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Thirty Minutes at Pier1 Imports

I was running errands the other day and I got side tracked. My husband had to stop off at the bank and instead of eating all of the lollipops in the lobby area../../category/uncategorized/_.css I went across the street to Pier1 Imports.

There are some stores I can walk into and it’s like time stands still../../category/uncategorized/_.css but really an hour has gone by. Pier1 is totally one of those stores. They have SO much cute stuff and the staff is friendly. They totally understand “I’m just browsing” really means “I want everything in the store so just give me a few minutes to see how much I can carry.”

During my latest visit../../category/uncategorized/_.css I took pictures of items I wanted and thought I’d share with you! Maybe you’ll see something that speaks to you../../category/uncategorized/_.css too! (Some of the pictures are linked to Pier1′s website for easy shopping.)

 Birdie Plate_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

I love fun plates! Birdies make me think of Spring.

Wine Corks_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

Instead of a guest book../../category/uncategorized/_.css we had people sign wine corks at our wedding. This would be the perfect place to store them!

Swing_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

I wish I had a big wrap around porch. This swing would be perfect to sit in and drink coffee../../category/uncategorized/_.css read a book../../category/uncategorized/_.css take a nap.

Imagine Dream Inspire_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

Words to live by everyday.

Balls_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

Who doesn’t love some decorative balls??!! :)

lanterns_Pier1_TheTastyFork

I need this for our patio table. Perfect for eating outside at dusk.

Peacock Plate_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

Peacock colors are just gorgeous!!!

VDay Cupcakes_Pier1_TheTastyFork

Clearance items. Buy and store away for next year!

cake_pier1_TheTastyFork

Yes../../category/uncategorized/_.css of course I need three!

Cow and Moon S&P_Pier1_The Tasty Fork

This might be the cutest salt & pepper shaker set I’ve ever seen.

PeacockMug_Pier1_TheTastyFork

I’m not sure why../../category/uncategorized/_.css but this mug screams../../category/uncategorized/_.css “I’m fancy.”

Flower Measuring Spoons_Pier1_TheTastyFork

These flower measuring spoons are a lot more fun than the boring stainless steel ones I have sitting in a drawer. Maybe I would bake more if I had flowered cute measuring spoons.

Owl Bowls_Pier1_TheTastyFork

I have a strange habit of collecting prep bowls. You can never have too many.

Owl Spoon Rest_Pier1_TheTastyFork

An owl spoon rest would save me some cleaning of the stove headaches.

Owl Measuring Cup_Pier1_TheTastyFork

OK../../category/uncategorized/_.css I guess I had a lot of fun in the owl section. These are just too cute to pass up!

Have a great weekend!! See you on Monday!

meghan sig

This post was not sponsored by Pier1 Imports….but if they wanted to throw something my way../../category/uncategorized/_.css I’d gladly accept.

Happy New Year.. and a new look!!

Hi Guys! Pardon my dust :)  I’m trying to switch over my site to wordpress.org. Please head over to my facebook page to stay up to date with new blog… give away coming soon!!!

Happy New Year!!

Meghan

Multiple Meals Post: Colorful Asian Salad & Baked Dumplings

On Monday night for dinner../../category/uncategorized/_.css I wanted to kick off the week with a non-boring salad. I hate those sad diet salads. You know../../category/uncategorized/_.css the ones that have the everyday veggies and a light store-bought dressing. Yuck. I’ve learned you don’t need to eat that way in order to stay healthy.

I love Asian flavors. Ginger../../category/uncategorized/_.css cilantro../../category/uncategorized/_.css soy sauce – sign me up! I went to the store and bought cabbage../../category/uncategorized/_.css red peppers../../category/uncategorized/_.css apples../../category/uncategorized/_.css cilantro../../category/uncategorized/_.css onion../../category/uncategorized/_.css garlic../../category/uncategorized/_.css carrots../../category/uncategorized/_.css ginger & chicken. I knew this would make a great salad and I needed to come up with my own dressing. I believe most dressings should be made at home. They are so much better!!

When I got home../../category/uncategorized/_.css I knew I wanted to make a dressing based around soy sauce. Soy Sauce has such a potent flavor../../category/uncategorized/_.css a dressing needs some sweetness. Honey & Soy Sauce is such a great flavor combo.  My salad dressing was starting to come together.

Are you curious to see what this flavorful & bright salad looks like??

Anything this colorful & healthy will help you to eat better this year. My secret ingredient – Peanuts. It gave the salad such a fun crunch. I found myself going through the salad and trying to get them out. :)

Tip – If you want to eat this salad over multiple days../../category/uncategorized/_.css be sure to put lemon or lime juice on your apples to prevent them from browning.

Asian Slaw Salad — serves 6

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups (8 oz.) thinly sliced savoy cabbage
  • 2 cups (6 oz.) thinly sliced red cabbage
  • 2 medium carrots (4 oz.)../../category/uncategorized/_.css shredded
  • 1 red pepper../../category/uncategorized/_.css diced
  • 1 large Granny Smith apple (8 oz.)../../category/uncategorized/_.css unpeeled../../category/uncategorized/_.css cored../../category/uncategorized/_.css and cut into thin matchsticks
  • 3/4 tsp. kosher salt
  • 3 Tbs. low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. lime juice
  • 2 Tbs. honey
  • 2 Tbs. canola oil
  • 2 lb. chicken tenders
  • 1 large red onion../../category/uncategorized/_.css thinly sliced (2 cups)
  • 1 pinch salt../../category/uncategorized/_.css optional
  • 1 Tbs. plus 2 tsp. minced fresh ginger
  • 1 large clove of garlic../../category/uncategorized/_.css minced
  • 1/2 cup roughly chopped cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts../../category/uncategorized/_.css optional (but I wouldn’t skip on this!!)

Directions:

1. Combine savoy cabbage../../category/uncategorized/_.css red cabbage../../category/uncategorized/_.css carrots../../category/uncategorized/_.css and apple in large heat-proof bowl. Sprinkle with kosher salt. Whisk together soy sauce../../category/uncategorized/_.css lime juice../../category/uncategorized/_.css 2 Tbs. water../../category/uncategorized/_.css and honey in small bowl.

2. Heat 2 Tbs. of oil in a skillet at medium heat. Salt & Pepper the chicken tenders and cook in the skillet. About 3 minutes per side../../category/uncategorized/_.css depending on how thick the tenders are. When done cooking../../category/uncategorized/_.css let them cool and dice up the meat. Add chicken to the bowl with the salad mixture.

3. Heat the other 2 Tbs. oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and salt../../category/uncategorized/_.css and cook 7 to 8 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css or until onions are browned and bottom of pan has brown bits. Add ginger../../category/uncategorized/_.css and cook 30 seconds. Add soy sauce mixture to deglaze../../category/uncategorized/_.css and cook 15 to 25 seconds../../category/uncategorized/_.css using spatula or spoon to scrape up brown bits. Remove from heat../../category/uncategorized/_.css and spread onion mixture over cabbage mixture. Toss with tongs until slaw is well combined and cabbages begin to wilt. ( Tip – if you’re eating this salad over a few days../../category/uncategorized/_.css only add the dressing to the portion you’re going to eat at that time.)

4. Add 1/4 cup cilantro leaves../../category/uncategorized/_.css and toss to combine. Let stand 5 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css then serve garnished with remaining 1/4 cup cilantro and peanuts../../category/uncategorized/_.css if using.

This recipe makes A LOT of salad. Since I had some left over won tons from the Baked Southwestern Eggs Rolls../../category/uncategorized/_.css I wanted to use them before they went bad. On Tuesday night../../category/uncategorized/_.css I decided to put the won tons in a muffin tin and filled them with the salad. I made some additional salad dressing as a dipping sauce. Dumplings in 15 minutes at home../../category/uncategorized/_.css yes please!

If you want to eat this salad over multiple days../../category/uncategorized/_.css be sure to put lemon or lime juice on your apples to prevent them from browning.

Crispy Asian Slaw Dumplings with Honey & Ginger Soy Sauce

Ingredients:

  • Asian Slaw recipe../../category/uncategorized/_.css listed above
  • Honey Ginger Salad Dressing../../category/uncategorized/_.css listed above
  • Wonton/egg roll wrappers
  • Olive oil Spray

Directions:

1. Pre-heat the oven at 350 degrees. Spray muffin pan with olive oil spray. Put an egg roll wrapper in each tin you plan on using. Be sure to press the wrapper into the bottom of each tin.

2. Put 1/4 cup of the Asian Slaw into each egg roll wrapper (there should be a little salad dressing tossed into the salad.) Take the sides of each wrapper and fold it towards the center. Be sure to pinch the tops so the slaw is enclosed.

3. Spray the egg rolls again with olive oil spray. This will give the dumplings a nice brown color. Bake won tons for 15- 20 minutes. Serve with warm Honey Ginger Salad dressing.

Multiple Meals Post: What to do with leftover Southwestern Egg Roll Filling??

In my household../../category/uncategorized/_.css there are 2 of us… sometimes just 1 since my husband lives in a different state. Cooking for 1 or 2 people can leave a lot of leftover food. My husband can eat leftovers for days../../category/uncategorized/_.css same meal and all. I can’t do that. I need new meals../../category/uncategorized/_.css new flavors../../category/uncategorized/_.css new textures. I have an issue of getting bored with repetition../../category/uncategorized/_.css and meals are no different.

One concept on this blog I want to share is the idea of multiple meals. What can you do with the meal you had the night before and make it into a new exciting meal??

I really hate when you buy a product and you only need 2 tablespoons of it for a recipe../../category/uncategorized/_.css what are you supposed to do with the rest?

I plan on addressing both of those issues on this blog with new creative things you can do at home in your kitchen. So let’s get it started!!!

Yesterday I made a post about Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls. The recipe can make up to 24 rolls. I have NO business eating that many. Seriously../../category/uncategorized/_.css they are better for you than what you get at Chili’s../../category/uncategorized/_.css but come on. I don’t need to be starting off the new year with any additional pounds. So I used half of the recipe for eggs rolls.

This morning I was looking in my fridge looking for something to eat. I saw the container with the rest of the egg roll filling. It really was delicous. I could of put it on some chips and just eaten it that way. However../../category/uncategorized/_.css chips & dip for breakfast just wasn’t something I wanted to eat. (Atleast not today) Instead../../category/uncategorized/_.css I decided to use up some eggs I had in my fridge and make a Mexican Egg Scramble.

Be creative with your leftovers!

Wow oh wow! Combining the egg roll filing with a couple of eggs was amazing!! I think it was almost better as an egg scramble. I would definitely make this again!

Egg Scramble../../category/uncategorized/_.css Serves 2 people

Ingredients:

* 1 cup of the Baked Southwestern Egg Rolls filling

* 5 eggs../../category/uncategorized/_.css beaten

Directions:

Heat up a skillet and add a little olive oil to the pan. Place 1 cup of the egg roll filling in the skillet. Once you see the cheese starting to melt../../category/uncategorized/_.css add the eggs. Cook for 4 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css or until the eggs are no longer runny. (It’s you personal preference. I know some people enjoy a runny egg.) Serve right away and enjoy!

Baked Southwestern Eggs Rolls

I’ll admit it. I LOVE Chili’s. It’s probably my favorite restaurant chain. I love the appetizers (holy queso!)../../category/uncategorized/_.css Presidential Margaritas and the Molten Brownie Cake. If my husband said “We’re going to Chili’s tonight../../category/uncategorized/_.css” I’d be the happiest girl in the world.

In Chicago../../category/uncategorized/_.css there is one Chili’s and it’s in River North. We don’t get there too often. A group of friends planned a happy hour there about a year ago. I think that was the last time I was at a Chili’s.

I got to thinking that I don’t need to go to Chili’s to have some fantastic apps & margaritas…. I can make their delicious food at home and hopefully do it better.

Have you ever eaten the Southwestern Eggs rolls at Chili’s? O.M.G. SO GOOD. The crispy flour tortilla encasing mexican flavors is something I could eat everyday. Unfortunately../../category/uncategorized/_.css these bad boys are fried and not good for you.

I came up with a recipe which embraces the flavors of Chili’s Southwestern Eggs rolls../../category/uncategorized/_.css but it’s figure friendlier. :) These eggs rolls are baked and since I sprayed them with Pam before going into the oven../../category/uncategorized/_.css they got really crispy.

Here are the cast of characters you will need to make these vegetarian rolls. (Opps../../category/uncategorized/_.css I forgot the sour cream!)

And this is how the Southwestern Egg Rolls will look right before they are devoured.

I like to serve these with Salsa & Ranch…. and a couple margaritas.

Southwestern Egg Rolls

Ingredients

  • 2 cups corn
  • 1 (15 oz.) can black beans../../category/uncategorized/_.css rinsed and drained
  • 1 (10 oz.) package frozen chopped spinach../../category/uncategorized/_.css thawed and squeezed dry
  • 2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend
  • 1 (4 oz.) can diced green chiles../../category/uncategorized/_.css drained
  • 1/4 cup of chopped onion
  • 1 avocado../../category/uncategorized/_.css diced
  • 2 TBS light sour cream
  • 1/4 cup chopped cilantro
  • 1 tsp. ground cumin
  • ½ tsp. chili powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. pepper
  • 1 package egg roll wrappers (about 24 total)

Directions

In a large bowl../../category/uncategorized/_.css combine everything but the egg roll wrappers.  Mix well to blend.  Lay an egg roll wrapper out on a work surface so that one of the corners is pointing toward you and place ¼ cup of the filling in the center.  Fold the tip closest to you up over the filling../../category/uncategorized/_.css roll a bit../../category/uncategorized/_.css then take the points pointing outward and fold them in toward the center.  Continue rolling into an egg roll shape until a small part of the remaining point is still free.  Dip a finger in water or beaten egg and lightly brush on the edges of the free corner.  Finish rolling and press to seal closed.  Repeat with the remaining wrappers and filling.

Preheat the oven to 425˚ F.  Lightly oil a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Place the sealed egg rolls on the baking sheet seam side down and spray the tops of the egg rolls with cooking spray.  Bake for about 15 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css or until lightly brown../../category/uncategorized/_.css turning halfway through baking.  Serve warm with salsa & ranch.

Let them eat cake

As much as I have enjoyed my Baking & Pastry Class at Kendall College../../category/uncategorized/_.css I’m starting to feel the effects of eating all of the sugar. I’m one of those people whose pretty good with portion control at everyday meals… but when it comes to sweets../../category/uncategorized/_.css I might as well raise a white flag. Taking this class and with all of the holiday treats floating around../../category/uncategorized/_.css I’m afraid I’m going to resort to sweatpants as my usual attire.

Did you know my trip to Hawaii is in a month??! Ugh../../category/uncategorized/_.css this thought looms over me with every lick of my spatula I take. I must find some will power some where. If only I could bake in my skinny jeans instead of the standard houndstooth print pants with an elastic waitband. You’d think such an unflattering pair of uniform pants would keep you in check. Not!

Luckily../../category/uncategorized/_.css I have only 2 more weeks of class left! This week../../category/uncategorized/_.css we made cakes & itailan buttercream frosting. This cake will be our final project and big percentage of our grade. I must say../../category/uncategorized/_.css it took me a couple attempts to get the buttercream right. I had no idea it was such a delicate item to make. I also need to practice my frosting technique. Frosting a flat sheet cake is pretty easy but to make a layer cake pretty & smooth is something I need to do a few times before my final.

I did learn some helpful tips I’d like to share. We did two layers of frosting on the cake. After frosting the first time../../category/uncategorized/_.css put your cake in the freezer for 10 minutes. That will create a good base and on your second layer../../category/uncategorized/_.css you’ll be able to cover imperfections. *Second tip* When trying to make the sides of your cake smooth../../category/uncategorized/_.css dip your off-set spatula in hot water. Dry it off and tilt the spatula to a 45 degree angle when dragging it along the side of the cake. You will need to repeat this process a few times.

My first layer cake

Sooo this is my finished cake. It needs some technique touch ups../../category/uncategorized/_.css but overall../../category/uncategorized/_.css I’m pretty proud of my first layer cake. Our Chef Instructor made us the lemon curd filling and the passion fruit glaze. To make the layers moist../../category/uncategorized/_.css we put a passion fruit simple syrup on each layer with a pastry brush before putting on the filling. The lemon curd filling & buttercream went between the cake layers and the passion fruit glaze went on top of the cake.

Yellow Butter Cake

yields 10” cake pan or ring

315 g                                    cake flour
383g                                     sugar
1 tablespoon                        baking powder
1/2 teaspoon                        salt
230g                                    butter../../category/uncategorized/_.css diced../../category/uncategorized/_.css at room temperature
240g                                    whole milk../../category/uncategorized/_.css divided
4                                           large eggs
2                                           large egg whites
1                                            vanilla bean

Tools: Parchment for the pans & Non-stick cooking spray (or butter)

Directions:

Coat the pans with a light film of fat and line them with parchment circles.

Combine the sugar../../category/uncategorized/_.css flour../../category/uncategorized/_.css baking powder../../category/uncategorized/_.css and salt.

Combine the milk../../category/uncategorized/_.css eggs../../category/uncategorized/_.css egg whites../../category/uncategorized/_.css and vanilla.

Blend the butter with the dry ingredients and half of the milk mixture and mix on medium speed with the paddle attachment for 4 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css scraping down the bowl periodically until smooth.

Add the remaining milk mixture in there additions../../category/uncategorized/_.css mixing for 2 minutes after each addition.

Bake at 350 F until the cake springs back when slightly touched in the center../../category/uncategorized/_.css about 35 minutes

Cool the cakes in the pans for a few minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css and then transfer to racks to cool completely.

When the cake has cooled../../category/uncategorized/_.css cut cake into thirds vertically. Fill layers with an outer rim of buttercream and then spoon & smooth the lemon curd.

Once the layers are put together../../category/uncategorized/_.css frost the whole cake with buttercream.

Italian Butter Cream

Egg white                     100g

Sugar                             200g

Water                             50g         

Butter room temp          300g

Orange blossom            1tbsp 

Tools needed: Electric Mixer with a whip & paddle attachment and a Digital Thermitor

Directions 

Combine ¾  of the sugar with the water in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat../../category/uncategorized/_.css stirring to dissolve the sugar.

Meanwhile../../category/uncategorized/_.css place the egg whites in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the wire whip attachment.

When the sugar syrup has reached approximately 230°F../../category/uncategorized/_.css whip the egg whites on medium speed to soft peak consistency. Gradually add the remaining ¼  of sugar and beat until the egg whites hold to medium peaks.

When the sugar syrup reaches 240°F../../category/uncategorized/_.css immediately stream the hot syrup into the egg whites directly from the pot. Pour the sugar syrup into the egg whites with the mixer running on medium speed. As soon as all of the syrup has been added../../category/uncategorized/_.css increase the speed to high and continue to whip until the meringue has cooled to room temperature.

Switch the whip attachment with paddle attachment. Add the cubed butter gradually../../category/uncategorized/_.css mixing after each addition until fully incorporated and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. Blend in the orange blossom. The butter cream is ready for use or may be tightly covered and stored at room temperature for 24-48 hours. Paddle it before icing the cake for a silky../../category/uncategorized/_.css smooth texture.

Lemon curd Recipe

4 eggs or 8 egg yolks

245 g sugar

145 ml fresh lemon juice

70 g butter room temp

7 g grated lemon peel

Directions:

In the top of a double boiler../../category/uncategorized/_.css beat eggs../../category/uncategorized/_.css sugar and lemon juice. Cook over simmering water until the temp reach to 176-185 degrees. It usually takes 12-15 minutes../../category/uncategorized/_.css the mixture should be thickened.

Make sure don’t curdle the eggs as it result a omelety flavor in your final product!

Let it cool for 20 minutes then add butter and mix it with a burr-mix blender or whisk it until silky. Refrigerate over night. Willl keep in the fridge for 4-5 days or freeze until needed then defrost at room temp.

Babies & Cupcakes

This weekend I had the honor of hosting my best friend’s babies shower. Yes../../category/uncategorized/_.css babies. She is expecting twin girls in February.

This is the 3rd baby shower I’ve attended and I know this is the next big stage in my peer group. I really wanted to make this shower special for my BF… I knew I could add a level of “Awe../../category/uncategorized/_.css this is so cute” with a sweet treat and good presentation.

First thing I thought about was what does this mom-to-be love?

1. Fall seasonal flavors.
2. She has a sweet tooth.
3. Has a strong love for candy corn../../category/uncategorized/_.css also a seasonal sweet treat.

I came across a pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese frosting on Real Simple. I’m just starting to get my baking boots on../../category/uncategorized/_.css so I was happy to follow a solid recipe. I thought it would be really cute to top this cupcake with candy corn…but not the usual candy corn you find at your local Walgreens. I wanted pink candy corn. Guess what?  They make pink candy corn! I was so excited! My plan was coming together pretty easily.

I ordered customized baby shower stickers through Vista Print. This is a go to website if you’re looking to personalize anything from stickers../../category/uncategorized/_.css banners../../category/uncategorized/_.css pens & cards. They had so many cute options for baby shower stickers. This is a go to web site for any kind of personalization materials you may need.

I also got individual cupcake boxes. This way../../category/uncategorized/_.css I could package each cupcake individually and guests could take the favor home easily.

The final piece of my cute favor plan was to hit up JoAnn Fabrics. I wanted green ribbon for each cupcake box. They had so many options! I should have measured how much I needed before buying the ribbon. I had to make an extra trip for more ribbon because I didn’t buy enough. D’oh!

So enough suspense… would you like to see my final product?

This sweet treat presentation definitely did impress! Here are the vendors I used for each element of the party favor.

Real Simple Recipe – http://www.realsimple.com/food-recipes/browse-all-recipes/pumpkin-cupcakes-with-cream-cheese-frosting-00000000021359/index.html?xid=dailyrecnews-10-22-2011

Oriental Trading (pink candy corn) – http://www.orientaltrading.com/

Vista Print – www.vistaprint.com/

WebRestaurant Store (cupcake containers)  – http://www.webstaurantstore.com/

JoAnn Fabrics – http://www.joann.com/joann/home/home.jsp