Monday, September 24, 2012

Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Bleu Cheese dip

Buffalo Chicken Poppers with Avocado Bleu Cheese dip

Makes 16 poppers
4oz cream cheese, softened
3 teaspoons ranch dip mix, divided
1 large chicken breast, cut into small pieces
3-4 Tablespoons buffalo wing sauce
1, 8-count tube reduced fat crescent rolls
Avocado Bleu Cheese Dip
1 avocado
1/3 cup bleu cheese dressing

Preheat oven according to crescent roll package directions. 

Season chicken with remaining teaspoon ranch dip mix, and cook in a non-stick sprayed skillet. Toss with buffalo wing sauce, and set aside to cool.

Mix together cream cheese and 2 teaspoons ranch dip mix in a small bowl.  

  Lay crescent rolls out flat, and cut each triangle in half with a pizza cutter. 

 Gently flatten each triangle, and place 1 teaspoon cream cheese mix in the center. Top with a spoonful of chicken.

 Bring all three sides of the crescent roll triangle to the top, then pinch all three seams to seal. Place on a baking sheet, and bake according to crescent roll package directions.  Yes, I know this was a bad picture to describe this step on...

The finished product will look something more like the following.  

To make the Dip:  While the poppers are baking, mash avocado until smooth. Stir in bleu cheese dressing, and serve with poppers.  (Not shown but is great)

Bon Appétit 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Ginger brown sugar salmon

Salmon with Brown Sugar glaze

  • 3 tablespoons light brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated ginger
  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 8 salmon fillets, 6 ounces each

On the side burner, melt the brown sugar, honey and butter in a small saute pan over medium-high heat. 

Remove from the heat and whisk in the mustard, soy sauce, olive oil and ginger. Let cool.

Preheat grill to medium heat. Brush salmon with vegetable oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. Place the salmon skin side down on the grill. Coat the flesh of the salmon fillets with the brown sugar mixture. Grill for 6 to 8 minutes to medium doneness, turning once after 5 to 6 minutes.

Bon Appétit 

Avocado bites

Goat Cheese & Prosciutto Avocado bites

1.) Peel and pit avocado, and cut into slices. Toss slices quickly in lemon juice to avoid browning.
2.) Take a spoonful of goat cheese and place it in the little nook left by the avocado seed.
3.) Wrap the whole thing up in prosciutto to keep it all in place.

Bon Appétit 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Rome > Sorrento
Day 17 (cont'd)

Leaving Rome was surreal because for the past 4 months, I had planned on staying in Rome and this being the end of my Contiki adventure.  In the past 12 hours that had completely changed and I, luckily, had the privilege of continuing on.  Obviously, super emo about it.  I can barely remember the trip down, who knows if it was from the overwhelming sense of my new plans, the lose of some of our members or complete exhaustion…I remember arriving in Pompeii and Zac telling us to ONLY order food and drinks from the place we were being dropped off in front of (remember this, it is important later).  Sometimes he had a way of telling us things, leaving us to think he was crazy or paranoid... then we would have our, “a ha!” moment with the information he had told us.  For example, he being psychotic about us buying hats and water bottles for Pompeii…I mean I am from Florida so I know hot, dude.  I took his advice and for the second time in my LIFE wore a hat…it just isn’t a good look for me.  No offense to lesbians in anyway, but I look like one in them.  Hats stay on my head either in a way to always hold all my hair back (I imagine because my head is so literally big, not figuratively) or have it out and looking like I'm a bum.  My last word on the matter is that I hate hats.  Anyways, we have a great guide for Pompeii…a place that has been near and dear to my heart since I watched a show on the History Channel when I was probably 14 called, “Ancient Sex: Brothels of Pompeii,” It was actually the only place on the rest of the itinerary, I initially was SUPER upset I was not going and toying with the idea of going alone, when I had booked the London to Rome trip.  We walked in straight to where the Gladiators practiced and slept, which was very cool because we had literally just seen the Coliseum hours prior.  I knew men were trained in different areas for the Coliseum, but seeing it in person was really awe-inspiring.   Being I had also turned off the movie, “the Gladiator,” right when Russell Crowes family had died…or the king was killed, whichever one was further into the movie, I didn’t really have too much of an idea about the training methods.  Pompeii appeared quite civil and genius.  They had stone streets, which every so often had a few higher rocks in them and indentions on the ground.  The guide explained that back in the day, Pompeii had designed the streets so that if it rained, people could still cross the streets, using the elevated stepping-stones.  The indentions on the ground were the exact size of the wagons used in Pompeii.  All the wagons were the same and if someone from out of town, say Naples, came there, they would rent out a wagon to fit the streets.  They also had running water and placed white marble in the streets, so that at night when the moon showed, the marble acted as streetlights.  The brothels were everything I had hoped they would be, I think that everyone was a little shocked by my immense and, lets face it, weird knowledge of the place.   I just love a society that puts it all out there, and it is my personal belief (I don’t need anyone’s two-sense about it) that most society’s held sex at a higher level and certainly not a sin.  Still wish prostitution were legal…just saying.   It was so surreal seeing the bodies, or casts, or whatever you would call them now, of the people that were encased in Mount Vesuvius’ ash.  I hope they know that have not died in vain and their story is now one of the most accurate to what actually went on there, as opposed to Rome, whom seems to change bits and pieces to please the Catholic Church.  Leaving Pompeii’s site, we walked back to the café we were allowed to purchase things from.  Between all the rocks and the humidity from the water, we literally were melting, so I was not sad to get on our coach, especially given the surroundings of the historical site.  It wasn’t like anywhere we had been in Italy, so far.  It looked, in some places like a third-world country. When we got on the bus, magical Zac told us the reason we are only allowed to buy from that café, was because Contiki basically paid the MAFIA for protection in the area, by only purchasing from places that were, “mafia approved.” Holy Fuck.  My one chance at getting in the Italian mafia, at least as a mistress, and I missed it!  I went on a tangent on the coach with my friends about the reasons I would make a great mafia woman.  I had a resume of reasons….but knowing full on that I was German and the Italians and Germans no longer (if ever) truly got along, I would be only a mistress to a mafia man.  Hey, I’m great at keeping secrets.  We traveled a bit through the “slums,” of Southern Italy, until I woke up to Zac softly talking about the Amalfi coast…I honestly was still half asleep and didn’t really know what it was, so I snapped some pictures and listened quietly.  Had I known, what I know NOW, I would have broken out my big camera, one of three, I had brought on the trip.  It was right around when the sun was starting to drift back into the Sea…not quite sunset but definitely getting there.  It was one of those things I was happy to witness with my own eyes, as opposed to behind a lens.  We arrived in Sorrento, which is a 2 lane town and definitely not equipped for a 40+ seater coach bus, after we could not get up the drive of our HOTEL (thank god it was not a campsite!) so we traveled up the mountain, looking for a place for our dear, sweet driver, Rui, could turn around at.  The traffic was insane.  We were literally up a mountain, looking down on our hotel for about 20 minutes.  I was hungry and anxious to get some cash, motion sickness pills (since now I would be on boats) and sunblock (we had been warned about needing sunblock the whole time, and being I was going to be drunk on boats for the next 2 days, I knew I would need it).  We got to the room, and since it was still light out, we ventured out to find some necessities.  We got to the first restaurant and everyone wanted to eat.  I did throw a bit of a pissy attitude here.  I admit it.  I wanted to see a little more of the town before it got dark, since we had to leave at 4:00 am the next morning and didn’t want to stop at the first place.  I was going to walk alone, but my sweet friends, Alexa and Kate, walked with me to explore the town a little, find an ATM and maybe a little store for some sunblock.  We had passed a grocery store and a pharmacy on the way in, so we could just hit those on the way back.  The whole town smelt of oranges, which were everywhere and I was so happy I got to experience this town, even if it was for a little bit.  We got our supplies and headed back to the restaurant the rest of our group was at.  I ordered Gnocchi marinara this time (I couldn’t get enough of the stuff).  Kate, Alexa and I sat apart, but next to the other group (we didn’t want to confuse the waiter) and got into a deep religious discussion.  We were all on the same page, seemingly so, which was really nice, because we discussed things that didn’t appear to bother anyone else.  Literally as Kate was saying something about Church, her eyes got big as she whispered, “oh SHIT, is that a monk??”  Yep.  Gotta love Europe.  A monk in a brown, well monk ensemble and rope, walked in.  He was happy go-lucky with a group in tow.  End of our discussion.  The food was incredible.  We walked to the farmacy, where you tell the person at the counter what you are having issues with and they just give you pills, and I got my pills.  The place next door had our favorite, TUC crackers, which had become a food group on the bus, along with pringles.  The fruit was amazing and we headed back to the hotel.  There was a little store across from the hotel and I went over to check it out.  The man of my Italian dreams (whom was 80 years old or so, I guess) worked there with his wife.  Everything had lemons on it J I loved that.  I bought my initials, which I had found, had become my word of the trip (MAP), in tiles along with some Pompeii playing cards for my brother (with naked illustrations from Pompeii on them) and a bottle of lemoncello (which had immediately become my favorite drink of the trip).  Back into the room we went, where we had AIR CONDITIONING!!!!!  Zoe absolutely cracked us up this night because she was wearing her sleep mask (she wore it anytime she slept, including on the bus), and when you thought she was sleeping, you would look up from whatever you were doing and she would be staring at you (with the mask on, of course).  It was so funny, the neighbors yelled us at.  Emma and a few other girls came home wasted (one of the few times I felt old as hell on the trip) and woke the neighbors up again.  Ruh roh.   Luckily, we didn’t get kicked out.

The first place we saw in Pompeii, Gladiator training grounds.

Gladiator housing, along the field.

Stepping stones and wagon indentions in the streets.

Marble "streetlights," in the streets.

Apollo with Mount Vesuvius. 

Temple of Apollo.  Dont judge my hat,

The only water that is safe to drink is all around the cities in Italy.  Thank you aqueduct!  

Just a penis in the street, pointing to the brothels....which were like starbucks in Manhattan.  On every corner baby!

Pick your pleasure rooms.... each one had a picture above it of a sexual act, with a stone bed and pillow inside.

Amalfi coast <3 p="p">

Sorrento and the oranges <3 p="p">

A food group on the coach!  Pring-GOOOOOOAAAAALLLLLS!

 Sorrento > Corfu, Greece
Day 18

The 5:00 am call time to get on the bus came quick.  We had all packed a day bag, so we could wear sleepy clothes on the bus, but the girls and I opted to have a lighter bag, wake up & shower, put on comfy normal clothes, pack a swim suit and be done with it.  I had my travel pillow (which I had bought on the ferry from Dover to France), my TUC crackers & a water…that was all I needed.  We slept basically the whole way to whatever port we got to.  I tried throwing away my sleeping bag, but Zac said something about giving it to underprivileged kids or something, aka I had to keep it.  I, of course, was being yelled at to hurry up because my bag, or Sammie as she came to be known as, was so big, along with everything else, I had trouble maneuvering it all.  I got on the ship and had a very nice (or angry, whatever you would call him) ship guy carry Sammie up the STEPS to where the rest of my group was.  The fact that Sammie was now as big, if not bigger than me with all my belongings, had proven to not be as much of a hassle as I had foreseen it to be.  It was suggested to us, by Zac, that since our ferry had changed to a day ferry, we should split up into groups of 8 and buy cabins, to put our bags into, so we could go into the pool deck and relax without having to watch our bags.  This was Europe and we were around Greeks that were going through (and still are) some serious economic issues, so we wanted to just double check that our belongings would be safe.  We had also just been warned about Greek toilets.  Anyone that is traveling to Greece needs to know this.  Greek toilets have never been designed to hold anything other than human waste in them.  Including toilet paper, tampons...the whole nine yards.  If it does not come naturally out of a human, don’t put it in the toilet.  They will overflow.   I know we are in the 21st century….so why hasn’t this been dealt with?  I don’t get to make the rules, so I just dealt with it the way I knew how to…and peed in the pool that had been filled up by the Ionian Sea.  (shhhh).  We all quickly changed into our bathing suits (this is all prior to the pool peeing situation) and headed to the deck.  The weather was PERFECT!  Such a gorgeous day!  The drinks were HELLA cheap and this was my first experience with the value of the Euro in Greece.  Lets just say for what you would pay for a bottle of water in Paris, you could be 45 alcoholic beverages in Greece.  So we did.  We had more than hydrated up the day before, so we were all ready to relax and party.  This was the first day since Nice, we could really just hang.   We were the life of the party, obviously, on the pool deck, and I was so grateful that things changed in the way they did.  If we would have had 2 full days in Rome, I would have stayed and not continued on to Greece and my Contiki buddies would have had a night ferry to Corfu.  Now we had a day ferry which might as well had been a booze cruise.  NO ONE ELSE ON THE FERRY WAS DRINKING.  They also didn’t have a liquor license, so it was Smirnoff ices and wine coolers for us, which did the trick all the same.  The only other people to get in the pool at the ferry were creepy Greek men that were not at all the dream of stories.  Hairy and creepy.  That’s all they were.  I got a kick out of Rachel, whom I didn’t realize until then, in her NZ accent seemed to had her “I’s” and “e’s” reversed.  Like when she said the number, “six,” it came out as, “sex,” and so on.  This was particularly amusing when she was complaining about how hot the DECK was….We tease Zoe on the fact that she could not sing the part in the LMFAO song, “party rocking,” that says, “wiggle wiggle,” really fast many times.  I guess her mouth doesn’t move that quickly.  We all had such a great time, drinking and tanning and laughing.  Good move on my part.  I will probably talk about how I made a great decision like 40 more times, because I usually have to think things over a lot and don’t trust my gut.  So it was a pretty big deal.  A few hours later and we were in Greece, the quiet paradise of my life.

Arriverdci Italy!  γεια σου Ελλάδα!

Monday, September 10, 2012

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Dressing

Fish Tacos with Lime Cilantro Dressing
I completely stole this recipe from The Enchanted Cook.  It was absolutely incredible!  

1 lb. wild caught halibut, cubed and lightly salted with sea salt
8 corn tortillas
shredded cabbage for garnish
chopped fresh organic cilantro for garnish
sliced avocado for garnish
lime wedges for garnish

1/8 cup extra-virgin olive oil
juice of 2 limes
1 small to medium Serrano pepper, minced (remove seeds to make mild, I leave them in)
1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
fresh cracked pepper

Lime Cilantro Dressing:
1/4 to 1/2 bunch fresh organic cilantro
1 large clove garlic, smashed and rough chopped
juice of 1/2 orange
juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup Greek Yogurt (I use Chobani)
1/4 teaspoon salt
fresh cracked pepper
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil

 Preheat oven at 425°

To make the marinade:
In a medium bowl, whisk together all marinade ingredients.  Pour marinade over the cubed and salted fish, turn to coat, then place in refrigerator for 15 minutes to allow to marinate.  **Lime "cooks" seafood, a style called Ceviche.  Be careful to not leave the marinade on for longer than 30 minutes maximum or you run the risk of the fish becoming too chewy.**

While fish is marinating, prepare your dressing.

To make the lime cilantro dressing:
Place all ingredients for dressing, except olive oil, in food processor and blend until it's a smooth consistency and ingredients are well mixed - about 10 seconds or so. Next while the food processor is running, drizzle in the olive oil through the spout. Taste for seasoning and add additional salt or pepper if needed and set aside.

Remove fish from refrigerator and drain off the marinade. Place fish in a shallow baking dish and place in oven. Cook for approximately 15 minutes or until fish is opaque in the center and flakes easily.

While fish is baking get your setup ready - shredded cabbage, sliced avocado, lime wedges, chopped cilantro.

When fish is almost done, heat up your corn tortillas. When fish is done, remove from oven, assemble tacos and enjoy.

Bon appétit!