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Showing posts from 2012

German Chocolate Baklava

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Here is the thing about Baklava. I was terrified of it. I'd heard horror stories of just 'how hard' and 'so many steps'. But then I ended up with some Phyllo dough and I wanted to take on the dragon...and I did.

Oh, I did big time.

The batch you see pictured? Yeah, it's the second batch. The revamp. The studly younger son of Big Daddy Baklava.
It's Keifer to Donald, Scott to James, Alexander to Stellan...you get what I'm saying? I mean if there were ANY way to improve upon the original. You get me?

See I made a tray of regular..and it was gone...as in...I cut it and it was out the door. But I had left over syrup and some more phyllo..so what was a girl to do? Well, I had a little on some ice cream. And I had a little in my coffee..don't judge. And then I knew I just had to make more.

Now I will tell you, there are a few steps.
There is some wait time.
But you will be rewarded.
We're going to pretend with the recipe that I did a whole batch o…

Quinoa Turkey Alfredo Bake

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I like quinoa, don't get me wrong, but alot of times I don't exactly know WHAT to do with it. We aren't really a side dish family, so I try to incorporate it when I can. And this dinner was very tasty, and in true Suzy fashion utilized things I happened to have on hand. I'd like to call it healthy since it's got both quinoa AND broccoli in it, but the alfredo sauce and cream cheese might beg to differ, either way...the kids were impressed and ate like little pigs. Neither commenting on the healthy stuff they were eating, just going to town on the cheesy goodness.

1 cup of quinoa-cooked..I'm guessing it turned out to be about 2 cups cooked.
1 lb of ground turkey, browned
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 bunch of broccoli, blanched
1 jar of alfredo sauce
1 block of cream cheese
mozzerella cheese to top, however much you want
salt and pepper to taste

1. Cook your quinoa and put it aside. I cooked mine in a microwave rice cooker. It's the same ratio as rice 2 cup wat…

10 Day You Challenge-10 secrets.

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I saw this, and thought..."why not?" Part of my 30s Resolution is to get back out there, and how else would I if I don't share a bit?
I'll start today, although I think others started a few days ago-
So, 10 secrets...hrmm....

1. I have an allergy to alcohol. It's both a good and a bad thing. It's a good thing b/c it keeps me from drinking (and there are days I could seriously become an alcoholic). But it's an annoying thing because in some social situations I feel like I'm just boring.

2. I have a terrible, emotional connection to stuffed animals. I blame it on watching The Velveteen Rabbit too much when I was little. Even now, I know that I have an old stuffed horse in a trash can down stairs, and I'm tempted to go get him out, sew him up, and toss him in the wash, because I can't bear to think of him being tossed away into the trash...not given another chance. Ugh.

3. I suck at dieting. Ok, you might have figured that out…

Turning 30 happens

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It is a number that I'm claiming as a New Year's Resolution. It's a new 'year' of life for me after all.
And I did spend so much of 29 anxious, sad, and just not 'ok'. It's not that 29 was a BAD year, it just wasn't great for me. 
I still struggle daily with not having a 'leave the house and go to work-job' and yet feel as though I am failing miserably at times at my job of being a Stay at Home Mom. The laundry, the dishes, the daily up keep of daily life, fell by the wayside while I would just sit and do nothing.
The other job of property manager takes it's daily toll as tenants continually lie to me, screw me out of money, and mess up my properties...it grates on my already frazzled nerves.
I spent a good amount agonizing more and more over how I was so miserable with my body and my looks, and yet I did nothing about it. One thing I did try to do was not complain so loudly about it, as to not damage my own little girl with the hurtf…

Banana Bread Crepe Cake

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It was my birthday, so I made myself a cake...my 4 year old Little Miss put on the candles. I picked an intentionally 'difficult' (at least in my mind) cake..to say Goodbye to what I thought was a difficult year. Oh, and I looked online, and a bakery that sells a cake similar charges like $75 plus shipping, so I decided to go easy on the Husband and just make it myself.
 I usually stand by the "things taste better when someone else cooks them" phrase. But not in this case. In this case, no one could have done my cake better. Call it boasting, call it pride, heck, you might make the cake yourself and not even like it. But it was exactly what I needed. It was a stress relief and an act of Love for one person....me. A completely selfish endeavor for my birthday and I deserved it....and I enjoyed every caramel dripping, sweet bite of it!
The crepe part:
Banana crepes (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1-1 1/2 banana*

Pretzel Bottomed Oatmeal Scotchie Bars

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Here's the thing about cookies. When someone asks me "what's your favorite kind of cookie?" I'm always torn between my two lovers. There's my locally manufactured Mennonite Chocolate Crinkle Cookie that I buy because I can't duplicate (I've tried, trust me). But right there next to it, vying for (and sometimes taking) top spot, is the Oatmeal Scotchie. It's an Oatmeal cookie, with Butterscotch chips. And for someone that isn't a big Butterscotch fan (the disks? *gags*), it's a suprise that I'm so in love with that cookie. In fact my Dad's "you just had a baby, let's feed you" present to me in the hospital when I had my kids (both times) was a big container of fresh Oatmeal Scotchies.
So the other day I'm trolling around on Pinterest and come across a recipe that would not be denied.
It's way easier than the actual cookie recipe, no pesky creaming of butters and sugars, because you throw these bad boys togeth…

Cook at Home

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I don't have a fancy recipe for this. It's a steak and some shrimp.
It wasn't anything complicated.
It hit the spot for a good steak meal.
What I want to share with you is budget related.
You know it's cheaper to cook at home. I don't think that is news to you.
I let the steak hang out in the seasoning for about a half hour, I thawed the shrimp and even though they were precooked I put them on the grill after I took off the steaks to let them rest, then I tossed them in some butter.

Let me break down last nights dinner for you-
Beef tenderloin (there were actually two of those steaks/4 filets) $26
Packet of steak seasoning (Black Peppercorn)- 86 cents
Bag of precooked shrimp that I only used about a 1/4 of-9 $8.99 for the WHOLE bag
1/4 stick of butter out of a lb package that I snagged at 1.99 (about 12 cents worth of butter)
Oh, and not pictured the GIGANTIC twice baked stuffed potatoes that my husband bought, EACH one was 12oz. 1.99 each, let's say we used a…

Country Pot Pie and a Giveaway!

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I can't resist a good giveaway and couldn't resist actually making something new for a change..we've discussed my rut lately... and the New Progresso Recipe Starters...great thing to get me back into the kitchen and get cooking again! I know I've said it before over a dry piece of chicken or a bland roast..I wish I had some sort of sauce to go with it, to make this better..but sauces can be a hassle. These sauces are anything but! Super quick and super tasty! Check out this Pot Pie? Ok..so technically it isn't in pie shape, nor did I use pie crust..but for all intents and purposes..it's pot pie! Also, I'm kind of a pot pie snob...I grew up having to eat the freezer section ones and I get kind of sad when I hear about people who still eat them by choice. But then again, I still eat ramen noodles...moving on to the recipe!

Nice and creamy (thanks to the Recipe Starters Creamy Roasted Garlic)..it was a really, really good dinner! It tastes basically just like…

Turkey, kale, and beans

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So I've mentioned we're in a bit of a routine with dinner...ground turkey and beans, repeat, repeat. But I ended up with some kale in the fridge, and decided to make that addition as well. Game changer. This was an awesome bowl of food!

Turkey, kale, and beans  (adapted roughly from a sparkpeople recipe) 1 package ground turkey (I think the kind we buy has a little over a lb in it) 1 red bell pepper, chopped 1 onion, chopped 2 cups chicken stock 1 package onion soup mix 1/2 stick of butter 1 can of black beans, rinsed and drained 1/2 bunch of kale, stems removed and then cut into bite sized pieces salt and pepper to taste
I cooked this all up in one pot...my big stock pot..less mess! Brown turkey over medium high heat Add chopped peppers/onions Add broth, butter,  and onion soup mix Add beans and kale Let heat through/simmer 10 minutes or so.
Um..that's it...no really. You can eat it now. All in all, kinda healthy. You can opt not to put the butter in it, I did b/c I like …

Blueberry Scones

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Blueberry Scones (adapted from Annie's Eats)

1 frozen stick of unsalted butter-grated on a box grater
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries
2 cups AP flour (plus more for rolling)
1/2 cup sugar (plus more for sprinkling)
2 teaspoons baking power
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tsp lemon zest

3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tablespoons lemon juice

Oven at 425

Combine dry ingredients (including zest)
Whisk together sour cream and heavy whipping cream-set aside
Toss dry w/grated butter just until the butter is coated (you don't need to cut it in since the butter is already all grated)
Add milk/sour cream mix. Combine.
At this point you are going to have a sticky 'biscuity' looking dough.
Add the frozen blueberries, and enough flour to make it less sticky.
Your hands will get dirty, but knead it a bit, just to incorporate the blueberries into the dough, add bits of more flour if you have to.
Once you've gotten the dough to hold into a decen…

If avocado is wrong..

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I don't want to be right.

Do we see a trend here folks? That's 3 avocado recipes in a row. I wish I could tell you that while I am not blogging I'm coming up with all sorts of new and delicious foods. Well, I am..sort of. I'm not posting alot because we're watching what we're eating and most of our meals consist of ground turkey and beans. Husband is hooked on it. And that's all it is really..ground turkey, browned, then add a can of rinsed black beans. Sometimes I'll put taco seasoning in it, sometimes ranch powder, but that's about it.
The other night when I made it, I used taco seasoning...then made up a rough salsa (onion, tomato, red peppers, and avocado) then ate it on TOP of a whole avocado..salted liberally. And it was all sorts of amazing and delicious.

Southwest Quinoa and Avocado salad

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It happens this way alot...I have what I think is an original great idea and I look it up on pinterest to make sure it is MY idea and 20 other (thousand) people have done it. *sigh*
At least with a recipe you have a degree of your 'own' about it. So enters MY version of an avocado quinoa salad!

Southwest Quinoa and Avocado salad

Into a big bowl-
1 1/2 cup cooked quinoa
1 chopped red bell pepper
1 1/2 chopped avocado
1 can garbanzo beans (rinsed and drained)
1/2 large white onion, diced

Into another bowl
Zest and juice of one lemon
1 1/2 T honey
1/2 T cumin
2 T extra virgin olive oil
1 T Roasted Red Bell Pepper and Chipotle Spread
salt and pepper

Combine and eat! Very tasty!! :)

Apology to Avocado...

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Dear Avocado,

I'm sorry.
I'm sorry that for years I blamed the fact that I had a bird (a sun conure) living with me that you could potentially kill on my aversion to you. If we are being honest with one another, it was your ugly exterior and your terribly green interior that put me off. I just didn't understand.
Well the bird has gone (he's not dead, just relocated b/c he hates my children) and I had no excuse. So I took the easy way into you...guacamole. And Holy Moly..it changed me. And now...now I can't get enough.
I find any and every excuse to incorporate you into my meals.
And you make my world a better place.

All my Love,
Suzy

This morning...my breakfast was simple and one of the best ones I've had in a long time.
Toast two pieces of bread then lightly butter (b/c you can't have toast w/out butter, it's a rule)
Top w/1/2 of an avocado mashed together with 1/4 of a chopped onion and some salt
Top that with an egg (2 pieces of toast, 2 eggs...)..…

Turtle Cheesecake on a Chocolate Chip Cookie Crust

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So I take a hiatus and come back to a totally different blogger layout...
sorry for the absence...I blame children, their birthdays, a husband and his birthday, my Dad and my in-laws and THEIR birthdays, and buying and rehabing not one, but TWO new rental properties. It's been a busy spring, I'm hoping it will be a more calm summer...although it's already too hot in my opinion...
I've still been cooking and baking (when the occassion calls for it)-I've just been sorely remiss in not documenting!
Have an apology cheesecake! Actually this cheesecake is a birthday gift for my best buddy Heather. She's the one that can perfectly pick out a present for someone (I think she should do it professionally)-I suck at picking presents, but I can pack lots of thought and love into a baked good. So it tends to be my present of choice!

I'll admit to cheating a bit on this to make it 'busy mom' friendly...the cookie crust is not from scratch, neither is the carame…

Potato Pesto Pizza..with a sucky picture..

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My sincere apologies for the level of suck on this picture, but it was literally "take a picture before you inhale this"...and boy oh boy did I go to town on this pie! If you are a pizza purist (red sauce, meat) you might want to skip on over this, or call your local delivery joint because this is not a traditional pizza...but it was an amazing pizza!

Potato Pesto Pizza

1/2 stick butter-softened
2 T granulated garlic
1/2 cup prepared pesto
1 large potato-baked and sliced into 1/4 inch slices
1 medium onion-thinly sliced
1 bag pizza blend cheese
1/4 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 batch of pizza dough

Oven at 450.
Roll out your pizza dough-
combine butter and garlic into a paste and slather it onto the rolled out dough
then top with half of the pesto
add sliced potatoes
add sliced onions
top with cheeses
dot w/remaining pesto

Bake approx 20-25 or until crust is golden and cheese is bubbly.

Bulogi Korean Beef-take out/fake out at home!

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Korean Beef (adapted from lizzy writes)
1/2 lb left over rump roast-cooked 1/2 cup brown sugar 2 T sesame oil 1/4 cup soy sauce 3 cloves garlic-chopped 1 t chopped ginger
Heat oil in large saucepan, add leftover roast and heat through, add brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger and cook approx 5 minutes. It gets gloriously thick and sticky b/c of the brown sugar. Serve over rice! I sauteed up some mushrooms and onions in a separate pan and we had those with it as well. I had planned on doing this with ground beef (and I intend on keeping it on our rotating menu)-but since I had the leftover roast, I didn't want to waste it...we were SO pleased with this dish! It was sweet, salty, and delicious!

Seventh Generation giveaway

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I've always been a huge fan of animated movies, and now that I'm a Mom, well...I kinda like them even more. I like seeing how the kids react to the movies, and I am in total awe of the advancement in animation...seriously. When Little Miss was little-er, she was obsessed with Horton Hears a Who...so when I heard that Universal Studios was coming out with The Lorax, I got pumped! Along with being another Dr. Seuss wonderful rhyming tale, it puts great environmental 'save the tree' thoughts in my little ones heads. Saving the environment is a hard topic to talk about with kids!
You know what doesn't pump me though? Diapers...changing them, buying them, over and over again...what does kinda get me excited? These new Free and Clear ones from Seventh Generation.... NEW Overnight Diapers are absorbent enough to keep your baby and bedding dry through the night or during prolonged travel

Free & Clear diapers have improved more flexible tabs that provide even better fit…

Won Ton Tacos

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Here's the thing. I'm different. Had you not figured that out by now? This whole 'trying to lose weight' thing ( for what, two years now eh?) gets the better of me and I fight with it constantly. But I found a recent comparison, that I'd like to share with you...and I promise it ties back into the weight loss thing. I've been wanting to try Zumba, so Husband finally gave in and got me a DVD (just one mind you, not the entire set *eye roll*) and I tried it, and I love it...but...not being of latin decent..my hips don't 'do' that. So I have to just do the best I can. These won ton tacos, kinda like me doing Zumba....they are trying to me mexican/latin (food), but they have to do it their own way. And just wait until you try them, you'll see that their way, it's ok. In fact, it's pretty awesome!

And it's easy b/c basically I'm just giving you a hint on how to make a different taco, I saw it somewhere/sometime and I'm finally get…

Ba-na-nas...

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Everyone needs a go-to.
And this my Friends, is officially my go-to banana bread. Moist, dense, full of banana flavor, and a bit of a crunchy topping, yes...a resounding yes.
I've had/made my fair share of banana breads. Some just taste like spiced bread. Some are too crumbly. Some are too dry. This one though...it's my new favorite. And it makes two loaves...good for sharing. Or good for binging if you are really depressed.

Cream Cheese Banana Bread (adapted from bakeorbreak.com)

2 cups AP flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup salted butter-softened
1 pkg (8oz) cream cheese-softened
2 cups sugar (we keep organic cane sugar so that's what I used)
2 eggs
2 cups over-ripe bananas  (I had a bag of frozen bananas in the freezer, I left it out to thaw and that's what I used)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Topping-
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon ap flour
1/2 tablespoon white wheat flour
2  tablespoons butter, melte…

Chicken with Amogio (Spedini-ish)

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Picture it, Sicily, 1924...
ok..not really..it's more like Kansas City, 2000...not quite as impressive..but wait...
so I'm out to dinner pre Prom and we go to this majorly italian restaurant.."what's good?" and I'm asking everyone-by dinner companions, the waiter, the table next to us. The most 'italian' I'd been was Olive Garden. Other than that it was the occassional lasagna or spaghetti at home and school. But this was the real deal. This was Cascone's.
I ended up getting the Chicken Spedini, and that's where the love affair began. Crispy breaded chicken, doused in this lemony, garlicky, sauce. Amazing.
When reps would ask what to cater to the Dr's office (a few years later) I'd answer with a sound "Get the Spedini from Cascone's". Sometimes they would bend to my will. And when they did it was a happy happy day.
I recently had the great pleasure of becoming friends with a bona fide Cascone, she's absolutely del…

Chicken Chilaquiles...sorta..

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Chilaquiles- "chilla, keyless". I guess my brain translates anything quasi mexican in nature with crunchy chips mixed in. Works, right?
Easy, and easy to throw together!

Chicken Chilaquiles-
oven at 350, 8x8 baking pan greased (you don't want your chips and cheese sticking)

2 boneless skinless chicken breasts-cut/diced
1/2 onion, thinly sliced
1 can diced tomatoes
1T oil
1 container Philly cream Southwest sauce stuff (it's by the cream cheese at the grocery, I think it comes in about 5 different flavors)
shredded monterey jack cheese
shredded mozzarella cheese
tortilla chips

In a pan heat the oil then add the onions, cook until softened.
Add the chicken, cook, but don't brown-
add the can of tomatoes-with the juice. Let all that hang out for about 15 minutes on simmer. That will finish getting those onions all soft and cook the chicken through.
Then add the container of the Southwest Philly stuff...mix together.
Now in your 8x8 pan put down some of the chicken mi…