This Page

has moved to a new address:

Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service

This Page

has moved to a new address:

Sorry for the inconvenience…

Redirection provided by Blogger to WordPress Migration Service
----------------------------------------------- Blogger Template Style Name: Minima Designer: Douglas Bowman URL: Date: 26 Feb 2004 ----------------------------------------------- */ body { background:#fff; margin:0; padding:40px 20px; font:x-small Georgia,Serif; text-align:center; color:#333; font-size/* */:/**/small; font-size: /**/small; } a:link { color:#58a; text-decoration:none; } a:visited { color:#969; text-decoration:none; } a:hover { color:#c60; text-decoration:underline; } a img { border-width:0; } /* Header ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #header { width:660px; margin:0 auto 10px; border:1px solid #ccc; } } @media handheld { #header { width:90%; } } #blog-title { margin:5px 5px 0; padding:20px 20px .25em; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:1px 1px 0; font-size:200%; line-height:1.2em; font-weight:normal; color:#666; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; } #blog-title a { color:#666; text-decoration:none; } #blog-title a:hover { color:#c60; } #description { margin:0 5px 5px; padding:0 20px 20px; border:1px solid #eee; border-width:0 1px 1px; max-width:700px; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Content ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { #content { width:660px; margin:0 auto; padding:0; text-align:left; } #main { width:410px; float:left; } #sidebar { width:220px; float:right; } } @media handheld { #content { width:90%; } #main { width:100%; float:none; } #sidebar { width:100%; float:none; } } /* Headings ----------------------------------------------- */ h2 { margin:1.5em 0 .75em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } /* Posts ----------------------------------------------- */ @media all { .date-header { margin:1.5em 0 .5em; } .post { margin:.5em 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } } @media handheld { .date-header { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } .post { padding:0 1.5em 0 1.5em; } } .post-title { margin:.25em 0 0; padding:0 0 4px; font-size:140%; font-weight:normal; line-height:1.4em; color:#c60; } .post-title a, .post-title a:visited, .post-title strong { display:block; text-decoration:none; color:#c60; font-weight:normal; } .post-title strong, .post-title a:hover { color:#333; } .post div { margin:0 0 .75em; line-height:1.6em; } { margin:-.25em 0 0; color:#ccc; } .post-footer em, .comment-link { font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .post-footer em { font-style:normal; color:#999; margin-right:.6em; } .comment-link { margin-left:.6em; } .post img { padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; } .post blockquote { margin:1em 20px; } .post blockquote p { margin:.75em 0; } /* Comments ----------------------------------------------- */ #comments h4 { margin:1em 0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.2em; color:#999; } #comments h4 strong { font-size:130%; } #comments-block { margin:1em 0 1.5em; line-height:1.6em; } #comments-block dt { margin:.5em 0; } #comments-block dd { margin:.25em 0 0; } #comments-block dd.comment-timestamp { margin:-.25em 0 2em; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } #comments-block dd p { margin:0 0 .75em; } .deleted-comment { font-style:italic; color:gray; } .paging-control-container { float: right; margin: 0px 6px 0px 0px; font-size: 80%; } .unneeded-paging-control { visibility: hidden; } /* Sidebar Content ----------------------------------------------- */ #sidebar ul { margin:0 0 1.5em; padding:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; list-style:none; } #sidebar li { margin:0; padding:0 0 .25em 15px; text-indent:-15px; line-height:1.5em; } #sidebar p { color:#666; line-height:1.5em; } /* Profile ----------------------------------------------- */ #profile-container { margin:0 0 1.5em; border-bottom:1px dotted #ccc; padding-bottom:1.5em; } .profile-datablock { margin:.5em 0 .5em; } .profile-img { display:inline; } .profile-img img { float:left; padding:4px; border:1px solid #ddd; margin:0 8px 3px 0; } .profile-data { margin:0; font:bold 78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } .profile-data strong { display:none; } .profile-textblock { margin:0 0 .5em; } .profile-link { margin:0; font:78%/1.4em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Arial,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Footer ----------------------------------------------- */ #footer { width:660px; clear:both; margin:0 auto; } #footer hr { display:none; } #footer p { margin:0; padding-top:15px; font:78%/1.6em "Trebuchet MS",Trebuchet,Verdana,Sans-serif; text-transform:uppercase; letter-spacing:.1em; } /* Feeds ----------------------------------------------- */ #blogfeeds { } #postfeeds { }

Friday, December 31, 2010

2010 Renovation Recap

We have worked a lot on our house this year and although I haven't had anything to share with you recently there will be more to come in early 2011. Currently we are tackling the basement and the two bathrooms will be the next projects after that is complete. To see all the before and after pictures of our house, check out the renovations tab at the top of my blog.

Our major progresses in 2010 were turning this:

Into this:

And this sad, sad fireplace:

Into this

As well as our Guest Bedroom renovation from this:

To this:

Casey also completed a major back patio transformation that I neglected to take pictures of before the fall. I will post those before in afters in the spring when everything is green and beautiful again!

There will be a lot to come in 2011, the basement transformation is sure to be HUGE. Can I remind you of what it looked like when we bought the house?

Yikes! Here it is in current condition:

Not sure which one is scarier! But, a total gut was necessary regardless of how the basement originally looked. We found lots of water damage, mold, and rotten wood behind the walls, all of which are being fixed and sealed so that no more water damage will occur. I hope to have more updates soon!

Photography Update:
As you may have noticed, I kinda failed to complete Project 365, but, on the bright side, I have learned a ton about photography throughout the year and hope to continue to progress throughout 2011. I am continuing to skill build and hope to do more photo shoots in the next year to practice even more!

Labels: , ,

Favorite Recipes of 2010

I cooked and baked a lot this year and really broadened my horizons! I tried out a lot of new dishes, started incorporating more fish into our diet, perfected my pie making skills and even made a few cheesecakes. Although I cooked so many excellent dishes this year, here are just a few of my favorites from 2010.

I have always loved hummus but never thought of using avocado in it.
This was so good, I could eat it with a spoon!

I love this salad and it makes a terrific meal. I'm not a huge steak person and definitely not a steak salad person but this salad had me at first bite!

 This soup recipe from my mom is heavenly!
The leeks bring such a wonderful flavor to the potatoes.

I swear I dream about this dish! A healthy recipe that tastes anything but!

Chicken dishes can be boring but not this one! This recipe is packed full of wonderful flavors.

Anything stuffed with goat cheese and I am there! This is a great twist on plain ol' steak and is sure to impress whoever you serve it to.

I love good casseroles. This one is diet-friendly, comforting, and just plain good.

This isn't your mother's meatloaf!
At under 300 calories per serving, this tasty recipe can't be beat.

This was one of my absolute favorite fish dishes of the year. So easy and so good.
A great healthy version of fried fish!

Not your typical lasagna but soooo good and a wonderful meatless meal!

This cheesecake with it's gingersnap crust is too die for!

My new favorite pie, this one is so good I made it three times this summer!

Chocolaty custard goodness, eaten with a spoon!


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Cranberry Apple Pie

I know I am supposed to showing you only post-holiday guilt-free recipes but it isn't really after the holidays yet and I just had to share this amazing pie recipe with you. I made it for Christmas dinner at my parents' house and it was so heavenly! IThe tartness of the cranberries and apples and the sweetness of the glaze were delicious. The nutmeg and cinnamon really gave the whole pie that holiday taste. I added a pinch more of each spice to the filling. If you have any sort of exuses occasions to make this pie, you should! Recipe adapted from e-mealz.

Basic Pie Dough (doubled)
6 cups peeled, sliced Granny Smith apples
1 cup fresh cranberries, washed and chopped in half
1 cup sugar + 2 Tbsp
3 Tbsp flour
½ tsp cinnamon
½ tsp nutmeg
Dash salt
4 tsp butter

1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1-2 Tbsp milk

Heat oven to 425. Roll out half the pie dough and place in bottom of 9” pie shell.

In lg bowl, combine apples, cranberries, sugar, flour, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Turn into pastry-lined pan. Add 4 dabs of butter on of fruit filling.

Roll out additional dough and place over pie filling. Trim edges and seal. Flute edges and cut 3-4 slits in top pie crust to vent. Place tin foil around pie crust edges to prevent burning. Bake for 40 -45 min.

Whisk confectioners sugar and milk together paint or drizzle over pie crust while hot. Serve warm with vanilla ice cream!


Linked to A Southern Fairytale's Mouthwatering Mondays and Mangoes and Chutney Fat Camp Friday.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Chicken Thighs in Red Wine Vinegar

I saw this on Gina's Weight Watchers blog yesterday and it seemed like a perfect meal to make because I had all the ingredients on hand. I was quite worried about the outcome because it was not coming together at all the way I wanted and looked nothing like the picture Gina posted (probably because her thighs were bone-in and mine were not). However, in the end it was saved and ended up being quite a tasty dish served with brown rice and topped off with fresh parsley. The leftovers were excellent, as well!

I have slightly adapted her recipe based on what I found to work best. I bet you could also throw everything in a slow cooker and cook it that way, too.
8 lean chicken thighs, skin removed (or boneless, skinless chicken thighs)
Salt and fresh pepper, to taste
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup fat free chicken broth, divided
1 tbsp honey
1 tbsp tomato paste
1 tsp butter
2 large shallots, thinly sliced (3/4 cup)
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1/2 cup dry white wine
2 tbsp light sour cream
2 tbsp fresh chopped parsley

Season chicken with salt and pepper.
In a medium saucepan, combine vinegar, honey, 3/4 cup chicken broth and tomato paste. Boil about 5 minutes, until it reduces down to about 3/4 cup. Remove from heat.

In a large skillet, melt butter over medium-low heat and add chicken. Cook on both sides, until brown, about 6-8 minutes. Remove chicken and set aside. Add the shallots and garlic to the skillet and cook on low until soft, about 5 minutes. Pour the sauce over the chicken, add the wine, remaining broth salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer about 20 minutes until tender.

Remove the chicken, add sour cream and stir into the sauce (if sauce dries up, add more broth). Boil a few minutes then return chicken to skillet. Shred chicken, if desired. Top with fresh parsley. Serve chicken and sauce over rice.

Servings: 4
Calories: 242.5
Points Plus: 6 (not including rice)

Linked to Good Cheap Eats What's on Your Plate?

Labels: ,

Monday, December 27, 2010

Chicken Stew Provencal

This is the perfect winter meal, warm and comforting, yet healthy and low calorie, which is exactly what I am looking for after all the holiday indulgences I have consumed! This recipe is slightly adapted from the Washington Post.

2 tbsps olive oil
4 (about 20 oz) boneless, skinless, chicken breasts, cut crosswise in half, then each half cut into thin strips
2 medium onions, cut into thin wedges
2 stalks celery, cut crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces
2 medium carrots, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
4 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 cups low-sodium, nonfat, chicken broth
28 oz canned, no sodium, diced tomatoes, plus their juices
4 medium (unpeeled) red potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 tsps dried herbes de Provence, crushed
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot over medium-high heat. Add the chicken and cook, turning the pieces occasionally, for 5 to 7 minutes or until they have browned on all sides.

Add the onion, celery, carrot, and garlic; cook, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes or until the onion is soft.

Add the broth, tomatoes with their juice, potatoes, herbes de Provence, salt, and pepper, stirring to combine. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 45 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through and potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot. Freeze leftovers, if desired.

Servings: 6
Calories: 269

Linked to Moutwatering Mondays at A Southern Fairytale and Tuesday Night Supper Club at Fudge Ripple.

Labels: , ,

Friday, December 24, 2010

Thumbprint Cookies

Here is my last post from our holiday bake-fest. This was a new recipe that we tried that turned out great! I love the mix of the buttery cookie with the sweet jam. You can use all different types of jam for these for a fun variety.

I wish you all a very merry Christmas! I'll be back next week with some low-cal meals for you!

2 cups sifted flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter
1/2 cup superfine sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract (or 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract and 1/2 tsp almond extract)
Your preferred jam or other filling
1/2 cup sifted confectioners sugar

Sift together flour and salt; set aside. Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy; add extract(s). Slowly mix in flour, 1/2 cup at a time, until just blended. Chill dough for 1 to 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 325. Menawhile, quickly shape dough into 1 inch balls and space them 2 inches apart on ungreased baking sheets. Make a deep thumbpring in the center of each; fill with preferred jam or chocolate.

Bake for 15 minutes, or until cookies are the color of pale sand. Transfer to wire cooling racks. When cooled, dust with confectioners sugar.


Labels: ,

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Chocolate Peppermint Crinkle Cookies

When I saw this recipe posted on Bakers Royale I knew I had to try it. I love chocolate and mint together. These cookies turned out great, they are nice and soft, which I love, and have a wonderful peppermint flavor!

1 3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons spooned and leveled bleached all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, finely chopped
2 3/4 cups sugar, divided
1/4 cup canola oil
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and warm, not hot
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 ½ teaspoons of peppermint extract
1 cup sugar

In a medium bowl, beat together well the flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Melt the chocolate in the microwave on 50 percent power for 1-2 minutes, stir, and microwave for 15 seconds more and stir; set aside.

In a mixer with the paddle attachment, beat together 2 1/2 cups of the sugar, the oil, butter and corn syrup to blend. Beat in the eggs, egg yolk, vanilla and peppermint extract. Then on low, beat in the melted chocolate. Add the flour mixture and beat in on low speed. Wrap the dough in plastic and refrigerate for several hours or overnight.

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Line bakesheet with parchment. Take out about one-quarter of the dough at a time to shape. Roll the dough into 1 1/2 inch balls. Pour the remaining 1/4 cup granulated sugar into one bowl and the confectioners’ sugar in another bowl. Roll each cookie dough ball lightly in granulated sugar first, then very heavily in confectioners’ sugar. (By rolling in plain sugar first, the confectioners’ sugar does not soak in so much and stays on the surface better).

Arrange cookies 2 inches apart on the foil. For crisp cookies, bake 12 to 14 minutes. For a chewier cookie, bake 10-12 minutes. Bake one sheet at a time.

Makes 2 dozen cookies.

  • The cookie dough can be prepared four days in advance. Once the cookies are baked they can be kept in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
  • To keep your cookies chewy add a plain piece of bread to the container. The cookies will absorb the moisture from the bread and stay chewy. Replace the bread piece once it starts to resemble a crouton in texture.  

Labels: ,

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Russian Tea Cakes

These Russian Tea Cakes (also called Mexican Wedding Cakes) are one of my mom's favorites. They are yummy, bite size and super easy to make.
1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup confectioners sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
3/4 cup finely chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 400.

Thoroughly mix butter, sugar, and vanilla. Work in the flour, salt, and nuts until the dough holds together.

Shape into 1 inch balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until set but not brown.

While the cookies are still warm, roll in confectioners sugar. Allow to cool and then roll in sugar again.

Linked to Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Chocolate Raspberry Crumb Bars

These bars are one of my favorite treats. They are so rich and decadent and always a huge hit. They are also quite simple to make which is a definite plus! I accidentally used a whole 2 cups chocolate in the filling and then added a third cup chocolate chips for the topping so they were extra chocolaty. The layer of chocolate in the middle is a lot thicker than they normally are. No complaints from the tasters, though!

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups (12 ounce package) semi-sweet chocolate morsels, divided
1 1/4 cups (14 ounce can) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 cups chopped nuts (optional)
1/3 cup seedless raspberry jam

Preheat oven to 350.

Beat butter in a large mixer bowl until creamy. Beat in flour, sugar, and salt until well mixed. With floured fingers, press 1 1/4 cups crumb mixture onto bottom of greased 13 x 9 inch baking pan; reserve remaining mixture. Bake fro 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden brown.

Combine 1 cup morsels and sweetened condensed milk in small, heavy-duty saucepan. Melt over low heat, stirring until smooth. Spread over hot crust.

Stir nuts into reserved crumb mixture; sprinkle chunks of crumb mixture over chocolate filling. Drop teaspoonfuls of raspberry jam over crumb mixture. Sprinkle with remaining morsels. Continue baking for 25-30 minutes or until center is set. Cool completely on wire rack.

Makes 3 dozen bars.

Linked to For the Love of Blogs Tasty Tuesday and Good Cheap Eats What's on Your Plate.

Labels: ,

Monday, December 20, 2010

Super-Sized Ginger Chewies

Over the weekend, my mom and I got together for a holiday bake-fest. We used to bake cookies together all the time when I was growing up and it is a fun tradition to carry on. My mom always has the best tips and tricks to share with me while we bake. This week I will be posting the cookie recipes that we tried this year. We still have tons of recipes ready to try next year!

These ginger chewies are fabulous! I love a good ginger/molasses cookie. This recipe is from the Washington Post and is very similar to PW's spicy molasses cookies that I posted about before, however, this recipe calls for butter instead of shortening.

How cute is this stand my mom had? She found it at TJMaxx and it is the perfect way to display sweet treats!

2 1/4 cups flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
1/2 tsp ground cloves
6 oz (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
About 1/4 cup sugar

Set an oven rack on the middle level and preheat the oven to 350. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, sift the flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, ginger and cloves and set aside.

Using a stand mixer on medium speed, beat the butter and brown sugar until blended, about 1 minute, stopping the mixer to scrape the sides of the bowl as needed. Add the egg and molasses and mix until blended and light brown in color, about 1 minute. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour mixture, mixing just to incorporate it.

Spread the sugar on a large piece of wax paper. Roll 3 tablespoons of the dough between your palms into a 2-inch ball. Roll each ball in the sugar and place it on the prepared baking sheets, spaced 2 inches apart.

Bake one sheet at a time for about 14 minutes or until the tops of the cookies feel firm and have several large cracks but the insides are still soft.

Remove from the oven and cool for 5 minutes, then use a wide spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. May be stored in airtight container at room temperature for up to 4 days.

Makes 14 large cookies.



Linked to A Southern Fairytale's Mouthwatering Mondays, Ekat's Kitchen Friday Potluck and Simplicity Photography Challenge: Food.

Labels: ,

Friday, December 17, 2010

Recipe Revisit: Stuffed Portabellas

These Stuffed Portabellas are an old favorite. See the original post and recipe here. I usually try to plan one meat-free meal a week and this is one of my favorite quick and easy vegetarian recipes. The portabellas are stuffed with goat cheese and pine nuts and served with tomato sauce and fresh basil. Simple and filling, this goes great with garlic bread and a side salad.



Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Arugula with Pomegranate, Blue Cheese, and Pistachios

This fabulous salad recipe comes from The combination of flavors is excellent and you don't need much dressing because of the juice from the pomegranate seeds. This is a festive dish in flavor and color!

4 cups arugula
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese
2 tbsp pistachios, shelled
1 tsp pomegranate juice
1 tsp balsamic vinegar
2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
Salt and fresh pepper

Whisk vinegar, pomegranate juice, olive oil, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Place arugula on two plates, top with blue cheese, pomegranates, pistachios and vinaigrette

Servings: 2
Calories: 195.3
Points Plus: 5

To seed the pomegranate, slice halfway down starting with the stem end, break the rest of the pomegranate in half. Repeat so that you have it broken down into quarters. Break open the pomegranate flesh and scoop out the seeds. Place the seeds in a bowl filled with water. The seeds should sink and the excess flesh will float. Discard excess flesh and membranes and drain the seeds.

Linked to Good Cheap Eats What's On Your Plate? and Ekat's Kitchen Friday Potluck.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


I've been featured over on For the Love of Blogs Tasty Tuesday! If you haven't been over there, definitely go and check them out here! They host daily blog hops and it is a great community of bloggers.

The featured recipe is my Slow Cooker Irish Pot O' Stew a must try recipe for the winter! Yummy!

Many thanks to For the Love of Blogs!

Great Grandma's Mac and Cheese

I love this Mac and Cheese recipe, my mom used to make it for us as kids and I just recently decided I wanted to try it as an adult. This recipe comes from my grandmothers' mom and is a whole different type of mac and cheese then the saucy ones we see so often. The top noodles are crusty, the bottom noodles are soft, and they are all surrounded by pops of sharp cheddar cheese and nestled into a custard-y filling. Very delicious! This would make an excellent side dish or a main dish served with a salad. I served ours with my favorite Winter Salad.

4 cups hot drained boiled macaroni (8-12 oz uncooked)
Dots of butter (2 Tablespoons)
2 cups cut-up sharp cheese (1/2 inch cubes)
2 eggs, beaten
3 cups whole milk
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Layer macaroni, butter, and cheese in a casserole dish coated with cooking spray. Combine beaten eggs, milk, salt, and pepper and pour over the macaroni mixture.

Sprinkle the top with paprika. Bake until golden brown on top, 40-50 minutes.

Serves: 6

Linked to: Tasty Tuesday at For The Love of Blogs and Prairie Story Recipe Swap Thursday.

Labels: , , ,

C + C Marriage Factory: December 2010

C + C Marriage Factory