Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Ornaments Beach Style

Hello!! Things have been usual here, which means running in different directions at once. Lately I've been spending what little free time I have trying to get things made to put in my brand new Etsy shop. Ooohhh! I love crochet and crafting so I figured that I would try to make a couple of dollars off my hobbies. So fingers crossed that I'll get something going! If anyone hasn't checked it out, please take a moment to and let me know if you like anything:

On to other things. Of course I'm still cooking up a storm but I've really been doing a lot of crafts lately. Finally having an area just for my "stuff" is fabulous and I've been filling it to over flowing. Earlier this week I decided to make some ornaments to send north to my family for their trees. You know, so they can think of my smiling face each time they see them. Last year I went crazy making ornaments with paints swirled inside and I had some clear glass ornaments left. So I decided to send a little Florida north to warm them up. And maybe rub it in just a tiny bit. =]

For those of you that don't know, last year we moved at the start of December from Virginia to Florida. We lived in a motel and got our house a couple of days before Christmas. So we didn't get to do a lot of the "normal" holiday stuff (we didn't even have our household items for the holiday). So I might go just a little <lot> crazy this year! =]

  These are super easy. All you need is:

Clear ornaments (glass or acrylic. I've found them at Michaels and Target)
Small shells, beach glass, or whatever other fillers you would like

I had a bunch of little shells that I have picked up around here, some probably fake beach glass, and bags of sand. I picked up the colored shells at Michaels because I thought they were cool. You can buy little shells and sand at most craft stores for pretty cheap. I used thin ribbon in my favorite "beach" colors that sells for 50 cents a spool at the previously mentioned craft store. I practically live there because it is the only one near my house!

I took a big spoon and a funnel and use that to put some sand in my ornaments. The first one I tried to make I used a lot more sand and the shells just got lost in it. So I would suggest not putting too much in there. Then I just dropped in the things I wanted...easy! I tied the ribbon under the top for the ornament. I have to say that the ornaments I had left over from last year weren't my favorites. The tops are a thin metal and seem really cheap (I did only pay $6 for a 9!). I've seen others that have a nicer top and look much better in my opinion. 

Of course I couldn't stop there. I decided to make three ornaments using the ribbon. These are great for anyone because you can use whatever colors that you want. I wanted mine to match these so I used the same colors as on them.

  All you have to do is cut strips of the ribbon of kind of push them into the ornament. I would put all three different colors in at once. I tried cutting a bunch and putting them all in together but it didn't work. So I would suggest only doing one of each color. Once you think it has enough you are done! Aren't they pretty? I personally love them and I hope my ladies up north do also. Now if I can get them mailed before Christmas....

Monday, September 10, 2012

Roasted Broccoli and a Bamboletta

  Happy Monday!! I hope that everyone is having a fantastic Monday, I got to start my day having lunch out with my Aunt and her friend. I'm always happy when someone else does the cooking. :)
  But that is far from the big news of the week here. This week I got my first and oh so wanted Bamboletta. If you don't know what a Bambo doll is, then hit the link or check out their facebook page. But be warned that you will be obsessed and start stalking them, like myself! I won't bore you with the details, but I've wanted one of these for the longest time. And they aren't the easiest to get because everyone else wants them too! So I'm beyond stoked and have been nerding out all week. And the coolest part? Her name is Skye, how sweet is that?

  Okay, I want to go on and on about Bamboletta dolls and how BEYOND awesome they are but I'll contain myself. I'm just going to say that the girls who make these dolls are amazing and the dolls are worth every penny and then some. 

  Onto Roasted Broccoli. :) I'm obsessed with roasting vegetables. I love them, it draws out the flavor and I'm a nut for the crispy parts. I recently made salsa using roasted vegetables and it was great....but of course no where near as good as my hubby's salsa! Roasted broccoli is a current craze and this is my favorite way to prepare it.

What you'll need:

1 head of broccoli (regular size, not a huge one!)
2 garlic cloves, sliced
1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
2 Tbl canola oil (plus a tiny bit more)
2 Tbl (approx) grated parmesan cheese

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees

Cut the broccoli florets and toss them in 2 Tablespoons of canola oil. I cut my fairly small so they'll roast quicker.

Slice the garlic cloves but leave separate from the broccoli

Lay the broccoli out on a cookie sheet and put in the oven for about 7 minutes

Toss the garlic cloves on the the sheet and then sprinkle the red pepper flakes over the top

Let the broccoli cook another 8 minutes (approximate). Basically I cook the broccoli for a little while before adding the garlic because I've found that otherwise the garlic gets too burnt and doesn't taste very well. But, keep an eye on the broccoli so you don't burn it because then it doesn't taste very good!

Once cooked, top with some parmesan cheese and serve right away! Enjoy!!

  By the way...who has some good recipes that use grapefruit?? Because I have two trees covered in grapefruits that will be ripe before I know it!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Grilled Cilantro Chicken

  This is my husband's new favorite way for me to make chicken. I love it because it cooks on the grill and I can usually con him into taking charge while I relax in the AC. The 100% humidity here in Florida gets old quickly! :)

  The chicken should marinate at least two hours. I personally would prepare it in the morning to be ready for dinner. Here is what you'll need for two people: 

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tablespoons of Sesame Oil (or for a lighter use olive oil)
3 garlic cloves, diced
1/4 cup of chopped fresh cilantro
2 Tablespoons of Teriyaki Sauce

  Throw the chicken in a gallon storage bag with the rest of the ingredients. Kind of swirl it around so that the chicken is well coated. Put in the refrigerator until you're ready to cook it.

  Get your grill hot and ready to go. We use a charcoal grill so I have no idea what the temperature would be on a gas grill. Cook the chicken for approximately 15 minutes on each side until it is cooked through to 165 degrees. Let rest for 5 minutes and serve with your favorite side. Enjoy!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Blueberry & Lemon Muffins

Hmmmm, muffins! Even better, muffins with blueberries and lemon...divine!

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1/3 cup olive oil
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp lemon extract
1 tsp lemon zest
1 egg
1/2 cup Greek yogurt
1 cup blueberries

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Take your muffin pan (or cupcake!) and put in your liners.

In a small bowl combine your flour, sugar, baking powder, and cinnamon.

In a large bowl mix together the oil, milk, extract, zest, and egg. Once it is well mixed, then mix your dry ingredients into the wet ones. Mix well!

Add in the yogurt until well blended. Then add in the blueberries.

Spoon your batter into the muffin cups until about 2/3 to 3/4 full. Bake for about 20 minutes until they’re a nice golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean. Other than maybe a little blueberry on it! If you use smaller cupcake tins then they might take a little less time.

Allow your pretty little muffins to cool as long as you can stand and enjoy!!!

Don't forget to follow me on facebook!

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

  Alright! I'm way behind and trying to catch up here! Back in June The Kitchen Whisperer  nominated me for The Versatile Blogger Award! Yipppeeee! If you haven't checked out her website, be sure to go over there. She has so many delicious recipes that you're sure to find just what you're looking for!

  This award comes with rules, so here they are:

  1. The rules for this award are….
  2. Thank the Blogger who nominated you.
  3. Include a link to their site.
  4. Include the award image to your post.
  5. Include the award image on your blog.
  6. Give 7 random facts about yourself.
  7. Nominate 15 other bloggers for the award.
  8. When nominating other bloggers, include links to their sites.
  9. Let those bloggers know they have been nominated.

Now for 7 random facts about myself, I'm never good at these. :)
1.  I really don't like raw vegetables no matter how hard I try
2.  When it rains I always want to bake
3.  I get easily distracted, which has led to setting off the smoke alarm while I'm cooking before.
4.  I started my blog as a place to store my recipes because I kept losing them
5.  My cat (Flea) is named after the Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist...NOT the bug!
6.  I got married in Fiji and seriously thought about throwing my passport in the ocean so I had to stay. :)
7.  I love making things, when ever possible I make things rather than purchasing them.

My 15 nominations (this is so hard, there are so many blogs that I adore!!). I also left off people that I noticed had just gotten it. =] In no particular order:
1.  Ally's Kitchen:  How can you not adore Ally and her blog?? I love the upbeat feeling you get from it.
2. I recently found this blog and I'm in love! It's packed full of delightful recipes that are healthy too!
3.  This and That: Marlys has some recipes that I've never even heard of before that look amazing! The Canadian and African influences on her dishes make them intriguing to me. 
4. I have to be careful when I visit Vicky's blog because I always find myself in the kitchen baking afterwards...and then eating everything I just baked because it's so good!! 
5. Another blog that I can always count on for fabulous recipes. I've made a lot of hers and they are always a hit!
6. I can never get over how cute the header is on her blog! More great recipes and some tasty adult beverages too.
7. Warren has endless recipes that you'll want to make right away. And he has a cookbook you can order!
8.  She has some gorgeous deserts that I wish I was capable of making!
9. Not only are her recipes awesome, but her stories are sure to make you smile and come back again.
10. <Drool> The only problem I have with Ellen's blog is that I want to make everything! You'll always find great recipes here!
11. As some of you know I love, love vegetarian dishes and don't eat a lot of meat. Tracy has a great collection here, I've loved everyone that I've tried. Also check out a group I belong to that she takes care of, and join our next linky party!
12. Oh my tasty goodness! Everything you find here is perfect, but I'm a huge fan of the lemon filled lavender shortbread cookies in particular!
13.  <Sigh> I recently stumbled across this blog and immediately had to subscribe. Not only will you find recipes to try, but endearing stories by Judy that you're sure to love! 
14. Another blog that I've found great recipes for meals, my husband always asks for her chorizo chicken burgers!
15. Last but not least is Lois over at Walking on Sunshine. Her blog is full of recipes, advice, and loving stories of her life. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Oven Barbecued Tofu

This is an old favorite of mine. My mum made it growing up and I have used it to change many people's mind about tofu. It's delightfully tasty and really simple.

This recipe will make enough to feed two people...unless you're like my husband and I! We love it so much that I can never make less than a double batch. :) Go ahead, make a double batch. You'll regret it otherwise.

Here is what you will need to get started:

1 package of firm tofu (*Side note!* I always freeze my tofu before using it. Then thaw it out that morning. This helps the tofu hold together better, even if you purchase extra firm. So freeze your tofu!)
3 Tbl peanut butter
1/3 cup oil (I use olive but vegetable or canola will work too)
1 Tbl paprika
1/4 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp salt
1 bottle bbq sauce (I use a regular flavor)

1/4 cup oil (approximate for the baking sheet)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees! Also take a baking sheet and spread about 1/4 cup of oil on it. You just want to make sure that there is a thin layer of oil across the sheet. If you really want to be healthier, you can replace the oil with cooking spray but the tofu will end up a little crunchier.

First you need to cut your tofu into 1/3-1/2 inch slices. Make sure you squeeze out as much of the liquid as possible from it! This is where freezing your tofu really comes into play. If you've ever had your tofu just fall apart when you cut it or squeezed it, freezing it prior to using it will take care of this issue!

Set your tofu aside. Gather up the rest of your ingredients and put them together in a bowl

Whisk these together until the mixture is smooth.

Now it's time for the sauce to meet the tofu. You can pour it over the tofu or do what I do and dump the tofu in the sauce you've made.

Kind of push the strips into the sauce and make sure that you completely cover them with the sauce.

If you're more organized than me you can allow the tofu to marinate for an hour. I'm usually running two hours behind though so this never happens!!!

When your tofu is ready, lay it out in a single layer on your baking sheet.

Bake the tofu for about 25 minutes. Then pull it out and flip it over. The bottoms should be browned.

Now take your BBQ sauce and brush some over the top of the tofu. 

Put it back in the oven and bake another 25 minutes. Pull it out and flip it over again. Put BBQ sauce on the top again...which will be the side that doesn't have sauce on it! Put it back in the oven and bake it for about 15 minutes. Pull it out and you are done!!! 


*Baking note!* The times I've given you may need to be adjusted. They are for a thicker (closer to 1/2") slice that turns out fairly crispy. If you make thinner slices or don't want it really crispy, cut the time down. For example you could cook it 20, 20, and 5 minutes. My husband doesn't like his very crispy, I do. So I pull some out for him early and then crisp mine up!

Huevos Rancheros

I love Huevos Rancheros. I love them almost as much as my husband does, almost. He might have married them if I hadn’t snagged him first. This is my recipe for Huevos Rancheros and I like to call it my cheat recipe because I’m always looking for ways to make morning meals easier. I cut a corner by using canned tomatoes because I honestly detest cutting tomatoes, and especially first thing in the morning! That doesn’t make me a bad person does it?

For the salsa:
1 can rotel brand diced tomatoes with habaneros (or if you’re a better person than me, diced some tomatoes and a habanero)
1 small onion, diced 
2 garlic cloves, diced
¼ teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 ½ Tablespoons olive oil

For the rest:
1 can low sodium black beans, rinsed well
2 ounces (approximate) chorizo <optional>
1 large garlic clove, diced
½ cup water
4 corn tortillas
4 eggs
fresh cracked pepper
2 Tablespoons olive oil
fresh cilantro, diced
feta cheese, crumbled

Okay! Now that you have everything, heat 1 ½ Tbl olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. While it is heating up, mix together all the salsa ingredients in a small bowl. Add the salsa mixture to the skillet and cook until it starts to thicken up a little. Remove the salsa to a bowl and set aside, saving the skillet.

If you’re using chorizo, add it to the skillet you just used and cook it thoroughly over medium. Add the garlic, black beans and water to the skillet. This doesn’t take too long; you’re just trying to warm the beans up. While they're cooking, you want to smash the beans up. I usually just use a fork to do this.

Don’t forget to throw your tortillas in the oven to warm them up.

I start the eggs while my beans are warming. Heat two tablespoons of oil in a skillet over medium-high, I use a large one so that I can fry all of the eggs at once. When the oil is hot fry your eggs to over easy. I sprinkle them with pepper while they're frying. Or if you prefer you can do sunny side up or even over medium. Oh, and I hope that you’re better at frying eggs than I am. I actually cook them to whatever they turn out and hope the yolks don't break. =]

Take a tortilla and spread some of your bean mixture across it. Top with one egg. Then add salsa, some cilantro, and feta cheese. Serve immediately!

I hope that you try this and enjoy them as much as we do. If you have a minute hop over and check out my facebook page too at

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hello Summer!

 It seems like summertime has arrived in full force across the country. Here in Florida we rang in the start of summer with a tropical depression. Thankfully Debby has finally left our vicinity and we can all get back to the beach. I hear the middle of the country is experiencing temperatures well above 100 degrees! Whew!

  To me summertime is a time for light and fruity drinks with good friends. We made these in honor of the first day of summer. They're delicious so grab the supplies and have a couple. Or more.

To make these you'll need lemonade, lemons, sparkling wine, and cranberry juice.

For one drink you'll want:

1 part sparkling wine
2 parts lemonade
1 slice of lemon (squeezed into the drink)
splash of cranberry juice

Mix together over ice and enjoy. Actually I might suggest that you go ahead and make a pitcher to save yourself the effort later. :)

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Yeast Crepes

  As a child growing up, birthdays were a big deal. For me, they still are. I demand that the world stop and recognize that it is the anniversary of my birth. It's my day and the one time I really enjoy being the center of attention. A tradition in our household was that each of us kids chose our birthday meal and what type of cake we wanted. Every year I asked for black bean burritos for dinner and a vanilla cake with that icing with sprinkles in it. Oh yeah!! My taste buds were obviously fabulous back then, along with my camera face. :)

  You might be wondering if I've once again gotten lost in my mind and begun rambling aimlessly about things that have nothing to do with the subject at hand. For once that hasn't happened. My baby brother always chose to have nutritional yeast crepes for his birthday. They were his favorite. In later years he would always be welcomed home from college to them and fresh baked chocolate chip cookies (spoiled much?!!). So I have always associated these with my not-so-little-anymore, getting ready to have a baby-baby brother and birthday celebrations.

  First things first, this recipe uses nutritional yeast flakes. Nutritional yeast is a fabulous source of B vitamins and is often described as having a taste similar to cheese. I personally use it as a topping on all types of foods including burritos and popcorn. I have lived places where numerous stores carry nutritional yeast and places where I had to have my parents ship me some! Here I am always able to find them in the bulk foods section at Whole Foods. Also, if you're familiar with Bob's Red Mill products (usually found in the baked goods section), I know they carry packaged nutritional yeast flakes. If you have a store with bulk goods, check there because they often carry them. 

  Second things second. :) Focus on the crepe and use your imagination for the filling, the possibilities are endless. I'm sharing a vegetarian recipe which is what my mom always made growing up, and evil little brother's favorite. I've previously added rotisserie chicken when my husband has wanted meat. You can also eat them plain, maybe with a little melted better over the top. Or use to make a dessert crepe, filling it with chocolate sauce and fruits. You get the picture. 

Here is what you'll need for the filling and the crepes for 4 people:
2 Tbl Olive oil (may need to add more during cooking)
4 cups frozen peas
4 Tbl fresh or dried dill weed
1/2 of an onion chopped
Shredded mozzarella cheese

2 cups of all purpose flour
3/4 cup nutritional yeast flakes
1/2 tsp baking powder
3 1/2 cups water
2 Tbl melted unsalted butter


  First you want to get your filling going. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and then add the peas, onions, and dill. Stir regularly until cooked through. I personally like the peas cooked until they're really mushy and have turned slightly brown. I think the flavors come out more then. To get them to this point takes about 20 minutes and I like to cover them for the second half of the cooking time.

The crepes!
  Now the important part, your crepes. Mix together all of the ingredients in a medium bowl until well blended. The batter will be a little thinner than a pancake batter is.

  When you're ready, heat a pan over medium-high heat. Or, if you have a griddle you can use it so you can cook more at once. Also, a non stick pan will make your life much easier. If you don't have one, just be patient.

  Spray your pan well with non stick spray. Pour about 1/3 of a cup of the batter into the pan, tilting the pan a little as you do to allow it to spread out.
  They won't be perfect circles, don't worry! Let it cook until it starts to bubble up and the edges turn a nice brown color, like the photo above. Then flip it over to cook the other side.

  At this point I sprinkle some cheese on the crepe so that it can melt. The second side doesn't take very long to cook, I always lift up an edge and peek to see how it's doing. Once it's cooked, remove to your plate and add some filling down the middle.

  Roll the crepe up and enjoy!!! In our house we eat the crepes as they're ready. My husband usually floats around behind me holding his plate and waiting for more. If you want to serve everyone all at once, then you could put them in a warm oven until they're all ready.

  Also, don't get discouraged if your first couple of crepes seem to stick to the pan and get ruined. For some reason this happens to me often, just keep going and you'll get it! One thing is for sure, they are delicious! You'll love them. If you have any questions, just ask!!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Spicy Shrimp with Couscous

  Happy, Happy Wednesday!! I hope that everyone is having a delightful week so far. Any big plans for the weekend? I'm seeing a weekend involving water in my future, it is way to hot for anything other than palm trees and beach umbrellas! I went outside this evening to tackle some planting and almost melted. Seriously, it was tragic. And I'm pretty sure our neighbors think I'm always covered in potting soil with my hair sticking straight up. Which isn't too far from the truth I guess. At least we have the sun back! After a week straight of pouring down rain it felt soggy even when you were inside.

  The rain always makes me want to crochet for some reason and so I've been spending a lot of time curled on the couch with my hooks and yarn. I've got two blankets I'm working on and a pile of wash clothes. Not to mention the unmentionables, aka the projects hidden in my craft room. What I really need to do is put away the yarn and deal with the laundry. Maybe tomorrow.

  The other day I came across a recipe for shrimp with brown butter sauce here and I was immediately in love with the idea. So I was off buying ingredients and making a spicy shrimp with couscous for lunch. 

     Ingredients for 4:

1 cup uncooked couscous
1 cup baby portabella mushrooms, stems removed and sliced
20 large shrimp (add more if you like. Cooked or raw will work)
3 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
1 Tablespoon chili powder
2 teaspoons garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
5 Tablespoons butter (unsalted)
4 green onions, diced (optional)
4 Tablespoons chopped unsalted cashews (optional)

Preheat oven to broil.

Start your couscous cooking. Next mix 2 Tablespoon of olive oil with the spices (chili powder, garlic, pepper, and cayenne). Once they're mixed well, toss in a bowl with the shrimp and set to the side.

Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the mushrooms and sauté them. Set to the side when done. Return the skillet to medium heat.

Back to your shrimp. I put these into the oven when I start browning the butter. Put the shrimp onto skewers and then onto a baking sheet, or you can always just lay them flat on the sheet if you don't have skewers. Put them in the oven on the middle rack and cook approximately 2-3 minutes on each side. If they're uncooked, insure that they're cooked through. 

Around now your couscous should be either cooked or almost done. Add the mushrooms into it and stir so that they warm up.

Add the butter to the skillet, stirring while it melts. Once melted, keep stirring until the butter browns. Add the browned butter to the couscous and stir together well. Divide amongst four bowls. Add the shrimp and top with cashews and green onions if you desire. 

We were huge fans of this recipe! It's full of flavor but still light so that you don't need to nap afterwards. My husband asked that it be recorded and made again soon! Yummm, I love shrimp!

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