Spicy Lemon Garlic Shrimp

My oldest Ella loves shrimp, I mean really LOOOVES it! I have an aversion to raw meats in general though, so the thought of raw seafood has always really freaked me out...and I therefore have never prepared it at home, except for the occasional fish dish. When figuring out what to make for our back to school dinner I saw this (on The Pioneer Woman Cooks) and knew Ella would love it, so I decided it was about time to give it a try, for her sake :-). It wasn't actually bad at all, although de-shelling the shrimp to eat them was a pain and I think the recipe would still be delicious if they already had their shells off, so that's what we'll do next time. And there will be a next time!

* 2 pounds Raw Shrimp, Deveined, Shells On
* 2 sticks Cold Unsalted Butter Cut Into Pieces
* 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt
* 4 cloves Garlic, Peeled
* 1/4 cup Fresh Parsley
* 1/2 teaspoon Crushed Red Pepper
* 1 whole Lemon, Juiced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Rinse frozen shrimp to separate, then arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet.
In the bowl of a food processor, add cold butter, garlic, lemon juice, salt, parsley, and red pepper. Pulse until combined. Sprinkle cold butter crumbles over the shrimp.
Bake until shrimp is opaque and butter is hot and bubbly.
Serve with hot crusty bread. Peel and eat the shrimp, then dip the bread into the butter in the bottom of the pan.

Peanut Butter Cup Trifle Dessert

pb trifle
Ella and I were browsing food blogs looking for a yummy dessert for our back to school dinner and she kept picking out really fancy cakes, that frankly scared me! Then we saw this Peanut Butter Cup Trifle on The Sister's Cafe and were sold! I remembered I bought a trifle dish at my last Pampered Chef party and still needed to break it in. And the dessert? It was DELICIOUS!!! I mean, how can you go wrong with brownies, PB cups, and a creamy peanut butter layer?! It was a perfect recipe for little helpers to assist with as well. SOOO good...and SOOO easy!

9×13 pan of brownies, cut into 1 inch pieces (can easily sub in gluten free brownies!)
5.1 oz instant vanilla pudding
3 cups milk
½ cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
8 oz container thawed whipped topping (Cool Whip), divided (I used lite)
20 peanut butter cups, crumbled (buy in a 8-pack. Not the bite-sized)
5-6 peanut butter cups to garnish.

Combine pudding and milk. Beat for 2 minutes. Add peanut butter and vanilla, beat until smooth. Gently fold in 2 cups cool whip.
Layer in trifle dish ½ the brownies, ½ the crumbled peanut butter cups, ½ the pudding mixture. Repeat. Top with cool whip and peanut butter cups. (Or shaved chocolate curls) Chill until serving.
pb trifle 1

Pioneer Woman's Spicy Beans

spicy beans
This recipe came up on The Pioneer Woman Cooks while I was planning Ella's Mexican-inspired birthday dinner, so they were a perfect fit! They were great for a party because I could prepare them the day before and they were also delicious, which is a must. I was slightly traumatized when I had to buy a ham hock, but I think I'll get over it eventually...maybe after eating some more yummy beans :-).

* 4 cups Dry Pinto Beans
* 1 whole Ham Hock
* 1 whole Onion, Diced
* 2 whole Red Bell Peppers, Diced
* 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
* 2 whole Jalapenos, Sliced
* 2 teaspoons Salt, More To Taste
* 2 teaspoons Chili Powder (optional)
* 2 teaspoons Black Pepper, More To Taste

Rinse beans under cold water, sorting out any rocks/particles.
Place beans in a stock pot with the ham hock and cover with water by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cover the pot and simmer for 2 hours, checking occasionally to make sure the water level is fine. Add more water as needed (I had plenty).
Then throw in diced onion, red bell pepper, garlic and jalapeno. Cover and continue cooking for another hour or two, remembering to check the water level.
Add salt, chili powder and pepper, then cover and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes, or until beans are lovely and tender. Serve with cornbread as a meal, or spoon on top of nachos, tacos, etc.

My Kodak Photo Book

I was lucky enough to have the opportunity through the Foodbuzz Tastemaker program, with KODAK Gallery, to create a photo book. Having just returned from my trip to Oregon for a roommate reunion, I thought it would be the perfect subject for my book!
The process of making the book through Kodak was really simple and within an hour, I was ready to order my finished product! I just uploaded the photos from my trip (you can even upload them from your facebook page), picked a page layout and dragged and dropped in the pictures. You can view mine here.
I can't wait to get it!
Kodak Gallery is also providing an exclusive offer to my readers; 40% off a medium hardcover or a large Photo Book. Just go to HERE to make your book. The offer expires 8/31/11.
yam stew
And just a reminder of the yummy dishes we made for each other while we there...

Roasted Rosemary Veggies

roasted veggies
This is the last of the recipes from my Oregon trip with my old college roommates...kind of sad! Kim paired these delicious roasted veggies with her baked salmon and it was perfect. I love anything roasted, and especially loved the rosemary!
I guess I better get cooking again so I have something else to post :-)!

recipe from Kim
Peel and dice as much butternut squash and potatoes as you like. Toss them in olive oil, garlic salt (or garlic powder and regular salt), pepper and rosemary. Cook in a 400 degree oven for about 40 minutes (or until tender).

Baked Salmon

After just recently trying salmon for the first time (and really liking it!), I was excited when Kim told us she would be making some salmon for one of our meals! I was definitely inspired to try it on my own after trying her delicious "recipe". It was so simple, yet the salmon was so flavorful. Mmmm, this makes me want more!

recipe from Kim

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
Cut salmon into single serving portions and lay on paper.
Thinly coat with olive oil.
Generously season with Old Bay.
Lay sliced lemon on top, then pop in a 400 degree oven for about 25 minutes.

Yam Vegetable Stew

yam stew
This was my favorite food picture from the trip...it is definitely a pretty dish with all the colors! This stew was so flavorful and filling that I didn't miss the meat at all (and I thought it was great eaten plain without rice, bread, etc. to go with it).

recipe from Sara
1 Tbsp cooking oil or coconut oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 Tbsp curry powder
1/2 serrano pepper minced or 1 tsp dried chili flakes (I prefer to skip the serrano pepper and chili flakes and just use a tablespoon of Sriracha sauce)
2 quarter size slices of fresh ginger, peeled and chopped
1-2 carrots, peeled and chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1-2 peeled yams, cut into matchsticks
1 can coconut milk (Sara likes to use 2 cans coconut milk instead of the water below)
1 cup water or vegetable stock
1 bunch or less of any leafy green, chopped (we used swiss chard I believe, but kale or spinach works as well)
1/4 tsp tumeric
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
juice of 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
1 can garbanzo beans
optional: chopped tofu or cooked chicken,

Saute onion in oil, add curry powder, serrano pepper and ginger, saute until onion soft.
Add Carrot, garlic, yam, saute on medium until carrots begin to soften. Add coconut milk and broth/water, and beans/protein, if using chard, kale or beet greens throw them in now. Cover and cook until yam is soft, then stir in cilantro, tumeric, lime juice, and salt and pepper. If using spinach stir that in at this time. Serve over rice, cous cous, or quinoa.

Artisan Bread

artisan bread
I am definitely not a bread making expert, but Sara whipped up this delicious bread for us and it was divine. I loved the salt on the crunchy crust, especially in contrast to the soft, fluffy inside. Plus, it was so pretty! I am determined to master this recipe for myself!

Recipe from Sara...
Ingredients and Directions:
3 cups warm water (should feel comfortably warm, not hot, to your finger)
1 1/2 tablespoons Kosher or coarse salt
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast (we use Fleishmann's active dry yeast)
Mix it together.

6 1/2 cups flour
We usually add 4 cups of flour, mix it in (it should be quite wet
still), then add the remaining 2 1/2 cups. You can experiment with any
proportion of white to whole wheat. (I think Sara used half of each on our loaves)

When you finish adding and mixing the flour it tends to be very
sticky. Once you extricate your mixing spoon from the dough, cover it
with a towel and let the dough rise for 2 hours or so.

Once the dough has risen we sprinkle some flour on top of it, add some
to our hands, and separate the dough into four loaves. They can all be
cooked at once, or placed in a container in the fridge for up to 2
weeks. Leave the lid on loosely for the first 12 hours or so to let
the dough finish expanding. Our dough usually gets used in a few days.

For those being cooked immediately, we shape each loaf into whatever
shape, let it rise for 40 minutes on a greased pan or nonstick mat, slash the top with a sharp knife (optional, but recommended), and place in oven preheated to 450
degrees (every oven's different - 425 works well for us).

One note on the oven - we have a roasting basin below the bread pan on
a lower rack that we add a cup of hot water to just after adding the
loaf/loaves to the oven. This steams the bread and tends to give a
nice crisp crust. Bake the bread for 20-30 minutes. Done.

Bean Salad

bean salad 1
This is the first of the recipes from my Oregon beach house trip. I got to spend the weekend with my roommates from college and we took turns with the meals while there. Although everything was absolutely delicious, I think this may have been my favorite...I couldn't stop eating it! I loved everything about it - the pretty colors, the crunchy peppers, the creamy cheese and avocado, the tang from the limes, etc. This is perfect to share for lunch and filling enough to be dinner too. We ate it with tortilla chips, but you can serve it over rice, in tacos or quesadillas, or whatever your heart desires.

recipe from Liz
(originally from Lisa Phillips)
1 can black beans, rinsed
1 can garbanzo beans, rinsed
1 can kidney beans, rinsed
1 can olives, sliced
1 can, or 2 cups frozen, corn
1 yellow, orange, and red pepper chopped
1/2 red onion, finely chopped
4 plum tomatoes, chopped and seeded
1/3 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 avocados, leave pit in salad (it's supposed to prevent it from browning)
1/2 cup - 1 cup feta cheese
pine nuts (optional, we didn't have)
1/2 cup olive oil
4 limes, squeezed
1/4 cup rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
1 Tbs cumin
1 Tbs salt

Mix the salad ingredients in a large bowl. In a small bowl mix the dressing and pour over salad. Mix gently and enjoy! (If you want to prepare ahead of time, just leave out the avocados and feta and mix those in with the dressing at the end)

I also had to include this pictures because Sara had arranged the sand dollars so nicely around the bowl :-). We were in full sunlight outside so the pics didn't turn out great.
bean salad 2