Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fireplace Doors Make Over

Have I ever told you all how much I hate my fireplace?  No, well I do!
I hate the brick, I hate the height of the hearth, and
I hate my fireplace doors/screens.
Since I still (after 20 years) am not ready to do anything with the brick, I decided to paint the dated brass doors.

So I threw an old sheet down on the driveway, grabbed some newspaper and that blue painters tape and went to work covering all the glass.

Then I spray painted it with a hammered black. I had not spray painted in years and actually had fun doing this!

The before.....

And after...

Here's the finished look. (took all of one hour of my time) I'm still not loving it, but everyone says it looks better.
Its really hard to get a good photo of this.
At night it's just darker, but in the day time I am just getting way too much glare.

I would love any ideas anyone has for the brick.  Right now I'm leaning towards doing a form of white washing, like shown in this blog tutorial at All Things Heart and Home

instead of blue using a sage green with a cream.  This would take a lot of guts on my part as I've always been afraid to paint brick as it's just so permanent.  Another thought it to just paint it a soft beige sort of like this....

I don't remember where I found this photo (do you just love the softness of this room?), so if you are the blog owner that
originally posted it, be sure to pipe up in the comments section! :)

I would love to gather some different ideas from all of you, anything....just feel free to throw it out there.  I'm even wondering if I should repaint the doors something a little lighter.   I would actually get rid of them altogether if not for the very hot heat that comes out of this gas fireplace. I think if I did remove the doors, I would have to get some sort of "heat" block installed below the mantel and I'm not sure if I'm diggen on that idea either.

I hope everyone is having a wonderful week!
I had my interview/meeting with the head of the school that I recently enrolled Jack in, and I expect to hear back from them pretty soon.
His big screening day is next week!   You think I can get away with bringing a camera? ;)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Morning Yummy-ness

Remember all that frozen bread dough I brought home when we closed the Cafe'? Well these little frozen loafs of bread dough were taking up way too much space in my small side by side freezer, so I took three of these out last night to thaw for some Sunday morning adventures! (three more to go!)

Not that you are going to want to deliberately recreate these because honestly, biscuit dough taste much better as a donut, but I thought I would share them anyway in case you ever find yourself with a ton of bread dough with nothing to do with it!

Since I'm really not a baker, I don't have any of the right tools, so I improvised. I used a glass to cut out the donuts and a shot glass to cut out the center hole.

Then fry them in hot oil. I took them from the oil to paper towels and then threw them in a large
freezer bag filled with powder sugar. I didn't think to use cinnamon sugar until near the end.
The ones with the cinnamon sugar where the best by far!

We reserved a few and slathered them with hot fudge. Yes, these were to die for, but way too rich
for a morning treat! Jack is the chocolate donut eater  and he doesn't know what rich means.
I tried to explain it but just couldn't get him past the concept that rich did not always mean gold! :)

Yep, Sunday Morning yummy-nees!
Hope everyone is having a wonderful weekend!  Heat and all!

Friday, July 23, 2010

As Promised...Mini Meatball Sandwiches

A day late but here is the main course we had with the picked from the garden cucumbers!  When I first saw this recipe on the Pioneer Woman's website, it brought back a memory of going to an Italian festival of sorts in South St. Louis when I was about 19.  I was invited into a local Italian family's kitchen and there on the stove was simmering a huge pot of meatballs. Everyone was just loading these meatballs up on hoagie bread and was it ever delicious!  This thought caused me to go in that direction with this recipe.

They didn't photograph great, but were wonderful all the same!  I'm still working on this food photography stuff, so thanks for bearing with me!

Jim and Jack loved them and I hope you do as well!  I'll let you know up front that the only changes I made with this recipe was to add Italian Seasoning to the meatball mixture and to use little mini loaf breads instead of dollar rolls.

Gather your ingredients....

In a large bowl, put in your ground beef, bread crumbs, garlic, Italian Seasoning, salt, pepper and milk

Mix that all together until it is well blended then form into small little meatballs, heaping tablespoon sized

Next, chop your onion up small and put it in the pan with the olive oil heated over medium heat, cook for about a minute.

Here is where I detoured from the original recipe. I put all the meatballs in the pan at once to cook.
I didn't see any reason to cook them a few at a time and they turned out fine.

When the meatballs are done, add your can/jar of Marinara sauce.  I never buy prepared sauce but I happened to
pick up 2 cans for $3 recently and since I wanted this to be fast and easy, that's what I went with.

Being careful while stirring the sauce so as not to break up your meatballs, then cover and simmer for about 20 minutes.

While the meatballs were simmering, I put the rolls in the over for a few minutes just to toast them
up a bit and then sliced them in half.

Cut your provolone into pieces that will fit your bread, putting one slice on the bottom and another on top of your meatballs.
You can put one meatball or two on each sandwich, depending on just how messy you want to get while eating.
Just to forewarn you, these were very messy!

So there you go! Simple, fast and yummy (all be it MESSY) summertime dinner!

Recipe: Mini Meatball Sandwiches


  • 1 pound Ground Chuck Or Ground Beef

  • ½ cups Panko Or Other Bread Crumbs

  • 1 clove Garlic, Minced

  • ½ teaspoons Salt

  • Freshly Ground Black Pepper

  • ½ cups Milk

  • 2 Tablespoons Olive Oil

  • ½ whole Medium Onion, Diced

  • 1 jar (large) Marinara Sauce

  • 12 whole Dinner Rolls

  • 4 slices Provolone Cheese, Cut Into Four Wedges Each


  1. Mix meat with bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, and milk.

  2. Knead together with hands.

  3. Roll into heaping tablespoon-sized rolls.

  4. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and cook for one minute.

  5. Add meatballs between the onions and brown for one minute. (You might have to do this in two batches, depending on the size of your skillet.)

  6. Pour in jar of marinara; shake pan gently to mix. Put on lid and allow to simmer for 20 minutes.

  7. When ready to serve, cut each dinner roll in half. Place a wedge of Provolone on the top and bottom of each roll. Spoon a meatball with the sauce onto the bottom bun; top with the top bun.

Quick Notes

I added 1 Tbs. of Italian Seasoning and used Italian rolls. I cooked the meatballs all at once using the whole pan, and they turned out fine.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Cucumbers are in!

Jack and I have been watching the garden...checking it daily, yet these managed to mature without us ever noticing them doing it!

Cucumbers are funny that way....

The carrots aren't working out so well...*g*

So we sliced them up....

And tossed them with some onions, fresh tomato's, red wine vinegar, salt,  pepper and had a delicious, fresh from the garden salad!  I've decided that next year we are going to make a real garden. I've really enjoyed eating things that we have grown and knowing exactly where the food comes from along with what's been put on it! It's very satisfying and well worth the effort.

I'll post the main course tomorrow!  I got adventurous and made one of the Pioneer Woman's recent recipes! (changing it up a bit of course!)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Choosing a School for Jack

Monday I submitted an application and yesterday I toured a school that I am very much hoping that Jack will be attending this fall.

If you told me two weeks ago that I would be enrolling Jack into a private school, I would have told you that you were crazy!  I don't know where my head has been, though I suspect it has something to do with not realizing how much time is passing and how this last child of mine is growing up.

The four children that I have already raised, all went to Parochial Schools and then Private High Schools.  After years on end of driving to all these different schools, car pooling and what not I was just SO done!

When Jack was born , my plan was not to go that route.  I was going to put him on a bus at the corner and have the easy life, and I guess that's what hit me last week.  I was making important decisions for Jack  based on me not having to drive him to school every day.  I wasn't doing what "I" thought was best for him, I was doing what I thought was best and easiest for me.  It took a conversation with one of my daughter in laws to jostle me out of this fog!

This is one of the hardest things I've found with having another child after having already gone through all of these things.  You have the advantage/disadvantage of hind sight.  You can say to yourself, did this thing I did with my children really matter?  Did it have an effect on who they became and are they better for it?  Of course, you don't really have that answer, since this isn't a movie like "Sliding Doors" where you can see two parallel Universes with different life altering decisions played out side by side.  So I ask questions.   I talked to my daughter who went to a Sacred Heart High School and knows many people who went to this very school I am enrolling Jack in.  I respect her and her thoughts and knowledge on the subject and my talks with her were probably the most influential.

I also talked with a neighbor who's children went to this school, just to get her "hind site" as well.  So decision made.  It's not easy making life altering decisions for my children, but I guess that's my job. I just hope it's a good decision for him.  I still have an interview to do with the Head of School, and then Jack will have a screening on Aug. 4th.  Since he just turned 5 in May, and Missouri's cut of date is July 1, (the earliest in the country) I'm having him screened for Pre-K as this is where I think he should start unless the screening shows otherwise.

Just as a mention...I'm a bit dramatic about these sort of decisions, things other people never give a second thought to. I never want to imply that I think one choice is better than another. The things I write about here are just what's important to me and in no way a blanket view of the world or what I think other people should do. I love the fact that we all do have choices though.

I would like to write more about this school in the future.  The incredible history, the scent of old books and old takes me back to a simpler time of losing my own self  in an old library as a child.  I wish I had gone to this school....

Sunday, July 11, 2010

And Then There Were Three

Something about a new family coming to be, always warms my heart.  My step son and his wife just welcomed into the world a beautiful...



Baby Boy!

Carmine Robert ~ 9 lbs. 15 oz.'s ~ 22 1/2 inches

And Jack with his newest Nephew! ;)

Can life get any sweeter than this?

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tuna with Roasted Cipolline Onions

This is my most favorite recipe of all times!  I've always had the best of luck with recipes I've tried from Giada De Laurentiis and this is no exception!  This dish isn't looking pretty in my pictures but I assure you the flavor is incredible, restaurant worthy even!  And it could be prettier for the camera if I took the onions out of the oven earlier, therefor making the sauce thinner rather than a glaze as I prefer it.  Taste of course wins over pretty!

As usual I do make some changes, but mostly in amounts of ingredients that I use. I'll post the recipe as is and leave you my notes of what I change for myself.

Pre heat the oven to  450 degrees.  Gather your ingredients and then bring a pot of water to boil.  Add the onions, cook for 2 minutes then drain and cool.

Cut off the root end of the onion and peel.

Now to the onions in their baking dish add the vinegar, oil, salt and pepper and mix together.

Roast on the lowest shelf of your oven until the onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally, 45mins. to an hour. The longer you roast these, the thicker the glaze will be.  About 3o minutes before your onions will be done roasting,   mix the 1/3 cup oil, lemon juice, thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in another  dish.

Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat.  Let stand for 5 minutes on each side.

Sadly, I used up all of my fresh thyme over the holidays and had to use dried. This was not a good substitute, you really want fresh thyme for this dish.

Oil the rack and set the grill for medium-high heat. Grill the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium.

Spoon the onion mixture over the steaks and serve!

Ok so here are my changes.  First off and most important to note, I double the recipe for the balsamic reduction and only use an 8 oz. bag of these onions, which is perfect for the three of us and would actually make 2 adult and 2 children size servings using only 3 Tuna Steaks.  You may also substitute pearl onions or red onions, heck probably any onion!  As I said earlier, we love this reduction so we really pile it on!  This balsamic reduction with the onions would also be delicious served over other fish, or most any other Meat.  Be sure to stir the onions often, I do it about every 15 mins.   This will really let you get a feel for how thick the sauce is getting so you can remove them when it hits your desired consistency.

I'm sorry I didn't get better pictures of the finished product, but I promise you that if you try this dish you won't be disappointed.  You'll probably make adjustments as I have but won't be disappointed.  I call this company fare because it taste like something you would get at a fine dining establishment.  And even though it seems like it could be a bit pricey, it's way cheaper than ordering a pizza! With that in is the original recipe for you to tweek to your hearts content!

Recipe: Tuna with Roasted Cipolline Onions

Recipe adopted from Giada De Laurentiis


  • 2 pounds cipolline onions
    2/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    1 tablespoon plus 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
    1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus more for seasoning
    3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
    2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
    6 (6-ounce) tuna steaks (about 1-inch thick)


  1. Bring a large pot of water to boil. Add the onions and cook for 2 minutes. Drain and cool. Peel the onions and cut off the root ends.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

  3. Toss the onions, vinegar, 1 tablespoon oil, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a 13 by 9-inch baking dish. Roast in the oven until the onions are tender and golden, stirring occasionally, about 1 hour.

  4. Meanwhile, whisk the 1/3 cup oil, lemon juice, thyme, and remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in another 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Place the tuna steaks in the marinade and turn to coat. Let stand for 5 minutes on each side.

  5. Oil the grill rack and prepare the barbecue for medium-high heat. Grill the steaks to desired doneness, about 3 minutes per side for medium. Cut the steaks in half. Transfer the steaks to a platter. Spoon the onion mixture around and serve.

Quick Notes

Keep in mind, this doesn't make nearly enough sauce for 6 Tuna Steaks. It barely makes enough for 3, so adjust accordingly.

Microformatting by hRecipe.

Monday, July 5, 2010

How did you Celebrate?

I'm tired...Jack gets over stimulated or something when we have large gatherings and through out the night has something akin to night terrors, but not quite.  Lots of yelling in his sleep and sitting straight up in bed.   We finally just put him in bed with us around 4am.

The trash pick up folks decided today was not a holiday and made their rounds, much to the chagrin of the entire street!  Therefor our phone rang at 7:23 (am) with an all out alert "the trash man is here" from our neighbor.  So after getting to bed around 2am, I was up and dh was up.  Jack however just got up at 10:30. Nice right? *g*

Anyway, here was our day in images...not much narration required I think....and thanks to everyone that shared their delicious dishes, I wish I had gotten pictures of all the wonderful food, but alas I faltered in the picture taking department!

Debra's (my sister) famous BLT Dip....

Pina Colada's also Debra's...(she's the true entertaining guru amongst us)

Store bought shade...

Home grown  pyromaniacs...seriously...I'm not kidding! ;)

Enablers of home grown pyromaniacs....

Can you say long day? *g*