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!

What you need:
  • 4 steaks - your choice, we used NY strip steaks
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 1/2 sticks butter [1 stick softened]
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 2 tbsp. parsley
  • 2 tbsp. thyme
  • 2 tsp. lemon zest

Mix together 1 stick butter with garlic, parsley, thyme, and lemon zest.

Form into a log and refrigerate.

Season steak on both sides with salt and pepper.

Heat 1/2 stick butter and 1 tbsp. olive oil in skillet on high.

Sear both sides of steak for 2 to 3 minutes per side. Then place on a baking sheet.

In a preheated 400-degree oven, cook steaks for 6 to 8 minutes - this will get it to about medium. 
You can cook it longer if you would like it more done.

Top with slice of herbed butter and serve :)

Recipe from Amuse Bouche

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~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}

Linked up at...

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

Secret Recipe Club

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!

What you need:
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp. honey
  • 1 1/2 tsp. espresso/coffee powder (I used hazelnut)
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup almonds, walnuts, pecans, hazelnuts, etc. (I used almonds and added a bit of Heath toffee bits too!)

Melt butter with sugars, salt, honey, and espresso powder over medium heat in a medium saucepan. 
Stir occasionally until temperature reaches 250* Once you hit 250*, stir constantly until temperature hits 300* Pour onto a prepared baking sheet. I find it's easiest to use parchment paper for this type of treat. You can spread the candy if necessary.

Top with chocolate chips and let it rest for 5 minutes. Spread the melted chocolate over the candy. Top with your choice of nuts - you can also do dried fruit too!

Place in freezer for 20 minutes. 
Break into smaller pieces and store in an airtight container in the fridge.

Recipe from Chocolates & Dreams

A peek at my past SRC recipes: Brisket & Veggies, Banana Custard Cream Pie, Chicken Egg Rolls, Hamantaschen, Lemon Fettuccine, and Crispy Buttermilk Baked Chicken.

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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 :)
This post is linked up at...

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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