I’m So Full!

Of wonderful memories, the love of family, laughing until my stomach hurt and delicious food!  I have so much to be thankful for this year! 😀

Christmas morning started early – Joe had to work so he was at our house at 8:00 a.m.!  Luckily I made his favorite cinnamon rolls the night before, then finished the glaze after he arrived.  Hannah, who doesn’t even like cinnamon LOVED THESE!  Well, what’s not to love?  They are Paula Deen’s cinnamon roll recipe, and all told from the dough, the filling and glaze, has 17 tablespoons of butter!

Paula Deen’s Cinnamon Roll Recipe

For the dough:

  • 1/4 ounce package yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter (5 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3.5 to 4 cups flour (I used 3.5 for the right consistency)

For the Filling:

  • 1/2 cup melted butter (yep, that is 8 tablespoons of butter!)
  • 3.4 cup sugar
  • 2 tablespoons ground cinnamon
  • no nuts, raisins or pecans, because Joe doesn’t like them

For the Glaze:

  • 4 tablespoons softened butter
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 – 6 tablespoons hot water (I ended up using 4 tablespoons)
  • FYI, I only used HALF of this glaze – it made a lot!

In a small bowl, dissolve yeast and warm water, set aside.  In standing mixer, add milk, sugar, melted butter, salt and egg.  Add 2 cups of flour and mix until smooth (I used my dough hook).  Add yeast mixture, then mix in remaining flour until dough is easy to handle.  I kneaded the dough in the mixer for 10 minutes.  Then removed to an oiled bowl for 1 1/2 hours.

After that, punch dough down and roll to 15×9 rectangle.  Using a brush, I brushed on the 1 stick of melted butter.  I mixed the sugar and cinnamon together, then sprinkled over the top.  Role up dough and pinch edge together to seal.  Cut into 8 slices.

Coat the bottom of a pan with Pam.  Place cinnamon rolls close together and let rise for another hour.  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

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Here’s how they look after the hour of rising:

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Above picture is after they came out of the oven.  I let them cool, then wrapped the dish in plastic wrap and put it in my microwave so they wouldn’t dry out.  I popped each one in the microwave for 30 seconds the next morning, then added the glaze before serving.

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I also made a egg/sausage casserole as my other dish.  The base of this recipe was actually croissants cut in half!  Sinfully delicious!

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Then it was time to open presents, but not before a picture of the kids! 😀

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It still amazes me how much they look like real brother and sister and not step-siblings! :D  I got a ton of great stuff: gift cards, two scarves, an antique pasta roller (thanks Mom!), a couple cookbooks, an electronic wine opener, (which is awesome), kitchen tools and Adobe’s Elements software!  Thanks for everyone’s gifts! 😀

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I installed the software earlier today, but still need to figure out how it works!

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Tony and I decided to do a different type of surf and turf for Christmas Eve dinner:  lobster tail claws and New York strip with homemade crunchy potato chips.  We have never seen just lobster claws before – and on sale for only $6.99 a pound!  Tony searched for cooking recipes, and while we concluded that we should use the same method as our Best Cocktail Shrimp Ever, these turned out great though!

Butter Poached Lobster Claws

  • 2 pounds of lobster claws
  • 8 cups hot water mixed with 1/2 cup white wine vinegar
  • enough butter to cover the lobster (while this was 6 tablespoons, we didn’t keep the butter)

Put thawed lobster claws in big stock pot.  Put water and vinegar in tea kettle to boil.  Pour over lobster claws and let sit, covered, for 7 minutes.  Put in an ice bath.  Have your husband crack the claws while you melt the butter.  Add to butter and poach for 4 minutes, put back in ice bath, then pat dry and put in a clean bowl and put in the fridge for at least 30 minutes.

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My plate:

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While Hannah doesn’t like lobster OR steak, she opted for tempura shrimp and vegetables – so basically it was a fried feast for her – but she loved it!  It was actually a Zataran’s Seasoned mix, and it had a nice kick to it.

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After watching the Hangover after Joe left for work yesterday, it was an hour drive to go back to my Mom’s house for Christmas dinner.  I was surprised how few pictures I took! 

Here is my Mom’s table before sitting down (I love how I forgot to close the bathroom door before taking the picture!):

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Everyone about to sit down:

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And then I have one dinner picture of my Italian Sunday Gravy.  Everyone loved it and it was a big hit!

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My mom’s scalloped potatoes are always so good – Tony always makes fun of me when I try (over and over!) to make them! 😀

Today turned into a Winter Wonderland!  We got 8 inches of snow and may get up to 10 to 12 before its through.  Hannah had to work today, so Tony and I dropped her off in the Explorer since her car doesn’t drive all that well in the snow.  Tony and I went to Friday’s to hang out – we ate lunch at 3:30 this afternoon!  Not sure I’ll even make dinner tonight, maybe just throw a pizza together later. 

All I know is that I have indulged a bit too much this past week, and haven’t exercised AT ALL!  I plan on making a healthy grocery list and planning my exercises for the beginning of the work week.

I am glad I have one more day off before going back to work on Monday!  See you tomorrow night – don’t forget its BSI – Balsamic Vinegar!  One more day to get your entries in! 😀

Hope everyone had a great Christmas too!  See you tomorrow night!

Merry Christmas!

My brother Charlie and his family are in town so I spent yesterday at my Mom’s house and ended up spending the night.  Charlie didn’t get in until almost 9:00 and then we were up until almost midnight talking and laughing!  He drove 21 hours from Austin to Chicago!  Needless to say he was a bit sleepy, but seemed to get a second wind once he wasn’t cooped up behind the wheel!  This was taken this morning after he got some rest! 😀

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So yesterday while we were waiting for him to arrive, I took Hannah and my two nieces out for some last minute shopping and lunch.  Sarah is 16, Hannah is 17 and Rachel is 13 – yet they are all about the same height, i.e. short! 😀

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After shopping, we stopped at Chipotle for lunch.  I ended up with the burrito bowl, which just doesn’t have a flour tortilla.  I loved how flavorful the rice was at the bottom – almost an cilantro lime?  I don’t know why I’ve waited so long to go there, although I haven’t looked up the nutrition, so that may keep me away in the future!

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We also stopped by the grocery store to get the fixins for Taco Fiesta.   Upon returning home, I realized I didn’t pick up taco seasoning!  So we did a quick Google search and came up with this combo – not bad!

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  • 6 tablespoons paprika
  • 5 tablespoons chile powder
  • 2 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp. hot Mexican ground chile powder

My plate – the rice was just okay – it was from a box! 😀

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Then I enjoyed a glass or two of wine when my brother got in!

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And the girls always ready for a photo op!

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This morning I made an egg sammie – my Mom has these english muffins that are so good – and from Aldi!  I’ll have to ask her the brand name.

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Hannah left this morning to get her hair cut – once she gets in in her mind, she goes for it and found a place open on Christmas Eve!  I love Rachel in the background on this picture!

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And while I am waiting for my cinnamon bun dough to rise, I am finally posting my Spicy Red-Pepper Jelly Recipe!

Spicy Red-Pepper Jelly

  • 3 large red peppers
  • 2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 3 tablespoons Sure-Jell
  • 3 1/4 cups white sugar
  • 1 cup white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup salt

Sterilize jars in dishwasher and boil rings and lids until ready to use.  Meanwhile, put sure-jell and 1/4 cup sugar in a small bowl.  Next, put red pepper and pepper flakes into food processor and pulse until finely chopped.

Next, put pepper mixture, vinegar, butter, salt and remaining 3 cups sugar in a large heavy pot.  Bring to a vigorous boil over high heat, and continue to boil, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes.  Add pectin/sugar mixture and whisking constantly, bring back to a boil and stir 2 minutes, or until it starts to thicken, no more than 5 minutes.  Remove from heat.

Fill jars and add to water bath so water covers over 2 inches to the top of the jars.  Heat on high and once the water comes to a boil, boil for 15 minutes.  Remove with rubber tongs and let sit on the counter to cool.  You may hear the popping sound that they are sealed, but double check the next day when completely cool.  If they didn’t seal, put in refrigerator and use within 1 month.

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For full disclosure, I have to say that my not posting my normal posts, some not so healthy meals have been had.  And while I haven’t posted each meal over the last 4 days or so, when I do weigh in Monday next week, you’ll know why the scale might be up a bit! 😀

Chili Cheese Dog with Jalapeno Potato Chips

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Biz’s Recreation of The Lucky Monk Burger

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Buffalo Wild Wings Boneless Wings (hot sauce on the side!)

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And finally, two words:  CHEX MIX!

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I think the only vegetable I’ve had has been in deep fried potato form, and I don’t think lettuce on a bacon cheese burger constitutes a vegetable serving!  And I haven’t exercised – hopefully the scale won’t be too hard on me next week! 😀

My next post will be the day after Christmas for a recap.

I wish everyone is able to spend time with family and friends and gets to their destinations safely. 😀

MERRY CHRISTMAS!  Here is our favorite Christmas youtube video – enjoy! 😀

What a Wonderful Night!

We stayed local for our anniversary, and chose Porter’s Yellowtail Bar & Grill.  We sat at the bar to begin with, and the bartender could not have been nicer – and hearing that it was our anniversary, the first round was on the house!

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Once I saw goat cheese on the menu, my appetizer choice was simple!  Tony on the other hand got 1/2 dozen fresh oysters – he loved them!  Me, I won’t ever try one again – its a texture thing!

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While I loved my appetizer, it needed a little something – and Tony asked for this – does he know me or what??

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For my entree, I got an 8 oz. filet with garlic mashed potatoes.  Tony got a Delmanico steak with shrimp scampi – both pieces of meat were huge and we both brought some home.  Yep – that is steak butter on top of my filet! 😀

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Then they gave us dessert on the house!  CHEESECAKE!

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Then we came home, put on comfy clothes and toasted the evening with a glass of this:

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THANKS FOR A GREAT NIGHT TONY!  I can’t wait to see what the next 9 years has in store for us! :D  I LOVE YOU!

I cry at weddings. . .

including my own!  We just watched our video from our wedding 9 years ago today.  Our kids look so tiny!  I spent the day with my mother in law, Mom and Hannah – we went out to breakfast, I had a manicure and pedicure and had my make-up done.  It’s funny because I rarely wear make-up and when I was watching the video, I looked just like my twin sister!

For my long time readers, you’ll know last year on this very day, Tony had knee surgery to remove an infected artificial knee and spent Christmas in the hospital.  I am so thankful that we are able to spend the day together and we plan on a nice dinner out tonight. 

I love you more every day Tony!  Happy Anniversary!

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Come back tomorrow for the red pepper jelly recipe! 😀

Gotta Love Tastespotting

Even though they think most of my pictures are “not crisp,” “unflattering composition,” and “un-compelling subject matter” I got two really good ideas yesterday!  I found one, Tony found the other because he knew it would be right up my alley:  sauerkraut latkes!

  • 1 cup sauerkraut, squeezed dry
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • salt and pepper to taste

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Just mix and pan fry until crispy on both sides.  So simple and delicious!  But next time I might add a bit of shredded potato to it too.

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The other was spicy carmel corn.  The Dog’s Breakfast is a new blog to me, and the only thing I changed was added 1/2 tsp. of ground chile powder in place of the chile in adobo sauce.  The perfect balance of heat and sweet!

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I made stove top popcorn, then put it on a baking sheet.  Next was to make the caramel:

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I think my brother and sister are really going to love this!

While I was busy in the kitchen, my boys were sleeping!  It’s so funny, when I am not home our dog wants nothing to do with Tony, the second I walk in the door he sticks to Tony like glue!

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My eats were pretty boring – eggs for breakfast, and since we ate breakfast so late, the sauerkraut latkes were my lunch.  Dinner was pork tenderloin, reduced fat cheese twice baked potatoes and zucchini parmesan coins.

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Things to Do Today:

  • yep, still have to do my Christmas cards
  • still need to make the red pepper jelly
  • sleep in until 10:15 a.m. – done!

Come back tomorrow – its our wedding anniversary tomorrow!  😀