Thursday, February 23, 2012

on a few new things...

 1 & 2// My beautiful Steven Singer platinum dipped rose that I got from my husband for Valentine's Day. It's an actual rose dipped in platinum that lasts forever. Super romantic if you ask me :D

3// My new vibrant colored bowl from Mexico. My mother & father in law had a magical time in Mexico and picked this gem up for me to keep. I have it displayed in my kitchen I always seems to catch my eye.

4// I'm currently had over heals for my fresh bay leaves. Mom actually got a ton of these from one of her neighbors and so she passed some of them along. Have you ever smelt freshly dried bay leaves?? To. Die. For.

Friday, February 17, 2012

on spinach artichoke pasta...

I don't know about you but I love pasta. And what about spinach artichoke dip? Well, my friend whenever I'm at a shindig and spinach artichoke dip is being served for an appetizer well lets just say I hover. For reals! So good. Pasta meets dip. It's a win win folks!
For a while now my stomach hasn't been able to tolerate red sauce so looking for new pasta recipes has been my goal as of late. When I came across this fun pasta dish I had to try it. 
Start out with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Mince 2 cloves of garlic and cook it in the oil. Make sure the heat is on medium otherwise the garlic will go up in flames. Slight exaggeration but you get the point. Next add 1/2 a bar of cream cheese or about 4 oz, 1/2 cup of sour cream & 1/4 cup of white cooking wine. Reduce the heat so it doesn't bubble too much and stir until texture is creamy. 
Next add 1/2 cup of milk & 1/2 cup of grated parmesan. Once melted time to add spinach. You can go ahead and use fresh spinach or just the frozen block of spinach. I used the frozen because I wasn't quite sure when I was going to whip this recipe up. If you are using the frozen make sure it is completely thawed out and also drained. Frozen spinach really releases a lot of water. Dump one package or about 10 oz. of spinach right into the white cream sauce. Mean while chop up one 14 oz can of quartered artichokes in water. I keep nice sized chunks because it makes me giddy when I get a bite of one! Bliss. Let everything cook for about ten minutes or until it starts to bubble. 
Put bow tie pasta (or whatever pasta tickles your fancy) in a dutch oven and simply pour spinach & artichoke white sauce right over the pasta. Mix well and your done...Unless your like me and like to set it in the oven for another ten minutes with some shredded mozzarella cheese on top and wait until the cheese is brown and everything is all bubbly. But that's just me :) 

Oh and don't forget the garlic bread!! So what do you think? Quick and easy and it really only took me like 20 minutes to knock it out. Hubby loved it. And it's really almost like your forking spinach & artichoke dip right into your mouth, without the mayo & a slightly healthier version. MmmMmm. 
By the way, this recipe is brought to you by Budget Bytes. One of my recent finds. This.Chick.Is.God! Awesome recipes with a budget in mind. Best yet, she breaks every ingredient down by cost as well as the cost of the meal itself. The is pure passion right there gems. Check her out and makes some pasta! 


on a reminder...

March 1st will be drawing the end of Google Friend Connect. Make sure you are following me else where. I love Bloglovin' and I have every single one of my favorite blogs on there! I enjoy how well I can organize all my must read blogs. And we all know how much I like to organize! Push my button and follow me :) And for all you gems who would like to just follow me by email look to the left and submit your address. 

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Stayed tuned for another recipe later tonight...

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

on peppermint love cupcakes...

Hi ya'll. Happy Valentine's Day! Today was a very pleasant day. I had whole day off. Sebastian has half days on Tuesdays and Thursdays for his speech class and since the Mr. has been spending a few days at his dad's auto shop (remember their in Mexico) I had to take off to be home with Sebastian. No complaints here, my friend. Anyways, on to my fancy treat. In honor of v-day I made Peppermint Love Cupcakes.

Makes up to 16-18 cupcakes

1 1/2 cups of flour
3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temp
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 cup sour cream
16-18 peppermint patties, I used York! Got mini ones from the bulk candy isle in Wegmans! 

Preheat oven to 350. 
In a medium bowl, mix together all the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt & cocoa. Set aside. 

In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of your kitchen aid, if your as lucky as me, cream together the butter and sugar until it's nice and fluffy. It takes a few minutes. Add the eggs next, one at a  time until each one is blended in with the butter mixture. Then add the vanilla. Once everything is completely mixed start adding the dry mixture into your butter mixture. Do one cup of the dry mixture into the butter mixture while still mixing it with your mixer. Next add 1/2 of the sour cream to the same mixture. Another cup of dry, and the last 1/2 cup of sour cream. Then finish off with the dry. I like doing things in this sequence so everything has time to combine together. Sebastian helped me out with doing this part :) 

Once it's all mixed up your cupcake batter should look like this...

Now for the fun part. Take your cupcake tray and put your fun foils in the holes. I had perfect cute V-day themed ones!
You want to fill the bottom of the cups with about 1 tablespoon full of batter. I used a small spatula to evenly spread out the batter along the bottom. Next you unwrap the York patties and place them right in the middle of the batter. Sebastian enjoyed this part. He'd get batter on his fingers and lick them off :)
Fill the cups up the rest of the way, another 1 1/2 tablespoon of batter.

Pop them in the oven for about 15-18 minutes. Sit back, put your feet up and relax. If your like me you'd be on the couch sporting Valentine's Day sock and crocheting away on an afghan. Just saying.

When you hear the ding (if you have one because I surely don't) then your cuppy cakes are all done. 
All you need is some frosting. I made up some Peppermint Buttercream Frosting. Ingredients are below and all you do is mix everything together, easy peasy. 

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temp
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoon heavy cream
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon peppermint extract (I recommended peppermint opposed to mint. Mint just makes things taste like toothpaste!)
green food coloring, optional. I wanted a little color!

Enjoy! I know people feel very strongly for this holiday. You either love it or hate it. I get both sides. Any which way, I think it's a beautiful thing that society sets a day out of all 365 and devote it to love. Such a complex yet simple thing. Love. I love, LOVE. It's such a great thing. I wouldn't be who I am if people didn't show me love when I needed it most and I hope to do the same for others in my lifetime. Hope everyone is not only loving your loved ones but also yourself. xoxo. 


Monday, February 13, 2012

on who I am...

I am...

...trying not to jinx it all by saying this, but over the weekend it snowed just enough to cover everything and look pretty but also did not ruin the day for us. It was nice. Not that I'm saying it should do that more often!

...entirely way to giddy about finally picking up my pre-ordered dvd of Breaking Dawn. Now you know what I'll be watching tonight and tomorrow night and the night on. Poor husband. 

...obsessed with the show The Walking Dead-- which is seriously such a total thrilling/suspenseful show that it even gives me cool zombie dreams where I blow zombie heads off! Judge me if you must but that to me is an ideal dream! Currently the Mr. and I have been looking forward to our zombie watching nights :) It's so romantic. happy that The Foo Fighters won Best Rock Album. Honestly, I think they are the only real rock band around anymore. They are so talented and I think it's great how much they love what they do and do it just for that reason. Rock on!

...jealous of my in laws who are in Mexico! Gah! Totally jealous. The other day mom texted me and said their getting massages on the beach. Like really? Don't text me that, it's just cruel :) I say all that but I'm really excited and happy for them. Can not wait for all the pictures. 

...becoming a crochet master! I've made some lovely projects from scarves to ear-warmer headband to a super warm cowl and now I'm starting on my chevron afghan. It has been cutting into my blogging and reading no doubt but alas sometimes I crave some time to just step back from all the technology and make things with my hands!

...going to be baking up some yummy cuppy cakes for Valentine's Day tomorrow. Also requested by my husband dinner will be made up of a buffalo chicken stromboli & a broccoli, tomato & cheese stromboli's along with twice baked potatoes. Yeah, carb overload. Lord help me. 

...missing Seattle. Terribly. 

...thankful for the people in my life near & far and thankful for the ones who aren't in my life. Not a day goes by that I realize how fortunate I am for all that. 

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

on paprika chicken...

Here I go again. Another post about food. I'm sorry I can't help myself. All these good eats have me going bananas. Well, as you might already know I'm Hungarian. Both my parents are full blooded Hungarian and so growing up Hungarian cuisine was on our dinner table most everyday. Although you see me cook tons of delicious things, cooking Hungarian is a huge passion. I love cooking up a piece of my childhood to my little family. It really gives me full on joy. Tonight I'd like to share what we Hungarian's call "Paprikas Csirke". However, I'm not going to make you try to pronounce or even say those words so alas the simple definition is Paprika Chicken. Very simple to make but super yummy for the tummy. The main ingredient is as you can guess...Paprika! 

chicken, I like to use skinless thighs and legs (about 2 pounds worth of chicken)
1 large onion
1 1/2 cup mushrooms
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 heap paprika (mild or sweet, I used sweet since Bobby doesn't care of spicy foods)
salt & pepper
2 bell peppers
1 large tomato
1 box couscous

Grab a large pan and heat oil on stovetop. Meanwhile finely chop onion. Gently cook the onion in the oil until their transparent and then add mushrooms. Remove from the heat and sprinkle a heap of paprika over the onions & mushrooms. I don't really measure too much when making Hungarian recipes. It's just how I learned from my father. Then again Europeans don't really measure much, just a pinch of this and a dash of that. So, as for the paprika I just alway use my palm to measure like the above picture. Yes, that amount looks about right. 
Add the chicken next and fry chicken with the paprika & onion on high heat for several minutes. Season the chicken with some salt and pepper, turn down heat to low, cover it and let it sit. 
Next up remove seeds for the bell peppers, and slice them into slivers. Also peel the skin off of the tomato along with removing the seeds and chop. 
Add both peppers and chopped tomato to the chicken and cover with lid. Continue cooking until chicken is cooked all the way through. About 15-20 minutes. 

Growing up we always ate couscous with this dish. It's just how we went about things and I assure you it's amazing. 
This is my favorite brand of couscous that I found at my local Whole Foods. It's actually called pearled couscous, I guess because the couscous is made a little bit bigger than usual. I'm going to let you in on a little secret when making your couscous! Don't listen to the directions on the back of the box. Boiling the couscous is just not that tasty. Instead take another pan and pour about 1 tablespoon of olive oil and heat on medium. Pour the couscous right over the oil and toast it. 
Constantly stir it until the pearls are lightly browned. Once their browned pour one cup of water right into the pan and slowly cook the couscous. This way with the couscous toasted they will cook in the water yet not be all sticky when done. Come on! Isn't that brilliant! Once you make your couscous like this there's no going back my friend. I kid you not. 

Scoop some couscous on a plate and top it with the Paprika Chicken and dig in! 


Saturday, February 04, 2012

on a few good things...

It's been a little since I've been around. Lots going on around here. Projects galore and really just life happening fast. Can you believe it's February? I can't! Soon I'll be married for one year and have a four year old. Gahhh! I want to scream. That is seriously crazy to think about at this moment. A. Four. Year. Old. Alas I feel like things are starting to shift back to a normal, whatever that means. Here's a little catch-up on a few good things...
Last weekend we took the train downtown to see the annual Car Show. This photo was the only one that we took and really was the only good thing that came out of that day. I know, I totally sound like a negative Nancy but seriously the day was a complete bust. Sebastian started out the day being a irritable and cranky and Bobby and I thought the train ride and car show would bring him out of his funk. Boy, were we wrong! All in all, we were at the car show for only an hour, saw a few cars and our took our very tired butts back home on the train. Sometimes things just aren't meant to be. And that day the car show was not written in the universe for us to see & enjoy. It's life and you learn. Hence this extremely too close photo that Bobby snapped of me and Sebastian (well mostly me) on the train. Not bad aye? It's the small things you have to appreciate! 

Here's some few of my favorite eats lately. Sweet Potato Tortilla Chips. No dip needed for these bad boys. Super yummy as snack. Milka Alpine Milk Chocolate. Found this gem at Wegmans, where we do our weekly food shopping. Wegmans has some fun isles of international goodies and I found this in the European section. Milka is a brand of chocolate that is commonly seen all over Hungary & most European countries and whenever I would visit, these chocolates were consumed at an incredible rate by me. This chocolate bar is the best. Quakers Oatmeal Squares have become my every morning cereal. This stuff is good. I like them because they don't get all soggy when they sit for a little while. Since I'm at work and more times than not I find myself busy with consumers in the morning I don't worry that my cereal is going to get all mushy in my soy milk. That is pure joy right there!
Remember when I made that amazing Spectacular Pumpkin Pie and for the crust I had to use Anna's Ginger Thins? Well, I found these melt in your mouth chocolate mint thins by Anna's and they are a favorite in our house. I like to enjoy them with a nice hot cup of peppermint tea. Bliss. 

The other week when we hit up Ikea I picked up this little guy. He is a milk frother! Super simple yet so amazing. On the weekends I'm at home and have to use my Keurig for my coffee means. Not to knock on my Keurig but dude, it's not the same as getting my coffee at work. It's just not. So this guy helps me trick my mind into believing my boring 'ol cup of coffee is better than it really is. Win. Win. Right?! 

Last but not least it's my lovely mother in law's 50th birthday today. Hope she doesn't kick me in the shin for saying so :D She's wonderful and she'll be in paradise next week so that's what she gets from me. Telling everyone on the world wide web that she is one smokin' hot 50 year old! Amen to that sista.