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!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Easy Summer Cake

1 jiffy Yellow Cake mix
2 C milk
1 large pkg of Vanilla pudding
1 20oz can crushed pineapple (drained)
1 8oz pkg of Cream cheese
1 large Cool Whip

Prepare cake as per directions on box in a 9x13 pan
mix milk, pudding and cream cheese spread over top of cake
top with crushed pineapple
frost with Cool Whip

Refrigerate until serving,

Crock Pot Ribs

1/2 C Paprika
1/4 C & 2 Tbs Sugar
1/4 C Onion Powder
1 1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Pepper
2 1/2 Slab Ribs
20 oz Beer
1 Qrt (aka 32 oz) BBQ Sauce
1/2 C Honey

Combine Paprika, sugar, onion powder, salt and pepper in a large bowl. Generously season ribs with dry rub.

Cook ribs on grill 3 mins each side (lightly oil grate)

Portion ribs 3 or 4 bones. Place in Crock Pot pour beer over and cook on high 2 hours.

Blend BBQ sauce and honey - add to ribs and cook 1 11/2 hours.

Serve with extra sauce on the side.

Menu Monday

My attempt is to plan my meals each week but the last few have been so busy that I have not been successful. This week how ever Mr Fij and I have a normal week so i'll be back on track this week at least. I even have the weekend off and its a holiday weekend to boot! Here's whats planned.

Monday - Crock Pot Ribs w/ mashed potatoes (See recipe here - thanks to my little sister Nicole for the recipe!)

Tuesday - Chicken & Veggie Skewers on the grill w/ Salad (I just marinate Chicken cubes, green and yellow peppers, cherry tomatoes and zucchini - pop them on some skewers and throw on the grill - its a colorful summer meal that takes no time at all and gets you out of the kitchen)

I'll also be making Easy Summer Cake  for my Wednesday morning managers meeting at work - recepie thanks goes out to the Mr.'s Grandma.

Wednesday - Pasta & Garlic Bread ( My pasta sauce mood varies - some times I feel like scratch and some times grab the jar. This week will be browned sausage with jar sauce over pasta . .  .due to time i'll be cheating this week)

Thursday- Mr and I both work late so left overs

Friday - BFF B'day celebration @ Opa  (a fantastically fun Greek restaurant)

Saturday - Beach Day

Sunday - Red Hot and Boom 4th of July Celebrations.

A fun but busy weekend ahead! Check back for pictures and reviews of the Ribs and cake recipe.

Whats on your menu this week?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Pork Chop & Apple Bake

1 Can Apple Pie filling
4-6 Pork Chops Browned
Pork Flavored stove top stuffing

Brown Pork Chops and make stuffing per the box directions

Grease a 9X13 pan.  put apple pie filling in bottom of dish, put pork chops layer next. Spread stuffing over top.

Cover with foil and bake at 350 for half hour
Uncover and bake for 10 more minutes.

This dish was DElish! The hubby is not the biggest pork eater and I don't usually make it well. This recipe was so simple and tasted so good! I will defiantly be making this again and again!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Ohio Tradition

Mrs. "what size do I make these?"
Mr. "I don't know"
Mrs. "haven't you had these before?"
Mr. "I don't remember, they are an Ohio tradition?"

This from the man from Ohio? I thought he'd be a little more help but I was on my own. Were mine 3/4" im not too sure.

Here is another quickie made from stuff in my post vacation pantry.


But I admit I did have to break into Ari's peanut butter jar (yes Ari had his own food) To make it up to him I let him go to town on the Jars.

They were quick to make then popped them into fridge for a half hour while we watched the season finale of How I met your Mother.

Then went to work on the coating. I bought the chocolate from Michaels that I use for my chocolate molds and for chocolate covered Oreos. Due to my previous experience with this chocolate I didn't put them in the fridge because they would have turned a little white. I just let them harden at room temp then put them in Tupperware.

This is bad news for my current calorie counting but I'll have a few and then take them to work and they will be gone in no time at all!

Buckeye Balls

1 1/2 Cup Creamy Peanut butter
1/2 Cup Butter or Margarine softened
1 Tsp Vanilla extract
1/2 Tsp salt
3-4 Cups Powdered Sugar

1 lb Chocolate flavor candy coating
2 Tbsp Crisco

Combine peanut butter, butter, salt and vanilla in a large bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer until blended. Add 2 cups of sugar and beat until blended. Continue adding sugar a half cup at a time until mixture can be shaped like a all and will hold onto a tooth pick, Shape into 3/4" balls place on tray and chill.

Combine candy coating and shortening in microwave safe bowl and heat at 50% for 30 seconds, stir and repeat until mixture is smooth. Insert tooth pick into chilled candy bowl and then dip into melted coating. Place on wax paper. Remove tooth pick and smooth over holes. Refrigerate until coating is firm them remove from paper and store at room temp in covered container.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Venetian Islands

Murano is a Venetian island known for its glass blowing. It originally consisted of artist kicked out of Venice for fear of fires from the glass blowing; they were removed to this island and couldn’t leave without punishment. Eventually they branched out and their art and techniques expanded to other locations. It is a much smaller island that had many shops and museums.  It was nice to off the main island for a while and away from the craziness, while this was defiantly a tourist spot it was a lot calmer. The glass art was amazing from figures, to bowls, to lamps to jewelry. All items unique and much of it made right there on the Island. Sadly they don't allow pictures to be taken in the shops so the pictures are just of us and our lunch and the streets!

Burano is where Italian lace began. Another smaller island filled with brightly colored houses. This was my favorite part of the island. It’s rumored that the locals painted their houses bright so that when fishermen were coming home they could easily spot home.  There were many shops selling lace in every form you could think of. They even had old ladies in the shops working on lace. How much of it is currently handmade I am not sure. Of course they claim it all is but reading about the island it seems that that may not be the case but I choose to be a romantic and go with what they tell me!

Lido is apparently known for its beaches which is funny to me as Florida has a Venice beach and a Lido beach on the golf coast. This was our last island spot. We got off the water taxi and rented bikes. We explored the island; saw the beach grabbed a quick pizza before returning the bikes. We then walked a bit in search of an ancient Jewish Cemetery. We caught some amazing sights along the way but unfortunately the cemetery had closed the hour before we arrived . . . just another reason I HAVE to go back!

I completely and utterly fell in love with Venice.  I cannot begin to explain how much this trip ment to us. In our lives we have so many dreams and we have been so blessed to see so many of them come true! 


We spent Friday on the ship vegging out and recovering from a very busy few days. We had to be up and off the ship EARLY on Saturday. We packed up the night before and only had a carry on worth of stuff with us. We had to be off the ship at 8:30am so we got off,  claimed our luggage and caught a cab to our hotel. Although it was too early to check in they held our luggage so we could head beck into Venice.

Turns out my bff from High School Gina G has been to Venice many times with her college and recommended our hotel. IT was nice to know we would be staying at a nice place and she gave us some tips on getting around as the hotel was on the main land not the Island of Venice. The train station was across the street from the hotel. The train was a short ride into the city so we made it to Venice by 9:30am and had a full day to spend there. 


Our first trip in we were defiantly in awe and it all seemed a little un real. We went in search for the sights making our way to St. Marks Square, which was mobbed like woah! We didn’t pay to go into the cathedral we just walked around the square. We saw lots of people feeding birds and had I not had a fear of pigeons I would have been tempted to do the same but I passed.


We also saw the Rialto Brige which again was crawling with tourists but was quite a sight. It is the main bridge that connects the grand canal.

In our wanderings we stumbled across some markets and a few street preformers.

And we of course got some galeto along the way!

We also found an idea for a future Family business that would incorporate my Italian and his Iranian cuisines

After a full day we headed back to the hotel to take an afternoon nap. While Ryan slept I took advantage of the hotels free wi-fi and caught up on Face book.  It was then that I saw a close friend had experienced a loss of a family member and was both shocked and saddened. I can’t put into words my feeling was I couldn’t immediately process the news. After an hour or so we headed back into Venice, while I had a heavy heart It made me appreciate the experience and time with my husband all the more. Its times like these that you realize how precious life is and how blessed we are just to have our next breath not to mention all the other blessing we have in addition.

This time I made my Map loving husband get lost! Everything I read stated that the best way to really see Venice was to get lost. Take as many turns and side streets as possible and just wander.  So that’s what we did. We saw so many quiet streets and locals slowly walking about. It really gave us the real feel of the place and as the day turned into night it was the most beautiful place I’ve ever been.

We went to Al Vaporetto for dinner  were I finally got my pesto Pasta which was unusually hard to find! And Ryan got some sea food Risotto. Both were very good! We continued walking around a little more as the night grew darker and the street lights slowly lit up, watching the streets transform into another dynamic of romance and beauty.

As our energy began to wane we made our way back to the train station and waited for our 9pm train. After waiting about 10 minutes and seeing no activity on the tracks we heard a murmur in the cowed “strike” hummm sounds interesting. We made our way over to a crowd that had formed and another tourist who spoke some Italian confirmed that the trains were indeed on strike. As the realization made its way throughout the station everyone began to make their way (aka a mad dash ensued)to the bus station . . . we bought our ticket and waited for a bus that we could squeeze into, finally making it back to our hotel in once piece.

What is so amazing to me is that each street and every building seemed to be an attraction.  It is like another world. The sights, the smells and the sounds all intertwined take you into another place and time. I couldn't take enough pictures!Here are a few of my favorite scenery pictures.