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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Banana yummy deliciousness

First off, let me tell you that I'm not really a fan of bananas. I know that might be hard to believe because I have made banana cake twice in 9 days, and because I have another banana recipe this week. These are really the only things banana that I eat. That said, let me tell you a little story before I get to the recipe.

Is there one food that you always have at every family gathering, no matter what the occasion? Thanksgiving, Easter, Memorial Day, 4th of July- there is always the same dish that has no 'season'? In my family growing up, it was deviled eggs and potato salad. In my current family we don't have one because we usually spend those holidays with the Brown-Baughan family in West Virginia. But in that (adopted) family, the dish is 'Marianne's banana pudding'.

I brought it over for some family event we were invited to when we first moved to WV, and it was a huge hit. So, I made it for the next event. Then, the next time I was invited, they requested it! Pretty much after that I wasn't allowed to come over unless I made this stuff. I've tried to teach other family members to make it, but they won't. So now, I've bestowed my knowledge upon my sweet Mimi. She made this on Sunday, and it was yummy delicious!

1 big box of vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
1 cup sour cream
Small tub cool whip
2 bananas, sliced
Box of vanilla wafers

1. Mix pudding and milk until smooth. Add half of the sour cream and cool whip. Mix well. Add bananas, mix gently. Mix remaining sour cream and cool whip. Set aside.
2. In 9" square glass baking dish, place one layer of wafers. Spread pudding mixture, then layer wafers. Top with cool whip mixture. Garnish with additional vanilla wafers and bananas, if desired. Refrigerate at least three hours. (I usually make it the night before)

**if you want to double this recipe, use 5 cups milk and 1 1/2 cups sour cream

Friday, March 27, 2009

The fun never ends

Today I was noticing the blogs that I follow are all food related blogs. No big surprise, right? They all serve their purpose in my little world and I am going to explain them to you.

  1. Cake Wrecks - This is totally hilarious!! Not only does she get great pictures of 'professional' cakes, she has such a great sense of humor. Most of you have eaten a cake that I have made. I hope that I haven't made a cake that is worthy of this blog. No, I take that back. I did make one for Trystan's birthday one year that was a totally BUSTED looking Army guy. It was bad, people. Very bad!
  2. HowChow - This is a great blog because all the restaurant reviews are close to me. Mel and I have eaten at several restaurants he has reviewed and he presents a really accurate picture of the food, atmosphere, etc. If you live around here and want to check out some good places to eat, look no further!
  3. Closet Cooking - This guy has way too much time on his hands, but I wish I were his friend so I could go to his house and eat his food. He cooks awesome recipes, and has great pictures that make me want to make the food right away. I haven't actually made anything yet, but it's coming. I'll tell you all a secret: I want to make this, but I have to get past the rough spot I am having with the youngest child, or I might drink the beer instead of cooking with it.

That's all. If you only want to click on one of the links, click on Cake Wrecks, and read today's entry. It'll have you laughing out loud.

Thursday, March 26, 2009


I finally went to the new gym that is being built close to my house today. I am going to do it. I'm applying for a job. Remember the personal trainer thing? Yeah, I haven't forgotten about that. I am meeting with the personal training manager. Hopefully he'll like me, and I will have a job once the gym opens. Wish me luck!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

It doesn't all really go together

That's ok, because we didn't eat it all together.

Curried potato salad

  • 2 1/2 pounds red potatoes, scrubbed and quartered

  • 1 small carrot

  • 2 celery stalks

  • 6 green onions

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 2/3 cup sour cream

  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise

  • 1/2 tsp curry powder

  • optional: golden raisins***

  1. Cook potatoes until just done. They should be cooked but firm. The skins should not be falling off of the potatoes and they should not be smushy.

  2. Finely chop carrot, celery, and green onions. (click the link. buy the food chopper from Shelly)

  3. Put all ingredients minus the potatoes in a large bowl and mix well. *You can use all mayo or all sour cream, or reduced fat, or fat free stuff if you want. I don't think it would take away from the taste much. I just prefer sour cream, and I put mayo in it because it's potato salad, and what's potato salad without mayo?

  4. Gently mix potatoes into mayo mixture.

***I didn't use raisins when I made this the other day, but if I had golden raisins at my house, I would have used them. If you want to use them, I suggest only starting with 1/4 cup. I just thought that the sweetness would go well with the curry powder. Don't use regular raisins though, that might look gross and no one will want to eat it.

How to cook the best Salmon in the world:

  1. Marinate it. You can use whatever makes you feel good. Just make sure you add some kind of sugar. The sugar caramelizes when you grill it, and it gets a delicious crust around the edges.

  2. Grill it. I don't ever cook fish inside my house unless it's fish sticks. I can't stand the way it makes my house smell fishy for days.

  3. Make sure the skin is on. There is a ton of good oil in the skin. Remember #1 when I said you get a good crust around the edges? The skin does two things for that crust. It adds oil to the heat so the edges get 'fried'. But most importantly, the skin keeps the yummy crusty stuff from falling off. I don't remember which side I cook first. You will have to experiment on that part.

  4. This last tip might be hard for some of you. But trust me!!! I would not lead you astray. You should cook the fish to the point that makes you think to yourself, "I just need to cook it a couple more minutes, then it'll be done." Take it off then!!!!! The reason why, is because it continues to cook even after you have taken it off the heat. If you leave it on the grill until it's done, by the time it gets to the table, it's overcooked. If you do it enough, you will be able to gently poke the fish and know when it's done because of how much it 'gives'. I do this for chicken, burgers, fish, you name it. Just think of it this way, if it's not cooked enough, you can always put it back on the fire.

marinades I like

  • korean bbq sauce

  • raspberry vinagrette

  • honey, garlic, soy sauce

  • honey, balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt, pepper

  • get the idea?

The yummy banana cake with cream cheese frosting and nuts. I just smooshed chopped walnuts around the edges. It tasted better the next day, and the day after, and the day after, and the day after. Now it's gone!

hold your horses, it's coming

I just have a busy day today, that's all.

  • I'm posting a good original recipe. If you went to Ariella's house yesterday, you've already tasted it.
  • I am also going to post my tips for a perfect grilled salmon for Brandi.
  • Lastly, I will post the recipe to a yummy banana cake recipe I made this weekend.

It's coming. Don't worry.

Friday, March 20, 2009

I am my own twin

Ok, not really, but it sounds better than, "I am my own realtor."

We have been on the hunt for a place to move for about a month now, but it has really been in the back of our minds for the past three years. Why? Schools.

I've been homeschooling the oldest for the past three years, and though it may sound thrilling, it's not. Needless to say, I am not up to the challenge of homeschooling my two oldest. Not while there is a three year old running around. I guess I could homeschool her too. While I'm at it with the three, why not keep the eight year old home?

Because I'm not made like that!!

And I am ok with that knowledge. Sometimes I feel guilty because I could do it. I am smart enough. I am their mother, after all. Other people do it all the time. With more kids!!!

Is there something wrong with them? Or is it just me?

I guess it's good that I know my boundaries. I know how far I can go. Sometimes, I think that it wouldn't be that bad. Sometimes, I think it might even be fun. Sometimes I bleach my hair too. That doesn't mean I should do it.

So, I'm not. I'm moving so I can send my kids to good schools. I can send them to safe schools. I might even send them to the school that was my high school's rival. How cool is that?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

It's not green. I'm not Irish.

I'm not Italian either, but that's beside the point.

This week's recipe isn't all my own. On Sunday, I made a pretty fabulous meal for my family. We had homemade meatballs with homemade sauce, linguini, and fresh steamed green beans. Oh, did I mention the homemade italian bread? Out of all of those things, the only one that was my original creation was the meatballs.

I am going to list everything in the order I made it. The theory is that if you make it the way I did, you will have a delicious meal for six and it will all be ready at the same time. If I tell you how long this meal took to prepare, will it deter you from making it? The bread dough can be made up to six hours ahead of time and left to rise in the refrigerator. Remember, people!! This is therapy for me.

Make the bread first. I found a terrific Italian bread recipe on . I think I only used about 4 1/2 cups flour. I made 9 individual-sized loaves, so they took slightly less time to bake.

Next, make the sauce. I found a website that makes me want to make more Italian food than just spaghetti and meatballs. You might have to navigate yourself to the recipe, but it's easy to find. Left side of page, click recipes. Scroll down to sauces. The first recipe is 5-minute sauce. I used whole canned tomatoes and pulverized them in the blender. My kids don't like chunks in their sauce. I also substituted 1 tbs. dried basil for the 3 tbs. fresh. Also, I cooked this on low for at least an hour, so it was thicker than it would have been if I had only cooked it for five minutes.

Now, go shape the bread into loaves and let rise in a warm place.

Next, it's time for the meatballs.

  • 1-2 lbs. lean ground beef (I used 93/7)

  • 1 palmful oatmeal

  • 10 ritz crackers

  • 1 egg

  • salt

  • pepper

  • 1/2 cup spaghetti sauce (you know, the stuff that you are cooking on your stove now)

  • 1 heaping tbs. good italian seasoning (I have this stuff I bought at the MOM in Jessup. It smells like Italy in a bottle.)

  1. Heat 3 tbs oil in a large heavy-bottomed pan on medium/high heat.

  2. Shape mixture into balls. I don't measure this. Just grab some meat. Shape it into a ball. It should look big enough to take about two to three bites out of it. Make sure to pack it together, otherwise it may fall apart.

  3. As you make the meatballs, put them in the pan. Start turning them after you put the last one in the pan.

  4. Keep turning them until they are completely cooked.

  5. Set aside

Put bread loaves in oven and finish baking them according to what the recipe tells you to do.

Start a huge pot of water to boil for pasta. Put meatballs into sauce. Remember, they are already cooked. You are just warming them at this point.

Now you'll start your green beans. When I say start, I mean take them out of the fridge and start cleaning them. You should have them all ready to steam by the time the pasta is ready to be put into the pot.

Cook 1 pound of pasta. I used linguini because I had that on hand. Use whatever noodle you want. Brush egg wash on bread for last 5 minutes of cook time. (you forgot, didn't you?)

Drain pasta when done. Put it on a large serving dish. Pour meatballs and sauce over noodles. Toss lightly. The bread should be done. The veggies are done. Put it all on the table and eat.

Buon apetito!

Friday, March 13, 2009

the stinky dog

the stinky dog has dandruff
and it's really bad
he looks like he's been sprinkled
with snow or salt or powder
what does he need


i can't stand the smell
and it's making me

I hate my camera

That's why I haven't posted any pictures lately. It's mostly battery problems. You know, the camera sucks the life out of all my batteries in one day.

Do you have any suggestions? I really want to take pictures and post them and brag about my fabulous life. Only right now, it's not so fabulous because of the stupid camera.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Marianne's recipe of the week

A couple of weeks ago when Mel and I were discussing our weekly menu, he did something that he usually never does. He suggested that I prepared a meal differently than I usually make it.

You see, Fettuccini Alfredo is one of our family's favorite dishes. I usually don't have heavy whipping cream on hand, so when I make it, I just make a garlicky-parmesaney white sauce and call it good. I usually don't eat it because it's not really that great. It's not disgusting or anything like that, but the texture is all wrong. My kids love it, and I thought Mel liked it too. Until he suggested I make it the way I used to.

The next day, I bought heavy whipping crem and this is what we had for dinner that night:

Fettucini Alfredo
1 lb. fettucini noodles
1 1/2 - 2 cups heavy whipping cream
2 tbs. butter
1 handful parmesan cheese (sorry to all of you who need precise measurements)
salt and pepper to taste

  1. Cook until noodles are 'al dente'. (This just means don't cook them until they are mushy.) Drain noodles and toss with a teaspoon of olive oil or butter. Set aside.
  2. In the same pot you just used for the noodles, melt butter. Add 1 1/2 cups whipping cream, salt, and pepper. Cook this on medium heat until it is thickened a little bit (about 5-7 minutes).
  3. Add noodles back into pot with cream and butter. Toss until combined and heated through. Reduce heat, add parmesan cheese. If it seems too dry, add more cream. Serve immediately.

Consequently, my kids hated it this way. Mel and I gobbled it up the way the kids gobble up the other stuff. They used to feel that way about my baked macaroni and cheese versus Kraft. Notice I said used to.

Monday, March 9, 2009

I'm back!

I had lots of fun in Florida last week. The only thing I would have changed was the weather. It was chilly and cloudy and windy. Except for the last two days. Friday and Saturday were delightfully sunny and warm. I laid out and read three books during those two days and got lots of outside warm and sunny time. (I used SPF 50 sunscreen)

I went to Disney's Hollywood Studios and got some cute pictures of myself with Buzz Lightyear and Woody. I also have a picture of me kissing Sulley's cheek. I took them with my cell phone, so I don't know how to post them. If you have any clue, please let me know.

I am going to start the recipes tomorrow. I plan to do it every Tuesday. There will be some dessert recipes thrown in there, probably once per month. If I can't come up with my own recipe, I'll use one of our family favorites. Also, I'm open to your suggestions. If you would like to see a recipe for a particular ingredient, let me know.Also, if you tweak my recipe and it tastes better than the one I posted, tell me. It won't hurt my feelings. See ya!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Extra magic hours rock!!

Last night, Mel and I had the 'coolest' time at Disney's Magic Kingdom. First off, it was the first time I've ever been cold in Florida. Usually, we come here in the heat of the summer. Secondly, since we are staying here, we are able to stay late at different parks on different nights.

We basically got to ride all if the rides and see all the shows in a couple of hours. As you can imagine, there weren't any lines. That's why it usually takes so long to see everything. We will be hitting Hollywood studios tonight, Animal kingdom (for a roller coaster) on Wednesday, and Epcot Friday night.

Today, while Mel is in class, I'm going to Target to get some long sleeved shirts and maybe another jacket. I brought a light jacket, but it's too chilly here for that. Thank goodness it's not snowing.

Shout out to my greatest friend Suzan for having my kids this week. Snow days and all. You are super!! I know we don't keep tabs, but I owe you big, I know!