Archive | July, 2012

Roasted Chickpeas

30 Jul

Roasted Chickpeas

Today I am bringing you an addictive, crunchy snack that you don’t have to feel bad about munching on! Chickpeas are high in fiber, low in fat, contain important minerals and vitamins and they can naturally lower your cholesterol. That all combines to make a pretty good argument for whipping up these crunchy little morsels. And another added bonus is that they are ridiculously cheap to make.

This snack is easily customizable for any mood you are in. If you are craving Mexican you can sprinkle them with cumin and chili powder and maybe even a squeeze of lime juice! If you are going for an Italian spin, use basil, parsley and thyme. I went simple with mine by using course kosher salt and lots of fresh cracked pepper. They are surprisingly crunchy and were actually a nice replacement for my favorite snack of all – kettle chips. The salt and crispiness of these little guys satisfied everything that you crave in a chip.

Roasted Chickpeas

1 (15 oz.) can chickpeas (aka garbanzo beans)
1-2 Tbsp. olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper
Additional spices to taste

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Meanwhile, rinse and dry your chickpeas.

2. Toss chickpeas with olive oil, salt and pepper to taste. Add any additional spices/herbs that sound appealing to you. I kept it simple with salt and pepper but you could add anything to jazz them up. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 30-40 minutes, shaking the pan every 10 or so minutes, until golden and crunchy.

Strawberry Lemon Sorbet

27 Jul

Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
If you are looking for a light, refreshing alternative to ice cream this month I have the recipe for you. When I say light, I don’t necessarily mean healthy, it does have 2 cups of sugar (or more)…it’s just not heavy and custardy like a traditional ice cream.
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
I love strawberry lemonade so when I was making ice cream for a gathering recently I thought it would be a nice combination. I looked around and found this recipe which uses a whole lemon. I had never heard of using a whole lemon in a recipe until I made Whole Lemon Blueberry Walnut Muffins and I was amazed by the lemon flavor it imparted in the muffins. For the sorbet though, I think the rind may have made the sorbet just a touch bitter so when I make this again I will add more sugar to balance it out. My strawberries may not have been sweet enough too. I’m not really sure which it was but it just needed a bit more sweetness for me. I think maybe 1/4-1/2 cup more sugar would have done it for me. If you like a really tart lemonade, then it’s probably just perfect the way it’s written.

It was a gorgeous color and really refreshing in the heat. Definitely a delicious treat to cool off with this summer!
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
Strawberry Lemon Sorbet
recipe from The Way the Cookie Crumbles

1 lemon, seeded and roughly chopped
2 cups sugar (or more if your strawberries aren’t very sweet or you don’t like it super tart)
2 pounds strawberries, hulled
Juice of 1 to 2 lemons

1. Place the chopped lemon and sugar in a food processor, and pulse until combined. Transfer to a bowl.

2. Puree the strawberries in a food processor, and add to the lemon mixture, along with the juice of 1 lemon. Taste and add more juice as desired. The lemon flavor should be intense but should not overpower the strawberries. Pour the mixture into an ice cream machine and churn until frozen.

Recipe linked to Cast Party Wednesday and Full Plate Thursday.

Noah’s 2nd Birthday!

25 Jul

Noah’s second year has been quite a whirlwind and it unbelievably went much faster than the first year. He started walking, running and talking and he now even says small sentences. It’s crazy how much can change in a year! Noah is totally obsessed with yellow right now so I decided to go with a yellow theme for his party this year. The decor was yellow, the food was yellow and we even asked our guests to wear yellow. Noah was quite pleased. He walked around the house pointing at everything saying “yellow yellow yellow.” I got so stressed over all the work I had to do but it was so worth it to see his happy, smiling face about all that yellow.Buffet 4Buffet 1

We served burgers and hot dogs…I know, not yellow but I couldn’t think of a good yellow main dish. Deviled eggs, potato salad, mac-n-cheese bites, mexicorn dip, pineapple skewers, cupcakes and a yellow candy bar also graced the buffet.

Although it was sweltering outside, the kids had some fun…
Kids Playing 1
jumping in the bounce house,
Bean Bag 10
playing beanbags, knocking over cans,
Boys Playing Ball 1
shooting hoops
Noah, Daddy and Bubbles 2
and playing with bubbles.

Although Joel and I aren’t big fans of chocolate, we somehow have a little chocoholic baby. So naturally I went with chocolate cupcakes for him. Once again, he didn’t dig into them as much as we thought he would.
Cupcake for Noah 10 edited
Cupcake for Noah 22
But he did stick his face and fingers in the frosting.
Cupcake for Noah 28
And he put his cupcake wrapper on his head. He was an overall goofball as always!
Whole Family 1
And here is the whole family decked out in yellow. Not a bad looking crowd at all! Happy Birthday my love! Here’s hoping two is terrific, not terrible!

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Kabobs

23 Jul

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Skewers

My husband, Joel, grew up in Kansas City so he knows and loves his barbeque. We are die-hard fans of Oklahoma Joes BBQ and we never stray from it when we are home visiting his family. We even buy their sauce by the gallon so that we always have it at home.

So when I told him I was making homemade barbeque sauce (for the first time) he was quite leery and even hinted that he might use the good ‘ole standby. No faith. I figured if it has coke it can’t be bad. And I was totally right…it was delightfully sweet and smoky, just how we like it. It really was one of the best barbeque sauces I have ever had. Delicious slathered on grilled chicken for the perfect summer supper!

Coca Cola BBQ Chicken Kabobs
recipe from Alli ‘N Sons

For the Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce:

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jalapeño, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 cups ketchup
1/4 cup chicken broth
1 cup orange juice
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup Coca-Cola (not diet)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 tablespoon liquid smoke
1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt
1 teaspoon paprika

For the Chicken Kabobs:

2-3 pounds skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper, or your favorite seasonings, to taste
Wooden skewers, soaked in water

1. In a medium pan over medium heat, cook the olive oil, jalapeno and garlic until softened. The garlic will brown lightly.
2. Remove pan from heat, stir in ketchup, chicken broth, orange juice, molasses and Coca-Cola. Stir until well combined.
3. Add in brown sugar, liquid smoke, sea salt and paprika. Stir and let cool.
4. For the chicken kabobs: slice the chicken breasts into 2″ wide pieces. Thread onto pre-soaked skewers, 2-3 pieces each.
5. Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
6. Grill the chicken for 12-15 minutes, turning once, or until no longer pink.
7. Brush Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce over the cooked chicken.
8. Serve with extra Coca-Cola BBQ Sauce and your favorite fries.

Coffee Ice Cream with Chocolate Covered Espresso Beans

22 Jul

Coffee Ice Cream 1
I’m bringing you another ice cream recipe today and this time it’s one of Joel’s favorites, Coffee Ice Cream. I am not a coffee drinker…I just can’t stand the taste of it but this ice cream, well, I can get on board with it. It has a subtle coffee flavor that is smooth and not overpowering. I made it for friends and they really enjoyed it too.

I decided to mix in some chocolate covered espresso beans to kick up the coffee flavor and add some texture. I wasn’t a huge fan of the beans and would have preferred chocolate chips but the coffee drinkers really enjoyed them.
Coffee Ice Cream 3
I think I will try some kind of flavored coffee beans next time to see what kind of flavor they impart on the ice cream. If you want to go to bed after enjoying this ice cream, you might want to use decaffeinated coffee beans.

Coffee Ice Cream
recipe from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

3/4 cup sugar
3 large egg yolks
2 tsp. all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup milk
3/4 cup whole coffee beans
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 oz. bag chocolate covered espresso beans, chopped (optional)

1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the egg yolks until they are thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the flour and salt. Set aside.

2. Combine the milk and coffee beans in a heavy saucepan. Bring to a boil over medium heat. Lower the heat, cover, and keep warm for 20 minutes.

3. Remove the coffee beans with a skimmer or slotted spoon. Slowly beat the warm milk into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot coffee custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream and vanilla. Cover and refrigerate until cold or overnight.

4. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Five minutes before it’s completed, dump in the chopped espresso beans. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

20 Jul

During a recent visit to the Minneapolis Farmer’s Market I picked up some heirloom orange zucchini. It was our first visit but I will tell you it definitely won’t be our last! I loved the place but left a bit sad since it’s so far away and we don’t have anything comparable near us. But we went home with a couple bags full of fresh produce and homemade tortillas, yum!
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
Maybe I’m just oblivious or not too bright but I totally didn’t know zucchini came in anything other than green. So when I saw the heirloom orange zucchini, I snatched it up with pure excitement. And it was only 25 cents per zucchini so it was a total steal. When I got home, I got to thinking of what to make and oh so conveniently, this recipe popped up on my Facebook news feed. I have made several recipes from Skinny Taste with very pleasing results so I knew this would be a good one to try. And it turned out to be so easy.
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
I halved the recipe since I was making it for lunch and Joel isn’t a zucchini fan so I didn’t want lots of leftovers. I had some leftover cooked ground sausage that I threw in the freezer a few weeks ago after making Sicilian Spaghetti so I simply thawed it and sauted it with the vegetables. I even made it up the night before so I could just throw it in the oven the next day. This was a great, healthy lunch that I enjoyed a lot. Maybe I can talk Joel into trying it. We shall see.

Sausage Stuffed Zucchini
recipe from Skinny Taste

1 1/4 pizza sauce or jarred spaghetti sauce
4 medium zucchini
1 tsp. olive oil
1/2 small onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
1/2 cup red bell pepper, diced (I left this out because I didn’t have it on hand)
14 oz. lean chicken sausage, removed from casing
1/2 cup part skim mozzarella, shredded
8 tsp. parmesan cheese, grated (I left this out)

1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil.

2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and using a spoon or melon baller, scoop out flesh, leaving 1/4″ thick. Chop the scooped out flesh of the zucchini in small pieces and set aside.

3. Drop zucchini halves into boil water for 1 minute then remove.

4. Place 1/4 cup of sauce in the bottom of a 9 x 12″ baking dish, and place zucchini halves cut side up.

5. In a large saute pan, brown sausage, breaking up as it cooks into smaller pieces until browned; set aside. Heat oil and add onion, garlic and bell pepper. Cook on a medium-low heat for about 2-3 minutes, until onions are translucent. Add chopped zucchini, season with salt and pepper and cook about 2-3 minutes. Add chicken sausage and cook until browned, breaking up in smaller pieces with a wooden spoon until cooked through.

6. Using a spoon, fill each hollowed zucchini with 1/3 cup cooked sausage, pressing firmly. Top each with 2 tablespoons each of sauce, 1 tablespoon each of shredded mozzarella cheese and 1 teaspoon each of parmesan cheese. Cover with foil and bake 35 minutes until cheese is melted and zucchini is cooked through.
Sausage Stuffed Zucchini

Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream

18 Jul

Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
When I came across this recipe I knew I would have to make it for my dad immediately. He loves the combination of raspberry and chocolate, especially in ice cream, so I knew it would be a hit with him. When we were visiting, I mentioned the recipe to him and he ensured that we had all the required ingredients so that I could make it happen.

I never really cared for raspberries but since starting my blog I gave them a second chance and have fallen in love with them. I’m just a bit addicted to Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Raspberry Squares. But that’s for another time.
Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
I love that this recipe uses coconut milk because in my opinion, coconut makes everything better. It only slightly imparts a coconut flavor but it’s enough to notice and it enhances the creaminess of the ice cream without adding as much calories as the traditional cream would. I am in no way stating this is healthy because it still does have heavy cream in the recipe, it just uses other milks make it a little better for you. But really, who wants healthy and ice cream in the same sentence? I certainly don’t. It’s an indulgence so it should be rich and creamy and totally delicious. If there are any of you that want healthy ice cream it has raspberries therefore it is good for you. Like my logic? Just go with it.
Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
recipe from Pastry Affair
Yields 1 quart

1 1/2 cups raspberries (fresh or frozen)
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1 14-ounce can coconut milk
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 14-ounce can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped into small chunks

1. In a medium saucepan, boil the raspberries, sugar, and water for 10-12 minutes, or until the raspberries release all their juices and the mixture is slightly thickened. Remove from heat and refrigerate the syrup until cold.
Raspberry Swirl Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream
2. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the coconut milk, whipping cream, sweetened condensed milk, and vanilla. Place in the refrigerator to cool for at least 30 minutes.

3. Put the cream mixture in ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacture’s instructions.

4. Fold in the chocolate chunks. Very carefully drizzle the cooled raspberry syrup into the ice cream and fold just a few times. This will swirl the raspberry sauce into the ice cream. Do not overmix or you will not achieve the swirled effect!

5. Freeze the ice cream for at least 2-3 hours to solidfy before indulging.

Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps

15 Jul

Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
As evidenced in my previous post, I have a new obsession with lettuce wraps and this one definitely tops my list. Why is that? Because it combines another one of my obsessions, Asian food. I love to eat and make Asian food so we usually have some sort of Asian dish at least once a week. Because of this, I am always on the lookout for new and unique meals to add to the rotation. I am so glad I found this one. Sesame Beef Lettuce WrapsThe sesame marinade for the beef was incredible to say the least. I seriously will soak anything in it…pork, chicken, fish, veggies. It is so good! I decided to marinade some chicken along with the chicken for the wraps and the combination of the two in the wraps was really yummy. This is a great, healthy, simple and quick (minus the marinade time) meal to whip up for your family.

Sesame Beef Lettuce Wraps
recipe from For the Love of Cooking


2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp sesame oil
1/4 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp rice vinegar
1 tbsp toasted sesame seeds
Freshly cracked pepper, to taste
1 lb flank steak

Korean Barbecue Dipping Sauce:

2 cloves of garlic, minced
1/2 tsp sugar
3 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp rice vinegar
1/2 tsp sriracha chile sauce (more if you want it spicy)
1 tsp sesame oil
1 tbsp green onion
1/2 tbsp sesame seeds
1 Tbsp water

Other ingredients:

Butter lettuce leaves
Shredded carrot
Green onion, chopped
Brown rice, cooked per instructions

1. Combine all of the marinade ingredients together in a ziplock bag then mix well. Place the steak into the marinade and mix until the meat is evenly coated. Place in the refrigerator for 1-3 hours.

2. Combine all the sauce ingredients together and mix well. Set aside to let the flavors mingle.

3.Cook the rice per instructions. Once the rice is cooked it’s time to cook the beef.

4. Heat 1/2 tbsp of canola oil in a large skillet  or your outdoor grill over high heat. Once the pan/grill is hot add the beef and cook for about 1-2 minutes or until lightly browned (if cooking in a pan). Remove from heat and put onto a cutting board. Let rest for about 5 minutes then slice thinly against the grain.

5. For serving, place a bit of rice in a lettuce leaf followed by beef, carrots, and green onions. Drizzle a bit of the dipping sauce on top then fold and eat. Make sure you have plenty of napkins on hand because these are messy. Enjoy.

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

13 Jul

Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Did you know that July is National Ice Cream month? July brings my birthday and Noah’s the day after so I didn’t think it could get any better but it totally just did. Although, pretty much every month is National Ice Cream month in my mind! So to honor this special month, I will be bringing lots of ice cream recipes to help you cool off this summer.

Mint chocolate chip is my absolute favorite flavor of ice cream. My favorite brand has always been Breyers but it always bothered me that it was white instead of green. It just seems wrong. Does anybody else feel the same way or am I just a little odd? Maybe you shouldn’t answer that….
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Well anyway, this ice cream is super creamy and rich with loads of chocolate chips throughout the mix. And it’s lots of fun to make with sweet little helpers! My nieces were super excited to help make and eat this ice cream during our visit over Memorial Day weekend. They loved watching it churn, churn, churn.
Checking out the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
I will be bringing Joel’s favorite ice cream flavor to you later this month which they also helped me make. They are just too darn cute! And they loved chowing down on the ice cream!
Helping making the Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream
recipe from The Ultimate Ice Cream Book

3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp. cornstarch
2 cups half and half
1 cup heavy cream
2 tsp. peppermint extract
6 drops green food coloring (optional)
1 cup mini chocolate chips or chopped chocolate

1. In a medium mixing bowl, beat the sugar into the eggs until thickened and pale yellow. Beat in the cornstarch and set aside.

2. Bring the half and half to a simmer in a heavy medium saucepan. Slowly beat the hot half and half into the eggs and sugar. Pour the entire mixture back into the pan and place over low heat. Stir constantly with a whisk or wooden spoon until the custard thickens slightly. Be careful not to let the mixture boil or the eggs will scramble. Remove from the heat and pour the hot custard through a strainer into a large, clean bowl. Allow the custard to cool slightly, then stir in the cream, peppermint extract and food coloring. Cover and refirgerate until cold or overnight.

3. Stir the chilled custard, then freeze in 1 or 2 batches in your ice cream machine according to the manufacturer’s instructions. When ice cream is semi-frozen, dump in the chocolate chips and allow to mix into the ice cream. When finished, the ice cream will be soft but ready to eat. For firmer ice cream, transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze at least 2 hours.

Ft. Lauderdale Food Tour

12 Jul

We are back from our Florida vacation and had a wonderful time! Noah absolutely loved the beach as you can see here!
Noah Enjoying the Beach
We flew into Ft. Lauderdale then headed to Naples for the week. We ended up having two meals in Ft. Lauderdale due to the times we flew in and out. When we arrived, the boys wanted some fresh seafood right away so we went to Kelly’s Landing to satisfy their craving. This little place is filled with Boston paraphernalia as it began in Boston over 25 years ago and migrated to Florida. They specialize in New England seafood served in a casual and welcoming atmosphere.

Kelly's Landing - Clam Chowder

After scouring the menu, I decided to go out of the box for myself and order seafood. Joel and I shared a mug of Clam Chowder which was creamy, rich and full of potatoes and clams. I’ve always enjoyed clam chowder so I knew this would be something I would enjoy. {Kelly’s Landing, Ft. Lauderdale}Kelly's Landing - Clam Strip Roll

My dad and I both ordered the Clam Strip Roll and we really enjoyed it. The batter was light and crispy and didn’t overpower the flavor of the clams. It was my first experience of clams that weren’t in chowder and I am glad I gave them a try because they were pleasantly delicious (and it always helps when something is fried). Joel ordered the Oyster Roll and my brother had a Blackened Mahi Sandwich and they both enjoyed their meals. {Kelly’s Landing, Ft. Lauderdale}

Before flying out on our last day, we visited Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill by accident. We were actually looking for a different restaurant but couldn’t find it so we gave up and tried the first place we saw. Before even entering the restaurant we saw that they had won an award for the best burger in South Florida posted on the door. We knew it would be a win for us. I didn’t even bother looking at anything besides the burgers on their menu. I decided on one of their specials, the Havarati Bacon Burger on a Garlic English Muffin. I had never thought to put a burger on an english muffin…it was soo tasty! Of course the creamy havarti cheese and salty, smoky bacon also helped. It is a family owned place and everyone was incredible friendly. If you are ever in the area, you definitely need to try it out. The only bad thing was that the burger was so big I couldn’t finish it so it had to be tossed since we were flying home. {Gilbert’s 17th Street Grill, Ft. Lauderdale}
Gilberts 17th Street Grill - Havarti Bacon Burger


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