What’s Cooking–Cheeseburger Rice

Cheeseburger rice recipe

I love cheeseburgers. I mean, who doesn’t love a good burger? I like mine served on a potato bun topped with mayo, ketchup, lettuce, tomato, and onion. Sometimes, I prefer to keep things simple and top my burger with just a squirt of ketchup and yellow mustard. Other times, I like to recreate a favorite fast food burger, like this copycat Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burger.

When it comes to cheeseburgers, I also like to think outside the bun. This cheeseburger salad is one of my favorites. So is this recipe for cheeseburger rice. The original recipe was created by Kraft foods, but I’ve adapted it to suit my taste. Adults like it, kids LOVE it, it takes just 10 minutes to prepare, and clean up is a breeze–there’s only one skillet to clean. Here’s what you’ll need to make cheeseburger rice:

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 heaping tablespoons prepared yellow mustard
  • 2 cups instant white rice
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

In a large skillet, brown meat and onions over medium heat; drain. Add water, ketchup, and mustard. Stir in rice. Sprinkle with cheese; cover. Cook on low heat for 5 minutes, or until the rice is tender.

Fall Fun at the Cows-N-Corn Dairy Farm

A tour of the Cows-N-Corn dairy Farm

I love Fauquier County in the fall.  I love warm afternoons and chilly nights, changing leaves and clear blue skies, fall festivals and funnel cakes, fish frys and country music, and afternoons spent picking apples and touring local dairy farms. This past weekend we visited the Cows-N-Corn dairy farm in Midland, Virginia.

My daughter and her friends had a blast running through the corn maze, taking hay rides, petting the farm animals, and riding in the cow carts. After spending the evening going through the photos,  I suddenly have a hankering for a cup of hot apple cider–or a Starbuck’s caramel apple spice–YUM! Here are some more photos.

Cows-N-Corn dairy farm

Cow carts

Cow carts

Pumpkins and corn

Scarecrow

Corn stalks and blue skies

Dried corn

Pumpkins

Corn maze

Simple pleasures are the best.

Night Fairy in Watercolor

Night fairy in watercolor

I’m just getting back in the groove of painting and blogging after a seriously relaxing three-week-long vacation. I had to break back into blogging slowly–I didn’t want to shock my system after doing a whole lot of nothing, LOL! This is another painting that I thought I could complete quickly but it took way longer than I anticipated. I worked on this moon flower fairy for four days. The pearls in her hair were quite time consuming and tedious to paint–they are tiny. This painting is based on a tutorial in the book, “Enchanting Fairies–How to Paint Fairies and Flowers,” by Barbara Lanza.

Here’s a close-up view of her face:

Night fairy closeup

Yellow and Orange Tulips in Watercolor

yellow and orange tulips

This tulip painting looks deceptively simple but it was time consuming and challenging to paint. I found the giant tulip on the left to be particularly challenging since I had such a large area to cover. The orange areas on the tulips required several washes to create an intense color. I painted the yellow areas first and then washed the orange on top; however, the next time I will reverse the process and paint the dark orange first and then apply a yellow wash on top. Each painting is a learning process.

This painting is for my sister with much love.

Copycat Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar Burger

Copycat Roy Rogers DoubleRBar Burgers

Dinner Brought to You by Roy Rogers, Martha Stewart, Julia Childs, the Bealeton Farmer’s Market, My Sister, and Me!

My sister and I spent a week together relaxing and doing what we like to do best–chatting for hours; touring Main Street in Warrenton, Virginia;  browsing through antique shops; shopping at the Bealeton farmer’s market; and cooking the fresh fruits and vegetables we purchased there. I took the opportunity to introduce my sister to my copycat version of Roy Rogers Double-R-Bar burgers. I haven’t seen a Roy Rogers restaurant in years, and I really had a craving for a good, ole’ Double-R.

My sister whipped up a batch of green beans almondine ala Julia Childs and I whipped up a batch of Mexican corn on the cob ala Martha Stewart. The burgers were fabulous–we topped them with shaved ham, cheddar cheese, BBQ sauce, mild horseradish sauce, and coleslaw–and the green beans and corn on the cob were out of this world. We rounded out the meal with the best cantaloupe we’d had all season. It was such a fabulous late summer meal that I just had to share it with all of you.

There’s still one more week before summer is over and the kids have go back to school. If you’re looking for a fabulous Labor Day meal to share with your family or friends, this combination is a must try. Recipes are provided below.

Copycat Double-R-Bar Burger Ingredients

  • Lean ground beef
  • Shaved ham
  • Sliced cheddar cheese
  • Barbeque sauce
  • Mild horseradish sauce
  • Coleslaw (optional)
  • Hamburger buns (I used Martin’s potato buns–my fave)

In a large skillet, cook the burgers over medium heat until they cooked medium well (no pink in the center). Top the burgers with two slices of shaved ham and a slice of cheddar cheese. Cover and allow the cheese to melt. Place on buns and top with BBQ sauce, horseradish sauce, and coleslaw.

Green Bean Almondine Ingredients

  • Fresh, whole green beans
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Clean and snap the ends off of the green beans. Cook in a skillet with a small amount of water until the beans are crisp tender (about five minutes). Drain, remove from the pan, and set aside. Add the butter and slivered almonds to the pan. Cook, stirring constantly, until the almonds are golden brown (about three minutes). Add the green beans back to the skillet; stir to coat. Cook until heated through.

Mexican Corn on the Cob Ingredients

  • Grated Parmesan cheese
  • Corn on the cob, husks removed
  • Butter
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • Mayonnaise
  • Chili powder
  • Lime wedges

Rub the corn with butter then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Wrap each ear in plastic wrap. Microwave until crisp tender (about 1-2 minutes for two ears). Remove plastic wrap. Brush corn with mayonnaise and roll in Parmesan cheese to coat. Sprinkle with chili powder. Serve with lime wedges. Enjoy!

Water Lilies in Watercolor

Water lilies in watercolor

My goal for this painting was to keep the subject simple so I could complete it quickly. But looks can be deceiving, and these water lilies proved to be quite time consuming and challenging. It took me several attempts to render realistic dew drops but I finally began to nail them on the leaf on the bottom right-hand corner. Once I figured out the technique, painting dew drops was surprisingly quick and easy.

The swampy water, on the other hand, was even more challenging. It’s definitely not what I envisioned; and I obviously need more practice painting water. If anyone has any tips or tricks for painting water that they’d like to share, I’m all ears!

This painting was based on a tutorial in Linda Ravenscroft’s book, “How to Draw and Paint Fairyland: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating the World of Fairies.”

Pink and White Outdoor Chevron Rugs–You Had Me At Hello

Purple porch makeover

You Had Me At Hello
It was love at first sight when I found these pink and white chevron rugs by designer Annie Selke on the Dash and Albert website last spring. I was in the middle of planning a spring porch makeover and was looking for colorful outdoor rugs to complement my purple wicker chairs, gemstone colored pillows, and colorful accessories. So the moment I saw these pink and white beauties I threw down my money and did a happy dance. The rugs were on back order but that was fine; it was early in the season so I had plenty of time to pull my porch together.

But my happy dance was short lived when the estimated delivery date for my order was delayed until June, and then delayed again until July, and then again in August. I considered cancelling my order and began a search for a suitable replacement but I couldn’t find anything else that rocked my world. So I waited, and waited, and waited for my rugs to arrive, and pulled my porch together without the rugs. It was a nice makeover, but the porch looked unfinished without the rugs.

You Complete Me
Last week my rugs finally arrived so I swept the porch, dusted the furniture, cleaned the cushions, ran out to a nursery and picked up a few flowers and planted them in colorful pots and finally–FINALLY–my porch makeover is complete. This makeover was a long time coming but oh so worth the wait. Dash and Albert, rugs you complete me. Here are a few more pictures.

Purple porch makeover

Purple porch makeover

Purple porch makeover

Aren’t these pink and white chevron rugs the bomb?

DIY Footstool Makeover

DIY_Footstool_Makeover

In the evening after all my household chores are done,  I like to pour myself a cup of coffee, throw on my jammies, prop my back against some fluffy pillows, and work on my blog from the comfort of my bed. Sounds fabulous, right? But the problem with this scenario is that I’ve been getting way too comfy and I keep falling asleep and waking up in the middle of the night with the TV still on, the laptop on my lap, and a half-written post. My solution? Create a comfy blogging spot in my room–but not too comfy, so I won’t fall asleep!

So, with that goal in mind, last weekend I did a quick DIY footstool makeover so I can prop my feet up, sip on a cup of coffee, and work on my blog without dozing off. My budget for this makeover: a mere $25.00. Here are some before and after photos (don’t you just love before and after photos?).

Footstool makeover before

This footstool was a freebie from a friend. It had seen better days–the fabric was dirty and worn and the legs were scuffed and chipped. But it was sturdy and had good bones and I knew that a quick makeover could take this charming little stool from trash to treasure. So with a can of spray paint leftover from another project in one hand (cost: $0)  and a half yard of designer fabric in the other (cost: $25), I transformed this stool in one afternoon.

First, I removed the worn fabric, then I lightly sanded and cleaned the legs so the paint would adhere properly. Next, I gave it two light coats of spray paint to prevent the paint from dripping and then allowed the paint to dry thoroughly. It’s important to wear a mask and choose a well ventilated area when using spray paint. I normally throw a tarp on the lawn and spray paint outside, or if it’s a particularly windy day, I paint inside the garage with the door open.

Once the paint was dry (about an hour is all it takes), I cut a piece of fabric (mustard fleur chinoise from Caitlin Wilson Textiles) to fit the top of the stool, folded the corners to fit around the legs, then stapled the fabric to the underside of the frame using a nail gun. What a difference a little spray paint and a half yard of fabric makes! Here’s a close up view.

footstool makeover after

To complete my new blogging space, I shopped my house and placed this cute little wicker table next to the chair so I have a handy place to put my coffee and added this pretty aqua lamp that I bought at Target last year. The end result of a couple of hours of work: this cute little blogging nook, no dozing while I work, AND this completed post.

DIY_Footstool_Makeover

Where’s your favorite blogging spot?

Quick Summer Meals

quick summer dinner

Savory BLT sandwiches, sliced cantaloupe, and crispy corn on the cob–what a great combo. I threw together this quick summer meal after a visit to the farmer’s market and it was so easy and delicious that I just have to share. I purchased everything pictured here–except the bread and mayo–at a local farmer’s market. Everything was freshly picked and organic. Even the bacon came from a local farmer. I like supporting local food producers, I like serving healthy meals to my family, and I like the friendly folks I meet at open air markets. Trips to the farmer’s markets are one of the pleasures of summer. Summertime and the livin’ is easy….

Flea Market Adventures

antique majolica plates

Last weekend my mother, sister, niece, and I went to the DC Big Flea at the Dulles Expo Center in Centreville, Virginia. It’s the largest antique show in the mid-atlantic region, and we all found some treasures. Antiquing is one of my favorite past-times. I love browsing the booths in search of majolica pottery, enamel teapots, and other treasures. Here’s a sampling of some of the items that caught my eye.

antique nail bin

I absolutely fell in love with this antique nail bin. It has so many potential uses. Put it in your closet to store shoes, handbags, socks, or belts. Place it in your office to hold office supplies or in your studio to store art supplies. You could place it in an empty corner of your garage to hold odds and ends like baseball gloves, softballs, tools, roller skates, nuts and bolts, you name it. Or, place it in your potting shed to hold pots, seeds, seedlings, and gardening tools. The possibilities are endless with this gem. Love the idea, but don’t have room for a huge nail bin like this? No problem–you can purchase a new one online in a variety of sizes–including a one- or two-tiered rotating nail bin that would fit right on your desk.

antique record player

My mother had a record player just like this one when she was a child. This would look great as an art object in a bookcase.

vintage toy truck

So would this vintage toy truck.

antique purple hurricanes

These purple hurricanes probably rocked someone’s world in the 1980s. They still rock my world today.

antique fiestaware plates

These fiestaware plates would be a great find for food bloggers who are always looking for interesting ways to display their culinary creations. You could match–or contrast–the plates to each particular dish. Yeah, baby!

antique fiestaware pitchers

And these colorful fiestaware pitchers could serve up a bevy of refreshing beverages, like my mom’s homemade lemonade. Hey mom, you haven’t made homemade lemonade in a long time. Hint, hint….

vintage children's clothing

This vintage children’s clothing would look fabulous hung on a hanger as art in a child’s room. Add a straw hat and a vintage tea set on a child-sized table, and you’re set.  I love the black and white polka dress with pink trim.

vintage children's gladiator boots

And these vintage children’s gladiator shoes prove that everything old is truly new again. How awesome are these?

antique majolica plates

There was a good selection of antique majolica pottery. These waterlily and asparagus plates were so pretty. But I was looking for something specific–a large corn pitcher to add to my collection.

antique majolica corn pitcher

After browsing all the aisles I found several majolica corn pitchers of roughly the same size and quality but the prices varied drastically from a high of $400 to a real deal like the one pictured above at just $70.00. I did a happy dance when I stumbled upon this one and it came home with me. It’s always a good idea to view everything at the show before you make a purchase and then go back for the items (if they’re still available) that were the best price. Avoiding the urge to jump on the first item that rocked my world saved me over $300.00. Another way to get a good price is to wait until the end of the show to make a dealer an offer. Dealers are more likely to reduce their asking price at the end of the show because they don’t want to pack up all their items and lug them back home.

vintage melmac dinnerware

My sister snapped up this complete set of melmac dinnerware for just under $80.00. This set will be put to good use in her new home. I can’t wait for her to serve me up some of her awesome brownie cupcakes or pumpkin spice muffins on these babies. Hint, hint, sissy! I’ll have coffee with mine….

vintage enamel teapot

I fell in love with this vintage enamel teapot but walked away without buying it. Now, I wish I had snapped it up. It would look great on my kitchen table or on my fireplace mantel filled with fresh daisies. Drat, drat, and double drat!

My mom bought a vintage pitcher but threw her money on the table so fast that I couldn’t snap a photo! She asked my niece to stop her if she attempted to buy anything, and poor Karen did her best to intervene, but mom was determined to make her purchase. How’s that pitcher werk’in for you, mom? Karen was captivated with the vintage jewelry and picked up an adorable ring made out of a spoon.

We had a great time at the show. It was a fun family outing. The DC Big Flea is held at the Dulles Expo Center four times a year. The next show will be held on November 2-3, just in time for holiday shopping. Yeah, baby!

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