Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Wordless Wednesday-Sweet Pea at Flower and Garden Festival

Wordless Wednesday...well sort of! My Little Sweet Pea at Epcot's Flower and Garden Festival. She is all about that purse these days her Auntie Von made for her! She is growing up so fast right before my eyes. Love you Sweet Pea!

Participating in a Link Party with Seven Clown Circus, 5MinutesforMom, LotsofLoves, Mrs.Marine

Monday, March 29, 2010

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Burgers with Carmelized Onions

Mmmm...turkey burgers are my favorite! Especially when layered with melted cheese and piled high with the sweetness of carmelized onions and roasted red peppers on a toasty bun!

Cheesy Roasted Red Pepper Turkey Burgers w/ Carmelized Onions
Printable Recipe

1.25 lbs ground turkey (93/7)
3 tbsp worcheshire sauce
1/2 tsp each salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp olive oil
1 tsp italian seasoning, dried
1 whole roasted red pepper
4 oz cheese (monterey jack, cheddar, or mozzarella), grated
4-8 Potato Rolls
1 whole Onion, Carmelized

1) Saute garlic in oil for 2-3 minutes. Reserve oil.
2) Combine ground turkey, worcheshire sauce, salt, pepper italian seasoning and garlic.
3) Form into compact patties...careful not to handle too much. 4 normal sized patties or 8 sliders
4) Place on oiled grill or grill pan over medium heat.
5) Cook about 5 minutes on one side.
6) Carefully flip (only once) and allow to cook until internal temperature reaches 160-170 degrees F about 5 minutes.
7) Top burgers with cheese. When cheese begins to melt remove burgers from heat.
8) Brush the rolls using oil from sauteed garlic. Toast the rolls on grill briefly.
9) Place burger on bun and top with roasted red peppers and carmelized onions. Top with bun.

Had to come up with something yummy for TMTT from Blessed with Grace and TATT from All the Small Stuff.

Martha Monday: Red Velvet Cupcakes

The twins helped me make another cupcake for our family birthday dinner. They were Martha's Red Velvet Cupcakes from page 30 in Martha's Cupcake Book (Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat).

The twins LOVE cooking and baking! Some of their favorite parts were adding the baking soda to the vinegar...fizz fizz, turning the cupcakes RED and of course operating the kitchenaid mixer!!

Makes 24 standard cupcakes.

2 1/2 cups cake flour (not self- rising), sifted

2 tablespoons unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 cups sugar

1 1/2 cups vegetable oil

2 large eggs, room temperature

1/2 teaspoon red gel-paste food color

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 cup buttermilk

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together cake flour, cocoa, and salt.

2) With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, whisk together sugar and oil until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Mix in food color and vanilla.

3) Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in three batches, alternating with two additions of buttermilk, and whisking well after each. Stir together the baking soda and vinegar in a small bowl (it will foam); add mixture to the batter, and mix on medium speed 10 seconds.

4) Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling each three-quarters full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, about 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature, or frozen up to 2 months, in airtight containers.

5) To finish, use a small offset spatula to spread cupcakes with frosting. Refrigerate up to 3 days in airtight containers; bring to room temperature before serving.

8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 pound (4 cups) confectioners' sugar, sifted

3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1) Beat butter and cream cheese with a mixer on medium-high speed until fluffy, 2 to 3 minutes.
2) Reduce speed to low. Add sugar, 1 cup at a time, and then vanilla; mix until smooth.
3) Frosting can be refrigerated for up to 3 days; before using, bring to room temperature, and beat until smooth.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Homemade Tomato Sauce

Fireman decided he wanted homemade tomato sauce for dinner. So here is what I came up with! It was very tasty!

Slice and dice green and red bell peppers.

Dice up a whole onion and mince some garlic while your at it. Dice a little carrot too...why not!

To keep it extra tasty. I used San Marzano tomatoes (Cento Brand). They are rumored to be the best tomatoes for making sauce. The first San Marzano tomatoes were grown at the base of Mount Vesuvius in volcanic soil. These tomatoes are full flavored and rich. San Marzano Tomato (image from


Puree whole tomatoes with juice in blender.

Get your pot going and cook the veggies!

Add your tomatoes and seasoning to the pot. And cook, cook, cook!

Bring it to a boil and then let simmer for 45-60 minutes until thickened. Stir and continue to cook to desired thickness. The sauce will thicken after cooling a bit as well.

We enjoyed this with sauteed sliced bell peppers and onion and ground turkey cooked with italian seasoning over pasta. YUM!

And with Fresh Rosemary Rolls baked in a iron skillet. Those rolls are a whole other story...they are heavenly!!!

Homemade Tomato Sauce
Printable Recipe

2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 large green bell pepper, diced
1/2 large red bell pepper, diced
1 large yellow onion, diced
4 fresh cloves garlic, finely chopped
1/2 cup carrot, diced
2 (28 oz) cans of San Marzano Peeled Tomatoes
1(16 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 (8 oz) can tomato sauce
2-3 bay leaves
2-3 tbsp italian seasoning, dried
2-4 tbsp sugar
1/4 cup white wine
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

1) Add whole tomatoes with juice to blender and puree.
2) Heat olive oil in stockpot over medium. Add bell peppers and carrots. Cook 3-4 minutes.
3) Add onions to pot and cook until soft.
4) Add garlic and cook 2-3 minutes.
5) Add pureed tomatoes with their juices, crushed tomatoes, tomato sauce, bay leaf, wine, sugar and italian seasoning. Bring to a boil.
6) Season to taste with salt and pepper. Best to go light on the salt now and add more later if needed.
7) Reduce heat and simmer until slightly thicken, approx 45-60 minutes. Stir and taste. Add more salt if needed.
8) Simmer longer if needed to desired thickness.
9) Remove bay leaf before serving.

*** For extra chunky sauce, add a can (16 oz) of drained diced tomatoes with other tomatoes to pot in step #5.

Margarita Cupcakes

Yum! I made these mini margarita cupcakes for a friend's birthday! In lieu of BUNCO, we all played poker. How fun was that!

They were pretty simple to make. It starts with Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita.

You might as well pour yourself one while your at it!

There you go...get yourself a little buzz going and whip them right up! LOL!

Margarita Cupcakes

1 pkg (18.25 ounces) white cake mix (no pudding in the mix)
10 ounces Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 tablespoon lime zest grated

1) Preheat oven to 350° F. Line standard muffin pan with baking cups.
2) In large bowl, combine cake mix, Margarita mix, egg whites and vegetable oil using electric mixer. Stir in lime zest; mix completely. Fill prepared pans 2/3 full.
***I like to use ice cream scooper. Perfect size everytime!
3) Bake 22-24 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center of cupcake comes out clean.
4) Cool in pan on cooling rack 5-8 minutes. Remove cupcakes from pan; cool completely.

For mini cupcakes: Bake 350° F for 10-15 minutes.

Cupcakes From: Wilton Cupcake Fun Book

Margarita Buttercream

2 sticks of butter, room temperature
1 1/4 lb confectioner's sugar, sifted
2 tbsp lime juice
2 tbsp Jose Cuervo Golden Margarita
2 limes, zest only
Margarita Salt
Green gel paste food color

1) In mixer, beat butter on medium-high speed until creamy, approx. 2 minutes.
2) Reduce speed to medium and gradually add 4 cups confectioner's sugar 1/2 cup at a time. scrap down sides as needed.
3) Increase speed to high and beat 30 seconds.
4) Add margarita, lime juice and zest. Beat until frosting is smooth.
6) Add up to 1 cup more of confectioner's sugar to make sweeter, if needed.
5) Add gel paste food color a drop at a time (use new toothpick each time). Blend and add more color if needed to reach desired shade of green.
6) Frost cupcakes with offset spatula generously.
7) Sprinkle with dash of margarita salt.

Store in fridge.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pecorino Romano Crostini with Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted Red Pepper Spread

The crostini were so toasty, cheesy, and delicious!!! The rich flavor of garlic and romano cheese was set off perfectly by the roasted red peppers and sun-dried tomatoes in the spread.

It was recently my birthday along with two other family members. I made these as an appetizer for our family birthday dinner and they were a BIG hit!

Pecorino Romano Crostini
Printable Recipe

1 good quality fresh baguette (not from neighborhood supermarket)
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup finely grated pecorino Romano
5 large fresh garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

1) Cut baguette into approx. 24 (1/3") slices.
2) Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
3) Place bread on baking sheet in single layer and brush with 3 tbsp olive oil.
4) In small bowl, combine 1 tbsp olive oil with remaining ingredients.
5) Spoon approx. 1 tsp of cheese-garlic mixture on top of baguette slices.
6) Bake in center of oven just until cheese starts to melt, approx. 6-8 minutes.

Sun-Dried Tomato Roasted Red Pepper Spread
Printable Recipe

1/4 cup drained oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes with herbs
2 tbsp chopped roasted red peppers (drained RR peppers from jar work just fine)
1/4-1/2 cup walnuts, toasted at 350 degrees for approx. 6-7 minutes
1 tsp finely chopped shallot
1 1/2 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp water
1/4 cup olive oil

1) In mini food processor, combine all ingredients except oil and salt.
2) Puree until almost smooth.
3) Slowly add oil in a steady stream with food processor running allowing to blend until incorporated.
4) Season lightly with salt to taste.

From Gourmet Today.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Yummy Balsamic Vinaigrette...

This is my go to dressing recipe. It is a basic vinaigrette with a few extras added.

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/3 cup good quality balsamic vinegar
1/2 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

1) In a bowl or mini food processor, combine all ingredients except oil making sure to whisk or blend well. 2) Add the oil a little at time while whisking or blending to allow dressing to emulsify.
3) Use right away or chill. Let come to room temperature before serving.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Vietnamese Avocado Shake (sinh tố bơ or Butterfruit Shake)

This is a thick rich shake! In Vietnamese, it is called sinh tố bơ or butterfruit shake.

When Fireman first made this I thought...hmm...avocado and sweetened condensed milk...interesting combination! But after trying it I really like it! And so does our son! Give it a try I think you will be surprised!

First, you need to get yourself a blender. Fireman likes to use his Single-Serve Blender. He got his from GNC.

Then, you need to peel and cut your avocado. This is a very nice instructional video on how to do that. How-To-Cut-an-Avocado

Add crushed ice to the blender and then the avocado.

Add the sweetened condensed milk and whole or reduced fat milk. Blend until smooth. Enjoy your thick rich shake!

Vietnamese Avocado Shake/sinh tố bơ
Printable Recipe

2 ripe avocados (Hass) , preferably chilled overnight
1 1/2 cups crushed ice
1/4 - 1/3 cup sweetened condensed milk
2-4 tbsp whole or reduced fat milk (to desired thickness)

1) Cut and peel chilled avocado.
2) Add crushed ice, sweetened condensed milk and milk to blender.
2) Add avocado to blender
3) Blend until smooth.
4) Add a little more milk to desired thickness.


Under the Weather...

So no posts in awhile...I'm so sorry!!

I have been a little under the weather with the stomach flu!

I have some pictures uploading now of some yummy stuff though.

We had 3 birthdays in our family (mine!!!) and a good friend, Gina, this month so of course we had to have cupcakes!!!!!

We had red velet with cream cheese frosting, margarita cupcakes with buttercream, carrot cake cupcakes with cream cheese frosting and last but not least my favorite...high hat cupcakes which are chocolate cupcakes with swiss meringue buttercream dipped in milk chocolate...sooooooo delicious!

Coming soon!!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes

Sunday dinner was Turkey Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes! Fireman and twins loved it! I don't eat beef or pork so I have to get creative to come up with dinners.

Turkey Meatloaf  

2 tbsp olive oil
1 1/2 cups yellow onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, chopped or minced
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper, according to taste
3/4 tsp kosher salt, according to taste
1 tsp italian seasoning, dry
2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup ketchup
1 3/4 lbs of ground turkey
3/4 cups italian bread crumbs
2 eggs (1 whole egg & 1egg white), lightly beaten
cooking spray
**optional: shredded carrots ~1/3 cup
1) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In medium saute pan, heat oil over medium heat. Cook onions until lightly translucent, approx 5 minutes. Add minced garlic and cook another minute.

2) Add salt and pepper to taste, italian seasoning, Worcestershire sauce, chicken broth and 2 tbsp of ketchup to onion mixture in pan. Mix well and allow to cool.

2) In large bowl, combine with clean hands ground turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and onion mixture. Mix well.

3) Line a 13x9 baking dish with foil and spray with cooking spray. Shape meat mixture into a loaf in center of baking dish. Spread 2 tbsp of ketchup over the top of the loaf.

4) Bake in center of oven for 1 hour. Place a small baking dish with hot water on bottom rack of oven. This helps keep meatloaf moist during cooking process. Internal temperature should be between 165-170 degrees F. Serve warm or cold.

Roasted Potatoes with Fresh Herbs

4 tbsp Olive oil
cooking spray
2-3 tbsp fresh rosemary, chopped
2 tbsp garlic, minced
~1 tbsp coarse kosher or sea salt, to taste
fresh ground pepper, to taste
2 lbs of red potatoes, scrubbed and cut into fourths (do not remove skin)

1) Heat oven to 425 degrees F. Spray a 13x9 baking dish with cooking spray. ***Can be cooked at 375 degrees F with meat loaf. Adjust cooking time to ~40-50 minutes, checking for doneness with a fork.

2) In a large bowl, combine oil, rosemary, garlic, salt, pepper and potatoes. Toss to coat potatoes.

3) Spread potatoes in baking dish in a single layer.

4) Bake 30-35 minutes, stirring halfway. Potatoes should be tender when stabbed with a fork and slightly golden.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The Twins Make Pancakes (Organic)

The twins LOVE pancakes. At our house, we eat them a couple days a week.

The recipe I normally follow is more less a take from Alton Brown's recipe. You can keep it for up to 3 months in an airtight container. There is no artificial stuff in there and you can use organic ingredients like us if you choose. SEE bottom of post for our recipe. **They are very tasty so we don't normally put more butter on them after cooking but it looked good for the picture.

*** See bottom of post for a few helpful tips!!

Printable Recipe & Tips


Mix Ingredients:

6 cups unbleached unbromated flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda (check expiration date first)

3 teaspoons baking powder

1 tablespoon kosher salt

2 tablespoons sugar


1) Combine all of the ingredients in a lidded container. Shake to mix.

2) Use the mix within 3 months.


2 natural or organic eggs, separated

2 cups organic buttermilk (we use fat free) ***(No buttermilk...that's ok...See tips below)

4 tablespoons melted organic butter

2 cups "Instant" Pancake Mix, recipe above

organic butter or oil, for greasing the pan

Optional mixins:
-2 cups organic fruit such as blueberries or strawberries
-chocolate chips (mini works great)
-bananas sliced thin/walnuts- or- granola
-extra fiber

Serve with "REAL" organic maple syrup

1) Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350-375 degrees F. Optional: Heat oven to 200 degrees F for holding pancakes.

2) Whisk together the egg whites and the buttermilk in a small bowl. In another bowl, whisk the egg yolks with the melted butter.

3) Combine the buttermilk mixture with the egg yolk mixture in a large mixing bowl and whisk together until thoroughly combined. Pour the liquid ingredients on top of the pancake mix. Using a whisk, mix the batter just enough to bring it together. Don't try to work all the lumps out.

4) Check to see that the griddle is hot by placing a few drops of water onto to the griddle. The griddle is ready if the water dances across the surface.

5) Lightly grease the griddle with oil or butter. Wipe off thoroughly with a paper towel. (No butter should be visible.)

6) Gently ladle 1/4 cup of the pancake batter onto the griddle and sprinkle on fruit or chocolate chips, if desired. When bubbles begin to appear, edges set around the pancake and the griddle-side of the cake is golden, gently flip the pancakes. Continue to cook 2 to 3 minutes or until the pancake is set.

Serve immediately or remove to a towel-lined baking sheet and cover with a towel. Can hold in a warm oven for 20 to 30 minutes.

Yield: 12 pancakes


*** Sometimes if I know we will be busy during the week I make several batches. Then, place the pancakes individually on baking sheets in freezer. When they are lightly frozen, put them together in a container in freezer. This way they do not stick together and you can grab them to pop in toaster oven or microwave in a hurry! You have healthly organic pancakes at your fingertips!

***No Buttermilk...that's ok! Just substitute 1 cup buttermilk for 1 cup yogurt OR 1 tablespoon lemon juice or vinegar plus enough milk to make 1 cup.

***I also use buttermilk for baking and cooking but not ALL the time so I freeze it in individual portions like 1-2 cups. Pop it in fridge the night before to thaw and I'm good to go. I would not suggest this if you are a buttermilk "drinker" however! Can be frozen for up to 3 months.

The Girl Creative

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

So that McLinky Thingy....Flavor of the Month...Chocolate

I happened upon this cute blog Bakeat350. And decided to participate in the McLinky Thingy...Flavor of the Month...Chocolate!

I linked our Chocolate Dipped Valentine Hearts!

And yet another cool McLinky...Tempt My Tummy Tuesdays from Blessedwithgrace...Eat more chicken!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Martha Monday: Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes

The twins made Peanut Butter-Filled Chocolate Cupcakes from Page 118 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes Book (Martha Stewart's Cupcakes: 175 Inspired Ideas for Everyone's Favorite Treat).

Melt chocolate and unsalted butter over double boiler  .

Combine chocolate mixture with sugar.

Add eggs and combine until smooth. Then add vanilla.

Combine flour, baking powder and salt.

Add flour mixture and stir.

Now for peanut butter filling. Melt butter and combine with confectioner's sugar.

Add peanut butter, salt, and vanilla. Stir to combine.

Add 2 tablespoons of chocolate mix to cupcake liner. Followed by 1 tablespoon of peanut butter filling. Top with 1 tablespoon of chocolate mix and 1 teaspoon of peanut butter filling. Use a chopstick or skewer to gently swirl "TOP" only. Bake at 325 degrees for approx 30 minutes.


We changed it up a little though and filled them even further with Martha's Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting from page 310 (Recipe). We then topped them by piping Martha's Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting and Hershey's Especially Dark Frosting (Recipe) swirled together.

We used half the recipe for Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting. Combine cream cheese and confectioner's sugar until fluffy. Add salt, peanut butter and vanilla. Beat to combine.

Fold whipped cream into peanut butter mixture until smooth.

Hershey's Especially Dark Frosting:

Combine melted butter and dark cocoa powder.

Alternate by adding confectioner's sugar and milk and blending. Add vanilla. Add more milk if necessary.

We used the creamy peanut butter frosting to fill cupcakes with a # 10 tip after they cooled as well as swirled it with Hershey's Especially Dark Frosting and piped a swirl on top.

I have to say they turned out pretty yummy but they are more like brownies than a traditional cupcake! Good concept but I will probably follow a different chocolate cupcake recipe next time and add the peanut butter swirl from this recipe to make it more cake-like.

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