Candied Pecans – 3 ways

I love candied nuts….love, love, love them.  BUT I do not have them very often, and random factoid about me….I can’t eat cashews or spanish peanuts…they make me seriously sick.  Anywho, back to candied nuts……..So in a moment of perfect kismet….I realized that I had an abundance of pecans and nothing planned for them  What?!!!  It’s fate.  Time for me to try a few candied pecan recipes and pick my fav.  Yes!

First recipe:

Honey Maple Pecans

  • 3 Cups Pecans
  • 1/2 cup sugar (I did not use the whole 1/2 cup….so I think that 1/4 would be better)
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp clove
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 honey
  • 1/4 maple syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degress.  Grab a cookie sheet or a bar pan.  Mix the nuts with the honey and maple syrup.  Lay out on the cookie sheet and roast for 10 minutes.  Mix the remaining ingredients.  Remove the nuts after 10 minutes and when slightly cool add to the dry ingredients and coat with the sugar mixture.

IMG_2045Second Recipe:

Honey Butter Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • sprinkle of salt
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a saucepan, heat the butter and honey together…mixing thoroughly.  When butter is thoroughly melted and incorporated into the honey, add in the pecans.  Spread the sticky pecans onto a cookie sheet/bar pan.  Bake in oven for 10 minutes.  Remove after 10 minutes and allow to slightly cool.  Sprinkle with salt.  Allow to cool some more….then coat with the sugar (pic is before the sugar).

IMG_2050Third recipe:

Honeyed Pecans

  • 2 cups pecans
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanillla
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  In a saucepan – melt together all the ingredients, leaving out the pecans.  Allow the mixture the bubble for a few minutes, then add in the pecans.  Once the pecans are coated, lay them out on the cookie sheet and bake for slightly less than 10 minutes.

IMG_2049Anyone want to guess my fav???

Number 2!  With Number 1 a SUPER close second.  So close that I almost can’t tell.

IMG_2051This was a fabulous experiment.

 

06/30/2014 UPDATE – Dave decided to weigh in.  His winner is #3.

Removal of the microwave

When Dave and I moved into this house, I was on the look out for a nice upgrade to the counter microwave we had at the time.  On Craigslist I found a brand new (never used) over the range microwave.  It was $60…..what?!  That microwave was an amazing add to our kitchen.  See below:

DSCN0640A little bit ago – I noticed that there was something white dripping from the roof of the interior of the microwave.  I cleaned the inside and didn’t think anything of it…..until it happened again…..and then a HOLE appeared in the plastic looking through to the mechanics of the microwave.  ECK.

Decision made.  That thing is coming down.  I decided to take it down completely instead of replacing it, because it was really low.  There was not a lot of room for our larger pots on the back burners.  I liked the over the range convience of the microwave we had……but I am thinking of adding a built-in under our middle pass-thru.

DSCN1527I know I (Dave) could tie into the electricity in the back of the shelf on the left side of this picture with a new microwave…..but I am getting ahead of myself and giving Dave tons of work.  Dave and I already have a plan for re-doing the middle area of this kitchen.  We want to make this an island instead of keeping it as a pass thru.  That plan is at least 1 year away and at most 5 years.

For the time being I am keeping an older microwave on our counter.  It will do for now.

IMG_1989I am excited to pick out a new range hood.  Maybe this?  It will be very basic and something that mounts under our cabinets as I do not want to lose the cabinet space. One thing that annoys me to no end is the mis-matched levels on the cabinets on this side of the kitchen.  When we lifted the cabinets we left these alone….because if I would have moved those to the ceiling as well…..there would be no way to use the over the range microwave (too tall).  With the microwave down….eck.  Check back later to see if I can convince Dave to move these as well.

IMG_1984As I live with a smaller microwave on the other side of our kitchen…I am sure that I will be moving a few things around (the black toaster oven???!!!) to make the placement a bit more functional.

 

Garden gone crazy

I was out of town for 3 days….barely….and my garden went and exploded on me….in a good way.  I had a few potted vegetable plants that were looking kind of sad and a raised garden full of seeds that hadn’t made an appearance yet.  The Memorial Weekend treated my plants very well……….

Kale:

DSCN1883Cilantro:

DSCN1879Sweet Mint (hello – for awesome Mojitos):

DSCN1881Peas:

DSCN1882And here is a preview of the final garden area that is getting added:

DSCN1884Sweet, right?!  Those are some left over gutters that we had and Dave set up a drip line.  So pumped.

 

Thursday Early Wrap up

This week has been intense after a hail storm hit us on Sunday.   We had a few hours prep time as we had a storm chaser friend warn us about the strength of the storm blowing in.

DSCN1759We put away all of the ‘fragile’ furniture and outdoor cushions, moved all the plants inside or under the eaves and then covered my tomatoes and peppers that were already planted.  ANNNNDDDDDD…………SUCCESS!!  Everything made it.  We had golf ball sized hail so there are other things that need attention.  I addressed the chipped paint on my NEWLY painted front porch, and it is looking mighty fine.

DSCN1749The front porch update will be completed once the new front door is installed and my ground cover for the garden is delivered.  Whew.

After I completed the outside paint touch-ups I moved the painting party inside.  I cleaned up the edges in the kitchen……

Before:

DSCN1767After:

DSCN1769Lastly in the paint extravaganza….my stairs.   They needed a pick me up.

Before:

DSCN1768After:

DSCN1771Well Peeps……..in anticipation for Memorial Weekend I am leaving for vacation Friday morning……see you on the flip side.

 

 

More wood work for the patio….and a little bit of snow

I have a long list of items I want to complete this week…..see my white board below? DSCN1681I decided on staining the Adirondack chairs today.  I got one chair completed – I am using the same stain….the Behr -Weather Proofing in Redwood.

DSCN1682You can see in the above picture the beautiful completed chair.  It is so lovely.  I was all set up to complete the second chair when my neighbor came to the back fence to chat with Jules and I.  She told us that a storm was rolling in and that hail and snow were expected over the next 2 days.  Jules went in to hyperdrive and moved all my plants into the dining room.  She was a girl on a mission.

DSCN1684And they are now awaiting less threatening weather.  Can you believe it?  Snow forecasted….in May.  I will be waiting to finish my other chair as well.

Dave decided to put the scrap wood to use as well.  He made a slated holder for our recycle bins.  Those bins are ridiculously ugly.  Now that the holder is done…..I feel like it should have been taller….but it’s done and I am happy that we used up more scrap wood. The very end has a space big enough for another black garage can and I will be purchasing another one to hold the wood scraps we will be keeping as fire starter.

DSCN1691Parting shot of our newly mounted garden tool holder…..with Jezebelle watching over us from the doorway…..can you see her beautiful eyes?

DSCN1693

National Grilled Cheese Month

Did you know that April is National Grilled Cheese Month?  I sure as heck did not!!  I stumbled upon it on a quest to find the one true crusty sandwich recipe, one recipe to rule them all.  And Let me tell you….there are so many recipes out there….and so many fancy ones.  I don’t want to make a special trip to the grocery store so I will need to create my own celebration of National Grilled Cheese month by making it up as I go!

DSCN1584I used the following:

2 Sourdough slices, 2 tomato slices, grated sharp and white cheddar, American cheese, Parmesan cheese and butter.

HINT:  Heat your pan before you even start making the sandwich – that way you are not tempted to put in the sandwich before it is properly heated.

DSCN1587Butter one side of each slice and press the Parmesan into the butter.  (Hence the reason for a sturdy sourdough – white bread would have been so squished)

DSCN1588Tap off the extra Parmesan cheese and get ready to place in the hot pan.

DSCN1589Add on your grated cheddar cheeses…….and wait for it to get a little melty.

DSCN1590I placed a tomato slice on each side and then put the whole pan under the broiler.  When I pulled the pan out, I put the American cheese slice on top (total fake plastic wrap cheese did not need to go under the broiler – the heat melted it nicely after I pulled the sandwich out).  I put the two parts of the sandwich together and Viola!!!!

DSCN1591See that awesome crust?!!  Cut that bad boy in half and if you feel so inclined – treat yourself to some tomato soup.

DSCN1592Ahhhh – National Grilled Cheese Month – I am so glad we met.

 

 

 

Seriously fast dinner

Have you ever had an evening where dinner needed to be super fast….with a limited fridge/pantry selection?  I have and this is what I ended up with during the last experiment……

I had the following in my fridge:

fake cheese

tortilla

tomato

olive oil and balsamic vinegar

Let’s do this!

DSCN1284Drizzle some olive over the tortilla and your cheese (or in my case…the fake cheese) and pop it in the oven at 400 for about 5 minutes.

DSCN1285Slice an amazing tomato…yummy!

DSCN1286Add those slices to the crispy yumminess…..and pop it back in the oven.

DSCN1287Wait till there is a little more melty-ness and then pull the whole thing out again.  Final step……balsamic vinegar….Yeah!  Now Eat.