Tuesday, June 28, 2011

paper&CAKE

It seems like summer is packed with kid's birthday parties, potlucks and  pool parties.
And with all this fun to be had, who wants to waste time going to ten different stores just to find the right invitations and decorations to pull a perfect looking party together?
Well, Emme from The Kid Can Cook has you covered! She is having a fabulous giveaway right now for a $50 gift card from paper&CAKE !
Please go stop by and see their fabulous printable sets that make it easy to put all the perfect touches on any event you have coming up!

This is what I'm getting if I win
An entire set to put together your own wine tasting party and these beautiful cupcake wrappers!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Watermelon Ginger Cooler

 This afternoon this is what I'll be sipping on to stay cool
a Watermelon Ginger Cooler
I just tasted as I went and threw this together so do the same and make it to suit your own taste. I prefer my drinks on the swet side so I may have had a little more ginger syrup than most people would want
watermelon juice
ginger simple syrup
sqeeze of lemon juice
vodka
splash of ginger ale
What is your favorite cocktail to keep you cool during these hot summer days?
Here's what's on the menu this week:
Monday: Stuffed Red Bell Peppers with Roasted Parmesan Cauliflower

Wednesday: Falafel Patties with Greek Salad Salsa and Yogurt Sauce in Pitas served with fruit salad

Friday: Cuban Pork Chops with Grits

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Better Late Than Never

Sometimes life is just crazy
busy, hectic and at a fast pace, and as a mom to two kids and a new pup you can feel a bit manic at times.
After rushing out the door yesterday morning to get my son to VBS on time and get our very sick puppy to an emergency vet visit (one of three I made yesterday) I had to do a double check: they are dressed, their teeth are brushed, I fed them and no one was forgotten at home (I've never done this, but it's always been a fear of mine) 
For me, this was success!
I know all of you can relate to this- and when life gets like that, unfortunately the fun stuff sometimes gets neglected- like my blog
so I'm taking a moment to share some things that I've made and just never got around to posting
Mini Lemon cupcakes with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting for a baby shower- the little boy these cupcakes were made to celebrate has already been born and is completely precious by the way
 These I made for another baby shower for a little boy that was born two weeks ago and who is also extremely adorable; Herb and Parmesan Pull Apart Bread and Chocolate Cherry Cream Cheese Cake Truffles
and lastly a cake with my favorite color combo: pink and brown
Chocolate Cake and Buttercream with hand made and painted fondant flowers



Sunday, June 19, 2011

Meatless Monday

 I want to share with you the meal I had on last week's menu on Monday
Bean and Cheese Taquitos with mango salsa and salsa verde
I served them with a fruit salad and they really were better than I thought they would be! Very crisp from oven baking and easy to make while still being low fat and filling. The fruit salad was a great cooling side and nice to have on these blazing hot afternoons as a snack.
As always I didn't follow recipes exactly, so here's my version of both recipes:
Bean and Cheese Taquitos
adapted from here
1 can  black refried beans
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 1/2 tsp each: cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder
1 tsp hot sauce
3 cups shredded Mexican blend cheese
about 18 small yellow corn tortillas
cooking spray
sea salt for topping

Heat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
In a bowl, mix the refried beans, black beans, spices and hot sauce.  Mix in the cheese.
Put about two tablespoons of filling lengthwise into a tortilla.  Spread it out into a strip and roll up the tortilla around it.  Place it seam side down on a baking sheet.  Repeat with all of the tortillas.
Spray the tortillas with cooking spray and sprinkle with sea salt.  Bake until the edges are golden brownabout 15 minutes.
Minted Fruit Salad
recipe here
 for the fruit salad I really just cut the syrup recipe in half since you don't use the full amount and I added blackberries to the mix. Since the recipe is generally the same I have attached the link instead of copying it here

Here's what I'll be cooking this week:

Monday: Orange Teriyaki Pork Tenderloin with steamed rice and sauteed garlic spinach

Wednesday: Chicken and Tofu Pad Thai and fruit salad

Friday: Baked Spaghetti with garlic bread
 

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Baby Bok Choy and Asian Pears

One of the most exciting things about the bag of goodies I received is that it was filled with ingredients that I rarely get to use. Baby bok choy and asian pears are just not things I think about buying on a regular basis
until now
This bok choy was so good the kids and I ate it all before Louis got home to get a taste of it! And it was suprisingly easy to throw together
Then the next night I made it again and made it into a full meal. 
I used the same sauce and baby bok choy but added thinly sliced chicken, mushrooms, baby corns, bamboo shoots and carrot
 
 Here is the recipe: Spicy Bok Choy in Garlic Sauce
The other new recipe I tried was Asian Pear Slaw from Epicurious
cool, refreshing and easy to throw together
this tasted much better after sitting in the fridge for a couple hours and would be great along side any asian inspired grilled meat

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Peanut Butter Parfait

One of the ingredients I had mentioned I got in my bag full of goodies was silken tofu
I've made chocolate pudding made form tofu before and everyone in my family loved it
this time I made a peanut butter version and then layered it with banana slices and crumbled chocolate cake pieces
This is super easy- just throw everything in a blender and blend away!
recipe adapted from here

1 14oz package of silken tofu, drained
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Bacon Stuffed Patty Pan Squash

When my friend Emme dropped off a bag of foodie treats that she was so nice to share at my house the other day, she went through each thing showing me what she brought and then she pulled out two small patty pan squash and said "and good luck with these things cause I've never been able to make them taste good"
 
that sounded like a challenge to me

The first thing I thought of when I saw them was my all time favorite squash from my Pee Paw. I really didn't like yellow squash unless they were Pee Paw's. He would boil the sliced yellow squash and then drain them. While the squash was boiling he would cook bacon and then add onions to it (best smell in the universe in my opinion) and then when the bacon was crisp and the onions were soft he added breadcrumbs, salt, pepper and the squash. 
So simple, but truly delicious. 
My grandfather was a fabulous cook and there are so many wonderful food memories I have of him today. So when I saw these little squash that came with such an underwhelming introduction I knew what to do. Not sure how much more cooking time they would need compared to regular yellow squash, I looked it up and came across this recipe from allrecipes.com
It was almost exactly the same as Pee Paw's squash, but stuffed all the bacon goodness into the squash instead of just sauteing it all together.
the squash was absolutely delicious (as is anything with bacon in it) and I will be making this variation of Pee Paw's recipe again for sure!

Here's what I'm cooking this week:
Monday: Black Bean and Cheese Baked Taquitos with Salsa Verde, Roasted Garlic Zucchini and Fruit Salad
Chocolate Banana Peanut butter Muffins

Wednesday: Spinach Salad, Gazpacho and Parmesan Thyme Shortbreads

Friday: Oven Fried Pork Chop with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Friday, June 10, 2011

Smoked Salmon Dip

The last thing I did with the dill I was given was this smoked salmon dip and I had much better luck with it than the gougeres.
dil, smoked salmon, lemon and cream cheese- how could it be bad, right?!
It was delicious and I love that it gets better the longer you let it sit in the fridge, so it's the perfect thing to whip up the day before a party or get together.
Serve on cucumber rounds, celery sticks or your favorite crackers and you've got an easy and elegant spread in minutes
you can find the recipe here

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Dill and Cheddar Gougeres

After making the dill vinaigrette I posted here I still had a good amount of dill left over. I've always been intrigued by Gougeres but never got around to making them. The process looks fairly simple and uses everyday ingredients that most people already have on hand. I found a recipe for Cheddar Gougeres that included dill and since we were having a friend over for dinner I thought this might be a perfect starter for our night.   
The batter came together even easier than I thought, they came out of the oven puffed and golden and looked like little balls of golden cheesy perfection. I couldn't wait to try one hot out of the oven.
And when I did........well,
I have to be honest I was really disappointed. The beautiful looking puffs really lacked any flavor; I couldn't taste the cheese or the dill in them at all.
Maybe next time I will double the herbs and use a stronger cheese like Gruyere or Parmesan, add some black pepper and maybe sprinkle the tops with a dash of smoked paprika. Here is a link to the recipe: Cheddar and Dill Gougeres  if you happen to have a recipe for these beautiful puffs that is more successful please pass it on!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Gifts of Groceries

I got lucky this week
Real lucky
A fabulous friend of mine had been given a load of produce from a visit with her in-laws and was nice enough to send me home with a bag full of goodies: enoki mushrooms, tofu, asian pears, oranges and baby bok choy.
Then my equally fabulous foodie mama Emme brought me some patty pan squash, bunches of rosemary and dill, homemade pickles and a jar of peach habanero preserves before leaving for a trip knowing they wouldn't be used before she left.
I had already sent out my weekly menu e mail, but only had one order placed so I was free to play around and try some new and interesting recipes with my loot.
the dill was the first thing I wanted to use up since it had the shortest shelf life, and I came across this recipe from Bobby Flay for a dill vinaigrette and made my own salad with it.

Greek Inspired Feta and Vegetables
in a Dill Vinaigrette  
I really don't know what to call this- I've eaten it as a side salad with baked pork chops, as a salsa with chips and as a delicious topper on flatbread crackers with hummus. It would be great in a pita or tossed into pasta for a light lunch and tastes better the longer it marinates.
2 celery stalks, sliced thinly
3 large raddishes, sliced thinly
1 1/2 cups halved cherry tomatoes
1 cup peeled, seeded and diced cucumber
1 jalapeno, diced
1 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup minced red onion

Combine all ingredients in a mixing bowl and allow to marinate 1 hour before serving

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Sesame Crusted Tuna with Cucumber Edemame Salsa

It's funny (or maybe it's not) how school just let out a week ago and when you step outside the heat takes your breath away. Mother Nature wasted no time throwing us into a  full-on humid summer and on days like this, no one wants their oven running for hours just to make dinner.  We love tuna, and when it's crusted with sesame seeds, seared and served with a cooling salsa salad it makes a quick and delicious dinner for those days when all you want to do is stick your head in the freezer.
 Sesame Crusted Tuna with Cucumber Edemame Salsa

for the dressing:
2 Tbsp pineapple preserves
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp hot sauce
1 Tbsp honey
juice of 1 tangerine
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp sesame oil
1 large garlic clove, minced
a 1 inch piece of ginger, grated

for the salsa:
1 tsp sesame seeds
2 cups english cucumber, diced
1/2 cup diced red onion
1 cup edemame
for the glaze:
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1/2 tsp mirin
1/2 tsp honey
1/2 tsp sesame oil
 1 Tbsp vegetable oil
2 large tuna steaks
2 Tbsp sesame seeds


In a mixing bowl whisk together preserves, soy sauce, hot sauce, honey, tangerine juice, vegetable oil, sesame oil, garlic and ginger until well combined. Add the sesame seeds, cucumber, red onion and edemame and toss in the dressing. Cover and set in the fridge to chill until ready to serve.

In a small bowl combine the soy sauce, mirin, honey and sesame oil. Heat a large skillet over medium high heat and add  for the tuna steaks and  the vegetable oil to heat. While the pan is heating salt and pepper the tuna steaks and brush the glaze on both sides of each piece. Press the sesame seeds into one side of each piece lightly pressing them in. Once the pan is hot, sear tuna 3 minutes on each side or until cooked to your liking. Serve slices of seared tuna with the chilled salsa.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Banana Pudding Pudding Pops

Do you remember my fabulous fellow foodie mama Emme from The Kid Can Cook ? Well, she is doing a review of and a giveaway for Ice Pop Joy by Anni Daulter which looks like it's full of delicious ways to keep cool through this already scary hot summer season. After seeing her inspired pops with flavors like Rockstar Pops with Strawberry Agave Jam, Rooibos Red Tea Immunity Pops and Mexican Spiced Fire Pops it made me want to create my own chilly treat.
 Bananas are something that are always on the grocery list. Between the kids, Louis' training and all of the various banana breads I bake we go through a ton of them. The funny thing is I don't eat them. At all. It's all because of a terrible medicine that I was forced to take when I was little that was a fake rotten banana flavor from an evil pharamacist. Obviously this has scarred me and I have not been able to eat a banana since.
 Well, last weekend we were at a friend's house boiling crawfish and she made a huge pan of banana pudding. 
I am not in any way exaggerating when I call this pan huge.
Within thirty minutes of her bringing it out the entire pan was gone. As people were talking about how good it was I stole a bite from Louis' piled high plate.

I'm not going to lie and say I was in love with it- but my kids definitely did and for being a banana based dessert, it was pretty good. They are super easy to make, and the kids didn't take long to devour them.


Banana Pudding Pudding Pops
1 box instant vanilla pudding
1 3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup chopped banana
10 vanilla wafers, cut into 4

In a mixing bowl whisk pudding mix and cold milk together for 2 minutes until thick.
Stir banana pieces into pudding mix.
Fill popsicle molds halfway with banana pudding
Top with vanilla wafer pieces and then fill with remaining pudding
Freeze until ready to serve