Friday, March 29, 2013

Stuffed Pepper Soup with Turkey Sausage and Orzo



I tend to come up with ideas for dishes at the weirdest times. When I am driving or in the shower, or I dream about them. Yes my friends, I dream about food. So much so that I have taken to leaving a note pad and pen by my bedside so I can write down my ideas before I forget them. You know how you will have an awesome dream but by the time you get a chance to tell someone you have forgotten most of it? Well I didn't want that to happen with my food ideas.

This night I was dreaming of my Turkey Sausage and Orzo Stuffed Peppers. It is one of the meals I make that the whole entire family loves and requests over and over. But now that it is just the two of us living here, 6 peppers is just way too much, so my mind was evidently searching for a new way to make it. Soup of course popped into my head because well, I just love soup. If I could make a soup out of all of my dishes I probably would!

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Join Me For #SampleWholeGrains Day + a Giveaway





I was so excited when I was asked to be a Whole Grains Ambassador for Whole Grains Sampling Day and Toast. Not because I know so much about whole grains. Actually much to the contrary, I know very little. But I have wanted to learn how to incorporate more whole grains into our diet and this not only gave me the opportunity to try and learn new things, but to be able to share that experience with you all.

I was like a kid at Christmas when my box of goodies arrived at my doorstep. I tore into it and couldn't believe all of the wonderful things it contained. Some of which I had never even heard of. We have already sampled many of the items, and I am pleased to report that we were pleasantly surprised by many of them. I think we, as many people do, just assumed that "whole grain" or anything healthier for that matter, meant bland Well that was far from the case!



In my box I received:




Just to give you a bit of information:

  • 81% of Americans say they are trying to eat more whole grains (raising hand)
  • Corn has almost twice the antioxidant activity of apples, while wheat and oats almost equal broccoli and spinach in health-protective antioxidant activity.
  • Refining wheat removes half or more of the wide range of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients - including 78% of it's fiber.
  • Eating an average of 2.5 servings of whole grain foods each day can lower your risk of cardiovascular disease by almost one quarter.
  • Japanese soba noodles, Russian kasha, and crepes from Brittany in France all have one thing in common: they are all made with buckwheat.
  • Brown rice is not the only whole grain rice. Whole grain rice can also be black, purple, red, or any of a variety of exotic hues (this really sounds fun!)
  • Whole white flour is made from an albino strain of wheat, and has the nutrition of traditional whole wheat flout - but with a lighter color and milder flavor.
  • Switching from refined grains to whole grains helps acne to "improve dramatically" according to Australian research.
  • Three servings a day of whole grains cuts blood pressure, reducing stroke risk by 15 - 20%, according to a 2010 study from Scotland.
  • Sprouting grains increases many grains' key ingredients, including B vitamins, Vitamin C, folate, and fiber.

Wow right? I was so excited to find out all of that information! I have always thought that shole grains would help with weight loss and maintaining that loss but I suffer from pernicious anemia and Kevin has sky high blood pressure. I never knew that just changing a bit of our eating habits could help with those things.

So what is Sample Whole Grains Day? On the first Wednesday of April each year, consumers everywhere will have opportunities to try more whole grains, as supermarkets, manufacturers, restaurants, and other food service outlets all pitch in to lower the barriers to sample whole grains. Oldways and the Whole Grains Council created the Whole Grains Sampling Day with a three fold mission.

  1. To show consumers how delicious whole grains can be
  2. To encourage chefs to make whole grains an everyday offering.
  3. To give manufactures an opportunity to tout their whole grain goods.
The first annual event took place in 2012 with partners across the country. The goal for April 3, 2013 is to make the even global with Sampling Day events around the world!

So join us for a "toast" at noon EST on April 3rd. leave a comment here or tweet your favorite grain using #SampleWholeGain. Snap a picture of you enjoying a whole grain treat and share it online with your friends. and get the world going Whole Grain!!

Now, would you like an opportunity to win a box filed with all of these fantastic whole grain treats? Awesome right? OK here is your opportunity to win. Go for it!!


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received a selection of whole grain products to sample but was not compensated for this post. All opinions are my own.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Brussels Sprouts Gratin for #SRC



This is my second time participating in the Secret Recipe Club and was so lucky to get I am a Honey Bee as my assignment this month. I loved reading about Nic. We share a LOT of the same "loves" and she makes some wonderful food as well! I really had a good time browsing her blog to find just the right recipe. When I came to this one though I knew I had my winner. Extra cheesy Brussels Sprouts Gratin? Umm yes please! 

Brussels sprouts are a love that came on late in my life. I hated them as a child and so never really tried them again until I started food blogging. I wanted to "branch out" and make myself try new things so I made Brussels Sprouts with Bacon and Shallots. Not only did they shoot straight to the top on my favorite veggies list but my daughter (who is one of the pickiest eaters I know) loved them...I mean realllllllly loved them! Who knew we had been missing out all of that time? Now we make them as often as possible and they are on the permanent request list for the holidays. 

I wish the picture had come out better for you because it really doesn't do this dish justice (which makes me sad)! The cheesy sauce with those tender Brussels sprouts? Uhh heaven!! I just wish I had made it one night when the kids were here for dinner. Oh well, something to make next time right?



Brussels Sprouts Gratin
slightly adapted from I am a Honey Bee


2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
2 cups milk
Kosher salt 
Cracked black pepper
8 ounces Gruyere cheese
1 1/2 pounds Brussels sprouts
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese




Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.

Trim the stem off of each sprout and remove any loose leaves. Cut them in half an set aside.

In a sauce pan, melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour, and cook for another 2 minutes. Slowly whisk in the milk and continue to cook until the sauce thickens (when it coats the back of a spoon you know it is done). Remove from the heat and stir in 2/3's of the Gruyere cheese. Add the salt and pepper to taste.

Meanwhile bring a large pot of water to boil. Salt the water and then add the sprouts. Cook until they are tender, about 4 minutes. Drain.

Add the Brussels sprouts to the cheese sauce and stir carefully. Pour the mixture into a 2 quart baking dish. Top with remaining Gruyere and Parmesan cheese. Bake 25 to 30 minutes, until bubbly and golden on top.

Serves 4 to 6


ENJOY!!

Secret Recipe Club





Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese



Have you ever been to the Old Spaghetti Factory? Oh my gosh! If you haven't you are missing out! I have loved this place since I was in high school. We used to go there for birthdays every year and it was just one of my go to restaurants. If there was any question of where to go eat, I always opted for the OSF. My favorite dish there was their Spaghetti with Browned Butter and Mizithra Cheese Ala Homer. I couldn't get enough of it. I craved it all of the time. 

Then I moved and there wasn't one close by. I think I actually went onto mourning for a little while, missing my favorite dish. Then I saw there was one in Seattle and drug Kevin to dinner. Now mind you it is about an hour drive in traffic to get there, and he is not a huge Italian food fan. So I am sure you can guess he was less than thrilled with the experience. If we are driving an hour to go to any restaurant it had better have a huge rib eye steak on the menu to make him happy *sigh* but I was still secretly ecstatic that I was able to indulge in my favorite OSF dish!!

OK Now fast forward a couple of years. I haven't had my fix and have actually dreamed about it, yes I dream about food folks, so I finally decided I had to make it at home. For whatever reason I had it in my mind that it would be so difficult to make.....WRONG!!  I couldn't believe how easy it was! The best thing was, not only did Kevin help me make it, he LOVED it. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Grandma's "Good For What Ails Ya" Chicken Noodle Soup




I have been fighting off some kind of bug for the last few days. I am not sure if it is a cold or maybe it is just allergies. I love Spring, but Spring doesn't seem to love me! I have a sore throat, headache, the whole sinus 9 yards ya know? So in the middle of me laying on my sofa and feeling sorry for myself I had a flashback of my Grandmother's chicken noodle soup. I know I have mentioned that my Mom wasn't really into cooking much, but my Grandma? That woman could cook like no other! Her homemade soups and breads were my favorite and that was exactly what she would make if someone was feeling under the weather. All I had to do was give her a little sniffle and she would have me under a blanket on her sofa with the wonderful smell of this soup wafting in from her kitchen.

Now I have changed a couple of things in her recipe, but not much. I added fresh herbs in place of the dried, stock in a box in place of her homemade and where she would roast a whole chicken (when she made soup she made a LOT of soup) I roasted a couple of boneless skinless chicken breasts. I wanted to cut the time of the process, but all in all this her recipe. The best ding dang thing for a cold I have ever had! 

Monday, March 18, 2013

Manic Monday Party #30



Hi everyone! So glad you are here for this weeks party!! Let's check out the posts with the most clicks from last week OK? We had a tie so you get 4 for the price of 3 this week!!


Slow Cooked Cuban Pulled Pork from Mom's Test Kitchen


Blue Hawaiian Bundt Cake from Noshing with the Nolands


Spinach Manicotti from Who Needs a Cape


Roasted Red Pepper Chicken and Pesto Sandwich from Your Home Based Mom



So let's see what loveliness you all bring to the party this week!!

Please make sure to read the party guidelines, as they have changed a bit.


If you would like to be featured in next weeks party, or would like your posts shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest the instructions below MUST be followed.


Please add a text link to the party (if you need help adding a link please go here or check out this great video) or grab one of my buttons from the right side bar and add it to your linked posts


Please link up the picture to the post not your main blog page, and make sure to use the title of your recipe description/name box. 


Leave up to 3 of your favorite posts


I love to promote my fellow bloggers and work hard at doing so I want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for all of us!


Make sure to follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest






Don't forget to leave me a comment. I love to know who is here and spread the word, the more the merrier!!




Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Italian Noodle Bake



Have you ever noticed how hungry you get when you are cruising through Pintrest? I don't know about you but I end up starving, and if I spend too much time my mind ends up spinning with ideas and I can't seem to nail just one down. So I have to give myself a time limit or I think some day my head might just explode!! This was one of those days that I gave myself just enough time to be inspired but got off just short of having smoke coming out of my ears from the wheels turning too hard!

You know I love all things pasta, plus I love the Pioneer Woman. So when I saw her Sour Cream Noodle Bake, and after I allowed myself to drool for a bit, this idea hit me. I have been wanting to try my hand at lasagna but have been a bit nervous about it. I don't know why. Also with it just being Kevin and I here now with no kids to feed, a big batch of lasagna just seems like too much. I guess I could freeze it, but....well....I will figure it out. Until then I am always thinking of ways to get that lasagna flavor into a simpler dish. That was where my mind went immediately when I saw Ree's recipe.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Manic Monday Party #29


Welcome to another Manic Monday. With the clocks being set ahead last night I am finding it a truly Manic Monday. Alarm didn't go off, work to do, appointments to keep, aaahhhhhh. Oh well, let's focus on the food. That always makes me feel better!!

Last weeks top posts were....


Crock Pot Buffalo Chicken from Who Needs a Cape


Crock Pot Brown and Maple Sugar Pork Tenderloin by Your Home Based Mom




Yummm they look and sound wonderful!! If you were featured please feel free to grab a button from the side bar of my blog.

Now let's get on to today's party. 

Please make sure to read the party guidelines, as they have changed a bit.

If you would like to be featured in next weeks party, or would like your posts shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest the instructions below MUST be followed.

Please add a text link to the party (if you need help adding a link please go here or check out this great video) or grab one of my buttons from the right side bar and add it to your linked posts

Please link up the picture to the post not your main blog page, and make sure to use the title of your recipe description/name box. 

Leave up to 3 of your favorite posts

I love to promote my fellow bloggers and work hard at doing so I want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for all of us!

Make sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Pintrest



Don't forget to leave me a comment. I love to know who is here and spread the word, the more the merrier!!






Friday, March 8, 2013

Fried Chicken Cook Off Part 1


I have been a food blogger for almost 2 years now, and Kevin has always been my sous chef/cheerleader this whole time. Always telling me what a fabulous cook I am and how he would rather eat my food than go out to a restaurant. Makes a girl smile ya know?

Then we moved into a new place without the kids and all of a sudden he started giving me some 'tude! I am getting comments like "I can make a better meatloaf" (stay tuned for that cook off!) and the big one was that his fried chicken is better than mine. Now mind you, when this challenge was issued he had never had my chicken and I had never had his, but he knew that my kids raved about my chicken and told him stories about the kids at school wanting to buy their chicken from them at lunch. So what the heck right? I honestly think he just likes to mess with me now that he doesn't have the kids to  mess with. But I thought "Game on dude!!".

His turn was first, and I have to say when I saw the ingredients list I was a bit skeptical. I laughed because the tables were turned. Usually he is the one to ask what is in the dish and wrinkle his nose at certain things. But heck, I love food and am willing to try almost anything (notice I say almost anything). I was going to take step by step pictures for you but he wanted me to stay out of the kitchen, and then when I tried to sneak in my camera battery died (I think it was sabotage) so I had to use my iPhone just to take the final picture *sigh*

Monday, March 4, 2013

Manic Monday Party #28



Wow, it has been forever it seems since we had a Manic Monday party. Apologies my friends, but last week was a special Monday for The Secret Recipe Club and there were so many wonderful dishes shared I figured you would enjoy a bit of a change. I sure hope so.

But now it is time for us all to get back together and share our tasty treats with each other again. I do so look forward to these parties!! First though, let's see the most popular dishes from the last party.


Classic Patty Melts from Love Bakes Good Cakes


Bacon Cheese Potatoes from Walking on Sunshine


Overloaded Rice Crispy Bars from Sugar Cookies to Peterbilts


I don't know about you, but I am drooling right now! I can't wait to see what you all come up with this week. I am so excited!!

Please make sure to read the party guidelines, as they have changed a bit.

If you would like to be featured in next weeks party, or would like your posts shared on Facebook, Twitter, and Pintrest the instructions below MUST be followed.

Please add a text link to the party (if you need help adding a link please go here or check out this great video) or grab one of my buttons from the right side bar and add it to your linked posts

Please link up the picture to the post not your main blog page, and make sure to use the title of your recipe description/name box. 

Leave up to 3 of your favorite posts

I love to promote my fellow bloggers and work hard at doing so I want this to be a fun and rewarding experience for all of us!

Make sure to follow me on FacebookTwitter, and Pintrest



Don't forget to leave me a comment. I love to know who is here and spread the word, the more the merrier!!




Friday, March 1, 2013

Balsamic and Red Wine Steak Marinade




Let me start this post by saying at first I thought people would think I was silly for posting a recipe for steak marinade. I am so used to posting recipes for a main dish or even a full meal. But so many people asked for the recipe I knew I was the one being silly. So here we go.

I have mentioned in the past that Kevin is a true red meat lover, and when I say read meat I mean a big thick rib eye. It has been hard to get him to agree to use other cuts of beef for dinner meals, but when I pointed out that #1 if you cook other cuts properly they don't have to be chewy, #2 with a great marinade you can make any cut taste good, and #3 who in the heck can afford to only buy rib eyes? Plus when he grills he usually uses salt, pepper, and a bit of garlic powder. That's it, nothing else. So I have had to explain to him that I can't exactly post THAT as a recipe. SO he has become more open to the idea of marinades and other ways to prepare meat. Thank goodness!!!

This marinade opened his eyes to what is out there I think. It is a so super simple, but oh so flavorful. You can marinade for a little as one hour or overnight if you want. For this meal I let it marinade for 4 hours and they were fantastic! So I have successfully converted a steak "purist" to my way of thinking.....nice job right? Yay me!!!