Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Damn Good Crescent Roll Jalapeno Popper Bites

I rarely repeat dinner recipes. I mean, I have my basics (baked chicken or fish being my go-tos) but there's so many things out there to make, I rarely have difficulty finding new things to try.

Apps are a different story. I get in app ruts. I have the dips I like and sometimes I don't want to branch out. I'm glad I did with these because they were gooo-oood, Clark. And easy to make too. 

One of my requirements for apps is that they are able to be assembled in advance of people being there. We had them for the Super Bowl and I prepped and assembled them in advance so all I had to do was pop them in the oven. I got the original recipe here

1 tube crescent rolls
2 jalapenos, seeded and diced. Use more or less to your taste. I cut these a day in advance - and in the name of all that is holy don't touch your eyes for the rest of the day after cutting them
8 slices bacon, chopped and cooked till crisp - I did this a day in advance too. 
About half of a brick of cream cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Open can of crescent rolls and separate each roll along the perforation. Cut each triangle in half.

Smear cream cheese (amount of your choice, I just eyeballed it) on each roll and top with a few pieces of diced jalapeno (the amount depends on the amount of heat you want) and crumbled bacon.

Gather the edges of the dough up and pinch them together. Poke, prod, and do what you will to make sure all the filling is inside. 

Place the ball of dough seam side down and bake for about 12-13 minutes or until golden brown.

They're coming in hot.
Jalapenos are awesome...
but can burn your butt.
Tomorrow: February Recommendations from me, Jana @ The Townhouse Pioneer, Amanda @ Voyage of the MeeMee, Kerry @ Til Then, Smile Often, and Kelli @ She Crab Soup
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Martinis & Bikinis

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Hungry Eyes: Ga-gung Ga-gung Chili

You know when Baby is learning to dance and she's not getting it? Johnny says, "It's not on the one, it's not the mambo. It's a feeling...a heartbeat. Ga-gung. Ga-gung. Don't try so hard. Ga-gung. Ga-gung. Close your eyes." Cue Hungry Eyes.
Chili is the same thing.You have to taste your way through making it. It's a feeling...a heart beat. Ga-gung. Ga-gung. Chili.
1.25 lb ground beef
1 lb beef for stew
1/2 red onion, chopped
1/2 tsp garlic, minced
1 cup bell peppers, chopped
15 oz tomato sauce
3 tbs tomato paste
28 oz crushed tomatoes
15 oz pinto beans, rinsed
15 oz kidney beans, rinsed
diced green chiles
Chili powder - start with two tablespoons and add as needed
Cumin - start with two tablespoons and add as needed
Paprika - start with one tablespoon and add as needed
Garlic powder - start with one tablespoon and add as needed
Ground mustard - start with one teaspoon and add as needed
Salt & pepper to taste (last)
Hot sauce if you choose, to taste.
Drain and rinse beans in colander.

Brown ground beef and half of the onion. Drain and set aside. Cook stew meat in same pot without washing it out. After the outside is all browned, add the other half of the onion and peppers and cook until veggies start to get soft, about four minutes.

Add tomato sauce, green chiles, crushed tomatoes in juice, and beans. Stir well. Add your seasonings and stir. Cook over medium for five minutes, taste, add additional seasonings if desired. Cover and simmer on low for 20 minutes.
If you want to be a fancy dancer, you can make homemade cornbread in a cast iron skillet using this recipe. To make it in a cast iron skillet, put two tablespoons of butter in the skillet in the oven and let melt, then pour the cornbread in and stir a bit. Bake as instructed - mine took a bit longer but I didn't time it so keep an eye on it.

Dirty Dancing meals?
Hungry eyes...hungry eyes...mmm
Dance and dine with me.
Did I just connect chili to Dirty Dancing? You bet your sweet maracas I did.

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Saturday, February 15, 2014

Snow Day Stromboli

Thursday I worked from home since winter took a big crap on Philadelphia.

MFD went to the store on Wednesday night to get fat guy in a little coat food because who wants to be snowed in without it? Stromboli sounded warm and delicious so I asked him to get the stuff for it on a whim.

pizza dough (I used Pillsbury in a can because I was out of bread flour to make my own - use your favorite)
2/3-1cup of pizza sauce (I make my own: heat 15 oz can of tomato sauce and  6 oz can of tomato paste. Add onion powder, garlic powder, garlic salt, basil, italian seasoning, salt to taste) 
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
6 slices cooked ham
12 slices genoa salami
1 egg
1 tsp milk or water
Italian seasoning
Garlic salt

Preheat oven to 500.

Roll pizza dough out into a rectangle with the long side facing you. I do this on parchment paper but it's not necessary.

Spread sauce out almost to the edges, leaving about 1.5 inches of room on the short side edges. Top with one cup of cheese.

Rip ham into pieces and place lovingly where you will. Layer with slices of genoa salami and top with remaining cup of cheese.

Crack egg into a small bowl and beat. Add milk or water and beat again. Congratulations, you have just made an egg wash.

Roll short side edges in. Brush with egg wash.

Beginning with the long side edge closest to you, roll up like a jelly roll. Press along the seam when you come to the end.

Place stromboli seam side down on baking sheet. Brush top and sides with egg wash, then sprinkle Italian seasoning and garlic salt on the top. Cut a few slits in the top.

Bake at 500 for 8-10 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 before cutting into it. Serve with pizza sauce for dipping if desired.

It was insanely easy and delicious. Best idea ever. It would also be good as a party app.

As for who had the best snow day ever...

Have you entered the Debbie Rae Designs giveaway?
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Friday, February 14, 2014

Ain't Nobody Love You Like I love You - Debbie Rae Designs Jewelry

Like I Love You by Justin Timberlake on Grooveshark
I love love. All kinds of love. I think we should celebrate the shit out of love every day. Things I love about love:
1. There's so much love to give and receive every day between you and the people around you: between you and YOURSELF (an often overlooked relationship), you and your parents, you and your children, you and your siblings, you and your best friends, you and your partner, you and your pet, you and your God. Sometimes you're born with shitty relatives, which is why it's awesome that you can have framily: the relatives you choose by choice. Even if your parents or siblings suck, love is out there for you.

2. No one gets to say who you love or how much you love someone. You can love whoever you want with your whole huge heart.
3. Love exercises your heart - it pushes your heart to be bigger to hold all the love that needs a place to live, to stay strong when it's been mistreated, to hold its muscles tight when it's bursting with pride, to keep a steady beat when it's full.
4. Love gives you a safe place to land - when you screw up, feel worthless, get kicked around by life - it's the love of your tribe that will prop you up until you can stand on your own two feet again.
5. Love gives you the opportunity to share with and give to others. It allows you to find joy in their joy. I love my Debbie Rae Designs jewelry and wear at least one piece every day (but am usually wearing two or three bracelets at a time). To celebrate the talent of my fabulous BFF Debbie and the launch of her new Debbie Rae Designs website and because ain't nobody love you like I love you, one of you will win a custom Debbie Rae Designs bracelet (you pick the bead and the charm) and set of earrings.

Cheers. From me to you with love. Good luck!
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Linking up with

Helene in Between

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Meet Geege

Oh dear. This is it. My mother told me it's time to leave my mark in words. I much prefer to mark my territory in other ways, always have and always will, but I digress.

I'm not much for the spotlight. I prefer to sit behind Gus and the new girl and let them take center stage. Too much attention makes me nervous.

I'm Geege. That's gee like gee whiz, followed by juh. It was a made up nickname but now it's just my name.
My parents adopted me from a nice family who called me Jake. I came to live with my Mom and Dad in May 2007. For the first week, I sat at the window and barked. For the next six months, I sat on the couch or the floor and warily surveyed the situation. After that period of reconnaissance, I decided to actually sit on the couch next to my people. I've never regretted it. I will always appreciate them not rushing me...letting me feel out the situation and be a part of the family when I was ready. Gus? He appointed me his lackey from the moment we met. It might sound like a raw deal for me, but we are very very very best friends and have been from the minute I walked into that tiny apartment.

These are my roles: protecting my people to make sure this kingdom is guarded and on lock down at all times, following my mom around the house to make sure she's doing everything up to code, and refereeing Gus and the new sister. My command center is the front window, but the front door and basement level sliding doors are my posts as well.  How do I do performance-wise? I'm a super hero, and that's not a brag. I take my duties very seriously.
Even Spider-Man has fears. I'm afraid of loud noises like booms and things that crackle and light up the sky and make my mom yell "Enough fireworks, you assholes!" out of our windows. Loud noises make me shake and cry and have earned me the nickname Heebie Jeebie. Sometimes I have to hide under the bed. Other times I like to crawl under the bed just because I can be a weird guy.
The burdens of guarding my people and fellow canines as well as overseeing the running of our kingdom tire me out. When I sleep, I burrow into my people and I sleep hard. I've earned it because I've been patrolling all day. You can tell I'm tired when my tongue is out. My mom says I'm the cutest sleeping dog ever.
My life isn't all guard work. When I take a vacation, I prefer to visit places where I can run free, free like the wind! My soul bursts out of my body and carries me through Treat Lady's woods like I am a puppy instead of a 10 year old. I also enjoy romps along the beach. When I'm on vacation I can show my free spirit who likes to chase butterflies and gets distracted easily, running from one thing to the next with adrenaline and pure joy.
At home, I take my breaks in the sun. I love to go on walks and be outside, roll in the grass and run free in the fields by my house when no one else is around. It's important to appreciate the small things in life. Especially when you have a good one like I do - freedom to roam, tons of belly rubs, vacations, people who love me, siblings to play with, being allowed to sleep in a big bed with my head on pillows like a person, an important role as guard and protector, tons of toys I rarely play with, food I bark insistently for every day and cheeseburgers on my birthday. Life is good. And my mom calls me her best boy every day.
I don't have much else to say. I'm just a soulful guy trying to live a noble life. Don't be sad if you see me looking concerned in photos - I'm just always more concerned about you than I am about me.
I'm very soft and easy to love and I have endless love to give. Kisses too even though I'm told my breath smells like buttholes. Mom, what's a butthole again?

Tomorrow my mother will be back and my Auntie Debbie is giving bracelets and earrings away. I heard ladies like those.

In service and good stead always -
Geege aka TeeTee aka GeeJosh aka Tatie aka Gee-kah-baba aka Genie aka Tahtita
Linking up for Pets Are People Too
Jade and Oak

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Organizing items of note

Nerd alert: one of my favorite things to figure out is which storage item to use to organize something. I know Steph at Not Entirely Perfect feels the same way, which is why we are giving away a $50 gift card to The Container Store right now that you can enter to win at the bottom of this post. We love to organize the shit out of things. Check Steph's organize posts out by clicking here.

I look around and re-purpose what I have before I buy an organizer. I have a lot of things laying around that would be good organizers. I bet you do too. Before you throw something out, look at it and ask yourself how you could put it to work as an organizer. A magazine holder was on its way and now holds my garden flags. However, sometimes you just need to purchase organizers instead of re-purposing something. Here are some of my favorite organizer purchases:

1. Rectangular sea grass bin from The Container Store - $7.99. I also have one in my linen closet holding extras: mini tissue packs, mouthwash, toothpaste, MFD's shave gel and deoderant.

2. Large multi-purpose translucent bin from The Container Store - $5.99. I also use one of these under the kitchen sink to store water bottles, and an XL one ($6.99) to store dish liquid and other kitchen cleaners. I am not of the "keep all cleaning items in one place" school. When we lived in a small one bedroom apartment, I did that. This house has three floors.  Leaving cleaning stuff in each bathroom and the kitchen stuff in the kitchen ensures that those places get wiped down daily.
3. Mini stacking basket from The Container Store - $3.99. I usually have four rolls of TP stacked in here.
4. Shoe boxes from Target - It's been a while, but I think they're around $3? I can fit two flats in one box. I also use them in the linen closet to store medicine, travel sized products, and Qtips/cotton balls. These are a great work horse and can be used throughout the house.
5. Dollar Store organizers. They're a little flimsy, but they do the job. I use them in both freezers to keep shit in check. In the fridge they hold little stuff like MFD's beloved Country Crock, yogurts, etc. They also hold baking stuff: vanilla, baking powder, salt, chips, cookie cutters, etc. I have an oval one under the kitchen sink that holds my dirty towels, napkins, and wash cloths until they're ready to be washed.
6. ClosetMaid Cubeicals from Target - $5.99. I employ these on the book shelf in my room. They hold pajamas, pants, flip flops, slippers, and crapping around t-shirts. 
Most of my other organizers come from Marshalls/Home Goods. I'm lured to fun colors and textures, especially for organizers that sit in plain sight.

And, of course, my Muji makeup organizers. They are lebombdotcom.

What are your favorite organizers?

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

When it comes to weight loss, let's go back to basics.

A good Saturday to you, dear reader. A while back I asked people to let me know what they wanted to see on this blog, and one of the answers was fitness stuff. I am not a guru on that, so I went straight to the source, my friend Kathy at Vodka and Soda. Kathy fucking rocks and she's really knowledgeable about fitness, clean eating, and weight loss. She totally kicks ass. And uses the term fitness boner to describe when work out things go awesome so hello you know you'll love her, sickos. So sit back, relax, and enjoy. And follow her on her blog, she's been doing Fitness Fridays. Get your fitness fix from the source. 
Visit Kathy at Vodka & Soda / Twitter / Instagram

Hello amazing readers of Life According to Steph! I’m Kathy and I blog over at Vodka and Soda.  I’m a 38 year old mother to an adorable and brilliant 5 year old, a total geek at heart (I work in the IT industry) and an avid lover of all things health and fitness.  Today, Steph was crazy enough to let me take over this space so we’re going to talk about something that gives me a major boner – fitness.  Listen up fast because I’m about to impart some mad wisdom in your faces.

It’s the end of January and a lot of people have started weight loss challenges or making positive changes in their lives.  All of this – whether you’re a newbie or a guru – is awesome because any change, no matter how small it is, can make a difference.  And here’s where I get on my soapbox to say what needs to be said:    All that shit you read or hear on the TV/internet about this diet or that diet or juicing or detoxing or whatever – IGNORE IT.  It’s nothing but dumb marketing schemes put out by marketing companies who want nothing but to take your money.  Do not buy into their shit!
In my personal opinion (and experience), when it comes to weight loss, we need to go back to the basics - no fancy blenders or juicers.  No powders or meal replacements or pills.  No diets that cut out major food groups or restrict food consumption.  No food that comes out of a box, bag or can - just the basic stuff:  fresh, wholesome food and exercise.  That’s it. 

There is no magic behind weight loss. Nothing that any marketing company can put out on the shelf will make you accelerate or burn fat any faster than your body will allow which is why I say to avoid all those fad diets and crazy machines – your body will burn fat if you return to the basics, make the right choices and exercise.  All you need to do start and then give it time to work.

And carbs – what is with all the demonizing of carbohydrates?  Time and time again, I read about women cutting out carbs because “that’s the reason i can’t lose weight.”  This is one of the biggest misconceptions of all! Carbs are NOT the reason why you can’t lose weight – bad choices are the reasons why one can’t lose weight.   Yes, carbs are caloric dense but are also is a great source of energy.  Cutting out carbs will do nothing but make you feel tired, miserable and crazy.  Our bodies need carbohydrates to function so instead of eating the white, starchy kinds, just select healthy alternatives like sweet potatoes, quinoa or whole grains. Eat them in controlled portions, eat within your caloric range for weight loss and you will lose inches and weight.

The biggest challenge for anyone wanting to lose weight is making the change; the starting point.  You’re now changing the way you eat and changing your daily routine which is instead of sitting on the couch, you get up and exercise. Who said change is easy?  It’s not!  Humans are naturally resistant to change because it’s different from what we do on a daily basis.  We also put too much pressure on ourselves to become fitness gurus or healthy in a couple of weeks when really, it takes at least a month to feel and see the changes.  Did you know that it takes humans on average 4 weeks to form new habits?  This means that we need to repeat an activity at approximately the same time every day for at least 4 weeks in order for it to become a habit.  So give yourself a break; if you’ve just started a healthy change or a new workout program, give yourself time to adjust and adapt.  Be patient.  Go back to the basics of clean eating and exercise.  Most of all, remember that it’s not the outside that only counts but what’s happening on the inside that counts most.

Are you currently working to make a healthy change in your life? 

Kathy - Vodka and Soda
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