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Chili Topped Baked Potatoes (recipe)


Doing my Discover Fabulous duty this morning – searching for a great recipe to share with my fans… I ran across THIS YUMMO little gem! I can’t wait to get to the store to pick out some beautiful potatoes for his hearty meal.  Pair it with a green salad and “dinner is done!”

Let me know if you try it and how it turns out for you!

Chili Topped Baked Potatoes (Courtesy of Southern Living)

Ingredients

  • 1  pound  ground chuck
  • 1  onion, chopped
  • 1  (16-ounce) can pinto beans, undrained
  • 1  (15 1/4-ounce) can whole kernel corn, drained
  • 1  (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • 1  (10-ounce) can diced tomatoes and green chiles, undrained
  • 1  (1 1/4-ounce) envelope taco seasoning mix
  • 1  (1-ounce) envelope Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 2  cups  water
  • 4  large baking potatoes
  • Toppings: shredded Cheddar cheese, sour cream, chopped green onions

Preparation

Cook ground beef and onion in a Dutch oven or deep skillet –  stirring until beef crumbles and is no longer pink; drain and return to pan. Stir in pinto beans and next 6 ingredients; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes.

Scrub potatoes; prick several times with a fork.

Microwave potatoes 1 inch apart on paper towels at HIGH 14 minutes or until done, turning and rearranging after 5 minutes. Let stand 2 minutes. Split potatoes, and top evenly with chili. Serve with desired toppings.

NOTE: If you like less chili on your potato, freeze half of mixture up to 3 months. Thaw in refrigerator, and microwave at HIGH, stirring occasionally, until thoroughly heated.

Southern Living, NOVEMBER 1998

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Vintage Pearl Necklace -Reclaimed (Project)


Last Thursday – me & Ric headed out for San Antonio. We love to get away down there for a night out, dinner, recharging…and other stuff 😉 This time on the way down there we took a detour through Gruene, TX…a quaint nostalgic little town with a historical district that has been reclaimed by adorable shops and antique stores. Gruene will forever be a detour now – on our way to San Antonio. I found the coolest stuff there! An old planter stand (taller than me) that I repurposed as a wine bottle rack and a set of old railroad spikes that you will soon see in my Etsy store!

But the most unsuspecting find was this tiny pearl necklace piece – and when I say “piece” I mean it wasn’t all there – I think it was longer at one time – there was something more to it than what I found. I had no idea WHAT I would do with it- but I knew I had to have it – and for $5 – why not??

We arrived home from great weekend trip – and a few more fabulous finds found their way into the back of the suburban. The little pearl necklace layed out on my kitchen island all weekend while we fed kids – cleaned up after feeding kids – and fed kids some more. Last night as I was getting ready for bed – brushing teeth and all that – I noticed some old stretchy-beady bracelets in my misc. organizer in the bathroom- one of them I’ve never worn because it was too small the others were just old and have long been replaced by newer trendy pieces over the past few years. And there it was…the idea. What if I combined those old bracelets – with that tiny little pearl beauty??

Heres how it went….

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Oooohhh So Cute for KIDS! Naartjie Kids Clothing Stores!


Along my shopping trip out-of-town this weekend…I happened across a wonderful kids’ clothing store at the outlet mall in San Marcos! Naartjie – I had never heard if it before and still don’t know how to pronounce it – but I can tell you IT IS FABULOUS! Surely refreshing- positively adorable – and surprisingly affordable! Not to mention – you will be able to dress your little one like a KID and still keep them fashionable! There’s nothing that peeves me more than a tot dressed like they should be going to the club… but I understand that there’s not a lot of options in most towns.

I am always on the look-out for “something different” to dress my little Sadie Alice in… and this may be it! The sale was incredible and even the everyday prices weren’t too bad. There are stores sprinkled around the US – you can check for a store near you here. STORE LOCATIONS

They sell online too -for those of us who like to shop that way! NAARTJIE ONLINE

Its a little “hippie” and a little “funky” and A LOT original. I found the most adorable jacket and outfit for Sadie – I can’t wait to dress her in it! Mom, check out this store – I promise you will LOVE it! (Oh! And the boys clothes are just as cute as the girls clothes!!)

Check out a few of their pieces here – and see even more on their website!

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I love my ETSY STORE! And YOURS too!!


So I have been tending to my Etsy store (2Raymond Design Co) for 1 month now- and WOWOWOWOWOW!!  I am having a blast selling & shopping in this amazing venue! My store gets so much traffic and I LOVE LOVE LOVE all the support & encouragement from other store owners! It seems like there’s an endless supply of FABULOUS items from some of the most creative, inspiring and talented people on the PLANET!! I try to browse a little every day and share some of my favorite things through my Discover Fabulous Facebook Fan Page… and on this blog as well. I wish I could share so much more- but there just isn’t time!! For now, please take a moment to check out my “favorites” list …and show some love to these incredibly talented creators…

PAULA’S ETSY FAVORITES!

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Congratulations to Brittany Todd!!


Congratulations to Brittany Todd – she’s the winner of our latest Discover Fabulous fan appreciation contest!! Thanks to all the Discover Fabulous fans for entering and as a consolation prize -please take 15% off today in the 2Raymond Design Co store!! (Use code FANS2011 at checkout)

Want to become a Discover Fabulous Facebook Fan and stay up-to-date on all the latest fabulous finds, treasures, home decor ideas, contests and more?? Just visit the Discover Fabulous FACEBOOK Fan Page and click the LIKE button at the top!!

Take a peek here at the amazing featured items in the 2Raymond Design Co store!!

 

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Sale at 2Raymond Design Co today! 15% OFF!!


Use code FBFEB10 today for 15% off at 2Raymond Design Co 

Check out their featured items!

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The Last Supper (Chicken Fried Steak recipe)


It has recently come to my attention that not everyone has been introduced to CHICKEN FRIED STEAK. Now, I am not referring to the measly little processed pieces of unappetizing “meat product” that you see out in a restaurant… no way folks … it’s a SIN to even CALL that CHICKEN FRIED STEAK! (which is why I think some places & people refer to it as “country fried steak”)

 I am referring to a good ‘old-fashioned plate of Heaven – that I for one will be calling for if I ever find myself “DEAD MAN WALKING”

Okay, here’s a warning to all the dieters, vegetarians, health-nuts, etc…etc… – you should stop reading now. If you go any further and feel a need to jog 47 miles just to get the images out of your head… you’ve done so at your own risk and peril. I’ve done all I can do to save you.

A CHICKEN FRIED STEAK dinner is not healthy – lets just get that out there right up front. Your heart won’t thank you and your doctor will NOT want to know you had this on your supper table. (So don’t mention it.) I wouldn’t suggest that you make it a nightly treat or even weekly for that matter. But if you consider how often you don’t think twice about shoving a BLOOMING ONION in your face (which is in EXCESS of 3000 calories) or a SUPER SIZED MEGGA GLUTTONOUS TRIPLE BURGER MEAL 4 times a week for lunch…  if you can just trade out one of those indulgences for this tasty CHICKEN FRIED STEAK dinner… you can just call it even (in my book).

For those of you whose kitchen is a staged dream and you don’t want to mess it up … get the phone – and order take out. This meal is messy to make, in fact wear an apron…and if you don’t have an apron – any old bath towel and some duct tape will work  just fine. TRUST ME – it will look like a flour & egg BOMB went off in your kitchen by the time you’re done…but TRUST ME AGAIN…it will be SO WORTH IT!

Since all my disclaimers are out-of-the-way – let’s get on with it!

This is really more of a “how-to” rather than a “recipe” – you will realize this when you see more “little bit of this” – “splash of that” than you see actual measurements. I have watched my Mom make this meal since I was a little girl – so there’s not much thinking to it for me. Here’s what we are going to discuss in this “how to”

  • Type of beef to purchase & where
  • The best veggies to serve with this meal & how to prepare them
  • The need for an iron skillet
  • An attempt to explain how to make home-made gravy from scratch
  1. Type of BEEF and WHERE to get it:

You will want to use tenderized cubed steak for this masterpiece. It’s not expensive. The best place to get it would be at a meat market/butcher shop since it will be the most fresh from a place like that. But, you can get it at your mega-mart or local grocery store. “Tenderized” for the purpose of this meal means “with a meat hammer” (or brick or rock or actual hammer- it doesn’t matter) If you purchase the cube steak already tenderized – it will look like it has little holes & bumps pounded into it. If you do it yourself, beat it with your tool of choice until it looks like what i described above. (Here’s a picture just in case)

2. Cut your steaks in to strips – it’s easier to handle them that way and takes less time to cook.

3. For DREDGING – you will need 1 medium-sized shallow dish (like a brownie pan) and 1 small bowl. Beat eggs (about 4 eggs per pound of meat) – and milk (about 1/2 a cup to 4 eggs) until mixture is well blended. In the shallow dish mix 4 cups of flour (more if you are making more than 1 pound of meat) with salt & black pepper and 2 teaspoons of BAKING POWDER (NOT baking SODA). Combine those ingredients.

4. Pull out your iron skillet and pour about 1 – 1.5 inches of oil in it. Heat oil until it ripples in the skillet (you can test your oil by dropping a spec of egg mix into it) When its hot – dredge your meat strips in the FLOUR – then EGG – then FLOUR AGAIN. Drop into oil and fry for 4-5 minutes on each side. You will be looking for a golden to dark brown crust. Pull out of the oil and place on a paper towel covered plate in a 200 degree oven while the remaining pieces are cooking.

5. If you don’t have an iron skillet – get one. If you can’t or don’t want to – any heavy-duty deep skillet will do – but you will have to watch for even heat distribution when frying your meat. Iron cookware distributes and holds heat evenly.

6. VEGGIES – of course make what you like – but I recommend fresh green beans and mashed potatoes. Snap the stems & STEAM the green beans to your desired doneness. Throw in a dish with REAL BUTTER and a couple splashes of soy sauce – toss well to coat. (This is DEEE LISH!!)

For the potatoes – I prefer flakes for convenience purposes and have pretty much perfected the art of making them to where no one can tell that they were once flakes. LOTS OF MILK  – LOTS OF BUTTER and some cream. Salt & pepper to taste – and JUST DON”T TELL ANYONE THEY ARE INSTANT. I promise – if you put enough butter & cream in anything – no one is going to complain.

7. Okay kiddies…this is the hard part…THE GRAVY. Plain and simple…you either know how to make scratch gravy or – you don’t. Fortunately for me, I have some “backwoods” swimming around in my gene-pool – so I can do it. If any of you have taken the time to watch the movie  WINTERS BONE which is set in the Ozarks – you will see a lot of the same amazing skills I possess… except for the squirrel skinning… I can’t do that and hope there’s never a need to learn.

You will use your grease (YES GREASE) from the fry skillet once your meat is all cooked. What you want is all that yummy goodness that has collected on the bottom of the pan… bits of crust and what looks like …well … “sludge” – but in a good way.  So you might want to run the oil through a screen or cheese cloth – but be careful its gonna be HOT. You will need about several tablespoons of the oil – well cover the bottom of your skillet. Get it hot again and start sprinkling in about  4-5 tablespoons of flour – maybe more (this is where you “just know”) -and stir until its bubbly & brown – not white- not gray- you are looking for BROWN. This is your RUE. Add milk and stir or whisk quickly or you will be enjoying lumpy gravy in a minute. You will use about 2 cups (or so) of milk.  Too much milk (in my experience) is easy to fix… When the gravy starts to bubble and it’s not as thick as you want it – mix a tablespoon of flour  with a splash of milk and whisk into the thin gravy- that should thicken it up.

If you’re too scared to make gravy- or not sure how its going to turn out – you can buy “country gravy” packets in the grocery store. THERE I SAID IT!! GRAVY IN A PACKET… ooohhhh my.

Well I hope you have enjoyed this HOW TO from Discover Fabulous. I am off to Cosper’s Meat Market for some cube steak and fresh green beans!

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