Monday, December 20, 2010

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rollssssssss

For real.  I mean, these rolls are 'for real'.  I decided to make Pioneer Woman's famous cinnamon rolls for my girl's Christmas get together tonight (because I love them so much, my friends that is).  And because I would NEVER, EVER make something this sinful and delicious and leave it in my home as bait.  I would fail.  And then my hips would grow, and then I'd have to run more (no fun).  And anyway...

The recipe calls for extreme amounts of butter and sugar.  So if you are a diabetic, stay away.  Dad.  Although I'm making them for Christmas morning breakfast so I don't know what he'll do, except we'll pray for his willpower, which we know he doesn't have.  I'm a mean daughter I guess.

For step-by-step instructions on how to make these cinnamon rolls, visit

So I bid you, go, get your roll on.  

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

New Year, New Mission

So I've been inspired.  By Pioneer Woman.  A woman I just found last week.  A woman whose blog is everything I ever imagined mine to be (and is totally not).  She has my life.  I want it back!  Just kidding, I wish. But this brings me to contemplation.  The same contemplation I felt when creating my blog.  What to name it, what it should be about, what do I even have to say?  Which I always have a lot to say.  Just ask my friends about my looooong stories and the countless times they have said, "Ok, Clare, get to it."  I vowed to keep my blog to one subject, cooking.  And now I've turned into a major slacker, and for lack of better words, blah.

Sooooo...for the same reason I did not title my blog anything cooking related, in case I had this euphoric moment of wanting my blog to be more than it is (which would not be hard since no one knows about it or cares), I am going to write about anything and everything that comes to my little head.  It may include cooking, or it may be ramblings of a subject you could care less about.  And no one may ever read it, which is completely fine because I often have writers remorse, or posters remorse.  I can't count the times I've posted something on facebook or twitter, only to delete it manically two hours later.  I change my mind a lot.  And I may even delete this post in a few days. Who knows? But really, who cares because Pioneer Woman I am not.  But Pioneer Woman has single handedly inspired me.

To a new year of blogging and inspiration!  (when it begins in 17 days because I have a lot of shopping and sleeping to do)


Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Funny via Marshall Ramsey

Let me first say...I do not care that much about all of this.  The guy is amazing and we wish we had him at MSU.  BUT, I am shocked by the NCAA ruling.  Someone at AU has got some serious pull.  Maybe it's Santa...

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Monday, November 22, 2010

Savannah High Apple Pie

By Paula Deen

If you want to test your baking skills...and patience, then look no further (and block out a good 3 hours).  This pie is no doubt, a work in progress recipe for me!  I've baked this pie twice in the last year.  Notably, only for occasions with important guests - meeting the parents and Thanksgiving with my family.  I am looking forward to my next occasion to bake this pie.  Bring it on!

For the Deep Dish Pie Crust:
6 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups butter-flavored solid shortening (recommended: Crisco)
1 tablespoon salt
3/4 cup cold water

For the Filling:
24 apples, preferably Golden Delicious or Granny Smith, peeled, quartered and thinly sliced*
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

For the streusel:
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup pecans
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup milk
4 tablespoons sugar
1 recipe Caramel Pecan Topping, recipe follows

*The number of apples depends on the size of the pie.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

For the Deep Dish Pie Crust:  Cut flour into butter-flavored shortening. Add salt and stir in enough water to make stiff dough. Knead slightly together. Chill dough before using.  Use 1/3 of pie dough for bottom crust. Roll bottom crust. Lay in pie pan.

For the filling:  Combine apples, flour, sugar, and cinnamon and mix lightly with spatula.

For the streusel:  In a small bowl combine together butter, brown sugar, flour, pecans and cinnamon. Layer this mix every so often between apples.

Using stainless bowl, begin layering apples slice by slice, slightly overlapping starting at the outside circle of the bowl and working towards the center. Push firmly as the layers build. Round off top layer of apple slices when you reach the top. Put a single layer of sliced apples in the bottom crust.

Take the pie pan with the bottom crust in left hand and the stainless bowl of sliced apples in right hand and invert. Put finger tips under edge of bowl to release the air and gently lift off. Press and firm apples and straighten. Add slices of apple to take away sharp edges (so as not to puncture the pie dough). Add slices of apples to top of pie to round off.  Add 4 tablespoons of butter pats on top of pie.

Roll out top crust using remaining pie dough. Gently place top crust over the mound of apples. Smooth the sides of pie crust towards bottom of pie pulling out on extra crust. Pinch down to seal 2 layers together. Crimp pie for first time. Cut extra crust with the back of a sharp knife. Re-crimp the edges and push towards the pie.

Brush with milk and sprinkle sugar rubbing your left hand from the bottom up to evenly spread your sugar.  Put 5 steam vents with a small knife towards the upper part of the pie. Do not vent at the top as it will cause the pie to split open as it bakes.

Bake between 350 to 375 degrees F for 1 hour, 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  Let cool for at least 1 hour.  Spread warm Caramel Pecan Topping on top of crust beginning at the base of the pie above the fluting and working towards the top.

Serving suggestions:  Drizzle caramel pecan topping with semisweet chocolate, milk chocolate, and white chocolate.

Cook's Note: To add candied pecans to pie recipe, use 2 cups of candied pecans, 1 cup towards the bottom, 1/2 cup towards the middle, and 1/4 cup towards the top.

Caramel Pecan Topping:
2 (12-ounce) cups melted caramel
3 tablespoons evaporated milk
1 1/2 cup chopped pecan pieces

Melt caramels completely in microwave. Add evaporated milk and stir until smooth consistency. Add chopped pecans and stir. Spread over pie starting at base and working in.

As you can tell, I have many more pies to prepare before I reach the upper echelons of bakers such as Paula.

As Paula would say, Happy Thanksgiving Y'all!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Stolen Shrimp and Rice

Stolen.  Yes, completely stolen.  I am a recipe thief!  This weekend, my sweet parents came to town.  They were here to be with their lovely daughter.  And help me steal a recipe.  No, no.  I kid.

We spent Saturday shopping for TVs, ipads, clothes, you name it.  We even dragged my Dad into Target.  And he picked out a dress for me....pause to reflect on this shocking moment....

But we spent the majority of our time in Barnes and Noble.  It pleased the entire family.  Amelia was ripping through a Dylan's Candy Bar book and oohing and aahing over all the candy.  Mom got lost somewhere in the art section.  It was getting dark, and Dad and I heard our stomachs growling.  We debated dinner as we salivated over the pictures in Rachel Ray's Look and Cook recipe book.  And the next thing you know, I'm reaching for the iPhone.  Snap, snap, snap. Got it!  We placed the book back on the shelf and fled the store!

Ok, it wasn't that dramatic.

This is a feisty shrimp dish, for the brave.  If you do not care for hot (I mean spicy) dishes, then go light on the hot sauce and jalapeno. Otherwise, enjoy!  Hint:  It is more flavorful the next day.

By the way, I asked for this cookbook for Christmas, so I'm technically only a thief until December 25, ok?

4 garlic cloves, minced
6-8 celery stalks, chopped
2 medium green bell peppers, chopped
1 medium red onion, chopped
2 tbs finely chopped fresh thyme
4 tbs butter
1 1/2 cups enriched white rice
2 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 red jalapeno pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 pint small cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
2 limes
2 tbs EVOO (extra virgin olive oil)
3 lbs large, deveined shrimp
1 tbs Old Bay seafood seasoning
1 tbs Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup hot sauce
1 bottle of beer
1 bunch of green onions, thinly sliced

In a medium bowl, combine garlic, celery, bell pepper, red onion, and thyme.  Heat a medium pot with 1 tablespoon of butter over medium heat.  Add half of the vegetables to the pot and cook for 3 minutes to soften, then add rice and toss for another 3 minutes.  Stir in the chicken stock, cover the pot, and bring to a boil.  Simmer the rice for 15 minutes until tender, then fluff with a fork.

Combine the remaining vegetables with the jalapeno pepper and tomatoes.  Dress with the juice of 1 lime and season with a little salt.

Heat the EVOO in a large skillet over medium to medium high heat.  Add the shrimp and season with the Old Bay, worcestershire, and hot sauce.  Toss the shrimp around for 2 minutes, add the beer, reduce the heat to simmer and braise for 5-6 minutes.  Cut the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter into small bits, add the green onions, and melt the butter into the sauce.  Squeeze the juice of the second lime over the pan.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Funfetti Friday

Well, I have a sweet tooth.  What can I say?  I was craving something sweet on the way home from work yesterday, but wasn't up for putting forth much effort.  I stopped in the grocery to grab a cake mix and spied the funfetti box.  Funfetti cookies, yes!  They certainly satisfied my sweet craving.  Have a fun Friday!

Funfetti Cookies
funfetti cake mix
1/3 cup of vegetable oil
2 eggs
vanilla icing
pink food coloring
Mix funfetti cake mix, oil, and eggs.
Roll dough into balls and flatten to 1/4 inch.
Place on cookie sheet and
bake at 375 degrees for 7-8 minutes.
Allow cookies to cool and ice!

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Nanny's Gravy

Consider yourself blessed today.  Blessed because I am sharing my Italian grandmother's spaghetti gravy recipe.

My grandmother, Viola Agostinelli, lived four blocks from me as a child.  I remember the smell that poured out of that large, rustic silver pot on her stove.  The simmering scent of garlic, parsley, onion, and tomatoes lingered all the day long.  It was simply how her house smelled.  The pot itself looked as if it had been through a war. It was thick and sturdy like a kettle, burned on the bottom, and the handle was broken.  My mother now owns this pot.  It is the only thing she wanted when my grandmother passed away, at age 99.  I wish it to be mine one day.

Nanny's gravy was just a regular part of my childhood.  Just like placing pennies on the railroad track beside her house before the train came to flatten them.  Her small two bedroom house was the prime location for family Christmas Eve dinners.  It was where we played dominoes, bocce ball, and enjoyed afternoons on the patio.  The secret wizard who called to perform card tricks for the grandchildren only called Nanny's house.  It was where I learned to make homemade biscuits and ate my fill of salami and white bread sandwiches.  It was where you went to receive honest advice, whether you wanted it or not.  She was the matriarch of our big family, the reason we gathered together.  Cooking this gravy takes me back to her.

But you see, the thing about Nanny and her cooking is she did not use measurements well.  It was "a little of this" and "a lot of that".  I remember my mom saying she would get a different version of measurements and ingredients each time she called Nanny about a recipe.  I've heard my dad and cousin argue over what type of vinegar she used in certain italian dishes.  Who really knows exactly how to make Nanny's spaghetti gravy?  Probably no one, but we can try.

Nanny's Spaghetti Gravy

3-4 lbs ground chuck
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 whole garlic bunches
1 bunch of fresh parsley
8 stalks of celery
36 oz tomato paste
2 tblsp black pepper
4 tblsp salt
2 tblsp oregano
4 bay leaves
3 green onion stem bunches

Place onion, green onions, garlic pods, parsley, and celery into blender.  Blend together and pour into 2 gallon pot with oil.  Add bay leaves.  Saute about 10 minutes on medium.

Kneed meat, salt, pepper, and oregano.  Brown meat.  Drain and stir into pot.  Stir in tomato paste.  Add water to make approximately 3 quarts.  Cook on low and cover to simmer for about 2 1/2 hours.

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Miss Safety Cook

I know one rule at least!  I am keenly aware of not sharing my meat cutting board with other food items I use for dinner.  But what else can I do to ensure I am preparing a safe and healthy meal?  Eating Well's 10 Commandments article is a good checklist.  Click here to find out what food-safety rules you follow.  Have a safe dinner tonight!  

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Channeling Julia

Ever since watching Julie & Julia and reading the book, My Life in France, by Julia Child, I have wanted to hold a helpless chicken in the air.

Meryl Streep playing Julia Child in Julie & Julia
And oh, what fun it was!  Enjoy this simple roasted chicken recipe that includes a host of  tasty vegetables.  Bon Appetite! as Julia would say.

1 (5-6 lb) roasting chicken
1/4 cup fresh thyme
1/4 cup fresh rosemary
3 garlic cloves
Olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
3 lemons
1 can chicken stock
fresh green beans
2 red bell peppers

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.  
Chop thyme, rosemary, and garlic.  Blend together herbs with 2 teaspoons olive oil in a small food processor.  Add salt and pepper as desired.  
To prepare vegetables:  Rinse vegetables and chop carrots, squash, and bell pepper.  Toss blended herb mixture with vegetables (save some for chicken).

To prepare chicken: Gut the chicken.  Then rinse the chicken, and dry it well with paper towels, inside and out. The less it steams, the drier the heat, the better.  Place chicken in roasting pan.  Liberally sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper, then coat chicken with herb mixture.  Halve lemons and stuff 2 lemon halves in chicken cavity.  Pour can of chicken stock in bottom of roasting pan and arrange vegetables around chicken.  Lay other lemon halves in roasting pan with vegetables.  

Then you must truss the bird.  When you truss a bird, the wings and legs stay close to the body; the ends of the drumsticks cover the top of the breast and keep it from drying out. Trussing helps the chicken to cook evenly, and it also makes for a more beautiful roasted bird.
Roast the chicken for 1 hour. Continue roasting the chicken for an additional 1/2 hour, or until the juices run clear when you cut between a leg and thigh.         

Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Rewind


Sipping my pumpkin spice latte on the way to work this morning, I reminisced about my 2009 Halloween party.  Hence, this post was born.

Yes, I did paint cups like we were in college.
Halloween presents a gazillion options to be creative. From parties to costumes, carving pumpkins to decor, and making fun treats for everyone to enjoy.  It is the only celebration of the year where you can be anyone, or anything, but yourself.  And how fun is that!  So here's to Halloween weekend.

Let the reminiscing continue...

We enjoyed witch's brew, evil apples, boo-scotti, booger fingers, spider cupcakes, ghost brownies, and trick-or-tinis!

And I invited a monster.  

Happy Halloween everyone!  Get your scary on. 

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Pumpkin Spice Blossoms

I love discovering cooking blogs!  Can't wait to try these cute, sugary bites with my favorite pumpkin hershey kiss.  Compliments of

Pumpkin Spice Blossoms
1 batch of your favorite sugar cookie dough
24 Hershey Pumpkin Spice Kisses, unwrapped
1 teaspoon cinnamon/sugar mixture, for sprinkling

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Make dough as directed and scoop into 2 mini muffin pans.  Sprinkle with the cinnamon/sugar mixture and bake for 10-12 minutes, until cookies are golden brown. Let cool for about 3 minutes, then gently press a pumpkin spice kiss into each cookie. **I chose to sprinkle mine with a little orange decorating sugar- totally optional!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Fall Weather = Soup Time!

Bring on the fall weather!  Who doesn't love smelling a house full of soup?  Oops, well, a house full of soup would not be good.  How about a house filled with the smell of homemade soup? 

Monday night's special - taco soup.

Lean ground beef
2 cans diced tomatoes (no salt added)
1 can rotel
1 can black beans
1 can garbanzo beans
1 can corn
1 onion
2 zucchini
1 dry ranch dressing package
1 taco seasoning package

Saute onion and meat in skillet.  Transfer meat and onion to large pot on stove.  Add rest of ingredients and simmer on low for 2 hours.  Serve with multi grain tostito chips and fat free sour cream.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Halloween Fun!

I searched high and low for the best Halloween craft project for my nieces, Mary Morgan, 10, and Amelia, 7. Not too easy, not too complicated, fun, and with the potential for originality. Beyond construction paper and markers, I decided on an easy theme - decorate a pumpkin, and a harder task - use your imagination. I raided Michael's aisles for the best crafty options, the majority fall and halloween colors and themes.

My list of crafts had no rhyme or reason and would be fun for kids to choose themselves. After carefully evaluating every craft on the table and shouting ideas, they both decided to make pumpkin faces. Amelia created a “motorcycle dude”, sporting sunglasses made by cutting black glitter foam paper. Mary Morgan created a girl holding lipstick and a flower. She curled pipe cleaner as hair and glued fuzzy craft balls for earrings. This project had no barriers and no instructions, only a table full of possibilities with a pumpkin as a canvas. We had a blast! 

Next, we made ghost cookies. Quick and easy to make. Perfect for a Halloween party. The girls had fun icing the cookies, or should I say licking the icing?! We all had tummy aches after the ghosts were completed!

Ghost Cookies

2 bags white chocolate bark or morsels
3 packages Nutter Butter peanut butter cookies
1 bag miniature semisweet chocolate chips

In a microwave-safe bowl, or using a stove top, melt candy coating. Use 1 tablespoon oil to prevent burning and sticking.  Dip cookies into coating, covering completely. You may also use a utensil to spread the coating. Place iced cookies on waxed paper.  While coating is still warm, place two chips on each cookie for eyes. Let stand until set.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Back to Design

I am channeling my graphic design days that have come and gone.  I could once work Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop with my eyes closed.  I am now having trouble remembering how to create a box.  But I managed to create a few business card designs for my mom.  She isn't too picky.  I look forward to designing again!  Stationery is next...

Friday, October 15, 2010

Goal Setting with God

"May he give you the desire of your heart and make all your plans succeed."
Psalm 20:4

Successful people are willing to make sacrifices and put in the time of preparation that unsuccessful people aren't willing to do.  Below are 6 steps to designing purpose for your life. 

Step 1 -- Determine your present position
Step 2 -- Be specific about what you want
Step 3 -- Look for God's promise
Step 4 -- Ask God to help you
Step 5 -- Identify the barriers
Step 6 -- Create a step-by-step plan

Now you may be thinking, "This is a lot of work. It's going to take time." You're right, it will take time. That's why 95 percent of Americans have no written goals. A recent Harvard study showed that only 5 percent of Americans have written goals and many of them are among the highest earning people in the nation. You can either drift through life or you can be directed through life by taking the time to think through where God wants you to be.  Ah, the key -- where God wants you to be. -- Rick Warren
I have forever been a goal setter.  It is how I survive.  Graduate with honors - did it.  Run a half marathon - check.  Create a blog - done!  But rarely do I write my goals down.  A sticky note here - follow up with so-and-so, and a journal entry there - Dear God, I would like to...Some have been fulfilled, and some remain, meandering in my head of daydreams.    
I sat down last night with a clear head, blank paper and pen, and made a list of what I want to accomplish.  They range from short-term to long-term desires.  I posted this plan on my bathroom mirror as my "big picture" strategy.  Having my goals staring at me each morning will be a great reminder of where I'm headed, what it will take to get there, and how grateful I will be when each desire is met.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Easy Enchiladas

I discovered homemade enchiladas at a dinner hosted by my bible study teacher a few years ago.  The enchiladas she served were melt-in-your-mouth delicious (and I'll reveal why).  Thankfully she shared her recipe, which I refuse to bake unless there are ample people around to clean the dish.  There is a serious amount of heavy whipping cream used to soften the tortillas. 

I have altered her original recipe to create this healthier version, which is just as enjoyable - without the guilt.  Have fun with the optional ingredients to stuff your tortillas.  Choose your rice, forgo the chicken for beans, add spices, use your favorite salsa, sprinkle with cilantro...go ahead, make it your own! 

Kroger Deli's Savory Rotisserie Chicken
8" whole wheat tortillas
1 package whole grain taco rice
1 package shredded cheddar and/or mozzarella cheese
Sour cream (fat free)
1 jar salsa
1 onion
1 small jar pimentos
1 small jar jalapenos
1 can corn

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Pull chicken off bone and cut into bite sized pieces.  Cook rice and saute onion.  Spread a thin layer of salsa on bottom of 9x13 baking dish.  Spread sour cream (amount desired) on 5-6 tortillas.  Combine chicken, rice, corn, pimentos, onion, salsa and jalapenos in bowl and mix.  Divide for 5-6 tortillas.  Stuff tortillas with chicken mixture and lay stuffed tortillas in casserole dish.  Pour remaining salsa over tortillas.  Pour half bag shredded cheeses over tortillas.  Bake for 25 minutes.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Featured in the October edition of Cooking Light magazine.  My mouth is beginning to water typing this recipe.  How do you bake the best banana bread ever?!  Well, with REAL bananas and ooey gooey peanut butter glaze.  That's how.  A great fall recipe that goes perfectly with a cup of Joe!         

- 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
- 1/3 cup plain yogurt
- 1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
- 3 tablespoons butter, melted
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1/4 cup ground flax seed
- 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
- 2 tablespoons chopped dry roasted peanuts

- 1/3 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 1 tablespoon creamy peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combing first 5 ingredients in large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed.  Add granulated and brown sugar; beat until blended.  Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl.  Add flour mixture to banana mixture; beat until blended.  Stir in nuts.  Pour batter into 9x5 inch loaf pan.  Bake for 1 hour and 5 minutes.  Allow bread to cool.  Whisk glaze ingredients.  Drizzle glaze over bread.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Get in the Game!

Whether you are an avid college football fan or simply enjoy the football experience, this Top 10 list reviews basic football concepts, and not-so-obvious terminology that will help you Get in the Game (and even impress those silly boys).

I assume you understand the basic downs and yardage of scoring in football.  We will use Mississippi State vs. Ole Miss as our example when needed.  In no particular order, here we go!

1)  Home and Visitor.  The first team listed on TV and in the newspaper is the visiting team.

2)  Eligible players.  There are 11 players on the field for each team at all times.  Not 13, Coach Dooley.

3)  Play clock.  The play clock is set at 25 seconds before each play. It denotes the time given to the offense to begin the play. A Delay of Game penalty is called when the center does not snap the ball before 25 seconds runs off the clock.

4)  Football field basics.  Most are self explanatory, except for the hash marks which are two rows of lines near the center of the field and near the sidelines, marking one-yard increments. All plays start with the ball on or between the hash marks. 

What are those bright orange things on each corner of the end zone?  These are pylons. A pylon is a short orange (or red) foam marker that marks all four corners of each end zone. A player must get any part of the football over the goal line or touch the pylon to score.  See Bulldog Anthony Dixon...
5)  Field goal attempt.  You must add 17 yards to the line of scrimmage for the actual field goal yardage. For example, if the ball is downed on the 20 yard line, the ball will be spotted 7 yards from the line of scrimmage.  You must also add the 10 yards that make up the end zone (20 + 7 +10 = 37).  The field goal attempt is 37 yards.

6)  Territory.  Let's say the Rebels have the ball on the Bulldog's 20 yard line.  Are they close to scoring?  Yes, you could say that.  They are 20 yards from the end zone in Bulldog territory.  If the Rebels are on their own 20 yard line, then they are 80 yards from the end zone. 

7)  Point after touchdwon.  Also known as a PAT, it is only worth 1 point, whereas kicking a field goal can put 3 points on the scoreboard.

8)  A catch.  A college receiver is only required to have one foot in bounds to make a catch.  Rule 2, Section 2, Article 7 of the NCAA 2009-2010 Football Rules and Interpretations:  To catch a ball means that a player:  Leaves his feet and firmly grasps a live ball in flight, the ball first touching the ground inbounds while still in his firm grasp.  

9)  Holding and Pass Interference penalties.  Holding is an offensive penalty called when an offensive player literally "holds" a defensive player's jersey.  Pass interference is a defensive penalty.  This occurs when the defensive player makes contact with the receiver before the ball arrives, interfering with his opportunity to catch the ball.  See the chart below for common referee signals.

10)  The BCS.  I'm sure you've heard someone refer to the BCS. The BCS is the Bowl Championship Series that creates 5 bowl games each year for the top 10 ranked teams, including the National Championship game.

You may be familiar with the Top 10, or you may not care about football beyond your cute outfit.  Whatever the case, happy game day!


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Grilled Cheese Anyone?

What a fabulous idea!  Who would've thought...oh wait, Martha Stewart did.  Comeback Queen, you are.  Yesterday on Oprah, it was a "Best of Martha Stewart" show.  Martha suggested a grown-up grilled cheese party, and why not throw in a Bloody Mary for good measure?  Well, I just will -- for my next Girl's Night menu.      

apple, gruyere, & sage
No ordinary grilled cheese sandwich will do.  I'll buy cheeses known for melting easily as suggested - like Gruy√®re, cheddar and Fontina.  I can't wait to choose my breads!  I'm skipping in my chair, if that's possible.  And the toppings...oh my friends will think I've gone mad.  I'll tame them with Martha's classic bloody mary recipe. 

Grilled cheeses are as close as I'll get to being a Martha Stewart.  Thanks, Martha!  For grilled cheese combinations visit  Send me your grilled cheese ideas and let me know how your party turned out! 

Classic Bloody Mary
3/4 cups fresh tomato juice
1/4 cup clam juice
1 lemon , juiced
2 to 3 to 3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp. freshly grated or prepared horseradish
1/2 tsp. celery salt
Pinch black pepper
Pinch salt
2 ounces vodka
1 slice cucumber , for garnish
1 stalk celery , for garnish
1 wedge lemon , for garnish  

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Happy Juice

Orange juice is an All-American breakfast beverage.  One 8-ounce glass of 100% Florida orange juice provides 100 percent of your daily value of Vitamin C.  If you are not carefully choosing your orange juice, this juice product can be deceiving with its colorful labels, descriptions, and additions.  Cooking Light performed a taste test on 9 various not from concentrate orange juices.  The winners were Florida's Natural and Tropicana's Pure Premium.

If you are not sure how to choose a great tasting orange juice, and ensure you are receiving the vitamins and minerals you deserve, use this comparative orange juice label as your guide.  Enjoy your OJ and all its health benefits!

Monday, October 4, 2010

EAT nola

I was led to EAT nola almost two years ago and it remains my favorite brunch option in the Big Easy.  This eclectic restaurant is tucked away in the heart of the French Quarter marking the intersection of Dumaine and Dauphine.  Its quaint corner location and large ceiling-to-floor windows allow for a sunny and cheerful atmosphere during brunch hours.  EAT's menu is described as cajun and creole, but those are not the words I would use to describe EAT.

It does not serve your typical jumbalaya, red beans and rice, or beignets.  Instead, the menu boasts of fresh ingredients and creative ensembles.

Eggs de Provence
 Among many options, the brunch menu serves eggs in three fashions -de Provence, Dauphine, and Dumaine.  I am still dreaming of the Eggs de Provence I ordered Sunday morning (for the second time).  Served in a hot iron skillet with a cream and butter seasoned sauce, it will make you come back for more -- and I have.

I casually asked the waitress, without appearing to beg for the recipe, "I taste rosemary in this dish; what other seasonings are in this unbelievable sauce?  Oregano?"  She hesitated, put her hands up as if "I will never tell," and mentioned something about lavender before she quickly walked away with my card.

The Chef, Jarred Zeringue, opened EAT in 2006, and uses fresh, local ingredients.  EAT serves weekend brunch, and lunch and dinner daily (closed on Monday).  While the lunch menu also offers a portion of the breakfast menu, the night menu is a whole new ballgame, offering flatiron steak, barbeque shrimp, redfish filet, pork tenderloin, gumbo, crawfish pie, and even a burger.  I've heard the fried green tomatoes are his specialty, but I have failed to order them yet.  The blue cheese and fig torte is an appetizer among the unusual menu list.

I can guarantee that whatever time of you day you visit, and whatever you order, it will not disappoint. 

Visit EAT's website at

Friday, October 1, 2010

What's Your Real Age?

Reading Real Age today, Dr. Oz convinced me to take the Real Age test.  After about 30 questions, the test revealed my "real age" as 33.1.  WHAT?!  So I'm taking his advice from my Real Age plan and heading the other direction.  I'll add more calcium to my diet, build flexibility into my workout, reach out to others when I have problems, floss more often, stay off the phone while driving, and only wish I could own a furry friend.  At least I can feel good about the broccoli, carrots, and apple I had for lunch today!  Take the Real Age test at

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Osh Squash B'Gosh

I had my first fight with a squash yesterday.  After visiting the Mississippi Farmer's Market on my way home from work, this bright yellow Cucurbita pepo, also called vegetable spaghetti and noodle squash, was carted home. I went for a run on the Ridgeland Trace and thought about how I'd cook my pretty squash.   
929 High Street, Jackson, MS
I remembered making spaghetti squash awhile back, but I did not remember the process of cutting one.  I placed the squash in front of me and pressed my knife into its outer core.  I was stuffed like a QB on a failed quarterback sneak. My tiny puncture was laughable.  So I got out my Viking knife (Santoku 5").  This knife has never let me down; it may not have been created for a squash, but it's always been my favorite kitchen weapon. 
I googled, "How to cut a squash" (always have the computer handy in the kitchen) and watched a YouTube video, which didn't help.  Basically, you have to be strong, and careful.  I'm not careful, so I said a quick prayer - God, please let me eat squash without losing a finger.  After placing my entire weight on the knife I finally cut into the squash.  Only to then discover my knife was stuck.  I grabbed the knife handle, squash attached, and made a thrusting motion towards the floor.  The Mississippi State vs Georgia game was on in the living room.  I had inspiration!  Concerned for my precious knife and safety, I decided to continue wiggling the knife.  After several pushes and pulls, the squash released my knife and I'd made a large enough incision to pry the squash apart with my hands. we go.  Victory.

Lay both squash halves downward (skins up) on a baking sheet.  Bake for 30 minutes at 375 degrees.

I planned to use leftovers in my pantry and frig for the recipe, so I began searching for my ingredients.  I found fresh basil, pimento stuffed olives, feta cheese, onion, and tomatoes. 

After removing the squash from the oven, I used a fork to rake the insides of the squash halves, which creates the spaghetti. I sauteed my diced onion in butter and added to the spaghetti.  I then tossed my diced olives and tomatoes, feta cheese, and fresh basil with the spaghetti.  Add a little salt and pepper, and scrumptious!  There are a multitude of recipes for spaghetti squash that will suit your buds at,1-0,spaghetti_squash,FF.html.

Easy Prep and Cook for Spaghetti Squash: 

Zap squash in the microwave for several minutes to create tender skin for easier cutting.
Cook squash in the microwave for 6-8 minutes (easiest method).
Boil a whole squash for 30 minutes.  
You do not have to cut the squash in half before baking, but it will take twice as long to cook.
Step by step instructions on cooking squash at  

Replace noodles with spaghetti squash and enjoy these health benefits:
One cup of cooked spaghetti squash, has 40 calories, 2 grams of dietary fiber, very low fat content and no cholesterol.
Spaghetti squash contains omega-3 essential fatty acids and omega-6 fatty acids; good for preventing heart disease, cancer and inflammation caused by arthritis, and promotes brain function.
Recent researches suggest that spaghetti squash is good for prostate health and it can also be used in the treatment of benign prostrate enlargement.
Spaghetti squash is very rich in beta carotene, which can prevent atherosclerosis and is also beneficial for people with insulin resistance. 
Spaghetti squash is a good source of vitamin A and vitamin C and both are antioxidants, which can prevent cell damage. 
Blog Design by April Showers