Why you should start a blog :)

Today was a wonderful day.  First thing, I got a text from Eric this morning.  He said he was making sauce. Along with the text was a photo of his laptop with my blog beaming from it along with some chopped onions in front of it. july 033  That made my day. 🙂

I started this blog because I was making pizzas for my family.  Martin and my friend Jill (from Atlanta) kept telling me to do a blog.  I thought they were crazy.  It ended up being a diary for my kids with family recipes along with many, many other recipes.  For Christmas 2014 I made “cookbooks” out of my blog recipes for the kids.  I chose recipes out of my blog that were traditional recipes for our family and ones I knew they enjoyed through the years.  I wanted them to have the love of my “kitchen madness” online and in a notebook in their own kitchens.  I believe I succeeded in sharing my love of food with each of them. Here is why;

Today, Eric sent me texts throughout the morning while I was at work.  The best one he sent was when he said his home “starting to smell like home”.  july 034 How awesome is that?! I knew exactly what he meant. I often have memories of my childhood in my home with the scents of what I cook in my kitchen today.  Especially, when I cook sauce (I think it’s the garlic). 🙂 Times in my kitchen will bring back Sunday memories at my childhood home or at my grandparents home.  The powerful scent of food and those very special days. My mom in the kitchen, all of my family at the kitchen table having a wonderful dinner, being at Grandpa Caruso’s with all my aunts,uncles and cousins.  They sure were special days that I can appreciate now.  I sure didn’t back then!!  By the way, Eric was happy with the end result of his sauce and had a delicious lunch!!

Then this afternoon I received a phone call from Martin2.  He said he called to say hi but mostly he wanted to let me know how much he enjoyed my blog. He thinks it is awesome how I share the recipes of our home and how he can check them out any time he wants. (He is living and working in Door County for the summer.)  He was heading into work and was bringing with him the Tarator (cold cucumber soup) he made this morning.  He made this recipe to share with his coworkers. How special is that!   He mentioned there is a Bulgarian coworker that he especially wanted to share this soup with.  He wanted to see what she thought of this recipe.  I have made Tarator many, many times in our home.  I will be curious to see what she thinks and take any advice she can give to make it more authentic to the Bulgarian way.  🙂

As I am typing away I received a text from Martin.  He was making Calamari for Martin2 for dinner.  He made a marinade for the Calamari and sent me a pic.July 001   He was very excited to make something he has never done before. (and looking forward to Martin2 coming home for a day!).  I thought it was ironic as I am sharing my thoughts on my blog that he ended up texting a pic of his dinner.  Once again a reminder of how much love we put in our food for each other.  I mentioned to him that Martin2 called earlier about my blog.  His reply was a perfect ending to the start of a wonderful day.  July 002

I never, ever thought this silly blog would end up meaning so much to my family.  It is so nice to see (especially all in one day, from the start to the end) that it truly does have meaning and shows my family how special they are to me and how much I love every single one of them.  Am I lucky or what?!

IMG_4261Kent and I june 018Lily and Paige june 017 Eric and Rachel june 021Martin and Martin2 july 008 and last but not least Roonster!

 

Meatloaf Mashed Potato Cupcakes

So, Kent called me to watch this TV segment.  It was a woman (Hungry Girl) showing a recipe he thought we would enjoy.  Think about this, a meat loaf with mashed potatoes on top.  Not too difficult a concept.  I watched it and thought what a fabulous idea.  I made the recipe per her directions.  It was quite delicious.  However, next time I will make some Dawn changes.  They were a little dry.  Maybe fresh bread crumbs versus oatmeal.  Just a thought. Here is the recipe. It is so easy and fast, but I think it could be much more delish.  Here goes;

Meatloaf Mashed Potato Cupcakes

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Ingredients

2 pounds ground chuck
1 medium red bell pepper, chopped
1 small white onion, chopped
1 egg white
1/2 cup oatmeal (You may want to switch that out for bread crumbs)
1/4 cup ketchup
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt and pepper

Mashed Potatoes

6 medium red potatoes, diced
2 Tablespoons sour cream
2 Tablespoons softened buter
1/2 teaspooon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon gound pepper

These mashed potatoes are DELISH!!

Directions

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with a non stick cooking spray.
2.  In a large bowl combine all meatloaf ingredients
3.  Evenly distribute meatloaf mixture in muffin tins. july 009 Bake until firm and cooked through with lightly browned edges.  About 15-20 minutes. (After they were done, I removed the baked meatloaf cupcakes from the tins.  I ended up soaking up the fat from the tins. – just a suggestion.)july 015 🙂
4.  While the meatloaf cupcakes are baking, make mashed potatoes.
5. When all are done, evenly top mini meatloaves with mashed potatoes.  july 016
6.  Set oven to broil.  Put back in oven and let top of mashed potatoes get golden brown.  About 3-5 minutes.  july 018 Makes 6 servings, 2 cupcakes per serving.

This is a great recipe. ( However, I will make some changes next time.  When I do I will update the recipe.)  For now it is Simple and Delicious.  Give it a try!!

Cucumber Smash – Fogo de Chao

Went to Chicago for 4th of July weekend.  Kent and I went to Fogo de Chao, a Brazilian Steakhouse for dinner.  I asked the bartender what he would recommend for a refreshing drink.  He made me a Cucumber Smash.  I have not tried this yet at home.  I thought I would post the recipe for those who would love to make a simple and delicious drink at home. I hope to make a few of these before the summer ends.  Here is the recipe;

Cucumber Smash

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Ingredients

1 Cucumber (cut two ½ inch slices, then quarter. Cut three 1/16 inch slices for garnish)
1 fresh mint sprig
½ oz. Lemon juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz. Hendricks Gin (This is the secret.  You HAVE to use Hendricks Gin)

Directions

1. Place cucumber, mint, and lemon juice into shaker. Muddle the ingredients well. (He did say I need to buy a muddle)
2. Add simple syrup, Hendricks Gin, and crushed ice. Top shaker with shaker glass and seal. Shake vigorously for 15 seconds.
3. Place sliced cucumber in bottom of glass.  Top with crushed ice. Strain the drink into your glass and top with a mint leaf.
4. Serve at once, and enjoy!

Note: If you do not have crushed ice, get a clean towel and place ice into the towel and hit it with rolling pin or hammer to crush the ice.

Can’t wait to make this one.  Had to post so I don’t forget to make this refreshing cocktail!!

Grown Up Grilled Cheese

When you were younger I bet your favorite grilled cheese sandwich was with Velveeta or American Cheese.  Right??  Well, the other night I got home late after grocery shopping after work.  I was craving a grilled cheese sandwich.  Believe it or not, I was going to make one with the yellow square cheese.  Then I remembered I had some fresh herbs (basil growing on my window sill!) and some Gruyere cheese.  This is what I ended up making.

Grilled Cheese Sandwich

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Ingredients

1 1/2 ounces Gruyere cheese, shredded
1 Tablespoon fresh herbs, chopped (I used basil, mint and rosemary)
1 Tablespoon Tuscan Herb Olive Oil (or plain olive oil)
Salt and pepper
2 pieces of bread (what kind you would enjoy)

Directions

1.  Brush one side of each piece of bread with olive oil.
2.  Place one piece of bread olive oil side down in frying pan over medium high heat.
3.  Add cheese, top with herbs, shake of salt and pepper, top with other piece of bread, olive oil side up.
4.  Fry each side until golden brown.

Takes less than 15 minutes from start to finish.  Simple and very Delicious!!

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

Summer is coleslaw time.  Here is a coleslaw recipe that is not creamy and I like it.  Originally made this for Jenni.  She is a friend from work.  She loves Festival Foods coleslaw.  Tried to duplicate it for her.  Now I make it often for me!  Made it this weekend with red cabbage.  No onions as Kent is not a fan. If you desire, add onions!  Takes no time at all.  Here is my recipe;

Sweet and Sour Coleslaw

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1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (you could also just do 1/2 cup of one or the other.  I combined the two.)
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 medium cabbage, shredded (I have used green and red cabbage, both delicious)
1 cup red or green bell pepper (I have done it with both.  I think I like the green pepper better.  I will be making it again soon.)
2 carrots, shredded
1 to 1 1/2 teaspoon celery seed
1 teaspoon ground mustard
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Directions

1.  Whisk sugar, vinegar and oil in large bowl.
2.  Add remaining ingredients and toss to combine.
3.  Cover and refrigerate at least 4 hours, tossing occasionally.

Simple and Delicious! Enjoy!!