Tonight is the season 3 premiere of Downton Abbey. I’m excited to see how things are going for the Grantham family.
I’m not really a fan of Lady Mary and Matthew. Lady Mary’s a tad whiny for me. My favorite Grantham sister is Lady Sybil.
Branson & Lady Sybil
And I’m especially Team Bates & Anna. Oh Mr. Bates! Swoon!
If you’re looking for an English classic with a twist to enjoy during the show tonight, might I suggest Mini Shepherd’s Pies.
The Countess Dowager may not approve of finger foods, but I’ll never tell her.
Mini Shepherd’s Pies
Recipe from LHJ Feb 2013, adapted
Makes about 36 bite-sized pies
1 17 ounce package (2 sheets) frozen puff pastry, thawed
3 tablespoons EVOO
1/2 pound of ground beef
2 tablespoons minced tarragon
2 tablespoons chopped chives
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
1/4 cup onion, diced
1 carrot, diced
1/2 cup corn, canned
1/2 cup peas, canned
salt & pepper, to taste
1 1/2 cups mashed potatoes (I used Simply Potatoes, but you can certainly make your own too!)
Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Spray a mini muffin pan with non-stick spray. Set aside.
Unroll your puff pastry sheets on the counter. Cut into 2 inch rounds. (I don’t have a pastry cutter, so I just used a shot glass to cut the pastry into circles.) Press the rounds into your muffin pan. Prick the bottoms of the pastry with a fork. Place the muffin tin into the freezer while preparing the filling.
Heat 1 tablespoon of EVOO in a skillet over medium heat. Brown the ground beef. Stir in the tarragon, chives, cumin, and garlic powder. Transfer the meat into a bowl. Add the remaining 2 tablespoons of EVOO to the skillet along with the diced onions and carrots. Cook for about 3 minutes. Add the corn and cook for about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the skillet and stir together. Add in the peas to the mixture along with salt & pepper to taste. Stir.
Scoop a small amount of filling into each puff pastry cup. Bake for about 16-18 minutes. Remove from oven and cool for just a few minutes. Remove from the muffin and pipe a dollop of heated mashed potatoes onto each pie.
Enjoy immediately while still hot!
*** If you’re looking for a recap of Downton Abbey to prep for tonight, my friend, Kristin, wrote a great one here!
1. It’s been raining here in Austin. I know we need the rain. Be grateful for it. But my apartment complex decided to dump a bunch of sand in the parking lot right before the rain. To help soak up the oil spotches from cars, I guess?? Cut to this sand + rain + oil creating a slippery mess in the parking lot! Cut to Julie eating it in the parking lot & falling…hands full of grocery bags. UGH! At least no one saw me. Someone witnessing your fall is way worse than actually falling.
2. My new favorite smoothie….Banana Biscoff Smoothie.
3. My new favorite breakfast…Runny eggs over asparagus.
4. My new favorite ready-to-drink cocktail….Skinnygirl’s White Cranberry Cosmo. SO GOOD!!
5. Are you watching Girls on HBO?
This show seems to rile people up. People hate it….or love it….or love to dissect it. It’s a hot button issue for some reason. I happen to LOVE the show. I relate to it….or rather my earlier 20 year old self related to it. It’s awkward and real. I went through some of those experiences, self-deprecating thoughts and emotions. The show literally makes me cringe as I’m transported back in time. I love the show though because I know that I come out on the other side stronger and wiser!
Okay, I’m done.
1. I finally got on the Downton Abbey bandwagon this week! Please tell me that Mr. Bates and Anna get married!! When will MY Mr. Bates come into my life?! I may throw a temper tantrum if Season 2 Disc 1 isn’t in my mailbox tomorrow.
2. I’ve been dreaming of Trader Joe’s horseradish pub cheese since I had it at my friend, Sarah’s, in Charlotte. Sadly, there is no TJ’s in Austin (until next year!) But I did find Pub Cheese at Super Target this week!! Hot Buffalo Wing flavored pretzels dipped in pub cheese…DO IT!
3. After reading so many positive things about the Clarisonic, I bought one myself. I’ve always had bad skin, which at 33 years old is utterly unfair. Clarisonic, bring me a skin miracle!
4. I went to JCP this week to buy my Mom a Mother’s Day present. Annnnd, I bought myself this ring and 2 pairs of sunglasses. Loving the ring!
Don’t worry…I got Mom a present too.
5. I gave Haley a bath yesterday. Ha! Obviously, you can tell that she just looooooves baths. Hehehe. She will turn ignore me for the next 48 hours to punish me for her bath torture.
Have a great Cinco de Mayo / Kentucky Derby Day!
**April 28 Update: Voted into Foodbuzz’s Daily Top 9.**
I love behind the scenes/day in the life posts from bloggers. I’m so bad about planning and keeping on a consistent blog schedules.
I’ve read that some bloggers have went so far as to not have cable TV. They wanted to eliminate cable as a distraction from focusing on their blog.
I couldn’t do that. First of all, I’m too weak to give up cable. And second, not having cable would actually lessen my blog content.
If I didn’t have cable, I couldn’t tell you about my 2 new favorite shows! (See how I tied that together. I’m smooth.)
Have you watched BFF on NBC? It’s hilarious! The 1st two episodes especially…I was rolling!
Scandal is the newest show from Shonda Rhimes. Rhimes has finally broken out of the hospital realm (Grey’s Anatomy, Private Practice). Scandal is well…scandalous, crimes, affairs, love, government, etc etc. I’d say if you like the drama of Grey’s plus the better story lines from The Good Wife….then Scandal may be for you.
You know what else may be for you? Meatballs!
Recipe from The Pioneer Woman
For the meatballs:
1 & 1/2 pounds ground beef
3/4 cups Old Fashioned oats
1 cup milk
3 tablespoons finely minced onion
1 & 1/2 teaspoon salt
black pepper, to taste
For cooking the meatballs:
1 cup flour
For the sauce:
1 cup Heinz ketchup
2 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons vinegar
2 tablespoons Worcestershire
4-6 tablespoons minced onion
1 dash Tabasco
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Combine all of the meatball ingredients. Roll into small-to-medium sized -balls and place them on a cookie sheet.
Place the cookie sheet in freezer for five minutes. The freezer helps with meatballs hold their shape.
After 5 minutes, remove the meatballs from freezer. Dredge the meatballs in unseasoned flour.
In a skillet, heat your canola oil. Add the floured meatballs to the oil. Cook until just browned. Place browned meatballs into a baking dish.
Combine all of the sauce ingredients.
Pour sauce over the meatballs.
Bake for 45 minutes.
The meatballs were great! It was a fun alternative to meatloaf. Try them for dinner yourself this week! You can even eat them in front of the TV while watching BFF!
Did you see my post yesterday about movie actors?
Well, far be it from me to not give TV actors some love!!
Julie’s Top 5 Drool Worthy TV Actors
5. Patrick Dempsey
Who knew from Can’t Buy Me Love that he’d become McDreamy?
4. Jason Sudeikis
A funny man with a great head of hair? Yes, please.
3. Timothy Olyphant
Do you watch Justified on FX? It’s a great show plus the eye candy.
2. Jon Hamm
I’ll be Don Draper’s secretary any day.
1. Taye Diggs
No explanation needed.
I made this cake while dreaming that I was guest starring on Private Practice. Taye Diggs will be my doctor and fall madly in love with me while saving me from near death. Addison doesn’t stand a chance. (Annnnnd, I need to get a life.)
This cake is easy-peasy, semi-homemade. It’s a perfect “in a pinch” cake to make when company is coming. Or take it to book club with your friends….where you can talk about the book for 5 minutes and then talk about hot actors for 2 hours.
Butterscotch Walnut Spice Cake
1 3.5 ounce box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups milk
1 box spice cake mix
1 bag of butterscotch chips
1 cup chopped walnuts
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 inch cake pan; set aside.
Make the vanilla pudding according to the package directions, using 2 cups of milk. Add spice cake mix to the pudding and mix well. Pour batter into your prepared cake pan.
Sprinkle butterscotch chips and chopped walnut on top of batter.
Bake for 35 minutes.
I LOVE this cake! So delicious!!
If you had to pick, what would you pick as your favorite TV ever??
I choose Friends!!!
And yesterday, there was a Friends marathon on TBS. So, you know what I did yesterday…..watched about 12 episodes of Friends. (I cleaned, did laundry, and caught up on blogs too during this time!!)
My favorite episode is the Thanksgiving episode where Monica puts the turkey on her head.
And Rachel makes the trifle with meat.
“What’s not to like?? Custard, good. Jam, good. Meat, good!”
While watching Friends, I did not try my hand at making a trifle. But I did make cream cheese swirl brownies.
Cream Cheese Swirl Brownies
Recipe from Jane and Lorraine
Yields: 12 brownies
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar + 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 egg whites + 1 whole egg
3 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup of cocoa powder
8 ounces of cream cheese
1. I need this cookbook.
2. Do families like the Braverman’s really exist?? And if so, can I marry into one of these families?
3. I recently had my best self-serve froyo concoction yet at CherryBerry. It was spiced apple pie frozen yogurt plus dulce de leche frozen yogurt topped with some granola & butterscotch chips. I died!
4. I’m behind of my magazine reading, so that’s on tap for today.
5. I had Golden Grahams for breakfast.
1. I tried my luck at the casino yesterday since it was 11/11/11. I lost. Maybe I’ll try again next year on 12/12/12.
I cashed out with 10 cents left on the machine. I thought about taking it to the cashier to get my dime. But I decided that would be too sad.
2. It took me the whole episode of The Good Wife to recognize where I knew the red-headed attorney from.
It’s Arlene from True Blood!!
She’s way better on The Good Wife.
3. There’s a 90% chance that I’ll cry anytime I watch Grey’s Anatomy. This week was no exception. Henry!! Come back!!!
4. I made my bed this morning!! (I usually do, thank.you.very.much.)
What’s the black & white thing though?
Is that a lump?
This is how I find Haley almost every day. She’s such a considerate little pup. She somehow burrows under the cover while still maintaining the look of the made bed.
That takes talent.
5. This week I was at the grocery store one afternoon. I was walking around the produce section and suddenly I decided that maybe I should try sushi again. I’ve tried it about 5 times and each time it was a no-go. But once I get something in my head, there’s no turning back. So, I headed over to the sushi department and got a spicy tuna roll.
You guys…it was delicious!!!
I’m finally a hip, sushi lover…..10 years late to the party.
I snuck in by the skin of my teeth on this one. I couldn’t really use this skull plate on November 1st. That’d be a bit odd, right? So the procrastinator in me just waited until Halloween night.
Speaking of Halloween night, I thought about watching episodes of American Horror Story tonight. But that show is just too scary to watch at night! I can only watch it at high noon!! Oh oh oh….and Dylan McDermott…so hot!! Can you believe he’s 50!?!?! Ridiculous!
I couldn’t decide whether these should be pumpkin muffins or pumpkin cupcakes. The glaze versus frosting seemed like muffins to me. I took them to my parents’ house on Sunday. My sister-in-law said if you eat one before noon, call them muffins. And if you eat one after lunch time, call them cupcakes. She’s a smartie! And after both of my brothers asked if they could eat them before lunch, I went with muffins.
Pumpkin Muffins with Brown Butter Glaze
Recipe from Bake Me Blush
Yields 15 muffins
For the muffins:
1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
For the glaze:
1/2 stick unsalted butter
1 cup sifted powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-2 tablespoon milk
To make the muffins:
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Spray muffin tins with non-stick spray. Dust with flour. Tap off the excess. Set tins aside.
In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium-low heat. Stir occasionally until your butter turns golden brown. Skim the foam from top if needed. Pour the melted brown butter into a bowl to stop the cooking and allow it to cool.
In a bowl, whisk together your flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves.
In another bowl, whisk together your pumpkin, light brown sugar, granulated sugar, eggs, and melted brown butter.
Add your flour mixture to the wet ingredients. Whisk until just combined.
Divide batter among your muffin tins. Bake your muffins for 10 minutes. Rotate your pans. Bake your muffins another 10 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.
Place your muffins on a wire rack while you immediately make the glaze.
To make the glaze:
In a small saucepan, melt your butter over medium heat. Stir occasionally, until golden brown in color. Remove melted butter from heat and pour into a bowl.
Add powdered sugar, vanilla, and 1 tablespoon milked to your browned butter. Stir until smooth. Add another tablespoon milk if necessary. You want a thin enough consistency that you can dip the muffins into the glaze.
Immediately dip the top of each muffin into the glaze while the muffins are still warm. Let the glaze set before serving.
Did you watch the Emmys last night? I ignored the cheesefest parts (and caught up on my blog reading) and just paid attention to the awards.
I was super happy that Julie Bowen & Ty Burell won. I love Modern Family!!
Also, I was glad that Margo Martindale won for Justified. If you don’t want that show, WATCH IT! The Timothy Olyphant eye candy is reason enough.
And finally, I was STOKED that Kyle Chandler won for Friday Night Lights. I’m going to miss that show so much!! If only Connie Britton would have won too.
Nutella Chocolate Chip Brownies
Recipe from Pretty Tasty Things
1/2 cup flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick of butter, melted and cooled
1 cup of Nutella
1 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 8×8 inch pan. Set aside.
Combine the flour and salt in a bowl. Mix and then set aside.
In another bowl, combine the eggs, vanilla, brown sugar, melted butter, and Nutella. Whisk by hand until smooth.
Add your dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Whisk by hand until smooth.
Coat your 1 cup of mini semi-sweet chocolate chips with a bit of flour. The flour on the chips help them cling to the batter versus falling straight to the bottom.
Add your slighted flour coated chips to the batter and stir.
Pour batter into your prepared pan. Bake for 45 minutes.
These brownies are super tasty!!!!!!!! I’ve made Nutella brownies before and I have to say that I prefer these Nutella Chocolate Chip Brownies!!
Make some to enjoy while you watch TV.