Saturday, April 30, 2011

How to use those extra Easter eggs! :)

Egg Salad Sandwich
  • 8 eggs
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 teaspoon prepared yellow mustard
  • 1/4 cup chopped green onion
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon paprika
  1. Place egg in a saucepan and cover with cold water. Bring water to a boil and immediately remove from heat. Cover and let eggs stand in hot water for 10 to 12 minutes. Remove from hot water, cool, peel and chop.
  2. Place the chopped eggs in a bowl, and stir in the mayonnaise, mustard and green onion. Season with salt, pepper and paprika. Stir and serve on your favorite bread or crackers.
 I found this recipe here.

Fablehaven Series

Fablehaven ***
by Brandon Mull
Book Type: Children, Fantasy
Summary: For centuries mystical creatures of all description were gathered into a hidden refuge called Fablehaven to prevent their extinction. The sanctuary survives today as one of the last strongholds of true magic.
Kendra and her brother, Seth, have no idea that their grandfather is the current caretaker of Fablehaven. Inside the gated woods, ancient laws keep relative order among greedy trolls, mischievous satyrs, plotting witches, spiteful imps, and jealous fairies. However, when the rules get broken — Seth is a bit too curious and reckless for his own good — powerful forces of evil are unleashed, and Kendra and her brother face the greatest challenge of their lives. To save their family, Fablehaven, and perhaps even the world, Kendra and Seth must find the courage to do what they fear most.
summary found on goodreads
My Review: I have heard different people talk about this book over the years but I never got around to reading it myself. So I finally picked it up at the library. I figured it would be a quick fun read, and I was right! I seriously love juvenile/young adult books. They're clean, fun, light, enjoyable books. You don't have to think, you just read! This story did have a good message about how there are consequences to every action, which is cool. But really, it's just a lot of fun to read, except for the annoying little brother.... But I look forward to the rest of the series! :)

Fablehaven: Rise of the Evening Star ***1/2
by Brandon Mull
Book Type: Children, Fantasy 

Summary: At the end of the school year, Kendra and her brother Seth find themselves racing back to Fablehaven, a refuge for mythical and magical creatures. Grandpa Sorenson, the caretaker, invites three specialists -- a potion master, a magical relics collector, and a mystical creature trapper -- to help protect the property from the Society of the Evening Star, an ancient organization determined to infiltrate the preserve and steal a hidden artifact of great power. Time is running out. The Evening Star is storming the gates. If the artifact falls into the wrong hands, it could mean the downfall of other preserves and possibly the world. Will Kendra learn to use her fairy gifts in time? Will Seth stay out of trouble?
summary found on goodreads
My Review: This book was better than the first. In the first one Seth, the little brother, is incredibly annoying! He disobeys everyone and is always doing stupid things. In this one he has already grown up a lot. When he does stupid things it's not because he's disobeying someone, he's trying to do the right thing... It just doesn't work out. Overall I really enjoyed it! It was a lot of fun!

Fablehaven: Grip of the Shadow Plague ****
Book Review: Children, Fantasy 
Summary: Very strange things are afoot at Fablehaven. Someone or something has released a plague that transforms beings of light into creatures of darkness. Seth discovers the problem early, but as the infectious disease spreads, it becomes clear that the preserve cannot hold out for long. In dire need of help, the Sorensons question where to turn. The Sphinx has always given sound advice -- but is he a traitor? Inside the Quiet Box, Vanessa might have information that could lead to a cure -- but can she be trusted?
Meanwhile, Kendra and members of the Knights of the Dawn must journey to a distant preserve and retrieve another hidden artifact. Will the Society of the Evening Star recover it first? Will the plague eclipse all light at Fablehaven?
summary found on goodreads

My Review: I thought this book was better than the first two. It's really fun. The characters grow up more, they change and develop. You meet new characters that are really enjoyable. I suspected one of the characters of being the bad guy right off the bat... But Russ had no such suspicions... :)

Fablehaven: Secrets of the Dragon Sanctuary ****
Book Type: Children, Fantasy
Summary: Brace yourself for a shocking secret. Two hidden artifacts have been found. Three more remain unrecovered. More preserves face destruction as the Society of the Evening Star relentlessly pursues new talismans. Reading in Patton s Journal of Secrets, Kendra learns the location of the key to a vault housing one of the artifacts. In order to retrieve it, the Knights of the Dawn must enter a death trap a dragon sanctuary called Wyrmroost. The mission cannot proceed without stealing a sacred object zealously guarded by the centaurs. Anybody seen Seth? The race is on to acquire all five of the artifact keys to the great demon prison. Will the Knights of the Dawn conquer Wyrmroost? Who can stop the Sphinx? Can Vanessa be trusted to help? What artifact will be found next?
summary found on goodreads
My Review: This is the fourth book in the Fablehaven series and was thoroughly entertaining. The books have gotten progressively better. The characters are more mature and developed, there are some fun new characters in it. It has more action and excitement. Overall it was a lot of fun! :)

Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison ****
Book Type: Children, Fantasy 
Summary: Since ancient times, the great demon prison Zzyzx has protected the world from the most dangerous servants of darkness, including Gorgrog, the Demon King. After centuries of plotting, the Sphinx is on the verge of recovering the five artifacts necessary to open the legendary prison. Facing the potential of a world-ending calamity, all friends of light must unite in a final effort to thwart the Sphinx s designs and find a safe home for the five artifacts. To this end, Kendra, Seth, and the Knights of the Dawn will venture far beyond the walls of Fablehaven to strange and exotic magical preserves across the globe, where the end of every quest becomes the beginning of another. In this explosive series finale, allegiances will be confirmed and secrets revealed as the forces of light and darkness collide in a desperate struggle to control the keys to the demon prison
summary found on goodreads
My Review: And I am DONE with the series! And I have to say that I enjoyed it. This book was the best by far. There had been a lot of action throughout the books, but this one has the most. It starts out with them on an intense mission and they are running around like crazy the whole story. It was a lot of fun. I really have grown to love the characters.   I didn't think I would because Seth, the little brother, bugged me so bad in the earlier books, but in this one he was more enjoyable. He's grown up a lot and he has some pretty cool abilities! Overall I would give the series a 4. The earlier books aren't as good, but the series is still thoroughly enjoyable! :)

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This is definitely worth trying.

Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich 
  • 4 Italian sandwich rolls or Kaiser buns (split in half lengthwise)
  • 1 onion (thinly sliced)
  • 1 green bell pepper (thinly sliced)
  • ½ package fresh sliced mushrooms
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1lb rib-eye steak (sliced thinly as possible)
  • ¼ cup water (or more)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)
  • 8 Slices Provolone cheese (or cheese whiz, or sliced American cheese)
  1. Add oil to a large sauté pan over medium-heat heat. Add vegetables and sauté until tender. Season vegetables with salt and pepper while cooking if desired. Remove vegetables from the pan and transfer to a large bowl.
  2. Add steak to the hot pan. Season steak with salt and pepper. Quickly stir fry steak until browned. Deglaze the pan with water scrapping up any bits of steak stuck to the pan. Simmer until steak is tender.
  3. Place split rolls onto a baking sheet, top each evenly with sliced steak, vegetables and 2 slices of cheese. Place under a broiler until cheese has melted.
 Surprise surprise! We found this recipe on our favorite recipe blog! :)

Friday, April 22, 2011


Spicy Chicken Sandwiches
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 T. chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 tsp. lime juice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 T. water
  • 3 T. hot sauce (such as Tabasco or Taco Bell)
  • 1 tsp. oregano
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
  • 1-2 cups tortilla chip crumbs
  • 2 T. olive oil
  • 4 sandwich rolls
  • red onion slices
  • tomato slices
  • lettuce leaves
  1. Mix the mayo, cilantro, lime juice and garlic; set aside. 
  2. Beat the eggs with the water, hot sauce, oregano and salt; pour into a large zip-loc bag. 
  3. Slice each chicken breast in 1/2 horizontally to form 4 cutlets. Add to bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 2-8 hours, turning bag occasionally. 
  4. Place chips in a bag and beat with a rolling pin into fine crumbs. 
  5. Remove chicken from bag, coat completely with chips then cook in hot oil over medium heat until browned and done, about 3-5 minutes per side. 
  6. Create a sandwich with mayo, chicken and toppings. 

    Healthy? Probably not... Delicious? I'd say so.

    Grilled Salmon with Lime Butter Sauce
    Source: epicurious
      • 6 (6-oz) pieces center-cut salmon fillet (about 1 inch thick) with skin
      • 1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated fresh lime zest
      • 6 tablespoons lime butter sauce
          1. Prepare grill for cooking over medium-hot charcoal (moderate heat for gas).
          2. Season salmon all over with salt and pepper, then grill, flesh sides down, on lightly oiled grill rack (covered only if using gas grill) 4 minutes. 
          3. Turn fillets over and grill (covered only if using gas grill) until just cooked through, 4 to 6 minutes more. 
          4. Sprinkle fillets with zest and top each with 1 tablespoon lime butter sauce.
          Lime Butter Sauce
          Source: epicurious
          • 1 large garlic clove, chopped
          • 1/4 cup fresh lime juice
          • 1 teaspoon salt
          • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
          • 1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted
          1. Purée garlic with lime juice, salt, and pepper in a blender until smooth. 
          2. With motor running, add melted butter and blend until emulsified, about 30 seconds.

          Wednesday, April 20, 2011

          Umm, yes please.

          Parmesan Crusted Chicken
          • 2 C brown rice, uncooked
          • 1 can of chicken broth, divided
          • 6 Ritz or Club Crackers {whole wheat are excellent}
          • 2 T Parmesan cheese
          • 4 chicken breasts
          • 1 T olive oil
          • 1/3 C cream cheese
          • 1 T minced onion
          • 1 T dried chives 
          1. Crush up the crackers and combine them with the Parmesan cheese on a plate. Then coat the chicken in the cracker mix
          2. Combine the brown rice with 1 1/4 C chicken broth and 1/2 C water.  Cook according to directions.
          3. Heat olive oil over medium heat in a large skillet.  Place the chicken into the skillet and cook the chicken for approximately 7-9 minutes on each side. Check the chicken after about 5 minutes because you don't want the crackers to burn.  Turn down the heat if too much browning occurs.  Try not to flip too early or the cheese won't be melted enough.
          4. While the chicken is cooking, combine the cream cheese with the chives and onions in pot over medium heat. Mix in the remaining 1/2 C chicken broth into cream cheese mixture and stir as you slowly melt the cream cheese.  This takes about 10 minutes. 
          5.  Simmer the sauce for 2-3 minutes, stirring constantly. 
          6. Serve the chicken atop the rice. Then, drizzle the chive and onion sauce over the top.
          We found this recipe on a new blog! And from what I've seen so far, I LIKE it! :)

          Uber Nummy Side

          Russ's "Secret" Garlic Bread
          • french bread
          • butter
          • garlic powder
          • onion powder
          • basil
          • seasoned salt
          • ranch dressing
          • mozzarella cheese
          1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
          2. Slice the french bread in half. Russ and I like to do it the long way if we are going to use the whole loaf. But slices work fantastically well as well. :)
          3. Spread the slices with butter. Sprinkle on the seasonings. 
          4. Layer with ranch dressing. Cover with mozzarella cheese.
          5. Pop in the oven and bake until golden brown on the edges. Then enjoy fully! :)

          The Hiding Place

          The Hiding Place ****1/2
          by John and Elizabeth Sherrill
          Book Type: Inspirational, True Life Novel, Religious 

          Summary: An old watchmaker in Holland. His two daughters, Corrie and Betsie. Simple, ordinary people. Yet these three unlikely heroes became the center of a major underground operation: To hide Jewish refugees from the occupying Germans. These kindly, law abiding people broke every rule in the book to save the lives of the men, women and children being hunted by the Nazis. Their home became a hiding place, but the cost of their bravery was betrayal and in the dreaded Ravensbruck concentration camp, they had to create another hiding place for those around them.
          summary found on goodreads
          My Review: This book takes place during WWII. It is a true story about an incredible woman and her family. This book is full of faith, love, trust, and hope. I have never read a book about the Holocaust that was so inspiring. It is hard to read because it is a true story about people dying and being treated horribly... but it really is amazing how strong the main character and her sister are. Basically, this story is great. It will have you crying and cheering all the way through. I would highly suggest it! :)

          Quick. Easy. Delicious. These are a few of my FAVORITE things!

          My old and dearly beloved roommate Jessica inspired this potato recipe and pretty much gave us the chicken recipe. She's awesome!
          Garlic Oven Roasted Potatoes
          inspiration: Jessica Turner

          • Potatoes
          • Garlic powder
          • Onion powder
          • Seasoned Salt
          • Italian Seasoning
          • Brown Sugar
          • Black Pepper
          • Olive Oil

          1. Cube the potatoes, place on baking sheet.
          2. Pour oil on top and sprinkle the seasonings, then stir everything together.
          3. Place on the bottom middle rack on broil until slightly browned.
          4. Remove from oven and enjoy! 
          **You can also dip them in ketchup, barbecue sauce, A1, or ranch dressing... All depends on what you like!
            Jessica's Lemon Chicken
            Source: Jessica Turner


            • Chicken
            • Flour
            • Salt
            • Pepper
            • Oil
            • Lemon Juice Concentrate


            1. Mix flour, salt and pepper in a bag.
            2. Add the chicken and shake the bag until the chicken is coated in the flour mixture.
            3. Fry in oil, wait until one side is cooked, then flip and pour lemon juice on top of the chicken in generous amounts.
            4. Cook until lightly browned.

            Soup with a kick!

            White Chicken Chili
            • 1 tablespoons vegetable oil
            • 1 onion (chopped)
            • 3 garlic cloves (crushed)
            • 2 (4 ounce) cans mild chopped green chile peppers or 1 can if you don't want it as spicy
            • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
            • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
            • 1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper or 1/4-1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper if you don't want it as spicy
            • 2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
            • 3 cups cooked chicken breast (chopped)
            • 3 (15 ounce) cans white beans
            • 1 cup shredded Monterey jack cheese (or more)
            1. In a large sauce pan over medium-low heat add oil. Add onions and stir fry until tender. Mix in garlic, green chilies, cumin, oregano and cayenne pepper. Continue to stir fry for about 3 minutes.
            2. Mix in chicken broth, chicken and white beans. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
            3. Remove from heat and slowly stir in the shredded cheese until melted. Serve warm.

            Another Wing Sauce

            Parmesan Garlic Wing Sauce
            • 4 garlic cloves (peeled)
            • 1 teaspoon olive oil
            • ½ cup mayonnaise
            • 2 tablespoons light corn syrup
            • 5 teaspoons grated parmesan cheese
            • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
            • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
            • ½ teaspoon salt
            • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
            • ¼ teaspoon dried basil
            • ¼ teaspoon dried marjoram
            • ¼ teaspoon dried oregano
            • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme
            • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
            1. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. 
            2. Toss garlic cloves with olive oil in a small oven safe dish. Bake in the oven for 20 minutes or until the garlic cloves began to turn light brown. 
            3. Remove from the oven, cool garlic, and finely mince with a sharp knife.
            4. Combine garlic and the remaining ingredients in a small bowl. Stir well, cover and chill for several hours before using.

            Extra Delicious Rolls

            Parmesan Rolls
            • 24 frozen rolls 
            • 1/2 cup of butter
            • 1/2 package of Italian dressing seasoning mix
            • 1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
            1. Place butter in a medium sized bowl and melt completely; set aside and allow to cool slightly. If it's too hot the Parmesan cheese will just melt when it is added.
            2. Add seasoning and Parmesan cheese to butter and stir to combine.
            3. Drop each frozen roll in butter mixture one at a time. Coat the roll completely in the butter and place on a cookie sheet - about 12 rolls per tray. Cover the tray with plastic wrap and allow to rise for 3-4 hours.
            4. After rolls have completely risen bake them at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

            Saturday, April 16, 2011

            Harry Potter 7.1

            Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows PART 1 ****1/2
            AHHHH! Okay, so I didn't just barely watch this movie. I saw it the first week it came out and I have wanted to watch it since. SERIOUSLY. I LOVED this movie. The other HP movies didn't quite do it for me. They just didn't compare to the books. At all. But this movie? FABULOUS. The things they changed actually enhanced the story, didn't change the characters, and brought it home. Like the beginning, where they show Harry, Ron, and Hermione prepping for this next journey. I seriously cried. The part with Hermione was just too much for me! I'm pathetic I know... But if there is one nerdy thing about me it is my absolute love for these books and this movie. I am so dang excited for the last movie I just can't contain myself! And this movie? I need to own it. Now. Which is why I'm writing about it. It came out on dvd yesterday. And I don't own it yet. BUH. 

            Seriously. We are all about the Mexican food this week!

            Mexi-Pork Wraps
            • 1 c shredded pork
            • 1 garlic clove, minced
            • 1 T olive oil
            • 3/4 c frozen corn, thawed
            • 1/2 c roasted red pepper, chopped
            • 1/4 c sliced green onion
            • 2 T lime juice
            • 1/2 tsp. ground cumin
            • 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper
            • 1/2 can black beans, mushed with 2 T lime juice
            • tortillas
            • shredded lettuce
            • chopped tomato
            • sour cream
            1. In a large skillet cook and stir pork strips and garlic in hot oil over medium-high heat for 4-5 mins or until no pink remain; set aside.
            2. In a medium bowl combine corn, roasted pepper, green onion, lime juice, cumin, and cayenne pepper. 
            3. Spread 2 T of black bean mixture in a wide strip down center of each tortilla. Top with pork, corn mixture, lettuce, tomato, and sour cream. Fold up edges and enjoy! 
            You can find this recipe in Better Homes and Gardens NEW Cook Book: Celebrating the Promise by Meredith Books.

            We have had been on a Mexican spree lately!

            Betty's Salsa

            • 1 can black beans
            • 1 can corn or about 1 c frozen corn
            • 1/2 large onion, diced
            • 1 large avacado, diced
            • 1 medium tomato, diced or one can diced tomato
            • 1 lime juiced
            • 2 1/2 T. fresh cilantro, chopped
            • 1/2 tsp. olive oil
            • 1 tsp. vinegar
            • salt and pepper to taste
            1. Combine ingredients. Serve with tortilla chips.
            We originally got this recipe from one of my roommates that I only lived with for a bout 2 or 3 weeks... But her salsa was DANG good! :) When we made it this last time we didn't have any avacado so we replaced it with diced chilies. It was still really yummy!

            Something Simple for the CrockPot

            Pulled Pork Sandwiches
            • 1 (2 pound) pork tenderloin
            • 1 (12 ounce) can root beer
            • 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
            • 8 hamburger buns
            • Coleslaw
            1. Place the pork tenderloin into a slow cooker and pour the root beer over the meat. Cover and cook on low until the pork falls apart and shreds easily (about 6 to 7 hours). 
            2. Drain the juices and pull the pork apart with two forks until it is shredded. Stir in BBQ Sauce and warm in the slow cooker.
            3. Place some of the pork onto the bottom of each hamburger bun, top with coleslaw and place the other half of the bun on top.
            • 1 (16 ounce) bag shredded cabbage and carrot mix
            • 2 tablespoons onion, diced
            • 2/3 cup creamy salad dressing (Miracle Whip or Mayo)
            • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
            • 1/4 cup white sugar
            • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
            • ¼ teaspoon salt
            • ½ teaspoon poppy seeds (we didn't have poppy seeds so we just replaced this with fresh savory and it was pretty tasty!)
            1. In a large bowl combine coleslaw mix and diced onion.
            2. In a medium bowl whisk together salad dressing, vegetable oil, sugar, vinegar, salt and poppy seeds. Pour dressing over the cabbage mixture and toss to coat. 
            3. Chill at least 2 hours before serving.
            We found this recipe at our usual recipe blog. It was pretty tasty. Mostly simple! :)

            Best Chicken Tacos I Have EVER Made. Yum!

            Shredded Chicken Tacos
            • 2 (8 ounce) cans tomato sauce
            • 2 teaspoons white distilled vinegar
            • 2 teaspoons garlic (minced)
            • 3 ½ teaspoons chili powder
            • 1 teaspoon cumin
            • 2 teaspoons oregano
            • ½ teaspoon sugar
            • 2 tablespoons olive oil
            • 2lbs bone-in chicken breasts (with the skin on)
            • ¼ cup cilantro (chopped)
            • flour or corn tortillas
            • chopped tomato
            • shredded lettuce
            • chopped onion
            • sour cream
            • mozzarella cheese
            1. In a medium bowl combine tomato sauce, vinegar, garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano, and sugar. Mix well and set aside. 
            2. In a large skillet over medium high heat, add olive oil. Cook chicken breasts until golden brown on each side (about 5 minutes per side). 
            3. Once chicken is golden brown add the tomato sauce mixture to the pan. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until chicken is fully cooked.
            4. Remove the chicken breasts from the pan (leaving the tomato sauce in the pan). Remove and discard the bone and skin of the chicken breasts. Using two forks shred the chicken. Place the shredded chicken back into the tomato sauce. 
            5. Cook until the sauce reduces and blends into the chicken. Add cilantro and stir into chicken mixture.
            6. Transfer chicken to a serving bowl and make spoon onto warmed tortillas and top with tomato, onion, cheese, lettuce, and sour cream.
            We found this delectable recipe on our recipe favorite blog!

            Something to be served with... well, anything!

            Sweet and Sour Sauce
            Source: allrecipes
            • 3/4 cup white sugar
            • 1/3 cup white vinegar
            • 2/3 cup water
            • 1/4 cup soy sauce
            • 1 tablespoon ketchup
            • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
            1. Place the sugar, vinegar, water, soy sauce, ketchup and cornstarch in a medium saucepan, and bring to a boil. Stir continuously until the mixture has thickened. 
            2. Can be served with meatballs, tempura, rice, or Chinese food! :) 

            As Per Request...

            Our dear friend Stuart asked us if we could find a good pesto recipe and post it on here. So here you go Stu! Pretty much every recipe we found was very similar. We used one cup of basil and it turned out to be WAY more than expected. So this is actually a fairly large recipe! p.s. This sauce is really good, but I don't know if it was worth it to buy so much basil and pine nuts. Kinda pricey in the end... We will probably just buy pesto next time we're in the mood! :)

            Fresh Basil Pesto Recipe

            Source: simply recipes
            • 2 c fresh basil leaves, packed
            • 1/2 c freshly grated Parmesan-Reggiano or Romano cheese
            • 1/2 c extra virgin olive oil
            • 1/4 c pine nuts 
            • 1/4 c walnuts
            • 3 garlic cloves, minced
            • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
            1. Combine the basil in with the nuts, pulse a few times in a food processor. Add the garlic, pulse a few times more.
            2. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is on. Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula. Add the grated cheese and pulse again until blended. Add a pinch of salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste.
            3. Serve with pasta, or over baked potatoes, or spread over toasted baguette slices.

            Saturday, April 9, 2011

            Pizza Fan? This is even BETTER!

            Sister Cotter's AMAZING Pizza Rolls

            Marinara Sauce
            • 1 can (28-35 oz.) whole plum tomatoes, drain but save the liquid, squish the tomatoes with your hands
            • 1 large clove garlic, minced
            • 1/2 small onion, minced
            • 2 T. minced parsley or 2 tsp. dried parsley
            • 1/2 tsp. oregano
            • 1 T. tomato paste
            • 2 T. olive oil or bacon grease
            • 5 fresh basil leaves (good reason to grow basil)
            1. Saute' onion in oil until transluscent.  Add garlic and cook for 1 minute.  
            2. Add tomatoes, paste, oregano, parsley, salt & pepper to taste.  Cook on low heat for 20-30 minutes, partially covered.  If it gets too thick, add the reserved tomato juice.  
            3. Add torn basil leaves at the end and cook another 5-10 minutes before serving.
            Pizza Rolls
            • 1 lb. pizza dough (we used the same recipe we used for our pizza)
            • grated Mozzarella cheese
            • grated Cheddar cheese
            • pepperoni
            • cooked sausage
            • saute'd onions, cooked in a little olive oil till tender
            • roasted red pepper (recipe below)
            • oregano
            • Italian seasoning
            • fresh basil leaves
            1. Roll out the dough until it's about the size of your cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with a little olive oil.  
            2. Add cheeses then toppings of your choice.  Sprinkle with seasonings (no more than 1 tsp.) then top with a few fresh basil leaves.  
            3. Roll up the dough starting from one long side.  Pinch ends and tuck under the roll.  
            4. Place on a lightly oiled cookie sheet.  If it doesn't fit, you can curve it a bit.  Rub with olive oil and poke in several places with a fork to release the future steam. 
            5. Bake in a preheated 400-degree oven for about 20 minutes, or until puffed and golded.  Slice and serve with Marinara Sauce.
            Roasted Red Pepper
            Source: ehow
            • Red Bell Peppers
            1. Wash red peppers.
            2. After washing the peppers, put them on a foil lined cookie sheet.
            3. Put cookie sheet with peppers into a pre-heated 400 degree oven for approximately 30 minutes. Times will vary as ovens do.
            4. Keep an eye on the peppers and as the skin just begins to turn black, turn each one a little. Don't let the peppers burn, they will be bitter.
            5. Once the peppers are done, put them - while hot - into a ziplock bag. Close the bag tightly and let the peppers cool inside of it. This will make peeling the peppers easy.
            6. Once the peppers are cool,take them out and keep the bag close by to catch the skins and seeds. Gently peel the peppers and scrape the seeds out with your fingers. As you peel them, put the strips of peppers into a storage container. Salt the peppers to taste, add a clove or two of garlic and some good olive oil. Cover and refrigerate. Enjoy!

            I LOVE Potatoes. In ANY Form.

            Scalloped Potatoes 


            • 4 medium potatoes, peeled
            • 3/4 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided
            • 1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
            •   3 T chopped onion
            • 1/2 can condensed cream of chicken soup
            • 1/2 cup sour cream
            • 1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons milk
            • 1 tablespoon butter, melted
            • 1/4 teaspoon salt
            • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
            • paprika
            1. In a pot, cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Cool completely; thinly slice and place in a large bowl.
            2. Combine half of cheddar cheese and next 8 ingredients.
            3. Spread thin layer of cheese mixture in pan. Add layer of potato slices. Continue to alternate sauce and potatoes until done. Sprinkle with remaining cheese on top and add sprinkle of paprika. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or until bubbly.
              I loosely based this recipe on this recipe. :)

            Friday, April 8, 2011

            Incarceron Books

            Incarceron ****
            by Catherine Fisher
            Book Type: YA, Dystopia 

            Summary: Incarceron -- a futuristic prison, sealed from view, where the descendants of the original prisoners live in a dark world torn by rivalry and savagery. It is a terrifying mix of high technology -- a living building which pervades the novel as an ever-watchful, ever-vengeful character, and a typical medieval torture chamber -- chains, great halls, dungeons. A young prisoner, Finn, has haunting visions of an earlier life, and cannot believe he was born here and has always been here. In the outer world, Claudia, daughter of the Warden of Incarceron, is trapped in her own form of prison -- a futuristic world constructed beautifully to look like a past era, an imminent marriage she dreads. She knows nothing of Incarceron, except that it exists. But there comes a moment when Finn, inside Incarceron, and Claudia, outside, simultaneously find a device -- a crystal key, through which they can talk to each other. And so the plan for Finn's escape is born 
            summary found on goodreads
            My Review: Okay, I have to admit that I have a love/hate relationship with this type of book. I love it because it is engaging, fresh, interesting, full of great characters, and exciting. I hate them because I have to WAIT to read the rest of the series. :) It is another book much like the Hunger Games series because it is a look at a future dystopic society. Incarceron is a prison. You follow a character inside the prison and a character outside the prison and the way that they attempt to help each other. It's a young adult novel so don't expect to use your brain a lot, but you can expect to be driven to finish this book as well as the series!

            Sapphique ****
            by Catherine Fisher
            *Sequel to Incarceron, read it before this review
            Book Type: YA, Dystopia 

            Summary: Incarceron, the living prison, has lost one of its inmates to the outside world: Finn’s escaped, only to find that Outside is not at all what he expected. Used to the technologically advanced, if violently harsh, conditions of the prison, Finn is now forced to obey the rules of Protocol, which require all people to live without technology. To Finn, Outside is just a prison of another kind, especially when Claudia, the daughter of the prison’s warden, declares Finn the lost heir to the throne. When another claimant emerges, both Finn’s and Claudia’s very lives hang on Finn convincing the Court of something that even he doesn’t fully believe.
            Meanwhile, Finn’s oathbrother Keiro and his friend Attia are still trapped inside Incarceron. They are searching for a magical glove, which legend says Sapphique used to escape. To find it, they must battle the prison itself, because Incarceron wants the glove too.
            summary found on goodreads
            My Review: I would have to say this book was as good as the first. I enjoyed it. I read it in one day so it was obviously engaging! :) The story ended a little too abruptly for me. I would have liked just a little bit more. I guess I just have to write my own ending! And that's okay, I enjoy doing that too. Most of the time :). Anyway, I would suggest this series if you enjoy books about dystopic societies! Which I clearly do...
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