The Gingerbread Man Hunt

DSC_0007-3.jpg

 

I love traditions. My husband cracks up at me because if we do something once, and enjoy it, then I make it a tradition to do that same thing every year! It seems like this time of year we have my made up traditions coming out of the woodwork. One tradition that got its start last year in our home, and will continue for as long as I can pull it off with my children, is that of the missing gingerbread man cookie. You may (or may not) recall last year that in this post (It's 2pm...Do You Know Where Your Gingerbread Man is?) I documented the start of this fun tradition. Based on an experience I had and remember vividly from Kindergarten and based on the story about the "run run as fast as you can" gingerbread man, we once again made gingerbread men cookies. In the oven they went... eight at a time. Out of the oven, much to my short attention spanned children's dismay(which in short means that they couldn't sit in front of the oven for the entire baking time), came 7 little gingerbread men. One gingerbread man from each batch got loose, and my kids went on a massive gingerbread man hunt to find them.

gingerbreadman007.jpgIt happened to snow on the day of the gingerbread man adventure and Jacob swore that he saw itsy bitty footprints in the snow, resembling the gingerbread man's footprint. Kelly was convinced that the gingerbread man somehow got flushed down the toilet. Either way, the hunt went on and on for several hours. The kids called Grandma so she could be involved in the hunt, because you never know... the gingerbread men could have easily left our house in Kansas City and make it all the way down to the southern tip of Texas in just a couple of hours. What takes humans two days by car is apparently just a short jaunt for gingerbread men.

Two days later, Kelly found a crumb on the floor that she is confident came from the missing gingerbread man. Her discovery started the hunt all over again! 

What I love about this tradition is the imagination and the sense of wonder that it brings out in my kids. That magic is often dismantled after a few years in elementary school. My goal is to keep it alive as long as possible. Children need and thrive on traditions. My five year old is now at an age where he remembers things we did last year and longs to do them again this year. It is a fun time...a fun age... and a magical moment captured in my memory forever.

If you want to start your own Gingerbread Man tradition, head over to Sandi's blog from the Whistlestop Cafe. In my opinion, she has the best recipe ever for Gingerbread men cookies.

FoodBloggaCookieLogo.jpgThis post is meant to serve as my entry for Susan from Food Blogga's "Eat Christmas Cookies" event. Cookies are flying in from all over the world at Susan's place. Make sure to stop in over there to get some inspiration and then to cook up some goodness of your own. Happy memory making!

 

Posted on Sunday, December 9, 2007 at 12:22AM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments18 Comments

Not a Flop, Flop

bloggerstatic.jpg

 

Flop008.jpg

 

I have to give a HUGE thank you to everyone who has signed up for the adopt a food blogger event. The deadline to participate is today, but if any veteran bloggers out there want to jump in past the deadline, please feel free! We are a little heavy on the newbie side and could use some experienced food bloggers. I won't beg... just hopefully you will consider it!

You know when you have a party of some kind and you get a little nervous that it is going to be a flop? I kind of felt that way about the Adopt a Food Blogger event. I have had the idea brewing in my mind for a bit and did not post about it for fear that people would not be interested. Well, 60+ participants later, I would say it is anything but a flop. Thank you participants! I will have the list of adoptees and their "mentors" up very soon.

I had a Premier Jewelry party for my friend Jennifer last week. I invited quite a few people, but my timing was off because everyone had very good excuses as to why they couldn't come. My two friends Kathy and Julieann showed up... thank you both. Jennifer - I'm sorry the party was such a flop. I enjoyed hanging out with you though, as always, and of course the longer I sat there surrounded by all that great jewelry, the more I wanted to buy!

All this talk of flops and non-flops brings me to one breakfast cake called a flop, but in reality is anything but. Cinnamon Flop is one of my standard go to recipes for breakfast when we have company staying over or a brunch to go to. It is incredibly easy to make and the result is a recipe that everyone who tastes it asks for. If you are fearful of recipe flops, give this non-flop flop a try. It is a flop well worth experiencing!

Cinnamon Flop (from Recipezaar.com)

2 cups flour
1 1/4 cups sugar (add in more for a sweeter taste)
1 1/4 cups milk or half-and-half
1-2 teaspoon vanilla (optional) or almond extract (optional)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 pinch salt
1 large egg (optional)

TOPPING

1/2 cup brown sugar, more if desired
1-2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 cup melted butter
  1. Set oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Prepare a greased 13 x 9-inch baking dish, or two 8 or 9-inch round cake pans (although the batter will seem like it will fit into only one 8 or-inch pan, this flop rises very high and will run over the sides if baked in just one pan).
  3. In a bowl mix the 2 cups flour, 1-1/4 cups white sugar, milk, vanilla or almond extract, baking powder, pinch of salt and egg (if using) until just combined careful not to overmix.
  4. Pour into prepared baking pan/s.
  5. Generously spread dark brown sugar and cinnamon on top.
  6. If desired sprinkle chopped walnuts or pecans over top.
  7. Drizzle melted butter over top.
  8. Bake for 20-25 minutes.

 

 

Posted on Friday, December 7, 2007 at 11:28PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments3 Comments

Perplexed in Blogland

bloggerstatic.jpg

 

The deadline for the Adopt a Blogger event is coming up. Veteran bloggers... we need your help! Sign up to adopt a newbie blogger by this Friday (click on the Adopt a Blogger icon above). Newbies, you can still sign up as well. This will be a lot of fun and a great way to encourage people in the food blogging community to connect! Thanks to the 50+ of you who have already signed up to be adopted or to adopt a blogger! You will be getting your blogging match next week. If you are interested in the HTML code to add the Adopt a Blogger icon on your site, let me know!

DSC_0010.jpg 

It does not take a lot to confuse me...I will readily admit that. Some things in "Blogland" really have me perplexed the past couple of days. Maybe by me posting my open admission of confusion here, someone can help me figure out how to get out of this fog by solving my problems!

#1) What is going on with those of you who use Blogger as your host? I cannot make comments on your blog posts any longer without doing so as anonoymous. Did Blogger change this on purpose, or is it just a glitch in the system while they are making improvements or something? The dropping of the URL field for non-Blogger commenters just seems like a step backwards to me, so maybe I am completely missing something. I noticed something about the blog owner being able to go in and change a setting where users can sign in under an Open-ID. What in the world does that mean? Anyone out there care to help me figure this all out so I can continue commenting on Blogger blogs non-anonoymously?

#2 - For the past couple of months, when I write and then publish a post, I will come back to visit my blog and notice that certain keywords are highlighted and linked back to an Amazon.com product. I have an Amazon associates ID, but did not knowingly set up for the automatic links to take place. I've gone back to the Amazon associate page to try to figure out how to remove the links, but I cannot find that option any where. Anyone out there understand what I am talking about? Do you know how to get those links removed and how to keep them from automatically happening? 

#3) I am really not the only one in the world losing my mind. Head over to my family blog for a funny story and to see what I'm talking about.

For a recipe that is guaranteed not to confuse anyone, take a look below for a (not light) comfort food dish! It is so non-confusing, even I could do it!

Cheesy Ham and Peas Tortellini

Comfort food all the way! The cheesy sauce is zipped up with the flavor of Miracle Whip. With the addition of ham and peas, you have an easy weeknight meal in under 30 minutes.

1 package (19 ounces) frozen cheese tortellini or 1 package dry pasta cheese filled tortellini
1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 cup half and half cream
3 tablespoons Miracle Whip Salad Dressing
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded Romano cheese
12 ounces baked ham, cubed (and heated through)
1 package (10 ounces) frozen peas, cooked
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
 
Cook tortellini according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, combine flour and cream until smooth. Stir in the miracle whip and the cheeses. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. Reduce heat.
 
Drain tortellini; add to the cheese sauce. Stir in the cooked ham, cooked peas and white pepper. Cook for an additional 5 minutes or until heated through. Yield: 4 servings
Posted on Wednesday, December 5, 2007 at 10:40PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments18 Comments

Dinner Party Diaries - The Annual Christmas Party

DSC_0019.jpg

 

I cannot help but think each year our annual Christmas party just gets better and better. Just when I think we can't top the year before, we do.

Our 2007 annual Christmas party was a success with great food, even better friends and lots of laughs! To catch you up, I am turning to my Pamela Barsky Dinner Party Journal to give you the recap. (If you entertain a lot and don't have one of these journals, get one!! They are great!)

DSC_0007-2.jpg 

The Occasion: Our annual holiday party with my original M.O.M.S group

Guests: Sara, Mark H, Kathy, Mark D, Bobby, Joanna, Tina, Dave, Nick and I

Cocktails / Wine: I didn't even keep track this year, but I can tell you I didn't have one bad glass of wine. They were all really good. I now wish I would have kept track!

Menu:  

  • Appetizers - Stuffed mushrooms, shrimp cocktail
  • Main Course - Delicious salad brought by Mark H, Rosemary Clover Leaf Rolls (remember these tasty gems?), My famous Buttered Carrots, Tina's delicious potatoes au gratin, Crab Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli, Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Desserts - Kathy's amazing Red Velvet Cherry Chocolate Torte

Memorable Outfits: Everyone looked great and no one got made fun of like last year :)

Memorable Moments/Conversations (too many to recount all of them!):

  • Well, our oven catching on fire stands out as a big one! Nick was making the second salmon and since the weather was so bad, we had to change plans and he had to make the cedar plank salmon in the oven. He prepped the boards and made the adjustments for the oven vs the grill. As we were eating, Nick all of a sudden flies out of his chair and screams "FIRE!!". Inside our oven was a raging inferno, caused by the cedar plank catching on fire!
  • Every year I pass around questions for all of us to answer. Since we all know each other so well and hang out often, these questions often take us past the basic stuff that we normally talk about. The question about accepting an indecent proposal if it meant you would have enough money to save your child's life sparked quite the debate. We learned a lot about each other with the question of who you would go back and make amends with if you could. The boys had some great answers for if the past year was a food, what food would it be? (Mark - "chili... a bunch of crap thrown in together, but when it is done it is pretty damn good").
  • Who knew that Chuck Norris jokes could be so funny? Apparently, to the guys who had their fill of wine for the night, Chuck Norris jokes are pretty popular. I don't think I have ever seen Mark H laugh so hard! The girls were laughing just as hard watching the guys laugh so hard!
  • Our Dirty Santa Gift exchange is always fun! Poor Joanna got picked on for the guys gift she brought, which wasn't bar equipment or alcohol related. Apparently, there is an unspoken rule among the guys about what to bring and it has to be in one of those two categories!

Embarrassing moments:

Well, the oven catching on fire was a bit embarrassing. It is a good thing I know these people so well or I might have been mortified :)

Next time I will: Do everything the same. It was great! Oh, and per Bobby's request ask the question "If we were all on an island and one of us had to be voted off, who would you choose and why?"

Next time I won't: Have cedar plank salmon in the oven. It was delicious, but it is just a whole heck of a lot easier to do on the grill!

Thank you to Kirsten of Kirsten's Home Cooking Adventures for one of the best crab cake recipes I have ever tried. Here it is for all of you to enjoy. Happy Holidays!

crabcakes001.jpg 

Crab Cakes with Lemon Garlic Aioli:
Crab Cakes:
(makes 4 medium sized cakes, 8 mini cakes, can be doubled)
1 can (8 oz.) premium white lump crab meat, drained (or fresh if you can get it)
2 tbs mayo
1 small egg
1/4 cup finely chopped green onion
1/4 cup finely chopped green pepper
1/2 cup fresh white bread crumbs or crushed crackers such as Keebler Club crackers or Snack Sticks (if using bread crumbs, add salt to the recipe, if using crackers, no added salt needed)
1 tbs Old Bay seasoning
1 tbs fresh chopped parsley
1 garlic clove, mashed into a paste
Fresh lemon juice from 1/2 of a lemon
Flour
2-4 tbs Olive oil
1 tbs butter
 
Directions:
Mix first 10 ingredients together, being careful to not overmix or break up the crab chunks. Dust a sheet pan or piece of tinfoil with flour. Carefully form little patties with the mixture and drop them onto the sheet pan or foil to dust with flour. Don't overhandle as the mixture will be very soft and wet. If the mixture is too wet, add more crumbs, or some flour.
Meanwhile, melt butter into 2 tbs of the olive oil and heat a saute pan to medium-high. Carefully drop cakes into pan with a spatula. Cook on one side until brown and crisp.
(Per Kirsten's suggestion, I seared the crab cakes in the olive oil and butter and then finished them off in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes. Perfection!) 
Turn carefully, cook on the other side until brown and crisp and the inside of the cakes are cooked, about 2-3 minutes per side.
Serve hot, topped with aioli and a few sliced green onions for garnish.
 
Lemon Garlic Aioli:
1/4 cup mayo
2 small (or 1 large) garlic clove, mashed to a paste with salt
Juice from 1/2 lemon
Dash of black pepper
1 tsp Old Bay seasoning, or more if you like
 
Directions:
Mash garlic into a fine paste with the side of a knife on a cutting board, using salt as an abrasive. Mix all ingredients together. Serve with the crab cakes.
 

 

 

Posted on Monday, December 3, 2007 at 10:40AM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments16 Comments | References1 Reference

Grateful in Blogland

bloggerstatic.jpg

 

New bloggers and veteran bloggers...there is still time to sign up for the Adopt-A-Blogger event! Click on the adopt-a-blogger icon above to participate.
 
3Pizza.jpg
It was the summer of 2006 and some of my girlfriends and I were sitting around chatting when the topic of blogging came up. Among the six of us, not a single one of us had ever blogged. We just did not understand the point of blogging, and who has time for silly stuff like that anyway? Fast forward to November 26th, 2006... the day that I wrote my very first blog entry here at Dine and Dish.  I wrote in a post a few days ago about why I initially started the blog. Since that day, my reasons for continuing to blog have stayed the same... to stay connected, to have an outlet to express myself, and for the pure enjoyment of it.
 
I have been amazed over the past year the number of connections I have made through my blog. Some of these connections have lead to non food related paid writing and photography gigs. Some of these connections are long lost family friends who somehow stumbled upon the blog and put two and two together and discovered who I was. Some of these connections have come in the form of new friendships... both online and local.  
 
One example of the greatness of food bloggers comes in the form of "recipe rescue". At one point in time I was looking for a really great pizza crust recipe. Several of you responded with a plethora of tried and true recipes to choose from. Claire was the first to respond, so I gave her recipe a try and have not deviated since (well...until this past weekend when I tried a new recipe simply so I could have something new to post about!)
 
Our annual Christmas party is coming up and I had a crab cake recipe from last months issue of O Magazine all set to make. Thankfully, I did a trial run this past Saturday and discovered that this recipe just didn't work for what I was going for. Blogging friends to the rescue. I sent a 9-1-1 SOS e-mail out to Kate and Kirsten, and received replies from both. My friend Kate is having surgery this week (thinking of you Kate!) so she was not able to help out, but Kirsten responded by sending me exactly the kind of recipe I was looking for.
 
For those of you who have been hesitant to start a blog, don't be. "Blogland" is a wonderful place full of support, tips/ideas,  and great opportunities. I have enjoyed reading back over my Family Blog and reminiscing about the past year... things I probably would not remember had I not captured them in my blog. I go on a ride through past recipes and food related experiences every time I read past posts on the food section of my blog. Each recipe posted brings back memories of the meal surrounding it.
 
I am grateful for the opportunity to share part of my life with you all.
 

Kristen 

 Boboli Pizza Crust Clone (from Recipezaar)

1 cup water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 teaspoons parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon italian seasoning

parmesan cheese, to sprinkle
 
  1. Add all ingredients (except) second parmesan cheese to breadmaker in order listed by your manufacturer.
  2. (put the garlic down inside the flour so it does not slow the yeast) Set breadmaker on dough setting.
  3. When cycle is done, form two crusts on pizza pans, sprinkle with parmesan cheese, cover and let rise again.
  4. Bake 5-10 minutes at 450 F until light brown.
  5. Add toppings (I used cooked chicken with Nando's lemon pepper grinder, peppers, mushrooms and onions plus mozzarella cheese) and place back into oven for approximately 8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
Posted on Tuesday, November 27, 2007 at 02:39PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments23 Comments

Modesty

bloggerstatic.jpg

 

DSC_0011-3.jpg

 

First of all, there are only a few more days to sign up for the "Adopt-a-Blogger" event. Click on the icon above to be directed to that post. We need some more veteran bloggers, so don't be shy and sign up!

My husband and I celebrated our 8 year wedding anniversary last week. We were married on November 19, 1999 and have been going strong ever since. Nick spoils me rotten, is a fantastic husband in each and every way, and is one of the best father's I know. He works extremely hard, is very good at what he does, and is a smart, intelligent, caring, thoughtful man. I am very lucky!

As I was reflecting back on the past 8 years, I started thinking about our marriage and the boundaries that have been set.  There are things I have never done in front of my husband. Some things, I just think, are better left not shared between couples. One of those things is using the bathroom. I have never been one to be able to pee with the door wide open while chatting with others. I can't think of anything more awkward than that! I also do not floss my teeth in front of him and I don't shave my legs / underarms in front of him. I figure that in some situations, a little modesty never hurt anyone. (I know that modesty went completely out the window after my first baby was born and after a very difficult birth, my hubby had to help me and my big, fat, bloated mess, take a shower....I an only hope that memory isn't frozen firmly in his mind!)

Modesty when eating is another thing. Monkey bread, for instance, is not something that you can eat without getting a little enthusiastic about. It is hard not to just pull bite after bite after bite off of the bread and shove it into your mouth...the caramel dripping from your chin and covering your fingers.  In an attempt to bring a little civility to our table Thanksgiving morning, I decided to make dainty, little, Monkey Bread Minis. We could all sit around with our individual monkey bread minis, and eat like modest, civilized human beings...

Yeah, right. These monkey bread minis were perfect and as ooey gooey as it comes. Even though the portions were smaller, it did not prevent us all from getting a little crazy with the monkey bread. Everyone, including myself, had little bits of carmel here and there and pulling apart the minis was just as barbaric as reaching in to grab a piece off a big loaf. 

My husband saw me eat monkey bread and he loves me anyway. Sometimes sharing a little more than normal isn't a bad thing.

Monkey Bread Minis 

3 cans buttermilk biscuits
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 cup margarine
1 cup brown sugar


  1. Cut each biscuit in fourths with scissors.
  2. Shake biscuits in bag with sugar and cinnamon.
  3. Thoroughly pray a muffin tin with non-stick cooking spray
  4. Fill each muffin cup approximately 1/2 full with the dough pieces
  5. Melt margarine and brown sugar and boil 1 minute.
  6. Pour over the dough.
  7. Bake for 10- 15 minutes at 350 degrees. (This may take more or less time. Keep an eye on your monkey bread...you don't want to over cook it!)
  8. For extra gooey monkey bread, double the brown sugar and butter and drizzle over the minis after they have been removed from the oven. (highly recommended!)
  9. Let stand for 2 minutes, then scooping with a spoon, remove from the pan and place on plates or in paper cupcake holders.

Posted on Sunday, November 25, 2007 at 11:33PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments29 Comments

Soup Convert

MushroomSoup.jpg

 

I have never considered myself to be a soup person. Given the option of soup or salad, salad would always be my choice. Soup seemed like a side item...not something that could be used for the main course. Well, I was not a soup person and now I know why. I was not eating the right soups.

Over the years I have been introduced to various soups that have made my monthly menu more than once. I now have, in my repertoire, a great chicken noodle soup, an even better loaded baked potato soup, a delicious chicken chili, and now...the soup that I made last night and could probably happily eat every day for the rest of my life.

The Zippy Chicken Mushroom soup is another winner from the October/November 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine. This soup is hearty enough to star as the main course. The hot sauce and white pepper add just enough zip to give the soup a tiny kick, but not so much that the kids will think it is too spicy.

If you are not a soup person, take it from me... you are not eating the right soups. Give this soup a try and I promise you will be a soup convert.

Recipe modified from the Oct/Nov 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine.

Zippy Chicken Mushroom Soup 

  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1/4 cup each chopped onion, celery and carrot
  • 1 can of whole kernel sweet corn, drained
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 5-1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Pinch dried tarragon
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • 3 cups half-and-half cream
  • 2-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

In a Dutch oven or large stock pot, saute the mushrooms, onion, celery, carrot and corn in butter until tender. Stir in flour until blended. Add the broth and seasonings; mix well. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
Stir in the cream, chicken, parsley, lemon juice and salt; heat through (do not boil). Yield: 11 servings (2-3/4 quarts).

Posted on Saturday, November 24, 2007 at 10:35PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments16 Comments

Inspired by Peabody....Or Not

BananaPuddingPie.jpg

I am so confused. Let me start this story, and then you will understand why...

Yesterday was Thanksgiving and even though it was just my immediate family (hubby and kids...and I STILL felt the need for a Snickers martini at the end of the day) I wanted to do up a big traditional Thanksgiving feast. It seemed only fitting, especially since my five year old kept asking when Thanksgiving was because he "couldn't wait to eat turkey, pumpkin pie and banana cream pie". I could not disappoint him, and frankly, turkey, pumpkin pie and banana pie sounded good to me too!

I set out making our feast, first by making the pies. The first thing I did was to make the pie crust for the banana pie. I could not find my pie weights anywhere, so I called my mom to ask her for an alternative. She was on the phone with my sister, but took enough time to tell me I could use tin foil and rice as pie weights and that would work fine. The problem is...I didn't ask her how much rice to use. Instead of what I later found out should have been a cup of rice, I used about two tablespoons. The result was a very shrunken, mis-shaped pie crust, not capable of containing a banana cream pie.

As I surveyed the mess of my kitchen after only making one thing, and thought about the feast preparing ahead of me, I decided I just did not have it in me to make another pie crust. Tempted to just run up to the store to buy one, my brain flashed back to a blog post I recently read. It was about a deconstructed coconut pie...the pudding and coconut were served in a bowl with a cookie garnish added on top for the crust. Then, I thought...that deconstruced coconut pie was from the great blog "Culinary Concoctions by Peabody." I decided, with Peabody's inspiration, to make my banana cream pie the same way. I used the recipe for banana cream pie to make the pie filling, spooned it into parfait bowls, added some whipped cream and then a slice of my shrunken pie crust as garnish. My family loved it and I avoided going through the process of making yet another pie crust.

This morning as I sat down to write my post, I also remembered that Peabody was having a housewarming party. Since she was my inspiration for the "Banana Cream Pudding with Pie Crust Cookie Garnish" I decided that it was only appropriate to bring this dish to her housewarming party. I cruised on over to her blog to find the deconstructed coconut pie post so I could link back to it and much to my dismay, I couldn't find it anywhere. I searched high and low and it was gone. Had I mistaken the blog that I had read that post on? Apparently so! Good old Google to the rescue. I typed in "Coconut Pie Deconstructed" and was proven wrong. The lovely deconstructed dessert had been posted by none other than Tartelette. As soon as I saw the post, the story behind her deconstructed coconut cream pie came flowing back to me. How could I have mistaken the two?

Either way, thank you ladies for the inspiration and idea. Peabody...welcome to your new home. May your house always be filled with friendship, good food, and loving memories. Cheers! 

Don't forget to adopt a food blogger! 

Posted on Friday, November 23, 2007 at 12:07PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments12 Comments | References1 Reference

Thank Me Later

DSC_0012-3.jpg

First of all, if you haven't already, make sure you head over to my "Adopt a Food Blogger" post and put your self up for adoption or adopt a fellow foodie! Lots of people have signed up, but we are in need of some more veteran bloggers to join us.

Thanksgiving is upon us. This means glorious food, extreme gratitude, and the abundance of family surrounding us. Family that you are thankful for, but by the end of the long Thanksgiving day, you may find to be grating on your nerves.

If your family is at all like mine, we have a lot of personality and with that comes strong personalities that can sometime conflict. With five of us kids total, and each of us living completely different lives, we tend to put the "dys" in dysfunction. I love my family dearly, and would not trade any of my family members for anything, however it is sometimes hard to get through a holiday without a little help. That help, this year, comes in the form of a Snickers martini. When a glass of merlot just will not do, and you need to really relax at the end of a long holiday, follow this recipe for a concoction that will surely put you at ease. Go ahead and give it a try. You can thank me later.


Snickers Martini..WARNING: makes 2 strong martinis

4 parts
Absolut Vodka
1 part Cream Liqueur
2 parts Hazelnut Liqueur
2 parts White Cacao Liqueur

Chill a cocktail glass with ice or in the freezer. Pour absolut vodka, cream liqueur, hazelnut liqueur and white cacao liqueur into a shaker. Fill the shaker with ice cubes and shake it until the shaker is very cold. Empty the cocktail glass from ice and water. Strain the drink into the cocktail glass.

Posted on Wednesday, November 21, 2007 at 10:30PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments7 Comments

A Perfect Start

DSC_0035-1.jpg

First of all, if you haven't already, make sure you head over to my "Adopt a Food Blogger" post and put your self up for adoption or adopt a fellow foodie!

It seems like it has been forever since we have had a weekend with absolutely nothing planned. No football games to go to, no birthday parties to attend, no important social events...nothing! Lazy, do nothing weekends are so rare, but they are so treasured. I love not being in a hurry in the morning to get out the door and go somewhere. I love hanging out in our pajamas and the baby morning breath that lingers until mid-day. (Adults in this house have a different rule... even on lazy pajama days, teeth brushing is required first thing in the morning. Adult morning breath...ICK! Baby morning breath...sweet!).

This morning I woke up and was in a great mood. I was determined to be a great mom and to have a great day with my kids. We started off all snuggled up in bed, which is usually what happens on lazy days. One by one each kid seemed to randomly make their way into our bed, which I love...as long as it isn't 5am. After a bit of snuggle time, we headed downstairs to get breakfast started. I turned the iPod on to my favorite 80's tunes and the kids all gathered around as we started to make Pumpkin Waffles. Kelly stirred the ingredients in, Jacob was the gatherer of ingredients and Ella just kind of hung out observing. We'd stop every once in awhile to dance and sing to a favorite tune or for Kelly to show us her latest fancy footwork. Things couldn't be more perfect.

Of course, all good things must come to an end. Jacob got bored with the cooking and decided to clean out his art cabinet. After about five minutes I looked over and found him knee deep in coloring books and crayons, poured all over the floor. Trying not to let the mess ruin my mood, I decided to let it slide. Then Kelly, being the ever so helpful girl that she is, tried to get the flour out of the pantry by herself, pulling the canister out and in the process knocking over a full bag of bread flour.  Yes...I had an almost entire bag of flour dumped on the floor. Oh, and wait... it gets better. As I was cleaning the enormous amount of flour up off of the floor, I heard Ella getting into something. That something was the egg shells. Yep...Ella was eating the recently cracked open egg shells out of the trash can. Could life not be any more comical?

I was about at the end of my short rope of patience when I looked over at the swelling waffle maker and breathed in the aroma of pumpkin and spices.  The first pumpkin waffle was almost ready. I found this recipe over at the Smitten Kitchen and knew this would be the perfect lazy Saturday morning recipe. I adapted it a little bit...I didn't include the cloves and I added a splash of vanilla. As we set around our kitchen table this morning... my kids, not perfect, but still precious in each and every way, I couldn't help but relax and ignore the mess all over the floor. The oooohh's and ahhhh's over the delicious waffles made all my cares disappear. A lazy Saturday morning, with a few mishaps thrown in, rescued by some of the most delicious waffles I have ever made.

You can find the recipe for the Pumpkin Waffles over at the Smitten Kitchen. The recipe for a perfect Saturday? Throw in these waffles, a free schedule, and an ounce of real life and you will have a wonderful Saturday to remember.  

Posted on Sunday, November 18, 2007 at 12:25AM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments14 Comments | References2 References

Adopt a Food Blogger - A Blogging Event

bloggerstatic.jpg

 

A little under a year ago I started this blog, Dine and Dish. Just a couple of months prior to starting my blog, I clearly remember sitting around with a group of girlfriends and talking about blogging. We just did not get it. "What is the point of blogging?" we asked? I could understand the need for some blogs, like media and corporate blogs, but personal blogs were new to me and I was not sure why just a plain old person would blog.

I do not know what finally got me interested in starting my own blog. My youngest daughter was just about six months old and my parents had lived nearby all summer. When they left to go back to their "winter home" in South Padre, Texas, I decided to start a family blog to keep them informed of life in our world while they were away. Soon after that, a thought crossed my mind to start what was going to be a blog focused on food and entertaining. Hence, Dine and Dish was born and Dishing It Up Family Style became my family blog. 

I remember those first few months of navigating the food blogging world. I remember how excited I was to have the first non-family member comment on my blog. Then, I started getting opportunities to review products from my blog. Fast forward even more and job offers came my way because of the connections I had made through my blog. Friendships have been formed, life has been documented and I am loving every minute of it.

Which brings me to...."Adopt a Food Blogger". At Dine and Dish, I have never hosted an event, and I think that it is time I do so. What I would like to do is have those of us "Veteran" food bloggers adopt a "Newbie" food blogger. A newbie can be anyone who has had their blog up and running for a year or less. If you have had your blog for less than a year, but feel like you are more of a "veteran" blogger, let me know.  Maybe your blog has been inactive for awhile and you'd like to get it started back up again. You can decide if you want to be a veteran or a newbie.

So - what does this require?

  • If you are interested in participating, leave a comment after this post, indicating if you are a "newbie" or a "veteran". Please make sure to include a link to your blog. I will then match up the "newbie's" with a "veteran" blogger. If your blog has a speciality of any kind (vegan, diabetic, cupcakes, etc) let me know and I will attempt to match common interests.
  • Then what?
  1.  The Veteran blogger will put a link to their adopted bloggers blog on their own blog. The newbie will do the same
  2. The Veteran blogger will visit and support the newbie blogger's site on a regular basis. The newbie will do the same.
  3. The Veteran blogger will do at least one post on their blog about their adopted newbie. The newbie will do the same. The post can be about a recipe the blog featured, a promotional post or anything you like...as long as it promotes the blogs in one way or another, that is fine.

The whole idea of this is to encourage new bloggers, support others with like minded interests, and hopefully build friendships within the food blogging community.

If you are interested in participating, leave your comment after this post by no later than Friday, December 7th. I will then go through the adoption process and match everyone up with a partner. You will be notified via e-mail of your partnership.

On a side note, thank you to all who have supported Dine and Dish over the past year. It has been such a pleasure rekindling my passion for writing and my love for food. I look forward to going through the adoption process with you!

Kristen 

Posted on Thursday, November 15, 2007 at 10:48PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments239 Comments | References29 References

Anticipation

DSC_0011-2.jpg

 

I am like a kid around the holidays, especially when it comes to the food. I look forward to the delicious feast of goodies that is usually bountiful this time of year. Pumpkin pie, frosted sugar cookies, delicious rolls, roasted turkey, etc. I love the hearty food of the season. The problem is, I look forward to this food so much that I just cannot take the anticipation. I typically end up making these things before the holidays even arrive and by the time we sit down for our holiday meal, I have already had my fill of it all in the weeks prior.

This year I have had a turkey hankering for quite some time. Instead of waiting to appease my appetite on Thanksgivng day, I have been making turkey, turkey and more turkey.  By the time Thanksgiving gets here, I will most likely be sick of turkey, but you know what? In the meantime we have enjoyed some delicious meals, so different from the traditional roasted turkey, that I may still find room on Thanksgiving day for a little turkey on my plate.

One of my favorites so far is a recipe adapted from the December 2004 issue of Cooking Light magazine. Turkey Cutlets with Smoky Black Bean Sauce was so easy to put together and it gave what can sometimes be bland turkey a whole new life. If you are in the mood for turkey, go ahead and indulge a little early this year. With a recipe like this, it will just leave you wishing for more!

Turkey Cutlets with Smoky Black Bean Sauce

Ingredients

1/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons onion powder
2 cloves minced garlic
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon white wine vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
 Dash of ground red pepper
1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 (14.5-ounce) can diced tomatoes, drained
1/2 teaspoon barbecue smoked seasoning (such as Hickory Liquid Smoke)
2 tablespoons butter
8 (2-ounce) turkey breast cutlets
1/8 teaspoon salt
 Cooking spray

Preparation

Combine first 9 ingredients in a small saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 8 minutes. Stir in smoked seasoning; cook for 2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in butter.

While sauce cooks, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle turkey with 1/8 teaspoon salt. Coat pan with cooking spray. Add turkey to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until done. Serve with sauce.

 

Posted on Wednesday, November 14, 2007 at 10:34AM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments7 Comments

Risk Taker

DSC_0002.jpg

 

I'll admit... I am not a risk taker. Sky diving sounds terrifying to me. Swimming with sharks? No thank you! Stock market day trading? I would probably have a heart attack with all the stress that would cause me. Nope...risk taking is not my thing. My kind of risk and about as adventurous as I get is with recipes. I often risk trying something new in hopes that it will be great.

We were all really hungry tonight. We had a late breakfast and just snacked for lunch. By the time dinner was here, our tummy's were rumbling and everyone was ready to eat something good for dinner. The deal is, I had a new recipe on the menu for tonight. I thought by the ingredients in it that we would like the recipe, but I just wasn't sure. When my family is hungry, putting a yucky meal on the table will get me nothing but scowls and requests for PB&J. Still, being the "risk taker" that I am, I decided to take the chance.

I am so glad I took the plunge and tried this new recipe because this meal received rave reviews. I am sure that it will be on the monthly menu rotation from now on.  If you are feeling risky, try this recipe from the Oct/Nov 2007 issue of Taste of Home magazine. No safety waivers to sign and your lawyer will not have to be present. This is one risk worth taking, and I promise that it will pay off!

Romano Chicken Supreme

  • 6 boneless skinless chicken breast halves (5 ounces each)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 pound fresh mushrooms, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 cup soft bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup grated Romano cheese
  • (I mixed in a cup of cooked peas when it was done baking)
In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, brown chicken on both sides over medium heat. Transfer to a 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking dish coated with cooking spray; sprinkle with salt.
In the same skillet, saute the mushrooms, lemon juice, garlic and basil in butter. Stir in the broth and orange juice; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 2-3 minutes or until heated through. Spoon over chicken; sprinkle with bread crumbs and cheese.
Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned and chicken juices run clear. Yield: 6 servings.

 

Posted on Sunday, November 11, 2007 at 08:16PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments8 Comments

Perfect Match

DSC_0011.jpg

 

You know how there are certain foods that just go together? You could not even fathom having the meal with out it's perfect counterpart? Pizza and a coke is one example. Pizza just does not taste the same with a glass of milk or water accompanying it. Chicken and noodles and mashed potatoes. They just go together, right? If you ask my kids, they would say macaroni and cheese with hot dogs. That is a perfect combination for them. My perfect combo food is a big bowl of hot steaming chili with homemade bread. I cannot have one without the other.

As I have ranted about over the past few months, our life has been incredibly out of control lately. Between my work/family/life schedule and my husbands work/travel schedule we just cannot seem to get our feet planted firmly on the ground and stay in one place long enough to complete a thought. I had chili on the menu for dinner last night. Well, like I said before, the perfect accompaniment to a delicious bowl of chili is homemade bread. The chili just doesn't taste the same without it. At around 4:30pm, I got the ingredients out for the chili and realized...I never made the bread. Things had been hectic, and making bread simply got put on the back burner. Knowing that it was too late in the afternoon to get homemade bread started, I picked up the phone to call my husband to stop somewhere to get a loaf of bakery bread. A thought then crossed my mind. I had visited the Kitchen Parade blog earlier this month and remembered reading a post about dinner rolls that could be on the table in 40 minutes, start to finish.  Skeptical? I was too. In my mind, it couldn't be possible to have homemade yeast rolls that tasted good on the table that quickly, could it?

I set out to try the recipe, which was easy enough. The directions were very straightforward and took absolutely no time to put together. The result of this experience? Fresh, soft, and fluffy yeast rolls that went perfect with my chili! These really were delicious rolls and even the most beginning of bakers could whip these up in no time flat.

Next time you need homemade bread to accompany your perfect dish, give Allana's Weeknight-Easy Rolls a try. You can find the recipe by clicking here.  Enjoy!

Posted on Friday, November 9, 2007 at 01:22PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments11 Comments

Thou Shall Not Covet

ChickenParmesan003.jpg

I heard a story on the news a few weeks ago about a lady who lived without breaking the Ten Commandments for one whole year. She blogged about it and then wrote a book, of course. I cannot find the blog anywhere, but I thought that was an interesting concept. Then I started thinking, how hard really could it be to live without breaking the Ten Commandments? As I started going through the list of commandments, I realized that I would fail right away. I am pretty golden with most of them... I don't kill, I don't steal, I don't cheat on my husband, etc. The one commandment that got me and that I know I am guilty of breaking is "Thou Shall Not Covet". Yep - I am a sinner because right now I am seriously coveting all of you who have an Apple IPhone. I want one.... I really want one. I am not exactly sure why I want one, but I just believe that I need one :) In fact, if it weren't for the jumbo price tag combined with the fact that I am still under contract with Verizon, my spontaneous, impulse purchasing self would probably snatch one up right away. I am convinced that an IPhone would make my life complete. (I am exaggerating here, but it couldn't hurt, could it?). If I could only figure out a way to justify it as a business expense. Don't magazine writers and recruiters need IPhones. I mean, seriously... it seems completely like a necessity for those jobs.

Anyway, enough about my sinning. I really do not like to sin alone, so I have decided to let you all in on my coveting. At first, I was thinking something chocolate. Then, I decided to tempt you with something fried in butter, smothered in cheese and served over pasta. Tempting enough for you?? Sinner...So easy you can sin every night.

Sinfully Delicious Chicken Parmesan

4 boneless skinless chicken breast halves

salt and pepper
1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
1 egg, beaten
4 teaspoons butter
2 cups spaghetti sauce
4 slices mozzarella cheese
1 teaspoon grated parmesan cheese
  1. Pound chicken to flatten.
  2. Salt and pepper to taste.
  3. Dip chicken in egg; then in bread crumbs.
  4. Fry in butter in hot skillet, turning and browning for 10 min or until chicken is done.
  5. Remove from skillet.
  6. To skillet add spaghetti sauce.
  7. Heat thoroughly.
  8. Add chicken.
  9. Place slices of mozzarella on top of chicken.
  10. Sprinkle with parmesan.
  11. Cover and cook until cheese is melted.
  12. Serve with a side of spaghetti.
Posted on Thursday, November 1, 2007 at 07:57PM by Registered CommenterKristen | Comments21 Comments