Tuesday, June 28, 2011

This Makes My Heart VERY Happy!

Hey Y'all!

Well, Pitty Pat and I took an impromptu road trip on Friday and we just got back! That's the beauty of summer. We can decide at 9 a.m. on a Friday to take off and GO! While on our little adventure, we came across one of my very favorite things in the WORLD. The kind of goody that would make me spill state secrets. If I knew any. Ahem.

Dear readers, let me introduce you to the magical world of Tunnock's Tea Cakes. We all know that I should have been born in England. And these little beauties come from Scotland. So it is all UK related! I discovered these life changing tea cakes about 3 Christmases ago at World Market. I happened to be in there on the day of New Year's Eve. If you are a bargain shopper, you know that World Market marks down all of their international Christmas foods on that day. I bought two boxes of tea cakes thinking they looked yummy. Little did I know they were a life changing experience. And that I would not see or taste the beauties again until THREE long years later, on a hot summer day! Fast forward to this weekend and me wondering aimlessly around the chocolate aisle in World Market in Hilton Head. Imagine my complete giddiness at finding these beauties stocked on the shelf. My mouth began to automatically water. It was pure happiness.

They make these tea cakes in two flavors, milk chocolate and dark chocolate. Milk chocolate is DIVINE.

Each tea cake comes wrapped individually in foil. The outer layer is a creamy chocolate.

You bite in and you taste layers of chocolate, the creamiest marshmallow layer I have ever tasted, and finally a crisp graham cookie. Don't be fooled. These are not like the Mallomars we have here in the states. These, are so much better!

One bite is just not enough! 

I hope that you can taste these one day!

Anyhoo, I just thought I would profess my love for these tea cakes today. I am heading out to catch a matinee of Mr. Popper's Penguins with some of my students from this past year! I read the book to them in class and promised them that we could go see it together. I have heard it is really funny and I just love Jim Carey! 

Tootles and stay cool!
:) JKP

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Well, Someone Has a Big Head Now!!!!

Lookee loo at who got a mention on Wimbledon's Twitter feed???? Why Mr. Pitty Pat himself!!!!!!!!

:) JKP

Sometimes It Is Just That Kind Of Day!

Pitty Pat has taken to hiding UNDER the bed today. Hmmmmm......
Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas.... Mmmm mmmm Good!

Hey Y'all!

Sorry for waiting until tonight to post this, today was busy! I had to take Miss Mitzi Mazda into the dealership for a recall issue today. I love my Mazda dealership. They have an awesome waiting area filled with every magazine you could ever want to read. And these are recent, not from 2008! They also have a TV! And since I was the only one waiting today, I got to indulge in all of the magazines I love to read, but don't subscribe to and watch The Young and the Restless! YAY! Most importantly, Miss Mitzi is ready to roll for our next upcoming road trip!

After I made it home from the dealership, Pitty Pat and I took a long afternoon nap. I am still recovering from my weekend of reunion fun. My stomach has been giving me a little fit over the past few days, so I declared this afternoon as couch potato afternoon. It was very nice! Also, couch potato afternoon has stretched into couch potato night!

Yesterday, using a leftover cup of Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken, I made Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas.
OMG. They were yummy and only took about 15 minutes to make!

Here's what you will need:

4 cups of baby spinach
salt and pepper to taste
1 can of red kidney beans drained and rinsed
3/4 cup of corn kernels drained (if you use frozen, defrost and drain first)
1 cup Slow Cooker Barbecue Chicken (We made this in the last blog post!)
8 taco sized flour tortillas (I used burrito size and just cut them)
Cheddar Cheese
*You can also add 1/2 cup of red onion to this recipe when you saute the spinach. Onion hates my stomach, so I left it out. You can also add 1 tbsp of pickled jalapeno to this mixture. Imagine if my tummy hates onion, what it would do with jalapeno!

Start by drizzling some olive oil in a saute pan. When the pan is warm, place in the four cups of spinach.Saute until wilted. Add salt and pepper to taste and remove from heat. Also, at this time, place your oven on at 200 degrees.

While the spinach is resting, place the drained kidney beans in a bowl. Mash with a fork. Then add spinach, corn, and chicken. Mix all of the ingredients together well. *Add in the jalapeno pepper here if you would like to!
(* Note: I warmed the barbecue chicken for about a minute in the microwave before mixing it in with the other ingredients. I did not want to take a chance and make myself sick. I am sure it is fine if you don't, but with a stomach like mine, I am not willing to take the risk.)

At this point, I used a pizza cutter and sliced my tortillas in half. I placed about two tablespoons of the chicken/spinach/corn mixture on each slice. Then I topped it with a tablespoon of cheese. Then I folded each slice in half. I did this until I had a cookie sheet filled with baby quesadillas.

I had a little helper during this part. I think he was trying to hypnotize me!

Next, spray a pan with cooking spray and place on medium heat. When the pan is warm enough, place the quesadillas in the pan. Let each side cook for about 3 to 4 minutes. You want each quesadilla to brown on the outside just a bit. If they are browning too fast, cut down the heat on your burner.
As each batch of quesadillas finishes, place the quesadillas in the oven to stay warm.

ACTION SHOT! Pitty Pat got bored at this stage and started to chase his tail. BOYS!

Finished quesadillas in the oven.
Dab a little sour cream on a plate and ring the dinner bell!!!! YUMM-O!!

So as you can see, I am making the most of my summer break and cooking, A LOT! I will have one more recipe for y'all later on in the week, so don't throw those extra flour tortillas out. We are going to use them to make a casserole!

Let me run and get some shut eye! Big things are happening at Casa de Pitty Pat tomorrow and it involves paint, my front door and shutters. And don't worry, I am only directing this project, not doing it! 

:) JKP

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Sunday Plate - Slow Cooker Pulled Barbecue Chicken

Hey Y'all!!

Well, if you are from anywhere in the south, you know that Sunday lunch is a big deal. It used to be that Wednesday night supper was a big deal too. It is the two nights of the week that your entire family gathered together for a HUGE meal. Sunday and Wednesday's are both big church nights down here, so I guess that's how it all got started. Now I don't think many families gather together for even one big meal anymore, not to mention gathering once a week.  It's kind of sad.

Anyhoo, this past Sunday I decided to try a new recipe. There is nothing I love more in the summer than barbecue. And maybe watermelon. And blueberries. Yup. Last week I actually made barbecue chicken, so this week I thought I would make some pulled barbecue chicken in the crockpot. And y'all know my deep and real love for my crockpot. And, I am so happy I made this chicken!

Here's what you will need. Also, before I start, I found this recipe in All For You magazine. Holla!

24 oz of boneless, skinless chicken breast (they were in my fridge)
3/4 cup of your favorite barbecue sauce ( I love Sticky Fingers, but I had to use what I had on hand)
1/4 cup of Zesty Italian dressing
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 Tbsp Cornstarch
2 Tbsp chicken broth

Start by placing your chicken in the crockpot. In a bowl mix together the barbecue sauce, Italian dressing, brown sugar and Worcestershire sauce.

Then pour this sauce over the chicken. Replace the cover and let the chicken cook on low in the crockpot for 5 hours.

WARNING: Your  house is going to smell DIVINE!!!!!!

After 5 hours, take the chicken out of the crockpot and place on a plate. While chicken is resting, mix cornstarch and chicken broth in a small bowl. Combine this mixture with the sauce already in the crockpot. This is a thickening agent. Stir both sauces together well. Replace cover and let this sauce cook for 5 to 10 minutes. It will be thick!

While the sauce is thickening in the crockpot, place your chicken on a cutting board or mat. Shred the chicken breasts into thin pieces. This is really easy because the chicken is really tender from cooking in the crockpot. p.s. I have a cutting board, but Pitty Pat HATES it! I have these fantastic mats from Pampered Chef that are awesome!

Then place the shredded chicken in the warm and thick sauce in the crockpot. Mix all ingredients well. Continue to let the chicken cook on low for another 45 minutes. While it was cooking, I boiled up some corn and made some beans.

After 45 minutes, place the chicken on a warm bun. Add your other additions to your meal. Take a picture with your phone and send it to all of your friends. Brag about your Sunday Plate!


Now, before you eat it ALL, make sure you save 1 cup of the barbecue. That's right folks, we are going to make another dish with it! Stay tuned for Barbecue Chicken Quesadillas.... They will be up tomorrow!

:) JKP 

Monday, June 20, 2011

Reunion Recap

Hey Y'all!

Over the weekend, I had my 20th High School Reunion! It was so much fun. But the best part, was the night before! My best friends from elementary, middle and high school got together for dinner at my friend Kerri's house. It was absolutely the best! We laughed and laughed. I haven't laughed like that in a long time.
For a comparison, here are most of us on our senior cruise... 20 YEARS AGO! I had brown hair then. That was before I had been teaching for 15 years and started to have gray hair. Now, thanks to my hairdresser, I am blond!

And here we are 20 years later. I think we look great!!!

Our real reunion was the next night. It was really neat seeing everyone and catching up!!

It's really nice to know, that no matter how big the world gets, your original friends still have your back. That's nice!

Tootles! I'll have a recipe for y'all tomorrow!
:) JKP

Friday, June 17, 2011

Yummy, Yummy, Chicken in My Tummy!

Hey Y'all!

Well, most of y'all know I love to cook. I love to read blogs about cooking, collect yummy recipes from magazines and websites, and of course watch The Food Network. One of the blogs that I read everyday is The Pioneer Woman. Ree has a great site and she posts yummy recipes almost every day. I printed a few out over the past few months with intentions of getting to them this summer. While I was visiting my Mom last weekend, we visited the farmer's market that is right down from her house. We left with fresh corn, squash, butterbeans, cantaloupe and watermelon. We even left with some yummy blueberry desert! I knew that only one main dish could do all of these yummy, fresh veggies justice. Barbecue chicken! Luckily, Ree posted a great barbecue chicken recipe back in April. I used this recipe for a good basis. I have never made barbecue chicken before! Ree makes her own barbecue sauce, but for the sake of time and a hungry tummy, I just went with some Honey sauce from Kraft. Yes, I know. And I call myself a cook! I plan to make my own sauce soon, but y'all. The Kraft was on sale for 99 cents!!!!

You want to start with some chicken drumsticks. The weekend I happened to make this Bilo was having a sale on chicken drums. So for 14 drums we paid about $4!

You want to make sure you have a roasting pan. If you are like my Mom and only had part of one, take a trip to your local Big Lots. You will find what you need!

Start by taking out as many legs as you think you will need. For our dinner, since it was just me and Mom, I took out six legs. I put the rest in ziplocs to freeze and use later. And, no Pitty Pat did not get any table scraps!

You want to preheat your oven to 425 degrees. Y'all. I live in the south. It was hot and muggy on this day. I was not going to slave over a grill!!! It can be done, but why torture yourself???

I lightly salted and peppered my legs. Then put them in the oven for about 25 minutes.

After about 25 minutes, cut on your broiler for about 5 to 7 minutes. This will give the chicken skin a golden brown color. And also, make it a wee bit crispy!
After broiling, take out your chicken. Go ahead and cut down the oven to 350 degrees. In a bowl place your intended barbecue sauce. With tongs, dip each leg in the sauce. Let it really get covered in sauce. YUM.

Place the sauce covered legs back onto the baking pan. I went ahead and cooked my legs for about 8 more minutes. Yes, I know. But y'all, I have a sensitive tummy and I don't like pink chicken meat!! When you feel your chicken is done, remove it from the oven. Take the remaining sauce, that you did not dip the chicken in, and brush it over the finished chicken. Let your chicken sit for about 5 minutes while you fix your plate.

This was a fantastic meal! We had plenty of left overs and the chicken was great the next day too! I can't wait to try this with homemade sauce, but the bottle worked well too. This would be a great meal if it was too hot or too rainy to use the grill. And it was nice to have time to do other things and not man the grill! :)

I have another barbecue chicken recipe that I am going to try next week. This one is made in the crockpot. I will let y'all know how that one goes!

I will probably be MIA this weekend... I have my 20th!!!! High School Reunion tomorrow night! Tonight I am going to a dinner with all of my best friends from high school. Some I have seen through the years, others I haven't. I am looking forward to catching up with everyone! Keep an eye on my Twitter feed, that will give you the scoop!
See ya soon!
:) JKP

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Getting Fleecy With It!

Hey Y'all!

Let me say how much I LOVE SUMMER VACATION. I took a little road trip to see my Mom over the weekend, and when Pitty Pat and I returned, we were quite tuckered! I always forget that at the beginning of summer I spend about 3 days just taking it easy and SLEEPING. For the past few days I have been doing that, along with some reading and some crafting. Even Pitty Pat is starting to get in on this summer vacation thing! He is a bit older now at 2, and he knows that afternoon naps are the best!
You may have noticed on my reads from the beach chair box, I am reading A LOT of the Elm Creek Quilting novels by Jennifer Chiaverini. I have really gotten addicted to them! I am reading The Union Quilters now, which is a follow up to The Runaway Quilt. These books are so great because they are not just about quilting, but the author also does a great job of using the backdrop of American History to weave throughout these novels. Also, they have made me feel my crafty roots too! You don't have to read these in order, but I would visit The Elm Creek website to see where you want to start. Because of these books I have started to cross stitch again, and if I quilted, I am sure that I would be doing that too!

Since I am not a quilter, I did have the bug to make something useful for my house! While my best friend was here visiting, we made it a habit of watching a movie every night. It was such a great way to end the day! So I have kept up the tradition every night too! Since there are so many good movies that I have missed lately,  I have been paying the Redbox a visit every few days. So each night, Pitty Pat and I hunker down on the sofa and we partake of a movie!

Now, I don't know about y'all, but while I watch movies I love to have a blanket over me. Since Sunday will mark the two year anniversary of Pitty Pat coming home to live with me,  I decided that he needed a little prezzie. Right before I went and picked up Pitty Pat two years ago, Mom and I made a stop at a Joann's Crafts and Fabrics in Columbia. I picked up some fleece to make him a No Sew Fleece Blanket. These were very popular a few years ago, and are still quick and easy to make! Little did I know at the time, I would not be able to make it until almost two years later! Because he was a silly puppy (still is) and he would have probably eaten it by now! So last night at 7:00 just as Young and the Restless was coming on the Soap Network, I began my task. I was done by 8:00!

These blankets are great to make because they require NO SEWING!!! Check out what you need below...

I have one yard of fleece in two coordinating patterns. Usually, if you were making this for a bed or an adult, you would use 2 yards of fabric. But, this is a Pitty Pat sized blanket, and he doesn't need a bigger head! You will also need a rotary cutter, a quilting mat and a fringe guide. You can pick these up at any fabric store and at The Evil Empire, if yours still carries fabric.

Now I just lay both fabrics out on my floor. It is the only place in my house that I have room to do this project. This would work well if you have a large dining room table. I don't. If you do use a table, make sure you use the quilting mat so you don't make cut marks on your pretty table! . Next you want to start by cutting off the selvage ends of both sides of both fabrics. These are the sides with printing and the rolled edges. It is so much easier to use a rotary cutter than scissors for this project. Trust me, your fingers will thank you!
Finally, you lay your fabric you want on the bottom down first, then you place your top layer right on top

Then you want to cut a four inch square off of each edge of your blanket. The fringe you cut will also be four inches. You can be all mathy and use a ruler. I was techie and made a 4x4 square on my computer. :)

Pitty Pat says "Can you go a little faster? I am not getting ANY younger here!"

Now for the fun part. You get to use your fringe guide and cut  your fringe on each side. I cut my fringe part way and then tie. You can come up with your own system!

WARNING: This part goes faster if you don't have a silly monkey who thinks he can help!

This lap blanket took an hour from start to finish. Even with silly monkey business. Pitty Pat is just THRILLED with the results!

And since my 10 year old couch gave up the good fight and finally gave away with a hole in one of the seats last week, I have a feeling the fleece with the flip flop pattern hibernating in the craft closet is going to be made into a No Sew Fleece Blanket for the sofa very soon!

If you would like to make your own No Sew Fleece Blanket, and need a little bit more guidance, check out this video from You Tube. It teaches you how to make a blanket without any silly monkey business!

Happy Crafting!!
:) JKP

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Wallk With Walgreens!

Hey Y'all!

I am on a little road trip right now, so regular cooking and knitting content will return when I get home! And boy, did I make some yummy barbecue chicken last night! Pics will come soon!

I wanted to hop on this morning to share a little program that I joined this week. You may remember back at Christmas time my best friend Marie introduced me to America on the Move. Well, this is the same concept, but y'all... you earn coupons for steps that you walk! Walk With Walgreens is a new walking program promoted by Walgreens. All you do is log your steps everyday! With every step you earn free stuff and a chance to win a $100 Walgreens gift card. I registered Wednesday, and before I even took a step, I had earned a $5 off coupon for a new pedometer (which I bought yesterday!), a$1 off coupon for Sprite Zero and other coupons too! What I really like about this application is the ability to share it with all of your social media... so facebook and twitter can be updated as you log your steps. And let's face it, we all need a little motivation and accountability!!

Anyhoo, I thought y'all might find this interesting. I am off to log my steps today at the Tanger Outlets in Bluffton!

Enjoy and stay cool!
:) JKP

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Having a Blast!

Hey Y'all!

Well, y'all know that my best friend has been visiting over the past few days. We have had lots of fun acting like tourists here in Myrtle Beach. Except for one hiccup yesterday... I missed going to the beach because my downstairs air conditioning unit decided to have a temper tantrum and the big air conditioning guys had to be called and then a check had to be written... We have been having a blast!

Yesterday afternoon we found ourselves walking on the new boardwalk on the boulevard. One of my favorite memories from my childhood involves tons of skee ball games and tons of tickets! I would collect those tickets all summer and turn them in to get the biggest prize I could. Yesterday, I had a flashback moment!

We played a couple of rounds of skee ball and ended our last game in a tie! I had forgotten how much I love skee ball and how much fun it is! It was also nice to throw a ball and not have Pitty Pat take off with it!

Every night we would come home from our daily adventures and put in a movie. We had the best time just chilling out!

Marie left this morning, so now I have turned my thoughts to some cooking and some crafting. I found a fantastic crock pot barbecue chicken recipe that I can't wait to try! This recipe is a two-fer which means you can also make barbecue enchiladas with your left over chicken. I can't wait to try it!

I also have to have my hair cut and colored today. My 20th!!! High School Reunion is next weekend. I can't wait to see everyone. My close friends and I are actually having a get together the night before, so I am really looking forward to that!

Pitty Pat and I also have a wee bit of packing to do. We are taking a 3 day road trip. Hmm... wonder where we will end up????

:) JKP

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

My Summer Vacation So Far.......

Hey Y'all!

Well I am two days into my summer vacation, and so far it has been great! My best friend and I have a tradition that we follow every year. She always comes and visits the first week that school is out. Yesterday we pretty much pretended that we were tourists!

We went to the beach! We looked for SHARKS! And, they did not disappoint! We saw several shark fins yesterday and we stayed out of the water!

We headed up to Calabash last night for a yummy seafood dinner, shopping and ice cream. Ahhh... SUMMER!

I also found the time to make a new friend! He was very nice, but had a bad habit of mooing while I was talking!

There's no telling what summer vacation will bring today!

:) JKP

Monday, June 6, 2011

Strawberry Summer Pie!

Hey Y'all!

WAHOOO! School is out and I am on summer vacation! Whoop, whoop! I worked my last workday today. And, I will be spending my day on the beach tomorrow! Ahhh.....

I would also like to give a shout out to the fans of Friendship Bread Kitchen on Facebook! The FBK gave a little mention of this blog on their Facebook page tonight. So welcome if you are new here! We are glad to have you! :)

Now, last night I promised a little write up of a recipe that I made yesterday. I was invited to a luncheon at a fellow second grade teacher's house today to help celebrate the retirement of two dear members of our second grade team.  Now, being southern and all, I know that I can't show up empty handed. My baking has become LEGENDARY.. so I knew I had to pull out the WOW factor. So I started to think about summer pies and summer fruits. And then bingo. It hit me. STRAWBERRY! Also, does anything say summer better than strawberries? For this occasion, I just knew that a strawberry pie was needed. But not any ordinary strawberry pie, something with a surprise to it!

Enter the Black Bottom Strawberry Cream Pie. Thanks Pillsbury! :)

To begin with you will need the following ingredients:
 A pint of strawberries (two cups), 8 oz of cream cheese, strawberry pie glaze, hot fudge sundae topping, ready made pie crusts (yes, I CHEATED!), confectioner's sugar (aka powdered sugar), and whipped topping of your choice. You can even whip up some heavy cream. Our humidity right now is hotter than hell, so I opted for the can. :) Also, this is double the ingredients. I made two pies! One for my luncheon and one for my best friend's visit. Yes, I am nice.

The first thing you will need to do is bake the pie shells for about ten minutes. Now, it is confession time here. This is the FIRST pie I have EVER made! A quick video check from You Tube showed me how to flute my pie crust! Watch that video and you will know the secret of all mankind. Not really. But you will feel very empowered! I am WOMAN. See me flute AND bake a PIE CRUST!

While the pie crust(s) are baking, you need to wash and quarter 2 cups of fresh, yummy, juicy, sweet strawberries. I did four cups due to the two pies. :)

You will also need to mix together 1 cup of confectioner's sugar with one 8 oz package of cream cheese. Do not judge my choice of cream cheese. I am a poor teacher who loves to bake and eat. I must budget!

By now, your pie crusts should be done. Let them cool for about 20 to thirty minutes. Then add 2/3 of a cup of the hot fudge sauce to the bottom of the pie crust. I placed the jar in the microwave for about 25 seconds, and it poured right out! Now, put your crust in the fridge for an hour. I also put the strawberries and cream cheese mixture in there too.

Now, go Facebook. For an hour. Especially Friendship Bread Kitchen! Or me!

After about an hour, take out your cream cheese mixture, your strawberries and your pie crust that has the hot fudge on the bottom. Take the cream cheese mixture and spread it carefully over the chocolate sauce.

 Before and after shot! Good thing I was making TWO pies! How handy! At this point you want to take  your 2 cups of strawberries (4 if you are making two pies like me) and combine it with 1/2 cup of strawberry pie glaze (1 cup if you are making 2 pies.)  Now my strawberries were sweet, so I didn't add much. Also, if I make this pie again, I plan to make my own glaze. Yes, I am such an overachiever!!

                                          No strawberries were harmed while making this pie!

Finally, add the strawberries on top of the cream cheese layer. This is such a yummy part of making this pie!

Then, if you wish, add your whipped cream or heavy whipped cream. Be decorative or free form. Just put the cream on the pie! Then put the pie in the fridge for about another hour. Then dive in!

In the south we have a saying. I you make something really good you say "I put my foot in it!" Now, of course, your foot DOES NOT GO IN THE PIE. It is just a saying that means something is GOOD!!!!

Y'all, I put my foot in this pie!!!!

There wasn't a spec left at lunch today!

Make this for your next lunch or dinner. You won't be sorry! And, I hope you put your foot in it!