Posts Tagged With: recipies

Vegas Recovery

A couple weeks ago, I went to Vegas. Which, if you’ve never been, is a really fun town. I actually really enjoy gambling and laying by the pool so its an ideal situation for me.  So my trip involved a little bit of these:

Laying by the pool Mai Tais

and a lot of this:

Slot Machines

But more importantly (because I didn’t win a ton of money) it did involve good food. I’m a big proponent of eating whatever you want on vacation – I mean really! You only live once! Why not enjoy yourself when you’re taking the time to visit a new place. My family has always had a loose rule of  ‘don’t eat in restaurants you can eat at when you at home’, so I do my best to seek out new restaurants. While my travel companions were a little more budget conscious, we did get to eat at a few realllly good places. One of them was Hash House A Go Go, which we realized after we got there had been on Man Vs Food. I love that show – I would never eat that amount of food, but I really love burgers and that show always tells you were some awesome ones are. I got this dish:


which is Andy’s Sage Fried Chicken Benedict w/ maple reduction, 2 eggs, bacon mashed potatoes & biscuit. It was delicious. I cannot recommend this place enough. They had some awesome looking drinks on the menu but I wasn’t in the mood to try them. Plus we were heading to get the tiki classes up-post right after breakfast 🙂

Also this happened on the 109th story of the Stratosphere:

I am not a fan of heights.

After returning, I needed to eat something a little lighter for lunch than my normal meatloaves. I just wasn’t feeling red meat.  So when my friend made orzo pasta salad for a party, I knew I had a good lunch planned for the next week. I can’t seem to find the original recipe online anymore, but it was like a combination of this one and this one. Her salad contained feta and cranberries, which I enjoy but I prefer goat cheese. Plus, I felt like I needed a little bit of salt in mine as well. So I adapted it to my needs:


  • For the dressing:
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 2 table spoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons whole grain mustard
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • For the salad:
  • 1 bag of uncooked orzo
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 cups crumbled goat cheese – I actually just bought an 5oz container and dumped it in
  • 1 cup sliced salami
  • bag of spinach (If serving right away, I would shred and combine immediately. Since I was using this for lunch, I stored the spinich seperately in baggies and combined it during lunch)

Step one: Cook orzo


Step 2: Whisk together dressing

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Step 3: Combine cooled pasta with dressing. Then combine additional ingredients.

100_1711 100_1708100_1712

Step 4: Serve and enjoy 🙂


It lasted me a week – if I had done smaller servings it probably would have lasted another few days. Kept really well – delicious!

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Birthday Cake!

Ok seriously, who doesn’t like birthday cake?

Actually, my dad. He prefers birthday pie. But that’s not this post.

Getting ready!

Getting ready!

My beloved friend, whom I lovingly call J-Bird for no reason other than it amuses me, is having a birthday this weekend! She a low key kinda gal, so we’re having a game night at my place to celebrate and I’m in charge of cake!


J-bird loves red velvet. It combines her favorite things – chocolate and the color red. I’m not exaggerating when I say she probably lives off sugar. Her favorite breakfast is chocolate chip pancakes. She eats peanut butter and chocolate chip sandwiches for snacks. She convinced me to bake these brownies with cookie dough in them. (They weren’t too bad, but so heavy and sweet).  She does eat normal food once in a while, but if given the choice she’d probably just eat chocolate all day.

Into the oven!

Into the oven!

I like to bake for birthday gifts. Its easy enough, and I usually keep enough ingredients on hand anyway. For this recipe  I just had to buy buttermilk and red food dye. I keep cocoa powder on hand for mug brownies. The rest I use when cooking on a relatively regular basis. That’s one thing I love about learning how to cook, and being a grown-up about it. I generally know what I have in my kitchen if I think of something at work I want to make, and can swing by the grocery store on my way home. Its nice to not have to comb through the pantry every time I have a recipe to try.

Back to cake!

I halved the original recipe because I only have about six people coming over tomorrow. I know most of them aren’t huge sweet eaters – they’ll each have a slice, but probably no more. And I don’t really need cake hanging around! But it halved beautifully, and I can still split the one round cake to make two layers. The biggest issue was the fact that I don’t own a 1/8th cup for the cocoa powder. But I figured if there was a little too much chocolate powder, it wouldn’t be the worst thing.

Red Velvet Cake (adapted from Real Simple)

1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temp

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/8 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

3/4 cup sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

2 teaspoons red food coloring

1/2 cup buttermilk

1. Heat over to 350. Butter 1 8-inch round cake pan and dust with flour. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

2. Using an electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium-high until fluffy (2 to 3 mins). Beat in eggs, vanilla, vinegar and food coloring until incorporated.

Adding the red to the velvet. How cute are these measuring spoons?? Gift from my goddaughter.

Adding the red to the velvet. How cute are these measuring spoons?? Gift from my goddaughter.

3. Reduce mixer to low. Add flour mixture and buttermilk slowly. Mix until just combined – do not overmix.

4. Place batter in pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. About 30 minutes.

Anndddd done

Anndddd done

5. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto cooling rack. When cooled completely, ice with cream cheese or white chocolate frosting.

Adding the secret ingredient...cream cheese frosting

Adding the secret ingredient…cream cheese frosting

Maybe next time I write, it’ll actually be healthy. But probably not.

All done!

All done!

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Oscar Party!

I really love throwing parties. Sure, planning could be stressful but having people over is always fun. The group of friends I have love hosting, throwing, attending or anything related to parties. We have pretty much segmented the year up into holidays people have claimed – I get Christmas. But I wanted to have people over, and we already had a game night recently…

An Oscars viewing party!? Perfect! No one has called that one yet!

So I brainstormed. 9 Best Movie Nominees – 9 menu items!



So my nine items were:
Apps/Small plates
Beasts of the Southern Wild – Cajun En Croute
Django Unchained – Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs
Silver Linings Playbook – Philly Cheesesteak crostani
Les Miserables – a poor version of Roulade (mine was Salami and Cream Cheese)
Argo – ‘Argo’choke dip
Zero dark thirty – hummus and pita chips

Life of Pi – Coconut Cream Pie
Lincoln – Apple Pie (his favorite)
Amour – Mini Eclairs

All the deserts and dips, I bought from my local Jewel Osco. But the other four I made by hand. Meatballs and the Salami/Cream cheese are easy to whip together. But I thought I’d show some picture steps for other two.

Cajun En Croute is easy enough, just puff pastry, mustard and sausage!

Step One – Chop!

Step two – bundle!
Step thee- Bake!

The Philly Cheesesteak crostani was a little bit more labor intensive – but seriously good. Everything tasted great, but the one people kept going back to was this Crostani…I think it was the cheese wiz…

First, you have to slice a baguette and toast the slices:


Slice a ridiculous amount of meat and veggies, then saute them:


Then cover those toasted baguettes in cheese wiz


Place meat, then veggies on top of baguettes and bake for a few minutes




Outside of the food, we all thought that Seth was pretty funny, but the show was soooo longggg. People came over for the preshow, so they were here from like five hours to watch tv. A little tiring. And there weren’t really any surpises, except for Jennifer Lawrence falling down. But really, we all expect her to do something silly, don’t we?

My favorite joke of the night was the Sound of Music one – I burst out laughing at the first cut-away.

In all, enjoyed making the food and everything but next year I think I’ll let someone with a DVR host and I’ll bring snacks.

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