Archive for September, 2012

Citrus Cole Slaw

During the hot weather this summer, I craved some cool crunchy salad recipes.  I found this on Pinterest and the original recipe is from Family Fun Magazine.  I didn’t have any Granny Smith apples so I used carrots in place of them.  This slaw is really good, but the dressing needs a little something.  I think I will add a little kosher salt and more Greek yogurt next time and see if that will amp up the flavor.  

cole slaw


1/4 cup orange juice

1/4 cup plain yogurt

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 tablespoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon celery seed

8 ounces coleslaw mix (I had a head of fresh cabbage from my co-worker’s garden so I used that.)

1 cup shredded carrots

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup red seedless grapes, halved


Combine the first 6 ingredients to make the dressing.


Shred your cabbage or use pre-shredded mix and combine that with the carrots, celery and grapes.  Pour the dressing over the veggie/fruit mixture and toss to completely cover.  The color of this slaw is really vibrant and pretty.  It just needs a little more flavor.


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Way back in February, I wrote a how-to post about my first deco mesh wreath which was for Valentine’s Day. Since then, I made a spring wreath and a patriotic wreath using the same method.  When it came time for a fall wreath, I wanted something a little different.  Google to the rescue!  I found a link to a tutorial at Mardi Gras Outlet which is where I purchased my mesh.  Here is my finished product:



This new curly version looks so festive and fun that I may have to make a Christmas one now!  You will need…

20” inch wire wreath frame (You can use a Work Wreath that is made specifically for mesh wreaths or a plain wreath frame and florist wire.)

3 rolls of 21” mesh in assorted colors (I used yellow, brown and orange for my fall wreath.)

Florist wire


Wire Cutters

Ribbon or other decorative elements of your choosing


Attach pieces of florist wire to the wreath frame all around it.  I used 15 pieces of wire. 


Next, cut the mesh into pieces about 10 inches wide.  You don’t have to measure, just eyeball it and try to get the pieces about the same size.  This is very forgiving.  I used 15 pieces of each color for a total of 45 curls.


Take 1 curl of each color and gather them together in the middle like this…


Wire the mesh curls to the wreath frame in the middle where you are holding them.


Continue working your way around the frame until you have filled all 15 spots.  Next, I used fall decorative ribbon and cut loops of that to wire onto the frame as well.  I then made a bow from the ribbon and added it to the wreath.  Fluff the curls and arrange them to suit your taste.  That’s all there is to it!


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Welcome to this week’s edition of Menu Plan Monday!  Please join me and many other planners over at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday where you can see what other people are cooking this week, too.

C & I have enjoyed this beautiful weekend which heralded in the first days of Autumn.  The sun shone and the sky was so very blue.  We celebrated this glorious weather by pressure washing the house.  Yay! (Sarcasm, there.)  At least it is pretty much done for the year and I am so thankful for that.  There are a few little outside cleanup projects that we want to do this fall, but the washing was the big one.

This week’s plan includes a couple of dinners that I had planned for earlier in the month, but they didn’t get made for one reason or another.  Also, my dad’s side of the family is having their annual reunion next Sunday and we are planning to attend.  It is potluck with the meat provided so I will probably take homemade cookies and chips of some kind. 

Cheesy steak sandwiches with oven fries (2 nights)

Bubble-up enchilada bake (2 nights)

Shredded pork bbq with curly fries

Pizza night

Mississippi mud cookies (reunion)

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Pasta Veggie Salad

I love a good pasta salad as a side dish, especially during hot weather and we have had some hot days this summer.  For this recipe, I tweaked my old favorite cucumber salad recipe to make it into this Pasta Veggie Salad.

I used fresh cucumbers and tomatoes from my garden, but feel free to substitute any kind of veggies you like.  It will still turn out great!

Easy Pasta Veggie Salad

10oz pasta (about 2/3 of a 16oz. box) cooked and drained

1 medium cucumber

1 medium tomato

1 cup mayonnaise (I used light.)

1/4 cup granulated sugar

4 tsp. apple cider vinegar

1/2 tsp. dried dill weed

1/2 tsp. salt


Start by cooking and draining the pasta.  Rinse in cool water to stop the cooking process.  Finely chop the cucumber and tomato.


Combine the mayo, sugar, vinegar, dill and salt in a large bowl until smooth.


Add the cooked pasta and veggies and toss to coat.  Put it in the refrigerator until thoroughly chilled and enjoy!  This makes a great side dish, but would also be a perfect light lunch by itself.


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Welcome to today’s edition of Book Beginnings, a wonderful link party hosted by Rose City Reader.  Join me and other avid readers as we give you the first line (or two) of a book we are reading and then tell you our thoughts about it.

My book today is “Beyond The Blonde” by Kathleen Flynn-Hui:

"I would have to say that it all began-or, rather, it all began to end-the morning Faith Honeycomb passed out on the floor of the Salon Jean-Luc."

Hmmm, this just makes you wonder what’s ending and why, doesn’t it?  This is a funny and entertaining book about life in a big-time fancy New York City hair salon and the people who work there.  I may not look it all the time, but I love fashion.  Clothes, make-up, hair…I used to always buy the big Spring and Fall issues of Vogue magazine to see all of the latest styles.  I think enjoying those things made this book even better.

This book has turned out to be a great, fun read. If you are looking for a good vacation book, try this one!

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My last fair post…fun sights at the Kentucky State Fair














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What does menu planning mean to you?  For me, it means knowing in the back of my mind that I know what I am making for supper when I get home from work and that I have the ingredients to do it.  The time it takes to sit down and make out a weekly or monthly plan is so worth it for the peace of mind and stress reduction that I get out of it. 

Most of the time, I can also plan for lunches this way, too.  Since I am usually cooking for just C & I, a lot of the main dishes will produce enough leftovers for at least one lunch.  This saves us from running to the local fast food joint and, over time, saves us time, money and calories.  I highly recommend it!

That’s not to say my plans never change because it happens a lot.  I just save the meals that don’t get made for another time.  This week is a pretty easy week with one new main dish and one new dessert.  I hope everyone has a wonderful and blessed week. Happy menu planning!

Salsa sloppy Joes (new) with oven fries

Baked ham slices with butter roasted potatoes

Taco ring (2 nights)

Pizza night

Basic meatloaf with curly fries

White chocolate raspberry cake (new)

Please join me at I’m An Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday.

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Homemade Tomato Sauce

I love tomato sauce and I use a LOT of it in my cooking.  This year I decided to grow paste tomatoes in the hopes of making my own.  Well, I grew them and I made this sauce.  It is wonderful…full of delicious tomato flavor with a beautiful color and texture, BUT, this took hours of my time and only made 3 CUPS of sauce.  You read that right, not 3 pints or 3 quarts, but only 3 cups of sauce.  Oh, no! 

I love it, but I’m not sure if it is worth all of the time involved to do it.  If I was home more and had more tomatoes to process at one time, maybe I could do it, but right now I just can’t justify it.  I’m kind of sad about that, too.

I started with this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and tweaked it to suit myself.  If you have a few hours to spare, give it a shot because it is tasty just time consuming.


4 to 5 lbs. paste tomatoes

1 sweet pepper

1 small onion

3 cloves garlic

1 medium carrot

1/2 to 1 tsp. salt

1 tbsp. honey

1/4 cup olive oil

Italian seasoning to taste


First you need to peel your tomatoes by shocking them.  Bring a large pot of water to a boil and prepare an ice bath in another large bowl.  Wash and dry the tomatoes and then slice a small “x” into the bottom of each one.


Blanch the tomatoes in the boiling water for about 30 seconds or until the peel starts to loosen.  Immediately drop them in the ice water and the skins will come right off.




Next, rough chop the remaining vegetables and put in a food processor.  Pulse until these are almost a paste.  Using the pot that you blanched the tomatoes in, cook the vegetable paste in olive oil for about 10 minutes, stirring often.



While these are cooking, chop the peeled tomatoes and seed them if you are not planning on straining the sauce.  Add the tomatoes to the pot and lower the heat to medium-low to simmer.  Add the honey for just a little sweetness. Let it cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes. 



Since I wanted my sauce to be smooth, I poured the cooked sauce back into the food processor in batches and processed until smooth.  Then pour the pureed sauce through a strainer and add the Italian seasoning at this point.  I think I used about 1 tablespoon.  Whew, now it’s done.  I put mine into freezer bags to freeze, but, if you have enough, you can also can this.




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Most of you know that I love to bake just about anything.  Cakes, cookies, brownies, biscuits…it really doesn’t matter since it is all good in my book.  C & I try not to give our Siberian Husky, Ellie, table food so she won’t beg, but one of her favorite bedtime treats is peanut butter spread on a Kong toy.  She loves it!! 

I discovered this baked peanut butter dog treat at Brown Eyed Baker and decided to try it.  Ellie loves dog biscuits and peanut butter and I love to bake, so why not combine the three?  I call these Peanut Butter Dog Cookies.  Ellie is licking her lips in anticipation already.

PB Dog Cookies

2 cups whole wheat flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

1 cup organic peanut butter

1 cup low fat milk


Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Combine the flour and baking powder in a large mixing bowl and set aside.  Combine the milk and peanut butter, then pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture.  Mix well.




Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until thoroughly combined.  Roll out to a quarter inch thickness and cut out shapes.  I didn’t have a bone cookie cutter, so I just used a round biscuit cutter.  I may have to purchase a bone shaped one though because it would be really cute.  Bake each batch for 20 minutes or until lightly brown.  Cool completely then store at room temperature.




Ellie loves them and so does my in-laws’ Border Collie, Roy.  They were a huge hit!

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Good and pretty food at the state fair…









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