Food Journal

Welcome to my food journal! This is officially on the net as of Oct. 24th 2011! I will try to put new entries in my journal once a week if possible – some of them may take a little longer. My journal is where I will be writing about anything going on in my culinary world. This includes recipes from my home, restaurant and event reviews, some basic culinary information that I want to share with you, and whatever else may come to mind. The food journal will always have the last ten things I put on the site in it, just not categorized. Everything will be in it’s own category on the menu bar as well. This is the best place to look if you want to see my latest post, because it will always be at the top. You can use the search tool to look for a specific subject by typing key words into the search bar. You can also go to the index on the menu bar for a list of everything on the site. If there is something you would like to know about that I haven’t posted or if you have a question, please feel free to contact me and I will try to answer as soon as possible. I love to share my food and knowledge, and  I put this site up for us!

Here are my 5 most recent entries!
If you would like to see a list of all of my recipes, lessons and reviews, please go to the index on the menu bar.
Pastelon

Fried Pickles

Alcapurrias

Roasted Red Pepper Hummus

Coleslaw

Chili Mac

 

 

 

 

Roast Chicken with Baby Bella Mushroom Stuffing

Posted by on Oct 9, 2012 in Dinner, featured-slider-post, Food Journal | 0 comments

Roast Chicken with Baby Bella Mushroom Stuffing

Roast Chicken with Baby Bella Mushroom Stuffing (recipe follows) – Roast Chicken with Baby Bella Mushroom Stuffing is such a great recipe if you’re a mushroom fan – which I am. The stuffing is more mushroom then bread which is something that I love about it. Not that I’m anti-bready stuffing, but I just super love mushrooms. Also, I like that they stay nice and moist in this recipe because I’ve had quite a few mushroom stuffings where the poor little mushrooms become like little dehydrated mushrooms while they’re roasting. These stay super duper fat and juicy and yummy in this recipe – yay! If you happen to like your stuffing where it gets all yummy kind of crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside then you will either want to bake the stuffing in a separate casserole (like don’t stuff your chicken), or you can do the barely in the cavity and mostly flowing out of the chicken presentation (that’s the way my Mom always used to do it when I was little). When I make roast chicken and stuffing (whatever the flavor), I like to give everyone the option on their stuffings so I put half in the chicken and half into a small souffle dish (I think it’s a two cup dish). That way, everyone can have their mushroom stuffing the way they like it the most. Another thing I’d like to mention about this recipe, is that I use a really cool technique for flavoring my roast chicken with a compound butter. You put the compound butter under the skin. This is one of those things that you learn in culinary school or when working with a Chef ;). Putting the flavoring ingredient that you are using under the skin makes a huge difference in the end taste of the meat because the flavors don’t really make it through the skin. Soooo, if your putting say your dry rub or compound butter just on the outside of the skin, it really won’t do much for the flavor of the meat underneath- although the skin may be delicious. The technique is explained in step four, but it is easier to show you in video form, so if you can, I’d like to invite you to watch the “how-to” video for this recipe (coming next week). Happy cooking everyone!
Roast Chicken with Baby Bella Mushroom Stuffing

Ingredients

Compound Butter for chicken
2 teaspoons Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1 teaspoons brown sugar
4 Tablespoons butter
2 teaspoon sherry

1 (5-6 pound) chicken

For the Mushroom Stuffing
2 cups bread cut in cubes (french bread is best)
1 teaspoon olive oil
Kosher Salt
black pepper
1/2 stick butter (1/4 cup)
1 carrot, diced
1 stalk celery, diced
2 large shallots, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
baby bella mushrooms, rough chopped
1 teaspoon dried thyme
1 – 1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 Tablespoons parsley, chopped
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Sherry


Instructions

1. Combine all of the ingredients for the compound butter in a small bowl except the butter and stir them together. Add the butter and mash/stir it in. If you have a food processor, this is a lot easier because you can just put everything in there and mix it for a few seconds. I used my mini-food processor for this part.
2. Get your chicken. Remove the neck and any internal organs that may be in there. If you would like to make a sauce out of them, feel free, I won’t be doing that today so I am just discarding them.
3. Rub half of the compound butter into the chicken’s cavity focusing mostly on the area under the breast.
4. With a small rubber spatula, carefully lift the chicken’s breast skin from the meat. Using your hand, place 1/2 of the remaining rub onto each chicken breast under the skin. Check out the “how to” video to see me do this. This is the awesome technique I was talking about earlier.
5. Cover the chicken and place it in the refrigerator while you make your stuffing.
6. Pre-heat your oven to 400°F.
7. Toss your cubed bread with the teaspoon of olive oil and salt and pepper.
8. Bake your bread cubes at 400°F until they are golden brown. This will take about 5 minutes. When they’re done, put them to the side to cool.
9. While your bread is toasting, melt the butter in a large saute pan.
10. Saute the carrot and celery in the butter  (sprinkle them with a little Kosher salt (like 1/2 teaspoon) and pepper) for 3 minutes, then add the shallots and garlic. Saute for about one minute.
11. Add the mushrooms (add a tiny more salt (like 1/2 teaspoon). Saute them for another 4-5 minutes. Add the parsley. Saute for another minute or so.
12. Combine the cubed bread with your mushroom mixture in the pan. Stir it around. Add the thyme and stir.
13.  Add enough chicken broth to make it moist – start with 1/4 cup and work your way up from there. I used almost a cup, but it varies each time I make this. The amount you need is going to depend on how much liquid was in your mushroom mixture and how toasty your bread was so you will have to use your own judgement on this. Add the sherry. Taste the stuffing and decide if it needs more salt or pepper. It should be OK, but now’s your chance. Also, remember you’ll be putting it in your chicken which has salt in it, so don’t over salt.
14. Stuff the chicken with the stuffing. Take the left over stuffing and place it in a baking dish. You can serve it on the side. Also, you don’t have to stuff your chicken. You can bake your stuffing separatly.
15. Roast your chicken at 400°F until it’s done. It should have a temperature of 165°F in the thickest part of it’s thigh. This will take about 1 1/2 hours depending on the size of your chicken. Remove it from the oven when it’s done and cover it with foil to keep it warm and to allow the meat to rest. Here is a link to more information on safe internal cooking temperatures according to the FDA – FDA Site
16. You can use the pan drippings to make a sauce if you’d like.

Please enjoy this “how-to” video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

Rosemary, Thyme and Balsamic Glazed Ribs

Posted by on Sep 26, 2012 in Dinner, featured-slider-post, Food Journal | 0 comments

Rosemary, Thyme and Balsamic Glazed Ribs

Rosemary and Balsamic Glazed Ribs  (recipe follows) – I just want to start out by saying that these ribs are the bomb, no really they are. I don’t want to sound like all “ewww, my ribs are the best” or anything, but I love this rib recipe and it’s been a long time in the making. Well, I’ve been making my ribs this way for a long time, but, I’ve made tiny adjustments to the recipe each time – until now. But now, ta-da, I have achieved rib perfection. Plus I’m humble about it :D No but seriously, this is one of my very favorite recipes and I really think you’re going to love it. It has a really beautiful combination of sweet reduced balsamic vinegar with the deep flavor of the fresh rosemary and the brightness of the thyme and oh, it is just so good. Also, this recipe is great for days when you don’t want to do a lot of cooking like if you’re having people over or something because the ribs can be made up to two days ahead. Then you just make the glaze on the day you’re serving them. This is my “word of warning” about these ribs though. Every Time I make these ribs we all end up eating so many that all we can do is sit around wishing we hadn’t eaten so many ribs. You know how that happens sometimes – ugh! So, anyway, if you’re making dessert, you may want to go with something light like Key Lime Pie, or fresh fruit. So, enough about how yummy the ribs are already, let’s make them right? Happy cooking everyone!

Ingredients for the Wet Rub
10 garlic cloves,minced
2 Tablespoons fresh rosemary, finely chopped Rosemary, Thyme and Balsamic Glazed Ribs
1 Tablespoon fresh thyme chopped, or 1 tsp dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 pounds pork loin back ribs

and later….
1 cup balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup brown sugar
juice from the roasting pan

Instructions
1. Place the garlic, rosemary, thyme, chili flakes, brown sugar, Kosher Salt, pepper and balsamic vinegar into a small mixing bowl.
2. Stir them together to combine.
3. Rub the ribs with the wet rub (I just use my hands) and cover tightly. I cut the rack in half and put each half into a gallon baggie (cut it before you put the rub on or it will be slippery).
4. Put the ribs in the refrigerator and let them set for at least 12 hours and up to 24 hours.
5. Pre-heat the oven to 425°F.
6. Place the ribs into a roasting pan (concave side down).
7. Add 1-2 cups of water depending on the size of your pan – the bottom should be covered by about 1/4 of an inch.
8. Cover the pan tightly in foil.
9. Roast your ribs until they’re done, about an hour and 45 minutes – the bone should be exposed and the meat should be pulling away from it, also you and your house should smell delicious :D
10. Take the ribs out of the pan and set them to the side on a sheet pan or plate or something.
11. If you have at least a cup of juice in the bottom of your roasting pan, strain it into a pot. If your pan is pretty dry on the bottom, pour one cup of hot water into the roasting pan and scrape off the yummy stuff that the ribs left behind (don’t do this if it’s all burned and gross). Then strain this into a pot. The point is that there is a lot of flavor in the pan that you don’t want to leave behind so scrape it out, pour it out, get the flavor!
12. Now, skim the fat off of the top of your strained liquid (that you just got out of the roasting pan) and throw it out (or eat it if you want I guess). At this point, if you want you can refrigerate your liquid and your ribs and finish them later. You can store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days (with-out them drying out) if you wrap them up tight. This is a nice way to make them ahead of time for a get together or whatever. If you’re going to cook them now, then just continue with the next step.
13. Add the vinegar and brown sugar to the pan juice and bring the liquid to a boil.
14. Reduce your liquid until you have about 1 cup maybe even a cup and a half depending on how much liquid you started with. It should take 10-15 minutes depending on your stove. Be sure to watch it – it will boil over easily and it will burn easily. You need to stir it with a rubber spatula while scraping the bottom every few minutes. Also, watch the consistency of the glaze (that’s what you’re making). It will get slightly thicker and begin to coat your spatula. Keep in mind that it will be thicker when it cools and you need to be able to spread it with a pastry brush. It should kind of get the consistency of like how maple syrup is if you heat it up. If you take it off of the heat and find it is too thick, you can add a little water and thin it back down as long as it’s not burned. It is better to take it off too early though because you can always put it back on the heat.
15. Use a pastry brush to glaze your ribs. You may have left over glaze which is great because you can serve it on the side of the ribs for anyone who wants extra.
16. Place ribs under the broiler on the top rack (3-4 inches from the heat) – WATCH THEM – they burn easily, they need about a minute under there and they’re done (you can also do this on the grill but….. I mean you know, the pan’s already dirty so why dirty the grill too :)
17. Hide a few in the fridge for later if you don’t live alone and then serve – Enjoy!

Please enjoy this “how to” video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

Ninjabread Men – Gingerbread with a Kick – WA-GA!

Posted by on Sep 12, 2012 in Cookies, Food Journal, Holidays | 0 comments

Ninjabread Men – Gingerbread with a Kick – WA-GA!

Ninjabread Men (recipe follows) – Last year I was surfing around on Amazon and I came across the coolest thing ever. Ninjabread Man Cookie Cutters. I know, super cool, right? So, upon finding said cookie cutters, I placed them in my Amazon shopping cart and much to my dismay I was rejected. Has this ever happened to you? You’re all excited about some cute purchase and snatch, it’s stolen out of your cart because you didn’t check out quick enough and the last one sold. It’s rare, I know, but it’s happened to me twice. That’s right twice. So, anyway. This year, I was super determined to get my cookie cutters. I actually thought about them several times during the year. (What’s wrong with me)?  And the other day, I was on Amazon again and I happened to remember my beloved ninjabread man cookie cutters so I put in my search and guess what – OH YEAH, they were available. P.S. on that though, one of the sellers was already down to 2 sets and this is September. So I jumped on it and ordered my very own set. And, (sing this part like a bratty kid) ♪ they came in the mail on Wednesday, they came in the mail on Wednesday, they came in the mail on Wednesday♪, Yay! I’m so happy! Now, I have my inspiration for a new recipe. So,  I’ve been working on this for 2 days now and I have come up with this -  Ninjabread Men – Gingerbread with a Kick – WA-GA (that’s my kick sound like in a video game or on a Karate movie). And what do I mean by gingerbread with a kick? What is the difference between gingerbread men and Ninjabread men? Ninjabread men have a kick – YEAH! At least that’s how I envision them. Oh, that’s not a good explanation. What I mean to say is that the Ninjabread men are spicy. MMMMMM, spicy and sweet together in a cookie at last. Don’t worry everyone, fear not the spicy cookie, because they are killer! LOL, killer, get it killer, because they’re ninjabread men, nnninjabread men. This next line is to be read in a high pitched and slow voice ready -  I’mmm funnnyyy! So, let’s bake people! Woooooh!

 Ingredients

Make sure you read the instructions before you start!
5 cups AP flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
4 teaspoons ginger (dried, ground)
2 teaspoons cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 teaspoon mace
In a separate bowl
16 Tablespoons (2 sticks) butter, at room temperature

2/3 cup brown sugar (Light or dark will work, but dark will add more flavor).
2 large eggs
2/3 cup molasses

Instructions

1. In a small bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (the flour, ginger, cinnamon, cloves, salt, baking soda, black pepper, cayenne and mace)
2. In a separate and larger bowl, cream together the butter and sugar.
3. Add the eggs and mix well.
4. Add 1/3 of your dry ingredients and mix.
5. Add half of the molasses and mix. Scrape your bowl and paddle/beaters.
6. Add another 1/3 of your dry ingredients and mix. Scrape the bowl and paddle/beaters.
7. Add the other of half of the molasses and mix. Scrape the bowl and paddle/beaters.
8. And finally, add the remainder of the dry mix and mix it. Remove the dough from the bowl.
9. Divide your dough into four equal pieces. Shape and flatten each of your four pieces into disks that are about one inch thick. Wrap them tightly in plastic wrap and place them in an airtight container (like a gallon baggie or a plastic container).
10. Place them in the refrigerator for at least four hours and up to two days. Remember, the longer
you let your dough set the more flavor it will have, so, give the spices a chance to do their job :). You can also freeze your dough at this point for up to three months. This is a great way to get a jump start on all of those Christmas Cookies that you’ll be baking!
11. When you are ready to bake your Ninjabread Men – WA-GA, pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
12. Remove one disk of dough from the refrigerator. Unwrap it and place it on a well floured surface. Also, be sure to put flour on your rolling pen, cookie cutters, and bench knife or spatula.
13. Roll your Gingerbread, make that Ninjabread Men out to about 1/4 inch thick.
14. Use a floured Ninjabread Man cookie cutter to cut your cookie dough into ninja shapes (isn’t this fun (punch, kick – WA-GA))! You can take all the dough scraps and press them together and re-roll them.
15. Carefully, very, very carefully, move your ninjas to a prepared cookie sheet. I use a bench knife to move mine, you can also use a spatula. This helps them keep their shape. I’m using my silpat to bake mine on, but you can also use parchment paper (do not use any grease, butter or cooking spray, only the parchment or silpat).
16. Bake at 350°F for 9-11 minutes. They should look dull and dry when they’re done. DO NOT OVER-BAKE! They will dry out super easy, so be careful! They should be soft when they’re done. If they come out crispy, you baked them too long – unless you like them crispy, then, good job!
17. Slide the papers onto your cooling racks to cool your little ninjas. Again, be careful!
18. When they are totally cool (like me), you can decorate them. I’m doing mine with butter-cream and fondant on top just so they can have they’re little ninja suits, but you can use royal icing or just butter-cream or raisins or candy – the list goes on and on. Use your imagination and have fun – WA-GA! *If you’d like to see how I did my decorating, I invite you to watch the “how-to” video at the bottom.
19. Oh, you can store these in a airtight container between sheets of parchment paper for a couple of days. If you don’t want your decoration to smear, use the royal icing because it will harden. Also, if you do make royal icing, I recommend using pasteurized egg whites or coddling your eggs. WA-GA – that’s just plain fun, seriously, try it!

Spiced Gingerbread Cookies (Ninjabread)

Please enjoy this “how-to” video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

Ultimate Body Boot Camp

Posted by on Aug 29, 2012 in Food Journal, Restaurant Reviews | 0 comments

Ultimate Body Boot Camp

So, a few weeks ago I was surfing around on Groupon and found this great deal for Ultimate Body Boot Camp – something I would probably never actually sign up for except that it was a really, really good deal and I can’t pass up a sale. Doesn’t the word boot camp just sound scary? It makes me think of like all of the movies where I’ve seen the drill Sargent screaming at the people and basically torturing them. Also, the first group was full, so I had to wait a month to start – more time to be nervous. Oh, you may be wondering what this has to do with food, after all , this is a food site. Well, the reason I’m writing this is because it is going to affect the way I cook for the next 4 weeks. There is no way I’m going to get up at 4:30 a.m. to go and get my bootie kicked and then come home and eat cupcakes. This will be awesome though because it is going to challenge me to expand my recipes into a healthier direction, namely I’m going to attempt some sort of dessert using agave and olive oil and stuff like that – you know the non-processed good for your body stuff. I’m also going to give you a day by day report (at least on boot camp days, so there will be 12 of them)  of what I’m eating and the results if any. Boot camp will be over the next 4 weeks on Monday, Wednesday and Friday for an hour each morning. So with that -


Day 1 – 147 lbs (I’m 5’8), 33 inches around the fattest part of my waist (just under my bellybutton) and 28 inches around the thinnest part of my waist – Today was my first day and I showed up with my husband, Xavier not knowing what to expect. Xavier on the other hand served in the military so he knew what we were in for. Our instructor, Richelle, took role and gave us a few rules like don’t be late or everyone will run laps and only bring water to drink. She also got an inventory of all of our injuries and stuff like that. Oh , and she explained that she has a potty mouth but that if you didn’t like it to let her know instead of going on Yelp and whining about it – I agree and respect that she said to just let her know. I personally being a Christian am anti-cussing, however, I’m not there to change her, but to have her change me so moving on. She got us started with – I don’t know 1,000 or so squats. OK, it wasn’t really 1,000, but me being a non-exerciser (except my once a week ballet) and all, well, I was sweating in the first five minutes. We moved on to lunges and lots of other exercises. The pace was very difficult for me and I couldn’t really keep up but, I tried. Also, I had sweat pouring off of me which is a little disgusting but exactly what I signed up for. She gave very good instruction on proper positioning and she kept me motivated. I have to say that right now, I think the motivation is key. I work out here and there at home, but I definitely have never pushed myself the way I did under Richelle’s instruction today. At the end of the workout she gave us instruction to eat as soon as possible. I loved the advice she gave on what to eat – “if it has a nutrition label, it is not a good choice”. “For example, a chicken doesn’t have a nutrition label, a cupcake does – there are no cupcake trees” (sad but true).  So when I got home, I ate a banana, no nutrition labels there. I also started some eggs boiling to eat later. So that’s it for day one. I’ll let you know what I eat the rest of the day, but right now it’s only 7:30 a.m. Oh, I had a fried egg (I used canola Pam) before boot camp. – Lunch – huge yummy salad – 5 or 6 cups of organic spring mix, 1/4 c blueberries, 1/4 c strawberries, 1 boiled egg, 1/4 oz feta, 1 Tbsp citrus dressing (3 grams of fat), snack – 1/2 c cottage cheese (low fat), 1/4 c strawberry yogurt (fat free), 1/2 banana Dinner – 4 oz grilled Sirloin, 3/4 c of very fattening and yummy mashed potatoes, 1/2 coleslaw (homemade with very little dressing) and an hour or so later, 3 bites of strawberry pie (homemade with a whole wheat crust) I have to point out that I know that this is not good for a diet, but I made it a few days ago and I wanted some but that will be it for straight up sweets – except the tiny brownie square I ate (not homemade, out of a box (my daughter made them) and very, very bad for you) and now, that is seriously it!

Day 2 Wednesday – No weight and inch measurements today, you won’t see those until the end. I have to start by letting you know that I am incredibly sore. Yesterday, it hurt to sit which is saying a lot. I really thought that I would get there today and Richelle would have us start and I would like tear or sprain something or something else like that. So suffice it to say, I didn’t have a real “go to” attitude going in today, but, I showed up. We started to warm-up – jumping jacks. Four minutes in, one of the people in the group showed up late. Awesome, laps :) my favorite – not. We did a few more stretches and the group started the run. Richelle kindly let everyone off with only 1 lap as a kind of warning I guess. I was glad because the one thing I can’t do (not won’t do, but can’t do) is run. I have an old gymnastics injury, so I walked half a lap. Then we got started on the workout. Richelle had brought the stretchy bungee cord things for everyone and we used those for a good part of the workout. It made it kind of fun because it wasn’t just the same exercises again, actually, I think most of the exercises we did were different from Monday. As for the pace, I expected to not be able to do anything (remember, I’m sore, sore, sore). But after the warm-up, most of my soreness was gone and I did better with the pace. She had said on Monday that most people feel improvement after the first week, but I felt better with my pace already. I didn’t keep up entirely, but I wasn’t in a heap sweating and watching today. Yay me!:D


Today’s food – before boot camp – 1 boiled egg, about a 2 inch square of blueberry waffle – no syrup or butter or anything added (the waffles were homemade from yesterday, and also whole wheat), after boot camp – 3/4 cup cottage cheese (low fat), 1 Tbsp strawberry yogurt, 1/2 banana – So far, so good :D, Lunch – big fat salad again (same as before) Dinner – 4 oz Roasted Chicken, Puerto Rican Rice and Beans, 2 slices of French Bread with Butter (fattening, I know, but very good)

Puerto Rican Rice and Beans (Brown Rice)

Day 3, Friday – I was so far beyond tired going in today. I was up packing for our weekend trip all night and had a family emergency on top of it. So, I went into boot camp today on maybe 4 1/2 hours of sleep. I could barely keep my eyes open. The really amazing news is that once we started exercising, I started feeling energized. Go figure, the Doctors are all right about exercise giving you energy :). So, anyway, lots of exercise.


Food – one boiled egg before boot camp, after boot camp – breakfast burrito (2 eggs, 3 slices of potato (baked), 1/2 oz cheese. Snack – 1 serving of Sun Chips (6 g of fat), Lunch – Nasty fast food cheeseburger, something I never eat, but we’re on our way up North and I didn’t pack anything healthy last night because of everything going on. Dinner – spaghetti (whole wheat noodles, 93/7 ground beef, and a piece of garlic bread) By the way, do you guys all know what the numbers stand for on meat packages? It’s the fat to meat ratio. So if you have 93/7, you have 93% meat and 7% fat. Now you know if you didn’t before!

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce

Day 4, Monday – This morning I learned about a torturous exercise called a bur-pee. Not fun. Good exercise though.

Food today – bowl of puffed brown rice cereal and skim milk before boot camp, no food after (I crashed hard, I was so exhausted), lunch – salad, dinner - awesome Grilled Burgers  with Swiss Cheese and Mushroom Sauce

The Best Lean Hamburgers Ever with Swiss Cheese and Sauted Mushroom Sauce

Day 5, Wednesday – Today we used the playground at the park and did a bunch of circuit training. I don’t think I’ll be able to move my arms tomorrow :D! Also, I’m very sad to report that although I used to be able to do pull ups like they were nothing (back in my gymnastics days), I can’t do any now. That’s right, zero pull-ups, that’s how many I can do. Boooooooooooo! This shall change – done da done, da da da da done (that’s my trumpet sounding)!

Food Today – egg fried in Pam before boot camp, after boot camp – 3/4 c low fat cottage cheese with 1 Tbsp of strawberry yogurt, lunch – 2 eggs on a whole wheat English muffin with a really sad and thin slice of cheddar cheese and a tiny piece of fattening sausage :) that wasn’t big enough for my muffin, still yummy though Dinner – 3 or 4 oz of grilled chicken, 3/4 c couscous (not only fun to say, but yummy to eat), and 1/2 c peas – I know, I know, peas were not the best choice (2 starchy carbs in 1 meal), but my girls wanted peas, so I made peas. Dessert – I made a concoction that consisted of fresh cherries, whole wheat flour, wheat germ, oats, bran, olive oil, a tiny bit of butter, cinnamon, brown sugar and Splenda and it was super yummy. I’ll post a recipe when I get it perfected.

Grilled Chicken – Also, a Little Extra About Brines

Day 6, Friday – Yep, we didn’t go. My beautiful husband is sick and I stayed home to take care of him and the kids.

***Food – As for my diet, well, I’ve decided to eat how I normally eat. If I’m honest here then I have to tell you that the reason I’m dumping the strict diet is that I love food and I don’t want to diet. It’s not a will power thing. I could diet. I just don’t want to. I have justified this to myself because if I diet then how will I know if my end results are from the diet or the exercise. Obviously if I diet I’ll lose weight, what we want to know is – Does this boot camp program produce results in and of itself? I definitely want to point out though that I’m a pretty healthy eater anyway. I don’t eat fast food (yes I know I ate that silly cheeseburger, but that was a very big exception) or very much junk food for that matter. I do eat sweets, but not everyday by a long shot. Also, I make almost everything from scratch – which is obvious if you’ve looked at the rest of the site. I am going to put a few links to some of the recipes that I’m going to be eating during boot camp at the end of the article and I invite you to check them out.

Day 7, Monday – Guess what happens when you take care of someone who is sick (and sleep by them and hug on them)? You get sick too. No, no, no boot camp today.

Day 8, Wednesday – Am I letting you guys down. We both still feel all tired. Plus, today is the first day of school and there’s lots to take care of. I am going Friday, sick or not. On the good side, Xavier and I both lost a pound or so from being sick – that is a good thing, right?

Day 9, Friday – Back to boot camp. I just like saying it now, boot camp. There I said it again. Plus, when you tell people you’re sore from boot camp they all get the same look of  being both horrified and impressed at the same time – it’s pretty awesome! I have got to tell you everyone that even with missing those three days, I feel great! I have also noticed that on boot camp days I’m full of energy. The fact that I get up at 4:30 a.m.  to go  seems to have no affect what so ever on me being tired the rest of the day. Who knew, less sleep plus more exercise equals more energy – how does that work out? So yeah,  that’s pretty amazing.

Day 10, Monday – Sick with some throat thing. It’s crazy, I never get sick. Seriously, I don’t think I’ve been sick, sick in a year. Now I’ve been sick twice in a month :( sad face, very, very sad face.

Day 11, Wednesday- Still sick with a coughing, chest throat thing – determined to be there on my last day, Friday, no matter what.

Day 12, Friday – Yes, I went to boot camp today. And guess what, it was raining. Finally, I get to fulfill my image of the mean drill instructor making us work out in a storm. Sorta. Actually, Richelle was sick today (not that she’s mean, LOL, that’s funny, I made her sound mean) so we had a replacement – Forest. He was so super nice when we got there. He introduced himself and was joking around with us and laughing. He seemed super cool and I thought (judging by his personality) that – “wow, this is going to be an easy day”. Wrongo Miss Ma’am. Guess what Forest’s favorite exercise is. Squat jumps. That ‘s right squat jumps. Or at least it seemed like his favorite because we did a bazillion of them. Do you know what this horrible exercise is. Yeah, it’s what it sounds like. You squat down and touch the ground and then you jump into the air with your arms up. And, it hurts. A lot. And you run out of breath after like four of them, at least if you’re me you do. I’m not complaining, well, maybe a little. But I’m not complaining about Forest. He was great and he actually did have quite a large variety of exercises. That ‘s just the one that stood out to me. So, my last day of boot camp turned out to be awesome. I got a great workout, of course and was full of energy all day once again.

So, what’s the final result? Even after dumping my diet half way through (still very justified in my head). Well, here are the results. I now weigh 140 pounds – that’s 7 pounds less then when I started and I lost an inch and a half off of my waist. Also, my clothes fit looser, not just around my waist, but around my bootie and legs too. I can look at myself in the mirror and see an over all result. No, I won’t be posting the bikini picture that you always see – that’s only for my Xavier :). What’s really great though is that not only did I get these physical changes out of this, but I got a few others. I have more energy, I’m continuing to work out on my own at home – 3 times a week. I definitely feel way more disciplined in my workouts though I probably still don’t push quite as hard as I did there. All in all, it was a great experience and I highly recommend doing it to anyone who can. I’m really super glad that I did! Yay Ultimate Body Boot Camp! And also yay Groupon! One more time – BOOT CAMP!

Here are a few more of the yummy recipes I used!

Frittata with Mushroom, Spinach and Gruyere

7 Layer Dip – Greek Style!

The Best Eggplant Caponata Ever

Hummus with Warm Pita Chips

Grandma’s Apple Pie (Plus My Healthier Version)

Awesome video of my husband on our last day of boot camp!


Strawberry Pie – It’s So Berry Good!

Posted by on Aug 21, 2012 in Food Journal, Pie, Uncategorized | 0 comments

Strawberry Pie – It’s So Berry Good!

Strawberry Pie (recipe follows)- If I were to ask 100 people what their favorite part about the summer is, I imagine that most would say either the weather or the break from school/work. Me, well, I love school being out because I get to have the kids at home and as for the weather, yeah, not so much. I live in Phoenix, so this is more the stay inside time of year. But, besides school being out, one of my favorite things about summer is the produce. Yes, the produce. I want to sing a little song that goes like ♪ berries, berries, berries ♫ (wow, I can’t think of the name of the tune so you can sing along with me – I think it may be ♪ Conga, Conga, Conga ♪). Anyway, in the summer time I make berry everything – including berry pies! Strawberry pie, blueberry pie, raspberry, blackberry, you get the idea :D! For some reason though, I was in an especially strawberry(ee) mood this year and I’ve been making strawberry pie like a mad woman. It’s just so tasty. Oh, we have to have a quick talk about the whip cream, cool whip thing. You should know that I am almost always a whipped cream kind of girl. However, when it comes to strawberry pie, I am decidedly cool whip. There is a very good reason for this – want to hear it, here it goes ♪♪. Just kidding, but really. The reason is of course because of my awesome Grandma. She made strawberry pie every summer and on my Uncle’s Birthday in May (in case you were wondering) and always served it with cool whip. Soooo, now to me, my strawberry pie only tastes right with cool whip. Otherwise, it tastes like something is missing. I would like to suggest to you to try it both ways, you never know, you may like the cool whip too!

Ingredients
2 pounds Fresh Strawberries
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 Tablespoon Key Lime Juice (you can also substitute regular lime or lemon)
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 pre-baked pie shell (either homemade or store bought)


Instructions
1. Make and bake your pie shell or cook your store bought one according to the package instructions and set it aside to cool. Make sure you dock (poke little holes with a fork) your dough before baking so it doesn’t get bubbles when it bakes.
2.Clean and hull (remove the stems and leaves) all of your strawberries.
3. Place one pound of strawberries in the food processor and pulse until they are pureed but still have little chunks. If you don’t have a food processor, you can use a potato masher. Also, I use the bigger strawberries for this part and save the smaller ones for step 10.
4. Place your puree into a medium sauce pot on the stove.
5. Add your sugar, cornstarch, Key Lime juice, and salt. Stir to combine. Pay close attention to the color. It has a kind of white color to it. You will be able to tell your filling is done when that white disappears and turns glossy.
6. Turn the heat on medium – high (on most stoves)
7. Cook until the white color is gone and the filling is very glossy. It will also thicken. This takes around five minutes. Also, stir it the whole time making sure to scrape the bottom as you stir. I use a high heat rubber spatula to stir mine.
8. When your filling has that beautiful gloss to it, remove it from the heat and set it to the side.
9. Get your pre-baked pie shell and put a thin layer of the filling on the bottom (the filling doesn’t have to be cooled for this part).
10. Place one layer of fresh strawberries into the pie shell.
11. Pour the filling on top and spread it as evenly as possible. The filling will still be hot, but should have cooled for at least five minutes. I do not let mine cool more then 10 minutes though because it gets too thick and will not pour all around the sides of your strawberries.
12. Place the pie in the refrigerator for about 3-4 hours – until it sets up and serve! I garnish mine with cool whip like I said, but whipped cream is good too :D

 

 

Homemade Strawberry Pie


Please enjoy this “how-to” video!

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

7 Layer Dip – Greek Style!

Posted by on Aug 8, 2012 in Appetizers, Food Journal | 0 comments

7 Layer Dip – Greek Style!

7 Layer Dip (7 layer dip recipe with instructions and video tutorial follow) – 7 Layer dip is one of those things that you find at like every get together you go to right? So, how about we put a fun little spin on it today! I took this over to my in-laws last week for the Fourth of July party and it was a super big hit. Everyone sat at the table ignoring the regular favorites like the french onion dip and the chips and salsa – not that it’s a competition, but if it were, the Greek Dip would have taken first place in the great chip and dip race to the empty bowl race thing :D! I also managed to smuggle a little into a to-go because I wanted to try it as a topping on a steak sandwich but I didn’t want to show up with an appetizer that was already eaten from. Yes, I know that it’s also tacky to take a to-go of the thing you brought, but only if someone sees you right? Plus, I really wanted to try it with the steak and, it was worth it. The point is that not only does this make a great dip, but, if you do have any left over, you have a sandwich for the next day. Just add steak or chicken or whatever and stick it in a pita or on some yummy French Bread. It’s sooooo very good!

Ingredients

2-3 cups Hummus
12 ounces Greek Yogurt, the plain kind (no vanilla or strawberry – ewww, funky dip :D)
1 whole tomato, diced
1 whole cucumber, diced
1 cup olives, chopped
2 oounes feta
1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine
1 teaspoon dried dill or 1 Tablespoon of fresh


Instructions
7 Layer Dip - Greek Style!
1. Spread the hummus into the bottom of a 7×11 inch pan.  You can use store bought or follow the link to my recipe (it makes the perfect amount to make the dip so you don’t end up with a tiny container in the back of the refrigerator filled with three spoons of hummus that you’ll find in a month when it’s no longer identifiable. That happens to you sometimes too, right?
2. Spread a layer of the yogurt onto the hummus.
3. You can do this in any order depending on the colors you want on top, but I did a layer of cucumber, then tomato, olives, feta, onion then dill, you can also mix it all together in a separate bowl first and then put it on top. The other thing I did, is after I added my cucumber and tomato, I pushed down on them a little so when people dip or scoop, the toppings don’t all go jumping all over the place – ahhhhhh – tomato overboard, quick form a rescue squad – ahmmm no, not so much.

I served this with warm pita chips. You make these by starting with pita bread, lightly brush it with olive oil, sprinkle with salt and pepper and baking at 400°F until warm - three minutes or so will do it. Again, you can go to my hummus recipe for a more detailed recipe on the pita chips if you’d like.

Please enjoy this “how-to” video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012-2013

The Best Eggplant Caponata Ever

Posted by on Jul 5, 2012 in Appetizers, featured-slider-post, Food Journal | 0 comments

The Best Eggplant Caponata Ever

Eggplant Caponata – (recipe and instructions with video tutorial follow) – Eggplant caponata is one of my favorite summertime dishes. It is perfect for picnics, potlucks, and really any get together because it can be made ahead of time and is served at room temperature. Here are a few helpful hints for your eggplant caponata success. First of all, eggplant is in season during the months of July – October (in most areas). That means that this is when they taste the best. Choose an eggplant that is firm to the touch, and has a smooth, shiny skin. Avoid buying eggplants with brown or soft spots. You should also know that eggplant absorbs oil (and other liquids) fairly quickly and easily. That is why, for this recipe, I decided to add it in a little later – I wanted the liquid it was going to absorb to have lots of flavor. Also, I don’t peel my eggplant for this dish. You will find a lot of recipes that instruct you to peel the eggplant, or to cover it in salt and squish it to get the liquid out then rinse it (often done for frying and even then, generally not necessary). Don’t do any of those things when you make this. Just dice the eggplant and add it to the pan. Nothing complicated. I should note though that if you dice your eggplant ahead of time, it will start to oxidize (get brown spots), just like an apple does when you cut it and don’t eat it right away. If you get a few spots from cutting it too early, don’t worry about it, you won’t be able to tell in the finished dish. There are lots of varieties of eggplants and they range in color from white to a beautiful deep purple. In this case, I used a deep purple eggplant known as black beauty. What else, what else? Oh, eggplants and aluminum are not really friends and if you cook an eggplant in an aluminum pan, it will discolor it. It’s OK of course if the pan is lined on the outside with aluminum or if the interior layer of the pan has aluminum, I’m talking about if the part touching the eggplant is aluminum-it will discolor it. Sometimes, this does not matter at all though and there are lots of recipes out there where you wrap the eggplant in aluminum foil and grill or roast it. In other words, it’s not necessarily a big deal anyway, I just thought I’d let you know for future reference. And last but not least,  here are a few extra facts that you can share to look super smart at the dinner table. Eggplant is part of the nightshade family (genus Solanum (tomatoes and potatoes are also classified in this genus) and although it is treated like a veggie, it is in fact a fruit – a berry to be exact and it is native to India. Pretty cool huh?
The Best Eggplant Caponata Ever
Ingredients

1/2 cup olive oil
1 yellow onion, diced
2 ribs celery, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1 carrot, sliced 1/4 inch thick
1/2 cup golden raisins
10 green olives, minced
1 Tablespoon capers
1 medium eggplant, medium dice
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon thyme, dried ground
1 Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 (14.5 ounce) cans diced tomatoes
1 (6 ounce) can tomato paste
Kosher Salt
black pepper
1/2 cup pine nuts
basil for garnish


Instructions

1. In a med pot (mine is 5 qt), heat your olive oil.
2. Add the carrots, celery, and onion, sprinkle with about 1 tsp Kosher salt and 1/2 tsp pepper. Stir and saute for about 5 minutes.
3. Add the raisins, olives, capers, eggplant, and chili flakes. Sprinkle with about 1/2 tsp salt and saute for about another 5 minutes.
4. Add the cinnamon, cocoa powder, thyme, sugar and balsamic vinegar and stir.
5. Add the tomatoes and simmer until the eggplant is done.
6. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine.
7. Simmer for about 10 minutes – the veggies should be getting soft.
8. Taste it and decide if it needs more salt or pepper.
9. Remove it from the heat and add the pine nuts, allow to cool to room temperature.
10. Spoon over crostini (see note) and garnish with fresh basil chiffonade.

*crostini – crostini (plural for crostino in Italian) are small slices of bread that are usually toasted. I personally start with a nice french or Italian Loaf, slice it 1/2 inch thick or so, brush it lightly with olive oil, sprinkle it with Kosher salt and pepper then bake it at 400°F for around 10 minutes – just keep checking them until they’re toasty on the outside and still soft on the inside.

 

Please enjoy this how-to video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

Grilled Chicken – Also, a Little Extra About Brines

Posted by on Jun 12, 2012 in Culinary 101, Dinner, Food Journal | 0 comments

Grilled Chicken – Also, a Little Extra About Brines

Brines - A couple of weeks ago I was invited to one of the local high schools to do a cooking demonstration. Before the demo started, I was talking to one of the assistants in the class, Bob. He was super nice. Anyway, he had asked me how to keep chicken breast moist when you grill it and I had told him that I have a really great little brine recipe that I put my chicken in. I had also told him that after the demo I would write the recipe down for him. Unfortunately, I totally forgot. So, Bob, I hope you see this article because I’m going to include that recipe in it. OK, that said, brines marinades and dry rubs are a great way to add flavor to meats and also in some cases help them to retain their moisture. Someone asked me recently if you can marinade, dry rub or brine any type of meat. My opinion on that is simple – you can, but you shouldn’t. Here’s what I mean. If you have something like say chicken breast that you know is going to dry out on the grill, yes, do something about it. Brine it. Or, if you have some beautiful ribs (which do have great flavor on their own) but you want them to be a certain style like cajun. Marinade or dry rub them. So then you ask me, “well, when do you only use salt and pepper?” Which by the way is called “seasoning the meat”.  The easy answer is “don’t do anything to meat that doesn’t need anything done to it”. Not to over-simplify. Here’s an example. If you have a delicious filet mignon, you don’t need to do anything but use salt and pepper. You can do more (like a black pepper rub for instance), but you don’t have to. The meat doesn’t need any help and if cooked properly, will be beautiful on it’s own. Another good example is Salmon. It really doesn’t need any help if you’re starting with a nice piece of meat. I know the trend right now is to cover the Salmon in a Teriyaki Glaze, but that’s a glaze, not a brine, marinade, or dry rub. It is also, in my opinion, overdone at this point. I think every chain restaurant around has one on the menu. I always see the ads – do you think they all chipped in on the same commercial clip :) – it seems like it. OK, I know, off the subject so let’s get back to it.

Brines – Technically, a brine is a cure. Brining is the method you use when you immerse a food (like beef) into a solution (the brine) of curing ingredients (usually salt and/or sugar) dissolved in water. Brines are used to preserve anything from veggies to fruit to fish and other types of meat. They are also used in the process of pickling and of making feta and a few other cheeses.  They were used more in the past then they are now as preservatives, but they are still used in this way. Brisket is a good example of a cut of beef that is brined (and somewhat preserved).  That’s how we get pastrami and corned beef – yummy! Like when you make pastrami, you can let your beef soak for up to 3 weeks in some cases.  I don’t really ever use a brine as a preservative personally  but I think I may venture to make my own pastrami one day. I’ll post if I do – of course.  But the real reason that I want to talk about brines is that they are great for meat that doesn’t retain moisture well. This is because salt and sugar both retain moisture. I have already mentioned that I do this with my chicken breast. You can also brine (for flavor and moisture) other poultry, pork and beef too.  I  love, love, love to brine my pork chops. I use a little apple juice sometimes in my pork brine too (am I crossing in to a marinade?, maybe a little), just FYI.  So, how do I make my brine for my chicken breasts? Well, here’s my very simple recipe. Also, don’t worry, I’ll do an article soon on dry rubs and marinades :D!


Ingredients
3 Tablespoons Kosher Salt
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon cumin (optional, you will be able to taste the cumin in the final dish if you use it (otherwise what would be the point huh?))
2 cups hot water
chicken breast (this recipe is for 1-2 pounds)

Instructions
1. Mix the salt, sugar and cumin if you’re using it into a small mixing bowl.
2. Add 2 cups of hot water and stir to dissolve.  Allow to cool (you can also add a few ice cubes to speed things up).
3. Add the chicken breast to the cooled liquid (it doesn’t have to be cold, just not hot anymore).
4. Cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 hours. I put mine in a gallon baggie and then a bowl.
5. Grill your chicken breast until it’s done (internal temperature of 165°). Do not sprinkle it with salt first, the brine took care of that. I usually pull mine off of the grill at about 160°F and put them on a plate and cover the plate with foil to allow them to carry over cook to 165°F. This helps to avoid overcooking. Of course, I am in no way recommending that you under – cook your chicken, I’m just telling you what I do. If you’re wondering how you can tell the temperature of your chicken. The answer is easy. Use a thermometer. The way to learn to do it without a thermometer is to take the temperature and then feel it with your finger. Push down and really feel the texture, and how firm it is. Do this often and eventually, you will be able to do it by feel for the most part. I do still recommend checking with a thermometer though until you are super sure of your skills. Also make sure you are taking the temperature in the thickest part of the meat and that the thermometer is in far enough. Don’t stick it in like your stabbing it in the heart, but more like you’re trying to make it into a popsicle. Does that make sense? So like stab it long ways, you know.
6. Now, let your chicken “rest” for a few minutes before you cut into it. You should actually do this with any meat. It allows the juices to redistribute.
7. Serve the yummy chicken how ever you want. I had a salad with this particular chicken, but this is also how I make my chicken if I’m serving Puerto Rican rice and beans, or arroz con gandules (except I saute it for that), chicken sandwiches, etc, etc, you get the point.

Here’s a picture of my yummy salad I made. It has cucumbers, cherry tomatoes (organic), corn, red kidney beans, the yummy chicken and a little honey dijon dressing. It was super duper tasty!


Slow Cooked Pulled Pork – Can you Say Slaw Burger – MMMM!

Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Dinner, Food Journal | 0 comments

Slow Cooked Pulled Pork – Can you Say Slaw Burger – MMMM!

Pulled Pork – I would like to say that first of all, there are a lot of really super simple recipes out there to make this that are basically something like – put the pork in the croc-pot, cover in ginger ale or root beer and cook. This is not that that kind of recipe. Don’t let the long ingredient list scare you though. You can have this cooking in ten minutes or so, it’s mostly just measuring out of your spice jars :D! The extra few minutes is well worth the end result. Then you can plan to spend another half hour or so the next day making the sauce and shredding the meat. You can also purchase your sauce, but I think you’ll be happy if you give this a try – it’s Bar B Q sauce not rocket science, plus, you can make some adjustments when you’re the cook and make it “your own”. Also, there are two long ingredient lists, but both lists have mostly the same ingredients so it’s not as much as you think. The other thing is, I serve this on buns topped with coleslaw and cheddar cheese. It’s so very good. Give it a try if you’ve never had it. Otherwise, you can serve your coleslaw (recipe coming soon) on the side. I also love this with fried apples (recipe coming soon), and mac & cheese. It’s all good :)! Happy Cooking!

Ingredients (set 1, for in the croc – pot)
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard powder
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/8 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
1/8 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1 Tablespoon brown sugar
1 Tablespoon fresh ginger, shredded or minced
1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
2 onions, sliced 1/4 inch thick
5 garlic cloves, peeled
1/4 cup apple cidar vinegar
1/4 cup white wine
3-4 pounds pork loin, cut into 4 or 5 pieces (you can also use shoulder or butt for this)

Instructions
1. Slice your onions and set them to the side.
2. In a small bowl mix your chili powder, mustard powder, cumin, smoked sea salt, Kosher salt, allspice, and chili flakes. Add the brown sugar, fresh ginger, worcestershire, white wine and apple cidar vinegar
3. Put a layer of onions on the bottom of your croc-pot.
4. Place your pork loin on top of the onions.
5. Pour the spice/liquid mixture on top and add water until the pork is almost covered.
6. Add the garlic cloves and the rest of the onions.
7. Put it on high heat until it reaches 140°F (for safety reasons, then lower the heat to low).
8. Allow this to cook for 8-12 hours (I did mine overnight and part of the morning, 11 hours).
9. Remove the meat from the pot and place it on a sheet pan to cool for a few minutes. Then place it in the refrigerator to cool enough so that you can handle it.
10. Strain the liquid reserving the liquid and the onions, put the onions in the refrigerator for later. *see note
11. Put the liquid in a pot, skim the fat off of the top and place it on high heat to reduce it to one cup. *see note
12. Shred your meat while your liquid is reducing.
13. Remove the liquid from the stove and put it to the side.
14. Now, we have some more measuring to do – mix all of the following ingredients into a small bowl.
*note about step 10- The last time I made this, I chopped the onions and added them back into the croc-pot along with the sauce which follows. I liked it better this way.
*note about step 11- The last time I made this, I reduced my liquid to about 2 1/2 cups and didn’t add any water later on (step 3 below). I liked it better this way.

Ingredients for the Sauce
2 cups ketchup
1 Tablespoon chili powder
1 teaspoon onion powder
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon worcestershire
1/8 teaspoon smoked sea salt
1 Tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon Kosher Salt (if the liquid you reduced is salty, put less salt here)
1 Tablespoon apple cidar vinegar
1/2 teaspoon chili flakes
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 Tablespoon brown sugar

*As a side note, this is how I make most of my BBQ sauces except that I sometimes also add 1 teaspoon Hungarian Paprika, and 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder. I don’t feel these are necessary in this recipe because of the fresh garlic and the smoked sea salt

Instructions Bar B Que Pulled Pork (Slaw Burger)
1. Use a small mixing bowl and just go down the ingredient list (list 2 for the sauce), put everything in the bowl and stir it.


Now……..

1. I put this sauce, the reduced liquid, and the pork back into the croc-pot.
2. Stir it around really well.
3. Add 1-1 1/2 cups water (I swish my water around in the container I made the sauce in as well as the one the reduced liquid was in just to get the residual flavors but, you don’t have to do this).
4. Put the croc-pot on high, just until it’s hot and then reduce the heat to low and allow this to cook for 1-2 hours, make sure you stir it occasionally and check to make sure it’s not drying out. When you’re ready to eat, it’s ready for you. Oh, spicy mustard is really tasty on the sandwiches too! I don’t put it on them, but I put a little pile on the side so I can have some with and some without. :D – Yum!
*The next day (when it’s a little less wet), you can make “pre-made” sandwiches to freeze. These are great for me because then my son can just grab one out of the freezer when he’s “so starving mom” and microwave it for like a minute. I put them in individual sandwich freezer bags and then put all the little bags into a gallon baggie so they’re not floating around my freezer all over the place. Just don’t put the coleslaw on them before you freeze them, it does not freeze well!

Please enjoy this how-to video!


Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012

Key Lime Pie with Rum Infused Whipped Cream

Posted by on May 3, 2012 in featured-slider-post, Food Journal, Pie | 0 comments

Key Lime Pie with Rum Infused Whipped Cream

Key Lime Pie – For those who don’t know, I used to live in South Florida. I loved it there :D! They have amazing weather, the beach, a nice breeze all the time, generally happy friendly people and delicious Key Lime Pie. Aaaahhhhh, Key Lime Pie. Just the thought of it makes me long for a hammock between 2 palm trees and the sound of the ocean. One of the best things we used to do when I lived in Florida was to run off for a long weekend in Key West. And what do you eat when you’re in Key West? That’s right, conch chowder :D – but more importantly, you eat delicious Key Lime Pie! I’m pretty sure that it’s a rule of some sort :). So, anyway, the point is that I, being partially from Florida, am super duper picky about my Key Lime Pie and I can taste a cheater recipe from a mile away. Folding Key Lime flavored Jello with cool whip does not a good Key Lime Pie make. There are also some short cuts out there where you use the right ingredients, you just kind of skip over some of the steps. This results in  the right flavor but the wrong consistency – like I said, I’m super duper picky. So what are the ingredients that are absolutely required? Well not to state the obvious, but Key Lime juice, and also eggs and sweetened condensed milk. The reason sweetened condensed milk is necessary to make it authentic is kind of cool – ammmmmm if you’re a food nerd like me anyway. It has to have sweetened condensed milk because the Overseas Highway wasn’t built until 1930. Why is that important Alicia(?) (you may be wondering). Well, let me tell you why. Fresh milk wasn’t readily available in the Keys until that highway came around (unless you had a pet cow I guess). So, the local cooks relied more on sweetened condensed milk which has been around since 1856. Therefore, without sweetened condensed milk, it’s not the real thing. When was the first Key Lime Pie made? No one really knows, but it is believed that it was made sometime in the mid to late 1800′s either by a woman referred to as Aunt Sally (cool history lesson that you’ll have to Google for yourself), or by the local fisherman. I also learned that some historians believe that the fishermen made it and Aunt Sally perfected it. Either way, I’m glad they didn’t have fresh milk, because sweetened condensed is so very tasty! The other controversy with Key Lime Pie is over the topping. Was it originally meringue or was it whipped cream? Hmmmm, let’s think about it for a minute. If they didn’t have milk readily available, they probably didn’t have cream either. So, I’m thinking it was meringue. Also, it may interest you to know that if you look up Aunt Sally’s recipe, she used meringue (no wasting the whites from those separated eggs).That said, I use whipped cream because it’s yummier to me. I also add rum extract to my whipped cream (Rum and Limes are friends, just ask a mojito). Oh, and here’s one more Key Lime Pie fact for you, just in case you’re ever on Jeopardy or something. Key Lime Pie is the official pie of Florida, yeah, it’s true, since 2006. Guess what pie was it’s competition. Music- do do do do do do do do do do do doot do do do do do – OK, ready for the answer? Pecan Pie. I love them both but I have to say, that pecans make me think Georgia, not Florida so I think they got this one right :D! Wow, my goodness I had a lot to say about Key Lime Pie. You would think I was passionate about it or something LOL! Happy Cooking!

Ingredients
Crust
2 cups graham crackers, crushed (chocolate cookie crumbs are yummy here too)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
4 Tablespoons butter, melted

Filling
6 egg yolks
2 (14 ounce) cans sweetened condensed milk
1 cup Key Lime juice

Rum Infused Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
2 Tablespoon confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon rum extract

Instructions for the Crust
1. Pre-heat your oven to 350°F.
2. Place graham cracker crumbs into a small mixing bowl. The easiest way to get the crumbs is to put the graham crackers into a gallon baggie and roll over them with a rolling pin.
3. Add the cinnamon and stir it to combine.
4. Add the butter and stir with a spoon until it’s combined, then use your hands to mash the butter into the crumbs until they start to hold together.
5. Press the crumb mixture into the bottom of a 10 inch spring form pan which has been sprayed with cooking spray.
6. Bake at 350°F for 5 minutes and remove it from the oven.
7. Set your crust to the side to cool.


Key Lime Pie with Rum Infused Whipped Cream
Instructions for the Pie Filling
1. Place the egg yolks into a medium mixing bowl.
2. Mix on high speed until they become a pale yellow color and are doubled in volume.
3. Add the sweetened condensed milk and mix on medium for one minute.
4. Add the Key Lime Juice.
5. Mix on medium for about another 30 seconds to one minute, you’re looking for a nice thick, creamy consistency.
6. Pour the filling onto your cooled crust (make sure the sides of the pan have a little cooking spray on them).
7. Bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until the center is set (mine took 19 minutes), do not over-cook or when you cool it, it will crack.
8. Allow your pie to cool at room temperature for an hour or so and then put it in the fridge over-night. If you don’t let it set at room temperature for the hour before you put it in the refrigerator, it may crack.

Instructions for the Rum Infused Whipped Cream (Make this the day after you bake the pie or the day you’re serving it).
1. Place cream in a medium mixing bowl.
2. Mix on high speed until foamy.
3. Add the confectioners’ sugar 1/2 at a time mixing in between additions.
4. Continue mixing to soft peaks.
5. Add the rum extract.
6. Continue mixing until stiff peaks form.

To Finish your Key Lime Pie
1. Run a knife around the edges of the pie to make sure it isn’t sticking anywhere.
2. Remove the sides of the spring-form pan.
3. Decorate your pie – I used a piping bag with a large star tip.


Please Enjoy this how-to video!

Copyright secured by Digiprove © 2012
Return to Top ▲Return to Top ▲
website security