Monday, July 30, 2012

Memorable Birthday

I have never been a big fan of my birthday. Don't get me wrong, I love celebrating other people's birthdays, just not mine. Last year my husband went all out and we ate at Congress and stayed at Hotel Saint Cecilia here in Austin. This year, I told him I wanted to keep it low key. However, I came home to this beautiful arrangement of flowers. Check out that vase that I got last year as a gift. Isn't it amazing?
As you know, I have been wanting a black purse but due to my indecisiveness I am still without a purse. My in-laws took it upon themselves to get me the "perfect one" for my birthday so that is the purse photographed! Hysterical!

We planned on having dinner at Lenoir, one of the newer restaurants here in Austin but unfortunately it was closed yesterday. Instead, my husband made me this "surf and turf" like meal! I was pleasantly surprised because I actually went to the grocery store and got stuff to cook. Anyways, I am cooking the meal I was supposed to cook yesterday, tonight, so I hope to share with you a few new recipes in the coming days.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012


I am one lucky girl! I came home from work yesterday and the day before and my husband had cooked me 2 gourmet meals. He also went to the grocery store which was a huge surprise! I am loving this role reversal but that means no recipes for you! He bought 2 different kinds of pre-seasoned salmon which was delicious and also made a neapolitan thin crust pizza.

Pretty impressive, huh? Who knew.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Baked Brie

My dearest friend, who I can't wait to see this weekend, gave me this awesome recipe!! I brought this over to a friend's party and it was gone within minutes. If you like brie, you will love this appetizer. It is so easy to make and it took me less than 10 minutes to prepare. I need another party to go to so I can make this again although I could probably eat this everyday if it was not so bad for me!!!
1 Pillsbury crescent roll can (8 ounce)
1 Round 8 ounce brie
1 Egg
Brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Separate your dough into 2 even sections. Each section should be 4 triangles. Press the perforated parts together to make one large piece of dough.
Place your brie in the center of one of the halves of dough.
Scoop a hole in the center of the brie, making sure to leave the rind on the bottom.
Fill the hole with brown sugar and put the chunk back into the brie. It may not fit perfectly but try to fit it as best as you can.
Sprinkle the top with brown sugar.
Place other half of dough on top of the brie and make a crease with the bottom dough. At this point, remove any excess dough. You can use the excess dough to make a design for the top of the brie.
I decorated mine with a "C" for my good friend's birthday! Brush with a beaten egg to get that shiny look!
Bake for 20-30 minutes until dough is golden brown.
Serve with crackers (melba toasts and almond thins are my favorite).

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Red Curry, Coconut Steamed Mussels

Remember when I made mussels last year and I told you I was trying to find the perfect sauce. Well, I found it! Again, mussels are so easy to cook. You really can't screw them up. My only advice to you is that you take the time to clean each and every shell of the mussel. If you don't, your mussels will taste fishy. Nothing is worse than when you go to a restaurant and they serve you fishy or undercooked mussels. You can ensure you do not undercook your mussels by looking at the mussels before you remove them from the burner. Just make sure all the shells have opened and you are good!
Semi-adapted from Savory Sweet Life
2 tablespoons of light butter
3 cloves of fresh garlic, minced
1 tablespoon of minced fresh ginger
3 teaspoons red curry paste
1 cup reduced sodium chicken broth
1 cup coconut milk
2 pounds of mussels
3 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, chopped
1 small lime, cut into wedges (optional)
Wash each mussel under cold water and remove the beards (brown strings) found on some of the mussels.
Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat.
Add the garlic and ginger. Cook for 2-3 minutes until garlic is fragrant but not burned.
Add the red curry paste.
Stir the paste until it has thinned out with butter.
Pour the chicken broth and coconut milk into the pot. Stir the broth mixture for a couple seconds until well mixed.
Add the mussels and cook covered for 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally, until mussels have opened. Discard any mussels that did not open.
Add the cilantro and give the pot a quick stir.
Transfer mussels and broth to a large serving bowl and squeeze a tablespoon of fresh lime juice over the dish. Serve additional lime wedges on the side.
We were so full at this point but I could not let these last ones go to waste because they were so good!

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Friday, July 20, 2012

My Week

Twas' a good week for me. I am usually not up for doing things when I have to work the next day but I decided to live a little and do some things I would not usually do. First things first, our apartment showed the classic, National Lampoon's Vacation on a big screen by the pool. The weather was perfect and I even needed a blanket because of the breeze. It was a chill night and I managed to stay up past 10 on a work night. Yayyy!
Then, last night we went to Charlie Mars at Unplugged at the Grove. Last year they had a frozen Jack Daniel's specialty cocktail that was nothing to write home about. This year they changed their specialty drink to a frozen sangria with Southern Comfort. If you like sweet drinks, you would love this!!!! All in all, it was a great week. Have a fabulous weekend and I hope to be back to my cooking ways next week!

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trendy Black Purses

The time has come. I need a new black purse. Mine has just about bitten the dust. 
I got this gem at Barney's and it has been so versatile through the years. I have worn it as a clutch, shoulder bag and cross the body bag. Unfortunately, they do not make this purse anymore so I am in the market for a new one. Here are a few of the ones I am deciding between. Decisions, decisions...I am not good at making these.
This would be a major splurge but it maybe too fancy for everyday use.
Jacki Easlick
I think this may be the frontrunner but the tassels are a bit much. Foley and Corinna has a similar purse but I feel like I see the Foley and Corinna purse all the time and I want something different. 
Anya Hindmarch
I like the two straps on this bag but I am worried this bag is going to be huge in person.
Collina Strada Alea Duo Bag in Purple (aubergine)
Collina Strada Alea Duo Bag
I am obsessed with this designer and just about every bag she designs. The problem is this particular bag is sold out so the chances of me finding it are slim to none.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Baked Corned beef

This is another one of those recipes that I am redoing from last year. I love to keep a baked corn beef in the house because it is fabulous for lunch and dinner. Reuben sandwiches are the best and I can never get enough of corned beef and cabbage! Every time I make this recipe, the corned beef somehow disappears within a day. It is to die for! My mom deserves all the credit for discovering this recipe because there is no way I could have come up with this on my own!

3-4 1b. packaged corned beef (2 lbs. works too but it will be gone before you know it)
1 package of pickling spices (this will be included with the corned beef)
Spicy brown mustard
Light brown sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Un-package the corned beef. Rinse all the goo off and retrieve the package of pickling spices.
Place rinsed corned beef fat side up in a roasting pan with a cover. If you do not have a roasting pan, you can use a casserole dish but you must be able to cover it well with foil, so no steam escapes.
Add about 1/4" of water to the pan with corned beef in it. Sprinkle spices on top of fat; Cover and bake fat-side up for 3 hours. No less!
Remove meat and throw away the juice. Trim all the fat from the top of the meat and wherever else you see fat. It will almost melt off. The corned beef may become small, but the fat is terrible so get it off now! The spices will come off with the fat but you do not need them.
This is what your corned beef should look like when all the fat is scraped off!
Place in a clean casserole dish. While still hot, spread top and sides with spicy mustard. Sprinkle brown sugar all over. The sugar will start melting. You can never get enough of this mixture so be generous when spreading the mustard and brown sugar all over the corned beef.
Cover with foil and place in refrigerator. If you try slicing it while it's hot, it will fall apart.
Make sure you slice the meat against the grain or it will be stringy. This will not last long because it is so flavorful!

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Monday, July 16, 2012

White Chocolate Key Lime Pie

I got rave reviews about my lemon pie so I figured it was time to try another pie. Key lime pie is that perfect dessert for your summer cookouts! Even if you have never been a fan of key lime pie, I actually think you will like this version. The lime flavor is very subtle and not overpowering. I made the mistake of putting this pie in the refrigerator instead of the freezer. When I went to serve this pie to my guests, it was very soupy. Obviously, I will not make this mistake again but I wanted to give you a heads up because the actual recipe never mentioned freezing it but that is the trick to making this tasty pie!

Adapted from My Recipes
Reduced-fat graham cracker crust (get the smallest of the 2 sizes)
1 cup of fat-free whipping cream
12 ounce package white chocolate chips, reserve a handful for garnish
1 tablespoon fat-free sour cream
1 teaspoon lime zest
1/3 cup lime juice
Garnish: lime slices and chopped white chocolate
Melt together whipping cream and chocolate chips in a small pan over low heat.
While you heat the chocolate and whipping cream, grate your lime zest.
Remove from heat, stir in sour cream, lime zest and juice.
Pour into pie crust.
Cover and freeze until ready to use. Garnish with lime slices and chopped chocolate if desired.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Pinterest Squash, No thanks...

I thought I would make this week all about roasting vegetables. That was until I cooked this bland combination of zucchini and squash. I figured this recipe would be delicious because I was roasting some of my favorite vegetables and adding garlic powder and parmesan. I mean, what could go wrong? Well everything. All I have to say is these vegetables tasted like nothing.

This recipe is floating around Pinterest like crazy so I figured I could save you the time if you were thinking about cooking this. I always have high hopes for recipes so I type out the ingredients and directions to a recipe first before actually making it which is why I am giving you step by step directions on how to cook these awful vegetables. I followed every step of the recipe and it still turned out bad so I do not think there is hope for this one.
Adapted from the Gracious Pantry
2 large zucchini
2 large squash
2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp pepper
1/8 cup parmesan cheese
Olive oil or olive oil cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Wash and chop your squash and zucchini into large slices.
Spray a foil-lined cooking sheet with nonstick spray.
Line up your squash and zucchini like soldiers. Don't worry about overcrowding them.
Spray a light coat of olive oil spray over the vegetables.
Then, sprinkle your spices including your parmesan over your squash.
Bake for 30-45 minutes or until they have a light golden hue to them and you can easily push a fork through them. They may look good but again they are nothing special!

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Skinny Lasagna

This recipe comes from my mom but it is very similar to the lasagna that is served at the White House. That recipe has been featured on the Today show hence where I recognized the similarity. This lasagna took me 1.5 hours to prepare which is pretty long but this was also my first time cooking it. I bet I could prepare it in under an hour next time. Again, this is another one of those casseroles that I like to prepare early in the week so that we can eat leftovers the rest of the week.
Yield-6 large servings
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 yellow onion, chopped
1 container of sliced mushrooms (optional)
4 cloves of garlic, minced
20 ounces of fresh ground white turkey (cooked, drained and crumbled)
4 cups fresh spinach, washed, but not dried (~1 package)
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes or 2-15 ounce cans
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
3/4 tsp garlic salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
2 heaping tablespoons of chopped fresh parsley or 1 tsp of dried flat-leaf parsley
10 basil leaves chopped or 1 1/2 tsp of dried basil
12 cooked whole-wheat lasagna noodles
15 ounces fat-free ricotta
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese (divided)
1/4 tsp garlic salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
2 cups of fat-free shredded mozzarella cheese
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Cook your lasagna noodles according to the package directions. Lay aside on wax paper, foil or another nonstick medium until ready to use.
Cook your ground turkey either in a saute pan or microwave. I like to use the microwave so that I can drain the excess fat that accumulates from cooking. I cooked the turkey for a total of 5 minutes. Set aside.
Then, place your mushrooms in a microwaveable container and sprinkle with garlic salt. Cook your mushrooms in the microwave for 3 minutes and drain. Set aside.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook for 3 minutes more.
Add COOKED ground turkey and spinach and stir until wilted. It will seem like there is a lot of spinach at first but I promise you it will wilt (see below).
Add mushrooms, crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, salt, pepper, parsley and basil. Let simmer until thickened, about 10 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, combine ricotta, 1/2 cup parmesan, egg; garlic salt and pepper and stir well. Set aside.
Spread 1/4 of the turkey mixture into the bottom of a 9x13" baking dish (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray). Top with 4 lasagna noodles, 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 of the mozzarella cheese. Repeat process two more times.
You want to top the casserole with the remaining 1/4 turkey mixture. Finally, sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup of parmesan. Bake until bubbly, 25-30 minutes.
Let stand about 5-10 minutes before cutting and serve with a spatula. You can't tell me this does not look delicious!

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Crispy Red Potatoes

I am a reality show junkie so I had to remind you about the premiere of NY Med tonight! It airs on ABC at 9pm central time so set your DVRs. I can assure you that you will not be disappointed. This show reminds me of a real life ER. This show is filmed over a 2 year period and is about the nurses, doctors and patients at NY Presbyterian and it will make you laugh and cry all at the same time.

Now that I plugged my favorite show ever, you definitely need to find time to make these potatoes! Everyone always loves them! They are very easy to make but you have to be patient when cooking these potatoes. You have to cook them on high heat for a long time. I served these potatoes with turkey burgers but they would also make delicious breakfast potatoes!
5 lbs of red potatoes, diced (***use only 3/4 of 5 lb. bag )
1 package of Good Seasons Garlic & Herb dressing (You can use any Garlic & Herb mix)
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. olive oil
Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Dice your potatoes into bite-size pieces. If you want to cut your potatoes ahead of time, make sure you soak them in water otherwise they will turn brown.
Place your potatoes in a large bowl and drizzle with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the garlic-herb dressing to the bowl. Mix the potatoes and dressing together with your hands so that the dressing is spread evenly over the potatoes. 
Generously spray a foil-lined pan with nonstick spray and add the potatoes to the pan. Sprinkle the potatoes with parmesan cheese.
Cook the potatoes for about 1.5 hours, checking them every 1/2 hour and flipping them with a spatula!
*Often times the potatoes do stick to the pan no matter how much nonstick spray you use. Just make sure to toss them as best as you can every 1/2 hour to make sure the whole potato gets crisp.
Your cooking time may vary but your potatoes are done when they are crispy!!!

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