Fresh Green Bean & Fingerling Potato Salad & A Few of My Current Loves

>> Sunday, July 31, 2011

A few of my favorite things right now:

1. The idea that fall is just a few weeks away! I'm so ready for fall.... particularly fall in California.

2. "So You Think You Can Dance" - One of the fun parts about summer! My favorites right now are Melanie and Caitlyn - I'm a week behind - so nobody tell me any recent results.

3. Toms - They are super cute, go with everything, comfortable, and best of all - they go towards a really good cause. The fact that they give a pair of shoes to someone in need when you buy a pair makes it truly awesome! These are my newest pair.... they called them "mustard yellow cords" on the web page. I renamed them "grasshopper green".

4. Estate Sales - They.... are... brilliant! I have been looking for a cute vintage bistro set for our back patio for a while, and couldn't find one that wasn't an arm and a leg. Well, just hop on over to your nearest estate sale - on the last day of the sale of course - and what do you know! Cute bistro set, table cloth and fun vintage milk glass dessert plates. And for an AMAZING deal. Way cheaper than I had found anywhere, and they even kept telling me a cheaper price. Think they might have given us stuff if we'd stayed a little longer! (Pardon the picture - it was taken with my iphone).
5. Printable recipes attached to my blog!! Thanks so much for all the feed back on my last post! I'm sorry it has taken me so long to respond to all of your kind words! It gives me hope that you are using the recipes! :) So, in light of the amazing responses I got... I've added a print recipe feature. I'm going to be playing around with it some to see what works best, so tell me how you like it, and what I can do differently to make it work for you all. For now, the print recipe link is directly under the recipe name below!!! Enjoy!
6. This Potato Salad - Full of flavor! You can have it hot or cold! Microwaveable!!! The whole recipe takes less than 10 minutes. Fantastic! Super yummy and healthy. Hope you love it too.

Fresh Green Bean & Fingerling Potato Salad (From: Better Homes & Gardens):

1 lb fingerling or new potatoes, halved
1 cup fresh green beans, trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces
1/4 tsp. salt
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 shallot, chopped
2 Tbsp. white or red wine vinegar
2 Tbsp. fresh parsley
2 tsp. Dijon mustard
1/8 tsp. salt
1/8 tsp. freshly ground pepper
1/4 cup pitted Nicoise or kalamata olives, halved


1. Place halved potatoes into a 2-quart microwave-safe casserole dish. Top with green beans. Sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon salt. Cover and place in the microwave for 7-9 minutes or until vegetables are tender, stirring once. Drain.

2. For vinaigrette, in a screw-top jar or cruet, combine oil, chopped shallot, vinegar, parsley, Dijon mustard, pepper and the 1/8 teaspoon salt. Cover and shake well until fully combined.

3. In a small bowl, combine green bean and potato mixture, vinaigrette, and olives; toss gently to coat. Transfer to a serving bowl. Serve immediately or chill completely and serve cold. Makes 4 servings.


Chocolate Fluffernutter Bars

>> Saturday, July 9, 2011

Sometimes, when I'm writing this blog, I really question whether or not I have something interesting enough to say for anyone to actually read it.

Then I question why anyone would read my blog when there are literally thousands of cooking blogs out there.

I'm not a professional chef/cook, I'm not a professional writer, and I most definitely am not a professional photographer.

There are far better pictures to look at, stories to read, and recipes to make. Most of the time, I don't even create my own recipes. I like to change and adapt what I see, and every now and then I can create something of my own, but like I said.... not a professional chef.

I can really let it discourage me if I let myself. I can get discouraged that I don't have more readers than others, or that I didn't get as many comments on certain recipes, and all kinds of little things that get me down.

Insecurity is a nasty little bug.... it tricks us into believing the most awful things about ourself, and what God has gifted each and every one of us to do and even how we could use our gifts. Of course I'm not exactly like someone else's blog - but who would want to read my blog if I was. Of course I may not be the best photographer or writer - but I am me! And that is a beautiful thing.

This week, I have posted this scripture in my work calendar, so that several times a day, I've been able to look at it - and the meaning behind it sustains me - especially in the times when the insecurity bug strikes.

"And I pray, that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all the saints, to grasp how wide and how long, and how high and how deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge that you may be filled to the measure of all fullness of God."
Ephesians 4:170-20

P.S. - These chocolate fluffernutter bars are seriously delicious. You will love them. And if the weather is hot, and you don't have air conditioning in your house, just set them out, and everyone will think you just pulled them out of the oven instead of making them the day before!

P.P.S - I have been thinking about adding printable recipes (if I can get it all figured out), or at the very least a full recipe version at the end. Any thoughts? Like it, hate it, don't care? okay.

Chocolate Fluffernutter Cake Bars (Adapted from Picky Palate)

1 box chocolate cake mix
1 large egg
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, softened
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
8 marshmallows
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
14 ounce can sweetened condensed
1 cup chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a 9x13 pan with parchment paper and spray with cooking spray.

2. In a large mixing bowl, using hand mixer or stand mixer, mix together the cake mix, softened butter, and egg until well combined. Press evenly in the 9x13 pan using fingers.

3. In a small sauce pan, combine marshmallows and corn syrup. Heat over medium heat until smooth and marshmallows are all melted evenly.

4. In a separate bowl, mix together the peanut butter, sweetened condensed milk, and heated marshmallow mixture until smooth.

5. Pour fluffernutter mixture over cake dough mixture. Sprinkle chocolate chips over the top of the marshmallows mixture.

6. Bake for 25 - 30 minutes. The middle will see like it is not set, and you'll want to cook a few more minutes, but don't worry - it's done. The middle will set up as it cools. Cool the bars completely and then cut into squares, and eat every single one of them all to yourself!!! ;)