Sunday, March 25, 2012

Tip #2

Do you ever see a recipe and think, "that looks really good, but we don't have everything to make it..?". Well, this post is for you! First off, this used to happen to us all the time! I think we have been better lately with planning our meals for the next two weeks. Makes it a lot easier to have all the ingredients we need for the meal. But it definitely still happens.
So what do you do? You get creative!
Find a substitute for what you are missing, this does take some practice, but most ingredients can be changed without changing your meal too much. Plus its one of the best ways to learn how different flavors and textures combine!
So, now some examples and ideas. One of the first things you can do is google a substitute, a lot of people post lots of ideas. Second, see if you can think of something you have that can mimmick the characteristics of your missing ingredient, for example substituting pine nuts for waterchestnuts in a lettuce wrap recipe to give it a good crunch, or using oregano in place of marjoram to give it a similar herby flavor. Now, remember, the original ingredient will still probably give you the best results, and you may have a few food disasters - so don't expirement when you have company coming over.
The most important thing though is to learn from your mistakes, if it didn't turn ask yourself why. Try something else and figure out what ingredients you like to keep on hand. Some of our staples are butter, garlic and onions, they do a lot for almost any meal. Don't be afraid of new things and keep track of changes you make that turn out tasty, that's kind of how this blog started!

Friday, March 23, 2012


OH MY GOSH. I have been looking forward to this movie forEVER. Seriously, since I started reading the books years ago I started dreaming and hoping they would make a movie. I thoroughly enjoy the books and was hoping the movie would at least do it justice. Which it DID. It was AWESOME. OH MY GOSH. Seriously. It was one of the best movies based on a book I've ever seen. It followed the book soo well. They left out a few things, tweaked a few others, and added some scenes but I felt that it all worked. The things that were left out were most likely due to time restraints. The things that were added were things that were talked about in the story but not in detail because Katniss wasn't there. I was really worried about Josh Hutcherson playing Peeta because I had really only seen him in movies that were super cheesy and aimed toward a younger audience. So I was pleasantly surprised to see him play the role PERFECTLY. He was spot on. Jennifer Lawrence was also a perfect Katniss. Everyone in the movie did a wonderful job. I am currently in love with this movie. Almost everything about it was perfect. I can't wait to go see it again. And then own it so I can watch it whenever I want. Yes. GO SEE THIS MOVIE. And READ THE BOOKS if you haven't already. Okay. I'm going to go read the Hunger Games now. :)

. . .

Ahem. So now that I'm over my initial high, and am able to look back on the movie a little more objectively, I would like to add a few more thoughts. There may be some spoilers in here so feel free to just disregard this whole section... :)
Basically, I still think they did a fabulous job. The scenes that take place in district 12 are almost the same as the book, as are the scenes in the capital. They even quote it word for word at times. Things are definitely tweaked, but like I said before, I believe it's for timing reasons, making them understandable. The first half of the movie didn't bother me at all, I thought it was great. It wasn't until after the initial blood bath in the arena that things were changed quite a bit. The important things are still there, but she is in the arena several weeks in the book, whereas the movie portrays it as being more like a few days. Which honestly is totally fine, can you imagine what it would have been like if they HAD tried to drag it out a lot longer? The injuries received by the characters are also downplayed quite a bit. They are still pretty bad, but nothing compared to the book. In the book they are pretty gruesome, if the movie had made the wounds that bad it, probably would have been rated "R" for gore. So I was okay with that as well. Overall I was happy with everything until it got to the scenes with Peeta, once they can be a team. Katniss and Peeta were really great at the roles they played. p.s. Did I mention that I really loved Josh Hutcherson as Peeta? I thought he did a FANTASTIC job. Honestly, it's because he did such a good job that I wish they had done more with it. They just cut the whole thing so short! They could have done a cut scene to show a passing of time and just do a little bit more with their relationship building. Oh well. What they did was pretty good, I just wish there had been more. Outside of that, the ending kinda bummed me out. They just wrapped everything up SO quickly that it felt rushed. The ending was pretty important and they just whipped through it. In the end I have few complaints. The movie was really well done and I can't wait for the next chapter. Honestly, I could go on and on about how I've been obsessed with the Hunger Games since Thursday afternoon, but you probably don't care about that! So go see the movie and enjoy it! It's wonderful! :)


location: Tucson, AZ
We had heard that this restaurant was really good so we decided to go check it out. YUMMY. They make what they call "butter burgers". Basically they toast the bun in butter before they make your burger. It is incredibly delicious. We loved the milkshake and burgers both. Everything was soooo good.We will definitely be going back. The prices were average I believe. Probably about 3 dollars for a burger, tack on a little more for the fries and 3 to 4 bucks for the milk shakes. They make fresh frozen yogurt daily, it's sooo yummy. MMmm... I'm salivating.

Thursday, March 22, 2012


So for those of you who don't know. We have an ugly couch. Okay. I've seen worse. But I definitely am not a huge fan of the huge floral print that you find on our couch. Seriously. It's bad. And just NOT me. Oh, and did I mention that it's white? Well, was... Anyway! Point is. I don't like the way my couch looks. We don't have the money/time/drive to buy a new one. So... What did we do? We fixed the one we have. BY buying a couch cover, I am SO not skilled enough to make my own. And we made pillow covers. We bought fabric we liked and thought went well together and MADE our own pillow covers. Awesome right? I know. I am just so great. Okay so Russ did a lot of the work. Probably most of the work... In all fairness I have been feeling a little off in the health department for about a month...So you know. It was fair that he did more than me. Because he loves me enough to do it. Anyway. Would you like to see our project?? If you're still reading this you must... So here you go!!
Amazing right? Right? Hold the applause! No really though... SO MUCH BETTER.

El Molinito

El Molinito
location: Tucson, AZ
If you're looking for cheap Mexican, this is the place for you! Looking for delicious Mexican? It's definitely not the right place for you... The mild salsa is a can of crushed tomatoes... Basically. But, you get a ton of food for your money. I would go back for the tamales, THOSE were yummy. Everything else mediocre at best. But really? For 3-5 bucks a plate, you could do worse. We ordered WAY more food than we needed thinking that a couple tamales and couple enchiladas would be just right. Turns out we were wrong, it was just right for 4 people. :)

Just One Wish

Just One Wish ****
by Janette Rallison
Book Type: YA, Fiction
Summary: Seventeen-year-old Annika Truman knows about the power of positive thinking. With a little brother who has cancer, it's all she ever hears about. And in order to help Jeremy, she will go to the ends of the earth (or at least as far as Hollywood) to help him believe he can survive his upcoming surgery.
But Annika's plan to convince Jeremy that a magic genie will grant him any wish throws her a curveball when he unexpectedly wishes that his television idol would visit him. Annika suddenly finds herself in the desperate predicament of getting access to a hunky star actor and convincing him to come home with her. Piece of cake, right?
summary found on goodreads
My Review: Implausible, impossible, far-fetched, silly, over-the-top, unrealistic, in-your-dreams, totally and completely off the charts concept. 
I loved it.
The story is so far-fetched and the outcome is even more so. But for some reason, I loved it. It is clever, witty, cheesy, funny, unique, and touching. The relationship between the main character and her little brother is cute. The ending got me a bit teary eyed and I wanted more. I will most certainly be buying this ridiculous book. I did confess once that I am a sucker for cheesy romance novels on occasion did I not?

The Three Musketeers

The Three Musketeers ***
Have you seen the classic Disney movie called "The Three Musketeers"? It is a FABULOUS movie. At least I love it. It is seriously funny and entertaining in every way! So I had to watch the new one. I didn't have high expectations, which is good. Because this movie was cast perfectly, the actors were all fantastic but the plot? Weak. Weak. Weak. I don't know what it was about the movie... I guess, the ending doesn't wrap up anything so you end with a feeling of "and?" So, the movie had it's entertaining parts and it's not so entertaining parts. Overall I'm glad I watched it, but I won't be watching it again anytime soon. If ever. Just saying.

Another Delicious Stir-fry

Beef with Broccoli
source: blogchef

  • 1lb flank steak
  • 4 T soy sauce
  • 2 T chicken broth
  • 1 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 bunch fresh broccoli, sliced into florets
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 slices fresh ginger, finely minced
  • 2 T vegetable oil


  1. Slice steak against the grain thinly into strips. Place steak in a bowl or sealable bag.
  2. Combine soy sauce, dry sherry and cornstarch. Mix well, and pour mixture over steak strips. Marinate for 15 minutes to a half hour.
  3. Heat the wok and add oil. Add minced garlic and ginger root and stir fry over medium-high heat for about 20 seconds. Add beef and stir fry stirring constantly for a couple minutes.
  4. Add broccoli and stir fry for 5 minutes or until broccoli is cooked but still crispy and dark green.

Midnight in Austenland

Midnight in Austenland ***
by Shannon Hale
Book Type: Romance, Mystery
Summary: When Charlotte Kinder treats herself to a two-week vacation at Austenland, she happily leaves behind her ex-husband and his delightful new wife, her ever-grateful children, and all the rest of her real life in America. She dons a bonnet and stays at a country manor house that provides an immersive Austen experience, complete with gentleman actors who cater to the guests' Austen fantasies. 
Everyone at Pembrook Park is playing a role, but increasingly, Charlotte isn't sure where roles end and reality begins. And as the parlor games turn a little bit menacing, she finds she needs more than a good corset to keep herself safe. Is the brooding Mr. Mallery as sinister as he seems? What is Miss Gardenside's mysterious ailment? Was that an actual dead body in the secret attic room? And-perhaps of the most lasting importance-could the stirrings in Charlotte's heart be a sign of real-life love? 
summary found on goodreads
My Review: I'll admit it. I'm a sucker for cheesy romance novels every once in a while. Like Austenland. LOVE IT. So I figured, okay, I'll give this quasi-sequel a chance... and... it was okay. The main character was alright, the leading men were handsome... And the mystery was so-so. Overall it was fun, but not fantastic. If you're looking for a good mystery, don't read this book. If you're looking for a good romance, don't read this book. If you're looking for an okay romance/mystery, this is would be a good choice for you :).

Another attempt at an Indian dish that is quite tasty

This dish claimed to be butter chicken. I didn't think it tasted quite like butter chicken, more like a butter chicken/chicken tikka masala hybrid... Either way, it's good! :)
Chicken Makhani
inspiration: allrecipes
  • 1 T peanut oil
  • 1 lb boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-size pieces
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 T ginger-garlic paste
  • 1 tsp garam masala
  • pinch cayenne pepper
  • 1 T peanut oil
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 1/4 white onion, chopped
  • 1 serrano pepper, minced
  • 2 T butter
  • 2 tsp lemon juice
  • 3 T ginger garlic paste
  • 2 tsp garam masala
  • 2 tsp chili powder
  • 2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 c plain yogurt
  • 1 c heavy cream
  • 1 c tomato sauce
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper, or to taste
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • ½ c ground cashews
    1. Mix chicken with lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, and cayenne pepper. Allow to marinate while preparing the sauce.
    2. sauce
    3. Heat 1 T oil in large saucepan over med-high heat. Saute shallot, onion, and serrano pepper until onion is translucent.
    4. Stir in butter, lemon juice, ginger-garlic paste, garam masala, chili powder, cumin and bay leaf. Cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.
    5. Add tomato sauce and cook for 2 mins, stirring frequently. Add cream and yogurt. Reduce heat to low and simmer approximately 10 minutes, stirring frequently.
    6. Season with salt and pepper, set aside.
    7. Heat 1 T oil in a large heavy skillet over med heat. Cook chicken until browned, about 15 minutes. Add chicken to sauce and reheat for approximately 5-10 mins. Add more seasonings if necessary. Mix in ground cashews.
    8. Serve with rice and naan.

    Tin Tin

    The Adventures of Tin Tin ***
    This movie had the most INCREDIBLE animation. It actually freaked me out a little bit how realistic the characters looked and moved. The story was fun, not spectacular, but fun. The actors did a good job.... But this movie is definitely geared towards a younger audience. It was simple, but it really was entertaining. I would watch it at least once so that your mind could experience the incredible animation. :)

    Sunday, March 18, 2012

    Another way to make chicken cordon bleu

    Chicken Cordon Bleu
    source: food network
    • 4 double chicken breasts (about 7-ounces each), skinless and boneless
    • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
    • 8 thin slices deli ham
    • 16 thin slices Gruyere or Swiss cheese
    • 2 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves
    • 1/4 cup flour
    • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1 teaspoon olive oil
    • 2 eggs
    • 2 teaspoons water
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
    2. Lay the chicken between 2 pieces of plastic wrap. Using the flat side of a meat mallet, gently pound the chicken to 1/4-inch thickness. Take care not to pound too hard because the meat may tear or create holes. 
    3. Lay 2 slices of cheese on each breast, followed by 2 slices of ham, and 2 more of cheese; leaving a 1/2-inch margin on all sides to help seal the roll. Tuck in the sides of the breast and roll up tight like a jellyroll. Squeeze the log gently to seal.
    4. Season the flour with salt and pepper; spread out on waxed paper or in a flat dish. 
    5. Mix the breadcrumbs with thyme, kosher salt, pepper, and oil. The oil will help the crust brown. 
    6. Beat together the eggs and water, the mixture should be fluid. 
    7. Lightly dust the chicken with flour, then dip in the egg mixture. Gently coat in the bread crumbs. Carefully transfer the roulades to a baking pan and bake for 20 minutes until browned and cooked through. Cut into pinwheels before serving. 

    Oh GOSH this was yummy.

    Country Chicken Hot-Pot
    source: Cookshelf Chicken by Tom Bridge
    • 4 chicken quarters or tenderloins
    • 6 medium potatoes, cut into 1/4 in slices
    • 2 sprigs thyme
    • 2 sprigs rosemary
    • 2 bay leaves
    • 1 c bacon, diced
    • 1 large onion, chopped finely
    • 1 c sliced carrots
    • 2/3 c ginger-ale
    • 2 T melted butter
    • salt and pepper
    1.  Preheat oven to 300 degrees.
    2. Remove skin from chicken if preferred.
    3. Arrange a layer of potato slices in the bottom of a wide casserole dish. Season with salt and pepper, add thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves.
    4. Top with the chicken, sprinkle with diced bacon, onion, and carrots. Season well and arrange the remaining potato slices on top, overlapping slightly. 
    5. Pour the ginger-ale over the top. Brush the potatoes with melted butter and cover with lid or tin foil.
    6. Bake approximately 2 hours, uncovering for the last 30 mins to allow the potatoes to brown.

    Oldie but Goodie

    source: Lisa Hawks
    • 1 lb flank steak
    • 8 flour tortillas
    • 2 large tomatoes, cut into wedges
    • 2 onions, cut into wedges
    • 2 T taco seasoning
    • 2 cloves garlic, peeled and minced
    • chopped lettuce
    • green onions
    • shredded cheese
    • sour cream
    • salsa
    1. slice steak diagonally into thin strips.
    2. Heat a large skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat. Add steak and cook and stir until browned.
    3. Add tomato and onion wedges, garlic, and seasonings. Stir well and bring to a boil.
    4. Cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
    5. Serve on the warmed tortillas with toppings.

    Risky Business

    location: Tucson, AZ
    We LOVED this restaurant. The food was delish. The prices were fair. The portions were perfect. Yes. We love it. We will be going back. A LOT. This restaurant is just FABULOUS! Okay. They serve pretty much everything under the sun. In the mood for Italian? check. Burgers? check. Seafood? check. You name it. They've got it. Okay, not EVERYTHING. But more than enough! Come visit us here in Tucson and we will take you there. Yup. We sure will.

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

    Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children ***1/2
    by Ransom Riggs
    Book Type: Mystery, YA, Fantasy
    Summary: A mysterious island.
    An abandoned orphanage.
    A strange collection of very curious photographs.
    It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.

    summary found on goodreads
    My Review: This book was so unique and fun. It is full of real antique photos to add to the story that is being told. A story so mysterious, so alluring that you can't wait to find out what's real and what's fantasy. The main character is sarcastic and funny, his friends are spectacular, and his nightmares are truly gruesome. If you watched your grandfather die and his last request sounded like insanity mixed with fantasy, would you obey? It has a very open-ended ending, but overall I thought this story was thoroughly entertaining and had me wanting just a little bit more when it was all said and done.

    Healthy but still yummy

    Salmon-Vegetable Bake
    source: Better Homes and Gardens: Celebrating the Promise
    • 1 lb salmon,cod, or flounder fillets
    • 2 c carrot, thinly sliced
    • 2 c fresh mushrooms, sliced
    • 1/2 green onion, sliced
    • 2 tsp orange peel, finely shredded
    • 2 tsp snipped fresh oregano, or 1/2 tsp dried
    • 1/4 tsp salt
    • 1/4 tsp black pepper
    • 4 cloves garlic, halved
    • 4 tsp olive oil
    • salt and pepper, to taste
    • 2 medium oranges, thinly sliced
    • 4 sprigs fresh oregano
    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
    2. Thaw fish, rinse, and pat dry with paper towels. Cut into four serving size pieces, set aside.
    3. In saucepan cook carrot, covered, in a small amount of boiling water for 2 minutes to soften. Drain and set aside. 
    4. Tear off four pieces of tin foil big enough to wrap around fish and veggies.
    5. In a large bowl combine carrot, mushrooms, green onion, orange peel, oregano, 1/4 tsp salt and pepper, and garlic.
    6. Divide veggies among 4 pieces of tin foil. Place one piece of salmon on each pile of veggies. Drizzle 1 tsp of oil over each piece of salmon. Sprinkle each lightly with additional salt and pepper; top with orange sliced and sprig of oregano.
    7. Bring together tin foil and wrap as you would a tin foil dinner. Leave enough room in the little packet for steam to build. Place on a baking sheet and place in oven for approximately 30 minutes. You'll know it's done when the carrots are tender and the fish begins to flake for fork tested. 

    Real Steel

    Real Steel ***
    So Russ really wanted to watch this movie. It was fun. I thought the kid was really cute. I loved how he stood up for himself and fought Hugh Jackman on everything and yet was able to squeeze his way into his life and eventually heart. The robot fighting was pretty cool. The special effects were pretty well done. In the end it was a fun "summer flick" type of movie.

    Rainforest Cafe

    Rainforest Cafe
    location: Various
    My family used to go to the Rainforest Cafe when I was a kid. So when we were in Downtown Disney, we had to go. The ambiance is a lot of fun, especially for children. I mean, they have a thunderstorm go off every 20 minutes and the animals move every 10. It is designed to feel like you're eating in a jungle. We sat right next to a real fishtank! It's a lot of fun. And the food was just DELISH. We ordered some sort of fish and shrimp and goodness it was good. I ate way more than I should have, but I felt good after because it was such a healthy, yummy meal! The people next to us did order big greasy burgers that looked to die for as well... I bet everything is good here! It is a bit more pricey. I believe everything was at least 10-20 dollars. But it is worth it for the experience, at least once. :)

    CLASSIC ~A Christmas Carol~

    A Christmas Carol ***
    by Charles Dickens
    Book Type: Holiday, Family, Classic
    Summary: One of the best-loved and most quoted stories of "the man who invented Christmas"-English writer Charles Dickens-A Christmas Carol debuted in 1843 and has touched millions of hearts since. Cruel miser Ebeneezer Scrooge has never met a shilling he doesn't like. . .and hardly a man he does. And he hates Christmas most of all. When Scrooge is visited by his old partner, Jacob Marley, and the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present, and Christmas Yet to Come, he learns eternal lessons of charity, kindness, and goodwill. 
    summary found on goodreads
    My Review: It took me forever to read this 60 page book. Want to know why? It's really slow. Have I told you I have a problem? I only like books where people die... Yeah. Because that means there's a lot of action and the story generally moves fairly quickly... So this book was a bit too slow for me to get into... BUT. The message was fantastic. It is a classic for a reason! It is just like all the movies make it out to be. Grouchy old man visited by a bunch of spirits finds his heart and happiness in serving others. Great message, decent story. But, I think I'll just watch one of the movies next time I want a dose of this story. :)

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret

    The Invention of Hugo Cabret ***
    by Brian Selznick
    Book Type: Graphic Novel, Fiction
    Summary: Caldecott Honor artist Brian Selznick's lavishly illustrated debut novel is a cinematic tour de force not to be missed!ORPHAN, CLOCK KEEPER, AND THIEF, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life, and his most precious secret, are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.
    summary found on goodreads
    My Review: I absolutely LOVED the movie they made based on this book. The movie followed the book almost perfectly, as it should have. This book is laid out beautifully and simply. The story is not told merely with words, it is told in pictures as much as by words. In fact, there are almost more pictures than words in this story. And the pictures are all hand drawn - or at least made to look as such. It was a unique story. I've never read a story written like this before. I enjoyed it for the most part. It is a simple story aimed more so for a younger audience. But it is a beautiful story that made me smile at the end. Honestly though, you can get away with just watching the movie. Which is FABULOUS by the way. :)

    This is surprisingly tasty!

    Curried Squash Soup
    source: Simply Recipes

    • 1 2-lb butternut squash, peeled, seeded, diced into 1/2-inch to 3/4-inch cubes, yielding about 6 cups of cubed squash (we substituted acorn squash... it turned out fine!)
    • Olive oil
    • 1 tsp butter
    • Salt
    • 1 large yellow onion, chopped
    • 2 tsp yellow curry powder
    • 1 tsp whole mustard seeds (if you substitute ground mustard, only use 1/4 tsp)
    • A dash of ground cumin
    • 1 Tbsp minced fresh ginger
    • 4 c chicken stock
    • 1 tsp salt
    • 1/2 c sour cream (can substitute plain yogurt)
    • 1/4 c chopped fresh cilantro (can substitute parsley)
    1. Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a large pot on medium heat. Add a dab of butter to the olive oil. 
    2. Working in two batches so as not to crowd the pan, add the cubed squash to the pan. Toss to coat all sides with oil. Sprinkle a little salt over the squash. Then spread out in an even layer and let cook, stirring only occasionally, so that the edges and sides get lightly browned. You may need to adjust the heat up to ensure browning, or down to prevent burning or drying out. Add more oil and butter for the additional batches. Remove from pan and set aside.
    3. Heat another tablespoon of olive oil in the pot, on medium heat. Add the chopped onions and cook, stirring now and then, until softened. 
    4. Add the curry powder, mustard seeds, cumin, and fresh ginger, and cook for a minute or so longer. Use a flat bottomed wooden or metal spatula to scrape up any browned bits.
    5. Return the squash to the pot. Add the chicken stock and a teaspoon of salt. Increase the heat to bring to a simmer, then lower the heat to maintain a low simmer, cover the pot. 
    6. Cook for 40 minutes until squash is completely tender. Use an immersion blender (or a stand up blender in which case work in batches) to blend the soup smooth. Add more salt to taste if needed.
    7. Serve in individual bowls with a dollop of sour cream and some chopped cilantro.

    Who doesn't like a stir fry??

    Chicken Stir-Fry
    source: allrecipes
    • 4 (4 oz) boneless skinless chicken breast halves
    • 3 T cornstarch
    • 2 T soy sauce
    • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
    • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
    • 3 T cooking oil, divided
    • 2 c broccoli florets
    • 1 c sliced celery (1/2 inch pieces)
    • 1 c thinly sliced carrots
    • 1 small onion, cut into wedges
    • 1 c water
    • 1 tsp chicken bouillon granules
    **hint: buy the bags of frozen stir-fry veggies at the grocery store. Saves you 15 mins of chopping, easy.
      1. Cut chicken into 1/2-in. strips; place in a resealable plastic bag. Add cornstarch and toss to coat. 
      2. Combine soy sauce, ginger and garlic powder; add to bag and shake well. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
      3. In a large skillet or wok, heat 2 tablespoons of oil; stir-fry chicken until no longer pink, about 3-5 minutes. Remove and keep warm. 
      4. Add remaining oil; stir- fry broccoli, celery, carrots and onion for 4-5 minutes or until crisp-tender. 
      5. Add water and bouillon. Return chicken to pan. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly.

      Saturday, March 17, 2012

      Another way to eat a favorite

      Toasted Ravioli
      source: Rachel Ray
      • 2 eggs
      • Splash of milk or half-and-half
      • Salt and pepper
      • 1 1/2 c Italian bread crumbs, eyeball it
      • 1/2 c grated Parmigiano-Reggiano, a couple of handfuls
      • Handful flat-leaf parsley, chopped
      • 12 large fresh spinach and cheese ravioli, about 3/4 pound
      • 5 T extra-virgin olive oil, divided
      • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
      • Pinch red pepper flakes
      • 2 roasted red peppers, drained
      • 1 (14 oz) can crushed tomatoes
      1. Beat eggs and a splash of milk seasoned with salt and pepper in a shallow dish. 
      2. Combine bread crumbs with cheese and parsley in a second dish. 
      3. Coat the fresh pasta in egg then bread crumbs. 
      4. Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat in a skillet then toast the ravioli until deep golden, 3 to 4 minutes on each side.
      5. In a small sauce pot heat the remaining olive oil and the garlic and red pepper flakes over medium low heat.
      6. Grind the roasted peppers in the food processor and add to garlic after it sautes for a couple of minutes. 
      7. Stir in tomatoes and season the sauce with salt and pepper. 
      8. When ready to serve, transfer sauce to a small bowl. Surround the sauce with toasted ravioli for dipping and serve.

      I normally don't like sloppy joes... But THESE are GOOD.

      Sloppy Joes
      source: the pioneer woman
      • 2 T Butter
      • 2-1/2 lbs Ground Beef
      • 1/2 Large Onion, Diced
      • 1 Large Green Bell Pepper, Diced
      • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
      • 1-1/2 c Ketchup
      • 1 c Water
      • 2 T Brown Sugar
      • 2 tsp Chili Powder (more To Taste)
      • 1 tsp Dry Mustard
      • 1/2 tsp Red Pepper Flakes (more To Taste)
      • Worcestershire Sauce, To Taste
      • 2 T Tomato Paste (optional)
      • Tabasco Sauce (optional; To Taste)
      • Salt To Taste
      • Freshly Ground Black Pepper, To Taste
      • Kaiser Rolls
      • Butter


      1. Add butter to a large skillet or dutch oven over medium high heat. Add ground beef and cook until brown. Drain most of the fat and discard.
      2. Add onions, green pepper, and garlic. Cook for a few minutes, or until vegetables begin to get soft.
      3. Add ketchup, brown sugar, chili pepper, dry mustard, and water. Stir to combine and simmer for 15 minutes, adding salt and pepper to taste. Also add tomato paste, Worcestershire, and Tabasco if desired. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed.
      4. Spread rolls with butter and brown on a griddle or skillet. Spoon meat mixture over the rolls, topping with a slice of cheese if desired. Serve hot with kettle cooked chips!

      A healthier meal

      Chicken Lettuce Wraps
      source: Taste of Home
      • 1-1/2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts, cubed
      • 1 T plus 1-1/2 tsp peanut oil, divided
      • 3/4 c chopped fresh mushrooms
      • 1 can (8 oz) water chestnuts, drained and diced
      • 1 T minced fresh ginger
      • 2 T rice vinegar
      • 2 T  teriyaki sauce
      • 1 T soy sauce
      • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
      • 1/4 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
      • 1-1/2 c shredded carrots
      • 1/2 c julienned green onions
      • 12 Bibb or Boston lettuce leaves
      • 1/3 c sliced almonds, toasted
      1. In a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray, cook chicken in 1 tablespoon oil for 3 minutes; drain. Add the mushrooms, water chestnuts and ginger; cook 4-6 minutes longer or until chicken is no longer pink. Drain and set aside. 
      2. In a small bowl, whisk the vinegar, teriyaki sauce, soy sauce, garlic powder, red pepper flakes and remaining oil. Stir in the carrots, onions and chicken mixture. 
      3. Spoon onto lettuce leaves; sprinkle with almonds. If desired, fold sides of lettuce over filling and roll up.

      These Stuffed Shells are to DIE for!

      Three Cheese Stuffed Shells with Meaty Tomato Sauce
      source: the pioneer woman
      • 8 oz Jumbo Pasta Shells
      • 30 oz Whole Milk Ricotta Cheese
      • 1 c Parmesan Cheese, Grated, Divided
      • 1/2 c Grated Romano Cheese
      • 1 Egg
      • 12 leaves Basil
      • 2 Tbsp Minced Parsley
      • Salt And Pepper, to taste
      • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
      • 1/2 Medium Onion, Chopped
      • 5 cloves Garlic, Minced
      • 1/2 lb Italian Sausage
      • 2 Tbsp Red Wine Vinegar
      • 1/4 c + 2 Tbsp water
      • 1 (28 Oz) Can Crushed Tomatoes
      • 1 (15 oz) Can Crushed Tomatoes
      • 2 Tbsp Sugar
      • 1/2 tsp Salt
      • 2 Tbsp Minced Parsley


      1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
      2. Cook pasta shells for half the cooking time; make sure not to overcook. Drain and rinse in cool water. Set aside.
      3. Heat olive oil in large skillet or dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onions and garlic and saute for a minute or two. Add Italian sausage and brown, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Pour in red wine and let it cook for a minute or two.
      4. Pour in cans of crushed tomatoes and stir. Add sugar and salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low. Cover and cook 30 to 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Check for seasonings; can add crushed red peppers if you like a little heat.
      5. In a separate bowl, mix ricotta, half the Parmesan, Romano, egg, salt and pepper, basil, and 2 tablespoons parsley. Stir until combined.
      6. To assemble, coat the bottom of a baking dish with sauce. Fill each half-cooked shell with the cheese mixture. Place face down on the sauce. Repeat with shells until cheese mixture is gone. Top shells with remaining sauce. Sprinkle on extra Parmesan.
      7. Bake 25 minutes, or until hot and bubbly.
      8. Serve with crusty French bread.
      **Hint:If you decide to use manicotti shells instead of jumbo shells, I find that filling a ziplock bag with the filling and cutting off one corner (like you do with frosting) makes it a lot easier to stuff the shells! :)

      If you ever try one of our recipes we would love to hear your feedback! Let us know if you like them or if you make any changes! We love comments! :)


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