Sunday, November 18, 2012

~Sausage Stuffing~

Thanksgiving is only a few days away so I want to share my favorite stuffing recipe....

Sausage Stuffing

You'll need:

  • 1 1/2 cups of diced onion
  • 1 1/2 cups of diced celery
  • 3 cloves of minced garlic
  • bag of fresh spinach
  • 2 tsp  rosemary
  • 2 tsp poultry season
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 15 oz of bread cubes   (I use gluten free from Sweet Ali's)
  • 2-3 cups chicken broth (depends on the level of moisture you prefer)
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 8 oz fresh mushrooms
  • 32 oz of Jimmy Dean pork sausage  (I've read that its GF but do your own research!)
Preheat oven to 325.  In a large pan or stockpot, cook sausage until no longer pink.    Add mushrooms, onion, celery and garlic and cook 10-12 minutes, stirring frequently.    Transfer the sausage mixture to a large bowl, and add remaining ingredients.     Mix well and pour into a greased 4 quart casserole.    Bake covered for 60 minutes.     (I usually watch and add extra broth as needed while baking...)


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Entry Flooring...

I have another tiny project to share.     Like many old city houses, we have an addition off the back of our house.  It has fancy wood paneling (insert sarcasm here) which I immediately painted, so now it just looks 'charming'.   Anyway, when this addition was built, the old exterior back door was left on the basement entrance.   We immediately took that off, because I could not come up with one reason why we would need a door there.   The threshold of that (exterior) door is still there.      

When you enter through our back door, there are steps up to the house in front of you.   To your right, are steps to the basement.  Until recently, when you looked down, you would see peach concrete under your feet.   Yep.  Never a proper floor was had.   The steps into the basement also concrete and the little hallway too - all with this peachy color paint.    As a side note, Scott and I have purchased two houses in our married life and both had an excess of peach and orange paint that someone was trying to pass off as neutral.   You can probably imagine how I feel about that.

When heading to our basement, which is finished, it really feels like you're going to another location, or a separate building, if that makes sense.  I think its the concrete hallway.
We had a dilemma, how can we make this look a little nicer, and look like the interior of a home, without spending much?     There are larger renovations in our future, namely the dangerously small steps to the basement.  We didn't want to spend a lot of money on something that will likely be ripped out down the line.    I considered tile, but we aren't handy enough to do that ourselves, which means too much money.       

We were at Lowe's and found this great vinyl tile that looks like wood!  Vinyl has come a long way folks, I swear!   It's even textured like wood.     For an investment of maybe $40, we were able to transform the entryway from a peach concrete pad, to an indoor space!   We spent a couple of hours on a Saturday night (we are wild people).     The tiles blend in with the wood already on the stairs leading up to our dining room.    It looks 100 times better for hardly any cost, and we feel pretty handy.    We also used this to tile down to the basement entrance.    Once I get the hallway to the basement painted, it will look like a real interior space!

Here are some before and after photos:

BEFORE - Peach concrete floor: 

AFTER:  Looks like wood to me!  (Don't mind the carpets, for the safety of pets & humans on the tiny steps!)

~Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars~

Here I am, back with fall pumpkin cravings.   I want to try about 25 more fall recipes but I am running out of time :-).    I found this recipe on Pinterest (of course) and would only make a couple of small tweaks.   It is very easy, one of my current requirements for baking or cooking.   This is a great bar recipe to take to a party, so easy to transport... or just keep all to yourself and eat an excessive amount of them.

Pumpkin Pie Crunch Bars
You'll need:

  • box of gluten free yellow cake mix
  • 1- 15 oz can of pumpkin puree
  • 1- 12 oz can of evaporated milk
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups of stevia or if you're not picky, plain old sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1-2 cups of chopped pecans (they make for a nice crunchy top)
  • 1 cup of butter, melted  (yikes!) Try coconut oil or ghee.

Preheat your oven to 350. 
Grease the bottom of a 9x13 pan.   
Mix your pumpkin, milk, eggs, sugar, cinnamon, and salt. 
Pour into your pan.
Sprinkle dry cake mix across the top of the pumpkin mixture. 
Spread your pecans over the top.  Pour that butta' all across the top. 

The original recipe said to bake for 50-55 minutes.   I'm not sure if its because I used a ceramic thicker 9x13 pan, but mine took significantly longer.    At 55 minutes, it was still like jello in the center.    
I would plan for 50-55 minutes but - you may run into the same problem.     Just bake until the center firms and doesn't wiggle.       

Let them cool for a bit, but then cut before storing.   The buttery pecan 'crunch' top makes them hard to cut once they're chilled... The force to cut through the top will squish  the bottom pie-like texture.  Store in the fridge, they are good chilled, like pumpkin pie.

In the end, I think I could have baked mine a little longer, but it still was pretty yummy.   The middle of mine had that slightly undercooked dough look, but I find undercooked cookies, cake and brownies quite delicious so it didn't bother me.  


Oh yes, almost forgot to mention this recipe is a slightly altered version of the one found on this blog.  She has some pretty good looking food over there!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Dreaded Garage, Props to My DH

I know, I started this blog with the intention of posting a lot of 'house stuff' and haven't delivered.   Recovering from a double-move-downsize this year has more difficult than I anticipated.   I have to admit that ignorance was bliss for me going into this last year of our lives.    The truth is, I haven't felt like any room is 'finished' to post.    Maybe I'll just start posting 'so far this looks like' photos...! 

So this brings me to the garage.    I want to take a minute to say I'm so proud of my husband who has finally taken charge of the garage.   It was a scary place and every time I pulled in, I was afraid I would hit something  (and sorry, but I did whack a couple of things here and there).    He went as far as organizing the tool chest.. and had a friend, who we are grateful to, spend two days building shelves and reinforcing the top so we can store more 'stuff' up there.  

It made a huge difference, and while we still need to go through things, it provides for a large and desperately needed sense of accomplishment.   So here you go:



~Baked Oatmeal~

I've had this on my list to try for months.  A work friend gave it to me, and now that the weather is cold  it seems like the timing is right!  It's pretty filling... and although barely, it IS road-worthy.  I'm a fan of anything I can carry with me out the door because I have never, ever been a fan of mornings.

Since there are only two us, I froze a few pieces for later, and wrapped the others so they were ready to take on the road.   Pop them in the microwave for 30 seconds, wrap in foil and run!

You can easily customize the recipe below with different fruit, nuts, flax seed, maybe a little peanut butter....mmmmm... My gluten free friends can partake too.

You'll need:

1 cup canola oil
1 cup pure maple syrup (try splurging on one that isn't full of chemicals :)..)
½ cup brown sugar
4 eggs, beaten
6 cups gluten free rolled oats
1 cup of gluten free, all purpose flour mix
1 tsp gluten free baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 cups almond milk
2 tsp vanilla
1-2 cups Cranberries, blueberries, or raisins
1-2 cups of pecan pieces (walnuts or almond pieces)

Heat Oven 350
Grease a 9x13 pan
Mix together oil, sugars and eggs.
Add oats, flour, baking powder, salt, milk, vanilla.
Fold in fruit/nuts.
Bake 30-35 minutes.

P.S.  Of course you can use regular rolled oats, flour and milk if you'd prefer.  I haven't used cow's milk in a year and a half!

P.P.S  Does anyone think I actually ate that small of a piece?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

~Mini Pumpkin Pies~

Here's a fun, easy, bite-size way to enjoy pumpkin this fall.  I love the sprig of mint on top!

Mini Pumpkin Pies

  • 3 packages of pre-baked frozen mini pastry shells (15 count/each, try Athens Mini Fillo Shells)
  • 1 - 15oz can pumpkin
  • 1 - container of cool whip or similar whipped topping
  • 1 - tsp pumpkin pie spice (extra for garnish)
  • 1 - (3.4 oz) package of cheesecake flavor instant pudding)
  • Mint leaves for garnish (optional)

Take the shells out of the freezer to thaw.

Next, combine the pumpkin, whipped topping, and pumpkin pie spice in a medium bowl.  Whisk until smooth.   Add pudding mix and whisk until smooth.

Put the mixture into a large ziploc and cut the corner off.   Pipe the mixture into the pie shells.    Add a topping of whipped cream on each pie.    Sprinkle pumpkin pie spice on the top of each - and add a small mint garnish to each.    Makes 45. 

This recipe was something I found on  

~Sausage & Eggs Cups ~ A Quick Breakfast!

I'll have some house updates soon - I promise!  
In the meantime, I want to post this quick breakfast idea.  
Grab your muffin tins..and pre-heat the oven to 375.
I used a pound of sausage and 7 eggs... Line each muffin cup with sausage- just make sure its evenly coating the cup so that it bakes evenly. Crack an egg into 'cup'.  I suggest using medium eggs, because they will otherwise run over.    Salt and pepper the eggs, and bake them until the center sets..  Throw a little cheese on top at the end of you'd like.   Here's a side view... Yummy and great to re-heat!