Wednesday, September 30, 2009


It always amazes me what people search for on the internet. I myself have probably searched some pretty ridiculous things..

... so I thought it would be fun to do a post on the key words that other people searched that led them to my blog.

I've only see three things so far:

1. Caper & Fish (which led them to this post)
2. Butterscotch Biscotti Recipe (which led them here)

and my favorite... drum roll please....




3. Can you put shrimp cocktail tails in a garbage disposal? (which led them here)

HAHA.. made me laugh, and I had to share.

MSC: Banana-Pecan Cupcakes

The September Bonus Round recipe was the Banana-Pecan cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream Frosting on pg. 41 of Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook.

I instantly knew I was going to make the bonus recipe this month because I love, love, love anything reminiscent of banana bread. The banana-pecan cupcakes are just that.. little pieces of banana-bread with a glorious tasting caramel buttercream frosting.

I actually made these early on a Friday morning, before work, at 4:30am. Call me crazy.. I know I am. I got up super early to make these because I wanted to bring them to my Aunt for her birthday and we were going to see her that very night.

This recipe took quite a while. Not sure how everyone else in the MSC club did, but it took me 2 - 2.5 hours to bake, cool, and frost.

After taking some photos in the morning sunrise, I hopped in the shower, got ready, and headed to work. I decided to bring a few to share the love, and share the love did I. Everyone enjoyed them, or at least said they did.

I will definitely make these again. The caramel buttercream was killer. The perfect touch.

Happy cupcake making!

Monday, September 28, 2009

Bacon Explosion

Sometime ago my husband discovered the Bacon Explosion recipe. I believe he heard it from a co-worker, but I can't remember. Regardless, this recipe is true to its name - bacon explosion. The recipe can be found here on BBQ Addicts website.

It's the ULTIMATE tailgating recipe, so my fellow CEiMBer's beware.. this thing is not in Ellie's healthy cookbook.

I believe it clocks in around 5000 calories and 500 grams of fat, but I can't remember, nor choose to.

1. Start with thick cut bacon and weave:

2. Spread 2 lbs. of Italian sausage on top of the weave:
3. Cook up some more bacon:

4. While cooking the additional bacon (did I mention you need about 1.5 packages of bacon?), add a generous amount of pork rub:

5. Smile at your wife while you're cooking the extra bacon ;)

6. Chop up the cooked bacon:

7. Add the cooked bacon to the top of the seasoned sausage:

8. Add some of your favorite BBQ sauce, like Sweet Baby Rays:

9. Roll up the sausage into a log and wrap with the bacon weave:

10. Add more seasoning to the bacon explosion:

11. Cook in a smoker for 4 hours until 165 degrees:

12. Slice and serve (usually on a dinner roll):
Mmmmm, if that doesn't give you a heart attack, I don't know what will...!
If you love to smoke food, or love tailgating, or simply just love a lot of meat.. you need to make this.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

CEiMB: Sweet & Spicy Grilled Cheese Sandwiches

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was hosted by Lethally Delicious. I cannot even tell you how much I love grilled cheese sandwiches!! As a kid, my mom always made these and served it along side a bowl of tomato soup. My favorite thing to do was dip the grilled cheese in the tomato soup --- mmmmm.

So, naturally, I was excited to see this recipe. A little more grown up, but still a grilled cheese. Ellie's recipe is pretty simple.

Grill onions until translucent, spread on one slice of whole wheat bread. Top with cheddar, pepperjack, and a slice or two of tomato and grill on medium-high heat for 4-5 minutes on each side.

I was a little rushed to find something to eat before the gym on Monday so I decided to make this recipe. I had onions in the freezer, but had no time to cook them, so I left them out. I also had tomatoes, but they were cherry tomatoes off the vine in the backyard and I was too pressed for time to go pick them, wash them, slice them, and add them to the sandwich.

So... I had a plain grilled cheese with just cheese. Two slices of whole wheat bread with shredded sharp cheddar and 1 oz. of pepperjack cheese. I grilled it to perfection on my George Foreman grill for 3 minutes, I think. I can't exactly remember how long I grilled it for because after I put it on the grill I ran upstairs and got ready for the gym, fed the dog, and then finally checked and it came out perfect - when does that happen? I usually end up burning everything when I turn my back and start doing something else. I won't even bring up the fact that I left the grill on high heat outside for over an hour last night while I caught up on Survivor and blogged about the recent UW win - go Dawgs!

Then on Wednesday night, I was able to make these again for Kyle and I. This time around I had tomatoes so I added them and it tasted great. I think the key is slicing them thin, that way they warm up between the melting cheese.

Click here to view the complete recipe. To check out what the other ladies thought in the CEiMB group, visit the blogroll. Thanks Lethally Delicious!


Monday, September 21, 2009

NY Cheesecake w/ Blackberry Compote

Ok, so the picture is not going to do this dish justice, I promise. This cheesecake is phenomenal. I've never made cheesecake before, but decided to make it for this last Saturday's UW game vs. USC (in which we won, go Dawgs!!).

Click here for the link to the recipe I used to make the NY cheesecake.

I probably would change some things the next time I make this. For instance, I didn't let the cream cheese come to room temperature. As a result, it cracked on top (this is what I read). I also didn't cook it in a water bath. Next time I will probably do this and turn down the temp slightly. I also read that if you turn down the temp slighty and cook it longer than it won't brown as much (and boy did mine brown). Regardless, it tasted great and everyone loved it.

Here's the recipe for the blackberry compote:

Alyssa's Blackberry Compote


3 cups blackberries (or other fruit, mine was frozen)
3/4 cup of white sugar
2 Tbsp. butter
1 Tbsp. corn starch
2 Tbsp. lime juice
1 tsp. cinnamon


Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat on medium-high for 3-4 minutes until thickened enough to coat a spoon. Let cool and store in the fridge until ready to use.

Enjoy! You definitely need to try this one.

I'm considering making an oreo one in the near future.. ahh the possibilities.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Steak Salad

My husband works a lot, but now that my husband's 'busy season' has slowed down, I get to see him more!

And this is what I came home to the first night he got off at a normal time (even beating me home from work) - a steak salad.

He's been eating it for dinner lately at a restaurant near his office and he really likes it so he decided to make it for us. First of all, my husband rarely cooks. So this was a treat for me. I mean, he grills, but rarely plates a whole meal.

The salad starts with a bed of baby spinach leaves, it's topped with crumbled blue cheese, sliced tomatoes, grilled steak, and a drizzle of balsamic vinegarette.

Kyle's Version:

It was so good that I decided to make it the next night.

My Version:

So good! We both rubbed some Johnny's seasoning salt and brown sugar on the steak before searing on the grill. I also added Montreal seasoning to balance out the brown sugar.

I also love how quick this was to make - perfect for an end of the summer dinner.

Kyle's Steak Salad
(Serves 2)

Two - 5oz. cuts of chuck steak
1/2 tsp. Johnny's seasoning
1 tsp. Montreal seasoning
1 Tbsp. light brown sugar
1/2 bag of baby spinach leaves
3 oz. blue cheese
1 tomato
2 Tbsp. Balsamic Vinegarette

1.) Preheat grill to high.
2.) Place steaks, seasonings, and brown sugar in a gallon ziploc bag.
3.) Rub seasoning mixture into steak.
4.) Grill steaks on high, 1 1/2 minutes on each side, or until cooked to your likeness.
5.) Take steaks off grill, place on a cutting board to sit for 5 minutes.
6.) In the meantime, place 1/2 of the spinach leaves on a plate.
7.) Sprinkle 1 1/2oz. of blue cheese crumbles over the spinach.
8.) Thinly slice tomatoes and fan on half the salad.
9.) Slice steak on a 45-degree angle, into thin strips.
10.) Add sliced steak on the other half of the salad.
11.) Drizzle salad with 1 Tbsp. of the balsamic vinegarette.


Thursday, September 17, 2009

CEiMB: Black Bean Mexican Style Pizza

The tortilla is spread with spicy black bean dip and crowned with cabbage that softens slightly when cooked while still retaining a nice crunch. A sprinkle of fresh cilantro adds color and a bright citrusy flavor.

This week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe was chosen by Joanne at Apple Crumbles. When I heard this week's Mexican pizza recipe included black bean dip on a tortilla, I didn't really think it sounded like a pizza. I mean.. pizza has cheese and this recipe did not. It was also served on a tortilla, not doughy, delicious bread. Regardless, it tasted great and reminded me of an open face quesadilla or tostada or something of that sort.

At first, I'll admit, I completely forgot to add all the additional ingredients to the food processor. I added the black beans and sauteed mixture, but completely left out the lime juice, cumin, cilantro, s&p, and water. No wonder it was a pain to process until smooth. I managed to settle with the thought, 'hey, I like texture, texture makes it look rustic and authentic, ya, no problem, it'll make it stand out.' Once I realized I forgot to "add the remaining ingredients and process until smooth," I decided to add half of the remaining ingredients since I used half of the bean dip on the already baking "pizza".

After correcting my dip mixture to include the correct ingredients, I spread it on a large sun-dried tomato & basil tortilla and added the toppings.

The recipe called for cabbage, but I thought that was weird and knew I would have an abundance left over if I bought it, so I stuck with romaine.

Let me tell you, the adjusted recipe tasted great. I really think the lime and cilantro (yes I actually like cilantro Sara) brightened the dip and made the overall "pizza" taste great.

My husband tried a bite and his only recommendation was to cut down the cilantro. He is not a cilantro fan, especially when it's raw and sprinkled all over the top of a dish. He did like it though and we both agreed it would make a good appetizer at a party.

Next time I host a fiesta, I'll probably cut a large tortilla into squares (maybe 3" x 3"), spread a teaspoon of the dip in the middle, and top with the remaining ingredients. I really like the crunch factor on the edges.

Thanks Joanne for such a great pick!

To see what other CEiMB-er's thought, check out the blogroll on this site.

Black Bean Mexican-Style Pizza (pg. 174)
Ellie Krieger, "The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life"


Four 6-inch-diameter corn or whole-wheat tortillas (I used two large sun-dried tomato & basil tortillas)
1/2 cup Black Bean Dip (recipe follows)
1 medium ripe tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup shredded green cabbage (I used romaine)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


1.) Preheat the oven to 400 degrees (F).
2.) Place the tortillas on a baking sheet and spread 2 tablespoons of the black bean dip on top of each.
3.) Top with the tomato and cabbage and baked until the tortillas are crisp and the cabbage is lightly browned, about 10 minutes.
4.) Remove the pizzas from the oven and sprinkle with the cilantro.
5.) Let cool slightly, then cut each one into 4 wedges and serve.

Black Bean Dip (pg. 174)


2 teaspoons olive oil
1/2 medium onion, diced (about 3/4 cup)
1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon seeded and minced jalapeno pepper
One 15.5-ounce can black beans, preferably low-sodium, drained and rinsed
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh cilantro
1 tablespoon water
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1.) Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat.
2.) Add the onion and cook, stirring, until softened, about 5 minutes.
3.) Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook for 1 minute.
4.) Place the beans in a food processor.
5.) Add the onion mixture and the remaining ingredients and process until smooth.

Just thought I would remind you all since I seemed to leave that part out!


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

MSC: Zucchini-Spice

Seeing has how this is my first Martha Stewart Cupcakes Club post, I should probably give an introduction.

So here it is.

We all know I love to bake and cook. Currently I'm a part of the Craving Ellie in My Belly (CEiMB) blog group. At least twice a month, usually it's once a week, on Thursdays, I bake one recipe from Ellie Krieger's The Food You Crave: Luscious Recipes for a Healthy Life with my fellow CEiMB bloggers and blog about it. This group is great because I already own and love Ellie's cookbook. For the most part her recipes taste great and are healthy for you - not just in calories, but in nutrients as well.

I'm now a part of the Martha Stewarts Cupcakes Club blog group and it operates in a similar way. This group bakes one cupcake recipe per month out of Martha Stewart's Martha Stewart's Cupcakes cookbook and blogs about it on the 15th. Occasionally there are bonus recipes anyone can make, but they are not required.

So now that we have that covered...

I present to you - Zucchini-Spice cupcakes:

Don't they look delicious?

Down right scrumptious actually.. just like this post I did on Sadie Lynn.

Do you know why I love these cupcakes? I love them because they remind me of Christmas. Filled with cinnamon, ground clove, and fresh ground nutmeg, these cupcakes pack a ton of flavor.

I don't know about you, but the smell of a spiced cake baking in the oven is so warm and inviting. It makes me want to light a candle, grab a cup of hot cocoa, snuggle in a blanket (not to be confused with a snuggie) and watch a good romantic comedy. I love romantic comedies..! Has anyone seen The Ugly Truth? Side note: I want to see that.

So these cupcakes taste great. Martha's recipe includes a cream cheese frosting, but I actually prefer them without. If I were bringing them to a party I would probably leave the frosting on, but I think in the future I'm going to make these without the frosting and throw them in the freezer for a quick treat.

I also thought about how these would be good gifts to give during Christmas. I might try baking them and giving them as a gift in a cute mini loaf pan. My sister sent some sort of bread (I think it might have been banana) as a Christmas gift a few years back. She baked them up the night before the gift exchange in a separate dish she owned that was the same size, let it cool, then put the loaf back in the loaf pan she was gifting us with. The loaf looked perfect because the gifted pan wasn't the one she baked the bread in so when I opened the gift, there sat a wonderful looking loaf of freshly baked bread.

I was also thinking you could bake this batter in a normal size loaf pan. Once the bread cools, frost with the cream cheese frosting and slice. Serve spread out on a long platter at your next get together.

This recipe was hosted by Tracey from Tracey's Culinary Adventures. What a great pick Tracey, perfect for the upcoming holidays - thank you.

Happy cupcake baking, photographing, blogging, and finally enjoying!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

CEiMB: Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches

Pamela from Cookies with Boys selected this week's Craving Ellie in My Belly recipe. I know it's pathetic, but I like to buy Lloyd's shredded BBQ chicken in the tub. Does anyone know what I'm talking about? I always have one tub stocked in the freezer so I can pull it out to thaw for an easy and quick dinner.

I was pleased to find that Ellie Krieger's Pulled BBQ Chicken Sandwiches is the perfect substitute! It's easy to put together and it tastes great. It took less than 30 minutes to put together.

Some recommendations:
  • Add red pepper flakes (if you like spicy food) to give it some kick
  • Leave out the liquid smoke, or at least, cut back on it
I don't know what everyone else thought, but the liquid smoke added a depth of flavor, but it was almost too much. Maybe it was the fact that I was putting fake (smoke flavor) in it that made me instantly pick the flavor out and think it was too strong and slightly repulsive.
Regardless, I'm definitely going to make this again and it was a wonderful pick (thanks Pamela!). I think next time I'm going to leave out the liquid smoke and add another smoky element like cumin.
Click here to see the recipe or check out what everyone else thought on the CEiMB blogroll.