Thursday, December 12, 2013

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

So, thought I'd try posting from my phone......let's see how this goes!

You can only do so much with cauliflower in my humble opinion.  I found a flawless head the other day at the store and HAD to buy it.  Hhmm.... what to do? We are NOT fans in this house of mashed cauliflower passed off as mashed potatoes.  I mean, really, who's fooling who with that one?  So, here's what I came up with and we ALL loved it.

Roasted Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

• 1 head cauliflower cut into equal sized florets
• 1/4 c olive oil
• 3 garlic cloves minced (to your taste)
• salt and pepper
• grated Parmesan cheese

Oven to 400°

Mix olive oil and garlic in large bowl.  Toss in cauliflower and coat evenly.  Pour into casserole dish and sprinkle with salt and pepper. 

Bake appx 20 mins stirring half way through cooking time.  After 20 mins, it until fork tender, sprinkle liberally with Parmesan cheese and return to oven to brown.

Oh my, fantastic!  Hope you try it and I hope you enjoy!  Do you have a favorite recipe for cauliflower?  If so, I'd love to try it.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn

So, not a huge fan of Black Friday madness here.  I just can't justify being up at 3am to get to a store in hopes of saving $100.  Instead, the Finley clan has spent the day grazing on leftovers and watching the Star Wars marathon.  

It's COLD, we all have fuzzy socks on, a fire in the fireplace and heaps of blankets with us on the couch.  Mr. Finley walked into the kitchen and asked if we had marshmallow......absolutely EVERYONE knew what that meant.....

Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn!

Here is an easy peasy for ya for any time of the year really but, for some reason, it seems super special in the winter - with a fire and fuzzy socks!)

Caramel Marshmallow Popcorn
  • 1/2 c packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 c butter (1 stick)
  • 9-10 large marshmallows (or the minis that are equivalent to 9-10 large)
  • 1 bag microwave popcorn popped
Mix brown sugar and butter in a large  microwaveable bowl and microwave for 1:30 - 2:00 mins until butter is melted.  Stir to mix well.  Add  marshmallows to the brown sugar and butter mixture and microwave an additional 2 minutes (or until marshmallows are melted) and mix well.  Once marshmallows are melted stir to combine mixture well.  Pour your popped popcorn into the bowl and mix well.  Work the mixture quickly as the marshmallow, brown sugar and butter will start to set and it will get harder to mix.


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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Polishing Off the Week

Polishing Off the Week by polyvore-editorial on

Absolutely LOVE the latest shades for the season!  The Sephora has to be one of the BEST polishes I have ever used.  If you have not tried it you should!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins

Well, school tracks back in next week!  I have to say that I have truly enjoyed the last few weeks with my son and I guess I have to attribute that to him getting older.  I can't really say "what" we did as I look back only that we had a TON of fun these last three weeks!  

With punk kid going back to school we need grab and go breakfast food!  It doesn't matter how much he eats for breakfast he always wants something else to grab on the way out the door.  My solution?  All kinds of different muffins baked on weekends that are ready to go for the week.  One of our favorites?  Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins.  I found a base recipe YEARS ago and had edited it multiple times of the year to result in what WE think is a super moist and yummy on the go snack.....I hope you try them!

Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins
Banana Coconut Walnut Muffins

  • 2 c All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2 c Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 c Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Room Temperature Egg, slightly beaten
  • 5 Tbs Milk
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 c Butter room temperature
  • 1 c mashed Bananas (about 2 large or 3 medium - RIPE!)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 c Walnuts
  • 1/2 c shredded Coconut
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly spray a muffin tin with cooking spray or use paper liners.  

Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

In a large bowl cream together butter and sugars.  Mix in slightly beaten egg and vanilla. Once mixed add the mashed bananas and mix well.  Slowly sift in your pre-mixed dry ingredients.  Lastly, add in the coconut, walnuts and milk. 

Pour batter into muffin tin.  Back for approximately 45 - 50 mins.  Depending on the weather my cooking times vary.  I start "watching" the muffins at about 40 mins. When you touch the top of a muffin with your finger and the top springs back they are done.  The toothpick trick doesn't really work because you may hit a pocket of mashed banana.  ;)

I hope you give these a try and let me know what you think of them!  

What's your favorite baked muffin whether savory or sweet?

I LOVE comments! Let me know what you think......

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Cheese Crisps - A Low Carb Afternoon Snack

We are always in search of snacks in this house and over the last few months with one family member on a low carb regime it has become harder and harder.  Not today!

I stumbled across this little gem of a recipe and made a few.  Oh my goodness, delicious, super easy and low carb.  Notice I didn't say low fat!  ;)

This one comes from Wellness Mama with a teeny adaption from me- THANKS!   Don't forget to check out Wellness Mama - she is AMAZING!

homemade healthy chips Cheesy Chips
Cheese Chips

Cheese Crisps

  • Shredded Parmesan Cheese (Shredded NOT Grated!)
  • A few sprinkles of Garlic powder
Toss the cheese and garlic powder together in a bowl with your fingers.  Turn oven on broil.  LIGHTLY spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.  Seriously, LIGHTLY!  Drop small mounds of cheese on baking sheet and, remember, the cheese will spread so space them out about 2 inches apart.  Place the baking sheet in the oven and keep your eyes on them - they brown quickly.  Mine were in the oven appx 7 mins.  We did like ours a little crisper - you may want to broil for a little less time.

Once out of oven let cool for a few minutes and then use a metal spatula to remove them to a cool plate, a cool cutting board or any cool surface.  

These were YUMMY!  We dipped them in HeluvaGood! Buffalo Wing Dip.  Try it - you'll LOVE IT!

HeluvaGood! Buffalo Wing Dip

Do you have any good low carb snacks that you'd like to share?  I'd love to have some more!!

I LOVE comments! Let me know what you think......

Friday, November 1, 2013

Five Friday Favorites

 Whew - Halloween has come and gone!  My teenager decided he was a bit too old (at only 13) to trick or treat this year.  Instead, he wanted a Pumpkin Spice Latte and to ride around and look at all the other trick or treaters.  For some reason, even though the weather was PERFECT to be outside, it just didn't seem like there were many kids out and about this year.  There's no candy to eat in the house and for that I am grateful!  ;)

So, what's on my mind today?  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years and the whole mad rush of craziness that is about to ensue..... ah, 'tis the season!

A few favorites this week could certainly come in handy during the Holiday season.  

Usually when I visit others I like to take "presents".  They never have to be anything expensive or over the top but just something to let my friends know that I am thinking of them.  A perfect one for this time of year with the abundance of apples?

Apples with Toffee Caramel Dip:  Isn't this one just as cute as can be?   Super easy to put together and simply by changing the ribbon you can tailor it for MANY occasions!

Fresh Autumn Apples with a Toffee Caramel Dip
My new found favorite Side Dish?  Well, one of the anyway is Spaghetti Squash any which way I can get it!  The resounding winner in the house seems to be Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs.  My house has adapted it somewhat from this Martha Stewart recipe but it's pretty much similar to our way.  I have a pretty good feeling this will be making its way onto the Thanksgiving table this year.  
Roasted Squash with Parmesan and Herbs
Spaghetti Squash with Parmesan and Herbs

My latest obsession......SUSPENDERS!  I know, I don't get it etiher!  I am on the lookout for some cool suspenders.  Something along the lines of a pencil skirt with suspenders.  Or, jeans with suspenders, dress pants with suspenders......I really don't care!  I just know I have to have them!  This particular pencil skirt with suspenders you can find here. 
MOSCHINO C&C Pencil Skirt with Suspenders
Pencil Skirt with Suspenders

My Public Service Announcement for the week?  Don't forget to change your clocks this weekend!  It's the end of Daylight Savings on Sunday, November 3rd.  If you don't?  You are going to be early everywhere you go on Monday.  So, go on, take that extra hour of sleep!!!
Set Your Clocks Back One Hour
Lastly?  I have to end this with a funny video!  I don't know what is going on but Jimmy Fallon has been tearing it up for this household!  But, when you put two faves together like Jimmy Fallon and the cutie patootie Joseph Gordon Levitt?  HI - LAR - I- OUS!  They were all fantastic but JGL absolutely NAIILED both Sir Elton Jon and Nicki Minaj!  Am I right??  (You can find JGL at 3:16 and 7:58 - you're welcome!  And the band member's face between 8:48 - 8:57?  Priceless!)

Until next week!!!  Peace, Love and Twizzlers for all!

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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Spiced Peaches

I was searching for a great side dish to go with ham as we were all a little tired of the standard green beans, scalloped potatoes, etc.  I stumbled across this little gem, tried it and we are in LOVE!  This is so simple to put together, makes the house smell unbelievable while simmering and could be a fantastic housewarming/homemade gift!  

Spiced Peaches - recipe from Nigella  

2 cans of peaches (in heavy syrup)
1 tbs rice wine vinegar
2 cinnamon sticks
1.5 - 2 inch fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into rounds
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
1/2 tsp kosher salt
3 whole cloves

Place all ingredients into a saucepan and bring to a low bowl.  Let bubble for a few minutes and then reduce heat.  Simmer until ready to serve.  The longer the low simmer the more infused the flavors will be.

The spiced peaches can also be placed in decorative jars for gifts BUT they do not have a long shelf life so be sure to let the recipient know.

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Friday, January 25, 2013

Sweet Pepper Pesto Chicken Pasta

I was trying to think up a quick and easy recipe for dinner tonight.  We got back late yesterday afternoon from Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg Virginia and in less than 24 hours I have one sick teenager on my hands.  It has been just awful since 2:30 in the morning.  I got him to the doctor this morning and his blood pressure is low, body temp low and they suspect Norovirus.  :(  It has been a VERY long day.

While the punk kid probably won't eat dinner with the rest of us I did come up with a quick and tasty dish for the rest of us.  Sweet Pepper Pesto Chicken Pasta.  

Sweet Pepper Pesto
1lb bag mini sweet pepper medley (I used Pero Family Farms)
3/4oz container of fresh basil
2-4 garlic cloves (we LOVE garlic so I tend to go heavy on it in recipes)
1/2 c pine nuts
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c olive oil (used a tad more for our desired consistency)
salt and pepper to taste

Penne Pasta (16 oz)
Tyson's Ready Grilled Chicken Strips (1/2 22oz bag) 

Prepare pasta according to package directions.  Defrost 1/2 bag chicken in microwave and then cut into bite size pieces.  Warm the chicken up in the microwave after defrosted and cut into pieces.

Once pasta is done, drain and place in large serving bowl.  Add warmed chicken pieces and sweeet pepper pesto and toss until well combined.  Top with a little extra parmesan cheese and serve family style.  

We had a Caesar Salad and oven toasted salt and pepper Italian Bread and it was definitely a winner!

I LOVE comments! Let me know what you think......

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Our Trip to Great Wolf Lodge - Meh....

Punk kid decided that he wanted to go to Great Wolf Lodge for his birthday treat this year. We had visited the one in Concord NC a few years back and had a WONDERFUL time.  This year we decided to go to Williamsburg VA.  I don't think any us will jump at the opportunity to go back to that particular one again.

Overall, the hotel was pretty run down, the staff (in all areas) was less than attentive, the life guards just seemed really pissed to be there and the food was absolutely disgusting and BEYOND expensive.

The waterpark was the reason for going though and the kids had a blast on all the slide and the FlowRider.  Magi Quest was a huge success as well as was Compass Quest.

If you are planning a trip to Great Wolf Lodge, any of them, keep in mind that they have mini refrigerators, microwaves and 4 cup coffee pots in the rooms.  Knowing that ahead of time, we loaded up of food to take with us.  As I had mentioned, the food at the hotel itself is outrageously expensive and just really nasty.  Here are a few things that we packed:

  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Prepared Microwaveable Items like Beefaroni, Ravioli, etc.
  • Jimmy Dean Sausage Biscuits
  • Deli Ham and Cheese for sandwiches as well as rolls
  • Microwave Popcorn
  • Tons of bottled water and Gatorade
  • Cups of Ramen Noodles.  We ran just water through the coffee pot to use as boiling water for the cups
  • Extra coffee and filters
Those are just a few of the items that we took and we are so glad we did.  The hotel had a Pizza Hut Express but it was only open on Monday.  We were there Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday so we thought it odd that it was only open on Monday.  They do have another pizza place on site which we did ended up using for lunch one afternoon.  We were able to get a 16in pepperoni pizza, 6 bread sticks (ew, they were awful), a prepackaged salad (which was the best part) and a 2 liter for about $30.  

The dinner buffet?  There was no way in hell that we were spending $19.99 for each of us for the buffet.  We perused the buffet and it looked just awful.  And, really, it is $19.99 for a 12 year old?  The kids really had wanted to eat in the hotel restaurant so we promised them that we would do the breakfast buffet instead.  What an incredible waste that was.  We spent $80 for the 4 of us to have breakfast.  Can you believe that?  Drinks were NOT included with the buffet which is what drove up the price.  The buffet was nothing more than frozen items thawed and placed on the tables such as danishes, biscuits (rock hard and VERY cold), mini muffins and mini doughnuts while most of the rest of the buffet was large industrial size cans of items like peaches, applesauce, pears, sausage gravy, hard boiled eggs and more nasty stuff that we were not going to touch.  It was funny, when we sat down for breakfast the server was apologetic for the price.  She asked how old the boys were and then asked, "Did they tell you up front how much the buffet costs?  Any child over 10 years is charged the adult price."  Then she averted her eyes and did the "I'm sorry" shrug.  They did have an omelette bar but no one was "manning" it the whole time we were there so I am not sure how long you would have had to wait to get an omelette.

The hotel also had a snack shack inside the waterpark.  Fries, Hot Dogs, Burger, etc were the main fare.  We were surprised to see that it closed early so if you were hungry you had no choice but to get the buffet in the main restaurant or leave the hotel for food.  Sneaky tricks, Great Wolf Lodge, sneaky tricks.  And one that REALLY cracked me up was in the shop that sold Starbucks and pastries they had a little side counter.  On the counter were bowls of candy - ie Ghirardelli Chocolate Squares selling for .75 a piece.  HA!

Again, the trip was fun for the two teenagers that we took - that was the point, right?  We are just SO thankful that we packed up so much food to take with us.  The three days and two nights that we spent at the lodge were just enough.  We couldn't see spending much more time there.  If you plan on going be sure to pack up some snacks and extra money - every little thing costs and it adds up quickly.  

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