Monday, February 28, 2011

7 Facts About Me

Last Thursday I was tagged by Amy over at Surly Kitchen to participate in a fun activity called "7 Facts." By being tagged, I get to share 7 facts about myself and then tag 7 people to do the same!

The Rules:
-Tag the person who tagged you
-Share 7 facts about yourself
-Tag 7 bloggers to participate in this activity

So here are 7 facts about me:

1. I am a huge Star Wars nerd! I've watched the movies so many times and I use to play with the Star Wars action figures. I even had the Death Star and Millenium Falcon! (TOTAL NERD)

2. My first love was Leonardo DiCaprio in 4th grade when Titanic had just come out. My dad took me to see it in theaters and I sat in his lap while crying like a baby when Leo died at the end. My dad kept saying to me, "It's okay Haley, his Mercedes Benz is parked in the back lot." It didn't help me much because all I was focused on was that my boyfriend was drifting to the bottom of the Atlantic Ocean!

3. I was a cheerleader from 7th grade until my senior year of high school. My senior year I was dance captain and choreographed the motions to the school fight song that they still do today.

4. The only place I shop for clothes and accessories is Maurices. They always seem to have the clothes that fit my personality the best and they are so cute! I have a charge card there that causes me a little bit of trouble!

5. I was an RA in the dorms for 2 years at the University of Montana. It was great because it was free room and board, plus my staff members became my greatest friends. It was rough because I didn't have a life and had a 8:00 curfew 4 out of 7 days a week. It was such an amazing experience...I highly recommend it to any college student.

6. Dusty and I met at a fraternity party (romantic, I know) my sophomore year of college. He came up to me and asked me if I wanted to "merengue dance" with him. He twirled me and spun me all night on the dance floor. I was so smitten with him and weak in the knees from his smile! We swapped phone numbers that night after dancing and then we had a date at our local smoothie place a couple days later. The rest is history....

7. Last spring I had a mid-life crisis and thought about going to culinary school instead of nursing school. When you take 4 years of science class, you get really frustrated from the lack of creativity. So instead of culinary school I took my creative frustration and started my blog. I have to say it has been 100 times more fun teaching myself to cook and I still get to be a nurse! It's a win-win situation!

Now that I have told you 7 facts about me, I get to pick 7 bloggers to tell 7 facts about themselves:
The Country Cook
Eccentric Kitchen
The Menu Mama
Wanna Be A Country Cleaver
Cook, Bake and Decorate
365 Random Days of the Year
The Church Cook

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Creme de Menthe Cake

I feel bad.
I've been holding out on you guys.

 I've had this cake recipe for about a month now, but wanted to wait until it was closer to St. Patty's Day before showing you THE BEST CAKE EVER!
This is Creme de Menthe Cake and this will change your world.

I actually can't take the credit for making this cake because Dusty made it for me as a surprise one night when I came back from a cooking class. This is why I keep him around...he always surprises me with treats!

I was so full from eating delicious food from my class, but I definitely made room for this cake! It was so good, it wasn't even a problem eating a slice (or two), despite how rich it is!

I don't know if people throw St. Patty's Day parties (I know they do in Butte, Montana!), but this would be absolutely perfect for that occasion. Actually it's good for any occasion, holiday or day of the week!

So here is what you are going to need to make THE BEST CAKE EVER!
-1 box (18.25 Oz. Box) White Cake Mix
-Additional Required Ingredients Specified In Mix Package (typically Water, Eggs And Oil)
-½ cups Creme De Menthe Liqueur, Divided
-16 ounces, fluid Mrs. Richardson's Hot Fudge
-16 ounces, fluid Cool Whip
-½ cups Hershey's Shell Topping
-¼ cups Mini Chocolate Chips

Make the cake mix according to package (you’ll typically need water, eggs, and oil, as directed in mix package), but when adding water to mix, substitute 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) of creme de menthe liqueur instead. For example, if you need 1-1/4 cups of water, use 1 cup water and 1/4 cup creme de menthe.
Bake cake according to instructions on the box. After it’s been baked, allow the cake to cool to room temperature.

After cake is at room temperature, warm up the Mrs. Richardson’s hot fudge and spread over the top of the cake. Not too hot, just warm enough to spread easily.

Place the cake in the fridge to chill the fudge for 2 hours.

Add the rest of the creme de menthe to the Cool Whip, adding a tablespoon at a time while folding to combine. Place the Cool Whip on top of the fudge layer.

Drizzle the hard shell topping on top of the Cool Whip and sprinkle the mini-chocolate chips on top of the cake, too. Chill for an hour or longer until ready to serve.
Dusty thought it looked artistic....I just wanted to dig in!

You are going to love this cake, it's like having a Mint Chip Hot Fudge Sundae in a cake!

Sorry for withholding this recipe from you guys so long, I hope you will forgive me!

Print Recipe Here!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Paula Deen Accessories Giveaway Winner!

I just realized I haven't posted anything since Friday...that is a long time for me! Usually I spend my weekends blogging and cooking away, but this weekend was different....

On Friday, right after I posted the recipe for Butter Chicken,  Dusty and I came down with something nasty. It might have been the flu, it might have been the common cold, it might be something else...but we are still really sick and have really stuffed up noses. Therefore, our apartment is a total disaster with tissues, dishes and laundry everywhere. I'm attempting now to clean up the tornado that has blown through this place because I am feeling a little better tonight.

Also, Dusty and I started watching the show LOST on Netflix last Tuesday. We are in the middle of season 4. Each season has 25 episodes that are 42 minutes long....

Don't do the math. It's kinda disturbing how much LOST we have watched.
But we are totally addicted!
And I'm in love with Sawyer and Jack...don't tell Dusty!

All I know is that if I was stranded on an island due to a plane crash, I would be the first to go. I am completely useless as of right now. Hopefully I won't get into a plane crash until after nursing school because then I could be of some use.
Actually, on second thought, hopefully I just don't get into a plane crash!

Another part of my "fun" weekend that was studying for my Fundamentals of Aging Psychology exam on Tuesday, Anatomy and Physiology Lab quiz, and Anatomy and Physiology lecture exam Today!
My brain is fried and I'm so glad it's over with!  (Now I get to watch more LOST!)

With all of that being said, I'm excited to announce the winner of the Paula Deen Accessories Giveaway!
Using, the winner is #26......Kecia!

Congrats Kecia!
Send me an email with your shipping address to so I can send your fun prize to you right away!

Thanks everyone for entering! I will have another giveaway soon!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Butter Chicken

I made this dish tonight and I was so excited about it that I had to share it with you as soon as I could! This recipe is one of the most popular dishes on Tasty Kitchen and I know is delicious!

I will be making this over, and over, and over, and over again!

The sauce is so creamy and has the richest flavors, I was even digging around my pantry for some bread so that I could sop it up when the chicken was gone!

I wish I had more Butter Chicken.... (sigh)

Some of you might be thinking (just like Dusty was), "Butter Chicken? So is it just Butter + Chicken? I don't get it."

But it's not!
It's actually an Indian recipe for chicken with a beautiful tomato cream sauce.
Can you tell I loved this dish? I just called a sauce "beautiful!"
All I know is that you have to make this!

Here is what you are going to need for 2 people:
-2 Chicken Breast, cut into bite-size pieces
-3 cloves of minced Garlic
-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/4 tsp Pepper
-1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
-1/8 tsp Ground Coriander
-1/8 tsp Ground Cumin
-1/8 tsp Ground Cardamom
-Juice of 1/2 a Lime
-2 tbsp Butter
-1/2 Onion-chopped
-1 cup Tomato Sauce
-1 cup Petite Diced Tomatoes
-1 cup Heavy Cream
-Cilantro (Fresh or Dried) to taste
-Cooked Rice

You want to start this chicken marinade the night before or the morning of, so that the chicken can really soak up the fragrant marinade.
First start by cutting up the 2 chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Throw the chicken in a bag and add 1/2 tsp Salt...

1/4 tsp Black Pepper...

1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper and 1/8 tsp Cumin, Cardamom and Coriander...

Plus the juice of 1/2 of a Lime...

And 3 cloves of Minced Garlic!
Place the bag of chicken in the fridge and let it marinade overnight or for a long time.
I let mine sit for 9 hours.

When you are ready to make dinner, heat your large pan over medium heat and melt the 2 tbsp of Butter and add the chopped Onions.
Cook them for 3-5 minutes until the onions are softened.

Then throw the chicken into the pan and cook it for 10 minutes.

After 10 minutes, add the Tomato Sauce and Petite Diced Tomatoes.

Stir the tomatoes to combine with the chicken and cover with the lid.
Let the dish simmer for 30 minutes at Medium-Low Heat.
At this time you should start cooking your rice according to package.

After 30 minutes of simmering, add 1 cup of Heavy Cream...

And some Cilantro to taste.

Now here comes the best part...
You get to eat your Butter Chicken!
DIG IN!!!!
Oh man, you are going to love this dish.
It's going to change the way you think about chicken forever!


Yesterday I went and did a little shopping because I needed some retail therapy and I decided to get you guys something too!

I found these adorable Paula Deen kitchen accessories and thought of you guys!

Cupcake liners that are too cute....
Amen to that!!!

A spice shaker that says, "SHAKE IT!"

And I went to my local organic health food store and picked up some fun popcorn seasonings for you to put in the spice shaker!

Also, I found this mug that I loved so much, I had to get it too!
Along with a fun whisk and spatulas!
It says, Cookin' Makes You Good Lookin'
I love it! It's so true!

To enter this giveaway, leave a comment answering the following question:
What is your favorite cookbook of all time?

The giveaway ends Tuesday, February 22nd at midnight and the winner will be announced Wednesday, February 23rd!

Good Luck!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Sweet Honey Teriyaki Salmon

Because I'm a frustrated wannabe Food Network Star, I decided to enter this month's Food Network Iron Chef Challenge.

Never heard of it?

It's located in the back of every issue's Food Network Magazine and they give you a specific ingredient and you have to come up with an original recipe using the "secret ingredient."
This month's ingredient: Honey
Oh yeah....and the winner gets $500!

I never use honey and I didn't even have any in my pantry. So I went to my local grocery store and bought some honey and spent the next couple of days playing around with my "secret ingredient." After some trial and error, I came up with this fun Asian dish. Salmon with a Sweet Honey and Teriyaki Glaze. YUM!

Here is what you are going to need for 4 servings:
-4 (6 oz) Salmon filets
-1/2 cup Honey
-2 tbsp Teriyaki Sauce
-2 tbsp Soy Sauce
-2 tbsp Olive Oil
-2 cloves of minced Garlic
-Salt and Pepper to taste
-Chopped Green Onion-for Garnish

To make the Glaze:
In a small saucepan, combine the honey, teriyaki, soy sauce, garlic cloves and 1 tbsp olive oil. Bring the sauce to a boil over high heat and then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cook while stirring often, until reduced by half. (2 to 3 minutes)

In large pan over medium-high heat, warm the other tbsp of olive oil. Season the salmon with salt and pepper and place the salmon, skin side down, in the pan. Brush the tops generously with the honey sauce and cook for 5 minutes. Turn the salmon over and brush again with the honey sauce. Cook, turning occasionally and brushing with the honey mixture, until the salmon is glazed and opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes more. Garnish with chopped green onions.
Serve with rice and some sauteed veggies.


Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Citrus Coconut Breading

I used this recipe for breading my shrimp when I made Coconut Crusted Shrimp for Valentine's Day on Sunday and as I made it, I realized that this recipe is so versatile!!!
It is so flavorful and all of the citrus flavors make me feel like I'm enjoying a tropical meal! If only I could be in a tropical location, enjoying a tropical meal. But instead I'll just enjoy my tropical dish in the snowy cold weather of Montana. You can't win them all.
You could use this coconut breading on chicken breasts, chicken tenders, fish, boneless pork loins, fish, etc....

The world is your oyster with this citrus breading!!!! Explore and be creative with it!

Here is what you are going to need for about 3 cups of breading:
-2 cups Panko Bread Crumbs
-1 cup shredded Coconut
-2 tbsp chopped fresh Ginger
-2 cloves of minced Garlic
-Zest of 1 Orange, Lime and Lemon-plus all their juices
For dredging your choice of meat:
-2 Eggs, Beaten
-½ cup Heavy Cream or Milk
-Salt and Pepper to taste

In a bowl, combine Panko Bread Crumbs....

Shredded Coconut...

Zest of 1 Lime...

Zest of 1 Orange...

Zest of 1 Lemon...

And all of their juices.

Don't forget some freshly chopped Ginger and minced Garlic!
Stir to combine.

Spread the coconut mixture on a baking sheet and allow it to dry for an hour or more. Otherwise, you can't properly bread your meat because the breading is damp, which could be a nasty mess!

Once you are ready to bread your choice meat, in another bowl, combine eggs and milk. Beat to incorporate and addd salt and pepper (to taste). Dust your meat with flour and shake off any excess. Dredge each piece of meat, one by one, in egg mixture and then coat meat with coconut mixture. Fry or bake your choice of meat according to however you want to cook your meat!

Enjoy and get creative with this versatile Citrus Coconut Breading!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

I hope everyone has had a wonderful Valentine's day so far! Because I had class and work today, we decided to celebrate Valentine's Day yesterday. Dusty and I had a very romantic and delicious dinner. I had you guessing in a previous post about what I was making....did you guess it right????

I'm going to guess probably not.

But here is what I made for Dusty for our Valentine's Day dinner:
Click on the links to get the recipes

And we enjoyed it with our White Wine and by candle light.
Because I'm romantic like that ;)

I would have taken pictures of the dishes I made, but it was so late when we had dinner that the lighting was terrible! Which is a bummer, because they were so delicious!

Even though I can't show you the photo's you just have to trust that the dinner was to die for! I have to thank the Good Food Store cooking class for teaching me to make the first 3 recipes! I was so excited to take something I learned from class and make it for Dusty. He loved everything and was super impressed with my skills! I got the Cookies N' Cream Brownies recipe off of the blog How Sweet It Is, because she is the master of desserts and Dusty loves brownies! Can't go wrong there!

On a side note, I received something exciting in the mail today....
The Girly Girl Cooks-The Book!

Yep, I'm published.
Just Kidding!

I actually went to and printed out the year of 2010 posts of my blog and I love it!
You get to have a Table of Contents...

And view your blog posts/pictures in print!

It's so fun and you get to personalize everything, even a dedication!
I highly recommend it!

Well, I hope everyone has a great Valentine's Day and I'm going to head over to Pioneer Woman's website and drool over my dream Kitchen Aid!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

Dusty loves Chicken Pot Pie!
If I go out of town to visit my family and he has to fend for himself, he loads up of Marie Calender's Chicken Pot Pies.

I found this recipe from She Wears Many Hats and I had to try it. I wanted to prove to Dusty that there is such a thing as homemade chicken pot pie and that it doesn't just come from the frozen food section!

Not going to lie, I was a little nervous about making this chicken pot pie. I've never made it before! I always get a little nervous when I try making new recipes that are classics like chicken pot pie, lasagna, etc. Because I don't want to mess them up!

So here is what you are going to need for 4 servings:
-3 tbsp Butter
-1/2 lb small Golden Potatoes-cut into 1" cubes
-1/2 large Onion-chopped
-3 medium Carrots-cut into 1" pieces
-5 oz of sliced Mushrooms
-1/4 cup Cognac
-3 tbsp Flour
-1 cup Chicken Broth
-1/2 cup Milk
-2-1/2 cups cooked Chicken (I used a rotisserie chicken)
-1/2 cup Frozen Peas
-2-1/2 tsp dried Parsley
-1-1/4 tsp dried Thyme
-1/4 tsp dried Sage
-1-1/2 tsp Salt
-1/2 tsp Pepper
-1 sheet of thawed Puff Pastry
-1 egg Yolk
-1 tsp Water

First preheat oven to 425 degrees.

In a  Dutch oven, melt the butter over medium-high heat and add onion, potatoes, carrots and mushrooms. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10-12 minutes.

Add this little guy of Cognac, and combine.
This gives some wonderful savory flavoring to the Chicken Pot Pie!

Stir in flour and cook for about 1 minute until combined well. Add chicken stock and milk. Combine well and bring to a simmer for about 2-minutes, stirring until mixture thickens. Add chicken, peas, parsley, thyme, sage, salt and pepper, and combine well.

Transfer mixture to preferred serving dishes. I could fit 2 servings into each of these little baking dishes.

Cut thawed puff pasty 1″ larger in diameter than the chosen serving dish, and cut out a 1/2-1″ hole in center for venting. Center the cut puff pastry over dish and crimp down around edge of dish to seal.

Whisk together the egg yolk and 1 teaspoon of water and brush the tops of the pastry with egg wash.
Thanks for the cute pastry brush Mom!

Bake in a 425°F oven, placing your dish on a baking sheet, for 10 minutes, then cover lightly with aluminum foil and continue baking for another 20-25 minutes.
Pretty much, this was heaven in a baking dish!
I am a new lover of Chicken Pot Pie and now Dusty is forever spoiled because he thought this was 100x better than that nasty frozen Marie Calenders!

I might have eaten my entire serving dish.
I might have had a giant food baby after eating this.

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