Monday, August 29, 2011

Upside Down Parmesan Biscuits (Also Known As Parmesan Pull Aparts)

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I made some Parmesan Pull Aparts for dinner this evening and they were quick and easy and well received!  I spotted them over at Life as a Lofthouse which is where you can find lots of great recipes.  Go ahead and take a peek at the recipe over there.  Holly’s are prettier than mine are because her kids must not mind eating food with little green flecks of herbs.  My son, sadly, is not into green flecks of anything no matter how much I try and tell him that he won’t even know they are there.  Holly also added some shredded mozarella cheese to her recipe…I only used Parmesan. Here is how I made my fleckless Upside Down Parmesan Biscuits.

Parmesan Pull Aparts (also known as Upside Down Parmesan Biscuits)

I used 1 can of refrigerated biscuits.  I used the 10 biscuit sized can of Pillsbury Grands Buttermilk Biscuits.

Melt 2 TBSP. of butter in microwave.  Pour into a round non-stick cake pan.  Sprinkle with 1/2 tsp. garlic powder.  Add green flecks of parsley, basil, oregano, etc….. or just leave plain if you have picky children like I do.

Sprinkle grated or shredded Parmesan Cheese over the butter mixture.

Individually place the biscuits in the pan so that they are all touching each other. 

Bake at 400 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes.  (Check the baking directions on your can of biscuits)

As soon as they come out of the oven place your serving plate on top of the cake pan and carefully flip the pan over so that the biscuits turn out onto the serving plate. 

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Serve.  Eat.  Enjoy.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Half Gallon Size Canning Jars

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Who even knew they made canning jars this big??!  I picked up a box of half gallon sized Ball canning jars the other day.  I found the giant half gallon sized jars at my local ACE Hardware.  (You can order them from too.)  I wasn’t even sure what I was going to do with them at first but I couldn’t leave them there.  I had never seen a canning jar that big before.  And now I have six .  I estimate that there is the equivalent of 4 pint sized jars in that one half gallon sized jar. 

Not sure what I am going to do with all six of them but I can’t wait to see the look on the face of my biggest pickle fan when I give him a jar this size filled with pickles! 

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Here is my jar collection.  The new gallon sized jars next to quart jars, the ever popular pint sized  pickle jars and then we have the quilted jelly jars and my favorite mini jam jars that I like to put my Jalapeno Pepper Jelly in.  I have a big bag of Jalapenos from the Farmer’s Market sitting in my fridge right now waiting for me to turn them into jam

So I have been thinking.  What else can I do with these gigantic jars?  Here is what I came up with so far:

1.  Luminaries at Xmas.  I think these will make great luminaries.  The bigger the better right?  Fill the bottom with white sand or I’ve even seen Epsom Salts used because the white crystals look like snow.  Add a small candle.  Maybe tie some holly on the outside. 

2.  Store food like sugar in the pantry.  Stay one step ahead of the %^&%$# pantry moths!  Dried beans, pasta, and rice.

3.  Soup storage in the refrigerator.   Glass is supposed to be safer than plastic for storing anything especially if it’s hot. 

4.  Make baking mixes up in advance.  I have a great recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes that I will have to post later this week.  It might be nice to have the mix pre-made and then only add the wet ingredients whenever the pancake mood hits.

5.  Baking Mix for gifts.  I’ve seen those premixed cookie  mix jars a lot around the holidays.

6.  Vase for flowers.

7.  Mix up cocktails like Margaritas, Sangria, or Cosmopolitans in advance and store in fridge.

8.  Moon Shine.  (Just kidding.  Not really.)

Got any other ideas on what to do with these monsters?  I would love to hear them.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit


Look what I brought home from work with me today!  It’s a Mozzarella Cheesemaking Kit made by a company called Roaring Brook Dairy.   You can make authentic mozzarella cheese at home in under an hour!  All the ingredients that  you need, except for the milk, are provided in the kit.  It comes with a dairy thermometer, cheese salt, rennet, citric acid and gloves.  And as far as the milk goes, you can use whole or 2% milk.  The fresher the better and pasteurized is fine but it cannot be Ultra-Pasteurized.  That’s it!

You can find a kit at Harris Teeter Supermarkets if you live in the South East part of the country and right now they are on sale for $9.99.  After the sale they will cost you $15.99.  Or you can go Roaring Brook Dairy’s website and order one from them through Amazon (for $18.50).

This would make such a fun gift for someone you know is a Foodie or loves cheese.  And how much fun would this be to make with your kids?  Great holiday gift and stocking stuffer. 

I’ll be back soon with an update and let you know how it goes.  I’ve got a nice piece of mozzarella that I brought home from the market yesterday sitting in the fridge that I have to use up first.  It’s going to be a tomato and mozzarella filled weekend for sure!

One last thing….I started a Facebook Page for my blog Pickles and Cheese.  It might make it easier for some of you to follow.  Just click here: Pickles and Cheese Facebook Page and be sure to click on “LIKE” when you get there.  Thanks!!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Stenciled Halloween Witch Pillow

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It’s been awhile since I did any stenciling but today I had the day off and in between earthquakes and hurricanes, I decided to make a pillow. I was in the kitchen with the dog when my house started vibrating and the water in my glass started moving just like in the movie Jurassic Park! The dog looked at me like “what was that?” and I looked at her and said “Oakley, I think we just had an earthquake.”

About 5 minutes later I saw them announce it on the news. Of course I was watching the weather channel getting the latest information on Hurricane Irene. ( That’s my Mom’s name….Ha!! I wonder if she is keeping up on Irene’s progress?) :) Anyway, that hurricane looks like it’s going to hit us here in North Carolina sometime on Saturday. I’ll be watching The Weather Channel all week now!

So, back to my pillow. I am so happy with how it turned out! I looked around on Google for a silhouette of a witch and printed it out on my computer. I have a stencil burning tool that I found at Michael’s Craft Store for about $15.00 that lets me make my own stencils. It works like the old wood burning kits from when we were kids. For the moon, I took a round rubber jar opener and traced it on my pillow and then hand painted it. After the moon was dry, I stenciled on my witch. Then I used my letter stencils to add the word “WICKED”.

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If you want some more details on how I made the pillow case out of Painter’s Cloth and how I stenciled it you can click here to see a post I made earlier this year on a Hand Stenciled French Pillow that I made.

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I just love it! And it’s kind of funny that after I finished it and started to work on my blog post of it today, I saw that The Graphics Fairy posted a free witch flying over the moon graphic on her blog today. Go take a peek for yourself! Now I know it’s kind of early to start thinking about Halloween. But, today felt like a gorgeous Fall day complete with sunshine and low humidity and before I knew it I was digging around for something to make for Halloween. Sorry! I am usually the one complaining about the stores rushing the holidays. :)

I am linking up with Gluesticks Get Your Brag On. More to see there!Link

And I am linked up with Tales From Bloggaritaville for Thrifty Thursday.

And stop by Domestically Speaking for a Countdown to Autumn Party.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tomato Tart

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I have been wanting to make a tomato tart since forever.  I struck out twice yesterday.  The heirloom tomato lady was missing from the farmer’s market and the local shop with the Tomato and Mozarella cookbook that I was so excited about in my previous post was sold out of the book forcing me to order it from Amazon….at least I tried to support my local business!)

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Anyway, I went ahead and made my own version of a tomato tart with regular farmer’s market tomatoes.  There are lots of Tomato Pie recipes down here but most of them call for mayonnaise which is something I can’t even look at!  Huge mayo aversion.  So I was excited when I saw a recipe which called for Marscapone Cheese instead!  So delicious!  Here is what I did:

Tomato Tart

12 oz. Puff Pastry (I used Pepperidge Farms)

3 Tomatoes, all sliced evenly in about the same size

Marscapone Cheese  (I used about 1/2 of a tub)

Parmesan Cheese, finely grated (Freshly grated Parmesan Reggiano if you can get it)

Basil  (Fresh would be great but I didn’t have any so I used dried)

Salt and pepper

3 Tbsp. olive oil


Thaw out your piece of Puff Pastry according to the directions on the package.   Roll out your pastry dough and carefully fit your puff pastry dough into your tart pan.  The puff pastry dough is so buttery that you do not need to spray with non stick spray.   I used a rectangular pan for my tart but I am sure a round tart pan would work just fine.  Spread a thin layer of Marscapone Cheese over your pastry dough.   I used about 1/2 of a container.  

Add your tomato slices.  I placed mine in 3 rows and overlapped the edges just a bit.   Sprinkle with salt, pepper, and basil.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Top with finely grated Parmesan cheese.

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Here it is before I popped it into the oven.   And here it is after.

Bake in a pre-heated oven at 400 degrees for 30minutes.  Then, lower the temperature to 300 degrees and continue to bake for an additional 45 minutes. (The additional 45 minutes seems like a long time and I kept checking on it every 15 minutes.  You really do want to bake it that long as the goal is to have almost no liquid left in the tomatoes and the crust should be crisp.)  Let cool.  I used a pizza cutter to slice it.  Worked like a charm.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Tomatoes and Mozzarella

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I am not sure how I missed this cookbook because it only came out in 2006!  It’s called Tomatoes and Mozzarella by Hallie Harron and Shelley Sikora.  There is a wonderful local gourmet kitchenware shop here in Greensboro called The Extra Ingredient.  I am on their newsletter e-mail list and received something from them today highlighting some of the recipes that can be found in this book.  The photo above is for their Flaky Tomato Tartlets and Crackly Basil.  I have to make these! 

So the plans for today are to hit the Farmer’s Market for some tomatoes.  Last time I was there I found a vendor who sells the most unusual heirloom tomatoes. Incredible flavor and they came in all kinds of colors.   (The tomatoes in my garden are pitiful!  The deer finally found my garden and what hasn’t been munched down to the ground by them has been choked out by the $#%&^-ing Bermuda grass.  That stuff is evil!)  And then I plan to stop by The Extra Ingredient and get a copy of this book.  It also has a recipe for making a Balsamic Vinegar reduction.  I am going to be all over that too!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Desk Chair Make-Over

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I did a very quick update on the desk chair in my daughter’s bedroom.  It was a Goodwill find from many years ago when purple was the center of her world.  Dull and boring before.  Grubby too I might add.  A coat of Rustoleum Spray Paint in Aqua from The Home Depot and some new fabric for the seat and a bit of it’s charm has been restored. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011

Spa Party Appetizer


How clever is this?!  Check out Hungry Happenings to see how it was made.  The dip itself is taco flavored and I especially like the hair turban made out of mozzarella cheese.  Fun!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Sangria in Jelly Jars


Saw this over at the Tea and Cookies blog.  A few weeks ago I put Margaritas in jelly jars for a small party I was having and they were a huge hit.  And when I saw this I knew it was another great idea for my “Beverages in Jelly Jars” list.  You don’t have to worry about salted rims for theses.  :)

Monday, August 1, 2011

Apron is Finished!

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I finished the apron  and here it is!  It turned out cute and took me between 3 and 4 hours to complete.  A more experienced seamstress could whip this out in no time but as I am an extremely rusty sewer, I thought 3-4 hours was pretty good.  I usually stick to straight seams.  Sewing  pillows and very simple curtains are about as complex as I get.  But, I have to say this was a lot of fun and the directions were clear and very easy to follow. 

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Want to make one of your own?  Visit Jodi over at Pleasant Home to take a peek and some photos of other completed aprons from her pattern kits and then pop over to Pleasant Home on Etsy and pick out a fabric combination you like.  She does most of the work for you (except the sewing :)) and the fabric combos she offers all work perfectly together.