Thursday, October 23, 2008

Crescent Mummy Dogs

The kids saw this in the paper on Sunday in the coupon section for Pillsbury Crescent Rolls and thought it would be fun to make. They were fun and easy and it is the first time I have made something like this where the kids actually ate the bread portion.

Ingredients (this the recipe cut in half- double for 10 hot dogs!)
1 4 oz can refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
1 1/2 slices American cheese, quartered
5 large hot dogs

1. Heat over to 375

2. Unroll dough and separate at perforations creating 2 rectangles. Press perforations to seal.

3. With knife , cut each rectangle lengthwise into 10 pieces, making a total of 20 pieces of dough.

4. Wrap 4 pieces of dough around every hot dog and 1/4 slice of cheese to look like "bandages." stretching dough slightly to completely cover hot dog. About 1/2 inch from one end of each hot dog, separate "bandages" so hot dog shows through for "face." On un-greased large cookie sheet, place wrapped hot dogs, cheese side down, spray dough lightly with cooking spray.

5. Bake 13 to 17 minutes or until dough is light golden brown and hot dogs are hot. With mustard or ketchup, draw features on "face." Now with such a cute meal for the kids Life is Good!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Garlic Chicken

I have been making a ton of fun foods and just have not had time to post about them. I made this garlic chicken the other night and it was great. Not so much from the kids perspective but for me and my husband it was a good meal. I had nearly all the ingredients in my house when I decided to make it. I would have used more zucchini (since I didn't have enough green onions) as I prefer more vegetables to meat.

Garlic Chicken

1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon dry white wine
1 teaspoon cornstarch
2 whole medium chicken breasts 1 1/2 pounds total (skinned and boned)
2 tablespoons cooking oil
10 green onions, bias-cut into 1 inch pieces (1 1/4 cups)
1/2 cup sliced water chestnuts
1 medium zucchini
2 cups hot cooked rice

For marinade, in a bowl stir together water, soy sauce, white wine, and cornstarch. Rinse chicken and pat dry. Cut chicken into 1/2-inch pieces. Add chicken to marinade; stir to coat. Let stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Drain chicken, reserving marinade.

Preheat a wok or large skillet over high heat, add oil. (add more oil as necessary during cooking) Stir-fry green onions, mushrooms, and garlic in hot oil for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Remove from wok or skillet. Add zucchini and saute for 3 minutes. Remove from wok or skillet. Add chicken to wok or skillet; stir-fry for about 4 to 5 minutes or until no longer pink. Push chicken from the center of the wok or skillet. Stir reserved marinade, add to center of the wok or skillet. Cook and stir til thickened and bubbly. Add onion mixture, zucchini and water chestnuts. Cook and stir about 1 minute or until heated through. Serve with hot cooked rice.

Main ingredients

Chicken marinating

Cooking in the wok

Finished product

Here is a preview of some of the yummy things to come in my blog in the next few days.

Life is Sweet Cereal crunch (used this for my cinnamon life cereal)
Jalapeno cornbread
Crescent Mummy Dogs (huge hit with the kids!)

Now with all these predetermined blog posts my Life is Good!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Cinnamon Life Cereal

I have a huge double box of Cinnamon Life cereal and I tasted Lucy's leftovers this morning (dry we don't put milk on our cereal in our house!) and it is so good. I forgot what it tasted like. I haven't had this cereal since I was a kid (probably since they were still running the ad I posted above!).

I want to make something with it but can only find one recipe on the web. I guess I need to go through some of my cookbooks but thought I would give a shout out to all of you foodies out there and see if you had any ideas. With fall supposedly making an appearance tomorrow something with this in it would be really yummy. So please help me out if you can.

Life is good whether I get a recipe or not as I am sure I can make something up!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tortellini Pasta Salad

This is my in a pinch go to side dish for cookouts, weekends, bring a dish for girls night, etc. It is so easy and really good. My kids love it too so that is a plus.

Tortellini Pasta Salad


2 bags cheese tortellini (tri color is great)
can sliced black olives
1 bottle lite creamy Caesar salad dressing (Newman's Own or Ken's)

Cook the tortellini according to the package. While the tortellini is cooking slice the pepperoni into small bites and chop the black olives. When the tortellini is cooked drain and place back in pot. Add the pepperoni and sliced olives. Add about 1/4 of the bottle of the salad dressing. Toss. See how it looks. Depending on how much you make you will use more or less. Place in container or bowl and serve now or refrigerate. After refrigeration add a little more salad dressing as it soaks in. It is great both warm and cold. I love this for a leftover dinner or lunch.

Enjoy and Life is Good!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Foodbuzz Publisher Community Launches

Congratulations Foodbuzz! This is so exciting and I am proud to be a part of it!


San Francisco – October 13, 2008: Foodbuzz, Inc., officially inaugurates its food blogger community with more than 1,000 blog partners, a global food blogging event and an online platform that captures the real-people, real-time power of food publishing in every corner of the world. At launch, the Foodbuzz community ranks as one of the top-10 Internet destinations for food and dining (Quantcast), with bloggers based in 45 countries and 863 cities serving up daily food content.

“Food bloggers are at the forefront of reality publishing and the dramatic growth of new media has redefined how food enthusiasts access tasty content,” said Doug Collister, Executive Vice President of Foodbuzz, Inc. “Food bloggers are the new breed of local food experts and at any minute of the day, Foodbuzz is there to help capture the immediacy of their hands-on experiences, be it a memorable restaurant meal, a trip to the farmers market, or a special home-cooked meal.”

Foodbuzz is the only online community with content created exclusively by food bloggers and rated by foodies. The site offers more than 20,000 pieces of new food and dining content weekly, including recipes, photos, blog posts, videos and restaurant reviews. Members decide the “tastiness” of each piece of content by voting and “buzz” the most popular posts to the top of the daily menu of submissions. Foodbuzz currently logs over 13 million monthly page views and over three million monthly unique visitors.

“Our goal is to be the number-one online source of quality food and dining content by promoting the talent, enthusiasm and knowledge of food bloggers around the globe,” said Ben Dehan, founder and CEO of Foodbuzz, Inc.

The Foodbuzz blogger community is growing at a rate of 40 percent per month driven by strong growth in existing partner blogs and the addition of over 100 new blogs per month. “The Web site is like the stock of a great soup. The Web site provides the base or backbone for bloggers to interact as a community, contribute content, and have that content buzzed by their peers,” said Mr. Dehan.

Global Blogging Event
Demonstrating the talent and scope of the Foodbuzz community, 24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs offered online food enthusiasts an international, virtual street festival of food and diversity. The new feature showcased blog posts from 24 Foodbuzz partner bloggers chronicling events occurring around the globe during a 24 hour period and included:

· Mid-Autumn Festival Banquest (New York, NY)
· The "Found on Foodbuzz" 24-Item Tasting Menu (San Francisco, CA)
· Aussie BBQ Bonanza – Celebrating Diversity (Sydney, Australia)
· The Four Corners of Carolina BBQ Road Trip (Charleston, SC)
· Criminal Tastes – An Illegal Supper (Crested Butte, CO)
· From Matambre to Empanadas: An Argentine Dinner (Buenos Aires, Argentina)
· A Sweet Trompe l’oeil (Seattle, WA)

“24 Meals, 24 Hours, 24 Blogs” captures the quality and unique local perspective of our food bloggers and shared it with the world,” said Ryan Stern, Director of the Foodbuzz Publisher Community. “It illustrates exactly what the future of food publishing is all about – real food, experienced by real people, shared real-time.”

About Foodbuzz, Inc.
Based in San Francisco, Foodbuzz, Inc., launched its beta Web site,, in 2007. In less than a year, and its community of over 1,000 exclusive partner food blogs have grown into an extended online property that reaches more than three million users.

Contact: Allison Costello

Doug Collister

So go check out all the stuff that Foodbuzz has to offer and see what the many featured publishers are blogging about and cooking. You won't have to come up with your own idea for dinner again. Now with that thought...Life is Good!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness

Ley at Cilantro and Lime is hosting Baking for Breast Cancer Awareness. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness month. The event is to raise awareness of Breast Cancer. Ley is encouraging bloggers to bake and make others aware.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer in women in the United States. According to the American Cancer Society, it's estimated that About 178,480 women in the United States will be found to have invasive breast cancer in 2007. About 40,460 women will die from the disease this year. Right now there are slightly over 2 million women living in the United States who have been treated for breast cancer.

One of my best friends lost her mom to breast cancer. I never met her mom but feel that I somehow know her and her kindness through my dear friend Parrish. My friend is my sons Godmother. My daily prayer is that this will never happen to her. Through her, I have become more aware of breast cancer and I got my first mammogram at 35 and since I am so lucky to be over 40 (43 to be exact) I get a mammogram each year. They are easy and painless. I encourage anyone that is scared or too busy to bother to go get one. It could save your life.

Now I am not a baker as I have stated before but I did "bake" a portion of the dish. I made a roasted beet and goat cheese salad with shrimp cocktail and split an organic steak with my husband. I love fresh beets. I had never had them until a few months ago. I only thought they came in a can! I used a recipe from Giada DeLaurentis for a Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad but when I saw the beets yesterday at the grocery store I decided to make it not knowing what else I had. I knew I had goat cheese and knew I also had some type of organic lettuce but was short a few of the other ingredients so I made it my own. I will post the recipe for the original salad as it is so good but know that I did not have arugula and used a spring mix of lettuce, no walnuts so used pecans and instead of making the homemade dressing since I didn't have any balsamic vinegar I used a raspberry walnut vinaigrette. I also did not have any avocado or shallots. My version was tasty but the original is awesome.

The beets are red and their cooking juice is red/pink! They are so healthy and are said to fight cancer and birth defects.

Beet and Goat Cheese Arugula Salad

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 tablespoons shallots, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon honey
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper
6 medium beets, cooked and quartered
6 cups fresh arugula
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted, coarsely chopped
1/4 cup dried cranberries or dried cherries
1/2 avocado, peeled, pitted, and cubed
3 ounces soft fresh goat cheese
, coarsely crumbled


The original recipe does not tell you how to cook the beets. Wash them and cut off most of the stems leaving the top and bottom on the beet (this will keep more nutrients in it - just learned that now while googling beets so I did not do that!) Place in pot and cover with water, bring to boil and cook for 40-50 minutes. Take beets out of water and run them under cold water and while doing this rub your hands over them and the skin will peel right off.

Line a baking sheet with foil. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk the vinegar, shallots, and honey in a medium bowl to blend. Gradually whisk in the oil. Season the vinaigrette, to taste, with salt and pepper. Toss the beets in a small bowl with enough dressing to coat. Place the beets on the prepared baking sheet and roast until the beets are slightly caramelized, stirring occasionally, about 12 minutes. Set aside and cool.

Toss the arugula, walnuts, and cranberries in a large bowl with enough vinaigrette to coat. Season the salad, to taste, with salt and pepper. Mound the salad atop 4 plates. Arrange the beets around the salad. Sprinkle with the avocado and goat cheese, and serve.

Now if we could find a cure for breast cancer life would be really good but in the meantime if we can educated enough people to be aware then Life is Good!

Thursday, October 09, 2008

A few cooking secrets & household secrets

Last night I did NOT want to cook. Husband offered to do take out but I opted to throw something together. I did the chicken sausage with some ravioli for the kids.

Sausage cooking secret - I saw a part of a Rachael Ray episode a few weeks back and she was cooking sausage. She put some water in the pan with a bit of extra virgin olive oil and when the water evaporated the sausage were basically cooked and then the olive oil in the pan browned them. The did not burn. My house did not smell awful and it was a super trick. I have now used it twice and it works great! Can't believe I didn't know that.

Hard boiled egg secret - I also saw this on Food Network a few years ago. It was the 2 guys that won the first season of next Food Network Star. When making hard boiled eggs, after cooking drain the hot water and fill with cold water and ice and add a splash of vinegar. Let sit for a few minutes and then when you peel them the skins will peel right off! Amazing. Can't believe I didn't know this one either.

Olive oil and greasy food stains - before washing put some regular Dawn dishwashing liquid and put it on the stain. rub together and then wash. the stain will come out. Even if you have washed the item many times it still works.

Sour smelling laundry - if you accidently leave the clothes in the washing machine overnight start the load again the next morning and add some white vinegar and laundry detergent. The vinegar will take out the sour smell. Works like a charm!

Hope these tips are helpful. If you have any pass them on to me. Life is Good!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Real Sicilian Meatloaf

Where has the time gone. Last week flew by in a world wind of me trying to get the house ready and menu planning for a surprise dinner party for my husband's 40th birthday. He turns 40 on Saturday but is taking the kids to Charlotte with one of his best buds and his kids. (they were born on the same day in the same hospital and that is how their moms met and he is now my daughters Godchild and husband to Under the Red Tin Roof! Hiya Anne!).

I was going to make the meatloaf for Friday night but my husband thought there was only going to be one other couple for dinner and he wanted a new grill for his birthday so I bit the bullet and bought him a new grill and I got steaks for the dinner party and paired them with a spinach salad that a friend makes and will not give out the recipe and also had the brussel sprouts that I talked about last week. They are so good and who ever knew that so many people actually like brussel sprouts. Such an under appreciated veggie!!!

I did a fall inspired table with little metal buckets that were silver, black and orange and I put votive candles in them. For the place cards I printed each persons name so it was curved (think top half of a circle) and did the men in black and the women in orange. My dinner plates were see through and I placed the name cards under the plates. I thought it was clever! Needless to say I had bought the ingredients for the meatloaf of Thursday before changing to steaks on Friday so I had to make it. We had a traditional Italian Sunday dinner with the meatloaf on Sunday night (with leftover brussel sprouts!). This is the first time in a long time I have actually had the meatloaf with red meat in probably a year! YUM-O is all I can say.

As for this week I have been bogged down with Halloween carnival planning at my son's preschool and yesterday was his trip to the pumpkin patch. It was fun and when the sun was behind a cloud there was a chill in the air!

Sicilian Meatloaf
2 lbs ground beef
bread crumbs
2-3 eggs
grated Parmesan cheese
ketchup or tomato paste
Italian seasonings
salt and pepper to taste
4-8 thin slices prosciutto
6 slices of provolone cheese
3-6 bacon slices

In a bowl combine ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, Parmesan cheese, ketchup/tomato paste and seasonings and mix. If too moist add more bread crumbs. If too dry add more egg and/or more ketchup/tomato paste. Line a cookie sheet with tin foil and spray with Pam.

put the meat on the cookie sheet and and spread out to fill it up.

Place the prosciutto and provolone cheese on top of the meat.

With the longest end of the cookie sheet facing you, grab the edge of the tin foil and pull up and start to roll the meatloaf like a jelly roll. When the meatloaf is rolled pinch the ends and the long seam and roll it so the seam is on the bottom.

Weave the bacon over the top (I didn't have any bacon so I used prosciutto which actually turned out good!)

Bake at 350 for about 30-45 minutes (until meat is cooked thoroughly). Let sit for 5 minutes before cutting. Manga!

Now with a crisp in the air and hearty food like this Life is Good!

Cambridge at the Pumpkin Patch 10.07.08

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Greek Stuffed Peppers & Chicken Sausage

Does it seem there is a Greek theme this week? Lots of Greek inspired foods but I am an American of Italian descent but know there is a tiny tiny itsy bitsy piece of Greek in me somewhere (which would explain why I ate my weight in Feta cheese during my pregnancy with my son!). Last nights dinner, again, came from Martha Stewart Everyday Food magazine. Have I said how much I love this little book that comes about every 6 weeks? (and no they Martha Stewart is not paying me for all this free advertising!) The recipes are so easy and, most of the time, really good. And if they don't look "to my taste" I don't make them. The most recent issue had a whole section on crockpot foods and that is where the stuffed peppers were. Who knew it could be so easy and so good and I didn't use any oil to cook them, just sprayed the inner liner of the Crockpot with Pam. There was really no difference (although my great aunt Sue's were awesome and hers were cooked in loads of olive oil!) from a regular stuffed pepper and the stuffing was so different and just plain ole yummy!

I paired these with a chicken, spinach, fontina cheese and roasted garlic sausage. I got these at Costco, Han's All Natural Gourmet Sausage and they have no antibiotics, no added growth hormones no MSG, nitrites, or nitrates and they are gluten free (not that we eat a gluten free diet but I love the no nitrites and nitrates). These are so good and only 3 Weight Watcher points each. My son ate 3! YIKES. I only ate 1.

Now I must admit, I am an awful food photographer. I don't know how some people get such great pictures of their food. It could also be the quality of the camera (I have a good one but not a great one). And....I had 2 glasses of wine while cooking dinner so I only have before pictures and no pictures of the actual food right before we ate it! But suffice it to say the Crockpot cooked the peppers to perfection. I also stuffed a tomatoe as the reciped was to stuff 4 peppers and I only had 2 so I had extra stuffing and used a yellow tomatoe. It looks great as well and will be my lunch today.

Greek Stuffed Peppers
Recipe from Martha Stewart Everyday Food, October 2008

Serves 4
4 large bell peppers
1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup crumbled feta (4 ounces)
1/2 cup couscous (uncooked - they did not say this in the recipe but it was assumption and is correct!)
4 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced (I did not have these and didn't miss them)
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Lemon wedges, for serving

Slice a very thin layer from the base of each bell pepper so they sit flat. Slice off tops just below stem. Discard stems; chop tops, and place in a medium bowl. Remove ribs and seeds from peppers.

To bowl, add beans, feta, couscous (uncooked), scallion whites, garlic, and oregano. Season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Stuff peppers with bean mixture; place upright in slow cooker. Cover; cook on high, 4 hours. (I cooked on low for 6+ hours.)

Sprinkle peppers with scallion greens; serve with lemon wedges.

Stuffed peppers prior to cooking (ding bat forgot the after photo!)

Again these are great. Low fat, high fiber and again with the beans! The addition of the chicken sausage was great. Now after a meal like this and a morning filled with 4-year olds hugging me and asking me to read them stories... Life is Really Good!

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