March 8, 2011

Turkey Apple Brie Panini

Fast, easy, and it even taste great!

Italian or french bread
Shaved turkey breast lunch meat
1 apple sliced thin
3 Tbs Apple Butter
1 tsp Mayo
1 tsp Mustard

Mix together the apple butter, mayo an mustard. (if you have some dijon mustard on hand add about a half of a tsp of that too to spice it up a bit. If you don't have it no worries, it taste just fine without it)
Slice the bread 1/2 inch thick. Spray one side of each of the slices of bread with Pam or a spray butter. Toast in a fry pan until slightly brown. Flip and repeat only this time adding your apple slices, turkey brie and apple butter mayo. Cook a few minutes until the bread is toasted and flip and toast the other side. I like the inside of my sandwich toasted too if not you can skip that part and only toast the outside.

Diaper Cake

I am making a diaper cake for a coworker of my mother in-law. I always enjoy putting one of these together and there are so many different options of what you can do.

You will need around 100 - 120 size 2 diapers depending on how large you want your cake to be. I have used size 1 and size 3 and size 2 just seems to work the best. All white diapers (Pampers Swaddlers) are the best if you don't plan on completely covering them with something.

For the center I use a large bottle of powder for the base and with this one I also used a container of pacifiers. Use a little dab of hot glue to attach them to each other (the mom to be can peel it right off).

Place a large rubber band around the bottle of powder and begin rolling your diapers from the waist to the bottom. I try to roll 3 at a time. You want them to be tight as they will unroll slightly until you get them all packed in there. Once you have made one complete circle add another larger rubber band and begin rolling for the second row. Repeat for each tier, removing the inner rubber bands as you go if you wish. For this cake the bottom layer is 3 rows, middle layer 2 rows and top layer is 1 row with a little padding of about 3 or 4 diapers to even out the shape of the pacifier holder that is in the center.

Once you have your layers complete you can start adding your ribbon. Attach you ribbon using small dots of hot glue or a push pin. Choose something cute as a topper and decorate the outside of the cake with baby items.

If you are going to transport the cake wrapped then there is no need for a base but if you plan on moving it as is it's a good idea to attach a cardboard base. To do this is usually buy a foam craft board and cut it into a circle. Cover it with baby wrapping paper or tissue paper and attach it to the cake buy hot gluing it to the bottle of powder that is in the center.

The diaper cake was made by wrapping the layers in receiving blankets.

March 7, 2011

Picture Fram Dry Erase Boad

As our calendar begins to fill up with events for the Spring and Summer I wanted a way to make sure that our "Things To Do" list didn't get pushed to the way side. I was in Kohls today looking for a decorative dry erase board I found a really nice wooden one on the clearance rack for about $15.00 but it was scuffed a little and a bit larger than I wanted. I moved my search over to the picture frames. I found a great silver frame with red accents in the clearance isle along with linen napkin.

What you need :
Picture Frame
Linen Napkin
Dry Erase Marker

Here is what I did ...

Iron your napkin to make sure it doesn't have any  fold lines. You can either cut it to fit the mat with a little hanging over or just leave the extra on and tuck it in the back. Fold your napkin over the existing cardboard mat that is inside the picture frame. Make sure that it's pulled tight and reattach the back. Vulva! Hang or stand you frame. Now find a dry erase marker and start making notes!

Total cost: $10.00

February 15, 2011

Easy Biscuts and Sasuage Gravy

This is something I made on a whim and it actually tuned out GREAT! My husband had friends over and I needed a quick meal that would fill them up. I had not been to the grocery store in a while and I was worried that they might just be out of luck but I opened the pantry and saw Bisquick. I knew I had milk and a partial roll of Jimmy Dean Breakfast Sausage in the freezer so I thought pancakes and sausage, when I flipped the box over to get the pancake recipe I saw the recipe for the biscuits and that's when I decided to experiment. Side Note: I ALWAYS keep a roll of Jimmy Dean hot sausage or breakfast sausage in my freezer. I cut a little off here and there to toss in my spaghetti sauce, breakfast burritos stuffed zucchini, and in many other things.

So here is what I did

I mixed the biscuits according to the package. Something along the lines of 2 1/2 cups of Bisquick and 2/3 cup of milk. Dropped them on the baking sheet at 350 and baked them for about 12 minutes.

While they were baking I tossed the partial roll of frozen sausage on a plate and stuck in the microwave for a few minutes to thaw. I heated a large skillet over med heat and added the semi-thawed sausage to the pan. I used a flat edge wooden spoon to chop the sausage up in the pan as it cooked so that when it was done it was broken down in to small bite sized pieces. I then tossed in roughly 4 Tbs of flour and cooked that with the sausage for about another minute or two. I slowly whisked in the rest of the milk that I had and it was still a little to thick. So I had a skiff or half and half left and a skiff of heavy whipping cream left. I dumped them in and it thinned it right out.*Note the second time I did this I ran out of milk as well and just used about a 1/2 cup water and it still tasted wonderful*  I cooked it a little longer and added salt and pepper. Needless to say they scarfed it down and came looking for more.

February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day Dinner

We usually go out to dinner for Valentine's Day but this year I have decided to stay in and cook. I know Crazy right? I made this meal a few weeks ago and it was scrumptious! Filet with a peppercorn sauce and creamed spinach. I know that filet can be pricey but I have been catching them on sale at Safeway for $9.99 a pound and the last time I purchased them from our local butcher I was able to get three 6 oz filets for just a little over $16.00.  The recipe below is for two 6 oz filets but you will defiantly have enough sauce for up to four.

For the filet :
2 - 4   6 oz filets
2 Tbs butter
1/4 cup Brandy
1 teaspoon peppercorns cracked (put them in a sandwich bag and hit them a few times with a meat tenderizer)or if you have a pepper mill just loosed the grinder a bit by unscrewing it
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 Tbs Dijon Mustard

Bring your filets to room temperature
Pat dry with a paper towel and lightly season with salt and pepper on each side
Pre heat the oven to 500 degrees
In an oven safe pan on med-high heat melt the butter
Once the pan his hot add the steaks and cook for 3 minutes on each side (less if you like them cooked Medium)
Remove from the stove top and place them in the oven for another 3 minutes
After 3 minutes remove the pan from the oven and place the steaks on a plate and cover with foil
Return the pan to the stove top over medium heat.
Using a whisk stir in the Dijon and Brandy to loosen all the good stuff on the bottom of the pan.
Heat for about 1 minute.
Slowly whisk in the heavy cream and peppercorns.
Spoon over steak and serve.

With this filet I usually serve creamed spinach. If your not a fan of spinach I dare you to try this recipe and not love it!

2 - 9oz bags of baby spinach
1/2 stick of  butter plus 2 Tbs
2 Cups Milk
2 crushed cloves of garlic
1/2 cup chopped onion
4 Tbs flour

In a sauce pan melt the 1/2 stick of butter
Stir in flour while whisking . Cook for roughly 3 minutes.
Toss in the garlic and onion and cook for another minute.
Slowly whisk in the milk until you get the desired consistency whisking constantly.
Season with salt and pepper.

In another pan melt the remaining butter and saute the spinach just until it wilts. (2-3 minutes)

Toss with white sauce mixture and serve with the steaks. Yum!

The entire meal (including wine) coast me roughly $30.00.

February 8, 2011

Canvas Growth Chart

So I am taking a break from cooking posts to share my latest craft adventure.

As a  kid my grandparents always made the height mark of the grandchildren on the wall. Well, when their home was sold in 2001 there was no way to take that part of my childhood with me unless I ripped off the door frame to one of the bedrooms and that was not going to happen.

Here are the instructions for a light weight canvas growth chart that can go anywhere.

1 - 5 ft x 15in piece of canvas or other heavy material (I used Duck Canvas)* This can be purchased in a variety of colors or a neutral color can be painted.
1 Dowel and Dowel Ends
Embellishments of your choice for decorating
Paint pens
Cloth tape measure (optional)*this can be glued to the canvas if you don't want to draw the measurement lines
Cloth glue/tape

Total cost: $30.00

The first thing I did was glue the edges. I folded over about a 1/2 inch on each side and attached it with fabric glue. I did the same for the bottom. I then folded about 3 inches of the top of the canvas over to create a fold that I could slide my dowel through. Using the cloth glue/tape I applied it to the edge of the fold to secure the fold.

While the fabric glue was drying I painted my wooden letters. This was the most time consuming.

While they were drying I covered my dowel in a ribbon attached with the fabric glue. Once dry I attached one dowel end with hot glue and slid it through my fold on the top of the canvas. I then attached the second dowel end and tied ribbon to each end for hanging.

Once that was done I gathered all of my embellishments and began to lay them out. It's important to do this, I ended up moving things around several times.

I attached a ribbon with the fabric glue to make my measuring tape. I started mine at 2ft. The tape measure could also be made by using fabric paint or attaching a cloth tape measure. All in all pretty simple.

February 3, 2011

Zucchini Mexicali

Every year my father in-law plants a huge garden where I get a majority of my ingredients.
Zucchini Mexicali is a childhood favorite of mine that I used to make with my grandmother.
This was made from last summers garden, I can't wait to see what we'll have to work with this summer.

Here is what you need:
1 whole Medium Zucchini Sliced Thin
1  Small Onion, Chopped
1  Green Pepper, Chopped
1  Red Pepper, Chopped
2 Tablespoons Jalapeno Chooped
1 teaspoon Basil
½ cup Taco Sauce
1 teaspoon Yellow Mustard
Shredded Cheese, For Topping (optional)

Start by warming a nonstick pan.
Add just enough water to coat the bottom (you can also use veggie broth).
Add veggies and jalapenos.
Simmer for a few minutes until onions start to look clear.
Add basil, cover and cook a few more minutes until all veggies are soft.
Add in taco sauce and mustard.
Let this heat for about 5 minutes.
At this point you can adjust the flavor if needed by adding more mustard or taco sauce.
Before serving, I like to add a little shredded cheese and sour cream to the top.
This can be eaten as a main dish or side dish.
This recipe will be enough for two people as a main dish or four people as a side dish.

January 21, 2011

Shrimp Quesadillas


Start with about 20 small shrimp, peeled and deveined
Most grocery stores sell these prepackaged and fresh at the seafood counter
Cover them with taco sauce, I use the smooth Ortega Salsa
Chop up 1/2 of each:
Large Onion
Red Pepper
Green Pepper 
I also added a jalapeno pepper for some spice

Heat skillet to high heat with about 1 tbs of oil
Add in the veggies and saute on high until they start to brown.
It is very important that you cook them on high, this allows them to brown without getting mushy.

 After a few minutes remove the veggies from the pan and set aside
In the same pan that you cooked the veggies in toss in the shrimp, sauce and all. 

Saute for about 5 minutes or until done

When the shrimp are cooked remove from the pan to a cutting board and roughly chop

Wipe the pan out with a paper towel and return it to med heat. 
Add about 1 TBS of butter
 Once that has melted add your tortilla

Cook for roughly 3 minutes until golden brown
Add veggies, shrimp and shredded cheese to one half of the tortilla
Fold in half
Serve with a side of homemade guacamole
2 Avacados - 1 Tbs thin sliced and diced onion - 1 Tbs water - Salt and Pepper to Taste - Blend together

January 19, 2011

Stuffed Chicken Breast

This is my husbands favorite dinner at the moment. It's easy to make and if your only cooking for two one batch will make enough stuffing for you to freeze.

Here is what you'll need: *note the stuffing will stuff 4-6 chicken breasts
2 (boneless skinless) chicken breast
2 strips of bacon
1 box of frozen chopped spinach thawed and drained
3 cloves of garlic minced
2/3 cup of sour cream
1/2 cup any variety shredded cheese
5 slices pepper jack cheese crumbled

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix together the drained spinach, sour cream, cheese and garlic. 
Stir in salt and pepper to taste.
Pound out the chicken breast  thin.
Put about 2 tablespoons of the spinach mix in the center of each breast and roll it up or fold in half.
Cook the bacon for about 3 minutes in the microwave, just to start the cooking process.
Remove and cut in half and lay over the top of each breast.
Place in a baking dish and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes.
Turn the broiler on at the very end to finish crisping the bacon. 
I like to serve this with basmati rice.

January 18, 2011

Savings Sites

I love to shop and I love to get a good deal. Here are a few sites that I check out daily for great deals.

Rue LaLa - Brand name/high end clothing, accessories, shoes and handbags. Once in a while they have vacations, sports memorabilia, wines, spas. They have a great variety. They also have a sale called the Final Act I and II where the already discounted items are discounted even more. This is an invite only site and you may use my email address as the invitee.

No More Rack - They have 8 items each day (Monday-Friday) in limited quantities. The site updates at noon with new items. They have a little bit of everything but things do sell out fast so you really to log on right at noon.

HauteLook - They really have it all and the site is very organized with tabs for each different area of items.

Blue Fly - Everything Designer

Retail Me Not - The best place to find online coupon codes and printable coupons

Living Social -Finds deals for your local area

Groupon - Heavily discounted coupons that change daily.

Salmon Yuck!

So last night for dinner I experimented once again.
My husband had a salmon filet with wasabi sauce at a restaurant in Frederick that he really liked. My goal was to recreate it or attempt to. I LOVE food but I must admit salmon is not something that I like. I have tasted it several times but never really liked it but I figured I would give it a try again.

Here is what I did

In my food processor I mixed
2 heaping Tbs of mayo
2 Tbs of wasabi paste-less if you don't like it to hot
1 Tbs water
1 sprinkle of ginger powder
1tsp lemon juice
A few springs of cilantro

I heated Oil (1 Tbs) over med heat and added 2 salmon filets seasoned with salt and pepper. Cooked on each side for about 6 minutes.
I topped them with the sauce and served it with steamed broccoli that I seasoned with sage and sauteed onions.

I must say all in all it turned out pretty good.

January 14, 2011

Beer and Bacon Happy Hour was a bust!

One word to describe Bad Decisions last night would be CHAOS!. We arrived at 5:30 and the place was shoulder to shoulder. In the hour and a half that we were there we only managed to get 2 drinks. The bar staff was completely overwhelmed with the crowed. I wouldn't necessarily say that they were understaffed but they defiantly were not used to having that many people to serve at the bar. People waited upwards of 20 minutes to get a drink. CRAZY! I had two bacon themed drinks, the Habanero Mojito and the Pineapple Maple Bacon Margarita. The Habanero Mojito had lime, mint, 1 habanero pepper and a slice of bacon crumbled in it. What a great combination and the bacon remained crisp through the entire drink! I loved it. The Margarita on the other hand had a bacon puree shaken into it. Drinking the drink you tasted the pineapple but the aftertaste was all bacon. We didn't have the chance to enjoy the food but what we saw coming out to other patrons looked delicious.
Apple Bacon martini
Dark Chocolate Cup Cakes with Bacon
GBLT - Guacamole Bacon Lettuce and Tomato
Sauteed Brussel Sprouts in Bacon and Shallots
Mussels and Bacon on Toast
The Bacon Cuban
These are just a few that I recall from last night.
Would we go back? Yes. Is it going to be any time soon? No. We are going to wait until warmer weather and hopefully all the buzz will have died down by then.

January 13, 2011

My First Post

So my friend Kara over at Happy Go Lucky turned me on to this Blog thing. I am going to give it a shot and see how it goes. This blog does not have one specific direction, it's going to be a collaboration of things that I enjoy like cooking, crafts, home projects, shopping etc.

Today I am excited about a Happy Hour that I will be attending at Bad Decisions in Fells Point. I have passed this place more times than I can count and it just looked like another corner bar for the locals. I must admit, I wasn't even sure that the place was open. I have never seen a person go in or out. Well, last week I had the Travel Channel on and Food Paradise came on. The episode was about BACON! One of the locations it featured was Bad Decisions. They host a Bacon Happy Hour once a month with food and drinks that incorporate the deliciousness of Bacon *drool*. I will have a full update tomorrow of how it went and hopefully be able to share some pictures of the various bacon creations.

I am also partaking in a Blog Hop for my very first time.