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The Fun Cheap or Free Queen: Foodie Tuesday recipe: Best Baked Ziti

15 Dec

The Fun Cheap or Free Queen: Foodie Tuesday recipe: Best Baked Ziti.

I just found an awesome blog about a mom/wife/awesome lady who does a fun “Foodie Tuesday” every week. She has a dope recipe for the “Best Baked Ziti ever” and I couldn’t resist reading it.


NOW I WANT IT. A LOT. So I’ll be making and freezing a batch at some point in the next couple of weeks. In the meantime, go check it out!!!


Was I really gone THAT LONG?!?!?!

6 Oct
Magnolia, light house beach, some night in August

I would love to tell you that I know what happened….why I haven’t blogged in SO.LONG.  But honestly, it was just a bunch of things strung together closely in time that was just too much to handle. And so as with all things in life, something had to give. I am sad it was the blog, but I’m ready to come back!

While I’ve been gone, my sister gave birth to my second, precious nephew, Beckett Samuel Fadden, Riley turned 2 and I went to Indonesia and Singapore for a month. WHAT?!  Gosh, I was really busy, wasn’t I?

Wellllllll, back to the grind, okay?  I am ready, and I have material to blog about as far back as FEBRUARY people! (sick, I know)

To get things back to normal, here’s a dinner I threw together after work one night, when Poodle (aka Adam) and I decided to do a beach dinner at Magnolia’s light house beach (I have no idea what it’s really called, but it’s inside of Discovery Park and that’s what I call it!)


I threw together some quick dishes that used up some items I had laying around that needed to be consumed.  Our menu was :

  • Tuna salad club sandwiches
  • Cold penne salad with cheese, tomatoes, capers and truffle dressing
  • Organic apricots (that were the size of my fist) with nonfat greek yogurt, local honey and cinnamon


If memory serves, I had a bit of left over feta and used some yogurt, dijon and truffle oil to create the dressing and finely chopped the capers. OH! and I used some caper juice in the dressing as well…I got the idea from my favorite drink: dirty Gin Martini.
Dessert: Organic Apricots with Nonfat Greek Yogurt, Honey and Cinnamon

 And here’s my number one buddy, Adam, relaxing as we watched the sun set over the Olympics:


Thanks for your extended patience during my absence and let’s get back to the food, shall we?!



Please Come In and Share your Dumpster Dish: Biscotti – the new cassarole

29 Apr

I’m not responsible for the title sucking. My brain is fried, I’m being worked into mental oblivion right now, so the fact that I’m even posting is a shocker to me.

Since I had such ‘great success’ (Borat voice) with the Mr. Bandy Udon post yesterday, I thought I’d through you all one more Bandy Bone this week. (I like that, and I’ll continue to use that little quip, thankyouverymuch!)

Jeff had created a great post a few months back I had wanted to post, but never got around to it.

It’s about biscotti, which I think is the undercover cassarole of the baking world. You can literally put anything you want into a biscotti and it’s still good. You can make them sweet or savory, dipped or ‘virgin’.  I have a good, versatile recipe somewhere that has like 5 or less ingredients in it. When I get my cookbooks unpacked at the new place, I’ll find it and share with you! I know it’s a recipe, but honestly it’s only a few ingredients and once you make it a couple times, you can do it from memory!

So without further ado, here’s Jeff’s post on Honey-Lavender Biscotti

This was my first attempt at biscotti, so I of course turned to my Baking Illustrated cookbook. Turns out I really like big chunks of almonds/hazelnuts/etc. in my biscotti, so these guys weren’t my favorite. Interesting to be sure, but the flavor is very subtle. I think that they would have been much more interesting with a more assertive honey, like a spicy clover honey. The run-of-the-mill honey I used just faded into the background. I have to say, however, that the aroma that filled my apartment while these were baking was out of this world — creamy, buttery tones with heady citrus and lavender notes floating overhead. Words don’t suffice.

I used the lessons I learned in making these for the chocolate almond biscotti below, specifically the tricks with the wax paper and keeping my hands good and floured. The “cylinders” I was able to form with this dough were hideous. Still, a good learning experience, and like I said, the aroma. Wow.

2 1/4 c (11 1/4 oz) all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2/3 c (4 2/3 oz) sugar
3 large eggs
3 Tbsp honey
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 Tbsp minced zest from 1 orange
1 Tbsp dried lavender blossoms

Adjust an oven rack to the middle position and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in medium bowl, set aside.

Whisk the sugar and eggs in a large bowl to a light lemon color; stir in the honey, vanilla, orange zest, and lavender. Sprinkle the dry ingredients over the egg mixture, then fold in until just combined.

Divide the dough in half and place one portion on a work surface covered with floured wax paper or parchment paper. With floured hands, pat it into a cylinder about 2 inches in diameter and 12 to 15 inches long. Repeat with the second half of the dough. Cut the parchment paper and, using the paper as a sling, roll the dough into a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Repeat with the remaining dough.

Place in the oven and bake about 35 minutes, rotating halfway through, until firm to the touch. Transfer to a cutting board, let cool for 5 minutes, then cut on an angle into slices one-half-inch thick. Return the slices to the baking sheet, laying them on their cut sides, and return them to the oven. Bake another 15 minutes, turning over each cookie halfway through, until they are crisp and golden brown on each side. Allow to cool completely before storing or serving.

Thanks again Jeff, for a fantastic share!

Dumpster Dish: Oatmeal Raisin Cookies + other yummies

22 Feb

In a continued effort this past weekend to clean out Paul’s refridgerator, I made a mean batch of cookies.

It all started on Saturday evening, when Adam and Anthony came over to help me eat OTHER leftovers in Paul’s fridge.  I think we saw a cookie or cake commercial and someone (Anthony maybe??? or was it Adam????) said that a good oatmeal raisin cookie beats the socks off of whatever was on the screen.  I thought “you’re right!” and jumped up (no, literally, I jumped up off the couch) to start a batch.

This was my maiden voyage using the new edition of the BHG (seriously, by now you know that means Better Homes and Gardens) cookbook.  You can get that wonderful resource here, among other places.

Here’s their recipe with (of-course) my modifications:

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

3/4  cup butter, softened  (uh, NO. I don’t think so. I used 3/4 cup non-fat, plain yogurt)
1  cup packed brown sugar
1/2  cup granulated sugar
1  tsp. baking powder
1/4  tsp. baking soda
1/2  tsp. ground cinnamon (optional)
1/4  tsp. ground cloves (optional) (didn’t have it, so I used fresh nutmeg instead. you can use this or leave it out!)
2  eggs
1  tsp. vanilla
1-3/4  cups all-purpose flour (the recipe in my book – the one I’m printing here is from their online database – said only 1.5cups flour. I added a touch more, but not a full 1.75 cups. Also I used gluten free flour, and it worked GREAT)
2  cups rolled oats

Add-ins: dried cranberries, raisins, chopped pecans

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar, granulated sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and, if desired, cinnamon and cloves. Beat until combined, scraping side of bowl occasionally. Beat in eggs and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Using a wooden spoon, stir in any remaining flour. Stir in rolled oats.

(RIGHT. I did NOT do that. I didn’t have a mixer on hand. What I did have was a rubber spatula, a whisk and my arm. I followed their order though, which worked great. Before I added more flour, I stepped away for about 10 minutes to do something else, and when I came back, the oats had absorbed some of the liquid so I didn’t need to add as much extra flour as I thought I needed)

2. Drop dough by rounded teaspoons 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden. Let stand on cookie sheets for 1 minute. Transfer to wire racks and let cool. Makes about 48 cookies.

(yeah, no. I made HUGE cookies, the size of my fist. They were probably twice the size of the recommended cookie size, but it only has yogurt in it, so who cares?!?!?! Oh yeah, they took twice as long to cook. 16 minutes, don’t peek, and they won’t brown too much. Just trust they’re done)

Dumpster Dish: Crespéou, an edible ticket to Provence

13 Oct

I just heard from one of my favorite experimental cooks, my Uncle Jeff.

Uncle Jeff is my mom’s younger brother. He’s the baby, like me. We get along famously, and he and my Aunt Lisa have always been very excited about my love for cooking. They gave me my VERY FIRST piece of AllClad. (*single tear of joy*) They also gave me a pair of purple pants that made me cry, I hated them so much. They love telling that story….but that’s  another post entirely!

Here’s the email he just sent my way:


“We had this (similar anyway) at Boat Street Cafe a while back, and then I saw an old Julia rerun on KCTS and she made the same thing, but called it a “gateau de omelette”. So I tried it a couple of weeks ago, from memory only. It was REALLY good, definitely a next day dish, 100% better the next day, but a lot of fun to make, good use of leftovers, gave the allclad nonstick a good workout.

I used mushrooms, onion, leftover italian sausage, asparagus and tomato, with a little parm on each layer. Lisa said she could do without the parm.
Talk to you later, I seriously need to get to work.”

I told him I remember seeing the SAME old Julia episode a couple of weeks ago on KCTS (Seattle’s PBS), and wanted to try it myself. Sooooo, I think I’ll attempt a version this weekend. Stay tuned for some results and pictures.

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