Friday, January 30, 2009

Superbowl recipe roundup

6 words to the wise

So you're going to plant your tail in front of the TV for 4 hours Sunday night? Might I suggest some stuff to dip other stuff in?Spicy Hummus

Rather have finger food?Piglets in a Blanket

Deviled Eggs

Want something more substantial?Jalapeno Bacon Corn Muffins
Pot of Black Beans

Or you could always take the lazy route like we probably will and order some pizza. Let someone else do all the work! Pop's Backdoor in Durham has great pizza.
Whatever you end up choosing, make sure to enjoy the eating and the commercials because that's really what Sunday is about. GO CARDINALS!!!!

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Chicken milanese and pickled onion pistachio salad

4 words to the wise

Ever since I saw this post over at Smitten Kitchen last week, I've kept it in the back of my mind. If you've never checked out Deb's site, you're missing out. I just love her saturated photography and adventurous cooking. Last night I had chicken thighs thawed and decided it was time to give this recipe a whirl. I made several modifications due to what I had on hand.

I used thighs, not breasts
I used parmesan, not romano
I used romaine, not escarole
I used pistachios, not hazelnuts
I followed all other parts of the recipes exactly. This was a big hit with my hubby, though I felt the onions and dressing a little salty. Again, I think my tastebuds have been a little sensitive to salt lately though. The chicken was excellent, moist, crispy and not greasy. And despite taking several detours with the salad, the sweetness of the pistachios was wonderful with the earthy parmesan, pickled onions and slightly bitter romaine. The combination of textures between the chicken and salad were great! I also loved that a lot of this can be made ahead of time. I'll definitely make this again.

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Chicken and bean enchiritos - future cooking

2 words to the wise

These were excellent and this combination of meat and beans is certainly not set in stone. Please modify as you like, but this was how I made these the other night and the meat had PERFECT flavor. I think taco hell was onto something with using flour tortillas instead of corn. Yum! I'm excited to have made 2 meals with this. My freezer is slowly filling!Chicken and Bean Enchiritos
Makes 8 enchiritos(4 servings)
1 tb oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 lb ground chicken (turkey would be just as good)
2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp ground coriander
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup water
1 can refried beans (or black beans)
1 4 oz can whole green chiles
8 flour (light whole wheat) tortillas (soft taco/fajita size)
1 14 oz can enchilada sauce
1 cup shredded cheese (I used a mexican blend)
2 green onions, sliced

Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and chicken until cooked through (about 5-7 minutes). Break chicken into small pieces with a spoon or spatula as it's cooking. Combine all spices in a small bowl then stir into cooked chicken and onions. Add water to skillet. Stir well to coat evenly. Simmer over medium-low heat for 9 minutes or until no longer watery. Turn off heat and mix beans into the skillet.

Preheat oven to 350. Slice green chiles into 16 strips. Lay a tortilla flat on a plate and scoop about 1/2 cup of meat/bean filling into the middle. Use spoon to spread in a line to the edges. Cover with two slices of green chile and roll up.
Place into a 9x13 (I used 2 8x8s) casserole dish. Repeat with remaining tortillas. When the pan(s) is full, cover with enchilada sauce. Top with shredded cheese and green onions.
Cover with foil and bake for 30 minutes. Remove foil and broil until cheese is bubbly.
These are so much easier to make with flour then with corn tortillas. They roll up really nice without crumbling or needing to coat in fatty oil first. Enjoy!

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Thursday, January 29, 2009

White bean and kale soup - future cooking

7 words to the wise

Last night I made a white bean and kale soup to freeze. I've had good experiences with freezing and reheating soups so I figured I would try a new one. I think soup is underrated in its potential to be a perfectly rounded meal alone.

I actually had enough of this for both of us to bring for lunch today too. I modified it quite a bit from the Better Homes and Gardens Big Book of Italian Recipes, but their recipe was a good base for mine. This is easily made vegetarian by substituting veggie bouillion for the chicken.White Bean and Kale Soup
Makes 6 entree servings
1 tbsp oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
pinch of crushed red pepper
6 cubes chicken bouillion
4 cups water
2 cans cannellini beans (aka great northern beans), rinsed and drained
1 can diced tomatoes, with liquid
4 cups raw kale, chopped

In a 4 qt or larger pot, heat oil over medium heat. Saute onion until translucent. Add garlic, dried herbs and pepper, and saute one minute more. Add bouillion, water, and tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Add beans and reduce to low. Simmer 5 minutes. Add kale and simmer 5 minutes more. You can salt to taste, but honestly, I didn't add any. The bouillion provided plenty.
I had a burst of energy last night so I also made enchilada style burritos for dinner and to freeze. That recipe follows tomorrow!

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Monday, January 26, 2009

Weekend eats and cooking for the future

6 words to the wise

I'm feeling a lot less like cooking these days, despite all my cooking last week. By the end of the day, I just want to get off my feet. So we ate out a good amount this weekend. For date night on Friday, we ate dinner at Pop's. I ordered the housemade gnocchi. This was a slightly crispy on the outside, delightfully light potato inside gnocchi served with venison meatballs, spinach, mushrooms, pomodoro and romano cheese. This was a great dish. I wasn't completely into the sauce, but I think my palate has been a little off lately due to pregnancy so you should definitely judge it for yourself.

My hubby ordered the angel hair with smoked chicken, pickled banana peppers and a bacon cream sauce. This dish was creative and very tasty. If you like pickled banana peppers, I urge you to try it. They shone in this dish. Speaking of banana peppers, have you ever tried the deep fried ones at Bull McCabes? Or the Wooden Nickel in Hillsborough? Soooooo good. I'm off topic here, sorry.

Saturday night we ate at Shiki Sushi. As always the sushi was fantastic, the service was okay and the place was loud as hell. I don't know why they blast the music in there so loudly. All it does is force everyone to shout over it. I ordered the bagel roll and the shrimp tempura roll. The bagel roll is such a treat. It's salmon, cream cheese and avocado, battered and deep fried and garnished with eel sauce. Battered and deep friend sushi, it just doesn't get more delicious then this...

We also ate again at the Silver Spoon on Saturday morning. Having gotten enormous dishes the first time, we both ordered what we felt would be smaller portions and still were unable to consume it all. I had the egg croissant sandwich with home fries. Hubby had an omelet with homefries. We both loved our dishes. The only thing I felt could be improved upon are the homefries. I like mine a little crispy and these are monster potato slices, amply seasoned, but I think they're most likely baked and not crispy. Still the service was phenomenal, the portions huge and the food was served hot and exactly as I ordered it.

I did manage to prepare a good Italian Sunday dinner. I made egg parpadelle tossed with spinach, mushrooms, shallots, chicken and pesto. I served it with a big side salad. I was just too tired to photograph and write down the process, so I can't really share much beyond the description. I am going to work on making a lot of casseroles and food that freezes and reheats well over the next couple of weeks so stay tuned! I plan on stocking up the freezer prior to baby arrival :) Any suggestions for dishes are welcome!

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Friday, January 23, 2009

Makeshift minestrone

3 words to the wise

Monday night I wanted to make and Italian-esque veggie soup but didn't have the traditional ingredients for minestrone. What I ended up with was tasty and went well with the pesto bread, but not your traditional minestrone. Next time I might add some tomato sauce or paste to thicken up the broth a little though.Makeshift Minestrone
Makes 6 servings
1 tbsp oil
1 leek, cleaned and chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 tsp dried basil
1 sprig fresh rosemary, chopped (about 1 tbsp)
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
1 tsp sugar
32 oz chicken broth (you could use veggie)
2 cups water
1 can chickpeas/garbanzo beans
1 can diced tomatoes
1 cup dried pasta (I used gemelli, but macaroni or penne would be really good)
4 cups kale, washed and chopped
grated parmesan for topping

Heat oil over medium heat in 4 qt or larger pot. Add leeks and carrots. Saute until leeks are just tender. Add garlic, basil and rosemary and saute one minute more. Add salt, sugar, pepper, broth, water and tomatoes and bring to a boil over high heat. Add pasta, kale and chick peas and reduce to medium-low. Simmer until pasta is tender. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve topped with grated parmesan.

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Peanut recall - Salmonella rears her ugly head once again!

1 words to the wise

Big thanks to my coworker Stephanie who passed this along. Check out the details of the peanut recall here. This is not limited to peanut butter. You can check out the list of products here. I was surprised at the wide range of items and brands being recalled for possibility of salmonella contamination.

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Pesto bread

4 words to the wise

This is adapted from the toastmaster breadmaker use and care guide. The recipe is intended for the "fast bake" program on your breadmaker.

Pesto Bread

Makes a 1.5 lb loaf
1 cup + 2 tbsp milk (110–115 degrees)
3 tbsp prepared pesto (room temperature)
4 tsp sugar
3/4 tsp salt
3 cloves thinly sliced garlic
3 cups bread flour
1 tbsp dried basil
1 tbsp quick rise or bread machine yeast

Add ingredients to breadmaker from top to bottom on the list (starting with wet ingredients). Select the fast bake program and hit start. Hot bread to your table in an hour! I suggest cooling at least 20 minutes before slicing. This bread made a great companion to my homemade minestrone (recipe to follow).

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Thursday, January 22, 2009

Chicken enchilada soup

4 words to the wise

When I read this recipe last week for tortilla soup, my mouth was watering. I found I didn't have many of the ingredients so I came up with my own recipe to fulfill the craving. This is seriously so easy, pretty healthy and really really good. I urge you to give it a try. Thanks to Real Mom Kitchen for the inspiration! Please forgive the photo, I'm finding that soup just doesn't really photograph all that well.

Chicken Enchilada Soup
Makes 6 servings
10 oz can red enchilada sauce
10 oz can cheddar cheese soup
4 oz can diced green chiles
2 cups milk (I used skim)
1 lb boneless skinless chicken (I used breast tenderloins)
1 small onion, chopped
1 lb frozen sweet corn
3 tsp salt
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder

Combine canned ingredients with milk in crock pot and stir well to mix through. Add all remaining ingredients, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Remove chicken and pull apart with forks or tongs and return to pot. Cook 1 additional hour on low. Garnish with sour cream and cheese!

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Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Hey how'd that happen?

5 words to the wise

I logged into foodbuzz this morning to post my recipes and photos from recent days. Lo and behold, my mug is on the home page. Check it out! Kinda neat ;)

Edit: I submitted the photo quite some time ago when I received the free spatula and apron. I was just a little surprised to see it up there today!

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7 words to the wise

Turns out my work closed for the day anyways so I was spared using a vacation day WOOHOO! I enjoyed baking and filling my house with the scent of cinnamon. I love snickerdoodles. I had my first one a few years ago and was shocked at what a difference that cinnamon and texture make to what is basically a sugar cookie. A melty, buttery inside a cinnamony, sugar crust. It's heaven.
I went exactly by this recipe over at all recipes.Mrs. Sigg's Snickerdoodles (reprinted from AllRecipes)
Makes 48 cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups white sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons cream of tartar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons white sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400. Cream together butter, shortening, 1 1/2 cups sugar, the eggs and the vanilla. Blend in the flour, cream of tartar, soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mix the 2 tablespoons sugar and the cinnamon.

Shape dough by rounded spoonfuls into balls.
Roll balls of dough in mixture. Place 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets.

Bake 8 minutes, until set but not too hard. Remove immediately from baking sheets.

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Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Snow day!

5 words to the wise

I was told this morning I'm not permitted to leave the house with the snowy conditions outdoors, because I'm "carrying precious cargo". I have to say I agree the saved vacation day wouldn't have been worth the risk. Guess what I'm going to do with a day cooped up by myself?

I started this morning with what I'll call a chicken enchilada soup. And after I blog last night's soup, I'll head off to bake some snickerdoodles. Photos and recipes to come!

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Rosemary lemon chicken

5 words to the wise

I bought a big family pack of boneless thighs and separated them into 4 separate meal portions (8 servings). A pretty good deal for 10 bucks. While looking through my pantry and fridge for inspiration on how to prepare Sunday dinner, I decided on a bit of an Italian (go figure) theme. I served these on top of garlic and chive smashed yukon potatoes, with a side of steamed broccoli. Can't wait to eat the leftovers!
Rosemary lemon chicken thighs
Makes 4 servings
4 boneless skinless chicken thighs
1/2 tsp chopped fresh rosemary
1 tb lemon juice
1 tb olive oil
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
cracked pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients in a medium dish. Toss well with tongs to coat chicken evenly. Refrigerate at least 30 minutes. Heat skillet (in my case a grill pan) over medium heat. Cook 5 minutes. Flip and cook 3-5 minutes more.

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Monday, January 19, 2009

Holy guacamole!

9 words to the wise

So as I indicated earlier this week, I had avocados. What do you do when life, er, Trader Joe's gives you avocados? You make guacamole! My friend from Guatemala will go on a 10 minute rant about how the only ingredients in guacamole should be lime juice, avocados and salt. While his guacamole is traditional, I prefer it with the addition of a couple of more ingredients.
Makes about 2 cups
3 ripe avocados
1/4 cup minced red onion
1/2 diced tomato (I've used chunky salsa instead in a pinch)
1 1/2 tb lime juice (I used the bottled stuff, so start with a little less if you're using the real thing)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp salt (plus more to taste if you like it saltier)

Cut avocados in half lengthwise. Remove and discard the seed. Scoop out the flesh with a spoon into medium bowl. Break up the avocado into smaller pieces with a fork. Add all ingredients except the tomato and mash with fork until almost creamy. I like chunks in my guacamole. Add tomatoes and stir to combine. Refrigerate if not using immediately.

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Sunday, January 18, 2009

Silver Spoon - N. Roxboro Road, Durham

2 words to the wise

Months and months ago, I read about Silver Spoon over at Carpe Durham. I had been wanting to try it, but often just didn't feel like that extra little bit of drive when starving for breakfast on the weekend. Today we ventured there and I can honestly say, I don't know that we'll eat breakfast anywhere else in this area again. We liked it that much.

It's quite obviously in an old Pizza Hut building and the atmosphere isn't changed much from it's predecessor. The staff is excellent: attentive, friendly and efficient. Coffee, water and to-go boxes were all brought prior to asking. It's very much a local's place. And my husband, being from New Jersey said it really reminded him of the diners up north.

The breakfast menu was expansive and some of the choices reminded me a bit of Brigs in RTP, but Silver Spoon far exceeded Brigs. For one, we didn't have to wait. The food wasn't even slightly greasy and it was seasoned perfectly. The portions were huge and definitely well worth the price. I loved the assortment of frittatas, omelets and skillets to choose from.

I ordered "The Duke" skillet. This was a plate full of homefried potatoes covered with sauteed mushrooms, onions, tomatoes, red and green peppers, crisp steamed broccoli, smothered in jack and cheddar cheese and topped with 2 eggs cooked to my preference (scrambled hard). All of the vegetables were fresh and cooked perfectly. The cheese was abundant, but not overwhelming and not greasy. The eggs were perfect as well. All of this came with an english muffin with strawberry preserves. I was unable to finish it. And ask I sit here typing this three hours later, I don't see eating lunch at all today.

My husband ordered "The Knight" skillet. It was homefries topped with onions, tomatoes, bacon, turkey, ham, loads of cheese and eggs. He loved his dish too. I can't wait to go back. The hostess strongly recommended trying the fried chicken and after reading about it at Carpe Durham, I'm sure I'll give it a try.

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Wednesday, January 14, 2009

No brainer taco salad

10 words to the wise

Last night I set out to make my guacamole and discovered, upon slicing open my first avocado, that I'm going to need to wait a few more days. I saved this avocado by cubing it, tossing it with some lime and salt and throwing it onto a taco salad.

Sometimes dinners like this are just comforting in that they are non-events. Clean up is minimal. Effort is minimal and flavor is not compromised. I don't think I've ever made two quite the same, but here's how it went down last night.No Brainer Taco Salad
Makes 4 servings
1 lb ground turkey browned and cooked with taco seasoning (served warm)
1 can refried beans doctored with some chili powder, cumin, garlic powder and salt (served warm)
1 head romaine lettuce chopped
1 can of sweet corn, drained and tossed with a little salt
1/2 can of small black olives
12 grape tomatoes sliced in half
4 thin slices of red onion
1/2 cucumber
1 firm avocado, cubed and tossed with lime juice and salt
about 30 chips
shredded cheese, salsa and sour cream to individual liking

Assemble on plate. Wow that was tough!

I put all my cold ingredients around the perimeter. Then I fanned out my chips and covered with beans, then meat and a tiny bit of shredded cheese. This worked out well and kept the cold ingredients from getting wilted by the warm ones.

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Monday, January 12, 2009

Thinking inside the box

6 words to the wise

Back in late November, my work moved into a new building. Part of our relocation meant that now instead of being in my own office, I would now be in a 8'x8' cube in a "suite" with 5 other cubes. I know a lot of my fellow coworkers struggled with the reduction of office space, but having only been employed here a year and a half, I don't miss that extra space at all. The main adjustment for me has been the co-habitating. I knew it would be.

You see, not everyone thinks the same. While I would think twice about bringing leftover seafood, reheating it and eating it in my cube, others may not. So far, I've actually found office life with my five suitemates to be painfree. They are considerate people. They don't smell. They aren't incredibly loud.

However, there are just a couple of things that to me are no-brainers when you are sharing space with other people, that not everyone seems to get...

1. Every single person in this building has a cell phone. Please turn your ringer off. Place the phone on your desk if you're worried about missing a call. I guarantee you'll hear it vibrate. This goes for text messages too.

2. Turn your email sounds for incoming and outgoing mail off. Just look periodically at the icon in your dock to see if new mail has arrived.

3. Don't forget to turn your sound down before watching crap on youtube. I've been scared shitless on more then one occasion from random loud dialogue!

That's all for now. Like I said, my cubemates are actually very considerate and the most annoying part of daily cube life is actually other people coming in and looking for people that aren't in our suite. I've been pleasantly surprised.

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Thursday, January 8, 2009

Finally IKEA

13 words to the wise

I briefly saw on the news this morning that IKEA is finally opening in Charlotte. This makes me happier then it probably should. Though I am sworn to never purchase more furniture from said IKEA (the husband forbids it), I am still smitten with the store and am all too thrilled to have one within a 2 hour drive. I have driven up to DC twice just to go to IKEA. That's a 4-5 hour drive folks.

IKEA is a very family-oriented store with a big kids section (that I've never spent any time in). IKEA Charlotte is said to open February 18th. Aside from having a very affordable price point, I like that IKEA really engineers their products with the environment in mind. Everything comes packed as compact as possible to maximize space. Most of the furniture is MDF or particle board with wood veneers or made of wood from fast growing trees. I don't know a whole lot about the company, but what I do know, I love and I am happy to be able to patronize them on a more regular basis.

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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Chicken Florentine Rollatini

7 words to the wise

Using what I had on hand at home last night, this was the concoction I came up with. It's a little messy to make, but then again, dealing with stuffed/rolled raw chicken always is. Packed with flavor, it was a nice change from the same old chicken breasts!
Chicken Florentine Rollatini
Makes 4 servings
For the filling:
10 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained well
1/2 medium onion, chopped
3 large cloves of minced garlic
1/3 cup sundried tomatoes, chopped (you could sub artichoke hearts)
1/4 cup ricotta cheese
2 tb oil, divided
salt and pepper to taste
For the chicken:
1 1/2 lbs chicken breasts
1 tb dried basil
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp dried oregano

Heat 1 tb oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and saute 1 minute more. Add spinach and sundried tomato and stir to combine. Remove to a medium bowl and stir in ricotta cheese. Salt and pepper to taste.
Cut a long piece of plastic wrap. Place 1 chicken breast on one side and fold the other side over. Press edges to seal.
Pound chicken breast to 1/2 inch thickness. Repeat with remaining breasts. Spoon equal amounts of filling about an inch from one edge of each breast. Roll each breast like a burrito and secure shut with toothpicks.

Preheat oven to 350. Toss dried herbs and salt together on a small plate. Coat chicken breasts evenly with herb mixture. Heat 1 tb oil in large skillet over medium heat. Gently add chicken to pan and sear for 2 minutes on each side. Remove to baking sheet. Bake for 30 minutes. Allow to sit 5 minutes and remove toothpicks before slicing.

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Tuesday, January 6, 2009

No food post today

2 words to the wise

Let me tell you why. Yesterday, as I walked into my work breakroom with my leftover new year's feast to reheat, I loosened the lid on my container. I approached the microwave and for some reason my fingers gave out (stupid pregnant fingers). My lunch slipped out of my hand and hit the floor. Collards were strewn everywhere. It looked like my lunch had thrown up all over the floor. It was touching how many of my new coworkers (I'm working in a new building with new people) rushed to help and offer parts of their own lunch.

Fortunate for me, I keep a stash of food at work. Regardless, it was a loud message to me to stay away from sharp objects and hot appliances for the day. I ate a 6 inch sub from subway for dinner instead. Oh and a bowl of cereal hahaha.

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Monday, January 5, 2009

Chocolate marbled blondies

4 words to the wise

This was an easy Sunday morning venture! I was craving chocolate cake (go figure!) and I didn't have the components. This recipe was modifed from "The Great American Cookie Cookbook". Sometimes you just have to work with what you have. I would have liked these to have been sweeter and perhaps if I had been able to follow the original recipe, they would have been. The original recipe called for a cup of mini M & Ms. Make sure to swirl the chocolate into the blonde part well or you'll have gobs of dark, slightly bitter chocolate (like I did). Those gobs didn't taste so good.
Chocolate Marbled Blondies
Makes 16 blondies
1/2 cup softened butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cup flour
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
2/3 cup chopped walnuts (choc. chips, m&m's or whatever you have on hand)
4 oz softened cream cheese
2 tb granulated sugar
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa powder
1/4 cup dark chocolate (candy bar or the like, I used some Stam chocolate pieces I received for Xmas)

Preheat oven to 350. Grease a 9x9 pan.

Cream together the butter and brown sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Beat in the egg and vanilla. In a separate bowl, combine flour and baking soda. Blend flour mixture into butter mixture. Stir in nuts. Dough will be stiff like cookie dough.

In a separate bowl, mix cream cheese, granulated sugar and egg yolk until smooth. Stir in cocoa powder and blend well. Place chocolate cheese mixture in nine equal portions on the bottom of the greased pan. Place the blondie dough around the chocolate dough in the pan. Swirl the two together with a fork.

Bake 25 to 30 minutes. Cool completely. Cut into squares.

Melt chocolate in microwave in 30 second intervals until smooth. Pour into ziploc bag and cut a small hole in the tip. Drizzle over blondies. Allow to cool and devour with a large glass of milk!

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Friday, January 2, 2009

New Years Feast

6 words to the wise

For new years eve, my husband got off work earlier then expected and we opted to dine out. We had a fantastic fixed price dinner at Pop's. Though they were booked throughout the restaurant, there were bar tables right next to the kitchen available. I really enjoyed watching the kitchen staff working as a well oiled machine. They didn't seem at all stressed!

The theme was "a night in Tuscany". What I do enjoy about a limited menu is that it forces me to try something I wouldn't normally opt for. I had chicken liver pate, rabbit ragu on an herbed parpadelle, "hunters" chicken with wild mushrooms on creamy polenta, and for dessert, tiramisu. Everything I ate, in its entirety, except the chicken liver pate. Liver still just isn't my thing.

On to new years day. I planned on cooking with the day off work and I opted for a roasted chicken recipe that takes 5 hours. I wasn't dissappointed! The roasted potatoes I gave a try were from Pioneer Woman's site. The collard greens were my own concoction (a secret I'm not sharing) and the blackeye peas were from a can, but swimming in butter. Dinner was tasty! Again, so happy to have the leftovers. Rather then reproduce the recipes here I'll just link to them. I followed them pretty close, I just doubled the amount of garlic and added a tad more salt. We like strong flavor in our house!Jeni's New Years Day Feast:
Rotisserie Style Roast Chicken
Kay's Roasted Potatoes
Blackeye Peas
Jeni's Collard Greens

Jeni's Collard Greens (okay so I lied, here it is)

Makes 6 servings
2-3 lbs fresh collards, cleaned and broken into bite sized pieces
1 red onion chopped
6 slices bacon
8 cubes chicken boullion
10 cups water
1 tsp crushed red pepper (this amount gives a nice kick so you may want to reduce to 1/2 tsp for the lighter hearted)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until crumbly. Remove bacon and drain off all but 1-2 tb of the grease. Add onion and crushed red pepper to pot and cook until onion is translucent.

Add boullion and 1 cup of water. Scrape brown bits from bottom of pot as the water deglazes the pot. Add the remainder of the water, increase heat to high, and bring to a boil.

Add collards and reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Crumble cooled bacon. Drain all but but about 1/2 cup of water from pot. Add bacon to pot and stir to mix through. Cook another 3 minutes on low. Salt to taste.

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Strawberry cheesecake stuffed french toast

6 words to the wise

Back to the food blogging!

You know what the BEST thing about 9 months of not drinking is? No it's not that I'm always the designated driver...No hangovers! Upon waking up early, I took quick inventory of the kitchen new year's morning trying to figure out what to make for breakfast. This was what I came up with. I'm happy to have leftovers!Strawberry Cheesecake Stuffed French Toast
Makes 4 servings
1/2 cup strawberry jam or preserves
3 oz. softened cream cheese (I nuked it for 15 seconds)
8 slices of bread (I used a light whole wheat)
4 eggs
1/2 tsp granulated sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup milk
dash of cinnamon
2 tsp. oil
Powdered sugar and whipped cream to finish!

Spread cream cheese evenly on 4 slices of bread (one side only). Spread the remaining 4 naked slices of bread with strawberry jam. Pair one piece of each type together in sandwich fashion (think strawberry and cream cheese sandwich).

Heat 1 tsp. oil non-stick skillet over medium heat. In a shallow dish, beat together eggs, white sugar, vanilla, cinnamon and milk.

Dip 2 sandwich in the egg mixture and coat both sides. Place into heated skillet and cook 2 minutes. Flip and cook 2 minutes more. Remove and add more oil to pan. Repeat with remaining sandwiches.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar and top with whipped cream. Though it sounds decadent, the damage wasn't too bad. My bread is 50 calories a slice and I figured one serving to work out to around 250 calories.

Oh I got a new lens for Christmas from the hubby and am getting used to it. It was great to be able to shoot without a flash!!!

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Thursday, January 1, 2009

Rabbits rabbits rabbits

4 words to the wise

Did you remember to say it?

We did.

My holiday break was a nice, low-key one, exactly what I had hoped for. I enjoyed a lot of rich food, mostly sweets, and a lot of time with my loved ones. Though I'm happy to start a fresh new year, I look back and reflect (how can one not?) at 2008. In my 32 years alive, it was definitely the best and most eventful so far.

We bought a house and moved into a fantastic family and dog-oriented neighborhood with a huge park and a dog park.

I married the man of my dreams, barefoot, on a beautiful day on an empty beach in the presence of 3 friends.

I jumped out of a plane at 13,000 feet and got to free fall for 60 seconds and then enjoy a 10 minute parachute ride on a gorgeous day in May.

I got to spend a week alone with my new husband, swimming, and sipping tropical drinks in a pool while overlooking beautiful volcanic hills and ocean scenery in warm St. Lucia.

I watched the sea lions at Pier 39 for at least an hour and I ate fantastic fresh seafood with my oldest, bestest girlfriend.

Later, that September, I got to spend her 30th birthday with her and her new husband!

I became pregnant with our first child. I had no morning sickness and an easy, breezy first two trimesters.

On a sunny day in late June, I got to splash around with, and throw my squealing nieces and nephews in Lake Gaston.

I also got to jet ski!

Alongside my mother, I watched my sister win a gold medal in the Special Olympics for swimming.

I took my sister to her first concert.

I had dinner with my little brother in his first place (and boy, is it nice)!

I had the pleasure of tracking down and meeting two of my husbands oldest and dearest friends from when he was in the service, for his 30th birthday.

I got to watch my husband relive his youthful early 20s for 4 days :)

My family and friends had a healthy year, which as I get older, I've learned is a blessing in itself.

Though I had my share of flops , I enjoyed much success in my cooking and even learned that I like to bake a little too!

What more could a gal ask for, really?

I indeed found happy and I managed to keep it.

I wish everyone a great start to a truly happy new year.

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