Friday, July 29, 2011

Dolly Can Swim!

 After many failed attempts of getting Dolly used to the waves at the beach, we decided to take her to the bay where the waters are calm. While she isn't a fan of swimming quite yet, we learned she's a great little swimmer! Hopefully a few years living in a beach town will change that. 

Have a great weekend friends! Look forward to a Korean Fried Rice recipe next week.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Sally's Ground Beef Taco Recipe

This is another great recipe from my love's childhood. When I first heard about these I had no idea how much I would end up loving them. The recipe has been slightly tweaked, but you MUST try making these tacos, they're super easy and flavorful!













 Ground Beef Tacos (Serves 6)
Time: 5mins Prep and 45mins-1hr Cook
Ingredients:
- 1 1/2-2lbs of Ground Beef
- 24oz Picante Sauce (I promise it adds a great flavor, but you have to use Pace Picante!)
- 1tsp Garlic Powder
- 1tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4-1/2tsp Lawrys Salt 
- Salt and Pepper to taste (optional)
  1. Place your meat into a pan and cook on medium.
  2. Once meat is almost done cooking, bring the heat to low and add your Lawry's, Garlic, and Onion Powder. Use additional S&P to taste if necessary.
  3. Add your jar of Pace and let it simmer with the meat for about 30-40mins. 
The final product will look a little something like this. 

I have to give a shout out to my new double spoon rest! It's everything I hoped it would be. 
 

Taco Shells
Cook Time: 2mins per shell
Ingredients:
- Corn Tortillas
- Oil (Olive oil burns quicker, but that's what we had)
- Salt 
- Lemon or lime to squeeze onto shells (Optional)

I'm going to give you two different ways to make these taco shells, the first one is a "healthier" version.

Crispy Taco Shells
Note: These are not my hands...my man does the taco shell making!
  1. Brush a generous amount of oil directly onto your tortillas.
  2. Fry on each side for about 30 seconds on medium heat. Add more oil if necessary.
  3. Before the tortilla gets hard, fold the tortilla in half and cook on each side to form the shell.
  4. Sprinkle a little salt on your shells before you pull them out of the pan.
  5. Place your cooked tortillas on a few layers of paper towel so they can soak up any extra oil.  
This version is a little healthier and tastes great, but the shells won't get as crispy. We tried the second option the following evening for dinner...highly recommend this one. 

Crispier Taco Shells
  1. Once pan has heated to about medium, place a little bit of oil on the pan.
  2. Place your tortilla onto the oil and let it fry for about 30 seconds on each side, the time will vary slightly based upon the heat.
  3. Before the tortilla gets hard, place some of your taco meat and cheese on it and fold the shell. 
  4. Hold the shell closed and cook on each side until your taco is formed! 
  5. You can blot the excess oil from your tacos with paper towels and let them lay on a few sheets while you fry the rest of them up!
This method is a little greasier, but it gives the shell a good crunch! Serve them up with your favorite fiesta sides and enjoy!!

Click here to get my guacamole recipe from a previous post! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Rosemary and Lemon Potatoes

I made these rosemary and lemon potatoes as a side for our grilled steaks the other night and loved them. This was an easy and delicious side, the lemon and rosemary added a nice fresh flavor to the potatoes. 

Rosemary and Lemon Potatoes (Serves 5)
Time: 10mins Prep and 45-50mins Cook


Ingredients:
- Potatoes - I used 4 giant red potatoes that I bought from the farmers market, which probably equates to     about 8-10 small red potatoes.
- 2-3 Tbsp of Fresh or Dry Rosemary (not pictured...but very important!)
- 1 Lemon
- Olive oil
- Salt and Pepper to taste
  1. Set your oven to 375 while you prep your side. 
  2. Chop your potatoes into fourths for quicker and even cooking. 
  3. Toss with olive oil and add the rosemary and juice from 1/2 lemon. 
  4. Pour your mixture onto a baking sheet and top the potatoes with a few thin slices of lemon. 
  5. After 20 minutes of bake time, gently toss the potatoes and let them bake for another 20-25 minutes. 
Once they're ready let them cool for a few minutes and serve!

Eurasia Cafe and Wine Bar

I finally decided to do a little online research after driving by Eurasia numerous times.  I learned that they are known for their seasonal menus that use fresh local and regional ingredients.  I absolutely love restaurants that support local businesses so I had to try this out.

This past weekend Prince Charming and I decided to have our date night at Eurasia. While the restaurant was a lot smaller than I had expected the interior was clean, simple, and cozy.

Appetizer:
To start we had the Beef Tenderloin Carpaccio served with a truffled egg salad and arugula. This isn't for everyone, but it tastes a lot better than you think. The creaminess of the egg salad and the acidity from the vinaigrette was a perfect match to the carpaccio. One of the waiters even stopped by to tell us that he used to come into the restaurant just for the carpaccio before he started working there.



Entree:
I ordered the special which was a Rack of Boar with a Blackberry glaze and served with Parisian Pommes, Surry Succotash, and Rosemary Salt. The glaze was perfectly sweet while the succotash added a nice salty flavor. The pommes were good too especially when dipped in the rosemary salt.


Entree:
Prince Charming ordered the Beef Tenderloin with a red wine and thyme reduction which was served with a white cheddar bacon risotto and surry succotash. The best part of this meal was the bacon and cheddar risotto and while it was a good choice, he preferred the boar. One point for me! I always end up picking at his meals after we order.
Dessert:
Since I wanted to blog about this great meal, we decided we had to complete it with a dessert. Upon recommendation from the waitress, we ordered the Local Blueberry Cobbler served with a Honey Goat Cheese Ice Cream.  The crust was great and the ice cream tasted as you would expect.  All of the flavors complemented each other very well.

We will definitely be visiting Eurasia again.  Next time it will be in the company of good friends!


Drinks: Ginger Beer and Guava Nectar Cockatil and a Raspberry Melon Mojito

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Easy Breakfast Muffins

These muffins are easy, delicious, and provide a whole meal in one bite. We made these for our friends during a visit and everyone loved them! These muffins are easy to prepare and store well for breakfast during the week. Give them a try!


Easy Breakfast Muffins (Makes 24 Muffins)
Time: 2hrs-overnight Prep and 35mins Cook 

Ingredients:
- 1 loaf of French Bread/Wheat Bread cubed
- 1lb of Sausage ( I used chicken, but use whatever you like or have on hand)
- 1-2c of Hash Browns
- 1c of Cheese
- 1/2 tsp of Mustard Powder
- 1/4 tsp each of Garlic and Onion Powder
- 1-2tsp of Salt and a few dashes of pepper
- 5-6 Eggs
- 2c of Milk
- 1/2 chopped Onion
- 2tbsp chopped Parsley
    1. Mix together your milk, eggs, garlic powder, onion powder, mustard powder, s&p, cheese, and parsley. 
    2. Pour mixture over your cubed bread and place it covered in the fridge overnight. If you don't have time to do this the evening prior try to let the bread sit in the mixture for at least 2-3 hours. 
    3. Take sausage out of the casing and crumble into a medium heated pan. Once the sausage starts to cook add your chopped onion and hash browns.
    4. Cook sausage thoroughly and drain if necessary, set aside to cool. 
    5. Once cooled place the mixture in the fridge until the bread mixture is ready.  (If you prefer to make a casserole, mix bread and sausage together and place the mixture in a casserole dish in the fridge)
    6. When you're ready to make the muffins, grease two muffin pans and heat the oven to 350. 
    7. Place the mixture into the muffin pans and cook for 30-35 minutes, during the last few minutes of cook time feel free to put some extra cheese on top of each muffin.  
    Serve them up with your favorite breakfast side and enjoy! If you want to be daring, top your muffin with a little maple syrup or hot sauce.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    My Little Monster

    Happy Friday Friends! Wanted to share a few pictures of my little monster kicking off her weekend with her new elephant.  Keep an eye out for an awesome breakfast recipe this weekend!



    "Where is the dang squeaker in this thing?!"

    Happy Friday everyone, stay cool!

    Wednesday, July 20, 2011

    Peanut Butter Ba Bas


    I'm pretty sure that peanut butter and chocolate are soul mates. Why else would they be so perfect together?  This recipe was actually made for my love by his mother during his childhood. Making Peanut Butter Ba Bas are a way that I love to remember Sally in our house.  Hope you guys find as much delight in these blissful bites as we do!              
                                              
    Peanut Butter Ba Bas (Makes 25-30 Bites)

    Ingredients:
    - 1 stick of Butter
    - 2c of Powdered Sugar 
    - 2c Rice Krispie Cereal 
    - 1 1/4c Peanut Butter ( I eyeball this so it could be close to 1 1/2)
    - 1 bag of Semisweet Chocolate Chips
    1. Pour your melted butter, powdered sugar, and peanut butter into a bowl and mix well. 
    2. Add the cereal to the bowl and create a cookie dough type texture. Chill in fridge for about 30 minutes (they'll be easier to work with).
    3. Melt the chocolate in the microwave or a double broiler while mixture is chilling.
    4. Once the mixture is ready, roll them into balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
    5. Dip the Ba Bas into the melted chocolate and place them back on the baking sheet.
    6. Place the Ba Bas in the fridge for 1-2hrs before serving and store chilled.

    Enjoy and try to share a few!


      If you had a sous chef in the kitchen like I did, be sure to share the wealth!

      Tuesday, July 19, 2011

      Grilled Spicy Honey Chicken Dinner

      While browsing The Girl Who Ate Everything, I found a great spicy honey grilled chicken recipe that was cited from Our Best Bites.  The photo looked so amazing that I had to make this for dinner tonight! While the recipe has a little kick, the honey glaze calms the heat. We paired our grilled chicken with a light summer salad and some grilled garlic toast, this meal will definitely be a repeat. Hope you enjoy!



      Spicy Honey Chicken
      Time: 20mins Prep and 16mins Cook
      Ingredients: 4-6 Chicken Thighs or Breasts, Oil, Cumin, Coriander, Chili Powder, Chipotle Powder, Garlic Powder, Onion Powder, Salt, Honey, Cider Vinegar


      Rub:
      2 tsp garlic powder
      2 tsp chili powder
      1 tsp kosher salt
      1 tsp cumin
      1/2 tsp onion powder
      1/2 tsp coriander
      1/2 tsp chipotle chile powder

      Glaze:
      1/2c honey
      1tbsp cider vinegar
      1. Rub both sides of chicken with olive oil for the rub.
      2. Once you've made your rub, toss your chicken in the mixing bowl to cover both sides.
      3. Prepare the glaze and set aside until the chicken is almost done. 
      4. Now if you have a "Grill Master" at home like I do, pass on the chicken and let them get their grill on! The breasts take about 10-16mins (Time depends on grill heat and size of chicken).
      5. Brush on your glaze during the last few minutes of the grilling time, take note that the juices will cause a little extra smoke!

      My love getting his grill on!


      The chicken is really as good as it looks!

      Peach salad served with a Citrus and Maple Dressing 
      Time: 5mins Prep and 5-7mins Cook
      Ingredients: Bacon, Mint, Peaches, Orange, Lemon, Maple Syrup, Olive Oil, Salt


      The recipe below makes enough dressing for 4-5 lightly tossed salads.
      1. Juice 1 Orange and 1/2 Lemon into a mixing bowl.
      2. Add 1tbsp of maple syrup and 1/2 tbsp of olive oil to the mixing bowl.
      3. Add a dash of salt to taste.
      4. Mix the dressing and chill until salad is ready to be served. 
      5. Slice up your peaches (2-3 Based on your serving).
      6. Chop up a few mint leaves (optional).
      7. Cook your bacon and crumble once cooled, this will be used to top the salad.
      8. Assemble your salad and add any other vegetables that you like!

      The salad was very light and perfect for this healthy dinner. The mint was a last minute addition that I found while sorting through our vegetable drawer, I personally thought it added a refreshing flavor but it really isn't necessary. The vinaigrette was inspired from the Summer Peaches and Mozzarella Salad that we recently had at Vintage Tavern. While I didn't recreate an identical flavor, we'll definitely be using it on more of our salads!  

      Pure Barre. Amazing.

      What is Pure Barre you ask? Well it is pretty much the most amazing workout I have ever done! Sadly, they do not have Pure Barre or any Barre workout studios in my city.  Lucky for you, they have quite a few locations across the country. If you don't have a Pure Barre near you, try out any barre workout class, I'm sure you won't regret it! You don't have to be a dancer or in perfect shape for the classes, they are made for all expertise levels and provide modifications for those who need it.


      Pure Barre provides a total body workout that combines ballet, pilates, and light weight training. The workout used muscles that were untapped in my daily routine or any other workout that I had previously participated in. They work your target muscles to fatigue and incorporate stretching to build long and lean muscles! After my first class I had a hard time walking around my office in a pair of low heels, it was pretty comical! Each session left me feeling amazing, I miss it so much that I ordered the DVD set to use at home. I'll be sure to let you know how they are!

      Now enough fitness talk...I'll be posting a recipe for Peanut Butter Ba Bas tomorrow!

      Source: Photo taken from Pure Barre Greenwood Village Facebook Page, Carrie Rezabek teaching our class in Colorado.

      Monday, July 18, 2011

      Easy Weeknight Fiesta

      My honey and I both love Mexican food, but if he could marry a burrito he probably would. To make sure he doesn't try, I like to mix in a few fiesta nights each month. Since the restaurants here can't match up to our favorite ones out west, we often try to make our favorite dishes at home. The recipes below satisfy our cravings and can be prepared fairly quickly!


      Easiest Chicken Burrito Ever (Serves 4)
      Time: 10mins
      Ingredients: Whole Rotisserie Chicken, Cilantro, S&P, Garlic Powder, Corn or Flour Tortillas for serving

      1. Remove the skin and shred the chicken.
      2. Add salt, pepper, garlic powder, and chopped cilantro to your liking.
      3. Finally, If you have a little kitchen helper like I usually do, tip them for their assistance! 

      Black Beans
      Time: 7mins Prep and 15mins Cook
      Ingredients: 16-26.5z Can of Black Beans, Cilantro, Onion, Pepper, Jalapeno, S&P, Cumin, Oregano, Garlic Powder, Lime Juice, Olive Oil


      1. Drain and rinse your black beans and set aside.
      2. Chop about 1/2-1C of cilantro (depends on personal liking for cilantro).
      3. Chop 1/4-1/2 onion.
      4. Cut your jalapeno in half, remove seeds and dice (Use seeds for extra heat).
      5. To a medium heated pan pour a few tbsp of olive oil and add the onion, peppers and jalapeno (4-5mins).
      6. Once the onions become translucent add your beans and slightly reduce heat (3-5mins).
      7. Add 1/2 tsp oregano, 1tsp cumin, a few dashes of garlic powder, and finally salt and pepper to taste.
      8. After adjusting flavors to your liking, add the cup of cilantro and some lime juice.

      Sunday, July 17, 2011

      Sweets to Share...or Not

      A few days ago my friend Hampton Roads Foodie, posted a rave review about Pinterest. Well Pinterest you have sparked my interest! They have wonderful inspiration boards that are filled with pictures of food, love, fashion, photography, and anything else your heart desires. Go visit Pinterest and request an invite!

      While browsing the goods this morning I found a few recipes that need to make it into my kitchen!

      Pumpkin Pie Cupcakes

      You can find this recipe at Bake it in a Cake.   

      Mini Banana Splits

      Mini Banana Splits?! Yes, Please! You can find out more about this little delight here

      If you happen to make any of these sweets before I do, let me know what you think. Oh, and if you have enough willpower to take a photo of it before devouring your piece, share that too!

      Source: Bakeitinacake.com and Shine.yahoo.com 

      Saturday, July 16, 2011

      USS Enterprise Returns Home



      After a six month deployment, nearly 4,500 sailors return home!

      On Friday I had the pleasure of joining a few of my friends from Congressman Scott Rigell's office in welcoming home the USS Enterprise. We had the opportunity to socialize and hand out candy to the families that were patiently awaiting the arrival of their loved ones. Many arrived hours early to get the perfect waiting spot on the pier, while new mothers dressed up their precious babies in anticipation of their first meeting with daddy. It was an honor to be a part of such a special day for many. Welcome home USS Enterprise!

      Friday, July 15, 2011

      I Scream for Ice Cream

      It was one of those nights when ice cream was a necessary evil.  You know when you just want something else to focus on? Like a DQ Banana Split Blizzard?


      The night took a turn for the better when my love proceeded to order a "tiny Banana Split Blizzard." That request got us a confused cricket chirp from the ordering box and I couldn't help but giggle. Fortunately my distraction didn't help him make his order, once again he asked for "a tiny, I mean mini, snickers blizzard." The attendant probably thought we were crazy, but he made my night. After our eventful drive-thru experience, I found out that I have repeatedly referred to DQ's new mini size as the "tiny blizzard." Either way the "tiny gods" worked their magic and turned my frown upside down tonight. 

       On a final note, I must add that the mini size really is the perfect dessert portion. Maybe America is finally starting to realize that bigger is not always better.  

      Wednesday, July 13, 2011

      All American Summer BBQ

      This was one bangin' burger! It was juicy and had a perfect smoky flavor to it. Believe it or not this was the first burger we have ever grilled together and thankfully it turned out awesome. 

      Cheeseburger with Grilled Onions and Truffle Mayo
      Time: 15mins Prep and 12mins Cook
      Ingredients: Ground beef, Onions, Fresh Buns, Favorite Toppings, Garlic Powder, Worcetshire Sauce, S&P, Truffle Oil, Mayo, Olive Oil

      Truffle Mayo:
      1. You can make the mayo yourself...or you can just mix in truffle oil and garlic powder with some mayo made with olive oil like I did.
      I personally love truffle oil due to the earthy and nutty flavor it adds to a dish, if you don't like it then you can just omit this part of the recipe.

      Caramelized Onions:
      1. Chop one whole small onion.
      2. Use enough olive oil to coat your pan and add your chopped onions.
      3. Sprinkle some salt and pepper and let it cook down on a medium low heat.
      4. Once the onions start caramelizing, turn the heat to a simmer or off and cover.
      Burger Patties:
      1. 2lbs of ground chuck or ground round will make 4-5 patties (I mixed the two, a little higher fat helps make the burgers juicy).
      2. Add a few tbsp of worcestershire sauce, few pinches of salt and pepper,a few sprinkles of garlic powder, and chopped onions. Adjust these portions to your liking.
      3. Have some fun and get your hands dirty while mixing the seasonings into the beef.
      4. Form your patties slightly larger then you want them to be since they usually shrink a little once cooked.
      5. Grill the patties for 10-12 minutes for a medium burger.
      6. Place the cheese on the patties during the last few minutes and cover the grill to melt.
      Buns:
      1. Mix your smart balance with a few sprinkles of garlic powder and parsley flakes.
      2. Spread the mixture onto your buns and grill or toast them on a pan.
      3. Finally put together your amazing burger! 
      Grilled Corn in Husks
      Time: 20mins Prep and 20mins Cook
      Ingredients: Corn, Smart Balance, Parsley Flakes, Garlic Powder, S&P

      1. Remove the silk from the corn and soak it for about 15-20 minutes in the husks.
      2. Spread the mixture of smart balance, parsley flakes, garlic powder, and salt and pepper and close the husks.
      3. Grill them for 15-20 minutes and enjoy! 
      Pecan Pie


      Since this is my honey's favorite pie, I finally decided to make an attempt at it. I used a foodnetwork recipe that included a few tbsp of bourbon, I personally thought this added a nice flavor to the pie. I will admit that I cheated on the dough and purchased store bought pie crust due to time. My only suggestion with this recipe would be under cooking the pie at around 30-35 minutes. I had mine in for the 40 minutes listed and ended up with a pecan cookie. To my surprise after a few days of keeping the pie covered I got the softer texture that I prefer. Overall the pie was great and I will definitely use this recipe again!

      Check out the recipe here!

      Enjoy your take on an All American Summer BBQ!

      Source: Pecan Pie Photo from Food Network

      Recent Dining Adventures Pt.2

      Filomena Ristorante - Georgetown, D.C.

      I have to say this was an exceptional dining experience! Our friend Michelle was able to get us a reservation in the back room of the restaurant which replicates the kitchen and dining room of JoAnna Filomena's mother. Not everyone gets to sit in the famous dining room, the guests who often enjoy this spot includes former presidents, celebrities...oh and us!

      Antipasti:
      Calamari Fritti, Salsiccia Alla Griglia (Sausage and Peppers), and a life changing serving of Burrata Mozzarella Di Caprese! It was a beautiful ball of Buffalo Mozzarella with a ricotta center, and the mixture of the two was just blissful.

      Pasta: Unfortunately I cannot remember what they gave us to sample, but I can tell you everything was rich and flavorful. I don't think you can go wrong with an order.

      Dessert:
      Tiramisu, Strawberry Cheesecake, and one of their chocolate cakes


      Another tradition the restaurant has incorporated into its experience is the serving of Sambucca or Amaretto at the end of each meal. They brought out two bottles with small shot glasses and coffee beans. We placed 3 coffee beans in our glasses to represent "health, happiness, and prosperity" and sipped them with our desserts. It was a personal touch that really added warmth to the restaurant. Thanks to our friend Michelle for taking us all to the fabulous Filomena Ristorante! We had a great meal and were able to sample several amazing dishes.

      The Salt Lick - Driftwood, TX


      Delicious? YES! Do I love BBQ? YES! Must you visit The Salt Lick? YES!!!!!! This may be a vegetarian's nightmare, but it is a BBQ lover's dream come true! On a recent trip to Austin for a Bachelor/ette weekend, the Monday crew drove out to Driftwood, TX for a one of a kind experience. It took us about 30 minutes to drive out to Driftwood from Austin, for a car of hungry people it felt like an eternity of vast nothing to get there. We finally spot a giant parking lot FULL of cars and Mark says "I think we're here"...apparently I didn't realize what a happening spot this was. There were busses dropping groups off! I now understand why there is live music, fresh lemonade and popcorn, oh and a B.Y.O.B policy. Luckily our cousin Peter was already there with a cooler of beer and manning a table outside for us all. After an hour and half of enjoying each other's company, kids playing tag, and listening to music, Peter went to check on the status of our table. Well apparently we weren't that hungry because the pager had gone off 30 minutes ago. Thankfully they quickly arranged another table for our large group and on we went!


      We ordered the "Family Style" option on the menu which cost around $20/person. It seemed appropriate since were all one happy family of friends and cousins, everyone definitely had their eating pants on this day! The meat and turkey were perfectly smoked, the sausage was amazing, and the ribs were divine. They even brought out some extra sauce which I obviously smothered my entire plate with. The meal was great, but the sides need a kudos too! The meal came with bread, coleslaw, and a potato salad. I couldn't help but have several servings of their potato salad, it was a carb delight! The great thing about this meal was that as long as you kept truckin' on with your meal, they keep bringing more goodness out to the table. After eating their entire BBQ pit (kidding, we left a rib and some sausages for the other guests), we decided it was time to say our goodbye's and have a moment of silence (or again food coma) for our awesome meal. We had so much fun with our friends and family and cannot wait to see them at the wedding! 


      Lucky for me, I was able to share this experience with my dear friend Emily!