MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

25 12 2008

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I hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday.  WH and I are touring the Mid-Atlantic states (visiting family) and then we’re headed to Mexico to take our honeymoon!!!

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I wanted to share my holiday treats that I gave to family this holiday.  I found the Peppermint Stirrers on Good Things Catered and the Sugar Cookie recipe from Kuchenlatein.  The Gingerbread Cookie recipe is listed below.  I had so much fun making all of these goodies!  YUMMY!

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Merry Christmas everyone!  Scroll down for a family pic 😉

Gingerbread Cookies (People in cookbook)

  • 3 & 1/2 c. flour
  • 1 & 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 c. canola oil
  • 3 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 c. dark molasses
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp. grated orange or lemon zest
  1. In a large bowl, combine the flour, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda, cloves, and salt; set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, beat the brown sugar, oil, and butter until fluffy, 2 minutes.
  3. Beat in the molasses, egg, and zest.
  4. Gradually add the flour mixture until combined.
  5. Divide the dough into 3 sections; flatten each into a disc.
  6. Wrap each in plastic wrap and chill thoroughly, at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.
  7. Preheat the oven to 375F.
  8. Working one disk at a time and keeping the remaining dough in the refrigerator, roll the disk on a lightly gloured counter to 1/4-inch thickness.
  9. Cut the dough with cookie cutters.
  10. Place on the preared baking sheet, 1 inch apart, and bake until just barely dark, about 8 minutes.
  11. Repeat with the remaining 2 disks of dough.
  12. Cool on a rack.

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Love, Amy, WH, and Reggie (the Reindeer)





Bacon Wrapped Pork

24 12 2008

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Ah, Christmas Eve… I think I like Christmas Eve even better than Christmas Day.  Christmas Eve seems more relaxing… my family goes to church, we do our immediate family Christmas gifts so that we can sleep in Christmas Day and be ready to spend the rest of the day with extended families.  I think I just like the anticipation of Christmas Eve.  I’m so excited to be home with my family for the holidays.

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I do want to share a great recipe I made the other day.  I’ve had the recipe for a while now and was kind of scared of it.  I get easily intimidated by recipes that use ingredients I’m not familiar with or techniques I’ve never tried or seen.  Thanks to Barefoot Bloggers (mostly) I have become familiar with fennel, a main component to this dish.  So I finally felt ready to give it a try.

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Again, turned out fabulous.  My only issue is having to cook the meat so long and burning the fennel and apricots.  I always seem to get a really fat piece of pork or beef and it takes so long to cook all the way through.  Frustrating.  Despite that issue, the dish turned out yummy and I’ll definitely try it again.

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Bacon Wrapped Pork

4 servings

  • 1 pork tenderloin (about 1 lb)
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 tsp. pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 4 slices bacon (I only had 2)
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2 small fennel bulbs
  • 8 dried apricots
  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Cut fennel bulbs into eighths.
  3. Cut apricots in half.
  4. Pat the pork dry with paper towels.
  5. Season with 1/2 tsp. salt and 1/2 tsp. pepper.
  6. Top the pork with the thyme and wrap it with the bacon.
  7. Heat the oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat.
  8. Add the pork and fennel.
  9. Season with the remaining salt and pepper.
  10. Cook the pork for 2 minutes per side.
  11. Add the apricots.
  12. Transfer skillet to oven and roast for 20 to 25 minutes.
  13. Let rest for 5 minutes.
  14. Slice the pork and serve with the fennel and apricots.

Source [14]





Pappa Al Pomidoro – Barefoot Bloggers

23 12 2008

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Oh!  I’m early with my BB post!!

I have to admit, when I was buying the ingredients for this dish, cooking it, and answering WH’s question of “what is it?” I really had no idea.  I still don’t know what Pappa Al Pomidoro is, but I do know it is delicious.  This was a really fun BB dish that I didn’t expect.

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I realized after making Coq Au Vin and this soup that I was very wrong about a lot of the “classic” dishes Ina Garten usually prepares.  I honestly thought cooking them would be really difficult.  But, I learend that it’s more the length of time that is difficult rather than actually preparing the meal.  The steps are fairly simple and even the ingredients aren’t too difficult to find.  It’s just that the dishes often take 40+ minutes in addition to the prep.

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I find it kind of relaxing.  After rushing to get the ingredients together, it’s nice to just hang out and wait for the flavors to mingle for 45 minutes.  Sure I always wish I’d started cooking sooner, but the end result is totally worth the wait.

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I truly recommend this dish as it was incredibly delicious.  That’s really all I can say about it.  Delicious.

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You can see the original recipe here.  Thanks to Natalie of Burned Bits for choosing this amazing recipe!

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I do have to make one last comment about a favorite kitchen gadget I now own.  It’s the one touch can opener.  IT IS FANTASTIC.  You seriously just push a button and the thing opens a can.  You can walk away and not pay any attention to it.  Done.  Open.  I’m in love!

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Grilled Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce & Asapargus

22 12 2008

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Here’s a meal that was definitely not a dud.  It was really delicious and fun because it pushed WH and me out of our comfort zones with ingredients and flavors.  I found this recipe in the new Food Network Magazine.  My mom got a subscription and the first issue I saw was really great.  I want my own subscription now!

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The recipe comes from Pat & Gina Nelly of Down Home witht he Neelys.  I have watched their show but never tried any of their food.  This dish caught my eye because after making the recipe I’ll share below, there is a second recipe using your leftovers.  It’s called Southern-Style Sushi and literally uses only things you made in the original recipe except for rice.  So basically when you get ready for your next meal, just make rice and assemble the ingredients you already cooked.

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I planned to make the second part, but our schedules got busy and I wasn’t able to make it soon enough.  We did enjoy the flank steak though.  I’ve never had gorgonzola and rarely eat asapagus, but wow was it all delicious!  WH enjoyed it too and I think we might make this one again.

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Grilled Flank Steak with Gorgonzola Cream Sauce and Asparagus

Serves 2 (with leftovers)

  • 1/2 Tbsp. slated butter, plus
  • 1/2 stick slightly softened
  • 1/2 shallot
  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 1/8 lb. gorgonzola cheese, crumbled
  • 3/4 lb. flank steak
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1/8 c. paprika
  • 1/8 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 lb. large asparagus, trimmed
  • salt & pepper
  1. Melt 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
  2. Add the shallot and cook until tender, about 1 minute.
  3. Add the heavy cream and simmer until reduced by half.
  4. Whisk in the gorgonzola until it melts.
  5. Season with salt and pepper and keep warm.
  6. Heat a grill pan over medium heat.
  7. Brush the steak lightly with olive oil and season liberally with salt and pepper.
  8. Grill the steak, 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare, turning once.
  9. Remove from the heat and cover with foil.
  10. Let the steak rest for 5 minutes before slicing.
  11. Meanwhile, combine the sugar, paprika and onion powder in a small bowl.
  12. Reserve 4 teaspoons and store the rest in an airtight container. (Seasoning will keep in the pantry for up to 6 months.)
  13. Mix the stick of softened butter with 3 teaspoons  seasoning in a small bowl; cover and refrigerate.
  14. Toss the asparagus with the remaining 1 teaspoon barebecue seasoning mix and 1 Tablespoon olive oil; add salt and pepper to taste.
  15. Cook the aspargus in a grill pan over medium heat until tender, turning once, about 6 minutes total.
  16. Reserve 4 stalks for the sushi.
  17. Reserve a quarter of the steak for the sushi; cut the rest into 1/8-inch-thick slices.
  18. Top with the gorgonzola cream sauce, reserving about  1/2 c. for sushi, and serve with the aspargus and some barbecue butter.

Source [FNM], Nov/Dec 2008





Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese with Classic Roasted Vegetables

21 12 2008

Lately I’ve been having some bad luck with recipes.  The taste has been fine, but the consistency of the dishes hasn’t turned out so great.  Fortunately, WH will eat just about anything that tastes good no matter how it looks.  Despite it tasting good, it’s hard for me to post recipes that were duds.

I suppose though that in the kitchen you win some and you lose some.  So to be fair, I’ll post it.  This mac & cheese recipe was a bit of a disappointment.  The combination of cheeses was pretty good, but the consistency just didn’t work out well.  The cheese was sticky and stringy, never came together as I expected.imgp2435

Oh and then I made Roasted Vegetables and proceeded to burn them.  It was fabulous.  So here are the recipes and maybe you’ll have better luck!imgp2433

Stovetop Macaroni & Cheese

3 servings

  • 1 & 1/8 c. macaroni pasta
  • 1 c. fat-free milk
  • 3/8 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3/8 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • 2/3 c. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
  • 1/4 tsp. ground white pepper
  1. Cook the pasta according to package.  Drain and return to pot.
  2. Add the milk, cheeses and pepper.
  3. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the cheeses melt, abnout 5 minutes.

Classic Roasted Vegetables

2 servings

  • 1 medium red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 4 panels
  • 1/2 medium zucchini, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 medium yellow squash, trimmed and cut on the diagonal into 1/4 inch slices
  • 1/2 medium sweet onion, root end left intact and cut into 8 wedges
  • 1/2 lb. asparagus, trimmed
  • 1 & 1/2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 1/4 tsp. drived basil
  • 3/8 tsp. salt
  • 1/8 tsp. ground pepper
  1. Preheat the oven to 450F.
  2. Place one oven rack in the upper third of the oven and one in the lower third.
  3. Spray baking sheet with nonstick spray, set aside.
  4. Cut each bell pepper panel on a diagonal into 2 triangles.
  5. Transfer the peppers to a large bowl and add the zucchini, yellow swuash, onion, asparagus, garlic, oil, vinegar, basil, salt, and pepper.
  6. Toss well to evenly coat with seasonings and place onto baking sheet in even layer.
  7. Bake the vegetables, tossing occassionally, until tender and lightly browned, 15-20 minutes.
  8. Serve immediately or at room temperature.

Both recipes: Source [15]





Tag! You’re It!

18 12 2008

Mandy of Home with Mandy  tagged me!  I’m supposed to share 7 weird/random facts about myself so here goes:

1. I have a weird interest in vampires.  I love Underworld and Underworld: Evolution.  I also have a huge obsession with the Twilight books and movie.  I read the 4 books in about one week and though I’ve only see the movie once, I’m dying to see it like 15 million times.  I’m just really fascinated by vampires.

2.  I’m a really picky eater.  Although I try new things on my blog, the recipes are often a huge step out of my comfort zone.  When I go to restaurants I always get the same things and I’m really averse to trying new things unless I’m doing the cooking.  I’m getting better, but there are still times when I just want a plain old cheeseburger or chicken tenders.

3. Speaking of cheeseburgers, I only like ketchup on my cheeseburgers.  If I have to, I can eat the toppings like mustard, onions, lettuce, tomatoes, etc, but I really prefer just ketchup.

4. I don’t like scary/suspense/horror movies.  I can’t watch them and refuse to do so.  They keep me up at night and I can’t stop thinking about them no matter what.  Even if I watch an episdoe of CSI where the plot is about an intruder or something, I can’t go to bed iwthout first checking all the rooms, closets, and showers to be sure no one is there.  I’m a total wimp when it comes to the scary stuff.

5. I love office supplies.  Post it notes, highlighters, labels, file folders, paperclips… you name it.  I love them.  I could go nuts in Office Max.  I think it’s because I like to organize things and make them look nice, but it’s still strange.

6. I can’t swim.  I never really learned how.  It’s not like I don’t know what to do in a  pool or the ocean or whatever, but I was never on the swim team or anything like that… I probably couldn’t rescue anyone.

7. I’ve never broken a bone.  The only thing I’ve been to the hospital for is to have my tonsils removed.  My brother and sister have both been rushed to the ER and gotten stitches, but not me.  No broken bones and no stitches… I’m pretty cautious.

So now I’m supposed to tag 7 others:

 tagged





Chicken Saute with Apples

17 12 2008

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You know, there are some foods/dishes/meals, that just don’t photograph well.  This is one of them.  The recipe itself is actually delicious; who doesn’t love apples and brown sugar??  I found this recipe on Fun, Crafts and Recipes, host of Four Foods on Friday.  If you’ve ever visited this site, you know there aren’t any pictures and usually no dialogue to go along with the recipe.  Just simple step by step instructions for delicious meals.

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This recipe caught my eye because of the apples.  I’ve recently discovered how wonderfully fabulous the pairing of meat and fruit can be.  I had to give this recipe a shot and while it isn’t the prettiest thing you’ll ever see, it is pretty darn tasty. You can find the original recipe here.

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