“Luck is what you have left over after you give 100 percent.” ~ Langston Coleman

Well, the stitches came out (ouch, ouch, ouch) and although it’s not perfect, I’m feeling much better – I have about 80% use of my right hand. I’m actually going to attempt to go back to work today. I have really enjoyed being off – just wish I could have been a little more productive although I can’t remember the last time I got to just take it easy – a girl could get use to that! 🙂

Besides making Chili from a pack (we had our first really cold night of the fall this week and I had to have chili to commemorate it) I have not made anything to eat and well – I’m itchin’ to get back in the kitchen!

I found just the recipe to pull me back in.

Nutella and Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

(recipe adapted from Of Pots and Pens)

With all the talk of Halloween and candy – I am craving the sweet stuff!

You will need:

  • 1 cup butter (unsalted), softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Nutella
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Heat oven to 350°.

First cream butter and sugar in a mixing bowl until fluffy.

Then add in peanut butter, Nutella, egg and vanilla and mix until well blended.

(had to put this pic in just because it looks so yum! – could eat with a spoon!)

In a separate bowl, mix dry ingredients until well combined.

Slowly add in dry mixture to the creamy mixture.

Fold in chocolate chips.

Place tablespoon sized scoops of cookie dough onto a parchment lined baking sheet and bake for 8-10 minutes.

(I smooshed them down a little bit after this)

Cool on sheet, then transfer to rack to finish cooling.

There you go – that wasn’t too hard for this not back to 100% girl.

Glad to be back to cooking/blogging – it might be a slow go for a while but I hope to be good as new very soon!

Happy Halloween!!!!

abp

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“I’m such a girl, I’m such a girly girl. I’m sippin on my milkshake with this swirly swirl.” ~ Nicki Minaj

OMG, I was sitting here being lazy on my last official day off from my surgery thinking – I would kill for a Krispy Kreme doughnut about right now but was being waaaay too lazy to get up and go get one (also knowing I sure did not need one).

Actually my FB status said “I want a Krispy Creme Doughnut so bad I could slap myself.”

Well. A high school friend then informed me of something I must try.

Get ready for it.

A Krispy Kreme Doughnut Milkshake from Flip Burger Boutique in Birmingham.

oh dear.

I just thought I wanted the doughnut.

Someone needs to bring to mama.

Needless to say – I will be making a trip to Flip Burger – I had wanted to go eat there anyway, I just had never gotten around to it. Very interesting menu. If KK doughnuts are not your thing they have plenty of others to offer. Check it out below.

(Click pic for menu)

There are two locations in Atlanta and one in Birmingham, AL.

Now I will have to add KK Doughnut Milkshake to my want to make list right beside the KK Doughnut Bread Pudding!

I’ll be back in the kitchen later this week so be looking for Chocolate Chip Nutella Cookies and Pecan and Rosemary Oven-Fried Chicken.

abp

“The aim of the wise is not to secure pleasure, but to avoid pain.” ~ Aristotle

Hello Everone!

I seriously hate to have to do this but I will be taking another hiatus 😦 😦 😦

I had surgery this morning on my wrist.

Needless to say i will not be cooking for a little bit and all I can do is tap type with my left hand.

I’m hoping in a few days I can get a few of the Italy pictures up and talk some about that.

Sorry about another break so soon, but Dr B. said I had no other choice 😦

I’ll be back ASAP!!!

abp

“Life is either a daring adventure or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.” ~ Helen Keller

Ok, I am feeling adventurous today – maybe it’s the wisdom I feel because I’m a year older this week…….

In any event – I am trying a recipe I found in bon appétit. Although I love reading this magazine – this will be the first recipe out of it that I have ever attempted. They are usually a little too involved, they include ingredients that are either too hard to find or too expensive or they are something that not a whole lot of people would have to eat on an average day.

But alas, I found one that I thought would be a good fit for me and my family, especailly coming off our trip to Italy.

Garganelli with Fennel and Pork Shoulder Ragù. (sounds fancy, huh??)

I did change up a few things though.
The first being the garganelli pasta which is a hand shaped egg based tubular pasta. Well, I’ll be using dried penne pasta. Also – I do not like the taste of fennel so I replaced that ingredient with celery which is common replacement because I’m one of many who is not of fan of the licorice flavor.

So with that being said, here’s what we got.

Gargnelli Penne Pasta with Fennel Celery and Pork Shoulder Ragù

  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon salt, plus more for seasoning
  • 1Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1½ cups minced celery
  • 1½ cups minced onions
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1½ cups dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken broth
  • 6 ounces (half a can) diced tomatoes
  • Freshly ground pepper
  • 8 oz Penne pasta
  • grated parmesan cheese
  • extra virgin olive oil

You start by mixing the pork and 1 tsp of salt by hands until sticky, cover and chill for at least 2 hours.

After chilling, roll pork mixture into 8-9 large meatballs (about 1/4 cup each).

Heat olive oil in large, heavy, deep pan over medium-high heat.  Cook meatballs until all sides are brown. Adjust heat so the brown bits on the bottom do not burn.

Drain meatballs on paper towel lined plate. Reduce heat to medium and scatter celery, onion and garlic in pan. Return meatballs to pan and cook for about 25 minutes, stirring occasionally to prevent scorching, or until vegetables are translucent and juices have evaporated.

Add wine, scraping up browned bits from the bottom of the pan and bring to a simmer.  Cook for about 15 minutes or until the wine has reduced by 3/4.

Add the chicken broth and tomatoes. Return to a simmer, once again scraping up brown bits.  Continue to simmer with the lid slightly ajar for about 2½ hours, stirring occasionally.

When finished cooking, remove meatballs and break up into small pieces and season with salt and pepper. Then return to pan.

Add cook pasta to ragù, mix well.

Serve topped with cheese and a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil.

Such a hardy and unique meal.  It tasted very authentic – and I can say that since I still can taste all that yummy food with had in Italy (more on that next week).

This took a little time but it was well worth it!

Hope everyone has had a great week! TGIF!!!!

abp

“The secret to staying young is to live honestly, eat slowly, and lie about your age.” ~ Lucille Ball

It’s definitely starting to feel like fall around here, so like everyone else I feel like doing something pumpkiny.  I have found several recipes that look interesting but I’m a sucker for blondies/brownies so when I happened upon Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies on the blog The Baker Chick I knew that was the one!

Oh and by the way – today is my birthday, so if I want to eat the whole pan. I can. 🙂

Tonight a group of my friends and family are going to Hokkaido Japanese Steak and Sushi Bar and I cannot wait!!!! I looooove me some fried rice!!! This will be the first time I have been since the original was destroyed in the April 27, 2011 tornado – so happy to have them back!!

Alrighty then, on to the blondies.

Pumpkin Butterscotch Blondies

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin-pie spice
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 1 package (12 ounces) butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 350°

Spray the bottom and sides of a 9×13 baking dish with non-stick spray.

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside.

Next cream butter and sugar on medium high speed with an electric mixer.

Then beat in egg and vanilla.

Beat in pumpkin puree.

Reduce speed to low and mix in the dry ingredients until combined.

Fold in butterscotch chips.

Spread evenly into prepared baking dish.

Cook for 30-45 minutes or until sides start to pull away and an inserted toothpick comes out with just a few moist crumbs.

Cool completely and cut into squares.

I then served it warm with whipped cream, chocolate chips and pecans.

ahhhh……the flavors of fall – you just can’t beat ’em!!

As you can see, I like a little crunch so next time I would add pecans when baking. When trying a new recipe for the first time that I am pretty sure I would like nuts in, I usually wait because pecans are pretty pricey and I want to make sure I like the recipe before I add them.  But that is just me – they are pretty awesome without nuts too!

I hope you have had a chance to sample several goodies this fall season! If you have not – this would be a great one to try!

abp

“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ~ Dr. Seuss

Saturday. 6:15 a.m.

WHAT am I doing AWAKE???

Never fails – I can’t sleep when I can sleep in but am always snoozing when the alarm goes off during the week. Oh well. Might as well be productive! (As long as I can be productive from the comfort of my pillow loaded bed) 🙂

I actually have a pretty full day ahead of me but that can not get started until the DH and my cute pumpkin of a stepson wake up. (lucky boys)

There’s both an Alabama and Auburn game on today we have to watch, we wanna go to the Moundville Native American Festival and also try to take in a movie – we’re thinking Hotel Transylvania or Pitch Perfect. But first on my list today is going to the grocery store. I am itching to make a recipe I found on Normal Cooking written by a great girl named Lindsay (even if she is an Auburn fan) 🙂 You really need to check out her page! I’m so impressed with her – she cooks and post like everyday!!! I aspire to be more like that!

Garlicky Baked Shrimp is the recipe that I will be trying tonight.  It looks to be simple but very, very tasty! Thanks Lindsey for sharing.

Garlicky Baked Shrimp

1 lb. raw shrimp, deveined and peeled (I pull the tails off beforehand too)
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 Tbsp. white wine
salt and pepper
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp.) melted butter
1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
2 Tbsp. fresh Italian-leaf parsley, chopped
Juice of half of a lemon (optional)

Preheat oven to 350º

Start by combining the garlic, lemon juice and wine.

Mix in shrimp until completely combined.

Pour into baking dish and spread evenly, season with salt and pepper.

Then mix butter, Panko crumbs and parsley (I didn’t have fresh so I used dry italian seasoning).

Sprinkle Panko mixture evenly over shrimp.

Cook at 350º for 15-18 or until shrimp are cooked through. (I had to broil mine a bit at the end to get the browness I wanted)

I served this with a salad and fettuccine spaghetti alfredo (one of the pumpkins favorites).

It was delicious! Once again I thank Lindsay of Normal Cooking for sharing this recipe. I look forward to trying more of hers!

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

abp

(p.s. we did see Hotel Transylvania – very cute movie and then went to see Argo on Sunday night – very good, I see Oscars in it’s future!)

“You knew when you married me I’m more Coco Chanel than coq au vin” ~ Carrie Bradshaw

My stupid, stupid cold is back. Ugh, ugh, ugh.

I have no idea why this year has been so bad.  The DH is threatening to take me to the doctor to see if they will take my tonsils out…….I believe this is mainly because he’s a big ol’ chicken about catching it from me. Although – if it will help me feel better on a regular basis – I’m all for it! I’ll just think about all the gelato I would have to eat while I recuperated.

I’d like to make my own gelato – does anyone have one of those electric counter-top ice cream/yogurt/gelato makers? I think I want one…….

Oh well, hopefully I’ll feel better tomorrow. On to brighter topics…….

DINNER!

On the menu tonight is the less fussy Coq au vin. Everybody loves a good Coq au Vin but is not always up for the work it can sometimes require.  So I say this is Coq au Vin’s country cousin.

Country Style Coq Au Vin

  • 1/2 pound sliced bacon, diced
  • 1.5 – 2 lb. chicken breast, cut up
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 pound small white mushrooms
  • 1 cup frozen small white onions, thawed
  • 6 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon dried rosemary leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch

First you brown your bacon and remove to slow cooker with slotted spoon.

Next reserve a tablespoon of bacon grease and brown your chicked (seasoned with salt and pepper) on all sides. Then remove to slow cooker.

Add mushrooms and onions on top of chicken.

De-glaze your pan with the white wine and add the garlic and rosemary for 1-2 minutes to release flavor.

Pour over vegetables, chicken and bacon.

Stir all together and cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours.

After the allotted cooking time, remove vegetables, chicken and bacon to bowl and keep warm.

Pour pan juice into small sauce pan and mix cornstarch and water in a bowl.

Slowly pour cornstarch mixture into sauce pan with juice and bring to a boil stirring constantly until thickened.

Pour thickened sauce into bowl and mix.

Serve over mashed potatoes.

This is a wonderful dinner for a cool fall night! There were no leftovers!

Granted, this is not the prettiest dish you have ever seen but do not let that discourage you! It’s very good!

You could also serve this in a bowl over rice a la gumbo style. I think that’s what I will do next time.

Happy Fall Y’all!!!

abp

“Food is not about impressing people. It’s about making them feel comfortable.” ~ Ina Garten (The Barefoot Contessa)

Italian food ranks right up there as being my favorite type of food but I have to admit when we got back home from our trip to Italy- I most definitely wanted something that 1) wasn’t Italian and 2) was not ordered in a restaurant.

I wanted good old comfort food and I wanted it in the form of Mexican!

So Mexican Chicken Casserole fit the bill perfectly!

It’s simple, simple and full of flavor.  It can also be adjusted according to the heat you desire.

Mexican Chicken Casserole

  • 2-3 cups of cooked chicken, shredded
  • 8 oz of jalapeno Velveeta cheese, cubed (use regular for milder version)
  • 1 can cream of mushroom soup
  • 1 can cream of chicken soup
  • 1 can mild rotel tomatoes (hot for spicier version)
  • 1/2 bag Doritos, crumbled

Mix shredded chicken, cheese, soups and rotel in large bowl.

Pour into casserole dish.

Top with Doritos and bake at 350º for 30 minutes or until slightly browned and bubbly.

Serve with Sante Fe Ranch Salad and chow down.

That sure was simple and perfect for this hungry jet-lagged girl.

Glad to be back in the kitchen!

abp

“You like me, you really like me!” ~ Sally Field

I’m baaaackkkk!!!!

Did you miss me?? 🙂

We had the most wonderful trip to Italy!! The weather was perfect, the scenery was gorgeous and the food was absolutey fabulous!!  If we had not walked more than I have ever walked in my life the 5 pounds I came home with would have easily been 10!!!

I will definitely be sharing some of the food I devoured and hopefully be trying some of it at home.

But first of all, right before I left I was totally surprised and thrilled to be nomintated for the Liebster Award! YAY!!!

A very big thank you goes out to Lindsay of Normal Cooking for this honor! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!

Liebster means ‘dearest’ or ‘favorite’ in German, and the rules for accepting the nomination are:

1. Post 11 things about yourself
2. Answer 11 questions the person giving the award has set for you
3. Create 11 questions for the people you are giving the award to
4. Choose 11 people to award, telling them in a post.

I did not have time before my trip to do this properly so I wanted to wait til I returned and have this as my first post after my hiatus.

11 things about myself:

  1. I’ve been accused of being OCD.
  2. I’m pretty good at many things but I’m still looking for the one thing I’m great at doing.
  3. I am an only child – I always wonder what the bond between siblings feels like.
  4. The reason that I eat everything is because as a child I was made to have 3 bites of everything that was served and had to not like it 3 times before I didn’t have to eat it anymore. There ended up being very few.
  5. I used to be a night person but in the past 1-2 years my body clock has swapped on me and now I am a morning person.
  6. I am a good house cleaner but I despise doing the floors.
  7. I do not like crowds.
  8. I took piano lessons for 9 years but cannot play a thing.
  9. I am a stickler about writing thank you notes (hand written thank you notes) which means I love stationary.
  10. My favorite place to be is by a pool with an ocean view and have a book and drink in my hand.
  11. I iron everything.

Answers to Lindsay’s questions:

1.  Do you have a favorite college football team?  Who is it? Yes, University of Alabama
2.  What would you consider to be your greatest achievement? Going back to finish my bachelors degree.
3.  What do you think is the very best dish you’ve ever cooked? (and can I have the recipe? :-) ) This is a hard one……..probably my mother’s Country Fried Steak with gravy. (and yes you can have it but it’s one of those a little bit of this, some of that type recipes 🙂 )
4.  Since today is September 11th, tell me where you were when you heard the news on 9/11/2001. I had just gotten out of the shower and the phone was ringing. My boyfriend at the time was calling to tell me.
5.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up. An international business attorney – yeah right! hahahahahaha!
6.  What did you end up being/doing once you grew up? I work in a salon as a Nail Technician – I had always done it for friends and did it for a job when I went back to school but liked it so much I continued even after I graduated.
7.  What’s the funniest video you’ve seen lately? (and post a link if you have it!) I have to be honest – I can not remember the last video i watched.
8.  Apple or PC? Apple
9.  Who is your Hollywood crush? Matthew McCanaughey
10. What’s the best vacation you’ve ever been on? I really can’t pick. Too many for very different reasons.
11.  What is one of your biggest pet peeves? rudeness

My questions for my nominees:

  1. Why did you start blogging?
  2. What kind of camera do you use?
  3. What is one thing you haven’t done that you really want to do?
  4. Favorite place to eat?
  5. What’s the last book you read?
  6. Text or talk?
  7. What’s your day job?
  8. What’s your favorite guilty pleasure?
  9. Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
  10. What one ingredient could you not live without?
  11. What is your favorite simple thing in life?

The 11 Blogs I nominate for this award:

  1. Rachel Schultz
  2. Bakerella
  3. Mel’s Kitchen Cafe
  4. Plain Chicken
  5. Six Sisters’ Stuff
  6. Relative Taste
  7. Chef Mommy
  8. Bake or Break
  9. Lulu the Baker
  10. Return to Sunday Supper
  11. Pennies on a Platter

Thank you again Lindsay for your nomination!

Catch y’all again soon!

abp