Monthly Archives: October 2009

Awesome Holiday Gifts on a Budget!

Know what this is?? I bet you don’t! It’s an old cassette tape case that was made into a business card holder!! How cool and budget friendly is that?! Neato! Check out this awesome link to Better Homes and Gardens where there’s a plethora of fun, fabulous, frugal gift ideas for you to make and share with friends and family over the holidays!

XOxoxo ❤>Udo


Udo’s Bangers and Ravs

Fall fun continues! We took a nice long drive today in search of a new home and on the way stopped at the most delightful pizza place. To say the pizza was a VICTORY is an understatement. Oh goodness… nobody does pizza like NEPA that’s for sure! Dinner time is near and what to make with what we have on hand? Whipped up some sausages and ravioli with a glass of pinot grigio… can’t beat that!

Udo’s Bangers and Ravs

  • 1lb of sweet italian sausuage
  • 1 bag of frozen chopped onions and green peppers
  • 1 bag of frozen ravioli
  • garlic
  • olive oil
  • all spice
  • sweet sea salt
  • freshly ground black pepper
  • white wine
  • country fresh cream butter

Sautee the onions and peppers in the olive oil. Meanwhile boil the salted water for the ravs. In a separate pan cook up the sausage as you like (whole, cut up, shredded) and while it is cooking in its own olive oil add some all spice and dried tarragon to season the sausage. The all spice is quite lovely and really adds a hint of autumn to the sausage. Tarragon is a must IMHO when cooking sausage… it really brings out the umami. Add the cooked ravs, and the onions and peppers and garlic to the pan with the sausages. Add a drop or two of white wine to bring it all together and shred some pecorrino on top if you desire.


Xoxoxo ❤>Udo

And an homage to Bang Bang (bangers) from Brothers Bloom

"Grown Up" Hot Chocolate…

Oh yeahhhh. Hot chocolate never tasted so good, nor was it EVER this relaxing… weeee! Enjoy! XoxoOX ❤>Udo

Nigella’s Grown Up Hot Cocoa


  • 2 cups whole organic milk
  • 3 1/2 ounces best-quality semisweet morsels
  • 1 shake of cinnamon
  • 2 squirts of honey
  • 1 teaspoon or so of brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 tablespoons dark rum or more to taste.. hehee


Put the milk into a saucepan with the chocolate and add to the milk along with a cinnamon, honey, and sugar and heat gently until the chocolate is melted. Stirring with a wooden spoon.

Add the vanilla and mix with a small hand whisk and still whisking, add a spoonful of the rum first and taste to see if you want more. Add more sugar if you want this sweeter, too. Take out the cinnamon stick and pour into 2 cappuccino or caffe latte cups.

For more great recipes like this, visit the Food Network online!

XoxoXo ❤>Udo

Pasta with Walnut Sauce…

Ahhhh! Soooo good!

Nigella’s Pasta with Walnut Sauce


  • 6 ounces shelled walnuts
  • 1/2 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 slice bread, crusts removed
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 1 ounce grated Parmesan, plus more for garnish
  • 3 to 4 tablespoons olive oil (preferably Ligurian)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 pounds any flat short pasta
  • 1/2 cup chopped Italian parsley, for garnish


Put a large saucepan of water on to boil, and toast the walnuts in a dry frying pan until they begin to make a nutty aroma. Put the bread in a bowl and cover with the milk. Put most of the toasted walnuts (reserving about 1 ounce for garnish) into a blender along with the garlic, bread soaked in milk, and Parmesan. Blend until it turns smooth and creamy, then pour in the oil and season well with salt and pepper before blending again.

Pour into a bowl, and set aside.

Add pasta to boiling water with salt and cook for the required amount of time. When pasta is al dente, reserve a cup of the pasta cooking liquid and then drain the pasta, but put it in to a large bowl while it’s still dripping slightly with water. Sprinkle a little olive oil over the pasta to prevent it sticking together, and then add the walnut sauce, mixing it into the pasta (splash in a little pasta cooking liquid to make the sauce less thick if needed).

Roughly chop the remaining walnuts and toss them over the top along with some more Parmesan and the chopped parsley.

For more great recipes visit the Food Network Online!


XoOXox ❤>Udo

Piping Hot Shepard’s Pie

So warm and delicious on a crisp fall day!
Start off with your mashed potato layer…
Then add your seasoned veggies…
Add your beef that was browned and mixed with sauteed mushrooms
Top it off with a layer of biscuit mix (or use your pancake mix instead!)
Bake at 350 for 20 minutes or until the top turns golden brown… serve warm!

Paul Deen’s Shepard’s Pie


  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 (8-ounce) cans tomato sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups mixed vegetables or niblet corn, prepared
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 to 10 medium red new potatoes
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 12 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups instant biscuit mix


Beef Layer: Saute onions in 2 tablespoons butter. Add ground beef. After beef is browned, add tomato sauce; Mix in vegetables. Add salt and pepper, to taste.

Potato Layer: Peel and slice potatoes 1/4-inch thick. Cook in boiling water for approximately 15 minutes or until fork-tender. Whip potatoes with electric mixer; mix until moderately smooth. Don’t over beat them; a few lumps are nice. Add 1/2 cup heated milk, 1/2 cup butter, and sour cream. Salt and pepper, to taste. Whip until mixed. Adjust thickness by adding more milk, if desired.

Biscuit Layer: Combine biscuit mix and 1 cup milk. The mix should be thinner than normal biscuit mix but not runny.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Spray a 9 by 9 by 2-inch pan, or any similar casserole dish. Layer half way up with the mashed potatoes. Next, spread a layer of mixed vegetables or niblet corn on top of potatoes. Then add a layer of the meat. Pour biscuit mix over meat. Melt 4 tablespoons of butter and drizzle over top. Bake for approximately 35 to 45 minutes until top is golden brown.

Visit the foodnetwork online for more great recipes!


XXoxoXOo ❤>Udo

Cornish Hens with Apples and Shallots

Sunday dinner is always fun to make because I start cooking at around 8am and keep going until noon. Usually I’m able to whip up a loaf of bread or two for the week, maybe some muffins and brownies for lunches and whatever the dinner of the day is.

I like to keep Sunday a big pasta day and draw out the process of making the sauce from scratch using Grandma P.’s recipe (which includes homemade briciolli and meatball) Oh so good. But today I went the way of autumn and decided to get all medieval with a cornish hen or two (which we will wash down later with some stines of grog (or some pinot grigio) ::imitates a pirate wench at a Rennasiance Faire:: Arrrrrrrr!

Now I have to tell you, I totally winged this one (get it, winged?) and changed up a recipe I found from an old Martha cookbook. I think her recipe called for grapes and shallots but I’m fresh out of grapes and heavy on the apples so I subsituted the fruit. I also found this recipe online and thought…hmmm this is a fun take on spicing up that little cornish devil so let’s give this a whirl too! Right. So here’s my take on it:

Udo’s Cornish Hen with Apple and Shallot
  • 2 cornish game hens
  • olive oil
  • sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • Rosemary bits
  • country fresh cream butter
  • the juice of half a lemon
  • dried cranberries
  • chopped walnuts
  • 3 or 4 apples cored and cut up into pieces
  • 4 shallots halved and quartered
All of the following spices to taste (tt)
  • Paprika
  • Cinnamon
  • All Spice
  • Nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Stuff the hens with the cranberries and walnuts. Season both sides of the hens with olive oil, some lemon juice, and all of the seasoning and spices. Tie the legs together and nestle the birds into a cookie sheet where you have spread out your chopped shallots and apples. Drizzle olive oil over the apples and shallots. Season all with a few grinds of salt and pepper. Cook the birds until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh (avoiding the bone) reads 160 degrees. Continue to occasionally baste the hens with the juices in the pan. Serve with smashed baby red potatoes. Yum!

XOoXoxO ❤>Udo

Ok- so it’s not a cornish hen, but it’s about as big as one!

Pancakes and Penelope

Ok ok. So it was a strange, strange Saturday- that’s for sure. Between a crazy bout of house hunting and then jaunting around a bit with my mommah to do some errands I managed to come home to greet a sleepy hubby who went in to work for some overtime earlier this morning. About 5pm we both collapsed on the couch only to wake at 8:30pm with growling tummies. What to do? What to eat? Lucky for us it is indeed Saturday night and that means we can stay up as late as we want…fun!

Speaking of fun… there’s a blu-ray copy of Volver that’s been camping out on our coffee table for the past week… can’t quite seem to hit the right mood to watch it… and luckily Netflix is in no hurry to get it back from us. I have no idea what its about…. except that I know the director is incredibly talented and it’s supposed to be good and Penelope Cruz was nominated for an Oscar because of this film.

Hungry too, the both of us are, but not so much for regular food… so it’s time to make some home made pancakes (yes from scratch!) oh my goodness did they come out great! I used a teeny bit of country fresh cream butter on each cake and topped them off with some sliced bananas, sparkly sugar crystals (diamond jimmies) and powdered sugar… AHHHH!!! One could lose control while eating these- they are THAT good. Sooo now, we are eating our pancakes, drinking ice cold glasses of organic whole milk, and watching the Volver. Gracias!

Here’s the recipe… update on pretty Penelope later… enjoy!
XOxoXoXOXo ❤>Udo

Homemade Pancake Mix

  • 7 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup baking powder
  • 2 tsp. salt
  • 8 tsp. sugar
  • 1 c. Crisco

Using a wire whisk or pastry cutter, cut in shortening until mixture resembles coarse meal. Store sealed in pantry or refrigerator. To make pancakes add 3/4 cup of milk to 1 cup of mix.

For you Volver fans out there…

PS: The movie was FANTASTIC!