Wednesday, June 1, 2011

New Journey

I've decided to start a new project documenting my journey that is a little more personal than what I had been doing on this blog. I am actually doing this along with one of my good friends, so I thought I would start over fresh. I may come back and post things on here from time to time, but please feel free to head on over and check out my new project Sweet Pea Chic.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Turkey Black Bean Burgers with Salsa

I am not a huge fan of burgers, but loved the idea of these turkey burgers with salsa. They were very flavorful, which is hard to come across sometimes with turkey burgers. They were very easy to make, and I actually halved the recipe which gave me 3 smaller sized bugers, which is a perfect size for me.

I also made some of my homemade salsa and just added some grilled corn to it.

You can find the original recipe which is by the Deen Brothers here.

Turkey Black Bean Burgers with Salsa

-- 1/4 cup olive oil
-- 1 1/4 pounds ground turkey
-- 1/2 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained, and lightly mashed
-- 1 cup crushed tortilla chips
-- 2 teaspoons The Lady and Sons House Seasoning, recipe follows
-- 1 tablespoon chile powder
-- 1 tablespoon ground cumin


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F, or prepare your grill (I cooked these out on my grill, and did not use the olive oil).

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, beans, tortilla chips, House Seasoning, chile powder, and cumin. Use your hands to form the mixture into 8 equal sized patties, working in batches if necessary. Cook the patties until no longer pink in the middle, 4 to 5 minutes per side. Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer the patties to a paper towel-lined plate to drain.

To serve: Spoon the salsa mixture over the burgers. Top with avocado slices and sour cream or whatever your choice of toppings.

The Lady and Sons House Seasoning:
-- 1 cup salt
-- 1/4 cup pepper
-- 1/4 cup garlic powder
-- 1/4 cup onion powder

Combine all the ingredients. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 6 months.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Amy Butler Yoga Bag

I have been shopping for a yoga bag for over a year now. There are a lot of cute ones out there, but the cute ones were always much more than I was willing to pay. I came across this pattern a few months ago, and just had to try and make it.

This probably took about 4 or 5 hours to make, and I did it over the course of a two day weekend just so I did not get burnt out.

The pattern is by Amy Butler and you can find it on her website for free here. It was a pretty simple pattern and the directions were pretty easy. You just have to make sure to read them throughly and take it one step at a time.

It's hard to tell, but there are 3 pockets on the front of the bag and they are perfect for your keys/phone/etc. So far I am loving it, and really love the fun fabric I was able to find at Sew to Speak. If you are up for the challenge, I totally recommend you try making this.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf and Macaroni & Cheese

Last week I tried Pioneer Woman's Meatloaf and Macaroni & Cheese. I have been obsessed with trying Ree's recipes from her cookbook (especially after having met her a few weeks ago), and I have been wanting to try these two recipes for some time.

They weren't too bad. I used ground turkey for the meatloaf (trying to make it a little more healthy) and it was pretty moist. The Macaroni & Cheese was really good, but I wished I had put some breadcrumbs on top. I did put cheese on top and baked it, but I think having the breadcrumbs would make it really crunchy and tastey.



-- 1 cup Whole Milk
-- 6 slices White Bread
-- 2 pounds Ground Beef
-- 1 cup (heaping) Freshly Grated Parmesan Cheese
-- ¼ teaspoons Seasoned Salt
-- ¾ teaspoons Salt
-- Freshly Ground Black Pepper
-- ⅓ cups Minced Flat-leaf Parsley
-- 4 whole Eggs Beaten
-- 10 slices Thin/regular Bacon

-- 1-½ cup Ketchup
-- ⅓ cups Brown Sugar
-- 1 teaspoon Dry Mustard
-- Tabasco To Taste

Preparation Instructions

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Pour milk over the bread slices. Allow it to soak in for several minutes.

Place the ground beef, milk-soaked bread, Parmesan, seasoned salt, salt, black pepper, and parsley in a large mixing bowl. Pour in beaten eggs.

With clean hands, mix the ingredients until well combined. Form the mixture into a loaf shape on a broiler pan, which will allow the fat to drain. (Line the bottom of the pan with foil to avoid a big mess!)

Lay bacon slices over the top, tucking them underneath the meatloaf.

Make the sauce: add ketchup, brown sugar, mustard, and hot sauce in a mixing bowl. Stir together. Pour 1/3 of the mixture over the top of the bacon. Spread with a spoon.

Bake for 45 minutes, then pour another 1/3 of the sauce over the top. Bake for another 15 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining sauce.

Macaroni & Cheese

-- 4 cups Dried Macaroni
-- 1 whole Egg Beaten
-- ¼ cups (1/2 Stick Or 4 Tablespoons) Butter
-- ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
-- 2-½ cups Whole Milk
-- 2 teaspoons (heaping) Dry Mustard, More If Desired
-- 1 pound Cheese, Grated
-- ½ teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
-- ½ teaspoons Seasoned Salt, More To Taste
-- ½ teaspoons Ground Black Pepper
-- Optional Spices: Cayenne Pepper, Paprika, Thyme

Preparation Instructions

Cook macaroni until very firm. Macaroni should be too firm to eat right out of the pot. Drain.

In a small bowl, beat egg.

In a large pot, melt butter and sprinkle in flour. Whisk together over medium-low heat. Cook mixture for five minutes, whisking constantly. Don’t let it burn.

Pour in milk, add mustard, and whisk until smooth. Cook for five minutes until very thick. Reduce heat to low.

Take 1/4 cup of the sauce and slowly pour it into beaten egg, whisking constantly to avoid cooking eggs. Whisk together till smooth.

Pour egg mixture into sauce, whisking constantly. Stir until smooth.

Add in cheese and stir to melt.

Add salt and pepper. Taste sauce and add more salt and seasoned salt as needed! DO NOT UNDERSALT.

Pour in drained, cooked macaroni and stir to combine.

Serve immediately (very creamy) or pour into a buttered baking dish, top with extra cheese, and bake for 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly and golden on top.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

St Patrick's Day Wreath

As I mentioned last month, my goal is to make a wreath for my front door for every holiday and maybe every month. Last month I made a Valentine's day wreath, and last week I made my St Patrick's Day/March wreath.

I bought 2 bunches of flowers at JoAnn's, and then also purchased a little four-leaf clover ornament and a green plaid bow to top it off. I just removed the flowers and the little pink sock monkey from last month from my grapevine wreath and added in the new flowers and wired in the bow and clover. I believe it took all of 10 mins to make this. I could always move the clover after St Patrick's Day, but I might just leave it up there like I did with my pink sock monkey.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Books Turned into Upcoming Movies

I totally love it when books I have read turn into movies. I am one of those people that would rather read the book first, and then watch the movie. Once I have seen it as a movie I have no desire to read the book. I think the reasoning is because when I am first reading a book, I imagine what the characters will look like, and what their environments look like, and then the movie just confirms if what I imagined was correct or not.

There are some great books that are being turned into movies and being released this year, and the ones I am very excited to go see are:

Water for Elephants (April 2011) -- Just read this last month, and could not put it down. You can find my review here.

Something Borrowed (June 2011) -- I am currently reading this book and so far it's pretty good. I just learned that it was being turned into a movie, so I totally had to check it out at the library as soon as I heard!

The Help (August 2011) -- This was one of my favorite books that I read last year, and possibly one of my favorites of all times (or at least in a close running, I can never just pick one!). You can find my review here.

Any good movies you are looking to see, or books to read? I am always looking for recommendations.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

2011 Recipes To Make

My Goal this year is to try 50 new recipes. I have been cooking up a storm lately, and enjoying trying new recipes. There are so many recipes that I want to try this year, and probably have way more than 50, but I am having a hard time organizing what I want to try. I am always printing things off the internet, so I have a stack of them hanging on my fridge in a magnetic clip, and then I have a ton of cookbooks that I want to try out.

I decided to make a list here of the recipes I have tried in 2011, and the ones I still want to try. As I try the new ones, I update with the link to my posts. Hopefully this will help me keep track of what I have tried and what I still need to try. I will keep updating this list as I find more recipes and try them out. I'll put a link at the top of the blog so if you want to see how I am doing you can easily access. Maybe you will find something for dinner tonight as well!

Please note: The link connected with the recipe name is my posting of the recipe. I have also included the link to the original recipe if it is available online, as well as the date I completed the recipe.

Recipes Made in 2011:

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls (Pioneer Woman) – 2/20/11

Bowtie Lasagna (Tasty Kitchen) – 2/13/11

Cider-Glazed Chicken with Browned Butter Pecan Rice (Cooking Light) – 2/5/11

Peanut Butter Butterscotch Chippers (Pickey Palate) – 1/28/11

Loaded Baked Potato Soup – 2/1/11

Butterscotch Apple Crisp (The Neely's) – 1/22/11

Mocha Chip Angel Food Cake (Everyday Food – Jan 2011 issue) – 1/15/11

Grilled Rosemary Chicken with Chunky Tomato Salsa (Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals) – 1/22/11

Spicy Chipotle Turkey Chili (Cooking Light Fresh Food Fast: Weeknight Meals) – 1/16/11

Southwest Chicken Pizza (Better Homes & Gardens New Cook Book the pink edition) – 1/2/11

Macaroni & Cheese (Pioneer Woman) – 3/1/11 (Post to come)

Meatloaf (Pioneer Woman) – 3/1/11 (Post to come)

Chicken Enchilada Soup (Tasty Kitchen) – 3/6/11 (Post to come)

Recipes to Make in 2011:

Chocolate Chip Cookie Sweet Rolls (Pioneer Woman)

Peanut Butter-Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies (Brown Eyed Baker)

Bacon and Parmesan Pasta (Tasty Kitchen)

Mascarpone Oreo Snowflake Cookies (Kevin & Amanda)

Asiago, Potato & Bacon Gratin (Cooking Light)

Spathetti & Meatballs (Pioneer Woman)

Sausage and Cheese Calzones (Southern Living)

Hot Chocolate Cake (Real Simple)

Caramelized Onion & Prosciutto Pizza (Pioneer Woman)

Pasta Alla Vodka (Pioneer Woman)

Grilled Chicken & Pineapple Quesadillas (Pioneer Woman)

Tomato-Basil Pizza (Pioneer Woman)

Frozen Cappuccino Cups (Pioneer Woman)
Mascarpone Chocolate Toffee Bars (Giada)
Zucchini and Olive Flatbread (Giada)
Cauliflower and Bacon Gratin (Giada)
Arnold Palmer Cupcakes (Paula Deen)
Cookie Dough Truffles (Paula Deen)
Chocolate Cupcakes with Coffee Cream Filling (Paula Deen)
Mango Margaritas (Sandra Lee)
No Bean Beef Chili (Sandra Lee)