Thursday, August 4, 2011

Its HOT and August is National Panini Month!

It's hot.  H-O-T and not in a good way. As in hell-is-cooler kind of way.  As in the Shel Silverstien "It's Hot", kind of way. 

It’s Hot!
By Shel Silverstein

It’s hot!
I can’t get cool,
I’ve drunk a quart of lemonade,
I think I’ll take my shoes off
And sit around in the shade.
It’s hot!
My back is sticky,
The sweat rolls down my chin.
I think I’ll take my clothes off
And sit around in my skin.
It’s hot!
I’ve tried with ‘lectric fans,
And pools and ice cream cones.
I think I’ll take my skin off
And sit around in my bones.
It’s still hot!

As in there is no way I am turning the oven on or standing over a hot stove, kind of way.  As in my family is tired of cold cuts, and is demanding something of sustenance kind of way.  So, that brings me to dinner.  I was pretty much given the impression, should I make a generic "fend for yourself" kind of cold cut sammich for them again tonight, the possiblity of me being stoned to death is likely.  I have to admit, I am pretty tired of them too.  It was while pondering dinner that I remembered we have a George Foreman that my lovely sister bought for us as a wedding gift.  THANK YOU SWEET SISTER. And you know what,  there is nothing I love more about the good old George, than using it to make Paninis! AND do you know what I discovered while scouring the corners of the Internet for Panini recipes?  August is NATIONAL PANINI MONTH! 

Now, I realize that most of you will not derive the same pleasure from this tidbit of knowledge as I will, but none the less.  I have decided to make this post an homage to Paninis.  But WAIT you say, isn't a Panini a SAMMICH? And won't you be STONED if you make one for them?  Aww thank you so much for the care and concern, but a Panini is not JUST a sammich.  It is a glorious, gourment sammich with wonderful bread and delicious cheeses smashed together placed over heat so the bread becomes gloriously toasted!  Mmmmmm making my mouth water already, and here are few recipes that I have found that I will be trying!

Do you think 31 days of Paninis would be overkill?  Neither do I!

Enjoy!!!!

Chicken Pesto Panini


Ingredients

  • 1 focaccia bread, quartered
  • 1/2 cup prepared basil pesto
  • 1 cup diced cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
  • 1/4 cup diced red onion
  • 1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

 

 

Directions

  1. Preheat a panini grill.
  2. Slice each quarter of focaccia bread in half horizontally. Spread each half with pesto. Layer bottom halves with equal amounts chicken, bell pepper, onion, and cheese. Top with remaining focaccia halves, forming 4 sandwiches.
  3. Grill paninis 5 minutes in the preheated grill, or until focaccia bread is golden brown and cheese is melted.
Chipolte Chicken

Ingredients

  • 2 slices sourdough bread
  • 1/4 cup Caesar salad dressing
  • 1 cooked chicken breast, diced
  • 1/2 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
  • 1 tablespoon bacon bits
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons chipotle chile powder, or to taste
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter

 


Directions
  1. Preheat a panini press for medium-high heat.
  2. Spread one side of each piece of bread with the Caesar dressing. Place the chicken on top of the bottom slice, sprinkle with Cheddar cheese, bacon bits, and chipotle chile powder. Place the top piece of bread onto the sandwich, and butter the outsides with the softened butter.
  3. Cook on the preheated grill until the bread is crispy and golden brown, and the inside of the sandwich is hot, about 5 minutes
Turkey Avocado Panini



Ingredients

  • 1/2 ripe avocado
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 ciabatta rolls
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided
  • 2 slices provolone cheese
  • 1 cup whole fresh spinach leaves, divided
  • 1/4 pound thinly sliced mesquite smoked turkey breast
  • 2 roasted red peppers, sliced into strips

 

Directions

  1. Mash the avocado and the mayonnaise together in a bowl until thoroughly mixed.
  2. Preheat a panini sandwich press.
  3. To make the sandwiches, split the ciabatta rolls in half the flat way, and brush the bottom of each roll with olive oil. Place the bottoms of the rolls onto the panini press, olive oil side down. Place a provolone cheese slice, half the spinach leaves, half the sliced turkey breast, and a sliced roasted red pepper on each sandwich. Spread half of the avocado mixture on the cut surface of each top, and place the top of the roll on the sandwich. Brush the top of the roll with olive oil.
  4. Close the panini press and cook until the bun is toasted and crisp, with golden brown grill marks, and the cheese has melted, about 5 to 8 minutes.

** These and other Panini recipes can be found at allrecipes.com. 

 

Friday, July 8, 2011

Mono, Fuzz balls, and Steven Tyler

You may be thinking seriously? What does one have to do with the other?   Trust me, one leads to the others just read on...

I have been feeling exhausted for a while now.  Well roughly 6 weeks, so about 2 weeks ago I went to my doctor.  She did some blood work and then told me the reason I have been so exhausted was because I had the Epstein Barr virus.  For those of you that don't know what that is (just as I didn't know) it is the nasty virus that causes infectious Mononucleosiss.  You know, that thing they always warned us about in junior high, and cautioned us on not sharing lip glosses, drink bottles, kissing and etc.  Its a common virus I am told, and something like 95% of the population will at some point come into contact with it.  So I now at 31 have it!  How did I get it you ask?  Well it was going around the office back in January, but up until recently I have felt fine.  My doctor explained that it could have been then that I contracted it, however it has just decided to give me problems now. 

I have relatively mild symptoms.  I don't have throat pain, or abdominal pain.  I am just exhausted.  Some days worse than others, but nonetheless, I spend the majority of my time being one with the couch, or in bed.   And because I am in bed so much, I have noticed my comforter has a lot of those little fuzz balls on it.  I find myself obsessing about them.  We have one of those little fabric shaver things, but it doesn't work very well.  However, the little suckers taunt me.  I started to count them the other day, and I realized at that time I needed to distract myself. 

On my birthday this year, my husband bought me Steven Tyler's memoir.  I had read it here and there, and I enjoyed it.  I have just been so busy that I was not consistently reading it.  However, ever since I haven't been feeling well, and since I have developed this psychosis involving fuzz balls, I have recently picked it up again. And I am loving it.  I have always been a HUGE Aerosmith fan.  It was the first rock concert I ever went too.  My Aunt and I went when I was 17.  It was so much fun, and quite possibly one of the best experiences of my life.  Thus I am still a fan of Aerosmith, but the attraction for me is Steven Tyler.  He's crazy, free spirited, energetic, poetic, and he's really smart too.  Did you know he has a doctorate degree? He knows stuff.  Stuff really smart people know.  He's pretty amazing. His book is pretty amazing too.  He writes it in a way that is completely disjointed, and you find yourself feeling confused at times. But, he always brings it home.  He takes the whole big mess, and condenses it with one paragraph or sentence.  Then you find yourself thinking "Oh I get it".  I guess I like that style because that is exactly how my mind is.  He just writes whatever thought comes to his mind. It's free, and discombobulated just as I imagine him to be.   Not to mention the things he's done in his life, WOW.  How can he still be alive?!

So there you have it. That's how Mono, and fuzz balls lead us to Steven Tyler.  This wasn't a prophetic journey, nor was it enlightening.  It was pretty anticlimatic, and not that interesting to read about.  But without Mono I would have not been in bed developing my unhealthy obsession with  fuzz balls, which forced me to distract myself with Steven Tyler's book.  I don't know what I am going to do once I finish the book.  I am nearly done, and I am told this tired crap can last like 3 months.  I have been eyeing Rosanne Barr's new book.  Maybe I'll start on that, or get my husband to de-fuzz the comforter?  Either way its a win win for me!

Until next time..."Walk this way!"

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Ready or Not, Here I Come!

That small sentence brings back many memories of playing hide-and-seek for hours with my brother and sister.  It always seemed like I picked the lamest, most uncreative hiding spots. Thus, I was "it" a majority of the time.   I'm not sure if it was one of my favorite games, so much as it was one of the most convenient.  It required little in terms of preparation, and could be played virtually anywhere.  However, I will caution all youngin's reading this, that playing hide-and-seek in the store, in the clothing racks, with mom as the seeker, is NOT a good idea.  It makes her mad.  It makes her terrified, and well it puts you into a lot of trouble!

That being said, I just so happen to have one particularly vivid memory of hide-and-seek that sticks out from the rest.  My siblings and I were playing hide-and-seek and I was "it" (big surprise).  I had found my sister, and we were looking for my brother.  Now mind you, I am probably all of 4, my sister 6, and my brother is 3 (roughly); and well, you might not remember this, but, you are short at those ages. So, given the fact that I am 4, I am short, and my mom has helped hide my brother, you can guess that my sister and I were looking for him for a while.  I remember we looked under the sink, in the cabinets, under the beds, in the closets and the whole time running past my mother multiple times, as she stood there smiling like the cat that just ate the canary!  I remember her laughing and smiling at us because she knew that my brother was hiding in plain sight.  Now you still remember me telling you that we were short right?  (This will be important in a minute). So, as my sister and I searched for what seemed like FOREVER, we finally, FINALLY  heard him giggle.  We look up and there, sitting on TOP of the refrigerator, was my little brother.  These days it would be considered child endangerment I am sure!  But there he was, in his red sweat pants, red and navy blue striped shirt, laughing...  Laughing at my sister and I whom never looked up to find him.  I can just imagine how hard it must have been for him to keep quiet.  I wonder if my mom had to tell him to shhhh every time we left the room. 

This is one of my fondest memories of my childhood. It reminds of a time when life was simpler, and helps me remember how carefree we were.  It reminds me of my mom's great laugh which I don't get to hear so much now that I live so far away.  And it reminds me of how innocent we all were.  It is a shame as we get older that we lose that.  We forget what it is like to be children, and we sometimes forget that our children are just as we were.  Don't forget to play hide-and-seek with your little one(s), and remember what it is like to be so young and carefree for a little while.  Real life will be there when you get back...I promise!

What childhood memories do you hold dear?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

First Day(s) of Summer

Well today marks the Annual first day of summer, however if you live in South Texas, like I do, you know that today is just ONE of the first days of summer.  We have been in a drought for weeks now, and it has been 90°+ heat for the majority of that time.  We have a chance of rain today, tomorrow, and on Friday.  I'll keep my fingers crossed. 
Anyways, in honor of the First Day of Summer, I thought I would share one of my favorite summer recipes with you.  While it is not mine originally, I do make it quite often in the summer.  It is a nice light and tasty snack, lunch, or dinner!

Garden Veggie Pizza (original recipe on allrecipes.com)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package refrigerated crescent rolls (reduced fat)
  • 1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened (1/3 reduced fat)
  • 1 (1 ounce) package Ranch-style dressing mix
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped cauliflower
  • 1/2 cup chopped  Grape tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped green onions
  • 1/2-3/4 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. Roll out crescent rolls onto a large non-stick baking sheet. Stretch and flatten to form a single rectangular shape on the baking sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Allow to cool.
  3. Place cream cheese in a medium bowl. Mix cream cheese with 1/2 of the ranch dressing mix. Adjust the amount of dressing mix to taste. Spread the mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange carrots, cauliflower, tomatoes, and broccoli.  Then sprinkle on green onions and cheese. Chill in the refrigerator approximately 1 hour. Cut into bite-size squares to serve.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Ode to Peanut Butter

In honor of my love for peanut butter, I have written a small poem.  It is entitled Ode to Peanut Butter.

Ode to Peanut Butter

Smoothe and silky
Crunchy or thick
Natural or sweetened
Either one does the trick.

With chocolate or celery
On ice cream or toast
Straight out the jar
Is how I like you most.

You work great with Jelly
and with anything baked
Your a treat in a cookie
and even in cake!

I love you so much!
I can't live without
You make me so happy
More ways I can't count.

So here's to you peanut butter
my friend, you're supreme!
You are far beyond others
You are such a dream!

Also in honor of peanut butter I am going to post my fave peanut butter recipe

Peanut Butter No Bake Cookies

Ingredients

    • 2 cups sugar
    • 1/4 cup margarine
    • 1/2 cup milk
    • 1 cup peanut butter
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla
    • 3 cups rolled oats ( old fashioned)

Directions

  1. In lg saucepan, mix sugar, margarine, and milk; bring to a full, rolling boil over med heat. (full, rolling boil = large bubbles rising to surface that can't be stirred down).
  2. Boil for one minute, stirring constantly.
  3. Remove from heat and stir in peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until peanut butter is melted; stir in oats.
  4. Working quickly, drop by spoonfuls onto waxed paper covered newspaper.
Enjoy!!!!

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies: My saving grace!

I can't help it, I love them. 
I may venture to admit that it could be a slight obsession. 
DON'T JUDGE ME!!!
That being said the only thing better than enjoying an Oatmeal Raisin cookie is enjoying it with a Diet Dr. Pepper.  Which is what I did today as the ending to my lunch.  Mmmmmm.  These are just some of life's little joys.  Just some of the small things that make me appreciate each day.  Now, I'll admit that I cannot make a habit out of enjoying them in mass quantities...daily.  This alone is a shame.  However, those 2 cookies and my Diet Dr. Pepper has enabled me to face the rest of my day with a smile and a sense of renewal.  Who would have thunk that cookies and Dr. Pepper held such incredible powers?!

On another note and to follow up from yesterday's post, I still haven't won the dang lottery...yet.  Maybe today, I should cross my fingers and my toes.  Yesterday  I only crossed my fingers!  I have a feeling that I may end up contorting myself into a very uncomfortable position before I win the lottery... C'est la vie.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

woMAN on the Run

Man this song keeps running through my head today.  It seems that lately this has been the theme to my life.  Don't get me wrong, life is great and keeps going in the right direction but sometimes I feel like all my energy is exhausted in running here and there to keep it all going and moving.  I recently just returned from a 6 day vacation with family, and even there all I did was run, run, run!  One day, I am going to take a vacation and really relax.  Just lay there in the sun with a drink in my hand on a beautiful sandy beach.  Ahhh bliss!  Maybe I'll play the lotto today, and I'll win.  then tomorrow I can take that vacation I am dreaming of...*crosses fingers* Here's to hoping!