Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hubby Doesn't Like Gravy?

I mean, who doesn't like gravy? Well, apparently my hubby doesn't and he doesn't like anything that even kinda resembles gravy, like tonight's Beef and Mushroom Dijon. Honestly, I thought it was mighty tasty and a real comforting meal, but hey, that's just me! I guess everyone has their likes and dislikes so I guess gravy-ish meals will be only when I'm home alone from now on. Oh well, he did eat it though, especially the Cheesy Polenta underneath!

Monday, January 30, 2012

A Trip to Costco Isn't Complete without Rotisserie Chicken!

We had to make a random trip to Costco tonight and I can never leave without their Rotisserie Chicken! For $4.99, you just can't beat it and trust me, I'm not the only one that loves them. Do a Google search for Costco Rotisserie Chicken and there are literally TONS of websites with die-hard fans! It also seriously jump-starts a weeknight meal and tonight, I made the easiest Chicken Mole ever. The combination of chipotle, cocoa and peanut butter gave the dish such an authentic taste and only I know I cheated!I served the meat over my new favorite, Fiesta Spanish Rice and it was a weeknight Mexican feast!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Sundays were Meant for Meatballs!

But not just ANY meatballs, Tandoori Meatballs! These were amazing and super moist thanks to the Greek Yogurt! I served them over egg noodles and it was the perfect Sunday dinner!

Another Yummy Brunch with My Mommy!

We had another very yummy brunch with my mommy at Perry's today! It's just a few blocks from our place so a very easy destination. They're known for their brunch menu and everything sounded so good! My mommy and I ended up sharing the Crab Cake Benedict, which were huge and totally to die for! It came with a side of pan-fried veggies and potatoes along with a cute little fruit cup. My hubby got the Eggs Blackstone, which he enjoyed but said it was lacking in the meat department. (Duh!) I love how they serve these cute breadsticks at the table in a glass! We devoured everything along with a couple of Bloody Marys and Mimosas. I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Hazelnut and Chocolate, the PERFECT Combo!

I came across this recipe for Hazelnut Espresso Cookies and decided to give them a try. I'm a BIG fan of Hazelnut but love it even more with chocolate so I decided to substitute Cocoa Powder for the coffee. They turned out AMAZING! Super nutty and chocolatey! Of course, I had to show them off in some cute Cricut containers! :)

Friday, January 27, 2012

First Time with Short Ribs!

I think short ribs is one of those meat items that have always intimidated me. I'm not sure why but I always thought they would require lots of attention and time. I finally picked some up from the store this morning and decided to give them a try. I did some research and decided to make Danny Boome's Short Rib Bourguignonne, which is basically a fancy way of saying short ribs braised in red wine. I didn't have any celery or carrots and substituted pearl onions for the white onions and shallots. I also cooked the whole dish on the stovetop at a slow simmer for about an hour and the meat was just fall-off-the-bone tender! I'll definitely be making more short ribs from now on!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

I Reorganized My Cabinets and Guess What I Found?

I was home alone so I decided to reorganize my kitchen cabinets. Man, did I find some goodies back there and one of them was a can of Hormel Chili. I remember how much I loved that stuff as a kid so I must've picked it up somehow and totally forgot about it. Thank goodness canned goods last almost a lifetime! Anyway, I decided to use it to make Mexican Chili Stuffed Shells and they came out amazing! Look how cute they are ready to go into the oven...

...and ready to be devoured!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Getting My Chew On!

I'm one of those lucky people that actually get to watch some daytime TV thanks to my lunchtime gym workouts. There used to be nothing but soap operas or the news to watch (YAWN!), so I was SO excited when ABC premiered The Chew at its noontime slot! (Sorry All My Children fans!) It's not only a cooking show but also gives informative entertaining and health tips as well. The hosts are all fun to watch and the guests are usually awesome too! The other day, Andrew Zimmern, Mr Bizarre Foods, came on the show and made Sweet and Sour Bangkok Pork with Red Chiles. Now, you know with a name like that, I HAD to try it. I made a couple of adjustments like omitting the carrots and peas (hubby's not a fan) and using dried Thai chiles instead of California. All in all, the dish was very tasty and definitely has a kick to it!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Incredibly Moist Muffins That Taste Like Carrot Cake!

I had some carrots and apples that were about to expire so I decided to find a recipe to bake with them. I came across these breakfast muffins and couldn't wait to try them! The only thing I changed was using Pumpkin Pie Spice (which I ALWAYS have on hand even when it's not the holidays) instead of the cinnamon and cardamom. Pumpkin Pie Spice is basically a mixture of cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and allspice so I figured it was the perfect addition to these muffins. They came out super moist and tasted just like carrot cake! Perfect little breakfast treats!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Celebrating Chinese New Year with My Mommy!

My mommy and I celebrated Chinese New Year at Bistro Boudin and had the most yummy meal! As always, we like to share everything and started with their famous Clam Chowder in Sourdough Bread Bowl. It was AMAZING and the bread was so fresh since they bake them right there in their bakery downstairs. As soon as you walk in, you can smell all the goodies coming out of the oven and you immediately crave some fresh bread! We ate every single spoonful of that yummy clam goodness and devoured the chowder-soaked bread bowl! (No, we didn't mind looking like pigs!) Then we went on to the Wild Caught Halibut with a Crispy Polenta Ball (which looked like a scallop) and Sauteed Spinach that tasted so buttery and delicious! My mom insisted on ordering fish cuz the Chinese word for fish, yu, sounds like the word for riches or abundance. She said that it's believed that eating fish will help your wishes come true in the year to come. Hey, I'll take any luck I can get! It might not seem like a lotta food for 2 people but trust me, with all the bread they give you on the side, we were sufficiently stuffed! (I think being stuffed is also good luck for Chinese New Year but I could just be making that up!)

Celebrating Chinese New Year with Cookies!

I remember as a kid, I LOVED the Almond Cookies you get in those see-through plastic containers from Chinese markets. They were just so buttery and full of almond flavor and I could seriously eat the entire thing in one sitting. (Hum, wonder why I was a chubby kid!) I recreated those yummy memories today with these Almond Cookies and they were just as good as I remember them! Maybe not the most traditional recipe but oh SO good and SO perfect for Chinese New Year! Of course, I had to make some cute containers to put them in with my Cricut!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

My Bro-in-law Came to Visit

My bro-in-law, Ryan, came to visit us so of course, we had to take him to our favorite Mexican place, Tres! We shared some very yummy (and very spicy!) tacos!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Go 49ers Mini Cupcakes!

Everyone at the office is getting excited about the Playoff Games on Sunday and I got a request to make some 49er-themed treats this Friday. Of course, I was happy to oblige! I decided on some Red Velvet Cupcakes but made them miniature. Instead of frosting, I used Frosting Gel and wrote "SF" on them. Unfortunately some of them didn't turn out as well as I hoped but you get the idea right? They were VERY tasty too!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Why is Everyone So Cynical?

If you do an online search for "Paula Deen Diabetes", you'll get more results insulting her than factual information on her condition. That, to me is very sad cuz I absolutely love the Queen of Southern Cooking and I can't understand how people can be so cynical! Yes, she puts butter in everything but have you SEEN how most chefs cook? Why do you think the food you get at a restaurant always tastes better than the stuff you make at home? Fat is flavor and no, it won't kill you unless you're eating like that at every meal! I was shocked to read that people actually said that Paula "deserved" to get Diabetes? Um, excuse me? No one "deserves" to get any type of disease! Paula has always preached "in moderation" and now she's a spokesperson for living with diabetes while still enjoying your life. I would say that makes her a pretty decent person! As for all of Anthony Bourdain's "comments", well, let's just say that chain-smoking and drinking your way around an entire city doesn't exactly make you a role model either. I mean, I think his shows are interesting and all but he really has no right to slam anyone else for unhealthy behavior! I guess I just wish that everyone would give Paula a break and realize that she's trying to make healthy changes. On her new website, she talks about exercising more and cutting back on sugar. She's also coming out with lighter versions of her recipes along with her son's new show Not My Mamas Meals. You go Paula! I'll never stop loving your cooking!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Pork Fried Rice to Welcome Chinese New Year!

Chinese New Year is right around the corner so I thought I'd make some Pork Fried Rice to welcome it. Ok, so it's not traditional being a Martha Stewart recipe but she hasn't failed me yet! I also added some pineapples cuz we LOVE Pineapple Fried Rice at our house and the dish was amazing! Super easy and super fast. A PERFECT weeknight meal!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

My Hubby Added Ketchup Too Soon!

If you know my hubby, you know his love for KETCHUP (only Heinz!) and his need to add it to EVERYTHING and yes, I mean EVERYTHING! He especially likes it on cheesy pasta dishes but usually waits for me to take my picture before he does. Unfortunately, tonight he added it too soon so here's a beautifull bowl of Rachael Ray's Lasagna Casserole with a dollop of kechup. At least it added color! :)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Lamb Chops with a Chipotle Kick!

I ripped this recipe for Chipotle Lamb Chops from my Food Network Magazine a while back and finally made them tonight. All I can say is "YUM"! I didn't have Chipotle in Adobo so I substituted Ground Chipotle instead. I thought it actually mixed easier with the other dried spices and formed such a nice crust. The flavor definitely has a kick to it, which we both loved! I also added some beef broth instead of water for a more flavorful sauce. I served the chops on top of a new product find, Knorr Spanish Rice. VERY easy and VERY yummy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Not So Pretty but OH So Yummy Manicotti!

Stuffed Manicotti is one of those dishes that just doesn't look very pretty on a plate but oh are they yummy! It's the perfect comfort meal on a cold Sunday night. I stuffed the Manicotti Shells with a simple mixture of ground beef and Ricotta and then baked them in the oven covered in our favorite Ragu Six Cheese Sauce. (Yes, there really are SIX different cheeses in this sauce: Ricotta, Aged Asiago, Mozzarella, Fontina, Romano AND Parmesan!) Simple yet amazing although not so pretty. :)

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Go 49ers!

We had a blast watching the 49ers game at our local sports bar, Public House. It was super packed and full of 49er fans! So happy they won! Yea! Can't wait for the Play-offs next weekend!

Friday, January 13, 2012

Double Chocolate and Double Peanut Goodness!

I've been saving this recipe for Double Chocolate Chunk Peanut Cookies ever since it was featured during the holidays. I mean, how can you go wrong with chocolate chips, cocoa, peanuts AND PB right? They turned out incredible! Super chocolatey and super peanuty! My coworkers loved them and they disappeared quick!

I also saved some for my mommy and cousin and put them in cute boxes decorated with my Cricut, of course! YUMMY AND CUTE! Hello, Mr Peanut! :)

Why I Love Alton Brown!

Are you an Alton Brown fan? I sure am! Not only is he super witty, he's also VERY knowledgeable when it comes to anything food-related. One of my favorite Food Network shows is Good Eats, in which Alton not only gives you detailed facts on everything from Sushi to Beer but also bits of history and culture that you never thought you needed to know! I was watching the last season on my iPhone recently and a particular episode called The Curious Case of Curry really stood out to me. Below is the Youtube video in which Alton creates a Tandoor Oven out of a smoker and clay flower pot. While it's definitely not something I would do, it's just so amazing that he would even think of such a contraption!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Food Trends?

I've never been one to follow any type of wild trends whether it's fashion, diet or technology. (Um, liquid detox and animal print? No thank you!) I do, however like to read about Food Trends and predictions on what's about to become popular. I came across this article from Esquire (of all places) and couldn't help laughing at the comments the writer made about The James Beard Foundation and The Food Channel. While I have every respect for all those folks, I also realize that not every American care about sustainable food or can afford to shop at farmer's markets. The writer pointed out that because of the economy, people will only spend less, not more, on dining out and food/wine in general. We're already seeing lots of fancy restaurants closing and we're only gonna see more in the coming year. People just can't afford to spend hundreds of dollars on their meals when they're worried about losing their jobs and paying rent! As for exotic cuisine like Peruvian food becoming the new "thing"? Well, let's face it, the average American would most likely pick a nice cheesy slice of pizza or a big juicy burger over Ceviche. (I know my hubby would!) I guess my point is that when it comes to trends, food is just like fashion. There's what that 90 lb model is wearing on the runway and there's what your "normal-looking" person should be wearing everyday. They're completely different! Yes, I'm sure the next James Beard Award will go to some Peruvian restaurant that only serves local, sustainable and organic "bites" that cost more than a Filet Mignon. Yes, The Food Channel will try to convince you to only shop at "intimate neighborhood markets" that has a local butcher, fish monger and farmer onsight. But seriously, I'm happy with my "local" Safeway and nothing's gonna taste better than a meal cooked by yours truly and that's the trend I'm following!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

A Yummy Lamb Recipe I've Been Saving!

I've been saving this Lamb Chops with Middle-Eastern Tomato Sauce recipe for a while now and finally made it tonight. Boy, am I glad I did! I omitted the walnuts since my hubby's not a fan of nuts (I know, he's crazy!) and used Fire-Roasted Tomatoes cuz I didn't have any Roasted Peppers. The sauce was amazing! The cumin and cayenne paired so nicely with the pomegranate and lemon juice. This dish was also really quick since lamb loin chops don't take very long to get seared to a perfect medium rare. I served them over some rice and it was an amazing Middle-Eastern feast on a weeknight!

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Hey Y'all! I Made Blueberry Muffins!

Can you tell by my Title who's recipe this is? It's Paula Deen's, of course! She's never failed me whether it's baking or cooking and these muffins did NOT disappoint! I mean, can anything with a whole stick of butter in it NOT be good? Seriously though, a stick of butter divided among 12 muffins isn't that bad and the blueberries make them healthy right? I also added chopped pecans but skipped the cinnamon sugar on top cuz they were sweet enough already. I also packed a few up in pretty packaging to bring to my mom. Am I a nice daughter or what?

Finally...Another Post About Working Out!

It's been a LONG time since I posted about working out but trust me, I've been at it! I just haven't done anything new so there wasn't anything to write about. I have created a new lifting routine for myself which consists of Superset Arm workouts twice a week and I'm excited to tell you about them! I do all the exercises in 3 sets of 10 reps with 1 minute rest in between. You'll notice that I split my days between chest/triceps and biceps/back/shoulders so that I'm working a different area once a week. I also have 4 different routines so that my muscles really get a chance to develop in all areas. On my Off Days I do 200 abs either crunches or leg lifts. So here we go!

Week 1

-Incline Dumbbell Press/Incline Dumbbell Flys
-Flat Dumbbell Press/Skull Crushers
-Rope Extensions/Rope Pushdowns

-Machine Rows/Dumbell Curls
-Wide Grip Pulldowns/Reverse Grip Pulldowns
-Dumbbell Shoulder Press/Dumbbell Lateral Raise
-Dumbbell Delt Flys/Bent-over Dumbbell Rows

Week 2

-Flat Dumbbel Press/Flat Dumbbell Flys
-Bench Dips/Bench Push-ups
-Dumbbell Kickbacks/Dumbbell Extensions

-Wide Grip Back Pulldowns/Reverse Grip Pulldowns
-Standing Preacher Curls/Dumbbell Curls
-Machine Shoulder Press/Dumbbell Upright Rows
-Back Extensions/Dumbbell Front Raises

Monday, January 9, 2012

A Comforting Casserole from My Pantry

My hubby was supposed to go to a business dinner tonight but it got cancelled at the last minute so I turned to my pantry for ideas. Of course, I could've ordered takeout or pizza (which my hubby will happily eat any night) but I'm just not that type of girl. There's a reason why I keep my pantry stocked and tonight was the perfect example of last minute dinner ideas. Not only was my Salmon Noodle Casserole quicker than takeout but incredibly yummy as well. AND we even have some leftovers for lunch tomorrow!


4 c cooked pasta (I used Fusilli but egg noodles would be great here)
1 can Salmon (14.75oz), drained and flaked with a fork (or 2x5oz cans)
1/2 c French's Fried Onions
2 (10.75 oz) cans Condensed Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 c milk
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1 tsp black pepper
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1/4 c dried breadcrumbs


1. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Combine the pasta, salmon and fried onions together in a large mixing bowl.

2. In a separate bowl, whisk together the soup, milk, Parmesan and pepper. Pour over the top of the pasta mixture. Stir to combine and pour into a greased casserole dish.

3. In a small bowl, stir together the butter and breadcrumbs. Sprinkle on top of the casserole.

4. Bake, uncovered, for 20 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

More Cricut Fun!

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Cute Lil Lamb Lollies

It's not everyday that our local grocery store carries Lamb Lollies so when I found some this morning, I had to get them. Tonight, I made this recipe for Colorado-style cooking and it was delicious! A very quick marinade and even quicker pan grill and we were on our way to lamb goodness! YUM YUM!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

My 3rd Crazy Cooking Challenge!

This is my 3rd Crazy Cooking Challenge and this month we made Chicken Noodle Soup. I LOVE soup this time of the year but my hubby is REALLY not a fan. Since I still wanted to take part in this challenge, I searched around and found this Chicken Noodle Soup Casserole. The best part were the crushed Ritz Crackers on top which made such a yummy buttery topping! Such a perfect comfort meal on a cold night!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Breakfast in a Cookie!

I recently came across a bag of Reese's Peanut Butter Baking Chips and decided to try the Oatmeal Cookies from their website. They were delicious! Just the right amount of sweetness and tasted like breakfast in a cookie with the oatmeal and PB. A total hit at the office for Cookie Friday!

Ingredients: (6 dozen cookies)

1 c (2 sticks) butter or margarine, softened
1/4 c shortening
2 c packed brown sugar
1 Tbsp milk
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 egg
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1-2/3 cups (10-oz pkg) REESE'S Peanut Butter Chips
1-1/2 c quick-cooking or regular rolled oats


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.

2. Beat butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk, vanilla and egg in large bowl until well blended. Stir together flour, baking soda and salt; blend into butter mixture. Stir in peanut butter chips, oats and walnuts.

3. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons about 2 inches apart onto cookie sheet.

4. Bake until light brown, 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

An Amazing Seafood Meal in Minutes!

I really didn't think they could improve Trader Joe's Lobster Ravioli but somehow they did. At $3.50 per 2-serving package, you really can't find a better deal. Seriously, REAL lobster meat inside HUGE pieces of ravioli for less than $4 for a meal is just unheard of! To make it even more amazing, I made a homemade Shrimp Alfredo Sauce to go with it. Now THAT is gourmet in minutes and for less than a fast food meal! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

You Can't Go Wrong with Chorizo and Cream!

I just recently discovered how yummy chorizo is and now I can't seem to get enough of it! The ones I get is pork chorizo made by Carmelita and it's perfectly seasoned with chili peppers and vinegar. Tonight, I made Pasta with Chorizo and Cream and it came out SO yummy! You really can't go wrong with that combination. Spicy and creamy and a perfect weeknight meal!

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