Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Crescent Bacon & Cheese Tarts

These are the cutest little things, perfect for when you want a little breakfast on the go or when you're having guests. I purposely tried a few with bacon & a few without for some friends near & dear to me, you know who you are! They both are equally as delicious. I can definitely see changing these up to include sausage & cheddar cheese or some turkey sausage & pepper jack.

1 8oz can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls or 1 8oz can refrigerated flaky dough sheet
1/3 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1/4 cup chopped cooked bacon
About 2 tblsp chopped green onion (1 medium)
1 egg
3 tablespoons whipping cream **

Heat oven to 375°F. If using crescent rolls: Unroll dough into 1 large rectangle on work surface. Press into 12x9-inch rectangle, firmly pressing perforations to seal. If using dough sheet: Unroll dough on work surface. Press into 12x9-inch rectangle.

Cut dough into 12 squares. Gently press squares into 12 ungreased mini muffin cups, shaping edges to form rims 1/4 inch high. Spoon cheese evenly into dough-lined cups. Top each with bacon & onion. In small bowl, beat egg & whipping cream with wire whisk or fork until blended. Spoon slightly less than 1 tablespoon mixture into each cup.

Bake 15 to 20 minutes or until edges are golden brown & filling is set. Cool 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups.

{Food for Thought}

Some mini muffin pans vary slightly in size so you may get a little more out of this than 12. I also made these healthier by substituting the heavy cream with milk, & would again. Refrigerate leftovers. To warm, wrap in paper towel and microwave for 8-10 seconds.

Go Visit Blessed with Grace for More TMTT!! And Angie for Wordful Wednesday

And congratulations to Liz for winning the SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Birthday Package!!!!!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Not So Fat Friday - Moo Shu Style

This little blog o' mine has been more about living & loving than eating lately so it's time to kick it up a notch & get back into the swing of things. I was going to go on & on about how I've been in a funk & now that Tristan's birthday party is over I need to find something else to focus on.

But in an effort to keep things short & savory 'round here, I'll just say it's time. Time to get my soup back on. Ya know?! I'm looking forward to more cookin', cooler weather, invigorating breezes, euphoric runs around the neighborhood & the anticipation of turning 38 & finally, the holidays.

Well, onto the eating ~ I recently tried Moo Shu Pork when family was visiting & we ordered in Chinese, a rarity since I like to make Asian at home minus the MSG. I really enjoyed it so when I came across this healthy recipe for Moo Shoo Vegetables from EatingWell.com I knew I wanted to try it while modifying it a bit. I added shrimp to mine but you can certainly add chicken as well or leave the recipe as is. And I used authentic moo shu wrappers rather than tortillas to keep it authentic. This was delicious & filling & guess what? Healthy a.k.a Not So Fat!!!!!!!


{Printable Recipe}

3 tsp toasted sesame oil, divided
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
2 tsp minced fresh ginger
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 12-ounce bag broccoli slaw
2 cups mung bean sprouts
1 bunch scallions, sliced, divided
1 tblsp reduced-sodium soy sauce
1 tblsp rice vinegar
2 tblsp hoisin sauce

Asian chili garlic sauce for garnish

Heat 1 tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add eggs; cook, stirring gently, until set, about 2 minutes. Remove to a plate. Wipe out pan & heat the remaining 2 tsp oil over medium heat. Add ginger & garlic & cook, stirring, until softened & fragrant, 1 minute. Add shredded vegetables, bean sprouts, half the sliced scallions, soy sauce & vinegar. Stir to combine.

Cover & cook, stirring once or twice, until the vegetables are just tender, about 3 minutes. Add the reserved eggs & hoisin; cook, uncovered, stirring & breaking up the scrambled eggs, until heated through, 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the remaining scallions & remove from the heat.


  • sesame oil need not be toasted
  • 3 eggs were enough
  • powdered ginger would work well!
  • up the garlic to 4 cloves
  • original recipe suggested tortillas but it seemed weird to me. Go to your local Chinese take out place as I did & ask for the moo shu wrappers. They were $3 for a pkg of 10.
  • didn't use the bean sprouts because the ones in my fridge were too old. maybe next time.
  • If using shrimp like I did (about 20) then add in after 2 minutes of cooking the slaw. If using chicken, then cook by itself, keep warm, then add back when adding eggs & hoisin sauce.

For more yummy goodness please visit a new friend of mine at Momtrends!!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Birthday Package Giveaway

I love parties & planning for them. So be it if I get happily & mildly obsessed as I plan. It's fun, something to focus my energy on, plus I know my son appreciates it. And while I may not be the biggest fan of Spongebob it does lend to some pretty fantastic party ideas.

I am not a year round crafty gal but when I have a goal in mind, my crafty side comes out. So, I spent a lot of time making things & coming up with ideas for this party. After much time, money, love & sweat, I thought it would be nice to pass on a lot of the goodies that made this SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Pool Party a wonderful one for my sweet boy. He had a great time, as did the adults. We had Tristan's swimming teacher come act as lifeguard so the kids could play in the pool while the adults enjoyed themselves too.

Below are some pics (make sure to doubleclick for details) I wanted to share as I normally would but there is also a description & then details on what exactly I am giving away as part of the:

SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Birthday Package ~ Valued at $130-$150

Deets: I came up with this invite idea within 5 seconds of Tristan saying he wanted a SB party. Simple & easy but creatively effective. And people will be surprised getting a sponge in the mail. Address & number have been scratched off. Giveaway: The electronic template for winner to attach to sponge. I'll even make you the little red ties.

Deets: The sweet birthday boy just moments before his friends arrive. Giveaway: That SB birthday banner hanging from the mantle & the SB centerpiece right behind sweet birthday boy.

Deets: Take note of the real Krusty Krab sign from the SpongeBob show. I knew I had to duplicate it somehow for the food table.

After I was lucky enough to come across a half-clamshell dish I decided to make the top from white cardstock, making it look like one big clam.

Then I propped it up just right behind the clamshell dish with a placecard holder. Giveaway: Clamshell dish, white cardstock Krusty Krab sign with placecard holder & the net too!

Deets: Let's look at this picture again. 'Cuz I made the menu too. I bought this nautical tray on sale at Michael's, turned it on its side. Then made up a menu of what we were actually serving, cut it out with weird scissors then colored the edges.
I had my supermarket make me 45 mini burger patties. My Dad was wonderful enough to grill them all. I also served mini chicken patties that I had catered in from a nearby restaurant. I served cut up fruit in pineapple boats & chips & dip. I also didn't take a picture of some apple juice that I added blue dye to in order to look like ocean water.

Giveaway: The tray and the secret formula bottle with sand.

Deets: A proud craft moment for me was making this sign for the front yard. I wanted the ambience to begin before guests even came to the door. I was going to hammer it into the ground in the yard but rain stopped me from doing that. If you click on the picture, the brown is real sand. Yes, I glued sand to the picture. The rest I just drew & colored in. Giveaway: The sign, large net & starfish & seashells.

Deets: I think my best idea for this party or ever was the pineapple entrance. By this time I knew I was out of my mind. But it was easy & made for an awesome photo op. I glued large orange cardstock together. The top was cut from a palm tree cut out bought from the party store. I also made the life preserver/buoys from that foam stuff at the craft store & painted red stripes & draped rope through them. Giveaway: Pineapple top, a tutorial on making the pineapple & the life preserver/buoys.

Deets: This 2 piece sign never made its way up on the wall but it's cute. Giveaway: 2 piece birthday sign.

Deets: SpongeBob loves to catch jellyfish. I crafted most of the 14 here but had some visiting family make one to represent themselves since they couldn't be at the party (my sis made the NY Yankees one). The plan was to have a sign out back by the tent that said Jellyfish Fields & hang all the jellyfish from the tent. The rain foiled that plan so I brought it all inside, except for the sign. The jellyfish were all hung from jewelry making cord.

My SpongeBob jellyfish.

I got lucky enough to get this sign out of a Spongebob Jellyfish game so I glued it to dowels & put it in the ground while it was still raining. Ideally, I wanted the sign with all the jellyfish together. Giveaway: All the jellyfish & the sign along with the original stickers that came with the game. You put each child's name on a sticker & they have to stick it to the sign, sort of like pin the tail on the donkey.

Deets: I hung 24 feet worth of streamers in 2 shades of blue from the patio frame, to appear like the ocean. I don't have those anymore but I do have.......Giveaway: This rectangle tablecloth that wasn't dirtied at all. I folded it to fit this round table.

Deets: I bought this custom made banner off of Etsy. I had planned to hang it from the pool fence but again, the rain. Giveaway: Bikini Bottom banner.

Deets: I made SpongeBob labels on the computer to wrap around the bottles of bubbles for the beach pail favors below. Giveway: Already made labels.

Deets: My son found this little craft, Captain's Wheel perhaps, at the store & said it looked like SpongeBob's front door. Light bulb came on so I attached it to a real pineapple which served as part of the centerpiece. Giveaway: Captain's Wheel craft.

Deets: I am not a huge fan of all the plastic tablecloths so I thought it would be cute to display all of Tristan's SpongeBob artwork by arranging it on top of a blue tablecloth & placing a clear one over it. Giveaway: Both tablecloths, clean!

Other items in giveaway: Not pictured is a roll of blue cellophane that you can put up on a window to make your guests feel like they're under water as well as a pinata stick & mask. One highlight of the party was watching all the kids try to bash in the SpongeBob pinata before I realized it was a pullstring pinata.
Alrighty, that concludes all the items for the
Spongebob Bikini Bottom Birthday Package.
Below are some other pictures from the party.
The cake:

One of Tristan's best friends, Angel.

One of the other highlights of the party ~ After most had gone home, Tristan & his two girlfriends were running around the yard kissing each other. They didn't know we were spying. Just about one of the cutest things I ever saw.

Photo ops by the pineapple.

Tristan & his girlfriends.

Ok folks:
  • For 1 entry, leave me a comment telling me why you, or someone you know, would benefit from this package.
  • For 2 entries, in same comment above tell me what your favorite giveaway item is.
  • For 3 entries, post about this on your blog & let me know that you did.
Easy! Winner will be chosen randomly on Monday, September 21.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Shore is Good Seafood Dip

Tristan's birthday party was a hit. I'm getting my photos & info organized for my Spongebob party package giveaway so I'll see you back here in the next day or so with all that good stuff. Even if you don't have a son, you can win it for a friend who does.

I served mini burger & chicken sliders at the party, which served as Krabby Patties. After all, Spongebob works at the Krusty Krab as a fry cook, flipping Krabby Patties all day long.

I also intended to serve this dip as an appetizer, thought it fit well into the ocean related theme but it just never happened. So, I ended up baking it the next day & took it to my BF Tam's house. It was excellent but I did modify a bit of this Paula Deen recipe.

2 tblsp butter
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium onion, diced
2 stalks celery, diced
1/2 of a 10 3/4-ounce can cream of shrimp soup (discard top half & use bottom part of soup)
1 cup mayonnaise
1/2 pound freshly grated Parmesan
6-8 oz crabmeat, picked free of any broken shells
6-8 oz shrimp
1/2 teaspoon white pepper

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.

Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat. Add the bell pepper, onion & celery, saute for 2 minutes. In a bowl, combine the soup, mayonnaise, Parmesan, crabmeat, shrimp & pepper. Stir the sauteed vegetables into the seafood mixture & spoon this mixture into a lightly greased 8 by 11-inch casserole dish. Bake for 30 minutes. Serve with toast points, crackers or Scoops like I did. Let sit for at least 10-15 minutes to set.

{Food for Thought}

I paid a little more for fresh crabmeat but find that it's worth it. I also used uncooked fresh shrimp so I sauteed it with the veggies until just cooked through.

Two additions to the recipe that I would do again: added garlic powder to the veggie mixture as it was cooking. And once I had the mixture in a dish I sprinkled some Old Bay on top.

My one Publix didn't carry Cream of Shrimp Soup so I improvised by using 1/4 can of cream of onion & 1/4 can of a creamy tomato parmesan bisque. It was excellent this way but I think the bisque made the mixture thin out at the end of the baking time. So I had to actually add a cornstarch/water mixture & cooked it for 20 minutes longer.

If you use cream of shrimp then you probably won't have this problem. In the event you still do, just make a mixture of cold water with 2 tblsp of cornstarch, then stir into the mixture a bit at a time. If you can't find cream of shrimp just substitute 2 different cream of's, perhaps onion & celery, unless you can find the tomato parmesan bisque.

Visit Lisa at Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Baked Chicken & Mushrooms

My son's 6th birthday ~ Spongebob Bikini Bottom pool party ~ is tomorrow!! I have been planning, crafting, researching, taste testing, scheming, glueing, taping, drawing, organizing, cleaning & ordering, up the wazoo, for the last 30 days. And now it's actually here. What ever will I do when it's over?

Maybe get back to cooking more!! I used to have a backlog of tried recipes waiting to get their time here but I have just about run out. So, by next week I hope to be back in full force.

{I will also be posting all the deets on the party & hosting a giveaway (my 2nd ever) for all of the Spongebob birthday supplies, purchased & crafted, for anyone who has a Spongebob lovin' boy}

For now, here is something easy, a recipe I adapted from Taste of Home.

6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (4 ounces each)
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/2 lb fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 tblsp olive oil
1/2 cup sherry or chicken broth
5 green onions, chopped
2 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese

Arrange chicken in a 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray. Sprinkle with paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350° for 15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a large nonstick skillet, saute mushrooms in butter for 5 minutes. Add the sherry or broth, green onions, garlic, salt & pepper. Bring to a boil. Pour over chicken.

Bake 10-15 minutes longer or until a meat is cooked through. Top with cheese. Bake for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Yield: 6 servings.

And I love this shot of the steam fogging up my camera.

{Food for Thought}
Anything can be subbed here if you don't like mushrooms or scallions. Just use green pepper & vidalia onion instead. This would be great over rice too but I just LOVE slicing potatoes thinly & pan frying them in just 1 tblsp of olive oil for about 25-30 minutes over medium heat, adding in all my favorite spices like garlic, tuscan seasoning, a little oregano & some parmesan cheese.

Have a great weekend everyone. What will YOU be doing?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Stuffed Cocktail Party Shrimp

Been MIA planning the ultimate 6 year old's SpongeBob Bikini Bottom Birthday pool party (say that 5 times) but it's a fun busy. I can't wait to share with you all the party details because once the party is over I am going to be giving away all the theme decorations, purchased & crafted, for someone who intends to have their own SpongeBob party.

Family is also in town so this weekend we'll be hanging out riverside in a rented cabana with a tiki bar just 20 feet away, kayaking & canoeing & just having fun. Wish me luck as this will be Tristan's 1st time in a kayak. While he'll be in one with me it's always an adventure trying something new.

And speaking of trying new things, I made these shrimp last weekend while the visiting fam was hanging out poolside. I really loved them. They were easy to prepare & I loved how the tail curled over the stuffing as the shrimp baked, making for a perfect little handle. I modified this recipe to be healthier so please see notes below. I was rushing to get back in the pool & never took a pic but these are exactly how they looked.

{Courtesy of Google}

32 jumbo shrimp (about 2-1/2 pounds), peeled & deveined *
2 sticks (8 ounces) salted butter, melted *
One 1-pound loaf white sandwich bread
2 tsp hot sauce (eyeball it)
4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
3 tblsp chopped fresh thyme (about 6 sprigs) *
Salt & freshly ground pepper

Preheat the oven to 425°. Split the shrimp by cutting them lengthwise down the back, stopping just short of cutting them in half. Pat the shrimp dry with paper towels & using a pastry brush, brush them with one-quarter of the melted butter.

In a food processor, pulse the bread into crumbs & transfer to a small bowl. Mix the remaining melted butter with the hot sauce, garlic & thyme. Pour the butter sauce over the bread crumbs, stir to combine & season to taste with salt & pepper.

Place the shrimp, cut side down, on a large, sturdy baking sheet & top with a generous tablespoonful of the bread-crumb stuffing. (The tails will curl up over the stuffing during baking.) Bake in the center of the oven until the shrimp are cooked through & pink in color & the
stuffing is lightly toasted, 15 to 20 minutes.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

{The shrimp before being put in the oven}

{Food for Thought}

There was no way I was using 2 sticks of butter so I didn't brush the shrimp with butter at all. I only used a total of 1/2 stick of butter to mix in with the breadcrumbs. Then I used a little olive oil to make the breadcrumb mixture come together better. I also brushed my baking pan with olive oil as well. I used dried thyme instead of fresh which was just fine. And I substituted a little whole wheat bread into the mixture. Any stuffing, such as crabmeat, would be great for this recipe as well.

As for the shrimp, my supposed jumbo were more like medium sized shrimp so I only used about a tsp or 2 of the stuffing & lightly patted it down on the top of the shrimp, then baked for only 10 minutes, then turned the broiler on for about 1 minute in order to get the breading toasty. This was perfect.

Visit Blessed with Grace for more Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

An Ugly Kind of Delicious

This is for my good friend Leigh Anne of Lulaville fame. She's not a date lover at all but she had these at a fancy restaurant not too long ago at the urging of the waitress. And guess what? She thought of me while she was devouring them. And then wrote me about how amazing they were & how I needed to try 'em. It's been awhile but I finally did this past weekend. She was right, they were really good.

I know, they don't look very pretty. Like little bugs or fingers or cigar stubs even. But hey, if I wasn't in such a rush with a house full of family I would have made a better presentation. I thought the little cupcake holders were kinda brilliant though.

Anyway, these were all kinds of sweet & salty. And the almond in the middle gave it a nice textural contrast. Everyone really enjoyed them but also agreed that 4-5 of these little guys are just a perfect amount. There are many variations as well, stuffed with blue cheese & drizzled with a balsamic reduction but this recipe is all over the web & the most basic I wanted to try.

Bacon Wrapped Almond Stuffed Dates

24 pitted dates
24 whole almonds
8 slices bacon

Heat broiler with rack 6 inches from heat. Stuff dates with almonds.

{The dates have a little hole on one end, perfect for pushing in an almond}

Cut bacon into thirds crosswise. Wrap each date with a bacon strip. Place seam side down on a slotted broiler pan.

Broil until crispy on one side, about 5 minutes. Turn & cook until bacon is crispy throughout, 3 to 5 minutes more. Transfer to paper towels to drain.

{Click Here to Print Recipe}

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