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Megans Cookin: August 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Blog Roll

I just got the blog roll added to my side bar. It has the names and links to all the foodies. It keeps the food blog community linked togeather. If you would like to join the blog roll click here. Please feel free to check out the different blogs and then be sure to stop back by every once in a while.
Roll on bloggers:o)


I'm doing a blog event called "They go really well together". It's where the host of the event comes up with a pair of ingredient that is rather unusual. Then bloggers come up with a recipe. Either original or one that they have. This one using chocolate and meat. Then at the end, there is a recap of all the different recipes. As soon as I read about this event, I knew what to do!

My entry is Rib Eye Steak with Chocolate Port Sauce.

This is a very elegant dinner. It would be perfect for a romantic dinner for two. Soft music, candlelight, A bottle of Zinfandel. Romance is in the air with this one.
I used a Zinfandel port wine. It was perfect with the chocolate. The sauce was kind of sweet, with a slight chocolate flavor in the background. You could definitely tell there was wine in it. It felt like velvet on the tongue.

I sprinkled the rib eyes with a grilling spice and put them on the BBQ.

Chocolate Port Sauce
3TBS butter
3/4 C finely chopped shallots
1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh thyme
1 1/4 cup port wine
1 can beef broth (14-141/2 oz ounces)
3/4 C whipping cream
soy sauce
3/4 oz bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
salt and pepper

Melt butter in large nonstick pan over medium heat. Add shallots and thyme; cook and stir 4-6 minutes or till shallots are nicely browned. Add port; cook 5-7 minutes or till reduced by half; stirring occasionally. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium; cook 15-17 minutes or until reduced by 1/2; stirring occasionally.

Stir in cream and soy sauce; cook 3-5 minutes or till slightly thickened, stirring frequently. Remove from heat.

Stir in chocolate. Stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper, as desired.

Pour sauce over meat. Be sure to serve extra, because you will fall in love with it.
Top off dinner with a sinfully decadent chocolate dessert and a glass of the port. Hope you enjoy!


Monday, August 27, 2007

Happy Anniversary Mike and Michele!

Tuesday is M&M's 25Th anniversary. That sounds like something my mother would say. Not me! But the passage of time has brought us to this milestone.
M&M met on a blind date. They spent the next three days together before M popped The Question.You can imagine what family and friends thought! I mean, it was 1982. Couldn't they just live together? 6 months later M&M were married.And now-Its been 25 years.
So for thier anniversary, I made them a little wedding cake to take on there honeymoon. They also got Champagne and balloons!.
M wanted vanilla cake with lemon filling. S I got this French Vanilla cupcake recipe from Garrett at Vanilla Garlic.
I've been kind of into vanilla bean paste lately
and this recipe sounded like a French Vanilla
ice cream recipe. So I followed the directions
except I made 2 6" round cakes and 6 cupcakes.
(The family has to eat something since we don't get cake!)

Things didn't go quite as planned. I had batter overflow! The cake drippings were burning at the bottom of the stove and the house smelled like burnt cake.My cupcakes ran together and they all had sunken middles. Even my little cakes!

So I ate a cupcake!

They were fabulous!!!

The flavor was intense. Dense, buttery, a vanilla explosion. I couldn't wait to finish this cake. I was excited! This cake was gonna be great.

So I evened up the edges.
Oh the aroma of butter, lemon and vanilla. Yum

I piped an icing border around for my lemon filling. Then I spread the ooey gooey lemony goodness between the layers. Then came a crumb coat before the final coat of frosting. Vanilla Bean Frosting. Oh Yea!!!

And here is a picture of my masterpiece! French Vanilla cake with lemon filling and French Vanilla Frosting. So I used Garrett's cake recipe. And if the truth be known- I bought my lemon filling. Oh, come on, it wasn't a professional gig.
And I just made my favorite vanilla frosting and added vanilla bean.

So here's to you M&M! May the next 25 be as wonderful as the first 25. We wish you Health, Happiness, and lots of love


Friday, August 24, 2007

Here's Looking At You Kid!

I'm just playing along with Charlotte from The Great Big Vegetable Challenge.
She beat the rainy summer with her kids making veggie faces in London. After a little challenge to make my own face, I ran to my kitchen to join in the veggie fun. Here is my handsome face! I hope it makes you smile. To see more faces, click here

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookie

While surfing the blogs again, (I"m telling you-I'm hooked!) I came across this little breakfast cookie recipe. It had all my favorite kind of stuff. Pumpkin, pumpkin pie spice, oats, and dried cranberries. How could it not be good. So I scrambled to my cupboards and got all the essentials. You could smell the excitement in the air. Or was that the pumpkin pie spice I spilled!

I mixed all the ingredients in the bowl as instructed. I used all pumpkin instead of the applesauce that it called for. And I doubled that wonderful pumpkin pie spice. It was kind of dry and I got a little concerned, but I just got my hands in there and started squishing. It made 12 huge cookies. The recipe didn't say to flatten them down any, but next time I will.

I loved this cookie! Its healthy, no fat, and packed full of fiber!
I didn't expect my daughter to like them, She's picky that way. But she did!! Now I have to share. But I got breakfast covered. I guess I'll go to bed early!!

Pumpkin Cranberry Breakfast Cookie
by Shannon Payne

10 servings 10 cookies
1 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups rolled oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice (heaping)
6 tablespoons applesauce
6 tablespoons pumpkin puree (if using homemade, make sure it is thick like canned)
2 egg whites
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Place all ingredients in bowl, stir together until combined.
Roll the cookies into golf ball sized balls with cooking oil sprayed hands.
Place on cookie sheet (s) about 2 inches apart, giving them room to spread slightly.
Spray tops with cooking oil, flip over with a cooking oil sprayed spatula, these are precautions so your cookies won't stick to the pan.
Bake about 8 minutes for moist cookies and 10-12 for dry cookies.
Store in tupperware between layers of waxed papper.
Great with a pumpkin pie latte!

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Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Pupcakes for Fido

I have to say, I love my dog! He is so spoiled that I, quite possibly, have ruined him. My dog is a pure bread Mini Dachshund who thinks he's a big dog. He has a loud mouth, lots of attitude, and is every example of a spoiled lap dog living the couch life. I think I have ruined him cause he won't eat dog food. His diet consist of jerky, dog biscuits, and cooked meat. So I thought I would make my German wienie named Mario a simple supper. I found a recipe from Rachael Ray for these fried cakes, but when I went to get the recipe, It was gone! So, I had to wing it.
I simply made about a cup and a half of instant brown rice. To that I added 4 slices of fried and crumbled bacon, two hand fulls of bread crumbs, and 4 eggs. I squished it all up and made patty's. I then fried them in the bacon grease. Next time, maybe I'll add a little cheese.

They turned out wonderful. They looked tasty and smelled great. I was tempted to serve them for dinner. My daughter wanted to know what smelled so good. When she found out they were for Mario, she gave me that look. You know the one. Like you ruined the dog look. I think her words were "Oh My Gosh, Mom". I Love my dog. What can I say?

So my old,(4 years old in Nov.) gray haired mutt chowed down and came back for more.
He now thinks that I'm not only his personal assistant but his personal chef. I know I got doggy kudos from him! And that made it all worth it!


Red Bull-Whats in that can?

I have a few friends who can't live without their Red Bull. Here's to you Sue! Personally, it doesn't do a thing for me.I wake up, go to the coffee pot twice, sometimes 3 times, and get my fix first thing. But I always wondered-Whats in that can? And why so expensive?
Well, I guess you can put a price on bull bile. Icky!
Here's the info on Red Bull as told by Fitsugar

Let's start with the caloric content: one 8.3 ounce can of
regular Red Bull contains 110 calories and 27 grams of sugar (that is almost 2 tablespoons of sugar). Red Bull Sugar Free contains only 10 calories and is sweetened with aspartame. !

Here's a little info from Wired on the key energy producing ingredients of Red Bull.

Taurine was originally isolated from bull bile in 1827 (hence the name of the drink), but fortunately it is now made synthetically. Taurine's actual effects are wide-ranging - it is an inhibitory neurotransmitter (in some cases acting as a mild sedative), an age-defying antioxidant, and has the potential to steady irregular heartbeats.

To learn about the other ingredients,

Glucuronolactone hardly anyone has looked into exactly what this stuff does, and most research on this ingredient was performed 50 years ago - seems a little dated, don't ya think? Rumor has it that this ingredient fights fatigue and increases well-being - but this could be the "bull" that give the drink its name.

Caffeine does increase concentration and reaction speed, as well as improve emotional state and boost metabolism. One can contains 80 mg of caffeine that is more than three times the caffeine that’s in the same amount of Coke.

Niacin aka vitamin B-3, increases so-called good cholesterol (HDL) by preventing the formation of triglycerides, making it a terrific cholesterol drug. Unfortunately, there isn't enough niacin in a can of Red Bull to have this benefit. And it's not even pure enough to give you the mild head rush dubbed the "niacin flush."

Essentially, Red Bull is basically sugar water mixed with caffeine. I am not a fan of energy drinks and think we are all better off getting our caffeine from less processed sources like coffee (no more than 3 cups a day!) and tea since they contain antioxidants naturally and taste great without all that sugar!


Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage

Pasta with Pumpkin and Sausage
Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, plus 1 tablespoon
1 pound bulk sweet Italian sausage
4 cloves garlic, cracked and chopped
1 medium onion, finely chopped
1 bay leaf, fresh or dried
4 to 6 sprigs sage leaves, cut into chiffonade, about 2 tablespoons
1 cup dry white wine
1 cup chicken stock, canned or paper container
1 cup canned pumpkin
1/2 cup (3 turns around the pan) heavy cream
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg, ground or freshly grated
Coarse salt and black pepper
1 pound penne rigate, cooked to al dente
Romano or Parmigiano, for grating
Pumpernickel or whole grain bread, as an accompaniment
Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion, as an accompaniment, recipe follows

Heat a large, deep nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the pan and brown the sausage in it. Transfer sausage to paper towel lined plate. Drain fat from skillet and return pan to the stove. Add the remaining tablespoon oil, and then the garlic and onion. Saute 3 to 5 minutes until the onions are tender.
Add bay leaf, sage, and wine to the pan. Reduce wine by half, about 2 minutes. Add stock and pumpkin and stir to combine, stirring sauce until it comes to a bubble. Return sausage to pan, reduce heat, and stir in cream. Season the sauce with the cinnamon and nutmeg, and salt and pepper, to taste. Simmer mixture 5 to 10 minutes to thicken sauce.

Return drained pasta to the pot you cooked it in. Remove the bay leaf from sauce and pour the sausage pumpkin sauce over pasta. Combine sauce and pasta and toss over low heat for 1 minute. Garnish the pasta with lots of shaved cheese and sage leaves.

Serve pumpkin sausage pasta with pumpernickel or whole grain bread and Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion.

Spinach Salad with Apple and Red Onion:
1 pound triple-washed spinach, de-stemmed
1 small Golden Delicious apple, quartered, cored, and sliced
1/4 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons (a couple of splashes) apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon grain mustard
1 tablespoon (a good drizzle) honey
Coarse salt and black pepper

Place spinach, apple, and onion in a salad bowl. Place oil, vinegar, mustard and honey in a small plastic container and fit lid on container. Shake dressing to combine, 1 minute. Pour dressing over salad, toss, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.
Yield: 4 servings


Sunday, August 19, 2007

Helloo Cupcake!

After checking out a few cupcake blogs, I became intrigued by this little Jewel. Root Beer Float Cupcake. I couldn't find root beer schnapps for the grown-up version, nor could I wait to make the cupcakes till I could find any. So here's my child friendly Root beer Float Cupcake.The flavor was not very root beery-but it was a great flavor. I got great reviews when I took them scrap booking. It seemed like a very Autumn kind of flavor that matched the unusually cool weather just fine.
I'm ready for Fall and school starts tomorrow!!! Hurray-I think I'll celebrate with a cupcake.


Sunday, August 5, 2007

Blackened Shrimp and Mango Couscous

Were off to Bodega Bay! I thought our send off meal should be grand. I went with the blackened shrimp which was in my opinion- a little warm. I should have measured the spice but I happily sprinkled what my little heart desired. O-MAN! Next time I will measure! The couscous was wonderful. It was sweet, hot, and delicious. Next time though, I'll use half the jalapeno. I didn't know I was such a wimp. We cut the heat with an ice cold bottle of Riesling.

Mango Couscous by Marcus Samuelsson

1 cup couscous
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1 mango, peeled, pitted and cut into 1-inch cubes (about 1 cup)
1 jalapeño chili, seeds and ribs removed, finely chopped
1/2 cup raisins
1 ripe tomato, chopped
Juice of 1 lime (about 2 Tbsp.)
1/4 cup cilantro sprigs, chopped
1/4 cup parsley sprigs, chopped
1/2 tsp. salt, plus more to taste

Prepare couscous according to package directions. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large sauté pan over high heat. Add garlic, mango and jalapeño. Sauté until mango begins to color, about 1 minute.

Stir in remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil, couscous, raisins, tomato, lime juice, cilantro and parsley and toss to heat through, about 1 minute. Season with salt. Serve hot or at room temperature.


Saturday, August 4, 2007

Breakfast for the worship team

My friend Karri and I made breakfast for the worship team at church on sunday. They were more then gratefull. Heres what the music pastor had to say on his blog.

I have gotta say that my worship team is amazing and the people here are generous. Just look at the breakfast pic and read the menu! Our green room was once again turned into a gourmet cornucopia of extravagance, complete with table linens and a framed menu! Thanks so much!!

The Green Room Menu:

Ham Steaks
Lemon Basil Eggs over Foccia Bread
Fruit Skewers
Fresh Peaches and Blackberries
Tomato, Basil and Mozzarella Skewers
Chipotle, Cinnamon, and Chocolate Cupcakes w/ Cinnamon Buttercream

To top this off, we were short a guitarist and my Nashville buddy Joel popped in just in time for the food and the play with us! (see my article about Facebook where I mention this) Our pastor walked through the green room on his way to preach the final service and was so taken with what he saw that he has to take the framed menu and bring it up to the pulpit. Bill basically gave the impression that this was how we always eat and that if you were a worship musician you had better consider joining. With his typical sense of humor he read the menu. (You missed this all the other services, sorry!).

Sieze the cupcake.
Chipotle Cinnamon Cupcakes
Makes about 18 cupcakes


Friday, August 3, 2007

Five Spice Coconut Chicken

Here's a dish you wont find at bikini boot camp. This chicken thigh is marinated in coconut milk, honey, lime, and spices. This is the first time I ever tried Chinese 5-spice. It is a mixture of Anise, Cinnamon, Star Anise, cloves, and ginger.
It was good but next time I won't put in quite so much soy sauce. But that's just me!
The beans were wonderful. I used green beans instead of the sugar snap. What ever you have on hand or is on sale. They were tossed in a coconut milk, honey and lime dressing. Then I used the left over coconut milk to make the rice.I wanted to add toasted coconut to the rice but didn't want to over-power it. I say-add the coconut. I sprinkled it all over everything anyway.

Here's my coconut toasting up nicely. Just put it in a dry skillet and toast it up. Keep an eye on it, so it doesn't burn. Once it starts to brown, it doesn't take but a few seconds. I have to say, this was the cherry on top. It added crunch and sweetness.

And for the finale! Grilled pineapple slices with passion fruit swirled pineapple sorbet.
Topped off with what else? Toasted Coconut!!!
This was a fast,easy,and tasty dinner. Prep time was under 20 minutes and cook time was 10 minutes. Give it a try!


1/3 cup plus 1 tablespoon unsweetened coconut milk
2 tablespoons plus 1 teaspoon honey
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lime juice
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 clove garlic, finely chopped
2 1/2 teaspoons Chinese five-spice powder
1 teaspoon salt
8 boneless chicken thighs (about 2 pounds total), pounded flat
1/2 pound sugar snap peas
Cooked white rice, for serving

1.In a small bowl, whisk together 1 tablespoon coconut milk, 1 teaspoon honey and 1 teaspoon lime juice. Set aside.
2. In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup coconut milk, 2 tablespoons honey and 1 tablespoon lime juice with the soy sauce, garlic, five-spice powder and salt. Add the chicken thighs, coating well. Marinate for 15 minutes.
3. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add the sugar snap peas and cook for 1 minute; drain. Transfer to a medium bowl and toss with the reserved coconut-honey dressing.
4. Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium. Grill the chicken thighs for about 4 minutes on each side, until cooked through. Serve with the sugar snap peas and rice.
Recipe by Rachael Ray


Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Addicted To Coffee?

I have to say, I love my coffee! I like mine with a little milk and Torani pumpkin spice syrup! This keeps those expensive starbuck trips to a minimum. I just get my fix every morning. So tell me, how do you like your coffee?

Click on square to take the test!