Monday, December 31

Moulin Rouge!

Happy Monday! May your day be as swift and merciful as an execution. Haha. Just kidding. However, today is New Year's Eve so I'm sure you'll want the day to pass with some haste so you can get to your New Year's Eve plans.

via Imp Awards.
I was in the mood to end the year with a bang, so I went for an extremely over the top movie that everyone loves! Moulin Rouge! is a musical unlike anything you've ever seen. The year is 1899, and young Christian, a poet, (played perfectly by the gorgeous Ewan McGregor) has left his humdrum life to move to Paris and become a part of the Bohemian revolution. He crosses paths with an eccentric gang of artists putting on a show. Christian quickly becomes swept up in the world of sex, drugs, and love when he decides to write the show and falls for the city's most beautiful courtesan in the process. 

He's not the only one enamored with the beautiful courtesan Satine. What started out as an innocent theater production has turned into a dangerous search for truth, beauty, freedom, and love when a wealthy duke agrees to invest in the production in exchange for Satine. Check out the trailer for Moulin Rouge! below: 

Everything about this movie is above and beyond: the acting, the costumes and set designs, and especially the chemistry. Featuring hits from some of the biggest names in music of the 20th century, the soundtrack alone is reason enough to give this movie a watch. Moulin Rouge! is sure to reinvent your perception of the typical love story. With performances from an A-list cast including Nicole Kidman, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent, and Richard Roxburgh this movie will be sure to remind you that of all things, the most important is love.

Moulin Rouge! is now available on blu-ray and DVD.

Movie trailer courtesy of YouTube.

Sunday, December 30

Out of Commission

Photo courtesy of Peachtree Business Products.

Happy Sunday! I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday.

Just when it seemed like I was getting back into the swing of things the charger of my laptop crapped out on me, so I was out of commission for a little while. And just when I was starting to get into a flow of blogging regularly. The one good thing that did come out of not having a laptop for a week was that I had a lot more time to cook, watch movies, drink wine, partake in some DIY crafts and take pictures! Of course that also means I have more to share with the world in 2013.

I'm very excited about the new year. Everyone talks about how much they want to change things, but there are big things ahead for not only myself, but Wilfred and perhaps this blog as well.

Thursday, December 13

Candy Cane Mice

You're probably not aware, but Martha Stewart is one of my absolute favorite people ever! The woman can do anything and everything. She wears many hats: chef, interior designer, wedding planner, and have you seen the woman's collection for pets at PetSmart? She's an absolute genius.

So when I found this candy cane mice craft on her website, I knew I just had to try it out. It's super simple and only requires a few things to make. You can even make one for every member of your family!

a few sheets of felt fabric
pen or sharpie
candy canes

1. On a photocopier enlarge mouse template by 150%. Print.
2. With a pen or sharpie trace body and ears onto felt; cut out.
3. Cut inner ears and a dot for a nose from felt in a contrasting color. You can also cut eyes from black felt. I  didn't have black felt, so I just used Sharpie.
4. Glue the face and inner ears in place. 
5. Make slits in body for ears and candy-cane tail where marked; to make cutting easier, fold felt across center of slits, and snip.
6. Slip ears through slits at front; then slide wrapped candy cane through body slits, tucking the end underneath the ear piece at the back.

Wilfred's is the blue one (because he's blue), and mine is the cute little pink one with the backwards ears.

Wednesday, December 12

2009 Oveja Negra Cabernet Franc Carmenère

Although Oveja Negra translated means "black sheep", this blended wine is anything but. Oveja Negra wines are harvested in the Maule Valley region of San Rafael, Chile, a culture rich in wine growing tradition. With a blend consisting of 71% Cabernet Franc and 29% Carmenère, one of the first things that drew me to this wine was it's rich red color and deep violet overtones. The notes are a little intense, evoking scents of ripened fruits like red and black berries, cassis and plums. It takes me back to the days of my childhood, running barefoot through the wide open fields picking berries from the bushes.

Image courtesy of Wine Library. 
Ideally served room temperature with roast meat, seasoned vegetable stews, grilled white meats, or even yesterday's chicken dish, this wine would be perfect for serving at a dinner party, although I must warn it is an acquired taste with it's delicate notes of tobacco and coffee and touch of black pepper and good finish. 

Oveja Negra has quickly transformed itself into one of the chief winemakers of Chile. Their penchant for using sustainable viticulture practices makes for an amazing experience. It's the street corner where innovative style meets responsible structure to create a truly unique wine in which quality takes precedence over everything else.

Oveja Negra is redefining black sheep not as the outcast, but as a unique and extraordinary individual. One that immediately draws all eyes in the room. Dare yourself to be the black sheep of the group and try this earthy wine. At around $13 a bottle it could easily be yours! 


Hello world! Today is December 12. Normally this means one thing to me: my best friend Kathryn's birthday, but today is December 12, 2012 or 12/12/12 which is something else in it's entirety. It's not just a triple date sequence on a calendar, it's the last one we'll ever see in our lifetimes. 

A lot of people are celebrating in a big way, for example GETTING MARRIED! However I will admit that is a pretty cool wedding date. Lots of other non-wedding events are occurring as well including the music fundraiser "12/12/12 The Concert for Sandy Relief" in Madison Square Garden.

So cheers to the last triple date sequence we'll ever experience! And don't forget to tune in to the Concert for Sandy relief tonight at 7:30/6:30c 

Tuesday, December 11

Chicken with Black Beans and Rice

When I'm at a loss for what I wanna eat, I always come back to the delicious and colorful one-dish recipe. The juiciness of the chicken will have you wanting to enjoy this dish again and again.

¼ cup all-purpose flour
1½ teaspoons chili powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
2½ to 3 pounds meaty chicken pieces (breast halves, thighs, and drumsticks)
2 tablespoons cooking oil 
1 15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained 
1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes with onion and green pepper, undrained
1 cup V8 vegetable juice
1 cup frozen whole kernel corn 
⅔ cup uncooked long grain rice 
¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper 
2 cloves garlic, minced

1. In a large resealable plastic bag combine flour, 1 teaspoon of the chili powder, the salt, and black pepper. Add chicken pieces, half at a time. Seal bag; shake to coat. 
2. In a large skillet brown chicken on all sides in hot oil over medium heat about 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Remove chicken from skillet and set aside; discard drippings. Add the remaining ½ teaspoon chili powder, the beans, undrained tomatoes, V8, corn, rice, cayenne pepper and garlic to the dish. Bring to boiling. Transfer rice mixture to a 3-quart rectangular baking dish. Arrange chicken pieces on top of rice mixture. 

3. Bake, covered, in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 45-50 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink and rice is tender. 

I can't lie, preparing this dish is almost as fun as eating it! I always like to put on a little Spanish music and dance around the kitchen. Not to mention all of the colors of the rice, beans, and vegetables is like a fiesta on a plate. Just try it and see why it's one of my absolute favorites. 

Monday, December 10

The Princess & the Frog

Happy Monday dolls! I don't know about the weather out there, but here in Baton Rouge it's been cold which has kind of put a damper on my mood. However, today's Monday movie is sure to bring a smile to your face and a twinkle to your heart.

movie poster courtesy of imp awards.
Set in New Orleans, The Princess and the Frog is an updated take on a modern fairy tale classic. Tiana is a young, 19 year old girl working two jobs to achieve her dream of one day owning her own restaurant. Naveen is the spoiled, arrogant prince from Maldonia who is swept up in the magic of New Orleans and its notorious shadow man who tricks him and turns him into a frog.

Naveen, having read the story of the frog prince, convinces Tiana that all he needs is one kiss to turn back into a human. She reluctantly agrees, but instead of him turning human she is transformed into a frog!

They embark on a journey through the mystical bayous of Louisiana to find Mama Odie, a voodoo priestess who can turn them human again. With the help of Ray the firefly and Louis, a trumpet playing alligator they find themselves on a race against time to navigate the swamp, along the way learning the importance of hard work, love and following your dreams.

The Princess and the Frog includes and all-star cast featuring Oprah Winfrey and Terrance Howard as the parents of the independent, assiduous Tiana (voiced by the beautiful Anika Noni Rose), Keith David as the scary shadow man and the hilarious Jennifer Louis as Mama Odie and was nominated for three Oscars at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony. Tiana is definitely one of the most memorable Disney princesses, I'm totally jealous of her southern charm, determination and not to mention those cooking skills! Disney returns to the genius of 2D with this tale that is sure to become a classic with the likes of The Little MermaidSnow WhiteSleeping Beauty and so many others!

Check out the trailer for The Princess and the Frog below:

With the holidays just right around the corner, this is the perfect movie to watch. The Princess and the Frog is available on Disney blu ray combo pack and DVD.

Sunday, December 9


Dallas from above via Instagram.

I went to Dallas to see my mom for Thanksgiving, and it was a blast! I hadn't seen my mom in over a year, so seeing her alone was eventful in itself. However, we not only cooked an amazingly delicious Thanksgiving meal, we explored the new parks, saw a few movies, and (of course) took a couple pictures which I shall be sharing later this week.

But alas, all good things must come to an end. I am back now. Shoved into a hectic world of endless studying, football games, photography assignments and final exams. And of course, more food and crafts. So stick around, because I've got a lot more up my sleeve.

Thursday, November 22

Happy Thanksgiving!

Photo courtesy of The Daily Quipple
Happy Thanksgiving beautiful people! I hope everyone has a terrific day filled with food, family, fun and love. Let's not forget the true meaning of this day: to eat of course! 

But all jokes aside, take this day (and everyday) to give thanks for all the wonderful blessings in your life. I'm not very old, but through my 21 years of living I have learned that there is always someone out there that is not as fortunate and I am always humbled. So give thanks for everything and give back when you can. 

Have a terrific Thanksgiving! And don't forget to watch the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.

Tuesday, November 13

Deep Dish Turkey Pot Pie

With Thanksgiving just one short week away, you're probably gonna be scrambling to figure out what to do with the rest of those turkey leftovers. Since I celebrated my Thanksgiving this week (as next will be my vacation) I've come up with a delicious recipe for turkey pot pie that will be sure to have you craving more of this classic comfort food.

Pie crust or one recipe pastry topper (listed below)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
¾ cup sliced celery 
½ cup chopped red sweet pepper
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
⅓ cup all-purpose flour
1 packet General Tso's chicken seasoning mix
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1½ cups turkey broth
1 cup milk
2½ cups chopped cooked turkey
1 cup frozen peas and carrots
1 egg, beaten

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Prepare pastry topper; set aside. 
3. In a large saucepan cook onion, mushrooms, celery, and sweet pepper in hot butter over medium heat for 4 to 5 minutes or until vegetables are tender. Stir in the flour, chicken seasoning mix, salt and black pepper. Add broth and milk all at once. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in turkey, peas and carrots. Pour into a two quart baking dish. 

4. Place pastry over chicken mixture in dish. Turn edges of pastry under; flute to edges of dish. Brush pastry with some of the egg. 
5. Bake, uncovered, in a 400°F oven (205°C) for 32-35 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Let stand for 20 minutes before serving.

Pastry Topper Recipe: 
In a medium bowl stir together 1¼ cups all-purpose flour and 1¼ teaspoon salt. Using a pastry blender, cut in ⅓ cup butter until pieces are pea sized. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cold water over part of the mixture; gently toss with a fork. Push moistened dough to side of bowl. Sprinkle an additional 5 tablespoons cold water over remaining flour mixture, 1 tablespoon at a time, tossing with a fork, until all dough is moistened. Form into a ball. Form in pastry dish. 

This recipe will be sure to have your family craving more, I know mine did. Plus it's a great way to get rid of some of your leftover. The General Tso's seasoning mix adds a delicious sweetness to the flavor of the turkey while at the same time giving it a little southern kick. I haven't let you down yet, so just give it a try. I promise you'll love it!

Monday, November 12

The Wackness

Movie poster courtesy of imp awards.
Hello loves. I hope everyone had an amazing holiday weekend! I've missed cooking and my blog entirely too much, so I've decided that I'm back for good (for real this time). One of the things I missed the most was Monday movies, so today I'm back with a good one.

The Wackness was the Sundance Film Festival's 2008 Audience Award. Set in the summer of 1994, The Wackness is not your typical coming of age tale. The movie features Josh Peck (of Nickelodeon's Drake & Josh fame) as Luke Shapiro, a typical teenager who spends his days selling marijuana on the streets of New York before his friends all leave for university. He meets Dr. Jeffrey Squires, a psychiatrist, and the two develop a relationship, eventually reaching an agreement to trade the marijuana for therapy.

Amidst the craziness in Luke's life, he manages to meet Stephanie, the only other person not going away, and the two instantly click. Little does he know that Stephanie is Dr. Squire's stepdaughter!

Check out the trailer for The Wackness below:

I have been a fan of Josh Peck since I was a child, starting with his humble beginning on The Amanda Show. This movie was a chance to move away from his previous funny, child star roots and into more dramatic roles, and he nailed it! He completely holds his own against such established actors as Ben Kingsley and Mary-Kate Olson. Not only is this movie charming and hip, but it will also have you nostalgic for the good old days of the 90s.

The Wackness is available on blu-ray and DVD. And don't forget to check out Josh Peck's new movie Red Dawn in theaters November 21.

Thank you to YouTube for allowing me the usage of their movie trailer.

Sunday, November 11

Happy Veteran's Day!

Image courtesy of

Happy Veteran's Day to all of our wonderful service men and women! Today is a day to honor those who serve, past and present, and remember all the great things our military has done for us. We are alloted so many freedoms that we often take for granted because there are amazing people willing to lay down their lives for them. As the daughter of a vet, I appreciate the holiday that much more. 

I hope you take the time today to say a prayer for our troops overseas, and to thank a veteran for their service to these wonderful United States.

Thank you!


Image courtesy of Dateless n Dallas.
Hey y'all!

It's been a while since my last post, and for that I apologize. I have been incredibly busy with school, work, and Wilfred, not to mention about a million other ventures. However, I'm back and with some brand new recipes, wines, and just all around fun. I'm also going to be including some new features and crafty creations. So once again, sit back, relax, and enjoy the ride.

Monday, August 20

The Last Samurai

Happy Monday guys and dolls! I hope everyone had a beautiful weekend. I know I did! I got to spend some much needed quality time with Wilfred. But play time is over as today is the return of the fall semester. My days will no longer be filled with lounging around by the pool, rather lectures and books.

But I digress. Today's Monday movie is a good one. I'm a huge fan of war movies, and Edward Zwick is one of the kings of the great genre. He does a perfect job of blending war, history, action, adventure, drama and romance into a thrilling roller coaster ride that will have you on the edge of your seat. Some of his great films include Defiance, Blood Diamond, and Glory.

Today's Movie, The Last Samurai, follows the story of an American military advisor who decides to embrace the Samurai culture he had been hired to help destroy after being captured in battle. Captain Nathan Algren, a veteran of the American Civil War who suffers from PTSD. He lives out his days drinking himself into stupors and performing gun shows until he is hired for a handsome price by Americans who want lucrative contracts with the Emperor of Japan to train the peasant conscripts for the first standing imperial army in modern warfare using firearms. The cabinet's first order of business is to suppress a coup from the Samauri, who have maintained a traditional way of living, and refuse to conform to the new Western-style imperial Japanese army Mr. Omura have been building.

Although Algren does the best he can with the "soldiers" he has been given they are eventually commanded to strike against the Samurai army too soon, and during battle Algren is captured. The leader of the Samurai, Katsumoto sees something in the captain and decides to spare his life. He soon learns the way of the mysterious people, and finds himself learning his mission in life in a place he never thought expected. Check out the trailer for The Last Samurai below:

The Last Samurai is an amazingly heartfelt film about more than just war. It delves deep into the heart of honor, tradition, pride, and discipline. Tom Cruise does a brilliant job of bringing emotion and depth to the character of Captain Algren, and Ken Watanabe's performace as Katsumoto earned him an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actor. It's a wonderful film and I'd definitely recommend it!

The Last Samurai is available on blu-ray and DVD

Courtesy to imp awards for the movie poster and YouTube for the movie trailer.

Wednesday, August 15

2010 Folonari Moscato

Photo courtesy of Why Go Italy?

A native of the Piedmont region of Italy in the town of d'Asti, the Moscato grape is one of, if not the most popular wine in Italy. If you're new to the wine drinking game, or if you just enjoy a lighter, fruitier wine, a Moscato would be a perfect start for you.

Most commonly known for it's straw-like color, fragrant aromas and light, almost sparkling taste, the Moscato wine tends to be characterized by it's delicate fruity tastes like orange, apple, pear, peach, and even apricot. Best served chilled, this is the perfect summertime staple for picnics consisting of summer salads, lemon breads and cakes, and apple desserts.

Photo courtesy of Fredrick Wildman
Folonari is a historic name in the world wine, dating all the way back to 1825 when Francesco Folonari founded the firm in the Valcamonican alps in the region of Venteto, Italy. Fun fact: later on in the 19th century he and his sons moved to Bresscia, Italy and established one of the first winemaking facilities, where they pioneered and mass produced the wine bottle. This made it possible for the general population to indulge their wine fantasies on an everyday basis while still maintaining the quality and integrity of the wine.

Folonari's Moscato wine is just one brilliant example of the amazing wine quality of wine they produce to this very day. With a subtle combination of sour red pear, apple, melon, honey, and white grape juice it does a great job of combining the sweetness of the fruit with a natural, although slightly overdone, acidic finish. This wine is delicious with a mid afternoon brunch, dessert, or even as a predecessor to the main entree in it's own right. Maybe one of the best parts about this wine is that it's easily accessible and very affordable. At around ten dollars a bottle this wine could certainly be yours tonight!

Got the wine, but all you need is the glass? Kaylee Mendoza of Sweet & Sassy Sips makes darling customized, hand-painted wine glasses. Not only does her etsy shop include wine glasses, but water bottles, coffee cups, and more. And in honor of shark week, use the coupon code SHARK, you will receive 15% off your order. So head on over and check out her adorable selection!
Thank you to Kaylee Mendoza of Sweet & Sassy Sips for allowing me to use her image.

Tuesday, August 14

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Have I ever told y'all how much I love doing my own twist to recipes? Well, if I haven't already now you know. I took a turn for the interesting when I turned a recipe for a simple fettuccine Alfredo into something completely extraordinary.

1½ cups chopped cooked chicken
8 ounces dried fettuccine
2 tablespoons butter
1 cup whipping cream
8 ounces cream of mushroom
¼ cup drained oil-packed snipped dried tomatoes
½ teaspoon creole seasoning
⅛ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

1. Cook chicken. Season with ⅛  teaspoon black pepper, garlic powder, and cayenne respectively.
cooking chicken
2. Cook pasta according to package directions.
3. Meanwhile, in a large saucepan melt butter. Add cream, cream of mushroom, salt, and pepper. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 3 to 5 minutes until mixture begins to thicken. Remove from heat. Stir in 1½ cups chopped cooked chicken and ¼ cup drained oil-packed snipped dried tomatoes. Add Parmesan cheese. Drain pasta. Add pasta to hot sauce. Toss to combine. Transfer to warm serving dish. Serve immediately. If desired, sprinkle with additional Parmesan cheese.
Alfredo sauce

A classic Italian dish with a little Matilda flair! Hopefully I did Mr. Di Lelio proud.

Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo

Monday, August 13

The Prestige

Movie poster courtesy of Imp Awards
After a very much extended break from blogging, I'm feeling refreshed and better than ever. I'm back with today's Monday movie, The Prestige. This is such a great movie from the brilliant mind of Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight Trilogy, Inception) set in the dazzling and often confusing world of magic.

Two young magicians, vastly different but equally talented work together and are very close friends until a trick goes terribly awry and someone ends up dead because of it. Now mortal enemies, they each will stop at nothing to learn the other's secrets, outdo each other, and prove who is the best magician. Soon however, their rivalry turns into a full scale obsession, and much more is at stake than just their reputations as they do everything they can to surpass the other and live in infamy as the greatest magician to ever live. Nothing is ever as it seems, but believing makes it so, so be prepared to watch closely. You're almost certain to miss a thing or two.

Check out the trailer for The Prestige below:

Christopher Nolan is one of my absolute favorite directors, and this movie is just another one of his masterpieces. There's so much packed into one movie that it's almost guaranteed that you'll have to watch it twice just to make sure you've absorbed it all. This movie is dirty, gritty, with amazingly developed characters that have you pulled in from the very beginning. And with an all-star cast including Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, and David Bowie you'll never want the magic to end.

The Prestige is now available on blu-ray and DVD.

Tuesday, June 12

Sour Cream Pound Cake

I'm absolutely head over heels for a delicious cake. Pound cake is not only easy to make with simple ingredients, but it's also amazingly delicious! This sour cream pound cakes tastes great with a bottle of St. James strawberry wine.

½ cup butter
3 eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
¼ teaspoon baking powder
⅛ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla

1. Allow butter, eggs, and sour cream to stand at room temperature 30 minutes. Grease and lightly flour a 9x5x3 inch loaf pan; set aside. In a medium bowl stir together flour, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. 

2. Preheat the oven to 325°F (162° C). In a large mixing bowl beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Gradually add sugar, beating about 10 minutes or until light and fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition and scraping bowl frequently. Alternately add flour mixture and sour cream mixture to butter mixture, beating on low to medium speed after each addition just until combined. Spread batter evenly into the prepared pan. 

3. Bake for 60 to 75 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean. Cool cake in pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan; cool thoroughly on rack. 

Sour Cream Pound Cake

This cake tasted yummy, especially after I frosted it with strawberry frosting. Pound cakes are a timeless classic that anyone can enjoy. Go ahead and make it, you won't regret it!

Monday, June 11


Happy Monday guys and dolls! I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend!

It's summertime break for a lot of folks, and to kick things off this week I thought I'd choose a funny, lighthearted Monday movie. The prince of funny and awkward teen comedies, Justin Long, stars in Accepted, a movie about an slacker who decides to start his own college when he gets rejected by all the ones he applied to.

Bartleby Gaines (Long) along with his his friends Schrader, Glen, Holloway, Rory, and the forever funny Lewis Black as Dean Lewis decide to convert an old psychiatric hospital into the South Harmon Institute of Technology for students who got rejected by other schools. At this college the students teach the classes, the dean lives in a trailer in the back, and pretty much anything goes!

Accepted is a hysterical movie that any college bound student or just anybody trying to discover themselves should watch. Justin Long is oddly inspiring as the college's co-founder, and Jonah Hill is simply hilarious as Bartleby's best friend Schrader. Check out the trailer for Accepted below:

Accepted is now on blu-ray and DVD.

Thanks to Imp Awards for the movie poster and St. James for the wine.

Wednesday, June 6

Basil Pan Burgers

I have loved Rachael Ray for as long as I can remember, and her release of her new book yesterday, The Book of Burger, had me craving a good ol' fashioned burger. Like I mentioned before, I don't own a grill, so I try to find other creative ways to do barbecue classics. Luckily for me, my trusty Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook  has a tried and true recipe for the most amazing burgers. And all that's required is your stove top!

1 egg, slightly beaten
¼ cup chopped onion
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons fine dry bread crumbs (I like to use smashed up graham crackers)
2 tablespoons snipped fresh basil OR 1 teaspoon dried basil, crushed
2 tablespoons ketchup
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
1 clove garlic, minced
Nonstick cooking spray

1. In a medium bowl combine egg, onion, Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs, basil, ketchup, salt, pepper, and garlic. Add beef; mix well. Shape beef mixture into for ¾-inch thick patties. 
Hamburger Patty
2. Lightly coat a heavy skillet with cooking spray (or use a heavy nonstick skillet). Preheat skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add patties. Reduce heat to medium or until temperature registers 160° on an instant-read thermometer, turning patties once halfway through cooking. If patties brown too quickly, reduce heat to medium low. Serve patties on buns with basil leaves (if desired) and tomato slices. 
Basil Pan Burger

These burgers taste amazing, and cooking them on the stove doesn't alter their taste one bit! As always, you should make sure that the burgers are fully cooked before serving them by checking their temperature with a meat thermometer. Try these out and don't to pick up a copy of Rachael Ray's book The Book of Burger on shelves now!

Tuesday, June 5

Mexican Wedding Cookies

It is said that the Mexican wedding cookie (also known as Russian tea cakes) originated with the Medieval Arab cultural and eventually made its way to the European and Spanish cultures where it was brought to Mexico from there. These cookies, with it's simple ingredient list and rich taste are a staple at traditional Mexican weddings. They are eaten as at the end of a wedding reception with the thought that the butters, sugars, and oils would bring about a happy life and a successful marriage.

Because the few ingredients included in this recipe are all items you probably have just laying around your house these cookies are the perfect thing to make when you're suddenly hit with a sweet tooth. Below is a simple recipe for these traditional cookies.

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners' sugar, plus more for coating baked cookies
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1¾ cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting hands
1 cup pecans, chopped into very small pieces
wedding cookie ingredients

1. Preheat oven to 275°F (135°C). Line cookie sheets with parchment paper.
2. Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar at low speed until it is smooth. Beat in the vanilla. At low speed gradually add the flour. Mix in the pecans with a spatula. With floured hands, take out about 1 tablespoon of dough and shape into a crescent. Continue to dust hands with flour as you make more cookies. Place onto prepared cookie sheets. Bake 40 minutes.
crescent cookies
3. When cool enough to handle but still warm, roll in additional confectioners' sugar. Cool on wire racks.

finished Mexican wedding cookies

These cookies are simple and sweet without being too overbearing. The hardest part step when it comes to making these is waiting 40 minutes for it to bake in the oven! Perfect for serving at a gathering of friends, or even just snacking on a few while curled up with a good book, these Mexican wedding cookies are great for any occasion - not just weddings!

Monday, June 4

The Italian Job

Happy Monday morning lovelies! I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend, I know I did.

I love movies, so much so that I've taken the time to invest in a quality TV and sound system so I can enjoy movies to the fullest extent that they were meant to be enjoyed. So instead of posting a recipe on Mondays, I'm gonna do a little feature called Monday Movie instead where I spotlight a movie.

For my first movie I'm featuring one of my favorites: The Italian Job. A remake of the original 1969 caper film, The Italian Job stars Mark Wahlberg (swoon) as Charlie Croker, a master thief who with his mentor and brilliant safe cracker John Bridger (Donald Sutherland) plan one last heist to steal $35 million in Italian gold bricks. The heist goes as planned until one of their own double crosses them and leaves them all for dead. Now with Bridger dead and the gold gone the team is ready for vengeance. They recruit Bridger's daughter Stella (Charlize Theron) to even the score.

This is one of my favorite movies ever, and not (just) because I have a major crush on Mark Wahlberg.  It's action packed with some hilarious moments, and even a little bit of romance. This movie is what inspired me to get a MINI Cooper in the first place. Check out the trailer for The Italian Job below.

The Italian Job is now available on blu-ray and DVD.

Courtesy to Imp Awards for the movie poster.

Saturday, June 2

Wonderful Weekend

Saturdays and Sundays roll around and I'm normally left up to my own devices. No school, no homework, no one to answer to it's GREAT. That is until I get bored. One of my absolute favorite blogs café fashionista used to feature a series called 'Why Don't You. . .?' so I decided to pick up where she left off.  Once a month I'll post some fabulous idea that are tons of fun and also allow you to give back a little. So why don't you...?

Yard sales and flea markets are the perfect place to find undiscovered treasures super cheap, and with websites like American Fleas locating one in your area is easier than ever. Go out and start digging for your perfect find. 

A nature hike with friends is the perfect chance to get away for a little while. You could make it a little more fun and pack a picnic while you soak in the trees, plants and gorgeous weather together.

Get out and enjoy the beautiful day with your four-legged friend. I know Wilfred loves the outdoors just at much as I do. I love taking him to the park to play in the lake and chase after the ducks. You'll love spending the day at the dog park, and maybe you and your pup can make some new friends.
Wilfred at the Park
He's got his eye on those ducks. . .
. . .Meanwhile the ducks are just chilling.
There are always local youth organizations that could use some extra help. Volunteering not only makes a difference in your life, but makes a major one in there's as well. Find Youth Info lets you find youth organizations that cover an array of topics. Grab a friend and y'all can make a difference for some amazing kids!

I hope I've inspired you all with some fun weekend ideas. Have fun!

Thursday, May 31

Off the Beaten Path's Doggie Treats

I don't like to cook for just myself; Wilfred is an integral part of our little family and I like to treat him as much as I treat myself. On a trip to Bass Pro Shops in Denham Springs I picked up a few toys for Wilfred, one of which was a squeaky duck. He's always had some sort of odd fascination with ducks, I try to get him as many duck toys as I can possibly find.
Wilfred playing duck
"Save me!" said the duck

Anyhow, included with the duck toys were some cookie bone shaped cookie cutters and a recipe for dog treats. I was most pleased. So as soon as I got home I went right to Work making these for Wilfred.

2½ cups whole wheat flour
½ cup powdered dry milk
½ teaspoon each salt and garlic powder
6 tablespoons margarine, shorting, or meat dripping (I used margarine)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon brown sugar
½ cup ice water

1.Preheat oven to 350° F. Combine flour, dry milk, salt, garlic powder, and sugar. Cut in shortening until mixture resembles cornmeal. Mix in egg. Add enough water so that mixture forms into a ball.
2. Pat out dough ½" think with your fingers on a lightly oiled cookie sheet. Cut with doggie bone and heart cutters. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool. Do not store treats in sealed container.
Doggie Treats

Wilfred loves the doggie treats

Wilfred was hesitant at first, but he ended up loving them! In my opinion the best part about these treats is that they don't contain any artificial coloring or preservatives. I promise your pup will like them better than any treats you could find in stores!

Wednesday, May 30

Baked Penne

I came up with this little concoction after brainstorming a bit. I wanted something other than the stereotypical pasta dish and with the help of a little summer sausage I came up with a baked penne guaranteed to taste different than anything you've probably had before.
Penne Pasta

cup penne pasta
8 ounces summer sausage
¾ cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
½ cup each of mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses
1 cup pasta sauce
¼ teaspoon black pepper

1. Cook pasta according to package directions; drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet cook the sausage, onion, and garlic over medium heat until sausage is brown. Remove from skillet; drain off fat.
Summer Sausage
3.In a large bowl stir together pasta sauce, ¼ of both the mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses, and the pepper. Add the cooked pasta and drained sausage mixture. Stir gently to combine. Spoon the mixture into a 2 quart casserole
4. Bake, covered, in a 375° oven for 25 minutes or until nearly heated through. Uncover; sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and Parmesan cheeses. Bake about 5 minutes more or until cheese melts. 
Baked Penne

This dish is not only great tasting, but it's easy and fast. If you're looking for an Italian meal with lots of flavor, this dish is perfect!

Tuesday, May 29

Oatmeal Scotchies

There's no big surprise that I love to bake, and since I don't do chocolate, butterscotch chips have become my major addiction. They're absolutely delicious and taste great with everything! 

Summer is approaching and that means countless barbecues, dinner parties and picnics. Which means a new cookie recipe is in order. I found this recipe for these delicious oatmeal scotchies from the Nestlé website, and with a little tweaking this recipe turned out phenomenally! Mark loved it so much that he couldn't stop eating them and all the cookies disappeared that very day. 

1¼ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup butter or margarine
¾ cup granulated sugar
¾ cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 11oz. package  Nestlé Tollhouse Butterscotch Chips

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine flour, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, eggs and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl. Gradually beat in flour mixture. Stir in oats and morsels. Drop by rounded tablespoon onto ungreased baking sheets.
3. Bake for 7 to 8 minutes for chewy cookies or 9 to 10 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool on baking sheets for 2 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

These cookies are absolutely scrumptious and perfect for every occasion. They go great with everything from a hot cup of coffee to a nice, cold glass of milk. Try them, you won't be disappointed!
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