Monday, June 23, 2014

Farewell Supper and 4th decor

This morning, ok well 2:45 a.m., I sent my Oilfield Man off to the Patch again.  We have been really lucky to have had him home as long as we did this time.  It looks like it will be at least two weeks before his boots are by our door again.  So, I wanted to fix him a delicious Sunday supper before he headed out.  On the menu was pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon, braised green beans and butter pasta.  Don't worry....I was thinking of y'all when I was preparing the farewell meal.  The first is the pork tenderloin.  My daddy has been making this for as long as I can remember.  It is really good with a side of spaetzle and red cabbage if you are feeling a little international and want to take a trip to Germany. 

Take a casserole dish and rack and spray liberally with nonstick spray.  These tenderloins usually come two in a pack.  I used just the one since it's only the three of us.  Sprinkle with as much pepper as you like.

Now smother the hell out of it with Dijon mustard.
Ok, this will take probably 4 slices of bacon.  You want to wrap it around the whole tenderloin. It should look like this...

Put it in a 375 degree oven and bake for 45 minutes or so depending on your oven.  Below you will see my oven was cooking a little warm last night.  SO, I got it a little over done, but it was still yummy!

1 pork tenderloin (approx. 1.5lbs)
Dijon mustard
black pepper to taste
4 slices bacon
Liberally season the pork tenderloin.
Smother with mustard
Wrap with 4 slices of bacon
Bake at 375 degrees for 45 minutes or until cooked to desired temperature. 
To accompany our yummy tenderloin, we needed a green.  Green beans are one of our faves around here.  This recipe came from my daddy as well.  Super easy and super delish.  The only part that sucks is having to snap all the beans...unless you have your own little minion that you can put to work.  Mine seemed to think he was not eligible for this line of work.  Wrong indeed!!!
I picked up 2 lbs of fresh green beans at the store the other day.  Snap the ends and rinse really well.
Slice an onion in half and then slice thin half moon slices.  Also, you will need 2 gloves of garlic minced.  Set these aside.
Now that your prep is done, heat a dutch over medium heat and dice up your 6 slices of bacon.  I use scissors to snip the pork goodness straight into the pot.  Once the bacon is browned, add the onions and garlic and cook until onions are transparent.  Make sure to stay right there and stir often to keep your garlic from browning and burning!!!  NO GOOD if that happens!!!!
Add 1/2 chicken broth and bring to a boil.  Once it starts bubbling, add your rinsed beans and lower heat to low. 
Let these guys simmer until limp...which usually takes about 30-45 minutes. 
2 lbs green beans, snapped ends and then rinsed
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
6 slices bacon, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
black pepper to taste
1/2 can chicken broth
Snap the ends and rinse green beans.
Snip bacon into dutch oven over medium heat and cook until browned.
Add onion and garlic and sauté until onions are transparent.
Add black pepper and chicken broth.  When it comes to a boil, add beans.
Turn stove down to low and simmer until green beans are limp.
Serve this up to your lucky little family tonight.  They will thank you!! Those kiddos will love these green beans.  I mean they are cooked in bacon!!!!

On to my latest Crafty project.  I have been snagging up pallets from our local corner store the past couple weeks and decided to finally do something with the stack on the side of the house.  Honestly, it is starting to look like our house is the warehouse on the corner.  Not so appealing...
See that one on the right?  That one will be transformed into a patriotic decoration by the end of this post!!!
Along with my little guy, we ran down to Hobby Lobby and picked up some acrylic paint in Red, White, and Blue.  How did I not have any in my stash?  I seemed to have "every other color under the moon. " - a direct quote from the hubs as he is so fond of my growing supply collection. 
I determined which boards would be what color and instructed my handy helper to get started painting the blue, not to cross the lines.  I failed to pay attention to my own instructions and got carried away with the red (as you can see).  No fear, the little guy was quick to point out I was painting red on a white board.  Good thing he is so much like his daddy...
A few months back, we rode down to the National Seashore here in Corpus Christi.  There were tons of starfish that were scattered all over.  We collected tons of them for future projects.  Friday was the day!!! I took 9 out of our stash and painted them white as well.  The acrylic paint dries really quick.  So, you won't have to wait to long to do your final assembly.
I was outside chatting it up with the girl across the street about how I was going to adhere these bad boys to the pallet.  We weren't sure if the hot glue gun would do the trick.  She suggested some super duty sticky stuff 3M makes that she thought might work...and it did for a few minutes.  South Texas is H.O.T and HUMID!!!!  It didn't hold up.  These little guys slowly started making their way down.  So, I had to pull the glue gun out and pray for the best.  IT WORKED!!!!!  Those beautiful stars have not budged since I glued them to their new home.  Drum roll.......
What do you think?  I love it!  It takes two of my favorite things (American pride and the beach) and displays them perfectly on our porch!!! 
Now I needed something for the door.  Spring is officially over so I needed to take the cute door hanger filled with hydrangea down and put up something a little more patriotic! I saw on Pinterest a link ( to an Etsy shop where a lady had a patriotic monogram.  I was like "I can do that!!!"  So I did!
 Now, don't look to close.  I didn't tape off my lines.  It is more rustic!  ;)  I free handed those stripes!  As for the stars, they are from a stencil I made by cutting a star into some card stock and sponged the white paint.  I like burlap with it, so I made a hanger out of some burlap ribbon I had.
Our porch is on it's way to Americana décor heaven!  I hope you love this as much as I do!!!!
Guess I better get going!  My helper said he has worked up a terrible hunger!  Until next time....

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

King of the Castle...but just for a day! ;)

Well, Father's Day has come and passed.  This year, I decided to make our "King" feel like just that.  Since the oilfield NEVER sleeps, "B" had to work on Father's Day.  So, in an attempt to make the day special regardless of him spending 13 hours working in 100+ degrees heat, the sidekick and I got up early and started our day of cooking a feast for our King of the Castle!!!  Ok, let's be honest...our 5 year old's internal clock has an alarm that goes off no later than 7am (even in the summer)!  So, we just told the King we got up early.  ;)  So let's talk menu.  A couple weeks back, Mama had posted something about Hummingbird cake.  This grabbed the eye of the hubs, which by the way has NO sweet tooth!  He said he wanted me to make it sometime for him.  So, it was the perfect time to whip one up for him.  My grandma used to make this when I was a child, but I had never even thought of baking one.  I am not fruit and nut in baked goods kind of girl.  Give me chocolate any day!  But, being the good wife, I pulled out all the stops for my man! I found a version of the recipe from Southern Living.  Confession's to die for!  I take back all my comments about fruits and nuts in my food!  Hummingbird cake is like banana bread with cream cheese frosting.  If someone had described this sweet treat in that way, I would have been Betty Crocker'ing it up in the kitchen on a regular basis. Keep in mind though....just because there are fruits and nuts in this, it is a far cry from making the Top 10 healthy snacks list.  Below is the recipe and you will see why.  Don't let this deter you from getting flour all over your kitchen.  You need to make this.  Do it on your next special occasion.  It will make your Love feel special and you are secretly treating yourself!!!

Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
2 c sugar                               
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1  1/2 c  vegetable oil                               
1 1/2 tsp vanilla                               
1 (8oz) can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 c chopped pecans + a handful for decoration on top of cake                              
2 c chopped bananas 
Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 (16oz) box  powdered sugar
1 stick butter, softened
1 (8oz) block cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla
Beat cream cheese and butter until smooth.
Gradually add powdered sugar, until light and fluffy.
Stir in vanilla.
Combine first 5 dry ingredients in mixing bowl.    
Add eggs and oil, stirring until dry ingredients are moistened. (Do not beat.)
Mix in vanilla, pineapple, pecans, and bananas.
Pour batter into 2 greased 9" round cake pans.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.
Let cool completely before frosting.
Spread frosting between the two layers and around the cake.
Top with extra pecans.

Since I like to do things backwards, I then started on a special dinner for our King.  On the menu was homemade Spaghetti and Meatballs!  Yes, HOMEMADE!  Nothing frozen, in a jar, prepared by your fave Italian spot around the corner.  The only thing not homemade is the pasta.  Let's face it...I can only amaze myself so much!  This is by far our favorite spaghetti meatballs.  The hubs has even said it is a restaurant quality.  So, I hope you and your family find it just as tasty and special!!

Spaghetti and Meatballs
1 lb. ground beef(I use 80/20)
1 c Italian bread crumbs
1 Tbs. parmesan cheese, grated
1 Tbs. dried parsley
1/2 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. garlic powder (heaping)
1 egg
1/4 olive oil
1 c onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced
2 (28oz) cans tomatoes (either diced or whole and peeled)
2 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
2 bay leaves
1 (6oz) can tomato paste
1 tsp dried basil
1 tsp black pepper
In a bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients.  Form into golf ball size balls (approximately 15 balls). 
Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax pepper.  Cover and refrigerate until ready to use.  I usually make them a couple hours before I start the sauce.
When ready to make the sauce, pull out your dutch oven.  Over medium heat, sauté your onion and garlic in the olive oil until the onions are transparent.  Make sure you stir often to keep garlic from browning.
Next, stir in the tomatoes, salt, sugar and your bay leaves.  Cover, simmer on low for 2 hours.
Stir in remaining ingredients and the meatballs from the fridge.
Simmer another 30-45 minutes.

Now, no spaghetti dinner is complete without a wonderful green salad.  A couple weeks ago, I was up visiting my parents and Mama pulled out a jar of homemade ranch dressing that my just be the tastiest  ranch that has crossed my lips.  The men in my house think that ranch is nectar of the Gods.  The dip anything and everything in it.  So, since it has received rave reviews from these two Ranch Judges, I figured it is only right that I let you in on our newest family secret.

Ranch Dressing
1c Mayo (Hellman's is our fave)
1/2c buttermilk
1/4t black pepper or to taste
1/8t or so garlic powder
1/8t paprika
1t Ranch dressing mix-Buttermilk Recipe
Combine all ingredients in a jar or whatever you carafe you can find that has a lid.  Tighten lid and shake the hell out of it.  Refrigerate.  (Easy, right?!?!?)



SO, there you have it ladies!  This is how I made my man feel like a King while I made memories with my sidekick creating a special meal to bring our little family even that much closer.  We shared laughs, dances in the kitchen and a dessert that will change the way you view old classic sweets.  Run to your closest grocery store, get all the ingredients (which you more than likely already have everything in the pantry), and make your family a meal that hopefully will provide you moments to remember.

Until next time...Ciao!!!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014


Well hello there, Stranger!!!!  I might be the worst blogger out there!  I think my last blog was months ago!  But no fear, I am here now!  Today it is hot, hot, hot here in South Texas.  I mean really hot!!!  The heat index is 108 degrees and it is 630pm!!!  School for me and my little guy is out for summer and we couldn't be happier!!!!  Recently I asked him what was on the agenda for the summer and this rug rat rattled off 1,001 things he wanted to do!  So, we made a bucket list!  His very own "5 1/2" year old's Bucket List!  We sat down one morning and came up with the top contenders for summer plans.  Below is our final product.  How impressed are you that I even cut out it into a bucket shape...yes it's a bucket!  I recommend doing a list with your little ones this summer.  It's not too late!  He loves being able to check off his accomplishments.  Our "bucket" is posted on the fridge.  So, we can't miss it!

Since it is so hot, I am trying to not use the oven as much as normal.  I'm mean for crying out loud that little sucker turns this house into an inferno!  So, with that said, cold meals are the way to go this summer.  Salads are great for the summer time.  One of our faves is the cucumber, tomato, onion salad.  I wish I had a pic, but we devoured it before I could grab a camera!  So, use your imagination!!! 
Cucumber Tomato Onion Salad
Get an 8x8 dish

Slice the cukes, tomatoes and onions the same thickness
Layer them in your dish
Pour Italian dressing over
Refrigerate for a couple hours

This salad is great for summer cookouts or potlucks.  It will hold up well to heat! I will come back and add a picture when I make it again...probably sometime this weekend! ;)

I guess I need to go.  My sidekick is awfully quiet!  Until next time!!!!

UPDATE:  The heat index is 112 degrees here this afternoon.  So, this salad is back on the menu!!!  I promised I'd get you a pic.  So, here it is!  Enjoy and stay cool!!