Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Puppy Chow Cookies

 Have you had these babies yet??  Holy smokes.  Talk about heaven!  This recipe first came up in discussion a couple of weeks ago when a friend said her daughter made them.  We were like...whoa...what??  The next night, my friend Jen brought over a platter she made.  I then made a platter the next day for family coming for dinner. Kind of like a domino of puppy chow goodness! 

Super easy.  Super delish.  You should totally try these.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Ranch Tortillas

This is the easiest appy recipe evaaaa.  It's a huge hit when I bring it places.  I can seriously eat an entire batch of these if nobody is looking!  Stop looking at me so I can finish these off.  :)

1 pkg. flour tortillas.  It doesn't matter what size, but I use the regular size.
1/2 c. butter (1 stick) - softened
1 pkg. Hidden Valley Ranch Dip Mix
Sesame Seeds

  • Preheat oven to 350 F.
  • Combine ranch dip mix with softened butter.
  • Spread ranch butter on tortilla.
  • Cut into triangles.  I used a pizza cutter. 
  • Arrange on baking sheet.  I use pre-cut parchment sheets for less clean-up.
  • Sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake for 5-7 min or just until they begin to turn a golden color.  Let cool or you will burn your tongue.  Trust me, I know.

Bacon Avocado Salad. Yes, it's as good as it sounds!

This one was a keeper!  I mean, bacon anything is a keeper, no?  Another Pinterest find.  Sorry, I only have one pic.  While I can drool all I want at those bloggers who take a photo of every single step of a recipe, I don't have that kind of patience.  Who am I kidding?  I have the short term memory/attention span of a goldfish.  I'm 3/4 of the way through the recipe before I even remember that I wanted to do a step-by-step picture to begin with.

Bacon Avocado Cucumber Salad with Bacon Dripping Dressing

Above is the recipe, but it's basically tomatoes, cukes, bacon, avocado, cilantro mixed together with a couple of tablespoons of bacon drippings. Add some salt & pepper and you've gone to heaven!


Happy July 4th!

I adore July 4th!  It was my mom's favorite holiday.  Every July 4th morning at 6AM, my mom would put our big, giant speakers in the windows and put on her John Philip Sousa album as loud as it would go.  "Stars and Stripes Forever" echoed throughout our neighborhood and while I was mortified at the time, it's one of my favorite childhood memories.  Growing up in Dolton, we had a huge...HUGE, I tell you parade, carnival, fireworks extravaganza every year and it was all within a block of my house.  We had a big, honkin' party each year and those memories are near and dear to my heart. 

Growing up, The Carnival was THE social event of the season.  We would flock to good ole' River Oaks mall and carefully choose a new outfit for each night.  We were so BA in our new parachute pants and Def Lepard t-shirts and fresh perms (remember...this was the mid-80's).  It was so awesome.  I miss those days.

The last couple of years, Homewood Baseball & Softball has had a float in the Homewood July 4th parade.  Move over Disney...I'm thinking a parade float may be my "happiest place on earth"!  My friend Andrea and I run the show for anything social/PR for Homewood Baseball, so the float was our gig. Super fun!
Our super-fab July 4th float!

And since we're talking about 4th of July, check out these cuties I made!  Pinterest, of course!

Estherfest 2012 - Best Summer Highlight!

Great-Grandma Esther
If you know me, you've heard me refer to Estherfest.  Estherfest is the annual Calomino Family reunion, named after my husband's great grandma Esther.  When she passed away 27 or so years ago, the family decided to honor her legacy by continuing to gather each year in her name.  This year was our 26th year!  Even though I am not one of Esther's direct descendants, I have been to at least 20 Estherfests. 

Like all families, we have our traditions.  Each year there is a king and a queen.  Trust me, it's a highly coveted honor to be named King or Queen of the Estherfest.  When it began, the "elders" (Esther's children) all decided in advance on a king and queen.  They would have t-shirts made and the lucky person's name would be on the back (hidden until the last moment).  Someone would begin chanting..."We want a king...we want a king...we want a king".  Before you knew it, all of us are gathered 'round and are wildly chanting.  After fake drum roll, one of the aunts would flip the t-shirt around and reveal who the king was.  Madness ensues and everyone goes nuts.  Then the queen chants begin..."We want a queen...we want a queen".  You get it...

So after the king and queen are announced, they are crowned and given a whole pile of tacky fake flowers and a sash.  They promenade around the pavilion and the whole family follows in line.  It's too much fun!

The elders are getting "more elder" these days and now the names are basically picked out of a paper bag on-site.  However, it's still a pretty big deal for us older "kids" who have watched the crown pass from family member to family member each year to wait in anticipation for our name to be called.

You know where this is going..right????


Cousin Bobby was the king and to be honest, if I could pick any family member to be my Esterfest King, it would totally be Bobby!  It was our year!!!!  We were so freaking excited!  Neither of us would give up our crown/tiara.  I wore it proudly all day and night. Hell, I even considered wearing it to bed!
Royalty :)

Summer Fun!

What a summer!  It's been so much fun! While we are winding down, I thought I would just touch on some of the fun things we've done this summer!  It breaks my heart to head back to school two weeks from today.  However, I am blessed to have a job, let alone one that I love.  No complaints from me!  I plan to pack every last minute of my last two weeks off with non-stop fun!


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Back to school...

I go back to school tomorrow after being off for the Easter holiday and Spring Break.  While I most definitely didn't get everything I wanted to accomplish checked off of my list, it was a productive break!

On the upside...only 34 more days left of school, per my favorite school bud.

Lots to do this week!  Opening Day is Saturday!  

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Dinner Tonight - Pioneer Woman Meatloaf

I've been pretty good lately about trying new recipes, etc. Tonight I tried the Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf. Thumbs up! The only thing I did differently was use leftover cheesy garlic biscuits from Easter. I'm out of bread!

    1 cup Whole Milk
    6 slices White Bread
    2 pounds Ground Beef
    1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
    1/4 teaspoon Seasoned Salt
    3/4 teaspoons Salt
    Freshly Ground Black Pepper
    1/3 cup Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
    4 whole Eggs Beaten
    10 slices Thin/regular Bacon
    1-1/2 cup Ketchup
    1/3 cup Brown Sugar
    1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
    Tabasco To Taste


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Serving Size: 8

Number of Servings: 8

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Review - Good Life Cafe

I had lunch with my chicas Tuesday at the newly opened Good Life Cafe'. It's nestled between Ridgewood Tap and Twisted Q on Ridge Road. It was a winner!

As soon as I walked in, I was welcomed from behind the counter. It's fresh and has a fun menu full of dishes that are named after special people close to the cafe'.

OK, and this is kind of geeky, but I felt sorta fancy with the glasses our drinks were served in. While they have a wide variety of libations, I hit the hard stuff out of the gate....Diet Pepsi! Come on, I'm on Spring Break! I'm allowed to live a little, right? Anyhooo, the glass reminded me of the ones we used in my house growing up.

Even geeky-er...it was good ice! I'm a dork, I know. Fancy glasses and good ice??? I'm in love!

Two of us had the Spinach Salad with strawberries, pecans and a raspberry vinaigrette. Oh yeah, it had bleu cheese crumbles as well, but I tend to avoid bleu cheese at any cost. I try, really...but GAG! My other friend had the Spicy Chipotle Turkey Wrap. It was a nice size, but wasn't ginormous and awkward to handle. She gave it a thumbs up!

We talked to the Assistant Manager, Christina for a bit and she told us about all the fun things they have going on. The 3rd Sunday of the month, they have a wine tasting! Sounds like fun to me!

They're open early for the breakfast crowd and there was some decent seating. One of the things that caught my attention was the sandwich special they have. It's a half sandwich, drink and a bag of chips for $5. I immediately thought of beach days. I'm not a huge Subway fan and Jimmy Johns (Vito...YUMMMM!!) isn't typically open when we trek out to the beach in the morning. Guess where I'm picking my lunch from?? You guessed it!

So...give the place a try! It's definitely a fun place to grab lunch or a light dinner with friends!

The Good Life Cafe'

Harden Family Fire Fund

On April 9th, the Harden family lost everything when their home caught fire on the corner of 191st & Center Ave. Many of you know the Hardens because of their involvement in the community. Calvin Harden has been the president of Homewood Baseball & Softball Leagues for the past two years and gives countless hours to the organization and children in our community. The Hardens are also very involved in the music program in District 153.

The Harden Family Fire Fund has been established at Chase Bank (183rd & Dixie) and is accepting monetary donations at this time. You can also donate to the account via PayPal. If you would like to help, please use the link below or stop in at Chase Bank.