Friday, February 26, 2010

Favorite Things Friday!

It's Friday!!!! In honor of this wonderful day - I decided to share one of my favorite things - my soup and sandwich ceramic dish.  I got it after receiving a cute little catalog from Uncommon Goods.  After folding down a bunch of pages, I narrow it down to this cute little plate set.  Everybody loves a grilled cheese and soup - what better way to serve it then on this tray.  I love these plates so much that I use them all the time - as you can see from my dinner above!  I recommend spending a little time on this website, it's wonderful!

Have a wonderful Friday!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Blackberry Almond Thumbprints

These are delightful little cookies that are easy to make using ingredients that I already had at home! I got these from the great blog, The Feast Within and after a quick look in my pantry to make sure that I had the almond extract I began softening my butter! I didn't add the glaze cause I have been sick, which equals lazy and I didn't want to run to the grocery store for powered sugar. I can image that these would be even better with the glaze, I'll probably do that next time!

Blackberry Almond Thumbprints
Adapted from The Feast Within

2/3 cup sugar
1 cup softened butter
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
2 cups flour
1/2 cup blackberry jam

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheet with parchment paper - this is helpful in case your jam runs over like mine.

Combine butter, sugar, and almond extract at medium speed until creamy. Reduce speed to low and add all of the flour at one time. Beat until well mixed. (At this point feel free to eat about half of the dough - it is amazingly delicious!)

Shape dough into 1" balls and place 2" apart on the baking sheet. Press thumb into center to create a well. Fill each well with jam.

Bake 14 - 18 minutes. Let rest on the baking sheet for a few minutes before transferring to a rack. Once cool drizzle with glaze.

1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons almond extract
2 - 3 teaspoons water

Stir together sugar and almond extract. Add enough water to make a stiff medium glaze. Zig zag glaze over cookies and ENJOY!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

One of my favorite things to do on Sunday is watch a combo of Food Network and Anthony Bourdain while prowling food blogs for new recipe ideas. This Sunday was no exception - which was a perfect way for me to nurse my cold all bundled up on the couch. I found a couple of new recipes by checking out members of Craving Ellie in My Belly that will be highlighted this week, the first is this wonderful Jambalaya that I found on Confessions of a Foodie Bride. It was destined to be made in my kitchen since I had leftover Turkey Kielbasa.  I actually had everything I needed except for the bell peppers, which gave me an excuse to check out the new "Farmers Market" style grocery store that opened about 5 minutes from my house.

This has a lot of flavor, but beware as this makes A LOT of Jambalaya!

Chicken and Sausage Jambalaya

1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 medium onions, chopped
2 bell peppers, chopped
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1 lb. turkey kielbasa, cut into 1/4 pieces
1 teaspoon of Old Bay Seasoning
1 lb. chicken, cut into cubes
3 bay leaves
3 cups rice
1 cup white wine
2 cups water
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped green onions

Heat oil in Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onions, bell peppers, salt and cayenne. Stirring ofter brown vegetables for about 20 minutes or until caramelized and brown in color. Add kielbasa and cook 10 - 12 minutes. Season chicken with Old Bay and add to pot, with Bay leaves. Cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add in rice and cook 2 - 3 minutes. Add wine to deglaze pan, followed by water and chicken broth. Cook 30 - 35 minutes covered without stirring. Remove from heat and let stand 2 - 3 minutes covered. Remove bay leaves and add green onions.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Best Husband Ever!

I have the best husband ever! He is really enjoying this blogging experience- mostly because he is getting to enjoy all the food that is coming out of the different recipes that I'm trying. I happened to tell him that I had seen these really cool photo boxes that help people take better pictures of their food, and was thinking of making one. That's all it took for him to begin sketching and scheming! After all he is the artistic director/photographer of this blog! You can see him fluffing the rice on the yummy jambalaya recipe - that will be posted tomorrow!

Within an hour of telling him what I envisioned, I had this wonderful box that is made of cardboard, that can be folded down to store. I love it! The pictures are already looking sharper and I can't wait to continue using it!

Because I know he's reading this right now - I really do love my hubby!

CEiMB - Chocolate Mousse

This weeks recipe was a low-fat Chocolate Mousse that used tofu as the main ingredient. This wasn't a dessert that worked for our house. I think that if I tried this again I would increase the amount of chocolate - this had too much of a tofu taste.

Check out the others who had a better result!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Operation Baking Gals February Shipment

This year my husband and I decided that we would try and do one philanthropic act a month. We both feel that we are very luck to have the life that we have and that we need to try and give to others. After some searching to find something that I could dedicate my time to regularly - my job has erratic hours and I often have to work nights and weekends, I found Baking Gals. This is an organization that bakes and ships homemade goodies to military that are in active duty. Many of these men and women have been away from home for months and this organization hopes to show them that there we are there for support and that we thank them for their service to our country. What a perfect match for me! I love to bake - but my husband and I can't eat all that I make, we wouldn't be able to get out of our chairs! :)

This was my first month and I signed up for a team that had me tearing up while reading the description. Mind you I cry all them time - those Pedigree commercials really tug my heart strings! ASPCA forget it - the channel must be changed unless you want me to have a full breakdown! As luck might have it, this team was a wonderful man and his dog who are part of the Special Ops team in Afghanistan, it was a perfect opportunity to add in my peanut butter dog treats!

In addition to the doggies treats we added Oatmeal Chocolate Chip cookies (recipe below), pumpkin cookies, snickerdoodles, jelly beans, black licorice, trail mix and magazines. This was a wonderful experience and I felt so wonderful when I sent off my care package! Hopefully everything will get there intact!

I tried this new recipe from Smitten Kitchen, with a few changes below. They were WONDERFUL! They were wonderful little bites of goodness, flecked with cinnamon and mini chocolate chips. I strongly recommend making a batch RIGHT now!!!

Thick, Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
24 - 30 smaller cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350.

Cream together butter, brown sugar, egg and vanilla until smooth. Add in cinnamon, nutmeg, baking soda, salt and flour. Stir in oats and chocolate chips.

Chill the dough for 1 hour. Bake for 10 minutes on parchment lined cookie sheets. Let them sit for five minutes before transferring to a cookie rack to cool.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Craving Ellie in My Belly!

This is my first Craving Ellie in My Belly Recipe and I strongly recommend it! This recipe is really easy to make and I had most of the ingredients in my pantry. I paired this with my roasted potatoes and asparagus for a filling and inexpensive dinner.

Marinated Flank Steak with Blue Cheese Sauce

Adapted from Ellie Krieger


  • 1 1/4 pounds beef flank steak
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons lowfat buttermilk
  • Dash Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons fresh chopped parsley leaves


In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon of the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, sugar and garlic. Put the steak into a sealable plastic bag with the marinade and let sit for 30 minutes at room temperature, or 1 hour in the refrigerator.

In the meantime, in a small bowl combine the blue cheese and buttermilk with a fork, mashing until creamy. Stir in the Worcestershire and set aside.

Spray a large grill pan with cooking spray and preheat over medium-high heat.

Remove the meat from the marinade and season both sides with salt and pepper. Discard the marinade. Cook the meat in the grill pan over medium-high heat for about 3 minutes per side for medium rare. Drizzle with blue cheese sauce and top with a sprinkling of parsley.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Barefoot Bloggers - Coconut Cupcakes

Happy Valentine's Day!

This months Bare Foot Bloggers was very Valentine's Day appropriate! While I can't stand to eat coconut in any form - my husband LOVES it. With this in mind I decided to go ahead and make this recipe, which I have heard from all who tried this is delicious!

The only difference that I made was in the frosting - I made my favorite version which is very simple and doesn't take as much cream cheese or butter!

Coconut Cupcakes

The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

  • 3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 5 extra-large eggs at room temperature
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons pure almond extract
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 cup buttermilk
  • 14 ounces sweetened, shredded coconut


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. With the mixer on low speed, add the eggs, 1 at a time, scraping down the bowl after each addition. Add the vanilla and almond extracts and mix well.

In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In 3 parts, alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk to the batter, beginning and ending with the dry. Mix until just combined. Fold in 7 ounces of coconut.

Line a muffin pan with paper liners. Fill each liner to the top with batter. Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until the tops are brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Remove to a baking rack and cool completely.

Frost the cupcakes and sprinkle with the remaining coconut.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sliders with Broccoli Slaw

I was so glad to be back in the kitchen today! Not only have I been baking away for my first Operation Baking Gals mailing, but I fixed a yummy and EASY dinner.

It all started with a trip to Trader Joe's a couple of weeks when I saw the cutest slider buns ever! I knew that I needed to get these buns into my life! Yes - I do like to shop based on cuteness! The rest was kind of a jumble of other recipes that I checked out on the internet and mixed together to result in a deliciously easy dinner.

Slow Cooker Pulled Chicken Sliders with Broccoli Slaw

2 skinless boneless chicken breasts
1 jar of your favorite bar-b-que sauce (I used TJ's bbq sauce, which is DELICIOUS!)
2 small onions sliced into rings
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
1 small bag of broccoli slaw (this is from TJ's but you could make your own by shredding the broccoli stalks)
1/2 cup white vinegar
6 Tablespoons sugar
6 Tablespoons vegetable oil
2 1/2 teaspoons dry mustard
salt and pepper to taste

Please the chicken breasts, onions, balsamic vinegar and half of the bottle of bar-b-que sauce. Cook on low for one hour, shred with two forks. Stir and cook for three hours. Before serving add the remainder of the bar-b-que sauce and leave in the slow cooker for 5 minutes until the rest of the sauce warms.

While the chicken is cooking, mix the vinegar, sugar, oil, dry mustard in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Remove from heat and let cool. Before serving add broccoli slaw and mix.

Serve chicken and slaw on the adorable slider buns and ENJOY!

This had my hubby thanking me for in his own words "Being the best wife ever in the kitchen!"

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Busy Times

So I have been bad about posting these last two weeks. My job, which I love, has had me driving 3 hours round trip to San Diego 7 days in the last week. All I can say is that I don't want to be in a car for a LONG time!

Dinner these last couple of weeks has been easy items, tamales (frozen from Christmas), grilled cheeses, soup, etc.

So glad to be back home and I'm so glad to be back behind the stove/oven!

Friday, February 5, 2010

Frugal Friday Breakfast Potatoes

We love breakfast in this house, well I love breakfast which means that by default my husband loves breakfast. This is a simple, really delicious, really frugal breakfast that has only a couple of ingredients but packs in a LOT of flavor. Add an egg over easy and you have a tasty filling breakfast, or even dinner!

Breakfast Potatoes with Turkey Bacon

2 - 3 russet potatoes, peeled and diced into small cubes
3 slices of thick cut Turkey Bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces (Trader Joe's has a wonderful one!)
1 small onion, diced
Old Bay Seasoning - I can't get enough of this stuff, I add it to potatoes, shrimp, garlic bread, pretty much anything!

Start by placing your potatoes in a microwave safe bowl, add 1 tablespoons of butter and cover with plastic wrap. Microwave for 5 minutes, when removing from the microwave be careful of the steam when taking off the plastic wrap.

While the potatoes are cooking, heat 1 tablespoon of butter with 1-2 tablespoons of oil. Add onions and diced bacon, stirring while they cook. Add a couple of dashes of Old Bay. Once the potatoes are done add them to the onion and bacon and sprinkle with more Old Bay. Cook about 5 minutes more until the potatoes are browned.

Serve warm with eggs. Delicious!

Thursday, February 4, 2010

My first Giveaway!!!

I have my first giveaway!!!

I love yogurt - it is a staple in our household. We love it with granola and fruit when we have more time in the morning and on a busy day we love to grab it for breakfast or a quick snack.

This giveaway is for a coupon for (1) free Fiber One Yogurt Multipack. To enter all you need to do is share with me your favorite way to eat yogurt.

You have until February 10th to enter!