January 28, 2011

Banana Walnut Muffins with Maple Icing

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When I made this recipe, it brought me back to my home in Northern NY - and the many mornings I would be up early and would be baking muffins to take to work to share with the students and faculty.  I then felt instant homesickness.  I do miss  my home and I miss my family and friends.  I look forward when we can go back and visit.  While the part of my life as "the" CEE Secretary, or as my boss would call me "the boss", is over I will always have fond memories of my department and the students there.  All of them - and I watched many of them come and go!  They all (Grads and Undergrads) would argue over being my "favorite" but I didn't have it in me to have favorites....so they all were!  ha!

January 26, 2011

Cajun Shrimp with Linguini and Creamy Parmesan Sauce

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This would be the perfect dish for Valentine's Day Dinner.  On special days like Valentine's Day, it's ok to splurge.  We splurged before Valentine's this year.  Who knows, maybe we will splurge again by then too....because this stuff is amazingly delicious!

A little while ago my friend Claudia of What's Cookin' Italian Style posted a recipe for Chicken with Bowtie Pasta and Creamy Parmesan Sauce.  As soon as I saw it I knew I would try her recipe.  Who better to give me a delicious recipe like this than an Italian herself?  ;o)  Often times when we eat out the one thing Grumpy will order is a shrimp dish with an alfredo type sauce.  It seems to be his very favorite thing to eat out.  Maybe because out of all the shrimp and pasta dishes I have made, I seem to never make a dish like this and it seems to be what he craves!

Needless to say, when the craving for this type of dish hits again, it will be much easier to just stay home and make it - and much cheaper!  Thanks Claudia for such an awesome website and for such awesome recipes that you share with us!


Cajun Shrimp with Linguini and Creamy Pasta Sauce
Recipe adapted from What's Cookin' Italian Style-Chicken with Bow Tie Pasta and Creamy Parmesan Sauce - you can view her original recipe on her site.

For the Shrimp:
1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined, tails left on (just to irritate Grumpy, he he)
1 tablespon Mccormick Cajun Seasoning
1 tablespoon butter

Toss shrimp with cajun seasoning.  Cook shrimp in hot skillet with butter until no longer pink (be careful to not overcook or it will be tough).  Remove from skillet and set aside.

Linguine - we use Bertolli fresh linguini.  It is our very favorite and I use it for every pasta dish that I want linguini for!  Cook the package according to directions.  Once cooked toss with 1 tablespoon butter and a few tablespoons of freshly shredded parmesan.

Cream Sauce: (I omitted the garlic, salt and pepper because of the cajun seasoning in the shrimp and I did reduce the butter to 1 tablespoon.)

1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese

Bring to a boil chicken broth and butter.  Add heavy cream and simmer until thickened.  Add parmesan cheese and stir until melted.

Serve sauce over top of linguini and shrimp.  You can sprinkle with parsley, but since I only had cilantro I went with that.  Cilantro is my very favorite anyway so to me, this just made the dish even more awesome!

January 23, 2011

What are your EP's?

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EP.  Do you know what it is?  Unless your familiar with Dr. John J. Pelizza, you may not know. I am very happy that I now know who Dr. Pelizza is and that I know what EP means!  He is a motivational speaker and author that I had the opportunity to listen to last week and he is definitely great at his job.  EP is what is most important to us (Emotional + Personal).  Laser is what direction our EP's put us in.  When you know your EP's and you are laser, you can be better! 
What are my EP's? I bet most of you already know.  My children, husband and entire family.  My friends and my pets - especially Rotten Rudy Rut-ton! The next time someone asks me how I am doing my response is always going to be "better".  Better means there is room for improvement and I want to always improve!  I am really thankful my work had the new hire orientation that they had for us.  It was a very motivating and up-lifting experience.  There wasn't a thing about the entire day that I didn't enjoy. Another exciting event on that day I will never forget?  I watched Airforce One as it descended into the Albany airport and then watched later as it ascended back into the skies.  That was just another experience to help me remember my day.
Why am I telling you all of this?  Well, partly because I am still very motivated from Dr. Pelizza's talk and I don't want to lose it.  The other part is because I want to share with you that if you do what you love you will be better.  I did what I loved today.  I baked cookies and decorated and photographed them.  I am beyond happy because they turned out so gorgeous.  So much so I almost don't want to eat them.  But I will.  :)
This post is also very EP to me because it is a recipe that my Aunt Marlene makes, and I love her so much.  I love her cookies too!  She sent me this recipe at Christmas time but I ended up not having time to make them.  This weekend I decided that making them would happen, and I would make heart cookies to share with you.
Its been a while since I've been so happy and so optimistic for our future.  I realize I need to stop the worry.  Worry is an energy drainer and I need my energy!  I have some new goals set, some things I want to learn and I am going to put forth the effort to "laser" and succeed.  I can blog and  I can bake.  I can share my food with friends, family, and co-workers.  I can make friends and I can take a class.  I can, will be and will stay happy and optimistic.  The power of positive thinking.  That is where I am at.

What are your EP's? What motivates you to move and go forward?  What do you want to be better at? 

I know I am going to use my Journal to Live By that was given to me by Dr. Pelizza and I am going to be better!  Bring it on!!

Now for the cookie!  The recipe my Aunt Marlene shared with me is for a very soft and tender cookie from an Amish Cookbook that she has.  They are called Holiday Cutouts.  The instructions in the book were pretty vague and as my Aunt states, its a good things we know what to do!  I will give you the instructions as I made the cookies.  I halved the recipe but will give you the full one.  This makes a lot of cookies!


Valentine Cutouts
2 cups margarine (I used unsalted butter, softened)
3 cups sugar
5 eggs
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup boiling water
6 1/2 cups bread flour (I didn't have bread flour so I just used regular.  Worked just fine.  I may have used just a little less than what it called for too.)
1 teaspoon salt - I added this since I used unsalted butter.

Using an electric mixer, beat the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and mix until blended. Add sour cream and blend.

In a separate bowl place flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt - stir to combine.  Gradually add flour and alternate with water until all flour is incorporated.  Chill 2-3 hours.  Roll, cut, and bake @ 350 for approximately 7 minutes.  Cool and decorate.

I used a tutorial from Our Best Bites for decorating with glace icing.  This is the tutorial I found when I made and decorated my first glazed cookies - the Snowflake Cookies!  I will always use the recipe and method on Sara & Kates blog because I think it is the best out there that doesn't incorporate meringue powder.  It is really simple to decorate with glace, just a little tedious.  Believe me, when your done and look at your artwork, you will be proud and it is all worth it!

January 22, 2011

Invisible Banana French Toast

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If you have kids I think you are going to like this one!  It has been several years since I have had little ones to cook for.  I tend to look over kid pleasing recipes because it is adult tastes (for the most part!) that I am feeding in our home.  Now that we have neighbors with kids, I may tend to not overlook them so much.  Not to mention that one day I may become a grandmother and it wouldn't hurt to have a supply of kid friendly recipes around!

January 17, 2011

Tamarind Tofu Cabbage Bowl

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I must say.  Lauren really knows her stuff.  I am so extremely thankful for people like her because otherwise, I may never get to try some of the most yummylicious vegan food out there.  I'm sure you have figured out I have not been eating vegan all the time since we have moved.  While Grumpy is willing to eat the vegan food I do make .... well, let me rephrase that.... While Grumpy is willing to try the vegan food I make, he for the most part grimaces when he finds out that is what he is getting.

Like Sunday evening.  I thought I would try making some vegetarian meatballs.  I fried a batch and baked a batch.  The fried batch was crumbling right up in my pan so the baked batch was the second attempt of salvaging a dinner.  It didn't happen.  While they did have good flavor, the fried ones were just too crumbled and greasy for me and the baked ones were too dry.  Grumpy came upstairs, saw the meatballs in a bowl and said "what is that?" I just said meatballs.  Well, he knows better and told me I could not fool him into thinking that fake meatballs were real.  LOL.  Grumpy took one bite and told me he would like dinner and it wasn't the meatballs he would like.  LOL.  I promptly ordered him a pizza to be delivered.  Needless to say I will stick to my mom's meatless meatball recipe because that one is yummy and it doesn't fail.  Even Grumpy will eat those!

So, while I love the vegan way of eating, I would probably never survive if I had to create my own recipes.  Either that or I'd be super thin.  Hmm.  ;o)

This is why I am so thankful for people like Lauren who knows their stuff.  The recipe is hers but I did have to make a change.  Lauren uses rice in this dish.  I personally don't do well with rice at all.  I might love it but it doesn't love me so I had to do something about the rice in this dish.  I love pasta and I have no problems eating that - so, my change was to use cooked orzo in placed of the cooked rice.  Personally, I think it probably is better with the pasta....but that is a matter of my own taste!  When I make this again I just may try some wide noodles instead of the orzo. 

I'm sure your wondering about Grumpy and what he thought, but unfortunately, at the writing of this post, he still has not arrived home so he still has not eaten.  I won't pressure him to eat this - we do have leftover pizza in the fridge.  He may still decide to try it though and if he does, I will let you know what he thought!  So, without further ado, let me share the recipe with you.

Tamarind Tofu Cabbage Bowl
method and ingredients slightly adapted from Vegan Yum Yum

1 cup cooked orzo
1 lb. block extra firm tofu, pressed and cubed
1 carrot, shredded
4 cups cabbage, thinly sliced
olive oil for frying tofu and cabbage
2 tablespoons Tamarind Chutney (recipe will follow)
2 tablespoons Tamari

Mix two tablespoons tamarind chutney and two tablespoons tamrai together and set aside.

Cook orzo according to package directions.  Cool slightly.  Stir shredded carrot into cooked orzo.  Set aside.

Fry cubes of tofu in olive oil until crispy and browned.  Set aside.

Fry cabbage in small amount of olive oil until crisp tender and slightly browned.

Toss cabbage, orzo mixture, tofu and chutney mixture together.  Serve warm & enjoy!

Tamarind Chutney
2 tablespoons tamarind paste
2 cups water
1/2 cup sugar

Mix above 3 ingredients together and simmer approximately 30 minutes or until reduced to about half and slightly thickened.

Stir in 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon garam masala, 1 teaspoon cumin, and 1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes.  Cook 1 minute more then set aside to cool completely.

January 16, 2011

Spicy Sweet Chili and Brown Sugar Cornbread

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This is the chili that Grumpy said he would be taking to work the next day if he was going to be in the office.  It was spicy, slightly sweet and oh so yummy!

I was blog hopping, checking out some of my favorite blogs to read for recipes on the day I was off work for a snow day.  I visited Donna's blog to find she had posted about some recipes that she could never seem to photograph well.  I totally get that.  I don't post many recipes that I can't photograph well - but are really yummy....and I would love to share.  I just tell myself I'll make it again and try again with the photos.  I think a lot of us food bloggers are like that!  However, Donna had decided that she was going to post the recipes anyway.  I'm glad she did that post because she inspired me to make some chili.  One of the recipes she posted was FFH's chili.  I really love shrimp scampi too and she posted a recipe for that - make sure you check it out!

So, needless to say, Donna inspired me.  ;o)  She also made me want chili for dinner that evening.  Of course, I can't eat chili without wanting cornbread of some type.  So I also made brown sugar cornbread to go with our chili!   Now, when I make something like Chili I rarely follow a recipe.  I kinda just throw in and cook and hope.  Grumpy really hates it when I do that.  This time though, I really came out with a great recipe so I decided I had to share it with you all after all!  I was snowed in when I made it so I couldn't run out to the store easily - and I found I was really low on chili powder....so improvisation came in and what a good deal....sometimes being stuck at home with only certain things to work with really can pay off!  If you make this chili, please, do let me know if you enjoyed it!  I know I certainly did - and I did take leftovers to work myself! 

HoneyB's Addicting Spicy Sweet Chili

1 lb 90% lean ground beef
1 teaspoon Accent seasoning (or seasoned salt would work as well)
1 16 oz can dark kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1 green pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 - 14.5 cans petite diced canned tomatoes
1 - 8 oz can tomato sauce
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 cans water (use cans from diced tomatoes)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
2 hershey bliss minature chocolates
Shredded Cheddar Cheese
Chopped Cilantro Sprigs

Saute beef, onion, garlic, and green pepper and accent seasoning until beef is browned.  Stir in chili powder, chili flakes, smoked paprkia and brown sugar.  Cook over heat for one minute, stirring constantly. 

Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, and tomato paste.  Simmer approximately 15 minutes, uncovered.  Stir in chocolate squares until melted.  Top with cheddar cheese and chopped cilantro.  Serve with cornbread muffins. 

Brown Sugar Cornbread Muffins

1 cup flour
1/4 cup brown sugar
4 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 eggs
1 cup milk
1/4 cup melted butter

Sift together first four ingredients.  In separate bowl mix together eggs, milk and butter.   Stir wet ingredients into dry just until blended.  Do not over mix.  Fill greased muffin tins 2/3 full.  Bake at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes.  Makes 10-12 muffins.

January 15, 2011

Date Scones

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Date Scones

Earlier this week my blogging friend Cajun Chef Ryan posted an image of the day - Chinese Dates.  Of course, he got me to thinking about how much I really love dates.  I bought some at Christmas time because I was thinking about making my Aunt Helga's recipe for Date Nut Balls....but never did get to it.

I've also been thinking about scones.  It's been a while since I've made them - not to mention that they are a fairly new treat to us in the Grumpy household (in the last year!).  I started thinking, maybe I should make some scones with dates in them.  I whipped up a batch of date scones this morning.  Of course, when I make something different and something I don't make often, I always hear from Grumpy, "what the @#$% is that?"  he he.   Needless to say, he devoured two of them this morning, so there is no doubt that whatever the @#$% "that" was, he enjoyed them!  I know I certainly did!  Nice and crusty on the edges, soft and tender on the inside, with the dates that just melt right in your mouth.  Thanks Ryan for making me think of Dates!  :o)

Date Scones
Adapted from Cooking Light Complete Cookbook - ingredients and methods slightly changed

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup unsalted butter, cut into chunks
1/2 cup chopped dates
1/2 cup half & half
3 Tablespoons maple sugar

Place flour, brown sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in food processor.  Pulse 3-4 times to mix.  Drop in butter pieces and pulse approximately 10 times, or until flour and butter forms crumbs.  Do not over pulse or you will get a dough - not what you are looking for!

Remove flour mixture from food processor and place in a medium sized mixing bowl.  Stir in chopped dates to coat with flour mixutre.  Pour over half & half and maple syrup.  Stir until it just starts to form a dough.  Turn out onto counter top and gently fold in remaining dry ingredients until dough starts to take some shape.  Flatten out into a circle on baking sheet - gently!  You don't want to work the dough too much or it will become tough.  Cut dough into 8 pieces, being careful to not cut all the way through the dough.  Bake in 450 oven for 15-20 minutes.  Remove from oven, cool slightly and enjoy while still warm with your cup of Plantation Mint Tea! (My favorite tea and one that I have at least 1 mug of every day....sometimes more!)

January 12, 2011

Shelby's Boozy Hot Chocolate Warm-up

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What do you do when you have a snow day?  This morning I was watching The Ellen Show.  Grumpy and I both LOVE her show.  I've never seen him laugh harder than he did when she did her halloween episode and was scaring Amy to death in the haunted house!  Anyhow, she was talking about people with Mega Memory and how she was watching 60 Minutes where they talked to people with this Mega Memory.  Boy, do I ever wish I had mega memory (sometimes!).  I try to remember snow days when I was a kid and it is near impossible.  I remember playing in the snow though!  I also remember hot chocolate and marshallows when coming in from playing in the snow.  I remember better my kids playing in the snow and coming in for hot chocolate afterwards!

This morning, while waiting to find out if our office was opening late or closing, I was browsing Facebook.  I happen to be a "fan" of Dove Chocolate (no surprise, right?) and they posted this drink on their page with the comment "when the snow falls you'll be happy to have this recipe on hand".  I immediately "liked" that post and shared it with all my FB friends.  I also vowed, that since I was snowed in I was going to treat myself to this lucious looking beverage this afternoon. 

This boozy drink has 3 of my very favorite ingredients.  Coffee, chocolate, and booze (and yes, in that order!)  Now, I am by no means a big boozer, but you might think so with the different beverages I made to help kill some of the heat last summer.  Now, in the snowy weather, I'm warming myself up with some....lol.  Seriously, I don't do it everyday!

Dove recipe called for cognac, which I don't have on hand and never do.  I also didn't have the Dove chocolate I just bought at home - it is setting in my desk drawer at work.  So, I am here to let you know that while I am certain Dove chocolate is awesome in this drink - so are Hershey Bliss Chocolates.  :o)

Shelby's Boozy Hot Chocolate Warm-up
adapted from Dove Chocolate - Cafe Milano

1 hot cup of your favorite coffee blend
1 shot glass Baileys Irish Cream
5 Hershey's Bliss Chocolates
Whipped Cream

Brew coffee, pour 1 cup hot coffee in glass measuring cup.  Place 4 hershey bliss chocolates in hot beverage and stir to melt.  Pour in 1 shot glass (1 oz) Baileys Irish Cream liquor.  Pour into pretty mug (mine is Princess House and I LOVE it!).  Cover with whipped cream and chocolate shavings from 5th chocolate piece.  Enjoy!

**Jernabi Coffee has since changed owners and I the information with the link is no longer relevant.
I am including a link to Jernabi Coffee above because I believe it is the absolute best coffee I have ever had!  It is a company in my home area that roasts their own beans right in their shop - and believe me, it is worth trying!  I have had people pick this coffee up for me that were coming to visit us since our move to Albany so that I don't run out!  I'll be taking a trip north soon myself and I will be going to get more!

January 09, 2011

Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash

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Two people couldn't be more different.  Grumpy and I are so different in many ways.  Sometimes I wonder if the reason we fell in love was for that very reason!  I'm natually happy go lucky, however I admit a worry wart.  Grumpy, I think he would like to be naturally happy go lucky, but it takes some work for him to be that way!  He is quick tempered while I am a whole lot more patient!  Oh, don't get me wrong, I do lose my temper!  Not proud of it when I do either - but are any of us really?

We have really different tastes when it comes to food also.  I am a whole lot more adventuresome.  Grumpy, he's a meat and potatoes man.  He really didn't care for the couscous, while I loved it.  However, I have a harder time eating rice, it makes me not feel so well, so the fact I can eat couscous and not get sick makes me happy!  While he ate this tangine, it was too "exotic" for him.  So, if your not adventuresome with flavors, this tangine may not be for you. 

I however, would eat this again (and will when I take leftovers to lunch on Monday!).  I loved the spices and it just felt "warming" and "comforting" to me.  This dish is a recipe from the latest Cooking Light Magazine.  If you like the sound of the ingredients, then you will probably like the dish. 

Beef Tangine with Butternut Squash
slightly adapted from Cooking Light, Jan 2011

2 teaspoons paprika
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 (1-pound) beef shoulder roast or petite tender roast, trimmed and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 tablespoon olive oil
4 shallots, quartered
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/2 cup vegetable broth
1 (14.5-ounce) can petite diced tomatoes, undrained
3 cups (1-inch) cubed peeled butternut squash (about 1 pound)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Combine first 6 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add beef; toss well to coat.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add beef and shallots; cook or until browned, stirring occasionally. Add garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently. Stir in broth and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cook 5 minutes. Add squash; cover, reduce heat, and simmer 25-30 minutes or until squash is tender. Sprinkle with cilantro.

January 08, 2011

Grumpy bought an IPod Touch

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and I am super duper jealous.


I want one too!!!!!  Big pout, foot stomp and UMPH all at once!

Grumpy told me I was good at pouting but I guess I'm not good enough because I'm not getting an IPod Touch any time soon.

At least Kitty & Rudy still love me more.....

January 07, 2011

Spiced Lentil-Tomato Soup

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This soup was absolutely awesome.  My throat has been feeling scratchy from all the dry air lately and all I could think about was something hot - both temperature wise and taste wise!  Hot tea, coffee, and soup - three things I really look for when my throat feels this way!

I found this recipe in one of my many Cooking Light books.  I've looked at it several times and always intended to make it but just never got to it until the other evening - and now I will probably use this recipe whenever I make lentil soup again!  The spices in the soup are exactly the type that I like and you can adjust the heat to whatever temperature you prefer.  The fresh tomato and cilantro topping it off is absolutely perfect.  As a matter of fact, I can't wait to have this for lunch again today!  Grumpy did enjoy this soup - I was a bit worried it might have too much heat for him (heartburn strikes him when he eats late and spicy) but apparently it worked for him too!  His only comment was that he wasn't going to be well liked at work the next day.  ;o)

Spiced Lentil-Tomato Soup

adapted from Cooking Light, September 2001
I did change this a little bit so if you would like to see the original recipe you can find it at myrecipes.com

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 teaspoon ground turmeric
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon chili pepper flakes
2 garlic cloves, minced
2-14.5 ounce cans petite diced tomatoes, undrained
4 cubes vegetable boullion

4 cans water (using the can the tomatoes came in for measurement)
2-1/2 cups dried lentils
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro (more is better!)
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Cilantro sprig

Heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic and saute until tender. Add the turmeric, cumin, chili pepper flakes,  saute for 1 minute.  Add tomatoes, water, vegetable boullion and lentils and simmer until lentils are tender.  Stir in fresh cilantro near the end of the cooking process. You may need to add more water as the lentils cook.  Serve garnished with chopped fresh tomatoes and cilantro

In the Cooking Light recipe the have you blend most of the soup to make it smooth.  I just won't do that with lentil soup - I want my lentils whole!  Hope you will enjoy!ur pureed soup into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with other half of remaining mixture. Stir in reserved 2 cups lentil mixture. Garnish with chopped tomatoes and a cilantro sprig, if desired.

January 05, 2011

Sauteed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter

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Since our move, I try to make dinner that will reheat well.  Grumpy works a lot of late hours and when he gets home, what he eats needs to taste as good (or better) warmed up as it does when I first make it. (this was delish!!) I also look for easy to throw together recipe since I too work and by the time I get home, the last thing I want to do is spend the rest of the night in my kitchen - for the most part.  This recipe was quick, easy, and flavorful.  Defnintely something you should try!

Sauteed Chicken with Sage Browned Butter
Cooking Light Jan/Feb 2010 - recipe has been adapted to our needs and makes 2 servings

2-(6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves, pounded thin
salt and pepper
Cooking spray
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1-1/2 tablespoons butter
2 sage sprigs
1 tablespoon minced shallots
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
2 tablespoons lemon juice
Fresh sage leaves (optional)

Sprinkle pounded chicken breasts with salt and pepper. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat; coat with cooking spray. Place flour in a shallow dish; dredge chicken in flour. Add chicken to pan; sauté for 4 minutes on each side or until done. Remove chicken from pan.

Add butter and sage sprigs to pan; cook over medium heat until butter browns. Discard sage. Add shallots and thyme; cook for 30 seconds. Add lemon juice; cook for 30 seconds. Serve with chicken. Garnish with sage leaves and lemon.

January 04, 2011

Peppermint Surprise Brownie Bites

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Sometimes a girl just has to have her chocolate.  You know?  Anything in moderation is ok, right?  Well, to control the eating of these brownies, I did share them with my neighbor.  Let me tell you, they definitely are yummylicious! 

Sometime before the Chrismas holidays I came across a Holiday Cookies magazine from America's Test Kitchen.  That is where the recipe for the Eggnog Creams came from that I shared with our cookie exchange this year.  I was looking through the book the other night and I decided, these don't have to just be for the holidays!  Every single cookie in this book looks awesome and it is my plan to make every single one of them.....over time of course!  Since I had some leftover peppermint patty candy from Christmas I decided to start with the Peppermint Surprise Brownie Bites.  I have made a brownie similar to this before - with the peppermint patties in them, but they were heavy and dense and made me not really care for them.  These brownies are perfect for the peppermint patty!  They are light but fudgy and have a top layer that will peel right off (if you want it to!).  Oh so yummy.  Good thing I sent over half the batch to the neighbors house!

Peppermint Surprise Brownie Bites
from America's Test Kitchen - Holiday Cookies 2010

3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate
2 large eggs
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
16 (1-1/2 inch) York Peppermint Patties, unwrapped

Preheat oven to 350.  Line 8-inch square baking pan with foil, allowing excess foil to hang over pan edges.  Lightly spray with cooking spray. 

Combine flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.  Set aside.

Microwave butter and chocolate in a separate bowl, stirring occasionally, until smooth, about 1 minute.  Set aside to cool slightly, 2-3 minutes.

Whisk eggs and sugar together in large bowl.  Add chocolate mixutre and vanilla and mix until well combined.

Add flour mixture and stir until just incorporated.  Measure 1 cup of batter and set aside.  Pour remaining batter into prepared baking pan, arrange peppermint patties on top of batter, spacing 1/2 inch apart.  Smooth remaining batter over candy.  Bake 30-35 minutes, until just set in the center.  Cool completely, about 2 hours.  Using foil overhand, lift brownies out of pan and cut into squares.

January 02, 2011

Salisbury Steak with Mushroom Gravy

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To start the new year off right, Grumpy and I are back on track to eating healthy.  Both of our lifestyle's are very sedentary which means we either need to move more or eat less or both!  Well, I'm moving with the Wii Fit and Active and I'm pressuring Grumpy to at least do yoga - to stretch his back - good exercises for him!

January 01, 2011

Top 10 of 2010 for Grumpy's Honeybunch

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First I need to thank everyone who reads this blog!  The month of December I had the most visits I have ever had here in one month!  I definitely ended the year with a bang and I am very grateful to my friends who come here and leave comments and share my posts with their friends!  Now to give you the top 10 posts of 2010!


(Can you believe this?  I just posted this one and it is my top two visited posts for the year!!)

I hope you enjoy my posts as much I enjoy writing them - and of course, I hope you keep coming  back for more! 
Happy New Year to all of you and I wish the best for everyone!
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