Thursday, June 30, 2011

Strawberry and Cream Bars


    There are some things that just scream summertime and these bars and one of them.
    Imagine a soft custard top over the best strawberry ice. YUM. Make them for 4th
    of July or just make them because they are worth it. Either way your friends and
    family will be ever so grateful!!

                                                          Strawberries and Cream Bars

            2 pounds of strawberries, hulled and halved. (6 cups)
            1 1/2 cups sugar
            coarse salt
            7 large egg whites
            2/3 cup cold heavy cream
            1 teaspoon vanilla

            1) In a blender, combine strawberries, 3/4 cup sugar, and a pinch of salt and
            puree until smooth. Pour into a 9 x 13 inch baking dish. Transfer to freezer
            and scrape with a fork every 30 minutes until mixture is thick and slushy,
            2 hours. Smooth top with rubber spatula.
            2) In a large bowl, using an electric hand mixer, beat egg whites on high
            until foamy. With mixer on medium, gradually add 3/4 cup sugar. Increase
            speed to high and beat until stiff, glossy peaks form, 3 minutes. In another
            bowl, beat cream and vanilla on high until stiff peaks form, 1 to 2 minutes.
            With a rubber spatula, gently fold whipped cream into the egg white mixture.
            Pour over strawberry mixture and smooth with rubber spatula. Freeze until
            firm, about 4 hours. Makes 12 bars. Everyday Food.
             If you are looking for another 4th of July treat here is one of my very first
             posts that I ever did here. Enjoy.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Buying Organic

       A couple months ago we started to get our fruits and veggies delivered from local
       farmers. I get so excited the day of delivery. I wanted to see if there was a difference
       in buying local and organic let me tell you it just tastes fresher and better. We
       consume lots of fruits and veggies for juicing, salads and every week night meal.
       Do you buy organic and is it important to you? Is it worth paying more ? CSA

Monday, June 27, 2011

Chicken Tetrazzini

       What can I say about this meal....other than it is pure comfort food and it's so good. It
       is also man approved and my little girl could not get enough of it. What is your go to
       comfort food meal?

                                                             Chicken Tetrazzini

  • 9 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound white mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 large onion, finely chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 cups whole milk, room temperature
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream, room temperature
  • 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 12 ounces linguine
  • 3/4 cup frozen peas
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan
  • 1/4 cup dried Italian-style breadcrumbs


Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Spread 1 tablespoon of butter over a 13 by 9 by 2-inch baking dish. Melt 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil in a deep large nonstick frying pan over medium-high heat. Sprinkle the chicken with 1/2 teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Add the chicken to the hot pan and cook until pale golden and just cooked through, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the chicken to a plate to cool slightly. Coarsely shred the chicken into bite-size pieces and into a large bowl.
Meanwhile, add 1 tablespoon each of butter and oil to the same pan. Add the mushrooms and saute over medium-high heat until the liquid from the mushrooms evaporates and the mushrooms become pale golden, about 12 minutes. Add the onion, garlic, and thyme, and saute until the onion is translucent, about 8 minutes. Add the wine and simmer until it evaporates, about 2 minutes. Transfer the mushroom mixture to the bowl with the chicken.
Melt 3 more tablespoons butter in the same pan over medium-low heat. Add the flour and whisk for 2 minutes. Whisk in the milk, cream, broth, nutmeg, remaining 1 3/4 teaspoons salt, and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper. Increase the heat to high. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer, uncovered, until the sauce thickens slightly, whisking often, about 10 minutes.
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the linguine and cook until it is tender but still firm to the bite, stirring occasionally, about 9 minutes. Drain. Add the linguine, sauce, peas, and parsley to the chicken mixture. Toss until the sauce coats the pasta and the mixture is well blended.
Transfer the pasta mixture to the prepared baking dish. Stir the cheese and breadcrumbs in a small bowl to blend. Sprinkle the cheese mixture over the pasta. Dot with the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter. Bake, uncovered, until golden brown on top and the sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes. Note. I topped with more chicken and cheddar cheese. Giada

Thursday, June 23, 2011

California Roll In A Bowl

      Get your chop sticks ready....You are going to have so much fun eating this. I'm even
      excited for you! Ha. My husband and I ate Sushi every friday night for years. We were
      completely obsessed. It was a good thing!! My 5 year old loves sushi. I've raised her
      well ; ) This is Sushi with out all the hassle. Perfect for entertaining.

                                                  California Roll In A Bowl

      1 avocado, sliced
      1 carrot, julienned
      1 cucumber, julienned
      sesame seeds, toasted
      crab meat, real or imitation
      nori sheets, sliced. "optional"
      2 cups sushi or short grain rice
      2 cups water, plus more for rinsing rice
      3 tablespoons rice vinegar
      2 tablespoons sugar
      1 tablespoon kosher salt

      1) Place rice in mixing bowl and cover with cool water. Swirl the rice in the water,
      pour off and repeat 2 to 3 times until the water is clear.
      2) Place the rice and 2 cups of water into a medium saucepan and place over high
      heat. Bring to a boil, uncovered. Once it begins to boil, Reduce the heat to the lowest
      setting and cover. Cook for 15 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand, covered,
      10 minutes.
      3) Combine the rice vinegar, sugar and salt in a small bowl and heat in the microwave
      for 30 to 45 seconds. Transfer rice to a large bowl and add vinegar mixture. Fold to
      thoroughly combined. Allow time to cool.
      4) Serve in bowls and place toppings on top. Pour soy, mix and enjoy.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Ham and Fig-Jam Sandwiches

       This is my new favorite sandwich. One afternoon I was trying to figure out what I
       wanted for dinner, but I knew that I did not want to cook....It was so gorgeous out
       side and this was the dinner I came up with and it was/is amazing. My new go-to
       meal. These are perfect to wrap up and take on a picnic with a loved one. YUM

                                              Ham and Fig Jam Sandwiches

       Ciabatta rolls, Toasted
       4 slices Black Forest ham - I used Boars Head
       Fresh mozzarella, sliced thick
       a bunch of baby spinach
       Fig jam
       salt and pepper
       olive oil

        Toast your rolls and layer your ingredients. Drizzle with olive oil, salt and pepper.
        Put jam on the one side of the roll. Put together and serve. You will be in bliss.

Monday, June 20, 2011

What's In Your Fridge?

          Is this an episode of Cribs? Ha. My girlfriend Tanya suggested that I do this a few
          weeks ago. She thought it would be nice for you all to look inside my life.
                         I will do a few posts this month inside my home. Fun.

                                        Notice the chilled peanut butter cup on the left side.

                   My fridge always looks like this. Lots of fruits and veggies. Healthy =)

                                                                   Wine Drawer

More Veggies.

                                      My favorite part of the refrigerator...The cheese drawer.

        So there you have it...The inside of my foodie life. My question to you is, What's in
                                                your Fridge? I wanna see or hear about it.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

InSide-Out Lobster Roll

    I grew up in New England and every Summer my family and I would vacation in Maine.
    My dad would always stop at these little lobster houses and get lobster rolls and I -
    would always be a tad jealous? Why you ask? Well, I don't eat any food that has Mayo
    in it. I never have and never will. So, as an adult..You have to be creative and find cool
    ways to eat one of my most beloved foods, LOBSTER. This meal could not be any
    simpler and it's very impressive.

                                                          Lobster Roll Deconstructed

      2 lobsters (1 1/2 pounds each) or 4 lobster tails
      4 tablespoons butter
      1 lemon, juiced
      1/2 loaf of brioche
      fresh tarragon
      lemon wedges
      sea salt

      1) Steam lobsters in a large pot, covered, for 14 minutes. Transfer to plate and let cool.
      Remove meat from shells. Whisk 2 tablespoons melted butter with lemon juice. Toss
      in the meat. Cut the bread into 1 inch cubes, crusts removed. Melt 2 tablespoons
      butter in a medium skillet. Toast bread until golden. Toss with sea salt. Divide on
      meat and bread on 2 plates. Serve with lemon wedges and garnish with tarragon.

     I'm guest posting at one of my favorite blogs
                                                  Come on over and say, hi.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Avocado Feta Salsa

      There is probably a good chance that this summer you will see lots of avocado recipes.
      I just can't consume enough of this healthy goodness! I've been making this recipe for
      years. It's so easy to whip up and there is nothing better than fresh salsa. You will love
      the salty bite of the feta. Enjoy!

                                                         Avocado Feta Salsa

      1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
      2 avocados, peeled, pitted and chopped
      1/4 cup red onion, chopped
      1 garlic clove, minced
      1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
      1 tablespoon olive oil
      2 tablespoons fresh parsley, chopped
      1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
      salt and pepper
      4 to 5 ounces crumbled feta

       1) In a bowl, gently stir in tomatoes , avocados, onion and garlic. Mix in parsley
       and oregano. Gently stir in olive oil and vinegar. Then stir in feta. Cover, and
       chill for 2 to 4 hours.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Weekend Wrap-UP

        This weekend we went to Pasadena and saw the most beautiful tree lined street. The
                                                  picture does not do it justice!!!

                                                      Oinkster in Pasadena, I heart the name.

                                      The most amazing pastrami sandwich...melted in your mouth.

                              I had the pulled pork sandwich and it was better than mine. YUM

                                                Spent lots of time playing with Princesses.

                                                                New chalk is the best!

                                                       I love how she colored her family.

                                                     Enjoyed every last bite of this cannoli.

          We had a very wonderful weekend! Filled with lots of eating, laughing and having
           fun. June Gloom is here and we are excited to see the sun the week. I hope you
           and yours had a great weekend!!

Friday, June 10, 2011

Raspberry Salad

    This time of the year I try and eat salads with every meal. I love salads, especially with
    fruit. What is not to love about this one. Raspberries, Cashews, Kiwi's and a homemade
    dressing. I'm sold and I might be making this, weekly. You can also make cinnamon-
    sugar croutons and take to the next level. Enjoy!

                                                               Raspberry Salad

      6 -7 cups baby spinach
      2 cups fresh raspberries
      3 kiwi's peeled and sliced
      1/2 cup red onion, diced
      a handful of cashews or toasted almonds
      1/4 teaspoon pepper
      3 tablespoons olive oil
      2 tablespoons raspberry vinegar
      3 tablespoons raspberry jam

        1) In a jar with a tight fitted lid, combine the oil, vinegar, jam and pepper, shake well.
        In a large salad bowl, gently combine spinach, 1 cup raspberries, onions, and some of
        the cashews. Top with kiwi, berries, nuts and croutons if you made them. Drizzle -
        with dressing.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Guest Blogger, Marina of Yummy Mummy

Hi Everyone! I am so honored to be invited to do a guest post here on
ValSoCal, one of my very favorite blogs. Thank you, Val, for inviting me.

Now that Summer is here my family has been enjoying picnics at the park with
our friends on Sundays; a favorite Summer tradition. One of my favorite
childhood memories is of roasting marshmallows over a beach bonfire or
campfire and making s'mores. Did you do that too? But what if you want that
warm gooey-marshmallowy-chocolatey goodness without the campfire?
What's a girl to do? Well, not to fret my friend, just whip up a batch of
cute portable Smore's Brownies in jars and tote 'em along to your next
picnic. I think any dessert in a jar is just darling, but if you don't have
any you can of course use a baking pan.

S'mores Brownies in Jars (or pan)
makes about 12 jars

1 1/4 cups (about 10 graham crackers) graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour

1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Combine graham cracker crumbs and butter.
Press into bottoms of jars, ramekins, or a 9 in square baking pan. Bake 7

In a medium bowl, mix together the oil, sugar, and vanilla. Beat in eggs.
Combine flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt; gradually stir into the egg
mixture until well blended. Bake about 15 minutes (for small jars, 25
minutes for a pan), or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Preheat broiler. Top brownies with marshmallows. Broil until marshmallows
brown. Watch closely, it takes just a minute!
 Happy Summer! I would love to see you over at Yummy Mummy where every Friday
this Summer we'll be having a linky party for you to show off anything
you've made!

I'd like to thank Marina...for being my first guest blogger!! She is amazing and has incredible
talent for making food beautiful. I'd like you all to go visit her and show some love. You
will soon be just as addicted to her as I'am!! S'mores Brownies In Jars = Brilliant.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lemon Drop Martini

         This might be my all-time favorite photo of mine. It's classy, chic and amazingly
         delicious. Break out the shaker and enjoy!

                                                      Lemon Drop Martini

         1 1/2  oz good quality vodka
         1/2 oz triple sec
         1 tsp. super fine sugar
         3/4 oz freshly squeezed lemon juice- or more depending on taste

         Mix vodka, triple sec, sugar and lemon juice in a cocktail shaker half filled with
         ice cubes. Shake well to make sure sugar is blended. Pour into a sugar-rimmed
         martini glass and garnish with a twisted lemon peel.

Monday, June 6, 2011

100$ Target Giveaway & My 1st Blogiversary

       Hello my dear friends ~ It's hard to believe that I have been blogging for 1 year today!
       It has been a wonderful journey. There were days when I felt like giving up and there
       were days when I did not feel worthy enough in the blog world. When I first started
       blogging I had no idea what I was doing. This past year I loved watching myself
       evolve. I think I'm a better person. I found out that I have a passion for photography,
       who knew? My passion for food is at an all time high.

         I wanted to thank each and every one of you who have graced my page with your
         presence and have taken a brief moment from your life to visit me. It truly touches
         my heart. I read every comment and am in awe of you all. I love the friendships I
         have gained. That to me is the most rewarding part of it all. The wonderful bonding
         of women!!

         In honor of my blogiversary. I wanted to do a little giveaway to my favorite go to
         store. Target, of course. It's my way of saying THANK YOU.

         You can enter 3 times to win and all you have to do is..........

          1) You must follow my blog to enter.
          2) Follow me on Twitter and Tweet about it.
          3) Mention it on your blog or Facebook.

          Good luck! A winner will be picked one week today by
                       Thank you my sweet Avery for being my hand model.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Hula Kebabs

           If we were to go out to lunch together...I can almost guarantee you that if there was
           pineapple anything on the menu, that's what I would be ordering. I truly can't get
           enough of it in my life. Have you ever had a pineapple burger?? It's divine and I will
           have to post that recipe for you soon. So, making these kebabs was a no brainer. A
           true win, win. Serve it over coconut-pineapple rice and this girl is in heaven.

                                                             Hula Kebabs

           1 kielbasa cut into 1 inch chunks
           half of a pineapple, cut into chunks
           1 green bell pepper, cut into chunks
           2 teaspoons sherry (optional)
           1 teaspoon sesame oil
           1 red onion, cut into chunks
           3 tablespoons soy sauce
           3 to 4 tablespoons brown sugar
           1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
           1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
          1) In a shallow dish, mix soy sauce, brown sugar, sherry, sesame oil, ginger and
          garlic powder. Stir in the kielbasa, pineapple, green pepper and red onion and stir
          until well coated. Cover and marinate for at least 2 hours.
          2) Preheat the grill to med-high heat.
          3) Lightly oil the grill grate. Layer your kielbasa and veggies onto the skewers.
          Grill 15 to 20 or until veggies are tender. A perfect Summer meal.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

       There are very few things from my childhood that I still need on a weekly basis
 other than Peanut Butter Cups. I instantly get transported back to the 80"s sitting on my
 my front step and savoring every last bite as a child. These days I just try to put them in
 as many baked goods as I possibly can. Trust me when I say that you are going to love
 these! Enjoy.

                                   Chocolate Peanut Butter Cup Cupcakes

      1/2 cup butter, softened
      1 cup sugar
      1 egg
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
      1 teaspoon baking soda
      1/2 cup baking cocoa
      1/4 teaspoon salt
      1/2 cup water
      1/2 cup buttermilk

      In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla.
      Combine the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to creamed mixture
      alternately with water and buttermilk, beating well after each addition.

      1 cup confectioners sugar
      1 cup creamy peanut butter
      5 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temp
      1 teaspoon vanilla
      1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
      1/3 cup heavy cream

      Place confectioners sugar, peanut butter, butter, vanilla and salt in bowl and mix
      on low speed until combined. Frost on cooled cupcakes and top with peanut
      butter cups.

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