August 26, 2010

Cheddar Chive Muffins

I love finding new food blogs while poking around on Twitter and seeing who the current food bloggers I follow are following, or are friends with. I found one today called The Craving Chronicles and she seems fun and her food and photos look amazing. I got a few interesting recipes off her site today and I knew I was making Barbecued Chili for dinner so I was really excited when I found this recipe on her site for these savory muffins.

Cheddar Chive Muffins
(original by The Craving Chronicles found here.)
Makes 12 Muffins

1 1/2 cups flour
1 1/2 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 cups shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup milk
1 egg1/4 cup (1/2 stick) melted butter
1 tablespoon dried chives

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Lightly grease, or line a 12-cup muffin tin.

In a medium bowl combine together the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. Stir in the shredded cheese.

In a small bowl combine milk, egg and melted butter. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Fold in herbs.

Divide the batter among the 12 muffins cups. Bake at 375 for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown and a toothpick comes out clean when inserted.

Cheddar Chive Muffin

I have to say these savory muffins are pretty darn good. Especially dipped in the yummy Bbq yum! And! I am pretty sure if you were to brush these with some garlic butter they would come pretty darn close to tasting like Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits! I didn't get much of the chive flavor, but these muffins were dense and nice and cheesy. They were a little greasy, I thought, but that is probably because of the 3 cups of cheese.

Someone is trying to grab one before they cool...tsk tsk

These are great savory muffins and I hope you try them sometimes this fall or winter season as I think they are quite comforting and delicious!

Eat Drink and Be Merry!


August 25, 2010

Recommended Reading: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

This best sums it up: "Simultaneously tragic, and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying and loving."

"On a day that started like any other..." The main character Mia finds herself in a place between life and death. In the matter of a day she needs to make a decision, to stay or go. She looks back at memories and life experiences, but also looks ahead to what she will have to go through if she decides to stay.

I loved the way this book was written, I loved the characters. Her parents were great characters, her little brother was a great, her boyfriend and their relationship were flawless. It was great, short read and I highly recommend it...

I didn't really get too emotional until the last 20 pages or so. All the emotion she was feeling and how her decision time grew closer and closer, it was a lot to think about...I think this book was great and had me enthralled and hanging on every memory and every person she had in her life.

In the back of the book, since this story relied heavily on music, there is a list of the songs mentioned and why the author chose them and what they meant to her as she attached them to certain characters.

Please check out If I Stay by Gayle Forman

Happy Reading!


August 24, 2010

Relaxing Day - Erie Island Coffee Company

Today, instead of sitting the in living room or on the balcony reading a book like I would normally do I decided to take a nice leisurely walk down to Erie Island and have a nice cup of tea there and read.

Iced Mochas at Erie Island

The Hubs and I had been there before and we got Iced Mochas and he also tried their Peanut Butter Mocha and those were great, and I noticed they had a bunch of loose teas available too, so I thought I would try that out today since its getting closer to fall and I love a hot cup of tea. They have many different kinds from plain green tea, to a "tummy tamer" and a summer berry, but I was interested in the Strawberry White Tea. Let me tell you it was good choice!

Strawberry White Tea, a good book and great atmosphere
what more could you want?

It was a nice light tea with great strawberry flavor, I wish they sold it in tins or something, I would have grabbed some for home. I mean you can't beat $1.90 for a large mug with as many hot water refills that you want, you can't go wrong! I had a nice relaxing time people watching, reading my book and looking over at the cliche' coffeeshop blogger sitting next to me...I love that stuff! So fun!

But anyway! If you are ever in the Rocky River area, or down near E. 4th downtown, you can hit up an Erie Island Coffee Company for your favorite coffee or tea. They have the latte artists at the E. 4th location, you know, they when the pour in the milk to your latte the can make hearts or leaves with the fun! I want to go there just to get a latte with a freaking heart on it! I am so lame.

They make their teabags for each cup of tea at Erie Island

Just wanted to share my nice day that I had for myself and I hope you get to check them out and relax with a good book and nice cup of coffee or tea. Its so fun!



I concocted a new drink at Erie Island today...and fun enough the sign outside said "Please come in and we'll help you make your own signature drink" They knew I was coming. I made a Cinnamon Mocha. They just add cinnamon syrup to your mocha but it made it nice and warm and earthy, very fall-like! They should totally put it on their menu!

Cinnamon Mocha and the Hubsie's Peanut Butter Mocha
Enjoying the lovely cool weather on their outside patio
September 6, 2010

August 17, 2010

Artichoke Hazelnut Pesto Spread

We were attended a going-away/everyone's -been-so-busy-we-should-get-together party and we were to bring something to snack on. I went looking through my many recipes I've found from many food blogs and saw a recipe I saved from Cookin' Canuck for this Artichoke Hazelnut Pesto Spread. Sounded good to me! I made double the recipe, so those measurement are in the recipe posted below.

Artichoke Hazelnut Pesto Spread
(original recipe can be found at Cookin' Canuck here.)

1/4 cup hazelnuts, toasted and then chopped
2 cans (14 oz.) artichoke hearts, drained
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley

Lightly toast hazelnuts in a dry skillet over medium-low heat. Let cool to room temperature, then pulse in food processor until finely chopped.

To the food processor add artichokes, garlic, and Parmesan cheese. Pulse until smooth. With food processor running drizzle in the olive oil. Pulse until the olive oil is combined well with the artichoke mixture.

Stir in fresh chopped parsley. Garnish top with fresh parsley and chopped hazelnuts.
Serve with cracker, toast points or raw veggies.

Artichoke Hazelnut Pesto Spread with
French Baguette and Rosemary Foccacia from Blackbird Baking Co.

This spread is nice and garlicky and had a slight crunchy texture from the hazelnuts. I think it has wonderful flavor and is sure to be a crown pleaser. It was quick and easy to put together, you are really only dirtying your food processor bowl and a small pan to toast the nuts. It tastes great on crackers or bread...but I prefer the bread, especially since its from Blackbird Baking Co.

Dig in to this great simple, tasty spread!

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!!


August 16, 2010

Arancini - Italian Rice Balls

Arancini are fried, (or less commonly baked), rice balls coated with breadcrumbs, said to have originated in Sicily in the 10th century. The name derives from the food's shape and color, which is reminisient of an orange (The Italian word for orange is arancia, and in Sicilian arancici means little oranges.) Commonly in Sicily these rice balls are filled with ragu or vegetables, it is more of a Roman flair to have them filled with cheese, they are called suppli.

I saw a posting for this recipe on Brown Eyed Baker and thought, I have to make those! They looked delicious and sounded pretty easy to put together. I mean what could be better than rice and cheese, baked and all gooey in the middle...Yum! I was happy to see that these rice balls were baked, rather than fried. I am trying to make healthier choices these days so its nice to have the option to bake instead of deep fry. I also made my own quick marinara sauce to go with the little rice nuggets and I was quite proud of how that turned out.

Arancini - Italian Rice Balls
(original recipe from Brown Eyed Baker is here.)

2 eggs
2 cups cooked rice
3/4 cup Italian breadcrumbs
4 oz. mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2 inch cubes, about 1 cup
2 T olive oil

1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper

2. Beat eggs lightly with a fork. Combine with the cooked rice and mix thoroughly.

3. Take 1 tablespoon of the rice mixture, place a cube of mozzarella in the middle ane then top with another tablespoon of the rice mixture. Shape into a ball and roll in the breadcrumsbs. Place on parchement-lined baking sheet and continue with the rest of the rice mixture.

4. Refrigerate the pan of rice balls for at least 30 minutes.

5. Meanwhile preheat oven to 425. Drizzle 2 T of olive oil over the rice balls.

6. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve with warm marinara sauce.

Marinara alla BellaRosa
(I know totally cheese right HA!)

1 15 oz. can diced tomatoes, pureed (or 1 can crushed tomatoes)
1 8 oz. can tomato sauce
1/4 sweet onion, chopped
1-2 cloves garlic, grated or finely minced
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. red pepper flake
1/2 tsp. sugarsalt and pepper

Heat olive oil in a small or medium sauce pot, add onion and garlic and saute until softened. Add the diced tomatoes and tomato sauce and seasonings. Simmer until slightly thickened, about 20 minutes.

Gooey, baked Italian Rice Balls
with Marinara Sauce let me just say...these were a pain in the butt to make!!! The rice was really hard to work with, trying to form them into balls...I swear I lost a lot of the rice in the breadcrumb cause I was just trying to get it to stick together and keep a ball shape. It was really messy and I found I almost gave up cause I was getting so aggravated that it wouldn't stay together. I finally found a way to get it to stay was to just press the breadcrumb into it and almost have the breadcrumb help with binding it all together.

I totally forgot about refrigerating them before baking, but I was so frustrated. They came out great though! They were really delicious and very satisfying. I don't know when I would make these again, I mean they are really good, but a pain to make. I was really proud of my sauce though, I thought it was quite tasty. These were interesting to make, a pain, but the end result was delicious. Also according to the wikipedia definition, I think these should be called suppli...but what do I know?

Baked Arancini

Eat, Drink and Be Merry!


August 10, 2010

Banana Muffins with a Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Crumb Topping

My Hubsie brought me home a box filled with bananas and peaches, which I don't think I can do anything with the peaches cause they seem to be way past their prime...and they scare me. But I started looking up recipes for banana muffins, cause I really enjoy making muffins. And I found this recipe for some banana muffins with a crumb topping, which I thought would be perfect! I posted some Sour Cream Banana Muffins before but I never thought about adding a crumb these sounded good!

Banana Muffins with Brown Sugar & Cinnamon Crumb Topping
Makes 12 regular size muffins
(original recipe found here.)

1 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt

3 bananas, mashed
3/4 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1/3 cup butter, melted

For crumb topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 T flour
1/8 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 T butter

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease muffin pan, if not using muffins liners.

Mix together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl. In another bowl mix together bananas, sugar, egg and melted butter. Make sure to slowly temper the egg/banana/sugar mixture before pouring all the melted butter into the bowl to prevent the eggs from cooking. I let my butter cool a little before adding to eggs so I didn't have this problem.

Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and mix until just moistened. Spoon batter into muffin cups.

In a small bowl mix together the brown sugar, cinnamon, and flour. Cut in the butter until it resembles a coarse meal. Sprinkle amply on top of muffin batter.

Bake muffins for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. The mini-muffins took about 8 minutes to bake.

Banana Crumb Topped Muffin...Mmmmm :)

Now of course, if you know me, then you know I had to make mini muffins, but I did make 6 regular size muffins and it then it made 20 mini-muffins after that. So it makes quite a bit! I thought these were going to have an intense banana flavor cause it seemed like a lot of banana after I mashed them, but they are nice and lightly flavored and the crumb topping gives it a nice crunchy texture without adding nuts.

Mini and Regular Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping
Makes 6 regular and 20 mini-muffins

This was a great way to use up the over-ripe bananas the Hubs brought home and I do love making it's win/win!

Mini Banana Muffins with Crumb Topping

Eat, Drink and Be Merry...and use up that extra fruit!


August 5, 2010

Recommended Reading: Touch Novels

Psychometry: a form of psychic reading in which an individual claims to obtain details about another through touch. Either touching that person, or that person possessions.

I know I am just reading teen books again, but I thought these books were brilliant. I was on my toes, and actually scared at times while reading them, and I felt for the character...I thought she was stupid at times but otherwise I was scared for her and a concerned.

The first book is Deadly Little Secret. It centers around the characters Camelia and Ben. Ben is new to school, but has a reputation that proceeds him. He is thought to have killed his ex-girlfriend in his old town, but after saving Cameila's life, she is strangely drawn to him, especially after the way he touched her. Ben is psychometic and can see things by touching a person or object. When he first touched Cameila he knew she was in danger.

Cameila begins receiving threats and being followed and watched everywhere she goes. Her friends suspect Ben, but Cameila knows he wouldn't never hurt her. This book literally sent chills up my spine and had me turning page after page. I was hooked on the story.

The second book in the series is Deadly Little Lies. This book did the same thing to me that the first one did. It gave me chills, I felt scared and I was really into the story, another page turner.

Ben left after Cameila was safe in the last book but is coming back to school after his break...and it seems he wants nothing to do with her, until she starts seeing someone else, Adam. Again, she also starts receiving threats and being followed and watched and she has a found a new affinity for creating pottery sculptures that have to do with an event in real life. She wonders if this psychometry can be transferred from person to person, but soon finds out it could be hereditary.

There is a third book coming out in December called Deadly Little Games. I can't wait!!

I did find her 2 best friends in the book to be rather obnoxious and almost unnecessary. But overall I think these books were great. A fast read full of twists and turns and scary situations. I thought they were great!

Happy Reading!


August 1, 2010

Recommended Reading: Stolen

I sometimes forget how I come across these books but I feel like I found this one on Goodreads or in the back of another book or something, but it was a great find! The book that I stumbled upon was Stolen by Lucy Christopher.

You saw me before I saw you

A girl: Gemma, at the airport, on her way to a family vacation

You had that look in your eyes

A guy: Ty, rugged, tan, too old, oddly familiar, eyes blue as ice

Like you wanted me

She steps away. For just a second. he pays for her drink, and drugs it.

Wanted me for a long time

He takes her, before she even knows what's happening.
To sand and heat.
To emptiness and isolation.
To nowhere.
And expects her to love him.

Written as a letter from a victim to her captor,
this is Gemma's desperate story of survival.
Ty has Stolen her body. Against every instinct screaming inside her,
will he also steal Gemma's heart?

Lucy Christopher
(found on inside of book jacket)

This was a great find. Emotional, horrifying, intriguing and overall gives you that uncomfortable feeling...I really enjoyed it!

This book is written as a letter from a victim to her captor. Its quite interesting, hearing the details she goes into and what she was feeling and what she experienced. I mean it's all fiction, but it seems real, and you are rooting for her to get away. It is crazy to read and wondering what he's gonna do to her. Is he going to hurt her? Why did he capture her? What is his motive? Is he mentally insane? Crazy intense stuff. I think this book was magic.

You tilted my face and said something.
Everything about you was fuzzy, floating on the trash fumes.
Your beautiful mouth was moving like a caterpillar. I reached out and tried to catch it.
You took my fingers in yours.
Some part of me understood. I started to get undressed...

Lucy Christopher
(found on back cover of book)

I really, truly recommend it, especially if you've read The Lovely Bones or Lucky by Alice Sebold, it seemed similar to me in ways, so you might enjoy it if you've read that.

Happy Reading!