Thursday, December 22, 2011

Mint Meringue Kisses

These cute and festive Meringue Kisses willbe sure to please you and your guests this Christmas!  We just made them today, because my Mom had seen this post a couple weeks ago.  So we made a couple of adjustments and came up with these!  Yum!  :)

Mint Meringue Kisses:
6 tsp. Meringue Powder
1/2 c. plus 1 T. Water

1/4 t. Mint Extract
1/4 t. Cream of Tartar
Pinch of salt
3/4 c. Sugar
Red/Green Food coloring, optional
Paint brush/piping bag/mixer
Wax/Parchment Paper

In a mixer whip together meringues powder, water, cream of tartar and salt until soft peaks form.  Then add sugar and continue to beat on high until stiff peaks form.  Fold in mint flavoring carefully.  Paint stripes alternating green and red in piping bag if desired.  Then scoop meringue "dough" into piping bag.  Dot onto baking sheet and set in 225 degree oven to dry for about 90 minutes.  (See this post for more detail and tut.) 

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes (like Chick-fil-A's)

I have this confession...that I have an absolute obsession with the Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshakes at Chick-fil-A.  And the bad part is that they are seasonal....  So I tried making them at home, and viola, they turned out just as fantastic!  :)  Cheaper, and somewhat more available!  :)

 All you need is some of this...  (which is unfortunately limited I may have to go buy a few hundred more....;)  And some milk and chocolate chips!  You'll also need a blender or an immersion blender.  (I love and use both of mine a lot, but I actually think the immersion blender did a much better job with this than my regular one...)
The best part about doing this yourself is that you can make it as thick (or as thin, if that's the way you roll) as you want it!  Just add less or more milk.  I used about two scoops of ice cream, 10 chocolate chips (pounded with a meat mallet inside a ziploc) and a dash of milk to make mine nice and thick.  If you'd like yours a little more immediately drink-through-a-straw-able you'll want to add some more milk.  I'm kind of a weirdo who loves to eat shakes with a spoon...because I like them that thick and yummy!  :)  Anyway, make it how you want it, and you can garnish with some extra candy canes to be super festive!!  Enjoy!!  :)
Yummy!  I think I'm going to go make some more tonight....

Friday, November 25, 2011

Sauted Jerusalem Artichokes

I hope everyone had a fantastic Thanksgiving!!!  I want to share this new and random veggie I found a few weeks ago...

Have you ever heard of, or tried Jerusalem Artichokes?  I hadn't until about two weeks ago, when we saw them at the Farmers' Market.  It turns out North Carolina is about the perfect place to grow these little jewels.  And even though they look a lot like ginger (to me and Rocket Scientist at least) it's not anything like it.  In fact, they aren't even anything like regular artichokes.  They are more like potatoes.  Yummy though.  Here's a great way to fix um! :)

What you'll need:
Jerusalem Artichokes, washed
Onion diced
Olive Oil
Salt/Pepper to taste
 Looks a lot like ginger, right?  But it's not, these are Jerusalem Artichokes.  Yum.
 Slice them up.
 Gentley saute about 1 T. Olive Oil with some diced onion and sliced Jerusalem artichoke.
 Keep stirring until it starts to brown and the pieces of Jerusalem Artichoke are tender in the middle. (About 10 minutes on Med.)
Enjoy!  :) Afternoon snack, side for dinner...whatever floats your boat! 

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Homemade Gnocchi

Gnocchi is easy to make as far as pastas (and noodles) go.  All you do is mix your dough up, roll it into little logs and cut into pieces.  Easy peasy right?  :)  And they are SUPER yummy!  Sweet potato gnocchi is by far my favorite.  I can just eat it by itself it's SO good!  :)

My recipe: (2 hearty servings)
1 c. mashed sweet potato (~1 large sweet potato, cooked, peeled and mashed up)
1.5 c. Flour
1 Egg
1/4 t. Kosher Salt

Mix together all the ingredients of the dough.  (Adding flour in a half cup at a time.)  Knead rest of the flour in, if needed.
Roll dough into logs, cut into pieces and toss with a little flour so they don't stick together before cooking.
Cook in a pot of boiling water for about 3 minutes or until done.  Fresh pasta (gnocchi included) cooks super fast.

Serve immediately with sauce or toppings of your choice.  Tomatoes and garlic pair very nicely with the sweet potato.  :)
You can really substitute any type of potato in this recipe too just fyi.  Sweet potatoes are just my fave.  :)  Feel free to experiment and let us know what you think!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Cascara -- A Coffee Cherry Tea

I was just recently introduced to Cascara.  It's an herbal beverage you make by steeping the dried coffee cherries in hot water (like tea).  It's quite delicious too.  It has notes of plums and raisins, with a real natural sweetness to it.  If you ever have the chance to pick up some Cascara, or enjoy a cup of it, I highly recommend the experience.  

Here's the wet cherries after they steeped for about 3 minutes.

 The tea...
 Ready to drink. :)
It's a pretty popular beverage in Coffee growing regions of the world, but rather rare here in the States.  I got some of the Cascara from the El Salvador Finca Mauritania lot available at A Southern Season in Chapel Hill, NC right now.  So if you happen to be in the area you can get some there, or check out your local roasters etc...

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Turkey Craft

Here's a little turkey craft you can use to decorate your table for Thanksgiving!  I actually saw Our Best Bites post today, and got to crafting myself.  Since I didn't have silk flowers on hand, I just used little craft paper flowers and scrap-booking paper.  Cute huh?  Here's how you can do it too...

 Here's what you'll need:  hot glue, some paper flowers, and some paper.  Fall colors are best, but I also used some neon green....and I really like the way it turned out for some reason!  :)

 Cut out the bodies of the turkeys and add some beaks.
 Layer three or so flowers on top of each other until you like the color combos...
 Hold in one hand, and cut in half (carefully!).  Then use hot glue to glue each layer together and the body to it.
 Then repeat till your turkeys are all done.  I make six altogether.  Love the color combos...
 Then you can decorate whatever you'd like with them.  I particularly like them on the place cards though!  :)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Vegetarian Chili

You can either make this on the stove or in a crockpot.

Here's what you'll need:
1 can Kidney Beans 
1 can Black Beans 
1 can Pinto Beans 
2 c. Roma Tomatoes, diced 
1 pkg Tempeh, crumbled
1 Jalapeno, finely diced 
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder 
1 Tbsp. Barbque Sauce or Hot Sauce of your choice 
1 can Tomato Paste (small can)
1c. Water 
Salt and Pepper to taste

Drain and rinse the beans.  Pour everything in the pot, crumbling the tempeh as you go and stir together.  Then set it on low for 8 hours in the crockpot or simmer for 3-4 hours on the stovetop.  

This makes a nice thick, hearty chili, so if you'd like it thinner add more water.

Enjoy!  :)

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Personalized Charm Earring Giveaway!

WINNER ANNOUNCED:  Andrea.  Please email me to claim your prize!

Since it's already November.  And since it's Tuesday night at 10:00pm.  And since I haven't been blogging/making as much food lately because my hand.  And since I feel sorry about that.  And because I love y'all!  I'm giving away some of these super cute personalized earrings by JewelsNJoys Etsy Shop.

You may remember me mentioning something about this shop before, because they have some super cute vintage finds as well as jewelry.  They actually just listed these today, and I am super fond of them. (And I already own a pair!:)  

Here's a glimpse of what these cute charm earrings look like:
 And since they are made to order, you'll get a personalized pair for yourself or a loved one this holiday season!  Super cool huh?  
Comment on this post and you are entered in the giveaway for these cute personalized charm earrings by Jewels N Joys. 

Must live in the contiguous United States of America.
Must be at least 18 years of age.
Giveaway ends at 11pm (EST) Friday 11/11/11.  (No entries will count after 11pm 11/11/11.)

Additional Entries: 
~"Like" A Delicious Melody on Facebook, and leave a separate comment on this post stating that.
~"Like" Jewels N Joys on Facebook, and leave a separate comment on this post stating that you did.
~Tweet or Blog about this giveaway, and leave a separate comment on this post stating that you did.
~Add my new ADM button (found on the right sidebar) to your blog or website and leave two comments saying you did.  (Yep, you read that right, that's two extra entries for this one.)

Good luck!

This giveaway is now closed!

Monday, November 7, 2011

4 ingredient cookies

In the mood for some yummy, yet quick and easy cookies?!?  Look no further!  You only 4 different ingredients and you're on your way to eating these goodies...
1 Betty Crocker Devil's Food Cake Mix (you could use other brand but the proportions would be different...)
3 Eggs
1/4 c. Butter or Crisco, softened in microwave
1 c. Mini marshmallows

Mix ingredients together until well combined.  I recommend blending cake mix, eggs and butter/crisco before adding the marshmallows.  Drop by the spoonful and slightly flatten on baking sheet.  Bake for about 15minutes at 350degrees.  Then enjoy these light fluffy somewhat chewy cookies!  :)

Thursday, October 27, 2011

No high fives for now...

As you may (or very well may not) have noticed I have not been blogging as much lately.  Some of that is due to the day job, some of that is due to travel (last month to see my newest niece!!) and some of that is due to the pain in my right hand/fingers.   So I thought I would just go ahead and give you a heads up and some info on that, should it become a bigger deal in the weeks to come.

I first started noticing a pretty severe pain in my index finger in  my right hand about 4 weeks ago.  I wrote it off as an injury or something, but before I knew it my whole right hand was just aching and really painful most of the time.  And especially while I was doing repetitive tasks at work. 

Of course before I went to the Dr. though I had done my research and deduced my hand pain down to two options:  Some sort of arthritis or some sort of overuse type injury.  So finally, last Friday I went to the Dr. for my hand pain. He did all sorts of looking at each of my hands and then he proceeded to pinch, prod and otherwise manipulate my hands' tendons, ligaments and bones into even more uncomfortable positions.  After that was done, he informed me that I have tendinitis in my right hand and fingers.  He also told me to rest my hand for two weeks, gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory medication and said if it wasn't back to normal in that time he was going to refer me over to Orthopaedic Surgeon. 

One week in and I'm finally being able to rest my hand during the day at work, and at night in this really great brace my hubby and I found at target.  I'm not too sure if my hand is really feeling any better...because it's still super painful...but hopefully by the end of next week it will be just a faint memory. very well might be off to surgery I go....I'm praying it doesn't get to that point though. 

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Tempeh Tacos / Vegetarian Tacos

You first (and only) exerpeicnes with tempeh (until now) had been in the dorms in college.  I couldnt' 
stand, let along stomach much of anything they served us there...but I found a love in my heart for various forms of this vegetarian protein.  So, now I've finally busted it out at home and my hubby here's the recipe.  :) Don't knock these till you try them!  Quick, easy and healthy and you don't have to mess with raw meat!  Also a great meat alternative as well as vegetarian option for house guests. :) 

Start with something that looks about like this.....  You can find it a lot of places these days from Wally World to Whole Foods.  :)  It's usually (if not always) next to the Tofu.
 Break it up into tiny pieces or just shred it like cheese.  I know it looks odd at this stage...but again, just don't knock it will you try it!  :)
 Start by sauteing a small diced onion and the tempeh in about 1 T. of oil.  Stirring frequently.
 Then add about 1/4 c. water and your choice of taco seasoning(s). Stir until liquid is mostly vanished...
Serve in flour tortillas, corn tortillas or in crunchy shells!  Top with lettuce, cheese, sour cream or whatever else your heart so desires!  And enjoy!!  :)
Let me know what you think!  :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tomato Jake's ...

Wow.  This pizza was fabulous!  My hubby and I finally ventured over near Southpoint to try Tomato Jake's pizza.  We're sure glad we did!  :)  Check 'em out if you're in the area!  I don't think you'll be dissappointed.  Plus it's mobster themed menu is quite extensive to satisfy a hankering for a calzone, pizza, sandwich, wings, salad or "Garlic knuckles"...

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Zorro: A sweet, savory and spicy turkey sandwich

 Do you remember Zorro? Swish, swish, swish and he'd mark his "Z" on anythign he wanted.  He was a good guy.  He was a hero.  He was notable, memorable and well just cool!...that's why I named this sandwich "The Zorro".

You'll need:
Kaiser rolls
Swiss cheese (or gruyere)
Cream cheese
Pepper Jelly
Split the kaisers open.

Spread cream cheese on one half and pepper jelly on the other.

Layer turkey on one side and lay the cheese on the other.
 Stick under the broiler for about one or two minutes or just serve chilled.  Enjoy!  :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

Easy Caramel Corn

Here's an easy way to make homemade caramel corn!  You can make it for your friends, family or yourself. :)  The proportions I used are as follows, but feel free to add more caramel or more popped corn to your liking!  :)

Here's what you'll need:
15 unwrapped Caramels (Kraft or others)
~5 c. Popped Corn* (Air or oil popped, or homemade microwave)
1 T. Milk
Pinch of Salt

*Be sure to remove the "old maids" or unpopped kernels before you add the caramel.

Just put the caramels and milk in a microwave safe bowl.  The microwave it until it melts checking every 15 seconds.  It will only take about 1.5 minutes, be sure to check frequently and stir though!  Then put the popped corn in a large bowl, pour the melted caramel over it and stir.  Then stir in the pinch of salt. Viola!  Super easy, right?!? :)
 Serve warm or room temp.  I personally love it warm though! :)
 Place into muffin cups for an easy way to serve to kiddos or give as treats!  :)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Muffins

I have a hard time believing that it's already October again, but with all the cool weather and rain we've had here in NC lately...I should believe it!  You know what that means though, yummy, warming food!  So here are my favorite pumpkin muffins!  They are easy to whip up and you can add chocolate chips if you'd like, or they are just fabulous without them too!  Happy Autumn!  :)

Pumpkin Muffins:
2 c.  Flour (You can really easily use completely whole wheat without anyone knowing, btw!:)
1/2 c. Sugar
1 c. Pumpkin Puree (canned or homemade)
2 Eggs
1 T. Oil
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/2 t. Baking Soda
1/8 t.  Allspice, ground
1/8 t.  Nutmeg, ground
1/8 t.  Cloves, ground
1/8 t.  Cinnamon, ground
Dash of Salt
Optional: 1/4-1/2 c. Chocolate Chips

1.  Preheat oven to 350degrees.
2.  Mix together all of the ingredients until well combined.
3.  Evenly pour the batter into lined/greased muffin tins.  (Should make 12 muffins.)
4.  Bake for ~20 minutes or until done.
Enjoy warm or room temperature! Yum!  :)

Monday, October 10, 2011

Chocolate Drizzled Pretzels--An Easy Sweet and Salty Treat

 I don't know about you, but I love sweet and salty things.  Chocolate covered pretzels, kettle corn, you name it...  So when I felt like something sweet and salty last night I thought of this simple treat!

All you need is:
2 c. Pretzels (Rods, sticks, etc...)
3-4 oz. Chocolate (Dark, Milk, White or combo of any/all of them)

1.  Start by lining a baking sheet with some waxed paper (or parchment).  Lay out a thing layer or so of pretzels.
2.  Melt chocolate(s) in the microwave 15 seconds at a time, stirring in between.   Then place melted chocolate carefully in a zippered bag and cut a small hole out of the corner.  Drizzle over pretzels.
 3.  Repeat step 2 with other types of chocolate if desired.
 4.  Once the pretzels are desirably drizzled with chocolate place in refrigerator for about 15 minutes to set.
 5.  Break apart, place on serving dish and enjoy!!  Store leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.  But I doubt you'll have any leftovers!  :)

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