April 23, 2011

Garlicky Scrambled Eggs with Chickpeas and Cilantro

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What is for breakfast in your house?  In our house it is usually pancakes.  Sometimes with blueberries (for me), but most times not (for Grumpy).  Other times I get adventurous and make them healthy, with different fruits, and sometimes I veer off the path of the cake into the toast or waffle and surprise, even a muffin!  Check out my breakfast label for all the yummy breakfasts I have made in our home!  

April 21, 2011

Looks can be deceiving

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See these pretty little things?? I do mean little too....I made them miniature.


Look at all those mini pastel toppers from Nestle....so cute all pink and yellow

Have you seen the Nestle Toppers yet?  I love them!


Like I said, looks can be deceiving.


and....while these were pretty little buggers....they didn't turn out the way I hoped.  Because of this, I am not giving you my adaptation of the recipe I used.  Instead, I will send you to Cooking Light where I got the original recipe and screwed it up royally.  However, all that said, use caution when making these.  I omitted the oil (by accident) and they stuck to the papers.  They also had no flavor.  I thought the batter was really, really loose too for a muffin...and that was with forgetting to add the oil.  I was so sad.  Because they were so cute.  I wanted to take them to work....but thought better of it.


If you make this recipe (or have made it) please tell me, did they turn out for you?  I need to know if it is worth trying again!

April 19, 2011

Taste and Create - Simplest Pasta Dish Ever!

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Its that time of month again - for Taste & Create!  Taste & Create is an event that I participated in often prior to my neck surgery.  Even though it has been over 2 years since that surgery (can you BELIEVE that!?), it feels like finally things are starting to settle.  It went from one thing to another after I had that surgery and each event seemed like it couldn't get any worse.  Now, here we are, relocated, new (and better!) jobs and I'm finally blogging again the way I used to.  Seems like we are both happy at the same time with the situations in our professional and personal lives and I am not too certain it has ever been this way before!


Last month I decided to get back into Taste & Create because I enjoyed it so much.  This month I was paired with Shilpa of Passion + Love + Patience.  Shilpa has a variety of recipes on her blog, but when I saw this pasta side dish I knew I would be making it!  Pasta is one of my weaknesses - and my favorite way to eat it is without the red sauce!  Garlic & Olive Oil are the way to go for me!  I didn't make her recipe exactly as she wrote it, I had to improvise a little bit.  You can find the recipe for Shilpa's Simpilest Spaghetti Ever on her blog.  Below is the recipe the way I made it.  Enjoy!

Grumpy enjoyed the pasta dish.  His only comment to me was "you need to start measuring your ingredients". ha ha.  That was because I was a little more heavy handed on the red pepper flakes than he likes!  I will admit, I did put more in than I planned to.  It just "happened" ;o)


Cellentani Pasta Side Dish
adapted from Passion + Love + Patience

8 oz dried Cellentani pasta - cooked according to package directions and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, crushed
sprinkling of red pepper flakes
1/4 cup fresh sliced basil
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt to taste

Heat olive oil over medium heat.  Add minced garlic and red pepper flakes.  Saute being careful not to burn the garlic 2-3 minutes.  Toss in pasta and heat through.  Remove from heat.  Mix in fresh basil and Parmesan cheese.  Season with salt, serve, enjoy!  Thank you Shilpa!



April 18, 2011

Almond Breakfast Muffins

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I always have been a fan of homemade muffins for breakfast.  There was a time it seemed like I was always making them - up to 2-3 times a week!  I've started another muffin kick lately.  These muffins were inspired from Eating Well's Jam Filled Muffins.   I really love their recipe, which you will find by visiting their website (just click on the title of their muffin).  I ended up  having to improvise though as I found out too late that I didn't have jam....all I had was grape jelly....so I didn't fill the muffins with Jam after all....but I did serve them with some!




I was a little worried while mixing the batter for these muffins because it seemed really "loose".  Very much like cake batter instead of muffin batter.  I was thinking, if I did want to fill these with jam, I wasn't so sure that I could have because the batter was so thin.  These were quite yummy, they are healthy, and kind of made me think more of bread than muffin, but don't let that deter you!  I took a couple to work to give to one of my friends, put a couple in Grumpy's lunch box, and put the rest in the freezer.  These will be great little muffins to put in his lunch box throughout the week!




Almond Topped Breakfast Muffins
PRINTABLE RECIPE



  • 1 1/4 cups whole-wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 1 cup almond milk
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup pineapple mango juice
  • 1/4 cup canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 cup sliced almonds


    1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Coat 12 muffin cups with cooking spray.

        1. Whisk whole-wheat flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a large bowl.

    1. Whisk eggs and brown sugar in a medium bowl until smooth. Add almond milk, orange juice, oil and almond extract.  Whisk to blend. Add to the dry ingredients and mix with a rubber spatula just until moistened. (I found this batter to be very, very loose - just make sure to not over mix.  If you see a lot of lumps, it is ok...don't worry, they do disappear!)

    1. Scoop the batter into the prepared pan.  Sprinkle with almonds.  
    1. Bake the muffins until the tops are golden brown and spring back when touched lightly, 15 to 20 minutes. Loosen edges and turn muffins out onto a wire rack to cool slightly before serving.

April 17, 2011

Bloody Mary

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I love tomato juice but never had tried a Bloody Mary.  The name just turned me off from the drink.  However, on one of our trips back home we visited my friend Renee while she was bar-tendering and I actually tried a little bit - and realized it was really good!

I decided that I would try to make it at home.  I found a recipe on allrecipes.com that looked similar to what I watched Renee make - however there was no horseradish in this recipe.  I'm not sure how the horseradish comes about in the recipe because when I looked traditional recipes up, none mentioned it.  I love the addition though - mostly because I love a kick!

Did Grumpy like it?  Well, Grumpy didn't drink it and he wouldn't even if he had been around when I made it!  He has his mind set on certain things that he is totally unwilling to try - and this drink would be one of them.  So I made it to try when he wasn't here!  ;)


Bloody Mary
recipe adapted from allrecipes.com Classic Bloody Mary

PRINTABLE RECIPE


  • 1 cup ice cubes
  • 1.5 fluid ounce Grey Goose Vodka (or your favorite brand)
  • 3/4 cup V-8 Low Sodium Tomato Juice
  • 2-3 dashes Worcestershire sauce
  • 1-2 dash Red  Hot Pepper Sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
  • salt and pepper to taste

Place all ingredients in a cocktail mixer.  Cover and shake well.  Pour into drink glass and garnish with celery stick and lemon wedge....enjoy!

April 15, 2011

Steamed Artichoke

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I had so many plans for food while Grumpy was out of town.  Food that Grumpy won't touch.  While I've done much better than I have in months, I still spent 3 nights eating just pita bread veggie pizzas.  It was easy and yummy, and me?  Well, I felt lazy.  What else is new?  ;)  I have to admit, when evening gets here, I'm about done for.  I am a true morning person - probably in a way many people would say there is something wrong with me!  All I need for sleep seems to be about 6 good hours.  If I am in bed by 9 (which I am most nights), then I'm awake by 3 or 3:30.  But, I'm getting off topic here!


I had made a list of things I wanted to make while Grumpy was gone.  One was the Quick & Easy Philly Cheesesteak.  Another was steamed artichokes.  I did make those two items, but nothing else that was on my list!  I did however make a couple of things not on my list!  I made the Dark Chocolate Almond Bars, Blackberry Parfaits, and Blackberry Lemon Ricotta Muffins (I won't be posting the muffins but you can find the recipe and photo on Two Peas and Their Pod blog!).  Both the bars and muffins were fabulous and the parfaits were a great breakfast for two mornings!  My lucky co-workers got the majority of the baked goodies because I only allowed myself to have a little of each!

never had steamed fresh artichoke before.  I saw they had them in the grocery store on sale, so I grabbed a couple and decided I would try them while Grumpy was gone.  I am ever so glad that I did!  I now know why they are loved by so many!  If you haven't tried one or have been afraid to make one because it seems complicated....don't hesitate any longer!  I ate both and loved every bite!  I wasn't hard in any way!


Steamed Artichoke with Lemon Butter Garlic Sauce
Serves 1 person (at least it did in my home!)
Printable Recipe

2 fresh artichokes
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 thick slice lemon
1 tablespoon butter
1 teaspoon lemon juice (fresh)
1 clove garlic, minced

To prepare the artichokes, with kitchen scissors, trim the thorned tips of all the leaves.  Cut about 3/4" off the top.  Remove any of the smaller outer leaves near the stem and cut the stem  so you can stand the artichoke up on its own.  Spread the leaves apart some and rinse well with cold water.   Place in a saucepan (I used a small one big enough to house just the two artichokes) along with crushed garlic and lemon slice.  Bring to a boil and steam approximately 25-30 minutes, or until leaves are tender and pull away easily.

Melt 1 tablespoon butter with 1 minced garlic clove.  Add lemon juice to melted butter and stir.  Pull leaves from artichoke, dip in butter, and drag leaf through your teeth scraping the pulp from the leaf.  YUM!  When you have removed and eaten the pulp of the leaves, make sure that you remove the fuzzy choke part and discard.  You can then eat the heart.  I read that some people will trim the outer layers of the stem and eat the tender inside...I myself did not do that.  I thought it was a little bitter when tasting.  There are several articles on how to cook an artichoke along with several suggestions for dipping- I will definitely be making these again and hope I can convince Grumpy to try them too!  A great special treat!



April 14, 2011

Blackberry Parfaits

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Blackberries were on sale this week.  However, one berry told me I wouldn't be eating these alone.  They were not sweet enough for me.  So, I decided I would make a parfait.  I wanted high protein, low sugar, and yumminess.  :)

April 13, 2011

Dark Chocolate Almond Blondie Bars

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I've done it before.....and I've done it again and am certain I won't deviate from this path!  Not to long ago Natasha of 5 Star Foodie made these yummy Blondie Bars and as soon as I saw there was chunked almond paste in the bars I knew without a doubt, that I would be making these.


My dilemma?  When I make something this yummy, I cannot leave it alone.  Believe me.  These bars are that yummy!  I made a double batch for two reasons.  1.  I wanted to try these really bad and 2.  I knew one batch wouldn't be enough to share at work and make as many people as possible happy.  Some people sadly DID miss out.  However, several who didn't miss out  made it a point to tell me how awesome they were!  If I wanted to defeat my exercise purpose....I would have kept them all at home and eaten them for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks!  Yes, they are that yummy!







Thank you Natasha, for a real keeper recipe!  Since I didn't deviate much from her recipe, I will tell you what I did do and what I would do in the future - but please visit Natasha's awesome website for her recipe!

Natasha's recipe for:  5 Star Foodie Junior: Blondie Bars with Almond Paste Chunks, Chocolate Chips, and Dried Plums

What I did:  I followed the recipe for the batter exactly as it was written.  I then added dark chocolate chips and almond paste chunks.  Because I made these at 3:30 AM (I know, call me crazy) what I intended to do totally went right out of my mind.  Next time (and there will be a next time!) I will use dark chocolate, almond, maybe nuts or dried cherries and sprinkle with grey sea salts.  Yum Yum Gimmie Some!  Of course, mine doesn't have the dried fruit, hence the reason for the name change....still the same awesome recipe though!



April 12, 2011

Summer's in the Air - a beverage for adults!

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Its that time of year again.  It may only be spring, but the warm temps are reminding me of last summer and  Grumpy and my adventures of making Peach Mojitos, Mojitos, and having Sex on the Beach.  ;o)  I look forward to trying out some of my brothers cocktail recipes this summer - if I can get him to give them up to me!



Those of you on my Facebook page know that we love the Goose in this household.  It is one of those vodkas that when you have it, you never want anything BUT it.  I also am not a super sweet drink person - while I like a little sweet, too much makes me feel ill.  With this in mind, I made this drink and to celebrate the coming season I called it "Summer's in the Air".  The Mango Pineapple Juice is not sweet as you may think - and the addition of blood orange tartens it up some more....not to mention gives it a pretty red color!  So, ring in the coming season with this drink....and enjoy!


Summer's in the Air
print this recipe


1-1/2 shot Grey Goose Vodka (or your favorite brand)
1/2 cup Pineapple Mango Juice (Tropicana makes this - I found it in the Diary section)
1 Blood Orange, cut in half
Ice


Fill beverage glass with ice, pour in Vodka, then Pineapple Mango juice.  Squeeze half of blood orange into glass and watch the pretty colors combine.  :)  Garnish, stir, and enjoy!

April 11, 2011

Quick and Easy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches

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Cooking for one is not always all that fun.  It can be a challenge and you always take of chance of what your making not turning out as well if you hadn't messed with the recipe.  I decided that a Philly Cheesesteak Sandwich sounded pretty good and I knew wouldn't be hard to scale down for just one person.  If your wondering why I'm cooking for one, no, I did not send Grumpy packing....at least not permanently.  ;o)  Our new lifestyle requires that I have to eat dinner on my own sometimes....and this happened to be one of those times!

The sandwich turned out pretty darn good if I do say so myself!   Now when I have a craving for a Philly Cheesesteak type sandwich, this is where I will turn.  I think Grumpy would like this one too!  If you try it, let me know what you thought!


Quick and Easy Philly Cheesesteak Sandwiches
Makes 1 sandwich


PRINTABLE RECIPE


1 multi-grain ciabatta roll
I Can't Believe its Not Butter Spray
Cooking Spray
2 miniature red bell peppers (or 1/4 cup regular pepper slices), sliced
1/8 cup sliced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon brown sugar
pinch of oregano
1 ounce Velveeta Cheese, cubed
3 ounces lean deli roast beef slices (I always buy Boars Head London Broil Deli Meat)
2 tablespoons (or more if you wish) Beef Broth


Heat oil in small skillet.  Cook peppers, onions, and garlic until vegetables are tender.  Add vinegar, sugar, oregano, and cheese.  Stir mixture and turn heat to simmer to let cheese slowly melt, stirring periodically.  Once cheese is melted, remove from heat and set aside until ready to assemble sandwich.


Meanwhile, spray cut sides of roll with butter spray.  Place buttered side down on a hot griddle and toast buns until warmed and start to brown.  


Place roast beef and beef broth in microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in two 30-second intervals.  Assemble sandwich - using a fork remove beef from broth and layer on bottom half of bun.  Top with cheese pepper mixture and then cover with top bun half.  Enjoy!

April 10, 2011

Puttanesca Sauce with Rigatoni Pasta ala What's Cookin' Italian Style!

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Today I would like to invite you to meet Claudia of What's Cookin' Italian Style.  Claudia graciously accepted my offer to contribute to my blog and I was very pleased she was so ready to jump right in and share with my readers.  Claudia is a NY'er who relocated to sunny Florida (lucky girl) and she is one awesome cook who shares recipes from her Italian Heritage.  She is the one who inspired me to make the Cajun Shrimp with Linguine recipe that I posted about not too long ago.  Everything she makes looks and sounds so yummy!  I hope you will enjoy  her post here today on Puttanesca Sauce with Rigatoni Pasta!  Don't forget to head on over to her site to visit - today she has a really great looking Nutter Butter Banana Cream Pie showcased!  Yummy!


I was honored when Shelby from Grumpy's Honeybunch asked me to do a guest post! Actually I was hoping she would ask me. Her blog is filled with everything your looking for and more!  We all can associate with her love, a beautiful family, the up's and down's of life, great food and best of all for us one of the best blogging friends and supporters there is! She will always help in any way she can, with a wealth of proven blogging experience and knowledge, she is a true friend among the blogosphere... Thanks so much for asking me to do this post!


I made this recipe only a few times tweaking it again, this time I got it, my family loved it!   The difference is in the tomatoes for sure. These ingredients all fresh, yes very fresh. I am so proud to show you a recipe that came from my own fresh plum tomatoes. I have four plants growing on my patio. These were ready  for picking and more babies on the way and I am so happy to let you see my first picked babies... ( can you tell I am a really a  proud parent of them?) I have never been able to grow anything but herbs. This time I got the right soil, miracle grow, and yes the miracle actually happened... we struck pay dirt with beautiful roma plum tomatoes were born.  I decided to try my favorite dish for a change. I hope you enjoy it as much as we did!


Puttanesca Sauce with Rigatoni Pasta
PRINT THIS RECIPE

1/4 cup olive oil
6 cloves minced garlic
 2 pounds of fresh plum tomatoes put through food processor (remove stems first and cut off the tops, add whole into processor) or use 2 (28-ounce) cans Roma plum tomatoes, broken into pieces, with juice in food processor pulse a few time.
1 cup tightly packed, pitted, and halved Kalamata olives or use black olives
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 tablespoons drained capers
2 tablespoons minced anchovy fillets (about 8 fillets) or use anchovy paste around 4 ounces
1/2 teaspoon each  dried crushed basil, oregano, garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper flakes or 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Salt and pepper to taste
1 pound rigatoni pasta, cooked to al dente or use your favorite pasta ( I make two kinds my husband loves linguine and my sons love rigatoni)

Directions
In a large pot heat the olive oil over medium high heat. Add the garlic and cook an additional 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and the remaining ingredients and simmer until the sauce is thickens and slightly reduced, about 40 minutes. Add  pasta to a large serving bowl, add a small amount of sauce to coat the pasta, toss lightly.  Top with grating cheese, serve additional sauce on the side for individual preference. That's it enjoy!

April 05, 2011

Buffalo and Blue Cheese Stuffed Button Mushrooms

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I love it when something new comes my way.  The flavors aren't new - but the concept of this mushroom is!  A few weeks ago I picked up the Taste of Home Cooking School magazine.  In it was the recipe for this mushroom.  I knew as soon as I saw it that I would be making it!

There are a lot of new things going on lately.  We have been living in Albany now for about 5 months.  I cannot believe it has been that long already.  Pretty much the winter season....and of course, wouldn't you know....Albany gets more snow that they have in a long time this year.  It figures!  I go where I think it may not be as nasty only to have one of the snowiest season's in Albany, NY this year!  Oh yes, I was talking about new things!  Grumpy and I decided that we wanted to continue to renovate the home we own up north of us, even though we aren't living in it.  We did have it for sale however, since our contract is up and there was not even a serious offer, we decided to take it off the market.  This home is now the home of my youngest son!  We had renovated the bathroom before we knew we were moving and the next room would have been the kitchen.  Well, it still was the kitchen because in the last month on the weekends we went home and did the job!  Below is the product of our hard work and I am so jealous that Christopher gets to use this kitchen while my duplex is a tiny little space!

Before
Our quaint old farmhouse...and I do mean old....I think no work had been done in at least 30 years!


After 
It is still a country kitchen, but much brighter, updated and shiny new!
I have to give Grumpy the credit for how it looks - other than the color of the wall and the floor tiles - I chose the wall color and we chose the floor tiles together.  This country home sits on 10 acres of land with no other house in site.  I am sure going to miss sitting on our front porch after work this summer enjoying the nature around me!

So, in all things old and new, when you mix something new with the old you can come out with something amazing.  Like my kitchen and these stuffed mushrooms!  Enjoy!


Buffalo and Blue Cheese-Stuffed Mushrooms
adapted from Taste of Home Cooking School


PRINT THIS RECIPE


20 button mushrooms
1/4 cup chopped red onion
2 tablespoons butter
1/2 pound reduced fat blue cheese, crumbled
1 tablespoon Saucy Mama Hot Wing Sauce (or use your favorite hot sauce)
1/2 cup panko plus 1/4 cup, divided
Cooking Spray


Place rack in the upper third of the oven.  Preheat oven to 375.  Clean mushrooms and remove stems.  Cut ends from stems and chop finely.  Chop two of the mushrooms finely as well.  Melt butter in a saucepan over medium low heat.  Saute until onions are translucent and then add chopped mushrooms and stems.  saute until softened and remove pan from heat.  Stir in blue cheese, hot sauce, and 1/2 cup panko.  Stir until smooth.


Spray a baking dish with cooking spray.  Fill each mushroom cap with a spoonful of cheese stuffing, letting it moung just slightly.  Sprinkle the remaining panko over the top.  Bake for 18-20 minutes, until the mushrooms are soft.  Broil for 1-2 minutes until tops are crisp.  Serve with additional hot sauce if desired.


April 04, 2011

Eggplant with Garlic Sauce

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So I wonder how many of you out there are going to tell me what Grumpy does whenever I mention eggplant?  I can guarantee you it isn't nice words!  However, you won't hear nasty words out of me when eggplant is mentioned!

I had garlic eggplant for the first time several years ago.  I happened to go into Wegmans after work one day and they had a chinese bar where you could serve yourself what you wanted.  I saw garlic eggplant and had to try it.  I have been hooked ever since.  However, after having the eggplant at Wegmans I had a hard time finding it anywhere else.  I have never forgotten how much I enjoyed it though so I recently bought some baby eggplants and went to the internet to find a recipe.  I found one on allrecipes.com that sounded very much like what I wanted!  So, I made me some Eggplant with Garlic Sauce....and Grumpy had dinner with no veggie.  ;o)


Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
Adapted from Allrecipes Eggplant with Garlic Sauce
**the recipe on AR calls for garlic powder and white sugar.  I prefer to use fresh herbs and spices whenever possible and brown sugar just seems right in Asian flavors.  :)  I also adjusted the portion sizes - and this recipe will serve 2 at approximately 98 calories per serving.



  • 1-1/2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 2 baby eggplants, halved lengthwise and cut into 1 inch half moons
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1-1/2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoons tamari
  • 1 tablespoons oyster sauce
  • green onion for garnish

  • Heat the canola oil in a skillet over high heat. Cook and stir the eggplant until soft, about 4 minutes. Stir in the water, red pepper flakes, and garlic. Cover and simmer until all the water is absorbed. Meanwhile, mix sugar, cornstarch, soy sauce, and oyster sauce in a bowl until sugar and cornstarch have dissolved. Stir sauce into the eggplant, making sure to evenly coat the eggplant. Cook until the sauce has thickened.  Garnish with green onion.
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