This past weekend was one for the books, for a LOT of reasons:
1) THREE thirtieth birthday celebrations! One being Dave’s – the other two, my friend Julie and Katie. Turning 30 is like an epidemic lately, but a good one!
2) I became a ‘mom’ to this litte guy, and boyyyy am I in love!
So it was a busy weekend spent playing with this litte man, getting him acclimated to his new home, and celebrating birthdays!
Luckily for Julie and Katie’s birthday BBQ on Sunday, I was able to squeeze out some Dirty Thirty Cupcakes for the occasion while Hairy was taking a nap – switched them up a bit this time and used green buttercream frosting as ‘grass’ and FINALLY went and bought some Icing tips, so that I could get that ‘professional look’ that Miki from Miki’s Kitchen always has on her amazing looking cupcakes. I mean, look at this one she just posted today – now go ahead, wipe your chin. But then I went and covered them with Oreo ‘dirt’ crumbs haha. But, trust me, before the dirt, they looked REALLY professional – swear!
And for Dave’s birthday on Saturday, since we were a little bit on the ‘house bound’ side with the new pooch, we got some lobsters and had a great birthday dinner! These Dijon Roasted potatoes were the perfect side dish for our creepy crawlers.
Dijon Roasted Potatoes
*Adapted from Kelly M. at food.com
1/2 cup dijon mustard
3 tbsp olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 tbsp italian dressing
3-4 tbsp. fresh tyme
salt and pepper to taste
3 lbs of red or white potatoes, cut into chunks
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2) Mix the first 6 ingredients in a bowl.
3) Toss the potatoes with the mustard mixture.
4) Place potatoes in a single layer on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Yum, yum and YUM. I offered one to Hairy, but he’s really into his dog food – see below 🙂
On several occasions these past few months, I have feared that an apocalypse is nearing the city of Boston, because MAN has the weather been GORGE! This winter was beyond strange – I think we had a full week of 80 degree weather in March and after last year’s weekly 8-12 inches of snow, even the lightest of flurries didn’t last more than a few hours this year. We’ve had some rain recently, but personally, I enjoy a rainy day or two – justifying extreme couching and Bravo t.v. watching is a lot easier when the weather is ick. And, the ‘greenness’ of everything is beyond beautiful!
For some reason nice weather makes me think of salads – perhaps because the veggies and fruit are so fresh and pretty, I want to use them as much as possible – or because nice weather means that it won’t be long before I have to unlock the safe and blow the 1 inch layer of dust off of my bathing suit.
So the other night for dinner, it was a delicious chicken breast made by Dave, with fresh Rosemary and Tyme from our ‘porch garden’ (Dave is OBSESSED with this Boos Block Mincer thing we got and is finding any excuse to use it) and this yummy Tomato, Cucumber and Feta salad I put together! I’ve recently really come to like Feta, and the fat free version of it is a nice option if you’re looking to add a little flavor to something. Would I stick a spoon in there and eat it like peanut butter? Ehhh maybe not so much, but, it can really accent some dishes nicely. Of course you can use the regular version too if you like!
Tomato, Cucumber and Feta Salad
2 cartons of grape tomatoes
(I used one Red and Yellow)
1 english cucumber
8-10 basil leaves chopped
2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp. fat-free italian dressing
1 garlic clove, minced
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup fat-free feta cheese
1) Slice the grape tomatoes in half and place in a large mixing bowl. Then peel the english cucumber, cutting it lengthwise down the middle and then slicing the two halves. Add to the tomatoes. Then add the feta cheese and toss lightly.
2) In a small mixing bowl, whisk together the balsamic vinegar, italian dressing, minced garlic and salt and pepper.
3) Lightly toss the tomato/cucumber/feta mixture in the balsamic dressing mixture until combined.
4) Sprinkle the chopped basil over the top, or mix in the salad – whatever your preference.
Delicious – healthy – you could even have seconds! And still fit into that teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini 🙂
I know this past weekend was all about celebrating mexican heritage, but what’s wrong with giving a shout out to the Greek culture as well? They have equally as delicious food – greek salad, those grape leave things, gyro’s, which I never pronounce correctly ever.
Firstly, I think avocados are one of the neatest vegtafruits in the world (some say it’s a vegetable – some a fruit – tomato, tomaaaato) I especially love that big pit in the middle. Perfectly round and brown – I always feel bad throwing it away. And while I love the fabulous vegtafruit that an avocado is, I only like it in certain things – well scratch that, I only like it in guacamole. Something about the texture of it on it’s own skeeves me out a little bit. Dave doesn’t like it at all (he’s so picky for a boy) so when I made this Greek Guacamole, I really had the tough job of eating it all by myself. The things I do for this blog – oye. I had some version of this last summer, and it’s stuck with me since then. So to accompany our Brisket Tacos, it was Greek Guacamole.
It really is delicious – doesn’t make a whole lot, so I’d advise doubling the recipe for a bit of a crowd.
Adapted from Allrecipes.com
1 medium to large avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped
2 plum tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
1 clove of garlic, minced
juice of 1/2 a lime
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 package fat free feta cheese
salt and pepper to taste
1) In a large mixing bowl, lightly stir together avocado, onion and tomatoes. Add the lime juice immediately after to prevent the avocado from browning.
2) Add remaining ingredients and gently toss together until combined.
I could eat this until I was blue in the face (or green) – it’s a great summer time snack, and not too bad for you either, besides the avocado (which has the good fat…riiiiight) and the feta.
So enjoy amigos and philias (that’s “friend” in greek and spanish!)
I will confess that this blog post is recycled – as I think I have made this about 394803594830 times since I found it a couple years ago from Cooking Light. But, the reason I’m sharing is because this dip is because it’s all three of my favorite things in a recipe:
3) Ridiculously easy to make
And you can do a million things with it – I use it like a hummus almost and spread it on sandwiches, or you can use it as a dip for veggies and chips, or you could toss it with pasta as an alternative to tomato sauce. It’s so fresh tasting, perfect for summer!
Roasted Red Pepper and Cannellini Bean Dip
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
1 can of cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar
1 – 7oz. bottle roasted red peppers, rinsed and drained
1 large garlic clove
salt and pepper to tatse
1) Place all ingredients into a food processor – season with salt and pepper.
2) Pulse a few times until you reach your desired consistency (I personally like it a little chunkier, but you can always add some olive oil and pulse longer if you like it more thin)
3) Serve immediately or chill overnight.
THAT’S IT! I can’t tell you how many compliments I have gotten on this dip and people asking for the recipe, so here it is folks – make it – it will be the best use of 10 minutes you’ll ever spend in the kitchen.
And for all you WW’ers out there? It’s low in points! For the entire thing (almost 2 cups) only 9 points.
Happy pulsing and dipping!
My friend Ashley turned me onto this salad from Martha Stewart – and I feel like all the frying and desserting we’ve been doing lately, it was time for a salad.
When Ash made it, it was perfectly dressed, and I thought it was such a perfect combination of flavors – a roasted sweet potato that had been seasoned with salt and pepper to offset the sweetness of the potato, and the saltiness of the feta cheese (fat free at that!) contrasted really well with that peppery flavor that arugula has. So it was a low-fat salad that packed a huge flavor punch!
So what did I do with it? Added more calories! I loved this salad just as is, but I thought to add some added sweetness and crunch to it, that would just make it that much more amazing. I love dried cranberries on any salad – and also, have recently become a fan of candied nuts – and they’re so expensive in the stores! And it takes no time to make them yourself.
Arugula Salad with Feta, Sweet Potato, Cranberries and Candied Pecans
1 box/bag of baby arugula
1 large sweet potato
1/2 cup whole pecans
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon butter
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/4 cup fat free feta cheese (or more if you like)
1/2 teaspoon grated orange zest
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
Salt and pepper
1) For the sweet potatoes – preheat oven to 450 degrees and cut your sweet potatoes into 1″-1.5″ chunks. Place on a rimmed baking sheet and toss in olive oil and then season with salt and pepper. Cook for about 10 minutes until soft. Set aside.
2) For the candied pecans – place pecans in a medium saucepan and toast over medium heat for about 3-5 minutes. Once the pecans have been toasted, add 1/2 tablespoon of butter and let melt to coat the pecans. Mix the sugar and brown sugar together (or you can buy premixed cinnamon and sugar in the seasoning section) and coat the buttered pecans in the sugar/cinnamon mixture. Set aside.
3) For the dressing – In a large bowl, whisk together 2 tablespoons oil, grated orange zest, orange juice, and white-wine vinegar; season with salt and pepper
4) Layer arugula, roasted sweet potatoes, cranberries, candied pecans and then sprinkle top with crumbled feta cheese. Use dressing to your liking. I only like a little dressing, so I add mine on afterwards, but you could definitely pre-dress the arugula if that’s what you prefer.
This is a perfect late spring/almost summer salad for any occassion – and not too bad for you either! Thanks Ash! And Martha!
Another Tuesday gem for you guys – the most delicious onion rings this side of Burger King (I always really liked Burger King O.R’s UNTIL I had these!)
Tuesday nights I usually don’t get home from the gym until around 8, so Dave is usually nice enough to take care of dinner. There’s a lot of things I love about Dave, heck that’s why I married him right? HOWEVER, one of the things I DON’T love is his tendency to start these intricate meals invovling numerous steps and ingredients 8 o’clock at night, leaving us eating dinner for what seems like breakfast.
I don’t know about all of you but I get pretty grumpy when I’m hungry – and when I’ve just been at the gym, all I want when I get home is dinner ready and on the table, even if it’s sandpaper with peanut butter on it. So when I called Dave on my way home around 7:30, I was anticipating that he’d say “oh hello dear, how was the gym? I hope you’re starving because I have dinner hot and ready when you get home” – Instead, he said “Actually, I’m on my way home from Market Basket right now – and I’m making pan seared scallops with fried vidalia onion rings and some sort of side dish with Kale”. As I heaved a huge sigh and a stomach rumble, I started chewing on my fingers, knowing that this ambitious meal might not be eaten til’ sunrise. I got pretty snappy with Dave, and having the patience of a saint, he replied in a calm, cool and collective manner “You’re mean when you’re hungry”.
So I get home – the kitchen in shambles, being assured that we’d be eating by 8:30 (clock then reading 7:55) and I watched Dave shuffle around the kitchen with every pot, pan and kitchen tool that we own in use. I think he was pretending like he was on Chopped (one of our favorite Food Network shows) – only the challenge was not to cook a meal in 1/2 hour and impress a panel of expert judges, but his ravenous wife who was giving him death stares as she shoved tortilla chips in her mouth.
I must say though, the dinner was worth the wait – and on the table by 8:46 p.m! Delcious seared scallops and sauteed Kale, which we had never had before, but both really loved – it retained a nice crunch, unlike spinach which can get soggy when you saute it.
But, the best part of the meal was by far the onion rings – O.M.G – now I know pretty much everything dipped and batter and fried is amazeballs, but these just tasted so good. Sweet vidalia onions battered in an adaptaion of the batter we used for our Fish and Chips – delicious. A great summer time (or any time) side dish!
Beer Battered Vidalia Onion Rings
Vegetable or Canola Oil
1 large Vidalia Onion, sliced into rings
3/4 cups of flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
3 tsp of baking powder
1 cup of Lager beer (we used Victory Hop Devil)
Salt and pepper for seasoning
1) Fill a shallow pan 2/3 way full with oil and let heat for about 5-10 minutes, until you can see the oil rippling
2) Mix flour, corn starch, baking powder and beer together in a mixing bowl.
3) Season the sliced onion rings with salt and pepper.
4) Place the seasoned rings in the batter and then drop in the hot oil.
5) Let the onion rings cook in the oil for 2-3 minutes, until they really start turning golden brown. You don’t want to take them out too early because the onion won’t cook. Don’t be nervous if you start to think they’re getting too brown – you want the onions to cook too.
6) Place onion rings on a paper towel lined plate and sprinkle with salt.
7) Serve hot!
Unlike the Fish and Chips, we found that the onion rings were best when just placed in the wet batter, vs. dry then wet then dry again. These were so tasty, you didn’t even need ketchup or a dipping sauce.
So all’s well that ends well on a Tuesday night in the Schoon household – we didn’t file for divorce, we ate a delicous dinner before 9 o’clock and as an apology for being a crab apple, I did all the dishes 🙂
My friend Becky has a bun in the oven – and this bun is COOKED! She’s the first of my college friends to be having a little cherrub, so naturally, all of us gals have a zillion questions – “What’s that weird line down your belly button?” “Are you using Cocoa butter to avoid stretch marks?” “Are you scared $hitless?” – all the standards! Becky couldn’t be any more perfectly pregnant – she’s all belly – and when little Lane comes down the shoot, I’m sure it will only take her about a week or so to snap back to pre-pregnancy perfection! (hate her :))
Today, we’re having a ‘pre-lane’ ladies lunch – and nautrally I thought to ask what foods may induce labor, hopefully staying away from them – and Becky replied by saying “No….PLEASE…I need all the help I can get!” hence these delicious Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls, with enough spice to prompt any cooked bun to emerge from the oven (I think she ate about 6 of them haha – no Lane yet though! We’re all anxiously awaiting!)
Buffalo Chicken Egg Rolls
Egg Roll Wrappers
(can be purchased in the produce section, near the tofu and cole slaw mixes)
2 cups of cooked, shredded chicken
1 large tub of light cream cheese, at room temperature
1 cup light ranch dressing
1 cup Frank’s hot sauce
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1) Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2) In a mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat cream cheese and ranch dressing until combined. Then mix the hot sauce, shredded chicken and shredded cheese. Combine the two mixtures.
3) Take egg roll wrapper – wet the edges with warm water, using a pastry brush.
4) Take about 2 tablespoons of the buffalo chicken mixture and spread in a thin line diagonally down the center of the egg roll wrapper.
5) Roll the edges in and fold like a little burrito.
6) Place on a foil lined baking sheet coated with non-stick cooking spray. Baste the tops lightly with olive oil.
7) Bake in a preheated 425 degree oven for 20 minutes, turning over half way through.
8) Take out and let cool on a cooling rack for about ten minutes.
9) Serve with celery and ranch dressing! YUM!
While these may not have induced labor, they were still the perfect lunch side/appetizer that would be great for any occasion, especially a pre-baby ladies lunch.
Can’t wait to meet you Lane! Maybe Gerber can start making a ‘Buffalo Chicken Egg Roll’ puree 🙂