July 29, 2010

Honey Balsamic Bean Salad

I debated posting this recipe becuase it is good, but didn't blow me out of the water with it's amazingness.  But I haven't been to the grocery in quite a while, so cooking has been minimal at my house.

I found this recipe on one of my food bloggy stalks - over at 101 Cookbooks.  It piqued my interest due to the large amount of thyme (yum) and honey.  I thought I would give it a try since I had most of the ingredients on hand and shocking, I was getting tired of our standard salad with the same dressing almost every night.  I know, I know - not the most appetizing picture.  I'll get better, I promise.  I tried to replicate the original recipe which according to 101 Cookbooks can be found in Teaching My Dad to Cook Flapjack using haricots verts instead of the romaine.  And they called for cooked beans, I just went straight for the canned.

Honey Balsamic Bean Salad
1 can each of Black Beans, Pinto Beans, and Chickpeas
1/3 lb. Haricots Verts
1/3 c. toasted sliced almonds
For the dressing:
2t. Olive Oil
1 1/2 T. Honey
2T. Balsamic Vinegar
1 1/2 T. Lemon Juice
1/4 t. salt
10 sprigs fresh thyme

Rinse all the beans and place in a large bowl.  Blanche the green beans and chop roughly into thirds and add to the bowl with the beans.  Lightly toast the almonds and add to the bowl as well.  Combine all the ingredients for the dressing in a separate bowl and mix well.  Remove the leaves from the thyme sprigs and add to the bean mixture along with the dressing.  Mix to combine and let sit.

This was something that was a risk - totally outside of what Stud and I would normally eat.  We had this with turkey burgers which would normally be served with tater tots and a baby spinach salad.  And it was a tasty alternative, but not something I would add to my regular menu.  And Stud thinks it's gross leftover, but I don't mind it.  I think it's even a little better once the thyme has had time to spread it tastiness throughout.  So overall, a nice alternative to a salad with dinner, but not a total replacement.

July 28, 2010

July 27, 2010

Daily Fluff

Beau and I were crafty over the weekend.  Doesn't he look thrilled!?!?

July 26, 2010

Pizza Night - Pesto Cheese Pizza

This was literally a what do I have in my fridge kinda pizza.  It helped that I had stocked up on tasty cheeses for the tomato pie.

Pesto Cheese Pizza
1 Dough Ball
1/2 cup pesto
1 cup mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup Gruyere cheese
1/3 cup goat cheese
1 pint grape (or cherry) tomatoes
1 bag fresh spinach
1 clove garlic

Stretch the dough out over a cookie sheet coated with olive oil.  Spread the pesto in a thin layer over the dough, it does not take much.  Layer on the mozzarella cheese.  Saute the spinach with some olive oil and garlic.  Once it's wilted, layer over the mozzarella.  The add the rest of the cheese, breaking the goat cheese up into little crumbles, and finally the halve the cherry tomatoes and add to the top.  Bake in a 475 degree oven for about 18 minutes. 

This one is really tasty.  The crust could barely support all the gooey goodness on top.

July 23, 2010

Pillars of the Earth

This is what Stud and I will be watching as soon as it's on Netflix (so tomorrow) since we do not pay for Starz.  Have I mentioned how much I love instant Netflix?? 

And if you haven't read the book, do it.  It's a good one.

Tomato Pie

OK so this is one of those things I refused to eat until I was about 20 - I used to have a thing with tomatoes (they made me gag) and now they are up there with avocados on my "I am obsessed" food list.  Seriously, avocados and tomatoes make everything better.  I just had to learn that winter gross tomatoes are a completely different thing than fresh juicy red summer tomatoes.  Lesson learned.  Tomato pie is pretty simple to make and so so so so good.  And once I actually have some ripe tomatoes in my garden, it will be even better!  I wish you could smell it.  Please try this at home, it will change your life.

Tomato Pie
1 Pie Crust (I just used the Pillsbury crusts)
3 T. Dijon Mustard
1 c. Cheese

This recipe is nice because it's really easy to make do with what you have and change it to what you like.  For the cheese, I used a mixture of mozzarella, gruyere and goat that I had left over from this week's pizza (more to come on that later) and for the tomatoes, I used three plum and then the yellow cherry from my tomato plants and a few red grape I had in the fridge (I know, cardinal sin putting tomatoes in the fridge, but I needed them to last).  So you can use whatever cheese you have on hand, and the same with the tomatoes.

Lay the dough in a pie pan - I used a quiche pan and my mom uses a tart pan, whatever works - and line it with tin foil.  Blind bake the pie crust for about ten minutes according to package instructions.  I think it was at 450 degrees.  Remove from the oven and spread the Dijon mustard around the bottom of the pie crust.  Then sprinkle on all the cheese and then layer the tomatoes.  I would just make sure to only have one layer of pretty thinly sliced tomatoes or it gets too soggy.  Drizzle the top with a little olive oil and put back in the oven and bake for another thirty minutes.  When it's finished, sprinkle the top with fresh basil and parsley.  I actually let it cool for about ten minutes before we ate and it was perfect.

You know you want to eat this.  Do it.

Welcome if you're here from Pillsbury via Facebook!  I hope you like my blog, and sorry for the quality of the pictures - I am neither a professional photographer (I just use my phone half the time) nor a professional chef!

July 22, 2010

Louisville DRAMA

So my hood is at war with CSX.

We have this battle going on about the train horns in my hood.  Something happened, or more didn't happen (I think) and now the trains blow their horn at every crossing.  We used to be a "quiet zone" and now, I'll admit, the train horns are obnoxious.  And I don't even live right next to them, I live about four blocks back.  But on an actually pleasant night the other week, Stud and I kept the windows open and they did blast the train horns at EVERY crossing, no matter the time.  It was a restless night, but I got used to it quickly (Stud....not so much...the boy is a little rough around the edges without his full, uninterrupted eight-ten hours)  And now that it's back to sweltering heat and we are using our monster AC, I can't hear the trains at all.  I actually thought they had stopped the honking.  But the battle continues and should I choose to take up the cause, I can join a Facebook group!

Pimento Cheeese

Pimento cheese is one of those things I have always purchased, but never made, so I thought I would give it a try.  How hard can it be??

Pimento Cheese
1 lb. White cheddar cheese (I had some Vermont cheddar left from my trip to Burlington)
1 lb. Orange/yellow cheddar cheese
7 oz. Jar of Pimentos
1/2 c. Cream Cheese
3/4 c. Mayonnaise
1 Jalapeno, seeded and diced
1 t. Cayenne Pepper

I used blocks of cheese, so I had to shred my cheese first.  I figure the better the cheesey base, the better the final product.  Sure.  Drain the pimentos from the oil and chop them up into small pieces and add to the bowl of shredded cheese.  Add the cream cheese, mayonnaise, diced jalapeno, and cayenne if you want some extra heat.  Mix together well.  And I do think this is better after it sits for a bit, I think the pimento flavor spreads throughout the mix.  And disclaimer - I made this last week and I am pretty sure those are the measurements I used.  Just a warning.

The other night, Stud and I had grilled pimento cheese sandwiches with tomato and bacon - delicious.

OH and I made some Benedictine in the food processor so it was smooth - much less work and I love the smooth texture.  All you had to do was peel and seed the cucumbers and cut them in half and add to the food processor along with the onion that had been quartered.  The food processor does the rest of the work!  AND apparently dill is supposed to be in Benedictine, but Haudge failed to mention that to me when sharing his recipe.  So add some dill and never listen to blond prepsters named Haudge.

July 21, 2010

Daily Fluff

Goooood Morning!

It's not actually sunny here at all.  Rather rainy.  But Beau Man is so cute looking here.  I just couldn't help it.

July 20, 2010

Picture Walls!

Over the weekend, I helped Noe create her own picture wall since I am a professional and had already made one in my abode.  And she just seemed awed at the sheer amount of information I had stored in my little brain, so I thought I would share my tips and tricks to making a picture wall. 

First of all, you need a plan.  I had a handful of pictures I already knew I wanted to use, but I knew they were not enough to cover the wall I wanted to do.  Which is the hallway by the way.  What else can you do in a hallway??  Nothing.  Since I didn't have enough images to fill the wall, I bought more frames than I needed at the moment.  And I knew I wanted to have all of my images contain people, my friends and family.  And I wanted to use pictures from my current life as well as childhood and family pictures from when Stud and I were babies, before we met.  We met in first grade by the way.  He was a dork, I was cool, so needless to say, we didn't hit it off until MUCH later.  Through my picture hunting, I even managed to dig up some wedding pictures from when my grandparents got married.  To tie everything together, I decided to do all black frames.  I was going to do all black and white images, but some of them were just too good in color, so I dropped that idea.  To summarize the plan - black frames of varying shapes and sizes with people filled pictures. 

Then I went skipping across the city looking for frames.  Michael's and TJ Maxx are great places to look for cheap frames.  With Noe, I also went to Big Lots and they had some good ones as well.  I made sure to get some plain frames, and then some that had texture and varying widths of the frame.  Most of the textured ones were not black, so I got some high gloss black spray paint and painted all the ones that didn't match.  Also, the frames that have several images to one have a bit of a theme.  The long one in the middle has images from Carolina Cup my senior year of college and is probably one of my favorite frames on the wall.  So amazing.  And the one on the end has pictures from Europe.

And now the fun part.  I took a large roll of wrapping paper and unrolled it along the wall and cut it at the length I wanted to use for the picture wall.  I then laid the paper down and planned all the frames out on the paper.  Once I had my plan, I traced the frames and added little marks where I needed to put the picture hooks.  When I taped the paper back up on the wall, all I had to do was put the hooks in the marks, tear the paper down, and hang the frames!  Made it so easy.  I actually filled the last few frames just last weekend and I still have two empty ones that I plan to use for wedding pics after October.  It's harder than you think to find the right mix of sizes, orientation and general fit on the wall.  I left several blank just waiting for the right pictures and I am slowly finding them.  That one in the middle from Red River Gorge is just from the other weekend.  And it got Beau Fluff on the wall.  And there are still some I might change, I like that I can keep it a changing piece of art in my house.

July 16, 2010

Things I Have Learned About Weddings

So wedding planning has been an experience and I thought I would share my many insights with you readers.
  • People assume you have been mentally planning your wedding since you were five.  I am not one of those people.  Who knew I was in the minority.
  • At the same time, I was shockingly picky.  It's hard to find a wedding dress without bedazzles and that has straps.
  • Wedding planning is not awful.  Especially when you have no preconceived notions of what you want.  Then you can always find something you like.
  • They are stupid expensive.
  • Ten months is a short time frame to plan a wedding.
  • Order of planning - venue, date, dress
  • Venue is the hardest part.  Especially if you aren't getting married in a church.  My wedding was almost in my parents backyard.
  • I let Stud pick out what he and the groomsman are going to wear with some veto power.  He said no to tuxes and I said fine.  I was even stoic when he told me he got pleated pants. Now he feels like he had a say.  Brilliant!
  • Wedding politics exist.
  • I am crazy excited to see all my friends from out of town.  It's actually one of the things I am looking forward to most, besides marrying Stud and all that jazz.
  • I hate being the center of attention.
  • Wedding etiquette is ridiculous.
  • The differences between weddings now and weddings when my parents were married are immense.  Example - my parents think RSVP cards are trendy.  Therefore my invitations do not have them.  I have no idea how people will RSVP.  I had to ask my parents what people will do.  FYI - Apparently guests need to write my parents a RSVP letter on their own stationary.  Emily Post says nothing about this on her website.
  • Emily Post is the Goddess of Wedding Etiquette.
  • My parents also think Save the Dates are trendy.  I won that battle.
  • Registering for wedding gifts is fun - like, really, really fun.
  • I am sad I have to be a part of my wedding and not a guest.  It's going to be an AMAZING party.  Is that weird?


July 15, 2010

Green Thumb

Stud and I have become quite the green thumbs.  And by green thumbs I mean we plant things, the success of those plantings is still to be determined.  Since I finally A.) have a yard and it B.) has no woodland creatures like my parents, I decided to try my hand at planting something useful.  I planted three tomato plants in May - red grape, beefsteak, and yellow cherry.  Beau mauled the grape tomato plant, so I'm just pumped that one is still alive.  So far, we have had one ripe yellow tomato.  I blame the ninety degree heat we have had all summer.  According to my compulsive googling of the issue, tomatoes cannot "set fruit" (whatever that means) or ripen when the temperature is above 85 degrees.  Good thing it's been sweltering this summer.  I have also added another mystery tomato plant to the mix as well as a red habanero plant.  I am hoping at some point to have enough tomatoes for it to be useful.  We shall see.  Looks like we could be eating a lot of fried green tomatoes. 

July 14, 2010

Thai Chicken Pizza

Last night, Stud and I had another pizza night and this week what his choice. I used this recipe with a few alterations, but here it is again so this post actually has some substance.

Thai Chicken Pizza
Spicy Peanut Sauce (SO GOOD)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup hoisin sauce
1 tablespoon honey
2 teaspoons red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons minced ginger (I just used ginger powder because that's what I had)
2 minced garlic cloves
2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons soy sauce
4 teaspoons Siracha vietnamese chili sauce (makes it have a nice kick)
1 tablespoon oyster sauce
2 tablespoons water

For the Pizza
1 pizza dough
3 chicken breasts
3 cups mozzarella cheese
4 scallions, slivered diagonally
1/2 cup white bean sprouts
1/4 cup shredded carrots
2 tablespoons chopped roasted peanuts
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro

OK so it's a lot of really weird ingredients, but now my pantry looks so legit. And I discovered Stud has an obsession with Siracha sauce. First, combine all the ingredients for the sauce in a small pan and bring to a boil for a minute and stir to combine. Put a little less than half in a dish with the chicken breasts and cook in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes. When the chicken is finished, cut it into small strips and stir back in with the sauce left in the roasting dish.

To assemble the pizza, pour the rest of the sauce onto a pizza dough that has been stretched out over a cookie sheet. Layer the mozzarella cheese on top and put in a 500 degree oven for about eight minutes. After eight minutes, remove the pizza and add the chicken, carrots, bean sprouts, peanuts, and green onions and put the pizza back in the oven for an additional 8-10 minutes until yummy and golden brown. Sprinkle the chopped cilantro over the top when the pizza comes out of the oven.

This pizza is a little extra effort since it has weird ingredients, but the sauce is really easy to make and it does not require too much time over a plain cheese pizza. I think next time Stud and I will throw some red onions on there as well for a little extra kick.

Oh and Stud got his score for his Step I today which determines where and what he can do for his residency program and let's just say the doors are wide open because he ACED it. Such a smarty pants.

July 12, 2010

A KY Weekend

This weekend, Stud and I decided to take advantage of the below 95 degree heat and one of his few remaining free weekends. On Saturday, we packed up a day pack and drove the two hours to hike in Red River Gorge. It’s part of the Clifty Wilderness. It’s pretty amazing. So off we went to spend the day with nature. We hiked about nine miles with Beau and our hike included getting lost, being mauled by a spider, some cliff climbing, and some views. You can see the "trail" we were on while lost below.  It was a little tight.  Every time we go, we do one trail, and then always end with a four mile hike that takes you to Courthouse Rock and back. It’s always where we sit, relax, eat some snacks, and become one with the trees and all that woodsy nature-y stuff. We are tree people.  And I am now proudly sporting some massive blisters.  And chigger bites.

And then we spent Saturday night on the river. Forecastle Festival was this past weekend on the waterfront, and we were lucky enough to cruise down and appreciate some of the music from the River. For free! Days like these, I can’t imagine wanting to live anywhere else.

And I spent Sunday by the pool - gooood weekend!

July 9, 2010

TV Guide

OK so Stud and I only have a cable box on one TV. So only one TV gets the fancy guide that pops up on the screen. With all the other TVs, I go to 99 and watch the TV Guide Channel. Now I had accepted that they were shrinking it down to itsy bitsy so I had to squint to read what's on all the channels. I wasn't pleased, but I would survive.

So last night, Stud and I turn to TV Guide to see what's on AND THEY HAVE TAKEN THE LISTINGS OFF COMPLETELY. I am not OK with this TV Guide. Not one bit. Now I have no idea what's on any of the channels and I am forced to channel surf. And I always hit commercials. I bet there was a really good episode of Criminal Minds on last night, but I have no idea because commercials were on channel 21. Or House Hunters, but again, commercials on 51. So I fell asleep listening to Curb Your Enthusiasm which was what had replaced my show listings. And fuming because I did not want to support this behavior. But what else was I to do?!?! I did not sleep well last night - I was plotting my revenge. Any ideas?

July 8, 2010

Lila Potatoes

Since my life has taken a turn towards calm (whew, it was hectic there for a while), I have decided that you all will get to read about more food.  And since Beau and food pretty much make up my life, then I think it all makes sense!  So today I will share with you Lila Potatoes aka Potato Casserole.  Living in Kentucky has provided me with some great casserole recipes and this one....oh my.  I could eat it for days.  As an entree.  The Lila comes from the woman who originally provided the recipe to my mom, and so it's stuck in my family.  And it sounds so much classier than potato casserole.  Almost as classy as potatoes au gratin.

Lila Potatoes
1 bag or Ore-Ida frozen hash browns
1 can Cream of Mushroom Soup
1 24oz. container of sour cream
1 bag of shredded cheddar cheese
1 yellow onion (optional)
Corn Flakes

Thaw the hash browns and dump them into a large bowl with the cream of mushroom soup, sour cream, cheese, and chopped onion.  Mix well.  Pour into a greased casserole dish.

Crush about two cups of cornflakes and combine with about 4T. melted butter.  Layer the cornflakes on top of the potato mixture.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.  The crispy topping is best fresh, so I would scrape it all off and eat it first.  And sorry I do not have a picture, I tend to destroy it too quickly.  And they freeze great completely assembled.

And just so you don't feel bad making this all for yourself one night for dinner, here are some tested tasty uses for leftovers:
    -base of a breakfast burrito
    -in a frittataaaaa
    -on an egg sandwich
    -on a bbq sandwich
    -as a snack

July 6, 2010

Black Bean and Corn Salsa

So in an attempt to replace the meaty queso at this year's Fourth of July Bash, I offered to bring a new dip.  It is a recipe from Noe that we consumed by the gallons in Florida this past spring.  And it's super easy.  And since it's made of veggies and such, a health conscious victory over beef and cheese. 

Black Bean & Corn Salsa
2 cans sweet corn (you can use fresh off the cob)
2 cans black beans
1 jar salsa of choice
1 red onion
1 lime

Rinse the beans and corn and dump into a bowl with the jar of salsa.  Finely chop the red onion and add along with the juice of a lime.  Give the cilantro a rough chop and add to the bowl.  Mix well and you're done!  This recipe is best made a day in advance - it's amazing when it has all been sitting and soaking.

And I promise one day I will stop using my awful BlackBerry camera for everything since it does not make food look as amazing as it does in real life and it's only because I am too lazy to plug in my real camera.

July 2, 2010

Meaty Queso

With the approach of the Fourth of July and my parent's annual bash, I thought I would share a recipe that has become a tradition at any party that involves drinking.  You will soon see why. 

Meaty Queso
1 lb. ground beef
1 block Velveeta
1 8oz. block Cream Cheese
Frito Scoops

Cook the ground beef with taco seasonings and attempt to drain some of the fat.  This will kill you early enough as it is.

Chop the Velveeta and cream cheese into cubes and put in a microwaveable dish along with salsa and ground beef.  Microwave until melted.  You could probably do this entire thing in a crockpot.  But I don't have one of those.  Add salsa as you see fit.  I like a lot of salsa.  Serve with Frito Scoops (essential).  And then devour.  It is shockingly disgusting and delicious and addictive.

A New View

Last weekend, Stud's aunts and uncles hosted an amazing party at Churhcill Downs.  I think had it been Derby, we would have been on Millionaire's Row.  At least that's what my wristband told me.  The wristband gave me unlimited access to food and drink.  I tell you, dieting for a wedding is a breeeeze.  Especially when followed with Taco Bell for dinner.  Yeah!  Just one of the many perks of Millionaire's Row.  We had a huge suite and there were thirty of us in there and it never felt crowded at all.  There were plenty of TV's so we could watch the US lose to Ghana in the World Cup.  That defeat sent many people back to the bar.  Being up that high gave us a great view of the track.  You could see the horses as the came all the way around, not just the stretch like you can from most seats.  And we had AC - huge perk in this lovely KY summer humidity.  The party also made the twinsies come back in town (since their parents were hosting), and it is always fun to see them.  By the end of the day, people were cashing some tickets and winning money!  Stud and I did some bets together and we ended up with a successful trifecta and exacta.  We are such professionals.  Made up for my losing morning - I was only down $8 at the end of the day.  Pretty good if I do say so myself.  Winning is always better, but being out $8 after that great day - not too shabby.

Good day with great friends.  I was also toutured by Churchill Charlie.  It was awful.

And back to the track tomorrow for some more crawfish!


July 1, 2010

Breakfast Pizza!

So the saga of pizza night continues!  The other night Stud and I made Breakfast Pizza.  My goal was a pizza I had at a local cafe called Blue Dog Bakery and Cafe which has the best food ever.  And they always have a pizza of the week and my favorite of theirs has been a breakfast pizza.  Or the one with blue cheese, figs, and bacon.  Whichever I can't decide.

Anyways, I tried in vain to remember the items on that pizza and I think I did an OK job.  I think their pizza had poached or soft boiled eggs - maybe something new to try next time.

Breakfast Pizza
1 dough ball (I really am going to try making my own one day)
Olive Oil
3 sprigs rosemary
2 sprigs thyme
2 c. mozzarella
1/2 lb bacon
1 c. frozen hash browns
3 eggs
Parmesan Cheese

Cook the bacon and chop into pieces and preheat the oven to 500 degrees.  Spread the dough out over a cookie sheet (that is covered in a coat of olive oil) and then spread a thin layer of olive oil over the dough.  Cover the dough with the chopped rosemary and thyme.  I personally think this combo makes everything better.  Cover the pizza with an even layer of mozzarella cheese.  I also might include some chopped yellow onion at this point.  I then put on a layer of hash browns, but I don't think they added much except bulk.  I bet roasted new potatoes would be WAY better.  For next time!  Then add the chopped bacon.  Cook the pizza for about ten minutes.  Remove the pizza from the oven and crack the eggs right onto the pizza.  Put the pizza back into the oven for another eight minutes.  When the pizza comes out of the oven, cover with the chopped parsley, chives, and grated Parmesan cheese. 

I cooked my eggs too long (ten minutes) so the yolks were not runny.  I think cooking them for eight minutes will leave the yolks deliciously runny and gooey all over the top of the pizza.

If/When I try this recipe again, I'll update with any changes/improvements!

Missing Missy

A little giggle for your morning...Missing Missy


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