Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Greek Ziti and Joe Joe's Ice Cream

Happy Friday!
I tried this recipe from Rachael Ray's magazine and it was delicious. I love greek flavors and feta cheese....so yummy.
Here is the link:

I made a couple substitutions since Trader Joe's doesn't carry everything I needed. I used ground beef instead of lamb and a red bell pepper for the red chili. I added a little cayenne for the spice it was missing. I hope you give this dish a try.

And, I was so excited to see....Candy Cane ice cream at Trader Joes. So So YUMMY!

Bellingrath Gardens, Alabama

Bellingrath Gardens, Alabama- the most beautiful gardens I've ever seen. Sorry, I've been away from blogging for so long. I plan to catch up on your posts this week. I just got home at 1:30 this morning from a week in Alabama. A first for me, as I've never been to the South and also have never spent that much time in an airplane. Flying through storms is no fun and there were a couple scary moments I thought we were going to fall out of the sky, but we made it back home safely. We spent Thanksgiving with my husband's family and one of our many excursions included a trip to these gardens for the Christmas show. If you live within driving distance, it's so worth it. It takes some serious photography skills to really capture all the lights but we did our best. Enjoy.

I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Cupcake Camp Recap

The first of many many Cupcake Camp recaps. I took photos of so many beautiful cupcakes, but today I'm going to start with mine.
I learned so much from the bakers that were there. I definitely need to work on my presentation skills.
Everyone was so friendly and the awards definitely went to some amazing cupcakes. I was so glad to be a part of this event and I can't wait for the next one.

These were supposed to be coconut snowball cupcakes and sounded better in my head than they turned out.
Blooper, I turned my back for one second and my mischievous cat jumped into the box of 50 pink frosted cupcakes. I couldn't believe it. He looked just as shocked as I was. It was so sad watching my hard work go in the trash. I'll definitely guard them more carefully next time.

Mud pie cupcakes with gummy worms. HUGE HIT! I ran out of these. I loved seeing how excited kids were to try them.

My handsome helper. He was so patient and supportive through the whole thing. Especially during my cat/cupcake disaster meltdown. I'm a very lucky girl. Thanks honey.

Did anyone else attend Cupcake Camp?

How to Cut a Pomegranate

This was one of those "learn something new everday" moments for me. I tried to cut a pomegranate before reading the directions and it spit juice everywhere. My floors, clothes, ceiling, counters....everywhere! And then, I read the directions provided by POM Wonderful and Ta Dah! No more spitting pomegranates.
Here are the Fool-Proof Directions:

First, slice off the top.

You'll see clearly defined wedges by what I believe is called the membrane. Slice along the white for each wedge.

There will be approximately 6 wedges once you've completely slicing.

Next, under water, start to work the seeds from the shell. They'll detach easily this way and won't spit at you.

This was fun and really simple.

Brilliantly, the seeds know to sink to the bottom and the rest of the membrane or is it pith? will float to the top. Skim the white off the top and....


Sunday, November 14, 2010

POM Wonderful Party

I received 2 huge boxes of pomegranates and another box of other goodies from the wonderful folks at POM 2 weeks ago. I had entered my menu ideas for a chance to host my own POM Wonderful party and when I found out I was selected I was so excited. Then, when my living room was full of boxes and pomegranates, I was completely overwhelmed. How would I possibly use 44 pomegranates?!? *Disclaimer, I received the POM products for free to review. Even now, my party has come to an end, the house is cleaned and most of the pomegranates are gone, I'm still a little overwhelmed. I didn't make anything I had planned on because life just got too busy. I've had so much going on the past couple weeks that I didn't have much time to devote to a menu or preparation, but most of the dishes turned out yummy and the pomegranates were a hit so I think it went well. Without further ado, here is my photo documentation of my POM Wonderful party.

To drink I served POM Wonderful juice mixed with 7up over ice. Delicious.

My centerpiece was a last minute preparation. I'm definitely not a decorator and plants are sooo not my thing. I thought these flowers were pretty when I saw them at Trader Joes so in the cart they went. On the plate are pomegranates, lemons, oranges and the flowers which I think are Gerber Daisies.

A future post will be instructions on how to cut a pomegranate. For now, here's a close-up of the beautiful little seed jewels.

I didn't want absolutely everything to have pomegranate seeds so I served a toasts with roasted garlic cream cheese spread and prosciutto.

I loved this salad; greens with pomegranate seeds, candied pecans, bleu cheese crumbles and pear slices. So yummy.

Since I was making turkey I wanted something to substitute the cranberry sauce. This is orange and grapefruit wedges with pomegranate seeds sprinkled with a little raw sugar. I don't think I'd serve this again for a lunch/dinner. A dish I think I'll reserve for breakfast.

This dish sounded better in my head than it turned out. Roasted potato salad with carmelized onions and chives. I made this the night before and something odd happened to it. The sour cream and yogurt I used became a little like glue. I won't be making it again.

TURKEY! Was so moist and yummy. I stuffed it with pomegrante wedges, lemon and onions.

Oh how I love cupcakes. These are a vanilla cake with a whipped cream frosting that I flavored with lemon juice. Topped with beautiful seeds. These are going to be perfect for Christmas.

Goodie bags. YAY. Inside are recipes, pomegranates, a coupon for POM juice, bracelet and POM brochure.

Well, thanks for joining me in reliving my party experience. I think it was a success. Especially since the only food I have left is the potato salad. So sad potato salad.
Can't wait to see what all the other bloggers did with their pomegranates. And, if you haven't tried one, what are you waiting for?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Rough Day=Quick Dinner

Sometimes, you just have one of those days. One of those days when you want to scream, cry and eat a carton of ice cream in front of the TV. It was a really tough day at work and then I honked my horn at someone cutting me off only my horn didn't stop honking. It was this really loud and long annoying honk which was completely embarrassing. That will teach me to lose my patience while driving. Then I got stuck in traffic and missed trying Zumba at the gym. Has anyone else tried it? Looks like a lot of fun. So, I came home, cried and whined to my husband for a bit, realized we were starving and threw together my version of a croque monsieur, which is basically grilled cheese dipped in egg. That with a glass of wine and too many chocolate chips cookies and all was well with the world again. Well, thanks for reading my rant. Sometimes is so nice to just vent to the world. How is everyone else in the blog world doing? Ever had one of "those" days?

Saturday, November 6, 2010

Peking Chicken Pizza

It's been almost a week since I've posted and I've missed it. I decided to share this recipe even though I probably won't make it again. I didn't really care for it but my husband ate more than 2 pieces so it's probably just not my taste. It's a Rachael Ray recipe which I've found her recipes can be hit or miss. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/rachael-ray/peking-chicken-pizza-recipe/index.html
The dough is from Trader Joes. It's the first time since I've used their whole wheat pizza dough and I loved it. Next time I'll make the standard pizza sauce with cheese and pepperonis. Not tonight though. Tonight my honey has offered to make me dinner. I'm excited to see what he comes up with. I believe steak is on the menu. YUM!