Monday, June 27, 2011

Yes You Can House Party

I was selected a few weeks back to Host a Canning Party through House Party. is a website you can register with to apply to host a variety of different parties that promote different products. This party was for Ball Canning Supplies.

Once you are selected House Party mails you a package of goodies and coupons to use at your party.
This kit included a Canning discovery kit, pectin, funnels, mashers, recipe book and prizes and bags for guests.

The Mom's were more interested in snacking on the strawberries than mashing them : )

slicing and dicing

Getting Ready to Can!

Final Product!  Not bad for a first try!

Me and Ande with the yummy stuff at work!

Check out Ball stuff at Walmart.  Not that expensive and a lot easier than I thought! I have always wanted to learn and I am super excited that I can do it!

Here is a recipe from the Ball Website that requires little work.  

Balsamic Vinegar-Strawberry Jam

By Barbara H. of Park Hills, Missouri
Featuring Ball®RealFruit™ Instant Pectin
Makes about 5 (8 oz) half pints

You will need:
 1 cup balsamic vinegar
 4 cups crushed strawberries
 1/2 cup honey
 5 Tbsp Ball®RealFruit™ Instant Pectin
 5 Plastic Ball® (8 oz) Freezer Jars

1.) PLACE balsamic vinegar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat until reduced to 3/4 cup. Chill until cool.
2.) MIX strawberries, honey and cooled balsamic vinegar in a large mixing bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add pectin. Stir 3 minutes.
3.) LADLE jam into clean jars to fill line. Twist on lids. Let stand until thickened, about 30 minutes. Refrigerate up to 3 weeks or freeze up to 1 year. 
Here is some on some PB toast...  MMMMMMM...

                                                                             Try it!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Sticky Buns to ENLARGE your Buns

     Here is a super quick sweet treat that is a crowd pleaser!

They are mock sticky buns.

Buy Refrigerator Biscuits and roll them into balls. Place them in a pan. I use a loaf pan but you can use whatever you'd like. Sprinkle with lots of cinnamon and chopped almonds.

Make a caramel sauce.

Melt one stick of butter with 2/3 - 1 cup brown sugar. Once melted add 1/3 cup heavy cream. Remove from the heat and stir in 1 tsp of vanilla. Pour over the biscuits and bake until they are cooked all of the way through. We usually leave them a little doughy : )


Friday, June 17, 2011

You Wanna get Chocolate Wasted?

So...  I don't mean to toot my own horn but I think this is the best Chocolate Concoction I have ever created.  Here's the recipe..  Hope you enjoy.

I was inspired to make this because I got free coffee creamer(Breve)from Vocal Point but I don't drink coffee.  I will often use it for hot chocolate.. (it makes it super yummy) but it's too hot outside.

I call it the Chocolate Haze..........
Good  Start...  right....

1 Box of Betty Crocker Chocolate Fudge Cake Mix
1/2 cup vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/3 cup Hazelnut Coffee Creamer  ( I used Breve the first time and Baileys the 2nd.  The brand doesn't matter but use a higher end actual cream.  Don't use the cheap watery stuff)  

Mix ingredients together and divide equally into 2 9in round pans.  Bake at 350 for 22-27 mins.  Check the cakes but be very careful not to overcook..  NO one likes a dry cake people!

Allow to cool completely.  Usually the centers sink in but this is actually ok.  Make sure that you face the middles together when plating.  It gives a perfect spot to put the filling.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

HighFalutin Food on a Non Falutin Budget

I love food...  I think we've already established this...   But really I LOVE food.  I love eating at cute bistro's and fancy restaurants but don't get me wrong I love a good happy meal too.  I love the experience of trying new cuisine fusions, deep rich flavors that have been coaxed along by an experienced chef and ingredients imported from far away lands.

I love watching shows like Top Chef and Chopped to get ideas for my own kitchen and also to educate myself on ingredients and verbiage.  I know that looking at a menu can be intimidating when you don't understand what they are trying to serve you.  It also cracks my face up when I read certain descriptions that are over the top snooty for no reason.

Last night I made dinner.  I would like to share the recipe with you and at the same time break down some of the vernacular that may not make sense while you are cooking or eating.

Beef Roulade with a Sherry Cream Sauce,  Potato and Leek Gratin and Haricot Verts
(What is this you say?  Rolled up Beef with stuff in the middle.  Thinly sliced potatoes and Green Beans)

But tell your guests the other name and pretend that you slaved away in the kitchen for hours!!

Filling for the Roulade:
Dice (chop up) 8oz of mushrooms
Slice a Leek (Basically a giant green onion- very subtle flavor) Cut off the yucky part at the bottom and use the white and part of the green section.  (To clean separate the rings and rinse in a bowl of water.  All of the dirt will fall to the bottom)  Coarsely chop (do a quick chop with your knife.. It doesn't have to be pretty).
Add one pat of butter (2 tablespoons) to a saute pan and add the mushrooms, leeks and one clove of garlic That has been minced (chopped up very small).

Friday, June 10, 2011

Went to San Francisco.... Made Flowers for your hair

This is a super fun super cheap and easy craft.   You can use it for hair clips, shirts, necklaces etc.

Start with Ribbon and a bunch of flowers from the Dollar Store and some buttons from a craft store.  You'll also need a needle and thread.

Begin by taking apart the flower and removing all plastic pieces.
 Take and layer the flower petals ..  rotate them to fill the spaces.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Human Kindness and Cookies

I have always been intrigued by human interaction.  The hubs and I like most people enjoy people watching and joining in on gatherings of various peoples.  We spend a good deal of time in the city of San Francisco and have had so many amazing experiences with perfect strangers on the street, in a ball park and on public transportation. If you have ever been to SF you know what I’m talking about.  ( example of one of the most amazing experiences ever!
Flashdance at the Ferry Building / Labor Day 2008 from Kevin Ang on Vimeo.)  If you squint you can see us up by the statue.
 I tend to not watch news shows, not because I don’t want to know what is going on in the world but because eventually I will learn all of the big news I need to and I want to avoid the rhetoric, fighting and negativity news stations tend to thrive on.  I prefer to observe our world through my own eyes and see the beauty that lies all around us.  I’m am not always an optimist and I do not always have the best attitude but in my heart I truly believe in the goodness of mankind.

Everyday I try to make someones day a little better.  I don’t always succeed and it is rarely a big gesture.  But a smile, helping hand, a nice comment ..  just something to make someone’s day a little brighter.

Sunday we had a tire blow out 50 miles from home.  It was Sunday after 7 and EVERY tire shop, dealership and body shop were closed.  A man named Sean ( I kick myself for not getting more info) Stopped and stayed with us for an hour in a parking lot.  Offering to take us wherever we needed to go and staying with us until he knew we were not stranded.  I was so impressed and humbled by this mans actions.  We were perfect strangers but he was there to assist us in any way that he could.   It made me think of Vivien Leigh in A Streetcar Named Desire  “Whoever you are, I have always depended on the kindness of strangers”

After calling over 20 different places (between the hubs and I) I contacted my friend who was 60 miles away whose husband is a body man.  He drove all the way to his shop, picked up a spare and drove down to help.  Once again I am amazed by his kindness and sweet dispotion.  He saved us from being stranded and reminded me that humans are amazing.

So he will be thanked repeatedly but today’s gift is a batch of cookies.   The recipe follows:

Chocolate Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies
(Started with basic recipe and added lots of goodies)

1 cup butter , softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons Cream of Tarter
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4  cups of all purpose flour
1/4-1/2 cup cocoa powder (depending on the chocolateyness you desire)  adjust sugar as necessary cocoa powder will decrease sweetness of the cookie)
1/4 cup hazelnuts (you can use any other nut you would like)
6 oz of chocolate chips

Cream butter and Sugar and blend in eggs, vanilla, baking soda and cream of tarter.
Mix in flour, cocoa, salt and chips/nuts.
Bake at 375 for 7-10 mins on an ungreased cookie sheet.
I tried as bars and as regular cookies.  Bars end up more dry. 

GO out and do good in the world!  It starts with each one of us!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Little Stacy in Big Girl Heels and eating cake.

I decided to go out this weekend and explore garage sales in my area. As I was driving around enjoying the BEAUTIFUL sunshine (and my FREE smoothie for joining I left the radio off and had some time to reflect. I haven't been to a garage sale in years. Which in itself isn't the worst thing ever but it reminded me of being a little girl and going to them with my dad. I bought my first pair of Jelly's on a saturday morning. This then spawned a whole thought process about who I was all of those years ago and what I wanted to become. My thoughts about not going to garage sales had me pondering what in me had changed since I was that little bossy girl.

Life happened. Not the way I planned. As a kid I wanted to be on PBS Saturday morning cooking shows (there was no food network back then), I wanted to be a teacher, a ballerina, a mom, a movie star. I wanted to be married to the love of my life, go to Stanford, be the boss of something big and wear amazing clothes.