Tuesday, August 25, 2009

100 Recipes Completed!!!

Last Saturday I celebrated the HUGE accomplishment of completing my 100th recipe!

A few weeks ago it was decided that there was only one way to bring in that 100th recipe in style and that was to throw a party. This party pushed me to continue cooking so that I would actually be able to meet the milestone and it was a good way to complete 19 recipes!!! I will post the menu from the party tonight so that all can see what was served and I will also be sure to post a few photos of dishes which led up to the party.

After hitting this important milestone of 100 recipes in UNDER two months I decided to take a break from cooking for two days. Last night Matt and I decided to participate in DC’s Restaurant Week and he took me to Zola www.zoladc.com. Everything was delicious and it was nice to eat food prepared by someone else.

I will start cooking again tonight and bellow is the menu for the week. Next weekend is a bit ambitious but I want to have my parents over for a really nice dinner on Saturday as a thank you for all of their help with the party and I am thinking about having two couples over for Sunday brunch.

Tuesday, August 25
One Step Lasagna w/ Sausage and Basil p.222
3 Cheese Garlic Bread p.550
Arugula, Blood Orange & Blue Cheese Salad p.124
Wednesday, August 26
No Cooking--- 1st Kickball game!!!
Thursday, August 27
Oven Fried Deviled Drumsticks p.274
Iceberg Wedges w/ Warm Bacon & Blue Cheese Dressing p.132
Mexican Corn & Zucchini p.472
Friday, August 28
Moroccan Shrimp & Red Onion Salsa p.349
Saturday, August 29
Cardamom & Orange Panettone Toast p.494
Salad Bar Cobb p.116
Curried Egg Salad Sandwiches p.159
Banana Nut Macadamia Nut Muffins p.535
Popovers w/ Gruyere p.539
Broccoli & Rapini w/ Lemon & Shallots p.484
Filet Mignon w/ Green Peppercorn Cream Sauce p.379
Asparagus Soup w/ Lemon Cream Fraiche p.88
Brown Sugar-Bourbon Peaches p.581
Sunday, August 30
Herbed Cheese Scrambled Eggs on Asparagus p.508
Rosemary & Mustard Breakfast Sausage p.523
Quick Sticky Buns p.546
Rigatoni w/ Cheese & Italian Sausage p.205
Zucchini & Two-cheese Flatbread p.551
Raspberry Pecan Blondies p.610

Only 400 to go!!!

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Banana Cake and Stir-Fry

Yesterday was a successful cooking day!

After picking up Emma from the pool and driving home I started working on things in the kitchen. Looking at the banana pudding recipe I decided that it looked like TOO much effort and decided instead to make a Banana Cake w/ Sour Cream Frosting (p.629). I mashed up my bananas and mixed up the cake only to discover, while it was baking, that I didn’t have enough cream cheese for the frosting. I decided to use some Betty Crocker Whipped Chocolate frosting for the top of the cake. I actually think that this made the cake even yummier. It was perfection!!!

For dinner we had Chicken, Asparagus & Broccoli Stir-Fry (p.281). This was also a great recipe that I will be making in the future! Matt and I both agreed that we would prefer it over take out. I think that the next time I make the dish I will try to add in a few additional veggies and maybe substitute shrimp or beef for the original chicken… just to try something new.
I am planning for a super busy night after I get off from work! I am planning on picking up Emma and heading to Homegoods to do a return and look for a clock or picture to cover a fan in our kitchen. Once we get home Matt and I will be completing some finishing touches in the spare bedroom. We need to hang curtains, a shelf, a mirror, and some pictures. I will post a photo once we complete the room. I am also planning on painting in the upstairs bathroom on Wednesday or Thursday so I want Matt to remove all of the fixtures so that we can tackle the painting this week… BUSY BUSY

Monday, August 10, 2009

Weekend Pics and Info

Matt, Emma and I had a BUSY weekend not only with cooking but also with some home improvement projects!

We started the day with some great Crispy Corn Meal Bacon Waffles (p.500). This recipe was a great way to mix our favorite meat item, BACON, with a breakfast staple. Matt gave me a waffle maker for my birthday and this was the first time that I have put it to use... I am happy to say that I managed to make less of a mess than Matt typically makes. Of course he would point out that a few of mine had some holes which to me that is worth having less to clean up.
After breakfast we got busy around the house. Matt trimmed the trees and the yard and I straitened some things up around the house, re configured the spare bedroom, put together a Barbie apartment building for Emma, and went to the pool. After our busy day I caved and we just ordered Chinese for dinner.

After my day of slacking off (in the cooking department) I decided that I would have to have special motivation to cook on Sunday.
Once my parents brought Emma back from Sunday School I invited them to have lunch with us. I made Barbecued Chicken Thighs w/ Brown Sugar-Hickory Sauce (p.248) and Spicy Black Beans w/ Onion & Bacon (p.449). We ate outside in the HEAT!! The chicken thighs were perfect, super juicy and the homemade BBQ sauce was perfect. I was a little worried because I ended up not having the chili sauce that it called for (2 cups) but I simply decided to omit that part and the recipe turned out great. In the future I would make it exactly the same way! The Black beans were also great and a little more like a stew as they were also juicy.
After dinner my parents were nice enough to take Emma to the pool while Matt and I tackled IKEA. They were super busy but Matt and I had a mission in mind and so we didn't waist a lot of time messing around with things. We bought a GREAT new kitchen island with a butcher block top and a shelf that I put some great galvanized baskets on for potatoes, onions, etc... Matt also picked out two tall leather stools for the bar area between our kitchen and dinning room.
After we got back home Matt started to assemble our purchases and I ran to Safeway to get the groceries for the week. While I was out I decided the invite my parents for dinner when they brought Emma home from the pool. So we ended up having all of our Sunday meals with them :-)
For dinner we had Castellane Pasta w/ Sausage, Peppers, cherry Tomatoes, & Morjoram (p.206), Shallot Bruschetta (p.554) and Warm Doughnuts a la mode w/ Bananas & Spiced Caramel Sauce (p.206). EVERYTHING was great and I would make it all again! I think that the dessert stole the show however!

Menu 8/10 - 8/16

The weekend was full of yummy dishes which I will write about tonight because I want to include some photos!

Bellow is my menu for this week:

Monday, 8/10
Chicken Asparagus & Broccoli Stir Fry p.281
Banana Pudding p.648
Tuesday, 8/11
Salmon w/ Chili-Mango Salsa p.304
Soft Ginger Cookies p.601
Wednesday, 8/12
Asian Pork Chops w. Bok Choy p.398
Thursday, 8/13
Fettuccine w/ Mussels & Cream p.202
Olive Oil Bruschetta p.554
Friday, 8/14
Grilled Steak w/Fresh Garden Herbs p.370
Potato Leek & Fennel Soup p.84
Rosemary Broiled Tomatoes p.474
Ice Cream w/ Sauteed Pineapple & Bourbon p.582
Saturday, 8/15
Chard Cheddar Omelet p.501
Roasted Red Pepper Soup w/ Orange Cream p.89
Pan Roasted Sizzling Shrimp p.349
Bittersweet Molten Chocolate Cakes w/ Coffee Ice Cream p.626
Sunday, 8/16
Banana Pancakes w/ Caramel Banana Syrup p.497
Mexican Style Chicken Sandwiches p.153
Avocado & Mango Salad w/ Passion Fruit Vinaigrette p.126
Sweet & Spicy Chipotle Glazed Ribs p.412
Sweet & Smoky BBQ Beans p.452
Classic Shaken Margarita p.684
Lemon Thumbprint Cookies

Thursday, August 6, 2009

The big 50

Two days ago I hit 50 recipes!!! I think that this was a huge accomplishment considering that I have been doing this project for just over a month and that I went a whole week without cooking.

So to celebrate hitting the big 50 I took yesterday off from cooking and let Matt take over! We had mac and cheese with the left over ground chicken from our Chinese Style Chicken in Lettuce cups (made on Tuesday). The Chicken mac and cheese was great and I was thankful for the night off… there are just some days I don’t feel like cooking and last night was one of those days.

Tonight I will make the Roast Pork Chops w/ bacon & Wilted Greens (p.407) and Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes (p.442) YUMMY!!! I will be sure to post a photo tonight after dinner.

450 to go...

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

From onion ring to diamond ring...

Now for a bit of honesty… This blog first started as a way to “land my man.” You always hear that the way to a man is through his stomach and I figured that I might as well try this method as I have nothing to lose. Matt and I have been together for over two years and he first won me over by surprising me with a gourmet meal of stuffed chicken and potatoes so maybe I can win him over by cooking for him ;-) Bellow are a few blog names that the creative Tory Maguire came up with (she is amazing)!!!

Cooking for Love
For the Love of Cooking
Cooking My Way into His Heart
A Cooking Guide to Getting Engaged
Feed Him like a King to Get the Ring
A cooking lesson to get him to ask the question
From the shopping cart to his heart
A cooking guide to getting hitched
From onion ring to diamond ring
Chow to make him go wow
Food, Laughter and Happily Ever After
Cook, Love and Be Married
A pan to land a man, a pot to tie the knot

As you already know I have gone with Food, Laughter and Happily Ever After so that I can continue the blog after my year long cooking project and after hopefully landing my man :-) I hope that you all get as much of a laugh out of the blog titles as I did when I asked Tory for help!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Menu for Week

Monday, August 3
- Pork w/ Gorgonzola Sauce p.403
- Mashed Potatoes w/ Green Onions & Parmesan p. 437
Tuesday, August 4
- Chinese Style Chicken in Lettuce Cups p.288
Wednesday, August 5
- Mahi-Mahi w/ Blood Orange, avocado & Red Onion salsa p. 333
- Couscous
Thursday, August 6
- Roast Pork Chops w/ Bacon & Wilted Greens p.407
- Roasted Balsamic Sweet Potatoes p.442
Friday, August 7
- Castellane Pasta w/ Sausage, Peppers, Cherry Tomatoes, & Morjoram p.206
Saturday, August 8
- Easy Crepes p.499
- Warm Berry Preserves p.527
- Barbecued Chicken Thighs w/ Brown Sugar-Hickory Sauce p.248
- Spicy Black Beans w/ Onion & Bacon p.449
- Banana Pudding p.648

Busy weekend

We had a busy weekend in the Fleming-Park household! I am happy to say that as of last night I have completed 47 recipes. There is still a long way to go on this “cooking journey” but so far it has been exciting and I have had an opportunity to grow in my cooking.

On Friday Matt got together with his co-workers after work for some “team building” so Emma and I relaxed at home and had a girls only movie night. One thing about this cooking project is that I get a little bent out of shape when life happens. I tend to focus on the recipes that I’m not cooking and the missed opportunity to add to my recipe count. I think that I need to just let life happen… so what if I miss a night cooking.

I cooked 10 recipes on Saturday and Sunday alone!

Croissant French Toast p.494— This was a great breakfast and a good way to eat some left over croissants. I am HORRIBLE at making pancakes so I will always turn to a good French toast recipe first. We ate this with some thick-cut bacon, fresh cut strawberries and of course powdered sugar overtop.
Old Fashioned Blueberry Muffins p.537— After breakfast Emma helped me whip up these easy blueberry muffins. She did a great job counting all of the blueberries that we added and it was a fun activity for us to do together. She is having fun throwing on her apron and cooking along with mommy! The muffins were delicious and we ate the leftovers for breakfast on Sunday.
Beef w/ Gorgonzola burgers p.173— These burgers were massive and so good that they belong on the menu of a 5 star restaurant!!! The basic burger recipe was so simple, make 4 patties put gorgonzola cheese in the middle of two and top with the other two patties. Close up the edges and grill! Along with the burger basics like arugula, fresh tomatoes, and red onion I also added some avocado (surprise surprise).
Bistro Oven Fries p.441—These fries were a great complement for the burgers! After baking they were tossed with garlic, sea salt & fresh chopped parsley.
Chilled Avocado & Mint Soup p. 92—I thought that I would fall in love with this soup at first bite but I am sad to say that was not the case. If I make this recipe again it would be as a dressing, marinade, or sauce to go with something like a Mexican chicken or steak dish.
Enlightened Tuna Sandwiches p.157— I HATE tuna salads usually but for lunch on Sunday I figured that I would fill up on my avocado soup and that Matt would enjoy these tuna sandwiches. The opposite turned out to be true… I LOVED these sandwiches. With only cucumber, bell pepper and red onion, mayo, pain yogurt, and white tuna this sandwich was light and refreshing! I even served the left over mixture with crackers when my parents came over for dinner. This is a recipe which is guaranteed to be made again.
Grilled Ribeye Steak w/ Parsley and Garlic Butter p.370— Since the steak that we has was so large we decided to invite my parents over for dinner. The parsley and garlic butter was the highlight of this easy to make dish.
Potato Gratin w/ Cream & Fresh Herbs p.439—This side was AMAZING and super easy!!! I bought a new manoline slicer at HomeGoods on Sunday and it made this recipe so easy!!! If you do not have one I would recommend investing in one immediately. Mine only cost $12.99 and folds up into a plastic case for easy storage. Back to the food though… In this recipe all ingredients were brought to a boil in a large saucepan and pored into casserole dish. I didn’t have to worry about layering all of the ingredients as everything fell right into place. After we started eating my parents asked what cheese was used in the recipe and they were shocked to find out that there was NONE. The result of the ingredients were so rich and creamy that I even second guessed the contents after the first bite.
Broccoli w/ Garlic & Parmesan Cheese p.484—Quick, Easy, Fresh… this recipe lived up to the claim in the cook book title!
Sugar Cookies p.598—On Sunday afternoon Emma put her bunny apron back on and helped me make the dough for sugar cookies. The original plan was to roll out the dough after and hour in the refrigerator and make shapes however time got away from me and I ended up just rolling the dough into balls and made regular cookies. I am planning on making Halloween cookies in late August or October using this recipe.

I will post photos of the above recipes tonight!

453 recipes to go…