Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicken Pot Pie

You have no idea how happy I am that I tried this recipe!  I am SO NOT a chicken pot pie kind of girl...it's just not something I would ever order at a restaurant, so the fact that I had this planned to make at home this week surprised myself and the husband too!  
You just have to check out my friend Terra's blog Sunshine & Stovetops...that's where I discovered this delicious recipe that I simply couldn't resist.  Click HERE for the recipe!
  Oh man, it was so good.  I made it exactly the way Terra did, except I added cubes of chicken breast and a cup of sliced mushrooms...that is all.  Could you believe this was my first "puff pastry experience"?!?  It was a little too easy!  Without a doubt I will be making this again!  Thanks Terra for allowing me the chance to share this delicious recipe!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Sunday Sauce

Okay...I think it's finally time for this.  I'm ALWAYS talking about making sauce on Sunday's.  I guess it's about time I share the recipe with you all.  The only reason I have been holding out is because I literally NEVER make it the same way twice.  However, I think I've done it enough times that it is safe to share the basics!  The last time I made it, I took note of all of my measurements...and since I was VERY pleased with how that particular batch came out, it is the winning version that I will share!  Not only do I find this sauce delicious, I also love making it.  It smells so good cooking low and slow!  There is nothing like a traditional Sunday Sauce (or gravy....if that's what your family calls it)!
Ingredients:
Olive oil - 2 Tbsp.
3/4 lb. of ground chuck
3 hot italian sausages - cut in half
1 large onion - finely diced
3 cloves of garlic - minced
1 handful of baby carrots - chopped in a food processor
1 cup of red wine - I use merlot
3 28 oz. cans of tomato puree
1 tbsp. of Mrs. Dash - original seasoning
salt
pepper
2/3 cup of parmesan cheese
A handful of basil leaves - chopped

Directions:
1.  In a large pot, brown ground chuck and then remove.
2.  Next heat up about a Tbsp. of olive oil and brown the sausage on all sides.  You don't need to cook it throughout, just let the outside get nice and golden brown and then remove from the pot.
3.  Add another Tbsp. of olive oil to the pot, lower the heat to medium and sauté the onions for about 4-5 minutes until translucent.  Next, add the garlic, carrots, and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
4.  Add the meat back into the pot, and red wine, cook for about 4 minutes until wine starts to reduce.
5.  Add the three cans of tomato puree, Mrs. Dash, salt, and pepper.  *Don't waste the rest of the puree in the cans.  I filled each can about 1/4 of the way with water, gently rinsing sauce off the edges then added to the sauce.
6.  Stir sauce thouroughly, after it starts to bubble lower the heat to a simmer.  Cook for about 4 hours stirring every 15-20 minutes or so.  Make sure to stir from the bottom up, making sure nothing is burning to the bottom of the pot.
7.  When it is finished cooking, add the parmesan cheese, and basil - stir.  Serve with your favorite pasta.  Top with extra parmesan cheese, and basil!  ENJOY!  

Sunday, January 27, 2013

What's cooking this week & Sunday Social!

Last week was a nice little break, but it's time to get back into my usual routine!  My stomach is literally growling as I am typing this!

Tonight: Italian Wedding Soup
Tuesday: Chicken Pot Pie
Thursday: Eggplant Rollatini or Parmesan - I haven't decided yet :)

It's going to be a yummy week, and it looks like there will be a TON of leftovers too!  Perfect!

And now real quick, because I NEED food stat...let's have a little fun with Neely from A Complete Waste of Makeup & Ashley from Ashleys Carnival Ride for the Sunday Social!
What is your ideal way to relax?
First of all, I MUST be wearing leggings - on my couch with my iPad, & nook close by, with the Cooking Channel, or Food Network on tv - this is my idea of perfection!

Where is your favorite place to be?
See above!  You can throw hubby into the mix, but instead of cooking shows we can opt for a movie marathon!

Who do you consider your biggest role model?
I can't pick just one, for obvious reasons I have to say my parents - they are both amazing, I'm going to leave it at that before I get too deep! 
Aren't they too cute?!?! 
But I have to also say, the little brother is pretty inspirational.  He is so talented, and has done nothing but follow his dreams!  Yes, I look up to my little brother in more ways than one!  
This was from last night...wish I could have been there!
What does your life look like in 3 years?
I hope to be doing exactly what I'm doing now, just with some kids and in a house instead of an apartment! 

If you could go back and change one decision what would it be?
No regrets,  I wouldn't want to rock the boat!  Life is good! 

What is your biggest accomplishment in life thus far?
Taking a HUGE leap of faith, and moving to Florida completely jobless on July 21, 2009, officially getting hired as a guidance counselor on July 27, 2009, and moving into our apartment a few days after that....total WHIRLWIND!  Also the craziest thing we have ever/probably will ever do!  
We had NO idea what was in store for us...so exciting/scary!!

Happy Sunday!!! :):):)

Saturday, January 26, 2013

You will "wannabe" the winner of this one!

I've said it before, and I'll say it again...Ashley at Wannabe Green is my hero.  I'm so happy to be a part of this January giveaway, along with some of her pretty awesome sponsors!

1 lucky Winner will take it all.....
a ton of ad space, gift cards, and 3 MONTHS of BIRCHBOX!

So cool!  Thanks lady!  
Make sure you enter this one...it's a biggie!!!
{Left to Right}
250x250 ad on  Mostly Happenstance
300x250 ad on Free Spirit Reigns
2 month 200x200 ad on Pinkie for Pink
200x200 ad and $10 Surprise Pack Glamorous, Affordable Life
200x200 ad on Glam Hungry Mom
*****************************************
{Top to Right}
$5 Starbucks Gift Card from Quite the Blog
$10 Target Gift card from Faith Love & Babies
$15 Panera Bread Gift Card Never The Same Spice Twice
*****************************************
3 Month Subscription to Birch Box from Wannabe Green
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a Rafflecopter giveaway
If you would like to be a part of Wannabe Green next month..
Get 50% OFF all Sponsor Ads for February with Promo Code "LOVEGREEN"

Good Luck Stay Crafty,

Friday, January 25, 2013

Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs

I used to make these meatballs on their own without the mozzarella inside, and ever since I tried it this way...I have never gone back to the original way.  Why mess around?  These are delicious!  I usually make them when I have some leftover Grandpa's Marinara sauce.  I eat these all on their own, usually with a side of a roasted veggie.  Often times, I will boil up a little pasta for hubby (depending on just how much sauce I have left).  With or without pasta, I know you will love these!

Ingredients:
1 lb. - ground turkey meat
8 baby carrots
1/2 onion
3 cloves of garlic
1/2 cup of Parmesan cheese
1/2 tbsp Italian seasoning
1 egg white
3/4 cup of unseasoned breadcrumbs (cut out the Italian seasoning if using the seasoned breadcrumbs)
Salt
Pepper
Block of part skim mozzarella cut into 3/4 inch cubes
Marinara sauce for dipping

Directions:
(Preheat oven to 375 degrees)
1. Put turkey meat into a large bowl. Pulse carrots, onions, and garlic in a food processor then add to bowl with turkey meat. Add Parmesan cheese, Italian seasoning, egg white, bread crumbs, and a little bit of salt and pepper.
2. Get your hands into the mix, mush it all together....roll into balls with a cube of mozzarella inside. I usually make them about 2 inches around. Last time I ended up with about 14 meatballs.
3. Bake for 40-45 minutes.
4. Serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Coffee Talk

Linking up again with Natalie at 23Seventeen for a little Coffee Talk!  Happy Thursday...almost Friday...Yeaaaaaa!!!

1. Do you drink the milk after eating cereal or do you dump it out?
I drink it...in my typical bowl tipping fashion!  You can't waste that stuff!  My favorites are Honey Nut Cheerio flavored milk, and Cinnamon Toast Crunch flavored milk.  I'd probably buy it that way if they sold it!

2. Do you share drinks/food?
{Via}
But I DO!!!  I love sharing food...Stephen and I often go "halvesies"!  It's the best especially when you can't decide on what to order...a dilemma I often have!

3. How often do you replace your toothbrush?
Every 2-3 months, I hope this is okay...and not that I'm gross.  Usually that is about when it starts to get funky anyway!

4. How often do you wash your hair?
If it is straight every other day, but if it's curly every day.

5. Do you use a dishwasher or do you hand wash your dishes?
Dishwasher....sponges are nasty!  If I ever wash them by hand though, I use a TON of paper towels!  
~~~~~
That was fun!  Looking forward to reading everyone else's answers!  Make sure you stop by and say "Hi" to Natalie!  :)

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A Joyful Giveaway!

Thank you Allie from A Day in a Joyful Life for hosting this fabulous giveaway to celebrate her (now more than) 500 followers!!!  WoW!
 Myself, and a bunch of lovely fellow bloggers have teamed up with her and we are giving one lucky reader a $100 gift card to the store of her {or his} choice
You can earn a TON of entries, and meet some really fabulous ladies in the process.  I know I am spending my week getting to know these girls better!
SO...here are the details:
There will be one winner who will be given a $100 gift card to the store of their choice. The giveaway will be live through next Sunday, January 27th. The winner will be announced on Monday {the winner's entry will be verified!}. 
We all agreed that we aren't necessarily fans of giveaways that require us to follow a bunch of people you have no interest in following, so none of the entries are mandatory. I do encourage you to check out these blogs and follow along where you want to, and hopefully we can all find new blogs to read and people to connect with throughout the week! Good luck!

Monday, January 21, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Sorry folks....there isn't much of anything cooking this week!  After work tomorrow, I will be heading over to Jacksonville for a master schedule building conference!  Oooooh exciting stuff, I know!  I really am excited about it though, haha!  I'll cook today since I'm off, and then I have one more meal planned for the end of the week...but that's it!
Tonight: Sunday sauce, and an arugula salad 
Friday or Saturday: Tacos

I know it's Monday, but obviously it feels like a Sunday so I'm going with it.  Also, hubby will have some leftover pasta for the week.  This almost seems too easy!  This weekend has been great, nothing crazy going on mostly just relaxing.  Yesterday we did some shopping, saw Silver Linings Playbook (loved it), and went out for dinner.  Today will more than likely be another relaxation day... I'll be stirring sauce all day and I'm fine with that!  Gotta love three day weekends!  I would like to start a new book today, let me know if you have any recommendations!  Have a great week friends!  :)
A sneak peak at just *some* of the goodies I picked up at Pier 1...can't wait to put these to use with my new and improved lighting!!!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

A Quest for Better Lighting

Have I ever mentioned that my husband is the best, and that I am a very lucky lady?!?  A while back, I found a post on a photography blog about how to create better lighting (on a budget) at home for food photography.  This is it HERE.

I'm constantly complaining about the TERRIBLE lighting in my apartment.  Obviously, a photographer I am not...I insist on taking all of my photo's with my phone (I'm a "phone-tographer").  I do have a point and shoot camera that would take much better quality pics, but using my phone is just way too easy.  Someday, I will invest in the real thing...but for now I'm making the best of it and working with what I've got.  So I figure that if I could at least improve my lighting situation, then it has to be at least a little better.  Right?   I showed the post to Stephen and he was all like "I can do that".  Well, I had long forgotten about it....but sure enough on my birthday, I opened up my very own halogen work lamp, and another box filled with  cut out piece of PVC pipes.  He is so sweet, I was impressed that he remembered....it was literally months ago!  So here it is all set up, I can't wait to really start using it!  It might take me a little while to get the hang of it.
This morning, I tested it out on a frittata....I think I need to figure out the right distance/ height that the light needs to be.  I also want to experiment with using another white panel...but  this is a great start and still significantly better!!! 
Not too shabby, huh?  YaY, psyched for better lighting...thanks to my sweet husband!  :)

Friday, January 18, 2013

Asian Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I am obsessed with these lettuce wraps!  Every time I make these they come out different....never the same spice twice, fo' sho'!  Oh yes, I went there!  They are a little time consuming in the sense that there is a little bit of prep "chopping-wise" involved, but they are still SUPER easy and well worth the effort.  I know you will enjoy these!

Ingredients:
1 lb. of ground chicken
1 small onion (in the mini chopper)
2 handfuls of baby carrots (in the mini chopper = 1 cup) 
3 cloves of garlic - minced 
1 red pepper - diced small 
4 oz. of mushrooms - diced small 
1 8 oz can of water chestnuts - diced small 
1/4 cup of Low sodium Soy sauce
1 Tsp - Sesame oil
1 Tbsp of rice wine vinegar 
1 Tbsp of mirin 
1 Tbsp of teriyaki 
1 large head of butter lettuce (also called boston lettuce, or bibb lettuce) - washed and leaves separated 
Toasted slivered almonds - toasted
Scallions - chopped
Sweet Red Chili dipping sauce 

Directions: 
1. In a large pan, start to brown the ground chicken (on medium-high heat). When the chicken is cooked about halfway through, add the onion. Continue cooking until the chicken is cooked throughout. Next add carrots, garlic, red pepper, mushrooms, and water chestnuts. Continue sautéing all of the ingredients until everything starts to soften (about 3-4 minutes) 
2. Add the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, mirin, and teriyaki. Allow to cook for another 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Once the sauce has cooked down a bit and starts to thicken, it is ready. 
3. Spoon chicken mixture into leaves, top with toasted almonds and scallions - serve with sweet red chili dipping sauce

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Glam Hungry Giveaway!

Andrea over at Glam Hungry Mom is hosting a giveaway with all of her January sponsors (myself included).  Click HERE to meet some new adorable ladies, and enter a chance to win...there are 5 GREAT prizes!
It's going to be a BUSY day today, and I am choosing happiness...I hope you do too!  Happy Wednesday!  :)
{Via}

Sunday, January 13, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Just got back from the most perfect birthday weekend getaway!  Needless to say, I am exhausted...not doing much in the cooking department tonight AT ALL.  It's not delivery...it's...well you know the rest.  Whatevs, sometimes you just need a break!  I will be back at it tomorrow though, here's what's on the menu:
Monday - Chicken Tortilla Soup
Wednesday - Creamy Artichoke Soup and steak for hubby
Thursday - Crock Pot Carnitas
Friday - Leftover turkey lasagna

Thank you everyone for all of the birthday wishes, it really was a "delightful" (ha) day/weekend!  Let me tell you a little bit about it through Instagram!
Went to Epcot - my favorite!
Ate dinner at La Hacienda De San Angel...highly recommend!
Watched fireworks....the best!
Shopped at my favorite mall
Thanks a bunch to my wonderful husband for making it perfect as always!!!
Unfortunately, the weekend went WAY to fast!  Spending the rest of my Sunday in "relaxation mode".  I hope you all had great weekends too!  :)  

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Guest Posting @ Wannabe Green!

Good Morning, and Happy Birthday to ME!!!  Yayyyy!!!  
I'm so happy to be guest posting over at Wannabe Green today.  I LOVE this blog...Ashley is so crafty it's absolutely amazing what she can do.  She makes it look so easy too!  Click HERE to check out my recipe for these bad boys...
Hubby and I are heading to Orlando in a few for a mini-getaway.  He is also taking me to a very special birthday dinner tonight in Mexico...at Epcot! I can't wait!  I hope you all have a fantastic weekend!  

I'll have the weekly meal plan ready to go as soon as I get home tomorrow!  See Ya!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Coffee Talk

Rise and Shine!  Linking up with Natalie from 23Seventeen for some "cawfee tawk", YAY!

1. Would you rather have a pen pal or an email pal?
I remember having a pen pal as a kid, and it was fun...but I am WAY to impatient to wait around for mail.  I think an e-mail pal would be more my speed.  It actually sort of feels like I do have e-mail pals these days with all of the bloggers I have been meeting.  Loving it.  

2. What are you wearing at this exact moment?
It is safe to assume that if I am home (which 99% of the time my posts are written from home) I am wearing leggings.  Sooooo....leggings, a three quarter sleeve baseball tee, and my leopard slippers.  

3. When you are sick, how do you handle it?
Not well.  Poor husband.  

4. I am _____________ [fill in the blank].
Looking forward to the weekend...Saturday is my birthday!  Probably doing the Disney thing, Yippeeeee!

5. Movie you are excited to see this year????
I am SUPER excited about...
Love me some Ron Burgundy!
I don't know how to put this, but he is kind of a big deal!

***Don't forget to enter the Wii U giveaway....you have until midnight!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Bro Sco's Black Bean Burgers

When I used to live at home, my brother and I would always raid the fridge at all hours of the night. He is the master of whipping up something amazing using the most random ingredients he finds.  This is one meal he cooked me sometime last year when I was up in NY visiting.   It reminded me of the old times.  When I came back home, I immediately wanted to replicate it.   So I texted him saying "how do I make those black bean burgers"?  And he responded by saying "you mash up beans with some other stuff and cook them".  If you know my brother, this is typical...not a man of many words, nor is he ever very specific.  So I set out to recreate this burger, it took me a few times to get it just right but I think he would be proud.  Usually I serve them with sweet potato fries...one of my favorites!  The soy sauce is what I thought seemed weird (it's a mexican/asian fusion)...but somehow it just works.  Trust me, and just go with it!
Ingredients:
2 14 oz. cans of black beans (drained and rinsed)
1 red pepper - chop half in a mini chopper (very fine), and then slice the other half
1 large onion - chop 1/4 of it in a mini chopper (very fine), and then slice the rest
1 jalapeno
1 clove of garlic
1/2 cup of bread crumbs
8 oz. package of sliced mushrooms
1 Tbsp. of soy sauce
1 sliced avocado
cheddar cheese
whole wheat buns

Directions:
1. Put black beans, chopped onion, chopped red pepper, jalapeno, garlic, and breadcrumbs into a bowl and mash slightly with a potato masher. I only mash it about half way, leaving some beans still whole.
2. After I use the masher, I use my hands to mix it up making sure it is all distributed evenly.   Now take a large handful and form the burger patties.
3. Cook the patties on medium high heat so they are browned on both sides.
4. In a medium saucepan, sauté the sliced onions, sliced red peppers, and mushrooms (with a little olive oil). When they are cooked down, add the soy sauce and continue cooking until it reduces a bit (about 3 minutes).
5. Assemble the burgers, top with cheese and sliced avocado.
6. Consume! :)

Thanks Pete!!! I hope I didn't leave anything out!!!

Poor hubby ended up with two bottoms when he went to put his burger together, he was so sad. My first thought though was "tell me the one I photographed had two lids"!!! Sure enough....
The one on the left is so sad looking...sorry babes!  :(
***Don't forget to enter the Wii U giveaway....2 days left!!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Wii U Giveaway!!!

Oh Yeah!  I am thrilled to be able to participate in this HUGE group giveaway with all of these lovely ladies!  Thanks SO much to the wonderful Kaitlyn at Wifessionals for this opportunity!  
Nope, no trick here.

I'm for reals - This is a giveaway for a Wii U.

Was the Wii U on your Christmas list and you just didn't get it?
Do you want to get fit for the new year in the comfort of your own home?
Maybe you just like intense super mario matches against your significant other...

Whatever the case is, you can have the Wii U in the picture above for free (:
I'm teaming up with these lovely ladies to bring you this amazing giveaway:
1// Kaitlyn  2// Marquis  3// Ashley  4// Samantha  5// Ashley
6// Nilda  7// Kaitlin  8// Janna  9// Clara  10// Alexandria
11// Stephanie  12// tookies  13// Casey  14// Kristin  15// Melissa
16// Hallie  17// Alli  18// Gayle  19// Brandi  20// Brittany
All you gotta do is use the Rafflecopter below to your heart's delight.
This giveaway will run from 8:00am (EST), Monday, January 7  -  11:59pm (EST), Thursday, January 10.
RULES

1// Giveaway is open to US RESIDENTS only

2// Winner will be notified via email on Friday 1/11/13. You will have 48 hours from the timestamp on the email to respond, or a new winner will be chosen.
3// WINNER WILL BE VERIFIED. If you claim to have done a task you did not - a new winner will be chosen!!!

4// View the Terms & Conditions listed on the Rafflecopter below
Now why don't you enter and win yourself a Wii U (:

Sunday, January 6, 2013

What's cooking this week?

Hello friends & Happy Sunday!  I woke up to a text that this little cutie finally lost her tooth!  It was VERY wiggly while we were in NY!
Stephen and I are having one of our lazy/lay around all day kind of weekends...haven't had one of these in a while!  It feels good, I'm not going to lie!  Yesterday we watched movies ALL day...very much needed!

I have quite a bit to share in the "recipe department" from last week!  I hope to have those ready for you soon!  In the meantime, here is what I have planned for this upcoming week...
Tonight - Grandpa's Marinara (save leftover sauce for Thursday) with Bruschetta
Tuesday - Taco Tuesday...with Flair
Wednesday - Sausage Veggie Subs with salad
Thursday - Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs and asparagus

If anyone has any Redbox recommendations let me know...totally looks like it's another movie day!  I hope you are all having a wonderful weekend!

***Make sure you check back tomorrow for a VERY special group giveaway!!!! ;)

Friday, January 4, 2013

To Refrigerate OR NOT To Refrigerate?

A while ago, I found this handy dandy little chart on Pinterest...I have referred to it a few times, just to be sure I'm doing the right thing!  I was surprised about onions, and garlic!  THIS great article explains why they should be at room temperature.  Who knew?  Obviously, not me!  And my mind is blown, once again!
{via}

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Guest Posting @ Girls Gone Food!

If you haven't been over to Lauren's blog Girls Gone Food...drop everything, and check it out now!  Not just because she is awesome, and so are her recipes....but also because today I'm guest posting over there!  Click HERE to view my recipe for Broccoli Cheese Soup!  Thanks so much to Lauren...make sure you follow her!  And speaking of followers....I hit 100 followers last night!!!  You are all awesome, and made my New Year!  

***Also, don't forget to enter my giveaway hosted by Glam Hungry Mom!  Click HERE to enter...it ends at midnight tonight, so HURRY!  :P

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

What's cooking this week?

FINE....I guess it's time to get back to some sort of normalcy.  Although I don't actually have to go back to work until Thursday, I do plan on cooking for the rest of the week.  Needless to say, after non-stop eating throughout my trip (bagels, pizza, and more bagels), this week the menu needs to be somewhat light!  Here is what I'm thinking...

Tonight - Lentil and Chicken Soup
Wednesday - Asian Lettuce Wraps (w/ ground chicken) and Asian Edamame Fried Rice
Thursday - Black Bean Burgers and baked sweet potatoes
Friday - Sweet BBQ Chicken Pitas

((***If you have been hanging around here long enough, you should know that when I don't link a recipe....my own post just might be coming soon after!))

And, I just have to share some of my favorite moments from NY!
Making some MORE Jelly Buttons
Holiday fun on my Mom's side
Holiday fun on the Skoblicki side
Loving my Sergi's
This food from our last night out was too impressive NOT to share!
That got out of hand real fast....sorry I couldn't pick just a few!  Thank god for the InstapPic Frame app!  As you can see, it was a GREAT time!  Now, back to reality!  Can't wait to get this new year started!  :)

***Don't forget to enter a chance to win a few of my favorite kitchen essentials!!!  Thanks to Glam Hungry Mom for hosting this fun giveaway!!! (You have until midnight tomorrow!!!!)

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