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Tailgate Season

7 Sep

…makes me so insanely excited! Happy Friday! Today I woke up to the most beautiful sunrise and one of those put on a fuzzy sweater, grab a cup of coffee and sing your heart out on your way to work kinda day. The first song that came on the radio when I turned my car on was Kenny Chesney’s Boys of Fall too. So, therefore, it was meant to be. Then, once I got into work and started my morning (looked at my email and Pinterest) I saw all of these great tailgate recipes from other blogs that were “recommended” to me. Well done, Pinterest, well done. So- in order to spread the urge to drool over all of this goodness, I wanted to share them with you!

From How Sweet It Is- 135 Recipes for Football Season

  • I seriously don’t even know where to start with this list- it all looks soooo amazing. I will definitely be trying one (or ten) from this list asap.

From Cooking Classy- Carmel Cheesecake Apple Dip

  • How easy and delicious does that look! And with apples? It’s practically healthy : )

From Simple Provisions- Homesick Toast

 

  • Avocado- sold! Would be very perfect for tailgating on smaller bread or crackers as well! And- it’s pretty too : )

Now I just have to get busy cooking! Going to need the energy to cheer on my MSU Spartans (GO GREEN! Beat them Chips!) and my Detroit Lions! Maybe a little more energy for the Lions than the Spartans, but who could complain when you have great food and a cold beer in front of you? Not this girl.

 

Random: Can NOT stop thinking about the coaches speech in Grease the movie today. It’s making me laugh out loud at random times which makes me look like a crazy person. Good thing I only work with family. Safe : )

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Eggplant Parmesan Recipe

29 Aug

Okay so I know all I’ve talked about this week is food- but it’s just so good! My inner fat-child-think-I-can-eat-anything-I-want has come out and she won’t go away. Next week I’ll broaden my horizons, but for now- let’s talk eggplant parmesan!

The story begins last week when we visited some family friends and they sent us home with lots of veggies from their garden, including two large eggplants. Wanting to get creative, my mom and I sat out on the deck with a stack of cookbooks, a cup of coffee with “creamer” (we’re on a Rum Chata kick- don’t try it because you won’t be able to stop, but you should try it) and looked for a fun recipe!

We ended up with eggplant parmesan. Does not sound very unique- but we made it our own. We took the original recipe from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites and then altered it so that it would feed both the girls and the boys in the house, who aren’t big on having “just veggies” for dinner.

Step 1: We poured some wine in preparation. This recipe takes about 2 hours from start to finish, so we needed some strong motivation.

Step 2: We followed the exact recipe for making the Tomato Wine Sauce which was amazingly delicious. It doesn’t look like the recipe is posted on the site, or I’m crazy and can’t find it- but I took a picture of the book instead of typing it all out for you.

Make sure you taste it while it’s simmering! How amazing is that color by the way?

Step 3: We followed the recipe for the Eggplant Parmesan with the following adjustments:

  • Used the whole egg instead of just egg whites
  • Used italian bread crumbs instead of whole wheat for more flavor
  • Made layers into more of a sandwich shape rather than a lasagna
  • Added chicken that after using a meat tenderizer was about 1/2 inch thick, used the same egg mixture and breading as the eggplant and cooked it in a pan with oil while the eggplant was baking. When we were combining all of the layers for the final 25-30 minute baking instructions we snuck the cooked chicken in between the layers of eggplant!
  • Used the remainder of the egg mixture and cooked it as an edible garnish for the tops of the servings- waste not, want not!

And ta-da! Here is our finished product- it looks good and tasted even better! Cheers : )

The end!

Festive Dessert-Kabobs

5 Jul

Hope everyone had a great 4th of July! Here’s a fun little recipe for the holiday that’s easy to make and very delicious! You will need some red white and blue dessert items, I used strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and marshmallows. Grab some skewers and chocolate and you’re ready.
First, take a skewer and start adding your fruit until the entire skewer is full. Repeat!
Next, line the skewers up on a piece of tin foil. Melt chocolate of your choice and drizzle it on top! I used milk chocolate and poured the melted chocolate in a plastic sandwich bag with one of the corners clipped so I could control where the chocolate went.
Lastly, wait for the chocolate to dry, then serve! A great little dessert that is fun to eat : )
Enjoy!

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Crock-Pot: Mac N Cheese

12 Jun

I. Love. Mac. And. Cheese. So much so that it’s a problem. I eat way more than I’d like to admit. I thought it would stop after I was out of college, but, the addiction has continued on strong. So, instead of my usual Kraft, why not make homemade mac? Makes it seem a little more mature. At least that’s what I’m going to keep telling myself.

After my last BBQ chicken adventure with my crock-pot, I started searching the good ol’ world wide web for a good recipe and found so many good options! I ended up taking a few things from different recipes and combining them to make my own, and it turned out great! This isn’t necessarily a turn-it-on-and-walk-away recipe, but it’s still very easy to make and provides you with tons of great food! Here’s what I did:

Step 1: Make the sauce. In a large pot, heat three cups of water, two cans of skim or 2% evaporated milk, and two cans of cream of cheddar soup over medium/medium low heat. Make sure to stir it as needed so that it never reaches its boiling point. Once hot, slowly stir in two bags (about two cups per bag) of shredded cheese until it melts into the sauce. I chose cheddar and colby jack. If you’d like to add salt or pepper to taste, this is the time to add that as well!

Step 2: Carefully pour your sauce into the crock-pot. Then, add about 16 oz. of whole wheat pasta into your mixture. I’d recommend a smaller pasta, such as elbows, shells, rotini or penne.

Step 3: Cover and turn your crock-pot on high. Cook for about 1 1/2-2 hours, making sure to stir your pasta about half way through to prevent burning.

Step 4: Serve and enjoy!

This recipe makes a LOT of food- I’ve gotten about 5 servings of lunch and 4 servings of dinner out of it which is great when you’re on the go a lot! To reheat- add a tablespoon of water and stir once heated. Since the main ingredient is cheese (YUM), the noodles may harden up a bit, but a little bit of water and you’re good to go!

I’m not sure I can look at Kraft the same way after trying this recipe, and I’m definitely looking forward to experimenting with my crock-pot more : ) Cheers!

Shopping List:

2 Cans of Evaporated Milk (Skim or 2%)

2 Cans of Cream of Cheddar Soup

2 Bags (About 4 cups) of Shredded Cheese

16 Oz. of Pasta

May Wrap Up

4 Jun

I can’t believe that it’s already June! This blog has been up for a little over a month, so I decided that a little recap was in order. See below for everything that I’ve gotten to write about!

I ate… A lot.

Without burning down the kitchen, I made simple pita pizzas, homemade sushi and throw-it-all-in-one-pot-and-walk-away BBQ crock-pot pineapple chicken. Then, even topped it off with frozen bananas for dessert.

Getting Crafty

I made a lot of progress in my bedroom with my DIY striped curtains, a button covered pillow and scrapbook paper frames. And even managed to fit an office into my room using a simple bookshelf.

Beading tested my patience, but I ended up with a funky summer necklace that I can wear multiple ways!

Lots of Shopping!

I got the chance to play with NARS and Benefit make up products, and had fun planning out my Nordstroms trip.

H&M made a dent in my wallet, and I shared all of my summer favorites from my wardrobe to nail polish.

The Great Outdoors

From summer BBQs, to Relay for Life, and playing on the beach, to planting my very own inside garden, I spent a fair share of my time enjoying the sunshine!

I Wish I Had Him Right Meow

Last but not least, I had the pleasure of adopting my new main man, who I get to officially take home in August. Deke.

 

Cheers to June and new adventures!

Make Your Own: Sushi

10 May

Welcome to today’s episode of the A Brand New Season show! Today we’re going to learn how to make sushi! (Applause). It’s probably easier than you’d think, and if you make it at home, you have the option to combine any ingredients and make it just the way you’d like. I was able to find all of the ingredients in our local chain grocery store near the pre-made sushi section, and the best part, is that it’s very inexpensive! You will need:

 

Rolling Bamboo Mat- Make it easiest, but any type of material you can roll the sushi with would work!

Sushi Rice

Sushi Seaweed

Filling- Up to you! I chose to make a veggie roll, but you can add any type of fish or seafood, spicy cream cheese or whatever your little heart desires

Salt Water- 1/4 cup is plenty

Soy Sauce

Wasabi- Only if you’d like to spice it up ; )

Step one: Cook your sushi rice according to the package instructions. It’s important to use sushi rice so that you get the sticky consistency necessary to keep the rolls together. After your rice is done, let it cool down to room temp.

Step two: Place a piece of seaweed on your bamboo rolling mat, shiny side down. Cover 3/4 of the sheet with your sticky rice, leaving 1/4 of one edge open.

Step three: Place your filling ingredients on the rice. If you pile your ingredients as shown below, your rolls will come out looking like they came straight from a restaurant.

Step four: Roll your sushi! Start at the end with all of your ingredients and roll towards the end of the seaweed that has no rice or toppings on it. Make sure you tuck all of those ingredients in there and firmly squeeze as you roll. Once you get to the end as shown below, place a small amount of salt water on the inside edge of the seaweed and continue rolling. The salt water will create a bond keeping your roll together.

Step five: Gently slice your burrito looking sushi roll into pieces and serve! I love adding soy sauce and wasabi to my sushi, but since you’re making it, you get to choose : )

Looks pretty good, right? Enjoy!

 

Frozen Treat

3 May

If you’re like me and buy way too much produce for one person and it ends up going bad, try this with your bananas! Super secret recipe from my gram… Freeze them! After your bananas have turned brown and are no longer edible, all you need is some plastic wrap and you’re all set! Make sure to remove the banana from the peel, wrap in plastic, then freeze for about a day. I find it’s a great alternative when you’re craving a frozen treat. Much healthier than ice cream or sugary Popsicles! If you need more sugar to satisfy you, try dipping it in chocolate and adding some nuts or sprinkles for your inner child. It’s also great with peanut butter! Enjoy a new worry free low calorie snack or dessert! I mean carnivals sell them- so they must be fun!

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