Saturday, January 31, 2009

Hip, hip, Horray!!

I did it, I did it.. I went out today and I bought my camera!!! As you can see from the post just below this one, the pictures are excellent (granted, I do have a photography course under my belt too) I'm really excited.. and I was planning on making a cake tonight, but then the pipe under my kitchen sink went and broke on me while I was doing the dinner dishes (seriously people, I think someone's trying to tell me something here) and the cake didn't happen..there was a huge mess of water to clean up.

Maybe tomorrow after the landlord gets the sink fixed.. if he does indeed get it fixed tomorrow.

The apartment search is going.. not too successful yet, but I've got a few friends helping me out and I'm looking every day.. Hopefully before the March rent is due I'll be telling these inconsiderate people where they can stick it. sticking tongue out smilie Pictures, Images and Photos

Friday, January 30, 2009

Lemon overload.. Nah, not me!

I can cook with lemons all the time.. and the fact that I've got these few Meyer lemons.. I'm really in heaven, they are such a gorgeous color and so full of juice it's amazing, and the flavor? It's like nothing I've ever had in my life!

So, while going through my bookmarks the other night I came across a post from Cookie Baker Lynn from back when I had just started Blogging for Lime Cooler Cookies Now, being without Limes in my kitchen, but the lovely Meyers, I decided to take Lynn's recipe and switch it to Lemon.. Oh wow!!!

Not only was this a cinch to put together, but they are so dainty and light, bright and lemony and just all around Perfect

Here is Lynn's recipe with my twist :)

Meyer lemon Cooler Cookies

1 cup bleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar, divided
1 tsp finely grated Meyer Lemon zest*
1 stick (1/2 cup) salted butter, softened
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp. lemon juice*

Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and preheat oven to 350 deg. F. Line two cookie sheets with either parchment paper or Silpat.

In a medium bowl combine the flour, 1/4 cup confectioners’ sugar and lime zest. Add the butter and vanilla; beat, either with a mixer or a wooden spoon, until a dough forms.

Drop dough by generous teaspoons onto the cookie sheet, spacing evenly. Bake one sheet at a time for about 15 minutes, until cookie bottoms are golden brown. Transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely. Repeat with remaining dough.

Place the remaining 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar in a quart or gallon-sized zip-loc bag. Working with a dozen at a time, drop cookies into the sugar and shake to coat. The cookies must be completely cooled, or the powdered sugar will form slag. The lime cookies can be stored in an airtight tin for up to 1 week, but most likely they’ll be eaten much sooner than that.

*These were my changes.
The addition of the lemon juice gave it a more lemony flavor and did not change the consistency of the dough at all. using a teaspoon measure this recipe made 36 cookies for me :)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I was never really a coffee drinker until I started working here.. this office requires at least one cup in the morning.. I find myself having my ritualistic cup in the morning from my beloved Senseo (their Cappuccino is the best) and then when I get to work I will grab another. I usually like my coffee with milk and sugar.. but the first time I had Peppermint Mocha Coffee-Mate I was in love.. so I went about making a copy cat when after the holiday season it was no longer available in stores and I was like a maniac looking for it. The recipe is spot on in my book, but I've had a few people tell me it's not quite minty enough and now, with the absence of my Starbucks next door to work I had to rethink the whole Peppermint syrup.. and Thanks to Juliet at Inside The Icebox who posted a wonderful recipe for Peppermint syrup that I made last night and can be as Peppermint-y as you want it to be

here is Juliet's recipe for Peppermint Syrup followed by my Peppermint Mocha Coffee-Mate recipe :)

Peppermint Syrup

1 C. Water
1 C. Sugar
1tsp. Peppermint extract (feel free to adjust this to your liking)

Make a simple syrup by adding the sugar and water to a small sauce pan. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly until sugar has dissolved. Add 1 teaspoon extract and simmer for about a half hour. Refrigerate, or start mixing drinks - about 2 tablespoons syrup for each latte.

** I made this last night and put it into a jar to cool in the fridge, I did add 2 teaspoons to mine)

Peppermint Mocha Coffee Creamer (Coffee-Mate copycat)


1 pint fat-free half-and-half (or regular, but I like the fat free)
1/4 cup white chocolate chips
1/8 cup peppermint syrup


1. pour the half and half into a medium saucepan.
2. stir chocolate chips into the pan.
3. turn the heat onto medium-low and melt the chocolate into the half and half.
5. Once the chocolate is melted turn the heat off.
6. Store in a container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks :) (but it never lasts that long, lol).

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Being a renter sucks

This is completely off topic, but I feel the need to rant a little bit. I rent an apartment in a private house and I have The most disrespectful landlord ever. Okay, Maybe it’s not him so much (but he has his moments) but his teenage step sons.. They leave much to be desired, his wife too, she’s no cupcake either.

My landlord is Hispanic, (so is my best friend, mind you) they like to listen to loud, thumping music with the same repetitive beat.. I find it incredibly annoying. This past Friday, after a long, hectic week I just wanted to come home and get some rest.. yea, rite.. the Party started around 8pm upstairs, the music was so loud that my walls were vibrating and the floor was shaking, they were literally shaking through the foundation of the house! I let it go, figuring their mother would put a stop to it by 10:30 at the latest.. I mean, she had to be home.. I knew the landlord was working (he works the night shift) going going going finally I'm at my wit's end at 11:45pm and I called them, kid 1 answers, I ask him politely to please tone it down a bit, I've had a long week and I would like to get some rest.. yea yea.. that's what I get from him.. going going going.. no decrease in the volume level.. I call my landlord at work, for the first time in 4 years.. I've never had to bother this man before, he says to me okay, I will call them.. weather or not he did is still unknown to me, because it went on until 12:30am..

The weekend was quiet for the most part..

Monday night was another story.. around 7:00 I heard kids over, fine, whatever.. I knew they had exams today so I thought by 10 it would be done.. yea, okay.. Think again sister.. because at 11:30 when it was still so loud that I could still hear it while laying in my bed with the covers and a pillow over my head I had to make that call upstairs... ring ring ring.. no answer.. then I call and it's busy.. then my phone rings, it's the landlord's wife, who through all these years I have never had a problem with, I always thought she was a nice lady.. yea, well.. she really changed the way I think about her last night, because she wouldn't let me get a word in edgewise, was absolutely furious at the fact that I called her husband on Friday night and told me that if I was not happy here to find another place to live.. plain as that.. Then it didn't stop until 12:45 IN THE MORNING!!! Waking up at 6:15 this morning was not very pleasant to say the least.

As if finding an apartment is as easy as looking in the newspaper, picking one out and saying, okay.. I think I'll pick.....................this one.

yea, I wish..

so now, I am dealing with this nonsense from people that I have been an excellent tenant to for 4 years, searching for an apartment I can afford in the same area that I'm in.. I'm stresssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssssed out!


so if I'm not posting as much as I would like.. it's because I'm in that preparing to move, cleaning/sorting/packing mode.....

not fun..

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Meyer Lemon Squares

The best lemon squares I've ever made were from my grandma's Fannie Farmer cookbook. When my best friend's sister was pregnant with her youngest son she asked me to bake her something.. and these are what I made quite a few times for her throughout her pregnancy.

I love lemon-y desserts, my Grandma was an excellent baker and always had fresh baked something at her house.

Now (*sob*) being without my grandma's Fannie Farmer cookbook I have been searching the internet for that recipe.. I searched Ebay for the book and finally found it.. but I have to wait a few days until it gets to my door.. But the good news is that my googling has paid off! While searching I found this recipe, which is slightly different, but I'm confident that it's going to give me the same (or at least, very close) to the same recipe.. when I get my Fannie Farmer cookbook into my clutches I will recheck and re-bake some more lemon bars, ya know.. just to check it.

Since I've been lucky enough to get some Meyer Lemons, thanks to a very kindhearted attorney in my office, I will be using them for this lovely recipe.. so here goes...

Lemon Bars
Makes 24 bars

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1 cup butter, chilled


4 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup flour
6 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
powdered sugar
  1. For crust, mix together flour, sugar, and butter until crumbly.
  2. Pat into bottom and 1/4-inch up sides of a buttered 9x13 inch baking pan. Bake in a 350°F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  3. Meanwhile prepare topping. Beat eggs slightly.
  4. In a separate bowl, stir together sugar and flour. Add to eggs. Beat well.
  5. Add lemon juice, peel, baking powder, and salt. Beat until smooth.
  6. Pour over baked crust. Return to oven and bake 25-30 minutes longer, or until just set.
  7. Sprinkle with powdered sugar while hot. Let cool and cut into bars.


OMG!!! I have to tell you that these are so incredibly delicious! When I first cut into the Meyer lemon I was amazed how much juice was in it! I used the juice from a whole lemon in the bars and they came out so good with a lovely bright yellow/orange color. I have a total of 9 lemons left, since I did miscount and had 2 pounds which equaled to 10 Lemons. I have to get some mason jars and I’m thinking Marmalade and some lemon shortbread cookies.. Mmmmmm..

Great news is that I'm planning on getting The Camera this weekend.. YAY!! Now we can get some good pics up here to join my posts ;o)

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Kickin' Chicken with Gravy

I was making dinner one night and this was like an accidental recipe.. turned out to be pretty dang good!!

Kickin' Chicken with gravy
makes 2 servings

4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1/2 cup flour
1 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbs. canola oil
1/4 cup red wine
1/2 cup water
1 tsp Lemon juice

Combine flour, paprika, salt & pepper in a ziplock bag, add chicken 2 at a time to the bag and coat the chicken well with flour.

Heat oil in frying pan and add chicken when the pan is hot, but not smoking. Cook chicken 3-4 minutes per side, until it has a nice golden brown crust.

Add wine and water and let simmer 5 minutes, stir in lemon juice and Voila.. you've got a pan of chicken with delicious gravy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

I got a whole dozen Meyer Lemons.. Oh My!

While speaking to one of the attorneys in my office the other day I told her how I was on a quest to find Meyer Lemons, and how it’s been impossible to find them (outside of $15 for 6 on a few web sites). She told me that she was going to this specialty store on Friday (today) and she would see if they had them there, apparently that store has everything.. Well.. Sure enough they did and she got me a whole dozen nicely packaged in a clear box for.. Get this.. $4.99!!!!

So, I will surely be baking a nice big batch of Lemon Bars this weekend.. YAY!

More to come, including the best recipe for Lemon bars.. Ever..

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Banana Bread.. posted by Request

In passing the other day I had mentioned to one of the attorneys that I work for that I had a blog When she inquired about what I told her cooking, recipes and things like that. She confessed that she is Culinarily Challenged and her son has been begging her to make Banana bread and asked if I had a recipe (an easy one, remember we’re working with the culinarily challenged here, lol) so I dug into the books that I have and found one of the most basic (yet totally yummy) Banana bread recipes that I have ever used. As with any quick bread recipe this can be made in either a loaf pan or muffin tins of whatever size floats your boat, you just have to remember to adjust the baking time accordingly.

Banana Bread


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed very overripe bananas


1. Preheat oven to 350°f
2. Lightly grease 9 x 5 loaf pan.
3. In large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt.
4. In separate bowl, cream together butter and brown sugar.
5. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended.
6. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten.
7. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan.
8. Bake in preheated oven for 60-65 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of loaf comes out clean.
9. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Broccoli Rabe with Cavatelli and Italian Sausage

This is the recipe I found on the pages of Epicurious.. way back in 2002

Broccoli Rabe with Cavatelli and Italian Sausage

1/2 pound (about 2 cups) dried cavatelli or other small shell-shaped pasta
1/2 pound (about 3 links) sweet Italian sausage
1 bunch (about 3/4 pound) broccoli rabe, tough and hollow stems discarded, washed well
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cups low-salt chicken broth
1/4 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

Accompaniment: freshly grated Parmesan cheese


In a kettle of boiling salted water cook pasta until al dente.
While pasta is cooking, squeeze sausage from its casings into a large heavy skillet and sauté over moderately high heat, stirring to break up chunks, until no longer pink. With slotted spoon transfer sausage to a bowl, reserving drippings in skillet.
(**I find that if you don't like the bitterness of the Broccoli Rabe you can blanch it in boiling water and then shock it in a bowl of ice water before continuing to the next step)
Cut broccoli rabe into 1-inch pieces and sauté in reserved drippings, stirring occasionally, until it begins to brown. Add garlic and sauté, stirring frequently, 1 minute. Add broth and raisins and simmer until broccoli rabe is just tender, about 3 minutes. Add butter, stirring until incorporated.
Drain pasta and return to kettle. Add broccoli rabe mixture and sausage and heat through if necessary.
Serve pasta with Parmesan.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

I'm SO over winter already..

I don't want to deal with anymore days below 20°, I don't want to look at any more snow (or have to trudge through it!), I'm tired of wearing 3 layers every day.. I've had enough already.. If I could I would pack up and move to Hawaii tomorrow.. Ahh, sunny beaches, no days under 80°... but I digress..

Since this winter is getting me down (I mean, come on People.. it was about 13° Friday, 17° on Saturday, Sunday and Monday it hovered around 30° and snowed all day!) the walk to school this morning was less than delightful since people don't seem to understand the concept of shoveling the sidewalk in front of their houses and putting salt or sand or something down so people don't slip and fall in front of their houses, I nearly kissed the ice 4 times this morning on my way.. sheesh!

Well, tonight after I was cleaning up after dinner (The most amazing turkey burgers) I decided I wanted some thick, rich hot cocoa.. so into my trusty recipe binder I went to search my old faithful recipe, because what's better to warm your belly and make you smile than a good cup of hot cocoa?

Decadent Thick Rich Cocoa


4 Tbs. cocoa powder
1/4 cup sugar
4 tbs. cornstarch
4 cups Milk


  1. Mix cocoa powder, sugar and cornstarch until combined
  2. Pour milk into saucepan
  3. Whisk cocoa mixture into milk
  4. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly until it has reached your desired thickness.
  5. Enjoy :)

I add some mini marshmallows to my cup before I pour in the cocoa and then they're nice and melty at the top :)

Sunday, January 18, 2009

*Non food post* Stand up and Do Something, donate your gently used jeans to help homeless teens

Last year I was proud to take part in the Teens for Jeans program (no, I'm not a teen anymore *sigh*) But I like to do what I can to help out. We've all got a pair or two of jeans that are in good condition that we don't wear for whatever reason, well.. get 'em outta your closet and help a homeless kid, because everyone deserves a good pair of jeans. (And this is coming from a girl who Only wears jeans!)

I'm all excited to get The Kid involved this year too, since he's in the Jr./Sr. high this year we're going to get the whole school involved.. here are the details so that you can get involved and do your part.

Find a local Aéropostale Drop off location Here

Teens for Jeans is a national campaign, launched by Aéropostale and Do Something, empowering YOU to collect jeans for homeless teens.

Just drop off any pair of your gently worn jeans to any Aéropostale store between January 26th and February 22nd and we'll make sure they get donated to a local homeless shelter or charity. To say thanks, Aéropostale will give you an additional 25% off your next pair of jeans.

Last year you helped us collect over 125,000 pairs. This year we're looking to help twice as many teens. To find out how you can get started sign up below and check out our Teens for Jeans Action Guide!

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Creamy Mac & Cheese

I did something this week that I have never done before.. I ordered food via mail order! The girls at My Bargain Buddy were all a twitter about the big Hickory farms sale and I was intrigued. The prices definitely couldn't be beat, and I've never had Hickory farms cheese before.. so I was willing to give it a try. Honestly, since Cheese is so expensive in the supermarket I was all about trying what they had to offer for 75% off (Plus MBB had a coupon code for an extra 15% off!) I wound up with Smoked Gouda, Cheddar & Havarti blend, Mission Jack blend, Big barn Cheddar, Smoked Cheddar blend, Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend. There were some summer sausages, crackers, mustard and other assorted goodies in there.. but really I was just interested in the cheese and what I could make with it! I was so happy with what I ordered I went in and ordered some more cheese, lol!! (Hey, I'm all for a good bargain, but when I can get a box of Cheese and meat that was $25 for $3.75 and is gonna make my meals even better, I'm all for it!)

The box arrived at my door on Thursday (I ordered Monday afternoon) and I was so excited, I couldn't wait to open it up and try the goods! Even before it had all arrived I had Mac & Cheese on the brain, so last night I sprung into action with my old stand-by Mac & cheese recipe... the only difference was the blend of cheeses I used.. and it did not disappoint!

Yummmmm!! (the cell phone camera picture does not do it justice.. real camera coming soon)


Creamy Baked Mac & Cheese


2 cups uncooked Spiral pasta
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. dry mustard
2 cups milk
2 cups shredded cheese (I used a mix of cheddar, cheddar & Havarti blend and Jalapeno & Cheddar Blend)
1/2 c. bread crumbs (seasoned or plain)

  1. Heat oven to 350°f
  2. Cook pasta as directed on package
  3. While pasta is cooking, melt butter in saucepan over low heat.
  4. Mix together flour, salt, pepper and mustard and add to the melted butter.
  5. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth and bubbly.
  6. Remove from heat and whisk in milk
  7. return to the stove and heat to boiling, stirring constantly.
  8. Boil and stir 1 minute
  9. Remove from heat and add cheese, stirring until melted
  10. Drain pasta and gently stir pasta into cheese sauce.
  11. Pour into ungreased 2 Quart casserole.
  12. Top with breadcrumbs and bake 20-25 minutes.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Food Allergies Suck

When I was a kid the only thing I couldn’t eat was raw tomatoes, something I apparently inherited from my dad that was all fine and dandy with me, I didn’t like raw tomatoes anyway. After The Kid was born I found out the hard way that I was allergic to shellfish while peeling shrimp for bisque in culinary school and my hands blew up like balloons and then my throat proceeded to swell up after tasting (not a fun experience at all!) Now, out of the blue I have found myself with an allergy to Cayenne pepper.. I didn’t quite realize what was causing the rash on my wrist after eating the Cowgirl Chocolates since I also suffer from a sulfate allergy, but certain foods have the potential to set off a slight reaction so I avoid them at all costs. I had contacted Marilyn at Cowgirl Chocolates and when she suggested Cayenne, I was 99% positive it was not. It didn’t occur to me until after the second bowl of Chili and racking my brain running through everything I had eaten for the previous ten days. It had to be the cayenne.. And I was totally crushed.. I mean, how else am I supposed to give my chili a kick? My love for Buffalo Chicken Pizza from the restaurant by work..dashed, Ugh.

Now, I’m not one to consume spicy foods all the time, it was an occasional indulgence and I never took it too far since I can’t handle HOT... But my buddy Mary told me that allergies can rear their ugly heads at any time in a person’s life (I suppose this is just another part of getting old)

Living with any kind of allergy is never easy and I suppose I can’t complain too much, oh boo hoo, I can’t have any cayenne pepper and my love of Shrimp and Lobster is now a distant memory (unless I chase it with 2 Benadryl and pass out before the reaction starts, lol) I just have to be a little more creative now when I want a bowl of Chili, as for the Buffalo chicken.. In moderation I think I'll be alright ;)

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Chocolate-Caramel Bars

I made these on New Years day with my best friend Patty and OMG are they absolutely amazing! I actually just finished my last one yesterday.. Gotta make more! Yea, they're really that good. We deviated a little bit from the recipe, I'll tell ya where, but what we got were these great, gooey really decadent cookie bars.

Chocolate-Caramel Bars


1 Cup All Purpose Flour
1/4 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Cup Butter
2 Cups coarsely chopped Pecans (we used walnuts)
1 Cup Flaked coconut (Oops, I forgot the coconut when we went to the supermarket, lol)
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 tsp. vanilla
20 vanilla caramels
2 Tbs. Milk
6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips


    1. Preheat oven to 350°f. For crust, in a medium bowl stir together flour and brown sugar. Cut the butter into the mixture until it resembles coarse crumbs. Press flour mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan. Bake 15 minutes. Sprinkle coconut and nuts over the partially baked crust

    2. Sprinkle coconut and nuts over partially baked crust. In a small bowl stir together sweetened condensed milk and vanilla, pour over coconut and nuts. Bake for 25-30 minutes more or until set. (Now, this is where we deviated because, since it was New years day we had other stuff cooking in the oven and being impatient people we wanted the cookies NOW, but had to wait.. so we poured the condensed milk/vanilla mixture over the crust.. and then had to let it sit because the oven was occupied, this resulted in the cookie crust becoming totally soaked by the sticky sweetness of the condensed milk leaving us with very sticky cookies, lol.) Let stand in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes

    3. In a small saucepan combine caramels and milk. Heat and stir over medium-low heat just until caramels melt (be very careful here, molten caramels will give you a nasty burn!) Drizzle caramel mixture over baked mixture. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Cool completely and cut into bars.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

I need a little help here

I want to make Chocolate marshmallows.. but the recipe that I thought was perfect, isn't so much. it's chocolate swirl.. I want full on Chocolate marshmallows..

Can y'all help me out?

Thanks Smilies

Friday, January 9, 2009

I'm Baaaaaaaack

Ok, ok... I know, I've been Very MIA lately.. but I'm back and pretty soon, there will be A LOT of pictures up on the blog. Getting back to the swing of things after 2 weeks of no school and working 2 days a week were hard.. and damn am I exhausted! I'm still cooking every night, but there's been a lot of Chicken this week, so nothing too exciting to blog about.

Good news though.. there will be a lot to blog about soon, because while shopping at Target last Saturday I found it.. The Camera of my dreams. BUT being the frugal, always looking for the best bargain shopper that I am, I didn't buy it at Target for $279.99 (because after all, I am a single mom on a budget here) The good news.. I have found it for less.. quite a bit less I may say, so probably in the next week or so y'all will have some yummy pictures to go with all the good stuff I like to post :) Another good thing is I finally stepped up and bought myself a good candy thermometer, so I can finally make some marshmallows that I've been swooning over... I can never find a decent Chocolate marshmallow anywhere, and chocolate covered doesn't do it for me.. so, I've found the recipe and chances are I will make them this weekend.

So, don't worry, I haven't dumped my blog.. I've just been trying to re-adjust to my real life after the holidays.