July 26, 2013

Marinated Lime Chicken

This is a really tasty dinner that doesn't take much work, and got approvals all around the dinner table.  I've made this a couple times now, but found out it's hard to photograph it in an "ooo that looks yummy!" way.  Anyway, thanks to Rachel Schultz's blog for this recipe!

  • 4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
  • Juice and zest of 1 lime
  • 3 green onions, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • Pinch of salt and pepper


  1. Place chicken breasts in a ziplock bag.  Mix remaining ingredients in a small bowl, and pour over chicken.  Shake/wiggle bag to coat chicken evenly.
  2. Refrigerate for 1 hour to allow the flavors to develop and settle in.
  3. Preheat oven to 375° (or grill- mmm).  Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil, spray with Pam, and set chicken on top.  Pour any marinade from the bag over the chicken.
  4. Bake for 27-35 minutes or until fully cooked.  I recommend serving with rice, which you can prepare while the chicken bakes.

Garlic Monkey Bread

I may have found a new food blog to start following. :)  Eat Cake For Dinner has some good taste, as I got to see with this tasty garlic monkey bread recipe.  Her notes and changes were definitely helpful.  I made this recipe once without following her tips, and it was an uncooked biscuit disaster.  This week I made it with her useful advice, and we had golden garlic bread bliss!  Hooray!
So add this to your list of easy but tasty weeknight bread/biscuits/rolls bag of tricks.  This recipe is pretty similar to my Garlic Parmesan Knots, but comes out with a different flavor.

  • 7.5-oz can buttermilk biscuits
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese, plus 1 tablespoon to sprinkle on top
  1. Using a pizza cutter, cut biscuits into 6 pieces each and place in a large bowl or ziplock bag. 
  2. Combine remaining ingredients in a small bowl (or the cup you melted the butter in), and pour over the biscuit dough.  Toss gently to coat.
  3. Grease a 12-cup muffin tin, and place 6-7 pieces in each cup.  I get 8 biscuits with these proportions.
  4. Sprinkle with 1 tablespoon Parmesan cheese.
  5. Bake 14-16 minutes or until golden and center of each mini monkey bread is fully cooked.

July 19, 2013

Anniversary Photo Collage- City Skylines You've Seen Together

Well, today is my 10-year wedding anniversary.  So far, it's been a wonderful day.  Really touching notes and comments from my husband, family, and friends.  Beautiful gifts exchanged, flowers from my sister-in-law, and we're on deck for a movie marathon tonight so we can get caught up on the 2013 blockbusters. :)
One gift that I made for my husband was really special, and everyone who has seen it has really liked the idea.  I knew I had to share it here, once I'd given it to the lucky man of the day of course!
I compiled a photo collage of all the places we'd been together over the years.  I started jotting down the trips months back, and would add to the list as I remembered them.  What actually helped was listing them in chronological order.  Certain memories would trigger others, and I'd remember some trips as before we had our son or after, before we moved to Maryland or while we still lived in Pittsburgh, etc.
Over the last few weeks, I started googling city skylines for each of these places.  I'd nab a good shot, edit the photo to make it black and white, and save it to the collage.  For once, my little OCD planner didn't come out to count the number of photos, calculate the size for each photo to fit a given layout size, etc. Surprising that that OCD me laid dormant!  So I had a few rearrangements to make before all was said and done, in order to properly fill the final 11x14 layout.  That's my only caution should you tackle this project, too.  :)

July 14, 2013

Dry Erase Menu Planner

For years now, I've realized that the only way I will actually buy the right groceries each week is to plan out what I'm going to make for dinner all week long.  I write my little weekly menu on the back of the grocery list before I go to the store, double check my ingredients and add to the list as necessary, and off I go.  When I get home, I stick the shopping list back on the fridge, but now showing the back side with the menu plan.  While my husband likes to tease that I never actually FOLLOW this plan, I really do a good 80% of the time or more.
However, my little shopping list menu isn't exactly nice looking, even if it is functional.  It is also impossible to read from any kind of distance if I'm trying to remember what's up for tonight's dinner, or if I need to take anything out of the freezer for tomorrow's.  Cue a combination of pinterest ideas and voila: dry erase menu planner.  Did you realize you could just write on glass with a dry erase marker (or laundry marker) and it will wipe right off?  Put some cute scrapbook paper in a frame, and I could have my menu written up for all to see easily and nicely!  I went from idea to execution in the same day, for about $15.

  • Picture frame (I chose a 3-photo frame so it would be nice and long, fitting in well with the cabinet I wanted to hang it on.
  • Command wall hook (5-lb sturdy kind) or a nail to hang it from
  • Ribbon (if using the wall hook)
  • 2 pieces of Scrapbook paper
  • Dry erase marker or laundry pen
  1. Cut the scrapbook paper to fit the frame, overlapping so that the patterns align.  Place in frame.
  2. Hang the wall hook or nail in desired location; let stand for a while before hanging picture from it.
  3. Run the ribbon through the hanging hardware on the back of the frame.  Knot securely and either hide the knot behind the frame, or tie a nice bow over the knot if exposing.
  4. Write out weekly menu on the glass using the dry erase marker.  
  5. Hang and marvel at your simple genius!

July 4, 2013

Mini S'Mores Bites

As my husband so gently pointed out to me, I'm in love with s'mores-based treats.  When DQ released their  s'mores blizzards, I was ON that stuff.  Heaven.  So are these bites, which I thought would be a perfect accompaniment to fireworks viewing tonight.  I got the recipe from Sweet Pea's Kitchen, but made a fair number of changes on the fly.  Enjoy.

  • 7 whole graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large chocolate bars (8.5 oz total).  I used Hershey's Symphony with almonds and toffee and it was an AMAZING choice.
  • 12 large marshmallows
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Break graham crackers into chunks and place in a food processor.  Pulse until finely crushed.  Add the powdered sugar, and with the food processor on, slowly pour in the butter through the chute.  Mix until thoroughly incorporated.  When I opened the container, I had to stir my graham cracker mix a bit more because there were parts that didn't have as much of the butter incorporated.
  3. Scoop about 2 teaspoons of graham cracker mixture into each cup of a 24-cup mini muffin pan.  Press into the bottom of each cup to form a little crust.  Bake 5 minutes or until edges are bubbly.
  4. While crusts bake, break apart chocolate bars into the mini bars.  Run kitchen scissors under water, then cut the marshmallows in half horizontally.
  5. Remove mini muffin pan from oven, then top each crust with a chocolate bar and a marshmallow, cut side down.  Bake another 3 minutes so that marshmallows are puffy and just golden.
  6. Cool in pan on a wire rack 15 minutes, then remove gently.  Cool completely on the wire rack.
  7. Place remaining chocolate in a small bowl, and microwave at 20-second intervals until melted.  Dip the top of each treat into the chocolate, or simply drizzle the chocolate onto the marshmallows.
  8. Rest until chocolate is set.  Store in an airtight container for up to 2 week.

Popsicle Stick Flag

Did I mention my last minute 4th of July spark?  Well, part of that was thinking of something fun for my son to do- a quick, easy little patriotic craft.  Cue the popsicle sticks and markers!

I just glued some popsicle sticks together, with one stick running down the back as the flagpole and another one going diagonally to hold it all together nicely.  Color with markers, paint on some stars, and you're good!  You can see where my little guy started the first stripe, then insisted I draw the rest, haha.

Red, White, and Blue Punch

Continuing the festivities, a friend recommended that I make this colorful punch for the 4th of July.  Done!  So simple, and tasty, too.  While I like the layers, I do recommend stirring to serve.  Otherwise, you're just serving one layer at a time, and not a mixture of those tasty flavors.  They do blend nicely. :)

  • Cranberry juice (I used a cranberry/raspberry mixture)
  • Blue Gatorade Frost
  • Diet Sprite (it HAS to be diet to separate to its own layer)
  • Ice
  1. Put ice in bottom of pitcher or beverage dispenser.  Pour cranberry juice on top, filling pitcher about 1/3 of the way.  
  2. Then pour Gatorade, being careful to pour it onto the ice, and not just into the pitcher.  If you pour over the ice, it will not mix in with the cranberry juice- it will make its own layer on top.  Pour until the pitcher is 2/3 full.  
  3. Then pour the Sprite over the ice until the pitcher is full.

Cinnamon and Cream Cheese Monkey Bread

This recipe is like the snow leopard of Pinterest.  There's a rare sighting, and when you track it down for exact info it is elusive.  Many pins are just to pictures, but not the source recipe.  Contributing to this is the fact that the site with the real recipe has been requesting that the pins be taken down.  So when I thought I saw a legitimate pin resurface, I was excited.  When it went to a non-recipe site, I was frustrated, and finally googled the recipe, determined to hunt it down.  HERE IT IS, from pip & ebby.  Muahahaha.

As part of my 4th of July day of treats, which I decided on at the early date of July 2, this would be the main attraction for breakfast.  SO worth it, and also really simple.  I can't put words to the wonderful smell as it baked, the warm delicious mix of flavors, and how it was so easy to eat too much.  I will say that despite my (silly) misgivings that this was too much for just the 3 of us, this was perfectly fine as a family meal.  We have leftovers for the next day or two and that is JUST fine by me.

  • 8 ounces of cream cheese, cut into 20 cubes
  • 2 tubes of refrigerated buttermilk biscuit dough (20 biscuits total)
  • 2/3 cups brown sugar
  • 2/3 cups granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cinnamon
  • 3/4 cups butter, melted
  1. Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the sugars and cinnamon.  Set aside.
  3. Cut the cream cheese into 20 cubes (picture below).
  4. Open up the tubes of biscuit dough, and separate out the biscuits- you should have 20 in total.
  5. Place a cube of cream cheese on top of each biscuit, then pull up the sides of the biscuit around the cream cheese, so you have a little mound of dough and cream cheese.  The dough does not have to completely cover the cream cheese.
  6. Place 10 of the biscuits in the bundt pan cream cheese side up.  They'll fit in snugly.  Cover with half the sugar mixture (about 2/3 cups) and drizzle with half of the butter (about 1/3 cup).
  7. Place the remaining biscuits in the bundt pan, cream cheese side down.  Cover with the remaining sugar mixture and remaining butter.
  8. Bake for 40 minutes.  Place a plate on top, and gently invert.  There will likely be some butter/sugary sauce oozing around, so be prepared for a little mess.  But I promise it will be ok.  ;)  Serve warm, and refrigerate leftovers.

It felt too early to do math, even simple math like "cut the butter into 4 rows, and then cut into 5 rows to get 20 pieces".  Fortunately, I powered through and took a pic for easy future reference.

These were the biscuits I used.  They come already sliced into 10 biscuits- wee!

OH. MY. GOD.  Amazeballs.

Well hello there gooey wonderful cream cheese filling.

Ice Cream Sandwich with Strawberries

Sometimes, I'm a culinary genius.  And by "culinary" I mean "someone who cuts up food and puts it in a bowl", as in, no actual cooking required.  That's the most genius part of the whole thing.

I present to you this genius idea: cut up an ice cream sandwich, and add some strawberries.  Eat like a Sunday.  Your mind will be blown by the simple deliciosity.

  • 1 ice cream sandwich (or 2 if you've been extra good)
  • 1 cup strawberries
  1. Cut up the ice cream sandwich and strawberries into bite-size pieces and sprinkle into a bowl.  Devour.