Thursday, May 21, 2015

Caramel Brownie Bites

Those damn Yankees.

I love baseball and I love the Yankees...yes, I don't want to hear it, you either love them or you hate them.  My brother loves the Royals and they had a three game series last weekend.  We bet, as we usually do, and this time I lost.  He wanted a box of baked goods once a week for a month and I will pay up (even though when he lost and was supposed to mow my lawn he never did...just saying).  So during the 8th inning on Sunday, I put some butter on the counter to soften because I could see the writing on the wall...crap.

I made some these jammy-delicious Blackberry crumble cookie bars and these caramel cup stuffed brownie bites.  I am glad I don't have the cooking ability like that chick in the movie "Like Water for Chocolate" when her emotions get all mixed in with whatever she makes because if so, these cookies would be bitter.  But I am no slacker, and I pay my bets off...even if my brother doesn't.

I like how the tops of the Rolos peek out, but cover them if you want a surprise in your bite.

Moist brownie, soft caramel, mmmmmmmmm!
There is another three game series between the Yankees and the Royals coming up at the end of the month, but my brother won't bet with me on that one...he's a big chicken.

Caramel Brownie Bites
I use the "One bowl Brownie" recipe on the box of Baker's Chocolate

1- 4oz. box Baker's Semi Sweet Chocolate
3/4 c. butter
2 c. sugar
3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 c. flour
Mini Rolo caramel cups

heat oven to 350°f.

LINE mini muffin pan with mini cupcake liners.

MICROWAVE chocolate and butter in large microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2 min. or until butter is melted. Stir until chocolate is completely melted. Stir in sugar. Blend in eggs and vanilla. Add flour and mix well. Scoop into cups with two teaspoons or a small disher.  Place one mini Rolo in center and press down.  You can smooth the batter over the top or leave the little top showing.
Bake 10- 15 minutes or until a toothpick placed close to, but not in, the Rolos cup comes out with moist crumbs.  Do not overbake!

1 year ago:   Black Forest Cake
2 years ago:  Barbie Shots and Friendships
3 years ago:  Meet the Pups and Homemade Dog Treats

May 21, 2014  Sunrise 4:08am  Sunset 11:30pm  Temp. H 77/ L 48°F

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Penne with Asparagus, Pepitas, and Mint

Dave and I just spent a long weekend in Austin, Texas.  I had work there on Monday so we flew down on Saturday, spent the weekend going to the Texas History Museum, the Austin Aquarium, out to eat, and shopping!  Dave flew home on Monday while I worked and I flew home on Tuesday.  It was a fun weekend together, and Austin is much greener than I expected.

The downside to that was I didn't get to spend Mother's Day with any of my kids.  I did get a phone call from each of my boys so I was very happy.  I am one lucky momma.

Because of the break in salads over the weekend, we are back at it again.  This is not really a salad, or it is a warm pasta salad if you will.  I added the cheese to Dave's plate, but left it off the kids and then added grilled chicken.  We all enjoyed the dish and the stinky pee the rest of the gotta love asparagus!

Penne with Asparagus, Pepitas, and Mint
adapted from Cooking Light
8 oz. uncooked whole-grain penne pasta
5 tsp. extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut diagonally into 1-1/2 inch pieces
3 green onion, chopped, white and green parts divided
2 large garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cup dry white wine
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. butter
1.5 ounces percorino Romano cheese, grated
1/4 cup pepitas
2 Tbsp. fresh mint, chopped
4-4oz. grilled chicken breast tenders, sliced

Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat.  Drain in a colander over a bowl, reserving 1/4 cup of the cooking liquid.  Return pasta and 1/4 cup reserved cooking liquid to pan.  Cover and keep warm over low heat.

Meanwhile, heat a nonstick skillet over medium high heat.  Add 1 Tbsp. oil to the pan; swirl to coat.  Add asparagus; sauté 3 minutes or until tender-crisp.  Stir in white parts of green onions and garlic; cool 30 seconds.  Add wine; cook 1 minutes.  Add asparagus mixture, salt and pepper to pasta mixture.  Stir in remaining 2 tsp. oil, remaining green onions, butter, and cheese.  Divide pasta evenly among 4 bowls.  Sprinkle evenly with pepitas and mint.  Top with grilled chicken.

May 19, 2015    Sunrise 4:14 am  Sunset 11:23 pm  Temp. H 76/L 49°F

Friday, May 15, 2015


With all the salad my husband has been eating, without (much) complaint.  I decided he needed a little treat.  He loves clams.  Me? Not so much.  But I will make them for him once in a while.  The baby boy also eats clams, so they shared a plate while the chick and I  watched.

There isn't a real recipe for these, I'll just tell you how I make them.  It is a little different each time, but the method is the same.  It doesn't matter if you are making a pound (like I did here) or 5 pounds, which I have done before for a family gathering.  Sometimes I add finely diced yellow and red peppers for color and/or top with a small sprinkle of cilantro or parsley, depends on who I am making them for.

Since these were for Dave, I didn't add anything green or peppers (not his favorite), and he was getting salad for dinner after this appetizer so he was good.

These only take a couple minutes to make.  They are perfect with a cold beer, a crusty baguette, and a warm day on the back porch.


3 slices bacon, chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
splash of brandy or dry white wine
1 pound clams, cleaned and scrubbed
2 cups chicken broth

optional: diced bell pepper, parsley or cilantro

Fry chopped bacon, remove bacon to towel covered plate and drain all but about 1 Tbsp. of the bacon fat.  Fry onion in the bacon fat.  When onion is soft and translucent, add broth and brandy or wine and bring to boil.  Add clams to pan and cover.  Steam 3-5 minutes or until clams open.  Remove clams to a large bowl, cover to keep warm.  Continue to boil broth until it is reduced to about 3/4 cup (add peppers at this point).  Pour broth over clams, top with parsley or cilantro, if desired, and serve with bread.

1 year ago:   Bacon and Cheese Corn on the Cob
2 years ago:  Butterfinger Martini
3 years ago:  Barbecue Chicken Salad with Cornbread Croutons

May 15, 2015  Sunrise 4:28 am  Sunset 11:09 pm  Temp H 77/ L 48°F

Friday, May 8, 2015

Updated Wedge Salad for Salad Summer

Ahh, the old wedge salad.  This is one of my favorite salads.  I love the cold, crisp iceberg lettuce, I love the bacon bits, the blue cheese dressing...

This is a little updated, with romaine instead of iceberg, I added tomatoes, bacon, and blue cheese crumbles.  This was my dinner, I added a grilled steak and a little blue cheese dressing to Dave's plate to keep him quiet happy.

Updated Wedge Salad
serves 2

1 head romain lettuce
2 pieces bacon, chopped and cooked until crisp
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
1 oz. blue cheese, crumbled

optional: blue cheese dressing

Cut the bottom core off the romaine and cut in half lengthwise.  Place each half on a separate plate.  Top with 1/2 the cooked bacon, 1/2 the cherry tomato halves, and 1/2 of the blue cheese crumbles.

1 year ago:   Bacon Burgers for Burger Fridays
2 years ago:  Compound Butter and the Joys of and Airline Upgrade
3 years ago:  Spinach Salad with Warm Bacon and Mushroom Dressing

May 8, 2015  Sunrise 4:53 am  Sunset 10:44 pm  Temp H 64/ L 43°F

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The New "Camper"

My husband said he wanted a camper.  We had one when we were first married, but with the changes of family, vehicles, and schedules we got rid of it.  Now, 16 years later, he wants a camper.  No problem, I thought, a camper would be nice.  I'd have my own bathroom, a place to get out of the rain when we were out, a bug free place to read, it could fit on his pick-up in the summer and we could store it in the back by the storage shed in the winter.

So, while I was gone this spring, Dave was looking for a camper.  I was in Utah on our anniversary, and Dave posts this to Facebook...
"Happy Anniversary to my amazing wife"

Oh hell no, that is not a camper and that is not MY anniversary present.  There had better be some diamonds for me involved if this is the "camper" he got!  But I was in Utah so what could I do at that point?

When I got home, he took me on a tour of what I fondly called the monstrosity humungous or MH for short.  I do have my own bathroom, and shower.  My husband and I, along with 8 of our closest friends, can sleep comfortably, the dogs have their own bed (o.k.  I really do like that, I hate sleeping with dogs), we have a heater, 2 t.v.s (because nothing says camping like watching a movie), a microwave, coffee pot, and electronic recharging station (o.k. I like that too because I can take my iPad with books).

We took the MH out on it's maiden voyage last weekend.  It was still pretty cold outside so I spent a lot of time inside reading.  We watched the Avengers, my nephew came out and we had dinner together, we took a walk.  It was a really relaxing weekend.  I might grow to like the MH and all it's comforts; just don't call it camping!
Sunday morning, Riley on my lap, the dogs on their bed, coffee and a good book in the MH.

1 year ago:   Learning to like Dark Chocolate and Chocolate Fruit Bark
2 years ago:  Manilla Clams and the Night I Almost Got Murdered
3 years ago:  Meatloaf for Two

April 5, 2015  Sunrise 5:04 am Sunset 10:34 pm  Temp. H 64/ L 36°F

Friday, May 1, 2015

Salad Summer - Baby Greens and Artichoke Salad

I am home now from my big work trip, I've been home for 6 days now but have been trying to catch up on housework, mail, and sleep.  I caught a lovely cold the last 4 days of my trip (I blame the Seattle rain) and I've been sleeping like a dead person every night and most afternoons when I come home for a nap.

Now, I am feeling a little caught up...the house has been vacuumed at least once, parts twice, the bathrooms have been scrubbed, I dusted and mopped the floors, the bills all got paid and there is only one small pile of mail left for me to go through.  Feeling accomplished, I jumped on the scale...

So, I have named this summer "Salad Summer."  Yes, my big girl pants were feeling a little tight, but I contributed that to all the salt in restaurant food, and I did eat out, every meal, for the last three weeks.  But no, that really was not the case and there needs to be a plan to get me into the new clothes I purchased at the Mall of America and the Seattle shopping malls I visited (no, I didn't try them on, because I knew I was retaining water from all that salt you know and yes, I did have to buy another suitcase to bring them all home in).

I figure if we have a salad based dinner a couple times a week it will 1) be healthy for all of us, 2) not be too often for my husband to complain, 3) be easy prep, cooking, and clean-up, 4) be fresh and delicious!  A win-win-win situation for all of us.  After dinner, with a quick clean-up we can all go for a walk.  I'll get into those new clothes soon enough.

Baby Greens and Artichoke Salad
Cooking Light, May 2015

4 tsp. good olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 tsp. minced shallots
1/2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
9 oz. package frozen artichoke hearts, thawed and quartered
5-6 cups baby greens
4-5 radishes, sliced

In a large bowl add olive oil, lemon juice, minced shallots, Dijon mustard, sugar, salt and pepper.  Whisk together.  Add artichoke hearts and toss to coat.  Let marinade for 30 minutes.  Add salad greens, toss to combine and coat with the dressing.  Divide between 4 plates and top with sliced radishes.
 Serves 4

I added grilled chicken for a protein and we called it dinner.  Delicious!

1 year ago:   Strawberry Eating Season and Strawberry Mousse
2 years ago:  Cherry Tart and the Weight Loss Challenge
3 years ago:  Hiving the Bees and Bee Cupcakes

May 1, 2015  Sunrise 5:18 am  Sunset 10:20 pm  Temp.  H 55/L 32