this is really the very last thing you do after all the other dishes are ready.

This dinner was a HUGE success.  The only thing left was a little bit of steak. My husband is still oohing and awing about how satisfying and delicious dinner was. The flavors in the salad were so delicious and complimented the potatoes and steak perfectly. The steak was absolutely tender and juicy, however a little more red than I liked, but I made sure that hubby’s steak was not pink. His steak was even tender and perfect for him.

What a very exciting feeling about dinner.

The end results of dinner!

To top it off I made Sopapilla Cheesecake. This is the most easy, unbelievably yummy cheesecake ever!

2 cans Pillsbury butter crescent rolls
2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese (softened)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup butter (melted)
Cinnamon and Sugar

Unroll and spread 1 can crescent rolls on bottom of an ungreased pan.
Combine softened cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla.
Spread mixture over crescent rolls.
Unroll and spread remaining crescent rolls over mixture.
Spread melted butter over the top and sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.

It's that simple.

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Thursday, March 1, 2012

Organizing: Kitchen Gadget Drawer

I decided to organize my kitchen gadget drawer next. You can check out the results by clicking the title of this post.

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