Saturday, April 25, 2009

Happy Birthday Charlie!

My little one turned 2 this week. Today we had a little pool party here at the house and it was a lot of fun. I made this cute cake and cupcakes for the party. My friend Laurel did this last year for her son's bday and I had to steal the idea! It was super easy. I cheated and used boxed yellow cake mix and pre-made icing. I dyed the blue with Wilton royal blue. The "dog food" is Coco Puffs cereal. For the cupcakes, the ears are made of Tootsie Rolls (microwaved for 10 seconds to make pliable). The big eye is a Junior Mint candy, the noses are Recees Pieces. I used brown decorator gel for the rest.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Grilled Steak Rolls

I recently blogged about my Pan Seared Steak Rolls that I made. They were so good. Carl said that he didn't like the consistency of the meat because it was poached in the sauce pretty much. Tonight we decided to see if we could improve on the recipe a bit. I followed the recipe exactly the same as last time except this time, I grilled the steak rolls on my grill on low heat and prepared the sauce on the side. It was really good and I think it looked better with the yummy grill marks on each one. Definitely a pretty dinner.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Apple Cinnamon Oatmeal Bars

We decided to bake this afternoon, to pass some time. Sam and I are often looking for things to keep us busy when Charlie naps in the afternoons. Today, I let him pick out a cookie to make from my trusty Better Homes and Gardens cookbook. This is what he picked and Ive made them before, so I knew they would be good. They get a nice crunchy crust.

1 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
2/3 cup brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup butter
2-3 apples, peeled, cored and chopped (about 10 ounces)
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tbsp water
1 tbsp fresh lemon juice
a dash of ground cloves

Make the crust by mixing flour, oats, brown sugar and baking soda. Cut in butter with a pastry cutter until coarse crumbs form. Set aside 1/2 cup of the crumb mixture for later use. Press into the bottom of a 9x9 brownie pan. To make the filling, put the apples into a sauce pan with the water, lemon juice, cinnamon and cloves. Bring to a boil and cover and simmer for 8 minutes, or until the apples are tender. Remove from heat and pour over the prepared crust. Sprinkle the reserved crumb mixture over the top. Bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

The other day I was hanging out with my friend Elisabeth and she had chicken tortilla soup in her crockpot. I got the craving for it right away and made it the very next day. The recipe she had was from our friend Kristen. I didn't have everything that hers called for, so I kind of winged it and it turned out just the way I like it. This is so versatile. You could put beans in it or anything you have on hand really.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

3 chicken breasts
1 (15 ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes, mashed
1(10 ounce) can enchilada sauce (I used a green sauce and it was so good)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chili peppers
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cans of chicken broth
1 tsp cumin
1tsp chili powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
1 (10 ounce) package frozen corn

tortilla strips, sliced avocado, green onions, shredded cheese for serving.

Put everything into the crock pot and cook on low for 6 hrs. Remove chicken breasts and let cool. Shred them with a fork and return them to the crock pot and simmer another hour or as long as you need to until dinner. Put the tortilla crisps, avocado, green onions into a bowl and pour the soup over it. Top with cheese.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Pan Seared Steak Rolls

When I saw this recipe at Steamy Kitchen, I knew I had to try it and bookmarked it right away. Well, today was the day. This recipe was so easy and quick, perfect for a week night. The flavor was amazing! So much flavor. The meat was tender and tasted wonderful with the veggie mix. The original recipe called for Enoki mushrooms, and I couldn't find them, so I ended up using bean sprouts instead and it really worked well. Also, I didn't have chicken broth, so I subbed white wine. I served it over steamed rice and topped with crispy chow mein noodles. It was phenomenal!!! I cant wait to make this again. I told Carl it is definitely company worthy, and a snap to throw together...cant beat that!

Pan Seared Steak Rolls (from

8 ounces flank steak (4 inch x 6 inch piece) or 8 thin sliced sirloin (found at Publix)

1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
freshly ground pepper

1 tablespoon oyster sauce
1 tablespoon Chinese rice wine or dry sherry
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
¼ cup canned chicken broth (I subbed white wine)

1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon minced ginger
1 carrot, cut into 2 inch matchsticks
½ red bell pepper, cut into 2 inch matchsticks ( I used a green one)
2 ribs celery, sliced thin on diagonal
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
12 chives, cut into 3 inches long
4 ounces enoki mushrooms
2 teaspoons vegetable oil
2 teaspoons butter
¼ teaspoon sesame seeds

Freeze steak for 30 minutes until partially frozen. Slice steak against the grain, on the diagonal, into 8 equally thin pieces. Use a meat mallet to pound each piece of meat to 1/8 inch thick. If using thin sliced sirloin, skip this step.

Combine marinade ingredients in a bowl and add meat slices. Let stand 15 minutes to 2 hours.

In a separate bowl, combine sauce ingredients.

To prepare filling, heat a wok or skillet over high heat. When hot, add vegetable oil, swirling to coat the sides. Add garlic and ginger and fry for 20 seconds. Add carrot, bell pepper, celery and stir fry for 1 minute. Add soy sauce, sesame oil and stir. Transfer to bowl and let cool.

To make the beef rolls, lay beef slices out with short side facing you. Equally divide chives, enoki mushrooms and vegetable mixture among the pieces of meat. Roll the beef up, over the filling and secure with toothpick.

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the vegetable oil and butter, swirling to coat bottom. When hot, add beef rolls, seam side down, not touching and pan fry for 1 minute, turn roll. Add sauce to the pan. Cover and simmer over medium heat until beef is just cooked through, 1-2 minutes. Remove toothpick, sprinkle with sesame seeds to serve.

Yields 4 servings