Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Angela's Pasta Salad

Tim, the hubby, does not usually like cold salads.  We're talking about potato salad, chicken salad and pasta salad. Needless to say, when we have hamburgers I'm a little limited on side items - did I mention he's not a baked bean fan either.  

There is however, one cold salad that he loves and asks for quite often.  We call it Angela's pasta salad.  My god-sister, Angela, made this salad on the 4th of July last year, and it's been a big hit around the Mudd household ever since.  Not only does my husband love this salad, it pairs perfectly with burgers and is SUPER easy to make.  Oh, and budget friendly too. 

Angela's Pasta Salad

1 Box Multi Colored Rotini
1 Block of Pepper Jack Cheese (cubed)
1 Bag Mini Pepperonis 
(we like the Turkey Pepperoni, you can also buy the Pepperoni sticks and dice them up yourself)
2 Green Peppers (chopped)
1/2 Bottle Italian Dressing (we like the Fat Free)

It is oh-so-delicious! You've got to add this recipe to your summer routine. 

Who else is excited about sweet summertime?

Kelly Anne 

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Car Bomb St. Paddy's Cupcakes!

For those of you who know me best, know that I love any & all holidays. Halloween, Valentine's Day, Fourth of July and St. Patrick's Day (just to name a few).  I am also a sucker for holiday crafts and baking ideas. A few days before St. Paddy's, I ran across a fabulous recipe over at I Dabble (a great blog for recipes, sewing tips and fashion!), and decided to give it a shot.

The Car Bomb Cupcakes
1 cup of stout (um, Guinness of course!)
1 cup of unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cups of cocoa powder
2 cups of flour
2 cups of sugar
1 1/2 tsp of baking soda
3/4 tsp of salt
2 large eggs
2/3 cups of sour cream 

1. Preheat oven at 350.
2. Combine Guinness & Butter, bring to a simmer, then whisk in Cocoa Powder.
3. In a bowl, combine Flour, Sugar, Salt & Baking Soda (set aside).

4. Mix Eggs & Sour Cream together, add the Guinness-Chocolate mix, beat until just combined.
5. Slowly add in the dry mixture, be sure to only mix until combined. Be careful to not overmix the batter as it can cause the cupcakes to become tough and not rise.

 6. Fill cupcake liners 3/4 of the way full (this recipe make 24 large cupcakes).
7. Bake for 17-18 Minutes.

Let cupcakes cool completely and get ready for the oh-so-amazing icing!

Bailey's Buttercream Icing
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 - 4 cups confectioner's sugar (I used roughly 2.5 cups)
4 tbsp Bailey's Irish Cream
Cream butter. Slowly add confectioner's sugar, just a few tablespoons at a time until icing is "spreadable." 
Add 4 table spoons of Bailey's and stir until blended.
(if you don't care for the irish cream, you can substitute a few tablespoons of milk)

Spread the icing, add a few green sprinkles and ENJOY! 
(excuse the terrible Blackberry pic, I really need to start charging my camera for these 
spur-of-the-moment baking opportunities).

The original recipe calls for a Jameson ganache to be added after baking.  I'm not a Jameson fan, and I was too cheap to buy the whiskey for just 2 tablespoons. If you want to try the Jameson ganache, check it out here.

These were so amazing. The cake was super moist and the icing was just the right balance of silky buttercream and Bailey's Irish Cream. These were the perfect St. Paddy's treat! I'm thinking I'll be making these again even before next March.

Happy Baking! Does anyone have any ideas for yummy Easter treats?

Kelly Anne 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Valentine's Day Surprise

I'm back! I hate that it's been so long since my last blog post, but life has just been busy. Here is a quick snapshot of my life lately: developing, scheduling & meeting on multiple IEPs, graduate school readings & classes, and, of course, the regular day-to-day responsibilities around the house.

My sweet husband realized how work-oriented I've been lately, and he took it upon himself to plan a wonderful Valentine's Day surprise for me. And this is HUGE considering he believes that Valentine's Day is a "made up holiday created by Halmark and Hershey's." 

I was told to not make any plans after school on Thursday (16th) and to come straight home. Once I got home we hit the road...We headed north on I95 and 2 hours later we were in Richmond! And our night began with beers and stellar food at 821 Cafe.
Photos Thanks to Yum Veggie!

 Us & our fabulous beers!
I should have taken pictures of our food, but as you can see my poor-old blackberry isn't taking pics like she use to. Tim had an amazing Chicken Parm sandwich,  and I had an Artichoke & Brie warp with Sun-dried Tomatoes with a side of yummy orzo.

At this point in the evening I still did not know where we were headed after dinner, but I was already one happy lady. It was so nice to put work aside and get out to a more eclectic eatery, with craft beers and amazingly fresh foods.  After dinner we walked a few blocks and as we turned the corner I saw this...

I had no idea we would be seeing The Lion King, but I was super excited and beyond thrilled.

If you haven't seen The Lion King (on or off Broadway), it is a must! I never cared for the Disney movie, and I wasn't thrilled in 2001 when, on a school trip, we were scheduled to see the show in Toronto. BUT I was presently surprised, and it has since been one of my very favorites.  The additional (nonDisney) music is just wonderful and the way in which the animals are portrayed is incredible.
Another poor image from my elderly blackberry, but proof that I was there!

My hubby's Valentine's Day Surprise was perfect. It was exactly what we needed - a break from life and a night to just be together and have fun! Did I mention this was our first married Valentine's Day?! I believe it was the first of many memorable married adventures and moments together. How did you celebrate with your love?

Here's hoping I'll be blogging more regularly and soon!

Kelly Anne 

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Making Snowflakes!

Unfortunately (in my opinion), we have had a very mild winter in NC. While we do live in Eastern North Carolina where snow isn't exactly a staple,  ENC is usually good for at least one decent southern snow. A southern snow is only a few inches and rarely accumulates on the roads, and to any non-southerner it may appear to be nothing more than a light dusting. However, a southern snow is sure to turn the flat-brown piedmont into a beautiful winter wonderland just long enough for warm-fuzzy feelings and a snow day or delay. 

I love everything about a southern snow, everything from the predicted anticipation to the crazy milk & bread shoppers. But this winter there has been no snow, not even a slight chance of wintery mix. So when decorating for Christmas, I decided to bring the snow to Periwinkle Place one popsicle stick at a time. I found this awesome DIY project on Pinterest and hopped on over to Crafty Nest for the step-by-step snowflake tutorial.

This project was actually more time consuming than I originally expected, but I couldn't be happier with the final product.  
 This was my favorite shape.
 My dining room is red & white snowflake themed, so these XL flakes were perfect on the backside of my cabinets facing the dining room.
I opted to spray paint both sides red, which ended up being time consuming as paint doesn't exactly dry super fast this time of year. I imagine you could just paint one side if you displayed them flat on the wall as I did. 

But, don't forget to hit all the sides and corners with the spray paint as well!
I also flanked my Roanoke frame on the far wall of my dining room too. 
We made 5 in snowflakes in all.

In hopes of coaxing some real snow our way, I've decided to leave my dining room decked out in the red & white snowflakes throughout the remaining winter months. I realize that the red is a nod at Christmas, but I just couldn't bring myself to pack up all the fun decorations. And besides, I think I can totally justify the snowflakes as a dual purpose decoration (a two-for-one if you will) :)

I have to give a shout out to my wonderful, math teacher, super awesome husband! 
Tim helped to ensure my angles were just right and that the final product did indeed look like a true snowflake.

Let It Snow! Let It Snow! Let It Snow!
Kelly Anne 

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Follow Me Wednesday!

A blog I follow, 3 Four and Under, is hosting a Follow Me Wednesday. I decided to join the fun and hopefully gain some new followers too.  If you found me during today's Follow Me please leave a comment and I'll follow you back!

Happy Following!
Kelly Anne 

O Tannenbaum

I just wanted to share the evolution of our tree over the years. Keep in mind our living room dimensions have not changed.




Kelly Anne 

Saturday, December 24, 2011

White Christmas Sangria & Cheddar Sausage Balls

In addition to the tons of sweets at the cookie swap, I also served a Sun-dried Tomato Cheese Spread (for details, check here for a Feb. 2011 post) , Cheddar Sausage Balls and White Christmas Sangria. 

The sangria was a hit, and I only wish I had made more!  Recipe Link.
White Wine. Apples. Pears. Grapefruit. Tangerines. Fruit Juice of Choice. 
Sparkling White Wine before serving.
 It turned out to be more "blush" in color than white. I used Cran-Apple juice which added the hint of color; I could not find white cranberry juice, and I'm unsure if it even exists, even though many recipes called for it to be used. 
The drink spread: White Christmas Sangria, White & Red Wine, 
A Sam Adams Holiday Sampler and Sodas.

Cheddar Sausage Balls
I have to admit, I felt a bit guilty at how easy this recipe was to prepare.  I had never made sausage balls before, and I just assumed there was more to the recipe, but I was pleasantly surprised at my mistaken assumption.

The basic recipe:
- 2 cups Bisquick Mix
- 10 oz. Cheese of Choice 
(I used cheddar, but I've heard using a mexican blend turns out great!)
- 1lb. Sausage of Choice
- Mix all ingredients together, shape into balls, bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes. That's it!

 I used mild sausage since I was having guests, but I bet the spicy with the mexi cheese would be awesome!
All kids (ingredients) in the pool
You've got to get your hands dirty on this one.
I added a touch of finely chopped onion to my recipe; I believe you could dress up this recipe with any extras you find fun and tasty.  I'm thinking peppers and garlic too!

Again, if you're feeling stressed to come up with a Christmas Eve treat at the last minute tonight, this recipe would be perfect!

Merry Christmas Eve Cooking & Baking!

Kelly Anne