Monday, September 9, 2013

The BEST Grilled Cheese Sandwiches...EVER!!!


Do you love it when you have company drop in for dinner? We love it. There is no time to have things just so. No pressure to impress...especially if it is one of your besties!

A few weeks ago, I invited my friend Carolyn to join us for dinner. I had made French onion soup...it took 3 hours to carmelize the onions {YEP, RIDICULOUS!} and when I invited her to drop in...I was so excited she didn't have dinner plans.

She brought over a plate of THE BEST GRILLED CHEESE sandwiches EVER. They were devoured. Let's just put it this way, I don't think anyone cared about the soup, and I am never {I MEAN NEVER!} making a soup that takes that long to make again. You would be better off spending a few minutes whipping up these yummy sandwiches, and the kiddies LOVED them. Gone forever are the days of a slice of cheese and butter on bread in our HOME!



Yummy Pimento, Grilled Cheese (Surprisingly Kids love these too!)

Carolyn



5 cups cheese (mix of sharp and medium cheddar) Any cheddar will do, but I love Tillamook medium white cheddar and sharp.*

1 small jar pimentos

1/2 cup mayonnaise (Best Foods Light) add more if you want in to be more gooey

1/2 teaspoon sea salt to taste

{I added 1 pressed clove of garlic}

Garlic Sourdough Bread (I like Franz/Seattle International Garlic Sourdough** sliced rounds/they sell a regular sourdough also, but the garlic really makes the sandwich complete!) The pieces of bread are big so you can cut in half and they look very rustic and yummy and the cheese oozes out a bit. A nice way to get oohs and ahhs!

5) Trader Joes Olive Oil Spray (Way easy, and you don't need butter because the sandwiches are rich) I use this for all my grilled sandwiches. It’s a mild tasting olive oil.



This should made six sandwiches depending on your bread size and how thick you spread on your mixture. I was able to make six large sandwiches.



This is so simple...I saw the recipe in Bon Appetite and modified it a tiny bit.

●I just tossed all the ingredients other then the bread & Oil in a bowl and mix a few times till the cheese and mayonnaise are blended decently. There's no perfection necessary in this. You can add more mayonnaise if you need it to hold everything together. You can also add a little mustard if you want it a bit tangy..but don't add too much without tasting first (I add about a tablespoon which I like, but my kids prefer it without)

(A hint if you leave the mixture at room temperature for just a bit it grills much better)

●Sample the mixed product several times (you really don't have to do this...but it's so good and my excuse is I have to make sure I put enough salt in)

●Get ready to grill ....when I grill my sandwiches, I grill the insides of the bread for just about 45 seconds before spreading on the cheese concoction. (You don't even need to use butter or oil.) That way, the inside isn't mushy. This works especially well if you are transporting sandwiches for a soup and sandwich night at a dear friend's house like I was.

●After you have assembled all the sandwiches, you are ready to grill.

●Spray the tops of two sandwiches lightly with olive oil, put them oil side down in the pan.

(One of the tricks to a good grilled cheese is patience and a pan that's nice and hot, say med high, but not too hot.)

●While they are cooking oil side down, spray the top. Flip over when they are nicely grilled and brown and cook the other side.

●Move sandwiches to a serving platter and cover to keep warm.***

●Repeat till you are done.

● I do mine two at a time because they are quite large and they fit nicely in my pan.

(You can also do this on an outdoor grill just make sure your flame isn't too hot or they will burn quickly!)



*Note...If you can spring for some black label Tillamook sharp...so good!!!

**They sell this at the Franz Bread store for under $2.00…a great deal and it freezes great. I love to have on hand for those nights when I can’t make it to the store

***These transport really well...I had a ten min drive and the sandwiches stayed warm under the foil. (They are good cold too!)

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Italian Market Salad

 
 
 
As our backyard is slowly showing signs of Autumn, I have been filling our weekly menu with the last of Summer fare...lots of garden veggies, berries, and pasta salads!
 
Italian Market Salad
{Thank you, Kirby!!}
 
4 oz. uncooked bowtie pasta
1 cup grape tomatoes, sliced lengthwise
6 cups spinach, 1 large bunch
1 cup Gorgonzola
1/2 of a small red onion, diced
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup Balsamic vinegar
1 clove garlic, minced
 
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
 
Cook pasta according to package directions.
 
 
 
Drain and rinse with cold water.
 
 
 
Add a bit of olive oil.
Mix with greens, tomatoes and cheese and onion.
Toss with olive oil, vinegar and garlic.
Salt and pepper if desired.
Top with pine nuts.
 
 
If you are taking this on a picnic, pack the dressing in a canning jar and drizzle over the salad before serving, and then top with pine nuts!!!
 
 
 
THIS.THAT&THE OTHER:
 
 
lots of cookie baking, more than usual.  :}
 
 
look who loves to go on field trips!!  Our little birthday girl...13 years old...she always
sits in the driver's seat even if we are "gone' for 2 minutes.
 


 
 
 
fun in the peach orchard with my family
 
 
one of my sweet nieces.  I am BLESSED with three!!!
 
 
 
what little girls do before going home to can peaches
 
 
 
 
God's beautiful handiwork
 
 
 
 
anniversary hydrangeas {23 years}
 
 
it's always a good idea to have a messy project going on outside, too.  As if the peach mess inside wasn't bad enough!!
 
 
 
 
 
"She watches over the ways of her household."
Proverbs 31:27
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

{Selah Sunday} BEDTIME STORIES


 
 
{A Selah Sunday}  BEDTIME STORIES

Oh goodness…I have less than three hours to get this posted before it is officially Mundane Monday {laundry day}!!

For those of you who are young mommas, this may seem a bit silly, maybe even a bit ridiculous considering we are at the end of Summer and you are running on coffee, sugar and energy drinks… but reading bedtime stories to our babes was always a favorite for Scott and I.  We were exhausted from full days, but clean smelling babes, clean sheets and active little ones who would  s l o w l y start to wind down {or NOT!!!} was such a tender time.

It was the last sliver of teaching and nurturing until early the next morning, or in our case…until barefoot chubby feet touched the floor and quietly tiptoed down the hall into our bedroom.

Oh how I miss those years…even the teenagers rolling in right at curfew or a few minutes thereafter, only to have them come sit on our bed and chat…or pray before bed…cramming in a few teachable/nurturing moments.

Over the past few weeks, I have had the opportunity to help my mother.in.love care for the sweetest little four year old!!  And yes, it has been the bedtime routine.  MY FAVORITE!!!!

Once this little one had been bathed, jammied-up, teeth brushed and hair brushed, it was time for bedtime stories.

I let her choose a few books, but on one of our last night’s together, I picked out the book.

It is an old 1964 edition of Uncle Arthur’s Bedtime Stories.  It smells old, but the pictures are bright and cheery and boast stories of an old era when life was simple and less complicated…but what I am drawn to is the truths that are timeless. 

I opened up to a page and she was excited about the picture of a daddy hugging his little boy so I decided that would be a good story to read since she already was drawn to the endearing illustration.

It was titled:  “How Much Love”

A daddy had been trying to find out how much his little boy really loved him.  The little boy would answer him by saying things like “heaps and heaps”, “lots and lots” and “bushels and bushels”.

The daddy would always tease him saying that wasn’t enough until the little boy, Francis would throw his arms around his daddy’s neck, hugging him and saying that THAT ought to answer his question properly.

As time went by, the daddy seemed to have forgotten the fun they were having as he began reading.  Francis called for him as he wanted to show him something, but the daddy was too busy by now.  Francis insisted that it was something VERY special.  Francis had an important question.  Finally, hesitant, the daddy put down his book and asked the little boy what he wanted to show him.

Francis had a map of the United States spread out and was trying to figure out how far they had driven the last year when they had “driven all  over”.  The daddy replied “That BIG red one.”

Francis inquired as to how long it was.  They discussed the mileage.  Then Francis wanted to know about all of the other lines…the other red lines and the black lines.  Francis was still curious where all the lines led to and how far they reached.  In desperation to answer his little boy’s questions he guessed that it may be over thousands and thousands of miles…maybe even millions and millions and millions of miles long!!

Francis answered, “Well then, Daddy, that’s how much I love you.  All that and even more!”

 

It dawned on the daddy that all that time, little Francis had been trying to find a way of telling his Daddy exactly how much he loved him!!

 

“As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.  As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us.  Like a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear Him.  Psalm 103:11-13

 

As I closed the book before we prayed, she sat up with a sparkle in her eye and stretched her little arms out as far as she could and said, “I know how much Jesus loves me…HUMONGOUS!!!”

This little four-year old understood.

 

We prayed and I sang her to sleep and as she dozed off to dreamland…I couldn’t help but thank God for giving me time to teach and nurture this little one even if it was a few moments in the light of eternity.

So, even if you are at the end of your rope, exhausted and weary from long summer days…I hope that you will enjoy the moments of teaching and nurturing.  And once you have fallen into bed…and those little feet come wandering down the hallway into your bedroom, thank God for the privilege of teaching your children the "humongousness" of God’s love for them!!  Knowing full well that a pot of coffee, donuts and energy drinks are mere hours away!
 
 
 
What Bedtime looked like 21 years ago!!!...
 
 

 
 
...and NO, it didn't work!  :}

Monday, August 12, 2013

Key Lime Whippers



From the archives...



Dishes have always been something I love. I could find an excuse to buy new dishes...but really no need to add to the basics I already have. If you purchase a few fun colored dishes and keep your main dishes, serving pieces, platters and trays to plain old white or clear glass...you are set. I know it is tempting to buy the new shade of green, the polka dotted pink and white bowls, the lobster platter with all the detail etc...but if you are short on storage and trying to stay on budget...the dishes that are multi-functional will make a huge difference!

After gutting our home a couple of years ago...I promised I was going to keep things streamlined and SIMPLE. With the exception of the cake plate closet...we have done great and it feels so light and clean in our home. It is shocking at how quickly an un-cluttered home can be tidied up!

One thing that has helped in keeping my dishes {and clutter} to a minimum is having them serve more than one purpose. I think my favorites are the TEA LIGHT holders from IKEA. I use them for everything, and the best part is that they take up very little room...but can be used for oh.so.much! I think I paid less than $3 for eight. All I know is they definitely qualify as a frugal find.

Here are a few ideas:

mini milk glasses



juice glasses

butter dishes for nice dinners

condiment bowls

sour cream and salsa containers for individual plates

brown sugar and raisin condiment bowls on a plate with a big bowl of hot oatmeal

olive oil, balsamic vinegar, and garlic oil for dipping crusty bread

chocolate fondue appetizers

mini trifle

mini strawberry shortcakes

ice cream bowl

sauces

and the list goes on and on and on!


These little, itty bitty cuties are the perfect size cheesecakes...especially when you are still stuffed from Buffalo Chicken Nachos and black bean soup.


Key lime whippers are fast to whip up. I timed it. It took three minutes...yep and three ingredients. Yep.YEP!





Key Lime Whippers

Ingredients:

1 14-oz. can of sweetened condensed milk

1  6-oz. can frozen limeade concentrate {NOT thawed}  Look for the kind without high frustose corn syrup!!!

1 cup heavy cream

graham cracker crumbs

1 lime for garnish if you would like

Directions:

*Whisk the condensed milk, limeade and heavy cream in a large mixing bowl with a whisk attachment.

*Beat until fluffy and a bit stiff.

*Chill for at least 6 hours or overnight

*Before serving, place a few graham cracker crumbs in the bottom of each tea light holder.

*Top with creamy filling, garnish with a slice of lime and if you want it really ADORABLE...top it with a squirt or two or three of whipped cream.

I made several without the graham cracker bottoms and I think I liked them even better...so...whatever floats your boat!

Stunning and simple for a summer evening dessert.

It is just as yummy as a no bake cheesecake! {to clear up some confusion...these are cheesecakes, not drinks...}

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


 
 

Monday, August 5, 2013

Sweet Peach Pie Crisp


Happy Monday to all of you lovelies!

I hope your Summer isn't flying by as fast as ours seems to be!

We already have the beginning of Autumn leaves starting to let go of the tree branches...and that alone is a gentle reminder that a new season is right around the corner.

As you can tell, blog posts are further and further apart, but I have been spending hours and hours with family and friends...and also spending MUCH less time on the computer and on facebook.  ;]
It reminds me of the simple JOYS and the rewards that come from leading a much less BUSY life.  Not that it hasn't been full of LIFE, but there is a difference in being BUSY and being productive. 
 I have been camping out in Philippians...and I have spent much time asking myself if I know God or if I really KNOW Him.
Living our lives for Him intentionally is a decision that has to be made moment by moment, and it takes TIME. It always seems to take me longer to figure these things out than for most others!
Not that technology is a bad thing...but sometimes a bit of housekeeping is needed in this area of my life.

Sometimes trials in life are dreaded, but I know that God allows so many of these things to draw us closer to Him.

Here is a quick update:

God has given my hubby the very best doctors...the very best friends and a VERY looong time {like 6 months!!} off work to heal up from his back injury!  He will be back to work very soon!

...and finally, the whole reason for the SWEET PEACH PIE CRISP...

Our son.in.love is safely HOME from Afghanistan!!  Thank you to all of you for all of your prayers and sweet notes over these past months. 

If you are new here, we celebrate everything with food!!  David chose an  ALL-AMERICAN meal and Sweet Peach Pie Crisp with homemade ice cream for dessert.  He was one happy HERO!


{traveling Home for a week makes for a tired hubby!}




Sweet Peach Pie Crisp
Lisa Pearson
*Preheat the oven to 375*
1 prepared single pie crust
Pie Filling:
8 peaches, peeled and sliced
¼ cup sugar
¼ cup peach Schnapps
3 Tablespoons flour
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 Tablespoon cinnamon
Crisp Topping:
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup flour
¼ cup coconut oil
Directions:
*Line a 10 inch pie plate with the pie crust.
*Press the pie crust into the pan and crimp the edges…no need for perfection!
*Mix all ingredients together for the pie filling and pour into the pastry.
*Mix topping ingredients together in a bowl and sprinkle over the peach filling.
Bake in preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until the filling is bubbly and the topping is golden.
ENJOY!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sliders


 
 
Happy Tuesday! 
 
 
Snickerdoodle Ice Cream Sliders

 

Mix together:

 

1 cup butter, room temp

 

1   cup sugar

 

2 eggs

 

Stir together:

 

2  3/4 cups flour

 

1 tsp. cream of tartar

 

1 tsp. baking soda

 

¼ tsp. sea salt

 

Directions:

*Roll into balls the size of golf balls.

 

*Roll in mixture of 2 Tbsp. sugar and 2 tsp. cinnamon.

 

*Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet.

 

*Bake until lightly browned…but still soft.

 

*These cookies puff up at first…then flatten out!!!

 

Bake @ 400* for 10 to 12 minutes.
 
 
Once your cookies are COOLED, scoop balls of ice cream and sprinkle with extra cinnamon sugar.
 
Place scoops of ice cream between cookies.  Serve or prepare and freeze for later...that is, if you can WAIT! :}
 
 
 
 
 
 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Summer



Summer:  time with friends, late night talks, early morning breakfast on the deck, bubbly water fountain, sweet bird song from tiny tree branches, flickering twinkle lights, floating candles in the mossy bird bath, loud summer tunes, neighbor kiddos splashing in the pool, sidewalk chalk, salamander hunting, late night jammie walks up the hill and through the scary forest, back surgery for my love, milkshake runs, candle light in mason jars swinging by ribbon and twine, weeding and watering, flower planting, herb growing, missing our adopted kitty Henry, keeping miss sassy pants {our dappled dachshund puppy}out of trouble, enjoying drop in visits from our on-the-go son and thanking God for a strong son who can mow and chop down dead tree limbs, momma-daughter time, slumber parties under the stars, crisp white sheets and thin, light blankets, watermelon, fresh produce from friends and family, farm eggs, spray paint and projects, berry picking with a baby, root beer floats, baby showers, wedding showers and weddings galore, games, flower arranging, a trip to the High Desert, pool days, sunburns and hubby's xxl t-shirts, dirty barefeet, flip flops, a warm bath after long outside days, picnics, field trips, jam makin' and scone makin' and BEST of all the anticipation of the return of our son.in.love from far.far.away from HOME for the last many.many months!!  A momma can only nest for so long before all of her chickies are safely back in the nest...

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
I hope you are enjoying the fleeting Summer days!
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Monday, June 10, 2013

An Anniversary Picnic







Such patient girlies you all are...well, some of YOU, anyway! Maybe I will take pictures of wrapped gifts more often just to keep you guessing and on your toes, but I know that a few of you peeked...because you told me. Anyhoo, for the rest of you who love surprises...

TODAY is our 21st wedding anniversary and my hubby gave me the most beautiful handmade bread boards ever...





Aren't they adorable? They were packaged in burlap and tied with jute. They come in a set of four different styles and sizes.

My sweet friend, Diana from Vintage Home Designs makes every one of these mini bread boards by hand. Not only do I love her blog, but I love how she and her hubby enjoy life together! They have fun and live a simple life...and her love is a firefighter, too! I know her blog will soon be among your favorites as well! Thank you, Diana for my treasured anniversary gift!

As soon as I opened them and smelled the fresh wood, I knew since it was my year to plan our anniversary, I was going to pack a picnic and the bread boards would serve as plates. They were perfect!

Anniversary Picnic Menu:

Anniversary Champagne



BBQ Shrimp Baguettes



Our very favorite KETTLE CHIPS



Orange Infused Nectarines with Fresh Blueberries from our Neighbors



Champagne Frosted Cupcakes





{BTW, thanks to this, the cupcakes arrived in tact!}


Picnic Details:

The blanket we used was an engagement gift from hubby. He bought it for me along with the salt and pepper shakers while he was on a missions trip to Portugal. It is still so special and he still is so touched that we use it...even on the GRASS!





The sandwiches were wrapped in white recycled parchment paper from the shrimp purchased at the deli...then placed in a brown sandwich bag to keep it cool.



Decorations were kept simple: I used a paper bag to punch out tags for our food and also for the banner I made which was his card!





The napkins were wrapped with recycled jute from the gift-wrapped bread boards



The burlap that the bread boards were wrapped in served as a liner for our picnic basket and was used as a runner. My hubby loved it!




I packed a canning jar our candle, bur since it was breezy on the hill, we popped it into a champagne flute and shared a glass, which was by far more romantic!

Before we were married, he was working at a camp. He would send me a letter almost every day and it said: To the future Mrs. Pearson...I loved seeing my new last name! So, instead of anything else, the banner had to be PEARSON!

MUSIC...we love music. Very seldom do we NOT have music on in our home. SO, thanks to Pandora, we had lovely music for the evening.




ANNNND even though we did not meet in Paris, we had the most fun sitting on Chapman Hill taking in the fresh air, sounds and sights. We laughed and talked and dreamed about the future while looking at the Montgomery Park sign! "Our Spot" holds so many fun memories with promise of many more memories to come...like grand babies rolling down the hill while watching the vaux's swifts fly over head!



ANNNNND aside from our "Come to Jesus Meetin' " with our children it was a wonderful day. They blessed us with a gift certificate to GUSTAVS! ALL on their own. We were overwhelmed!

ANNNNNND...after we picked up from our picnic, we took a stroll around the neighborhoods and went house paint shopping and met the.nicest.people!

A special night with the love of my life!







I LOVE YOU, 2, Mr.Pearson



Thank you for choosing me to be your Mrs. Pearson!



***Oh how I miss our "come to Jesus meetin's" with our children!!  :}  Another reason I love to blog...it is so fun going back through the old archives of our family journal.  :}