May 31, 2011

Bradford County

Happy Summer! (For it really isn't the 'summer' until Memorial Day has come and gone, is it?)  I hope everyone had a lovely holiday!

Thank you to all those who have served in the
military so that we could enjoy our freedom!!!

Well, we over here in "LwYH Land" had a very busy weekend... at least three things every single day.  But it was wonderful!  (Now, this isn't really a blog about me -- it's more about things I've done that you may like... so I'm only going to babble about part of my weekend.)

Saturday, we stopped at an incredible place along Route 6 on our way to NY for a several-day celebration.  We knew we would be late anyways, so we chose the scenic route, and took our dear ole' time.  (I think the end result was almost 5 hours late...)

There's a wonderful place in Bradford County, PA: an asylum that was created for French Nobility during the Revolution, particularly Marie Antoinette.  We didn't actually visit the asylum (Azilum) itself, but there is a scenic overlook that doubles as a tribute.  We did stop there for a while, and have plans in the works to spend some real time in Bradford County.

My husband and I agreed that we'd move to Bradford County in a heartbeat -- it's beautiful, serene, and extremely charming.  If you ever have a chance to go up Route 6, do not hesitate! 

Happy that Summer is finally here!  <3

~ Sarah

PS -  I don't pretend to be anything of a photographer with my handy-dandy iPhone camera, but here is someone who took a marvelous set of pictures from the same location (and they did it properly!)

May 27, 2011

Cleaning White Surfaces

Hey, peeps!!

I'm at it again -- another post unrelated to any of my other ones.  :-) 

My mother-in-law gave me a recipe a while back (one of those things you make in a home chemistry lab) for removing stains from white items that are not easily washed.  I never got around to using it until last weekend, and now, I'm totally keeping it on hand all the time.

What you will need:
  1. Amonia
  2. Hydrogen Peroxide
  3. Spray bottle
In your spray bottle, mix 1 teaspoon of peroxide per every 1/2 cup of Amonia. (Remember also to properly label the bottle, if you plan to keep the new chemical on hand.) 

Point and shoot.

I will now get to the infomercial part of my blog - the before and after photos!  Now, my husband did point out that I took the 'before' photos in the evening and the 'after' photos during the day, so allow that the results aren't exact, at least in the photographs.  (He alluded to makeup ads that show you a frowning woman with no makeup and bright lights before.)  So just keep the difference in mind, but it's pretty darn close, at least.






"I would wuv fo you to beweeve I had nutting to do wit dat."

Doesn't it work well??  Now, I only used this on old stains in a thick carpet, so I found it necessary to use several cups of solution, but I believe a little bit of this will go a long way for other surfaces.  My mother-in-law told me that she used it on an old lampshade, as well as doilies.

Word of caution: peroxide bleaches, so be extremely careful around colors.  The only bad thing I found was that it removed stains so well I wound up having to go back and do the rest of the carpet to make it look just as clean!

**  Another suggestion - if you're doing a large space like I did, wear a mask.  Amonia is potent. 

~ Sarah

May 26, 2011

Homemade Cinnamon Rolls


It's the middle of the week, so let me take you to a much more pleasant place: Saturday mornings in my house. 

Have you glanced at my 'about me' section?  Does it exhaust you just reading about my schedule?  Me, too!  That being said, busy people always have the most time, which means that I am always available on Saturday mornings for laziness.  I take my dear old time getting out of bed, wander around in my pajamas, and, if the weather's nice, I lounge on the back deck with the puppy and listen to my (more motivated) neighbors mow their lawns.  Husband has usually been up for some time, and when he takes a break from his busy morning, I always make home-made Cinnamon rolls.  :)

This is a Pampered Chef recipe that is only possible using a PC spice: Sweet Caramel Sprinkles.  :-)  {If you want to order it, click on "Pampered Chef" under my favorite people gadget.}

What you will need:
  1. A can of Pillsbury crescent rolls
  2. Pampered Chef Sweet Caramel Sprinkles
  3. Butter
  4. Powdered Sugar
  5. Cream
Preheat your oven to 375.

First, unroll the crescent rolls until they are flat.  If there are any holes (since most of them come perforated), gently push them together wth your fingers, or use a roller to flatten them.

This is the PC stone bar pan.

Brush the surface with butter, and sprinkle the sweet caramel evenly over top.

PC silicone brush

Starting at one end, re-roll the dough.  One you have a long 'tube', slice the roll to preferred thickness.  I made 8 this time, which is a lot (usually I make 3 enormous rolls - one for each of us, and one to split.)

Bake for 10 minutes (or as directed on the crescent roll directions).

While this is baking, you can begin your glaze.  Using several scoops of powdered sugar, (very!) slowly add the milk or cream, mixing thoroughly.  If you've worked with powdered sugar before, you'll appreciate that it doesn't take much to completely saturate. 

When your cinnamon rolls are done, drizzle the glaze overtop.  I prefer to do this immediately so that it melts into the roll crevices and mixes with the flavors.  (Are you drooling?)

I'm very sorry to tell you this, but the rolls do not age well.  This means that they MUST go when they're hot (oh, the drudgery).  :-)

Sending Saturday vibes your way!!  <3

~ Sarah

PS -- Some different ideas for these cinnamon rolls: 
  1. You can flavor the glaze!  Add orange juice instead of milk to give it the feel of an orange danish.
  2. If you're serving kids, try adding food coloring to the glaze.  Green eggs and ham -- why not green cinnamon rolls?  ;)

May 25, 2011

The Way to a Man's Heart

My husband's getting old!  :)

Yesterday was his birthday, and so we celebrated in a fashion all our own.  It's a special day for us, not only because he's a year older, but because we also became engaged on his birthday 6 years ago.  {Insert 'aww' here.}

This year, I decided to make his favorite dish - Chicken Marsala.  I made it once before (several years ago) and the result was such a disaster that I haven't tried it since.  I guess I was too chicken. 

But anyways, I googled several different recipes for Chicken Marsala, and finally found this one, which is what I more or less followed.  It's excellent - I recommend that you try it.

Chicken Marsala Saga - What you will need:
  1. 4 chicken half-breast (boneless / skinless)
  2. flour
  3. salt
  4. pepper
  5. Oregano
  6. Oil (I used olive oil)
  7. Butter
  8. Sliced mushrooms
  9. Marsala Wine
  10. Sun-dried tomatoes (optional)

A wine connoisseur, I am not, but I asked the very helpful man at the store what he would recommend.  He immediately had an answer.  He assured me that this is what all of the restaurants use, and who am I to say he's wrong? 

First, combine your butter and oil in a saucepan over medium heat.

Combine your flour, salt, pepper and oregano in a shallow dish (I also threw in some white pepper for no apparent reason).  "Dredge" the chicken. 
  • Dredge is an awesome cooking term that refers to (basically) dragging the chicken through the mixture on both sides.  I didn't get any shots of me doing this because I had no free hands.
  • The recipe calls for you to smoosh the chicken before dredging.  I was lazy - I picked up pre-sliced chicken that was dredge-ready. 
Carefully add the chicken to the oil/butter mixture.  Allow to brown on one side, then on the other.  You should be able to tell when they're ready to turn.  The chicken becomes opaque on the bottom, and the edges will start to turn this color, as well.  Medium heat is probably best.
Add your mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes (if using) around your chicken.  They're Superman's favorite.  <3
Once chicken side #2 is basically done, stir together.  Add the wine, cover and simmer for approximately 10 minutes.

And there you have it!  It really wasn't as tough as I feared.  I also added chunks of white cheddar cheese when I served it, and he added a Parmesan mountain on his.

My helper.. far be it from him to leave me
on my own to make Daddy's dinner. <3
My notes: I've tasted better chicken marsala, but this recipe certainly held up!  It was delicous.  I may try a tad more wine next time, as, when all was said and done, the flavor wasn't very strong.

    As you can see, choking it down was a chore.
After dinner, my husband wanted to go flying!  Flying on his birthday is something of a tradition because that's how we became engaged.  (He took me flying at night and wrote 'marry me?' on the ground in Christmas lights.)  {Insert 'aww' here.}
Of course, to be legal, he had to practice three landings before taking me up with him.  Not that I was bored!
Pictures from our flight:   

Later, we had birthday brownie with cream cheese frosting.  15 points if you can guess how old he is.  :)

All in all, a successful birthday, so Superman says.  <3

~ Sarah

PS - PLEASE share your Chicken Marsala tips / sagas!!  I plan to make it again and want to improve it.  :-)

May 24, 2011

Christmas Morning Casserole

Happy Tuesday!! 

First, let me assure all of you that I survived yesterday's crisis (of leaving my phone at home).  There were some difficult moments, but I pulled through surprisingly well.  I appreciate those of you who sent sympathy cards and flowers.   :-)

So, as promised, I'll be sharing several things this week (refer to yesterday's commercial).  I had to do an "eenie-meenie-miny-moe" to decide which one to post first, and .... (drum roll, please).... Christmas Morning Casserole won! 

Now, before you get the wrong idea, let me put to rest all of your anxiety about making something with the title 'Christmas' in any month except December.  It's perfectly safe - the Christmas police haven't arrested me yet. 

This recipe is a 'family' recipe, more or less.  My Aunt found it in a magazine years ago, and after passing it to many of her friends and making modifications of her own, it's now something entirely different.  It's not even the same as it was when she gave it to me!  I made my own modifications.  (Maybe it's come full circle and now looks the way it actually started.)  Neither here nor there, really.  Even though I don't follow her directions exactly, I always pull her recipe card out so I think of her.

Her directions say that you must refridgerate over night before baking, but I rarely plan that far ahead.  I literally cook or mix each layer as I need it, then toss it right in the oven with no setting whatsoever. 

What you will need (for approximately 4 servings):
  1. Four eggs
  2. Cheese of your choice (I choose Cracker Barrel sharp white cheddar without fail)
  3. 1/2 pound Jimmy Dean Sausage (whatever kind you prefer - I like Sage)
  4. Stuffing mix (chicken, Italian, or whatever flavor you like)
  5. 1 can of cream of mushroom soup
  6. milk or cream
  7. white pepper
  8. dry mustard
My husband walked into the room, spotted me taking
this photograph, and said, "Uh oh, I sense a blog!"

First and foremost, pre-heat your oven to 350.

Next, cook the sausage. 

You can use whatever pan you like, but I tend to favor this 8 x 8" glass Pyrex square.  Greese the bottom.

Coat the bottom of the pan with a layer of stuffing.  I used a little more than half of the package, and it may have been just a tad too much.  Next time I plan to try exactly half.

Layer your cheese over the stuffing.  I have a cheese grater which is helpful since I always use a brick, but if you want to save yourself time, buy any pre-grated or pre-sliced cheese.

To my husband, "add cheese to taste"
means that you use the whole brick. 

Yes, the cheese grater is Pampered Chef.  :-)

When the sausage is beautiful, spread it over the cheese.  Perfect timing, of course, would be when the sausage is still piping hot and will cause the cheese to melt.  Yumminess.

Next, beat together your eggs, cream or milk (to taste), white pepper and mustard.  (If you've read my blogs before you know I'm not into exact measuring, but I'd estimate that I used about 1/2 teaspoon each of the white pepper and mustard, and about 1/4 cup cream.)  Pour the mixture evenly over the sausage. 
*  Note - I happened to have heavy cream on hand, and was very happy with the consistency.  However, I normally use half n' half or milk (just make sure the milk is 2% or whole).

Now for the topping!  Mix the cream of mushroom soup with milk until it's a bit soupy.  Again, I don't use measurements, but I used approximately 1/4 - 1/2 cup.  I just keep adding until it looks right.  Drizzle over the casserole, and spread evenly with a fork.

 Bake 30 minutes at 350 degrees.  (If you are nervous about the eggs being thoroughly cooked, add another 5-10 minutes.)

The result?  A delicious, tangy, gorgeous casserole.

Naturally, my hubby adds grated Parmesan over the whole thing.

Make sure you're hungry when you make this.  "Ladylike" portions go out the window.  Happy Christmas!!!

~ Sarah