Thursday, November 26, 2009

Pecan Pie, oh my!


Last night I made a Pecan Pie to take over to my mother's house today for Thanksgiving dessert. Yum! And no, I didn't pick at it, steal a spoonful or break a piece of pie crust off... I was a good girl! haha

Pecan Pie is my favorite (and Pumpkin too), and it also has to be one of the easiest pies to make - ever! Although I understand many people buy it in order to have one less thing to make, or because it's cheaper than buying all the ingredients (pecans are so pricey!) there's something about a home made Pecan Pie that you just can't get from a store bought one (or at least the majority of store bought ones)! So, like I said, making a Pecan Pie is easy easy easy (five minutes prep time people!!)... My mother has always used the recipe on the back of the Karo corn syrup bottle... and believe me, that's all there is to it for a sinfully rich Pecan Pie.... read on for the full recipe:


Pecan Pie
(recipe from Karo Corn Syrup)
"From scratch to your oven in 5 minutes."


Preheat: 350 degree oven

Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 60-70 minutes
Serves: 8


1 cup Karo light/dark Corn Syrup

3 Eggs

1 cup Sugar (granulated)

2 tbsp. Butter, melted

1 tsp. Vanilla extract

1-1/2 cups Pecans (6 ounces)

1 unbaked 9-inch deep dish Pie Crust


(High altitude adjustments: reduce sugar to 2/3 cup and increase butter to 3 tbsp. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit)


Stir the first five ingredients thoroughly using a spoon. Mix in pecans. Pour into pie crust and bake on center rack (350 degrees) of oven for 60 to 70 minutes.


*Cool for 2 hours.


TIPS: Pie is done when center reaches 200 degree Fahrenheit. Tap center surface of pie lightly; it should spring back when done. For easy cleanup, spray pie pan with cooking spray. If pie crust over-browning, cover edges with foil.


*You can make this pie the night before (it's too late now - sorry) and then after letting it cool for 2 hours, store it (covered in foil) in the refrigerator and just warm up or let sit out for a bit before serving - whatever you prefer.



hurry, there's still time to make a Pecan Pie from scratch!!!!! ;)
~enjoy!~

(all images via Google image search on Pecan Pie or Flickr)

Happy Thanksgiving! The day is finally here...

Happy Thanksgiving!
I hope everyone has a great day with family and friends and enjoys the food!
Instead of giving thanks to some higher being, we should give thanks to the Earth, for providing us with the ingredients to make such a dreamy meal and sustaining the human way of life up until this point in time.... We should honor and protect our planet before it's too late.
Here are two awesome family recipes for Thanksgiving:
 
Stuffing

It took me nearly twenty-two years to finally shirk my aversion to stuffing, and all I can say is damn, was I foolish for missing out all those years! What a shame! There was something about soggy bread that always grossed me out and kept me from experiencing the heaven that is stuffing....
Sigh, anyway, I have a long road of making up for all that lost time, a long love affair with stuffing ahead of me... So, last year I decided to put my own spin on my mother's classic [and delicious] stuffing. I saw a few ideas on the Food Network and melded them with her recipe to create the following recipe for bliss: (try this recipe, you can't go wrong and you won't be sorry!) ;)

Five Grain-Apple-Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing

1 loaf 5-grain Italian bread (Publix Bakery) 
2-3 stocks Celery 
1 large Onion (or two small) 
1 cup dried Cranberries (I use Ocean Spray's "Craisins") 
1 cup chopped Walnuts 
1-2 chopped green Apple (Granny Smith) 
1-2 cups Chicken Broth (moisten to your taste) 
(optional) 1 box Stove Top stuffing seasoning of your choice 
1 pack Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean sausage w/ sage) 
2 cloves fresh Garlic - or, to taste 
*chopped Parsley - to taste 
*chopped Sage - to taste 
*Salt + Pepper to taste
Chop loaf of bread into small cubes and bake in 200 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until toasty and golden brown (the more dry the bread is the better, so as to absorb the most moisture).
Meanwhile, cook sausage and season - to taste. Chop celery, onions and garlic and saute 5 minutes with the sausage - add a little butter or olive oil.
Transfer the bread, sausage, celery and onions into a large bowl and combine thoroughly, adding the parsley, sage, chopped apples, walnuts and cranberries/"Craisins". Once everything is thoroughly combined slowly add the chicken broth and optional Stove Top seasoning packet (as per directions on the Stove Top box) until the bread absorbs all the liquid and develops a thicker consistency.
Then... stuff it in your turkey, spread it in a casserole dish or pack it into a muffin pan for some (as Rachel Ray calls them) "Stuffin' Muffins" and bake 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven!
*If you find that the stuffing is too dry after baking, moisten as desired with some chicken broth.
 
Sweet Potato
 
Oh sweet potato, how well you go with butter, pecans and brown sugar.... None of that marshmallow topping nonsense here folks (leave the marshmallows for the hot chocolate!!), as I said, this is straight up brown sugar, pecans and butter!! It's baked to a delicious crisp over a bubbly sweet potato that will melt in your mouth!! Once you try this recipe, you'll most likely wish you hadn't missed out for so long, forget your sweet potato past and incorporate it into your menu... Well, at least that's how I feel, you be the judge.... Here is my mother's take on the dish, followed by the detailed recipe:
 
Sweet Potato Casserole 
by my mom, Carolina Michelena

"Thanksgiving day is almost here and I want to share with you my most favorite dish for my most favorite holiday. This dish will knock your socks off - it is a terrific pot luck signature dish that will be requested for years to come by all who try it! That's why I call it my "tried and true". So try it and remember me! Love to all and have a Happy Blessed Thanksgiving." - Carol
 
Potatoes:
6-7 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender (drain them well) 
1 Egg 
1/2 stick Butter 
1 tsp. Vanilla extract 
1/2 cup granulated Sugar 
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, Ginger or Nutmeg (optional)
Topping: 
2 cups chopped Pecans 
1/2 stick Butter, melted 
1 cup dark Brown Sugar 
2 tbsp. Flour
 
In a mixing bowl, add boiled and peeled potatoes, egg, butter, vanilla, sugar and any other flavors desired. Mix well with a hand mixer (until it looks like mashed potatoes). Pour mixture into a casserole dish.
In a separate bowl, mix the all of the ingredients for the topping until crumbly and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture in casserole dish.
Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until bubbly.
**As a side note, you can definitely prepare and cook this the day before, let cool and then refrigerate overnight. Simply pop it in the oven [covered in foil] for a bit to warm up before the meal (my mom has done this once or twice to save time and it tastes all the same, trust me - I'm very finicky about leftovers, hehe)**
 
 
(image via Flickr)

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving.... one day to go!!!!!!!


Whether your dinner looks like this......




Or this.........





Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!!

:)

I came across this post and laughed, so I had to share:
The 9 Most Annoying Conversations You'll Be Having On Thanksgiving


(all images via Google image search on Thanksgiving)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving here are two AWESOME recipes!


The time is ever so near... the one day of the year when we feast on a unique array of delicious dishes all at once... Thanksgiving is next week and I can't wait!! Oh yes, I enjoy the day of preparation and chatter leading up to the meal, but of course, nothing is better than the meal itself!

Besides a slice of turkey or two, my focus is always on the side dishes and the desserts!! Here are the recipes for two of my favorite side dishes and some inspiring Thanksgiving themed images..............



~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Stuffing


It took me nearly twenty-two years to finally shirk my aversion to stuffing, and all I can say is damn, was I foolish for missing out all those years! What a shame! There was something about soggy bread that always grossed me out and kept me from experiencing the heaven that is stuffing....

Sigh, anyway, I have a long road of making up for all that lost time, a long love affair with stuffing ahead of me... So, last year I decided to put my own spin on my mother's classic [and delicious] stuffing. I saw a few ideas on the Food Network and melded them with her recipe to create the following recipe for bliss: (try this recipe, you can't go wrong and you won't be sorry!) ;)

Five Grain-Apple-Cranberry and Sausage Stuffing

1 loaf 5-grain Italian bread (Publix Bakery)
2-3 stocks Celery
1 large Onion (or two small)
1 cup dried Cranberries (I use Ocean Spray's "Craisins")
1 cup chopped Walnuts

1-2 chopped green Apple (Granny Smith)
1-2 cups Chicken Broth (moisten to your taste)
(optional) 1 box Stove Top stuffing seasoning of your choice
1 pack Sausage (I use Jimmy Dean sausage w/ sage)
2 cloves fresh Garlic - or, to taste
*chopped Parsley - to taste
*chopped Sage - to taste
*Salt + Pepper to taste

Chop loaf of bread into small cubes and bake in 200 degree oven for 10-20 minutes until toasty and golden brown (the more dry the bread is the better, so as to absorb the most moisture).

Meanwhile, cook sausage and season - to taste. Chop celery, onions and garlic and saute 5 minutes with the sausage - add a little butter or olive oil.

Transfer the bread, sausage, celery and onions into a large bowl and combine thoroughly, adding the parsley, sage, chopped apples, walnuts and cranberries/"Craisins". Once everything is thoroughly combined slowly add the chicken broth and optional Stove Top seasoning packet (as per directions on the Stove Top box) until the bread absorbs all the liquid and develops a thicker consistency.

Then... stuff it in your turkey, spread it in a casserole dish or pack it into a muffin pan for some (as Rachel Ray calls them) "Stuffin' Muffins" and bake 25 minutes in a 350 degree oven!

*If you find that the stuffing is too dry after baking, moisten as desired with some chicken broth.


~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~

Sweet Potato

Oh sweet potato, how well you go with butter, pecans and brown sugar.... None of that marshmallow topping nonsense here folks (leave the marshmallows for the hot chocolate!!), as I said, this is straight up brown sugar, pecans and butter!! It's baked to a delicious crisp over a bubbly sweet potato that will melt in your mouth!! Once you try this recipe, you'll most likely wish you hadn't missed out for so long, forget your sweet potato past and incorporate it into your menu... Well, at least that's how I feel, you be the judge.... Here is my mother's take on the dish, followed by the detailed recipe:

Sweet Potato Casserole
by Carolina Michelena


"Thanksgiving day is almost here and I want to share with you my most favorite dish for my most favorite holiday. This dish will knock your socks off - it is a terrific pot luck signature dish that will be requested for years to come by all who try it! That's why I call it my "tried and true". So try it and remember me! Love to all and have a Happy Blessed Thanksgiving." - Carol

Potatoes:
6-7 large Sweet Potatoes, peeled and boiled until tender (drain them well)
1 Egg
1/2 stick Butter
1 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, Ginger or Nutmeg (optional)

Topping:
2 cups chopped Pecans
1/2 stick Butter, melted
1 cup dark Brown Sugar
2 tbsp. Flour

In a mixing bowl, add boiled and peeled potatoes, egg, butter, vanilla, sugar and any other flavors desired. Mix well with a hand mixer (until it looks like mashed potatoes). Pour mixture into a casserole dish.

In a separate bowl, mix the all of the ingredients for the topping until crumbly and spread evenly over sweet potato mixture in casserole dish.

Bake uncovered in a 350 degree oven for 40 minutes until bubbly.

**As a side note, you can definitely prepare and cook this the day before, let cool and then refrigerate overnight. Simply pop it in the oven [covered in foil] for a bit to warm up before the meal (my mom has done this once or twice to save time and it tastes all the same, trust me - I'm very finicky about leftovers, hehe)**

~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~*~





Let me know what you think if you try either of these recipes!
I'm working on another Thanksgiving post with some additional recipes for side dishes and desserts... stay tuned!


~ enjoy!!! ~


(all images via Google image search on Thanksgiving, or WeHeartIt)

Owl You Need Is Love


I stumbled across this image on We Heart It and it brought a smile to my face! Apart from it being a cute play on words, it's good to see this simple but powerful message continuing to linger throughout society in various forms, particularly in art.

The Beatles had it right... if only the whole world could simultaneously understand !

Monday, November 23, 2009

Light Bulbs Live On!

(via various sources on a Google image search for light bulb terrariums)


Lately I've been seeing a lot of creative light bulb ideas floatin' around the web, whether through blog scanning, casual [or obsessive] Google image searches, or a friend sharing a YouTube video link on a light bulb project.... Hmmmm, it seems perhaps light bulbs are struggling to rise above their disposable nature through reincarnation into the world of decor!

So people, the next time one of your lamps start flickering and that light bulb dies on ya, don't get all disgruntled and flick it in the trash... Smile and whip up a little "green" do-it-yourself masterpiece! Let the new creative missions begin!

Go here for instructions on how to gut a light bulb.

Here are the ideas I've come across so far:


Oil Burner


I love this idea of turning a light bulb into an oil burner! I really like the unique bottle cap that this person used to seal the top of the bulb! And yes, suffice it to say, I'm on a new creative mission!




************************************************


Flower Vase


(Image via Google, click here for direct source)


(image via HGTV)



No doubt, the idea of using hollowed light bulbs as flower vases is compelling.... But, I have a growing collection of funky vintage salt + pepper shakers so I absolutely have to give it a go on the light bulb shakers! Check out this page for the how-to on both of these crafts.

Check out this video on YouTube detailing how to make a funky light bulb flower vase.

Salt + Pepper Shakers


(frankly, I can do better... but hey, this is inspiration)


************************************************


Terrarium! [best idea yet!]


As I was browsing through Apartment Therapy just now, I came across a post on reusing busted light bulbs by turning them into mini terrariums! Ah-ha! I love the whole terrarium idea (another post that I've already begun)!!

************************************************


(image via Terrarium Man)

************************************************

I also found these amazing light bulb terrariums on Etsy in a store called Steamed Glass. These little habitats are nothing short of art!





"Plain 25 watt Moss Terrarium"





"Plain 300 watt Moss Terrarium"


************************************************
Aaaaaand.... Concrete Wall Hook Mold? :)


Just when you though you'd seen all the light bulb ideas.... A concrete light bulb wall hook! Not my taste, but a crafty idea nonetheless. For instructions on how to create your own concrete light bulb wall hook, visit this page.


************************************************


Well, that's that.. I'll post more light bulb reuse ideas as they come my way. Oh, and as tempting as it may be to just go out and buy one of those fascinating ready made little terrariums, isn't it more interesting to see the results of ones own imagination when put to this new creative test?? Light bulbs are easy to come by so there's really no excuse for not experimenting... :)

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Greece: Windows & Doors


I really love Greek architecture and design, especially when it comes to windows and doors! There are endless examples of these beauties out there and that's why I'll be starting a "Windows & Doors" themed post, starting with Greece. In the future I plan to continue the trend with a Morocco post as well, stay tuned and enjoy!











(All photography sourced via Flickr.)

Moroccan Inspired Interior Design

(striking colors, and the windows are to die for!)


Here are a few random images of indoor and outdoor spaces with architecture and/or interior design that have Moroccan and Middle Eastern influences. There's no need for words here, just some beautiful eye candy and inspiration! Enjoy....




















All images via Flickr.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Constructive Criticism vs. Destructive Criticism

I was perusing one of my favorite blogs last night (Apartment Therapy) when I saw a new post pop up called How To: Turn Tea Bags into Curtains. Now, don't get me wrong, the first thought that popped into my head was not one of admiration! In my personal opinion, I don't like this idea because it's not practical, it's wasteful, it has the great potential to get yucky over time and it just looks bad for being so tedious. However, I refrained from commenting any of that, I simply stated that it was interesting that someone had the idea to do this, but that I did not like it at all. On the other hand, others were less reserved in expressing their opinions, thus leading some to get touchy about the negative comments.

I say, if Apartment Therapy specifically asked whether or not we (the readers) liked the result, why should anyone refrain from saying that they don't? I could have said I thought it was ugly, but I feel that is an unfair judgment to make about another person's art... After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and everyone has their distinct tastes and unique creative eye. A public forum that seeks the reader's opinion isn't solely for "OOOOH I LOVE IT" kind of comments.

Granted, some expressions of distaste can be harsh and may deter others from sharing their art for fear of the public opinion. There are a lot of rude and tasteless people out there, but my advice is this: don't waste your time caring what others think, it's your life and in the end doing what makes you happy is what will count the most. There is nothing worse than hindering or conforming your self, your talent, your inspirations or your aspirations for the sake of pleasing or impressing others. Life is too short to live according to another person's standards. Be who you are and do what you love!

Regardless, my opinion remains the same, but I'm curious, what do you think of the curtain made from tea bags?................

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

New Apartment *Color Brainstorm Inspiration Collage*


So, as I sit and marinate in my anxiousness to inhabit a new apartment (January 2010) with my love-bug, I can do nothing but fantasize about decorating it! Ah, a fresh palette! A blank canvas! Wheeeee! I am overjoyed at the thought.

Anyway, I took the liberty of throwing together a quick little collage of images that I'm going on for color inspiration in the new apartment. It's pretty obvious that I am very much in love with Moroccan and Middle Eastern design, architecture, patterns and so on... Particularly, Ikat and Suzani fabric/patterns, geometric patterns, Turkish Kilims (tapestry or rug), the elegant curves of the stunning architecture and so much more!

I'm thinking about using the turquoise and yellow as accent walls somewhere in the apartment and then adding in additional colors with my accessories and a beautiful rug I found at Ross yesterday... I think it's an 8' x 10' and it has rich colors and ethnic patterns... for only $39.99... it's unbelievable, to find a rug of such size and quality for that price is virtually impossible! I'm thrilled, no doubt!

So yes, the move is approaching and I have already begun boxing and tearing down my bohemian sanctuary... It's a bit depressing, but then I just think about how much better our next abode will be. I aim to find a place with lots of natural light, a washer and dryer in unit, NO CARPET, and a bigger kitchen than the hole in the wall I presently contend with! Ha! Wish me luck!

Here are some of the images from the collage but in full size (I couldn't resist, they're all so pretty):


(Suzani Fabric)

(the Hamsa hand of protection)


(Suzani tapestry)



(Moroccan patterns)

(Suzani upholstered bench)

(Tagine)

(Suzani print)

(Moroccan pattern mosaic)

(Kilim upholstered bench)

(Ikat rug)
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