Wednesday, August 20, 2008

My first crack at baking bread

It was a lengthy experience, but not really all that difficult. I was really excited when I realized that the recipe made two loaves because I was intending to give the loaf to my friend as a part of her birthday gift, so bonus, a loaf for us too!

Alix helped me out by taking a few action shots. I don't have the recipe right here with me, so I'll just have to post it later. It was a garlic cheese bread. Hopefully these pictures will suffice for now.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Macadamia Crusted Mahi Mahi

This was one of those recipes that you look at and can't quite wrap your head around the flavor combinations. But it totally works. It was so good.

I'm gonna have to look for the recipe, because I can't find it. I think it was from Cooking Light.

Basically you dip the fish in crushed macadamia nuts and sear it on one side, then bake it at 350 for 30 min. I think it was marinated in something too. Then top it with a salsa of pineapple, lime juice, and cilantro. It was amazing.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Spicy Shrimp Tacos

These were so good, I wished I had doubled the amount of shrimp. Again with the phone photos, sorry.
This is a Cooking Light recipe. I can't get the web site to load, so I can't link to it for you. This is from my memory.

Tomatillo Salsa:

1/2 lb. of tomatillos (I used canned)
1/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 jalapeno (I used a whole)
1 clove garlic
Green onions (I used a shallot)
Salt & Pepper
1 banana pepper (not in the recipe, but I had a ripe one on my plant and wanted to use it.)

Toss all of that into a food processor and pulse until the consistency of your liking. You are supposed to grill the tomatillos first, then rough chop them and only process the other ingredients and toss, but b/c mine were canned, that wasn't an option. I just processesed the whole thing and it was great.

I used 20 shrimp, can't remember what the recipe called for, but next time I will use a lot more.
Put them on skewers and grill for two min on each side.

Hot Sauce:
1 tblsp. hot sauce (I used Franks)
1 tblsp. chili powder
1/2 tblsp. cumin
1/2 tblsp. salt
2 tblsp. EVOO (I added this, it seemed like it needed more liquid and I felt that more hot sauce would become overwhelming. Coat the cooked shrimp in the hot sauce.

Layer the following:
Tortilla (I used 6-inch.)
Shredded slaw (I bought the bag of shredded broccoli/cauliflower/carrots/cabbage)
A little quessadilla cheese
Tomatillo salsa

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Three-Garlic Risotto and Caprese Sandwiches

Fantastic. I really enjoyed both of these dishes. Sorry for the crummy camera phone pic, but that's all I had.

Three-Garlic Risotto
I found the original recipe here, it's a great cooking blog.

5 cloves raw garlic, chopped
8 cloves roasted garlic, chopped
1/2 small onion or 1 small shallot, chopped
3 tbsp olive oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup dry white wine
5 cups chicken broth, warmed
1 cup arborio rice (I used orzo pasta)
1/2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
A few pinches of dry or fresh parsley
Optional: 1 tsp white truffle oil (I omitted this)

For the roasted garlic. I wrap the entire head in foil and stick it in the oven at 300 for about 15 min. The cloves will be falling apart and you can just squeeze out the garlic.

Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium/medium-low heat; add 1/2 of the raw garlic. Toast the garlic being careful not to burn it. Remove it from the oil.

Add the rest of the raw garlic and the onions to the oil. Saute for 2-3 minutes.
Add the butter and rice; stir for 1 minute.
Add the white wine and stir until it is absorbed.
Add the chicken broth 1 ladle-full at a time, letting it fully absorb before adding more. This takes a while, be sure to continue stirring or it will stick. Ryan tagged in a few times so I could work on the sandwiches.
Before the final ladle of broth, add the roasted garlic.
Add the cheese then parsley.
Top with the toasted garlic.

Caprese Sandwiches
(This is for my friend Jene)
I saw this on an episode of 30-Minute Meals, but I'm recreating it from memory.

4 flour tortillas
2 tomatoes, sliced
2 fresh mozzarella balls, sliced
4 strips of bacon (I only put bacon in two of them)
Fresh basil to your liking
Salt & Pepper

Blister the tortill a frying pan, cover one half with all other ingredients.
Fold over, and flip to golden brown on both sides.

Next time I make these, I won't put the balsamic in the tortilla. It made them too juicy and the two tortillas that sat on the plate while we ate the others got a little soggy in spots. I would probably make a balsamic sauce instead.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008


That's a headline everyone likes, no? Well, it's been quite some time since my last post and I have many photos of fabulous meals that have gone un-blogged. I'm working on it, promise.

For now, enjoy some pizza:

Quick and easy pizza, thrown together with things in your fridge.

Crust: Pillsbury Cressent roll dough.
Unroll and pinch all the seems together.
Bake at 375 until crust is lightly golden.

Jalapeno Sauce:
2 chopped jalapeno peppers
2 cloves garlic
3 tblsp olive oil
Salt & pepper

Combine in food processor until smooth-ish
Spread the sauce on the pre-cooked crust, top with cheese and veggies of your choice. I would have added feta if I had some.
Bake for another 5-7 min. or until cheese is melted.

And another. Blurry pic, but you get the idea--this one has meat.

Same crust on this one.

2-3 Laughing Cow light goat cheese spreads. I used onion. Spread that all over the crust.

Top with cheese, meat, and veggies of your choice.
Bake for another 5-7 min. or until cheese is melted.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Quick and Easy Dinner

I'm calling it: Why would you ever NOT make homemade macaroni
Adapted from Cooking Light

8 oz. pasta
1 cup grape tomatoes
2 cups cheese, 1 3/4 cheddar, 1/4 mozzarella (that's what I had)
Salt & Pepper
Red pepper flake to your liking (I used a lot)
1 egg
1/2 cup milk

Cook the pasta.
Cut the tomatoes in half and bake at 375 for about 10 min.
When pasta is cooked and drained, stir in cheese, egg, salt & pepper, red pepper flake, and milk.
Mix in the tomatoes

Giada's Lentil Salad
1 cup lentils cooked according to package
Sliced cucumber
Sliced grape tomatoes
Sliced grapes (And I'm so mad b/c I forgot these until I started typing this blog!!!)
Chopped bell pepper

Giada'swas lemon juice, EVOO, and white vinegar
Mine was this:
lemon Juice
Garlic Expressions

Toss and top with dressing.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Sara's Version of Susie's Version of Sara's Chicken Enchiladas

Did that make any sense? Probably not, it's fine.

Potato, zucchini, and chicken enchiladas--Yum.

1 chicken breast diced and cooked in chipotle seasoning
2 potatoes diced, boiled for 3 min, then sauteed in a little bit of green enchilada sauce
2 small zucchini diced, sauteed in a little bit of green enchilada sauce

In the tortilla:
green sauce
chicken (I made some w/o chicken for me)
quesadilla cheese

Roll them up and top with green sauce and more cheese.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Here are my shoes

Apparently color is not in this season. I really had a hard time finding anything that wasn't brown, black, red, or nuetral. I love red, but I have enough of it.

I got these for the more casual pair. I'm not sure if I love them. I'm wearing them around the house for now.

And I got these for the more dressy pair. I didn't want anything black, but since they have the open toe and they sort of meshy material, I decided they would work for summer. These are so comfy.

This blog has really gone beyond treats and travel, huh? I've now included green issues, ikea shopping, and shoes. I need to think of a new name.

Oh, check out these cool new candle chandelier styles. I love them.

Went to Ikea yesterday...very exciting...

I'm not being sarcastic. It really was exciting. I know it's probably the furthest thing from buying local, but a girl needs her gadgets and fun, right?

I have two things to show off.
First, the fabric I bought to upholster my sad little wicker chair:

I really like it and it's going to match the living room so well. The greens in the ikea web pic are a little off, the lighter one is almost the color of the walls in the living room.
I don't care for the pillows that came with our couch and loveseat, I'm going to make pillows out of the extra chair fabric.

The second thing, is this awesome pullout trash separating system.
I already installed it, I'll take a picture. Two of the cans fit in the pull tray. One is for recycling and one is for trash. It was super easy to install. I did it in about 20 minutes. The H was happy, b/c he didn't have to do it. I sent him a phone video when I was done.

My first compost hole...

Nice, huh? This is for Jene, b/c I told her I would do this weeks ago. Sorry for my tardiness. Summer classes have been taking up a lot of my free time. It sucks.

Here is my little hole:

I'm quite happy with it. It's about 2 and a half feet deep give or take. I kept the dirt that I dug out and put in the woods next to my hole. The employee at the garden center that i went to for instruction indicated that after I throw in compost a few times, that I should shovel in a little dirt to cover it. Then to stir or turn it every few days. He also showed me this stuff called organic bio-excellerator. He said that if it's not decomposing fast enough for my use or if my hole is getting too full, to put in some of that and it will decompose super fast. I didn't buy it though, I figure I'll go back later if I need it.

Gross, I know. I lined it with the fence to guard against burrowing animals. We have a mole problem around us. We don't get as many in our yard as our neighbor does, but I wanted to be safe.

So far, I've put in: all of our fruit and veggie scraps (if they are large, I cut them up a bit), egg shells, and coffee grounds and filter. It's been about two weeks, and I can already see the difference in our trash.

I'm showing you this picture to prove that I won the disagreement between me and the H on whether or not the hole is in "the middle of the yard" (quoting my H). The property line is two feet to the left of the telephone pole--into the trees and that pile of wood there. My hole is about two feet to the right of the pole. Not exactly the middle of what is nearly an entire acre. Am I right here people? You can barely see the fencing right in front of the pole there. That corner of the yard barely grows grass for some reason. He told me I could dig my hole back where the grass doesn't grow--voila!

And now I just need to add a nice set of bright outdoor light fixtures to the back of the house, so that I can go back there anytime I want to. We have one out there, but it's small and doesn't do the job.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Adventures in Curry

I wanted a really light meal the other night, so I searched for a vegetable curry recipe. I found one on, I can't find the original recipe, but as usual, I made changes based on what I had in the cupboard, so here is my version.

1 bag 90 second Uncle Ben's classic rice.
1 yellow squash
1 green pepper
1 yellow pepper
1/2 an english cucumber
1 shallot
2 cloves garlic
1/2 can pineapple w/ juice
1 tbsp EVOO
1 tbsp Thai peanut sauce
1 tbsp Curry power

Chop the veggies and stir-fry them in the EVOO and peanut sauce. Set aside. Heat shallot and garlic in pan, add pineapple and juice, boil. Add curry powder and boil, add veggies back in and boil, then simmer for ten min.

Spread rice in a serving dish and top with veggies.

It was really good, but I'd add more curry powder next time or maybe a jalapeno. I might also add some nuts of some sort and I would use a red pepper for color. I used green and yellow b/c that was what I had, so it annoyed me that everything was so green and yellow in it.

Garden update

I've had my little potted garden out on the deck for what now, about four weeks? That sounds about right. I've already used the cilantro and the basil quite a bit. The cilantro is growin like crazy. I took some update pics.

Look at all that cilantro. It's easily twice the size of when I bought the starter plant. And if that wasn't enough proof that I can keep a plant alive, I clipped (and used--yum) about ten stems from it two days before I took this pic and it's back to the same size.

And my cute little baby strawberries. There are four, I think.

Buds on my jalapenos.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Blog, what blog?

Oh, right, this one. Yeah, I'm in spring classes right now and they are condensed, so I haven't had much time to post. I'll get on that next week, promise.

For now, I'll just say that my mom's 50th bday party went really well, everyone loved the food. Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures before people got after it. Sorry. The cake was made by one of my BFFs, Angi, it was fabulous. You can see it here at How Sweet it is, Angi's cake and candy blog. Check it, she rocks.

Monday, April 21, 2008

No laughing...Fish Tacos

Mmmm....mmm. These were so good and so easy. No original recipe this time, I saw a picture of tacos on the homepage of and decided I wanted fish tacos for dinner. I worked with what I had.

Whisk together:
Fresh lime juice
Chipotle season
Marinate the fish in that for as long as you have. Place the fish on a baking sheet, then mix the marinate with panko breadcrumbs and spread on top of the filets. Oh, I used tilapia. Bake at 450 for about 15 minutes. Then flake the fish apart with a fork to make it bite-sized for the tacos.

2 parts plain fat free yogurt
1 part fat free mayo
Chipotle seasoning

1 can corn, drained
1/2 an onion, diced
Fresh lime juice

Then I topped them off with some chuncks of avocado and served with Mexican rice.

My Potted Garden

So, not gonna lie, I really don't have much of a green thumb. I really want to grow some veggies this summer though. I've decided that aside from being pretty, flowers don't really give me anything in return, and that's probably why I end up neglecting them and they die. But veggies, I get something! Here goes nothing.

Here is my cute little deck-garden.

Cherry tomatoes
Jalapeno peppers

Friday, April 18, 2008

My new salad bowl!

I got a new salad bowl last weekend and I can't wait to use it. It's almost obscenely large, but I love it. It's too large for when it's just me and R, but I'll be whipping it out at my mom's 50-th b-day party and I couldn't be more excited about it.

Here she is, b/c I know you were just dying to see her.

Pasta Primavera

The inspiration recipe for this came from Great website, btw. I changed it up a bit based on what veggies/pasta/cheese I had in the kitchen. Below is my adapted recipe, but check out the website I referenced for the original and other great recipes.

Pasta Primavera

Saute the following in EVOO
1 zucchini, sliced
1 yellow squash, sliced
1/2 an onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
Two handfulls of chopped mushrooms
Red, yellow, & green pepper, chopped
Or whatever veggies you have.

Toss those in a big bowl once they are cooked to your liking. Boil pasta, drain and toss in bowl w/ veggies.

1 cup chicken or veggie stock. I made chicken out of water and bouillon cubes.
3/4 cup heavy cream
1/4/ cup milk
1/2 cup parm cheese
1/2 cup mozzerella cheese
1/4 cup asiago cheese

Dump the sauce over the pasta and veggies and mix. I topped it with more parm cheese.

Let's take a closer look, shall we?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Egglant Sundried Tomato Calzones

As you know by now, I love eggplant and am always looking for new wasy to prepare it. I was flipping through the Best Vegetarian Cook Book. I think that's what it's called, I'll double check and update this if I'm wrong. These were so good, I will make them again.

I never got a really great picture. I served it with scalloped potatoes and assparagus.

Eggplant, peeled and diced
Sundried tomatoes, chopped
shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped (I used 2)
Puff pastry (I used pie shells, one for each calzone, fill, then fold over into half-moons. Cut in half when done for four servings)

Saute the eggplant, tomatoes, shallot, and garlic together until just tender. Fill puff pastry with mixture and bake at 350 for about 15 min.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Tomatillos are so hard to find in Toledo

But once in a while, I get lucky and there they are! Anderson's almost always has them. After researching many many recipes, this is what I came up with for tomatillo sauce. It's quick and easy, and we really love it.

Tomatillo Sauce
5-6 tomatillos, boiled for about 5 min.
2 cloves garlic, chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
salt and pepper

Toss it all in the food processor until smooth, add about 1/4 cup water to thin it.

We like it over cheese enchiladas. Put a spoonful of sauce in each tortilla, then fill with cheese and roll the enchiladas, cover with tomatillo sauce and bake for about 20 min at 350.

Cheesey Goodness

I finally made the broccoli rigatoni. It was so good. I have to say, I was surprised at how easy the bechemel sauce was to make. I think my favorite part of the whole meal was scraping up the extra cheese sauce with pita bread. YUM. The original recipe came from

3/4 stick of butter
1 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1 small shallot, chopped
2 tbsp flour
2 cups whole milk
1 cup light cream
Cheese (amounts are approximates): 3/4 cup asiago, 1/2 cup mozzarella, 1/3 cup fontina I used asiago, mozzerella, and shredded parm.
Dash of nutmeg

1 pound rigatoni I used some pasta I had in the pantry that was similar
4 slices prosciutto, chopped Didn't use this
1 large head broccoli, chopped into florets
I added chopped sundried tomatoes

Boil water, cook pasta til still slightly firm, drain
Heat oven to 375; put broccoli in a baking dish and toss with just a touch of olive oil; roast for 6 minutes
In a large saute pan over medium heat, heat olive oil and butter.
Add garlic and shallots, saute for 2-3 minutes
Add flour slowly and whisk until you have a nice roux
Slowly add milk and cream, whisking the entire time
Bring to a simmer and then add cheeses. Whisk until creamy.
Add a dash of nutmeg
Pour the pasta into a baking dish. Add broccoli and sundried tomatoes. Add sauce and mix until all of the pasta is coated. Top with a few pinches of asiago cheese. Bake covered on 375 for 20 minutes; bake uncovered for 5 minutes or until hot and bubbly.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Meal Plans for Week of 4/7

Roasted asparagus, artichoke, tomatoes, and mushrooms w/ tarregon vinaigrette. Probably with grilled fish.
Baked tortellini (I never made this last week)
Cressent roll artchoke cheese braid w/ salad
Curry vegetable stir fry w/ chicken or maybe leftover fish for R.

What else? I don't know. I need to come up with one more thing. Maybe tomato tortellini soup.
I'll credit things when I blog about them.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Meal Plans--a little late.

Meal plans from week of 3/31:
Pineapple Blackbean enchiladas -- CHECK
Greek bread salad (w/chicken for Ryan) -- CHECK
Broccoli Rigatoni
Tortellini bake w/spinach, tomatoes, and garlic
Tomato soup w/ cheese enchiladas & tomatillo sauce

Eggplant Rolatini and Amazing Scratch Scallops

I had an eggplant that I needed to use, I didn't feel like baked eggplant, so I attempted eggplant rolatini. It turned out pretty good. But the star of this meal, for sure, was the scratch scalloped potatoes. The eggplant is my own concoction, and the potatoes were from

Eggplant Rolatini:
One eggplant, sliced length wise
Ricotta cheese
Mozzerella cheese
1 egg

Put the eggplant slices on a baking sheet and sprinkle with salt, let them sit for about 10 min. Drizzel them with EVOO and bake for about 5 min at 350. Lightly scramble the egg, mix with ricotta & mozzerella to your own liking. Then scoop cheese mix onto a slice of eggplant and roll it. Place in baking dish, tightly together so they don't unroll. Cover with tomato sauce and more mozzerella cheese. For sauce, I just blended a can of italian seasoned tomatoes, some basil, and some parm cheese. Bake for about 20 min. at 350.

Scalloped Potatoes:
1 pound of yukon gold potatoes (or Russett)
1/2 cup cream
salt & pepper
parm cheese

Cut the potatoes into thin slices. I held the potato with my PC onion holder. In a sauce pan cook the cream & spices on low heat. Put a layer of potatoes in the bottom of a baking dish, overlap them, pour in some of the cream mix, sprinkle with parm cheese, another layer of potatoes, cream mix, two pats of butter, parm cheese, then two more layers. Then top with rest of cream mix and parm cheese. (I added some mozz cheese to the top). Bake at 375 for 45 min. Then broil for 5 min. to brown the cheese.

Ryan's Birthday Cake

For Ryan's birthday, I love to find recipes that incorporate peanut butter and banana's. This year I found the best bundt cake ever. Plus it was nice because it gave me an excuse to use my cake stand that my MIL got me for christmas. I got the original recipe here I followed this one exactly, I didn't see anything worth changing.

For Peanut Butter Fluff frosting:
1 (1.5oz) package Jello sugar free/fat free instant Vanilla pudding mix
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 (12oz) container Cool Whip Light

For cake:
1 (18.25oz) box Golden Vanilla flavor cake mix
1 1/3 cups bananas, mashed
1/3 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup peanut butter chips

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Travel: Sonoma & SF

I haven't put anything on here since last week's meal plan. I have Ryan's b-day cake to post and a dinner from last week--eggplant rolatini w/ the most amazing (from scratch) scalloped potatoes. I promise I will get them in here tonight.

Sanoma and San Francisco, California

We loved this trip. It was absolutely amazing. So relaxing. We flew into SFO, picked up a car (we rented a Prius so we could drive it for a week before deciding for sure to buy one), and drove out to Sonoma. While there we stayed at Windhaven Cottage, it was really great. The owner's, Bob and Wendy, were great. Very nice people. They have two small cottages, detached from their house, but on their property. The cottage had a living/kitchen with a fireplace, a bedroom, full bath, and a fabulous private patio w/ a hot tub. Here is a pic of the view from the patio.

We visited so many wineries. Some of our favorites were Kunde, Wellington, Nicholson Ranch, Homewood, and many more. We got to go on a tour of the wine caves at Kunde, which was awesome.

We also drove north on Pacific Highway 1 to Redwood City, that was absolutely beautiful.

And of course, we ended our trip in San Francisco. It is a beautiful city with tons of things to do. We only had two days there and I don't think that is quite enough time, but it was nice none-the-less. We stayed at the Hyatt at Fisherman's Wharf. I do not recommend them. It seemed like a nice hotel, but we are pretty sure we left there with bed bug bites--GROSS. They insist that the room checked out clean, but yet they refunded our full bill of nearly $400. I tend to think we would not have gotten that much money back if the room checked out clean. I even told the guy he could fax me the report, but he declined. Yeah, that's what I thought.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Meal Planning for week of March 24

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
Pineapple Black Bean Enchiladas
Baked Egg Plant
Tomato Tortellini Soup (either w/ grilled cheese or cheese enchiladas)
Stir fry

Not necessarily in that order. Side dishes TBD.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

My favorite dinner

I love baked it. I make it once a week to once every other week. I serve it with garlic mashed, a veggie, baked feta, and mini pitas. Last time I made it R asked for a sauce for it. I told him that I usually spread the feta or some of the garlic mash on it. His response was that he had already scarfed his garlic mash...too bad for him. So this time I made a sauce. I'll admit, it was a nice addition.

Since I had the sauce this time, I decided to do something different with the potato. I just bought some ramekins the other day and wanted to use them so I made little potato souffles.

Aren't they cute? Here is what I did:
Made garlic mashed as usual.
Spray the ramekins with non-stick spray
In the food processor:
1/2 c. flour
1 egg
1/2 c. milk (maybe less)
Pour mix into ramekin just above covering the bottom, the fill with potato, then pour more mix over top. It made a great little baked crust.
Here is the rest:
Dip in egg
Dip in breading mix
Bake at 400 for about 15 min on each side.
My breading:
Panko bread crumbs
Shake and bake or italian bread crumbs
Garlic powder
some parm cheese
The Sauce:
Leftover pan drippings from shrip linguini and a can of italian spiced tomatoes in the food processor. R loved the sauce BTW.