Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Muffins!

This weekend I wanted to use up 2 very ripe bananas and some fresh strawberries. I found this recipe for Morning Glory Muffins and made a few tweaks. It is a VERY forgiving recipe and I think you can add just about anything you want. Read the reviews for some ideas. This made 15 muffins.

My changes were:

Two bananas and fresh strawberries (about a cup) and also about 4 shredded carrots, about 4 tbs of flax seeds (I had some on hand from when I made granola) and a cup or so of walnuts. I also didn't have any apple butter, so I used apple jelly and I used 2 whole eggs rather than what the recipe called for.

Monday, February 23, 2009

February 22, 2009 Gathering

We met at my house and as usual, great food and even better company!

The menu and I apologize in advance if I don't get the names quite right:

Appetizer (Carol) -- shrimp and avocado mouse with assorted crackers, a sun dried tomato dip with vegetables AND some fruit and cheese kabobs
Salad (Tonya) -- Spinach salad with prosciutto and red onions and an orange vinaigrette
Side (Mary) -- Macaroni and Cheese souffle
Bread and Wine (Teresa) -- Garlic Cheese Bread and a white and red wine
Main Dish (Angie) -- Basil Chicken Hash
Dessert (Janet) -- Yellow Cake with Buttercream Frosting

More recipe links (hopefully) and pictures to follow. :-)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Cocktails?

If we ever tire of wine we could try a new drink at each gathering. Sandra Lee always has cocktail time!! I saw this recipe for Green Tea Margaritas today and thought it sounded very tasty. I love both green tea (with sugar! sorry, Teresa) and margaritas!!

Monday, February 9, 2009

Meatloaf, Mac & Cheese

My mom decided to come over for lunch yesterday, and I told her I was making meatloaf and mac & cheese. She thinks they don't go together at all. Are mashed potatoes the only thing you are supposed to make to go with meatloaf? Anyway, it turned out to be very tasty, so I don't think she has a problem with the combo anymore!

Rachael Ray has redeemed herself with her meatloaf muffins recipe. The name of the recipe sounds repulsive, and they may slightly resemble hockey pucks, but they really do taste great. It cooks so much faster than a loaf, so I think it turns out much more moist.

I made Barefoot Contessa's mac and cheese. It was amazing. Crazy delicious. Janet, this was even better than KFC's mac and cheese.



Sunday, February 8, 2009

I finally cooked something worthy!

I had a bag of potatoes that I needed to do something with. I searched on http://www.allrecipes.com/ for potato soup and found this: Super-Delicious Zuppa Toscana. As it is my favorite soup at Olive Garden (where I do not like going anymore because it always is so packed) I decided it would be a perfect recipe to use up my potatoes! Also, it looks like it should freeze well.



It is tasty and pretty easy to prepare... during each cooking step you can be prepping for the next step. I made a few substitutions:

1. I did not use any bacon. I cooked the onion and garlic in the sausage drippings, which were hardly any, so I think the sausage was very lean.
2. I used fat free chicken broth.
3. I used kale instead of spinach and probably more than 1/4 a bunch.
4. I used half and half rather than heavy cream.
5. I added a little salt and used only 1 tsp of red pepper flakes since some of the reviews talked about it having a kick. I think you could have used hot sausage and no flakes if you wanted.

I think my substitutions made it a healthy soup and delicious!

I also made some salads for lunches by cleaning out my vegetable drawer. I assembled 4 salads and each contain kale, lettuce, carrots, red bell pepper and cucumbers. I will add the dressing in the mornings. I am on a quest to eat more healthy and the best way I can think of doing that is by eating more fruits and vegetables.

OH! And.. the new Lifetime Fitness that is only THREE MILES from my house finally opened on Saturday. I LOVE it. Everything about it. Even the soap in the locker rooms. It is the foamy kind with a pleasant scent. I am so excited about having a gym that isn't a trek to get to. I will be there all the time. :-)

Banana pudding with Nutter Butters

I have to start by saying I might be biased because I LOVE banana pudding and I LOVE Nutter Butters, but this was delicious! It wasn't too weird for me to do something other than Nilla Wafers b/c I've been making Not Yo' Mama's Banana Pudding with Chessmen Cookies for awhile now. I like that recipe so much that I used it instead either of the versions Southern Living recommends, and just used Nutter Butters for my cookies. I used sweetened whipped cream instead of Cool Whip also.

Joe took this to a meeting he was going to yesterday and he says everyone liked the Nutter Butter substitution. (He would tell me that to spare my feelings even if they put it all in the garbage though.) I made a small batch for us at home also (of course!). You really need to make it a few hours before serving, because it's much better to serve and eat after the Nutter Butters get soft.

Monday, February 2, 2009

banana pudding

I've been craving banana pudding since having Angie's last month. I noticed this recipe for banana pudding made with Nutter Butters on the cover of the current Southern Living in the grocery checkout the other day. You can expect a review from me very soon!

I think I need a food mill!

Angie, I'm sorry I missed the Superbowl party ... and the yummy snacks!

Tonight's dinner was good but not especially photogenic. I made the Barefoot Contessa's roasted tomato basil soup and served it with grilled havarti sandwiches made on my indispensable little indoor grill/panini press.

I was hoping I would be able to peel the tomato skins off the tomatoes after they roasted in the oven, but they had cooked too long by then and were coming apart. I don't have a food mill like she uses in the recipe, and I wonder if the food mill would keep the tomato skins out of the soup. I used my stick blender, so the skins were completely blended in, but I think it gave it a bit of a weird texture. I don't think food mills cost much, so I might have to find room in my cabinet for one. Ina Garten always uses it for her mashed potatoes too and I'd like to try that.

Superbowl 2009!




It was great to see Janet and Teresa.. sorry you other ladies could not make it. Here is a picture of some of the food. David was the photographer and "lost" some of the pictures. Next time I will not trust a man to do a woman's job!! :-)