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Friday, August 31, 2012

Labor Day Recipe Roundup

So how will you be spending your long weekend?  We will be doing lots of celebrating for a special little girl's birthday - she turns 4 on Sunday!  I still can't believe it...

Here are some great dishes to make your backyard parties, BBQs and get togethers even more tasty :)

7-Layer Dip

Edamame Hummus

Red Wine and Garlic Marinated London Broil

Chicken Bruschetta

Minted Lamb Burgers with Tzatziki

Corn and Mushrooms with Cilantro

Dijon Potato Salad

 Black Bean & Quinoa Salad

Texas Peach Cobbler

Snickers Pie

Lemonade Sugar Cookies

Hope everyone has fun plans and fantastic weather for this last holiday weekend of the summer!


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Rainbow Jello Squares

I had to post about these fun treats before the last holiday weekend of the summer.  My cousin made these for a family gathering a few weeks ago.  She used American colors for one batch (the kid-friendly batch) and Italian colors for the "adult" batch :)

These were a big hit!  And of course, you can use whatever colors you like, depending on the occasion.

Fun stuff!

Rainbow Jello Squares
from Lip Smacking Goodness

1 large packet blueberry Jello (or whatever flavor you want)
1 large packet cherry Jello (again, flavor of choice)
1 can sweetened condensed milk
unflavored gelatin

Add blueberry Jello packet to 1 cup of boiling water and let dissolve.  Add 1 cup of cold water.  Pour into 9x13 pan and refrigerate until firm.

While blue layer is cooling, mix milk with 1 cup boiling water.  In a small bowl, sprinkle 2 tablespoons (or 2 packets) gelatin over 1/2 cup cold water.  Let stand a few minutes, then add 1/2 cup boiling water to dissolve gelatin.  Add to milk and stir to combine.  Cool to room temp.

When first layer is set, spoon milk mixture over it.  Refrigerate for about 30 minutes.

Repeat first step with cherry Jello.  After it's set, cut into squares.

Linked to: Sweets for a Saturday


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Fried Eggs with Potato Bacon Hash

Anyone who's been following my "chicken sitting" adventures probably realized I was overdue for an egg post.  So, here you go.  Simple and delicious!

(and I must admit - the 4 little feathered buggers are starting to grow on me...)

Fried Eggs with Potato Bacon Hash
4 eggs
small potatoes, cut into chunks
6 pieces bacon
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons paprika
salt and pepper

Heat a skillet and add oil, followed by potatoes.  Season with salt and pepper, and a bit of paprika.  Let cook for about 5 minutes, then add bacon and onions.  Season again and once everything is cooked through, remove from heat and plate.  Keep warm and set aside.

In the same skillet, crack eggs.  Sprinkle a bit of salt and pepper on top.  Divide potatoes between 2 plates, and once eggs are cooked, place on top of hash and serve.

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Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Ovaltine Brownies

Talk about a throwback...

As soon as I saw Ovaltine in my sister's pantry, memories started flooding into my brain.  We LOVED this stuff as kids!  I guess my nieces like it now, too.

I haven't had it in ages, and actually kind of forgot about it.  But, I felt compelled to bake something with it, especially after getting our "assignment" for our What's Baking? group this month, which was to bake something that reminds you of your favorite place.  And one of my favorite places is definitely home...more specifically, home when I was a kid.

These brownies were SO good.  Moist and dense, and super tasty.  They were the perfect alternative to the traditional brownie.

Thanks to Joanna from Newlywed and Newly Cooking for a great theme this month!

Ovaltine Brownies
from The Not So Blog's Experimental Mommy

1 cup sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
2 tablespoons water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/3 AP flour
1 1/2 cups Ovaltine mix
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease a 9 inch square baking pan.

Combine sugar, butter and water in a bowl.  Mix until combined, then stir in eggs and vanilla.  Combine flour, Ovaltine, baking powder and salt in another bowl.  Add it all at once to sugar mixture.  Fold in 1/4 cup of chips.

Spread mixture into baking pan and bake for about 35 minutes.  Remove from oven and sprinkle remaining chips all over the top.  After 5 minutes, spread chips evenly over brownies with a spatula.  Cool completely, then cut into bars.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

Filetto di Pomodoro Sauce

One thing (of many!) that's great about cooking a lot of Italian food is that it makes for easy blog posts.  Recipes with few ingredients and fast instructions are super easy to explain and talk about.  And what's even better is that the simplest things are usually the most delicious.  Because after all, that's what really counts!

Now that you have this recipe, there is NO reason why you can't have dinner on the table.  I don't want to hear anyone say "I can't cook!" after reading this post.  It's foolproof!  Trust me.  And although the pic below isn't the best (iPhone...sorry!) I promise you - it's impressive, easy and soooo good.

Filetto di Pomodoro Sauce
1 (28 ounce) can whole tomatoes, undrained (preferably San Marzano)
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/3 cup chopped basil leaves
salt and pepper to taste

Heat olive oil in a large skillet.  Add onion and cook until translucent.  Crush tomatoes with your hands and add to pan with liquid.  Add salt, pepper and basil.  Cook until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes.

When serving, top with fresh basil if desired.

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Friday, August 24, 2012

Parmesan Tilapia

Our latest recipe swap was "blogger's choice" (pick any recipe from your assigned blog), and I was assigned Coleen's blog, Does Not Cook Well With Others.  I had a few different recipes bookmarked when I first started browsing through her recipe index, like honey glazed drumsticks (which I will be trying soon!), but ultimately chose a recipe that I thought I'd never make.

This parmesan tilapia recipe has been floating around our cooking board for a while, and I have to admit, I've been skeptical about it every time someone posted it.  To me, it just didn't "go"...I don't know why, but it just never sounded appetizing to me.  

Well, I was wrong.  I'm so glad I tried this, and so is Frank...he really loved it!  The flavors were delicious, and really tasted good with the fish.  

I served it on top of sauteed broccoli rabe, which made the dish even better.  I highly recommend trying this soon!  Oh, and it takes about 15 minutes, in TOTAL, to make.  Perfect for a quick weeknight meal!

Parmesan Tilapia
slightly adapted from Does Not Cook Well With Others

1 pound tilapia filets
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1 tablespoon light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
salt and pepper to taste

Turn oven on broil setting.  Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.  Place fish on baking sheet and season with salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, combine butter, mayo, cheese, lemon juice, garlic, garlic powder and Italian seasoning.  Set aside.

Broil fish for 3 minutes, then flip over and broil for 2 more minutes.  Remove from oven, spread cheese mixture on top, and return to oven until lightly golden brown.  Serve immediately.

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Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ginger Iced Tea

It's definitely been a hot summer.  We drink a ton of water in our house, but iced tea is a big favorite, too.  And because I get bored easily, I like to change up the flavors as much as I can.

As a member of the Foodbuzz Tastemaker Program, I received a Sweet'N Low Sweetener gift pack, which included 10 packets of Sweet'N Low sweetener and other goodies, including a fun cocktail shaker!  So, in turn, I made this delicious drink using their product (which we use pretty often in our house) in place of sugar.

We loved this!  So refreshing and delicious, and when you're drinking a lot to stay cool, it's nice to not have to worry about consuming so many calories.

Ginger Iced Tea
slightly adapted from about. com

5 tea bags
one quart of water
1 inch piece of fresh ginger
Sweet'N Low, to taste
ice, for serving

Slice ginger root very thin and crush.  Heat one quart of water and let tea steep with ginger over low heat, at least 10 minutes.  Strain out tea and ginger, then add sweetener.  Let cool and serve over ice.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Oven Hard Boiled Eggs

So, if you've been following along in my farming adventures, you can guess what's been coming out of my ears lately.  So it only made sense to join in on the latest craze - the oven hard boiled egg.

Get out your muffin tin, people.  And if it's a little dirty, like the one below, that's perfectly okay ;)

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees (350 might do the trick in your oven - it might make sense to try one first to see which temp works best for yours).  Pop those babies in the oven for 30 minutes.  Have a nice cold ice bath ready and waiting for them when time is up.

Let them cool for about 10 minutes before removing them from the bath.  Then, peel away.

Perhaps your peeling will go a bit easier than it did for us.  Maybe because they're super fresh eggs?

No matter - this method is SO easy and foolproof, I'll deal with a tough shell.  

Try this!  And report back, please...

Linked to:  Tastetastic Thursday


Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala

Some days, you just don't have the energy.  I've had a bunch of those days lately.  Enter the crockpot.

I took a chance the other night and cooked with a spice that I hadn't used since being with Frank.  I knew it was risky, since he's not a fan of Indian food.  The result = success!

Whether or not you've been neglecting your crockpot this summer, it's time to bust it out.  This is one of the best I've had in a while.  And admit it - you need a break, too!

Slow Cooker Chicken Tikka Masala
adapted from Real Simple

1 (15 ounce) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon garam masala
salt and pepper
1 1/2 pounds boneless chicken breasts
1/2 large cucumber, halved and sliced thin
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro leaves
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup light cream

Combine tomatoes, onion, garlic and garam masala, along with a little salt and pepper, in the crockpot.  Place chicken on top and cover.  Cook on low for 7-8 hours, or on high for 3-4 hours.

In a small bowl, toss cucumber and cilantro together.  Add lemon juice, followed by salt and pepper to taste.  Cover and refrigerate for several hours.

Twenty minutes before serving, cook rice according to package instructions.  Just before serving, stir light cream into chicken.  Serve over rice with cucumber relish.

Serves 4.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

Texas Peach Cobbler

I went to get my sister's mail the other day, and came across a big cardboard box on the steps.  After checking the label, I noticed it was something from a fruit of the month club that her brother-in-law had sent, month 8 of a year's worth of goodies.

Seeing as it was a perishable item, I opened it up and came across 9 big, BEAUTIFUL peaches from Arizona.  So pretty.  I sunk my teeth into one and was in heaven.  Then I realized I'd better come up with something to do with the rest of them, since they were really, really ripe.

I didn't have much time to get involved in a lengthy, time consuming recipe, so I scoured the net until I found a simpler one.  And let me tell you - this was a score!  I guess the fact that it uses an entire stick of butter helps the cause ;)

I have no idea if this is what peach cobbler from Texas is really like, but as far as I'm concerned, all that matters is that it's delicious!

Texas Peach Cobbler
from Pick Your Own

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup AP flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon baking powder
3/4 cup milk (I used 1%)
3 cups sliced fresh peaches, skin on
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Melt butter, the pour into 8 inch square baking pan.

Combine sugar, flour, cinnamon, baking powder and milk in a bowl.  Pour batter on top of butter.  Do not stir.  Without mixing, arrange peaches on top of batter.  Evenly sprinkle brown sugar on top of peaches.

Bake for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown.  Serve warm or at room temperature with whipped cream or vanilla ice cream (although it's fantastic on its own, too!).

Makes 6-8 servings.

Linked to: Sweets for a Saturday

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Friday, August 17, 2012

Minding the Farm

Well, that may be a bit of an exaggeration, but while my sister and her family are away on vacation (in Italy - yes, practically my entire family has been there this summer!) I am taking care of her 4 chickens. Uh huh, that's right.

They don't have names yet, although, after falling close to waist high in a muddy ditch the other night while heading out to the coop to close them up, I had a few choice names for them...

They are kinda cute, actually.  And boy are they full of personality.  Bella cracks up whenever we head over to them - they basically line up by the door and start yelling at us.  She says, "Mommy, they must be reeeeeeally hungry!"  Then she helps me throw in whatever fruit/veggie scraps there are, and watches them (literally) gobble them up.  It cracks her up!

She also loves checking for eggs, and she certainly is getting her fill of that, now that there are about 20 of them in the fridge.  Here are the ones we got yesterday, that ultimately became breakfast in scrambled form:

Fresh eggs (and they don't get any fresher than this!) really do live up to the hype, that's for sure.

I know the majority of you don't know me in real life, but if you did, you'd know this isn't exactly my "territory".  Frank certainly has embraced it though, I must say.  He's definitely feeling his Sussex County roots - not bad for a Brooklyn boy.

So, be warned - you'll probably be seeing lots of posts revolving around eggs in the near future! :)

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwich

I'm not going to get all political on you here.  I'll just say that I'm glad I perfected this sandwich, since I otherwise wouldn't be eating it anymore.

Now all I need to do is nail down the waffle fries and I'll be all set.

Copycat Chick-Fil-A Sandwich
slightly adapted from Hilah Cooking

4 boneless chicken breasts
1 cup pickle juice
3 eggs
2/3 cup milk
1 1/2 cups AP flour
3 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried basil
vegetable oil for frying (peanut oil is supposedly better, but I didn't have any)
4 buns, buttered and toasted
pickle slices

Pound out chicken to 1/2 inch thickness.  Marinate in pickle juice for 1 hour.

Beat egg and milk together in a bowl.  Combine flour, sugar and spices in another bowl.  Dip chicken on both sides in egg first, then flour mixture.

Heat oil in a deep skillet.  Fry each piece for a few minutes on each side, or until golden and cooked through.  Place on paper towel lined plate and blot top side.  Serve on buns with pickles.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Butter Pecan Ice Cream

Once upon a time, you'd never find me at home.  I woke up, went to work, went out, stayed out, came home very late.  Repeat.  For YEARS.

Last night, Bella stayed at my inlaws' house.  I went to work.  Then I came home.  And stayed home.  With this.

My, how times have changed.  And I'm okay with that.

Butter Pecan Ice Cream
from Delightful Repast

1/3 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar (I used light)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
pinch of salt
1 cup milk (I used 1%)
2 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup pecans, finely chopped

Whisk sugars, vanilla, salt and milk together in a bowl.  Stir in heavy cream and refrigerate for at least 2 hours.

While mixture is chilling, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-low heat.  Add pecans (and a pinch of salt, if using unsalted butter).  Cook until pecans are toasted, stirring frequently, for about 5-6 minutes.  Set aside to cool completely.

Pour chilled mixture into ice cream maker.  Freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.  With about 5 minutes of churning time left, add pecans.

Transfer ice cream to freezer-safe container and place in freezer for at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes about 5 cups.

Linked to:  Sweet Tooth Friday

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Pitacella (Fried Zucchini, Italian Style)

My brother-in-law's mother was an amazing cook.  Born and raised in Calabria, she came here as a young adult and brought with her some of the most delicious Italian recipes and dishes I've ever had.  One day, I promise you, I will blog her lasagna...and you will thank me FOREVER.  Seriously.

But for now, I give you what they call pitacella.

Like many other Italian recipes, the simplicity of this dish is exactly what makes it amazing.  This is the perfect time of year to make it...when zucchini the size of baseball bats are growing in your garden...because you can never, NEVER have too much of this.  Make a LOT.  I promise you - whatever you make won't be enough.

Oh, and I use the word "recipe" very loosely, because as you'll see, there are no measurements.  Just go with your gut.  I highly doubt that it'll ever turn out to be awful, no matter how much you think you may have messed it up.

Pitacella (Fried Zucchini, Italian Style)
from Nina

zucchini (a LOT), sliced into thin rounds
extra virgin olive oil

Heat oil in a large skillet.  Combine flour, water and egg, using whatever amounts give you a pasty consistency, but not too thick.

Coat zucchini in batter and drop in pan.  Fry on both sides until golden brown.  Make in batches so as not to overcrowd the pan.  Remove and place on plate lined with paper towel.  Immediately sprinkle salt on top.  Serve hot, warm or at room temperature.

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Monday, August 13, 2012

Caprese Sliders with Pesto Mayonnaise

This time around, our recipe swap theme was very fitting, considering last month was the hottest July on record - "Too Hot to Cook".  And yeah, that about sums it up lately.  It's been a scorcher, for sure!

I was happy to see the recipe I received, which was from Jenna from Jenna's Cooking Journey.  While we were at our shore house, I made these for lunch, with a few adaptations.  I changed them to sliders, since we had mini rolls, and left the meat in its natural state.  The pesto mayo was a great condiment, but I neglected to snap a photo of it...whoops!  And, it's an iPhone picture, so it's not that great.

Yeah, not very well prepared.  But what's most important is...the burgers were delicious!!  Perfect for a hot summer day.

Caprese Sliders with Pesto Mayonnaise
adapted from Jenna's Cooking Journey

1 pound ground beef
salt and pepper
fresh mozzarella, sliced
1 tomato, sliced
fresh basil leaves
mini burger buns

for the pesto mayonnaise:
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 pesto (homemade or store bought)

Mix salt and pepper into beef.  Form into 6-7 patties.  Place on hot grill and cook on one side for a few minutes.  Flip over and add cheese.  Cover grill and cook another few minutes, until cheese is melted (cook burgers to your liking).

Place burgers on buns.  Top with tomato and basil.  Spread pesto mayonnaise on bun.  Serve.

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Friday, August 10, 2012

Oven Mint S'mores

Did you know that today is National S'mores Day?  I didn't, until yesterday.  But I guess subconsciously, I did know...since I saw chocolate mint marshmallows (!!!!) in Target last week and felt the need to throw them in my cart.

Oven s'mores are great on days when it's raining, or when it's just too.damn.hot to even step outside for a second to throw them on the grill.  And we've had a LOT of those days lately.

I was excited to try these out since I'd never even seen these marshmallows before...have you?

These were a great change from the old standby.  But honestly, what kind of s'more could possibly be bad?

Oven Mint S'mores
graham crackers
chocolate mint marshmallows
Hershey chocolate bars, separated

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Tear pieces of foil, big enough to wrap around each s'more.  Place marshmallow on top of graham cracker, followed by some chocolate, and top with another graham cracker.  Repeat as many times as you like :)

Loosely wrap each s'more in foil and place on baking sheet.  Bake for about 10-15 minutes, depending on thickness of chocolate and marshmallows you're using.  Remove from oven and carefully unwrap.  Serve.

Linked to:  Sweets for a Saturday

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes

This morning, I'm taking Bella to our favorite pancake house in the area.  It's been a while since we've been there.  Plus, after her meltdown last night when Frank picked her up and "took her away" from her cousins, I figured she could use a pick-me-up.  Devastation is an understatement.  (anyone who has a 3 year old daughter totally feels me right now, for sure)

Take a look at their menu.  It's ridiculous!  Takes me forever to decide what to order.  And it may be hard to tell in the pics, but I'm not exaggerating when I say that they're the size of my head.  Guaranteed leftovers every time!

Now, my pancakes may not be as big, but they definitely are delicious.  And healthier, too.  But for today, we'll be treating ourselves :)

Blueberry Multigrain Pancakes
slightly adapted from Weight Watchers

multigrain pancakes
fresh or frozen blueberries

Follow instructions in multigrain pancake recipe.  Add blueberries at the end and gently stir into batter.  Follow cooking directions.  Top with berries and serve.

Makes around 25 pancakes.

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Skillet BBQ Chicken Pasta

In honor of my friend Sarah's 6th blogiversary, I'm guest posting today at her place - A Taste of Home Cooking!  Head on over, and be sure to congratulate her while you're there :)

Here's a glimpse of what you'll be seeing...SO GOOD!!

Linked to:  Tastetastic Thursday

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Grilled Shrimp with Creamy Ginger Dressing

Grilling season is still going strong, but right about now people might be starting to get bored with the same old, same old.  As much as I love variety, I could enjoy a good burger off the grill just about every day :)  but options are a great thing.

At my sister-in-law's bachelorette party, we took a cooking class that was Japanese themed, and one item we made was an amazing ginger dressing, typically served on salad.  I thought it would be perfect to use as a marinade for some great looking shrimp that my dad bought.  We didn't have skewers, which I think would have made them even more delicious, but this cooking method was just fine.

I didn't have my camera with me either (we were at our shore house) so please excuse the lame photo...

These were so good!  Perfect to go with steak, or thrown in a salad for a lighter meal.

Grilled Shrimp with Creamy Ginger Dressing
dressing recipe from Viking Cooking School

2 pounds (approximately) extra large fresh shrimp, cleaned and peeled, tails off
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tablespoons peeled and finely grated fresh ginger
1 tablespoon minced celery
1/4 cup rice vinegar
1 1/2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1/2 lemon)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons ketchup
1/4 cup mayonnaise (the original recipe calls for Japanese mayonnaise, so if you feel like buying it, go for it!)
2 teaspoons sugar
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup canola oil

Place shrimp in a large bowl and set aside.

Combine garlic, ginger, celery, vinegar, lemon juice and soy sauce in a blender.  Blend on high until smooth.  Add ketchup, mayonnaise, sugar, salt and pepper, and blend to combine.  Stream in oil while motor is running until creamy and well combined.  Taste and adjust seasonings accordingly.

Pour into bowl with shrimp and mix until evenly distributed.  Place on grilling pan (or on skewers) and put on hot grill.  Turn once while cooking.  Grilling time varies, depending on size of shrimp.  Be sure not to overcook.

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispy Treats (Secret Recipe Club)

Happy Monday!  Did you think I forgot about you this morning?  Have no fear - it's a later than normal post because once again, it's Secret Recipe Club reveal day!  Always a fun day of the month :)

My assigned blog this time around was This Chick Cooks.  Katie has some great stuff to choose from, with her recent recipes being more on the healthy side due to a lifestyle change she made.  A few that caught my eye were the Chick Pea Summer Salad and the Summer Squash Soup.  Yum!

But, even though I had a few of the "good" ones bookmarked, I ultimately went with a "bad" one ;)  It wasn't my fault!  Since I made the Baba Au Rhum for my brother-in-law's birthday, I had to come up with a kid-friendly dessert for the little ones...sooooo....

These delicious treats were enjoyed by all!  Thanks for a great recipe, Katie!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Krispy Treats
slightly adapted from This Chick Cooks

1 (10 ounce) bag mini marshmallows
6 cups crispy rice cereal
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2 tablespoons half & half 

In a large bowl, melt butter and marshmallows in microwave for about 60-90 seconds.  Stir (spray spoon with cooking spray to avoid a sticky mess!) and pop in a little while longer if need be.  Add peanut butter and stir, then cereal, and stir until evenly distributed.  Pour and press into a greased 9x13 baking pan.

Put chocolate chips and half & half in a microwave safe bowl.  Cook for 30 seconds, stir, then cook another 15-30 seconds, until smooth.  Use a knife to drizzle chocolate over cereal.  Cut into bars and serve.

Linked to:  Sweet Tooth Friday

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Friday, August 3, 2012

Truffled Deviled Eggs

My parents recently came back from a long trip to Italy.  One of our cousins was getting married so they flew out to attend, then spent some time in various parts of the country.  After seeing all the pictures and hearing how much fun they had, I regretted not going.  I'll get back there soon.  Soon...

At least they brought us back some goodies :)

Among other things, my brother, sister and I each got a jar of truffles in oil.  My sister cracked hers open first and made these delicious treats.

Oh and by the way, these eggs came from HER chickens.  Yes, she has chickens...living in her backyard in a fancy schmancy chicken coop (see below, with my niece keeping them company).

And I'll be responsible for them in a few weeks while SHE and HER family are in Italy for two weeks.  What the hell is wrong with this scenario?  Sigh.

Truffled Deviled Eggs
from Clori

1 dozen eggs, hard boiled and cooled in ice water
1 cup mayonnaise
2 teaspoons truffles in oil
salt and pepper
1/2 cup chopped fresh chives (reserve a bit for garnish)

Split eggs lengthwise.  Pop out yolks and place in bowl.  Add mayonnaise and stir until combined.  Add truffles, chives, salt and pepper.  Stir until smooth.

Fill egg whites and place on serving dish.  Garnish with chives.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Quick & Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

One month from today, my daughter will be 4 years old.  How the heck did that happen already?  I used to get a little annoyed when people said, "enjoy it - time goes by SO fast!"

But you know what?  They're right.

Fortunately, Bella and I have MANY days together in the kitchen to look forward to, regardless of how fast time goes by.  These delicious muffins are our latest creation.  And she loved every bite.

Quick & Easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
slightly adapted from Pixelated Crumb

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 eggs
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups AP flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line muffin tins with paper liners.

Beat oil, sugar, eggs and bananas until combined in a large bowl (I did this by hand).  Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Fold into wet ingredients, being careful not to overmix.  Add vanilla and chocolate chips and stir until just combined.

Spoon into muffin tins and bake for 20 minutes.  Remove from tin and cool on rack.

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012


Summertime is the right time to be Mediterranean.  It's just too easy.

Parsley from the garden.  Mint from the yard.  Tomatoes from the farmer's market.


slightly adapted from Simply Recipes

2 cups water (or stock)
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups bulgur wheat
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice from 2 lemons
5-6 plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
3 scallions, chopped
2 cups parsley, chopped
1 cup fresh mint leaves, chopped
pita chips

Place bulgur in medium sized bowl.  Add salt to liquid and bring to a boil, then pour over bulgur.  Let sit for 30-60 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine oil, lemon juice and bulgur.  Mix well.  Add remaining ingredients and stir to combine.

Taste and adjust seasonings and ingredients accordingly.  Let marinate for at least 30 minutes before serving.  Serve with pita chips.  Will keep in refrigerator for about a week.

Serves 6-8.

Linked to:  Tastetastic Thursday

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