Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I'm not even sure what this costume is supposed to be
but when I saw it at Target I knew I had to put it on Cheeto.
He loves it, can't you tell?

Have a Happy Halloween!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Filling In The Blanks

First off, Happy Birthday to my sister!
I hope you have a great weekend!

I am really looking forward to having  a relaxing weekend
and spending time with my husband,
who has been working WAY too much lately.

Did anyone catch the finale of Project Runway?
I was shocked!
I loved Anya's designs but I didn't think they were win- worthy.
And you know Joshua was so pissed that she won!
I thought for sure Viktor would win -
his clothes were always so beautiful and made perfectly.
I can't wait for next season!

And finally, it's time for Fill In The Blank Friday.
Head on over to Lauren's blog to join in!

1.   When I was a kid I wanted to be      an astronaut    when I grew up.

2.   As an adult, my dream job would be   a baker, a writer, a photographer - to have this blog be a profitable "job"      .

3.  W hen I was younger I wanted to be just like  my sister   .

4. The childhood Halloween costume that I remember most was when I was    a blue crayon.  So random - I don't know how I picked it.  I do remember that I lost my hat (the tip of the crayon) at school and the teacher made everyone stay in at recess until we found it.  Needless to say, I wasn't very popular!   .

5.  My favorite childhood toy was    my Cabbage Patch dolls.  I would carry them over to my friends house, getting taunted by the boys in the neighborhood, so we could play house with them.

6.  The time I got into the biggest amount of trouble when I was a kid was when I     hmm, I don't remember.  I never really got in that much trouble.  My one friend got banned from coming to my house after we got caught having a party.  And there was the time after I totaled my car, then knocked the side mirror off my mom's car a week later, when my dad said if I got a scratch on his car I'd be riding my bike for the rest of my life.

7.  I get daily inspiration from    other bloggers, and my husband who is always so positive and kind .

Thursday, October 27, 2011

I'm Not a Crazy Cat Lady

I have a habit of taking pictures of my cat, Cheeto,
with my iphone.
I can't help it...
He does so many cute things 
and I want to document all of them!

Here's a sampling...

Sleeping on my chest...

Sleeping on the hubby's back...

Checking out a noise outside...

And my personal fave.....Laser Cat!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Greek Chicken with Tzatziki Sauce

This is hands-down one of my favorite weeknight meals.
It's super quick and easy to put together,
filled with flavor,
and a hit with the husband.

I first found this recipe on Food Loves Writing
and adapted the Tzatziki sauce from several on

Basically, you chop up a chicken breast,
toss it with some marinade,
and let sit for a few minutes or several hours.
Then you chop up a cucumber,
mix it with some yogurt,
squeeze some lemon juice,
and wah-lah....homemade Tzatziki sauce!
Cook the chicken in a pan for a few minutes,
stuff it in a pita,
top with sauce,
and you have dinner.

Tzatziki Sauce
1 8oz container Greek Yogurt
1 cucumber, peeled, seeded, and chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tablespoon lemon juice
salt and pepper

Most recipes call for regular yogurt to be strained. 
But I've found that Greek yogurt is thick enough and works really well.

Mix all ingredients in a bowl.  Season with salt and pepper.
For the best flavor, let the sauce sit in the fridge for an hour or so.

Greek Chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon oregano
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 chicken breast, chopped into bite size pieces

Mix the first 6 ingredients.  Pour into a large ziploc or baking dish.
Add chicken pieces and let marinate for 3 hours or overnight.
Or, I've marinated for as little as 30 minutes and it still came out flavorful.

When ready, pour everything into a pan on medium heat.
Cook until chicken is no longer pink.
Stuff into pitas and serve with Tzatziki Sauce.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Fill In The Blanks - Fall Edition!

Things have been pretty quiet here on the blog lately.
Mainly because I've just been feeling tired and under-the-weather.
And partly because of my busted camera - 
I hate  having to rely on fuzzy iphone pictures.
Hopefully things turn around soon.
I've been itching to do some fall baking
and have some fun plans with friends coming up.

In any case, I'm liking up with Lauren's blog again for Fill In The Blank Friday.
Head on over and join in!

1.   Nothing says fall like      the smells of cinnamon, apples, and pumpkin things in the kitchen.

2.   My favorite autumnal tradition is   hmm, I don't really have an autumn tradition.  I just love the cooler weather, cuddling up in my flannel pjs and fuzzy socks, and drinking hot apple cider or pumpkin lattes.

3.  My favorite fall treat is   anything pumpkin (except pumpkin pie) - pumpkin bread, cookies, lattes...yum!

4. Fall makes me think of    family    because    both my sister's and my birthdays are in the Fall, and of course there's Thanksgiving.

5.  Autumn free form word association, go!    colorful leaves, cool crisp air, apple and pumpkin, scarves and boots.

6.  My go-to outfit in the fall is     living in California, my wardrobe doesn't change too drastically with the seasons, but Fall usually brings more leggings, boots, and big sweaters.

7.  My favorite fall holiday is (Halloween or Thanksgiving)    Thanksgiving, hands down.  First off, I don't get into Halloween too much - I'm just not creative enough to come up with fun costumes and my party days are behind me.  I love Thanksgiving - the gathering of family, mashed potatoes and green bean casserole, the gluttonous all day food's the best!

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Slow Cooker - Carnitas Tacos

Again, please excuse the blurry iphone photos.
I dropped my camera and broke the lens.
And I'm poor.  
So we'll have to settle for blurry photos for a while.

Moving on...

I love my slow cooker.
I mean, really, you throw in a bunch of stuff at noon
go to work, run your errands, veg on the couch
and 6-8 hours later you have dinner.
Sometimes I wish I could cook every meal that way!

This Carnitas recipe from Epicurious is one of my favorites.

It is the definition of easy,
with less than 10 ingredients 
and is SOO flavorful.
If you want to impress your husband or friends,
this is the perfect recipe!

(adapted from Epicurious)
2 lbs pork shoulder (Boston butt) cut into 1 inch pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1 1/2 teaspoons dried oregano 
1/2 large onion, cut into 4 pieces
corn tortillas
fresh cilantro
other fixings (sour cream, onions, etc.)

Toss the pork pieces in the bowl of the slow cooker with the salt, pepper, and oregano.  
Place onion pieces on top of the pork.
Cook on low about 6 hours, till meat is tender and falling apart.
Shred the meat with two forks.
Serve on corn tortillas with avocado, cilantro, or any other toppings you like.
(I love using Greek yogurt instead of sour cream. 
It has the same sour taste with much less fat.)


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Lemon Chicken with Roasted Potatoes and Mushrooms

Today I had a huge craving for roasted potatoes.
And we had some chicken in the fridge that needed to be used.
Thus, our dinner was planned!
It was all really quick and easy to put together
making it a the perfect weeknight meal.

I based the chicken off this Ina Garten recipe
but used skinless breasts and eliminated the wine
(only because we don't drink much white wine in this house).

Lemon Chicken
Put 2 skinless chicken breasts in a shallow dish,
season with salt and pepper,
drizzle with olive oil,
and top with minced garlic, fresh thyme, and a couple lemon slices.
 Squeeze some fresh lemon juice on top
and bake in a 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Roasted Potatoes
Dice 4 red potatoes and slice 8-10 mushrooms
Toss with some olive oil, salt, pepper, and fresh rosemary
Roast in the oven alongside the chicken for 30 minutes, turning once.

Mmm mmmm, soooo good.
These really hit the spot -
Especially when dinner was finished off 
with some Ben n Jerry's Phish Food!

Do you have any go-to weeknight dinners?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Filling

So, a few weeks ago I dropped my camera on the kitchen floor.
Every time I used it and set it on the kitchen counter
I had a small fear that it would get knocked off.
Then it did.


The lens hit the floor and broke.
Now, it could've been much worse;
the camera itself still works just fine.
But I'm left with only a zoom lens
which doesn't come in so handy 
when photographing food in my dark kitchen.

All of this is to explain why my food pictures
will now be of the blurry iphone variety
until the birthday fairy or Santa Clause
decide to get me a new lens.

Moving on....

This Friday it thundered and rained here in L.A.
making it feel very Fall-ish.
And I got inspired to make something with pumpkin.
Because nothing says Fall better than pumpkin.

I dug up this recipe for pumpkin bread
but decided to turn it into bars instead,
just because I'm crazy like that.
They're actually kind of a cake/bar hybrid,
and completely delicious.
We brought them to a BBQ this weekend 
and there wasn't a crumb left.
So I guess they were a hit!

Pumpkin Bars with Cream Cheese Filling
(adapted from Nancy Creative)

1 8oz package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 2/3 cup all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/2 cup canola oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar

1 cup powdered sugar
2 to 2 1/2 Tablespoons half and half
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325.
Grease a 9x13 pan.
In a medium bowl, mix ingredients for filling until smooth and creamy.
Set aside

In another bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and spices.
In yet another bowl, mix the pumpkin, oil, eggs, and sugar.  Beat well.
Then add in the flour mixture.  Stir until just combined.

Spread half of the batter into the bottom of the pan.
Spread the cream cheese mixture on top.
Spoon the remaining batter on top of the filling.
It's okay if it doesn't completely cover the filling, or if it kinda mixes together.
Drag a knife back and forth through the top two layers to make a pretty marbled design.
Bake for about 35 minutes, until a toothpick stuck in the middle comes out clean.
Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the glaze, stir together the powdered sugar and milk until smooth.
Add the cinnamon and stir again.
Spread a thin layer over the cake.  
Allow to sit for an hour or so until glaze hardens.  
Cut into bars and enjoy!

To continue with the fall baking theme
I'd love to try this Pumpkin Bundt Cake
or this Apple Tart

Do you have any favorite fall baking recipes?