Friday, December 9, 2011

homemade pine wreath

Well, something good had to come out my toppled pine trees in last weeks wind storm.  The top 5 ft of one of them was donated to a family who didn't have enough money for a Christmas tree.  Then, I made a homemade wreath from some of the limbs that were sitting on my curb. 

It was improvised.  I used what I had laying around (as in painters tape, zip ties and hot glue...)  But I don't think it turned out half bad.  Free Free Free.  It also needs a little more stuff on the top left portion- it's a little thin. But, who cares. 

Here is the website that I found the tutorial on.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Shush Kabobs (Apple Meatballs)

I wish this picture did it justice.  This was another good recipe I made lately.  I found it in Parents Magazine as a way to eat more apples.  The sauce that you put on them is really good.  I think I made one and one half the amount here.  I think I'd just double the amount of sauce for the amount of meatballs so that you can get enough on the rice.  Really good wish brown rice.  Yum!  I used gala apples, too.  Oh, and I had sticks and the recipe suggested using sticks to make your kids like them.  I put them on the stick for the picture then promptly took them off.  I didn't even give Nathaniel one so he didn't gouge his eye out.  Cute idea, but I'm definitely losing the stick next time I make these. Also, I didn't put my meatballs into the glaze.  I just put them on the plate and spooned glaze over them and the rice.  I'll try coating them next time and see which way I like better.

1 cup (whole-wheat) bread crumbs (I didn't have whole wheat, use any)
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
1 medium apple grated coarsely
1 Tbs. Dijon mustard (didn't have so I just sprinkled a little ground dried mustard in there)
1 Tbs. chopped parsley
1/4 tsp. each of salt and pepper
1 lb. ground turkey breast (I used hamburger because I didn't have turkey)
2 Tbs. vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple juice or cider
1/4 cup maple syrup
1 Tbs. balsamic vinegar

1.  In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, cheese, egg, apple, mustard, parsley, salt and pepper.  Mix well.  Add turkey (or hamburger) meat and fold into wet mixture until just combined.
2. In frying pan (I used my big electric skillet), heat oil on medium.  Roll meat mixture into 12 balls.  Fry, turning frequently until meatballs are browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.
3. Glaze: In a pot, mix apple juice, maple syrup and vinegar.  Simmer over low heat until reduced by half, about 15 minutes.  Toss meatballs in glaze, thread three onto each stick.  Makes 4 servings.  

Chicken Sausage Oven Roasted Pasta Primavera

I know!  It's a post.  Shocking.  This is a really good one from  Andrew loved the mushrooms and I shoved all of them into his portion.  Great way to get the hubs to eat veggies.  I'm making it again tonight!  Here's the link!

Chicken Sausage Oven Roasted Pasta Primavera

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

veggies and noodles with thai coconut curry sauce

I got the recipe for this on the Our Best Bites website (linked on the left of the blog). You can find it here. It's a knock off of Noodles & Co Bangkok Curry, which I'm now considering ordering on my next visit there. Yum.

I don't like curry. This doesn't taste like "curry". It uses red curry paste, which I actually had lying around in the fridge. I also happened to have coconut milk in my cupboard. This really hit the spot with me tonight. Even Nathaniel ate it up, which really shocked me!

A couple of notes:

1. I used fresh broccoli and fresh carrots instead of the stir fry mix. I didn't blanch them first, I just threw them in the wok the same time as the red peppers and it was fine. With sitting for 5 minutes in the sauce to thicken, they soften even more. If they're soft once you add the sauce, I'd imagine they'd get a little limp.

2. I did half the recipe. Probably a smart idea. But, after I ate my 3 lbs and Thanny ate some, there's probably enough for Andrew to eat for dinner when he gets home and not a whole lot of left overs. So I may actually make the whole thing next time!

3. As a lover of sweet chili sauce- you do not have to go to the Asian market to find it. They have two brands in the Asian section of Smiths. Just so you know. (P.S. If you've never had sweet chili sauce, try it with sour cream and dip potato wedges in it. I ate this all the time in Australia- they even had sour cream and sweet chili potato chips in the store there, America needs to get with the program and get some of those. yum!)

Follow the link (the word "here") for the recipe.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Potato Leek Soup

This is a recipe that my mom makes. Andrew had it the summer we lived out there and has loved it ever since. I guess I was craving it today and it tasted so good. Plus, it was a good meal for meatless monday. I was going to post another recipe I made last week or the week before. But, it didn't settle well with me and the left overs made me nausiated. Needless to say, I'm not posting that one. I found some yummy rosemary olive oil bread on the reduced price rack at Smith's today that was really good with it. I just toasted it and put a little butter on it. I dipped and just ate. I also ate a little too much... my tummy was kind of in a little pain afterwards. But it was so worth it!

Potato Leek Soup

1 1/2 cups minced leeks
1/4 cup minced onion
1 large garlic clove, minced
3 Tbs. minced carrot
4 Tbl. butter
4 cups chicken stock
1 1/2 cups diced potatoes
1/2 cup heavy cream
salt and pepper
Sautee leeks, onions, carrot and garlic in butter. Add chicken stock and potatoes to large pot, along with sauteed vegetables. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer until potatoes are cooked. Put the soup into blender to puree, doing a little at a time. Return to pot; add cream. Reheat without boiling. Add seasonings. If too thick, thin with a little half and half or milk.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 2: Turkey Burgers, Roasted Broccoli, Roasted Smashed Potatoes

Today I made turkey burgers. They were tasty! I really liked them. The potatoes were not worth the time. I would have rather had red potato oven fries. And they would have been so much easier.

Turkey Burgers


1 turkey thigh , about 2 pounds, skinned and boned (or 1 1/2 pounds skinless, boneless thighs) cut into 1-inch chunks; arranged on sheet pan; frozen until semifirm, about 30 minutes
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or canola oil


Mix together. I pan-fried them. They would be awesome grilled. I used ground turkey and added a scoop of ricotta cheese (that's would the directions suggested). Definitely a keeper.

Roasted Smashed Potatoes

This recipe is designed to work with potatoes 1½ to 2 inches in diameter; do not use potatoes any larger. It is important to thoroughly cook the potatoes so that they will smash easily. Remove the potatoes from the baking sheet as soon as they are done browning—they will toughen if left too long. A potato masher can also be used to “smash” the potatoes.


2 pounds small Red Bliss potatoes (about 18), scrubbed (see note)
6 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

Kosher salt and ground black pepper


  1. Adjust oven racks to top and bottom positions and heat oven to 500 degrees. Arrange potatoes on rimmed baking sheet, pour ¾ cup water into baking sheet, and wrap tightly with aluminum foil. Cook on bottom rack until paring knife or skewer slips in and out of potatoes easily (poke through foil to test), 25 to 30 minutes. Remove foil and cool 10 minutes. If any water remains on baking sheet, blot dry with paper towel.

  2. Drizzle 3 tablespoons oil over potatoes and roll to coat. Space potatoes evenly on baking sheet and place second baking sheet on top; press down firmly on baking sheet, flattening potatoes until 1/3 to 1/2 inch thick. Sprinkle with thyme leaves and season generously with salt and pepper; drizzle evenly with remaining 3 tablespoons oil. Roast potatoes on top rack 15 minutes. Transfer potatoes to bottom rack and continue to roast until well browned, 20 to 30 minutes longer. Serve immediately.

Check them the last time earlier. They got a little burned. Like I said, I wasn't super impressed.

Roasted broccoli is super easy. Cut, drizzle with olive oil, season with kosher salt and pepper. Roast in a 425 degree oven for about 15 minutes. You will never eat broccoli any other way. Ever.


I haven't blogged anywhere since August. And I don't even feel guilty. Something had to go to make my life simpler. But I am going to try something in January-hopefully I will post close to everyday this month.

I frequently get stuck in making the same things for dinner over and over again. This January I am going to try something new-my goal is to not repeat a dinner once. 31 days of 31 new dinners. I hope I can do it. I am well aware that there are days when this might not be possible (you know, working full-time with two little ones and a husband who works more-than-full-time) but I am going to try my best.

So here's January 1st.

Pan Roasted Chicken with Potatoes from Cook's Country
(I am not the best at taking day I will improve-when I have some time!)

4 split bone-in chicken breasts
6 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2pounds red potatoes , cut into 1-inch wedges
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 garlic clove , minced
1 teaspoon minced fresh thyme leaves
Pinch red pepper flakes

Making the Minutes Count: While the chicken browns, cut the potatoes.

1. Heat Oven: Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat oven to 450 degrees.

2. Season and Brown Skin Side of Chicken: Pat chicken dry with paper towels, and season with salt and pepper. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in 12-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until just smoking. Brown chicken well on skin side, about 5 minutes.

3. Microwave Potatoes: While chicken browns, toss potatoes with 1 tablespoon of oil, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in microwave-safe bowl. Cover tightly with plastic wrap. Microwave on high until potatoes begin to soften, 5 to 10 minutes, shaking bowl (without removing plastic) to toss potatoes halfway through.

4. Bake Chicken: Transfer chicken, skin side up, to baking dish and bake until thickest part registers 160 degrees on instant-read thermometer, 15 to 20 minutes.

5. Brown Potatoes: While chicken bakes, pour off any grease in skillet, add 1 more tablespoon oil, and return to medium heat until shimmering. Drain microwaved potatoes then add to skillet and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and tender, about 10 minutes.

6. Make Drizzling Oil: Whisk remaining 3 tablespoons oil, lemon juice, garlic, thyme, and red pepper flakes together.

Drizzle oil over chicken and potatoes before serving.

My chicken breasts were huge so I used 2. We feed our family of four plus had enough chicken left over to make something else. I'm thinking maybe a pot pie for dinner tomorrow? That also meant my chicken took a lot more time to cook. I would suggest putting the chicken in a larger pan. I used a small pan and the oil kept popping into the oven. We had the smoke detector going off no less than 3 times. Yikes.

I liked it, though. The drizzling sauce was really good. (We cut the recipe by 1/3m, but it was still too much-I guess it depends on how many people you are serving). It will make it's way into the rotation after January.