Monday, July 29, 2013

Three Ingredient Summer Salad...Simple & Refreshing!

Summer time is by far my favorite time of year...and not for the reasons you may think. The beach...nah. Waterpark? No thanks. Laying out to get a tan....maybe if I were skinnier.

Garden fresh tomatoes? YES PLEASE! Zucchini....cucumbers....corn on the beans....enough said.

I have a small yard, but I have veggie plants in every possible nook and cranny. This year I am growing tomatoes, bell peppers, and a couple types of squash. My mom, however, has a garden that would put anyone's to shame. My husband always jokes that he is going to spray round-up on it when they are not home...just so ours doesn't look like such a joke. But let's be real...he loves the bounty of veggies as much as I do.

When I have garden fresh veggies, I like to use them. So last night I made a salad to go along with my meal. And here you have it...the easiest salad in the world...

This salad is seriously refreshing...and could not be more simple. Sweet, salty, tangy, crunchy.
Trust me and try it.



Sunday, July 21, 2013

BBQ Rotisserie Chicken Pretzel Bun Sandwich w/ Homemade French Fried Onions

Okay, so I may not have mentioned before but I LOVE onions. Like, A LOT. I have been eating them since I was a toddler, when I used to pick scallions and eat them straight from the garden. This sandwich that I am about to share with you has made my life much happier, mostly because of the PRETZEL BUNS and the HOMEMADE FRENCH FRIED ONIONS.

Let's start with the French Fried Onions....
First, slice your onions really thin. So thin you can see through them, like this. If you have some that aren't perfectly thin, that's okay...but thin is your goal. After, soak your onions in seasoned milk (salt & pepper) while prepping your flour and waiting for your oil to heat up. For the breading, use plain old flour. Add flour to a gallon Ziplock bag and heavily season with seasoning salt, pepper, onion powder & garlic powder. You want to see & taste the seasonings in the flour. When your flour is ready, add your onions to your bag of flour. Kind of squeeze off some of the excess milk first. Close the bag, and shake really well. Open bag, and add the whole thing to a strainer or sifter to get rid of the excess flour. Next, dump onto a baking sheet and spread out so they don't get sticky. For frying, use vegetable or canola oil, and use a large pot. I put a couple inches of oil into the bottom of my large soup pot. The extra flour will make the oil bubble up a lot, I learned the hard way. Add the onions a couple handfuls at a time and fry until golden brown. *A tip for testing the heat of your oil I learned from Rachael Ray- dip the back of a wooden spoon or a toothpick into your oil and if it immediately bubbles your oil is hot enough.
So now you have you delicious French fried onions, and be careful not to eat them all before you make your sandwiches.

Now, on to the sandwiches. You will need your onions, BBQ seasoned rotisserie chicken, pretzel buns, mayo and BBQ sauce.
BBQ Rotisserie Chicken- shred whole rotisserie chicken and season with salt, pepper, BBQ seasoning (like McCormick's Grill Mates), and your favorite BBQ sauce.
Pretzel Slider Buns (from Costco)- cut in half, and since they are thick you will want to dig out a little bit of the bread from the inside. Just enough so you have room to fill them up a little bit. Next, lightly toast the inside of the bun under broiler or toaster oven.
After buns are toasted, add mayo to one side & BBQ sauce to the other. Put a healthy scoop of your chicken on the bottom bun, and top with your French fried onions, and lastly add the top bun. Now you can dig in. *If you like, serve with French fries. I bought my fave frozen fries, spray fries w/ cooking spray and season with salt & pepper and bake according to package.
Very easy and delicious meal. If you make up your onions & shred your chicken ahead of time you have a meal in less than 30 minutes. YUM YUM!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Interchangeable Baby Barefoot Sandals

So, I recently had an idea that I was pretty proud of. Totally amazing and original....blah blah blah.
It all started when I agreed to make some barefoot sandals for my cousins' baby. Having never made these before, I was kind of brainstorming. I wanted to be able to wash them w/out ruining the flowers. I mean, the elastic is the part that would get dirty right? So why not make them removable, with Velcro. Which in turn, would also make them interchangeable. Brilliant! Well, I followed through with my project, all the while wondering why no one thought of this before....

Well, to make a long story short, I Googled it, and someone did think of it. Yeah, more than one someone thought of it. Oh well, so I am not gonna become a wealthy entrepreneur over this idea, but I did make some pretty cute barefoot sandals. Wanna know how?  Well here goes...
For the flower part, I did a variation of this tutorial Full & Textured flowers from Make it & Love it combined with this tutorial Flowered Pillow Cover by Make it & Love it. I attached them to felt like the first tut and did them a little more uniform like the second tut. Some, I added an embellishment to the center. But you can make whatever your heart desires. Just remember to make them in pairs. After you have you flowers made, you will want to add a piece of Velcro (the soft side) to the back with a generous amount of hot glue.
You will end up with flowers that may look something like this...
Now, for the sandal part, follow these steps...
Add your flowers to the sandals, and insert adorable chubby baby feet and you have multiple combinations. Seriously though, aren't baby feet adorable...only made cuter with a barefoot sandal. Duh.
Seriously, you make a few pairs and you have just about any combo you'll ever want or need.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Recipe Re-Do:Puff Pastry Savory Breakfast Strudel

So as you may know, this blog is spanking new, and I have only posted a couple of recipes. As I said when I posted the Carrot Cupcakes, I am totally allergic to following recipes. I do, however, like to use recipes for inspiration. So from now on, I am going to call these type of recipe posts "Recipe Re-Do". I have a lot of recipes that are all me. But some of my recipes start of with an inspiration recipe, and I want to make sure and give proper credit. So now on to my first Recipe Re-Do post:

Okay, So this is called a "breakfast strudel" because it has eggs, ham, etc. But just for the record, I actually make this for dinner. We aren't big breakfast people in my house, so dinner it is.
This is something my mom makes, and she originally gave me this recipe that she got out of a magazine I got my love for food and love of cooking from my mom. She is probably the best cook I know, and she is ALWAYS trying new recipes. So, props to my mom for sharing this inspiration recipe with me. My recipe isn't totally different from the inspiration, but I just had to make a few changes, that's what I do.
*Before I give you the recipe, I want you to know that the recipes is perfect for making substitutions. You can sub with different veggies, sausage rather than ham, or add more veggies and go meat-less. Don't be afraid to try something a little different.

1 box (2 sheets) puff pastry- thawed
1 large onion- diced
1 bell pepper- diced
1 small zucchini- diced
2 cups ham- diced (you can use whatever ham you like, even Canadian Bacon)
10 eggs
1/2 cup cheese- shredded (again, whatever you like- I use half cheddar/half parmesan)
1/4 cup salsa
salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, paprika, cayenne pepper (to taste)

Heat a couple tablespoons oil in a sauté pan and add veggies and ham. Season with salt & pepper. You will want to sauté at med-high heat until veggies soften and get a little color and the ham starts to brown on the edges. Next, beat your eggs with the salsa and add salt, pepper, onion powder and garlic powder. Add egg mixture to pan with veggies and ham. Cook like scrambled eggs, continuously stirring from the outside in, until eggs are fully cooked. At this point, you can add a dash of paprika, and a tiny dash of cayenne. Taste you mixture, and make sure it is seasoned to your liking. Remove from heat, and add cheese. Evenly combine until cheese begins to melt. Set aside, and now it's time to prep your puff pastry. Unfold your puff pastry sheet onto floured parchment and follow these steps...

 Now that you have your strudels prepped, you can brush with an egg wash, or spray with cooking spray (like I did) and bake in a 400 oven for about 30 minutes, or until pastry is golden brown.
This dish makes a delicious breakfast or dinner, and it's best served with salsa or hot sauce...YUM!