Saturday, April 4, 2020

How to Make a Face Mask

This week I worked out a pattern for making a cloth face mask.

This mask is easy to make and comfortable to wear.

How to Make a Fabric Face Mask


Comfortable Cloth Face Mask

You can watch a video on my Facebook page or follow the steps below.

The Materials List

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Here’s what you need per face mask:


You want to choose a washable fabric with a close weave. I like using white, cotton sheet fabric, but choose a fabric with a print to make a fashion statement.


How to Make a Cloth Face Mask
Using a sewing machine makes the assembly quicker but you can make one completely by hand as long as you can sew a straight stitch.

An Easy Face Mask


Step 1
Cut your fabric into a 9 x 16-inch rectangle. Fold the two short sides together, the right side of the fabric touching.

A Cotton Rectangle of Fabric


Step 2
Stitch along the three open sides of the fabric, leaving approximately two inches open at the end. Reinforce the stitches at the end so they won't pull open.

Stitch the Fabric


Step 3
Snip the corners, being careful not to cut too close to the stitches. Turn the fabric right side out. Iron the rectangle flat, turning in the edges of the open section.

Finish the Fabric Rectangle


Step 4
Make three accordion pleats, pinning each pleat as you go.  Refer to my video if needed.
Iron the pleats flat.

Make Pleats in the Fabric


Step 5
Attach your ties to the sides of the pleated rectangle being sure to stitch through the pleats. Tie off the ends of the ties with a simple knot so they don't fray as used or washed.

Make Ties to Link to Your Ears


Fit the mask to your face, knotting the ties behind your ears.  Be sure to cover your nose and pull the mask down over your chin.

A Fabric Face Mask

You are now ready to go.
Remember, staying at home is your best option.

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Shrimp and Grits

They say that crazy times call for drastic measures but sometimes all you need is a little comfort food.  Today I'm sharing a comfort food recipe for just that reason. It's shrimp and grits and it will make you happy.

What's wonderful about this recipe is that unlike many comfort foods it is also quick and easy to prepare. You can make this dinner in about thirty minutes.

Comforting Shrimp and Grits

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Shrimp and Grits

Shrimp and grits is a flexible recipe.  You can make any number of adjustments to suit your tastes.  Consider my recipe a starting point and make it your own.

Bob's Red Mill Yellow Corn Grits make delicious grits. It was the only brand I was able to find on a very brief shopping trip but I recommend this brand for this recipe.  The corn flavor in these grits is perfect. The back of the package has a number of alternatives for cooking he grits you can try, but I did it my way.

I used two kinds of cheese.  Cream cheese was one choice for its creaminess and bit of tang.  The other cheese was Cabot's Extra Sharp Cheddar, which I grated with a box grater. This combination was delicious but feel free to substitute any cheeses you prefer.

Shrimp and Grits
Jumbo shrimp are my choice for shrimp and grits. I had a two-pound package in my freezer.  They were the 16-21 shrimp per pound size and were perfect for this dish. I used Emeril's Essence to flavor the shrimp but Southwest seasoning or Creole seasoning would be delicious, too.

Any leftover grits are delicious for breakfast, topped with a fried or poached egg.  Yummy! You might want to double the grits recipe so you'll be sure to have leftovers.

Cooking Shrimp

Comforting Shrimp and Grits

Printer Friendly Recipe
Serves 4

Grits
  • 4 cups of water
  • 1 cup Bob's Red Mill Grits
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/3 cup cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup shredded extra-sharp cheddar cheese
Shrimp
  • 1-1/2 lbs-2 lbs shrimp (I like the 16-21 size)
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
  • 1-2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1-2 tsp Emeril's Essence, or Southwest seasoning, or Creole seasoning
  • 3 scallions, chopped, both white and green parts (or chopped chives)
Directions
Toss the shrimp with the seasoning mix and set aside.

Heat the water and salt in a medium pot over medium-high heat.  Bring the water to a boil.  Add the grits, stirring to avoid clumps.  Reduce the heat to cook the grits gently for 25-30 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add the cheeses and stir until all the cheese has melted and the mixture is smooth and creamy.

Heat the olive oil in a 10-12 inch frying pan over medium heat.  Add the onion and cook until soft.  Add the garlic and cook for one minute. Add the shrimp to the pan, spreading the shrimp out evenly.

Cook until the shrimp turn pink and start to curl, about two minutes.  Turn the shrimp and cook the other side, until the shrimp are pink and cooked through, about two minutes more.

Combine the shrimp and onion mixture.  Scoop the grits into serving bowls and ops with the shrimp mixture.  Garnish with the chopped scallions or chives.

Enjoy!


Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Five Ingredient Crispy Boneless Chicken Thighs Your Family Will Love



Does your family like chicken for dinner?  Chicken is a dinner favorite at my house.  In the past few years, I have been cooking more and more of our family dinners using boneless chicken thighs.

I think chicken thighs are more flavorful than chicken breasts so I started substituting chicken thighs in many recipes where I previously used chicken breasts.   My family and I liked our favorite chicken dishes with the chicken thighs. Now I find myself thinking about how many ways I can use chicken thighs.

Crispy Boneless Chicken Thighs


Crispy boneless chicken thighs
Crispy Boneless Chicken Thighs

This crispy boneless chicken thighs recipe is a favorite of mine.   It is a dish that is quick and easy to prepare and is packed with a lot of flavors.  Marinating the chicken thighs in an oil-based Italian salad dressing tenderizes and flavors the meat.  Coating the thighs in herb and Parmesan cheese flavored bread crumbs adds the crispy crunch and much more flavor.

With only five ingredients, this recipe for oven-baked chicken thighs only takes a couple of minutes to prepare. That makes this recipe perfect for a busy weeknight dinner.


The Best Boneless Chicken Thighs
I like to serve these crispy boneless chicken thighs with green beans and oven-roasted cauliflower, making this a healthy and well-balanced dinner.
Crispy Boneless Chicken Thighs

Crispy Boneless Chicken Thighs
Printer Friendly Recipe
Crispy Boneless chicken thighs for dinner
Crispy Chicken Thighs with Green Beans and Cauliflower
Serves 4


  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
  • 1/2 cup oil-based Italian salad dressing
  • 1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp Italian herbs seasoning


Directions
Rinse the chicken thighs and pat them dry.  Place the thighs in a glass or ceramic dish and cover them with Italian dressing.

Make sure the thighs are well coated with the dressing.  Cover the dish and refrigerate for a minimum of two hours, up to overnight.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a baking sheet with oil.

In a small bowl mix together the seasoned bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, and Italian herbs.  Pour the mixture onto a plate, coating each of the thighs completely in the mixture.

Place each prepared chicken thigh on the baking sheet.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the chicken thighs are browned and cooked to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees F.

Serve with your favorite sides.


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Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Irish Cream Mousse Cake

Here's a chocolate cake that will help you celebrate St. Patrick's Day but you'll love it any day the year. What's better than chocolate cake?

Irish Cream Mousse Cake
In my family chocolate cake is one of the top five favorite desserts.  I know this because I took a poll. The only other cake to make the top five desserts list is our favorite carrot cake.  We usually prefer our chocolate cake with a simple chocolate buttercream frosting, but occasionally I try to mix it up by introducing a new filling, like this Irish Cream Cheesecake Mousse.

A Kicked up Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting

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Irish Cream Mousse Chocolate Cake
Irish Cream Mousse Chocolate Layer Cake

The Irish Cream mousse used in this cake is yummy by itself or in these Irish Cream Trifles.  Individual trifles are delicious and would be a fun alternative to this cake for St. Patrick's Day.
Chocolate Layer Cake with Irish Cream Cheesecake Mousse

Our favorite chocolate cake is made using the Hershey's "Perfectly Chocolate" Cake recipe and "Perfectly Chocolate" Chocolate Frosting.  This is a dependable cake recipe.  It's easy to make and always tastes delicious.  That's why it is always the chocolate cake I make for my family.

The mousse couldn't be easier to make.  With just five ingredients beat together for a couple of minutes, you'll have a delicious mousse ready to spread on your cake's layers. It tastes very special and no one will know how easy to make.  That will be our secret.

Make this cake at least a day ahead of when you plan to serve it.  You'll want to chill the cake completely to allow the mousse to set and make the cake easy to slice.    Leftover cake can be sliced into individual servings, wrapped in plastic wrap and frozen for another day.  This cake freezes beautifully.


Bailey's Cheesecake Mousse
Bailey's Cheesecake Mousse

Irish Cream Cheesecake Mousse 

  • 2-8 ounce blocks of cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream
  • 1 container Cool Whip, defrosted

To Make the Cheesecake Mousse Layer

Mix together the sugar and cocoa powder in a small bowl until well combined.

Beat the cream cheese, sugar mixture, and Irish Cream liqueur together with a mixer until light and fluffy.

Fold in the Cool Whip. Chill.

To Make the Chocolate Layer Cake

Prepare the Hershey's Perfectly Chocolate Cake or your favorite chocolate cake using two 9-inch cake pans.  When cool, slice each cake layer in half.

Spread one layer with one-third of the cheesecake mousse.  Top with another layer of cake.  Spread that layer of cake with another third of the cheesecake mousse and top with another layer of cake. Spread the remaining mousse on the cake and top with the remaining layer of cake.

Chill the cake for at least two hours.  Then prepare the "Perfectly Chocolate" chocolate frosting and frost the sides and top of the cake.  Chill until ready to serve.



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Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

This Hot Fudge Pudding Cake has been a tried and true recipe for my family for many years.  It's very quick and easy making it one of the recipes I turn to when I want a homey, comfort food dessert.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
It has so many yummy things going for it.  First, it is chocolate.  That puts it high on my yumminess scale.  Next. it reminds me of an ooey, gooey brownie and brownies are one of my top five desserts. Lastly, it creates its own hot fudge sauce and any dessert with a hot fudge sauce is a winner in my book.

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
I've been making this recipe at my house for years and years.  It is very easy to assemble and takes forty-five minutes to bake.  You can have a warm, gooey, chocolate dessert in about an hour so it is especially wonderful when a chocolate craving hits.

Of course, ice cream is a must-have addition to this hot fudgy deliciousness.  Vanilla is my ice cream of choice.  I like to add a few maraschino cherries, too.
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

There's nothing exotic about the ingredients.  You probably have them all in your pantry right now, so there is nothing in the way of you having this for dessert tonight.


Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

Hot Fudge Pudding Cake Ingredients
Hot Fudge Pudding Cake Ingredients
Printer Friendly Recipe
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cocoa
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil, or melted butter
  • 1 cup chopped nuts
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cocoa
  • 1-3/4 cups hot water


Directions
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Measure flour, granulated sugar, baking powder, two tablespoons of cocoa, and salt into a bowl.  Blend in the milk and oil. Stir in the chopped nuts.

Spread the mixture into a ungreased 9x9x2" pan. The batter will be very thick.



In a small bowl, stir together the brown sugar and 1/4 cup cocoa powder.  Sprinkle the mixture over the batter in the pan. Pour the hot water over the batter.

Making the Fudge Sauce
Making the Fudge Sauce

 Bake for 45 minutes. You'll see the fudge sauce bubbling up around the edges.

The Baked Hot Fudge Pudding Cake
The Baked Hot Fudge Pudding Cake

When you break through the cake layer with your serving spoon you'll find the yummy hot fudge sauce. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream.


Make it, love it, enjoy it!

Essential Kitchen Tools
This cake is so easy to make you'll need very little for tools. Here are my favorites. (These are affiliate links for your shopping convenience.  I'll receive compensation when your purchase through these links.)

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Enjoy!