Sunday, November 13, 2011

Rachael Ray Rave!

I had a chance to watch Rachel Ray's show on Friday morning and she made these burgers. {oh my goodness}

They looked like heaven.

What I thought was onions sticking out of the patty was actually spaghetti.

Yep, she made spaghetti burgers.

So you know I had to haul butt to the store to make these yummy monsters. I've included the recipe below with my tweaks.

Rachel Ray's Spaghetti and Meatball Burgers


  • Salt
  • 1/4 pound spaghetti

For the sauce: (I took the easy way and used spaghetti sauce instead)

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 small white onion, peeled
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 cups tomato purée
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • A few leaves torn basil
  • Salt and pepper
  • A pinch crushed red pepper flakes

For the meatball burgers:

  • 1 1/2 pounds beef chuck (I used turkey)
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 1-inch slices white bread, crusts trimmed (I used breadcrumbs)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk (omitted)
  • 2-3 tablespoons flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese, (a heavy handful)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated or pasted (I used minced)
  • Olive oil, for frying
  • 8 slices deli-sliced provolone or mozzarella cheese

For the garlic bread rolls:

  • 4 crusty rolls, split, such as ciabatta or plain Kaiser rolls
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 tablespoons butter (omitted)
  • 1 clove garlic, crushed (omitted)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh thyme, chopped (omitted)
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, finely chopped (used unfresh spice rack)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Bring a medium size pot of water to a boil for the pasta. Season the water with salt, break the pasta in half and cook to al dente; drain and cool. Reserve.

In a small saucepot, heat the EVOO and melt the butter over medium heat. Add the garlic and stir a couple of minutes; add the onion, bay leaf, tomatoes, oregano and basil. Season with salt and pepper and simmer at low bubble for 20 minutes. Remove the onion and bay leaf.

Place the beef in a bowl and season with salt and pepper. Soak the bread in milk; then squeeze out the liquid, crumble and add it to meat. Add the parsley, cheese, egg, garlic and the reserved cold pasta.

Form the mixture into four large burgers – let the pasta stick out from sides. Heat a thin and even layer of olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook the patties for 12-15 minutes, turning occasionally until cooked through and crispy. Douse the burgers with sauce and melt the cheese. Turn off the heat.

For the rolls, broil the bread to lightly toast. Microwave or heat the EVOO, butter and crushed garlic. Brush the toasted bread and top with the herbs and cheese; broil 1 minute to set the cheese. Serve the meatball burgers on rolls and top with more sauce.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Soups On Ya'll

It's actually chilly here in south Alabama. Um, not sure what happened. I guess Mother Nature needs to be reminded that this is the beach.

Since things aren't likely to change, food must be prepared with the weather in mind.

{Lucky us!}

Tonight we'll have Corn and Cheese Chowder from the Pioneer Woman. Head to her Web site and grab the napkins. You will drool.

Corn and Cheese Chowder

You'll need:

  • 4 Tablespoons 1/2 Stick Butter
  • 1 whole Onion, Chopped
  • 3 slices Bacon, Cut Into Pieces
  • 3 whole Bell Peppers, Finely Diced (red, Yellow, Orange)
  • 5 ears Corn, Kernels Sliced Off
  • 1/4 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 3 cups Chicken Stock Or Broth
  • 2 cups Half-and-half
  • 1 cup (heaping) Grated Monterey Jack
  • 1 cup (heaping) Pepper Jack
  • 1/3 cup Sliced Green Onions
  • Bread Bowls (optional)

Let's start:

In a large pot, melt butter over medium-high heat. Cook onions for a couple of minutes. Add bacon and cook for another minute or so, then add diced bell peppers and cook for a couple of minutes. Finally, add corn and cook for a minute.

Sprinkle flour evenly over the top and stir to combine. Pour in broth and stir well. Allow this to thicken for 3 or 4 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Stir in half-and-half, then cover and allow to simmer/thicken for 15 minutes or so.

Stir in cheeses and green onions. When cheese is melted and the soup is hot, check seasonings. Add salt and pepper as needed.

Ladle into hollowed out bowls and serve immediately.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Gift- Glass Garden Globe & Plant

What a great {gift} for someone who love all things environmental.

It would be great at home, or in an office.

It's $29.99 and can be purchased via Per their Web site,

The air plant derives all its nutrients from the air, giving it a somewhat miraculous, ethereal quality. Our glass globe comes with everything needed to plant and suspend individual succulents in mid-air. Whether displayed alone or in multiples, their modern textures and pops of green make the globes intriguing pieces of living sculpture.
  • glass globe, sand, pebbles and 1 air plant
  • includes all the elements needed to make a living ornament
  • includes care and instruction guide
  • 9" diam.
Item #30059921

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Cream Cheese with a Little Spaghetti

Major drool-fest after finding {this} on Pinterest.

Oh my yes. Please.

I made it last week with a few tweaks (more spices and mini meatballs).

Baked Spaghetti with Cream Cheese (credit)

You'll need
  • 8 ounces uncooked spaghetti
  • 1 large can spaghetti sauce (26.5 ounces)
  • 1 can mushrooms (small can)
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp basil
  • 4 ounces cream cheese (you can use 8 ounces if you prefer)
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • Fresh grated Parmesan cheese
Let's start
  1. Cook spaghetti according to directions on the package. Cook to al dente, drain and set aside.
  2. Soften cream cheese in microwave.
  3. Add milk, basil, oregano, garlic, and mushrooms. Stir well.
  4. Using a 10 x 6 dish, assemble in the following order:
  5. Thin layer of spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the casserole dish.
  6. Spaghetti
  7. Cream cheese/mushroom mixture
  8. Spaghetti sauce
  9. Parmesan Cheese (amount subject to your own taste)
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dining Etiquette

I know the holidays are coming, and just in case you want to do a formal setting for a work or family party, this should cover just about everything.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Onion Baked Sweet Potatoes

We had a visitor this week at my house and she brought her recipes with her! Yahoo!

She makes the best sweet potatoes, and I'm not even a fan of the vegetable! Yes, I've had the sweet potato casserole, but it wasn't that tasty.

Until she made these! Cannot. Get. Enough.

It was super easy, healthy, and very delicious.

Onion Baked Sweet Potatoes

You'll need:
* 4 sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1 in. cubes
* 1 packed dried onion soup mix
* 1/2 cup olive oil

Let's start:
1. Preheat oven to 350.
2. Mix sweet potatoes with olive oil and soup mix. Coat each potato thoroughly.
3. Add to baking sheet so that potatoes are in one layer.
4. Bake for 35-45 minutes or until brown and easily cut.

Serve as a side dish to beef, chicken, or pork.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

These are a staple near the Halloween/Thanksgiving holiday at my house. I always get such praise for them! Keep in mind that these are more "cake cookie." Serve them with ice cold milk for an after dinner treat or bed time snack.

Pumpkin White Chocolate Chip Cookies

You'll need:
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups white chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
Let's start:
  1. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, and egg. In a separate bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Dissolve the baking soda with the milk and stir in. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture and mix well.
  2. Add vanilla, white chocolate chips and nuts.
  3. Drop by spoonful on greased cookie sheet and bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for approximately 10 minutes or until lightly brown and firm.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

I Can Freeze That?

Sorry I've been absent, a friend was in town so we had to shop, eat, and go to the beach. *smile*

6 Things You Probably Didn't Know you Can Freeze (from Better Homes & Gardens, Oct. 2009)

1. Eggs- Lightly beaten eggs, beaten yolks, or whites can be frozen, but not an egg in its shell. Store in lidded ice cube trays (one egg fills two cubes).

2. Cooked Rice- Spread cooled rice on a lined baking sheet. Rub with small amount of vegetable oil so grains separate. Freeze, then transfer to a freezer bag.

3. Ginger Root- Wrap peeled ginger in plastic, then put in freezer bag. Ginger grates well while still frozen.

4. Cheese- Cut hard (parmesan, pecorino) and semi-hard cheeses (cheddar, swiss) into 1/4 inch blocks, wrap in plastic, then put in freezer bag. Grate hard cheeses while frozen, thaw others in refrigerator.

5. Butter or margarine- Store in a freezer bag, in its original packaging for up to six months. Thaw in refrigerator. Don't freeze whipped butter.

6. Nuts- Store in airtight container or freezer bag for up to six weeks. Use right from freezer for recipes- no need to thaw.

Friday, September 9, 2011

That Pretty Flower

I found this little tutorial about changing an ordinary pencil into a colorful statement on the Pioneer Woman's web site. If you haven't been, you are really missing out.

If you have any extra duct tape around, this is a perfect project for the kiddo's.

She starts with this,

And ends with this!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Mac and Cheese? Yes Please!

One of my favorite foods of all time is macaroni and cheese. It's great as a side dish or as a stand alone comfort food.

While browsing through Better Homes and Gardens I found a really great recipe for an Italian mac and cheese.

I've never made Italian mac and cheese, but it sounds super fab with the 40 types of cheese and butter and milk goodness!

Yes please!

Donatella's Italian Mac and Cheese

You'll need:
  • 1 lb elbow macaroni
  • 3 large egg whites
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter plus more for greasing bowls
  • 1/2 a medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3.5 cups whole milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 9 whole black peppercorns
  • 1 to 2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 8-oz. carton mascarpone cheese
  • 6 oz. Taleggio or Muenster cheese (rind removed), diced
  • 6 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, grated
  • 6 oz. Pecorino Romano, coarsely grated
  • 1 cup Garlic Bread Crumbs
  • Truffle oil and fresh thyme (optional)
Let's start:
1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter ten to twelve 10-oz. ovenproof bowls or ramekins; set aside.

2. Bring a large pot of water with 1 tablespoon of salt to boiling. Add pasta, stir just until water returns to boiling. Cook pasta according to package directions just until tender to the bite (al dente). Drain, shaking well. Meanwhile, in a mixing bowl beat egg whites with electric mixer to stiff peaks.

3. In Dutch oven, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add onion and cook until softened. Sprinkle the flour over onion; stir constantly for 2 minutes (do no allow flour to brown). A little at a time, add 1 cup of the milk, stirring constantly until smooth.

4. For an herb bundle, in an 8-inch square double-thickness of cheesecloth, place the bay leaf, thyme, and peppercorns. Gather corners and tie with 100% cotton string. Add herb bundle to Dutch oven 1 to 2 teaspoons of salt and remaining 2 1/2 cups of milk. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to boiling, stirring frequently (do not let the mixture boil over). Boil for 1 minute; reduce heat to low so milk barely simmers. Cook, stirring frequently, for 10 minutes more. Remove from heat; let stand for 5 minutes. Remove and discard herb bundle. Immediately stir in plenty of ground blackpepper, the nutmeg, and the cheeses. Stir just until cheeses are melted.

5. Stir cooked macaroni into cheese mixture. Fold in beaten egg whites. Spoon mac and cheese into prepared bowls. Top with Garlic Bread Crumbs.

6. Bake for 15 minutes or until heated through (160°F) and crumbs are toasted. To serve, top with truffle oil and fresh thyme.

Garlic Bread Crumbs: In a food processor, process 5 oz. (3 thick slices) country-style white bread, crusts removed, to coarse crumbs. Transfer to a bowl. Toss with 2 cloves garlic, minced; 1/2 tsp. salt; and 1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper. Add 2 1/2 Tbsp. olive oil. With a rubber spatula, work oil into the crumbs.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweater Envy

I had a little taste of the unusual while driving through Alabama this weekend... cold weather. It will soon be here and if you are anything like me, you have a ton of sweaters. You know the one; the one that goes with everything, the sweater that is perfect with jeans, or the one that keeps you warm at the football game. But do you really know how to take care of it? I thought I did until reading an article in Woman's Day magazine.

Before you begin: Check the label for the garment’s fabric content, rather than the care instructions. Even if the label says “dry clean,” you can handwash it if the primary fiber is wool or cashmere.

Step 1:
Fill a basin or sink with cool water and add 1 Tbsp of a mild detergent that’s free of bleach, such as Woolite Extra Delicates Care; swish the water to create suds. Place the sweater into the water and swirl it around until it’s completely wet. Don’t scrub or stretch the sweater, which can damage the shape and fibers. Let sit for 10 minutes while the detergent breaks down soil.

Step 2:
Gather the sweater in your hands, lift it out of the water and gently press a few times (don’t wring) to remove excess water. Empty the soapy water and refill the basin or sink with cool water. Submerge the sweater and swirl around to rinse. Empty and refill the basin again with fresh water, repeating the swirling process until no detergent remains in the water.

Step 3:
Gather the sweater, gently press to remove water and lay it on a white or colorfast towel that has been spread on a flat waterproof surface. Spread another white or colorfast towel on top so that the sweater is sandwiched between the towels. Starting from the top, tightly roll the towels downward together— they’ll absorb most of the moisture in the sweater.

Step 4:
Unroll and pick up the sweater; lay it on a third white or colorfast towel that has been spread on a flat waterproof surface away from sunlight and heat (to keep the wool from becoming brittle). Gently reshape the sweater, extending the arms and buttoning, if necessary. Let dry. To touch up wrinkles, turn it inside out and iron on low heat with steam (but first, test on a small area).

By the way, looking for some great sweaters? Check out Lands End. They have great sweaters for reasonable prices that always last me at least 3 seasons.


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Gift in a Jar

Yes, Christmas is less than four months away. Since I'm already building my list and my budget, I'm compiling my go-to recipes for homemade gifts.

Oatmeal :
The layers in the jar give a pretty "sand art" appearance that makes the jar pretty enough to give as a gift along with the instructions for making the recipe.

You'll need:
Makes about 36
5/8 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/2 cup all-purpose flour (note: flour is divided to make separate layers in the jar. If you are not making a Gift-in-a-jar, just combine the two flour measurements)
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup white chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped pecans

Let's start:
Layer the ingredients in a 1 quart or 1 liter jar, in the order listed. Attach a tag with the following instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease a cookie sheet or line it with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, beat together 1/2 cup softened butter, 1 egg and 1 teaspoon of vanilla until fluffy. Add the entire jar of ingredients, and mix together by hand until well blended. Drop by heaping spoonfuls onto the prepared baking sheet, about 2 inches apart. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until edges are lightly browned.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Food Day Cookies

We had food day at work on Friday and I made these. I tend to make baked goods that don't call for softened butter. That's just too much preparation for me.

I would post pictures, but they went too fast. That's a good sign.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

You'll need:

* 2 cups all-purpose flour
* ½ teaspoon baking soda
* ½ teaspoon salt
* ¾ cup butter, melted (1½ sticks)
* 1 cup packed brown sugar
* ½ cup white sugar
* 1 teaspoon cinnamon
* 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
* 1 egg
* 1 egg yolk
* 1 ½ cups old-fashioned oats
* 1 heaping cup raisins

Let's start:

1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

2. Melt butter.

3. Mix flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

4. In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the cinnamon, vanilla, egg, and egg yolk for 2-3 minutes until light and creamy. Mix in the flour mixture until just blended. Add the oats and raisins. Mix until just blended.

5. Place 1/4 cup balls of dough onto parchment lined cookie sheet and bake for 14-16 minutes.

Pour big glass of milk and enjoy the raisin goodness.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Cream Cheese and Raisin Sunday

I made this for breakfast! It was raisin and cream cheese goodness. I added butter on top of mine with some iced coffee. Since Mr. Wonderful is more of a plain eater, he left off the butter and opted for juice.

Yes, I made enough for an army, but I'll eat some tomorrow for breakfast also.

Stuffed French Toast with Raisins

You'll need:
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tbsp white sugar
  • 1.5 oz raisins
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 8 slices whole wheat bread
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 1/4 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice
  • 1 tsp butter for the pan if needed
Let's start:
  1. In a small bowl, mix together the cream cheese, raisins, sugar, 1/4 tsp of pumpkin spice, and 1/4 tsp cinnamon until thoroughly combined. Divide the cream cheese mixture evenly onto 4 slices of bread. Top each spread slice with another slice of bread to make 4 sandwiches.
  2. In a shallow bowl, beat the eggs, 1/4 tsp pumpkin spice, milk and 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon. Dip each sandwich into the egg mixture on both sides.
  3. Grease a skillet with butter, and place over medium heat. Brown the sandwiches in the skillet for about 2 minutes per side.

Although I didn't have any apples, they would be a great side item.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Max the Space

Soon, I'll be moving from a one bedroom apartment into a two bedroom. As an individual who moved from a home into an apartment, it's a pretty big deal!

As you can imagine, I have quite a bit of furniture without the space so sometimes creativity plays a huge role.

This image (thanks pinterest!) provides a perfect example of how to use an oil pan in a small space. So, I've been thinking about getting one for the small wall in my galley kitchen. I would attach it to the wall a little higher than usual so as to utilize all of the wall space in my small kitchen.

Below it, would be some shelves for baskets to keep everything from silverware to hand towels.

Do you use out of the ordinary items to maximize your space?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Weeknight Cooking Made Easy

Since I'm on cooking duty during the week (lovey has the weekend) I aim for yummy, quick, and somewhat healthy. I've got yummy and "somewhat" healthy down, but still working on the quick. Sometimes I just want to forget about it and go out. *Sigh.*

Well, we all know THAT can't happen considering it isn't budget friendly, and I haven't won the lottery.

Luckily, all of my recipe stalking, I mean surfing, has paid off.

Easy Stove Top Turkey Burgers

You'll need:
* 1 packet dried onion soup packet
* 1 cup cheddar cheese
* 1 egg
* 1 package thawed ground turkey

Let's start:
1. Shape burgers into 3 inch patties.
2. Coat large pan with thin layer of olive oil and place over medium high heat.
3. Once oil heats, place patties into pan.
4. Cook until brown, turning every 5-7 minutes.
5. Add cheese (optional)

I served these on whole wheat buns with ketchup, mustard, and dill pickle relish. Our sides were waffle fries and baked beans.

Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Take on an Old Classic- Lasagna

I love anything pasta, but sometimes the usual lasagna can be boring. While browsing my Martha Stewart Living magazine I found this new take on an old classic. It's pretty simple using no-boil noodles and some wonderful lemon.

Sausage, Chard, & Lemon Lasagna

You'll need:

  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups whole milk
  • 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese (about 4 ounces)
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 5 cups coarsely chopped Swiss chard (about 1 bunch)
  • 1 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
  • 1 lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 6 no-boil lasagna noodles, preferably Barilla

Let's start:

  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over high heat. Stir in flour; cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk. Bring to a boil, stirring. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Whisk in 3/4 cup cheese, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Stir in chard.

  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook sausage in a skillet over high heat, breaking up pieces, until no longer pink, about 4 minutes.

  3. Cover lemon slices with cold water by 3 inches in a saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 7 minutes. Transfer to a paper-towel-lined plate using a slotted spoon.

  4. Spread 1/4 cup sauce in an 8-inch square nonreactive baking dish. Top with 2 noodles, half the sausage, and 1 cup sauce. Repeat. Top with a layer of lemons, 2 noodles, then remaining sauce and lemons. Bake, covered with parchment-lined foil, for 27 minutes.

  5. Remove from oven. Heat broiler. Uncover lasagna; top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese. Broil until bubbling, 2 to 3 minutes.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Not Your Usual Spaghetti

If you haven't seen Real Simple magazine, get thee to a store! It has great recipes that are very *simple* to make and very yummy! Also, they have a section where the discuss new uses for old things.

Right now you can get a subscription from Amazon for about $23.88.

Basil Spaghetti with Cheesy Broiled Tomatoes

You'll need:

  • 12 ounces spaghetti
  • 3 large tomatoes (about 1.5 pounds) cut into 4 thick slices
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, plus more for the baking sheet
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 8 ounces fresh mozzarella, grated
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan (1 ounce), plus more, shaved, for serving
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 3/4 cup torn fresh basil leaves, plus more for serving

Let's start:

  1. Heat broiler. Cook the pasta according to the package directions; drain and return it to the pot.
  2. Meanwhile, arrange the tomato slices in a single layer on a lightly oiled rimmed baking sheet. Season with ¼ teaspoon each salt and black pepper. Dividing evenly, sprinkle the slices with the mozzarella and Parmesan. Broil until the cheese is bubbly and golden, 3 to 5 minutes.
  3. In a small saucepan, warm the oil with the garlic and red pepper over medium heat until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic oil, basil, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper to the pasta and toss to combine. Serve topped with the tomatoes, additional basil, and shaved Parmesan.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Carolina Barbeque Burgers

Since I love anything with BBQ in the title, I just had to share this wonderful Weight Watchers recipe.

Grab an ice cold beer and get cooking! Try serving this with the Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries.

You'll need:
  • 3 TBS Ketchup
  • 1 TBS Packed Brown Sugar
  • 1 TBS Mustard
  • 1 TBS Apple Cider Vinegar
  • ¾ TSP Worcestershire Sauce
  • ⅓ TSP Cajun Seasoning
  • 1 LB Ground Turkey
  • 1 Red Onion
  • 5 Whole Wheat Thin Buns
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • Lettuce Leaves, torn
  • Tomato slices

Let's start:

1. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.

2. For sauce, mix ketchup through cajun seasoning. Season ground turkey with salt and pepper and form into patties.

3. Place patties on heated grill. Brush the tops generously with BBQ sauce.

4. Flip burgers after about 4 minutes and brush burgers with remaining sauce. Meanwhile, slice red onion, brush with olive oil and toss on grill.

5. Once burgers are done (after about another 4 min.) place on whole wheat buns and top with grilled onions, lettuce and tomato.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Whole Wheat and Chocolate? Yes please.

Another winner from the Publix magazine. If you haven't ever visited a Publix.

Whole Wheat Dark Chocolate Cake with Blackberry Sauce

You'll need:
4 ounces high-quality dark chocolate, chopped
6 tablespoons Publix GreenWise Market Organic Unsalted Butter,* cut up
3/4 cup strong brewed coffee
2 tablespoons bourbon (optional)
1 Publix GreenWise Market Organic Egg,* lightly beaten
1/2 teaspoon vanilla*
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 cup sugar*
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 recipe Chocolate Glaze, below
Publix Premium Vanilla Frozen Yogurt
1 recipe Blackberry Sauce, below
Fresh blackberries
Dark chocolate shavings

*available organic

Let's start:

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Grease the bottom of a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour parchment paper; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan heat chocolate with the butter and coffee over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally until chocolate is melted. Remove from heat and cool for 10 minutes. Using a wooden spoon, beat in the bourbon, if using, egg and vanilla. Add the flour, sugar, soda and salt; mix well. Pour batter into the prepared pan.

3. Bake for 45 to 50 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Remove parchment paper. Cool thoroughly on wire rack.

4. Cut loaf into 8 slices. Drizzle slices with Chocolate Glaze. Top with a scoop of frozen yogurt and some of the Blackberry Sauce. Garnish with blackberries and chocolate shavings. Makes 8 servings

Nutrition: 441 cal., 22 g total fat (13 g sat. fat), 52 mg chol.,193 mg sodium, 56 g carb., 5 g dietary fiber, 5 g protein. Exchanges: 2 starch, 3 other carbohydrates, 4.5 fat.

Chocolate Glaze: In a microwave-safe bowl combine 1 cup frozen light whipped dessert topping, thawed, and 1/2 cup dark chocolate pieces or finely chopped dark chocolate. Micro-cook on 50 percent power (medium) for 1 minute. Stir until smooth. Let stand 5 minutes. Drizzle over cooled cake.

Blackberry Sauce: In a blender or food processor combine 1/2 cup Publix Premium Vanilla Frozen Yogurt and 1-2/3 cups (9 ounces) fresh blackberries. Cover and blend or process until smooth.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I found this in the Publix magazine and thought they looked scrumptious!

You'll need:
2 medium sweet potatoes (about 1 pound total)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Coarse sea salt or kosher salt (optional)
Ketchup (optional)

Let's start:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Lightly coat a 15x10x1-inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Scrub potatoes and cut lengthwise into quarters. Cut each quarter lengthwise into four wedges. Arrange potatoes in a single layer in prepared pan. Coat lightly with cooking spray.

2. Combine salt, cumin, chili powder, paprika and pepper in a small bowl; sprinkle over potatoes.

3. Bake for 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender, turning once. If desired, sprinkle with sea salt and serve with ketchup. Makes 4 servings

Nutrition: 59 cal., 0 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 330 mg sodium, 14 g carb., 2 g dietary fiber, 1 g protein. Exchanges: 1 starch.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Spicy Vinegar

Again, from my Martha Stewart magazine. It has such good ideas! I found this recipe to make infuse vinegar with peppers. Yum!

You'll need:
* 20 peppers per half-liter bottle
* half-litter bottle
* white vinegar (or rice vinegar for Thai version)

Let's start:
1. Sterilize half or three quarter liter glass bottles by using the sterilize button on the dishwasher or boiling them for 10 minutes.
2. Wash peppers, cut a slit in each and insert into bottles. You'll need 20 per half-liter bottle.
3. Meanwhile heat 2-3 cups white vinegar, or rice vinegar, to just boiling.
4. Funnel into bottles to fill, let cool and cork.
5. Refridgerate after corking.

This is another great gift- just create tags, print, and attach with twine.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Dried Tomato Goodness

I found this on Martha Stewart and had to share. If you're like me, in love with tomatoes, you'll want to save this. :)

Oven Dried Tomato Recipe

You'll need:
* 24 cherry tomatoes
* 8 to 10 plum tomatoes, cut in half
* 8 to 10 yellow, orange, red, or green tomatoes, cut into 1/4-inch-thick or thicker slices
* 1 tablespoon sugar
* Herbs, such as basil, oregano, or rosemary, to taste
* Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Let's start:
  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees. Line a pan with parchment; for thinnest chips, use a Silpat baking mat. Arrange tomatoes, cut sides up, on pan, spaced 1/2 to 1 inch apart. Sprinkle with sugar and herbs; season with salt and pepper.

  2. Transfer pan to oven; dry until juices have stopped running, edges are shriveled, and pieces have shrunken slightly; timing will vary depending on the variety, ripeness, and desired degree of dryness, 1 1/2 to 6 hours. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

This also makes for a great gift!

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Hair Affair

Isn't this gorgeous! It looks so simple that maybe even I can do it. See it in it's clear glory here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Food Friday- Peach Tarts

I made these last week, and had every intention of taking a picture, but they were snapped up very quickly.

These were super easy to make, and quite the crowd pleaser!

Peach Tarts

You'll need:
* 4 peaches peeled and diced
* 3/4 cup sour cream
* 1 tbsp vanilla extract
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 3 egg yolks
* 1/4 cup all purpose flour
* 8 individual tart cups (found these at Walmart)

1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Peel and dice peaches. Set aside.
3. Combine sour cream, vanilla, sugar, egg yolks, and flour in bowl.
4. Set tart cups on baking pan.
5. Fill each tart cup with about a tablespoon full of peaches. You want the cup to be about 3/4 full.
6. Pour the sour cream mixture over top until it is nicely rounded. The mixture will reduce when cooled.

I added a side of ice cream when I served these. Yum!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hot August, Cold Dessert

Hello hot August! I don't know about where you are but here it's hot HOT hot! Even the pool is hot.

When it gets this hot, I don't want to eat, much less cook. So, I've been on the hunt for no bake recipes. I got lucky while browsing the Martha Stewart Living Magazine and found this yummy dessert. Because who doesn't like cold banana's and chocolate.

Chocolate, Banana, and Graham IceBox Cake

You'll need:
  • 15 ounces milk chocolate, chopped
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • Salt
  • 3 cups heavy cream
  • 20 graham cracker sheets
  • 4 or 5 ripe bananas, very thinly sliced lengthwise
  • Garnish: whipped cream

Let's Start:

  1. Line a 5-by-10-inch loaf pan with plastic wrap. Place chocolate in a heatproof bowl. Place yolks and a pinch of salt in another heatproof bowl.

  2. Bring cream to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Slowly pour cream into bowl with yolks, whisking constantly; return mixture to saucepan set over low heat. Cook, stirring constantly, until mixture is thick enough to coat the back of a wooden spoon, about 8 minutes (mixture should not come to a boil). Immediately strain through a fine sieve set over chocolate; stir until chocolate melts and is smooth. Refrigerate, stirring occasionally, until thick, about 4 hours.

  3. Spread 1 cup chocolate mixture evenly into bottom of loaf pan. Top with a layer of 4 graham crackers, trimmed to fit. Spread 1/2 cup chocolate over tops, and cover with some bananas. Spread 1/2 cup chocolate over bananas, and top with a layer of 4 trimmed graham crackers. Repeat with remaining chocolate, bananas, and graham crackers until you reach the top of the pan; finish with graham crackers.

  4. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate overnight. Uncover, and turn out onto a serving platter. Remove plastic wrap. Garnish with whipped cream, and cut into slices.

I'll be making this soon and will let you know it's yum factor!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chalkboard Paint

Have I mentioned that I love, LOVE, love chalkboard paint?

It's fresh and classic.

Very motivational.

Perfect. (loved via this link)

Monday, August 8, 2011

DIY Beach Coverup

Since I live at the beach (don't be a hater), I'm always on the lookout for a cover-up. Preferably one that is both classy, comfortable, and easy to wash and wear.

Lucky for me, I found one in a DIY one in the Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Step 1:

Stack 2 cotton scarves (about 2 by 6 feet is a good size), right sides facing. Use a basic running stitch to join the scarves lengthwise, leaving an opening of about 18 inches in the center for a neck hole.

Step 2:

The finished cover-up will have a V-neck and a seam in the front and the back.
See more via Marthastewart.

A reader also commented about creating one using fall colors and belting it to wear in the fall. Nice!

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Hair Affair

As a female, I've always admired hair. How is it that some people pull their hair into a ponytail and look polished, but when I do it, it looks like I just didn't have time to do anything else? Someone want to explain?

I tried to do a homemade french braid, but it's really difficult to get it to look pulled together. So, although it isn't perfect, it's not bad for a first serious attempt.

One of the most difficult things is keeping the hair where it should be and keeping my arms above my head. Whew.

I also did a bit of surfing and found some great hairstyles which should be repeated. On me. If I can manage.

Here's the lovely styles I found.

Wouldn't these be great for having a drink on the patio or even with a black suit and red shoes. :)

These came from hairromance, which even has an e-book that you can purchase. Isn't that awesome! (No, this is not an endorsement, and no I did not receive any compensation.)

Are you a self stylist? Any tips or tricks you want to share?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Overnight Oats

I've been hearing about this great, and oh-so-very easy, recipe for a while and thought it would be a good thing to get my Monday morning started right. So last night I mixed 1/2 cup oatmeal with 1/2 cup of milk and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon. It was put in the fridge for this morning's breakfast, and HELLO! It was super fab. I was really wowed!

Tomorrow morning I'll use fat free half and half and add banana's. I like that it's nice and cold since when I get back from my walk I'm hot and very yucky.

Feel free to add other fruits like blueberries, strawberries, and raspberries.

You should try it. Really. :)

What's your easy go-to healthy breakfast?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Canning- Pickled Cornichons

Something I would really like to add to my monthly routine is canning. My grandmother cans everything and it amazes me. She even lets me "shop" in her storage room for jelly, tomato sauce, and apples. All are of course <>

I found a great recipe via Hounds in the Kitchen that give directions on how to can pickled cornichons (or gherkins). Doesn't that sound lovely!

Homemade Cornichons

for each half pint jar

2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 cup white vinegar
1/3 cup water
5-8 whole 2-4 inch cucumbers, washed thoroughly with spines rubbed off
1 clove garlic, peeled
1 small bay leaf
1/2 tablespoon pepper corns
2 whole cloves
1 bay leaf
1 fresh grape leaf, washed, optional

1. Heat salt, vinegar, and water in a pot over medium heat until boiling.
2. Pack cucumbers into a sterilized jar with peeled garlic clove. Sprinkle spices over cucumbers.
3. Pour boiling vinegar brine into the jar, leaving 1/4 inch head space.
4. Wipe rim and place new lid on the jar. Finger tighten a ring on the jar and place in a hot water bath.
5. Boil in hot water for 15 minutes. Remove from water bath and allow to cool to room temperature.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Eat the Fridge Challenge

The man and myself tried to curb eating out this weekend. Don't get me wrong- we love eating out. It's a nice treat from cooking every night, which I try to do. However, between the two of us, we have a ton of food that begs to be eaten. Hence the "eat the fridge" challenge on Saturday.

I started by exploring the fridge, the pantry, and the spice cabinet. Usually our meals are centered around a meat with veggies for sides. I found some tuna, but wasn't feeling it, and we did have hot dogs, but we already had those for Saturday lunch. The canned chicken intrigued me since I haven't really explored that option. Ever.

After taking stock of what we had, I figured it would be an experimental night with some on-hand ingredients. I ended up making a Chili Salsa Chicken Bake which I served with chips and salsa because I was too lazy to make rice.

Chili Salsa Chicken Bake

You'll need:
* 1 can chicken
*1/2 can of black beans
*1.5 cups salsa
* 1/2 of chili seasoning packet
* 2 cups shredded cheese
* 1 tsp garlic powder
* 1 tsp lime juice (not really needed)
* 4 tortillas torn into random pieces (mine were 1-2 in.)
* 1 cup shredded cheese for topping (or more if you love cheese)
* sour cream for serving

Get cooking:
1. preheat oven to 375
2. add chicken to bowl and shred with fork, no large chunks
3. mix next 6 ingredients in bowl with chicken
4. spray pan with non-stick spray (recommend a 6*6 pan so you can layer)
5. place half of the torn tortillas on bottom, it doesn't have to be covered
6. layer half of the chicken mix.
7. place remaining tortillas and add other half of chicken mix
8. (optional) if you prefer, you can add salsa to the top before it goes into the oven
9. bake for 20-25 minutes
10. remove from oven, add cheese and bake for another 5-7 minutes or until cheese melts

The moral of the story- would I use canned chicken again? You betcha!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Adventures in Grilling

You know by the title that this isn't going to be good right? Just a warning.

Since moving from a house in the bluegrass state, to a second floor apartment in sweet home Alabama, the grill is still in storage. So, I figured I would tweak a few of my recipes to accommodate. It wasn't that easy, or that tasty.

I began to search for an alternative to a large grill and started with a GE 4 in1 Grill/Griddle.

It was a great deal and has removable plates that I can easily pop into the dishwasher for a quick clean. I laid some beautiful all beef hot dogs on the grill and it started sizzling with purpose. Unfortunately this only lasted for about 3 minutes, then it kicked the electric breaker and shut off. I just can't get it, and the power, to work at the same time. Bummer.

On to the next experiment with a grill pan. This worked nicely and wasn't as expensive as the indoor grill. It treated all my meats to a nice even grilling complete with juicy texture and grilling taste. Sold!

While net surfing the other day, I also found the balcony grill. It was a really neat concept, but was unable to locate one sold in the states.

Have you had any adventures in grilling?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Eat the Frog

I'm sure you've heard this phrase. No it doesn't mean grab a frog and a fork. It originated with Mark Twain who said "Eat a live frog every morning and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day."

In other words, do the difficult things first.

This pretty much has to do with procrastination. Unfortunately, this is one of my more obvious habits. Those dishes...I'm letting them soak. The laundry...I want to make sure it's completely dry before I fold. Grocery shopping...I need to get my coupons in order first.

See the pattern?

Recently at work, we were lucky enough to have a training on "eating the frog." It really made me think (no jokes please) about my procrastination and what would happen if I didn't. Procrastinate.

So for the last few days, I've been eating the toad the first thing. Report card below:

* 3 voicemails from the same person. I really don't want to return her call, but must. I pick up the phone and eat the frog. It goes really well and I enjoy the talk.

* write the thank you card. Writing thank you's are really difficult for me and I never know what to say. Nevertheless, I sat down and ate the frog. It only took me 5 minutes and I feel much better for writing it.

* establishing a schedule for my daily work. Typically I don't like to set a schedule for the day, although one is set for me, because it reminds me of everything that I have to do. And then I over analyze about what happens if I don't get it all done. That changed Monday morning with a simple 5 minute prep. I created a file folder called "today" and added my printed work calendar and all the items I would need for that day. No more arriving late to meetings or being unprepared. Frog eaten.

This really wasn't as bad as previously anticipated, so I think I'll continue. Now, I'm off to work on the laundry, dishes, and grocery.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

For the Love of a Child

Children are miraculous creatures and I'm so blessed to have one. I'm a relatively young parent to have a 5-year-old. He is super sweet, very quiet, and likes to sleep with me. Storms bother him and he's not a fan of loud noises. He is ready to ride in the car on a moments notice and enjoys sitting in my lap.

Now for the rest of the story. My child is a four legged Japanese Spitz. Yes, I am one of those people.

My dog is my baby.

As such, I tend to pamper him with all kinds of good food (we should have stock in Oscar Meyer) and treats (vanilla ice cream with potato chips). So whenever I find a good recipe, I stick with it. The recipe below was one I found online but tweaked it just a bit to reduce the sugar and add garlic. What's a little bit of garlic breath among family?

Peanut Butter Dog Biscuit Recipe

2 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1.5 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp garlic powder (dogs love garlic)
1 tsp Sea Salt
3 eggs
1 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 cup water

1. Preheat oven to 375F.

2. Line a couple of sheet pans with wax paper.

3. Combine flours, brown sugar, garlic powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Add eggs and peanut butter and mix until blended.

4. Mix in oil. Add water water until dough is smooth and workable.

5. Cover the dough and set aside for 15-20 min. to relax.

6. Roll out dough to about 3/8″-1/2″ thick. Cut to desired shaped then put on sheet pans.

7. Bake for approx. 40 min. or until biscuits are slightly browned and fairly hard (they will harden a touch more when cool.) Set aside to cool then disperse as barked for.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Blog Lovin'

If you haven't been to "What the Frock," go now. It's super fabulous!

I routinely (read daily) pop over there to see how she recreates outfits.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bacon and Blue Cheese Dinner Pies

Bacon makes my mouth very happy. This recipe makes my mouth happy. Enjoy it with a salad topped with balsamic vinaigrette dressing and a little bit of champagne.

Bacon & Blue Cheese Dinner Pies

* 6 slices of bacon
* 1 8.5 oz corn muffin mix
* 2/3 cup all purpose flour
* 1 tsp chili powder
* 1 egg, slightly beaten
* 1/4 cup milk
* 3 granny smith apples, cored and thinly sliced
* 1/3 cup blue cheese crumbles
* fresh thyme (optional)

Make it:
1. Preheat oven to 400F.
2. Cook bacon until crisp and reserve 1 tbsp drippings. Chop bacon.
3. In a bowl, combine muffin mix, flour, chili powder, egg, and milk. Divide dough into four portions. Place two portions each on a greased baking sheet adn press to 6/7 in. circles.
4. Top each circle with a layer of apply slices, leaving a 1 in. border. Fold edges around apple slices. Brush apples and crust with reserved bacon drippings.
5. Bake 10 minutes.
6. Top with blue cheese and bacon.
7. Bake 5 to 7 more minutes until edges are golden and crust is set.
8. Sprinkle with thyme.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Desk Destiny

It's past time to establish an office in my current abode. If you've ever worked from home, worked at home, or done homework, you know how important these are.

Before I pull out the cash, I'll hit a few of my favorite online vendors to determine a look which suits me and the room.

Option 1- Funky streamline. I like the desk and the chair. The desk would be ideal since my current computer is a laptop, but what if I want to (or must) upgrade to a desktop? I'll probably skip the deer head. Hmmm... I'll add this to the list but won't pounce just yet.

Option 2: Modern clean. Again, nice desk but little storage for all of my files and such. And believe me- I have "such!" The chair isn't really my style, but this has potential.

Option 3: Do it myself. I like this desk with it's clean lines and option to paint whatever color that suits me. It's not a bad price ($279) and has free shipping. To handle the other papers which goes along with life, I could always purchase a few items from Ikea.

Option 4: This picture is courtesy of Young House Love. If you haven't seen their site, grab some popcorn and go now! (Also check out their chihuahua's blog via Burger.) I love the DIY aspect of this desk with the hidden storage and comfy chair. Perhaps that's a door they've filched from Craigslist?

I'll let you know what I decide with pictures, of course.