My First Poach with Hollandaise Sauce

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I have always wanted to try and make Poached Eggs, however I have been too scared to try it for fear of making a huge mess and wasting my eggs.  Well, I tried it...and it was suprisingly very easy and mess free!  My eggs were not the beautiful, perfectly shaped version that you see chefs make on TV, however this was only attempt numero uno.  Of course Poached eggs are not complete without a Hollandaise Sauce, also my first time making it. 

The first batch came out way too sour (Go easy on the lemon juice), batch number two was Perfect! Click here for the recipe I used.  I put the eggs on a piece of toast with lightly steamed baby spinach leaves and topped with the hollandaise sauce!  This made a perfect late sunday breakfast!

Parmesan Chicken Wings & Herbed Pasta

Okay I need to start off by saying that this was delicious!  I had a friend over for dinner since both of our husbands were out of town.  She made a big salad with her homemade dressing that was really tasty!  I have been wanting to try this chicken wing recipe for a while now and found this to be a perfect opportunity!  With all the herbs in the chicken, I thought an herbed pasta with tomatoes would be a great companion...and it was!  I think I will try this with Chicken breast next time.

Click on this link for the Recipe!
(I Doubled the recipe for 2 adults and 5 children)

1 box of Angel Hair Pasta
2-3 Tablespoons of fresh Basil, finely chopped
1-2 Tablespoons of fresh Dill, finely chopped
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, minced
1/2 Tsp of dried Oregano
1 Large Red Organic Heirloom Tomato, chopped
1 Small Green Organic Heirloom Tomato, chopped
1 Medium Yellow Organic Heirloom Tomato, chopped
1/2-3/4 Cup of White Wine
2-4 Tblsp Butter or Olive Oil
1/2 Lemon
Parmesan Cheese (Optional)
Salt & Pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta (about a minute or two less than the box indicates), drain and set aside (make sure to add olive oil to water so it doesn't stick)
2. Melt 2 Tblsp of butter or oil in skillet, add tomatoes and saute for 2-3 minutes over medium heat.
3. Add Garlic to pan
3. Add White Wine and let it reduce for a few minutes to burn off the alcohol.
4. Add Pasta to the pan (eyeball it, however much you would like to add) 
5. Add Fresh Herbs, salt and pepper.  Toss everything together evenly.
6. Add 2 remaining Tblsp of butter, mix and coat evently.
7. Lower Heat to simmer
7. Squeeze fresh lemon juice into the pan, top with a little parmesan if you prefer and serve!

I Loaf the Meat!!

Monday, January 25, 2010

So Thursday night we had a complete down pour of rain and I have never seen before in Arizona.  The roads were flooded due to a terrible drainage plan of the City and all I could think about was curling up with a book, tea and some hot soup!  Well...that never happened, by the time we maneuvered our way home through flooded washes and closed streets there was no way I would be going to the store for soup ingredients!  So I would  have to make do with what I had in the fridge...hmmm...Meatloaf anyone?  So I went with Mini Meatloafs made in a large muffin pan along with some roasted potatoes and green beans with mushrooms.  It was delicious and hit the spot! 

Meatloaf Recipe:
1 lb. of Organic Grass Fed Beef
1/4 Green Bell Pepper
1/4 Red Bell Pepper
1/4 Yellow Sweet Onion
1/4 Cup Grated Parmesean Cheese
1 Organic Egg
Salt, Pepper, Basil and Garlic Salt to Taste
Cheddar Cheese

1/4 cup of Organic Ketchup
3 Tbsp of Organic Mustard
2 Tbsp of Brown Sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease or butter muffin pan.
2. Chop and saute peppers and onion just until soft, about 2-3 minutes, add to the ground beef and mix well. 
3. Mix in Parmesean and spices, then mix in egg until evently distributed.
4. Fill Muffin Pan wit meat mixture and make a small hole in the middle of each with your thumb.
5. Mix together the ketchup, mustard and brown sugar. 
6. Top each mini loaf with sauce, filling the hole in middle, then add cheddar cheese on top. (optional)
7. Pop in the oven and set the timer for about 30 minutes and Voila! Easy Peasy!

1 Bag of Organic Russian Banana Fingerling Potatoes
3 Tbsp of Butter
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/4 Cup of Parmesean Cheese (Grated)
Dried Rosemary, Salt and Pepper
1 Gallon sized ziplock bag

1. Melt butter in a bowl (not plastic) and allow to cool for a few minutes.
2. Wash Potatoes, cutting the larger ones to ensure even cooking.
3. Add Potatoes to bag, pour in butter, olive oil, salt and pepper.
4. Pinch rosemary between fingers to release the fragrant oils and mix into bag. (to taste)
5. shake bag and mix to evenly coat all potatoes.
6. Arrange Potatoes on a baking sheet lined with foil or grease a nonstick baking sheet.
7. Sprinkle with Pamesean cheese and pop in the oven with the meatloaf and cook for about 30 minutes.

Green Beans:
1 Lb.of Frozen Organic Green Beans
2 Handfulls of baby bella mushrooms, washed and trimmed
3-4 Cloves of Garlic, finely chopped
2 Tbsp of Organic Butter
1/4 cup of White Cooking Wine
Salt and Pepper to taste

1. Melt butter in pan.
2. Saute the mushrooms for about 1-2 Minutes.
2. Add Green Beans to the pan, saute for 1 minute, mixing well to coat.
3. Add Garlic to pan
4. Pour in White Wine and let it reduce a bit.
5. Reduce heat, cover and simmer until green beans are tender.

Weekend Treats

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

This last weekend I decided to make a chocolate cake.  I was inspired by my husband and his box cake.  He made this strawberry flavored cake with yellow frosting.  When his chemical filled cake was complete he seemed very proud of his masterpiece...and of course I had to remind him that its a boxed cake which is pretty hard to mess up and the frosting was already made, food coloring and preservatives and all.  I told him that if he wanted REAL props from me, he would have to make one from scratch, frosting and all.  Then it occured to me that I have only made one cake from scratch EVER!  So naturally I had to make one.  I created a recipe from a mixture of recipes I found via Google.  I'm not sure if this is exact since I am going by memory but I believe I usesd: 2 cups of flour, 1 Tsp of salt, 2 tsp of Baking Soda,  2 cups of sugar, a little over 3/4 cups of Ghiradelli unsweetened cocoa powder, 3 eggs, 1 cup of heavy whipping cream, 1/3 cup of Teeccino (instead of coffee), 1 tsp of vanilla extract, 1 tsp of raspberry extract (So good), and 1/2 cup of butter or one stick.  To make the frosting I used one 4 oz bar of Ghiradelli unsweetened baking chocolate melted over a double broiler or in my case a glass bowl sitting on top of boiling water in a sauce  Seperately I melted butter (I believe it was one stick or 8 tablespoons) and beat in Heavy whipping cream (I don't remember how much..sorry) 1/2 cup of Ghiradelli's cocoa powder and a tsp of vanilla extract.  When completely mixed, remove from heat and stir in melted chocolate and 3 1/2 cups of Powdered sugar.  Continue mixing until thickened and refrigerate until completely cooled.  For the layering I used Raspberry Preserves and home made whipped cream frosting!  As I promised I let my daughter ice her first cake and I think she did a great job for an 8 year old!!  She came up with the strawberries and whipped cream heart on her own!

On Sunday we made Honey Caramel Popcorn.  I normally hate caramel corn, but I have to say this was delicious!  This was our first time making popcorn on the stove from kernels and I have to say that it was extremely easy!  For the caramel sauce we used two ingredients: Butter and Honey!  I didn't want to use corn syrup as most recipes suggest so after some time of browsing I came to this recipe!  It was very good and of course my husband and kids ate it all up!

Coconut Curry Chicken with Vegetables and Shrimp Skewers this was a last minute throw together as I had several cans of coconut milk on hand and I always have a steady supply of curry thanks to my Trinidadian father in law.  I really didn't measure anything, just tossed everything together but I will do my best to recall: First I chopped 4 Organic Chicken Breasts into bite sized pieces then browned in the skillet.  Mix in a tablespoon (or more if you prefer) of Curry powder along with cayenne pepper (to taste) salt and pepper.  In a seperate pan I sauteed the mixed vegetable medly which included bamboo shoots, water chestnuts, baby corn, carrots, artichoke hearts, etc.  and add to chicken, mix well and stir in 2 cans of coconut milk.  Let it simmer on medium low until chicken is cooked all the way through.  For whatever reason I felt the need to add shrimp to this I broiled some shrimp on skewers that I had on hand.  They went great with the Curry!
In sticking with the Thai theme; for dessert we made a chocolate fruit tree using raspberries, blueberries, organic chocolate syrup and Pocky Sticks!

Sandwiches Anyone?

This was a present to my husband on a lazy saturday afternoon!  The picture does not do this monster of a sandwich any justice!   To start I spread some real Mayo, Dijon Mustard and a sprinkle of Cayenne Pepper on this 9 inch bread that I got fresh from the Safeway Bakery.  Then I layered on 4 slices of Hormel Natural Choice Roasted Turkey (I first lightly sauteed all meat slices in the skillet) followed by two slices of cheddar cheese.  Then 4 slices of Ham (Same Brand) topped with two slices of swiss cheese!  Then to top it all off 4 slices of bacon!  I preheated the oven to 400 degrees and toasted the sandwich open faced for about 10 minutes (until the cheese was melted through), added some baby spinach and voila!
Anyone who knows my husband knows that this would make him VERY happy!  I don't usually condone this type of eating however I felt the need to treat him on this day...oh and not to mention he was going on about the sandwiches I used to make him and how they were the envy of all his co-workers!
  Now for my lunch...a little less on the gluttony side!  I had recently saw a recipe for a brie and apple sandwich and it sounded amazing.  I had brie and green apples so I decided to try it but I was also craving mushrooms soooooo....

I ended up sauteing some baby bella mushrooms I had in the fridge along with some sweet yellow onion.  Firist I layered on the thinly sliced apples, then the mushrooms, the onions and topped off with a gernerous amount of brie! I had some leftover mozzarella that I needed to use also so I sprinkled some on the bare bread.  I popped it in the oven open faced at 400 degrees just until the cheese was nice and melted....This was AMAZING melt in my mouth Greatness!!

Breakfast for Dinner

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Yesterday was somewhat of an ugly day being my first day of no caffeine so I desperately needed a relaxing evening!  With nothing set out and not in the mood for grocery shopping I decided on Breakfast for dinner and a movie night!  I found this AMAZING french toast recipe that I had to try!  I made a few adjustments to the recipe.  Instead of milk I used Almond Breeze and added cinnamon and rum extract to the batter.  I also tried another variation that was delicious!  I dipped the bread in coconut milk, stuffed with bananas and fried it in coconut oil...YUM!! I didn't take a picture..why?  Who knows?  I"m not usually a fan of french toast but I had 3 pieces and of course the kids devoured it!  I love that it didn't need to be drowned in syrup but instead I used the juices from the berries, a dash of cinnamon and organic vanilla yogurt, mix together and voila!  A healthy syrup substitute!

I felt in the mood for a casserole so I whipped up what I will call Breakfast Casserole (I know geniusly original right?)  A delicious combination of Sausage, eggs, hash browns, bell pepper, onion, spices and of course cheese!  Here is my own make shift version of the recipe:

Breakfast Casserole :
1 12 oz. Package of Organic Sausage   
4-10 Large Organic Eggs (depending on how many you are feeding)
1/2 Cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
1 Package of Organic Hash Browns (Thawed)
1 Teaspoon of Unbleached Flour      
1 Organic Green Bell Pepper, chopped
1/2 of a Yellow Onion, Chopped
Shredded Extra Sharp Cheddar Cheese (as much or little as you prefer)
Salt, Pepper and Garlic Salt (to taste)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Cook sausage through lightly browning and drain
3. Saute the onion and bell pepper until soft, mix with sausage.
4. Beat together eggs, cream, flour, salt and pepper. (I like to mix in a little cheese after beating)
5. Oil or butter a casserole dish (I used a glass dish about 9 inches in diameter, about 4.5 inches deep)
6. Spread the thawed hash browns into the bottom of the dish, using only half of the entire amount you have chosen to use.  Sprinkle with Garlic Salt
7. Layer the sausage, pepper and onion mix on top of the hash browns. (You can add more Salt & Pepper if you prefer)
8. Spread out the remaining hash browns and sprinkle with garlic salt.
9. Pour egg mixture on top, using a spatula on the sides to make sure that it is evenly distributed throughout the dish. 
9. Top with as much cheese as your heart desires, cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Remove lid, the center will not be set completely, return to the oven and bake uncovered for an additional 20-30 minutes.  Every oven is different so make sure you watch it.
10.  Let it cool slightly, cut into pie slices and enjoy!!


Caffeine Free Me!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Now that I will no longer be tempted by the irresistable Starbucks White Peppermint Mocha or an Egg Nog Latte I feel that it is once again that time.  Time for what you say?  Time to detox from caffeine!  Yes I know I know...I have done this before...several times!  This is how it usually goes...I go through 2-3 weeks of caffeine withdrawal (headaches, fatigue, moodiness, etc.)  Then I feel triumphant!  I usually replace my morning coffee or latte with a caffeine free substitute like herbal tea, Kombucha or Teeccino, all of which are great for you!  I immediately notice that I am sleeping better, its easier for me to fall asleep and when I wake up I feel rested!  I don't feel that drop in Cortisol that usually hits me around 4:30-5:00 PM (Cortisol is a natural hormone secreted by the adrenal glands).  Long story short...I feel better all around!  So anyway, I will usually continue on this healthy path for about 6 months...and then something always happens, I don't know what it is exactly or why I don't stand up to myself.  Some sort of stupidity takes over despite knowing that it is exactly that...Stupidity!  It usually starts with the smell of freshly brewed espresso as I'm walking through the grocery store or an advertisement for a new latte!  At first I'm strong and I just keep walking, telling myself that I don't REALLY want one and that if I do have one I will then want another one and another.  But then it happens, I have a bad day or night or take on way more than I should have (I've been known to do that)  and that latte that has already been weighing on my mind is now the only thing on my mind!  So that is how it starts up first its just on the weekends or to get me through a big event like my sisters wedding (I lived off of adrenaline and caffeine for several weeks preparing her reception lol) but then it slowly builds into an every day thing...until I am once again addicted!  I wake up in the morning (or not) feeling like I was hit by a bus and that I only slept for 5 minutes...I'm cranky (just a tad) and do not deal with stress the way I should.  I am currently at that point feeling like a slave to my $5.00 per day addiction oh and not to mention I just found out that I have two benign cysts in my left breast!  The treatment is to limit my caffeine intake and increase vitamin E.  So here I am again at the beginning.  I just ordered a Teeccino Sampler pack and stocked up on my favorite Kombucha.  I wonder if this time will be any different than my previous attempts to rid myself of this addiction? 

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