Thursday, October 21, 2010

To-May-to vs To-Mah-to

I don't mean to pick, but...

You're vs. Your
I know... They're sooooo similar and sometimes you get confused. So much so that you use them interchangeably, and I guess if I read the sentence enough times I know what you're TRYING to say but...

You're: This word is a contraction for You are... simple as that. If you can't place "You Are" in the sentence where YOU'RE trying to place "you're" ...

IT DOESN'T GO THERE!!!!

Your:  Indicates possesion. Example: This is YOUR shoe.

 This is you're shoe. BAD BAD BAD...
Your coming to dinner. BAD BAD BAD
I hope you're coming to dinner because I have your shoe here waiting for you. GOOD GOOD GOOD

~M~

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cheese and Apples

Move over Cheese and Crackers... A new snack is in town!!!!!! I don't think there's anything (aside from peanut butter) that goes better with a sweet, juicy, crispy apple then some beautiful pieces of aged cheddar cheese.

I was at earth fare this past friday. I was in the cheese section cuz I had to buy the Bleu Cheese for my filet Mignon. Then (because I LOVE cheese, I started scoping the other cheeses and my fav section came up (Cheddar of course). I saw a tiny block of 8 year aged (or 8 months... can't quite remember) cheddar cheese and I thought... hey I'll try it. It was mad expensive, but they sold it in a small square that came out to 4.80 so I figured... WTH... go ahead...

BUT...

They were sampling this other cheese, (which was much more expensive... $30/ lb to be exact. but it was on sale for $18.99/lb...) But it was PHENOMENAL!!!!!!! so I bought the smallest square I could find. It cost me $5.32.

But I couldn't think of ANY dish I could use that tiny little bit of cheese on... And I didn't want to waste $30 cheese on any old random dish. so as I was preparing my meals for the day, I decided I'd take some to go along with my Honeycrisp Apple...

BEST DECISION I MADE ALL DAY WEEK!!!!!

If you've never had cheddar cheese aged in cloth GO GET SOME IMMEDIATELY... Has the texture more like parmesan cheese, the sharpness and mouthfeel of a good creamy cheddar. There are WONDERFUL amazing notes to this cheese. PLEASE... I BEG YOU!!! TRY this cheese. Even if you buy just one ounce (cuz it really is quite expensive. I could buy a pair of shoes for the same price of a lb of this cheese). But.... try it... I promise you won't hate it. And you will most likely fall in love :)

Happy Eating

~M~

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SpoilMe Saturday

About 2 months ago I began dating myself. I take myself out every Saturday night. Whether it's just to the dollar movie or something more high end I have found it to be the most necessary thing in my life right now.  Well I LOVE sushi. So I decided that every pay weekend, I'd implement Sushi Saturday. But since that decision was made, I have not had sushi saturday ONCE. (smh) BUT... every pay weekend I do cook myself a special meal, and I try to splurge on entertainment. So instead of Sushi Saturday, I've implemented
"Spoilme Saturday". Last pay week I made Herb Encrusted Pan Seared Tuna with sides of Cilantro Pepper Rice and Green Beans with Balsamic Butter glaze (recipes all in aforementioned link). YUMMM!!! This week...

Filet Mignon
topped with Red Wine Sauce 
Carmelized Onions and Bleu Cheese
Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Soy Ginger Broccoli

OH MY GOSH!!!! It was PHENOM! And the price for the meal prolly came to a total of about 10 dollars. Whereas a filet at most steakhouses will run you upwards of 25 dollars. Just a thought.

Sidebar: It took me forEVER to learn how to cook a meal for just one person. Now that I've mastered it, I have mixed emotions about it. Does that man I'm doomed for singlehood? LOL. And also, when my meals are SUPERB... there are no leftoevers!! :(

BUT I DIGRESS.

Filet Mignon w. Red Wine Sauce

Ingredients:
Dried Rosemary
Onion Powder
Dried Oregano
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
8 oz filet
Olive Oil



OKAY... so for the filet DO NOT MARINATE!!!! filets are very tender cuts of meat already and to marinate in something acidic will make the texture much too mushy. YUCK! Instead, make a dry rub to season it. filets also tend to be more bland than other cuts of meat because they have much less fat.. so what you gain in texture you lose in flavor, but no fear. This recipe is so flavorful you will not regret it.

Bring steak close to room temp. I try not to cook any of my food straight out of the fridge, especially meats and eggs. I've read somewhere that it just gets a better cook at room temp and I believe it. Mix first 5 ingredients together. This will be your dry rub. I used my fingers to get the spices ground as fine as I could. You can use a mortar and pestle if you have one. Sprinkle the dry rub on all sides of the steak.



Heat olive oil in a pan on medium high heat for about 5 mins. Place filet in pan and sear for about 4 minutes on both sides. DO NOT DISCARD DRIPPINGS!!!!

Red Wine Sauce:
Shallots
Chicken Stock
(or beef stock or veggie stock. I actually used chicken broth because I had no stock)
Red Wine (I used Shiraz)
Balsamic Vinegar
Brown Mustard
Butter
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Dried Thyme

Turn heat on saute pan down to low. Mince Shallots. Saute them in the pan drippings from the steak just until translucent (be careful not to burn them). Turn burner up to high. Pour in equal amounts of chicken stock and red wine (measurements are all up to you. I didn't use any I just eyed it :). Bring liquid to a high boil and let reduce by about half. Turn burner down to medium high heat and add balsmamic vinegar and mustard. Let reduce to desired consistency. Turn heat off. Add butter. Add Salt Pepper and Thyme to taste.
(Original Recipe: How to make a Red Wine Sace but these are my alterations with what I had on hand, (and I also didn't measure anything.)


Carmelized Onions

Sliced Onions
Butter
Sugar








Thyme Roasted Sweet Potatoes

(inspired by a recipe I found on Allrecipes.com)
1/2 a sweet potato chopped
Olive Oil
Dried Thyme
Chopped Garlic
Kosher Salt


Toss all ingredients together and put in covered bowl overnight. Roast at 300 degrees until slightly crispy around some edges.

Soy Ginger Broccoli

Olive Oil
Fresh Ginger, minced
Red Pepper Flakes
Salt
Soy Sauce
Orange Juice
Broccoli Florets



Saute ginger in olive oil over medium heat for 2-3 minutes. Add Red Pepper flakes and salt. Stir. Add soy sauce. Mixture will bubble up quickly and start to thicken. remove from heat when this happens so it doesn't burn. Add just enough orange juice to loosen up mixture and deglaze pan. Stir. Add Broccoli Florets. Mix thoroughly. Cover and cook over medium heat just until broccoli is bright green and still crispy. Turn heat off and let the steam cook it the rest of the way. This prevents over cooking.

Doesn't this look PHENOMENAL!!!!!!!!!!

Happy Eating

~M~

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Au Naturale

So, I'm a sucker for all things natural. I get it from my momma. The whole GREEN movement everyone's all about these days... well, I was suckered into that trap at an EARLY age... Now, I have no beef with non natural methods, but somehow they either A, proclaim too many unnatural side effects, or I'm scared that somehow they're gana mutate my body. LOL. Because of this, I rarely take pain medication for anything: headaches (even migraines), cramps, toothaches... You name it, if I can help it I'm looking up a natural remedy for it.

But I digress.

My scalp has been incessantly dry for some stupid odd reason for a while now. I can get NO relief. It's always itchy, usually flaky... Sigh. Now because I have a background in cosmetology (read: I'm a licensed, but non practicing cosmetologist) I'm big on my hair care and styling products. So I use my ultra moisturizing shampoo and scalp calming conditioner. Still nothing. I thought about buying some natural shampoos and conditioners, but something occured to me...

9 times out of 10 the products named "natural" are just as much chemicals as the other, they just add a little extract here and there to make it more natural. Soooo, I decided to go for what I know.

So for a quick Hair 101 lesson, your hair (skin and nails too) is naturally acid based and is at it's healthiest beween 4.5-5.5 on the pH scale. To keep it here, you don't want to use anything with too high of an alkalinity on your hair without balancing it back by using something of a low acid. A general rule is acids are good for your hair, alkalines (or bases) are less good. But most shampoos are alkaline based. And very high at that. The reason for that is the alkaline opens the hair shaft and allows the soaps to penetrate and clean.

BUT!!

Your hair doesn't really need that.

Courtesy of google images

Has anyone every checked out Arm and Hammers MILLIONS of ways to use baking soda? From cooking to cleaning, baking soda is soooo versatile. Well, Baking soda is also about an 8 on the pH scale making it a low alkaline and PERFECT for gently cleansing your hair. So I put the baking soda on my wet hair and massaged just as if I were lathering up my scalp with shampoo. then rinsed it

Next...

ROSEMARY AND THYME

I was researching to find what natural remedies are good for dry itchy scalp and two of them are rosemary and thyme and since I had some fresh rosemary and thyme trying to go bad in my fridge, I boiled them into a strong tea. I poured it on my hair and concentrated on my scalp. Rubbed it in and put a plastic cap on for about 30 mins. Then Rinse

AND FINALLY
MAYONAISE!!!!

Everybody knows that mayonaise is about the best conditoner for your hair. I'll tell you the most important components of it. Egg, Oil and Vinegar. Egg is full of fat and protein which is important for the building of your hair (protein that is) and Vinegar... well it's about a 2 on the pH scale so it will bring your hair back down to a good acid balance. Put the mayonaise on the hair. Plastic Cap it up for about 20-30 mins. Rinse with COLD water.

VOILA!!!

Now, my hair is extremely soft right now, scalp is nowhere near as dry and it took 10 hours for me to notice any itching and still the itching isn't that bad. Prior to this, I could wash it and the itching would be back in 30 mins. So... NATURAL IS ALWAYS BETTER.

And you heard it here first :)

~M~

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Enough is too much!

For some very weird reason, almost everything I cooked today had too much salt in it. I say very weird because I'm the person that under salts. I believe that the purpose for salt is to enhance flavor and that if you season a dish well enough you don't need too much salt. I also am deathly afraid of high blood pressure.

But I digress...

I was cooking some kettle corn this morning for my afternoon snack. When it was time to put the salt on a put a little bit. Then I went back and put some more, thinking "There. That should be enough." I tasted it and my heart sunk because I knew that had I not have thrown in that extra bit of salt it would have been PERFECT!!!! Enough was just too much.

Then I was ready to make my breakfast, but since I was running late I made a fried egg (for the first time) instead of my traditional... (scrambled or omelet). I salted it a bit, but when I tasted it I was a little perturbed because it was bland. There just wasn't enough salt. So I topped it with more salt, thinking... "There. That should be enough." But enough was ENTIRELY too much. Since initially I had salted over top of it instead of my normal way of salting and beating the salt through, the salt wasn't evenly disbursed. Actually, the salt was mainly on the yolk. So when I added the extra salt, well... UGGH! is all I can really say.

There's not object lesson here. I'm just saying, don't be surprised if the next few recipes from me have absolutely NO SALT in them... I think I'm all salted out now. And I won't lie, I'm a little bit salty about it.
(Pun intended  LOLOLOLLOL!!!!!)

~M~

Monday, October 11, 2010

HAHAH!!! My FIRST blog award!!!

 


I am so excited to receive my first blog award from kdr'S— a PHENOMENAL blog by an even more phenomenal pair of women!
PAY IT FORWARD, SHARE THIS AWARD – RULES FOR WINNING
Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.
Share 7 things about yourself.
Pass the award to 15 bloggers you recently discovered and think are fabulous
Contact the bloggers you chose and let them know about the award.


 

Okay so 7 things about me

  1. I am a foodie
  2. I <3 my little sister to pieces!!!
  3. I want to travel the world SOON!
  4. I have come to really love blogging. Such a therapeutic release.
  5. I hate reading looooooong blogs. Such a turn off.
  6. I'm also a composer. Dunno why I put this so far down on the list.
  7. I don't know what else to put

    It's so hard to choose 15 bloggers, Mostly because since I'm fairly new to consistent blogging and even reading other's blogs, I'm not familiar with 15 bloggers. So I'll just choose as many as I find to be worthy. :)
    1. Everything I like causes cancer
    2. Shutterbean
    3. Ummmmm,  well I read more... But I can't think of them right now. But these people deserve awards so...

New = Better

Yes. I changed the name of my blog. Why? Because my personality type likes to organize EVERYTHING to it's most minute detail and because of that I have THREE blogs. But I think the people that follow the one are missing out on some of the stuff I put in the other and vice versa, so I decided to put it all under one umbrella. All of it is me and my blog will just show different aspects of what makes me ME! So enjoy.

~M~

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Freezer Burnt

This just in: Do Not... I repeat
DO NOT!!!!!

freeze this soup. So...

Remember the Roast Chicken Soup that was sooooo PHENOMENAL? (Recipe in "Roast Chicken Soup" blog).

Yeah it was great. I made a huge pot... Since I love soup and I'm one person, I decided to freeze a few bowls so i'd have them on command... Reheated one today.

BLECK!!!

I dunno if it's cuz I reheated it in the microwave or what it was... All I know is that it wasn't the same soup. It was something else... :( I'm gana try to reheat the next bowl in a pot over the stove and see how that does, but in the future I know... CAN'T FREEZE THAT SOUP!

~M~

Cilantro Lime Tilapia

I wanna talk about this AH-MAY-ZING Tilapia Fillet I fixed this morning. I'm gana promise to include pictures with the next recipe blog post, because I know how much pictures add to the experience. But today, you just have to trust me.

I was reading yesterday that it's better not to cook your fish in oil because it loses some of it's healthy Omega-3's (or what not) so better to poach or steam it... Fine! No prob for me, cuz olive oil is rather expensive anyway. If I can save it, I'll save it!

My Cilantro was going BAD!!!

So I made my Cilantro Pepper Rice (recipe in "Midnite 'Snack'"). But I still had cilantro left to use...

Courtesy of Google images

Cilantro Lime Tilapia
chopped cilantro
1 shallot
Crushed Red Pepper Flakes
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Juice of half a lime
1 Tilapia Fillet
Because I'm not using oil I prepare this in a nonstick pan. Heat the pan on medium heat. Add first 5 ingredients and stir with a wooden spoon. After the shallots and cilantro has softened, add lime. Give it one more quick stir. Place the tilapia fillet in the pan, then flip over immediately. This allows some of the seasoning to be on top and some on the bottom. cover the pan and steam for 2 mins. Flip the fillet and steam for 2 more minutes. Remove from heat but leave the pan covered.

Soon to Come: Vegetarian recipes for my vegetarian friends :) Hi Stea'Van!

Happy Eating

~M~

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Breakfast for Champions!

WHAT A DAY!!!

So busy. From the alarm until now I have been moving non-stop. Last night I went ahead and planned my meals for the week because I realized that if I don't do that, I don't eat well rounded meals and I'm always hungry. Additionally, I shop aimlessly at the grocery store, and... welll.... I'm just a little to broke for that mess!

SO...
In order to prepare today's meals, I had to go the the farmer's market and pick up a few items... That took a chunk out of my morning. Also, there were FAR too many dishes in the sink.. Another chunk out of my morning to wash them. I was able to successfully prepare 3 meals and two snacks for myself for today, HOWEVER, I didn't have enough time to take pictures of my recipes so I hope you trust that it looked, smelled and tasted PHENOMENAL...

Rosemary Potatoes
3 creamer potatoes, chopped
2 TBSP thinly sliced red onions
Leaves from 1 sprig of fresh rosemary
1 TBSP olive oil
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper

Saute the onions, salt and pepper in the oil. Add potatoes and stir. Cook over medium heat, uncovered, stirring occasionally. After potatoes have all become golden brown, add rosemary leaves and cover. Cook over medium heat until soft.

"Scrambled Omelet"
1 egg
1 - 1 1/2 TBSP milk
(or milk substitute... I used almond milk)
2 TBSP chopped red pepper
1 slice chopped turkey bacon
(or meat substitute... your choice)
1 shallot, chopped
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
2 tsp butter
1 1/2 TBSP shredded cheese

Let the egg sit out for about 30 mins. Room temp eggs fluff up nicely. Beat egg with milk, salt and pepper. Melt butter in pan, saute veggies and meat for about 15 secs and spread thinly over pan. Pour egg over it. Let the egg set on the bottom then add cheese. Take a wooden spoon and bring egg toward center of the pan letting the uncooked egg flow out and cook.

HAPPY EATING

~M~

Monday, October 4, 2010

Hot Chocolate

CHOCOLATE!!!

Chocolate has sooooo many culinary applications. You can use it in sweet dishes, savory dishes... you name it, and chocolate has prolly been there.  You have Dark Chocolate, Milk Chocolate, White Chocolate,
There are sooooo many wonderful things to put with chocolate. Nuts and caramel top most peoples list. But my absolute FAVORITE things to put in chocolate...


Out of anything I've ever paired with chocolate, nothing enhances it's flavor like these two things. When I make my chocolate cake, Cayenne Pepper is the secret in the proverbial sauce... :)
My upcoming baking experiences include a chocolate orange marble bundt cake and I will let you know how it goes. Don't be shocked when you see ground cayenne pepper in the ingredients list. IT'S THE ABSOLUTE BEST!!!!
My friend Deon asked me to bake for her hubby's b-day (She's the best chef in the world, but baking isn't her forte...) He likes chocolate, so what should I fix??????

~M~

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Midnite "snack"

So I went to the dollar show to watch Salt last night.

GREAT MOVIE!

So when I got home it was almost midnite. I played the piano some and then SUDDENLY, I decided to cook. No, not a little snack. A full blown meal! (I'm crazy I know.)

See, I had bought this WONDERFUL tuna steak and I had planned to cook it the day before. I had it in the fridge just marinating away and I really didn't want my tuna to go bad before I cooked it so I figured, hey... I'm awake... I'm hungry... LET'S COOK!!

Herb Encrusted Pan-Seared Tuna

1 6oz Sushi Grade Tuna Steak
1 sprig Fresh Rosemary
4 sprigs Fresh Thyme
about 5 stalks Fresh Parsley
1 TBSP Red Chili Flakes
1 1/2 tsp olive oil
Kosher Salt and Black Pepper to taste

Remove the leaves from the Rosemary and Thyme. Chop Parsley. Add Rosemary and Thyme leaves, chopped parsley, olive oil and red chili flakes to a food processor and chop until the consistency is paste-like. Rinse the Tuna Steak with cold water. Rub the steak with salt and black pepper. Press Herb paste onto tuna and wrap in Saran Wrap. Let sit in refrigerator for at least 4 hourse (I let mine sit overnight).

Heat Skillet on medium heat until a drop of water sizzles and evaporates on surface. Pour enough Olive Oil into the pan to coat the pan. Place the Tuna Steak in skillet and sear each side for about 1 1/2 mins each.



Cilantro Pepper Rice
1 cup Jasmine Rice
1 clove garlic, minced
about 1/2 cup chopped Cilantro
1 fresh Cayenne pepper, chopped
1/4 of a red pepper, chopped
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
(or 1 1/2 cups water with 1 chicken bouillon cube,
or 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth)
1 tsp dried basil leaves
Black pepper to taste





it's still rather translucent here.

Pour Olive Oil in a 2 quart saucepan, heat over medium heat. add garlic. Saute (stirring constantly) just until garlic is fragrant. Add rice. Let cook for about 2 mins (stirring regularly). Add peppers (cayenne and red pepper). Stir. Cook over medim heat until most of the rice take on an opaque white look instead of translucent.


Add the cilantro. Stir. Add broth. Stir gently just until everything is incorporated. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat back down to medium and cover the pot. Cook for about 15-20 mins or until all of the water is absorbed. Turn off the heat and keep the lid on. This will ensure that the steam cooks the rice the rest of the way. After about 10 mins, fluff rice with a fork and serve.

Baked Green Beans with Balsmic Butter Glaze
fresh Green Beans
Kosher Salt
Black Pepper
Olive Oil
Soy Sauce
Balsmic Vinegar
Butter

Cut the tips off of the Green Beans. Place them in a single layer on a sheet of foil. Drizzle olive oil over top of them. Sprinkle salt and black peper on them.

Fold the ends of the foil up and seal to make a pouch. Place on a cookie sheet and put in an oven preheated at 350 degrees. Bake for about 10 mins (or until just before desired doneness). Pull out and place to the side leaving pouch sealed. The steam will finish off the cooking. In a saucepan melt butter. add soy sauce and balsamic vinegar. Whisk until thoroughly mixed. Remove from heat and let sit for 1 minute. Pour over top of the Green Beans.

MIDNITE SNACK IS SERVED!!

Happy Eating

~M~