Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Presents

I hope everyone enjoyed what they got this year. In keeping with my tree and other decorations I wrapped everything in red, white or silver paper and ribbons and I love the way it looks.

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Tree

I'm all for traditional Christmas trees. But so long as my mom has hers at home, I love love love my white tree in my apt. Hope everybody's enjoying the season so far!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Alfred Hitchcock

I have been trying to think of something to decorate my new living room above my couch which until now has been a wide open white wall. And this is what I decided on - and I love it! I love movies and though I'd have a hard time picking one favorite movie, it's not hard for me to pick my favorite director, thus this collage.

I found pictures from my favorite 12 of his movies and put them together here. Can you tell what movies they are? And if you've never seen any of his movies look at the faces, hands, lighting, angles in these pictures. If only you could hear the music that went with each scene you'd totally want to see these. I don't think anybody's ever been better than he is at using all of those things to totally scare you. And by the way, the only comedy he ever directed is pictured here too.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

30 Wonderful Flavors

That's the phrase that kept running through my mind when I made this card for my amazing little brother's 30th birthday (note: the phrase is actually 31 derful flavors). I chose 30 pictures of things I have known him to enjoy in varying degrees but in no particular order, although I did purposely put his wife front and center for good reason :). I thought it turned out pretty cool.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Birthday Rain

When we were little my older brother (who happens to be the funniest person ever) made himself a button that said "looks like we're in for some rain" and he would only wear it when it was actually raining. So when I didn't have any idea how to wrap the pretty umbrella we were giving my mom for her birthday I decided to make her this paper button and wrap it in a jewelry box and give it to her as a clue to the real gift.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

More Cupcakes

I did not make these cupcakes but did use them for the front & back of this card I made for my awesome sister-in-law's birthday. Aren't the they adorable? They're fitting for her because she is adorable too and she is so good with food decorating.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Corn & Potatoes

This is the front and back of the card I made for my mom's birthday this year. Corn and potatoes are some of her favorite foods and they fit her because they are basic and simple, while she is calm and stable, but both are also important and wonderful. And the pictures of the corn and potatoes are beautiful (I think) without any embellishment, just like my mom.

And this is the card my sweet puppy made for her. Well, ok, I made it but he posed so well for this picture he must have known what it was for. And he loves my mom too!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Mushroom-Swiss Burger Pizza

So I went grocery shopping the other day and bought some ground chuck. I started thinking about what I wanted to make with it and pizza popped into my head. But I wanted to try something new. That's when I got the idea to make a pizza that was reminiscent of a mushroom-swiss burger. It turned out really well and did remind me of said burger. Here's the recipe if you'd like to try it.

This recipe makes 1-12 inch or 4-7 inch pizza's.

Ingredients:

Pizza:
1-12 inch or 4-7 inch thin pizza crusts
swiss cheese sauce (see below)
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 pound ground chuck
seasoned salt, to taste
1/2 - 1/4 cup sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup shredded swiss cheese
pepper, to taste

Swiss Cheese Sauce:
1 tablespoon butter
2 tsp. flour
dash salt
dash pepper
2/3 cups skim milk
3 ounces swiss cheese, cut into chunks

Directions:

Make the swiss cheese sauce: melt the butter over medium heat in a saucepan. Stir in the flour, salt and pepper quickly so that lumps do not form. Add the milk and cook and stir constantly until the sauce thickens and bubbles. Turn the heat down to low and add the cheese, stirring until the cheese melts. Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Saute the ground chuck with the garlic, onions and seasoned salt until the meat is browned. Drain.

Layer the pizza as follows:
1: the swiss cheese sauce, leaving a little to drizzle over the top
2: meat mixture
3: mushrooms
4: swiss cheese
5: drizzle of remaining sauce
6: black pepper, to taste, if desired

Bake at 4:25 for 10-15 min. till the cheese is melted and the crust is crispy and golden. I like to broil it for the last few minutes.

Then cut into slices and enjoy.


Calories: for 12 in pizza = about 425 per 1/6; for 7 inch pizza about 730 per pizza. Note: I used Momma Mary's pizza crusts for the calories figured here.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween

I made these for Halloween this year. They are supposed to be jack-o-lantern brownies. I mean, they are actually brownies:) It's the jack-o-lantern part I'm not so sure is clear.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Cauliflower Fritters

I was inspired to come up with this recipe after seeing several different fritter recipes on another blog recently. If you hate cauliflower you might not like these, but if you can at least tolerate it I think you'll love them - I do. They are very low calorie and so good!

Ingredients:
3 1/2 cups cooked cauliflower
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
Pepper, to taste
1 egg
1/4 cup skim milk
1 cup shredded swiss cheese
1/4 to 1/2 cup fine bread crumbs

Mash the cauliflower (but should still be slightly lumpy).

Stir in the onion and garlic and season with pepper. Then stir in the egg and add the milk.

Once that is all combined stir in the swiss cheese. Add bread crumbs just until the mixture holds together enough to make balls that don't fall apart.

Spray a cookie sheet with cooking spray. Then form the cauliflower mixture into approx. 1 inch balls and place on the cookie sheet. Spray again with cooking spray.

Broil 5-10 minutes until they start to get crispy and golden on top. Then enjoy!

Calories per fritter: about 15 (the cauliflower is not counted in these calories)

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Fall Centerpiece

Summer is my favorite season but fall is always exciting to me because it means "here come the holidays!" As I've said before I like very simple decorations and this is my fall centerpiece. I love the little white pumpkins and how simple and elegant I think they look in this vase.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Chicken & Cashew Pasta

If you're in the mood for a very simple and quick but yummy dish here you go. That's the mood I was in when I made this.

Ingredients:

2 cups uncooked bow tie pasta
1 cup frozen broccoli stir-fry
1 cup chopped, cooked seasoned chicken breasts
1/4 cup teriyaki sauce
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 cup cashews

Directions:

Serves 4.

Cook pasta al dente according to package directions and then drain.

Meanwhile, saute veggies over med heat for a couple of minutes. Then add the chicken breast, teriyaki and soy sauce. Saute a couple of minutes more until the chicken is heated through.

Stir in the cashews and pasta and continue to cook just until heated through. Serve.

See, easy and quick.


Calories per serving: about 385.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Dolphins, Divers and Charros

For my favorite big brother's birthday this year I wanted to make him a card that kind of said who he is to me. So for the front and back designs I chose a few of the things I have known him to love throughout the years: The Big Blue (good movie and thus the reference to divers if you haven't seen it), dolphins, and the Spanish language.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Cities

Los Angeles, Atlanta & Paris. I love cities - people everywhere, so much to do, great fashion, delicious food, bright lights, things happening!

I saw this idea somewhere (can't remember where now) using real clocks set to the current time in each place of your choosing. I really liked the idea but didn't want to buy 3 clocks so I made these.

They are all set to whatever time it is in that city at 7pm (when my favorite time of the day starts) in my present time zone. One is the wonderful city I grew up in, one is a city I visited and loved, and one is a city I'd like to visit but haven't yet. Guess which is which.

Now I just have decide to where to hang them :)

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Cowboys and Cowgirls

My parents just had their very happy 39th anniversary and I made them this card. Not because there is anything western about them but because all of us (their children) were giving them money to go to one of their favorite restaurants, Longhorn Steakhouse. Probably corny I know but I thought it was so cute.

And of course this is them from behind also which made up the back of my card. Don't they look so nice together? (I do want to note though that my mom is much thinner today than when this picture was taken).

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Gemelli with Sausage and Tomatoes

Yummy! I saw some low fat sausage in the store and wanted to try it. I came up with this dish and it was delicious.

Ingredients:

1/2 pound gemelli (or pasta of your choice)
12 oz. low-fat ground pork sausage
1 clove garlic
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1/2 cup heavy cream
4 cherry tomatoes, cored, seeded and chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

Serves 4 ( 1 & 1/2 c. /serving) -6 (1 c./ serving)

Directions:

Cook pasta al dente (according to pkg. directions) and drain.

While the pasta is cooking, brown the sausage with the garlic and mushrooms over medium heat until the sausage is cooked through. Soak up any excess grease from the sausage with a paper towel, but there won't be much with the low-fat sausage.

Turn heat down slightly and add cream and tomatoes and continue to cook for a minute or two. When pasta is done add to the sausage and toss till well combined. Remove from heat.

Top with Parmesan cheese and serve.


Calories per serving : about 475 for 1 & 1/2 cup, 340 for 1 cup

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Coconut!

I just made this cake for a church lunch a few weeks ago. I love coconut and this is one of my favorite cakes (although my mom's carrot cake is my all time favorite). It's the Coconut Cream Cake from The Ultimate Southern Living Cookbook (which I highly recommend if you're looking for a good cookbook, though it looks like it might be hard to find these days).

In addition to tasting so incredibly good, the nice thing about it is that even when, like me, you aren't a talented cake decorator, it still turns out great. The wonderful coconut hides any frosting flaws! Isn't it beautiful in a not perfect sort of way?

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Vacation Silliness

My older brother sadly could not join us on our annual vacation this year and we all missed him. I tell you that to explain why he is missing from this picture. I spared him the silly door tags (which identified each of our rooms) I made for the rest of us which is what this is a picture of, of course.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

ALOHA!

My family is coming for a visit. I live in a beach town and I decided to make this simple "sign" to welcome them made from several different beach pictures. I figure what says welcome to the beach better than "Aloha?" I put my sign on the first piece of furniture you see when you walk in my door. We'll see if they notice it :).

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Mini BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Yet another mini sandwich (I like making them this way so I can have all the flavor without all of the calories ). I'd been wanting to try the onion strings for awhile and was hungry for bbq chicken too and thought of this sandwich which turned out to be very tasty. Hope you like it!

Ingredients:

2 seasoned cooked chicken breasts, shredded
1 cup balsamic barbecue sauce (I used the bbq sauce from this recipe)
8 whole wheat dinner rolls (45 cal each)
Onion Strings (from thePioneerWoman.com)
2 oz. white cheddar, grated

Directions:

Makes 8 mini sandwiches.

Marinate the shredded chicken in the bbq sauce for a couple of hours or overnight. Heat in a non-stick frying pan over med-low heat for a few minutes until heated through.

Meanwhile slice the dinner rolls in half and sprinkle 1/4 of the grated cheese over the top halves of each roll. Broil all halves in a 400 degree oven until the cheese is melted and the bottom halves are toasted.

Top each bottom half with 1/4 of the bbq chicken and desired amount of onion strings. Place the top halves (with the melted cheddar) on top and serve.


Calories per serving (2 mini sandwiches): about 350

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Many Faces of My Sweetie-Pie

My dog is so cute I often find myself taking pictures of him. I've been in a collage-ing mood lately so I decided to assemble some of them together, showing him in some of his various adorable "faces:" going left to right, starting with top row, his wild face, his satisfied face, his sleepy face, his curious face, his silly face and his "I need some attention" puppy dog face.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Coconut Dipping Sauce for Chicken Fingers

My mom and I came up with this tasty recipe a few years ago when we wanted something other than barbecue or honey mustard to go with chicken fingers. It's very simple to make. Hope you enjoy it.

This recipe yields about 3/4 to 1 cup.

Ingredients:

1/2 c. orange marmalade
2-4 tsp. water
2 tbsp. butter
6 tbsp. shredded coconut

Directions:

Melt the butter over med-low heat in a small saucepan. While that is melting blend 1/2 of the orange marmalade and water in a blender until combined. Add with the remaining orange marmalade and coconut to the melted butter and stir well.

Continue to cook over medium-low heat for just a minute or two to give all of the flavors a chance to meld and thicken slightly. Then remove from the heat and let cool slightly before serving (it thickens as it cools). If desired sprinkle a little more coconut on top before serving.

It's also good cold.


Calories per serving (2 tablespoons): about 100

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th! - Red, White & Blue Nachos

In honor of the day I came up with these red, white and blue nachos, so yummy and I'll share the recipe here with you.

And while it's a little late for this 4th I wanted to let you know about a fun party idea for any patriotic holiday. Just invite a bunch of people and have them bring food with the qualification being that it is red, white or blue (you may want to add more qualifications unless you just want a bunch of desserts, which are the easiest red, white & blue things to come up with). But it's really fun when people get creative with it. These nachos would be great for example. I went to a party like this a few years ago and took two chicken pot pies, one with a blue crust, one with a red crust (food coloring of course), but sorry, no pictures.

Anyway, hope everyone has enjoyed this Independence Day!

Ingredients:

4 cups blue corn chips (about 40 chips)
1 oz. queso quesadilla cheese, shredded
1 oz. white cheddar, shredded
1 cooked and seasoned chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 tablespoons chopped yellow onion (or more, to taste)
garnishes: salsa and sour cream (as much as you like)

Sauce:
1.5 tablespoons low fat sour cream
1.5 tablespoons salsa verde

Directions:
Serves 2-4 depending on how many you want to eat :)

Combine sour cream and salsa verde to make the sauce.

Layer as follows (or however you like):
1/2 of the chips, drizzled with 1/2 of the sauce
1/2 of the cheeses
1/2 of the chicken
1/2 of the onions
Repeat

Heat in a 425 degree oven until cheese is melted and everything is heated through about 10 minutes. I like to broil for the last few minutes. Top with salsa and sour cream if desired and serve.


Calories per serving (1/4): about 240, if using about 1 tbsp. sour cream as a garnish

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Summer is here!

This is my summer centerpiece which I understand may not be obvious to anybody but me. I know people tend to think of summer in bright colors. But the epitome of summer to me, the part that makes me love summer especially, is the sunny summer mornings on the beach, when the light is a crystal clear and almost invisible blue, the sand is bright white and the water is blue blue. Not the hazy yellow light, off-white sand and almost green-blue water of the afternoons. Don't get me wrong, I'll take a summer afternoon over any other afternoon of the year but there's just something especially perfect about the mornings. And this centerpiece to me says not cold and dark as I suspect it may to most, but bright and crisp and clean like a hot summer morning on the beach.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day!

This is the front of the card I made for my Dad this year. The peas refer to a story my dad told us when we were little so it won't mean anything to anyone outside of my family. But I really love the way it looks. And just a note here to say I really do have the best dad ever but here's wishing a happy Father's Day to all the other great fathers out there too!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Individual Honey Mustard Chicken Pizza

As I mentioned in my last post what inspired me to make the chicken salad club sandwich was a store-bought pizza that I thought would taste better home-made. And I was soooo right, can't wait to make this pizza again. You may notice I don't like lots of cheese on my pizzas (other than the traditional pizza) so you may want to add more, but that will of course effect the calories. Here's my recipe.

Makes 1 pizza.

Ingredients:
1-7 in. pizza crust
Honey mustard sauce (recipe below)
1/2 cup seasoned cooked chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
2 slices center-cut bacon, fried and crumbled

Fresh tomato salsa (recipe below - sounds wierd on a pizza but delicious with this combo!)
2 tablespoons reduced fat cheese - your choice (I used parmesan and mex. cheese blend, my favorite combo of late)

Honey Mustard Sauce:
1 1/2 tablespoons prepared honey mustard
1 1/2 tablespoons light mayo
1 tsp. sugar (optional, mine needed it)

Fresh Tomato Salsa:
2 cherry tomatoes diced
2 tablespoons diced red onion
Salt, pepper and cilantro as desired

Directions:

Make the fresh tomato salsa by combining ingredients and set aside until ready to use.

Combine all ingredients for the honey mustard sauce. Spread over the crust, leaving a little bit for the top. Add the rest of your ingredients in whatever order you desire and then drizzle the remaining sauce over the top.

Bake at 425 for 10 minutes or until the crust is crisp and the cheese is melted.


Calories per pizza: about 560 for the whole pizza, 140 per slice
(1/4)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Mini Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches

I had a chicken club pizza the other night (purchased from the store). It had honey mustard sauce instead of pizza sauce, chicken, tomatoes and chopped bacon. It was ok but I realized how much better it would be made from scratch. And in thinking about that I decided to try making a sandwich out of similar ingredients. This is what I came up with.

Makes 4 mini sandwiches.

Ingredients:
4 slices center-cut bacon, cut in half
4 whole wheat dinner rolls, split in half (the ones I used were 45 calories/roll)
1 slice reduced fat provolone cheese, cut into four pieces
Honey mustard chicken salad (recipe below)
1 small tomato (diameter to fit rolls), sliced

Honey Mustard Chicken Salad:
2 cooked and seasoned boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small pieces
1/4 c. sliced water chestnuts, chopped roughly
1/4 c. light mayo
1/4 c. honey mustard
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 clove garlic, minced
pinch of salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper


Directions:
Fry bacon and then drain on paper towels, leaving a small amount of bacon grease in the pan. Toast all of the rolls on their bottom sides in the bacon grease over med. low heat. When they are toasted flip over and lay a piece of cheese on each of the top halves. Continue to toast until the cheese is melted as much as you want it to be.

While the rolls are toasting make the honey mustard chicken salad, combining all ingredients.

Layer 1/4 of the chicken salad on the bottom rolls of each sandwich and then top each with 1 slice of tomato and 2 half slices of bacon. Then top with the remaining rolls.


Calories per sandwich: about 200

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vacation

I can't help but think of our annual family beach vacation when it starts feeling like summer. It's something I really look forward to all year and we've been doing it since I was 13 so I have lots of pictures and memories. I decided to make a collage so I scanned and uploaded a bunch of photos to photoshop.com, made the color blue pop (for the ocean of course) and then printed them all out. I was pleased with the results and love having so many memories in one visible place.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Happy Memorial Day! - Mini Fruit Tarts

The frosting from a jello cake (a mixture of vanilla pudding and whipped cream) my mom makes is really light and delicious. So I got the idea to use it as an easy and tasty tart filling. And in honor of Memorial Day, this flag arrangement is perfect. It would of course work for the 4th of July too!

35 mini baked tart shells (I only used 24 for the flag arrangement)
1 cup skim milk (for the pudding)
1/2 of 1 small box instant vanilla pudding, made according to package directions
1 cup real whipped cream
(or can use cool whip but the calories total will be different)
Fresh blueberries, raspberries, strawberries
Flaked sweetened coconut
Sugar
Simple Syrup

Directions:
Combine the prepared pudding and whipped cream. You can make this part ahead of time and refrigerate overnight or use immediately.

Fill each tart shell with about 1 tablespoon of the pudding mixture no more than an hour or two before serving.

About 45 min. before serving, hull and slice the strawberries in half and toss with some sugar. Set aside.

Make the simple syrup (equal parts water and sugar heated over low heat until the sugar has dissolved). Cool. Soak the blueberries and raspberries in the simple syrup (keeping the blueberries and raspberries separate).

A few minutes before serving drain the berries and top your tarts with the berries and coconut as desired.

Calories per tart (not including the crust as the calories for that will vary depending on the type you use): about 25

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Mini Barbecue Burgers

I don't think there are any better burgers around than my Dad's on the grill and I don't think you can replicate the flavor anywhere but on a grill. But sometimes an outdoor grill is not convenient so I wanted to come up with a way to add flavor and this was the result. The only problem is they are pretty crumbly, but as long you keep them mini and if you're careful with them, they mostly stay together. And they tasted sooo good so I wanted to share them with you. Plus, they're actually as good leftover after being frozen as they are fresh (which I have never found to be the case with a traditional hamburger).

6 dinner rolls (split in half)
1/2 lb. ground chuck
2 tbsp. finely chopped yellow onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 c. barbecue sauce (I used the balsamic barbecue sauce from this recipe)
2 tablespoons reduced fat mexican cheese blend
Black pepper (to taste)
Salt (to taste - opt.)
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
4 slices reduced fat provolone cheese (each slice split into 3 dinner roll size pieces)
2 cherry tomatoes (sliced into 6 slices)
1/4 to 1/2 cup arugula

Heat a non stick frying pan or indoor grill over medium to medium-high heat.

Combine the ground chuck, onion, garlic, 1/4 cup barbecue sauce ,and Mexican cheese. Form into 6 equal sized hamburger patties. Fry on each side until cooked through.

While the burgers are frying, spray another frying pan with cooking spray, add the sliced mushrooms and saute until tender (you can use butter or olive oil but I didn't want the extra calories).

Spread each half of each roll with 1 teaspoon of the remaining barbecue sauce and then top each half with 1 piece of provolone.

When the hamburgers are done layer them on top of the provolone on the bottom roll of each sandwich. Then split the sauteed mushrooms between the 6 burgers and layer a tomato slice and a bit of arugula on top of the mushrooms. Top with the remaining rolls and enjoy.

Calories per burger: If the rolls used are 100 calories each, about 270.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Mother's Day

My mom is my best friend and a really great mother. I made her this card this year and thought it was really cute. I came up with a poem (which I've replaced with dashes here) and noticed it looked like a dress so I added the head and arms and legs. And please note that my mother is not short and chunky like the woman above. It is only meant to represent her generally. She is actually short but also thin and beautiful :)

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Recipe Index

(see below for picture credits)

Though this is a blog about all of my creativity, not just recipes I've created, I've been coming up with a lot lately so I thought I'd start an index. You can click on the category title to pull up all of the recipes in that category or on the individual recipe to just see that one. I'll put a link to this under the Categories section on the right side of the page and update it as I create new recipes.

Appetizers
BBQ Chicken Appetizer Pizza with Shallots and Jarlsberg Cheese
Blue Cheese Meatballs
Cauliflower Fritters
Mini Sausage Calzones
Ham, Bacon and Mushroom Quesadillas

Condiments

Coconut Dipping Sauce

Desserts

Mini Fruit Tarts
Coconut Cream Parfaits

Main Dishes

Blue Cheese Meatballs
Breakfast Potatoes with Perfect Sunny-Side Up Eggs
Fried Potatoes with Turkey Kielbasa
Ham, Bacon and Mushroom Quesadillas
Mini Sausage Calzones
Potato Chili Casserole

Red, White & Blue Nachos
Sausage, Feta & Corn Nachos

Pastas

Chicken and Broccoli Pasta
Chicken and Cashew Pasta
Gemelli with Sausage and Tomatoes
Mushroom Lasagna

Pizzas

Bacon & Tomato Pizza with Alfredo Sauce
Barbecue Chicken Appetizer Pizza with Shallots and Jarlsberg Cheese
Balsamic Barbecue Chicken Pizza
Cheeseburger Pizza - kinda
Chicken and Bacon Pizza
Buff alo Chickpea and Tahini Pizza
"Greek" Pizza
Honey Mustard Chicken Pizza
Mushroom-Swiss Burger Pizza
Pesto Pizza
Potato and Mushroom Pizza
Veggie Pizza

Sandwiches

Chicken and Bacon Wraps
Fried Green Tomato BLT
Mini Barbecue Burgers
Mini Barbecue Chicken Sandwiches
Mini Chicken Salad Club Sandwiches

Roasted Vegetable and Bacon Sandwich

Side Dishes

Cauliflower and Cheese Casserole
Cauliflower Fritters
Cheesy Fingerling Potatoes
Fried Potatoes with Mushrooms
Vegetable Strata

Disclaimer: I list calories with each recipe I post but please note that they are my estimations (but pretty close) and my totals will not include vegetables in the recipe unless they are high calorie veggies such as corn. This is because vegetables are often very low in calories and the benefits outweigh any calorie concerns (in my opinion).

(The picture above is one a talented photographer friend of mine took of some grilled vegetables my mom and I did for a wedding we catered a few years ago. It just says "yummy food" to me. To see her website click here. And please note that this is a scanned version of her picture because I did not have the original file).

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Fried Green Tomato BLT

This is kind of my twist on a BLT. Several years ago I had a delicious fried green tomato sandwich at a coffee house where I grew up and went home and came up with my own recipe. But I just made it again recently and realized how I could make it so much better by making several adjustments and using bacon and arugula, hence the BLT. Note: I didn't toast the onion rolls for mine, I like them just warmed but if you prefer them toasted I'm sure that would be tasty too.

Makes 4 sandwiches.

Ingredients:

fried green tomatoes*
4 onion rolls (or any bread desired)
bacon mayo (recipe below)
4 slices reduced fat provolone cheese
1 cup arugula

Bacon Mayo - combine all of the following ingredients:

1/4 cup light mayonnaise (I used Hellman's)
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
4 slices center-cut bacon, cooked and crumbled
Black pepper (to taste)

While the tomatoes are frying, wrap the onion rolls in tin foil and heat in a 150 degree oven until warm.

Spread about 1/2 tablespoon of the bacon mayo on both slices of each warmed roll (so that's about 1 tablespoon per sandwich.)

Layer 3 tomato slices, 1 piece of cheese and 1/4 cup arugula in each sandwich and serve immediately.

*(I used this recipe from Martha Stewart except I omitted the salt and I used 1 tablespoon oil, about 1/2 cup of cornmeal and 2 tomatoes for the calories I came up with.)

Calories per sandwich: about 375

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Potato Chili Casserole

Another recipe using leftovers - chili this time. Be sure to use your favorite chili for this because the chili really is the star. And I hope that with all of my recipes you add or subtract whatever you like, they're all easily customizable. This one was fairly simple but I was really pleased with how it turned out.

Ingredients:

2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 medium sized yellow potatoes
ground cumin, to taste
black pepper, to taste
1 & 1/2 cups thick beef chili
1/4 c. shredded mexican cheese blend (reduced fat)

Directions:

Serves 4.*

Preheat the oven to 375.

Heat the olive oil in a med-sized pan over medium heat. Add the onions and garlic and saute until tender.

Peel and slice the potatoes into very thin slices (using a mandolin slicer or by hand).

Arrange the casserole in a 9 x 13 in. pan coated with cooking spray as follows:

1. 1/2 of the sauteed garlic and onions
2. 1/3 of the sliced potatoes
3. Cumin and black pepper to taste
4. 1/3 of the shredded cheese
5. 1/2 of the chili

Then repeat again and top with your remaining 1/3 potatoes and cheese and more cumin and black pepper.

Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 20 minutes or till potatoes are tender. Then remove foil and bake for 10 minutes more.

*I say this serves 4 because while it is made in a large pan, the layers are very thin. Feel free to increase the layers by using more of everything. I just like to keep things low calorie.

Calories per serving: About 275.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

I made these cute little Easter Bunny sugar cookies for Easter this year. If you look closely you'll see I'm not the best at decorating with frosting but I thought they turned out cute anyway. I used mini marshmallows for the tails and little white sprinkles for the eyes. Anyway, hope everyone reading this has had a very happy Easter!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Easter/Spring Centerpiece

As I've said before I have very simple decorating tastes. This is the centerpiece I chose for spring this year. The eggs are from Crate & Barrel a couple of years ago. And this will likely be the most colorful centerpiece I have all year :)

Mini Sausage Calzones


I had some store-bought pizza dough and was hungry for calzones but didn't want too many calories so I made them mini. Here's my recipe if you want it. This makes about 7. They might not look mini in this picture because of the way I took it, but they're actually only about 1.5" x 3".

Ingredients:

Store-bought pizza dough
3 oz. ground pork sausage
1/4 cup sliced and roughly chopped mushrooms
1 slice yellow onion, chopped
1/2 clove garlic
1 roasted red bell pepper, chopped
2 1/2 tablespoons mozarella cheese
2 1/2 tablespoons parmesan cheese, plus a little more for sprinkling

Directions:

Brown the sausage in small pan over medium heat. Drain.

While the sausage is browning spray another pan with cooking spray and saute mushrooms, onions and garlic together until tender.

Roll out the pizza dough and cut out 7 rounds about 3" in diameter. I used a bowl that was the right size and cut around it with a knife, pretty easy.

Put about a tsp. of sausage on the right side but close to the center, leaving space on the edge, and top with about a teaspoon of the mushroom mixture on each of your 7 rounds. Add a little bit of the chopped pepper and about a teaspoon of each of the cheeses. Fold the rounds in half over the filling and press the edges together carefully. Place on a greased cookie sheet.

Sprinkle each with a little more parmesan cheesse and bake at 425 for about 10 minutes till golden brown.

Hope you enjoy! You might want to serve with a little pizza or marinara sauce, or even add some to your filling before closing, but I like them without it.

Calories per calzone: about 130.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Chicken and Bacon Wraps


I had some leftover chicken after the bbq chicken pizza and came up with these yummy wraps to use it up. Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:

4 flour tortillas
8 slices center-cut bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup chopped yellow onion
2-3 cups sliced mushrooms
2 cups cooked seasoned chicken breasts, chopped*
3 tablespoons (approx.) reduced-fat shredded cheddar

Herbed mayo:
1/4 cup light mayo
1 clove garlic, minced
2 teaspoons lemon juice
chopped cilantro (or other herbs) to taste
ground black pepper
hot sauce (just a dash if you don't want it spicy, more if you do)

Directions:

Wrap the tortillas in tin foil and heat in a 200 degree oven till warm.

Fry the bacon in a non-stick pan, then remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Leave a small amount of bacon grease (a teaspoon or 2) in the pan, swirling around to coat it. If the pan is too dry spray with cooking spray for more coating. (Or you can use more bacon grease or olive oil, but if you do the calories below will not apply.)

Add the onions, garlic and mushrooms and season with pepper (and salt if desired, but not necessary). Saute over medium heat for a few minutes, until the vegetables are tender.

Add the cooked chicken breast to the pan and cook just a couple of minutes more till the chicken is heated.

Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the herbed mayo in a small bowl. (I used Hellman's light mayo and Texas Pete Hot Sauce).

Remove the tortillas from the oven and spread each tortilla with about 1 tablespoon of the herbed mayo. Top each with 1/4 of the chicken mixture, 2 slices cooked bacon and about 2 teaspoons of the cheddar. Then roll up the tortillas and serve.

*Using leftover cooked chicken saves time, but you could use raw chicken if desired, just make sure to season and cook it with the veggies until it is cooked through.

Calories per wrap: about 350, not counting the veggies. For future and past reference I never count veggies in the calorie total unless they are high calorie vegetables, like corn for example.

Monday, March 16, 2009

A Nod to Martha on St. Partick's Day

These are the magazine files that contain my years of saved Martha Stewart Living's (the inspiration for a lot of my unartistic creativity throughout the years). I'm not big into lots of colors, I like mostly black, dark brown, white, silver/gray and those are the predominant "colors" in my apt. But I have a few (very few) splashes of color here and there. And these magazine files from The Container Store are one of them and I love them! And since they are green I thought it was fitting to post this on St. Patrick's Day.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Individual Balsamic Barbecue Chicken Pizzas


Yet another yummy creation - although I think bbq chicken pizza recipes probably abound, this is my little twist on it.

Makes 2 mini pizzas. I think doubling this recipe would be plenty for one regular sized pizza.

Ingredients:

2-7 in store bought thin pizza crust
1/2 recipe Balsamic barbecue sauce from Giada de Laurentiis (click here for recipe)*
1 boneless skinless chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 tbsp. olive oil
yellow onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
Sliced mushrooms
2 tbsp. each shredded pepper-jack

1 tsp crumbled Cotija cheese

Directions
:

Make the barbecue sauce. While that is cooking, place your oil in a pan over med.-med. high heat and let get hot. Then add your onions and garlic and saute till tender for a few minutes.  Add your diced chicken and saute till browned nicely and cooked throughout.  This should only take 5-10 minutes and you will want to stir occasionally
.
Once the sauce and chicken are done, brush each crust with barbecue sauce to taste  Add the chicken and mushrooms. Top with the cheeses and drizzle with more balsamic barbecue sauce. 

Bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese melts and the crust reaches your desired crispiness.

*Note: I used less barbecue sauce then half of this made.  You could make a whole recipe and use the rest of the sauce as you would any barbecue sauce if desired.


Calories per pizza: about 416 

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Bowling Shoes


My brother asked for dress shoes for Christmas but since it's hard to buy shoes for someone unless they pick them out we gave him some money. But I wanted a fun way to give it to him that also let him know what it was for. So I downloaded the ClipArt picture above and printed it on 2 sheets of 4x6 photo paper. I attached the two pictures back to back with staples to make a pocket and put some money inside with a note that said "think outside the box." I meant to imply that while this was not for bowling shoes (of course) it was for shoes. He didn't get it though and I had to explain it. I guess my clues aren't that good :).

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Say Cheese

My mom asked for a digital camera this past Christmas for her and my dad. So we all went together and got them one but wanted them to be surprised. So I made the picture above (downloaded the mouse and cheese from clipart) x 2 to give them a hint and wrapped each in a small book-sized gift box and gave one to each of them. They both opened them and pulled out the picture and had no idea what was meant by it :) but did figure it out once we gave them the camera.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Wedding Shower Invitations


I came up with these 3 different designs for invitations when my little brother got married. I used the middle one for shower invitations and the 3rd one for the rehearsal dinner invitations.

Baby Shower Invitations


I made this invitation, envelope and thank you card set for a friend's baby shower a couple of years ago.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Ham, Bacon & Mushroom Quesadillas


My latest creation. I had some leftover ham and was trying to decide what to do with it. So I came up with this low cal recipe and I must say it was quite tasty. This makes enough for 1 8-in tortilla size quesadilla.

Ingredients:
2 slices center cut bacon
1/2 c. chopped cooked ham
1c. sliced mushrooms (or more)
1 clove garlic, minced
2 tbsp. finely chopped onions
cilantro and pepper to taste
2 8-in flour tortillas
2 to 3 tbsp. shredded low-fat Mexican cheese blend

Reduced fat sour cream for serving

Directions:

Heat oven to 400. Fry bacon in a nonstick pan and then remove from pan. Let cool on paper towels. Remove the bacon grease from the pan and wipe out with a paper towel.

Spray the pan with cooking spray and saute garlic, onions and mushrooms on medium till slightly tender. Season with pepper and cilantro. Crumble the bacon and add it and the ham and cook for 1 minute more. Set aside.

Spray another non-stick pan with cooking spray and add 1 of your tortillas. Cook on med. high till crispy and lightly browned and then flip and brown the other side. Do the same with your other tortilla. Spread the ham mixture on one of the tortillas. Top with the cheese and place the other tortilla on top. Bake at 400 till heated through and the cheese is melted.

Note: this is just an estimate and depends on the tortillas you use, but 1/2 a quesadilla with a small dollop of sour cream is about 250 calories.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Winter Centerpiece


I like to change my dining room table centerpieces with the seasons. I have very simple (though I like to think kind of classic/modern even if that's an oxymoron) decorating tastes and I love this one. It's just some garland from Pottery Barn stuffed inside a glass vase.

Cake Plates


This is what you do when you have a limited budget, a small apartment and you collect cake plates. You take a cheap white bookcase, layer pretty wrapping paper in the back and viola you have a display case. And it looks a lot better in real life than it does in this picture. And while it may not be beautiful it is at least interesting.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's Day


I made this card for my Mom for Valentine's Day. Isn't it cute? The instructions are on Martha Stewart.com.