Friday, April 26, 2013

Getting those hands dirty~Home grown carrots

Do you garden?
I just love it. Love the smell of the fresh dirt, the newness of growth. It really doesn't matter to me what it is that I'm growing. I just love to see it grow. Well, unless it's weeds, don't really enjoy those so much.

What's even better is when you get to harvest, To reap the rewards for all the hard work that you've put into the garden.
It's just a feeling of satisfaction like no other. You know that feeling, don't you? If you garden, you know what I'm talking about.
It all starts with the tiny seeds...
and then you get this.

What's hiding under all those green tops, you ask..
well, just look at these babies!
home grown carrots
 Lovely, perfectly sweet little carrots.

Can't get much fresher than harvesting your own veggies. Pick it...wash it...then straight into a yummy, oh so fresh coleslaw for dinner. It just doesn't get any better than that!


What have you been growing lately? We have lots of peas, corn, lettuce and a few peppers at the moment. Plus lots of carrots! With the cooler temps that we've had over the last couple of weeks, I haven't even set out tomato plants yet. Though, I'm sure looking forward to some fried green tomatoes when the time comes. I can just make a meal out of those.
What is your favorite veggie to grow??

Thanks so much for stopping by
I appreciate each and every visit!


From the Heart,
Jana


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms with Lemon Butter Sauce

Recently my husband and I had a date night, we don't get to do that very often. We decided to eat dinner at Outback Steakhouse.
They had a new appetizer on the menu for Crab Stuffed Mushrooms.

crab stuffed mushrooms in lemon butter sauce

Oh, let me tell you, they were delicious. I had mentioned to the manager about how much I enjoyed them although within seconds, he told me that Outback would only be serving them for a short time, that they were only a special and would soon be taken off the menu. What!! How's that!! Why take something so yummy off the menu. 
They were so good that I thought I would try to recreate them myself so that we could have them anytime we wanted.

If I do say so myself, they were very close to what we had enjoyed. Recipe at the bottom
So, here's my version that I created.

 First select some small/medium size mushrooms, wash and take the stems off. Save stems for later.

Saute a couple stems, peppers and chives in butter for about 3 minutes or until tender.
Here they are almost ready for the oven
stuffed mushrooms

Served in a Lemon Butter sauce.
YUM!

Crab Stuffed Mushrooms
1 doz mushrooms (stems removed and saved for later)
4 Tbs butter
2 Tbs sweet red pepper chopped
1 Tbs fresh chives chopped
1/2 tsp Cajun seasoning or Old Bay
1 6oz. can Crab meat (or could use fresh lumped crab meat)
5-6 Tbs Panko bread crumbs
*add a little bread crumbs and melted butter to tops of mushrooms before baking.

Wash mushrooms, remove stems and place mushrooms on lightly greased baking pan.
 
In a skillet melt butter, add sweet pepper, Cajun seasoning and about 4-5 mushroom stems that have been coarsely chopped. Saute for 3 to 4 minutes, add chives and mix well. Then add bread crumbs, mix, then finally stir in the crab meat.
Spoon crab meat mixture into mushrooms, sprinkle with a little bit of bread crumbs and drizzle with melted butter. Place in 350 degree oven for approx 17-20 minutes or until thermometer reads 165 degrees.

Lemon Butter Sauce with Capers

Juice from 1 lemon
1 tsp grated lemon rind
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tsp corn starch
1 Tbs Capers
Salt and Pepper to taste

In a sauce pan, melt butter. Add lemon juice and grated rind. Bring to boil. Mix the white wine and corn starch in small bowl and add to boiling mixture. Reduce heat, stir until slightly thickened, add capers, salt and pepper.

Well, there's my version. I hope that you enjoy these Crab Stuffed Mushrooms if you give them a try.
Now I can have them whenever I wish, even when Outback takes them off their menu and also when "date night" is not in order.

Thanks so much for stopping by
Have a beautiful day!

From the Heart,
Jana

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Monday, April 22, 2013

Taking time to enjoy

I hope you had a wonderful weekend. The weather was glorious here in Texas so I was able to get outdoors to enjoy nature.
As most of you probably know, I have several lemon trees and I mentioned the other day that they are loaded with blooms.
See all the blooms. I hope to have plenty of lemons a little later in the year. I can see pies, breads and pitchers of sweet lemonade in my future.
lemon trees loaded with blooms

Have you ever had the wonderful feeling of smelling the sweet aroma of the lemon blossoms? Well, it is divine. Taking in the sweet smell makes every thing seem fresh....so alive and new. It's so calming to me.

lemon blooms
Look what I spotted when I was enjoying myself. Honey bees, there were quite a few of them buzzing from bloom to bloom.
  What a super busy bee this one was going all around.
 Just look at that pollen covered face it has, 
I can hardly find the eyes.
honey bee on lemon tree
In flight~Off to find some more sweet goodness!
Aah, it was so nice just to take the time to follow the busy bees around but at the same time it was nice for me to slow down to enjoy the day. Time well spent if you ask me.
Did you take the time to enjoy the beauty all around this weekend. I hope so. Sometimes there is so much hurt in the world you just have to stop, try to make sense of it all but remember there is still plenty of beauty to enjoy. We just have to look for it.

Thanks so much for stopping by
Have a Beautiful week!

From the Heart,
Jana

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Lemon Meringue Pie

Last week while I was watching Food Network, I seen Trisha Yearwood's show Trisha's Southern Kitchen for the first time. What a great show~btw. She was doing some down home cooking and one of the recipes that she made was for Lemon Meringue Pie. It's a very simple recipe, so I thought I'd give it a try. You can find her recipe HERE.

Ingredients for pie

I used my own recipe for the Graham Cracker Crust which is found HERE when I posted about a delicious Blueberry Cheesecake.
I made the filling just as directed by Trisha but when I make it again, I think I'll add some cornstarch to the filling. Mine turned out a little too runny for our liking but the flavor was fantastic.
In the eggs whites I also did something different which was to add about 1/2 tsp of Lemon Extract. It made the meringue have a nice subtle taste of lemon, which was great.
lemon meringue pie
For the pie I had to use store bought lemons, I can hardly wait until some of our lemons are ready to be picked. Our trees are loaded with blooms! Oh, the sweet smell. ;)
lemon trees with lots of blooms


I hope that you give the recipe a try. It was a very simple one that I will make again with a few minor adjustments.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by
I appreciate each and every visit
Have a fabulous day!

From the Heart,
Jana
 

 

Monday, April 15, 2013

An old dresser redo using Antiquing Glaze

Last week I finally got around to redoing a vintage dresser that I purchased about a year ago. It's been sitting in the shop just waiting to be transformed. I just couldn't decide what color that I wanted it to be. Well, I finally decided to tackle it and just see where I'd go.

Here it is in its before stage. I totally forgot to take a photo before I started sanding, so a little has already been sanded away.

vintage dresser
My first thought was, that I'd paint the entire dresser but after I sanded all the grime off the top I loved the grain in the wood. Isn't it pretty?
So I decided to stain the top instead. I used Minwax Gunstock stain. It has a slight reddish/orange hue.
I then decided that I would paint the dresser red. First, I sanded and primed everything. It took a couple of coats of red to cover.
Then I decided that I would glaze the drawer fronts and sides of the dresser. I used Valspar Antiquing Glaze. Be sure to wear gloves when using this stuff or else you'll really mess up your hands and finger-nails. (Not a pretty picture for sure)
Valspar Antiquing Glaze
I just brushed on the Glaze like so...
Valspar Antiquing Glaze on drawer
Then wiped off the glaze until I had the look that I was going for. Big difference in the before glaze and after, huh?
Valspar Antiquing Glaze difference
I forgot, as usual to take a photo before I took the dresser to my booth at the Antique Mall, so the photo is some-what dark. Plus my hand was shaky using my phone, so not the best photo.
Vintage dresser redo
Here's one that's not so shaky.
I really like how the dresser turned out. I glazed the dresser drawers and the sides too, but left the dresser front un-glazed to give it some contrast. You can't really see it in the photos but I love the look it gave doing that.
A quick before/after.
  
So, what do you think?? I'm hoping that it sells quickly as it's taken up quite a bit of room in my little 9 1/2' by 9 1/2' space.

Thanks so much for taking the time to stop by
I appreciate each and every visit!

From the Heart,
Jana

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Thursday, April 11, 2013

Texas Sheet Cake

How have you all been doing? I've been taking a blogging break over the last couple of weeks. Whew, where does time go? Each day I think about doing a post but at the end of the day, I've just been exhausted. Do you ever have times like that?
 Texas Sheet Cake
Texas Sheet Cake

I thought today that I'd share a fabulous recipe for a cake that I made yesterday. My sweet daughter, Molly, had a birthday, she turned 17. Happy Birthday, Molly! She asked me to make her a Texas Sheet Cake. Have you ever tried it?? It's so yummy and chocolatey. If you have a craving for chocolate...then this is your cake. I know there are several versions of the cake but this is the recipe that I've used for years and it always turns out great every time.

Texas Sheet Cake
1 cup butter
1 cup water
1/4 cup baking cocoa
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sour cream
Icing: 
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup plus 2 Tbs. milk
3 Tbs baking cocoa
3 & 3/4 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla

Cake directions
In a large saucepan, bring the butter, water and cocoa to a boil. Remove pan from heat. In a separate bowl, combine the flour, sugar, cocoa and salt. Stir those four ingredients into the cocoa mixture. Then stir in sour cream until smooth. Pour into a greased 15in x 10in x 1in baking pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean. (check you own oven..it takes 22 minutes in mine). 
Icing directions
In a saucepan, melt butter; add milk and cocoa. Bring to a boil, remove from heat and whisk in powdered sugar and vanilla until smooth. Pour over warm cake and smooth out icing on top. Cool completely~then enjoy :0)

Thanks so much for stopping by
Enjoy the cake recipe and 
have a wonderful day! 

From the Heart,
Jana

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