Sunday, September 30, 2012

Pretzel coated baked chicken nuggets

                                                                                                          These were some WoNdErFuL chicken nuggets....

Sunday...Funday...I tend to do too much on Sunday and make Monday very difficult to endure.  Today however, I was able to make myself slow down and have a long enjoyable lazy day.  It was soo nice and soo needed.

I ended the day with making some pretzel coated chicken nuggets that I had been eyeballing in a small cooking booklet that I bought at a yard sale for 10 cents.  The resulting chicken was mouth watering delicious.   I am so glad I bought that little booklet!   
These little nuggets will now be on my permanent cooking list.   They were sooo tasty and actually pretty darn healthy because they were baked.  

The easy way to post the recipe was to just take a picture of the booklet, so here it is.  

This was my dipping line up....

And this was the little nuggets, ready for the oven.  The recipe says 10-12 minutes.  I like to know my chicken is DONE, so I cooked them for more like 20 minutes.

I will definitely experiment with this recipe.  I think these would even be good dipped in ranch dressing or maybe even BBQ sauce instead of the honey mustard.  The pretzel coating was really nice.

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

Friday, September 28, 2012

Carne asada and shrimp tacos...oh yeah!

This is my shrimp taco.  It is strange what sometimes will spark a cooking idea into my brain.   I had bought an avocado at Kroger because they were on sale for $1.  I had shrimp on the brain, so I typed in shrimp and avocados on Pinterest.  One of the first pictures I saw was a picture of a shrimp and avocado taco.  That was all I needed.  Mouth watering, brain cranking out what would be necessary to make the photo a reality.   Turns out, all I needed was some flour tortillas from Foodrite on the way home, the rest was in the fridge.

I knew the husband would like some steak on his, so this one was made with flat iron steak. I seasoned it well with salt, pepper, Greek seasoning, season salt and garlic powder.   I grilled it just until medium, then took it off the grill and let it rest for about 5 minutes.  The juices will stay in the meat much better if you let it rest before slicing.  I sliced it into thin strips.

Also on these tacos are the following ingredients....shredded lettuce, chopped avocado, thinly sliced sweet onions, red bell pepper diced, strong Irish cheese shredded, a red jalapeno finely diced, small tomatoes halved, and a sprinkle of dried cilantro...I meant to get fresh, but forgot.   The shells were grilled right before serving.  Salsa was also added just before eating.

The second steak taco also had shrimp added and some fat free sour cream.....

This is a shrimp taco with a sour cream topping that I had made. It was fat free sour cream, lime juice, cilantro and a little paprika.

With some tortilla chips and salsa, all were quickly devoured and thoroughly enjoyed.  

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

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Attempting homemade Cabernet steak sauce

One of my favorite restaurants that is within our 30 minute radius is Sassafraz in Union City.   We have eaten there many times, yet I always order the same thing.  I cannot bring myself to order anything else because I LOVE it so much.  It consists of a succulent filet of salmon covered with a light butter sauce, and my sides are always a double order of asparagus.  Of course they also supply you with the most wonderful yeast rolls known to man.  I can make something similar at home, but this is just perfect.

When we go there, the hubs tends to get whatever "Cowboy" size steak is on the menu with a side of shrimp or lobster.   The last few times though, I have noticed that he has been ordering the filet mignon, not typically his favorite cut of meat.  I noticed that he has been enjoying the "gravy" that comes with the steak, so I decided to check it out.  The menu describes it as a Cabernet wine sauce, so of course I Googled some recipes.  

I found a recipe on the Food Network website that sounded just like what I wanted.  Here is is! 

Steak and Cabernet reduction sauce!


Your favorite cut of steak
1 cup beef broth
1 cup Cabernet Sauvignon 
3 tablespoons canola oil
1 tablespoon grill seasoning
1 shallot, diced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Take the steak out of the refrigerator 20 minutes before you are ready to cook it so that it can come to room temperature. This will help it cook more evenly.

In a small pot over high heat, add the broth and wine and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.

Heat oil in a cast iron skillet over medium-high heat until it is very hot. Season the steak with the grill seasoning and put it in the skillet. Cook about 3 minutes per side for medium-rare. Remove it from the pan, cover it with foil, and let it rest for 5 minutes while you finish the sauce.

Reduce the heat under the skillet to medium and add the shallots. Cook until they begin to soften, about 3 minutes. Add the reduced broth and wine mixture and cook until thickened, about for about 5 minutes. Stir in the butter and cook until the butter is melted and incorporated into the sauce. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, if needed.

Slice the steak against the grain into thin slices, arrange them on a serving platter and serve with the sauce on the side or poured over top.

I found this recipe very easy to follow.  The steak I used was a nice New York strip steak that weighed almost 16 oz.  I was going to grill the steak outside, but it started storming just about the time I was ready to grill, so I just used a cast iron skillet and followed the recipe to the last letter.   I was extremely pleased with the results!  Yum.

Here is my salmon dish.  I sauteed the carrots until tender, with chicken stock and rosemary, which has become one of my new favorite spices.  The salmon is simply marinated in soy sauce for at least an hour or 2, then grilled until JUST done.  It is wonderful this way.  

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

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

The "Steak" Burger Experiment

I probably think about food more than I should sometimes but occasionally that thinking pays off and a yummy dish is born.  In this situation, I had bought some "mock" tenderloin from the local grocery.  It is a new steak that they carry that is pretty darn good and very reasonably priced.  I wasn't in a steak kind of mood the next day when it was time to grill, so I decided to finely dice the steaks up and make my own Steakburger!   

It may not be the prettiest thing, but the resulting flavor was wonderful!  This was just shy of one pound of steak.  I made a couple of patties with just the steak, then I added a pack of ground beef that was a little over a pound and pattied the other steak in with it to make a comparison.  I added some Lawry's and Cavendar's to the meat before patty-ing.

These were my patties.  I made the steak smaller because I knew it would not shrink up like the ones with regular hamburger mixed in. 

Just about ready to flip!   I like to only flip them once if I can.  Mine was the MINI steak burger at the top.  I was eating it on a Hawaiian bun, so this was just right to fit.  

Here is Eric's double burger.   I put one steak patty and one burger/steak patty, cheddar and Swiss cheese, onion, mayo/Miracle Whip mixed, ketchup, tomato (one of my last from the hoo), and lettuce.

And my MINI steak burger.  Hawaiian sweet bun, strong Irish cheese, lettuce, tomato, and a large slab of avocado.   I don't eat burgers very often because of my cholesterol, but I absolutely  loved this little burger!!!   I mean really really loved it.  :)

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

Monday, September 17, 2012

The army green skinnies.

I had a spell of trying on clothes this weekend.  Particularly with 2 pairs of green skinny pants that I really like.  Sometimes it is hard to figure out what goes with the green to kinda dress it up a bit.  I played around with several colors and came up with some that I liked.  I cut my head out of most of the pics because I had on no makeup and my hair was frazzled. 

Trust me, you are better off not seeing my head in these pics. 

 I ended up wearing the black that you see here to the right.  I have had all of these clothes for at least 2 seasons, so the brands won't really help alot if you wanted to look for the clothes now.  

I just thought maybe the colors and the fit might give some spark of inspiration.  I love looking at pics to figure out my next outfit.  
I know the leopard shoes are XOXO.  One of the pants came from Rue 21 a couple of years ago.  This pair came from TJMaxx, but I don't have the brand, they are at least 2 years old though.  

The watch in this pic is a Fossil tortoise shell watch that I got on Ebay.  I love it!  

Here is the final pic after I was all showered and ready to go out the door.   

All in all, it was a perfect outfit for the night of a semi-fancy restaurant, vanilla latte at the coffee shop afterwards and Walmart...had to get some cat food and a few necessities. 

Just remember to feel comfortable in your own skin and make your outfits reflect your personality.  I tend to go with a middle of the road fashion sense.  I wish sometimes I could be a little more FUNKY, but I just can't seem to pull it off.  The leopard shoes in this out fit made me feel at least a little HIP.  :)

I used the photos below to help inspire me a little.   

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Grill yourself some veggies in a packet!

A few days ago, I was not in the most energetic cooking mood.  I knew there was stuff in the fridge that I could cook, but I just wasn't feeling it.  From my lack of desire to cook, I discovered a new cooking method that I really like.  

I had the charcoal already smoking because I was going to throw a steak on the grill.  When it suddenly hit me that I could throw an aluminum foil packet of veggies on there and just let them cook while the steak was cooking.  I have always used my gas grill to cook, but I this summer, I have grown to love the versatility of charcoal.  You can let your food simmer on the charcoal grill and it just soaks up the flavor and loveliness.

For starters, I almost always precook my potatoes in the microwave for just about any type of potato cooking method.  It drastically cuts the cooking time because potatoes take a long time to cook.  So I washed about 3 medium potatoes and threw them in the microwave for about 5 minutes.

You want the potatoes to be ALMOST done in the microwave, then cut them into large chunks.  On a large sheet of aluminum foil, add your chopped veggies.  I used what you see above.  Three medium potatoes, red and green bell peppers, and some purple onion.  Place the veggies on the foil and sprinkle on some garlic and Greek seasoning, or whatever are your favorite seasonings.  Add a few tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil, and toss well in the foil.  You can then add another layer of foil to make the packet more stable.  

Here is the veggie packet all oiled up and ready to be cooked. 

Your packet should look something like this when it is headed to the grill.

This is a peek inside the packet after it is done.  I put a little bit of butter on the veggies as I took them off the grill to let it melt into the potatoes.   Add a sprinkle of salt and pepper.

For my super healthy packet, I used cabbage, broccoli, red and green bell pepper, and purple onion.  I used a very small amount of oil and added a nice splash of soy sauce, which I forgot to put in the picture.  :/

The packet will be the same.  Aluminum foil to seal in the juices.  
Place the packet on the grill and check occasionally to see if the veggies are tender.  If you are in a hurry, place the packet over the coals.  If you are enjoying your glass of wine, place the packet to the side and let it simmer for a bit.

The soy sauce soaks into the veggies and makes the flavor POP! It  may not be the prettiest thing I have cooked, but if you want a to lose weight, it can be your friend.   It is LOADED with vitamins and flavor BUT very low in calories.  

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

Seersucker...Oh...that's what it is.

They say you are never to old to learn.   I like learning new words and trying to use them in conversation but being from the South, I tend to talk pretty countrified most of the time.    At the risk of using a fancy word improperly, I sometimes just skip it and use a word I am more familiar with.

One word I recently learned the meaning of is SEERSUCKER.  Once you know what it is, there is no issue, but until you do, the word is kinda strange.  Well at least to me it seemed strange.  I had heard the word before, but I never knew what the heck it meant. 

So I will show you a photo example, which always helps me remember a word more readily..

The fabric of this dress I am wearing is SEERSUCKER. 

Seersucker is a light fabric that has a crinkled texture to it, the most common version being the blue and white pinstripe that I am wearing.

I probably should have known this before I was 40, but hey, you are never to old to learn.  

I happen to absolutely LOVE this outfit.  I have never worn this tube dress, and I have had it for almost 10 years, yeah...TEN.  I bought it at Rue 21 when it was located at a completely different location than it is now.  I finally found the perfect Abercrombie shirt to wear under it and a Rue 21 belt from last year.  After I put it together, it was comfortable, and I just adored it!

They say to clean out your closet at least once a year and get rid of the things you have not worn in that year.  I am a fashion pack rat.  I  make it a point to try and maintain my same weight, that way I can keep my clothes for years and they still fit.  This dress is a perfect example.  I knew ONE day, I was going to find the right accessories and wear it!  

Shoes, dress and belt are Rue 21.

Shirt is Abercrombie.  

Bruise on leg is from working on a tire at the shop.  I fixed it but got me a bruise.  :)

Always remember to wear what makes you feel happy.  If I am wearing something I don't feel comfortable in, it just puts me in a FUNK.  

I'm not always in fashion, but as long as I like it, I wear it.  

So go forth and wear your SEERSUCKER with joy!

Until next time...which may involve any of the three...FOOD, FASHION or SPARK PLUGS.  

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Rosemary grilled chicken and roasted veggies! Shut the front door!

Oh my!  What a wonderfully perfect and beautiful day we had here in Tennessee!  It is fall time.  The temperature was pretty much in the 70's all day.  The sun was shining.  It was Sunday, so it was my day off.   I had coffee, jogged, cleaned, worked in the yard, and cooked and just had the most wonderful day!

I looked at recipes for awhile.  There were many that looked delicious.  I was looking for delicious AND healthy.  I finally found a few.  :)

One of the recipes I decided to try was roasted vegetables.  Trust me, you cannot go wrong with roasting vegetables.  There is no better vegetable in the entire world than a roasted vegetable.   Tonight, I roasted carrots and zucchini, I will tell what I learned to do and not to do.

The carrots were really pretty simple.  Buy the full sized carrots, wash them and lightly peel them with a peeler.  Slice them into even  cuts.  I used parchment paper to help on the cleanup.   Toss the carrot sticks with olive oil and sprinkle generously with dill on a cookie sheet.  Salt and pepper lightly.  You will be cooking these at 425 degrees for about 25 minutes.  Toss a few times while cooking.

This is the before picture.  They are raw, but oh so pretty!  :)  Below is the after picture.  They were the best carrots I have ever eaten in my life, no question.  You need to try these.  :)

I also cooked some zucchini at the same time.  It definitely didn't crisp up like I expected.  The zucchini was much more soggy, but I tried to dry it out a little and topped it with shredded Parmesan, so it was still DELISH.   Here is the before...Olive oil, dill, Greek seasoning.  

The after is a soggy but yummilicous mess.   I sprinkled some Parmesan cheese on was sooo good.   :P

I also grilled some chicken tenders.  I soaked them in soy sauce...ahem...let me tell you there is a BIG difference in soy sauce.  I did not know this.  I LOVE La Choy soy sauce.  It is soooo good.   I also recently bought Kikkoman soy sauce.  I thought all soys were the same.  WRONG.  To me, they are daylight and dark.  Love love love the La Choy.  Don't even like the Kikkoman.   I am sure others will feel the opposite.  After all, I can't stand HOMINY, BLECH!...but some people love it.  To each his own....I will from now on, buy La Choy.   :)

The chicken tenders were soaked in La Choy soy sauce with fresh chopped rosemary for about 2 hours.  Then grilled on charcoal until done.  They were super tender and tasty.

The good thing about this meal was the calorie content.  Carrots and zucchini are very low calorie.   Grilled chicken is also very low in calories as far as meats go.  This is a meal you can cook and not feel a BIT guilty about eating.  I took my parents each a plate and added a buttered roll.  They were gobbling it up as I left.  Made my day.

Love what you eat and EAT what you LOVE!   :)

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Baked sweet potato panko crusted balls. Awesomeness.

It is Saturday afternoon.  I finally have some time on my hands, and I feel like COOKING!  I was looking for something healthy and yummy.  I stumbled across some mashed potato balls that were rolled in panko bread crumbs.   I decided that sweet potatoes would make them even better, so that is what I used.

To start, cook 2 sweet potatoes in the microwave until soft.  The 2 large ones I used, took about 7 minutes.   Let them cool a bit and take the skin off.  In a large bowl, mash the potatoes and add 1/2 cup of finely diced purple onion, 1/3 cup Parmesan cheese, 1/8 cup of fat free sour cream, 2 large dashes of granulated garlic, salt and pepper.  Put the bowl in the refrigerator and let cool for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.  Whip two eggs in a bowl.   Pour about 1 cup of Panko crumbs on a plate, add a few sprinkles of parsley flakes and a dash of garlic powder.  Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Roll the refrigerated sweet potato mixture into about 1" balls.  Coat them in the egg, then gently roll them in the Panko crumbs.  Place the balls on the cookie sheet.  

After rolling, this made 20 sweet potato balls for me, here they are just as they are going into the oven.

I baked these for about 25 minutes at 400 degrees.  Just making sure they were golden and pretty.  Here they are after baking...

The versatility of this recipe is endless.  You can use regular potatoes if you would like.  You can dip them in whatever sauce you may like.  I happen to LOVE La Choy soy sauce, so I sprinkled a little on top, and it was delicious.   Depending on your mood, you could dip them in ranch, ketchup, sour cream, pancake is entirely up to you.  


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

Experiments from my closet.

It was raining on a recent Sunday, and I decided to do a little shopping in my closet.  It's not going to be long before time to pull out two of my favorite things about fall....BOOTS and SCARVES!

I will be experimenting with my scarves very soon.  They can really jazz up an outfit.  I should have tried some with the dress below, but it didn't cross my mind at the time.  It would really pop with a bright colored scarf.  I will put that on my to do list.  

What is your favorite fall accessory?  Boots?  Scarves?  Hats?  Jackets?  I love them all.  I almost never wear a hat though.  Hats make me feel like I am trying to look cool, but I fell short and didn't pull it off.   I don't know why, but that is how I feel.   :/  They look super on other people though.  

This first outfit is a dress that I just got at Ross for $14.99.  I love sweater dresses, even though I rarely actually wear them anymore.  I loved this black and white stripe one.  It is a little short though, so I will probably be pulling out some leggings to wear underneath.  I was just experimenting for this pic.  The boots were purchased about 3 years ago online.  They are kinda like a black shoe with sweater sewed onto the shoe.  Very cute with skinny jeans too.  

I love the color of this Hollister shirt.  It is a baby doll type cut, so I tucked the front in just a bit.  I tend to not like the top to flare out at the front, so I liked it better tucked in.   I have on a black bubble necklace, black belt, and some awesome black shoes from Maurices.  The pants came from TJ Maxx, they are Celebrity Pink brand and fit wonderfully.

This one consists of a grey jacket that I just got at Rue for $21.99.  One of the few times I have been shopping in probably 6 months.  The necklace is a ribbon necklace that I got at a yard sale for $1.  I wish I had more colors, may have to do some searching.  The jeans are American Eagle skinnies.  The shoes are Rue 21 from last year.

Hope I gave a bit of inspiration for your wardrobe, no matter how small it may be.  All it takes is a spark, and BAM, an outfit is born.  :)