Thursday, November 4, 2010

Deer Down

I almost forgot!   I shot a buck with my bow last night.  It's the second one I've shot, but the first one I've found.  It's not the monster I had seen back in October, but I haven't shot enough deer to be overly picky.  He's good practice for the next time I see the monster.  Check it out!

4-H Shirt

I haven't been posting all of my disturbing dreams lately, because I don't want people to think I'm metally sick.  And I don't want people to know when I have dreams about them getting killed.  But, I had one last night that was pretty peculiar and I'll share the little of it that I can remember.

In my dream, my dad was some other man, not my real life dad.  And Kayla K., an old Chi O president, was my older sister.  Neither one of my real sisters was in the dream.  So, what happened was that my dad killed some man and then ran away.  All the evidence was on this old, ratty 4-H shirt.  The police questioned me and I felt like I had to turn over the shirt.  I went home and turned the options over and over in my mind.  If I didn't hand over the shirt, my dad could go free.  If I did give them the shirt, though, my dad would be justly punished for his crime. 

As I was weighing the consquences of each, I heard a knock on the door and I sprinted into my room, grabbed the old shirt and frantically searched for a place to hide it.  I finally wadded it up and stuck it behind the shoe rack in my closet.  I ran back to the door and opened it for the police.  They entered and began to question me more and search the house. 

They found the shirt and, after trial, sentenced my dad to death after five years in prison.  I was guilt-stricken, but I couldn't say my dad didn't deserve it.  Kayla K. came over to my mother and me after the verdict was handed down and handed us both fans of money.  For some reason we were getting compensated for this tragic fiasco. 

Kayla K. looked at me with stern eyes and said, "You remember why you are getting this money.  I hope you are happy."  Gulp.  I woke up shortly after this part.  I'm still slightly disturbed by this dream.  The good thing is, it wasn't my real dad in the dream, or my sisters.  I think Kayla K. was in the dream because I was just thinking yesterday about how she dropped off the face of the earth after she left ECU.  I'm sure the correlation of the dream and my dad has to do with the present state of our relationship.  Anyway, that's that.  I hope I stop with all these murder dreams -- and soon!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Apple Tart

This is a very quick, easy and yummy dessert.  I was wanting to stray away from the normal cookies that I make nearly every night after dinner.  I was really wanting something fruity, but couldn't desert dessert.  I love sweets.  So, I found this recipe, modified it a little and then indulged in this apple-y goodness. 

The recipe calls for:
2 pastry sheets
4 apples
1 c. brown sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

I used:
1 pastry sheet
2 apples
1/2 c. brown sugar
pinch of salt

I still had a lot of apples left over, so it's probably smart to only use one apple unless you want to make both sheets of the pastry.  You can find the pastry sheets, by the way, in the freezer section next to the pies.

You need to lay the pastry sheet out on a pan for about 20 minutes to let it thaw before you unfold it.  It's folded in thirds, so you can either cut it down the middle for more on the sides (like my picture) or cut it into three sections for less puff (I'll probably do that next time).

Preheat the oven to 415 degrees.  While the pastry is thawing, begin slicing the apples.  Slice them as thinly as you can without cutting your fingers.  When you do cut your finger, call your husband in the kitchen to finish.  Or just don't cut your finger.  Once all the apples are sliced, throw them in a bowl.  You can squirt lemon juice on them if you want.  I didn't.  Then add the brown sugar and salt and mix it all around gently.  Let the apple mixture sit for a few minutes to let the ingredients become friendly with each other.  Next, unfold the pastry and cut in halves or thirds.  Layer the apples in a straight line, overlapping as you go.  Pop the pan in the oven and cook for 18 to 20 minutes. 

Remove the pastries from the pan immediately and find a creative way to "style" them.  I just added sifted powdered sugar.  I think I'll mix it up tonight and top it with caramel and pecans.  The simplicity of it was so good and the apples were just perfectly tart.  The extra puff around the edges was a little too flaky for my liking, which is why I'll cut it into thirds next time. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Three Cheese (No Bake) Ziti

I ran across this recipe yesterday while trying to find inspiration for dinner.  As soon as I read it and saw the picture, I immediately started craving it.  I'm not a tomato fan, but the acidity and tartness was definitely appealing to me.  So, on my way home I stopped by the trusty old Apple Market and picked up a few things I needed to make the ziti. 

I would have taken a picture, but the pasta disappeared as soon as it came out of the oven.  Here's the picture from the person who posted the original recipe.  I have to say, though, that my pasta actually did look better than it does in this picture.

3 Garlic Cloves
3 tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 can Crushed Tomatoes
1 can Whole Tomatoes
1 lb. Ziti (I used Rigatoni)
2 tbsp. Butter
2 tbsp. Flour
1 c. Milk
1 c. Half-and-Half
1 pinch Nutmeg
1/2 c. Shredded Asiago Cheese
1/2 c. Shredded Parmesan Cheese
1 c. Sliced Fresh Mozzarella
Salt and Pepper

Put pasta water on to boil in a large pot.  In a sauce pan over medium heat, saute finely chopped garlic in olive oil.  Add crushed and whole tomatoes (break apart with your hands before adding to pan).  Add salt, pepper and basil to taste.  The recipe called for 1/2 cup of fresh basil, but I used dried basil and just sprinkled it in the tomato sauce until it looked right.  Simmer over low heat for at least 10 minutes (the longer the better). 

Add salt and pasta to boiling water and cook 8 minutes.  You want the pasta to be a tad undercooked.  While the pasta cooks, melt butter in a small pot over medium heat.  Whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Add the milk and half-and-half, or just milk if that's all you have, to create a bechamel sauce.  Add salt, pepper and nutmeg to the sauce.  Whisk until bechamel sauce thickens.  Take sauce off the heat and whisk in the asiago and parmesan cheeses. 

Drain pasta and pour the tomato-basil sauce on top.  Toss until pasta is evenly coated with sauce.  Then, pour the pasta into a greased 13x9 casserole dish.  Pour the bechamel sauce over the top of the pasta.  Top the dish off with the sliced mozzarella.  Broil the dish for 3 to 5 minutes until the cheese is brown and bubbly. 

No lie, this is the best pasta I have ever had.  That includes restaurants, too.  I didn't think anything could top my lasagna, but this is a definite contender.  Serve it up with some garlic bread and treat your taste buds to a fabulous meal.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Call Me 'Wendy the Hog Slayer'

I'm not really a hog hunter.  I'm a deer hunter that hates hogs.  They petrify me.  When I have to get out the stand and walk by myself to the truck at night, the mere thought that there may be hogs in the woods surrounding me makes me shake.  It makes me want my daddy.  I start to walk faster and faster using my iPhone as a flashlight, turning it from side to side to ward off any unwanted creatures.  The smallest noise (usually an armadillo) will make me dart off in a run until I reach a clearing.  Then I act all cool like nothing scares me.  My shaking knees tell on me, though. 

When I'm tall in an oak tree, however, nothing can touch me -- except those pesky jet-like buzzards, but that's another time and place.  Hogs can't touch me, at least.  I have all the power in my hands.  I'm sitting up high and being all sneaky so no animal sees or hears me.  When I see a deer, I'm extra careful to move slowly and not let any of my instruments clank against each other. I feel very powerful when I'm in a tall tree.  So, when a herd of hogs (is it a herd or pack or pride or gang or what?) came strolling into my corn in front of my tree, I pulled out "deer mode" and executed my motions ever so diligently. 

Again, I really hate hogs.  I wanted to take everyone of them out so I didn't have to worry about them snooping around in my "neck of the woods" anymore.  I pulled back my bow and nailed the largest hog in the bunch.  I knew I stuck it hard.  So hard, actually, that it went all the way through the hog.  I watched as it zigged and zagged through the woods and out of my sight. 

I tried to tell Tate I had gotten it so he could help me look for it.  I was not getting out of that tree and looking for a wounded and angry hog.  No sir-ee.  Tate had dropped his phone out of the stand and came to get me after he checked the message.  We had no real flashlights, so I used the flashlight app on my iPhone and Tate had a little dinky one that had been thrown in his truck.  Of course, Tate was frustrated that I hadn't already found the hog before it got dark. Again, I was not looking for a wounded hog in the thick of the woods by myself.  Not happening. 

Tate, like his dad, doubles as a blood hound.  Seriously, it's amazing.  He can spot the tiniest drop of blood on the underside of a leaf like no one else can.  It's why I love him.  I followed a foot behind Tate as he crawled on all-fours spotting blood and calling it out.  After a time, we came to an impass.  Tate couldn't find anymore blood and I was charged to sit there and keep an eye on the last blood that he spotted.  He finally walked off to find anymore traces of blood.  As we traipsed across the crispy leaf-covered ground, I shined my flashlight behind where he had been standing.  I just chuckled and said, "There it is."

"More blood?" he asked. 

"The hog," I smiled.  He just laughed and said that he felt like an idiot for standing there for so long and never looking behind him.  To his credit, it was up against a tree in a thorny vine patch. 

Tate gutted the hog on the spot.  That was DISGUSTING.  Not only were the inerds pretty disturbing, the smell was awful.  Hellacious.  That was the first animal I have ever been forced to watch be gutted.  I was forced because I had to hold the legs.  Gag. 

That's the hog story.  I hope the next story is about the monster buck I let go.

Easiest Ever Peanut Butter Cookies

This past week was Fall Break and I spended some much needed time at home cleaning and lounging around and not doing a whole lot of anything.  Come Friday afternoon, I was starting to get the baking bug.  Tate has been on a diet and refused to let me bake or even cook a normal meal.  All we have eaten the past three weeks is talapia and grilled chicken salad.  Anyway, I decided was going to make some sugar cookies, but didn't have enough flour or sugar.  What has happened to me that I didn't even stock up?  I always have an abundance of all kinds of flour and sugar!  I scoured my cookbooks looking for a tasty recipe that didn't call for anymore than two cups of flour or one cup of sugar.  Finally, I came across this recipe for peanut butter cookies.  Peanut butter cookies were always my favorite growing up, but they got pushed aside when I discovered snickerdoodles and oatmeal crispies.  This recipe, unlike any other I had ever tried, only called for three ingredients.  THREE INGREDIENTS!  I must admit, I was skeptical.  The recipe didn't even call for flour.  So, of course I had to try it out.  Prepare to have your socks blown off.

1 egg
1 cup sugar
1 cup peanut butter

*** The recipe called for creamy peanut butter, but I used crunchy.  It's the rebel in me.  And the fact that I don't own creamy peanut butter. 

Basically, you dump all the ingredients in a big bowl and mix 'em up.  Use a spoon or cookie scoop to drop them on the baking sheet and then do the signature fork thingy to press them down. Pop them in the oven and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 18 minutes.

Warning: these cookies are addicting.  They are not chewy, but instead ultra crumbly and melt-in-your-mouth lip lickin' good.  If you are lucky like me, your husband doesn't care for peanut butter cookies and you get to have most of them all to yourself.  That's until your mother comes over and sneaks the rest of them.  But, that's another story. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Breakfast Pizza

As you'll recall from my BBQ Chicken Pizza recipe, the dough makes two crusts.  I'm always trying to come up with new pizza recipes to try out.  So a week or two ago I made some dough and started to pick my brain for an idea.  I looked in the fridge and found some Blue & Gold sausage and some Real Bacon Bits for salad.  I covered the pizza dough with a small amount of pizza sauce and a lot of fresh mozzarella.  I browned up the sausage and piled it on the pizza.  I mean piled.  I'm not even a huge fan of sausage, but I held nothing back.  Then I sprinkled on the bacon.  Mind you, these are not normal crusty bacon bits, these are real pieces of bacon just like you would fry up and cut.  I popped the very heaviliy ornamented pizza in the oven for about 12 minutes until it was absolutely perfect.  When I took the pizza out, I sprinkled on some parsley and ground parmesan and then served it up.  The first bite was pure delight, as was each bite after.  This was by far my favorite pizza.  Tate named it breakfast pizza.  I tried it for breakfast the next day.  It was still delicious. 

The next night I made a normal pepperoni pizza.  It was pretty good, but not as fun.  I'm still looking for new pizza ideas, so if you have any, let me know!