Monday, March 31, 2008


Let's all be inspired by OPRAH and the BIG GIVE. Do something for someone today - you be glad you did and you will feel good about doing so! As we learned the other night - sometimes you help someone just by a simple act of listening to them! We all have a voice we all want to be heard BUT it is also AmaZING to just listen. Try it and post your stories! LISTENing and using are VOICE are all COMMUNICATION - and we all know Giving is all about COMMUNICATION.

REcylcing, Freecycle, Freeganism

Let's open up some discussion here about the above topics! I am curious and finding myself researching the above alot lately. I would love to be enlightened further about all the areas and share some of my ideas for recycling. I wish to know more about the rest and try to find groups in our area that participate in freecycling and freeganism as this seems quite interesting after I viewed these areas on Oprah. So let's talk.

Recycling. EARTH DAY first off should not just be a day or called such this should be EARTH, 24/7/365 AWARE! Sure all the hype is here, but there are still many who are now down playing the importance in protecting our environment and calling it a political ploy, etc. I believe we can all get involved and this involvement starts at home in ways many of us to not even think of. Ways that go beyond recycling cans and bottles. For example:
*Send your kids with a lunch box filled with plastic containers that can be refilled and washed versus using baggies.
* Use your own bags for groceries - no matter where u go - don't accept the plastic or paper bags. Forgot them in the car? No problem (I do all the time) Just don't have them bagged - when you get to the car - load them in your bags that you keep stored in your trunk.
* Replace ALL your light bulbs with energy efficient ones.
* Eliminate all clothes, shoes, dishes, etc that you do not use - recycle by giving them and paying it forward to organizations that can use them, i.e. - homeless shelters, battered women shelters, churches, etc. Do the same with non-perishables in the kitchen cupboard - give them to a local food pantry or group that feeds the community, etc.
* Stop buying water bottles - buy 2.5 gallon jugs or filter your water - this stops the waste and the recycling and saves you money. Put a refillable jug in your children's lunch.
* Keep lights off in your home, TVs off in rooms, etc - where no one is in the room. Shower with the lights off, turn the water off while shaving or shampooing or soaping up - Leave a bucket in the shower and water your plants with the extra water.
* BE CREATIVE - and please share your thoughts and IDEAS for all!!
* THIS IS A WASTEFUL WORLD - let's fix it ONE step at a TIME - use your VOICE, COMMUNICATE - to the WORLD your IDEAS today!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies

Hi everyone -
We are BACK! We have been Spring CLEANING! Oh what fun! Well time to make some treats now! These are Mmmm....
Enjoy :) More soon...

Ooey Gooey Peanut Butter Chocolate Brownies
3/4 C. fat-free sweetened condensed milk -divided
1/4 C. butter - melted and cooled
1/4 C. skim milk
1 -18 oz. package devil's food cake mix
1 large egg white -lightly beaten
vegetable cooking spray
1 -7 oz. jar marshmallow cream - about 1 3/4 cup
1/2 C. peanut butter chips
Preheat oven to 350° F.
Combine 1/4 cup condensed milk, butter, skim milk, cake mix and egg white in a bowl (batter will be very stiff). Coat bottom of a 13x9-inch baking pan with cooking spray. Press two-thirds of batter into prepared pan using floured hands; pat evenly (layer will be thin). Bake at 350° F for 10 minutes.

Combine 1/2 cup condensed milk and marshmallow cream in a bowl; stir in peanut butter chips. Spread marshmallow mixture evenly over brownie layer. Carefully drop remaining batter by spoonfuls over marshmallow mixture.
Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Tyler's Ultimate TACOs....

Now here is one hotty in the kitchen! Aren't his wife and kids lucky! Try this all inclusive dinner for a smash home run hit with your family tonight - MMmmmm Delicious!!!! (can easily subsitute chicken, pork shoulder, or ???) Watch Tyler, live on his show making this meal, with grilled corn too - coming up on April 20th too! The ultimate fiesta party in your mouth is just a couple ours away for all you foodies!

Mexican Pot Roast Tacos
Recipe courtesy Tyler Florence, 2007
See this recipe on air Sunday Apr. 20 at 8:30 AM ET/PT.
Show: Tyler's Ultimate
Episode: Ultimate Beef Tacos

2 pounds beef shoulder
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, smashed
1 large onion, sliced
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes, (recommended: San Marzano)
1 tablespoon ancho chile powder
1 tablespoon cayenne pepper
1 tablespoon ground cumin
3 bay leaves
Vegetable oil, for deep frying
6 fresh medium corn tortillas
Kosher salt
3 cups finely shredded white cabbage
Guacamole, recipe follows
1/4 bunch fresh cilantro leaves

For the simple salsa:
1 (28-ounce) can whole tomatoes, drained, reserving the juice (recommended: San Marzano)
1 small red onion, roughly chopped
1 Serrano chile
1 garlic clove, roughly chopped
2 limes, juiced
1/2 cup chopped cilantro leaves
Kosher salt and freshly cracked black pepper
Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

Season all sides of the beef with a fair amount of salt and pepper. In a large Dutch oven, or other heavy pot that has a tight cover, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over moderately high heat. Add the garlic and the beef to the pot, browning the meat on all sides, taking the time to get a nice crust on the outside. Add the onion and allow to lightly brown, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the crushed tomatoes, plus 1 tomato can of water, spices, season with salt and pepper, to taste, and add enough water to cover the meat. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer with a lid for 3 hours until the meat is fork tender. Let meat cool in the liquid. Shred meat and set aside.
Heat a large pot of oil over medium heat. When oil reaches 350 degrees F, fry the corn tortillas 1 at a time. Place the tortilla in the oil and wait about 30 seconds. Then use the handle of a wooden spoon to press down into the center of the tortilla and fold it in the middle. Hold down for a few seconds waiting for the tortilla to form into taco shell and then drain on paper towels. Season with salt.

For the simple salsa:
To make salsa, pulse all the ingredients, except the tomato juice, in a food processor. Add the reserved tomato juice if the salsa is too thick. Drizzle salsa with olive oil, cover with plastic wrap and set aside, allowing the flavors to marry.

To assemble the tacos:
Lay some shredded cabbage as a base. Top with some shredded beef. Serve alongside Guacamole and salsa. Garnish with fresh cilantro leaves.

6 ripe avocados
3 limes, juiced
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, smashed then minced
2 serrano chiles, cut into rounds
1 big handful fresh cilantro with stems, about 1/2 cup, finely chopped
Extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
Halve and pit the avocados. With a tablespoon, scoop out the flesh into a mixing bowl. Mash the avocados using either a fork or potato masher, leaving them still a bit chunky. Add the remaining ingredients, and fold everything together. Drizzle with a little olive oil, adjust seasoning with salt and pepper and give it 1 final mix with a fork.

Lay a piece of plastic wrap tight on the surface of the guacamole so it doesn't brown and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before serving. Yield: about 4 cups

Monday, March 3, 2008

Best Chocolate Cake.....

With an ever subtle hint of coffee combined with the ultimate chocolate flavors and topped with an ever so light mousse like frosting - one can not go wrong with this cake..... A huge crowd pleaser....DELICIOUS!

Beatty's Chocolate Cake, by Barefoot Contessa (Ina)
Butter, for greasing the pans
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
2 cups sugar
3/4 cups good cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup buttermilk, shaken
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee
Chocolate Buttercream, recipe follows
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 (8-inch) round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans.
Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place 1 layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:
6 ounces good semisweet chocolate (recommended: Callebaut)
1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 extra-large egg yolk, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar
1 tablespoon instant coffee powder
Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat-proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temperature.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter on medium-high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating for 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 teaspoons of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake.

Vanilla Carmel Tea Drink....

Vanilla Carmel Truffle Tea Drink, by Bob Greene as shown on the Rachel Ray Show
2 cups 1% milk
1 cup water
2 cinnamon sticks
3 Lipton Premium pyramid, vanilla-caramel truffle tea bags
3 teaspoons sugar
Yields: 2 servings

In a one-quart saucepan, bring the milk, water and cinnamon sticks to a boil. Remove the saucepan from heat and add the tea bags. Brew for 3 minutes then remove the tea bags and cinnamon sticks. Stir in the sugar and serve immediately.

I bet this tastes great over ice like an iced coffee style drink too! :)