Monday, September 22, 2008

taco salad...weight watcher's style

i have forced myself to start WW again. Taco Salad is a big dinner staple for me because i can get a huge salad with lot's of taste for 8-9 points.
i splurged this time by using 11 doritos. that's a full serving, but 5 chips do just fine and i will stick to that next time. i was a dummy and used a full cup of meat instead of 1/2c. which is the bulk of the points.(4 for 80%)
my point saver came with my brilliant idea with the dressing. i am not a huge salad person. if i eat one i want a rasberry vinegarette or creamy italian. so, Kraft's creamy italian is all i keep in my fridge. well, 2T of it is 3 points. i didn't want to use that much, so i halfed it and mixed it with a good amount of green salsa verde sauce, which is zero points. it was perfect.
i think next time i'm gonna nix the meat and use black beans!!

Thursday, September 4, 2008

mexican wedding cookies

i love the look of a white themed shower. these mexican wedding cookies are perfect for it. our family had a tradition of the danish ones, but now we will not be needing them. this recipe is super simple and delicious.

i love the look of the apothecary jars. so, i bought some.

mission complete: brownie dessert

my mother had a group of family over for dinner the other night. she made a box brownie and when it was time for dessert she threw them at me and said, "make them look cool" so, i did......
a truffle sized icecream scoop of coffee and vanilla and wet pecans...with chocolate sauce, of course.
(i've been missing, i know. i think i'm back up for business. keep your eyes peeled for home shots. we've been BUSY!)

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

ice box cakes

found this through a link of a link. this is their photo, but i made it and it looks exactly the same. it's called Ginger Mascarpone Icebox Cake. it's super easy, no-bake and good god almighty is it pricey! Calls for a lb. of mascarpone which is about $13 alone. the ginger is only about $2, but add it all up and geez louise! i am on a mission to make my own mascarpone next time. it's doable.
i will post the recipe below.
Ginger Mascarpone IceBox Cake:

~12 oz. gingersnap crumbs, about 2-1/4 cups (from about 40 Nabisco brand cookies)
~2-1/2 oz. (5 Tbs.) unsalted butter, melted
~8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
~1/2 cup plain low-fat yogurt
~2/3 cup sugar; more for the pan
~1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
~1/2 cup minced candied (crystallized) ginger
~1 lb. mascarpone cheese
~1/3 cup heavy cream
~~how to make:
Spray a 9-inch springform pan with nonstick cooking spray or grease it lightly. Dust the pan with a little sugar and knock out any excess. Combine the gingersnap crumbs and butter, rubbing them together with your fingertips to combine thoroughly. Sprinkle half of the crumbs over the bottom of the pan and pat down evenly; reserve the rest.
With an electric mixer, whip together the cream cheese, yogurt, sugar, vanilla, and candied ginger until smooth, scraping down the sides. Add the mascarpone and cream and whip until the mixture is thoroughly combined and just holds peaks. Don’t overwhip or the mixture may separate. Carefully spoon half of the mascarpone cream over the gingersnap crust, spreading it evenly to the edges of the pan. Sprinkle half of the remaining crumbs over the mascarpone cream in the pan. Top with remaining mascarpone cream and finish with the remaining crumbs. Gently tap the pan on the counter to eliminate any air bubbles. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight. To serve, warm a sharp knife under hot water and dry it off. Cut one slice, clean the knife and warm it again before cutting the next slice.
there are two more i am going to try soon......keep your eyes posted.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

interior design: wish list/bathroom wall plans

here is an item on my wish list...its a 9x12 jute rug from west elm. you can see it in the room view below, but i want it in what i'm thinking they call platinum. it looks to be a light grayish blue. it's not in my budget per se, but i don't care. i will have it. its $279ish

next up is an idea i would LOVE for a bathroom. look at the wood panel walls! it was only in display for west elm bathroom cabinets and drawers. i don't like the way they are under the bathroom sink, but one day i WILL have walls like that and a sink like that would be nice too.

Monday, June 23, 2008

scalloped potatoes

i have made this twice in the past week. yikes!

scalloped potatoes:
~4 cups thinly sliced potatoes
~cheddar cheese
~3/4 c. milk, scalded
~~~butter casserole dish. layer thin potato slices. sprinkle with flour, sprinkle with s&p and put tiny bits of butter all around...and i mean tiny(in other words, look at my pictures and reduce what i did by over half). then sprinkle with cheese. each cup of potatoes should make a after your last layer, before you put the cheese on, pour in your scalded milk.(just bring to a boil) and then top with cheese. bake on 350 for 30 minutes, or like me...microwave for about 25 minutes!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

my first wedding cake...

i made this for lee's cousin. she got married yesterday. it was my gift to her.
it was a pain because the butter cream gave me a hard time. but after 16 sticks of butter, i finally got it "okay". still didn't spread like it was supposed to, but i blame the humidity on all the curdling and softening. after it was said and done, i used 22 sticks of butter and about 8lbs of sugar...i used a bottle and a half of vanilla and you can guess the was lopsided and very amateur but, Sarah loved it and everyone said it tasted great. so, all is well.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

dinner and dessert plans

if you read my chocolate praline cake post, you will see a link to the devil's food cake recipe i used. this is a photo from that website along with the ganache frosting they used. i promised you i was gonna make it and tonight is the night. i am making this exact cake!
my mom is making a pork roast for dinner and i am just now finishing up some scalloped potatoes. i will post the pictures and recipe later tonight.....

salsalito bagel sandwiches

this is a sandwich that my mom and i started making YEARS ago, before i was even married and still living in my childhood home. the orginal shopping list was this:
sun-dried tomato bagels
boar's head salsalito turkey
meunster cheese
garden vegetable cream cheese spread
however, publix no longer makes the sun-dried tomato bagels and i haven't bothered to look anywhere else, or look up a recipe. if you can get that flavor, do!
place turkey on bottom of bagel, put cheese on top and melt in toaster oven!

toast top as well and before eating/serving spread the warm top with the garden vegetable cream cheese. the more the better....YUM!
its delicious and a cute presentation and a little different then just a plain turkey sandwich!

Monday, June 16, 2008

homemade pizza

i always loved the idea of pizza night, but ordering out or going somewhere seemed expensive and too much work. i have tried many pizza doughs before and they were okay, but i never made them twice. today i was reading home-ec101, again and saw a link to a pizza dough. i trust the author's taste, so i decided to make it for dinner tonight and BOY was i HAppY!this was the first time i have actually used my dough hook on my mixer. all the wet ingredients go inside a well of the flour. one of them being mollasses. this was a suprise ingredient and i almost couldn't find it at publix. they were out...but luckily they had a jar in the organic was my own idea to poke holes in the crust. haha..olive oil and some mashed garlic.i just made a quick tomato basil. i heated olive oil on medium heat, added some garlic, whole tomatoes, crushed and some dry basil. let simmer while you prepare everything else!
meat for the husband.....

and folks....i bought my first ball of fresh mozzerella! best $6 i EVER spent. and since i will be saving money by making my own dough, i may keep splurging on cheeses. it actually would have worked for 3 pizzas. the dough recipe makes 4.

pizza dough (thank heather):

1 TBSP active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups warm water
3 1/2 cups bread flour + a little more for dusting
1 1/2 TBSP olive oil + extra to grease the bowl for rising
2 TBSP molasses
1 tsp salt
1 tsp Italian seasoning - OPTIONAL
cornmeal for sprinkling

Add the yeast to the warm water and set it aside. Place the flour in a large bowl and whisk it to fluff it up. With your hands, clean please, create a well in the flour. Remember when you used to make a volcano with mashed potatoes and gravy? Yes, just like that.
To make clean up easier, measure the olive oil and then the molasses. There is no chemical reason for doing this, other than the oil lubricates the spoon so you don’t have to struggle with the sticky molasses. Add the salt and Italian seasoning.
Does the yeast and water look foamy? Wonderful, add that to the well. If you are using a stand mixer, use your dough hook to stir and knead. Use the lowest setting and only knead it for about a minute after the dough comes together.
If you are kneading by hand, stir the ingredients until they are moist and well mixed. Flour your work surface and knead the dough for around three minutes. Estimate, this is pretty forgiving.
After kneading shape the dough into a ball. (Just like playdough folks, just like playdough). Set aside. Grease a large bowl with olive oil. Place the dough in the bowl, turning it several times to coat with oil. Cover with a damp cloth and allow to rise for at least thirty minutes.
Divide the dough into equal portions. We make 4 thin crust 12″ pizzas, if you prefer thicker crust you will have fewer pizzas. If you have multiple pans allow the dough to sit for ten or fifteen additional minutes, before shaping. If, like me, you only have one pizza stone, immediately begin shaping the dough (with a rolling pin or by tossing)for baking, the other three can rise and your first really won’t suffer.
Preheat the oven to 450°F.
If you use a pizza stone, allow the stone to heat for 10 minutes in a 450F oven. If you are using a metal baking sheet, preheating is unnecessary.
Sprinkle the stone or cookie sheet with cornmeal; set the shaped pizza crust on the surface and top with your favorite pizza sauce and toppings. Bake for 10 - 15 minutes (watch it carefully, this depends on your toppings).

Sunday, June 15, 2008

rice and peas: best side dish EVER!

i found this on home-ec101 and have made it once a week since. its so simple to make and just plain simple all together, but there is something about it that i am in love with. i am a mushy food lover. rice, casseroles, burritoes, pastas, fast food i suppose that is why i love this. please try it soon. my son and i often eat it as our main meal.

rice and peas:
~1 T. butter
~ diced small onion
~one cup uncooked white long grain rice (don't try brown. don't!)
~2 cups broth-i dissolve 3 or 4(naughty) bouillon cubes in water.
~1 c. frozen peas
~3 T. grated parmesan
~~~melt butter on medium low and add onions. cook until soft, about 3 minutes. add uncooked rice and stir for about 2 minutes. then add your broth. bring to boil, put lid on and turn to low. let cook for about 17 minutes. then add your peas and parmesan and stir. return lid and cook for about 3 more minutes. eat and have your food orgasm. thank you.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

chocolate praline cake (father's day gift for my husband)

this cake usually calls for a devil's food cake "box" mix along with the homemade praline. thats okay with me, i suppose and i was gonna do it tonight, but all i could find was german chocolate. in fact, 3 boxes. well, i knew that would taste fine, but its not what i wanted. so i went on a search and found this. looked fucking aweseome, so thats what i did....and you better believe i will try that ganache frosting one day, but not tonight.
anyways....i made the cake batter first and let it sit. then i melted the praline caramel. that goes in 2 prepared cake pans. tonight i halved the recipe and made them in my FAVORITE deep 6-inch (wow, perv) cake pans.... then pecans get sprinkled on top of the caramel, then the cake batter. spread batter to the edge and bake. voila!

Chocolate Praline Cake:
~1/2 c. butter
~1/4 c. whipping cream
~1 c. firmly packed brown sugar
~3/4 c. coarsely chopped pecans
~devils food cake mix or this recipe
~if using the cake mix, add...
~1 1/4 c. water
~1/3 c. oil
~ 3 eggs
~~~~melt first 3 ingredients. divide into two prepared(buttered, parchment) cake pans (9inch). sprinkle pecans on top. then spread cake batter on top of praline mixture already in pans. bake @325 for 35-40 minutes. let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto cooling racks.
~~~~beat whipping cream with powdered sugar and vanilla or coffee and put inbetween and on top of two layers.

cinnamon biscuits with orange glaze

i have always made a homemade cinnamon roll recipe, but the last few years i just stick to making biscuit dough with a little sugar.
roll it out, add soft butter, cinnamon and sugar. then you roll into a log. cut. place in cake pan or round casserole dish and bake @ 400 for about 12-14 minutes.
you can find my biscuit recipe here
just add a large sprinkle of sugar and here is how i made the glaze:
orange glaze:
~2 T. orange juice concentrate
~1 c. powdered sugar
~1 T. soft butter
~drops of water
~~~mix first three and add any water you need for consistency.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

ok....yum: tuna pasta casserole

ok, so i have yet to plan meals for the week....even though i promised. but i just got finished reading "eat, pray, love" and right now i'm feeling like, "who cares, why do i need to plan. i love me"
so, while my son was still napping and after i finished the above said book, i hadn't a clue as to what i wanted for dinner. then i decided on a quick sweet and sour stir-fry, but as i was grabbing ingredients i knew thats not what i wanted AT ALL even though eggrolls have been heavily on my mind lately....anyways, i started thinking about making a tuna casserole. i have never made one let alone even tasted one. but if you rememer my tuna sauce on toast post, i ended it with dreams of turning it into a casserole with penne, paremesan and breadcrumbs. well, those 3 ingredients are in this....but in a matter of seconds i decided to not even use the tuna sauce. i saw the red pepper still sitting out from my stir-fry idea and came up with this. i followed no recipe. only dropped stuff in. one being garlic.... so this is how it goes...
Tuna Pasta Casserole:
~6oz. can tuna
~1/4 c. chopped red pepper
~1/2 clove crushed garlic
~palm full of grated parmesan
~1/2 t. lemon juice
~two large dollops of mayo
~4 oz. softened cream cheese
~4 oz-ish of cooked penne pasta(al dente)
~sprinkle of bread crumbs and parmesan cheese
~~~mix all of ingredients together making sure to break up the tuna and cream the cheese, then mix in with pasta. spread in casserole dish, sprinkle with bread crumbs and a little more grated parmesan and bake @ 350 for about 25 minutes. sprinkle each helping with a small amount of kosher salt and enjoy

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

blessed by blueberries

we have blueberry bushes in our yard and this year is amazing! we are picking 3 cups a day and stopping because we cant reach some. by the next day its full again. crazy!
tonight my son and i are alone and after his nap i slaved over a frozen lasagna(poking those holes in the plastic are tedious) and he and i went-a-bluberry-pickin'. we were having such a dorky time that i figured why not bake. i used my banana bread recipe to make blueberry muffins. for half of them i made a streseul topping from that same damn martha stewart book and they were delicious. the batter was good alone. they turned out very moist and cakey...almost fudgy without the chocolate. Mmmmm

blueberry cake muffins

1.5 sticks butter
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
3.25 c. self rising flour
2 c. blueberries, rinsed
1 t. vanilla

~cream butter and sugar. blend in eggs one at a time. beat. add flour, blueberries and vanilla. blend with spoon. pour into muffins papers or ramekins.
bake for 25-30 minutes @ 350 degrees. let sit for 5 minutes, then turn onto rack.


~5 T. butter, 2/3 c. flour, 2/3 powdered sugar, 1/4 t. cinnamon and a pinch of salt
~~~mix all together with fork or fingers until moist and crumbly. sprinkle on top

bacon on eggsalad

about 10 years ago i worked in an icecream shop/cafe. on our menu was an eggsalad sandwich with bacon. i'm not sure if i tried it there because i'm not a huuuge fan of bacon, but i made them for lunch yesterday. i mentioned it to my husband and he was all about it.

this isn't the first time i've made them since my icecream scooping days though. remember my post where i did some "catering" for my uncle's bistro. well, i did a baby shower for him also. anyways, i gave a few options. one being tea sandwiches. i got the idea from a martha stewart book(the same one that gave me the coconut ganache bites), but only because of pictures. i made three tea sandwiches that were not on her pages. one of them was the bacon and eggsalad on oatmeal bread. they were a huge hit! and just a tip i learned from the great martha...drape wet paper towels over the sandwiches until ready to serve. it worked like a fucking charm and in fact, reversed some staling(sp?) bread.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

breakfast bars/dessert

the original recipe is here
this is how i did it:
fruit betty/cobbler/crisp:
~1 and 3/4 sticks margarine
~1 and 1/2 c. all purpose flour
~1 and 1/2c. oats
~1 c. dark brown sugar
~ 1/2.t. scant of salt
~1 t. baking powder(i forgot it this time. geesh. tasted fine)
~8oz. strawberry jam
~handful bluberries
~~~mix with fork, spoon, or beater. spread half into buttered baking dish. spread with jam. sprinkle with fresh blueberries. then spread remaining crumbs on top and bake @ 350 for 40 minutes. serve warm with icecream.....or let cool and cut into bars.

breakfast bars turned fruit betty?

a new blog i started reading is the pioneer woman. once you make it through the sarcasm she is quite the blogger. one night i was in bed surfing on the blackberry about to sleep when i came across a recipe of hers for an apricot breakfast bar. she clearly states it may be a breakfast bar or it may be dessert. i got out of bed to make them. the recipe states to cool....but at midnight and 40 minutes of baking, i ate it warm. oh. my. god! we ate it the next few days warm with icecream. it was far too messy for a bar. i used strawberry jam....

...tonight i'm also using strawberry jam and some fresh blueberries.

begin by adding all ingredients into a mixing bowl. get excited when you believe the recipe is vegan......mix it together....

...and realize it did, indeed, call for almost 2 sticks of butter. i used margarine. is that vegan?

thats more like it.spread half the batter into a buttered dish.

grab about 10oz. of some jam that one of your dearest and oldest friend's gave to you. and spread it..... and if you're a lucky girl like me and have blueberry bushes outside, grab a handful of those and dump 'em in.

top with remaining batter....(or crumbs?) and bake @350 for 40 minutes.

stay tuned for recipe and finished pictures....

pineapple/apple chutney

this chutney helped us through 2 dinners. the first night it topped a rotisserie pork loin along side mashed potatoes and fresh green beans.....

the 2nd night the pork cooked along with it and served with a rice and pea side.
the next time i make this rice, i will make a post with the recipe. i discovered it on a friend's blog a month ago and it is my new best friend. i first labeled it a poor man's risotto, but i realized risotto isn't so much expensive as it is time consuming, so it is now called "lazy man's risotto"