Monday, February 11, 2013

Crafty Valentines Day

Hey guys this was too cute not to share...everyone seems to be on a budget these days and I thought this guy shared some really cute and affordable ideas for your special someone this Valentines Day!

Have a GREAT Monday!!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

My hubby and I have been bunking up all weekend in our cozy little condo in Boston due to a massive blizzard we were struck with on Friday evening. It was a doozey let me tell ya!  We got almost two feet of snow and my poor hubby has been shoveling non stop. Normally, I would help in these situations, but baby dumonstah tires me out pretty quickly, plus I don't think I am supposed to lift anything too heavy...shucks. :/  Therefore, I showed my support at home by baking and cooking to fill his tummy up with some yummy energy food and to please the baby. I baked these cookies last night, they are to diiiieee for. I found the recipe online and the original recipe calls for peanut butter chips which sound amazing, but seeing it wasn't really easy for me to leave the house and go to the store I had to use what I had on hand.  For all you chocolate and cookie lovers, I highly recommend these delish treats!

Morning walk on Saturday...
 those snow covered humps are cars!
1 cup of butter (softened)
1 1/2 cups of sugar
2 eggs ** I learned eggs should be room temperature when baking
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2/3 cups of unsweetened coco powder
3/4 teaspoon of baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt

2 cups of chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees

In medium bowl cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and vanilla. Sift try ingredients together to get out any lumps in separate bowl.  Stir dry ingredients to butter and sugar mixture. Once mixed fold in chocolate chips.

Drop heaping teaspoons of dough onto prepared baking sheet and bake 8-10 minutes. Let cool on wire rack. Then pour a nice glass of cold milk and insert cookies into mouth! Chomp! Chomp!:)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Apparently Baby Dumonster  has a MAJOR sweet tooth because I can't get enough of cookies, cakes, pies (oh my!). I'm not going to lie my sweet tooth was bad before I was prego, but now when I want something sweet I HAVE to have it.  So being fully aware of  this uncontrollable craving I purposely didn't buy any sweets at the grocery thinking that would deter my cravings (duh!). Well I was wrong, because I immediately had a craving after dinner for something sweet.  After 30 seconds of staying strong, I stormed up from my couch and went to my  cookbooks on a mission to find the fastest and easiest thing I could make.  And there staring back at me was my saving grace, an oldie but goodie...Oatmeal Raisin Cookies. Both my mom and I use the same Quaker Oats recipe and they come out perfect every time...enjoy!

Quaker Oats: Vanishing Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

(makes 4 dozen)

1/2 cup (1 stick) plus 6 tbsp butter softened
3/4 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/ teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups of Quaker Oats (quick or old fashioned, uncooked)
1 cup of raisins

1. Heat oven to 350. In large bow, beat butter and sugars (brown and granulated) on medium speed of electric mixer until creamy.
2.Add eggs and vanilla; beat well
3. Add combined flour, baking soda, Cinnamon and salt, mix well.
4. Add oats and raisins; mix well.
5. Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
6. Bake 8-10 minutes or until light golden brown. Cool 1minute on cookie sheets; remove to wire rack and cool completely.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Fried Chicken

I know it has been a "wicked" long time since my last post, but that is due to good reason:

1. I was taking classes finishing up my last semester to obtain my Masters in Elementary Education at UMass Boston

2. A large part of my time during my last semester was devoted to Student Teaching at a local Boston Public School (tear I miss those little munchkins!).

3.Along with student teaching, in the evenings I was also working my sales job.

Phew...I am exhausted thinking about it!  All of these factors contributed to my lack of time and energy to devote to my blog. :( Not only was my energy used up by school, teaching and working but during this time I found out my husband and I are expecting our first child come July. :)  Therefore, I was finding it difficult to find time to write and cook when I was falling asleep on the couch drooling on myself at 7:30 at night. Simple put, I was wiped.

However, I am now 14.5 weeks along in my pregnancy and feeling great! I have finished my Masters program and I am back on my regular schedule of work and devoting time to cooking and uploading recipes to share with you all!

It seemed fitting my first post would be about a pregnancy craving I had the other day...FRIED CHICKEN!!! I served it up with some homemade honey mustard sauce, biscuits and sweet potato fries. This meal not only satisfied my own taste buds, but it satisfied baby Dumonster as well, YUM!

1.5 lbs of skinless boneless chicken tenders
1 egg beaten
1 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of paprika
1 cup of all-purpose flour
1 cup of seasoned bread crumb
1 teaspoon of salt
1 teaspoon of baking powder
1 quart of oil for frying

1. Place chicken strips into a large, resealable plastic bag. In a small bowl mix egg, buttermilk and garlic powder. Pour mixture into bag with chicken. Seal and refrigerate for 2 to 4 hours (this is VERY important, it really kept the chicken moist).

2. In another large, resealable plastic bag, mix together the flour, bread crumbs, salt. paprika and baking powder. Remove chicken from refrigerator and drain, discarding buttermilk mixture. Place chicken in flour mixture bag. Seal and shake to coat.

3. Heat oil in large heavy dutch oven or pot until 375 degrees.

4. Carefully place coated chicken in hot oil (don't over crowd only do a few at a time!). Fry until deep golden brown and juices run clear (about 5 minutes). Drain on paper towels.

**tip I kept the thermometer in the oil, as the temperature dipped after chicken was added**

(I took and slightly altered this recipe from one I found on under Breaded Chicken Fingers)

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Morning Glory Muffins

I had a big accomplishment this morning, I made muffins and they weren't made from a box! Yahoo! Some of you may think I am nuts for being so excited about this, but I am not great at baking and I tend to take shortcuts when I can (especially on a Sunday morning). I woke up craving muffins this morning and when I looked in my pantry and saw I didn't have any pre-made mixes left I reluctantly opened up a favorite recipes book and found the easiest muffin recipe there was. These muffins have grated carrot, Crasins, pecans,banana and cinnamon in them which makes them sweet, spicy and slightly tart. I didn't have all the ingredients from the original recipe so I made notes where I altered it.  These little guys got a thumbs up from the hubby and are a great way to start off a wet and grey Sunday morning.

Morning Glory Muffins (makes 18)

2 C Flour
1C Sugar
2tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp of salt
3 eggs lightly beaten
1C vegetable oil
2 grated carrots
1 apple, peeled grated ( I used mashed up one banana)
1/2 c dried cranberries
1/2 c dried coconut (I didn't use it)
1/2 c choc chip ( I didn't use it)
1/2 pecans chopped
2 tsp vanilla

In large mixing bow, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt (I put through sifter so there are not lumps and mixes well). In  a separate bowl, beat eggs and slowly whisk in oil. Stir in carrots, apple, cranberries, coconut, chocolate chips, pecans and vanilla.  Slowly add this to the flour mixture.  Use ice cream scoop to evenly distribute batter into 18 greased muffin tin. Bake at 325 for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Grown Up Mac & Cheese

In an effort to get all of  us girlfriends together, my friend Kim had a potluck. There were eight girlies who attended and each person brought either an appetizer, entree, side dish, or dessert.  Kim, the gracious host that she is, provided a delicious pineapple Salmon entree. Since I volunteered to provide the other entree, I knew I needed something portable and tasty.  My answer?  Grown Up Mac & Cheese which I found on by Ina Garten.  The minute I saw this recipe I knew I had to try it, Blue Cheese, Gruyere, Cheddar and BACON...YUM! I was ordered by my friends to put this recipe on the blog as it was a huge hit along with the delicious Salmon. I learned Mac & Cheese doesn't have to be from a blue box, but you can make a sophisticated, delightful dish to accompany something as fancy schmancy as Salmon. Cheers!

Ingredients (taken from from Ina Garten recipes) 

Serves 2 (** Double the recipe to serve 4**)

  • 4 ounces thick-sliced bacon (I used  Canadian Bacon)
  • Vegetable oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 2 cups elbow macaroni or cavatappi  (Cava what?? I used elbows...)
  • 1 1/2 cups milk ( I used whole Milk)
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 4 ounces Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 3 ounces extra-sharp Cheddar, grated
  • 2 ounces blue cheese, such as Roquefort, crumbled
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • Pinch nutmeg
BreadCrumbs   (I took the easy route and used store bought bread crumbs :) )
  • 2 slices white sandwich bread, crusts removed 
  • 2 tablespoons freshly chopped basil leaves 


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Place a baking rack on a sheet pan and arrange the bacon in 1 layer on the baking rack. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until the bacon is crisp. Remove the pan carefully from the oven - there will be hot grease in the pan! Transfer the bacon to a plate lined with paper towels and crumble when it is cool enough to handle.

Drizzle oil into a large pot of boiling salted water. Add the macaroni and cook according to the directions on the package, 6 to 8 minutes. Drain well.

Meanwhile, heat the milk in a small saucepan, but don't boil it. Melt the butter in a medium pot and add the flour. Cook over low heat for 2 minutes, stirring with a whisk. While whisking, add the hot milk and cook for a minute or 2 more, until thickened and smooth. Off the heat, add the Gruyere, Cheddar, blue cheese, 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, and nutmeg. Add the cooked macaroni and crumbled bacon and stir well. Pour into 2 individual size gratin dishes.

Place the bread slices in a food processor fitted with a steel blade and pulse until you have coarse crumbs. Add the basil and pulse to combine. Sprinkle the bread crumb mixture over the top of the pasta. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the sauce is bubbly and the macaroni is browned on the top.

I turned away for a split second... I guess Diesel liked it too!

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Clam Spaghetti in White Wine Sauce

So I wanted to go out of my comfort zone and experiment with seafood. I saw that clams were on sale and I thought to myself I was really going to challenge myself.  So I apprehensively picked up a 2 pounds of them, a bottle of dry white wine and some yummy crunchy bread and prepared this delicious dish. I found this recipe in my Giada De Laurentiis Everyday Italian book, it seemed easy enough to do and had some flavorful ingredients. The recipe lived up to its expectations and all enjoyed this light, summer dish.

Spaghetti with Clams  (From Everyday Italian by Giada De Laurentiis)
Serves 4

1 lb of dried spaghetti
1/2 cup EVOO
2 shallots, finely chopped
5 Garlic cloves, finely chopped ( i would even use a press next time)
2 1/2 lbs of Manila clams, scrubbed clean
1/2 cup dry white wine
1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons unsalted butter
Freshly grated zest of 1 lemon

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until tender but still firm to the bite.

Meanwhile, in a large saute pan, heat the oil over medium high flame. When almost smoking, add the shallots and saute until soft. Add garlic and sautee until golden brown and the shallots are translucent.  Add the clams, wine , 2 tablespoons of parsley and 1/2 Teaspoon  each of sea salt and pepper.   Cover and simmer until most of the clams are open (tip from the hubby once they open take them right out!). This takes 4-6 minutes.  If they don't open, discard.   Whisk in butter to thicken the sauce.

Drain spaghetti reserving 1/3 cup of the cooking liquid. Do not rinse spaghetti, this will help the spaghetti to stick to the sauce.  Toss the the spaghetti w/ the clam mixture to coat. Add the cooking liquid  to moisten.

Transfer the pasta to large serving blow. Spring the lemon zest over the pasta. Garnish with the remaining parsley and serve immediately.