Sunday, January 29, 2012

Kale and Potato Cakes

Last week was really today I rested and relaxed on the couch without feeling guilty!! My hubby even took a little time to watch part of a movie with me. The next two weeks will be just as busy with work and then planning the 3Bs Valentine's day party! I am so excited! We will be making dinner, fun desserts, and decorations. It is a girl's only night so we can be as frilly as we want! Here are the adorable invitations that Emily found for us, LOVE!

I made this dinner for the 3Bs a couple of weeks ago. I was really yummy. Since I loved the Cast Iron Meat Pie from months weeks ago, I was drawn to this recipe for kale and potato cakes.

Kale and Potato Cakes
2 cups Mashed Potatoes (you can make your own or heat up the pre-made frozen ones)
salt and pepper
1 leek
1 bunch of Kale
1/2 pound bacon
2 Tbsp butter

Cook bacon in a cast iron skillet until crisy.
Heat mashed potatoes in a skillet.
Drain bacon and cool, then crumble into pieces.
Slice leek in half lengthwise, then into 1/4 inch slices, crosswise.
Rinse and dry Kale. Tear apart into bite sized pieces. Mix together Kale and leeks with,
Crumbled bacon and...
mashed potatoes and salt and pepper.
Stir together so potatoes are distributed evenly with other ingredients.
Use your hands to pat together potato cakes, sorta like you are making hamburger patties. This recipe made 12 patties.
Drain bacon grease from cast iron skillet. Heat butter in a skillet and add potato cakes to skillet.
Cook for about 6 minutes on each side.

Friday, January 27, 2012

Grape and Yogurt Popsicles

Sooo my camera is not fixed yet, but I did get my CF card back so that I could upload the previous photos that I have taken. I have been so excited to share these Popsicles with you! I have made them twice and they are so delicious! I found the recipe on Pinterest, but I added the toasted almonds, which took them over the top!!

Grape and Yogurt Popsicles

 1 bunch of seedless grapes (your favorite kind)
Unsalted, Toasted, Sliced Almonds
1 cup vanilla Greek Yogurt
lollipop sticks
 Depending on the size of the grapes, thread 4-6 on each lollipop stick.

Place yogurt in a plate and spin each Popsicle in yogurt to cover each grape.

 Spray a tray or plate with cooking spray. Then place the Popsicle on the plate.
 Sprinkle raisins on each Popsicle. I tried to get at least 3-4 raisins on each.
 Sprinkle almonds on each Popsicle.

 Place tray of Popsicles in the freezer for at least 4 hours.
 Enjoy these Popsicles without any guilt!!! YUM!

Here is the Bible verse from last week's study on "Living for Christ's Return" that caught my attention:

1 Thessalonians 5:8
But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for a helmet, the hope of salvation.

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Monday, January 16, 2012

Update and Some Dinner Ideas

So my blogging is being put on a temporary hiatus while my camera is being fixed. I realized after J took it to the shop, that I had not downloaded the pictures that were already on it! Hopefully we will get it back in a few days, and then it will be working again, YAY!

Instead I will point out some of my recipes you should go back and make if you haven't already.
I made the 3Bs Pork Tenderloin with Roasted Garlic Vinaigrette on Friday night and they had a fit over it! 

Last week I was reminded, AGAIN, how much I love my Lime Grilled Chicken with Black Bean Sauce. Oh, it is soo good. And with citrus being in season, it is a perfect time to put it on your menu. 

I have been obsessed with Brussels Sprouts the past few weeks. I love to simply roasted them in the oven with olive oil, salt and pepper. They are crispy on the outside and soft in the middle, yum! I am also thinking about trying Brussels Sprout Chips (like Kale Chips), because my favorite part are the separte leaves that crisp up! Here is a photo of my Brown Butter Brussels Sprouts which are also to die for!

If you didn't know what to have for dinner before, hopefully you have some ideas now! Talk to you soon!

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Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cranberry Onion Chicken

Many of you are glad that college football is over so your husbands can get back to normal. For J, college basketball is King. Especially Duke basketball. J's uncle went to Duke law school and has had the whole family cheering for their basketball team since they were young. I was just watching my exciting season opener of One Tree Hill when I pressed pause to finish off dinner, and BAM...the Duke game is on TV. At least we missed the first half. Truthfully I have to admit, I am ok with J watching TV sometimes since I am on it about 97% of the time...and at least I have Words with Friends while the game is on.

I had a customer tell me about this yummy pantry recipe. It is a great way to get the flavors you love from the holidays without doing all the slave work to get them. You may feel a little burnt out on turkey and dressing right now, but in a month or so when that wears off, here is your solution!

Cranberry Onion Chicken
1 bottle French Dressing
1 can cranberry sauce
1 package onion soup mix
1-2 pound chicken pieces (breasts, legs, thighs)
salt and pepper
Stir together dressing, onion soup mix and cranberry sauce.
Since I was only cooking for J and I, this was wayyyy too much sauce for our few pieces of chicken. I saved half of it in the freezer for the next time I make this meal.
Place chicken in baking dish and season with salt and pepper.
Drizzle sauce over chicken.
Bake on 375 for 40 minutes.
I made a chicken stuffing box mix to serve with the chicken and the sauce, it was delicious!

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Banana's Foster Bread Pudding

Wowzers! This dessert is amazing! My friend Brook, made it for us a few months back. She had no idea that Banana's Foster was my favorite dessert. I have been dreaming about making it every since. But I can't make this for just J and I, it is a production, it needed to wait for others to share in the experience. My father-in-law has a huge sweet tooth, so while we were staying with them over the holidays, I made this for dessert. It was a huge hit, and I continue to dream about it.

Banana's Foster Bread Pudding
Caramel Sauce
2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1 Tbsp of dark rum
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbsp butter
Bread Pudding
1 loaf of brioche or egg bread (I thought this would be heard to find (especially in Odessa), but I found egg bread at Albertson's)
6 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/8 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1 1/2 cups half and half
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp butter
2 Tbsp dark rum
1 Tbsp lemon juice
4 medium ripe banana

Make caramel sauce by heating powdered sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat.
 Once it begins to melt and caramelized on the bottom, stir until all sugar is melted, smooth and a deep amber color.
 The lumps will disappear, trust me!
 Add 1 cup of cream, 1 Tbsp rum and 1/4 tsp of salt.
 Some clumps will form, stir until it is thick and smooth again, about 2 minutes.

 Mix in remaining 1/4 cup of cream.
 Remove from heat and stir in butter.
 Yum! This caramel sauce is incredible. I ate the leftovers with apples. It can be made 1 week ahead of time and chilled then reheated.

For Bread Pudding. Preheat oven to 350.
Cube bread into 3/4 inch pieces.
Spread bread cubes onto a baking sheet, cook for about 7 minutes until beginning to feel dry, but not hard.
Whisk together eggs, sugar and salt.
Bring cream and half and half to a simmer in a medium saucepan.
Chop bananas lengthwise and in half.
Heat brown sugar and butter  in a small saucepan until melted and smooth.

Stir in lemon juice, rum and salt.
Mix in bananas, toss until just coated and heated through, then remove from heat.
This picture is misleading because I did it wrong. Slowly whisk cream mixture into egg mixture, not the other way around. 

Strain custard (Mommasita didn't have a mesh strainer so we used her sifter). 
Stir vanilla into mixture then chill until lukewarm, about 30 minutes.

Butter an 8 x 8 x 2 inch glass dish. (This dish will seem too small, but it is correct.)
Place 1/3 bread cubes in bottom of dish.
Top with 1/2 of the bananas.
Then repeat with 1/3 more bread cubes and then remaining bananas.
Finally top with the remaining 1/3 bread cubes.
Slowly pour custard over all of the bread.
It will run over a little. Allow is to stand, soaking up the custard for at least 30 minutes. Occasionally press down on bread to submerge the bread into the custard.
Place 8x8 inch dish into a 9x13 inch metal baking pan. Add enough water to metal pan so that it comes halfway up the sides of the glass dish. Cover with foil and place in oven for 30 mins. Remove foil from custard then bake for 45 more minutes.
J taking pictures of me making dinner. (Beer Battered Fish with Mandarin Salsa).
Remove custard from water bath and let it sit for 15 minutes before serving. 
This is the hardest part, it smells so good, and you just want to take a big bite out of it!
Serve topped with warm caramel sauce.
I love the leftovers for breakfast, morning after morning! Now when can I make it again???

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