Mar 23, 2010

Steak Sandwiches with Green Onion Mayo

When I saw this recipe from Miss in the Kitchen pop up in my reader I knew I had to make it, and pronto. I went with a chewy ciabatta sandwich roll and smoked Swiss cheese. In retrospect the cheese overpowered the other flavors, so I would recommend regular Swiss. So tasty. Ready for the recipe?

Mar 19, 2010

Bodacious Broccoli Salad

This is probably the most basic broccoli salad at Jam Hands. No seeds, no grapes, no dried cranberries. Just the basics. For my salad, it was pretty light on the actual dressing, so if you like a more saturated broccoli salad I would bump up the dressing recipe. Enjoy!

Mar 18, 2010

San Remo Seafood Dip

The Olive Garden used to have the most amazing seafood dip, San Remo Dip, on their menu. Like any good chain, they got rid of it. We were appalled, then we went to the interwebs and found our own recipe.

All in all, a perfectly suitable substitute. A little on the thin side, so next time I would simmer for a longer amount of time till it's nice and thick. Yum! Serve with your favorite bread sticks, sliced baguette or crackers.

Mar 17, 2010

Homemade Baby Food

Last weekend I buckled down and made baby food. Lots of baby food. Shown from left are: (In ice cube trays) chicken breasts with broccoli, potatoes and cheese, mashed avocado, sweet potatoes and sauteed apples, sweet potatoes and squash, herb turkey breast and potatoes, beef and mixed vegetables.

This was one day of work, though most of that time was waiting for the food to freeze so I could transfer to a freezer Ziploc and freeze the next batch of food. Not too shabby.

I have just a few tips for those who are new to making baby food.
  • Puree the meats first, and puree them while they are cold, adding liquid as necessary. Once they are very smooth, add in your veggies and fruits and puree.
  • Transfer to a container and chill the baby food before freezing, otherwise you get some nasty ice crystals.
  • Start setting aside a portion of food from your family meals to puree for baby. As long as you don't go crazy with the salt, it is a very easy way to introduce a variety of foods to baby, and it is in a small enough batch that if they don't like it, you haven't wasted time, money and energy.

Mar 16, 2010

Beer Bread

This beer bread comes together quickly with no kneading required. The beer gives it a slight sweetness and a great flavor.

Mar 15, 2010

Crock Pot Apple and Brown Sugar Corned Beef

I was a bit skeptical about cooking Corned Beef in the slow cooker, but it turned out great. All of the side veggies tasted delicious, and the corned beef was perfect.  Serve this with your favorite bread, I recommend Beer Bread.

Mar 14, 2010

Pistachio Pie

In honor of Pi Day, I set out to create a pie that worked for Saint Patrick's Day as well, and came upon this recipe for Frozen Pistachio Pie. If you are a pistachio lover like me, I hope you enjoy this.

Updated - After trying the frozen version of this pie that uses 2 cups of softened ice cream, I have to say I don't recommend it. Instead, I would use 2 cups of cool whip. It turns out the ice cream version of this basically tasted like melted ice cream that had been refrozen, not good if you have ever tried that. That said, I still think this is a delicious pie. The graham crackers and toffee taste great with pistachio and I will definitely make this again, just modified as seen below.

Mar 13, 2010

Impossible Banana Ice Cream

Are you ready for quite possibly the most simple recipe for ice cream ever?

I call it Impossible Banana Ice Cream because it has one, and only one ingredient. It is not a sorbet, it is a creamy, luscious, wonderful ice cream. Add the toppings of your choice, like whipped cream, cherries, nuts, and hot fudge.

I also added some caramel sauce and some mixed nut topping, but that isn't necessary as it is quite flavorful and delicious all on its own.

Mar 12, 2010

Olive Garden Zuppa Toscana

The Zuppa Toscana soup from the Olive Garden is a dish loved by many. I don't get out to eat very often so I decided to try making it at home.

I made this in the morning and served it for dinner. I think giving it some time in the fridge lets the flavors develop well. I used regular Italian sausage. Spicy or sweet Italian sausage would also be delicious.

Blogging Authenticity

Authentic -  Definition: not false or copied; genuine; real.

My six year journey of blogging has taught me quite a bit of what not to do. What I once thought was fun, like having giveaways, commenting on multitudes of blogs when really I didn't have anything insightful to say, and mass promotion of my site, are now a complete turn off.

Before I publish any more posts I thought it would be good to set things straight as far as where I stand and why I am publishing this blog.

My goals: To provide delicious recipes and family/kid activities to my audience, with a little of my life views woven in, in an effort to connect with my readers.

On giveaways: In the past I only allowed myself to give away cookbooks to my readers (which were provided by the publisher), but at this point I am not interested in hosting any giveaways. I found myself  focused on how much traffic was generated by such contests, and it just makes me feel icky to go back to that now.

I have seen quite a few blogs get sucked into the trap of promoting companies and products so much that the quality and frequency of their original posts falters. Sites that I use to enjoy visiting that now make me feel bleh.  It is such a shame.  There are a lot of sites that provide a good balance, but I don't even want to start down that road for my own site.

On sponsors/advertising: I think this is great. For quite some time I have not run any ads, but I will be looking into this in the future.

Overall, I think everyone should go with their gut. If it feels icky or somehow like one party is being taken advantage of or something is on the down-low, perhaps it should be avoided.