Thursday, March 17, 2011


Hey, Happy St. Patricks Day! I know today's recipe should be "Irish Stew"...sorry Dad :-) but it's a take-off from my Bean Soup from yesterday. Great recipe when entertaining a crowd. The "Pistachio Fruit Salad" is a great recipe for an "Irish dessert".
"May the LOVE of the Irish fill your heart Today, Tomorrow and Always".

Ingredients: 4 leg quarters (cooked/shredded)
Chicken broth
Tortilla strips or chips
Avacado Slices
Queso Fresco or shredded Mozzerella Cheese

Prepare "bean soup recipe". Add cooked/shredded chicken. Simmer 2-3 hours adding chicken stock as needed. Season to taste with Cilantro. Serve in bowls with sliced avacado and garnish with queso fresco or shredded mozzerella cheese. Serve with tortilla strips or chips. I serve tortilla strips on the side to prevent them from getting "soggy" in soup. Also makes a great presentation when serving guests.

Tip:  I purchased a pkg. of 6 leg quarters for $3.80 (family pack). Used 4 in tortilla soup and saved money using broth from chicken in soup. Plus...cooked another meal BBQ'g the other two. Now that's a savings!!!

Speaking of Savings...we are three months into the's the "Coupon Project" going? Start a "Swap" at work or with friends.'ll be giving yourself a raise by the end of the year and have money for that family vacation. Good luck!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Hey, hope everyone had a "taste of sun" today. Beautiful day in Indiana! Today's bean soup recipe has a couple of steps to follow but the smell is worth the wait. Recipe freezes well and it's also the starter of my "homemade tortilla soup". I love recipes that you can have for two nights and you serve two completely different meals. Gives a new meaning to the term "leftovers". Enjoy!

Ingredients: 2 1/2 cups pinto beans (wash/rinse)
2-3 cups of chicken stock
1 cup onion (chopped)
1 cup bell pepper (chopped)
1 10 oz. can diced tomatoes and green chillies
1 14oz. can diced tomatoes (basil, garlic, and oregano)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1 Tb. celery salt (or one cup chopped fresh celery)
1 Tb. chili powder
1/4 cup cilantro (finely chopped)

In large pot cover beans with two inches of water. Bring to a boil and remove from heat. Cover and let stand for one hour. Return to heat and add 2 cups of chicken stock, onions, tomatoes, tomato sauce, seasonings and cilantro. Cook on medium heat for about 15 minutes. Reduce heat to low and cook for about 2-3 hours adding chicken stock as needed. Taste throughout cooking process to add more seasoning if needed. Beans are done when desired tenderness is reached. Serve with cornbread or garlic bread. Delish!

Tomorrow:  "Chicken Tortilla Soup"

Design Tip:  Recently reeding an article on homes featured with "Pocket Doors". As a designer I have to share this one. Pocket doors dates back to the Victorian era. They are great space savers especially if you are remodeling a small space. We have one going into the "Man Cave" and it's extremely convenient when not all of us want to watch a movie. Yet gives a room more of an "open look" when not in use. They disappear into walls sliding sideways, typically on overhead rollers, tucking into a wall compartment instead of swinging on hinges into a room. Pocket doors save about ten square feet of floor space and great usage in bathrooms, closets, utility rooms and small areas. The wall housing a pocket door must be non-load bearing and wide enough to fit the door and hardware. A great design tip when you are remodeling or building a new home. Email Mark (info below) if you have any remodeling questions before purchasing pocket doors. Always glad to help.

Email design q's to Cat at
Mark: Remodeling/New Construction q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is having a great day. Todays recipe is an all american comfort food dish. Very rich and delicious as a side dish or by itself. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  Whole grain Penne Pasta
6-8 slices bacon
2 cups slices baby bella mushrooms (wipe clean)
4 oz. cream cheese
1 cup of mozzerella cheese

Cook pasta to package directions. Drain. In a non-stick pan cook mushrooms in butter until tender. Remove mushrooms and place in a casserole dish sprayed with pam. Add bacon to pan and cook completely. Remove from pan and cool/crumble into pieces. Place in casserole dish with mushrooms. Add 1 tablespoon flour to mushroom/bacon pan, mix and add cream cheese and milk stirring constantly on low heat until sause thickens. You can add a tablespoon of lemon zest if you wish. In casserole dish fold in cooked noodles, sause with mushrooms and bacon. Mix in 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese. Bake at 425* for about 15-20 or until slightly brown on top. Garnish with chopped parsley before serving.

Twist:  If you are entertaining bake and serve in individual side dishes. Always nice to add a special touch when serving to your guests.

You can always substitute frozen (drained) spinache for the mushrooms as well.

Vegeterain twist:  Omit bacon and cook with mushroom and spinache.

Tomorrow:  "Bean Soup"

Email your design q's to Cat @ Always glad to help.
Mark at for New Construction/Remodeling q's
George at for Realtor/Construction q's

Monday, March 14, 2011


Hey, this week will be a few of my "comfort recipies". I am having a minor surgery friday morning so the "kitchen will be closed for the weekend". The recipes are easy, healthy and freezer friendly. I may be out of the kitchen for a couple of days but I will still have my favorite meals. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 3 lrg sweet potatoes
6-8 golden potatoes
2 cloves garlic
2-3 cups chicken broth
1-2 cups milk

Pre-heat oven to 450*. Peel and chop potatoes and drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper. Crush garlic and mix well. Roast until tender and golden brown. In a large non-stick stew pot add potatoes and slightly mash using a potato masher. (Leave some chunks) Add chicken broth and simmer for about 20 minutes. Add milk until you get the consistency that you desire. I like for the soup to be thick and chunky where you see the beautiful colors of the potatoes. Serve in a bowl and garnish with sour creme or mozzarella cheese on top. Delish!

Tomorrow: " Bacon/Mushroom Casserole"

Design Tip:  This is a great tip for outside activities with your little ones. We all know the Easter Bunny will be coming soon and yard activites are right around the corner...recently found foam colored puzzle pieces that come in a carry bag. Conventient to put together and great for a comfortable outside mat for your little ones. They make great activity mats in your childs room as well.

Hint: For the "big kid" in your life you can purchase similiar mats at your local hardware store. They are in the flooring department and great for working/standing on in the garage etc. Link together as well.

Keep your design and construction q's coming. We're always glad to help. Have a blessed evening, Cat

Saturday, March 12, 2011

"Tortillas w/ Hazelnut spread and Bananas"

Hey, this is a fun dessert to do with your kids. It's healthy and fun. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  Flour Tortillas (whole wheat or regular)
Hazelnut spread with cocoa
Bananas (sliced thinly)

Warm tortilla in pan. Remove. Spread hazelnut and sliced bananas then top with another tortilla. Return to pan and cook until both sides are slightly brown. Cool. Slice and plate.

Adult version: Plate and sprinkle with powdered sugar and mint leaf.

Keep the emails coming. Have a blessed weekend, Cat


Hey, this recipe is my twist on a coffee cake. Very moist and great recipe for entertaining or any special event. Enjoy!

Ingredients: 2 large Golden Delicious apples (filling)
1 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 cup sour creme
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
2 cups cake flour (found in baking section in store near flour)
Bundt pan
Filling: 1/2 cup chopped pecans, 1 tsp. cinnamon, 1/2 cup brown sugar, peeled/chopped apples, mix well.
Topping: 20 caramels unwrapped and 1/4 cup milk

Pre-heat oven to 350*. Cream butter, sugar and eggs. Fold in sour cream and vanilla. Mix dry ingredients and fold in, mixing well. Spoon half of mixture into greased/floured bundt pan. Add filling and spread evenly over first layer. Top with remaining cake mixture. Bake for 50-55 minutes (ovens vary). Cool 15 minutes and remove from pan onto decorative cake plate. Drizzle with caramel right before serving. Delish!

Caramel drizzle:  melt caramels and milk in microwave until melted, stirring occasionally. Let cool or until slightly thickened. Drizzle over cake.

Hint:  In a hurry...omit caramel topping and sprinkle powdered sugar on top.

Holiday option:  Mix powdered sugar with milk and drizzle over cake. Decorate as a "Wreath" using clusters of cinnamon jems as berries.


Hey, hope everyone is having a good week. We've had rain/winds this week which equals "slow Internet" service. I love living in the country but their is two things I do have a hard time with...Internet service and skunks. Going to post dessert recipes and pray service doesn't go down. Turtle pie is my daughter Nichole and step-daughter Amber favorite dessert during the Holidays. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  1 unbaked pastry shell ( I use the frozen in box)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
20 caramels (unwrapped)
1 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
1 egg (beaten)
2 Tb. butter (melted)
6 oz. pkg. semi-sweet chocolate chips (melted)
Vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup chopped pecans (garnish)

Pre-heat oven to 325*. Prepare pastry shell to pkg. directions. Sprinkle chopped nuts into pie shell. In non-stick saucepan, melt caramels over low heat with 2/3 cup of condensed milk. Spoon over walnuts. In bowl, combine egg, butter and remaining milk. Mix well and stir in melted chips. Pour mixture over caramel layer. Bake for 30-35 minutes (ovens vary) or until center is done (test with tooth pick). Cool/slice. Plate with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with chopped pecans. Delish!

Twist:  I have substituted sweetened condensed milk with the "fat free" brand. Not quite as rich and the color of pie is a little lighter brown. Serve with low-fat ice cream and you have a healthier version.

Hint:  Cover the edge of pie crust with a pie crust cover or make your own using aluminum foil. Prevents burning of edges before pie is done.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is doing well. Today's recipe is one of my daughter's favorites. Great recipe to make with your kids or a delicious party dessert as well. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  8-10 graham crackers (crushed)
1/2 stick butter
8oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 cups strawberries (chopped)

Pre-heat oven to 375*. Spray a cupcake pan with non-stick spray. Process butter with graham crackers until well blended. Fill cupcake bottoms and press firmly. Blend cream cheese, sugar and vanilla. Fill each cupcake holder about 3/4 full. Bake for about 15-20 minutes. (ovens vary) Cool. Cover and chill for 2-3 hrs in refrigerator. Crush strawberries in medium bowl and add enough sugar to coat. Mix well. Cover and refrigerate until ready to serve with cheesecakes. Remove cooled cheesecakes and plate. Top with strawberry topping and garnish with a mint leaf if desired.

Tomorrow:  "Turtle Pie"

Keep the emails coming. We are always glad to help. Have a blessed everning.

Monday, March 7, 2011


Hey, hope everyone had a great weekend. This weeks recipes are a "few" of our family's favorites. Desserts that are easy to make and great for entertaining. Enjoy!

Ingredients:  small box Jello Instant pudding (Pistachio flavored)
8 oz. cool whip (lite)
1 cup marshmellows
1/2 cup chopped marashino cherries
15 oz. can mandarine oranges (drained)
20 oz. can pineapple chunks (drained)
1 cup chopped pistachios

Mix pudding and cool whip by hand in large bowl. Fold in marshmellows, cherries, oranges, pineapple chunks and pistachios. Cover and chill in refridgerator for at least one hour before serving. Great dessert with your St. Patrick's Day meal.

Hint:  You can substitute pecans for pistachios if you wish.

Tomorrow:  "Mini Strawberry Cheesecake's"

Keep the design q's coming. We're always glad to help.
Email Cat @
Mark: New Construction/Remodel q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Friday, March 4, 2011


Hey, hope all is well. Today is an emotional day for grandson "Davin" is 6 months today. Seems like yesterday we were blessed with his arrival. To all you grandparents...always tell your grandchildren you love matter how old they are. It's so neat hearing my daughter Nichole talk about her child hood memories. Again, seems like yesterday. Today are a "few" kitchen tips that have saved me along the way. Enjoy!

Frosting a Cake:  Freeze cake for about 15-20 minutes before frosting. Prevents cake from crumbling into frosting when decorating.

Decorating a cake:  Line plate with Parchment paper before adding cake. Trim off excess paper with exacto knife after decorated. Non messy and easier to slice off plate while serving.

Parchment paper:  Line baking trays for even cooking. Helps with clean-up as well.

Mandoline blades:  Mark sharp side with a sharpie pen. Lay face down to prevent cutting hands when grabbing.

Plastic containers:  Spray with cooking spray before adding spaghetti sauces, etc. Prevents plastic from staining.

Labels:  Use tape marked with sharpie pen to label your food items on containers. Freezer labels can be expensive.

Microwave:  Clean your microwave with water and lemon juice. Steam/cool. Makes wiping off food easier.

Omeletes:  When cooking, tip your pan and let excess egg run underneath. Cover and repeat process until top is cooked. Add fillings and flip one side only. Cover and cook. Garnish with shredded cheese on top if one side is more browned.

Croutons:  Spread day old bread with butter, garlic salt and parsley. Cut into squares. Bake on baking sheet lined with parchment paper at 350* until cooked. Store in air tight container in refridgerator.

Best tip:  Keep your "Staples in your Kitchen" pantry stocked. Helps with those hectic nights...Honey what's for Dinner?

Have a blessed weekend. Thanks for all your emails. We're always glad to help.

Thursday, March 3, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is doing well. Today's recipe is my all time favorite. I've put my own twist on a lengthy recipe. I've served this soup on several occasions and everyone enjoyed it and wanted recipe. I now have copies on hand for everyone. You need to plan on a few hours in the kitchen but trust me...It's worth it. Enjoy!

Tomato-Basil Soup Ingredients:
1 lrg. onion (chopped)
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 28 0z. can whole tomatoes (garlic, basil, oregano)
1 6 0z. can tomato paste (garlic, basil, oregano)
1 14 oz. can chicken broth ( or homemade broth)
1/2 cup sliced celery
2 Tb. Fresh Parsley (chopped)
3 Tb. Fresh Cilantro (chopped)
2-3 tsp. lime juice
3-6 Basil leaves (chopped) or 1 Tb. dried basil for garnish
Sour creme for garnish

In large pot cook onion in olive oil until tender. Add un-drained whole tomatoes, tomato paste, broth, celery and herbs. Bring to boil, reduce heat-simmer, covered for 20 minutes. Cool. In blender, blend 1/2 tomato mixture at a time until smooth. (hint: hold lid on blender tightly) Return to pot, add lime juice. Simmer for another 20 minutes. Top w/ sour creme and fresh basil for garnish. Delish!

Dilly Cheese Bread Ingredients:
3 cups Biscuit mix
1 1/2 cups grated cheddar cheese
1 Tb. sugar
1 1/4 cup milk
1 egg (beaten)
1 Tb. vegetable oil
1/2 tsp. Dill (I use dry instead of fresh)
1/2 tsp. dry mustard

Combine in large bowl biscuit mix, cheese, sugar. Mix remaining ingredients in second bowl. Stir into dry mixture beating. Blend well. Beat slightly to remove lumps. Bake in a greased 5x9 loaf pan until golden brown @ 350* for about 45-50 min. (ovens vary).
Let cool. Slice and serve with your favorite Herb butter.

TOMORROW: " Kitchen Tips"

Keep the emails coming. We're always glad to help. Have a blessed day.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Hey, hope everyone is enjoying the sun. This time of year I tend to get a little "anxious" and want to start my outside gardening. Weather still crazy so I guess I'll stick to the "blue prints". Today are a few of my favorite things to do with herbs. Entertaining ideas and gifts that are easy on the budget. Enjoy!

Herb vinegars are an extremely popular use for home grown herbs. To make herb vinegar place herbs in a jar or bottle and cover with white vinegar and secure with a tight lid, store the bottle in a cool, dry place. After steeping for 4-6 weeks, the vinegar can be pored off into smaller bottles and capped. Everyone loves homemade gifts and this will sure be a hit at your next celebration. Tie the bottles with a recipe card of your favorite recipe using the herb. Makes a great decor on your kitchen counter as well.

Herb butter can be made with the addition of about 4 tablespoons full of dried herb leaves and a dash of lemon juice to 1/4 pound of softened butter. Store the butter in the refrigerator in a covered dish. I like to form it into a log and then freeze. Right before serving slice with a butter slicer and plate. Very decorative when entertaining.

Mint leaves in ice...wash mint leaves and place in ice cube trays. Fill with water and freeze. Make enough for individual glasses and for your glass pitcher of your favorite beverage. I grow mint leaves all year and do this tip always when entertaining.

TOMORROW:  "Recipes w/ Herbs Part 2"

DESIGN TIP:  Had an email on advice for settling design arguments with your spouse. Hmm...hesitant to comment but we all go through this. I used to design for Robb & Stucky Interiors and we had Dueling Designers on Saturday's. I always said we should have "Dueling Spouses" instead. Seriously...designs are meant to show your creativity and personal lifestyle in your home. If you get to that argumentative stage...stop and take a breather, you are probably getting too excited or on a time crunch. Go to lunch or dinner and start fresh the next day. You may even come up with another solution to the style you originally wanted. As a Designer, I have to remember that my husband has excellent taste and likes to get involved in the design process as well. I've learned to ask his opinion and combine our creativity. Goes a lot smoother :-) Hope this helps.

Keep the Design question's coming. We are always glad to help.
Email Cat @
Mark: New Construction/Remodeling q's
George: Realtor/Construction q's

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


Hey, can you believe it's already March first...seems like yesterday we were celebrating Christmas. Today, I'll be sharing some herb tips. Growing your own herbs can save you a lot of money. Depending on your windows you can grow herbs all year round in your home. Certain herbs produce a fragrant aroma and flower that makes a great centerpiece. Enjoy!

Harvesting time for an herb is best determined by the growing condition of the herb, rather then by a specific date or month. Always check your zone for growing times. Most herbs are ready to be harvested just as the flower buds first appear. The leaves contain the maximum amount of volatile oils at this stage of growth, giving the greatest flavor and fragrance to the finished product. To extend the use of herbs into the winter months, plan to harvest and dry various herbs during the summer and fall. Herbs should be harvested at the proper time of the day, early in morning, just before the sun is hot. Their fragrance makes this early task quite enjoyable.

Annual herbs can be cut back several times during harvest. Using a sharp knife or pruning shears, cut just above a leaf or a pair of leaves, leaving 4-6 inches of the stem for later growth. If an annual herb is grown for it's seeds, it should not be cut back and used for the leaves. Allow the plants to mature fully and then harvest them. Collect the seed heads when they are turning brown by cutting them from the plants and drying them on a tray made of very fine wire mesh.

When drying whole branches or stems first wash and dry, then gather 5 to 8 stems together and tie them into a bundle. Place the bundle into a brown paper bag with the stems extending out the open end and hang in a dark warm place (70 to 80 degrees F). Depending on temperature and moisture, drying time will take 2-4 weeks. Tray drying is usually used for short-stemmed herbs or for individual leaves. The trays should be kept in a warm, dark place until the herbs are dry.

Microwave ovens can be used for quick drying of herbs. Care must be taken, for herbs can't be desiccated too quickly at too high a temperature or much of the flavor, oils, and color of the herbs will be lost. Place the clean stems or leaves on a paper plate or towel and set the control on high for 1-3 minutes, turn the stems over or mix the leaves every 30 seconds.

Drying with conventional oven, place the stems on a cookie sheet or shallow pan and warm at no more than 180* for 3-4 hours with the oven door oven. Store the herbs in an airtight jars in a cool, dry place. If the entire stems were dried, remove the leaves and crush or crumble then in jars. Herbs must be completely dried or they will mold and jars away from direct sunlight and heat.

My favorite is using dehydrating herbs in my toaster oven. Uses less electricity. Certain herbs like chives and basil due have a "smelly" scent (so I've been told by my husband). Always, test a small amount of herbs first so you don't waste a full batch.

TOMORROW:  "Recipes w/ Herbs Part 1"

DESIGN TIP:  You do not need a large area for growing herbs. Herbs grow nicely in pots and also make great decor around your patio as well. I plant herbs in small pots around my BBQ area for that "quick snip" when cooking.

Keep the question coming.
Email Cat @ for design q's
Mark:  mrowe@roweandcampbell New Construction/Remodel q'
George: for Realtor/Construction q's