Monday, March 28, 2011

it's rainin'...

It's rainin'.....it's pourin'....but I ain't complainin'...
I love the rain.

Except...that's not really true.

The rain actually has me in a blah mood and it kept me up all night scared for my life so I am super tired.
But the rain reminds me of something that hopes & dreams are made of! :)

My Hunter rain boots!
Look how cute Reese is in hers!!

















And what could be cuter???

Baby Hunter rain boots!!! ADORABLE!









Now, THAT is what hopes & dreams are made of!!!

Get yourself some (one's that fit please..not the baby ones) -you'll love them for life! (especially in the winter when you get to wear the matching socks!!)
http://piperlime.gap.com/browse/product.do?searchCID=4016&cid=4016&vid=1&pid=705944&scid=705944032 

Enjoy this rainy Monday...and the rainy week to come...
:) amc

Thursday, March 10, 2011

is it a pasta dish or a salad?

I can't decide, but I know it is yummy! 


Giada De Laurentiis is my faaaaavorite, I am just short of being obsessed with her and having a total girl crush. A while back her video for Orecchiette with Mixed Greens & Goat Cheese popped up on foodnetwork.com and I haven't stopped thinking about it since. While running work errands I found myself at Trader Joe's and a bag of Orecchiette pasta was staring me right in the face. I was instantly whisked away into recipe/cooking land. I knew I had to finally make Giada's pasta....salad....pasta... (???) After adequately scanning every aisle, I left with bags full of yumminess (sparkling juices, fresh salsas, spices, things I don't need at all), cheap wine (duhhh) and all the ingredients (plus some!) for the dish. 


Let's speed this up...


I made her pasta but I added some extra little gems and it ROCKED! Light, healthy-ish, tangy, FRESH, filling and satisfying. Josh loved the sun dried tomatoes and related them to the sweetness of Jolly Ranchers...whatever. I loved the sweet and tangy taste of the goat cheese, mixed greens and tomatoes mixed with the rich, savory, saltiness of the baby portobello mushrooms and black olives. Mmmmm. Let's do this---
(This will take you 10 minutes. If even... )


What you need: 
1/2 bag of Orecchiette pasta (italian "little ears"), 1 bag of mixed greens, 1 bag of sun-dried tomatoes, 1 can of sliced black olives, 1/2 package of sliced baby portobello mushrooms, minced garlic, extra virgin olive oil, parmesan cheese, salt & pepper and 2-3 tablespoons of goat cheese


1. Throw some water on to boil and cook the pasta until al dente....more dente than al....please don't forget to salt your water. season every step of the way. words to live by.


2. In a saute pan heat up the evoo and cook the mushrooms with the garlic. When they are yummy and dark and tender and smell "oooooh yes!" then throw in the olives and the sun-dried tomatoes (this is just to make everything all warm and into a fun little veggie family)


3. Dump the salad into a cute serving bowl, top with 2 ladles of pasta water, the cooked and drained noodles, the warm veggie mix, parmesan cheese (lottttsssss) and the goat cheese. Toss everything to combine and allow the greens to wilt down. 


Dish it out and eat it up! :) 

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

sweet and spicy wonderfulness

Saturday morning Josh and I walked over to The Sugar Shack...a.k.a. little home of wonderfulness. It is located on Peachtree next to Pub 71, Hudson Grille, Cook's Warehouse in Brookhaven, conveniently just steps away from my lovely new home. http://www.metrocafes.com/sugarshack/

We walk in and my ADD takes over instantly- cases of brightly colored cupcakes and cakes and muffins, cute chalkboards listing their spectacular menu, great decor and a sweet chef that steers us in the right ordering direction.

Which means that I got the. most. awesome. greek. yogurt. EVER. Made right here in Atlanta...so fresh, so clean. And it comes in crazy flavors. Please let me introduce you to the Atlanta Fresh Artisan Creamery: http://www.atlantafresh.com/index.html I took a walk on the wild side (for me at least) and chose the Mango, Pineapple, Habenero flavor (yes, I know the pic is a different flavor, sry). YUMMM! Flavor explosion! You must try it! You just HAVE to!


Not to be outdone, Josh ordered an egg, roasted red pepper and goat cheese breakfast panini sandwich. Enter...another flavor explosion! Absolutely wonderful...I would like to have that sweet red pepper and goat cheese on everything that I consume from now on please. Too bad that won't happen, but I am inspired to throw a little bit of those 2 perfecto ingredients into my next meal....we will see what I come up with! :)

So, go to the Sugar Shack and get the Atlanta Fresh Greek Yogurt and....everything else they sell. ($1 coffee every morning from 8 a.m.- 10 a.m.) Enjoy! :)

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

little gems of yummy: chocolate chip cookie brownie cupcakes

I made these on a whim, no recipe or research...eek,  and now I can't get enough of them....and neither can my co-workers. One little lady, who shall remain nameless, has set the record of eating 4 in one day. That is talent. 


You're going to l-o-v-e how they melt in your mouth and are perfectly satisfying and cravable and tasty and yummmm.... AND how simple they are to make! 


You need: one box of brownie mix (I use the fat free kind...because well, it's fat free and I only need water to make them), a package of 24-count ready-to-bake cookies, cream cheese frosting (yesssss!) pam for baking and cute little cupcake paper liners


Bake Time! ---
(pre-game: pre-heat your oven to whatever your brownie mix box tells you to, put the cute little cupcake paper liners into their little spots in your muffin tin and SPRAY the insides of the liners with the Pam, please do this part!!!)


1--- prepare brownie mix...for me, that means heating water in the microwave and stir, stir, stir
2--- place 1 little pre-made cookie dough ball into each cupcake spot and press it out so that it forms the shape of the bottom of the cupcake
3--- plop a scoop of brownie mix on top of the cookie. plan this right so you don't run out of brownie mix! I just eye ball it and use a regular spoon
4--- bake the little loves for about 30 minutes or until you can put a toothpick in and it comes out juuuust about clean
5--- this is the hard part. like...really hard. pull them out of the oven and don't touch them. you can only smell them. that's it. they must cool or it will be a mess. so sit tight and let your mouth water. 
6--- frost those babies with sweet cream cheese frosting and then inhale!! remember- the record is 4 in one day...see what you can do :) 


enjoy! and....try to share, ok? :)

clean-out-the-kitchen chicken pot-pie

Last night was rainy....a Monday....there were talks of tornadoes .....I had finally recovered from my 24 hour headache/migraine....and Josh was on his way over asking "what's for dinner"....
I started to thumb through my new immaculately organized recipe binder (which is also super cute, thank you Target! I should post a pic of it..) and came across a recipe for Chicken Pot Pie that I had never tried. Why? 1st it sounds difficult and 2nd I am slowly still getting over my fear of chicken..."it's not gross...it's not gross...it's not gross...." my new mantra.

I read the recipe quickly and decide that hey! this can be done! And in half the time they say! (ha)

Pre-game: put your oven on 375 degrees, start thawing out 1 sheet of puff pastry and pick out your cutest oven-safe dish

First--- I pan seared a package of thin chicken breasts...salt, peppered and seasoned with montreal chicken spices first. Add in the remaining chicken broth that I had (maybe 1/3 cup?) and let the little guys finish cooking... let's call that a 10 minute process. Who knows.

Second---Pull out the chicken breasts and set aside. Add in half of a chopped yellow onion (didn't have a whole one...) and let it do its wonderful thing. Man, I loooove the smell of onion cooking down. Meanwhile, I visit my hardly-ever-used freezer and pull out some frozen peas and frozen italian veggie mix. They enter the microwave and then to the pan with the friendly onions (hold on to those peas though, it's not their turn yet). Heavily season again and let them do their thing.

Third--- Once the veggies seem like they are enjoying themselves and seasoning up nicely...(a taste test here is totally acceptable)....soak up some of their goodness with about 1/4 cup AP flour. Now here is the hard part...get out your white wine, take a gulp and try your best to reserve about 1/2 cup for the veggies...hey, veggies appreciate the vino too, so share. Then I decided that I really like my pot pies to be rich and creamy too... so I grabbed the last little bit of half & half that I had (maybe 1/3 cup...maybe) and added it to the pot. It wasn't enough so I included some milk (another 1/3 cup...maybe). And then some parm cheese (it's an addiction...sorry). Now those cute little green peas can join the party, add them in! Once teverything is the same temp and a yummy consistency...

Fourth--- Dice up that chicken, should be down to room temp by now... mix it up with your veggie mixture, put it in your cute oven-safe dish, top it leisurely with the puff pastry and throw that baby into the oven. 30 minutes should do the trick- look for the golden flaky top and bubbly-ness creeping out the sides.

Fifth--- enjoy the smells, let her cool down slighty, top with cheddar cheese and eat it! Yum!!!

Now wasn't that just so easy?! :)

LATE BLOOMER

If you know my mom, you know it is innately in my blood to be fantastically good at cooking, decorating and crafting. She always had high hopes for me…. Forcing me to put on an apron and cook something …to pull on gloves and plant something …get out the hot glue gun/sewing machine/paint and get crafty. I resisted these pushes for a long while but lately I turned over a new leaf….bloomed a little late…and I must say…its kind of fun! Since I moved out of Lilburn (parents-house) and into Buckhead, I have really gotten into decorating- though pretty difficult when you’re on an Ikea budget with Elle D├ęcor dreams (and working at the mart doesn’t help…inspiration is everywhere!) Then when I met Josh my urge to create tasty meals took over! Lucky for me he loves to eat (what boy doesn’t?!) and is the best encourager that I could ever ask for. The encourager that he is has led me to this blog…. that and the frequent “how’d you make that?” questions from friends and family. So….here we go.