Saturday, November 1, 2008


Hey there!
Gosh, I sure have been gone for a long time! Sorry about that! For my triumphant return to blogging please enjoy my Halloween party. Here are an assortment of crafts, food and costumes. Hope you enjoy!

Joe and I were "Fall" and "Winter". Joe put together his costume very quickly and easily (PJs, fake snow, blue face paint, blue and white hair, a Christmas mug and a pipe). Isn't he handsome! Trick or treaters thought he was a little scary...

My costume began with a plain white dress purchased from Goodwill. First, I dyed the dress in tea overnight, to give it a nice aged look. Then, I hot glued fall leaves to the dress. The head piece is made of floral wire, lots of hot glue, fall leaves, small pine cones and gold ribbon.

The wings were made from two wire coat hangers, floral wire, hot glue and lots of leaves. Just shape the hangers to look like wings, wrap your floral wire across the wings so your have something to glue your leaves to. Glue, glue, glue until you run out of leaves. I wired the hangers together and attached two pieces of gold ribbon used to tie them on. You could use this basic formula to make all sorts of wings (flower petals, feathers, ivy, etc.).

I used a bat template from Martha Stewart and taped them inside this lampshade. Very cute and very easy.

I also got this idea from Martha Stewart (because I love her). Take plain tortillas and use Halloween cookie cutters to make fun chip shapes! Brush with oil, sprinkle with salt, garlic powder and cumin (or whatever you want) and bake at 350 degrees until lightly brown. Be careful, these go from done to overdone very quickly. I've made these for Halloween two years in a row and they're always a hit.

Okay this is my last Martha Stewart rip off. These are delicious puff pastry pumpkins. Take a piece of thawed puff pastry and cover in dijon mustard and parmesan cheese. Take a second sheet of puff pastry and lay it on top of the first. Use a rolling pin to mold the sheets together. Use a cookie cutter to make pumpkins, score lightly with a pearing knife and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Oh, one more thing. Brush the pumpkins with a mixture of melted butter and paprika before you bake, it gives them a nice color. Keep an eye on them, they also can become overdone very quickly.

Ginger spice cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and orange sprinkles. It's nice to have a dessert that's not too sweet after a night of candy bingeing.

I hope you enjoy these ideas!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

(Imitation) Crabby Patties

Hi there and happy three day weekend!
I made these dudes last night and they were delish! I have to admit these were an experiment so I wasn't particularly precise with the measurements. So here's my best guess, just play around and I'm sure they'll come out delicious!

Imitation Crab Cakes
1 package imitation crab, finely flaked or chopped
1 green bell pepper, finely chopped
1/2 onion, finely chopped
2 eggs
3ish TBS mayo (you might need more, just eyeball it)
5-6 saltine crackers, crumbled
2ish TBS course ground mustard
1 TSP dry mustard
1 TSP garlic seasoning
1 1/2ish cups italian bread crumbs

Run your crab, onions and bell pepper through a food processor until finely chopped. Combine rest of ingredients except for your bread crumbs. Once everything is good and mixed up, shape the mixture into patties. This made about ten large cakes. If your cakes are a little liquidy just add some of the bread crumbs to firm things up. Dredge the patties in the bread crumbs and fry in vegetable oil until nice and brown on both sides. If you're making several batches you can keep them warm in your oven on low. Oh, and when I got them out of the oil, I gave them a dusting of old bay and sea salt. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Stormy Storms

Boo, Tropical Storm Fay has been sitting on Tallahassee for the last two days. It's finally starting to let up this morning, but we sure have gotten a LOT of rain. Our retention pond next door (which is always empty) is currently at capacity. Sweet, lake front property! We, unlike my parents, did not lose power (except for a few minutes here and there). And that means that I spent all day yesterday cooking/eating. Here are just a few of the things I made:

Slow cooker split pea soup
1 bag dried peas, rinsed and sorted
1 yellow onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
A couple of carrots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Smoked ham hocks, 2-3
3 TBS celery seed or a stalk or two of fresh celery (I didn't have any fresh celery and wasn't about to leave the house to get some!!!)
Season with salt and pepper
6 cups water

Combine all your ingredients in your crock pot and cook on high for about four hours or low for about six hours. The timing kinda depends on your crock pot, the soup is ready when the peas are mushy. Veeeeerry easy, just put it together and check on it occasionally.

Ninety-Minute Soft Pretzels
(from "A 1993 Hometown Collection: America's Best Recipes")
1 cup water
1 TBS butter
3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 TBS sugar
1 TSP salt
1 package dry yeast
1 egg yolk, lightly beaten
1 TBS water
Kosher salt

Combine 1 cup water and butter in a small saucepan, heat until butter melts, stirring occasionally. Cool to 120-130 degrees.
Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, 1 teaspoon salt and yeast in a large mixing bowl; stir well. Gradually add liquid mixture, beating at low speed of an electric mixer until blended. Beat at medium speed 2 minutes. Gradually sir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough.
Turn dough onto a floured surface, and knead until smooth and elastic (about 5 minutes). Place in a well greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 40 minutes or until doubled in bulk.
Punch dough down; divide into 12 equal portion. Roll each portion into a 20 inch rope. Twist each rope into a pretzel shape. Place about 1 1/2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet.
Combine egg yolk and 1 TBS water in a small bowl, beating with a wire whisk until blended. Brush dough with egg yolk mixture, sprinkle with Kosher salt. Bake at 375 degrees for 15 minutes or until golden.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Phyllo Rollups!

Hi there!
On Friday I had a silly moment at the grocery store and brought home phyllo dough instead of puff pastry! Eek! So today I started messing around with the (sort of) finicky sheets of dough. Here's what I came up with this evening, stay tuned later in the week because I still have about a million more sheets to use up!

Spinach Phyllo Rollups
(Think of them like lazy spanakopita!)
Five sheets of phyllo dough
1 cup chopped frozen spinach, thawed and drained
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (or more, just as much as you like!)
Pinch of salt
Olive oil, about 1/4 cup

Delicately brush each sheet with olive oil and stack on top of each other. Combine the cheese, spinach and salt. Spread the mixture about an inch from the edge (these sheets came 11x13, so you'll be rolling them up the "long" way). Roll it up, doesn't have to be super tight, but it should be firm. Pinch the edges shut and bake a 425 degrees for about seven minutes.*

*Okay, I actually didn't time this tonight, I just took it out when it looked brown and flaky so seven minutes is my best guess but it might be a little high

Eat them dudes up!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Quichey Quiche

Whoa, blogging at 3:30 in the AFTERNOON!?! How can this be??? Well, I took off work today to take kitties to the vet for their annual checkups. The vet prescribed Chippy some Valium for his next visit, that lets you know what kind of patient he was... Baker on the other hand was a perfect angel. They're now conched out and recuperating.
It was nice to have time to make a substantial lunch, instead of the usual salad or sandwich. So here is an incredibly all purpose quiche recipe, you can add pretty much whatever you want and it's always tasty.

Spinach Quiche
1 pre-made pie crust
2 cups frozen chopped spinach
2 eggs
1/2ish cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 onion, chopped
2 tomatoes, one chopped and one sliced
Salt/Pepper to taste
(You can stop here or try some of the tasty additions: mushrooms, Italian sausage, artichokes, shrimp, red peppers, sun dried tomatoes, pretty much whatever!)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees, thaw and drain your spinach and combine with remaining ingredients (except sliced tomatoes). Spread the mixture in your pie and top with the sliced maters. Bake for about 25 minutes or until firm. Yummo!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Brownie Wows!

Geez louise, it sure has been a while since I posted! Sorry 'bout that, but we've been busy busy! Well, here are some tasty brownies that only take about thirty minutes to make. PS- Totally better than box brownies. Eat 'um up yum yum!

Brownies (Courtesy of the Nestle Cocoa Powder box)

1 2/3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter or margarine, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Nestle baking cocoa
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Combine butter, sugar and water. Incorporate eggs and vanilla into the mixture. In a separate bowl combine the remaining dry ingredients. Slowly mix the wet and dry ingredients and spread in a greased 13x9 pan. Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes (use the toothpick test to make sure they're done). Eat 'em up yum yum!

PPS- These require vanilla ice cream to be 100% perfect, sadly I made them thinking there was some in the fridge. When I was plating them I discovered WE WE'RE OUT!!! WWWAAHHHH! It's okay, they were still tasty.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Crafty Crafts

And now for something completely different! Okay, well, not completely, but sort of different! These are two small cross stitches I made over the weekend. I have big cross stitch I'm working on, but sometimes its nice to work on something a little more manageable. Anywho, they're small but cute. Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, August 3, 2008


Remember those pretty purple flowers I posted a few weeks ago? Well a whole bunch of Gulf Fritillary caterpillars have been munching away at them, getting ready to turn into beautiful butterflies! Here are some pictures of the caterpillars and newly emerged butterflies!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mostly Authentic Asian Dinner

Hi there!
Whoa, two posts in two days! What madness! Last night we had miso soup, a carrot salad and beef gyoza (AKA pot stickers). I must be feeling a little nostalgic for Japan!
Here's the recipe for the pot stickers.

Round won ton wrappers
Ground beef/pork/chicken (Last night I used beef, but I prefer pork)
Soy sauce (sorry, didn't measure, just add to taste)
Ginger (fresh is better, but powdered is okay too)
Mushrooms, chopped real tiny like
Yellow onion, also chopped up real good
Oil for frying

Brown your meat and onions, drain excess grease and add the veggies, ginger and soy sauce. Put about 1/2 tsp of filling in the middle of a wrapper. Moisten the edges of the wrapper with water, fold in half and pinch the edges until they're nice and sealed. Once you've got a bunch ready to go, toss them into the hot frying pan (with oil) and cook until lightly brown. Add about 1/2-1 cup of water (depending on the size of your pan, cover and let steam for about three minutes. Please don't burn yourself when removing the lid, it's going to be steamy in there. Serve with a dipping sauce made of soy sauce and rice vinegar (in nearly equal proportions). Yum! PS- These make great party appetizers, you can make a bunch, refrigerate before frying and bust them out right before company arrives.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Kiss My Grits!

Hi there!
Last night I asked Joe what genre of food he wanted for dinner and he requested Southern. So here's what he got! An appetizer of fried green tomatoes, okra and eggplant. And a main course of shrimp and grits. Now, I just want to say that this is one of my top three dishes. Holy moly is it bad for you, but it's so good! On a side note, all the veggies in the appetizer were home grown. Without further adieu, here are the recipes:

Fried Green Tomatoes
Vegetable oil for frying
1ish cup milk
1 cup cornmeal*
1/2 cup flour*
1 tsp onion powder*

Slice your 'maters 1/4 inch thick, dredge in milk, salt and pepper and coat in cornmeal mixture. Fry for just a few minutes, until golden brown on both sides. Eat.
*Pre-packaged hushpuppy mix works just as well

I didn't plate these up all pretty because we ate them too quickly.....

Shrimp and Grits
(Serves four, or two if your husband is really hungry)
1/2 cup stone ground quick grits
1 1/4 cups chicken stock
1 1/4 cups milk or cream
1/4 cup cheddar cheese
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Heat the stock and milk, as they begin to boil slowly add the grits. Stir to make sure they don't clump up. Lower the heat and cook for 15ish minutes. Finally, add the cheese a bit of pepper and salt (if needed).

Three strips bacon
Two cloves garlic, chopped
Peeled shrimp, I used about 10-15
Sliced white mushrooms, about a cup but really, as much as you'd like
1 cup chicken stock
1ish cup hushpuppy mix/fried green tomato mix listed above
1 tsp black pepper

Cook the bacon in pan, remove and crumble the bacon but save the grease. I warned you, this is not low cal! Coat your shrimp with the hushpuppy mix and fry in the pan with your delicious bacon grease and your garlic. Once the shrimp begin to brown add the mushrooms. Saute for just a minute or two. Add the chicken stock and pepper. Let the mixture cook down for a few minutes on a low heat. Top with the bacon you fried earlier. Oh man, so good!


Well, tonight is Japanese night at the Davenport Ranch so I'll be back later in the weekend with recipes for miso soup, gyoza and a ginger carrot salad. Until then!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Figgy Wiggy Jam

Hello there! Boy, we sure have been busy with Summer! Last Saturday we went to Cherokee Sink and swam and swam and swam. On Sunday Mom and I picked five pounds of figs and made delicious fig jam. Here's the recipe!

Fig Jam
From the Ball Blue Book of Canning
5 lbs of fresh figs
6 cups of sugar
¾ cup of water
½ cup of lemon juice

Boil your figs until they're nice and squishy, about ten minutes. Drain the figs, slice off the stems, and mash 'em up! Add the sugar and water and slowly bring to a boil. Make sure you sir continuously, otherwise the sugar will burn. Once the mixture gets to the jell stage (should slide off the spoon in a sheet, as opposed to drops). Add the lemon juice and stir for another minute. Pour the mixture into your sterilized canning jars, fill up to 1/2 in from the top. Seal in a hot water bath for 15 minutes. Yum!

Boil them figgy wigs!

Waiting for the figs to boil, I know they look a little gross, but they taste delicious!

Ladling out the jam

The final product!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Tour D'Yard

Hello there! Okay well, I didn't make these per say....but I grew them, so that counts a little, right? Here are some nice looking things from our yard! Hope you enjoy!

Purple Passion Flower/Maypop/Apricot Vine- Wild in the southeast, have an edible fruit, and a favorite of monarch butterflies.

Wild Gladiolus

Dunno, some kind of cute mushroom!

Ichiban Eggplant- Eat em up yum yum!

Dunno this one either, it's part of my butterfly garden.

Moonflower/Moonvine-Related to the morning glory, blooms in the evening and all night long.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Please help our neighborhood!

Tell City Commissioners “NO” to Sale of Northwest Park
(Time is of the essence. The City’s budget workshop is July 1, 2008.)

City of Tallahassee Commissioners are holding a budget workshop July 1, and the NW Park is again on the chopping block.

The NW Park is a 78-acre parcel owned by the City of Tallahassee and is bordered by Fred George Road on the north, Mission Road on the west, Settler’s Creek neighborhood to the south, and Settler’s Springs neighborhood to the east. The NW Park was purchased by the City in 1995 from Susan Cavanaugh to satisfy the need for active park facilities in this area and to meet commitments from previous annexations in this quadrant.

The site included adequate land for the construction of a stormwater facility to accommodate runoff from the Mission Road widening project, as well as future park amenities. To date, only the stormwater pond has been constructed.

In 2005, the City attempted to sell the NW Park to a private developer to build multi-family residences on the site. Fortunately, citizens in this area, as well as folks from the Sierra Club and the Tallahassee Council of Neighborhood Associations, put together a grassroots campaign that convinced the City Commission to not sell the land. Construction was slated to begin in 2009, but now the City wants to sell the NW Park AGAIN.

The northwest quadrant of the city is densely populated with young families, and is severely lacking in park facilities.

Unless you get involved, it is likely that that the NW Park will be sold to meet short-term budget shortfalls. However, the loss of the NW Park is forever.

Please contact your City Commissioners either through e-mail or telephone calls to let them know that you oppose the sale of our promised NW Park for multi-family residential development, which will leave us with more children with no city park.

Please forward this message to anyone you think is interested in saving the NW Park, and email the City Commissioners to: or 891-2000.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Easy Peasy Cakey Cookies

Hi there! Today is Wednesday even though I've been wishing it was Friday all day long. Summer makes me not want to work. I feel like I should be at the beach/pool/park/movies/anywhere that isn't an office. Oh well, what can you do? Come home and do fun things, that's what. My fun thing tonight was baking some cookies. These are amazingly easy and can use whatever you have around the kitchen. Tonight I used walnuts but any kind of candy, dried fruit or nut should work just fine. So without further adieu:

Easy Peasy Cakey Cookies
1 box of any kind of cake mix (tonight I used butter cake)
1/3 cup of oil
2 eggs
1 TBS-ish cocoa powder
A handful of nuts/chocolates/dried fruit/pretty much anything good in cookies

Bake at 350 degrees for about 10-12 minutes and let them cool on racks. Things really don't get much easier than that!

Oh, and I dusted them with a bit of extra cocoa powder. These cookies are tasted, tested, and approved by Joe.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Peter Piper Picked A Peck

Of these guys! Today I pickled a couple of batches of banana peppers. I used my Aunt Karen's recipe so they should be delish! Also, today I pulled out all my cucumber plans (they were mostly done producing) and put in okra and white eggplant. I also shifted around some of the herbs since it's getting quite crowded in the herb box. I'm planning on pickling some cucumbers later this week, since I have about a million (and we don't want them to go to waste!). So stay tuned for more canning, pickling and preserving!

Aunt Karen's Pickled Peppers
Lots of tasty peppers, I used banana peppers
4 cups vinegar
2 cups water
1 tsp salt per mason jar
1/4 tsp garlic powder per mason jar (I also added some fresh sliced garlic)
1/8 tsp alum

Sterilize your mason jars-I boiled them, though I know some people just run them through the dishwasher. Bring the vinegar and water to a boil. In the meantime, fill your jars with the peppers, salt, alum and garlic. Pour the vinegar mixture into the jars until there is only about a 1/4 inch from the top. Screw the lids on real tight and let the jars hang out on the counter. The lids should pop, letting you know they're sealed. It's okay if they don't pop, that just means you have to refridgerate them.

And here they are:

Tasty and delicious!

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Yummo Rye Bread

Oh no, can't talk, in the middle of reading two books for a test on Tuesday, yuck. Here's the bread I made for dinner on Friday (Friday was German night: bratwursts, sauerkraut, potato salad and rye bread.) Very tasty and very easy, I got the recipe from :

This recipe makes two tasty loaves, one I made with caraway seeds and one without.

Back to the books!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

El Jardin

Cucumbers galore! We've got tons and tons and tons. Our garden is so very happy! Here are a few pictures:

Main bed: Cucumbers, onions, banana peppers, green bell peppers, cayenne peppers, and patio tomatoes

Herb garden: Valerian, sweet basil, mint, rosemary, greek oregano, lemon thyme, dill, chamomile, lemon balm and chives

The plant birthing room, currently seeding zinnias, flax, sunflowers and marigolds

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Quick Caraway Bread

Sure is tasty! This morning Mom and I toured UF's Agricultural Extension Office (which just a fancy way of saying a very large garden) and I got a native blueberry plant! I look forward to eating the tasty berries next spring. Joe put a hammock in the back yard. We ripped out a bunch of poison ivy. I seeded/planted a bunch new flowers AND a new hot pepper! What a terribly productive Saturday! Since it's getting pretty toasty outside we've retired to the relative cool of our un-airconditioned house to read and try a new bread recipe:

Quick Caraway Bread (courtesy of The Friends of Prince Memorial Library Cumberland, Maine)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 TBS baking powder
1/4 cup plus 1 TBS sugar
1/3 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
2 TBS caraway seeds
a pinch of salt

Combine first three ingredients, cut in the butter. Add additional ingredients and combine (not too much, though!) Bake at 350 for 30ish minutes. How easy is that? I'll be revisiting this recipe with some fresh dill in the future.


Sliced and buttered!

Friday, May 16, 2008

Reaping the benefits...

Of our wonderful garden! Tonight's dinner was 2/3 things we grew! Stuffed banana peppers, polenta with bacon and motzarella and a cucumber wasabi salad.

Look at all these banana peppers! These are just from the last two days! Holy smokes!

And a giant cucumber!

And the final products:

Stuffed Banana Peppers:
Bread crumbs
Boca (or beef, sausage, chorrizo, whatever!)
Yellow onion
Salt and pepper
Banana peppers

Finely chop and saute the suffing ingredients, carefully core your peppers and discard seeds. Stuff the peppers and bake at 450 for 15-ish minutes. Yummo!

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Joe's B-Day!

Hi there!
Just wanted to post some quick pictures of Joe's B-Day cake. Hooray!

Smiley red robot!

Birthday wishes!

The aftermath....

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Turkey Lurkey

Hi there!
I've gotten home after 8PM every single night this week! Except tonight, which is why I cooked a "real" dinner. Stuffed turkey breast, carrots and an herb pasta. That's not the half of it though, all the herbs came from our garden! Yay! Here's how to stuff a turkey breast real good:

1 big delicious turkey breast
1 cup Italian style bread crumbs
1 egg
Olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

First you need to butterfly your turkey breast (slice it down the middle but don't cut all the way through). Take your handy dandy meat mallet/meat tenderizer/hammer/something with which to smash and pound the turkey to about 3/4 of an inch thick. Be careful not to punish your meat TOO much, you still need it to hold stuffing! In another bowl combine your herbs, salt, pepper, breadcrumbs, egg and a little olive oil. Season your turkey breast, I use a little olive oil, salt and pepper (on both sides). Spread your stuffing on the meat, not quite to the edge, and roll the turkey up! Use some kitchen twine to keep your meat masterpiece from going to pieces. Cook for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Eat it up yum yum!

PS- Tomorrow is Joe's Birthday! He's gonna be 25 years old! Yay Happy Husband Birthday !!!

Friday, March 14, 2008

This time it's not food!

Hey guys!
Boy, it sure has been a while! Well, here's what we've been up to. Joe and dad built a brand spankin' new raised bed garden! So in the main bed we have: white onions, cucumbers, banana peppers, sweet green peppers, french sorrell and oak leaf lettuce. In the adjacent herb/tea garden we have: chives, lemon thyme, rosemary, valerian other thing that I can't remember. In the house I'm seeding dill, chamomile, mint, lavender and basil. So here are some pics of our new garden!