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I enjoy cooking,eating food, being creative with food, and like to try new things. I try to avoid pre-packaged foods as much as I can.

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Dec 12, 2012

Liebster Award Acceptance


I've been writing this post for at least a couple weeks now. I am happy to finally post it!

So... I was nominated for the Liebster award! Medusa from Money is No Object kindly chose me as one of the 10 blogs she nominated. How exciting! Isn't it pretty? :) I was flattered that I was nominated! *squee*


Part of accepting this award includes answering ten questions that the nominator asked me and nominating 10 other blogs with under 300 followers to receive the award.



The 10 questions and their answers: 


1. Why did you start your blog and when?


I started my blog because I wanted a way to share my passion for cooking, baking, and food with others. My first post was on 8/12/11, wowsa! 
2. Do you have a day job? If so, what is it?


No day job as of now. I am planning on working soon and applying for Food Corps. Keep your fingers crossed! 


3. If you could have any (living) fashion designer create something for you to wear, which (living) designer would you choose?


I don't really keep up with fashion much, but I googled fashion designers and think that a Stella McCartney and Marc Jacobs collaboration would be awesome. I love both of their styles, but like Marc Jacobs' shoes more. 
4. What is your favorite holiday and why?


Christmas! Christmas time just seems so magical to me. The romance in the air, the winter weather, the snow falling, and the colors just really make me happy. 
5. What calendar (if any) have you had hanging on your wall this year?


I have been using my phone mostly, but I have a small pocket calendar and a pillsbury wall calendar that I got for free. 


6. Putting calories aside, what is your favorite food (or dessert) to eat?


Favorite Dessert: Pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream on top. Current Favorite food: Grilled Cheese. Such cheesy comfort. 


7. Putting expenses aside, if you could live in another country, which one would you choose?


The United Kingdom. I loved it there! 


8. Do you subscribe to any magazines and; if so, which ones?


My mom recently bought me a subscription to All You magazine with hopes of saving lots of money and having plenty of coupons. I used to subscribe to Seventeen magazine, but I am a little old for that now.


9. What is your favorite bird? (Not animal, but BIRD)! :)


Tanager. They are brightly colored birds and are so pretty! See?  


10. What's the #1 spot you would like to travel to next?


Europe! Anywhere in Europe or the Mediterranean. 



My 10 nominations for this award, in no particular order:


Butterfly Kisses N Tasty Dishes


Creative Party Ideas by Cheryl


Dawns Divine Delights


I like today because of...


Miller Musings


The Enchanted Cook


The Word Cage


For a Certain World


Expect the Unexpected


Artful Happiness



How Nominees Can Accept the Award: 

  • You must answer the 10 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you. (see below)
  • You must pass the award to 10 other deserving bloggers who have less than 300 followers. Pass on the love!
  • Create 10 questions for the bloggers you tag.
  • Let the lucky bloggers know that you gave them the award. 


My 10 questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your current song obsession?
  2. What is your favorite holiday tradition or winter tradition?
  3. Do you own any stuffed animals?
  4. If you had to re-do where you live, what would you change?
  5. Are you planning to make any new year resolutions?
  6. How do you keep yourself motivated during the blogging process?
  7. What is your kryptonite? 
  8. Do you enjoy shopping locally or do you choose to hit the chain stores instead? 
  9. What is your favorite scent of candle or favorite scent in general?
  10. If you could have extra hours in the day, what would you use them for? 



Nov 28, 2012

Thanksgiving

Thankful Tree
Well... I am alive! I promise... seriously...

It seems time just slips away when you aren't looking and then *poof* it is almost December. Yikes! In October, (since I kindly haven't posted for over a month, oops) I attended a Blue Man concert with the family, visited the renaissance festival and bought some delicious smelling soap, sadly witnessed the closing of the farmers stand for the season, and bought apples and apple cider from the local apple farm. November was the month of prepping for Thanksgiving and helping to drive my grandparents back down south for the winter.

Thanksgiving went well, overall. My mac and cheese and the juice jigglers were a letdown, but the rest of the meal was delicious. Cooking for 27 people is not a small task, so our meal seems like something fit to feed an army. Here's the meal breakdown:

Appetizers:

-Cheese and crackers
- Baked Brie (I had never eaten brie and loved this recipe! Just remember to take off the rind if you are a first timer.)
- Apple slices and caramel dip
- Candy corn
- Nuts
- Strawberries and grapes
- Juice jigglers

Meats:

- Turkey (gravy and cranberry sauce, too)
- Kielbasa
- Ham

Side Dishes:

- Sweet potato casserole (I added more cinnamon and brown sugar.)
- Mac and cheese (failed recipe that I will not bother to link)
- Cooked carrots
- Corn
- Whipped cream salad
- Sweet and sour cucumbers
- Mashed potatoes
- Green bean casserole (My mom adds in bacon bits and some worcestershire sauce.)
- Coffee cake (We bought our coffee cake from a Polish marketplace, but this is quite similar.)
- Various quick breads (carrot bread, banana bread, zucchini bread)
- Dinner rolls
- Caesar Salad
- Stuffing (with onions, apples, raisins, and walnuts)

Desserts:

- Pumpkin pie
- Various other pies (almost everyone brought a pie)
- Blueberry cheesecake (my uncle brought this)
- Mint patties
- Brownies (my aunt brought these)
- Various other items guests brought

I have linked the items that I have a specific recipe for, but I don't have all the recipe links. I also had fun with the place settings. Each person received a:

- goodie bag (either turkey poop or blessing mix)
- a paper turkey place card
- a homemade present (homemade spice mixes, homemade cornbread mix, homemade pancake mix, homemade body scrub, homemade hand scrub (do not use olive oil... instead, use safflower or sunflower or canola oil!), a snowman in a box, snowman soup, or popcorn covered in white chocolate and festive sprinkles).

If you would like me to to do a tutorial or show you the poems I typed up for the snowman soup or snowman in a box, please comment and tell me so!

Feel free to take any of these ideas for your Thanksgiving next year. I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving (if you celebrate it) and I hope you enjoy any or all of the recipes linked.
.

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!


Oct 5, 2012

Lemon, Herb, Grape tomato, and Garlic Chicken Pasta

Our oven is fixed! Luckily it was a cheap part to replace. Yay for the oven! Just yesterday I baked whole wheat bread. Even though it didn't rise as much as it probably should have, it still tasted delicious. I will do a post on that soon. :)

Relay for Life volunteering will be starting up again soon. I enjoy volunteering and might try to find another organization to volunteer for during my gap year. I am still looking into masters degree programs and hope to find an online degree that I would enjoy. I am leaning towards sustainability, but none of that is final.

Nothing too thrilling to mention to be honest. So I shall get on and talk about the food! =D

This dish requires a little prep the night before, but could be made with only two pans. One to cook the chicken in and a pot to boil the pasta (then drain it) and make the sauce in. I did use dried basil instead of fresh since it was what we had on hand. I hope you love the flavors of garlic, lemon, and thyme as much as I do!

Lemon and Herb Chicken over Pasta with Garlic Gravy and Cherry Tomatoes 

Ingredients:
  • 500 grams spaghetti (I used 1 box), cooked al dente


Chicken Marinade:
  • 1 pound skinless and boneless chicken breast (or 1 lb of any type of chicken that is de-boned, skinned, and uncooked), sliced into 1 inch chunks
  • 2 tsp. fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tsp. fresh rosemary, chopped (if using dried, use 1 tsp.)
  • Zest of 1 lemon (use your zester on the lemon peel until you see white, then stop!)
  • Juice of 1/2 of the zested lemon
  • 1 TBSP extra virgin olive oil + 1 TBSP to cook chicken in
  • 1 tsp. coarse sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
Garlic Gravy Sauce: 
  • 1/2 stick (1/4 cup) of unsalted butter
  • 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil
  • 4 large cloves of garlic, finely minced
  • 2 TBSP all-purpose flour (plain flour)
  • 2 1/2 cups chicken stock 
  • 1/2 TBSP dried basil (or 1 TBSP fresh basil, chopped)
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 2 cups whole cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese (not the kind from the green container!)
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley, optional (can sprinkle over the dish to garnish when the pasta is done)
Instructions:
  1. The night before you plan to make this recipe, prepare your chicken and get it marinading. Mix the cut chicken, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest, 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil, sea salt, and cracked black pepper until it is well blended. Seal it in a bowl with a lid, a marinading container, a ziploc bag, or anything else that will cover and keep the chicken safe. Place the chicken in the fridge overnight.
  2. On the day of, boil water and cook your pasta to al dente according to the box directions. 
  3. While your pasta is boiling, pull out your chicken and saute it 1 TBSP of extra virgin olive oil until cooked. This should take about 4 or 5 minutes. Once cooked, set your chicken to the side.
  4. Drain your pasta.
  5. Start on the garlic gravy. Put the pan/pot over medium heat and add 1/4 cup butter and 2 TBSP extra virgin olive oil. 
  6. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant and soft. (not browned)
  7. Whisk in the flour and let cook for a minute. 
  8. Add chicken stock and simmer until thickened. Once thickened, add basil and season with salt and pepper.
  9. Add the sauteed chicken and the cooked spaghetti to the sauce. Toss together. Add 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese.
  10. Add the cherry tomatoes and garnish the pasta with parsley. Serve the dish with extra parmesan on the side. (You can keep the tomatoes and parsley on the side for picky eaters)
  11. Enjoy!
Servings: approximately 5 or 6 servings

I left the tomatoes on the side because of my brother being picky. This recipe could have corn, asparagus, scallops, shrimp, or other items used in it as well. This pasta is delicious and the flavors oozed comfort. I hope you try this delicious dish and enjoy it as much as we did! 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!

Sep 19, 2012

Homemade Baked Corn Dogs

This week so far... mehhhh. I did find a new song that I enjoy. It is called Gangnam Style by Psy and it has a cool dance to go with it. It is a great upbeat song! 

Currently our oven's bake setting does not work. It will broil and the stove top burners will work, but the bake function will not. It randomly decided to die and the temperature plummeted to 100 F when I was baking my bread. >.< Not cool, oven! I tried to finish the bread in the toaster oven and had bread with a mushy center and a very brown top. I picked out all the mushy parts and ate them since I don't mind doughy goodness. My other loaf of soda bread was much better than loaf number two (when the oven died).

I went shopping at Target today and found activity books for my cousins to be distracted with on Thanksgiving (which will at least keep them out of the kitchen). I spent more than I was hoping to, but that is Target for ya. Haha. 

The recipe I chose to blog about today is something that is easy and quick. Many families keep hot dogs and many of the other ingredients on hand. Only a bit of pre-planning would be required to have everything needed on hand. Definitely an easy meal and perfect for this busy time of year. 

Baked Corn Dogs (from Rachael Ray)

Ingredients:
  • 2 boxes of corn muffin mix, 8.5 oz each
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup), melted
  • chili powder, to taste
  • 2 tsp. cumin, or to taste
  • cayenne pepper sauce, to taste
  • 2 scallions, finely chopped (I used a little bit of dried onion)
  • 8 jumbo pork or beef franks
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 F or 220 C.
  2. In a shallow bowl, combine the muffin mix and flour. Add in the eggs, milk, and melted butter. Mix in the chili powder, cumin, cayenne pepper sauce, and scallions. (your batter will be quite thick and sticky)
  3. Prep your cookie sheet with parchment paper or grease it.
  4. Set up an assembly line to make the dipping process easier. Put the dish of hot dogs first, then the corn muffin mix, and finish with your cookie sheet. 
  5. Dip the hot dogs into the batter and make sure they are fully covered before transferring to your cookie sheet. Use your fingers to cover any spots that you missed. (1/2 inch or less of coating will be best)
  6. Repeat step 5 until all of the hot dogs are coated and on the cookie sheet. Wash your hands.
  7. Put the corn dogs into the oven for 12 - 15 minutes or until evenly browned.
  8. Let your corn dogs cool for a few minutes and then enjoy!
Rachael Ray suggests serving these with her Sweet Relish Slaw Salad and potato chips. We served the corn dogs with fresh veggies and fruit. Serve this dish with whatever best fits your family.

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!

Sep 10, 2012

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

Life's been interesting lately.

 My tutoring job didn't work out, which was sad. I have been looking into baking and cooking programs that wouldn't completely break the bank, but have found that many are quite costly. I did find one school that is in the UK and is only one year long. I suppose I shall put it on the "dream" list. I've also been trying to think about if I would like to get my Master's degree or not. If I did go for it, I would need a TA or a job that could help with the cost. I've also been exploring opportunities for careers since I am still somewhat clueless.

On a less serious note, it is strange to not be back at school and dealing with band practices. I have instead had time to start planning for Thanksgiving dinner, wandering the farmer's market, and planning out family meals. I know that I need to tweak my resume and get out in the workforce, but the thought of a dull job just cracks any sense of motivation. I hope I am able to find a job that doesn't bore me to tears! I also tried organic vanilla milk this week. It was pretty good, but I wish the vanilla flavoring wasn't there, haha.

I have also started trying to eat super healthy (and we also had leftover whole wheat flour from another recipe), so I decided to make these cookies. I was skeptical, but after tasting them, I can see why the recipe was rated so high! These cookies are different from the regular cookies, but they don't taste tremendously different. My sister even said that they were good cookies. The only downside was that I used milk chocolate chips, so my brother will not touch them. Oh well. You can't win all battles, right?

In case you are curious and want to know the recipe, I have included it below. I am not saying that these cookies are exactly healthy, but they are slightly healthier than the normal chocolate chip cookie, for sure! I have slightly altered the recipe, but not significantly.

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies (from All Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 1 cup white granulated sugar
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract or vanilla bean paste
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups sifted whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup of all-purpose flour (plain flour for my foreign friends)
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chips (I just used the whole 8 oz. bag)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, optional
Instructions:
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 F or 190 C.
  2. Grease your cookie sheets or prep them with parchment paper.
  3. In a bowl, cream together the butter and both sugars until well incorporated and smooth. Stir in the vanilla and the eggs.
  4. In another bowl, combine the flours, and baking soda. Stir to combine.
  5. Gradually add the dry mix to the wet mix, stirring well after each addition. 
  6. After all the dry mix has combined with the wet mix, fold in the chocolate chips and the walnuts.
  7. Drop by the spoonful onto your prepared cookie sheets.
  8. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes.
  9. Let the cookies cool for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet before moving them. Let the cookie cool completely before placing into an air tight container for storage. 
  10. Enjoy your cookies!

What do you think? Do these cookies sound good?


Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!


Aug 14, 2012

Apple Dessert

Hey there! I have returned! Woo. The family cruise was enjoyable and Key West was awesome. However, there is no place like home. The only downside to being home is the fact that reality is kicking in. Many of my college friends are getting ready to move in and I am.. well... not. I have a tutoring job for the school year, but my parents do not consider that enough of a job. I am being tossed job listings and told to find a second job. Goody. I really don't have a problem with work if it is something I am passionate about, but busy work bores me. Guess I will be in for a bigger dose of reality, huh? Haha.

This odd transition is one of those things that probably trips up many new college grads. I have considered going to grad school or perhaps getting a bakers certificate or going to a 1-year cooking school, but right now all of these items are too costly. I want to start my own at-home baking business, but that was vetoed by my mother. Guess that will wait till I have an apartment then. I don't quite know what I would go to grad school for if I went. I was thinking business, entrepreneurship, or perhaps communications with a focus in Myers Briggs stuff. I could even go for my associates in entrepreneurship at the community college and choose something else for my masters degree. I just have a lot of options and it is a bit overwhelming. For now, I will continue to enjoy baking and cooking and search for a 2nd job to start saving money.

Well, now that everyone knows about the weird college transition phase, it's time for a recipe. This recipe is one that I created when I was in college and could only use a microwave. It's simple and requires ingredients that most people probably keep in the house. It's simple, easy, and delicious!

Microwave "Apple crisp"

Ingredients:

  • 1 apple, peeled (if you want them peeled), cored, and cut into chunks
  • 2 Tbsp. oatmeal, uncooked
  • 1/4 - 1/2 cup water
  • couple pinches of cinnamon, or to taste
  • 1 - 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
Instructions:
  1. Combine 1/4 cup water and the apple chunks in a microwave safe bowl.
  2. Microwave for 30 seconds, and then check the apples and water level. There needs to be a small amount of water at the bottom to help the apples cook. If needed, microwave up to 1 minute more.
  3. Add the oatmeal, brown sugar, and cinnamon.
  4. Microwave another 45 seconds.
  5. Stir and enjoy! 

You can add other toppings like nuts, seeds, or dried fruit if you would like. Another delicious addition would be vanilla bean ice cream or whipped cream. Mmmm. I found this to be delicious by itself, but feel free to play with the recipe! The microwave times are approximate because every microwave is different. You also could just dump it all into the bowl and microwave till the apples are soft and the oatmeal is slightly cooked, if you wish.

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!


Jun 30, 2012

My Scone Fail

Things have been a bit tense in the house lately. Clashing between mom and myself, among other things. I suppose it happens when people have two different viewpoints, but it still is frustrating. The heat has been crazy and there was an absolutely nasty thunderstorm today. The winds were over 40 mph and they claimed a few of the neighbors trees, broke a pot that held our basil, chucked our umbrella two houses down, and knocked down various other branches and items. It was nasty, but we were glad that the trees were all ok and that the trampoline didn't fly or flip. The power only flickered a few times, unlike some of the stores down the road.

Chores are still meh and my siblings always make clear that they hate their chore lists. Saturday will be a day of organizing and cleaning. If we have time, I hope to be able to do some shopping as well. Oh! Another *stupid* frustration of mine is the fact that my mom decided to obliterate the fruit in the house and dump it all into a "fruit salad" that I will not eat. She insists that it will be eaten well before it goes bad, but I somehow doubt it. I won't touch that with a ten foot pole because the melons mix with the other fruits, which makes it all taste like melon. I do not like melon. Bleh. Meh. Minor problem.

Hmmm, well I guess I should talk about these scones. The recipe is titled Vanilla Bean Oatmeal Scones. I thought "Those sound delicious! I should try out the recipe!" The appropriate title for these scones would be: Oatmeal/Whole wheat pancake-tasting bread with a powdered sugar glaze thing. Yea. Not a fan. I saved the scones in the freezer so that I can slowly eat them. If they had more vanilla bean taste then I wouldn't have problems. The whole wheat flour and the oatmeal just killed the taste of vanilla, which is a shame. I hope the whole wheat chocolate chip cookie recipe doesn't taste so strong...





Vanilla bean paste deliciousness
One of the scones
Try it if you are a fan of a heavily whole-wheat-tasting sort of scone. :) The recipe is here.


UPDATE: I have decided that I need to play around with this recipe. I plan to skip the glaze, but add some raisins, flax seeds, nuts, etc. Hopefully it will turn out nice and moist and delicious! :)

Jun 14, 2012

Cinnamon chips and Fruit salsa

I've been meaning to post this for a while, but life managed to block my way. It is amazing to think about how many people enjoy food, wander through my blog, and find joy from the recipes posted here. It's one of those moments where you feel warm and fuzzy inside. Ok, nerdy foodie moment over...

Anyway, life's treated me pretty well. I was hired to tutor someone this fall, I learned how to grill, and I made quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) for the first time. I don't know if I will be able to eat it as a side dish or if I will have to stick with making granola out of it... hmm. We shall see. Other than that, life's been the same ol' same ol'. Chores, commanding siblings, encountering attitudes and arguments, cooking dinner, experimenting with new recipes, etc. I have also developed a habit of going to the library to get cookbooks instead of buying so many. I recently bought one cookbook, 2 books on opening your own baking business, and some vanilla bean paste. I can't wait to try out the vanilla bean paste in my vanilla bean scones. But, I digress...

Oh! Sunday is Father's day! I already have a menu and desserts planned out. Omelettes for breakfast, sweet and sour meatballs for dinner, and strawberry rhubarb cobbler and brownies for dessert. Nom! And now back to the recipe for today...

This recipe for today is just absolutely delicious. I was a bit skeptical, but I made it as a midnight snack for the local Relay for Life. I was terrified that everyone would hate it and then I'd be stuck with oodles of leftovers. Luckily, everyone LOVED it! I tried it and thought it was just phenomenal! Soooooo delicious! I hope you try this recipe out, especially since the fruits can be exchanged for whatever you like. I had it with and without the raspberries and both ways were fine.


Baked Cinnamon Chips and Fruit salsa (from The Girl Who Ate Everything Blog)

Ingredients:

Fruit salsa:

  • 2 kiwis, peeled and diced
  • 2 Golden Delicious apples - peeled, cored and diced
  • 8 ounces raspberries, diced
  • 1 (16 oz) carton of strawberries, diced
  • Sugar (if you want it) 
Cinnamon sugar chips:
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons cinnamon
  • 10 (10 inch) flour tortillas or whole wheat if you prefer (could also use gluten free tortillas)
  • 1/2 stick of melted butter or butter flavored cooking spray or margarine 

Instructions: 



  1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F or 177 degrees C
  2. In a large bowl,  mix kiwis, apples, raspberries, and strawberries. Cover and chill in the refrigerator. 
  3. Mix the sugar and cinnamon for the chips.
  4. Prepare your baking sheet(s) with parchment paper,                                                                          a Sil-mat, or spray with cooking spray. 
  5. Brush butter on one side of the tortilla and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar mixture. 
  6. Cut the tortillas into wedges and place in a single layer on a baking sheet. You can have the edges touching, but not overlapping.
  7. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Repeat steps 5-7 for any remaining tortillas. 
  9. Allow the chips to cool for 10 minutes and then serve with the fruit salsa. 


You could also serve the salsa with cinnamon pita chips or cinnamon graham crackers. The fruit salsa can only keep for about 2 days. It is best when made and eaten the same day. 

If you like fruit and you like cinnamon and sugar things, then you will love this! The awesome thing is that it has a healthy component. Swapping the flour tortillas for whole grain would make it even healthier. The chips could probably be made with pita pocket bread as well. 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!

May 25, 2012

Making Pie

When it was my dad's birthday, he requested one thing... pie. He asked me to make strawberry rhubarb or blueberry. Apparently our grocery store didn't sell rhubarb (or I couldn't find it since I didn't exactly know what it looked like), but I found some jarred strawberry rhubarb preserves. Since we had two ready-made pie crusts, I also bought a can of blueberry pie filling. I decided to do a crumble topping because I didn't want to have to deal with any fancy designs in the top crust or have to deal with adding the top crust. The crumble topping turned out well and I spruced up the strawberry rhubarb preserves with some fresh sliced strawberries. The outcome? Dad was very happy and enjoyed both pies. As this was my first pie baking experience (other than the frozen and oven ready ones), I would consider this a success! I have included the recipe for the crumble below, just in case you want to try it out on your next pie!




Crumbly Topping

Ingredients:


  • 3/4 cup of all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup quick cooking or rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup cold butter
Instructions:
  1. Mix the first three ingredients together.
  2. Cut the butter into small chunks and add it to the other ingredients.
  3. Sprinkle on top of your pie.
  4. Bake the pie.
I followed the pie directions on the pie filling. It turned out well! I hope you try it out! 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...



Bon appétit!

May 18, 2012

Chicken Satay Skewers

I've spent a couple days on this post. Writing bits here and there. Hopefully it all makes sense...

I am considered alumni. I did it. I graduated! Now I am just waiting for my diploma to arrive in the mail... I had a new experience the other day. I cut up my first pineapple. I cannot tell you how much I have missed fresh pineapple. I kept cutting chunks and eating it. I probably ate at least 1/4 of the pineapple as I cut it up. So much better than canned pineapple. Lately canned pineapple is another thing that I can't stand to eat anymore. Perhaps it is a bit sad, but at the same time it will motivate me to buy fresh more often.

Another interesting thing is that I have never cut up a melon by myself. I do not like any kind of melon. I have tried and re-tried them over and over with the same result; I just don't like melon. My dad seemed surprised when he found out I had never cut up a watermelon. Has he not been listening while over the 22 years of my life I have mentioned that I despise melon more than 50 times? Eh... whatever. I guess I will see how that goes. I think I am the only person in this house who doesn't like melon.

Other than that, life is life. Busy with "mom" duties that I've been given. Always interesting. On to the chicken! This chicken is called "chicken on a stick" in our household. 



Chicken Satay Skewers (from Concetta's Cafe blog)


Ingredients:
· 1 cup creamy peanut butter, melted (microwave for 30 seconds or so)
· 1 cup water
· 1/2 cup soy sauce
· 8 garlic cloves, minced
· 6 Tbsp. lemon juice
· 4 Tbsp. brown sugar
· 1 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
· 1 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
· 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Instructions:

  1. If you are using skewers, start soaking them in water. They need to soak for 20 minutes so they won't catch on fire! 
  2. Combine all of the ingredients besides the chicken in a saucepan. 
  3. Cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes.
  4. Cut your chicken into 1 or 1.5 strips.
  5. Thread the chicken strips onto the skewers. Each skewer can have anywhere from 1 - 4 pieces of chicken. Make your best judgement. 
  6. Brush the chicken skewers with the sauce on both sides. Save extra sauce for dipping.
  7. If making inside: Broil for 2 minutes; turn and brush with peanut butter sauce. Continue turning and basting for 4-6 minutes or until chicken juices run clear. 
         If grilling: Grill for a couple minutes on each side or until chicken is no longer pink on the             
         inside. Brush with extra sauce as you grill if you would like, or just save it for dipping.

Overall, this dish was a hit. My mom said it was perfectly spicy for my brother and sister, but she wanted a little more heat. I thought it was spicy enough for me. My brother liked the chicken, but he ate his with steak sauce, like he does with most of his meat. I will never really understand his usage of ketchup and steak sauce... But definitely try out this recipe for your family if you like spicy peanut noodles. Delish!

We served these skewers with corn on the cob and some rice. 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!
As always...

Bon appétit!

May 4, 2012

Silk Fruit and Protein

Wow, the time went by fast on Thursday! I was just packing and doing laundry then BOOM! I noticed the clock said 12:15 am! Yikes! I have a lot of my room packed up, which is kind of sad. Strange to think I won't be back on campus in the fall. Instead, I will hopefully be working at an awesome job and prolly still with the 'rents. Graduation is Sunday. It totally hasn't sunk in yet. Eep.

 I wanted to do a quick review because I promised a post and I know this weekend will be super busy. The funny thing is, I wouldn't know that Silk Fruit and Protein exists if we didn't have a coupon for it. I admit, it looks like some pink medicine... but it doesn't taste awful. It's like soy milk mixed with berry flavoring. It isn't awful by itself, but I liked it better when it was in my smoothies. Maybe I will try another flavor and see if I like it better. Maybe.  



The color on the carton is approximately the color of the drink. You can see from the picture on the right that this 
drink has awesome Vitamin C and D, Calcium, 
and Protein. Since it has so much in it, I think it is
great for smoothies or drinking. I still have to
convince myself to drink it plain... 
but it could be much worse!






So what do you think? Will you be adventurous and try it? Will you go hunting for a coupon for it?

Let me know with a comment below!

As always...
Bon appétit! 

Apr 27, 2012

Meiji Hello Panda Cookies



 I don't know about you, but I used to love these cookies as a kid. I thought it would be a good time to reflect on being a kid, especially since my focus lately is on the future. The future seems quite dull and unexciting for now. Perhaps something will change that, but right now it looks like work, work, and more work. Bleh. Looking back on childhood is something fun and gets my mind off of the stressful exam week that is ahead.

Next week = exam week. I had my last class of my undergraduate career today. It's strange and I don't think it will sink in till I am completely done with exams/school stuff. It's been a crazy time with all of the projects, papers, and various other homework assignments, but I keep carrying on. I've also been dealing transferring my role as president to an underclassmen, as well as replace the other officers. The officers are all seniors, which meant more work for me. Luckily, I had people interested and wanting to fill the positions. Having that in place pushes some stress off of my plate.






And, let's transition back to the cookies... I love these cookies. They come in three flavors: chocolate, vanilla, and strawberry. Each cookie has their own little image. These specific ones have pandas doing certain sports.








This close-up image shows sailing, lifting weights, canoeing, and karate. I think they are so cute!


I found these specific cookies in the dollar section at the local Target store. Have you ever had these deliciously crunchy and chocolate-y cookies before? Let me know with a comment below! 

As always...
Bon appétit!
                                   

Apr 15, 2012

Whirlwind return: Sundae review

Oh my! The past 2 weeks have officially been nuts! Florida and then returning to school. Florida was really fun and we got to go to Typhoon Lagoon, Animal Kingdom, Epcot, Disney Quest, and Hollywood Studios. We also got to see both sets of grandparents for a day. It kind of sucked driving back on Easter, but the roads weren't bad, which made the drive much better than the way down. The way down was torturous with traffic like a parking lot on the highway because of construction and an accident. Yucky. That stop and congestion (as the GPS calls it) made our trip down about 3 hours longer than it should have been. Nasty.
However, ourFlorida vacation was fun and we even took the kitchen sink challenge at Beaches and Cream. Even with 5 people, we weren't able to finish it. We were close though! If you don't know what the kitchen sink is, here is a video about it:


Even though the video can describe it pretty well, I wanted to share my review of this colossal sundae. :)

Before


After
Ok, so in case you didn't catch it in the video, this sundae is huge! 8 scoops of ice cream, all the toppings in the house, brownie, bundt cake, multiple kinds of sauces, a whole banana, and a whole can of whipped cream. It is meant for 4-6 people, but I honestly think it depends if all the people are adults with huge appetites or kids. 4-6 kids will not finish this...





Well, that is the amount left in the kitchen sink bowl. It is slightly shameful what we left in the small bowls...

Overall, I think everyone should give this sundae a try. Definitely bring some friends and family to help you finish it. :)






Definitely something I will not forget! I must say that this week back was a bit nuts. It was difficult to get my mind back into school mode. I have sent out so many e-mails recently that I feel like an e-mail zombie. Crazy stuff! Projects galore and plenty to do before graduation. I am just hoping I can do it all!

Let me know if you have ever eaten the kitchen sink with a comment below! If you think it looks tasty, also feel free to comment! I love hearing from my readers! :)

As always...
Bon appétit!

Mar 28, 2012

Caesar Chicken Sandwiches

I have officially reached the "rip your hair out in stress" moment of my week. I thought it was bad on Monday and Tuesday, but this week just keeps throwing me more stuff to have done before Friday. Two of my classes gave me extra homework, and one involves having to call a client when I am on vacation. Yay. It is frustrating to have to deal with everything piling up, but I keep motivating myself by thinking of vacation. However, I think I will still have school stuff to do over vacation. Luckily, since I am completing certain work early, I am able to relax more than I would have if I stayed at school for that 4-day week. Hopefully it will all work out in the end.

I have less than 5 weeks until graduation. I am terrified. Everything is going so fast and I feel like my schedule is out of control! I am a planner naturally, but all this planning just has me super stressed. I think my eyes are feeling it too. Maybe eye strain? Too bad I don't have enough time to sleep enough and help my poor body fix itself. Another sad part of me being stressed and sleep deprived is that I get so hungry. This is not good when you are trying to have a healthier lifestyle and healthier eating habits! I know that my blog is filled with sweets and goodies, but everyone has to treat themselves once in a while. The main chunk of cookie recipes was from my cookie extravaganza during Christmas. So yea, that is life! Is anyone else having a stressful week at work or school?

Todays recipe is something I have literally been eating every day this week for lunch and dinner. I never realized how much shredded chicken 2 lbs of chicken could make. Luckily, it is simple, delicious, and mostly healthy (especially after I add 3 huge leaves of lettuce and 2 tomato slices!). The chicken is made in the crock pot/slow cooker, then you shred it, add the assorted add ins, and then serve up the way you like. I personally enjoy it as a sandwich, but you could expand to wraps, lettuce wraps, or possibly serving it as is. I used an oil based dressing instead of creamy, but you can use whatever you prefer. Hope you like it!

Caesar Chicken Filling- Slow cooker (adapted from Sweet Treats and More)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs boneless, skinless chicken (whatever you have is fine)
  • 1 bottle of your favorite Caesar Dressing
                                        OR
          1 (10 oz) can of cream of chicken soup mixed with 1 packet of Caesar dressing mix

  • 1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese (Shred your own or buy it in the cheese section with other shredded cheeses for best results. Try not to use the green can cheese.)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • a pinch of dried oregano, optional
  • a pinch of dried basil, optional
  • 1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley, optional
To make your sandwich:
  • sandwich buns, bread, tortillas, etc.
  • lettuce, optional
  • tomato, optional
  • other veggies
  • any other sauces or seasonings
Instructions:

  1. Place chicken in a 3-4 quart slow cooker with 2 cups of water. Sprinkle in salt and pepper with the chicken, if desired. Cover and cook on low heat for 6-7 hours or on high for 4-5 hours.
  2. Remove chicken from cooker using a slotted spoon.  Place on a cutting board and pull chicken into shreds.
  3. Pour the dressing (or cream of chicken plus dressing packet), Parmesan cheese, parsley, and pepper over the top. Stir until mixed evenly. Cover and cook on high heat for 30-35 minutes or until mixture is hot, if you want. 
  4. Spoon 1/4 cup mixture onto your sandwich or wrap and top with desired toppings. 
  5. Eat and enjoy!
I hope you try this simple recipe! I find it delicious! You could even freeze individual portions to make meals easier later! 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!


As always...
Bon appétit!

"Poverty Meal"

This past week was filled with ups and downs. I worked the business expo, which was sort of fun. I found out that the new cupcake company is not as great as it could be. I think that personalized baking and cooking is really key, especially because many desserts are too sweet. I also found out that I am a semifinalist for a scholarship competition. I have to get my friends and family to vote and get in the top 3 out of 8 contestants. It is a chance for me to win a good chunk of change that could really help pay tuition. I am hoping for the best!

This week has been stressful, yet exciting. I have 4 papers due this week, extra homework, and some organization president stuff to work on. I still have at least 10 different e-mails to send out. Ugh. It seems my time is mostly planned out. However, I took time to relax after my long day including: class, my senior assessment exam for english, and a visit to the local animal shelter to interview 3 different people. When I returned to my room, it was 4 pm and I was just burnt out. I watched the movie Have you heard of the Morgans? and jotted down a few other movies that I wish to see. I watched a bit of TV while dozing on my bed and just overall relaxed. I desperately needed that time to just chill. I feel much more level headed about the rest of this week. I am hoping to post one to three more times this week, since I've been slacking lately.

I cut up six kiwi and six bananas today so I could put them in my freezer. I absolutely adore smoothies now. I keep taking my fresh fruit and putting it in the freezer to make it last longer and to allow myself to make smoothies from it. My latest creation contained 3 frozen strawberries, a handful of frozen blueberries, a chunk of frozen spinach, and a good splash of Silk Fruit and Protein- Mixed Berry flavor. I like how Silk can instantly add protein to my smoothies! I should experiment with different healthy ingredients and see what else I could live with. I never even knew spinach would be alright until I tried it. First time for everything!

I will be gone on vacation for a week, though. My internet time will be rare and any internet time I have will need to be devoted to completing school work and keeping up with e-mails. Just a heads up! Hopefully my dorm won't be a roasting pot when I return like last time...

The recipe for today was quick to whip up, but we didn't have ground beef on hand. I used sausage and it turned out alright, but I felt it lacked flavor. I think this dish needs a bit more spice, and flavor boosters to make it absolutely delicious. I invite you all to experiment with the basic recipe and make it all your own! Next time I will add in basil, a bit of parsley, and maybe more garlic and onion.

"Poverty Meal" (from Food.com)

Ingredients:


  • 1 large onion , chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves , minced
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 lb ground beef , browned and drained
  • 2 (16 oz) cans stewed tomatoes
  • 1 (16 oz) can water (fill the empty can from the tomatoes!)
  • 8 ounces elbow macaroni , uncooked
  • salt , to taste
  • pepper , to taste
  • parmesan cheese (optional)
  • other cheeses to top (optional)
Instructions:

  1. Saute the onions in a pan with olive oil until translucent. Add in the garlic and saute for about 3 minutes more.
  2. Brown the ground beef in a pan and then drain off the fat.
  3. Add the ground beef, the saute mix of onions and garlic, the tomatoes (juice and all), water, salt, pepper, and pasta into a large pot.
  4. Bring to a boil.
  5. Reduce the heat down to medium and cook for 15 - 20 minutes or until the pasta is tender. 
  6. If desired, top with cheese.
  7. Serve and enjoy!
The recipe suggests serving this dish with crusty bread and a salad. It is like Italian night that is simplified. As I said, make sure you add herbs and spices till it tastes right to you! Hope you enjoy! 

Love it? Hate it? Want to make it? Let me know what you think with a comment below!


As always...
Bon appétit!