Thursday, February 28, 2013

What I am reading right now...

This is another book I had heard a lot about so I thought why not.  Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor is a science fiction teen romance novel.  Yep, right up my alley.  Not really. I guess I didn't know what I was getting into.  But I did like it.  So much so that I read the whole thing in about two days and then bought the second novel in the series. 

The main character, Karou, is an art student that lives in Prague.  As the story progress you find out that she does not have a traditional family.  At only seventeen she lives on her own.  

Besides her art, Karou runs unlikely errands and has magical abilities. As the book develops you learn more about her errands and magic through her adventures and start to understand that there is a whole other world full of unworldly creatures out there.  Of  course angels come into the picture and so does a forbidden romance.  

Entertaining for sure. 



Wednesday, February 27, 2013

WIAW @ Disney World

A day in the life of Disney

6:00am Wake up and breakfast at the hotel

7:00am Ride for the day

8:00am African Safari

9:00am I got you while you got me...waiting for a ride.

10:00am  Bird show- I am petrified of birds.

11:00am  Lunch at ESPN club

Noon A jaunt around Paris...I wish

1:00pm A glance at the globe

2:00pm  Getting ready for the flower show

3:00pm  Mr. J picked his next new car at Test Track

4:00pm A sampling of soda around the world

5:00pm  Cocktails

6:00pm Dinner at O'hana

7:00pm Bread Pudding with Bananas Foster Caramel Sauce Dessert

8:00pm Castle at night

9:00pm Bedtime

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Chocolate Souffle

Oh chocolate how I love you.  I haven't made a sweet treat in quite a while.  I was trying to avoid them as Florida vacation time is here. 

I would like to tell you that I honestly haven't been eating too many sweets but that would be a lie.  

We have chocolate in the candy drawer. I have a husband who insists on getting frozen yogurt after dinner. And there is no way not to get a cookie when in a Great Harvest Bread Co. store. Ops!

Thus, I gave up and made chocolate souffle.  This was my first try and it really wasn't as hard as you would think given that the only time I really see souffle is at fancy restaurant menus.

Although this tasted marvelously, I don't think it was truly Soufflé.  More like lighter chocolate cake.  This was my first go around and I believe I folded the chocolate and egg whites a bit too much.  A mistake like this isn't so bad though. I guess I will just have to try again.
Chocolate Soufflé

by Emily Morris, Real Simple
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Keywords: bake dessert chocolate
Ingredients (serves 2)
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa
  • 3 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 2 egg whites
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • pinch salt
  • pinch cream of tartar
Heat oven to 375° F. Use 1 tablespoon of the butter to grease one 16-ounce or two 8-ounce ramekins. Coat the ramekins with the cocoa, tapping out the excess.

In a large bowl, over a pan of simmering water, melt the chocolate and remaining butter. Stir occasionally until smooth. Remove from heat and add the vanilla. Whisk in the yolks one at a time until smooth. Set aside.

In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the sugar, salt, and cream of tartar until stiff (but not dry) peaks form. Gently fold the egg-white mixture into the chocolate. Spoon into the ramekins. (The recipe can be made to this point up to 1 day ahead. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate.)

Bake until puffed and set, 40 minutes for a 16-ounce soufflé, 20 minutes for two smaller ones. (If baked directly from the refrigerator, add 5 to 10 minutes.)
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Monday, February 25, 2013

Slow Cooker BBQ Baby Back Ribs {SRC}

Secret Recipe Club

I cannot believe it is the end of February. I am ready though. After February comes March and March means spring. At least I hope. The end of the month also means it time for the Secret Recipe Club posting. 

This month I had Jenni from The Gingered Whisk.  I seriously could not decide what to make from her site. There were sweets, yeast breads and savory meals that all looked amazing.    

I ended up going with the slow cooker baby back ribs. How can you turn down a meal that takes five minutes to put together?    

We put them in the crock pot before work and eight hours later we came home to a very BBQ smelling home.

I can assure you they turn out so good.  The meat became so tender and simply fell off the bone. Mr. J stopped mid-topic during his first bite and said how delicious they were.  He instantly was dreaming of summertime time when we can finish the process on the grill instead of under the broiler.

Thanks Jenni for such a great dinner!

Note: I halved the recipe for just the two of us with just 3LBs of ribs. I don't think all 6LBs would have fit in my 8-qt crock pot anyway. We both had plenty with two sides and there was another serving for leftovers.
Slow Cooker Baby Back Ribs

by Emily Morris
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 6-8 hours
Keywords: slow-cooker entree BBQ
Ingredients (serves 6)
  • 3 Tbsp sweet paprika
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 6 lb baby back ribs - leave the membrane on, it helps to hold them together
  • 3 C BBQ sauce
In a small bowl, mix together the paprika, brown sugar, cayenne pepper and salt and pepper.

Rub the seasoning mixture all over the ribs, on both sides, until everything is well coated.
Place the ribs inside the crock pot by standing them up against the wall of the pot, thicker side down and meaty side against the pot.

Pour the BBQ sauce over the ribs, cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours.

Very carefully remove the ribs from the crock pot and place them on a baking pan lined with foil, bone side up.

Strain all of the juices that remain in the crock pot into a small saucepan. Bring to a boil and allow to simmer and reduce by 1/3, about 15 minutes.

Put your oven's broiler on to high heat, with the broiler pan out 10 inches below the heating element.

When the broiler is preheated, brush the ribs with the sauce and broil for 3-4 minutes.
Take the ribs out and very carefully turn them over (so the meat side is up) brush with sauce and broil for an additional 9 minutes, taking them out once or twice to brush with sauce again.

Serve with remaining sauce on the side.
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Saturday, February 23, 2013

Weekend Edition: Dodging the Bullet

This week we are off to Florida. For Fun. For DISNEY.  Can you tell I am excited?

The weather was predicted to be unpredictable with a mix of rain, ice and snow. Yuck.  I was watching the weather channel all week like the best of them.  Nerves took over about Thursday night and we changed our flight to "try" and avoid the storm. Hopefully as you are reading this post I am high in the sky.

Have you ever been to Disney world?

In case you missed it, this is what I was up to this week...

          Friday, February 22, 2013

          Chili with Ground Beef and Beans

          Happy Friday! This week seemed to last forever. But now it is almost done. Eight hours of work and then the weekend.

          I am not a huge fan of chili. In fact until we made it for dinner the other night, I don't think that I have eaten chili for over a year. However sometime around the Super Bowl I started getting some chili cravings. I think it was all of the posts I was reading.

          It was clearly destiny to have chili in my future.  I don't really have a chili recipe. Add meat, beans and tomatoes and there you go.  Del Monte was on sale at the grocery story so this one is made up of seasoned diced tomatoes.  The flavor came out excellent.

          We had this as chili the first go around and then used the leftovers as a nacho topping.  Those were some of the best nachos we have made in a long time. 

          Chili with Ground Beef and Beans

          by Emily Morris
          Prep Time: 20 minutes
          Cook Time: 1 hour
          Keywords: saute soup/stew winter
          Ingredients (serves 8)
          • 1Tbsp olive oil
          • 1 red onion, diced
          • 1 green pepper, diced
          • 2 cloves garlic, minced
          • 1 fresh jalapeno, sliced
          • 3/4 LB ground beef (lean)
          • 1 can Red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
          • 1 can Del Monte® Chili Style Diced Tomatoes
          • 1 can Del Monte® Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Mild Green Chilies
          • 1 can Del Monte® Petite Diced Tomatoes with Zesty Jalapenos
          • 6 oz tomato paste
          • 1 tsp chili powder
          • salt and pepper
          In a large, soup pot or dutch oven, add 1 Tbsp of olive oil and heat on medium high. Once the pan is warm add onion, green pepper, and garlic. Cook until just soft.

          Add ground beef and cook for about 5 minutes or until the meat turns brown. Stir as the meat is cooking to break up the into small pieces.

          Add diced tomatoes including juices, fresh jalapeno slices and red kidney beans. Simmer for about 10 minutes.

          Stir until all ingredients are well combined and then add the tomato paste. You can add more or less depending on how thick you like the chili. Continue to simmer for 5-10 minutes.

          Add chili powder, salt and pepper to taste.

          Serve with sour cream, plain yogurt, or shredded cheese.
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          Thursday, February 21, 2013

          What I am reading right now...

          I sometimes get caught off guard by the books I am reading. I read books based of off pretty covers, recommendations, and listings. I don't always know what I am getting into. I have found really good books this way, others not so much. 

          I saw this cover all over the place the last year or two.  I had no idea what it was about but I figured if it was that popular I too could probably be entertained by it.  

          This book starts out as a book about baseball.  A young, talented player, Henry goes to college to continue his passion and pursuit of excellence as a short stop.  As the story develops it become more about relationships,love, tribulations of life, and finding your own way.  In one season, things start to go down hill.  All of the characters reassess their lives and goals for the future.  

          While reading I was convinced the book was going to go one way only to have my ideas completely change after page 100 and again about page 400.  This book was enthralling and suspenseful.  You wanted to know the end in a way that you would feel about big events happening to your good friends and the results.

          Wednesday, February 20, 2013

          WIAW in Michigan

          The last few days I have survived on lattes.  Starbucks lattes.  With soy milk.  Love.

          I thought my husband was a bit crazy when he suggested frozen yogurt for dessert this week. After all I spent all weekend trying to warm up.  Surprisingly we weren't the only ones with this idea.  No fewer than 6 families came and went as we were eating.  I smuggled in two dark chocolate Reese's cups to add to my cup.  Mr. J just shook his head in disbelief. 

          I took this photo at the San Diego zoo. They had some open greenhouses.  I keep looking at it and thinking Spring.

          During my trip to Michigan I made a side adventure to the Ann Arbor Great Harvest bread. It was only about 10 minutes away but I ended up in a blast of snow.  Not so smart.  I am still debating on whether the trek was worth the sandwich, bread and cookie.  I think yes.

          Dinner was like a fifth grader hot lunch.  Burgers, mini tatar tots, and steamed broccoli.  At least there was some green.

          When you travel do you bring back food items?

          Tuesday, February 19, 2013

          Breaded Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms

          Fact: Michigan is cold and snowy.

          Fact: Rental Car people should not take your bags out of the car for you.

          Fact: Lattes with soy milk save the day.

          I had to make a trip to Michigan this week.  The trip was not unexpected but the purpose was.  I find changes like this are never a good thing.   

          I wasn't planning on posting this recipe just because the pictures weren't all that great.  Plus the colors are not visually appealing.  Lots of white.  Blah!  The food itself though is quite tasty. This was another recipe from the HelloFresh delivery.  We plan on making it again, especially the spinach and mushrooms side.

          Breaded Chicken with Spinach and Mushrooms

          by Emily Morris, HelloFresh
          Prep Time: 15 minutes
          Cook Time: 30 minutes
          Keywords: bake entree chicken spinach
          Ingredients (serves 2)
          • 2 chicken breasts
          • 3 oz mushrooms
          • 1/4 cup onion, diced
          • 2 Yukon potatoes
          • 1 clove garlic
          • 1 cup spinach
          • 1 Tbsp mayo
          • 1 Tbsp sour cream
          • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
          • 1 Tbsp white wine vinegar
          • 2 Tbsp olive oil
          • 4 Tbsp butter
          Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut potatoes in half, wrap each piece in foil and place in oven. Bake until tender, about 30 minutes.

          Coat shallow baking dish with 1 Tbsp of oil and set aside. Chop the onion, mince the garlic, and slice the mushrooms. Remove steam from the spinach.

          Melt 2 Tbsp of butter in a small pot over medium heat and then remove from the heat and mix into the Panko bread crumbs. Coat chicken with mayo (I used plain yogurt for mine) and season with salt and pepper. Press the panko mixture into both sides of chicken. Place into the prepared baking dish and bake for 20 minutes or until the chicken is golden brown and no longer pink in the center.

          Heat 1 Tbsp of oil in a saute pan over medium high heat. Add the mushrooms, onion, garlic, vinegar, and season with salt and pepper. Cook and stir about 5 minutes until onion is softened. Add the spinach and cook until wilted. Add sour cream to dish and stir until combined. Adjust seasoning to taste.

          Remove potatoes from oven and discard the foil. Add half a Tbsp of butter to each top and season with salt and pepper.

          Spoon the spinach mixture evenly onto 2 plates. Top with the chicken breast and serve the potatoes on the side of each plate.
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          Monday, February 18, 2013

          Red Curry Thai and Beef Soup

          I was so COMPLETELY unmotivated Sunday. I got to the gym, did laundry, and then got groceries.  The last was a necessity. The time the snow was finally cleared out last week, we left for California.  We never made a trip to the store between the snow and our trip.  Basically Tuesday night we were scavengers.

          But I digress.  

          All of the above was completed by 11am.  Then I vegged.  Is that word?  All day long.   In yoga pants.  Watching TV. Eating chocolates and drinking hot chocolate.  Even though the wind was outside I was cold.

          Mr. J convinced me that we needed food.  As in a decent meal made from home.  With vegetables. He was right but of course he wasn't the one off the couch.  Good thing it  was an easy dish.  I am currently obsessed with curry paste.  Add coconut milk, veggies and some protein and you have a meal.  A hot meal that warms you from the inside out.

          Thai Red Curry and Beef Soup

          by Emily Morris
          Prep Time: 20 minutes
          Cook Time: 30 minutes
          Keywords: saute soup/stew Thai
          Ingredients (serves 4)
          • 8oz rice noodles
          • 1 LB sirloin steak
          • 1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
          • 1 onion, sliced
          • 2 Tbsp oil
          • 4 cups chicken broth
          • 1 15oz can coconut milk
          • 4 Tbsp red curry paste
          • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
          • 1 Tbsp lime juice
          • Basil
          Cook rice noodles according to package directions.

          Cut steak into 1 inch strips and dice sweet potato into cubes.

          In a large sauce pan, heat oil. Brown onion slices with steak and sweet potato pieces over medium high, 5-7 minutes.

          Add 4 cups of chicken broth, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce to pan simmering until the sweet potato is tender, around 8-10 minutes.

          Remove from heat. Stir in noodles and lime juice. Top with chopped basil to taste.
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