Saturday, April 28, 2012

Creamy Garlic Dressing

I've been pretty sick the past week and I've gotten a little behind on my blogging. It's not your normal sick, it's a tired sick. I've been exhausted the past three weeks or so and this week has just gotten worse. I actually went to the doctor and this cruddy feeling has forced me to take some time off - which was very much needed. I'm finally starting to feel a little better, and it's been killing me not writing, so even though I'm still dealing with whatever it is I have, I just have to post something.

I've decided to post about garlic. What better thing to write about when you're sick than something that has so many health benefits! Garlic has been known to assist in the management of blood pressure and cholesterol levels as well as act as a natural antioxidant. I'm a big fan so it may very well be contributing to my excellent blood pressure and cholesterol.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Roasted Roots

In my opinion, there's not much out there that's better than roasted vegetables. And if those vegetables are root vegetables, then you're in for a real treat. Root vegetables are different than the others because they carry more natural sweetness than their over-the-ground counterparts. Natural sweetness means you can cook them until the vegetables are sweet and tasty and just oh so good. Add in some garlic and it's elevated to amazing heights of flavors that burst in your mouth with every bite.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Blackened Chicken Breasts with Spicy, Fresh Mango-Pineapple Salsa

Mangoes were on sale at the store the other day so, of course, I had to stock up. I never know what I'm going to make when I buy them, but I it always ends up being something really good. This latest mango creation is no exception.

I've made a mango salsa before (see it here) that goes with pretty much everything, but I thought I'd step it up a notch and create a new version. Because I wanted something a little saucier with a bit more bang, I decided to pack it full of tons of different flavors by incorporating pineapple, chipotle peppers, and my little secret ingredient: balsamic vinegar. It's an awesome, fresh salsa that is fantastic with chicken. What chicken in particular? Blackened. Simple, tasty, blackened chicken that is so easy to prepare and just plain awesome.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Potato and Leek Soup

Spring has been around for a few weeks now but I'm not ready to give up the warmth of winter soup yet. I can't help it...I'm a soup girl!

I'm one of those people who makes soup all year round because it's such a great meal. I know quite a few people who treat soup as the start of a meal, but I've never really done that - it's the main course over here. That's why we prefer the kind that sticks to your ribs. They're hearty soups and great served up with a crusty piece of bread.

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Fantastic Fish Cakes

Here's a little secret: I'm allergic to shellfish. It breaks my heart considering it only happened about eight years ago. Before that, it was crab legs and shrimp and all that other fun stuff that I miss so much. I'm not sure why it happened, but it came out of nowhere.

It all started with itchy hands. I was preparing shrimp one day and after I was done cleaning the raw shrimp, my hands started itching like crazy! I could still eat them at that point, but a few months later, my shellfish days were over. I ate some crab another night and my stomach felt like it was on fire. I thought (hoped?) it was a fluke, so like the seafood lover that I was, I ate shrimp again a few months later. Let's just say that a trip to the hospital was almost on our to-do list that night.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Grown Up Grilled Cheese - Italian-Style Chicken

Did you know that April is grilled cheese month? I never knew until the Food Network posted it on Facebook a couple days ago. I'm a big fan of grilled cheese creations (as you may have seen from previous posts) so this is pretty cool news to me!

I made a new one last week so it seems like the perfect time to post about it. I usually make my 'Grown Up' grilled cheese concoctions using simple ingredients because great tastes can be created using everyday things. This latest grilled cheese was no exception. Coming up with new and interesting combinations can be as simple as looking in the fridge (or pantry) and using a little imagination. Instead of spending a small fortune at the store or making special trips, I've become a big fan of using what you already have. I always have a selection of veggies and usually a pretty standard cheese on hand. Yes, I know that there are so many awesome cheeses out there, but they can be pretty costly. I had the basics and that's all I needed. Every once in awhile I'll splurge, but for most of my 'everyday sandwiches', I'm perfectly content using what I have to make something that tastes pretty awesome.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Holey Shirts!

I've recently made a discovery. And this is quite a big one that I'm happy to say made me feel a little better, but unfortunately didn't solved the problem. What's the discovery? I'm not alone when it comes to holes in my shirts. I'm not talking about a hole from a shirt that has been worn down over many, many years, I'm talking about these annoying, tiny holes that appear in the front of just about every shirt I own. The holes are right in the front, above my belly button. It's at least one hole but I have shirts that have five or six. The holes are really small and all centralized in the same area. It's really quite strange.

I came across the fact that I'm not the only woman suffering from this mystery by my Google search. I had finally had enough. I looked down at my shirt a few hours ago - my new Chicago Bears shirt that I had only worn once before - and saw a tiny little hole. I was livid. Why does this keep happening? And does it have to happen to my favorite shirts? Can't it just happen to the old ones that I don't care about?

Leftover Ham and Potato Hash

I'm a big fan of a good potato hash. I've posted a sweet potato version before but I'll usually just whip one up with white or golden yellow potatoes for a quick side dish. It's so easy, goes with pretty much everything, and you can add almost anything to the potatoes. 

I baked a ham the other day and since I have a bunch leftover, I'm making a few different things with the rest of it. One of the things I've made so far is a ham hash. Ham and potatoes go very well together so it makes perfect sense to combine them in this simple dish that can serve as a main meal or as a side dish with...oh, let's say some of those leftover Easter eggs! 

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Easter Egg Cake Balls

I made my first cake pop one year ago. I started strong with some Easter cake pops done two ways: chicks and Easter eggs. The chicks were really cute and the eggs were pretty cool, but I wanted something a little different this time.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Easter is this weekend which means there will be ham. I love ham. It's so good and juicy and sweet and it's just the perfect meat. Really, what's not to love about it? Now, it may seem like this is becoming a post about ham, but I promise it isn't. It's about one of the best accompaniments to ham: sweet potatoes. They are the perfect Thanksgiving side dish but also work so well on those other special, little Easter. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Cranberry and White Chocolate Krispie Cookies

If you ask anyone what the typical thing to use Rice Krispie Cereal for is, I'm willing to bet they'll say Rice Krispie treats. Do people even still eat the cereal by itself? It seems to have just become a standard that you have to make the little marshmallow-y, gooey, dessert when you buy the cereal box. That's what I did months ago when I picked one up at the store. I thought it would be fun to make a batch with my son and I was right about the preparing part. The eating part, however, was a different story. I thought he would love them and I would be the coolest mom because we just made the ultimate kid treat. Well, he ate about half of one and then the rest sat there for days without anyone but my husband eating them. And that's only because I made him because I don't like to throw away perfectly good food. Rice Krispie treats that have been sitting out for over a week? Well, those quickly became past their prime.