Monday, May 30, 2011

Happy Memorial Day

First and foremost I want to say thanks to all the men and women who have served or are currently serving in the Armed Forces. My sister and brother in law are currently serving in the Army and I am very proud of them. Love you guys!

How were everyone's cookouts? Like I said yesterday, no cookout for me, work instead. Boo! Hiss! Oh well, someone has to do it. On another note one of my good friend's and their son's birthday is today. Happy birthday Roo and Bubba! love you guys:P

I told her that I would make her something chocolaty for her birthday.

She is one of those strange people that does not like fruit or what she terms chunks in her food. Can you believe that? I know. Like I said weird. Any who, I wanted to make her something good for her special day and I came across this post for look a like Hostess Cupcakes on the blog My Baking Addiction. You can find the recipe on her website if you want to give it a try. I know mine did not look like her pictures and my ganache definitely did not look like hers on the first try.
Picture muddy waters. Better yet, Just look at the picture.

Which made the cupcake uuuuugly.
Which then caused me to act like a two year old. Picture crying, feet stomping, followed by some good pouting. I know....not pretty at all. I almost gave up but the hubby was like calm down its chocolate. You can't go wrong with chocolate. He offered to eat all of them himself. I told him no.
I decided to give it another try after dragging myself back off the couch. It's a good thing too. They ended up looking pretty good if I do say so myself.
Then I decorated them.

Now check out the inside.

Like I said they turned out looking good. I hope she likes them.
The one complaint my hubby had was they were hard to get off the cupcake liners. Maybe they were a tad underdone. They were still very moist and he liked them. I can't wait to give them to her tomorrow!

Good thing I did not throw them on the floor when I had the urge to. You know, things don't always work out the way you imagined or planned but you just have to roll with the punches. That's how you learn. I have got to learn not to be so hard on myself. I am not a professional and am still learning. Sometimes recipes don't come out right the first time. You have to keep trying.

I hope everyone had a safe and happy weekend!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

BBQ without the BBQ

I know everyone this weekend are either planning their barbeques or attending one but I drew the short stick and have to work:(. That's okay I am going to make sure I'm off 4th of July weekend for a camping trip with the hubby and some friends. For people that know me, I am not big on camping. I have only been once but it was aweful. We wanted to go fishing and camping but on the first day the lake was closed so no fishing. Boo! On the second day, the temperature dropped and it rained like crazy. It was soooooo cold. Not fun at all. This time I am hoping it will be different. I know it's not going to be cold because I now live in AZ and it is almost summer and it hardly rains here so I am not going to really worry about that. Here's to a great trip. Woo hoo!

I digressed. Back to this weekend. I did not have time to grill out so instead I took advantage of my crock pot and made BBQ Pork Sandwiches. They turned out great! I may not have attended a BBQ but this made up for it. Hooray! I tried a recipe out of the Fix -It - and Forget it Cookbook with just a few changes. I think it worked. The sandwiches were delicious.

BBQ Pork Sandwiches
adapted from Fix-It-and Forget-It (written by Eleanor Larson for Barbecued Beef Sauce)

2 lb Pork Loin
1 large onion diced
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c ketchup
1/3 c cider vinegar                                                                      
2 T molasses
8 oz can tomato sauce
12 oz beer (I used Dos XX amber)
2 cloves of garlic diced
salt and pepper to taste

Directions: combine all ingredients in crock pot except Pork Loin. After mixed together add the pork loin, prick it a few times with a fork a few times so sauce can penetrate and turn it in sauce. Spoon some additional sauce on top. Cook for 8 hrs. Turn it half way through if possible. If not possible it is okay. Shred the meat with two forks and stir it in sauce. Serve on favorite rolls or buns.

Enjoy it with fries if desired. I love fries:) I hope everyone has a fun and safe weekend.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Thanks guys:)

Since I started this blog and became a member of foodbuzz, I have been inspired by so many of my fellow bloggers. They come up with things I would never have thought of and flavor combinations I have never dreamt of. Thanks everyone:) I owe my expanding creativity to you guys. Y'all are helping me to become a better cook and grow in skill.

Today, I decided I needed a little break from the heavy foods but instead wanted to make myself a healthy smoothie. I saw one of my fellow bloggers make a smoothie not too long ago and they added spinach to it. Again. Why did I not think of that? All I can say is I did not know what I was missing. Yummy!

My Healthy Smoothie

1 peach
1 banana
1 cup of spinach
1 cup of strawberries
1 T agave nectar
1/4 c of soy milk
6 oz of yogurt
add ice if desired

combine all ingredients in blender and process.


I know it ended up a weird brownish-green color but it was delish. I am definitely starting my day tomorrow with one. I am sure it will be a different flavor combination, but I am hooked.

I hope everyone has a great day:)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

My first pesto

For so long I had been intimidate by pesto. I always thought it would be a little difficult to make and lets not talk about the cost of pine nuts. Ouch! That all changed today. No. Not the cost of pine nuts but the intimidation factor. I have read fellow bloggers post about non-traditional pestos and have also witnessed some of the celebrity chefs make them as well. I figured...what the hay? I can do it too! I actually was wondering around a Sprouts Grocery Store and inspiration struck. Today is girls day and I figured why not make a sandwich wrap for each of us but instead of mayo or mustard, how about a pesto sauce?

I walked over to the herb section and guess what? No basil. Wa wa! Then I started thinking if I was not using pine nuts why does it have to be basil. Something leafy and green could take its place. I  then noticed spinach was on sale. Hmm. This could work. I grabbed a bunch and wandered to the nut bins. Sunflower seeds were on sale and they were about the same size as pine nuts. It also didn't hurt that they are delicious. I bought some and decided to use them in my pesto.

It was genius. It was definitely an aha moment. It is delicious!
I will never be intimidated by pesto again and I am now going to experiment with different combinations of greens and nuts. The possibilities are endless. This pesto also tasted awesome on my wraps. If you are also intimidated by pesto..don't be. It's easy, tasty and will make you feel like a fantabulous cook:)

Here is the recipe for this wonderful pesto. I hope you enjoy it!

Spinach Pesto

 4 c of  baby spinach
1/2 c of grated Parmesan
1/2 c of sunflower seeds
2 cloves of garlic
1/2  c olive oil
juice of 1/2 a lemon
salt and pepper to taste

add spinach, Parmesan, sunflower seeds, garlic, and lemon juice to food processor. Pulse. While the processor is running, stream in olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Add it to your favorite wrap or pasta.

I hope you have a great day.

Hey muffin

Well, everyone it's Tuesday but for me its Monday. I have a long way to go before the weekend comes.Boo hiss :(
In keeping with the peach theme this week I decided to help me face what the day brings, why not start the day with a little happy? Today happy comes in the form of a muffin. Peach muffins to be exact. Now, I have a smile on my face. These muffins came out light, fluffy and moist. The fresh peaches added a little something extra. Way better than canned, but then everything fresh just tastes that much better.

The recipe is from and it looked good. I wanted to try it out and felt it needed just a little bit added  to make it better. I'm so glad I did. It is definitely a keeper and if you get a chance, give it a try. You will not be disappointed. It helped Tuesday become an extraordinary day:) Cheesy but true.

Peach Muffins
adapted from
yields 8 muffins

2 medium - large sized peaches diced
1 1/2 c of all purpose flour
3/4 c white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 c vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 c soy milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon
1/3 c brown sugar - for topping

Preheat oven to 400F and grease or line muffin tins.
In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder. In a second bowl mix oil, egg, soy milk, vanilla, and cinnamon. Fold in peaches. Fill each of the 8 muffin cups to top and sprinkle with brown sugar. Bake for 18 - 20 minutes. Enjoy.

As promised! The ugly pics of my pie. Time did not make it look a whole lot better. It's still ugly but delicious.

I think its needs a little more of a thickening agent. It was still too runny. I may try it again or I might try a different recipe. The score is pie -2, me - 0. Its time for me to win for once. Next time it will be all me!

On a brighter note, ice cream made it better:)
Hope you had a good day! See you tomorrow:)

Monday, May 23, 2011

It's Monday Funday

It's Monday Funday only because I did not have to work but instead got to play in the kitchen. If you remember, I said I would have some posts featuring those peaches we picked this weekend. I decided to try my hand at making a peach pie. The first time I ever made a pie from scratch it was a disaster. It was Thanksgiving and I wanted to make a pumpkin pie from scratch. Let's just wasn't pretty. The pumpkin ended up as hard chunks in the middle of the pie. Like I said... it was not delicious.

This time I was determined to find a recipe for a pie crust that would be know good:) I found one and it had a lot of good reviews as well as a couple of suggestions of how to make it even better. I believe I found a winner.

For the peach pie filling I settled on one I found on Paula Dean's Website. It looked delectable and I can't wait to eat it. Oh, I have made the pie but it is cooling in the fridge and won't be ready until later. So without further ado, here goes the recipe.

Pie crust
adapted from
2  1/2 c of all purpose flour
2 T of sugar
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3/4 c of shortening
1 egg yolk
1/2 c  COLD water

combine salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder. Cut in shortening in flour mixture until you have pea sized pieces. Beat egg yolk and add water to it. Do not over mix. Cut in half and use as necessary.

Peach Pie
from Paula Dean's website

 7 cups of fresh peach slices (its about 7-9 peaches depending on the size)
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 1/2 cups of sugar (I used 1/2 c of brown sugar instead of all white)
1/4 c of flour
1/2 tsp of almond extract (I used vanilla instead)
1/4 tsp nutmeg
5 T of butter divided
1 Prepared 9" double pie crust
1 egg
1 T of water

Preheat oven to 425F
roll out bottom of pie crust and place it in pan but let it over hang the side by 1"
put in fridge until ready to use
In large sauce pan add peaches, lemon juice, sugar, and flour and stir until coated.

Then bring to a boil, reduce heat and cook  until peaches are slightly softened. Stir in extract, nutmeg, and 3 T of butter and let cool slightly.

remove pie pan from fridge and add filling to it. Dot top with remaining butter and top with other crust.

I put the dough between two pieces of saran wrap. This way it did not stick to the counter or rolling pin and it made it easier to put on top of the pie.

Create your desired pattern. If you cover completely make sure to cut slits to let out steam. Crimp edges.

In small bowl, whisk the egg and water and brush mixture on top of pie crust. Bake for 10 minutes at 425F. Lower the heat to 350F and bake for an additional 30 minutes or until golden brown. Cool before slicing and serve with your favorite ice cream.

Update, the last part about waiting until it is cool before slicing is not a suggestion as I found out. My pie was runny but delicious. My piece was so ugly I did not want to take a picture of it. I did however eat it.The pie crust was flakey and tasty.  It was good. So score on the crust! If tomorrow the pie piece stays together, I will take its picture. If not I will still take its picture so you can see. I hope every one's Monday was wonderful:)

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Sweet Saturday

It is a beautiful Saturday day! The birds chirping, sun's shining. We went peach pickin'. Woo hoo! So many lovely peaches so little time.

 But, I can't wait to bake things with these. Posts will come later on the yummy goodness I make. I think I will even freeze some for later use.

I had so much fun today with my hubby picking fruit. We even saw a sign that said apples and plums would be ready June 10th. Another trip is already in the works. HeeHee:)
Hubby was such a good sport:)
I can't wait to use some of these! I will tell you what I did make this week that was delicious. Wait for it, wait for it....Sweet and Sour Chicken. Yum. I was craving it all week. As you know I have been making a lot of dishes this week from my childhood. Sweet and Sour Chicken was one of them. I love this dish but I am a little scared of the kind you sometimes get at some of the Chinese restaurants. They can be overly sweet, heavily breaded and a scary red color. I think this recipe is very good. It was not too sweet and not scary at all. I found it on line and only made a few changes to it. It is from by Darlene Schmidt.

Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from Darlene Schmidt


2- boneless chicken breasts, cut into 2-inch pieces

· 1/2 cup flour
· 1/4 tsp. baking powder
· 1 tsp. garlic salt
· 1 red bell pepper, sliced
1/2 onion sliced
· 4 oz mushrooms
· oil for frying

· 1 20 oz can of pineapple chunks with juice
· 1/3 white vinegar OR red wine vinegar
· 3/4 cup white sugar
· 2 Tbsp. fish sauce
· 3 cloves minced garlic
· 1 Tbsp. lemon juice
· 1/3 cup water
· 1+1/2 Tbsp. cornstarch

1.    Make the sweet & sour sauce first. Drain the juice from the can of pineapple, squeezing out all the juice from the fruit. Place pineapple juice plus the chunks from the can in a wok or large pot. Add the vinegar, sugar, fish sauce, garlic, chili and lemon juice. Boil for 10 minutes, or until sauce reduces by one quarter.

2.    Simmering the sauce over medium heat, add the red pepper plus other vegetables and continue cooking 5 minutes.

3.    Stir cornstarch into the water with a fork until dissolved and add to the sauce. Reduce heat to low and simmer 5 minutes, or until sauce has thickened slightly.

4.    Taste-test the sauce, looking for a balance of sweet and sour, plus a hit of spice and just a hint of salt. If you find it too sour, add more sugar; if too sweet or too salty, add more lemon juice. Set sauce aside.
 5.  roll chicken pieces in the flour mixture, then pan-fry in 4 Tbsp. oil. Fry 3-4 minutes per side, or until light golden brown and cooked through.

Mix the chicken and sauce together and serve it over rice. It is goood:)

Friday, May 20, 2011

Its Friday, Friday, Friday....

How has every one's week been going? Are you happy its Friday? I am. I am off tomorrow and going peach picking with my baby. :) I know some people think that's lame but whatever. Its fun to me. I am already thinking about the things I am going to make with them. Pie, cake, streusel, maybe some jam. Who knows? Well, I am over the disappointment of my team losing. Strawberry cupcakes helped a little. hee hee! Who doesn't get a little happy when they have a little sweetness? It's the perfect dessert for the spring. I good use for all of those beautiful strawberries we are seeing all over the place.
They look delicious, don't they? Are you craving one yet? Any hoo, I promised to share the recipe yesterday so here goes.
Strawberry Cupcakes
adapted from Cheryl Day's recipe of old fashioned cupcakes

  • 1 3/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)
  • 1 1/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, cut into cubes
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup soy milk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1/2 c of strawberry puree (made from fresh strawberries)
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with paper liners; set aside.
Combine in a bowl both flours, sugar, baking powder and salt. Mix on low speed until combined for about 3 minutes. Add in cubed butter, mixing until just coated with flour.
Add eggs 1 at a time until combined. Slowly add milk and vanilla to batter until completely mixed scraping down the bowl as you mix.
Scoop batter into baking cups filling to almost full. Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 20-25 minutes depending on your oven.
Let cool on wire rack and frost with your favorite frosting. I used my banana cream cheese frosting. YUM!

It was delicious and it helped me to get over the loss by my team. There is always next year! I hope everyone is having a good day:)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

A loss but not the end

I am so disappointed that my Braves did not win last night against the Diamondbacks. My hubby was gleefully laughing all the way home from the game. They were so close, yet so far away. They lost in the 11th inning. 4-3. Like I said close but no cigar. Oh well. The only thing I can do is bake myself a little happy:) I will have to do this a little later. I have an interview first so wish me luck. Post to come later tonight or tomorrow on my baked goodness. Until then, I hope everyone has a great day:0

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

What's for dessert honey?

Those are the words I hear at least twice a week from the hubby. He love's his chocolate:) Lately I have not been making him chocolate anything but instead make fruity desserts because lets face it, it's the season for fruit. Not chocolate. However, yesterday, I decided to take pity on him and make him some chocolaty goodness. Big smile from the hubs. Besides, I need to take a little break from the sweets. Its starting to show that I am enjoying them a little too much.
Oh well, what can I say but....I love food:)
I searched through my earmarked recipes and found one that kind of reminded me of my childhood and I also thought would satisfy the hubby's sweet tooth. It was a Chocolate Mousse Pie and I found it from an old Bon Appetit issue.

I could not find my 9" spring form and so used a 10" instead. It worked well but I think the pie would have been thicker in the right size pan. I still think it was a success. He loved it and his chocolate craving has been satisfied. At least for right now.
Here's the recipe in case it reminds you of a childhood dessert but a little more grown up in presentation.

Chocolate Mousse Pie
from Bon Appetit

21 oreo cookies
1/2 stick unsalted butter cut int pieces

12 oz semisweet chocolate chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
3 3/4 c of heavy cream chilled
1/4 c sugar ( I added a little more to make it a tad bit sweeter)
chocolate shavings

for crust preheat oven to 350F. Butter 9" spring form pan bottom and sides. Grind cookies in processor until fine. Add butter and blend until moistened. Press cookies into spring form firmly up sides and the bottom of the pan. Bake for 5 minutes. Transfer crust to rack to cool.

Combine chocolate, vanilla, and salt in processor. Heat up cream and add it slowly to processor through the tube until chocolate is melted and smooth. Transfer to a large bowl and let cool to room temp stirring occasionally.
Beat 2 cups of cream and the sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture and pour onto crust.

Smooth top and refrigerate for at least 6 hours until set.
Beat 3/4 c of cream until firm peaks and pipette on top.
(I did not do this)

Enjoy a slice topped with or without cream.
I hope your day has been excellent. If not, there's always tomorrow.

Monday, May 16, 2011

It tastes like home

Whenever I feel home sick and miss my family I think about what it is I am missing. It could be a place, like the beach, or my friends, or all my favorite foods my mom makes when I am there. I love her cooking. I know a lot of us feel this way. No one makes foods quite like my mom. When I was younger, my mom tried to teach me how to cook. I resisted. I never would cook while I lived at home. Bake maybe, cook never. When I moved out and moved away from home I realized how silly I had been. I should have listened to my mother and learned. It would have saved me from having to eat lots of ramen noodles and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches. Oh well, it did make me realize that even though I probably would have eaten better I probably would not have come to love food as much as I do now. There is nothing more satisfying than creating a dish with your own two hands.

Yesterday was my mom's birthday and while talking to her and wishing her happy birthday she told me all of the foods she was creating for her party. First, I asked her why she was cooking for herself? She told me none of her friends really cooked and she wanted good food. Oh, I said I wish I were there enjoying your good food too! I also would have liked to have been there for her birthday but tickets are expensive and she lives too far to drive. I sent her my love and told her I would call her later because she was getting ready for her party and my dad was trying to fix the grill.

It got me thinking about all the foods she used to cook for me but I still do not know how to make. I already made one of my childhood favorites, pad thai, the other day. What could I make today that sounded good? My mom gave me the idea when she told me the dishes she was making for her party. Sweet sticky rice with mango. I always loved that dessert and it makes me think of my childhood and good times with my mom.
I decided to make it today for myself for the first time. It actually came out really well. It tasted like home.
Every time I eat this dish I am home. What could be better than that besides the obvious? What dish do you that makes you feel like your home?

I hope you try this dish and feel something special.

Sweet Sticky Rice with Mango

2 c long grain sticky rice
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
1/2 c sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1-2 mangoes peeled and diced

Rinse the rice a couple of times and soak for 6hrs to overnight. This softens the rice so don't skip this step. After soaking the rice drain and rinse again. Pour rice into steamer basket and set over a pot of boiling water. You need a couple of inches of water in the pot. You are going to dry steam the rice. Place a cloth over the basket and steam for 30 minutes.

Mix the rice about 20 minutes into the steaming process and add a little bit of water over the top the rice. Stir. While the rice is steaming heat the coconut milk, sugar, and salt together and set aside. When the rice is done steaming, (check and make sure rice is cooked all the way through. It may need a few more moments)

put rice in a bowl and pour half of the coconut mixture on top and stir. The rice should be wet but not soaked. If all the rice is not coated with the sauce add a little more.

 Let it sit for 15-20 minutes until the coconut mixture is absorbed. Top it with mango and enjoy. You can add a little more of the coconut sauce on top if desired. I usually do because it tastes so good:)

Saturday, May 14, 2011

I almost got it!

Its finally the weekend and what do I do all day? I'll tell you, but it was not anything fun or exciting. I worked this morning. I really did not want to get up and go but I have goals to reach and things to buy accomplish. I did however decide while I was daydreaming at work to try and make pad thai again. Last time I did not quite get it right. (Aka my noodles fell apart and the sauce was not quite right.) I decided today would be the perfect day to try again. After all, practice does make perfect. Another thing that helped me decide was I was just craving it and I thought it would be great to make it myself versus buying it. If I get it right then it would be another weapon in my arsenal. Can't ever have too many weapons.

In order to make this I looked up the recipe in a cookbook I got two years ago but never got around to using. I bought it last time I was in LA at an Asian market. It is called Thai Cuisine Beyond Curry by Chef Chai Siriyarn                              
I wondered if this recipe would taste like my mom's. I soon found out close but it still is not quite like hers. I wondered how my mom's noodles were darker than mine. My husband pointed out that my mom uses soy sauce and I used fish sauce. Tasty but still not quite right. Regardless, it was delicious. Next time I will try it with soy sauce and see if I get it right. I did add a little to this recipe so it was not quite the chef's recipe.

This recipe is still worth making and sharing, I thought it was good.

Pad Thai
adapted from Chef Chai Siriyarn

5 T sugar
juice from 3 limes
6 T fish sauce
4 T rice vinegar
2 tsp paprika
chili powder to taste

4 T vegetable oil
2 eggs
5 cloves of minced garlic
14 oz firm tofu drained, squeezed of excess water and cut into cubes
14 oz dried rice stick noodles soaked in warm water for 15 minutes, then drained
1 lb medium shrimp
1/2 lb of pork tenderloin cut into cubes
1/2 c chicken broth
1 c bean sprouts
5 green onions cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1/2 c peanuts roasted and pounded into small pieces
1 lime cut into wedges


Combine all sauce ingredients in a bowl and set aside.
Heat oil in a wok over high heat. When the wok is very hot add the tofu and fry for 5 minutes on each side until golden brown and firm.

Remove from wok and drain on paper towels.
Add 1/2 lb of pork tenderloin to remaining oil and stir fry for about 3-5 minutes. (depends on your stove. I have a glass top so heating is not optimum. I really want gas)

Add garlic  and then add eggs and stir until set and cooked.

 Add shrimp and cook for about a minute and then add noodles and chicken stock and cook for 2-3 minutes until noodles begin to soften.

Add sauce and toss to coat the noodles. Reduce heat to medium. Add the tofu back in  and cook until sauce is almost completely absorbed by the noodles. Stir in green onions,1/2 the peanuts, and bean sprouts.

Toss a few times and serve on a plate. Sprinkle with remaining peanuts and serve with lime wedges.

It was so good but still not as good as my mom's. I bet you will enjoy it so give it a try. I hope everyone's day is going well. I know mine is:)