Monday, October 9, 2017

TAMARA'S PEAR SALAD


My neighbor introduced me to this odd snack, she is from Alabama and said she ate it often as a child.  I googled it and found it mentioned on several sites!

canned pear halves
mayonaise (my neighbor insists on Bama mayo or miracle whip to us non Alabama folks)
shredded cheddar cheese
maraschino cherries, optional

Top the center of each pear half with a tablespoon of mayo and sprinkle with cheese.  Add a cherry if desired.

NANA'S BANANAS AND CREAM


My mom made this for me when I was a child.  I thought it sounded like an odd combo but it's actually pretty tasty.  

1/2 banana, sliced
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup sour cream

Mix sour cream and sugar together, add banana slices and enjoy!

CRAFT UNIQUE FRIDGE MAGNETS


What You Need:

  • Flat refrigerator magnets
  • Rubber cement
  • Decorative paper
  • Scissors
  • Wooden letters, cutouts, or other decoration

What You Do:

  1. Use the rubber cement to attach the decorative paper to the front of the magnet.
  2. Carefully trim the edges so the paper is smooth and even with the edges of the magnet.
  3. If you wish, cut the magnet into a shape, or in half to make smaller magnets.
  4. Use the rubber cement to attach your decorations to the magnet. Let your creative side shine through, as the possibilities for this step are nearly endless. Some ideas are:
  • Use paper or wooden letters to spell out your child's name or nickname, with one letter on each magnet.
  • Cut out a cardboard "frame" and put a photo of your child in it.
  • Draw a picture of your child's favorite animal, sport, food, or hobby.
  • Use your child's favorite colors to create a design, such as hearts, stars, lines and swirls, polka dots, etc.
  • Use paper or wooden letters to spell out your child's grade.
  • Cut magnets into circles and draw faces of each member of your family on them.
  • Use paper or wooden letters to spell out your last name.
  • Tie a small piece of ribbon into a bow and glue it onto a magnet. Make a rainbow by using a different color for each magnet.
  • Draw a picture of your child's school mascot and use school colors.
  1. Let the rubber cement dry thoroughly before attaching the magnet to your fridge.
  2. The result will be a totally unique and useful decoration for your fridge. Use the magnets to hang up artwork, school grades, shopping lists, and photos!

CANDY BAR COOKIES

1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 stick butter, softened
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup chocolate chips
2 candy bars of your choice, chopped
1 cup nuts of your choice, optional

Creamy together butter, sugar, egg and vanilla, add dry ingredients and mix well.  Fold in chocolate chips, candy bars and nuts.
Bake at 350* for 14 minutes.

In this photo I used twix as my candy bar and omitted the nuts since my son is allergic.  Once cooled the caramel was amazing inside these cookies!

ROASTED ARTICHOKES


artichokes
olive oil
lemon juice
minced garlic
salt

Cut stems and 1" off the top of each artichoke.
Spread the petals open and drizzle with olive oil and lemon juice, sprinkle with garlic and salt down inside petals.
Wrap each artichoke in foil and seal making a packet.
Roast in oven at 425* for 1 hour.

To enjoy, peel the petals off and put the wider end in your mouth, slowly pull the on the petal and let your teeth drag to scrap the "meat" off the end of each petal.  The heart is the best part in my opinion, it'll be a big grey chunk at the bottom of the artichoke.  DO NOT eat the hairs near the heart - scoop that fuzzy part out completely before eating the heart. 

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

SLOPPY JOE CASSEROLE


1 lb ground beef
1 can sloppy joe
1 can crescent rolls
2 cups shredded cheddar
dried basil

In a pan cook and drain ground beef, mix in a can of sloppy joe.
Arrange crescent triangles evenly around a 9" pie plate with point hanging over the edge.  Smooth the widest ends together and pat outwards so the dough covers the bottom of the plate.
Spread out 1 cup of cheese over bottom of plate, spread out meat mixture and top with remaining cup of cheese.  
Fold points of crescent rolls in towards center.
Bake at 375* for 20 minutes.

Variation: Replace sloppy joe mix with spaghetti sauce and replace cheddar cheese with mozzarella. 

BRUNCH BRAID

This was delicious!  I think it would be good with bacon mixed in the eggs instead of ham as well.  This reheated nicely and was still good a couple days after it was originally baked.  

4 ounces cream cheese
1/2 cup milk
8   eggs, divided
1/4 teaspoon salt
Dash pepper
2 green onions with tops, sliced
1 tablespoon butter
2 packages refrigerated crescent rolls
1/4 pound thinly sliced deli ham
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 375ยบ  Microwave cream cheese and milk for 1 minute. Whisk until smooth.  Separate 1 egg, reserve egg white.  Add the yolk and remaining 7 eggs, green onions, salt and black pepper to cream cheese mixture; whisk to combine.

Melt butter in a pan.  Add egg mixture; cook, stirring occasionally, until eggs are set but still moist. Remove pan from heat.

Unroll 1 package of crescent dough; do not separate. Arrange longest side of dough across width of a sheet pan. Repeat with remaining package of dough. Roll dough to seal perforations. On sides, cut dough into strips 1 1/2 inches apart, 3 inches deep.  Arrange ham evenly over middle of dough. Spoon eggs over ham. Spread cheese over eggs.

To braid, lift strips of dough across filling to meet in center, twisting each strip one turn. Continue alternating strips to form a braid. Brush lightly beaten egg white over dough. Bake 25-30 minutes or until deep golden brown.



          Sunday, August 13, 2017

          MILLION DOLLAR SPAGHETTI


          16oz spaghetti
          1 lb ground beef
          16oz favorite spaghetti sauce (I love prego traditional)
          1 cup cottage cheese or ricotta 
          8oz cream cheese
          1/2 cup sour cream
          3 garlic cloves, minced
          1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
          8oz shredded mozzarella

          Boil spaghetti for 10 minutes in large stock pot.
          While spaghetti is boiling, cook ground beef in large skillet, drain, add spaghetti sauce, garlic and Italian seasoning to ground beef.
          Turn heat off on skillet and mix cream cheese, sour cream and cottage cheese. 
          Drain spaghetti and put back in stock pot, add sauce mixture and mozzarella to stock pot and stir well until pasta is coated.   

          Recipe from: http://myincrediblerecipes.com/million-dollar-spaghetti/


          PINEAPPLE UPSIDE DOWN CAKE



          splash of cherry juice or grenadine
          1.5oz cake flavored vodka 
          3oz pineapple juice

          Splash cherry juice or grenadine in bottom of glass.
          Mix vodka, juice and ice in a shaker and pour in glass.
          Don't forget your cherry!

          AMARETTO SOUR

          I use to make this drink with amaretto, lemon juice and powdered sugar.  This version is so much better!

          3oz amaretto
          6oz sweet and sour mix
          1/2oz cherry juice or grenadine 

          Mix everything to get in a shaker with ice and pour in a glass, include a cherry or two!

          Thursday, August 10, 2017

          You received your DNA test results, now what?

          This article will only discuss ancestry.com features.  If you missed my "So you want to take a DNA test" article you can find it here

          Below I will list some tips on how to navigate ancestry.com as well as different tools you can use to get the best experience.  I really hope you find this useful!

          While you are waiting for your DNA test results to come in start building your tree.  Add as much information as you possibly can starting with your parents, grandparents and great grandparents names and birth/death dates.  Make sure your information is correct.  Call family members if needed to fill in dates and location of birth/death.  You can upload photos too, it's prettier to log in and see all those faces looking back at you!  When you originally start to build the tree ancestry will already have the public box checked, this means everyone can see the deceased people on your tree - living people will always be private unless you give specific people permission to view them.  You can change your privacy at any time plus share your tree with people by clicking on manage tree:privacy settings:sharing

          Congratulations!  Your email just arrived that your DNA test results are in!  Very first thing - click on "your DNA results summary"  click on "settings" on the far right, connect your DNA to the tree you've been working on, find yourself in the tree and connect!
          *If you are an adoptee or searching for someone now is the time to add your DNA to all possible databases.  In this same DNA settings screen off to the right you will see "download raw DNA data".  Click that and save it on your computer. Then upload to all the sites mentioned in my first article, linked above.

          Ok fun stuff!  Go back to the DNA results page and click on "view your genetic ancestry".  Click on ethnicity regions.  Open your low confidence regions by clicking the + sign.  Take a screen shot of this box if you want to show it to your friends and family.


          Now click on "genetic communities".  Sometimes it takes a couple days for this to show up.  You might have 1, 2 or 3 or who knows how many communities.  You can read the history about these areas and you can also see your matches who have ancestors from these same communities.  This can be helpful if you're searching for someone and know their genetic background - i.e. my father is Italian and my mother's side is not so I know that all the matches from my Italian genetic community were related to my dad.  To see those matches, click on one of your genetic communities, a story will pop up but click on "connection" scroll down and click "view all matches" on the left.

          Ok now go back to the DNA results page again.  There's your DNA matches right there in the center column.  You will most likely have thousands of cousins, if you're really lucky you might have some closer relationships.  Click on "view all DNA matches".  Click on your highest match at the top there.  Click on that little "i" under predicted relationship.   This shows you how many centimorgans and DNA segments you share with this particular match.  Use this chart to figure out the relationship farther. 
          While you still have this match open you can see a preview of their tree on the right if they have a tree and their DNA is connected to it.  You can click on "view full tree" to see it better.
          Sometimes they've built a tree and didn't connect their DNA, you can see a drop down box a little lower on the left of the screen to view their tree(s).  If they have a tree but it's private you can message them and ask them to share it with you.  They'll need your email address to invite you and go into that sharing section I talked about earlier.
          Ok so you still have this match open, now click on "shared matches".  These are all the matches who are related to both of you.  

          As you are adding people to your tree, the bigger your tree gets you'll start getting "shared ancestor hints".  These are DNA matches who have their DNA attached to their tree and you and them have some common relatives on both trees.  When you start getting them you'll see the number next to the leaf under your matches, click on them and it'll show you the paths on how you're related.

          If you are searching for someone or find a match that you'd like to look into farther you can star them so they are easier to find when you log back in.  For example, I was researching my fathers side of the family for a while so I starred all of the Italian matches and shared matches of those matches.  Then tried to figure out where they connected so I could add them on my tree.

          Contacting matches: When you have a match open there's a green box at the top right that says "send message".  You can click on that or you can on the matches name and at the top right is another button, it's brown and says "contact(matches name)".  I've heard that this brown button is a better choice as it goes straight to the matches personal email but I do not know this as fact. If you are desperate to reach the match try both ways!

          If you are searching for someone and you see matches/trees/info that is useful, please take a screen shot or notes as soon as possible.  Some people panic when close matches show up or if they are contacted and hide their trees and other info.  If you feel it's important - screen shot it!  
          If you plan on contacting someone who is related to the person you are searching for and there is particular information you need from them.  Start off your message like "Hi!  I see we are a DNA match!  I'd love to figure out how/where we connect!"  Chat with them some and build up that information in the tree before divulging that you are searching for their relative, often times people feel uncomfortable giving out info on their relatives or fear of being the one to reveal a family secret and will stop communicating with you once they know you are searching.

          Building mirror trees and adding your DNA matches to your tree even if you don't know where they connect.  There are several reasons why you might want to do this.  Here is the best way I've found.  You have this 3rd cousin match and you want to connect them to your tree but you don't know how they are related yet.  They have an awesome tree and it's public, score!  Add them to your tree as your brother or sister or whatever, it doesn't matter just add them somewhere.  Once you have them on there and their little file is open so you can see their facts, ect. Click on "edit" and then "edit relationships".  Click the X to remove the current relationships that were false, you just used those to get them on the tree and then add their real parents.  You'll have to click on "add father" and then "add new person".  Use the names and birth/death dates that this person has on their tree.  Copy as much of their tree as you like (this is called a mirror tree).  If you clicked on shared matches with this match you can usually tell which side of their tree you need to focus on so fill that in well.
          Putting all of your matches in this way, all on one tree is helpful for when it's time to connect their branch.  If you built them all a separate tree you'd have to manually go in to add them to your main tree when you were ready to do so.  Lots of extra work, easier to put them all on one to start off.  
          Here is how I keep track of them all since they are not attached to your main tree anymore once you remove those initial relationships.  I picked a DNA symbol photo off of the internet and I added it to my mother and my father's gallery (Open your mother's name on your tree, click on gallery, upload media). Once you've added a maternal match in the tree, go back to that DNA photo in your mom's gallery (go to gallery and click on the photo) there's a blue button on the right that says +add.  Click that and type the matches name.  They are now connected to this DNA photo, this is how I keep track of all my maternal and paternal matches and how you can find them easily.

          Membership  when you will have a solid two weeks to dedicate to research, take advantage of free 2 week trial membership with ancestry.  At this time you'll have access to census reports, manifest from when ancestors traveled to and from the US among other documents.  This is the time to find proof on who was living where and with who.  It is important to use these documents to correctly fill in your tree.  Do not rely on other matches trees because 9 times out of 10 the information is incorrect. Open those census forms up, those manifests and find a grave and read them!  Sometimes there's clues in there that you wouldn't have known if you didn't.
          *If you do not have a paid membership you can still see and communicate with your matches.  You can still build a tree, you just cannot use the search tools, shaky leafs and documents ancestry has to assist you.

          Searching tools
          I am still learning about all of the search tools available.  I've heard you can look up ancestors and obituaries at your local library for free and that some of them even have an ancestry account that you can use.  For now here are some sites that are useful:
          familysearch.org
          peoplefinders.com
          newspapers.com
          legacy.com
          findagrave.com
          genealogybank.com
          Also great resources for those who are adopted or searching for someone or need the assistance of a search angel:
          http://dnaadoption.com
          https://www.facebook.com/groups/DNADetectives/

          SaveSave
          For those of you who find slave owners in your tree.  I found this amazing article about the "Beyond Kin Project"  it shows you ways to add the slaves and their families to your tree and do some research on them, which would in turn possibly help the families of those slaves who are researching find them easier.  I love this idea!
          http://beyondkin.gegbound.com
























          Last but not least, ancestry has an academy where they post videos to help walk you through certain things.  Check it out!  https://www.ancestry.com/academy/courses/recommended

          This is all I can think of at the moment!  If you have anything to add or questions please feel free to contact me and good luck with your search!!!  

          Monday, August 7, 2017

          QUICHE LORRAINE


          1 refrigerated pie crust
          12 slices of bacon, fried and coarsely chopped
          1 1/2 cups shredded swiss cheese
          6 green onions, chopped
          4 eggs
          1 1/2 cups heavy cream
          3/4 teaspoon salt
          1/4 teaspoon sugar
          1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper

          Lay crust in deep dish pie plate.  Spread bacon, cheese and onions on bottom of pie plate reserving a handful of each to garnish the top.
          Whisk together eggs, cream, salt, sugar and pepper.  Pour over pie plate.  Sprinkle remanding bacon, cheese and onions on top.
          Bake at 425* for 15 minutes then lower oven temp to 300* and bake for an additional 30 to 35 minutes.