Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Halloween Madness!

Well, It's the day before Halloween....
The day after "FrankenStorm Sandy" hit the Northeast.
There are a lot of people without power, including my and my babes families.
As much as I wish I was there to be a calm presence for them all, I am happy to be in Florida.

The weather is as spectacular as it could be,
a breezy 68 degrees...
Sunny (my favorite part)...
and not a cloud in the sky!

I have all of the windows open,
including our front door
which my babe and I installed a screen door in over the weekend.

Music is playing...
I'm in a long sleeve tee and sweats...
and I've got my apron on!

I've got my apron on because tomorrow we are throwing a Halloween Party!
We've invited all of our friends who wouldn't normally get trick or treaters...
And we told them to dress in costume, 
bring an appetizer or dessert,
bring their drink of choice,
and a bag of candy for all the kids!

The house smells amazing with this prep that I'm up to today.
The bumble bee's keep coming to the screen cause they are smelling the caramel I made!

Yes, I just said I made caramel~
I posted a pic of what I was up to, and there was a request for the recipe....

SO here it is- especially for you, Marezy!

Salted Caramel Apple Bites
2 Cups Sugar
1/4 Cup Honey
1/2 Cup Water
2 Tablespoons Vanilla 
3 Tablespoons Butter
1/2 Cup Milk or Heavy Cream
Sea Salt 
2 Large Granny Smith Apples cut into chunks

Using a medium pot, place sugar, honey, water in.  Turn heat to medium high, and stir to combine.
Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium.  Let simmer for about 10 minutes.  Add vanilla (I used the one that my Marezy made for me) and stir.  It should be bubbly and simmering...continue to watch it to make sure it doesn't burn.    After about 15 minutes, remove from heat.  Add butter 1T at a time, whisking continuously.  Add milk slowly (VERY slowly as it will BOIL and BUBBLE like CRAZY!!) whisking continuously as well.  Once all butter and milk is added, bring back to heat and stir until smooth.  Once smooth, remove from heat and let cool.  Add in apple chunks and coat them completely.  Butter a deep dish, and move apple chunks to it.  Sprinkle with chunky sea salt or kosher salt, and let cool.

I'll be serving these with toothpicks in them so they are easy to pick up and eat!
This is the first time I've done this, including making caramel.  I'm hoping they are awesome tomorrow when I serve them, I know they are AMAZING now.

I also saved the extra caramel sauce- not sure what to do with it, but I'm sure I can think of something.

Now, as I was making the apple bites, I was also preparing my meatballs as well.

These meatballs are my regular recipe for the meat, but the sauce was also an experiment.
For this, I actually wrote down the ingredients as I added them.
Which is a bonus for you cause I don't usually remember how much of what exactly I put in.

So here goes nothing!

For the meatballs, I just used 2.5 lbs of ground beef, 2 eggs,
1 cup seasoned breadcrumbs, and 1/2 cup ketchup.
Mix together everything but the meat, make a paste.
THEN add the meat, mix together with hands, then roll into whatever size meatball you choose.
For this recipe, I made them into very small balls.

I preheated the oven to 375, put all the balls onto the pan, and cooked for about 10 minutes.

Here is the recipe for the sweet and sour sauce.

1 Tablespoon Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Large Yellow Onion- diced
1 7.5 fl oz can of Diet Coke or regular Coke
1 Large Can San Marzano Tomatoes- put through sieve to make just sauce and remove seeds
2 Palms (about a tablespoon each palm)- Garlic Salt
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
2 Tablespoons Apple Cider Vinegar
1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Palm Herb De Provence
2 Tablespoons Low Sodium Soy Sauce

Heat a 3.5qt pot to medium high heat, add oil & onion.  Saute onion until it's translucent.  Add can of soda and reduce slightly (until it's about 1/2 gone).  Add tomato sauce, bring to boil.  Add garlic salt, Worcestershire & vinegar.  Reduce heat and bring to a simmer.  Add in brown sugar, herbs de provence, and soy sauce.  Continue to simmer until it's thick (about 10 minutes).  If serving immediately, add meatballs and serve hot...if prepping to serve later, let meatballs and sauce cool, then store together in a container.  When you are ready to serve, just heat over medium heat for about 15-20 minutes.

I'm also making guacamole, and "bandaged fingers" which are hot dogs wrapped in pastry made to look like fingers.  Very silly and fun.

I'm looking forward to seeing what else everyone else is bringing and what everyone else will be dressed as!

Hope this post finds you in safety and happiness.

Until next time.....

~It's all out there in front of us......

Thursday, October 11, 2012

One of the most versatile~

You can put them on top of spaghetti....
Cover them with cheese...
Just make sure that NOBODY sneezes!

Here's my quick meatballs~

2 LB Ground Sirloin
1 Egg
½ C Italian Style Breadcrumbs
2 T Ketchup
¼ C Grated Parmesan or Locatelli Cheese
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.                  
Take out your broil pan, layer the bottom pan with foil (this helps with clean up).  The top pan should have slats in it, which will help the fat to drip to the bottom pan. 
In a large mixing bowl, add egg, breadcrumbs, ketchup, and cheese, stir to combine making a paste-like consistency.  Add beef into the bowl and (using your clean hands) carefully mix together with the paste.  As soon as the paste is combined, STOP!  By stopping here, it will prevent over mixing.  Over-mixing leads to tough meatballs.  Make your meatballs to the size you desire, I like to make mine a little bit bigger than a golf ball.  Roll each meatball carefully and place them onto the top pan, evenly spacing them out so that they are not touching.
Make sure to clean your hands thoroughly with warm water and soap!!
Place the pan into the preheated oven and cook for 20-25 minutes.  They will be lightly browned on the top and should be very juicy.  Once they are out of the oven, let them sit for a few minutes to allow the juices to lock in.
Add these to your favorite tomato sauce and serve with your favorite pasta!

Friday, September 14, 2012

Guess what?!?!?!

Well, this one particular recipe seems to be an overall favorite, among adults.
I say among adults because, well, what kid LOVES chicken?
I know when I was a kid, I HATED that we ALWAYS ate chicken.

This recipe is as simple as they come...
Buying good, organic, flavorful chicken is key.
It  is also the starting point to SO many of my other recipes to come.

So now I present,


Serves 5-6
Prep time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 45 minutes - 1 hour

Here's what you need:

4 Bone-in Chicken Breasts
3 Bone-in Chicken Thighs
3 Chicken Drumsticks
Fresh Ground Black Pepper
Garlic Powder
Extra Virgin Olive Oil

...and all you need is a broil pan and some foil.

(You can also just make this recipe for 2...with 2 breasts,
however I've found that it's a great leftover to put into salads, day 2 meals, and also very easy to reheat)

Line bottom half of broil pan with foil (this helps with clean up).  Replace top pan and evenly place chicken on it, making sure pieces aren't touching.

Drizzle oil onto each piece of chicken.  You don't want too much oil, as it will make it greasy, so just a drizzle on each piece.
Sprinkle salt, pepper, garlic powder and paprika onto oiled pieces of chicken.

Place seasoned chicken into preheated oven and bake at 375 degrees for 45-50 minutes.

When chicken is done, it should be  a nice crispy golden brown skin.  Let chicken sit for about 5 minutes before serving (this will help lock in the juices).

Hopefully later today, after I get some work stuff done, I can put some side dishes up on the blog.

~It's all out there in front of us......

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

On a roll....for now

So here I go, while I have a few minutes....

Favorite meal #2!

Sloppy Joe's

Serves 4-5
Total time:  30 minutes

Here's what you need....
1 LB Ground Sirloin or Ground Turkey
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/2 t Salt
1 t Pepper
2 t Garlic Powder
1/2 c Packed Brown Sugar
2 T Ketchup
1 T Yellow Mustard
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
1-6 oz can Tomato Sauce
1 package Hampburger Buns

1 Large Pan
1 Spatula
Can Opener

Here's how you do it.....
Begin this recipe by drizzling the olive oil in a preheated pan at medium high.  Brown the meat in the olive oil, breaking all pieces very small, adding in the salt, pepper and garlic powder while it is browning.  After all of the meat is browned, you will want to drain it in a colander, then return it to the pan over medium low heat.

Add in the brown sugar, ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and tomato sauce.  Stir to combine.

Lower heat to low and simmer for about 10 minutes.

Serve on hamburger buns, with tater tots, and LOTS of napkins!

You can even make this recipe with vegetarian "crumbles"...
My sister said this was the first time she has had Sloppy Joe's since becoming veg...

~It's all out there in front of us......

Let's start with a favorite~

This one has proven to be a favorite of MANY!!
It is a great go to for a quick meal,
and it's also easy to freeze.

Cheeseburger Macaroni

Serves 5-6
Total time 25 minutes

What you'll need:
1 LB Elbow Macaroni
1 LB Ground Sirloin
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 bag of shredded Mexican or Cheddar Jack Cheese
1 cup Milk
1 T Butter
2 T Flour
2 T Salt (for pasta water)
1 t Salt (for cheese sauce)
1 t Salt (for ground beef)
1 t Garlic Powder
2 T Ketchup
1 T Yellow Mustard
1 T Worcestershire Sauce
10 grinds pepper

You will only need 1 large pan and 1 medium pot for this….if you use more than that, then you will be cleaning too many dishes.  Also, you will need one colander, 1 plastic mixing spoon/spatula.

Fill a large pot with water, cover and bring to a boil.  Place the pan over a medium- high heat, drizzle in olive oil, and place ground beef in pan to brown, breaking up the meat.
While browning meat, add salt, pepper, and garlic powder.  By this point, water in pot should be boiling, add salt then add macaroni, giving the macaroni a stir every so often to ensure it doesn’t stick.  After you start the macaroni and the meat is cooked, , drain the meat, lower the heat on the pan to low, then return the meat to the pan.

Add the ketchup, mustard, Worcestershire and stir to combine.  Shut off heat under pan once everything is combined.

After about 8-9 minutes, the macaroni should be al dente.  Drain, then leave macaroni in the colander.  Lower the heat on the now empty pot to medium low, add the butter to melt it.  Once the butter is melted, slowly sprinkle the flour in making sure to incorporate each bit before adding more, it will make a paste-like consistency.
Slowly add milk, stirring to combine, bring to a slow simmer.  Once sauce is slightly thickened and fully combined, add 1 bag of cheese, stir to melt cheese.  Once cheese is melted (you may need to raise the heat to medium), stir together meat, macaroni and cheese sauce. Enjoy!

 ***This is a great recipe to freeze.  Make sure to store in an oven safe container, and when you reheat, do so after you let it sit for at least 20 minutes on the counter.

Heat in the oven at 350 degrees covered for 40 minutes - 1 hour if still frozen, and if it's not cold, 30 minutes or until it's heated through.

A new DIRECTION......

"Whatever you do, do it well.  Do it SO well that when people see you do it they will want to bring it to others and show them how well you do what you do." ~ Walt Disney

Well, as things may have it, life got very busy for me,
 which has made it hard for me to do what I do, and do it well for others to see.

I'm sure you are very surprised to see me back.
On one hand, I am back...
But on the other, I'm heading in a new direction.

I have been listening to what people want, and goals isn't it!

They want

The cookbook is posing too expensive to produce...
So I have come back to the blog to put everything that I worked on in the book,
for everyone to enjoy!

I hope you take the time to make each recipe that I share, 
and let me know what you and yours think.

Off to go make things happen~

~It's all out there in front of us.....

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Almost 2 months....

I think I managed to almost forget what it felt like to write. I know that's a harsh thing to say...but I've lost my creativity!!

I'm not sure as to why I lost my creativity, maybe it's the fact that I really like to sit down at my computer and put all of my thoughts down- instead of on the little phone screen that I have. Not having Internet at home has really slowed my desire to write or post, as well as take or share photos. It's nothing against writing, I just haven't wanted to.

So enough babbling about my lack of creativity! Let's see what desire has brought me here to write today...

I'm exactly 1 week away from my departure from this chapter in life! It's incredibly hard to believe that these 3 years of long distance with my babe & fast paced living filled with challenges and bittersweet moments, will be coming to a close. I'm not quite sure how to describe how I am feeling at this moment.

As I've mentioned in past posts, I've had my share of commuting, which will be all finished come Monday. I'll ride, for the last time, into the city, knowing that the next time I do that trip will be for pleasure instead of business. It's been an interesting length of time, that I hope to never have to experience again by myself. Now I'm not opposed to commuting alone, just understand how much I'm looking forward to my newest endeavor.

My newest endeavor.....well it's something that I still can't go too much into detail about quite yet, as I need to confidently be trained in what it is I'll be doing, before I expose my magic!! The wait will be well worth it when I finally do tell you what I've been up to! I will tell you that it has been taking a lot of my ability to challenge myself with what it has to offer. I'll be able to use all of my business sense as well as my creativity!!! I'm very excited about everything!

I like things organized- to say the least. I don't do so well with quick changes....so that's why I've taken my time preparing for this move, by packing myself up a few weeks ago. My car is nearly all packed up, and is extremely organized. I wanted to ensure I was able to fit everything in the back, while in turn, leaving some space for some VIPackages. I can't squish these special things- AT ALL!! I don't mind squishing the other things, like clothes, but these are pretty important and require their own space. So they were left with their own seat!! I'm looking forward to getting them to their final destination!!

I'm all around pretty ecstatic about the upcoming things...so many to look forward to! One being back with 2 of my best friends in the whole world, my babe and my bubbles!! Another being the start of the future. There's so much out there that I'm seeing, I can't wait!!

"There's a great big beautiful tomorrow....shining at the end of everyday."

~It's all out there in front of us.....