May 31, 2012
I was surprised by how much my two boys loved this dish. They were particularly fans of the sugar snap and snow peas and ate their servings, plus part of mine. My husband and I enjoyed this stir-fry as well. The only draw back that I found was that the tofu wasn't salty enough and needed a little more flavor. I would suggest adding some of the sauce to the tofu after it is browned and letting the tofu sit and marinate while the vegetables are cooking. This would greatly improve the flavor of the tofu. Overall, a great way to add more vegetables and tofu into your diet.
For the recipe go to Three-Pea, Cashew and Tofu Stir-Fry.
May 29, 2012
For the recipe go to Cincinnati Chili.
May 28, 2012
Both my husband and I were surprised that the gnocchi was the real winner in this recipe. Most of the time in shrimp dishes the shrimp is always the star. However, in this dish the shrimp was a little lacking in flavor, but the gnocchi was delicious. I think that the shrimp would have been better if it was seasoned more before going in with the other ingredients or even marinated before cooking. The asparagus was delicious and honestly this dish would be just as good (and a lot cheaper) if you left out the shrimp and made it vegetarian. My kids loved the recipe, so it was very family friendly.
For the recipe go to Skillet Gnocchi with Shrimp and Asparagus.
May 27, 2012
This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 25 minutes of total time, all of which is active and makes 4 servings. I had to go to multiple grocery stores to find all the ingredients. Nappa cabbage can be hit or miss to find in my area and I picked a week when it was sparse. Luckily I was able to find it at the third store I tried. I had no problems finding any of the other ingredients. Instead of basmati rice I used the jasmine rice I already had in my cupboard. My chicken took longer to cook than the time suggested by the recipe. I think that I might have cut my chicken slightly larger than suggested and hence why it took longer to cook. Finally, the bunch of scallions that I bought was very big so instead of using the whole bunch I used four scallions in total. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.
My two boys loved this recipe and ate their whole servings. I love that the recipe has 35 grams of protein per serving and is lower in sodium than most stir-fry recipes. Since the soy sauce and peanuts were salted I found that I didn't have to add additional salt, which was a pleasant change of pace. This recipe states that it makes 4 servings and it makes exactly that amount. There was just enough for my family to eat for one meal with no leftovers. If you are serving more than four people or want leftovers I would suggest doubling the recipe. Overall an easy Stir-fry recipe that even people that have never made stir-fry before would be comfortable preparing.
For the recipe go to Chicken-Peanut Stir-Fry.
May 26, 2012
With 22 grams of protein and completely vegetarian this dish is a nice change of pace for my family. I have been trying to incorporate more vegetarian meals and this recipe was easy to prep. This makes a large amount of chili! It states that it makes 8 servings, but honestly it looks like I still have 10 more servings in my freezer. I really liked the flavor of this soup, it was flavorful without having to add meat. My husband wasn't a fan of the chickpeas, but that is normal for him. He prefers chickpeas to be mashed or completely cooked until almost mushy. I was surprised that my boys ate their whole servings and asked for more. Overall this was a very easy slow-cooker recipe that was well received by everyone in my family.
For the recipe go to Lentil-Chickpea Chili.
May 25, 2012
I felt that this recipe didn't make enough sauce once it was done. There were only a few tablespoons of sauce left to brush the ribs with. If you are like my family and love sauce you should definitely double the sauce amounts. The sauce was mild and would appeal to people that like simple bbq sauces like Kraft. If you are like my husband and like more bite to your sauce than you should look for another recipe. My two boys loved this recipe, it was very child friendly. The pork was very tender and falling off the bone, which is perfect. Overall, a very easy slow-cooker recipe that has 38 grams of protein per serving.
For the recipe go to Country-Style Barbecue Ribs.
May 24, 2012
For the recipe go to Gnocchi, Sweet Corn and Arugula in Cream Sauce. (registration required)
May 23, 2012
This has been a crazy week. My oldest had his last day of school yesterday and I seem to have a to-do list a mile long. I would love to say that I am super organized and am great about getting everything done. Before kids I had lists and everything was always done on time or early. All that changed after my youngest was born. With two kids there are days that my house looks like the same disaster it did at the start (even though it has been cleaned 10 plus times) and instead of taking items off my to-do list I have added more. So I have learned to keep at least a few simple meals plans on stand-by every week. Without these quick dinners things would turn into chaos at dinner time. One of the best things I have learned is to utilize my crockpot. I can normally carve out about a half an hour in the morning to prep and put everything nicely in the crockpot for dinner. Then I don't have to stress when my two boys are in the kitchen screaming for food and my husband joins in after getting home from work. The May issue of All You magazine had a recipe for Butter Chicken, which with 20 minutes of prep and 30 grams of protein, looked perfect for my busy week.
This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 20 minutes of prep and 5 hours and 15 minutes of cooking and makes 8 servings. I had the worst time finding garam masala in my area. All the large grocery stores have decided that everyone in my area only wants to buy 10 types of onion and garlic powders and little else. Insert mini rant on the horrible food choices in my state, if we aren't given quality ingredients to cook with then how do you expect our kids to grow up healthy! I digress from my rant. I was finally able to find the garam masala at the small Lebanese market by my house. This market has saved me so many times when I needed specific spices. They have a great selection and the prices are reasonable. I miss when small grocery stores were in every neighborhood and you could actually find things that were needed. I had no problems finding any of the other ingredients and made no modifications. I chose to leave off the cilantro at the plate since I was serving it to my kids. Instead of a food processor, I used my blender. Honestly, I use my blender more frequently, I find that it does a superior job when combining liquids or liquifying. My onions took much longer than 7 minutes to cook. I prefer my onions to be completely caramelized before placing in the crockpot, it makes for a greater amount of flavor. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.
The sauce in this recipe was delicious. There was more sauce than the magazine photo represents. I would say most of the dish is sauce and then a small amount of meat. The photo is a little misleading, it makes it seem that the dish is mostly chicken with very little sauce. Either they were using breasts with no fat or miraculously found thighs with no fat! I actually liked that the dish was full of sauce, it made a great topping to rice and still had lots of protein from the chicken. If I made it again I would pulse the sauce longer like I did so it had the larger amount of sauce, the sauce was delicious and the best part of the dish.
For the recipe go to Butter Chicken.
May 22, 2012
As you all probably know by now my family loves pork. Not just a little bit, but literally my husband could be a vegetarian as long as he could still eat pork. My two boys are pretty much the same way, if I tell them that pork is for dinner they run to the table. Pork shoulder is a popular dish in my house and I make it approximately once a month. Most of the winter I make it in the crock-pot and in the summer I smoke it all day on the charcoal grill (my husband won't allow a gas grill in our house). One method that I make less frequently, but tastes delicious is oven roasted. The May issue of Food and Wine magazine had a recipe for Pork Shoulder Roast with Citrus Mojo and Green Sauce, which looked like a great recipe for oven roasted pork.
This recipe has 13 ingredients for the pork and 9 ingredients in the creamy cilantro-lime sauce. It takes 8 hours of cooking plus 8 hours of marinating, 45 minutes of which is active and makes 8 to 10 servings. The only pork shoulder that I was able to find at any of the stores in my area was 8 pounds, so I increased my cooking time accordingly. Instead of fresh lemon juice, I used bottled lemon juice. I would normally use fresh, but my two kids ruined my lemons, I love my three-year-old! Additionally, I used bottled orange juice, the price and time to squeeze fresh oranges was more than I wanted to spend. I marinated my pork shoulder for 10 hours total. Finally instead of a white onion for the sauce I used the sweet onions that I already had. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.
The sauces when combined together with the pork was delicious. It was a little rich for everyday, especially with the mayonnaise sauce, but would be great for party. When I first started eating this dish I ate the sauces separately and wasn't impressed. However, once I ate them together the taste was great. They definitely should be served together. My two boys were not sure about the green sauce, but once they tried it they were fans. This makes a large amount of leftovers, I would say enough for at least three more meals. Overall, a nice change of pace from the normal pork roast recipes that I prepare.
For the recipe go to Pork Shoulder Roast with Citrus Mojo and Green Sauce.
May 21, 2012
I was very impressed by how flavorful this meatloaf turned out. It makes a very large meatloaf. I made one giant meatloaf, but it could just as easily make two smaller meatloaves. The meatloaf was a little dry by itself, but with the cheese and lime it was much more moist. I think if I made this again I would add the whole bottle of picante sauce and add a tablespoon of taco seasoning. With only a teaspoon of seasoning, the flavors weren't bold enough for my liking. For a turkey meat loaf recipe this dish turned out well and my youngest son absolutely loved it.
For the recipe go to Southwestern Turkey Meat Loaf.
May 20, 2012
Given my love of all things ramps I was excited when I received a copy of a new cookbook to review, "Ramps The Cookbook: Cooking with the Best Kept Secrets of the Appalachian Trial" published by St. Lynn's Press. Finding ramps recipes is often times difficult and being able to find them all together in one cookbook is a great idea. This cookbook is very well organized and includes recipes and pictures from a number of my favorite food blogs. One of the things that I enjoyed the most about this cookbook is that it has a very well written introduction that includes photos and a general description of what exactly is a ramp. I have received so many questions asking me to explain what a ramp is since the reader had never seen them before and having this introduction is a great resource for novice ramp cooks. The main part of the cookbook, the recipes, are broken into sections: sides and main dishes, salads and soups, ramps and eggs, biscuits and muffins, sauces, dips, etc., juice and jam and year-round ramps. I really like that there are so many recipes and that they are broken into easy to navigate sections. Since I had early ramps I chose to review the recipe for Sweet and Sour Ramps.
Sweet and Sour Ramps
*Re-printed with permission from St. Lynn's Press*
Serves 4 as a side dish
- 2-3 dozen young ramps
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
- 3 tablespoons white wine or sherry vinegar
- 3 tablespoons light-colored honey
- Fresh ground black pepper for garnish
Clean the ramps and remove the leaves or green parts (use them for another recipe).
Saute the ramps in olive oil over medium-high heat until they brown, about 5 minutes.
Add vinegar and honey and swirl to combine in the pan. Turn the heat down and simmer until the liquid reduces to a glaze, about another 3-5 minutes.
Serve hot or at room temperature with black pepper to taste.
With five ingredients this is a very simple recipe that allows the flavor of the ramps to shine through. It takes approximately 8 minutes of cooking. The prep time is hard to gauge since it would vary on how you purchased your ramps. I always receive my ramps uncleaned and it takes me around an hour to clean two pounds. Later season ramps are easier to clean since the shoots have turned into leaves. I have always found the shoots to be the hardest part to clean. I did modify the recipe slightly. I found that 3 tablespoons of olive oil was a little too much for the ramps that I had. Instead I used 1 tablespoon and the recipe worked perfectly.
I love the idea of a whole cookbook based solely on ramps. Having everything in one book and well organized is a great resource. There are many more recipes that I plan to make in the future. I freeze my ramps after cleaning, so this will allow me new recipes all summer!
This cookbook is a well put together collection and is something I could see being a great gift for cookbook (or ramp) lovers. The book can be purchased at your favorite book store or on Amazon or Barnes and Noble.
Disclaimer: I received a promotional copy of this cookbook from St. Lynn's Press in order to facilitate this review, I received no further compensation for my post. The Sweet and Sour Ramps recipe is printed with permission from St. Lynn's Press. As always all opinions expressed are my own.
May 19, 2012
Anyone that reads this blog regularly knows that I love soup. It is probably one of my favorite foods and I could literally eat it twice a day. My two sons are the same way. At dinner tonight they informed me that they weren't hungry and therefore not eating. After they had the soup in front of them they happily ate their whole bowls. In the last couple of months my husband has decided that he wants to lose weight and I have been making a conscious effort to make more low-fat meals. Soup is a great way to incorporate lower calorie foods and I have been experimenting with a number of recipes. When I was looking through the April issue of Bon Appetit magazine the recipe for Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs caught my eye and it looked low in calories and delicious.
The flavor of this soup is absolutely delicious. The broth tastes almost similar to the broth in wonton soup, it really has a lot of taste. My husband and two boys were huge fans of this soup and ate multiple servings. I found that this recipe made more than the four servings suggested. It made enough for dinner for my family of four plus leftovers for lunch the next day. This is a soup that I will definitely make again!
For the recipe go to Spring Minestrone with Chicken Meatballs.
May 18, 2012
This recipe has 11 ingredients. I takes 5 hours and 15 minutes of total time, 45 minutes of which is active and makes 10 to 12 servings. I had no problems finding any of the ingredients at my local grocery store and made no ingredient modifications. I did have to make a few changes to the recipe. The first issue was with the time the recipe stated for the gelatin to set. The recipe states for the gelatin to set for 30 minutes, that is way too short. I tried using the mousse after it had sat in the fridge for 30 minutes and the cake layers slide off. I put the gelatin back in the fridge and let it sit for an hour and then it was much easier to deal with. Finally, I changed the frosting recipe. The frosting didn't add any vanilla extract. I have never made frosting without vanilla or almond extract, so I added a small amount of both and then set it in the fridge until I frosted the cake. This helped the frosting not to be runny and the flavor was great with the addition of the extracts. I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.
For the recipe go to Strawberry Mousse Cake.
May 17, 2012
This recipe is very easy to prepare. Even with my large modification to the meat the end result turned out well. The pork worked well with the flavors of the curry. I would recommend adding more curry powder if you are a fan of a strong curry taste. This dish only has 1 teaspoon of curry powder, which leaves a mild curry flavor, for bolder flavor I would suggest adding up a tablespoon of your favorite curry powder. Overall, a very easy crockpot recipe that made enough for multiple meals.
For the recipe go to Slow Cooker Lamb and Cilantro Curry.
As soon as I opened the bag of caramel milk chocolate bites I knew that I would love them. They are bite size biscotti pieces that are perfect for snacking and great with coffee. The taste of the caramel comes through from the first bite and it blended well with my morning dark roast coffee. This was definitely my favorite flavor and I loved that it came in a convenient snack bag. It's also nice knowing that Nonni's biscotti bites are made with real eggs, butter, and gourmet bittersweet chocolate. I love products that use real ingredients.
It's nice having even a few minutes to myself in the morning to have some much needed 'me time' over my morning coffee. Nonni's biscotti bites fit perfectly with this notion and recently they launched the 'Nonni's Biscotti Moment' sweepstakes. This sweepstakes encourages "consumers to take a break from their everyday hectic lives and enjoy a moment with Nonni's New Biscotti Bites." Everyone could use a little "me time", I know that I can! Each week three lucky winners who upload photos capturing their biscotti moment will win a Nonni's Biscotti gift basket. I entered my photo above in the contest. My favorite time to enjoy these great bite size Nonni's biscotti bites is with my morning coffee. They are just the right amount of sweetness to start my day and prepare me for whatever lies ahead. Plus, since they are small I don't feel overly full first thing in the morning. Interested in entering the contest yourself? Here are the details:
One Grand Prize: 2 Night/3 Day trip for two to Hollywood, CA. Prize includes:
- Roundtrip (coach class) air transportation from a major airport nearest the winner's home address.
- Two nights (double occupancy) hotel accommodations in Hollywood, CA.
- $500 gift card for spending money.
- One digital camera.
Each week during the sweepstakes three winners will receive a Nonni's Biscotti Gift Basket.
Entries are accepted March 2, 2012 thru June 15, 2012. To enter go to the Nonni's Biscotti Moment Contest page. Each entry has a chance to win the Grand and weekly prizes. Check back every monday for the winners.
All of us deserve a little 'me time' in our busy days, so go over and share yours now. You might be the one to win the grand prize!
Disclaimer: I wrote this review while participating in a campaign by Mom Central Consulting on behalf of Nonni’s Biscotti and received a product sample to facilitate my review and a promotional item to thank me for taking the time to participate. As always all opinions expressed are my own.
May 16, 2012
This recipe has 12 ingredients. It takes 45 minutes of prep and 10 minutes of cooking and makes 6 servings. I had no problems finding any of these ingredients at my local grocery store. I did chose to leave out the minced fresh parsley, my two boys aren't fans. Instead of white wine I used the dry sherry I already had in my fridge. The recipe doesn't specify whether to use salted or unsalted butter, but I almost always use unsalted, which is what I used in this recipe. The recipe calls for 3 3/4 cups of pasta, instead I used the full pound of pasta which I had purchased. Most important for success with this recipe is to make sure to turn the Brussels sprouts often to promote even roasting. It really does make a difference! I followed the remainder of the recipe as written.
I served this recipe when my in-laws were in town. I wasn't sure if my father-in-law would eat this dish since he pretty much hates Brussels sprouts. Luckily he ate the recipes without complaints (yay!). I loved the taste of the roasted Brussels sprouts, they were delicious! The leftovers heated up well the next day and this recipe made more than enough for a dinner for 6 people plus leftovers the next day. Overall, a very easy pasta recipe full of vegetables.
For the recipe go to Orecchiette with Roasted Brussels Sprouts.
May 15, 2012
My two kids loved this recipe. At first they were reluctant to eat it, but as soon as I mentioned that it was chocolate chicken, they ran to their plates. I did find that I had to add salt to my husband's and mines servings, but that it normal for most recipes. I liked that this recipe was full of flavor, but mild enough even for people that don't like spicy foods. The sauce was absolutely delicious and the chicken thighs ended up melt in your mouth tender. Overall, a great slow-cooker recipe that I will definitely make again.
For the recipe go to Slow-Cooker Chicken Mole.
May 14, 2012
I know your used to hearing me talk about food all day, every day, but I am also a woman that loves all things beauty related. Growing up I would spend hours watching my mom put on her make-up and pick out her jewelry, it was all very fascinating to me. As I grew up I became obsessed with fashion and inventing my own sense of style. Some styles were winners, other I look back on the photos and cringe (was I really sure that the ruffled top and flashy hat were good together???). Now that I am a mom I have a lot less time to spend on myself, but the small amounts of time that I do have I always try to put my best foot forward. I look through blogs, fashion magazines, ask friends, and look at stores to find what beauty trends work for me. Recently, I was given the opportunity to review the StyleUnited site as a member of SheSpeaks. Here's the details:
"StyleUnited is brought to you by brands including Olay, Frederic Fekkai, DDF Skincare and Cover Girl. Providing access to exclusive editorial content and personalized recommendations, StyleUnited connects women to their full style potential using these unique tools:
- Style 360 - a fully personalized diagnostic quiz that has been designed to understand your individual needs in skin care, hair care, cosmetics and fashion.
- Customized Beauty and Fashion Content - hundreds of curated articles, blogs and how-to videos from industry experts created to answer your every question while keeping you up on the latest trend news."
Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by SheSpeaks and StyleUnited. I received a product in exchange for this post and as always all opinions expressed are my own.
May 13, 2012
Pesto is one of my favorite dishes and this recipe turned out very well. The lemon flavor compliments the herbs and spinach nicely and the overall taste was delicious Both of my children ate their servings happily and had no idea that they were eating spinach instead of regular pasta. An easy way to add more spinach and herbs to your dinner table.
For the recipe go to Spinach-Herb Pesto.
May 12, 2012
For the recipe go to Matzo Ball Soup.