Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Wedding Cake

December was a busy month for me.  Not only do we have the traditional activities and gatherings that come along with Christmas but we also celebrate the birthday of our pride and joy and the most important little man in our lives.  This year I had a little more added to my plate, along with Christmas and Tucker's birthday I also made a wedding cake.  Wow!

First and foremost, I was incredibly flattered to be asked to be such a huge part of this person's special day.  Out of all of the bakery options our city has to offer this person thought of me.  Just being thought of is an honor.  The bride, who is the daughter of a co-worker of mine, had one of my cakes for her graduation/engagement party.  When planning their reception she came to me and asked if I would be interested in making their cake.  I instantly said yes.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Lemon Garlic Linguine with Mascarpone and Shrimp

For the past few years we have stayed in on Valentine's and we have really enjoyed it.  I love being in, away from chaotic, overcrowded restaurants; our time together is so much more relaxing and enjoyable.  Since I am capable of cooking quality meals (for half the price) we enjoy staying home to celebrate most special occasions.  I enjoy purusing cookbooks, blogs and various other websites to compile the perfect meal for for whatever occasion and for Valentine's it wasn't any different.  Since Valentine's fell on  a weekday this year I wanted the meal to not only be delicious and impressive but fairly quick to assemble so we could still eat around our normal meal time.  Once I came across this pasta on Pink-Parsley I stopped looking.  This pasta was exactly what I was looking for!

Monday, February 27, 2012

DB:Garam Masala Muffins with Orange Pistachio Glaze

It amazes me how a series of unexpted events leads to the perfect outcome.  Until recently we have never had an issue with Tucker eating.  He has never been a picky eater and he's never met a food he doesn't like.  If it's edible and placed in front of him he would eat it.  However, things have changed a little.  He's a little over 2 and reached that phase where he is only going to eat when and what he wants, we have days where he eats anything we give him and other days where we struggle to find something he will even entertain eating.  Right before I learned what the February challenge was for daring bakers' I was looking for some type of muffin or bread to make for Tucker for breakfast.  Then I learned that this month's challenge was quick bread.  While preparing a breakfast bread for Tucker I could also complete my challenge for daring bakers'.

SRC:Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just recently joined the secret recipe club.  After enrolling I was put on a waiting list and was contacted shortly after to notify me that there was finally an opening!  I was so excited to finally be accepted and couldn't wait to find out whose blog I had to I could start searching for the perfect recipe for my first reveal!  I was assigned Tami's Kitchen Table Talk this month.  Tami's blog is commited to family friendly recipes that are both convenient and appealing to people of all ages.  She's commited to getting her kids involved in the kitchen and they inspire her to prepare and create recipes they will not only like but recipes they can help prepare as well.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

Meal plan for February 26- March 3, 2012

Sage baked macaroni and cheese, salad with grilled chicken breast
Avocado chicken parmigiana, ceasar salad, and garlic bread
White chicken enchildas with green chile sour cream sauce, jalapeno rice and garlic black beans
Fish tacos with lime-cilantro crema
We'll be with family over the weekend so we'll be trying out some new restaurants!

Have a great week!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

Peanut butter and chocolate.  What can I say about this tantalizing flavor combination?  It's a classic that was meant to be together.  I, personally, am a huge fan of this epic flavor combo.  As big of a fan as I am, Spencer is an even bigger fan.  Reese's peanut butter cups are his all-time favorite candy.  So when I got the urge to make cookies I asked him if there was a particular flavor he would like.  His only specifications were no sandwich cookies and no frosted cookies.  With those being the only stipulations I quickly set out to find the perfect sweet treat to whip up.  I came across quite a few options that were totally drool worthy and he approved of all of them (and I bookmarked them all!), but when the words chocolate and peanut butter came out of my mouth he froze in his tracks.  Ding ding ding ding, we have a winner!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

White Bread

Food is one of those things that has a way of evoking memories.  It can be the look, smell, taste or all of the above.  I know I have been taken back to my childhood after the first smell or bite of many foods.  This bread is one of those things that took me back to a special place in my childhood.  When I was young my parents had a friend who among other things, made bread.  This bread was out of this world good.  It was so light and fluffy but rich and buttery at the same time.  The bread had such a distinct flavor, texture and smell and everytime I was able to enjoy a piece of this delicious bread I was instantly taken to a happy place. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

When I think of classic comfort foods one of the first things that comes to mind is chicken and dumplings.  Here is the south, chicken and dumplings seems to not only be comefort food but a staple in everyone's recipe box.  Although I am a true southern girl, I have a confession, I didn't grow up on chicken and dumplings and until recently I haven't been their biggest fan.  Both mine and Spencer's tastes are pretty much on the same page, except when it comes to chicken and dumplings.  See, chicken and dumplings rank right up there with red beans and rice for Spencer, he absolutely LOVES them.  Until recently, he has never requested that I make this dish simply because he knew I didn't really care for it.  When the day came where he requested this dish I started scouring the interet trying to find some tried and true recipes because A)I didn't want my first attempt at one of his favorite meals to be an ultimate fail and B)if I was going to make it I was going to eat it and I wanted it to be delish!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Mongolian Beef

Mongolian beef is one of my favorite Asian meals.  Pretty much anytime we go to
Pei Wei this is my "go to" dish.  We rarely go to PF Chang's but we frequent Pei Wei quite often, since Pei Wei is the sister restaurant of PF Chang's I knew the recipes had to be practically identical.  When I came across this recipe that claimed to be a "knock-off" of PF Chang's Mongolian Beef on Love and Olive Oil I knew I had to try it out!  The claims are true, although it's not identical (I mean it's pretty close to impossible to replicate a restaurant dish exactly) it's pretty darn close.  

Monday, February 20, 2012

Sugar Cookie Bars

I have had these bars bookmarked for I don't know how long.  However, every time I've gotten the urge to bake something it's always been something in the form of cake, cookies or involving chocolate.  Although I love sugar cookies, when I bake I'm usually looking for recipes that are somewhat challenging and a little more involved.  Well, the perfect opportunity to make these bars finally presented itself!  I wanted to make some festive treats for Tucker's class for their Valentine's party and these bars instantly popped into my head.  They seemed simple enough, looked like they would be very tasty and it would be super easy to make them festive by tinting the frosting a fun shade of hot pink.

Weekly Meal Plan

Menu for February 19-25, 2012

Sunday-engagement party for my brother and soon to be sis-in-law
Monday-food and games at a friends house
Pan seared chicken with white wine sauce, garlic roasted red potatoes, and roasted asparagus
Salsa verde chicken and dumplings (from the freezer)
Stuffed pizza bites, garlic bread sticks and salad
Chicken quesadillas

Monday, February 13, 2012

Food for your Sweetheart

Are you still searching for ideas for the perfect Valentine's meal or treat for that "special someone"?  If so, then look no further.  I have talked to a lot of people that are, for one reason or another, staying in tomorrow night.  Even though they are staying in they still want to prepare a special meal to celebrate Valentines.  Several people have picked my brain and asked me to recommend something for them to cook tomorrow night.  If you're one of those people who is staying in but still wants celebrate by preparing a special meal then I have some options for you that are sure to impress.            

I have a few recipes that we have had on various occasions that were delicious and impressive, but were quick to prepare as well.  Since Valentine's falls on a weeknight this year time will definitely be a factor when choosing what meal to prepare.  The recommendations I have for you are as equally delicious as they are impressive.    

Chicken with tomato herb pan sauce- I can't say enough good about this chicken.  Chicken breasts paired with a tomato herb pans sauce creates a dish that is not only bright in color but in taste as well.  This chicken is so lucious and flavorful you will not only be satisfied but longing for more. 

Pan fried tilapia over angel hair pasta with a garlic-jalapeno cream sauce-this copycat recipe from Carino's is nothing short of impressive.  The flakey, lightly fried fish over a bed of buttery pasta topped with a spicy cream sauce is out of this world.  The only thing this meal needs is a green or Ceasar salad.

Seared tuna with green beans, lemon, and wasabi -this dish is very similar to the seared ahi tuna appetizer from Outback.  This savory dish has a hint of spice from the wasabi that is cut by a fresh, tartness from the lemon.  Whether you decide to serve this as an appetizer, you can't go wrong.

Brazilian shrimp soup- this is still one of my favorites!  A tomato based soup thickened by onions, garlic and peppers, complimented by a creamy coconut milk that lends a muted tropical flavor, topped off with shrimp and then cilantro which adds a bright and earthy flavor to the dish.  Serve this over a bed of rice and you have a perfect meal that won't leave you feeling weighed down.  

Steak and balsamic glazed mushrooms- you simply can't go wrong with steak.  The steak recipe highlights the natural flavors of the meat, lightly seasoned with salt and pepper and then seared to perfection.  The steak is complimented by the mushrooms with a balsamic glaze.  They glaze is sweet and sticky but delicious and full of flavor.  This meal will be ready for you and your sweetheart to enjoy in under thirty minutes.  Add a green salad and some garlic bread and you will have the perfect meal.

Steakhouse steak and sauteed wild mushrooms- The first time we had this was on Valentine's day and we loved it.  I know I've mentioned steak already but we've enjoyed this meal several times since and we honestly can't get enough of it.  It's hard to beat a good steak, but the addition of the roquefort chive sauce really takes this steak to a new level.  The juicy steak with the sharp creamy sauce just melts in your mouth.  Pair this with the garlic, onion and buttery flavord mushrooms and this is a meal that will impress.  

Cream cheese swirl brownies- fudgy ,chocolate brownies, chunks of white chocolate chips all topped with a sweet and tangy cream cheese topping.  This is rich, chewy, fudgy and chocolaty dessert is the perfect way to end a special day.  Tint the cream cheese pink to make them more festive for the holiday.

Raspberry chocolate cake-rich layers of moist chocolate cake filled with a sweet and tart raspberry filling.  This cake is rich, sweet, and chocolatey.

Red velvet whoopie pies- this is a twist on a classic.  The traditional flavor of red velvet shaped into hearts and filled with a sweet a creamy filling.  These little treats are the perfect way to give your special someone your heart.

No matter what you decide to do tomorrow, I hope you and your special someone have a wonderful day!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

Meal Plan for February 12-18, 2012

Lemon garlic linguine with mascarpone and shrimp, green salad and garlic bread
Salsa verde chicken and dumplings
Pan seared chicken with a white wine sauce, green beans and new potatoes
Take out

Friday, February 10, 2012

Cookies-N-Cream Cookies

It's Friday!  Yay!  What better way to start off the weekend than with some delicious cookies you can munch on all weekend long?  I couldn't wait to share these cookies with you.  These aren't just any cookies.  No.  This treat is heavily studded with Double Stuffed Oreos.  Yes, cookies incorporated into cookies.  Doesn't this sound delectable and exciting?

I have to admit, these cookies have been a long time coming.  Not because I've been perfecting the recipe, unfortunately.  The real reason is everytime I bring a package of Oreos home I end up eating the entire thing before I'm able to add them to some terrific baked good.  Fortunately I practiced A LOT of self control when I bought the latest package of Oreos and I was able to finally make a treat with chunks of Oreos! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Toasted Coconut Cake with Walnuts and Cranberries

Craberries. Walntus. Toasted coconut.  Are you excited yet?  I am!  If these three foods alone don't excite then maybe these three foods combined with cake and buttercream frosting will!  I must say, I am pretty sure this is one of my favorite cakes to date.  I'm an avid cranberry lover.  If that isn't evident then just take a look around and you'll find an aray of recipes that include cranberries.  From sweet to savory, I'm not picky, if it has cranberries you can count me in!

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Breakfast Skillet

I have to apologize.  I feel like I have been holding out on ya'll.  It's not intentional or anything, I promise.  I've been making this breakfast skillet over and over for the past several months now and I'm addicted.  This recipe has quickly become a favorite of my family.  I enjoy this meal for many reasons but mainly because it doesn't keep me standing over the stove and away from my family.  The hardest part about this breakfast is waiting on it to finish baking.  We make the most of the waiting time by spending time together, playing and finding fun activities to do until it's time to eat!  

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Weekly Meal Plan

Meal plan for February 5-11, 2011

Chicken and dumplings, homemade crusty bread and a green salad
Smothered burritos, rice and jalapeno-garlic black beans
Pan seared chicken with white wine sauce, roasted asparagus, and garlic roasted new potatoes
Mongolian beef over steamed, brown rice
Saturday-date night, out to eat and Rascal Flatts concert! 

Have a great week!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Sweet and Salty Cookies

This post has been a long time coming.  I have been experimenting with this cookie recipe for quite some time now.  I wanted a cookie that embodied the perfect amount of sweet and salty without one over powering the other.  Well, the day has finally come!  I have the perfect recipe that includes it all; sweet, salty, crunchy, chewy, rich and of course, Oh. So. Yummy!  I can't begin to tell you how proud I am of this recipe and how excited I am to finally be able to share this with you. 

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Super Bowl Foods

I can't believe it's already 2012, already February and already time for the Super Bowl.  Are you ready for some football?  This Sunday is probably the biggest day of the year for football and footballs fans.  The decision has been made, the Eli Manning and New York Giants will take on Tom Brady and the New England Patriots in Super Bowl 46.  The field is set and preparations are in order for everything football this Sunday.  Now, there is one more thing that is just as important as the game, the food!  Food is a huge part of every Super Bowl gathering.  Do you know what you're serving at your party?  If you're still in search for some ideas then look no further.  I have some awesome recommendations that will please the pickiest of fans.  No matter who wins this weekend, you'll have some winning dishes on your table.


Chili- this is the ultimate game day food.  There are so many things you can do with chili.  Serve it by itself, set up a chili bar with an assortment of toppings, Frito chili pie or even chili dogs.  No matter what you decide to do with this, it will please everyone.

Sloppy Joes- these will please fans of all ages.  For a lighter version, serve with potato or dinner rolls to have sliders.

Loaded Nachos- Look no further.  This recipe combines the perfect amount of salty, spicy, and creamy in every bite.  This classic is quick to assemble and can be customized to suite any palat.

Goat Cheese and Roasted Pablano Guacomole- This new spin on a classic dip is delicious and will keep your guests coming back for more.  Spicy, tangy and buttery, the perfect combination.

Sausage Balls-this hearty snack is perfect for nibblers on the go.  The combination of spicy sausage, sharp cheddar and a touch of sweetness from the maple syrup is sure to be a crowd pleaser.

Black Bean Salsa-this dip is light and refreshing.  The perfect item to have on hand for those guests who don't want to be weighed down.

Sweet and spicy candied pecans- The perfect combination of sweet, salty and spicy.  These sweet (and spicy) little sugar bombs will be gone before halftime.

Chewy frosted sugar cookies- You can't have a party without something sweet.  These chewy frosted sugar cookies are the perfect end to a fun-filled day.

No matter who wins, your guests will go home happy after enjoying all of this terrific food!

Come back tomorrow for a sweet and salty cookie that will be perfect for game day.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Loaded Nachos

Nachos.  A plate of simple ingredients that are layered on top of one another to create the perfect mixture of crunchy, spicy, salty and creamy in each bite.  Nachos are more than just an appetizer, snack or the occasional main course; they are also a perfect option for almost any informal gathering. 

I am sure preparations are well underway for the Super Bowl this weekend.  But for those of you still searching for some simple yet perfect foods to serve at your party this weekend, add these to your menu.  A big plate of these loaded nachos are sure to be a crowd pleaser.  They are hearty, full of flavor and easy to assemble.  What better dish to serve at your party than a big plate of these hearty, ooey gooey, cheesey nachos?   

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