Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Grilled Shrimp on the Barbecue

We made it home from Mexico safely. It was a blast and we had a lot of adventures.

Adventure #1- right when we crossed the border we had to turn our phones off so we didn't get roaming charges. But, we didn't really know where we were headed yet, so we took a few wrong turns, but eventually ended up in the right place.

Adventure #2- we were on the road a lot later than we thought and at 10:30pm we were finally 30 minutes away from our destination and we came a cross a military checkpoint. You know, the ones where they have machine guns hung across their chest and tell you to pull over and get out of the car. So, there were 2 guys searching our car, then there were 4 guys searching our car, and then there were 6 guys searching our car. So, with 6 guys we couldn't watch them all to see if they were taking anything or if they were planting anything. It got a little bit uncomfortable. But, lo and behold they took out every single thing that we brought and went through it. They went through every bag, zipper, compartment, you name it. Then at one point, two guys were trying to rip the back seat of my car up and I was about to tell them that it doesn't come out. (It's a mustang, there's no storage underneath the seat.) Well, when it wouldn't come up they just got their screwdrivers out, shoved them under the seat, and ripped the whole back seat out of my car and set it down on the cement. I thought I was going to die. Then, they took everything out of my trunk and started ripping the carpeted walls down and searching where the spare tire was and everything. Then, after about 20 minutes, they put everything back and told us to be on our way. Whew!! We made it!!
Adventure #3- After all of our fun adventures in Mexico, it was time to drive home. We left Mexico at 7:30am and made it in line to cross the border at 11:30. Then, while we were waiting in line, we got mangos and a cut up coconut to snack on. So, we're just hanging out listening to music and having a grand old time when we hear a pop, so we turn down the music and we didn't know what it was so we just ignored it. Well, then a few minutes later we realize that the car was overheating. So, we turn it off and open the hood. It is starting to smoke and the coolant is so hot that it is boiling over. So, some guys come running over with water to poor under the hood and we put the car in neutral and just push it along in line as we try to take car of the overheating problem. So, basically a couple guys had to help us push the car and try to cool it down for about 45 minutes until we got close enough to the border line that we could turn on the car and drive it through. When we turned on the car though it made an awful noise so when we got across the border we stopped at an Auto Zone and we had to buy a new fan and replace it in the parking lot. Holy cow was it hot outside! Tyrone and I were both sweating! But, in the end we made it home and the car is doing great. The check engine light actually went off by itself today. It's like brand new.

Well, while we were in Mexico, we stopped at the fish market and bought 10 pounds of clams and 3 pounds of shrimp. We had intentions of eating it in Mexico but with all the parties and activities going on, we didn't get around to it. So last night Tyrone cooked up some clams and shrimp on the barbecue.

For the clams, all you do is soak them in water before hand and then just throw them on the grill. Tyrone's Cousin G.r. taught us how to cook them.When the shells pop open, They're Done! I liked to sprinkle it with garlic salt but Tyrone likes it with just El Pato sauce on it. It already has a little bit of a salty taste to it because of the salt water. So, play around with it and see what you like.

For the shrimp, Tyrone did an excellent job.

 We put the shrimp on skewers through 2 sticks so that they got cooked more evenly.
For the marinade:

1/2 cup melted butter
1/4 cup fresh cilantro, thyme, and parsley chopped
3 cloves of garlic minced
3tbsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

we didn't have time to marinate the shrimp in this so instead we just brushed it on and let it soak about 15 minutes before grilling. Cook on low so that they get cooked all the way through. Make sure not to overcook them or they become chewy and rubbery.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Flag baby blanket

I really wanted to make a baby blanket after I got my sewing machine. I thought I would start with a baby one though because it would take less time and be easier to work with. I was really pleased with how it turned out. I even bought more fabric to make another one with animal print flags. I would recommend pre-washing and drying the fabrics though. I forgot to and so I can't dry mine because the fabrics will all shrink differently.

Here is the blanket.

What you will need:
2 yards white quilters fabric (or a white sheet)
 1 yard of fleece
fabric for the triangles

I got the tutorial from aprettycoollife. She also has a link on how to make the bunting  flags and the bias tape, or you can buy it already cut at Joann's. 

The only thing is the tutorial doesn't show you how to bind the quilt with bias tape. I was completely clueless so I followed this really awesome tutorial that had 3 really short videos to go along with it. I  mean like 30 second videos that are a dream come true for a beginner like me but I can't remember the website and I can't find it anywhere. So, I guess you could find another Youtube video or something. I'll try to find it because I want to use it next time I make a quilt again.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Maxi Skirt

I finally got a sewing machine in March. I had been thinking about getting one for a while but I just didn't want to spend the money. So, Tyrone and I took a trip home and while we were there my mom told me that my aunt had a ton of fabric that was my grandmas before she passed away and she wanted people to come and pick up what they wanted. So I went over there and picked up a lot of fleece for baby blankets that my grandma had cut up to make into blankets. I thought that one day when I got a sewing machine it would be nice to make blankets from her fabric. So, I was talking to my aunt about it and she said, I didn't know you sewed. I told her that I had when I was younger but I didn't currently have a sewing machine. Then she said that my grandma had an antique sewing machine and then just an older table top one. My aunt said that all of my cousins had their own and that I could have this one. It is so awesome to have my grandma's sewing machine! I still need to take it to a sewing machine store because I can't figure out how to wind the bobbin with a spool of thread. It looks like it has the capabilities but I can't seem to figure it out. Here is the old beauty. 

When I first got this sewing machine I couldn't figure out how to wind the bobbin so I took it over to my friend Christi's house, and she couldn't figure it out, so then we called our friend Kay to come over and try it. All to no success. So I thought I was going to have to take it somewhere. Then, Christi's husband came home and asked if he could press the pedal of the sewing machine and I said sure, it's not like it works anyway, and then it threaded the bobbin. It took 3 girls and then a boy figured it out? How is that possible?

So, after I sewed a pillowcase for practice, my next project was this maxi skirt. I followed the tutorial from Elle Apparel. I was able to make it in just a few hours. I didn't end up using the elastic thread that it calls for and I ended up making my waist band too small the first time around, but it turned out good and I wore it to church today. I probably should have made it slightly longer if I'm going to wear heels with it, but it turned out great for my first skirt. 

After I made my skirt, Tyrone wanted to sew something on the sewing machine. That sounds just like a little kid, right? He stitched his name with blue thread onto yellow fabric. He's going to be the next fashion designer. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

White Chili

mmmm..... this was so yummy and easy to make. My friend Crystal a.k.a. Skittlebug  made this for Tyrone and I one night and I have been wanting to make it ever since. So, probably about 6 months later, I finally gave it a try. I asked Crystal who to give credit to for this recipe and she said she got it from a friends blog who got it from another girl named Mckell Cope. So, thanks Mckell for this amazing recipe.This recipe makes a lot so it's a good one to invite people over for. There were 4 of us that ate it and I think 3 of us had it for lunch the next day and there is still more. As you can see, I like to put corn chips on top of mine. I also made corn bread muffins to go on the side. 

1 lb. chicken breasts diced
1 medium onion (optional)
garlic powder to taste
3 cans great northern beans
1 can chicken broth
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 cups water
2 can mexi corn (or regular canned corn or frozen corn)
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
pinch up to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 cup milk
1 1/2 cup sour cream
white corn chips or Fritos corn chips

cheese (optional)

 Spray your pan and cook the chicken with the onion(chopped) and garlic powder until done. 

Add 3 cans of great northern beans, 1 can chicken broth, 1 can cr. of chicken soup, 1 1/2 cups water, 2 cans mexi corn. Salt and Pepper to taste, add 1 tsp. cumin, 1 tsp. oregano, pinch or up to 1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper. 

Heat and then add 1/2 cup milk and 1 1/2 cups sour cream. Stir until hot, DON'T boil.

Sprinkle cheese, tortilla chips, or Fritos corn chips on top.

The best part about this recipe is that I didn't have to drain anything. Just open up the cans and dump it all in. It's ready in about 20 minutes. Great for a night when everyone is busy.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Mushroom and Sausage Pasta

This was an awesome meal! As you can see in the picture I didn't let the sauce thicken enough because my stomach was eating itself and it smelled so delicious. But my husband is going to be sad that he doesn't get this awesome meal right off the stove. I got this recipe from my awesome friend named Megan who was my inspiration to start this blog. She sent me to this link. 
Now, this is the first time I have ever cooked with shallots before. I always just used onions but I thought I would try shallots for once. I bought them at fresh and easy and if anyone is wondering what to look for, this is what mine looked like. I also only used 1 cup of mushrooms because its all I had but I wish I would have used the 3 that it called for. It still had good flavor but the mushrooms is what makes this dish so good so use three cups if possible. 

As far as cooking with mushrooms, I don't really  have experience with the different kinds of mushrooms I usually just pick randomly at the grocery store. Are certain mushrooms used for certain dishes or are do different mushrooms grow at different seasons? Let me know. I'd love to try more dishes with them.
Now onto the recipe that you have all been waiting for. 
  • 1/2 pound dried pasta
  • 13 ounces ground mild Italian sausage (about 4 links removed from casings)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3 cups sliced crimini mushrooms (I used baby bella mushrooms)
  • 1/4 cup diced shallots
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup white wine
  • 1 cup mushroom broth (I substituted with chicken broth)
  • 1/2 cup half and half
  • 1/4 cup light sour cream
  • 2 ounces cream cheese softened
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
  • salt and pepper
  1. Cook pasta according to package directions.
  2. Meanwhile while pasta is cooking, brown Italian sausage in a pan over medium heat. Once browned transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same pan that you cooked the sausage in add two tablespoons of olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Stir in mushrooms, shallots and garlic. Cook 5 minutes or until mushrooms are softened and brown.
  4. Pour in wine and mushroom broth allow to cook for 5 minutes. Scrape any brown bits that have stuck to the bottom of the pan. Return sausage to the pan.
  5. Stir one tablespoon of the hot broth into the half and half to temper it. (I have never tempered anything before. Basically this is to get the temperature of the half and half slowly warmer instead of shocking it by dumping it straight into the warm sauce pan.)
  6. Stir tempered half and half, sour cream and cream cheese into broth. Continue cooking until the cream cheese has melted and the sauce has thickened slightly, 5 -7 minutes.
  7. Add the cooked pasta to the sauce. Stir to coat. Remove from heat and let stand 5 minutes. Stir once more and add chopped parsley. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Puppy Dog Cupcakes

Tyrone and I celebrated his 26th birthday in Las Vegas with some of our Utah friends. It was awesome. We started out on Friday morning going out to breakfast at Ihop where about 15 staff members came out and sang Tyrone happy birthday. Tyrone got so into it that he started booty poppin and he grabbed the syrup from off the table and almost poured it on his head. (don't ask....) It was awesome. The staff members said it was the best birthday dance they've ever seen. 
Then, later on that afternoon we went to the pool at Treasure Island. There was a DJ out on the pool deck so we were all dancing in the pool having a good time. I had one of our friends that was with us go up to the DJ and ask if he would announce that it was Tyrone's birthday. So, he did and when they finally announced it, we all whistled and screamed and then the DJ said, "oh, there really is a guy named Tyrone." haha. That made it even better. 
 Then, later on that afternoon we lit 26 birthday candles and we gave him these cupcakes. What he really wanted for his birthday was a dog but this was as close as I was willing to get. I was also in a rush when I was making them so these are just cupcakes from a box and then I decorated them but everyone loved them. Some even had a few cupcakes for breakfast the next morning. What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas right?
1 box of cake mix 
chocolate frosting
vanilla wafers
nutter butters
mini marshmallows
m&ms (I used peanut butter m&ms because that's Tyrone's favorite)
1 black frosting pen

Cook cupcakes according to box. Let cupcakes cool. Frost with chocolate frosting. Scrape off the center of the nutter butters (try to let the center go to waste without eating any of it. I dare you. I sure couldn't do it) place the nutter butters, marshmallows and vanilla wafers on the cupcake. Then using the black frosting pen put dots on the eyes draw the mouth on the vanilla wafer. Put a little extra underneath where the m&m is going to go and then stick on the m&m. That's all there is to it. Easy, simple cupcakes. 

Then after blowing out the candles we got ready for dinner. We had planned on going to eat at the Tao restaurant because if you eat at the restaurant you get free admission into the Tao nightclub for that evening. So, there were 10 of us at dinner and we just had the waiter bring out dishes family style that we could all share. It was amazing food. If you are looking for a good restaurant in Vegas, this is to die for! My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Anyway, at the restaurant we sang Tyrone Happy Birthday again and they brought him out a giant fortune cookie with a fortune inside for everyone to take. It was really cool looking. Then, we all got free admission into the TAO nightclub. They had told us that guys were still going to have to pay $25 but when we got up there, they didn't make them pay so it was awesome! And, it happened to be a special night because Drake was having a concert that night and his after party was at TAO. So, when we got into the club we saw where Drake was going to be hanging out when he got there because it was surrounded by security so we just decided to dance right underneath the DJ. Well, then they announced that Drake was in the building and everyone started going crazy. Then he appeared next to the DJ and put his arm around him and started rapping The Motto. This is the picture I took from Tyrone's phone from about 5 feet away. It was awesome! We had the best seat in the house. I had thought about getting tickets to Drake's concert in LA but it sold out. This totally topped anything I could have gotten him. Pretty cool way to end Tyrone's 26th birthday.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Shredded Beef Tamales

I finally made beef tamales. What a big job!! It took all day and I was so exhausted by the end of it, but it was totally worth it. As you can see, I've got a lot of leftovers that I'm going to freeze. This will be easy for those nights when I don't want to cook. I got the recipe from All Recipes

4 pounds boneless chuck roast
4 cloves garlic
3 (8oz) packages of dried corn husks
4 ancho chiles (Also called California chiles or New Mexico chiles)
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons all purpose flour
1 cup beef broth
1 teaspoon cumin seeds
1 teaspoon ground cumin
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon white vinegar
salt to taste
3 cups lard
1 tablespoon salt
9 cups masa harina

1. Place beef and 4 cloves of garlic in a large pot. Cover with cold water and bring to a boil over high heat. As soon as water boils, reduce heat to a simmer and cover pot. Let simmer for 3 1/2 hours, until beef is tender and shreds easily. When beef is done, remove from pot, reserving 5 cups cooking liquid and discarding garlic. Allow meat to cool slightly, and shred finely with forks.

2. Meanwhile, place corn husks in a large container and cover with warm water. Allow to soak for 3 hours, until soft and pliable. May need to weight down with an inverted plate and a heavy can.  
3. Toast ancho chiles in a cast iron skillet, making sure not to burn them. Allow to cool and then remove stems and seeds. Crumble and grind in a clean coffee grinder or with a mortar and pestle. After you toast them and break of the stem, the seeds just fall out. I just shook them over the sink and the seeds came out. I used a blender to crush them afterward. This was all I had and it seemed to work well enough.

4. Heat oil in a large skillet. Mix in flour and allow to brown slightly. Pour in 1 cup beef broth and stir until smooth. Mix in ground chiles, cumin seeds, ground cumin, minced garlic, oregano, red pepper flakes, vinegar and salt. Stir shredded beef into skillet and cover. Let simmer 45 minutes. 

This was my first time ever buying lard. I looked for it in the cooking oil section a few times and I couldn't find it so then I had to ask the butcher.  This is the block of Lard that I bought. And of course I ran into someone at the grocery store with two blocks of lard in my hands. For some reason I find that lard is an embarrassing grocery item to buy. I'm just glad it wasn't one of my clients. Now, back to finding lard at the grocery store, I finally found it at Albertson's. So I would imagine that most grocery stores have it. Ask the butcher if you don't see it on the shelves.

5. Place lard and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whip with an electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Add masa harina and beat at low speed until well mixed. Pour in reserved cooking liquid a little at a time until mixture is the consistency of soft cookie dough.

6. Drain water from corn husks. One at a time, flatten out each husk, with the narrow end facing you, and spread approximately 2 tablespoons masa mixture onto the top 2/3 of the husk. Spread about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture down the middle of the masa. Roll up the corn husk starting at one of the long sides. Fold the narrow end of the husk onto the rolled tamale and tie with a piece of butchers' twine.
Our kitchen table was a disaster zone as you can see. The floor looked just like the table, there was masa everywhere!  

7. Place tamales in a steamer basket. Steam over boiling water for approximately one hour, until masa is firm and holds its shape. Make sure steamer does not run out of water. Serve immediately, allowing each person to unwrap their own tamales. Allow any leftovers (still in husks) to cool, uncovered, in the refrigerator. 
*We served ours with green enchilada sauce and mozzarella cheese on top. 

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Baked Parmesan Garlic Chicken

This is seriously one of the easiest dishes ever! It's easier that mac 'n cheese. I promise. I made this on one of those nights where I looked in the freezer, refrigerator, and cupboards about five times and then I sat down on the couch and decided that we had nothing to eat. But, then I remembered this great easy recipe and it only takes 20 minutes to cook. This recipe also has garlic and Parmesan cheese, how can you not love it?!
1/2 cup grated Parmesan Cheese
1 package Good Seasonings Italian Dressing mix
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
6 boneless chicken breast halves (You can see in the picture I only used 3)
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
2. Mix cheese, dressing mix and garlic powder. 
3. Moisten chicken breasts with water; coat with cheese mixture. Place in shallow baking dish.
4. Bake 20-25 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink in the middle.