Friday, December 9, 2011

Last Week of Nursing School

Wow, what a first semester! I just finished my last week of classes and will start finals on Monday... I can't believe how quick my first semester at nursing school flew by! Here are a couple pics of me and the girls at school. Good times...

Nursing Fundamentals Clinical
Barbara, Ana, Joanna, Sheryl, me and Nancy

Ana, me and Joanna

Me and my lab partner, Ana

Monday, September 26, 2011

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Not wanting to drive the 50 + miles for some PF Chang's Lettuce Wraps, I decided to try a recipe I found online. I was pleasantly surprised and will probably forgo PF Chang's for this (probably) healthier version! Check it out, I'm sure you'll agree, YUM!

Chicken Lettuce Wraps


  • 16 Butter lettuce leaves (Living Lettuce)
  • 1 lb. ground chicken breast (or finely chopped)
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 2 Tbls. minced garlic
  • 3 Tbls. reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/2 - 3/4 C. hoisin sauce
  • 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 Tbls. rice wine vinegar or red wine vinegar
  • 2 tsp. Asian chili pepper sauce (see Note)
  • 1 can (8 ounce size) sliced water chestnuts, drained, finely chopped
  • 1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp. Asian sesame oil
  1.  Rinse lettuce leaves, keeping them whole. Set aside to drain.
  2. Cook chicken in a large skillet over medium heat, stirring often to break up the meat.
  3. Add onion, garlic, soy sauce, hoisin sauce, ginger, vinegar and chili sauce. Cook until the meat is crumbled and brown.
  4. Add water chestnuts and green onions. Cook until onions begin to wilt, about 2 minutes.
  5. Stir in sesame oil.
  6. Arrange lettuce leaves on the outer edge of a platter. Spoon meat mixture in center. Allow diners to spoon meat mixture into lettuce leaves and eat like a taco.
Note: Asian chili pepper sauce can be found in the Asian section of most supermarkets. Some brands contain garlic, which is fine. You can use 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper or 1/2 teaspoon dried red chili flakes instead.
Serves 4.

Sweet Corn & Red Pepper Soup

Found a recipe I wanted to try in one of my favorite magazines, Mother Earth News. It came out so yummy and is quite prefect for a cold fall evening! Enjoy!

Sweet Corn & Red Pepper Soup

  • 7 C. vegetable or chicken stock (low sodium)
  • 8 ears fresh corn on the cob, shucked
  • 1 medium carrot, grated
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/2 C. green pepper, diced
  • 2 Tbls. vegetable or organic canola oil
  • 2/3 C. raw cashews
  • 1/2 C. dry sherry
  • Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 medium red bell pepper, finely diced
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro, minced
  1. In a heavy pot, bring stock to a boil. Add ears of corn and simmer 5 minutes. Remove corn and set aside to cool.
  2. Cut kernels off cobs. Then use the back of your knife to scrape the “milk” off the cobs into the stock. 
  3. In a skillet, sauté carrot, onion, garlic and green pepper in the oil until soft.
  4. Blend corn kernels, cashews and sherry in a food processor with enough stock to help purée the mixture. (For more texture, save some ingredients from the food processor, and add directly to stock.) 
  5. Add purée to soup pot, and bring to simmer.
  6. Season with salt and pepper. Serve garnished with red pepper and parsley.
 Serves 6.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

French Toast with Mascarpone Cheese

I had the pleasure of having breakfast at Whole Foods last weekend and had the tastiest french toast with mascarpone cheese! I duplicated this at home and wanted to share the recipe with you. It's the same french toast recipe I always use, I'll repost the link below. I used Challah bread with poppy seeds but you can use any bread you like. Sometimes I add a little more vanilla extract and cinnamon when cooking, depending on our taste that morning. I served the french toast this morning with scrambled eggs and Applegate Chicken and Maple Sausage, yum!

Mascarpone Cheese Mixture

  • 1/4 C. Mascarpone cheese
  • 1/4 C. Powdered sugar
  1. Combine mascarpone cheese and powdered sugar in a small bowl, stir until combined.
  2. Feel free to add more powdered sugar until mixture is sweetened to your taste.
  3. Store in refrigerator up to 2 days.

 Challah bread sliced

 French toast with mascarpone cheese mixture

Monday, September 5, 2011

Red Chili Frito Pie!

I wanted to share this recipe with you...  the recipe requires Bueno Red Chili Puree but if you can't find it in your area, you can make your own or purchase it online from Bueno.

Red Chili Frito Pie

  • 1 lb. Lean ground beef, grass fed if available
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 2-3 Tbsp. flour (depending how thick you'd like the sauce
  • 14 oz. container BUENO Special Reserve Puree, thawed
  • 14 oz. container water (1½ C. water for slightly thicker consistency)
  • 2-3 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/4 tsp. oregano
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 2 C. Romaine lettuce, chopped 
  • 1 Large tomato, chopped
  • 1/4 C. sweet onion, chopped
  • 2 - 15 oz. cans organic pinto beans, warmed
  • Original Fritos
  • 1-2 C. shredded cheddar cheese
  1. Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium high heat, add flour and stir until golden brown, about 2 minutes.
  2. Add red chile and water, stir to eliminate any lumps.
  3. Add garlic, oregano and salt, stir and bring to a boil.
  4. Add uncooked ground beef, reduce heat and simmer with skillet uncovered 20-25 minutes.
  5. Add sugar and stir and simmer another 5 minutes.
  6. Layer pinto beans, red chili mixture, cheese, onion, lettuce, tomato then Fritos on a plate and serve immediately.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Evolution of a Painting

I wanted something for my living room and have been playing around with some decorating ideas. So I finally decided on something that would remind my of the Northwest. So, I found a photo and got to work on a painting for over the couch. Here is the evolution of that very painting... can't wait for it to dry so we can hang it up!!!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Almond Pound Cake

Almond Pound Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, plus more for pan
  • 3 C. sugar
  • 1 C. reduced fat sour cream
  • 3 C. all-purpose flour, plus more for pan
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp.almond extract
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan and set aside.
  2. In the bowl of a mixer, cream butter and sugar together and then add sour cream.
  3. Sift flour and baking soda together then add to creamed mixture, alternately with eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition.
  4. Add extracts and stir to combine.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes. Cool cake in pan for about 10 minutes and then unmold and cool completely on a wire rack.

Garden Casserole

Garden Casserole

  • 1 lb Chicken, cubed & sauteed
  • 30 oz frozen mixed vegetables, defrosted
  • 1/2 small onion, diced
  • 1 Can cream of chicken soup, reduced sodium
  • 1 C. reduced fat mayonnaise
  • 2 C. shredded white Cheddar cheese
  • 36 buttery round crackers, crushed
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a medium bowl combine the chicken, mixed vegetables, onion, soup, mayonnaise and cheese. Mix well and spread mixture into a 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with the cracker crumbs.
  3. Bake about 30 minutes, or until browned and bubbly.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

East Coast

Just came back from a trip visiting family on the east coast... it was entirely too short and I have a blast!
Here are some of my favorite photos from the trip...

Baltimore Aquarium

Friday, July 15, 2011

60 Pound Baby

Here's a photo of Leonidas off our phone the day we adopted him 3/9/11... he was about 27 pounds and 4 months old.

Here's a couple recent photos of our baby, 4 months later and only 7 1/2 months old.... now 60 pounds!!! I can't believe how much he's grown.... we're wondering how big he'll be when he's a year.... 70-80?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy 4th of July!

Wishing everyone a happy and safe fourth of July!!!

Dinner this evening:

Mini cheeseburgers, corn on the cob, deviled eggs, red potato salad and spiked raspberry lemonade, yum!

Mini Cheeseburgers

  • King's Sweet Hawaiian dinner rolls (usually found near the deli counter)
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • Steak seasoning
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Mixed greens
  • Tomatoes, sliced
  • Vidalia onion, sliced
  • Mayo
  • Mustard
  • Ketchup
  • Tillamook cheddar, sliced
  • Sandwich picks

  1. Sprinkle ground beef with steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce. Make into 8-9 large meatballs sized patties. Sprinkle each side of the patty with steak seasoning and Worcestershire sauce again.
  2. Let meat sit for 15 minutes.
  3. While meat is sitting, slice rolls. Spread mayo, mustard and ketchup on the inside of each roll, 8-9 depending on how many patties you've made.
  4. Warm grill, broiler or grill pan to medium heat.
  5. Cook beef patties until you're desired temp then melt cheese ontop.
  6. Once cooked place one pattie on each roll and top with onion, tomoato and mixed greens.
  7. Place top part of bun on top of the sandwich and hold together each with a sandwich pick.

Deviled Eggs

  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 tsp. paprika
  • 2 Tbls. mayonnaise
  • 1/2 tsp. mustard powder

  1. Place eggs in a pot of salted water. Once water comes to a boil, cover and simmer for 20 minutes. Drain eggs, and let cool.
  2. Peel and cut eggs in half, lengthwise. Remove the egg yolks and mash them together in a small mixing bowl. Mix in the paprika, mayonnaise, and dry mustard.
  3. Spoon mixture into a small zip-lock baggie and cut the bottom corner off. Pipe yolk mixture into egg whites; cool and serve.
  4. Sprinkle with paprika if desired.
    Red Potato Salad

    • 1 1/2 lb unpeeled red potatoes
    • 2 eggs, hard-boiled & diced
    • 3/4 C. mayonnaise
    • 1 Tbls. milk
    • 1 Tbls. distilled white vinegar
    • 1/3 C. sliced green onions
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/8 tsp.ground black pepper
    • 1/2 C. sliced celery

      1. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add red potatoes, and cook until tender but still firm, about 15-20 minutes. Drain, cool and chop into 1 inch cubes. Place in a medium bowl.
      2. In a small bowl, whisk together mayonnaise, milk, distilled white vinegar, green onions, salt and pepper. Pour the mixture over the potatoes, and mix together with the eggs and celery.
      3. Cover, and chill in the refrigerator approximately 4 hours before serving.
      Spiked Raspberry Lemonade

      • 4 C. water
      • 1 pint (about 2 cups) raspberries, plus more for garnish
      • 1 3/4 C. sugar
      • Classic Lemonade recipe, or 1 quart store-bought lemonade
      • Ice, for serving
      • 1 bottle (750 milliliters) sparkling water (not mineral water!)
      • 2 C. vodka (optional)

        1. Bring water, raspberries, and sugar to boil in a large saucepan, stirring occasionally, until sugar dissolves. Reduce heat, and let simmer for 15 minutes.
        2. Strain mixture through a fine sieve, pressing gently on berries to release juices; discard solids.
        3. Let syrup cool completely.
        4. Combine syrup and lemonade in a large pitcher.
        5. Divide among 16 ice-filled glasses. Top each with sparkling water, and vodka if using. (4oz. raspberry lemonade, 1oz vodka, 1oz sparkling water per glass)
        6. Garnish with fresh raspberries.
        Classic Lemonade

        • 1 1/2 cups fresh lemon juice (from about 10 lemons)
        • 1 cup superfine sugar
        • 2 cups water
        1.  Strain lemon juice through a fine sieve into a pitcher.
        2. Add sugar, stirring until it dissolves.
        3. Stir in water.
        Cream Cheese Frosting

        • 2 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened
        • 1/2 C. butter, softened
        • 2 C. sifted confectioners' sugar
        • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

        1. In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until creamy.
        2. Mix in the vanilla, then gradually stir in the confectioners' sugar.
        3. Store in the refrigerator after use.

            Tuesday, June 28, 2011

            Ginger Salmon

            I mixed this dish up a little with Near East Long Grain and Wild Rice (Original) and a mixed salad coated with red wine vinegar and extra virgin olive oil. Normally this dish is served over a layer of Basmati Rice and mixed greens however, you can pair this salmon with almost anything! Enjoy...
            Ginger Salmon

            • 1 C. dry Basmati rice
            • 1lb salmon, skin removed & de-boned
            • 4 Tbls. salt
            • 1/4 C. extra virgin olive oil (more if needed during cooking)
            • 6 garlic cloves, minced
            • 4 green onions, diced
            • 1 in of fresh ginger root, minced
            • 2 Tbls. brown sugar
            • 1 Tbls. Italian seasoning
            • 1-2 Tbls flour (optional)
            • Salt and pepper
            • 4 C. mixed greens

            1. Cook rice according to package directions. Cover and keep warm.
            2. Rub 2 Tbls. of salt over entire salmon, wash off thoroughly. Repeat one more.
            3. Cut fish into 1 inch cubes, set aside.
            4. Combine onion, garlic and ginger. Separate evenly into two bowls, one large one small.
            5. In the larger bowl add 1/2 of the olive oil, brown sugar, Italian seasoning and salt and pepper to taste. Mix thoroughly.
            6. Add the salmon into the larger bowl, coating the salmon with the marinade entirely. Let sit for 20 minutes.
            7. Heat remaining oil in a skillet on medium and lightly brown the smaller bowl of onion, garlic and ginger.
            8. While browning, add flour to salmon mixture then add to skillet.
            9. Cook on low until cooked, adding olive oil if needed.
            10. Spread rice on the bottom of a casserole pan, followed by the mixed greens and then cooked salmon. You may add extra olive oil if desired.

            Spicy BBQ Chicken

            Made some spicy BBQ chicken this evening with creamy crunchy corn and a baked potato, yummers! You'll have to marinade the chicken for a couple hours so start with that first. I prick a couple russet potatoes, coat them with olive oil then salt and bake in the oven at 350 degrees for about 1 to an 1 1/2 depending on how large they are.
            Spicy BBQ Chicken

            • 2 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
            • 1/4 C. onion, finely chopped
            • 1 clove garlic, minced
            • 3/4 C. ketchup
            • 1/3 C. vinegar
            • 1 Tbls. Worcestershire sauce
            • 2 tsp. brown sugar
            • 1 tsp. dry mustard
            • 1/2 tsp. salt
            • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
            • 1/4 (5 ounce) bottle hot pepper sauce
            • 3 lbs chicken breast, sliced into long pieces
            1. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook the onion and garlic until tender.
            2. Mix in ketchup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, dry mustard, salt, pepper and hot sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low and simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
            3. Remove from heat and set aside until cool.
            4. Once cool, mix marinade with sliced chicken and refrigerate for 2-6 hours.
            5. Preheat grill for medium-high heat, I used an indoor cast iron grill.
            6. Lightly oil grill grate.
            7. Place chicken on grill and cook until juices run clear.
            8. Discard any remaining sauce.

            Creamy Crunchy Corn

            • 20-ounce package frozen whole kernel corn
            • 1/4 C. butter
            • 4 Tbls. sugar
            • 2 Tbls. Club crackers, broken into small crumbs
            • Salt and ground black pepper
            1. In a large heavy skillet melt butter.
            2. Stir in corn, sugar, and crackers.
            3. Cover and cook over medium-low heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
            4. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.

            Sunday, June 26, 2011

            Chicken Cordon Bleu

            So I took a shot at new recipe today and yummers! I made Chicken Cordon Bleu with roasted asparagus, mixed salad and coconut macaroons for dessert. I also tried a new recipe for the coconut macaroons rather than my old recipe. The new one doesn't use egg whites... I do like both however, my original recipe is much easier when it comes to forming the cookies.

            The chicken recipe originally requires you to pound the chicken breast until they are 1/2 inch thick but since my meat mallet is in storage I filleted the meat into one long thin piece then placed the cheese and ham inside. I then rolled it the best I could and sealed it using toothpicks. There's a photo below which shows a view of the inside.

            Chicken Cordon Bleu

            • 6 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
            • 6 slices Swiss cheese
            • 6 slices ham
            • 1/2 C. Italian bread crumbs
            • 1 tsp. paprika
            • 3 Tbls. butter
            • 3 Tbls. extra virgin olive oil
            • 1/2 C. dry white wine
            • 1 tsp. chicken bouillon granules
            • 1 Tbls. cornstarch
            • 1 C. heavy whipping cream (8oz)

            1. Pound or slice chicken breasts to 1/2 inch thick long slices. Place a cheese and ham slice on each breast within 1/2 inch of the edges. Fold the edges of the chicken over the filling, and secure with toothpicks.
            2. Mix the bread crumbs and paprika in a small bowl, and coat the chicken pieces.
            3. Heat the butter and olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat, and cook the chicken until browned on all sides. Add the wine and bouillon. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 30 minutes, until chicken is no longer pink and juices run clear.
            4. Remove the toothpicks, and transfer the breasts to a warm platter.
            5. Blend the cornstarch with the cream in a small bowl, and whisk slowly into the skillet.
            6. Cook, stirring until thickened, and pour over the chicken. Serve warm.

            Roasted Asparagus

            • 1 bunch thin asparagus spears, trimmed
            • 3 tablespoons olive oil
            • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
            • 1 clove garlic, minced
            • 1 teaspoon sea salt
            • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
            • 1 tablespoon lemon juice

            1. Preheat an oven to 425 degrees F.
            2. Place the asparagus into a mixing bowl, and drizzle with the olive oil. Toss to coat the spears, then sprinkle with Parmesan cheese, garlic,lemon, salt, and pepper. Arrange the asparagus onto a baking sheet in a single layer.
            3. Bake in the preheated oven until just tender, 12 to 15 minutes depending on thickness.

            Coconut Macaroons

            • 2/3 cup all-purpose flour
            • 5 1/2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
            • 1/4 teaspoon salt
            • 14 oz. can sweetened condensed milk
            • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
            • 1 tsp. almond extract
            • Semisweet chocolate (optional)

            1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
            2. In a large bowl, stir together the flour, coconut and salt. Stir in the vanialla and almond extract into the sweetened condensed milk then add to coconut mixture until well blended.
            3. Refigerate the mixture until col, about 1-2 hours. This will make the mixture earier to form.
            4. Using an ice cream scoop or your hands, form into balls and drop dough onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about golf ball size.
            5. Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven or until coconut is toasted.
            6. Optional: melt semi sweet chocolate and drizzle on-top of macaroons.

             The wine I used, from Trader Joe's

            Inside view of the chicken, wrapped around cheese and ham.