Monday, September 30, 2013

Get Your Redneck On


Today is my birthday....I get to lay around the house in my sequin party dress and do nothing at all, or anything I want! This particular birthday is incredibly special because today is also the release day of my official debut single "Get Your Redneck On" So today's post is just a small dedication to the journey that brought me to this day. I'm already the luckiest girl in the world to have both an amazing husband and family, the most wonderful friends and the most incredible fans. Thank you all so much for your support, it means the world to me. Be sure to start calling your radio station to request the single and click here to go download the single on Itunes if you haven't already. Let the journey continue...

XOXO~

Friday, September 27, 2013

Toaster Strudel with Icing


When I was a kid I was lucky enough to have a "Super mom".
(photo courtesy of Google images)

Seriously, with my dad on the road and two (and then later three) kids running around, somehow she always managed to be up, showered, fully dressed with hair and makeup done before she even peeled us out of bed. She would then dress us, make us breakfast and then gather all of our belongings to take us to daycare or school before heading off to her own full-time job. And by the way....our house was always clean (except for my room - and my sisters). When I say she cooked us breakfast I don't mean that she stuck a pop tart in our mouths as we were walking out the door. I mean she would scramble eggs, cook sausage or bacon, and bake biscuits or make toast. Sometimes it was waffles or pancakes and on a rare special day she would make us donuts out of biscuits and create toppings for us to create our own donut designs. She literally had everything going on and managed to do it all, I'm assuming, with her super powers. So, needless to say, I don't really remember ever eating toaster pastries such as pop tarts and toaster strudel unless it was for a snack or I was at a friends house. When I become a college student, its a WHOLE different story. 

I have seen a ridiculous amount of Toaster Strudel commercials lately and I thought "why buy them when you can make them?" and homemade ones are way better (just ask my former college student self). They are oozy and gooey and yummy and good for your tummy. Your kids will think you are Super Mom too if you make these before their very eyes. You could even let them sweet talk you into taking special orders and all it takes is you switching up the preserves to their favorite flavor. 

For the pastries:
1 pkg frozen puff pastry (2 sheets), thawed
1 jar strawberry preserves, reduced sugar

For the icing: 
3/4 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp half and half
1/4 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using the photos below as a guideline, mentally divide the sheet into 6 pastries. Spread 1 rounded tablespoon of strawberry preserves for each portion of the toaster pastries. Make sure to leave the edges free to be sealed. Brush water along the edges and in between the preserves. Place the second sheet of puff pastry on top and use a pizza wheel or pastry wheel to cut the pastries. Cut along all edges of each pastry to help seal them. Bake for 25-30 minutes until golden brown. There will be some preserves that seep out of the seams here and there but that's what makes them authentic and not store bought, right? In a bowl, mix the ingredients for the icing well. Spoon into a Ziploc style sandwich bag and push to one of the bottom corners. Twist the bag just above the icing to create pressure. Clip the very tip of the bag and squeeze to drizzle over the warm toaster pastries in a zig-zag or smiley face or whatever shape or design your little heart desires.

Place the top sheet of  pastry.
Cut out the pastries and trim the edges to help seal. 
Transfer pastries to the baking sheet...
And....fresh out of the oven (so yum!).
Enjoy! XOXO~


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Dump Cake


Y'all ready to "Get Your Redneck On" with me? This recipe is definitely for the simple kind of life. It is extremely easy, and as the name indicates, you simply "dump" the ingredients together. This is a recipe that I have been making since I was five years old thanks to the guiding hands of my aunt and uncle. Dump Cake has graced our kitchen table more times than I care to admit and I was so excited to make it for you guys in honor of my redneck single that is coming out on Monday!!! I hope y'all enjoy!


1 -21oz can Cherry Pie filling
1 -15oz can crushed pineapple
1 box yellow cake mix
1 stick margarine
1/2 stick butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Dump cherry pie filling and crushed pineapple into baking dish. Stir. Sprinkle cake mix over the top of fruit. Slice margarine and butter and distribute over the surface of the cake mix. Bake for 45 mins to 1 hour. Top your serving with whipped cream if desired.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Bruschetta


I love bruschetta (properly pronounced bru-sketta) and since I happen to have an over abundance of tomatoes and basil at my house (in case you couldn't tell) I decided to whip some up for y'all. This is seriously one of the simplest appetizers you can make and it is fresh, healthy and delicious.  

2 cups tomato, chopped
1/2 cup sweet onion, minced
1 Tbsp olive oil, plus extra for spritzing bread
1 tsp minced garlic
8 medium to large basil leaves, chopped
French bread loaf, cut into 1/2 inch slices
granulated garlic
salt and pepper

Combine tomato, onion, olive oil garlic and basil in a bowl and toss. Salt and pepper to taste. Set the oven to broil on low. spray the top side of the french bread with olive oil and dust it with the granulated garlic, salt and pepper. Broil until toast turns a medium golden brown. Flip each piece and repeat with the olive oil, garlic, salt and pepper. Broil until it turns a medium golden brown. Remove from oven and serve alongside the bruschetta.

NOTE** If you want your toast more traditional, instead of using the granulated garlic, take a fresh garlic clove and rub it on one side of the bread after toasting.

Enjoy! XOXO~

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Baked Prosciutto Wrapped Mozzarella


Today is my sisters birthday so I'd like to start this post by saying Happy Birthday to my big sister Shelley. She is part of the reason I'm one of the happiest girls in the world. She always has my back, we have a blast raiding our moms closet and blaming it on each other, and most of all she has blessed me with the 2 most incredible little nuggets an "Aunt KiKi" could ask for. 

Ok, on to the food! I have been to two restaurants recently that have served some form of baked mozzarella wrapped in prosciutto or bacon. What's better than a price of cheese wrapped in salty yummy pork? Nothing, it sounds just like heaven to me. This recipe is my take on those dishes and let me tell you, I recently made three batches of these, took them to a sweet friends birthday party and set them out as an appetizer and they disappeared like a hot box of Krispy Kreme's. If you don't know what I mean by that then just stalk a Krispy Kreme until the red sign lights up and go buy a dozen....I bet they don't make it home. I chose to create this dish in honor of my main bass guitar playing wild man CJ Wilder as it was recently mentioned as one of his favorite appetizers, and who could blame him? I hope you guys (and girls) dig it too.


1 lb mozzarella cheese, cut into 1 oz pieces (approx 2" long x 1" wide x 1" thick)
8 pieces of prosciutto, cut in half lengthwise
1/2 jar of your favorite marinara
Fresh basil leaves for garnishing

Preheat oven to Broil. Cover the bottom of a casserole dish with marinara. Wrap each 1 oz piece of mozzarella in prosciutto and lay flat in the casserole dish. Place in the oven and let broil for 10 minutes. remove from oven and let cool for 3-5 minutes or until mozzarella begins to firm back up a little.  Garnish with basil  and serve warm.

Enjoy! XOXO~

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tomato and Pancetta Pappardelle


I am sooooooo excited to share this recipe with you guys. I love fresh pasta and I am known to make my own pasta from scratch for a VERY special guest here and there. I had a girls night workout planned in the city that got rained out last week, lucky for us the workout was scheduled right next door to our only Whole Foods! And since me and my girlfriends were already there...it only made sense that we turn our workout night into dinner, drinks and a WF shopping trip (yes I know, the exact opposite of a workout). While browsing through the aisles searching for things that I can only get at WF, which I only get to visit once a month since it is 30 minutes from my house, I came across the fresh pastas in a refrigerated section. I got secretly giddy...like weirdly giddy. If you have never had anything but dried pasta from a bag or box, you have no idea why I got so pumped up, but if you have experienced the amazing texture and flavor of fresh pasta, you are closing your eyes and possibly drooling with me right now....go get a rag to wipe your chin, I'll wait....You are more than welcome to use a dried pasta for this recipe but I highly recommend you trying to find a fresh pasta to use, even if it isn't pappardelle (a 1" wide noodle - like a wide fettuccine). This pasta dish is simple, easy and beautiful. I added in the zucchini to cut down on the amount of pasta you need to eat and it adds a great flavor and texture of its own. If you are cutting out carbs you can skip the pasta all together and just use the raw zucchini in place of the pasta. The sauteed vegetables will heat the zucchini and therefore there is no need to cook the zucchini. I would love to hear about your experience if this will be your first time with fresh pasta!

10 oz pappardelle pasta (I buy "fresh" pasta from Whole Foods)
1 cup pancetta, diced
2 cups Cherry Tomatoes
1/2 medium yellow onion sliced
1 cup mushroom
1/2 zucchini - julienned
1/2 cup basil, cut into ribbons
Romano cheese, grated
1 tsp butchers block black pepper
2 Tbsp butter
Olive oil

In a pan, drizzle a small amount of olive oil. Add pancetta and sautee for 3 minutes, add onion, mushroom, and tomatoes sautee until onions are translucent and tomatoes are bursting. Boil the pasta in salted water. Remember that fresh pasta only takes 2-3 minutes to cook, dried pasta will take closer to 12 minutes. Drain water from pasta, put pasta in a bowl with the raw julienne zucchini and toss with black pepper, a drizzle of olive oil and the butter. Place the tomato, pancetta, mushroom and onions over pasta and zucchini. Sprinkle the basil ribbons on top of that and then top with the grated Romano cheese. Serve immediately and enjoy!

**I do not eat mushrooms so feel free to take those out. you can also add in any vegetables you have on hand. Here are some other options: broccolini, bell pepper, spinach, etc. Also, pancetta is really salty, so no additional salt is needed for the recipe with the exception of the salted boiling water. 

Enjoy! XOXO~




Friday, September 13, 2013

Garlic Rosemary Peasant Bread

If there was something in this world I'm addicted to its carbs. I love pasta, potatoes and bread! This is one of the easiest homemade breads I could share with you. It is something you can whip up for guests joining you for dinner or make ahead and keep on hand at all times. I even like to roll the dough into 1inch balls and freeze them and then put 2 in each hole of my muffin tin to make dinner rolls with that I call a butt crack (line down the center) like good old-fashioned yeast rolls. Start to finish the process is about 2 hours but your hands-on time is only about 25 minutes and your work is minimal. You will impress the heck out of friends and family because bread-making seems like such a daunting task to the average person. Thanks to this recipe...it's no longer going to be a head-ache for you!

1 Tbsp ActiveDry yeast
2 cups warm water (115 degrees)
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp salt
4 cups all-purpose flour (Have some extra on-hand to flour hands and to use incase dough is too sticky)
1 1/2 Tbsp Rosemary
1 Tbsp Garlic
olive oil (to grease pan)
corn meal (to dust pan with)
1/4 cup butter, melted (for brushing bread)
kosher salt and black pepper

**It is best to use a kitchen aid stand mixer with the mixing blade - It will keep everything from sticking to your hands.

In a bowl combine yeast, warm water, sugar, and salt and stir until dissolved. Add in flour and stir until blended, (about 3 minutes). Cover and let rise for one hour or until the dough has doubled in size. In the mean time, grease your loaf pan and dust with corn meal. When dough has risen the proper amount of time you will flour hands, remove dough from the bowl and divide in half. Place 1 half into your prepared loaf pan. Let rise an additional 25-30 minutes. Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Brush the top of the loaf with melted butter (you can add garlic and rosemary "just because" if you want also). Bake in the oven for 10 minutes. Reduce oven temperature to 375 degrees and bake for an additional 10 minutes. Once you remove from the oven, brush again with melted butter and sprinkle with kosher salt and black pepper. Serve warm.

If you do not have a loaf pan you can simply take the divided batch and pat each one into a round on a greased, dusted baking sheet and cook for the same amount of time. It may not completely hold its shape but pretty isn't the point anyway! You can also make dinner rolls in muffin tins. I went a little bread crazy and made it every way just to show you! Here are a few extra pics.



Enjoy! XOXO~

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Mini Turkey Cheese Steak

Today let me start by remembering the tragedy that our country endured and fought through 12 years ago on this day. It was a day that changed our lives and country forever. I will never forget the moment I realized that the news story I was hearing on the radio on my ride to school was not a clip from a movie being promoted but rather our new reality. Our country was attacked. My country was attacked. But we came out more united, more feirce than ever. I'm forever proud to be an American. God Bless the U.S.A.


Me and the Philly Cheese Steak Sandwich have a love at first bite relationship. The first time I had a Philly was the first time I ate grilled peppers and onions...and I fell in love. My husband and I were with some family in Memphis, TN and late at night we finally decided to eat dinner and the only food we could find was a Philly. I didn't think I would like it because at this point I was the pickiest eater known to man and hated most vegetables, but starving, I ordered it anyway. The first bite I took was a juicy, creamy, cheesy, scrumptious mouthful of heaven. It is a single experience that helped shape the next 5 years of my food adventures. I started to venture out and find what other foods I have been missing out on. The traditional Philly uses thinly sliced ribeye which is marbled with fat and not a friend of my girlish figure (coming in at a whopping 710 cals), so for this recipe I used smoked deli turkey to cut a ton of the fat and the flavor and juiciness was not sacrificed (and it only contains about 260 cals). This is definitely me and the hubby's go-to when we're craving this sandwich fave. Hope you enjoy!

20 oz smoked deli turkey, thin sliced
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
1 green bell pepper, diced
4 slices reduced fat provolone cheese
8 slices french loaf bread, 1/2 in slices
1 Tbsp light margarine, divided
I can't believe its not butter spray
granulated garlic
black pepper

In a sautee pan, heat 1/2 Tbsp margarine. Add onions and peppers and sautee until tender, remove from heat and set aside. Season the turkey slices with granulated garlic and pepper. Add the other 1/2 Tbsp margarine to the sautee pan and sautee the turkey in the pan until heated through. In the mean time, spray the buttery spray on 1 side of each peice of french bread. Remove turkey from pan and lay the bread on the pan, sprayed side down to let brown. Remove from pan when the sprayed side is a golden brown. To construct the sandwich place one side of bread, grilled side down on a plate, top with approx 5 ounzes of the turkey. Then pile desired amount of peppers and onions and top with cheese, finish off with top peice of grilled bread. Makes 4 sandwiches.


Enjoy! XOXO~





Monday, September 9, 2013

Chocolate Marshmallow Fluff


This recipe is outrageous! It's like a s'more on a spoon. I was just playing around in the kitchen and made this combo and it turned out incredible. I then proceeded to fill wanton's with it and fry them and then dust them with powdered sugar....ridiculous...I know. Please do not blame me for the addiction that is about to ensue.

1 7 oz jar marshmallow creme
1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 Tbsp butter
1 Tbsp milk

Put chocolate chips in a glass bowl and set aside. In a small sauce pan melt butter. Add marshmallow creme and milk. Stir until heated thoroughly. Remove from heat and pour over the chocolate chips in the glass bowl. Stir until chocolate chips are melted and combined well with marshmallow mix. Cover and let cool in refrigerator for an hour. Use as a dip, frosting or filling.

NOTE: If using as a frosting, it is best to skip the cooling process and use it warm. This will make it easier to work with.

Enjoy! XOXO~

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Corn-On-The-Cob with Seasoned Butters


With the end of summer literally knocking at my door, I really wanted to whip up one of my favorite summer cookout side dishes. When I was a toddler I would never be seen without an ear of corn in my hand. With or without remaining kernels it was in my hand. I would fall asleep at nap time with it in my hand and my mom would toss it...I'd wake up...freak out....and have to have another. As weird as it sounds, and I know it sounds weird, I just loved it. Still do...creepy nap time corn cob aside. This recipe is super easy, takes less than 10 minutes of prep time and it is a great way to add a little something extra to the old-fashioned staple.

6 ears of corn, on the cob
6 cubes of ice
salt and pepper

Salt and pepper each ear of corn. Wrap each ear of corn with 1 cube of ice tightly in aluminum foil. Roast in an oven or grill at 400 degrees for 50 minutes. While the corn is roasting whip up the three seasoned butters below to serve alongside the corn. Mix the ingredients for each butter flavor in a small bowl and then you can serve in a small dish or pipe onto a small plate like I did in the photo above. Each butter flavor will accommodate 2 ears of corn so adjust as you wish to make more of your favorites.

Mexican Butter:

2 Tbsp margarine/Butter (I use Smart Balance butter spread - I just like the way it tastes!)
1/2 tsp taco seasoning mix

Herb Butter:

2 Tbsp margarine/Butter
1/2 tsp basil paste or fresh basil
1/4 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp granulated garlic

Honey Butter:

2 Tbsp margarine/Butter
1/2 Tbsp honey
Enjoy! XOXO~

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Roasted Okra


I'm Baaaaaaaack! This last 5 weeks has been so amazing and fun for me, hope you guys haven't missed me too much. It has been an incredible step forward in my music career. I traveled cross-country on my tour bus meeting with radio stations at every turn. I saw parts of the country that I had never seen and even made a stop in the hometown of my favorite NFL football team the Pittsburgh Steelers. For a sports fanatic like myself that was HUGE. I didn't get to go visit the stadium but I did get to see it from the highway ::thumbs up:: as we were headed out of town.

Although I was having fun, I did miss my hubby, pups, family and working in my garden every morning. I came home to find out that we have okra coming out of our ears! 5 gallons of okra in just 1 week! Everyone loves fried okra and if you don't, you should get that checked out, something is definitely wrong! As much as I love fried okra, it isn't exactly waistline friendly so I'm always trying to find a way to prepare it that doesn't include a vat of oil. I shared my Stewed Okra recipe back in July so I thought I would share this Roasted Okra recipe with you today. These are fantastic as a side dish or a snack. This is as close to fried okra as you can get without the breading and frying. I simply cannot get enough of these tasty little green goodies.


1 lb okra (2-3 inches in size)
2 Tbsp Olive oil (I use a Misto oil sprayer instead to keep fat even lower)
Kosher salt
Ground black pepper

Wash the okra and pat dry. Cut the stems and the very ends off of the okra. Rub or spray olive oil onto okra. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Lay flat on a baking sheet lined with foil. Roast at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, shaking pan every 10 minutes. Carefully remove from oven and serve.

NOTE: Make sure that the okra you choose is about 3 inches in length. The bigger they are, the tougher and more fibrous they become.

Enjoy! XOXO