Thursday, June 30, 2011

Lemonade Icebox Pie

This is a perfect pie for summer, because it's made with lemonade. The pie is fluffy and so smooth and creamy. It's simple to make and the kids will love helping (if they get to lick the bowl)!

Lemonade Icebox Pie

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
3/4 cup lemonade concentrate
1 (8 ounce) carton Cool Whip
1 (9 inch) graham cracker crust
(You can make your own crust, but premade is the quickest, and that's the point of this pie: quick and easy.)

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese until smooth. Gradually beat in condensed milk until well blended. (Leave a little in the can for those who can't resist!)  Beat in lemonade concentrate. 

 Fold in Cool Whip. Pour into graham cracker crust. Refrigerate a few hours until set.

Note:  This recipe makes enough to fill a 9 inch graham cracker crust to overflowing (or you can leave some in the bowl for the bowl lickers in your family). If you can find a deep dish graham cracker crust, give it a try.
Also, try with pink lemonade or limeade concentrate.

Printable recipe 

Use the remainder of the can of concentrate to make some lemonade. Enjoy!

 Linking to:
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Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Garden Gate Magazine

Whenever I find a new issue of Garden Gate magazine in my mailbox, I have to stop whatever I'm doing and look through it immediately. First I go through it looking at the great photos, then I go back later and read it cover to cover. The magazine is completely ad-free and the Garden  Gate website has additional information not covered in the magazine. A one year subscription is only $20.00 and you get a free book on container gardening.

Some of the great features are:

reader's tips,

top picks (with great plant info),

detailed garden plans for your region,

a design challenge,

and great feature articles.

Garden Gate also publishes gardening books for $9.95 with free shipping.

Garden Gate didn't pay me to write about the magazine. I just wanted to share this wonderful magazine with you.
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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Shrimp Paella

We all know that eating seafood is good for you. The omega-3 fatty acids in seafood protect you against heart disease. According to a Harvard study, eating seafood twice a week will reduce the risk of stroke, depression, and Alzheimer's disease. Only one-third of all Americans eat seafood once a week, and half only eat fish occasionally or never eat it.  The study states that many people do not eat seafood because they are uncertain on how to prepare it. I hope you give this easy recipe a try.

Shrimp Paella

1 pound shrimp, cleaned and deveined
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground tumeric
1 teaspoon salt, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, or to taste 
32 ounces chicken broth
2 cups long grain rice
10 ounces frozen green peas, thawed
1 can (14 oz) can quartered artichoke hearts, drained

Heat oil in a 5-quart dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions and bell pepper; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onions are tender.
Stir in garlic, oregano, tumeric, salt, and pepper. Add broth and rice. Bring to a boil, and reduce heat to low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, or until most of the liquid is absorbed and the rice is almost tender. 

 Stir in shrimp, peas, and artichoke hearts. Cook until shrimp are pink, loosely curled, and opaque throughout, about 10 minutes longer. Makes 6 servings.

Note: The original recipe does not call for salt and pepper, but I think it needs some. My husband also added Tabasco sauce to his. He said it needed a little kick. 
The original recipe also calls for a 16 ounce bag of frozen peas. I used about 10 ounces and saved the rest for another meal.

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Monday, June 27, 2011

Round Top

 I hope you had a restful weekend. Did you take the time to do something fun? My husband and I took a day trip to Round Top, Texas. It's halfway between Houston and Austin. We spent some time shopping for antiques, enjoying lunch at Royer's Cafe, and visiting a darling shop by the name of Green Peck.

Round Top is known for its antique shows that attract dealers from all over the country.  The Round Top Antiques Fair is held four times a year. The summer show is in the Big Red (air-conditioned) Barn.

 Many of the booth owners put some effort in their set up. The back drop here is crumpled brown paper.

  This looks like the inviting front porch of a farmhouse.

Of course, an antiques fair in Texas must have at least one Texas booth.

More Texas decor. I wanted the tool box, but I thought the price was a little too steep.

This booth was decorated with flowers. I love the use of the blue basin as a planter.

More flowers in hanging bud vases. Clever.

Here is the booth that really got my attention and my money.

I bought this ironstone gravy boat because of the lovely shape.

I also bought this pitcher because the meadow pattern is so pretty.

I haven't decided how to display my new purchases yet. I think I will clean out the hutch and rearrange some things. 
I'll write about the unusual cafe and the incredible store in another post. 
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Friday, June 24, 2011

Craft room inspiration

My craft room/home office is boring! I am not inspired at all by the room.

 The other side of the room has a messy desk and a large file cabinet. I'm already embarrassed enough without showing you that.

 I went looking for inspiration on Pinterest. Here are a few dream craft rooms. Maybe one day I can talk my hubby into building one for me.

Let's start out simple.

I love the space for the computers and the machines. There is a tremendous amount of storage.

This is a scrapbooker's dream.

I love the pretty chairs and storage boxes.

Great paper and ribbon storage.

These cubbies are easy to find.

Now, this is the ultimate craft room!

I think I either need to visit Pottery Barn or build some knock-offs! I wonder if Hubby's busy?

What do you think I need to do first in my craft room/home office (after I clean up the clutter)?

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Thursday, June 23, 2011

Mandarin Orange Cake

This cake is frequently requested by my family and friends during the hot summer months. My mother-in-law gave me this recipe years ago. The cake is moist and delicious and served cold. I make it, take it, and serve it from a 9 x 13 inch pan. It's quick and easy to make.

Mandarin Orange Cake

1 11 ounce can mandarin oranges (in light syrup)
1 box butter or yellow cake mix
1/2 cup oil
4 eggs

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray 9 x 13 inch pan with cooking spray. 

 Empty the oranges into the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until the oranges are
chopped into small pieces. 

 Add the cake mix, oil, and eggs. Mix on medium speed about 2 minutes. Pour into 9 x 13 inch pan. Bake at 350 about 30 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean. Cool cake before frosting

1 8 ounce container Cool Whip
1 20 ounce can crushed pineapple, unsweetened
1 small ( 4 serving) box instant pudding (I use vanilla or lemon)

Mix frosting ingredients together in a large bowl. 

 Frost top of cake in pan. Refrigerate 2-3 hours before serving.

Note: The cake batter will fill one 9 x 13 inch pan or 3 round cake pans. The original recipe called for a large container of Cool Whip. I don't think Cool Whip comes larger than 8 ounces now. If you want to frost the entire cake, use about 1 1/2 containers of Cool Whip.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Texas Decor

Just like most of you, I love to redecorate. I love to shop for paint, fabric, furniture, and accessories. Right now I have the urge to redecorate the family room, kitchen, and dining area. I decided this time I would not repaint or buy any large furniture pieces. Last weekend, my husband and I picked out some new rugs. Today I bought some fabric and a couple of accessories. I'm still looking for two small tables.
In preparation of the redo I snapped a few "before" shots. As I was looking through the photos, I thought I would share some of the items in my home that have a distinct Texas theme.

 The new front doors I waited years to buy

Map of Texas in 1836 hangs in the entry hall.

Lone Star flag from 1845

Star above the fireplace

China cabinet handmade in Texas

And finally, a sign in the kitchen.

I will be keeping all this Texas decor, but updating and brightening up the rooms. Before and after photos will be posted as the work is completed.

I'm going to the Round Top Antique Show this weekend. No telling what I'll come home with!

Stay tuned.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Barbecue Brisket

In Texas, barbecue is beef brisket. It takes hours to smoke a brisket the proper way. I don't have hours to spend outside over a hot bbq pit, nor do I have the desire. I found this easy slow cooker recipe on last summer. It's so easy to make delicious fork-tender barbecue brisket.

Barbecue Brisket

3-4 pound beef brisket, trimmed


1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon celery seed
1/4 teaspoon pepper

In a small bowl, combine the rub ingredients. 

 Rub all over the brisket. Place in a slow cooker.

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup chili sauce
2 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon liquid smoke
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard

In a bowl, combine the sauce ingredients. 

 Pour half over the brisket. Set the remaining sauce aside. Cover and cook on high 5-7 hours until meat is tender. Serve with the reserved sauce. 

I served the brisket sliced with four cheese mashed potatoes and beans.  A couple of days later, I served the leftovers as chopped beef sliders with french fries, cole slaw, and a cold Texas beer. 

Two easy-to-make summer meals. Sliders are perfect for the little ones. My kids would have loved them when they were small. Now they would probably laugh as my husband did and proceed to eat five.

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