Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Almost apple pie time!!!

As all you girls know, we've been talking apple pie's all day today. I was telling Jenn that this apple peeler from LLBean is AWSOME!! Such a great thing to have especally if you like to make apple pies. It cuts down the peeling time by so much. This peels, slices and cores all in one swift move. Very well worth getting. I use it all season long.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Michelle's August Recipe - Citrus Spritzers

It is the end of August and I need to complete my recipe for this month. Once I saw this recipe in the new Everyday Food magazine I knew I was going to make it.

Citrus Spritzers
serves 8
2 cups fresh orange juice (from 6 oranges), strained
1/2 cup fresh lemon juice (from 2-3 lemons), strained
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (from 2 limes), strained
2/3 cup superfine sugar
4 cups seltzer or club soda
1 ounce vodka per serving (optional)
orange, lemon or lime slices, for garnish (optional)

In a large pitcher, combine juices and sugar; stir well to dissolve sugar. When ready to serve, add seltzer; stir gently to combine. Serve over crushed ice; add vodka (if using), and garnish with citrus slices, if desired.

Review: I thought it was good but I didn't do it completely the Martha way...I didn't use fresh OJ and just used what I had in the frig. I also made a mistake and added the seltzer in with the juice and sugar so it wasn't as fizzy as it could have been. I liked the taste of it but next time I would make simple syrup instead of using the superfine sugar and make it a tiny bit sweeter. Also the color of my didn't come out the same color that is in the mag but that could just be because of something else.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Razzberry...Get Razzed!

My son drinks milk like it is going out of style. We go through 2-3 gallons a be fair we also put it in our coffee and Mike uses a bunch for cereal in the morning. I had to make an after dinner run to the supermarket to pick up another gallon for the A.M. breakfast time. I went to a supermarket that I normally don't shop at because of the time. So I couldn't help myself but walk up and down the aisle. Partly because I was out with out baby and with Mike at home watching. I think it was Heidi that I told her I really love going to me weird but I just can't get enough of them.

At the end of one of the aisles there it was a display with M&M's....I noticed a pink bag and thought hmmm what is that for. Then I saw it say limited edition and RAZZBERRY. Of course I had to buy a couple of bags to try it out.

Review: You really can taste the raspberry and it is a really nice taste. They are however a little bit sweet and feel like I need a glass of milk with them. The M&M's themselves are bigger just like when they put out Ogre size for the movie Shrek. I would by these again and hope they come out with more flavors in the future.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Garden Fresh Tomatoes

When we moved into our house the previous owners had a veggie garden. They didn't plant anything this year because they knew they were moving but my next door neighbor had extra tomato plants and planted them in the veggies garden for us. They are ripe and I have been picking a couple every few days.

So far we enjoyed them in a Tomato and Mozzarella salad, on grilled cheese burgers, and tonight I picked 2 and roasted them.

My inspiration for doing this is because I got my new Everyday Foods mag last week and there is a recipe in there for Garlic-Roasted Tomatoes.

Garlic-Roasted Tomatoes
serves 8
prep time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes

4 large beefsteak tomatoes (about 3 lbs), cored and halved crosswise
2 tablespoons butter, cut into 8 thin slices
4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
coarse salt and ground pepper

Preheat oven to 400. Place tomato halves, cut side up, on a large rimmed baking sheet. Dividing evenly, top with butter and garlic; season with salt and pepper. Bake tomatoes until tender, 40 to 45 minutes.

My Review: OH MY GOD!!! Not only did my house smell amazing from the garlic roasting in the oven but the tomatoes actually tasted very yummy. I really don't like raw tomatoes which was one reason I wanted to try this recipe. I told Heidi and Karen if it doesn't taste good at least it made my house smell good. To my surprise it came out great and I enjoyed the taste very much. I can't wait to make this recipe again!

Zucchini Brownies

Ok, so I am not in anyway trying to steal Michelle's thunder for finding this recipe/blog... - but as I was making dinner last night, I thought, "hey! this recipe seems really easy, why don't I give it a try?!" I had this huge zuke in the fridge from a farmer's market I had stopped at a week before. I also decided not to tell Rocco about the "secret ingredient," because I didn't want him to judge it before he tasted it. I have to say that I was a bit reluctant at first to taste it.

So before I give my review, a few notes about when I was making it. First, I had a 1.5' long zuke that I only needed maybe 6 inches of (it was 3 inches in diameter) to make the 2 cups of shredded zuke called for in the recipe. I also peeled it (although the recipe didn't say one way or the other). I used the metal 4-sided grater with the "medium-size" holes to grate it - was very easy and I tried to avoid the seeds, which wasn't a problem at there was so much zucchini!

The other thing of note, was that the batter was extremely dry once it was all mixed together and I was worried that the blogger forgot milk or some liquid to make it moist. I put it in the oven anyhow - figured it was too late to turn around at that point!

Review: Ok, first and foremost, let me say that it is probably one of the best brownies I have ever had! LOL I can't believe I am typing or saying that! It was really tasty. Not dry at all (despite how it looked going into the pan) - very moist and you don't taste zucchini at all. Rocco was totally surprised when I told him what the secret ingredient was. The frosting is perfect for this brownie. I don't think it necessarily looks like the nicest brownie, but that's probably why the frosting is put on top. So, if you can get over the fact that there is zucchini in it, you will be in for a truly tasty dessert treat! ENJOY!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip

Hot Artichoke Spinach Dip
( *****

Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Ready In: 45 Minutes
Yields: 16 servings"Three cheeses bring their distinctive flavors to this rich, delicious hot artichoke dip!"

1 (14 ounce) can artichoke hearts, drained
1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1/3 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
In a blender or food processor, place artichoke hearts, Romano cheese, Parmesan cheese and garlic . Pulse until chopped, but not ground. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix together spinach, heavy cream, sour cream and mozzarella cheese. Stir in artichoke mixture. Spoon into prepared baking dish.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until cheese is melted and bubbly.

This recipe is featured within our 'Allrecipes cookbook'. If you would like to learn more, please click

Nutrition facts (per serving)
Calories (kcal) 86
Protein 4.5g
Cals from Protein 20%
Total Fat 6g
Cals from Fat 61%
Carbohydrates 4.1g
Cals from Carbohydrates 18%
Fiber 1.4g
Cholesterol 19mg
Sodium 253mg

Review: My grandmother made this for a recent party and wow-oh-wow was it good! I haven't tried it myself yet - maybe for the next Girls Weekend!

I was up at our summer house in upstate Ny this past weekend and one thing you have to do when your there is cook s'mores. I thought I'd share some of the pictures I took of us cooking them =). When I was in Girl Scouts we compromised on how to make them. Instead of using gram crackers and hershey bars we used these cookies. I accually like s'mores better this way. Try this next time your sitting around a bon fire.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Crumb Cake Yum

This past weekend my husband and I were invited to go up to our friend's house in Shinhopple, NY. Since there was a number of people going I decide to try the Crumb Cake recipe someone gave me at my bridal shower. I figure it was something that people could eat for breakfast or to take a little here, a little there when they wanted it. I think it was a big hit. I saw people munching on it all weekend.

Crumb Cake

1 box of yellow cake mix, prepared as directed
3 sticks of butter or margarine
3 1/4 cups of flour
1 cup of sugar
2 tbsp cinnamon
confectionery sugar

Prepare the yellow cake mix as direct. Bake in a 13 x 9 greased pan for 22 minutes at 350 . Mean while prepare crumbs.
Melt the 3 sticks of butter. Sift together the flour, sugar and cinnamon. Blend into melted butter. After cake has baked for 22 minutes (make sure the top of the cake is firm) sprinkle the crumbs on top and bake another 15 minutes until toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool completely and sift confectionery sugar on top.

My review of this recipe: It was super easy to make took and took no time at all. It's also great for any occasion. Next time I might try making it as cupcakes.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Restaurant Review: Aroma Osteria

This past Sunday was my 6 year wedding anniversary. Mike and I always celebrate with going out to dinner but we always like to go to a new restaurant each time. Since we just moved up to the Hudson Valley area we were totally excited to try a restaurant up there. For those of you who don't know the Culinary Institute of America is located in this you know there has to be some really good places to eat up here.

Our first choice was of course to try out one the of restaurants at the CIA but you need to make reservation like 2 months if not more in advance which we didn't do. Mike got some really good recommendation from a sales guy he works with...if he doesn't know a good place then what kind of sales guy is know what I mean.

So we went to Aroma Osteria in Wappingers Falls which was REALLY REALLY good. It is on the pricey side so this is a strictly special occasion place for us. They have an excellent wine list with varying prices. The only thing that I was a little disappointed with was the dessert selection (I always save room for dessert). Overall we would be very happy to go back to this restaurant and can't wait to try another restaurant they own called Il Barilotto which seems a little bit lower key but still looks nice from the website.

I said to Mike the next place we go out for dinner and they have Carpaccio on the menu I am getting it. I love the show Top Chef and they are always making I had to see what it was all about. I had for an appetizer Carpaccio Di Manzo Tartufato which is: Thinly Sliced Rare Beef With Arugula, Parmigiano Reggiano & White Truffle Aiioli. This was my favorite part of the meal.

Friday, August 10, 2007

My new toy...

A few months ago I bought a cookie scoop (1 tablespoon size) because I was always wondering about them. If it was worth the money buying a scoop to make drop cookies or would doing it by hand be OK. Let me tell you it was awesome using it. Not only did the cookie come out pretty much uniform but my fingers were not covered in cookie dough like they usually get when I make drop cookies. I just made these cookies while my son was taking his not having my fingers covered in cookie dough is good in case he got up and I need to get him.

I think I might have to go out and buy the next size up because this one is great for small cookies but I think I would like them to be a little bit bigger the next time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Spinach & Articoke dip

I had my family over for dinner last night and I made this spinach and articoke dip. All I can say is is sooooo good!! Eric, Kevin and I almost finished it off before the rest of my family arrived. The last ones to arrive lost out on having any... ( sorry Rusty and snooze, you lose ;) ). I highly recommend trying this next time you have a need for a hot dip. Its very easy, only takes about 10 mins prep time..and 20 mins to cook.

1 can (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained, finely chopped
1 pkg. (10 oz.) frozen chopped spinach, thawed, drained
3/4 cup KRAFT 100% Grated Parmesan Cheese
3/4 cup KRAFT Mayo Light Mayonnaise
1/2 cup KRAFT 2% Milk Shredded Reduced Fat Mozzarella Cheese
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Mix all ingredients until well blended.
SPOON into 9-inch pie plate or quiche dish.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through. Serve with TRISCUIT Reduced Fat Crackers and assorted cut-up fresh vegetables.

Monday, August 6, 2007

The Grill

Mike got a grill as a graduation present/home warming present from my parents. He won't let me touch it yet (don't worry I will one day) but I have prepared some really good meals for it. The latest and instant family favorite is Chicken Fajitas.
I got this recipe out of The Weber Gas Grill Cookbook which came with the grill.

Chicken Fajitas
For Marinade:
1/4 cup olive oil
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice (juice from 1 lime)
2 Tbsp red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp finely chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
1/2 tsp dried oregano leaves
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/8 tsp ground cumin

6 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves
1 red onion, cut into 1/2" slices
4 plum tomatoes, cut into 1/2" slices
1 red or yellow bell pepper, stem and seeds removed and cut into quarters
6 large flour tortillas
1 avocado, slice

To make the marinade:
In a shallow, non-metal container combine the marinade ingredients. Add chicken to the marinade, turning to coat each side. Cover and refrigerate for 4 hours, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken breast from the marinade and discard the marinade. Grill the chicken breast and vegetables over direct medium heat until the meat is no longer pink and vegetables are tender.
Review: This was by far the best Fajitas I have ever prepared at home. I didn't make all the veggies listed about just regular onion and peppers. Mike said that it tasted just like what you get at a restaurant. He was telling everyone about them and how HE wants to make them for everyone. Can't wait to make this recipe again!!


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