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Showing posts from September, 2012

A Little News...

Just in case you hadn't heard.... .... my Pink Ombre Mini Cakes made The Huffington Post today
Friday rocks.

Lemon Poppyseed Pancakes with Fresh Blueberries

What's for breakfast at your home today?

Before you believe the facade, we didn't have these for breakfast either. (we had them for dinner :)

Breakfast around here usually includes my favorite cereal (Multi-Grain Cheerios) after my run. The Manchild has recently learned how to eat cereal with a spoon and milk without spilling it all over the place. Ryan is usually suited up and halfway out the door before I can ask him if he managed to eat anything.

Let's just say we've gone the "Milk Chocolate Instant Breakfast + Banana = Shake'' route for that man who sleeps in busy guy.

Now that you know how breakfast is here, you can see why I can't pull off the whole I-make-a-hot-meal-for-my-family-each-morning-for-breakfast shpill. We just don't do a big breakfast around here unless it's a holiday or a special occasion. There's no time in the mornings! Nonetheless, we do have a breakfast-for-dinner meal a few times a month. So we still get our bre…

Salted Caramel Brownies

I don't think anything can cheer the soul for me quite like a warm, gooey brownie.

Either a cold glass of milk, or nearby vanilla bean ice-cream is essential.

I have a huge list of favorite cookies, cakes, brownies, bars, and cold treats. But by far, straight up, a warm brownie with vanilla bean ice-cream is my very very very favorite overall dessert. I'm tempted by other desserts, and they're fantastic, but I always come back to my beloved brownie & ice-cream obsession.

This time we didn't have any ice-cream on the premises. But we did have ice-cold milk (in these beautiful glasses given to me by a dear friend) to pair with these ridiculous brownies. It served as a wonderful balance to the latest seasonal craze: salt & caramel with chocolate.

I'm telling you right now - if you haven't experienced the beauty of these flavors together, you're missing out. Salt, caramel, and chocolate were MFEO (for my hopeless romantics).

After the hot & thick …

White Bean and Vegetable Chowder

The soup recipes will be very frequent as the season progresses.

I love how versatile soup can be - you can give or take a few ingredients, and the flavor will transform altogether. However, all ingredients aren't up for change - some things need to remain constant for the soup to remain... well... a soup in the first place. 

Such is life and family, eh?

Family is such a key ingredient in the soup of life. And what a complex, yet simplistic ingredient it is.

Without family, the soup will never be the same - and I can almost guarantee it will taste less savory. Any ingredients used to substitute such a key ingredient will prove to be superficial and illusive; never leaving you with the very comfort the dish is known to provide. The soup won't give you the proper nourishment. It might not even turn out to be soup after all. 

With the starring ingredient of family, the soup will be filling; and with the loving simmer of time, the flavors will become more enriched, more desirable…

Wild Mushroom and Spinach Pizza with Toasted Pine Nuts

Some of my favorite ingredients grace this pizza. Unfortunately, they're also some of my husband's least favorite.

Obviously I'm not going to eat steak or hamburger for dinner every night, and he's not going to be full with just a salad or any other 'chick food' I put in front of him. I usually compromise really well, and we have a happy balance throughout the week. However, when I saw this recipe in my latest Food Network Magazine, I wasn't going to budge. I felt kind of selfish, really, but I adore pine nuts, mushrooms, and thin-crust pizzas. How could I fit this little lover into my menu and still have a happy & full-bellied husband? (when I say full-bellied... he actually weighs around 140 and is 6'2... so maybe I need to come up with a better way to describe him being full).

That, my friends, is when the stars aligned. Ryan randomly came home for lunch, polishing off our leftovers, and said he'd have to head back to the law school until l…

Martha's Chicken and Dumplings

Yesterday the clouds settled into our valley and some much-needed rain graced the afternoon sky. We cranked the vent and let the fragrant scent of the weather fill our little home. Ryan continued editing articles for Law Review, the Manchild continued dragging his giant bear around the house/playing with his wooden puzzles, and I continued to slowly savor each moment in the kitchen making these Chicken & Dumplings on the stove-top. 

I love my kitchen. When we were looking for places to move into for Law School, this place was last on our list to visit, but quickly became one of our favorites when we walked through the door. I fell in love with the kitchen. It was much bigger than our last apartment's kitchen, and had beautiful marble counter tops. It isn't perfect - the dishwasher is one of those old-school hook-up-to-the-sink types and electrocutes me on almost a weekly basis (I'm grateful - because the alternative would be no dishwasher. I would die.) But it quickl…

Red Velvet Crinkle Cookies

Once a year our neighborhood community comes together and hosts something called a 'Service Auction' at our church. It's always great fun, and it's incredible to witness women coming together and and donating their service for other people to bid on.

At the beginning of the evening, we're handed a list of good deeds/habits. If we've done those things (like exercising regularly for the past 30 days, or planted a garden this summer) we earn fake dollars for each one. The women can then use those 'dollars' to bid on service provided by the other women. Up for bidding were wonderful things such as homemade pottery, delicious breads and spreads, delectable desserts, free babysitting and housework, free family portraits, and even the promise of a full home-cooked meal for the entire family. It was a beautiful evening for these women to share their talents, and come closer together in all the excitement!

So, naturally, yesterday I spent baking. I made two of…

Roasted Maple Almond Butter with Cinnamon

Anyone still in denial over the arrival of Fall needs to come running with me in the early morning. Summer didn't make my eyes water from the bitter cold. Summer didn't make my throat and lungs burn with the tease of much more frigid mornings to come. Summer didn't make things more complicated than throwing on some shorts and a light tank top.

I blame Fall for these things. Straight up.

Speaking of Fall, cinnamon and maple are stepping into the spotlight with our other favorite Autumn flavors. I've had this recipe pinned for ages, and after finally having a pile of almonds and apples to use, it was time.

Creamy with the slight singe of time under the flame - there really isn't anything I love more in the Fall and Wintertime than the roasted flavor of nuts, massaged with the attention of maple. This recipe combined all these things, plus the experience of making my own almond butter. It was supposed to be a win-win.... and it certainly was (the Manchild and I ate i…

Ham and Swiss Sliders in Poppy Seed Sauce

Have you ever seen a recipe pop up almost every day on Pinterest? Ever tried that recipe? I've seen these rolls all over the place. I was just going to take the Pinning Masses' word for it, and call it good. But recently (and in the past), I've even had readers recommend me trying it. What is up with this recipe?

Let me tell you: it's been pinned thousands of times. 507,000 times to be exact. People are going nuts over this stuff. And after finally trying this recipe last week, I can excitedly confirm the hype is for good reason.

I wouldn't have given this recipe a fighting chance, unless I had some good ham on hand... we can thank my dear Mother for providing our key ingredient.

Let me explain: When I was growing up, we'd visit my grandma's house pretty often (and when I say often, maybe once a month?) She lived a few hours away, but the trip was always worth it. At the close of each visit, my Grandma would send bottles of beautifully canned produce, and…

Chicken Parmigiana

One of the standards, and one of our favorite cravings to satisfy: Chicken Parmigiana.

I feel like I've been breading chicken since the week Ryan and I got married. It's one of his favorites, and is often on the top of his request list for dinner. We have breaded/fried/baked chicken with Fettuccine Alfredo, in sandwiches, aside fresh steamed veggies, and with just about any other side dish I can think of right now.

I think we can both say that I've come a long way when it comes to breaded chicken. I used to omit key steps, and usually ended up with breading falling off the chicken by the time it 'graced' our plates. It was frustrating, and I didn't know what I was doing wrong! After a year or two of trial-and-error, I then realized not only how to get the breading to coat the chicken, and stay on the chicken, but to also achieve the perfect crunchy texture on the outside (without too much grease along the way) and the deliciously moist and juicy meat on the in…

Roasted Corn Soup with Red Pepper and Tomato

Good heavens. With the temperature dipping below 50 this morning, I was very tempted to reheat a bowl of this beautiful soup for breakfast.

But seriously.

Soup is my nirvana in the Fall and Winter time. There's nothing more comforting in the kitchen (during this season) than a welcoming bowl of warm & fresh ingredients; accompanied by a little crusty bread for dunking, of course. Not convinced I'm obsessed with soup? Here's some new soups I've tried (and fallen head-over-heels for) since February:

Wild Rice Chicken Soup Southwestern Chicken Taco Soup
Chicken and Orzo Soup with Kale  White Chicken Chili
Cherry Tomato Soup with Cheese Ravioli Roasted Chicken and Sweet Corn Soup Creamy Tomato and Basil Soup with Italian Sausage Creamy Slow Cooker Tortellini Soup with Mushrooms and Spinach  Slow Cooker Parmesan Tomato Basil Soup
This soup took a little more time than your usual toss-it-all-in-a-crock/soup-pot-and-call-it-good. The fresh vegetables require a little extra lo…

Honey Butter Pork Tenderloin

I know it's good to stuff our fridges with health food, and eat our precious lady salads, but gosh dang it, sometimes I've just gotta have some meat.  And a lot of it. 
(well... in some form of moderation...)
Normally we don't buy expensive cuts (only one more year of law school/non-salary income...), so when I told Ryan I spent around $8-9 on this delicious morsel of pork tenderloin, he just about died. That's more than we'd spend on a special-occasion-Sunday dinner roast (maybe once a month at most). Then I pointed out that we only ate meat with one meal last week. Totally justified the meat-splurge this week, right?
I think I further convinced him it was a good choice when he saw me hovering over the oven, slowly spooning the honey butter juices from the pan over the beautifully delicious pork tenderloin as it deliciously roasted away. He gave me one of those looks, and I knew I had him in the palm of my hand. Meat/food is a one-way highway to this man's…

Sweet Potato Cupcakes with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting

And the Fall-soaked recipes continue...   
 I was almost defeated by egg whites yesterday. I don't think I've ever been so annoyed by my own failure to read a recipe carefully, and ended up completely wasting 8 egg whites. EIGHT. I know they aren't the most pricey items to deal with - but it still felt like throwing quarters in the garbage when I wasted a batch.
You see, I read the recipe wrong, and added egg whites, sugar, AND vanilla together on the stove to heat before whipping them into marshmallow. I learned this was a huge mistake. The vanilla was supposed to be added after the said whipping. Rule: when you want to make fluffy egg whites into marshmallow (and fluffy egg whites in general) never ever ever add the vanilla before you whip the egg whites into stiff peaks. - 'Never ever ever' to be said T-Swift style. (And yes, I just said 'T-Swift'... must be hanging out with the youth lately.) No matter how much you pray and whine and curse about the m…

Sesame Noodles with Peanut Sauce

Let's just be honest. I wasn't too thrilled to try out another peanut sauce recipe again. You see, a few months ago, I completely bombed a Thai dish in the kitchen. I didn't post about it on here because it was a complete and utter failure.

As in throw-it-straight-in-the-garbage failure.

Long story short, I ended up calling Ryan in tears and he brought home Cafe Rio for dinner. Ever since then, I've been avoiding peanut sauce recipes altogether.

Until now.

I love Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I can proudly say that whenever I've tried a recipe from her website, it has been 100% delicious 100% of the time. Her website is a goldmine. Serious kudos. I knew when I found her noodle recipe here, I could brave the peanut sauce once and for all.

It worked out perfectly! We couldn't get enough of this dish, and the manchild dove right in (minus the raw carrots). These noodles were so light, yet very filling. I got a little nervous while adding together the potpourri of ingr…

Pumpkin Spice Hot Chocolate

The season is changing right before our eyes.
Colorful overtones of Fall continue to tease as Summer fades gracefully into the background. I think it finally hit me that Autumn was here this morning. It was early, and I had grudgingly laced up my running shoes. I strapped on my Garmin and iPod (just started listening to These Is My Words). Usually I try to get out before the sun peeks over the mountain, but today I took my time. With a yawn, I opened the front door. Nothing could have prepared me for that cold rush of Autumn air - completely chilling my lungs in one breath. It wasn't the usual morning crispness. 
It was cold. 
As I headed down the road, I wished for that sun to rise faster to warm the air. Today was the first time since mid-March I thought about gloves and running tights; about corn mazes and tall boots; about the familiar smell of pumpkin carving, and the beautiful comfort of hot chocolate.
Fall, for me, has officially arrived.
Blog land has apparently caught…

Lemon-Garlic Chicken with Creamed Corn

Have you ever seen a recipe and knew right away you were in love? I couldn't believe how simple, yet craving-inducing this little chicken recipe was. Plus, it was served over one of my favorites: creamed corn. As Summer winds down, corn is still at the forefront. I grew up on this stuff (my Grandparents had/have a huge garden in Mendon), and still remember my Grandma and Grandpa eating corn vigorously from left to right like speedy typewriters at the dinner table.

When I was a little girl, my Mom would serve corn all the time. She knew how much I loved cream corn, so sometimes she'd make a little saucepan of creamed corn just for me (even though she had 1 adult + 3 other kid's taste buds to satisfy at dinner time). It always made me feel extra special, and to this day I love creamed corn. However... I had never tried making it from scratch until last week. It's BEYOND easy! And tastes like heaven on a spoon.

I adjusted the recipe to use less chicken, and only drumsti…

Thick French Toast with Homemade Fresh Strawberry Butter

I'm holding on to strawberries as long as I can! I adore strawberries, and we've tried to use them as much as possible this season. When I saw this recipe, I knew we had to save it for this Sunday.

When we got home from church, we were starving - and I couldn't wait to whip up a batch of breakfast-for-dinner to fill our bellies. Each week at some point, we have some kind of breakfast for dinner (usually in omelet form to clean out whatever meat and veggies we have leftover in the fridge, as well as use up our eggs). It's fast, easy, and always delicious.

I couldn't wait to try this recipe when I saw it on Pinterest a couple weeks ago. Fresh Strawberry Butter? What could be more dreamy on a thick warm slice of french toast? It was absolutely delicious. Although, I did change the recipe to use fresh strawberries instead of strawberry preserves. It was worth it! When I made the strawberry butter, I couldn't stop spreading it on the un-battered slices of french br…