Celebrating With Family and Friends

March 11, 2010 at 5:30 am | Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment
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What a great weekend! It was my birthday so we decided to celebrate with family and friends. Did I mention it was all weekend? It all started Friday night with my sister and her husband. (No, back up, it started Thursday night when my daughter surprised me by coming home from college early! yay!) They came over and we cooked the Tomatillo Chicken Stew along with the Green Chile Cornbread from Simply Recipes. Oh so good-definitely will be one of my favorites from now on. I had a friend who made the stew, but she wasn’t quite as pleased with the stew. Suggestions-I used about 8 skinless chicken thighs. I think this made the stew much tastier and the chicken tender. Also, the pictures on the site show cutting the chicken into large pieces, I cut mine into bite size. I used a jar of Central Market Green Chile Salsa Verde since I was pressed for time.  When cooking the onions, I let them become light brown. If you try the recipe, let me know how it works for you.

The Green Chili Cornbread was so delish! I made a little oops! when I grabbed two cans of diced mild green chilies, but to my surprise one can was diced jalapenos! I had to fish the japs out of the batter, retrieving as many as possible. I like hot, but I was feeding company-I didn’t want to ignite them! Oh yeah, and don’t forget to drain them. I had to bake my cornbread an extra 15 minutes, yet it still turned out yummy. I know, so many mistakes on my part-I have a hard time multitasking while visiting and laughing with guests-all part of the fun!

More on the rest of my birthday eating adventure next week!

Blessings!

~Karin~

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Aprons, Recipes, and Gardening in the Hill Country

March 5, 2010 at 2:01 pm | Posted in Aprons, Recipes | Leave a comment
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Last week I made the Italian Pot Roast from the Simply Recipes web site. Oh so comforting! This week I plan on making the Chicken and Apples in Honey Mustard Sauce as well as the Tomatillo Chicken Stew. I’ll be sure to let you know which one was my favorite 🙂

I also enjoyed making some yummy little treats from Baking Bites. The Coconut Lime Crumble Bars were oh sooooo good! I’m tempted by anything with lemon or lime, and with the addition of coconut well, they just absolutely beckon spring!

From my back porch I hear the birds chirping and see some of the trees budding.  I’m very excited about getting out and working in the yard. My Meggie Mae Apron really comes in handy when I’m gardening. My favorite to wear while working in the yard is the ‘bistro reversible apron’ because of the deep pockets which hold my pruning shears and seed packets, as well as the short length which allows me to stoop and bend without letting the apron touch the ground. And of course it is ‘reversible!’

The 'Bistro Reversible Apron'

The 'Bistro Reversible Apron'

I hope to have more herbs this year, as I was very happy with my little plot from last year, but there are so many beautiful, fragrant varieties that you can never have enough. Oh, and did I mention most herbs are deer proof? You have to consider that above all else when growing in the Texas Hill Country!

~Karin~

I Love Spring!

February 25, 2010 at 1:32 pm | Posted in Aprons | 1 Comment
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Today I’m headed to the fabric store. I’m so excited to look at Spring colors and patterns! Walking into a fabric store for me is like a child in a candy store. I like to touch everything, and I can’t make up my mind on what I like best-so I try them all! Can’t wait to design new aprons and get them listed for you to see. I’m hoping to do some spring cleaning (I know, it’s only February) by redesigning my website as well.

Try wearing a stylish new Meggie Mae Apron –it just might help you get a jump on your spring cleaning too!

I love Spring!!

The 'Margaret' Apron

The 'Margaret' Apron

~Karin~

Simply Terrific Food Blog

February 19, 2010 at 3:18 pm | Posted in Aprons, Food Talk | Leave a comment
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This week I was floating through the food blog universe, which is actually one of my favorite past times. I’m amazed at the number of gifted cooks out there.  They are not only gifted at cooking, but they are also talented writers and creative photographers.  Elsie Bauer, of Simply Recipes is one the most talented.

When visiting her site, make sure you read her ‘About’ page. Her philosophy on cooking, as well as how the blog got started are great reads.  You will find everything from simple, everyday meals to more formal dishes- all tested by Elsie or her family and all with terrific photographs.  The recipe index is very helpful and you can also browse the site by ‘Recipe Type.’ Simply Recipes will definitely be one of my go-to blogs the next time I need a weeknight meal plan or a potluck idea.

This week I’m trying The Italian Pot Roast-perfect for a family meal on a cold February night. I hope you enjoy Elsie’s blog, and get the chance to wear your Meggie Mae Apron in the process!

The 'Kristin' and 'Julia' apron

~Karin~

Chicken Pot Pie-Perfect For A Cold Winter Night

February 5, 2010 at 3:29 pm | Posted in Recipes | Leave a comment
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I made it through my 21 days without sugar, flour, or fast food! O.k., so I did splurge twice for special occasions, but I still feel better having rid myself of sugar and processed flour. I didn’t realize how sugar affected my mood until I went off it totally. I will certainly cut back on the amount of sugar I consume.  Also, with all the fruit I was eating, that had to have some positive effects, right? I have started back on flour as well, but only in small amounts-like in the recipe that follows.

This week was dark, cold and rainy- just the type of weather for some homemade chicken pot pie. I started following a recipe from some unnamed source, but it was soooo unnecessarily complicated that I took it in my own direction. I was happy with the results. Here’s the recipe for

Karin’s Chicken Pot Pie

1 ¼ cup flour
½ tsp salt
1 stick butter, cold, cut into small cubes
5-6 Tbsp. ice water
1 egg yolk, blended with 1 Tbsp water for glaze (optional)

4 chicken breasts, skinless, cut into 1 inch pieces
Salt/pepper to taste

5 + 2 Tbsp. butter, melted
5 Tbsp. flour
4+ 2 Tbsp. olive oil
½ onion, diced
3 stalks of celery, diced
4 carrots, diced
¼ tsp. dried thyme
1 clove garlic, finely diced
¾ cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth
1 ½ cups frozen green peas
¼ cup fresh parsley, finely chopped or 1 ½  tsp dried

Crust:
Mix flour and salt in a large bowl. Cut in cold butter until you have pea size lumps. Pour in the water, 1 tablespoon at a time, mixing with your hands. Add enough water to where you have a good dough, but not wet or soggy. On parchment paper, flatten dough to a 9 x 13 rectangle. Place on a cookie sheet and put in the fridge.

In a large skillet, heat 4 Tbsp of olive oil, add the chicken, season with salt and pepper.  Cook until well done. Remove from skillet and set aside.

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix 5 Tbsp. flour and 5 Tbsp. of melted butter until smooth. Set aside. Melt remaining 2 Tbsp. butter and 2 Tbsp. oil in the skillet on Med-high. Add the celery, onion, and carrots. Sauté until soft, about 10 minutes. Add thyme and garlic, cook 3 minutes. Add wine, cook about 5 minutes. Add chicken broth and simmer. Slowly whisk in butter/flour mixture a little at a time.  Simmer until the sauce thickens, stirring often, about 4 minutes. Stir in chicken, peas, cream, and parsley. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour into a 9X13 baking dish.

Remove crust from the fridge. Place on top of the chicken mixture. Brush with yolk/water glaze. Bake in the oven on middle rack for 15 minutes.

Turn on broiler. Place pie in the top half of the oven. Broil until top is a golden brown-about 2-3 minutes.
Remove pie, let rest 5 minutes. Serve with a simple side salad and there you have a delicious, warm chicken pie for a cold winter night. I placed mine in 2 round baking dishes, since I knew my family would not finish this whole pie in one night.  We ate one and I froze the other for another night. You could also use rotisserie chicken so you can skip that step. Also, if you wanted a meat pie, you could make it with beef and use red wine instead of the white.

Keep warm and have a wonderful week!

~Karin~

Healthy Ideas for Breakfast and Dinner

January 29, 2010 at 2:12 pm | Posted in Food Talk, Recipes | Leave a comment
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I’m on day 18 of my no sugar, no flour 21 day resolution! I have to admit, I did splurge and have some of the chocolate cheesecake I made, but other than that, I’ve stayed the course. I’m almost there! I do feel better without the sugar and flour coursing through my veins. But to tell you the truth, can’t wait to start baking! Life is meant to be celebrated, and what’s a celebration without cake?

We’ll, this week I did try some outstanding recipes. My first was Rosemary Trout with Cherry Tomato Sauce from Food & Wine magazine. This is such a fast and easy meal to make and it’s the perfect winter dish-it has a warm,  carmel color  and is light and flavorful. I used trout filets with the skin on for my dinner served with steamed asparagus, Greek salad and crusty whole grain bread.

Rosemary Trout with Cherry -Tomato Sauce

4 servings. A couple of rosemary sprigs are all you need to flavor each whole trout.

Fish

1 pint cherry tomatoes (preferably assorted color), halves
1 large shallot, chopped
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 teaspoons finely chopped fresh rosemary plus 8 large sprigs
4 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Coarse kosher salt
4 -10 to 12 ounce whole trout, gutted, boned, heads removed, if desired

Mix tomatoes, shallot, vinegar and chopped rosemary in bowl. Stir in 1 tablespoon oil.
Season sauce with salt and pepper.
Open trout like book on work surface. Sprinkle with coarse salt and pepper.
Place 2 rosemary springs on each; fold over to close.
Divide 3 tablespoons oil between 2 large nonstick skillets. Place over medium-high heat.
Add 2 trout to each skillet. Cook trout until brown outside and just opaque in center, about
3 minutes per side. Transfer to plates. Spoon sauce alongside.

My next dish I enjoyed was for breakfast-although it could be a dessert as well-whole wheat fruit crepes.  I love crepes because you can make them easily, they are lighter than tortillas, and you can fill them with just about anything to make a terrific meal. I filled mine with fresh fruit and non-fat plain yogurt, with a dollop of fresh whipped cream (no sugar added). These are so delish! I’ve made crepes before, but this whole-grain recipe filled with fruit is one of my favorites.  I can make a batch, wrap them between parchment paper, and they keep in the fridge up to 4 days.

Wheat Crepes –adapted from The Sonoma Diet Cookbook

Whole-wheat Crepes

2 eggs

2/3 cup water

½ cup milk

1 TB olive oil

1 cup whole wheat flour

pinch of salt

In a small bowl blend the eggs, water, milk and olive oil. In a large bowl mix the whole-wheat flour and salt. Make a well in the flour. Slowly stir the liquid ingredients into the flour until thoroughly combined.

Let set at room temperature for 15-20 minutes. Coat a non-stick skillet with spray oil. Heat skillet on medium-low heat. Pour batter into skillet. You might have to lift the skillet and swirl the batter to get it to spread. Heat for 2-3 minutes on each side. Transfer to a platter and continue with the remaining batter. Place parchment paper between crepes.

These healthy fruit crepes are easy to put together in the morning if you slice your fruit the night before. Then the next morning just spread your fruit and yogurt in the crêpe, wrap in cellophane, grab your coffee, and you’re out the door.

The 'Lisa' Apron

I hope these recipes get you off to a great start!

~Karin~

Valentine’s Day will soon be here. Order your apron today!

My Favorite Healthy Meal-Fish Tacos!

January 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm | Posted in Aprons, Food Talk, Recipes | Leave a comment
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I’ve made it ½ way through my 21 day resolution! No sugar, sugar substitutes, or processed flour-and through that I’ve made cappuccino brownies and Mississippi mud cake, without a drop of sugar entering my mouth!  I’m feeling pretty good about it, although I am really looking forward to the time when I can have some sugar once again. I have a hard time looking at dessert pictures-there are lots of recipes I’m now dreaming of making; I can’t wait to try them all!

Fish taco-healthy eating at its best!

But really, I’ve found some great healthy recipes. My favorite to prepare this week were my Fish Tacos. Fish tacos are my favorite! I consider myself an expert on fish tacos. The best are at La Playa in Port Aransas, Texas. Mine are second. Sometimes I dip the fish in Panko bread crumbs and fry it (not healthy but oh so yummy), but I enjoy grilled fish the most. I have used tilapia, mahi mahi, and orange roughy.  For frying, tilapia works great. For grilling-I prefer mahi mahi. This particular night I had orange roughy because that’s what looked the freshest in the store.  Grilled fish, mango salsa and purple cabbage slaw drizzled with a special sauce all served on soft corn tortillas, alongside seasoned black beans and fresh guacamole. Oh yeah, it was delicious!

Here’s a great recipe (not mine, but a good one) from Food and Wine Magazine-check it out!

http://tinyurl.com/n4epaq

One night I made a Frittata with eggs, spinach, bacon bits, red onion, and sliced black olives with feta cheese sprinkled over the top and served alongside fresh fruit (blueberries, tangerines, and apple slices.) This was a quick, delicious meal for a busy night, but would also be great at breakfast served with toast. There are many Frittata recipes online, just add your favorite ingredients. It’s like making a quiche, only without the crust. This is a tasty and satisfying dish, as well as very colorful. Here’s a great recipe from www.simplyrecipes.com http://tinyurl.com/cs7rn6

Enjoy your week by spend some time cooking your favorite meal or trying a new recipe-you will be very satisfied with your efforts and your family will love it!

The 'Amy' full apron

~Karin~

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Healthy Findings

January 14, 2010 at 5:52 pm | Posted in Food Talk, Recipes | Leave a comment
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I’m not by any means giving up baking. I love baked goods of all kinds. I love to look at the artistic ability of professional and non-professional chefs alike. I am amazed at the beauty they can create in the kitchen to delight our sense of sight, smell, and taste. Food –especially baked goods-are such an enjoyment; they represent the celebration of heritage and festivities in cultures throughout the world, and that’s wonderful to be a part of!

So this 21 day resolution of giving up sugar and processed flour can’t be over quick enough. This is my 4th day of my so-called “diet.” I thought the first day was very easy, but by day three the biscotti I had deliberately hidden in the back of the freezer was calling my name. My morning cup o’joe wasn’t quite as satisfying without the sugar, but by the end of the week I think I will be accustomed to the new taste. The best part of the week was that I found some great healthy recipes!

Spaghetti Squash with Pine Nuts and Tarragon

Day one I prepared Bean Soup that you buy in the dried bean section of the grocery store (can’t remember the brand.) I prepared it according to directions, except instead of pork sausage I used chicken sausage with spinach and it was healthy, very tasty, economical, easy, and makes enough for you to freeze leftovers.

My favorite find of the week was Spaghetti Squash.  I came across a recipe in Food and Wine Magazine, and since I had never made this type of squash, I thought I’d give it a try. This was such a healthy, easy and bright side dish! I really enjoyed it and had a lot left over for lunch the next day. Here is the recipe- http://tinyurl.com/yj95v4h . I made a few adjustments of my own: 3 squash is waaay to many- used 1. I didn’t have white wine vinegar-I had red wine vinegar. I didn’t have fresh tarragon-I had dried and I mixed in a small amount according to taste. I didn’t have queso fresco so I used crumbled feta cheese. Since I wasn’t using the recommended 3 squash, I thought I would have lots of dressing left over, but I ended up using it all-you might use less according to your taste.

The 'Julia' Apron

The 'Julia' Apron

Healthy Cooking!

Karin

If you’re needing a Valentine’s Day present for your favorite chef,

or a treat for yourself, check out Meggie Mae Aprons!

New Year’s Resolutions-365 days? How ’bout 21?

January 7, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Food Talk, reviews | Leave a comment
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OK, so I’ve been contemplating my New Year’s resolution. I love baking and I’m usually pretty good at eating only small amounts (in my opinion) of what comes out of my oven. But I’ll admit, I am notorious for licking the bowls. Don’t tell me you resist-I’ve tried running water in the bowl before temptation strikes, but I never make it to the sink.

So, that brings me to my New Year’s resolution. As I was thinking about what I should work on this coming year, I received a link to an article which gave me the determination to see my resolution through. My resolution?? Going off all sugar and unhealthy food of any kind for 21 days. My inspiration? Check out this article entitled The Hazards of Sugar  http://articles.mercola.com/sites/articles/archive/2010/01/02/HighFructose-Corn-Syrup-Alters-Human-Metabolism.aspx.

The whole segment is quite long (9 parts), but it is well worth watching.

So, starting January 11, I’m starting my resolution-strategically scheduled after my Texas-Alabama football party and when all the biscotti is gone from my kitchen.  I’m starting a 21 day heath kick. Fresh, wholesome food which means no sugar or sugar substitutes. This will be hard-not even sugar for my coffee-aahhhh! But 21 days-I’m thinkin’ this isn’t a full month, and it is just long enough so I can accomplish my goal and rid myself of all gunk. OK, I had better state up front-my husband’s birthday falls in this time period, so that might be the one day I fall off the wagon, and coffee isn’t gunk- it’s essential for me to function; I’ll go off coffee in the summer. The upside is I can start the year off right and reintroduce baking on a good note-just in time for Valentine’s!

Healthy Resolutions

I’ll keep you updated periodically on my progress and let you know what I end up cooking for family dinners. Good luck with your resolutions, and let me know if you were amazed as I was about what the doctor had to say. You might just want to join me!

~Karin~

Best Dessert of the Year?

January 5, 2010 at 3:21 pm | Posted in Food Talk | Leave a comment
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You all know I love to bake. I’ve been baking non-stop since Halloween! My first attempt at a recipe for the New Year appears on this month’s front cover of Food and Wine Magazine. It was named the dessert of the year-Butterscotch Sticky Buns.  In my opinion, sticky buns are not a dessert-they are like a pastry served at breakfast. So really, I don’t feel like this should have been named “Dessert” of the year, but who’s complaining?? Anyway, they looked so yummy staring at me from the front cover, I had to grab an apron and start bake them.

I’d have to say, they turned out very pretty, and the irresistible icing drizzled perfectly into all the folds of the little buns and absorbed into the bottom oh so right. But the downside was my dough turned out a little dense-probably had something to do with the yeast and temperature of the milk (I think it was too warm). Served hot, right out of the oven-oh who could resist?  Overall, I’d say the first treat of the New Year was delicious! But best dessert of the year? That will need some testing. I’ll let you know in December how it holds up.

Happy Baking!

Butterscotch Sticky Buns

~Karin~

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