Monday, February 13, 2012

Last Minute Valentine's Day Cookies

Happy Valentine’s Day!

I've got a last minute dessert that is so simple, you’ll be able to swing by the grocery store to pick up a few ingredients and have these in the oven before dark!

I’m talking four ingredients, y'all! So effortless and delicious it will be like you’ve had this sweet treat planned for weeks.

For these sweet red velvet cookies, I took the same 'cookie dough' ingredients I used when I made Red Velvet Whoopie Pies last fall and threw in white chocolate chips. It made for a great combination and a perfect Valentine's day dessert! 

Best when served with a glass of chilled champagne or ice cold milk.


Sweetie Pies

1 Box Red Velvet cake mix
1 stick of butter
2 Eggs
11 oz. bag White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Mix ingredients until combined.
Drop spoonfuls of cookie batter onto baking sheet about two inches apart.
Bake for 8 minutes.
Transfer to a cooling rack.

Serve with ice cold milk or chilled champagne.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lamb Chops for Two

I’m back with another one of MD’s super delicious meals that would make for a very impressive dinner for your Valentine.

MD had been dying to make a red wine reduction for awhile and finally did for the first time for our Valentine's Day dinner last year. He served it over lamb chops with Gorgonzola mashed red mashed potatoes and shelled English peas.

He has since made this meal several more times, including a few dinner parties. The recipe below is for two, but can be easily doubled or tripled. 

This dish requires a little more time, but the end result is so worth the extra love you put in. I mention in the instructions that there is a half-way point in the reduction where you can stop and finish the next day if you wanted to divide your time up a little.

Don’t be intimated. I insist you try this soon! It'll knock your sweetie's argyles off.

Grubby 3G iPhone photo. 2011


Red Wine Reduction

1 medium onion, finely diced
2 stalks of celery, finely diced
1 large carrot, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced 
1 shallot, minced (optional)
1 cup mushrooms, finely diced
1 quart of beef stock
One bottle of red wine
Two pads of butter

Begin by sautéing the diced onions, carrots, celery, and shallots for 3 minutes. Add minced garlic and diced mushrooms. Cook for 3 more minutes. Add beef stock and entire bottle of wine. Simmer ingredients together until the liquid cooks down to half the amount you started with. This can take up to an hour. Strain out the liquids with a fine strainer to separate the vegetables from the liquid. Discard the veggies and return the liquid to the pot. — At this point the liquid can be refrigerated or set aside until you are 15 minutes away from plating your food.—  Bring liquid to a simmer and cook until you have half the amount you started with. Usually takes 15+ minutes, but keep an eye on it. When the liquid has reduced to its final consistency (a bit thick but still runny) add the two pads of butter and gently stir together. The reduction is ready as soon as the butter is combined.

Lamb Chops
4 small lamb chops (2 per person)
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper

1. Preheat a grill or cast-iron grill pan over high heat.
2. Rub the lamb chops with salt and pepper on both sides.
3. Grill on each side for 2 to 3 minutes. If using a grill pan, grill one side for 2 minutes to sear, then turn over the chops and place the pan in the oven for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove from the grill or oven and allow to sit 5 minutes before serving.

Plate lamb chops and cover liberally with the red wine reduction.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Lobster is for Lovers

After a few years of fighting the Valentine’s Day crowd and sitting closer than we’d like to other lovers dining out to celebrate the holiday, MD and I decided we needed a tradition of our own.

Each year MD and I get gussied up and enjoy an evening out on the town the Saturday prior to V-day. Then, on the 14th we celebrate in the comfort of our own home over a delicious meal prepared by MD followed by a chocolaty dessert baked by yours truly!

A few years ago, MD made us lobster for our first Valentine’s Day as a married couple.

3G iPhone photo. 2010

It was so amazing!

This method of preparation is referred to as Piggyback Lobster Tails. Relax! It’s not as difficult as it may appear.

3G iPhone photo. 2010

Use MD’s step-by-step instructions below and impress your sweetie with this next Tuesday – or any other day of the year!

(2) Lobster tails
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground paprika
Salt and pepper to taste 

You'll also need:
Kitchen shears

1. Pick up two fresh lobster tails each around six ounces from your local meat market and defrost. Take a pair of kitchen shears. Cut down the center of the shell all the way to the base of the tale - being careful not to cut the meat.

2. Gently open the shell from each side pulling it away from the meat. Keep the back of the meat attached to the shell. Once all the meat is freed from the shell (EXCEPT the end) close the shell back together and gently lay the meat on top of the shell. Gently slide a skewing stick through the lobster meat. This will keep it from curling up! Season meat with melted butter, paprika and salt.

3. Using a steamer pot, add water to the inside pan. When the water begins to boil, drop in the lobster tails on the top pan.

4. For lobster tails that are 4-6 oz., let them steam for about 12-15 minutes.

5. Prepare a couple of ramekins with melted butter for dipping.

3G iPhone photo. 2010

I insist you give this a try! Leave a comment if you have any questions!


(If this isn't enough to make your skirt fly up, come back tomorrow for another one of MD’s amazing Valentine’s Day dishes!)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Happy Groundhog Day!

Happy Groundhog Day!

Today, Punxsutawney Phil emerged from his burrow at approximately 7:20 a.m. in Punxsutawney, Penn. With a crowd of nearly 40,000 people, he left his burrow only to see his shadow signifying that winter weather will continue for six more weeks.

Mr. Phil’s forecasts have only been accurate 39% of the time. Let's hope this is one of the times he got it wrong. Last year he predicted an early spring and we ended up with record amounts of snow. 

I mean, today's high is 66 degrees.

To celebrate Groundhog Day, I brought these mini angel food cupcakes to work this morning to share with my co-workers. I frosted them with a whipped cream icing and sprinkled them with Spring blue sugar crystals.

Happy Spring! Well, almost.
(Who's counting?)


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

MD's Pasta

MD came across this Light Creamy Alfredo sauce from Classico last June. He created this amazing semi-homemade pasta that I've naturally and oh-so-creatively dubbed ‘MD Pasta.’ Clever!


Nutritional info.

Before we begin with the recipe, I need to emphasize what an amazing cook MD is. Better than me. I have no problem admitting that. He doesn’t either. *Spoiler alert! Next week I’m sharing two of MD’s gourmet meals that are perfect ideas to treat your honey with this Valentine’s day!

Let’s get started. MD began by giving me a mini cooking show while he made dinner Sunday night. He wanted to make sure I emphasized to you sweet readers that this is only a 20 minute meal. He brought his best Food Network performance to our kitchen as he gave me the run through on how quick, easy and delicious this meal is. And, you guys think I get excited about cooking?!


One medium squash
6 large white mushrooms
2-3 cloves of garlic
I jar of Classico Light Creamy Alfredo sauce
1 lb. stuffed pasta
Handful or two of spinach

Begin by chopping up the onion, squash and mushrooms. Mince the garlic and set aside.

Throw the onions and squash in a large skillet to sauté over medium high heat for 4-6 minutes, stirring continuously. Add minced garlic, salt, pepper and diced mushrooms for the last 2 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Add sauce and bring to a boil. Add a handful or two of fresh baby spinach and turn the heat down to low. Let the spinach sit there to wilt. Give it about three minutes. Keep on low and top the skillet with a lid, if you’d like.

Bring a pot of water to boil and add in stuffed pasta of your choice. We’ve done this with both tortellini and raviolis. While both are excellent, I think I may love raviolis more. Choose whatcha love. We used lobster stuffed raviolis this time. 

Boil using packaging directions. When they float to the top screaming that they’re ready to be lifted from the water, drain and add to sauce. Stir and serve. 

This is a great dish to serve to company. By adding in the fresh vegetables, it will trick them into thinking this could possibly be a homemade sauce. Score! 

Come back tomorrow to celebrate Groundhog’s Day with me! I'll be hoping for an early Spring with a sweet treat.


Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Faves - Kefir

If you know me, you know that if I love something I want to shout it from the rooftops to let everyone know how awesome I think something is. This could be anything from my favorite wine, favorite seamstress, to my favorite candles or a go-to blogger that I love.

Each Friday, I'll tell you about something that I'm loving. Today, I want to tell you about Kefir.

Hello, beautiful.

If you’re not familiar, Kefir is a delicious probiotic drink that is like a drinkable yogurt. Remember when Yoplait had a product called Nouriche? I lived on that stuff. Kefir is very similar to that, except better.

Forget the flu shot, Kefir can keep us healthy, y'all! It's packed with 12 live cultures and made with all natural ingredients, plus it's lactose free. Totally delicious and good for you!

I usually enjoy this as my breakfast, and sometimes as an afternoon snack. Pomegranate is my most favorite.

Go give it a try! I hope you like it as much as I do!


BTW, Kefir has no idea who I am. I'm just giving a shout out to a drink I love.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

An Update on Benjamin

It’s been one week and one day since sweet Benjamin had his teensy tiny knee operated on. Many of you have inquired about how he is doing. I can’t tell you how much MD and I appreciate that. We are very grateful for your thoughts and prayers.

A little background on the need for such an invasive surgery: Ben’s knee cap didn’t fit properly and wasn’t directly in line with his tibia bone. This was causing it to pop out on a constant basis (but obviously he wasn’t able to tell us this in a way we could understand). He would pop it back into place as needed. But, our little babe was accidentally stepped on and ultimately expedited this surgery. As sad as it was to see him hop around on three legs and to put him through this surgery, it was one that would have eventually had to happen. If anything, it was better that this problem was recognized now before arthritis set in. Glass half full, people.

His surgery was scheduled for Monday, Jan. 16 at 8 o'clock. After talking to the doctor, we smooched Ben goodbye and left him in good hands. 

 The doctors called seven hours later to let us know the surgery was a success and that Ben was doing well and resting. He also let us know that we could visit the next day. What?! Heck yes, I’ll be there.  

Since MD was teaching that day, I went to pay our sweet babe a visit over my lunch hour. He was pleased as punch to see me. They brought him out wrapped in his blanket we left him with.

I was so happy to see him. His was still pretty sedated and his leg looked awful. There was so much bruising on his pale pink skin and six stitches on his tiny chicken leg.

The nurses positively LOVED him. Many of them came into the room we were in to say hello and to tell me how much they adored him. He even gained himself a nickname during his stay. Because we dropped him off with his plush bed and blanket, they said he looked like he was set up in a hotel and dubbed him His Lordship. With a name like that, he was totally in his element.

Now that we have him back home, he’s getting plenty of rest, hugs and kisses. We give him his antibiotics twice a day and pain medicine once a day.  *Side note: cream cheese is your best friend when it comes to hiding a pill from your pup. – He’s being spoiled with his favorite soft food.

He's even received these precious treats in the mail from his cousin Berry.

And even more from his sweet friend Winnie!

Here’s a little glimpse of what his leg is looking like today. 

Bless his sweet heart.

While this is still a little sad for me to look at, it's so much better now that a full week has passed. He has good days and he has not-so-good days. Monday wasn't so good. 

I was perched on our bed when I was writing this post. MD came in and put Ben next to me the bed. Precious. 

He really enjoys the comfort of his own kennel. We call it his master bedroom. 

Most of his healing process includes sleep. Lots and lots of sleep. Here are a few photos I snapped while we blogged from bed. This is what his daily routine usually looks like. 

Taking at peek at me.

Positioning himself.


Checking in on things.

Drifting back to sleep.

And, he's out.


Thanks for visiting today! I appreciate all the love you've been sending Benny's way. He should be back to his athletic self just in time for Spring.

With love,