February 24, 2011

Big Easy Part II: Electric Boogaloo

Sittin' on a sack of beans
Sittin' down in New Orleans
You wouldn't believe what I've seen
Sitting on that sack of beans
Apache Rose Peacock – Red Hot Chili Peppers

via
Gold coast slave ship bound for cotton fields
Sold in a market down in New Orleans
Scarred old slaver knows he's doing alright
Hear him with the women just around midnight

Brown sugar how come you taste so good?
Brown sugar just like a young girl should

Drums beating, cold English blood runs hot
Lady of the house wonderin' when it's gonna stop
House boy knows that he's doing alright
You shoulda heard him just around midnight

Brown sugar how come you taste so good, now?
Brown sugar just like a young girl should, no

Brown Sugar – The Rolling Stones
Note: Fun little fact, this song was recorded in a local studio
 just over the bridge from where I currently live. 
The soul and heartbeat of music is strong here in Alabama.
via
There's a man in New Orleans
Who plays rock and roll
He's a guitar man
With a great big soul
He lays down a beat
Like a ton of coal
He goes by the name of King Creole

You know he's gone, gone, gone
Jumpin' like a catfish on a pole
You know he's gone, gone, gone
Hip shaking King Creole
King Creole – Elvis Presley

via

Did you see him on the street?
Did you pass him at your feet?
Did you think aloud,"how dare they
even look me in the eye'?

And he loves the girls.
And he loves the boys.
Going to make twenty dollars
before the weekends over.

So set him up,
Let him fall.
Turn him over in your hands.
God save the King of New Orleans.
King of New Orleans – Better Than Ezra

via
It's Mardi Gras Time!!! I hope you all enjoy it in one way or another!
Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez!!!

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February 14, 2011

happy valentine's day.

I just thought I'd write a little something today to say Happy Valentine's to you, my loves! Thank you for your support and friendship!

I had an amazing early Valentine's Day with Mike yesterday. We enjoyed Adam Sandler's new movie Just Go With It [extremely cute, just not the usual Sandler, I was a bit disappointed in that] and had an amazing dinner that he made including chicken stuffed with crab meat - AWESOME!!! I hope you all have a wonderful day! May it be filled with warm fuzzies, lots of hugs from friends, family and loved ones and above all good wine and chocolate!!! Things I had more than enough of yesterday!





And for all my anti-valentine's day pals....
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February 11, 2011

Fixation Friday: romance flicks


It's hard to believe that Valentine's Day is right around the corner - where did January go, where did the first two weeks of February go? For those of you who didn't realize how close the holiday of LURRVE is, it's on Monday, and you're welcome for the reminder. No one likes to spend that day or any day in the dog house. Anycupid, I'm not here to talk about Valentine's Day, but instead I want to talk about movies, more specifically, movies about LOVE.  My favorite all time heart-fest movie isn't really that romantic, it's more realistic I suppose. I've never been very sappy, well OK I can be sappy but I'm not mushy... at least not in public. I was the little girl that grew up watching all the Wonderful World of Disney movies about princesses and their prince charmings just like most of you [as well as Transformers or He-man n' such like the other half of my readers not sporting vaginas on the daily] but in watching these films I could never truly relate to the princesses, or main characters. Maybe it was my own personal insecurities or the fact that I knew I would never be locked up in a tower, sentenced to a coma after eating a poisoned apple, or be caught dead in a pink dress or tiara, at least not at that age. I have never felt like I could relate to the main female character roles in most romance movies, or any others for that matter.  I have always been one of the boys, or the girl that was never considered the 'hot one'. Even in high school my guy friends would tell me how hot my best friend was, and expect me to relay the message to her. Nice right? Basically I've always been more of a Corey Flood than Diane Court.
He gave her is heart and she gave him a pen.
Lloyd if you're listening, bring your ghetto blaster to my house!
via google
"The world is full of guys. Be a man. Don't be a guy." - Corey
via google

All that being said... Say Anything isn't my favorite romantic movie of all time, but it is a very close second. Needless to say I'm not in high school anymore, thankfully. I am however in my 30's, and if I had to pick my favorite all time "romance movie, hands down it would be the 1992 "Classic" [and I use that word loosely - I hate referring to anything from my youth as classic, this includes hair metal, don't go there!] ... the movie would be SINGLES!

via google

Singles to me is hands down the best and most realistic depiction of dating after you've gone through the drama of high school, the crazy years of college and your faced with the real world. Not just in the sense that you're working 24/7 or struggling to become a rock star [Love you Cliff], but also in terms of finding a soulmate or hell even a friend to hang out with on a regular basis. Let's face it the older we get the harder these relationships become. Singles to me embodies all these fears, all the turmoil 20 and 30 somethings deal with not only in trying to find love, but also trying to make it in the crazy time we call adulthood. If you haven't seen this flick yet - I highly recommend it. If you loved the Seattle music scene of the 90's you'll be excited by cameos of some of your favorite bands of that era [and today] *coughpearljamalicenchainscough* - you'll enjoy this movie, trust me. And if you ever need a great use for a t-shirt that an ex left behind at your house, this movie has the perfect solution for you. Also, for the record, the soundtrack to this flick is freaking amazing! So there you have it, my favorite love story of all time... 

So tell me - what is your favorite cinematic love story?
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February 03, 2011

Eat, Drink and Watch the Super Bowl!

I've been waiting all season and a few years for this! Steelers back in the Super Bowl - I am one happy camper. I will admit this past football season I had slacked on my Tailgating Recipes - being busy working out and actually going to a season game for Alabama really put a halt on my posting. That all changes here! I hope to make up for my season of slacking with this one post. I wanted to not only highlight a lot of past recipes that I've made or shared with you but also wanted to give you something new to tackle [pun intended]. I'm sure most of you are gearing up for the big game with snacks and beverages but, whether you care about either team in the big game or just love the commercials I wanted to share some tasty treats with you to enjoy your day in front of the tube. So get on your favorite jersey and fire up your oven, grill, and crock pot and let's get busy!

RECIPES OF SEAONS PAST:
Perfect for Game day or ANYDAY!
Grilled Chicken Wings [best tailgate food ever!]
Afterburner Breakfast [if you start parting early, it's a winner]
Pizza Sausage Dip [amazeballs!]
Crab Dip [my fellow Marylanders will enjoy this]
Amaretto Bread Pudding [a little something for my Saints buddies]

If these weren't enough to get you excited I hope that the next recipes I share will be. I enlisted the help of Cathy @ Antsy Pants for this post. Most of these menu items alone are awesome for a Super Bowl celebration but maybe you enjoy having theme Super Bowl parties with food to reflect the teams playing in the big battle. Since Cathy is a huge Packers fan I thought she the perfect person to help me bring you some authentic Wisconsin Tailgate treats to your big day, while I'll try my best to bring you some Pittsburgh goodies as well. Let me be the first to say, I'm not originally from, nor have I ever lived in Pittsburgh, however my entire family is from Pennsylvania, so I know a thing or two about Pennsylvania food, traditions and Steeler fans, because they all root for the Black and Gold. Well, minus my father, for him I'll give a healthy "GO SKINS!" any day. Love you Dad! ox

That's right, I made this! Jealous?
Truth be told I think I'm starting to harbor a crush on #12, Don't tell Mike or Ben!
That being said - LET'S GET READY TO GRUB YA'LL!!!

Cathy is my guest poster and as the guest she gets first dibs on making your mouth water! I'll kick this off to her first!  

When Kelly asked me for an "authentic" Packers dish, I immediately thought of Brats and Beer. What's more Wisconsin than Johnsonville Brats and Miller beer? Well, cheese probably. But when it comes to tailgating and Packer parties brats cooked in beer is the standard. It's so easy to make, even I can do it!


BEER BRATS
What you need:
Johnsonville Brats (made in Wisconsin!)
Beer (any beer will do, cheap beer is fine)
Yellow or White onion, sliced
Red, yellow and green peppers, sliced

How to prepare:
Option 1:
Place brats on hot grill just long enough to get some good grill marks and a crispy crust.
Put brats, beer, onion and peppers into crockpot.
Simmer in crock pot on low for 3-4 hours, or until brats are cooked through.

Option 2:
Simmer brats, beer, onion and peppers in crock pot or skillet for 30 minutes.
Transfer brats to grill, cook until done.

Easy, delicious and sure to please! Serve with chips, brown beans, cheese, and beer. It doesn't get any better than this.

May the best team (my team!) win!

Kelly Says: DAYYYYYUUUUMMM GINA [err Cathy], that sounds tasty!

+++++++++++++++++ HALF TIME +++++++++++++++++

You know what I love about this Super Bowl and both of these teams. NO CHEERLEADERS! Not saying there is a single thing wrong about Cheerleaders, I would kill to be one in the NFL and I love them. [I was a wee bit obsessed with the Cowboy Cheerleader's Reality show, AND the Miami Dolphin Girls spin off] but at the same time there is something to be said about 2 fan bases that don't find it to be something they truly need for team spirit. Pittsburgh and Green Bay fans are tough, tough, tough... that and we play in freezing weather! That being said I don't know how the other NFL Cheerleaders in the other freezing states do it. Thank goodness for Domes and Fleece, right ladies?
+++++++++++++++++ GAME ON! +++++++++++++++++

Now it's my turn.. pressure is on... I was originally going to go with The Roethlisberger recipe, (so meaty) but then I remembered that I'm doing P90X and I didn't want to eat all of that OR have a heart attack mid game. Seriously I am lucky that I don't have a huge football induced ulcer every year I get so anxious and freaked out during every game. So here's my Steeler worthy, Pittsburgh recipe for you.




PITTSBURGH ITALIAN ROAST BEEF

Ingredients
3 pounds beef chuck roast (or flank steak)
3 (1 oz.) packages dry Italian Salad Dressing Mix
1 cup water
1 (16 oz.) jar pepperocini peppers (or you can use sweet red pepper diced)
8 Hamburger buns, split

Directions
Place the roast into a slow cooker, and season with Italian Dressing Mix. Pour in the water. Cover, and cook on High for 6 to 7 hours. During the last hour, shred the meat with two forks - if it does not shred easily, cook longer. Add the peppers, and as much of the juice as you like for additional flavor. Serve on buns.

I like this meal because it's quick and easy. But if you're in the mood for something a bit more hardy I have one more for you!

STEELERS CHILI
I found this recipe while searching the internet and found this article and thought it sounded amazing. It is as he describes it "man food". So if you have hungry men or women coming over why not whip up a batch of Steeler Chili - and if you're a Cheese Head, serve it up with a ton of cheddar!

Ingredients
1 pound ground turkey (or beef)
3 cups Jack Daniels Whiskey [now that's what I'm talking about!]
28 oz. can tomato sauce
3 large tomatoes, diced
2 gold bell peppers, diced
1 head of garlic, minced [the whole head, man after my own heart]
1 jalapeno pepper, minced
2, 8 oz. cans of black beans
2, 8 oz. cans of kidney beans
Chili Powder to taste
"Slap Ya Mama" Cajun Seasoning to taste

Directions
In a skillet over medium heat, brown the turkey (or beef) and drain it.

Mix meat with all remaining ingredients in a big pot and bring to a soft boil, then simmer for about 2 hours. ENJOY!

NOTE: Mike and I always enjoy our chili with a little cheddar cheese on top and sometimes a few tortilla chips - dress this up however you like but judging by the ingredients it doesn't need much. I can't wait to try this recipe!

FOR THE NON-COOKS 
on SUPER BOWL SUNDAY!
If cooking isn't your thing, don't worry! I've got you covered on all fronts!!! Are you a invited guest that doesn't cook? Why not purchase a few different cheeses and veggies to make a platter. Sure you might be leaning toward the Packers if you bring a ton of cheese to a party but really, who hates cheese? Well besides the people who get the mud butt from it... I mean most people love cheese.  If cheese isn't your thing but drinks are... here you go. Three Team inspired cocktails for the big event! Courtesy of StilettoSports.com

STEELERS: BLACK & GOLD
2 oz. Blavod Vodka [Black Vodka]
1 oz. Goldschlager

  1. Pour the black vodka into ice filled shaker and shake well.
  2. Strain into a chilled martini glass
  3. Top with Goldschlager so the flakes float all around!
PITTSBURGH SUNRISE
4 oz vodka
8 oz Sprite Soda
4 oz peach & papaya juice
MIX WELL AND ENJOY!

GREEN BAY PACKERS: OLD FASHIONED WISCONSIN
[Tell me Cathy, does this sound like Old Fashioned Wisconsin?]
3 oz brandy
2-3 dashes Angostura bitters
1 tsp. sugar or cube
dash water
lemon peel for garnish
  1. Place the sugar cube at the bottom of an old-fashioned glass.
  2. Saturate the cube with the water and bitters
  3. Muddle these ingredients
  4. Fill the glass with ice cubes
  5. Add the brandy
  6. Stir well
  7. Garnish with lemon peel.

FUN FOR EITHER TEAM!
BLACK & GOLD OR 
GREEN & GOLD CAKE SHOTS!
This is a variation on a "Pineapple Upside Down Cake" Shot
1 oz Vanilla Vodka
2 oz Pineapple Juice
1 bottle of Grenadine [cherry] - PUT INTO CUP TO MIX w/ COLOR

  1. Mix with ice and strain into small glass [shot]
  2. Put some black or green food coloring into a bottle of grenadine (or mix into a cup separately)
  3. Slowly pour a little of the colored Grenadine into the shot glass, it will settle on the bottom.
  4. BOOM! Black and Gold or Gold and Green Shots!
If all else fails - find out your party hostess or host's favorite beer and bring them a Six Pack and then bring your own 12, 24 or 30 pack to party and enjoy the game or commercials!

If you have any great recipes you want to share please email me!!! Or post links in your comments to your blog!!!

As Cathy so nicely said... MAY THE BEST TEAM (My Team) WIN!!!!

GOOO STEELERS!!!!


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February 01, 2011

new recipe: spaghetti squash

In keeping up with my project 52 goals I've started in on my 1 new recipe per month quest. I actually am ahead of the game since I tried not 1 but 3 different new recipes in the month of January. Only problem is the goal was to blog about these great meals after I made them, and this is my first attempt to do that. #fail!

I will be posting the new recipes I tried out of order, mostly because this one that I'm about to tell you about is the bees knees, in my opinion and it knocked my socks off.  I will however post about the other two great recipes as soon as I can.

I'm most excited about my this recipe I tried because it was a food I had never eaten before. I've always liked squash, zucchini and more recently eggplant however until last night I had never tried Spaghetti Squash. And honestly until about a month ago I had never even HEARD of this vegetable either.
How it looks at your local produce department
via google


What peeked my interest was a segment on The Rachel Ray Show where Rachel used spaghetti squash in place of noodles. I'm a pasta girl, I love that stuff, and I know that Rachel is the same way. Those of you that don't know me well, here's some background: I pretty much take most of Rachel Ray's opinions for gospel. Why you ask? Well it's never turned me in the wrong direction before. OK so there was one time I trusted her when she told me that Pumpkin Pasta was amazing and in actuality it was pretty freaking gross. I haven't given up on the thought of trying it again, I just haven't had the desire to work on it.  She's the reason I learned how to cook and frankly taught me almost everything I know about how to handle myself in the kitchen. Well her and watching my mom for years as well. That being said Rachel sold me in the segment where she featured this recipe. I was less worried about the sauce, or the added ingredients and more worried about HOW this vegetable was prepared. I thought about making this for weeks after seeing the episode and never got around to it. Procrastination, whattttt?

Two weeks ago when I made another FIRST recipe for dinner, I went the route of using ONLY vegetarian friendly ingredients. Mike and I made our first vegetarian pizza. Doesn't seem like such a big deal but seriously, we are a meat and potatoes household for the most part, but since taking on the p90x meal plan I've realized how much my diet lacks in veggies and as one of the most dominate items on my menu list I might as well learn what I like, love and hate early on right? After making that Pizza [which I will share with you at another time], I wanted to start making a veggie meal once a week or twice a month if possible. Mike was game so I was all in.

Bring on the spaghetti squash. If you've never had this before it's an awesome and easy thing to make. When we purchased the single spaghetti squash Mike asked if it would be enough for both of us, the recipe assured me it would, I was skeptical but went with one squash to share.

I took Rachel's recipe and technique in the above link for the squash only and made my own Chicken Spaghetti sauce. I wasn't ready to go full on vegetarian for this meal, mostly because my fear was that I would HATE the squash and then what would we eat? We didn't have any noodles in the house to improvise if this recipe went south, so I figured worse case, we'd eat "sloppy spaghetti sauce chicken joes or something of that nature... ghetto joes maybe? Anychicken... here is the recipe.

CHICKEN SPAGHETTI SQUASH

INGREDIENTS FOR SPAGHETTI SQUASH:
  • One large spaghetti squash [feeds two, get more if you have more people]
  • salt and pepper for taste
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Added seasonings you think you might like
  • Parmesan Cheese [fresh grated or container - just enough to top off the squash]
    DIRECTIONS:
    1. Preheat oven to 400 Degrees [you may want 425 if your oven runs on the cool side]
    2. Slice Spaghetti Squash down the middle lengthwise into 2 halves. [use a sharp knife, this is like trying to carve a pumpkin and oddly enough smells just like it - which worried me at first after my pumpkin fail]
    3. Scoop out strings and seeds with a spoon and throw away [don't dig too deep you need that flesh to eat it at the end].
    4. With squash cut side facing up - drizzle liberally with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and any other seasoning you might like [I added garlic pepper]
    5. Place squash CUT SIDE DOWN on metal baking sheet
    6. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour in preheated oven until outer skin is soft to the squeeze [think like a potato] 
    7. Remove from oven and let cool for a moment - you may need to hold the squash with a oven mit for the next step. Flip slightly cooled squash face up on to serving plate or tray.
    8. Using a fork, gently rake the inside of the spaghetti squash causing the "meat" to turn into lots of "spaghetti like" noodles for your dinner
    9. Once you have "shredded" the inside of each half of the squash, top with seasoning of your choice to taste, you may also add extra olive oil if you like and sprinkle with fresh grated [or container] parmesan cheese.
    After Roasting and Shreading
    via google

    CHICKEN SPAGHETTI SAUCE
    Ingredients
    • Jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce [or your own homemade recipe, which by the way if you want to share I'm all ears]
    • 2-3 chicken breasts chopped up in to bite size pieces, depending on how many people, I use 1 per person.
    • 1 green pepper diced
    • 1 onion diced
    • 1 container of mushrooms rough chopped [more or less depending on your desire]
    • 5 garlic cloves fine chopped [yes I said 5 you probably only need 2, I like a lot of garlic]
    • Olive Oil
    • Salt and Pepper to taste [plus other seasonings if you desire]
    • Red Pepper Flake and Kicking Chicken are always used in my Chicken Spaghetti
    visuals on the sauce and spices I used:
    Newman's Tomato Basil - I like the fresh taste with chicken
    Garlic Pepper - my favorite spice to use on steak and anything Italian
    I love Weber's Kick'nChicken it's an obsession! I put it on all white meat!
    via google

    DIRECTIONS
    • Pre-heat a non-stick skillet to medium heat
    • Add about 2 tablespoons of Olive Oil to pan
    • Once oil starts to ripple and slightly smoke add in mushrooms
    • Allow mushrooms to cook and become brown in color [note: Rachel Ray always says not to add salt to this step, it draws liquid out of the mushrooms and you don't get a nice even cook on them when that happens - I told you Rachel never drives me in the wrong direction... minus the pumpkin mishap!]
    • Once the mushrooms have cooked [about 2-3 mins.] Lower the heat just a tad and add in your onions, peppers and garlic. Stir frequently to be sure the garlic doesn't burn. It will become bitter and you will have to start over.
    • Add salt and pepper to vegetables while they cook. Cook until onions just start to get transparent.
    • Add in chopped up chicken and extra seasoning to taste - go easy on the salt until you have it all worked together with the sauce.
    • Cook chicken until browned completely [no more pink showing]
    • Add in sauce on top of all ingredients, stir to combine and season to taste.
    • Let all ingredients come together and warm through.
    Once you've made your sauce you are ready to place it inside your bowl of Spaghetti Squash. You can remove the squash from it's shell and serve on a plate or in a bowl OR serve right out of the shell as we did last night.

    Note: Since the squash takes 45 mins. to an hour to cook I usually get that started first, let it cook and chop up and cook the rest of my ingredients. By the time your squash is finished so is your sauce and they are ready to combine together like magic!

    This is so not my picture but it looked a lot like this, only less stylized.
    via google

    It's simple and easy and SO filling and SO good! I can't wait to make it again.

    Stay tuned for my other new recipe ventures I haven't written about AND a fun post before Super Bowl Sunday where a Packers fan [aka the awesome pants Cathy @ Antsy Pants] and a Steelers fan [Yours truly] unite to give you some great ideas for Party Food and fun for the big game day!

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