Friday, February 26, 2010

Sesame Nuggets with Honey Mustard dipping sauce

Ok let’s face it, this is not the thing to try if you want to avoid calories. If you lean on the side of being a heavy dipper (me me me!) then you are in so much trouble. Also I would like to publicly announce that Indigo is one crazy little bat, she again (bless her tummy) rejected my nuggets and opted for a more healthy meal of turkey & veggies. Seriously Indy, you are breaking mommies heart....and scale (who do you think eats her rejects!).



Sesame Nuggets
INGREDIENTS
3 chicken breasts, cooked and cubed (nugget size)
½ cup of fine bread crumbs, plain
¼ cup sesame seeds
½ cup of mayonnaise
1 tsp of dry mustard
1 teaspoon of dried minced onion
1 tbs of Dijon mustard
1 tbs of sesame oil to fry the nuggets

DIRECTIONS
First thing you need to do is cube the raw chicken into nugget size pieces. After that you want to fry up your nuggets with the sesame oil and set aside so they can cool down. Now let’s make the nugget coating, mix together in a large bowl the mayonnaise, dry mustard, dried minced onion & Dijon mustard. Next we need to make the breading, and you will need to mix the bread crumbs and sesame seeds together in a large Ziploc bag. Alright, now we have all the components for the nuggets. Since the chicken is now cool dump all the nuggets into your bowl and make sure to coat them well. Next step is to add the chicken into your Ziploc bag and toss those puppies around until evenly coated. Once coated extract from the bag and place onto a oiled baking pan. Bake your nuggets at 425 for 12-15 minutes.

Now you can relax…or you can make this great honey mustard dipping sauce.

Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce
INGREDIENTS
½ cup mayonnaise
2 tbs of Yellow mustard
1 tbs Dijon mustard
2 tbs Honey

DIRECTIONS
Mix it all together in a pretty bowl

Assemble a pretty plate, serve!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Vanel Chardonnay 2008 - 4 Stars



1 star - Did not finish the bottle & couldn't even pass off to a *friend*
2 stars - I might open another bottle before touching this again.
3 stars - Yum, perfectly acceptable.
4 stars - Write this down, then wash it down, you must try it!
5 stars - Farking Awesome!

I have another great find from BevMo, Vanel 2008 Chardonnay! I give it 4 stars. I seriously did some great wine shopping. I hardy ever get two 4 star wines in a row.

From the experts :
87 PTS WILFRED WONG. Clean and bright, the '08 Vanel Chardonnay offers a fine look into the Vin de Pays d'Oc wines; zippy and textured in the aftertaste.

From Jennifurla : Yum & Gulp, 9.99 at BevMo.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Cheddar Wafers with a side of cheesy smile



A, She’s adorable
B, She’s so beautiful
C, She likes to eat these Cheddar Wafers! He he.

So I was introduced to this small snack via some other mothers on the net. It has been borrowed from http://weelicious.com/2008/10/21/cheese-wafers/

INGREDIENTS:
½ lb Sharp Cheddar Cheese (room temp)
5 TBS butter, softened
1 cup of flour, you also need some for light dusting when you roll it out and cut your shapes.


DIRECTIONS:

All right, let’s get this party started. First you want to combine all of your ingredients in a food processor. If you don’t have one I used my hand mixer for about 4-5 minutes then I used my fingers from there to join the dough. Worked like a charm. If you are feeling daring this is where you would add any dry spice you want to flavor your wafers. I made some flavored with and onion & garlic powder and one set of plain wafers. So after you have your dough together you want to fashion it into something like this. . .UFO Cheddar Discs. As you can see I used parchment paper to keep the dough from sticking to anything.



Now you need to cover your dough, and put it into the refrigerator for at least 1 hour. I just put my two dough discs into a large zip log bag.

Now that you hour is up it is time for baking. Pre-heat your oven to 400 and get ready to make your wafers. You also need to line a baking pan with parchment paper. Now you roll your dough out to about ¼ inch thick for a perfect crunchy wafer, go thicker for less of a crunch. You might even try making different thicknesses for fun….I did. Use extra flour if your dough sticks to the pin.



Now if you have fancy but small cookie cutters you can cut your shapes. If you are like me and don’t own a single cutter you can actually use a medicine bottle to make circular wafers. I dusted the rim of the bottle every couple of wafer cuts. Place the cut wafers onto your lined baking pan.



Now you need to go give your kid a kiss, seriously these are not getting baked quick enough and your patiently waiting child needs some positive reinforcement…Alright now that the pan is covered and smothered and ready for baking you need to let these cook at 400 for about 12-14 minutes.

Tick tock tick tock….done! Yum, they smell great….



Can’t smell them…get closer…

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Crash or SMASHED hot potatoes

I made those famous Crash Hot Potatoes last night - yah they're great! I followed the basic recipe from the Pioneer Woman’s website.

http://thepioneerwoman.com/cooking/2008/06/crash-hot-potatoes/

I chose to use my favorite potato, the Yukon Gold. My local store had a nice bag of baby Yukon’s, so cute. I find this particular potato can be baked and eaten with nothing other then a fork, great flavor in my opinion. I would totally make-out with a Yukon Gold if I had one with me right now.

So here my story, I brought a large pot of salted water to a boil. Next I added the whole bag of Baby Yukon Gold taters and let them boil until I could poke a fork through. While the potatoes where cooking I slathered a large baking pan with Olive Oil, I really coated the pan (ie: you could fry chicken on this pan). Once the potatoes were ready I transferred them all onto a towel so I could dry them off, and then I transferred them to my baking dish. I didn’t have a potato masher so I used a fork, which worked just fine. If the potato split oddly I just pushed it back together with my fingers. If the potato was on the larger side, I cut off the top then mashed it. Alright after you have your potatoes mashed you need to coat them very liberally with more Olive oil. I didn’t have a brush and just used a paper towel coated in olive oil. Now comes the fun, your toppings. I used 5 cloves of chopped garlic, kosher salt, pepper, rosemary & parmesan. I was very liberal with the salt and all the rest I held back….just a little though.

Check out the art!


So I baked these bad boys for 25 minutes at 450, perfect. I removed from the heat and well…the only ones that made it to a plate where the ones in my picture. Myself and the husband ate them straight from the pan. They were just really good. I served them with a side of Asparagus that I tossed with Olive oil & seasoning salt, then fried in a pan for about 10 minutes.



I also found a great little center piece, I used the bottom of the asparagus and placed it in a small coffee mug.

VOILA!


Enjoy.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Dinner Party with Three Cheese Radicchio Pasta & Lemon Glazed cakes

Dinner party one was a smashing success if I do say so myself. It came off without a hitch, in fact me & the hubster praised ourselves for several hours after the event. The two new recipes we tried were simple, easy & very tasty. One was a pasta dish with various cheeses and something I had never tried before Radicchio. I snuck a taste of the radicchio before it was cooked and promptly scrunched my face….I decided to be brave since the internet promised me it would change flavors – it did! I also had a semi home-made dessert of Trader Joes Vanilla cake with a homemade Lemon Glaze, wow.



INGREDIENTS FOR 3 CHEESE RADICCHIO PASTA
1lb box of Penne Pasta
1 Head of Raddichio, shredded
5 or 6 Scallions, sliced thin
1 cup bread crumbs, I used the canned stuff
Ok…now comes the good stuff
3 cups cream
2 small logs of goat cheese (about 2 cups)
3 Cups of Parmesan
1 cup Fontina

The original recipe called for Gorgonzola – I’m just not a fan so I picked a few of my favorite cheeses.

DIRECTIONS
Cook your pasta as directed on the box. Butter a 9x13 baking pan, deeper pan is best. Once the pasta is cooked drain & toss with the Cream, Radicchio, Scallions, Goat Cheese, 2 cups of Parmesan & the 1 cup of Fontina. Now you can dump the whole mixture into your baking dish. On top of the mixture sprinkle your bread crumbs and the remaining cup of Parmesan. Cover your dish with aluminum foil and bake for 30 minutes at 375. After those 30 minutes are up take the aluminum foil off and turn that oven up to 450. You will want to brown the top a little, about 10 to 15 minutes. Keep an eye on it! Once baked I let it rest for about 15 minutes, serve and enjoy! It is great the next day too, and the next….

Now the dessert was just as good. I baked a Trader Joes Vanilla cake…Actually I made 6 muffin cakes. I thought it would look fancier that way.



INGREDIENTS FOR LEMON GLAZE
¼ cup unsalted butter
1 ¼ cup sifted confectioners sugar
¼ teaspoon of salt
2 tbs of whole milk
1 tsp of lemon juice
Zest of 1 Lemon

DIRECTIONS
Melt your butter over a medium low heat until golden brown. In a medium sized bowl whisk together your sugar, milk, lemon juice, lemon zest & salt. Add your bowl mixture into the butter and stir till smooth, remove from heat. I then poured directly over my cakes which had already cooled. The glaze set’s up real nice after about 15 minutes.



My little diva lived up to her normal standards by refusing the cake, and making mommy feed her the pasta noodle by noodle.

Friday, February 19, 2010


So I don't want to brag or anything but I get to have my fair share of wine. Simply put, I love it. It is like breathing to me...ok now I sound crazy. Anyways I wanted to post some of the wines I enjoy and rate them from a 1 to a 5 star wine...according to my own taste of course. I don't have the words to properly convey what I taste, but I sure as heck can tell you whether I love it or hate it.

1 star - Did not finish the bottle & couldn't even pass off to a *friend*
2 stars - I might open another bottle before touching this again.
3 stars - Yum, perfectly acceptable.
4 stars - Write this down, then wash it down, you must try it!
5 stars - Farking Awesome!

Alright so according to the website for Guenoc : This wine is luscious, lean and complex, with aromas of pineapple, guava and honeysuckle, with bright juicy flavors of grapefruit, pears and lime citrus. The fruit for this wine was 100% estate grown.

I can honestly say I LOVED it. It is very different as far as taste goes. I got it at BevMo at the 5 cent sale so go try it ladies & gents. I give it 4 stars.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Fancy Grilled Cheese


Awhile back I saw a segment on Oprah about a fancy grilled cheese, I didn't use all the different cheese's they did...just my favorite Havarti. This is a great meal to feel *fancy* with but hardly spend any dough or time. It's a grilled cheese, but a fancy one.


INGREDIENTS

Bread (I used regular white sandwich bread)

Butter

Havarti Cheese, shredded or deli Havarti.

Roma Tomatoes, Thinly Sliced

Basil, Chopped

Honey

Oil (veggie)


DIRECTIONS

Lightly oil a frying pan, and put over a medium high heat. Place a piece of bread that has been buttered on one side down into the pan (buttered side down). Place Havarti, Tomato slices & chopped basil on top of bread. Next you will want to drizzle the honey on top, don't skimp! Place the 2nd piece of buttered bread on top then flip.






Pumpkin Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

Man did I feel like a workaholic last night, not from my normal 9 to 5 – but from laundry and baking….oh yah and making sure my mini-me is occupied. I even had a brief mommy brain lapse where I let my sweet bean eat some cake batter…with raw eggs! Needless to say that batter was like toddler crack & mom crack. It was really great, and when it bakes up it’s just as good.

Indigo cleaning out the batter bowl



INGREDIENTS
• 1 (18.25 ounce) package yellow cake mix
• 1/2 cup white sugar
• 1 teaspoon baking soda
• 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
• 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
• 1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
• 1 cup vegetable oil
• 4 eggs
• ½ cup of raisins
• 1/2 cup chopped pecans

DIRECTIONS
In a large mixing bowl combine the yellow cake mix, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger, pumpkin puree, vegetable oil & eggs. Mix together by hand or mixer. After the batter is ready mix in the pecans & raisins…If you are daring you might taste test that sweet batter now.



Next pour the batter into your prepared baking pan, I used two round pie pans for my cake. Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes or until a toothpick or skewer comes out from the center cleanly. Once baked remove from oven and let cool for at least 2 hours.

ICING! Oh how I am impressed with myself for making icing. To be honest with you before I started cooking things…just a short 2 months ago I couldn’t have even told you what was in frosting. I made a nice cream cheese one for this cake. Below are the ingredients, if you prefer a higher cream cheese concentration then just leave out some sugar if you swing the other way just add more.

INGREDIENTS
• 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
• 1/2 cup butter, softened
• 3 1/2 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
• 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
In a medium bowl you will want to cream together the cream cheese, butter and vanilla. Next add the sifted confectioner’s sugar and blend together. You have now birthed cream cheese frosting.

Once your cakes are cooled you will want to find a plate or surface for the cake to sit on for icing. Next you will want to cut 4 small strips of parchment paper to place around the side of the plate (This will make the icing bottom PERFECT). Take one of your cake pans and flip the cake over upside down onto the plate and on top of the parchment paper. Take your frosting and ice the top of the cake on the plate. Take your second cake and place right side up on the first cake, like so….


Now ice the whole thing, don’t miss a spot! When you are finished you remove the parchment pieces by slowly pulling on them. What does this leave you with….



And 20 minutes later after setting the frosting in the fridge..YUM

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Trader Joe's chocolate combo dessert

I do not shop at Trader Joe’s all the time, but when I do I am always so happy with all the *new* things I can try. I love to have a small & quick dessert in the evening with my husband, so I picked up some of their instant chocolate pudding and Lacey’s Milk Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookies.



This combination is a winner…which makes me a winner for putting it together. Ok maybe that is taking it too far, but you should try this cheap dessert. I made 5 cups just like the one in the picture, great for just you and the family or a dinner party.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Stuffed Peppers for Sunday please


What a happy weekend, all well & all happy.. I must say that I had forgotten how much of a pleasure my daughter is until this weekend, with all the sickness we have experienced I don’t think her little personality has been allowed to flourish and well it was at it’s peak this weekend. She was a happy bee buzzing around and well I just love her. We made a fantastic dinner as a family on Sunday and I can’t wait to enjoy it again tonight (YAH LEFTOVERS), I also ventured to BevMo for their 5 cent sale and loaded up on white wine.

Below is that wonderful dinner we made on Sunday, it does take a wee bit of work but it is definitely worth it. One of these buggers will fill you up and you’re sure to have some for lunch the next day. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS
6 green bell peppers
1 pound of ground sausage
1 large onion chopped
2 11oz cans of tomato soup
2 2/3 cup water
1tbs of chili powder
1 tbs garlic powder
Salt & pepper
1 pound sharp cheddar cheese
3 cups uncooked instant rice

DIRECTIONS
1. Slice tops off of your bell peppers, remove the seeds & membranes. If you prefer a soft bell pepper after baking you need to boil the peppers for 5-10 minutes. If you like a crunchy bell pepper, simply set the cleaned peppers to the side and skip the boiling. I personally did not boil my peppers as we prefer a crunch.

2. Fry your sausage and chopped onion in a large/deep skillet until browned. Reduce heat to medium and stir in the tomato soup, water, chili power, garlic powder, salt & pepper and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and add in ¾ of your sharp cheddar, simmer on low for 35 minutes.

3. While your mixture is simmering prepare 3 cups of your instant rice according to the package. Add this rice into your sausage mixture at the 35 minute mark and simmer for another 25 minutes or 1 hour total.

4. Place your bell peppers on a baking pan and spoon your sausage mixture evenly into each bell pepper. Bake these peppers at 350 for 30 minutes.

5. Remove bell peppers from the oven and top with remaining cheese, broil for 5 minutes or until the cheese in melted on top.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Crust on Top Apple Pie

I can’t say this particular pie was taste tested by more than three people – me, my hubby and Indigo…but it is so fantastic. I really hope you can try it as it is so easy and can be whipped up in no time. This was the first pie I have ever made; I actually had to go buy a pie pan. I am a complete beginner when it comes to concoctions like this. I found this particular recipe on the web and made one change strictly on instinct and it totally worked (I am the one who added the pumpkin pie spice!). Please also be prepared for you house to smell so absolutely wonderful, it was a rainy day when I made it and it was so comfy in our home.



INGREDIENTS:

5 apples, cut into thin wedges

3/4 tbsp cinnamon

1/4 tbsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tbsp sugar

1 cup flour

1 cup sugar

3/4 cup butter melted, make sure it cool before use

pinch of salt


DIRECTIONS:

Preheat oven to 350ยบ. Lay the sliced apples in the pie pan, it should be about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Sprinkle the tablespoons of cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice and sugar on top. In a small mixing bowl, mix the flour, sugar, butter, and salt. This mixture is then place evenly on top of the apple slices, my mixture was fairly thick so I spread it around with my hands. Bake for 45 minutes or until top in slightly browned.


Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Survival of the fittest?


Do you ever get that feeling like the Universe is trying to weed you out? I have serious proof that there are things working against this family! We have been sick more than well so far this year, and well it is getting on my last nerve...my last very sick and coughing nerve. My sweet Indy came down with the stomach flu through the phone, I joke not. I simply called a friend who had the stomach flu and it tranferred through the wires to us. Soon after the other pieces fell, meaning mom next and now daddy. My munchkin did however survive quite gracefully, much better than her dear mom and dad.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Avocado & Tomato Salad


Salads, yum! This is a kid approved meal….how do I know? My sweet little Indigo gobbled this up. Indigo often enters the house and asks for avocado, which is great because I love them too but….I wanted a new way to use them that made it a little more adult and this is a perfect little recipe. My husband (test subject) also confirms that this salad was great the next day with some tortilla chips.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

INGREDIENTS:
4 large tomatoes, chopped. I used cherry tomatoes myself.
4 Avocados, peeled, pitted & diced (ripe but semi-firm)
1 Red Onion, chopped
¼ cup of Balsamic Vinaigrette Salad Dressing
Salt & Pepper
DIRECTIONS:
Your only directions are to toss it all together, and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. Very easy and very tasty and remember totally approved by Indigo (my boss!). To save it for the next day I simply juiced a lemon on top and covered it with saran wrap. Make sure that your Saran Wrap is actually touching the salad then refrigerate.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Adventure 2 - Almond Champagne & Pear cupcakes



This particular recipe is from YumSugar on 52 weeks of baking. The only change I made was to use Almond Champagne. I suggest you do too, as these are showstopper cupcakes. I had grown men fighting for the last one. Again though my Indigo turned her nose at these...one day I will get her on board.

Here are the ingredients you will need:

For the cupcakes:
2 3/4 cups of flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch of salt
2 sticks of butter
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
3 firm-ish but ripe pears, peeled, cored and grated
1 cup Almond flavored champagne

For frosting:
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, softened
8 oz cream cheese, softened
3 cups powdered sugar (sifted)
2 tbsp Almond flavored champagne

DIRECTIONS:
Preheat oven to 350F.
In a small bowl sift flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In mixer (or large bowl), cream butter and sugar until well mixed and airy.
Add eggs, one at a time, making sure each one is full incorporated before adding next.
Slowly add in flour mixture - I do it 1/3 at a time - making sure it is fully incorporated. Stir in vanilla and champagne. Stir in pears. Line a cupcake tin with cupcake liners.
Scoop an even amount of dough into each cup Bake for about 16-21 minutes. You want them to be golden in color. While cupcakes are baking, make frosting. Mix cream cheese and butter together. Add powdered sugar and whip until smooth. You can add more powdered sugar if desired. Remove cupcakes from oven and cool in tins for 2 minutes. Transfer to cooling rack.
When cupcakes are completely cooled, top with frosting.

How could I forget


I should definitely introduce you to the other subject of this place, that is my daughter Indigo. She is a sweet bean, at least that is what I call her. Life has definitely changed since her arrival and I am very thankful to have survived the first year, now comes the excitement with her budding personality - Even her tiny voice facinates me.


Write the date down, on February 3rd 2010 Indigo repeated the words "I love you".

Apple Pumpkin Muffins for my lady



These are divine, and also my first ever baking experience as a new rushed mommy. Indigo is now 1 1/2 years old but mommy has never baked before! I realize that I want to fill this little munchkins life (and her friends) with lots of great food so this is where I started. They came out moist and loaded with great flavor. My little one rejected my first produced muffins, little thing would rather nibble on some green beans (strange child!). I will fully vouch for their greatness and hope that you can try them!

Here is the list of ingredients you will need :
MUFFINS:
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups sugar
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 cup canned or cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 cups finely chopped peeled apples
STREUSEL:
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons cold butter or margarine

DIRECTIONS:

1. In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients. In another bowl, combine the eggs, pumpkin and oil; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in apples. Fill paper-lined muffin cups two-thirds full. In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Cut in butter until crumbly. Sprinkle over batter.

2. Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown. You can also use a tooth pic or skewer to check the centers. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks.


Finally I halved the muffin and patted it nicely with butter, melts in your mouth. You might even find that several muffins will melt in your mouth after you make these - they are that good!