Wednesday, February 23, 2011

*Low Fat Carnitas Tacos*

My Mom made this recipe not long ago for her & my Dad, & they both absolutely loved it!  I plan on making it sometime soon, but I will unfortunately have to omit the beans since Jay O. is not a fan, but I can always add a little spoonful to my tacos :)  They enjoyed it so much, I had to go ahead & share it with you!
2 lb. boneless porkloin
1 med onion, diced
3 carrots, diced
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 chipotle chile in adobe, chopped plus 2 T adobe sauce
2 15.5 oz cans cannellini beans drained and rinsed
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
3 T tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. diced oregano
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. kosher salt
1/2 t. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. each cinnamon and cayenne pepper                     
1/4 cup chopped cilantro.                          

For Garnish:
Diced Red onion
Queso Fresco
Lime wedges
picture courtesy of
Trim excess fat from pork and cut roast in half crosswise.
Combine remaining ingredients, except cilantro, in a 6 qt. slow cooker and add pork, cover and cook 5 hours on high or 8 hours on low.
Shred pork with two forks and stir in the cilantro. 
Serve in corn tortillas with crumbled          queso fresco, red onion and lime wedges on the side. 
Serves 8 to 10.

Per serving :  265 calories, 9 g total fat, 3 g sat fat, 666 mg sodium, 22 g carbs, 65 mg chol, 28 gram protein, 7 g fiber.

Thanks, Mom!

Friday, February 18, 2011

*Shopping Guide*

So...I know this is off subject from my usual topic, recipes.  But I just wanted to share some of my favorite shopping sites for shoes & that must have dress or top you have been looking for!  I am somewhat of an online shopaholic or at least I love to browse :)  

There are of course the well known stores we all go to like Urban Outfitters, J. Crew, Nordstrom, Dillard's etc. but I tried to list ones that may be new to you.  Some of the sites listed are a little pricey like Farfetch & Net-a-Porter, but they are good for an occasional splurge, special occasion, or just to see what's "in"!

All of the sites below are links to their websites, so just click to shop or at least have fun taking a peek!

Clothing Sites:                        

Akira Chicago

Alice & Olivia


Boutique to You

Couture Candy

CUSP by Neiman's (love this site)


French Connection

Harmony Lane


Mod Cloth



Rachel Roy

Rent the Runway (for renting formal or cocktail dresses) 

Revolve Clothing                                                              


Shop Bop 


The Outnet

Top Shop




Kelsi Dagger (the site is almost up & her shoes.  a lot of hers are on endless & solestruck too)
Lulu's (Very affordable prices!)                   



Sole Struck "to rid the world of ugly shoes"

What A Pair (this site has a few good things 
like jeffrey campbell & the yellow box flip flops, 
but not my fav site)


I like Max & Chloe's Jewelry Site & 
Fantasy Jewelry Box.

Good Search Engine Sites for Shoes/Clothes/Accessories:

Shop Style

Style Find (In Style's search engine website)

VINTAGE/CRAFTY won't like everything on these sites, but you can occasionally find a unique piece of jewelry or a flirty  & fun vintage dress.  And, it's very fun to look!

Designer Social
                                                                        Dorethea's Closet

Posh Girl Vintage

The Red Velvet Shoe

Unique Vintage (a mix of vintage & regular clothing lines.  You can usually find a cute swimsuit, too!)

Discounted Sites (these are sights you have to sign up for, and can get great discounts on designer clothes, shoes, or even vacation getaways!) 

If I think of anything I left off I will add it :)

Now, don't spend TOO much!!!

Baked Summer Sausage w/Honey & Cracked Pepper

Jay O. introduced me to this recipe (pretty sure Mrs. Cathy had something to do with it, too:)).  We made it at Thanksgiving in Dallas at my Aunt Christine's & Uncle Denton's, and made it at the Kennedy Christmas at the lake, too!  I have had a few requests for the recipe, so I thought I would share it on here as well! Very simple.

1 all beef summer sausage
cracked pepper
crackers (plus the cracker recipe ingredients if you would like)
sharp cheddar cheese

Remove the casing from the summer sausage.
Score the sausage with a fork or knife.
Cover/Roll the sausage in honey until fully covered.
Top the honey with lots of fresh cracked black pepper.
Bake in a glass casserole dish at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes until warm, turning occasionally.
(make sure to cook it in a dish where it won't bubble over)

Serve with crackers & a block of sharp cheddar cheese for slicing.  I serve this recipe with my herbed cracker recipe.

My mother-in-law Mrs. Cathy serves this with her homemade jezzabelle sauce which I will get the recipe for!

The boys are sure to love this one!!!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chicken Divan, Lightened Up!

Last night I put together a lightened version of a chicken divan casserole to have for dinner tonight.  I have never had chicken divan so I really don't have anything to compare it to, but what I tasted as I was putting it together was great, so I know it's going to be a keeper! (we have had it now & loved it!)

I got this recipe from one of my favorite blogs, Gina's Skinny Recipe's.   Her blog reminds me of the magazine Cooking Light.  She lightens up some of her favorite dishes, and scores each recipe with Weight Watcher's points.  So, this one is extremely healthy, too!  It has 7 Weight Watcher's points & only 335.7 calories.  The only thing I changed was adding more onion to increase flavor.

  • 1-1/2 lbs broccoli (3 large heads) chopped
  • 24 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts (or 18 oz cooked)
  • salt and fresh ground pepper
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, crushed
  • 1/2 cup diced yellow onion
  • 4 tbsp flour
  • 1 cup fat free chicken broth
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 2 oz dry sherry (white wine would work)
  • 6 oz shredded reduced-fat swiss
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup seasoned whole wheat breadcrumbs
  • cooking spray
Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add the broccoli and blanch 3 minutes. Rinse with cold water to stop the cooking. Drain well and set aside.

Preheat oven to 350°. Grease a 9 x 13 inch baking dish with cooking spray.

Season the chicken with salt and pepper. Using a grill pan or Forman grill, saute chicken on medium-low heat on both sides until browned, and just about cooked through. Remove from heat and transfer chicken to a cutting board. When cooled, slice chicken into bite sized pieces.

Heat a medium sized skillet on medium heat. Add the butter and oil until melted and then add garlic and shallots. Sprinkle the flour and whisk until smooth. Stir in broth, milk and sherry and bring to a boil. Remove from heat and stir in half of the swiss cheese. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

Arrange the broccoli in a casserole dish and pour half of the sauce over the broccoli. Arrange the chicken on top and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle the remaining swiss cheese, grated parmesan and top with breadcrumbs. Spray a little oil on top.

Bake 30 minutes, serve hot. 

Monday, February 14, 2011

*Chocolate Chip Muffins*

Today at work we had a Valentine's breakfast.  Since everyone wants something sweet on Valentine's I chose to make chocolate chip muffins :)  And, I had all of the ingredients on hand, so that helped out too.  I made a few for my family, too!

I hope all of you have a VERY HAPPY VALENTINE'S day with the person, or people you love most!!!

2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup milk 
1/2 cup butter (melted & at room temp)
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla 
1 package 12 oz. chocolate chips (I used mini chocolate chips:))
I also made a batch of these muffins & stirred in fresh blueberries instead of chocolate chips!  They turned out great, so use whatever you prefer!!
Preheat oven to 400 F. and grease muffin pan (or, I chose to use the colored paper baking cups).  This recipe makes 15 muffins.

In a large bowl, stir together flour, sugars, baking powder, and salt. In another bowl, stir together milk, eggs, butter, and vanilla until blended. Make a well in center of dry ingredients; add milk mixture and stir until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into muffin cups; bake 15-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of one muffin comes out clean. Remove muffin tin to wire rack; cool 5 minutes and remove from tins to finish cooling, or simply remove the paper muffin cups! 

Now, pour yourself a big glass of milk & enjoy!

Friday, February 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Jay O. & VDay!!!

Yesterday, February 10th, Jay O. turned the big ole' 27!  It just so happened that we were snowed in Wednesday & Thursday so we turned it into a mid-week birthday extravaganza at our house Wednesday night & had supper club at the lovely Barrett & Robert Feltus's last night!  It all made out to be a great week :)

For his birthday I made my first cake from scratch.  I have helped my Mom with a red velvet cake, but have never made one all on my own.  Yes, I love to cook, but I have never been big on baking!  I found the recipe on the blog bakerella.  Find the recipe here.  It is such a cute blog!!!

The adorable measuring cups Layne got me for Valentine's Day :)
Thanks, Layne!  You're the best!!
Making the cake...
Final product,
sprinkles are Jay O.'s absolute fav!
  Barrett & Robert were so sweet.  They hung balloons that said happy birthday in the entry way of their house for supper club :)  They made shrimp & grits (delicious!) and I absolutely loved their house.  They are quite the hosts!

Jay O. & I are off to the race's tomorrow with our friends Sarah & Brady to celebrate his birthday/Valentine's day.  It should be a fun filled weekend!  I hope y'all have a very safe weekend & a happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

*Veggie Soup*

I made a big pot of vegetable soup last night for Jay O. & I to eat on this week.  This is stemmed from a cabbage soup recipe I like that I changed up so that Jay O. would like it, too.  I substituted zucchini & squash, & I did a small pot of cabbage for me on the side to add into my bowl :)  You can omit or replace any of the veggies to your taste.

1 orange bell pepper (sliced)
1 yellow bell pepper (sliced)
1 red bell pepper (sliced)
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 pkg. baby bella mushrooms (sliced)
2 zucchini (sliced)
2 squash (sliced) 
3 carrots (sliced)
4 ribs celery (sliced)
2 pkg.'s Lipton Soup Mix
1 chicken bouillon cube
8 cups water
If you would like, you can do 1 pkg. Lipton Soup Mix & 4 cups water & don't do as many veggies.  I made a big batch so there would be plenty of leftovers for the week.
Season to taste with: salt, pepper, oregano, parsley, basil, garlic powder & hot sauce.
Optional Ingredients:  half head cabbage, spinach (I did not do spinach this time around)


Place washed and chopped vegetables in large stockpot. Add water (amount soup mix calls for, 4 or 8 cups), stir in soup mix, bouillion and tomatoes.

Add more water if needed to fully cover all vegetables. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and cook over low until vegetables are soft.  Season to taste.  Cool, store in refrigerator.

Could you get much healthier???

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Spinach, Feta, & Chicken Quesadilla's

 Jay O. & I made these last night & loved them!  And, they are extremely simple.  If you buy the precooked chicken there is very little effort involved.  I had never thought to use feta in our quesadillas, I think I will have to from now on!

(makes 1 quesadilla)

1 cup spinach (steamed and squeezed to drain)                            
1 tablespoon parsley
1 handful feta (crumbled, I used feta w/Mediterranean Herbs)
salt and pepper to taste
2 cloves garlic
2 Burrito Sized Tortillas
2 handfuls shredded Monterrey Jack cheese
grilled fajita chicken (I bought a bag of precooked Tyson Fajita Chicken to make things simple!)

Cook the spinach in olive oil with the garlic in a skillet.
Mix the spinach, parsley, feta, salt & pepper in a bowl. 
Place the mixture on top of your tortilla.
Add the fajita chicken on top of the spinach.
Shred the Monterrey Jack Cheese onto the chicken.
Put the other tortilla on top, and either cook in your quesadilla maker (if you don't have one, I highly recommend it!)  OR Melt a touch of butter in a pan & cook until the quesadilla is golden brown on both sides and the cheese is melted.

AND, VOILA! (thanks Ang;))
I served mine with an organic salsa.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Superbowl PaRtY Menu!

Are you rooting for the Pittsburgh Steelers or the Green Bay Packers?  Honestly, I don't really care...may the best team win.  But, if you are throwing a Superbowl party one must is that you have good things to snack on, of course!  Here are some different dips & finger foods, or maybe something a little more hearty that I recommend, and know you & your family, or your guests are sure to love.

The dip to the right is a lightened up version of Buffalo Chicken Dip.  The recipe is on Gina's Skinny Recipes and you can find it here.  Or you could make my Colby-Pepper Jack Cheese Dip.

Another must, is my chicken-bites recipe.  Your guests will rave over them!

For the guys, Party Pizza's and a 6 pack of their favorite beer is a must to get them through the game.

Or, perhaps you are looking for something more hearty?  My chili recipe would be a good choice, I recommend making it a day ahead of time so you don't have to worry, & the longer it sits & simmers the better!  

You could make my simple french dip recipe, or if you have some spare time on your hands this weekend I have been dying to find an occasion to make what The Pioneer Woman's Blog calls Drip Beef.  She has two options of how to make it.  I think both look & sound delish, but considering my picky eating husband doesn't like banana peppers, I would have to go with the second :)  Here is a picture of it that will make your mouth water...

Lastly, for something fresh you could make caprese salad's if you have somewhere to purchase decent tomatoes this time of the year.  You could do cherry tomatoes, cubed fresh mozzarella & a little piece of fresh basil on toothpicks drizzled w/balsamic vinaigrette, or you could make a plate of them like the picture below:


I just thought I would throw out a few ideas/suggestions of things you could make for the big game on Sunday!  I know sometimes I'm not in the mood to come up with things on my own, so I thought I would help spark your imagination, have fun! 

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

*Cajun Peel N' Eat Shrimp*

I think we loved this recipe so much that I could say it is the best recipe I have come across in awhile.  But then again, I can't even remember the last 5 things I have made so let's just say it is at the top!  

The recipe is very simple, and would be a fun thing to make when having over friends or family.  It is a good social food :)  Jay O. said he could eat it every day, this will definitely be a staple in our dinner routine.

3 pounds (more or less) unpeeled & deveined shrimp (make sure they are not too small)
1/2 cup Olive Oil
Salt & Freshly Ground Pepper                                                  2-3 whole lemons, juiced
1/2 Cup Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce
Tabasco or your hot sauce of choice (even though I took a picture of Tabasco we ended up using Louisiana b/c we prefer Louisiana's flavor, put as much as you'd like, some like it HOT!)
1/4 stick of butter (the original recipe calls for 1 stick...but with the olive oil it is not really necessary and no one wants to gain an unwanted pound from eating shrimp:))


First, thoroughly rinse raw shrimp w/shells still on in a colander.  I bought a frozen 2 pound bag of raw, deveined shrimp and thawed them under cold water for 5 minutes.  You can buy fresh if you'd like, but I was trying to be more budget friendly.

Place the shrimp in a large baking pan in a single layer. 
Over top of the shrimp drizzle about ½ cup of extra virgin olive oil.
Generously sprinkle black pepper over top of the shrimp. 
Now sprinkle with salt.
Squeeze the juice of about 2-3 lemons over top of all of the shrimp. 
Now generously drizzle Worcestershire all over the shrimp, about ¼ to ½ a cup. 
Drizzle Louisiana/Tabasco, etc.  sauce over the top to your desired temperature.
Now get your 1/4 stick of butter and cut it into pats. Place the pats of butter on top of the shrimp as evenly spaced as possible.

Place the pan of shrimp under the broiler in your oven for just about 10 minutes until the shrimp are no longer translucent. Serve with a roll of crusty Multi-Grain bread because you need something to absorb all of the yummy juices!  We also had ours with a little side salad.  I plan on making it when it gets warm outside with my dressed up corn on the cob recipe
Make sure to have an extra bowl for the messy shells!
This would be a great dish to make on V-day for your significant other, or 
to have them make it for you :)