Archive for August, 2011

Zucchini Please

I had to use up some of the vegetables from my parents garden, so I decided to use the zucchini in tonight’s dinner. I choose this recipe since it added a lot of flavor to this bland vegetable and was easy to hide so that my husband would eat it (he really does not care for zucchini, but I love it).

Sweet Zucchini Pancakes

Roy really liked the pancakes, and did not even realize he was eating his veggies to. This was a very easy recipe and did not require an abundance of ingredients. Plus I love breakfast, so why not have it for dinner?

Start by shredding the zucchini in a food processor or with a hand grater.

Mix dry ingredients together, then in a separate bowl whisk egg, and yogurt until smooth. I forgot to put in the butter, and I do not think that it made a big difference. Omit the butter if you want to reduce the fat content.

Combine wet ingredients with dry ingredients, mix well. Add zucchini, stir until well incorporated. Add milk to thin out batter to desired consistency (I used about 1/4 cup organic milk).

Heat skillet to medium heat, and spray with small amount of olive oil.

Served with all natural turkey sausage. I topped my pancakes with a small amount of real maple syrup.

Recipe adapted from pinchofyum’s on tasty kitchen.

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August 25, 2011 at 2:19 am Leave a comment

Bridal Shower

Last weekend I hosted my cousins (Katherine) bridal shower with my family (mom, sister and I). We had a great time planning for this event, and it is such a wonderful feeling when you get to create special memories for someone you love.

My sister took priority over the gifts, she is a great shopper and finds the cutest stuff. Every time you get a gift from her you know that it is well thought out and has a specific purpose.

My mom provided the location (her house), and flowers from the garden for decorations. Plus some yummy vegetables from the garden.

I took on the menu planning, and a scrap booking project.

These tasty little bites were fun to make and added some crunchy texture to the menu : Wonton Napoleons. I did not have time to add the fun ingredients to the top, maybe next time. Who doesn’t like a fancy cheese and crackers?

Balsamic Marinated Shrimp with Balsamic Cocktail Sauce on the side. The sauce was on the spicy side, which the bride to be really enjoyed : ) . I only used a count of 35-40 frozen tail on shrimp, and made the full amount of cocktail sauce.

This Strawberry Fields Salad was a crowd pleaser, everyone went back for more. I doubled the recipe, added chicken and used green tomatoes from the garden. The dressing was store-bought (poppy-seed) and served on the side. The buffet included fresh fruit skewers made with melon, grapes, pineapple and strawberries.

The cupcakes and frosting were prepared the day before, which provided ample time for taste testing by my family (mainly my dad). At the end of the day, I think that the Vanilla Cupcakes with Chocolate Buttercream came out on top. The Chocolate Cupcakes were slightly bland (not as chocolatey as I wanted) and the texture was dense, so I think that I will be trying a different recipe next time. The Vanilla Buttercream turned out to be a winner also.

I made 30 vanilla cupcakes as the recipe called for since I wanted some leftovers, with this recipe I cut back on the baking powder (I used 3/4 tablespoon) slightly related to the reviews. I cut the vanilla buttercream recipe in half so that I would have about the same amount compared to the chocolate. I ended up having plenty of frosting for both of the flavors.

Of course I had to buy sprinkles in the brides wedding colors.

The beverages included iced tea and sparkling wine punch.

A craft station was set up with an expandable scrapbook, scissors, double-sided tape, stickers, glitter, pens, markers, craft paper and other supplies. During the shower, guests can take turns designing their pages to be added to a scrapbook for the bride as a keepsake. All of the guest wrote advice cards, I thought it was important the bride to be had something to look back on to remember this special time in her life.

Family decorating pages for the book (Kitty and Lindsay).

There was lots of eating, laughing, and gift-opening. A big thanks to everyone who helped, and super thanks to my mom, we always make a great team! I am looking forward to seeing family and friends on Katie’s wedding day in October. See you then!

August 23, 2011 at 4:21 pm 1 comment

Back to cooking

After hosting my cousins bridal shower last weekend with my family, which I will post on later this week, I have been super busy with work and catching up around the house. So I have not posted in a while due to this reason. Sometimes blogging seems like another thing that i have to get done by the end of the day, but I am doing my best to keep it interesting. So you might not see a post from me everyday, but once my work schedule slows down I should be able to post on a more regular basis.

I brought home a bunch of fresh vegetables from my parents garden last weekend, and incorporated them into my recipes for the week.

Last nights dinner:

Beef with Peppers

Slice meat thinly against the grain and marinate while the vegetables are cooking.

I placed all of the vegetables in a large skillet and sautéed in olive oil on high heat, then cooked until slightly soft and browned.

Cook the rice noodles according to package directions, I only used half of the bag.

Remove vegetables from skillet and place additional oil inside pan to brown meat on medium/high heat.

Combine vegetables, meat, and rice noodles, cook on low heat until warm throughout.

Time to chow down!

(Recipe adapted from The Pioneer Women).

Ingredients

(Servings 4)

  • 1-1/2 pound Flank Steak, Sliced Very Thin Against The Grain
  • 1/2 cup Low Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Sherry
  • 2 Tablespoons Packed Brown Sugar
  • 2 Tablespoons Cornstarch
  • 1/2 Tablespoon Ginger Powder
  • 1 Tablespoon Garlic, Minced
  • 1 teaspoon Red Chile Powder (more if you want spicy)
  • 2 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1 whole Medium Yellow Onion Sliced
  • 2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Cored And Sliced Into Rings
  • 1 Tablespoon Diced Fresh Jalapeno (or 1 Teaspoon Dice Hot Pepper)
  • Red Pepper Flakes, For Sprinkling
  • Cilantro Leaves

Preparation Instructions

Mix together soy sauce, sherry, brown sugar, cornstarch, ginger, garlic, and chili powder. Place sliced beef in the mixture and toss to coat. Set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large skillet over medium-high to high heat. When it is very hot, throw in the onions and cook for less than a minute. Remove to a separate plate. Return skillet to flame, allow to reheat, and add bell peppers (and hot pepper/jalapeno if using.) Cook for a minute, tossing, until peppers have brown/black bits but are still firm. Remove to a plate.

Return skillet to heat and allow to get hot. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil to the skillet. Add 1/3 of the meat mixture, evenly distributing over the surface of the skillet. Allow to sit for 20 to 30 seconds, then turn with tongs. Cook for another 30 seconds, then remove to a separate plate. Repeat with remaining meat until all brown.

Reduce heat to low. Add all meat, onions, and peppers to the skillet and toss to combine. Pour in remaining sauce (the sauce the meat marinated in*) and stir. Allow to simmer on low for a few minutes. Sauce will slowly thicken. Turn off heat.

Turn off boiling water, then throw in noodles. Stir, then allow noodles to sit in hot water for 8 minutes or so (check package directions to be sure.) Drain, then add 1/2 the noodles to stir fry. Toss together, then add more noodles to taste. Add very hot water if needed to thin.

Top with cilantro leaves. Serve immediately.

August 19, 2011 at 2:37 am Leave a comment


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