April 12, 2014

Happy National Grilled Cheese Day! Breakfast Grilled Cheese, anyone?

National Grilled Cheese Day!

Have you ever seen a National Food holiday calendar??  That thing is ridiculous.  You name the food/snack/beverage, there’s a “holiday” for it.  Some of them are a head-scratcher, like National Cheeseball Day and National Raisin and Spice Bar Day.  Maybe if National Cheeseball Day was in December I could understand it but in April?  C’mon, Cheeseball Lobbyists, forcing nut-covered cheese-like balls and logs on us during the holiday season isn't enough?  Leave Spring alone. 

Some of them however, just make sense: National Vodka Day (Oct. 4th, mark it down.) and National Wine Day (Feb. 18th) and of course National Grilled Cheese Day.  (What seems to be missing is National Wine and Cheese Day, or what’s known as Every Day in my house.)  National Grilled Cheese Month is April (EVERY. SINGLE. YEAR.), so it just makes sense that today, April 12th, is National Grilled Cheese Day. 

When it comes to grilled cheese, I tend to flip between classic style (white bread, butter and Kraft Singles) and tricked-up style (homemade bread, pesto, spinach, goat cheese and fancy meats) but I love them all, no matter what they've got going on.  There’s something so perfectly comforting about a grilled cheese sandwich – toasted bready goodness wrapped lovingly around ooey-gooey cheese.  In fact, it’s such a perfect food that I think you should go ahead and start your day with one.  After all, breakfast IS the most important meal of the day.

If eggs aren't your thing but spicy is, you’ll love my Jalapeno Popper Grilled Cheese sandwich.  But if eggs AND spicy are your things then you should really have both.  Maybe just not at the same time.   Maybe. 

April 9, 2014

Buerre Blanc Sauce

You've been warned.
I admit it, I had no idea what I was getting myself into with this sauce.  I mean, all I wanted was a little white wine butter sauce to go over some leftover chicken cordon bleu that I made last night.  That was it.  Totally innocent.  Just a little love for some leftovers.  

So I Googled.  Buerre Blanc, Google says, in its best French accent.  Beurrrrre Blaaaah-nc.  Okay, sure. Chicken Cordon Bleu is French so, it probably deserves a French sauce.  One click and a brief scan of the ingredients and I’m in the kitchen, cooking with butter.   And I mean, a LOT of butter.  Like Beyond-Paula-Deen-Butter.   A whole POUND of butter.  4 sticks!!  There was no way in good conscience that I could put 4 whole sticks of butter in anything, so I did only the sensible thing.  I halved the recipe. Brilliant!

All joking aside, the halving of the recipe really was an excellent idea because not only does half of my butter live to cook another day, but you do not, I repeat, DO NOT, want a bunch of this stuff lying around begging you to slather it on chicken, fish, vegetables, cardboard or yesterday’s newspaper.

Making the sauce isn’t tricky; just remember a few key things: the butter must be cold, the heat must be low and your arm will almost fall off from all the whisking you’re going to do.   But you know the saying, “No Pain, No Gain.”   But the pain (and the calorie gain) is sooo, sooo, sooo very worth it. 

September 11, 2013

Sirloin Steaks with Homemade Peppercorn Marinade

There is peppery goodness running all through that steak.
Y’all know I’m from Texas (surely the “y’all” proves it, right?) and here in Texas, we love our beef.  Really, really, loooove our beef.  I’ve never been a fancy schmancy steak kinda gal (unless someone else is paying) and for the last several years, sirloin has been my go-to cut of steak.  It doesn't have the most flavor on its own but fortunately, it never met a marinade that it didn't like, including this one.  The peppercorns give it just the right amount of spice and the rest of the bits give it the perfect savory, umami taste.   Add in some Twice Baked Potatoes and a salad and reap in the kudos.

September 10, 2013

Twice Baked Potatoes

Some things just go together: yin & yang, Batman & Robin, skull & bones, Hall & Oates and of course, meat & potatoes.  Even though I’m limiting my carbs (okay, okay, TRYING to limit. Sheesh.), every once in a while, I just need a steak and an honest to goodness potato (the steak and marinade recipe are coming up tomorrow).  And when I’m going all in with a potato, I’m going to go All. IN. ON. A. POTATO.  And that means mixing the baked fluffy insides of potatoes with creamy good things and using shameless amounts of cheese to blanket it all.  Oh yeah.

Now, let’s be honest here.  You probably know how to make twice baked potatoes already so I’m not going to blow your mind here with this recipe.  As a matter of fact, it’s not really a “real” recipe at all.  It’s a little bit of this, a little bit of that and, um, a lot of cheese.  But simple, basic recipes like this are really the cornerstone of my cooking and I think they are definitely blog-worthy.  I can make all kinds of fancy things but at the end of the meltdown day, it’s unfussy goodness like these that make me (and my guests/family) the happiest.   Hopefully, you’ll find a little something in these twice baked potatoes that you’ll think is worthy enough to add to your own beloved recipe.  The measurements I’ve given are really just guidelines. I plop, slug, dollop and sprinkle until it tastes just right. 

September 9, 2013

August Cara Box Reveal!

Before I attacked the box contents!
Whew! What a busy month August has been!  It was full of weddings, birthdays, out-of-town guests and a million other fun, but time consuming, good times.  One of my fave things of the month was once again participating in the Cara Box Swap, hosted by Kaitlyn over at Wifessionals.  Although previous swaps have all had a theme, for August, Kaitlyn had us just get to know one another and base the box on our partner. It was so fun!  Building friendships with both my partners – Kristal, who I sent a box out to and Lori, over at Perfect Is Boring, who sent me my box – was an absolute highlight of the month!  Lori and I both have a love for books and share a common teenage heroine – Nancy Drew!  I’m a huge Nancy Drew fan and began collecting the series – especially any first editions I could find – back when I was a much younger girl.  Needless to say, being Nancy Drew is an unfulfilled dream.  Here’s how the awesome Lori was able to get me a little closer to that dream and then some:

The goodies!

As you can see, Lori even went above and beyond by sending her notes on Nancy Drew stationary!  
       Caramel Macchiato K Cups – I recently joined the rest of the known Universe and bought a Kuerig coffee maker.  Lori, being the saint that she is, sent me these yummy k cups in my favorite flavor – caramel.  It is the perfect way to start the day!

Live, Laugh, Love coffee cup – Do you have a favorite coffee/tea mug? I do and this is it. It’s the perfect size – it’s large enough to hold enough coffee to wake me up without it being so big that the coffee gets cold.  I hate it when that happens.  Plus, look how fun and cheery it is! I love it!

Café Escapes Café Caramel K Cups – I forgot to snap a pic of these. L Lori packed them in the cutest little burlap bag and sent them with the coffee cup.  So tasty!!!

BBQ Lays Chips – If you are even an occasional reader of this blog, you’re pretty familiar with my love of BBQ chips and these classic babies are some of my favorites.  I heart them.

Beyond Molasses Creek by Nicole Seitz – This book comes highly recommended by Lori and I can’t wait to dive in to it!  I peeked and started on the first chapter already – making myself finish my current book first!

The Lost Files of Nancy Drew – This book literally brought tears to my eyes. It was like I was 11 all over again as I poured pve this part pop-up, part interactive book – it is so amazing.  There’s a ton of little goodies tucked inside and every page is a just a ton of wonderment and fun. If you have a Nancy Drew fan in your life, no matter what her age, this is the book to get her!  My mom, also a ND fan and the one that got me started on her books in the first place, had a BALL thumbing through the pages too – I think she’s a little jealous she doesn't have one!

Snausages for Apollo! – Lori was so super sweet to remember my furry baby!  He *loved* these and whined when they were all gone! 

This was a great experience and I really encourage you to head over to Wifessionals and get your own Cara Box partner!!  Thanks again Lori!!!!