Sunday, July 31, 2011

Super Kicked-Up Chex Mix

Hee, Hee...I have to giggle. Besides hearing all the time, "Oh My!" "Wow!" "This is so good!" "Oh, Mary!". You know, all those expressions that people say when you've pleased their palette. People say "you made that?" or "you make your own...?" Yes, people, I make my own Chex Mix. And once you try it once, you will see why! Homemade has way more flavor and it really takes no time at all. Plus, you get to pick what you put in it. For instance I don't care for the wheat chex, those weird fake bread-stick thingees and the rye bread chips. But I love dry roasted peanuts, sesame sticks, cheese nips, and club cracker mini's. See now, you're starting to see why homemade is better than bagged! But wait, there's more...mine...made with freshly grated garlic! And kicked up with a little or a lot of Franks Red Hot Sauce! Oh ya! If you're not into heat, no problem just a few dashes, you won't even notice the heat, just the deliciousness! But if you love the heat, double the amount!

Super Kicked-Up Chex Mix


1 cup pretzels
1 cup Club Cracker mini's (an amazing invention)
1 cup Corn Chex
1 cup Rice Chex
1 cup cheese crackers
1 cup salted roasted peanuts
1 c sesame sticks
(OR 7 cups of your favorite items)
1/3 cup butter
2 Tbl Worcestershire sauce
3 cloves garlic, grated or finely chopped
1 tsp seasoned salt (I use Lawry's)
1/2 tsp minced dried onion (you could use onion powder if you want)
1 tsp Franks Red Hot sauce (more or less)

Heat oven to 250. In a large bowl mix all the nuts, crackers, cereal etc... In a small microwave-safe bowl add the butter and all the rest of the ingredients. Microwave until the butter is melted, usually no more 45 seconds. mix well and slowly pour over the cracker mixture. Stir until the butter mixture is even distributed over the cracker mixture. Evenly spread on a baking sheet lined with foil. Bake for 1 hr, stirring every 15 minutes. Let cool and enjoy! Store in an air tight container.

Party On Friends! Enjoy!


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Feta Cucumber Tomato Salad

I am so excited about this salad! It totally made my day! I already had another post scheduled for today, but when I made this salad yesterday and tasted it, I fell in love! Sorry, Super Kicked-up Chex Mix, your debut will have to wait!  I seriously want to eat this salad every day for the rest of summer! It is so healthy and flavorful! I served mine up with a tall glass of ginger iced tea! This salad is all things summer! I can not pinpoint one flavor that stood out to me, but the combination of all the fresh and bright ingredients together brought a sweet crunchy freshness! It actually tasted like there was a sweet dressing was on top, but there is nothing sweet in it. This is such a very healthy salad. I can't wait to make it again!  Have a try for yourself!

Feta Cucumber Tomato Salad

1 large cucumber (or 3 baby cucumbers, like I use)
1 heaping cup of grape totmatoes
3 green onions
1/2 cup basil leaves
1 cup feta cheese crumbles
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1 Tbl grapeseed oil or olive oil
1 Tbl fresh lemon juice

Thinly slice the cucumber. If the skin of the cucumber is thick, you may want to peel it too. Halve the grape tomatoes. Slice the green onions on a diagonal, don't be afraid to use the WHOLE thing people (greens and whites)! Now toss all the ingredients in a bowl until it is mixed well and the veggies are evenly coated with oil and lemon juice.

Serve and smile! You can be proud of this Super Healthy Dish!

Happy Summer!


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sweet Potato Gorgonzola Salad

I am a mid-west girl to the core. I grew up on beef and potatoes, so when we changed our diet to a healthy lifestyle and potatoes were completely thrown out of the mix, I had to learn to improvise. And you know what, I was an easy convert! I actually like sweet potatoes better! And I learned that they didn't have to be smothered in butter and brown sugar. We made fries with them, chips, hash, baked, and now potato salad. This is an extremely tasty and flavorful salad. You too might be convinced to let the boring starchy white potato go!

This salad is much healthier than the white potato mayo traditional version. But if you are really looking to make a full-on healthier choice, leave out vinaigrette. I will tell you though, it boosts amazing flavor!

Another great thing about this salad, as classy as it tastes and looks, you can serve it at a picnic and not have to worry about keep it chilled!

Sweet Potato Gorgonzola Salad


2 large sweet potatoes
1/2 cup gorgonzola crumbles
2 Tbl fresh basil, chopped
2 green onions, sliced (greens and whites)
handful of chopped pecans
1/2 - 3/4 cup Vinaigrette (your own or the one below)

Heat oven to 400. Dice potatoes into bite-sized pieces.  Spread them out on a baking sheet prayed with a cooking spray. Roast the potatoes for about 20 minutes then stir it around a bit and let them bake for another 10 or 15 minutes...until tender and a little crispy on the edges. Let them cool.

Once cooled., toss potatoes, cheese, basil, onions, pecans and vinaigrette in a bowl. Chill and serve. Super easy, super flavorful and pretty darn healthy too!

1/4 C balsamic vinegar
1 Tbl pure maple syrup
1 tsp freshly grated garlic
1/2 cup olive oil (I use grapeseed oil)

Add all dressing ingredients to a small plastic container with a lid. Shake well. Simple as that.



Saturday, July 23, 2011

Stuffed Shrooms

You are a lucky today! I have a feature post today! My brother will be cooking for you today! Well, one of my little brothers. I have 3 brothers. One handsome older brother and two handsome younger brothers. I’m the queen bee right smack in the middle of these awesome guys! Yes, I do love them! They are amazing! Anyway, back to David…the middle child. Well, technically I am a middle child too, but I guess since I’m the only girl the queen, he’s more of a middle child. And my parents so didn’t him to feel left out like some middle children, that he was totally spoiled!

Seriously though David is a great guy. He’s pretty laid back but is a jokester. The princess and the warrior absolutely adore him and his wife, who is expecting their first child later this summer! He as with all three of my brothers, has served our great country in the Army and has some very ambitious plans for his future! But that’s not why he’s here today. He’s here because he can COOK! He likes to take the norm and totally kick it up one or two or ten notches! Like his pizza…he does an amazing kicked up Buffalo Chicken Pizza. I am always flattered when he calls me to get my opinion on how to make something and then he goes and makes it totally his own creation.  

I was so excited that he agreed to cook for you. David and his wife live a few hours away and we went down to visit a few weeks ago. Since they live in a really fun city, my mom and I spent the day out on the town and I told David that I would be back at 5 to take pictures of his cooking...ummm…ya we got back at about 6:15. But the responsible adults still at the house took the pictures for me! YAY! Thank you responsible adults for the pictures! Problem is, I never got the pictures from Superman's camera and now he's out of town.

Today he’s making Stuffed Mushrooms and holy Cow they were amazing! You have to run out right now and get some portabella mushrooms to make these. The mushrooms are so juicy and meaty, almost beefy and the creamy filling inside is very flavorful!

Stuffed Shrooms

Mushrooms (2 large mushroom caps, or 6-8 large baby bella mushrooms)
4-5 Strips of bacon
1 small package of cream cheese
1 Tbl of minced garlic
¼ tsp pepper
¼ tsp onion powder
½ tsp cayenne pepper
Parmesan cheese
Italian salad spritzer (in the dressing section of the store)
Preheat the oven to 400.
Chop the bacon, sauté garlic (optional). If your mushrooms still have stems, carefully remove them and chop them to your desired consistency (I prefer finer). Combine bacon, garlic, pepper, onion powder and cayenne pepper, mix then add the cream cheese. I only use about ¾ of the cream cheese (you can save the rest for your bagel in the morning).
Clean off the mushrooms, (I prefer to rinse them off, and then pat dry, though some say you should just wipe clean with a wet cloth). Fill the mushrooms with the cream cheese mix. I find it easiest to spoon the mix into the corner of a zip-lock type bag and cut the tip of the bag (on the corner) and squeeze the mix into the mushroom caps.
Spray a baking sheet with whichever cooking spray you like to use. Sprinkle Parmesan on a small plate. Now use the salad spritzer on the bottom of the shroom caps, this wets the caps while adding a little something, while spritzer is still fresh on the cap roll the cap in the Parmesan cheese. Place on baking sheet and place in oven. Let cook for 20 minutes or until sizzles and juice forms at the bottom of the caps.
Thank you, brother for sharing your awesome recipe! They were super tasty and I can't wait to make them! 
Enjoy, people!


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

What are you waiting for?

There's a lot of great recipes for you try and stories for you to read! I just haven't had time to get them ready for you! I have lots of good stuff waiting for you though! I can't wait to share...

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Hungry Man Italian Sub with Olive Tepanade

I love a good sandwich. Ok, I will even go for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich most of the time. Or a peanut butter pickle sandwich (thanks to the Green Girls), yummy! Hey don't knock it until you've tried it. *focus* Anyway, so I am happy to make a sandwich and call it a meal. But the men in my life scoff when I mention making a sandwich, especially if I try to pass it off as dinner. I guess I can't blame 'em. I mean Superman runs miles and miles everyday and has a vigorous weight training schedule...I guess that he has a reason to be hungry man. That is why I had to make the Hungry Man Italian Sub.

This very substantial flavorful sandwich will satisfy the hungriest of appetites! It's full of meats and cheeses, oh ya and veggies. If you haven't tried a Tepanade on a sammy, you will be hooked after this one! A tepanade is a spread generally used on bread. More commonly used in France and the Mediterranean. It is sooo good!

Warning...feeding hungry men this sandwich will cause them to kiss the ground that you walk on! Watch your step!

layer it on...

don't be shy

ready for the grill

oohh la la...I mean *grunt, grunt, grunt* (Tim Taylor style)

Hungry Man Italian Sub

Olive Tepanade

6oz can black olives
7oz jar green olives
4oz capers
1 Tbl Hot Sauce (optional, but man can totally handle it!)
1 tsp dried Oregano
1/3 cup olive oil

Drain olives and capers. Dump all the ingredients into a food processor and pulse until it is almost a paste consistency, but still small chunks.

6 large sub rolls
1 lb deli ham, sliced
1 lb hard salami, sliced
1/2 lb sliced mozzarella
1/2 lb sliced provolone
Red onion slices
Romain lettuce leaves
Sliced tomato

Slice the sub rolls in half length-wise and smear 1/6 of the olive Tempanade on each of the bottom half of the rolls. Ok, now that you've got that out of the way, start layering the meat on. Add 1/6 of the ham, salami, mozzarella and provolone to each of the rolls. Top with a few slices of red onion, tomato and romain lettuce. Add the top of the roll, cut in half and serve to a group of hungry men! We put ours in the panini grill! Even yummier with warm meat and melted cheese!

I dare you to try to eat a whole one. I have to cut one in thirds for myself! Serve, eat and enjoy!


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Blueberry Almond Creme Muffins

Dear Neighbors,

I know that my kids get up early and we play outside before you are even thinking about getting out of bed. And I am terribly sorry that the warrior and the princess were screaming and singing at the top of their lungs as they rode their bikes up and down the street this morning. Please accept this as a token of my sincere apology...when you smell the overwhelming sweet aroma of fresh baked muffins billowing out of my window, just wait on your porch with your coffee and I will be by with my peace offering. I am positive that these wonderful blueberry muffins with a cream cheese filling and an almond topping with make up for your loss of sleep.

The mama of a princess and a warrior

Blueberry Almond Creme Muffins
(Makes 12 muffins)

Ingredients for the Muffins

1 3/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond extract
2 cups blueberries

Cream Filling
4 oz Cream Cheese, room temp
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp almond extract

Almond Topping Ingredients
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup slivered almonds
2 Tbl butter, melted

Heat oven to 400. In a small mixing bowl beat the egg, milk, oil, vanilla and almond extract. In a Medium mixing bowl mix the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Add the egg mixture to the flour mixture and stir in around three or four times then fold in the blueberries, you don't want to over mix muffins, I promise.

Okay, in another bowl add all of the Cream Filling ingredients and with mixer, cream it all together.

Lastly, in a small bowl mix together the Almond topping ingredients.

In a greased muffin tin, spoon half of the blueberry muffin mixture into the muffin wells. Add a spoonful of the filling on top of the blueberry mixture. Spoon the remaining half of the blueberry batter on top. And top it all off with a spoonful of the surgery almond topping. Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

If the blueberry muffins weren't enough on their own, filled with cream cheese and topped with a sweet crunchy almonds should definitely win you over! Enjoy!