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  1. Monday, April 11, 2011

    Kitchen Disasters Galore…and a Pampered Chef Giveaway!

    This giveaway is now closed. BUT…I highly recommend you keep reading. There are some good kitchen disaster stories in these comments! And feel free to leave more great stories. I will do a follow-up post soon announcing the winner and highlighting some of the messiest/scariest/hilariousest stories you shared!

    Kitchen disasters. We all have them. My most memorable disaster involves a microwave, a bag of popcorn and a phone call. Oh. My. Goodness. Who knew microwave popcorn could catch fire AND create such a great amount of smoke? I was pretty sure I had written about this experience, so I went digging around on the blog and, sure enough, I had. I had forgotten so many of the details of that day I was glad I had written it down. All I really remembered was black popcorn, more smoke than any one bag of popcorn should be allowed to produce, and feeling like a complete dummy. I had forgotten that it was a wicked hot day. And that we were planning a fun day at the movies with our girls, which never happened. And the reason I started a popcorn fire was because I was chatting on the phone. I guess that shouldn’t come as much of a surprise! Our house was SO STINKY for SO LONG…and, it was SO HOT that day. Opening the windows was the last thing we wanted to do. But we had to. Either that or suffocate. We opted for heat, but it was a tough decision. 😉

    I’ll never forget one of my mom’s “disasters.” She used to make this yummy chicken cooked in a tomato sauce for fajitas. Well, one evening, the family sat down to dinner and started to dig in. As we took our first bites we knew something was wrong. But we just kept eating. Not one of us mentioned that the fajitas tasted beyond strange, in fact, kinda gross. We didn’t want to hurt Mom’s feelings. When my mom finally sat down and started eating, she immediately asked us why we were all eating this awful food?!?! She knew immediately what she had done…cinnamon instead of cumin! She saved us all from being nice and promptly cleared the table. It’s actually quite a fond memory and still makes me laugh.

    Today it’s all about kitchen disasters. It’s time to spill the beans! Please share your worst kitchen disaster. Or your mom’s worst kitchen disaster. Or your best friend’s. If it’s a kitchen disaster, we want to hear about it!

    There are four other food bloggers writing similar “Spill It” posts on their blogs today. Whichever blogger gets the most comments wins a big old Pampered Chef shopping spree. There are so many Pampered Chef items that I would just love to get my hands on, so I’m really hoping we can pull this off! And just think what wonderful posts I could write for you if I had all those wonderful cooking tools! 😉  Plus, I’m willing to share the spoils…

    The Pampered Chef folks told me if I don’t win, they’ll still give me this totally cool Easy Brie-zy Pizza Set. But, I’ve decided I’m going to give it to one of you instead. That’s right, I’ll randomly select one of the commenters on this post to win the pizza set! And, if we can get lots of comments on here and I actually do win the shopping spree, I’ll use part of my winnings to get the pizza set for the winner…as well as something else special! See, you DO want me to win that shopping spree!

    To enter the giveaway for a chance at the pizza set (and maybe more!), help me win a shopping spree AND share your great kitchen disasters (come on, I know you’re dying to “Spill It”), get commenting! Comments must be made by 12:00 pm CT this Friday, April 15. (Must have continental U.S. shipping address to ship the prize to.)

    You can also “like” The Pampered Chef on Facebook (and why wouldn’t you, they’re great!) and share your disaster stories on their wall as well!  AND…if you click on the “Contests” tab over on the left of their Facebook page, you can enter to win the same grand prize that I’m trying to win myself! It’s big…$3500 for The Pampered Chef and $125 to Spa Finder.

    I can’t wait to read all your comments…this is going to be fun!

  2. Sunday, April 10, 2011

    Week 220 Menu

    I love pears, especially Bartlett and Comice. Mmmmm. But I have a problem with pears. I’ll see them at the store, crave them, buy a bunch, bring them home and place them in the fruit bowl to ripen. And then, nine times out of ten, I forget about them until they are far too ripe for eating. It’s tragic. Yesterday, I decided to photograph the pretty little Bartlett pear sitting in my fruit bowl. And then, believe it or not, I cut it up and ate it. And it wasn’t even mushy. I consider this a miracle pear!

    Well, our menu this past week ended up looking nothing like what I planned. One of these days things will get back to normal. I’m 17 weeks pregnant, after all! Honestly, though, last week was the best week yet. Still not out of the woods on this sickness nonsense, but I think we’re getting there! So, let’s see if I can’t actually follow my menu plan this week…even just a little!

    Paninis of some sort (probably caprese, but maybe chicken with spinach, avocado, tomato and honey mustard)
    – Fruit

    Green Noodles

    – Pulled pork sandwiches (using this sauce recipe, but I’ll use it with the smoked pulled pork from Costco)

    – Leftovers

    – Eat out

    – Eat out. I’m just going to be realistic and plan on two eating out nights. But hopefully I’ll feel better and rustle up another meal instead!


    Your turn! Bring on the menus!!!

  3. Friday, April 8, 2011

    Easter Candy

    I think Easter candy is the best kind of candy. Those terrible, ooey-gooey Cadbury cream eggs? For some truly strange reason I love them. Or how about the big egg-shaped Reese’s peanut butter cups? Yum!

    The crown jewel of Easter candy is, of course, the Cadbury Mini Egg. I remember digging through my Easter basket as a kid, looking for those dull-textured, speckled eggs with little tiny cracks in the shell. They were the Easter jackpot!

    This little photo shoot was pretty much torture for Anna. She just couldn’t keep her little hand out of the candy jar…and who can blame her, really?

    What’s your favorite Easter candy? Or do you think there is another time of year with better confectionary options? I don’t know if I can be convinced of that, but you can try.

  4. Wednesday, April 6, 2011

    Anolon Nouvelle Copper 10″ Skillet Winner

    It’s time to announce the lucky winner of the Anolon Nouvelle Copper 10″ skillet giveaway. I have to say, there were some pretty great comments entered…I especially liked the one where the family needed a new skillet because their son was overly enthusiastic on New Year’s Eve. Love it!

    The random number gods selected #285…

    Jackie, who said, “I would love to try a new Skillet!!! I’m in the market for a new set of pans so maybe I’ll have to really check these out!”

    Well, Jackie, you get to have a trial run with the Nouvelle Copper before you take the dive and buy the whole set! Lucky you!

    For the rest of you…I have other giveaways up my sleeve. Promise. Thank you all for entering and special thanks to Anolon for such a great giveaway!

  5. Tuesday, April 5, 2011

    Yorkshire Pudding

    First off, I am so excited about today’s recipe. Since I received it a week ago, I’ve had to stop myself from making it every day.

    For years I’ve been making Puffed Oven Pancakes using a recipe out of my Better Homes & Gardens cookbook. The first time I had these “pancakes” I was 12 years old and my best friend made them for me. She called them German pancakes. I’ve liked them ever since, as do my girls…although Nate has never been a fan.

    I’ve never written an actual post about those puffed oven pancakes, but the recipe frequently gets comments. The most recent comment said something along the lines of, “This is Yorkshire Pudding and it’s English!” I did a little research and discovered that it was in fact a variation of Yorkshire pudding, something I had never heard of. I’m Swedish, not English. I blame my ancestry.

    Then, last week, my friend Angie had us over for dinner, which was heaven…roast, mashed potatoes, amazing salad, amazinger gravy. She pointed at a plate and said, “And here’s some Yorkshire pudding, which you can eat with gravy or jam.” This of course turned us to the topic of Yorkshire pudding, which I had just read about earlier that week!

    Angie and her mother Catherine were saying originally Yorkshire pudding was cooked in the drippings in the pan that the meat was cooked in and was traditionally a savory dish, although it is delicious with sweet toppings and served at breakfast, too!

    I of course took a slice of Angie’s Yorkshire pudding. And quickly realized my puffed oven pancakes are merely a sad shadow of this Yorkshire pudding. The texture and taste are just better. I will never use that old puffed oven pancake recipe again. Seriously. I won’t. Angie happily shared her recipe. Sure enough the ingredients are the same, but the proportions are different. And it makes a world of difference. I even heated up leftovers the next day (a bit in the microwave then crisped up in the toaster oven) and they were fabulous!

    Move over Puffed Oven Pancakes…I present Yorkshire Pudding!

    Yorkshire Pudding
    From Angela Ballard”¦actually, here is Angie’s description of the origin for the recipe: “Passed down through immigrants and pioneers and chubby grandmas and now ME.” Don’t you love that?
    Recipe type: Breakfast
    • 4 eggs
    • 2¼ cups milk
    • 1½ cups flour
    • 1½ teaspoons salt
    1. Blend the ingredients in a blender.
    2. Place 4 tablespoons margarine*(Angie note: I know, the horror. Jane note: I didn’t have margarine and I was too impatient to try the recipe before I got to the store, so I used butter and it worked fine) in the oven in a 9”³ x 13”³ pan until boiling (Jane note: my butter wasn’t quite boiling, but it was starting to get a little too brown”¦so if you use butter, I let it go until it’s all melted and maybe just starting to brown and bubble a bit).
    3. Pour the blended ingredients directly into the hot pan.
    4. (Note: I often halve the ingredients and use an 8×8 pan and it works perfectly.)
    5. Bake at 450 for 25ish minutes.


  6. Sunday, April 3, 2011

    Week 219 Menu

    Daffodils are being sold in all my local grocery stores. I love this time of year, spring is on the way! I know some of you had more snow this weekend…don’t worry, spring really is coming! These daffodils told me so.

    Well, last week was okay. As you know, I made spaghetti and meatballs, but that’s about all I cooked all week! I think the pregnancy nausea may be starting to subside, but each day is a surprise for how I’m going to feel. Therefore, I’m still planning a laid-back menu.

    – Baked potatoes and, I don’t know, chicken sausage or something (I have four potatoes that need to get used!)

    Stuffed Peppers – I still haven’t made them despite being on the menu last week, but I’m really wanting them, so hopefully the stars finally align!

    – Leftovers

    – Homemade margherita pizza

    – Eat out

    Orange chicken

    – Breakfast for dinner…Yorkshire Pudding, recipe to come this Tuesday!

    Can’t wait to see your menus for this week – please share!