Friday, March 30, 2012

Stuffed TWICE Baked Potatoes

My husbands all time favorite dish would have to be anything that involves the use of potatoes.  Baked potatoes, fried potatoes, mashed potatoes and everything in between.  Potatoes are okay, but far from my favorite food to prepare, so a few weekends ago I started brainstorming possible creations that would be more enticing for me.  What makes a baked potato even better?  A baked potato with cream cheese and blue cheese and shredded sharp cheddar cheese.  Any food that ends or beginning with the word "CHEESE" is bound to be amazing.
You'll need:
6 potatoes (I use red for everything)
4 oz Neufchatel cheese (cream cheese would work fine)
3 tbsp butter
1/2 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup of milk (less or more depending on the size of your potatoes)
1/2 cup salsa (optional)
2 Romano tomatoes
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
Next time I make these I'll use crumbled bacon.  That would make these rockin!!
Pre heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Wash and poke holes with a fork or knife all over the potatoes.  Do not cut potatoes until after they have cooked in the microwave.
Place potatoes on a plate and microwave on high for about 12 minutes, or until soft all the way through.
Next carefully remove the potatoes from the plate and let cool a few minutes.  They are too hot right out of the microwave, but you don't want them to cool so much that they don't melt the butter and cheese.
After they have cooled a bit cut them in half and scoop out the middles into a large bowl.  Be careful not to scoop too much and break the skin on the bottom.  With an electric mixer, mix the butter, neufchatel cheese, garlic salt, pepper and salsa together in the large bowl with the potatoes.  After completely mixed, spoon the mixture back in to the skins and place in oven for about 25 minutes.
After 25 minutes, take out of the oven and place the blue cheese, diced tomatoes and shredded cheese on top of the potatoes and place back in the oven for about 7 minutes longer or just until the cheddar cheese is melted.
Don't these look wonderful?!

Kate Anne

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Indoor Terrarium with Succulents

Many months ago, while flipping though my Better Homes & Gardens magazine I noticed an article entitled, Tips For Your At Home Terrarium (or something along those lines).  I was intrigued.  I love plants, and although I'm not great at keeping them alive, the few months they last me works with my schedule.  I do have a teeny, tiny problem though, I HAVE CATS.  Cats eat everything, well at least mine do.  No they don't clean up my floor, like the dog.  They enjoy nibbling on my plants which either makes them vomit in various areas around the house, OR (it hasn't occurred yet) but kill them.  I'm not a fan of either option, so I was excited to see that with a terrarium you put a lid on it.

The article was from the December issue of Better Homes & Gardens so I immediately ran into a problem...there are no succulents for sale in the winter.  I learned of this negativity after I had already scoured several Goodwill stores for the perfect home for my succulents.  So.....many months succulents are finally in the stores and up for sale.  I was thrilled when Shawn texted me last week from Lowe's telling me of this great news.

I started with 3 little succulents.  I got the bigger rocks at the Dollar Store.  Noah loaned me his gardening tools.  The smaller pebbles are from Wal-Mart in the crafting section.  A bag of dirt.  And the terrarium home I bought at Goodwill and I'm pretty sure it's an old cookie jar.

Add some dirt to the bottom of your jar and place your succulents on top of the dirt.  When you take your plants out of the containers that they come from in the store in, make sure to gently break up the root system before you place them in the new dirt.  Cover the roots with more dirt.  Now add you larger rocks and them sprinkle the smaller pebbles to fill in the gaps.  Do this slowly so as not to get the little pebbles in the succulents.  Noah sprinkled the little pebbles for me and got a few in there.  I think I'll be okay though.
There she is...isn't she a beaut.  I have her sitting on my kitchen counter.  I water about once a week.  I'll definitely be making some more of these babies.  I always have my eye out for neat little homes I could use.  I'll share some more if I find some great ones.

Kate Anne