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Please excuse the lack of photos in some of my older posts as I am trying to slowly go back through and add the photos that were accidentally deleted

January 31, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 1/31/11

Oh how the time flies! It is already the end of January.... yikes! Is this the way all of 2011 will go?!? I hope not, cuz at this rate I definitely won't be able to get all of my resolutions completed! Time is tick tockin' away : (

I dunno where the time has gone, but I DO know that I have got a bangin' meal plan this week!


Sunday 1/30/11:  Parmesan Meatballs with Alfredo Sauce and Linguine (had this last night... LOVED the alfredo sauce!)

Monday 1/31/11:  Cheesy BBQ Sloppy Joes w/ garlic bread

Tuesday 2/1/11:  Buffalo Chicken Lasagna


Thursday 2/3/11:  eat out, make Super Bowl goodies for potluck at work

Friday 2/4/11:  Black Bean Soup for two w/ Green Chili and Cheese Cornbread

Saturday 2/5/11:  WORLD NUTELLA DAY!!! (And no, unfortunately I am not having nutella for dinner)



As always, I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm An Organizing Junkie.

And yes, I have been a very bad girl. I have not been keeping up on my 52 Weeks of Organizing.

Happy Monday!!! And end of January!!


January 29, 2011

My first award!!

OMG! I am so excited to say that the very sweet Miz Helen has passed on The Stylish Blogger Award to me! Well not just me, but to 15 very deserving recently discovered bloggers! I always wondered if I would ever win any awards... I always looked at others' beautiful food blogs and thought there was no way that I could ever win an award, so this really means alot! It feels good to know that people actually appreciate what I write about and actually enjoy it! So thank you so very much, Miz Helen : ) And how about you guys head on over to her country cottage? She also hosts a fun weekly link party called Full Plate Thursday that I love to participate in. 












To accept The Stylish Blogger Award I must:
  • thank and link back to the wonderful blogger who awarded me with the award
  • share 7 things about myself
  • award 15 recently discovered great bloggers
  • contact the bloggers and inform them of the award

I am delighted to do all of those things : )

Again, Miz Helen thank you so much! For seeing something in my little blog that you thought was deserving of such an award.

*And now the 7 things you guys are dying to know about me!!*
1.  I haven't grown since 6th grade. It's a hard life being short. 
2.  I want to have a baby in about 3 years or so after I have completed grad school, and want three or four total. I have a feeling after the first one, I may change my mind : )
3.  I love football and ultimate fighting.
4.  But at the same time, I love girly things like the color pink and all things zebra print.
5.  Some of my favorite hobbies are cooking, photography, and dance and I often wish I could have picked an occupation in any of those fields.
6.  I watch way too much reality tv.
7.  I love to collect cookbooks and books. And elephant figurines. And dvds. And scarves. And purses. And shoes. I am a borderline hoarder : )

So now you know a wee bit more about me! Maybe stuff you didn't wanna know, but you know all the same : )

Now I must pass this awesome award on to 15 16 deserving blogs that I love reading!

1.  Oh Krista, I must give you the first award! Your blog inspired ME to blog... so for that I will be forever thankful : ) And it doesn't hurt that you are such a sweetie! I love all of your food, girl! Everyone, head on over to Krista's Kitchen.

2.  Cassie Craves has so many recipes that I want to make, and I have made several and they were delicious! I love to catch up on what Cassie is Craving... because it usually means I will be craving it too.

3.  Another blog that I recently found, and love, is Greens and Chocolate. Taylor has such yummy recipes and takes gorgeous food photos! Glad I found her blog.

4.  Big Mama's Home Kitchen is a blog that I recently discovered and I am in love with it! She has soooo many recipes that I want to try! She recently posted about some super cute Valentine cupcakes if you need some ideas for the upcoming holiday.

5.  Jamie Cooks It Up lovely, I must say! I love her recipes. I love her photos. I love her presentation. She really puts alot of love into her blog.

6.  Delightfully Dowling - I literally just found this blog a few days ago and I found myself drawn to many of Kristin's cupcake and soup recipes. I believe she just started not too long ago so I am looking forward to more recipes from her.

7.  Kathy at Lovelace Files talks about her life as a newlywed. I love hearing about her Ugandan wedding and all of her DIY home projects!

8.  Melissa cracks me up! She writes about her life, and I can relate to her alot. She is hilarious and we like many of the same things. Her blog is always interesting!

9.  Emily at Sugar Plum has a beautiful blog, a great writing style, and admirable photos. Can't get enough of her blog!

10.  Stephanie at Confessions of a City Eater deserves this award because she is a great mommy to a gorgeous baby girl, and I love reading about her journeys as a new mommy. She also has some delish recipes to share!

11.  I love following Jenn's Food Journey. She is a sweetheart who loves fish and sauce. I am a sauce girl myself : ) She is also pretty awesome on the grill.

12.  Monica at Lick the Bowl Good... beautiful food and photos. She always seems like a sweet person. I get much inspiration from her.

13.  Erin at Ekat's Kitchen... that girl inspires me! She hasn't been blogging for much longer than me but she has gained a large following, set up a weekly linky party, and offered me great advice on my blogging journey. She really has a great blog. She just posted her 100th post too.

14.  Mandy's Recipe Box - her blog is adorable! I love the look of it, her pics, everything!
  
15.  Natasha over at A Day in the Life - she is a Southern cute, sweet girl who just seems so relateable and likeable! How could you not like her? She is always doing something fun and she inspires me to cherish what I have and live life to the fullest! She's also about to get married, congrats Natasha! They are an adorable couple.

And just because I want to and can, I also want to give the award to a 16th person, Faith. You are such a sweetie, and I love your positive attitude!  I noticed that you already have this award displayed on your blog but I still had to pass this on to you also ; )

All of these people deserve this award, in my eyes. You guys have such creativity and are so very stylish!!! Congrats and please accept this award from me to all of you. You can proudly display the badge on your blog.

Now I have to go contact all of these fabulous peeps : ) Have a nice weekend, everyone! I know I will!


January 27, 2011

Garlic and Lemon Roasted Asparagus

You gotta love simple, basic recipes. They make life so much easier after a long day's work. I love recipes like these. Delicious, nutritious, and yet so quick and easy to make without a lot of fuss. 

Besides the fact that it makes my pee smell funny, I pretty much love asparagus. I used to be so much more of a picky eater, and it was always tough for me to find veggies that I liked. Asparagus has just always been one of those veggies I like. I definitely like it grilled, with that nice charred taste. But usually I am roasting it in the oven. I serve my asparagus usually with some kind of seafood, like fish or scallops. Sorry, no measurements here. This is a recipe I came up with on my own, and didn't really measure out the seasonings or oil. Just use however much you like :)




















Garlic and Lemon Roasted Asparagus
From the kitchen of SteakNPotatoesKindaGurl
  • asparagus
  • olive oil
  • 1 lemon + juice
  • salt
  • pepper
  • garlic powder 
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Rinse the asparagus, and break off the ends and discard. Place asparagus on baking pan and drizzle the tips with a bit of olive oil. Slice the lemon in half and squeeze the juice over top of the asparagus. Season the asparagus with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Then slice the lemon thinly and place a few slices over top of the asparagus to cook with it in the oven. Bake for about 15 minutes. Stir asparagus once finished to make sure all of the flavors are distributed evenly.


Yeah, I know you are asking.... why in the world would you post such a simple recipe? But sometimes I have found myself needing directions for even the simplest things, like how to roast broccoli, or how to saute green beans. So here it is for you, simple and easy and yet so tasty. You will thank me later.  : )

I am linking up to:
Potluck Sunday
Tailgating Time
Sundays at One
Mouthwatering Monday
Monday Mania
Meatless Monday
Midnight Maniac Meatless Monday
Just Another Meatless Monday
Delicious Dishes
Tasty Tuesday
Tuesday Night Supper Club
Slightly Indulgent Tuesday
Tuesdays at the Table
Mostly Made By You
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Delectable Tuesday
Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Tales From the Fairy Blogmother
Recipes I Can't Wait To Try
What's Cooking Wednesday @ Not So Homemade
Show Off Your Stuff
Recipe Swap Thursday
Tasty Traditions
Full Plate Thursday
Cooking Thursday
Simple Lives Thursday
Tip Day Thursday
Frugal Food Thursday
It's a Keeper Thursday
What's Cooking Thursday
Foodie Friday
Family Friendly Fridays
Friday Potluck
Food Trip Friday
Friday Favorites
Fat Camp Friday
What's Cooking in the Kitchen
Fun With Food Friday
Flavorful Fridays
Food on Fridays
Seasonal Sunday
Beat the Winter Blues


January 24, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 1/24/11

Hey bloggy friends! It's Monday again, and I have a menu plan for you! Well, not really for you... it's for us, but you get my gist! Just thought I would share what we're eating this upcoming week : )



Tuesday 1/25/11:  Basil Scallops w/ asparagus

Wednesday 1/26/11:  Parmesan Meatballs w/ linguine & garlic bread

Thursday 1/27/11:  Zuppa Toscana (AGAIN!) w/ garlic bread - this may just end up on our menu plan at least once a week :)  

Friday 1/28/11:  Chicken Braciole with Alfredo Sauce w/ broccoli



And as always, I am linking up to Menu Plan Mondays over at I'm An Organizing Junkie. If you don't know about Laura's blog, pretty please stop over there... especially if you are like me and need some order in your life! She is constantly supplying us chaotic minded people (that's me!) with organizing products and advice, and right now she has a '52 Weeks of Organizing' activity going on where she challenges us all to write a list of organizing tasks that need to be completed in 52 weeks. So you are to focus on one organizational task each week, and hopefully by the end of the year you (I!!!) will have a more organized, functional, clutter-free house! I have written down some tasks for about half of the year, but haven't blogged about it. I don't know if I am going to blog about my journey, or just try to do it at home and just going by my hand-written list. I dunno, it sounds kinda fun to post before and after pics so I can see the progress I have made. Maybe I will create a separate blog for it, or maybe I will just post about it on this blog when I feel like it. Or maybe I won't post about it at all! I am not sure if you guys would even wanna read about that! Either way, I am participating cuz I need some order in my life!


Seriously, head on over there to take part in Laura's Menu Plan Mondays or her 52 Weeks of Organizing. She makes me wanna be an organized person  :)

January 19, 2011

CSN is my friend

Well, what do you know? CSN Stores have offered me another chance to do a product review of my choice. These stores offer all kinds of varieties of items, from office stuff to Herman Miller furniture to kitchen gadgets.

I am so glad to be one of their preferred bloggers! What does this mean? Product review opps for me, and future giveaways for you! This time, I'm gonna get $35 to use towards my item of choice at any of their 200 stores. I'm pretty sure it's gonna be a kitchen item. I am thinking maybe a countertop tripod to steady my camera while I am taking food pics. Or maybe a pizza baking stone. Or an ice cream maker. I have always wanted to learn how to make my own pizza AND ice cream! I also need an immersion hand blender to make some homemade soups! That's all I can think of right now, but I'm sure there are so many other things. I may just go back and check out the website just to see if there are any non-kitchen items I could use.

They have already been generous enough to offer me a product review once before, when I ordered my handy dandy cast iron skillet. Twas a great choice!

Stay tuned for what I decide to order. Whatever it is, I'm sure it will be improving this little food blog : )


January 17, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 1/17/11

Here we are again. It's Monday again already. Where does the time go? How is it already the middle of January... in the year 2011?!?!? It's crazy to me how when we were kids, time seemed to go by so slowly and we couldn't wait to get older. Now, time just flies by so quickly, I get older faster and there doesn't seem to be enough time in the day (in life in general!) to do all of the things I want and need to do. There just isn't enough time in the day for me to get as organized as I would like. But hey, at least I'm menu planning! That is one way that I stay organized. Now I just need to get the rest of my house on track!

Oh, and I just wanted to say that some things are well worth the wait! It took us weeks to finally make Cassie's BBQ beef shepherd's pie. We finally did last night, and it was a hit with both of us! I don't think there has been a recipe of Cassie's that we haven't liked. The flavors were spot on in that shepherd's pie... and we didn't even have bacon for the potatoes, so I'm sure it would have been even better with the bacon. Oh Cassie, we may just be long lost foodie sisters!

Sorry, I just had some of those scrumptious leftovers for lunch, so they are fresh in my mind   : ) Anyways, back to this week's meal plan!


Monday 1/17/11:  BLTs (maybe we will make them BELT sandwiches... adding boiled or fried egg!)

Tuesday 1/18/11:  eat out

Wednesday 1/19/11:   Chicken and broccoli alfredo

Thursday 1/20/11:  Chicken corn chowder

Friday 1/21/11:  Pork loin roast


I am linking up to Menu Plan Monday over at I'm an Organizing Junkie. Head on over there to get some more inspiration for your menu plans!

Martha Mondays - Real Deal Chili

I am always on the search for a good chili recipe. Martha has several that I wanted to try, and this was one of them - her Real-Deal Chili. And I wasn't disappointed. I loved the flavors in this chili. The different seasonings really came through.
 


Real-Deal Chili
adapted from Martha Stewart 
  • 2 slices thick-cut center cut bacon, cut crosswise into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1/2 of a red onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 3/4 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 3/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1.25 pounds ground beef chuck
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoons fine cornmeal, or masa harina
  • 3/4 tablespoons cider, or other vinegar
  • 1 tbsp chopped jalapeno
  • Chopped scallion, grated cheddar cheese, lime wedges, and sour cream for topping

In a large pot, cook bacon over medium heat until just beginning to brown. Add onion and garlic and cook for 30 seconds. Drain off excess bacon grease. Add paprika, cumin, oregano, cayenne, salt, pepper, and ground beef. Cook, stirring occasionally and breaking up the meat, until the beef is cooked through. 

Stir in water, cornmeal, and vinegar. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer. Add in beans and jalapenos. Cook until liquid thickens, about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Garnish with desired toppings.

























I do have a couple of suggestions: add some beans! Whatever kind of beans you like. Pinto beans. Kidney beans. Chili beans. Whatever your little heart desires. A chili doesn't seem complete, in my opinion, without some kind of beans in it. Otherwise, it just seemed like seasoned ground beef. Don't get me wrong, deliciously flavored ground beef. 

So the second time I made it, I had to give it a little tweak and added a 16 oz. can of pinto beans : )

We served our chili with some garlic bread on the side. 

I am participating in Martha Mondays. Go check out if everyone else thought Martha's chili was the real deal?

I am also linking up to:
Tasty Tuesdays
Hearth 'N Soul
Tuesdays at the Table
Tempt My Tummy Tuesday
Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Tasty Tuesday
Delectable Tuesday 
What's Cooking Wednesday 
Recipes I Can't Wait to Try
Show Off Your Stuff
What's Cooking Wednesday
Recipe Swap Thursday
Tasty Traditions
Full Plate Thursday
Cooking Thursday
Seasonal Sunday




January 11, 2011

Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli

Peej and I weren't blown away by this recipe, so I'll keep it short. The idea of it intrigues me... ground chicken patties with a spicy cajun seasoning, served with a horseradish dipping sauce?! To me, it sounds like nothing could go wrong. But it just wasn't.... grand. The meat reminded me of that ground turkey burger I had made before and didn't like too much. I seem to be making some amazing self discoveries lately, and this one being that I must not like ground turkey or ground chicken. How can this be? I like turkey. I like chicken. Why would it being grounded make it taste less appetizing to me? I have no idea! I'm sure there have got to be some ground turkey or ground chicken recipes out there that we like! But what? I mean, a turkey burger with buffalo sauce.... sounds amazing right?! To me, too! But it just wasn't tasty. And ground chicken with horseradish sauce sounds equally as tasty. But it wasn't. What is wrong with us?!


 Spicy Chicken Cakes with Horseradish Aioli
adapted from myrecipes

*serving size = 2 chicken cakes
*Yields 4 servings 

Cakes:
  • 2 slices white bread
  • 1 pound boneless skinless chicken breasts (or ground chicken)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh chives
  • 3 tablespoons mayo
  • 1 teaspoon cajun seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
Aioli :
  • 2 tablespoons mayo
  • 2 teaspoons prepared horseradish
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
To prepare cakes, place bread in a food processor and pulse 10 times or so until crumbs measure 1 cup (discard remaining breadcrumbs). Set breadcrumbs aside. 
Place chicken in the food processor and pulse until ground. Or you can use already-ground chicken. Combine chicken, chives, 3 tablespoons mayo, cajun, 1/4 teaspoon salt, egg whites, and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Mix well. Divide mixture into 8 equal portions, shaping each into a 1/2 inch thick patty.

Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook 7 minutes 
on each side or until done. 

To prepare aioli, combine all of the aioli ingredients in a small bowl and serve with cakes.














Anyone have some tasty ground chicken or ground turkey recipes that you enjoy? I need to try my hand at a few successful ones so that I am not forever traumatized by ground chicken and turkey!

January 3, 2011

Menu Planning - Week of 1/3/11

Ok so several of the items from last week's menu plan are rolling over into this week. Why? Because we ate far too much take-out food last week, that's why! So, with it being the new year what better way to get my life on track than to pick back up on my menu planning?! Definitely not gonna let some of those delicious-sounding recipes pass me by, so this week we really hope to make two of Cassie's recipes since we didn't last week. Tis good to recycle :)


Monday 1/3/11:  leftover Zuppa Toscana (which by the way, was AMAZING!!! Thanks, Reeni!) with garlic bread or leftover mac and cheese

Tuesday 1/4/11:  Chicken Caesar Wraps

Wednesday 1/5/11:  BBQ Beef Shepherds Pie

Thursday 1/6/11:  Bacon Cheeseburger Meatloaf

Friday 1/7/11:  Chicken w/ mushrooms and cheese


Linky time!!!  Join me for Menu Plan Monday at I'm An Organizing Junkie !! Thanks, and come again :)

New Year, New Me?

Happy New Year, bloggy buddies!

Just thought I would stop by and wish everyone a great start to 2011! As well as post a few resolutions that I hope to accomplish this year.


- Save more moolah. I have a big problem with this! I feel like we are just getting older and older and need to have our life together. Yes, we own our own house. Yes, we both have jobs and work hard. But that money that I work so hard for just seems to be gone so quickly! And we are always living paycheck to paycheck, struggling to pay bills at times. I want to save in 2011, so we can go on vacations and have more date nights. This leads me to my next resolution....

- Do more. Live more. I was just looking at someone's blog and realized how I am missing out on life. She had pictures of her and her hubby traveling, doing all sorts of things together. PJ and I have been together for 10 years, and been through so much, but many of the things I want to do in life (with him) we haven't done yet. I want to travel with him, explore the world together, do simple things like camping (we have been camping, don't get me wrong), go on a cruise, go overseas, scuba dive, swim with dolphins, parasail (or anything beach-related), take a road trip, go boating, and I'm sure there are a billion other things I can't wait to do with my love  :)

- Blog more. The last two months have not been good blogging-wise. And I love to do it! And I love to keep up on fellow foodie blogs so I hope to make more time for it. That also means posting more, learning how to write better posts, bring in more followers, taking better food photos, and more. I really hope to bake more, since I rarely do. And I also want to make more holiday-themed recipes :)

- Live a healthier lifestyle: that means working out more - in the gym AND taking walks/playing basketball etc. This also means drinking more water, being mindful of my caloric intake, drinking less pop, trying to get in a healthy breakfast, not eating so late, eating out less and cooking at home more.

- Rekindle friendships or make new ones. Be more social. Sometimes I get so wrapped up in the life PJ and I have created for ourselves that I don't make enough time for friends.

- Keep on working on improving our house. That means spending money on important house stuff that we need like comforter sets, bed frame and headboard, new blinds etc, instead of spending on clothes and shoes! This also means cleaning more often and learning to enjoy it. This also means being better with decorating our home. I'm supposed to be the woman in the relationship but I HATE to clean, and am not very good when it comes to making a house look cozy like a home. 

Hopefully  2011 will be the year to make these things happen!