Thursday, April 24, 2014

Finn's French Dressing

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After the glorious spring days we had last weekend, it dawned on me that summer will be here before I know it. And with that, I've been trying to eat more salads to prepare for warmer weather and to add more vegetables to my diet. I have somewhat grown tired of all the hearty, comforting winter foods I've been indulging in during this horrendously long winter lol. So when I think of salads, one of my favorites would be the salad served at Aunt Judy's house during the holidays. Aunt Judy is the Baron's aunt who hosts the annual Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve dinner for his extended family. I secretly look forward to the dinners because I know she'll be serving up her salad. But more importantly, it's the dressing that makes it so good. I was fortunate enough to receive a large bottle of her dressing along with a handwritten recipe - score! With common ingredients you probably already have on hand, you can taste the magic of Finn's French Dressing...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

10 Spring Vegetable Recipes!

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It's springtime and that means some wonderful produce is available at the store! Wednesday is a day I look forward to each week because new circulars with weekly sales at my local grocery stores come out. If you're looking to take advantage of the spring produce, here are 10 Spring Vegetable Recipes that utilize fresh vegetables including asparagus, spinach, artichoke, leeks, arugula, and lemons!

Aaron McCargo Jr.'s Asparagus & Tomato Salad



Spinach & Artichoke Cheeseball



Cantaloupe & Crispy Prosciutto Arugula Salad



Arugula Salad Pizza



Lemon & Oregano Roast Chicken



Cod with Leeks & Tomatoes


Lemon Pepper Chicken with Caramelized Leek Risotto


Spinach & Artichoke Stuffed Mushrooms



Chicken Artichoke Alfredo


Roast Chicken with Spring Vegetables, Lemon & Capers

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

{GF} Four Cheese Ravioli & Meatballs

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With my parents overseas now and settling back into my kitchen, it was time to get my mojo back. For the past few months while my parents were visiting, we were spoiled with dinners waiting for us after work and an overabundance of leftovers wherever there was room in the freezer or fridge. It was nice not having to worry about coming up with a menu plan, writing up a grocery list, setting time to prepare meals after a long day, etc. But reality hit and I am left to feed my boys again. I forgot how much I love kitchen therapy. And one way to get a healthy dose of kitchen therapy is to make homemade pasta. I've been craving ravioli for awhile but finding gluten free ravioli is tricky. You can find it, but will it be good? Will it be worth the extra money to pay for them? That's when I decided to just try making a batch of gluten free pasta myself at home. And you can too! These {GF} Four Cheese Ravioli are pillows of delicate dough stuffed with a blend of cheeses and served with our favorite pasta sauce and meatballs. Comforting and gluten free, what more could I ask for?

Monday, April 21, 2014

Happy Monday! Easter Weekend Recap 4/18 -4/20

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Happy Monday! This past weekend was a relaxing one with no real major events aside from being domestic and enjoying the Easter holiday with family. It was a gorgeous weekend and spring has finally given us warmer temps and sunnier days to take advantage of. Friday, we didn't do much aside from having dinner out at a local Mexican place, followed by frozen custard for dessert and then getting home in time for another episode of Kitchen Nightmares. Yep... we really party it up when the weekend hits lol. We weren't too impressed with the 2 back to back episodes this week, but eh... it was always good to see Gordon Ramsey calling out restaurant owners on things that could be improved.

Saturday was spent doing some spring cleaning in the garage and domestic chores around the house. But the highlight was definitely the tradition of coloring Easter eggs with the Baron's family. This year we had just over 2 dozen to color and decorate. I love how creative we get in coloring the eggs! Our mascot is 'Bruce', as shown here:

Easter Sunday was a beautiful sunny day and we were surprised by a generous Easter Bunny. This was what we woke up to, just outside Joel's bedroom door...

And when the lucky recipient woke up, he was nothing but all smiles, as the rest of us were too. He got some toy golf clubs, perfect to take to the putting green with the Baron. And in his basket, Joel loved his chocolate bunny, jellybeans, m&m candies (his favorite - how did the Easter Bunny know?!) and a special t-shirt he could wear for his birthday. The Easter Bunny must be really smart since Joel's birthday is coming up and this year's birthday theme is one of his favorite shows, Bubble Guppies. The Baron even got his favorite Reese's peanut butter eggs and I got a lovely vase of colorful tulips...

Later in the day, we visited the Baron's family and it was time to search for the Easter eggs we decorated the night before. Joel did a great job finding 21 if the 25 eggs hidden all over the house and as a reward, he came across a creative basket left for him by the Easter Bunny. This basket was filled with some fun toys and more candy!

Then after the fun Easter Egg hunt and a sugar rush, it was time for a few rounds of golf with these fellow golfers...

Dinner was delicious as always. We feasted on a traditional Easter ham, scalloped potatoes, steamed asparagus, harvest salad, garlic & herb dinner rolls and for dessert, a fresh berry salad a la mode. I wish I got more pics of our dinner, but it was so good, we didn't want to wait to dig in! Here's a 'selfie' of me and Joel as we're practicing how to take them together. Clearly, we need more practice lol! Here's hoping you had a wonderful weekend yourselves and a great week ahead!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Domino's Specialty Chicken {Review}

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Earlier this week, we had the opportunity to try Domino's newest menu addition, Specialty Chicken. These are crisp, breaded chicken that are topped with a variety of cheeses, sauces and other ingredients to put them over the top. It's like a great low carb alternative to their pizza menu and overall, we thought it was a creative spin. 

The Specialty Chicken menu offers four different options: Classic Hot Buffalo, Sweet BBQ Bacon, Spicy Jalapeno Pineapple and Crispy Bacon & Tomato. We chose to try two of these flavors for a quick impromptu dinner and to make a meal of them, I prepared a couple sides to pair them up with. 

The Crispy Bacon & Tomato (lower left photo) was good and we enjoyed it with garlic cream macaroni. The chicken was covered in a garlicky white sauce, then topped with a mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheeses, along with a sprinkling of bacon and chopped tomato. I liked how it wasn't completely covered with 'stuff' and you could actually enjoy it as a chicken dish. The garlic cream macaroni highlighted the garlic sauce used on the chicken nicely.

The Sweet BBQ Bacon (lower right photo) was also good and we enjoyed it with cheddar smashed potatoes. The chicken had a nice sweet and smoky BBQ sauce drizzled over it along with some bits of bacon and a nice layer of cheese. This was our favorite of the two and serving it with cheddar smashed potatoes helped balanced the sweetness of the BBQ sauce.

If ordered alone, these make for a good snack... however if you're looking for a meal, you'll want to pair it up with something else. When you're ordering a pizza, this would be a good item to add to your order for those who want a lower carb alternative. Thank you to the folks at Domino's for giving us the opportunity to try the new Specialty Chicken!

Friday, April 18, 2014

Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole

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For the most part, the Baron and I have very similar tastes. I especially like how he's open to trying anything and willing to venture into more exotic foods. But one common ingredient we don't share a love with are sweet potatoes. Joel and I can eat our weight in sweet potatoes! But the Baron? Oh no... he'll politely decline any offering of such dish. Well, if you're like me, you can appreciate Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole. Part dessert and part side dish, this cinnamon and nutmeg kissed Sweet Potato & Apple Casserole with a pecan and marshmallow topping is a great accompaniment to an Easter ham, turkey or pork roast...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dilly Potato Rolls

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It's Thursday! Yesterday was a busy, crazy day which left me away from the site. I was looking forward to sharing another Easter worthy recipe, like these Dilly Potato Rolls. These rolls are not gluten free and I have yet to see whether I can adapt this using gluten free flours. But if gluten laden rolls don't bother you, you're going to love this one. These were rolls made by the Baron's mom, Marnee. I rave about the recipes she prepares because they are always so good. Especially this one. Dilly Potato Rolls are speckled with fresh dill in a soft, tender crumb made with potato flakes and a crisp crust, perfect with a slathering of butter...
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