Monday, August 29, 2011

Mini Key Lime Pies

Happy birthday, Dad!!!

My dad has been the rock of our family lately. Staying positive and strong when we have needed him the most....even when he is being faced with challenges himself.

My parents and sister recently spent a week in Key West and as soon as they got off the plane my father was in search of some Key Lime Pie. In fact, I'm pretty sure that's why they went there in the first place. While I'm sure it doesn't compare to the real thing, I could not think of anything better than to celebrate his special day then by making Key Lime Pie.

Mini Key Lime Pies
slightly adapted from Idle Wife

1 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
zest from one lime
 6 tablespoons salted margarine, melted

Line muffin tin with cupcake liners. Combine the crumbs, sugar, and lime zest (on hindsight, I would crush the zest throughout the sugar first). Mix in the melted butter until everything is evenly moist.
Take the crumbs and divide them as equally as you can into a 12 cup nonstick muffin tin. Using a cup that approximately fits the bottom of the tin (or a spoon works fine, too), push the crumbs down to the bottom.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes (mine puffed up and freaked me out, but they settled back down when they came out). Allow to cool.

2 egg yolks
1  14 oz. can fat free/low fat sweetened condensed milk 
1/2 cup key lime juice (the equivalent of exactly one pound of key limes)

Mix the condensed milk and egg yolks together until combined. Add the lime juice and stir to combine. It will thicken up almost instantly.
Divide batter evenly into each graham cracker cup. Cook at 350 for 15 minutes. Cool and chill in the fridge for about an hour.
Fresh Whipped Cream:
1 Cup Heavy Cream, chilled
1 Tablespoon Granulated Sugar
1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extra
In a stand mixer, whisk the heavy cream on high until it just holds stiff peaks. Slowly sprinkle in sugar. Add vanilla.
Pipe onto pies.
Garnish with a lime slice. Enjoy!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Colorado Green Chile

This is the best green chile recipe I have found so far. Perfect for enchiladas, smothered burritos, scrambled eggs, or even with tortilla chips.

Colorado Green Chile


  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 1/2 pounds cubed pork stew meat
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 cups chopped, roasted green chiles
  • 1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 1/2 cups tomatillo salsa
  • 5 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 pinch ground cloves


  1. Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven or large pot over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper to taste, then place into the hot oil. Cook until golden brown on all sides, about 7 minutes. Once browned, remove the pork and set aside. Reduce heat to medium, and stir in the onion and garlic. Cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes.
  2. Return the pork to the pot, and stir in the green chiles, diced tomatoes with juice, tomatillo salsa, and chicken broth. Season with oregano and clove. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer 20 minutes.
  3. After 20 minutes, remove 2 cups of the soup (ensure there are no pork cubes in it), and pour into a blender. Hold down the lid of the blender with a folded kitchen towel, and carefully start the blender, using a few quick pulses to get the soup moving before leaving it on to puree. Puree until smooth, then pour back into the cooking pot. This will create a thicker texture for your chili and will eliminate some of the chunky bits of chiles. Continue to simmer, stirring occasionally until the pork is very tender, at least 35 minutes more.

Extremely Easy Samoa Bark

Well, It's official! I survived my first week back to work. I have an adorable class this year and I'm really looking forward to getting to know them better as the year progresses. 

The first week back is always a crazy one! Waking up early, running here, running there, and there is a never ending to do list. I  was staying pretty composed, until my husband reminded me that I had agreed to make something for his potluck final at school. I panicked at first, but then immediately turned  to Pinterest to find something quick and easy. That's where I came across Samoa Bark. Since Samoas are one of my favorite Girl Scout cookies I had to give it a try.

Samoa Cookie Bark

12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, plus 2 ounces for drizzle (I used Baker’s chocolate)
35-40 shortbread cookies
3 cups shredded coconut
1 14oz pkg caramels, unwrapped
2 Tablespoons water
1. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Prepare 12 ounces of chocolate according to package directions (I microwaved in 30 second intervals, then stirred until melted, but you can use a double boiler if you prefer). Spread chocolate in an even layer on the foil to your desired thickness; I did mine thinnish. Immediately press shortbread cookies onto melted chocolate, covering it in an even layer. Pop in the freezer until hardened and solid and chocolate has set, about 20 minutes. You want to make sure your shortbread/chocolate layer is good and solid so your bark stays together (like me and Jessie–sorry).
2. Now prepare your filling. Toast your coconut in a pan over low-heat until nice and toasty. Watch it, though, since coconut toasts fast and you don’t want it to burn. While coconut is toasting, unwrap your caramels and melt them in 30-second intervals with the 2 T water until smooth and melted. Stir toasted coconut into caramel sauce, and spread evenly over your shortbread bark layer.
3. Melt remaining 2 ounces of chocolate and drizzle over the caramel… because obviously, it’s a must.
4. I popped my bark back into the freezer to set the drizzled chocolate, but please eat this bark at room temperature–the caramel hardens quickly, and the last thing I need is a lawsuit for broken incisors. Store airtight.

 It was so fast and easy! I knew no leftovers would be making their way back home so I also made some individual serving size treats.
Some favorites from today's playlist:

Paper Aeroplane- Angus & Julia Stone
Someone Like You- Adele
Stereo Love- Edward Maya & Vika Jigulina

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Baked Chile Rellenos with Smoky Tomato Sauce

Wow! I can handle some temperature, but holy mole these babies were HOT!!!!! That might have something to do with the fact that I decided to get "hot" roasted chilies from the Landavazo Chile Connection. We are so use to everyone telling us things are "hot" and when in fact, they are not even close to lighting our mouths on fire...but they were not lying this time.

I found a great healthy recipe in the Vegetarian Times that sounded to good to pass up. Plus, I needed to get rid of another dozen tomatoes....

Baked Chilies Rellenos with Smoly Tomato Sauce

6 large poblano chiles (roasted and peeled)
2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion; chopped (1 cup)
1 medium zucchini; chopped (1 cup)
1/2 C. fresh or frozen corn kernels
1 C. shredded Monterey Jack cheese
1 large egg
1 cup panko breadcrumbs (I used whole wheat)
1/4 c. chopped cilantro
1 lime, cut into 6 wedges
sour cream or plain yogurt

2 tsp. olive oil
1/2 medium onion; chopped
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 28 oz. can whole tomatoes (I used about 10 fresh tomatoes instead...boiled and peeled)
1 can chipotle chile in adobo sauce; drained

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Heat oil in skillet over medium heat. Add onion and cook 5 minutes, or until soft. Add zucchini and corn, and cook 5 more minutes. Transfer to bowl and stir in cheese.

Cut 3-inch slit in each chile, and remove seeds with spoon. Stuff each chile with 1/2 C. zucchini mixture and secure close with toothpick if needed.

Whisk egg with 1/2 C. water in bowl. Spread breadcrumbs on plate. Dip chiles in egg wash. Coat with breadcrumbs. Place on baking sheet, and bake 15-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

To make sauce: Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, chili powder, and cumin, and cook 4 to 5 minutes, or until onion is soft and spices are fragrant. Add tomatoes, and simmer 10 minutes, breaking up tomatoes with spatula. Transfer to blender, add chipotle chile, and blend on low speed until sauce is smooth. Serve with Chiles Rellenos, cilantro, lime wedges, and sour cream.

We also added some Spanish Rice.

This recipe was one of the best I've made in awhile!

Thirty-One: Take Two

Ohhhh we loved Thirty-One so much that my mother-in-law decided she would love to host a party as well. It was a busy weekend, but we managed to squeeze it in and even had a bigger spread than before.

I didn't have to do as much prep as before but I knew I had to make apple nachos again
....and I had some leftover wonton wrappers so I pulled together a yummy little appetizer that got lots of compliments! May I present to you Goat Cheese and Fig Wontons...

Fig and Goat Cheese Won Ton Cups
(adapted from:
24 baked wonton cups, cooled
6 ounces goat cheese, at room temperature
4 tablespoons fig jam
4 tablespoons chopped walnuts
3 sprigs of thyme

24 wonton wrappers
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Take a mini cupcake pan and fill each cup with one wonton wrapper then bake in the oven for 7 to 9 minutes. Cool.

Place a little fig jam at the bottom of each baked won ton cup. Add a dollop of the room temperature goat cheese on top of the jam, sprinkle with a few chopped walnuts and add a leaf of thyme to the top.

Can't wait to get all my goodies from the party!!!! Love being organized!!

Homemade Spaghetti Sauce and Zucchini Pancakes

Yikes, a little behind on posts again. Back to more free time. :( This is from a couple of weeks ago, but I hope you all enjoy it anyway.

I got very lucky last year when I found this recipe and it was exactly what I was looking for. A homemade tomato sauce with a chunky garden taste! I love that it gets rid of a bunch of tomatoes and we can use it on many different dinners.

With our 1st batch we decided to go with zucchini pancakes. They may sound a little odd but they are incredibly delicious. 

Homemade Tomato Sauce

10 ripe tomatoes
2 TB olive oil
2 TB butter
1 onion; chopped
1 green bell pepper; chopped
2 carrots; chopped
4 cloves garlic; minced
1/4 C. fresh basil
1/4 t. Italian seasoning
1/4 C. red wine
1 bay leaf
2 stalks celery
2 TB tomato paste

Bring Pot of water to boil. Have ready a large bowl of iced water. Plunge whole tomatoes in water until skin starts to peel. Remove with a slotted spoon, and place in ice bath. Let rest until cool enough to handle, then remove seeds and peel. Chop 8 tomatoes and puree in blender. Chop 2 tomatoes and set aside.

In a large pot or Dutch oven, over medium heat, cook onion, bell pepper, carrot, and garlic in oil and butter until onion starts to soften. About 5 minutes.

Pour in pureed tomatoes. Stir in chopped tomatoes, basil, Italian seasoning, and wine. Place bay leaf and celery in pot. Bring to boil, then reduce to low, cover and simmer for 2 hours. Stir in tomato paste and simmer another 2 hours. Discard bay leaf and celery. Serve.

Zucchini Pancakes

1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/2 C. grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 t. dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
1 1/2 C. shredded zucchini
1 egg; beaten
2 TB onion; chopped
2 TB mayonnaise ( I use vegannaise)
2 TB butter or margarine

In a bowl, combine flour, cheese, oregano, salt and pepper. Combine the zucchini, egg, onion, and mayonnaise; stir into dry ingredients until well blended.

In a large skillet, melt butter. Drop zucchini mixture by cupfuls into skillet; press lightly to flatten. Fry until golden brown, about 2 minutes on each side. Drain on paper towels. Serve with homemade tomato sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

You can also have these for breakfast or brunch by serving with sour cream instead...yum!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Bloody Mary Short Ribs......and Strawberry Shortcake too!

Last night we had our dear friend Meghan Shaw over for dinner. Meghan and I grew up together and have shared so many memories, as we did almost everything together.....playing numerous card games under the swim team tent snuggled in our sleeping bags, suntanning on the top of the houseboat in Lake Powell (never wearing enough sunscreen :( ,) spending day after day at the pool, creating secret words; like CLP (cutie pie lifeguard) and "grapes." Haha, I will always cherish these times!!! Meghan was also our wedding photographer and for those of you that have seen our wedding photos you probably already know this, but she has an incredible eye for the perfect photos. Very talented! I encourage you all to head over to her blog, Meghan Shaw Photography, and check out some of her work. She is also getting ready to start a new chapter in her life by moving to Canada for graduate school and we could not be more excited for her!!! I'm glad we got to spend a little time with her before she "takes off to the Great White North."

On the menu:

Bloody Mary Short Ribs

4 lbs. beef short ribs ( I used 3...and there was plenty left over)
salt and pepper to taste
2 TB olive oil
2 TB butter
1 large onion; sliced into rings
2 leeks (white portion only,) sliced
1 C. red wine
1 C. beef stock
1 (28 oz.) can diced tomatoes
3 cloves garlic, minced
3 C. bottled Bloody Mary Mix ( I used Demetri's ...yum!)
6 large carrots, peeled and cut
20 small mushrooms, stems removed

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Season the short ribs with salt and pepper, and set aside.

2. Heat an oven-proof Dutch oven, or wide shallow pot with a lid, over medium high heat. Stir in the olive oil and butter until the butter had melted. Stir in onion, and cook until the onion begins to soften, about 3 minutes. 

Add the leek, and continue cooking until the onion and leek are lightly browned. Remove from pan and set aside.

3. Brown short ribs in the hot dutch oven until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes per side. Once browned, sprinkle the reserved onions over the ribs, pour in the wine, beef stock, tomatoes, garlic, and Bloody Mary mix. Nestle the carrot chunks among the ribs. Bring to a simmer, then cover, and place into the preheated oven.

Braise in the oven for 2 hours, then add the mushroom caps, recover, and continue cooking 1 hour more.

We served this with our May wine club wine, John Alan 2008 Malcontent, which is a bold blend of Malbec, Petite Verdot, and Zinfandel and is aged for 24 months in 100% french oak!

Meghan was so sweet to bring over a salad and coleslaw as sides, and homemade Strawberry Shortcake w/ Cream Biscuits for dessert.
Strawberry Shortcake- Makes 6

4 C. fresh strawberries, hulled and sliced
1/4 C. sugar

1 C. heavy cream
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1 T. sugar, or to taste

Cream Biscuits
1 1/2 C. all-purpose flour
1/4 t. salt
4 t. sugar (optional- Meghan used cinnamon sugar)
2 t. baking powder
6 T. cold butter, cut into small pieces
3/4 C. heavy cream

1. In a medium bowl, combine the strawberries and sugar. Set aside at least 15 minutes.
2. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. 
3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, salt, sugar (if using) and baking powder.
4. Cut the butter into the flour with a pastry blender or your fingertips. The pieces should be the size of small pies.
5. Measure cream; set aside 1 tablespoon. Add the remaining cream to the flour, and stir with a fork until the mixture just comes together. Lightly knead the dough a few times in the bowl, turn it out onto a lightly floured board, and roll out about 3/4 inch thick.
6. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment, and brush the tops with the tablespoon of cream.
7. Bake for 17 minutes or until golden and done.
8. In a standing mixer with the whisk attachment, whip together the cream, vanilla, and sugar until it starts to form soft peaks.
9. Slice the Cream Biscuits in half. For each biscuit, spoon the strawberry mixture onto the bottom half, and add a dollop of whipped cream. Top with the other half, and dust it with powdered sugar if desired.

Today's Kitchen Playlist Included:
Florence + The Machine- Drumming Song
Phoenix- If I Ever Feel Better
Adele- Set Fire to the Rain
Phoenix- Lasso

Sunday, August 7, 2011

***Honey Lime Enchiladas***

I don't think it's a secret that Michael and I have a slight obsession with Mexican cuisine....even to the point that Taco Bell is usually somewhere in our bi-weekly diet. (Oh please stop now, for all of those are planning on leaving me a post informing me that T Bell is not real Mexican food or even real food at that.) Yes, I know!!! But we all have our guilty pleasures...and sometimes after one too many brews on a beautiful Colorado's all I want in the world. :) If you ever have heard about the menu at our house, you have probably heard my hubby babbling on about either how delicious my food is, or that he primarily is forced to eat "rabbit food." We usually eat very healthy and I have tried several times to quit "quiero-ing" Taco Bell, but it's a habit I just can't kick. To try and combat our intake of whatever it is they are now claiming is "meat," by finding yummy recipes that keep us at home, and can be considered healthy or that I can make slight adjustments to make them healthier. Oh and the spicier, the better!

I found tonight's dinner selection on It comes from an adorable sister's blog: Six Sister's Stuff

I adapted it a bit to half the portions, substitute the heavy cream, and kick up the spice!

Honey Lime Chicken Enchiladas

Marinade -
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/2 tablespoons lime juice (1/2 large lime)
1/2 tablespoons chili powder
4 cloves garlic, mined

1/2 pound chicken, cooked and shredded
2 jalapeno peppers, sliced
2 Anaheim chilies, diced
6-8 whole wheat tortillas (I used whole wheat tortillas)
1/2 pound monterey jack cheese, shredded
15 ounces green enchilada sauce
1 cup heavy cream substitute (3/4 c. milk, 1/3 c. melted and cooled butter)

1. Whisk the first four ingredients and toss with shredded chicken in a Zip-loc bag.
2. Let it marinate for at least a 1/2 hour, but preferably a half day or so.
3. Pour about 1/2 cup enchilada sauce on the bottom of a 8X8 baking pan.
4. Add the peppers and chilies to the chicken mixture. Fill the tortillas with chicken, saving any marinade, and shredded cheese, saving about 1 cup of cheese to sprinkle on top of enchiladas.
5. Put tortillas in 8x8 pan as you go.
6. Mix the remaining enchilada sauce with the cream substitute and leftover marinade (if there is any).
7. Pour sauce on top of the enchiladas.
8. Sprinkle with remaining cheese.
9. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes until brown and crispy on top.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Zucchini Madness!

It's that time of's starts of with the smiles and cheers that finally something in our garden is ready to eat, and quickly turns to the overwhelming piles of veggies that you don't want to waste. What do you do? How many times can you grill zucchini and squash before it gets old? In our house, any more than twice a week and I'm in trouble. Then I move on to zucchini bread.... one for us, one for the what???

I really don't think I need to explain my obsession with Pinterest, but it has truly saved my life so far this summer. I have found plenty of zucchini recipes to satisfy everyone! 

This one is definitely a new favorite! You get lots of vitamins and minerals without even realizing it. Don't get me wrong, I have been blessed that I actually love veggies and can eat them raw, steamed, baked, etc. I don't need to dip them in ranch dressing or plug my nose as I eat them.....but if this is you, you will even enjoy these babies. 

Double Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
2 cups zucchini, grated
1/2 cup olive oil
1/2 cup honey or agave nectar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cup semi-sweet or dark chocolate chips 
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 inch baking pan and line with parchment paper leaving 1 inch of the paper hanging over the edge to create handles. Grease parchment paper. Set aside.
- Grate zucchini. Press with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. Fluff with a fork, set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat together oil, eggs, agave or honey and vanilla. Add zucchini.
- In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa, salt, baking powder and cinnamon. Stir to combine.
- Add dry mixture to the wet/zucchini mixture. Stir to combine. Add chocolate chips.
- Pour batter into prepared pan.
- Bake 30-40 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool completely.  Remove from pan using parchment paper handles.  Serve chilled for a fudgy brownie or warmed for a gooey, cakey brownie.
Got my chocolate fix for awhile and I love that they cracked so beautifully, too!

Another favorite comes from an awesome cookbook we got on our Crate and Barrel registry, the Big Green Cookbook:

Cheesy Zucchini Macaroni

1 1/2 t. sea salt, or to taste
8 ounces (2 cups) whole-wheat elbow macaroni
1 medium zucchini, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
3 T. unsalted organic butter
3 T. buckwheat flour
2 1/4 cups 2% organic milk or plain unsweetened soymilk
2 scallions, minced
1/4 t. freshly grounded black pepper, or to taste
1/8 t. freshly grated nutmeg
1 cup shredded organic or locally produced swiss cheese
1 cup shredded organic or locally produced extra-sharp cheddar
1 cup shredded organic or locally produced muenster cheese

1. Bring 4 cups water and 1 t. salt to boil in a medium saucepan. Stir in the macaroni and zucchini. Bring it back to a boil.  Cover and turn off heat. Let "lid cook" (cook covered while the burner is off) until macaroni is al dente, about 5 minutes. Drain well and set aside.

2. Meanwhile, melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium low heat. Whisk in the flour until combined. Very gradually whisk in the milk until smooth. Increase the heat to medium-high. Add the white part of the scallions, pepper, and nutmeg while stirring constantly. Bring just to boil. Stir in cheeses until melted, about 1 minute. Turn off the heat. Cover and let "lid cook" until the cheeses are fully melted. 

3. Stir the cheese mixture into the cooked macaroni and zucchini. Add the remaining salt. Let sit 5 minutes before serving to allow mixture to combine.

4. Serve with green part of scallions on top.

What is your favorite zucchini recipe?????