Monday, February 22, 2010

Just found out that...

one of my favorite Food network stars has a blog! And her new cookbook is being released on March 30th!!

Here's a link to Giada's blog

And this is the cover of her new cookbook...

And here is a recipe from the book...

Stuffed Baby Peppers
From Giada at Home

4 to 6 servings

My mother always loved to serve stuffed vegetables; she stuffed zucchini, potatoes, onions, and, of course, all kinds of peppers. It may have been her way of getting us to eat our vegetables, but we loved them so much we ate them right out of the fridge the next day. I've used pancetta in the filling, but this is an easy recipe to vary and you could certainly substitute ground beef, sausage—almost anything savory that you like. These taste better the longer they sit, so they make great leftovers.

Vegetable oil cooking spray
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 ounces thinly sliced pancetta, finely chopped
½ medium onion, finely chopped
¾ cup whole-milk ricotta cheese
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
½ cup frozen petite peas, thawed
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
24 (2- to 3-inch long) baby peppers

Place an oven rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Spray a rimmed baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.

In a medium skillet, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until brown and crispy, 5 to 7 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove the pancetta and drain on paper towels. Add the onion to the pan and cook until translucent and soft, about 5 minutes. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

In a medium bowl, combine the onion, pancetta, cheeses, and peas. Season with salt and pepper.

Using a paring knife, cut ½ inch from the stem end of each pepper. Remove the seeds and veins. Using a small dessert spoon, fill each pepper with the cheesemixture. Place the filled peppers on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 18 minutes, until the peppers begin to soften and the cheese is warmed through. Cool for 10 minutes.

Arrange the peppers on a platter and serve.


Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Very Valentine

I just adore this author. I have read 3 of her books so far and if it wasn't snowing like crazy outsdie right now, I'd be picking up the sequel to this brilliant novel.

I'm not sure if it is because I can relate to the characters in her book being an Italian American who grew up in downtown NYC or because she writes so vividly that I can actually see and feel what she is describing. I think it is a combination of both.

Altho, I must admit this one did not make me cry as Queen of the Big Time and Lucia, Lucia did. It was more of a feel good story. I was rooting for her to find love and success and at the end of the book she finds one and not the other. I am hoping in the sequel she gets it all.

I'll give you a little bit of the story without ruining it. Valentine is a 33 year old Italian American who lives and works in Greenwich Village making custom wedding shoes. She was engaged but that was a few years ago and since hasn't found love. Well, she finds a man but there are amny twists and turns you don't know if they will end up happy. Then the business is not really doing so great so she sets out to bring it into the next century. Along the way there are so many exciting adventures. It will keep you reading and reading and looking for more when you reach the end. But fear is a trilogy so there are 2 more books. Brava Valentine is out in hardcover right now.

Go pick this one up now!

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Simplify Supper

I am big on family meal time. I had it when I was a kid and we have it now that I am a Mom. We lead such busy lives these days that it is so nice to have some down time with each other that doesn't include the television.

I like to cook and try new things and I am blessed to have an adventurous family who will try anything once.

I am a cookbook and gadget junkie. But I also like to have a clean uncluttered kitchen. The two normally don't go hand in hand but I make it work. And, it is not as hard as it sounds. It just takes some work.

Marcia Ramsland is a wonderful author and speaker whose main focus is on simplifying lives. I recently got this e mail about simplifying supper and I thought it had some really good tips that I would pass on to my friends. :)

Here you go:

What's for Dinner Tonight?

Every day millions of women are asked the same question, “What’s for dinner?” That can be the worst question of your day if you don’t know the answer.

That’s because you are busy and cooking dinner is often the last thing on your mind. That’s why you might get caught in the rut of cooking the same three to five meals over and over.

10 Time-Saving Tips for Meals

1. Begin with a clean kitchen.

2. Make sure the clean dishes are out of the dishwasher.

3. Set the table before cooking to motivate yourself to get dinner going.

4. Estimate how long it will take to get a meal ready, and then try to beat the clock.

5. Prepare the longest part of the meal first.

6. Decide what can be done while another dish is baking.

7. Avoid traffic jams at the kitchen sink by keeping your wastebasket out while cooking.

8. Place a stool nearby so the kids can talk while you work.

9. Alert everyone five minutes before dinner so you can sit down together.

10. Remember, a good meal is more than the food. It’s also about the mood, so be cheerful when you sit down together.

Just because you’re done eating doesn’t mean you’re finished with dinner. Use some of the momentum from a good conversation and great food to carry you through the cleanup process.

With all the meals ahead in your lifetime, it is important to remember the brighter side of dinnertime. Sure, try new recipes, but also vary your menus, speed up clean up, and improve how you keep your kitchen counters clean. Make meals an easier task from start to finish.

If you are organized, prepared, and follow these systems, dinnertime will become more of a joy and less of a chore. You can do it. Bon appetite!

I'll leave you with a recipe for chili dinner tonight. Enjoy!

Cook Time: 5 hours
Yield: Makes 4 servings

-1 pound 90% lean ground beef
-1can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes, drained
-1cup chopped onion
-1tablespoon chili powder
-1clove garlic, minced
-1/2teaspoon salt
-1/2teaspoon ground cumin
-1/2teaspoon dried oregano
-1/4teaspoon red pepper flakes
-1/4teaspoon black pepper
-2cups cooked macaroni

Slow Cooker Directions

1.Brown beef in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to break up meat. Drain fat. Add tomatoes, onion, chili powder, garlic, salt, cumin, oregano, pepper flakes and black pepper to slow cooker; mix well.

2.Cover; cook on LOW 4 hours.

3.Stir in macaroni. Cover; cook 1 hour

Project Life Kit Contents

So, I've decided to take this journey with the fabulous Becky Higgins. I have been trying to remember to take a photo a day and I've been doing pretty good. I think I only missed 3 or 4 days tops. And for those days I will just include a piece of memorabilia or journaling.

I will post my photos here on a monthly basis so I can have a place to refer to in case I get backed up with photo editing, printing, etc.

For now, I'll share with you some of the contents of the kit.

The album and the page protectors. Isn't it gorgeous!? And it's favorite color. :D

Monthly dividers. I love that they are acetate!

More embellies and a date stamp too!

Some samples of the little journaling cards and the cute boxes in which them come. :)

A couple of the papers that are included in the kit.