Sunday, August 30, 2009

Weekend of Catching Up

Early Saturday morning, we left OKC for DeLeon, Texas! That’s right- the birth place of me (and pretty much my entire family!)! My PaPa invited the family down to his house for lunch and catching up.

Everyone in the Moore family made it, except for Tabitha, who is doing mission work in Ecuador. We really missed her! Here’s the low down on the Moore Fam.

My dad has a brother and a sister. Randy is married to Tina (also my mom’s sister- don’t get bogged down on that one, just accept it and move on) and they have Jason, Tabitha and James. Polly is married to Gerald and they have Bryan. Of course, my dad is married to Jeanette and they have me (now married to Jeremy) and Ethan (now married to Sarah). My MaMa passed away when I was in high school and now, PaPa is married to Earlene.

The guys- Bryan, Gerald, James, Randy, Ethan, Dad, Jason, PaPa, Jeremy

The gals- Earlene, Polly, Tina, Mom, Me, Sarah (missing Tab)

We had a fabulous lunch of steak, mashed potatoes, black eyed peas and rolls. Warm peach cobbler with vanilla ice cream for dessert! Yum!

After lunch, my dad set up his video camera and we asked PaPa lots of questions about growing up and his parents and meeting MaMa and it was all captured on film.

I absolutely loved hearing his stories! A lot of them I didn’t even know and of course, some are family legend!
When he was about 9 months old, his mom (my great-grandmother Moore) was washing clothes outside and he was napping in the house. She noticed a slight haze and didn’t think they were expecting rain. Soon, she realized the house was on fire and that haze was smoke. She ran inside and pulled the mattress that my PaPa was sleeping on outside. That was the only thing saved from the house!

We had such a great day spending time with the Moore Family! My mom came back with us to OKC for a short visit.

On the way back, we decided to catch up with a few friends. We had brunch with Melissa and John at La Madeline’s. Yum! It’s always good to see them in Dallas or Abilene! As usual, we did not get pics with John and Melissa! Hopefully, there will be a great opportunity in the near future to take some pictures with them!

Um, yea, I'm pretty sure Brinley's hand is in Win's mouth!!!

And then, we stopped by to catch up with Little Miss Brinley and her momma! Rocky was working, so we didn't get to see him this trip. Ivy and Winnie went crazy over Brinley. They loved her! And she was amazing and loved them too! I can’t believe she didn’t cry or get scared, but she loved just watching them.

Brinley loved my mom! Actually, it's mutual!

Except for a little spit up on me, it was the perfect afternoon! You can see more pics and get Am's side of the store on her blog!

Have you ever?!?!

Friday, August 28, 2009

You Have to Make This!

Jeremy got me the new cupcake cookbook from Martha Stewart and I was so excited! You know how much I love making cupcakes!

I'm attending a girls' night event where I signed up to bring a dessert, so I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to try a new recipe from my new book.

Let me also take this opportunity to say, that over the weekend- I asked Jeremy to pick up a "few" items from the store. Somehow he ended up at Sam's Wholesale and I ended up with 8 packages of cream cheese (I need half of one package). Oh well! Thought I better look for a cupcake with cream cheese. And I stumbled upon these beauties!

I thought they would be okay, pretty good, average little cheesecake. I was wrong! They are so completely delicious and very easy to make. You really need to try it!

Martha Stewart's Cookies and Cream Cheesecakes
Makes 30

42 cream-filled sandwich cookies, such as Oreos, 30 left whole, and 12 coarsely chopped
2 pounds cream cheese, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
4 large eggs, room temperature, lightly beaten
1 cup sour cream
Pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Place 1 whole cookie in the bottom of each lined cup.
2. With an electric mixer on medium high speed, beat cream cheese until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Gradually add sugar, and beat until combined. Beat in vanilla.

3. Drizzle in eggs, a bit at a time, beating to combine and scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed. Beat in sour cream and salt. Stir in chopped cookies by hand.

4. Divide batter evenly among cookie-lined cups, filling each almost to the top. Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until filling is set, about 22 minutes. Transfer to wire racks to cool completely. Refrigerate at least 4 hours (or up to overnight). Remove from tins just before serving.

They are really delicious and I recommend buying the book. Or you can just wait for me to post the recipe and pics of all the best ones!!!


Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Happy W.E.D.!

I bet you didn't know that today is Women's Equality Day! It commemorates the passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote!

The YWCA had a big celebration on Monday night and it was a fantastic success. You can see more details about the event here.

My co-worker, Katie, and I put together a small presentation for the evening and I have to say that I really enjoyed putting it together. It was a great reminder about how hard women have worked to bring us to where we are today. Discrimation definitely still exists, but we have come so far in the last few centuries.

From the evening's panel discussion, I really took away how important it is not to be apathetic. One panelist talked about the glass ceiling and how several women have broken through that glass ceiling, but the story ends there. There are those handful of women who make it through, but the rest of the women have not. The question is how do we all get there?!?!

Deep thoughts for such a little cooking blog! Anyway, I hope you think about your role as a woman today and how lucky we are that we've been able to choose- choose a career, choose a family (or not), choose to buy a house, choose to go to school, choose to be a mom, choose to vote.

Happy Women's Equality Day!

Monday, August 24, 2009

Show Stopper #2

We celebrated a few birthdays at work and I couldn't decide what to make, but I finally settled on a gorgeous repeat.

Crust, cream cheese, and fruit- an irresistible combination! And all the fruit at our store has been pretty tasty lately.

I first made this recipe in June of 2008, just about a year ago and blogged about it here. But I'll post the recipe again- for your convenience!

Fresh Fruit Tart

1/2 cup confectioners' sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened and sliced

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Fresh strawberries, kiwi slices, blueberries, raspberries

1 (6-ounce) can frozen limeade concentrate, thawed
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/4 cup granulated sugar

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

For the crust:
In a food processor, combine the confectioners' sugar, flour, and butter, and process until the mixture forms a ball. With your fingers, press the dough into a 12-inch tart pan with a removable bottom, taking care to push the crust into the indentations in the sides. Pat until the crust is even. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes, until very lightly browned. Set aside to cool.

For the filling and topping:
Beat the cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla together until smooth. Spread over the cooled crust. Cut the strawberries into 1/4-inch slices and arrange around the edge of the crust. For the next circle, use kiwi slices. Add another circle of strawberries, filling in any spaces with blueberries. Cluster the raspberries in the center of the tart.

For the glaze:
Combine the limeade, cornstarch, lime juice, and sugar in a small saucepan and cook over medium heat until clear and thick, about 2 minutes. Let cool. With a pastry brush, glaze the entire tart. You will not use all of the glaze. Keep the tart in the refrigerator.

Remove about 15 minutes before serving. Slice into 8 wedges and serve with a dollop of whipped cream.

As you can see, any combination of fruit can be used and there are lots of ways to make designs. And no matter the design, I know it will be tasty!!!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Finally . . . the graduation!!!

Jeremy's graduation could not get here soon enough! He has had class 2 nights a week until about 9:30 for the past year and a half. It's made it a little challenging to spend time together, especially since he usually worked late those other week nights. And the last few weeks have seemed even worse- projects and group meetings, tests, etc.

But it's over and he did it and I'm proud to say that my husband worked and went to school and now, has his MBA!

Jeremy's parents, my parents, and Ethan & Sarah came to celebrate! We had a really wonderful time eating, playing games, eating, chatting, shopping, eating!

Jeremy's fan club (minus Ali, who we missed tremendously!)

Ethan, Sarah, me and J

The proud parents

For such an important occasion, we had to have a big, celebration dessert. I told Jeremy he could choose anything and he picked a chocolate cake with vanilla buttercream icing.

The cake tasted delicious, but I did have a little sliding icing problem. Luckily, that does not effect the taste- only the aesthetics! Oh well!

Chocolate Layer Cake

1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate morsels
½ cup butter, softened
1 (16 oz.) package light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 (8 oz.) container sour cream
1 cup hot water
2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt chocolate in a microwave safe bowl at HIGH 1 ½ minutes or until melted and smooth, stirring at 30 second intervals.

Beat butter and brown sugar at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended (about 5 minutes). Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until blended after each addition. Add melted chocolate, beating just until blended.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Gradually add to chocolate mixture alternately with sour cream, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed until just blended after each addition. Gradually add 1 cup hot water in a slow, steady stream, beating at low speed just until blended. Stir in vanilla.

Spoon batter into 2 greased and floured 9 inch round, 2 inch deep pans.

Bake at 350 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Remove from pans to wire racks, and let cool 1 hour or until completely cool.

Spread with frosting.

Jeremy got a new horn for his bike from Sarah and Ethan! : )

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Taco Soup

There are lots and lots of recipes out there for taco soup or tortilla soup. This is just one variation that I tried out and I thought it was pretty tasty.

The recipe I normally use has rotel and a packet of ranch dressing mix. They are both good- just different.

This one came together pretty quickly and is healthy if you want to use lean ground beef or even ground turkey breast. I ate mine with baked tostitos. And our side dish was guacamole! Yum!

Easy Taco Soup

1 lb. ground beef
1-2 tsp. olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 tsp. minced garlic
2 cans beef broth
2 cans diced tomatoes with juice
2 cans pinto beans or kidney beans with juice
2 T dried oregano
2 T ground cumin
2 T regular chile powder
Pinch of cayenne pepper

Heat 1 tsp. olive oil in frying pan, add ground beef and cook until well browned, breaking into small pieces as you cook it. Remove beef to large soup pot.

In same frying pan heat second tsp. of olive oil, add onions and garlic, and sauté until onions are starting to soften, about 3 minutes. Add veggies to soup pot. Add beef broth, canned tomatoes, canned beans, and spices to pot.

Let soup simmer at very low for 45 minutes to one hour, stirring occasionally and adding a bit more water if it cooks down very much. Serve hot, with toppings as desired.

Toppings: cheese, light sour cream, guacamole, and the corn chips

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Every dog wants to be a Cesar dog!

Have you seen the commercial?!?! Ivy and Winnie love it!
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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Dogs Will Play

I've made a very similar dish and posted it- black bean salsa. This is the same sort of concept, but it's just a little bit different. Still- the combination of beans, tomatoes, onion, and avocado.

This is great as a side dish or a dip for chips. I had it for a light supper one night. You can't go wrong with it!

I happened to not have cilantro this time, so I didn't use it. I also used balsamic vinegar and white wine vinegar, since I did not have champagne vinegar. It still tasted delicious!

Pinto Bean Salad with Avocado, Tomatoes, Red Onion, and Cilantro
(Makes 4 side-dish servings, recipe created by Kalyn)

1 can pinto beans, rinse and drain very well
4-5 tsp. white balsamic vinegar or champagne vinegar
1 avocado, diced into pieces
1/2 inch square
2 tsp. fresh lime juice
1 cup chopped tomatoes
1/2 cup finely chopped red onion
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
1-2 T olive oil, or a bit more
fresh ground black pepper
sea salt to taste

Pour beans into a colander placed in the sink and rinse well until no more foam appears. Let beans drain well for at least 15 minutes. Then blot beans dry with paper towel, place in plastic bowl, and toss with white balsamic vinegar. Let beans marinate in the vinegar while you prep other ingredients.

Cut avocado into 1/2 inch pieces and place in small bowl. Toss with lime juice. Chop tomatoes, or if using cherry tomatoes, cut in half.

Chop red onion and cilantro. Mix onions and cilantro into marinating beans. Then use a large spoon to gently fold in avocado and tomato. Drizzle olive oil over salad and season to taste with fresh ground black pepper and sea salt, and gently toss again. Serve immediately, at room temperature.

And the other night, while I was busy blogging away and Jeremy was studying, here is what Ivy and Win were up to . . .

They pulled all the stuffing out of a toy, pulled blankets off the bed, seemingly got out all their toys, and oh yes- that's poop you see right there at the bottom corner! Classic!

Monday, August 10, 2009

So Granola!

This is the perfect late night snack or you could even have it for breakfast!

I layered nonfat plain yogurt (sweetened with Splenda), strawberries and homemade granola. It's delicious and healthy!

You could make the granola to suit your personal tastes- almonds, peanuts, and cinnamon would all be great additions. Blueberries in the parfait would be really good as well- I might try that tomorrow night!

Don't let the coconut in the granola scare you! You can't taste it at all!

Coconut Pecan Granola

¾ cup Fruit Sweet
2 tablespoons butter, melted
6 cups old fashioned oats
¾ cup pecans
¾ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
pinch of salt (if use salted peanuts – omit)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Melt butter in a large mixing bowl in the microwave. Add fruit sweet, oats, pecans, coconut, vanilla extract and salt. Mix until well combined.
Spray a baking sheet with vegetable oil spray and spread mixture out on the pan in an even layer.

Bake stirring several times, about 25 minutes until mixture is light golden brown. (add the toasted almonds and roasted peanuts at this point and mix well)

Cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Granola can be stored in an airtight container for several weeks. Makes 8 cups or 16 servings. ½ cup fits in a snack Ziploc baggie.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Ivy and Winnie

It's been a while since I posted any pictures of Ivy and Winnie, so I thought I would put a few on here. Winnie has grown so much! She is just as tall as Ivy, but a little skinnier.

They are still getting into lots of trouble! Yesterday, Winnie played in the mud and had to have a bath and then, a short 3 hours later, she rolled over in some poo and had to have another bath. Good times!

But at the end of the day, we wouldn't trade them for any other puppies!

This is when we brought Win home- Ivy was not a fan!

And here they are now . . .

Ivy- she was about 1 year old

Win- she's about 7 months old

It looks like Win is laughing!