Sunday, February 27, 2011

Italian Snack Bread

Normally I would throw some pre-made garlic bread into the oven to go with the lasagna we had the other night. But not this time. I wanted to make something from scratch and something that would look gourmet. I found this bread recipe in a Taste of Home cookbook I checked out from the local library. A lot of people are intimidated to make their own bread because they think it is too difficult, but it's really not. This recipe was very easy and does not even require kneading. It also tasted great and looked much more impressive than that boring store-bought garlic bread.

Friday, February 25, 2011

Crockpot Lasagna

You all know how much I love using my crockpot! It's one kitchen appliance I believe everyone should have. Slow cookers produce some of the most tender and flavorful dinners!

I never imagined I would be making lasagna in my crockpot but when I read on Facebook about a friend who had made it, I was more than intrigued and had to try it. The outcome? A meaty, cheesy, gooey lasagna that was oh so good!!!! My whole family loved it! I used ground beef like the recipe calls for but it would also be good with sausage.

Thanks Linda for sharing this recipe with me!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Himalayan Salt Block

Seems we've had a little salt addiction going on in our house lately. It all started out several months ago when one of my hubby's co-workers brought us back a little gift after going on a trip to NYC. She brought us a little glass container filled with Lemon Flake finishing salt. I love this stuff!!! So far I've sprinkled it on steak, chicken, and pasta. It adds such wonderful flavor to any meal.

After discovering how amazing that finishing salt was, a bit more research was done and we ended up with a Himalayan Salt Block for our outdoor grill! This block is 8 x 8 x 1.5. You basically heat it up to a very hot temperature and then sear any kind of meat or even vegetables on it. So far we've had filet, flank steak, delmonico, and portobello mushrooms on it. It's the most amazing meat I've ever eaten. There's no need to marinate any of the steaks because the salt block adds all the flavoring you need.

The pictures show us cooking thinly sliced pieces of flank steak that my hubby and I had for dinner the other day. Even my toddler (who won't eat meat a lot of times) chowed down on this steak.

For more information on flavoring salt or Himalayan Salt Blocks check out The Meadow. I'm sure we'll be using and experimenting with our salt block a lot this summer.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


We had this along-side the Tabbouleh the other day. I often times buy hummus at the grocery store and have tried many different flavors of it but this was the first time I've ever made it from scratch. It is SUPER easy to make. Just throw everything into your blender or food processor and it's ready!

Garbanzo beans are just another name for chickpeas. A jar of Tahini can be found in the International Food Aisle of Meijer (for example).

This is a great side dish to serve with pita bread and also makes a great mid-day snack. It's healthy and delicious!

Monday, February 21, 2011


Several years ago while visiting a friend near Washington D.C., I was introduced to Lebanese food. I must admit I was a bit nervous at first. It all sounded so foreign to me. Let's see, we had Tabbouleh, Hummus, Baba Ghanouj, Falafel, and stuffed Grapeleaves to name a few. I have always been a big fan of salads and fresh vegetables so I became an instant fan to this new type of cuisine. Most everything we ate that night was vegetarian yet it was so flavorful and so filling!

To this day, I am still a huge fan of Middle Eastern food. Lucky for me, there are several great Middle Eastern restaurants here in Ann Arbor.

I randomly scrolled across this recipe the other day and had the instant urge to want to make it. I have a passion for trying new recipes especially when there are ingredients that are foreign to me. I love learning about new ingredients and searching them out in a grocery store. So today for example, I headed to Whole Foods in search of bulgar. I had no idea what aisle to find it in or what it would look like but I knew there would be a sales associate that would be more than willing to help me locate it. Bulgur can be found in the bulk aisle in Whole Foods. It felt like such a great accomplishment to make this recipe tonight. I learned how to prepare bulgar and now I know exactly what is in Tabbouleh the next time I order it in a restaurant.

It is such a fresh dish. It takes some time to do all the chopping, but it is so worth it! It tastes great by itself or served with pita bread.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Thai Iced Tea

Thai iced tea is one of my favorite drinks! Ranks right up there with Iced Green Tea Lattes. My hubby and I love eating Thai food and EVERY time we do I order 1 (sometimes 2) Thai iced teas. I always knew they had to be pretty easy to make, I just never took the time to find some Thai tea to make them. So my kiddos and I headed to an Asian grocery store this week. There is a really nice one by the Chinese dim sum restaurant that we love and it's only a couple miles away. I used to be a little intimidated to go into Asian grocery stores. It always seemed like I was the only Caucasian one in the store and all the labels in different languages were a bit overwhelming. Now that I've been there a couple times with the hubby, I don't mind going by myself anymore. And almost all the labels have English on them too!

We went to the tea aisle and one of the first things that caught my eye was a bag that said "THAI ICED TEA" in big capital letters. Jackpot!!! I then proceeded home and made my first glass of homemade Thai iced tea.

I even decided to share some with the hubby that evening. His response, "Man. We have less and less reasons to go out to eat now. You keep learning how to make everything!" That made me smile!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Country Brunch Skillet

Both of our kids are sick so I knew this would be a "lazy" weekend for my husband and I. Time to take it easy and stay inside so the kids could rest up and get better. While my husband tended to the kids, I headed to the kitchen to make some brunch!

The house was smelling like bacon in no time making all of us hungry! This was a great recipe for brunch! It reminds me of one of those breakfast skillet dishes you can order at a restaurant like IHOP. My hubby took some pictures along the way so I will share them all with you.

I had just placed the eggs into the 6 wells I made in the potatoes.

You can see the eggs are cooking up nicely!

Add some crumbled bacon and shredded cheese...

...and Voila! Brunch is served!!!

I bet you are wishing right now that you lived closer to me so I could have invited you over for brunch! :)

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Homemade Slime

This is a Non-Edible recipe but it was so much fun that I just had to share!

When we made it last week, we still had freezing temps outside and needed an afternoon activity to keep my preschooler busy. This was a huge hit! For both my 4 year old and myself! Carson helped measure out all the ingredients and stirred everything together making the ooey, gooey slime! I let him pick two colors this time and handed him some cookie cutters to play with. At first he was almost afraid of the stuff and didn't want to touch it. Low and behold after a few more minutes and watching his momma dig right in and have a blast he soon decided to join in on the fun. He played for 2 hours with this stuff!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Bubble Gum Martini

I saw this recipe on my friend's blog and wanted to try it. I don't drink very often but I do love a good martini every once in awhile. My favorite ones usually have chocolate in them, like the Yin Yang Martini I had at The Melting Pot a couple months ago. Mmmmm!

I love bubble gum and lemonade too. Put those two things together and you have a delicious drink! This was so good! Thanks K for sharing this recipe with me!!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine Rice Krispie Treats

I'm the Room Parent for my 4 year-old's preschool class so I was responsible for bringing juice boxes and a Valentine treat for their class party. After thinking about it for awhile, I decided to make Rice Krispie treats. What kid doesn't like Rice Krispie treats?!?! I added a little red food coloring and some Valentine sprinkles and Voila we had Valentine Rice Krispies!


Sunday, February 13, 2011

Heart Mini Meatloaves

Curious what I made for my hubby this Valentine's weekend?

Mini Meatloaves in the shape of HEARTS, green beans, crescents, and pink martinis. Ok, the pink martinis were for me and I'll have more to come about those in a few days. :)

I've posted this recipe for Mini Meatloaves before. (Click on the link to go to the recipe.) They are a favorite of ours and I make them often, only this time I made them into hearts. I just put a heart shaped cookie cutter on my cookie sheet, packed it with the meatloaf mixture and then slid the cookie cutter off. They turned out delicious like always and this time they were extra cute. Exactly what I needed for my Valentine!

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Easy Oreo Truffles

I wanted to make something festive for my hubby to take to work and share with his co-workers for Valentine's. Last week I bought some really cute Valentine sprinkles from Target. The first thing that came to mind (that wasn't on my blog yet) were Oreo Truffles! I've made these several times before and each time everyone rants and raves about how awesome they are. Hopefully his co-workers will enjoy them as well.

These would be a perfect treat to make for your honey this Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Valentine's Pizza

Here's a new twist for your Valentine's Pizza this year.

Instead of shaping the pizza dough into a heart, try using a mini cookie cutter to cut pepperoni slices into hearts. Isn't this adorable? I got this cute idea from a blog called Gordon Gossip.

You can make your pizza from scratch or buy one from the store and put your heart pepperoni on top.

Happy {early} Valentine's Day!!!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Chocolate Gooey Butter Cookies

I think you can all tell by the title of this recipe that it is not by any means a healthy one. Then check out the source and you will be convinced that it must have a lot of butter in it! :) I just love Paula Deen and all of her recipes but they usually aren't hip-friendly...or waist friendly...wherever your problem area is. You all know what I mean. But they sure are gooey and delicious so if you feel like splurging then try them out!

Monday, February 7, 2011

Chicken & Gnocchi Soup

I have always been a fan of The Olive Garden. I love their soup and salad! 95% of the time I go there I will order just that - their unlimited soup and salad. Their Chicken & Gnocchi soup is wonderful! A couple years ago I looked on Google and found a copycat recipe for it. (There are tons of copycat recipes out there now for OG's chicken & gnocchi soup and I can't recall where I found this one to give them credit.)

You will be pleasantly surprised at how close this recipe resembles the bowl of soup you can get at The Olive Garden. My husband and I both love it but I try not to cook it too often since it is heavy on the butter and cream. :) I hope you will enjoy it too.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Balsamic Bruschetta

Here's a quick and simple bruschetta recipe! I'd like to try this recipe again in the summer time when I have access to tomatoes fresh out of the garden.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

How's that for a mouthful? Try saying this fast ten times. Peanut.Butter.Oatmeal.Chocolate.Chip.Cookies.

I've made peanut butter cookies before and I've made oatmeal chocolate chip cookies before but whoever thought of putting those two together was just a GENIUS! These cookies are so good! (The cookie dough is pretty darn amazing too! Just sayin'! :)

This recipe came from Erin's blog called Lois Pearl. Check out her blog. It's cute and filled with lots of adorable crafty ideas and recipes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Fried Pickles

I fell in love with fried pickles at first sight. The first time I ever tried them was about 5 years ago in a restaurant called Scotty's Brewhouse in Indianapolis. A co-worker of mine introduced them to me. Nowadays you can find them at several restaurants including one we visit often - Buffalo Wild Wings. I love pickles and the crunchy coating just makes them that much better. This was the first time I've ever made them from scratch and they turned out wonderful!

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Caramel S'more Cups

Here's another picture and recipe I stole from my sister-in-law! (Thanks Kim!) She made these for New Year's Eve and warned us all before we ate one that there was a "surprise" inside. We were all curious and after taking a bite, discovered there was a Rolo in the middle of each one. YUM!!!

The only things my SIL did differently in this recipe are 1) she used pre-made cookie dough and 2) she sprinkled on the chocolate chips instead of drizzling melted chocolate on top. These little candy-inside-a-cookie creation were so good and we loved popping them in our mouth to bring in the new year!