Wednesday, February 10, 2016

The Best Mashed Potatoes

It seems silly, right?!? How can you have the best mashed potatoes? I admit, I'm not a fan of mashed potatoes. Over the years making mashed potatoes with roasts and turkey feasts, I forgot how important flavor was. I assumed all you needed was a little gravy and call it good. My husband didn't even like salt in the water, so it kind of felt like I was eating baby food.

This last couple of months however, I have been on a mission to make the boring meal exciting.  Find ways to make my meals feel like you're going to a restaurant, but without the crowds, and expensive drinks.  Enter the Texas Roadhouse Copycat Mashed Potatoes! These truly are the BEST mashed potatoes I've ever tasted, and I totally came across the recipe by accident.

I was trying to find a recipe to try, but everyone likes them loaded with bacon, cheese, green onion, sour cream, etc. I just wanted straight-up mashed potatoes that were flavorful and creamy. I clicked on one of the copycats on Pinterest, but as I read the ingredient list, I wondered if it would really taste good. I scrolled down to the comments to see what others thought of them, and came across a funny (and very informative) comment. Basically, she said she worked at Texas Roadhouse and the blogger was all wrong. Simple...potatoes, butter, half and half, salt and pepper. DONE.

I was curious. Could it be so simple? Why yes, yes it can. I played with the measurements, but it truly is best! Great texture; creamy while still having density. Flavor without overbearing salt, and of course simple; not all the extras that make it too much for us. It's amazing with steak, roast, fish, meatloaf, BBQ chicken, you name it.

I'm telling you, this is a must for a restaurant staple side! A must have with your next steak!

Best Mashed Potatoes 
(a Texas Roadhouse Copycat)

6 russet potatoes (about 3c mashed)
1/4 c butter (I use salted)
1/2 c heavy cream (more if needed)
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper

Partially peel the potatoes, leaving about 1/3 -1/2 of the peel on each potato. Chop them up into small pieces, about 1 inch cubes, and put into a pot. Add water so the water level is about 1-2 inches above the potato pieces, and boil for about 20 minutes. They should be soft enough to mash under pressure with a fork.
Drain the excess water and add butter to pot. Allow the butter to melt, 2-3 minutes. Add the salt and pepper and the heavy cream and mash it all together. I use a hand masher, but you could use a blender or hand wand if you prefer. Try to leave some lumps for texture. Add more heavy cream to make them more creamy (if they seem dry). Serve immediately.

If the potatoes finish boiling faster than the rest of the meal is prepared, add butter and let them sit in a warm place (i.e.: stove top with burner off) until you are ready to complete them for the meal.They do actually re-heat well, too, if you have leftovers. Enjoy!

Monday, February 1, 2016

Sleeping in Comfort

Back in November, my sister asked me if I could make a fleece crib sheet for her son. Living up north, it gets pretty cold and who doesn't like sleeping on fuzzy comfort. So I pulled out some of my stash and fashioned this crib sheet. I mailed it off and he LOVES it!

I figured I'd make a few more for them with some other stash I had, and of course the After-Christmas sales on fleece.

The stash picks included a cloud print, and a red plaid. That was the wild outlier, but it's nice to have variety.

I tried to match the baby quilt I made for him, which is why I picked the solid periwinkle blue and the blue fabric with the anchors and ropes.

I used a Fons and Porter pattern that only uses elastic on the ends, rather than all the way around. It's a lot easier to put the sheet on the mattress and it easier to fold in a drawer.

For the corner seams, I used a straight stitch at 3/8 inch and then used a zigzag on the edge for a little extra security.

Then, I stitched 3/8 inch all the way around, leaving a gap to be able to thread the elastic thru.

Finally, after threading the elastic thru, I secured the elastic ends and finished the seam. All done! Super fast and easy, and seriously the best sheets for a crib E-V-E-R! It makes me wish I had a crib to put them on. :( Oh well, I will send them off to my sister so they can enjoy them.

Feels good to get this off my sewing table. Hope I can keep this momentum going. I'm linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict. Come check out what everyone's been working on.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

More Thank You's

Honestly, it feels like the only cards I have time to make anymore are thank you cards.  That is something I hope I never loose the desire to do. I feel like it's important to share with others how much I appreciate the thought they put into me. I also think it's a good lesson in gratitude for my children, while also helping them with their writing and composition skills.

Our latest batch of thank you's was for christmas presents. My kids were given some wonderful things from various friends and family, and we were right to work to thank everyone. This year, I wrote them for my daughter and had her practice signing her name. My son however, had to write a brief thank you message that I'd scripted for him so he could practice his writing. He was getting pretty creative with his sentence/paragraph structure, but he was practicing his writing so it's all good.

As for the card, I went simple with a window pane look of various christmas papers. I bought a set from JoAnn's a couple years ago that I'm still working through.

The card is a tan color with a red linen paper background that's been sanded down to expose the core. I used "thank you" from a CTMH thankful set I have with SU red ink. I finished it with raffia ribbon for embellishment that was punched with a straight, ribbon threading hand punch.

I always try to make a few extra just in case, but it seems this year I had just enough. Phew! I better plan better next year. I am really happy with how this one turned out. It was fun, colorful, and had a great embellishment touch.

Maybe this year I can spend a little more time on my paper crafts. We'll see. I'd really like to get my daughters first year book done (4 years later) and add some more birthday and thank you cards to make back-up collection.