Monday, January 31, 2011

Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives and Capers

I have many many lemons. I don't know how I got so many. I think it was because every time I went to the store I couldn't remember how many I had left so I ended up buying more. Now, I have to use them all. Which was the inspiration behind making this dish, Chicken with Roasted Lemons, Green Olives, and Capers. I served it with sauteed spinach and pasta.
It reminded me a little of chicken picatta and honestly, I think I'll stick with chicken picatta. But, it was a good dish and I really liked the olives with the lemon.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Dessert Wars Entry- Nutella Smore Cupcakes

Dessert is my favorite part of any meal and no matter when I'm eating I have to end with something sweet. When I heard about the new blog Dessert Wars I was super excited. The first challenge starting in January is to make a dessert with Nutella. I surfed through tons of recipes and then decided I wanted to try and create something original. For this reason, I didn't google Nutella, Smore or Cupcake together. I'm sure someone may have thought of it first but I'm living in my own dessert denial that I was the first to think of it.
The bottom of the cupcake, much like a true campfire smore, is made from graham crackers. Specifically 1 cup of honey graham crackers and 1/4 Cup of melted unsalted butter, combined and then pressed into the bottom of the cupcake liner. I'm sure it would be just as delicious with cinnamon or chocolate graham crackers.
The "cake" part of the cupcake is almost pure Nutella. I wanted the middle to taste like a melted Nutella candy bar. It's a very dense cake. 1 Cup of Nutella mixed with 2 eggs then combine with 3/4 Cup of all purpose flour. Spoon approx 1/4 Cup of batter into each cupcake liner. Bake for approximately 15-20 minutes.
Then comes the fun part. Cut 6 large marshmallows in half. You'll need to toast the cut side until slightly melted so it sticks to the top of the cupcake and then toast the top of the marshmallow to your desired meltiness. I like my marshmallows really burnt. YUM! I used my creme brulee torch for this but you could always use a kabob stick and your stove.
I served these at a Game Night I hosted last night. Really yummy with the Nutella flavor a prominent part of the cupcake.
I had such fun with this project. Deciding what to create and then learning how to put together the ingredients so they baked well together. My biggest hurdle was the photography. I can't decide if I'm the problem or my camera is the problem; we don't have the best relationship but it's a work in progress. LOL
Would you like to enter Dessert Wars or try one of the awesome Nutella recipes?
Here's the link
There are some awesome prizes for the winner of the challenge and here are the sponsors:

-Whisk and cupcake necklace from Moon & Star Designs

-The Smartshopper Electronic Grocery List Organizer

-Beanilla Sampler Pack of Vanilla Beans

-Lenox Personalized Musical Cupcake

-1,000 ideas for Decorating Cupcakes, Cookies & Cakes

-Endless Vanilla and Cinnamon Extract

-Unlimited Layers: A Recipe for Turning Your Passion into Profits

-$50 Gift Certificate to Theme Kitchen

-$50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Valley Products

-$50 Coupon Redeemable for Organic Prairie Products

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Coconut & Pineapple Smoothie

Does anybody watch Brunch at Bobby's? It's Bobby Flay's new show on the cooking channel. I love it. He recently featured a coconut smoothie that looked delicious. Much to my surprise Trader Joe's has coconut water. I made my own variation of his smoothie.
1 Cup lowfat vanilla yogurt.
1 1/2 Cups Coconut Water
1 1/2 Cups frozen pineapple chunks
1 banana.
Blend and enjoy.
On another subject, I tried to make french macaroons last night. I had read that they could be very tricky to get just right and admittedly I went into making them a little too cocky. Cracked or without "feet" or too chewey- ugh so frustrating. I don't know if I'll be able to talk myself into trying again.
Have you ever made a failure recipe?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Mini Bundts Apple Sauce Cake with Candied Ginger

I saw this cake on one of the blogs I follow, Stacey's Snacks and since I had some leftover crystallized ginger in the pantry decided to try it. I'm glad I did. It's delicious. So delicious, that I convinced myself I could call it bread and have it for breakfast the next morning.
Here is the link for the recipe

Butternut Squash Ravioli

Trader Joe's has butternut squash ravioli! This is a recent discovery for me and a very happy one. It's really yummy. I made the traditional brown butter and sage sauce to go with it. I also topped it with toasted walnuts and Parmesan cheese. Not the lightest of meals but it was too delicious for me to care about the calories.

Any recent Trader Joe's discoveries to share?

Yummy Tomatoes & Spaghetti with Olives and Bread Crumbs

Tomatoes are my all-time favorite fruit? vegetable? I'm fortunate to live in California where you can find good tomatoes pretty much all year round. I paired a tomato salad (grape tomatoes, olive oil, shredded fontina cheese, oregano, garlic, salt & pepper) with one of Giada's recipes. I made her Spaghetti with Olives & Bread Crumbs. I was disappointed with the dish. The biggest problem was the texture. Although the flavor was fine, especially since I really like olives.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Roast Beef Panini and Sweet Potato Fries

I love my Le Creuset Grill Pan. It makes perfect paninis. My most recent panini is roast beef, fontina cheese and caramelized onions. I used a little too much oil for the onions which upped the grease factor, but other than that it was delicious. Almost like a french dip. Anybody have a recipe for the au jus?
On the side I baked some sweet potato fries from Trader Joes. You can find them in the freezer section. I like to serve the fries with either ketchup or apricot preserves.

What is your favorite panini? I'm in need of some new ideas to use my pan.

Eat Pray Love and Delicious Eats

I finally watched Eat Pray Love. Honestly, the movie could have ended in Italy and I would have been very happy. Once she left all that wonderful food, I was bored. I felt the same way about the book. I really wanted to like it but never finished reading it.
Since I was having a friend over to watch it with me, I wanted to make lots of yummy dishes to eat. I also bought bottle of Moscato wine from Trader Joes. It's a sweet Italian wine and it was delicious. I had never had it before and am bummed I didn't take a photo of the bottle, but this gives me a reason to buy another one.
First up, Giada's Tomato Basil Tartlets. These are so delicious. I could have eaten the whole tray by myself. I didn't have any basil (I always forget something even when it's on the list) so I substituted green onion. Here is a link for the recipe Next up, Giada's White Bean & Chicken Chili. Really tasty and perfect for a cold night. I left out the swiss chard (I'm not a big fan of greens in my soup) and I used ground turkey instead of chili. Link: This dessert is my own creation. I had a loaf of Barefoot Contessa's orange pound cake in the freezer so I defrosted it and topped it with vanilla ice cream and raspberries that I had soaked in Moscato wine. Delicious.
It was such a fun night.
Did you see Eat Pray Love? What did you think?
I've been having bad luck with movies lately. I saw The Dilemma the other night and was disappointed. I thought it would be much funnier and I'm such a Vince Vaughn fan. Oh Well.
Is anyone going to see No Strings Attached?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Recipes Every Man Should Know

I've been planning to post this for so long and now I'm finally doing it. I received a book to review called Recipes Every Man Should Know by Susan Russo and Brett Cohen. Susan has a blog that I follow called Food Blogga. Here is a link to her blog.
The first recipe I decided to try- Oatmeal Chocolate Chunk Cookies. I packaged them up for friends and then asked them to let me know what they thought. Their reviews were great and the cookies were deemed delicious. I will definitely be using this recipe again. I'm not going to post it in the hopes that you will buy her book and try the recipes yourself.

Since I missed the Christmas season for this book as a stocking stuffer I think it would be great in an Easter Basket or tucked in with your son's gear as he packs for college. If you buy her book, let me know what you think of the recipes.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Teriyaki Meatballs and Rice Noodles

These meatballs are incredible. I can't believe I made my own teriyaki sauce. When I first tasted it I yelled for my husband to come taste it right away. Could it be that I had made a sauce that was better than the one that comes in the bottle? Yes!
I made these the night before and then the next day for dinner served it over rice noodles with onion, bell pepper and pineapple. I can't wait to make these again. I try not to make red meat more than once every 2 weeks so I'll have to wait a little while but it's worth it.

Here is a link for the recipe

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Brisket and Blueberries

Sundays are big football days in my house and for our friends. We were invited over to a friend's place for brisket and football last Sunday. I love brisket and this one was delicious. I brought dessert, a blueberry & lemon crostata that I've posted about before. It was a great day, other than the Bears lost, but they are still going to the Playoffs. yay!

Do you have a favorite football team? I'm partial to the Chargers since I'm fairly close to San Diego, but the Bears have my heart.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Best Granola Ever- Honey Almond

This is the best granola I've ever had. You'll never buy granola at the store once you try this recipe. It's super easy and so yummy.
Here is the recipe:
1/4 Cup Canola or Vegetable Oil
2/3 Cup Honey
1 Tablespoon Vanilla Extract
3 1/2 Cups Rolled Oats (not quick-cooking)
1/2 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup Pecans

Preheat oven to 225 deg. In a small saucepan, bring oil & honey to a simmer. Remove from heat and add vanilla. In a large bowl, combine oats and nuts, then add oil mixture and stir until all the oats and nuts are coated. Spread onto a baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes. Allow to cool and then break into pieces. Store in an air-tight container. Enjoy!
If you haven't eaten all the granola while it's cooling you can make a breakfast parfait.
Which you can eat while cuddling in your new bed with the cutest kitty baby Mason.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Bedding...YAY!

Finally Finally Finally we replaced our bedding. We've had the same bedding for years and we finally decided to buy something new. I love it. It's like sleeping in a marshmallow. I'd been shopping for weeks and didn't see anything I loved. Then, one night while wondering thru Macys, there it perfect bed. Thankfully, the husband agreed.

Do you have a recent purchase that you are so excited about that you must share it with the blogger world? I'm hoping to find a new pair of boots that I feel this passionately about. My boots are ready for the trash.

Mozzarella, Raspberry & Brown Sugar Panini- Giada

Oh My Goodness...this is panini heaven. I found this recipe in Giada's cookbook and since I happen to have all the ingredients I decided to try it. It's so so yummy. Especially with a latte to sip. Here is the link for the recipe

Mushroom Rigatoni and Gingerbread, oh and New Year resolutions too...

My hubby and I stayed in for New Year's Eve. I toasted the night with champagne & POM juice and tried my best to stay up until midnight. I made it- just barely though.
For dinner he picked out a recipe from Giada's new cookbook. Creamy Mushroom Rigatoni. It's so so yummy. You must try it. I'm not a huge mushroom fan but this dish changed my mind.
For dessert, I was craving gingerbread so I used a Barefoot Contessa recipe. I omitted the raisins. Delicious. There is still lots of it left which will be accompanying us to a friend's house for dinner tonight.
And now, New Year's resolutions...I don't think I've ever kept one but I'm really going to try this year.
1. Eat at home as often as possible. I'm going to try my best to pack breakfast and lunch every day.
2. Use my gym membership at least 3 times a week. This is going to be hard since I'm not morning person and after work I get really lazy. Plus, we are moving in a few weeks which makes the gym just a little farther away. But, no more excuses, I will go to the gym. I promise, I will. LOL
3. This is the last one. Maybe if I only make a few resolutions I won't feel so overwhelmed by trying to be perfect and I won't give up. Last resolution is to live in the present and not worry about the future. Enjoy each day and take the time to relax and have fun.
I hope everyone had a wonderful New Year celebration.