Sunday, October 31, 2010

trick-or-treat station part duex

as promised, here are the pictures of the candy station i created for last night's party/fundraiser. the event turned out to be a huge success and we were able to raise a lot of money towards such a good cause - thanks to everyone who came out and donated! if you're still interested in helping out - we're still taking online donations for this saturday's walk.

wide view.
brownie fudge bites!
closer look - these were the original cake pops (monster eye balls) that i didn't end up using. 
creepy scary eye balls (red velvet cake pops)
warning: making these may or may not cause a meltdown :)
peanut m&ms, twizzlers with gummy bears, brownies and cake pops!
autism speaks candy dish with reeses pieces
side view.
supporting the cause.

andddd the hosts! crabbies and where's waldo crew.

Friday, October 29, 2010

trick-or-treat station

this year we're staying away from the masses and hosting a halloween party/fundraising event to help raise money for the autism speaks walk on november 6th. meagan {one of the roommates and occasional guest blogger} is an early-intervention teacher for kids with autism so we're walking in the event in honor of her students (did you know that 1 in every 110 children are affected by autism every year?}

we've promised our guests kegs, a fancy cocktail served in a cauldron, and some halloween treats {here's where i come in}. i decided not to make any real food - the only things i will be serving is candy and cake. i'm dreaming of making an over-the-top candy bar/station that you see at weddings. basically it's a one-stop shop for trick-or-treaters. i'll post pictures after the event of what i come up with, but in the meantime - here's my inspiration:

if you're feeling generous, please please please donate to the cause on this website - every little bit helps. and if you're feeling thirsty, please stop by the halloween bash tomorrow night - starts at 8.



Thursday, October 28, 2010

mustard and herb roasted chicken thighs

mustard+herbs+chicken = one happy sis.

this is an extremely easy recipe that i got from the wednesday chef and it took no time to put together. i was able to pop it in the oven, do some other things around the kitchen and get a workout in - all while this bubbled away. the tangy mustard complimented the fresh herbs beautifully and the crunchy coating added a nice texture against the juicy dark meat. i only tweaked the original a little bit. here's how to do it:

8 chicken thighs, with bone and skin-on
3 teaspoons fresh, minced parsley and sage
2 large garlic cloves, minced
4 tablespoons dijon mustard
1/3 cup panko
2 tablespoons melted butter

heat the oven to 350 degrees. rub chicken with fresh herbs, garlic and s&p - make sure to get under the skin as well. brush 1/2 tablespoon mustard over the skin side of each thigh to coat thinly. lay the legs in a shallow baking dish, leaving space between them. sprinkle evenly with the panko and drizzle evenly with the melted butter. roast for about an hour (give or take 10 minutes depending on how big your pieces are.) coating should be crisp and the meat very tender.

ps - i'm still working on my photography skills. sorry this picture looks so bad - i feel like i'm not doing it any justice. suggestions are welcome!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

breakfast for dinner: eggs in a basket with garlic bread and avocado

i decided to go out of my comfort zone of making traditional dinner meals by making breakfast instead. i recently have a new obsession with runny yolks after eating a poached egg during a cooking class at culinarie. this recipe seemed like the obvious choice to please my palate. you really can't go wrong when there is avocado, turkey bacon, a runny yolk and garlic bread to soak it all up.

thick slice of bread (i used texas toast from trader joes)
1 egg
slices of avocado
garlic powder
turkey bacon


melt butter in non-stick skillet over medium heat. using a round cookie cutter, cut out a hole in the middle of the bread (we only had a heart shaped cookie cutter and it worked fine). add the slice of bread to the pan, sprinkle with garlic powder and cook until golden brown and toasty - about 3 minutes. flip bread over (season with more garlic powder) and crack egg into the open hole of the bread. season egg with s&p. cook for about 3 minutes, until egg has begun to set. flip again one more and let cook for an additional two minutes - egg will be runny and beautiful. top with avocado slices and serve with apples slices and turkey bacon.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

this is why you're fat.

yes, i know we have a food crisis/epidemic going on in our country. yes, i know that the obesity rate is absurd. yes, i realize jamie oliver probably wouldn't like this post very much. but, i couldn't resist sharing this blog with you. it makes me smile. "this is why you're fat" is a compilation of some of the most over-the-top, fatty, will-probably-kill-you dishes that readers submit. it's basically food porn for any true lover of junk foods (me). some of my favorites include:

bacon wrapped chicken wings
 peanut butter, nutella and maple-bacon rice krispie treats
 bacon corn dog
 pizzatacocalzone (crisp taco, cheese sauce, and shredded cheese, wrapped in a personal sized cheese pizza and deep fried)
dorachoes (cooler ranch, taco supreme, and nacho cheese doritos covered in two pounds of taco meat, three bags of shredded cheese, jalapenos, guacamole and sour cream)
 baked potato pizza 
 deep fried reeses cups wrapped in bacon
 mashed potato rolls (cheddar cheese rolls filled with cheesy mashed potatoes)

it's interesting how all my choices had to do with fried food or bacon. yum.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

here we come, west coast.

raelynn and i are packing our bags to leave tomorrow for a long weekend in san francisco and napa valley.

we have a few stops planned - the wharf, alcatraz, the golden gate bridge, and of course the full-house house. any suggestions for our trip are always welcome.

have a great weekend everyone!

(photo credit - visualize,,,

she's a star.

one of my roommates (suzanne) recently dabbled in a little acting through her job at aol. she was asked by an editor-in-chief to star in a quick video about her obsession with silly bandz. just watch her go...she's a natural.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

newest obsession.

anyone who knows me, knows i have a serious obsession with ranch dressing. i put it on just about everything - pizza, chicken/beef/pork, tacos, chips, pretzels, potatoes, vegetables, bread - i have even put it on fish before.

i've found a new way to indulge in my favorite snack without having the guilt. simply mix a hidden valley ranch seasoning packet with 16 oz of non-fat plain greek yogurt (instead of sour cream or mayo). the best part is that you get the added health benefits of more protein and less fat. the yogurt is thick and creamy so you tastes like you're eating the real thing! 

i think i just fell in more in love with ranch.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

asian steak fajitas

i know it seems a little silly to be posting another fajitas recipe, but this one was different. this was a fusion between asian and meixcan flavors. let me explain.

denise (meagan's mom) had us over for dinner on monday night. she made grilled asian flank steak and her signature hashbrown casserole (seriously you guys must make this asap.) she sent us home with leftover steak to eat up this week. meagan and i were craving something mexican so we decided to make fajitas. i sauteed up some sweet bell peppers and onion, re-heated the beef and topped it off with our favorite extras - sour cream, monterrey jack cheese and pre-made guacamole salsa from wholly guacamole.

i was a little skeptical at first to be mixing the two cultural flavors, but it actually turned out pretty delicious. the sweetness from the asian marinade paired nicely with the creaminess of the guacamole salsa and sauteed onions and peppers. below is the recipe for the steak marinade. it's best to let it sit over night to get the maximum flavors.

1/3 cup canola oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/3 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup diced scallions
2 pounds flank steak

combine the marinade ingredients together in a plastic resealable bag with steak. coat well with the marinade and chill/marinate for at least 2 hours and up to overnight. preheat the grill (indoor or outdoor) with high heat. take the steak out of the marinade bag and sprinkle generously on all sides with coarse s&p. grill about 5-10 minutes on each side, depending how rare/cooked you like it. meanwhile, make another batch of marinade. cook on stove over low heat while meat is cooking. 

remove steak from grill, cover with aluminum foil and let rest for at least 20 minutes. make very thin slices, against the grain, and at a slight diagonal so that the slices are wide. serve with reserved marinade.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

the pumpkin post

let's face it - every food blogger knows that during the fall season we're going to have to write our obligatory posts about apples and pumpkins. i had this post planned already for sometime in october but it got bumped up a few weeks when i  received this email from one of my friends, brittany. she writes:

i don't know if you take requests for your fabulous blog but if you do, i've got one!  this new fall weather has left me with constant cravings for all things pumpkin spice (thanks alot starbucks, like i needed something else to crave).  as you know i am what i like to call "domestically challenged"  so here is my request: could you do a healthy pumpkin recipe for those, who like me, don't cook/bake often (or ever)?  thanks love!!

p.s. love the blog, if you keep this up i may start, dare i say it?!

there is nothing i love more than a challenge, espeically a cooking challenge. i have found some really easy recipes and also some for the more advanced chef. let's start with what good housekeeping had to say regarding simple ways to introduce canned pumpkin into recipes:
  1. stir pumpkin and green chiles into homemade chili for a creamier texture with a mexican twist
  2. whip up a smoothie with chilled pumpkin, milk, vanilla yogurt, and a pinch each of sugar and pumpkin pie spice
  3. beat 8 ounces light cream cheese and 1 cup pumpkin until smooth; add 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice, and serve as a dip for fruit and cookies or as a spread for toasted bagels
now for the recipes...
  1. pasta with mushrooms and pumpkin-gorgonzola cream sauce
  2. easy pumpkin pancakes - basically just adding canned pumpkin to pancake mix
  3. 15-minute pumpkin risotto
  4. penne pumpkin pasta
  5. pumpkin-cream cheese napoleons
  6. pumpkin-shrimp bruschetta - elegant but easy
  7. pumpkin spice whoopie pies
  8. no bake pumpkin cheesecake
  9. chocolate pumpkin pie martini
  10. cumin pumpkin soup with popcorn
  11. overstuffed pumpkin with cornbread, apples and turkey sausage - definitely a little labor intensive, but i think well worth it
after all this researching, i think i'm going to have to put some sort of pumpkin dish on the dinner menu this week. enjoy!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

tamale pie

suz is back at it again, showing all of us roomies just how southern food is done. i'm amazed every time she shares her family's recipes with us. they are so delicious, so comforting and just have that down-home feeling. last night was no exception when she whipped up a tamale pie - it's basically ground beef mixed with all your favorite mexican flavors and topped with a cornbread crust and baked to perfection.

1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon evoo
1 pound ground beef or turkey
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons cumin
15oz can pinto beans, drained and rinsed (you could use black beans too)
8oz diced tomatoes
2 chipotles chiles in adobo sauce, plus 1 teaspoon sauce from can
1 cup grated cheddar cheese
1/2 cup fresh cilnatro
1 (8.5 oz) package cornbread mix + egg & milk

preheat oven to 400 degrees. grease 8 inch dish with butter and set aside. heat evoo in nonstick skillet over medium heat. add ground beef, onions, green peppers and garlic. cook until beef if no longer pink, about 8 minutes. drain excess fat and sprinkle meat with cumin.

add beans, tomatoes, chiles and adobo sauce and bring to boil over high heat. reduce heat to medium and simmer until heated through and slightly thickened, about 5 minutes. remove from heat. add cheese and cilantro. spread beef mixture in baking dish, pressing down with spoon to make an even, compact layer. combine cornbread mix according to direction on box. spread batter evenly over beef mixture and bake until cornbread is golden brown, about 20 to 25 minutes. let stand 5 minutes and cut into squares.

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

roast beef french dippies with a side of sweets

call me crazy (suzanne did) but i have never had a roast beef sandwich before. i grew up being a very picky eater and rarely strayed away from my basics. whenever we went to arby's (usually because my dad had a coupon) i always opted for the chicken sandwiches, not the beef and cheddars. i had no idea what i was missing out on until suzanne made these for us the other night. she put her own twist on it by adding cheese and sauteed onions. i'm still drooling about them. the combination of the crusty bread, melted cheese, and juicy roast beef - all dipped into the salty, rich au jus sauce really made my night.

the recipe couldn't be easier and it's perfect for the week nights. we had a side of sweet potatoes fries to round things out. suzanne dipped her fries in honey - has anyone ever heard of that before?

1 lb sliced roast beef, from the deli counter
4 slices provolone cheese
1 onion, sliced
4 mini french bread baguettes
1 package mccormick® au jus gravy mix
3 cups cold water

preheat oven to 400 degrees. in a large skillet, heat evoo over medium high heat. add onions and cook until translucent. slice bread in half (length-wise) and add roast beef and onions - however much you like. top with cheese and wrap in aluminum foil. bake in oven for about 10 minutes until cheese is melted and bread is toasty.

meanwhile, stir water gradually into gravy mix with whisk in medium saucepan. stirring frequently, cook on medium-high heat until gravy comes to boil.

serve sandwiches immediately with a side of the au jus for dipping.

Monday, October 04, 2010

roasted tomato soup with garlic olive croutons

"what did the mom tomato say to the baby tomato?"
"ketchup, little guy, ketchup."
this is a guest blog post from meagan kessler.

today marks the sixth consecutive day of school without even one minute of recess. i'm definitely over the rain and the only immediate cure was homemade tomato soup...oh yea, and a joke. campbells would have been easier, but this was definitely more delicious. try it tyler florence's way. just do me a favor, and USE the type of blender he suggests - once i figure out what it is, i'll probably invest in one for the next rainy day :) 

i topped it off with toasted garlic rosemary olive bread. i just cubed a loaf from harris teeter, sprinkled with olive oil and garlic powder, and popped them in the oven on 400 for about 10 minutes. it was the perfect addition. oh yea, then i ate the rest of them during gossip girl. good enough to eat all on their own.

p.s. my fortune cookie yesterday said "all things end." here's hoping it was referring to the rain :)

...i'm here for a good time, not a long time.