Wednesday, May 27

The Tiny Hawaiian Pot Pie

These are a fun appetizer idea and they are  so cute! I love the filling, pineapple and ham are a very favorite combo of mine! 


I garnished with Parsley from my Aerogarden.

I found this recipe at Pillsbury.com!  These would be excellent if you are looking for a heavy appetizer, they're so cheesy and the pie crust is filling.  

1/2 cup finely chopped cooked ham  ( I use Canadian Bacon) 
2 oz finely shredded Swiss cheese (1/2 cup)
1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple, well drained
1 tablespoon finely chopped green onion (1 medium)
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1 box (15 oz)  refrigerated pie crusts, softened as directed on box
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon sesame seed, if desired

1.  Heat oven to 450°F.  In small bowl, mix ham, cheese, pineapple, onion and mustard, set aside.

2.  Remove crusts from pouches, unroll on work surface. From each crust, cut eight 3-inch rounds and eight 2-inch rounds, rerolling crusts if necessary. Press 3-inch rounds in bottoms and up sides of 16 ungreased miniature muffin cups so edges of crusts extend slightly over sides of cups.

3.  Spoon about 1 rounded tablespoon ham mixture into each crust-lined cup. Brush edges of crust lightly with beaten egg.

4.  Cut small vent in each 2-inch pie-crust round. Place 1 round over filling in each cup; press edges together, pushing toward cup so crust does not extend over sides. Brush top crusts with beaten egg. Sprinkle with sesame seed.

5.  Bake 10 to 14 minutes or until crust is deep golden brown. Remove from muffin cups. Let stand 5 minutes before serving.



Sunday, May 24

Your Monthly Dose of Yorkie Cuteness!

Isn't Miss Tia Sophia pretty? She's getting a little shaggy, we're overdue for a little yorkie spa day! Hopefully we can get to that next week.


Ok I'm off to go get ready for our get together tonight.  We're having hot dogs and burgers on the grill but I'm also making:

-Pina Coladas
-Pineapple Mojito Jello Shots
- A Mango Chutney Cheeseball
- Bruschetta
- Tomato and Bacon Cups
- AND a festive Candy Cake

Super Easy! Now lets just hope it stops raining...

Saturday, May 23

Do you have a Morning Routine?

Just doing a few key tasks in the morning will set you on track for the whole day.   


I am addicted to good coffee...lots of good strong coffee.   Yum!


Here's what I do (most) mornings:

-Make the bed
- Bring a load of laundry downstairs, throw it in the washer
- Make coffee, chug coffee
- Open all the curtains and let some light in
- Unload the dishwasher, clean up any breakfast dishes
- After I do my hair and makeup I wipe down the counters and mirrors in the masterbath.  Do you read Fly Lady's website?  She is right on with the daily swish and swipe!
- Make a To Do list for the day and start chipping away at it.  




Just making your bed makes a huge difference in how your bedroom looks. Plus after I've made the bed I can't help but pick up any clothes of the floor and put away clutter! Thankfully I've mastered this habit, I'm addicted to shaking out the sheets and doing the pillow show every morning.

The morning routine is one of those things where you have to do what works for you.  So write down what you'd like to accomplish in the a.m. and give it your best shot for a of couple weeks. It should make life a lot easier and you'll feel so organized!  

Friday, May 22

A Sneak Peek...

At the flowers I've been working on for my Course 2 final cake! Of course I won't need all the zillions of flowers I've made this week for this one cake, but royal icing decorations will keep for a month or two!

These pink Apple Blossoms are cute!



But these Pansies are my absolute favorite!  The  plastic trays they sit on come in the Course 2 Student Kit.  They're supposed to make the flowers dry with a slight curve shape and look more realistic.  Whatever :)

Tuesday, May 19

Like my pretty new logo?  Here's the plan, every Tuesday I share a new favorite drink or shot recipe on the blog.   Tuesday is the perfect day because it gives me plenty of time to recover from the taste testing on the weekend :o)

My Tried and True White Sangria 

I clipped this recipe out of the St.Petersburg Times years ago and I can't count how many times I've used it since then.  Buy enough ingredients to double the recipe,  we almost always go through 2 or 3 pitchers.  And be careful because this Sangria sneaks up on you!

1 (750 ml) bottle dry white wine, like chardonnay
1 (6 ounce) can frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 cup light rum
1/2 cup Triple Sec
1 (15.25 ounce) can pineapple tidbits packed in juices
1 large apple, cut into chunks
Starwberry slices, cherries, orange and lime slices or anything you'd like to use as garnish.
2 cups of lemon lime soda

Combine all ingredients in a pitcher, except for the soda, and refrigerate for at least a couple of hours or overnight.  When your first guests start to arrive then you can add the soda.  If you like a less sweet drink, use club soda instead of Sprite.  

Monday, May 18

Perfect Backyard BBQ Party Food!

This is a great menu for company, all the food prep can be done a day ahead of time!  I love that! Nothing to do on party day but some light cleaning and lots of relaxing.  The best part-  we could not stop eating!  Everything was fabulously yum!


Spicy Corn Dip!
 This recipe was found on allrecipes.com, I added the cilantro and red pepper :)

  • You will need:
  • 1 (8 ounce) container sour cream
  • 1 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 (11 ounce) cans Mexican-style corn, (I drained the cans of most liquid)
  • 4 green onions, chopped
  • 3 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
  • 1 (7 ounce) can diced green chiles
  • 1 1/4 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup of chopped cilantro 
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Combine all indgredients in a medium bowl and chill the dip for a couple of hours, then you're ready to serve!  I actually whipped this dip up the night before the get together, it tasted even better the next day! 


Isn't this container cute for a backyard cookout? You can pop the bowls in the freezer and chill them, it's kind of a knock-off of Pampered Chef's Chillzanne line. I found this dish at CVS last year, it was on sale for 5$! And I just noticed that they're carrying them again this year, I'd keep an eye out at the end of the season to see if they mark them down again.  

Coconut Cilantro Rice!
I first saw this recipe on the blog Apple A Day
The original recipe is from epicurious.com.  This recipe was the most amzing side dish for my sirloin and portebello kabobs! My husband raved about it for days :)

Here's what you need:
3 cups white rice
  • 3/4 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped peeled fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh jalapeño 
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups packed fresh cilantro sprigs
  • 4 green onions, chopped (1 cup)
  • Optional, 1 box of College Inn brand Coconut Curry Chicken Stock

1) At this point I put my rice into my rice cooker with 4 1/2 cups of Thai Coconut Curry Chicken Stock.  If your grocery store doesn't carry this broth, you can use 4 1/2 cups of water with 1 teaspoon of curry and 1/2 teaspoon of coconut extract.  If you don't have a rice cooker, make your rice according to the directions on the package.  


2) Now put oven rack in middle position and preheat oven to 350°F.
Spread coconut in a shallow baking pan and toast in oven, stirring occasionally, until pale golden, 10 to 12 minutes.  Cool completely.

3)Cook ginger and jalapeño in 1 tablespoon oil in a 4-quart heavy pot over moderate heat, stirring, until chile is softened, about 2 minutes. 


4)  While rice cooks, pulse together coconut, cilantro, green onions, and remaining 2 tablespoons oil and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a food processor until finely chopped.


5) Combine the cooked rice, cilantro mixture and sauteed ginger and jalepeno in a large bowl.  Stir well and you're ready to serve!

You can easily make this recipe a day before your cookout.  Follow the directions above and refrigerate overnight.  You can reheat on the stove top or in the microwave just add a touch of butter and a splash of chicken broth.


Sirloin Veggie Kabobs! 
This recipe was found in my Taste Of Home cookbook.

What you'll need:
2/3 cup chili sauce
1/2 cup dry red wine
1/2 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons canola oil
4 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 teaspoons dried minced onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lb boneless beef sirloin steak, cut into 3/4 inch cubes
16 fresh baby portebello mushrooms
2 medium red onions, cut into wedges
1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces
1 medium sweet yellow pepper, cut into 3/4 inch pieces

1) In a small bowl, combine the first nine ingredients; mix well. Pour half into a large resealable bag; add beef cubes.  Seal the bag and turn to coat.  Pour the remaining marinade into another large resealable bag; add all veggies.  Seal the bag and turn to coat.  Refrigerate beef and vegatables for at least four hours or overnight.

2)  Coat grill rack with cooking spray before starting to grill.  Drain and discard marinade from beef.  Drain vegetables, reservng marinade for basting.  On eight metal skewers, alternately thread beef and veggies.

3)  Grill, covered, over medium heat turning three times and basting frequently until meat reaches desired doneness.   Serve over a bed of rice.  

Now isn't that pretty?  And just think, it tastes 10x better than it looks!  Oh my!

Friday, May 15

Wilton Course 2!

I'm right in the middle of my second Wilton course. It's a little less work than Course 1, you don't have to bake a cake for each class, though you still have to bring a batch or two of frosting. Instead of buttercream, we're primarily working with Royal Icing and a little bit of Color Flow.  


Like the last class, this course is 17$ for four, two hour classes. You'll also need to purchase the Course 2 Student Kit. With your 40% off coupon, the kit will run you about 18$. The Course 2 book comes free with the class. 

This is what's included in your Course 2 kit:

- 11 Decorating tips: 1, 2, 5, 14, 47, 81, 97, 101, 103, 104 and 59s
- Two oval pans, for baking your final cake
- 9 Flower formers
- Color Flow Mix

  In this class the focus is on making realistic flowers like the Chrysanthemum, Daisy and Apple Blossom.  We've been saving all the flowers we make to put on our final cake, which will look just like the cake you see pictured above.  I haven't decided if I'm going to do my own thing or stick with the standard class design.  

  My instructor mentioned that Wilton is changing it's classes around soon and by next year they should be teaching some different things.  She didn't really have specifics to share, she just knew there were changes coming. Exciting! 

 Kendra, our instructor,  also told us Course 3 wouldn't be offered next month!  Gah!  GumPaste and Fondant will be the course she teaches in June and Course 3 will be in July.  This has me in a little panic, I was hoping to take the courses in order.  She says I can jump into the Gumpaste and Fondant Course but I should practice working with fondant first.  Luckily my Flawless Fondant DVD has arrived so I may be own instructor this month.  We'll see how that goes, I already have a pretty cute idea for my first fondant cake!  I can't wait to try it out and share it here!


Wednesday, May 13

My New Favorite Appetizer! 

 I'm always on the hunt for tasty new appetizers. Dips are nice, but individual bite-sized little snacks are so much more impressive. 

So on that note, behold the Caramelized Onion Tarlets

This recipe is from my Taste of Home cookbook.

What You'll Need:
2 tablespoons of butter
2 large sweet onions, chopped
1/4 cup of sugar
3/4 cup of hot water
1 tablespoon beef bouillon granules
1 cup shredded Swiss cheese
1 pack of Phyllo cups 
Chives (optional, for garnish)

1) In a large skillet, melt 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat.  Add onions and sugar.  Cook for 15-20 minutes or until the onions are golden brown, stirring frequently.

2) Stir in water and bouillon.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 5-7 minutes or until liquid has evaporated.  Remove from heat, stir in cheese.

3)  Place your phyllo cups in a greased mini muffin tin.  Spoon about 1 tablespoon onion mixture into each cup.  Bake at 375 for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown.  Garnish as desired and serve warm.  


Aren't they cute?  I garnished them with my home grown Aerogarden chives.  Let me tell you, these little guys will go fast too!  The tartlets are deeeelicious.  

Tuesday, May 12


Blueberry Ginger Mojitos!

I saw this on the Food Network and I knew I had to give it a try!  They were so good!  They're pretty easy too, you can muddle the ingredients right in the pitcher.  This recipe serves two but it can easily be doubled or tripled for a group.

To make these mojitos you'll need ginger simple syrup.  It's quick and easy to make.

You will need:
1/4 of a cup grated fresh ginger
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup of cold water

Peel and grate the ginger and add it, together with the sugar and cold water, to a saucepan. Bring it to the boil and stir until the sugar dissolves. Cover and let steep for 15 minutes. Strain and cool in the refrigerator when done.

Now for the Mojitos:
1 cup fresh blueberries
1 lime, cut into wedges
20 to 24 fresh mint leaves
4 ounces ginger simple syrup
4 ounces vodka
5 ounces club soda
Ice cubes
Blueberries, for garnish
Mint leaves, for garnish

Combine the blueberries, mint leaves and lime wedges in the pitcher and muddle it in there with the back of a wooden spoon. When you are ready to serve add the vodka, ginger simple syrup and club soda. Stir and pour into glasses with a couple of ice cubes. Garnish each glass with some fresh blueberries and a sprig of fresh mint.

Monday, May 11

Freshen up your Front Porch for Spring!
Your front door welcomes people into your home so it's important to give this space a little TLC after being neglected all winter.   


To Start Your Own Entryway Spruce Up:

-Wipe down your front door and the surrounding trim, just a damp cloth or some Windex will do, get off all the grime and pollen that's been floating around.

-While you've got the Windex out, go ahead and wipe down the windows on the front of your house.  

- Sweep off your front porch, use your broom to knock down any cobwebs that have built up above your doorway.

-Put away or toss any clutter, shoes, dying plants from last year, any decor that is looking weathered.  

-Now you can redecorate your space,  read below to see what I picked out for our front porch.  

This revamp should be quick and inexpensive!  

New doormats make a world of difference and they're only 10$!  I try to rotate my Welcome Mat every few months.  I take the older mat that I am replacing and put it at the back patio door.  I thought this blue matched my front door nicely. 

Ahh yes.  Then there's the part where I struggle to keep some plants alive because they look so darn cute on my front porch.  This is tricky, I have no plant nurturing skills at all and my porch gets pretty harsh full sun all day.  My poor mother has tried to give me tips, she buys me adorable little hanging baskets and container gardens and I slowly kill them all.    There's a reason we aren't planning on having kids people, my dogs are lucky to be alive.  

So here's what I've learned through much trial and error.  Petunias and I get along pretty well.    They do really well in full sun, I just water them every two days or so, and dead head them once a week.  Easy!    They are not nearly as delicate as they look, they are so bright and cheery in my hanging baskets.   Petunias fill up the basket space quickly too, I just bought 4 plants at the store for 2$ each and put 2 plants in each hanging basket,  within a week the baskets were overflowing.  

Once you invest in hanging baskets (they are about 5$ each) you can reuse them each year, just replace the liner for a couple of bucks.  This is such a ridiculously cheap project!  


 See these globes?  Adam picked these up for me hoping to help me keep my porch projects alive.  It's helped!  I can tag along on a trip with him for a few days and my flowers don't fry! Or I can forget to water for an extra day or two, these are my back up plan.  They're called Aqua Globes and you can get them at the drug store  in a 4-pack for 12$ or less.  I think they're pretty.  :o)

I'm going to call this Phase 1 of our front porch spruce up!  I still need a new Welcome Sign for the front door, my Easter carrot needs to go back into storage.  I want to add more plants and Adam has been wanting to power wash the front porch.  He swears it won't take the paint off the wood trim, we'll see.  I need to repaint my little wrought iron chairs and maybe add cushions!   But overall I'd say this is a pretty good start!

Friday, May 8

Party for Two at Our House!

As much as we  love love love  having company, we have even more fun when it's just us. As busy as work has been for Adam it's nice to have a night that we can catch up.  We can sit in the backyard and talk for hours some nights,  there just isn't anything better.  


......Can you spot the HUGE bottle of wine in this picture?!  I have no shame, lol.

This is also a great chance for me to experiment with new recipes!  Adam is my very willing victim.  Even if we're not having guests we still go all out on the weekends with funky drinks and tasty appetizers.  And because I'm hella demanding I find new grill recipes for him to learn too.  I'm about to head out to the grocery store to pick up some stuff to make tonight.  

This is what's on the menu:

- Mango Cilantro Margaritas  ( I love cilantro and I warned you these were experimental recipes!)
- Caramelized Onion Tartlets
- Shrimp and Chicken Satay with Peanut dipping sauce
- Summer Squash Salad

Tomorrow Adam and I will be shooting a wedding, so we have to get our relaxing in tonight.   I have to run now to get things ready for our hot tub night but I'll be back on next week with more on-topic cooking and cocktailing posts.  Let's keep these plans on the DL, the neighbors have been begging for a margarita night and we don't want any party crashers spoiling our fun!!    ;o)

Thursday, May 7

It's everything you want in a week night meal! It's simple, cheap, and healthy!

Asian Shrimp and Noodles



What you'll need:
10 oz raw shrimp
2 teaspoons dark sesame oil
1 cup of slice green onions
2 cups packaged cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix
2 packages of chicken flavor ramen noodles
1 1/2 cups of water
1 tablespoon low sodium soy sauce

1. Place your shrimp in boiling water for 3 minutes to cook. Heat 1 Tsp oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Drain your shrimp and add them to the skillet along with your green onions. Stir fry for 1-3 minutes, then remove the shrimp and onions from the skillet and set aside.

2. 
Heat remaining 1 Tsp oil in skillet over medium high heat.  Add slaw; stir fry for 3 minutes.  Remove slaw from skillet and keep warm.

3. Remove noodles from packages; reserve 1 seasoning packet for another use.  Add water and remaining seasoning packet to skillet; bring to a boil.  Break noodles in half; add noodles to water mixture.  Cook noodles 2 minutes or until most of liquid is absorbed, stirring frequently.

4.  Stir in shrimp mixture, slaw, and soy sauce; cook until thoroughly heated.

At this point I did spice the dish up a bit, I added a little chicken broth, asian chili sauce -just a little, that shit is crazy spicy- , and my personal fave, a splashy of rice vinegar!  Love that stuff I use it as salad dressing.  Yum!  

This is a Weight Watchers recipe.  It makes 4 servings at 8 points each.  It's a super filling meal!  This is also a really great recipe to get in your Chinese food fix, my husband has been asking me to make it again since I cooked it last week, so in my book that makes it a hit!  


Wednesday, May 6

Wilton Course 1,  Final Cake!

I think I can officially say I have mastered the Wilton rose.   


Inspiration for this cake came from the cover of the Wilton book that came with my kit. I used the Wilton vine press to get the pattern on the sides, then covered with tiny dots.  Instead of the beaded looking border that was pictured on the book I did the leaf border I used on last week's cake.  The colors are Aster Mauve and Pink mixed together to get varying shades and Juniper Green for the leaves.  


This is a Lemon Cake with Mango Coconut Filling and Lemon Buttercream Icing.

For the Lemon Cake you'll need:

1 cup of butter
1/4 cup of shortening
2 cups of sugar
5 eggs
3 cups of all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 cup of buttermilk
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1/2 teasoon vanilla extract

1.  In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and shortening and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt; add to the creamed mixture alternately with buttermilk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Beat well after each addition.  Stir in extracts.  

2.  Pour into three greased and floured 9 inch round baking pans.  Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For the frosting I used the class buttercream but I substituted lemon extract for vanilla extract.  Easy and tasty!  I did triple the buttercream recipe, listed in my blog, to make sure I had plenty of frosting to work with.  



The Mango Coconut Filling! 
I found this recipe on cakecentral.com

What you'll need:
14oz flake sweetened coconut
7 fl.oz. Sweetened condensed milk
½ cup mango puree ( I just used jarred mango slices from Trader Joe's and tossed them in the food processor)

Just combine all the above ingredients and fill your cake!  I had more than enough filling for my three layer cake.  


I was really happy with the end result and I'm excited to see what I learn during Course 2!  I'm pretty anxious to start learning fondant so I'm thinking of picking up a DVD from Sugared Productions called Flawless Fondant.  I'm not sure I can wait until June to start playing around with some fondant of my own.