Thursday, July 29, 2010

Max's Mexican Cuisine....I've Died and Gone to a Fiesta!

Have you been to the Glendora/Azusa area? After eating at Max's Mexican Cuisine you might want to make that a stop on your trip to California. It is my families FAVORITE mexican resturaunt of all time and we only get to go there once every 4 years. It is mexican heaven and they have the best guacamole in the world! When you order it, a guy seriously brings a cart over to your table and makes it fresh right in front of you! There is no way you would ever find that in Montana!
For dinner I ordered an Enchilada with a Strawberry Daquiri!

Cheesecake Factory....Enough Said!

The day after arriving in California, my uncle drove my mom, sister and I down to The Grove Shopping Mall in Beverly Hills to having a day of shopping at the American Girl Place, Anthropologie and Crate and Barrel. But everyone knows that after a hard day of shopping, you gotta have some really good food! So my uncle took us ladies to The Cheesecake Factory for lunch!

We started off the meal with "Fried Macaroni and Cheese"....yes, you heard me right....Fried Macaroni and Cheese! The waitress informed us that these bad boys were featured on The Foodnetwork and were a must have and I couldn't agree more! When no one was looking, I might have been licking my plate.

Then for lunch I ordered a Sonoma Burger. It had herbed goat cheese, mushrooms, oven-roasted tomatoes, arugula, red onion and mayo. HOLY COW! YUM, YUM, YUM! That's all I have to say about that.

To top it all off, we ordered an original cheesecake to take home and I ordered "Stefanie's Ultimate Red Velvet Cheesecake".....oh yeah baby! I only got a slice because 1 slice contain 1600 calories! One slice of that is my whole daily intake of calories! So everyday I was there I would have a bite here and a bite there, just to split up the calorie intake a little bit. SO GOOD!

But it was so hard to choose! There were so many types of cheese cake....I wanted one of each!

Besides the Red Velvet, these were my other two choices:
Strawberry Cheesecake

and Key Lime Cheesecake

I think that the little limes on top are so adorable! Very nice presentation! But why do they have to list the calories???? I don't want to know how much trouble I'm about to get into or the fact that my pants won't fit the next day....what are they trying to do to us????
But despite all of that, it was probably one of the best meals I had on the trip and boy was it good!

"That's What A Hamburger's All About!"

Have you ever seen anything so beautiful????

I doubt it.
Maybe Animal Fries.....maybe.

Mickey Mouse Cupcake Pops

My cousin Jeff just got married and the ladies in my family all met up in California for the wedding and a family reunion. Sorry men....estrogen only! The group included: me, my sister, my mom, grandma, aunt and cousin. We all thought it would be fun to spend 3 days at Disneyland and stay at the resort.

So what do I do? My mind automatically goes to food and tries to find a way to incorporate it into the trip.
I found this awesome treat from bakerella for Mickey Mouse Cupcake Pops!

This is what you need:
-1 chocolate cake box and all the fixins to make it
-1 can of cream cheese frosting
-1 bag of chocolate candy melts
-1 bag of dark chocolate candy melts
-Lollipop sticks
-Styrofoam block
-Baggies to make them look pretty and individually wrap

After you bake the cake, let it cool completely and then crumble it into the bowl. Then add about 3/4 of the can of cream cheese frosting and mix it up good until it makes a weird spongy consistency. It feels really weird!!!! Make little balls out of the mixture that are about the size of a quarter and place them on a baking sheet and then let them solidify/harden up in the freezer for about 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, with a rounded cookie cutter, cut the chocolate candy melts like so and make enough for 2 ears per pop and then melt the dark chocolate candy melts in the microwave.And yes...that is a bunny shaped cookie cutter, just in case you were wondering. Make sure there is enough chocolate to make it deep enough because you want to be able to dip the pop and cover it in one swift motion.
Next you want to take out 1 cake ball at a time so they stay firm and cold.....dip two ears in the melted chocolate and stick it on the ball. Then dip the very tippy top of the lollipop stick in the chocolate and stick it in the ball on the opposite end of the ears. This allows for the ball to be securely placed on the stick. Place on the styrofoam to harden up and solidify.

Once the pops are hardened and secured, dip them in the dark chocolate candy melts in a swift motion (like I mentioned before!). Let the excess drip off before placing them back on the styrofoam to dry.
These are yummy, but warning!!! The actual coating of the pop was difficult and I might have sworn and cursed at Mickey Mouse a couple of times as they broke and crumbled. (Sorry Walt Disney!)

But all in all, by the miracle of God, I was able to transport these little babies to California and share them with my family to celebrate our trip!
(Not these one's pictured above! The ones that actually turned out nice and somewhat resembled Mickey Mouse!)

Friday, July 16, 2010

I'm Going To Be A Nurse!!!

Today, about an hour and a half ago I just got a call from my mom and she began reading me, "Dear Ms. Carroll we are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted into the MSU Nursing Program...."

I think that is how it went, I don't know, I pretty much blacked out mentally and started sobbing like a baby.

I've applied to the MSU nursing program the year before and got rejected because they only take a small handful of students for the entire state of Montana. For being in such a high need it sure is hard to get into! You pretty much have to have a rockin' GPA to get into this program and after spending a year of retaking a few classes (turning B's into A's) and working towards my Microbiology degree, I did it! So in about 3 years I will have a job that allows me to live anywhere and help people! I can't wait!
Here is my sister and I (being dorks)....
About 2 years ago is when I really decided I wanted to pursue nursing, so for fun on my birthday my grandparents got me my first pair of scrubs. I've had them in my hope chest ever since waiting to be able to officially wear them!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Fiesta Land!

Today I went to Fiesta Land! It is the land of Fiestaware in my area. Dusty got his haircut today, so while he was at the barber shop, I walked over to the Import Market to experience Fiesta Land! I went once before with Dusty, but he just didn't understand why we had to stare at dishes for 30 minutes. Men, they just don't understand. So I went alone this time so that I could stare at dishes for 30+ minutes and not be thought to be a crazy person. It was glorious!

There were about 6-8 rows of shelving just devoted to Fiestaware. My Grandma always had Fiestaware, but I never appreciated because I didn't like her colors. Not a big fan of pastels. But then I saw Pioneer Womans feature on Fiestaware with the Peacock blue and Shamrock green, and I was instantly in love and now understand why my mom loves Fiestaware so much and calls the Import Market "Fiesta Land". It is so much fun!

After 5 minutes of staring at the dishes I quickly became overwhelmed. I wanted to get a couple of pieces but didn't want to go broke before my big family vacation to California. We are going to Disneyland, Crate & Barrel, Anthropologie, American Girl Place, William-Sonoma and the Vera Bradley's going to be magical and expensive! ;) Good thing I've been saving up!

So anyways....I got so overwhelmed that I had to call my mom for advice since she is already a collector. It was a big deal, I was about to pick out my first piece of Fiestaware! These were my two options:
Do I go with Blue, Green and Brown?
Or Blue, Green and Yellow?

I couldn't afford 4 Gusto bowls at the time and I love all 4 colors :(

So I sent these pictures to my mom and asked her opinon (thank God for picture messages!) but the problem was...she liked both! UGH! What is a girl to do? I was so confused I decided to just get the Shamrock and Peacock Gusto Bowl during this shopping trip and next week when I'm back from my vacation and get another paycheck, I will go pick up the Sunflower and Chocolate Gusto Bowls!

After looking at these pictures, I decided that I love the Tangerine color next to the stacked bowls too! I might just have to have a rainbow and get one of each color for my new collection!

Bowtie Lasagna

My work schedule tonight was very was smack dab in the middle of dinner time (4-8pm). So I just sucked it up and waited till after work to make dinner and thankfully I had planned to make Pioneer Womans new 16 Minute Meal: Bowtie Lasagna and boy was it tasty and quick to make!
This is what you need (for 2 people and some leftovers):
-1/2 lb Ground Beef...I used Ground Turkey
-2 1/2 cups of Bowtie Pasta
-Olive Oil
-1 1/2 cups Spaghetti Sauce of your choice
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
-1/2 tsp Italian Seasoning
-1/4 cup Sour Cream
-1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese

First you need to brown up the Ground Beef and place it in a large bowl. Cook up the pasta as directed on the box, drain it and then drizzle about 2 tsp of Olive Oil on it and mix it around. Then place the pasta in the bowl on top of the beef. Heat up your sauce in a pan until simmering and add it on top of the beef and noodles, then adding the seasonings, cheese and sour cream. Fold all the ingredients together until the mozzerella cheese has melted. When serving you can also sprinkle some Parmesan cheese on top if you like...I did!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Bacon Egg and Cheese Buiscuit

Apparently I am really having fast food withdrawls because all I want to make are things that I love from McD's lately. This morning I used the last of my buns from the Little Big Mac's the night before and my awesome new omelette skills to make Dusty and I bacon, egg and cheese buiscuits.
This is what you need for 2 people:
-1 homemade bun
-2 sausage patties (I used Sage flavored pork)
-2 eggs-beaten
-2 slices of cheddar cheese

All you gotta do is cook up the sausage patties till they are cooked all the way through. I'm not even going to get on my soap box about cooking pork.
It must be cooked all the way through!!! Do you kow how many parasites are in pork???
Whew, I'm glad I got that out of me. Sorry, 4 years of Microbiology will do that to you.
Then, set the thoroughly cooked sausage aside and make your omelette style eggs. Cut the cooked eggs in half and then fold the two halves in half for each person (I wish I had taken a picture of this!).
Cut the bun in half, toast it if you like, place the egg on top with a slice of cheddar cheese and then your sausage patty. Yum!
Take that McDonald's! I don't need you anymore!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Little Big Mac

Last night at work I was wasting time by looking through the Tasty Kitchen website. I have a profile, but never use it. So I decided to look around for fellow bloggers and bakers to add as friends. One of the ladies I found has a blog called Simply Scratch. I clicked on "Simply Savory" because I'm naughty like that and found this: Mini Mac Sliders. The thought of avoiding fast food all together and making my favorite meals excited me...alot! So instead of making sliders I made them into just smaller portioned burgers. Not that I'm too good for sliders, its just that the buns I made from scratch got way too big for the amount of meat I had to go on it. It pretty much would have looked ridiculous to have an ity bity patty on a huge bun, I don't think so. Instead of 4 sliders, this recipe is for 2 perfect portioned burgers.
-The Buns-
These buns are my mom's homemade recipe. I love these! I'm never buying store bought buns ever again!
This is what you need (for 4 buns):
-2 cups flour
-1 package of yeast
-3/4 cup of warm water
-1 tbsp milk
-1 tbsp softened butter
-1 tbsp sugar
-1 tsp salt
First you need to pour the package of yeast onto the 3/4 cup of warm water. Let it sit for a couple of minutes. Yeast is such an weird little fungi.
Then in a medium size bowl add all the other ingredients together. Once you feel like the yeast mixture has done enough work you can add it into the dry-ish mixture. (Look! As promised I sucked it up and used my new measuring spoons! Aren't they pretty!?!)
Then after you get everything mixed up good, get a new small bowl and drizzle it with some olive oil. Drape a towel over the bowl and let it rise for 30 minutes. Once the buns have risen for 30 minutes, grease a baking sheet and split the dough into 4 individual buns. Place the towel over the buns again and let it rise for 30 more minutes. Preheat an oven at 350 degrees and bake the buns for approximately 20 minutes (you just have to watch them) and then let them cool for 10 minutes. Ta da!

For the Not-So-Secret-Sauce:
-1/4 cup Mayo
-1 tbsp French dressing
-3 tbsp Sweet Pickle Relish
-1/2 tbsp finely minced Onion
-1 tsp White Vinegar
-1 tsp Sugar
-Dash of Salt

Combine all the goodies into a small bowl and mix it up good. I love my's from Pier 1 :)
Once combined, place it in a bowl and let it cool in the fridge for 20-30 minutes so that the yummies can marry.

For the Fries:
-Any potato of your choice (I used Petite Golden Potatoes) cut
-Olive Oil
-Fry Seasoning (or salt, pepper, garlic powder or season salt)
Preheat your broiler. Then cut your potatoes into the size slices you prefer.Place the potatoes on a baking sheet.  Drizzle with oil and then sprinkle seasoning on top. I got my fry seasoning from Crate and Barrel, and it is fabulous! Get your hands dirty and mix it all up. Then place the baking sheet on the top shelf of your oven and broil it up good until the potatoes are golden brown. It takes about 10 minutes for smaller potatoes.

For the Burger (makes 2):
-1/2 lb of Turkey Burger (you can use beef, I won't judge)
-1/2 of a Green Onion Chopped
-1 tsp Olive Oil
-1/3 tsp Salt
-1/3 tsp Pepper
Combine in a bowl and then grill it up good. Once cooked, place a slice of cheddar cheese on top and let it melt on top. Yum!
Put the burger all together however you like it. I added lettuce to mine cuz I like it like that.

Kitchen Fun!!! :)

My kitchen is tiny, but there are some things in it that I absolutely love! Thanks to my mom helping me deck out my first apartment, I got some really cute stuff!
"Here are a few of my favorite things!" (Sound of Music in the background):

-Glass Jar for my Flour
I just love how it looks...I don't know why.

-The thingy that holds and pours my Olive Oil
I don't know the technical name for it, but all I know is that when I use it I feel like I'm one of those Food Network Stars!

I found these at Walmart FYI!

This is my cupcake kitchen scrubby holder. One day I was surfing the web at my very stressful job and found this on pretty much had a heart attack because it was so darn cute and sent my mom a link of the page and wrote "I must have this!". So a week later on our girls day shopping trip, my mom got this for me at Pier 1! It makes me happy to look at this while I wash my dishes.
(I also have a matching cupcake cookie jar too!)

This is one of my favorite birthday presents from my mom (she knows how to make me look good!). It is the cutest and most unique measuring cups I have ever seen. They are from Anthropologie. I love their Kitchen Stuff!

You get 1/4 cup, 1/3 cup, 1/2 cup and 1 cup. They are so beautiful!

These are the cutest measuring spoons too! They are also from Anthropologie and my mom also got them for my birthday also! I haven't used them yet because they are too pretty to touch. But maybe I'll suck it up and use them tonight.

And last but not least....
This is my mini-print of Cuppie the Cupcake with his Hostess friend. I like looking at them while I'm cooking with my stove. My mom also got this for my birthday from Cakespy. I love her artwork. It is so cute and besides, who doesn't love pictures of desserts???

As you can pretty much see, my mom got me good stuff for my birthday! All of these cute little things make having a tiny kitchen not so bad!

I Made My First Omelette!

I have mixed feelings about this breakfast I made this morning because egg whites have always freaked me out, but I have to admit that it was really tasty. I've always had issues with eggs, they have to be scrambled or omelette style or I won't eat them. Over easy eggs...never going to happen. I get a gag reflux just thinking about them. Yuck!
But for the past 2 mornings Dusty has been making me breakfast of toast with a ton of fruit, so I thought this morning I'd give him a break. So I whipped up this diddy for him (it makes 2 omelettes):

-1 cup of eggs whites (trying to be healthy....I don't know)
-1/2 of a small onion minced
-4 oz of sliced mushrooms
-1 clove garlic minced
-Shredded Cheddar Cheese
-Olive Oil

All I did was saute the minced onion and sliced mushrooms in olive oil with garlic. Then I grabbed another pan, set it to medium heat and poured in 1/2 cup of egg white. I let the egg whites cook for a little bit (30-60 seconds) and then with a spatuala started scrapping the sides down a little bit. Then I swirled the egg around to the outer edge so the liquid egg sitting on top could get cooked too (no raw egg!). Once I felt the egg whites had cooked/solidified I sprinkled some shredde cheddar cheese, added half of the sauted mushroom and onion mixture onto one of the halves of the omelette. Then with a spatula I flipped the other half of the egg on top of the mushroom/cheese/onion mixture and let it cook for 30 more seconds to melt the cheese.
Then I proudly presented my first ever made omelette to Dusty!
(Actually, the first one I made ripped and fell apart....I ate that one and gave him my second ever made omelette that was much prettier. Don't tell him!)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Salmon with Pesto and Potatoes

I found this recipe in this months edition of the Food Network Magazine and now that I'm trying to be a better person and eat well, I thought I'd give it a try!
The recipe called for a steamer to cook the fish and potatoes, but since I didn't have that, I baked the fish and boiled the potaotes.

This is what you need:
-2 (4 oz) Salmon filets
-Olive Oil
-1/2 lb of Red Potaotes
-1 tbsp Shredded Parmesan Cheese

For the Pesto you need:
-1 bundle of fresh Basil
-1/8 cup Hazelnuts
-1/4 of a Lemon zested
-1/2 of a Lemon juice
-1 tbsp Olive Oil
-2 tbsp Water
-1/2 clove Garlic
Put these all in the blender and puree.
Then mix the pesto with 1 tbsp of Plain Non-Fat Yogurt

For the fish, just take a small baking pan and drizzle some olive oil on the bottom. Place the fish in the dish and coat both sides with the oil in the dish. Then season with salt and pepper. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 350 degrees. It should be moist and flaky! Place a tbsp of Pesto on top of Salmon.
For the potatoes, just boil them till done. Drain the potatoes and place in a bowl. Drizzle 1 tbsp of olive oil on them and add 1 tbsp of shredded parmesan cheese. With a fork just mash them up slightly till the oil and cheese is incorporated.
And it's only 450 calories!!!! Enjoy!
P.S. I want to apologize for the horrible photo. It was taken on my phone because my camera is dead. So if you bare with me on these horrible photos for a while, I promise to get a camera and take pretty pictures in the future!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Chicken Marsala....Done Light & Healthy

Yesterday I started my diet. Since I've been in college for 4 years the campus food has taken a toll on my body. So now instead of having strawberry ice cream at night while watching a movie with my love, I'm going to have a bowl of strawberries or kiwis. Hopefully I have the will-power to make it last! Besides, I need to lose a couple pounds before my big family vacation to California for a week. There is In-N-Out Burger calling my name!
Anywho....about a year ago Dusty found this Chicken Marsala recipe out of his Men's Health magazine and we tried it. To my surprise it was fantastic! For the entire meal it is only about 350 calories per person. NICE!
To make this light and filling dinner, this is what you need:
-2 chicken breasts pounded down to about 1/4 inch thickness
-1/2 cup of flour
-Olive Oil
-3/4 cup of Marsala Wine and Low-Sodium Chicken Broth (combined)
-4 oz of Mushrooms sliced
-1/8 cup dried parsley
First you need to pound down the chicken breasts. All I do is put the breasts into a plastic storage baggie and pound it. Then lightly season the chicken with salt and pepper. Place the flour in a bowl and dip the chicken breasts in the flour to lightly coat, shake off any extra flour (we are trying to be healthy here!). Then heat up your pan to medium heat, add the oil and place the breasts in the pan. Cook for 3-4 minutes on each side or until cooked all the way through. Remove the chicken from the pan and keep them warm.
Now add a little more oil to the pan and saute the mushrooms until golden brown. I love mushrooms so much, they make me happy!
Once they are golden brown you can add the Marsala and Chicken Broth. Let it simmer down to about 1/4 cup of sauce and then add in the parsley and season it with a little bit of salt and pepper. My favorite thing about this meal is the smell and taste of the is just so savory and comforting.
Now that the sauce is done, you can pour it over the chicken and Ta-Da! It's finished and ready to go! Enjoy!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Fruit Punch!

No matter what holiday or occasion there is in my family there is always one thing that never fails to be there....Fruit Punch! It is the best party/holiday drink in the world! It is super simple and easy, this is what you will need:
-1 can of concentrated frozen fruit punch
-2 liters of Sprite
Just let the concentrated juice unthaw in a giant punch bowl and then add Sprite when the party is about to start!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Creative with Leftovers

A couple days ago I posted about my Chinese Potluck with the Crab Rangoons and Lettuce Wraps. Well, the Crab Rangoons were gone but I still had a ton of meat from the Lettuce Wraps and some left over Wonton wraps. So for lunch today I had a brilliant idea...why don't I make wontons with the left over meat from the lettuce wraps!?!
I pretty much just did the exact same thing with these wontons like I did with the crab rangoons and they turned out great! Actually, they turned out really really GREAT! I was so proud of myself :)
So if you make the Chinese Potluck I made with Lettuce Wraps and Crab Rangoons, don't toss out your leftovers! Use them to make something different and yummy the next day!

A New Way To Enjoy Pancakes....If We Didn't Already Enjoy Them Enough!!!

Dusty and I absolutely loves pancakes! Where I live there is a restaurant called "Paul's Pancake Parlor" and on Sundays it is the place to be! There is seriously a 45 minutes wait and it is well worth it. We only go once in a while because after eating their food you go into a 100 hour coma. Dusty and I love that place so much that I might have skipped a couple of my morning classes to join him for breakfast there. I got good grades, so don't worry!
Ecology or pancakes? Pancakes or Ecology?
What do you think????
Anyways...the other morning I wanted to surprise Dusty and make him some pretty fancy pancakes that we had never tried before. They are "Sour Cream Pancakes". Sounds gross right??? WRONG! They are light, spongy, fluffy and taste like a sour dough/crepe mixture. Too hard to describe, you're just going to have to taste.
This is how it goes:
-1/2 cup Sour Cream
-7 Tbsp Flour
-1 Tbsp Sugar
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1 tsp Baking Soda
-1/2 tsp Vanilla
-2 Eggs
Mix it all together and make the pancakes any size you want them! Because I'm a Montana girl and Montana is known for its Huckleberries, I topped my pancakes with Huckleberry jam. Oh yeah. That's right. Total bliss and enjoyment for breakfast!

Jalapeno Poppers and Cube-Steak Sandwich

Usually Jalapeno's scare the heck out of me. I hate really spicy hot foods and I don't trust them. But when I came across this recipe I had to dare myself to try it.
I would have taken the pictures myself but my camera is officially dead. I knew it was dying a loooooooong time ago but I didn't want to admit it. If you put in 2 AA batteries you can only take about 5 pictures before it sucks the life out of the batteries. I've had it for about 7 years and it is now officially junk. So to help you imagine the tastiness of this appetizer I'll post the link to Pioneer Womans page:
To go along with these wonderful little appetizers I made a Cube-Steak Sandwich:
And let me tell you what....there is a reason that this is Malboro Man's favorite sandwich!!! As soon as Dusty and I took a bite of this sandwich our eyes were rolling to the back of our heads and we were making totally inappropriate noises as we were eating this! IT IS THAT GOOD! But I must warn you....the only reason I made these two things in one meal is because I went to the gym that morning and had a very very light lunch. These probably have a ton of calories because they are total comfort food. And lets face it, comfort food never comes in under 500 calories. If it did, then I wouldn't have had to worry about going to the gym that morning....or suffered the Freshman 15 (crying inside right now). But seriously, even if it means your pants get a little tighter, you must make this! YUMMMY!
Did I get my point across?
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