Peppermint Pattie Cookies

 

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It’s Cookie Swap Time!!!

This is the third year I’ve participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap, and I just love it.  Here’s how it works:  I whip up a huge batch of cookies and send a dozen to three different bloggers that I am assigned to.  My favorite part about it all… three different bloggers send ME a dozen cookies each!  It’s such a fun way to try new recipes and share with friends in the holiday spirit.  As if three dozen cookies isn’t enough, the best thing about the swap is that we raise money for an awesome cause, Cookies for Kids’ Cancer.   How awesome is that?

This cookie recipe is screaming to be made for this holiday season.   Continue reading

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes, SRC September

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

So.. excuse me but I’m a little busy getting MARRIED RIGHT NOW! Like, not even kidding, as this is posting at midnight on 9/1, my wedding will be just wrapping up (and the after party will be starting of course). Isn’t that crazy?!  I SOMEHOW still found time this week to not only cook a fun recipe but to blog about it for you for the Secret Recipe Club!  Don’t worry, I’ll post pictures on facebook and instagram this coming week 🙂

For those of you who are new to the blog (shoutout to the new work friends!), The Secret Recipe Club is an awesome program I’m in where every month, I’m assigned a new blogger in the program.  I get to visit their site and check out some new recipes.  Then, I have to make one of their recipes and blog about it!  We all do the same thing and post on the same day.  It is awesome to try new things and read about everyone else’s experiences!

This month, I was assigned to check out Francesca’s blog, Della Cucina Povera.  She is amazing!  I could not decide what to make because all of her recipes sounded so yummy and also her photography is GORGEOUS.  Francesca has such an interesting background which I’m sure attributes to her creative recipes… she is an Italian-Iranian-American living in Amsterdam.  WOW.  I’m also super jealous of all of her travels!  Due to my serious decision making issues… I also tried her Carmelized Onions & Blue Cheese Pasta… holy cow it was so good!   I’m also making these Lamb Meatballs next… omg.

just AWESOME blue cheese pasta recipe.  So simple but so good.

just AWESOME caramelized onions & blue cheese pasta recipe. So simple but so good.

For now though, let me share with you these crazy good Greek Stuffed Tomatoes!

Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

4-6 Large Tomatoes

1 Tablespoon + 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil

1 Large Onion, grated

bunch of Fresh Mint, chopped

1/2 cup Brown Jasmine or Basmati Rice (cook it ahead of time if you can!)

Salt & Pepper

a few Red Potatoes, chopped

1/2lb Ground Turkey (I would so use lamb but I didn’t have any!)

Directions:

1.  Rinse tomatoes and cut off the tops.  Using a spoon, take the insides out making sure not to scoop all the way to the skin.  Place the tomato pulp into a foodprocessor or blender and pulse.  Place hollowed-out tomatoes in a baking dish and surround with potatoes.

2.  Saute the grated onion in the first Tablespoon of EVOO.   Add the ground meat (whatever you use) and saute, chopping.  Continue until the meat is almost cooked through.  Add the tomato pulp, mint, and cooked rice to the pan.  Stir and cook for a few minutes until the meat is done. 

3.  Turn the oven on to 400 degrees.  Fill each tomato and replace the “lid”.  Drizzle the remaining olive oil over the tomatoes and add salt and pepper to the potatoes.

4.  Bake for about 45 min – 60 min, or until the “lids” start to brown.

Recipe from:  Della Cucina Povera, Greek Stuffed Tomatoes

Stuffin' ingredients ready to do work!

Stuffin’ ingredients ready to do work!

Tom's surrounded by Po's... not too bad!

Tom’s surrounded by Po’s… not too bad!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

The crispy, crunchy, delicious finished product!

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Even the potatoes were outrageous

Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

It has been so ridiculously cold this winter, I cannot stand it!  It’s Wednesday night and all anyone can talk about is the upcoming snow storm we’re expecting.  It’s supposed to last all night and into tomorrow, ending in the evening on Thursday.  I’m just over it!  It’s all over the news, twitter and facebook… shut up people!  Let’s talk about how the Phillies started Spring Training today!!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

Snoop can show you exactly how I feel!

All I keep thinking about is how badly I wish I had another pineapple to make this dessert again.  But I don’t have one… and it’s already snowing.  BOO!

Stelly loves the snow!  The doggies are so excited.

Stelly loves the snow! The doggies are so excited.

Roasted Pineapple with Honey & Cashews

Ingredients:

1/2 cup packed Dark Brown Sugar

1/2 cup Orange Juice (I used Trader Joe’s fresh Tangerine Juice)

3 Tablespoons Honey

1 ripe Pineapple, peeled, cored, and cut lengthwise into 8 wedges

1/4 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt

1/3 cup Raw Cashews, coarsely chopped

2 Tablespoons torn Fresh Mint Leaves

Directions:

1.  Preheat oven to 450.  Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.*  Stir the brown sugar, OJ, and honey in a large bowl until sugar dissolves.  Add pineapple and carefully toss to coat in the mixture.  Let marinate, tossing occasionally for about 10 minutes.  Place pineapple on the prepared sheet and reserve the marinade.

2.  Roast the pineapple for 15 minutes.  Turn, brush with marinade, and roast until tender and caramelized (10-15 minutes longer)  Drizzle remaining marinade over the pineapple and let cool slightly.

3.  Divide pinapple among bowls (Dave and I ate the entire thing ourselves!!).  Spoon greek yogurt alongside.  Garnish with cashews and mint.  

Slighty adapted from:  Bon Appetit

*Make sure to line the entire pan!  The marinade is very liquidy and mine leaked all over the pan- it was a tough one to scrub off when I was finished.

photo 3 (2)

 

 

pineapple

What’s so funny about this recipe is that I originally posted the Bon Appetit version on my facebook so I would remember to try it!  Dave’s Mom thought it was mine and re-posted on her own wall showing me off!  I was happy to have all the love but that was enough inspiration for me to make it myself.  It’s probably the best dessert I’ve ever had.  After the Banana Cream Pie at Chef Vola’s.  

The original recipe uses pistachios, but Dave loves cashews and I had ’em so i used those instead.  Also, you can swap out the greek yogurt for some creme fraiche if you’re feeling fancy.  Whatever you do- don’t skimp out on the fresh mint.  Seriously.  It’s like a dollar at the grocery store and you can use the rest in tea and in recipes like this (I made it last week and holy moly it’s amazing).  While every single part of this dessert has its own perks… the mint… oh my gosh…. the mint.  It just makes this dish.  I don’t know why but it just does and it’s SO GOOD.

Anyway, this is a super easy dessert that will seriously impress people, so give it a try.  I can’t wait to make it again!

Creamy Penne w/ Sausage & Peas

So, I’ve been pretty busy.  I have been literally sitting here staring at a blank screen for the past fifteen minutes.  I’ve forgotten how to blog?!  Has it been that long?  You wouldn’t believe how time consuming this whole thing is…

1.  Find a recipe to make.  I will one day force myself to blog about my ever-growing recipe book I started almost a YEAR ago.  I’m not even ready to use it yet.  It’s a masterpiece in the works.

2.  Make the recipe.  Not that hard, normally… but remembering to take pictures while not screwing anything up can be annoying.  Oh, and I also take them all now with my Iphone… I want a blogging fairy to buy me a new camera!

3.  Eat the recipe.  YUM!

4.  Blog about the recipe.  Transfer the pictures to my computer, maybe edit some of them, upload them, write a story, recipe, etc… it takes a long time!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not complaining… I’m just begging you all to forgive me for my recent lack of fabulous recipe posts!  I have just been so busy the last month or so, I hardly have any time to even make my own dinners… let alone interesting ones.

Also, it has been a difficult transition for the blog, going back onto weight watchers & my new diet from John the dietitian.  With holidays, long weekends, celebrations, and visitors… it’s been so hard to stay on track!

Well, this week I was able to have a good hour in the kitchen to test out a new recipe I got from Rachel Ray’s Magazine back in April.  I love trying new flavor combinations like this, and the best part about this recipe is that I didn’t even need to go to the store!

Creamy Penne w/ Sausage & Peas

Makes 2 Servings.  About 12 WW Points Plus.
Recipe adapted from:  Rachael Ray
Ingredients:
  • 4 oz Whole Wheat Penne
  • 1/2 cup Fat Free Plain Greek Yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon Garlic, minced
  • Salt and black pepper
  • 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • 8oz Hot Turkey Sausage, casing removed
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh mint
Directions:
  1. Cook pasta according to directions on the box. 
  2. Meanwhile, combine yogurt, garlic, salt, pepper, and cayenne in a small bowl.  Set aside in the refrigerator.
  3. In a medium-sized saucepan, cook the sausage, chopping as it cooks.  It took me not much longer than 5 minutes.  Add in the frozen peas and stir.  Cook for another 4 or 5 minutes until sausage is cooked through and the peas are hot.  The grease from the sausage browned the peas just a little bit. 
  4. Drain pasta and add the sausage mixture to the pasta.  Split into two bowls.  Top with a heaping spoonful of the yogurt sauce and a sprinkle of chopped mint.  

I took the original recipe and adapted it to work with the pasta I had in the house already.  I actually measured out the servings of pasta to make counting the meal for Weight Watchers easier.  Dave was a huge help with this meal- which I LOVE.  It’s always nice to have company in the kitchen… especially when they are helpful!  I normally love having leftovers and go out of my way to make them, but with this recipe being not so healthy, I halved the original recipe from Rachael.

Measuring out the pasta is a great way to make sure you don’t over-eat! Dad just picked up this measuring cup & scale in one for us… its awesome!

Cookin’ the peas and the sausage

Yummy and pretty

We both really enjoyed this pasta dish, and it was such a treat since we generally don’t eat pasta too often!  The mint was a great surprise.  I would never think to put mint in pasta.  I’m glad Rachael did!  It added just the right amount of flavor without being overpowering at all.

I also used some of the leftover mint to add to our lemonade!  YUM!

I seriously loved having some extra mint for my diet lemonade

That’s all for now, but I promise you I’ll be back with more this week!

I also am super excited to receive my June Foodie Pen Pal Package from Emily @ In the Moment!!

Mint Chocolate Cake Batter Buddies

Green Hummus just wasn’t enough GREEN for this year’s St. Patty’s Day Celebration at Donny’s in Baltimore.  I had to make something sweet and have been dying to try out this Six Sisters’ Stuff recipe since I saw it in Pinterest!  My Mom and Melissa actually tried it out this weekend while I was away 😦

I wanted to do a Mint-Chocolate Chip version of the recipe.  It turned out awesome.  The mint-chocolate flavor is perfect and although I wish it were a little more green, it still looks pretty cool.

Mint Chocolate Cake Batter Buddies

Adapted from:  Six Sisters’ Stuff Funfetti Cake Batter Buddies

Ingredients:

6 cups Assorted Chex Cereal (Rice, Corn, and Wheat)

1 lb (or less) Mint flavored chocolate

Green Food Dye

3/4 cup Chocolate Cake Mix

1/2 cup Confectioners Sugar

 

Directions:

1.  Melt the chocolate using the microwave on MEDIUM/LOW, stopping after every minute to stir.  You don’t want to burn it!

2.  Once the chocolate is melted, stir in a few drops of color at a time until it reaches the desired green.

3.  Measure out the cake mix and sugar because you’ll want to do this fast as the chocolate will begin to harden.

4.  Pour the melted chocolate over the chex in a giant bowl.  Stir carefully to combine until it is well incorporated.

5.  Once the chocolate almost covers all of the chex, dump the sugar/cake mix and stir.

6.  Refrigerate for best results!

 

We tried to use mini chocolate chips but they didn’t stick well.  They tasted amazing without it though.  Yay!!

I liked using all 3 types, they all have different textures and flavors.

Just a few drops of green will do the trick.

Mix well so all of the chex are coated.

Mint Chocolate Muddy Buddies!  Voila!