Saturday, June 29, 2013

Make This!!

Sizzlin' Chicken  Skewers

These chicken skewers are extremely tasty. The marinade is really simple and tangy. I'm sure you have the ingredients in your pantry right now: peanut butter, barbecue sauce & soy sauce. I found this recipe in a 2005 issue of Kraft Food & Family magazine.

Kraft Food Kitchens used to mail Food & Family out for free, now they charge for their subscriptions. I finally bit the bullet & paid for a new subscription ($13.98/1 year - $18.98/2 years). The magazines are full of great recipes and I have a stack in my cupboard from 2005-2007 that I can't bring myself to recycle. You can click this link to get your own subscription. It's worth it!

Sizzlin' Chicken Skewers adapted slightly from Food & Family Magazine

1/3 cup hot water
1/4 cup barbecue sauce
1/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup sesame oil
1 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs

Mix water, bbq sauce, peanut butter, soy sauce & sesame oil in a bowl. Cut chicken into strips & place in a gallon sized Ziplock bag. Pour half of the marinade over the chicken & refrigerate for several hours. Thread chicken onto skewers & grill. Serve with reserved marinade for dipping.
NOTE: I actually poured all of the marinade over my chicken & made up extra marinade for dipping, as I used about 1.5 lbs of chicken.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Make This!!!

Bleu Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad

This potato salad packs a lot of taste with just a few ingredients.  It's the perfect side dish to a barbecue & oh so easy to make.

Bleu Cheese & Bacon Potato Salad adapted slightly from Mommy Savers

6 slices cooked bacon, chopped
1/4 cup mayo
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
6 oz bleu cheese, crumbled
1 bunch green onions, sliced

Boil potatoes until fork tender. Let cool, then quarter. In a bowl mix mayo, sour cream, salt, pepper, green onions & cheese. Add potatoes. Refrigerate for several hours. Enjoy!

Make This!!

After eating leftover roasted pork for the last few days (trust me: it get's old!), I decided we needed a different protein for dinner. Matty suggested we go out to eat at Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner, but I dislike their prices & the paltry celery & carrot sticks they serve. I vowed to make him delicious chicken wings that rival BWW. Matty was doubtful, but I was sure I could do it.

Enter Pinterest! After looking at what seemed like hundreds of chicken wing recipes, I found one via the blog, Eat, Live Paleo that sounded interesting & delicious. This recipe called for boiling the wings first, then baking them in the oven. I had never heard of this method before and decided to try it. The only difference was that the recipe on Pinterest used drummettes, not wings. My wings were 5 times the size of the one on the recipe. No problem, challenge accepted.

I whipped up the marinade & boiled the wings. I tried to do this while Omid was preoccupied with something else. We are always competing in the kitchen and I didn't want him to see that I was boiling the wings. I was afraid he would think I was crazy. I have to admit, I said a little prayer before I started that the wings wouldn't be ruined by boiling them. This was $14 worth of wings!

After I took the wings out, they felt really 'tacky.' I let them cool & boiled the rest of the wings. I boiled both sets for about 8 minutes each.  After the wings were completely cool, I poured the marinade over them.

I tripled the marinade amount since my wings were larger than the drummettes in the original recipe. I also added some extra ingredients like sesame oil & soy sauce, as we like our wings to have an Asian flair to them.

When the wings had marinated for about an hour, I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes at 450*, then flipped them over and baked them for another 15 minutes. The result? Perfect crispy chicken wings! Continuing with the Asian theme, I poured Thai Kitchen's Sweet Red Chili sauce all over them.
You can find this delicious sauce at Costco.
I had to try it myself to believe it, but it's true! Boiling your chicken wings first, then baking them does result in crispy chicken. Try it!!  All the wings were gone. I love when there are no leftovers! What did Matty think? He liked them a lot!☺

Crispy Oven Baked Chicken Wings Marinade - adapted slightly from Eat.Live.Paleo.

9 garlic cloves, grated
Juice of 4 limes
6 tbsp olive oil
1.5  tsp cayenne
salt + pepper to taste
1/3 cup sesame oil
1/4 cup soy sauce
2 Tbs Montreal Chicken Seasoning (found at Costco)
*Note - this recipe was tripled because I used regular sized chicken wings.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Make This!!

Carrot Cake!

Omid & I LOVE a good carrot cake. I like mine with raisins & pecans, Omid likes his without either of those ingredients. I scoured Pinterest the other night for recipes that I thought Omid would like & came up empty.

I finally turned to the two bloggers I always visit when I need a great recipe: Noble Pig & The Pioneer Woman.  Cathy from Noble Pig had several carrot cake recipes on her blog. The one I can't wait to make is apple carrot cake with goat cheese frosting. Sounds simply scrumptious! I finally decided to go with Ree's simple carrot cake. Just the basics, nothing fancy.

I made two changes with Ree's recipe. I substituted coconut oil for the vegetable oil. I was really nervous about how it would turn out.  It actually turned out great! I also cut the powdered sugar amount down from one pound to 1.5 cups in the frosting. We like our cream cheese frosting more tangy than sweet. In my opinion, nothing ruins a carrot cake than super sweet cream cheese frosting. I also left the pecans out of the frosting & just sprinkled them on top of individual slices instead of all throughout the cake.

This cake got two thumbs up from Omid. ☺ Make it! You won't be disappointed!

Coconut Oil Carrot Cake adapted slightly from Ree Drummond
2 cups Sugar
1 cup Coconut Oil
4 whole Eggs
2 cups All-purpose Flour
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 cups Grated Carrots

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick Regular Butter, Softened
1 package (8 Oz) Cream Cheese
1 1/2 cups Powdered Sugar
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1 cup Pecans, Chopped Finely

Preheat oven to 350F.
Mix together the sugar, coconut oil and eggs in a large bowl. In another bowl sift together flour, salt, baking powder, baking soda and cinnamon. Add to first mixture and combine. Then add carrots and mix well. Pour into a greased and floured pan  and bake at 350F until done (insert a toothpick), about 50 minutes.  Cool completely.

In larger bowl, cream butter and cream cheese. Add sugar and vanilla and blend. Spread on cooled carrot cake. Sprinkle nuts on top or onto individual servings.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Pig Roast 2013

We had our 2nd annual pig roast this past Saturday. The weather was a perfect 79*, 65 people were invited, 63 guests came. It was a huge success and we want to thank everyone for coming! Here are some photo highlights of the day.
Barley & Remy inspecting the pig.
 Omid & Ward stuffed the pig with lemon grass, bay leaves, limes & garlic.
Check out those sutures. Ward could have been a surgeon!

The pig was on the rotisseries for 9 hours!
We had a surprise for the guests after everyone was done eating. A belly dancer! I passed out dollar bills to the guests & told them we would be playing a game. I didn't know how else to explain why I was passing out money, as I didn't want to give away the surprise. If you are ever in need of a belly dancer, contact Zahara! She did an amazing job! It was so much fun to watch her dance & to see the guests' reactions as well.
Thanks to everyone who came & to the Kelloggs, Stevens & Bacons for helping to make the pig roast a huge success!☺

Friday, June 21, 2013

Power of Prayer

This is my dear friend Salla.
 We have been friends for 28 years.
Salla & her family are in need of a miracle right now. Salla's husband, Jyrki, has been living with cancer for the past few years and most recently had a stem cell transplant. His body is now rejecting the transplant and Jyrki is losing his battle.
Do you believe in miracles? I do!
Please keep Salla, Jyrki & their three children in your prayers. They really need your prayers & healing thoughts at this time.

Maija, Helmi & Lauri
Update: Dear friends, thanks for praying for Jyrki & his family. Sadly, Jyrki passed away on July 19th. Please continue to pray for Salla & her children!♥

Thursday, June 6, 2013

Barry & Blogging

Remember that wonderful Mother's Day gift that Omid gave me? Tickets to Barry Manilow?

Well, the Rose Garden screwed up and double booked a high school graduation for the same day & time. So Barry was cancelled. I am so bummed! I hope I don't have to wait another 8 years for Barry to come to Portland again.
Barry: When Will I See You Again?!?

On a happier note, I was chosen to contribute recipes for our local newspaper, The Columbian. My friend Michelle told me they were looking for food bloggers, so I applied and was accepted. My first post was published today in The Columbian's Sugar & Spice food blog. I wrote about those delicious Monkey Squares. Speaking of which: have you baked some yet? I will also be posting recipes to On the Table featured in The Columbian as well. That blog profiles all types of food, not just dessert.