Saturday, December 28, 2013

recipe: Classic Tiramisu

Classic Tiramisu

Ingredients:

6 egg yolks
1 1/4 C mascarpone cheese
1 1/4 C white sugar
1 3/4 C heavy whipping cream
2 (12 oz) pkgs lady fingers (or make your own, using the previously posted recipe)
1/3 C coffee flavoured liquor...(kahlua is perfect for this)
1 tsp unsweetened cocoa powder (for dusting)
1 1oz square semisweet chocolate

Combine egg yolks and sugar in the top of a double boiler, over boiling water. Reduce heat to low, and cook for about 10 minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat and whip yolks until thick and lemon coloured.

Add mascarpone to whipped yolks. Beat until combined. in a separate bowl, whip cream to stiff peaks. Gently fold into yolk mixture and set aside.

Split the lady fingers in half, and line the bottom and sides of a large glass bowl(a trifle bowl works lovely for this) Brush with coffee liquor. Spoon half of the cream filling over the lady fingers. Repeat ladyfingers, coffee liquor, and filling layers.  Garnish with cocoa and chocolate curls.  Refrigerate several hours or over night.

To make the cocolate curls, use a vegetable peeler and run it down the edge of the chocolate square.

recipe: ladyfingers

Lady fingers
Ingredients:

4 eggs separated
2/3 c white sugar
7/8 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder

preheat oven to 400degrees f.  Line two 17"x12" baking sheets with baking parchment (or silpats). Fit large pastry bag with a plain 1/2" round tube.

Place egg whites in bowl and beat on high until soft peaks start to form.  Slowly add 2 tbsp of sugar and continue beating until stiff and glossy. In another bowl beat egg yolks and remaining sugar.  Whip until thick and very pale in colour. 

Sift flour and baking powder together on a sheet of wax paper.  Fold half the egg whites into the egg yolk mixture.  Fold in flour, and then add remaining egg whites.  Transfer mixture to pastry bag and pipe out onto prepared baking sheet.  Bake 8 minutes.

recipe: cinnamon crisps

Cinnamon Crisps

ingredients
1/2 C sugar
1tbsp ground cinnamon
6 flour tortillas
1/4 C melted butter/margarine

Preheat your oven to 350degrees f.  Combine the cinnamon and sugar in a small bowl.  Cut your tortillas into small wedges.  Brush both sides of the tortilla wedges with melted butter and then dip both sides into the cinnamon sugar mixture.  Put the dipped wedges onto a cookie sheet or baking pan and put into a preheated oven. Bake until golden brown, between 12-15 minutes.  Serve with ice cream, applesauce or just eat them as is!  I suggest you double or triple this recipe, they won't last long!

Friday, December 27, 2013

I am so sorry folks, with the holidays upon us and with my whole family sick, with making toys for gifts and volunteering at the school, i just havent had the time to post anything in a few weeks.  But I will make good on my promise and starting today i will be posting the recipes I used during the holidays, and beyond...There are so many new recipes I have tried, I am sure you will love them all, of course my family absolutely loved them, and I cant wait to share them with you, everything from snacks, dips, and desserts, right on up to full meals...

Love you all!!

Annamarie

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Breathing a sigh of relief...

Well, Thanksgiving or thanksgivvukah is over, and we move on, yes, I will be posting more tried and true recipes.  I have been sick since Wednesday, being as we went to the hearing with Social Security.  It was a major disappointment.  I do not qualify to receive benefits.  Had i filed before 2005, I probably would have gotten it, but I never thought to do so before, not till we moved here, and now it is far too late.

But I won't get depressed over this because I have always felt that I was going to get denied, but the group of lawyers, that I had retained, assured me that I had a strong case...that was a mistake that I will not make again. 

Anyway, I am going to rest today, well, my idea of resting, anyway.  We will be going to breakfast, and then grocery shopping.  That will take the better part of the day.  Right now I am making Christmas presents. I prefer to make, rather than buy, and people appreciate them more.  I may post what I make, here.  I do post my creations over on Facebook as well.

So, I will get some recipes together and I will post them this weekend..they will come in handy for the upcoming holidays.

Have a great day, and don't forget to tell your friends and family how much you really love them, you may not get a second chance to do so...

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

this will be one dessert i make for tomorrow: pumpkin spice latte mug cakes

 
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Ingredients

    • 2 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
    • 1 egg
    • 3 tablespoons brewed espresso coffee or very strong coffee, room temperature
    • 1 tablespoon canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
    • 1/4 cup sugar
    • 1/3 cup Original Bisquick® mix
    • 1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    • Pinch of salt
    • Whipped cream, for serving
    • Ground cinnamon, for serving
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the melted butter, egg, espresso or coffee, and pumpkin puree. Add the sugar, Bisquick baking mix, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Mix until incorporated, batter may be lumpy.
    Divide the batter between two microwave-safe mugs. Place in the microwave and bake on high (100 percent power) for 2 minutes. Remove from microwave and let cool a few minutes before serving.
    If you’ve never made a mug cake before, you are in for a treat. You can satisfy your cake craving in 5 minutes. Simply whisk together a few simple ingredients, pop it in the microwave for a few minutes and you’re done! Top this easy pumpkin- and coffee-scented cake with a swirl of whipped cream and sprinkling of cinnamon to complete the latte look.

Cook’s Country Ultimate Cinnamon Buns

this is another recipe I will be making for breakfast tomorrow...


Dough
3/4 cup warm whole milk (about 110 F) Check temperature with a thermometer
1 packet (2 1/4 teaspoons) rapid rise or instant yeast
3 large eggs, at room temperature
4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornstarch
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into 12 pieces and softened
Filling
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1 1/2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, very soft
Glaze
4 oz cream cheese, softened
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
Put rack in middle position and preheat oven to 200F. When the oven reaches 200 F, turn it off. Line a 13×9-inch baking pan with foil, allowing excess to hang over edges. Grease or spray the foil with cooking spray

Combine the warm milk and yeast in a 2 cup liquid measuring cup and whisk until the yeast dissolves. Whisk in the eggs. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook, combine the flour, cornstarch, sugar and salt. Mix briefly to combine. With the mixer on low, slowly add the warm milk mixture in a steady stream and continue mixing until the dough comes together, about 1 minute. Increase the speed to medium and add the butter, one piece at a time, until incorporated. Continue to mix until the dough is smooth and comes away from the sides of the bowl, about 10 minutes. (If the dough is still wet and sticky after mixing 10 minutes, add flour, 1 T at a time (up to 1/4 cup), until the dough releases from the bowl.) Turn the dough out onto a clean work surface and knead to form a smooth ball. Transfer the dough to a large greased/sprayed bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the warm oven. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours.
To make the filling: Whisk the brown sugar, cinnamon and salt together in a small bowl. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and roll into an 18-inch square and spread it evenly with the softened butter. Sprinkle the filling evenly over the dough and press gently. Starting with the edge nearest you. roll the dough into a tight cylinder and pinch lightly to seal. Cut the cylinder into 8 equal pieces (or 12 if you want smaller rolls) and transfer the pieces, cut side up, to the prepared pan. Cover the pan with plastic wrap and let rise in warm spot until doubled in size, about 1 hour. Make ahead: After transferring the cut rolls to the greased pan, the buns can be covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. When you are ready to bake the rolls, let them sit at room temperature for 1 hour before baking as below.
Preheat oven to 350 F. Bake the rolls (minus the wrap) for 35-40 minutes, or until they are deep golden brown, the filling is melted, and they are cooked through. While the buns bake, make the glaze by whisking the soft cream cheese, milk, vanilla and confectioner’s sugar in a medium bowl and set aside. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and top the rolls with 1/2 cup of the glaze. Let cool for 30 minutes then top with remaining glaze and serve. No way we could wait this long, so we ate them after about 15 minutes. I think they are best warm anyways…
Source: Cook’s Country Dec/Jan 2009

breakfast/brunch : the rebel within...

This is one of the recipes I will be making for breakfast tomorrow...this is food porn at its finest...here is the website: http://www.endlesssimmer.com/2012/12/07/feeding-us-back-the-rebel-within/

 

The Rebel Within Resurrected


1 C all purpose flour
1 t sugar
1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1 C cottage cheese
1/4 C sour cream
4 T unsalted butter, melted and cool
1 large eggs
4 soft boiled eggs, peeled (recommend a 5 to 6 minute easy boil)
1 scallion, minced
1/4 C diced ham
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 400. Lightly grease a 6-cup muffin tin. We used a tin that makes larger than usual muffins.
2. Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and pepper together in large bowl. In separate bowl whisk cottage cheese, sour cream, melted butter, eggs, scallions and ham together. Gently fold wet mixture into dry until just combined (do not overmix).
3. Fill muffin tin halfway with batter and then lay the peeled soft-boiled eggs in and cover with remaining batter to cover. Bake until golden brown, about 25 to 35 minutes, rotating the tin halfway through.
4. Let them cool in the tin for about 5 minutes and then remove from the tin and serve

Birthday Pork Roast

This is one of the recipes I am going to make tomorrow, but not as a roll, and i will do an injection instead of a brine..I will post my version after I test it tomorrow.

Birthday Pork Roast

Recipe courtesy Guy Fieri
Ingredients

Brine:

  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup smashed garlic
  • 1/4 cup amber agave syrup
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red chile flakes
  • 1 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1/3 cup kosher salt
  • 6 cups ice, or enough to yield 10 cups total liquid
  • 1 (4-pound) bone-in pork loin with 8 bones

Pesto Filling:

  • 1/2 cup pesto, homemade or your favorite store-bought brand
  • 2 teaspoons crushed red chile flakes
  • 1/4 cup minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly cracked black pepper

Roasting Vegetables Base:

  • 2 onions, peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 cups roughly chopped carrots
  • 2 cups roughly chopped parsnips
  • 2 cups halved Brussels sprouts
  • 1/ 4 to 1/2 cup garlic, peeled and smashed
  • 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock

Finish Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter

Directions

For the brine: To a large pot, add the water and bring to a boil. Once at a boil, add the garlic, agave syrup, red chile flakes, peppercorns, and salt and turn off the heat. Once slightly cooled, add the mixture to a large container and add 6 cups ice to yield about 10 cups liquid. Add the pork and submerge. Place into the refrigerator for about 2 to 3 hours. Remove and rinse under cool water; pat dry with paper towels.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
On a steady cutting board (place a couple of damp paper towels under it to keep it from moving around), stand the roast up with the bones up and the loin down. With a sharp, thin knife, slice carefully along the bones, separating the eye of the loin from the bones, but leaving the loin still attached on the bottom. Continue butterflying and slowly roll out, creating a large flat surface for the pesto to easily spread on.
For the pesto filling: In a small bowl, combine the pesto, chile flakes, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix well and spread this mixture evenly on the inside of the rolled out loin. Carefully roll back up. Cut a 2 to 3-inch slit in between the bones. Truss the roast with kitchen string in between the bones and around the roast. This will help the roast cook evenly.
For the roasting vegetables base: In a heavy, large roasting pan, add the onions, carrots, parsnips, Brussels sprouts, and smashed garlic and toss to combine. Place the tied pork roast on a v-rack over the vegetables, tent with heavy duty aluminum foil, and roast in the oven until the internal temperature reads 145 to 150 degrees F, 2 1/2 to 3 hours. About 3/4 of the way through the cooking process remove the foil, this will help the pork brown up a bit. Remove from the oven, tent with foil, and let sit for 15 to 20 minutes to rest and carry over cooking for another 5 to 10 degrees F. Place the roasting pan over medium-high heat and add 1 1/2 to 2 cups chicken stock and bring to a boil. Allow to boil and reduce for 5 minutes.
To finish: Strain the vegetables and place onto a serving platter. Finish the sauce with about 2 tablespoons butter and remove from the heat.
Remove the kitchen string and slice the pork into 1 1/2-inch thick pieces. Serve immediately with the vegetables and pan sauce.

here is a favourite fall drink...

I am going to post two recipes back to back, a dry version and a "wet" version:

Pumpkin Cappuccino

3 Tbsp pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
2 cups milk (I use 1%)
3 cups fairly strong coffee
1 tbsp vanilla
4 tbsp brown sugar(or however sweet you like it)

Heat all ingredients in a sauce pan till steam and froth appear on the surface of the mix.


Dry Pumpkin Cappuccino mix

1 cup non dairy vanilla creamer
1/2 cup instant coffee
1/4 cup chocolate drink mix (like nesquik)
2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

Stir 2 tbsp of the mix with 1tsp pumpkin puree in 1 cup hot water till blended.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Another great bbq sauce recipe...

Ingredients:

1 C Ketchup
1/2 C beer
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1/2 C brown sugar
1/2 c chopped onion
1/4 c red wine vinegar
1/4 c worchestershire sauce
1tbsp steak seasoning
2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cajun seasoning

Combine in a sauce pain, bring to a boil. Simmer for ten minutes.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Homemade Hoisin Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 c soy sauce
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp grated ginger
1 tsp chopped garlic
1 tsp hot sauce (preferably sriracha)
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tbsp cider vinegar
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

Mix all ingredients together and keep tightly sealed in the refrigerator.  This is good for asian dishes, or as a glaze for meat. 

cake mix cookies (another version)

Ingredients:

1 box any flavour cake mix
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 egg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients at low speed until fry ingredients are moistened and dough is thoroughly mixed. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfulls, 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake for 9-12 minutes.  Cool a few minutes on cookie sheets then move to wire racks to cool completely. 

Note:
You can also experiment with various additions such as m and m's, coconut, chocolate chips, oatmeal, chopped nuts, etc.

If using chocolate cake mix, add 2tbsp water.

Magic crust custard pie

As I promised, here come the recipes...

Ingredients:
1/4 cup margarine
4 eggs
3/4 cup white sugar
pinch salt
2 cups lowfat or nonfat milk
2tsp vanilla flavouring (preferably pure extract)
1/2 cup all purpose flour

Put all ingredients into a blender (or whisk all in a bowl), blend for 30 seconds.  Pour into buttered nine inch pie pan. Sprinke with nutmeg.  Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. 

Notes:
The flour will settle to make its own crust. 

You can also experiment with this pie, adding other spices such as cinnamon, apple pie spice, pumpkin pie spice, clove, allspice, etc.

You can also experiment with adding small diced apples, two or three tablespoons of pumpkin puree, apple sauce, etc 

You can top with your favourite toppings once the pie is cool, such as cherrie, apple, peach pie filling, pumpkin pie filling, etc.

The possibilities are endless.

Friday, November 22, 2013

FINALLY...

Well I thought the woes of this site were fixed, but I just now finally got back on here to post, after getting the bugs worked out.  So I AM BACK.  I have loads of recipes and reviews to post for you, but i think i will be posting holiday recipes first...as before, these are all tried and true recipes.  Let me get them together and I will post them for you....

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Here again!

Have been having problems with Blogspot...but I am back online!  I will be posting more reviews and recipes tomorrow...and that is a promise as long as blogspot cooperates!

Annamarie

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Review: Beanilla

As you all know, saying I love to cook and bake would probably be the understatement of the century.  I am always trying new things, and then passing on the recipes to you.  I didnt learn to cook and bake the conventional way, being as my mom mainly made everything from a box instead of from scratch, and if she ever used vanilla, it was that crappy stuff you get for 99cents at your local mega mart grocery store. 

I never knew about REAL vanilla extracts and vanilla beans until Food Network came along, and i got to learn how to cook and bake from the stars on that station...It was there that I learned about the joys of REAL vanilla and vanilla beans.  The bad thing was, after going to the store, I found that the real stuff was really cost prohibitive, so i never got to try the  products, and had to continue using the artificial stuff.  I thought that the fake stuff was awesome in itself...wow, was I ever wrong!!

I had read some blogs and heard from friends, about Beanilla http://www.beanilla.com/ , and I hopped over to their facebook page and their website.  I couldn't believe how many great things they carried...I am going to tell you about some of their fantastic products...and away we go!

I tried a generous 4 oz bottle of their Madagascar vanilla extract http://www.beanilla.com/madagascar-vanilla-extract-2x...and let me tell you, it smelled like heaven in a bottle!! (and tasted divine in all my desserts and even in savory dishes!) Yes, I will post the  recipes I tried, using this fantastic product, at a later time.  It is a unique, robust, full flavoured extract that works fantastic in everything from a delicate vanilla souffle or a decadent creme brulee right down to a rustic chocolate chip cookie!

I had the ultimate pleasure of trying their fresh vanilla bean pods http://www.beanilla.com/vanilla/vanilla-beans .  I never imagined I would ever get to try such a luxury product such as these, nor did I ever imagine that there were different kinds of vanilla beans, and that they were so very different!  I tried their Madagascar vanilla beans and also their Ugandan vanilla beans...to be honest it is so very hard to pick which one i like better! I tried both of them, and to be honest I think I like the Ugandan just a slight bit more than the Madagascar.  It has a fuller bolder more aromatic scent and flavour, so I used this in a rich savory dish that I made, it was truly fantastic.  I took one of the Madagascar beans, and split it in half and then cut them in half again, crosswise, and put it in a container of white granulated sugar, and you have not had luxury until you make your own vanilla sugar.  And from this vanilla sugar, I created a vanilla scented facial scrub and it is fantastic in tea, coffee, on top of creme brulee, you name it, the possibilities are endless!

I cant wait to try more of their products! And this company is not just limited to vanilla, they have so very much more than that...it may take me a lifetime to try every one of their products but it would be worth the wait!

There are more products than I could ever even imagine on this site!  Everything from extracts to saffron and everything in between.  And not only are the products fantastic, so are the people!  I have had the ultimate pleasure of contacting and dealing with a wonderful customer rep by the name of Natalie Winquist, she has made my Beanilla experience into a real dream come true!  I cannot say enough fantastic things about this site, the people and the products ....I hope I can do more reviews on their products. My family and friends are definitely reaping the rewards of me trying out these products lol!

Monday, October 28, 2013

Here is a little freebie from a great group of people...

How about a free can opener, folks? Come on, I know you open cans now and then, we all do, so why not check this site out and grab a freebie?  Heck I know my money is tight, and I know I am always running to my drawer to find a can opener. These guys offer great quality products, and to actually get one  free is right up my alley, how about you? 

Here is the link to them...they are giving away a Free Can Opener, and while you are over there, at Candarellas, check out their other products.  They have everything your restaurant or kitchen may need...and maybe a few things you didnt even know existed! Anyhow, here is the link:

http://www.facebook.com/pages/Caldarellas-Restaurant-Supply/436784499700171?sk=app_128953167177144

What a great way to start the day, with a freebie!!  Must be a sign of great things to come...

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Yes, dear readers, I am here...somewhat...

If you remember, I wrote, last, that I was taking care of a house full of sick family members...well, Junior is doing much better, an occasional sneeze here and there.  Hubby, well, he was doing better, but a quick change in the weather sent him back down to the bottom. As for me, I fought the good fight...but yesterday, going out to the parent teacher's conference yesterday (without a jacket) did me in.  Normally I am hot blooded and never wear a jacket, but this year turned from the dead of summer to the depths of fall in one days time...from 90 degree temps to mid 30s virtually overnight.  I am amazed not more people are turning up sick.  Yesterday, I went from feeling pretty good, like Junior I had an occasional sneeze, but nothing beyond that...last night, however, was a whole different story...I was sneezing like crazy, and coughing.  It made my back feel as if I had been kicked by a bull mule.  For those of you who aren't that familiar with me, I had reconstructive back surgery back in March. So, if you know anything about what back surgery feels like, you will know that sneezing will debilitate you instantly, faster than if  you had been shot by a gun.  And the major sneezing fits that I have been going thru has really put me flat on my back, literally.  At the moment I dont feel too awful bad, but I haven't started sneezing yet, and the day has not really started per se, it is still early.  I am still in agony from sneezing the past day and a half, so my pain meds will see the light of day quite often today I think.  I wish I was off these drugs, but days like today, make me happy I still have them at my beck and call.  I am not quite ready to drop the narcotics for the over the counter stuff just yet.

I will try and post some reviews and recipes a little later...let me get my go round of meds in my system first and get the day started and we will take baby steps from there.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

A nice way to "whistle while you work " or workout for that matter

Hey, Readers!

How many of you love the old classic Disney movies? Ever been to Disneyland or Disneyworld? Did you leave singing one of the many Disney hits that we all grew up listening to?  Or that we still play for our little ones?

Do you whistle while you work? Do you use some of these old classics to work out to?..Do you sometimes play the old Disney classic songs to make the day go by faster?

I dont know how many of you hate turning on the tv just to have it as background noise, or to be a babysitter for our little ones...I know that describes me and many others that I know. 

Anyway, I digress...A new boxed set of Disney classics is being released as a box set...no not themovies that we all have already, but a boxed set of 90 movie songs like "whistle while you work" and many others...If you love all things Disney, this #DisneyClassicsBox set of 90+ songs is just for you! http://bit.ly/DCBoxSet

Preorder the #DisneyClassicsBox http://bit.ly/DCBoxSet & get a fab download from @alexgmusic7 & @PeterHollens!

I know this really made my day when I found out about it..If you dont want it for yourself, it will make a great Christmas present, especially since the holidays are right around the corner.

I know my little one is outside the Disney music tune age group, but I have caught him still humming a few of them without even realizing it...I know I do it.  My grandbaby would dearly love this...what about yours?

Why dont you go over and check them out?

Monday, October 21, 2013

I am here, readers, I haven't forgotten you.  It is a little hard to concentrate with two sick boys at the house, hubby and jr were both sick over the weekend.  I cant believe the school is making them dress out in shorts and tshirts for PE outside, when the temps have been barely over 55 degrees for two full weeks...no wonder Jr. feels like crap.  Poor baby could barely hold his head up on saturday, spent most of the day in bed.  But he sure had an appetite when it came to meal time, good thing I had made extra the night before. 

Is anyone having trouble with wisdom teeth? I think Jr's wisdom teeth are coming in, and he has been miserable for the past week...i hope he doesnt go thru the trouble I had, I had to have all four wisdom teeth and three molars pulled at the same time...I was in agony for a month while it all healed.

Oh well lots of tylenol and advil on hand.

I have lots of recipes and reviews to post for you all...let me get my head back on straight and will get them out to you all, ASAP.

Thanks for sticking with me

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

product review

While shopping the pasta aisle, at my local Walmart, (as you saw in my last review) I found those mini dried ravioli..Well, I also found something else that ended up being a real go to treasure.  The product is put out by Gia Russa. These are a product of Italy, they are mini gnocchi with potato.  They feel like little erasers, not totally dried, just dried enough to be shelf stable. 

Add these little treasures to some salted, boiling water, and let simmer for ten minutes or so, and you have a fantastic dinner.  Serve with your favourite sauce and dust with some parmesan cheese.  I actually made these and served them with that pumpkin sauce/soup that I posted the recipe for a few days ago.  These were loved by everyone in my family, and I definitely plan to stock up on these when I go back to the store.  These little packages make storing easy, stackable, and easy to find on a shelf...

These are perfect for nights when you dont know what to make, or when you are out and about and dont feel like making a big meal, or if you are too sick to cook a big meal, your family can grab a package of these and some pasta sauce and they have a great meal without making you drag yourself out of bed to cook!

Or if you know a sick friend, and you want to make them a get well basket, grab a big jar of pasta sauce and some packages of these and those dried ravioli, and a container of parmesan....your sick friend will be forever greatful!

Monday, October 14, 2013

adios balloons, hello new product review

Yesterday was the final day of balloon fiesta. It is going to be sad not seeing the skies flooded with balloons...almost like the nighttime skies are filled with stars, thats what it is like looking at the morning skies dotted with balloons.  Every shape and style and size imaginable.  If you have never  seen it before, you need to check out www.balloonfiesta.com ...if it isnt on your bucket list yet, it is definitely something you need to add.

Here is a new product that is worth more than a second glance...when you next go shopping, and you are walking down the pasta aisle, check out a little blue bag on the shelf, put out by Cora Bella, this little package packs a wallop!  Mini Mezzaluna 4 cheese Ravioli.  They are dried tiny ravioli, that you put in water to rehydrate.  In ten to fifteen minutes, you have a fantastic main course for dinner.  Just add your own sauce and some grated parmesan cheese and serve it up.  Great for nights you want a quick meal or when you are just too tired to prepare a big meal.  The price is right also, it is only about $2.50 per bag. You seriously cant go wrong with this one!  Great for serving one or two people. I bought two bags and it quite handily served 4 people. 

Let's just say I cant wait to get back to the store to stock up on this product.  Sure beats having to make room for big cans of ravioli that barely feeds my family and take up so much cabinet space!
Definitely 4 out of 5 stars for me!!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Ahhh....Balloon Fiesta time again

Sitting here watching the hot air balloons fill the air for Balloon Fiesta here in New Mexico.  Next year we may go down to Albuquerque on the special shapes rodeo day...but I hope when we go, the weather holds out.  The balloons were grounded yesterday because of high winds, but the still gave everyone a good show, they all inflated and stayed on the ground, so you still got to see all the special shapes.

There is nothing like a beautiful clear blue sky, crisp cool fall air, and balloons going up as the sun comes over the Sandia mountains...a true sign of the beginning of fall.

If you have a bucket list, put this on it, it is something you truly have to see for yourself.  This weekend I will be posting photos both here and on facebook.  Anyone wanting to see what we witness every year, can come look at my pictures.

The only thing that has marred the fiesta this year is the fact that at least two people were seriously injured.  One balloon hit power lines just down the street from where I live, one of the passengers in that gondola was so severely burned that he lost one of his arms and the others in the group were also badly burned.  The day prior, on wednesday, one of the gondolas apparently had a rough landing and an elderly woman inside broke her leg.  So as you can see, even tho there is so much beauty, there is always some beastly elements involved as well.

Will try to go out tomorrow morning, and see if I cant capture more of these beautiful teardrops and special shapes as they fill the skies...keep your fingers crossed!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Review: Realm of Darkness (Haunted house)

Hello again, dear readers!

My family and I, all went to a haunted house last night, to get us in the mood for Halloween (of course, anyone that knows me, knows I dont need to get into the Halloween mood, I am there 24/7-365).  We had seen ads for Realm of Darkness, and decided to go and check it out.  What a blast!

They took over the old Mervyn's store at Cottonwood Mall.  Upon entering the site, we saw what appeared to be a Halloween costume store,reminiscent of what we saw when we go to SpiritHalloween.  The only difference is that this group seemed much cheaper and there were not all the animatronic figures and scare tactic items, it mainly contained some haunted house halloween items like miniature hanging figures, skeletons, zombie signage, etc. For the most part they carried costumes, accessories, and such.  I was very impressed by their selections.  Next year we will definitely be going back to shop there for our costumes.

After we meandered thru all the aisles of goodies, we made our way back to the ticket booth for the haunted house.

On Sundays, the haunted house opens at 4pm.  So, we got our tickets and waited for the doors to open.  Our son had never gone to a "real" haunted house before, other than the one his elementary school put on for the kids...not one like this.  He had only seen such things on tv, he was really chomping at the bit to get started...but that quickly changed once we got inside.  He heard all the screams, hysterical laughter and "jump out and scare the life out of you" characters that were hiding in all the shadows and play acting various roles inside the haunted maze of rooms. 

It was all dark and scary, temporary walls lead to dead ends, lots of twists and turns, and crazies hiding in every shadow...thankfully I have very good night vision, so I could see what most people could not, and I did not scream every time someone jumped out of the shadows at us.  There were a lot of great scares.  I did, however, jump when someone on the other side of the wall would bang, with full force, to make the portraits smack against the wall in protest. 

The haunted house had great props and great makeup covered actors.  I can see why it was called Realm of Darkness.  That is good in some respects for the "scare tactics" but not so good for the safety issues.  Let yourself be forewarned...if you are going to check this haunted house out, wear good shoes, dont wear sandals, or slippery soled flats...wear fully enclosed shoes with good gripping soles.  There are some uneven floor issues that could be real fall hazards, as I was wearing ballet flats, with slick bottoms, and I jarred my knee and back pretty badly when the floor became uneven and slick in some areas. 

I know they dont want to lose the scare factor that the darkness provides, but to be honest, if they dont want more people hurt, they should put blacklight along the walkways or glowsticks of some sort, so that people can watch the floor as they are walking.  And there are some areas that it was real easy to get "lost" in, which is great in a haunted house, but not so good when you have to rely on one of the staff to help lead you out of, because it is SO dark that you cant even feel along the wall to find the next room, etc.  Just minor little details they should take into consideration...

All in all, this was a fantastic event, our son, tho he said he didnt get "very" scared, sure had a good grip on me (I think i still have nail marks in my arm LOL)...he handled it very well.  A great time was had by all!

The great thing about this haunted house is that the money they take in is given partially to the actors, which are high school children and adult volunteers, and (if I heard correctly) the rest of the money goes to local schools.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Pumpkins pumpkins everywhere...

Yup, can you guess that I love pumpkins?  Not just decorating with them but eating (and drinking)them as well. 

Here is a fantastic drink that I came up with today:
Pumpkin Latte (reminiscent of Starbucks)

1/4 cup (or more) pumpkin puree or pumpkin pie filling
4 cups milk (I use 1% milk)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
6 tbsp instant coffee
2 cups hot water
1 tbsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp vanilla

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, stirring to combine.  Bring to a boil. Take off heat. Serve with a dollop of whipped cream, mini marshmallows or marshmallow cream.


Last night I made cheese and spinach tortellini for dinner.  It doesn't come with a sauce so I decided to get really creative. I am tired of the same old tomato based pasta sauce, so I decided to come up with something different.  The sauce I came up with could easily be made into a soup as well.

Pumpkin and Herb Pasta Sauce

2 cups milk (I use 1% milk)
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 of a large onion, diced small
1/8 cup grated parmesan/romano cheese blend
1 tbsp chicken bouillion
1 tsp italian seasoning
1 cup water
1/4 frozen chopped spinach
1 tbs chopped hatch green chili

Mix all ingredients together till blended. Bring to a boil.  Serve as a soup or serve over pasta.

I will be posting the recipe for that fantastic apple pie that I made, yes, it turned out fantastic...no leftovers!


Friday, October 4, 2013

Sorry for not getting back to y ou all sooner, but I had a house full of not so healthy people this past week and I finally got them better, back on their feet and out the door.  Now I can get back to my writing.

Something else I will be posting from time to time are tips, cost cutting ideas, substitution lists, home remedies and cleaning products you can make at home.

I will try and get back to you later tonight with some new recipes and some reviews.

Annamarie

Monday, September 30, 2013

Junior had a great bday, this past week.  We have been celebrating since last thursday, when I prepared his favourite meal of Fall Harvest Soup and Tiramisu.  My only personal income comes from doing surveys and reviews for different companies, so I had built up $30 on my paypal, and I sat with him at the computer and told him that we could go shopping on ebay for whatever he wanted, using my paypal money.  That way I could get him some real nice things.  So, he got two wrestling figures he had been wanting, and he got two wrestlers dog tags, (one of which he knew I wanted and he got for me LOL).  Yup, we are a family of wrestling and racing fans. 

Friday after school we picked Junior up from school and we all went out to Sushi King for dinner, where our friends there, all celebrated his bday by bringing him a wonderful delicate ice cream dessert topped with whipped cream.  We had a wonderful dinner of some fantastic sushi, and a great salad that was brought to us, made by our dear friends there...THANK YOU ALL, IF YOU ARE READING THIS!!

After dinner, we went over to the theatre and watched "RUSH", the new racing film by Ron Howard, it was AWESOME!!  The movie was supposed to be in motion action seating in a special theatre inside the the regular theatre, well the seating didnt work so we didnt get to experience it that way, which was sad, I wanted Jr to be able to experience it but maybe they will get the seating fixed...Either way, the movie was spectacular, it is about the life and rivalry of Niki Lauda and James Hunt, and the near fatal crash of Niki Lauda in 1976. 

If you are a fan of racing, especially F1, this is a great movie for you...a definite must see.  Upon coming home from the movie, I delved into some online investigation of Niki Lauda and James Hunt.  I found a very recent interview with Niki Lauda on YOUTUBE, and was so happy to hear that he is alive and well and that he (Niki Lauda) helped with the screenplay of this movie, and upon its completion, he said the movie was fantastic and very well done. That Ron Howard did not "hollywoodize" the movie, and that it was very accurate, and that he and James Hunt were very accurately portrayed in the movie.  That made it even more worthwhile.  I only have one negative thing to say, and that is that Ron Howard did not need to put the graphic sexual scenes in the movie...they did not contribute to the movie in any way, and could have been cut from the film without losing any of the fantastic storyline and footage.  I do think that they could have included the fact that Lauda and Hunt had been roommates early on in their careers, which was left out of the movie.

Anyway, I was going to post another recipe here for you, but the recipe didnt work, so will have to tweak it and make it work before I post it, I will, in fact, post more recipes later tonight.

Have a great day, y'all!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Here is a recipe I promised to post for a friend...it was a mistake that turned out to be an even better turn out !!

This recipe is listed as jello marshmallows, but I couldnt get this to really turn out the way the recipe specified, but I am listing it anyway, because it turns out to be a fat free dessert, cheap, fast and easy.

I am changing the title to Jello Fluff

2 large package jello, any complementing flavours ( i used a package of peach and a package of mango)
3 cups boiling water
1 cup light corn syrup

Pour the contents of each jello package into separate bowls.  Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into each bowl and mix till all the contents are totally dissolved.  Put 1/2 cup of light corn syrup into each bowl, and stir till mixed.  Refrigerate until just thickened.  Whip with electric mixer until light and fluffy, like you were making meringue.  Put back in the refrigerator for about another hour.  dish into bowls, you have a decadent, light, fluffy dessert.  My family loved it!!  I will be making this again.

Note: 
After you whip the jello, you can add in your favourite fruit if you wish, mangoes, mandarin oranges, pineapple, etc. 

Enjoy!

Monday, September 23, 2013

This is a pretty good bbq sauce recipe in a pinch. Jr. wanted some bbq sauce, but I had used it all up making sloppy joe mix (recipe to follow later).  It isnt my best, but it was pretty good.  This will work if you need bbq sauce for a recipe and you go to the fridge and find out someone has used it all and didnt tell you!

2cups ketchup
1/4 cup spicy brown mustard
1/8 cup brown sugar
1 tbsp liquid smoke
1/4 tbsp black pepper

Mix it all up, and there you have it...thats called thinking on your feet.  You can probably add some apple cider vinegar and minced garlic to give it extra flavour as well.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Sorry for not getting this out to you yesterday, but my knee had me in so much pain, I ended up going to bed much earlier than I had planned on doing.  But I am here bright and early and I will gladly post a few recipes today to make up for yesterday.  I created a recipe that is my version of "sloppy joes"...it was made in a slow cooker and tasted fantastic!  I will post that recipe as well.

Here goes, this is my updated/upgraded version of that Fall harvest/pumpkin soup from the other day.  This is even better than the recipe I posted before.

Fall Harvest Soup:

Salsa:
2 crisp apples (preferably Granny Smith or Red Delicious)
1/2 large onion, diced
3tbsp honey
1/2 c dried cranberries (or a mix of cranberries/blueberries/pineapple, etc.)
1tsp chili powder
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp apple cider vinegar or lemon juice
1tbsp brown sugar

Mix all together in a small bowl, cover and set aside.

Soup:
1pkg bacon, rendered, drained, crumbled. (or 1pkg of your favourite johnsonville brats, diced)
2tbsp olive oil (to coat bottom of pan)
2tbsp butter or margarine
1 bay leaf
2 ribs of celery with green tops, finely chopped( or 2 leeks)
1 1/2 lg onion, diced
2 green bell peppers, diced
salt and pepper to taste
3tbsp flour, to thicken. (can be omitted, depending on how thick/thin you want your soup)
2tsp poultry seasoning (or a mix of thyme/basil/finely chopped rosemary and sage)
2 cups potatoes, parboiled and diced
1tbsp sriracha sauce (or your favourite hot sauce to taste)
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1tsp allspice or mix of ground clove/nutmeg and ginger
6-8 cups chicken stock(I make enough prepared low sodium chicken bouillion for this step)
2 cups heavy cream, i have used lowfat evap milk for this step(this can be omitted and the soup will still be wonderful)
1/2 teaspoon of chili powder(or more to taste)
2tbsp honey
2tbsp brown sugar

Heat a stock pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add the bay, celery/leeks, bell pepper and onion.
Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, herbs, spices and hot sauce, to taste. Then cook for another minute.  Whisk in stock and honey, bring to a boil. Whisk in pumpkin, by large spoonfuls.  Add the potatoes, at this point. Simmer soup for ten minutes to thicken a bit.  Add cream (evap milk) if you are including this ingredient.  Reduce heat to medium low. and let soup simmer for about a half hour, covered.  Serve topped with the apple cranberry salsa, bacon and sour cream.

Soup can be left chunky or can be pureed at this point in time.

Note:  I cooked the soup in a large crock pot, and let cook on high for 5-6 hours.  It seemed to give it an even better flavour!



Saturday, September 21, 2013

I will be posting an update to that pumpkin soup recipe...I made it two days ago and I want to give you all the new things i did to the soup that made it even better than before!

I will also be posting a full on homemade tiramisu recipe, that uses homemade mascarpone, homemade lady fingers and homemade kahlua...the result is an awesome dessert that floored everyone in the especially the birthday boy!

I hope this message keeps you drooling till a little later today.  I have to put it all from memory onto paper and then from paper to blog!

Keep those tastebuds dancing till we meet again later today!

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Junior's bday celebration meal recipes

Another year has come and gone, and my little boy is growing up right before my very eyes.  Seems like just yesterday, I held him in my arms for the first time, and now he is about to turn 12 years old, a perfect little gentleman who always makes me smile.

I couldn't be happier.  So, to show him how happy I am with him, I am treating him to his all time favourite dishes, and as I promised, I am going to share the recipes with you:

First off is the drink:

Green tea frappachinos

Make two trays of ice cubes made with your favourite flavour of green tea
1/3 can of sweetened condensed milk (preferably low fat)
1 cup regular milk (I used 1%)

Put into a blender one tray of the ice cubes, the condensed milk and regular milk and blend.  Add more milk if you like a thinner consistency or less if you like it thick. And you can add more condensed milk if you like it sweeter.

Next is the main course:

Pumpkin soup with apple cranberry salsa

Salsa:
2 crisp apples (any apples will do...depends on your preference)finely diced
1/2 large onion, finely diced
3 tablespoons honey
1/2 cup dried cranberry (or mix of any combination of dried fruits like pineapple, blueberries, etc)
1 tsp chili powder (or more based on your heat level)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp lemon juice

Mix all together in a small bowl and set aside.

Soup:
1 lb bacon, browned and crumbled
2 tbsp olive oil (to coat the bottom of a pan)
2 tbsp butter or margarine
1 bay leaf
2 ribs of celery with greens, finely chopped
1 large onion, finely chopped
2 green bell peppers, diced
salt and pepper
3 tbsp all purpose flour
2 tsp poultry seasoning or a mix of thyme/basil/finely chopped rosemary, etc.
2 cups parboiled potatoes, diced
1 tbsp sriracha sauce (or your favourite hot sauce to taste)
1 tbsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp allspice or mix ground clove/nutmeg and ginger
6 cups chicken stock (i make enough prepared low sodium chicken bouillion)
2-28oz cans of cooked pumpkin puree (NOT pumpkin pie filling)
2 cups heavy cream (I use lowfat evap. milk)
1/2 tsp chili powder (more if you like it a little spicier)
2 tbsp honey

Directions:

Heat a large soup pot over medium to medium high heat. Add the oil and melt the butter. Add the bay, celery, bell pepper and onion. Season the veggies with salt and pepper. Cook 6 or 7 minutes, until tender. Add flour, herbs, spices and hot sauce, to taste, then cook for another minute.  Whisk in stock and honey, bring liquid to a boil. Whisk in pumpkin, by large spoonfuls. Add the potatoes at this point. Simmer soup for ten minutes to thicken a bit.  Add in cream (or milk). Reduce heat to medium or medium low, and let soup simmer for about a half hour (covered).  Serve topped with apple cranberry salsa, bacon and sour cream (if you wish).

Enjoy!

Recipe for the tiramisu will come later tonight!




Monday, September 16, 2013

Well, readers,

I have a LOAD of new recipes for you, but give me just a little bit of time to go thru these to see which you would like the best...trust me, it will be worth the wait.  I have soups, desserts, crockpot, meats, and other goodies coming your way, that I have just tried from past and from recent days.  I am sure you will like them all...but let me get back to you tomorrow.  (Tuesday) I think I will start off with the recipes that I am planning to use for my son's birthday next week, here is a teaser, Gourmet pumpkin soup with spicy cranberry apple garnish, homemade tiramisu (and i do mean homemade...right down to the homemade kahlua, homemade ladyfingers and homemade mascarpone) yup, you guessed it, I can get downright creative!  I told you it would be worth the wait!

Friday, September 13, 2013

It is another week until the start of fall, but sitting here in the dark, you would think it was already here!  2am, with the door to my backyard open, I hear the torrential rainstorm and the constant dripping off the roof, and the whooshing sound of the water going down the drainpipe...nice and peaceful and quiet inside, just the cool air drifting in from outside, it is a cool 62 degrees, a lot more comfortable than the 100 + degree days we have been having thru the summer.

I am sitting here reading over last nights post on facebook and meetme and reading my email on aol...oh boy, my son is really dumbstruck over this new girl in his life.  I am not worried. He is almost 12 years old, and he has had more girlfriends than I care to even think about.  He has been so interested in girls all his life, that when he was 5 years old, in kindergarten, he went all around his school asking all the girls to marry him!!

But there was one girl, a beautiful child, with ebony black hair and pearl white skin, and eyes you could only dream of...that captured my son's heart.  They were in the same Kindergarten class, and they were together all thru first grade, inseperable. They spent time together at school and again after school, at her house.  Then, the heartbreaking news came that her and her family were being shipped off to another state, because of her father being in the military.  My son was heartbroken.  It was crazy. At that age, you think, it's nothing but puppy love...but this was different.  I mean, he wholeheartedly was head over heels for her.  He would bend over backwards for her and do anything she asked...They moved away during the summer after first grade.  My son was devastated all that summer and beyond... Their 1st grade teacher had received a letter from them, and in that letter, they shared their new address, wanting her to give the address to her friends...sadly that day never came. the teacher lost the letter and address, therein, over that summer...My son was inconsolable.  I contacted the teacher many times, hoping she would find that letter, but she never did, somehow, I don't think she felt it was important, I really don't think she even tried to find it.  I even searched facebook and all over the internet, with no luck at all.

Maybe, someday, she will turn up.  My son is 12 years old now, and still thinks about her often, still sheds a tear on occasion when we talk about her.  Puppy love? I don't think so..it goes way deeper than that.  But he is moving on with his life.  He has a new girl that he has his eyes on now.  Also in 7th grade with him.  I haven't met her yet, but how odd that she has dark hair and he has fallen madly in love with her. 

I got on Facebook this morning, and all I saw were posts from my son, all about how he has fallen for this dark haired girl, and how madly in love he is over her, and how he hopes she will accept him.  I won't lie, and I am not just saying this because I am his mother and I am biased...but he is a cute little boy, with a wonderful sense of humour, a smile that would brighten the darkest room, and he could make the girls melt with just a look...( no wonder he had 16 girls falling all over him last year).  He is a little overweight, but he is working on that, we work out together, we swim, bicycle, walk together, etc.  I am sure I will hear more about this girl that is just beyond his reach right now? Will she become his conquest or just another dream?  Stay tuned readers, I will post more on the development as this story progresses.....

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Good morning my dear friends and family members...

Today I will be posting tried and true recipes. I think, from now on, I will be posting recipes on Saturdays and Sundays. The rest of the week will be a hodge podge of reviews, recipes, crafts, pictures (yes I am going to start sharing pictures as well, and whatever else comes to me.

Cake Mix cookies...version 1 (yes I have several versions of this)

You can make these cookies all your own based on what you add to them. 

1pkg cake mix, any flavour
2 eggs, slightly beaten
1/2 cup oil (or those who are health conscious like I am, you can substitute with any pureed fruit such as apple sauce, pumpkin -not the pumpkin pie mix-, pear, peach, etc.)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease your cookie sheet (or use silpats)

Combine all ingredients together and mix well. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then remove from oven and let cool for a minute or two, before removing them to wire racks to cool completely.

These variations work well:

Add a capful of coconut flavouring and a half cup (or more) of shredded coconut to your mix.  They will end up tasting (and looking) like macaroons!

Double Chocolate: add one or two cups chocolate chips to a chocolate cake mix

Peanut Butter Dreams: add 1 or 2 cups peanut butter chips to white or yellow cake mix.

Chocolate Peanut Butter: add 1 or 2 cups peanut butter chips to a chocolate cake mix.

Mixed up Elvis cookies: Add 1 cup nutella hazelnut spread, 1 cup chopped banana, and 1/2 cup marshmallow cream to any cake mix. (You could conceivably leave the oil out of this batch completely, especially if you puree the bananas instead of chopping them).

double chocolate chip: Add 1 or 2 cups chocolate chips to white, yellow or chocolate chip cake mix

coconut almond: add 1 cup coconut, 1 cup almonds(optional) and one teaspoon almond extract to white cake mix

Banana spice:  add 1/2 cup mashed banana and 1/2 cup chopped pecans and 1/2 cup cinnamon chips to a spice cake mix.

M and M mix up: add 1/2 cup peanut m and m's, 1/2 cup regular m and m's 1/2 cup peanut butter m and m's to a white or chocolate cake mix.

Enjoy!!

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Good morning, everyone!!  Sorry I have been on hiatus the past few days, this week I have been majorly working out at physical therapy, and guess what? I GRADUATED!!!!  No more struggling, I made a huge improvement from when I started.  What an incredible group of people that are associated with Rio Rancho Physical Therapy.  God knows I have been thru a lot of physical therapy in my life, knees, back, ankles, etc...and in those days, in California, they believe in the old addage, "No pain, no gain" and "Do it till it hurts."  Those were the old days...that is not how Rio Rancho Physical Therapy works.  They are very professional, very down to earth, basic, well rounded, intensive and all encompassing.  The big thing is, you are never alone. 

Your first trip in, you fill out your typical paperwork, and then you meet your therapist.  I had the immense pleasure of being paired with Don Hoover, MSPT.  He is incredible.  I think he was a little surprised when he met me, when he saw that I had such a wide range of motion and that I was fairly strong going into this.  I am dedicated to getting back to where I should be.  I don't let a day go by that I stagnate, I am constantly walking, bending, stooping, lifting, etc., and I need to have that strenght and flexibility.  And with this back injury, that I have dealt with since I was 16, it hasn't been easy. When your back is damaged, the rest of your body suffers, and in my case, not only did I have the back issue, I had two damaged knees as well.  Even tho I have always been physically active, always worked out, I had to "favour" certain areas because of the pain...but I still forced myself to work out those areas.

Don helped me back on the road to where I should be, and he sees my dedication, and the fact that I refuse to give up.  He gave me so much positive reinforcement, kudos, and a lot of "hand holding" thru the whole work out regimen from start to finish. I worked out every part of my body, not just the back, but my shoulders, neck, hips, knees, ankles, etc.  If you strengthen all that, then your back benefits as well.  I feel a lot better since I started going to physical therapy, sure, there were a couple of days that I was so sore I could barely move, but if you keep working out, not just in the studio, but at home as well, you will reach your goals and you won't be so sore. Each day that I work out, I feel more secure, less pained, stronger, more flexible, and I feel my whole attitude improving.  I don't even think about my back half the time anymore, it used to be my focal point and I used to be afraid of doing certain things, that it may make my back hurt more, now, thanks to Don, I don't have that fear anymore.

Although I don't have to go to PT any more, I will continue my workouts at home and at the gym, I will get stronger and even more free and confident in my movement.  And this will also help me be that much farther ahead when I have to have my knees operated on again, or if I ever have to go for another back surgery...I will already be strong going in, and I will be that much stronger coming out!  I used to dread the thought of PT, but thanks to Don and the rest of the staff, that I had the pleasure of working with, I actually looked forward to PT. It no longer reminds me of the dungeon and torture chambers that I endured growing up in California.

I want to thank Don and the staff of Rio Rancho Physical Therapy for putting me on the right track, and the graduation shirt, I was given upon my completion, was a nice touch as well. 

I would highly recommend this group, and should you need physical therapy, and you have several choices available to you, let me help you make an educated decision, I highly recommend Rio Rancho Physical Therapy,  They are located at 4516 Arrowhead Ridge Drive SE, Rio Rancho, NM 87124 and their phone number is 505 896-4978.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Good morning, readers!

I will be posting more recipes and reviews a little later.  Got some more mouth watering recipes that I hope you all will love.  I have quite a bit to do today, I will be going to our gym to workout, I have some baking to do, dishes to do, figure out what I am going to eat for dinner, get some craft stuff into the closet and arrange it  properly, etc...got lots to do lol  But I have not forgotten you, I will get to the recipes a little later today and that is a promise.

Friday, August 30, 2013

Okay.....

I have started posting some of my tried and true recipes...I haven't heard any feedback from anyone...do you want me to keep posting recipes? Let me know what you want to see...this blog is for you.

annamarie

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I don't care who knows it, I am a Paula Deen fan and supporter.  This is one of her recipes, that is also a family favourite..

Fried Ravioli with Marinara Cream Sauce

9 Oz package frozen cheese ravioli
3/4 Cup grated Parmesan Cheese (and more for topping when served)
2 Cups (lightly crushed) Rice Crispy Cereal (or generic equivalent)
1/4 Cup milk
1 large egg, slightly beaten
salt/pepper to taste
oil
Marinara Cream Sauce(recipe to follow)

Cook ravioli for 2 minutes.  Place cooked ravioli on paper towels to drain, set aside. 
Put cheese and crushed rice crispies into a shallow breading dish.  Whisk together milk, eggs, salt and pepper in a shallow breading dish. Dip ravioli in egg then dredge in cheese/rice crispy mixture.  Pour oil to a depth of 1/2 inch in a skillet or dutch oven; heat to 360 degrees F.  Fry ravioli, in batches, 2 minutes on each side, or until golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Serve with Marinara Cream Sauce and grated parmesan cheese.

Marinara Cream Sauce

1 1/2 cups prepared marinara sauce
1/2 cup heavy cream (whipping cream, NOT whipped cream)

In a large saucepan, combine sauce and cream.  Bring to a boil over medium low heat.  Boil for 2 minutes.  Remove from heat.

This is a great recipe, of course I haven't ever found a bad Paula Deen recipe...enjoy!
Sausage and Biscuit Casserole

1 lb pork sausage
2Tbsp butter/margarine
12 eggs
1 can evap. milk (NOT condensed)
2 tubes refrigerated biscuits (preferably flakey layers Grands)
2 packages sausage gravy mix or make enough of your own sausage gravy using a roux/milk/crumbled cooked sausage
your favourite seasoning blend...I used italian seasoning, chili powder and red pepper flakes.  It all depends on how spicy you wish to make your casserole.

Cook sausage in 10 inch skillet breaking it up as it cooks, set aside.  in large saucepan, make gravy according to directions.  Add sausage to gravy, set aside.  In large stainless steel bowl, whisk eggs and evaporated milk and seasoning. Scramble eggs with the butter. In a baking dish, layer gravy and eggs, as if you were making lasagna. Top with biscuits.

Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees until biscuits are golden brown. 

This recipe is a family favourite. It can be used for any meal, not just breakfast.  I like making this on a Sunday morning for brunch for my family. 
Here is my latest entry...sorry I missed yesterday, but was so tired and stiff after an hour long workout that I bypassed my blog and just crashed and burned offline.  I will make up for it today, maybe will post more than one recipe, we shall see.....

Gingerbread waffles:

2 1/4 C. flour (sifted)
1 1/4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. ginger
1 C. dark moleasses
1/2 C. milk
1 egg separated (white stiffly beaten)
1/2 C. butter/margarine (melted)

Sift dry ingredients together. Beat egg yolk. Add moleasses and milk. Combine egg and flour mixture.  Add melted butter, and fold in stiffly beaten egg white.  Bake in waffle iron.  Serve with syrup or ice cream.

These are fantastic...I think they would taste great with pumpkin pie ice cream...

Monday, August 26, 2013

Here is the first of many new tried and true recipes i want to share with my friends:

Pasta Ala Carbonara
Ingredients:
1 lb dried pasta such as spaghetti, angel hair or tagliatelle
4 tbsp olive oil
6 oz bacon or pancetta, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
5 large eggs
1 cup grated parmesan or parmesan/romano cheese (with extra on the side for serving)
freshly ground black pepper (to taste)

directions:
Bring a large saucepan of salted water to a boil, add the pasta, and cook according to package instructions until al dente.

While pasta is cooking, heat the oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the pancetta/bacon and cook, stirring occasionally, about 6 minutes, until crisp.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute.

In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the parmesan/romano cheese, season with pepper, and add to the contents of the pan with the pancetta/bacon, including the rendered grease.  Drain the pasta well and return to the saucepan, then quickly stir in the egg and pancetta/bacon mixture until the pasta is well coated. Serve immediately, with extra cheese on the side.


Notes:  This is a fantastic, quick and inexpensive dinner to make.  Serve it with a little garlic bread and a salad, and it is also a great romantic dinner as well as a family pleasing meal.

Enjoy!!
Good morning viewers!

Are you all ready for some tasty treats? I have tried several new recipes this weekend that I can't wait to share them with you!  So let me get them all together and hold onto your seats...I am going to post several today and more during the duration of this week...

If anyone here has any kind of recipe they are looking for, please let me know, or if there are dietary needs you are dealing with, please tell me and I will do my best to accomodate whatever needs you may have.

Have a great day one and all, and hope you love what I am about to post....

Monday, August 19, 2013

Happy middle of the month Monday

Good morning to one and all- I hope this morning finds you in good health and good spirits....

This past weekend was a busy one...busted tail at my mother in law's house.  She moved back to Maryland about a month ago (without so much as saying goodbye to any of us), and her son came back to pack up what he could and leave the rest for whomever wanted it.  We did get a lot of things, which is great...wont have to buy canned goods and such for a long time.  And was able to save many of her collectibles...

Hubby, Jr and I really busted our behinds getting everything together that we wanted, and then packed up and taken home.  We just about collapsed when we got home!  I know hubby was hurting and tired, so was Jr...and my back, although it wasnt as bad as it normally would have been, but thanks to that last surgery wasnt as bad as I had anticipated, but it did feel like it was on fire and the muscles were all in knots....say hello to valerian root and a pain killer!

Yesterday, I took the time to start actually going thru the stuff we had grabbed, will do more today, plus I have a bunch of food items and sundries to put away, I don't relish the idea of being down on the floor to do it, but gotta do what needs to be done.

I plan to start posting tried and true recipes and pictures in the next several days...I hope you will like them. 

Guys and Gals, I really need your input, what kinds of things do you want to see in my blog? Recipes? Pictures? And if you want to see pictures, what kind...?  (Keep it clean, y'all!) Crafts? product and business reviews?  Just tell me and we will see what can be done.  Otherwise you can just listen to my boring days and rants.

Who caught the Nascar Cup race yesterday?  Bye Bye Jimmie!!  Could not have been happier to see Jimmie and Kyle Busch both go away....Was sad to see Mark Martin run out of gas three laps from the finish....I would have been all over that crew chief, thats for sure!  Come on Danica, you did so good in Indy car, why are you sucking so bad at Nascar?  Just because you are fully enclosed and you have a lot more protection in a Cup car, you shouldnt be so timid, you werent timid in Indy, so dont be timid in Cup...the good ol' boys network really wants to see you win, you gotta prove the Petty's wrong...now's the time to Cowgirl up, kiddo!! 

Yup, you guessed it, I am just a good ol' girl, I like Nascar, whiskey, shine and wine,  I am all into my family and friends, my home/family and God are the two most important things in my life, everything else is second.  I like dogs, gardening, cooking/baking, art and crafts, movies, music, makeup/nails, getting dolled up and going out or just staying in for a quiet night at home...tho when I do that, I am stuck with my mom, and anyone knowing about that situation knows how i feel....I love sitting on my porch watching the balloons as they go overhead, or sitting inside and watching the birds flock around my back yard.  Life makes me happy...and so much happier since I had my back surgery and I can fully enjoy life instead of spending most of it in agony lying in bed.  Thank you Dr Slaughter!  God bless that man and his family!!  And thank you to a fantastic Physical Therapist!  Now I just have to get my vision fixed and get in to an ENT to find out why I have no sense of smell or taste since I had nasal surgery last year!  It is hell being a cook/baker and having to rely on my son to tell me how my food tastes, but he is awesome at it, and I love spending time in the kitchen with him, teaching him everything I know.  He is the only gift I will ever need in this life....and that gift is the most precious anyone could have given me.

Well, I have rattled on long enough, I will get down to business and start posting reviews and recipes this week and we will go from there, still taking baby steps till I get used to blogging daily like most people do.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Alright folks, how many people do cooking at home, on a trip, while camping, on a boat or whatever?  I found a product that is inexpensive and would cut all your cooking chores and time spent prepping food for cooking, in half.

I found a great little product, that has really been a God send in the kitchen.  It takes up very little room, requires no electricity or batteries, just takes a little turn of the wrist.  This little gadget will do all the chopping, pureeing, shredding, slicing, mixing, etc....

I love cooking and baking, but I dont like to spend all day doing prepwork.  We saw this cute little item on the shelf in one of those "as seen on tv" stores in the mall here.  It was under $20, and may I say, it was money well spent!  It has cut my kitchen time in half, literally.  This gadget does all the work for you with just a little turn of the handle on top of the unit, all your prep work and mixing is done fast and easily.

It is called the Kitchen Plus 2000...if you want to check it out you can find it on youtube as well, ther is a well done little infomercial...when the video was released it was called the "Chefdini".  It is really a great little product, it does over 30 functions!  There is a recipebook/instruction book and at least 15 different parts all for that one little price...you can take it anywhere...are you participating in a chili cookoff? Take this with you and it will chop all your peppers, onions, etc...in no time at all...this gadget would take first prize in any cook off! lol!!  Don't believe me? Check this out: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nUM3Reo97NM

This item gets a big two thumbs up from me!!  Well worth the price.  If you were to buy a kitchenaid mixer, all the attachments, a mandolin, and various other kitchen items they would cost you upwards of $500!  I know, some people would prefer to waste electricity and space in the kitchen...i have a very small kitchen so this gadget is a perfect fit, and even better, it fit into our budget!!  It doesnt get any better than that...It makes short work out of making guacamole and salsas of any kind...without dirtying knives, cutting boards, dishes and such...and clean up is so easy....

Well its time for me to go and start my time in the kitchen...maybe I will start posting pictures of my creations.....

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

The other day my family and I went out to lunch, and we decided to go to Hong Kong Buffet.  We have been there before on many occasions, and have always had great food and great service.  Well, this day is unlike the rest.

We had gone out to walk around the mall, for exercise, mainly...and decided to stop at Hong Kong Buffet since we were that close to it.  We all have favourite foods we mainly aimed for, and we all ended up having a bad experience that day. 

My son immediately headed for the baked cheesy oysters, usually they are pretty good, this time they were just awful.  The cheese tasted and looked like cheese whiz, the oysters were cold and rubbery.  Not good.

Then it was my husbands turn, he went for his favourite enchiladas.  In his case, the enchiladas were cold and hard.  And there were several other items he picked up that ended up being a sad disappointment. 

As for me, I went for the jalapeno octopus...usually the octopus is tender and flavourful...this time there was virtually no flavour, the octopus itself was cold and rubbery, a clear sign it had been overcooked and not seasoned properly.  I had looked forward to some ice cream after our lunch was finished.  Well they had eight flavours of ice cream, which was great...but the major problem was none of the flavours were marked as to what they actually were.  This could actually pose a serious health threat.  Many people have food allergies like nuts, milk, various fruits, etc...well if you dont label your product there is a serious risk of a person with allergies picking something that could potentially send them to the hospital with anaphylactic shock.  And that could mean a huge lawsuit against Hong Kong Buffet. If that wasnt bad enough, this ice cream was self serve, hard packed ice cream...any child could go into it, they could sneeze into it, spit into it, put dirty hands into it, etc...there is usually a sign on self serve ice cream bins that say no children under 12  without being accompanied by a parent.  Most restaurants have gone to soft serve ice cream which is totally enclosed and no one has access to the product except what comes out when you pull the handle.

The service is always done with a smile, whether they are filling/refilling your drinks or clearing away used dishes, they always offer pleasant service.  But pleasant service is not going to make up for bad food or unmarked containers.   

My  rating of that day's experience ...definitely three thumbs down.  They are seriously going to have to improve on these issues before we plan a return trip.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

I'm back...

Ok, here we go...

Here is what is going to be happening....and what you can expect from me and my blog.  I have been helping other people start up their own blogs so mine kind of took a nosedive.  But I am back...in the best health I have known in years.

What you can expect from me is tried and true recipes, healthy and not so healthy new recipes, and how i tweak the recipes i make, to make them more healthy...trust me, it is not difficult.  I will be posting reviews on businesses, products, restaurants, etc.  If you send me questions, comments or ideas, you might see them answered or discussed here...and I will be adding ads for new businesses, etc. 

If you are a business and want to send me a product to review or offer as a giveaway, let's talk!  If I like your product I will even give you a little free  publicity right here on my blog by posting your "button" on my profile that will be a link back to your website if someone clicks on it.

I am even going to look into posting pictures on here.

So, tomorrow, I will be making my first official post on here since I got back out of the hospital...Look out world!!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

i'm BAAAAACK!!!

I am really sorry that I have been away so long...blogspot somehow decided they were going to shut down my blog and i could not activate it no matter what i tried...some one told me it was because of inactivity, well it is a little hard to be active when you are in the hospital several times in the  past few months...anyway i will talk about all that later...I am here to stay and now that i am back into my blog I will post on a regular basis.  I hope i havent lost any of you...God bless you all!

Annamarie

Thursday, January 10, 2013

I received two Bic 4 colour pens from Smiley360...all I can say is WOW...I use the pen for volunteering at school grading papers and tests and various other projects, which made the teachers extremely happy since now I have more than one colour to grade with and I also do artwork for a tattoo parlour and having this pen really makes a difference in showing what a tattoo would look like finished because it has the colours that I would be using to do the actual tattoo. Let me tell you, there were some very jealous individuals(teachers and tattoo individuals) who were seriously wanting my my pen, so i found where they were being sold and I know they rushed right out and bought several of them and you saved us so much money because now we dont have to buy all these colours of pens seperately which really took money away from other projects...but now its all falling into place and you made some people very very happy. I know I am going out to buy even more of these, I adore these pens, they flow instead of blot and smear...wonderful!! fantastic!! ....how many words can I possibly use to describe such an awesome product.... i cant wait to see what smiley is gonna send out next for me to try out and review and then blog about....always like Christmas when I see a package coming in the mail from them even tho I generally know what the item is, because I signed up for the mission lol!!  

There will be plenty more reviews to put in here soon, but we just moved so I am still unpacking.....and as soon as I unpack my notes, I will have a whole lot more to put on here...keep your eyes peeled for more goodies!!

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Hello all my dear readers...I know I haven't written a post since November, but it would blow your mind if you knew all that has happened to us this year...and none of it good.   We had a wonderful holiday together, my family and I that is....Christmas and New Year's Day were wonderful since our family got to spend the holiday together.  It was quiet around here, for a change, our rotten next door neighbours apparently moved out, thankfully, so we all got a quiet night's sleep.  Rather than pick apart every little thing, every year I write a newsletter for our Christmas cards that I send out to family and friends...so I am going to copy the letter here so you all can see why it took me so long to finally write a post since November.....it will help you understand. 

First off we had to say goodbye to our furbaby, Olivia. We had adopted her from the animal shelter, but they neglected to tell us that she was not housebroken.  So she ended up ruining the carpet in the entire house. But I do not blame her entirely since she was my mother's responsibility, and she had that dog so spoiled her hands were never off that dog, she was constantly petting her or giving her treats, or whatever but when she gave her signal that she had to go out, my mother would just ignore it and the dog would piddle or poop whereever she happened to be at the time.  So we turned her back in to the animal shelter, in hopes that maybe she would find a family that could spend more time with her, and can give her more of what she needs.

In January 2012, we were forced to move out of the house that we had grown to love and call home  since we moved here to New Mexico in 2009.  But the owners decided that they were going to get a divorce, and the wife  gave us a ten day notice to vacate or else. We lost almost half our belongings, including clothes, collectibles, jewelry, makeup, shoes, furniture, crafts and supplies, toys, etc.  You name it, it got left behind because we didnt have the time, the help, or the place to put it all, but it was heart wrenching because some of the items were irreplaceable that belonged to my grandmother and my husband's mother...but what can you do?  What that woman did was illegal and we all knew it but we couldnt afford the lawyer to fight it and even if we did, they were putting the house in foreclosure so either way we would have to get out...   The house we had planned to buy, fell thru (thanks VA...thanks for nothing).  So we had to move back into an apartment which we all hate, we said we would never move back into an apartment when we moved to new mexico, but we didnt have a choice.  It was supposed to be a downstairs apartment but when we got over here to sign the papers we ended up stuck with an upstairs apartment, we had to take it , we didnt have a choice...we didnt have time to go look around for something else at least not then...We are trying to get into a downstairs apartment here, which means moving again, but in the long run, it will be easier on hubby and myself with our health problems.  We were initially told we could move in December but corporate gave the apartment that was scheduled for us, to the new maintenance manager, so that means we wait, AGAIN...now we are supposed to move in january, but we dont have a specific day yet...maybe we will know tomorrow...who knows, we will see. It will be a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment, which will mean a whole lot less stress on us because four people trying to use one bathroom is next to impossible...and even tho we are taking care of her due to her having dementia, she puts an awful lot of stress on our family, but we just dont believe in putting her into a home unless she gets so bad we cant handle her.

Between my mom and our son's 5th grade teacher, I honestly thought we were going to have to keep him back a year but because of his fantastic state testing grades, they refused to keep him back...but at least hes away from certain teachers and students.  He is in middle school now and loving every minute of it, hes not having emotional problems anymore, hes not having any melt downs he loves his teachers he loves his classes...he almost hates  the fact that  its time to switch elective classes because he loves the elective classes that he has now....but thats ok, we will keep him active at home and hes got some new elective classes picked out that he will like almost as much as his first one.  He will do fine as long as they keep him interested and challenged and make it so he isnt bored.  We thought we were going to have to switch schools because we had an issue with one of the school nurses ...long story...

Let's see, health issues thats a big one.  In may I ended up in the hospital and found out i had blood clots in my lungs...which now its all gone so i dont take blood thinners anymore.  That was scary.  In October I had the polyps in my nose removed, finally, so i am feeling so much better. I healed up real well but it was supposed to be a day surgery and it ended up being a 3 day surgery because I went into respiratory distress...finally got home and rested up...(yeah right), then in November i got hospitalized when I found out I was allergic to aspirin of all things!! So I was in the hospital for one day in ICU for that one till they got me stabilized..then I went home and rested up again...(wishful thinking), Then two weeks later I took some ibuprofen for some inflammation in my knee, and it started upsetting my stomach so i took some pepto bismal...BIG MISTAKE, i couldnt breathe, i had diarrhea and was throwing up and sick to my stomach...little did i know both ibuprofen and pepto both have aspirin in them so i  got a double dose which really was scary ...almost spent two days in the hospital with that one. So now i have to look at every single thing i take over the counter.  It is in the pharmacy's computer system that im allergic to all that stuff, so if any doctor gives me something that has something I am allergic to it will put up all kinds of red flags.  And now I have to get busy packing to move!  IF they make up their mind and give us a downstairs apartment. 


Now you have an idea of what kind of year we have been having.  Thats why I love it when a company sends me something to review on my blog, that really does help. And I do not mind at all reviewing products and writing product reviews I dont even mind giving some free advertising on my blog if the product and company are good and I believe in them.

Well there ya go folks, theres some readin material for ya, and it will help you understand me a little better.  I actually have several more posts to put up if i can stay out of the hospital and if this move doesnt kill me first lol.

Happy New Year, Y'all!!

Annamarie