Thursday, April 30, 2009

Trading Books Online

Yesterday in my "Crazy Eights" I posted that I traded a book online.  I had a couple questions about it and wanted to fill you all in!  I found out about a really cool site called Swaptree from Michelle.  I checked it out a couple of days ago and was really surprised at how neat and easy this site was.  

The first step is to collect some books, CD's, DVD's, or games that you are willing to trade. Then you get the ISBN off the back and enter it in to the "I Have" section of Swaptree.  Then you enter in books, movies, etc. that you want. Basically Swaptree matches it up and lets you know if there is a trade available.  

It is completely free but you do need to pay for shipping. There is an option to print your own label.  I did this and it was $2.41.  Then you just drop the package with the printed label into a mailbox. Pretty easy!

I love it because we had a lot of books lying around our house that we had no reason to keep and were just collecting dust and taking up room.  If sold at a garage sale we may have gotten 50 cents.  But by doing it this way I can get a book that I have been wanting.  Also, don't get discouraged if you enter in a book you have and they say there are no books to trade for.  That happened with a bunch of mine but within 24 hours 3 were available to trade.

If you want to know anymore information about it feel free to ask or check out the FAQ page. It's pretty helpful. 

Have a great day!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Crazy Eights!

I was so excited to have been tagged by a wonderful blogger Tierra!  I have enjoyed reading other peoples' 8 things so it was fun doing one myself.  Thanks 

8 Things I’m Looking Forward To:

Getting our bikes fixed so we can go riding together and discover new parks

Going to the beach on Lake Michigan this summer

Redecorating our bedroom

Planning some kind of a vacation to take within the next year

Being a mommy (in a couple of years!!)

Making a 101 Goals in 1001 days list

Researching more about adoption

Planting a vegetable garden next year


8 Things I Did Yesterday:

Traded some books online

FINALLY got my Christmas decorations organized in the basement


Ate dinner that my sweetie made for me :)

Ate frozen corn out of the bag.  I know how completely foul that sounds, but I’ve always liked it

Had my lovely neighbor help me pick out which new pictures to put in my bathroom


Looked into taking a cooking class where I live


8 Things I Wish I Could Do:

Sing without hurting people’s ears

Get motivated to lose weight

Have a baby now

Stop eating sweets

Run a mile without stopping

Commit to washing my face everyday and actually stick to it

Talk to my dad

Go to Culinary School


8 Shows I Watch:


Two and a Half Men

The Big Bang Theory

Cash in the Attic

Big Love

The Food Network (I watch like all the shows!!)

Top Chef

Real Housewives --- Kelly Bensimon makes me really mad!!  Team Jill all the way J

I am also supposed to tag 8 people but I think a lot of people have already done this so I am tagging you if you haven't yet!

Have a great day!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bathroom Redo #1

Yay!! We finally have one bathroom completely done!! Thank goodness, because I feel like we have 700 projects that aren't finished. The weather this weekend in Michigan totally messed up my plans.  

So here are the before pics. The color was like a burnt orange. I didn't mind the color so much but our bathroom is pretty small and it made it feel very cave-ish.  

Here you can see why you shouldn't put wood floors in a bathroom. When we bought the house I liked how it looked, but never considered what happens when you mix water and wood. The result is that the boards get spaces between them and the finish peels off. When that happens you get mold. Gross!!

Okay now here is the new and improved space:

Ignore the paint that I need to peel off the mirror here :)

And finally the new floors minus the mold:

Well there you have it!  Now we need to finish the other one.... More pics to come.

This post is being shared with Remodeling Guy for his Remodeling Round up!

Have a great day!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

Menu Plan 4/27 - 5/2

This weekend went by way too fast!!!!!  I didn't get as much done as I would have liked because of the rain, however, we were able to complete one of our two bathrooms that we are redoing. You may remember here when I showed you how things were coming along.  I'm happy to report we no longer have toilets in our showers!!  I will post pictures tomorrow or later this week of the progress.  

This week's menu is BORING because we are trying to finish our house projects before heading back home to Ann Arbor this weekend for a wedding on Saturday.  So here's what is planned:

Monday:  Caesar Salads with Italian Marinated Grilled Chicken and Homemade Dressing

**To make the Italian Chicken you marinate chicken breasts in a bottle of Italian dressing overnight.  Tough huh?  It's actually oddly moist and really tasty.

Tuesday:  Spaghetti with Creamy Meat Sauce

** To do the sauce I brown one lb ground turkey and then mix in one batch of marinara sauce.  Then at the end I mix in one container of ricotta cheese and a handful of parmesan.  If you want to get fancy you could also sprinkle some fresh basil on top.

Wednesday:  Boxed Macaroni Grill's Creamy Basil Chicken (I think these are really tasty!)

Thursday:  Left over Spaghetti

Friday:  Dinner out with Mom

Saturday:  Wedding!!

Oh also since I have no pictures this week and last week's Brad pictures were such a hit....

Just kidding!!!! Here you go:

Also to check out more plans you can go to Organizing Junkie's blog here.

Have a great week!!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Ahhh Yard Work

This weekend is one of the only weekends coming up where we have time to do some much needed yard work.  Project number one is to weed and mulch the flower beds.  Project number two is to dig a trench and then put some tubing in to re-direct the water away from the house.  I didn't think that that sounded life fun at all so I decided to mulch instead. However, as always I get dragged into hubby's projects too :) Oh and to top it all off we had to take breaks every 15 minutes to escape the storms. Yes, it's been a fun day.  So here are some pictures of what I've been up to this morning:

These pictures don't really do it justice.  I should have instead taken pictures of my disgusting muddy feet.  Although that might gross everyone out just a little.  Instead just take my work for it.  

I will post pictures of everything once it is done and not raining but here is a picture of my half done mulch so far.  I definitely think the brown looks better!

Okay here is where I need some advice.  What do you think could be done in this area to pretty things up a little.  Could I move the rocks?  Keep in mind it is Spring here in Michigan and the plants aren't pretty yet.  I like most of the plants, but I feel that they are a little random in placement. The rocks at the top are kind of in a half-moon shape in front of those little trees which I kind of like.  I think the rest is very scattered though.  Any suggestions?

Have a great rest of your weekend!!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Writing Assignment ~~ Book Review

A few months ago I was having trouble falling asleep. You know the wandering mind where you become obsessed about why you can’t fall asleep so you don’t fall asleep thing. Really annoying. So I started playing Sudoku before I went to bed. It helped for a while but then I totally mastered it and got sick of playing. Next, I tried crosswords but I’m not really smart enough for that. Then I thought I should read a nice not scary kind of boring book so I don’t want to stay up all night reading it.

Then I remembered this book I bought my mom a few years ago. It had the cutest cover and sounded like a nice mom book. Perfect. So I marched to the library and asked the cute librarian where I may find a book that I think was called Mitford but I wasn’t too sure. She got all starry eyed and told me it was her favorite series and that I would become addicted. Thing is…she's like 85. That got me a little worried. But then I didn’t want to hurt her feeling so I got the book.

Okay. These books are pretty cheesy. Well they’re actually really cheesy. However, I LOVE them. Totally not what I would normally read but the characters have completely consumed me. I wish I lived in a little town like Mitford and was a Rector’s wife and ate at the same coffee shop every morning. The stories are really endearing and sweet all around. When I read them at night it’s perfect because while they capture my attention it’s not like I can’t put it down. I find that at times I laugh out loud at the dorkiest things or cry when something happens to a character I like. The author, Jan Karon, does a really wonderful job of making the characters seem like friends. I go back to the library every time I’m done with a book because I want to see what happens to them next. I only have two books left in the series and I haven’t read one for 3 months because I don’t want it to end. So if you’re looking for a nice easy read you should give these a try. If after reading you feel a little like you just read an adult version of Mr. Rogers, well I told you so. But honestly, is that really that bad?

P.S.  I also did not order the accompanying cookbook off Amazon.  I swear.

P.P.S.  To check out more writing assignments and other book reviews go to Mama Kat's Blog!!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

In Honor of Earth Day

To honor Earth Day I thought I would post a few tips for becoming more "green" as well as some interesting things I've found about being green in general.  Some of these things are really shocking and it's amazing how a little change can make such a big difference.

1.  Wash clothes in cold water.  Up to 85% of the energy used in machine washing clothes goes towards heating the water.

2.  Line dry clothes to reduce drying costs.  Obviously though that just isn't going to happen for most people.  These dryer balls are said to reduce drying time by 25%. 

3.  If every household in the United States replaced one regular lightbulb with one of those new compact fluorescent bulbs, the pollution reduction would be equivalent to removing one million cars from the road.

4.  Recycled glass reduces related air pollution by 20% and related water pollution by 50%. If glass isn't recycled it can take a million years to decompose.

5.  Register with the Direct Marketing Association's Mail Preference Service here and you'll see a significant reduction in mail after three months.  I did this about 6 months ago and you really do see a huge decrease in the amount of junk  mail you get.

6.  Consider joining a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program in your area to support local farmers.  You can go here to check out where they are in your area.  This is one of my goals for the summer!

7.  Look into making your own cleaning supplies using things like vinegar, baking soda, or lemon.  You can check out my post on the many uses for lemons here.

8.  Use reusable grocery bags.  Check out this site here to see why it makes such a difference.

9.  Unplug appliances that aren't used all the time.  By doing this you could save 5-10% on your monthly electric bill.

10.  Last but definitely not least, sneak in a shower with your loved one to start the day. Not only have you made a wise choice for the environment, but you may notice some other

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Marinara Sauce

I really love making this sauce.  It's fast and very tasty. I also like it because it's chunky which I happen to prefer.  However, you could replace the whole tomatoes with crushed tomatoes for a much less chunky version. Although I kind of enjoy crushing the tomatoes myself.  I usually stick my hand in the can and crush away.  It kind of reminds me of the "I Love Lucy" episode when they are in Italy and Lucy crushes grapes with her feet.  That's what I should do when I make giant batches.  I kid. 

This sauce is super delicious all by itself over pasta.  Or you could add meat. Sometimes I add 1 lb ground turkey and a little ricotta cheese to it.  It's a great alternative. Okay enough blabbing here it is:

Marinara Sauce
Serves 4


2 tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh basil, finely chopped
2 tsp fresh oregano, finely chopped
1 tbsp fresh parsley, finely chopped
1/4 cup dry chardonnay wine
1 280z can whole tomatoes, chopped 
1 tbsp chicken base (or whatever kind you prefer...I like "Better than Bouillon")
1 tsp sugar

Heat the olive oil in a large pan.  Add in the garlic and onions and saute until soft but not brown.  Add in the herbs and cook for 1 minute.  Next add in the wine, tomatoes, chicken base, and sugar.  Mix well and bring to a boil for 10 minutes.

**Okay a couple of things about this.  First, I have used dried herbs and a combinations of dry and fresh.  For example I have used fresh basil and dried oregano.  I know that this is not the best and fresh is always better but dried herbs are a lot cheaper.  In the summer I usually use all fresh because I grow them.  If you use dry only use a 1/2 tsp instead of 2 tsp.  Second, when you chop the whole tomatoes you will have a lot of liquid left over.  If you like a thicker sauce then don't add any.  If you like it a little thinner than feel free to add as much as you want. Finally, this freezes incredibly well so feel free to double or even triple the amount.  I have actually made this recipe in a giant pot and made 5 times the amount.  That's when I should put them in a bin and crush the tomatoes with my feet.  

So sorry that I don't have any pictures of the sauce so here's a picture of Bradley instead.  

I also discovered this great blog that hosts "Tasty Tuesday".  So to check out more yumminess go here

Have a great day!!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Menu Plan 4/20 - 4/25

As you can see from my previous post we have been a little busy in our house so this week's menu isn't very exciting.  Things are coming along in our house.  We have our bathroom almost finished painting.  The guest bath needs a second coat, but I'm hoping to have that done tonight!

I am relying on meals that I know are quick and I get get two nights out of.  Of course, we probably will just resort to pizza one night...

Monday:  Baked Chicken with Mushroom Rice and Roasted Broccoli

Tuesday:  Frozen Mexicali Casserole

Wednesday:  Chicken Caesar Salad with Homemade Dressing

Thursday:  Left Over Mexicali Casserole

Friday:  Spaghetti with Marinara ( I will post this delicious Marinara Sauce recipe later this week)

Saturday: Dinner Out

To check out more menu plans check out Organizing Junkie's awesome blog and Menu Plan Monday!!

Have a great week!!

Sunday, April 19, 2009


Well I feel like a bad blogger for not keeping up on my posts the past couple of days!  Things have been a little crazy around here.  We still aren't done painting or tiling.....However, the yard is looking quite a lot better.  Not like this anymore:

We do still have this little situation going on though:

And here's our bedroom:

Serene, no?

At least I feel like the yard is taken care of.  We do still have flags all over our yard making us look like a used car lot but hopefully with the sprinkling we won't have any more hay grass.  My husband will probably turn into a crazy yard man now.  

I'm hoping by tomorrow at least one bathroom will be completely painted.  I will try to post our menu for the week, but it will likely consist of pizza and things I made then froze.  

Have a great Sunday!!!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Where I Would Spend $400

Today I am doing another writing assignment from Mama Kat. I love her funny writing assignments and it always gives you something to write about!!  The prompt I chose was:

1.) If I sent you four hundred dollars today what is ONE thing you would spend it on and why. ps I want my change.

Well this shouldn't be too hard!!!  First off I would probably put it towards our bedroom/bathroom project.  For those of you that don't know, the people that built our house put wood floors in the bathroom.  Yeah.  So we are getting them ripped out this weekend. Then all this weekend and next week we will be painting both bathrooms. Then next weekend they will be tiling! Currently we are also using hubby's old high school furniture for our bedroom and it's about to break.  So, we are looking for a big dresser and a couple of night stands from Ikea.  I'm going to do a whole other post on this but for now I would buy this dresser:
Or maybe I would save it to put towards a trip.  Hubby and I want to have a baby in the next couple of years and we want to take a unique wouldn't-ever-go-with-a-baby trip first.  I was surfing the internet last night and found this really cool site.  I've always wanted to go to Ireland but thought that it would be hard to see just one thing.  This package was so appealing, one, because it is so cheap and, two, because you can choose where you want to go.  I love love love that it includes a car!

So that's what I would do with an extra $400 laying around.  What about you??

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

What Makes My House a Home

I am so excited to be participating in Lucy's House a Home Giveaway!  Not only do I love the idea for the post, but the prizes are fantastic too.  Anyone reading should definitely go check her blog out.  It has full of great recipes that I have tried and many other fabulous tips too!  

Okay so on to the assignment!!  We are supposed to blog about 10 things that make our house a home.  You can take pictures, write, whatever! Here 10 things were very creative, mine not so much :)  But lets just get on with it!

1.  Our Kitchen

The kitchen is where I spend a giant amount of my free time.  If I'm not actually cooking or baking I'm thinking about cooking or baking.  This kind of attitude really does a lot for a girl's rear end.  But, being in the kitchen makes me happy so I'll settle for a little junk in the trunk.

2.  The Food in my Kitchen

I love the set up and functionality of my kitchen but let's get real, it's all about the food.  So, I present to you the messiest place in my whole house:

Sometimes it's really clean in there, but that just means I need to go shopping :)

3.  China

When we first got married I thought the idea of china was a little old fashioned.  Then we went and registered and I fell in love.  Hubby wasn't quite convinced, but I think he saw the little twinkle in my eye and indulged me.  Our china sits in a little white corner cabinet that I painstakingly refinished.  It was so much work, but worth it.

4.  Our Couch

This is not only the most comfortable couch in the entire world, it holds a lot of significance for Hubby and I.  It is the first major purchase that we made together and something that we both loved.  We looked and looked and would go back to the store to make sure they still had it. Shortly after we got engaged we bought it together.  It is a great place to relax and the end of the day.

5.  Our Entertainment Center

This is what we see when we sit on our couch.  We love to watch movies and yes too much TV (gasp!).  The mantle itself is a big reason why we bought the house.  It is an old piece of petrified wood that the previous owners sawed down to make a mantle.  I love it and I think it gives our newer house a little bit of charm.  I think Hubby loved it because he knew we would need a big TV to fit the space.

6.  Pictures

I love having pictures all around our house.  It allows me to see friend and family everyday that I normally don't and adds some of our personality to our house.  My Hubby is a huge UofM fan and we got some engagement pictures taken at the "Big House".

7.  A Favorite Saying

We received this little plaque from the place that we had our wedding.  I love it and I think it is totally true!

8.  Books

I really love to read both books and magazines.  And blogs!!!!  This is something we usually do right before going to bd.  It's super relaxing!  While I read about girls who grew up in a castle hubby reads about business.  I don't think that's very relaxing, but to each their own.

9.  A Flower Garden

No I did not take this picture now.  It was from last year, unfortunately.  I can't wait for it to look like this again though!  I think a yard is the first impression of your house and I really love to take care of it.  Hubby mows it and I like to mess around with the flowers.

10.  Love

I know.  Totally cheese.  But I guess most of all we make a house our home.  If we didn't share it together, I think it would just be a box :)

Ok now post your own 1o things and go on over there!

Have a great day!!

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Carrot Cheesecake

Here is the recipe for the Carrot Cheesecake that I made on Easter.  Even though it has the little carrots, I would really eat this anytime of year.  It was so good!!  I chose to put the little marzipan carrots on it, but you definitely wouldn't have to.  This recipe came out of Martha Stewart Living magazine.

Cheesecake Ingredients:

1/2 cup toasted pecans
8 graham crackers, finely ground
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
3 tbsp sugar
1/4 tsp salt

1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 medium carrots, peeled, finely grated
1 1/2 cups sugar
4 pkgs (8 oz ea) cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, room temperature
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp ginger
1/4 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Pulse pecans in food processor until finely ground.  Place in medium bowl with graham crackers, and stir in butter, sugar, and salt.

2.  Wrap outside of a 9-inch springform pan in two layers of foil.  Press crumb mixture firmly into bottom of pan.  Bake until golden brown around edges and firm, about 15 minutes.  Let cool on wire rack.  Reduce oven temperature to 325.

3.  Make the cheesecake:  Melt butter in medium pan over medium heat.  Add carrots and 1/2 cup sugar, and cook, stirring often, until carrots are soft, 3 to 4 minutes.  Transfer with pan juices to a bowl, and let cool.

4.  Beat cream cheese and remaining cup sugar with a mixer on medium speed until fluffy, about 4 minutes.  Add eggs 1 at a time, scraping down the sides of bowl as needed.  Add carrots and pan juices, nutmeg, cinnamon, ginger, salt, and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.  Pour into crust. 

5.  Set springform pan in a large roasting pan.  Fill roasting pan with boiling water to reach half way up the sides of the springform pan. Bake cheesecake until set but slightly wobbly in center, about 80 to 90 minutes.  

6.  Transfer springform pan to a rack, and remove foil.  Let cool.  Refrigerate, uncovered, at least 6 hours (or overnight).  After, cheesecake will keep covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days.  Run a hot knife around edges of cheesecake to loosen, then release sides of pan. Decorate with marzipan carrots before serving.

Marzipan Carrots

Marzipan is a mixture of almonds, sugar, and sometimes egg whites.  Its soft, pliable texture makes it ideal for sculpting and decorating.  It's available in the baking aisle of supermarkets.


1 oz marzipan
Orange gel food coloring
Unsweetened cocoa powder, for decorating
Small carrot fronds (I used parsley)

1.  Tint marzipan with orange coloring a little at a time, to reach desired color.  Divide into 12 pieces. (Cover with wrap when not using.)  Shape each piece into a ball, then roll into logs, tapering 1 end to resemble carrots.

2.  Dip a paring knife into cocoa powder.  Make tiny indentations in each carrot with cocoa-dusted knife to evoke the vegetable's texture.  Carrots will keep, covered, for up to 1 week. Push fronds (or parsley) into top of each carrot before serving.

To check out more great Tasty Tuesday recipes go to this great blog here.

Have a great day!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Stuffed Green Peppers

This is seriously one of my very favorite things to make.  It is of course tasty, but I also love how easy it freezes.  This is a major time saver for me.  I like to make two of something and freeze one.  This is the perfect dish to do that with.  The recipe below is only for one pan however.  It you want to make two pans, just double it!  I am making this today and will take picture and post them later :)


4 large green peppers
1 lb ground turkey
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 large onion, chopped
1 can diced tomatoes, drained
1.5 cups cooked rice
1/2 cup queso cheese
1/2 cup sour cream
2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 350.  Slice the pepper in half length-wise.  Remove stem, white parts, and seeds.  Set aside.

2.  Saute the turkey, onions, and garlic until turkey is cooked and onions are translucent.  Mix in the rice, tomatoes, queso cheese, sour cream, salt, and pepper.  Taste mixture to make sure seasonings are correct.

3.  Pour one cup hot water in the bottom of a 9x13 dish.  Stuff each pepper with the mixture and place in pan.  Cover and bake for 30 minutes.  Uncover and bake for another 20 minutes. Periodically spoon some of the juices over top of the peppers so they don't dry out.  This is usually enough time in the oven when I make this, but if you want the peppers really soft, you may want another 10-15 minutes.

Have a great day!

Menu Plan 4/13 - 4/18

Whew, I had a crazy weekend!!  After leaving right after work on Friday to go back home to Ann Arbor, I had a slumber party (yes I said slumber party) with my friends from when I was younger.  That was a lot of fun and we went out to sushi too.  I miss delicious sushi!!! Saturday, hubby and I went to Ikea to see about getting some things to buy for our bedroom. We are FINALLY getting our two bathrooms tiled this weekend and decided that if we are going to repaint and tile those we might as well get our bedroom looking good too!  Later that day we went back home so I could make this Carrot Cheesecake for Easter:

It was really yummy and the carrots turned out pretty cute. Later Saturday the hubby and went to go visit his best friend in Detroit where he lives.  We had lots of fun and I won $36 at the casino!!!!!  Easter was great and we didn't get home until really late because hubby had to stay to watch the Masters.  Men.

Well after that giant re-cap here is my menu for this week!

Monday: Stuffed Green Peppers  (this is on a separate post so it isn't so long)

Tuesday:  Left over Stuffed Green Peppers

Thursday:  Chicken Piccata, roasted potatoes, and snap peas

.Friday:  Left Over Asian Peanut Stirfry

Saturday:  Pizza because we will be painting!!

To check out more menus go to Organizing Junkie's blog here.

Have a great week!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Friday Funny

I've always wanted to put a peep in the microwave but I thought it would blow up and then I'd have to clean it.  Anyway, nothing much happens I guess.  Here is the most ridiculous video I could find about putting peeps in the microwave.  Wow.

At least only two peeps were harmed.....

Happy Weekend!!!!!!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009


I am really not trying to turn this blog into something that is all about food, but I made Caesar Salad last night and had a request for the dressing, so I thought I'd share. Also, when I don't have anything else to write about, I can go on for days about food :) I typically am not a giant fan of mayo and this dressing doesn't have any which I love.  I wouldn't exactly say this dressing is healthy, but it definitely doesn't have all the added preservatives, etc. that other store bought ones do.  I also think it tastes a lot better.

Classic Caesar Dressing:


3 medium garlic cloves, chopped
2 tsp dijon mustard
4 tbsp fresh lemon juice
2 tsp heavy cream (I have used milk)
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
6 anchovy fillets, chopped (see note)
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
Freshly ground black pepper

"Combine all the ingredients except the olive oil in a blender or food processor.  Mix.  Add the olive oil in a steady stream until combined.  Transfer to a medium bowl.  Dressing keeps in the refrigerator for 5 days"

Okay that was what the recipe said.  Now, when I make mine I really don't like to dirty my food processor for something so little.  Also, I usually plan on serving the dressing right away so it is not a big deal for me if the dressing separates a little.  What I do is press the garlic either into a shaker or in a little mixing bowl.  I then add everything except the oil and shake (or whisk) together.  Then I drizzle in the oil and shake (or whisk) again.  This honestly works fine for me. The reason you would do it in the food processor or blender is to really emulsify it so it doesn't separate as badly.  If you are serving for a party or something, I probably would.

Note:  About the anchovies.  I personally love them.  Some don't.  If you don't, then just completely leave them out.  Also, I am really cheap.  I hate buying a whole can and wasting half of it.  So, I buy anchovy paste and use like a teaspoon of it.  It keeps in the fridge forever and I'm not wasting.

Here is another dressing that I like.  It has a zip and and is creamy without being super duper fattening.  

Tangy Buttermilk-Horseradish Dressing


1/2 cup buttermilk
1/2 cup sour cream (I use light)
1 1/2 tbsp prepared horseradish
2 medium garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped flat leaf Italian parsley
Pinch of sugar
1 tsp lemon zest
Salt and Pepper

Mix all the ingredients together with a whisk in a medium bowl.  Keeps for five days in the fridge.

Have a great day!!!

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Black-and-White Cheesecake Squares

Oh Martha, you make my tummy so happy.  I found these delicious squares in a recent issue of Martha Stewart Living.  I knew I had to make them for something.  So when my hubby asked me to make something for a work party I thought about these right away.  They were so moist and yummy!  There are a few added steps to these, but it's honestly really worth it.  Also, just for Lindsay, "in these economic times", they are really inexpensive to make and I actually had all the ingredients on hand.  Ok here it goes:


Cooking Spray
2 cups plus 2 tbsp flour
3/4 unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
10 oz (2 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened....I never said it was healthy!
2 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar

1.  Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray.  Line dish with parchment, leaving a 2-inch overhang on both long sides, then spray parchment.

2.  Sift flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt into a large bowl.  Cream butter and granulated sugar with a mixer until smooth.  Add 2 eggs and 2 teaspoons vanilla, and beat until smooth, scraping down sides of bowl. Reduce speed to low; add flour mixture. Increase speed to medium; beat until incorporated.

3.  Preheat oven to 325.  Reserve 1 cup of dough; cover, and refrigerate.  Press remaining dough into bottom of prepared dish.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes.  Bake until base is set and edges are puffed, about 25 minutes.  Let cool in dish on a wire rack.

4.  Mix cream cheese, confectioners' sugar, remaining egg, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla in medium bowl.  Spread over cooled base; crumble reserved dough on top.  

5.  Bake until filling is set, 25 to 30 minutes.  Let cool in dish on wire rack, then lift out using overhang.  Cut into 24 squares.  Squares will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 3 days.
Eat or give to someone you love!!

Have a great day!!