Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Birthday BBQ

So... I'm very behind on my posts. My apologies. It's not any news that my birthday was last month. I told you all about my gifts (part 1) but I never shared my birthday BBQ (part 2) or Italian dinner out (part 3 - post coming soon) with you! My birthday was on a Sunday this year and we hosted a BBQ at Ala Moana Beach Park. It was a beautiful day and a nice, relaxing celebration. If you can't tell by my hair, it was windy out!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

B[LT] My Valentine and Italian Cream Cake

Happy Valentine's Day!

This year's day-o-love was anything but typical for Bryce and I (especially compared to last year's at-home FEAST and clever and athletic dessert).

First, we decided not to buy gifts. I owe him a 20 minute back massage and he agreed to see a chick-flick with me, The Vow! Good deal.

Second, we could only be together for lunch! Rather than make a full dinner-type meal, I made one of his favorite lunches: a BLT sandwich on sourdough bread.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Fruit Pizza

Breakfast or dessert? Savory or sweet? What exactly is a fruit pizza - we need to know! 

Remember my dear friend Christine, whose baby shower I hosted back in November? She and her husband were blessed with baby Stephen just hours after leaving my birthday BBQ! 

Baked Chicken Parm

Chicken parmesan is one of my favorite comfort foods. The chicken is delightfully crunchy and the cheesy, saucy topping is a delicious contrast.

I worked at an Italian restaurant in Pittsburgh throughout high school and college (on semester breaks) and they have a seriously large and delicious chicken parm sandwich and stuffed chicken parm dinner, filled with ricotta! They're both incredible and can turn a bad day (or dinner shift) around in no time (30 minute break time).  

I found this recipe for baked chicken parm a few months ago and made and delivered it to a friend who recently had a baby. Just last week I made it again when our friends came over for dinner. It's really easy to make, better for you than fried (obviously), and the surprise is that it uses Dijon mustard! I thought that would be weird but it's very subtle and gives it just a little tangy flavor.

Baked Chicken Parmesan
I started with this recipe and made my own sauce

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 cup of Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 cup of Parmesan cheese
3 Tablespoons of Dijon mustard
1 Tablespoon of white vinegar
Salt & pepper

The most annoying step comes first - getting that perfectly thin piece of chicken. You can either cut the chicken breasts in half, pound them with a meat pounder, or a combination of the two! If you're using the meat pounder, first place the chicken on a cutting board and cover with plastic wrap, then take out all of your anger/issues/aggression on the bird until you reach the desired thickness (between 1/4 and 1/2 of an inch). 

Next, combine the mustard and vinegar in a bowl. Add salt and pepper, then cover the chicken pieces with the mixture. Let them hang out in there for more flavor! In another bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, parm cheese, and a little more pepper. Now is a great time to preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

The Le Creuset Outlet

Well, I'm officially 26 now. Scary, right?


Just after Christmas, Bryce, My Sandy, and I drove an hour North of Pittsburgh to go to the Le Creuset outlet store! This trip had been planned for months in advance and we even braved a little bit of snow to get there. 

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Pizza Dip and the Super Bowl

Another year of football has come and gone. It was just an OK year for my Steelers. The highlight had to be beating the Pats and the worst part was, of course, losing in the first round of playoffs to the over-popularized Tim Tebow and the Broncos. This season marked a first for me personally, as I traveled to San Fran for my first ever away game! I'm not sure if I'll ever do that again. Plus, they wouldn't even keep the lights on for me. I went to my annual Christmas-time home game, too.

Needless to say, the SB wasn't a big deal for me this year. Unlike last year, I actually dressed like a girl and paid little attention to the game. 

I also made a delicious pizza dip! I found a recipe in the new HGTV magazine and changed it quite a bit.

Pizza Dip with Sausage
feeds many!

3 links of Italian sausage
1 (24 ounce) jar of sauce
15 ounces of ricotta cheese
1 package of fresh mozzarella pearls
2 baguettes
fresh basil

I'm a wimp so I get the mild sausage!

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Super Bowl 2011

Today I'm throwing myself a pity party - the Steelers aren't in the Superbowl BOOOOOO!

I was too busy pouting about our loss last year to post about the awesome party my cousin Darren had, but today - 1 year later - I'm ready to tell you all about it! He's having a party again today but it won't be the same... aka who cares about the game/football, I'll act like all the other women who only care about the commercials.

Last year we had black & gold smiley cookies from Eat'n Park, a Pittsburgh favorite! These were shipped from the Burg thanks to my Mom.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Cheesy Stuffed Potatoes and Other Melted Things

Yesterday I was compelled to make something using potatoes since we had so many of them. Our friends were coming over so I thought some stuffed potatoes with cheese would be perfect finger food.

I cleaned the potatoes and preheated the oven.

Normally I put foil around my spuds when baking them but the good-old-Better-Homes-and-Gardens-cookbook said it wasn't necessary, so I didn't. Hooray for not wasting! After about 20 - 30 of the 45 minutes required I heard a funny sound from on top of the stove. It was the sound of the candle falling to its death!

Friday, February 3, 2012

Honolulu Farmer's Market

I have a serious love affair with Farmers' Markets. This week Bryce and I went to the Honolulu Farmers' Market for the first time. It's on Wednesday evenings outside the nearby concert hall. 

My two favorite purchases were these: a whole wheat fig loaf and meyer lemon butter spread!

The incredibly good looking jam and jelly salesman let me try about 15 flavors before I picked one to buy :) Then Bryce came and bought it for me, haha.