Sunday, January 29, 2012

Party Favorites

These have been all over the internet, and I thought it was about time to share the idea! I love them and can't wait to pick up some odd-ball glasses at a flea market or second-hand store, grab a can of black chalkboard paint and give this a try!

Pictures credit of Always Order Dessert

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Measurement Conversion

While attempting to interpret a recipe written in Norwegian, I was also trying to convert the metric system to the U.S. system. It would be easier if I had a scale, but alas, I am not privy to one. But, my lack of equipment allowed me to run into this great site that provides a wonderful conversion of Metric to U.S. I took some screen shots, along with linking the site to each picture (if you click on it) in case you cannot read the tiny writing. Hope this helps for any of you trying hard to convert those darn grams into teaspoons and cups! Or should I say those grams into darn teaspoons and cups?! Happy Baking!

Liquids (and Herbs and Spices)

Other Non-Liquids

Sunday, January 22, 2012

To My Readers, Changes Are Coming!

As the new year is settling in, I am working hard to make my recipes more accessible. I've taken into consideration what I'm striving to do, how I want to present it and who I want reading it (everyone!). Some great changes are around the corner.

First, I have started an Apron Strings to Diamond Rings Tumblr, which will house all the same recipes as this blog, with maybe a few extra things (we'll see)! I want people who use Tumblr, but maybe not blogger, to be able to access what I have as well. That's not to say I'm getting rid of the blog! Apron Strings to Diamond Rings blog, via blogger, will be staying put. I am working on changing the presentation of the site, but it will still be up and running. I also started a Facebook page, Apron Strings to Diamond Rings, so 'Like' it when you have the chance!

The second piece of news is that I will be featuring Guest Posts! People who inspire me, friends and family, will be asked to post a favorite recipe along with their story (if they so choose) to share with the readers. I believe it is essential to learn from everyone around us, so that we are able to become better people, not only in the kitchen, but out of it as well.

Third, I am going to start adding a few posts that don't deal with recipes directly, but have influenced me, whether it be quotes from famous chefs or the latest video clip of Paula Dean's health. I think that these posts will express my extensive interest not only in cooking but the world of food and health.

I hope you enjoy these changes! Please let me know if you have any suggestions and I will do my best to incorporate what I can. Happy Eating!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Blueberry Apple Egg Rolls

Crazy, right?! Mixing Chinese with American cuisine. Trust me, you'll love it. I've been craving sweets (as many people who try to go on any kind of diet do, even if it's just lessening your intake of sugar, salt, etc.), but every recipe I want to make is proportioned for 4-8 people! I have will power, but not that much to keep from eating an entire pie or 2 dozen cookies in 2 days. So, while at the store today I had this thought, Egg Rolls! They're easy, cheap and anything can be put into them. I took a look at the seal and 3 wraps (1 serving) is 170 calories (56.66 per wrap), not bad, and the price $1.50 for 20 wraps, can't beat that! These egg roll wrappers could be used instead of heavy dough or bread to create smaller meals/snacks, sort of like making my Breakfast Turnovers. I made regular egg rolls using chicken, carrots and cucumbers (recipe coming) for dinner but I also attempted making a Blueberry Apple Pie On-The-Go with the wraps, and let me tell you, it was amazing! The prep takes approximately 2 minutes, and cooking takes 10 (if the oven has already been warmed up). A regular piece of pie could put you back anywhere between 250-500 calories, per slice, but this little guy will please your taste buds and only eat up 100-150 calories, plus it's got those extremely healthy blueberries! Here's how I did it.

The picture isn't the most appetizing, but cooked blueberries don't photograph too well. They're still extremely tasty, though!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Homemade Granola Mix

Hi all! Months ago I saw Clinton Kelly on The Chew share his favorite Granola Mix. It looked so delicious and easy I had to try it. It was all that he said it would be! Granola can be so very expensive at the store, and if you purchase all your ingredients separately (in bulk-ish) and make it yourself, overall you'll be spending much less. This made about 2-3lbs (filled a little more than 1/2 a gallon ziplock bag) and cost a total of $4.13 (approximately). In a store you'd pay about $4.99 for 1lb, and it wouldn't be filled with all of these healthy goodies, and would probably have much more fat and sugar!

For me, I already had Old Fashion Oats in my pantry (a staple for those wondering), and I  recently bought a bag of almonds (which can be expensive, but go a long way) and a bag of dried cranberries for snacking. With honey/agave nectar, dried banana and oil already in my pantry, I was able to quickly whip this recipe up. I do a lot of eye-balling when it comes to this recipe, so feel free to do what feels, looks and tastes right!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Sicilian Chicken and Pasta

Today while talking to a friend about her 'typical' dinners, she mentioned how she eats a lot of simple pasta dishes. I know how easy it is to do that, but I have a great recipe to amp up that pasta dish! It only calls for a few more ingredients and no more time (maybe 1 minute). It can be done in two pots (or one if you have left over pasta) and not only is it delicious the first day, but it's great reheated for lunch, or dinner days later! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Breakfast Turnover On-The-Go

I recently saw a recipe for mini breakfast bites and thought that the recipe could be made on a larger scale for a to-go style breakfast. It's very simple and can be made, refrigerated and warmed up in the morning! You need 4 ingredients, one bowl and a baking sheet. Pretty simple and easy clean-up! I hope you enjoy these as much as I do.

1 Pastry Puff Sheet, cut diagonally or straight down
1/4 lb ground turkey (handful)
1 handful of grated cheese (cheddar, swiss)
1 egg

In a bowl mix together the turkey, cheese and egg, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Place the cut Pastry Puff on a greased baking sheet. Put half of the mix on each pastry puff and fold, either diagonally or straight across, depending on how you cut the pastry, and seal with a bit of water, pressing the edges closed with your fingers or a fork.* It should look like a turnover or a pocket. Bake at 350˙ for 20-30 minutes, until golden brown. You can make them smaller if you wish (the recipe and cook time should all be about the same). If you make more than 4 from a sheet of pastry puff, you might only need to bake them 10-15 minutes. Just keep an eye on them! If you decide to make these ahead of time, when you get up in the morning, turn the oven to about 200˙ and place the turnover in oven for about 8-10 minutes. Wrap it in a paper towel and head out the door with an easy and healthy breakfast. Happy Eating and Enjoy!

*See my Blackberry Trucker Pie recipe for details on sealing the pastry puff.

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Scalloped Potatoes

I was reading the most recent Food Network Magazine and was inspired to make Scalloped Potatoes. It was always one of my favorite dishes growing up, but I have yet to make it myself. I did a bit of research using the CookingLight, Joy of Cooking and AllRecipes to find exactly how I was going to tackle this. If you take a look around you'll find some recipes that take 30 minutes to cook and others that take an hour and a half. It all depends on how you want to do your prep work and how much you're making. If you cook the potato(es) first, then it doesn't take as long in the oven, but the prep time will be a bit longer, and there will be a dash more clean up (not much though). If you don't precook the potato(es) it will take longer in the oven. Here's what I cooked up for dinner:

Pasta Salad with Cilantro Dressing

This week Trader Joe's had avocados on sale, which meant, most of my meals were going to be filled with avocados! YAY! I love them. They're a super food (I believe) filled with good fats, great texture, and wonderful vitamins. I was on Pinterest today when I saw a corn, avocado, tomato, cilantro salad and figured I could tweak it so I could use what I had in my refrigerator. With leftover pasta from the other night, fresh tomatoes and avocados, and a bunch of cilantro on it's way out (it doesn't last long), I put together a cold pasta salad. Here's what I did!

Makes 1 serving:
Pasta (cooked and chilled), 1/2 cup
tomato, chopped
1/2 avocado, chopped

a small handful of cilantro, minced
1/8-1/4 cup of EVOO
pinch of salt
1 t of agave nectar (or honey), just a small amount*
lime juice (half a lime)
*If you wanted to do a more traditional dressing you can switch out the Agave nectar for vinegar.

Mix the dressing ingredients together either by whisking in a bowl or shaping in a container. Taste and adjust if needed. You want a hint of lime, with a bit of sweet and tart. It's oddly wonderful!

Drizzle the dressing over the pasta, avocado and tomato. Happy eating!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved 

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Black Bean, Corn Salsa (Southwest Salsa)

Happy 2012! To bring in the New Year, my friend Cheryl and her husband hosted a fun little get together. I helped in providing food to munch on while we played Wii Just Dance, Apples to Apples and watching the Time Square events take place. Among the many delicious finger foods we put together, I quickly threw together this super easy, super delicious salsa that will please almost everyone!

Mix together:
1 can of black beans, rinsed
1 can of corn (or the equivalent frozen/fresh), drained
3-4 tomatoes, diced small (you can you canned, but I like the taste of fresh tomatoes so much more)
1/4 white or red onion
1 avocado, diced
Cilantro, handful or so chopped
Lime juice from 1 lime (fresh is best, but from the container is fine, just use less)
3 Tablespoons of EVOO (but not needed)
salt and pepper to taste (however, I leave them out because the chips usually contain enough)

Have a blessed and happy new year! Happy Eating!

*©ApronStringstoDiamondRings All Rights Reserved