Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Where in the World is......

Hey Folks!

Finals are creeping up and I have 4 tests, 1 quiz, and a lab practical to go with 2.5 weeks of school left. Awesome, right? The good news is I have all A's, but I haven't had time for much else besides sleep and a slight existential crisis. Who decides to go back to school and take S.T.E.M courses when they have a full time job, husband and child? Me I guess. 

Anyhoo, I've been cooking and created several drafts to publish but haven't had time to apply the finishing touches. Hang in there with me! I meant to upload a few things this past Sunday but just wasn't able to get to it.

Oh, BTW, my oven is broken. Hilarious, right? No need to worry. Delicious crock-pot meals and stove top creations are still being concocted. I will post a few things by Saturday night I promise. Check in soon.



P.S. Isn't Ms. Carmen Sandiego fabulously on point in that red trench coat? Rachel Roy says fiery reds are totally in this fall. Check out the Pantone colors and article here.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Baked Spaghetti Squash

My local Kroger had Spaghetti Squash $0.77 a pound so I couldn't pass it up. I was in a rush so I remade my Chicken Parm and Sauteed Mustard's and paired this squash for a new meal. Here's how I did it.

You'll need:
1 Spaghetti Squash
Olive Oil
5 Cloves Garlic, minced
1/4 Medium Onion, chopped
1 tsp Kosher Salt
Fresh Cracked Pepper
1/2 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/4 cup Parmesan 

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Rinse the squash to remove any dirt or debris. Dry and place on a kitchen towel or paper towels to prevent the squash from rolling around. You'll need a large sharp knife to cut the squash. For the initial cut I use the entire length of my knife and cut as deep as possible across the length of the squash (3-9 if you were looking at a clock). I then insert the knife vertically and pull it forward (like a clock going from 12 to 3) to cut through the entire squash. Turn and repeat that movement on the other side. You should now have a squash that looks like this:

2. Take a fork or spoon and pull out all the seeds. I repeat, remove all the seeds. If you don't you will be in agony city. Place the halves on a cookie sheet covered with aluminum foil.

3. Drizzle the squash with olive oil and rub the garlic into the flesh and cavity of the squash. Take 1/2 of your chopped onion and rub it into the flesh as well. Sprinkle with salt, pepper, onion and garlic powder.

4. Place it on the middle rack of your oven, uncovered and cook for 40-60 minutes. When it's done it will easily string.

5. Let it cool for about 3 minutes, just long enough so you can touch the sides without being burned. Add your Parmesan and the remaining onion and start to pull the squash apart using a fork. Fold onion and Parmesan into the squash as you pull it from the side. Mix thoroughly and adjust seasonings.

SN: Im sure you could take the squash seeds and roast them as you would pumpkin seeds. I plan on doing this next time I make this dish.

Friday, November 1, 2013

DIY: 5 Step Scarf

I needed a black and grey scarf for an outfit but of course I don't own one. I do however own a black and grey sundress. Here's how to turn a cotton sundress into a scarf.

1. Lay the dress down flat and let's call the top side A and the bottom side B

2. Gather the dress and cross the bottom over the top   (side B over side A).

3. Loop Side A over Side B.  
4. Continue the loop by bringing side A under side B, forming a knot. 
5. Tuck remaining fabric of side A into the knot that has formed and you're done. You now have a scarf.

This is a fun and easy DIY project. Try it with floral or geometric prints and let me know what you come up with. 

Pawley's Front Porch

Our trip to North Myrtle Beach was fun, not long enough but fun.
There were several crazy things that happened to delay our arrival- one being Waze, our free turn by turn navigation, was on crack and lead us in every possible direction beside the shortest and our oil change fiasco which I could tell you about later. With our arrival to sand and sun hours delayed due to all the wackiness we decided to stick with our initial plan of eating at a decent hour, ya' know before sundown. It's kinda' a rarity since I'm back in school but since I was on fall break and Ellie was at Gran's (my mom's) we were gonna eat before sun down so help us! Since Waze was cracked out leading us to believe we were nowhere near NMB, we decided to take a delicious detour at the urging of Guy Fieri host of Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and headed to Pawley's Front Porch in the 5 Points area of Columbia SC. We were glad we did.

We arrived during happy hour to a nice selection of discounted wine, well drinks and drafts. They also had a really nice and long wait too. Luckily, we hopped on over to the bar outside and copped a squat there... and still waited. LOL. It was busy but they were broadcasting sports so the hubster and I were cool. When the bartender/waiter was able to assist us he was nice. The food took a little while to arrive, but again, they were super busy.

Joe had a Wadmalaw burger with hand cut fries and I had a Fripp Island burger with sweet potato fries. When they brought the plates out our eyes got big. It was a lot of food but we will never complain about that.

Joe let me take a bite of his huge burger and large portion of fries. It was good. It was a flavorful, moist and all around tasty burger with chipotle BBQ sauce, red onions, bacon and cheddar.  Might've had more to it but I can't remember.

Now on to my meal. Do not misunderstand me when I say this. I liked my burger but my sweet potato fries.....
Those sweet, slightly salty, crispy on the outside, soft on the inside strips of potato were so dern good I could have had 2 plates full. Everybody can't do sweet potato fries. I can't do sweet potato fries, yet, but I love them. So when I say I could have had a plate full of sweet potato fries it's not to say my burger wasn't good, I just really, really, REALLY love sweet potato fries.

My burger was tasty. It came with what was described as "southern salsa" (black eyed peas, onion and tomato mixture), a fried green tomato and boursin cheese.

I honestly I'd probably have Joe's burger if I went back because I liked it better but my burger was good too. If you're in Columbia, SC visit Pawley's. You won't be disappointed.

I wish I had more pictures to share but you live and you learn.

The Rolling Feast

I just had the most sensational food truck experience when I visited The Rolling Feast. This truck gave me the best first impression ever. When, not if, but when I go back, if the next dish is as heavenly, this will be my favorite food truck in all of Nashville. You read that correctly, I will love them more than The Grilled Cheeserie.

Anyway, I was thinking I hadn't tried any new food trucks in a while so I surfed over to the Nashville Food Truck Association website and looked for something to catch my eye. The pictures associated with The Rolling Feast did the trick so I checked out their website and schedule. They would be near my job in two days, so I waited. Two days later they were parked right down the street at beautiful Centennial Park and after a short drive I moseyed on up to their window. No lines in sight on this chilly 52 degree day. When I looked at the website earlier in the week I decided on the rolled tacos, but there were not on the menu when I got to the window. The nice guy working  the window suggested my already planned second choice of Chicken Nachos with Pablano Queso. After I paid for my $8 nachos and included a tip I waited for my food to be prepared. I watched them doing prep work, watched a set up crew setting up a tent outside the Parthenon  and watched the clouds rolling by since no one was there. I mean no one. The other food trucks, including Smoke Et Al and the Grilled Chesserie, of which I've both visited where just as vacant. Where were my other foodie peeps at? Just a week ago there was a long line at Hoss Loaded Burgers but it was also sunny and slightly breezy. Not dreary like today.

Anyhoo, I see the final touches being made to my nachos and I'm feeling good about it. Then the guy turns around and I see a mile high pile of deliciousness coming towards me and my eyes glaze over. It might've been food love at first site. These nachos were so beautiful. Fresh made chips topped with pinto beans, chicken, poblano chile queso, pico, cilantro and a heap of poblano crema on top with  tons of shredded, melted, gooey cheese. Oh My God. Seriously.OMG. I tried to conceal my giddiness because after all, I hadn't even tasted the nachos yet. I walked to my car, unlocked the door and let out a sequel of delight as I looked down at my lap. I actually hate eating in my car but there was just no way I was gonna' chance wasting one bite of this meal. The food was practically overflowing from the cute recyclable container they served it in.

I took one bite and my anticipation was proven to be well deserved. Did I already say OMG? This food was just so good. The cheese, the cream, the chips, everything was delicious. My only regret was not getting the Mexican Hot Chocolate they served for $1.  Look them up, find out where they are going to be, go try them. I know you won't regret it!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Plaid and Leather: 1 Shirt, 3 Ways

Plaid and leather have been everywhere lately. Here are a few ideas to that fall in line with this fall's trend using 1 shirt, styled 3 ways:

 Boots: Urban Original
Plaid Shirt Dress: F21
Belt: Target
Jewelry: Random Bangles

 Racer Back T: F21
Real Leather Pants: Thrifted
Shoes: Carlos Santana
Jewelry: Eagles and Wings


Faux Leather Skirt: Thrifted
Shoes: Steve Madden
Jewelry: F21 or CR or Claires

Last Minute Chicken Parmesan and Sauteed Mustard Greens

Hey Folks!
My last few weeks have been super crazy with back to back tests on Monday and Tuesday,  a quiz the next Wednesday with a paper due that Thursday, then another test the following Monday and a lab practical on Thursday. Did I mention I have a full time job that is a 40 minute drive, more depending on traffic? Oh, plus family too. I have another test this upcoming Tuesday but I need a break so I decided since my professor allowed us to leave early after the practical that I would go to the library and print off his much appreciated study guide, then whip something up at home and rest my brain . It was 7 pm when I left the university library so I was not going to the grocery. I did however go by the local libation emporium and pick up my favorite cheapy wine, Yellow Tail Chardonnay. Don't judge me, it's my thing. I got home, quickly defrosted my chicken under running water and got to cooking.

Here's what you'll need:
1/2 Cup Roasted Garlic Bread Crumbs
1/2 Cup Italian Bread Crumbs
1 tablespoons Italian Seasoning 
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
Salt (I used Himalayan Pink Sea Salt)
Fresh Black Pepper
8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts cutlets (those are what i had but you can halve then pound breasts for the same end result)
Olive oil
10 cloves garlic, minced
1 whole large onion, (1/2 chopped, 1/2 sliced)
3 Vine Ripe Tomatoes, chopped
Favorite Tomato Basil Sauce ( I used Newman's)
1/2 Cup of white wine (Yellow Tail of course, but I'm sure red is great too)
Room Temperature Mozzarella Cheese (I used shredded store brand because I didn't have fresh on hand)
Juice of 1/2 a lemon
1 bunch Mustard Greens, washed and stems removed

Directions for Chicken Parmesan:

Combine Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and grated Parmesan in a plate for dredging. Mix thoroughly.

Heat olive oil in pan over medium-high heat. I initially use medium high just to make sure my pan is  hot enough, then lower the heat to medium.

Season one side of chicken with salt and pepper, then place seasoned side down in bread crumb mixture. Season the remaining side and flip to completely cover in bread crumbs. Press down to make sure mixture adheres, then shake to rid the meat of any excess crumbs.

Place chicken in hot pan and turn heat to medium. Pan fry until until golden brown, about 2-3 minutes on each side. Once the chicken is beautifully brown and cooked through, remove from pan and set aside, covered with foil.

chicken parm

In the same pan, add the chopped onions and 1/2 the minced garlic and more olive oil if necessary. Stir around picking up any browned bits off the bottom of the pan and cook until onion is translucent. Add your chopped tomatoes and cook for about 3 minutes, then add half your jar of tomato sauce and the wine. Let that simmer for about 10 minutes and taste. Add any additional salt, pepper and Italian seasoning to the sauce then cook for another 10 minutes.

You now have options. You can return the chicken to the pan and place the mozzarella on top and cover to allow the cheese to melt or you can place the chicken on your plate, followed by sauce and then mozzarella.

I returned my chicken to the pan with the sauce to warm it through. When I plated it I flipped it so the sauce side was facing up. I then put my room temperature cheese on top. That is why it's important to have room temperature cheese.  It melts quickly and without much assistance. Now you have beautiful Chicken Parmesan.

chicken parm

Directions for the Sauteed Mustard Greens:

1. While the chicken is cooking place the remaining garlic and sliced onions in a pan and coat with oil and let sit for about 15 minutes while you're preparing your other dish. With the garlic and onion and oil sitting on the hot stove, the oil seems to pick up some of the flavor of the onion and garlic.

2.Cook onion and garlic on medium heat until translucent and starting to slightly brown. Add about a tablespoon of wine to the onion and garlic. Slowly add your mustard greens in bits, seasoning each new addition with salt and pepper, then turning so they pick up garlic and onion and wine. I had about four or five divisions. Cook until wilted and softened. Shouldn't take more than 10 minutes.

3. Taste and adjust seasonings, Add lemon juice and serve.

mustard greens