May 24, 2010

Recommended Reading: 3 Books to Check Out

I got a great bunch of books this time from the library...I tend to request a bunch and then I end up picking up like 5 or 6 at a time! It's crazy. Anyway, I picked up some good ones, I have 3 here that I will be recommending and I hope you check them out...literally....go to the library and check them out!

First: Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin

I saw that my sister-in-law had these books marked as "read" on her Goodreads, so I had been thinking about them for a while and decided to give it a shot. I really enjoyed this book!! I mean, I don't condone the whole sleeping with your best friends fiance, but Darcy was kinda annoying...and bitchy...and Rachel never had anything good in her life sort of because of Darcy so...more power to Rachel. Anyway. I really enjoyed hearing about Rachel's background and her friendship with Darcy and then finding out she loved Dex all along...I mean I was a late bloomer too, so I sort of get it. But it was great story and it kept me wondering if they were gonna get caught, if it was "true love", if it was just a fling...what was gonna happen! I thought it was great and it's a great chick book. I wanna say there are at least 3 or 4 book in this series, the next is Something Blue and it is focused on Darcy.

Up next: Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

I really had no idea what this book was about. I assumed: "Ok, "Uglies" this is gonna be some high school drama "poor me" story about some little clique of girls who are "ugly" and the pretty girls are gonna be the queen bees and are gonna torture them through high school but then the ugly girls will end up on top. So NOT what this book series is about!! This book is about a society that has come about after our own has been distroyed or just years after ours is over. There are the "uglies" who when they turn 16, have a surgery, a plastic surgery overhaul, that changes their entire appearance to become "Pretty." It sounds weird explaining it, but I think and interesting concept once you get into the story. Its about adventure and learning to be happy with what you are given, physically, and learning what is social acceptable and why. It was a fun book and is a part of a series. The next in the series is called Pretties.

Last recommendation: The Giver by Lois Lowry

I was quite surprised by this little book. It really packs a punch for being only 180 pages. It was really captivating and made you think. Its another book based on a new society, one taking places decades and decades after our own. The main character, Jonas, is selected to become the next Reciever of Memories. Basically he gets handed down the memeories of the lives before his. Lives of the people who lived years and years ago, "back and back and back." Memories of things they don't even know exist in their community. They don't even know what colors are, what weather is, snow, rain, sunshine. Its and interesting concept. They idea of Sameness. Everything the same so no one gets hurt...and nothing changes. This book really left you wondering whether they are living in a time long after we are gone...or if this place is just isolated from the rest of society...It was very thought provoking and left you wondering about what he finds.

Happy Reading!!

May 18, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows...for Glee!

Who here watches Glee?!?!? I do! I do!! I am a totally Gleek!! I know I am 25 years old, but back in high school I would have never tried out for our show choir, and they weren't as cool! Plus I have always loved musicals and this show is just fantastic!!

Every Tuesday night my best buds Kay and Michele come over and we have "Glee Night." We make dinner and have a good ol' time watching Glee. Mr. Shue is being called a slut, Rachel is having a hard time keeping a boyfriend cause she is a little crazy and poor Kurt makes me cry every week while he tries to find acceptance from his dad because he is gay. Oh, and Artie has the best voice hands down! :) It's a great show...but anyway.

This week I made a treat for the girlies, I made Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows!

Looks like the start of something delicious!

I was looking at some fun food blogs this morning and saw someone made some chocolate marshmallows and I thought "I am totally doing that for Glee tonight!" So here we are. I had a ton of left over colored sugar from my bridal shower I am always hoping to use them in some way, and they don't really come up too well on the chocolate but I still think it's look really cool, makes them sparkle.

So I did the normal double-bolier to melt the chocolate then just dipped the tops of the marshies in the chocolate and then pressed them into the sugar or sprinkles. Very simple and very pretty...and delicious!! Oh man a fresh dipped marshmallow in the warm chocolate...heaven! And I am not even a huge fan of eating straight up marshmallows, but dip them in chocolate! Ok!

Eat Drink and Be Merry....and watch Glee!! It's amazing!


BBQ Chicken Pizza

My buddy M helped with this picture, she's an artsy-fartsy geek like me!

I remember I used to go to Schlotzsky's Deli and they has the most amazing little BBQ Chicken the closest one is like 20 miles away and I am sad. But I remembered loving those pizzas and I started making my own BBQ Chicken pizza from then on. I liked the idea of non-traditional toppers on pizzas. Why just stick with boring pepperoni and sausage, or mushrooms? There are plenty of delicious toppings that can be used and tons of different sauces!

I start with my Go-to Pizza Dough, which I have been playing around with the measurements to get the right consistency and elasticity to stretch it into my huge retangular cookie sheet. While the dough is rising I cook up the chicken.

Really Easy, Really Delicious Chicken Breasts
*see recipe here as well.

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper
Sprinkle of garlic powder
Sprinkle of chili powder
  • Preheat oven to 400.
  • Heat olive oil in a non-stick skillet, have handle covered in foil, unless your skillet's handle is oven-safe. Season chicken on "skin-side" with the seasonings, just needs sprinkles, not too much. Place chicken seasoned-side down and let brown for 5 minutes.
  • Turn over and let brown for a minute or so and transfer skillet to the oven. Let cook for 10-15 minutes depending on size of chicken breasts.
  • In this case, if the chicken is a little under-cooked its ok cause it will go on top of the pizza that is going in the oven as well, it will finish cooking.
  • Once chicken comes out, let sit and then slice it up into thin slices.
By now the dough should be nice and puffy and ready to be made into a yummy, delicious pizza. I use a large rectangular cookie sheet, only because my only round pizza pan is weird and I don't like using it...don't ask.

So I stretch and smoosh the dough onto the pan, using flour on my hands so I don't stick, and it doesn't stick to me. Spread as much Bbq sauce as you like on to the dough leave room for a crust. Cover sauce with cheddar cheese, or sometimes I use a Colby-Jack blend that is really nice. Add your sliced chicken on top and then I dab the top of the pizza with more Bbq sauce, just little pockets of yumminess! I add a little more cheese on top, so it melts on teh chicken and then it goes in teh same preheated oven for 15 minutes until brown and bubbly good.

I have also added some sliced bell peppers on this and it's delicious as well. I liked using the orange bell peppers for color. And I know most times there are onions on BBQ Chicken pizzas but I don't like onions, so I don't use them. But adding the peppers is really good. This pizza always turns out really well and I love it!! Hope you make it too, and enjoy it!!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and try a new topping on your pizza!!


May 6, 2010

Grilled Pork Tenderloin with Mashed Sweet Potatoes

Wow...haven't posted since middle of April!! Apparently I have made nothing exciting and haven't' read any books worth mentioning. That is kinda sad. But anywho, tonight I made a grilled pork tenderloin that I spiced up and some mashed sweet potatoes.

I have fallen in love with grilling pork tenderloins. Normally I would just roast them in the oven, but now that it is getting nice out and grilling season, I have fallen in love. We have an electric George Foreman grill out on the balcony, it's one that Dan grabbed from his parent's house when we moved. We never really use it all that often but I find myself thinking of things to grill, and now I am grilling pork. We use it for brats and hot dogs like once in a blue moon, but we will be using it more often I think.

I was gonna make a spice rub for the tenderloin but I am afraid of it burning and then just tasting burnt and not good so I just seasoned it up.

Spice Blend on Pork

Garlic Powder
Chili Powder

My spice "jars" have different numbers of holes you can use to season with, the more holes, the more that comes out of the jar. So I mean, I just sprinkled them on until it looked good to me, no exact measurements. Like for the cumin and cinnamon I used either one or two holes where with the chili powder I had 3 holes open.

Then I drizzled it with olive oil and threw it on the grill. It said to cook for 25 minutes per pound (mine was 1.51 pounds) I had mine on the grill for about 40 mins cause my thermometer sucks and was giving me hardly a reading. It was cooked perfectly. I have to say though I was a little disappointed that I couldn't really taste any of the spicing I put on it...but it was still great.

For the sweet potatoes I just used a large can of canned yams, I should have use 2 cans maybe, but we are both full and there weren't any left overs. Here is how I make my mashed sweet potatoes. Sorry I don't really have exact measurements, cause I taste and add as I go.

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

1 large can sweet potatoes/yams in syrup, drained and mashed
Brown Sugar (about 1-2 T)
Cinnamon (I have no idea how much, I just kept adding it)
Salt (a pinch, just to bring out flavors)
Vanilla Wafers

I mash the canned yams in the pot then add all but the vanilla wafers. Turn heat to medium-low and heat, mixing it up once in a while to distribute heat and prevent burning.

The vanilla wafers are a new addition. I wanted to try them out, maybe add some crunch and texture. They added a nice flavor but they got mushy in the mixture. I added them toward the end and they were still mushy, so nice idea but maybe just to add on top as garnish, that way they would stay crunchy?

I thought the sweet potatoes complemented the pork very nicely and it was a great dinner!! It was really good and the hubsie loved it!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and grill something up for dinner!!