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Mushroom and Spinach Saute

 Vegetables....I am always trying to eat more of them, and to find different and tasty ways to get the vitamins and nutrients that I need on a daily basis. Side dishes are a great way to spruce up any meal, and to also get some of the key nutients that your body needs. I tend to fall into trends where I eat a lot of the same foods on a weekly basis, so I try to find either different ways to cook them, or different items to pair them with to keep them exciting. 

Mushroom and Spinach Saute is an easy and fast way to get a good portion of vegetables on the plate, but combining them with wine and garic makes them super delicious. 
1 bunch spinach leaves, coarsely chopped
1 pint mushrooms, chopped
1 -2 tsp garlic
2 tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tbsp butter
1/4 cup white wine
Melt butter and olive oil in a large skillet. Add mushrooms and saute for about 2 mins, then add spinch. Stir in white wine and garlic. Saute until most of the wine has evaporated and the spinach is wilted. Serve beside your favorite main course. 
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Chocolate Peanut Butter Bark

I had never had bark until last Christmas when my friend Amy gave my peppermint bark and I fell in love. This year, I will be making my own for holiday gifts, but I decided that it might also be quite tasty to make a chocolate and peanut butter bark with Reese's Pieces. 

Bark is quite easy to make. All you need to do is melt whatever types of chocolate, or in this case, chocolate and peanut butter, that you want in different bowls. Simply place about 2 cups of semi sweet chocolate into a bowl and place it into the microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring between minutes until its just melted. I used semi sweet chocolate chips, and peanut butter chips. Once your chips are melted you want to place a peice of wax paper onto a sheet pan and then drizzle your chocolate and peanut butter until its nicely coated. Then top with Reese's Pieces and place in the refrigerator until solid. After its set, than you can remove it and break the bark into pieces. 
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Cheesy Double Baked Potatoes

 Thanksgiving has come and gone, and I was too busy preparing and eating to do very much blogging, and unfortunately, I forgot to take a lot of photos of the amazing food that was cooked on my favorite holiday. 

We have a family tradition where my mom cooks the turkey and the sweet potatoes and I cook just about all the other sides. This year our table had a wide variety of vegetables, including green bean cassorole, summer veggie medley, cheesy double baked potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, and rolls. Everything was so delicious and I am happy to say that my green beans, zuchinni and squash and my cheesy double baked potatoes went over wonderfully. 
I am sure most of you have heard of twice baked potatoes, and I am known in my family for my rendition of them. I like to include parmesean and a Sharp New York cheddar cheese, along with my secret ingredient (sour cream) to really make mine stand out. You may be saying to yourself that sour cream isn't really a secret ingredient to potatoes, but in my family, I have to keep with a secret because they say that they don't like the taste of it...I happen to beg to differ, since they LOVE my potatoes, but I am not going to ruin it by telling them why they like it so much :)
6 large Russet potatoes
1/4 cup of milk 
2 heaping tbsp of sour cream
healthy pinch of salt and pepper
2 tsp garlic powder
2 tsp parsely
Grated Parmesean cheese
Freshly grated cheddar cheese
Rinse potatoes well to get rid of any excess dirt. Dry off, and prick with a fork (so they don't explode while cooking) and then wrap in foil. Place potatoes into a 425 degree oven for 1.5 hrs. After they come out of the oven, unwrap potatoes and cut lengthwise. Scoop out potato from their shells and place potatoes into a big bowl, and the skins onto a cookie sheet. After all of the potatoes have been separated, add milk, salt, pepper, sour cream, garlic powder, parsely and parmesean cheese into the bowl with the potatoes, Mix with beaters until smooth. Once the mixture is smooth, spoon back into the potato skins. Then top with cheddar cheese and place back into the oven until the cheese has melted. Remove and serve. 
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Baking Made Easier

I am not sure if you all know, but I have been baking the hard way for practically my entire baking career. I have never quite been able to justify spending $200+ on a stand mixer...maybe I'm just cheap. And yes, I know that Kitchen Aide mixers are WELL worth the money, especially for someone who wants to be in the business of baking, but I just cannot seem to shell out (or let my hubby) money for a mixer. 

Well Christmas is approaching and my hubby keeps threatening me with a $200+ stand mixer...so I had to take matters into my own hands and outsmart him, because I cannot accept such an expensive kitchen appliance that won't get used everyday, and also, I have NO idea where I would store something like that. So, I was out doing my weekly thrift store shopping excursion this weekend and stumbled across not one, but three different mixers at my local Goodwill. One of the mixers was just the mixer with no bowls or attachments, so that was immediately out of the running. The other two were definitely vintage, one of which is the exact one that my mom currently owns that she received as a wedding gift when she married my dad. Although I am familiar with that one, it is a horrible orange color and it didn't look well-cared for by its previous owner. The third choice was a Sunbean Mixmaster and came with two glass bowls and a set of beaters. The only issue is that it needs a little tape on the spin plate, but for $15 I just couldn't turn it down. I brought it home, cleaned it up and cannot wait to start using it...now if only I had it a week ago my pumpkin whoopie pies, and chocolate mousse pie would have been much easier to make :)  

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Random Foodie Thoughts


Sometimes I have these random things that I do or think that are food related, and no one to really share then with, so this is a post of a few random thoughts or things that I thought I would share.

First, a little something about myself that you may find strange. I have an obsession with drinking things only from straws…and not any straws, striped bendy straws or crazy weird straws are a must. The only thing that I don’t drink from a straw is my morning coffee.

Second, I am addicted to coffee. But not any coffee…my own special coffee, that has to be made to the precise measurement or else its just not good. I make coffee in a coffee maker like a normal person, one heaping tsp of coffee per cup. However, it is what happens next that sets my coffee apart: I add 1 tsp of sugar, and 1 HEAPING tsp of hot chocolate powder (specifically Hannaford brand mmmMMMMmmm) into my mug. Then, I add the coffee and half and half. You must try this because you will never drink the same old Dunkin’ Donut or StarBucks coffee again (not to mention it's insanely cheaper)

Third: Did you know that if you buy basil, or clip a piece of basil, that you can throw it in a cup of water and it will sprout roots? You can then plant it and it becomes a bail plant. However, the basil that I bought at my local grocery store a couple of weeks ago must have had some weird treatment because it’s not sprouting. I have to admit that this makes me a little sad.

Finally, we already know that I love to cook, bake and try new recipes. But I have to admit that having a new recipe that I want to try, is a little like having a pocket full of money…it tends to  burn a whole in my pocket so to speak. I hate having a new recipe and then having to wait to try it because I don’t have the ingredients on hand. This is what kills me sometimes because I fantasize about how lovely it will be and then by the time I get to make it, I am bummed because it didn’t live up to the high expectations that I had.

So this concludes my random foodie thoughts for now! 

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