April 26, 2010

Tuesday At The Table - Honey Wheat Pancakes

Happy Tuesday, gang!  I hope you all had wonderful weekends.  Sorry I haven't been around the past few days.  I've been feeling a little under the weather, and finally gave in and saw a doctor Monday morning.  It turns out I have a sinus infection and ear infection.  Boo!

I'm going to be quiet for a few more days - until my entire head stops throbbing.  If there anything good going on, let me know!!

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Honey Wheat Pancakes

1 1/2 cups Bisquick
1/2 cup wheat flour
1/4 cup wheat germ
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
1 medium banana, mashed
2 tablespoons honey

In a small bowl, combine the first five ingredients.  Combine the eggs, buttermilk, banana and honey, add to the dry ingredients.Stir until just moistened.

Cook on a hot buttered (or cooking sprayed) griddle, turning when bubbles appear on the top.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

April 21, 2010

Adventures in House Hunting...

The first time home buyer tax credit ends in a little over a week...and somehow, last week I got it in my brain that I wanted to start looking for houses. Yep, I'm a genius.

Given the oddities that I've seen in the past week, I decided that I should share my housing chuckles and horrors as I go through the process. :-)

I got the name of a good real estate agent from my friend last Thursday and Saturday I looked at my first two houses.

House 1: Cute house, fairly good condition, great location. Plus, the back yard is already fenced in and ready for the pups!!

This house had been on the market for 3 days when I went to the open house. I got there, and there were 50-60 people outside waiting for the seller's agent to arrive. We all wait our turn to wander through and the house pretty much looked as good as the online pictures. However, the seller didn't clean her house. At all. To the point where everyone had to hop over trash. The seller also stayed in the house - with her dogs while everyone was wandering through. I've never heard of that happening! Then I realize that one of the doors to the house goes through the bathroom. Yep, you heard that right... the bathroom has a door that leads to the backyard and driveway. I'd be afraid that someone was going to come visit me and walk in while I was peeing!! Then, the selling agent announces that they are only accepting offers submitted that day! Um, I like the house (despite it's oddities), but you want an offer now? Like now, now?

Bye-bye cute little house. If only I had started this whole process a month ago, you could have been mine!


House 2: Big house. I was charmed by the prospect of owning an antique farmhouse....

Where to start? OK. This house had been unoccupied for a year and a half, which didn't do it any favors. There is sooo much potential for this house. Great corner lot, new carpeting & water tank. However, there was a lot wrong too. As in, it would need to be fixed before I could inhabit the house. The roof needs work, the electric isn't up to code, all the windows (ahem - 21 of them) need to be replaced, the back yard needs to be fenced in. And theres a bunch of fixes that would need to happen in the next few years too. The kitchen needs to be re-done (the refridgerator is in front of the window because there are three heating registers that prevent it from being anywhere else), you can see through the floor slats in the barn straight down to the basement, there's tons of over-growth in the yard to be cleared.

Bye-bye antique farm house. Unless the seller cuts the price by $50K, I can't buy the house AND do the repairs.

Fingers crossed, I see a few more houses this weekend.  :-)

April 19, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Easy Ranch Pretzel Bites

Happy Tuesday! Holy moley, a lot of you linked up and played along last week.  THANK YOU!!!

I hope you're all having a fabulous week!  If you got Monday off - I'm jealous.  :-)  Besides being a holiday, Monday was race day.  The Boston Marathon is about a half mile from my office...but I never got the chance to sneak out and watch.  Maybe next year!

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

I love pretzels and flavored pretzels are even better.  Plus, I have a thing for all things ranch flavored.  :-)

Easy Ranch Pretzel Bites

1 package (20 ounces) large thick pretzels
1 envelope ranch salad dressing mix
3/4 cup canola oil
1-1/2 teaspoons dill weed
1-1/2 teaspoons garlic powder

Break pretzels into bite-size pieces and place in a large bowl. Combine remaining ingredients; pour over pretzels. Stir to coat. Pour into an ungreased baking pan and bake at 200° for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

MyBlogSpark/Green Giant Giveaway

 The 40th anniversary of Earth Day is this week - April 22nd and for Green Giant, it’s all about trying to live up to the name by working every day to care for the land, the people who grow our vegetables and the families who share our vegetables at their tables. Throughout its century-long history, Green Giant has worked to reduce its environmental footprint through many measures including:


  • Reducing the amount of land and water needed to grow vegetables
  • Packing vegetables in smaller, lighter cans, so it takes less fuel to deliver them to supermarket shelves
  • Utilizing traditional seed breeding methods over the last 35 years to double the amount of sweet corn grown on an acre of land
  • Teaming up with growers to install a more efficient irrigation system that can reduce water use by more than a million gallons a year;
  • Switching to more earth-friendly paperboard to package frozen vegetables, saving approximately 54,000 trees annually in the process.

Green Giant is now celebrating the 40th anniversary of Earth Day by giving $200,000 to The Nature Conservancy to help fund an innovative project that will encourage greener farming practices to repair and protect a natural treasure - the Root River, one of Minnesota´s (Green Giant's home) best trout streams. Learn more about Green Giant´s sustainability program or make a donation to The Nature Conservancy, visit HERE during the month of April.


To motivate everyone to be green, Green Giant is holding a little giveaway.  First they sent me this and then shared that I can give one away too!!  Very cool!

I only have one rule this time (shocking, I know!) - tell me how you are trying to be green for Earth Day. You get one entry for your comment and one entry tweeting about the giveaway (make sure you include me @allthelilstuff).
This contest will end at Midnight EST on Earth Day, so act quick.  :-)
*Many thanks to Green Giant and MyBlogSpark for providing me with both a prize packages, and for asking me to host this giveaway!*


April 12, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Quick Bolognese Sauce

Hi gang!  I hope you had a nice weekend.  :-)  Every week I'm amazed by & grateful for all of you that contribute your yummy recipes.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!!

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Bolognese sauce is one of my favorites.  It tastes great and it's super easy! I got this recipe from Good Housekeeping.

Quick Bolognese Sauce

1 1/2 pounds ground beef/veal/pork
1 medium onion, chopped
1 large stalk celery, chopped
1 large carrot, shredded
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 can (28 ounces) whole tomatoes in puree
Salt and ground black pepper
1/2 cup whole milk

1.Heat 5- to 6-quart Dutch oven over high heat until hot. Add ground meat, onion, celery, and carrot, and cook 10 minutes or until meat is no longer pink, breaking up meat with side of spoon. Drain off fat. Stir in tomato paste; cook 2 minutes.

2.Add red wine and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper; heat to boiling, breaking up tomatoes with side of spoon. Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3.Stir milk into sauce; cover and simmer 5 minutes. Use half of sauce to toss with 1 pound pasta, cooked, for 6 main-dish servings. Freeze the other half of the sauce to use later!

What's cooking in your kitchen?

April 09, 2010

What's That Smell?!?!

I think I told all of you that all the rain and resulting flooding in March claimed the lives of both my washer and dryer. It put my hot water heater on CPR (as in, for almost half the month - I had no heat or hot water). Last weekend, I discovered that all those tiny droplets of water cumulatively claimed the live of a third victim - my extra freezer.

Unfortunately, the motor still ran, but everything dethawed. My freezer was essentially brain dead.

I came to discover this unfortunate death last Saturday morning. How you ask? THE SMELL!! I wandered past my cellar door and the smell of rotting/rotten meat had seeped out of the now dead freezer, up the cellar stairs and was starting to permeate the air of my front hall, kitchen and den.

It took three people and two nauseating hours to clean up. I now mourn the loss of my freezer and the hundred of dollars of tasty foods that went to waste....

On the bright side - FEMA made a swing by today and we're likely to get funding to replace the washer & dryer and add a dehumidifier. *I can.not.believe that I just said that a visit from FEMA was the bright side to my story.  Who ever thinks they're going to be among those needing disaster relief?!?!*

April 05, 2010

Tuesdays At The Table - Lemon Poppy Muffins

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a fabulous Easter!  Mine was....well....interesting. More details later in the week.

Lovely Yellow Ribbons

Those of you that follow me on Twitter know that I went a little nuts ordering plants last week.  I can't wait until they all arrive - especially my Meyer Lemon Trees!!  I'm so excited to make this recipe with my own lemons.  :-)

Lemon Poppy Muffins

2/3 cup granulated sugar
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 stick (8 Tablespoons) butter, melted
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
2 tablespoons granulated sugar (for topping the batter before baking)

Glaze: 1 cup powdered sugar whisked together with 2 or 3 Tablespoons of lemon juice

In a large bowl, mash the granulated sugar with the lemon zest until the sugar is lightly colored and scented with lemon. Whisk in the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium sized bowl whisk together the eggs, or sour cream, vanilla extract, melted butter and lemon juice.

Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and fold together. When almost thoroughly mixed, add the poppy seeds. Divide batter between muffin cups. Sprinkle each would be muffing with granulated sugar.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 minutes (until the tops are golden and a skewer inserted in the center of the muffin comes out clean). Let cook on a wire rack for 5-10 minutes before glazing.

What's cooking in your kitchen?

April 02, 2010

It's Funnier Now That It's Over....

Ladies, it's been a long week.  It rained in Massachusetts almost the entire month of March.  We got about 15 inches of rain - not to speak of the flooding that left many of us without heat, hot water and power for days at a time & the poor folks that have had to get evacuated by the Coast Guard, National Guard or local fire/police departments.  But, it's over now and I can appreciate the resilience of New Englanders.

Below are a few quotes from Boston.com (aka Boston Globe) this week.

CITY/TOWN: Lakeville

TIME: 10:57 AM
NAME: D.Smith
HOW HAS YOUR STREET FARED?: I just saw Noah's Ark float by
DETAILS: I now live on an island-surrounded by the lakes. Hard to leave town because of the flooded streets and both Routes 18 and 140 closed. National Guard at the end of the street. These lakes are not receding any time soon.

CITY/TOWN: Burlington

TIME: 1:15 PM
NAME: Noah
HOW HAS YOUR STREET FARED?: I just saw Noah's Ark float by
DETAILS: I am launching the Ark I've built in the garage momentarily. The neighbors are coming in two by two. Unlike before, I've got no extra room for nature's creatures.

CITY/TOWN: Hingham

TIME: 9:41 PM
NAME: Captain Cook
HOW HAS YOUR STREET FARED?: I just saw Noah's Ark float by
DETAILS: Ahoy matey, launch the lifeboats and prepare to abandon ship!!! We going down by the stern!!!
CITY/TOWN: Haverhill

TIME: 9:05 PM
NAME: Huckleberry Finn
HOW HAS YOUR STREET FARED?: We're soggy, but not flooded
IS YOUR BASEMENT FLOODED?: Less than an inch
DETAILS: A duck just knocked on my door and asked if he could spend the night....
I saw this video today too.  This guy is a freaking genius!

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