One Beer Bread at a Time.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Shamrock Shake Time.

Another sure sign of spring!  Patrick informed me about 10 times before breakfast the other day that he'd heard of their return.  Then everyone wanted to run down to the McDonalds and get a shake stat. Fortunately I was able to remind Bryce and Anna that they don't even like them before we got to the drive-thru.  But wait there is more, we actually got our order right, the Shamrock Shake was plain.

I don't know why McDonalds decided they need to add whipped cream and a cherry on top of their shakes.  Totally overkill.  I bet there is an easy way I could make Shamrock Shakes at home now that I think about it...

Thinking about frosty treats reminds me that in a week, Bryce's Diorama of a Tundra Habitat is due. Ugh I am not a fan of projects that need my assistance to get done.  And the tundra?  Ugh what should it even look like?  A mound of cottonballs is not likely to cut it.

Have kids? Need a smile?

If you have kids and you need a smile, go get the game Just Dance or Just Dance II for Wii.  It is so funny to watch them dance their little butts off.  You know, now that I think about it, it's funny to watch kids of all ages dance their butts off, so if you need a smile get Just Dance today!

Tonight was my Italian Feast & Wine Pairings Open House, thanks to those who came!  And for those who didn't make it...
1. What about hosting your own Tastefully Simple Party?  Fiesta time is coming March 1st!
2. Below is the menu w/recipes for what I made--and it's was all simple and very tasty!
3. Im having a a Fiesta Freebie Friday April 1st.  For this open house I'll have recipes from our Simple Starters recipe booklet, Slush Buckets and Coupon Swapping!



Amy's Amazing Artichoke Mushrooms Paired With Pinot Noir
Submitted by Amy Freund (PA)
Ingredients
1 packet Artichoke & Spinach Warm Dip Mix
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
8 oz. softened cream cheese
8 oz. jar artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 (8 oz.) packages fresh mushrooms, cleaned and stemmed

Directions
Combine first 4 ingredients and mix well. Arrange mushrooms, rounded side down, on greased baking pan. Mound filling in mushrooms, press to compact slightly. Bake mushrooms at 350° until tender and filling begins to brown, about 15-20 minutes. Serve hot. Makes 6-8 servings.

*NOTE: Jewel had a sale on wonton wrappers so since this recipe makes a ton of the filling I made about 2 dozen appetizers w/the filling in wonton wrappers. (baked at 425 for 10min)


Salad:

Panzanella Bread Salad Paired with Pinot Grigio
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef
Ingredients
2 large tomatoes, cut into chunks
3/4 cup chopped cucumber
1/4 cup sliced red onion
6 cups (about 1/2 lb.) day-old crusty peasant-style bread, cut into 1-inch cubes
1/2 cup Balsamic & Basil Dipping Oil
Seasoned Salt
Shredded Parmesan cheese

Directions
Combine first 5 ingredients in a large serving bowl; toss to blend. Season with Seasoned Salt  to taste; garnish with Parmesan cheese. Serve immediately. Makes 6-8 servings.

*NOTE: I had a small head of butter lettuce from my Timber Creek Farms Organics delivery so I put lettuce in the salad.
Entrée:

Baked Pesto Rigatoni paired with Cabernet Sauvignon
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef
Ingredients
1/2 lb. ground beef
3 Tbsp. Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. prepared rigatoni pasta
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning
Directions
Brown ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink; drain. Add next 2 ingredients; simmer 20 minutes. Stir prepared hot pasta into hot sauce; pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top pasta mixture with shredded cheese and Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning to taste. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese melts and is lightly browned. Makes 2-3 servings.

*NOTE: I doubled this recipe and it makes a TON!

Entrée:

Tuscan Chicken & Artichokes Paired with Sauvignon Blanc
Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef
Ingredients:
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
14.5 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained
Directions:
Combine ingredients in a greased slow cooker. Heat on low 6-8 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta or rice. Makes 4-6 servings

Dessert:

Absolutely Almond Biscotti Paired with Moscato
Submitted by RoxAnn Mannuzza (MN)
Ingredients
Absolutely Almond Pound Cake Mix™
1/2 cup (1 stick) softened butter
2 eggs
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
2 - 3 Tbsp. flour

Directions
Combine AA Cake Mix and butter; blend until crumbly. Add eggs; blend dough with hands if necessary. Stir in white chocolate chips. Knead dough on a floured surface until no longer sticky. Form into two loaves on greased baking sheet; pat dough to 1-inch thickness. Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Cool 15 minutes. Cut into 1/2-inch slices; bake an additional 10 minutes. Cool completely. Makes about 24 biscotti.

Victoria Hamel,

Yourtsconsultant@aol.com

708-598-9415

Looking for a good read?

This weekend I read a fantastic book.  Its one of those books where you find yourself a little sad at the end, not because the ending is sad, but because you are going to miss hanging out with the characters.  The book is set in Chicago and Las Vegas; which is fun for me since Chicago is my town and I've been to Vegas more than a couple times. 

What's the book like? It like a yummy blend of action, history, thriller, and sci fi with just a dash of romance.  To even call it romance is not quite fitting.  If you liked that book, The Davinci Code, you'll love The Thousand because it is like 1000 times better. :-)

Now my friend K and I read Kevin Gulfoile's first book, Cast of Shadows, and honestly we were worried--how would he be able to follow up on his first book.  But he rocked it with this sophmore effort.

Friday, February 11, 2011

I always have trouble thinking up titles for posts

Well, is it just me or has this week been a long week? It has certainly been very cold, does cold weather make the day seem longer?  I know it makes the Nicor Gas bill bigger. The weather experts are hinting at better weather ahead.  I heard the word fifties mentioned.  If it hits the 50s, I think we'll see people breaking out their shorts and sandals!  Not me though, I am in serious need of a pedicure before any sandals can be worn.  My toes are still not the same since the Chicago Marathon back in October.

If you hear the wailing of schoolage children, it's probably mine.  Our Cupboards are bare!  What can they possibly eat for a a snack after school today! Does this happen often at your house?  We *never* have anything to eat here at Casa Hamel.  I'm fairly hopeful they will survive this afternoon since my mom sent us Cheryl's Cookies  the best cookies every.  Ahhh except Girl Scout Cookies of course!  Feel free to contact Anna to find out where GS Cookies are available in your area.

Anna's Auntie K is coming over tomorrow night so I am going to pick up this month's wine from Coopershawk Winery in Orland and then I am going to test an entree for my Italian Feast with Tastefully Simple that is coming up a week from Sunday.

Here is what I will be trying out this Saturday:

Baked Pesto Rigatoni

Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef

Ingredients
1/2 lb. ground beef
3 Tbsp. Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
8 oz. prepared rigatoni pasta
8 oz. shredded mozzarella cheese
Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning

Directions

Brown ground beef in large skillet until no longer pink; drain. Add next 2 ingredients; simmer 20 minutes. Stir prepared hot pasta into hot sauce; pour mixture into a greased casserole dish. Top pasta mixture with shredded cheese and Italian Garlic Bread Seasoning to taste. Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until cheese melts and is lightly browned. Makes 2-3 servings.
 
****Ooooo I think I found my other entree...and it's a slow cooker recipe!...even better!
 
Tuscan Chicken & Artichokes

Submitted by Rosemary (MN) HQ Resident Chef

Ingredients
4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/3 cup Dried Tomato & Garlic Pesto Mix
28 oz. can crushed or diced tomatoes, undrained
1/2 cup white wine (optional)
14.5 oz. can artichoke hearts, drained

Directions
Combine ingredients in a greased slow cooker. Heat on low 6-8 hours. Serve over angel hair pasta or rice. Makes 4-6 servings

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Superbowl Sunday

Snowing today.  So not cool!  Tom is one the phone worrying about his Mom and Dad.  His mom just returned from a 4 day stint at the hospital where she had her gallbladder removed and is now on the phone because she feels Tom dad doesn't feel well.  Yes things are back to usual.

Over here at our Casa I am looking forward to my Italian Feast & Wine Tasting Tastefully Simple Open House in a couple weeks.  This means I have to test recipes.  We don't have any wine for tasting, at present, but I did whip up a nice salad dressing with our Sensational Caesar Veggie Dip. So that will be on the menu.

As far as food here is what I made this afternoon:

I took some ground sirloin and cooked that & drained the oil & made:
1 cup prepared Trader Joe's Organic Quinoa, prepared w/chicken stock

Then in a pan I sauteed 1 thinly sliced shallot, 4 garlic cloves minced, & 1 red bell pepper sliced.  After a couple mintues of cooking I added  2 diced plum tomatoes, 10 leaves of fresh basil chopped--along with the quinoa and ground beef. It needed some flavor so I added 1 tbsp of the TS Garlic Pepper Seasoning and sprinkled some TS Seasoned Salt.

It's a grey dreary cold day outside.  Lucky for me Im not 100% filled with Seasonal Affect Disorder because I had a 2 days shot of dreams of spring and summer tastes at Tastefully Simple on Tour.  All the delicious new products are still underwraps.  I do think it's safe to say that Im looking forward to Fiestas!!!!!!

And  Im so glad that the BLANK and the fBLANK and the awesome BLANK is coming back. It's going to be great.  I can't wait!

How many days til spring?  42 more days ahhhhhhh 6 weeks?  Hmm where is that darn groundhog???

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Take 2

Ah ha here it is!  My picture worked!

Blizzard 2011

I was all set to post some pics from the big blizzard yesterday and the day before, but for whatever reason Blogger isn't in the mood for pics.  I'd try and figure out why it's not working but it's 1045 and I'm thinking I'll skip it for now.

It's a funny picture of anna becoming one with snow.  I don't know exactly what she was trying to do.  I think she was diving into the drift like into a wave at the beach.

Right now it's ridiculously cold and we have a ridiculous amount of snow piled all around everywhere, including where the turn lanes are located for most of the roads around here.  All this snow snow snow has me looking very forward to going to the Tastefully Simple On Tour event tomorrow where they will be unveiling the Spring Summer line. You know what that means?  Hours of people talking about Sunshine, Vacation, Grilling and Warmth.

Ah I can't wait.  Now how long til Spring?  6 weeks and 4 days I believe.  Maybe 6 weeks 3 days?  In any case, I'll bask in the imagined glow of Sunshine 2morrow.







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