Monday, December 31, 2012

Chocolate caramel pretzel bark...aka chocolate crack.


At Christmas time, my dad wanted 
some homemade peanut brittle. 
 So my mom tried twice to make some, but she ended up with 
a sticky runny peanut mess.

I love a challenge, 
so I proceeded to get on a brittle kick and made 11 batches
 in a couple of days. 

 And also proceeded to eat WAY too much of it. 
 In case you didn't know...
it is highly ADDICTIVE

I tried all kinds of varieties
almonds, pecans, peanuts, cashews
and a combination of all.
The best seemed to be when I melted 
chocolate chips on top.  
The chocolate just took it to another level!

The brittle is pretty easy to make, but time consuming, so I found an easier recipe on Pinterest called 
chocolate caramel pretzel bark.  
Sounded super yummy to me, so I decided to give it a shot.
As a warning, I found out that it might be even more addicting than regular brittle. 
 I saw one recipe that called it...
Chocolate CRACK because it is sooo addicting.  :/

Anywho...if you dare, 
here is my culmination of several recipes.  :)

Salted Chocolate Caramel Pretzel Bark

Ingredients:

1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter
1 cup light brown sugar
bag of mini pretzels (add peanuts or pecans too!)
12-oz bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips
sea salt

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Wrap a baking sheet with tin foil and spray very lightly with cooking spray.  Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium heat. 
As it melts, cover the baking sheet in an even layer of mini pretzels.
Once the butter is melted, add the sugar and stir to incorporate.
Allow the sugar and butter to softly simmer and bubble, but don’t let it boil. The browning process should take about 3-5 minutes from when it starts to bubble.  One recipe said not to stir, the other said occasionally, I stirred it once or twice, just to make sure it wasn't burning.
Once the sugar and butter have caramelized, pour the mixture evenly over the pretzels on the baking sheet. The caramel hardens pretty quickly so it’s important to pour it as evenly as possible from the start. If you end up with any clumps, just use a spatula to spread the caramel as best you can.  Bake the pretzel-caramel mixture in the oven for 5 minutes.  Remove the bark from the oven and top with the chips.  Put the pan back in the oven for a minute, then remove and spread chocolate with a spatula.  Sprinkle with sea salt and refrigerate until chocolate hardens.   Break into pieces.  

This is what it looked like before I broke it into pieces....  



Happy Brittling!   :)
And Happy New Year!  Today is New Year's Eve!



Thursday, December 20, 2012

Food fixins and a party outfit to finish.

Greetings everyone!  It is ALMOST Christmas!  

ERMAHGERD!

I am really not ready, but it will be okay.  :)

I have been so busy lately, I haven't posted alot.  I thought I would throw some of my last food pictures out there and give them a quick explanation.

First, we have some purple potatoes that I got at Kroger.  I think they are just too cute.  I roasted them at 400 degrees for about 40 minutes.  I used a little olive oil, salt, pepper, and Greek seasoning.

They had almost a creamy center when you ate one.  The skin is a little tougher than a red potato, but overall they are yummy!

This is the before cooking photo... 




This is the after cooking photo...


I wish I had taken an inside photo...they are super purple inside.  :)

With the potatoes, I served charcoal smoked pork tenderloin.  I marinated them in soy sauce all day.  To grill them, I just get the coals going and put the tenderloins on the grill.  I turn them about every 10 minutes and make sure they are done with my meat thermometer.  They take about 45 minutes.   

Pork tenderloin is actually a pretty healthy meat.  It ranks right up there with chicken.  After all...it's the other white meat.  And not to mention...yum!


Next is a salmon and sauteed green beans that I threw together because I was craving some grilled salmon.  It is after all...my favorite!


Last in the food category, we have roasted spaghetti squash, topped with sauteed mushrooms.  I sauteed the mushrooms with a bit of soy and some fresh rosemary and Greek seasoning.
I topped it all with Asiago cheese and broiled it until the cheese was bubbly. 

Love love loved it!


Finally, we have an outfit.  We went out for a Christmas party.  A much needed night out.  I have been completely overwhelmed lately.  It was a great time!  


Until next time...

Love what you eat and eat what you love!  :)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Crockpot chili and spaghetti squash. Yum.


Chili is one of those foods that can be made so many different ways, but still taste yummy.

My dad used to experiment with making chili, and I have seen him make it with everything from beer, to peppers so hot you couldn't even eat the chili.  
I usually just stick to a normal recipe and take it to work so that I can cook it all day in my crock pot on low.

My recipe this time was...

2 lbs hamburger meat browned and drained
1 can dark red kidney beans, drained
1 can chili beans, undrained
1 can petite diced tomatoes
1 can tomato sauce
then depending on how spicy you like it, either one or 2 packages of chili mix.  I used one Chili-o mix and one Williams mix this time, because we like it pretty spicy.

I stirred the 2 packages of chili mix into the beef, then added everything into the crock pot.  It cooked on low for about 8-9 hours.  


I added mine to the top of a big pile of spaghetti squash and topped it with sharp white cheddar.  I may have weird taste, but to me, it was delicious!   And only had about 350 calories for the whole plate.  This is 1/2 half of a large squash.  If you haven't tried spaghetti squash, you don't know what you are missing.
It can be topped with so many things.  :)



Love what you eat and eat what you love!  :)


Monday, December 10, 2012

Spaghetti squash and BaCoN!

In my low calorie, but BIG quantity food travels, perhaps one of my favorite discoveries is the spaghetti squash.  Spaghetti squash is the low calorie spaghetti of the gods.  Period.   

Reasons...

1st...
It is way easier to cook than regular noodles.  All you have to do is slice the squash, scoop out the seeds, and place it on a baking dish with the cut side down.  Then cook for about 50 minutes at 375 degrees.

2nd...
It is about 1/3 the calories of regular spaghetti. BAM!  Is that not enough??  It is for me!   :)

3rd...
It actually tastes better than noodles.  At first, it may be a shift for the noodle lover, but if you try them, I think you will agree that they are awesome!

Here is a picture of 1/2 of a spaghetti squash cooked, scooped out and ready to be topped...



The first time you eat spaghetti squash, you may say...hmm...not sure about this stuff.   Honestly, I did the same thing.  You must try it with different toppings to get your perfect flavor.  I tried it the first time with spaghetti sauce.  Not my fave flavor with it.  Since then, I have tried avocado, many cheeses and several veggies!

Tonight may be one of my FAVORITE ever!  It was fried BACON...something I usually don't eat, but I had 4 thin slices in the refrigerator that needed to be used.   I then added fresh spinach that my dad grew...then some super sharp Vermont White Cheddar Cheese.   OMG...

So first... I cooked the bacon until crispy.  Then, I drained the grease and used only a tiny bit of the grease to saute the spinach. I cooked it over medium until very wilted.  It looked like this...



And here after the crumbled bacon...I used 4 super thin slices..



Then I added some super sharp New York cheddar and broiled...



OK...confession time...

I am a foodaholic.

This was absolutely positively wonderfully delicious.  

You gotta try it.   :)

Love what you eat and eat what you love!  :)

Sunday, December 9, 2012

And the neighbor grows rosemary

I have a wonderful neighbor who is a talented artist.  He also is a great cook and grows some very nice herbs.  Enter rosemary.  I am a new lover of rosemary.  I had never tried the herb, but have decided that it goes great with lots of meats and veggies.  After talking about various herbs at a recent gathering at his house, Jorge, my super sweet neighbor, goes to his herb garden and brings me a BRANCH of rosemary.  Yes, a BRANCH, not a sprig.   The picture proves it.


So here it is...ain't it purdy?

It is so big, I thought of using it as my Christmas tree this year.  

Ha.   :)




The first dish I decided to use the rosemary on was the fresh asparagus that I had just bought and some grilled shrimp that I was craving.  









Here is the asparagus, sprinkled with a dash of olive oil, then topped with rosemary, finely chopped.
I baked it at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes, tossing it a few times while cooking.


Here it is all glistening after cooking....


And here is the grilled shrimp...marinated in soy sauce, then topped with rosemary and grilled, just a few minutes.


And the pair, all pretty together...


It was a great pairing.  I can hardly wait to make some rosemary chicken, rosemary fried potatoes, rosemary sauteed mushrooms, rosemary tenderloin...well, you get the idea.  :)

And just for some added visual beauty...the ribs I grilled for Eric...


Love what you eat and eat what you love!   :)

Thursday, December 6, 2012

The new black jacket.






So I got a new black leather jacket from the new store in our tiny little town.  Suzy's Suitcase.  Great boutique with a nice selection of pieces to complete any outfit!  

I love this jacket!  It has a knit hood that I was undecided about, but after wearing it, I really like the hood.  It is the perfect fit.  I tried it with some skinny black jeans and brown boots.  I liked all the looks that I tried.  

I have seen the black pants with brown boots alot on Pinterest and I think it is soo effortlessly awesome.  I would have never put brown and black together, but it just works!

Hope these looks inspire you to great fashion!  I am by no means a fashion diva.  I install wiper blades like a champ, but I like to think I could be a diva princess in my next life, so I am preparing to be pampered and prissy and not have to work!  :)




Pork chop hash brown casserole delicousness.


Whew!  Gotta love the holidays!

First off, sorry it has been such a long time since I posted.  The holidays seem to take their toll on me, and I get so busy that I forget how much I like to post on my little blog.  So I am taking a little break and giving you a yummy recipe.  

When I am in a cooking mood, I turn to Pinterest.  I just type in a few of the ingredients that I want to use and come up with a must-try dish.  This time I had some pork chops and wanted to try something totally different.   Enter frozen hash browns...I would have never thought of it, but I am glad someone did!

Here is the breakdown...

Pork Chop Hash brown Casserole

Ingredients:

4-5 bone-in pork chops
1 tablespoon oil
1 cup sour cream
1 can (10 3/4 oz.) cream of celery soup
1/2 cup milk
Frozen Shredded Hash browns (32 oz. package), thawed
1 cup onion, chopped
2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
Greek seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Brown pork chops in oiled skillet on both sides for just a few minutes, don't cook completely, they will finish cooking in the oven.   In a large bowl, combine the sour cream, soup and milk.  Add the onion and hash browns to the bowl and mix well.   In a 13x9 dish, spread 1/2 of the hash brown mixture, sprinkle with salt, Greek seasoning and pepper and 1 cup cheese.  Add the rest of the hash mixture and sprinkle again and top with other cup of cheese.  Top with the pork chops.  Bake for 50-60 minutes until chops are done and cheese is lightly browned.

I also made this for Thanksgiving minus the pork chops.  I just made the hash brown casserole as a side dish.  Either way, it is soo tasty!


Love what you eat and eat what you love!!!   ALWAYS.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Mushroom spaghetti squash.


Sometimes I go to great lengths to be able to eat alot
of food for fewer calories.

I often get asked, how do you stay so thin?
It is NOT because I don't eat, trust me.   I wish I had less of an appetite than I do.   Truth is I LOVE food!
I just try to find foods that I can eat and enjoy for 
less calories but just as much substance.

Enter Mr. Spaghetti Squash....

Simple truth is...

Spaghetti noodles : 221 calories per cup
Spaghetti squash noodles : 42 calories per cup

Simple math tells us that you can eat 5 TIMES the amount of spaghetti squash for actual spaghetti noodles, and I happen to like the squash just fine, especially when I can eat 5 TIMES the amount, plus it is even healthy for me!!!

The good thing is...all you gotta do is cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and bake at 375 degrees for about 50 minutes.



Then, add whatever you would add to your spaghetti.
I had just bought a gourmet blend of mushrooms.  They included crimini, shiitake, and oyster mushrooms, so that was my topping. 
I sauteed the mushrooms with rosemary, garlic and parsley.  
I topped it with strong Irish cheese that I got at Sam's. 



Bottom line...the food was awesome, healthy and actually delish!


Love what you eat and eat what you love!   :)

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Scarfing.



Today was Sunday.  It was also a digging in my closet and getting rid of some stuff day.  
I will be the first to admit that I am a clothes hoarder.
I have too many clothes, but they all fit and I like them.  So until my house explodes and clothes fall out all over the lawn,
I will continue to love everything in my closet.
The good thing is that I am a thrifty buyer.
At least 75% of my clothes came from yard sales
or the Goodwill store.  

The following outfit just jumped out at me.  I had forgotten 
about the grey Guess jeans that I had bought from my niece.  
I ran across them while organizing a bit.  


I just got this scarf at Fred's for 5 bucks.  I looove it!  
The infinity scarf is my favorite and this one was the bomb.

The boots are a splurge.  I got them last year online.  They are Madden Girl with the red zipper in the back.  Great boots!




I also tried out a tshirt scarf that I made.  I bought a 3XL tshirt and cut the bottom off.  The results are in this photo.



I actually didn't even have to sew it.  
The edge curled and made it not even noticeable.  

I was wanting a heather gray infinity scarf and this one worked out, and the shirt actually cost $6, so it wasn't too bad.





Git your boots and scarves out GALS!  It is gettin' cold out there!  :)

Simple steak and salmon!

Sometimes my food photos don't need a long recipe explanation.
I am using this post to put a few photos up that require few words.

This was a 29 oz. porterhouse that I grilled to medium plus. 
One pointer that I can suggest is that to me, the filet portion is better when it is cooked just a little less than the strip side of the steak.   So while on the grill, keep the strip side over the hottest portion of the grill and the filet off to the side a bit. 
This will let the filet remain medium and melt in your mouth!

All I added to the steak was a generous sprinkling of Cavendar's Greek Seasoning on both sides, before grilling.


My side for this steak was roasted garlic red, white and blue baby potatoes.  I tossed the potatoes well in a couple of tablespoons of olive oil and a pat of butter.  Sprinkled them well with garlic and pepper.   Roasted them at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes, until nice and soft.


Here they are all roasted and crusty.


The next meal consists of a nice slab of salmon on a bed of roasted butternut squash.  Butternut is really tough to peel and dice, so I was really happy when I found it pre-diced at Walmart.  They don't always have it, but when they do, I grab it!  Here is what it looks like.


I just added a bit of olive oil to the butternut and roasted it in the oven on 375 for about 15-20 minutes.  I have recently fell in love with rosemary, so I added several sprigs of fresh rosemary chopped finely and a sprinkle of garlic powder.


The salmon was simply marinated in soy sauce for an hour, then grilled.  Get the grill nice and hot, then once you put the salmon on the grate, turn the heat down to medium.  Grill skin side up until it looks almost halfway cooked, about 5 minutes.  Then flip the skin side down and cook for about 5 more.   I like mine just barely done.  You can cook longer depending on your taste buds. 
   Love me some salmon!

Love what you eat and eat what you love!   :)

Friday, November 9, 2012

The striped dress.

I confess....I am a Pinterest junkie. 

 There is just so much inspiration on that site!  From food to fashion to decoration to well just about anything you can think of.  
I have seen this look on Pinterest alot lately with the stripes underneath a sweater and fell in love. I don't think I would have 
ever
come up with this look on my own, but
I decided to try to put the look together.  Here 
are the inspirational photos.




Here is my look...I adored it!




I think the brown and black look so snappy together!
The striped dress came from Rue 21 last year.
The scarf came from Kmart recently. 
 The belt is from Maurices.  
Boots are vintage Tommy Hilfiger.
The sweater I have had for years and never worn, that is why I find it so hard to get rid of clothes.  If they fit, it may be 10 years before I wear them, but I just know I will find the right outfit.   :)

Let your clothing diva shine through!



Monday, November 5, 2012

Crockpot meatloaf!



The CROCKPOT.  A wonderful invention that allows you to cook a meal while you are at work!  Worry-free and pretty yummy if you can master the crocking technique.

I can tell with experience, my crocking is improving.  I used to open the lid at least 20 times during the cooking process.  

Tip number ONE:  Do not remove the lid and stir, except maybe once when the cooking is halfway through.   I do check once and determine whether to leave the pot on low or high, but JUST ONCE.

Tip number TWO:  Season just a bit more than you might normally season on the stove.  For me, at least, the crockpot tends to make foods seem just a little bland.   Cavendar's Greek seasoning is my favorite to add to meat and veggies.

Tip number THREE:  If it will be a messy crockpot meal, I suggest using a slow cooker liner.  They are thin plastic liners made to use in your cooker, and they make cleanup a breeze.  You can find them near the aluminum foil at the grocery store.

For this meatloaf, I looked at about 12 recipes and made up my own.  That is how I typically cook.  I really just can't follow a recipe.  But sometimes, it pays off.  I really liked how this meatloaf turned out.   

Crockpot meatloaf!

2 lbs lean ground beef
2 eggs
1 cup crushed Cheezit crackers
1 packet of onion soup mix
3/4 cup diced green pepper 
several large dashes of Cavendar's Greek seasoning
1/2 cup Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce or similar
1/2 cup ketchup

Mix all of the above ingredients and form a loaf.  I recommend using a Crockpot liner with this meatloaf.  I cooked it for 7 hours on low, but half way through, I used the liner to drain the grease and flip the meatloaf over.  I think this really helped it to cook like a real meatloaf.  Once you flip it over, top it with a mixture of 1/2 cup BBQ sauce and 1/2 cup ketchup.  Continue cooking for the remaining time.  

I will definitely be making this one again, soon.   

I prefer my meatloaf in a sandwich.  These Hawaiian sweet buns make a wonderful little bite.   I added cheese, and it was so good!


Love what you eat and eat what you love!   :)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Necessity is the mother of invention.


I wanted to make some crock pot chili at work.  I did NOT want to go to the grocery store in the morning.   I had everything in the cabinet, but no hamburger meat in the refrigerator.   I looked in the freezer and had 2 ribeyes.   Hmmmm.  Yep, I made chili out of chopped-up ribeyes. 

Here are the ingredients...I actually used everything here, except only 1 1/2 packages of the chili mix.  I later tasted and found the need to add one 15 oz can of tomato sauce.  Otherwise it would have been too strong on the spice side.  To make it easier, just use everything in the picture, except just use one packet of Williams chili seasoning.


I cooked it on low for 9 hours.  That was just right.  It would have probably been ready to eat in about 7, but the flavors meld a little more with time.

Add some cheese on top and a grilled cheese sammich, and you are good to go!   Bring on some FALL!   


Love what you eat and eat what you love!!   :)

Inspiration fashion photo remake




I really loved this outfit the moment I first saw it.  I knew I had similar pieces in my closet and couldn't wait to try it all together.  



The photo came from My Vintage Romance.  An awesome blog that I stumbled across.  Love it!

I convinced Eric to take my picture outside, I should have turned off the flash, but he was on a roll, so I went with it.  



Here is the picture I took inside to show a little more detail..



Jacket : Rue 21
Jeans : Rue 21

Both shirts came from a yard sale, but you can work with so many different plaids and stripes to change up the look a bit.

Boots : Madden with the red zipper in the back.  I did some research before ordering them online.  I read many complaints about them running large, so I went with and 8 1/2 even though I am always a 9.   I am glad I went down a 1/2 size, they fit great and are Suuper comfy!








This would be a great outfit for just hanging around on a crisp fall day, and we are just getting into fall, so I will be playing around with this look alot.  I would have never put it together without the photo, but I really like it all put together. 

A smile is my biggest fashion accessory, I try to always wear it!  :)


Friday, October 26, 2012

My perfectly yummy avocado pizza.


Sometimes I decide what to cook, just by one ingredient I happen to have bought and need to use.  Enter little Mr. Avocado...

I got the avocado about 3 days ago.   Our local grocer always has the greenest, unripe avocados known to man.   They have to sit at least 3 days to be ready to eat, sometimes more.   Today I realized, it is time to eat this one!

I always have a ready to make pizza crust in the cabinet.  Just add water and it is ready to go.  I feel a avocado pizza coming on...

I couldn't decide whether to put the avocado on before cooking or after.  I looked at alot of photos, and they were about half and half.  I actually like warm avocado, so I opted for cooking the little green egg.

The avocado to me, is just a beautiful thing...looks kinda like a green egg with a big brown hard yolk.   I love eggs too, so it works for me.


I used this crust...for my personal size, I half it.   


And the toppings...
I used one of my LAST home grown tomatoes and some of my basil.   There is nothing in the world like being able to pick your own grown stuff!



I made the crust and cooked it for about 5 minutes at 450 degrees before adding the toppings.  I started with adding the tomatoes to the crust.  Gave them a large sprinkle of granulated garlic.  Topped the tomatoes with some shredded basil pieces.  Then added several dollops of ricotta scattered around.   Next came the avocado slices, another dash of garlic, and some shaved Parmesan cheese.

I baked it at 450 for about 15 minutes.  Just use your judgement and cook it to your desired brownness.  It was EXACTLY what I was craving.   LOVE when that happens!


Love what you eat and eat what you love!   :)