“The heart has its reasons of which reason knows nothing.” ~ Blaise Pascal

I really love Valentine’s Day!

It’s a fun low pressure holiday that has great decorations and great goodies.

Pink, red and white go so well together!

I can still remember the excitement of making your white paper bag Valentine’s holder in elementary school and taking forever at the store trying to decide which box of cards you would be distributing.

A favorite of many were the cards that had the heart-shaped sucker attached. Remember those??

Because of my fondness for V-Day, I couldn’t wait until the 1st day of February to try a pink themed treat so I got a head start on this cold January day.

Strawberry Cake Cookies

(adapted from Taste and Tell)

  • 1 strawberry cake mix
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350º

Mix egg and oil together until well combined. Add in cake mix, then fold in white chocolate chips.

Scoop out 1 tablespoon sized balls of mix onto a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake for 8-9 minutes. Cool on pan for 5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.

Makes around 2 dozen cookies.

I cannot stress how easy this was and they are so good! I will be experimenting with different flavors very soon!!

Strawberr Cake Cookies | Poore Amy-abp

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“Even in winter an isolated patch of snow has a special quality.” ~ Andy Goldsworthy

Bracing for the cold again.  You know I really wouldn’t mind the cold if we could get a little snow with it every now and then.

The weird thing is – the beach might be getting snow!!!

How crazy is that?  I’m used to the northern part of the state getting snow when we do not but the southern side?

Oh well. 51 days until spring.

One of my favorite things about spring is being able to eat outside at my favorite restaurants. One of those being a local Mexican restaurant – chips, salsa, cheese dip, margaritas, and fajitas all out on a covered patio.

Unfortunately, I do not have the sunny and 75 but I do have the fajitas.

Simple ones at that.

Simple Chicken Fajitas

  • 1 lb chicken breast cutlets, cut into strips
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon seasoned salt (I used Lawry’s)
  • 1 can Rotel (mild)
  • 1 medium onion, cut into strips
  • ½ red bell pepper, cut into strips
  • ½ green red pepper, cut into strips

Mix together spices. In a medium bowl, toss chicken with spices, making sure to coat evenly.

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat and brown chicken on all sides.

Add in onion and peppers. Cook for 5-7 minutes.

Pour in rotel and cook on medium/high heat until liquid is cook down and onion and peppers are soft. (about 15-20 minutes)

Serve with warm tortillas and any of your favorite fajita toppings.

photo-24This fajitas were crazy good and crazy easy!

-abp

“The life so short, the crafts so long to learn.” ~ Geoffrey Chaucer

Pinterest is awesome.

For obvious reasons – I love all the food and recipes.

But then there are all the crazy good crafty things for your house, parties, gifts etc. – I can handle all the foodie things but I’m not real crafty.

So when I come across something I totally want that takes a crafty person – I turn to my friend Carmen.

An example being these wonderful wreaths for my front doors.

I found them.

She made them.

photoShe has a super cute blog too – check it out.

“Summer is a promissory note signed in June, its long days spent and gone before you know it, and due to be repaid next January.” ~ Hal Borland

I’m over January. It’s my least favorite month of the year.

I’m sure most would agree with me on that.

It’s cold, there is the big let down after Christmas, college football is over, etc. There’s just not a whole lot to get excited about…..

On the other hand, I’m glad the down time has gotten me back in the kitchen!

Skillet Pork Chops with Apples and Onions

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 4 (6- to 8-oz.) bone-in pork rib chops (1 to 1 1/4 inches thick)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 Granny Smith apples, cut into 1/2-inch-thick wedges
  • 1 medium-size yellow onion, thinly sliced (root end intact)
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1 cup whipping cream
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons bourbon
  • 8 small fresh thyme sprigs

Preheat oven to 450°.

Sprinkle pork with salt and pepper. Cook in hot oil in a 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat 5 to 6 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Remove from skillet.

Add apples and onion to skillet; cook, stirring occasionally, 8-9 minutes or until browned. Remove from skillet.

Add broth to skillet, and cook 1 to 2 minutes, stirring to loosen browned bits from bottom of skillet. Whisk together cream and mustard; add to skillet, and cook, stirring constantly, 3-4 minutes or until bubbly.

Remove skillet from heat, and stir in bourbon. Add pork, turning to coat, and top with apples, onions, and thyme.
Bake at 450° for 15-17 minutes. Let stand in skillet 5 minutes before serving.

photophonto-abp

“A mother’s arms are made of tenderness and children sleep soundly in them.” ~ Victor Hugo

Wow, how my life has changed.

And I LOVE it.

I’m still a Type A worry wart but my worries are now different.  I have slowed down a bit.

Use to – had I still been unshowered and in my PJ’s at 10:00 a.m., I was ridiculously behind on my day. Now, I’m in my PJ’s covered in spit up, my hair a mess, with my first cup of coffee in hand sometimes as late as noon.

I’ll even open the door for the mailman looking like this.

But that’s ok. Because what’s important is sitting here, snuggled up, staring at the best thing I have ever done. And having her look right back at me and smile.

These moments are priceless.

And fleeting.

Everything else can wait.

I’ll cook while she sleeps and today I cooked the following.

Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken

(adapted from Makin’ it Mo Betta)

  • 4-6 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar 2/3 cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 1/4 cup sprite
  • 2-3 Tablespoons minced garlic
  • 2 Tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • Red pepper flakes

Spray crock pot with non-stick cooking spray, place chicken inside.

Mix together sugar, vinegar, sprite, garlic, soy sauce and pepper. Pour over chicken.  Cook for 6-8 hours on low or 4 hours on high.

Remove chicken and shred. Pour remaining sauce into sauce pan. Mix water and cornstarch and add to sauce. Bring sauce to a boil and boil for 2-3 minutes until it thickens and becomes a glaze. Remove from heat and stir for a couple more minutes and add pepper flakes. Mix in shredded chicken. Serve over rice.

Very Flavorful!

phonto-abp

“Having children is exciting. Life puts the past into perspective.” ~ Sam Taylor-Wood

By the time Friday rolls around, we are both pretty tired and the last thing I really want to do is cook, so it’s usually a night we go out to dinner.

But since pumpkin head has been around it’s sometimes easier to stay in and cook than it is to get ready to go out. (A whole new world, I tell ya! 🙂 )

So this Friday night – I’m cooking.

But don’t worry – I’m not exerting too much effort.

Simple but delicious.
That’s the plan for tonight.

Spicy Shrimp Pasta
(Adapted from Kevin & Amanda)

  • 4 oz fettuccine pasta
  • 3/4 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deviened and tails removed
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 1 1/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup whipping cream
  • 1/2 tsp cajun seasoning

Cook pasta according to directions.

Sprinkle shrimp with salt and pepper.  Then coat evenly with flour. Heat butter and oil over medium-high heat, add shrimp in one layer and cook for 2-3 minutes or until brown. Flip shrimp and cook other side. Remove from pan.

Deglaze (pour in chicken broth and scrape brown bits off bottom) pan with chicken broth for about 5 minutes. Reduce heat to medium and add cream, whisking constantly. Cook until bubbly and cream starts to thicken. Add cajun seasoning and salt and pepper to taste.  Add pasta and shrimp. Toss to coat.

As I stated, simple but delicious.  A perfect meal for 2.

phonto

-abp

“Without a family, man, alone in the world, trembles with the cold.” ~ Andre Maurois

Last week was cold.

I mean stupid cold.

This is why I live in the south people!!! To avoid this kind of weather!!!

How do people up north deal with this on a yearly basis. I totally hibernated. And what goes well with hibernation?

Warm, comfort food!

(and red wine)

So that’s what we had for dinner.

Goulash

(adapted from the Deen Brothers)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 pounds ground beef
2 large onions, finely chopped (about 2 cups)
2 14.5-ounce cans diced tomatoes
1 29-ounce can tomato sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
2 teaspoons dried basil
2 teaspoons dried oregano
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon garlic powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni

Brown meat and onion in a large dutch oven, drain. Then add all remaining ingredients except for macaroni. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 20 minutes.  Add macaroni and simmer for another 20 minutes. Then let goulash stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Goes great with hot cornbread!

goulash

Stay warm!

-abp

“A fruit is a vegetable with looks and money. Plus, if you let fruit rot, it turns into wine, something Brussels sprouts never do.” ~ P. J. O’Rourke

As mentioned in the about me section – as a child, I was made to eat 3 bites of everything on my plate and I had to absolutely not like it 3 times before I was not made to eat it anymore. This, in turn, pretty much made me like most everything. Except for two things and after forcing these two down at three sittings, I would not eat:

1. Liver

2. Brussels Sprouts

I still will not eat liver but I LOVE Brussels Sprouts.

And they are supper duper easy to make.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts

  • Fresh Brussels Sprouts
  • Olive oil
  • Favorite seasonings (I use Lawry’s seasoning salt and Zoe’s Kitchen Seasoning)

Preheat oven to 400º.

Trim and cut smaller sprouts in half and larger ones in quarters.  Toss in a bowl with other ingredients, coat completely. Place evenly in one layer on a backing sheet lined with foil. Bake for 25 minutes, tossing once halfway through.

There you go! Feel free to change up spices/seasonings. Also great with garlic and/or onion.

bru

-abp

“I wouldn’t know how to find eBay on the computer if my life depended on it.” ~ Marc Jacobs

While pumpkin head and I are staying indoors because of the frigid cold, I thought I’d go back and write up one of my Christmas recipes.

This being a good diversion from Ebay.

Whew, that Ebay can be addicting. Although, I do sell on ebay, not just buy. I just buy more than I sell. 😉

I like for Christmas dinners to be nice, sometimes elegant but with all you have already spent on Christmas, you don’t want to break the bank on this meal. Because of this, I have found good use of pork roasts. Last year I did a crowned pork roast with gravy and this year I did a Sage Crusted Pork Rack with Pear Chutney.

Sage Crusted Pork Rack

(adapted from Southern Living)

  • 3 cups firmly packed fresh sage leaves (about 4 [1-oz.] packages)
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 7 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • 1 1/4 cups olive or canola oil $
  • 2 tablespoons orange zest $
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried crushed red pepper
  • 2 (3 1/2- to 4-lb.) 6-rib bone-in pork loin roasts, chine bones removed
  1. Process sage, garlic, and 1 tsp. salt in a food processor 30 to 45 seconds or until finely chopped. Add oil and next 2 ingredients; process 10 to 15 seconds or until blended. Rub mixture over roasts. Cover and chill 10 to 12 hours.
  2. Let roasts stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 500°. Place roasts on a lightly greased wire rack in a roasting pan. Sprinkle remaining 6 tsp. salt over roasts.
  3. Bake at 500° for 30 minutes; reduce oven temperature to 325°, and bake 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a meat thermometer inserted into thickest portions registers 155°. Let roasts stand 30 minutes before serving with chutney.

~These are the instructions from Southern Living.  I personally like my pork and little more done so I cooked mine for about 30 more minutes.~

IMG_3296(picture from before cooked – got a little crazy right before dinner and I didn’t get one after)

-abp

“Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.” ~ Alfred A. Montapert

Some people prefer a savory breakfast and some prefer a sweet breakfast.

I, on the other hand prefer both. 🙂

Go figure – I love everything.

So, on Christmas morning I fixed both. Today I will tell you about the sweet one. It was ridiculously simple and very good.

Blueberry Croissant Puff

(adapted from The Girl Who Ate Everything) – I think she and I could be good friends. 😉

  • 3 large croissants (torn or cut into 1 in pieces)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries (I used frozen)
  • 1 8oz cream cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk
  • powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 350º

Place croissant pieces in a 9×9 pan.  Sprinkle with blueberries.

In a separate bowl with a hand mixer, cream the cream cheese, sugar, eggs and vanilla until well blended. Slowly add in milk until incorporated. Pour evenly over croissant pieces. Let stand for 20 minutes.

Cook for 35-45 minutes until brown and center is set.  If it begins to brown too much before set, cover with foil and continue to cook.

Sprinkle with powdered sugar before serving.

This will be a new morning go to recipe for me. Could easily be doubled for a crowd.

photo-abp

  • 3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
    campaignIcon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/02/blueberry-croissant-puff.html#gPh3vukpRmuYTh6W.99

  • 3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
    campaignIcon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/02/blueberry-croissant-puff.html#gPh3vukpRmuYTh6W.99

  • 3 large croissants, cut up (about 5 to 5 1/2 cups)
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
  • 1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
  • 2/3 cup sugar
    campaignIcon
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 cup milk

Read more at http://www.the-girl-who-ate-everything.com/2013/02/blueberry-croissant-puff.html#gPh3vukpRmuYTh6W.99