Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Blood Clot Brew

Tonight we had a primary class Halloween party that rocked this world! We had such a blast and had plenty of candy on hand to fuel our fun!
We made some pretty spooky cupcakes! The kids loved loading the candy onto their cupcakes as you can see and created some wicked monsters!!! (Candy has advanced since I was a child! Now there are bloody gummy body parts and eyeballs! . . .Lucky!)
My favorite . . . well one of my favorite treats of the night, was our Blood Clot Brew! It was so easy to make and so much fun to drink! I was downing glass after glass but my hubby wouldn't touch it! The kids thought that it was pretty cool too. The first sip or two were kinda weird, and I tried not to think about blood clots but then you get that jelly texture in your mouth and . . . yeah it was awesome! My pictures don't do our creations justice! Time flew and so did my chance to take photos . . . Halloween just brings out the kid in me! I love it, love it, love it! I want more Brew! It was so much fun!

Blood Clot Brew
Recipe by: Emily

2 Quarts Fruit Punch or Red Kool-aid
1 1/2 Quarts Sprite or Seven-Up
1 Package Red Jello

1. Prepare the Jello according to package directions. Once it has set use a fork to break it up into little pieces.
2. Combine the Fruit Punch and Sprite in a punch bowl or large pitcher. Carefully pour the mangled jello into the punch mixture. Serve
(This stuff is red so be careful! . . . . It stains!) You could also put a gummy worm or gummy eye ball in each glass for extra festivity! For a little more upper scaled drink use raspberries instead of jello and crush them up a bit! To be extra, extra festive, add a little grape mangled jello for more "realistic" looking blood!
Time Saver: Use the jello snack size cups instead of going through all the work of making it yourself!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Chorizo Stuffed Breakfast "Skinnies"

My hubby loves eggs, he could eat them everyday for probably every meal . . . conflict: I am not a big egg eater, in fact to eat eggs they had better be loaded with veggies or something to take away from the "eggy-ness." So if my hubby wants them more often than not he makes them . . .
One way that I actually enjoy them is by adding chorizo to them and making a breakfast burrito . . . however on Saturday I felt adventurous and added a twist to breakfast when I was REALLY craving skinnies! Okay some people may be thinking "what is this lady talking about!?!" Skinnies are like skinny pancakes! I'd say they are more of a cross between pancakes and crepes actually.
We used to eat skinnies all the time when I was a kid! My mom and my aunt would make them . . . they are the best thing to wake up to in the morning (well next to my hubby) . . . they are easy to make and honestly don't need any filling or syrup, just roll'em up and chow down (maybe that's why they were super appealing to eat growing up!) Actually the addition of a little cream cheese and apricot or strawberry jam is pretty delightful too! I really loved filling them with something a little savory and spicy though! I made so many that we ate them for 3 days straight!
Recipe by Mama P.

1 cup Flour
6 Tbsp Sugar
1 tsp salt
4 Eggs
1 1/3 cups Milk
2 Tbsp Butter, melted

1. Sift together flour, sugar, and salt. Set Aside.
2. Mix eggs and milk. Add to the flour mixture and whisk until lumps are gone. Pour in the melted butter and stir.
3. Heat a 6 or 8 inch skillet over medium heat. (lightly grease if needed) Ladle 1/4 cup batter onto skillet. Swirl the skillet to spread batter out evenly. Cook until lightly browned and roll up. Serve with syrup, jam, or fill with eggs, meat and veggies. Enjoy!

To make them "Chorizo Style" I cooked 1/2 cup chorizo, 4eggs, and 2 Tbsp milk together. Layered a skinny with a mixture of rice and black beans, and chorizo eggs. Top off with sour cream and diced tomatoes. (Shredded cheese, jalapenos, salsa, chilies etc. would also be great to top with!)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mini Pumpkin Mousse Pies

I love anything that has to do with Halloween! I love watching Halloween movies on TV (NOT gory ones or horror), and making food that's spooky and fun! I also LOVE decorating and and putting up cobwebs and creepy spiders, pulling out fall colors and jack-o-lanterns lighting up doorways!
My favorite part of Halloween is seeing what our nieces and nephews are dressing up as and going trick or treating with those that live close. This year we are going to gather as ghosts and ghouls and make caramel apples and I just can't wait! I am going to be major miffed if it snows again before then! I need one more outing before we are stranded in the valley for the winter!!! (I make it sound so dramatic . . . even though I am a Utah girl I still hate driving in the snow!) I made these little pies as a treat for a movie night and for our neighbors who just welcomed a new arrival! They turned out pretty cute and tasted even better!

Pumpkin MousseRecipe by: Emily

1/2 cup canned Pumpkin puree
1 can Sweetened Condensed Milk
8 oz Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 tsp Pumpkin Spice
1 1/2 cups Cool Whip

Mix the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk together with a hand mixer until well incorporated. Add the canned pumpkin and pumpkin pie spice. Once the pumpkin mixture is smooth fold in the cool whip. Pour mousse into a graham cracker pie shell or spoon into cups to create individual servings and refrigerate until well chilled and set, 2-3 hours. Serve with additional whipped cream or ginger snaps! Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Seafood Lasagna

I have to laugh over all of the hype and debate over Twilight. It is definitely different from Jane Eyre, Rainbow Six, The Gideon Trilogy, Night, The Three Musketeers, The Last Juror, (some of my recent reads) etc. but all books vary in the feel that they exhibit and the writing style . . . that is what makes them unique and amazing!
My hubby would definitely not enjoy Pride and Prejudice the way that I do, or think that Great Expectations would be a great afternoon read, but it is okay. We agree to disagree. Okay off of my soap box! (Thank you Prudy for your book enthusiasm! It is equally shared here!) I now want to go and read "The Legend of Sleepy Hollow" again!
I need a good book, I have gone back to my childhood a bit and am now reading a few by Gary Paulson. I remember reading Hatchet many times and being totally enthralled every time. I have read quite a few classics's lately but was miffed by The Three Musketeers. (I honestly prefer the movie!) I am caught up on all of John Grisham's, and Tom Clancy's, and am waiting for the third book in the Gideon Trilogy to come out and upon the recommendation of the kids in my Primary class have read Fablehaven as well (which I really liked). So if anyone has some good reads, let me know . . .
Seafood Lasagna
Recipe by: Emily

2 Cups Peeled and cooked shrimp, cut into bite size pieces
1 1/2 cups Crab meat, cut into bite size pieces (you can use scallops instead or imitation crab)
12 Lasagna Noodles, cook noodles according to package directions
3 1/2 cups Half and Half
3 cups Italian Shredded Cheese blend or Parmesan Cheese
2 Cloves Garlic, minced
1 Small Onion or 1 Leek, chopped (if you use a leek make sure you clean it very well!)
2 tsp butter
2 Tomatoes, sliced or diced

1. Cook the onion in the butter in a medium sauce pan over medium heat until translucent. Add minced garlic and cook for 2 more minutes. Stir in half and half and season with salt and pepper, lower heat and allow to barely simmer, stir in 1 1/2 cups cheese and stir until smooth and melted, add the seafood and turn off heat.
2. Spoon 3 tablespoon of sauce onto bottom of a 9x9 inch pan and spread out. Lay one layer of Lasagna noodles in the bottom of pan overlapping noodle. Spread Half of the seafood mixture over the noodles trying to get mostly the meat rather than the liquid(You need to reserve at least 1/2 cup of the white sauce for the top.)
3.Layer the tomato slices over the seafood, sprinkle with 1/4 cup of cheese and top with another layer of noodles. Spread the remaining seafood mixture over the noodles, sprinkle with more cheese and top with the last noodle layer. Spread the reserved white sauce over the top and sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes until bubbly and browned on top. Allow to sit for 5-10 minutes before serving to set up! Enjoy!

(I love leeks with seafood and tomatoes in this Lasagna! They go so well together!) If you don't feel like making lasagna, just use your favorite pastas (or whatever you have on hand) and mix everything together, sprinkle with cheese, and bake!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Goat cheese, Caramelised Onion and Sun dried Tomato stuffed Pork Loin

Oh Sunday's . . . I love it when I am able to just chill with my hubby or take a Sunday afternoon nap, especially since it is turning cold out and we will be buried in snow before you know it! (Nothing like trudging across campus to class and arriving looking like a wet dog!)
Since I had time to cook this weekend I really wanted to try something out that had some of my favorites in it . . . hence the stuffing for my pork loin! My husband did a double take when he heard that it had goat cheese in it (my Cache valley boy is ironically not a big cheese fan) but he liked it! I also ventured out and made Ina Garten's Butternut Squash Risotto (which is now on my top 10 favorite list!) with a few tiny alterations (no pancetta or saffron and I used pearl rice instead of arborio, which works exactly the same I think!). Holy delight!
Goat Cheese, Caramelised Onion and Sun dried Tomato stuffed Pork Loin
Recipe by: Emily

1 Pork Loin, about 3 lbs, (I cut a large one in half)
4 oz Garlic and Herb Goat Cheese
2 medium Onions, sliced thin
1/2 cup Sun dried Tomatoes
1 tsp Sugar
Olive Oil
1. Caramelise the sliced onions in a large skillet with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1 tsp sugar. Cook over medium low heat until golden brown.
2.While onions are cooking butterfly the pork loin and spread the goat cheese all over it, sprinkle the sun dried tomato's on top and then top with the caramelised onions, salt and pepper.
3. Roll up the pork loin and secure with skewers or toothpicks to keep it rolled tightly. Salt and pepper the outside of the loin. Sear the pork loin in olive oil in the large skillet used to cook the onions in until browned on all sides.
4. Cover the skillet with tin foil or place the pork loin in a roast pan and roast in a 325 degree preheated for about an hour. Check the loin after 45 minutes with a meat thermometer to see when it reaches 170 degrees. Continue roasting if needed.
Once the pork loin reaches 170 degrees remove it from the oven and allow it to rest, covered, for 10-15 minutes. Carve and serve.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Butternut Squash Soup

There is nothing like a hot bowl of soup on a cold snowy day! (Oh Utah, land of summer snow!) I love soup! It is the easiest and most versatile thing in the world to make (I think!). Squash soup is my FAVORITE (!!!) and their is always plenty of it at my house because my husband does not share the same love for it that I do! (Poor guy!) I love roasted squash in just about anything really! I roast a couple and then scrape them out and freeze them and throw a scoop or two into a lot of the things that I make. Squash is LOADED with vitamins and is a great thickening agent in stews, casseroles etc. I am still on my pumpkin seed oil kick so I added a bit on top of my soup and yes it was pure heaven! This soup is just too easy not to make!
Butternut Squash Soup
Recipe by: Emily

1 Butternut Squash, around 2 lbs
4 cups Chicken or Vegetable Stock
2/3 cup Half and Half
2 Tbsp Shallots, minced
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1/2 tsp Thyme
Dash of Red Pepper Flakes

1. Cut the butternut squash in half, scoop out the seeds and drizzle with olive oil then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast the squash in a 350 degree oven for about 35 minutes, or until very tender.
2. Add the minced shallot to a large sauce pan with 1 Tbsp olive oil and saute until tender. Add the chicken stock, thyme, salt, pepper, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a gentle simmer.
3. Scoop out the flesh from the roasted squash and puree in a blender adding some of the chicken broth to make it smooth or add the squash to the stock in the large sauce pan and puree with a hand blender until smooth.
4. Add the half and half, check for seasoning and serve.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Basil Chicken in Coconut-Curry Sauce

Today I found out that I will indeed get to graduate with my Bachelor's Degree in May!!! Wa-hoo! Years of changing majors and taking countless classes (many of which don't even count towards my degree now), taking a break from school to serve a mission and then having to put it off again after an evil case of Mononucleosis (worst experience of my life!!! Always make sure that you get PLENTY of rest!), will finally pay off and I will get to leave school behind and move on in the world! My hubby graduates this fall and is itching like crazy to move and start a family, which I second whole heartedly! Alas I still have a year to go after graduation to get my Secondary Ed. Li censure. But I am loving most of my classes and finally see the light at the end of the tunnel so yes I am a bit excited! I guess in honor of my euphoria we dined on something with a kick to it . . . Basil Chicken with Coconut Curry Sauce. I made this for some friends a couple of months ago and it rocked the house! My hubby LOVES spicy food so this was right up his alley, but you can make it as hot or mild as your heart desires (or can handle!) I LOVE cooking with coconut milk! There is an amazing Thai restaurant in my home town that serves the BEST curry (and Sushi) which we love to hit whenever we can! Onto za chow!
Basil Chicken in Coconut Curry Sauce
Recipe by: Emily

4 Skinless Chicken breast halves
2 tsp Curry Powder
1/2 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Black pepper
1/4 tsp Chili powder
1 Large Red Onion, Chopped
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 fresh Jalapenos, seeded and finely chopped
1 Tbsp Olive Oil
1 13.5 oz can unsweetened Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp Cornstarch
3 Tbsp snipped fresh Basil
1 tsp grated fresh ginger
3 cups hot cooked Rice

1. Cut chicken into 1 inch pieces. Place in a medium bowl. In a small bowl stir together the curry powder, salt, black pepper, and chili powder. Sprinkle spice mixture over chicken, tossing to coat evenly, Cover and chill for 1 to 2 hours to allow spices to penetrate meat.
2. In a large skillet cook and stir onion, garlic, and jalapenos in hot oil over medium high heat for 2 minutes, Remove onion mixture from pan. Add half of the chicken to the pan and cook until no longer pink. Remove chicken and cook remaining chicken in pan, adding more oil if needed.
3.Combine coconut milk and cornstarch. Carefully add to pan. Cook and stir until slightly thickened and bubbly. Return chicken and onion mixture to pan. Stir in basil and ginger. Cook and stir for about 2 minutes more or until heated through. Serve over hot rice.

(I add a little bit of honey and use only 1 jalapeno)

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Butternut Squash, Bacon and Bread Bake (Auflauf)

Okay, so my prediction from Saturday came true . . . this masterpiece was not something that my husband fell to pieces over. Being the amazing man that he is he ate it but I know that it is not on his top 10 list. (The first fall that we were married I made a "harvest casserole" with similar results.) Too bad, because I LOVED it. Poor guy . . . but you have to understand, I LOVE veggies and to cook with veggies, where as my sweet guy is not overly keen on all vegetables, nor is he a big cheese fan . . . but he is trooper and will eat whatever I lay in front of him (pumpkin burgers anyone? . . . okay if you've heard the story you are truly pitying Toph)
But fall has blown in so I am pumped to cook with squash like never before! I have had this recipe brewing in my head for a while and it finally came to life. I have a bottle of pumpkin seed oil from Germany that doesn't get enough use . . . so I was thrilled to use it to toast bread cubes in! Warning . . the oil is green . . . meaning green bread cubes . . . my hubby saw them and said "dear, I think this has fungus" . . . yeah nice . . . (great start babe!).
So using my precious oil commodity I coated my squash in it to roast too . . . hence the dark color on the squash. (I don't know where you can find pumpkin seed oil in the states . . . you can probably order it online . . . it is REALLY GOOD!) I love to use it in squash soup (another delight that I fly solo in enjoying in my home!)
Another favorite ingredient that I use in practically everything it seems is caramelized onions! They add sooooooooo much flavor and are just so Yum-E! To appease my carnivore hubby I added bacon too.
So cooking away I was excited for everything to come together . . . and to bake it off! (It looked like fall! The deep red crispy bacon, golden squash and my green bread cubes!)
When we sat down to eat I kept thinking "my mom would love this!" Given it doesn't look per say like the most appealing dish to dive into . . . but I promise that it did not disappoint! (Thanks again Toph for your patience and support with yet another one of my cooking creations! Your reward . . . more Auflauf! ;)
Butternut Squash, Bacon and Bread Bake (Auflauf)
Recipe by: Emily

1 Butternut Squash
1 loaf Crusty bread, (about 6 cups) cubed into bite size pieces(I used sourdough)
2 medium Onions, sliced thin
8 Strips Bacon, cooked crisp and chopped
1 Quart Half & Half or cream
1 cup Shredded Cheese (I used Swiss)
2 tsp Sugar
1/8 tsp nutmeg
Pumpkin Seed Oil or Olive Oil

1. Cut the squash in half and remove seeds, lightly coat squash with oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for about an hour or until fork tender. Once squash is done remove from the shell and cube into bite size pieces.
2. While squash is baking, toast bread cubes in oil over medium heat in a frying pan until golden brown. Set Aside.
3. Add the onions and sugar to a frying pan and cook over medium-low heat for about 25 minutes or until caramelized. Add the half & half, salt, pepper, and nutmeg and simmer for about 5 minutes.
4. Combine the cubed roasted squash, bacon, 1/2 cup cheese, bread cubes and onion mixture together and pour into a large baking dish. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and bake at 350 for about 20 minutes. Serve hot.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Cucumber and Crab Salad Bites

Last night I was poling my husband on what he wanted to eat for our "General Conference Buffet." Today of course was the Saturday session and we decided to just do a variety of things to munch on . . . his requests: fruit, shrimp cheese ball, and pigs in a blanket, my choices: Cucumber and Crab Salad bites, banana bread.
I was given 14 very ripe bananas this week so I have been planning to make banana bread all week, so I guess that was already set in motion, but the Cucumber and Crab Salad bites are a new invention! (and a new FAVORITE!)
Cucumber, crab, avocado and tomato go together so well! I love the crisp coolness of the cuc's, the sweetness of the crab, the creaminess of the avocado and the acidity of the tomato combined to form one perfect bite! (I can see my sister Julie thinking "oh gross cucumber's . . . Jule's you can eliminate the cuc's and serve this salad on toastettes or crackers, or simply as a dip!)
Having gorged on our little lunch buffet I am already getting excited for what I am making tomorrow (we'll see if the hubs shares the same sentiments . . . onto the goods . . .
Cucumber and Crab Salad Bites
Recipe by: Emily

2 Cucumbers, striped and sliced 1/4 inch thick
8 oz Crab flakes (I used imitation crab, you can use the real deal if you want to)
1 medium tomato, seeded and diced
1/2 Avocado, diced
1 Tbsp Mayonnaise
1 Tbsp Sour Cream
1/2-1 tsp Horseradish
4 strips Bacon, crisped and crumbled (optional)

Lay the cucumber slices out flat on a platter. Mix the diced crab, avocado, tomato, mayo, sour cream, salt, and pepper together. Place a heaping teaspoon of the crab salad onto each cucumber slice. Sprinkle the bites on top with crumbled bacon if desired. Refrigerate until serving. Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Caked out! Happy Birthday Blondie!

My little Sister is turning 20 today (!!! . . . whatever, your a baby still Blondie! . . . she's the only blond in the fam . . . hence Blondie . . . moving on . . . ) So I happily volunteered to make her a cake . . . I have been up since 7:30 baking and decorating but I am pretty darn happy with the end result!!!
Today was a good example of the mishaps that occur when I make cakes . . . oh the things that we learn! Lesson 1 . . . just because it sounds/looks easy in a cake book does not mean that it will be easy to make! But every experience teaches us something so today I learned much!
Lesson 2 . . . working with melting chocolate leaves me and everything in my kitchen chocolate coated . . . Lesson 3, cans of air now have a lovely bitter taste added to them to prevent people from huffing (did not know that) hence when I was being brilliant and following the example of the food network chefs utilizing canned air to cool my chocolate . . . I was actually flavoring it with a lovely bitter taste! Thank heavens I didn't do all of the chocolate at once . . . but a few people may not love the taste of the dark chocolate on their butterflies! (By the way the can did say it is safe if you ingest it . . . but utterly nasty tasting! Calm down . . . I got rid of most of it! ;)
I couldn't find anything in my kitchen either so, innovative me used a mixing bowl instead of my turn table to decorate the cake on . . . and I used gummy bears under the butterfly wings to give them lift since everything else I placed under them moved and made wings flat!
The cake turned out super yum-e! (thanks everyone for your brilliant ideas!) I used a chocolate bundt cake recipe that had chocolate chips, sour cream and pudding in it for both the cake and the cupcakes. They turned out moist, a bit denser than box mix cupcakes and just a delight! We'll see what the birthday girl thinks about her cake! Alright I am off to de-chocolatize myself! Happy Birthday Ami! (Love you lady!)
Oop and here is the Birthday girl herself . . . wearing the kickin' scarf we gave her! Hot pink fits her personality! Look at those baby blues too! Ami you are awesome! It was a great party!