Sunday, November 28, 2010

Phillysteak and Cheese Nachos

So there should really be two narratives for this recipe - what I did...and what you should do.  I love cooking.  And things usually turn out really well, even if it's a new recipe.  But my all time biggest problem is t-i-m-i-n-g.  If there are multiple phases to a recipe, you can bet I've probably done at least a few steps out of order.  Usually the worst that happens is I'll have to keep something warm until the end b/c I've cooked it too soon or something.  Ah well.  Someday I'll learn.

Anyway.  We saw these awesome nachos on Man v. Food the other day and I just had to make them.  Of course, I'll just do this in order of should be done so you don't have to muddle through like I did. :)

Ingredient List:

  • Nacho chips 
  • 1 lb. finely sliced steak meat (got mine pre-sliced at WholeFoods)
  • 1 lb. bag of pepper strips (red, green, yellow)  You can obviously substitute fresh peppers here - I'd use one good sized one of each then.
  • One medium sized onion (or half of a large one - to taste)
  • 1 - 8oz. bag Monterrey Jack cheese

Step one: Cut your onion into strips.

Put a splash of olive oil in a good-sized (obviously larger than the one I used below) pan and heat it.  When pan is hot, add onion and lower temperature.  Cook them about half way done.  (This is if you're using the bag veggies - if you're using fresh cut, I'd probably cook them all at the same time.)

Step two: When your onions are about half way cooked to your liking (we like ours pretty well floppy and golden), start another pan (no oil - although I added a splash of water so it wasn't dry in the pan) and when hot, add the meat.  Lower the temp.  Throw in a bit of seasoning to taste (I just used some of that pre-mixed steak seasoning they make. Yeah, yeah, cheater, I know.)

Add the bag of peppers to the onions.

The meat, cut into such small pieces, really cooks super quick.  So watch it - I thought I cooked ours too long, but Jon said it was excellent.  I'd say about 6-7 minutes-ish.

Step four: Since you're following my great hindsight directions, your veggies and meat will be done together.  Spread a layer of nachos on a plate.  Add a layer of veggies.  Add your meat.  Sprinkle a generous layer of cheese on top.  (You can melt in microwave if your cheese does not cooperate.  Mine didn't either.)

Serve with a side of chunky salsa and sour cream.  This should probably serve four.  (Although Jon and I managed to polish off a good portion of it all by ourselves.)  Mangia!!

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Just checkin' in and a bit of Christmas sharing

Hello everyone!  I hope you have all had a most excellent Thanksgiving.  We did.  I ate enough for a horse and couldn't move for a while.  We went out to Grand Rapids to celebrate with family, but we are back home now and spent last night setting up for......CHRISTMAS!!!  Do you absolutely love Christmas as much as I absolutely love Christmas??  If you do, please feel free to leave a comment telling me about your favorite parts.  Or traditions that you have.  I'd love to hear.  :)

Our "helpers" as usual...

For me, this season means family.  Mine is scattered so few and far between (geographically) and not all, but most of us are not very close (emotionally) either, so I have long been a very lucky, thankful part of a surrogate family - Jon's.  Which is lovely. :)  They're beautiful people who hold the Christmas spirit dear to their hearts as well.  It's great to be a part of it all with them.

And it means gifting.  Don't get me wrong here though - I don't agree with the massive commercialism of it all.  And I don't agree with children making lists and telling (not asking) their parents what to get them for Christmas.  I think a lot of people forget how lucky they really are.  And that's very sad to me.  Please don't ever forget how lucky you really are, my fine readers...

But the part of gifting I like is the search and the reward.  I put so much into figuring out the perfect items for those I love.  (I make a lot of my gifts too, and buy a lot on Etsy - supporting handmade is important for me in general and I love pulling that into this season as well.)  I put a lot of thought and time into getting everyone something that really suits them - and it always pays off in the delighted faces and reactions on Christmas morning.

And it means food!  I love putting grand meals together.  Usually Jon's mom does most (read: all) of the planning for us in that department, but this year, Jon and I have volunteered our home and kitchen for Christmas day.  I'm very excited.  And a little nervous.  I love putting a great big menu together.  And filling bellies with fresh, homemade goodness.  So I can't wait.  But I'm not sure what to make yet though.  We'll see.

Anyway, last night we got out all our Christmas goodies.  We set up the tree, reminiscing about each ornament - where we got them and when.  We set up the train and village under the tree.  I brought out my AnnaLee elves and put them on the mantle (we have an actual mantle with an actual fireplace now!!).  So many happy memories.  And we drank eggnog and watched Polar Express.  I forgot how nerve-wracking that movie is!  Geesh!

When do you set up for Christmas?  Are we abnormally early?  Tell me what you love and how you celebrate.

I'll be back later to share a dinner recipe with you.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Gift Gallery Photos and Happy Sunday

Hello there!  So the gift gallery opening was awesome!  I was so so so happy to have not only Jon accompany me, but his wonderful, supportive parents came as well.  Then my girl friend and her mom stopped by (and made off with some sweet finds!) and then! total surprise for me - my coworker friend Katie stopped by too!  How nice was that?!  (Sorry, I'll try to scale back the !!! - but it was just so fun and I was really really happy about it all.)  I want to extend (again) a personal, sincere THANK YOU! to you guys.  I'm so happy you could make it out and I really love that you were there on opening night - because you totally didn't have to do that (the show runs for the next two months) but you did anyway.  (They must like me or something, huh?)  :) :) :)

So here's me grinning like an idiot with some of my plushies on display.  (Bucky found a good home that night!  Eeee!!!  Thanks Kristin's mom and Kristin!)

Here's the display tree where my birdies are in good company showing off their cheery holiday goodness.

And the showcase wall where Quigley stands tall.  *sniff* I'm such a proud mama.

There were so many goodies there.  I really wanted like, pretty much one of everything.  (Ugh - just realized I forgot to get any shots of the lower level.)  But I got a gift for my sister (shhhhh!) and some local handmade soap and Jon and I bought a gift for his mom and a beautiful handblown glass ornament for our tree.  Actually, I think I might display it year round in a window or something - it's really pretty.

And the food was good too.  They had deserts from a couple different local bakers.  Actually really local.  We found out one was right around the corner from us, located out of Romeo.  And the other, Holy Cannoli, is actually run by the daughter of the owner of a local antique shop we go to.  Small world.  :)

So overall, it was a great night.  I have a feeling though, that those who came opening night were mostly either the artists, regular members of the gallery, or friends/family.  So the real shopping probably started yesterday morning (when admission was free and the sale was going on).  So I'll have to pop back in there next week and see if they need any restocking of Pooknflip goods.  (I hope I hope I hope they do!) Which means I need to get busy.

Oh!  And it's a happy Sunday (b/c Sunday's are usually not my favorite) because my niece and her hubby are coming over for dinner.  I'm cooking meatloaf, asparagus, sweet potatoes and smashed redskin potatoes.  Mmmmmm.  And they're bringing dessert!  I'll try to remember to take some pics...

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Holiday Gift Gallery Fast Approacheth!

Super excited!  Opening night is this Friday people!  If you're local - I hope you can make it out at some point.  There should be lots of goodies to be had by all!  Please visit the Paint Creek Center for the Arts website for more details.  Or email me!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

The latest finds

I really get a serious hankerin' for some antiquing sometimes. And I'm really lucky to be with someone who shares that love.  So we've been making the rounds around here lately.  A couple of thrift stores.  Some of the local antique shops.  A little bit of ebay.  :)  And here are the latest finds!

A couple of most excellent tin toys (love love love tin toys!) from the 50s-ish.  The fish winds from the bottom and when you let him go, he goes swims around in little half circles and his eyes roll around.

A pair of wall hangings from 1966.  I was thinking about putting these in the shop...but I really like them.  And you would almost never notice, but they're both missing a piece.  So they might just stay living in my craft room. I love the colors and all the detail.

An awesome cow bell from Frontier Town.  Well - not a bell that a cow would wear of course, but a bell, with a longhorn cow mount.  Pretty sure it's cast iron.  It's super heavy and is going on the side of the house.  I'm going to ring it at Jon when he's out working in the yard and dinner's ready. :)

This strainer will soon be the new home of my staghorn fern.  

A book that I remember from my childhood but had long-since forgotten.  I had to grab it.  

A super cute little mouse ornament from Town Hall Antiques.  Probably 60s?  

And a gentleman goose!  Painted by some darling artist out there.  How adorable is he?!  

Seriously.  A pocketwatch?  And spats!?  I could not leave him.  I hope someday that the thrifting faerie will smile upon me and I'll find his mate.  I'm sure he had one at some point. 

And it's hard to pick favorites with all these seriously awesome finds...but just last night I found this...

Isn't it beautiful?  I love it more everytime I look at it.  It's small.  The painting is only about 7"x5" or so.  I'd say it's in the original frame still too.  I haven't (am scared to) take the canvas out of the frame to see if there's a signature hiding on it somewhere.  So I have no idea who the artist is. (Anyone know?)    There are a couple of spots where the paint has come off (the three white spots you might be able to see) so I'd kinda like to look into restoring it.  Anyone have any experience with getting a painting restored?  

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hooooray for Giveaways!!

So I've never won a giveaway in my life but look look look what I just won from Cookoorikoo!  (And how cool is her shop name, btw?!)
How exciting!  Don't you just love the color combo!  So cute!  I might just have to work my whole outfit around it so I can wear it to the gift gallery opening next, next weekend.

Go check out her shop on Etsy for more of her adorable creations.  And many thanks to Thompson Family Life for hosting the giveaway!  I can't wait to see this in person!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Gang's All Here! (or...there, rather)

It's official. I worked my buns off and today I signed the contract and *sniff*sniff* dropped them all off. I'm really happy about this whole thing (well, except for maybe the having to actually part with all my plushies part - my BABIES!! Eeek!).

In being a part of this thing, I feel like, for the first time, I'm getting positive feedback for my work from people who don't "have" to give it to me. I mean, friends, family and some co-workers really like my stuff. But they have to deal with me on a regular basis. And it's totally not that I don't believe them or anything like that, but you can't help but think, "What else are they going to say?", you know? Being asked to participate in this gift gallery is so fulfilling. And I'm so happy/grateful/excited for it.

For any local readers, please stop by if you can. It won't be just me there of course - the whole gallery will be filled with local artists' handmade goods from paintings to jewelry to scarves to plushies! It's in downtown Rochester at the Paint Creek Center for the Arts. The show opens on November 19th at 7pm (the only ticketed event day), then there's a special discount sale the next day on the 20th, and it will run until December 31st.

Oh, and through all this hoopala I bet you thought I've forgotten about Clarence, haven't you? By the current state of disarray my house is in, and the actual meals (or lack thereof) that have been prepared around here lately, I wouldn't blame you at all for thinking that. Nope, not one bit. But you'd be wroooooong! :) They're not done (I'm thinking about knees...) but check out his little crow feet!!