Monday, December 12, 2011

A year of Food, Family & Friends

Can you believe I've been bogging for a YEAR?!? 

Maybe you can but for me I'm a little awestruck and a tad proud of myself. 

My original goal was to cook all the family recipes I received in a wedding gift cook book form my MIL. My mission was to make everything in the course of our first year of marriage. To be honest there are still quite a few recipes that I have yet to attempt. So I may not have mastered them ALL, I am satisfied with the attempt and the habit it has created. It has helped me break free of the chicken for dinner every night of the week routine and has brought a smile to the face of my husband after a long day at work too many times to count!

While I will continue to cook and try new recipes I'm thinking of changing up my posting focus. I've been trying to decide what direction to take for the last month or so and while it might not be the topic for an entire year I've decided to take you on our "new home owner" journey. I'll take you room by room and show you start to finish how we put our own stamp on the place. Biggest problem now is that I don't have one room complete! The living room, kitchen and bedroom are close but each miss a piece or two from my complete vision! I have a few projects that we have worked on and a few on my to do list so I may tackle some projects before the big reveal of an entire room.

I'll still add in a recipe every now and then so thanks for reading and bare with me as we start a new journey!

Wish me LUCK!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

The Holidays

I've alway been the 100% fanatic Holiday lover but since moving to Florida in 2008 that took a drastict change of direction - Holidays now = Tears. lonlenss and an  dose of depression. I have my ups and I have my downs, moments when I cant  forget my family is so spread out and so far away and moments where I am truely caught up with the Joy of the season. I dont want to  go into much more detail as I am trying my best to make today and "up" day. I just want to tell you about 2 things, despite it all, I am thankful for this year.

1. Family - althought we are spread out and rarely get the change to all be together in one place at one time the fact that I have them and they are mine are a blessing that cant be taken away. The memories we've made stay with us forever. We've enjoyed so many holidays together and when you stop to think of those who have no family to share the holidays with your ability to complain is no longer there. I'd give anything to go back to Bay View Terrace and enjoy a family dinner before heading through the back yard for dessert with Aunt Dee and our extended family but those days are long gone and while I miss them I'm blessed for the memory.

2. Friends - Friends who step in when family is not there. Florida is the best when it comes to friends. I've met some amazing people since moving here and we've created some holiday traditions of our own that help lessen the sting of missing Family. While I was dredding spending Thanksgiving alone I asked a few friend if they'd like to do a dinner. Well today is the day, the turkey is prepped, dessert is baking and all that's left is to cook it up and eat it up! Today we celbrate a day early all the things we are thankful for. <3 Angie, Lindsay, Jam & Kevin!

Hope you all have an amazing holiday season!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

The Pain it took

*Disclaimer- No food, No cooking - But a dedication to a great friend.

Have you ever gone through a rough time in life? When the world seemed to be falling down around you and nothing seems to be going the way you planned? I can guarantee we've all been at that place one time or another. What I wonder is if we ever take time to reflect back on those moments when things calm back down life falls back into place and all it right with the world ( which is utlimatetly where we eventually find ourselves)

This week I've been reflecting on this. It makes me grateful not only for the lessons learned during the hard times but for the friends who stand by us supporting, loving, encouraging along the way.

I remember back to 2007 when I was dealing with the age old questions "what am I doing with my life?" Life seemed to be getting a little out of control and I had a bit of what I like to call a "quarter life crisis" Nothing seemed to be going my way and life just wasn't looking like I had dreamed it would. I couldn't understand the tests and trials I was facing and really just wanted life to fall into place. I remember long phone call's with one friend in particular who really helped me process and deal with every thing. This is the song we both held onto during those difficult times. It helped us remember theres a greater purpose in life and that for every test or trial we will make it to the other side and be amazed at what we have accomplished.

This past week the aforementioned friend celebrated a mile stone and great accomplishment. I remember back to 2005 when she would brave the cold mornings of Northern NY and diligently run for the fun and the health of it. Fast forward 6 years to this past Sunday and she ran her first full marathon - 26.2 miles! No only did she run this race but she ran for a cause, she ran in support for those less fortunate. Because of her others were made aware of children not fortunate to have access to food, clean water, medical treatment or education. She helped find sponsers to provide these kids with a brighter future.  Did it hurt? Yes! Was the road easy? No.Did she have moments of blood sweat and tears? Yes! But it all boils down to this one truth. A truth we both held on to many times over the past 6 years. A truth we all need to be reminded of often 

"The end will justify the pain it took to get us there!

I couldn't be more proud of you. You are not only a great frined but an inspiration. Your dedication, commitment and zeal amaze me. Your hard work has paid off in more ways that you will ever know. The impact you have on people is life changing. I <3 you girly

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gram's Oatmeal Cookies

2 1/4 Cup Flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
Combine and set aside

1 Cup butter
1 Cup sugar - gradually add to butter
1 Cup brown sugar - add
2 eggs- add
1 tsp vanilla - add
Blend in dry ingredients.

Gradually stir in 3 Cups rolled oats (1 Cup nuts, raisins or ch chips - optional)

Form into balls - flatten with moistened glass bottom

Bake at 350 for  10 mins

I am not generally an oatmeal cookie fan but I just at 5 of these cookie . . . they were THAT good! I added chocolate chips and they turned out great.  I love the recipe because it is so simple and I had all the ingredients on hand as this was a last minute decision to bake.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Halloween Dinner

I wish I could remember where I found this recipe for pumpkin soup,  all I know is, with it I hit the JACK'O Lantern POT! I made it last year for friends and once the fall weather blew in those great friends began to ask when I was making it again. Silly me I had almost forgotten about it! Not to worry - I pulled out my recipe book and added ingredients to my grocery list.

Due to popular demand I made it today and doubled the recipe as I knew we all loved it and wanted to make sure we all left the table satisfied until next year! Its quite a work out! Between the cutting and the peeling of the pumpkin I worked up a sweat! It brought back great memories of pumpkin carving with my niece and nephew! I even baked the seeds to enjoy with the soup (although I'm not sure there will be much left after all my "snacking" :)

Thanks to my amazing MIL (who not only loves Halloween but also loves sending us packages) we've got some great decorations to make dinner quite an  event! Over the years she has supplied these great place settings. I got the spider bowls from Big Lots last year.

This year she gave us wine and glass ornaments - Such a cute idea.

We ended dinner with sugar cookie - putting to use the cookie cutters that arrived this year. I wish I could capture the smell of the soup combined with the great candle she sent because its absolutely heavenly!

I happened to have the day off and it happened to be a good night for everyone to come over and it happened to be the night that this came on TV -Coincidence? Who cares! All I know is that Great Friends, Great Family, and Great Food is a priceless combinations! So happy the Holiday Season is OFFICIALLY HERE!

Crock Pot Pumpkin Soup

Crock Pot Pumpkin Soup

1 1/4 Cup Butter
2 Lbs Pumpkin
2 Cloves
1 Med Onion
2 Tsp Sugar
Pinch of Salt
2 1/2 Cup Chicken Stock
1 Cup Milk
Bacon or Ham - Optional
Sour Cream

Clean out pumpkin, peal and cube

 Combine butter and pumpkin in crock pot - once butter is melted let cook on high 1 hour

Stick cloves into Onion add to  Crock pot along with Stock and pinch of salt. Cover and cook 
Low 8-9 Hours
High 4-5 Hours

Puree soup in blender
Add ham

Once ready to serve add milk.

Serve with a dallop of Sour cream and sprinkle of nut meg.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Blog On Fire

I've been picked and linked by my fellow Blogger and real life friend Nicole over at Table for 4
She has given me my first Blog Award

Im supposed to tell you 7 random facts about myself and I admit, I've been thinking and cant really think of too many interseting facts so I created a draft and kept adding facts as they came to me - hopeing, wishing, praying for enought topics to entertain you.

I <3 Hot Fries -

Like truely, madly, deeply love them. They reach me on an emmotional level yet to be  surpassed. The hub's has even realized its the instant pick me up that can lift any mood, forgive any wrong doing and over all  "fix" any problem I face.

I fell into a career that I really love. I remember being away a college and telling a friend "I just don't want to go home and work in a mall" That's exactly where I landed and managed to work my way from a part time sales associate to an Associate Manager of a #1 store in a matter of 6 years. Although the stress level can get high and its not your typical childhood dream - deep down I really enjoy it! Aside from owning my own business or being a stay at home Mom there's nothing else I can see myself doing.

I got into the car March 1st 2008 and drove to Florida to see my BFF on an extended vacation. I bought clothes and that's all. 3 1/2 years later I'm married we're home owners in the land of Mickey Mouse. This is officially the longest vacation I've ever had!

I'm an avid fan of General Hospital.

Soaps . . . I know I know the  definition of trashy and the past time of bored house wives . . . *sigh* It just sucked me in after Jason's accident where he lost is memory and joined the mob and then there's Lucky and Elizabeth who I practically grew up with. I realize I am not your typical Luke and Laura generation fan but I'm a fan none the less and wish I could find my signed photo of Tyler Christopher that my sister got me when she met him . . . I'm in deep and if they ever think twice of canceling this show I will go into a deep mourning. Even though my sisters and I share our frustration over the stupid story lines its just some thing I cant give up!

I've been called a human jukebox.
I can hear a song once and be able to sing along. The lyric's . . .the melody . . .they just stick with me. This has created a need to sing loudly when every I hear a song. In the car or at home this is fine but then there's the DR's office or work or the mall or the movie theater. . . it tends to get out of hand! We watched brides maids the other night and then Welson Phillips came on the Screen and then the piano started and next thing I knew "I knows there's pain, why do we lock our selves up in these chains . . . " I couldn't help myself I had to sing the entire song with them!

I love to read! I attribute this to my mother who limited TV time and made trips the the library a weekly event.  I can thank my Dad for teaching me how to spell Library - that second R was always a killer! I can sit down with a book and have no concept of time 5 minutes or 5 hours or 5 days . . . all the same to me if I have a good book to read. Its to the point where I have to limit myself to a chapter a day because I cant afford the addiction! I used to visit the bargain book section of Boarders (RIP) and but any one that was $3.99 or less. Under $5 for weekly entertainment was ok buying a full price best seller at $15 or $20 for me to finish in under a day is just not practical nor financially smart. I broke down a few months back and bought myself a Kindle and its become my favorite ever! Love all the cheap and *gasp* FREE books!

I don't see myself as an adult, I'm pretty sure I'm still a teenager. I still think I'm 18 but it turns out i'm 28 and high school was 10 years ago! Its amazing! I watch 16 and pregnant and think I'm too young for kids then I do the math and realize if I had a kids at 16 I'd be walking around with a 12 year old . . hello not a kid in day care I'd have a kid in middle school. I mean really when will I feel like a grown up?

So there you have it - my 7 Facts that I had to rack my brain to provide!

Next I'm supposed to "tag" others and award them the Blog on Fire award but . . . I dont know too many bloggers or have very many follower (ahem I have 7 to be exact!) But here are the ones I read regularly and I guess its the test to see if any of them read mine! :)

Kristin - My inspiration and friend for over 7 years now!

Sarah - My old college-mate who I've gotten to know better thru face book and her blog

Anna - Another college friend who I'm glad to still be in touch with despite the distance

Krista - My friend who fell off the blog band wagon and This is my attempt to get her back on

Maureen - My cali  blog stalker who needs to keep up with her own blog.

Jacqui - My Camp partner in crime who has amazing excursions! 

Rachel - My friends older sister who started a Mom blog.

Ok So I'm a few shy of my required 10 but its the best I could do. Hope you enjoyed my randomness and cant wait to read yours!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Butternut Squash Soup

1 Butternut Squash pealed and cubed
1/4 cup unsalted butter
salt & Pepper
1 Onion
4 Cups Chicken Stock
1 Apple pealed and sliced

Melt butter add onions and cook until translucent
Bring to simmer and add squash, apple and chicken stock
Simmer until tender

Remove chunks and puree
return squash to pot add salt and pepper to taste
Serve with a sprinkle of nutmeg

Love love love this recipe.I came across it last year and gave it a try and couldn't wait for a cold front to come thru to have an excuse to make it again this year! It made just enough for dinner and my lunch the next day. I prepared it in the early after noon and put it in the crock pot until we were ready to eat. Its got great flavor and its a nice warm fall meal that is not your ordinary soup. Defiantly a keeper for chilly nights, its super simple and delish - 2 things I love!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Back on Track

The whirl wind is calming down and its time to get back on track. Back to blogging, Back to cooking, Back to cleaning, Back to routine, Back to health . . . (Was I ever there?)

I'll got a few topics that need to be blogged about but today I'll start with our menu for the remainder of the week. We closed on the house October 1st, we painted and moved in all in one weeks time (Blog #1). I attended a work conference in NOLA.We celebrated our 1 year anniversary with a cruise and got back Monday (Blog #2)  and it was right back to work Tuesday morning. I am now full circle with this Blog and still have so many new recipes to try so I plan to recap my year and set some goals for the next(Blog #3). . . just a little to keep up hanging . . .

I went grocery shopping for the first time in about 2 months . . .wooowee did we need some food in this house! I'm grateful for an amazing husband who doesn't complain when I fall off the cooking band wagon!  I LOVE fall and have lots of plans to celebrate the season by cooking and baking up a storm!

This week's menu is as follows

Tuesday - Taco Tuezday of course!
Wednesday (tonight) I close to the hubs will have to fend for himself
Thursday - Butternut Squash Soup (Blog #4)
Friday - Spaghetti
Saturday - I work late so it will be left overs
Sunday - Lettuce Wraps made by the master chef himself (Blog #5)

As you can see we've got a lot of catching up to do! So check back in this weekend.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Home is where your Story Starts!

Well its official, we've joined the club . .  .the Home Owners Club that is! At of 1pm this afternoon when all the papers were signed and the keys were placed in our hands we jumped into a new chapter of life.

We have been looking at places for a while. Nothing too serious but just to keep our options open and see what was out there. Then in the beginning of the summer we saw a few homes we liked but all our offers were denied. And then we found our perfect storm. There were a few open town homes in the community we live in now and we took a look at most of them. None of them were worth the cost considering all the work needed. I'm talking trashed and smelling like animals! Then we looked at the end unit that was never listed in the MLS and thought it was an upgrade defiantly (more 80's than 60's & 70's like the one we currently rent.) We kept looking at more and more homes but nothing lined up with what we were looking for. We thought about the end unit and asked out agent to show us again and found they had dropped the price. We made an offer and after a little negation we got it for what we wanted! Voila our Perfect Storm as the hubby likes to say!

Now on to the good stuff - the To DO list! We've got quite the list going. Ill be sure to do a before and after post. But for now its time for BED! We got the keys this afternoon and already we've got blinds up and i cleaned the kitchen and 2 bathrooms - I've earned some quality REM!

Applications are now being accepted for anyone interested in being out first out of town guest!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Apple Heaven

There is nothing like fall in New York. The crisp air. The smells of leaves, harvest and chimneys. *Sigh* I can close my eyes and the memories of my childhood come rushing back in an instant. This is my favorite time of year . . .well this and Christmas.  While I firmly believe moving to Florida was the best decision ever there are about 10 days a year that I miss the good 'ol North East.

The Mr spent a few days in my old neck of the woods last week and when he called and asked what I wanted him to bring me back, I practically yelled APPLES! NEW YORK APPLES! For some reason you just cant find quality apples down here. I come from the land of pick your own and the stands on the side of the road sell apples and corn not peanuts and gator jerky! Needless to say he went to the wonderful Wegmans and picked me up apples and by apples I mean a TON OF APPLES!

Due to the crazy of life I finally put all those apples to good use after sitting in the fridge for 4 days. Here we are 2 apple pies and an apple crisp later and I am sure to get my apple craving fulfilled.

The apple pie is my own recipe. I eye ball the ingredients and am convinced that I have yet to make the same pie twice or else I'd post the recipe. Being from a family of 7, when we went apple picking there were a lot of apples and a lot of baking. I always made the pie and others made crisp, sauce, or another apple based dessert. I always got complements on my pie but then I married the Hubs whose Grandma created and perfected the art of Apple Pie. While mine comes no where close to her Delicious plate of goodness it makes for a tasty treat morning noon or night. ( * side-note* Oh and don't you love the fall table setting? I've become quite obsessed with table cloths, place settings and napkins! The flowers are courtesy of my wonderful Love in celebration of our 11 months of marriage . . . wow can you believe we are only three weeks away from the 1 year mark! - Well that will be a post all its own!)

Anyhoo back to apples . . . Being that my only responsibility was the Pie with out a mother or sister close by I had to expand my baking horizon and find an additional use for so many apples. I am a fan of and tried this recipe. I enjoyed it with a nice cup of tea, only thing missing is Family but I guess we all cant have our pie and eat it too huh?

Stay tuned  . . . tomorrow brings BIG NEW BLOG!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Guest Post - Table for Four

Not Your Momma’s Carrot Cake

Hey!  I’m Nicole from Table For Four and I’m so excited to be featured on Amie’s fabulous food blog!  I am NOT a cook.  I have a few good recipes that I repeat over, and over and… over.  But Amie asked for some guest bloggers and I couldn’t resist. 

I named this recipe “Not Your Momma’s Carrot Cake” because it’s not like anything you’ve had before… it’s not a “traditional” carrot cake.  It’s not like the carrot cake your momma makes… because it’s the carrot cake my husband’s momma makes!  It’s my mother-in-law, Rosana’s famous carrot cake. 

This cake is seriously good.  It’s light and airy with a chocolate frosting that wont leave you feeling like a fatty.  In fact, we eat it as a breakfast cake mostly.   Yes, I just used the words “breakfast” and “cake” in the same sentence… are you hooked yet?

Here’s what you’ll need:

For cake:
Flour- 3 cups
Sugar- 2 cups
Vegetable Oil- >1 cup
Baking Powder- 1 Tbs
Baby Carrots- 8 oz (half bag)
3 Eggs

Preheat oven to 375.  In a large mixing bowl, add flour, sugar and baking powder.  In a blender, place eggs and oil and blend.  Then add carrots little by little and continue blending for about 2 more minutes or until all is smooth and creamy. 

Add carrot mixture to dry ingredients and stir.  If it becomes too thick and hard to stir, add a splash of milk to help thin it a bit. 

Once it’s all smooth and creamy, add mixture to the baking dish and bake for 25 minutes or until golden. 

Now for the frosting… try not to drool ok?

You’ll need:
Milk (the fattiest the tastiest… just sayin’)- 3 Tbs
Butter- 1 Tbs
Chocolate Chips- ¾ bag  (of 12 oz bag)

Add all ingredients to a microwave safe bowl and nuke it for 1-½ minutes, stopping half way to stir.  

When cake comes out of the oven, immediately spread chocolate frosting.  Don’t wait for it to cool, because the idea is to have the frosting melt into the cake a bit. 

Wait for it to cool.  Serve and enjoy!  Mmmmm.

Come on now, you guys didn’t actually think I was going to make a recipe.  Let’s face it… I’m not domestic!  I have to give a huge thank you to my mother-in-law who has taught me all I know in the kitchen.  (Sorry, Mom!)  She was really nervous, but the cake came out great!

Try it… I’m sure you’ll LOVE it and maybe one day it’ll be your recipe too.  Then your kids will say, it’s “My Momma’s Carrot Cake!” 


I know I know I've been MIA for much longer than intended! This no computer thing is a real drag! I do have some new and exciting news to share but I will wait a while before spilling the beans and no I AM NOT PREGNANT! (but we are one step closer to heading down that road!)

Being that my blogging and cooking have taken a back seat for a while I've reached out to a few of my blogging buddies to get their recipes and see whats cooking in their kitchen. The first to take me up on the offer is Nicole from Table for Four - Shes a friend I met soon after moving to Florida at the church that really got me connected to an awesome group of friends. Unfortunately soon after my arrival she along with her husband moved to SC. There she had two adorable sons and just recently loved back down to Florida, only a few hours away. We keep in touch thru blogging,  facebook and road trips! Shes a great mom, wife, friend and woman of God who we could all learn alot from so please check out her blog . .  .and FOLLOW! All us bloggers love followers and shes got some great stories to share.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Aunt Lori's Chicken Tortilla Soup

4 Chicken Breast halves, frozen
1 Garlic Clove ninced
2 Tbs Margarine
2 14 1/2 Oz Cans Chicken Broth
2 14 1/2 Oz Cans Chopped Stewed tomatoes
1 Cup Salsa
1/2 Cup Chopped cilantro (optional)
1 Tbs ground Cumin

Combine all the above ingredients in a crock pot. Cover and cook low 8-10 hours. Shred chicken.
Spoon over shredded chedder cheese, sprinle with chips and top with Sour Cream - add Avacado (optional)

I love a good crock pot recipe! This was beyond easy and very good. We like hot and spicy so we added a little hot sauce to give it a kick. I also think I may add a jalapeno next time to add another flavor. Over all this is a keeper. Its still in the 90's here so I think I'll save it for a rainy or wintery day but I will def be making t again!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu Monday

This was my first time doing meal planning for 2 weeks and I think I like it. Here we are starting week 2 and I don't need to grocery shop or stress about what to make. All I had to do was adjust the meals to my work schedule so that dinner would be ready before 10 o'clock at night.

I saved the meals with ingredients would last the longest for this week to alleviate the need to run to the store. I am at a loss as to the most realistic, fresh and price conscience place to shop. I was going to our local grocery store, Publix, which I love they usually have a fantastically fresh produce selection but Walmart still is the best place to buy non perishables and paper products. I hate having to make 2 stops. I have been thinking of trading off and shopping each once a month - maintaining my bi-weekly trips. I would also like to frequent our local farmer market but my work schedule makes this a tad hard, We have a local Co-Op that I'd like to try and my BFF has a butcher she goes to for quality meat and great prices. In a perfect world I'd buy on of those vacuum sealers and shop the butcher and Walmart once a month and make weekly trips to the farmers market, but I am still at the trial and error stage of nailing down a routine that works for me. I'm open to suggestions and hearing about how you divi up your shopping.

Now on to the menu - here's what I have in store for the week.

Monday - Kielbasa Pasta - (well that's what I named it tonight) Its a meal I grew up on but we just called it Kielbasa  which is fine if it is the only form you eat it but should I find another dish with this ingredient it'd be hard to differentiate. All you do is saute carrot slices, kielbasa slices and an onion. Boil egg noodles and drain. Mix the two and volia a great smelling home and a flavorful dish on the table.

Tuesday - Taco Tuesday for the hubs and work for me, I'll take left overs.

Wednesday - Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes and Corn

Thursday - Aunt Lori's Chicken Tortilla Soup - Stay tuned as this is my family recipe for the week.

Friday - Lasagna & Garlic bread ( unfortunately I work 11-8 so Stouffers will be hosting this meal but its a good sub when there no time to make it from scratch)

Saturday the MR will be taking me out on a good by dinner as he's leaving to do more traveling for work.

Sunday will see me alone with the Pup but I have a wedding shower to go to for a co-worker and I going through my Dips and Desert recipes to try and work in a 2nd recipe for the week.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Best Blueberry Muffins

In a large bowl combine
1/2 Cup rolled oats
1/2 Cup Orane Juice

In another bowl Combine
1 1/2 Cup Flour
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 1/4 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/4 Tsp Baking Soda
1/2 Cup Veg Oil
1 Egg Beaten

add to oats and OJ mixture - mix until all is coated. Gently fold in 1 Cup blueberries. Spoon into muffin tin with liners.

Blend 2 Tbs Sugar and 1/4 Tsp Cinnamon  sprinkle over batter.

Bake at 400 for 18-22 mins- makes 12 muffins

Friday, August 19, 2011

Laura's Cheesy Scalloped Potatoes

3 Tbs Butter
2 Tbs Flour
2 Tsp Salt
Pepper to taste
2 Cups hot milk
1 1/2 Cup Shreddd Chedder Cheese
6 Potatoes, pealed and sliced
1 Small Onion Chopped

Melt butter in a double broiler or sauce pan over medium heat. Add flour, salt and pepper. Cook stirring constantly until smooth, Gradually stir in hot milk. Cook stirring constantly until thickened. Add cheese and cook continue stirring until melted. Layer potato slices, onion and cheese sauce in a lightly greased  9x13 baking dish. Repeat layers.

Bake @ 350 for 1 hour

If you love scalloped potatoes this is the BOMB! I usually make the boxed ones but these were super easy and better tasting. I added ham so that it could be an all in one meal, and the turn out was a success - both of us went back for seconds and there is still enough for me to take for lunch. It was a rainy day and this is a perfect meal for that kind of weather or for a winter meal.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Laura's Grilled Flank Steak

1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
3/8 Cup Veg Oil
1 1/2 Tbs Oriental Sesame Oil
5 Garlic Cloves minced
3 Tbs minced Ginger
6 Green Onions White and Green parts trimmed and minced
1 (2-21/2 lb) Flank steak
Fresh ground pepper

Process first 6 ingredients in a blender for 1-2 minutes
Reserve 1/3 of marinade for basting
Rub Steak with salt and pepper
Combine steak and Marinade in large zip lock bag for 1-2 days
Remove steak from marinade and discard marinade
Grill steak 4-5 inches above hot coals for 5 minutes each side for rare - or to your liking
Basting occasionally with reserved marinade - Steak may also be broiled

TIP - always bring meat to room temp before grilling to reduce cooking time and ensure more even cooking.

This was very simple and taste. I love prepping food the night before so that when I get home from work dinner is effortless and delish! I am not very good at choosing meat so I admit I took quite a while searching out with Steak to buy and honestly I don't remember what I picked and will have the same look of confusion next time i am in the Meat section of the grocery store. I added a baked potato and a summer salad that my sisters MIL made while I was in NY. Tomato, Cucumber and Onion drizzled with Oil and Vinegar salt and pepper. I still need to work on my proportions because hers def tasted better than mine but i'll keep at it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Missin My Kitchen

This summer has thrown me thru a loop. With me changing job locations and a husband who likes to globe trot - we lost all semblance of normalcy and routine. I wont lie it took a much bigger toll on me that I expected and the last 2 months have been pretty tough.

 Mentally I have been counting down to September when I expected things to slow down. It has been my excuse for every thing. When will I start to eat healthy? In September. When will I make it back to church? In September. When will I keep my house clean? In September. When will I start working out? In September. Well I've got 2 weeks and a lot to do so I'm attempting a just start.

I spent last week with my family in New York and then we spent the weekend in MD with the Hub's family celebrating the BEE-U-Tee-Ful wedding of his brother! After a nightmare of a Southwest flight we made it home at 1am. Thankfully I was off today and took advantage of the day to get my Sh*t together. DR appointment rescheduled - check, Bills paid - check, Vet price quotes for neuter and shots - check, Mountains of dirty clothes washed and folded - check. but the biggest thing to tackle - grocery shopping.

It all started with a "little" List
That turned into this
That finally enabled me to bring back MENU MONDAY for 2 weeks! And the double bonus - I will tackle 5 family recipes! Tomorrow marks 10 months in and I still have a lot of cooking and baking to complete or else I may request an extension to complete this experiment!

Woo hoo this excites me! So here is whats planned for this week.

Chicken Pot Pie - by Aunt Jeanne
Cheesy Rice & Beans - by Aunt Jeanne

Taco Tuesday - @ Tijuana Flats

Flank Steak - by the Newest MRS. Fij (as of Saturday to be exact)
Baked Potato
Tomato Salad

Scalped Potatoes - again by the new MRS

Grilled Chicken & Veggie Skewers
Grilled corn on the cob

Stay tuned for more recipes, reviews and menus!

Aunt Jeanne's Cheesy Rice and Beans

1 Cup uncooked Brown rice
1 Can drained Red beans (or half and half red & Black)
3 Tbs Margarine
1 Cup chopped onions (red/green peppers optional)
1/2 Cup chopped Celery
16oz can chopped tomato
2 Tsp chili powder
1/2 Tsp salt
2 Cups shredded cheddar of jack cheese

Cook rice
Saute onions, peppers and celery in margarine
stir in tomatoes, chili powder and salt
In a casserole dis layer mixture, rice and cheese
repeat and end with cheese

Bake at 350 45 mins

Aunt Jeanne's Chicken Pot Pie

2 pie Crusts
3 Cups cooked cubed Chicken
1 Can All Veggies drained
1 Cup Chicken broth
1 Cup milk
4 Tbs butter
4 heaping Tbs flour

Cook and thicken with flour. Pour into uncooked pie crust
Bake at 425 for 25-30 mins

Monday, July 25, 2011

A Chance to give back!

This is Ever - My Coasta Rician son - A child we sponser through World Vision.

How cute is he? When I searched through the pictures of kids up for sponsorship his eyes called out to me and I melted. *sigh*  He totally stole my heart!By sponsering him through World Vision the Hubby and I are helping provide him with clean water, food, and an education while at the same time supporting a dear friend.

I've know this great gal for over 6 years - we've seen a lot together and supported each other in every way. She is an inspiration to me. As long as I have known her she has been running.Not only does she run for health and fitness she also runs marathons for causes. Right now she is running with Word Vision in the ING race. For more details please check out her blog here  for more info and consider sponsoring a child yourself!

Friday, July 15, 2011

Tattoo Me

I admit I am a blog STALKER! Whats that? Some one who reads the blogs of strangers - in an attempt to reform my ways I've decided to read these publicly and admit to by habits and hopefully get to know these woment so that I can make a friend or two and  live a life of freedom . . . extreme? maybe a litte :)

I was reading this blog about the writers tattoo and knew I had to link up and share my story and thought it'd be a good step in my coming out of the blog stalker closet!

Growing up tattoos where so taboo! Accepted by some and loathed by others. I felt surrounded by those that condemned and looked down on others with tattoos, but I ALWAYS wanted one. I talked about it a lot (a way to get my parents used to the idea) My mom was the most against it. 18 came and went, though of legal age I didn't get one because I knew how upset my mother would be. I continued to express my desire to get one but made it clear with out her permission I wouldn't do it. Years continued to pass and then one day out of the blue she said it wouldn't bother her if I got a tattoo . . . what? excuse me? come again? Here I was 21 -  and when she told me I was allowed to get one and I jumped on it!

It was a while ago so I don't remember how log it took for her to tell me and for me to sit in that tattoo chair but it was not that long. My sister went with me and I was dead set I was going to get a dove with an olive branch. Once I got there and looked through the artist books I saw a flower I fell in love with and instantly changed my mind. I got that small flower and LOVED it. Went home to show it off to my Mom and Dad.

All was good after that but I got the bug! Its true what they say tattoos are addicting. I knew I would eventually want another one but didn't know what. My Dad like to tell me that the flower was missing some thing. It needed a leaf or a stem or SOMETHING. Well I took his advice to heart and added a little some thing. Not knowing what I wanted I let the artist draw free hand a design of flowers and stars.
My Dad says I took his words out of context and added a little more than he had in mind! But I instantly LOVED the entire design! A year later I added the treble Clef as a shout out to my love of music. 

My original intention was to do a knee to ankle sleeve but my artist is back in my home town of NY and I don't trust artist I down know (due to a botched shooting star on my hip done by an unknown artist) In addition to the price! This is an expensive addiction!

I will say that I get compliments ALL the time! I really think its elegant and expressive of ME so people who may not be a fan of tattoo's are won over!

Boom goes the Dynamite

I feel like this summer has been on fast forward. Its moving faster than Id like. Its been full of fun times and moments of separation from the hubs. Hes been traveling a lot which i may or may not be using as an excuse not to grocery shop or cook . . . shoot! Its true. Planning it out of the window and meals taste better when some one else does the cooking after a long day of work.

July 4th brought my nephew into town so days off have been spent running around with a 10 year old and making trips to Sarasota to spend time with him and my parents.

In the middle of this fun craziness . . . boom goes the dynamite and my computer DIED! I'm not sure what it is but it will not turn on. In his spare time the MR will take a look at it but there haven't been to many spare moments in the past few weeks. If he cant fix it we'll have to do some computer shopping as life sans computer is not an option for me!

I just came in from an afternoon at Siesta Key, and I may or may not be a little red! I thought I'd take a moment while soaking up the AC to explain my absence and give you a heads up regarding my lack of summer posts . . . while they may be few and far between for the next month of so I am not going any where so please continue to check back!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Dinner for two

This weeks menu was quite a success - it felt like we fell into a routine and things went so smoothly and we ate so well!

Sunday we went grocery shopping with my list in hand and this time I got EVERYTHING I needed. Which is quite a shock seeing as I usually forget at least 1 item and have to make a mad dash to the supermarket.

Sunday evening I had to go into work at 9pm and work until 9am Monday morning. Althought the night went relativly smoothly we encountered a small glitch around 7am that required me to do a little driving and delayed me getting home on time. Monday the plan was to have Mr. Fij grill the ribs before he left for work so I could throw them into the crock pot when I got home from work. Due to my work delema I didnt make it home until after 10am meaning he'd already left for work. I jumped in bed and the Mr. came home on lunch to grill for me  . . aweeee! I woke up a little after noon and dumped them in the crock pot with the beer. Let them cook for 2 hours added in the BBQ sauce and took another short nap. The house smelled amazing! The ribs turned out fantastic - litterally fell off the bone no joke! We weren't sold on the BBQ sauce I used but there's a great BBQ place around here called 4 Rivers and I think next time I'll pick up their sauce to see if it gives mt ribs more kick.

Tuesday was grill night! On Monday I cut up some chicken into cubes along with a green pepper, red pepper, and zucchini. I put all these into a zip lock bag with some cherry tomatoes and a bottle of Italian dressing. Let that marinate over night. When I finally got home (how is it that I leave for work before the MR and get home from work AFTER him? I'll never understand it!) I put these on skewers and had the MR grill them up for me while I made some rice and threw together a salad. Officially the most effortless dinner ever and so good there were NO left overs!


After dinnerni began the cake making for my Wednesday morning meeting at work. Threw togther the cake mix, baked and let it cool. Mixed up the pudding, milk and cream cheese topped the cake with that and then the pineapples and added the whip cream and viola a lovely dessert.
Its was a hit at work and at home! I admit I was a bit skeptical but in the end I am sold. Its easy and tastes amazing I'll defiantly make it again!

No More cooking for me this week!Thursday- Tonight we're both working late so i may pick up some fast food . . .shhhhh don't tell! Friday is my BFF's birthday (aka my maid of honor - I'm sure there's a better picture of us from the wedding but this was the best I have saved to my PC)

so I get to dress up whoo hooo and enjoy a great night with great friends - Greek food and dancing at Opa.
Saturday we have a little house hunting planned as well as Beach time and dinner with friends!Sunday we will take part in some 4th of July festivities with friends fingers crossed there will be a BBQ involved so that I can make a great dessert recipe with a little patriotic theme! To be honest among all the fun things that we have in store what Im looking forward to the most is Monday . . . when my nephew will be fly in from NY to spend the month with us and my parents . . we've got ALOT of fun things planned!

Stay tuned for more of our adventures!