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Monday, October 31, 2011

Pizza Creations

During a night of Friday shenanigans, our good friends Tess, Jay, Eric and I decided it was only fitting to make personalized pizzas! Mind you it was 10:00 when we concluded that pizza is what we were all craving. It reminded me of a good ol' fashioned college night! Goooood times.
Meet Tess. She is amazingly talented, very fashionable and pretty super to be around.
This is Jay. He is witty, loves smores and moonshine, and is the only Sidney-ite with a Southern accent. Holler!

Hmmm, prosciutto 

The girl pizza: Prosciutto, goat cheese, mozzarella and caramelized onions and garlic

The boy pizza: Mozzarella, bacon, mushrooms, pizza sauce and pepperoni
(picture by Tess!)
(picture also done by Tess)

(courtesy of Tess)

Sunday, October 30, 2011

My Weekend of Fun, Family and Friends

Last weekend, I had the opportunity to spend 4 days with my parents and brother back in Salina and then to Kansas City. Eric couldn't get off work, so he stayed home :( Although I missed him, I had a wonderful time with my family!
Unfortunately I didn't get pictures from anything at the Kansas City portion of the trip.  We went to my cousin's wedding in Mission, KS, which was just beautiful! There was family there who I haven't seen in some time, which is always so nice. 
And THEN, I slipped over to Weston, KS to celebrate one my dearest friend, Hannah, and her fiance's engagement! That experience was absolutely priceless. Her reaction to my surprise attendance was amazing! I was just on cloud nine that I could be there to celebrate such a big day for them. Kyle put so much thought into that day for Hannah. Everything about them makes me happy, and now I can't wait for the big wedding day!! 

These first few pictures are from the building that my Brother bought in Brookville, KS. One day it will be a bar and grill! It is the coolest old building and has so many stories to tell over the years.

I took a couple hours to drive around my parent's property and take pictures.
I just love the calmness of it all.

My Dad had a company picnic at a local pumpkin patch one of the evenings. 
When it cooled down, they had a bonfire that we all gathered around.

The other portion of the trip was picking up my new car. We salvaged my SUV that I've had since college due to the hail that totaled it. And now I'm driving a Honda Accord that gets amazing gas mileage! It's a welcome change to spend significantly less on our multiple trips back to Kansas, and makes it less of a financial burden when we want to jet off to the mountains for the weekend.
My trips back to Kansas are always jam packed, but I can't complain! It's always lots of fun packed into the days I have there.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chicken Fried Steak

This recipe is courtesy of Pioneer Woman, where nearly 90% of my recipes are born.
Eric and I had never made chicken fried steak 
before this date night.
And I'll tell ya won't be the last time.
It was sooo delicious!

First we dipped the cube steaks in an egg/water mixture.
Then into this flour mixture, complete with seasoning salt, 
cayenne pepper, salt and pepper and garlic powder
 Then we dipped them BACK into the egg mixture, and again in the flour mixture.
That's right, twice in each.
It makes it extra crispy, just believe me.

And then pop them into the already hot oil
 Listen to them simmer
 Let them dry on paper towels to get all of the extra grease off
 And this is where the magic happened.
Eric made the best gravy from the drippings.
Just add flour, milk and lots of salt and pepper until it's the right consistency

And dig in! 

  • 3 pounds Cube Steak (tenderized Round Steak That's Been Extra Tenderized)
  • 1-1/2 cup Whole Milk, Plus Up To 2 Cups For Gravy
  • 2 whole Large Eggs
  • 3 cups All-purpose Flour
  • Seasoned Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Cayenne
  • LOTS Of Black Pepper. Lots.
  • Canola Oil, For Frying
  • Salt And Pepper, For Both Meat And Gravy

Preparation Instructions

Begin with an assembly line of dishes for the meat: milk mixed with egg in one; flour mixed with spices in one; meat in one; then have one clean plate at the end to receive the breaded meat.
Work one piece of meat at a time. Season both sides with salt and pepper, then dip in the milk/egg mixture. Next, place the meat on the plate of seasoned flour. Turn to coat thoroughly. Place the meat back into the milk/egg mixture, turning to coat. Place back in the flour and turn to coat.
(So: wet mixture/dry mixture/wet mixture/dry mixture.) Place breaded meat on the clean plate, then repeat with remaining meat.
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Drop in a few sprinkles of flour to make sure it's sufficiently hot. Cook meat, three pieces at a time, until edges start to look golden brown; around 2 to 2 1/2 minutes each side.
Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and keep warm. Repeat until all meat is cooked.
After all meat is fried, pour off the grease into a heatproof bowl. Without cleaning the pan, return it to the stove over medium-low heat. Add 1/4 cup grease back to the pan. Allow grease to heat up.
Sprinkle 1/3 cup flour evenly over the grease. Using a whisk, mix flour with grease, creating a golden-brown paste. Keep cooking until it reaches a deep golden brown color. If paste seems more oily than pasty, sprinkle in another tablespoon of flour and whisk.
Whisking constantly, pour in milk. Cook to thicken the gravy. Be prepared to add more milk if it becomes overly thick. Add salt and pepper and cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until gravy is smooth and thick. Be sure to taste to make sure gravy is sufficiently seasoned.

Fall in Sidney

How is the weather for everyone?
It's definitely fall here! We had our first hard freeze last night, so I can tell the bitter cold is coming. Yuck. Since Sidney is lacking in the tree department, it's hard to tell if the leaves are really changing. I've driven through the park every day (above) to see what the leaves are doing. I guess you never know what you have until it's gone, because I didn't realize how much I appreciated trees until I moved to Western Nebraska!! Who knew. Eric definitely noticed it when we first moved here. When we drive back to Kansas, you hit a certain point where the trees start and you know you're almost home. It's the little things, right?

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Revamped Office

I haven't really shared the room in which all of the 
craft magic happens.
It's the place I spend a lot of my time on the weekends, and let's be honest, it's kind of deemed "my room", although I do let Eric in....if he doesn't touch anything (hehe).

We got this horse painting from my Great-Aunt for our wedding. I LOVE it.

This here trunk stores all of the stuff that I don't want to parts to upcoming projects and such.

I've been eyeing a lot of amazing craft rooms I see on blogs, and Eric knows this. 
[I will share some of my faves in another post]
So he tells me over the weekend that if I want a "craft center" (essentially an organized area of shelf space), one of his Christmas presents to me will be just that! I'm going to start designing it ASAP! 
I know I sound like a broken record, but it sure is wonderful to have a handy hubby!! (and a cute one at that)

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Bringing out the Hunter in Barkley

Don't you think he'd be a handsome Cabela's model?
So what if he's not a lab or pointer!

Mongolian Beef with Noodles

When my friend Jena was here, we made the most amazing Chinese dish- Mongolian Beef! It was a Pintrest find, of course :)
To be honest, it was my first ever successful Asian meal. I owe it all to Jena, really.
I prefer noodles over rice, so we just tossed the noodles right in the mixture, and it was SO good!
This meal took about 20 minutes in all, but tastes better than take-out. I'm tellin ya.
Mongolian Beef Recipe:
makes 2 servings
You will need:

1 lb of flank steak, thinly sliced crosswise
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 teaspoons of canola oil
1/2 teaspoon of grated ginger (about 1/2 inch piece)
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic (about 2 -3 large cloves)
1/2 cup of water
1/2 cup of soy sauce (I use low sodium)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
3 large green onions, sliced crosswise into thirds

Prepare the meat:
First, make sure the steak slices are dry (pat them dry) and mix them with the corn starch. Using your hands or a spoon, move them around to make sure all pieces are coated. Place beef slices in a strainer and shake off excess corn starch (see picture bellow).
Make the sauce:
Heat half of the oil in a large wok at medium-high and add the garlic and ginger. Immediately add the soy sauce, water, brown sugar and pepper flakes. Cook the sauce for about 2 minutes and transfer to a bowl. Don't worry if the sauce doesn't look thick enough at this point. The corn starch in the beef will thicken it up later. 
Cook the meat and assemble dish:
Turn the heat up and add the remaining oil to the wok. Add the beef and cook, stirring until it is all browned (this is a quick thing). Pour the sauce back into the wok and let it cook along with the meat. Now you can choose to cook it down and reduce the sauce or leave it thinner. Add the green onions on the last minute so the green parts will stay green and the white parts crunchy.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Sausage Mozzarella Calzones

These are divine. You must try them.

I got the idea from where else but Pintrest! However, I put my own twist to it and really didn't follow the recipe at all.

First I cooked about a half pound of sausage and let it cool
 Then I mixed together a half jar of pizza sauce, 2 teaspoons of minced garlic, chopped up chives from my garden, salt, pepper and lots o' cheese. I'm a cheese freak so I added a lot. This part is really up to you.
I used several kinds because that's how I roll.
It's mozzarella (duh), parmesan, and mexican blend.
 Doesn't that look appetizing?
 I used cheap store-bought biscuits.
I smooshed (yes, it's a word, geez) together two biscuits and then smashed it out to make a mini pizza-sized portion
Then put a healthy dollop of the mixture in the middle
Press all 4 sides together
 And that's my version of a calzone
Now bake according to the biscuit directions
 When you take them out of the oven, paint on a butter/garlic mixture and sprinkle with salt.
You won't regret it.
The next step is the best.
These pocket-sized pouches are seriously amazing.

Now, I made these for lunch. With my new schedule, I can do things like that. 
However, if I made it for dinner, I would've had a caesar salad with these bad boys.

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