Thursday, October 30, 2008

Name that Sandwich

The nice people from Arnold's bakeries contacted me once again to try out a new product they have coming out. Since I love free food trying new things I jumped at the chance.
And there's a contest for you creative minds out there.
The new product is called sandwich thins and it's specifically designed guessed it...sandwiches! They come in 4 different varieties. I tried the multigrain today and have some pics of my creations below.
But first, Arnold's wants to know what a sandwich made out of these should be called, and if you're the winner they'll give you $2500, and $2500 to your charity of choice. (I recommend autism research and resources :) Click here to go to the site where you can read the rules and enter. There is a deadline on November 20, and its only eligible in states where the product is available.
On with my creations!
First up is a sammie I made with mozzerella, veggies, marinated red peppers, ham, and goat cheese spread.

Next, I thought their nice round shape might be conducive to some sort of topping, so I went the pizza route. I put a little mozzerella between the layers to stick them together, then smeared some olive oil on the top, covered it with more cheese, basil, tomatoes, then a little kosher salt and pepper. I put it in the the toaster oven about 10 minutes.

I thought both sandwiches turned out pretty nice, and I can see myself using these things for lunch for me and the kiddos.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

This is Pumpkinhead Lincoln. He made the ultimate sacrifice so I could make these:
Roasted pumpkin seeds. Just lay them out for a few hours to dry, drizzle them with olive oil and your seasoning of choice. Then stick them in the oven at 250 degrees for about an hour. When they come out and start to cool off they make a cool little popping noise, for whatever that's worth.
Now I have something to get out in the open...a confession of sorts.
My name is Julie, I'm from the south and I can't make biscuits.
I'm hoping I can find a 12 step program. Or a flour to use in place of white lily cause I can't get that out here.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Blog Party 2

My first blog party post was such a HUGE smash, (zero comments) I thought I'd plunge right in with another installment. The venue was the same, one change in players, and another relaxing afternoon with friends.
These Cinnamon sugar doughnut muffins were my contribution to the event. I borrowed the recipe from Laura Rebecca. I hope she doesn't mind. I love sparkly food in shiny containers!

Next we had a beautiful quiche lovingly prepared by our host Janice. It was filled to the brim with bacon and that's all I really needed to know.

Janice says she has a recipe for this and will get it to me ASAP. I'm thinking it's a closely guarded family secret and I'll never get my mitts on it.
Last and certainly not least was the apple pie/cobbler brought by Linda. She's the kinda girl who just throws things in a pot in no specific measurements and viola! it's a masterpiece. All I know for sure is she used Granny Smith apples, there's a buttload of sugar in it, and she used Pillsbury's refrigerated pie crust on top.

Thank goodness there wasn't a vegetable in sight! After all was said and done, I waddled out with cinnamon smeared all over my chin and apple pie juice on my shirt, and I was a happy woman.

Cranberry Chocolate Tart

I found this recipe at Epicurious and wanted to give it a try. Cause I love cranberries, and I love chocolate. This sucker was really hard to take picture of, this is the best I could do!
I didn't do everything exactly like they said....cause I'm a rebel.
I don't own a tart pan with a removable bottom, so I used a springform pan.
I couldn't find chocolate wafer cookies, so I used chocolate grahams.
I didn't want to buy crystallized ginger cause I'm not even sure where to find it.
And I totally screwed up the order I was supposed to do things with the cranberry topping, but it seemed to work out okay. If you decide to make more attention than I did.

I pretty much enjoyed the combination of tart berries with the sweet marscapone filling. I don't think everyone would enjoy it. Hubby said it was "ok". That's a glowing report!

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Happy Fun Times

Yesterday my lovely employer hosted a big anniversary bash and invited everyone and their families for a day of fun at a local amusement park. Above is a picture of my kids riding one of the more hair raising rides. Look out kids!
Careful Simon, I think that horse wants to bite you!
I think I see the Loch Ness Monster lurking around in there Mara.
Simon and his friend Luke don't really seem to enjoy the sonic boom emitted by the roller coaster overhead.
It really was a nice day...I'm glad the kids got to go. They've wanted to for ages. I ended up getting horribly sick after it was all over with cause I rode a couple of things people who get motion sick really shouldn't. But it was worth it.
Next post will be about food, really!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Snazzy Apron

Hi everyone....sorry I haven't posted in so long. Work has kind of been sucking, they've been making
I had been wanting an apron so I decided I'd try to make one. Now when I cook I can smear everything all over it and not me.

It's got cool divided pockets at the bottom to carry around all sorts of cooking instruments.

And who doesn't love ric rac??

Maybe I can start selling homemade aprons and quit my day job. Of course at the rate I go I can probably make 25 cents by Easter.

You may be wondering why I own this armless model thingy. I don't think I'm really at liberty to talk about that just yet.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Spinach Salad with Spiced Pecans

This week was my MIL's birthday, so in lieu of buying her a present like a normal person, I offered to make her lunch. We had this spinach salad with our lunch that everyone seemed to like.
The salad itself consists of a bag of baby spinach, 2 apples chopped (I used gala) and tossed with a tablespoon of lemon juice, and a cup of chopped celery.
The dressing is a combination of 1/4 cup apple juice, 2 tablespoons cider vinegar, 2 tablespoons brown sugar , 2 tablespoons dijon mustard, 3/4 cups canola oil, and 2 tablespoons poppyseeds.
When you combine everything together, you'll have leftover dressing.
For the nuts, melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet. Add 2 tablespoons of sugar, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1/2 teaspoon, garlic salt, 1/8 teaspoons cayenne pepper.
Stir over medium heat about 2 minutes.
Add 2 cups of pecans (or walnuts if you prefer) and stir around over med heat about 4 minutes.
Ooh, an action shot!

After the pecans are removed from the heat, sprinkle them with a tablespoon of sugar so they'll be all sparkly.

These are pretty good just for snacking on by themselves!

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Fish Tacos

I'm not sure why I wanted to try making fish tacos. I never eat them when we go to Rubio's, but I'd been seeing some recipes floating around I wanted to try.
I found the recipe for the yogurt lime sauce and mango salsa at Love and Olive Oil. They were both really yummy, but I have to admit I didn't use as much jalapeno in the salsa as was called for, cause I'm a really big weenie.
I had to find a different fish recipe than what they used because their's had no breading. Way too healthy! So I turned to my new friend Rich, who seemed to know what he's talking about.
I wasn't sure what kind of fish to use, so I went with tilapia, cause it was cheaper than mahi mahi.
I deep friend them in some canola oil until the were golden brown. Yum-O!
Now for a gratuitous cute dog shot. This is Cody, he's about 80 in people years and loves his new bed.

Arnold's Bakeries New Line of Breads

A nice person representing Arnold's Bakeries contacted me a few days ago to tell me about their new line of Grains and More Breads (click here to find out more!) and asked if I'd like to try a sample. I was a bit hesitant because I tend to worry about bad things happening if I give out personal info to people I don't know...a bit paranoid one might say. But after thinking about it I decided the worst that could happen is I would have to shave my head, change my identity and move to Bora Bora. My hair has been getting on my nerves a lot lately anyway, so what the heck!
When I wrote back and told them I'd like to try the bread, it got here so fast it made me dizzy!

Fed Ex....lightnin' fast!

I only opened the Double Fiber one so far, but found it quite yummy and so did the kids. I think I've told you how my girl worries about her fiber intake.
I like how the loaves are double wrapped too. I didn't open the Double Protein yet cause I didn't want to be wasteful, but I'll update when I do try it.
It toasted up nicely, and with all the fiber, it really is pretty filling. Speaking of toast, please do me a favor and go listen to Heywood Banks singing the glories of TOAST!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Cinnamon Rolls

I had to put this post up quickly before my friend Lisa comes back from Maui, because this is yet another Pioneer Woman recipe. And I just can't take the ridicule today. It's one I've been ogling (is that a word?) quite a while and finally decided to plow into today. (HA! that was sort of a pun...Pioneer Woman...plow..get it?)
I was a little leary of the maple flavored frosting, but it wasn't too strong at all. I put two pans of the uncooked ones in the freezer and hope that works out okay. I'll let ya know.
Now...go forth and make cinnamon rolls!
10/11/08 UPDATE: Freezing the rolls turned out just fine. I didn't even thaw them before I cooked them. I set the oven at 350, and put them in covered with foil for about 20 minutes, then finished them uncovered about 15 minutes. I had also frozen some frosting and just squeezed it out the corner of the ziploc bag and it was perfect.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sausage Stuffed Chicken

A very nice recipe from the folks over at Gourmeted. Not too labor intensive for a fun looking dish. I served it over a bed of garlic linguine and some sauted veggies. Also I did a little pan deglazing with some butter, red wine and chicken broth, and it was quite yummy drizzled over it all. I think next time I might change up the filling a little bit....leave out the honey and maybe add some mozzarella ....yum!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Tiramisu Trifle

I like that picture. It looks like eyes at the top and a little brown tongue sticking out at the bottom. Or...a bunch of cream and ladyfingers.
I wasn't crazy about that last tiramisu recipe I tried so I wanted to try another. I got this out of a Pampered Chef cookbook and made a few substitutions.
1 pkg (3.4oz) instant vanilla pudding 2 cups milk 1/4 cup light rum or cognac (I used kahlua cause I had some already) 3/4 cup marscapone cheese 1 pint heavy cream, whipped 12 oz sponge cake, torn into bite size pieces (I used ladyfingers) 1 cup strong espresso 1 tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
Combine pudding, milk, and rum; mix well with whisk. Lighten the marscapone cheese by turning and folding over serveral times; mix into pudding mixture. Fold in whipped cream to make filling. To assemble divide sponge cake into three portions. Layer one third on bottom of trifle bowl or glass bowl. Drizzle sponge cake with 1/3 cup espresso; spread with a third of the filling. Repeat twice to make 3 layers. Sprinkle cocoa over top. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least one hour.
I'll have to say this one was a lot better. It's a keeper!