Image Map
Would you be so kind as to "like" my facebook page?

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

June 27, 2012

Recipe Bucket List

Finally, I'm putting it in writing (or typing?) all the recipes or foods that I want to make. Specifics, people. I borrowed some ideas from here, here, and here

  1. Beef wellington
  2. Eggs benedict
  3. Caramels
  4. Ice cream
  5. Scones
  6. Souffle (sweet or savory)
  7. Fried chicken
  8. Creme brulee
  9. Boston creme pie
  10. Croissants
  11. Pizza dough
  12. Cheesecake
  13. Angel food cake 
  14. Salted caramel sauce
  15. Lattice-top pie
  16. Coq au vin
  17. Salsa- Avocado Salsa, Pineapple Salsa, Chipotle Salsa, Black Bean Salsa, Black Bean Salsa-Stuffed Avocados
  18. Risotto
  19. Pineapple upside down cake
  20. Funnel cake
  21. Cake pops (use my babycakes maker!)
  22. Bananas foster
  23. Bagels
  24. New England clam chowder
  25. Fondant
  26. Fondue
  27. Chicken tikka masala
  28. Crab cakes
  29. Fried green tomatoes
  30. Red velvet cake
  31. Carrot cake
  32. Donuts
  33. Poached egg
  34. Stuffed burger
  35. Soft pretzel or bites
  36. Sushi
  37. Buttermilk biscuits
  38. Bouillabaise
  39. Gnocchi
  40. Grits
  41. Eclairs
  42. Scotch eggs
  43. Palmiers
  44. Buckeyes
  45. Pecan pie
  46. Trifle
  47. Key lime pie
  48. Spanakopita
  49. Amy's green bean casserole 
  50. Tortilla chips
  51. My mama's sausage, egg, and corn casserole
  52. Hush puppies
  53. Hasselback potatoes - Gouda-Stuffed Hasselback Potatoes
  54. Polenta
  55. Cream of mushroom soup
  56. French onion soup
  57. Flour tortillas
  58. Ciabatta
  59. Bread pudding
  60. Beef stroganoff
  61. Stuffing
  62. Braised short ribs
  63. Guacamole
  64. Hollandaise sauce 
  65. Madelines 
  66. Foccacia bread
  67. Shortbread
  68. Chicken tortilla soup
  69. Beer can chicken
  70. Coconut cream pie 
  71. Bearnaise sauce 
  72. Macarons

I'm sure there will be more! Or if you have any suggestions what should make my list, just let me know :)

Be sure to check out my Life Bucket List, and my other Food-Related Bucket List.

Peace, and bacon grease!

What I'm Loving Wednesday... SYTYCD, Cheese Curls, and Lunch Dates

Hey you!

I've been M.I.A. a bit... I know!

Annnnnd I haven't participated in What I'm Loving Wednesdays in quite some time.

I've missed it! So I'm back to play along today. 

I'm loving my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). The best show on during the summer! And in my opinion, one of the best shows period.


I'm loving new counseling classmates and friends. I can tell some of these people will be in my life for a long time to come. 

I'm loving that I crossed another thing off my bucket list. I'll tell you guys more about that later :)

I'm loving these Herr's jalapeno popper cheese curls. Addictive.


I'm loving that PJ and I are having a lunch date today. Our go-to place.... Tom and Chee. Can't. wait. for. grilled. cheese. donut.

I'm loving this cilantro jalapeno limeade I made recently. Perfect summer drink! 

I'm loving vacation planning. Florida, you and I are gonna have some fun times together. If I can ever pick a condo.... and date.... and location....  Anybody know of quiet, non-crowded beaches in Florida that aren't too far south?

What's everyone else loving today?

Peace, and bacon grease!

June 19, 2012

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade {Eating the Alphabet Series}

I'm joining the Eating the Alphabet challenge this month, and the letters for this month are I or J... and remember?... it's gotta be a fruit, vegetable, or legume/grain. Not many options that I could come up with... j for jicama, but I'm not sure that I like it. I could have been adventurous but in the end, I went with the good ole jalapeno.

So many possibilities! But the one that really intrigued me and won me over was this Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade. Don't give me that look! I figured I would either love it or hate it. The reviews were very good, so I hoped I would think the same. I told PJ that I was making this and he thought it sounded strange, which I expected. But I told you guys that I love an opportunity to change his mind. But would this recipe do that?...

The answer is yes! This limeade was somethin else. That perfect combination of tangy, tart, sweet, refreshing and spicy.

One of the best limeades I've had. 

Cilantro Jalapeno Limeade
ever-so-slightly adapted from Myrecipes

*Yields 2 large servings
  • 2 and 1/4 cups water
  • 3/8 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup agave nectar
  • 1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup jalapeno peppers, seeded and chopped (and 2 large jalapenos)
  • 1 tsbp sugar
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 3 lime wedges, divided
  • 3/4 cup fresh lime juice (about 3-4 limes)
  • ice
Combine the first 3 ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat; stir in cilantro and jalapeno. Let stand for 30 minutes. Pour jalapeno mixture into a large bowl or leave in pot, cover, and chill for at least 3 hours. I let mine sit overnight.

Combine 1 tbsp sugar and the salt in a shallow dish. Rub rims of 2 glasses with a lime wedge. Dip the rims of the glasses into the sugar/salt mixture.

Strain cilantro and jalapeno mixture through a fine sieve over a bowl, discarding solids. Stir in lime juice. Fill each prepared glass with ice. Add limeade to each glass. Garnish with 2 remaining lime wedges.

Printable Recipe

This drink screams summer!  

So don't let your summer pass by without trying this pleasure. I know we will be making this plenty.

Peace, and bacon grease!

June 18, 2012

June's Secret Recipe Club - Chocolate Almond Pretzel Toffee

Time for another month of the always-fun cooking challenge, the Secret Recipe Club!

I was overly excited when I received my assignment... one... because it was a new-to-me blog... and two... because it was the blog of a teenage girl named Erika... hence the name of her blog, The Teenage Taste! I was immediately impressed! I wish I was that talented at that age. I searched through tons and tons of recipes that I want to try... like her Spiced Carrot Cake Smoothie, Gooey Red Velvet Butter Cookies, and Butterfinger Rice Krispy Treats ... but ultimately I decided on her Chocolate Almond Pretzel Toffee. I wanted to use my new candy thermometer since the recipe said to let the toffee reach 285 degrees F. Plus, I can never pass up toffee. I knew it'd be delicious!

And it was! 

Sweet and salty just like I love. 

It reminds me of my Saltine Toffee, except using pretzels instead of saltine crackers, almonds instead of pecans, and no toffee bits. And it was a bit harder. I think I was accurate on getting it to 285 which is a soft crack, but I would have liked the caramel a tad softer. But still delicious, crunchy and all.

Chocolate Almond Pretzel Toffee
ever-so-slight adapted from The Teenage Taste
  • 1 and 1/2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 3 tbsp water
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp salt 
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 35 mini pretzels
  • 2/3 cup milk chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup roasted almonds, chopped
  • a pinch or two of sea salt, for topping
Place butter, water, sugar, and salt in a saucepan and heat on medium-high heat until melted. Bring to a boil and let cook until mixture reaches a soft crack stage (approximately 285 degrees), when it reaches a light caramel color. Remove toffee from heat and stir in vanilla extract.

Line pretzels close together in a single layer on top of a parchment-lined baking sheet. Pour the toffee over the pretzels and spread evenly. Let the toffee sit for at least 20 minutes or until hardened.

In a small microwaveable bowl, heat the chocolate chips in the microwave for a minute, stirring occasionally. Spread onto the hardened toffee. Top with chopped almonds and sprinkle with sea salt. Leave at room temp or refrigerate until chocolate has set. Break into pieces and store in an air-tight container at room temp.

Printable Recipe

Now I've got a great new toffee recipe, and a great new blog to follow :) 

Linking up here.

Peace, and bacon grease!

June 12, 2012

Restaurant Review: Meritage in Glendale

A little whiles back I told you guys how I knocked a couple restaurants off the restaurant wish list in a single weekend. One was the Final Cut Steakhouse in Hollywood Casino.

And the other was Meritage in Glendale. We dined here for Mother's Day brunch last month with PJ's mom Amy, Grandma Betty, and stepdad Jim. I was excited to try this new-to-me restaurant as well as spend time with some amazing women in my life.

Meritage is in the old building that used to be the Glendale Gaslight Cafe. There is seating available in the front area as well as in the back. We were surprised at how empty is was on Mother's Day Sunday especially since they were offering a Mother's Day brunch menu of prime rib and bloody mary's, in addition to the normal menu. We got there around 11:30 AM or so, so I'm sure that was why it wasn't busy yet because business did start to pick up after awhile.

I loved loved loved our waiter. He was so very nice, friendly, funny, knowledgable about the menu, patient with grandma, and accommodating when we asked to sub the prime rib for the filet in the surf and turf. Plus it turned out that he recognized Amy and Jim from their eyeglass store where he also works. I want him to be my gay BFF lol.

We started with some complimentary rolls... I think they were dill-flavored. I didn't particularly like them. But that's ok, I am not a bread person really.

Amy ordered the Surf and Turf ($35), but subbed out the filet for prime rib. I am not much of a prime rib fan... especially that rare, but she enjoyed it. She had a lobster tail, twice baked potato, and asparagus too. Look at all that food!

She added this gorgeous half sized Wedge Salad to her entree for an additional $4.00. I tried a bite and it was magical. Ever since I had the wedge salad from Outback, I have been obsessed with them. This was probably even better than Outback's. It was that good. I wished I had ordered it myself!

PJ and I also ordered the Surf and Turf ($35) but stuck to the filet and lobster tail. OMG that filet was amazing, especially with that herbed butter melting and oozing over top. I am a lover of twice baked potatoes, and while this one wasn't nasty it wasn't the best I've  had. I think I've made better ones at home. And I wasn't blown away by the asparagus... again, I've made better asparagus at home. But the lobster tail and filet really hit the spot. Yes, at 11:30 AM. Ok maybe by the time we ate it was most like noon or a little after, so that doesn't seem as crazy. Right?

Jim ordered the Daily Fish with Crab Butter ($27) which is pan-seared and served over a bed of rice, with a side of asparagus. I'm not a fish fan so I wouldn't have ordered it myself, but he seemed to like it.

Amy wanted a photo of Betty and her boys. What a great photo! And what the? PJ is actually smiling? Cutie!

I would go back solely for the Wedge Salad. And for my waiter friend, who doesn't know who I am  :)

Peace, and bacon grease!

Meritage on Urbanspoon

June 11, 2012

Restaurant Review: Final Cut Steakhouse

I told you all a little about this place awhile back on this post, but just to refresh your memories, it was one that was on my restaurant wish list that I had wanted to try. It's Final Cut Restaurant inside Hollywood Casino. We PJ may or may not have become a bit obsessed with the casino.

  1. Our view from inside the restaurant. A very brown and chocolate, warm and cozy feel. 
  2. Hand dived scallops, shellfish risotto, crispy parsnips, sweet pea puree ($29)
  3. 8 oz filet mignon ($34)
  4. Bourbon creamed corn for sharing ($6.50) and PJ's creamy horseradish sauce for his filet ($3.50)
  5. My side: sauteed button mushrooms and onions ($3.50)
  6. Complimentary pretzel bread

I loved the feel of the restaurant. Fancy with warm, chocolate tones and large booths. And not very busy.

I enjoyed my scallops... I don't think there's ever a time I don't like scallops, though. The risotto was ok but nothing special in my opinion. I have yet to be blown away by risotto. 

PJ's filet was nicely cooked. He tends to not like steak with a charred crust but I do, so I liked his... well, the little bite that I tried. Don't know about it being worth $34, though.

Our creamed corn tasted pretty good, maybe a bit too much cream so it wasn't fantastic. I kinda wished we had ordered a different side item. But it was large enough for the both of us to share. Again, not worth the price.

When my side of mushrooms came out, I was a bit disappointed because I usually don't like "sauteed" or "grilled" whole button mushrooms. I like my mushrooms sliced and sauteed or grilled more. The onions were fine but I wasn't really liking the mushrooms as much as I hoped. The pretzel bread was pretty good... salty, and a change from the usual white or sourdough bread to start.

So there you have it. I wasn't completely blown away by the food especially for the price, and thought some dishes could improve, and the waitress was a bit off.  We did still manage to enjoy our time at this restaurant. I'd like to try some other dishes as well. We have frequented several fine dining steakhouses before and this isn't one of the best, and for the price we would have expected better service and food. When we go back to the casino (which I'm sure we will due to someone's newfound addiction) we will probably try this place again. Let me know about yall's experiences!

Owner: if you're reading, can you come down on some of those prices? Or step up the quality and service? Just a suggestion.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Final Cut Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

June 7, 2012

Dulce de Leche Bacon Milkshake

Whoa, it's been quite some time since I've posted! I've missed it. I wish there were more hours in the day! I've gotta start making more time for this, somehow, cuz I loves it.

I was going to be linking up to the Crazy Cooking Challenge... this month it's all about the smoothies and shakes. Truthfully, I made this shake for that purpose. Then hours before posting time, I re-read the requirements and it has to have fruit. Noooooo! 

Oh well, I can still share this with you guys.

You all know I love my bacon. And caramel. You guys know that, right? Thus, this milkshake seemed like the perfect fit. Yes I'm about to do this.

Dulce de Leche Bacon Milkshakes. 

Bacon lovers, can I get an Amen?! This recipe from Eva is pure heaven for a bacon and caramel lover like myself. And you, of course!

Don't hate. All my bacon and sweet n salty lovers probably feel me. I know you may not be diggin the whole bacon in desserts thing, but just try it and you may be surprised!

I enjoyed the little bits of bacon with each drink. 

Annnnnd technically it's DOUBLE dulce de leche because instead of vanilla ice cream, I used Haagen Dazs' Dulce de Leche Caramel Ice Cream.

Dulce de Bacon Milkshake
slightly adapted from Adventures in Cooking
Cook bacon in a large skillet until done, flipping occasionally. Remove and set aside to cool for 5 minutes. Cut or tear 4 of the bacon slices into small pieces. Reserve extra slice of bacon for garnish.

Place the ice cream, milk, dulce de leche, and chopped bacon in a blender. Put the lid on and blend at high speed for a minute, until mixture is thoroughly combined. Pour the milkshake into a clear serving glass and garnish with the single slice of cooked bacon. Serve immediately.

It. Doesn't. Get. Much. Better. Than. That.

Peace, and bacon grease!

Linking up here.