Stuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

Recipes in this PostStuffing Turkey Meatloaf Ring

I love it when I suddenly have something I didn’t know I had. A few days ago, when Spane and I went to one of the wonderful Armenian stores, the check out lady gave us a loaf of Stone bread. I put it up on top of the refrigerator, and forgot it was up there. We don’t eat a lot of bread, so that’s not a surprise. I should have put it in the freezer, but… When I checked it two days later, it had really turned into its namesake, stone.

What to do with bread that has turned to stone that you know has really good flavor? Why turn it into stuffing mix! The stuffing mix that comes in the box has bread that I swear is dryer and harder.

Bread in the bag

Bread in the bag

I only had one problem. It was a big loaf of bread, not sliced, and too hard to cut with a knife. I tried whacking it with a skillet, but that didn’t work too well either. I thought to myself, what is the heaviest thing in the house? Me! So, I put my bread in several plastic bags (hey, finally, a good use for plastic bags), put some flat shoes on, and stepped all over the bread. Let me tell you, the sound was great, and the bread crumbled just the way I wanted it to.

I also had some ground turkey in the freezer, and cranberry sauce in the pantry. That sounded to me like a great head start on Thanksgiving!

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Mocha Butterscotch Cashew Cookies Back to School Gift

Recipes in this PostMocha Butterscotch Cashew Cookies

Ah, the first day back at school! This year, not only does Spane get a new teacher for 5th grade, the school also gets a new Principal. I think it’s important to make a good impression. Spane is a good student, but it never hurts to grease a few palms with an appreciative gift. I already made Trinket Boxes, and special Scrunchy Bows for the gift bag, but I wanted to put something else inside. I was wrestling with myself over this, and then I remembered I had a bag of butterscotch chips that I had gotten on sale at the local supermarket. Everyone likes cookies, and if they don’t they can give them to someone who does.

These Mocha Butterscotch Cashew Cookies will be rich, so I will also be giving a plate of cookies to the front office, some to my neighbor who gives me figs and apples, some to Spane’s Lemonade Stand co-worker, and still be able to have some for Spane and I.

Cookies for the Principal, the Front Office and the Teacher

Cookies for the Principal, the Front Office and the Teacher

I love going to the resale shops, finding bargains, and occasionally finding something old that comes back home with me for a new life. I have a friend who had this interesting jar with a top that you would push down on and she would use it for chopping onions. I always wanted one of those, and I was lucky enough to find one recently. I also found out that they were used for chopping nuts. Well, they do a great job at both!

Cashews Before

Cashews Before

Cashews After

Cashews After


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Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze

Recipes in this PostBlue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze topped with Sour Cream

My neighbor who generously gave me the apples to make Apple Pancakes, Apple Stuffed Wontons, and Franks with Apples, surprised me again and brought me fresh figs.

Figs are amazing fruits. Figs are among the richest plant sources of calcium and fiber. They have been cultivated for thousands of years, even before wheat. Figs dated 9,200 years ago were discovered in the Jordan Valley in a house in the early Neolithic village of Gilgal I by a team of researchers from Bar-Ilan University in Israel and Harvard University.

Figs are mentioned in the Bible many times, beginning in Genesis, Chapter 3, verse 7 where Adam covers himself with a fig leaf. Jesus even curses a fig tree in Mark Chapter 11, verse 12 and Mathew Chapter 21, verse 19. I guess there was only one unfortunate fig tree, it has a bevy of other cultural and historical references. A whole chapter is devoted to it in the Qur’an. Sura 95 of the Qur’an is named al-Tīn (Arabic for “The Fig”), as it opens with the oath “By the fig and the olive.” Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree, a large and old sacred fig tree. In Greek mythology, a crow angers Apollo having been tempted by a fig. In modern times, we have wonderful Fig Newtons.

The journey to this tart was one of discovery. I had not cooked with figs before, let alone made a fig tart. My only exposure to figs was the ubiquitous Fig Newton cookie. With that in mind, I wanted something that was sweet, but not too sweet, and with a cookie type crust. I also found a French Tart Dough recipe to which I made major changes, and my Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough turned out to be perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.

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Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

Recipes in this PostFig Tart made with Stove Top Cooked French Sweet Tart Dough

This has got to be the easiest way to make sweet tart dough. It makes a dough that is almost like a good cookie, just delicious! My food processor is in very poor health, like not working, might be able to be fixed. So, I needed to find a way to make tart dough without using the food processor. I found a recipe at David Lebovitz that looked promising – it required melting butter in the stove. Hey, it’s summer time in Glendale, California, and I didn’t want to make my house any hotter if I could help it.

I figured that I could melt the butter on the stove top, and use the Kitchen Aid mixer to actually make the dough. I was right, it worked out perfectly. This will be my go to recipe for sweet tart dough from now on. Because of the caramelization of the butter and sugar, the crust had a slight caramel flavor and color that was perfect for my Blue Cheese Stuffed Fig Tart with Balsamic Honey Glaze.

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Back to School Teacher Gifts

Back to School Teacher Gifts in this PostBack to School Teacher Gifts

Spane starts back to school on August 12, 2013. I wanted to make a some nice Back to School Teacher Gifts, one for our new Principal and one for Spane’s fifth grade teacher. We don’t know yet who Spane’s teacher is going to be, so I did not want to make anything that was gender specific. I also didn’t have a lot of money to spend, so I headed out to my nearest craft store and purchased two silver toned boxes, some school themed stickers, blue and gold ribbon to reflect the school’s colors, yellow wine gift bags, and some horses from the toy department because the school mascot is a mustang.

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Make a Coordinated Scrunchy Ribbon using the Bowdabra with Pictures

Crafts in this PostRibbon using the Bowdabra with Pictures

I love making really nice looking bows, both for gifts, and to go in my hair. I like to coordinate ribbons with my outfits, but either can’t find the right color, or don’t want to spend the money on something I can make better at home. You don’t have to spend a whole lot of dough on ribbons. Hit the craft stores a month or so before a holiday or right after a holiday to get good prices, or visit your nearest dollar store that often has ribbons for cheap. Sometimes, fabric stores have remnants that can make good bows, too.

Bowdabra BlogI bought the wonderful tool, the Darice Mini Bowdabra Bow Maker at my local Michael’s a few years ago, and it has been a star of my crafting arsenal, along with my hot glue gun, ever since. I bought the ribbon at my local Dollar King in their craft department. This bow was featured on August 9, 2013 Bodabra’s Feature Friday blog. How great is that?

I was used the bow to make Back to School Teacher Gifts. Come see how our Back to School Teacher Gifts came out. I also baked some Mocha Butterscotch Chip Cookies to put in the gift bag. Oh, the joy of kids going back to school!

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