Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Holiday Wish List

Just a few things that have caught my eye this year:

A Lodge Logic Reversible Griddle

A Cuisinart Immersion Blender

Keurig B70 Platinum Brewer (we have one of the first Keurig Brewers, which was fine when it was just me drinking coffee, but the Hubby has recently began drinking three to four cups per day . . . and my water reservoir is too small for both of us.)
Keurig® Platinum Plus Brewing System

KitchenAid Food Processor

Lodge Logic Dutch Oven

Samsung Galaxy Note 10.1

So, what is catching your eye this season?
Happy Holidays all!!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Non-Stick Pizza?

Do you make pizzas, even frozen pizzas, at home?

Have you sprayed you pizza pans with non-stick spray before putting the pie on it?

Or is it just me? Figures.

Well, I have and the spray seems to make the crust brown too much.

So I took a twist on what the pizza parlor down the street from where I grew up (and I'm pretty sure most do) do to keep their fresh pies from sticking.  Corn Meal!!  Well, in my house polenta, because I have a ton on hand and I'm the only one who likes polenta, grits or other corn meal-esque meals.

The corn meal keeps them from sticking, without affecting the crust in a negative fashion.  And it makes cleaning up so easy!  I just brush the leftover corn meal into my compost bucket, soap the pan up, rinse and set upside down on my oven rack to air dry!

And an aside, this also works with doughy dishes like my buffalo chicken roll, etc.

Oh, you should also use the ugliest seasoned pizza pans in the county! :)

Monday, July 2, 2012

Fruit infused water . .

I've been making some changed in my diet . . . mostly just moving closer to vegetarian/vegan . . .
I was a vegetarian for 10 years, then in 2001 after I had my gall bladder out my surgeon advised me to add 2 to 3 servings of lean chicken per week to get me enough protein so I could heal.  I couldn't handle more than 12 grams of fat per day for at least 9 months post op.

Any who, for the last six months, I have been down to one soda per day max.
Last week, I cut out all soda.  I've been on a fruit infused water kick . . . watermelon & lime, mixed berries, granny smith apple (not very strong, but it is there!) and clementine.

I was chopping up fruit last night and decided to try putting the mango pit in a Mason jar and cover with cool water. I can never get all of the pulp off of the stone. After I put it in the jar, I scraped the dickens out of it with the back of a fork.

I let it sit overnight, remove the stone. Top off with more water and refrigerate . . .

Or, if you are anxious to get one going, like I was for my watermelon one this morning.

Fill a water bottle with Ice and pour the mixture over it. Cap and enjoy!  Refrigerate any remaining amount.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Two Fridays ago, my hubby and I had our eye appointments.  Neither of us had had new glasses in many, many moons.  For him it was ~5 years, for me it was more like 7.  Ok, my frames were 7 years old and so was one of my lenses, but I had 1 lens swapped out 6 years ago.  Since then. my prescription hadn't changed and my glasses were in fairly good shape.
I snagged a copy of my prescription and went online for sunglasses.  I had had a coupon for that would make them $25, plus $10 in shipping.  It had expired.  I had read several reviews online and seen videos on YouTube reviewing their service.  When I went to purchase said glasses, they were like $70 with shipping.  I just couldn't justify spending that without a little research.
I found some glowing reviews from  so I went to check them out.  I immediately found a pair I liked.   Shipping was reasonable, $5.95 USPS Priority and there was a coupon code for 10% off.  Total Shipped was $50
They come with UVA/UVB & Scratch Resistant coating and Resin Lenses.  I have a pretty heft prescription (-2.50 (with prism for astigmatism) and -4.50) and I elected not to get polycarbonate.  Would they have been lighter, yeah, but you can't tell how thick they are since they blend in rather well with the frames.  Since they aren't for full time wear, I don't mind!

The glasses come with an adjustment screwdriver for your keychain, a microfiber cleaning cloth, microfiber bag and hard clamshell case.
Please note that I have not been paid or offered merchandise by
Nor am I affiliated with them in anyway!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Roasted Red Peppers

I cannot remember where I saw a tutorial on how to roast red peppers.  Obviously, it was a cooking show, but I cannot remember if it was the Food Network or PBS . . . I've been doing it for over ten years.  I've learned a few tricks along the way.
Roasted Red Peppers (well, you can pretty much use the same technique to roast ANY pepper) are great on sandwiched, in pasta sauce, blended in with pesto . . . the list goes on and on!
The summer before I got married we had a HUGE garden! Nom!  I was cooking down tomatoes and roasting peppers all summer . . . saving the best ones for our wedding feast! Chicken scallopini and lasagna with homemade sauce, including roasted red peppers.

This is an awesome way to use sad, soft, wilting peppers.  They can be stored in a jar, covered with olive oil, in the fridge and/or frozen.  This week, I found some huge red peppers on sale at Chuppa's for $0.99 a lb.  They were a little soft, but perfect for roasting!
Wash them, Cut in half and remove pith by pinching it away from the flesh. Rinse the inside of the peppers with cool water.
There were a couple of really firm chunks that I diced up for hubby's salad and as a snack for me!  I <3 sweet red peppers!
You can easily roast peppers on the grill, in the oven under the broiler or [as I chose to do this week] in the toaster over under the broiler.
Roasting evenly can be tricky. I have found the best way is to cut them into chunks so the flattest surface is level with the broiler element/flame.

You want the skins to get blackened, this allows the steam to separate the skin from the flesh.
 Getting there . . . . I found that if I stopped staring at them, I wasn't nearly as bored.

Perfect!  Now, carefully remove them from the oven and plop them in a ziploc bag to sweat.
If you do it like I did, it will take several rounds, just keep adding peppers, zipping the bag shut in between.  Sweating them allows them to cool and the skin loosens.
The skin should easily push away with a slip between your thumb and forefinger.
Perfecto!!!  Now, if you're gonna use them right away, slice them up and put them in your pan, food processor, etc.  I didn't have a use for them right away, so I put them in a Mason jar and topped it off with olive oil.  The oil gets a nice smoky flavor.  You can pour some out and dip bread in it . . . or whatever else tickles your fancy!  Just remember to top the jar off.
I peeled about half of them, but found the middle to still be really warm.  So I sealed the bag back up and spread the chunks out in the bag (gallon size for the 3+ lbs I roasted last night) and set it on the counter to finish cooling off.
I saw a recipe on Pinterest for Grilled Goat Cheese, spinach and avocado sandwiches . . . I'm gonna add a little roasted red pepper too!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Mamma Chia!

I am not new to the benefits of Chia Seeds, I've recently switched from Ground Flaxseed to Chia in my smoothies . . . . but ever since I read Chia Lookin' Swell over at Crunchy Betty (Subscribe, she rocks and is very humorous!) whenever I look at one I giggle . . . *fairy eyes*
My mom has had me using them from six months.  They are a complete protein source (read: brain food!) and a balanced ratio of Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids. Which my inflamed body can always use!
Which I had not read before I started adding them to our morning oatmeal . . .but really helps explain my 10 year old stepson's reaction to them.  Of course, he didn't notice that I had been adding them to his oatmeal for at least a week. 

I had to run to the East side of town today for an account, so I stopped at Pet People for rat food.  Our rats are picky, they refuse to eat anything but Oxbow Regal Rat Food. I've tried, they choose to redecorate with any other food. I think if it would fit through the bars of their cage, they would throw anything else back at me.  Seriously, they are awesome pets!  They will be a year old in a couple of weeks!

Whenever I stop there, I park in between Pet People and Whole Foods and hit two birds with one stone. (Which reminds me, I forgot to grab more Chia Seeds!  Oops!)

Anywho, I grabbed a snack for on the way home. Cut fresh mango and a bottle of Mamma Chia. I decided on the Coconut Mango! Yum!!!  Click Here for a Coupon

It is a juice drink, lightly sweetened with agave and it has a serving of Chia Seeds in it. It is delicious! However, it was also $3. Yipes!

It got me to thinking that I can make something very similar, using stuff I regularly keep on hand.
So, I washed the bottle out and put a tablespoon of Chia Seeds in it. Added about 4 ounces of Lakewood Organic Tart Cherry Juice, a teaspoon of raw honey and topped off the 10 Ounce Bottle with filtered water.
If you've heard the Buzz about Tart Cherry Juice from Dr. Oz. Tart Cherry Juice is a good source of melatonin.  When I can find them, I buy bags of frozen tart cherries and make a smoothie with them and a scoop of vanilla whey protein powder.  Since I need to take my immunosuppressants with food, this helps protect my tummy and helps me sleep.

Anyway, my DIY Chia Drink was delicious!
When I'm on the West Side tomorrow, I'll stop at  Earth Fare and see if they have Organic Tart Cherry Concentrate.  So I can mix up my own, as $4.50 a bottle is a bit steep . . .
I'll take a pic of my drink tomorrow and Pin it!
Sweet Dreams Folks! Let me know how you like this drink. Or if you have any other recipes!  I'd love to hear . . . This would probably be really good with Tamarind Nectar (If anyone knows of a brand WITHOUT high fructose corn syrup, PLEASE let me know!) . . . .a la Agua Fresca  . . . yum!

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Finally A Calculator that I can use on Standardized tests . . .

So, as you know, I am a full time student at Cleveland State University.
Last year (2010-2011) I was taking classes at Cuyahoga Community College.  One of my classes required a TI-84, which is a great calculator, but since it is programmable it is not approved for standardized tests.  I recall, in high school, when we needed a TI-81, we learned really early on that you could store info in it . . . Portable cheat sheet . . .

I have ordered several calculators this semester, trying to find one that did everything I needed, but was standardized test approved.  Finally I found a winner, the TI 36X Pro . . . .

This baby even has a quadratic function . . . which saves a LOT of potential error and TIME!
So, please learn from my disdain!  This calculator does all of the basic functions of a TI-84 and then some!  And, at Amazon, it is Prime eligible! 
I highly recommend a Prime Student account to any and all students . . .Free shipping, during special events free 1 day or 2 day shipping, Streaming Video online (ours goes through our Blu-ray Player), all for one annual fee . . . (No, I don't get anything for that recommendation, I'm just trying to save you some fundage!  ;) )
With all of these calculators, once I am done with them, my stepson will be ready for them . . .

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Easter Eggs . . . .

Have you ever had farm fresh eggs?
They are my absolute favorite . . .
In honor of the holiday, I made eggs for my hubby yesterday morning (he adores farm fresh eggs), as a classmate had brought a few dozen in to share.

Now, the eggs you buy at the store have been washed prior to packaging. 

However, farm fresh eggs are usually just wiped off, so as not to disturb the bloom (a protective coating on the egg shell).   That doesn't mean you should wash your fresh eggs before you refrigerate them.  Just wash them with cool water and soap right before use.

 One thing you will notice about your eggs is that the yolks will be a brilliant yellow-orange.  They whites will also be less runny.
 This egg was from my classmates' "Easter Egg" Chicken.  Instead of a white shell, it has a bluish tint!  I thought it was perfect for this weekend!
If you have never had farm fresh eggs, I highly recommend them!  Check out this post from Simple Bites about how to find fresh eggs in your area!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buffalo Sauce

A friend asked me to write down my "Buffalo Sauce" recipe for her.

So, I thought I'd share it with all of you as well. Warning, it isn't for those on a "low fat" or "low sodium" diet . . . . which is probably why I only make it on special occasions. It's super easy.
Here's what you'll need:
1 to 1 1/2 cups (or to taste) Hot Pepper Sauce (Frank's or Red Devil work well)
4 Tbsp Butter (Unsalted if you like)
2 to 3 Tbsp Blue Cheese Crumbles
Ground White Pepper, to taste.

Now, if you don't like Blue Cheese, hear me out . . . You really cannot taste it, but it provides a fuller flavor.  My husband adores this sauce, but if I am out of Blue Cheese, "It's Missing something!"  He's not a blue cheese kinda guy!

Melt Butter on low.

Add Pepper Sauce. Stir.

Add Blue Cheese, stirring until thoroughly melted and combined. Dang it!  I forgot to take a pic before stirring.  Can you see how it looks creamier?

Add White Pepper.

Allow to simmer on low for about 10 minutes to let the flavors meld.

Voila!  It takes about 30 minutes and you can make buffalo wings in the comfort of your own home.

You can put this in a jar and store it in the fridge.

Obviously, you can toss wings in it.
More often, I place boneless/skinless Chicken in a Baking dish, cover with sauce and bake until cooked through.
It is also great to make "loaded fries" with . . .

Oven bake fries, place on a platter, layer with shredded cheese (cheddar) and drizzle with Buffalo Sauce. Garnish with green onions if you choose. Serve with a side of Blue cheese dressing. Great for a Super Bowl Party!

Friday, March 9, 2012

Would you help my friend . . . .

If you are on Facebook, please check out the following:
"We're trying to win a contest that will help us pay for the rest of our wedding. Anyone that has ever had to pay for anything for a wedding let alone a wedding themselves should know what I mean. This should be the link:

If it doesn't bring you to the "Share your love" contest please log on to Facebook and go to David's Bridal:

Then click on the tab that says "VOTE NOW: Share Your Love. We are on page 150 with the name Jessica. You can vote once daily.

Sharing this amongst your friends would be much appreciated also!"
I am helping Jessica by making customized accents for her wedding:
Card Box:
Guest Book:
Thanks in advance folks! 

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Storing the other half of that large onion . . . .

If you're like me, you don't always use the whole large onion in the same recipe. So what to do?
You could put it in a ziploc bag and place it back in the fridge, where it may get lost and turn into a creepy, gooey, bluish mass . . . Tupperware made these cool containers specifically for this purpose that my mom has.  It hangs below the shelf of your fridge, where you can see it!

I don't have room in my tiny kitchen for extra containers (appliances, etc) with only one use.

I decided to use an idea for making smoothies, etc that I saw on Pinterest a while back. I popped the onion that I was going to use into a mason jar,, placed my blender base on it and blended.

 I chose to puree it . . . it is going in soup and I didn't have time to sautee it this morning.
You could easily use a larger, small mouthed jar and chop it with your blender.

I flipped it over, wiped the rim, placed and lid & ring on top and set it in the fridge for later this week.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sponge Sanitation

A month or so ago, my beloved dishwasher died . . . or at least its $500+ control panel did.  It has now been re-purposed as an extra large drying rack.
Since all of our dishes are now washed by hand, we have the lovely task of keeping kitchen sponges clean and stink free.
Previously, prior to my dishwasher dying, I would throw one on the dishwasher with each cycle.  Rotating, so one was always fresh.

Now that I no longer have that luxury, at the end of every wash session I throw one in the microwave for a minute and thirty seconds.  Making sure that it is thoroughly saturated and slightly soapy.  If it is too dry, it will burn . . . alas, I know this from experience.

My mom turned me on to this technique when I was in college. Circa 1997/1998, when the only way we had to clean our dishes wash the teeny tiny sink in our dorm room.  The first time my roommates and I tried this, the sponge was not wet enough, it was winter and our 6th floor dorm room (on the side of a mountain) wreaked of "burn sponge" (so did the rest of the floor .. . . oops).  We had the windows open for a few days, only closing them at night.

Another plus to this is, once you've nuked the sponge and let it cool for a minute or two, you can also use it to scrub the inside of the microwave.  The steam will have softened any particles or over flow. . . .

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Homemade Mac n Cheese

Sorry I am a day late!
I was running late, so I purchased pre-shredded cheese . . . it simply melts quicker . . .
Start pasta water, salted, about the same time that you start melting butter.

4 Tbsp of butter
 Melt butter on low heat

Add 4 Tbsp of Unbleached white flour
Stir, allow the flour to absorb the butter.  You will need to keep it warm on low. (If you add too much flour, your sauce will be kinda grainy). Stir until clumped up. Grab a whisk and your milk.

Add 3 cups of milk. Whisk milk and roux (your flour and butter mixture), until smooth and milk steams slightly.

Add 4 to 5 cups of shredded cheese, 1 cup at a time, whisking as it melts.  About halfway through 1 to 2 tsp (to taste) of brown mustard, ground pepper.  Wait until cheese sauce is finished to salt, as your cheeses may be saltier than others.

Drain pasta when cooked and return to larger pot.  Pour Sauce over.  Note: The "shaped" pastas tend to hold cheese better.
Fold over with wide spoon or spatula.

At this point, you can choose to bake it in a cast iron dutch oven or serve.
Plate, salt to taste. Enjoy!

Enjoy this perfect "Fat Tuesday" dish!  
Since it is so calorically dense, this is a special occasion dish that I make once or twice a year.