RSS Feed

Monthly Archives: August 2018

Fuji Apple Salad Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

Panera Bread® sells a fabulous Fuji Apple Salad with seasoned chicken breast, crispy apple chips, and an AMAZING apple vinaigrette.  It is sooo good!  I love the combination of crunch with the saltiness of the chicken and nuts, all topped off with the sweet tangy dressing.  When I saw the grocery store selling Panera’s® dressing I may have squealed in delight. I grabbed two bottles just in case it was a one-time thing.  When I got home my thriftiness crept in.  “I can make that.  I love that salad.  What have I been waiting for?”  I tried a few times and have ended up with an apple vinaigrette I love.

My salad is slightly different than Panera’s®.  They use chicken, but I usually leave it out and serve this as a side.  They use apple chips and I use thinly sliced apples.  They use toasted pecans and I use candied.  Either way, this salad is a winner.

 

 

 

 

Fuji Apple Salad

yield: 6 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

dressing

2 Tbsp apple juice concentrate

1 tsp Dijon mustard

1 Tbsp white balsamic vinegar

1/4 tsp salt

1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1/4 cup Canola oil

salad

12 cups mixed greens

2 chilled fuji apples, cored and thinly sliced

1/2 cup crumbled Gorgonzola

1/2 medium red onion, quartered and sliced

1 cup grape tomatoes

1/2 cup candied pecans

PREPARATION

  1. Blend all dressing ingredients together and set aside.  You’ll have more dressing than you need.
  2. In a large bowl, gently toss greens with dressing.
  3. Divide among plates and top with remaining ingredients.

Marshmallow Oreo Chip Cookies, Adapted Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

A few years ago I came across this Marshmallow Oreo Chip Cookie recipe© from The Gracious Wife™.  I knew they would be delicious just reading through the recipe, but it didn’t prepare me for just how good they would be.  A couple weeks later I made them again for a dessert table at a birthday party.  You wouldn’t believe how many people approached me about them!  Some wanted the recipe, some wanted to know if I would be willing to make and sell them, and there were even a few who sheepishly asked if they could take some home.

 

When I was whipping up the batch for this blog post my sister happened to call.  The conversation went like this…

“What are you doing?”

“Oh, I just took some cookies out of the oven.”

“Which ones?”

“Oreo and Marshmallow”

“Are those the ones with the Cookies n’ Cream bar?”

“Yes.”

“I’ll be right over.”

And she was!

I’ve made a few small alterations over time so if you want the original recipe be sure to check out The Gracious Wife blog©.

 

Oreo and Marshmallow Cookies

 

 

Marshmallow Oreo Chip Cookies, Adapted

 

INGREDIENTS

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1 cup butter, softened

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

4.2 oz pkg Oreo cookies ‘n creme instant pudding

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/8 teaspoon salt

2 1/4 cups flour

1 cup mini marshmallows

6 oz chopped pieces of Hershey’s Cookies ‘n Cream bar

8 Oreos, coarsely crushed

 

PREPARATION

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars.
  3. Add eggs and vanilla and mix again.
  4. Mix together flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to butter mixture, along with cocoa powder and pudding mix. Stir until everything is fully combined.
  5. Fold in marshmallows, chopped candy bar, and crushed Oreos.
  6. Chill dough for about 30 minutes.
  7. Scoop rounded tablespoons of dough and shape into balls. Place on a greased cookie sheet (and I DO mean greased. None of that wimpy cooking spray. You’re going to have to break out the butter and slick it down because marshmallows are sticky!) or silpat 2 inches apart.
  8. Bake for 8-11 minutes.  When they come out of the oven you can use a greased butter knife to gently push the marshmallows that have spread back against the cookie edges.  Allow the cookies to cool on the cookie sheet before moving.

A Little Scots-Irish Heritage Celebration

Today L surprised me with a trip to a Highland Games held nearby between the championships. When I learned I’d be outside I knew my hair would get that horrible drippy-sweaty look, plus I didn’t want the wind blowing my hair in my face, so I used an S A face shield for a bandana. Pre-event it worked perfectly in the wind, and even when I got overheated it did a great job of keeping my hair neat.

We couldn’t stay in the shade the whole time though, and I didn’t think to sunblock my scalp, so I just opened the bandana a bit to cover to the back of my scalp, while the rest still worked as a headband.

I can’t quit raving about (and using) them, and nope, I don’t get squat for what I say about them. They’d probably fix that little mistaken link with that amazing deal if I did reach out. *grin*

Anyway, I just wanted to share that I got to celebrate part of my heritage today that was on my bucket list (caber toss in person!!) and had a great chance to show the face shield in one of the many uses it has.

Bucket list #34 Check!! Thank you Gentlemen!

Since we don’t have internet and they’ve given themselves another whole week to try to figure out what’s wrong with our DSL line, and so much of my life is internet based, I have to limit my LTE time before I cap out any minute. That said, I’m hoping to slip in a post at a hotspot when I’m in the city on Monday, otherwise, you’ll only get the last few recipes blogged by Leah. Unfortunately she needs to dedicate her time to family and I’m hoping to have a new food guest blogger soon. *crossing fingers* So, if it’s a little bit before I post, just know I’m jonesing for some ‘net and probably have a bunch of products or gifts to share once I’m back online. In the meantime, happy pampering! 🙂

SA Face Shields

It’s no secret that I’m halfway through my Christmas shopping, which gives me time to hit sales when they come up beyond the frustrating ones that make the server crash usually. So, when I find an incredible deal, I’ll share them with you.

If you have an outdoorsy person on your list, then S A Fishing has a lot of great options for you, however, there are deals that are massively different than what they show on their bundles page. There are a variety of items available, but I think face shields are more versatile, so that’s where I went.

A bundle of five are currently on sale for $75. However, I found a sub link that takes you to a face shields sale page of five for $15, plus a decal HERE. If you want more you can even select another shield for just $3. If you don’t want to do the add ons, there are also 8 for $24 at this link. These are massive discounts from what the current “sale” prices are and I don’t know how long these sub links will work, so I hope to it if you’re interested.

As you can tell, they’re very versatile. I’m not outdoorsy and I use one of the two of mine almost daily. I use the pirate wrap, but tuck the extra under to make a skull cap and I use as a headband. They’re moisture wicking and help prevent flying outdoor nasties from getting in your mouth or nose when you use the face shield. Mine are actually for when I am crafting or working and are so much more comfortable than a hairnet or shower cap!! Some look pretty wicked when the face shield layout is used. My fav that I have is a hot pink with a half skeletal face, so it just rests on the nose and makes the rest of my face creep as hell, so I kind of love that idea come winter. *laugh*

My hot pink one is like the blue one in this pic.

Here’s another way of using them that I love, although I have short hair still, so it’s a doubled sheet hanging down my neck if left like that, which is why I go ahead and twist at the end of my hair and then tuck the bottom at the base of my skull.

They’re great for when you have to get sweaty or it’s windy and it’s worth getting the good brand (especially at knockoff prices!!). I have a different kind and it makes me hot even if I’m just vacuuming or making product.

There are a TON of options to suit anyone who would wear one, but take my advice – don’t pick mystery. Sure, it could be randomly selected by a computer, but I got two that I would much rather have just chosen black instead and suspect they pick from the less loved bins. *laugh*

I had a nasty fall the other day and am going to have to limit my activities, so batch 2 of the Dreadful Delight Soaps will be a little longer than expected. Instead I’ll post some helpful shopping bits or fun randomness (I’m definitely able to promise randomness!). In the meantime, have a healthy and fun remaining week! 🙂

Not Quite as Planned

While working on creating “Dreadful Delights” soaps, which took a few days since I needed layers to dry in between, things went from starting out well to very unpleasant. *laugh*

So, I got things ready on my cafeteria tray (SO much easier to have molds on that and be able to move the setting soaps without them wrinkling or popping open nearly as often!!). I used the custom scent wheel, which has a total of 10 ratio of blotter sticks that can then be converted to your recipe. So each clothespin held the amount of ratio of scent I planned to use – four of Vanilla Brownie, 3 of Bakery, 2 of Fudge Brownie, and 1 of Honey Nut. Then I was able to wave combos of them together to make sure the whole group mixed and then which worked together to make the icing for the Dreadful icing. *smile* I can’t keep all those sticks in order without a lot more work than putting each scent in a clothespin. *laugh* And I was excited to use some of my micas for the first time. The cakes came out amazing to me, with mixed reactions over what scents were detected, and I let them set longer because they’re some big and heavy soaps.

If it wasn’t a weird hour when I took this picture, the lighting would be better. *laugh* There’s a slight shimmer to the broad as light hits it, but without having light on them, they look like delicious little chocolate cakes!

That’s when it all went wrong.

I made the icing to drizzle and let it cool in the measuring cup until it would thicken instead of just running off and pulling. I even added some creative cubes of “flavor” for the monster, with some decay, gelatinous goo, and dry blood. However, it was close enough in color it just looked like more of itself instead of the black fudge drizzle, so I added some “blood” to the icing. Turns out that red, black, and brown can make a very unfortunate choice of colors. I persisted, thinking maybe thicker rivers of icing down the edges would bring them back to what’s in my mind.

Um, no. It just made it so gross that I don’t feel comfortable showing the end results because it’s slightly nauseating. *laugh*

So, I’ll melt down the whole caboodle, although it’ll have a little different color, pour the cakes again, and then maybe do straight up red icing. Maybe I’ll make a brain soap to chop for the top of the Monster one, so you see the wrinkled brain pouring out of the bundt center, and it can go in just the Zombie group, instead of working for all monsters.

At least I got three other soaps all done while waiting for the icing to cool enough, so not an epic fail this time. *grin* I’ve been on an iZombie ™ marathon for a few days, so I like the idea of a zombies only combo to be available for enthusiasts. Let’s just hope the icing comes out better this time so I can actually show a picture of them. *cracking up*

I hope you have a dreadfully delightful day! 🙂

Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce – Pressure Cooker Recipe by Leah

Leahs New Logo

 

Tasty and easy beef gyros are bursting with hearty flavor!  Traditionally, gyro meat is cooked on a vertical spit and shaved off.  Though I’m dying to try making it that way, it’s not really practical in a home kitchen.  It’s also typically made with lamb, but that’s not too practical for my budget. ☺  What is practical is eating tender, mouthwatering beef,  wrapped in a soft pita, dripping in creamy sauce.  What could be better?  That it’s a year-round friendly recipe!  It’s hearty and filling for those cold winter evenings, but perfect for the heat of summer too.  Using your electric pressure cooker means you’re not heating up your house with your oven or stove.  No pressure cooker?  Just grill your roast instead!  Don’t forget to make your Tzatziki sauce ahead of time.

 

Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce

 

 

Beef Gyros with Tzatziki Sauce – Pressure Cooker

yield: 4-6 servings

 

INGREDIENTS

Beef

2 lb chuck roast

2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil

2 tsp garlic powder

2 tsp dried oregano

1/4 tsp cumin

1 tsp dried basil

1/2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp dill

1/2 tsp marjoram

1/4 tsp thyme

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

3/4 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp fresh lemon juice

1/3 cup beef broth

Tzatziki sauce

1 cup English Hothouse Cucumber (about half of one cucumber)

1 Tbsp kosher salt

2 Tbsp fresh dill, minced or 1 Tbsp dried dill

1 garlic clove, grated or minced

4 tsp lemon juice

1 cup plain Greek yogurt

For serving

warmed pocketless pitas

tomatoes, sliced

red onion, sliced

feta crumbles

 

PREPARATION

Tzatziki sauce

  1. Peel, seed, and cut into large chunks.  Sprinkle with 1 Tbsp salt.  Let sit 30 minutes.  Drain and dry cucumbers by pressing lightly with a paper towel.
  2. In a food processor or blender add cucumbers, dill, garlic, and lemon juice.  Process then stir into the yogurt.
  3. Refrigerate at least 2 hours.  It keeps for a few days in the refrigerator but you will need to drain off any water and stir each time you use it.

Beef

Mix together the spices then rub onto the roast.  Put oil in the bottom of the Instant Pot.  Set the roast in and add lemon juice and beef broth.  Lock the lid and cook for 15 minutes.  Allow to natural release for an additional 15 minutes.  Quick release and remove roast to a cutting board.  Shred or thinly slice your meat and add remaining liquid until the meat is moisted to your desire.

Serving

Lay beef in the center of the pita.  Spread some Tzatziki sauce over the meat and add tomatoes, onions, and feta as desired.

 

An Update to Kiddo’s Room

img_4249-2

 

Since we decided to Home School via Connections Academy I felt it was important to have a designated spot for school time and would have all of her supplies at the ready, so L modified my huge wood desk to fit in her room and I just had to share how awesome it turned out (yes, I need to re-stain it, but cosmetics can wait until the big stuff is done *laugh*).

 

Kiddos Desk

 

The cloth boxes filled with things are actually specific curriculum subject supplies, so those will actually go up on a shelf once that is built.  Right now I have the binders and extras all stacked underneath the desk, awaiting the shelf, too.  She can lay in bed and watch TV, there will be a frame with four family pictures (three of us all individually and then placement or adoption day in the last window) that will go with the “family” sign, and the desk doesn’t interfere with her window while giving a lot of work room.  And it is SOLID.  *laugh* We got a great deal on it when I started my first business and since it’s such a high quality piece we just had to modify it to work for her room.  (And yes, I’m about 1/3 of the way done Christmas shopping.  *grin* I’m that annoying friend who doesn’t understand wading through the crowds on Christmas Eve.  *laugh*  Plus, I have some that have to be shipped out of state, so I start working on them early, too.)

 

I know it’s super nerdy, but organizing the subject supplies and books together today made it all feel so real and happy to me.  Whichever is Kiddo will have to do art as part of their coping techniques, but it can be such a fun outlet that I couldn’t resist putting together a variety of mediums beyond what the school sends. 

 

Although my dad is now out of the picture I even got to put his graphing and blueprint drawing tools in her math box.  I like that I can add a few things of his for her that bring back good memories for me.  For her science box (which I had to stick a few pieces of other things into since I wanted to keep the center of the desk clean until the shelving is built) I even have a DNA testing kit to learn about her long ago heritage, how blood types work, and even a lesson on haplogroups.  Genealogy is something that she can share with Grandma, since I’m only interested in the science and the heritage, instead of the ancestry. 

 

It’s really kind of awesome that I’m able to supplement the core classes she will take and have them connect to her new family, as well.  There’s a little concern about the DNA test, but since I’m the one handling all of it, I will keep the more current information put away for her to have when she’s older, if she wants genetic information about her closer biological ancestry.  We definitely don’t want to add to her trauma, but with so much loss of identity I think knowing if she has Irish, Russian, German, or whatever roots might give her a little something to help her not feel so set apart from the general population.  Adoption and foster guru Sherrie Eldridge recently blogged about how left out this group of children are, especially when it’s that first day of school and they go through the trauma of a new place with new people all over again.  It left me thinking about what would her first day story be that she would give others, if she starts standard school the next year?  I’m hoping that I can give her something to relate to, like which heritage she has, so she isn’t just “the Cornelisons’ adopted kid” or leaving her to make up a life she thinks other kids will think is cool.  Even if she hasn’t attached to us by then, at least she will have something real to identify herself with and keep her system story private if she wants to, without making up a whole story that will inevitably go wrong at some point. 

 

Anyway, I beam every time I look at her desk and especially her bins.  The anatomy book L picked up at a garage sale in the middle of the dead zone of our process; the calculator that I used for working at home and then starting my own business is now hers, and even brand new pencils instead of the old household ones.  She may never realize it, but there’s meaning and memories behind almost every item, and I just can’t wait to take her shopping to see how she accessorizes and makes all of this hers.  I can clearly picture the tween we’re waiting on the BIS for sitting in that chair doing homework.  The other two not so easily, but it makes me catch my breath sometimes.  I imagine this must be what it’s like when a mother sees the crib all finished and ready for the first time.  Schooling is where we will start our deepest bonding instead and I’m actually okay with that now.  I’m not sure what tomorrow brings, but this past week just standing in her doorway and looking at everything is my happy moment every single time.  🙂

%d bloggers like this: