Sunday, April 28, 2013

Barbecue Chicken Pizza

As many of you might know, Chris and I are big on homemade pizza. We eat pizza once, if not twice per week, so we are always looking for new recipes to try.  Chris loves barbecue chicken pizza so after doing some searching I found this recipe in my email that Jenny had sent me a couple of years ago. I am usually not a huge fan of chicken on pizza, but this recipe is amazing and is now one of our top choices.  Plus... any left over pineapple you can juice the following day (yum!!)

2 boneless chicken breasts cooked
1 cup hickory flavored barbecue sauce
1 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon molasses
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/2 bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 pizza crust
1/4 red onion thinly sliced
1/3 pineapple, diced
1 cup smoked gouda cheese, shredded

1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. In a small saucepan combine BBQ sauce, honey molasses and brown sugar. Shred chicken and add to mixture bring. Add cilantro to mixture.

2. Spread chicken mixture over pizza crust. Sprinkle red onion, pineapple and more cilantro on top if desired. Lastly cover pizza with gouda. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until pizza is done.

Somebody wanted some pizza ;)

Friday, April 26, 2013

Painted Glass Vases

We have a lot of family parties coming up in the next month, so I have spent waaaayyyy too much time on Pinterest looking at party themes, decoration ideas and table settings.  One of the 1,000 things that caught my eye, were these adorable, brightly colored enamel vases.
I have a ton of clear glass vases, that have come with flower deliveries etc, (If you do not have any at home, you can pick them up at a thrift store for under $1), so I thought I could transform them into fun colored centerpieces.  The vases turned out great, and I will not only use them for the parties, but I will reuse them again and again until the end of time.
(Once paint is cured, the vases are dishwasher safe)
Tools and Materials
Glass vases
Rubbing alcohol
Cotton balls
Martha Stewart Crafts Multi-Surface Paint

Clean glass vases thoroughly; prime inside with a cotton ball soaked in rubbing alcohol.
Paint the inside of the vase with one coat of multi-surface paint; let dry for at least one hour. Add a second and third coat, allowing at least one hour of drying time between each.

Let glass paint dry overnight. For the paint to be permanent on the glass, it can be air-dried for 21 days or it can be baked. Baking method: Air-dry 1 hour. Place in cool oven and heat to 350 degrees (glass needs to heat gradually). Bake 30 minutes, then let cool in oven. Wait 72 hours until using.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Confetti Rice Krispie Treats with Buttercream Frosting

We were in Chicago last weekend (Book of Mormon, Girl & the Goat and tons of dancing) and on our way out of town, we detoured through Lincoln Park in order to bring home our favorite Chicago eats - deep dish pizza from Pequod's and some delicious treats from Sweet Mandy B's. I have learned that it is better to enter the bakery with blinders on, walk right to the register and place my order.  This way, I am not tempted to order/taste everything in the bakery case.  This Sunday was no exception, I walked in past all of the goodies, placed my order and paid. HOWEVER, on my way out, I allowed myself to browse at all of the amazing, brightly colored treats. I had seen most of them before, but one item at the end of the case caught my eye - Rice Krispie Treats with buttercream.                                                                                                                         


I resisted the urge to get back in line to try one of them, and instead vowed to make them when we got home. I did and OMG they are good.  They might be my family's new favorite dessert, which is perfect, because they do not require any baking :)

1 bag of marshmallows
3 Tbs butter
6 cups of krispies
1/3 cup rainbow jimmies

Buttercream (same recipe as here)
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
a pinch of salt
2 tsp vanilla extract
4-5 cups of powdered sugar, sifted
2-5 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Treats - Heat marshmallows and butter in a microwave safe bowl for 1 minute. Stir and put back into the microwave for 30 additional seconds. Stir until combined. Add in cereal and jimmies and mix until the cereal is covered with marshmallow mixture. Transfer the contents of the bowl to a greased 9x13 pan and let it cool (you can use a smaller pan if you want your treats to be thicker)

Buttercream - Beat the butter and salt until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Beat in the vanilla and 2 tbsp of heavy whipping cream. Sift the sugar and then add cup by cup until you have reached the desired sweetness. Beat the frosting 15-20 minutes. The amount of time you spend beating the mixture truly makes a difference in consistency and fluffiness. Add more cream as needed.

Turn the Rice Krispie pan over and let the treats fall out onto a tray/plate.  Frost the treats, add sprinkles  and let the frosting set (I was inpatient, so I stuck mine in the refrigerator for 20 minutes).  Cut and serve.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Etched Glassware

I am throwing my sister a mustache themed couples baby shower next weekend and I thought these etched beer glasses would be a cute (and manly enough for the male guests) party favor.  I am excited to try this again with a monogram or initials to create something like this.

- Glasses (I ordered a Libbey International Beer   Glass Set)
- Glass etching cream (I used Martha's)
Adhesive stencil film
- Paint brush
- X-Acto knife
- Scissors
- Pen
- Paper
- Magazine or cardboard (upon which to cut with your x-acto knife)
- Mustache template/stencil

1. Cut out mustaches from an image online, or draw your own and cut them out to make your own templates.

2. Make your stencil by placing your mustache template on the stencil film. Trace with a pen. Since a mustache is symmetrical, it does not matter on which side you trace your design. It will always transfer the right way.

3. Set your stencil film on a magazine or cardboard and cut out the traced mustache with your x-acto knife.

4. Clean your glass and dry it, making sure there are no finger prints or oils on the outside of your glass.

5. Remove the stencil film backing and stick the film on your glass. Rub the film down with your finger nails or a spoon to make sure it sticks really well, all the way up to the edges.

6. Paint the etching cream on your stencil, making sure it is thick and only brushed on the stencil.

7. Let the etching cream set for 15-20 minutes (the jar says 5 minutes, but I have found that 15-20 does the trick).

8. Wash your glass with soap and water to remove all the etching cream.

9. Peel the film off your glass.

10. Wash your hands. Even if you don't think you got any on your hands, wash them.

Drink up :)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Coconut Bread

Mind over matter.  I am envisioning myself lounging in Hawaii, drinking a cocktail (straight booze) out of an empty coconut, poolside (not sure where Dan and the girls are, but I am okay with that).  Ahhhhhh.  

In reality, I am wearing a fleece, listening to my toddlers fight over toys and instead of straight booze, I am nursing a steamy cup of tea. Don't feel bad for me, because I did manage to get a small piece of my Hawaiian fantasy - the coconut (sort of).  

I got this recipe for Coconut Bread from Smitten Kitchen's blog and like everything else from SK, it is amazing.  

SK recommends serving the bread in think slices, toasting it and topping it with butter and/or honey and I would have to agree (I do like it un-toasted as well)!   YES MOM - you should put Nutella on it.

Coconut Bread (Smitten Kitchen) 

2 large eggs
1 1/4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon table salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 to 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
5 ounces sweetened flaked coconut (about 1 1/2 cups)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted or melted and browned, if desired
Vegetable oil or nonstick cooking spray for baking pan

Heat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, whisk together eggs, milk and vanilla.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Add sugar and coconut, and stir to mix. Make a well in the center, and pour in egg mixture, then stir wet and dry ingredients together until just combined. Add butter, and stir until just smooth — be careful not to overmix.

Butter and flour a 9×5-inch loaf pan, or coat it with a nonstick spray. Spread batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, anywhere from 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Cool in pan five minutes, before turning out onto a cooling rack.  (I used 3 mini loaf pans instead of one 9x5.  I baked them at 350 degrees for about 45 minutes and checked them to see if they were done.  I ended up baking them for an additional 5 minutes and took them out and cooled according to SK's directions). 

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Lentil Stew with Kale and Chicken Sausage

The Farmers' Market starts this weekend and I am so excited for all of the locally grown fruits and veggies to once again be at our fingertips. I am going to make an effort to be more adventurous this year and select ingredients that I have not cooked with before, which will hopefully inspire new recipes and new favorites.

You can find almost all of the ingredients needed for this lentil stew at your local Farmers' Market. So you could support your local farmers and healthy living by making/eating this "super food" packed dish.

Lentil Stew with Kale and Chicken Sausage (recipe from Real Simple)
1 tablespoon olive oil
3/4 pound Italian chicken sausage, casings removed
2 medium onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
6 cups low-sodium chicken broth
6 cups stemmed and torn kale
1 pound sweet potatoes (about 2 medium), peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 cup dried lentils
kosher salt and black pepper

Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add the sausage and cook, breaking it up with a spoon, until browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the onions and cook, tossing occasionally, until beginning to soften, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute more.
Add the broth, kale, sweet potatoes, lentils, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, partially covered, stirring occasionally, until the lentils and sweet potatoes are tender, 30 to 35 minutes.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Lemon Muffins with Greek Yogurt & Lemon Glaze

Rain rain go away!!! 
Our lawn is swampy, the dog is full of mud and we are trapped inside yet again.  So, we decided to take Spring into our own hands this morning.  My girls are wearing sun dresses, the heat is turned up to 72 degrees, we are listening to the Pandora Beach Boys station and blowing bubbles in the house. 
I thought this citrus treat would be a perfect addition to our faux Spring morning.  These muffins are sweet, and dense with the right amount of tart lemony flavor.  Enjoy and may spring be with you. 

Lemon Muffins with Greek Yogurt and Lemon Glaze
(Makes 12 muffins)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 T fresh lemon juice
1 T lemon zest
2 eggs
3/4 cup greek yogurt (I used lemon greek yogurt)
1 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

3 (or more) T lemon juice
2 cups powdered sugar

Preheat oven to 400. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar with a mixer until smooth and fluffy. Add vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest and mix until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, and mix until well incorporated. Add greek yogurt and mix until just combined. In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, salt and baking soda. Add to wet ingredients and mix until just combined, do not over-mix (this will result in a dense muffin). Place in muffin tins lined with paper (or greased). Bake for 15-20 minutes, until lightly golden on top.

While baking, whisk together ingredients for glaze. Once baked, let muffins cool for a few minutes before spooning glaze over. Serve warm or at room temp.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Matchstick bottle

For the past 6 months, I have been searching for decorating tips. I page through catalogs and search countless websites looking for affordable, yet classic ways to decorate our new home.  I was so excited when Emily from Cupcakes and Cashmere posted a "how to" video on decorating a coffee table, because it gave me a lot of really good ideas, especially her matchstick bottle. I am sure  that we have 1 million matches around our house, but we can never find them when we need them.  A matchstick bottle seemed like a functional and cute way to solve our problem.  After looking around online I found that a DIY matchstick bottle is easy and inexpensive to make.  The most important detail, is when you buy your matches, make sure that they are "Strike Anywhere" Matches, so you can light them on the bottom of the bottle.

What you need:
Strick Anywhere Matches
Sandpaper 200-250g

Trace sandpaper to bottom of bottle and cut out. Using double stick tape, tape sandpaper (grain side out) to the bottom of the bottle.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Coconut Chocolate Chip Bars

While looking for a dessert this past weekend, I started paging through my Sono Baking Cookbook. We were having people over for brunch, so I needed something simple since I had lots of other things to prepare. I have been loving coconut lately, so this recipe jumped out at me right away. It is rich and delicious, satisfying my sweet craving (especially when they are still a little warm!!) YUM!

10 tbsp butter
1/2 cup plus 2 tbsp brown sugar
1/4 tsp coarse salt
2 tsp pure vanilla
1 3/4 cup all purpose flour

1 1/2 cups light brown suagar
1/2 tsp salt
3 large eggs
1 tbsp pure vanilla extract 
2 tbsp all purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sweetened shredded coconut
6 tbsp old-fashioned rolled oats
1 1/2 cup macadamia nuts, coarsely chopped
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter baking dish - 9 x 13 and set aside. 

Start by making crust.  With the paddle attachment on your standing mixer beat butter, brown sugar and salt until light and fluffy on medium to high speed (about 3 min). Beat in vanilla. Reduce speed. Slowly mix in flour until absorbed.

Press batter into baking dish. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes. Rotate half way through. Remove baking dish from oven when the crust turns an even blond color and is fully cooked through. Keep oven on.

Next make the filling. Whisk the brown sugar and salt. Add eggs one at a time, scrapping down the side of the bowl. Add vanilla and flour. Fold in coconut, oats, macadamia nuts and half of the chocolate chips. Spread filling over crust and sprinkle remaining chocolate chips on top

Bake for 20-25 minutes, rotating about 2/3 rds of the way through. The filling should be set to a soft, chewy texture. Completely cool the bars on a wire rack. Cut to desired size. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

DIY Chalk Board

I was looking for big chalk board for my kitchen and after searching online, I was inspired to make one myself. I had used the chalk board paint before, but not to this scale. I found a big frame at Goodwill and then went to Michael's to buy some paint for the frame. I LOVE the antique, crackled look on frames and luckily Martha Stewart has a crackle paint. (I did not put a base coat on my frame as the video shows because the frame already had color.) The biggest thing I learned while doing this is to be patient (this is hard for me) and let the paint always dry completely. Error on the side of waiting to long!

Frame, with glass
Crackle paint
Paint color of choice for frame
Blackboard paint

Take the glass out of the frame. Start by sanding down frame with 200 grit sandpaper. I did this to take of the previous finish on the frame. Wipe down frame. Next, as the video above shows, paint a thick, single layer of the crackle paint. Let dry completely. Next, taking the paint color that you chose for the frame, paint a single layer over the crackle paint.

While letting the other layers dry you can start painting the glass portion with the blackboard paint. Let dry completely. (COMPLETELY, otherwise you will smudge the paint and have to keep letting it dry and it takes twice as long!) Repeat 2 more layers. Once everything is dry, put the frame back together and hang in your desired location.