Baptism Cake

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This cake is super yummy and I sampled waaaayyyy too much of it.  I used a butter fudge mix for the cake, raspberry filling, and vanilla buttercream icing.  The drop flowers are royal icing, I made them in advance, then refrigerated them until I was ready to put them on the cake.  V even got in on the action with this one.  I sat her on the counter to help me with the mixer and she went to town cracking eggs!  It was way cute and most of it made it into the mixing bowl 🙂

two cookie sheets of drop flowers

lots of yummy raspberry filling

For some reason there's an echo-y voice in my head yelling, "Chocolate layers...ASSEMMMBBLLLLLE!"

going easy on the icing

Moments like this make me wish I'll be having a slice.

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Stir Fry Vegetables with Brown Rice

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Who doesn’t love a good stir fry??  Well, other than Mr. M. But more on that later.  I’m always up for some soy sauce and broccoli over rice and finally found the perfect combination of fresh ingredients.  Finally.  As in, I stir fry once a week for three weeks, then take a break for a couple and start again.

We invited a friend of ours over for dinner at the beginning of Lent.  I knew he was doing the Daniel Fast so I wanted to cook something accordingly.  I went to daniel-fast.com and was happy to find a few main course dishes. I actually made cauliflower curry stew that night, but the moment I saw ginger listed in the stir fry I knew I had to try it too.  The original recipe calls for a lot of vegetables.  I highly recommend using a wok.  It worked out alright in my frying pan, but things got a bit messy!  Everything but the water chestnuts and peas were included, though the greens and beans can be left out if you want to keep it easy.

Garlic, ginger, and green onions sauteeing...the most mouth-watering aroma!

Ginger and I are long-time friends.  We go way back to the day I decided natural living is for me.  I’m going to dedicate a post to that day because it transformed my entire way of thinking and lead me to a much healthier life.  Now that my friend ginger has made it into cooking…whoa.  Such an incredibly fresh flavor!

But the surprising pièce de résistance?  Almonds!!  We, like ginger, are good buddies.  And again, my little friend took cooking to a whole new level.  The final texture is perfection!

Serve it over brown rice.  Or brown Texmati, still my rice of choice.  Make it for dinner tonight, it will change your life!*

Judges’ Ruling:

Mr. M:  I just don’t like stir fry.
Little V:  Can I have peanut butter jelly bread?
Baby D:  pppppfffffffbbllllpppppp

Boo to them.

*Okay, so it won’t change your life.  Make it anyway.

Cauliflower Curry Stew

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I have now cooked this twice.  It’s been amazing both times.  Seriously yummy stuff.  I love that this dish doesn’t require a meat but is still filling.  It has limited ingredients, is nutrition rich, and beans and rice together are a complete protein.

I found the original recipe on the Goodhouskeeping website and won’t repeat it here because I didn’t change much.  The first time I tried it, I followed the recipe exactly.  Earlier this week, I didn’t have Greek yogurt or prepared chickpeas, so I substituted sour cream and cannellini beans accordingly.  Next time, I’ll do the sour cream again but use chickpeas.

Time to start chopping.

Mmmmm...cuurrrryyyyyyy...

So good!

Judges’ Ruling:

Mr. M:  “You can star this one and the fettuccine chicken one again.”
Little V:  [Too busy scarfing it down to comment.]
Baby D:  [insert lots of giggles and clapping while filling his diaper the next day]

Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Sage Cream

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(Hmm…  I didn’t actually have a cream in our finished product, but that’s what the original recipe is called so I guess that’s that.)

I adore this recipe.  Almost.  Fettuccine with Prosciutto and Sage Cream is probably perfect as is, if you like Alfredo sauce.  For those of us who despise it: stay tuned to my changes!

Here is the way I tastily cooked this dish…

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups fully cooked chicken strips (or cut up and cook some chicken)
  • 12 oz fresh pre-sliced mushrooms
  • 10 sage leaves
  • 4 slices prosciutto (about 2 oz)
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan
  • 8 oz fettuccine pasta (though next time I’ll swap out for rotini instead)
  • 2/3 cup roasted red peppers
  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • Italian dressing to taste

Boil water and cook pasta.  Cut prosciutto into long thin strips.  Cut sage leaves into long thin strips.  Chop red peppers.

Preheat large saute pan on medium-high 2-3 minutes.  Heat oil, then add mushrooms; cook 2-3 minutes or until browned.  Add red peppers and chicken strips; heat through.  Reduce heat to medium-low.  Drizzle with 1/4 to 1/2 cup of Italian dressing (I didn’t actually measure this.  I just sort of poured it over until “it looked good.”)  Simmer 3-4 minutes.  Stir in prosciutto and sage.  Then add pasta.  Top with Parmesan.

It’s my opinion that it came out a little salty.  I think the pre-cooked chicken is to blame.  Next time I’ll simply cook up some chicken myself.

Judges’ Ruling:

Mr. M:  “This is like restaurant food!”
Little V:  “I want more noodles.”
Baby D:  (giggled while mashing bits of fettuccine)

Potato-Crusted Quiche

This was painfully delicious!  (But it doesn’t have to be painful, so please take heed to follow my helpful advice.)

The M’s are breakfast people, especially on the weekends.  I like to cook up something special on Saturdays and Sundays.  This recipe for potato-crusted quiche looked simply delicious and called for Gruyère cheese…yummm!

I made this in a 10″ omelette pan and cut the recipe in half (which exception to the egg white; I used a whole one each day).  I then made it once Saturday and once Sunday.  There were no leftovers either day.

My own substitutions and choices are as follows:

  • whole milk instead of low-fat
  • Virginia-smoked ham to compliment the smokey Gruyère
  • no tomatoes, because Mr. M is not a fan
Let the drooling begin! (Or skip the ham if you’re a veggie and choose a sharper cheese for bolder flavor.)

***Take note:  While I don’t think that any of you are idiots, I don’t consider myself one either.  The skillet you choose to begin this recipe is also the skillet you will use to end this recipe.  It will go in the oven, and come out of the oven.  And I expect you’ll set it on your stove as I did.  Please leave a hot pad over the handle so you remember it is hot!  I gripped it with my right hand moments after removing it from the oven and…well… let’s just say I’m thankful that breastmilk heals burns quickly.  Even burns that cover the entire inside of a hand and four fingers.***

Gotta love a little fresh watermelon too.

Judges’ Ruling?

Mr. M:  “Oh my gosh, sweetie, this is awesome!”
Little V:  “What’s this crunchy stuff?”
Baby D:  (silence)

Eggplant and Prosciutto Rollatini

This week at my grocery store, eggplant was on sale.  I don’t have many recipes for eggplant, but I’ve always been intrigued.  And now that I’ve cooked with it a few times I can say that in my master-of-the-kitchen-in-training opinion, eggplant is weird.

But, here are some fun facts on this beloved vegetarian substitute for a variety of meat options:

  1. Eggplant is a fruit.  The seeds are on the inside, y’all.
  2. To take it a step further, it’s classified as a berry.  (Who’d’a thunk?)
  3. It is an excellent source of potassium.

So what did I cook with this over-sized berry?  Eggplant and Prosciutto Rollatini (click here for link on Allrecipes.com)  As with most recipes, I start with something another person created and then make it my own out of necessity (“I surely don’t have that in my kitchen”) or for taste (“Absolutely no way I’m eating that”).  If you look at the original recipe, you’ll see I did change things up a bit.  For both reasons.

Ingredients:

  • 1 eggplant, peeled and cut lengthwise into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 Tbsp Italian blend seasoning
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • olive oil
  • 1 cup ricotta cheese
  • 10 slices prosciutto
  • 14 ounces Organic Bertolli Olive Oil, Basil, Garlic sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 box of bow tie pasta (Bows are fun. End of story.)

Directions:

  1. Mix bread crumbs, Italian seasoning, and garlic.  (Ooo, just realized how yummy this would be with some grated Parmesan too.) Dip eggplant slices in egg, then coat with bread crumb mix.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high.  Fry eggplant on each side until golden-brown.  Remove to a paper rowel lined plate to drain.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  3. Spread a thin layer of ricotta cheese onto each slice of eggplant.  Pace a slice of prosciutto on each.  Roll up tightly and place seam side down in a 9×13 inch baking dish.  Pour pasta sauce over the rolls and top with shredded cheese.
  4. Bake for 15 minutes in the preheated oven until cheese is melted and lightly browned.
  5. While eggplant rolls are baking, boil a large pot of lightly salted water and cook pasta.
  6. Serve eggplant and sauce over pasta.

I’d love to make this again.  Without the prosciutto it’s a hearty vegetarian option, especially for anyone who’s looking to lessen the number of meaty meals every week.  (Ding ding ding!  The M’s are doing just that!)

Judges’ ruling?

Mr. M:  “Maybe if I eat it fast, the ricotta won’t make me gag.”
Little V:  “It’s like pizza.”  O.o
Baby D:  “Badadaaa mmmmmmmm (some tongue clicking here) aaaadaaaaaaa.”

(It’s been added to my collection.)

Breakfast Sandwich

An absolute favorite of mine, this is really just a way to jazz up our normal Saturday morning eggs and toast.

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1-2 Tbsp whipped cream cheese
  • 1 thin slice of Swedish Fontina cheese
  • 2 thin slices of tomato
  • 2 pieces of five grain bread
  • Badia Adobo seasoning
  • garlic pepper

Cook eggs, sunny side up.  Then flip and press with the back of a spatula to burst yolks.  Cook through.  Toast bread.  Spread cream cheese on one slice of toast, then top with fontina cheese.  Put eggs on remaining slice of toast (this lets any oil soak into the bread).  season eggs, then layer with tomato.  Put both halves together and enjoy!

This isn’t the healthiest of all breakfasts, but it certainly covers a number of food groups.  It would be just as tasty with one egg (or a poached egg), I just use both for the extra protein and calories.  You can also swap out the cheese for low-fat options.  After years of eating this sandwich, this is my favorite variety of flavors.  But mix it up and make it your own – that’s the fun in cooking!

Best served with… a cup of your favorite blend of coffee and a side of fresh fruit.