Friday, July 29, 2011



Last week, my sister, Carrie, and nephews were in town and while they were here I decided to host a Stella and Dot party.  Carrie is a Stella and Dot stylist and it was so much fun to have friends over and try on all her jewelry (and of course buy some for myself!). She also suggested we make a batch of 'Stellatinis' for the party.  We made a big pitcher of it and they turned out to be a really refreshing and light drink - perfect for an especially HOT week in Chicago.  Everyone said they were really tasty! I will definitely make this again and thought it would be fitting to post it today since it is my 30th birthday and this is a great drink to celebrate it with! Enjoy!

From: Carrie

1 jug Pink Lemonade (or Strawberry Lemonade)
1 1/2 - 2 cups sprite
1 1/2 - 2 cups Vodka

1. Mix Lemonade, Sprite, and vodka.  Serve with lemon for garnish, and if desired add sugar around the rim of the glass.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Easy Brown Sugar Baked Carrots

I like carrots, but I feel like other than eating them raw in salads or with dip, I never really know what to do with them. When we recently visited my brother he made carrots (and summer squash) like this recipe below and they were really good.  Sweet, but not overly sweet and cooked perfectly (I hate mushy carrots).  I have made them this way twice since then and I think it is safe to say this is my preferred method of making carrots now.

NOTE: you can substitute Olive oil instead of Butter but you will not get as good of a glaze at the end.

Easy Brown Sugar Baked Carrots
From: David

Brown Sugar
1 - 2 Tbsp Butter
Salt to taste

1. Clean Carrots and cut into desired size sticks.  Place on cookie sheet and cut 1 Tbsp into small chunks and place on Carrots.  Sprinkle with salt and brown sugar. 

2. Bake at 350 for 20 - 25 minutes depending on carrot size.  Remove from oven and turn oven to broil.  Add remaining Tbsp butter (cut into small chunks) and sprinkle again with desired amount of brown sugar to make it as sweet as you would like.  Broil for 3-5 minutes until carrots have a nice glaze.  Removed from oven and serve.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mustard & Brown Sugar Salmon Glaze

My mom gave me this recipe.  It is a simple glaze for salmon and it is really yummy!  I will definitely be making this again and again, especially because I always have the ingredients for the glaze in the house.  Thanks mom!
(ignore the thyme pictured here - I did not use it)

Mustard and Brown Sugar Salmon Glaze
From: Mom

Dijon Mustard
Brown sugar

1. Brush Salmon with Dijon Mustard and sprinkle with brown sugar and dill.

2. Broil for 8-10 minutes.  Serve.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Roasted Figs with Honey

I found some figs at the farmer's market last week, and even though figs aren't really native to IL, I figured I would give them a try.  I ate some of them raw, but wanted to cook up some as well to go with the cheeses we bought.  I found a bunch online, but since this is the only one that I had all the ingredients for in the house, it won.  It was delicious... but I feel like I can never go wrong with a cheese plate.

Roasted Figs with Honey
From: The Kitchen

(I cut this in half)
1 pint fresh figs
1/3 cup honey
4 large sprigs fresh rosemary or Thyme
Fresh cracked black pepper

1. Heat the oven to 375. Wash and stem the figs. Slice in half (or quarters like I did) and arrange cut side up in a baking dish. Drizzle the honey over top and cut the sprigs in half and tuck between the figs. Grind fresh pepper over everything.

2. Roast for about 10 - 15 minutes, or until the honey is just being to get dark and caramelized. The figs should not be too soft - you need to be able to pick them up with your fingers. Let cool for about 10 minutes before serving. Drizzle the juices and honey left in the baking dish over the figs.

As a side note - the cheeses below is one called Campo De Montalban... it was fantastic. one of our new favorites.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Poppy Seed Bread


Here's a secret... I don't really like most bread.  I know it isn't a well kept secret since I have mentioned it a few times.  I usually only serve bread when we have company (much to Bill's dismay).  But one bread I do like is Lemon Poppy Seed.  When I saw Ashley's recipe for Poppy Seed Bread I knew I wanted to give it a try. I have actually been wanting to try this for a while but since it makes 2 loafs I wanted to make it when we were having a gathering of people, so I waited to make it for a bridal shower my mom and I hosted in May.  It doesn't have lemon in it but it was still delish and the glaze was perfect (and surprisingly easier than the ingredients look).  I may try adding lemon next time though - I think it would be spectacular.

Poppy Seed Bread

For the Bread
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk
3 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla flavoring (I used my homemade vanilla extract)
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring
1 1/2 tablespoon poppy seeds

For the Glaze
1/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla 
1 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1 1/2 teaspoon butter flavoring

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream oil and sugar together in an stand mixer or with an electric hand mixer. Add eggs and mix well. Mix the vanilla, almond, and butter with the milk. In a small bowl mix flour, salt, and baking soda.

2. Alternately add in milk and dry ingredients to the sugar/egg mixture. Mix well after each addition. Add in poppy seeds and mix. 

3. Pour into 2 large greased and floured bead pans. 

4. Bake for 50 - 60 minutes. While baking make the glaze by whisking all ingredients together. After removing bread from the oven, punch holes in the top with a fork. Pour glaze over bread and let sit for at least 20 minutes.

5. Remove from bread pans. Slice and serve.     


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