Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Snicker Doodle Cookies

I am so awful at this blogging thing because I don't post things as I make them. Shame on me. Anyways when I was looking for the cauliflower recipe I came across this Snicker Doodle recipe that I made about a month ago when we were going out on the lake with some friends. I wanted to make something that could stand up to the heat (no chocolate) and these sounded good. They were actually very good and moist. I know I've made and had these kind of cookies in the past and they were not as good as these. So here's another keeper...

Balsamic & Parmesan Roasted Cauliflower

After writing my previous post of the Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese I realized this recipe isn't on my blog. This is how I've been making my cauliflower for the past few months because I think it is really good. It's definitely not for everyone because it has some strong seasonings and lots of flavor. Not a recipe for the kids well...not my kids. http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes/balsamic_parmesan_roasted_cauliflower.html It's kind of an italian side dish in my opinion and I like to serve it with some Italian seasoned oven roasted chicken and maybe some fettuccini alfredo but it would also make a great appetizer served with some toothpicks.

Cauliflower "Mac" and Cheese

There are times I have to admit that I get into a rut and make the same meals every week. Same meats...same veggies...etc. I stocked up on produce over the weekend and had a head of cauliflower in there I was going to cut up and roast like I normally do but decided to look up some new recipes and came across this one... http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/george-stella/cauliflower-mac-and-cheese-casserole-recipe/index.html I had all of the ingredients and I even had hopes the kids might even eat it. Well this was another winner all around. My daughter has become quite the picky eater when it comes to vegetables and she has total influence over her little brother so it is hard to get them both to eat veggies. I decided I wouldn't tell her what I made. I made up some turkey burget patties to go along with this and served it up on my daughter's plate. She says mmmm...what it it? I respond it is hamburgers and "cheesy peasy goodness". Of course her response was...what's in it? I told her it doesn't matter it is just "cheesy peasy goodness". Had I told her it was cauliflower she would have said it was disgusting. She proceeded to eat the entire plate of food and said it was great! Ha! This is a keeper!

Pear Crumb Coffee Cake

Every time I go to the grocery store with both kids in tow I go through the produce aisle to hopefully spark their interest in trying new things. If it were up to them they would live on blueberries, bananas, and melons. We typically buy a few of something my 4 yr old daughter says she has to have and then they sit and go bad in the fruit basket. So this was one of those occassions where I had 2 very ripe pears sitting in the basket waiting to be tossed and I decided to look up some recipes. Lucky for me I came across this recipe for Pear Crumb Coffee Cake http://www.cooks.com/rec/view/0,226,153180-234201,00.html because it is a definite keeper! I went by the recipe except I was nearly out of regular all purpose flour so I used cake flour. On the box of cake flour it says for every cup of regular flour a recipe calls for to add in 1 cup + 2 tbsp cake flour. So I made that adjustment. Then for the crumble on top I used the remaining all purpose flour I had left on hand. I'm not sure if the cake flour made it better but it was delicious! The cake was fluffy and moist and the crumble on top was heavenly! Enjoy!

Paula Deen's Beef Stew and Cheesy Biscuits

Last week I was in the mood for some yummy Beef Stew so after doing some googling I came across Paula Deen's recipe http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/old_time_beef_stew/ and decided to make it. I'm thinking that I didn't "brown" the meat as I should have to develop the flavor because it didn't turn out as flavorful as I was hoping. When browning the meat it became more of a simmering the beef instead of actually developing color and flavor. So anyways the oil was probably not hot enough and I probably didn't get the sear on it as I should have. Lesson learned. Needless to say the stew was okay but lacked in flavor. Not something I would have expected from a Paula Deen recipe.

To accompany the stew I was looking for some sort of roll or biscuit to sop up all of the supposed to be yummy juices. So I made Paula Deen's Cheese Biscuit recipe http://www.pauladeen.com/recipes/recipe_view/the_lady_and_sons_cheese_biscuits/ and OMG! These were SO delicious! They were exactly like the cheesy biscuits you get at Red Lobster. The perfect ratio of cheese to bread and the garlic butter brushed on top...yummy! The recipe says to use 1/4-1/2 tsp garlic powder and I used 1/4 tsp. Next time I will use 1/2 tsp because I love garlic and thought a touch more would have been nice. So these are a must for anyone looking for a delicious biscuit!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

4th of July Trifle

Being in the holiday spirit and my never-ending desire to try new things I saw a Food Network Facebook post on a Red White and Blue Trifle. I didn't exactly love their recipe so I searched on cooks.com to see what I could find and then looked to Pinterest to see what other ideas were out there. I came across this one on Pinterest and thought it would be good with a few modifications. Here is the recipe I based my recipe around: http://heylittlemother.com/2012/05/24/perfect-patriotic-dessert-red-white-and-blue-trifle/

The trifle was a HUGE hit and I will definitely make it again in the future!

What you'll need:
  • 1 large tub Cool Whip (refrigerated not frozen)
  • 1 8 oz container sour cream
  • 1 small package instant cheesecake pudding mix
  • 1 small package instant vanilla pudding mix
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1 can pineapple chunks (that's what I had on hand)
  • 1 round angel food cake (I found a round angel food cake near strawberries in HEB but you could improvise and use a loaf cake and make it work the same)
  • 1 large container strawberries
  • 1 large container blueberries
What you'll do:
  • Clean, hull, and slice strawberries (lengthwise to make them pretty like in the photos below)
  • Clean blueberries and sift through them to make sure the stems are removed and any yucky ones are taken out.
  • In a large bowl whisk together Cool Whip, sour cream, and both pudding mixes. Mixture will be thick.
  • Whisk in milk until mixture is smooth.
  • Whisk in 1/2 cup pineapple juice from can then strain pineapples of any excess juice and stir into mixture. (If I had a can of diced pineapples I would have used that instead but I only had the big chunks on hand.)
  • Take round angel food cake and cut horizontally into 3 rings.
  • Line the bottom of the trifle dish with sliced strawberries and then place slices around the bottom sides of the bowl.
  • Place top ring of angel food cake in dish. I broke the ring kind of overlapped it a bit to get it to fit without messing up the strawberries around the dish.
  • Pour some of the pudding mixture over the cake and around the sides of the dish so you have about 1/2-1 inch of white showing.
  • Top the pudding with blueberries. Sprinkle around and then be sure to place all around edge of bowl so you can see them on the outside.
  • Now you repeat the layers a second time (strawberries, angel food cake, pudding mixture, blueberries)
  • Depending on how deep your dish is you can add more strawberries/blueberries/pudding until you get to the top and the top should be the pudding mixture so you can decorate on top of it as you choose. See pictures below for how I finished it off.
  • Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour or more until served.

Jello Shots

I had never made Jello Shots before but they sounded like a good adult addition to the 4th of July party our neighbors were having. So I looked up a recipe on cooks.com and essentially the consensus was 1 package of jello with 1 cup of hot water and 1 cup of alcohol. So then I got to thinking what combination I wanted to make. Pina Colada sounded good and the grocery store had pineapple jello. I had coconut rum at home so I got that one. I had tried chocolate vodka for the first time over the weekend and it was so good I was planning on picking some up at the liquor store so I thought about what might be good with it and so I got black cherry jello. So I picked up the chocolate vodka and got to work. I made the pineapple jello/coconut rum combination first. After making it and pouring into the cups I realized this particular brand of jello (Royal I believe) calls for 4 cups of water (2 cups hot/2 cups cold) and is supposed to make twice the amount of jello. Oops! The black cherry jello/chocolate vodka combination was next and I read the package and it called for 2 cups of water so I went ahead and prepared it the same way I did the pineapple batch. Well, after sampling both the consensus was the pineapple ones were delicious and the black cherry ones were merely okay and will not be made again. But they were ALL gone in the end!

What you will need:
  • 1 package Royal Pineapple Jello (2.8 oz)
  • 1 cup Coconut Rum (I used Bacardi)
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • Jello Shot Cups (I ordered on amazon.com)
What you will do:
  • Place plastic shot cups in sheet pan
  • Add jello mix to boiling water in bowl and whisk until dissolved.
  • Wait 3 minutes or so for it to cool down a bit then add coconut rum and whisk together to combine.
  • Pour mixture into a large glass measuring cup with pouring edge on it. Fill cups half way with mixture. It makes about 15-20 shots.
  • Refrigerate for 1 hour until firm. (good with whipped cream on top as well)

Bacon Wrapped Asparagus

A staple in our house since I started The Belly Fat Cure (BFC) diet has been anything with meat and veggies. Something I had never made before until exploring my options was Bacon Wrapped Asparagus. To be honest I'm not sure I had ever made asparagus before starting this "diet"...I like to call it my way of eating now. So this is super easy and you should give it a try!

Here's what you'll need:
  • 1 package center cut bacon
  • 1 bunch asparagus (I try to get small-medium sized stalks)

Here's what you'll do:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a large baking sheet with nonstick aluminum foil.
  • Remove rubber bands from bunch of asparagus. Rinse asparagus in colander. Grab a single stalk and take both ends and bend it slightly until it snaps. You throw out the end (the side with the flat edge) and keep the flowery end (that's the good part). Once you learn how to do this process you can grab 3-5 stalks and bend them together and speed up the process.
  • Open the bacon and grab a slice. Take 3-4 stalks of asparagus (depends on the size of the stalks) and start at one end with bacon and wrap up the stalks together. Lay on prepared sheet pan. Repeat the process with remaining bacon and asparagus. For me typically one package of bacon rolls one bunch of asparagus.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes. After baking (if not browned enough and you like crispy bacon) put oven on broil and cook another 3-5 minutes. Yum!!

Returning to the blogging world...

So I've been out of the blogging world for sometime now but decided I'd start posting again since so many people have been requesting recipes. To update everyone following (all 3 of you lol) on what's been going on in my life I'll start my first post. I got pregnant near the time of my last post and that's what ended IWAD. There was no wine to be involved anymore and so it kind of defeated the purpose. It's not as much fun cooking without it! I had my little guy in April 2011 and have been busy with my now 4 yr old daughter and 1 yr old son. In September I decided it was time to lose the remaining 20 lbs of baby weight I was still holding onto. I started my last pregnancy 10 lbs over where I started my pregnancy with my daughter and then I was 10 lbs over that and had had enough! I wound up reading a book (that I had purchased for 99 cents through Amazon on my Kindle) called The Belly Fat Cure by Jorge Cruise. After reading that I decided why not I'll give it a try. Well, after losing 3 lbs that first week I was sold. Then it kept coming off 1-3 lbs every week...no joke. Now I must say that I was nursing my little boy at the same time but had stopped losing the weight. My goal was to lose 20 lbs by Christmas since we go on a caribbean vacation every year at that time. I lost more than 20 lbs in that time period. NO WORKING OUT (other than running after 2 kiddos all day). I'm currently at a comfortable weight and have been working out to tone up and "firm up the flab" as I like to call it. I've been doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD. This is a 25 minute workout that is pretty hard core. It definitely works. My goal is 3 days a week. I definitely notice results and can't wait to get this body back to pre-baby shape (aside from the stretch marks and saggy you know what's). I have also been entertaining the idea of getting a Gold's Gym membership again. Well there you have it...my last year in a nutshell.