Thursday, May 31, 2012

May in Review

I really enjoy doing these monthly wrap ups - you can find January {here}, February {here}, March {here}, and April {here} by clicking the links!

The Recipes
Favorites are noted with an asterisk!

Main Dishes

I talked about The Southern Bible, Food From My Frontier, Famous Chefs & Fabulous Recipes, and Fine Cooking Italian for my Fantastical Feature this month.

I participated in both the Crazy Cooking Challenge and Secret Recipe Club this month. I posted Buffalo Chicken Grilled Cheese for CCC and Coffee Toffee for SRC.

I want to revisit my resolutions again and update on how well/awful I'm doing on them:
  • Drink more water -With the warm weather, I'm averaging almost 32 oz. a day. Let's see if I can up that during June!
  • Eat more fruit -Also I think warm weather related, we've been eating lots of fruit!
  • Exercise 5x a week - I have been doing more outdoorsy things, like last weekend we climbed a mountain. Most weekends, I run around with the kids at the playground.
  • Get on a schedule - Getting better...
  • Catch up on adding the printable feature to old recipes. - I didn't do any work on old recipes and printables :(
  • Plan garden and get started indoors. ASAP. - I'm still not sure about gardening, but I may do it this weekend.
  • Work on emptying bookmarked recipes. - I need to do this some more.
  • Leave reviews {comments} for recipes I've tried where I got them. - I also need to do this one more.
  • Look for duplicate recipes in the ones I have in the binders - Didn't get around to this. Again.
  • Update Blog Love page. - still need to do this.
  • Use breadmaker, cake pop maker, and KitchenAid pasta attachment - AND my waffle iron. - I'm missing a part for my breadmaker and haven't used the others. I bought a waffle iron last week, so I need to use it too!
  • Organize kitchen cabinets. - This one is badly needed.
  • Implement baskets in organizing fridge and maybe pantry. - DONE.

If you missed them, you can find Sunday Social, Oh, How Pinteresting Weds., and Tasty Thursdays (formerly known as Twisted Thursdays) by scrolling all the way down and finding the little label cloud. Click on whichever you want to see :)

Restaurant-Style Steak

In addition to the successful berry cheesecake I made for my husband's birthday, I also made a super successful birthday dinner! I saw a pin on Pinterest about how to make restaurant-style steaks and I immediately knew that it would be the perfect for his birthday dinner. I paired it with seasoned potato wedges and steamed lemon pepper broccoli.

This steak was seriously one of the very best steaks I've ever eaten - not to mention that it was easy to make and I made it!!  Me!  I made a restaurant-style quality steak!

~Tasty Thursday #62~


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting Weds. #46

Berry Yogurt Popsicles
I recently got a popsicle mold thing, so I really want to test it out!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Nacho Cheese Sauce
No Velveeta and it uses pepperjack - this is my kind of nacho cheese sauce!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

S'mores Bites
Don't these look adorable? I guarantee my kids would demolish them!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Blueberry Lemon Bread
I'm not hooked on blueberry-lemon combos!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Raspberry Lemonade Crystal Light Slushy
{Most Repinned This Week}
The CL Raspberry Lemonade is my favorite flavor :)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Ghirardelli English Toffee
Mmm. I'm on a toffee kick lately!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Chocolate Chocolate Chip Zucchini Cake
Doesn't this look incredible? Zucchini bread is one of my favorites - I can only imagine this is just as good. Plus it's chocolate.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Homemade Graham Crackers

This one would be a great shortcut to use and also one of my readers said that they didn't have graham crackers in Australia - so maybe this will work!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

They pinned me, they really pinned me! See what recipes of mine are being pinned {here}

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Fantastical Feature: Fine Cooking Italian

Fine Cooking Italian: 200 Recipes for Authentic Italian Food

Like I said in my previous Fantastical Feature, you'll be seeing some more NetGalley reviews here and there. This review is for Fine Cooking Italian.

Unlike the previous NetGalley cookbook, this one is strictly a cookbook. No background or history or anything it in.

My first overall impression of this cookbook is how well it is laid out. The colors in it are gorgeous and the design is very simple, but overwhelmingly pleasing to the eye. It is so easy to read and it doesn't take away from what should be the main event: the food.

I chose a few recipes out of it and plan on purchasing it very soon. I would love to have this on my shelf!

I made the Spaghetti with Summer Tomato Sauce from pg. 48. It was this brilliant recipe using fresh plum tomatoes and fresh basil, topped off with Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese. It was the perfect dish for summer!

The next recipe I made was Capellini & Kale Soup from pg. 28. Despite me slightly overcooking my noodles, this one was fantastic too. It's only my 3rd time eating kale and I cannot get enough of it. It was perfect in this soup. I also really loved the capellini beans. It was a great mixture of textures.

Another recipe that we really enjoyed was Pizza Dough from pg. 34 and the No-Cook Tomato Sauce from pg. 35. I often don't like to try new recipes when I find one that I love, so I didn't have high hopes for the pizza dough. However, this one made a perfect thin crust and it cooked a lot more evenly than my tried-and-true. The taste was wonderful. We paired it with the tomato sauce which was incredibly easy to make and not mention can be frozen for up to 6 months.

We will definitely be making all of these recipes again and buying the cookbook, so we can make more of the recipes! Fine Cooking Italian easily gets 5 utensils from me.
Thank you to NetGalley and The Taunton Press for giving me the opportunity to review this cookbook!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

No-Bake Berry Cheesecake

My husband, Nick, had his birthday this month and I always get really nervous when it comes to making his birthday meal. This year I asked him what he wanted for his cake and he was stumped. So I had found a few recipes I thought he may like and asked him what he wanted. He decided on berry cheesecake.

This recipe is a no-bake cheesecake. I wanted to do this because my cheesecakes always crack (I have yet to get a pan so I can do a water bath) and I wanted his birthday cake to be perfect. This one doesn't set like a normal cheesecake, but it was still incredibly delicious. I loved the berry topping too! You can never go wrong with strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Secret Recipe Club: Coffee Toffee

This month, I was assigned Chocolates & Dreams blog. Rituparna has a really great blog and I highly recommend you jump on over and check it out!

As was the trend last month, I was inspired by a recent recipe (this time a success, not a fail) as to which recipe I would choose of Rituparna's. I was already eyeing the desserts because for the last two months I've done main dishes for SRC and found Coffee Toffee. My recent recipe success was a similar candy called Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch - I had just finished the last of it when I sat down to see my blog assignment! So I was wanting to make the candy immediately to satiate my craving :)

I also just want to point out these other awesome looking recipes: Chocolate Lava Muffins, Omelette, and Broccoli & Cherry Tomato Stir Fry.

Now on to this yummy coffee toffee!! Firstly, my mom went to school for cake decorating and candy making. I love to cook and bake. I would say that I'm pretty good in the kitchen, but I am not skilled in cake decorating or candy making. I've been getting out of my comfort zone lately and having some great successes under my belt helps :) This was much easier than the previously mentioned recipe and it has the BEST flavor!

Saturday, May 26, 2012

**Sunday Social #65**

{Fantastical Favorites}
The one where I share my favorites from my own blog...

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

{Around the Web Favorites}
The one where I share my favorites from OTHER blogs. They have all been stumbled and pinned :) 
I do NOT own any rights to these photos!   

Blueberry Doughnut Muffins from My Baking Addiction

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Strawberry Kiwi Crisp from How Sweet It Is

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Bacon Dressing from Colie's Kitchen

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Basic Croutons from Annie's Eats

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Homemade Mrs. Butterworth's Syrup from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Lemon Berry Twist Pancakes from Betty Crocker

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Spiked Vanilla Coke Float from That's What We Said

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Lemon Blueberry Cheesecake Bars from Brown Eyed Baker
The most repinned recipe this week

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Peanut Butter Fudge Coffee Ice Cream Cupcakes from How Sweet It Is

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Blueberry Cinnabons from Rumbly in my Tumbly

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

There is a button to grab on the right if I shared one of your recipes :)
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Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps

When I meal plan, I like to sit down with my recipe index and go by the recipes' names to pick what we're going to have for meals. I chose "Sweet Chicken Bacon Wraps" thinking that it would be a wrap. Instead it turned out to be an identical recipe to {this one}, that is a family favorite. So I took the recipe I thought I was making and made it.

Friday, May 25, 2012

Peppermint Brownies

These were a great treat! I'm not a huge fan of peppermint patties, but these were rich and decadent. I brought these to our monthly meetup at the company. They were gone in no time. I think my husband may have eaten 4 - LOL

What you need:
  • 1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4 squares (1 oz. each) unsweetened chocolate
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 bag small peppermint patties (16-20 count)
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 5 to 6 tsp. milk
  • 1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
  • Green food coloring, if desired
In a small saucepan, melt butter and chocolate over low heat, stirring constantly.

Combine with an electric mixer, the sugar, butter and chocolate mixture, and vanilla.

Add the eggs and mix until combined.

Stir in flour until smooth.

Spread half the batter into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking pan.
Arrange unwrapped patties over the batter and then top with the other half batter.

Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 18 to 21 minutes or until the center is just set. 
Let cool completely.
Combine powdered sugar, 4 tsp. milk, and peppermint extract in a small bowl until smooth. Add up to 2 tsp. more milk until you reach your desired consistency. You can also add a few drops of food coloring, if desired.

Drizzle over cooled brownies and cut into 36 squares.

If desired, you can also serve it with peppermint ice cream and whipped cream. I honestly think it was great as a standalone.

Recipe Source Unknown

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Thursday, May 24, 2012

Fantastical Feature: Famous Chefs & Fabulous Recipes

Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes: Lessons Learned at One of the Oldest Cooking Schools in America

Recently, I joined NetGalley. Over on my personal blog, I blog book reviews - usually a couple a week. I love reading. A few of the titles I've been approved for are cookbooks. I figured my opinion would matter more here on my food blog for the cookbooks, so in the next few weeks you'll see a few of the cookbooks I'm currently cooking out of from NetGalley.

A big thank you to NetGalley and University of Akron Press for letting me get my hands on this one!

Famous Chefs and Fabulous Recipes follows the journey of Zona Spray and her Western Reserve School of Cooking in Hudson, Ohio. Zona was a very interesting lady - she was very frugal and didn't like to waste anything. She was friends with Julia Child and even tried to get her to come teach a little (although Child was very busy and was unable to do so). The other thing that I found incredibly fascinating is that Zona took chemistry classes because she wanted to learn about what certain ingredients and mixtures of them do. It reminded me a bit of how Alton Brown educates on Good Eats - and I love that. The chemistry behind cooking is mind-blowing to me. Zona comes off as a very inspiring and passionate woman - and those are two very important factors, in my opinion, you'd look for in a person teaching you how to cook.

As the print on the front cover says, it is one of the oldest cooking schools in America. The really neat thing about this cookbook is that while it is a cookbook, it is also a history. Many of the chefs who have come through the school talk about their journeys too. I was very excited to see Michael Symon, who you all may have heard of, talk about his time there.

Of course, I couldn't wait to try some of the recipes! We only made two, although I have plans to make two more in the immediate future.

Unfortunately, I did not get a picture of one of the recipes I made. I'm not going to lie, it's because we devoured it. The recipe is called Chocolate Honey Almond Crunch and it is a bark candy type recipe. You make a layer of sugary honey and rum flavored almond goodness and then top it with chocolate and then roasted almonds. It was gone so quickly! I could not stop myself from eating it! This recipe can be found on pg. 62 and I highly highly recommend it.

The next recipe I made was the Wedding Soup featured on pg. 220. This was one was a given for me because my husband has been begging me to make him wedding soup for months now. He gave it two big thumbs up! I thought it was great too. I really love the combination of spinach with meatballs.

Overall, this gets a 4-utensil rating. It is full of recipes and full of a really great history of an iconic American cooking school.

It can be purchased on Amazon and Barnes & Nobles.

~Tasty Thursday #61~


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Oh, How Pinteresting Weds. #45

100 Non-processed Kid Lunches
I have a feeling this will come in handy very soon!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Marshmallow Filled Buttermilk Mocha Cupcakes
Don't those look delicious?!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Salted Caramel Cheesecake Shooters
It may be because I'm coming off a BK Caramel Frappe high, but these look amazing.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

PB Cup S'mores Bars
Oh my goodness! S'mores Heaven!!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Chocolate Pudding Pops
Yummo - I just got some pop "molds" so I want to make these soon.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Cinnamon-Raisin Swirl Bread
I made this last week and will be reposting it very soon. I loved it!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Strawberries & Cream Cinnamon French Toast Bake
Mmmm. Strawberries AND French Toast!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Melonberry Lemonade
I'd be willing to try watermelon with lemonade.

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Tropical Slush
This looks super delicious and perfect for summer!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Birthday Cake Ice Cream
I'm all about me some birthday cake ice cream :)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Crescent Rolls
Never a bad thing to learn how to make things homemade :)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Are You Kidding Me Cake
I can't wait to try this one!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Reese's Pieces Dessert Bars
Another super yummy looking dessert!

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

Jalapeno Popper Quiche
I think I could talk my husband into eating this quiche :)

Source: via Sarah on Pinterest

They pinned me, they really pinned me! See what recipes of mine are being pinned {here}

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