Friday, July 29, 2011

Italian Dressing - Dry Mix to add to Oil & Vinegar

This is handy to keep on hand for those times when you need salad dressing quickly and there's no time to go to the store.

1 Tbsp garlic salt
1 Tbsp onion powder
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp oregano
1 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp basil
1 Tbsp parsley
1/4 tsp celery salt
2 Tbsp salt

For Dressing, combine the following:

1/4 cup cider vinegar
2/3 cup vegetable or olive oil
2 Tbsp water
2 Tbsp dry mix

Combine and shake well.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Thyme Roasted Potatoes

2 1/2 lbs small red and white new potatoes (halved)
2 Tbsp fresh thyme leaves
2 Tbsp shopped garlic
2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 450 degrees and place a baking pan on rack in lower third of oven.

Toss together all ingredients in a bowl; season with salt and pepper.  Carefully transfer potatoes to a hot pan, shaking pan to spread potatoes into a single layer.

Roast potatoes, stirring occasionally, until tender and crispy, about 35 minutes, about 35 minutes.  Transfer to a serving bowl and garnish with thyme, if desired.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sangria - The Perfect Party Refreshment

Looking for the perfect beverage for your next get-together?  Give this Sangria a try.  Serve it nice and cold and your guests will LOVE it!

1 bottle of inexpensive red wine  -  your choice -  I like a good Merlot, Cabernet, or Shiraz
1 - 2 liter bottle of Sprite
1 lemon (sliced)
1 lime (sliced)
1 orange (sliced)

Combine all ingredients in a large pitcher and stir.  Serve well chilled or over ice.

Tip:  I like to almost freeze the Sprite prior to adding it to the chilled wine.  Serving over ice tends to water it down.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Pear Crumble - A quick dessert that won't heat up the house

This is a Kraft Food recipe.  It's quick - it's easy - and it's great for dessert when it's hot outside.

1 (16 oz) can of pear slices (drained)
8 NILLA Wafers, crushed
1/2 cup thawed Cool Whip
1/8 tsp ground cinnamon

Spoon pears into 4 dessert bowls
Sprinkle with wafer crumbs
Combine Cool Whip and cinnamon; spoon over desserts.

Substitution idea:  Replace the NILLA wafers with Honey Maid Graham Crackers.  They're available in Cinnamon flavor too.   :)

Friday, July 22, 2011

Heat Wave Food Ideas

Wow, I can't remember the last time it was this hot for so long!  And, unfortunately, there isn't relief in sight.  Following are some of my ideas to keep your family happy and well fed in this hot weather.

Watermelon (cubed)
Cantaloupe (cubed)
Pineapple (cubed)
Cheese cubes (any type of cheese - my favorites are mozzarella and colby-jack)
Deli Meats (ham, turkey, salami, roast beef)
Bacon, Lettuce and Tomato sandwiches - my favorite
Hard boiled eggs - keep in the refrigerator for a few days

Any combination of the above will keep your family well fed on these hot days.  Just remember to make use of these fresh fruits and veggies that don't need to be cooked.  Your kitchen will stay cool and you family will be well- fed.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Layered Salad

In keeping with our hot weather theme this week, I'm posting another of my favorite salads for dinner.  This is quick and easy to make and is satisfying as a meal.

I make this in my Pampered Chef Trifle Bowl - it looks really great.  This recipe serves 12.

4 cups mixed salad greens - I actually like a combination of iceberg and romaine lettuce
2 large tomatoes, diced
2 cups (8 oz) shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1 cup frozen peas, thawed
3 hard-boiled eggs, sliced
2 cups cubed ham
1/2 cup thinly sliced red onion
1/2 cup Miracle Whip
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp dill weed
1/2 tsp ground mustard
1/2 tsp salt

Place salad greens in bottom of trifle bowl.  Layer tomatoes, 1 cup of cheese, mushrooms, peas, eggs, ham and onion over greens.

Combine Miracle Whip, sour cream, dill weed, ground mustard, and salt in medium bowl.  Spread evenly over salad.

Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or until ready to serve.  Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup of cheese just before serving.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mini Lemon Cakes - Perfect Hot Weather Dessert

This is the perfect hot weather dessert.  It's sweet, it's lemony, and it's made in the microwave.  No need to heat up the house to have a sweet treat!

2 Tbsp butter, softened, divided
2 Tbsp sugar
2 small lemons, divided
1 yellow cake mix
1 egg
1 container (8 oz) sour cream

2 Tbsp lemon juice (from lemon used for cakes)
2 Tbsp butter
1/4 cup sugar
Lemon knots (optional)

For cakes, brush six one cup microwave safe ramekins or serving bowls with 1 Tbsp of butter; sprinkle evenly with sugar.  Thinly slice one of the lemons.  Remove any seeds from lemon slices and place one slice into the bottom of each bowl; set bowls aside. 

Zest remaining lemon using a grater to measure 1 Tbsp zest; set lemon aside for glaze.  Place remaining Tbsp of butter into a batter bowl; microwave on high 15 - 20 seconds or until melted.  Add lemon zest, cake mix, egg and sour cream; whisk 1 minute or until smooth.  Scoop batter evenly into prepared bowls.  Place bowls in a circle on the microwave turntable.  Microwave on high 4 - 5 mins or until wooden pick inserted in centers comes out clean.  Carefully remove cakes from microwave; cool in bowls 5 mins. 

Meanwhile, for glaze, juice reserved lemon to measure 2 Tbsp juice.  Melt butter in small bowl. Stir in lemon juice and sugar; microwave on High 30 - 60 seconds or until boiling.

To serve, gently tap the sides of the bowls to release the cakes.  Invert cakes onto cutting board.  Transfer cakes to serving plates.  Drizzle glaze over cakes.  Ganish with lemon knots, if desired. 

Did anyone notice it's hot outside?

Oh, I'm tired of this heat and the poor air quality days.  I simply cannot breathe outside of an air conditioned building and I feel sluggish.  This summer our family has not spent any time outdoors.  Eddie and Luke have managed to keep the lawn mowed, but my plants and hanging baskets are anything but stellar this year.  I'm almost embarrassed to have anyone over.  Winter was too cold - Spring was too cold and wet - Summer is too hot!  Is it just me???  Or is the weather this year totally out of control?

We've been eating cold dinners this week.  Monday was Egg Salad Sandwiches with veggies and Ranch Dip and watermelon and cantaloupe cubes.

Tonight we had BLTs with veggies and fruit.

Good stuff, but I need to get a little more creative for the rest of the week.  I think I've sandwiched the family out. Temps are supposed to remain hot for at least five more days.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Green Bean and Tomato Salad

This is another hot weather favorite.  I love it, but I have to admit, the picky eaters in my house aren't big fans.  I have one that won't eat tomatoes.

1 lb fresh green beans (trimmed)
1 lb cherry tomatoes (halved)
1 small red onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tsp dried Basil

Bring a 4 quart saucepan of water to a boil.  Blanch the green beans for 3 minutes, until tender-crisp.  Drain and run under cold water or top with ice to stop cooking.  Drain beans and dry.  Combine all ingredients and toss with your favorite vinaigrette dressing.

I also like to cube 1/2 lb fresh mozzarella cheese into bite-size pieces and add to the salad.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chicken Salad

The weather in St. Louis is to be sunny and 100+ degrees all week this week, so I'm focusing on lunch and dinner ideas that will not heat up the house.  Dinner still needs to be satisfying, but cool.

2 cups cooked chicken breast
1/3 cup diced celery
1 hard boiled egg (minced)
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp sugar
1/4 tsp pepper
1/3 cup sweet pickle relish
2/3 cup Miracle Whip

Cook your chicken breasts (about 2 avg size) and cool completely.
Cut chicken into tiny pieces or pull apart to shred with a fork.
Place in a mixing bowl and add all other ingredients.
Serve on toasted bread.  My favorite is buttered bread placed on the hot grill for a few minutes.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Warm Chocolate Pudding Cake

I found this recipe on the Kraft website.  This is a yummy one!

1 pkg (2 layer size) Devil's Food cake mix
2 pkgs (3.9 oz each) Jell-o Chocolate Instant Pudding
1/3 cup sugar
2 cups cold milk
1 1/4 cups water
1 cup thawed Cool Whip

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Prepare cake batter as directed on package.  Pour into a 13 x 9" baking dish sprayed with cooking spray.

Beat dry pudding mixes, sugar, milk and water with whisk for 2 minutes.  Pour over cake batter.  Place baking dish on baking sheet.

Bake 55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cake layer comes out clean.  cool 20 minutes.  (Sauce will thicken slightly as it cools.)  Spoon into serving dishes and top with Cool Whip.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Easy Veggie Salad

1 lb broccoli florets
1 lb cauliflower florets
1/2 lb green beans (ends trimmed)
1/2 lb carrots, sliced
1 medium red onion, sliced very thin
1/2 cup Zesty Italian Dressing
1/3 cup Shredded Parmesan Cheese

Bring a 4 quart saucepan of water to a boil.  Add broccoli, cauliflower and green beans and cook for 3 - 5 minutes, just until vegetables are crisp-tender.  Drain.  Immediately rinse with cold water.  Drain well.

Place vegetables in a serving bowl.  Add onion slices.  Cover and refrigerate until chilled and ready to serve.

Add dressing and cheese just before serving.  Toss to coat.

This is one of those healthy dinner ideas when the weather is HOT!

Friday, July 8, 2011

It's Time To Get Back To Blogging!

Oh my goodness, what a very busy spring we had!  It seemed as though volleyball consumed most days of our week and weekend for the months of March through mid-June.  This was Luke's senior year, so it was his last year to play for the Northwest Lions.  He had an awesome year, and we were so proud of him.  He was co-captain of his team this year AND he had awesome stats!

Luke also played for Missouri Thunder this year, so there were practices and tournaments throughout the year.  We saw so much good volleyball all year, and I certainly am sad to see this chapter of Luke's volleyball career come to an end.  In addition to St. Louis regional tournaments, we traveled to Milwaukee in February (who does that?) and went to Junior Olympic Nationals in Chicago in June.  Luke grew so much as a player from his Missouri Thunder experience.  I have to send a huge shout out to Coach Donna Hall.  She really helped Luke improve his mechanics and his overall game.

Both Luke and Emily were high school seniors this year, so there was lots of prep for graduation day.  They graduated on June 4th - a very proud day for Eddie and me.  Emily asked me on the way to school that morning if I was going to cry.  I told her "No, I'm so excited to see the two of you graduate!"  The moment I saw all of the graduates come out of the school building in their blue gowns and make their way to the football field the tears began.  I was a sobbing mess!  Such a wonderfully proud day!  Luke will be attending Jefferson College to study auto mechanics.  Classes start in late-August.  Emily will begin classes at L'Ecole Culinare in October.  She plans to be a pastry chef.

In November we found out that Emma was expecting a baby, so we've had lots of exciting doctor visits for check ups and ultrasounds.  On June 24th Liam Robert Kirkpatrick was born.  What a sweet baby boy he is.  He weighed 5 lbs, 8 oz and was 19" long.  He was a few weeks early and needed a little extra help to breathe, so he spent a few days at Cardinal Glennon before coming home.  Emma and Kane are doing a fine job of taking care of their son, and what a joy it is to have such a sweet little "peanut" in the house again.  I could just sit and stare at him all day every day.  Every little move he makes is completely adorable!

Between everything else, there has been everyday life, which to my joy includes grandson, Christian.  Papa watches him during the day while Mommy and Daddy are at work.  He gives me a much needed giggle almost every day.

Needless to say, we've had lots going on, but now I think we'll be able to get into a regular routine again.  I'm looking forward to getting back into my "foodie" mode.  Believe it or not, I've already started to think about the holidays - Thanksgiving menu and Christmas shopping.  They'll sneak up on us quicker than we think.

Enjoy a few pictures, my friends, and stop back often for some new and fresh ideas from Karan's Kitchen.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Happy 4th of July - 2011

            HAPPY 4TH OF JULY!!

I read P. Allen Smith's blog tonight and he wrote about 10 things that inspired him about America.  That really got me thinking about what truly inspires me about our country.

1.  Our soldiers and their families who endure great lengths of time away from one another, and then struggle to readjust to life back at home as a family.  Our society doesn't make that easy.  God bless them for their willingness to give themselves so selflessly.

2.  Yellowstone National Park - such a beautiful place, and so full of the wonders of nature.  Where else will you find geysers, mud pots, hot springs, Earthquake Lake, and so many other thermal wonders?  I was there as a teenager, and sure hope to get back there to see it again one day.  We saw Glacier Lake that same trip.  What a beautiful place that is!

3.  Mount Rushmore, Crazy Horse, and the Bad Lands in South Dakota.  It's an interesting place to visit for people like me who are intrigued by rocks!  Nearby, you'll find Devil's Tower in Wyoming.

4.  My parents inspire me.  Both were school teachers for all of their adult lives.  Now that they've retired, they continue to work with young people.  Mom tutors "youngsters" of all ages at her business, "Project Excel".  Dad is the head librarian at the New Windsor Library.  Mom coordinates the best VBS in the country (in my opinion) for Calvary Lutheran Church in New Windsor, and Dad always volunteers to teach a class.  There aren't many people in this world that will devote themselves to the education of children.

5. My kids inspire me.  They each had difficulties in school.  Two were ADD kids (struggling with distractibility issues) and the other struggled with a serious reading disability.  School was not easy for any of them, yet they let me push them to be the best they could be and all three have high school diplomas.  One has begun work on a college degree and the other two will begin in the fall.  I couldn't be more proud!

6.  Dr. H. Farouk Sadiq, and Kathy S. in the NICU at Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital are truly angels on this earth.  I cannot say enough good things about them or our experience at Cardinal Glennon as our newest grandson, Liam, was treated for Premature Lung Disease there.  They truly love kids and it shows in everything they do.  Their knowledge and expertise is unsurpassed.  My wish for you is that if you ever find yourself in need of treatment for a sick youngster, you'll find the wonderful compassionate people of Cardinal Glennon.  They are angels indeed!

7.  The Smoky Mountains - oh, what a beautiful part of our country!  The clouds hang over the mountains and there are waterfalls to be found amongst the mountains.  There are trails to hike and animals to be found in the wild.  Gorgeous scenery and not far from most of the population in our country.

8.  Food - we have access to every kind of food, every single day in this country.  Our grocery stores stock local produce when it's in season, but they stock produce from every part of the world year round just so we are able to eat what we choose year round.  Amazing!

9.  Work - Even in the worst American economy in decades, we are still able to find employment.  I thank God that all of our family members are employed.  Katy and I work for a great family centered company.  Paul works for a company that struggles, but continues to provide him a good place to work.  Luke works for Lowe's and Emma will return to Dierbergs after her maternity leave.  I can't say enough about how kind the people at Dierbergs have been to Emma during her pregnancy.  What a great company!

10.  My grandchildren - what a fabulous inspiration to continue to be healthy and love life!  One child is no more special than the next, but each new baby reminds us to become more healthy so we are still here to enjoy school plays, ballgames, graduations, and weddings.  I can't wait to experience all of it!!!