Category Archives: Home & Household

Æbelskiver!!!

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Also spelled æbleskiver, if you’ve never heard of this, it’s a Danish/Scandinavian treat mostly made for breakfast and is popular around Christmas. It’s pronounced  A-bell-skii-ver and IT IS DELICIOUS! It’s sort of like a cross between a pancake and a popover.

Most Americans have never heard of it unless you live in the upper Midwest where loads of Scandinavians settled. My Nashville native husband had certainly never heard of them. I was usually only able to have them when we visited my Grandparents in Minnesota as you must have a special pan in which to cook them. They don’t sell a lot of these pans anywhere, but especially not in the South. My mom found a cast iron one in a country store several years ago and they didn’t even know what it was. 

Well, for my birthday this year, I finally got my own pan! I’m so excited to use it, especially since it’s Christmastime. I was going to make them this morning but, alas, no milk and only 1 egg. You can be assured we’ll be going to the store today so I can finally prepare them myself! Therefore, I leave you with pictures we took and the recipe we used when we last visited my MN Grandmother in May…

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Here’s the tried and true, super easy, recipe my Grandmother uses (created by her sister, My Great-Aunt Norma):

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Here’s how to turn them in the special pan (thanks for modeling the technique, mom):

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Note, you can use a bamboo skewer, a knitting needle as mentioned in the recipe above, or a fondue fork (like she’s using in the picture) worked perfectly for us.

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Trust me – they are wonderfully, light, little balls of deliciousness! You MUST give them a try, if you can find a pan or, you know, go to Denmark 🙂

Enjoy!

Jennifer

A new post…

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Laundry Post

Yes, there really is a new post. It’s just not on this blog. Well, technically this is a new post but since I’m just directing you to another blog I don’t think it really counts all that much.

However, if you’ve ever hated laundry and felt like it was stalking you and trying to make you crazy, I invite you to click on that little ol’ link above to read a “highlarious” post from one of my favorite bloggers, April the chicken doctor.

You’re welcome 🙂

Jennifer

 

New Recipe (for the dogs)

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This may look like the beginning of another recipe post. There are ingredients above with which you are likely very familiar – KFC gravy and lunch meat for example. Looking past those – things may appear to diverge into the weird with things like fish oil and jack mackerel.

What you are seeing is not something I’m preparing for my lunch. It is for dinner, however. It’s the hullabaloo we have to go through to feed our three dogs. Each of them need something slightly different – “real meat” frozen kibble for the little one (in the small reusable container on the left), prescription intestinal diet canned dog food for the big one and puppy chow kibble for the middle dog. The big one also gets the fish oil (for her joints), the arthritis medication and the pain medication (which helps her get around in the winter).

You would think all of the above would be enticing to the dogs and they would come running to eat. On the contrary, apparently our dogs get bored and we have to change things up in order to keep their interest. That’s where the gravy and the canned fish come into play. If you’ve never had the pleasure (blech) of being confronted with jack mackerel in person, let me explain what it’s like. It’s sort of like tuna but funkier. They leave the fish in large chunks with part of the skin still on and the odor – oh my the odor! It will permeate the entire room and the refrigerator and anything else with which it may come into contact. The dogs LOVE it. However, they will eventually get bored with this combination as well. Therefore, we will often mix things up with eggs (raw and cooked), canned pumpkin (for the fiber), baby food and various left over meats that I bring home if we eat dinner out some place.

Doesn’t this look yummy?

 

Beer Cheese Soup

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There used to be a restaurant near me that served beer cheese soup in these little pewter bowls with handles. That soup was amazing. The place is closed now and I hadn’t had it in a couple years so I decided to alter my mom’s potato cheese soup recipe and see if I could make it just like 101st Airborne used to make it. I’ll take a bow now because I DID IT!!! If you ever  had the pleasure to eat their version and have missed it, I invite you to try mine and compare:

First assemble your ingredients:

* 1 stick real butter
* 2 cans chicken broth or 1 small box
* 1 small or 1/2 large sweet onion (only cut in half)
* 1 cup milk
* 3 tbs cornstarch
* 1 regular jar Cheez Whiz (yes really) (not the tiny or the tall one)
* 1/2 bottle pale beer (I like Heineken)
* salt & pepper

One thing about the Cheez Whiz. You may be tempted to get all fancy and use actual real cheese. DON’T! The Cheez Whiz melts nicely and adds a tangy zing (not “zip” – this ain’t no miracle whip commercial!) that really adds to the soup. Try it the way it’s written first and then you can change it up if you feel so inclined. But you’re a noodle head if you mess with this recipe so you’re forwarned!
Directions:

First, resist the urge to just drink the beer straight out of the bottle. You really do need it for the soup 🙂

In large stock pot (I use an enamel covered dutch oven), melt butter and add onion. Leave onion whole as you will remove it later. You can finely dice the onion and leave it in there but I don’t like the texture. Don’t skip the onion though as it adds a dimension of flavor that’s needed.

Once onion starts becoming translucent remove it and add chicken broth.

Next add the corn starch.

Make sure to whisk the cornstarch in well. Bring to a boil. This mixture will become thick.

Once thickened, add entire jar of Cheez whiz, milk and beer. Mix thoroughly. Pepper liberally – taste before adding any salt I don’t add much if any at all most times.

Simmer for 15 minutes.

Enjoy with a panini pressed sandwich and the rest of the beer 🙂

You can change this recipe slightly and turn it into Potato Bacon soup easily by decreasing the butter to 2 tbsp, finely dice the onion, add 4 medium potatoes peeled and diced small and add 2 oz. bacon pieces or 2 slices bacon.

Saute’ onion and bacon in butter. Add potatoes and chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat & simmer for 15 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in milk, Cheez Whiz and pepper. Simmer over low heat until soup is melted completely.

This is really a lovely easy dinner for a cold winter’s day. enjoy!

Stupid Dog Shoes

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No, this post isn’t about dogs so stupid that they require shoes.  It is about stupid looking dog shoes. Upon further thought, is there a possibility of a dog shoe that doesn’t look stupid? I digress…

We have a very old Golden Retriever. She has arthritis and has a hard time getting around on the floors in our house because they are slick and we have no carpet.  We really struggled with what to do about it until we found these gems:

 

They’re actually made for dogs to wear in the snow to protect the pads of their feet from de-icing agents and from snow getting packed into their paws. They’re made of this stuff that’s sort of like a wetsuit.

This is our dog wearing them and wondering why I’m taking her picture. They work GREAT! They give her traction on the floor to prevent falling and they enable her to get up from a laying position without help. Oh, and one more thing…

they look really stupid.

 

Fireplace Too Hot To Hang a TV?

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How do you tell if it’s safe to hang a tv over your fireplace? Well, you could try doing this:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will admit, I didn’t come up with the ingenious idea of hanging a thermometer over your fireplace (where the bottom of the tv will be) and then build a ROARING fire and see how hot the temperature actually gets. Make sure to let the coals get nice and hot as well – that raised the temperature way more than how big the flames got. And it took several hours to reach maximum heat so make sure you keep it going long enough to get an accurate read out.  Then, get the owner’s manual of the tv and look up the maximum safe operating temperature. If you’re under that, you’re golden! Well, that is if your wires will be exposed like ours will. If your wires will be hidden in the wall – I have no idea 🙂

Also, please check back over the next couple weeks.  There’s a MAJOR renovation project underway at my house and I’m taking before and after shots because you’ve got to see this one to believe it. We’re almost done so be sure to come back and check it out!

No more 60lb tumor?!?!

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I think I’ve mentioned before my adoration, addiction, love, etc of the Discovery Health Channel. Their programming speaks to my idiosyncratic obscure mindset. I can’t tell you how many programs I have been sucked into watching and have come away with an awe of what people can live with and through. Some of the shows that have amazed me have been:

(apologies as I’m sure these are not the titles)…

Lady with the 60-lb tumor

Man with half a body

Lady with half a body who had a baby

Living with proteus syndrome

Intersexed (formerly hermaphroditism)

My unborn twin

Conjoined twins

Children with Progeria

Children who’s skin sloughs off

Mermaid Girl

Treeman

Paralyzed and pregnant

These are all stories of people who make the most out of life and keep their chin up and keep on living despite their prognosis. Shows like this make me so thankful for the healthy blessed life I’ve been given and makes you not take things for granted.

WELL…

The new Oprah Winfrey network (OWN) has taken over the Discovery Health Channel!!!! Aaarrrrgggg!!!!! What am I going to do without this programming? Nobody else carries stuff like this! Where will I get my obscure health anomaly education? I’m going to give OWN a chance and hope that they’re going to keep this amazing programming but I’m not holding my breath!

Jennifer

Goulash Hotdish

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Tonight for dinner I made what my family calls “goulash”. It’s not what most Southerners think of as goulash as that is usually macaroni noodles, ground beef and some tomatoes. This is more of a type of midwestern “hotdish” but without tater tots. I took pics as I cooked so here’s my version of goulash:

All the ingredients you need:
1 bag egg noodles
1 pound lean ground beef (we use 93/7)
1 shallot diced (can use onion)
1 can each – cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, tomato
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One comment about the soups.
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The thought of cream of celery soup makes me want to vomit and I’m not a real big fan of cream of chicken. However, once you mix everything together, you can’t really taste any of the individual soups so trust me on this one. With the exception of the tomato soup, you can sub a cream soup for any of the ones listed above but this is how I’ve always made it.

Brown the hamburger in a large skillet. You will be adding all the soups into the same pan so make sure it’s big enough.
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Start a large pot of water to boil. Again make sure it’s a large pot as you will mix everything together in this one pot at the end. Also remember to salt the water liberally as this is the only chance you get to season the pasta itself.
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Tell the dog that you don’t have time to play with her right now as you’re busy.
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Once the beef is browned, add the shallot.
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Stir it into the beef.
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Open all the soups.
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Add them to the beef.
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Stir to combine.
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Until it looks like this:
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Turn heat down to simmer and let it go while the noodles cook. Once the water comes to a boil, add the entire bag of noodles.
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Stir while boiling to prevent clumping.
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Contemplate just heating up the left over chicken pot pie from last night’s dinner since it was so yummy.
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Oooh over the very old dog because she’s old and she loves it.
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Once the noodles are done, drain them.
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While the noodles are draining, put the meat mixture into the pot in which you cooked the noodles.
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Add in the noodles on top of the meat mixture.
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Mix together noodles and meat mixture.
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Sit down to a lovely dinner.
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This recipe makes A LOT since you need 4 different soups. You can’t really pare it down either or the flavor will be compromised. I recommend preparing when you’re having at least 4 – 5 people. It makes great leftovers and is lovely on a cold winters day when you want something creamy and hot.

Anyone else prepare goulash? How about hotdish? How do you make it?

 

Thanksgiving “Schedule” – Awesome, Right?

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I hosted Thanksgiving this year for a much smaller group than usual – only 8 people. There were no kids and no clumsy people so we even decided to use actual CHINA for a much more fancy dinner than we’ve ever done before. We rarely use our china so it was neat to have it all laid out with the stemware. The table was really lovely.  Although being the  total loser I am, I didn’t take a picture of it, so you’ll have to just take my word. Just imagine real cloth napkins, a lovely white tablecloth (made of actual cloth), matching flatware and we made place cards out of brightly colored leaves. The table was only decorated with candles so it was all very lovely.

Trying to avoid what my daughter so lovingly calls “Horrible Holiday Mom”, I wanted to be very organized this year and have a decisive plan. Hubby helped tremendously the day before and we cleaned the floors, cooked and even set the table all the day before. In an effort to make sure everyone knew what needed to be done when, I created this and posted it on the fridge:

This way,  Hubby and my daughter could look at the time and check the schedule and they could just start preparing the next item without any instructions from me. I prepared it the day before and proudly walked over to show it to Hubby who promptly exclaimed, “You are a big dork.”

So, what do you think? Amazingly awesomely organized or…  a huge nerd?

Bow to the Coupon Master!

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Okay, so maybe I’m not a “master” per se BUT, yesterday I saved more by using coupons than I ever have before. One change that I recently made that I think really helped is that I quit using the small coupon holder I had like this one:

(although not nearly as cute as I got mine from Target about 10 years ago and it’s plastic). I did help personalize it by renaming my own tabs for items and categories that I purchased. I had 3 of these organizers. One each for Target (because I HATE Wal-Mart), Groceries and “other”. The “other” one contains things like store coupons, restaurant coupons, frequent shopper cards, etc. I still have my “other” one and keep it in the glove box in my car so that I always have it with me and it works GREAT.

Well, this past week I decided that I hated my coupon organizers. Not only were they ugly, but I would have to pull out everything under the tab “breakfast” and sort through about 30 coupons to find what I was looking for. And say a prayer that you weren’t looking for a biscuit coupon because Pillsbury sends out dozens of them so then you’re not only searching for biscuits but then have to look through the 10 bicuit ones to see which one expires first. It just wasn’t efficient any more for the amount of coupons I was clipping each week. So, I started searching for an alternative and came up with this:

 

This isn’t my actual one but it does impart my point – I have moved to a 3-ring binder. I like this because the printable coupons now fit without folding them, it’s CHEAP as I already had all the stuff and it is SO MUCH EASIER!!! 

The drawback for most people from doing this kind of organization is that they have to purchase baseball card divided protector sheets and slide their coupons in there. The cost for this can really add up fast. Or, they use standard page protectors and try to dump everything in or sew their own custom size pockets in them. This works but you still sometimes have to fold the coupons and you’re still limiting your size.

 I came up with a better solution. I use removable scrapbook adhesive that rubs off with your finger. It’s cheap and I already owned 2 of the guns. I place a small amount of the adhesive on the back of the coupon and stick them to a plain piece of paper. I lay the coupons out completely over the piece of paper, placing coupons for the same item next to each other, so I can easily scan which ones expire first and which ones I can use together. For those that don’t know – you can use a manufacturer coupon AND a store coupon on the same item. This way, I can see if I have a Target coupon AND a manufacturer coupon for those Pond’s face cloths. If so, I stack them together and end up paying 79 cents for each of the two packages I got yesterday. All because my coupons were neat and orderly and I was easily able to flip to the correct page and see that I had 4 coupons I could use all together if I bought two of them. When I remove the coupon from the paper, I simply rub off the tiny bit of adhesive with m y fingertip and I’m ready to go.

To be even more organized, in my binder I have a page protector in the front of the book in which I place all the coupons I’m using as I’m shopping so I can just reach in and pull out the big pile at checkout. I also have pockets so I can keep my receipts and such in them. In the back I even have a zipper pencil pouch that has my adhesive gun, scissors, pen and store loyalty cards all with me.

Okay, this may seem like a little much. I understand. Until about 2 years ago I never did coupons very well. Well, sistah, times they are a changin’!!! Yesterday I saved more by using coupons than I have ever saved in my entire life. How much you may ask?  Well, my $204 Target bill dropped to $174 and my $280 grocery tab dropped to $255. Yep I saved $55 in two shopping trips!!!!!  I think that’s well worth my time 🙂