Wednesday, February 29, 2012

What's for Dinner Wednesday - Fettuccine Alfredo

I love pasta.  Not like, LOVE.  How can you go wrong with something as basic as pasta?  Anyone can make that, right?  Sure!  Well, maybe not so well in a broken crock pot, but let's move on from that.  How about a creamy Alfredo sauce?  MMMMmmmm.  

You could head down to the Olive Garden, but get ready to pay $13 a plate.  Plus, who has time to wait for that?  This recipe is super quick and easy and tastes better than Olive Garden - and don't you dare grab a grocery store jarred sauce which is filled with preservatives!  You deserve flavor and I'm going to give you a recipe which give you that for about 80 cents a serving.  Yes!

Now, I'm not going to lie.  This isn't for the calorie counters.  This is real comfort food.  However, it's fresh and you know what's going into your dinner.  However, there are a few things you can alter to make it healthier.  

Start with using whole grain pasta.  Can can also follow the advice I found on Pinterest and replace the heavy cream with evaporated skim milk.  I haven't tried that one yet, but I plan to next time. We add shrimp to ours to add a little more color to the dish. Of course, I could always use new dishes with color, but these belonged to my great-grandmother, so I'm hanging onto them a little while longer.

Ready to make your own?

Fettuccine Alfredo
8 oz uncooked fettuccine
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
Dash of pepper
Chopped fresh parsley, if desired

  1. Cook and drain pasta as directed on package (about 12 minutes).
  1. Meanwhile, in 2-quart saucepan, heat butter and whipping cream over low heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted.  Stir in cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt and dash of pepper until mixture is smooth.
  1. Pour sauce over hot fettuccine, and stir until fettuccine is well coated.  Sprinkle with parsley.
  1. Add shrimp, chicken or scallops if desired.

Bon appetite!

    Tuesday, February 28, 2012

    Organize It - Shoe Rack Grips

    Do we really need all these shoes?  You can only wear one pair at a time.  I guess it's a necessary evil.  Shoes aren't my thing.  I have more flip-flops and athletic shoes than anything else.  I'm happy with that.  My favorite shoes are actually my slippers.  I could wear them all day and would wear them out if I thought I could get away with it.

    My hubby, on the other hand, can't have enough shoes.  Our youngest K takes after him.  We have a fairly large rack for our shoes in the closet to accommodate all those shoes.  It's nothing fancy and fulfills my two requirements.  It's functional and doesn't take up a lot of space.  But there is one huge flaw.  Our shoes don't stay put!

    It ok for shoes that have heels on them because they hang on the back bar. Shoes like this:
    But if they are flat, like tennis shoes or flip flops (like most my shoes) then they slip right off and I trip over them trying to get to my clothes.  
    What's a girl to do?  I don't have a Mr. Big to come put a fancy shoe rack in my closet.  I tried little rubber dots with sticky stuff on the back.
    Those are the last two left.  The rest have fallen off.  They aren't cheap either.  But I have a solution - make my own grips!  And it's free. You probably have everything you need already.  Just heat up the glue gun and let's get started.

    First, I cleaned off the bars with alcohol.  A little goes a long way.  I just wanted to be sure the glue would stick.

    Then, I made sure all my rods were straight and tightened up the screws.  Might as well do it all while I have it empty.

    Next, take your pre-heated glue gun and start making lines or squiggles down the bars.  Be sure to use the high temp, if you have a gun with dual temps.  I just made a light line of glue every inch.
    Time to test it out!
    Perfect!  No more sliding off the bars.  You can also do this with your hangers to prevent those wide necked shirts from slipping off.  What do you use your glue gun for besides crafts?
    Easy Peasy and cheap as nails!  Plus, I vacuumed the baseboards that I haven't been able to reach in the past few years.  Just look at my happy shoes!
    Just one pair missing...
    Ahhh....much better.

    Monday, February 27, 2012

    Family Outing to Parkesdale Farms

    February in Florida means it's time for strawberries!  I love strawberry shortcakes and the best around are at Parkesdale Farms in Plant City - yes, I know the sign says 'Groves', but everyone here knows it as 'Farms'.  

    You can see how popular it is by the line to get in.  It's worth the wait - believe me!

    It only took about 15 minutes to get through the line and dig into our berries. Just look at this!  I'm ready to go back just looking at all that goodness.
    The whole place is strawberry overload, but how can you not love these cute napkin holders?
    Kourey brought along a friend to share our happiness.   They had such a good time.
    After our bellies were full, it was time to stroll around the marketplace.  I could easily spend my husband's weekly salary in one swoop, but I just picked a few of my favorites.  There are tons of different plants, like these peppers, that are just begging to be planted in the garden, as well as different potted flowers and cacti.
    Now for the groves part - lots of sweet citrus! They pick, clean, and bag on site.  It's quite a process.  You can also taste test each variety before you buy...and we did.  Taste and buy, that is.
    Check out this wall of yumminess.  I was overwhelmed with the many different varieties of honey, jams, jellies, and BBQ sauces.  Are you hungry yet?
    By this time we were shopped out, but there was one last thing to do.  We needed to crown our Strawberry Princess!
    I hope you enjoyed our little outing.  What do you have in your area?  Summer is just around the corner, so are your fresh markets open yet?

    Have a great Monday and don't forget your berries!  I have a Pin all set up and ready to try with our strawberries. Homemade fruit leather!  I can't wait to try it out this week.

    Friday, February 24, 2012

    Mardi Gras Beads

    Happy Friday!  The weekend in our home means time for crafting, so let's get started.
    In the Tampa Bay area, we have our own "Mardi Gras" celebration called the Gasparilla Pirate Invasion.  There are parades with beads, parties, floats, and all sorts of mayhem.  After being here for 10 years, we decided it was high time we went to one of these events.  Of course, we picked the tamest one so we could take the kids - the Gasparilla Children's Parade.  We joined up with some of my co-workers and their families, so it was an all around good time.

    We had perfect weather and the kids caught lots of beads.   
    So, now the question begs..what do we do with all those beads?!?!  
    Bead Wranglers
    The girls had an idea.  They wanted a bead curtain to hang over their doors.   Hmmm...ok.  But how?  I didn't want anything permanent.  Sure the beads are fun now, but I am sure they will lose their value in due time.  A trip to the Home Improvement store gave me an idea.  Don't worry, we already needed to pick up some hang some curtains, so I wasn't just roaming the store.  That's it!  Pressure mounted curtain rods!  Perfect.  They are about $4 each, so this would be a cheap project that the girls could do themselves.

    Make sure you get the kind with the adjustable spring because it has a channel to slide the beads in. 

    1) Cut between two beads on each necklace.
     2)Pull the two pieces of the curtain rod apart and slide one bead into the channel without the spring.
     3) Repeat.
     4) Keep going until you use all the beads.  That's it!  All that's left is to hang it in the doorway.
    Awesome, huh?  They are so proud of their creation.  We will probably take it down in a month or two and then next year we will connect the next parade set of beads to the ends of the other ones and hang them back up for awhile.
     Happy crafting this weekend!

    Thursday, February 23, 2012

    Italian Dinner - Almost Disaster

    Have I mentioned how much I like Pinterest?  Well, I really do.  I love finding stuff to make that others have already tried.  With my busy schedule, I don't have time to experiment.  I want someone else to fail and fix for me. I'm selfish like that.

    So, my hubby is not a fan of spaghetti.  This means that I find a way to fix it any chance I get.  Not really, but the kids and I like it, so we tell him to suck it up.  Even though it's not difficult to make and it's super quick, I like to change things up a bit.  

    While looking for meal ideas, I found a recipe on Get Crocked for  Spaghetti Pie.  Hmmmm....interesting.  I had already decided I wanted to try a Parmesan Knot recipe I found on Pinterest and these would be perfect together.  I even convinced my hubby to put the ingredients in the Crock Pot for me as I headed out the door.  I was hoping to come home to this:

    Crock Pot Spaghetti Pie from Get Crocked

    Easy Parmesan Knots from Real Mom Kitchen
    What I got was a messy counter.  Apparently, my Crock Pot cracked and all the liquid spilled out onto the counter. My white counter.  Well, now pink counter.  I persevered and made the Parmesan Knots and crossed my fingers that the spaghetti pie would be edible.  

    Can I tell you, the knots were kind of fun to make.  But they sure didn't turn out as pretty as the ones from Real Mom Kitchen. But they tasted good!
    My knots
    The spaghetti pie was, indeed, edible.  However, I'm sure it would have been better in different circumstances.  It definitely wasn't up to picture standards.  Guess I have to go buy a new Crock Pot now.  

    Want to try this for yourself? 

    Easy Parmesan Knots from Real Mom Kitchen:
    • 1 tube (12 ounces) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits ( I used Pillsbury Golden Layers Refrigerated Buttermilk Biscuits)
    • 1/4 cup canola oil
    • 3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese (I did use the green can stuff)
    • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
    • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
    1. Roll each biscuit into a 12-in. rope and tie into a knot; tuck ends under. Place 2 in. apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 400° for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining ingredients; brush the warm knots with the mixture. Yield:10 knots.
     Crock Pot Spaghetti Pie from Get Crocked
    Crock Pot Spaghetti Pie
    • 8 oz whole wheat spaghetti, dry
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1/4 c. grated parmesan
    • 2 c. 1% cottage cheese
    • 2 c. vegetable spaghetti sauce
    • 1 c. shredded part skim mozzarella

    1. Cook spaghetti according to package 2. Beat eggs, add parmesan and mix well. Pour over cooked spaghetti and mix well.
    3. Pour into the bottom of your crock pot and form into a crust.
    4. Spread the cottage cheese over the crust.
    5. Then spread the sauce over the cottage cheese. Sprinkle with mozzarella.
    6. Cover. Cook on Low for 6-8 hours.
    I know I can't be the only one who these crazy things happen to, right?  What was your biggest disaster?  I'll be trying a new recipe from my Yummy Food Pinterest Board  next week, so stay tuned.  Who knows what will happen.

    Wednesday, February 22, 2012

    YoTaco Wednesday

    Yippee, it's Wednesday!  Every Wednesday we have a family tradition.  We typically don't eat out, but this is the one day that we look forward to each week.  Our local Tres Amigos has a customer appreciation event in which they offer $1.25 tacos and margaritas.
    Tres Amigos
    Rarely, we will indulge in the margaritas if it's been an especially trying week, but typically we just stick to the tacos.  Nothing fancy.  No sides (with the exception of the tortilla chips and salsa).  It's a fun atmosphere and cheap eats.
    Then we head over to Yogurtology to get our dessert on.  There are several "pay by the ounce" frozen yogurt places around us, and we've tried them all.  Yogurtology is by far our favorite.  It's nothing fancy.  In fact, it's minimalist.  I love the stark white room with modern furniture and the employees are super friendly.  They have unique flavors and tons of topping choices.

    Yogurt Station
    I love the fresh fruit toppings.
    Open air seating
    Plus, they are super clean.  I've seen employees pull out a little dustbuster after each customer to clean around the toppings.  It makes my heart swoon. If you "like" them on Facebook, they notify you of new flavors and special discounts.  Score!

    My youngest came up with  the "YoTaco Wednesday" phrase on the way to school a few Wednesdays back.  She was really looking forward to that night.
      I hope you have created some special traditions with your own family. I can't wait for next Wednesday!

    Tuesday, February 21, 2012

    These Boots have been Walking!

    I try to keep my closet organized, I really do.  And who doesn't love a good pair of boots?  However, they don't fit on my shoe rack and tend to get ignored.  They are so sad that they sag!
    Here's a quick and easy tip to get those boots standing tall again.  I have some magazines that I'm just not ready to get rid of yet, but haven't had a chance to pull out the items I want to keep. 

    Double score! 
    Just roll those puppies up and stick 'em in your boots. 
    Now they are happy again and I don't have toss my magazines or my boots!
    What quick tips do you have?