Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Roasted Beets

OK Please don't shudder away! I know beets, for most, sound disgusting. BUT I truly believe that if you try Beets when they are roasted you will love them! They have a strong earthy taste which is similar to... well... dirt! And when they are roasted the natural sweetness comes out.  But before you judge just try ONCE... the heath benefits from beets to are so immense

"The Facts:
One cup of raw beets is high in carbohydrates and low in fat. It contains phosphorus, sodium, magnesium, calcium, iron, and potassium, as well as fiber, vitamins A and C, niacin, and biotin. Beets contain folic acid, which is recommended for pregnant women because it may lower the risk of spina bifida and other neural tube defects in newborn infants"

For more information on these delicious hunks of dirt... go here  :)

Take your beets and scrub clean, pat dry. Drizzle with Olive Oil and bake at 375 for 40 to 60 minutes

Pull out of oven and cool slightly till you can touch them. Rub your fingers on the skin and it will start to rub off. IF NOT- take a butter knife and rub the beet with the textured side of the knife

 When you serve them drizzle a little more oil and sprinkle with a little bit of salt

Chicken Cheese and Avocado Panini

It has been FOREVER since I have last blogged. I apologize... We recently returned from a long month away from home, and it feels so great to be back home and cooking again! Don't get me wrong, vacations are a good way to take a break from the every day routine and chores, but it makes me more then ready to start cooking and baking when I get home.

Who doesn't love warm, toasted, crunchy goodness? The everyday sandwich is nice every once in a while,  but a PANINI... now that's a different story. The melted cheese, the caramelized piping hot vegetables, those are the ingredients that really make a sandwich


2 slices whole wheat bread (Dave's Killer Bread is the best)
Chicken breast
Cheese (quantity and type to your liking)
Bell Pepper

Thaw and cook your chicken till cooked all the way through (no pink)

Take one slice of bread and spread mayonnaise out to the edge of the crust. Slice your avocado, onion, bell pepper, tomatoes, and cheese. Caramelize your onions and bell peppers until desired softness or crunchiness.

Pile all your delicious fix ins on your bread and grill until golden brown and cheese is melted.

This sandwich is perfect to serve with a bowl of tomato soup or butternut squash soup. Enjoy!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Northern Lights and Sheep Mountain Lodge

It's been a while since I have last blogged, we have been very busy playing.

This last week was spring break for us up here in Alaska. We got together with my family and headed up north to Sheep Mountain Lodge towards Eureka, AK! We headed out for the weekend on Thursday evening, and around 9 o'clock, the Northern Lights started dancing their way across the sky! It was so amazing! Gavin found a little spot to pull over so I could try and snap a few shots...BUT... I couldn't figure out how too use my new camera! I was so mad that I missed such an awesome opportunity at some amazing photos! But the next night.... they didn't come out nearly as well. I ended up figuring out my camera and I did get a tiny sliver of a Northern Light, not the best picture ever but at least I got something

We arrived our cabin later that night and the rest of the party arrived shortly after us! We setup all that we needed too, then headed off to bed looking forward to a day of playing. Daddy and North enjoyed the weekend just as much as I did!

As Friday morning rolled around, we all got bundled up and headed out for some fun. Gavin, the cousins, and my Uncle, hoped on the four wheeler and snow machine and headed out to find some rabbits!

Katie and Janelle just after a successful rabbit hunt

 My Aunt, North and I stayed back at the cabin and wandered around on the ski trails and enjoyed the beautiful blue skied weather we were having! It was the best weather ever! Really!! It was so warm and not a cloud in the sky!


Aunt Virginia enjoying cross country skiing

The view from our cabin! So beautiful!!

Goodness! The weather was so perfect!
I love March

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Tuxedo Cupcakes with Chocolate Covered Strawberries

I have been trying so hard to make a dessert that does not involve chocolate.... I failed miserably. Chocolate should be a part of every dessert! I wanted to try something fancy and new but also add a fun twist to it! I have seen so many Tuxedo cakes but never Tuxedo cupcakes, so I gave this a shot and it turned out fabulous! I have to admit, these could quite possibly be some of the best chocolate cup cakes I have ever had!


For the cake:
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cups water
1/2 cup canola oil
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 large eggs
1/2 cup yogurt
1/2 tbsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tbsp. vanilla extract

For the frosting:
2 cups chilled heavy whipping cream
1¼ cups confectioners’ sugar, sifted

For the chocolate topping:
2 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
¼ cup light corn syrup
2 tsp. vanilla extract

To make the cupcakes, preheat the oven to 350˚ F.  Line your cupcake pan with cupcake liners. 
In a saucepan over medium heat, combine the butter, water and canola oil; heat until the butter is melted.

 In a large mixing bowl, combine the sugar, cocoa powder, and flour; whisk to blend. 

 Pour the melted butter mixture into the dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. 

 Whisk in the eggs one at a time, then whisk in the buttermilk.  Add the baking soda, salt and vanilla to the bowl and whisk just until incorporated. 

 Divide the batter evenly in your cupcake pan.  Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let cool in the pans for 15 minutes.  To make the frosting, add the heavy cream to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a whisk attachment. Whip on medium-high speed until soft peaks form.  Add the powdered sugar and continue to whip until thoroughly combined and stiff peaks form.  Be careful not to over-beat!

To make the chocolate glaze, place the chocolate in a medium bowl. 

 Heat the cream in a small saucepan over medium heat until simmering. 

 Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and let sit 1-2 minutes.  Whisk until the mixture is smooth and homogeneous.  Blend in the corn syrup and vanilla.  Pour the glaze into a pitcher or measuring cup and let cool for 10 minutes.  (Do not let the glaze cool longer or it may become difficult to use.)

To decorate the cupcakes,  dip the tops of each cupcake in the cooled chocolate ganache. Then top with the whipped cream, chocolate shavings if you desire then your strawberries!!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

The Last Great Race on Earth

Today was the ceremonial start of the Iditarod in Anchorage. I don't think I have ever seen the Iditarod dogs and sleds before, until today!(I say "I think" because I lived here when I was little and don't remember if I saw them then). We put on our snow gear and headed out to the Campbell Creek Science Center where the racers stop until they start the official race in Willow AK. It was so awesome being so close to the teams and be able to wave and cheer for them all. It's crazy to think that these dogs will be running a thousand miles from Willow to Nome. These dogs are tough!

Momma and North

Daddio and North

North did absolutely amazing! He actually slept almost the entire time, but was able to get a few quick peaks and the dogs running. He was nice and cozy all bundled in his this snow outfit and blankets! He was born to handle the cold!

I got SO excited when I was taking this picture! I didn't see the dogs until I put my eye up to my camera and started shooting. Right as they were passing in front of me I yelled to Gavin " Oh how cool they are wearing tie dye! Yeah, how awesome"

Just because they are wearing tie dye these dogs were racing for me...or so I would like to think

I felt like today was from the Dr. Seuss book "Go Dogs Go"
That's the only thing my husband would yell to every team!

I felt sooo cool being able to see Lance the flesh. Just kidding but it was actually pretty darn cool being able to see the 4 time champion! Lets hope that this year he makes it 5 consecutive wins!

North just feeling happy and glad to be outside. I know that because he told me :)

Such a big boy at his first, of many Iditarods!

Southwestern Egg Rolls (Chili's Copycat)

I love Chili's Southwestern Egg Rolls! I think their flavor is fabulous! So one day I was really craving them and instead of going and buying them from the restaurant I figured I would try to make them myself and they turned out EXACTLY how I expected. They are incredibly easy, but a little bit time consuming. You really need to plan ahead, time wise, to create this!


1 chicken breast fillet
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons minced red bell pepper
2 tablespoons minced green onion
1/3 cup frozen corn
1/4 cup canned black beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons frozen spinach, thawed and drained
2 tablespoons diced, canned jalapeno peppers
1/2 tablespoon minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
dash cayenne pepper
3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
five 7-inch flour tortillas

Avocado-Ranch Dipping Sauce:
1/4 cup smashed, fresh avocado (about half of an avocado)
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoons white vinegar
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon onion powder
dash dried dill weed
dash garlic powder
dash pepper


Heat stove to medium high heat. Rub chicken breast with some vegetable oil then grill it on barbecue for 4 to 5 minutes per side or until done. Lightly salt and pepper each side of chicken while it cooks. Set chicken aside until it cools down enough to handle.

Preheat 1 tablespoon of vegetable oil in a medium-size skillet over medium-high heat. Add red pepper and onion to pan and sauté for a couple minutes until tender.

Dice cooked chicken into small cubes and add it to pan. Add corn, black beans, spinach, jalapeno peppers, parsley, cumin, chili powder, salt, and cayenne pepper to pan.

Cook for another 4 minutes; stir well so that spinach separates and is incorporated into mixture.

 Remove pan from heat and add cheese; stir until cheese is melted.

Wrap tortillas in a moist cloth and microwave on high temperature for 1 1/2 minutes or until hot.
Spoon approximately one-fifth of mixture into center of a tortilla. Fold in ends and then roll tortilla over mixture.


 Roll tortilla very tight, then pierce with a toothpick to hold together. Repeat with remaining ingredients until you have five egg rolls.

Arrange egg rolls on a plate, cover plate with plastic wrap and freeze for at least 4 hours or overnight.
While egg rolls freeze prepare avocado-ranch dipping sauce by combining all of ingredients in a small bowl. Preheat 4-6 cups of oil to 375 degrees.

Deep fry egg rolls in hot oil for 12-15 minutes and remove to paper towels or a rack to drain for about 2 minutes.

Slice each egg roll diagonally lengthwise and arrange on a plate around a small bowl of dipping sauce.