Thursday, May 31, 2012

136.4…Cleaning Out The Fridge

I seemed to have accumulated a ton of leftovers over the last few days. I made a pretty good dent in them over the last day.

Dinner last night was the last of the Marinated Chicken Kebabs, some Greek Salad and Easy Tzatziki.

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Are you getting tired of looking at it? Fortunately, I’m not tired of eating it. I’m also not tired of these:

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Peanut Butter M&M Blondies and Sugar Bomb Bars. I had a bit of each for dessert.  You know I’m just doing my job of eating the leftovers! :)

Breakfast this morning was homemade peanut butter on a toasted Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Thin and some leftover watermelon from this past weekend.

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I have decided that I really don’t like the bagel thins. I like the puffier top piece but the bottom slice is too thin and gets really hard in the toaster no matter how little I toast it. Boo.

I took the kids to school and went to Zumba class. I came home for a quick lunch.

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The rest of the leftover turkey chili that my sister in law made this past weekend. This chili rocks!

I picked up my daughter from school and then my son a bit later. Tonight I’m going to Love Boat Sushi for my friend Dina’s birthday. I’m ready for some sushi!

Do you have any leftovers in your fridge that need using up?

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

137.2…Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Besides the Sugar Bomb Bars, I also made Peanut Butter M&M Blondies this past weekend for my family.

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I love making bars because you just dump everything into a pan and bake it. These bars were so easy…no big electrical equipment needed.

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Peanut Butter M&M Blondies

Recipe Courtesy The Gonzo Gourmet

1 stick unsalted butter
2 cups brown sugar
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 ½ cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup chocolate M&M’s

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°.
  2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the brown sugar and remove from heat. Stir in the peanut butter and set aside to cool.
  3. Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
  4. Beat the eggs and vanilla into the peanut butter mixture.
  5. Fold the flour mixture into the saucepan, stir to combine. The batter will be thick.
  6. Spread into a greased 9×13” pan, using your hands if necessary to spread the batter evenly throughout the pan.
  7. Top the batter with the M&Ms, lightly pressing each into the batter.
  8. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the dough is lightly browned and a fork inserted in the center comes out clean.
  9. Let cool completely before cutting into squares.

Printable Recipe

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Last night’s dinner was leftover turkey chili that my sister in law made this past weekend. I added shredded cheddar, chopped onions and a dollop of sour cream.

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It was really good! I will have to get the recipe and make this! I served it with some cornbread I pulled out of the freezer.

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Great dinner! And easy too. :)

Breakfast this morning was pineapple Chobani, Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola, strawberries and blackberries.

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I took the kids to school and went to a couple of school meetings/events. I ran some errands and then met some friends at Urban Plates for lunch. I LOVE this place. It’s only the second time I’ve been and I was quite excited. Last time I ordered the Grilled Wild Ono Nicoise Salad. I wanted to try a different salad this time.

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I ordered the  Farm Stand Turkey Cobb: lettuce blend, pure & hormone free turkey breast,organic tomatoes, bacon, avocado, onion, organic hard boiled cage-free egg, bleu cheese, seasonal sprouts, buttermilk dill dressing. AND the fabulous grilled foccacia bread! Best bread ever. Order the salad just for the bread. :)

I picked my daughter up from school and now I need to pick up my son and take him to his dentist appointment. An exciting afternoon, I tell ya! :)

Cookies or bars? Which do you prefer to make?

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

137.8…Sugar Bomb Bars

I didn’t get a chance to blog at all during the Memorial Day Holiday weekend because I was too busy eating. Seriously. My husband’s family stayed at my house most of the weekend and I seemed to always have a glass of wine in one hand and something to munch on in the other.

For instance, I made a couple of delicious treats for everyone. I kept finding myself reaching into the “cookie jar” and eating them. One in particular I especially enjoyed.

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These are normally known as Magic Cookie Bars but I lovingly renamed them Sugar Bomb Bars. One taste and you’ll know why.

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If your sweet tooth starts calling, answer with these bars.

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Sugar Bomb Bars

  • 1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 cup butter, melted
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts (or whatever nuts you like)
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 3/4 cup butterscotch chips
  • 1 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • 1 1/3 cups sweetened condensed milk
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. In a 9 x 13 inch pan pour in melted butter. Sprinkle the graham cracker crumbs evenly over the butter. Next place the chopped nuts over the crumbs, and spread the chocolate and butterscotch chips over the nuts. Add the coconut over all, and pour the milk evenly over the top.
  3. Bake 25 to 30 minutes or until lightly brown on top. Cool at least 20 minutes then cut into desired sized bars.

Printable Recipe

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The only thing I photographed all weekend was some toast with peanut butter than my sister in law made in my Vitamix. Love homemade peanut butter!

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After my family left yesterday, our friends Alicia and Joe came over with their kids for a barbeque. Alicia brought over the most simple yet fabulous appetizer.

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Baguette slices with a garlic & artichoke spreadable cheese. She also brought tomatoes marinated in olive oil, garlic and basil. All 3 tasted fabulous together!

Since I had leftover Dinner Spanakopitas in the freezer, I decided to make Greek food again!

Greek Salad:

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Easy Tzatziki:

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Dinner Spanakopitas:

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Marinated Chicken Kebabs (I used chicken instead of the lamb in the recipe):

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A bit of everything:

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OMG this meal rocks. 

This morning’s breakfast was pineapple Chobani, Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola and strawberries and blackberries.

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I took the kids to school and went to Starbucks for a latte.

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Look what book I started.  I’ve heard so much about it…I can’t wait to get started!

I went over to Great News for a cooking class. Today’s class was taught by my favorite instructor, Phillis Carey, was entitled “Local San Diego Bounty-Seafood and Shellfish.” The class used all locally caught fish!

The first recipe was Steamed White Sea Bass with Pineapple-Orange Soy Sauce:

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The fish was so fresh and the sauce was very good. The fish was steamed by the marinade and then the marinade was boiled down and became the sauce.

The second recipe was San Diego Cioppino with Local Seafood in a Fresh Pepper and Tomato Chipotle Broth:

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I loved this!! This was my favorite dish of the class. I wanted a huge bowl of it!

The next recipe was Halibut in a Sicilian Sauce with Olives, Raisins, Pine Nuts and Capers.

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I didn’t think I was going to like the flavor combination but it was unexpectedly delicious! 

Next up was Mussels Marinara with Fresh Tomatoes and Basil and Ciabatta Toasts:

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The mussels were great but the sauce stole the show. Loved the parmesan cheese on the toasts. It was perfect to sop up the sauce with!

Dessert was Lemon Shortcakes with Fresh Berries and Cream:

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Add some strawberries to this and you’ve got the perfect Fourth of July dessert! Another winner!

After class, I picked up the kids from school and came home. I’m still pretty tired from the weekend. I’m looking forward to a quiet night at home tonight!

Have you read Fifty Shades of Grey? Thoughts?

What was the best thing you ate all holiday weekend?

Saturday, May 26, 2012

135.6…Dinner Spanakopitas

Who doesn’t like spanakopitas? Spinach and cheese baked in phyllo dough brushed with lots of butter??

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Normally they are small appetizers but these are dinner sized. You get more bang for your buck, so to speak.

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I served these with about a week ago to my family along with Marinated Lamb Kebabs, Greek Salad and Easy Tzatziki. They are by far, the best spanakopitas I’ve ever had.

You know what the best part is? You can freeze these before you bake them. They are a bit time consuming to prepare so I’d get them done ahead and freeze them. Then defrost in the refrigerator, brush with butter, sprinkle with salt and bake as directed!

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Dinner Spanakopitas (Makes 12)

Recipe Courtesy Barefoot Contessa

  • 1/4 cup good olive oil
  • 1 cup chopped yellow onion
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, chopped
  • 2 (10-ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, defrosted
  • 4 extra-large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 tablespoons freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cups small-diced feta cheese (12 ounces)
  • 3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts
  • 24 sheets frozen phyllo dough, defrosted
  • 1/4 pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • Flaked sea salt for sprinkling


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Heat the olive oil in a medium sauté pan, add the onion, and cook for 5 minutes over medium-low heat. Add the scallions, and cook for another 2 minutes until the scallions are wilted but still green. Meanwhile, gently squeeze most of the water out of the spinach and place it in a large bowl.

When the onion and scallions are done, add them to the spinach. Mix in the eggs, Parmesan cheese, 3 tablespoons bread crumbs, the nutmeg, salt, and pepper. Gently fold in the feta and pine nuts.

Place 1 sheet of phyllo dough flat on a work surface with the long end in front of you. Brush the dough lightly with butter and sprinkle it with a teaspoon of bread crumbs. Working quickly, slide another sheet of phyllo dough on top of the first, brush it with butter, and sprinkle lightly with bread crumbs. (Use just enough bread crumbs so the layers of phyllo don't stick together.) Pile 4 layers total on top of each other this way, brushing each with butter and sprinkling with bread crumbs. Cut the sheets of phyllo in half lengthwise. Place 1/3 cup spinach filling on the shorter end and roll the phyllo up diagonally as if folding a flag. Then fold the triangle of phyllo over straight and then diagonally again. Continue folding first diagonally and then straight until you reach the end of the sheet. The filling should be totally enclosed. Continue assembling phyllo layers and folding the filling until all of the filling is used. Place on a sheet pan, seam sides down. Brush with melted butter, sprinkle with flaked salt, and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, until the phyllo is browned and crisp. Serve hot.

Printable Recipe

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Last night’s dinner was a bit random: The rest of the Garlic Cheddar Chicken, leftover Gulliver’s Creamed Corn that I pulled out of the freezer and a salad.

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Breakfast this morning was a toasted Cinnamon Raisin Bagel Thin with Teddie Super Chunky peanut butter and strawberries.

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I took my son to his tennis lesson and then went to spin class. 

Lunch was a turkey and avocado sandwich with a salad.

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I took my son to boy scouts and now I’m at home relaxing. After I pick him up, I have some family coming into town for the weekend. I made a couple of baked goods that I can’t wait to share with you!

What are you doing for the Memorial Day Holiday? 

Friday, May 25, 2012

135.6…Almost-Famous Barbeque Chicken Pizza

One of my husband’s favorite pizzas in the whole wide word is the Barbeque Chicken Pizza at California Pizza Kitchen. When I saw the recipe for a copycat version of it in Food Network Magazine, I knew I had to make it for him.

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I’m not a huge fan of these types of pizzas but I actually enjoy the one at CPK. I’m a lover of all things pizza so I try not to discriminate.

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Almost-Famous Barbeque Chicken Pizza (Make one 10-inch pizza)

Recipe Courtesy Food Network Magazine April 2012

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for brushing
  • 1/2 pound prepared pizza dough, at room temperature
  • 1/3 cup plus 2 tablespoons dark barbecue sauce
  • 1 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breast
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 2/3 cup grated smoked gouda cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 2/3 cup grated part-skim mozzarella cheese (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/2 small red onion, thinly sliced
  • Fresh cilantro, for topping


Brush a large bowl with olive oil. Shape the pizza dough into a ball, add it to the bowl and turn to coat with the oil. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and set aside in a warm place, 30 to 40 minutes.

Position racks in the upper third and middle of the oven. Place a pizza stone or inverted baking sheet on the top rack and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F for at least 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, lay out a sheet of parchment paper and brush with olive oil. Transfer the ball of dough to the parchment and roll it out into a 10-inch round, stretching it with your hands as needed. Lightly brush the dough with olive oil, cover with another piece of parchment and set aside to let rise slightly, about 30 minutes.

While the dough rises, mix 2 tablespoons barbecue sauce and 1 teaspoon olive oil in a small bowl. Put the chicken in a baking dish, season with salt and pepper and brush with the barbecue sauce mixture. Bake on the middle oven rack until cooked through, about 20 minutes. Let cool, then cut into 1/2-inch cubes.

Uncover the dough and spread with the remaining 1/3 cup barbecue sauce, leaving a 3/4-inch border. Top with the chicken, gouda, mozzarella and red onion. Slide the pizza (on the parchment) onto a pizza peel or another inverted baking sheet, then slide onto the hot stone or baking sheet; bake until the cheese melts and the crust is golden, 20 to 25 minutes. Sprinkle with cilantro.

Printable Recipe

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I have to say a few things about this recipe. First, it was a bit time consuming. I suggest prepping as much as you can ahead: make & chop the chicken, get the onions and cilantro ready, etc. Second, I went overboard with the smoked gouda cheese. I piled on too much and the smoked flavor really took over. Please follow the measurements and don’t be so heavy handed like I am. Also, don’t accept an alcoholic drink from me that I’ve made unless you want to fall flat on your face later. Heavy handed. Yes.

Other than the cheese being overwhelming, the pizza was good. I’m not sure I’d go to that much trouble making it again but we enjoyed it.

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Breakfast this morning was pineapple Chobani, Coconut-Sour Cherry Granola and berries.

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I took the kids to school, volunteered to help cut 18 watermelons for a lower school treat and then headed to Cardio Muscle class.

Lunch was another salami sandwich on rye bread with orange veggies and Jalapeno Yogurt Dip.

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I just got back from picking up my daughter from school and will be leaving shortly to pick up my son.

This weekend I have some family coming into town so I’m going to bake a couple of treats for them tonight. Hopefully I won’t eat them all before they arrive.

Are you a fan of barbeque chicken pizza? 

Jalapeno Beer Cornbread – Holiday Recipe Club

I’m not a beer drinker but I love to put it in my food. It gives food such a unique, complex flavor. I make a Cheddar Beer Bread that is one of my favorites! Another favorite in our house is cornbread. I just happened to come upon this recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread on Cosmo Cookie and knew I had to make it.
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Beer, jalapenos and a honey glaze??? I was sold.
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Jalapeno Beer Cornbread  (Makes 1 10-inch round pan of cornbread)
Recipe Courtesy Cosmo Cookie
I’m not a beer drinker but I love to put it in my food. It gives food such a unique, complex flavor. I make a Cheddar Beer Bread that is one of my favorites! Another favorite in our house is cornbread. I just happened to come upon this recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread on Cosmo Cookie and knew I had to make it. 
I’m not a beer drinker but I love to put it in my food. It gives food such a unique, complex flavor. I make a Cheddar Beer Bread that is one of my favorites! Another favorite in our house is cornbread. I just happened to come upon this recipe for Jalapeno Cornbread on Cosmo Cookie and knew I had to make it.
*Note: Looks like blogger ate my photos and text. Will try to get it fixed.*

3 ears grilled corn kernels, or 1 cup of canned corn
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup of your favorite beer
2 jalapeño peppers, seeded, membrane removed, and finely diced
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) butter
1/4. cup honey
1/4 cup of your favorite beer
Preheat oven to 425°F.
In a bowl, whisk together flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt. Set aside.
In a small bowl, stir together eggs, milk, beer, jalapeños, and oil. Add egg mixture all at once to flour mixture, stirring just until incorporated. Add 1 cup of corn and enough extra beer (if necessary) to moisten batter.
Melt butter and coat entire inside of pan. Pour in batter.
Place pan in oven for 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove cornbread from oven and let cool in pan for 10 to 15 minutes. Unmold cornbread from pan. Brush all over with glaze. Serve.
Printable Recipe
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Serve this with your favorite chili, barbequed foods or just by itself with a big pat of butter. You won’t be disappointed.
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Thank you again to Erin  from Big Fat Baker for hosting our Holiday Recipe Club.  If you would like join, please contact Erin.
Enjoy your Memorial Day Holiday!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

135.4…Easy Tzatziki

To go with the Greek food I served last weekend, I made an easy Tzatziki dip. It goes so perfectly with the Marinated Lamb Kebabs (or chicken kebabs)!

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Easy Tzatziki (8 servings)

Recipe Courtesy Barefoot Contessa

  • 2 (7-ounce) containers Greek yogurt (recommended: Fage Total)
  • 1 hothouse cucumber, unpeeled and seeded
  • 1/4 cup sour cream
  • 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh dill
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Place the yogurt in a medium bowl. Grate the cucumber on a box grater and squeeze the grated cucumber with your hand to remove some of the liquid. Add it to the yogurt along with the sour cream, lemon juice, vinegar, dill, garlic, salt and pepper and stir.

Printable Recipe

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Last night’s dinner included the rest of the Stouffer’s Lasagna and a salad. A repeat of the night before. Exciting.

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This morning’s breakfast included a new item: Thomas’ Bagel Thins in Cinnamon Raisin.

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I toasted it and smeared it with Teddie Super Chunky peanut butter.

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It was ok. I REALLY love cinnamon raisin bagels but I don’t love all the calories in those big, delicious, spongy ones. I guess I wanted it to taste more like those but it didn’t really. I guess I can’t complain too much since they are only 110 calories. I don’t think I’d repurchase these.

I took the kids to school, went to a doctor appointment and then came home to do some baking for an upcoming blog post.

Lunch was a salami sandwich on rye bread with spicy mustard, veggies and Jalapeno Yogurt Dip.

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I’m going to pick the kiddos up and get started on a recipe I’m really excited about for dinner. I hope it turns out!

Do you eat any of the Bagel Thins/Sandwich Thins? Which are your favorite?