Monday, December 5, 2011


Hey everyone! I wanted to take a quick second and say I am still alive. November and December are always hectic for anyone in retail, and I'm no exception. Anytime I have spent in the kitchen has been whipping up my favorite go-to meals. I have some exciting stuff coming up this week and I am going to do my very best to post. They will be more photo/story oriented rather than recipe based but I think you'll like it anyways.

Jon and I picked up our first real Christmas tree this weekend. So, tonight I will be decorating, listening to Nsync's Christmas album, wrapping presents, addressing my Christmas cards AND making some holiday sugar cookies! It's the most wonderful time of the year!

As if today wasn't going to be awesome enough with all the festivity and Christmas spirit, I won something today! I woke up at 3:55am Hawaii time just to go on to try for one of the Victoria's Secret Rewards Cards they were giving out on their facebook. I sat there for close to 30 minutes hitting the refresh button at least 8 trillion times until finally I got the message "get your card". So it gives you this card which could be worth $10, $50, $100 or $500. I was excited for it to be $10 since it was free anyways. After getting it I check the balance on the website. I WON THE $500 ONE! WHAT? Waiiiiit, what?! I NEVER win anything! I was so excited. I had to keep asking Jon if I was dreaming because these things never happen to me. I got some more Christmas shopping done with it, ordered a bunch of work clothes (so practical) and even got me a pair of Jessica Simpson pumps!

I hope everyone is having a great holiday season so far and I will be back soon! <3

Friday, November 4, 2011

Stuffed Green Peppers

Just looking at this picture makes me want to eat, like, seven more of these beasts. They were so delicious and made up of the most simple ingredients. These would be super easy to make ahead and throw in the oven to finish off too for a quick weeknight meal. Hope you all love them as much as we did. And yes, I said we! Jon LOVED them even though he has a tendency to act like all vegetables will cause him to grow an extra toe. I expected him to just eat the stuffing because, hi, it was primarily made of rice, cheese and ground turkey. To my surprise, he actually ate the pepper too. So proud!

4 green peppers
1/2 cup onion chopped
3-4 garlic cloves
2 tbsp butter
1 lb ground turkey breast
2 cups rice, fully cooked
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded, and extra to top peppers with
1/4 cup parmesan cheese, grated
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut the tops off the peppers and discard the seeds and membranes. Dice the tops of the peppers. In a medium skillet, cook onion, garlic and green peppers in butter for 2-3 minutes until softened. Add in ground turkey and brown. Mix in marinara sauce and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl combine turkey mixture, rice, cheeses, salt and pepper. Stuff bell peppers with mixture. Place on baking sheet and tent with foil. Bake for 15-20 minutes. Uncover, add extra shredded mozzarella and bake for an additional 5-10 minutes.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


So, I was up to some ninja acts that I think you'll all be proud of me for. Just a warning, this is a long post!

October is a big month for Jon and I. My birthday is October 5th, obviously the most important day in the month. We also celebrate our anniversary in October. On top of those two occasions, his mom, his sister, my grandmother and his uncle all have birthdays in October. Jon's mom lives allll the way in Massachusetts and I know it must be hard for her to be apart from Jon all the time. So, last year when he called to wish her a happy birthday I realized that this year (2011) was going to be her 50th and we should do something good. Once I pointed out the milestone to Jon, he said it was also going to be his sister's 21st, another milestone. We talked about it and decided we would save up and fly out to see her, as a surprise. We involved his Nana and asked that she plan some type of a birthday party for his mom so we had somewhere to show up at.

Over the past couple of months, I have been a nervous wreck that somehow the surprise would get out. I had told my friends here in Hawaii that I was leaving and my mom had told my family in Massachusetts I would be there. I am friends with Jon's family on Facebook and I was so nervous that someone would wish me a safe trip to Boston and then Jon's mom would see it and I'd cry. So, about a week before we left, I blocked every single one of his family members on mine and his and changed our privacy settings so you couldn't search for us on Facebook. Then, being even more paranoid, the day we left, I deactivated both our Facebooks to be 100% sure it wouldn't be revealed.

We flew in around 6pm on Friday night, the party wasn't until 5pm the next day. We got to fly in at sunset and I got this epic picture from the airplane over Boston Harbor.

We were so unbelievably anxious to see whether or not we pulled off the surprise. Luckily, my friends picked us up from the airport and kept us entertained Friday night. Then, on Saturday, we drove all the way down to New Bedford from Braintree just to get our favorite hot dogs at Gary's Best. Even after doing that and driving around aimlessly, we ended up with like two hours left and watched reruns of Bones waiting for the time to go by faster. Finally, it was a little before 5 and we could drive over to his Nana's house where the party was happening.

We came around the corner and Jon yelled out "Is someone having a birthday party?". Everyone seemed to just be in a state of shock and I couldn't even see where Jon's mom was. I finally saw that she had her back to us and she was leaning against the table with her hands covering her face, crying. It was perfect! All the fears that we didn't pull off the surprise went away.

We had an awesome trip home and the best part was getting to eat all of the food we've been missing. For me, it was mostly seafood- fried clams, stuffed quahogs, steamers, LOBSTER. For Jon, it was Chinese food from our favorite- Orchid of Hawaii. And we both enjoyed getting hot dogs from Gary's Best in New Bedford and getting to go to Dunkins EVERY morning.

We also go to go up to Salem, MA. It was my first time there and such a cool time of the year to go because it was right before Halloween.

And we spent our last day in Plymouth, MA which is where we had our first date. So that was also tons of fun. We acted all touristy and visited the Mayflower and Plymouth Rock too.

I had an awesome time visiting with family and friends but I was so happy to get back to beautiful Hawaii. I am proud of where I'm from but so happy with the choice we made to move here. I will be posting again soon with some wedding updates and hopefully some recipes! I haven't been cooking much because as I said, October is kind of a crazy month for us. I have the day off today and just stocked the fridge (finally) so I'm hoping for some yummy dishes in my future.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chocolate Chip Waffles

You all know that for the most part, I conjure up my own recipes. However, this recipe was great as is, I just made two small changes. Make sure you pay close attention to the egg white instructions because it makes a huuuuge difference.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour 
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1 1/2 cups milk 
1 tablespoon butter, melted 
2 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 large egg yolk 
1 large egg white 
1 cup semisweet chocolate minichips

Preheat waffle iron and spray with cooking spray.

In a large mixing bowl, sift together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and salt. In a separate bowl, mix milk, butter, vanilla extract and egg yolk. Combine with dry ingredients until smooth. Whip egg white until stiff peaks are formed. Fold into batter gently. Fold in chocolate chips. Cook on waffle iron per instructions in manual. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Seven Years

So, yesterday was Jon and I's SEVEN year anniversary. I remember being in highschool and when someone made it to six months everyone was in total shock. I couldn't blog about this milestone because we were on airplanes all day yesterday (that will be my next post). I don't think I ever told the story of Jon and I so this seems like a good time because it's a funny story to me.

So, Jon moved to my hometown when he was in middle school. He was a grade younger than me but we had a lot of the same friends because everyone knew everyone in East Freetown, Massachusetts. The first encounter I had with Jon was at a friend's birthday party when we were around 16. I had to work right after the party, but wanted to stop by to wish her a happy birthday. After spending a little while there, I went to leave and there was a junky old Camaro parked right behind my car. I asked around and it turns out this Camaro belonged to Jon. I walked in and asked him nicely to move his car. He was having a good old time with his friends and said he'd get to it in a minute. So, trying to be patient, I waited ten minutes or so before marching back over to remind him to move it. He was more than irritated with me and told me to hang on, he'd get to it. Finally, after another ten minutes, I cussed him out telling him I needed to get to work and to move his damn junker. He moved it and I went to work.

Over the next couple of years, I would see him hanging out with some of our mutual friends but didn't even pay attention to his existence. Fast forward to the beginning of October 2004. I was working at Subway with a bunch of people who went to high school with Jon. At this point, I had already graduated but Jon was a grade behind me. I really wanted to go to homecoming to hang out with all of them so they suggested I go ask one of the guys in the parking lot to take me. My good friend was picking me up after work to go to a theme party at UMass Dartmouth. I got changed into a cowgirl outfit with an obnoxious pink hat. I know that's super unnecessary to mention, but it's details I'll never forget. I marched out to Jon as he was the only one I even recognized from the group and told him he was taking me to his homecoming. He looked totally stunned and just said "uhh, okay" and I left. Over the next week, he stopped by Subway a few more times than usual because I think I totally confused him. He asked me super cute "So, should I, uh, take you on a date or something before we go to homecoming?". I said sure why not. Meanwhile, I'm dating like three other guys. My friends were joking with me about how I was going to choose which one would be "the one". I told them whoever took me to Isaac's in Plymouth, MA for a date would be the winner. I thought this was so funny because I figured none of these guys would ever know about a classy place like Isaac's. Want to guess where Jon took me on our first date?

At the homecoming that brought us together.
 Now, here we are seven years later and we are engaged. We've set the date as October 6, 2012. We have been through our ups and downs and we bicker like an old married couple. In the end, he is my best friend in the entire world and I can't imagine my life without him. I think we have both made each other better versions of ourselves. I hope to spend many, many more years together! Here are some of my favorite pictures with him.

2005- Before his senior prom

2007- Visiting my parents in Hawaii

2008- at my 22nd birthday party he organized
2010- Valentine's Day

2009- My 23rd birthday

2011- celebrating 7 years where he took me on our first date <3

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Buffalo Chicken Burgers

First off, I know this is labeled as Buffalo Chicken Burgers and you are going to notice ground turkey in the recipe. My grocery store doesn't carry ground chicken (redics, I know!) so I had to substitute ground turkey. Use whichever your heart desires in this one guys!

Turkey Feta Burgers are one of our household favorites and I figured I would stick with what I'm good at and whip up another burger recipe. These were just as delicious in a whole different way. I usually can't handle too much spice, but these ended up having just the right amount of heat. Let me know what you think-

1 lb ground turkey breast (or ground chicken)
1/4 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp poultry seasoning
1 tsp Lawry's season salt
1 tbsp smoked paprika
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
3 tbsp hot sauce
2 tbsp panko bread crumbs
1 egg, beaten

6 oz bleu cheese

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients besides bleu cheese. Separate into 4-5 patties (depending on size preference). Form patties around bleu cheese. Cook on griddle or in skillet with olive oil 4-5 minutes per side until cooked through. Serve on buns with ranch or bleu cheese dressing if desired.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Coffee Cake

So, in the past I've listed for you guys a few things this New England girl is totally missing out here in paradise. Now, I would never ever in a million years move back to Massachusetts because Hawaii living is just too darn amazing. However, I miss 2 items in particular sooo much: Coffee Milk and Fluff.

Those reading who aren't familiar with these items, let me explain. Coffee Milk is a Rhode Island thing apparently but anywhere you go in MA, you can find it. It almost tastes like those frappuchino in the glass bottles things that Starbucks sells. Fluff is marshmallow creme. Out here they offer the Kraft brand and no offense to Kraft but they ain't got nothin' on the Fluff brand. Not to mention its three times the price I paid for Fluff back east.

My wonderful friend Casey sent me Fluff and Coffee Syrup to make coffee milk and I was beyond excited. It inspired me to get a little creative, so I chose to use some of the coffee syrup in this Coffee Cake. (If you don't have access to coffee syrup like me, I would just substitute some vanilla extract or even a little Kahlua if you're feeling sassy.) I always wondered why it was called Coffee Cake and it had no coffee flavor. Then I realized it's because you're supposed to eat it alongside coffee. Duh, Cait.

Anyways, When making this coffee cake, I realized a little too late I didn't have enough all purpose flour. So, I ended up using some whole wheat flour. I wanted to explain because I didn't want you to read the recipe like "dude, this has 2 sticks of butter in it, did this chick honestly think swapping in some whole wheat flour was going to make a difference?!" So, I'm listing the recipe exactly how I made it but you can feel free to go all purpose, all the way if you'd like!

Total fail on getting a decent picture of this one, Sorry!

2 sticks butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, room temperature
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp coffee syrup
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

1/2 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
5 tbsp melted butter
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp coffee syrup

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease 9x13 baking dish. Beat together butter and sugars. Add in egg one at a time. Mix in sour cream, vanilla extract and coffee syrup. In a separate bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Slowly add into wet ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, sugar, melted butter, cinnamon and coffee syrup until well combined and "crumbly".

Pour half of the wet mixture into baking dish. Cover with half the crumble. Layer remaining wet mixture and top with remaining crumble mixture. Bake for 40-45 minutes until a knife inserted into the middle comes out clean. Drizzle with a glaze if desired (1 cup powdered sugar whisked with 2-3 tbsp milk).

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

My 25th Birthday Wish

I am going to be 25 soon! I am actually incredibly excited about this because I am so happy with where I'm at in life and I just have a feeling 25 is going to bring me more good fortune. For my birthday, my wish is to give back to the universe for making my first quarter century as awesome as it was. That's where you all come in...

I have been a supporter of Make a Wish since I started out as a seasonal cashier at Things Remembered 7 1/2 years ago. Things Remembered sells products that a portion of the proceeds benefit Make a Wish. They also host contests for the employees to encourage us to raise money through fundraising for the Make a Wish foundation. This culture really got me inspired to support the foundation and read the inspiring stories of what these wishes did for families. Learning about Make a Wish and being able to support it over the years has been a really amazing experience.

For my 25th birthday, I am asking that everyone donate to Make a Wish on my behalf. If you have ever used a recipe of mine, laughed at one of my corny stories, or just thought my dogs were cute, please thank me by donating whatever you can give to this amazing foundation. I know times are tough, but no dollar amount is too little. $1, $5, $25... Whatever you can give will mean so much! Here is where you can go to donate to my birthday wish.

This is the story of the first "wish kid", which I think is so adorable.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Seven Things

I was reading a few blogs on my gReader and I saw this "challenge" on quite a few of them. It looked like fun so here goes!

1. The Most Beautiful Post:

Food photography is definitely not my strong suit. I am amazed by the photography I see on some of the blogs out there. I take pictures of my recipes with my cell phone camera, and every once in a while pull out my 10mp Canon point-and-shoot if I'm feeling fancy. I imagine I will eventually invest in a DSLR because I know people eat with their eyes. For now, I'm focusing on just creating the recipes. I do however take lots of pictures of my beautiful dogs and the gorgeous Hawaii sunsets with that point-and-shoot so that is the post I'm sharing.

2. The Most Popular Post:

Spinach and Artichoke Dip This is literally my #1 most requested recipe. It was one of the first dishes I had created on my own that I felt comfortable feeding to people other than Jon. I don't know why I don't have a picture of this because I make it for every party I host or attend. I swear next time I make it, I will make sure to get a pic.

3. The Most Controversial Post:

Turkey Feta Burgers So, I really don't have anything controversial on this blog. However, these burgers were controversial in my house because Jon is a beef burger guy. He honestly didn't think he would ever enjoy these burgers since they were made with ground turkey breast. Turns out, we enjoy these burgers waaaay more than the standard beef burger. Also, every other person I have fed these burgers to, says the same thing. You have to make them!

4. The Most Helpful Post:

Whole Wheat Spaghetti I took lots of time to try and type this recipe out to be as helpful as possible. I had such a great time making homemade pasta, I really wanted to share it with everyone.

5. The Post That Was Surprisingly Successful:

Oreo Cheesecake I couldn't decide if I wanted to put this in the surprisingly successful or the most proud category. I went with this because I decided I knew I would be able to pull off the turkey, but didn't think I'd ever be able to pull off this cheesecake. Seeing this picture makes me want to make another one RIGHT NOW.

6. The Post That Didn't Get the Attention it Deserved:

Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms O.M.G. I have a lot of recipes that are requested frequently. I don't understand why these don't get requested more. They are unreal.

7. The Post I Am Most Proud of:

Thanksgiving Turkey Pulling off my own Turkey for Thanksgiving was a big deal for me. I used to mess up hamburger helper, so the fact that I was able to roast a turkey and not burn down my kitchen or need to throw it away after it was done is nothing short of a miracle. Thank Heavens for the Food Network.

Chicken Empanadas

I absolutely LOVE when I'm able to throw ingredients I have on hand for a quick weeknight meal. I have already told you guys how much I love salsa + cream cheese + shredded Mexican cheese. So for these chicken empanadas, I stuck with what I love. It was a super quick and easy meal and came out delicious.

2 packages of puff pastry (4 sheets)
4 cups shredded chicken, fully cooked (such as a rotisserie chicken)
6 oz cream cheese, softened
2 cups shredded Mexican cheese
1 cup salsa
Zest & Juice of 1 lime
1 egg yolk, mixed with 1 tbsp water (egg wash for top of empanadas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a baking sheet. Thaw puff pastry sheets as instructed on package. Roll out the puff pastries until there are no creases. Using a biscuit cutter or top of the cup, cut puff pastry into circles with about a 3 inch diameter. In a mixing bowl, combine chicken, cream cheese, Mexican cheese, salsa and lime juice & zest. Fill each pastry circle with about 1 1/2 tbsp of filling. Leave about 1/4 inch around, fold over and seal edges by pressing with a fork. Brush each empanada with some of the egg wash. Line on baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until golden brown.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Simple Grilled Chicken

I feel like everyone needs a good basic recipe for grilled chicken. I know it's not the most exciting or creative post, but it's something I think everyone could use in their recipe box.

4 chicken breast
1 c olive oil
1/4 c lemon juice
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
1/4 tsp thyme
1/4 tsp cumin
1/4 tsp sage
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped

Pound chicken breasts between parchment paper until 1/4 inch thick. Combine all ingredients in large mixing bowl until well combined. Marinate chicken breasts in mixture for 3-4 hours. Season with salt and pepper and grill 5-6 minutes on each side.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Banana Bread Pudding

I have tried so many variations of bread pudding and I am always disappointed. I had just about given up on myself ever enjoying this popular dish or producing a recipe I'd be happy sharing with you guys. Today, I was totally bored and decided I would give it one last shot. Oh boy, I'm so happy I did! I had a half loaf of day-old French bread and over-ripe bananas and thought Banana Bread Pudding might be the best way to not waste food. I also had a half bag of white chocolate chips that have been staring at me everytime I open my fridge. I love it when I can use leftover items and make something so darn delicious. I served this with some homemade whipped cream that I spiked with some Amaretto. Phenomenal!

3-4 cups day-old French bread (about half a loaf), cut into cubes
1 cup white chocolate chips
2 bananas, ripe, mashed
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup heavy cream
2 eggs, beaten
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly spray baking dish with cooking spray. Place cubed bread in baking dish. Sprinkle with white chocolate chips. In mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients until well combined. Pour over bread and white chocolate chips. Bake for 50-55 minutes until golden brown and toothpick comes out clean.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Greek Meatloaf

I have been on a total Greek food kick for the past three or four months. I love how its the healthy cousin to Italian food. I get a lot of the same flavors I love in Italian food, without all the guilt.

Turkey Feta Burgers are hands down a favorite now in our house. I make a bunch of patties ahead of time and then freeze them individually so when we need a quick lunch, we just defrost and grill them up. Super simple.

There is a little Gyro stand (which by the way, is apparently pronouned like the currency, euro) at my work. I literally go there 2-3 times a week to get a greek salad. Once a week I splurge on calories and get the beef & lamb plate. It comes with some rotisseried beef and lamb with pita and the greek salad. TO. DIE. FOR.

I decided to combine the beef and lamb in this meatloaf. I had to tell Jon it was all beef because he claims to not like lamb. I love how I still need to trick him into eating certain foods. I found it incredibly tasty, I hope you all agree.

1 lb ground beef
1 lb ground lamb
1/4 cup onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tsp lemon zest
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 eggs
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1 1/2 cup feta cheese
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients until well combined. Form into loaf on baking sheet. Cook for 40-50 minutes, until internal temperature is 160 degrees.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Sunday Dinner


We finally got ourselves moved into our new condo! We literally weren't sure where we were moving to until the day of the move, because there was some confusion with the rental agent. It was a slightly stressful experience, but I am so happy we are settled and that everything worked itself out. The kitchen makes me so happy everytime I walk into it. I figured there was no better way to christen the kitchen than to have my family over for Sunday dinner. I thought it'd be a good idea to share our "menu" for the evening with you guys. You'll notice it is all Italian food. We are not a drop Italian, but we sure love to eat their food like we are! I'm thinking about starting a monthly Sunday dinner with a different style cuisine each time. My next one will be Portuguese since that's what I am. If anyone has some great Portuguese recipes to share, please email them along at

Mama brought a delicious tossed salad (I'll have to grab the recipe from her for you kids)
Parmesan Garlic Bread & Balls
Manicotti (I will come back on and share this bad larry soon I promise)
Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells


Hey Kids!

So, out here in Hawaii, lady fingers are incredibly hard to come by. I've been forced to make my tiramisu using Sponge Cake or Angel Food Cake. I was in a rush making this tiramisu, so I used a boxed Angel Food Cake. It came out delicious, and was a lot easier to put together.

1 Angel Food Cake mix (makes 2 9 inch cakes) or Sponge Cake (double recipe if you use Sponge Cake)
4 egg yolks
1/4 cup heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 8 oz. containers Marscapone cheese
1 8 oz. container cream cheese
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1 tsp amaretto
1 tsp kahlua
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1/4 cup water
2 instant coffee packets
1/4 cup kahlua
1/4 cup amaretto

Bake angel food cake as instructed on package. Set aside to cool.

In a double boiler, combine egg yolks, heavy cream, sugar and vanilla extract. Cook for 4-5 minutes until it turns a pale yellow. Set aside to cool. In a mixer, beat Marscapone and cream cheese together. Mix in egg yold mixture. In a separate bowl, whip cream, sugar, amaretto and kahlua until stiff peaks form. Gently fold whipped cream into Marscapone mixture. Add in nutmeg and gently stir ingredients until well combined. In a small mixing bowl, combine water, coffee packets, kahlua and amaretto.

Turn the cakes over onto a surface. Using a spoon, slowly pour coffee mixture over the bottoms of the cakes. Place one of the cakes with the coffee mixture down into a serving dish. Spread half of the Marscapone mixture over the cake. Layer the other cake on top, again with the coffee mixture side down. Spread the rest of the Marscapone mixture and sprinkle with some cocoa powder.

Sausage & Mushroom Stuffed Shells

One of my favorite combinations is sausage and mushrooms. I love sausage stuffed mushrooms, sausage and mushroom pizza, and now, sausage and mushroom stuffed shells. I love stuffed shells in general. They are a lot of work, but you can make a bunch ahead of time and then freeze them for a quick meal later. I used my homemade marinara sauce with them. If you haven't tried my recipe for homemade marinara, please do immediately. Once you start making your own sauce, you'll never go back to jarred sauce. I usually quadruple the recipe and jar it with quart sized mason jars.

1 box jumbo shells
2 cups marinara sauce
1.235 lb package of Italian sausage, casing removed
1 15 oz ricotta cheese
1 8 oz cream cheese
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
1 cup mozzarella cheese, plus more to sprinkle on top
1 egg, beaten
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 tsp fresh basil, chopped
1 tsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
2 cups chopped mushrooms

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook shells as directed on package. Cook Italian sausage in skillet until brown and crumbly. In a mixer, beat cream cheese until soft. Add in ricotta, parmesan, romano, mozzarella, beaten egg, garlic, basil, parsley, salt and pepper until well combined. Mix in sausage and mushrooms. Fill each shell with mixture. Coat the bottom of a baking dish with enough marinara to cover the bottom. Lay shells on top of marinara. Cover shells with more marinara and sprinkle more mozzarella cheese. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30-35 minutes.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Mac Salad

If you all have ever visited or lived in Hawaii, you know that with most lunch plates here, you are served a delicious scoop of "Mac Salad". It's been a challenge of mine to try and get the taste on this Mac Salad recipe right for the past year or so. One of my best friends sent me a "recipe" for a local style Mac Salad. The reason I quote the word recipe is because she pretty much just texted me a list of ingredients. So, I went all mad scientist in the kitchen, adding ingredients 1/4 cup at a time until I got what I wanted. Now, some people prefer pickle relish in their mac salad, I am not one of those people. If you are one of those people, go for it!

1 lb macaroni, cooked as directed on box and cooled
1 1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/4 cup maui onion dressing
5 eggs, hard boiled and diced
1 carrot, grated
1/2 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp white pepper
Salt to taste

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and set in refrigerator overnight. Simple as that!

Monday, July 25, 2011

Life Update

A lot has been happening for Jon and I recently so I figured now was a good time to update everyone on what's happening with us. This is going to be a long one, you have been warned.

First of all, when Jon and I first moved here, we had a reeeeally rough time finding good jobs. I had transferred from the Best Buy in Massachusetts, but had to step down from supervisor to part time. So, I took a huge pay cut, worked only 10-15 hours and lost my benefits. Jon was supposed to get this awesome job for General Dynamics but it was held up in contract negotiations or something for what felt like forever. So, he got a part time, minimum wage job doing groundskeeping at the condos where we live. Not the best time of our lives.

A little over a year after we moved here, things finally started to turn around. I got a job as Assistant Manager at Things Remembered, which was opening its first store in Hawaii. Jon got promoted to Assistant Property Manager, overseeing all the 200 condos day-to-day projects and homeowner dramas (no seriously, its like a reality show out here sometimes).

Thennnn, about 4 months ago, the Property Manager resigned. So, the Board of Directors made Jon Acting Property Manager while they took in resumes for a permanent replacement. Jon also submitted a resume, but because of his age and his experience being in underwater welding, we weren't sure what was going to happen. Finally, they officially offered Jon the position about 2 months ago. Normally, the Property Manager would be provided with a 2 bedroom condo to live in. However, the condo does not allow pets. We have two dogs, fail. Instead, Jon worked out a deal where they would cover our living expenses and then rent out the unit we weren't able to move into.

So, we set up the "living allowance" based on our current rent. We then got notice from our rental agent that our owner is selling his condo and we need to be out by August 5th (45 days). AWESOME. Jon NEEDS to live on the property because he is literally on call 24/7. However, most places here do not do long term rentals because they make more money doing night-to-night for tourists. And the ones that do, do not allow dogs. Luckily, our rental agent is awesome and is able to get us into the unit right upstairs from us.

This ended up being a total blessing in disguise, which you'll understand when you see the pictures that are going to follow. The unit we live in now is totally falling apart because we just needed the lowest price possible when Jon and I were in our job drought. The unit we're about to move into is twice the size and is newly renovated. It's awesome. We're not sure how long exactly we're going to live here because the rental agent is trying to find us one with a long term lease so we don't have to go through this every six months.

Just to add a little more stress to the situation, there are tourists booked in the upstairs unit from July 26th-August 3rd. So, we are going to have a day and a half to move everything and fully clean this unit. Should be a good time.

While all this has been going on, I've been feeling incredibly sick with what has felt like the flu for almost two months. Anyone who knows me, knows I rarely go to the doctor. I finally decided I needed to go and find out why I can't shake this sickness. So, I went about a week and a half ago, and my doctor told me I had post nasal drip and prescribed me a nasal spray. I had serious doubts about this diagnosis because I felt fluid in my lungs and I didn't see how post nasal drip would cause that. I decided to hold my tongue and trust the doctor who paid thousands of dollars for an education. She said if I didn't feel better within 7 days to come back.

Sure enough, a week later, I felt even worse. I scheduled an appointment this past Monday which was exactly 10 days from my original appointment. I had a different doctor and she tried to say I needed to let the Flonaise work for 3-4 weeks before coming back. I said "no, I know this is not just post nasal drip, I feel fluid in my lungs and I have shortness of breath." Sure enough, she listens to my deep breaths and says I have pneumonia. She prescribed me some antibiotics and sent me on my way. I was her last appointment for the day. I go to the drugstore to pick up my medication, and she had never called it in. Are you kidding me? No, she's not. So, as if I hadn't been living with this unnecessary sickness for the past 10 days, let's tack on one extra night just to mess with me. So. Angry.

I did get my meds finally the next day, and my awesome co-workers covered my shifts for me so I don't go back to work until Tuesday. My 2011 Pneumonia Elimination Plan includes Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup, Ginger Ale, sleep and Netflix. I am feeling a little better, the incessant coughing is the worst part of it all. I wake up every 2 hours during the night, which in turn wakes up poor Jon and can't go back to sleep for like 3 hours. No fun. Hopefully the antibiotics will kick some butt and I can get back to normal. I had a plan to lose 25 pounds by my 25th birthday and this pneumonia is seriously messing with it!

Anyways, here are some pictures of the new condo. If you want to see some pictures of the old one, go here.

Master bedroom

Bedroom Bathroom

Hall Bathroom

Upstairs loft- 2 Queen Beds!

Newly renovated kitchen! :)
In other news, I took the dogs to Spa de Petco this weekend to get groomed. I normally shave Savannah myself because I've had some bad experiences with groomers in the past. Well, I decided to just give it a chance and make sure to be incredibly specific with them on what I wanted. So, I dropped them off at 12pm on Friday to get Savannah shaved and a bath and then Lei Lei just a bath. I picked them up a little after 4pm and I just wanted to cry when I saw Savannah. They had completely shaved her head up to her eyebrows. I had asked they NOT shave her head/face, and instead just blend from the neck down. I told them to make her body as long as they needed to for it to blend as normal as possible. On top of not listening to those directions, they didn't even trim inside and around her ears so it is a hot mess. I also asked they poof her tail like a poodle because she has a short tail from an accident. They just trimmed it and it looks like she has a little broom for a tail. Ridiculous. Then, I get her home and I'm looking at her belly and there are spots everywhere where they got WAY too close with the buzzer so it's all uneven. I seriously couldn't believe how badly they messed her up. Everyone hope for us that her hair grows back very fast. :/ Luckily she's still a little cutie. Here's the before & after:

I hope all you guys are having an awesome summer so far. I will be doing more wedding planning over the next couple months so my next non-recipe blog will probably be an update on that! Stay tuned. Love you all!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Pork Fried Rice

I am a major jerk and didn't get a picture of this, sorry. Also, while I'm insulting myself, I am a total weirdo because I made this along side a Greek Meatloaf. I wanted to tackle both recipes while I had the ingredients. They didn't go together at all, but separately they were both dynamite. I always eat my fried rice at Chinese restaurants with "duck sauce" which in case you haven't had it, is this delicious sweet and sour type of sauce. I of course don't have any duck sauce at my house. I researched how to make it and was disappointed to know I needed plum, peach or apricot preserves, which I didn't have. So, I used teriyaki sauce in addition to soy sauce, rather than all soy, to still get my sweet need taken care of. Good move on my part, just sayin! Hope you all agree.

1 lb pork, diced
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/2 cup chopped green pepper
3 tbsp vegetable oil
3 cups rice, fully cooked
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp teriyaki sauce
1 tbsp soy sauce
1/8 tsp ground ginger

In a large skillet, sautee pork, onion and green pepper in oil until pork is fully cooked. Add in rice and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes. In a mixing bowl, combine eggs, teriyaki, soy sauce and ground ginger. Pour into rice mixture and allow to cook for 3-5 minutes.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Shrimp Carbonara

I have always wanted to successfully pull off a carbonara dish. I was in the grocery store the other day and was completely uninspired to pick out ingredients that would actually come together to make anything decent. I picked pork, bacon, marscarpone cheese, shrimp, and milk hoping that one of these ingredients would be useful by the time I got to my stove. It ended up that the bacon, marscarpone and shrimp inspired me to make a Shrimp Carbonara. It came out so creamy and delicious and was relatively easy to make. I know the picture isn't the greatest, but I couldn't wait any longer to dive right in. The smell of bacon and garlic coming from my stove were killing me. I hope you all like it too!

1 lb pasta
2 tbsp butter
6 slices bacon
1/4 tsp oregano
5 cloves garlic
1 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup marscarpone cheese
2 egg yolks, lightly beaten
1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
1/2 cup romano cheese, grated
Salt & Pepper to taste
1 lb shrimp, fully cooked and diced

Cook pasta as directed on box.

In a medium saucepan, cook bacon in butter until crispy. Reduce heat to medium and add garlic. Cook garlic for 2-3 minutes. Whisk in heavy cream and marscarpone cheese. In a small mixing bowl, combine yolks, parmesan and romano. Add a spoonful of cream sauce to egg mixture to warm the eggs. Stir egg mixture into rest of cream mixture until well combined. Add in shrimp and allow to heat through for 2-3 minutes. Toss with pasta and serve with additional grated parmesan if desired.

Sunday, July 10, 2011


OK, I've been a majorly absent blogger and I'm so sorry. I feel like I've been so busy but I look back over the past month and wonder what it is that has kept me so busy. I do have a bunch of titled posts saved with recipe ideas, but haven't had time to throw it together. The times I have had to cook, I've been cooking my go-to meals that I know without having to think too much about it.

I did want to do a quick blog about an amazing appliance I found while reading Family Circle magazine. (Clearly I'm not the average 24 year old.) It is called YONANAS! The name is ridiculous but the concept is awesome.

You basically just shove frozen fruit into it and it turns it into soft-serve. Talk about a creative way to get your daily fruits. I am a huge ice cream lover and I am so excited to replace the billion calorie treat with this!

Anyways, I just wanted to share my discovery with you guys because I think its awesome. They sell it at Target. I promise I'll be back soon with some good recipes to make up for my absence. Love you all! <3

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake French Toast

So one of my good friends had a birthday party recently and I made Strawberry Shortcake for the event. I used a recipe from my go-to dessert diva, Paula Deen. It was out of this world. I made a couple changes and used the leftovers to build some spectacular french toast.

12-14 slices of bread, depending upon thickness
2 cups milk
4 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg

1 8 oz package cream cheese, softened
1 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 cups whipped cream

3 cups strawberries, diced
1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat griddle or skillet with butter or cooking spray and heat to medium. Mix milk, eggs, flour, sugar, vanilla extract, ground cinnamon and nutmeg together in large mixing bowl. Turn each slice of bread to coat in batter and transfer to skillet. Cook toast to golden brown and transfer to baking sheet in oven to keep warm while remaining cook.

While bread is cooking, beat together cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk until well combined. Fold in whipped cream gently.

In a mixing bowl, turn strawberries, sugar and water together.

Spread cream cheese mixture on one slice of toast, top with strawberry mixture and another slice of toast. Top with extra whipped cream if desired. 

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Red Velvet Cake

Ok, so first I'd like to apologize for my absense. I've had a stupid cold for over a week now and haven't felt like standing, never mind testing out new recipes. I got back in the kitchen today and tested out a recipe for Red Velvet Cake and it came out perfect! I was so pumped. I was really nervous the cake would be dry but it was perfect!

Next, I'd like to apologize for the lack of picture. I had leftover frosting from some cupcakes I made last week. However, the frosting was purple and I just couldn't bring myself to put a mismatched cake + frosting combo up here. I will be making this in the future and hopefully I'll remember to update it with a picture when I make it with normal white frosting.

1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup oil
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1/4 cup cocoa
2 oz red food coloring
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
2 3/4 cups sifted all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp distilled white vinegar

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease two 9 inch pans.

Using an electric mixer, beat shortening, oil and sugar together until well combined. Beat in eggs one at a time.

In a separate bowl, mix together cocoa and food coloring. Add in to shortening mixture.

In another bowl, mix together buttermilk, salt, vanilla, and almond extract. Add into mixture 1/2 cup at a time, alternating with adding 1/2 cup flour at a time.

Next, mix together baking soda and vinegar. Fold into batter. Do not beat into mixture, gently fold it in. Pour into prepared cake pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Beat together cream cheese, butter and sugar with electric mixer. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well combined and no clumps. Add in vanilla and almond extracts.
Allow cake to fully cool and frost cake.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Lovely Blogger Award

Not gonna lie, I feel pretty special because Casey nominated me as a Lovely Blogger. :)

By accepting this award you promise to do the following:
1. Post linking back to the person that gave you the award
2. Share 7 random things about yourself
3. Award 15 recently discovered blogs.
4. Drop them a note and tell them about it

7 Random Facts about meeee!

1. My favorite way to eat popcorn is with melted butter and granulated garlic. Sometimes if I'm feeling extra fancy, I even add some parmesan cheese. :O

2. I don't like peanut butter AT ALL. However, my all time favorite candy is Reese's Peanut Butter Cups. Yeah, I don't really get it either.

3. My Cousin Vinny is my favorite movie. I do a killer impression of the part where Marissa Tomei flips out about the deer.

4. I have recently gotten into the show Army Wives and I'd have to say it ranks in my top 5 all time favorite shows already.

5. I suck at flipping pancakes.

6. I sometimes spend hours playing Sims 3. Kind of ridiculous on my part.

7. I would love to own a sailboat.

Now the hard part, 15 blogs to recommend...

align my heart, my body, my mind
absense is to love as wind is to fire
Evil Shenanigans
For the Love of Cooking
Grilled Cheese Social
Lauren's Kitchen
Lucy's Cards
Running Mama Cooks
Stephanie Cooks

Okay, so I only came up with 9 :( Please people, leave comments with good blogs or email me- I'd love to beef up my gReader with some cooking, photography and craft type blogs! HELP!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oreo Cookie Truffles

I've made these bad boys before but never posted the recipe. I decided I would make them again since 1) they're delicious and 2) I wanted to share them with you all.

So, I went to work in the kitchen, whipped together the filling then took the time to dip all 30+ of the little guys into the melted chocolate. I recruited Jon to help and asked him to sprinkle some crushed oreos on top of them. To him sprinkling apparently equals dumping so they ended up with more garnish than I anticipated, not going to complain about extra oreo that's for sure. Then, I placed them on a plate covered with wax paper and stuck them in the fridge. I went back in the fridge because after sneaking a few of them, I needed some milk. So, I grabbed out the milk which my genius arse had used as a support for the plate (real smart Cait) which of course caused the plate to flip over and fall onto the floor into a big chocolate blob. Now, most of the time when accidents like these happen in our house, Jon is somehow to blame. I was so angry with myself that I swear if he even chuckled or looked at me sideways, I would've flown off the handle, haha. So I marched out of the kitchen without saying a word, or closing the fridge. I came back into the kitchen to him cleaning up my mess for me and then I finally just busted out in laughter. Once I started laughing, he admitted that he had been sitting there trying to figure out if he was to blame somehow. It ended up being a comical waste of time. I feel like someone upstairs is as concerned with my waist line as I am. Luckily, I did snap a picture for you guys before the destruction. I hope that you don't have a disaster on your hands when you make them because with all the work of dipping them, it is really nice to actually be able to eat them afterwards.

1 box oreos
8 oz cream cheese, softened
11 oz bag chocolate chips

Using a food processor, pulse oreo cookies until fine. (You could also just throw them in a Ziploc bag and beat them senseless with a rolling pin.) Using an electric mixer, beat cream cheese in medium mixing bowl until smooth. Beat in cookie crumbs. Place mixture in fridge for about one hour to set. Once set and hard enough to handle, use a spoon to scoop out and shape into bite sized balls.

Use a double boiler or microwave to melt chocolate chips. Using a fork or slotted spoon, dip each ball into chocolate until fully covered. Place on baking sheet lined with wax paper and set in refrigerator until chocolate hardens.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

So ever since I made Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs, I've been wanting to make Sweet and Sour meatballs. I found some recipes for sweet and sour meatballs online and most called for chilli sauce, grape jelly and lemon juice.

Well, we bought Sweet Chilli Sauce which after reading reviews online is not the same as regular chilli sauce. So, I kind of just kept throwing stuff in there and the result was the best sweet and sour sauce I've ever tasted. I am going to use this sauce for everything from now on, so good.

As usual, I'm still not mastering the art of a one pot crockpot meal because I browned these meatballs in the oven on a baking sheet for about ten minutes. The reason for this was I read online that most people had issues with meatballs falling apart in their crockpot. The solution offered by a lot of the people was to brown them in a skillet or in the oven prior to putting them in the crockpot to finish cooking.

Hope you guys like it!


1.235 lb package of Italian sausage, casing removed
2 cloves garlic, hand grated or finely minced
1/2 cup carrot, hand grated or finely minced
1/2 cup onion, hand grated or finely minced
1/2 tbsp parsley, finely chopped
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 cup breadcrumbs

Only 5 Ingredients? Score!

Sweet and Sour Sauce:

1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup Sweet Chilli Sauce
1 cup grape jelly
2 tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup pineapple juice

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Start crockpot on low. In crockpot, whisk together ketchup, sweet chilli sauce, jelly, lemon juice and pineapple juice until well combined.

In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients for meatballs until well combined. Form meatball about the size of a golfball. Place on baking sheet lined with aluminum foil about one inch apart. Bake in oven for 10-15 minutes just to lightly brown outside and allow to hold meatball shape.

Once browned in oven, place meatballs in crockpot, covered in sauce. Cook on low for 2-3 hours.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Cookie Dough Truffles

Let's just start off by saying YUM. These are seriously sinful. I tried to give a bunch of them out so I didn't have them sitting in my fridge willing me to eat them and gain 6 pounds. They were easy enough to make. I made a large batch so the most tedious part was rolling them in the chocolate. Then there was the waiting game while the chocolate hardened. Jon didn't do so well with this part, he just ate them with the mostly melted chocolate, haha.

1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup sweetened condensed milk
1 cup chocolate chips
11 oz bag chocolate chips (for outside coating)
Sprinkles to decorate (optional)

Using an electric mixer, beat together butter and brown sugar. Add in vanilla extract, baking soda and salt. Alternate adding in flour and sweetened condensed milk. (Add 1/2 cup flour, then 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk, 1/2 cup flour, 1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk). Fold in 1 cup of the chocolate chips. Form dough into bite sized balls. Set on baking sheet with wax paper. Set in refrigerator for about one hour.

Once the dough has set, use a double boiler or microwave to melt chocolate chips. Using a fork or slotted spoon, dip each dough ball into chocolate until fully covered. Add sprinkles while chocolate is still soft if desired.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Spanish Rice

Okay, so I've been watching Rachael Ray for a few years now and I know I've seen her use Piquillo Peppers before. I was in my grocery store the other day looking for diced tomatoes with green chiles and I found the Piquillo Peppers which I've never seen there before and figured I'd snatch them up while I could. The issue with grocery stores in Hawaii is that we rarely have anything outside of the basics. For example, they didn't have the diced tomatoes with green chiles. Fail.

Anyways, I knew I had seen her use Piquillo Peppers before but I couldn't remember in what. I decided to do a Spanish Rice extravaganza and use up my newfound peppers. Also, we always have rice on hand in the house because that is definitely one thing you can always find in Hawaii.

It helps too that Jon has recently started to allow me to get a little adventurous with the recipes. He has NEVER allowed mushrooms within ten feet of him and in the past week has eaten mushrooms THREE times. He has also discovered how much better food is when onions and green peppers are cooked in it, which he refused to try a few years ago. In all honesty, I always just used the ingredients and hid them from him. Haha. You gotta do what you gotta do! Anyhoodles, I hope you guys enjoy this recipe, it would go perfectly along side my Chicken Enchiladas.

Not pictured: Diced Tomatoes. Poor neglected tomatoes.
2 tbsp butter
2 cups long grain rice
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp Goya adobo seasoning
1/2 cup onion, finely chopped
3 cloves minced garlic
1/2 cup green peppers, chopped
2 piquillo peppers, chopped
3 cups chicken stock
1 15oz can diced tomatoes
Shredded Mexican cheese (optional)

In a saucepan, brown rice in vegetable oil until golden over medium-high heat. Add in paprika, cumin, goya, onion, garlic, green peppers and piquillos. Cook until onions are tender. Add in chicken stock and diced tomatoes. Reduce heat to medium, cover and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. When I served it, I added some shredded Mexican cheese which made it even more delicious!

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Turkey Bacon Cheeseburger Calzones

I am really excited about this recipe. First of all, it was delicious. Second of all, it was semi-guilt free. I used turkey bacon, ground turkey, a mostly wheat pizza dough and my homemade marinara which is filled with veggies and low in sugar. I mean there is cheese and ketchup in there because hi, it is inspired by a bacon cheeseburger. I am excited that even with some simple swaps, it still tasted like it had 8000 calories per bite.

You could make calzones like I did or just a good old pizza with it. I also make quick flatbread pizzas sometimes using a FlatOut wrap, which is perfect for thin crust pizzas if you don't want to make/don't have the time to make the dough.

Pizza Dough

2 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp granulated sugar
2 packets active dry yeast
1 1/2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp salt
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour

In a mixing bowl (I used my Kitchenaid mixer), combine warm water and sugar to allow sugar to dissolve. Sprinkle top of water with yeast. Set aside until water is foamy, 8-10 minutes. Add olive oil and salt to water mixture. Using the dough hook on mixer, add flour in at 1/2 cup increments until both flours are fully incorporated.

Generously flour a work surface and knead out your dough for 3-5 minutes, until smooth. Slather with some olive oil, set in a bowl and cover with a towel. Allow it to double in size, about one hour.

Once dough has doubled, separate into two pieces. Knead each piece on the floured surface, and set aside again to rise for about 45 minutes.

Calzone Filling

1 lb ground turkey breast
8 slices bacon
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves garlic
1 cup mushrooms, diced
1/2 cup green pepper, diced
1/4 tsp onion powder
1 cup marinara sauce
1/2 cup ketchup
2 tbsp mustard
2 tbsp brown sugar
Salt and Pepper to taste
1-2 cups shredded cheese (I used mexican cheese)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. While the dough is rising the second time, brown off the ground turkey in a skillet until fully cooked. Drain off juices and set aside. Next, cook up the turkey bacon. (Go ahead and use the same skillet, no sense in more dishes). Once fully cooked, set aside on a paper towel to get off any grease. Using the same skillet, heat the olive oil on medium heat. Add in garlic, mushrooms and green peppers. Allow to cook about 2-3 minutes to soften. Add in onion powder, marinara, ketchup, mustard, brown sugar, salt and pepper. Reduce to low-medium heat and allow to simmer for 15-20 minutes. *I didn't forget about the cheese, you'll sprinkle that on right before it goes in the oven.*

Once the dough has risen again, roll out each piece to desired calzone size. You want your dough to be about 1/2 inch thick. Place on pizza stone or baking sheet. Fill with about 1 cup of filling and top with some shredded cheese. Fold dough over the filling and seal the edges of the calzone with a fork. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Funfetti Cupcakes

So, my younger sister's 22nd birthday was this past week and she hearts cupcakes. I decided it was a good time to try and master my own cupcake batter from scratch. I have tried other people's cupcake recipes and I'm always left wanting something more. It's major Goldilocks syndrome where the cupcakes are too moist or too dry, or too sweet or not sweet enough. I think that with this batter I found the "just right" formula. I based my batter recipe off of the Vanilla Cupcake recipe from and then my frosting is off of Rachael Ray's vanilla frosting. I did add some cream cheese to her frosting recipe which I think made it even more delicious.

Makes about 24 cupcakes

1 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cup granulated sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp almond extract
3 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup vanilla yogurt
1.75 oz package sprinkles (about 1/4 cup)

4 oz cream cheese, room temperature
1 stick butter, room temperature
4 cups powdered sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp almond

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line muffin pan(s) with cupcake liners. In electric mixer, beat butter until smooth. Add in sugar 1/2 cup at a time until combined with butter, pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time. Add in vanilla and almond extracts.

Sift flour, baking powder and salt in mixing bowl. Add flour into wet mixture a little at a time. Mix in vanilla yogurt and sprinkles. Use an ice cream scoop to divide batter evenly among pan. Bake for 15-20 minutes, until inserted knife or toothpick comes out clean.

While cupcakes are baking, beat cream cheese, butter and sugar with electric mixer. Add in powdered sugar one cup at a time until well combined and no clumps. Add in vanilla and almond extracts.

Once cupcakes are cooked and fully cooled, frost and enjoy!

Here ^^^ are some pictures of fun times with my younger sister. I especially love our level of hotness on that see-saw. Thanks Mom for photographing me while wearing a tap costume in my everyday life. Really appreciate that one.

I know my sister probably won't read this because she is pretty much banned from the kitchen so reading a cooking blog would be silly, but just in case-- Hau'oli lā hānau Krissy!! <3


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