Friday, July 30, 2010

My Dream Kitchen...

As I rolled out dough to make my mom homemade cinnamon rolls this past Monday, searching for a spot to place my melted butter bowl, and grabbing the sugar with who knows what as a measuring spoon I started dreaming of my future kitchen. The kitchen I'm in now is not technically mine, so I can dream of my future home featuring the top of the line cookware and utensils. I can hear the laughter and conversations now as I type this post, of my loved ones enjoying their favorite dishes, while sitting at one (yes one, I'll be having two) islands in my kitchen. Everyone with food in hand telling stories while the little ones run wild in and out of my kitchen dodging warming drawers, pasta being drained and the opening and closing of my stainless steel refrigerator. Not to mention sneaking treats from my walk in pantry. (Most girls dream of a walk in closet---I dream of a walk in pantry filled with pasta of every shape, spices from fine grocers and shelves of my favorite ingredients). So, after putting my daughter down for a nap and praying that my old oven will keep temperature somewhat even to bake my mother some birthday cinnamon rolls I started thinking of what I would have in my future kitchen. First, like mentioned above, I would LOVE to have two islands. One for preparing food along with a wash sink, warming drawers and possibly even a flat top stove. And the other with barstools, large enough to have all my appetizers or treats on display for everyone to *nom* on. Oh and I would LOVE LOVE LOVE to have all my counter-tops as chopping blocks. Some friends of ours have a chopping block as their counter top and I am in love with it.

I would also love to have the induction hyprid cook-top by Electolux. It's amazing. It will boil water in 90 seconds. Automatically detects the presence of magnetic cookware and will activate the induction field and adjust it to the exact size of the pan. Heat is transferred directly to the cookware, so the cooktop stays cooler and better for having kids around because it isn't that hot. (and keeps your kitchen cooler).  Plus I love Kelly Ripa's commercials..hah! (and she's the spokes woman for Electolux).

Warming drawers for additional dishes at holidays.

Chopping block counter so I can chop and cut anywhere I please.

Walk in pantry (like mentioned above) ~ Two Dishwashers; one full size and one that is just a top rack drawer ~ Trash compacter ~ Additional Freezer/Refrigerator in pantry area

An ice maker/machine ~ French Door Refrigerator with bottom freezer ~ Double Wall Oven ~

And just for fun - a beverage center (to keep wine chilled, mugs frosty and specialty drinks cold) and probably a kegerator for Jeffrey!

A china hutch in my kitchen to display all my beautiful Princess House china. ~ Deep Cherry
Cabinets (staggered) ~ Oh yes, a drop down cabinet for my Kitchen Aid Mixer.....they are so amazing...drops below your counter top and easily brought up when ready to use

I've always wanted a pan rack to hang above either my stove or one of my islands. I like the way they look.

A drawer dedicated to knives of every size. ~ A touch screen recipe organizer (not sure if they make that, but I'm dreaming right? - I think that would be pretty awesome -- something that could be voice activated so you don't have to get the screen dirty when your hands are covered in what hopes to be dinner)

But the item the I want the most. Above the warming drawers, the walk in closet (I mean pantry) and yes, even above the chopping block counter tops......

I would love a kitchen window. A window that I can look out and see the backyard (or even front yard...I'm not going to be picky) Something that I can see God's amazing blue skies, our beautiful green grass and take just a moment to take a deep breath and be reminded of all the blessings in my life.

Just a window...

Cinnamon Heaven

Ya, I'm pretty sure I don't need to say much more

Chicken Lasagna (and cheese for me)

Last week I made an amazing Chicken and Cheese Lasagna....I know I shouldn't praise myself, but seriously!! This dish just melt in your mouth.

As many of you know, and previously stated, I'm kind of a lunatic when it comes to meat. I use to eat it all the time...homemade meatballs with my parents, cheeseburgers from Super Chili Burger in Chino, you name it...Then about 6 years ago I just became disgusted with it. Kind of a bummer I did not eat it for 5 years. Then when I was pregnant with my daughter I realized that I was more of a "Carbatarian" rather than a Vegetarian and started including chicken into my bread and noodle diet. Basically because I was too lazy to figure out how much protein I needed through nuts, beans, eggs, etc. So my daughter was born and I continued to eat chicken...but's where the lunatic part comes in....about 4 weeks ago--- all of a sudden...AGAIN! I don't want to eat. Ya Ya...I'm crazy. And like many of my posts I've trailed away from my original subject - Chicken Lasagna that is seriously making me salivate just looking at the picture!

It was real simple. Just whipped it up out of no where. Boiled some lasagna noodles. Heated some tomato sauce and added my own spices (garlic, roasted garlic, cumin (new fav), pepper, salt, oregano...) Fried some chicken in the skilled, then shredded. Then started the layer process. Noodle, Sauce, Cheese, Chicken on Half, and repeat 3 times! Heat in the oven at 350 and vwa-la...Chicken Lasagna!!! SOOOOOO GOOOD!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

My little secret...

For a little over a year now I have been secretly trying to perfect a homemade pizza recipe. It was actually Jeff's idea for me to do. Anyways, we've tried a few recipes and they all come out "just ok".

Well to start off our *Birthday Week* last week I tried out a new recipes (while adding a few of my own touches) and let me tell you...I think we're almost there!! The flavor of the sauce was savoury and delicious, complimented by the crispy honey crust dough oozing with cheesy delight!

I still need to work on the process of baking my dough. (I continue to blame it on our old...yet still working oven).

So we shall see. I still have one more dough ball in my freezer..might need to try it again this week! YUM.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

My New Favorite Place ---- MY KITCHEN!

I know I know, it may sound silly that I'm saying that MY KITCHEN is my newest favorite spot. You'd think....this chick wrote a cookbook and loves creating new dishes, shouldn't her kitchen always be her favorite spot to be? Well yes and no. I do love being in my kitchen. Dishing out family recipes, creating my own and trying my new favorites from cookbooks and magazines. But at the same time, I LOVE LOVE LOVE trying out new restaurants. There is nothing better than finding that little unknown hot spot that you can share with your friends. Or even that bakery that's been a gem for years and you are just barely coming across it.

Well lately I've been back in my kitchen making my lunches in between cleaning up pureed green beans that went all over my pajamas that I'm still in at noon when my daughter sneezed while putting the spoon to her mouth. (Yes...happens more than you'd think). Anyways, I am currently in love with the Black Bean and Chipotle Gardenburger. They are soooo delicious! Oh and I'm obsessed with tomato and mozzarella salads too! For lunch yesterday I toasted a bun then added fresh cut tomatoes, sprinkled with salt and pepper a top crisp green leaf lettuce and grilled black bean burger. As a side I cut up the rest of my juicy tomato, added some mozzarella cheese and drizzled with Balsamic Vinegar, Olive Oil, Rice Vinegar, Cumin, Garlic Salt and Pepper..... DELISH!!
(you're drooling right?)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

CAKE BALLS ---- (for lack of a better name)

*Cake balls...have you heard of them? Have you tasted them? Cake balls were introduced to me by a good friend a few weeks ago and this clever little treat is one that makes me think..."Why didn't I think of that"

They are simple to make and a real crowd pleaser! The ::simple instructions:: is to mix one box of cake with a tub of frosting and then dip in chocolate...vwa-la! Cake Balls!

(now you all know my thoughts on box cake, which ironically, every year for my birthday my cake of choice is box Strawberry Cake, which (1) I despise ever bringing box cake to someone's house (2) I hate ever admitting that my cake of choice for my birthday is box Strawberry -- yes yes, I'm a hypocrite...well I guess not big issue is when people claim box cake as homemade----ok ok...totally off subject...I've been doing that lately haven't I)

There are many way's you can make Cake Balls --- favorite sheet cake recipe, any white cake/red velvet/ chocolate cake -- the possibilities are endless.

Since hearing about Cake Balls I have made them twice and my advice to you is:

-Refrigerate your cake/frosting mixture before dipping in chocolate
-Don't melt your dipping chocolate too much, you don't want it too thin
-Make sure to be ready to sprinkle with toppings, that chocolate dries fast
-Cake balls are just as good without a stick!

Have Fun and Enjoy...and for heavens sake...come up with a better name!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Honey Moon Sweets

O   ---  M --- G ---

I had the privileged of biting into one of these exceptional cupcakes on July 3rd and I still cannot get over how delicious it was.

I love cupcakes. I truly do. They make me so happy. Call me crazy, but I even get happy just looking at cupcakes. Go on....Google Cupcake Images ... I'm sure you'll smile.

My hubby surprised me by taking me to Honey Moon Sweets before we headed up to Wickenburg to celebrate the 4th of July Fireworks display at Sunset Park. Originally we thought they might be more of a breakfast bakery serving up cinnamon rolls, muffins and bagels, but to our pleasant surprise they specialize in cakes, cupcakes and pies. They do offer cinnamon rolls, just not in the yea, you got me....I'll be sneaking over there in the fall to sink my teeth into one of their cinnamon rolls..I can only imagine how yummy they are. .....

Ok wait wait wait...this post is suppose to be about a cupcake!

Do you ever feel just weighed down after eating a dessert? That's because most are made with crap....sorry to use that term, but its true. Desserts made from scratch...with REAL ingredients are hard to come by, but Honey Moon Sweets has hit the mark! Its a real good thing that we only purchased one cupcake, because I could have probably consumed a 1/2 dozen.

The cream cheese frosting compliments the red velvet so well. Plus adding the white chocolate confetti! Perfect! I think I might have to sneak over there for my birthday this Friday! Yum!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

DYK..??::JoAnn's/Baby Section::

I know my blog has been all about food thus far, but lately I've been wanting to blog about more and more rather than creating another blog with all my other thoughts I thought I'd just add a DYK section. So Here it Goes...

Did You Know....

that JoAnn's Fabrics has baby stuff? In the section where they sell items for those who Bedazzle they have baby onesies, burp cloths, bibs and beanies.(they even have colored burp cloths, not just plain white) Sure, you might not think this is as exciting as it was for me...but here's the real kicker. 5 white onesies from Babies R Us costs $9.99 and that is the same price they sell it at JoAnn's BUT JoAnn's also mails out their 40% off coupons! Hello??~~!!! I've only gotten 20% off coupons from Babies R Us which is still good, but you can't beat that.  So, there's my DYK for today. If you need white onesies use your coupon for JoAnn's.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

JoJo's Pizza

JoJo's Pizza Kitchen is by far one of the best pizza places I've ever had the privileged of enjoying. Their family recipes and quality ingredients make them top notch above all other restaurants. When I was in my first year of college back in California I started eating here with a friend of mine. She would come in at least twice a week so she knew everyone really well. When I told her that I was looking for a job she suggested I apply at JoJo's. I grabbed an application, had an interview and before I knew it I was in my uniform and ready to help the customers. I loved working at JoJo's as a waitress. The regulars always made our nights such a crack up! Its funny how people "think they know you" just because they see you in a restaurant every Friday night. Ok -- Just to give you an example of how dedicated and loyal these customers are I'll give you a scenerio that would happen pretty much every weekend...Ring Ring::: "Thank you for calling JoJo's how may I help you?" "Ya I'd like a Large JoJo's Special for delivery" "Perfect, its going to be about 2 hours though for delivery we're jammed pack." "That's fine...can't wait for our food"..................SERIOUSLY PEOPLE???? 2 HOURS???? YOU ARE GOING TO WAIT 2 HOURS FOR A PIZZA TO BE DELIVERED???? And they did...week after week.
Some delicious delights from JoJo's include their ever so tasty Tomato Basil Pizza, Homemade Lasagna, Alamara Sauce over Ravioli's or baked into Baked Penne and who could ever leave JoJo's without a Family Dinner Deal - Large Pizza, Large Garden Salad and oozing with Garlic and Butter Breadsticks. So Delish!
I could go on an on about their food....but really you'll just have to stop in and experience the homemade traditions yourself. And don't forget to say hello to Joe Sr....always there to great his guests!

Side Note: They are also great for catering! We had them at our wedding!!!

Zoyo Yogurt

My husband and I have been on this crazy yogurt fix for about 3 months keeps getting progressively worse. (or better...however you want to look at it). Well, we had always been ice cream lovers (and still are), but my husband started the P90X program back in February. Which if you can stick with it its REALLY worth it..he lost 45 lbs in the 90 days! Crazy?! I surely can't do it..I attempted the Ab video...I forget the name of it, ya...I pretty much laid their watching all the different ab workouts thinking..."!" ... 30 minutes later, I didn't break a sweat. So anyways, back to the yogurt, my husband had been craving some ice cream, but with it being high in calories (especially for the portions we like to enjoy) we wanted an alternative. I suggested frozen yogurt to my hubby and at first he wrinkled his nose in disgust. (even though he had never even tried yogurt before!) We made our way to Golden Spoon and he fell in love! Then shortly after finding out we both really enjoyed Frozen Yogurt, Zoyo Yogurt opened up right down the street (baaaaddd idea!).
We've been going pretty much weekly, and probably could go every other day if we let ourselves. I love the location and their flavors. They have a huge roll up door in front opening up their entire place which I love during these summer nights. Another plus is they have ESPN on so even during the Laker's Finals we went down and enjoyed a yummy cup of yogurt. Now I'm not too picky on the location of my frozen yogurt, just as long as I get to choose my flavors and sprinkle my toppings I'm in heaven. Lately whenever Jeff has taken me to Panchero's I sneak into Yogurtland to get my fix of frozen yogurt. (And Yogurtland has the PERFECT spoons!) But if I had to choose my favorite, Zoyo is definitely the one. The location, atmosphere and creamy flavors are above all else! Great Job Zoyo --- You're our favorite hang out!

To Answer Your Question...

To Answer Your Question.....

Yes I did eat at Juanita's while in California

And yes I brought a burrito back to Arizona for my mom ....... so good....