Thursday, December 24, 2009

Happy Christmas

The presents are finally all wrapped and under the tree, all that is left to do is enjoy christmas eve with my wonderful hubby and three doggies, and then tomorrow we will be taking some of those presents down to League city to spend christmas day with friends and their beautiful daughters, Payton, Parker and Presley... can't wait to see the girls open their presents!

Hope you all have a wonderful christmas!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Three cheese ravioli with salad and french bread

Tuesday: Breakfast for dinner - belgian waffles, bacon and eggs

Wednesday: Pork tenderloin stuffed with harvest apples with roast potatoes and parsnips

Thursday: Sweet corn tamale cakes

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Nigella Lawson Book Signing

Last night the hubby and I went to a Nigella Lawson book signing for her new Christmas book. I was so beyond excited to see her in person, I have been looking forward to this book signing for months. My wonderful hubby stopped by the bookstore to buy not only me but my mum a book each and get our signing line tickets, and then he even left work early so we would be able to get there on time. My mum lives in England, so obviously she wasn't there, so the hubby actually stood in line and got a book signed for her.

One thing that really shocked me was the amount of British people that were there. I haven't been around that many British people in 7 years and it was actually kind of emotional, hearing all those regional British accents and for the first time in 7 years I was in a place where the Brits out numbered the Americans.

Nigella was great, she gave a little talk and then took questions from the audience, and then when it was finally our turn to get our books signed she asked how long it had been since I had been back home to England and she tought it was sad that I have never gone back in the 7 years that I have been here.

It was a great night and I can't thank my wonderful and patient hubby enough for taking me and for standing in line with a Margaret name tag so my mum could have a signed book!

Anyway, my pictures didn't turn out that great, but I had to post one anyway!

My mum's copy, that we will be shipping back to England at the weekend

Curried Beef Short Ribs

The hubby really loves the mango chutney short ribs that I make, but I have made them so often now that I needed a change, so I found this recipe over at Newlywed cooking and had everything on hand to make them. I have to say that I loved these short ribs, they are just so good, I can't wait to make them again!

2 teaspoons canola oil
2 pounds beef short ribs, trimmed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, divided
1/3 cup minced shallots
1/4 cup chopped onions
3 tablespoons minced garlic
3 tablespoons minced peeled fresh ginger
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons red curry paste, divided
1/2 cup light coconut milk, divided
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon fish sauce
1 teaspoon grated lime rind
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice

1. Heat oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Sprinkle ribs with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/8 teaspoon pepper. Add half of ribs to pan; cook 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Place ribs in an electric slow cooker. Repeat procedure with remaining ribs.

2. Add shallots, onion, garlic, and ginger to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Stir in 1/4 cup water and 2 tablespoons of red curry paste; cook 1 minute. Stir in 1/4 cup coconut milk, sugar, and fish sauce. Add to slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 5 hours

3. Remove ribs from cooker. Strain cooking liquid through a colander over a bowl; discard solids.

4. Stir 3/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/8 teaspoon pepper, rind, and juice into liquid. Add liquid back to slow cooker and turn on "keep warm" setting.

5. Add meat back to slow cooker & stir to combine with liquid.

6. In a small bowl, stir 1 tablespoon red curry paste & 1/4 cup coconut milk until combined. Pour over meat and stir. Keep in slow cooker on "keep warm" until ready to serve.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Cauliflower and Chickpea Curry

I've been meaning to make this recipe from Closet Cooking for a while now. I love cauliflower and chickpeas and am definitely a fan of curries, and it tasted just as good as I hoped it would.

1 tablespoon oil
1 onion
2 tablespoons curry powder
1 tablespoon garlic
1 tablespoon ginger
1 can diced tomatoes
1 tablespoon chili sauce
1 head cauliflower
1 can chickpeas
1 cup water
1/2 pound green beans
salt to taste
1/4 cup cilantro (chopped)

1. Heat the oil in a large pan.
2. Add the onion and curry powder and cook until the onion is tender, about 5-7 minutes.
3. Add the garlic and ginger and cook until fragrant, about a minute.
4. Add the tomatoes, chili sauce, cauliflower, chickpeas and water and and bring to a boil.
5. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, until the cauliflower is tender, about 10-15 minutes.
6. Add the green beans and cook until they are just tender and still crisp, about 3-5 minutes.
7. Serve on rice and garnish with cilantro

Thursday, December 3, 2009


I love pastitsio, it's basically a greek version of lasagna, but I would choose this over traditional lasagna any day! and I am also thrilled that the hubby liked this, he has come so far from his steak and potato only eating days, I'm so proud! I got this recipe from Ellysaysopa

1 lb. bucatini pasta (use penne or something similar if you can’t find it)
1 egg, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. butter, melted
1/4 cup grated myzithra cheese
1 batch Greek meatsauce
1 batch bechamel sauce
1/4 cup kefalotyri cheese
1/4 cup breadcrumbs

Greek Meatsauce
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 lbs. ground beef
1 (6 oz.) can tomato paste
2 cups beef broth
1 cinnamon stick
6 whole cloves
1/4 cup fresh chopped parsley
1 or 2 bay leaves
salt and pepper

6 Tbsp. butter
2/3 cup flour
1 qt. milk
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
3/4 cup kefalotyri
2 eggs
1 egg yolk

Heat olive oil in a large pan, add onions and garlic and cook until softened, about 5 minutes

Add the ground beef, brown and then drain the fat from the pan

Stir in the tomato paste

Add the beef broth, cinnamon stick, cloves, parsley, bay, and salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat to a simmer. Simmer, partially covered, for an hour, stirring occasionally

Melt butter in a large pan. Stir in the flour, cooking for a few minutes until golden brown. Slowly add the milk, stirring constantly with a whisk to combine well. Bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes

Add the grated nutmeg

Take off the heat and add the kefalotyri cheese, eggs and egg yolk

Cook pasta, drain and add the beaten egg, butter, and the myzithra cheese

Grease your baking dish and add half the pasta

Add all of the meat sauce

Add the rest of the pasta

Pour all the bechamel over the pasta and top with the kefalotyri cheese and the breadcrumbs, bake at 375 for 45 minutes

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Israeli Couscous With Tomato and Lemon

I neede a quick and easy dinner and this recipe was both those things, and tasted great!

1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup Israeli couscous
1/2 medium onion, thinly sliced
4 Roma or plum tomatoes, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced (1 tbsp)
4 strips lemon peel (2 inches each)
Pinch of saffron
1/2 cup dry white wine
1-1/2 chicken stock
1/2 tsp coarse salt
1 cup frozen peas, thawed

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add couscous, and cook, stirring, for 1 minute. Transfer to a bowl, and return skillet to heat.

Reduce heat to medium, add onion, and cook, stirring frequently, for 3 minutes. Stir in tomatoes, garlic, lemon peel, and saffron, and cook, stirring frequently, until tomatoes begin to break down, 2 to 3 minutes.

Add wine, and cook for 4 minutes. Add stock, salt, and couscous, and stir. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and cook, stirring occasionally, until couscous is tender, 12 to 14 minutes. Stir in peas, and cook until heated through, about 1 minute.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Venezuelan Stuffed Corn Cakes

This is another recipe I have been meaning to make for a while, and after the hubby tried the apricot meatloaf the other night I made this for him, as he loves the sweet corn tamale cakes that I make pretty often. The corn cakes were good, but the chicken and avocado filling was really good! I found this recipe over at Pink parsley catering


1 cup cooked chicken, shredded into bite size pieces
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, and cut into small chunks
2 Tablespoons minced fresh cilantro
2 scallions, sliced thin
juice of half a lime
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cracked pepper
Mix all of the ingredients together and adjust seasonings to taste. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until needed

Corn Cakes

2 cups masa harina
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 1/2 cups warm water
1/4 cup vegetable oil
Preheat oven to 400.

Whisk the masa, salt, and baking powder together in a medium bowl. Gradually add the water and stir to form a dough. Using a generous 1/3 cup of dough, form eight 3-inch rounds, each about 1/2 inch thick.

Heat 2 Tablespoons of oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat until simmering. Add 4 of the corn cakes and cook until golden on both sides, about 4-6 minutes total. Transfer to a parchement lined baking sheet, and repeat with remaining oil and corn cakes.

Bake until the corn cakes sound hollow when tapped on the bottom, about 10-15 minutes. Split the cakes open using a fork or paring knife as you would an English muffin, and stuff each with a generous 3 Tablspoons of filling. Serve immediately.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Sticky Spiced Apricot Meatloaf

I have been wanting to make this meatloaf for quite a while, but getting the hubby to agree to eat it was a lot more difficult than I thought it would be. In the end he tried it, said he liked it but next time he would rather have his mom's meatloaf recipe! On the other hand I thought it was really good!

2 slices sandwich bread, chopped
1/2 cup milk
2 tablespoons apricot jam
1 teaspoon Worcester sauce
2 pounds ground beef
1/4 cup slivered almonds, toasted
7 dried apricots, chopped
2 teaspoons curry powder

Preheat the oven to 350°. In a small bowl, soak the bread in the milk. In another small bowl, whisk together the apricot jam and Worcestershire sauce.

In a large bowl, add the meat, almonds, apricots and curry powder. Add the bread-milk mixture, season with salt and mix together with your hands. Transfer to a loaf pan and brush with the jam mixture. Bake for 1 hour. Pour off the fat and let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan.

Brown Buttered Sugar Snap Peas With Pecans

I was looking for a side to make with the sticky spiced apricot meatloaf and found this one in the latest issue of the Rachael Ray magazine.

1 3/4 pounds sugar snap peas
3 tablespoons butter
1/2 cup pecan pieces Salt and pepper

In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook the peas until crisp-tender, 2 minutes; drain.

In a large, heavy skillet, heat the butter over medium-high heat until golden-brown and fragrant, 1 to 3 minutes. Add the pecans and cook, stirring, until lightly toasted, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the peas and cook until heated through; season with salt and pepper.

Curried Chicken and Cider Soup

We have a lot of apple cider in our fridge right now and so I've been looking for recipes to use it in. I had everything I would need to make this soup and decided to give it a try. I think maybe I like my curry flavours a little stronger, so next time I think I will play around with the spicesa little, other than that it was a good soup.

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
Salt and pepper
2 teaspoons curry powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 cup apple cider
1 large sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
1/2 head cauliflower, coarsely chopped
1/2 rotisserie chicken, skin and bones discarded and meat shredded

In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, ginger and 1teaspoon salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the curry powder and cumin and cook, stirring, for 3 minutes. Stir in the cider, scraping the bottom of the pan. Add 4 cups water and the sweet potato and bring to a boil. Add the cauliflower, lower the heat and simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes.

Using a blender, and working in batches, puree the soup; return to the saucepan. Stir in the chicken and warm through over medium heat; season with salt and pepper.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Cottage Pie With Leeks

Growing up in England cottage pie was a favourite meal of mine, I have never made it with leeks before, but I had some in the fridge that needed to be used up, and they made a great addition to one of my favourite comfort foods.

1lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
4 sprigs fresh thyme
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp plain flour
150ml/5fl oz red wine
400ml/14fl oz beef stock
salt and freshly ground black pepper
Worcestershire sauce, to taste
2 leeks, chopped
2lbs potatoes, peeled and chopped
4oz butter
125ml/4½fl oz heavy cream

Brown the ground beef in a large pan, drain, add the onion, carrot and thyme and cook for 2-3minutes

Stir in the tomato paste and flour and cook for a further minute

Add the stock and red wine to the pan and leave to simmer for 45 minutes, or until the mixture has thickened. Season, to taste, with salt, freshly ground black pepper and a few dashes of Worcester sauce

In a separate pan, heat a little butter. Add the leeks and fry until softened, but not coloured

For the mash, place the potatoes into a pan of salted water and bring to the boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 12-15 minutes, or until the potatoes are tender

Mash well with a potato masher or ricer, then add the butter and milk, beating to form a smooth mash. Season, to taste, with salt and freshly ground black pepper

Transfer the meat into an ovenproof dish and layer the leeks on top, arrange spoonfuls of the mash on top of the meat and leeks

Cook for about 30 minutes at 375, until the potato is crisp and golden-brown around the edges. Serve hot.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Monday, November 16, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Crockpot red chicken curry with butternut squash and jasmine rice

Tuesday: Chinese pepper steak

Wednesday: Cottage pie with leeks and sweet green bean bundles

Thursday: Zuppa toscana soup and BLT's with avocado

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Remember, Remember The 5th Of November

Remember, remember the fifth of November
Gunpowder, treason and plot.
I see no reason, why gunpowder treason
Should ever be forgot.

This post is a little different than normal, isn't about coupons, deals or food. I am feeling a little sad today as back home in England it is bonfire night / Guy Fawkes night.

I don't feel homesick very often anymore, but every year this day hits me a little harder than most.

For those that don't know, November 5, 1605, marks the date when Guy Fawkes and his fellow conspirators attempted to kill King James I and the Members of Parliament and to blow up the Houses of Parliament. Every year since then bonfires have burned on November 5th to mark the failed gunpowder plot.

I haven't set foot in England in almost 7 years, and I really don't know if I will ever go back home again, but today I miss it, I miss the fireworks, the bonfires, the cold, oh how I miss the cold weather, and most of all I miss feeling like I fit in or belong somehwere, I miss knowing that other people are celebrating the same things. I miss home.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Molasses Herbed Pork Tenderloin

I saw this recipe in the latest issue of the Paula Deen magazine. I don't really cook with molasses that much, and I had some in the pantry needing to be used up so I gave it a try.

2 (1-pound) pork tenderloins
1⁄2 cup soy sauce
1⁄4 cup molasses
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon chopped fresh sage
1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary

In a large resealable plastic bag, place tenderloins.
In a small bowl, combine soy sauce, molasses, garlic, sage, and rosemary. Pour mixture over tenderloin; seal. Refrigerate for 2 hours, turning occasionally.
Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a shallow roasting pan with nonstick cooking spray.
Remove tenderloin from bag, discarding marinade. Place tenderloin in prepared roasting pan. Bake for 40 minutes. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve tenderloin with Horseradish-Cream Sauce. Garnish with rosemary, if desired.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Grocery Deals

I took a break from couponing the past couple of weeks, I was just so tired of clipping and filing coupons, plus there really wasn't any good deals anyway.

However this week there were some great deals at Kroger, for the first time my total actually went negative, so the cashier had to cancel out some coupons to get the balance to where the store didn't actually owe me money for shopping there!

Shelf: $92.74
Spent: $0.34
Saved: $92.40
Pct : 97%

5 x snuggle fabric softener
5 x del monte canned tomatoes
3 x rotel
6 x carnation
2 x bumble bee tuna
2 x ricola
4 x keebler cookies
2 x knox gelatin
3 x betty crocker potatoes
2 x heinz ketchup
4 x land o lakes butter
2 x I can't believe it's not butter
2 x chex mix
activia yogurt
3 x steamfresh frozen vegetables
3 x beechnut
nescafe coffee
2 x chef michael dog food

See other grocery deals at The Grocery Cart Challenge and The New Frugal Mom

Monday, November 2, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Molasses herbed pork tenderloin with mashed potatoes and green beans

Tuesday: Zuppa toscana soup with homemade bread rolls

Wednesday: Puffy tacos

Thursday: Swedish meatballs with noodles and lingonberry sauce

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Beef, cheddar and potato pie

I saw this recipe in the latest issue of the Rachael Ray magazine, it looked good and I had everything needed to make it, and even though I am usually awful at making pies I gave it a try.

2 lbs ground beef
2 carrots cut into cubes
1 onion, diced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
1 large baking potato, peeled and cubed
1/2 cup dark beer
8 ounces sharp cheddar cheese, grated
2 sheets puff pastry
1 large egg yolk
1 tbsp water
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375

In a skillet combine the beef, carrots, onion, celery, garlic and potato. Cook until the meat has browned

Add the beer, cook for 10 minutes

Add the cheese, 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, let cool

Place 1 sheet of pastry in a 10 inch pie dish, transfer the filling into dish, lightly brush the edge of the pastry with the egg wash, then place the second sheet on top. Press the edges to seal.

Place the pie on a baking sheet, brush the top with more egg wash and cut an X into the pastry. Sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp pepper, Bake for 45 minutes.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: BLT's with avocado and tomato soup

Tuesday: Tacos

Wednesday: Ribs, baked beans, coleslaw and rolls

Thursday: Beef and potato pie with salad

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Fatoosh Salad

The hubby and I tried out a new restaurant a few weeks ago, and one of the items on the menu was fatoosh salad. The fact that the hubby not just tried it but actually liked it was enough for me to want to make it at home as soon as possible!

2 pita breads
8 leaves romaine lettuce, torn into bite-size pieces
2 green onions, chopped
1 cucumber, chopped
3 tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1 clove garlic, peeled and chopped
2 tablespoons sumac
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/4 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Feta cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toast pitas 5 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven until crisp and break into bite size pieces

In a large bowl toss together toasted pita pieces, romaine lettuce, green onions, cucumber, tomatoes, mint and parsley

In a blender, combine the garlic, sumac, lemon juice, olive oil, salt and pepper and blend until smooth

Pour dressing over salad and crumble as much feta cheese ontop of the salad as you like

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Grocery Deals

This week the hubby really wanted to go to HEB as he prefers to buy meats there, and we were starting to run a little low so no Kroger this deals this week.
I don't really mind though, as we were out of fresh fruits and vegetables and they are definitely cheaper at HEB and there really wasn't any deals to be had at Kroger that interested me. My total is obviously higher this week, but that's okay.

Shelf: $93.21
Spent: $70.42
Saved: $22.79

5lbs russet potatoes $2.49
2 baking potatoes $1.82
2 sweet potatoes $1.22
5 roma tomatoes $1.48
Cucumber $0.59
Curly parsley $0.79
Fresh mint $1.19
0.43 lb fresh green beans $0.68
Green onions $0.69
3 jalapenos $0.11
Fresh ginger $0.20
2 nectarines $1.53
Pineapple $3.99
2.24 lbs red grapes $2.24
3 red peppers $2.37
Green pepper $0.58
Organic celery $1.29
Romaine lettuce $1.49
Butter $1.94
Country crock $2.27
String cheese $3.68
Kraft singles $1.99 (free after instore coupon)
Shredded cheddar $1.50 (free after instore coupon)
Pie crust $2.29
Flour tortillas $1.79 (free after instore coupon)
English muffins $1.99
Oroweat sandwich thins $3.19 ($2.19 after $1 coupon)
Hamburger buns $0.99
french baguette $1.69
Bread flour $2.99
2 x canned chicken $1.98 ($0.48 after 2 $0.75 coupons)
2 sun crystals boxes $3.98 (free after 2 $2.00 coupons)
Glade diffuser $4.69 ($1.69 after $3 coupon)
2 surf laundry soap boxes $9.38 ($3.38 after 2 $3 coupons)
6 ground chuck patties $5.05
Chuck roast $5.50
Short ribs $5.89
peppered bacon $5.89

See other grocery deals at The Grocery Cart Challenge

Monday, September 28, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday: Pierogi lasagna, fresh green beans and salad

Tuesday: Armenian beef kebabs, fatoosh salad, hummus and pita bread

Wednesday: Mango chutney short ribs, mashed potatoes and corn

Thursday: Pepsi pot roast

Friday: Going out to eat

See other menu plans over at Organizing Junkie

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Chicken Tikka Masala

I just love curry and Indian food, and here's a recipe for one of my favourites:


2 lbs chicken breasts,cubed
1 tbsp. ground turmeric
4 tsp. garam masala
6 cloves garlic, crushed
1 2 1⁄2" piece ginger, peeled and chopped
1 jalapeno, chopped
1 28-oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, undrained
1⁄4 cup Greek yogurt
Kosher salt, to taste
6 tbsp. butter
1 tsp. coriander seeds
1⁄2 tsp. cumin seeds
1 tbsp. paprika
2 small yellow onions, finely chopped
1 cup heavy cream

1. In a blender puree turmeric, 2 tsp. garam masala, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, and 1⁄2 cup water. Put paste into a bowl. In the same blender, puree tomatoes. In a bowl mix 2 tbsp. paste, chicken, yogurt and salt. Marinate for at least30 minutes. Bake chicken at 350 for 20 minutes or until done.

2. Heat butter in saucepan over medium-high heat. Add coriander and cumin and toast 4–6 minutes. Add paprika and onions, cook until soft, 6–8 minutes. Add remaining paste and brown for 5–6 minutes. Add tomatoes, cook for 2 minutes. Stir in cream and 1 cup water, boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 6–8 minutes. Stir in remaining masala and chicken. Serve with rice, naan bread and mango chutney.

See other recipes at The Grocery Cart Challenge