Thursday, October 31, 2013

Dr. Jekyll/Mrs. Hyde

Like I said yesterday, this month has been absolutely INSANE!!!  So much stuff happening at work and in my personal life--no worries because it's been good so far!  I haven't even decorated our apartment for Halloween or fall, and my mom and I were planning a Halloween party.  Priorities changed because my brother came into town for three weeks so if I wasn't at work or sleeping at home, I was spending time with him.  I didn't even get a proper costume!

Many of my co-workers ask about me straightening my hair so I decided to do it and be a Dr. Jekyll/Mrs. Hyde for Halloween!

{Dr. Jekyll (left) and Mrs. Hyde (right)}

{The transformation!}

{My hair looks blonde when it's straight....  Creepy}

Crazy right?  The following are reactions from my family:

Mom:  You actually look pretty with your hair straightened!

Bestie:  Oh dear

Brother:  You look creepy

Hubby:  You look weird and blonde

I absolutely love my curly hair!  I can so much with it, and the maintenance is near zero which I love.  I have never really loved my hair straight--I look and feel strange.  I have half the amount of hair!  It's so bizarre!  It's nice to do it every once in a while just because, and this year, all the circumstances were perfect for doing this.  I hadn't done it since I was 19/20 which was quite a few years ago so it was time.

I hope everyone has a safe and happy Halloween!  What did you dress up as this Halloween?

Pin It

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Lazy Pizza Dough

It has been an insane October!  I won't bore you with details, but let's just say lots of stuff happened at work.  Plus my brother was in town!  When I wasn't working, I was hanging out with my brother.  One of my favorite food bloggers posted a recipe for lazy pizza dough, and wouldn't you know, my mom, brother and I were trying to figure out what to do that Friday night so I saw it and said "I'm making you guys pizza".  They didn't complain.

{Chicken Alfredo Pizza and red wine}

This was unbelievably lazy!  Just mix four ingredients together, and place the dough in a warm spot to rise.  I mean--you really can't get anymore lazy than buying dough from the store.  The bonus is that I had everything on hand to make it including homemade pizza sauce I made in bulk with leftover tomatoes from the season and froze.  Okay so we did have to buy the topping ingredients, but that's the fun part!

{I used bread flour, but all-purpose can be used instead}

{Blooming the yeast}

{Mix dough}

{This was the week it started cooling off so I would not turn on the heat and open the windows so the warmest place for me was in the oven with the door propped open.  This creates an insulated, warm place for the dough to rise!}

{It's ALIVE!!!}

{Stir dough with a spoon}

{Lay flour on the counter and press out while the pizza stone warms}

{Chicken Alfredo Pizza and Pepperoni with Peppers and Mushrooms Pizza (someone ate a corner while it was still hot.... Crazies)}

Unfortunately, it took all of us to press the pizza onto the hot stone, sauce it, and top it so I didn't get pictures.  This dough can be made 24 hours in advance or just 12 hours.  The only difference is the yeast amount.  I have done both times this past week with excellent results!  Which is good and bad because now I know how easy it is to make homemade pizza.....

One year ago:  Spiced Cider

Lazy Pizza Dough
adapted from smitten kitchen

Makes 1 pizza (doubles easily for two)

1 1/4 cups warm water, plus extra on the side
Yeast: 24 hour dough 1/2 packet yeast or 12 hour dough 1 packet
3 cups bread or all-purpose flour (up to half can be whole wheat flour)
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
  1. Add yeast to warm water and let sit about 5 minutes.
  2. Mix flour and salt in a large bowl.
  3. Add yeast mixture to flour and stir to combine.  Dough should be slightly tacky when it is completely mixed together.  If not, add more warm water 1 tablespoon at a time until dough gets tacky.  Don't stress about it though because this dough is very forgiving.
  4. Let dough rise in a warm place for 12-24 hours.
  5. When dough has completed rising, stir with a spoon to deflate.
  6. Preheat oven to 500 with the pan you are using to bake the pizza on.
  7. Gather your pizza sauce and topping ingredients.  This pizza bakes quickly so make sure that any veggies or meat you have are pre-cooked.
  8. Turn dough out onto a floured surface, and with floured hands, start to stretch the dough to the shape and size of the pan.
  9. Once oven has reached 500, take out pan and sprinkle with cornmeal.
  10. Place dough on hot pan and press out as far as you can.  BE CAREFUL AS THE PAN IS HOT!!!
  11. Spread sauce and toppings on pizza.  Do this as quick as possible because the pizza is already cooking on the bottom.
  12. Place pizza bake in the oven.
  13. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until cheese is browned.
  14. Serve.
So now that you have this lazy pizza dough recipe, how many of you will add this to your monthly dinner list?  That's what I thought because I surely will!  Want to try a lazy bread recipe?  Head here!

PS--Only have a few hours?  Head over to get my Rush Hour Pizza recipe which gets you from ingredients to pizza in about 2 hours!

Pin It

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

About the Town: Sutton's Restaurant

**I know that I said that I don't go out to eat often, but this year has been an exception.  I have eaten at so many fantastic places (and been back more than once!) that I felt I needed to share with my fellow Lexingtonians!  So any time I go out to eat, and the food/service is great, I'll review it on here.  I am not paid for this, and all opinions are my own!** 

With my brother in town, we have been hitting all our favorite places to eat which gives me an opportunity to share many more of my favorites with you guys like Sutton's!  I first ate here for a murder mystery dinner, and I have been hooked ever since!  I have not had one bad meal here--ever.  I try to get different dishes here whenever I visit, and this time did not disappoint!

{Bourbon barrel burger}

{Mediterranean Pasta with Chicken}

{Chicken Diavolo}

{Bread pudding}

In addition to the meals pictured here, we have had the Garlic Chicken Pizza and Hot Brown Pizza.  Guys---WOW that Hot Brown Pizza is PHENOMENAL!!!!  The table beside us ordered one, and I almost asked if I could snap a quick picture, but I refrained myself.  And the bread pudding--no words!  DIVINE!!!  I have never had any better, and I want the recipe so badly!

The restaurant is owned by a local family, and the owners come out and talk to their patrons.  In fact, it was at the owner's urging that we try the bread pudding!  They have fantastic specials and happy hour deals so please go see them!

For more information including menus, please visit their website at

Pin It

Monday, October 28, 2013

Beer Cheese

It's been on our family's bucket list to make a good homemade beer cheese.  What better time to do it than when our family is together?  My brother has been in town for a few weeks, and we finally made the time to make beer cheese.  I looked up a few recipes and got an idea for a recipe that didn't require processed cheese (can I just say GROSS!).  I didn't go into this thinking I would make a stellar recipe the very first time I tried, but it was an awesome surprise!

(Sorry for the lousy pictures--I didn't have my camera so my phone pictures will have to do!)

{Beer Cheese Burgers!}

{Releasing the carbonation}

{Adding the cheesy goodness!}

{Cheese is melted and spices added!}

{Kostritzer is a dark German beer available at Liquor Barn in the Import aisle.  It can be purchased in singles or 6 packs.  If you like dark beer, it's a good one to try (I even like it, and I'm not a beer drinker)}

{That would be my brother "messing up my presentation"}

One year ago:  Roasted Apple Spice Cupcakes

Beer Cheese

Makes 1.5 pounds (16 servings)

8 oz Kostritzer German beer
8 oz cream cheese
16 oz extra sharp white cheddar
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire
1/2 teaspoon ground mustard
pinch of cayenne
Salt and pepper
  1. Heat beer in a saucepan to release the carbonation.  The beer will get very foamy as it does.  When you can see the beer again, the carbonation has been released, and then you can get to the adding cheese!
  2. Add cheese and whisk until completely melted.  DO NOT WALK AWAY!
  3. Remove the beer cheese from the heat, and add the remaining ingredients.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.
  5. Serve with pretzels, on sandwiches, with veggies, on burgers, by the spoonful directly into the mouth....  Use your imagination!!!
Does your family have a food bucket list?  Our family is pretty food-centered so I'm sure we will have plenty on our bucket list!

Pin It

Friday, October 25, 2013

Food for Thought

{Grand Canyon}

May I be capable of accepting myself as I am: 
a person who walks and feels and talks like anyone else, but who, despite his faults, is also brave. 

~Paulo Coelho

Pin It

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

My hubby is a meat and potatoes guy; practically anything along those lines are good in his book.  My German heritage lends to many meat and potatoes dishes, and this traditional Sauerbraten dish is one that my family has made for years.  The only part I modified--cooking it in a crock-pot all day for tender, delicious meat!  Hubby couldn't wait to dig in, and he even helped!  This is straight from the hubby's mouth--"tell your readers that I said to shred the meat because it soaks up the gravy better".  I won't argue with that!


{Marinating the roast}

{Searing the meat}


{Degalzing and reducing (learn how to deglaze here)}

{Place in a crockpot}

{Pull out the meat, shred it, and try not to eat it all}

{Strain wine sauce}

{Reducing the wine sauce for the final time.  I guess I forgot to get pictures of thickening it, but you can go here to learn how to roux}

{Serve with steamed veggies and potatoes (not pictured because the hubby ate them all...}

One year ago:  Spiced Cider

Sauerbraten (German Pot Roast)

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil
3 pound beef roast
1/2 cup red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cup red wine
1/2 onion, diced
1/4 cup carrots, chopped
1/4 cup celery, chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 bay leaves
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
3 cloves
2 cups broth, reduced by half
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
  1. Place beef in a container to marinate with all ingredients, except broth, butter, and flour, overnight or up to 2 days (the longer the better).
  2. Heat oil in a pan until hot; add beef roast and sear on both sides until nice and caramelized.
  3. Remove the beef to crock-pot.
  4. Add wine to the hot pan to deglaze it. 
  5. Then add wine mixture to the pan; simmer until reduced by half.
  6. Place everything in a crock-pot and cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. Take meat out of the crock-pot and shred it. 
  8. Strain the wine sauce into a pan, add reduced broth, and reduced by half (again).
  9. Make a roux and add it to the reduced wine sauce.
  10. Add beef back to sauce.
  11. Serve.
Do you have any recipes that you make to honor your heritage?  Do you make them just like the old days or do you modify and update it?

Pin It

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Roasted Chicken in the Crock-pot

This was really supposed to be more of a rotisserie style chicken, but the skin didn't get as crispy as a regular rotisserie chicken.  It was delicious and much less hot/stressful than making it in an oven.  In fact, this would be a perfect idea for a small family's Thanksgiving bird!

{Roasted chicken with roasted potatoes}

{Foil balls to keep the chicken off the bottom}

{Rinsed and dried chicken}

{Spiced backside}

{Spiced front-side}

{Add butter and cook!}

{Roasted chicken}

Roasted Chicken in the Crock-pot

Serves 4

1-5 pound whole chicken, rinsed and patted dry
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder, divided
1/2 teaspoon onion powder, divided
1/4 teaspoon paprika, divided
1 1/2 teaspoon chicken seasoning, divided
3 tablespoons butter, cut into 6 pieces
  1. Make 4 foil balls and place in the bottom of the crock-pot.
  2. Starting with the backside of the chicken, sprinkle 1/2 of seasonings onto the skin.
  3. Place chicken in the crock-pot, backside down.
  4. Sprinkle remaining seasonings onto the chicken's front side.
  5. Place pats of butter on chicken's front side.
  6. Cook in a crock-pot on low for 6-8 hours.
  7. Turn to high for 1 hour before service if you want the skin a bit crispier.
  8. Serve.
Speaking of Thanksgiving--has anyone thought that far ahead yet?  No?  Me neither!

Pin It

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

About the Town: Le Matin French Bakery

**I know that I said that I don't go out to eat often, but this year has been an exception.  I have eaten at so many fantastic places (and been back more than once!) that I felt I needed to share with my fellow Lexingtonians!  So any time I go out to eat, and the food/service is great, I'll review it on here.  I am not paid for this, and all opinions are my own!**

It's no secret--I have a soft spot for desserts and good food in general.  When I stumbled across this little bakery and tasted their desserts, they made a customer for life!  I go about once a month for coffee and cake.  My mom and I went the other week, and I figured that I would share.

{Neighborhood bakery}

{This is the dessert display.  They also have a display with cookies and croissants.  They make bread, and you can place orders for breads/desserts}

{Blackberry Pear Tart (left) and Strawberry Tart (right)}

They don't have an official website, but if you would like more information please visit their Facebook page.

They also serve a little lunch every day that they are open.  I haven't tried that--I can't get past their desserts!

Pin It

Monday, October 21, 2013

Roasted Garlic and Chili Pasta with Shrimp

Sometimes it's the really simple dishes that are the best.  Nothing really beats an easy pasta dish, thrown together in about 20 minutes.  Plus with simple ingredients and endless options, it's a staple in our house!

{Roasted Garlic and Chili Pasta with Shrimp}

{Roasting garlic (how-to here)}

{I used already cooked shrimp--it was on super sale but raw would work too!  Or even chicken!  Or go vegetarian!}

{Sauteing everything}

{Cooking pasta (how-to here)}

{Combining everything}

{Adding Parmesan was definitely delicious!}

Roasted Garlic and Chili Pasta with Shrimp

Serves 4

5 tablespoons olive oil
3 heads of roasted garlic (see here for a how-to)
1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
12 oz shrimp, de-veined and tail off
7 oz cooked pasta
Parmesan cheese (optional)
  1. Heat olive oil in pan.
  2. Add roasted garlic, chili flakes, and pepper; saute until fragrant about 5 minutes.
  3. Add shrimp and heat or cook through.
  4. Turn off heat.
  5. Add pasta and stir to combine.
  6. Serve.
Do you have a simple, easy go-to recipe for those nights a quick meal is in order?

Pin It