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!   :)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Bring on some boot socks and scarves...

 I am not a winter person.
I love the changing leaves and the crisp fall mornings but do not look forward to the ice cold mornings and dreary leafless trees.

I have to admit I am excited about the clothing changes that the cold brings.  Scarves, boots, jackets, boot socks, and jeans.
I am ready for that change at least.
I have already been playing in my closet and have found some outfits that I just loved!

This post also included some experimenting with new camera angles to get outfit pictures, so bear with me.
I have been seeing different angles on Pinterest, and I love this downward look.  


I also have talked the hubby into taking a few.  I can't get him to take very many, so they are very unscripted.  Here is one he took, he insisted on getting a picture of the back pocket on my jeans, we both like the flaps.


And here is a indoor pic, same outfit, different scarf.  I was debating on which I liked best.  Sorry about the potatoes in the background...my parents had just brought me some from Sam's.  



































The blue scarf is not actually an infinity scarf.  I tied the ends in the back and made it look like one, a great tip I got from Pinterest last year.  If you have longer hair, it helps because it covers up the tied ends.

With all the different clothing options, I guess I can survive one more winter, or at least until I can win the lottery and move to Hawaii.

Rock on with yo' bad self.


Friday, October 19, 2012



Tonight we decided to have a bonfire.  We have a burn pit that was full and needed to be burned, and the temperature outside was in the 50-60 degree range.  Perfect bonfire weather.  

I also had scored 4 awesome New York Strip steaks from the meat sale at Foodrite, and it was time to grill.  I was going to freeze a couple of the steaks but decided instead to experiment on the neighbors.

I cook for Eric all the time.  Almost 6 days a week sometimes.  I decided that I wanted to entertain and cook for someone else too.  Eric is good about bragging about my cooking.  He makes no qualms about making me think I just cooked the best meal that he ever has eaten in his whole life, almost every time.  Sometimes though, I think the love could be beer induced.   :)



Bring in the neighbors.  Two very well traveled men.  It is a bit intimidating to cook for someone who has eaten in many other countries, but I was really in a cooking mood.  The menu ended up being New York Strip steaks, baked potatoes and ricotta cheese stuffed peppers.   The peppers were given to me today by a friend.   The are called Fiesta Bell Peppers and are similar to bell peppers, but a little smaller and spicier.  


The neighbors brought some garlic bread that was awesome!   It went perfect with the whole meal.  I cooked the steaks medium to the neighbors' liking, and we had a nice meal and conversation. 
Although the peppers were experimental, they turned out good.  

Thanks to my friend Joey for bringing the peppers to me.  I saved the seeds and will hopefully be growing my own next year.  I know they will be wonderful in meatloaf and other dishes requiring bell peppers.  They are bells just spicier, but not too spicy.  

To cook the peppers, I cored them and boiled them in a pan of water for about 6-8 minutes.  I then stuffed them with a mixture of ricotta, diced onion, shredded white cheese and Greek seasoning.  I baked them at 400 for about 20-25 minutes.  They were tasty!

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


Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Mint jeans inspiration...

I have been looking at the 7 pairs of colored skinnies that I recently purchased, and the colors are slightly intimidating to me.  I have never been one to wear colored jeans.   Therefore, I like to get some inspiration and use it to put together my own stylish version.   I really like the mint version that I bought, so I found a couple of photos that I really liked and went to digging in my closet.




I liked the light colored tops and the heels.  
Here are the outfits I chose...I think it was better with the jewelry and the belt.  Sometimes I wonder about the belt, but when I look at the photos, I think the belt helps to pull a look together.



Necklace..Walmart  
Jeans..Rue 21
Sweater..Maurices
Shoes...Madden

Don't be afraid to wear your FLAIR!   :)

Monday, October 15, 2012

The navy jacket inspiration.





I used these two 
photos to dig this outfit out of my 
closet.    I loved the navy jacket 
with jeans look, just had to bring it all together.  I ended up with a dressy but comfortable look. 


As usual, most of my clothes are several years old.  I just keep them hanging around until I find a way to put them all together.  

The sweater has a huge cowl neck that almost looks like a scarf. 

The jacket came from TJ Maxx, but it has been 2-3 years.  I have looked on eBay some for the same jacket in a different color to no avail.  I love the fit of it!

Jeans are skinnies Rue 21 last year.

The belt was TJ Maxx.

Boots are old from Maurices.









Here is my armwear....I love my Fossil watch!  It is the tortoise shell band.  Got it last year on eBay.  The bracelets are just cheapies that I have picked up here and there.


Until next time...dress it up!   :)

Grilled fajitas!

In my opinion, you just can't go wrong with fajitas.  You can load them with all the toppings you like, and all the different flavors just  seem to meld together into a symphony of deliciousness.  



What makes a fajita even tastier is to grill the meat over charcoal.  You get the smoky grill flavor added to the sauteed peppers and onions and spices, oh my.  I decided to go with chicken breast tenders and flat iron steak for my Sunday fajitas.  

I wanted to marinate the meats for a few hours to add a bit of extra flavor.  Luckily, I finally remembered to get some gallon size Ziploc bags from the store.  They make it soo much easier to marinate things, because you can just throw the bag away when you are done.  I put the meats in two separate bags.  I don't like to mix my chicken with other meats, just because of the whole salmonella issue.  

To each bag, I added a few tablespoons of olive oil and lime juice.  A teaspoon of cumin.  Several dashes of garlic powder and Greek seasoning.  A few splashes of soy sauce.  And some salt and pepper.
Sorry about the measurements....I just eyeball it.  Shake each bag well to coat and place them in the refrigerator for at least a few hours.  Mine ended up being about 6 hours.  The longer they sit, the more they soak up all that flavor.

I used a cast iron skillet for the veggies.  I sauteed red peppers, green peppers, yellow peppers, and purple onion in canola oil until they were fairly translucent.  I didn't want them to be soggy, they need to have just a little bite.  This is them before I turned on the heat...


I grilled the meats while the veggies were sizzling.  The chicken has to be well done, but I left the steak just a bit pink so that it would be nice and tender.  After it was all cooked, I added the meats to skillet and let it all sit for a minute and get to know one another.   


I like the smaller flour shells, so that is what I used for these.  They are just too cute!   For the toppings, I used refried beans, sharp cheddar cheese, fat free sour cream, salsa, lettuce, guacamole, diced tomatoes and fresh cilantro.  I toasted the shells in the toaster oven for a minute, which made them lightly crisp.


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

Saturday, October 13, 2012

My favorite meal ever...roasted asparagus and salmon


When it comes to veggies, there is really no easier or tastier way to cook them...you gotta roast 'em.   I have tried quite a few that I can think of....carrots, zucchini, green beans, asparagus, sugar snap peas, cabbage, white potatoes, celery, sweet potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower, butternut squash.   I am sure I have forgotten some, but one thing I know is that they have all been wonderful!

If you have someone who doesn't want to eat their vegetables, roasting is your best bet.

Tonight, I am roasting asparagus.  It is one of my all time favorites.  If I go out to a restaurant, I order double asparagus as my veggie, almost every time.  The only time I get a different veg is when they don't have asparagus.   I will also be grilling salmon and making a garlic dill white wine sauce for both.


I typically use a minimum amount of spices when roasting.  Basically, salt and pepper is all you need.  I do put just a sprinkle of Greek seasoning on them also, but really less is more when roasting.   The flavor comes from the crispy little edges and charred spots that will develop while roasting.  That is really all the flavor you need.

I actually had never used ginger before, and I grated just a bit on top of the asparagus.  It didn't make a big taste difference.  I will have to use it in other recipes to experiment a little further, to see if I like it.

Before going into the oven...400 degrees for about 20 minutes...


After roasting...


After adding some shredded strong Irish cheese...


The sauce I made involved no butter.  I try to not use butter due to its high fat and calorie count.  I used chicken bullion, fat free sour cream, a little white wine and dill.  I heated it all slightly in the microwave, and it turned out yummy!

The salmon and asparagus together...


And time to eat...


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


Thursday, October 11, 2012

My easy version of a Martha Stewart shiitake pizza..


I gotta say, I love Martha Stewart.  She makes some awesome things, but to me, she tends to overly complicate things.  She uses off the wall cooking terms that could be made much more user-friendly.  I have learned to read between the lines, and I made an awesome shiitake mushroom pizza inspired by her!

Here is the crust I used...I have tried this crust about 10 times and it has been awesome every time!


The directions on the pack work great.   This pizza was just for me, so I halved the pack and saved the rest in a Ziploc bag.


To begin, I cooked the crust for about 5 minutes on 400 until it was just puffy.  Then I sprayed the crust with olive oil cooking spray and sprinkled it nicely with granulated garlic.   Next, I spread about 2 tablespoons of ricotta cheese over the crust.


I then added about a cup and a half of thinly sliced shiitake mushrooms, a large sprinkle of chopped rosemary and a large handful of cheese.  I used a strong Irish cheese that I got at Sam's. I tend to like a strong stinky cheese...the smellier the better.  Strong cheese means tasty cheese!

The picture below shows the pizza topped and ready to go back in the oven on 400 for about 15-20 more minutes...


After cooking....here is the final deliciously easy product..I loved it, as always.  I confess.  I....love...food.   :)


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

Here is Martha's pizza, just in case you want to be fancy.   :)



Martha Stewart Shiitake Mushroom Pizza.


  • 2 tablespoons grapeseed oil
  • 1 1/2 cups shiitake mushrooms, cleaned and sliced
  • 1/4 recipe Pizza Dough
  • Semolina flour, for dusting
  • Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
  • 1/4 cup fresh ricotta cheese
  • 3 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese
  • 2 teaspoons chopped thyme leaves
  • Coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

Directions

  1. Heat grapeseed oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  2. Place a pizza stone (available at most kitchen-supply stores) on floor of a gas oven (remove racks) or bottom rack of electric oven. Preheat oven to at least 500 degrees for 1 hour.
  3. Shape dough into a round. Holding top edge of dough round in both hands, let bottom edge touch work surface. Carefully move hands around edge to form a circle, as if turning a wheel. Hold dough on back of your hand, letting its weight stretch it into a 12-inch round. Transfer dough to a pizza peel (or an inverted baking sheet) lightly dusted with semolina flour. Press out edges using your fingers. Jerk peel; if dough sticks, lift, and dust more flour underneath.
  4. Drizzle olive oil over dough, leaving a 1-inch border. Arrange cheeses evenly over olive oil. Top with cooked mushrooms and thyme leaves; season with salt and pepper.
  5. Heat oven to broil. Align edge of peel with edge of stone. Tilt peel, jerking it gently to move pizza. When edge of pizza touches stone, quickly pull back peel to transfer pizza to stone. (Do not move pizza). Broil until crust begins to bubble, 3 to 4 minutes. Reduce temperature to 500 degrees, and bake until crust is crisp and golden brown, 6 to 8 minutes more. (If not using broiler, bake pizza for 10 to 15 minutes total.) Remove pizza from oven using peel; drizzle with additional olive oil, if desired. Slice and serve.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My new pink heels and bring on the fall boots!

My lesson for the day is there is such a thing as 5" comfortable heels!   I recently purchased some second hand hot pink heels.  They are like brand new and are super tall, but they are surprisingly easy to walk in.  I tried them on with a couple of outfits.  I have never worn the skinny belt like you will see in the picture, but I have seen it alot online lately, so I decided to try it.  I really liked it.

























I liked both looks.   I was in a sweater mood, so I went with the right picture for our dinner on the town.   The shoes are Nine West.  The rest of the outfits I have had for years.   I keep things way too long.  You just never know when something might come back in style.  Although, I admit, I really do need to do a huge closet cleaning. I think I have had the pink tank in this photo for at least 15 years and never worn it, but I have now!  

And next....there are very few things that I like about cooler weather...two of those things are BOOTS and SWEATERS.
I am just not a cold weather person.  I FREEZE when it gets cooler, and my face chaps and gets red, pretty much every day...NOT FUN at all.   But I am gonna put on my big girl panties and strap on some boots!   That will make it all better.











All three of these looks are with the same jeans.  They are Abercrombie. I got them at a yard sale last year, they are Madison and have a destroyed look and are super comfy!      


 I got 2 of the tops last weekend at Plato's Closet.  If you have not seen a Plato's Closet, it is a resale shop with the most trendy second hand clothes at about the 1/3 of the price of when they are new.  
 There is a new one opened in Jackson, Tennessee, and it is the bomb!   I took in some jeans that were either too big or too small for me, and I got $78.00 for them.  I didn't take in any money so that I would only spend what I made on the clothes I sold.  I got 6 tops for the jeans, and I loved them all!   

The first top is my favorite, it is an Abercrombie with dark brown and gray stripes, is soo soft and has the best fit ever.   The second is also Abercrombie and is gray and beige, it is also a great fit and is super comfy.  Both came from Plato's Closet and were $18 and $12.  The third top is a loose fitting sweater that I have had for years, but still love.

The boots are my favorite!   They zip up the back and are Steve Madden.  Here is a past pic of them.  I LOVE them!   


Wear what makes you feel great!!  
Love yourself and who you are.....it will be contagious!

:)

Monday, October 8, 2012

My first shiitakes, some awesome cabbage and tilapia!

I have learned that there is never a food that you cannot GROW to love.  Growing up, I HATED many foods.   I loathed celery and mushrooms...now...sadly, I loooove them.  Never, ever, ever say never...to ANYTHING.  I thought celery AND mushrooms tasted like dirt and were nasty.  That was the young and stupid me.  I have opened myself up to new and exciting flavors!  Well, maybe it was not that dramatic, but man...I was missing some awesome flavors!

This brings me to my latest endeavor.   Shiitake mushrooms!  Turns out, they are delicious!  I have never eaten them, much less cooked them.  I did a little investigating and decided to saute them with a bit of olive oil and after cooling a bit, top them with some fat free sour cream and let it meld.


I read that the stems of shiitake mushrooms are very woody and should be discarded or kept to be used for soups later.  I took the stems off and sliced the cute little shrooms.  


I also made some delish roasted cabbage with olive oil and Greek seasoning.  You cannot go wrong with roasting veggies.  I cooked this cabbage at 425 degrees for about 35 minutes.  Use your judgement, if it is cooking too fast, turn it down.   I started at 450 and it was too much, so I varied from 425 to 400 for the rest of the cooking time.  Just don't let it burn and you will be good.  If it is cooking too fast, add a bit of water to the pan, and it will slow the whole thing down and add a bit of steam also. 


Next was the tilapia.  You cannot go wrong with simply soaking it in a bit of soy sauce and then grilling it. But, take my advice...you can only flip it ONE time.  It is a very delicate fish.  Spray it with cooking spray and place it on a hot grill.  Just let it cook about 5 minutes on one side and when you think it is half cooked, spray the next side and CAREFULLY flip it to the other side.  Cook it for about 3-5 more minutes and take it off the grill.  It will melt in your mouth!


To finalize, I added some fat free sour cream and parsley to the shiitake mushrooms and heated it slightly in a small pan.  I then placed it on the tilapia and plated some of the cabbage.  I gave it all a good sprinkling of soy, just because I like it soo much!  The results were super healthy and completely SUPER TASTY.  I was licking my plate with the results.  I kept just enough shiitake mushrooms to make a pizza soon because I found an awesome looking recipe from Martha Stewart.  She may be an ex-convict, but woman knows how to cook.  ;)


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

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Sweet potato FRIES!

My SUPER gardening friend recently brought me some sweet potatoes.  We are not talking a couple of TATERS.  I am talking about approximately 75 pounds of sweet potatoes.  The good thing is that they will keep for months.  Another good thing is that I LOVE sweet potatoes!  

I have already been eating baked sweet potatoes with sour cream and a tad bit of butter.  I am also looking forward to eating some candied sweet potatoes that I will be cooking with some brown sugar and a bit of maple syrup.  Tonight though, I decided on some  baked sweet potato fries.   Oh yeah!  And they were sooo good.  

Sweet potatoes are actually really healthy too!  They are loaded with vitamins.  Baking them with a little bit of oil, instead of frying them in a bunch of oil, makes them even more healthy.  No need to add the extra fat and calories, just bake them!

I decided to try two types of tater, stick and slices.  Here are the cut pieces...


In order to bake fries, I have learned that you need to preheat the pan in the oven with your oil already on the bare pan and get it sizzling.  I heated the oven to 425 degrees and put a light drizzle of oil on 2 cookie sheets.  Let the pans sit in the oven for about 5-7 minutes until the oil is heated very well.  Carefully spread the sweet potatoes on each cookie sheet and sprinkle with salt, pepper and Greek seasoning.  Return to the oven.

I checked the potatoes about every 6-8 minutes.  Shake the pan well and make sure there are no hot spots or burning fries.  After about 20 minutes, you can flip the fries to cook the other side.  They will need to cook about 40-50 minutes, depending on how crispy you would like them to be.  Just keep and eye on them and use your judgement.  :)


The potatoes turned out super tasty and pretty crisp.  Next time, I will only make the stick fries.   The slices were not as crisp and were harder to cook evenly.  Both were super tasty, but the stick sweet potato fries won my heart.  :)

I also made mini steak burgers on Hawaiian sweet buns.  They were A-mazing.   I bought a sirloin steak and chopped it with a large knife.   The results are amazing.  It is like making your own hamburger meat, but it is a steakburger.   After chopping, I mixed in some steak seasoning and salt.  I charcoal grilled the burgers.  This is my second try at this, and both times I was super impressed with the flavor!  


Here is my avocado steak burger with the flash.  Really brings out the colors.   It was Delicous!


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