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A Craving For Perfection

Can it be satisfied?

Updated: 2016-08-11T23:43:46.952-07:00


Tasty Quinoa Cakes


Hello again! I recently joined the land of Pinterest, where I have not-so-reluctantly wasted much of my time, and have collected many recipes that I am just dying to give a try. What I love about Pinterest is that I no longer have to have links saved to my inrernet favorites, plus I have the Pinterest app on my phone, so I am never without a healthy diversion from my everyday life.I'm almost ashamed to admit how much time I've wasted on Pinterest, but after I got my boards set up for the most part, I'm not on there as much as I'd like to I was a few weeks ago. I do have a sneaking fear that if my boards were deleted or messed up in some way, I'd probably have an emotional breakdown and start thrashing around on the ground, sobbing my god-forsaken eyes out.Now, it's one thing to pin a bunch of shit on Pinterest and look cool, it's entirely another to actually try this stuff out. I've tried a few things so far (workouts, hairstyles, clothing), but none of them were food-related until today. I'm really glad that I chose Joy The Baker's Kale and Quinoa Cakes as one of the first new recipes in my repertoire, because 1) I trust Joy, she's a wonderful blogger and her stuff is amazing, and 2) I've been seeking a protein-packed, nutritious pre- or post-run snack that wouldn't upset my stomach or leave me feeling guilty for consuming a pre-packaged protein bar from GNC. These are definitely a nice change-up from the normal.(OMG NOM) Joy The Baker's Kale and Quinoa Cakes1 1/2 cups raw quinoa2 1/4 cups water1/2 teaspoon salt4 large eggs, beaten1 tablespoon olive oil1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped3 cloves garlic, finely chopped1/2 bunch (about 3 cups) chopped dino kalesplash of apple cider vinegar1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese1/3 cup coarsely chopped sun-dried tomatoes1/3 cup chopped parsley1 cup panko bread crumbs1/2 teaspoon salt (or to taste)1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground black pepper or crushed red pepper flakes1 tablespoon water2 tablespoon olive oil for frying, add a bit more as necessarylemon wedges, olives or capers, spicy mustard, and greens for servingInstructions: Place dry quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Wash under cool water for a few minutes. Quinoa needs to be rinsed or it tastes dirty. (My note: this is a huge pain in the ass, but so worth it. Expect to lose some quinoa down the drain in the rinsing process.)In a medium saucepan place rinsed quinoa, water, and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Place over medium heat and bring to a boil. Cover, decrease the heat, and simmer for about 25 t0 30 minutes, until the quinoa is tender. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. We’ll need about 3 cups of cooked quinoa for the recipe.In a small bowl, whisk eggs and set aside.In a medium sauté pan, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add onions and cook until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add garlic and saute for 1 minute. Add kale and toss until just slightly wilted, about 1 minutes. Remove from heat and add a splash of vinegar. Place kale mixture in a large bowl with prepared quinoa. Allow to cool to room temperature. You can speed up this process in the fridge for 30 minutes.Add cheese, sun-dried tomatoes, parsley, break crumbs, salt, and pepper. Add beaten eggs and stir until all of the quinoa mixture is moistened. Add water to thoroughly moisten mixture. Quinoa should be slightly wet so it doesn’t dry out during cooking.Scoop out mixture by the 2 tablespoonful. (I used a small ice cream scoop to scoop the mixture right into the hot pan.) Use clean, moist fingers to form into a patty. Create as many patties as you’d like. (Rinse your hands after every few patties… it makes making patties easier.)(Sticky patties ready to fry) In a large skillet over medium low heat, heat olive oil. If you pan is large enough, add four to six patties to the hot pan. You’ll need a bit of room to successfully flip them.(Sizzle...) Cook on each side until beautifully browned, about 4 to 5 minutes on each side. Low heat helps the quinoa cakes cook slowly. Brown on each side then remove to a[...]

A Time For Change


Hello! Wow, so much has happened over the past year since I last wrote a post here. I feel like I've come such a long way in such a short amount of time. First, I got promoted at work; a change that I'm still getting used to. I went from being a worker-bee to fulfilling a supervisor role. This is a position I've been striving to get promoted to for a long time, so it feels great. Second, my husband and I got transferred to Yorktown, VA. We've been here for a couple weeks now, and it suits us well. I love that I don't have to take a freeway to work, my commute is 17 minutes from my driveway to the parking lot at work, and there are so many little things that we're falling in love with everyday. Sitting on the back porch drinking wine and watching the fireflies (which we've never seen before in our lives). We learned how to break apart whole blue crabs, rather than just eating their leg meat like we had learned on King crabs when we were in Kodiak. We're looking forward to going running through the battlefields around where we live once the heat wave breaks.The recipe I've chosen for this post is one that doesn't really make sense to cook during a heat wave, but we had a craving for it since we hadn't had it since the holiday season. My main reason for coming up with this recipe is it features an ingredient that I used to always think that I'd hate, but was pleasantly surprised that I love. Brussels Sprouts with Bacon, Raisins and AlmondsIngredients:-5 strips of bacon-4 cloves of garlic, peeled-4 cups (or 1lb) brussels sprouts-1/2 cup raisins-1/3 cup sliced or chopped almonds-1 cup of chicken stock or cooking wineInstructions: Remove all yellowed leaves from brussels sprouts, then cut off the stems and cut sprouts in half. Cook bacon over medium heat until well done and crispy; set aside on a paper towel to cool. Turn heat to medium-low, then add the garlic. After a minute or two, add the brussels sprouts, raisins, and almonds. (Note: I like to add a bit of pepper as well, but try to stay away from adding salt since the bacon provides enough saltiness.) Stir ingredients together, adding a bit of chicken stock slowly to help steam the sprouts. Continue to stir occasionally for 10-15 minutes until the sprouts are well-steamed.What I love about this dish is you can adapt it to the season. For summer, you could add a squeeze of lemon and some fresh herbs. And when I made this as a side dish for Christmas dinner, I used pecans instead of almonds, and cranberries instead of raisins. I also love that the different flavors play off each other really well to create this wonderful harmony of taste. The sweetness of the raisins, the saltiness of the bacon, the bite of the garlic, the bittery-butter flavor of the brussels sprouts, the crunch of the nuts. It's just an all-around fun thing to eat. I've actually considered just serving this for dinner with some romano cheese dusted on top, some crusty bread on the side and a nice bottle of wine (of course).Enjoy!~Mehgan~[...]

I Love New Gadgets!


 Hello again!My sister in-law got us this amazing Le Creuset Dutch Oven for our wedding, and I was so, so excited to use it, I just didn't know what for. I spent quite some time looking online for recipes specifically for my new gadget, but alas, I couldn't find anything that sounded tasty.Then I started thinking about food we like to eat out, and stuff we haven't had in a while. A bell went off. Indian food!! There's a great place in Ft. Lauderdale called Royal India that we just love, but hate how far away it is. My wonderful husband loves their tandoori chicken and rice, while I am in love with their lamb curry and naan bread. On several occasions, I have literally licked the bowl of lamb curry clean with pieces of naan bread. It's that good.My mouth is watering just thinking about it now.While I know I'll never cook as well as the folks at Royal India do, I was craving their food nonetheless. I peeked into my cupboards and in my fridge, and then just started whipping things together. I'm actually kind of proud of the end result, and look forward to tweaking this recip in the future so that it's more authentic. Possibly incorporate different meats and add-ons.Mehgan's Curried Chicken with Carrots and Potatoes -Ingredients:-2tsbp olive oil-1lb boneless skinless chicken breasts-2 to 4 potatoes, peeled and cut into bite-sized pieces-1 small white onion, diced-1/2 bag of baby carrots, cut into thirds-1 can of chicken broth-1 bay leaf-3 to 4 cloves of garlic-1/2 cup plain yogurt-1tbsp tomato paste-1tbsp curry powder-1tsp chili powder-1tsp ground cumin-1tsp garam masala-1tsp salt-1/2tsp cinnamon-1/4 tsp nutmegInstructions: In a blender, place the 1/2 can of the chicken broth (reserve the rest for later), bay leaf, garlic, yogurt, tomato paste, curry powder, chili powder, cumin, garam masala, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Pulse until blended well, then set aside. Warm a large skillet or dutch oven over low to medium heat, adding the olive oil, potatoes, onion, carrots and the other 1/2 can of chicken broth. Cook with the lid on until the potatoes and carrots begin to get soft. Once they're nearly fork-tender, add the chicken and blended curry sauce. Replace the lid, reduce heat to low and continue to cook for about a half hour. If it looks a little too watery, let cook down with the lid off for an additional twenty minutes or so. Serve over jasmine or basmati rice, with naan bread as an added bonus.My thoughts: I was fresh out of jasmine rice, so I decided to make my curry with couscous. My husband calls it "ghetto rice" haha, but he still likes it, and probably prefers it over rice anyway. I love the different spices in this dish, and everything combines really well. I think next time, I'll add some peas, just to get in more veggies, and possibly double the recipe since the leftovers didn't last very long in our house!~Mehgan[...]

Not For The Lactose Intolerant!


Welcome to my 100th blog post! Wow, I can't believe it's been that many. When I started this sad little blog four years ago (almost exactly!) I had no idea the ups and downs I would go through. But, through it all, I've remained an avid fan of cooking and baking. It's still as therapeutic for me now as it was the day I decided to sign up for Blogger. I considered starting a new one after my divorce, but no...I'm too stubborn, and I didn't want to lose all those beautiful recipes. Maybe one day I'll get around to making a new one, but I like this little blog of mine. It somehow seems like home to me.Now enough of all that sentimental crap! Let's get on to the recipe, shall we?This recipe is something I just threw together one night I knew what ingredients I had, I just hoped they'd taste well together lol. Being that I'm lactose intolerant, I can't have many dairy things, but when I went to make this, I basically just said "F--- it, I'm hungry, and I want some cheese". It's not entirely from scratch, but that's ok. When you've had a long day, this recipe will be there for you.Mehgan's Cheesy Mexican Casserole -  Ingredients:-1box of Zatarain's Black Beans & Rice mix (you'll need 2 3/4 cups water & 2tbsp butter or margarine for this)-1lb boneless skinless chicken breast-4oz. Velveeta-1 can diced tomatoes with green chiles-1/4 cup sour cream-1tbsp lime juice-1tbsp chili powder-1tsp cumin-1tsp paprika-1tsp cayenne powder-1 cup shredded cheddar cheeseInstructions: In a 2-quart saucepan, cook rice as directed on the box. While that's cooking, preheat oven to 350F. Cut chicken breasts into bite sized pieces, then cube the Velveeta. Place in bowl, along with the tomatoes, sour cream, lime juice and spices. Once the rice mix is done, mix into the chicken mixture and combine well. Place contents of bowl into baking dish (I used the lovely Le Creuset baking dish that my sister in-law got us for our wedding), top with the cheddar cheese, and then bake for 15-20 minutes. I like to broil mine the last couple minutes of cooking, so that the cheese gets all browned and bubbly, but be careful doing this - it burns fast. Let cool 5 minutes before serving. Top with cilantro if you want to be all fancy-like. :)My thoughts: Another hit! And it's so, so easy. The ingredients are stuff that I almost always have on-hand that go great in other dishes as well, but just so happen to work amazingly in this meal. I'm sure it's not the healthiest thing on the planet, but it could be worse. Just make sure to take your Lactaid if you're lactose intolerant like me!~Mehgan[...]

I can't believe this is good for me...


Hello ladies and gentlemen! My apologies for the long delay in posting; I just have not had the motivation to try anything new. However, I did try a new recipe recently that I absolutely fell in love with. Not only because it's super-duper easy, but also because it's delicious.A friend of mine recommended this Chicken Pot Pie recipe from Weight Watchers, and I have to admit, I was skeptical at first. "Diet food" just never sounds very appealing to me. I was at the grocery store, and decided on a whim to pick up the ingredients to make this, and I am so, so glad I did.Weight Watchers Chicken Pot Pie - Ingredients:-2 servings butter-flavor spray-1 tsp butter-1 small onion, chopped-2 cups mushrooms, sliced (optional)-1/4 tsp paprika-1/4 tsp dried thyme, crushed-1/2 tsp table salt, or more to taste-1/4 tsp black pepper-2 cups frozen mixed vegetables-1 cup canned chicken broth-3 cups roasted chicken breast, chopped-2 tbsp all-purpose flour-1/2 cup fat-free evaporated milk, divided-4 rolls reduced-fat crescent roll dough, unrolledInstructions: Preheat oven to 375F. Coat a 10-inch round (I used square since that's what I have at home haha) shallow baking dish with cooking spray. Coat large pot with cooking spray. Add butter and melt over medium heat. Add onion and mushroom and cook until tender, stirring frequently, about 5 minutes. Stir in paprika, thyme, sald and pepper. Add frozen vegetables, broth and chicken. Cover and simmer 15 minutes.In a small cup, combine flour and 1/4 cup of evaporated milk, stir into chicken mixture. Cook over medium heat until thickened, stirring constantly, about 2 minutes. Stir in remaining 1/4 cup of evaporated milk and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 2 to 3 minutes more.Spoon chicken mixture into prepared dish. Unroll crescent rolls and arrange dough around inside edge of baking dish to form a border (there will be a hole in the middle). Bake until rolls are golden brown and filling is bubbly, about 15 minutes. Cut into 6 pieces and serve.My thoughts: YUM! I rarely eat second helpings of anything, but this I couldn't resist. The only thing I might change if I make this again is I think I'll add more herbs (parsley, rosemary, bay leaves and possibly Herbs de Provence). And it would be so easy to double this recipe into a 13 x 9 inch pan if you need to make more than 6 servings. Two thumbs up!~Mehgan[...]

My Southern Food Journey - Part 2


Welcome back friends!It looks like my boredom is turning into a pretty productive food journey, haha!Today we journey to Alabama & Georgia for Fried Green Tomatoes. I literally made these fried green tomatoes, while watching the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes". Don't judge me.I've heard people talk about fried green tomatoes before, but I've only ever had them once. It was about 7 years ago, when I was first starting to really branch out and try cooking new things. I didn't know a whole lot about how to make them, so I decided to wing it. Yeah, big mistake. First of all, my tomatoes weren't green enough, so when they hit the oil in the pan, they nearly disintegrated. Secondly, I didn't use corn meal, I just made a batter like my mom used to make for fried chicken. Needless to say, they were NOT good.I found some green heirloom tomatoes at my local fresh market, and got really excited to try making these again. Since it had been so long since my first failed attempt, I was willing to give it another try, because I've come a looooooong way since then. And I figured that with my man being deployed, if they didn't turn out, then there would be no proof seeing as how I'd be the only one who would know (muahahahahaha!). Mehgan's Fried Green TomatoesIngredients:-2 large green tomatoes, sliced about 1/4" thick-2 eggs, beaten-1/4 cup buttermilk-1 cup of corn meal-1/2 tsp garlic salt-1/4 tsp pepper-4 tbsp butter-1/4 cup sour cream-1 tbsp Frank's Red Hot sauceDirections: Heat a medium frying pan over low-medium heat. In a bowl, combine the eggs & buttermilk. In a separate bowl, sift together the corn meal, garlic salt and pepper. Melt the butter in the pan, then dredge the tomatoes first in the egg/buttermilk mixture, then coat evenly with the corn meal mixture. Place in the frying pan. Cook until golden brown on both sides. While the tomatoes are cooking, mix the sour cream and Frank's Red Hot sauce in a prep bowl. Serve the tomatoes hot with the sour cream mixture to dip them in.My thoughts: Scrumptious! I know they're terrible for you, but I just couldn't resist. And I had contemplated cooking them in vegetable or olive oil, but thought the butter would give them a nice flavor. The crunch from the corn meal really complimented the sweet tanginess of the tomatoes so well, that I could imagine myself consuming my own body weight in these and still want more. I'd be in pain, sure, but I'd also be completely satisfied.What's really cool about this recipe is that it's not only simple, but it's also very versatile. You could change the spices in the corn meal mixture, to kick it up a notch. You can use these instead of lunch meat or hamburger patties on sandwiches. I told my dear fiance that I'm so making these for him when he gets home. He's going to love them!~Mehgan[...]

My Southern Food Journey - Part 1


Hello ladies and gentlemen! I know it's been a while, but it's just been too stinkin' hot outside lately to be stuck in a stuffy kitchen, stirring pots and pans of steaming food. I did have a cooking kick last night, though, so back to the kitchen it was for me.Living in South Florida, I've got TONS of options for new foods to try out. I've been trying to steer clear of comfort food since I'm still in the throes of wedding planning and live in fear of not being able to fit into my wedding dress in October.After a particularly sweltering weekend (it got up to about 99F with a heat index of 104F - bleh), all I wanted was some good, southern, home cooking. I had some frozen crawfish tails that I picked up at the market hanging out in my freezer, just waiting to be used. Having never cooked with crawfish, I was stumped. So, off to Google I went.While searching online for a killer crawfish recipe, I brewed a big pot of sweet tea, which is one of my weaknesses. I foolishly drank two large glasses of it with dinner, and sat up half the night like a hoot owl, but that's not the point.I will admit, I love the luxury of having this crawfish tail meat already prepared for me. When my fiance and I went out to dinner at Joe's Crab Shack, he got the New Orleans steam pot that included crawfish, and let me tell you...that was a struggle! I actually remember him saying to me "These sure are a lot of work for little to no meat!". I felt bad for the poor guy, so I handed him one of my crab legs for his efforts.Before I go on, let's take a little trip down memory lane with Mehgan, shall we?Imagine me, about four years old, bright blonde hair and blue eyes, living in Sumas, WA with my dad. My dad is a self-proclaimed red-neck who loved farming and living in the sticks and saying stuff like, "Hoo boy! Didja see that? That was a good-un'". So, one day, my dad decides to take me fishing in the creek behind his mother's house. (And when I say "creek", it doesn't rhyme with "peek", it rhymes with "nick". Just so you know.) I'm standing on the bank of the creek with my little Barbie fishing pole, hoping for a bite from a trout or whatever kind of fish we had in there. My dad, up to his thighs in the freezing cold water (he was wearing waders) is slowing moving his arms back and forth in the water. I specifically remember thinking that it was the same way he used to look for his glasses in the morning. Anyway, he shoots up like a jack-in-the-box, hooting and hollering "It pinched me! Yeeoowww!" and flailing his arms about (this was quite hilarious, since he's a 6'4" tall redneck in overalls and waders). Dangling from his right pinky was, what looked to me like a giant insect, but was in fact a crawfish (or crawdad or crayfish or mud bug, whatever you prefer). This continued for another or hour or so, me trying to stifle my laughter while still patiently waiting for a bite that would never come. My grandmother did manage to cut a steak into the shape of a fish, so that I could say that I had fish for dinner that night.Now, on to the incredible way my dad ate these crawfish: once they were boiled up, he would bite their little heads, sucking out all the juices, and then pinch the tails so that he could get all the meat out. I'm a girl. I don't do these things. I sat in wonder as my did finished off a good 20-30 crawfish in one sitting. father....gotta love him.Fast-forward about 20 or so years, and you have me thanking the Lord almighty for not having to endure the process of getting together 3/4 of a pound of crawfish meat in order to make my crawfish etouffee for dinner!Mehgan's Crawfish EtouffeeIngredients:-1 to 2 tbsp olive oil-3/4 to 1 lb crawfish meat-3 cloves of garlic, minced (I like mine on the garlicky side)-2 to 3 stalks of celery, chopped-1 bell pepper, chopped-1 large onion, chopped-2 bunches of green onion, chopped-1/2 to 1 cup chicken stock-2 tbsp canned[...]

Something I've Been Wanting To Try


Allow me to give you a little bit of backstory here, otherwise you won't fully understand where I'm coming from when I say that sometimes, I love "poor food".See, I grew up in a mixed family with three older half-siblings and one younger brother from my mom's second marriage. We struggled financially for a long time, with both of my parents working two jobs a lot of the time. The thing is, I didn't think we were "poor" till about the time I got to high school and realized that a lot of my favorite foods were nothing like the foods my friends were used to. Kraft mac n' cheese mixed with tuna and canned peas? NOM!! But, to my friends, it was repulsive to even imagine eating that, but I noshed on this at least once a week. I actually remember times that my mom would cut in powdered milk mixture with our regular gallon of milk when it got too low, so that we'd have milk to last until payday.One of my all-time favorite, stick-to-your-ribs meals was my mom's shephard's pie. It was a simple recipe of mashed potatoes and canned green beans layered with a ground beef & cream of mushroom soup mixture that she probably came up with one night when she was looking in our pantry, thinking to herself, "Dear God, how am I going to feed five kids with this?" Fast forward about 15 or 20 years and you have me performing the same act in front of our barren pantry, two days away from payday. It was one of those blustery days, raining cats and dogs outside with a strong wind where I just wanted to curl up on the couch and watch Food Network all evening. My fiance looks at me with puppy-dog eyes that only said one thing, "Feed me." The light bulb went on, and instinctively I started peeling potatoes and chopping garlic to make my mom's shephard's pie.Ingredients:-2 tbsp olive oil-1lb lean ground turkey or beef-1 medium onion, chopped-4 to 6 russet potatoes, peeled and diced-2 cloves of garlic, minced-1/4 cup milk-4 tbsp butter-1 can of green beans,drained-1 packet instant brown gravy-Salt and pepperDirections: Preheat oven to 350F. In a skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. add the onion and cook until the onion turns transparent, then add the ground turkey/beef. While that's cooking, place the potatoes in a medium-sized saucepan and pour in enough water to just cover the potatoes. Cook the potatoes on high heat until fork-tender, drain. By now, the meat should be cooked thoroughy; drain any extra liquid and set aside. To the potatoes, add the garlic, butter, milk and salt & pepper, then whip until you achieve your desired consistency (some people prefer their mashed potatoes to be lumpier than others. Me? I like 'em smooth, baby). In a deep dish round pie pan or 9"x9" square pan, put in the green beans, then layer on the meat mixture and top with the mashed potatoes. Bake for approximately 20-30 minutes. While that's cooking, cook the brown gravy as instructed on the back of the packet. Once you plate the shepherd's pie, pour a generous amount of the brown gravy on top. My thoughts: This recipe is slightly different than my mom's because I don't like mushrooms one bit (taste or consistency), so I decided to remove that element from the meat mixture and instead use a brown gravy on top. But, if you want to try it her way, by all means, give it a shot. :)Future-husband LOVED it, he had two helpings, plus more for lunch the next day!I know it's not the traditional pub version of shephard's pie, but in a pinch, it does the trick just fine and dandy. It may not photograph well, but what it lacks in beauty, it more than makes up for in taste. Plus, the fact that it's quick and easy makes it that much more enjoyable.~MehganP.S. I'm still getting used to photographing for my blog now that I'm here in South Florida, so please bear with me! Thanks![...]

The Prodigal Poster...


Hi, remember me? Your host here at A Craving for Perfection? Well, if not, I understand, I've been absent for about six months now. BUT, I have a reason! Actually, many reasons, in fact.

First, I have left the Last Frontier state of Alaska and moved on to sunny Miami, Florida. Yes, that's right, people, I moved from one extreme corner of the United States to the other, and I couldn't be happier. This was a much-needed change, and while there are a few things I will miss about Kodiak, they were not enough to keep me there. I got the opportunity to move out here in October 2009 and it has taken me this long to finally get settled and get my butt back in the kitchen. :)

Second, I have started taking this course titled Healthy Eating Every Day (HEED) through my work, and have learned a lot about making healthy eating choices and cooking healthy meals. It has really helped to reshape the way I go about feeding this body of mine.

Third, and this is a big one: I will be getting married in the Fall! I know, in blog-world it seems pretty soon after my divorce last year, but I met a wonderful man who makes me feel such joy and treats me like a lady should be treated, and I wasn't going to let this gem of a man slip through my fingers. He's honorable and genuine, and I adore him. So, when he proposed, there was no doubt in my mind, no hesitation. I immediately said YES! And we have enjoyed cooking together immensely, which something new and foreign to the both of us (we're used to being the only one cooking in the house, so we battle for use of the stove from time to time LOL).

That being said, you'll have to forgive me if I post randomly about wedding stuff from time to time, I am just so excited to start this new journey with the man that I love.

I have quite a few meals planned, some simple, some more complex. I can't wait to get back into the swing of things. I have missed being in the world of cooking and baking so much, you have no idea!

And now, a quick photo of me and my new guinea pig.....I mean, fiance, LOL.

(image) All together now, "Awwwww!".

Thanks for stopping by!

Sometimes a girl needs steak...


Hello everyone! So, I've been a major lazybones in the kitchen lately. Like, terribly-ashamed-eating-top-ramen-in-my-kitchen kind of lazybones. Part of it is that I'm trying really hard to save money because I have a major move coming up (going to Miami, baby, yeah!) and also because my man isn't here, so I'm having a hard time just cooking for one. I don't think I've ever had to do that, LOL. I'm one of those lame people who can't go to the store and buy just one steak. For some reason, if I don't buy two, I feel like everyone just knows I'm a single girl living alone. If you think about it, it's kind of smart. That way, crazy-stalker-rapists know not to follow me home because I've got someone there who likes to eat thick cuts of rare meat and can tear them to shreds in 2.5 seconds flat. It's self-preservation, really. Recently, I've been trying to step it up lately, because I'm getting sick of food that I used to eat when I was in high school. I'm a grown-up, dammit, I should eat like one (even if I am on a budget). This post was supposed to happen about two weeks ago when I first got a hankering for a good steak, but that didn't pan out. My steak came out of the oven rubbery and unappealing and my veggies were limp. It was a sad day. So, I ended up freezing my other steak (now don't go crucifying me for doing so, I looked up the best way to freeze my meet without ruining it, and am glad to say it worked). Over this past weekend, I watched an episode of "The Best Thing I Ever Ate" and the segment with chef Cat Cora devouring that delicious steak had me drooling. It was all I could think about all day at work today (well, that, and missing my man-friend, naturally). I rushed home to pull my steak out of the freezer and defrost it in some water in time to marinade it for dinner.Now, I didn't let it marinade the optimum time, but I figured an hour was better than nothing. I threw about 2 teaspoons of vinegar, a teaspoon of olive oil and a tablespoon of steak rub in a ziplock bag with my steak. I threw a russet potato in some tin foil and chucked it in the oven at 375F. While my potato baked and my steak marinated, I rushed to Blockbuster to get a good movie to watch tonight. By the time I came back, it was go-time. I threw a pad of butter in a skillet over medium heat and in went my steak. Sizzzzzzle.... oh it smelled so good. A good five to seven minutes on each side seemed about right. Now, I know most chefs put their skillet in the oven to finish cooking their steak through, but mine have rubber handles (and they're KitchenAid) so I didn't want to melt them. I opted to lower the heat on the stove and cover it for a few minutes.Ahhh nice and rare....This steak rocked my world. It was crispy on the outside, juicy and yummy on the inside. The perfect amount of pink (for me). I didn't even use A-1. Believe it. I had this with my loaded baked potato and some green beans sauteed in butter with garlic and pieces of bacon. My mom taught me how to make 'em that way, and they always remind me of her when I have them.Oh mama....So, ladies, next time you have a craving for some really good steak, don't pussyfoot around it and be like "It has to be baked, I don't wanna get fat......." suck it up and make it this way. You'll thank me. It's delicious. I'm not saying eat steak this way all the time, but come on, it's too good to pass up. Just do it the way the chefs do and quit kidding yourself. And guys, well you probably already know how to make a good steak, but if you wanna put something tasty in your mouth (and who doesn't) make it this way. You'll thank me. Enjoy!~Mehgan~[...]

Hello, Stranger...


(image) Hello! Wow, looks like I took me a hefty little break there, huh? Lots and lots o' changes in the world of Mehgan. I won't get into all the details (I don't want to jinx anything!) but let me just say that I'm very, very happy and there are yet even more changes on the horizon for me.

A little while back, my good friend from work invited me to a barbeque at her house. So, when I asked what I should bring, naturally, they asked me to bring cupcakes. I already knew that I was planning on making Rachel's Cuba Libre cupcakes from her blog Coconut & Lime for an coworker's upcoming birthday, so I decided to go with Magnolia Bakery's vanilla cupcakes with cream cheese frosting.


I've loved these cupcakes since the first time I made them. I like to refer to them as "tough cupcakes" because they can take a beating in transfer yet still retain their shape. They're just slightly more delicate than a muffin, if I were to make a comparison.

For my own personal challenge, I decided to try my hand at swirling to frosting colors together, and to my own delight, it worked!! I no longer fear the unkown, people. I can do it! *rolls up sleeve like Rosie the Riveter*

And I also have another personal challenge coming up: I'm making my own birthday cake (I think I'll go to Nigella Lawson's cookbook How To Be A Domestic Goddess for inspiration), and another personal challenge that I'll keep secret, save for the fact that recips is going to be entirely my own. I haven't done that in a while. Wish me luck!

Thanks for stopping by!


Spring Has Sprung In Kodiak


It's been a very good past month for me (obviously, since I haven't been posting, LOL). I've been pretty busy with work. Our transfer season officially kicks off in April, so when you have about 2,500 Coasties all wanting to leave the island at the same time (and just as many incoming to replace them), it can make you feel a little nutso. But, I've managed to make time to meet some new friends, attend a bachelorette party and even had a dance recital in there somewhere. It was such a blur that I barely remember it all! But, it's been a lot of fun, and I'm VERY thankful for that. I'm also very thankful for the gorgeous weather we've been having here in Kodiak lately. I actually fell asleep laying in the sunshine on my living room floor this afternoon after I got home from work. Like a cat. It was divine. I don't know what it is, but I've been making a lot of Mexican-inspired dishes lately (well, nothing else has been that noteworthy, at least. I don't count PB&J as a subject worth posting unless I tweak it in some inventive way, LOL). I just love the flavors of Mexican food: the spicy, earthiness just gets me every time. Anyway, so I was wanting something Mexican tasting, but was burnt out on tacos, and wanted something on the lighter side. I remembered when I was on the USCGC Polar Sea back in 2004, our cooks used to make this awesome spicy chicken & bean soup that I would eat cup after cup of until I felt like puking (but, in a good way). I don't have their recipe, but this is as close as I came to it. Mehgan's Spicy Chicken & Bean Soup: Ingredients- -1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breast-2 cans chicken stock-1 tbsp olive oil-2 cloves of garlic, minced-1 medium white onion, chopped-1 can of Mexican stewed tomatoes-1 can of tomato sauce-1 can of diced green chiles-1 can of kidney beans-1 can of black beans-1 1/2 tbsp chili powder-2 tsp cumin-1 tsp cayenne pepper-salt & pepper to taste-shredded cheddar cheese and sour cream to top it off Instructions: In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil, then add the garlic and onion. Once the onion starts to turn transparent, add the chicken stock. Bring to a boil. Then add the chicken breasts. Cook through, until the chicken breasts are white and there are no pink juices when you cut it. Using the two-fork method, shred the chicken, then return it to the pot. Add the rest of the ingredients, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low, cover and allow to cook for about another hour or so. You want the flavors to really combine. When you go to serve it, throw some sour cream and shredded cheese on top, and you're good to go, partner!My thoughts: pretty darn close to what I had on the ship, but not quite spicy enough, and I would have liked more tomatoes. I think I should have taste-tested it before hurriedly dished it up and subsequently devoured the whole bowl, haha. It was still pretty darn good though. I had mine with a simple chicken quesadilla (made with some leftover Taco Bell hot sauce packets, LOL) to dip in it. And the leftovers the next day were even better, because the flavors got to really mesh well together overnight. I actually have some of this in my freezer for when I get another craving for a hot, steaming bowl of spicy yumminess.Enjoy!~Mehgan~ P.S. Don't you just love my turquoise colander? I paid an outrageous amount for it a store in town, but it matched my apartment so well and it was the last one in that color, I couldn't say no. I love it almost as much as I love peanut butter. Almost. :)[...]

Master Shredder


I live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet. I truly do. I took the above photo a few weeks ago, and am just now getting around to posting it. Just look at that view from one of the windows in my apartment! In the very center, just below the highest mountain peak, you can see the silhouette of an eagle flying. Actually, there were about 20 of them just soaring about, enjoying the ocean breezes. It was incredible. A very good afternoon, indeed. And the sunset only got more and more spectacular after that, but I was too busy making dinner to get a good photo of it.Seeing as how it had been a couple weeks since I made my pulled pork tacos, yesterday I started to get another hankering for those babies. But, my only problem was I didn't have any pork on-hand, nor did I have the time to make them. So, I went for the next best thing and threw some chicken breasts into a stock pot with a couple cans of Mexican diced tomatoes with green chiles, and let that bad-boy simmer away for about an hour and a half while I ran some errands around town.It was chilly and rainy yesterday afternoon, and I was very glad for the spicy-hotness in this meal. These actually came out a bit spicier than my pulled pork tacos did, I think it's because I used a different kind of diced tomatoes or something, but they were still really good. Spicy Shredded Chicken Tacos-Ingredients:-1 tbsp olive oil-2 cloves of garlic-2 skinless, boneless chicken breasts-2 cans of Mexican diced tomatoes with green chiles, undrained-1/2 cup medium salsa-1 tsp ground cumin-1 tsp chili powder-1 tbsp olive oil-1 medium onion, thinly sliced into strips-1 red or green bell pepper, sliced into strips-6 corn tortillas-assorted toppings (shredded cheese, sour cream, guacamole, cilantro, etc)Instructions: In a medium saucepan or stock pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, chicken, cans of diced tomatoes and the salsa. Heat to boiling, then reduce heat and simmer on low for 1 hour. Remove the chicken breasts from the tomato mixture, and using the two-fork method, shred the chicken into small pieces, then return to tomato mixture. Then, in a medium skillet, heat the other tbsp of olive oil over medium, and saute' the bell peppers and onions until the onions are transparent and the peppers are tender. To serve, place filling into warm corn or flour tortillas and load on the toppings!! My thoughts: DELICIOUS! And this makes plenty of leftovers for lunch the next day. I wasn't too big on the sauteed onions and bell peppers, they sort of threw off the texture, but the flavor they added was really good, so I didn't mind them so much. I had my tacos with a nice big bowl of warm refried beans with plenty of shredded cheese on top. I could actually eat the filling mixed with refried beans sans the tortillas. It's just that good. Or as a topping for a salad. The possibilities are endless!Cheers!~Mehgan~[...]

Yep, It's Still Winter...


I realize that I live in Alaska, and I've come to terms with the fact that winter here lasts much, MUCH longer than it does in other regions of the US, which is why I get so giddy whenever it's sunny here. And it has been quite sunny recently, I won't lie, and I have been enjoying that. However, the sunshine also means that the daylight sun melts the snow, which turns to ice over night. Anyone who has met me can tell you that 1. I am extremely clumsy and accident prone, and 2. Me walking on ice looks like Bambi just after he was born. It's frightening. A disaster waiting to happen.Needless to say, though, I am enjoying this winter. I have found my own ways of coping with the never-ending cold. I have great friends, my apartment is within walking distance of wherever I usually want to go, and I have a fabulous view of Kodiak harbor from my window. I recently gave my old Canon Rebel 35mm to my mom and had some film leftover on the roll inside the camera, so I decided to take a few quick shots before I popped the camera in the mail. Unfortunately, it wasn't sunny that day, but it was still pretty beautiful. There was a heavy mist settling in, and since it was the weekend I didn't have to work, which was even nicer. I truly live in one of the most beautiful places on this planet. Even when the weather is dark and gloomy, I'm still thrilled by it. My eyes are really sensitive to sunlight, so whenever there's a cloud cover that just means I don't have to worry about toting my sunglasses with me everywhere. It got especially chilly and windy here yesterday, so I decided to make some spicy chili to warm me up. I was craving something hearty and delicious, and this hit the spot. Here's my recipe for Chilly Turkey Chili:Ingredients:-1 lb ground turkey breast-1 medium onion-1 medium green bell pepper-1 tbsp chopped garlic-2 tsp chili powder-1 tsp cumin-1 tsp oregano-1 tsp salt-1/2 tsp pepper-1 can kidney beans, drained-1 can pinto beans, drained-1 can diced green chiles-1 can diced tomatoes-1 small can of corn, drained-2 or 3 shakes of Tabasco sauce Instructions: In a large pot or slow cooker, brown the turkey on medium, then add the onions and garlic. Once the onion starts to turn translucent, add the rest of the ingredients. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 1 to 2 hours. Serve hot with your choice of toppings. My thoughts: This chili came out fantastic. I was so full after eating a huge bowl of it, yet I still wanted more! I served it with sour cream, shredded cheddar and monteray jack cheese, and some cornbread slathered with butter and lots of honey (I like the juxtaposition of the sweet cornbread and spicy chili, delish!). This chili really hits the spot when you're 4 months into a cold winter and Spring is still weeks (or even months, in my case) away. I used turkey in my chili, since I don't eat beef, but you can use ground beef or deer even, as I've heard some of the locals do. You can vary the ingredients a lot, depending on how spicy you want your chili, for instance, you could add a diced jalapeno or habanero pepper. I added a few spoonfuls of hot salsa, just for added flavor and kick. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm about to go heat up another bowl of this delectable chili, as I have TONS leftover!Enjoy!~Mehgan~[...]

I'm Back, Baby!!


Well, hello there! Did you miss me? I've got big changes going on in my life right now: some good, some bad, and some very, very ugly. However, I am the eternal optimist, so let's focus on the positive. First of all, I got some pretty sweet new glasses. See, I had PRK laser eye surgery way back in 2006, but for some reason my eyes decided to progressively get worse even after the surgery. I finally admitted I couldn't see while driving and paid a visit to my eye doctor. While my vision isn't nearly as horrible as it was pre-laser eye surgery, I still have to wear glasses for long distance seeing and such. And, due to the laser eye surgery, my eyeballs are too flat to wear contacts which bummed me out hardcore. I wanted to get topaz colored contacts like the gorgeous vampires in the Twilight films, but alas, I'm not a candidate for contacts anymore. So, I decided to get glasses with topaz colored rhinestones on the sides. Close enough for me.Secondly, I have a new, badass camera, courtesy an excellent recommendation from the one and only Bakerella. It's a Canon Digital Rebel XTI 10.1 megapixel. Or whatever the hell that means. It takes bitchin' photos, and I'm super stoked to use it. It is my new best friend. I love it like no other camera I've ever owned before. Never in a million years would I have imagined that I could have something so incredible to take photos with. I've been playing around with it for a few days now, and I'm still getting the hang of it. Today I decided to experiment with food photography, and am more than impressed with the results.The first recipe I decided to try was pork tacos, aka carnitas. See, I am a realist who knows that Cinco de Mayo is coming up soon. I haven't really had any Mexican friends in the past to celebrate Cinco de Mayo with, so I didn't really celebrate it. Well, that's all changed, my friend. I have a friend at work who I plan on celebrating Cinco de Mayo with, and I really want to impress them with a stellar dinner. What better day than Fat Tuesday to practice? I literally ate four GIANT servings of these babies, one right after the other (in between swigs of margaritas, naturally). Here's my recipe for Pulled Pork Tacos (aka Carnitas):Ingredients:-2 lbs pork shoulder roast-1/4 cup white vinegar-1/4 cup vegetable oil-1 tbsp chopped garlic-1 1/2 tbsp chili powder-1 tsp salt-1 tsp black pepper-1 can of chicken stock-1 can of diced tomatoes (I used the garlic kind)-1 can of chopped green chiles-1 16oz jar of medium salsaInstructions: The night before you want to have tacos, combine the vinegar, oil, garlic, chili powder, salt and pepper in a bowl. Put the pork into a ziplock bag, then pour the mixture over it (I had to squish it around a little in order to coat all the sides of the meat with the mixture). Refrigerate at least 8 hours or overnight. The next day, place pork in your crock pot with the can of chicken stock. Cook on high for about an hour, then reduce the heat to medium/low and allow roast to cook for an additional 4-6 hours. After that time, remove pork from crock pot, let it stand for about a half hour, then shred the pork using the two fork method (or if it's not too hot, you can use your fingers, but be careful). Place shredded pork into a heavy-bottomed skillet with the diced tomatoes, green chiles, salsa, and any remaining juices from the crock pot (you may want to add a bit more chicken stock to get it real juicy and tender). Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and allow to cook for about an hour. Once the juices absorb into the meat, it's ready to eat!! Serve on corn tortillas with salsa, guacamole, sour cream, cilantro and lime. My thoughts: these were absolutely delicious!! And I cou[...]

Long Overdue


Hello again, it's me, Mehgan, that girl whose blog you used to read but you've stopped visiting since she hasn't posted anything new in AGES. Anyway, I'm writing to let you all know that I won't be posting for a while...well, anything food-related at least. See, the husband and I have decided to separate and are now going through a rough divorce, which makes cooking/baking and posting the results here all the more difficult. Especially since I have moved out of our house and am now living in a studio apartment.

I realize this is just a transitory time for me, and I'll get back in the swing of things in no time. Cooking and baking seems to be my therapy, so for me to not be able to conquer the recipes I've been holding onto forever and ever really sucks, but I will get to them eventually. But, for now, I'm having to cook for one, which is interesting in and of itself.

So, I'll be posting infrequently for a while here, but have some faith in me, I shall return. In the meantime, check out my fellow Daring Bakers blogs located in the Foodie Blogroll in the sidebar. Holy Moses, we have grown!! And don't miss the monthly Royal Foodie Joust hosted by Jen the Leftover Queen, each Joust is getting more and more competitive!!

Your Fellow Foodie,

And Where Have YOU been?


I know, that's the question all of you have had for me for the past, oh, six weeks or so, right? Well, I've been crazy-busy both at home and work. I know, it sounds like a MAJOR cop-out, but truly, I've been pulled in so many directions lately that I'm starting to look like a Stretch Armstrong doll. I not only missed a Daring Bakers Challenge in November, but didn't even make one post in the entire month of November. I've been blogging for a year and a half now and that has NEVER happened. I feel like such a slack-ass blogger!! *hangs head in shame* In my defense, I do have a number of reasons I've been so negligent to my blog:1) My mom got engaged in September and she and her now-husband got married the first weekend in December and had chosen yours truly as her Maid of Honor, so a lot of the last-minute wedding planning details fell on my shoulders. Not to mention the fact that we had to fly out to Seattle the weekend before the wedding to tie up loose ends and prepare for the big day. (I did manage to squeeze in some much-needed retail therapy/Christmas shopping while we were there. Seattle-ites, when did the Southcenter Mall get so awesome?!?!?!?! Sure, you wait til I move 2,500 miles away before you get the mall I so desired for the four years I lived there!! Grrrr!).2) I am now an official member of my husband's darts team, thankyouverymuch! And I'm actually quite decent! I can hold my own on darts night, even against the big boys. I surprise even myself! Unfortunately, this means missing America's Next Top Model, Top Chef and Project Runway on Wednesday nights, but oh well. I can DVR them.3) I've been taking dance classes at a local studio on Monday nights, and it's working wonders for my confidence, flexibility, and posture (I'm a habitual sloucher). I missed our Winter Showcase due to mom's wedding, but will most definitely be performing in the Spring recital.4) A lot of the stuff I've been cooking and baking I've already posted here on my blog. For instance, last night, I made the salmon chowder I posted a while back. It's delicious, and I've got it down to a science, baby! I like being able to tweak it to suit how spicy or savory I want it. I do have a couple new recipes I want to try out this weekend, though, so fingers-crossed, you'll be seeing actual recipes here again, dear readers! (Or reader, as I fear I've only got the one).5) I'm a pretty adept multi-tasker. I can listen to my iPod, chew gum, read a book and stir a pot of spaghetti sauce all at the same time. That being said, here's what I've been juggling while I'm cooking in my new kitchen:I can listen to this album on repeat all day long. I have fallen in love with every song on there. And in my dreams, I wish my singing voice sounded like hers.I am a complete friggin' Wall-E fanatic. I love everything about him. He's just so darn cute, how can you not love him? I love his cute lil voice and his curiosity for things and his undying love for Eve. *sigh* I could watch Wall-E all day long. We got a Blu-Ray player recently and I've been watching Wall-E on blu-ray ever since. A lot, actually. It even came with a digital copy of it so I could upload it to my iPod and watch it, well, whenever I damn well please. :)Of course, it wouldn't be the holidays without Christmas movie marathons at my house. My favorites are: So, in order for me to make up for the neglect I've given towards my blog and reader(s), I invite you all over to my house for a Christmas movie marathon!!! However, I feel I should warn you: I live in Kodiak, AK where it's colder than a witch's titty right now, and we have two large dogs who like to greet our gue[...]

Daring Bakers Go Italian!!


(image) Greetings from Alaska, fellow foodies!! Welcome to another round of Daring Bakers yummy-goodness. Let me just say, I was SOOOO excited to do this month's challenge. The hubby and I are BIG-time pizza fans, and so when Rosa of Rosa's Yummy-Yums (link in the blogroll on the sidebar) announced this month's challenge just in time for the NFL season to kick-off, well, the only thing I had to decide was to make it on Sunday or Monday nights!

This month's Daring Bakers Challenge is dedicated to Sherry, of the blog What Did You Eat?, and her memory. Sherry was supposed to host this month's Daring Bakers Challenge along with Glenna from A Fridge Full of Food, however, life's tragic events prevented both from hosting this month. Sherry was an avid blogger, and I used to visit her blog all the time. After her death not too long ago, it was a shock heard round the food-blogger world. She had touched so many lives, and we will forever miss her.

(image) I'm not going to post the recipe here, because it's quite lengthy and you can make it either regular or gluten free. Either way is posted on Rosa's blog and you can find it there.

I made three versions (so far): pepperoni & olive for the hubby, vegetarian for me, and a peanut butter & banana one for dessert. This pizza dough recipe blows my old one out of the water! The crust is tender and chewy and provides the perfect backdrop for a whole host of ingredients. Throw whatever you want at it, this dough can take it.

I did take pictures of me tossing the dough, however I'm having problems uploading them to blogger, but will post them later for sure.

Quiche Kick


You know those weeks when it seems like if you didn't have bad luck, you wouldn't have any luck at all? That's exactly the kind of week I've been having. Drama-rama to the max, not only at work, but with my family, too. And then, once the big things start to turn bad, you start to notice all those little things you'd normally let go. Half way to work, you realize you left your cell phone at home on your nightstand. Or you get to the gym, and there are no treadmills left for you to run on. All these little things add up, and towards the end of the week, you just want to shout, "I give up!!!". Yep, I totally had that week. And to top it all off, it snowed last night. Yep, that's Alaska for you, baby. I was also getting really frustrated, because I had attempted two other recipes for this month's Royal Foodie Joust ingredients (acorn squash, sage and oranges) and had come up with some of the most off-tasting dinners, it was insane. I tried making a cajun rice stuffed acorn squash dinner, but my husband was like, "Why is this dessert salty?". So that didn't work. Then I tried making an acorn squash scone that came out the consistency and taste of a softball. I was not pleased. I had given up.So, by the time Wednesday rolled around, I was so ready for some comfort food. Something fairly easy, but still feels like a hug. I was just cruising around the internet, looking at different cuisines, and noticed that quiche is a German food (well, in a sense), so considering the fact that my hubby's German just sealed the deal for me. I adapted a couple of recipes to get to this one, so I'll just list how I made mine. Super-Tasty Quiche- Ingredients: For pie crust:-1 1/2 cups AP flour-1/2 tsp salt-3 to 4 tbsp ice cold water-1/3 cup shortening (like Crisco) For filling:-6 large eggs-1 cup of heavy cream-1/2 lb sausage-1 tomato, chopped-1/2 white onion, chopped-1/2 cup spinach, chopped (I used fresh baby spinach, you can use frozen spinach, but make sure you drain it really well before you add it to the quiche)-2 or 3 cloves of garlic, minced-1 cup shredded cheese (your choice, I used 1/4 cup mozzarella, and 3/4 cup cheddar)-salt and pepper, to taste Instructions: In a food processor, combine all the pie crust ingredients and pulse until it binds together well (looks kind of like scrambled eggs). Gather all the dough into a ball, and roll out on a lightly floured surface. Carefully line the a pie tin with the pie dough and pop in the fridge for about an hour. This allows the fats in the crust to rest so that your crust doesn't melt into a puddle in the oven. Preheat oven to 425F. In a small skillet, cook the sausage. Drain and let cool. In a medium bowl, whisk together the eggs and cream. Stir in the vegetables, salt and pepper. Pull the pie crust out of the fridge and sprinkle it with 1/3 of the cheese and all of the sausage. Carefully pour the filling into the pie shell (don't fill it too full, or it'll spill over as it bakes), then sprinkled the rest of the cheese on top. Bake for 15 minutes, then reduce the heat to 300F for 30 more minutes, or until the cheese is golden brown. Remove from the oven and let sit for ten minutes (this is an important step, you don't want runny quiche). My thoughts: I love quiche, but haven't always been so fond of it. When I was a kid, I hated it. Egg pie? Yeah, no thanks. But, since being married I've given it another chance, because it seems like every family holiday I'm at, I get asked to make it for breakfast, so I grew to like it again. I like mine loaded up with good stuff, almost to the point where there's more "[...]

My Favorite Combination


If you were to ask anyone in my family what my favorite flavor combination is, they'd tell you (without blinking or hesitation): peanut butter and banana. I think it all started when I had an amazing peanut butter and banana smoothie from World Wrapps in Bellevue, WA (what made it even better, is it was free!). I used to live about 45 minutes from Bellevue, so getting my smoothie fix from World Wrapps was a rare occasion, since I never really went there.So, I went on a search for a yummy replica. Jamba Juice has something similar called Peanut Butter Moo'd, which is pretty tasty, but not the same. Same thing goes for Inta Juice. They had one that was close, but they added chocolate to it. I didn't mind the chocolate, but it seemed to overpower the banana flavor. I even went so far as to try making it at home, but it still wasn't the same. And now that we've moved to Alaska, I have a feeling I won't get to have my beloved peanut butter and banana smoothie for a long, long time. Out of pure boredom (and desperation, I'll admit), I hopped on over to and plugged "peanut butter" and "banana" into their search engine, and I was bombarded by many recipes that incorporated my favorite flavors. I see I'm not the only one with this fixation!! Since it was really cold today, freezing in fact it snowed (!), I decided to go with something warmer than a smoothie. I settled on peanut butter and banana muffins, and boy am I glad I did! I always have such a hard time justifying making muffins, because I know they're just a glorified, naked cupcake with little to no nutritional value. Well, these bad boys are actually not that bad for you. They have little sugar, and they also include rolled oats, which are yummy in a muffin for breakfast. Although there is 3/4 cup of peanut butter, it's evenly distributed over 18 muffins, so they can't be that bad, right?Peanut Butter & Banana Muffins-Ingredients:-1 cup all-purpose flour-3/4 cup quick cooking oats-1 tbsp baking powder-1 cup milk-3/4 cup peanut butter (I'm a JIF fan, there is no other brand of PB for me)-3/4 cup mashed bananas-1 egg, beaten-2 tbsp vegetable oil-1 tsp pure vanilla extractFor the topping:-1/4 cup all-purpose flour-2 tbsp butter, melted-2 tbsp packed brown sugarInstructions: Preheat oven to 375F. Grease or line your muffin tin. Combine dry ingredients in a large bowl. In small bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients, then slowly add them to the dry ingredients, mixing until just moistened. Fill prepared muffin cups 3/4 full. In a small bowl, stir together the topping ingredients. Sprikle topping evenly over poured muffins. Bake for 18 minutes or until golden brown. Serve warm.These muffins came out SOOOO delicious!! The batter was excellent, and after they were baked, they were divine. I'm guilty of slathering a wee bit of butter in the middle of my warm muffins, for some added indulgence. My mouth is watering just thinking about them as I type this. Enjoy!~Mehgan~[...]

A Collection


You've seen them everywhere on everyone's blogs. The lists. You know what I'm talking about. The Omnivore's Hundred. And multiple other ones. Everytime I saw one, I'd think to myself, I should do this and post it on my blog! But, after seeing various incarnations of them, it seemed like I'd be posting a new one every other day. So, I started collecting the lists, and had them saved up till I could post them all together. So, what you're getting is a few of the ones I've gotten so far and managed to find the time to change the answers to my own. I'll give a brief explanation of each as I post them.The ones in Bold I've done, the ones in red I'd never do, and the ones in green italics I want to do.1. Touched an iceberg2. Slept under the stars3. Been a part of a hockey fight4. Changed a baby’s diaper5. Watched a meteor shower6. Given more than you can afford to charity7. Swam with wild dolphins8. Climbed a mountain9. Held a tarantula10. Said “I love you” and meant it11. Bungee jumped 12. Visited Paris – would LOVE to go there13. Watched a lightning storm at sea14. Stayed up all night long and watched the sun rise15. Seen the Northern Lights16. Gone to a huge sports game – Go Seahawks!17. Walked the stairs to the top of the Statue of Liberty – can you even do this anymore? I thought they closed the top of it off after 9-11.18. Grown and eaten your own vegetables19. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope20. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment21. Had a pillow fight22. Bet on a winning horse23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill24. Built a snow fort25. Held a lamb26. Gone skinny dipping27. Taken an ice cold bath28. Had a meaningful conversation with a beggar29. Seen a total eclipse30. Ridden a roller coaster31. Hit a home run32. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking33. Adopted an accent for fun – It helped me win #62.34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors35. Felt very happy about your life, even for just a moment36. Loved your job 90% of the time37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied38. Watched wild whales39. Gone rock climbing40. Gone on a midnight walk on the beach41. Gone sky diving – also on my list of things I want to do in my lifetime42. Visited Ireland – I have been to Scotland, but not Ireland (yet).43. Ever bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant44. Visited India45. Bench-pressed your own weight – yeah, right!46. Milked a cow47. Alphabetized your personal files48. Ever worn a superhero costume49. Sung karaoke50. Lounged around in bed all day51. Gone scuba diving – one of my biggest fears, no thank you!52. Kissed in the rain53. Played in the mud54. Gone to a drive-in theater55. Done something you should regret, but don’t56. Visited the Great Wall of China – also on my list of things I want to do.57. Started a business – another of my personal goals58. Taken a martial arts class59. Been in a movie60. Gone without food for 3 days – I was VERY ill last March.61. Made cookies from scratch- um, hello, look who you’re talking to!62. Won first prize in a costume contest- Yes, I was dressed as an elf from the Lord of the Rings along with my best friend when we were 17. It was awesome.63. Got flowers for no reason64. Been in a combat zone65. Spoken more than one language fluently66. Gotten into a fight while attempting to defend someone- I’m counting verbal arguments.67. Bounced a check- I was young and still getting used to managing my own finances.68. Read - and understood - your credit report69.[...]

I Love Pancakes!


(image) Anyone who knows me will tell you that I am a serious breakfast lover. I wasn't always like that, in fact, a few years ago, the closest thing to breakfast I ate on a normal basis was a venti caramel macchiatto from Starbucks. That is sad. Especially since my mom was always harping on the fact that "breakfast is the most important meal of the day". Goodness, I can hear her in my head!

I typically eat a small breakfast during the work-week, but go hog wild on weekends. That's when I can really flex my cooking muscles and branch outside the usual english-muffin-with-cream-cheese-and-fruit rut and try new things. Not crazy, insane, huge breakfasts, but you know, the good stuff.

I had some extra cooked pumpkin hanging around my fridge from the Pumpkin Spice Muffins last week, and really wanted some pumpkin pancakes. I've been seeing these bad boys everywhere. Except one thing: I was cooking for one. I didn't need a huge stack of pancakes (though, that would have been gluttonously satisfying), so I tried to cut the recipe down a bit. Probably not a good idea. There's no easy way to half an egg (which I ended up omitting, which is most likely the root of my problems). But, the end result wasn't repulsive, just a more dense/heavy pancake, which was fine by me.

I adapted this recipe: , but I added a dash of cardamom for a little something extra. It was delicious. I had my pancakes with a healthy slathering of maple syrup, a side of vanilla yogurt and sliced strawberries and a nice big glass of OJ.

Oh, breakfast, how I love thee.




An Autumn Expirement...


Greetings! Recently, I decided to treat myself to some beauty essentials from, and one of my favorite product lines (Philosophy) has released their Fall products, and I just knew I had to get me some Pumpkin Spice Muffins body wash. See, it's a shampoo, shower gel and bubble bath all in one. I don't use it for the shampoo, though, but I do use it for shower gel/bubble bath fun. I've used their products for years, especially their food flavored stuff (cinnamon buns, strawberry milkshake, and the gingerbread man body scrub are also my favorites).My husband has been on a real pumpkin spice kick lately, we've got scented candles everywhere and even some plug-ins that are pumpkin spice scented. I think it's because we're getting our Fall season much earlier here than the rest of the country. It's been chilly since the end of August, and when we woke up this morning to go jogging, there was frost on the ground. After our run, I took a shower, and used the Pumpkin Spice Muffin body wash, and as it filled my shower with its lovely aroma, I decided I just had to make some muffins to go with this bright and shiny Fall day. Lo and behold, Philosophy has so generously provided a recipe right there on the bottle!! I love them. I couldn't believe how much these muffins smell exactly like the body wash, it's insane. And not only do they smell like it, but they taste like it too! They're not too sweet like the muffins you'd get from Costco or Starbucks, they're more of a hearty breakfast muffin with some yummy spice to them. Here's the recipe:Philosophy's Pumpkin Spice Muffins-Ingredients:-2 cups of flour-2/3 cups brown sugar-1/3 cup sugar-1 tbsp baking powder-1 tsp salt-1/4 tsp baking soda-1 tsp cinnamon-1/4 tsp nutmeg-1/4 tsp ground ginger-1/2 cup melted butter-1/2 cup cooked pumpkin (I used the kind from a can and they turned out fine)-1/3 cup buttermilk-2 eggs, slightly beatenInstructions: Heat oven to 400F. Stir together all ingredients except butter, pumpkin, buttermilk and eggs in a large bowl. In a medium bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Stir contents of medium bowl into flour mixture just until moistened. Spoon batter into greased muffin pan (or muffin cups). Bake for 15-20 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. Cool 5 minutes; remove from pan. Three words: delicious, delicious, DELICIOUS!!! My goodness, I love these muffins. I think I found a new trusty muffin recipe. They're so moist and yummy, slightly dense with a real spice to them. This recipe made 18 muffins almost exactly, and I have a feeling they'll go fast. I should have doubled the recipe, darn it! Oh, well, I'll just have to make them again and fill my house with the super mouth-watering pumpkin spice muffin smell again!Note: the two photos above are my "moody-muffin" shots, so I'm including this one below for a clearer shot of the muffins with their namesake product.Enjoy!~Mehgan~[...]

And I'm Late!


It totally figures that the one Daring Bakers Challenge that I actually completed at the beginning of the month, I end up posting a day late!! I don't know why I thought our post day was Sunday instead of Saturday, I must have been completely frazzled when I read about this month's challenge. Which is sad, because we're making Daring Bakers history here, people!

This month's challenge, brought to you by Shellyfish of the blog Musings From the Fish Bowl and Natalie from the blog Gluten A Go Go, is a savory one. And there's a catch, it had to be vegan and/or gluten-free. I was a little scared at first, because I really wanted to make a cream cheese and chive dip to go with the Lavash crackers, but I found a way to make a divine vegan hummus. For the recipe, venture on over to the Daring Bakers blogroll to their blogs and you'll find everything you need, even a recipe for a really yummy Honeydew Peach Salsa.
(My apologies for the crappy photos, once again, I was without a digital camera and had to use my cell phone, but rest assured, I've got the digital camera back from my husband, so no more lackluster photos!! Yay!)
I went with a vegan hummus which I just came up with myself while I was waiting for the crackers to cool. I threw a can of garbanzo beans (drained with about 1/2 cup of the juices reserved, just in case) three cloves of garlic, the juice of one lemon, 3 tbsp olive oil, salt and pepper into my food processor and let 'er rip! It was sooooo good and so simple tasting. I loved it with some chopped up roma tomatoes, red onion and cucumber (which isn't pictured above because I remembered it only after I took the photo). These crackers have a lovely snap to them, and are really hearty tasting. I made one salty batch, and the second batch I sprinkled with a mixture of sugar, cinnamon and cardamom and it's really good dipped in some blueberry jam!
See you next month!

My favorite time of year...


Ahhhhhh, Autumn. How I love thee. Today marks the official first day of Fall, folks, and seeing as how I love it so much, I just had to make a divine soup to commemorate it. I didn't want just any old chicken noodle soup, I wanted something new and slightly exotic, while still comforting and hearty. I was given a recipe for Thai-Spiced Salmon Chowder by a co-worker, but I didn't have some of the neccessary ingredients on hand, so I tweaked it a bit to suit what I had in my kitchen already. The results were fabulous. I can't stop eating this soup!! I made a loaf of homemade bread to go with it, and the combination is pure ecstasy. I don't know if that's because I was STARVING or it truly is that good, but I ended up eating three helpings of this bad boy, and would gladly have licked the pot clean, but I felt guilty, so I reserved some for lunch tomorrow. Here's the recipe:

Mehgan's Salmon Chowder-


-2 to 3 tbsp olive oil
-1 medium onion, chopped
-3 to 4 cloves of garlic, chopped
-2 cans chicken stock
-4 red potatoes, cut into cubes
-1 small bag of baby carrots, cut into bite-sized pieces
-1 or 2 filets of salmon
-3/4 cup heavy cream
-1/2 tsp curry powder
-pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
-a few sprigs of parsley

Instructions: In a medium pot, over low-medium heat, combine the olive oil, onion and garlic until the onion starts to become slightly clear. Add the chicken stock, potatoes, and carrots. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the veggies become tender. In the meantime, heat your oven to 350F. On a lightly oiled cookie sheet (I line mine with aluminum foil as well) place the salmon skin-down and season how you like it. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until the salmon is fully cooked through (will flake with a fork). Once the salmon is ready, let it set a couple minutes while you add the heavy cream and curry powder to the soup. Bring back to a boil, then add the salmon. Allow to simmer a few minutes to get the flavors to really combine. Serve garnished with the parsley.

I could eat this soup all week, and probably will, too! It's just so yummy! And the curry powder, while not overwhelming, adds that certain "something" to it, without it being overly present. Variations I've seen incorporate coconut milk in place of the heavy cream, and Thai spices in place of the curry, which I imagine is just as tasty. I'll definitely have to try that next. But, for the time being, I'm enjoying my yummy-nummy soup!!