Friday, May 7, 2010

Pioneer Woman

Swoon. That's me and her in Fairfax earlier this week. She was so very lovely. We had a great conversation while she was signing my books (including her mismatched earrings). Thanks for bringing the country to the big city. A shout-out to my Capitol Hill friend Jemma - hope you made it home safely. And sweet Pam for snapping this photo (minus the man in the YELLOW shirt in the background).
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Friday, March 19, 2010

What's For Dinner?

Hi friends.  It's the most wonderful time of the year (not that Mr. Bing didn't know what he was talking about), SPRING.  Yes, it's wonderful.  It's still daylight in the evenings, a gentle breeze, kids are out playing, birds are chirping and we're grilling.  Yesterday evening, I decided to nix my dinner plans and instead GRILL.  This was a complete in-promptu change.  I stopped at Roots and picked up two nice steaks, some green beans and a small container of strawberries.  When it's truly warm in the summer - I hate turning on the oven.  Here's how I served dinner in record time and minimum preparation.  I phoned ahead and asked the grill to be turned on.  I did not have time to marinate the meat, so I used
Montreal Steak seasoning.  Coat it real good - it's got salt, it's got pepper, a little garlic all in ONE shaker.  Coat the steaks, them 'em on the grill.  I brought two pans of water to a boil.  While those are boiling, wash and snap the beans.  Here I've dumped the beans in.  Beans take just a few minutes! 
I washed the berries and added a small can of pineapple chunks from the pantry.  Yes, I paired fresh and canned fruit.  I'm a rebel!!  The second pan of boiling water was for (gasp!) instant mashed potatoes.  A nice garlic-herb blend.  Sorry mom, I'm a workin' girl (she wouldn't understand a powdered potato product; trust me!).  Here's what was for dinner last night (the steaks are a nice dark color because of the seasoning):
Have a great grilling weekend!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Easy Spanakopita

I found this great recipe over at Tasty Kitchen!
1 lb. fresh baby spinach.
Wilt spinach in Tbsp. of olive oil. Make in batches. Remove from heat, cool, sqeeze out liquid. Chop.

Saute 1/2 small onion, 4 Tbsp. parsley in olive oil until the onions are translucent.
Add to spinach mixture.

Add 1 Tbsp. lemon juice, 1 well-beaten egg, 1/2 lb. Feta cheese, 1 tsp. nutmeg.

I cheated and used these adorable little cups (one recipe yields 60 cuppies!!). I left the box in the background so you can see exactly what I used! Fill the cuppies, bake at 375 degrees for 20 minutes.

I made the mixture the evening before serving these lil' delights at brunch. Minutes later the tray will be EMPTY!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Taco Dip

A famous appetizer. And it's so quick.
Ingredients: Cottage cheese, taco seasoning, tomatoes, green bell peppers (or orange, yellow, red), cheese.
I use about half of a large container of cottage cheese and one packet of taco seasoning. Mix the seasoning and the cottage cheese in a pie plate or deep serving dish.
Sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese, approx 1 cup.
Sprinkle the chopped tomatoes and peppers.
Serve with your favorite tortilla scoop chips.

This is a great, quick, festive-ly colored HEALTHY dish. This is best served chilled, and does not keep well. Serve and eat in the same day.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Croissant Breakfast

Quick, easy, just a couple ingredients. (Milk not shown)
You can throw this together in the morning in minutes. In fact, let's say, for instance, you just spent a couple hours shoveling mammoth amounts of snow and realize you're so very very hungry. This is perfect.

Here I'm making a smaller portion - but if you need this for a crowd, there's a large portion-sized recipe at the end of this post.

Preheat the oven at 400 degrees.
I'm going to make a sausage croissant today. You can substitute cubed ham (left over from the holidays) or crumbled bacon bits or just have it plain - egg and cheese. I usually use the hot breakfast sausage because we're admist a blizzard here in MD, I had to make-do with other sausage (seems we won't be grilling out for a long long time!). Fry up your sausage. If you're using ham or bacon that's already been cooked, you don't need to fry it. You can skip to the next step. Spray a 5"x7" glass dish or a 8"x8" would work too. Open up the refrigerator croissant and press it into the dish.
Sprinkle meat over the croissant.
Whisk three eggs. Add a dash of pepper and 1/2 cup milk.

Pour the egg mixture over the meat.

Top off with 1 cup of shredded cheese. Yummm.

Bake about 15-20 minutes (until the egg is completely baked).

To make a larger croissant for the crowd:
Grease 9"x13" pan.
One package of refrigerator croissants. This will be less crusty.
Use one roll of breakfast sausage.
Whisk 5 large eggs with 3/4 cup milk.
Top with 2 cups shredded cheese.
Bake 20-22 minutes at 425 degrees.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

A Cake Journey

Hiya. Wow, it's been a long time! I have been baking and cooking, but I wanted to share with you the largest consumption of my time: cakes.

I have several large events coming up and I needed to brush up on my cake decorating skills. I have some tips and tricks I want to show you soon (and a tour of the new kitchen!), but first let's look at what I've been doing.

My first attempt with piping gel for the rainbow outline. Filling in large areas are super easy (but it gives me hand cramps!).

There were several techniques here - I'll share some more soon. We made faces (babies, bears, bunnies), but I had made blue icing that day. They looked funny so I didn't share those photos!

Mastering the Wilton rose. This was my first attempt.

Here's a closeup. Need to practice more!

I took my own advice. Flowers, flowers, everywhere.
I also practiced drop flowers because I think they may become a focal point on a certain set of wedding cupcakes. Practice, practice.

I didn't want the roses and drop flowers to go to waste, so I made a cake (yes, my coworkers are LOVING this!)

I've also heard more of you want to know: what's for dinner? We'll still focus on sweets, but I'll start sprinkling in some dinner recipes and crowd pleasers! Keep the suggestions coming!

Have a good day,