Thursday, November 25, 2010

Gobble Gobble!

Happy Thanksgiving to you!
I have so much to be thankful for this year. A wonderful husband, a new baby boy, friends and family! 
Life is good :)

We are off to my sister in laws today. Luckily she only lives 30 minutes from me. I am bringing my homemade turkey gravy, broccoli and walnut salad, homemade cranberry sauce and rolls.

Walnut and Broccoli Salad
For the dressing:
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons white wine vinegar
4 1/2 teaspoons soy sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

For the crunch:
2 tablespoons butter
1/2-1 cup walnuts
1 package oriental Ramen noodles (I must mention these things only cost 22 cents)

In a medium size skillet, melt half the butter and toast the Ramen noodles. Once they turn a darker brown (don't burn them) add the seasoning packet. Once golden in color, rest them on a paper towel. Add the rest of the butter and toast the walnuts for a few minutes or until dark gold in color.
 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Introducing Finn Stephens Westover

Baby Finn is finally here!
After 10 months, Finn was born on 9-02-10, like the show 90210, weighing in at 7 pounds 14 ounces, and 20 1/2 inches long. We are having so much fun getting to know each other. 

Instead of taking pictures of food, I've got a new model...
I'm in love for the 2nd time in my life and it feels fantastic!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Quite possibly the best pesto on the planet

I like pesto. You know, the usual green slimy pesto. It might not be pretty, but it tastes good. This pesto blows that pesto out of the water! It is fantastic. I was a little nervous that it would be good, not great, but I was wrong. I was actually licking it off the spoon like it was cake batter.

I got the idea from Sunny Anderson's recipe found here. I'm not a huge fan of hers, but pesto is actually hard to mess up and I NEVER follow a recipe to a T, so I tweaked this roasted garlic pesto recipe and made it my own. I take 100% credit for it. Its dang good.

I'm sure you  noticed right away that the color is red, not green. That is due to these bad boys:
I hit up the Wednesday night neighborhood farmers market yesterday and picked up a ton of bright red, cherry tomatoes. I coated them in olive oil, salt and pepper, and baked them in the oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Along side the tomatoes, I peeled a head of garlic and covered the cloves in olive oil, covered with foil and baked for 45 minutes at 375 degrees.
Once you take both the garlic and tomatoes out of the oven, don't toss the oil. You will be using the tomato oil in the pesto, and saving the garlic oil for later. Garlic infused olive oil is better than skinny  jeans. Well, almost.

Pour the tomatoes, oil and all in a blender, along with the garlic.
Add a large handful of fresh basil, 1/3 cup (or more if you like the crunch) of pine nuts, a big handful of parsley, and a handful or two of Parmesan cheese AND Romano cheese.
Add a little salt, not much do to the salt already in the tomatoes and cheese, and a good bit of pepper. Pulse for a few seconds and voila:
I promise this is the best pesto I have ever had. I have big plans for this sauce, well, I have big plans of making a ton of it and freezing it. My husband and I ate this batch right up on a homemade pizza last night. MUST MAKE MORE.

After dinner and if she lived closer, I'd have to have a yummy cookie from my friend Shannon, aka The Cookie Mama. Her cookies are the cutest I've ever seen! Check her blog out here! We went to high school together in Mississippi and have recently found each others blogs.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Key Lime Pops with Milk Chocolate Coating

I know that cake balls are "so  yesterday" but I recently made a different cake pop for a friend who was getting married in Apalachicola, which is where my husband proposed to me. I wanted to make a more summer version of this favorite treat and with it being summer, how perfect is key lime!

Speaking of perfect, I adore cake mixes. There is no shame in letting Betty do all the work for you:
Cake Recipe:

Ingredients

  • 1 (18.25 ounce) package lemon cake mix
  • 1 1/3 cups vegetable oil
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 (3 ounce) package lime Jello mix
  • 3/4 cup key lime juice 
  • 2-4 drops of green food coloring
  • 1 container of store bought cream cheese icing

Directions:

1. Combine cake mix, Jello, oil, eggs and key lime juice. Drop in your green food coloring until you reach the green you like. Pour into a cake pan and bake according to instructions on box. Allow to cool. 

2. After cake has completely cooled, crumble into a large mixing bowl and add in 1 container of cream cheese icing.

3. Put the cake/icing mixture in the fridge for about an hour and then you are ready to roll into balls and place on a wax paper lined cooking sheet.

4. Once the cake pops have cooled, they are ready to be dipped in the chocolate of your choice. I used milk chocolate.

Now eat them. All of them.




Saturday, May 15, 2010

Not one thing about food...just some other fun!

I only have 10 days until summer break and the days could  not be going by any slower. I'm really looking forward to this summer because this is the first summer that I'M NOT WORKING! Teaching has its ups and downs, with summer break being my favorite up! I plan on continuing to get the nursery ready for Baby Finn. We are having a blast turning our old office into a simple, rustic-contemporary home for our new addition. We are 6 months pregnant and I can truly say, I LOVE being pregnant. I have loved every minute of it. Now I know that being pregnant in Alabama in the summer sounds like H-E-double hockey sticks, but I am more than happy to take the challenge! 

We found our crib at Pottery Barn.
As for the baby bedding, my sister in law told  me about a website that I have fallen in love with. If you haven't shopped at Layla Grayce, you should. I love it. They have all kinds of goodies for the home and for baby.
We are using an antique cabinet with a gray-blue marble top for the changing table. This has been in my family for years. Its my favorite piece I own!
 

Thats all for now! I'm off to the kitchen to come up with a new recipe for Key Lime Pie Pops. Stay tuned for more...

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Flank Steak and Melted Havarti Sandwiches

 Before I even begin with this recipe, it is important to notice the ooey, gooey Havarti cheese melting off the sides of the bun. I'm going to pause for a moment of silence.

Ok, I'm ready now.

I have blogged about  my love for flank steak before, so I won't go into great detail, but if you are looking for a good cut of meat that isn't expensive, flank steak is your friend. A couple things to remember: even though flank steak is somewhat lean, it is a tougher cut of meat that really tenderizes if you make a good marinade. If only you had a REALLY good marinade:
 



A REALLY Good Marinade:
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup orange juice
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 tablespoon black pepper
2 teaspoons salt

What to do:
Score the surface of the steak with 1/4 inch deep knife cuts, about an inch apart, across the grain of the meat. Combine the marinade ingredients. Place steak and marinade ingredients in a large freezer bag. Coat the steak well with the marinade. Seal the bag and place in a bowl. Chill and marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight.

Take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse salt and freshly ground pepper. The salt and pepper will help form a savory crust on the steak. Place steak on the hot grill. If you are using a gas grill, cover the grill. Grill for 4-6 minutes on each side. Half way through grilling on each side, turn the steak 90° so that you get more grill marks.
i usually order my steaks medium, but I never grill flank steaks past medium rare. It melts in your mouth if cooked a little on the pink side. It is also important to that you make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide.

Its fantastic as is, but put it between a homemade roll with melted Havarti and red onion.
I served it with a baked sweet potato and a spring salad with buttermilk ranch.
It was tasty.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Chobani Greek Yogurt

In the past, I would not call myself a yogurt person, unless its TCBY or Yogurt Mountain, however, I ran into my neighbors in Publix the other day and they had a card full of Chobani yogurt.


I couldn't help but notice how they had a TON of this stuff in the buggy, so I asked about it and they said I should give it a try. I've always been able to choke down the other fat free yogurt that costs about $5.00 for 10, only because yogurt is so good for you.

I went to the dairy section and right away noticed that at $5.00 for 3 small yogurts, it is much more expensive than the other brands. I decided to try one, just to see how I like it and WOW! It was fantastic. Its creamy, but not as runny as other yogurts. Its a little grainy, but not in a bad way. I tried the 2% pineapple, and will definitely be trying the fat free versions of this tasty treat!

Here is the nutritional info for the pineapple:
Its great for gluten free diets and is full of protein and calcium. So, its pricey, its not organic, but I love it. I plan on heading to Publix and will be loading my cart up this afternoon on this cold, spring break day!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Spicy Sweet Potato, Black Bean and Chicken Tacos

I've really been trying to eat my veggies, however being pregnant, all I want to eat is mashed potatoes, macaroni and cheese and Chick Filet. Due to my carbohydrate crave-fest, as well as the home renovations we've got going on, the husband and I have done something we are ashamed of, we've been eating out! Well, now that I'm in my second trimester, I've regained loads of energy and am not near as tired as I was over the last 3 1/2 months. So, here is to me cooking again! I raise my glass of apple juice to my blog friends and toast to yet another tasty Mexican meal my Meals by Misty!

For the chicken:
I boiled 3 chicken breasts in about 6 cups of salted water. Next, I shredded the chicken, drained all but 3 cups of the broth, put the chicken back in the pot and added: 3 tbl cumin, 2 tsp black pepper, 3 chopped chipotle in adobo sauce, 2 garlic cloves, minced, a few dashes of Chalula hot sauce and squeezed half a lime in as well. I mixed in about a cup of black beans and a can of fire roasted tomatoes. Put the lid on and move on to the sour cream. The longer the chicken simmers in the pot (med temperature) the better it will taste.


For the sour cream:
1 cup sour cream, 1/2 fresh lime juice, a few dashes of cayenne pepper, and 1 tsp of cumin. Mix together and chill.

For the sweet potatoes:
Preheat oven to 420 degrees. Dice 2 sweet potatoes into 1-2 inch cubes. Place them on a foil lined cookie sheet and drizzle with extra virgin olive oil, salt, pepper, and cayenne pepper. If you love cumin as much as I do, add about a teaspoon onto your potatoes. I love how the smokey cumin cuts the sweetness of the potatoes. I sliced up a Spanish onion and layered it in with my potatoes. Pop them in your oven until tender, about 30-40 minutes.

Next up, the fun part! Making the tacos! Start with a small flour tortilla.
Add the sour cream mixture and the sweet potato mixture.
Layer the chicken, extra black beans, cilantro and red onion.
Now, DIG IN!
Cheers :)

Sunday, February 14, 2010

I'm so excited and I just can't hide it!

 (Sorry this is a little long, but I think its well worth the read)

When I discovered the Blog-World, I was addicted from the start. Couldn't wait to try out a new recipe! I even bought a fancy camera to take pictures...just pictures of food. I don't think I've had one picture of me taken on that new camera. I've had a blast! I read articles on how to take pictures of food. I ate, drank and slept food!

Soon the holidays approached and it was then that I realized that all of my time spent in the kitchen was catching up with me...my pants were tight! Baby was getting back! I also noticed I was getting tired. Really, really tired. I have been struggling to find the energy to even think about my next meal, let alone all the meals I cook for others.

I began to worry that like all the sports I attempted to play in high school, the newness had worn off of my new blogging adventure. This didn't make sense to me because I have fallen in love with all my new friends I've made via blogging. 

So, what could it be? Why am I so tired, why does the site of food and the idea of cooking make me a little puny feeling? Most importantly, why have I been letting my wonderful blog friends down? My blog posts have been less frequent. My recipes have been lacking.

Ok, I figured it all out! Can you??

CLUE ONE:

CLUE TWO:
 
And because of my love for food and other foodies like me, CLUE THREE:

Can you guess my secret?

Happy Valentine's Day to you and your loved ones!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Thats Amore!

  My husband and I always spend Valentine's Day at home, mainly because I don't think the restaurants do it up JUST RIGHT like I do :) I hate waiting for 2 hours for a dinner thats going to cost $200. I prefer to cook at home, have some wine and play boardgames. 

Obviously a lot of other couples feel the same way and I couldn't be happier that so many wonderful people in the Birmingham area have chosen to allow me to cook for them. I wanted to share with my special Valentine's menu with you and wish you all a very 
Happy Valentine's Day!!

Valentines Special

Entrees
Ricotta, Parmesan and Spinach Stuffed Chicken Breast
Pancetta Italian Meatloaf with Au Jus
Bacon Wrapped Pork Tenderloin
Jambalaya Pasta with Penne, Chicken, Shrimp and Andouille
Three Cheese Spinach and Mushroom Lasagna

Vegetables
Garlic Smashed Potatoes
Hashbrown Casserole
Sautéed Green Beans with Garlic, Peppers and Pecans
Tossed Salad with Tomatoes, Peppers, Onions, Cucumbers and Vinaigrette

Breads
  Garlic Cheese Beer Bread
  Mexican Cornbread
  Garlic Loaf Bread

Desserts
Outrageous Fudge Brownies
Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Chocolate Truffles
Red Velvet Cake Pops

Happy Heart Day to you!