Monthly Archives: February 2012

TJ Maxx Owns My Pay Check!

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Ok, maybe not really. I shop there because, A. I can find high quality gourmet goodies in one spot and B. They are at a great price!!

Wanna see what I got??

a

Le Bounty!!

I know right?? I’m so stoked! Did you see my Spaa Noodles are back?? This time I bought them all. MUAHAHAHA!!!! I’m also so excited about trying the Quinoa and Marinara meals I found! It is very low in calories for such a large serving. I actually checked twice to make sure I was reading things right. Hopefully that doesn’t mean it tastes like cardboard! I think I’ll try it out either this week or next so I’ll let you know!

If you read my post yesterday, you already know I tore up the Cherry and Peach Preserves. They are mighty fantastic!

Today I’d like to share with you a recipe I used this little dandy on!

Are you curious??

Well here it is!

Ciabatta Shrimp Sandwiches Baby!!

These sandwiches were so freaking good! My husband had a question in his eye when I was making them. We both like shrimp but typically we eat them either sautéed or breaded and that is about it. Never in a sandwich. Can I say we both ate our entire sandwich and that was IT. It was extremely flavorful and satisfying!

Here is what I used to make these sandwiches.

ciabatta rolls

coconut oil (or what you have!)

Cajun seasoning

shrimp

provolone cheese

lettuce

tomato, sliced

avocado, sliced

mayo 1-2 tsps

and of course my red pepper jelly!!

1. Toast sliced ciabatta rolls in toaster oven. Melt provolone on rolls.

2. Sautee shrimp in coconut oil and season with Cajun spices. After they are cooked, put on a plate and allow to slightly cool. Remove tails.

4. Top with remaining ingredients and dig in!!

What is not to love!

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Easter Party Goodies

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So yesterday I showed you all the great crafts we made at the Easter craft party. Today I wanted to share with you the goodies!

Bird’s Nests! Are they cute or what!?! My husband asked me today if he was allowed to eat them or if they were decoration only. These are so easy to make, I didn’t mind sharing!

Mini Rustic Cherry and Peach Pies! I had to leave the leftover pies at the craft party because if they came home with me I would have eaten them all in five minutes!! I will however be making these the next time I have people over for dinner! The good news is that these are super easy to make too!

The hostess of the craft party also made some treats!

Cookie Dough Dip!!

Peanut Butter Blossoms!

She was a little disappointed in her Blossoms. The Hugs really melted down on them and she thought they looked like “boobies.” When I made my Biscoff Blossoms, I had some issues with melting Hugs too. I’m thinking next time we should freeze the Hugs ahead of time to see if that doesn’t help! Anyone else have another idea? The cookies tasted darn good regardless of the melty chocolate! The real treat however was the cookie dough dip. It was sick!!

Here is how to make the Bird’s Nest.

You will need:

Chow Mein Noodles

Bag of Butterscotch Chips

Candy eggs, I used Reese’s Eggs but you could use Jelly Beans,

That’s it! Just melt down your butterscotch in the microwave. Stir frequently and don’t over cook. In a separate bowl, I poured in half the bag of noodles and mixed in some of the butterscotch until noodles are coated. Load coated noodles into a muffin tin. I used my finger and created a little depression in the middle of each “nest”. Add two or three candies. If you want to make sure your candies secure, dip an edge of them in your butterscotch before putting them in their nest.

The silicon muffin trays are really the way to go. You can just push the nests right out! Continue process with noodles and butterscotch until you run out! Refrigerate to allow butterscotch to harden quickly. I think I could have ended up with 12 nests but some how I only had 11. Hmmmmmm.

Now for those pies.

First off. I used these two lovelies!

This is almost as simple as the Bird’s Nests.

What you will need is:

pie crust

preserves

one egg

I used a Ramekin to cut out circles in my pie crust. Note, do not try to roll your crust with a pin to make the crust thinner. I did that and I think that it made it difficult for the crust to keep its shape. One of mine flattened out and I was force to eat it! Center a spoonful of preserves. Press edges up and over so they keep the preserves in the center. I beat an egg in a bowl and added a bit of water and brushed the edges of the folded up crust so that they would brown. I would cook crust on temperate on box of pie crust. Mine said 425. They took about 5-8 minutes to cook. Keep an eye on them!

Enjoy!!

A Crafty Easter Weekend

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Hey there! How was your weekend! Mine was super busy but I managed to have some fun! Going into the weekend, I was worried that I wouldn’t have much to share with you this week. My work week is super hectic so I didn’t know if I would have much worth talking about.

Well I was wrong!!

Some people are in book clubs, some in sewing clubs and others in cooking clubs. I would actually enjoy all of these clubs (although I have no idea how to sew…yet). However this weekend might have been the kickoff to our craft club! A friend of mine invited a bunch of us to get together to make Easter decorations. She had sent out ideas of what we should have to make the craft but after it was all said and done we had some unique pieces.

Are these awesome or what? These are some of the larger pieces we made. Wouldn’t they be great for a center piece or as a gift for a family member or friend?

I shot this picture right before we started putting everything together. Notice how in the large round vase there is a smaller glass jar? That is how I was able to put fresh flowers in the center of that particular decoration. As a money saving tip, use the cardboard from toilet paper rolls in the center of your vase or something similar to fill the inside of your larger vases, that way you won’t have to pay a small fortune for candy!

There was a lesson to be learned however! Never try to stuff a Peep into a narrow mouthed vase. Save that trick for love notes and pirate ships!

Drats! Oh well. After the bunny was successfully extracted, she was able to come up a fun and festive save!

This is a majority of the decorations we made. One of my friends had to leave early. She made to mason jars decorations that were lidded. Apparently she has a dog that will eat anything she can get her paws on. Wouldn’t lidded mason jars be a great idea for an Easter Egg Hunt?? I sure think so!

As we decorated we had great conversation. One of the girls at the party was anti Pinterest. Come again?? She was a sweet lady overall but she just didn’t get  why all these people would want to pin the same idea. I just said I love when people pin my stuff. Sorta like a high-five for what I’ve put together. What do you think?

I hope these decorations get your creative juices moving!

Another Veggie Tale

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For years I was a vegetarian. I am glad that I was, because it was in those years that I developed a taste for different vegetables, nuts and beans that I probably would have missed out on. Even though my diet has changed, I still enjoy cooking vegetarian dishes from time to time.

Vegetable Ravioli

Looking at that picture just makes my mouth water!! It is such a comforting dish and full of a rich variety of vegetables.

It should be clear now that when I cook I’m all about dumping in the kitchen sink. If I have the veggies on hand, they normally get thrown in!

I found these at my love’s, Trader Joe’s. If I were cooking for just me, I would have opted for a mushroom stuffed ravioli, however my husband “doesn’t like mushrooms” remember? Don’t tell him if you notice when I sneak them into a recipe.

The game plan

This dish is quick and easy to put together. Again, substitute if you don’t like something.

1 package of Ravioli

1 small onion chopped

2 cloves of garlic minced

1 zucchini chopped

1 cup of portobello mushrooms sliced (SHHHHH)

1 can of fire roasted tomatoes (Drain if you use chicken broth or keep if you use a seasoning powder) Confused? Keep reading.

a handful or two of fresh spinach

about half of a small can of chicken broth (vegetable broth if cooking vegetarian). I used a dry broth powder and the juice from the can of tomatoes so use whatever you have.

cheese for sprinkling

1. In a medium size pot bring water to boil and boil ravioli following instructions on container. When fully cooked drain and set aside.

2. While ravioli is being made, on a separate burner turn heat on a large skillet. Add olive oil and turn heat up to medium. Add garlic, onion zucchini, mushrooms and cook until onion is transparent and veggies are soft. Add in some salt and pepper. Add in tomatoes and broth and bring the heat up.

3. Add in cooked ravioli and spinach. The spinach will seem like a lot but it will wilt into nothing in no time. Once everything is heated throughly and spinach is cooked down, you are ready to dish it up. Serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

Enjoy!!

To My Little Coffee Addicts

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Me included on that title!!

So a few weekends ago, the girls and I were talking coffee. We discussed how expensive our favorite drinks can be and worst yet how we suffer through camping and boating trips with gross gas station crap or nothing at all! And then I started thinking and doing a little research and I think I’ve created a versatile and yet cheap back up plan!!

Honey, I'm Home!

Nutella Ice Coffee Baby!!

So simple and inexpensive you are going to what to kick your own butt!! The one thing this takes to make is a little planning. But it isn’t like you don’t know if you are going to have that coffee in the morning or not so get over it!

For my coffee drinkers, who like to drink coffee but really don’t like the flavor of it.

You will need:

1/4 cup ground coffee

1 cup water

milk, soy milk, almond milk, whatever you like

Nutella

For people who like a stronger coffee flavor, just double the coffee/water above.

Part One:

So the night before you need to throw your coffee and water together in a container. I used an old cleaned glass jar. Refrigerate coffee/water in jar over night. From what I gather, cold brewing your coffee keeps it from tasting bitter.

Part Two:

The next morning, double your water in the jar (s0 if you added 1 cup the night before, add another cup). Take a coffee filter and position it over a separate glass. Strain your jar of coffee/water mixture through the filter into the new glass. You may need to run your coffee/water mix through a filter twice before pouring it into your “coffee cup.” Once you are satisfied that your coffee is ground free, top you coffee with milk. Obviously, my people who doubled their coffee/water above for a stronger taste will be adding less milk. Next spoon some Nutella into a microwave safe container and melt for about 15-30 seconds. Using a spoon, mix your coffee quickly as you pour in Nutella. Add ice. Fall in love!

But what if you are on a boat and don’t have access to a microwave? You could use flavored milk, flavored coffee or sweeten with sugar.  You would want to double or triple your recipe and have it strained before you take it with you, that way you can just pour what you want each day and you don’t have to mess with the part one stuff!

Either way you do it! Please let me know how it works for you!!

The Chicken House in Progress

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The chicken house is on the move! What? Doesn’t look like a chicken house to you? I know, I know! It is actually a play house for our kids but after a year of it being practically vacant, we decided we would modify it into a chicken coop. Don’t worry, the kids are just as excited as we are! We moved the house across the yard away from the swing set and next to our garage, that way we can get some electric ran out there.  Moving it was no easy task! This thing was HEAVY!!!

Fortunately no one was hurt and the house finally made it across the yard. My husband said the next time it is moved, it will be in pieces. LOL.

I know. We still have a lot of work to do! But moving that house was one of the hardest things to do. We have an electrician set up and my husband has been building a fence in the garage. More pictures of that later!!

I also wanted to share a recipe that  I’ve enjoyed lately. It is not my own, but I wanted to be able to vouch that it is not only good but easy too!

Rice Balls

I love these little guys because they are healthy and extremely portable. Something I need when I’m on the go!

The mixture is a little sticky but other than that these were easy to put together. The taste has an Italian flavor even though it is a rice dish. I used a brown rice in mine and served with a side of marinara sauce. My husband even enjoyed these.

The recipe for these little wonders can be found at Cooking With My Kid by clicking here. Also I’m super jealous she can get her kid to eat these. Mine look at me like I’m nuts. Let me know what you think!

My Little Sweet Potato!

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When people think of sweet potatoes, a lot of times they are either thinking of them as a side dish in the place of fries or a baked potato or as something that is slathered in butter sugar and spices and served again as a side dish at Thanksgiving. But how about as a main dish?

Sweet Potato Slam

Can’t see the sweet potato? We will work backwards but in short it is on the bottom just waiting to be mixed around. I love this recipe for many reasons. One is  if you have veggies hanging out in your fridge, this is a great dish to add in what you’ve got. This will be fantastic in the summer for all of you garden growers who quickly find yourselves piled high with zucchini, bell peppers, onions and whatever else. This is easily a vegetarian meal but with the hardiness of a meat and potatoes kind-of-meal. Also depending on your taste for spicy meals, you can really add in some heat which is complemented by the sweetness of the sweet potato. And don’t get me started on all the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes!

So first thing’s first.

Get that sweet potato cooking. I pierced mine several times with a small steak knife and then set it down on a piece of foil. I then drizzled a bit of olive oil and sea salt on it before wrapping it up in the foil. I also poked a few holes in the foil. This potato was huge! I cooked mine at 400 for a good hour and 15 minutes. You could also boil or steam your potato but you’re on your own for that part!

Once the sweet potato is towards the end of its cooking time, I got all of my veggies ready.

Here is what I used, remember you can always substitute!

I used:

one half of a large onion, chopped

one green bell pepper, chopped

one half of a red bell pepper, chopped

two cloves of garlic minced

5-6 slices of jalapeno pepper minced finely

one zucchini chopped

one can of black beans rinsed and drained

about one can of tomatoes (I used tomatoes I canned at home so I only used about half)

one chipotle pepper, chopped (because I had them and they smelled so good)

I also later added a cap full of Rose’s sweetened lime juice and a couple of tbsps of cilantro but these are optional and everything will taste fine without them!

So in a large pan add a little olive oil. I used my Misto liberally.

Add in garlic, onion, peppers, zucchini, and jalapeno and cook over medium heat until onion is transparent and everything else is soft. Add in everything else (obviously except for sweet potato). Cook over medium heat allowing all the flavor to combine. If you need a little liquid you can add some of the tomato juice.

Once sweet potato is cooked, remove from foil and cut in half. I served this dish with only one half of my potato because it was huge. I chopped half and put it in the bottom of a bowl. Spoon the veggies over the sweet potato.

Top with your favorite toppings. I used cheddar cheese and sour cream. Dinner is served!!