Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Pinterest Recipe Week 6 Review

Last Monday I announced that I was going to cook dinner for the whole week based only on recipes that I’ve pinned on Pinterest - aka Pinterest Recipe Week.  Everything turned out pretty good, but not all earned a spot in my recipe binder. Before I crap on any recipes I want to say that these are just our opinions. You might like something we didn’t like or vice versa. That’s what makes food fun; everyone is different. Oh, and sorry for the non-staged food pictures. I was more concerned about eating the food while it was still hot rather than getting good pictures.


Steak Tips with Caramelized Onions and Grilled Red Potato Packets with Pesto Ranch Sauce

Overall, I’d say everything was good, but could use a few tweaks in my opinion. We liked the steak tips, but I thought the marinade had too much A-1 sauce and the flavor was a little overpowering. The recipe also makes way more marinade than you need and it’s kind of a waste of ingredients. I could have halved the recipe and still had plenty. I love caramelized/grilled onions, so I thought those were amazing and could have eaten the whole pan. Also, as you can tell in the picture, I accidently cut my steak pieces a little too small, but they still cooked up well. I would consider making these again, but with the marinade changes listed above and I’d cut my steak into larger pieces as instructed.
The potatoes were good and I loved the idea of cooking them in foil packets on the grill, but they were too oily. Butter + olive oil + oil from the pesto was way too much. However, I did love the foil packet method and I would definitely cook potatoes this way again. It’s nice that you don’t have to dirty any pots or pans. Other than that, the flavor was pretty good (although next time I would try different ingredient/spices combinations) and I loved the crispy ones stuck to the foil. Oh, and as you can tell from the picture, I forgot to add the chives. I chopped them up, but just forgot to sprinkle them on…oops! 


Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas with Cilantro Lime Rice and Pinto Beans

Let’s start with the enchiladas – they were good, but really rich. I don’t think you could eat more than two without feeling sick. That being said, the two I ate were really good. I really liked the shrimp mixture and would definitely make that again. I think next time I’d use the shrimp mixture from this recipe and top it with the creamy salsa verde from this Skinny Taste recipe.
I’ve never ate at CafĂ© Rio, so I don’t know if this rice tastes similar or not, but it was tasty and paired well with the enchiladas.
Ugh, now let’s talk about the beans. They were definitely the biggest disappointment for the week. The 20-minute cooking time is WAY off. My beans definitely weren’t soft enough after 20 minutes, so I cooked them another 20 minutes, but they were still kind of crunchy. By then I had to move on and finish dinner if we wanted to eat at a reasonable time, so I let them sit for an hour as instructed, but still no. I ended up just throwing out the whole pot of beans. Next time I’ll just cook them in the crockpot like I usually do.  


These burgers were seriously tasty! Next time I think I’d crumble the bacon and add it to the cream cheese-jalapeno mixture instead of putting it on top of the burger. And I think I’d add lettuce and tomato too, but those are the only changes I’d make. I really love the idea of stuffed burgers and I loved the ranch avocado sauce. Mmmm, definitely a tasty burger! The waffle fries are just Alexia seasoned waffle fries. I didn’t make those – I just baked them according to the directions.

Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce and Crunchy Asian Slaw

The chicken skewers were good, but they tasted just like every other marinated chicken recipe. That's not necessarily a bad thing and like I said, they were good, just not standout chicken skewers. As far as the peanut sauce goes, at first I didn't like it, but it grew on me after a few bites. 

I think everyone has their own version of this recipe. I'm partial to my version Crunchy Asian Slaw, but since this was new recipe week, I decided to try a different one. I have to say, this version is really good. I really liked the buttery, seasoned ramen noodles. The dressing is really good too. It's similar to the one I make except this recipe calls for red wine vinegar and I usually use apple cider vinegar. I'm definitely going to take a few ideas from this recipe and incorporate them into my own. 


Broiled Salmon and Roasted Garlic Cream Noodles withCrispy Cauliflower + Toasted Pine Nuts 

We still have a lot of salmon left from our Alaska trip, so I've been trying to find new recipes and tips for cooking it. I usually bake it (375 degrees for 15-18 minutes), but I liked the broil method from this recipe. I'll definitely cook it that way again. We also really liked the roasted garlic cream noodles. Although next time I'd use shell pasta because I don't really like regular spaghetti noodles (I know, I'm weird). Oh, and if you want to save a few bucks, you could leave off the pine nuts. They are good, but they don't make or break the dish. 


Country Gravy Breakfast Casserole

I know the picture doesn't look that appetizing, but this casserole is seriously delicious! My boyfriend and I ate almost half of the 9x13 pan by ourselves in one sitting. I followed the recipe exactly as directed except I ended up making gravy from the sausage grease using this recipe instead of using package gravy mix.

This was really good! I ended up taking the leftovers for lunch one day – yes, I ate chips and dip for lunch. It wasn’t spicy at all, so next time I think I’d add a couple more jalapenos because I think this would be really good with a little kick, but it’s definitely not necessary if you don’t like heat.   


Golden Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake Bars 

It's cheesecake so of course it's delicious! I love the golden Oreo crust! It might be my new go-to cheesecake crust. You could also skip the crumbled Oreos and just make strawberry cheesecake. That would be delicious too! Yum!

Has anyone else tried a recipe they've pinned? Leave any recommendations in the comments section - I'm always looking for new dishes!

You can see these pins and other food related pins
You can read previous Pinterest Recipe Week reviews here

Friday, September 12, 2014

The Friday Five

One – My New Favorite Pants

The main reason I’m writing this post is so I can tell everyone about my new favorite pants - the SONOMA life + style Straight-LegSlim Knit Pants. They are ridiculously comfortable, but still appropriate for the office. I wore them working in England last week and I’ve worn them a couple times to work this week. I’ve been pairing mine with my usual work blouses and flats and love how they look.  I already own two pairs, but I’m planning on buying at least two more. Seriously, they are like wearing comfy, stretchy pajama pants.

Two – High School Reunion

My 10-year high school reunion is this weekend...My boyfriend and I are going to the family picnic tomorrow afternoon, but my cousin is getting married tomorrow night, so I’m going to miss the reunion dinner. It should be interesting to see everyone. Although, thanks to Facebook I already know what a lot of my classmates have been up to over the past decade – lots of weddings and babies!

Three – Rainy Day

It started raining in the Phoenix-area around 2 a.m. Monday morning and didn’t stop until almost lunch time! You might have seen pictures of the flooded freeways on the news. Let’s just say the area was not built for that much rain.  We were lucky because the storm didn’t cause any damage or flooding to our house, but our backyard looked like a lake and our pool was only a couple inches from overflowing. It was pretty crazy! I’m just glad I had my laptop, so I could work from home for the day. 

Four – One Room Challenge

I just wanted to give everyone a heads up that the next One Room Challenge (hosted by Linda at Calling it Home) starts Thursday, October 2nd. I would definitely recommend joining in if you have a room that needs a makeover and you need some motivation. Participating in the last challenge is probably the only reason my laundry room is actually painted. I’d probably still be procrastinating getting the drywall repaired if I hadn’t participated (although I still haven’t finished the counter).

I’m still trying to decide which room I want to work on this time. I can’t decide between the master bedroom, master bathroom, guest room, or pool area. I’m leaning towards pool area (even though it’s not technically a room) because the weather will start cooling down by October and it’d be nice to finally get some work done outside. Regardless, I need to make a decision soon, so I can start planning and ordering any long-lead items.

Five – Divergent

I watched Divergent while I was on the plane to London and I loved it! I wanted to sleep, but I couldn’t turn it off. I definitely wasn’t expecting to like it as much as I did. It doesn’t hurt that Four (Theo James) is ridiculously good looking. I bought the movie when I got home and I can’t wait to watch it again. Now I want to read the books before the next movie comes out. Have you seen the movie or read the books?

Hope you all have a great weekend! I'll be back Monday with the results of Pinterest Recipe Week!

Thursday, September 11, 2014

New and Improved Projects Page!

For the past few months weeks I’ve been hard at work behind the scenes improving the ol’ blog. Today I’m finally ready to introduce the new and improved Projects page! 

You’ll notice that it’s a lot more organized than the previous projects page. Here’s a shot of the previous projects page in case you forgot (or never saw it): 

Now everything is separated into categories: my favorites, furniture makeovers, art projects, crafts/DIY, sewing/fabric, home improvement, and even travel! I’m also planning on creating a decorating and a recipes section, but I haven’t completed those yet.

Hopefully you find this page easier to navigate than the previous version! Let me know if you come across any links that don’t work or lead you somewhere unexpected.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Pinterest Recipe Week #6

I’m back from England! I had a great trip, but I wish I would have had more time to explore…next time I’ll plan to stay an extra couple days on my own. Look for the travel recap next week!

Anyway, today I’m bringing back another one of my old series – Pinterest Recipe Week! Can you believe it’s been nine months since the last Pinterest Recipe Week? For those of you who are new, Pinterest Recipe Week is my plan to cook a week’s worth of dinners only from recipes I’ve pinned. You can read the previous five recaps here.

Every weekend I plan out our meals for the upcoming week. We usually eat out on Friday and Saturday, so I typically only make five meals each week. This week I’m even adding a breakfast recipe, an appetizer, and a dessert!

Today I’m sharing my meal plan and next Monday I’ll share my reviews. Let’s hope everything tastes as good as it looks!


Country Gravy Breakfast Casserole


Chicken Enchilada Verde Dip


Creamy Shrimp Enchiladas with Cilantro Lime Rice and Pinto Beans

Broiled Salmon and Roasted Garlic Cream Noodles with Crispy Cauliflower + Toasted Pine Nuts

Steak Tips with Caramelized Onions and GrilledRed Potato Packets with Pesto Ranch Sauce

Thai Chicken Skewers with Peanut Sauce and Crunchy Asian Slaw

Stuffed Jalapeno Popper Bacon Cheeseburger with Waffle Fries


Golden Oreo Strawberry Cheesecake Bars

Don’t forget to check back next Monday to see how everything turned out!


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