November 5, 2008

Getting To Know My Blog Daughers: Ingrid From 3 B's...baseball, baking, and books

ddplanning

You've heard from Nella, so now it's time to get to know Ingrid a little better! Ingrid blogs at 3 B's...baseball, baking, and books. Stop by and say hello. Be sure and tell her her blog Mom Dianne sent you! ;o)

Thanks to both of you for playing along and now without further ado....Here's Ingrid!

1. What is the name of your blog and how did you come up with the name?

3 B's...baseball, baking, and books. Those are three things that I really enjoy a lot and spend what little free time I have doing. They also all happen to start with the letter "B".

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since June, LOL, I had to check. It's gone by so FAST

3. What made you start your own blog?

I'm not sure it was any one thing. But the first blog I found and read was Bakerella. I'm not very daring when it comes to leaving my comfort zone. I've referred to myself as a scaredy cat baker. Blogging and reading other blogs has helped me be a bit more adventurous. I still have a waaaaaays to go.

4. Do you cook everyday? Or is there a specific time in the week that you cook more than others?

No, I don't cook everyday. I have a set of twins and a singleton. The Twins are VERY active. More often than not we are only home in the evenings about three out of seven sometimes not even that much. When we are home I cook especially on weekend mornings. My children love breakfast. Saturday mornings are Mom's and that means eggs, biscuits, hash browns, and sausage or bacon. Sunday's are Dad's and he makes pancakes.

5. What is your favorite kitchen tool?

Hmmmm, fave baking tool is my Cuisinart 7 speed digital hand mixer. (Not too often do I use my Kitchenaid.) My fave cooking tool is my Furi knife sharpener. Another cool thing in my kitchen is the floor to ceiling bookcase my Dad made for me for my birthday.

6. If money was no object and you could take a food vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

This is a tough question. I grew up between here in FL and NYC so I've eaten A LOT of different (authentic) cuisines though not at famous restaurants that everyone has heard about. These were at "mom & pop" places. My Dad loves eating and it was him that exposed me to different foods. I didn't appreciate it then. To answer your question I'd like to go to Italy for the food and France for the pastries.

7. If you could spend the day with one famous cook/chef and cook with them for fun, who would it be and why?

Geeesh, I struggle with choosing just one of anything but I think maybe Paula Deen. She seems so real and personable. I just hope I focus enough to learn a thing or two.

8. What is your favorite food to eat?

Finally an easy question.....salad!

9. What is your favorite food to cook?

Anything that ALL THREE of my children eat without complaining!!!!

10. If I was going to cook one recipe from your site, which one would you recommend and why?

I only have two dishes posted on there but out of the two I'd suggest the Bavarian Sausage Hot Pot! ALL THREE of my children liked it and they each had seconds!

Posted by Dianne at 8:05 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

November 3, 2008

Getting To Know My Blog Daughters: Up First Nella From Peckerwood Gravy!

ddplanning

For a while now I've been planning to reintroduce my blog daughters to you by having them answer a few questions to get to know them better! This was such fun! So take a look below and get to know Nella from Peckerwood Gravy Company a little better. Also don't forget to stop by her blog and say hello and tell her her blog Mom Dianne sent you! ;oP

Ingrid's turn will be up soon, so don't forget to check back!

For now let's get started with Nella's answers!

1. What is the name of your blog and how did you come up with the name?

Peckerwood Gravy Company. My husband's grandmother used to call grandpa a peckerwood whenever she got a little exasperated with him. In the Midwest, a woodpecker and a peckerwood are the same. My cousin came up with the Gravy part. I added the Company. It is just plain silly.

2. How long have you been blogging?

Since March of this year, eight months.

3. What made you start your own blog?

I just wanted to share my recipes, food stories, my love of good food, restaurants, and travel. I love the Midwest and I don't want the food culture to be lost.

4. Do you cook every day? Or is there a specific time in the week that you cook more than others?

I cook almost every day. Now, it is just for the husband and I during the week. Weekend cooking is usually for a family get together. If I cook too much, I take the extra over to the parents. I also try to bake at least once a week. I give away a lot of what I bake. I can usually unload the baked goods off on husband's work, the folks, my daughter and her family, and the neighbors.

5. What is your favorite kitchen tool?

My Kitchen Aid Mixer. My daughter and I refer to it as "The Kitchen Trophy". Proudly displayed on the counter at all times.

6. If money was no object and you could take a food vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Italy. I love Italian food, any region. I've been to Rome, that was the appetizer trip. I would love to travel the entire country cooking, eating, and drinking the wines. Wait a minute, did you ask me what heaven would be like?

7. If you could spend the day with one famous cook/chef and cook with them for fun, who would it be and why?

Alton Brown, and it definitely would be fun! I actually understand the cooking and baking process better, the way he explains it scientifically. I love his sense of humor too. He is my favorite!

8. What is your favorite food to eat?

Potatoes! In any form, at any meal. I love, love, love them.

9. What is your favorite food to cook?

Bread. I love the way bread dough comes alive. When I look at the dough after the first rise, I always say, in my best scary scientist voice, "It's alive!" While kneading, I usually "lose myself". I think and pray about things, people, just stuff. It's rather Zen like. And the smell..........it's a food of love thing. I love myself when I make bread.

10. If I was going to cook one recipe from your site, which one would you recommend and why?

Since I know you like quick breads and yeast breads and that you like to cook healthy, the Banana Bread or the Cinnamon Rolls would be my choice. Both can be adapted to organic very easily. I've baked them both organic. And the house smells really good!

Posted by Dianne at 7:13 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

October 2, 2008

Happy Birthday To Me! How You Can Win A $50 Williams Sonoma Gift Card!

birthday2008

As I mentioned yesterday the month of October brings my birthday. I'll be 35 on October 11th and I want to celebrate and share the love with you! See I'm a big believer in celebrating birthdays. I think you should have fun, remember the good times in your life, look forward to the good times to come, relish in your age! I'm not one of those people who will be forty twenty times or any of that nonsense! I've earned every one of my years and I'm proud of where I am, and where I have yet to go!

So how does this involve you? I'm glad you asked...Let me tell you! ;oP

I love Williams Sonoma. When their catalog comes I sit for hours looking and drooling over all their fabulous kitchen/home items! And their food too...I mean come on...The picture of this apple alone gives me a sugar high! So what better way to celebrate my birthday then by giving you the chance to win a $50 Williams Sonoma gift card!

If you'd like your chance to win simply leave a comment below and tell me about the most favorite thing you've ever done in your life and what you want to do before you die. Be creative, be heartfelt! You may give me ideas of things I want to do!

Be sure and leave a valid e-mail address so I can contact you if you win...Don't worry, no one but me will see it! All comments should be made before 11:59 PM EST October 9, 2008. The winner will be announced the morning of October 10, 2008 when I have my little Sous Chef (aka Alexis) pull the winner out of a hat. Who knows...We may even use her chef's hat! ;o)

Now the rules and stuff...Once comment per person. While I normally open up my contests to any one on planet earth, sadly Williams Sonoma does not ship to foreign addresses so this one is for US residents or US territories only. If it was up to me I'd open it to everyone! Williams Sonoma in no way endorses me or anything of that sort, I'm simply a fan of theirs who wants to share the Williams Sonoma love for my birthday!

So get to commenting and don't forget to tell your friends! Don't worry...I'll keep reminding you too! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 1:39 PM

September 7, 2008

Thanks to Esther and Hannah!

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Esther and Hannah of the Del Sisters Kitchen have chosen me for the Brillante Weblog Award! Thanks guys! That was very sweet of you...And for those of you out there reading be sure to check out Esther and Hannah's blog if you haven't already!

I've been pretty bad about awards lately. I get them, am so appreciative and then I get side tracked with life and haven't gotten back to them and they've fallen through the cracks. I apologize profusely if something fell through the cracks! I'm determined to do better so I'm going to do this one now. It's time to turn the falling through the cracks ship around! ;oP

So here's how it works:

1. When you receive a diamond, make a post about it on your blog.
2. Name the blogger who gave you the diamond.
3. Award the diamonds to seven other bloggers.
4. Link to the bloggers you award.
5. Go tell them that you've given them a diamond award.

Pretty easy so here it goes...(And some of you may have already gotten this award, so I apologize! Just know that you are special twice! ;oP Also I didn't see anything that this had to be only to food blogs so I decided to share the love to some of my non-food loving daily reads as well!)

1. A Fridge Full of Food
2. Allie's Answers
3. Blatherskite
4. London Southern Belle
5. Lucious
6. My Mind's Eye
7. The Prettiest Denny's Waitress

So there is my list. Give them a visit if you're not familiar with them already...You'll be glad that you did!

Thanks again Esther and Hannah! :o)

Posted by Dianne at 3:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

August 25, 2008

Very Good Taste's Omnivore's Hundred

I've seen this several places (most recently at a Fridge Full of Food) and thought it would be fun to do! This originated from Andrew at Very Good Taste. Now let's get started shall we?

Here are the instructions:

1. Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2. Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3. Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4. Optional extra: Post a comment here at www.verygoodtaste.co.uk linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile (No Crocodile, but I have had Alligator!)
6. Black pudding
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal
56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV (Not a fan of beer.)
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill (Deer that's been accidentally run over)
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail (Does Conch count?)
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare (Does Rabbit count?)
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee (Not a fan of coffee either.)
100. Snake (I've had rattlesnake.)

So there you have it...That's what I've eaten. What about you? Play along on your own blog or even in the comments below!

Posted by Dianne at 10:54 AM | Comments (6) | TrackBack

July 19, 2008

Six Random Things About Alexis (With A Little Help From Mom)!

Alexis has been tagged for her first meme by Sabrina and Alexander from Cooking with the Kids! So without further ado here are her answers as typed by me! ;oP

1. "When I grow up I am going to be a princess and I am going to marry a prince. We will be beautiful and get married in Paris near the Eiffel Tower!"

2. "My favorite food is edamame and rice. It's my favorite because Magi and Munchie like it too!" (Mom's Note: Magi and Munchie are her stuffed bears and it's her favorite because that's what she had for dinner tonight!)

3. "I like to share things with my little cousin 'Melson' but sometimes he takes things away from me. Aunt Nigh is my beautifulist aunt in the whole world and her sons 'Melson' and Grant are my favorite cousins in the whole world! I like to sing to Grant." (Mom's Note: Alexis still calls Nelson "Melson", but then again she stills calls Katherine Aunt Nigh, so there you go!)

4. "Uncle Ben is my uncle and actually he just very picks Grant up sometimes. He came over last time and I don't know why Grant was crying."

5. "I have a lot of different dolls. I have Cinderella, Ariel, Belle, Melody, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty. I really love my dolls because the do as enormous as I like as I watch television." (Mom's Note: "Enormous is her favorite word. She has no idea how to us it in context as something can be simultaneously "enormous" and "tiny" at the same time, but she likes it and it is cute! ;oP)

6. "I have a beautiful dress that I like to wear and be a princess. I have a beautiful necklace and a beautiful tiara and shoes that I like to wear too. Sometimes I pretend to put on makeup, but I don't really put it on because Mom won't let me. I'm going to be the beautifulist princess in the whole world. Love, Alexis!"

There you have it...Alexis spoke I typed...The things a five year old says! What can I say...she's cute! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 7:39 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

The Yum Yum Award!

yumyumblogaward

I would like to thank Carrie from Carrie's Kitchen Creations for awarding me the Yum Yum award! Now it is my turn to pass it on to five food blogs that I think make Yum Yum food!

1. Karen from Do Better: She's always making things that make me want to try them!

2. Di from Di's Kitchen Notebook: Di looks like she has fun in her kitchen and her recipes look fabulous!

3. Laura of Sweet Stilettos: If you haven't been to Sweet Silettos rush over now! Laura is witty and I just love her style, plus her food looks fabulous too!

4. Megan from My Baking Adventures: With a title like "My Baking Adventure" what would there be not to like? Megan has some fabulous ideas and her recipes look great!

5. Jayne from The Barefoot Kitchen Witch: Jayne made strawberry egg rolls recently...Do I need to say anything more than that? ;o)

Thanks again Carrie!

Posted by Dianne at 10:21 AM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

I've Been Tagged: Six Random Things About Me!

Megan over at My Baking Adventures has tagged me with a meme! What fun! Now you get to find out six random facts about me that you might not have know! I know you all are just dying with excitement, so let's get to it shall we? ;oP

But first here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you.
2. Post the rules on the blog.
3. Write six random things about yourself.
4. Tag six people at the end of your post.
5. Let each person know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is up.

I'm not quite sure who to tag (I never am!), but feel free to play along on your own blog, or if you don't have a blog just tell us 6 Random Facts about yourself in the comments section...It's always fun to learn new things about people! ;o)

Without further ado here I go!

1. Jamison and I met online years ago on a now defunct ewtoo Telnet talker. We talked online for about a year, then I let him call me and we talked on the phone a few times a week for several months, then we met in person in July of 1996 and spent a weekend together where he thought I was a witch and I thought he was weird but we ended up friends anyway and were then friends for 6 months, then we started dating in January of 1997 and we got married in December of 1997. Do I think you can find love on the Internet? Not really...I know contradicting isn't it? But I do think you can make friends and who knows where a friendship can go? Besides the best relationships are based on friendship anyway! ;oP

2. I was adopted when I was six months old. I used to say I would only adopt instead of giving birth, but then I had Alexis and I have to say I'm very content with my family the way it is. I like the three of us together. We have a nice dynamic. (How is that for a jumbled fact! ;oP)

3. I met my best friend Darlene when I was in 6th grade. We had some rough patches growing up (oh to be young, stupid and like the same boy!) but we got over the angst and by high school we didn't argue anymore and spent much of our free time together. Darlene still lives in the town I grew up in and we don't get to see each other nearly enough (the last time we saw each other was February of 2007) but the moment we do see each other we fall right into place as if no time has passed. We think alike and though we don't always agree on everything we respect each other's right to think differently. We can even complete each other's sentences! During some point in most days we e-mail each other and check in. I adore her! She is also Alexis' Godmother. We are planning a trip up to Maryland for her in October where we will celebrate my 35th birthday and also just spend some good old quality time together, because we just don't get to do enough of that now days! There may also be a day trip (or two) to the beach involved! I'm sure hijinks will ensue! ;oP

4. I'm happy. When I was younger I would never have pictured my life turning out the way it has, but it doesn't matter, because I truly feel blessed. I have a husband I adore and who adores me, a beautiful, smart little girl, friends who love me for who I am, etc. Life may not end up the way you thought, but that doesn't necessarily mean that it is bad that it didn't! That doesn't mean that there aren't still things I want to do...See Mt. Saint Helens, go to Ireland, go to Paris, England, Italy, Greece, Japan, Australia, New Zealand, etc. But I truly am happy and that means more than anything!

5. I believe everything happens for a reason. You might not always understand why something happened, or ever understand to be honest, but whatever happens has a purpose in the grand scheme of things. That purpose might be for you to realize how truly lucky you are, or to see what it is like in some else's shoes, or to learn and grow, but there is a reason. And sometimes when you just cant figure it out you just have to let it go and trust that maybe you weren't the one who was supposed to learn/grow from an event, perhaps it was intended to make someone else find their path...

6. I am extremely shy. I know it doesn't seem possible, but it is true. It takes me a while to warm up to people, especially now that I am older, but if you make it past the initial acquaintance stage and we actually become friends I talk, and I talk a lot, and I'm not afraid to share my opinions. But if you saw me at a party I'd be the one sitting over to the side, possibly talking quietly to a few friends. I would not be the center of attention, nor would I want to be.

So there you have it...6 Random Facts about me! What are you waiting for...Get thee forth to your blog or the comments below and tell us 6 Random Fact about yourself! I'm dying to know! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 9:31 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

April 26, 2008

South Mountain Creamery Farm Festival!

Field

This morning we ventured over to Middletown, Maryland to visit South Mountain Creamery, who was having a family farm festival today! We're customers of the creamery and I thought it would be fun to go over and see their operation in action. I'm all about seeing where your food comes from!

South Mountain Creamery Store, Middletown Maryland

The festival is today from 10-5 and then again tomorrow from 12-5 as well. You can see cows, goats, adult turkeys, baby turkeys, baby chickens, baby ducks, bunnies, honey bees and so much more! They have booths set up with food to enjoy and they have a store on site so you can try their wares. You can go on a hayride, play in rocks and most importantly (at least from Alexis' point of view) you can pet a bunch of animals! It was really a fun and if you are in the Baltimore/DC Metro area then you should most definitely stop by!

And now for some more pictures!

This calf wanted to give Alexis a kiss:

Cow Kiss

It looks like he (or she) got her, but they didn't.

Much to Alexis' joy she got to pet some calves!

Pet the Calf

And she also got to pet some bunnies too:

Pet the Bunnies

We took a short hayride up the road and through one of the fields so I shot a picture from the back of the wagon.

Farm

They had some baby chicks and turkeys too.

Chicks and Baby Turkeys

They also had a duckling, but he was still in the incubator. They brought him out for a moment and let Alexis touch him, but I didn't get a shot of that as I have a thing for ducks and was too busy ooing and ahhing over how adorable he was and how soft he was because well who can resist a baby duckling?

And last but not least they had a window box beehive so you could see inside.

Honey Bees

When I pointed out the queen to Alexis she told me "That can't be the queen...Where's her crown?" Yes all queens have crowns apparently. I must remember that for future reference. The lady standing next to us thought that was hilarious. That's my child...The laugh riot! ;o)

I also picked up a couple of Carbon tomato plants, which is a black tomato variety, as well as a couple of Cherokee purple plants. They are both heirloom varieties. I was also able to get a chocolate mint plant. I've always wanted to try chocolate mint, but had never located it before so I was beyond thrilled to find they had plants!

So that was our morning/early afternoon. We have had a very fun, very educational day so far and now we're off the the local nursery! How did you spend your day! ;oP

Posted by Dianne at 3:02 PM

March 10, 2008

Dianne's Dishes March Contest: Spice (Or Herb) Up Your Life!

Dianne's Dishes March Contest: Spice (Or Herb) Up Your Life!

So let's talk a little herbs and spices! What's a kitchen without them? For the March edition of the Dianne's Dishes Contest series you can win 1 - 0.56 ounce bottle of organic sweet basil, 1 - 1.9 ounce bottle of organic cinnamon, 1 - 0.71 ounce bottle of organic dill, 1 - 0.36 ounce bottle of organic oregano, 1 - 1.20 ounce bottle of Simply Organic Pasta Sprinkle (a mixture of onion, sesame seeds, lemon thyme, spinach, parsley and garlic) and 1- 2.12 ounce bottle of organic black peppercorns. How's that for a nice mix?

So how do you enter? Simply leave a comment on this thread with a valid e-mail address (and don't worry no one will see your e-mail address but me) by Thursday, March 13, 2008 at 5 pm EST. Once the contest is closed my little sous chef will pull a name out of the hat and I'll get in touch with that person and let them know that they've won. Anyone on our grand old planet earth is welcome to participate no matter where you live.

So what are you waiting for? Get ready to spice (or herb) up your life! Oh and tell your friends! ;o)

P.S. Don't forget to check back later today for a new recipe! :o)

Posted by Dianne at 7:06 AM

February 10, 2008

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids In The Kitchen!

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids in the Kitchen!

I've said it before, but I'm a firm believer that children should learn their way around the kitchen! I'm often amazed by how many people reach adulthood never having cooked a meal and having no clue around their own kitchen! The key is to get them involved early and make it fun!

Growing up my Mom let my sister and I help in the kitchen. When we grew older we even cooked lunch on Sunday after church sometimes. Granted our choice of macaroni and cheese out of the box, hot dogs and canned peas was far from gourmet and both of our tastes have changed drastically since then, but it was none the less a starting place and Katherine and I had a lot of fun preparing those meals!

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids in the Kitchen!

A year ago or so a friend of mine was having a Pampered Chef party and I came across their "My Safe Cutter". I thought it was a neat idea, so I got one for Alexis and one for Nelson too. I was very impressed by this little tool! Alexis loves hers and uses it all the time to cut her own apples, strawberries, cheese, etc. Below is a shot of Alexis using her knife to help cut up some mozzarella right after it arrived last year.

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids in the Kitchen!

Want to get your child (or grandchild or niece or nephew or friend's child or whoever) involved in the kitchen and want to have fun doing so? Why not enter Dianne's Dishes Kids In The Kitchen Contest and do just that! If you win you'll receive one Pampered Chef "My Safe Cutter" along with one Pampered Chef "Kid's Apron and Chef's Hat Set" and your little sous chef will be helping you in style!"

Dianne's Dishes February Contest: Kids in the Kitchen!

So how do you enter? Just leave a comment on this thread with a valid e-mail address (and don't worry, no one will see your e-mail address but me!) before 5:00 PM EST, Thursday, February 14, 2008. I'll print out the participants and my little sous chef will pull a name out of the hat. I'll e-mail that person for their address and announce the winner on Friday, February 15, 2008! Anyone anywhere on our little planet earth is eligible to enter so what are you waiting for?

Good luck! Oh and tell your friends! ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 2:44 PM

January 31, 2008

Death By Chocolate

Hot Fudge Cake

Yesterday I found out that one of you dear readers (and I don't know who did it, but thank you!) nominated me to participate in Culinate's Death by Chocolate event! After a lot of consideration I decided to enter my take on my Mom's classic Hot Fudge Cake because after all that is the epitome of ooey gooey chocolate heaven!

Realistically I know that I have no chance of winning the grand prize, but it's fun to be in the mix none the less! I've never participated in anything like this so that in and of itself is more than fun! The voting occurs February 4th-8th. (I'll remind you again! ;o) There's also a button on the sidebar!) But for now go on over and and see the other amazing entries!

Chocolate...What's not to like? ;o)

Vote for me in the Death by Chocolate contest

Posted by Dianne at 12:03 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 11, 2008

Don't Forget!! Enter Now!!

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If you like chocolate and haven't entered yet be sure and enter Dianne's Dishes first ever contest for four bars of Green and Black's organic chocolate!! You have until Monday, January 14, 2008 at 5:00 PM EST to enter. So take the link above and register if you haven't already. Oh and tell your friends!

Free chocolate...What's not to like? ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 12:18 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

January 9, 2008

Dianne's Dishes First Ever Contest!

Chocolate!

I've mentioned it before I'm a huge fan of Green and Black's chocolate. I love their dark chocolate and their caramel bar is to die for! So why not share that love with you?

As you can see above there are four bars of organic chocolate from Green and Black's: Caramel, Milk, Dark 70% and Mint. You can click on the links and get more information about each bar if you're interested, but let's get down to the good stuff...How to enter! ;o)

To enter leave a comment on this entry with a valid e-mail address by Monday, January 14, 2008 at 5:00 PM EST. I'll take all the names and put them in a pot and my little sous chef (aka Alexis) will do the honors and draw one name out of that pot. I will e-mail that person for their mailing address and then I'll send the chocolately goodness their way!

Anyone can enter, no matter where you reside on planet earth. You can enter if I know you personally, or know you through a blog, or don't know you at all! You can enter if you're a regular commenter or you can enter if you're a first time visitor or even if you visit often but never comment! If there is a lot of interest in the this contest we'll do another one again soon so tell your friends!

What's in the bag?

So what are you waiting for? Free chocolate...What's not to like? This little red bag of yummy chocolateness could be on it's way to you next week! Comment away! ;o)

Update: 2:17 PM: I've gotten a few emails about this so I'll address those concerns here...I'm the only one who will see your e-mail address as it won't be posted directly on this site so don't worry about spammers and such harvesting them.

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January 2, 2008

2007 Recap: My Favorite Recipes Round Up

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I thought it would be fun to round out 2007 and list one recipe for each month of 2007 that was my "favorite". Boy was it hard just picking one some months, but the links below list my favorites and why.

January: Sushi : I decided in January that I wanted to move my recipes to a dedicated food blog and Dianne's Dishes was born. Since I started the blog toward the end of the month there weren't many recipes to choose from, though Sushi would have been my favorite anyway. I was pleasantly surprised to find that making sushi at home was a breeze! I haven't made any with fish, but I've become a pro at the vegetable rolls! Seriously if you like sushi it's very simple to make. Don't let it intimidate you!

February: Calzones: For years I had wanted to try to make Calzones, but I had never done it. Really it's simple...You just fill a circle of pizza dough with toppings, fold it over, crimp the edges, top with olive oil, herbs and a little cheese, then bake until golden brown and serve. This is another one of those dishes people assume is difficult, but it's not. You can add veggies, meat, cheeses or whatever you like...Calzones are easy to mix and match!

March: Vegetarian Red Beans and Wild Rice: In March I was still trying to cut out all meat but fish (I've done this many time over the years and I never make it more than a month or two because I crave meat!), but regardless I eat a lot of vegetarian dishes most of the time anyway. Red Beans and Rice was always a favorite of mine, but I'm not a big fan of the sausage they add in. I decided to try and make it without sausage and with wild rice instead of white rice, which is healthier for you and the result was delicious! I even got a few e-mails from people reading the blog who said this could be considered a Weight Watchers Core recipe, so if any of you out there do the WW Core plan that's good to know! ;o)

April: Whole Wheat Pasta Taco Salad: I love pasta salads and I love tacos. Why not combine the two? This takes the best of both worlds and brings them together! This is a bit healthier than your standard pasta salad being made with whole wheat pasta, which is always a good thing, but as they say everything in moderation! ;o)

May: Whole Grain Granola Bars: This recipe was adapted from one I came across in Mother Earth Living. Sometimes reading the ingredient lists of products you are buying is just down right scary! This version of granola is whole grain and naturally sweetened. There are no trans-fats, there is no high fructose corn syrup, there are no weird preservatives either! There is nothing that isn't natural. My sister ended up liking this a lot and Nelson and Alexis did too! It's a simple, delicious way to have your granola and eat it too! ;o)

June: Cucumber Salad: Several years ago I was going to a ladies picnic with our church and we were all supposed to bring a couple of dishes. I wanted to bring something cool and refreshing, but not something that was the normal old pot luck fair. I came up with this Cucumber Salad and it was an instant hit. I've been making it ever since!

July: Summer Pie: I started making this recipe years ago. It's a fresh, delicious way to use vegetables right out of the garden! If you're a pasta fan then this is the recipe for you!

August: Blueberry Ice Cream: I love blueberries! I have often wondered why Blueberry Ice Cream wasn't a more prevalent flavor. Finally this summer I got around to making some instead of hunting fruitlessly for a commercial version. My parents were visiting and my Dad is a big ice cream eater so I thought this would be a fun alternative. Alexis loved it too! Blueberry Ice Cream will most definitely be making a return at our house come summer 2008! ;o)

September: Fresh Tomato and Thyme Risotto: If you've been a reader of Dianne's Dishes for a while then you know I love risotto! This version utilizes fresh tomatoes and herbs, which are plentiful in September, and brings them together to create a wonderful taste combination. Risotto is a great mix and match dish and this version mixes and matches together perfectly!

October: Tortilla Soup: I'm also a big fan of soup. Before Alexis was born I didn't eat a lot of soup because I don't like the stuff that comes out of a can and Jamison is the pickiest eater I've ever known! Luckily Alexis is more daring and much like me she loves her soup! Tortilla Soup is the perfect mix of creamy and zing. It's just perfect for those cool October nights!

November: Maple Pumpkin Bread: What's autumn without a little pumpkin? I love when the local sugar pumpkins come in and you can make everything from soup, to pie, to cheesecake, to muffins, to bread, oh my! Maple Pumpkin Bread is just the thing for breakfast or even makes a wonderful snack! No matter how you slice it (yes I went there! ;o)) it's wonderful all around!

December: White Chocolate Blueberry Fudge: For December it was really hard for me to choose just one favorite! I mean with Turtle Cake, Hot Chocolate Mix and Chocolate Marshmallows, not to mention many other yummy treats, how do you choose just one? Ultimately I had to go with the White Chocolate Blueberry Fudge. The white chocolate and the dried blueberries melded together perfectly. Who can argue with that?

So that's my round up of my favorites for 2007. I'll be back tomorrow with new recipes! Happy New Year once again!!

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December 28, 2007

Not Back With Recipes, But Back For A Good Cause!

Test your vocabulary AND earn donations of rice through the United Nations World Food Program:

For each word you get right, we donate 20 grains of rice to the United Nations World Food Program.

WARNING: This game may make you smarter. It may improve your speaking, writing, thinking, grades, job performance...

What are you waiting for? Go play for yourself here and see how your vocabulary shapes up! You might even make yourself a little smarter, helping out a good cause, all while having a little fun! ;o)

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December 18, 2007

Gingerbread Ornaments or Cookies

Pissy Gingerbread Boy and Christmas Tree

What's Christmas without a little gingerbread? Gingerbread houses, gingerbread cookies and even just plain old gingerbread! All of those things make you think of a wonderful holiday season! You can make this recipe as cookies or you can paint the gingerbread after it cools and make lasting ornaments. Whichever path you choose, you'll have fun none the less! (We choose the painted path for the ones pictured here.) And the best part is whether you make cookies or you make ornaments this makes the perfect gift!

What You'll Need:
1 cup packed natural brown sugar
1/3 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups dark molasses
2/3 cup cold water
7 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground allspice
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt

Gingerbread Reindeer

Preheat oven to 350 F.

In large bowl cream brown sugar, butter and molasses until smooth. Add water and mix well. Stir in remaining ingredients and stir until well incorporated.

Gingerbread Star

Sprinkle some flour onto the surface you're working on and roll dough out to between 1/4-1/8th of an inch. Cut with the cookie cutters of your choice. If you are going to use the cookies for ornaments remember to make a hole for the string or ribbon to tie them onto your tree. You can do this by using a straw to make a hole at the top of each cookie.

Bake for 9-10 minutes and cool completely on the pan.

Gingerbread Snowman

Decorate with icing, candy, sprinkles, raisins or other embellishments if you're going to cookie route. Whatever you like works. Just let out your inner cookie creator! ;o)

If you're making ornaments paint them with craft or acrylic paints and let dry completely. Once the paint is dry you can "seal" the ornaments by painting or spraying on a coat of polyurethane if you want them to last for many years. If you want to make "Pissy" Gingerbread boys and girls use a fluted cutter to cut a "bite" out of the side of their heads or even their foot if you want, because after all wouldn't you be a little pissy too if someone did that to you? ;o)

Pissy Gingerbread Boy and Girl

Notes: This really is the best gingerbread I've ever tasted. I'm not a huge fan of molasses by itself, but in this recipe it really brings out the flavors of the other elements.

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October 17, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Organic Gala Apples

Wordless Wednesday

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October 10, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Concord Grapes

Wordless Wednesday

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October 2, 2007

Homemade Peanut Butter

Homemade Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a big hit at our house, but I worry about the trans fats that come with commercial brands. Most of the big companies have gotten them down to a point where they can list that they are trans fat free, but if the word "hydrogenated" appears on the label, then the trans fats are still there!

Natural nut butters are the way to go and they are extremely easy to make. You just need some roasted nuts and a little honey. Combine the two and you've got a fantastic alternative to commercial varieties. Get the kids involved, they'll love this process! After you're done grab an apple and smooth on some Homemade Peanut Butter and you've got a fantastic snack!

What You'll Need:
2 cups of dry roasted peanuts (Note: Not salted. You can find plain dry roasted peanuts in most health food stores or natural markets. If you want a salt kick add in 1/4 teaspoon of sea salt.)
1/3-1/2 cup of honey (Note: Much like working with flour you might need more or less. When the "butter" starts to form and ends up to the consistency you like stop adding honey.)

In a food processor process peanuts until chopped fine. Start adding honey with the processor still going until "butter" forms to the consistency you like. Store in an air tight container.

Homemade Peanut Butter

Notes: This will work with any roasted nut. Also natural peanut butters tend to separate sometimes so you may need to stir before using. If you want a crunchy variety stir in a 1/2 cup of chopped peanuts.

Posted by Dianne at 10:02 AM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

September 5, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Local Sugar Pumpkins

Wordless Wednesday

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August 8, 2007

Wordless Wednesday

Basil

Wordless Wednesday

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Decoding Organic Labels

Allie has an excellent post up at her blog Allie's Answers explaining the confusion on organic labels. Check it out if you get a chance!

Posted by Dianne at 10:13 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

August 6, 2007

Pecan Pie with Caramel by Jaybobed

I've been watching this guy's food videos on YouTube for a while now. He amuses me, I don't know why. This pie looks scrumptious! I think I may try it for Thanksgiving this year.

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July 31, 2007

Chicken Christopher Walken Style

No...You didn't read that wrong! The video is actually Christopher Walken cooking a chicken with baked pears and he looks like he knows his way around the kitchen! Truth be told, he freaks me a out a bit due to some of the roles he's played over the years, but it's amusing to watch him cook none the less! Check it out if you get a chance.

Update: 12:50 PM: Apparently this video was first posted on a website called "I'm Cooked" which is like a cooking version of YouTube! You can watch and/or post videos of your recipes and cooking! How cool is that?

Posted by Dianne at 12:22 PM

July 4, 2007

4th of July Food Fun: Red, White and Blue "Shortcake"

Red, White and Blue "Shortcake"

I use the term "shortcake" here loosely at best, thus the quotes. The topping is constructed more like Baklava, though in truth I've never had, nor made Baklava. This is also my first time using phyllo dough. It wasn't as hard as I thought it would be, but it was a bit of a learning curve! I will be using it again in the future. I have a lot of yummy ideas as to what can be done with phyllo so look for it again in the future! ;o) Regardless this fun little dessert, is delicious and is fun in the 4th of July holiday sense. Try it and see!

What You'll Need:
1 package of phyllo dough, thawed
2 sticks of butter, melted
1 cup of organic cane sugar
1 large star cookie cutter or 1 large star shape cut from aluminum foil and a very sharp knife
1 package of strawberries, sliced
1 package of blueberries
1/4 cup of organic cane sugar
Whipped cream

For The Star "Shortcakes:

Preheat oven to 350 F.

Lay one layer of phyllo dough flat on a big piece of aluminum foil. Brush entire surface with melted butter and then sprinkle surface with sugar. Add another layer of phyllo dough and place it over the first layer, brush with butter and sprinkle with sugar. Repeat these steps until you run out of butter and sugar. (Note: Your top layer should be buttered and sugared as well. You may have some left of phyllo dough, but it can be refrozen according to the package.)

Using your cookie cutter or star shape and sharp knife cut out star shapes and place the stars on a baking sheet that has been lined with a silicone baking sheet or parchment paper. Bake stars for 5-10 minutes or until golden browned. Keep an eye on them as they can go from a lovely golden brown to burned in about 2 seconds flat! Remove stars from the oven and let cool completely. (Note: You could easily do this the night before. Also the scraps from the stars can be cooked and eaten too. ;o))

For The Berry Mixture:

In a large bowl mix berries and sugar. Let sit in the fridge for at least an hour or until syrup forms.

To Assembled the Dessert:

Layer berries onto a small dessert plate, top with a "Shortcake" Star and a dollop of freshly made whipped cream.

Notes: Again raspberries could be used as they are red too, but if you've read Dianne's Dishes for a while you know my opinion of those! ;o) You could also add a layer of Sabayon or custard on top of the berries and beneath the star, which I think I'm going to try next time. And if you'd like to make it on another occasion any summer fruit would be great! Peaches come to mind immediately. It's an easy recipe to mix up!

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May 4, 2007

My Haremail Arrives!

My Haremail package had to hop an extra long way from Australia, but it was well worth the wait! It arrived today and I immediately opened up the bunny goodness!

Operation Haremail Goodies

Now if I can just keep Alexis from taking off with my bunnies! ;o)

Swap-bot swap: Operation Haremail
I swap with Swap-bot!

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April 7, 2007

The Perfect Easter Eggs

Easter Eggs

This year I decided to make my own dye instead of buying a kit from the grocery store. Who knew it was this easy?

What You'll Need:
Eggs
Sea salt
Boiling water
White Vinegar
Food Coloring

Boil eggs by bringing your eggs to boil in a large covered pot of water with at least a tablespoon of sea salt. When the water starts a rolling boil turn off the heat and let the eggs remain in the covered pot for 10 minutes. At the end of ten minutes remove the eggs from the pot one at a time and place in a strainer carefully. (Note: When I'm not worried about the eggs cracking I just dump them into the strainer, but since these were Easter eggs, you need to be a bit more careful.) Let the eggs cool to room temperature or you can even put them in the fridge and color them later. The best way to store them is in the carton they came in. This is true after they are boiled and even after they are colored.

When you are ready to color your eggs bring a kettle full of water to a rolling boil. In large cups (I find large coffee mugs work the best...You're looking for containers that will let the egg be completely submered in the dye solution) place 1 tablespoon of white vinegar and as many drops of food coloring as you like. (Note: The more drops you put in the more vivid the colors, so if you want pastel colors stick to 5-10 drops. If you want darker then add as many drops as you like! Have fun with it!) Once the water is boiling add water to fill up each cup leaving enough room so that when you add your egg it won't overflow the top. Leave the eggs in the colored water mixture for 2-3 minutes or however long it takes to get the color you're looking for.

Here at our house we don't actually hunt the colored eggs, we actually make deviled eggs out of them and hunt plastic ones. We just do the egg coloring for fun. But no matter what you choose to do with them, this is a quick, easy and wonderful way to make the perfect Easter Egg!

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March 30, 2007

Operation Haremail

Swap-bot swap: Operation Haremail
I swap with Swap-bot!

I did this the last time Tammy over at Polka Dot Mittens had a swap and it was so much fun! I just mailed my Bunny Buddy's package to Alaska this morning. How fun!

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March 16, 2007

Irish Feast

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This week we decided to go to Ireland in October. I've always wanted to go (ok wanted does NOT describe my desire to go to Ireland...I'm drawn there!) and in December is our 10 year anniversary so we wanted to do something special. The other day I called Jamison and told him it was time to throw caution to the wind and get ourselves to Ireland. I expected him to disagree, but he got on board quickly! Once he was on board I emailed Darlene (who loves Ireland just as much as I do...There's a reason we're best friends you know! ;o)) and told her I couldn't imagine going to Ireland without her and she jumped on board too. With that our travel party was complete! So that got me all festive and in the mood to have a Saint Patrick's Day Irish Feast! (Though for the record I planned the feast first and the trip later, but details smetails! ;o)) So tomorrow my sister, her husband and my nephew are coming over and we're going to have a sampling. We're going to have a bit of Irish Stew, Champ, Boxty, Dingle Pies, Irish Soda Bread, Dublin Lawyer, Kerry Apple Cake, Irish Apple Duff and mini Irish Cream Cheesecakes. And as always recipes to come! ;o)

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February 15, 2007

The Way To My Heart

Jamison knows me so well! Sure chocolates are nice (truffles especially), and jewelry is sparkly (and he did get me a pair of earrings I've been wanting), but the way to my heart is through kitchen goodies!

For a while now we've know we needed to replace our pots and pans. 1) I've worn out the set we got when we got married ten years ago and 2) There is some concern of toxicity (and by some I mean a lot) in terms of cooking with what I had. A year ago I picked out what I wanted and Jamison surprised me for Valentine's Day by getting it for me!

The whole shebang!:

My Valentine's Present!

The set includes a sauce pan with a lid, an 8 inch skillet and an 8 quart stockpot with a lid:

My Valentine's Present!

A 10 inch skillet, steamer with cover and a couple of sauce pans with lids:

My Valentine's Present!

He also got two add on pieces, a double boiler with a lid and a 12 inch skillet:

My Valentine's Present!

Oh how I love my husband! 15 pieces of cooking goodness! He knows me so well! :o)

Posted by Dianne at 3:40 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

January 31, 2007

What's In Your Grocery Bag?

I've seen this fun little exercise on several other blogs, but I kept forgetting about it until I actually had my groceries put away. Today Alexis and I made a stop at My Organic Market on the way home from Columbia and I actually remembered to take a picture of what was in our bags! 3 bags total. I was looking for some pumpernickel flour, but they didn't have any. I think I'm going to have to order some from Bob's Red Mill or Amazon Grocery.

Shopping At MOM's

Kiss My Face Anti-Stress Shower gel, raw organic cashews, MADHAVA Agave Nectar, Rice Shreds Mozzarella, lime honey, Burt's Bees Lemon Cuticle Cream, Amy's Organic Pasta Sauce, chili powder, vital wheat gluten, Pamona's Universal Pectin, Cascadian Farms Multi Grain Squares, Allegheny Chevre, Muir Glen medium organic salsa, Bionaturæ organic fettuccine, Virgil's natural Root Beer, sweet pea shoots, super salad sprouts, nutritional yeast, Bi-O-Kleen Oxygen Bleach Plus (chlorine free) and Dr. Kracker Pumpkin Seed Cheese "Krackers".

What's in your bag? ;o)

Posted by Dianne at 2:58 PM | Comments (3) | TrackBack