Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summertime Raspberry Bread

Raspberries just scream summer to me and since we're having such beautiful sunny weather, I decided to make some Raspberry Bread. As usual, it turned out very moist and the almond flavor went so well with the berries. YUM YUM YUM!


2 c all purpose flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 c soften butter
1 c granulated sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 eggs
1/2 c almond slivers
1 c fresh Raspberries


1. Preheat oven to at 325F. Grease a 9x5-inch loaf pan. Stir together flour, salt, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.

2. In another bowl, cream together butter, sugar and almond extract. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each.

3. Add flour mixture, berries and almonds, mix until well blended. Turn batter into pan, smoothing top evenly with spoon.

4. Bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until pick inserted in center of loaf comes out clean. Let bread stand in pan to cool for 10 minutes, then serve warn or refrigerate for up to 5 days.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Going Back to Basics with Good Old Chocolate Chip Cookies!

I've been experimenting with lots of new cookie recipes but I thought I'd go back to the basics this week with the Original Nestle Tollhouse Chocolate Chip Cookies. I mean, how can go wrong with that right? They did NOT disappoint at all! Soft and chewy...JUST the way chocolate chip cookies should be! I didn't add any nuts since some of my guys don't like them and they could not stop raving about these cookies! I guess sometimes you just gotta go back to the basics! Happy Friday!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spending My Mornings Watching Food Network Finally Paid Off!

This is my usual morning routine: wake up, make coffee, turn on my DVR'd Food Network (usually 30 Minute Meals or Quick Fix Meals), eat breakfast, go to the gym. This morning, Rachael Ray made Chicken Taquitos so that's what became dinner! I've always seen recipes made with rotisserie chicken but never tried it myself until now. It's really super easy and CHEAP! You know you can get an ENTIRE chicken for $6? You can make at least 2 meals out of it. (AND have some for your Honey to snack on while you make dinner!) ANYWAY, I pretty much followed the recipe except that I added some YUMMY new Pace Triple Pepper Salsa and Mexican shredded cheese in the chicken mixture. I also left out the cilantro and parsley since Greg doesn't like the flavor. Then I topped the Taquitos off with more CHEESE cuz that's the way we like it in our house! I served the Taquitos with more salsa on the side since we TOTALLY fell in love with the new flavor! Oh yea and did you know that today is actually an official Mexican holiday? Seriously, it's Saint John the Baptist Day.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Comfort Food on a Cool Summer Night

They're predicting a heatwave for us in the next few days (I know...SHOCKING!) so I decided to take advantage of a cool night and make some comforting pork chops! I needed to use up some baby potatoes and found this yummy recipe on the Taste of Home website. It just seemed like the perfect weeknight meal! Super simple and FAST! I halved the recipe and used only 1/4 of a HUGE red onion. I also didn't add any water to the sauce since it didn't seem too thick to begin with. Does that look comforting or WHAT?

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Slow Cooked Meatloaf & Potato Salad

I have no idea why I hadn't thought of making meatloaf in the slow cooker until now! I mean, what better way to get JUICY and TENDER meat than slow cooked ALL day right? This was seriously GOOD! Adding the sauce at the end made the flavors really come through and the potato salad I made on the side was just a match made in heaven! Is this comfort food or WHAT?


2 beaten eggs
3/4 c milk
2/3 c seasoned bread crumbs
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp onions, grated
1/2 tsp ground sage
1 1/2 lb ground meat

1/4 c Ketchup
2 Tbsp brown sugar
1 tsp dry mustard
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce


1. Put loaf in Crock-Pot on low 8 hours.

2. Pour sauce over meat in the last 15 minutes on high.

After much thought about what to do with some left over strawberries, I decided to make another bread, but this time with almonds in it. It turned out great! VERY dense and filling so this makes a great breakfast bread. A lil bit crunchy on the outside but still very soft on the inside. VERY yummy!


1/2 c unsalted butter, softened
3/4 c granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 c all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 c sour cream1/2 c almond slivers
1 c chopped fresh strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 350F. Grease the bottom and sides of a 9x5-in loaf pan.

2. In the bowl of your electric mixer beat butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and ground cinnamon. With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and sour cream slowly. Mix only until combined. Gently fold in the chopped strawberries and almonds.

4. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake about one hour, or until the bread is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Friday, June 19, 2009

New Orleans BABY!

I can't believe it's been 2 weeks since me and Kat went to New Orleans! We decided to take our annual trip to the Big Easy this year and had a total blast! No, we didn't party hardy like you might have imagined but we did do ALL the touristy stuff that me and Kat are so good at! Here we are just starting our trip at the hotel bar. Oh yea...the drinks kept coming the ENTIRE time!

We totally lucked out with the weather! It was storming before we got there but complete sunshine and 85 degrees the ENTIRE weekend! Here we are in front of the many cathedrals in New Orleans. This was right after our Saturday bus tour around the city. There was SO much to see! New Orleans is definitely a big city full of culture and diversity. One minute you're at a huge park with giant trees and the next you're cruising alongside beautiful Victorian houses.

One Sunday, we went on a boat tour (I'm on a boat!) up and down the Mighty Mississippi. It was SO relaxing and beautiful! They also served lunch on board but we decided to have lunch outside at the French Market instead, where we got to enjoy live jazz and plenty of sunshine!
We enjoyed some yummy traditional New Orleans food during our trip like raw oysters, Gumbo, Beignets and of course...BOILED crawfish! Messy and lots of work but SO good! Yea, I had fun with my crawfish!

AND of course, you can't go to New Orleans without trying a Hurricane right? Look how HUGE this thing was! It tasted just like punch, but TRUST me, it's NOT! After 1 of those, I was OUT for the night!

We had an awesome vacation in the Big Easy and I can't wait for our next trip!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cookie Carnival: Strawberry Shortcake Cookies

It's time for Cookie Carnival again! I know I haven't participated for a while but I'm BACK! It's the perfect recipe since STRAWBERRIES are in season right now. I love how moist these cookies turned out. Of course, I made some small adjustments to the recipe but they are SO good and the perfect summer cookie recipe!

Ingredients: (3 dozen cookies)

2 c strawberries
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 c + 2 Tbsp granulated sugar
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1/2 c cold unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
2/3 c heavy cream


1. Preheat oven to 375F. Combine strawberries, lemon juice, and 2 Tbsp granulated sugar. Set aside.

2. Place flour, baking powder, salt, remaining sugar and butter in the bowl of a food processor and pulse until mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Add cream and pulse until dough starts to come together, then add strawberry mixture.

3. Using a small ice cream scoop or a tablespoon, drop dough onto baking sheets lined with parchment or silicon mat, spacing evenly apart.

4. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown on the bottom. Transfer to a wire rack, and let cool.

NEW PopChips Flavor

I just found a new PopChips flavor, Sour Cream & Onions, at Walgreens and tested it out. LOVE IT! It's got a very mild sour cream flavor and the onion flavor is definitely not over-powering either. AND at 120 calories for 20 chips, it's a great snack! Gotta love those folks at PopChips!

Monday, June 15, 2009

Platinum Chef Extended!

Hi Everyone,

It's been a really hectic May and I have extended my Platinum Chef Challenge to the end of June. Please send me your recipes if you would still like the participate. (See my
original post to refresh your memory.) Sorry for the delay!


Sunday, June 14, 2009

Birthday Lunch @ Red Lobster

Happy Birthday to Mommy and ME! We had another joint birthday lunch at Red Lobster. (Yes my mom really LOVES Red Lobster!) It's always fun to celebrate our birthdays together since they're only a day apart. We ordered a TON of shrimp platters and as always, the Lobster Pizza appetizer. Don't we look so cute?

My cousin brought the yummiest cake from Andersen Bakery! It had layers of VANILLA CUSTARD and topped with GLAZED STRAWBERRIES. SO creamy and light that it literally melts in your mouth with every bite. Thanks Dani!

Here's the whole gang: auntied, uncle, Danie, Sydney, mom and of course, ME!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Being Creative with Left-over Pesto

Hum...what to do with all that left over Pesto from my Pesto Panini? Make Gnocchi of course! I totally came up with this recipe on the fly. It's just Gnocchi with chopped cooked chicken and a sauce made from Pesto, chicken broth and LOTS of Mozzarella CHEESE! How yummy does that look?

Strawberry Bread Take 3

They say 3 times is a charm and this Strawberry Bread proves it! While it's not as high in Fiber as my other 2 recipes, it's definitely softer and more moist. I also ended up with plenty of juicy strawberries to snack on for the rest of the weekend!


1 c all-purpose flour
1/2 c sugar
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 c butter milk
1/2 c canola oil
1 egg
1/2 tsp grated lemon peel
1 c chopped strawberries


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugars, baking soda and salt.

2. In another bowl, whisk the buttermilk, oil, egg and lemon peel. Stir into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in strawberries.

3. Pour into greased 9x5-in loaf pans. Bake for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Pesto Panini without the Press

Who says you have to have a Panini Press to make AWESOME Panini? All you need are quality ingredients and you can make the BEST Pesto Panini on a grill pan! These babies are full of Pesto, roast beef, Provolone cheese and thick slices of tomatoes. Slather some chunky sourdough bread with butter and grill just a few minutes on each side. How's that for dinner in 15 minutes?

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Birthday Mommy!

Greg was out of town, so I invited my mommy to spend the night with me since it was her BIRTHDAY! (Yes...her birthday is the day after mine!) Of course, being the COOKIE that I am, I wanted to cook her a special dinner. The main course was a plate of gourmet Crabmeat-Stuffed Sole on top of a very refreshing Quinoa-Cucumber Salad.

Followed by a dessert I found in the Kraft Magazine (but modified JUST a bit!) of CHEESECAKE!

Crabmeat-Stuffed Sole

Ingredients: (2 servings)

1/2 c crab meat
1 Tbsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dijon mustard
1/4 c plain bread crumbs
2 (6-7 oz) sole fillets
1 Tbsp butter, melted
Parmesan cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Mix together the crab meat, mayo, mustard and bread crumbs.

2. Lay sole fillets flat with darker side up and season with salt and pepper. Divide stuffing among fillets, mounding on thicker half of each. Roll up and secure with a toothpick.

Arrange stuffed fillets in a lightly oiled baking dish. Drizzle with butter. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork. Top with Parmesan cheese.

Quinoa Cucumber Salad


1 c quinoa
1 Tbsp honey
1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/4 tsp salt
1 medium cucumber, seeded and diced
1 jar roasted red bell peppers, diced
1 jar marinated artichokes, diced, reserve oil


1. Cook Quinoa according to directions on box. Remove from heat and drain well. Set aside to cool.

2. Whisk honey, vinegar, pepper, salt, olive oil and reserved marinate together in a small bowl.

Combine cucumbers, bell peppers and artichokes in a large bowl. Add cooled quinoa and toss to mix.

Kraftfood's Nilla Praline Cheesecake (modified)


66 NILLA Wafers, divided
1-1/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) margarine or butter, melted
3 pkg (8 oz each) cream cheese, softened
1/2 c sour cream
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
1 pkg Jello Instant Vanilla Pudding
3 c milk
1/2 c pecan pieces


1. Preheat oven to 325°F. Finely crush 50 wafers; mix with 1/4 cup sugar and margarine. Press onto bottom of 9-inch springform pan. Stand remaining wafers around edge, pressing gently into crust to secure.

2. Beat cream cheese and remaining sugar in large bowl with mixer until well blended. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each just until blended. Stir in pecans. Pour over crust.

3. Bake 45 to 50 min or until center is almost set. Run small knife around rim of pan to loosen cake; cool before removing rim. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight.

4. Make pudding as directed on package. Pour over cheesecake.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Happy Birthday to ME!

Yes I have officially turned the big 27! Greg is traveling for work and couldn't be here so he sent me these pretty pink flowers all the way from Israel! I love you honey!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

It's CHILLY in SF so I made CHILI!

OK I know that was super cheesy (get it?) but this chili was GOOD! I can't believe I've never made chili before but it's REALLY easy! I mean you basically just throw everything in a pot and call it a day right? I think it'd be a really good dish to make in the slow cooker too but I didn't have the time or patience tonight so I just made it the quick and easy way in a pot.


1-1/2 lb ground beef
1 Tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced
3 cloves garlic, finely-diced
1 14 oz can diced tomatoes and green chilies, undrained
1 14 oz can black beans, drained
1 14 oz can chili beans, undrained
1 c frozen corn, thawed
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper, to taste


1. In a large pot, brown ground beef and set aside.

2. Heat olive oil in the same pot over medium heat. Add diced onions and garlic. Cook several minutes until softened.

3. Return the beef to the pot. Add the tomatoes, black beans, chili beans, corn, chili powder, brown sugar and cumin.

4. Simmer over medium-low heat, 15-30 minutes. Taste, and season with salt and pepper.

5. Serve chili with shredded cheese on top.
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