Monday, April 30, 2012


Last Friday was the interns last day so of course they requested cupcakes! I made a batch of my yummy Vanilla Bean Cupcakes for the adults and tried a new chocolate one for the kids. They were very fudge-like but delicious. One kid thought they were too chocolatey and I might agree but they were still delicious! You can tell from the picture that they did collapse a little bit which made them a tad dense compared to the nice and fluffy vanilla ones. No frosting because I frosted them the next day at school.
Chocolate Cupcakes
(from Martha Stewart)
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 12-cup standard muffin tin with paper liners.
2. Into a medium bowl, sift together cocoa, flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. In a mixing bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each, then beat in vanilla. With mixer on low speed, add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour.
3. Pour batter into cups, filling each 3/4 full. Bake until a toothpick inserted in centers comes out clean, 20 to 25 minutes.
4. Cool in pan 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely, then spread with Easy White Icing using a table knife or small offset spatula. Decorate with sprinkles, if desired.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

You Say Frittata

I say delicious! Another lovely pinterest find: a yummy looking frittata. I've never made a frittata before and was worried we might end up calling down for chinese. But fear not! With some simple adaptations this recipe was a winner. Most importantly I don't have an oven safe pan so I couldn't cook it on the stove top and then broil it as many recipes called for. I found another frittata recipe that baked it for 35 minutes at 400 degrees and it worked like a charm. I didn't measure the cheese because I'm a champ like that. I added some to the mix and sprinkled some on top until it looked good. 
Asparagus Blue Cheese Frittata
(found on pinterest, adapted from the eighty twenty blog)
3 eggs
6 egg whites
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup milk
2 teaspoon olive oil
1 bunch asparagus, thick ends trimmed 
Salt, pepper, garlic powder (to taste)
Olive oil spray
1 cup red onion, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup crumbled blue cheese (I might have used more...)
1. Preheat oven to 350 degress. Place asparagus on a baking tray and coat with olive oil, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Bake until tender, 15-20 minutes depending on thickness. 
2. Heat 2 teaspoons of olive oil in a pan and saute the onion until tender. Meanwhile mix together eggs, egg whites, 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper, and milk. Cut the asparagus into 1/4 inch pieces. Add asparagus, onion, and half of the cheese to egg mixture and pour into a greased pie pan/casserole dish. Sprinkle the remaining amount of cheese on top.
3. Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 35 minutes.

Guess it was good, this is all we had left!

Breakfast Update

I'm still loving the banana smoothie/shake breakfast thing and so is the boy! My latest combination is chocolate banana: 1 cup milk, 1 frozen banana, and 1 scoop chocolate Instant Breakfast/Slim-Fast. Nice and chocolately and you get an extra boost of vitamins.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Tuscan Chicken

In honor of Mr. Lawyer's parents who are off galavanting around Italy and torturing us with amazing photographs I picked out this Tuscan inspired dish for Mr. Lawyer to make. He has mentioned that he misses cooking and after his chicken parm freak out I decided that he could cook this weekend. It came out great! I'm sure it can't compare to all the delicious grub that the parental units are indulging in but it was perfect for a cold rainy Sunday!
Tuscan Garlic Chicken
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 tablespoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
5 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, divided
1 tablespoon finely minced garlic (about 4-5 cloves)
1 red bell pepper, cut into thin strips or chopped
1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth
6 ounces fresh spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 teaspoons cornstarch
1 cup lowfat milk
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 pound fettuccine
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
2. In a shallow pie plate or similar dish, combine the flour, salt, pepper, basil and oregano. Dip each chicken piece in the flour mixture until both sides are well coated.
3. In a large 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat 3 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium heat until the oil is hot and shimmering. Carefully place the chicken breasts in the pan, cooking them for 2-3 minutes on each side, until they are golden and browned but not cooked all the way through. Gently remove the chicken to a foil-lined, lightly greased baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, until the chicken is cooked through. Set aside and tent with foil until ready to use.
4. While the chicken is cooking, heat a large pot of water to a boil and add the noodles, cooking until al dente. Also, wipe out the skillet with a couple paper towels and return it to medium heat, adding the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil. When the oil is hot, add the garlic and bell pepper, sauteing for 2-3 minutes.
5. Stir in one tablespoon flour and stir constantly while cooking for another minute. Add the chicken broth to the skillet and bring the mixture to a low simmer, whisking constantly, until slightly thickened, about 3-4 minutes. In a small liquid measure, whisk together the cornstarch and cream. Add the spinach, milk and cream mixture to the skillet. Bring the mixture to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until the spinach is wilted and sauce is slightly thickened, about 2-4 minutes. Stir in the Parmesan cheese.
6. When the pasta has finished cooking, drain and return it to the pot. Toss the pasta with half of the cheese sauce. Place some of the coated pasta on each plate. Top with a breaded chicken breast and spoon some of the sauce over the top of the chicken and pasta. Serve immediately.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I'm in Trouble!

I got yelled at when I presented dinner today. "Chicken Parm?! Don't you know that's like one of four things I can make?! It's my dish!" Okay then. Next time I won't cook dinner. Also, you need to expand your repertoire. This dish was a good excuse to use up the last bit of my spicy hot tomato sauce. It came out pretty good!
Spicy Chicken Parmesan!
(created in my kitchen!)
2 chicken breasts, halved and pounded thin
1/2 cup flour
salt, pepper, garlic
1 egg
1 tablespoon water
1/2 cup panko
1/4 cup parmesan
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1-2 cups tomato sauce (I used my spicy sauce!)
Mozzarella cheese, sliced
1. Heat up olive oil in large frying pan. In the meantime mix the flour, salt, pepper, and garlic in one bowl. In the second bowl mix the egg and water. In the third bowl mix the panko and parmesan.
2. Take each piece of chicken and coat it in flour, dip it in the egg mixture and then dredge it with the panko. Place in a hot frying pan and brown, a few minutes on each side (depends on thickness)
3. Place in an oven safe dish, cover with sauce and top with mozzarella slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes or until done (depends on thickness)
To balance the meal out we had a salad with leftover mozzarella and cranberries. Yum!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Spicy Sauce Leftovers!

What's a girl to do with a giant vat of delicious Spicy Hot Tomato Oil?! Why simmer some pork chops in it of course! Mr. Lawyer says he'll keep me. Ha.
Spicy Hot Tomato Pork Chops!
(created in my kitchen)
4-6 boneless pork chops (mine were thing)
1 tablespoon olive oil
Salt, pepper, garlic powder
1-2 cups of spicy tomato oil
1. Heat oil in a large pan. Meanwhile, season pork chops with salt, pepper, and garlic.
2. Brown pork chops until just cooked, a few minutes on each side.
3. Add in spicy tomato oil and simmer, simmer, simmer! At least 15-20 minutes. I just left mine go until the boy got home.

Monday, April 16, 2012

A Spicy Creation!

There are lots of things I miss about my New York home and one of those things is Pastabilities. Delicious pasta, bread and sauce. Clearly it's heaven. When one of the parental groups visited last month they brought me a container of Pastabilities Spicy Hot Tomato Oil and I was in heaven for about three days. In those three days I had that sauce every day as an after school snack and I did not share one single drop of it. Hey, it's not my fault the boy wasn't proactive enough to get some before it was gone!

Lately I've been hankering for some more but for obvious reasons their recipe is a closely guarded secret. I found two versions online that other people had made but I wasn't really thrilled about certain parts of each one. So I took what I liked from each one, smushed them together with very little measuring, and BAM! I have created a decent representation of my beloved Spicy Hot Tomato Oil. It's a bit chunkier than the original (I imagine that the restaurant strains or purees it but I am obviously too lazy for that), I was hesitant with adding bucket loads of oil, and I think I need to kick the spice up a tad more but overall it satisfied my craving! Plus it's Boy approved. I apologize for the lack of measuring with the spices but that's really something you should do to taste anyway!
My Attempt at Spicy Tomato Oil
(from my kitchen!)
2 cans (28 ounces) crushed tomatoes
2 cups olive oil (I would go back to one as a personal, a trying to be healthier preference)
1/2 cup garlic, sliced
2 ounces asian chili oil (contains pepper flakes)
1 teaspoon cayenne powder
1/3 cup honey
1. Pour olive oil into a pot and heat to medium. Add garlic and cook until golden.
2. Add in tomatoes, chili oil, cayenne, and honey.
3. Let simmer for a bit.
4. At this point I blended half of it and then poured it back into the pot. This still leaves some whole garlic slices.
5. Try not to eat it all.
Not the most attractive picture but it's suppose to be oily, after all it's spicy tomato oil not sauce! The container I had from NY separated like this too so I'm taking that as a good sign. Having the slices of garlic is also authentic. Overall I think it's a great imitation of the Spicy Hot Tomato Oil Recipe!

For comparison here is a picture of the real deal, Spicy Hot Tomato Oil right from Syracuse.

Sunday, April 15, 2012

We So Fancy!

At least that's what my kids said when they found out I was having a big kid party this weekend. A fancy Wine Soiree. Each person was responsible for bringing a bottle of wine and a tapas style food pairing. It worked out incredibly well. It was nice to try some different wines, all the food was delicious, and as always the Prep company was amazing. We even had fancy cards that listed the type of wine, winery and which appetizer went with it. Here's the damage:
 I represented New York and brought a bottle of Hazlitt's Red Cat which I served with pizza bites (because it's suppose to be a wine for "pizza, burgers, and wings") They were pretty yummy! I went with fresh mozzarella which was good but I bet it could be even more amazing with a more flavorful cheese. And don't forget to serve it with the sauce!
Homemade Pizza Bites
(adapted from our best bites)
1 roll refrigerated pizza dough
marinara/pizza sauce (for dipping)
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
Cheese of your choice, cut into smallish blocks
Pizza meat of your choice
1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Roll out your dough on a lightly floured surface. Cut it into 24 squares.
3. Place your desired pizza toppings in each square. I did 2 pieces of pepperoni and a small block of fresh mozzarella. Fold up dough and pinch the edges closed. Place seam side down in a lightly greased pie pan.
4. Brush tops with melted butter. Sprinkle garlic, seasonings and parmesan cheese over tops.
5. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes. Serve with dipping sauce.

See the rest of our yummies after the jump!

Friday, April 13, 2012

Grandmothers and French Dressing

What is with Grandmothers and French Dressing? And why is it always delicious?! And always so super easy? First up we have Mr. Lawyer's Grandmom's Chicken, deliciously baked in french dressing and bread crumbs. Next we have Grandma Nancy's Apricot Chicken, baked in a lovely apricot-french dressing sauce. Obviously our Grandmothers were on to something.
I'm sure I'll get an angry phone call but here's Grandma and I at the Flower Show last year.
She also wants to know why I never cooked the entire semester I lived with her in grad school. HA! I think it had something to do with the fact that she always had dinner ready when I got home from class...

Mine didn't come out as well as Grandma's but I think that's because she makes her own salad dressing so her sauce is thicker. Plus she serves it with rice and I am all out of rice. First Mr. Lawyer complimented me on the dish but when I made the comment about rice and reminded him that my Grandma had served this to him back when we first started dating he changed his tone and it was all "Grandma does everything right. Grandma's was better." OH SNAP! See if I cook for you again this weekend. It is completely true though which is why I never make my own broccoli salad. Anyway, it was still delicious even though I didn't have any rice.
Apricot Chicken
(From Grandma Nancy)
2 chicken breasts, cut into tenders
1 cup french or catalina dressing
1 cup apricot preserve
1 packet onion soup mix
1. Placed sliced chicken breasts in an oven safe dish.
2. Mix together dressing, preserve and soup mix. Pour over chicken.
3. Bake at 350 for one hour.

**I had a ton of sauce and could have easily thrown in another chicken breast or two.**

A New Breakfast Routine

As a kid I hated breakfast and as an adult I still kind of do. Don't get me wrong, I love, love, love breakfast food and eating a scrumptious breakfast on the weekend is no problem. I just can't eat food right after I wake up which poses a problem on school/work mornings when you have to get your butt out the door. I literally grew up on Instant Breakfast Shakes. Except for that period in high school where I had a Coke every morning (I know my parents were horrible right?! Or I was a lovely teenager...) I can handle some soupy oatmeal but it can't be thick at all. And now I have these yummy breakfast shakes that I'm experimenting with.

I made my first one yesterday and stuck to the recipe. It was delicious. I really loved the combination of peanut butter and cinnamon. Today I swapped the peanut butter for Nutella and omitted the cinnamon. Still yummy but the Nutella flavor isn't strong. In an effort to be more healthy I omitted the added honey/sugar the second time around and really couldn't tell. I'm thinking the next step would be to throw in some Instant Breakfast mix? The shake is pretty filling too. I had one before I left for work and wasn't hungry for lunch but still ate by regular granola/fiber bar at school and wasn't dying for my after school snack on my drive home like I normally am. So success in my book!
Banana Breakfast Shake
(from the Mother Unit)
1 banana, frozen (freeze without the peel)
1 cup milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter (or Nutella!)
1 tablespoon honey (or sugar)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon (I just did a couple good shakes)
1. The night before peel a banana, wrap in plastic wrap and stick it in the freezer.
2. Combine all ingredients in a blender and blend. If you want a thicker shake you can add in a couple ice cubes.
3. Add whip cream, it's always better with whip cream.
Banana-Nutella Shake

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Baseball is Back!!

I didn't make dinner tonight because it was....
I always max out at two. The boys had an impressive four each! I'll be getting my tums now. Because it was our first game of the season I also treated myself to this:
Aren't my evil raccoon mittens awesome?
Never thought I'd say it but I missed baseball. Watching it on tv still sucks but being in the stadium is something else.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Coffee and Soup

Do you know what I love about the week after Easter? HAM BONE! Almost every year Mr. Lawyer steals the ham bone (Sorry Mrs. T!) and makes his delicious Split-Pea Soup. He has made it four times now: three with the ham bone and once with pork chop (which was subpar!). I haven't found a way to make the picture look pretty but let me tell you, it's delicious. The recipe is HERE.
And now for a recipe I'm not too sure about: Iced Coffee. It didn't blow me away but I was resistant to dumping in cups of sugar. I've made two cups so far, one was plain and the other I added 2 tablespoons of sugar. You couldn't taste the makes me scared to think of how much sugar and stuff that the coffee shops add to it!! Cold brewing the coffee was fun, I used some Cinnabon flavored coffee that had been in the freezer a while and I like the flavor it added (duh, that's the point of flavored coffee). It was a nice after school pick me up but it stills needs some tweaking.
Iced Coffee
(From the Pioneer Woman)
1 pound Ground Coffee
8 quarts Cold Water
Sweetened Condensed Milk or Sugar (2-3 Tablespoons Per Serving)
Note: Can Use Skim Milk, 2% Milk, Whole Milk, Sugar, Artificial Sweeteners, Syrups...adapt To Your Liking!
1. In a large container, mix ground coffee with water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature eight hours or overnight.
2. Line a fine mesh strainer with cheesecloth and set over a pitcher or other container. Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through. Discard grounds.
3. Place coffee liquid in the fridge and allow to cool. Use as needed.
4. To make iced coffee, pack a glass full of ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid. Add healthy splash of half-and-half. Add 2-3 tablespoons sweetened condensed milk (can use plain sugar instead) and stir to combine. Taste and adjust half-and-half and/or sweetened condensed milk as needed.
Before the stir...

Saturday, April 7, 2012

A Two Part Adventure

Being a big kid is lame. I realized this on Friday because I had it off and no one else did (or all my teacher friends were traveling for Easter). Gone are the days of college, grad school and roommate when you were guaranteed that someone would be available for an adventure. I did was any self respecting girl would do and ventured out on my own (hey mom!). That night when I showed Mr. Lawyer my beautiful photographs he was convinced to come on a Saturday adventure with me (read: I bamboozled him into doing something outdoorsy). I suggested exploring around the Art Museum and going down to the river to see some sculpture. He countered with doing the 8 mile (well 8.56 mile according to one sign but really, who's counting at that point?) loop of the Schuykill river trail, never one to back down from a challenge I agreed. Saturday morning we were off! Little did we know that once you factored in walking from our apartment to the trail head and all my zigzagging for photos it's really more like a 10 mile hike. Best quote of the day from the boy: "This road seems so short when you're driving at 60 mph." Truth. From 10 to 1:30 we were off conquering the Schuykill! My face is a nice toasty pink, I'm walking like my Grandpa and sipping an extra tall gin and tonic with a straw.
It was awesome.
I have chronicled these two adventures with the following photographs.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Devil's Mac & Cheese

I think I will rename this recipe from "Spicy Macaroni and Cheese" to "Devi's Mac & Cheese" for two reasons. First, it's completely unhealthy. When I served it I told Mr. Lawyer that it was a "Don't ask" recipe. It did manage to put a little dent in my Cabot stash. Secondly, it's spicy! And delicious. It was a big hit but very rich so proceed with caution!
I made some very smart alterations to the original recipe. For starters, and most importantly, I added the jalapeno topping! It was fabulous. It gets nice and broiled and is kind of sweet/kinda spicy. It was my favorite part. The original recipe called for 8 ounces of colby cheese which I swapped out for the 1/2 cup parm. Sure the colby would have made it more creamy but another block of cheese?! I find colby to be a bit lacking in the flavor department so I went with the parmesan and do not regret it!
Devil's Mac & Cheese
(adapted from Sunny Anderson, Food Network)
2 cups shell pasta, cooked until almost al dente
8 ounces Cabot Cheddar, shredded
8 ounces Cabot Pepper Jack, shredded
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
4 tablespoons sour cream
1 large egg, beaten
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup half-and-half
1/4 cup finely grated onions
1 jalapeno, minced
4 slices bread (or panko bread crumbs)
1 tablespoon butter
1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the flour, salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, dry mustard, nutmeg. Add the sour cream, egg, heavy cream, half-and-half and onions. Mix in all the cheese!
3. Pour over the pasta and mix well. Bake in a 2 quart (or 8x8) dish. Sprinkle the jalapeno and a little extra parmesan on the top. Bake uncovered until the top is just beginning to brown, about 35 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, cut the bread into crouton-size squares. In a skillet over medium heat, melt the butter, add the bread cubes and toast until golden. Sprinkle the bread cubes (or panko crumbs) on top of the macaroni and cheese and bake until golden brown, about 10 minutes more.

Peanut Butter Nutella Swirl Cookies

My kitchen has been relatively quiet the first few days of April. There was leftover night, fend for yourself night (I had Parent-Teacher's Night), we are both exhausted and going to eat an entire box of mac and cheese night, and I'm on vacation and not meal planning night. However I did make these bad boys for my histobee goodie bags and they were delicious! Absolute heaven. They combine two of my favorite things: Peanut Butter and Nutella. Can't go wrong there. They were a hit with everyone: Mr. Lawyer, my kids, my principal, the rest of the staff. I can't wait to make them again!
Peanut Butter Nutella Swirled Cookies 
(found on pinterest)
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1-3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/4 cup Nutella
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat together butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 2-3 minutes.
3. Add in the egg and vanilla and beat until well combined.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. With mixer on low, slowly incorporate the dry ingredients into the butter mixture until just combined.
5. Microwave Nutella for 20 seconds and then drizzle over the dough. Fold in Nutella with a spatula until well-distributed throughout the dough.
6. Chill the dough in the fridge for 15 minutes and then roll small balls by hand. Place about an inch apart on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet and use a fork to press down the balls slightly.
7. Bake until the edges are lightly browned, about 8-10 minutes. Allow cookies to cool on the pan for 2 minutes, and then transfer to a cooling rack to cool completely.
My Histobee Goodie Bags
Each bag had 4 cookies, 2 of my Apple Cinnamon Muffins, 2 granola bars, a bottle of water, and some peppermint candy. My kids rocked the competition. Period.