Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Lemon Ricotta Cookies & Baskets of Love

I got the following recipe from Two Peas & Their Pod who got it from Giada. Maria & her husband were recently married & together they really enjoy cooking, including homemade pastas & baked goods. They're inspiring! I made this recipe particularly because I shy away from baked goods with citrus in it, not sure why. But I wanted to venture outside my norm in case I was missing anything & sure enough, I would have missed out big time.

These were absolutely amazing. I included them in a basket to our friends who had a baby & also brought some to my parents as well as my in laws. I got an email from Terry's parents raving about them and my mom called me at 7:50am yesterday to let me know how much they loved them. These cookies are so light & refreshing, with a unique texture thanks to the ricotta cheese. I can't wait to make 'em again!!


2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 stick unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 (15-oz) container whole milk ricotta cheese
3 tblsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested (see here for lemon zesting)


1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
3 tblsp lemon juice
1 lemon, zested

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. In a medium bowl combine the flour, baking powder & salt. Set aside. In a large bowl combine the butter & sugar. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter & sugar until light & fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until incorporated. Add the ricotta cheese, lemon juice & lemon zest. Beat to combine. Stir in the dry ingredients. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Spoon the dough (about 2 tablespoons for each cookie) onto the baking sheets. Bake for 15 minutes, until slightly golden at the edges. Remove from the oven & let the cookies rest on the baking sheet for 20 minutes.

Glaze: Combine the powdered sugar, lemon juice & lemon zest in a small bowl & stir until smooth. Spoon about 1/2 teaspoon onto each cookie & use the back of the spoon to gently spread. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours. Makes about 36 cookies (needed 3 baking sheets).

My Thoughts:

I added a bit of milk to the glaze which thinned it out & allowed the glaze to drip down the sides of the cookie which I liked. I wouldn't have wanted them more lemony so I will probably do the same next time as well. Just taste it & judge for yourself.

Click Here for a Printable Recipe

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I also wanted to show you the basket I brought to our friends. It was a dark basket, only one I could find, so I put some ribbon & a bow on it. I included a Real Simple magazine, blue M&M's, some washclothes, cookies, Asian Slaw, Hot Cocoa & the tray of Swiss Mushroom Chicken Bake.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Mexican Chicken Crostada

Great weekend but busy! I cooked a bit and also brought a tray of the Swiss Mushroom Chicken Bake & some homebaked cookies to our friends who just had a baby & also to my in laws.

I got this recipe from Jenny at Picky Palate. Visit her, she's an amazing cook/baker! I will be making it again as I'm a sucker for anything in a crust or with filling.

Mexican Chicken Crostada
1 roll Pillsbury Pie crust, thawed
1 ½ - 2 cups cooked shredded chicken
1 drained can Mild or Original Rotel diced tomatoes with chilies
½ cup fresh chopped cilantro leaves or dried
1 tsp Ranch dressing seasoning, from packet that makes the dip
1 tsp cumin (I plan to use 1/2 tsp next time)
Pinch of salt & pepper
½ cup shredded cheddar cheese
1 tblsp extra virgin olive oil
¼ tsp garlic salt

Preheat oven to 375. Unroll pie crust & place onto a cookie sheet that has been sprayed with non stick cooking spray.
Place chicken, tomatoes, cilantro, ranch seasoning, cumin, salt & pepper into a large bowl. With a fork, stir & cut up chicken pieces until well combined. Pour chicken mixture into the center of pie crust & top with cheddar cheese, leaving about 1 ½ inch border around edges. Fold crust up over chicken forming little pleats every 2 inches or so pressing gently. Brush edges with olive oil & sprinkle crust with garlic salt.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until crust is golden brown on edges. Let cool for 5 minutes then cut into wedges to serve. Makes 4 servings .

My Thoughts:

You can use canned chicken like Jenny did but I prefer using Rotisserie chicken since my little guy will eat that & not the crostada. I also used dried cilantro & didn't really measure. As for the cumin, while one of my fav foods is Mexican I am not a huge cumin fan. The 1 tsp in this dish is very prominent so I plan to use 1/2 tsp next time. For a variation I can totally see making some chicken, spinach, mushrooms & onions with some mozzarella cheese for an Italian version. Yum!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

The Dawn Has Broke

It's over & I'm not drowning in a sea of tears. No waterfalls. I'm shocked. I've been very close friends with tears of happiness before but for some reason I never got past damp eyes this time. I think it's because I was so satisfied with this series, so extremely content with how this saga ended that I was relieved. I just didn't want to cry anymore. And I didn't need to. I won't feel withdrawals because Edward & Bella sit on my nightstand, all 4 so beautifully aligned, waiting for me to peruse whenever I feel.

It was so beautiful, I can't even imagine a better ending to this past month of obsession. And I can't even fathom how some would be unhappy with this conclusion, as I heard there were many.  

I want to say thank you to this very intelligent, eloquent & beautiful lady for introducing me to this series & for so passionately acting as Stephenie Meyer's unofficial marketing gal. This was the series heard around the blogosphere & she had a lot to do with it. You should just listen to whatever she says, that's all! 

Thanks Lula. You, along with a few others, have reignited my desire to always have a book on my night stand. I just need to keep it out of my lap at stop lights!!!!!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Saturday Suitcase of Stuff

I am not a huge weekend blogger but it gives me good opportunity to post things I normally don't. Tristan just wanted to say good morning & thank everyone for prayers for his grandpa who is out of the hospital & being watched closely. He also wanted to show off his two birthday presents from my best friend Jen from NY. A super cool apron & baseball hat. Yes, my boy is going to know how to cook & play ball! He wants to make the ladies happy already. 

I am 2 chapters away from my heart breaking the end of Breaking Dawn. Really, I have been savoring this end for a while. I even stopped last night purposely & thought when will it be best to break down & cry. So, this afternoon, I have scheduled the conclusion of this sexy, crazy, beautiful love story & the start of my mental breakdown. Actually, while I KNOW there will be tears, I think I am going to be happy with the ending!

I made a dish last night that was a flop. Just nothing special at all like I thought it would be. So, hopefully the rest of the weekend will yield some tasty items!!!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Beer & Cream Cheese

I'm so happy it's Friday. It's been a rough week with getting over the flu, getting back into the swing of things & most importantly, my father in law has been in the hospital since Sunday night. Since then, he has had many tests & scans, 2 stent surgeries & now gall bladder issues. I want to send prayers his way.
On to other things, I hope to cook a bit this weekend & get back to some real recipes. Although I have so many yet to share that I've already made, I don't like to post them until I have my own picture to accompany it. Oh, I already set up the printing option as well. Thanks for voting.

I made some vegetable cream cheese last night that was awesome & I wanted to share it. It rivals any cream cheese I have had, store bought or otherwise.
Vegetable Cream Cheese
1 envelope Lipton Recipe Secrets Veggie Soup Mix
2 8 oz pkgs cream cheese, softened
2 tblsp milk

In medium bowl, combine all ingredients; chill 2 hours. Makes 2 cups. It's nice you can make this as lowfat as you'd like.

Click Here for Printable Recipe (the recipe is on the back of the Lipton box) :)

I also wanted to share a beer I bought & tried yesterday evening. It was like pumpkin & spice in a bottle, but subtle. Perfect for this season!!! I loved it. If you like ales & Blue Moon I think you'll really like this.

I wanted to tell you how Tristan is keeping tabs on my progress with the Twilight series. He sweetly asks me each day how far along I am as he calls the book by its name. I tell him once which one I am reading & he always remembers it. Yesterday, he says "mommy, you're almost done with Breaking Dawn." Yes, I am. I can honestly say I'm a little nervous about the emotions that will take over me on that last chapter. But there'll be Midnight Sun, Edward's perspective of Twilight, that will keep me from having withdrawals. UPDATE to clarify: Midnight Sun is an online draft version of a book that got leaked. It's not another book though. It tells of Twilight from Edward's perspective.

Have a great weekend everyone!!!!!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sesame Chicken & Noodles

We really enjoyed this dish awhile back. I made quite a few changes to the original recipe & while we had it warm, I think I prefer this dish cold. It was amazing the next day!!!

As my mind's on Breaking Dawn, I can't help but think that if vampires could eat, they would really enjoy this straight out of the fridge after a little horizontal immortal mambo. Just sayin'. What I wish & get are two different things, no spoilers here. Anyway, ahem, here's the recipe.....

Picture from Google

Sesame Chicken & Noodles (adapted from Better Homes & Gardens)

1/3 cup rice vinegar
1/3 cup sliced scallions
2 tblsp honey
1 tblsp soy sauce
1 tsp ground ginger
2 tblsp Asian garlic chili sauce
3/4 lb fresh chicken tenderloins
8 oz pkg whole wheat whole grain thin spaghetti
2 tblsp sesame oil
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 8oz pkg special blend mushrooms

In medium bowl stir together vinegar, scallions, honey, soy sauce, ginger & garlic-chili sauce. If you have pre-packaged chicken toss it into sauce & set aside to allow flavors to meld. If using fresh chicken, saute in pan with a little oil for a few minutes. Add red pepper & mushroom & saute for another few minutes. Add to sauce & set aside.

Meanwhile, prepare your noodles. When they're done, rinse with cold water if you are eating the dish cold. Toss with the sesame oil. Place on plate & then spoon chicken mixture on top.

My thoughts:

If you don't have garlic chili sauce, just add some garlic powder to the sauce. Also, original recipe called for 12 oz pkg of refrigerated grilled chicken breast strips but I don't like buying those pre-packaged goods because of the sodium.

Click Here for Printable Recipe

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Inn Love with B&B's

Hi all. I have been MIS. Missing in sickness. Just coming around from something that felt like the flu. I have missed seeing what's going on in your neck of the woods so I will be catching up today & tomorrow. More than halfway through Breaking Dawn with all the rest time I had. Still in love with those crazies............

Bed & Breakfasts - they're one of my passions. I fell in love with them about 15 years ago while visiting my grandma in New Hampshire with my parents & sister. I remember seeing the clawfoot tub at the foot of my parent's bed & my mouth dropped open.

At that time, I started researching B&B's online here & I was simply amazed at being able to look at all the rooms. There were a couple of places where I'd call to reserve & would be flexible on the date just so I would have a specific room. Whether it was the jungle room or the library room or maybe the aquatic room, each would take me away to another world for a weekend. There were also a few B&B's I would visit just for the B&B itself, not caring the town it was in, knowing we would find fun somewhere. Here are a few....

(Click to enlarge)

The romance, the charm, the home cooked breakfasts, the wine hour, the cozy common areas where guests gather & talk or quietly read a good book, & all the beautifully decorated individually themed rooms. They take my breath away & make me feel like a kid in a candy store.

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Monday, September 22, 2008

Recipe for Party Fun

You start with a beautiful Ben 10-lovin' 4 year old going on 14, patiently awaiting all his friends & family to come over for his 5th birthday party.

(Click on pictures to enlarge)

Then you throw in some family & friends.

Add in a bunch of fun.

This wet slide was amazing!!! Once the party ended I was on it like white on rice, since we had it for the whole day. Some kids went into the pool as well with close supervision but this was the main draw of the party & kept everyone cool!

Then sprinkle on lotsa sugar.

For the favors, I printed some Ben 10 labels & affixed them to the party favor bags. Inside was a little notebook with pen for the kids to doodle as well as some fishies, raisins & M&M's.

My biggest creative contribution to the party was the fruit kebabs. They were so much fun to put together & instead of just putting them on a platter I thought the kids would get a kick out of them hanging vertical through pieces of cut fruit, ahem, planets. I picked up some crystals at the crafts store which acted as meteor pieces from another galaxy & matched the green color scheme of the party. 

As for the cake, since the market didn't carry any Ben 10 designs I drew up something very simple & had them decorate accordingly. I also bought some Ben 10 cake toppers online. For food, I kept it easy for myself as I usually do for Tristan's parties & made a pasta salad as well a spinach dip. I also had platters of Cubanitos, sandwiches & chicken tenders brought in from Publix. 

This was one super fantastic party. We had a blast, kids & adults alike. While it ended at 2 for most, the party went on until 7! Tristan got some beautiful gifts & really enjoyed his day. 

For some other fun birthday celebration pics please also visit Chronicles of a Mommy who had a big bash going on as well this weekend. I know you'll find a lot of good ideas her way if you have a party coming up. 

Friday, September 19, 2008

This Little Piggy Went to the Market........

I'm a bit disappointed in myself for writing a very long emotional post late last night, telling myself I would not delete it this morning, only to come back & censor myself by shortening it quite a bit, leaving it up for an hour, only to come back again & deleting the entire thing. Maybe I just wasn't ready for it..........another time.
So, for something upbeat instead...................
I wanted to share some pics of a restaurant/market we went to last weekend for an early lunch with my parents. This place is to me what 5th Avenue or Gucci or a cute boutique is to many of you. This is where I like to spend my money. Forget the shoes & handbags, give me some beautifully colored pasta & wine in crates!!!!!! Click pic to enlarge.
Beautiful, packaged gourmet goods. Love it!!! I wish this place was my kitchen, especially the top left pic. My Dad is as happy in this kind of environment as I am, middle right. I was a good girl & came out with just a bottle of Pinot Grigio & pasta, bottom right. Talk about opening a bottle of woop woop on someone. Hah. It was very good!!!!!! I've yet to try the pasta though.

Alrighty, I leave you now with wonderful weekend wishes. I have a party to go prep for.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Ranch Potato Casserole

This right here is potato goodness at its absolute finest, a recipe I am so excited to share & one I got from Real Mom Kitchen. We had this dish as a side to some steak I threw on the grill this past Sunday as well as some sauteed squash & zucchini. Delicious times! This one is good for the whole family, like a loaded baked potato but without the fuss. The picture speaks for itself I think. This is a must try!!!!

I believe I am out of my funk, thanks to all of you who inspire me with your creativity, intelligence, wit, humor, even the cute practicalities of your everyday life, the list goes on. It really does!! 2 more days until my little boy's 5th birthday party & I believe the adrenaline rush I desperately needed is starting to come on. I am also 100 pages away from the end of Eclipse. I have been very good with savoring!!!!!! It has left me breathless on more than one occasion.

Ranch Potato Casserole

6 to 8 med. potatoes, cubed (I used the tiny bag of fingerlings, unpeeled)

1/2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. prepared Ranch dressing
1-2 strips bacon, torn (I only used 1 strip of turkey bacon & it seemed enough)
2 tbsp. fresh minced parsley (I just sprinkled in some dried)
1 c. shredded Cheddar cheese
1/2 c. shredded Cheddar cheese

Boil the potatoes until tender (approx 15 min) & set aside. Combine sour cream, dressing, parsley & 1 cup of cheese. Carefully mix in the potatoes. Place in a greased 13x9 inch baking pan. Top with 1/2 cup of cheese & bacon. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.


I made just a few changes from Real Mom. I didn't peel the potatoes as she does because anytime I can leave some skin I will. I also did not cook the potatoes for too long because I wanted them to maintain their form & not turn to mashed when I incorporated the wet ingredients. So, make sure to mix carefully.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Looking Back to 3, Looking Ahead to Twilight

Tristan turns 5 this weekend so we're having a party at the house. I've been relatively cool about the whole thing & have kept my entertaining obsessiveness in check. It reminded me of the time he turned 3 & I, well, didn't keep it in check. I decided to make his invites from scratch. It surprised me even because that just wasn't what I normally do. But something bit me & I spent hours upon hours making these over the course of 2 weeks. 

I was especially proud of the little handkerchief I made & weaved through holes for the back of the invite. I really don't know where I pulled that idea out of. I don't spend a lot of time doing this kind of thing, so that's why I am proud of these & wanted to share.

It was a Woody & Buzz party. We rented a miniature horse who acted as Bullseye. Tristan was on him for 30 seconds & was done! I took it easy last year & had his 4th party at an indoor playground. I think I was still recuperating!

On an entirely different subject, I was playing around today & did this. I know, I know. Just being silly. Sorry hubby, I don't REALLY love Edward. I love Edward & Bella together!!!! And I have to get all this out at once so I can get back to my food stuff tomorrow, ya know?!?! Anyhoo, you can do a billboard like this here.

Brought to you by Angie & Wordful Wednesdays from:

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Kung Pao Chicken

This is one of the best stir fries I have ever made. I loved the broccoli slaw in it which is only the 2nd time I have ever used it. If I were at an Asian restaurant & served this dish, I would have been 100% satisfied. The Szechuan makes it very spicy so if you want to use this recipe as a base but with another sauce you could. BUT if you & your man like things spicy & are without the kids one night this would be a true winner. We're still talking about the dish right?

The rice in the pic is some of the best I've tried. I try to stick to whole grain brown but when recipes like this call for a nice white rice, I just love Jasmine or Jasmati. Doesn't have to be organic though, I just grabbed it. I could eat a pot of it plain with my fingers. Not that I have ever done that............

1 lb. boneless skinless chicken, cut into small pieces
1 tbsp. oil
1 (1 lb.) bag broccoli slaw
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup spicy Szechuan stir-fry sauce
1 Tbsp. honey

Heat oil in heavy skillet or wok. Add broccoli slaw & stir fry 5 minutes until crisp tender. I like mine a little softer so I cooked it longer. Remove from skillet & set aside.

Add chicken to skillet. Stir fry over medium high heat for about 5 minutes until browned. Add bell pepper & water. Cover & cook for 4 minutes until chicken is tender. Add stir fry sauce, honey & broccoli slaw. Cook & stir for 2-3 minutes until hot. Serve over hot cooked rice. Serves 4.

I am halfway through Eclipse. Lots of stories in this one & I tend to read them over & over. But I am showing restraint. Great weekend but I am feeling a bit in a funk. I'm going to go over comments from the past couple of days & like always, I am sure you're going to put me in a great mood again. Thanks in advance!!!!

Friday, September 12, 2008

Saturday's Mixed Brown Bag of Goodies

Hope everyone is having a nice Saturday! Please see this scene from the movie Serendipity I talked about a little bit back. It's an awesome scene, calming, very romantic but mostly because it has the instrumental piece I love by David Gray. As I mentioned before, it was Gray's music I fell in love with my husband to. 

The song January Rain is one of the only instrumentals on the incredible CD it belongs to & never fails to remind me of our courting days 7 years ago. This movie is also an awesome chick flick if you haven't seen it yet.  The song that comes on after the instrumental is awesome too but I don't know who it's by.

Here are also a few other recent shots I wanted to share with you:

Daddy & Tristan having an impromptu jam session in the bathroom. 

Tristan in his new Ben 10 costume he'll don for his birthday party next week & Halloween if he wishes to.

This morning brought the ending of New Moon. Le Sigh. I do plan on making a trip to the book store tonight to get Eclipse BUT I do plan on slowing it down a bit, reading just a chapter or two a night. After all, if Edward & Jacob can have self-control then I need to master some myself!!!

The Crockpot Chronicles - Sweet Shredded Pork

Oh, how I have been anxious to post this recipe since making it for Monday night's dinner. I found it at Kaysville Momma who's now hanging out here. It was so amazing, exceeded any expectation for something so simple to prepare & it's simply the best pulled pork I ever had. Serve it over rice or in a tortilla or my favorite, on a fresh kaiser roll with a little shredded mozzarella. This would also be excellent with chicken!!!

I hope everyone has a great weekend! I will certainly be cooking a bit but mostly getting ready for Tristan's 5th birthday party next weekend. I'll be done with New Moon tonight. Le Sigh. But I may or may not fight myself tooth & nail (ha ha, I just caught that, no pun was intended) to go to the bookstore to get Eclipse. That's right, I may have to give myself a week's rest so I can prepare for the party because it seems I can't get my head out of Forks. As for this 2nd book, no disappointment here!!!

Sweet Shredded Pork

Put a pork roast in your crock pot. Add 2 cups of salsa, 1 can of coke (not diet) & 1 cup of brown sugar. Cook on low 8-10 hours. Shred with forks in crockpot just before serving & remove any bones. Place some shredded mozzarella on roll, pour some meat on top drizzling a little extra sauce, maybe some more cheese, hmmmm. Too easy!!!!!!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Moon, Sweet & Savory

Already 190 pgs into New Moon. Sobbing uncontrollably, evident in my eyes this morning, real life pains from long ago coming back to mind combined with intense thrills of a partly fictitious world.

There has definitely been a change in seasons but I understand you can't have the beautiful days of Spring without the harsh hours of Winter. I keep telling myself this is just one part of a whole beautiful story that is not done yet. In a way, this one has moved me in more ways than the first. I just don't know how much more I can stand.........

Sweet .......................

I got this recipe from Deanna's Corner Cooking. I was intrigued by the simplicity of it & it did not disappoint. In fact, it exceeded my expectations as the yellow cake mix yielded a nice surprise underneath the thin cream cheese icing. It's not your usual spongy cake in this delight. Everyone loved it. And I loved being able to warm up a slice days later & it tasting just as delicious. It's a must try!!!!

Chess Squares

1 yellow cake mix
1 stick butter, melted
1 egg
1 box confectioners' sugar
8 ounce pkg. cream cheese, at room temp
2 eggs

Mix first three ingredients with fork. Press into the bottom of 9 x 13 pan sprayed lightly with Pam. Cream eggs & cream cheese with a mixer. Add sugar. Pour over bottom mix. Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes until edges are lightly browned. Cool & cut. Store leftovers in fridge. Re-heat a slice in microwave for 8-10 seconds.

Savory .......................

I made onions & peppers over Labor Day for the chicken sausages I grilled. I wanted to share it here because they came out great.

Onions & Peppers

Just saute some onions, red & green peppers in heated olive oil until they soften a bit. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder & Italian seasoning.

My two tricks are adding a little sugar to taste for sweetness. And when the pan looks like it's getting dry pour a little beer into it & watch the beautiful steam rise. I did this twice. In this case, I was drinking Beck's Light, you can almost see it to the left of the green candle in the middle picture. Yeah, I'm a messy cook!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A Meme for Youyou

Today, I combine a meme (list about me) passed along to me from Another Online Mom with my Wordful Wednesday contribution hosted by Angie. The meme requires me to post a picture of me & my beautiful child followed by a series of questions & answers below.

This is really one of my favorite pictures of the two of us from November '07. It was at a park in Mt. Dora where they were having a Thomas the Train event. I remember feeling good because I was just getting into these jeans again after not wearing them for way too long. I was actually on a cleansing right at this time. And Tristan, my dear Tristan, looks happy as he always does! I have about 6 more lbs on me now so I need to keep looking at this pic for motivation!

1. How many kids do you have? 1
2. What is their age? Just about 5
3. What time do you usually start your day? 5:45am
4. What do they eat for breakfast? Combo of either Turkey bacon, waffle, raisins, banana
5. Do they get to watch T.V.? Yes
6. What's their favorite activity? Although limited, Playstation with daddy
7. Do you get a break during the day for some "you" time? Lunchtime
8. How do you end your day? Saying the prayer, reading & falling asleep with Tristan
9. What's your best parenting advice or tip? Love with all my heart, laugh a lot & have patience!

Wordful Wednesdays hosted by

Oriental Broccoli Slaw

Pg 377 of Twilight. Oh my. I can't spell out the words of the sounds I make when reading this so I will just say OH MY. They just finished up the thunderstorm baseball game.

Well, onto more deliciousness. I made this as a side dish to the chicken florentine sandwiches on Sunday night. I got it from my sister who got it from a friend & so on. We had it as a leftover side for last night's dinner as well. The balance between sweet & tangy is very satisfying. This is a must try because it's easy on the effort & high on the taste.

Oriental Broccoli Slaw

1 bag broccoli slaw
2 pkgs Oriental Ramen noodles, crushed finely
1 seasoning packet from noodles
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1 cup oil
1/3 cup red wine vinegar
1/2 cup sugar

Mix broccoli slaw with noodles & sunflower seeds. Mix seasoning packet with oil, vinegar & sugar. Pour over slaw mixture & mix well. Refrigerate for at least 3-4 hours, preferably overnight. If you don't crush the noodles the bigger pieces will not become soft like you want them to.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Chicken Florentine Sandwich

What a wonderful weekend!!!

Disney on Ice was very nice, will post pics soon ~ Laughed hysterically at What Happens in Vegas, it's a must see, new favorite romantic comedy ~ Park with Tristan on a beautiful Saturday morning ~ Shrimp rolls from seafood market, oh my ~ Fall cleaning frenzy & crazy mad mission to do ALL laundry AND even put it all away, felt amazing ~ Made 4 post-worthy dishes, 3 new ones & 1 old favorite ~

And Twilight, pg 245, speechless, in love with Edward's character already, read it at all the red lights on the way into work this AM. Funny - I was ready to call my co-worker to say I'd be late, to stop at a coffee place to have a cup while I read some. Just then, she texted me to say she'd be late. I laughed & decided I would still make it happen in the next day or so. You were all SO right. My biggest question is are they ever going to kiss. Ohhhhhhhhhhhh......................

Chicken Florentine Sandwich

This is to die for, a favorite for over 6 years, adapted from a lady who won a bunch of money for it in a recipe contest. Originally made with pizza crust & called a panini, I've adapted it to be even easier & faster by using rolls instead. We ate this for dinner last night with an amazing Asian slaw which I will post this week.

2 chicken breasts, flattened for uniformity
Italian seasoning
Garlic powder
Light Mayonnaise sprinkled with garlic powder
2 kaiser rolls
3 slices provolone cheese
1/2 box frozen spinach, thawed & cooked, all water drained
1 cup onion, chopped
1 tblsp white vinegar, cider or apple
1 tblsp sugar

Sprinkle chicken breasts with Italian seasoning & garlic powder. Grill on George Foreman (or your own method) until cooked through. Meanwhile, saute onions until softened. Add sugar & vinegar & cook through until liquid is evaporated. When done, push to side of pan. Place spinach in pan to keep warm. Mix together & set aside.

Get rolls ready - cut rolls but not completely through. Spread mayo garlic mixture on both sides. Place 1 slice provolone cheese on one side & 1/2 slice on other side (one's not enough, two's too many). Place onion spinach mixture on one side & chicken breast on top. Close sandwich & place on George Foreman grill to press together for 45 seconds.


It's important that if you use a slanted grill like the George Foreman, to place the closed part of the sandwich closer to you because it will keep the filling from sliding out. I may even start pressing my sandwich in a pan. This is a must try. A yummy sandwich you'd think you ordered at a sidewalk cafe!

Friday, September 5, 2008

Southwestern Casserole

It's 7am. Going to get some coffee while we're out doing an errand, then to the park, off to explore a New York style deli I've never been to, make something sweet with my little guy & off to the Disney Ice show tonight. And a bit of Twilight Reading, only 23 pages in..... Oh, also, if you haven't seen What Happens In Vegas with Ashton & Cameron, you should!!!!  I was laughing so hard last night, that kind of hysterical laughter with tears but no sound coming out. I haven't finished it yet because Tristan woke up from my laughter as he was lying on me. 
Southwestern Tuna or Chicken Casserole

I made this with tuna last week but next time I will definitely be using chicken. I am posting it because of the value it brings for being easy, convenient & healthy. Comes from Cat Cora. T for tasty, E for easy.

Nonstick cooking spray
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1/2 cup chopped celery
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, frozen & thawed
1 (10.5-ounce) can reduced-fat cream of mushroom soup
1 cup store-bought bottled tomato salsa
1 teaspoon chili powder, if desired
1 (6-ounce) can tuna packed in water, drained & flaked
2 1/2 cups rotini, penne or fusilli pasta, whole-wheat if desired, cooked according to package directions
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, reduced-fat or fat-free

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 2-quart casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray and set aside. Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with the canola oil & when the oil is hot, add the onion & celery. Cook & stir until the vegetables soften, about 3 minutes. Stir in corn & cook 2 minutes longer to incorporate. Stir in the soup, salsa & chili powder until well blended.

Add the tuna & cooked pasta, stirring just to coat. Pour into the prepared casserole dish. Sprinkle the top evenly with cheese. Bake for about 25 minutes or until bubbling. Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Sweet Stuff & Summer Night Tea

With Tristan starting kindergarten at a new school next year & having been at the same pre-school since he has been crawling, it was my intention to familiarize him with the new school way ahead of time by going to some of the shows the kids put on or even visiting during school hours this year. So, it was a very nice surprise this past Sunday when, as we were passing by purposely, I saw the doors wide open with smiling people outside getting ready for their church service.

We went in, explored & peeked into all the classrooms. I couldn't be more excited to see Tristan's positive response, especially since he cried a couple of months ago as we passed by & pointed out his future school. It also brought back some sweet memories of my own of those colorful classrooms with artwork everywhere & letters & numbers all across the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling. This excited feeling stayed with me the rest of the day. A sweet, wonderful mommy moment.

On to other sweet stuff, here is a recipe I got from Deanna's Corner Cooking for a tea. I didn't mean to get all fancy with the punch bowl but it made so much that it was the only thing I had to fit it all. The kids enjoyed it at the BBQ as did I when I mixed with just a touch of vodka.

Summer Night Tea

1 (10 ounce) package frozen strawberries, thawed
1 ½ quarts boiling water
3 family sized tea bags
½ cup sugar
1 (6 oz) can frozen lemonade concentrate, thawed & undiluted
1 (2 liter) bottle lemon-lime carbonated drink, chilled
Garnish: fresh mint sprigs or slices of fresh lemon

Place strawberries in blender, process until smooth & set aside. Pour boiling water over tea bags. Cover & steep 5 minutes. Remove tea bags, squeeze gently. Stir in sugar, lemonade concentrate & strawberry puree, chill. Stir in lemon-lime beverage just before serving. Serve tea over ice. Garnish, if desire.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Wordful Wednesdays

Hosted by:
Because I'm a dork & I try to combine tasks, even when they're pleasant ones, and because I go into withdrawal if I don't post about food, here is my photo for Angie's Wordful Wednesdays. These are Tristan's party invitations for his birthday coming up later this month. Inside are regular store bought invites so to doctor them up & get a little crafty, I put some Ben 10 color inspired M&M's in a little candy bag, secured with ribbon, & then tied through a hole in the top corner of the envelope. Of course, these don't work for the invites I had to mail but I am sure the kids at Tristan's school liked the surprise in their cubbies.

Again, I am not THAT crafty, don't do scrapbooking & all but I do like to kick things up a notch sometimes. 2 years ago I made Tristan's invites from scratch which I will post soon. It was different of me to do that but I enjoyed it & was proud of them. Give them a reason to come to the party, ya know, aside from being Tristan's friend. Hah. Click on photo to enlarge.

And in the middle is my steamed asparagus w/ parmesan that I make often. Thank God for this because it's what got Terry to stop eating it from the can. For a long time I told him I can get it just as soft, which is what he likes. Finally, when I made it & he approved I was able to stop buying it from the can.
Steamed Asparagus
Place asparagus in steamer basket. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, garlic powder. Steam for 15 minutes on medium heat. Sprinkle parmesan cheese & let steam for 5 more minutes until parmesan cheese melts.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Labor Day & Burger Sliders

The holiday weekend was great! Started out with some Kenny Chesney on Friday. While I had a great time hanging out & tailgating with hubby, it was a reminder that concerts are just not my thing unless the circumstances are perfect. Meaning, good seats & actually being able to SIT in them. We did have good seats (bottom left pic) but I was so disappointed that everyone stood from the very 1st song to the very last.

The rest of the weekend was relaxing. Quality time with just Terry & Tristan as we swam together while listening to some good music. Terry surprised us when he came home with a beautiful new guitar. As he walked in the door, Tristan said "daddy, you're in a band?" No, he's reviving a hobby from long ago & I'm really glad for him. And while I finally bought the Twilight book everyone is raving about, the only reading I did was of an entire Goosebumps book yesterday with Tristan. He is not even 5 but loves this series.

Saturday, we enjoyed family & friend time with our BBQ. Tristan had a ball with Tammy's girls, Tiffy & Tori, as well as his cousins as they enjoyed their last day in Florida. We caught lizards on the patio & hung one from my ear. I won't even mention & post the pic of me trying to hang him from my lip but it was so cool to see Tristan & the kids amused. 

We played superheros (above right of Tammy, me & sister Andrea) & when it finally stopped raining we watched the kids play in the pool until I jumped in clothes & all. Good times! My heart swelled a bit watching the kids (middle pic), ages ranging from 3 to 9, as they sat & put a puzzle together & played a board game. The clouds & rain did not stop us from having a beautiful day!

SlidersThese little burgers were great, inspired by a recipe from Emeril. They were fun to make & a nice change from the regular sized burger. One was a bacon cheddar mixed in with the meat & the other was regular. I didn't feel like mixing up my own meat so I re-shaped store bought pre-made patties into 3 inch patties & just sprinkled them with some garlic powder & salt & pepper. They only took 5-6 minutes on the grill. I served them on little Hawaiian rolls & topped them with some creamy horseradish mayo.

Creamy Horseradish Mayo from Emeril
In a small bowl whisk together the mayonnaise, sour cream and horseradish and season with the remaining 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Place in a nonreactive bowl and refrigerate until ready to serve, up to 3 days in advance.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

It's been a great weekend, will recap more tomorrow when I have my pics together. I will say the Kenny Chesney concert was nice but NOT the highlight!!! Saturday was an awesome day as we had a BBQ at our house. Family came over as well as best friend Tammy with her girls. I was very anxious to post this new recipe. Need I say more, LOOK at this picture!!!!

These were ABSOLUTELY FANTASTIC!!!!! Each time I plopped one of these in my mouth I had to say WOW. My ONLY wish is that I had made them myself. Yeah, Tammy brought these. It was her 1st time making these & we were both excited they came out so beautifully. I will surely be making these soon. They're very easy to make, you just need a little time for assembling them.

Tomato Mozzarella Skewers

{Click to Print Recipe}

24 slices white bread
6 tblsp olive oil
8-9 oz fresh mozzarella, cut into 1/4" slices
6 ripe plum tomatoes, cut into 1/4" slices
1 cup fresh basil leaves, plus extra chopped for garnish
Salt & Pepper
2 tblsp fresh flat leaf parsley

Preheat over to 425. Trim crusts from bread & cut each slice into 4 squares. Arrange on baking sheet & brush with oil. Bake 3-5 minutes until pale golden. Remove bread squares. Make 32 stacks, each starting with a square of bread, then a slice of mozzarella, then tomato & basil. Sprinkle with salt & pepper, then repeat, ending with a piece of bread. Push a skewer through each stack & place on baking sheet. Drizzle with remaining oil & bake upright for 10-15 minutes until cheese begins to melt. Garnish with basil & parsley.

{Food for Thought}

You can't tell in the picture but there is a piece of bread in the middle. So, it's like a triple decker but they're still a perfect 2 bite appetizer. If you make these, they will surely become a part of your favorites.