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Archive for March, 2012

A couple of months ago, I noticed cowboy nachos on a menu and the thought intrigued me. Not enough I ordered them, but it piqued my interest and I started looking up recipes online.

The two things I learned from all the recipes I found were:

1. You must include beans

2. You can use cheap cuts of beef

So I decided to make up my own recipe and give this a whirl. Captain Cavedweller was pretty glad I did.

The recipe is easy and really quite tasty. Give it a whirl!

Ingredients

 

Start by cooking your brisket.

 

I cut mine in half, stuffed it in the slow cooker, added a can of chicken broth and some seasonings. Eight hours later, I had perfectly tender meat.

 

Bake fries in a single layer in the oven.

 

Start building your nachos with the fries first.

 

Followed by the chili beans.

 

Dollop on sour cream.

 

Layer on slices of meat and sprinkle (or drench if you are Captain Cavedweller) with barbecue sauce.

 

Top with cheese and olives - then enjoy!

Cowboy Nachos

beef brisket, cooked and sliced thinly

waffle fries

can of chili

shredded cheddar cheese

sour cream

barbecue sauce

sliced olives

Start by cooking the brisket. I put mine in the slow cooker for eight hours with a can of chicken broth and some salt and seasoning. If you have a good barbecue joint in your town, you could also pick up brisket already cooked if you are in a hurry to put this together.

About 20 minutes before you are ready to serve, pop the fries in a single layer in the oven and bake until golden (following package directions).

Ten minutes before the fries will be done, remove the meat from the slow cooker and let rest for about five to seven minutes. Cut into thin slices.

Cook chili according to can directions (I nuke mine since it takes less time and then I can serve in the same bowl!).

You can let people put on their own toppings or you can make a huge platter – your choice. Just layer on fries, chili, sour cream, meat, barbecue sauce, cheese and olives.

That’s it.

Hearty, flavorful and so good!

Enjoy!

She Who Will Be Making These Again

 

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I was scanning through Pinterest the other day and a dress pin caught my eye.

It reminded me of the dress Mary Poppins wore when she and Bert and the kids spent a day in the country side.

Remember it?

The first time I saw this frothy white confection with the red accents and the fantastic red waist, I wanted it. I longed for it. I dreamed about it. I wanted the entire outfit, minus the parasol. It seemed trifling in comparison to this wonderful amazing dress.

Not long after my obsession for Mary’s dress calmed down, I saw Gone with the Wind for the first time. Oh, how I wanted to have Scarlett’s wardrobe. But more than anything, I wanted one dress in particular.

This beauty. It may have been because of the color. Maybe because her waist looked so tiny and perfect in it and at that time mine was a whopping 19 1/2 inches. Maybe because she was sassy and determined and I wanted to be like her.

Whatever the reason, I wanted this dress with a longing that went beyond description.

There have been many dress obsessions since the days of my teen years when all this longing began. Like the ice-blue Jessica McClintock dress I wanted my junior year. I tried it on multiple times, begged and pleaded with my mother why I needed a $200 dress to wear once and finally resigned myself to the fact that some girl luckier than me would be enjoying the beautiful creation.

My senior year, I fell in love with a mermaid style dress that was quite similar, in fact, to the bombshell design Rosemary Clooney wore in White Christmas.

She looked amazing. I loved every single thing about this dress from the dramatic neckline to fun mermaid skirt.

And who wouldn’t want to be dressed in Rose’s wardrobe from Titanic.

I’ve always wanted a hat that could take somebody out from three-feet away.

Seriously, though, I love the look and style of this era. It probably stems from my fascination with the girl of Charles Dana Gibson’s drawings.

The women looked so feminine, lovely, alluring. Their clothes – they intrigue me so.

Just like leg ‘o mutton sleeves.

I’m so fascinated by them, in fact, I altered my wedding dress pattern to include the poufy design.

I keep thinking I’ll get over my obsession with beautiful clothes. So far, it hasn’t happened.

I still haven’t fully recovered from wanting Rosemary’s dress. Maybe someday, with enough Spanx, it will happen.

She Who Should Have Been Born in a Different Era

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I’m conflicted.

Really, I am.

You know those ads in magazines that show some odd looking doll that you know some old lady faithfully collects with her limited pension funds? The ones that sometimes look creepy and strange and you wouldn’t want to have in your home because you are pretty sure in the dark of night you’d wake up and find it staring at you?

I hate to admit it, but one of those dolls just completely captured my attention. Does that mean I’m turning into a weird old lady who’ll begin a freaky doll collection? Aaccckkk! I hope not.

But you’ve got to see this doll.

Doesn’t it look like a real-live baby?

From the Ashton-Drake Galleries, this doll is one of their “So Truly Real” collection, made by artist Linda Murray.

This sweet little thing, from her chubby pink cheeks and dark hair to her adorable little fingers, is 22 inches of life-like baby.

For someone who would rather cuddle a baby than eat chocolate (up until said baby cries, needs changed and wants fed), this seems like an ideal solution.

But then that makes me one of those deranged old people with questionable behavior.

See where I am conflicted?

Here is the part of the doll that is really throwing me for a loop. It is “interactive” and once you insert the batteries, you place your finger in the doll’s tiny little hand like this:

And then the doll does this:

Oh. My. Gracious.

And look at these tiny little life-like fingers, right down to the fingernails.

I bet the doll even has that sweet baby smell.

The best course of action at this point is to forget I ever saw this.

Yep.

That’s what I’ll do.

She Who May Be in Love with This Doll

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I’ve noticed a lot of attention is being paid to shades of green lately.

Perhaps everyone is as ready for spring as I am and by turning to the colors of grass, flower stems and budding leaves, it is our way of rushing the season.

Whatever the reason, you can have a lot of fun with the many shades of green. From dark, rich greens to soft sage hues, incorporate a little green into your home entertaining and see if it doesn’t make you feel a little more like spring has arrived.

If you have mostly neutral tones in your decor, bring in a pop of green color with a throw or accent pillow. You can even accomplish this with something as simple as buying a spool of bright green ribbon and tying a bow around a neutral pillow. A simple way to recover a pillow for a dollar or two is to purchase a piece of inexpensive fabric and wrap the pillow in the new material like you would fold an envelope with the points meeting in the center. Gather the points and tie into a knot for an unusual statement.

Go for an elegant yet playful look mixing greens with white or cream. It is so gorgeous and easy to do. Make a green runner out of ribbon, organza or felt, line with cream or white containers (like small dishes, votive cups or flat dishes) and stack on an assortment of white and green candles.

Green and white flowers are a huge hit. Think white tulips or pale daffodils for instant spring impact.

However you decide to mix in a little green, have fun with it!

She Who Loves Green!

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It’s Monday.

It’s raining.

The weekend flew by way too fast and due to that fact, all I’ve got for you is a list of all the reasons why I feel completely discombobulated today.

1. Captain Cavedweller’s Mom called yesterday morning and left a message that his uncle had been mugged. By the time we returned her call after church and then waited for her to get home and call us back the panic had subsided and he was on his way home from the hospital. Remind me to not move to the town where he lives in Arkansas.

2. I put on my armor of long-sleeved sweatshirt, heavy jeans and elbow-length leather gloves to do battle with my rose bushes Saturday.  Due to multiple scratches, puncture wounds and one thorn still embedded in my finger, I think they came out ahead.  I look like I “wrastled a bobcat,” as my grandpa would have said, and lost.

3. CC turned into a slave-driving maniac and made me help him dig up all 973 bricks that line our backyard flower beds. We are getting ready to have our entire septic system and drain field replaced and anything we want to save had to be piled somewhere safe until the work is finished. I’ll share more on this awful project soon.

4. I made two new recipes this weekend. One involved tender beef, waffle fries and sour cream. The other involved bananas, cream and more cream. Both were a hit although my arteries are feeling a bit sluggish. I’ll post the recipes in a week or so.

5. Dirt clods exploding approximately 3.7 inches from where one obnoxious cat is doing something he ought not be doing causes said cat to jump approximately 3.7 feet into the air and run for cover. Not that I know about these things first hand.

Hoping you all have a great Monday!

She Who Needs One More Day of Weekend

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The other day I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Gnocchi Mac N’ Cheese.

I thought it looked divine. Captain Cavedweller turned up his nose at it. He doesn’t like Mac N’ Cheese.

So of course I decided to make it anyway. I tweaked the recipe , which originated from Cuisine at Home, and came up with a dish that both of us really liked. As in we ate way to much of it. As in couldn’t stop taking one more bite. As in really good.

It was really simple to make and didn’t take long either, always a plus in my book.

Enjoy!

Ingredients for Gnocchi. You can use whatever assortment of cheese you like - this is what I had on hand.

 

Start your sauce by melting butter in a heavy saucepan, then adding flour. Stir until it gets thick and bubbly. Add in milk and continue stirring until it starts to thicken. Then add in cheese.

 

Cook your Gnocchi according to package directions, drain, and place into a shallow baking dish.

 

Top Gnocchi with sauce.

 

Sprinkle Gnocchi with cheese and bake at 375 until golden brown and Gnocchi puffs up - about 20 minutes.

 

Restrain yourself and let Gnocchi rest for a few minutes before serving.

Gnocchi and Cheese

1 pound gnocchi

2 tbsp. butter

1 tbsp. flour

3/4 cup milk

1/4 cup grated Myzithra Cheese

1/4 cup shredded Mozzarella Cheese

salt

1/3 cup shredded Romano or Parmesan Cheese

Parsley for garnish

Preheat oven to 375.

Cook gnocchi according to package directions. Drain and place gnocchi in a single layer on a shallow baking dish sprayed with non-stick cooking spray.

Melt butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour and stir until it thickens and bubbles. Continue to whisk, adding in milk and cook until it begins to thicken. Add in cheese and salt to taste. Pour sauce over gnocchi and sprinkled with Romano cheese over top. Bake about 20 minutes or until gnocchi puff up and cheese turns a delicious golden brown. Let rest a few minutes before serving.

*Note – you can use any assortment of cheeses like Fontina, Parmesan, Feta – whatever floats your boat.

She Who Liked This Way Too Much

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Last weekend, Captain Cavedweller and I made a trip for a family funeral. It involved driving several hours after work and we got a later start than we planned.

Of course it was pouring down rain as we left home and started our journey. By the time we had been in the car for an hour and a half, CC was holding the steering wheel in a white-knuckled death grip and muttering under his breath.

He has this little problem of not being able to see to drive at not.

Actually, it isn’t a little problem, it is a big problem, especially when I don’t want to drive at night. How am I supposed to sit in the passenger seat, eat bonbons and keep up a running dialogue about his driving abilities if I’m the one doing the driving?

As it was, the first town we came to, CC pulled off, fed me dinner and informed me I was driving the rest of the way.

Pulling back on the freeway, it took me all of 26 seconds to decide I didn’t want to drive. Not only was the rain coming down in sheets, hundreds – no thousands – of semis were on the road creating so much road splash it was impossible to see. And they were all driving approximately 37.8 miles an hour. At that rate or speed we would have reached our destination approximately two days after the funeral service was over.

In order to pass a truck, I would have to give myself a mental pep talk, hit the gas and hope for the best.

Trying to get past a truck, the phrase driving blind suddenly had an all new meaning to me. I couldn’t see anything. Couldn’t see the concrete divider in the road. Couldn’t see reflective posts. Couldn’t see lines the white or yellow lines on the road. Couldn’t even see the truck we were passing.

ImageWhat I could see was similar to this, except pitch black with about 80 percent less visibility and a nice mix of road scum thrown in.

It was just fabulous.

By the time I passed half a dozen trucks, I thought CC might:

1. hyperventilate

2. leave permanent fingerprints in the dashboard he was gripping

3. have a heart attack

When I passed another truck and couldn’t see if I was on my side, the truck’s side or any side of the road, I thought I might:

1. hyperventilate

2. leave permanent fingerprints in the steering wheel I held in a death grip

3. have a heart attack

By the time we reached the next town, I pulled off and found a hotel. I’d had enough fun for one evening.

As we splashed through the rain to the door, he still hadn’t regained the ability to speak. Seizing the opportunity, I informed him I was never, ever, ever, going to drive blind again.

At least not until we end up in a similar situation.

She Who Now Has 167 New Gray Hairs

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