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.