Friday, September 23, 2011

Taking A Break

Just taking a much needed break from cooking and taking photos. I've actually been resting and sleeping a lot - even decreased my work hours - all for a good cause since I'm almost 26 weeks pregnant! Visit our baby blog here. We're so excited!!!

Anyway, hopefully I'll start feeling less lazy and get back to the swing of things. Stay tuned for more photos, new recipes, and etc.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Kitchen Tragedy of Summer 2010
Oven, May You Rest In Peace

{ 07.24.2010: Oven Explosion }

July of last year I baked a boxed meal, Au Gratin Potatoes, for a last minute gig. Put the mix in Pyrex and shoved it in the oven. Ten minutes later there was an explosion then a burning aroma permeated the house causing the pets to bark hysterically. We checked the oven and the devastation above was the eyesore we had to face.

After cleaning the mess, the oven never worked the same again. At first it took 30 minutes to preheat it, then six months later 60 minutes, then 90, then 120, then it was a touch and go gamble - will it work or not? Of recent it preheats to 100 degrees and maintains the temperature. Frustrating! I haven't baked anything for almost a week and am getting a divatude because of it.

To fix it will cost more than purchasing a new one so we're getting a new stove top / oven this weekend. I can hardly wait. I can't believe I'm excited to go appliance store hopping.

Cooking this week is on hiatus - however the joys of cooking will commence once again next week.
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Monday, September 12, 2011


{ Challenge 12 : Recipe 22/100 }
Spanakopita Pie & Triangles

Over the weekend I cooked a Greek dish (Izzy as my sous chef) called, Spanakopita for a women's luncheon at a friend's house. It's a spinach based dish mixed with two kinds of cheeses, herbs, spices, and then lined and  topped with phyllo dough. I made two versions, a pie and individual triangles.

It was my first experience with phyllo dough so it was a gamble as to how it would turn out. As far as rolling the triangles, here is a video of how to do so. Rolling is fairly easy but the trick is to pack it on tightly and then gently roll. The phyllo dough is fragile so it tears easy.

Overall a great dish!! I received numerous compliments from it. Another plus is that it's baked, not fried.


3 tbsp Olive Oil
1 large onion, chopped
1 bunch green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs spinach, rinsed and chopped
1/2 chopped fresh parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup ricotta cheese
1 cup crumbled feta cheese
8 sheets phyllo dough
1/4 cup olive oil
* salt as needed

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly oil a 9x9 inch square baking pan.
Heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, green onions and garlic, until soft and lightly browned. Stir in spinach and parsley, and continue to saute until spinach is limp, about 2 minutes.  Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

In a medium bowl, mix together eggs, ricotta, and feta. Stir in spinach mixture. Salt as needed. Lay 1 sheet of phyllo dough in prepared baking pan, and brush lightly with olive oil. Lay another sheet of phyllo dough on top, brush with olive oil, and repeat process with two more sheets of phyllo. The sheets will overlap the pan. Spread spinach and cheese mixture into pan and fold overhanging dough over filling. Brush with oil, then layer remaining 4 sheets of phyllo dough, brushing each with oil. Tuck overhanging dough into pan to seal filling.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until golden brown. Cut into squares and serve while hot.
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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Peanut Butter Cookies

{ Challenge 12 : Recipe 21/100 }
Peanut Butter Cookies

Blogging from bed today and feeling a little bit under the weather. I cooked these cookies a month ago and just realized I didn't blog about it.

This recipe is from my 1959 Betty Crocker Picture Cook Book so it has a classic, feel good, old fashioned taste to it... very moist, addicting, and wonderful. It's fairly easy to make and a lot of fun.

The cook book gives two versions of the recipe, which are included below:

Peanut Butter Cookies
By Betty Crocker

Mix Thoroughly:
1/2 cup shoft shortening (half butter)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (packed)
1 egg

Sift together and stir in:
1 1/4 cups sifted GOLD MEDAL Flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Chill dough. Roll into ball size of large walnuts. Place 3" apart on lightly greased baking sheet. Flatten with fork dipped in flour ... crisscross...  Bake until set... but not hard.

Temperature: 375° (quick mod. oven).
Time: Bake 10 to 12 min.
Amount: About 3 doz. 2 1/2" cookies.

** For the Honey Peanut Butter Cookies Recipe: Follow the recipe above - except use only 1/4 cup shortening, and in place of brown sugar use 1/2 cup honey.
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Friday, September 9, 2011

Work Life:
The Green Screen and The Treadmill


Over Labor Day Weekend, Dre cleaned the garage, designated a section, and then built a green screen studio for our production business. Building a studio is more cost effective than renting a studio by the hour elsewhere. The studio is not completely done and the garage will need to go through a major transformation but it's good enough to record a couple of takes for stock footage and etc.

Below is a long story - it's the treadmill I bought from Meijer back in college circa 2001. My roommate and I fit this treadmill in her little GEO car and then moved it up three flights of stairs to our tiny dorm room. As cheap as it was, it served me well throughout the years... until now. Dre got this brilliant idea of using the treadmill as a prop for the green screen -- which allows people to walk in place. He took it apart and is going to paint it green.

Usually I get attached to things that have sentimental value - but for this purpose I surely didn't mind. Ok... I got a little emotional. As much as I love my 10 year old cheap ($200) treadmill, life is about moving on. Hopefully I'll get a new one (an upgrade) for my birthday or for Christmas. *fingers crossed* Nonetheless... overall a great idea that will benefit the business in many ways.

In all other news, in another section of our garage, I finally organized shoes that had been boxed up since we moved in our house a little over two years ago. Kind of sad that I've abandoned them for sooo long. I need to sew a curtain for these shelves and get some kind of dust cloths to keep them from looking too old.

I haven't really had the motivation to purchase shoes for the past year so my collection is completely outdated - even the more relevant shoes in my closet are obsolete. Of recent I've been extremely picky when it comes to shoes - they not only have to look fabulous, they have to be comfortable enough for me to walk a mile in.
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Slow Cooker Pot Roast

{ Challenge 12 : Recipe 20/100 }
Slow Cooker Pot Roast

Yesterday I cooked pot-roast for dinner. LITERALLY the easiest pot-roast dish to cook. It was also my very first attempt to at what seemed to be a complicated crock pot dish. Basically just chuck all the ingredients together in a crock pot, leave it to cook for 3-8 hours (depending on the setting and how many pounds the roast) and you're all set until it's time for dinner. SIMPLE! The beef was so juicy and tender... MMMmmm.... and the sauce... double MMMmmm.

A few setbacks when I cooked this dish. The recipe called for one pouch of dry onion mix. The bag boy at the grocery store didn't bag this item (it was on the receipt) so I had to dig our pantry for possible substitutions. I ended up adding 2 beef bouillon, whatever was left (half a cup) of our French's Fried Onions, and one medium sized onion, diced. Also, the 5 1/2 pounds of beef was GInormous, so I opted for the 3.5 pounder slab of roast which shrank once cooked. The recipe is rather good and extremely easy to make. I will make it again in the future should we host a dinner party.

This recipe also taught me not to be intimidated of my crock pot. I love this recipe and I will cook more slow cooker recipes in the future.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast


2 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 (1 ounce) package dry onion soup mix
1 1/4 cups water
5 1/2 pounds pot roast

4 potatoes cut in cubes
1 cup of baby carrots



  1. In a slow cooker, mix cream of mushroom soup, dry onion soup mix and water. Place pot roast in slow cooker and coat with soup mixture. Submerge potatoes and carrots.
  2. Cover and cook on High setting for 3 to 4 hours, or on Low setting for 8 to 9 hours.

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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Apple Pie Egg Rolls
With Butter Toffee Ice Cream

{ Challenge 12 : Recipe 19/100 }
Apple Pie Egg Rolls

Cooked pot roast tonight and for dessert we had apple pie egg rolls with butter toffee ice cream. I can't believe I didn't think of this recipe before finding it online. It's super easy and delicious to boot. I used  thick egg roll wrappers and sliced the apples in long wedges. I placed two to three wedges in each wrapper which allowed me to make 15 instead of the 5 mentioned in the recipe. Dre loved them.

Try the recipe - it's absolutely divine...

Apple Pie Egg Rolls

1 tablespoon butter
3 cups apples, peeled, cored, and diced
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
5 egg roll wrappers
vegetable oil for frying

for garnish:
1 tablespoon sugar mixed with 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Cooking Directions:

In a medium size pan, melt butter, add apples, brown sugar, and cinnamon.  Cook over medium-high heat, stirring often until apples are tender.  Pour into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to cool, about 3o minutes.

Place about 2 tablespoons of apple filling into each egg roll wrapper, wet edges of wrapper with water, roll up sealing edges.  Repeat with remaining ingredients.

Heat oil to about 350 degrees, add egg rolls two at a time, turning to cook all sides, remove to paper lined plate and sprinkle with cinnamon sugar. Repeat with remaining egg rolls.

Serve with vanilla ice cream and caramel sauce.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Visual Splurge
Fall 2011

Once upon a time long long ago, I would have splurged on one (if not most) of the items above. I was a slave to fashion and technology - however I'm no longer single and an entire shift of "spendage" has changed its course (by choice). I still visit and lust after designer products every now and then. It's important for me to be "in the know" about these types of things. It's my leisure and my asylum; it keeps me sane in a world on the brink of economic collapse, as ironic as that sounds.

I digress. There's a cool crisp in the air indicating that the autumn season is around the corner. Usually this time of year gets me nostalgic of my independent fashionable days. However, I love my life now and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But... perhaps I can make an exception and splurge (if logic doesn't get the best of me) one of these days.
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