Monday, April 25, 2011

Tasty Tuesday--Heath Bars

This recipe is from the catering company that catered our wedding, Hamby's. They are sinfully good.

Heath Bars
2 sticks butter (16 Tbsp), softened
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg yolk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup self-rising flour
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, melted
1/2 cup slivered almonds

Cream the butter, brown sugar, and sugar.

Add the egg yolk and vanilla. Stir in the flour until well blended.

Press the mixture into a 15x10x1 inch jelly-roll pan.

Bake at 325 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the edges are lightly browned.

While the "crust" is baking, melt the chocolate.

Spread the melted chocolate over the baked layer.

Sprinkle with almonds.

Cut into squares while still warm. Allow to cool in the pan before you try to remove them. I think these are best served cold out of the fridge.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Tasty Tuesday--Blueberry-Apple Oatmeal Bars

These are the perfect way to make sure you eat breakfast. You wrap these up individually so you can just grab one on your way out the door. They have everything a healthy breakfast should have: milk, eggs, oatmeal, blueberries...
However...if you do decide to make these, don't expect them to taste like granola bars. They are eggy and moist, kind of like cold oatmeal. Man, I'm really selling these aren't I? I swear, they taste delicious!

Blueberry-Apple Oatmeal Bars

2 1/2 cups old-fashioned rolled oats
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 cup dried blueberries
1 apple, cored and chopped
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. salt
2 eggs
3 cups milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

1. Preheat oven to 350. Lightly spray the baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
2. In a large bowl, combine the oats, brown sugar, blueberries, chopped apple, cinnamon, ginger, and salt. Mix well.
3. Beat the eggs thoroughly in a separate bowl. Whisk in the milk and vanilla, then pour into the oat mixture and stir until combined.
4. Pour the mixture into the baking dish, spreading out the oats and fruit as necessary so that they are evenly distributed. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, until the center is set and firm to the touch.
5. Let cool for at least 10 minutes on a rack before slicing and serving. Refrigerate or freeze leftovers.

* These can be frozen in individually wrapped slices. Put a slice in the fridge to thaw over night, or microwave a frozen slice for 30 seconds in the morning to warm it up. Also, you can experiment with the fruits.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Song Friday--

Happy Friday everyone! This Friday is especially wonderful because SPRING BREAK finally starts today! Could it have come any later?? My kids checked out about 2 weeks ago...and so did I. 

Also, tonight my daddy, who is a survivor of Squama Cell cancer, is being honored at Relay for Life. I'm so honored and proud to walk the track with him and the other cancer survivors and their families. My dad was an inspiration to me even before he was diagnosed, but he is even more so now. He truly is a wonderful man of God. Everyone who meets him falls in love.

On to Five Song Friday. Actually, these are five songs that my daddy loves, too. Click the title to hear the song!

Second favorite band of all time...but a close second to The Band. And this is one of my favorite Allman Bros. songs.

I love the Beatles original version, too. But Wilson Pickett's soulful voice in this one is amazing.

Little Feat is definitely one of my top 3 favorite bands.

We've seen her in concert 3 times now. Her voice is incredible.

Sultans of Swing--Dire Straits
You have to listen to the whole thing...have to. The 8 min. mark and on is my favorite part.
Also, there are 80's people dancing for your entertainment. 

 Have a good weekend, everyone!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Adventures of Birdie and Cuffy

Ebony and Ivory, together in perfect harmony.

This week, we are doggy-sitting our friend, Rob's, dog, Cuffy. She's a precious and sweet black lab and she and Birdie are quickly becoming BFF.

Today when I got home, we did the typical. Went outside, threw the tennis ball for a while, nothing exciting. I went back in, leaving the dogs outside to play. Maybe 5 minutes later, I go back out to check on them, and this is what they Cuffy was up to.

hole digging...

 showing pride in her hole digging...

aaaand this is what she was after...

As you can imagine, I was HORRIFIED! Although it's not quite as big as it appears in the pic. Still...horrifying.
I sent the dogs inside to scoop it up with the "pooper scooper" and throw it over the fence into the woods. Only to wasn't dead. Yes, folks, I was totally freaking out at this point. I don't necessarily think of myself as a "girly girl"...but I was completely screaming/yelping/jumping around like a total priss. I had to whack the thing with the pooper scooper....2 times. Then one more for good measure. No way was I going to scoop this thing up only to find it could viciously attack me...which is exactly what I pictured happening in my head. But my whacking did the job. The little guy was dead as a doornail. 

For the last 9 months or so, Andy and I have been trying to get rid of these annoying rodents in our yard. This is what we were using. Some thing that annoyingly beeps--supposedly sending shock waves to deter the moles.
Clearly ineffective.

Who knew all we needed was a Cuffy?

This is Birdie...chillin in the shade.

pretending like this was her handy work...

Wonder what other goodies Cuffy will have for us this week? 
Stay posted!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Tasty Tuesday--Supper Club

Get ready for recipe overload. We had the supper club--again, too fancy a term for us--crew over this weekend, so instead of posting one recipe a week, I figured I'd make a Tasty Tuesday Supper Club Edition. Everything was so good and so easy. It's the perfect menu for entertaining because just about everything is make-ahead.

White Sangria
Avocado Crab Dip
Babyback Ribs
Potato Salad
Spinach-Strawberry Salad with Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing
Eclair Cake

White Sangria
Recipe from Southern Living
1/4 cup sugar
2 bottles dry white wine
3/4 cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves
1 cup orange liqueur
2-3 cups lemon-lime soda, chilled
2 lemons, thinly sliced
2 limes, thinly sliced
2 oranges, thinly sliced
1 pint strawberries, thinly sliced

1. Bring sugar and 1 1/4 cup water to a boil in a saucepan over med-high heat, stirring occasionally until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat and let stand for 10 minutes.
2. Combine sugar mixture, wine, and next 2 ingredients in a large container. Cover and chill 4 hours.
3. Stir in soda and fruit just before serving.

Avocado Crab Dip
recipe from The Pioneer Woman
2 avocados
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 Tbsp chopped onion
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 8oz. package cream cheese
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 tsp salt
2 cans crab meat, drained

In a food processor, combine avocado, lemon juice, onion, and Worcestershire. Pulse until combined. Leave some texture to the avocados.
Add cream cheese, sour cream, and salt. Pulse a couple times. Stir in crab meat.

Babyback Ribs
This recipe came from my wonderful mother-in-law.
3 racks was plenty for 8 people. Everyone had 4-5 ribs.
You can store the remaining dry rub in an airtight container.
Rubbed down and ready for the oven.
Had a little too much fun and forgot to take a picture of the finished product.
Dry Rub
2 cups brown sugar
1/2 cup salt
2 Tbsp pepper
1 Tbsp garlic powder
2 tsp chili powder
2 dashes cayenne
2 dashes paprika

Preheat oven to 280.
Line baking sheets with non-stick foil. Cut the racks so that they fit on the sheets. Place the ribs on the sheets, and rub both sides with a generous amount of the dry rub. Cover very tightly with foil.
Cook, undisturbed, for 4 hours. Uncover and slather on your favorite bbq sauce (I used Bull's Eye--Hickory Smoke). Put them back in the oven, uncovered, for about 10 minutes--just long enough for the sauce to heat up and adhere.

*When I made them this time, I took them out about 25 minutes early, and let the sit with the foil still tightly covering for the remaining time, and then put the sauce on. They were fall-off the bone tender...we literally ate them with a fork!

Spinach & Strawberry Salad 
with Sesame-Poppy Seed Dressing
Excuse the blurriness. This may or may not have been taken post a few servings of sangria.
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cider vinegar
1 Tbsp minced onion
1/2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup olive oil
1/4 cup toasted sesame seeds
2 Tbsp poppy seeds

Pulse first 5 ingredients in food processor 2-3 times or until smooth. With processor running, add oil in a slow, steady stream. Process until smooth. Stir in seeds. Chill 24 hours.
Serve tossed with spinach, sliced strawberries, and toasted almonds.

Old Fashioned Potato Salad
This is an Ina Garten recipe, however, I changed the preparation a little. Not really on purpose, but the outcome was just as good. She just prepares the potatoes a little differently. If you want her way, you can find it here.
3 lbs. small red potatoes
1 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup buttermilk, milk, or white wine (I used milk)
2 Tbsp Dijon mustard
2 Tbsp whole-grain mustard
1/2 cup chopped fresh dill
freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup medium-diced celery
1/2 small-diced red onion (optional)

1. Cut the potatoes into quarters, and boil in water, with 2 Tbsp salt, until fork tender. Drain and set aside to cool.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, milk, mustards, dill, 1 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Set aside.
3. Place the potatoes in a large bowl and pour the dressing over. Add the celery and onion, 2 tsp salt, and 1 tsp pepper. Toss gently, cover, and refrigerate for a few hours to allow the flavors to blend.

Eclair Cake
Recipe from Paula Deen
1 box graham crackers
2 (3 1/4 oz.) boxes instant french vanilla pudding.
3 1/2 cup milk
1 (8 oz.) container cool whip, thawed
1 1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
3 Tbsp butter, softened
1/3 cup milk
2 tsp light corn syrup (gasp! it's's only 2 tsp!)
2 tsp vanilla extract

Butter the bottom of a 13 x 9 x 2 in. pan. Line the bottom with whole graham crackers. With electric mixer, mix pudding with milk. Beat at medium speed for 2 minutes. Fold in cool whip. Pour 1/2 pudding mixture over graham crackers. Place another layer of graham crackers over pudding. Pour remaining pudding, and cover with another layer of graham crackers.

For frosting, blend together sugar & cocoa. Add butter and milk, mixing well. Add corn syrup and vanilla. Stir until creamy. Cover cake with frosting, and refrigerate over night.

Everyone had fun....even Birdie.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Fun-Filled Weekend

There is no doubt this is going to be one of those perfect weekends. The weekend was supposed to start with a trip to the Charleston Farmer's Market with Megan, but I'm lazy and couldn't wake up in time. I'll see her later today though, and can't wait to here about all the goodies she got! 

After that, I'll be heading to my amazing school for our community outreach program, where I, along with many other fabulous teachers, will be giving advice to parents on test-taking strategies for their child. We have over 200 parents signed up to attend, so it should be awesome!

And best of all, tonight our "Supper Club" (sounds so presumptuous and uppity, but I's nothing of the sort), will be gathering at our house! On the menu:  white sangria, babyback ribs, "old fashioned" potato salad, spinach & strawberry salad with sesame-poppy seed dressing, marinated tomatoes, and eclair cake for dessert. I'll be posting the recipes and pics soon!

Of course, all the while, the Masters will be playing nonstop on our T.V., especially on Sunday. While I don't always *enjoy* watching golf, I do love the Masters. For Andy, the world stops turning the weekend of the Masters.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Five Song Friday--Part 2

Five more songs to love. In no particular order. Although, It Makes No Difference by The Band might be one of my all time favorite songs..ever.

1. It Makes No Difference--The Band

2. I Ain't Nobody's Baby--Sharon Jones and the Dap Kings

3. Layla--Derek and the Dominos

4. Lovin' in My Baby's Eyes--Taj Mahal

5. Psycho Killer--The Talking Heads

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Tasty Tuesday--Broiled Shrimp Skewers

You can do these on the grill, too. And, as usual, super easy.

Broiled Shrimp Skewers
1 lb. peeled and deveined shrimp
About 2 Tbsp olive oil
Montreal Steak Seasoning 

Preheat your broiler.
In a bowl, toss the shrimp with the olive oil and the steak seasoning--however much, or little, you like. Skewer the shrimp. Place the shrimp skewers on a cookie sheet in a single layer, and put directly under the broiler. Leave them for about 3 minutes, or just until they turn pink. Flip and continue cooking for about 1-2 more minutes. 

I served these with a side of pasta. I don't really remember the exact measurements, but these are the ingredients I used for the pasta:

Angel hair
olive oil (probably about 1/4 cup)
minced garlic (2 cloves?)
1 can diced tomatoes
red pepper flakes (tsp maybe)
parmesan bread dipping seasoning (who says it's just for bread?)

Cook the pasta. 
Sauté the garlic in the olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet. Add the tomatoes, red pepper flakes, and parmesan seasoning. Sauté for about 5 minutes or so. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add the cooked pasta to the skillet and toss to combine.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Five Song Friday--Edition 1

Five songs for you to love. Because I do. SO much.

1.  I Lost It--Lucinda Williams

2. I'm Broke--Black Joe Lewis & The Honeybears

3. That's How Strong My Love Is--Otis Redding

4. Sweet Thing--Van Morrison

5. Mahgeetah-- My Morning Jacket

Download/Buy and enjoy. DO IT!