Friday, February 11, 2011

New spin on an old classic! TOMATO SOUP!!!

Have ya ever wondered what that vegetable is in the store that looks kind of like celery but has a large bulb at the bottom and feathery green stuff coming out of the top? It's FENNEL (aka anise)! I had never tasted this strange creature until my mission in Italy. It is amazing and I thought I'd show you what you can do with it. Today we are going to make Tomato Fennel soup. I can't remember where I got the recipe, I don't have it written down anywhere, it is so easy I just remember it. So here ya go!

1- fennel bulb
1- medium onion
1-clove garlic
1- 28 oz can tomato pure' or crushed tomatoes
4-cups chicken broth (I use 4 chicken bullion cubes + 4 cups water )
1-tbsp olive oil
salt & pepper

Cut the top and bottom off the fennel bulb then dice it. Peel and dice the onion and garlic (I cheat and use bottled minced garlic which you can find in the produce section of a super market near you). Heat a your olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss in the fennel, onion and garlic and saute until tender and slightly caramel colored on the edges (3-5 min). Put your chicken broth in a blender and add the sauteed veggies. Blend the heck out of them. Meanwhile in a large pot pour your tomatoes in and heat over med heat. When your veggies are sufficiently pulverized, add the mixture to the tomatoes. Stir and bring to a slow boil. Serve and enjoy. You can garnish it with a piece of that funky feathery stuff from the fennel or sprinkle with cheese. This is a great soup with cheese sandwiches!


-The Domestic Diva

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A "Fancy Trick" (By Audrey Fiack)

We were getting ready to go somewhere the other day and Audrey came up to me and said, "Wanna see my fancy trick?". Check out the link below to Youtube. I've tried to upload the video directly here on my blog with no luck.

Thank you, Ms Terri and Ms Kim at First Presby Preschool of Charleston, WV you've made my life so much easier!! I am forever in your debt!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Pie Crust For Dummies

Hi, My name is Shalece fiack and I am a pie crust-aholic. Up until about 2 years ago I was scared to death to make pie crust because whenever I did, it would be too dry and fall apart before it made it into the pie pan. I shed many a tear over tried and FAILED attempts at making pie crust.
One day when we were living in Seattle, my friend Lauriann D. brought me a BEAUTIFUL blackberry pie whose crust was the a picture of perfection. She offered to show me how to make this FOOL PROOF crust! I was skeptical at first, but it really is as easy as she said it was. This crust has worked beautifully every time I make it and I have filled it with a number of different things! Here is just one of the many things you could do with this crust. My favorite part about it is that it doesn't CRISCO! Give it a try! I hope you will be as pleased with it as I have been!

Pie Crust

2 Cups flour
1 Tsp Salt
2/3 Cup vegetable oil
1/3 cup Ice water

In a large bowl mix flour and salt together then and add the vegetable oil and ice water. Mix with a fork until just combined. You will want to mix handle the dough as little as possible. Divide the mixture into 2 balls and put your bowl in the freezer for about 5 min. Roll each ball out between 2 pieces of wax paper. When you have one of the crusts rolled out, take off the top layer of wax paper and take the bottom piece (with the crust on it) and turn it over in your pie plate. Peel the wax paper off (the crust should be big enough to have about 1/4 inch hanging over the side of the pan. Fill with your favorite pie filling then place the other rolled out dough on the top (using the same method of rolling between the wax paper as you did on the bottom crust). Trim extra crust from around the edges and press the edges of the crust down with a fork our using your thumbs. Poke some holes in the top with a fork. Place pie on a baking sheet in the center of a preheated oven and bake according to your pie filling directions. ENJOY!!!

Below I have posted pictures of mini strawberry jam pies. These would be great for after-school snacks, a fancy dessert to serve company or just to satisfy a sweet tooth!

I rolled out the dough between wax paper and then used a 3" cookie cutter and got 12 circles out of each ball of dough. Put 1 TBSP strawberry jam in the center then placed the other 12 circles on top and pressed around the edges with a fork. Sprinkle with sugar and bake in a 375 degree oven and bake for 10 min. YUMMY!

-The Domestic Diva

Monday, February 7, 2011

Homemade Syrup

Got Pancakes? Here's a fantastically EASY syrup recipe that has been used for at least 3 generations in my family.

1 cup Sugar
1 cup Brown sugar
1 tsp Vanilla
1 cup water

Put all the ingredients in a sauce pan over high heat. Stir and bring to a rolling boil. Remove from heat. Pour into a glass measuring cup and serve over your favorite pancakes or waffles! Store left overs in the fridge in a glass or plastic container after it has cooled completely.

Have the greatest Monday of your life!

-The Domestic Diva

Friday, February 4, 2011

Inside My Fridge...

Since we are getting to know each other now, I think it's time I introduced you to my fridge! Don't be afraid! Today is "shopping list/food inventory/fridge wipe out day"! I can't stand having messy, nasty fridge (for very long), so here is how I keep mine clean and organized.

Baskets! I have 2 metal baskets (purchased from IKEA) and then some smaller dollar store baskets. I leave the top shelf open for bottles of milk, pickles, egg whites, sauerkraut and whatnot.

My second shelf has a metal basket that have 2 smaller dollar store baskets inside. This shelf is reserved for meat and dairy products. I keep cheeses in one of the small baskets and then lunch meats in the other small basket.

The bottom shelf basket is reserved for bread, eggs and left-overs. Every Friday I take the baskets out and wipe the shelfs down with a dish cloth. then I organize the items in the baskets. Any left-overs that have been in the fridge for 3 or more days get donated to Oscar the Grouch. I see what I am getting low on in the meat/dairy department and put it on my shopping list. The baskets are put back in the fridge and that's it! I also go through my fruit/veggie drawer which is usually almost empty as I only purchase fruit/veggies I need for my menu plan. I hate to see produce go bad! Occasionally I will find something nasty in there, but I clean it out weekly so it is never vomit inducing.

I keep an open box of baking soda in the door of the fridge to keep things smelling fresh.

Hope you all have a FANTASTIC weekend!

-The Domestic Diva

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Diva Daughters

Feeling really blessed to have a wonderful husband and three beautiful daughters today. Some days it feels like I am treading oatmeal and never getting anywhere then I stop and listen to the joyful sounds and it makes it all worth it.

Silence is golden, but the sound of happy children is priceless!

-The Domestic Diva

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Bacon + Broiler pan + 350 degree oven + 10 minutes = Perfection Any questions?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goodwill "Hunting"

Audrey had preschool this morning downtown Charleston at 9:15 and Zumba doesn't start till ten, so I decided to kill some time doing some Goodwill Hunting.

I love Goodwill. I think my addiction to Goodwill began when a good friend of mine in Seattle introduced me to the Goodwill there. She dresses so cute and I comment on an outfit she was wearing one day and she said "$1.29"! I didn't believe her!!!! So she took me there one day and she showed me how to shop the Goodwill. Thanks R.A.!!!!

Our Goodwill in Charleston is AWESOME! They have all sorts of nice furniture (some of it IS a little over priced...) but what I go for is FABRIC! ENDLESS RACKS OF FABRIC for craft projects! No, it's not your typical fabric store with fabric on bolts that you cut into yards, but you get it in pants, shirts, skirts and dresses! Every week, there is a different color tag that is %50 off and another color tag that is $1.00. So I just pick through and ONLY find the $1 tags! Perfect for fun, easy, and environmentally friendly craft projects! Izzy and I found some fantastic fabrics for a project that I will feature on the blog in the near future (keep your eyes out for it)!
Ha! Just realized that the coat that Isabel is wearing in these pictures was purchased at this very Goodwill for under $5! I LOVE IT!!!

Happy Hunting!

-The Domestic Diva