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Share a Spoon Theme - Super Grub for Game Day

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Think Tank Momma

It's Share a Spoon THEME Time!

This week it's all about THE Big Game!

Super Grub for Sunday!

Whether you are a die hard football fan or not, everyone watches the big game for one reason or another.  Either it's the game, the commercials or just because the person you live with is a fan and they're watching.  Regardless, everyone will be watching Sunday.

So this week's theme is SUPER GRUB!  What dishes will you be eating while watching those awesome commercials and the smack down between The Steelers and The Packers?  What are your must haves?  

So tell you watch for the commercials?  The Game?  or just support the loved one who loves the game?

See you Thursday for some SUPER GRUB!

Share a Spoon - Let's do Brunch

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Thursday Smackers!

It's Share a Spoon Brunch!

Brunch is an event.  It's not breakfast, and it's not lunch, it's something special.  I mean, brunch just sounds fancy right?  Just because it sounds fancy doesn't mean it has to be though.  Some of the simplest food is the most amazing food!

I think going out for brunch on Sunday is special.  Sleep in late.  Get up, take your time and let someone else do all the work.  Heck yeah!  Sign me up!  However, that's not necessarily cost effective for those of us on a budget.  Going out like that is an indulgence.

Brunch is typically an indulgence as well, or at least it is for my family.  It's sweet and savory and AH-MAZEBALLS!  I mean, seriously?  Brunch out somewhere usually includes pastries, alcoholic beverages, juices, coffee drinks, fresh fruits, lots of cooked PORK products.  What could be better?

We all know I'm all about dessert.  I mean, it's the whole point of the meal.  So, brunch is the one time where it's totally acceptable to serve a dessert item as a meal!  Aaannnnd, alcoholic beverages are totally acceptable too?  C'mon! Just to balance it out we'll throw a nice salad or a couple slices of fresh fruit in!  *wink wink*

One of my favorite brunch item is brown-sugared bacon.  *sigh*  Yum.  I use thick sliced bacon.  I always cook my bacon in the oven.  350 degrees until desired crispness is achieved.  Everyone likes their bacon different.  I use a pastry brush and brush on some dijon or deli mustard.  Just a thin layer, then sprinkle with brown sugar.  HEAVENLY, I promise!

Fake out recipes are the best.  This isn't really a recipe, but you coffee drink lovers will appreciate this one.

Fake-Out Mocha Latte

1 pk Hot Chocolate w/Marshmallows
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
fresh brewed coffee
whip cream
chocolate syrup

In a coffee mug add hot cocoa mix and heavy cream.
Brew your favorite fresh coffee.
Fill coffee mug 3/4 of the way up with coffee.
Stir until all the cocoa mix is incorporated.
Top with whip cream and drizzle a little chocolate syrup.

Breakfast pastries are the perfect accompaniment to a great coffee drink.  Right?  Right!  I love them all.  Muffins.  Cheese danish.  Croissant.  Doughnuts.  My favorite though....cinnamon buns!  Oh how I love them!

 Brandee's Cinnamon Rolls
(pronounced Cinna-mina-mina-mon)

1/2 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 pkg active dry yeast

2 cups warm whole milk
2 teaspoons real vanilla extract
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 stick room temperature butter
2 extra large eggs
7 cups all purpose flour
3/4 c all purpose flour 

In a tabletop stand mixer bowl add the first four ingredients and allow the yeast to foam.  (5 minutes)

Warm the two cups of whole milk in the microwave for 1 minute.  Add the vanilla.  Stir and add to the mixer.  Add the sugar, butter, eggs.  

Turn the mixer on low.  Slowly add 3 cups of flour.  Let mix until the dough is smooth and all the ingredients are well mixed.  It should look like cake batter at this point.

Add the next 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time until all the flour is completely incorporated.

The dough should be very sticky.  

Turn the sticky dough out on a flour surface.  Knead the additional 3/4 cup flour into the dough.  (May not take all of it.)  Until the dough is soft and elastic and not too sticky to form a ball.

Grease a bowl.  Roll the dough ball in the oil and cover with a clean dish towel.     

Let rise in a warm place until the dough has doubled in size (about an hour).  I usually leave mine on the stove top and turn the oven on.

Punch the dough down.  Turn out on a floured surface.  Separate the dough into two equal parts.  Roll each piece out into rectangles roughly 9X15.

Cinna mina mina mon filling:
1 stick butter melted 
6 teaspoons granulated sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 cup golden raisins
1 stick of butter melted

Spread the melted butter in equal parts on each of the rolled out dough pieces.  Sprinkle each with cinnamon liberally. 

Mix the 6 tsp. of sugar and 3 teaspoons of cinnamon and sprinkle over the butter and cinnamon.

Top with equal parts of both raisins and brown sugar.

Roll from the long side until the seam is on the floured surface, making a perfect log.

Trim the ends.  Cut in half.  Cut each half in half.  Cut each quarter into thirds, making 12 equals sized rolls per log, for a total of 24.

Spray cake pans with cooking spray.  Either 2 9X13 pans or round pans, whichever you have on hand.  Place rolls evenly spaced apart.

Brush all the rolls with the melted butter.  

Cover and allow to rise until doubled in size.  (45 mins - 1 hour)

Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes, until nicely golden brown.

Cream Cheese Frosting:
1 8oz pkg cream cheese softened
1/2 stick butter softened
2 cup Confectioner's sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 Tablespoon whole milk

Cream together the cream cheese and butter.  Add the milk and vanilla and whip together.  Slowly add the Confectioner's sugar until completely smooth and creamy.

Spread evenly over the baked rolls.  These are especially fun treat while still warm, however, they are still wonderful when completely cooled!

Now, it's your turn!  Share your brunch favorites, dishes or beverages!  *wink*


Share a Spoon Theme - Brunch

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Saturday Smackers!

Theme Time

Let's Do Brunch!

Brunch is just a happy word don't you think?  I mean, it's breakfast and lunch! What could be better?  Okay, so maybe dessert.  BUT, we get to eat dessert type things at brunch and it's called a meal!  Nothing better than that!  Oh, wait....but there is.  I mean, you can serve alcohol too.  Right?

You can't serve alcohol at breakfast.  But if you call it brunch than it's totally acceptable.  See...I'm just looking out for all my Smackers!  Personally, I'll just take a Diet Coke.  :D  I am totally addicted.  I'll admit it.

This week is all about breakfast + lunch = BRUNCH.  You can bring your recipes for eggs, or waffles, or bloody marys.  Muffins, danish, sugared bacon.  Quiche and coffee.  It doesn't matter.  What do you call brunch?  Is it just breakfast served during lunch?

Does it really matter?  I mean....brunch is the best of all worlds right?

See you Thursday for whatever you call brunch!

How time flies.....

Friday, January 21, 2011

Wow, three weeks from today Belly will be turning one.  I can't believe it!  2010 was rough for so many reasons.  Still struggling to get ahead, not being able to find gainful employment, BDC working harder than ever to not get ahead, friends losing loved ones, the list goes on and on.

The light shining through all of those gray skies was the joy and sunshine of having a new baby in the house has brought to our lives.  Babies bring such love and wonder into a home.  Belly is such a wonderful gift and BDC and I are enjoying every single moment (even the crazy ones).

Happy Friday Smackers!  Remember to enjoy the moments.  Rough, tough, joyful or happy, they are all moments we can't get back!

Share a Spoon - Quick, Fast and In a Hurry

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Tuesday Smackers!

Quick and Easy (Like Yo' Mama) *zing*

brought to you

Courtesy of the Quacktastic


This week's theme is all about getting a meal on the table in less time than it takes to go pick up something take-out or order something to be delivered.  Really, it's not as difficult as you might think.  The best part is, you control all the calories and salt that you are putting in the little tummies sitting at your table.

My family loves pasta.  If you put noodles in anything as far as they are concerned it's a great meal.  Add tomatoes or a sauce and I am a super hero.  They would rather have that than take out any day of the week.  Chef BoyarDee?  PUH-LEEZE!

So this week I thought I would share their favorite quick fix meal.  Some people call it Easy Mac, some call it Goulash, my kiddos call it DELICIOUS!

Images provided via Google

Easy Mac

1 large sweet onion diced
1.3 pounds lean ground beef (I use ground sirloin for this)
2 teaspoons dried Mexican Oregano
1 teaspoon garlic powder
2  15 oz cans diced tomatoes
1 can crushed tomatoes
1 box prepared elbow macaroni
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot with a couple of tablespoons of olive oil saute the onions until just softened.  Add a bit of salt to the onions to help them along.

Add the ground sirloin and season with salt and pepper.  Brown the meat.  If there is excess water or fat left in the pan after the meat is completely browned drain it off and pour back in the pot.

Season the browned meat and onions with oregano and garlic powder.  Add the diced tomatoes and crushed tomatoes.  Mix well and turn to simmer.

In a large pot bring water to a boil.  Add two handfuls of salt once boiling.
Boil macaroni as directions for al dente apply.

Drain macaroni and add to the meat and tomatoes.

Allow to simmer for 10 minutes together.

That's it.  Plate and top with a sprinkling of grated Parmesan.

This really is hearty and satisfying.  It's fast and easy!

Now, it's your turn.  Share your favorite quick, fast and in a hurry meals!  Let me know what you would like to see here on Share a Spoon.  Happy Thursday Smackers!  Love!

Share a Spoon Theme - Speedy Gonzales

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Saturday Smackers!

Share a Spoon

Theme Time

We have a picture clue for theme this week!

It's SPEEDY...arriba arriba!

My BFF Ducky asked for this week's theme.  She needs some quick, and easy meals to get on the table for her and lil Duck.  I think we can all relate with that.  There are so many nights when you're tired, on the way home from work, it's been a rough day and drive-thru seems like the only option for the night.  

The only problem with that is even after a day from hell when you can justify drive-thru for dinner, afterwards that mom guilt sets in.  You end up feeling bad for not having put together a home cooked healthy meal.  Let's face it, anything home cooked tastes better anyway.  Plus, even with the "healthier" offerings, fast food is still HELL on your waist line.  SERIOUSLY!

So this week I want your quick and easy meals!  Something we can all do, quick, easy and in a hurry.  No fuss, no muss.  NO GUILT!

Leave me some theme requests people.  Leave me some love.  AND BE HERE Thursday to Share your go to quick meal recipe!

Bling it up the Wall!

Friday, January 14, 2011

So...for Christmas, my favoritest oldest daughter had pictures done of all my kids.  Then since she worked at a local photo studio for the Holiday Season she got to order lots of them for a lot less than I would have to pay.

They took some fun shots, they took some great shots, they are all my favorite. I can't pick just one.  However, apparently the printing studio loved one above the rest because they added in several  extras, (the ones to get you to spend more $$) in every shade of one pose.

However, since I love have to wait until you've viewed all the others before you get to see that one!  <---sue me!

(All my babies together!)

Individual shots:

For some reason there was no individual of Kenna, but maybe that's because she took most of the pictures.


Kooper (Bo-Bo)

Kamden (Dam-Dam or Mini Me)

Khylee (Belly)

Group shots:

The Three Musketeers

The Three Stooges

This one was hard to scan in because of it's size.  It's soooo cool though!

My Princesses!

da Babies!

and the picture that was obviously the studio favorite?

This is my favorite of the ones they added.  I have this shot in color, in black and white, in sepia, they added a calendar, one with a border.   They liked it A LOT apparently.

I love them all, and they are going to be blinging up my walls!!

Share a Spoon - Souper Salad and Sammie

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Tuesday Smackers!

Share a Spoon Time


thanks to


for our theme this week!

I was so excited about this theme.  I am a huge sandwich fan.  Seriously.  I like sandwiches almost as much as I love chicken.  And we all know I could eat chicken 7 days a week!  Add soup or salad to my sammie and *cue Hallelujah chorus* we have sweet sweet perfection!

So I have two recipes to SHARE with you this week.  They don't go together.  One is a salad, that certainly could work as a meal in and of itself.  We ate this salad as a side however, with a sammie this week.

Roasted Veggie Orzo Salad

1 medium red onion
4-5 small red potatoes
1 cup carrots
2 small zucchini
1 cup fresh brussel sprouts
1 head roasted garlic
2 cups cooked orzo

2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh parsley
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Cut all veggies to sizes you like.  I cut the brussel sprouts in half, used baby carrots, cut the potatoes in half or quarters depending on size.  I cut the onions length wise and a little large so that they hold their shape and large slices of the zucchini on a bias.

Drizzle the veggies with a bit of olive oil and salt and pepper.  Roast in the preheated oven for 30 minutes.  (Or until the are fork tender.)

Cook the orzo according to the directions on the box.  Substitute chicken stock for the water to add more flavor.

In a small bowl mash the roasted garlic with a fork.  Add the vinegar and mustard and whisk together.  Drizzle in olive oil and whisk until the dressing is emulsified.  Add chopped parsley and salt and pepper to taste.

Toss the orzo and roasted veggies together and pour the dressing over.  Serve warm.  This is also a good cold salad left over. tantalize your taste buds....

N'Awlins Style Red Beans n' Rice

1 large yellow onion
4 stalks of celery
1 large green bell pepper
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 links Andouille Sausage
4-5 springs fresh thyme sprigs
5 cloves chopped garlic
1 bag red beans soaked overnight, rinsed and drained
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot over medium high heat add a couple of tablespoons of oil.  I use olive oil, but any veggie oil is fine.  Add chopped onion, celery and bell pepper.  This is classic N'Awlins starter for everything.  Add a bit of salt and pepper.  The salt will help bring out the natural water in the veggies.  Cook for 5 minutes or so until the veggies are tender.  

Add the chopped garlic and sliced Andouille. Cook over medium heat for 4-5 minutes.

Add the pre-soaked red beans.  Cover with water.  It'll take 10 cups of water or so.  Cook over medium heat, uncovered for about 2 hours.  Stir every so often.
If the bean start to dry, add more water.

After two hour smash half of the bean with a potato masher or wooden spoon against the side of the pot.  The mixture should thicken but still be soupy.

Serve over rice, or by itself as a soup!  So yummy and belly warming.  GREAT for a cold winter's day!

NOW...I'm going to share my tips and tricks to make sandwiches special.

I add flavor.  That's right flavor!  Here are just a few:

Roasted Garlic Mayo - Add a couple of cloves of roasted garlic to a bowl.  Smash them and add your favorite mayo.  Stir until well combined.

Dijon Mayo:  1/2 cup mayo, 2 Tablespoons sour cream, 1 Tablespoon Dijon or Deli Mustard.  This is tangy and make any sammie a treat!!

Chop some iceburg lettuce.  Add a teaspoon of red wine vinegar, olive oil.  Salt and pepper and Italian seasoning.

Don't be afraid to experiment.  

Alright, now SHARE your favorites!!  LOVE and warmth Smackers!

Spotted Leopards are Carnivorous

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

(Beautiful but deadly.)
I really hate knowing what comes next.  I keep waiting for people to surprise me, but they never do.  People don't change the core of who they are, no more than the proverbial leopard changes their spots.  I have always had the gift of knowing who someone was regardless of what face they choose to put forward.

It's a great gift to have, sort of.  I mean, at least you know right?  At the same time, it sucks.  You can try to give people the benefit of the doubt, but then, you are always in limbo waiting for that shoe to drop.  *sigh*  It sucks. 

Battling with strong willed children is hard enough on it's own.  When you add in two sets of parents, and additional children it's a chore of epic magnitude.  You and your partner agree to parent your children with the ideals, morals and rules that together you think will make a well rounded adult someday.  You do what's best, as best you can and stick together.

Sometimes even amongst yourselves, you can disagree and agree to disagree about how to parent your children.  However, it's a united front, or at least it is at Casa di Romano, in front of the children.  If we disagree, we do it behind closed doors and come to some common ground.

When you have additional parents to weigh in, it's a nightmare.  Even when relationships are civil, or better yet friendly, a disagreement on what's appropriate for your children can quickly turn into a battle of wills.  Throw in a child who is manipulative, and it's full on war.

When the other parents are those parents.  You know those parents who have perfect children, who do nothing wrong ever.  The chore of epic magnitude which was a battle of wills with a strong willed child becomes a war that is rivaled by nothing.  There is no winning.  It's emotional torture.  For the parents.  For the children.  It accomplishes nothing but misery.

And so I struggle.  I struggle to stay afloat in a river of discord.  I struggle to support the partner who is pushing back against the tide.  I pull his head above the water as he tries to give up so that he won't drown and give way to the tide of animosity.

I do it for the man I love.  I do it for the child who doesn't care.  I do it because it's the right thing to do.  I do it because I love them both.  I do it because he's my son too.  I do it because I treat all my children the same, whether I brought them into this world or someone else did.  I do it because I LOVE THEM with every fiber of my being.

I do it because I am stubborn, and I refuse to give up hope that someday, someway, somehow....someone will surprise me.

PINT - Grumpy

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Only Parent Chronicles

It's Sticky Love Day!

Go make some and link up with That One Mom!

Share a Spoon Theme - Brought to you by the letter SSS

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Happy Saturday Smackers!

It's Share a Spoon Theme Time!

brought to you

courtesy of the letter "S"



Images provided via Google Images

My buddy GBGirl over at Girly Bitz chose this week's theme.  She asked for some good sandwich and/or salad recipes.  So I added another S and figured this would be a great theme for Soup, Salad or Sammies.  The epitome of the best lunches ever.  Though really, is there ever a bad time for the triple S?

I could live on sandwiches.  That's no lie.  I LOVE a great sammie.  Add a soup, or a salad and I am in heaven!  I know that a lot of people aren't a fan of the sandwich as a meal, and I say to you....then make one the right way!  If you just slap some mayo a piece of meat and a slice of cheese on two pieces of white bread, then I get it.  That's not a meal, it's a snack, for a kid.

You can get sooooooo creative with sandwiches!  When I tell the family we are having Paninis for dinner my kids squeal with delight!  One of their favorite things!  They call them "fancy grown up grilled cheese sandwiches"!

So....look in your recipe archives people.  I want some great new soups, fun creative salads and grown up sandwiches SHARED this week.  This is a week where everyone can participate because I know you all have at least one favorite SSS meal!

Have a great weekend, see you Thursday with your recipes!!  Love!

Girl Fight

Friday, January 7, 2011

It's been quite some time since I posted a real post.  You know, something other than a recipe, a theme for recipes or PINT.  I've been in a funk.  Our personal finances at Casa di Romano SUCK, and that's putting it mildly.  I haven't worked since August of 2009.  But, that's not what this post is about.  I hate to sit and dwell on the negatives.  There really is no point, wallowing in self pity focusing on what is not, is not my style.
So, the other night we are sitting on the couch watching The People's Choice Awards (PCA).  I have to say, um....what the hell?  I love Queen Latifah.  I really do, but her hosting was a train wreck.   Also....not the point of this post.

Brief child recap for new Smackers.  I have 5 children.  Kenna is 19, in nursing school.  Michael, stepson is 12.  Kooper is my ADHD 11yr old.  Kamden (mini-me) is my ADHD 8yr old.  Belly is my 10mth old nemesis daughter.

So...back to the PCA's.  We're watching.  If you're just tuning in, Mini-Me is obsessed with Taylor Swift.  He's asked Santa for her the last two years running for Christmas.  Not her cd's.  Not tickets to her concerts.  HER.  Live in person, Taylor Swift for Kamden to keep.  He's a true celeb stalker in the making.  Or perhaps he'll move to LA and become the stalkerazzi.  

Anycrazyphotog...we're watching the PCAs.  The Country Female Artist category comes on.  My hormonal prepubescent tweens are all eyes on the screen!  Taylor Swift is announced.  Mini-me squeals with delight!  "Go has to be Taylor...there is no one but Taylor!"  Kooper rolls his eyes.  Then Carrie Underwood is announced last.  Kooper yells "OH YEAH!  She's the one!  She should win!"


This is where is got hairy.  There was almost a girl fight in the middle of my living room.

Kamden to Koop:  "WHAT?"
Kamden to Koop:  " just think she should win because she's hot."

*blink blink*

Kooper looks at me.  I look at him.  We have an understanding.  Something along the lines of pot...kettle...BLACK!

Kooper to Kam:  "Seriously???????"

Kamden gives us both "the look" then proceeds to share with us that his interest in Taylor Swift is all about her talent.  She's a "gifted songwriter".

Kooper to the room at large, but in Kamden's general direction:  "Yeah.  Oh. Kay!  Talent.  Mmm-hmm!"  Under his breath and he leaves room.  "Like I said, then Carrie should win."

Kamden:  "I heard that."

There is never a dull moment folks.  NEVER.

Here is an example of the madness.  It's long.  You don't have to watch the whole thing to get the gist.