Yummy Banana Bread

February 28, 2008 at 2:49 am | Posted in bread | 10 Comments

I have been looking for the perfect banana bread recipe for quite some time.  It seems like every one I make is too dry, or not flavorful enough, or too this or too that.  When I saw a recipe on Katie’s blog at Good Things Catered, I thought I would give it a shot because she always has such great things on her blog.  Hers is one of my faves to check up on every day  : ). 

I had 3 bananas that were looking quite pitiful hanging from my banana tree this past weekend so I just let them hang and look more pitiful and more pitiful every day until finally today they were ready for banana bread!  You know the type – so pitiful and sad that they look like they might just literally fall off of the banana tree at any given moment?  Those are perfect for banana bread!  And with Tommy coming home tomorrow night I thought a treat would be nice for him.  : )

 Copied directly from Katie’s blog:

Ingredients:
1/2 c. shortening
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
1 c. mashed bananas (about 3 medium; the browner, the better!)
3 Tbsp sour cream
1 Tbsp lemon juice
2 c. flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Directions:
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-In bowl of stand mixer, cream shortening and sugar.
-Beat in eggs one at a time; then bananas, sour cream, and lemon juice.
-Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda.
-Slowly add dry ingredients to mixture.
-Pour into greased and floured 9x5x3 loaf pan.
-Bake for 60 minutes.

 Mrs. Pig Rating:  This is a REALLY good banana bread.  It is really moist and has a great flavor.  I definitely think this is the best one that I have made so far!  Thank you Katie!

Recipe from Good Things Catered, Picture from my kitchen

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NFR: Vote for me please :)

February 27, 2008 at 12:23 am | Posted in Fun | 4 Comments

As most of you know, I married my best friend last year – July 6, 2007.  We had an amazing wedding – outdoor ceremony at one of my favorite wineries and the reception there as well, followed be the best honeymoon ever in Hawaii.  I have to admit, I still like to look at my wedding pictures pretty frequently.  It truly was the best day of my life – everything about it was fun and great and full of love just how we wanted it to be.  : )

 When planning our wedding, The Knot was an invaluable resource for me.  I learned so many great things on that website.  In addition to that, I made some amazing friends through our July 2007 board.  We all still talk daily and I never thought I would be one to make friends online, but alas, it has happened and I love my girls (CHEESE!).  : )  I can’t wait to meet them in Chicago in April!

The Knot is sponsoring a contest for best wedding of 2007.  I usually don’t enter these things, but of course, I like every other bride thinks that her wedding was the most gorgeous one of the year.  : )  (But mine really was….oh…er, I mean…..;)  A lot of my great Jknottie friends have also entered…maybe one of us will win something since collectively our weddings were THE best of 2007! 

You can vote for me by clicking on this —–> link.  I appreciate all of your votes!!!!!!!  : )  THANK YOU!

For a sneak peek and for some of the pictures that didn’t make the contest (I could only enter 7….SEVEN?!….how do you narrow THAT down?!)

Sheridan (my stepdaughter) wanted to keep her dress a surprise until the day of the wedding from Tommy just as I was.  This was when she first saw him that day.  So cute!

Yes folks, those are wine barrels.  We were married at a winery, of course I had to have some barrell shots!

One of my absolute favorite pictures from the day – we went out walking through the vineyards after the ceremony.  Very romantic and memorable!

I surprised Tommy with a UK football groom’s cake.  : )

Ah, I love cheesiness.  🙂  No, really I do.

Okay, I’ll spare you any more.  I go through stages of obsession with my pictures but I’m sure all of my readers do not so I’ll stop there…. 

Mr. Cuppycakes Loves Me!

February 26, 2008 at 2:56 am | Posted in Cupcakes | 4 Comments

Today I arrived home to find a box waiting on our doorstep!  And the return address was….iheartcuppycakes!  YAY!  I thought I might be able to guess what was in the box, and I was right!  It was “Red Wino and Chocolate Cupcakes” from Clara!  YAY!

Funny story behind the making of these cupcakes.  Clara called me the night she was going to make these.  Now, she called me from the wine aisle of her grocery store.  She was very confused by the many, many choices of wine that stared her in the face.  🙂  She was asking me how they were normally arranged, etc.  She was looking for a red Zinfandel.  Easy enough, however I couldn’t quite convey to her how to look for that….because she thought Zinfandel was a brand of wine!!  I about died.  Okay, so I guess not everyone knows wine that well.  But it gave me a good laugh anyway.  🙂  I explained to her that Zinfandel was a GRAPE not a BRAND and on we went.  🙂   She never found a red Zin so I told her to try a Shiraz ( a red that I actually like…I’m much more of a white wine drinker…).  She said they turned out well.  I wanted to find out for myself so… 

I was so excited to find these on my doorstep today! 

These are super super yummy!!!!!!!!!  They did not travel well (California to Indiana…hm) but they really are very yummy.  🙂  I am so happy that Clara sent these to me!  If you want to see the pretty version, check them out on her blog.  I will post a pic of how they ended up coming to me.  But OMG.  Really good nonetheless – I love strawberries and the cuppys were so moist and good!

Andrea’s Turkey Meatballs

February 25, 2008 at 3:00 am | Posted in pasta, Turkey | 2 Comments

I have to admit…normally, I am not a fan of meat, other than chicken.  The thought of a big hunk of meat is not appealing to me usually.  However, I love Italian food and I was in the mood for pasta, but something different.  So I saw these meatballs on my friend Andrea’s blog and they seemed to be pretty healthy and they looked really yummy, so I thought, why not?  I haven’t had meatballs in my spaghetti for years and the ingredients sounded really good! 

I took out the ingredients and started mixing them all together and then got to the step where I had to actually mix with my hands.  I’m not quite so sure that it would have been THAT bad except for not only did I have to dig into raw meat, but I had to touch a raw egg mixed in with it?!  That goes way beyond my normal threshold but I was already that far into it so I just dug in.  I have to tell you….feeling all of that with my hands really nauseated me.  LOL  I truly do have a low tolerance for meat and slimy things.  Anyway…I plugged on.  My mother would be proud.  : ) 

I did use an ice cream scoop like Andrea mentioned doing for making the meatballs all about the same size.  I threw them in the pan and let them do their thing.  These were kind of high maintenance as you have to constantly turn them to ensure that they are evenly cooked.

I served these with my favorite spaghetti sauce (yes, I cheated and used a jar sauce…I’m lazy today) and wheat pasta.  This made about 4 servings – I have plenty for lunch this week now!  : )

Pig Rating:  Pig is in Dubai : (

Mrs. Pig Rating:  Okay, like I said, I wanted to hurl when touching this raw meat with the raw egg….having said that, these are really REALLY good!  I am not even a big meat fan, but these were seriously some of the best meatballs I’ve ever eaten.  I will definitely keep this recipe without a doubt.  I recommend this to anyone wanting a somewhat healthy meatball recipe. 

 

Friday night “Girls Night In”

February 24, 2008 at 9:47 pm | Posted in Mexican food | 3 Comments

While Tommy is away in Dubai, I wanted to something fun with my best friend since we don’t often get the opportunity to see each other anymore.  I invited her to my house to spend night and have a “girls night in” where we could just eat until we were sick and drink wine like there was no tomorrow. 

For dinner I knew that I wanted to make chicken nachos because, well, any excuse to make those and I am ready!  (Side note: she told her boyfriend what I was making, showed him the picture and he said they looked like barf…I digress…)  I also had a new recipe that I wanted to try.  While at a superbowl party this year someone brought these awesome little Mexican flavored snacks and I knew I had to try to make them!  My friend gave me the recipe – this isn’t really one with measurements, it’s kind of just a throw it all in type thing.  We’ll call these “Chicken & Ranch filled Wontons” for the sake of them having some sort of name  : )

Ingredients:

shredded chicken
ranch dressing (don’t use fat free, it won’t taste as good)
mexican cheese (I used colby jack)
chili powder
wonton wraps
green peppers
cuppycake pan

Directions:
push wonton wrappers in cupcake pan, bake at 350 for 4 or 5 min

fill with:
pulled chicken mixed with ranch you kind of want your mixture to be a little soupy so it doesn’t dry out.
top with diced green peppers and mex cheese. sprinkle with chili powder.
bake for a few more minutes until cheese melts.

These were pretty good – I think when my friend made them they were better, but I think I learned from making this batch.  I put a little too much ranch in, so next time I will add less, but these are so stinking good.  Not good for you, but perfect for a night where you don’t care about calorie intake.  : )

Also, my best friend (the one with the famous sugar cookie recipe!!!) brought me some snickerdoodles that she had made earlier in the day.  YUUUMMM!!!  They were super good.  She said the bag was way too cheesy for me to post a picture, but come on.  She is a kindergarten teacher – she can’t help it, right?  : )  

February SBGEX: Kitchen Gadget Exchange

February 24, 2008 at 9:37 pm | Posted in Cupcakes, Fun, kitchen utensils, SBGEX | 3 Comments

As you all know by now, a group of my wonderful foodie friends and I have a “baked goods exchange” every month.  This month we decided to do instead of baked goods, a kitchen gadget exchange.  I thought this sounded like so much!!!  There are always gadgets that I want but won;t actually buy for myself (among some of my current wants – a garlic press, a mini muffin pan, a dough scoop…I could go on!) ever. 

One of the things I have been wanting is a little set to help me learn to ice cupcakes and cakes – something to actually make my icing look pretty!  Some of my friends do amazing things with cupcakes (like Clara @ iheartcuppycakes).  Now, while I doubt I ever get that into it, I would like to be able to do some neat things every now again. 

My February gift arrived Friday evening and I was so excited!!  My secret baker/exchanger this month was….Alanna!!!  I opened it up and inside was a 25 piece Wilton cake decorating set!!!  But wait, that wasn’t all….also some awesome Anne Taintor napkins, because I just adore her stuff.  But best of all, she had put in some of her latest cupcakes – the Vanilla Nut Martini cupcakes.  I have to tell you, what is so funny about this is that all week I have been telling her how good these look and how I couldn’t wait to make them this weekend.  I have been literally just drooling over them – I LOOVE vanilla and these just looked amazing!!  So now I don’t actually  have to make them this weekend – I can just eat these!  Um, actually though, they are already gone.  They were so good.  They didn’t last long.  My best friend was literally just eating the icing out of the pastry bag.  These are hands down, THE best cupcakes I have ever eaten.  The icing absolutely  makes the cupcake.  You are awesome Alanna!!!!!

Shrimp and Mushroom Linguini with Creamy Cheese Herb Sauce

February 24, 2008 at 9:28 pm | Posted in Chicken, pasta | Leave a comment

I am so behind on updating the blog, but we had this for dinner last week sometime.  I have been wanting to try a pasta with a cream sauce and shrimp for Tommy – he always likes that type of dish when we are out to eat, so I thought why not.  This one looked easy enough and I knew I could add chicken instead of shrimp for me.  I found this one on allrecipes.com

Ingredients

  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese (I used low fat)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried basil
  • 2/3 cup boiling water
  • 1/2 pound cooked shrimp (I used chicken for me)
  • 1 (8oz) package linguine pasta
  • I also added a dash of red pepper

Directions

  1. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add linguini, and cook until tender, about 7 minutes. Drain.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add mushrooms; cook and stir until tender. Transfer to a plate.
  3. In the same pan, melt 1/2 cup butter with the minced garlic. Stir in the cream cheese, breaking it up with a spoon as it melts. Stir in the parsley and basil. Simmer for 5 minutes. Mix in boiling water until sauce is smooth. Stir in cooked shrimp and mushrooms, and heat through.
  4. Toss linguini with shrimp sauce, and serve.

 

 Pig Rating:  The pig wasn’t very fond of this one.  He liked the shrimp but something about the sauce he didn’t like.  I think I’ve determined he doesn’t like sauces with cream cheese in them.  Hmm…

Mrs. Pig Rating:  I thought this was really good.  I probably won’t make it again since Tommy didn’t like it, but I thought the sauce was really good – creamy and had lots of flavor.

Menu: Feb 24 – March 1

February 23, 2008 at 6:19 pm | Posted in Menus | 3 Comments

Tommy is in Dubai for most of the week so making a menu was a little harder this week – I forgot how much I hate cooking for one!!! 

Sunday:  Andrea’s turkey meatballs served over wheat pasta, side salad

Monday:  Italian stuffed chicken breasts, steamed veggies, side salad

Tuesday:  Cooking Light spicy chicken quesadillas

Wednesday:  Bruschetta chicken, steamed broccoli, salad

Thursday (Tommy gets home!):  Lasagna

Friday:  Eat out?

Saturday (kids): lunch – tacos, dinner – ?

Random things about me: 51-75

February 22, 2008 at 7:40 pm | Posted in Randomness | 7 Comments

I’m pretty bored at work today and feeling random so enjoy the latest installment of my randomness….  : )

51.  I have to take Xanax & Dramamine before flying
52. I love to send random cards to people
53. I loved to swing as a child
54. I still love to go to a park and swing.
55. In my last apartment, my bedroom was in a turret. I love round rooms.
56. I am highly allergic to bee stings
57. I think I have an obsession for collecting barware – wine glasses, martini glasses, etc.
58. I love the smell of a fire in a fireplace
59. I have been deer hunting before
60. I am a reality TV junkie
61. I used to have a massive rock collection
62. I drink about 96oz of water daily
63. My first CD ever bought was Ace of Base
64. I am an American Idol junkie
65. I am a very messy baker
66. I used to mix my mashed potatoes and corn together to eat them
67. I also used to eat fingers full of butter when mom would sit the butter on the table (gross)
68. I have a bad habit of biting my lips
69. I used to bite my nails so bad they would bleed
70. I am very obsessive about getting my eyebrows waxed
71. I never really learned to subtract well – I just couldn’t be taught. I still struggle.
72. I (like Amanda) still stare at my engagement ring probably too many times a day (I just love it!)
73. I think Hawaii is the most gorgeous place on earth
74. I get road rage really bad – I hate idiot drivers
75. I used to collect porcelain dolls. They kind of freak me out now.

So, my mom says to me….

February 19, 2008 at 1:39 am | Posted in Fun | 10 Comments

Tommy will be going out of town next week for business.  He travels for his job some – not nearly as much as he used to (he’s been to Japan around 35 times…usually for about a month at a time) but he still has to travel every now and again.  Next week he is traveling to Dubai.  When he travels, I like to busy myself with visiting my parents, friends, etc.  I was planning a slumber party (read: excuse to drink bottle(s) of wine & gossip) with my mom but I wasn’t sure what night I would go yet.  Conversation had with my mom earlier via phone:

Me:  Oh yeah, I’m coming to spend the night with you guys on Saturday of next weekend.  Not Friday, Saturday.

Mom:  Yes, I already know.  I saw it on your blog.

HA!  Seriously.  We are really living in 2008 when your mom knows what day you are coming to visit from being a frequent reader of your blog rather than you actually physically telling her.  : ) 

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