Saturday, March 31, 2012

Balsamic Tomato Salad with Avocado and Fresh Herbs

I was hungry for a lite supper last night and had these ingredients handy so I stirred it together and let it sit for a while to let the flavors blend. Thought about it later that some Feta might have been good in it too but I didn't have any anyway so...

I've been on a White Balsamic Vinegar kick lately. The flavor agrees with my taste buds much better than the regular Balsamic Vinegar. It's lighter in flavor and goes perfect with this recipe. Would it be weird to eat the leftovers for breakfast?

3 ripe medium sized tomatoes, sliced thin
½ medium Sweet Onion, sliced thin
1 Avocado, sliced thin
3 Tablespoons Lite Olive Oil
3 Tablespoons White Balsamic Vinegar
Fresh Parsley and Oregano, to taste
Sea Salt and Pepper , to taste

Combine in a bowl and give it a stir. Let it sit to let the flavors blend. Enjoy it, it's delicious! I think it would be a perfect topping for a Chef Salad with grilled chicken or beef. Yum!
Head over to Gina's place for a fun Spring giveaway!

Have a Blessed Saturday!

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Spring Blooms and a 15th Birthday

Happy Birthday Shawn!

Happy 15th Birthday to our middle son! Seriously where does time go?!

 Shawn is soft hearted and caring and feels things deeply. He loves to be in the center of the action! He has an opinion about everything and no one really has to wonder what that opinion is, he's more than happy to share! ☺ We're working on this, he reminds me of a certain teenager from the 80's. Yeah, that would've been me. He is a very good impersonator and keeps us laughing. His height was recently measured at school and he's right at 5'11½". He told me later I don't know why she didn't just say 6 feet! ha 

He knows what he wants and where he's heading and is usually impatient to get there, hates to be late, and lives his life in exclamation points!!! He is persistent and a good worker, loves to help out wherever he's needed and can be depended upon to get the job done. He's competitive and good at sports. His dimples flash when he smiles but he doesn't like to be reminded of them. ☺ I tell him he'll be glad for them someday! They'll go hand-in-hand with all that charm! ☺

Shawn we are blessed beyond measure to have you in our family, life is never boring when you are close by! We love you lots!!


Flowering Plum

I've been enjoying the Spring flowering tree in the back yard and some more Spring flowers. Spring is such a hopeful, full-of-life time of the year.

More of the same, I've been having fun with some more editing tools from the latest Picasa upgrade.

The sky really was this beautiful blue color! Amazing!!

As a little girl the were some of my favorite flowers. We would go to the woods and pick huge bouquets of these and daffodils and woodland phlox. ♥♥♥

I didn't know at the time how very HARD it is to get rid of these if they happen to be where you don't want them. I've been trying for 5 years to dig them out of certain beds and the more I dig the more they increase!! Sigh - I shall persevere though, and one day I will win! ☺

I hope you all have a wonderful day!

~Be Blessed!~

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Ranch Dressing/Dip Dry Mix

I've been looking around for a good substitute for the dry Ranch mix you buy and have tried several but wasn't really pleased with any that I found. So I decided to kinda wing it and use parts of a few different recipes I found. (  I adapted them a bit to my preference and I like it a lot. I've been using the mix for a while now and the kids are slowly getting used to the 'ranch' stuff around here tasting a bit different but over all they have been willing to eat it.

½ cup dried onion flakes
1-2 Tablespoons dried parsley flakes
1-2 Tablespoons dried dill weed
¼ cup onion salt
¼ cup garlic salt
¼ cup onion powder
¼ cup garlic powder

Place all ingredients into a blender or food processor and process till well combined and the onion flakes are fine. Store in an airtight glass jar.

For the dressing:
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon dry mix

For the veggie dip:
½ cup sour cream
½ cup plain Greek yogurt
dry mix to taste

This mix has a strong flavor so a little goes a long way. Just add till your taste buds say it's perfect for you.

Be Blessed!

Joining Debbies Newbie Graduate Party Here, come on over and be inspired!

also linking to:
Time Out, Time Travel Thursday

Friday, March 23, 2012

Grilled Chicken Pineapple and Spinach Wrap

(ingredients in bold type)

So yesterday for lunch I decided to make the best of the leftover grilled chicken (previous post). I sauteed some onions, fresh pineapple, and red peppers in olive oil along with the chicken cut into strips.

I put this mixture on a Sun Dried Tomato Tortilla along with a piece of Swiss Cheese and melted the cheese in the microwave. Added a handful of fresh Spinach and wrapped it up. Yumyumyum!! It was a delicious lunch!

Hope you all have a fabulous day!

~Be Blessed!~

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Grilled Vinegar Oil and Honey Chicken

 Sizzle into Summer with some simple grilled chicken!

If you are looking for a super easy, basic recipe for some really tasty, juicy grilled chicken that isn't loaded with lots of extra calories from a beefed up marinade, look no further.

I had some boneless, skinless chicken thighs on hand and didn't want to make them like I usually do and suppertime was very near and I still had no plan. Can you identify to that panicky feeling? The kids usually have a bit of an after school snack but it's usually something like fruit or yogurt which doesn't last all that long and by 4:30 - 5:00 I'm usually hearing queries of  'what'sforsuppermomI'mstarving!' It takes a lot of food to fill up 3 teen boys in case you were wondering.☺ I was looking for some clues through a cookbook or two when I thought of this very easy lifesaver. My reason for no plan was entirely my fault and easy to explain. The weather has been gorgeous and who feels like cooking when you could be outside? Not me, that's for sure! I could live off of fresh fruit and nuts or a smoothie or something simple like that but I'm pretty sure the boys would not appreciate only that! Anyway, here's the easy ingredient list if you'd like to try it out this weekend.

9-10 Fresh Boneless, Skinless Chicken Thighs, cut into pieces
1 pint water
1 pint Apple Cider Vinegar
¾ cup Olive Oil
¼ cup Sea Salt
½ cup Clover Honey
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce

Combine in a medium sized bowl and stir to dissolve the salt and the honey. Reserve about 1½ cups for basting. Place chicken pieces into vinegar mixture and marinate for 30-45 minutes. This is the amount of time I had till I HAD to get it onto the grill but next time I might do it a bit longer? Get the grill good and hot then place chicken pieces on the grates leaving room in between each piece. Grill chicken till tender and juices run clear, turning frequently. Baste with each turn using reserved marinade. I had put the marinade into a small bottle to make this easier, just shake it onto the chicken pieces. When it's done I like to let it sit covered for about 10 minutes to allow the chicken to steam a bit and reabsorb the juiciness.

Love to hear that sizzle! and the smell was so tantalizing! Yum. Serve with a green salad and you have a delicious, quick, easy meal. Perfect for summer or weekends. Enjoy!

~Be Blessed!~

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Dark Chocolate Truffle Cheesecake

This was another cheesecake I made this past weekend for friends. It is rich and delicious! Someone told me it reminds them of a giant truffle. It does not take a very big slice to get your chocolate fix, so this would serve quite a few people! Yum!!

Preheat oven to 300°. Spray a 10 inch Springform pan with non stick spray.

2 packages chocolate graham crackers, crushed fine
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
5 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

Mix together and press evenly into the bottom of prepared pan. Bake for 7 minutes. Let cool.

5 (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
1½ cups sugar

Beat until light and fluffy

1½ lbs. dark chocolate morsels
3 Tablespoons vanilla extract
2 teaspoons chocolate extract
pinch of salt
1/3 cup AP flour

Add to the creamed mixture and mix until combined.

2/3 cup heavy cream, room temperature
5 eggs, room temperature

Combine the eggs and the cream in a separate bowl and beat together. Then add to the creamed mixture on low. Do not over beat! Pour into cooled crust and set Springform pan onto a baking sheet and bake for 1 hour or till the edges look puffy and a bit dry but not cracked. It will still be jiggly in the center. Turn oven heat off and prop the oven door open with a wooden spoon handle and allow the cheesecake to cool slowly in the oven for another hour. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the top edge of the cheesecake. This helps to avoid cracking as it cools. Cracked cheesecakes are not cool!! and very much detested by me!! At least if it is one that came out of my oven. Cool to room temperature then cover with a cloth and refrigerate overnight. Again run a knife around the edge of the pan, deeper this time, and remove the sides of the Springform pan. Slide onto a serving plate and garnish as you choose. I used chocolate mousse and raspberries. Brew some tea or coffee and invite a bunch of friends because you'll need help with this one. ☺

~Be Blessed!~

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Key Lime Cheesecake

I had the privilege of baking cheesecakes for a friends fundraiser this week and I couldn't resist the color March. ☺ It was delicious and several people told me they enjoyed this one a lot. The Lime Curd really gave it a good flavor.

I hear a lot of people say they get tired of graham cracker crusts so I used Nilla wafers for this one and on a whim I stood some on end all the way around the edge. I think for a better presentation I would skip that the next time.

Ingredients List:
2 cups crushed Nilla Wafers
6 Tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
32 oz. cream cheese, softened
1¼ cups white sugar
1¼ Tablespoons cornstarch
4 eggs
10 oz. jar Lime Curd, divided
1 cup key lime juice
1 drop green food coloring

Preheat oven to 300°.

Combine Nilla crumbs and butter and press into the bottom of a non stick sprayed 9 inch Springform pan. Bake for 7 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

In a mixer bowl, beat the cream cheese, sugar, 1¼ Tablespoons Lime Curd, and cornstarch until light and fluffy.

In a separate bowl beat eggs and Key Lime juice. Add to the cream cheese mixer along with green food coloring on low just until mixed. Do not over beat. Pour into cooled crust and bake for 1 hour. Turn oven off and prop door open with a wooden spoon handle for another hour. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the top edge of the cake and cool on wire rack until the cheesecake is at room temperature. Refrigerate overnight.

When ready to remove from the pan run the knife around the edge again, this time all the way down to the crust. Place on a serving platter and spread with remaining Lime Curd.

~Be Blessed~

On The Menu Monday, Sunday Showcase, See Ya In The Gumbo, Make You Crave, Home Sweet Home, Weekend Show Off, Friday Inspiration

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Smoothie & Pops

If you love fruit and spinach you are in luck here. I wasn't really hungry for 'food' for supper on a recent evening and I had some fruit and spinach and coconut milk in the fridge that needed to be used so I blended together a smoothie and enjoyed this instead. I don't really have measurements so I'll just give you a list of ingredients and you can go by your own taste buds. ☺ They might be a safer guide than mine anyway. ☺

Greek Yogurt
Coconut Milk
Flax Seeds

I blended it for a long time so that the blueberry skins and the flax seeds would not be an issue for the ones that might not be sure about textures, and it took quite a bit of coconut milk. It was yummy and hit the spot. It didn't get all so I decided to make it into Popsicles for later use.

I haven't tried those yet but Serena had one on Sunday and seemed to enjoy it. If she likes it it must pass inspection. ☺

~Be Blessed~

Cupcake Apothecary

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Baked BBQ Chicken and Pineapple Sub

I wanted something easy and quick for supper and I had some fresh pineapple and chicken tenders in the fridge that needed to be used. I had picked up Baguette loaf at the grocery store for another purpose but decided to use it for this instead. It turned out very tasty and went well with a salad for a reasonably quick meal.  I sauteed the chicken in olive oil with peppers and onions for flavor but removed the veggies before assembling the sandwich because this is how my family prefers it, but it would be wonderful with green and red peppers and sweet onions along with the pineapple. Yum!

chicken tenders, cut into 1 inch pieces
pepper strips
olive oil
fresh pineapple chunks
1 clove garlic, minced
Roasted Garlic and Herb seasoning
sea salt
Sweet Baby Rays Original BBQ Sauce
Cheese of your choice
1 Baguette Loaf

Saute' veggies in oil for a few minutes then add the chicken and cook until no longer pink, stirring occasionally to keep from sticking. Drain. Add a bit more olive oil to the pan and saute' the pineapple and garlic then add the chicken and coarsely chop.

Add the seasonings and BBQ sauce (just enough to make the mixture stick together), Cut the Bauette in half, I kinda cut a v into it, put a layer of cheese on the inside.Pile on the chicken mixture the top with more cheese and the bread top.

Bake, covered, at 350° until heated through and the cheese is melted. Approximately 20-25 minutes.

Cut ito serving size pieces and serve with extra BBQ sauce.

~Be Blessed ~

Monday, March 5, 2012

Crustless Basic Quiche

Breakfast seemed so much more appealing to me tonight than the usual fare. This quiche is usually baked with a crust but I prefer it without. It's delicious, very fluffy, and easily put together and it was gone in a flash. Love when that happens! ☺ I served it with some super yummy Oatmeal Pancakes that I found here and some fresh pineapple.  

¾ cup shredded cheese, (swiss, cheddar, coJack)
I like it with Swiss or CoJack
1-2 Tablespoons chopped Onion
½-1 cup chopped ham
6 lg. eggs
2 cups heavy cream
salt and pepper
fresh parsley, chopped
bacon bits

Spray a 2 quart baking dish with non stick spray. Layer cheese, ham, and onions in the dish. Combine the cream, eggs, salt and pepper in a seperate bowl and beat well or put into blender and blend. Pour over ham and cheese and sprinkle with bacon bits, parsley, and a bit of cheese.

Bake at 350° for 40 minutes or until center is set.

~Be Blessed!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Stuffed Zucchini Boats

I wish I could describe in words how delicious this was! The zucchini perfectly complimented the filling. And the filling was bursting with flavor. It was super easy and I can't wait to make it again! I think I will keep it in mind for those times when I serve pizza to our extended family. Some of them don't eat a lot, if any, flour. And this would be perfect!

1 small to medium zucchini
1 turkey sausage link, casing removed
1 shallot, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
2 strips each red and green pepper, diced
Pizza Sauce, just enough to make the meat mixture stick together
1/3 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
Parmesan Cheese
Italian Seasoning
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil

Pour olive oil into a saute' pan and add the chopped shallot and garlic. Saute' for several minutes then add the sausage, stir to crumble. When the sausage is almost done add the green and red peppers and saute' till sausage is completely cooked and veggies are tender. Toss with pizza sauce.

Slice zucchini in half lengthwise and hollow out the flesh till you have a small rind left. Stuff the zucchini with the meat filling and sprinkle with cheeses. Bake at 350° until zucchini is tender and cheese is melted and beginning to brown. aaahh, yummy!!


Thursday, March 1, 2012

Creamy Avocado Ranch Dressing/Dip

There's been a few Avocados in the fridge for quite a while and I wanted to make a healthier salad dressing with them but kept pushing it off. I finally decided I'd better get it done before the avocados get yucky. I found what I was looking for here but adapted it to my taste. I ate it on my salad as a dressing and my hubby and I also used it as a fresh veggie dip with carrots, celery, and red peppers. It was delicious!

*I recently put together a dry mix for Ranch Dressing that I really like, and although I write these things down as I go, I somehow mislaid the paper. When I find it again I will let you know :)

½ Ripe Avocado, peeled
2 Tablespoons Sour Cream
1 Tablespoon Lemon Juice
2 teaspoons Olive Oil
¼ teaspoon Ranch Dressing Mix*
¼ teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
Sea Salt
Freshly Cracked Pepper

Place all ingredients into a blender and blend until smooth.