March 31, 2011

Potato Masal and Masala Poori for Taste & Create!

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What happens when you commit to something and then in the blink of an eye - you find yourself struggling because you did something stupid?  Well, I can tell you what happens with me!

I signed up for Taste and Create for March - well I just made it.  Considering today is the last day.  ;)  What happened was this.....

We still own our home north of us - about 4 hours away.  It was for sale, but no longer is.  My youngest son now has a new home to live in....along with a new kitchen (not to mention the brand new bathroom before we moved out!).  I cannot wait to show you photos, however, I won't have any until after this weekend when we go back home to finish the job.  Anywho (as my son Justin would say) on one of our trips up there about 3 or 4 weeks ago, I did something that one who is addicted to blogging should never do.  I forgot my laptop.  I didn't realize I had forgotten it until we were almost home.  Hence, I ended up using my iPod to access the internet.  For someone who is getting on the "ahem" older....side....that dinky little screen doesn't do much for you!  So, I lamented and felt sorry for myself and didn't really blog because of it.  I was internet deprived I tell you!  Then, the other day I receive a reminder email that some of us who joined T&C for the month still hadn't posted.  Was my face red?!  So, I got right on the ball after I was reminded and found the recipe I wanted to make from PJ's blog Seduce your Tastebuds.  Then, I found another recipe that I knew I had to make to go with!

I love Indian food.  I had never had it until one of the Grad students took me along with a few others to a goodbye dinner at a local Indian restaurant.  From the first bite I was hooked.  Since then, I have made a few things but its not a staple in our home because Grumpy is a fussy wussy when I make it.  He insists he hates curry.  I think he doesn't know what he's talking about....but you all know that already.  ;)

So, whether Grumpy liked it or not, I was making my Indian food for dinner tonight.  I had already decided he would get a burger if he complained about the food!  In any case, I have a LOT of Potato Masal and Poori for lunch tomorrow and I am tickled pink over it!  This stuff is delicious I tell you.  Absolutely delicious!  I will leave you with how I made the Potato Masal as I could not follow PJ's ingredient list exactly.  I tried to find curry leaves but even the India Bazaar didn't have them.  I was very sad!  However, for the Poori, please visit her site to get her recipe as I followed that one to a T!  You can also find the original Potato Masal at her site also.  Links to follow!

Potato Masal with Masala Poori
original recipe for Potato Masal on Seduce your Tastebuds

3 Medium potatoes, peeled, cubed and boiled in salt water until tender
1 small onion, chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 teaspoon madras curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard seed (I used black)
1 teaspoon cumin seed
Salt to taste
Fresh Cilantro leaves and diced tomato for garnish

Peel, cube and boil the potatoes in salt water until tender.  Slightly mash and set aside.

Place oil in frying pan along with mustard, cumin seeds, and red pepper flakes.  Turn heat on high and cook in oil until seeds begin to sizzle and pop.  Remove from heat, add curry powder and cook and stir for another minute.  Add onions, garlic and tomatoes and simmer until onions are tender.  Mix in potato mash along with water and salt.  Bring to a boil.  Add more water as needed.  Serve with cilantro and tomato topping and of course, the Poori on the side for dipping!  Enjoy!  Thank you PJ!

March 19, 2011

Asian Drumsticks

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Grumpy asked what was for dinner the other night and I told him Asian Drumsticks.  He grumbled.  "I don't like drumsticks".  Come on, right?  You have got to be kidding me?  What are Chicken Wings made of?!?  He downs chicken wings like there is no tomorrow - when we have them.  Sigh.  Sometimes I think its all in the man's head. 

Since moving to our new location, I have found it easy to do things I never did before - but always wanted to do.  Like to go wine class at my favorite wine store in Albany - For the Love of Wine (click link for their facebook page!), browse at the Bethlehem Public Library, hang out at Starbucks, shop at Target, BJ's, Christmas Tree Shop, you name it, anything I loved to do but had to travel or take extra time to do before, I can do it now at convenience and leisure!

The recipe for the Asian Drumsticks comes from Cooking Light's "Fresh Food Fast" cookbook that I picked up at the library.  While the original recipe has you grill the drumsticks, the night I made these, the weather wasn't good enough for me to want to drag the grill out on a weeknight.  I'm hoping though that soon I can drag that grill out and make Grumpy happy with some steak!  The drumsticks were yummy in my opinion.  Grumpy, he didn't say he hated them.  However, I doubt he would admit to loving them because they are "drumsticks" or as he called them "chicken legs".  lol  So just ignore what he thinks and listen to me today.  ;o)

Asian Drumsticks
adapted from Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast

8 Chicken Drumsticks (about 2 pounds) - recipe says to remove skins, I left the skin on for fear of drying my chicken out.
Salt & pepper
3 Tablespoons Balsalmic Vinegar
3 Tablespoons Tamari Sauce (or soy sauce)
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 teaspoons sambal oelek (ground fresh chile paste)

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Place drumsticks in baking stoneware (this works best!) and season with salt and pepper.  Bake approximately 35 minutes.  Chicken should brown and skin should crisp nicely!

Mix together vinegar, tamari, honey and sambal oelek.  Pour over baked drumsticks. Turn to coat.  Place back in oven for about 10 minutes.  Remove from oven and turn chicken to coat more.  Serve drizzled with extra sauce if you wish!

March 14, 2011

Irish Cream Cake Pops....the adult treat!

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 Grab a cup of hot coffee and pull up a chair....these treats are going to make you happy!

I have not made cake pops since the first time I made the cupcake pops almost 3 years ago now!  Back when I first saw them on Bakerella's site, I fell immediately in love with how cute they were!  I was working weekends at a non-profit group for abused women - and I made these treats for that weekend.  Even Bakerella included my post in her "they're poppin up all over" post.  I was honored she even put me on her list - especially since I was such a new blogger and my photos didn't look anywhere near as good then!

Well Bakerella, what a trend you started!  Even Starbucks is making cake pops now...the Tiramisu being the most awesome one of them all!  Actually, Starbucks is what got me to thinking about making these cake pops again.

I never made them again after that first time....for two reasons.  Time consuming, and I didn't care for the canned frosting.  This time, after seeing the flavors that Starbucks made, I thought to myself, why can't I make one that is Irish Cream flavored for St. Patrick's Day?

As you can see....I did make them again, and I did go with Irish Cream!  The snob in me made my own cake and frosting....but seriously, they wouldn't have been the same flavor wise if I hadn't.  These definitely are cake pops for the adult!  The frosting is pure butter, sugar, and Bailey's Irish Cream!
If you feel tempted to make these, please know, that patience needs to come in when dipping these babies.  That is the longest part of the whole process!  If you make them, please let me know how you liked them!  I can tell you they were a hit with people at my workplace and at Grumpy's workplace....and even with Grumpy!  When I asked him if he ate one today....his response was "No.  I ate two."  ;o)  Enjoy and Happy Saint Patrick's Day!

Irish Cream Cake Pops

1cup sifted cake flour
2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoons salt
1 3/4 cups sugar
2/3 cup butter
2 eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
3/4 cup milk
3/4 cup Bailey's Irish Cream

Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt; set aside. Cream sugar and butter together until light. Add eggs and vanilla to creamed mixture and beat until thoroughly mixed. Add flour mixture to creamed mixture alternately with milk and Irish Cream, beating well after each addition. Continue beating one minute. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool layers in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. Remove from pans; cool completely. Crumble cake into small pieces in large bowl.  Set aside.

Irish Cream Frosting

6 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 cups confectioner's sugar, sifted
4-6 tablespoons of Bailey's Irish Cream

Combine all 3 ingredients together until creamy and smooth.  Use more Irish Cream if needed to get a consistency that is not too thick....but not too thin.  You want it to be like it would be if you were going to spread it on a cake.

Blend frosting into cake crumbs.  As Bakerella states, it works best if you use your hands!!  Shape into balls.  I placed the stick in my cake balls and then put them in the freezer for a couple of hours (in hopes it would seize the candy coating up faster!) Remove from freezer and dip into melted candy melts.  Sprinkle with Green and Gold sugars. 

***I used a styrofoam plate with small pop stick sized holes punched through to let my cake pops completely dry before wrapping them.  Worked fine, but I think I will be looking for a better way to dry these pops the next time I make them!

March 04, 2011

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey

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Trying to fix a meal without carbs can be really complicated.  Complicated because some people think you have to have noodles and such with this type of meat mixture.  Hmmm, I wonder who that can be?  If you think Grumpy, your not totally wrong.....but me?  Yeah, I want my noodles!  I became really addicted to them when I made Jaden's Crack Noodles.  I think about those things a lot!
Alas, we are only on day 4 and we cannot have such luxuries as noodles at this point of the South Beach Diet.    I saw a recipe in the SBD Cookbook that was for Asian Cups and thought I needed to make something like that myself.  I didn't follow that recipe, I just went with what I like and it was yummy :o)  There was no meat mixture left after dinner so Grumpy had to of liked it too.....although he was disappointed we had no noodles to eat with the meat either.  ha.

Me, I picked them up wrapped delicately in the buttercup lettuce cups and ate like a dainty lady.  Grumpy?  He lined a big old bowl with lettuce and put the remainder of the meat in side the bowl and ate his with a fork like a man.  lol.  Either way, it is yummy.

Great recipe to have on hand when you really want something Asian and are eating low carb.  Can you believe this is the first time I have ever done this??!!  I've wrapped turkey and cheese in lettuce before when doing SBD but never ground meat.  Would I do it again?  Sure would.  Would I do it when I was allowed to eat noodles?  Sure would.  But I must admit, I still love my noodles.

Asian Lettuce Cups with Spicy Ground Turkey
HoneyB style

1 lb package ground turkey breast (such as Butterball)
1 tablespoon peanut oil
3/4 cup diced red bell pepper
3 tablespoons tamari sauce
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 teaspoon black bean chili sauce (this has some heat so if you don't want spicy, adjust to your taste)
2 packets splenda (feel free to use brown sugar if you are counting your carbs.  I would!)

Brown meat on medium heat in peanut oil.  Add red peppers and continue to cook about 7 minutes more.

Mix tamari sauce, rice vinegar, black bean chili sauce, and splenda together.  Pour over meat mixture.  Turn heat to high and toss meat and sauce until well coated and sizzling.  Serve in lettuce cups.

March 02, 2011

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing

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While we were visiting my mom & dad's house a few weeks ago I saw a book lying on the counter that caught my eye.  The cover wasn't super attractive, but I opened it up anyway and the photos in the book just blew me away.  They immediately made me say "I must buy this cookbook!"

The next weekend while shopping I went straight to Borders and found the book!  There are so many recipes I will be making from this book and I can't wait to share them.  It is amazing how you can cut calories by eating very similar things right at home.

This salad that I made fit right into the South Beach Diet eating plan for phase 1 (which Grumpy and I are both following as of Monday).  I upped the protein since it was going to be our main meal and because Grumpy has to have more substance than salad and a little bit of protein :o)  He was skeptical because he's not a big raw spinach lover but he ate it anyway (did he have a choice?  he he).  He actually enjoyed the salad!  It was delicious and filling.  Definitely a keeper!

Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon Dressing
adapted from Cook This! Not That!

3 strips bacon
1/2 red onion, sliced
2 cup sliced mushroom
1 lb shrimp, peeled and deveined
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 Tbsp Dion mustard
3 tbsp red wine vinegar
1 bag (6 oz) baby spinach
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced

Heat large skillet ove rmedium heat.  Cook the bacon until crispy, 5-7 minutes.  Transfer to a paper towel on a plate and reserve.

Add the onion and mushrooms to the hot pan and cook until the onions begin to brown, about 3 minutes.  Season the shrimp with salt and pepper and add to the hot pan.  Cook until shrimp are pink and firm, about 4 minutes.  Stir the mustard and vinegar into the pan; season with salt and pepper.  If the pan looks dry, add a splash of olive oil.  To serve, top spinach with hot shrimp mixture and some of the liquid in the pan.  Sprinkle with the bacon.

**Note, the calories in my salad were not the same as the book - however they couldn't have changed a whole lot - if anything, they were probably less.  I omitted pine nuts, used half the bacon.  I upped the shrimp however as I used a whole pound where the recipe tells you to use only 1/2 a pound for 4 people.  I wanted a main dish so I upped the protein.

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