Wednesday, October 31, 2012

A serious issue...

I have a problem...let me just show you as I feel pictures will better convey the situation...

In the actual ironing board.  Doesn't look so bad, you say?

Two...that's right, two pin cushions on the ironing board next to my sewing machine.

Directly to the right of my sewing machine.  Those other two, I mentioned above...they're within spitting distance of this one...

Directly to the left of my sewing machine...

Top, right hand side of my cutting mat...two...again.  This time one's magnetic...just in case.  FYI, I am on the same table still, as my sewing machine...

Top, left hand side of my cutting mat...two more.  This time, works in progress.  Trying to figure out how to make the perfect turkey...that's cushion...ahem.

And, just in case the worst should happen...more pins on my window sil...just waiting for their moment to shine.

In my defense, I just want pins exactly where I am, when I am doing something.  I hate to have to search around for a place to put, I have pin cushions everywhere.  Easy solution...or I am addicted to pin cushions.  To be determined...

Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Oven Roasted Shrimp... aka the best shrimp you will ever eat

oven roasted shrimp
Those are some pretty confident words, you might be thinking as you read the title of this post. The Best Shrimp I Will Ever Eat. But really, can it be true, you might say. Maybe you've had some really good shrimp in your time. But, if you haven't eaten shrimp that have been roasted in the oven with their shells and tails on, baby, you are in for a treat.

I like my shrimp simple; with a squeeze of lemon and some seriously horseradish-y cocktail sauce. I mean, clear your sinuses kinda hot.

Now that I've got your attention, wanna know how to make em? 

Oven Roasted Shrimp
As much shrimp as you think you want to eat.  Just make sure they are raw and have the shells and tails still on.  I choose wild shrimp over farmed.  I also choose Jumbo size.  You choose what works for you.  I like 1.5 lbs for 4 people.  It leaves you satisfied and maybe you have some left over for lunch tomorrow.
Olive Oil

Preheat oven to 425 F. 

De-vein the pile of shrimp.  If you do not know how to de-vein a shrimp, you need to cut (with a sharp paring knife) along the back of the shrimp.  I always think at first that I need to do it on the inside of the shrimp, thinking that their intestinal track will be where I imagine their bellies should be, but it's not.  It's on the back.  Then you want to clean out anything you find there.  There's not always black, yucky stuff, but more often than not there is.  I just rinse with water and use the knife to scrape anything out.

Once you have cleaned all the shrimp, pat them dry with paper towels.  Place on a cookie sheet in a single layer and sprinkle with some oil.  Now sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Place in the oven on the middle rack and cook for approximately 6 minutes.

Now, turn all the little shrimps over, put back in oven, and cook for 4 to 6 more minutes until they are pink and cooked to perfection.

Commence to eat with a squirt of fresh lemon juice and dipped in spicy hot cocktail sauce.  If you want to be fancy, like my Mother, then you'll do this...

I like to include the celery leaves.  They have a flavor all their own.  Kinda herb-y, I would say.

Then do this...

Spoon a generous dollop of cocktail sauce in the middle.  Liberally add shrimps right in the bowl. If you wanna be like me, you can leave em dressed and make whoever is eating them, de-shell them.  Don't forget a lemon wedge.  Just place a shells and tails bowl on the table and a pile of napkins. You're gonna need em.

Mmm. I think I'm scratching my plans for dinner tonight, and making this instead.


Thanks for reading!

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Thursday, October 25, 2012

It's chilly...make chili.

Nothing is better, I think everyone will agree, on a cold blustery day than a soothing bowl of piping hot soup....with a tasty warm biscuit or roll sitting next to it.   Plus, it is Halloween next week, and if you're anything like my family chili is what's on the menu that buckets and buckets of here's an easy recipe for you to try out...

easy chili

This is my easy, no fail recipe for chili.  It is good.  It is warm.  And even my Youngest who doesn't like spicy anything will eat long as I put the eating of the biscuit on the line.  Either you eat 5 bites of chili or NO BISCUIT!  That's pretty much how it goes in our house.

The best part about this chili, is you basically just have to assemble the ingredients from the grocery store.  I am not so fancy that I am soaking my own beans and mixing my own chili mix. 

Let's get started...

2 lbs ground beef, browned with 1 onion until cooked through
1 large bottle tomato juice
28 oz. crushed tomatoes (or diced, you don't have to be too fussy about it)
2 packets chili seasoning
3 to 4 14 oz cans of beans (whatever you like, I used 2 red kidney beans and 2 black beans)

I always cook my ground beef in the same stock pot that I'm going to simmer my chili in.  One pot=happiness for me. So you just put all of the above ingredients in a large stock pot, bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer and let it cook, lid on, for 30 minutes or however long you have before supper time.

Serve with shredded cheese (whatever you like, I used some unpasteurized was tasty), maybe some avocado, some diced red onion...and these...

cheddar jalapeno biscuit recipe

Cheddar Jalapeno Biscuits that I've adapted from Smitten Kitchen.  A must.  So good.  They use sour cream instead of the normal amount of butter!!!  Here's the details...

1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt (I use Kosher)
2 Tbls. cold butter, cut into small cubes
A nice sized pile of shredded cheddar....I would guess a little over 1 cup....but this isn't vital to measure, just shred some and if it looks like enough, toss it in.
Several pickled jalapenos, chopped into small pieces...again, just go with the amount you think looks tasty.  I probably used 8.
1 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 425°F.
Combine the dry ingredients in a large bowl.  Add the butter.  I just used my fingers and mushed the butter until it was well-combined throughout the flour mixture. Add the cheddar, stir so all the cheese is covered by the flour mix.  Add the jalapenos and stir them as well.  Add the sour cream and mix until it forms a wet  dough (my sour cream must have been seriously cold, because it had a hard time incorporating, I just put down the spoon and used my hand to combine and it worked great.  Try not to over work it).

Dump the dough onto a floured counter top and using your hands, just pat it down so it's about 1 1/2 inches thick.  Using a cup that looks like the size you want, cut out as many biscuits as you can, use the scraps...even if they're oddly shaped they will bake up just as tasty.

Bake for about 15 minutes on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, until the tops are golden brown and delicious looking.

Devour.  So good!

Thanks for reading!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Stitch in the Ditch

Remember the picture of my Swoon Quilt yesterday...wanna see how I've quilted it?

So, I have done stitch in the ditch around all the major shapes.  I did not stitch the seams within a major shape, like the diamonds or, I'll call them, house shapes...except for the large square in the very middle.  I also used a deep turquoise thread.  Because I was stitching in such a simple way, I wanted to highlight what stitching there was with a dark color.

I am really happy with it so far.  Giddy in fact.  This little beauty has been in the works for about a year...which is not unusual for me.  As a hand takes me a bit longer for a completion. 

I also love that I will have two completions within a couple of weeks of each other.  My Youngest and I will have a new quilt for winter.  My oldest has declared she gets a new one next year. She wants more than  her Wiz quilt.  She does have another quilt on her bed, it is her original big girl bed quilt, so don't fret that she will freeze this winter.  Of that I think about it...I would like to make her a new one...that one was made 5 or so years ago...and I have improved so much since then....hmmmmm....

The first question out of this one as I lay my Swoon quilt out to take some pictures...Are there any needles in it?  No.  Okay, I'll get all my toys.

Commence playing on the as yet unbound quilt...they really do make good spots to play house.

Thanks for reading!

Click here to help me vote for what binding to put on the quilt...


Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Try Outs

I am not the type of person who feels the border fabric has to actually be used somewhere in the quilt.  Quite often I do use one of the quilt fabrics for the border...but this time...nope.

So, we're having border fabric tryouts....

Here's an unbiased view.  Yeah....if you can't tell from this little's the Swoon Quilt...oh glory day!! 

Okay, let's start the process...

1.  Yellow with golden rod dots...that's right, I said golden rod.

2.  Grey with turquoise dots

3.  Turquoise with Grey dots

4.  Grey with white dots

Okay, so if you would like to give me your opinion in the comments...I will take them under advisement.  I am leaning towards numbers 1 and 2.  Let me know what you think...

Thanks for reading!


Thursday, October 18, 2012

Stuffed Mushrooms...good for a low carb eating...

Yeah...I'm kinda making up my own diet.  It's mostly low-carb with a few healthy carbs thrown oatmeal.  But, dang if I don't need a tasty treat every now and again.  These mushrooms are so good.  They're not necessarily meant to be for a low-carb diet, but they work.

Approximately 24 button mushrooms (washed if dirty) and stems popped out but reserved
1 lb of sausage, browned
1/2 onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, diced
A splash of beef broth...maybe half a cup
A pile of shredded cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese (or whatever you like...sorry for the vague amount.  Maybe a cup?)
1 egg
8 oz of softened cream cheese
Pecorino Cheese, shredded

Brown your sausage. 

Saute onion until softened in the reserved sausage grease (add a splash of olive oil if needed), over medium heat.  Add garlic at the very end and cook until fragrant....that means just 30 seconds max.

Chop up the mushroom stems finely and add to the garlic and onion once they are done cooking.  Saute all together for a bit over medium heat.  Add some salt and pepper to taste. 

After they have cooked for a second, add your beef broth.  Allow to simmer until reduced completely.  Scrape up the brown bits on the bottom of the plan.  This is flavor!

Remove from heat and let cool a bit.  Add shredded cheddar and Pepper Jack cheese right into the skillet.  As you can see it melts a bit.

Whip up the softened cream cheese with an egg and add the sausage mixture.  Mix until combined.

Stuff mushroom caps generously.  And then sprinkle with Pecorino cheese.  If you've got Parmesan, it'll work just fine.

Bake at 350 F for about 25 minutes until everything is meltsy and golden.

sausage stuffed mushrooms

Devour.  I know they're not the most beautiful looking thing you could eat in the world, but they are darn satisfying.  I also decided to throw in a picture of myself as I don't do that very often.  If you have left over stuffing, you can cook it over low heat in a sauce pan and serve it with crackers.  Very tasty.  To make them more beautiful, I would add some chopped parsley.  As I didn't have any, I didn't add it, but you could.


Thanks for reading.


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The wrestling match must mean it's a hit!

pink snowball quilt

An angel chorus somewhere sings joyously.  Behold!  It is done and on the bed! 

I mean...I guess it's possible that an angel chorus doesn't have anything better to sing about...right?  I think a completed quilt makes the list of approved singing opportunities...maybe? 

The funny...or sad thing is, of course, that My Youngest actually prefers the back of the quilt to the front.  I didn't take a picture of the back in my infinite wisdom...but if you can see the patch on there that's all pink and purple castles and rainbows and hue-nicorns (as she calls them), that's what makes up most of the back.  Oh well.  I at least, am pleased with the front.

But, what lets me know this is a really good the ensuing wrestling match that occurred after the you notice they are not even on the carpet.  They didn't seem to mind the hard floor.  They wrestled and had a grand old time, and then we played a rousing game of  I-Spy on it.  Good times.  Maybe someday my baby will appreciate the front, in the meantime, she's loving the back.

Thanks for reading...glad to have another completion to the list.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Grand Opening...Coming Soon...


Yep, you read that right...

We are opening up a BRAND NEW and IMPROVED CAFE
...and we can't wait to have all of you come visit! 

We've got our GRAND OPENING coming SOON!!!

*A huge shout out to the talented Jana at Little Web Writing Hood!
Definitely worth a visit for stylish custom graphic design needs.
(blog packages, etsy shops, facebook headers, etc.)

Follow IC on Facebook to get all of our updates!

So this week we're sharing our Contributors' favorite posts from the past, while we get things all finished up at the New Inspiration Cafe. 

Finally, here's a peak at some of our personal favorites.  Just click each photo to be taken to the actual post.  Enjoy browsing...hey, feel free to spend some time checking out each of our Contributors and see what else we've been up to!

     Image Map

Don't forget to leave a comment saying you stopped by.
We're gearing up for Inspiration Cafe to be a much more open and interactive place, and we want to get to know each and every one of you. 
Have a wonderful week!  ;) 

Thanks for the visit and please, come back again!
The Ladies at Inspiration Cafe 

Friday, October 12, 2012

World Egg Day Today!!

That's right folks, you read it right here.  Today, October 12th is World Egg Day.  So, do what you gotta do...and make something with eggs today!  I am going to show you two recipes in this post because...I've got two egg recipes to talk about.  And this is the day to do it.

egg ham breakfast sandwich

First off: Gourmet Egg and Ham Breakfast Sandwiches.  Now, listen, this ain't no ordinary, run of the mill mcsandwich.  No sir.  This is upping the sandwich style big time!

Can I just say that The Mister has made it known that he married me mainly because I make these for him upon occasion.  C'est la vie.  It is what it is after all.  So ladies, if you are looking to get yourself a man...put these under advisement.

English some nice quality English Muffins. some nice quality ham from the deli...the good stuff.  Not too sweet.  Just a nice, salty ham.  1 lb. many as you think your family will eat.
American Cheese Slices...My husband and girls favorite kind of cheese
Kraft Sandwich Spread...what is this stuff?  I don't know, but for whatever reason, they are a must on this breakfast sandwiches.

What you do...

First, turn your oven to 200 F.

Now, take a neat pile of much as you want on each sandwich and place in a lightly greased pan over medium-high heat.  Cook until they get a little caramelized on each side.  Once done, place on an oven-safe plate and pop in the oven until ready.  This way your ham stays warm while everything else cooks!

Tear your English Muffins in half.  Hopefully you got the nice ones that come apart easily and not the nasty ones that you have to end up getting the serrated knife to do the job.  Place in toaster oven and toast until nice and golden.

Scramble your eggs to your liking.  Now, you could also fry the eggs...but my family likes their eggs scrambled, so that's how I do it.

Okay, now work fast!!!  Take the English muffins out of the toaster and spread with Sandwich spread.  Put a slice of American Cheese.  Next top with some of that grilled ham.  Next top with some of your eggs.  Top with other slice of English muffin.  Devour.

You will never look at a breakfast sandwich the same way again.  Quality ingredients make all the difference.  I'm telling you...a proposal will come your way. 

Next recipe...

How to boil and egg...properly.

Hey, yeah, this needs a recipe.  Because, I have seen some nasty boiled eggs in my time...all grayish green....shudder.   So, here it is...

Place your eggs in a pot.  Cover them completely with cold water.  Bring to a boil.  Once they have boiled, remove from heat, put lid on and let sit for 15 minutes.  Once 15 minutes have passed.  Rinse in cold water.

Voila!  Boiled eggs.  Now...if you want to make something fancy out of the perfectly cooked boiled eggs...prepare yourself.  You need some...

And some green olives with pimentos in.    And some paprika.

Take a heaping spoonful of the sandwich spread.  Some salt and pepper and combine with the removed yolks.  Whip until smooth.  Spoon into your empty egg halves.

Sprinkle with paprika.  Add a halved olive in the center and what do you have...

Spooky eye-ball deviled eggs.  Perfect for your Halloween...uhhhh...luncheon with the ladies.

Okay, I guess that was technically 3 recipes.

Enjoy World Egg Day.  I know I'm gonna!

Shared here:
Iron Chef mom

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