Archive | August, 2012

Yogurt Popsicles

27 Aug

Popsicles.

Let me tell you, popsicles are sometimes the perfect treat. When you crave something sweet, but not overly so. When you want something cold but are perhaps feeling too lazy (not sure that’s actually possible) to scoop ice cream/frozen yogurt. You want to feel like it’s summer at all times of the year. The list can go on and on.

Back-story: I was shopping at one of my favorite kitchen-y stores (Kitchen Window in Uptown…check it out…it will change your life…and your wallet’s size) shopping for a gift for a friend of mine. As I was perusing the aisles, these popsicle molds jumped into my hands. I swear it.

I came home, all excited about my popsicle molds and then realized…I had no popsicle ‘recipe’ in mind to make. This lasted a few weeks until I found this on pinterest. Success! Unfortunately our fridge/freezer took this particular day to stop working properly. The first round of popsicles never froze and I was stuck using a spoon to eat my semi-cold yogurt concoction. Recommendation – use a freezer that works. Who would have thought, right? I was determined to give them another try though and I can vouch that with a properly cold environment, you’ll have yourself some legitimate and tasty popsicles.

Here we go – three ingredients and some cold temperatures will result in a delicious treat you could legitimately eat for breakfast, a snack OR dessert. (Plus it’s fairly healthy!)Seriously, such a genius idea – thanks to Joylicious for this great recipe!

Ingredients (makes 6-8):

  • 12-16 oz. Greek yogurt, plain or vanilla ( I used a little less than 16 oz. to fill my 6 molds, but you may need more or less depending on the size/amount of your molds)
  • 1/2 cup raw honey
  • 1 cup mixed berries (Fresh or frozen)

Other items you need:

  • Popsicle molds (Hopefully there still available in stores! I would imagine Target, Costco or even Walgreens would have these.)

How to Make:

This is super simple – so it would be a great one to do if you have small people running around. Seeing the popsicles go into the freezer as liquid and come out as wonderfully solid deliciousness would be a fun experience for any kid. Or if you’re 23. Or 49. There’s no age limit on the glory of popsicles.

Mix together your yogurt and honey…

 

…then gently fold in the berries and ensure they’re not stuck together if you choose the frozen route.

Grab your popsicle molds and pour in your mixture. Some of my bigger berries were easier to push into the mold after I filled it up with the yogurt/honey mixture.

Once all the molds are full, wipe off any excess drips from overflowing, put the tops/bottoms (…is it the top? Or the bottom? Riddle me that.) and put these babies into the freezer. Give them about 3-4 hours, or have them in there overnight.

Aren’t they cute all locked together?

When you take the popsicles out of the molds, be gentle! You may have to warm up the mold a bit with your hands and twist a little with the handle, but it should come out pretty easily.

And look at how pretty this is.

Dig in and enjoy!

Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce

20 Aug

 

Can I just say that peanut sauce is one of theeeee best things. Ever. Of all time. YUM.

I had never made peanut sauce before, just thoroughly enjoyed it at restaurants or at friends’ houses. But I was intrigued and also desperately wanted to give it a try. When I came across this pin on pinterest, I knew it was meant to be, baby!

Beef.

Peanut Sauce.

HEAVEN.

Ugh, SO GOOD.

Ok, so Spoon Fork Bacon is a blog I’ve featured before and they have some of the best recipes I’ve tried. Truly. They have unique ingredients but simple steps and the resulting food is just AWESOME. Highly encourage you to go and check out their blog and give ANY of their recipes a go. You won’t be disappointed!

I didn’t tweak their ingredients at all, so trust in their ingredient list. I did!

Ingredients: Serves 3-4

(Don’t be intimidated…this seems like a long list, and it is, but the receipe is super, super, super simple. Take a deep breath. Read on.)

Meat:

  • 1 lb boneless and trimmed New York strip steak, cut into ½ to 1 inch cubes

Satay Marinade:

  • 1/3 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 stalk lemongrass, chopped (You’ll find this by the other fresh herbs…took me a bit of wandering to find it)
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 1 tablespoon peeled and diced baby ginger
  • 1 tablespoon turmeric
  • 1/4 teaspoon curry powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Spicy Peanut Sauce:

  • 1/3 cup reserved marinade
  • 1/4 cup dry roasted peanuts
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1 lime, zested and juiced
  • 1-3 Thai chiles, seeded (If you can’t find Thai chiles, just find a different pepper that falls in your ‘spice’ tolerance. If you’re clueless, Google. That’s what I do!)
  • 1 garlic clove, chopped
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced

Garnish:

  • Chopped dry roasted peanuts
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Items You Need:

  • 7-8 bamboo skewers, soaked in water for 30 minutes (Don’t skip this step! This ensures your skewers don’t go up in flames.)

How to Make:

Ok, now if you haven’t run away in terror after reading the ingredient list, I’m going to show you how easy this is to make.

Once you’ve chopped up that New York strip, toss the meat into a large bowl. Season it up with some salt and pepper and set it to the side for the time being. I forgot to photograph this step. Whoops.

Now that looooonnnggg list for the marinade? Put ALL those things into a blender or food processor. Don’t freak out. It’s not the prettiest image. I fully understand.

And put your finger on blend. Hold that button until the whole thing looks smooth. *Warning –  ignore the color (blame the peanuts)  and just close your eyes, dip in a finger [with the blender/food processor UNPLUGGED] and give the marinade a try. SO GOOD, right? Now you just wait for the peanut sauce.

Take 1/3 of this mixture and save it for that peanut sauce.

The rest you can pour over your cubed beef. Toss the beef with the marinade so everything is evenly coated. Now, set those marinating beef cubes in the fridge for about 4 hours. You want nicely saturated meat, so be patient!

While you’re killing time and trying to not think about the delectable meat taunting you from the refrigerator, we’re going to make some peanut sauce.

You know that looooooonggg list for the peanut sauce? Put ALL of THOSE things into your blender or food processor.

Blend away until this looks smooth and a fairly similar to the marinade in color and consistency.

Give the sauce a try and I challenge you to not make a verbal comment after. I think mine was something like “HOLY CRAP”. Something like that. Maybe a bit more colorful. I don’t recall, I was in peanut sauce heaven.

Now don’t eat up all the peanut sauce before you’ve grilled your meat. You may be tempted to do so. Not worth it. Even with a spatula like that.

Patience, people.

Once your meat has fully marinated for the 4 hours (or close to that if you’re not willing to wait that long), skewer about 5-6 cubes of the beef onto each bamboo skewer.

Now, the Spoon Fork Bacon instructions – “Place a grill pan over medium-high heat. Pour oil into pan and grill skewers for 2 minutes, on each side. Repeat until all skewers have been grilled.”

I do not own a grill pan and have -5 on the grilling abilities scale. However, I came up with a process that worked. I just grilled them up on the stove top in a big pan with oil, turning them as instructed – every 2 minutes. But if you own a grill pan, I bet that route works even better.

Once your skewers are all done, place them on folks’ plates or on a big serving platter. Scatter some chopped dry roasted peanuts and chopped green onions over the top of the skewers and drizzle some peanut sauce all over as well. Admire how fantastic this looks while wiping that little bit of drool off your face. Yeah, we all know it’s there. No judgment.

Pour your peanut sauce into a serving dish (a ramekin works real well however mine was wedged in the dishwasher) and top it with some additional chopped dry roasted peanuts.

Serve this up and be prepared for people to be amazed with your skills. Only you’ll know it didn’t take much skill…just that index finger pushing the ‘blend’ button. But shhhhh, they don’t need to know that. 😉

Tomato, Basil & Mozzarella “TBM” Salad

12 Aug

Now, I’m not fully sure “TBM” is a real name for a salad. To be honest, it reminds me of “TPM” from Hoover Elementary. (Time…Place…Manner. Duh. Completely unrelated. Sorry.)

TBM = Tomato…Basil…Mozzarella. The main ingredients in a reasonably simple salad that I never thought about making before I stumbled upon the recipe here. Just another fantastic food blog that I’ve added to my reading library. You should too – Savory Sweet Life. Look it up. (Or click the link.)

This is a GREAT summer salad but it could also be enjoyed in our other three seasons. Fresh basil is the key.

Trust me.

Ingredients:

  • 1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved (I like a mix of red and yellow – more colorful.)
  • 8 ounces fresh “mini” mozzarella pearls (These work better and are much prettier next to the cherry tomatoes.)
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 18 basil leaves, chopped (Go fresh!)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper

How to Make:

This is a hard recipe. Roll up your sleeves. Put on a sweatband. Whatever revs you up.

Ok, ok you caught me. This is probably the easiest recipe on the planet. And you know I don’t exaggerate. Ever.

(Only sometimes.)

Chop the tomatoes….

 

Toss ’em in a bowl…

Drain the mozzarella pearls…maybe eat a few, just to test them out. Then throw ’em in the bowl too…

Roll your basil leaves into a long cylinder…

slice it up…


…throw it in your bowl.

Pour in the olive oil…

Sprinkle in the S&P…

 

Mix it all up.

Drum roll………………………..(it’s a long roll)……

You’re done!

Painless.

This truly is the simplest salad ever but it looks gorgeous and it goes with just about any main dish you can imagine. It’s even a great snack if you’re looking for a little something that falls more in the healthy category and it’s not quite meal time.

Had it with some steak and grilled corn recently. Highly recommend.

I hope you give this one a go – and please let me know if/when you do! I always love your comments and likes if there’s a recipe/post you really enjoy!

Scrapbooked Letters

5 Aug

This post is bringing in more of the ‘buttons’ part of the blog, a piece I fully admit I’ve been slightly neglecting. I do more cooking than crafting in a normal week so perhaps that’s why the ratio of cooking to crafting isn’t very even.

Regardless, this post is for all you out there that have the crafty urge every now and then and perhaps don’t know what to make. This would be great to do with your initials or even just the first letter of your first or last name.

Maybe it’s the curse of being in a sorority, but we crafted letters all the time. Most every room in the house had a girl’s name on the wall or maybe just a big A X O on a shelf (I was in Alpha Chi Omega for those who aren’t as familiar with the Greek alphabet.) At one point a had a big B E T S Y going down one wall decorated with, what else, buttons. Like I said, perhaps it was a silly sorority girl thing, but I think we had more fun making the letters than really seeing them up on the wall.

(And no, I don’t still have my name spelled out my wall.)

SO, my friend Andrea, whom we recently celebrated at her bachelorette party (where we ate these tasty meatballs), was the one who came up with the idea for this craft. She wanted to make a “MR & MRS” to have up at the head table during her wedding this coming September. I’m not sure yet if she plans to hang these from the table or have them standing upright. Either way, they’ll look great!

You don’t need a whole lot to craft these and you may already have some of the materials.

Materials:

  • Wooden letters
  • Scrapbook paper or any other type of paper you’d like to use (it should be thick though!)
  • Sharp scissors
  • Double-sided adhesive tape (this is the kind we used – really worked!)
  • Modge Podge
  • Pencil
  • Acrylic paint in the colors you’d like to use
  • Foam paintbrush

How to Make:

First decide what paper you’d like to use for which letters. Andrea’s plan was to use one type of paper for the M and R of the MR, a different paper for the M, R and S for the MRS and a different paper for the ampersand in between.

For us, we had a one of the scrapbooks papers that was clear. Thus we needed to paint the letters first, before putting the paper on. She also wanted the edges of all the letters painted. If you’re in the same boat, you’ll want to do any of your painting first.

Here’s the S for the MRS drying:

After the letters have dried enough for you to pick them and touch them (make sure they’re not too tacky) you need to trace the letters onto the appropriate paper. Andrea wanted both sides of the letters to have paper on them, so we traced paper for both sides of all of the letters. You could also chose to paint the backs or perhaps leave them bare. The latter would be if you’re planning on putting them up on a shelf or a wall where no ones sees the back.

If you squint, you’ll see a large ampersand traced in the photo below.

After you’ve traced all the letters, carefully cut them all out. Try to cut inside the lines so you don’t have any pen/pencil marks on the paper. I’d recommend using a pencil so you can easily erase any marks still visible on the paper.

Now time to put the paper on the letters…

Now, this step depends on which type of paper you’re using. If the paper is clear at all, you’ll want to use the double-sided adhesive to adhere the paper to the wooden letters. Or, if your paper is completely opaque, you can use Modge Podge underneath and then again as a top coat on top of the paper. We used both methods with the MRS letters having the clear paper and the ampersand and the MR letters having opaque paper.

That’s all there is to it! And depending on your smoothing-out abilities, the paper should look great on the letters with very few air bubbles. We were amateurs in this skill, so there were a few air bubbles here and there. However, from far away, you can’t see them one bit.

Don’t they look great?!? And the bride-to-be looks pretty great herself!

With a little paint, scrapbook paper, patience and some good company – you too can make some fun letters! I’m considering making a large wooden ‘V’ for our front hallway as my roommate and I both have last names that begin with V. (Really I just want to craft the letter itself, let’s be honest.)

Happy crafting! 🙂

Spicy Turkey Meatballs

1 Aug

Hola friends. I realize I’ve been a very poor blogger this last month. Boo. Hiss. I know.

But the good news is I have a bunch of wonderful posts to share with you over the next few weeks to make up for the slllooowww posting in July.

Do you forgive me?

I hope so.

To make it up to you, I’m sharing a delectable meatball recipe from one of my favs from the Food Network – the Barefoot Contessa. The woman knows her stuff and you just KNOW her recipes will result in a happy stomach.

Backstory to why I decided to make these babies…a few weekends ago, a bunch of my girlfriends and I were celebrating a very good friend of mine – Andrea – at her bachelorette party. We did a fun-filled cabin weekend with the meals divyed up amongst the group. I volunteered to take on Saturday evening (which meant I was going to do as much prep as possible BEFORE Saturday…c’mon…it was a bachelorette party…prep was needed). The decision was to make it simple and tasty – spaghetti and meatballs, salad and garlic bread. I figured with the spaghetti, garlic bread and salad all needing very little prep (I cheated and bought a few pre-mixed bags from the store. I know what you’re thinking. Lazy. Yes I know. But SMART considering) the meatballs could be the star feature.

I searched through my cookbooks, blogs, magazine clippings. I couldn’t find the right meatball. I was getting frustrated. It was also about 8:00 PM the night before I was to depart for bachelorette party madness and I was recipe less. And grocery item less.

Until Ina.

Thank you Ina.

These are in her “How Easy Is That” cookbook and they’re keepers in my book. I modified her recipe a little bit on purpose and a little bit by accident:

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups (1-inch diced) bread cubes crust removed (I kept the crust on because I felt like it. You can go crustless if you’re into that.)
  • 2/3 cup whole milk (Ina suggest whole milk but I just couldn’t do it and have the rest of the container leftover. I’m not into whole milk. Ish. I went 2%.)
  • 2 pounds ground turkey (85-percent to 92-percent lean <— Ina’s suggestion)
  • 1/2 pound sweet Italian pork sausage (Ina recommends the sweet variety but I couldn’t find it, used normal stuff and it was still delicious.)
  • 4 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, finely chopped
  • 1 cup freshly grated aged Asiago cheese
  • 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley (I forgot to get this…oopie…so used dried parsley. It worked.)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons good olive oil, plus extra for brushing the meatballs
  • 2 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten

How to Make:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees first. Prep your sheet pans (with either Pam or parchment paper) second. Or reverse that. I won’t tell.

In the mixing process, your first task is to assist your bread into becoming crumbs.

Enter in the FOOD PROCESSOR. The crumb making machine.

 

Wow.

Now take those lovely crumbs and put them and your milk into a small bowl. You’re going to let those two ingredients sit and become one for about 5 minutes. Sounds weird, but trust in Ina. She’s a smart cookie.

Now, in a different bowl that’s more in the ‘big’ category, time to mix up everything.

First, in goes the pork sausage…

Then the ground turkey…

…prosciutto (probably my favorite ingredient in these balls of meat)…

then the bread/milk concoction (after it set for its 5 minutes of course)…

 …Asiago cheese…

…parsley (fresh if you’re with it when you’re grocery shopping, unlike me)…

…oregano…

…red pepper flakes (the wonderful KICK part of the recipe)…

AND finally…1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper.

Admire your lovely mountain of ingredients. Post admiration, mix everything up. I prefer to use my hands for these type of steps (vs. a fork or spatula) because I personally think it gets mixed more thoroughly. You really want the spices to be as evenly mixed as possible too – you’d hate to get one SUPER spicy meatball and one that’s bland. Not cool.

Once you feel like the whole mixture is lightly but thoroughly mixed together, add in the olive oil and the eggs. NOW you can use a fork or spatula to mix those wet ingredients in. Be gentle, but make sure it’s fully mixed. No skimping.

Now, time to make some balls. Ina recommends about 2-inch meatballs. She also suggests you brush the meatballs with olive oil prior to popping them into the oven. I forgot that step. Whoops. BUT you can still have tasty meatballs without it. Trust me!!

Bake these guys for 35 to 40 minutes or, as Ina puts it, “until the tops are browned and the centers are completely cooked.”

Then serve these to a bunch of hungry, sunburned people. At least, that’s what I did.

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