Monday, July 30, 2012

Tomato Bacon and Egg Toast

Happy Monday All!


I love Mondays! Don't you?
New week, new beginning, another chance to start fresh.
So many positives about a Monday!

I've been enjoying this simple but scrumptious breakfast the last little while. Vine ripened tomatoes can't be beat when it comes to fresh eating. The honey mustard/mayo spread adds a great flavor and the sprouts a very pleasing crunch. The bacon and poached egg? Well they're hard to beat too! and combining all of them on a wheat toast is sure to satisfy you and start your morning out right!

Wheat Toast
2 teaspoons Mayo
1 teaspoon Honey Mustard
Sprouts
Tomato slice
1 piece of Bacon
Poached Egg
Sea Salt and Cracked Pepper

Assemble and enjoy!

~Have a blessed Monday!~

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Grilled Steak Fajitas


MMM MMM MMMM!


Using up the Grilled London Broil for an easy, delicious lunch was a hit with my men here at the house. Sliced thin and added to stir fried veggies and served in fajita form was sure hard to beat. I did add a bit of lime juice and Fiesta Citrus Seasoning to the veggies as they were frying. Juicy, delicious and full of flavor they were!


Oil
Butter
Just a bit of both.
Green and Red Peppers
Onions
Fiesta Citrus Seasoning
Lime juice
Steak, sliced thin
Small Flour Tortillas
Shredded Monterrey Jack Cheese
Sour cream
Lettuce
Tomatoes
Salsa
Saute the onion strips just until they're tender, add the pepper and steak strips and saute until the steak is heated through. Assemble fajitas and Enjoy!

It's gonna be a quiet weekend here. The guys all went on a road trip with their Dad/Grandpa to reminisce at the hunting cabin and grounds in Northern Pa where my husband first started hunting when he was young. So, with them all gone for the weekned there's not much cooking going on here.
☺ Perhaps some shopping though. ☺

Happy Saturday to you all!

~Blessings!~

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Brown and Wild Rice Pilaf




For the last few years I've been buying preseasoned dry pilaf mix in the bulk food section of the local grocery store which I really enjoyed. I thought it would be fun to recreate it from scratch but never really took the time till recently I found a similar recipe at WholeFoodsMarket.com. It tastes just like the mix that I buy and I have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what's in it. ☺ I changed a few ingredients of the recipe to suit my tastes and was happy with the end result. I hope you enjoy it too!

Ingredients:
2 Tablespoons light olive oil
1 small onion, diced
½ cup button mushrooms, halved  then sliced thin
2 cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup celery, chopped
¼ cup fresh parsley, chopped
1 teaspoon each dried thyme and rosemary
2 cups brown and wild rice mixed
4 cups vegetable broth

diced baby carrot, enough to add color
diced red bell pepper, enough to add color

In a large pot (I used my dutch oven), heat the olive and saute the onion until it's soft. Add the mushrooms, garlic, and celery and saute until mushrooms are cooked.
Add the parsley and dried herbs and stir to blend. Add rice and stock and give it another stir.Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer, partially covered, and cook for 40-50 minutes or until rice is tender. Mine took only 40 minutes before the liquid was gone so I turned the heat off and added the carrot and red bell pepper for the last 10 minutes and just let those steam till they were tender. It was/is delicious!

Have a wonderful Wednesday!

~Blessings!~

Monday, July 23, 2012

Grilled London Broil



I'm on a mission to learn more about steaks and how to prepare the different cuts. This cut has been on my latest list. I found what I was looking for on the Food Network for this recipe. The evening I prepared this ended up being a ball game night. My big eaters really don't eat much on those nights so I kept most of it for the Steak Fajitas (coming later) which we really enjoyed yesterday!

I'm a new fan of easy to prepare steaks like this for summertime entertaining. Served with a tossed salad, perhaps some grilled veggies and garlic toast with a cheesecake for dessert and you have it covered without having spent tons of time in the kitchen. All the fun with minimal hassle. Win win! ☺☺☺

For the Marinade:
4 gloves pressed garlic
1 Tablespoon each fresh
Rosemary and Thyme, roughly chopped
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
½ cup red wine (cooking)
½ cup light olive oil
Freshly cracked black pepper
3 lb. London Broil (2 inches thick)
Kosher Salt

Combine marinade ingredients and pour some into a 9 X 13 baking dish. Place steak into dish and pour the rest of the marinade over it. Cover and refrigerate several hours.

When you are ready to grill it, remove from marinade and pat dry sprinkle each side generously with kosher salt and black pepper. Sear the meat over high heat for 5 minutes. Rotate (don't flip yet) about a 45 degree angle from it's original position on the grill. Once the grill mark is achieved, flip it over and repeat the process. Move to the cooler side of the grill, cover with an aluminum pan, and cook, rotating (not flipping) periodically until desired internal temperature has been reached.

Remove from heat and allow to rest, covered, for 5-10 minutes before cutting and serving.


Do you have a favorite cut of steak? and how do you like to prepare it?

~Blessings!~

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Chocolate Raspberry Tart with White Chocolate Cream

~Raspberry Rhapsody~
I saw this beautiful dessert several years ago in a Cooking Light magazine from 2007 and knew that someday I would have to satisfy the urge to recreate it simply for the pleasure of doing so. I kept looking at it waiting for the right time. Well, I don't know if now is the right time or not but it's made, it's delicious, it's eye catching! And easy. Wow, so many reasons to love it!
I don't really buy into the whole low fat, fat free, reduced calorie thing (I have my theory about those things), so I didn't go out and buy the ingredients to make it fit the 'Cooking Light' criteria, I just used my normal stuff that I had here. I will give it to you the way I did it.
Crust:
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa
6 chocolate graham cracker sheets
1 ounce bittersweet chocolate, chopped
Dash of salt
1 large egg white
 Cooking spray
Filling:
1 cup milk
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 envelope unflavored gelatin
3 ounces premium white baking chocolate, chopped
4 ounces Cool Whip, thawed
Topping:
4 cups fresh raspberries
½ cup apple jelly
1 Tablespoon fresh lemon juice
Chocolate curls
mint leaves
Preheat oven to 350°. To prepare the crust, place the first 5 ingredients into the bowl of a food processor; process until fine crumbs form. Place 1 egg white in a small bowl; beat with a fork until frothy. Add 3 Tablespoons of the beaten egg white through food chute with the processor on; process just until combined. Discard remaining egg white. Press crumbs into a 9 inch Spring form pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 7 minutes. Cool completely on a wire rack.
To prepare filling, combine milk, sugar, and egg yolks in a small saucepan. Whisk lightly. Sprinkle gelatin evenly over milk mixture. Let stand 5 minutes. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture begins to thicken, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; add chopped white chocolate, stirring until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Pour into a medium bowl and place on ice until mixture cools and thickens, stirring constantly (do not allow gelatin mixture to set). Gently fold Cool Whip into mixture. Spread evenly into prepared crust. Cover pan with plastic wrap; and chill for at least 1 hour.
To prepare topping, place raspberries in a large bowl. Remove plastic wrap from tart pan; remove sides from tart pan. Heat jelly in a small saucepan until melted, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in juice. Drizzle jelly mixture over raspberries; toss gently to coat. Spoon raspberry mixture evenly over filling. Refrigerate, uncovered, 15 minutes. Garnish as desired. Enjoy!

**What I will do differently the next time is possibly bake it in a size 8 pan so the cream part is thicker. I would not mix the berries with the jelly but simply arrange the berries and drizzle with the jelly mixture or Lemon Curd. I didn't like how it ran a little. Or maybe just save the fruit topping until I cut and serve it and then spoon it over individual pieces for a neater appearance. Also the amount of Raspberries could be reduced.

But it's tasty, lighter alternative to a heavier cheesecake dessert choice and the dark chocolate is so yummy! I told Lin it feels so light it doesn't even seem like you ate dessert. We really enjoyed it! I hope you do too! ☺


~Be Blessed!~

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Chicken Marsala over Zucchini 'Noodles'


I planted one zucchini plant this Spring for the express purpose of recipes like this. I'm not a huge pasta fan so these are a nice replacement, and much better for you too. They also take less time to prepare which makes this dish an all around quick last minute option that is super tasty. I tried a few different recipes till I found a Carrabba's Copycat Recipe that I liked best at Food.com. I changed a few of the ingredient amounts to suit my tastes. It is delicious!


Ingredients:
4 medium Zucchini, grated lengthwise
4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
(I used the equivelent in chicken breast tenders)
4 shallots, chopped fine
½ lb. small button mushrooms, quartered
¼ cup dry Marsala
¼ cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon lemon juice
Butter, for frying
Salt and Pepper

Peel and grate zucchini lengthwise until you get in to the seedy part. Set aside.

In a sautè pan melt butter and brown the chicken tenders on both sides till golden brown. Place on an oven proof platter, covered, in a 200° oven to keep warm.

Add a bit more butter to the pan along with the shallots and mushrooms and sautè until mushrooms are lightly browned.

Add Marsala and bring to a boil, scraping browned bits from the bottom of the pan.

Add the cream and lemon juice and return to a boil.

Season with salt and pepper.

Meanwhile in a seperate pan sautè the zucchini ribbons in oil and/or butter until just crisp tender. Season with salt and pepper.

Divide evenly on 4 dinner plates. Place chicken on top of the zucchini bed and top with Marsala/mushroom mixture. If you want you can add the chicken juices to this mixture before pouring it over the chicken and zucchini.

Serve immediately.

~Blessings!~

Friday, July 20, 2012

Oatmeal Peanut Butter M&M Cookies


Otherwise known as a Monster Cookie.
What makes them monster cookies? Anybody know?

This is my revised version of the Monster Cookies I posted way back in the beginning of my blogging adventure. We like these better and the only difference is they have only M&M's and no chocolate chips. Too much chocolate, I say? Yes in this case I think it's true! This revision happened by accident several weeks ago when Son #2

☺ Shawn ☺

was in a baking mood and wanted to make Monster Cookies and I was out of chocolate chips. He baked them again a few days ago and they are perfect. And delicious with milk! I like it that you can actually taste the peanut butter with just a bit of chocolate instead of the other way around.

6 eggs
1 cup butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 teaspoons baking soda
1-1/3 teaspoons salt
3 cups peanut butter
9 cups oatmeal
2 cups mini M & M's

Mix in order given and drop on cookie sheet with a size 40 cookie scoop. You can flatten them slightly if you want to but I almost never do. They sort of take care of that themselves the last few minutes of baking. Bake at 350 for 10 to 12 minutes. Don't overbake these! I like to take them out of the oven just as they are starting to brown slightly over the top. They don't really look finished but if you let them sit on the pan for a few minutes before tranferring them to a wire rack, they will set up and be perfect.

We have been receiving wonderful rains last night, today, and again tonight!
Thank you Lord!
It feels so refreshing to walk outside!

~Blessings!~

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

London Broil




My original plan was to prepare this on the grill but time and the fact that it was extremely warm outside kept me from doing that. I baked it in a high temperature for a short time and finished it on a lower one. It turned out  juicy and delicious and the flavor was wonderful. Served with a salad it hit the spot and was a quick, easy, and satisfying Summer supper.

Ingredients:
2½ -3 lb. London Broil Steak
1/3 cup light Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons Smokey Mesquite Seasoning
1 teaspoon Smoked Sea Salt
3 Garlic Cloves, pressed through a
garlic press

Combine Oil, Garlic, and Seasonings and allow to rest till the oil has been mostly absorbed. Place steak into 9 X 13 baking dish and spread generously on both sides with oil/seasoning mixture; cover and refrigerate several hours. Allow to come to room temperature (½ hour) on the counter before baking. Bake @500° for 5 minutes, flip around and bake 5 minutes more. Reduce heat to 350° and bake an additional 5-8 minutes depending on the level of doneness you desire. Internal temperature for Medium Rare starts at 130° so if this is what you want remove it from the oven when the internal temperature is 125° and cover with foil for about 5 minutes.

I baked mine for the additional 8 minutes removed it when it read 130° for the internal temp. and gave it a rest period of 5-10 minutes before cutting it. It was just a bit pink on the inside. Perfect for us. 

It's going to be another scorcher today so my plan is to hang out with the 2 kids that are here at home with me and not go outside much unless I get into the pool with them. ☺

What are y'all do to beat the heat?

~Blessings!~

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Summer Pleasures...

*Summer Fresh*


I went "bounty" hunting early this morning, and these were some of my finds.

Summer in our neck of the woods keeps racing along. I'm sure it's the story for most everyone. So many things to do and only so much time. Well, I'm here to tell you that there are things right here at home that can be enjoyed. Small things, but who says it has to be a big thing? Lots of times we are too busy to notice that we are blessed with abundance and beauty all around us.

*Summer Beauty*

CASA BLANCA LILLIES!!


I love these beauties! The scent coming from their green veined throats is fabulous! I told my son to take a sniff and he gave an appreciative exclamation. ☺ I told him they are Casa Blanca Lillies and his reply was "whatever". Haha, gotta love those guys!


We had a busy weekend with my husbands Aunt and Uncle and cousins and their families coming for the weekend from the Midwest. It was fun to catch up with them again after not seeing them for 2 years but it's nice too to get back to a more normal pace with my own schedule. And a bit more privacy. ☺ Not much to be had with 61 people milling around. But it was fun while it lasted! ☺


Serena has been enjoying time in our pool with a friend or 2 every Thursday. Last week is was her cousin Sarah who also stayed for a sleepover. Two happy, excited girls who spent hours in the water.


Happy Tuesday to all of you! I'm off to trim some flowers and figure out what to do with all the zucchini and what to prepare for supper.

~Blessings!~

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Marbled Chocolate Cream Cheese Bars


These bars have a cake-y texture and are best the day after they are made. They are simple and quick .... and delicious.


With the Summer months upon us I frequently need something for Son #3 to do and he is only too happy if I ask him to bake something. He loves it in the kitchen and is getting quite good at it. He often asks to make these because of the step that calls for melting the butter and chocolate on the stove. Not sure why but that's his favorite part. ☺


He made these last week sometime and asked me if I have blogged them yet. ☺ So here they are for those of you who need that next chocolate fix.

Ingredients:
¾ cup water
½ cup butter
1½ squares unsweetened chocolate
2 cups AP flour
1½ cups brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/3 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
Mini Milk Chocolate Chips

In a small saucepan combine the water, butter, and chocolate. Cook and stir over low heat until smooth. Cool.

In a mixer bowl combine the flour, brown sugar, soda, and salt.

Add the 2 eggs and sour cream. Beat on low just until combined.

Stir in chocolate mixture until smooth.

In a separate bowl combine the cream cheese, egg, sugar, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

Spread chocolate batter in a non stick sprayed 10 X 15 X 1 inch bar pan.

Drop cream cheese mixture by Tablespoon over batter. Using a knife or wooden kabob stick swirl the batters together to give a marble effect.

Sprinkle with Mini Chocolate Chips.

Bake at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack before serving.

~Blessings!~

Sunday, July 8, 2012

White Chocolate Vanilla Bean Cream Dessert

*Delicious*


This could be considered a cheesecake of sorts because of the amount of cream cheese that goes into it but it's not really your typical cheesecake. I tried this recipe last week and it ended up way beyond too sweet. So I played around with the ingredients a bit and prepared it again.


It will still satisfy a sweet tooth if you have one but the sweetness is not as extreme as it was. As far as toppings any fresh summer berry or peach topping would be good. I chose peach because they are just coming in season here and we haven't had as much of them yet as we have had of berries. Everyone gave a hearty stamp of approval!☺ It will not last long!

Preheat oven to 350°.

For the cake:
½ cup white chocolate chips, melted
3 eggs, beaten
8 ounces cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup sour cream
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup AP flour

In a mixer bowl combine the cream cheese and sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the melted white chocolate, sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Stir; add beaten eggs and stir only till combined. Add the flour and stir again just until combined.

Pour into a non stick sprayed 10 inch Springform pan and spread evenly. Place the pan on a baking sheet and bake the cake for 30-35 minutes. The cake will look nice and puffed up and feel firm when it's done. Remove from oven and run a sharp knife around the edges. Allow to cool completely. It will no longer look puffy. It falls and becomes dense in texture. Invert onto a serving platter.

For the middle part:
2 (8 oz. each) cream cheese, softened
4 Tablespoons honey
1 Vanilla Bean (contents of)
1 (8 oz.) container Cool Whip

Beat the cream cheese, contents of one Vanilla Bean, and honey well. Fold in the Cool Whip. Spread evenly onto cooled cake and refrigerate until ready to serve. Top with your choice of topping.

For Peach Topping:
1 small box Peach Jello
¼ cup clear jel (cook type)
1 cup sugar
2 cups cold water
Fresh Peaches

Combine the dry ingredients in a small saucepan and whisk until combined. Add the water and heat over medium heat until mixture comes to a boil. Boil for several minutes until it thickens. Allow to cool before adding fruit.
                                                                                  

***Thank You to those of you who prayed for my Father-In-Law. He is hoping to come home from the hospital tomorrow. A week is a long time when you feel mostly well but still have to stay to be treated for infection.***
                                                                                   

Hope you're all staying cool!

The parties here:

~Blessings!~

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Baked Chicken Flautas, Prayers Needed, and Favorite Spots for Sitting



I needed something quick and easy for a pregame supper so I looked through the fridge to see what my options were and came up with these.

1 whole chicken breast, shredded
1 Tablespoon chopped onion
2 Tablespoons Red Bell Pepper, chopped
4 ounces shredded Cheddar/Jack Cheese
 1 cup loosely packed spinach, chopped
½-1 cup sour cream
1 Tablespoon Taco Seasoning
Red Pepper Flakes
Cumin
8 medium sized flour Tortillas

Mix the first 9 ingredients, add enough sour cream to make the mixture stick together. Divide evenly between 8 tortillas place down the center of the tortilla. Roll tightly and lay on a parchment paper lined baking sheet seam side down. Bake at 375° for 8-10 minutes, turn and bake until crispy and heated through. I'm usually in a hurry for them to crisp and after turning them I turn the oven temperature to 400° and watch them closely. Serve with Sour Cream and Salsa.
                                                                                                                    

Hope you are all enjoying your July 4th! We as a family would appreciate your prayers for my Father-in-Law who is spending the week in the hospital running tests and waiting for answers. He was given a platelet transfusion yesterday and they did a bone marrow test.

                                                                                                                      

I'm loving the flowers on the deck, the deck itself, and patio right now. The flower pots have filled out nicely and we've been at home to water them properly, (that always seems to help! ☺)  We have lots of fun places to sit for relaxing. Time however is a bit more elusive. It depends what time of the day it is as to where I sit to enjoy it.


I like to sit here after the sun goes down to read or watch the volleyball games down below if there is one in progress. There is a tennis court down below that some youth use whenever the mood strikes.

Outside my kitchen window


I sit here after dark with candles and chocolate ☺ care to join me?


This is where I like to sit in the afternoon before the sun shines in too far. It's a perfect place to cool off away from the sun with the sound of the water fountain and the breezes softly blowing.


Hope you are all enjoying (and keeping cool) your July 4th. The kids have been in and out of the pool trying to stay cool.

~Blessings!~

Monday, July 2, 2012

Creamy Coleslaw


This is another easy, inexpensive summer favorite that goes well with lots grilling season entrèes. It's a quicky side dish with a good flavor that I like to prepare ahead of time to let the flavors blend together better. Just give it a stir when you're ready to serve it.


The Ingredients:
1 whole medium head Cabbage
1 Celery rib
2 TBS.Onion, chopped
Shredded Carrot, to add a bit of color
½ of a small Red Pepper, diced fine

¾ cup Miracle Whip
8 ounces Sour Cream
½ cup Sugar
¼ teaspoon Salt


In a food processor chop cabbage, onion, and celery rib. Dice pepper and shred the carrot. Combine veggies and dressing ingredients and mix well. Refrigerate and stir again before serving.


The parties are here!

~Blessings!~