Saturday, July 28, 2007

Cool as a...

Lately I've been LOVING cucumber!! Such a great summer veggie~
I also received a mandolin as a gift and love using it.

It comes in handy for salads like this cucumber salad, and all kinds of other wonderful slicing and dicing!

Cucumber Salad
1 Large Cucumber thinly sliced
1 small white or red onion thinly sliced
3/4 c white or rice vinegar
1/2 c water
3/4 cup sugar
1 T dried dill
2 tsp red chili flakes

Combine cucumber and onion in large bowl, mix in other ingredients
Cover and refrigerate at least one hour (Even better the nest day) & serve!

Peach Strawberry Bisquick "Shortcakes"

After Nate busted out the stir-fry last night we both wanted something sweet...on our drive home from Sonoma last weekend we stopped at a roadside fruit stand and I still had one very ripe peach and some strawberries left....

This made 6 personal "shortcakes"

1 c. Bisquick
1/2 c. milk
1/4 c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
pinch of salt
1 peach peeled and chopped
5 strawberries chopped
Cool Whip
Serve with Vanilla or other favorite ice cream

Preheat oven to 325 and grease a muffin tin
In a large bowl mix Bisquick, milk, sugar, salt and spices
Use a large spoon to fill muffin cups about 1/4-1/2 full
Top each with a small spoon full of chopped peach & strawberry (reserve the rest of the fruit)
Bake about 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean
Let cool in the tin 5 minutes
Carefully remove from tin and let cool 5-7 more minutes on a plate
Cut in half horizontally, and spoon a layer of fruit and a dollop of cool whip onto the bottom half, press "lid" of muffin back on top
serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and garnish with any extra fruit.
Pretty yummy!!

Friday, July 27, 2007

Grilled Turkey Stir Fry

This was Nate's creation this evening~ and it was EXCELLENT!! I helped a little but this one is definitely his.

1 pkg turkey breast cutlets (from Trader Joes)
1 bottle teriyaki sauce *see below for sauce option
roasted sesame seeds
3 carrots chopped
1 crown of broccoli chopped
1 large handful of green beans chopped
1 white onion chopped
Rice noodles
a hand-ful of crushed peanuts
red chili flakes *optional*

* Sauce option: we've used a mix of oyster sauce, soy sauce and a squeeze of lemon with a pinch of 5-spice which is good too

Marinate the turkey 30 minutes in teriaki & heat up grill
boil wather in saucepot for rice noodles
Using a little bit of olive oil saute the veggies in a wok or large skillet for 5 minutes stirring occasionally
Prepare noodles according to package
Grill turkey cutlets, about 3-5 minutes each side turn once & baste with sauce
Chop up grilled turkey
Add 1/4 Cup of teriyaki sauce to veggies
Add cooked drained noodles to veggies
Stir in turkey and peanuts to noodle/veggie mix
Garnish with sesame seeds and chili flakes

This would be easy to make with what ever meat or veggies you have on hand- I loved that he grilled the turkey- the flavor was awesome!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I'm "IT"~

So, I have been "tagged" by KADYSUU!

Players list 8 facts/habits about themselves. The rules of the game are posted at the beginning before those facts/habits are listed. At the end of the post, players then tags 8 people by posting their names and makes sure they know they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment at the tagee’s blog.

I hope I do this right; here are 8 facts about me~

1. The things I love most are Nate, my family, Leela, camping, cooking and any kind of VACATION

2. The farthest from home I've ever been was to visit my brother & sister in Europe a few years ago we went to London & Paris and I had an amazing time!

3. My signature cocktail is Kettel One w/ soda water and a lime

4. I'm a major morning person, I have never in my life used an alarm clock (even in high school or when I travel for business to various time zones) and usually go to bed early (before 11)

5. I love food! Mostly Italian, Japaneese, mexican & home cookin' I've never been to a food festival but really want to go- we were in Sonoma last weekend and are bummed it wasn't this weekend or we'd have gone to the Garlic Fest in Gilroy

6. If I could live anywhere in the world it'd be Hunting Beach CA

7. My favorite hobbies are fishing, reading, planning parties or vacations, cooking & baking

8. The stuff I want to learn to do next; KNITTING!!, Photoshop, salsa dancing

Here are the blogs that I am tagging; if you've already been tagged or if this makes your skin crawl, skip it! I liked it because I've been wanting to post that photo of the flowers I got at Trader Joes last week...

A Taste of Tina~ as soon as the new PC comes!
Picture Perfect
Life in the Sunshine State
Just One Day
Organized Chaos

I know I am breaking the rules only tagging 6 others..but I am pretty new to the world o'blogging so these are all girls from the Nest's HI board which until this blog was as involved in the computer as I've ever been!!
PS- if someone can let me know how I turn the list of blogs into acutal LINKS (can you believe I can't do that!?!) then I'll get on it ASAP- thanks!!

Monday, July 23, 2007

Diet Soda Cupcakes~

I've been dying to try the diet-soda cake idea, so curious!! Well it was Nate's Ma's b-day this weekend so I went for it! I was afraid to make a cake because I wanted to be able to taste what I was taking, so I went with the cupcakes.
For this recipe I used

1 Box Devils Food Cake Mix
1 Can Hansens Diet Cherry Soda
1 Egg white
Dark Chocolate frosting & Cream cheese frosting

They were moist and fabulous! I can't wait to try some of the other suggested combos!

Chocolate/Diet Coke
Vanilla/Diet Root beer
Chocolate/Diet Orange
Lemon/Diet 7Up
Chocolate/Diet Dr. Pepper

I know there is a frosting recipe too, but I haven't tried that just yet...

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Teacher Shower~

I love summer parties! This weekend we gathered at my mom's place to celebrate my sis landing her first teaching job! It's a year-round school so only one more week of summer for her. Since the schools have such tight budgets these days we threw her a little shower to help her start her career off right (and with plenty of fun supplies!) It was a day-time event with buffet-style appetizers.
I made Goat Cheese Stuffed Grape Tomatoes and Shrimp & Veggie Couscous (both easy to make here at my house and traveled well on the hour trip to my moms)

~Cherry Tomatoes Filled With Goat Cheese~
This is the Original Recipe from Williams Sonoma Recipes Online (my mod's below)

24 Cherry Tomatoes (a mix of red & yellow
1/4 Lb fresh goat cheese (chevre)
1/4 C. Fresh minced basil
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp fresh ground pepper

Cut the top off each tomato & scoop out pulp to make a hollow yet sturdy shell, drain any juice that accumulates in the shells.
Combine all other ingredients in a bowl, mix well with a fork.
Fill each tomato with cheese mix, plate & serve
(original recipe makes 24 cherry tomatoes, serves 6)

I used grape tomatoes, and doubled this recipe.
Also I used 1 14oz package fresh chevre (plain) and one 8oz package fine herb coated chevre, then added a little less than 1/4 c. finley minced basil, pinches of Kosher salt & pepper to taste....
I used the tip of my potato peeler to hollow the tomatoes out & fill them.
I had about 1/4 c cheese mix leftover that we're spreading on crackers today!

Shrimp Couscous Salad
From All Recipes Online

2 C couscous
2 C water

3/4 C. olive oil
1/4 C apple cider vinegar
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp ground cumin
1 clove crushed garlic
salt & pepper to taste
1 yellow bell pepper, chopped
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1 1/2 lbs cooked shrimp, peeled & deveined
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 cup crumbled feta cheese

My mods~
I winged it with the dressing mix, added more mustard & more cumin and added 2 cloves of finely minced garlic until I liked how it tasted..I may add a bit of lemon zest next time.
I also did one only one tomato and added some chopped orange bell pepper.
The shrimp seemed a bit large since this was an appetizer-type salad to be served in smaller portions I choped them in half. I used 1/2 reg feta and 1/2 fat free.
I refrigerated overnight & I am using the extra dressing as a marinade for chicken.

Pour water into saucepan, bring to a boil. Stir in couscous, cover & remove from heat. Let stand 5 minutes and immediately fluff with a fork (otherwise it will clump) set aside to cool.

In a small bowl wish together olive oil, cider vinegar, Dijon mustard, garlic, Salt & pepper~ set aside.

In a large bowl, toss together shrimp, cooled couscous, bell peppers, tomato, parsley & feta. Whisk vinaigrette blend, the drizzle about half over couscous & toss to coat. Add more dressing to coat with out drenching. Refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Friday, July 13, 2007

Grown-up Sloppy Joes

Hooray! I finally get to add one of my favorite recipes! I made this last night & if we don't go out to dinner we'll be having leftovers tonight (I think making hard shell joes-tacos though). This can be made with beef or turkey (I almost always make it with turkey) and is super-flavorful and simple to throw together!!

Olive Oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped *I use a reg size Maui sweet and use about 1/2 of it)
1 clove garlic, minced *I use 2-3 cloves
1 Red Bell pepper, finely chopped
1 Lb ground beef *or Turkey
1 6-oz can tomato paste (I also get a small can of tomato sauce- see below)
1 1/2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin *I use 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 tsp)
1/8 tsp fresh ground pepper *I use 1/4
1/8 tsp cinnamon *I use 1/4
1 tsp kosher salt *I use several pinches to taste
Whole Wheat burger buns *it's good on toasted sourdough buns too!
Grated cheese *my two faves are sharp cheddar or jalapeno jack
Sour cream to garnish *optional

Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and red pepper. Saute until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add meat and brown, about 5-7 minutes. (two options at this point the orig recipe does NOT have you drain the meat, just leave all liquids then add tomato paste and option to that is draining the meat and then adding paste and small can of tomato sauce & spices)
Add spices: chili powder, cumin, black pepper, cinnamon, and salt, stirring after adding each spice. Simmer, stirring occasionally & saute (if you have left the juices in and only added tomato paste- let the sauce thicken a bit about 12 minutes)
Toast buns or sourdough
Spoon onto the buns, sprinkle with grated cheese, garnish with a dollop of sour cream.

I also made some quick potatoes as a side

2 Idaho potatoes, scrubbed
Kosher Salt
Chili powder
Garlic Powder
Ground black pepper

Cut potatoes in half long-ways, then sliced into little half-circle wedges. Foil & spray a baking sheet with non-stick spray & arrange wedges so they're all flat side up sprinkle lightly with all spices. Flip over and sprinkle other side.
Bake at 350 *about* 15 minutes or until golden (read below about my stupid oven that barley works...I have to really fidget with the temp and WATCH stuff. So I apologize for that!)

Serve with a light summery salad or steamed veggies

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

The FOODIE BLOGROLL & Bakespace!

Two AMAZING groups! Both new to me, I've been a long time addict of All Recipes & The Food Network and so excited to such new amazing resources!
Check em out and get in the mix!
The Blogroll and info on how to sign up can be found on the right hand colum of my blog, and a link to bake space is also there in my Favorite Links.
I'm excited for our trip to Vegas this weekend, but can't wait to get home and start trying new recipes! If only I could get this crazy oven figured out!!!

Steak & Cake

The weather is absolutely beautiful! Last night we cooked out and had the last of the lemon cake I made last week. I got a big ole tri-tip from the store and did a rub/marinade with spices & olive oil. Then grilled it sloooooww & low on med-low heat for about an hour & 15 minutes.

(Sorry these are not exactly precise measurements, I kind of eyeball stuff like this!)

In a bowl large enough for the steak
aprox 2-3 tsp Kosher Salt
aprox 1-2 T Black Pepper, I prettty much lightly coated both sides of the tri-tip, not sure exactly how much
Garlic Powder same as above
Paprika same as above
Finely chopped garlic 3-4 cloves
Olive oil drizzled a bit over it and rubbed it all into the steak- let marinate for 30+ minutes, grill to taste (medium rare is 130-135 degrees)

Lemon Cake
Here's the deal with my oven- IT'S TERRIBLE!!! We've been trying to get the landlord to replace it since we moved in, no luck yet. If a recipe for says 350 for 30 minutes it really means 225 for 22-26 minutes- I am finally starting to learn it's tricks, it isn't 100% consistent in it's suckyness. Therefore since the disaster that was my usually super-fun Christmas baking (we moved in Thanksgiving weekend, this has been a nightmare) this lemon cake is the FIRST thing that hasn't burned in some way shape or form. It's barley even a recipe since I was really just continuing to experiment with the temp and also I got a new Williams-Sonoma bundt cake pan keeper and wanted to use them!'s the UN-burned Lemon Cake
(I will double this next time because it made 1/2 a bundt!)

1 Box of yellow cake mix (also the oil, water & eggs)
2 tsp lemon extract
1 Lemon (for zest & juice)

Prepare cake according to box, except after adding the oil squeeze the juice of 1 lemon and add 2 tsp lemon extract to the measuring cup- then add water to equal the correct amount (did that make sense?)
Then after eggs are mixed in add the zest of the lemon
Bake according to box

I frosted it with cream cheese frosting (my fave) and most of it went down Friday night after a celebratory dinner with friends.

Monday, July 2, 2007


We got a juicer last Christmas and thought, at first, that we would hardly use it...Well, surprise, surprise...We use it all the time!! After a long day at the dog beach yesterday in the hot sun, we made this yummy mix:

After Beach Juice
8 large carrots, washed, un peeled, tops cut off
1 ripe tangerine
1 ripe orange
2 Large Fuji Apples

Nate's Weekend Breakfasts

I'm one lucky lady! Nate made me breakfast this past Saturday AND Sunday!! Saturday was a fun experiment gone right~ Breakfast Souffle

Recipe, improvised
He followed the Biscut instructions on the bisquick box and that was the bottom layer in a corningware dish

Then he whiped together
4 eggs
dash of salt and pepper
1/4 of a sweet white onion, chopped
1/2 cup cubed sharp cheddar cheesse
~next time we will add a 1/2 cup of cubbed ham as well!~
Then bake at 325 for about 20 minutes (our oven is whack, so keep an eye)

Day 2 (Sunday)
Was good ole fried eggs and biscuts, I love a man that cooks!