Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tasty Tuesday ~ You had me at Avocado 2 ~ AACB

Grilled Apple Avocado (Pepper Jack) Cheese & Bacon

 2 pieces of sourdough bread buttered on a skillet.

Put pepper jack cheese on bread.

Mash and avocado up and put it up on the other side, top with cooked bacon.

Add thin apple slices.


Had inspiration via 

You had me at Avocado ~ Avocado Fries

  • Canola oil for frying (I used olive oil)
  • 1/4  cup  all-purpose flour
  • 1/4  teaspoon  kosher salt, plus more to taste ( I used sea salt)
  • 2  large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 1/4  cups  panko (Japanese breadcrumbs)
  • 2  firm-ripe avocados, cut into 1/2-inch wedges
1. Pour oil into a small pot until you have a depth of 1 1/2 inches. Heat to 350° over medium-high heat. 

2. While oil is heating combine flour and salt in a small bowl. Put beaten eggs and panko in separate small bowls. Dip avocado wedges in flour, shaking off excess. Dip in egg, and then coat in panko.

3. Fry avocado wedges, in batches, 30 to 60 seconds or until golden brown, and drain on paper towels.

Place on a baking sheet in a 200° oven to keep warm while frying remaining wedges. Sprinkle with additional salt to taste.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Leftover Ham Salad

There is a Rachael Ray recipe for a Ham Salad that I love to use when we have leftover ham. This was our plan when we took ham home from Thanksgiving. I knew that I was going to make some substitutions but when I got home and looked in my cabinets I ended up having to make many more which changed the whole recipe. Here is the one that I came up with:

  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1/4 cup EVOO - Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 shakes of dried tarragon
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste
  • 1 bunch asparagus, woody ends discarded, thinly sliced on an angle
  • 1 pound of leftover ham, cut into very thin strips
  • 4 slices of Munster cheese
  • 2 babybel original wheels
  • 1 slice mozzarella cheese
  • A loaf of crusty bread

Mix together Dijon, Balsamic vinegar, tarragon, olive oil, garlic salt and pepper. 

Add the rest of ingredients.

Serve as a salad or on bread as a sandwich. 

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Tasty Tuesday on Thursday ~ Tomato Chicken Curry

Saturday we got snowed in, well we probably could have left but we decided not to. We did a lot of work around the house. I cleaned and rearranged the 2 lazy Susans. I found a few things that I wanted to use because they are past their prime, one thing I needed to use was a tomato soup.

  • 1 can of tomato soup
  • 4 chicken breasts cubed
  • 1 cup of beer
  • 1 onion chopped
  • 1 chopped tomato 
  • 1 Tablesoon olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
  • Jasmine rice

Preheat oven to 350

Heat an oven safe skillet on stove top, add olive oil. Saute onions and tomato. Soften onion, add chicken. Add beer once the chicken is cooked, add soup and seasoning. Put in oven for 30 minutes. Cook rice. Let the chicken cool and thicken for 10 minutes before serving over rice.

My Favorites in my Kitchen

Everyone has things that they cannot live without, well really we can but we don't really want to. Here are some of my favorite things about my kitchen.

My spice rack. I used to have all of these on the side of my fridge at my apartment but now that we own our condo and we did not have the side of the fridge exposed I got these magnet boards at The Container Store and put all the spices on them in alphabetical order.

This is probably my number one on my projects for if I had a silhouette. I would make all the spice names in cut out vinyl with designs on the top and the bottom in the same blue or charcoal paint that we use in the condo.

My vitamix ~ this thing is so incredible you can do so much with it. Cook dinner in 5 minutes automatically after a long day. Make your own powdered sugar and nut butters. And Margaritas forget about it. Plus I did not realize this until about a year after I had it but look how they made the cookbook.

The bottom flips up to prop itself up. These people are genius, and it is made in the USA and has a 7 year warranty. 

Our Penguin Water Carbonator. It was a Christmas present last year from our in-laws. We use this all the time. We can have sparkling water any time we want, which is everyday. The company forces you to recycle the cartrages (which last forever) retail for $30 however if you bring your old one back they are only $15 and if you do it at Bed Bath and Beyond you can bring in one of those $5 off coupons (they will even take expired ones) then it is $10 for us that is about 2 months of use. Additionally we are not encouraging the creation of all of those plastic bottles. We usually just put lemon juice inside, or the essences that they sell, recently I also made ginger syrup to make homemade gingerale.

Strawberry Huller

 When we were regestering for our wedding the store manager at Williams Sonoma threatened us that if we did not put this on our bridal registry she would pull it up after we left and add it. Well we put it on there and my brother Chris and his wife Sandy got it for us. Well if I am blogging about it here it is obviously amazing, check it out. 

Commercial Multi Chopper

This makes everything a snap, I used to have the smaller version but it broke and they would have just given me a new one but I wanted the extra space so I upgraded to this. 


French Fries

Apples, Lemons


In the pantry I love this vanilla 

So when I was in high school I remember being brought to Williams Sonoma. I totally FREAKED out when my step-mom Lisa spent $20 on a thing of vanilla. She told me that it made all the difference in world, I was adamant that it could not. So we went to the grocery store and I bought a normal vanilla extract and we went back to her house and cooked 2 batches of cookies one with this, one with my vanilla extract. It is safe to say that I have never used grocery store vanilla again.

Friday, December 2, 2011


Dear Williams-Sonoma,

You know just how to get me in to trouble. Tuesday you put nespresso on sale for 40% off, which I was really happy about because that is what Mikey wanted for Christmas. So I went to your store and got one it looks like this:

Then I woke up Wednesday and this was in my email box:

So I went and picked up some of this:
Thursday they are doing 20% off for friends and family including All Clad, We are finally getting this (I have lusted over it for a decade):
And this

Thanks to everyone who came to our wedding. We will be cooking for-ever! Mikey got our pots and pan rack this last weekend. When I was there on Wednesday buying hot cocoa I asked so are you going to be doing this everyday? Because you are getting me in a lot of trouble. May the 27 days of Christmas begin, she said yes. 



P.S. I am having the pre ugly sweater party today at work. Just to break the sweater in for Leslie's party. 

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Actual Wedding Reception Tables & Card Holder

You can see my previous post about my plans for our wedding reception tables. I had seen a Martha Stewart picture and knew that is what I wanted. I did not use as much ribbon as Martha did. I thought that I was going to be saving a lot of money this way. However, Ribbon is not inexpensive and in the 18 months we were planning the wedding not once did they go on sale. 

So I was that crazy lady, every week I would go to Joanns with my single 40% off coupon and get a single roll of ribbon. I ended up buying about 20 extra rolls the week of the wedding and then I just brought back the ribbon that was unopened afterwards. So I have a ton of ribbon and need ideas of what I should do with it. Seriously suggestions are so very welcome. 

These shots were mock up shots that I provided the Tea House. Although I was not able to have a wedding planner we were fortunate enough to have a  venue that set everything up to our specifications. So for both of our sanity I gave them very specific instructions. 

The favors were placed at each place setting all handmade by my mother in law Mary. I will post more about them later. 

This was the head table.

As the bridesmaids are modeling the table marker. I found five scrabble games at thrift stores to make the labels. They were all named after cities that we have gone to together. I have a project planned for after to utilize those tiles. 

Mason jars were kind of an after thought. One of the best surprises was how severely I under estimated the amount of flowers that we ordered. I mean severely... Like ran out of vases and pitchers and sinks so Christy and I were putting flowers in the bathtub. So we called Kristy and she went and got mason jars. I have seen tons of people use mason jars at weddings but never with the top on. We took the jar top off and kept the screw top on. I think they look more finished. The candles were from Khols I used the $10 coupons they sent me on them every time they had them in stock. I am now using them for decoration in our bedroom. 

Our wedding book and leaf your fingerprint tree. Thanks Nate!

This is also now in our bedroom. 

One set of my god parents leaving their prints on our wedding.

This was our card holder I posted about the idea of what we were going to do, and the progress report of how Leonard my fantastic father in law was doing in making it. 

You can see the the leaves that were meticulousness made by Melissa. Here is one of the projects we have made since then. There were hundreds so there will still be many more to come. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Look What I Got Mikey For Christmas...

Just what he wanted!!!!

Thank you Williams-Sonoma! Check out the video on how great they are.

Steamed Buns with Roast Pork Filling

These are deeply deeply fabulous but there are four recipes you use to make them so it does require a pretty hefty commitment.  It is worth it, trust me. First make:

Asian Flavor Black Bean Sauce

  • 1 (15 ounces) can of black beans, undrained
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce, we used an orange flavored one otherwise use low sodium
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon grated peeled ginger (We used a micro planner to avoid large chunks)
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon rind
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated apple peel
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper, more if you like it spicy which I do
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
Combine all ingredients, bring to boil, stir, reduce to a simmer uncover for 20 minutes. Wait until cool unless you have a vita mix or a blender that will work with hot. Pulse until it is a course mash. 

Roast Pork Strips (Charsiu)
  • 2 pounds  boneless pork butt with fat
  • 4 tablespoons pork or chicken stock
  • 4 tablespoons thick sweet soy sauce (ABC) is great
  • 2 tablespoon of Asian Flavor Black Bean Sauce (see above)
  • 2 tablespoon Red Chinese Rice Wine or Pale Dry Sherry
  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoon of Sea Salt
  • 2 Teaspoon grated garlic
  • Some people put in Red Food Coloring for the Red Chinese Pork look but if it doesn't add to the flavor we leave it out
Cut pork in to 1 1/2 inch strips. Lay them in a lasagna dish. Preferably one layer but 2 layers will still work if your dish is smaller.

In a small bowl combine the rest of the ingredients. Mix vigorously. Pour over over pork. make sure they are all covered. Cover, and allow to marinate at room temperature for atleast 3 hours or in the fridge atleast 6 hours. Turn strips every hour or so.

Put a pan with raised edges with water about half full and place on the lowest rack of the oven. This will catch the drippings as they roast. Then you can either use S hooks to hand meat or string all pork up on metal wire on the highest rack of the oven. You want to do this in a cool oven or you will most likely burn yourself.

Heat oven to 350 once the oven is heated set timer for 45 minutes.

Increase oven heat to 450 and continue to roast for 15 minutes. or until pork is golden brown in color. 

Take pork out and cut cross wise in to thin strips.

This can be served by its self over rice, you can add sautated veggies like snap peas and green onions. 

Basic Yeast Dough
  • 3 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1 Cup Warm Water
  • 2 1/4 Teaspoon Dry Yeast (or 1 package)
  • 3 Cups Flour (start with 2 cups add more as needed)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons baking powder (add after the first rise)
Dissolve the sugar in the yeast, gently stirring. Set aside until foam forms about 10 minutes.

Sift the flour in to a bowl add oil mix with wood spoon, gradually add yeast mixture. Mix ingredients less baking powder in to a rough dough

Lightly flour your counter and kneed mixture for 8-10 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add additional flour if mixture is sticky.

Lightly oil a large bowl, and dough mixture set oiled dough in to oiled bowl and cover with a damp cloth. Set aside and rise in a warm area for 3 hours.

Uncover and punch the dough Flatten it out and make a well in the center add the baking powder, kneed until powder is incorporated.

Roll in to loaf. Cut in to biscuits

Steamed Buns with Roasted Pork Filling

  • Basic Yeast Dough
  • 2 Tablespoons of Peanut Oil
  • Roasted Pork Strips
  • 2 Teaspoons of Sugar
  • 4 Tablespoons Dark Thick Sweet Soy Sauce (ABC)
  • 4 Tablespoons Cornstarch, dissolved in
  • 6 Tablespoons Chicken Stock
  • Half of the remaining Black Beans Sauce

Set a wok over high heat for about 30 seconds, our in 1 tablespoon of peanut oil, move it around the pan. Turn the heat down if it starts to smoke. Add pork and stir fry for 1 minute. Then stir in soy sauce and sugar. Dissolve the cornstarch in the chicken stock, add to the pan. For another 10 seconds cook stirring constantly,  or until the the mixture thickens and the pork is covered with a clear glaze.

On a lightly floured surface take the dough biscuits a roll in to balls and flatten until they are 4 inches round. Place 2 tablespoons of filling in each round. Be very careful not to over fill. Pull up all the sides and push together to form a purse. Make sure it is completely sealed.  Place filled purses in the steamer container placing each purse on top of a 3 inch square wax paper and buns at least 1 inch apart. Cover with dry kitchen towel or if using bamboo steamer tray use the top. Let rise for 30 minutes.

Place steamer rack on top of boiling water, steam for 10 minutes serve hot. While that was going on we braised some beautiful baby bok choy.

Nom, nom, nom. :)

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