Thursday, April 18, 2013

Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Beer and Bacon

Growing up I really disliked Brussels sprouts.  Maybe it was the way my parents fixed them, boiling them in a pot of salted water left much to be desired.  As I grew older I remember trying them again and was pleasantly surprised how much I enjoyed them.  Over the years I have made them several different ways, but I enjoy them best roasted with beer and bacon.  Beer and bacon!  This may be the best thing to come out of my kitchen in a long time.

My husband and I like to cook with dark beers.  You can add extra flavor to your recipes by replacing all or most of the water required with beer.  We have used Guinness a lot in cooking.  Last week while grocery shopping we happened upon Yuengling and decided to give it a try.  We thoroughly enjoyed it.  It's not as strong as Guinness, yet the flavor is very distinct.  Needless to say we haven't purchased Guinness since!

I love the convenience of roasting vegetables.  After very little prep work, I simply placed all the ingredients in a pan and while they're roasting I am free to do other things while dinner is in the oven.

2 lbs Brussels Sprouts 
6 oz bacon, chopped 
1 onion, peeled and sliced 
12 oz bottle beer, Yuengling
1/2 tsp salt 
1/4 tsp pepper 

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Wash and peel off any loose or damaged leaves from the sprouts, then trim the root ends.  Add the Brussels sprouts to a large roasting pan and season with salt and pepper.  Add the sliced onion, then add the chopped bacon.  Pour the bottle of beer into the pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Place the covered pan in the oven and roast for 25 to 30 minutes, turning several times. Roast until the Brussels sprouts are tender and caramelized and the bacon is golden.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Updated Sofa with Pillows

When my mom passed away I received many of her personal items including her sofa.  I was moving out of the state with very little furniture of my own, so my dad gifted it to me because he knew how much my mom would have wanted me to have it.  

Living room decorated for the holidays, circa 1995
My baby shower, circa 1996
My mom with my daughter.  I'm sure she's singing, You are my sunshine. 
My mom and me! 
I was 16 when she purchased the sofa.  I can still remember the day she had it delivered from John Wanamaker's.  If you knew my mom you knew how much she loved her sofa.  My siblings and I rarely sat on it!  It was more of a show piece and my dad jokingly referred to it as the "Cadillac".

I was nervous about having a light colored sofa when my kids were little.  Then the dogs came along and my anxiety intensified a bit!  But I promised myself the sofa wouldn't be off limits to my family.  We sit on the sofa, my children lie on it and mess the perfectly poofed pillows and for the longest time my smallest dog would nap there.

It's a comfortable sofa in great condition.  I've had it professionally cleaned a few times, luckily the cushions are removable for easy clean up.  But as the years go by it needed a little updating.  I considered having it reupholstered in a new timeless fabric, but the more I thought about it I knew I could breathe new life into it with simple updates.

Adding new accent pillows really brightened the sofa for a fresh new look.  I made the gray pillows, but purchased the others. 

I added a cozy throw blanket.  I swapped out the accessories on the coffee table for a less cluttered look.  I also purchased a new rug.  The larger rug compliments the space.  I don't know what I was thinking using such a smaller rug before. ;)

More pillows on the bench.  I love the Greek key pattern.  I considered making my own, then I found these babies for a steal at Lowe's.

It's amazing how different the sofa looks in the room just by updating the pillows and few other accessories.  I'm so glad I decided not to have it reupholstered. 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Spring Break Bucket

This week my children are on spring break.  We have plans for a busy summer, so this week we decided to stay home and take it easy.

I know how easily my kids can become bored so I created a spring break bucket with a bunch of inexpensive activities written on each token.

I created the tokens with my craft punch and leftover scrapbook paper.

To save money for some the activities, I used coupons that I saved for fun things to do.  I also took advantage of the daily deals Groupon offers.

My goal was to encourage family time.  Some of the activities are; a picnic at the park, baking together, calling a loved one, taking treats to the pups at PAWS and doing something nice for one of our neighbors.

Each day my son or my daughter will pick from the bucket and whichever token they chose will be our fun activity for the day.

As I thought about this idea I thought it may be too childish for my 16 yr old, but she surprised me and really loved it.  In fact I overheard her telling her friend about it on the phone.  Later my children thanked and told me it was "cool"!  Me cool? Nah...!

I am linking this post to:
Kelly's Korner

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Shrimp And Broccoli Alfredo

I love it when someone else is doing all the cooking!  My husband and daughter love to cook together.  My daughter enjoys chopping up all the vegetables for whatever meal he is planning.  My job is usually clean up.  It's fun for them and I don't mind cleaning up afterward.

Together, they made this dish for dinner one night and we all loved it.  It's quickly become one of my favorite meals.

Simple and tasty!  I hope you enjoy it too.

8 ounces uncooked fettuccine pasta 
2 tablespoons butter 
1 pound uncooked shrimp - peeled and deveined 
2 cups blanched fresh broccoli florets 
4 cloves garlic, minced 
1 cup half-and-half 
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese(not the powdered stuff)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley 
salt and pepper to taste 

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil.  Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; then drain.  In a large skillet, saute shrimp, broccoli and garlic in butter until shrimp turn pink.  Pour in half and half and stir to combine ingredients.  Sprinkle Parmesan cheese in one tablespoon at a time, stirring constantly.  Once remaining Parmesan cheese is added, mix in parsley and salt. Stir frequently making sure it does not boil. Sauce may take a while to thicken.  Remove the sauce from the heat and allow it to finish thickening as it stands.  Once sauce has thickened, serve over cooked fettuccine.  Serve hot.

Recipe adapted from: 

I am linking this post to: 
Funky Junk Interiors