Apr 30, 2012

Homemade Strawberry Filling

My friend's birthday was coming up. I had some white chocolate that was waiting to get used up. And I had high hopes for a twist on a strawberry shortcake. See we don't get strawberries shipped here very often and when we do, you pay a pretty penny for them. But... it was Easter... and it was a good friends birthday- so I splurged and bought the strawberries! I had it narrowed down to two cakes. And decided on the one I had never tried knowing that it would make a cuter birthday cake. I made a white chocolate cake, with a white chocolate cream frosting and strawberry filling. The cake itself was just eh- nothing to rave about. It was just a little too rich for my liking. But I did love the frosting and the strawberry filling. I normally would have used the good ol' Junket Danish Dessert for the strawberry filling. However, you can't get it here. So I searched around and found this gem- Homemade Strawberry Filling! Who knew you could whip this out without a box of Junket? Not me! But it was ridiculously easy. And the great thing is, you could use the recipe and just switch out the strawberries for any other type of fruit your heart desires... or in my case which ever fruits are in season!

Strawberry Filling
recipe courtesy Food.com

2 1/2 cups strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch

Bring all ingredients to a boil in a heavy saucepan, stirring constantly and crushing berries slightly with the back of a spoon.

Boil 2 minutes to thicken, stirring constantly, mixture will be slightly chunky.

Pour into a bowl and cool completely.

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Apr 16, 2012

Beef Stroganoff

Clearly we have been in a bit of a mushroom mood lately! I made this the other night and it was like a little taste of home. It is like a spruced up version of my Mom's homemade Stroganoff. It is so easy to throw together and everybody loved it! And when I say "loved it", I'm talking all of my boys went back for seconds and thirds! So creamy and delicious!

Beef Stroganoff
Adapted from Paula Dean

1 pound ground beef
All-purpose flour
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, sliced
3/4 cup beef broth
1 (10 3/4-ounce) can cream of mushroom soup
salt and black pepper
1 cup sour cream
cooked egg noodles

Cook ground beef. Drain fat. Set aside. In another pan, saute onions, garlic and mushrooms in the butter and oil. Saute for a few minutes, until the onion is tender. Sprinkle with 1 teaspoon flour. Put the beef back into the pan with the onion and mushrooms. Add the mushroom soup and beef broth. Cook over low heat for about 30 minutes, covered. Adjust seasoning to taste, adding salt and pepper, as needed. Stir in the sour cream the last few minutes, right before you serve. Serve over cooked noodles.

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Apr 10, 2012

Mushroom Marinara Sauce

Spaghetti is one of those super easy meals that makes a frequent appearance at our house. For two reasons- it is an inexpensive meal and it is quick and easy to throw together! Seriously, I can have a good dinner ready in under 30 minutes! I am not talking open up a can of spaghetti sauce, I am talking- yummy homemade spaghetti sauce! It has seemed like life is so crazy lately, and a few nights out of the week we are getting home late and need some quick easy meals to be able to throw together.

I have been searching for the perfect marinara sauce recipe for quite some time. I have tried a lot of different recipes that have been ok, but none that have wowed me. I have tried a few different combinations and thrown in a few different things in my attempt to make a great marinara sauce. I am really picky when it comes to spaghetti. I'm not a big fan of store bought spaghetti sauce. And I hate it when the noodles are overdone. Seriously, it is amazing how much of a difference it makes when you have a great sauce and perfectly "al dente" noodles!

The other night I think that I finally came up with a winning combination! I threw in some mushrooms and I think that made all the difference! This comes together so fast and tastes wonderful! It would be perfection topped with a few Italian meatballs!

Mushroom Marinara

3 Tablespoons EVOO
4 Tablespoons butter
1 medium onion, diced (or 2 small onions)
3 teaspoons garlic
1- 8 ounce container mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1- 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
1- 6 ounce can tomato paste
1- 15 ounce can tomato sauce
1/8 cup beef broth
1/2 teaspoon Better Than Bouillon Chicken Flavor
1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
crushed red pepper

In a large sauce pan heat EVOO and butter over medium heat. Saute onions and garlic. Cook about 2 minutes then add in the mushrooms. After the mushrooms are sauteed to perfection, turn off heat and stir in Parmesan cheese.

In a blender, combine diced tomatoes and tomato paste. Blend. I don't puree mine completely, I like it a little chunky. Then add tomatoes to mushroom/cheese mixture and heat over medium heat. Add tomato sauce, beef broth, chicken bouillon, balsamic vinegar, and brown sugar. Add salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. {Depending on how much heat you want depends on how much crushed red pepper to add. I usually shake a few shakes in.} Simmer for 15- 30 minutest. Serve!

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Apr 9, 2012

DIY Lace Cupcake Wrapper

I threw my friend Kristen a bridal shower a few weeks ago. I thought it would be cute to add a little lace to the cupcakes. I had purchased white ruffle cupcake wrappers at Michaels when I was in the states (knowing I was going to be throwing her this shower). I had invisioned a different lace, but the lace options are really limited here. I was just happy I found some! 

I wrapped the lace around the cup and hot glued it on. I baked the cupcakes in another wrapper and then after they had cooled I placed them in the lace cup! Super easy accent to add a little something to a bridal shower! I think they would be absolutely adorable for a little girl baby shower as well!
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Apr 6, 2012

Homemade Granola

I got this fabulous recipe off of my friend Kristen. Thanks to her I am converted to making homemade granola! Since we on an island where good cereals are super pricey, and since we live on a student budget... I have began to make things I never would have thought of even trying before. I first made this before I left for the states, so Broc had something to eat for breakfast while I was gone. It is a favorite around our house. And it is one of those great recipes that I can make with my kids and let them dump and stir to their hearts content! So easy to throw together and tastes divine.

Homemade Granola

Recipe courtesy Kristen Morgans

3 cups old fashioned oats
2 cups chopped nuts (I used almonds)
3/4 cup flaked coconut
4- 6 Tablespoons honey (or sugar) I used honey
4 Tablespoons butter
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons sweetened condensed milk

Mix together oats, nuts and coconut. Set aside.
In a saucepan combine honey (or sugar), butter, salt and sweetened condensed milk.
Cook over medium heat until well blended and sugar is dissolved.
Pour over oat mixture and spread on a cookie sheet.
Bake at 325 degrees for about 30 minutes or until light golden brown. Watch the color carefully- do not overbake! It will continue to cook as you take it out of the oven. Store in an airtight container. 

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Apr 5, 2012

Baby Announcement

When I found out I was pregnant with Jack I wanted a fun way to announce it. A way that nobody would expect. One night, around 2 AM (that is when my best ideas come), Broc and I were trying to think of ways we could announce our news. We talked about doing a funny music video... but we couldn't figure out exactly how to get it done- knowing that we only had a couple of days before Christmas (which is when all of our families were going to be together-). So after searching for the perfect song, our tiredness got the best of us and we came up with this little number! We preformed this  live for Broc's family on Christmas Eve and for my family on Christmas Day! You can see the original post from my personal blog here. Make sure to turn up your volume!

I love so many things about this! Not that we are great singers and dancers (come on, because we are!! hahaha) ... but one that we actually really did this... and two- I love that no matter how crazy of an idea I have Broc is always down with whatever! He used his song writing abilities to come up with most of the words to the song. I love that he is just as crazy and ridiculous as me when it comes to stupid things like this! I think the best part of it was, when we were getting ready to do it for my family, they thought nothing of it. Oh ya Crys and Broc are just bustin' out something ridiculous again! hahaha! Seriously, it didn't even phase them! I am a little worried though about if we ever get pregnant again- I'm not sure we can top this one...
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Apr 3, 2012

New Name, New Look, New Blog!

Some of you might notice a little change with the name and look of the blog! I can thank my friend Katie Price at Priceless Design Studio for that! Though I probably drove her completely in sane with my indecisiveness, she came up with an amazingly lovely design. I love it! Since the change, I have added a few more posts- so take a look around. It is still a work in progress, but it is done! Yay! I am so excited to have a real home to house my recipes and ideas! Welcome to Lovely!
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