Monthly Archives: August 2011

Homemade Fruit Roll-Ups


This weekend has been a total FAIL!   I had so many wonderful things planned and then I woke up Saturday morning SICK!  So it has been NyQuil all weekend and my poor girl stuck with nothing to do.  It always stinks when your parents are sick and you are stuck for a whole weekend in the house….I definitely identified with her!

So on Sunday, I finally got it together enough and made some homemade fruit roll-ups!  this was a new thing for me and it went pretty well

Here is how is all starts out

You need about 4 cups of hulled & chopped strawberries, 3/4 c of sugar, juice of a lemon, garbage bowl for the stem/leaves & wax paper

Hulling a strawberry means getting the very top part of the stems/leaves & white part off the strawberry so you are left with juicy deliciousness

There are strawberry hullers that you can purchase but a silver spoon  and garbage bowl does the trick

Once you have hulled & chopped all the strawberries then you put them in a blender with the sugar & lemon juice

and put the blender on puree until all the bits of strawberry are gone

then take this mixture and put it in a medium saucepan on medium high heat until it comes to a rapid simmer and then turn it down to medium low for about 30 minutes

It will be thin like the above but as it simmer to thicken up and it will start to look like this

Once it completely thickens up you will line a cookie sheet with non-stick foil or a silicone mat

But please don’t be like me and please use an offset spatula because a regular one just doesn’t give it enough love and then it looks like this

Don’t get me wrong….this completely works but it would be much more beautiful if I had an offset spatula

You will keep it in a 200 degree oven for about 3 hours until barely tacky

then let it cool completely and peel off the foil and put the smooth side on the wax paper and cut into strips

If it is still moist on the bottom- you can put it back in the oven for about 20 minutes

Looks just like what you buy in the grocery store but you know exactly what it is in it and can pronounce it all too!

Bella had some for breakfast this morning and it was a hit!

I am still working on the strawberry jam post….it has a lot of steps BUT totally worth it 😉

I have a funeral tomorrow and will be out of town but will catch up with you all on Wednesday.

Have a great Monday!

Do you prefer a fruit dehydrator or oven method?


Bison sliders – to die for


It’s Thursday night and we are all dragging a little bit.  The first week of school is almost over and we are all feeling the effects of the early mornings, shuttling to and from activities, and of course the relentless heat.  Is it winter yet?

Seriously, I promise you, I will NOT complain if we get snow for 3 months straight!  Who am I kidding….this is Texas and even with extreme weather- we wouldn’t get that kind of weather…I think 😉

Tonight I wanted to make something sensational and sensationally easy so I settled on Bison sliders

These were seriously the best sliders I have ever had!  And I am not saying that to brag…ok maybe I impressed myself a little 😉

In my experiences, anytime that I have ordered sliders from restaurants they are always dry and tasteless.  The juice was running down my arm with these babies and since bison/buffalo is like 98% lean- NO GUILT!

Here is how I made them:

  • 1 lb of quality bison (get from your butcher at your local market)
  • Lea & Perrin’s worcestershire (no other will do)
  • slider rolls
  • Penzey’s Smoky Seasoned Salt

Turn on or light your grill – get it super duper HOT!  Because the meat is so lean- this is going to be a very fast grilling experience or they will get overcooked-EWWWW

I put the meat balls on the platter and sprinkled the salt over them and the worcestershire and then formed the patties

I then split the rolls and took all my loot out to the super hot grill.  I put the burgers on first and lined the rolls right next to them to get them nice and toasty…..mmmmmm

I am a cheese-y kinda girl so I chose provolone but the beauty of the burger is you can choose ANYTHING you want or NOTHING at all…..yes they are that good

Look at how juicy those are!

I promptly got them off the grill after 3 minutes per side for medium-rare and into the kitchen to rest for a few minutes

Again, I am not going into detail about toppings as we didn’t get exotic this go around but I have some super big ideas and will be doing another post soon!

I simply made a mayo (please promise me you won’t use that Miracle Whip stuff…your buffalo deserves more from you after sacrificing its life for your dinner- thank you) ketchup spread and slathered it on the buns with a little romaine lettuce and then I did a cute tomato/pickle topper

Please make these this weekend- you will love me forever if you do!

Please don’t lick your screen….at least not with anyone in the room 😉

Have a great Thursday night 🙂

What are your favorite burger toppers?

It’s time for a party!


Hello my friends!  Happy Humpday!

I have been a little crazed the past few days planning recipes and then we had our first soccer practice- look at my little soccer player 🙂

I will definitely be updating you throughout the season to let you know how things are going 😉

So as promised 2 surprises for you tonight!

Avocado Fries + a Labor Day Spritzer~

Today was a fun day for testing recipes!

Let’s start off with the Avocado Fries (adapted from dine & dish)

  • oil for shallow frying
  • 3 firm, ripe avocados
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • Cholula
  • eggs
  • flour
  • Penzey’s smoked salt
  • Penzey’s Northwoods spice (paprika, salt, tellicherry peppers, garlic)

First make your 3 dredging bowls:

1/4 c of flour

2 eggs, beaten w/ a dash or 2 of Cholula

1 1/4 c panko w/ smokey salt & northwoods

And away here we go~

in a deep pan put 1 1/2 inches of oil and turn on medium

cut your avocados in half & scoop the whole flesh onto the cutting board & slice them into 1-1 1/2 inch slices

mmmmm those are pretty….ok lets dredge those babies!

First flour them~

then put ’em in the egg~

then throw ’em in the panko~

then to check the oil…take a wooden spoon and turn it upside down and if it bubbles you are set!

put those babies in for ~60 seconds, turning halfway through

and you will have this…..

is that not just beautiful?!

I just drooled all over my keyboard….

I made some homemade ranch and added some hot sauce for a dipper sauce….it is really good!

Let’s make our cocktail now….

  • white wine (I chose Sauvignon Blanc because my mom spoke to her wine dude and he said that this particular one had nice grapefruit & gooseberry notes) or champagne
  • plumcots
  • lemon
  • fresh mint
  • tonic
  • 1 cup of water
  • 1/2 cup of sugar

then throw the sugar & fruit in the water in a pot on the stove and put it on medium to bring up to a simmer and watch the magic happen

you can simmer it for about 20 minutes to get that deep rich color & then you need to strain it but before you do….taste it so you can make sure you get the fruit flavor you want and then cool it down

get those champagne flutes ready and fill about 1/3 with the white wine + 1/3 of tonic + top it off with your fruit juice & a splash of lemon juice

Garnish with a slice of fruit. lemon & mint(not pictured- cause my brain had a spasm when I took the picture)

It’s a party my friends!  Crispy, crunchy, creamy avocado fries & a tart, refreshing perfect end-to-the-summer cocktail!

Have a fabulous night, ya’ll!

What is your favorite party food?

A feast for your eyes


I can’t believe today is Sunday already…where did the weekend go?

Bella starts Pre-K tomorrow and it will be a big day so today I wanted to do something really special.  So even though it is 135 degrees outside- I wanted to create a special memory and we did!

Bella was most excited to see her favorite animals…..giraffes & kangaroos

Hello beautiful!  She got kisses from this sweet giraffe mother, Katie

And while the real kangaroos were napping and we couldn’t get a good shot….she got up close and personal with these friends

It was an amazing day and I hope she will hold it close to her heart….I know I will

After trekking all over the Amazon, Bush & Wild Savannah today….I am beat and we are ordering dinner out but I wanted to share some of my favorite finds on Food Gawker this week because it is one of my go-to sites for inspiration

Chicken Souvlaki w/ Lemon Mint Tzatziki

I am sooooo making this sometime this week!


Lemon Blueberry cheesecake Cookies

I love these cream cheesy, lemony & blueberry-y ?  How can it not be wonderful


Watermelon Shooters

How much fun for a summer pool party?!


Quick jarred pickles

I have had an obsession with making pickles and think this is beautiful


Fruit tart w/ apricot glaze

This makes me want to go to Paris…now


French Fries w/ 3 sauces

What a fun Friday night treat!


Chocolate Banana cake w/ Peanut Butter Cream Cheese frosting

Bella would like totally die if I put this in front of her


Gluten Free Lemon Fritters

Anything is fun when served in newspaper, right?


Chocolate cheesecake encrusted in chocolate chips

Does this really need an explanation?


Wishing you a great Sunday night!

Also, I am doing some bread baking this week and will compare a box mix to a from scratch application~ don’t miss it!

What is your favorite Sunday activity?

3 ways to Sunday


It’s been a very busy day with a little 4-year-old girl running laps around me.  I woke up with a headache and it took most of the day for me to shake it 😦  But we ended the day with bruschetta & water balloons…is there anything better?

I had lots of bits and pieces of goodies from last night’s pizza extravaganza so I came up with these 3 types of bruschetta.  They were all 3 spectacular and if anyone is having a cocktail party or a happy hour or needs to whip up a quick antipasto- take my cue!

What I love so much about bruschetta is that the base is always roasted bread rubbed with raw garlic & drizzled with olive oil but the rest of the toppings are up to you!  Here is what I used:

a small loaf of bread, fresh mozzarella, pepperoni, garlic, cremini mushrooms, heirloom tomatoes, chives & rosemary + a little pizza sauce dipper

Bruschetta 3 ways

*heirloom tomato & rosemary

*mozzarella, pepperoni & chives

*sautéed cremini shrooms & shredded basil

Again, I also used the pizza sauce for a dipping sauce but these babies can totally stand on their own!

Preheat oven to Broil or 500 degrees

Line a cookie sheet with foil and place the bread pieces and drizzle them with some oil

My oil had some herbs in it and it made it that much better!

While waiting for the oven to heat up…..

Saute the shrooms with a splash of white vino

I have found that Vermouth is THE BEST when you saute shrooms but if you are out then use any dry white wine.

* a quick tip when you are sautéing shrooms

don’t salt them until they are caramelized….see the salt prevents them from getting color and color = FLAVOR!!!

When you do salt them….this is a good one to use 🙂

I know I know you may be thinking that you have garlic salt in the pantry but you have not lived until you have had the pleasure of using this one!

Put the bread in the oven and keep your eyes on it. It will only take a few minutes….don’t walk away…if it burns you will never forgive yourself!

Once those babies are bubbly & brown take them out and top them with L-O-V-E…..

I think they were gone in about 3 minutes so my advice is to make more than you think you may eat because you will want more!

We have an outside birthday party to go to tomorrow….please say a little prayer for us that we don’t melt….it’s a real possibility with a high of 108.

Have a great night!

What is your favorite cocktail food?

The end of an era


So yesterday was quite a bittersweet day……

I picked Bella up from her last day of Preschool…EVER

She has had such an amazing year and amazing teachers and she has really blossomed and she is 100% ready for Pre-K, even if Mommy isn’t ready for her to go:(

Awwww she was so little…….and needed me

Now I guess I should expect her to flinch a little when I kiss and hug her at the door in front of her friends but it’s ok because I still take all the sunggles and cuddles I can get- on her terms of course;)

See you later Mom–I have got this!

Goodness I love this child.

So to celebrate the end of Preschool and the end of summer…we made PIZZA!

This is not Papa Johns people!

I went to the gourmet market here because if you are going to do it- you should do it with the best ingredients!

The best thing about making homeade pizza is that you can use whatever you want to top your pizza and this is what Bella chose…..

Some awesome mozzarella and pepperoni…some colorful tomatoes…some shrooms that Bella taste tested and picked out herself and mommy didn’t get a picture of up close…pfffff

and I even bought a couple of links of mild italian sausage and took the casings off and made tiny meatballs


Lightly brush the top of your crust with a little oil.  Speaking of crust- I bought ready-made crust because I didn’t get my act together but people you have better choices!  You can purchase frozen dough and thaw it and add herbs and make it as thick or as thin as you would like.  An even better option is going to your local pizza joint and ask for some dough- they are usually happy to give you some:)

Then add your sauce- we decided to do 2 different sauces- red pizza sauce & alfredo but the world is your oyster and you could even just use the olive oil by itself.

Add the cheese & the toppings:

I started the oven out at 450 and then when I was ready to put in the pizza, I turned it down to 425.  I left them in there, directly on the rack, for 10 minutes….but all ovens are not equal so anywhere from 8-12 minutes.

Here is the Penzey’s spice that I sprinkled on when they came out for a little POW:

It’s good stuff!

So remember whatever you like to top your pizza off with it will be wonderful….just make it yourself… really is better!

p.s. please use fresh mozzarella…it will knock your socks off

Pizza really makes things like your baby growing up a little easier!  Especially when she is the one to help you make it;)

Have a great Friday!

What are your favorite pizza toppings?

Look Rocky- I pulled an avocado out of my hat!


Today has been a ca-razy busy day…I have been going from the moment the sun came up.  I had about 1001 errands to run and I have one more….I have to go to the store 😦

Bella has her end-of-the-summer party at camp tomorrow and they have to take a sack lunch.  She wants a sandwich, cheetos along with grapes & strawberries-  I think I will exchange the Cheetos for Popchips- they are my new obsession.

Please run out and try them- they are on sale at Target right now 2 variety packs for $4

They aren’t baked or fried and they taste GOOD!

So because I ran into a wall about 3:30 and have been dragging ever since- I pulled an avocado & egg out of my hat and created a super simple dinner.

It is a simple egg salad stuffed avocado with sliced tomatoes and my child approved because she is part of the clean plate club tonight!

It is rather a sinful dinner with the lucious avocado and egg salad with a touch of shallot so we had watermelon for dessert:)

Here are the players~

And you know I have a Penzey’s spice that I am going to use- this is an all-purpose seasoning that is good on everything!

How can you not love a spice blend that has it all?!

So let’s get down to business!

I know everyone has their own method to boiling eggs and I have tried them all……but the method that has been the most  successful 100% of the time has been the following:

Fill pan up with water and put eggs in immediately.  Eggs should not be covered completely:

I bring the water up to a boil and then cover immediately and turn off the heat.  I let them hang out about 15 minutes and then throw them into an ice water bath (this makes them easier to peel)

While they are hanging out in an ice bath go ahead and chop your shallot & scoop out your avocado:

and then peel your eggs, chop ’em up

throw in the shallot & mayo and mix ’em up and try not to eat it all right then and there….

It is very hard but I promise you will love it even more if you wait for the creamy & decadent avocado:)

Dust the avocado with the Sandwich Sprinkle and then spoon the egg salad mixture into the middle.

I used a small scooper to make it look pretty…..

Then I sliced up a couple of grape tomatoes for color 😉

That sure was yummy, not to mention, quick & easy!

OK I have got to get to the store for grapes, strawberries & goldfish for her class tomorrow or I might be put in timeout…

What is your favorite thing to do with avocados?