Monday, June 25, 2007

Let's not forget how lucky we are...

I just wanted to post a link to a blog being featured on our local newspaper's website. A local reporter is abandoing packaged foods, dinners out and all the other luxuries we take for granted in favor of a food stamp budget for the entire month of June. He is writing about his experiences here:

It just makes me stop and think...while I'm browsing the 7 dollar hunks of cheese, there are people really struggling to make ends meet. It makes me realize how lucky we are. To be able to have dinner out, to have cocktails with our friends and to buy fun, exotic ingredients and create outstanding meals at home...I don't ever have to "worry" about food. Imagine what it would be like if you did?

That is all.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Chicken Marsal-WHAT?

Oh my hubby...bless his heart. He has gotten so adventerous when it comes to food since he met me (ha, sort of). Things that I grew up eating are new to him and it's so fun to watch him try new things and like them. Tonight's dinner was something he hadn't had before until we got married and now it's one of his faves. I've loved this dish forever. My mom made it often. So light and yummy. Enjoy!
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram, crushed
4 chicken breasts, pounded 1/4 in. thick
2 cups sliced fresh mushrooms
1/4 cup sliced green onion
3 tb. butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup dry marsala wine
Hot, cooked pasta (I use linguine)
Combine flour, marjoram and salt and black pepper to taste in small bowl. Lightly coat chicken pieces with flour mixture and shake off excess.
In a large skillet cook mushrooms and green onions in 1 tablespoon of butter over medium-high heat until tender; remove from skillet. In the same skillet cook chicken in remaining 2 tablespoons of butter for 5 to 6 minutes, turning to brown evenly.
Remove skillet from heat. Return mushrooms and green onions to skillet. Carefully add broth and wine to skillet. Bring mixture to a boil, reduce heat. Simmer, uncovered for 2 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season sauce to taste with additional salt and pepper. Transfer chicken to a serving platter. Spoon mushroom mixture over chicken. Serve over pasta.
To save time, I buy the chicken breasts already pounded thin. Gotta love those "thin and fancy" breasts! HA!

A humble patch of rhubarb

On the far western edge of our yard, which is like unchartered wilderness as far as I'm concerned, is a small patch of rhubarb planted by the previous owner. I venture out that far like never so I often forget its out there. I don't really do anything to it, it just grows on its own! I thought I should try to make something with it since its out there all lonely and only visited by bunnies!


1 cup white sugar
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 pound fresh rhubarb, chopped
2 pints fresh strawberries
1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust pie
2 tablespoons butter
1 egg yolk
2 tablespoons white sugar

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.

In a large bowl, mix flour and sugar. Add strawberries and chopped rhubarb. Toss with sugar and flour and let stand for 30 minutes.
Pour filling into pie crust. Dot top with butter, and cover with top crust. Seal edges of top and bottom crust with water.

Apply yolk to top of pie, using a pastry brush. Sprinkle with sugar. Cut small holes in top to let steam escape.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 35 to 40 minutes, or until bubbly and brown. Cool on rack.
This is first pie I've ever made. I did use pre-made pie crusts...I'm not ready to be making my own pie crusts. But this is certainly a step up from my usual routine. I admit to stopping by the Wal-Mart frozen food section when craving pie...ha. It looks pretty yummy. We haven't sliced it yet but it will be a treat for later. I've got vanilla ice cream too, of course! Eric seemed pretty impressed!

Who would of thought you could just leave a patch of rhubarb unattended and it would just grow and grow! And just for fun, this is what's beyond my rhubarb patch. Wide open spaces and fresh country air, people!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Margaritas and Mariachis!

I've spent the last week or so planning a Fiesta themed party for my office. Leave it up the PR person on the committee to do all the leg work! Tomorrow is finally the big day! Margaritas and tacos beginning at 4pm! (Hey, we're in advertising...the best ideas come when the booze is flowin', right?) Tonight, I made Mexican Hot Chocolate brownies for the party. They are divine! I've always loved the chocolate/cinnamon combo so I just took a basic brownie recipe and put my own spin on it.

(Brownie recipe source:

3/4 cup butter, melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 eggs
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon mild chili powder
1 bag Hershey's Special Dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 inch square pan.
In a large bowl, blend melted butter, sugar and vanilla. Beat in eggs one at a time. Combine the flour, cocoa, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and chili powder. Gradually blend into the egg mixture. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter into the prepared pan.

Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, or until brownies begin to pull away from the sides of the pan. Let brownies cool, then cut into squares. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

East meets (Mid)West

Eric refuses to touch anything that has an "Asian" flavor. No Chinese, no Thai...NOTHING! Seriously...the guy is defective that way! I personally love it and could live off takeout for the rest of my life but...ya gotta sacrifice for your man, I guess.

Except when he's not home of course!! Eric is really busy with school. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday...he's off studying and I'm on my own for dinner. Tonight I took a look around at what I had and came up with a yummy Asian-inspired pizza. YUM!


  • Pizza dough/crust of your choice
  • Chicken breasts, cooked and cubed
  • Kraft Light Asian Toasted Sesame dressing
  • Shredded Mozzerella Cheese
  • Shredded parm cheese
  • Sliced button mushrooms
  • Shredded carrots
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Sliced green onions for garnish

Layer all ingredients except green onions onto dough or crust and bake to desired crispness. Sprinkle with green onions, slice and enjoy!

It came out pretty good! I used a pizza crust I bought at the store (like a Boboli type thing) because I had really bad luck the last time I tried to work with actual dough and I was feeling kinda lazy tonight. This was a great way to use up some veggies before they had to be tossed.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Story of a birthday dinner disaster

So, being that Eric was studying all day for an exam he had today in one of his MBA classes, I didn't get to make him a fun dinner for his birthday last night. So I decided to do it tonight. On the menu...Giada's balsamic chicken drumettes, a recipe I've wanted to try for quite sometime.

I made up the marindade last night and used actual chicken drumsticks instead of the wings. All day long at work, all I could think about was making my birthday boy a nice dinner. The result was a complete disaster!

Witness Exhibit A:

This plate of chicken is black on the outside and raw on the inside. The drumsticks spent the last 24 hours marinating in a mixture of balsamic vinegar, honey and brown sugar and in a momentary lapse in sanity, I decided to throw them on the grill instead of in the oven....yeah, hi...the first thing they did when the hit the grill was burn to a crisp.

Witness Exhibit B:

While I was outside fighting with the chicken, the marinade was cooking on the stove so I could use it as a glaze when the chicken was done. It boiled over, burned to my stovetop, and quickly became the consitancy of road tar.

AND, if that wasn't enough...enter a freak summer thunderstorm that completely drenched me from head to toe before I could run for cover. Eric, who had been out at the auto parts store, came home and found me standing in the kitchen, dripping wet, holding a plate of inedible chicken over one helluva mess on the stove...bawling my eyes out because I had ruined dinner.

After nearly an hour of cleanup, we went out had pizza and beer. Chalk it up to lesson learned. Another kitchen mishap for me...I'm sure it won't be the last!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Recipe for a Creative Country Cook

I'm jumping on the food blog bandwagon after browsing all the great blogs on The Nest What's Cooking bored! I have two great loves in this world: Food and Words. Sounds like a recipe for success to me!

I love to cook and bake but I'm certainly still an amature. I'll be chronicling my hits and misses here. The name of the game is Creative Country Cookin'. This is how its done:

Recipe for a Creative Country Cook

  • 1 suburban-raised, shoe-loving, reality TV watching PR professional with a flair for the spicy, flavorful, and adventerous
  • 1 farm-raised, corn-fed, F-150 driving, Johnny Cash listening engineer with a taste for nothing but meat and potatoes
  • A pinch of Adventure
  • A sprinkling of Laughs
  • A handful of Mishaps
  • Two heaping palmfuls of Love


  • Move all the above away from home to a small city in Northeastern Iowa
  • Combine in a modest ranch-style starter home
  • Stir and Enjoy!