Friday, December 31, 2010
Thursday, December 30, 2010
I'll never forget the first time Thomas brought me home a bag of "seasoned pretzels" from his parents. I couldn't wait to try them, and once I started I couldn't stop. The pint size Ziploc bag Thomas had brought me was gone in a day, ONE DAY! Yes, I am that crazy. Who isn't? Well needless to say, I always look forward to the times these special pretzels are around, though I have yet to make them for myself, I am going to try and I hope you will too and be sure to let me know if you enjoy them as much as I do!
¾ cup canola oil
1 pkg ranch dressing mix
½ tsp dill weed
½ tsp oregano
½ tsp garlic powder
Mix seasonings with canola oil. Divide pretzels and put in two Ziploc bags. Divide seasoning and oil and put into each bag. Coat pretzels and let stand for 24 hours, turning occasionally.
Tuesday, December 28, 2010
2 Tbsp olive oil
8 boneless chicken thighs (or a combination of thighs and drumsticks)**
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp crushed red-pepper flakes
10-12 green or black olives, pitted and roughly chopped
1/2 cup dry red wine
1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1 lb roma tomatoes, coarsely chopped
2 Tbsp chopped flat-leaf parsley
1. Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on high. Season the thighs with salt and pepper and add them to the skillet, skin side down. Cook, turning occasionally, until they're deeply brown and crisp on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Remove them from the pan.
2. Lower the heat. Add the bell pepper, onion, garlic, pepper flakes, and olives. Cook until the vegetables soften, about 10 minutes. Pour in the wine; simmer, stirring occasionally, until the wine nearly evaporates, about 5 minutes.
3. Add the stock, tomatoes, and chicken, tucking it skin side up into the vegetables. Bring to a simmer and cook over medium heat for another 20 minutes, until the chicken is nearly falling off the bone and the sauce is reduced by half. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle on the parsley. Makes 4 servings
**We used organic boneless skinless chicken thighs.
Saturday, December 25, 2010
Thursday, December 23, 2010
Over Thanksgiving I was helping my Mom make the bread, Mom did you notice I didn't include salt as one of the ingredients?, and I think I figured out what her secret is, she uses a little more orange juice then the recipe calls for which gives the bread added moisture and flavor. Give the recipe a try and I hope it will become one of your family favorites too!
Cranberry Nut Bread
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup orange juice
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon orange peel, grated
1 egg, well beaten
1 ½ cups fresh cranberries, coarsely chopped
½ cup nuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan. Mix together flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a medium mixing bowl. Stir in orange juice, oil, orange peel and egg. Mix until well blended. Stir in cranberries and nuts. Spread evenly in loaf pan. Bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on rack for 15 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely.
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Monday, December 20, 2010
Makes 36 cookies
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
36 mini peanut butter cups, chilled and unwrapped
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.
3. Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place granulated sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely. Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.
4. Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Press one peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Return to oven; continue baking until cookies are golden brown and chocolate has begun to melt, about 6 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.
You can also make them with other favorite chocolate candies, I used a mixture of peanut butter cups and milk chocolate Hershey Kisses. Store the cookies in an airtight container for up to two weeks.
Tip from Martha: Adding marshmallows to the container will prevent the cookies from drying out.
Here are two more of my favorite treats to make during the Holidays:
Thursday, December 16, 2010
Last weekend my Mom came in to town and we had so much fun together as usual! We went to lunch Friday at one of our favorite spots, the Gourmet Shoppe then spent the afternoon shopping in Columbia . We have several favorite shops we like to go to from antique stores to locally own boutiques. Shopping locally has a lot of offer not to mention you avoid the crowds of the chain retailers and they offer one of a kind gifts. Friday evening we met Thomas for dinner at Cantina76, my Mom was craving Mexican so what better place to take her! We had a very enjoyable dinner together enjoying drinks, appetizers and of course our meal. Once we got home we didn’t stay up much later because we decided it would be best to get some good sleep before our big shopping trip the next day.
Saturday morning we were up and off to Charleston ! I know many of you have heard me say before; Charleston is one of our favorite places. We were so excited; we could hardly stand the 2 hour car ride! It has been a chilly week or so here in the Southeast and last Saturday was no different, thank goodness we were planning on going in and out of shops all day long to stay warm. For as many years we have been visiting Charleston , we had never been at Christmas time. So this was a real treat for us and seeing the Charleston Place all decorated was exciting!
After taking in some of the Christmas sights, we started our day of shopping, but not before stopping at Starbucks for a caffeine fix. We spent most of the day going in and out of the shops that line King Street . We did take a break for lunch to refuel. We usually go to Blossoms for lunch, it’s our favorite lunch spot in Charleston , but since it was winter time and couldn’t sit outside we decided to go to Sermet’s Corner on King Street . The place was packed but we were lunch enough to get a table for two right by the front window! My lunch came with an order of sweet potato fries topped with Parmesan cheese, oh my goodness were they delicious, we couldn’t stop talking and we still can’t about how good they were!
After lunch we did some more shopping and stopped for a praline as our afternoon treat. That evening we rested up since Sunday was our last day together. Sunday we went to church and had lunch, frozen yogurt with lots of toppings to be exact, it sure was tasty! We went to a few more shops around town before it was time to leave for the airport.
Miss T and I hate when the weekends she comes to visit come to an end, we always have so much fun together! The nice part about saying goodbye this time was that we will be together again for the holidays real soon!
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Yields 2 dozen cookies
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
24 Snickers miniature candy bars
Preheat oven to 300°F. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, mix together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla and combine thoroughly. Then mix in flour mixture. Cover and chill dough 2-3 hours. To form cookie, scoop a tablespoon of chilled dough and flatten. Place a miniature Snickers in the center and form the dough into a ball around the Snickers. Place on a greased cookie sheet. Bake for 10-20 minutes. Cool cookies on a rack.
Tuesday, December 14, 2010
Monday, December 13, 2010
Friday, December 10, 2010
2 snapper, catfish, or tilapia fillets, 4–5 oz each (we used catfish)
1 mango (skin and seed removed), cut into cubes
1 ripe avocado (skin and pit removed), cut into cubes
Juice of one lime
1 Tbsp blackening spices
1/4 c minced onion
1/2 c chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper
1. Combine the mango, avocado, lime juice, onion, and cilantro in a mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
2. Preheat a large sauté or grill pan over high heat and add enough oil to coat it.
3. Rub the fish with enough of the blackening spice to thoroughly cover each side. When the oil is hot (almost smoking), carefully add the fillets to the pan and cook for 2 to 3 minutes per side, until a nice, dark crust has developed. The fish is done when it flakes easily with light pressure from your finger.
4. Top each fillet with the mango salsa.
Serve with brown rice and black beans, we added corn too and it was delicious! This recipe was so refreshing and light and even though it might seem like a summer recipe, I think it is a great recipe for year around. You know how I feel about mango's (love) so that might have something to do with it.
I hope y'all have a fabulous weekend!
Thursday, December 9, 2010
N*Sync-Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays
*I listen to Pandora R&B/Pop Christmas Music station almost every day at work and they play such a variety of Christmas music and I love almost every song they play. Give the station a try, I bet it will make your work day or any day for that matter that much better!
I absolutely can't get enough of Home Alone (the first one). One of my favorite lines: "Buzz's girlfriend? Woof!" The Polar Express is an amazing movie for children and adults alike. Did you know the movie is based off the children's book? It was one of my favorite books as a child and it would make a special gift for your own children or of course someone elses.
What are some of your favorite Christmas music and movies?
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
1.) Friday night Thomas and I saw Trans-Siberian Orchestra in concert. One word to describe: A-MAZ-ING! Seriously, everything about it was just awesome not to mention the concert was 3 and half hours long, talk about getting your monies worth! If they are coming to a city near you, go check them out, I promise you will enjoy every minute!
2.) Saturday morning I went to our local Junior League Holiday Market. It was my first year attending and it was neat, but nothing to rave about. Although I did find one vendor from Georgia that I absolutely loved. You will just have to wait to find out more about her, I can’t give away all my secrets (at least not yet)!
3.) Saturday afternoon we went to one of our favorite lunch spots, DiPrato’s and had the most amazing pimento cheese and pita chips. YUM!
4.) How about we just don’t talk about the rest of Saturday? My Gamecocks lost in the SEC Championship game to Auburn . Auburn-walked-all-over-us, YIKES! Despite the lousy game and terrible outcome for the Gamecocks we did have fun watching the game with a few couples one in which we hadn’t seen in a long time and it was nice to catch up!
5.) I wrapped all the Christmas gifts we bought for the child we adopted from a local children’s home. Thomas’ work makes the arrangements with the children’s home and then all the employees adopt an individual child to buy gifts for. I had an absolute blast shopping with Thomas for our 8 year old boy, Daniel and today is the BIG day; he gets to open all his presents this afternoon!
6.) I decorated my house for Christmas and of course put up the Christmas tree! Thomas and I decorated the tree after dinner Sunday night. Side note, I have another delicious recipe to share with y’all from Men’s Health. Who would have ever thought they would have such delicious healthy recipes that are easy to make? Not I!
7.) After all the decorating was done, I love nothing more then sitting on my couch with just the lights from the Christmas Tree and the candles in the window. I love this time of year!
Thursday, December 2, 2010
2 tsp olive oil
1 small garlic clove, crushed
2 thin-cut boneless pork chops
1 small red apple, such as Gala or Red Delicious, cored and diced*
2 tsp balsamic or red-wine vinegar*
1 tbsp bourbon
1 tbsp grainy mustard*
salt and pepper
*We used a Gala Apple, balsamic vinegar and Inglehoffer stone ground mustard
Combine the oil and garlic in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Place the pork chops in the center of the skillet. Toss the apple with the vinegar and bourbon, and then add the mixture to the skillet between the pork and the edges of the pan. Cook for 6 minutes, turning the pork once and the apple pieces a few times. When ready to serve, top the pork with mustard. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
P.S.- This mustard is the BOMB!