Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Vietnamese Fried Quinoa with Shrimp

This recipe is a little play on Vietnamese rice. I used quinoa instead of rice and added some yummy shrimp. This dish is so great because you can add or subtract so many elements to make it something that your family will really enjoy. Instead of shrimp you can add chicken or even pork. And if you have some picky eaters in your house who wont come near cabbage with a  ten foot pole you can always substitute snap peas or broccoli. There are a million possibilities. 
I didn't even miss having traditional rice in this dish. The quinoa compliments all of the ingredients very well and added a nice variation. In fact when I platted dinner for my husband and myself, Ben looked at his bowl and said "oh wow, this looks like something I'm gone like!" Its safe to say that after we licked our bowls clean that it was indeed a dish that both of us like very much.

Vietnamese Fried Quinoa and Shrimp

Ingredients:
1 lb shrimp
3 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame seed oil
1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
2 cups quinoa
3 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth 
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon hot red pepper sauce
4 large eggs or 7 large egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 bunch green onions, trimmed and chopped 
5 cloves garlic, chopped
2 1/2 cups shredded cabbage
4 carrots, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Ingredients:
Place your shrimp into a large zip lock baggie along with the soy sauce, sesame seed oil, vinegar and ginger. Let marinate at least 30 minutes in fridge or longer. Place rinsed quinoa into a pot with vegetable or chicken broth and bring to a boil. Once a boil is reached turn the heat down to a simmer and cover with a lid for around 15 minutes or until all of the liquid is absorbed; set aside. Combine soy sauce, sugar and hot sauce in a small bowl and set aside. Mix together eggs with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Heat cast iron skillet or wok over heat and add two tablespoons of oil and half of the onions. Pour in the eggs and cook swirling the eggs as you stir intermittently, until they have set, about 2 minutes. Transfer to a platter and set aside. Add your marinated shrimp and juice to hot pan and cook until pink and cooked; set aside. Add 2 tablespoons of oil to pan and add remaining onions and garlic. Cook stirring for a few seconds. Add cabbage and carrots and cook, stirring for about 3 minutes. Transfer to a platter. Add remaining 1 tablespoon of oil to the pan and add cooked quinoa. Stir for a few seconds and add soy sauce mixture. Add eggs, vegetables and shrimp. Before serving toss in fresh cilantro. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

Lucky for me I am related to the ever so talented +Maria Lichty from Two Peas & Their Pod. She happens to be my sister in law and an incredible cook and baker extraordinaire! She specializes in creating recipes that are simple, fresh, and family friendly...and I might add delicious!! One of my families favorite recipes that she came up with are her Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies. Holy cow people these are addicting. I have made two batches in a 1 1/2 days time and I have nothing to show for it except an empty cookie container. 
There is nothing quite like the flavor of Biscoff Spread and if you have not had the fortunate opportunity of tasting it then I highly recommend you making a trip to your local grocery store immediately so you can cross this one off of your to do list. Though it has the same consistency of peanut butter, it is not made with nuts nor does it taste like peanut butter, but can actually be found on the same isle right next to your favorite peanut butter spread. So go ahead, make a batch and I dare you not to finish the batch before the day is done!

Biscoff Oatmeal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup all purpose flour, plus 2 tablespoons
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter at room temperature
1/2 cup Biscoff Spread
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone mat. In a medium bowl, whisk together the oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the butter, Biscoff Spread, sugar, and brown sugar and beat on medium speed until smooth and creamy. Add the egg and vanilla extract and beat until smooth. Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add the dry ingredients, beating only until blended. Chill the dough 30 minutes in the refrigerator. Form the cookie dough into rounded tablespoons and place them 2 inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cookies are golden and just firm around the edges. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes and then remove with a spatula onto a cooling rack. Enjoy!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Pesto Bacon Grilled Cheese


Talk about a comforting sandwich! Good bread smothered with pesto, topped with bacon and wrapped up in a warm cheese blanket...say no more! In fact while making these for dinner I decided to whip out a couple extra just so that we would have some to eat for lunch the next couple of days. And boy am I glad I did, because one sandwich for dinner was not going to be enough for me! I needed to know that I had another one of these delicious indulgences waiting for me the next day!


Pesto Bacon Grilled Cheese

Ingredients:
sandwich bread, I used sourdough
butter
homemade or premade pesto
bacon, 3 large slices per sandwich
grated mozzarella cheese

Directions:
Cook your bacon until golden and slightly crisp, set aside on a paper towel to drain while you prepare your sandwiches. Lightly spread butter on the outside pieces of your bread. On each of the unbuttered sides of your bread slather a nice helping of pesto. Place a layer of mozzarella cheese down over the pesto, then 3 pieces of bacon on top of the cheese.  Top with an additional layer of grated mozzarella. Place your remaining piece of bread over the cheese with the buttered side up. Heat a large pan over medium heat and cook your sandwich until a gold crust forms on the bread. Turn and repeat on the other side. Serve and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Gooey Oreo Chocolate Cake Bars


I dont know when my obsession with Oreo cookies began but once it started it has not ceased to exist even for a moment.  I don't care how I eat them, dipped in cold milk, hot chocolate, in my ice cream or eaten right out of the package. I know I know Oreos aren't exactly figure friendly or considered a healthy treat but lets be honest...any good treat is gona be a little naughty, right?! Well naughty is exactly what this dessert bar is, and packed full of Oreo cookies...double stuffed to be exact. I found this recipe on Picky Palates amazing food blog and I knew that I had to make it at once!

Gooey Oreo Chocolate Cake Bars
Recipe from Picky Palate

Ingredients:
1 devils food cake mix
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 large egg
1 1/2 cups milk chocolate chips
14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
20 double stuffed Oreo cookies, broken into bite size pieces

Directions:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 inch baking dish with tin foil sprayed with non-stick cooking spray. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl and mix to combine all ingredients. Press mixture into prepared pan and top with broken cookie pieces. Pour sweetened condensed milk over cookies and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool completely. Cut into squares and enjoy!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Candlestick Candy Jars

Turns out after going through what seemed like endless boxes, as Ben and I decided to clean out our garage, I must have been some kind of candle holder collector. I mean I had so many candle holders I couldn't believe my eyes! What to do with all of them?! Oh I know, how bout spray paint them an assortment of colors, glue plastic tupperware containers on top and use them as candy jars!!! 
Turns out thats just what I ended up doing. I happened to order thai food one night for dinner and the food came in these perfectly sized, tall plastic containers with lids that were exactly the diameter of my candlesticks. How perfect was that! So I hot glued each base to the candle holder and filled those puppies with some favorite sweets! They have been a hit ever since!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Easy Crochet Baby Sweater

If you know me you know that I have a bit of a crochet obsession. I own way to much yarn for my own good! I find that it is a very relaxing hobby for me and I have loved creating all kinds of crocheted items. With a new baby on board now I of course had to outfit him with some crocheted sweaters for the cold winter months. This time I am sharing this easy tutorial with you so that you can make your little one a sweater as well!


In fact I went a little crazy and now my baby boy has an entire winters worth of sweaters to wear! And if crocheting isn't your thing, you can always purchase any one of these beauties in my Etsy shop!








Here are the measurements for sizes newborn to 9 months old:
0-3 months: 16 in / 40.5 cm
3-6 months: 17 in/  43cm
6-9 months: 18 in/ 45.5 cm

You will want to use a different size hook for each of the sizes. I would use an H hook for the newborn-3 month size and then just use a size larger hook for each of the larger sizes.


Key:
ch= chain
dc= double crochet
sc= single crochet

Start by chaining 36
Row 1: 1 dc in fourth chain from hook, and in next 3 chs, 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in next 5 chs, 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in next 10 chs, 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in next 5 ch, 3 dc in next ch, 1 dc in last 5 ch, ch 3 and turn work over.

Row 2-5: .Dc in the very first chain and continue until you reach the middle dc of the 3 dc grouping where you will do 3 dc. Repeat, remembering to put your 3 dc into the middle dc of each of the previous 3 dc groupings.
Row 6: Shaping the arm holes. Ch 3, 1 dc in the very first chain and in each chain until you get to the middle dc of the 3 dc grouping, Ch 4, skip to the next middle of the dc of the 3 dc grouping and 1 dc in the middle of the 3 dc grouping. Dc in each chain until you get to the middle dc of the next 3 dc grouping, ch 4, skip to the next middle of the dc of the 3 dc grouping and 1 dc in the middle of the 3 dc grouping. Dc in each of the next chains until you get to the end of that row.

Row 7-15: Ch 3, 1 dc in each chain across row, starting with the very first chain, until you reach row 15, remembering to chain 3 at the end of each row before turning to work on your next row.
Trim: to do a trim around the vertical opening of the sweater edge, ch 1, 1 sc in the ridge, 1 sc in the post, repeat this for the entire row. When you reach the corner ch 1, turn and repeat steps until you reach the bottom corner. 3 sc in corner, ch 1 and 1 sc in each ch around bottom of sweater until you reach opposite corner, 3 sc in corner, ch 1,  1 sc in the next ridge, 1 sc in the next post all the way until you reach the corner of that row, ch 1, turn and 1 sc in each chain until you reach the first sc of the 3 sc grouping in the bottom corner.
Button Holes: Ch 1, turn, sc in each of the next chs until you reach your determined button hole spot and ch 3 and sc in the same chain, 1 sc in the next chs until you reach your next button hole spot and ch 3, sc in the same ch and continue until you have added all of your button holes and have reached the top corner of your sweater. 3 sc in corner ch, ch 1 and 1 sc in each chain around the neck.

Hood: Attach yarn at corner of neck with slip stitch, ch 3, 1 dc in each ch across, ch 3, turn, 1 dc in each chain for 12 more rows. If you would prefer to do a collar instead of a hood you will stop at row 4 and just fold down the collar
Turn sweater inside out and fold sweater over and line up your hood rectangle. Slip stitch each matching chain until you reach the end, ch 1, tie off and sew in your tail.

Arms:
Row 1-9: Start in the middle bottom of the arm opening. Attach your yarn to one of the chains and ch 3, 1 dc in each ch (In the corners where the posts are you will 1 dc into ridge, 1 dc in post, 1 dc in ridge). Continue with one dc into each chain. Write down the number of dc's you made in the first round of your first sleeve so that when you move to the next sleeve you will be sure to have the same amount so that one sleeve is not larger or smaller than the other. When you have a dc in every chain in the first row, slip stitch into the 3rd ch that you started with, ch 3 to go up to your next round and continue to do 1 dc in each chain around and slip stitching into the first ch 3 and repeat for 8 more rounds followed by 2 rows of sc.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Minty Gooey Cake Bars


This last St. Patricks day I was searching for a new dessert that was either literally green or had a minty component to it. And thats about as far as our St. Patricks Day celebration goes in our family. Luckily I have Pinterest in my life and luckily there was a plethora of both green and minty desserts for the making. Thats when I stumbled across a dessert from Picky Palate, whose website is full of delicious food for the making. I read the recipe she had made for Minty Gooey Cake Bars and almost fell out of my seat. Holy decadent!! I almost got a cavity just reading the ingredients. That being said I knew it was going to be a winner of a recipe and one that I HAD to make for our upcoming St. Patricks Day. And of course I had to make it a bit early just to be sure that it was delicious….


Spoiler alert...this recipe is flipping amazing and is being filed away in my go to, need to impress, having a sugar craving, make more than on St. Patricks day file. The plate was devoured in a matter of minutes and not without serving up a big glass of ice cold milk with each bar. Delish!!

Minty Gooey Cake Bars

Ingredients:
1 box yellow cake mix
1stick softened butter
1 large egg
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup Andes mint pieces
1 small can sweetened condensed milk
20 girl scout thin mint cookies, or Grasshopper cookies, broken into pieces

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 inch baking dish with no stick cooking spray. Place cake mix, butter and egg into a large bowl; mix until dough forms. Press dough into bottom of prepared baking dish. Top evenly with chocolate chips and Andes mints. Drizzle sweetened milk over the top and top with broken pieces of mint cookies. 
Bake for 30-35 minutes, until baked through. Immediately after removing from the oven, take a plastic knife around edges of pan to loosen. :et cool completely cool before cutting into squares.


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