Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Balsamic Roast Pork Tenderloin

So we made our trip to the snow...a long 6 hour drive and we pull in to the cute little town to find VERY little snow :(   The kids were pretty disappointed, but we made the best of it!  I don't really know what I was thinking, I mean we're in the middle of a super dry winter!  Oh well, it was fun to explore Big Bear and just have a nice relaxing time with my family.
I made this pork tenderloin a couple of weeks back and it was quick and easy!  The flavor was wonderful, probably because of all the garlic, but we're HUGE fans of garlic in this house!
I'd say this was prepped and baked in about 30 minutes!  I served some orzo on the side and it made a yummy dinner.



  • 4 1/2 lbs. pork tenderloins {I just used 2 lbs., one package with 2 tenderloins in the package}
  • 4 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar
  • 4 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 8 cloves garlic, cracked
  • coarse salt and freshly cracked black pepper or steak seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 Tbsp. fresh thyme, finely choppped
  Preheat oven to 500 degrees.  Trim any connective tissue from the tenderloins with a sharp thin knife.  Place tenderloins on a nonstick baking sheet with a rim.  Coat the tenderloins with the balsamic vinegar, rubbing vinegar into meat.  Drizzle tenderloins with olive oil, just enough to coat.  Cut small slits into meat and insert chunks of the cracked garlic cloves.  Combine salt and pepper {or steak seasoning} with the rosemary and thyme and rub meat with the blend.  Roast in hot oven for 20-30 minutes.  Let meat rest, transfer to carving board, cut meat and serve.

Monday, January 23, 2012

No-knead French Bread. It's easy and delicious!!

We're getting ready to head to the snow!  The kids are super excited and I must admit, I'm excited to be in a cozy cabin with my family.  I'm scouring recipes so I can cook and bake up a storm while we're there, but I'm also looking forward to doing a little reading and just a whole lot of relaxing!

I had been craving fresh bread for a while now, then I found this recipe.  It was easy...no kneading required!!  These kind of recipes are right up my alley because I have yet to master bread-baking.
The kids LOVED this bread and if I hadn't hid the second loaf, I think they would have finished it all off in one night!  The bread is best eaten within 24 hours, but if you need to store a loaf, it should keep for up to 5 days loosely wrapped in foil.  I think this would make delicious french toast :)

No-Knead French Bread {recipe slightly adapted from How Mom Did It }

INGREDIENTS: {Makes 2 loaves}

  • 1 packet perfect rise yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water {not hot}
  • 1 Tbsp. sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 4 cups all purpose flour
  In a large bowl add the yeast and warm water.  Be sure the water is not too hot...you should be able to put your finger in the water without having to pull it out.  Add the sugar and oil and gently stir.  Let the mixture rest for about 5 minutes until the yeast begins to grow.  The mixture will become bubbly, but be patient, it will not become bubbly right away.  If it doesn't get bubbly at all, then either the yeast is bad or the water is too hot.  
Add the salt and flour; stir well with a large wooden spoon.  Cover the bowl with a lightweight towel.  Set a timer for 10 minutes.  When the 10 minutes is over, stir the mixture down with the spoon.  Do this 5 times in all {wait 10 minutes, then stir, etc..}.  Divide the dough in half and let sit for 10 minutes on a lightly floured counter or board.  
Roll out and roll up like a jelly roll.  Put the loaves on a greased cookie sheet {I was able to put both loaves length-wise on my large jelly roll pan} and score the loaves with a knife.  
Let rise for 1 1/2 hours covered with a lightweight towel.  
Bake at 350 degrees for about 20-25 minutes, or until light golden brown on top.  Thump it with your finger, if it sounds hollow it's done!  Immediately brush the tops with melted butter.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Buttermilk Waffles

Made these the other night for dinner.  Served them with a side of bacon and we were all very happy.
I love making homemade waffles and this recipe has just become my favorite!  It was pretty simple even though it required whipping the egg whites. The big plus was that it makes a lot of waffles, so I was able to use up all of the batter and freeze at least 2 ziploc bags full of waffles.  Makes for the perfect quick breakfast on school days!

BUTTERMILK WAFFLES { recipe slightly adapted from And Then I do The Dishes }

INGREDIENTS: {makes about 18-20 waffles}
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 3 Tbsp. sugar
  • 2 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 2/3 cup buttermilk
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 6 Tbsp. canola oil
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  In a large bowl, mix the flour, salt, sugar and baking soda.  In another bowl combine the egg yolks, buttermilk, oil and vanilla.
Preheat your waffle iron and if needed, spray with cooking spray.  While the waffle iron is preheating, beat the egg whites with electric mixer until soft peaks form.   Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk together.  Gently fold in egg whites.
Ladle about 1/2 cup of the batter into your waffle iron.  Be careful not to add too much...the batter will spread once it hits the hot iron...if you add too much batter, it will spill out the sides of the iron.
I like to preheat my oven to 250 degrees and have a baking sheet ready.  After the first batch of waffles are done, place on baking sheet and put in oven.  Keep making waffles until all batter is used, placing waffles on more baking sheets as needed.  
Serve immediately...we like good old syrup and powdered sugar :)
**To freeze waffles, place on cookie sheet and freeze until firm. Once frozen, put in ziploc bags and place back in freezer.  Waffles should last up to 1 month in the freezer.  
To heat frozen waffles, place in microwave for 30 seconds, then put in toaster to get crispy.

Monday, January 16, 2012

S'mores Cookies

I'm enjoying a lazy morning with my kiddos.  We had a busy weekend of "spring cleaning" so today is just going to be whatever they want to do...which I'm secretly hoping is to watch movies and stay in jammies most of the day :)  I had an itch to do an overhaul on my pantry this weekend and even though it took literally ALL day saturday, it is now a super organized/clutter free pantry.  It feels so good that I find a reason to go over there just to take a peek every now and then!  I really do love being organized, but with three kids and a busy life, most of what I'd "like" to do in my home get's put on hold until it's something that I "have" to do when it starts getting to the point that it's driving me crazy!!
I moved on to my daughter's room after that and I'm still weeding things out of there, but my hope is that before summer, we can have a home where clutter is non-existent.  Can that really happen???

On to the recipe...
I made these cookies for my kids monthly bake sale last week and apparently they were a big hit with the kids.  One of my children came home and said, "my friend wants you to tell her mom how you made these".  Isn't that cute?
Well, this wasn't my recipe, but it was a fun, easy recipe to make!  Of course I found it on Pinterest :)
Try these, they're really yummy!  I made as many as I could on one large jelly roll pan, then for the rest of the dough, I broke up my remaining chocolate and graham crackers, and mixed them in the dough, then scooped them like a regular cookie. Those were the ones I got to keep at home, and they were just like a gooey s'mores, but with a chocolate chip cookie kick!  Enjoy!!

S'MORES COOKIES {recipe from The girl who ate everything }

INGREDIENTS: {makes about 2 dozen}
  • 11 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs, at room temp.
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows
  • 3 regular size Hershey's bars, broken into pieces
  • 2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares
 Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line baking pans with parchment paper or non-stick foil (THIS IS A MUST).  I used a large jelly roll pan and filled up as many graham crackers as I could fit, then I used a small baking sheet to do the rest.
Lay out graham crackers on the prepared pans so they are touching side by side.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and both sugars until fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down sides as needed.  Add vanilla and mix until combined.
Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and combine on low speed.
Remove the bowl from the mixer and stir in the marshmallows and chocolate chips.  You can chill the dough for 1 hour, but I didn't.
Place tablespoons of dough directly onto the graham cracker squares.  I left about 1 inches in between dough balls.  Press down slightly with fingertips.  
Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey's bar pieces into the dough.  You can place as many pieces of chocolate as you want.  
Bake for 5-7 minutes more or until dough is beginning to turn golden at the edges.  
Remove to a wire rack and let cool completely before cutting.  I grabbed the sides of the parchment paper to remove from pan, then used a sharp knife to cut each square.  

Here's the dough being scooped onto the graham crackers

This is after the first 5 minutes of baking...

Fresh out of the oven!

This is what I did with the leftover dough...really yummy & gooey!

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

The BEST Granola Bars

I'm a granola bar lover!  The ones I love the most are the Cliff Mojo bars.  They are my favorite for pre or post runs/workouts.  I love them so much that I'm always trying to figure out a way to re-create them!
I like using pretty simple/organic ingredients, so when I noticed that brown rice syrup was listed in the ingredients, I ran to our local natural foods store and found a nice big jar of it.
The wonderful thing about brown rice syrup is it has a really great consistency to hold a granola bar together, it's not overly sweet, and it's all natural.  So I combined a bunch of ingredients that I love and made these granola bars.  The last time I made them I used pretzel sticks, but unfortunately I didn't have any on hand this time.  They really add a nice salty crunch though!  The great thing about this recipe is you can play around with it any way you like...add different dried fruits, different nuts, leave out the nuts, and it's a NO-bake recipe!

GRANOLA BARS {my recipe}

INGREDIENTS: {makes 12+ bars depending on how large you cut them}

  • 2 cups crispy rice cereal {I use Trader Joes brand}
  • 1-1/2 cups rolled oats {if you feel adventurous, toast the oats in the oven first}
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries or raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped roasted almonds
  • 1/2 cup dried pumpkin seeds 
  • 1/2 cup shredded coconut {optional}
  • 1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
  • 3 Tbsp. flaxseed 
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown rice syrup {find it at most health food stores}
  • 3 Tbsp. honey
  • 1/4 cup creamy peanut butter, or any nut butter {I used NO sugar added peanut butter}
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup chopped pretzel sticks {optional}
In a large bowl, stir together the rice cereal, oats, cranberries, almonds, pumpkin seeds, coconut and flaxseed.  Set aside.  Line a 9 by 13 inch baking dish with parchment paper, or grease with cooking spray.

Combine the brown sugar, brown rice syrup and peanut butter in a small saucepan.  Heat to medium-low just until sauce begins to thin out.  Remove from heat and stir in vanilla and salt.  Pour over the cereal mixture and mix well.  **Now I don't like my chocolate chips to melt when the warm mixture gets poured on top, so I like to add the chocolate chips after this point and give another good stir.

Press firmly into the prepared pan.  I use the back of a buttered spoon and press down really hard so everything holds together.  Allow to cool completely then lift out of pan with the sides of the parchment paper and cut into squares or rectangles.  *If you are wanting them to cool quickly, you can place in the refrigerator for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Lemongrass-scented Jasmine Rice with Coconut Milk

This rice has been a favorite ever since my sister turned me onto it!  It's super easy to make and goes great with grilled teriyaki chicken and grilled pineapple wedges.  Tonight I made it into a chicken rice bowl for the family.  The flavor of the lemongrass is amazing...I love it!  When I cook rice, I make a large amount, since we have a big family and everyone LOVES rice, but feel free to adjust the portions to fit your family.
Try it...I promise it will become a new favorite for you!

Lemongrass-scented Jasmine Rice with Coconut Milk {serves 6}


  • 2 cups White Jasmine Rice, rinsed thoroughly and drained 
  • 1-3/4 cups water 
  • 1 cup coconut milk {find it in the asian section at grocery store}
  • 1 stalk lemongrass, edges trimmed and cut into 3 smaller sticks
  • 1 tsp. salt
Place the water, coconut milk, rice, salt and lemongrass into a medium stock pot. Bring all ingredients to a rapid boil.  Reduce heat to low, stir and cover.  Simmer for about 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender and fluffy.  

Chicken, Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas

I made these for dinner last night and OH MY...they were delicious!!  Everything I was hoping for!  
I saw this recipe on pinterest (my new fav website) and kind of re-constructed it a bit to my own liking.  I've been craving enchiladas and these definitely hit the spot!  They were a big hit with my husband.  I made one pan of 4 large enchiladas for us, and another pan of chicken and cheese enchiladas for the kiddos.  I saved some of the filling so I could make a big burrito for lunch today!!
If you wanted to make these vegetarian, just leave out the chicken.

Chicken, Black Bean, Corn and Zucchini Enchiladas {recipe adapted from Taste And Tell }

INGREDIENTS: {Makes about 8 large enchiladas}
  • 2 chicken breast halves with bone
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper 
Black Bean Filling: 
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1/2 onion, diced
  • 1 large zucchini, cut into 1-inch dice
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 {15 oz} can black beans, rinsed
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen corn, thawed
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
Enchilada Sauce:
  • 1 Tbsp. butter
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, stemmed and seeds removed, cut into a small dice
  • 1 Tbsp. flour
  • 1 cup vegetable or chicken stock
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 can {4 oz} fire roasted green chiles, mild
  • 1 cup salsa verde {I like Herdez brand}
  • 1/2 tsp. cumin 
  • 1/2 tsp. chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
For Enchiladas:
  • 8 {8-inch} flour tortillas {I used fresh uncooked tortillas, but cooked them first...delicious}
  • 3/4 lb. monterey jack cheese, shredded
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Rub the chicken breast halves with olive oil and season with salt, pepper and chili powder.  Place in a baking dish and bake uncovered for 1 hour.  Remove from oven, cover with foil and let sit until ready to shred. 
To make the filling: In a large saute pan, heat olive oil over medium low heat.  Add the onion and saute about 4 minutes.  Add zucchini and saute another 4 minutes, or until slightly tender.  Add the garlic, black beans, corn, chili powder, cumin and salt. Heat through about 4 minutes.  Pour into a large bowl and set aside.  Take the chicken out of the pan, shred and add to the black bean mixture.

To make the sauce: Wipe the pan clean and over medium-low heat add 1 Tbsp. butter for the sauce.  Stir in the garlic and jalapeno and cook until fragrant and softening, about 4 minutes.  Add the flour and cook for 1 minute.  Whisk in the stock and bring to a boil.  Once at a boil, reduce heat to a simmer and simmer for about 5 minutes or until reduced a bit.  If you have an immersion blender, you can use it right in the pan, if not, transfer the sauce to a blender.  Add the sour cream, green chiles, salt, cumin, chili powder. Blend until slightly smooth (I left a little chunky).  Pour in 1 cup of salsa verde and stir to combine.  
If you decide to use the uncooked tortillas, go ahead and cook those up in a dry pan...I used my double burner griddle and got them done pretty fast.
To assemble the enchiladas:
Coat a 9 by 13 pan with about 1/2 cup of the sauce.  Fill each of the tortillas with a generous amount of the black bean/chicken filling and a spoonful of cheese (I like a lot).  Roll up and place seam side down in baking dish.  Pour the remaining green chile sauce over the top and sprinkle with the remaining cheese.  Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes or until bubbly and the cheese is beginning to get golden around the edges.  Serve with a side of guacamole and chips!
corn, zucchini and black bean filling

oh yea, lots of cheese!

a nice amount of filling and cheese...

ready for the oven

oh yea, nice a bubbly golden brown!

close up!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Apple Bourbon French Toast Casserole

Happy New Year!  I'm going to try to start off this new year with more recipes than I ended last year with. I took a much-needed break from my computer, but I still did a lot of cooking and baking!
New years day was so relaxing...got up late, turned on the parade and made this easy and delicious french toast casserole for my family.  It can definitely be made the night before and the recipe below shows both ways of preparing it, but it took very little time to whip up that morning!
The brown sugar sauce is a little thin when the casserole comes out of the oven, but let it sit about 10 minutes or so and it will thicken up a bit.  It was super delicious and I will definitely be making it again!  Enjoy!

Apple Bourbon French Toast Casserole ( recipe by Bake.Eat.Repeat )


  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. Bourbon
  • 3 large apples, cored, peeled and sliced (I used granny smith)
  • 1 loaf challah, or french bread, sliced in 2-inch thick slices ( I used challah, got about 6 slices)
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 1-1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  Preheat oven to 350 degrees (if baking immediately).  In a small pan melt butter and sugar together.  Whisk to combine and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.  Add bourbon, whisk and cook about 1 minute.  
Pour butter mixture into a 9 by 13 inch pan. Arrange apple slices on top.  Arrange bread slices on top of apples (**See note below) 
In a large bowl, whisk together the eggs, milk, vanilla and cinnamon.  Pour mixture over bread and slightly push down on bread.  Cover dish and refrigerate overnight.  In the morning, place casserole dish in oven, heat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour, or until apple slices have softened and bread is golden brown. Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  Serve by scooping out a piece of bread and flipping over onto plate.
**Note: if you are preparing the casserole the morning you are serving, dip bread slices into egg mixture before putting them into the pan.  Pour remaining mixture over the top of bread slices, bake at 350 degrees for about 40-45 minutes.  Let sit for 10 minutes before serving.  


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