Friday, September 30, 2011

Tailgate sandwiches

You don't have to hang around my house very long to figure out that my husband and my son love college football.  They love football season and everything that goes along with it.  If you are planning to sit down and watch some football at home this weekend or heading out to a game, you need to try these bite size sandwiches.  They're the perfect little sandwich to snack on during the big game.  

Sassy tailgate sandwiches
12 Hawaiian sweet rolls, split
1 pound shaved ham
12 ounces white American cheese
8 ounce tub Philadelphia chive and onion cream cheese
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

Arrange bottoms of rolls in a greased 9x13" baking dish. (I used a 9" square baking pan for 9 sandwiches.). Layer sandwich bottoms with ham and cheese. speed each roll top with cream cheese. Place over cheese. In small bowl melt butter. Add worcestershire and Parmesan. Let stand for 20 minutes. Cover dish and bake 20 minutes at 350.

With the leftover rolls, I made some mini sandwiches for my daughter's lunch for the next day.  She was super excited about the "cute" ham and cheese minis.

Send me your comments with your family's favorite tailgate food.  What do you like to munch on while you watch the game?

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Apple Season

Mia and I took our long walk in the park yesterday.  On the way home we stopped by a favorite little produce stand, and checked out their selection of apples.  

 The Mitsu apples from the Georgia mountains were HUGE!  They definitely gave me a craving for really fresh, crisp apples.  So - I ate one on the way home. 
I must be in the mood for apples because on Tuesday night, I baked a batch of apple cinnamon muffins from my 2011 Taste of Home Fall Baking magazine.  They were really good.
Cinnamon Apple Muffins
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
3 Tablespoon unsweetened applesauce
1 medium apple, peeled and grated

1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 Tablespoon flour
2 Tablespoons butter
1/2 cup oats 

Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.  In another bowl, stir together egg, milk, oil and applesauce.  Stir into dry ingredients.  Fold in apple.  Fill muffin cups 1/2 full. 

In a small bowl, combine topping ingredients with a pastry cutter until crumbly.  Sprinkle over batter.  Bake muffins 18 minutes at 350. 

Half of the muffins were eaten warm out of the oven and we ate a few more this morning.  Luckily there were a few left over for me to have with my lunch yesterday.  I liked them even better the next day.   The flowers were from Ben - aren't they pretty.  They make me smile every time I walk past them. 
Bon Appetit!

Seafood at sunset

Last week I made cheese stuffed steel head trout for dinner and as I we were cleaning up the meal, I saw this beautiful sunset outside my kitchen window.  Since I am never very far from my camera, I decided to stop and take some pictures. 


Several weeks ago I bought some frozen Steel Head Trout at the grocery store.  It looks a lot like salmon but its lighter in texture to salmon.   It was so good that I went back to the store and bought 2 more pounds to keep in my freezer.  I pulled some out of my freezer last week and this time I stuffed it with an herbed cheese.  It was absolutely fantastic and super simple to make.  

Herb Cheese Stuffed Steel Head Trout                 
2 Steel Head Trout filets                     
1 Tablespoon slivered almonds                  
2 Tablespoons garlic and herb cheese     
1/4 cup panko bread bread crumbs
1 lemon wedge for each serving

Cut pocket in top of each filet and spoon cheese inside.   Sprinkle on fish with salt, pepper, panko and almonds.  Bake 14 minutes at 425. 

This recipe is a really easy way to dress up a simple piece of fish and turn it into an elegant entree.  I normally use this recipe with salmon but because the Steel Head Trout is so similar to salmon, I decided to use the same recipe.  If you can't find Steel Head Trout, try using salmon instead.  We really enjoyed this meal and the beautiful sunset that followed. 

Bon Appetit!

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Angry Birds

Most of you probably already know that  accepted me as a featured publisher last month.  They are also responsible for the great ads that you see on the left side of my blog.  I am on foodbuzz quite a bit and I publish some of my recipes on that site as well.  If you've never been to you might want to check it out. 

A couple of weeks ago, I was scanning through some of the recipes in my foodbuzz inbox and I came across these adorable owl cookies.  They came from another blog called Amy's Cooking Adventures.  I printed the picture and laid it on the kitchen counter.  That afternoon when my daughter came home from school and saw the picture, she pleaded with me to make them for her FCA snack this week. 

The owls were really easy to make.  I baked a batch of round sugar cookies and iced half with white icing and half with brown icing.  I opened up mini Oreos for the eyes and then added a brown M&M to each eye.  To finish them off I added a candy corn nose and Oreo halves for eyebrows. 

Somehow my owls came out looking grumpier than the owls that were on Amy's website but I still think their cute.  My husband thinks they look like "angry birds."  I have to agree.  I hope the teenagers at my daughter's Bible study like them - even if they do look like angry birds.

Bon Appetit!

Fire up the grill

I fired up the Big Green Egg and I decided to grill chicken not only for tonight's dinner, but for two other meals as well.  I'm planning to make chicken floutas and a chicken casseroles this week too.  I figured as long as I had the Egg all fired up and ready, I might as well cook all the chicken that I am going to need for the week.  It's a huge time saver to have the chicken already cooked when I am in a hurry to get dinner on the table. 

I have had this recipe for Tropical Island Chicken for at least 15 years.  I have tried all different chicken marinades but I keep coming back to this one because I have yet to find anything better. 

Tropical Island Chicken
½ cup soy sauce               
4 cloves garlic
1/3 cup oil                   
1 teaspoon ginger
¼ cup water                   
¾ teaspoon salt
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds           
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 Tablespoon sugar


Combine all of the ingredients in a ziploc bag and then add the chicken.  I refrigerate the chicken until I'm ready to grill.  (up to 8 hours)  I like to use chicken breasts with ribs and skin because I think it seals in the juices when I grill it.  I remove the skin before serving it. 

Grilled chicken is one of my favorite meals.  I just never seem to get tired of it.  This chicken marinade is my favorite - without a doubt.  I think you'll like it too.

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Gluten, Soy and Dairy Free Chocolate Cake

On my trip to Earth Fare last week, the community relations coordinator offered to send me home with a sample of Namaste cake mix and some information about the company.  I must admit that I had never even heard of this company so when I got home, I did some research.  I found out that Namaste foods are gluten, wheat, soy, potato, corn, tree nut, peanut, casein and dairy free. 

If you have food allergies or you cook for someone who has food allergies - you need to check out this company.  They make mixes for breads, cookies, brownies, cakes, muffins, pizza crust, frosting and pancakes.  They also have 3 different kinds of pastas.


I have had more requests for gluten and dairy free desserts in the last month than I have ever had.  Since the demand for these dessert is increasing, I was anxious to try out this new product.

I made 6 mini bundt cakes and sprinkled them with powdered sugar.  I delivered a couple of these to a friend who has recently converted to a dairy, gluten and soy free diet.  She called me shortly after I left and told me how much she enjoyed them.  She said that she had been craving something sweet and that these mini cakes hit the spot.  

I also made 6 cupcakes and I frosted them with what I thought was a non-dairy whipped topping.  It's a good thing that these cupcakes were just for us because it turns out the topping did contain dairy - my bad.  I am going to have to stick to the Namaste frosting mix next time.

I delivered a couple of these cupcakes to friends who do eat dairy and they really enjoyed them. 

I also made a two layer 6" cake for my family to sample.  I filled it with the same topping that I used to decorate the cupcakes.  I also made a chocolate glaze to pour over the cake and then decorated it with strawberry halves.

I decided not to tell my family that this was a gluten, diary, soy free cake before they tasted it because I didn't want to alter their impressions.  They were a little suspicious because usually if there is a cake that looks this good in the house, it's almost always for someone else or because we are expecting company.  I had to do some convincing that I was just trying out a new cake mix before they agreed to try it. 

Everyone really liked it.  My kids thought it was really moist and my husband said he probably wouldn't be able to tell the difference between this cake and a regular chocolate cake.

Along with the sample cake mix, I also received some Namaste recipes.  I have recipes for Blueberry Coffee Cake, Banana Bread, Peach Yogurt Waffles, Mandarin Spice Cake, Black Bottom Cupcakes and Cheesy Bakes Pasta with Spinach and Artichokes - all gluten, dairy and soy free.  Can't wait to give these a try.

Bon Appetit!

Life with a wimpy ankle

For those of you that haven't heard the story of my wimpy ankle, I will give you the abbreviated version.  

I started running in May of 2001 as a means of stress relief.  I entered a couple of 5K races and then eventually some 10K races.  Over the next several years, I gradually increased my mileage and worked up to running a half marathon in April of 2006.   I never really fell in love with running but what I did love was the fact that it was an efficient and inexpensive means of keeping myself in shape.  
During the summer of 2008, I started to experience unexplainable pain in my right ankle.  I tried my hardest to ignore it and to run through the pain but my running was brought to an abrupt halt in September of 2008 after an MRI showed deterioration of a bone in my ankle.  I was restricted to crutches until further notice.


The final diagnosis - Avascular Necrosis in my talus bone.  (AVN)  The prognosis was not good and the news even got worse when my surgeon informed me that I needed to give up running for good.  I was devastated.   I had surgery in November of 2008 to stop the deterioration of the bone.  My recovery was slow - 2 weeks on bed rest, 3 more months on crutches and 9 months in a PTB brace.
Six months after my surgery, some of my friends suggested that I try P90x.  I started the program while I was still in a leg brace.  It was challenging and exhausting but it gave me hope that I could overcome my wimpy ankle.  I completed my 90 days and then I started it all over again - this time without a leg brace.

Now, I'm completely hooked on the Beachbody workouts.  In 2010, I ordered One on One with Tony Horton and Insanity.   Now I combine all 3  programs into a workout schedule that is perfect for me.  I'm in better shape now than I was when my only exercise was running. 

Included with the P90x and the Insanity programs are nutrition guides and recipes.  The recipes are designed to provide you with the energy that you need to continue the workouts and still burn fat.  There are several recipes from the P90x recipe book that have become family favorites, like the turkey burgers.

My friend Ben adapted this chicken salad recipe from the P90x recipe book and it's one of the best chicken salads I've ever eaten.  Last week, I made a batch big enough to serve 30 people.  (It was for a party - not for my family of 4.)  If you like chicken salad - you need to give this reicpe a try. 

P90X Chicken Salad
3 pounds chicken, roasted and shredded            
3/4 cup light mayonnaise
2 teaspoons dill                     
1/4 cup honey Dijon
3 cloves garlic                               
3 green onions, sliced            
1/4 cup slivered almonds
salt and pepper

Combine all ingredients except almonds.  Cover and let sit in the refrigerator for at least an hour.  Top with almonds and serve.

Bon Appetit!

Monday, September 26, 2011

Anniversary Dinner

Happy Anniversary to my wonderful husband of 18 years.  I am so blessed to share my life with you.

To celebrate our anniversary, we went out to dinner at one of my favorite restaurants in Athens - Five and Ten.  I decided to take pictures of our meal so that I could share it with all of you.

We started our meal with raisin foccaccia bread - it was so good that we had to order seconds. 

We each had a glass of red wine.  Mine was a 2008 Malbec from Argentina.

I ordered a spinach salad with sliced pear, spiced pecans, blue cheese and a shallot vinaigrette.

I had Texas red fish with a lemon emulsion for my entree. 

Ben had a ribeye steak. 

I'm not really sure who had the better meal, I got to taste both and they were equally outstanding.

Even though we were pretty full, we couldn't pass up the opportunity to try one of the Five and Ten's famous desserts.  I chose chocolate Nemesis cake with banana sorbet and a dark chocolate and cherry bark.  

Ben chose an apple, lemon and vanilla bean pastry with lemon sorbet. 

Obviously, we loved the desserts.   

The Five and Ten definitely did not disappoint.  Our meal was fabulous.  Celebrating another great year with my best friend was even better.

Bon Appetit!