Friday, April 29, 2011

Too much left over Corned Beef?

Make a pot pie!  I did, and it was yummy...even on the 3rd night I made Kam eat it! I was lazy and used store bought pie crust, it happens.  I actually don't have a rolling pin, which now that I'm thinking back to last time my mom and I went antiquing and she tried to convince me to buy a vintage rolling pin, I should have taken her advice.  Store bought it is!  This was actually my first pot pie, and I made one error in judgement, which I will correct in the recipe below, but it turned out very, lets say, comforting!  I made sure to serve it with a pile of salad and steamed veggies!

What you'll need:

about 2 cups cooked chunked corn beef
2 carrots diced
2 yukon potatoes diced (about a cup and a half)
1 cup onion diced
5 mushrooms sliced
3 cups chopped cabbage
1 egg white
1 packet mushroom gravy, made to package instructions (I only used 1/2 a packet, thats where I went wrong! Needed just a little extra juice)
1 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 store bought pie crust (if your lazy like me, or make your own)

Pre-heat oven to 375. You'll need 2 frying pans.  In a larger one add 2 tablespoons oil and heat over medium high.  Add onion, potato, and carrot and spread into an even layer.  Let sit for about 4 minutes.  In the other pan, add remaining oil, heat over medium and add cabbage, salt and pepper.  Once your onions and potatoes begin to brown, add meat, spread evenly again, and let sit for a few more minutes.  Continue to fry each pan until cabbage has cooked down about half way (about 6 to 8 minutes) add mushrooms.  Fry each pan for another 5 minutes, turning every minute or so until everything is cooked and nice and brown. Add cabbage mixture to potato/meat.  Mix until well combined.  Make gravy according to package.  Lay one pie crust into pie plate.  Add meat/cabbage into pie crust.  Pour gravy over meat/cabbage.  Lay 2nd pie crust over top and fold excess top layer back and press the two dough layers with fingers around the edge to form the crust.  Brush top with egg white.  Bake for 20 minutes or until crust is golden brown.  You may want to check a few minutes before timer to make sure its not getting too brown, my oven is a little weird.

If you want to be a rebel, serve with mashed potatoes or something starchy and delicious.  The pie was enough heavenly guilt food for me.  I loved it as much the 3rd night as the 1st. And I still have another chunk of corned beef left.  I froze it.  That meat is so salty and delicious, a little goes a long way.  The piece I cooked up wasn't that large either, you can really stretch it!  Enjoy!

Fortune Friday

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


This post will be the "to be continued" from my very first on January 7th (if you've read that far back). I started this blog thing with no expectations.  I knew that I wasn't going to tell anyone, even Kam for a little while, that I was trying out blogging.  Before I was going to tell anyone, I wanted to have a good variety and number of posts built up, so I was going to be my own critic for a while.  I wanted to blog about things that could be useful to people, not so much about me, myself and I.  I had to see if I would I have enough ideas and time to post something new and interesting 3 or 4 days a week.  My plan was to cook and craft.  If I was any good at either of these things, or should I say, if what I created was interesting enough for people to want to read about, then I would begin to let people in on my little secret.

Eventually, Kam became my first real critic.  After not to long he started bugging me to show people.  He even started telling me that if I didn't show someone, he was going to, which made me feel pretty good about the whole thing.  After a few weeks of that, I finally told my ginny pig Mandee Jo.  Then my mom, Kam's family and a few more people.  Good reviews all around.  I had read a post about "10 things I wish I knew about blogging" and the one that stuck out was about how at some point every blogger hates their blog.  Like delete it now kind of hate.  You will go through the feeling that you are wasting your time, and why would anyone want to spend their time reading this stuff.  No matter what, you will feel this way a some point. After reading that I thought to myself, I don't think I will feel that way.  People seem to really enjoy what I have to share, and I was super careful about how I felt about it before I even shared with anyone.  So, the post said to step away for a few days and refrain from that Delete button.  You will come back around.  So, sure enough, it hit me.  And I took the advice from the seasoned blogger, stepped away and came back refreshed.

So what am I rambling about?  I finally hit 50 posts.  I was really surprised it had already been that many.  And I am really enjoying this whole thing.  So, I made a commitment.  Don't get your dress dirty is officially a dot com.  I bought the domain name last night.  So for any of you that are enjoying Brenna's variety show (Mom and Mandee) then your in luck, starting April 26th, I will be blogging for one year (not counting the 5 months that have already gone by).  I'm still not sure where it will go, and I hope I can keep it interesting.  Feel free to share with anyone if you'd like!  We are now

Wish me luck!  Once again, to be continued...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Strawberry Gelato

It's becoming strawberry and blueberry season.  In my world, those are two different food groups that must be consumed in large quantities during the summer months or else certain death.  Its a rough life, but tolerable.  So Costco has the larger flats of strawberries in now, so I bought one of course!  Naturally the next thing to do was make ice cream, or gelato.  I actually made it 2 weeks ago, and never got around to posting it.  Then last night Kam looked at me as I was walking into the kitchen and told me to whip some up....riiiiight.  I'll just quickly throw that together for ya babe!

What you'll need:

3 cups whole milk
3/4 cup sugar (divided 1/2 and 1/4)
2 egg yokes
1 1/2 tablespoon corn starch
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups chopped strawberries 
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

In a food processor or blender add strawberries, 1/4 cup sugar and lemon juice. Coarsely chop strawberries until you have about 1 1/2 cups.  Set aside.

Heat milk to a simmer.  In another bowl, whisk your egg yolks and sugar together until well combined.  Add cornstarch and salt.  Whisk until sugar/egg is no longer clumpy.  It will be a little dry, but if you use a whisk, it will combine.  Slowly add half of your simmering milk whisking continuously.

Slowly return mixture back into saucepan, whisking until all is combined.  Turn heat up to medium and switch to a wooden spoon.  You do not want it to boil so you may have to adjust your heat a time or two.  Keep stirring until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of spoon, 4-5 minutes.  (If it gets too hot, the egg will begin to cook.)

Pour mixture through strainer into a bowl that will fit into a second bowl for an ice bath. Add strawberries and vanilla and whisk one final time.  Transfer bowl into large bowl with ice and water and leave until mixture is cool.  About 45 minutes.  Give it a quick stir every so often to keep a film from forming on top.  Once cool, lay a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the mixture.  Store in the fridge over night before adding to your ice cream maker.

I had a strawberry sauce that I had made for pancakes and stored the leftovers in the freezer a while back.  I thawed it out and we had that over our gelato.  Here is the recipe for that if you are interested, but the gelato is perfectly yummy without it!

Strawberry Sauce - (You may want to half this if you don't want a ton of left overs. Sorry, no process pictures.)

What you'll need:

5 cups crushed or chopped strawberries
1 1/2 cups water (divided)
1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup corn syrup
1 tbsp lemon juice

Add strawberries, half of the water, and lemon zest into a medium pan and heat to boil.  Boil for 5 minutes.  Dissolve sugar in remaining water.  Remove strawberries from heat and mix in sugar water, lemon juice, and corn syrup.  Return to a boil and boil for another 5 minutes, stirring fairly often.  Allow to cool and serve with whatever your heart desires!  

Thank you Costco and California!

Not quite there....

The gelato was super light and creamy on its own, the sauce gave it an extra punch. I find the gelato be best after you remove it from the ice cream maker and freeze it for about 2 hours.  Its hard at this point but not too hard to scoop.  The next day, you may have to let it sit on the counter for about 10 minutes before serving.  Enjoy!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Corned Beef and Cabbage Grilled Pizza

Oh yes.  So good.  It was our Easter dinner.  More of a St. Patty's day thing, but I had 2 corned beefs in the freeze and no ham, so we went with it.  I have never made pizza dough before, and certainly never grilled it.  But all turned out better than I could have expected!

What you'll need:

1 cup mozzarella
1 cup Monterey Jack cheese

For the Corned beef:  (Cook however you'd like, this is how I make mine)
1 corned beef (1 cup cooked for the pizza)
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1 tablespoon pickling spice (or just use the packet that comes the the meat)
2 tablespoons dijon mustard
1 teaspoon cracked pepper

Mix everything together and pour over the top of the meat.  Turn your crock pot on high and let cook for 5 hours.  Once done, remove and let rest until cool enough handle.  I like to remove all fat from the meat at this point, and scrape off most of the pickling spice.  Shred up about a cup of the meat for the pizza and freeze or put the remaining of the meat in the fridge. You will have lots of left overs.

Cabbage and Potatoes

1 medium yellow potato (baseball-ish size, maybe a little smaller)
1/2 cup vinegar (cider or white, I used white)
1/2 +1/4 cup water
1/4 head cabbage
2 tablespoon olive oil divided
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons pepper (fresh cracked is always best!)

Wash and slice potato in about 1/8 inch rounds.  Add 1/2 cup water and vinegar into a small pan and bring to a boil.  Add potatoes and turn down to a simmer.  Let simmer for 15 minutes.  Drain water/vinegar and toss in 1 teaspoon olive oil.  Heat oven to 350.  Lay potatoes onto a cookie sheet (I covered mine with tin foil).  Make sure they are well oiled so they won't stick.  Bake for 20 minutes flipping half way.  The smaller pieces from the sides might get a little too crispy, just eat those.  You'll want the bigger rounds for the pizza. Set aside

Slice cabbage into thick slices then cut in half.  Heat other tablespoon oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add cabbage, salt and pepper and saute until starting to look translucent.  Add 1/4 cup water, reduce heat to low and cover.  Let cook, stirring occasionally for about 15 minutes.  Water should be evaporated and cabbage should be very tender.

For the dough
1 packet dry active yeast or 1 1/2 tablespoons
1 cup warm water
4 cups flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons of olive oil
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (oh yes!)

In a larger bowl stir together sugar and warm water and sprinkle yeast over top.  Let sit for 10 minutes.  Add oil, salt, vinegar and 2 cups of the flour and mix until well combined and not lumpy.  Add remaining 2 cups flour and begin to kneed.  It will seem too dry, but just keep working it with your hands.  Remove from bowl and kneed on the counter for about 2 minutes.  Place dough ball into a greased bowl (I just used olive oil cooking spray) and cover.  Allow to rise for 90 minutes.  Dough will double in size.  Once doubled, punch center (best part!). Divide into 3 parts and form into balls. If you want a larger pizza divide into 2.  Roll and stretch dough into desired thickness.  Mine was about 10".  You can wrap the dough in cling wrap and freeze the extra for another day.

OK finally, for your pizza.  Heat your bbq on high until grill is nice and hot.  You will want all pizza toppings ready at the bbq.  Brush one side of dough  with olive oil and place oil side down on hot grill.  Turn heat down slightly and grill pizza, checking about every minute and rotate once until nice brown spots start to appear and dough starts to puff.  Oil the top side and flip.  Turn off grill on one side if you can or move pizza is it slightly out of the heat.  Top with mozzarella, cabbage, potato, meat then monterey jack cheese.  Close lid and allow cheese to melt.  Keep your eye on crust.  If cheese is melted and dough isn't quite done enough, move back onto heat for another minute. Should take about 3 minutes on each side.  Be sure to keep checking because you don't want burnt crust!!!

Getting puffy.

I put cheese down first, directions say to put half on top, which would be better.

"Drop something already!!"

It was such a beautiful day!  This is our back yard, cleaned up for once from 1000 dog toys!


Crust was wonderful.  It was really comparable to the fire grilled pizzas you get at restaurants.  We are already planning what to make with the other 2 dough balls in the freezer!!  If you make this, please invite me over for dinner! Enjoy!

Paper "__________" Decorations

I put the "________" because I for the life of me could not think of what to call these.  They aren't stars...any ideas?  I made them a long time ago, and love them.  Everyone who comes to visit always complements me on them.  They are so so so easy to create, and are so fun to hang over your bed or kids bed or anywhere.  I love at night when the lights are off and the shadow they cast from the clock light.

What you'll need:
Around 12 sheets scrap booking paper.  ( Try and get the double sided paper, with designs on both sides.  Also, pick lots of different patterns and colors. The more the merrier!!)
Cutting surface
Exact-o knife
String or Fishing Line

For each "_________" measure the height of your paper.  (My scrap book paper was 12") Cut 2 strips for the outside layer, about 1 1/2 to 2 inches wide and the full length of the paper long.  Then pick a different sheet of paper and cut 2 more strips the same width but minus 2 inches off the length, so my second strips were 10".  Then either use the same paper as the first strips or pick a new color and cut 2 more strips at 8".  One more time at 6".  You should have 2 of each size and 4 total lengths.  For the center strip, glue the two pieces together so the same pattern is showing on each side.  This will also give you a stronger base.

Once you have all your strips cut, I cut enough for 8 "________",  grab 2 of each length and stack them from longest to shortest and back to longest.  So one 12" one 10" down to the glued 6" then back to 12".  Make sure your pay attention to the color.  The bottom half you will want your outside color facing down, then after the 6" glued strip, you want the outside color facing up.  Now tap all the pieces so they are flush on on one side and staple them all together.  For the other side, pinch the end of the 6" strip between your thumb and pointer finger.  One at a time grab each strip and line up with the end of the 6" strip.  You should have each strip pinched between your fingers and they should all be flush like the other side.  Put a staple through this end.  Done!  You should now have your first "_________"! Now do that with the rest of your strips until you have as many as you want!

This is why you want double sided paper

Above our bed.

I love them, I hope you love them lots!