Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Roasted Chicken, Spinach & Mushroom Fettuccini Alfredo



I went out for dinner with my sister the other weekend to Crabby Joe's and had their Chicken Spinaccoli (it's the only thing I order........that stuff is addicting!).  And as I was wondering around Walmart grocery shopping the urge to have it again hit me like a tonne of bricks.  I though 'why not experiment?'.  Some day that thought is going to get me in trouble - thankfully this was not the day.  It turned out AMAZING! 




Roasted Chicken, Spinach, Mushroom Fettuccini Alfredo


 


I usually try to post a pic of what you'll need & I do have one.  But it's not complete.....since I was experimenting things got added after the fact.  Here's the list of the final ingredients:

1/2 pkg Fettuccinin noodles
3 Chicken thighs, roasted and cubed, skin removed (or any left over roasted chicken to equal about a heaping cup)
1/2 bag Spinach
6 White Button Mushrooms (quartered)
1 jar Alfredo Sauce 
2 cloves Garlic, minced
1/2 cup grated Medium Cheddar Cheese
Salt & pepper to taste
Parsley

Instructions:

1. Saute mushrooms and garlic in a little butter until browned.  Add cooked chicken to reheat and spinach to wilt. It should look like this:



2. Meanwhile preheat your oven to 425*F and cook the fettuccini as per package instructions but reduce the cook time slightly.  You'll want them to be a little more al dente, they'll finish cooking in the oven.

3. In a medium casserole dish add your cooked fettuccini and the jar of Alfredo sauce, gently stir.  Add the mushroom/chicken saute, salt & pepper and stir until combined.

4. Sprinkle the top with the grated cheddar and parsley.

5. Bake for 35 minutes.  Enjoy!

Note:  If you don't have any left over chicken and don't feel like roasting it just to make this....grab one of those pre-cooked chicken breast packages - I bet it'll work out just fine :D

Stay Sweet!
Tammy
 
 

 
 


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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Pretty Little Niece <3



Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, September 23, 2013

Music Monday

For your Monday viewing pleasure.......A little Kenny Chesney - Come Over.



Stay Sweet!
Tammy

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Sunday, September 22, 2013

Super Star

While both my girls love sports, Daughter B is obsessed! She'll play anything but soccer is her passion. We spend our summers on one pitch or another.

Yes the house league she plays is long done and over with, but the school team has just started.  She's so excited to be playing again. Good luck in your tournament tomorrow super star!








Stay Sweet!
Tammy


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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Fall Fair - The end of summer



Stay Sweet,
Tammy


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Music Monday

Clarity by Zedd


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Friday, September 13, 2013

Pictorial

Here's a few pictures of cakes I've done in the past.



















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Thursday, September 12, 2013

Experimenting

One day when I was in my local dollar store I stumbled upon Wilton's Sugar Sheets.  I had seen them before in my usual cake baking supply store but never had a reason to purchase them.  At those prices, it seemed silly to just buy them to play around but for a dollar it was well within reason.

Today's post is a test of Sugar Sheets and a tutorial on how to work with caramel as a filler instead of the usual butter cream filling.









I just used boxed cake mix & canned frosting for this little gem. But here's what else you're going to need to copy what I've done here.





1 pkg Wilton Sugar Sheets (fyi - there's only 1 roughly 8.5 x 11 sheet per package)
1 container Caramel
Handfull of Chocolate chips







1. Bake your cakes as normal and let completely cool.
2. Level the tops and put the first layer on your cake tray.
3. Make your fav icing or pull out that can!  If using the canned icing I recommend that you give it a whip with the mixer.  You can double the amount and it makes the icing fluffier.
4. Put a small amount of icing in a piping bag with a #12 round tip. Pipe a dam around the edge of the top of the first layer.



5.  Spoon the caramel into the centre of the dam - use as much or as little as you like.








6.  Add the second layer of cake and lightly press down to seal both layers together.

7.  Ice the top and sides of your cake with about half of the remaining icing.  You're definitely going need some for decorative edging.

8.  Measure the height of your cake - I just held up the sheet to the cake and marked with a small slit of both edges, roughly where it needed to be.  For less seams use the sugar sheet length wise.

9.Use a pizza cutter and a straight edge to cut the sheet.  Remove the cut piece from the plastic backing and gently press into the sides of the cake.

NOTE:  Keep the sugar sheet in the packaging & seal it (it does has a zipper seal) when you're not using it or it will dry out and get crumbly.  Once on the cake the icing will keep it moist enough.

10. Repeat step 9 until you have enough to go around your cake.  If needed use a little icing to "glue" the edges down.






11.  Add a decorative edging to cover up the raw edges at the top & bottom.  And finish with some fun curly Q's and the chocolate chips.






I loved using Wilton Sugar Sheets!  It was fun and easy to handle while still making a beautiful cake.  If you're ever in a crunch to make a special cake I highly recommend them.

Stay Sweet!
Tammy



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Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Furry Friends



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Tuesday, September 10, 2013

First Days

Gone are the days when the first day back to school is met with excitement and wonder.  Around the Life and Food household there's grumbling and dismay and the girls aren't happy about it either.  We get so out of the early morning routines while on summer vacation that coping with 6:00 (did you know they have two of those in a day? I didn't LOL) get up times is damn near almost impossible.We're now in to week 2 of the routine and things seem to be going well.  Much better than last year.  No one's been late yet! 

However, there's the constant fight about taking the bus.  Neither of them want to enjoy the crowded, smelly, big yellow limo.  So, it's Mom to the rescue to drive their butts to higher learning every morning.  Both have after school activities; Daughter A works and Daughter B is trying out for every sport team offered.  Thankfully, we live close enough & they're old enough that, when required, they can walk home or Hubby can pick them up when he gets home from work.

I'm optimistic about the coming school year and a little excited but sad too.  There's college applications to fill out and high school courses to select - big changes on the horizon.  "A" will soon be off to post secondary education and "B" will be thrown into the mayhem of high school. Nothing will be the same.



  Stay Sweet!
Tammy
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Monday, September 9, 2013

Music Monday

As stated in my profile, I love music.  All kinds from Classical to Metal.  I always have music playing where ever I go.  Complete silence is eerie to me - I don't know why... So I thought that I'd start Music Mondays and post a fav song or two to share.  Some will be main stream, others will may be a little obscure to you.

The very first is Make up your mind by Final State.







This is the Official video with the french lyrics:



 Stay Sweet,
Tammy



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Thursday, August 15, 2013

Lovin' Lasagna

Lasagna is a major staple in my recipe rotation. Everyone, including our cat Weasley, loves lasagna night.  It's been know to bring M.I.A. children back from friends houses and the last piece usually has a fight over it.

This recipe is labour of love but it is worth it.  It's great as a make ahead meal for during the week or a special Sunday night dinner.  Don't be afraid & give it a try.

Lets get started, shall we.....

Lovin' Lasagna



Ingredients:


12 Lasagna Noodles (3 noodles across the bottom & 4 layers tall)
2 cups Marble cheese (or 1 cup each Cheddar & mozzarella)
1 jar Pasta sauce
1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 lbs Extra Lean Ground Beef
1 pint (15 -20) White Button Mushrooms, quartered 
1/2 tbsp Garlic Salt
2 Green Onions, chopped
1/2 tbsp Onion Salt
1 500 g tub Ricotta
1 tbsp Dried Parsley
1/4 cup Feta
1 Tomato, diced 
1 package frozen chopped spinach, defrosted 
(or 1 large bag of fresh, cooked, drained, & chopped)
1/2 tbsp each Salt & Pepper

* you can adjust the number of noodles to fit your pan. I use a 9 x 13 and everything fits perfectly.

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350*.  
2.  Start heating a large pot of salted water for your noodles.
3.  In a large skillet add the garlic salt, onion salt, parsley, salt & pepper, and mushrooms to the ground beef and brown until thoroughly cooked.
4. Your pasta water should be boiling at this point.  Cook your lasagna noodles as per package instructions.
5.  In a medium sized bowl combine the ricotta and spinach, set aside.












6.  Once your pasta is done, drain most of the hot water and then add cold water.  This will stop the cooking process while keeping the noodles from sticking together.  Just remember not to leave them in the water too long.

7.  In your favourite lasagna dish, add a generous amount pasta sauce to the bottom and spread around.














8. Add a layer of noodles and pasta sauce.











9.  Divide the ground beef into two halves, and add the first half on top of the noodles.











10.  Add to the ground beef half of the tomatoes and green onions and lightly sprinkle with about 1/4 cup of the shredded marble cheese.











11.  Add another pasta & sauce layer but only add light amount of sauce.











12.  Carefully spoon the ricotta/spinach mixture onto the pasta and spread evenly.











13.  Repeat steps 8 - 10 for the third layer.



14.  Cover the ground beef with the last layer of pasta BUT before finishing off that bottle of pasta sauce lightly press down on the entire top to compress things a bit.  Then finish up that sauce and  the remaining marble cheese on the very top.  Sometimes I need to grate a little more just to have a nice thick layer with even coverage.  Then add the Feta and Parmesan.  For some color I add additional parsley to the top.












15.  Bake for 45 minutes or until cheese is completely melted and just starts to brown.   If you made this ahead of time and had it in the fridge it could take up to 90 minutes to bake.












16.  Remove from the oven and let sit for 10 minutes.  In the mean time throw together a nice salad to have on the side.  We like a spring blend, spinach & arugula with strawberries or Caesar.











Stay sweet!
Tammy
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Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday: Family
 
 
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Saturday, August 10, 2013

So........ you say you can't cook?

You know what? I don't believe you :).

I've been spending lots of time over at Pintrest lately and with reading the comments like "This looks good. I wish I could cook" or "This seems so easy, even I can't screw it up" etc,  I shake my head a little. I believe that everyone can learn to cook.  It's not a genetic trait, it's something you train yourself to do.

There's two "not so secret" secrets.

The first is to start small and simple.  Learn to fry a basic egg - all the kinds, sunny side up, over easy, and hard. Then step it up to scrambled.  After that it's only small jump to an omelet or even (gasp!) a western sandwich.  I know this analogy seems silly but if one would think of every ingredient in this way you CAN accomplish amazing feats in the kitchen.  If you have never made minute rice than I wouldn't expect you to be able to prepare, from scratch, risotto.

The second, and most important, is read......Read the recipe completely, twice and even thrice if necessary, before you even think about turning on that stove.  Make sure you have everything from the ingredients to the equipment.  There's nothing worse than getting midway through a recipe and realizing you're missing/low on something and have to run to the store at midnight - been there, done that, not fun.  With reading everything first you get to know the steps & terminology. You'll be prepared for what's coming up next and if you don't understand a word/direction you can look it up prior.


I'm going to make a third point here.  Leave yourself lots of time for the prep.  I know a lot of recipes give you some sort of time frame that it should take you to have the prep done in.  BUT that's from experienced people use to banging out that particular recipe with those particular techniques .  Take your time and don't forget; things made with love always tastes better.

I hope this help & stay sweet!

Tammy



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Friday, August 9, 2013

Where have you been all summer?

So where has Food & Life been all summer?  I wish I could say on fabulous vacations to exotic places but sadly no.  I've been renovating daughter A's room.  She has the basement bedroom and was tired of not being able to paint or personalize it any any way, shape, or form because it was paneled and not drywalled when built.  So hubster and I have been tearing out, rewiring, installing, muding, sanding, shopping for what seems like an eternity.  Every spare moment when we're not working has been dedicated to this reno.  But things are progressing nicely and we're the final stages now.  We're hoping to have her completely moved back in this weekend.  Here's a few pictures of where our progress is now.





Stay sweet!

Tammy
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Thursday, August 8, 2013

Lunch box fixes

My girls aren't really picky eaters, they'll try about anything but packing their lunches has always been a bit of a struggle.  They don't like sandwiches.  Sure they'll have the odd grilled cheese but offer them up a ham & cheese, roast beef, turkey, etc sandwich they politely decline ( OK, I'm kidding on the politely thing, well at least for me anyway.  I'll get the look saying "Are you f-ing kidding me Mom").

What's a mom to do?

The hubster and I stumbled on to Bruscetta bagels at the grocery store in the bakery department one day and thought we'd give them a try.  Well the girls gobbled them up like they were going out of style.  Costing about $1.50 each, it was really adding up on the ole budget.  I thought to myself 'These are so basic.  I should be making them myself.'.

On my next shopping adventure I was determined to gather everything I needed to make these little suckers myself.  The bagels,cheese, butter, & tomato of course were easy peasy to find.  Buuuuuut the seasoning caused me some concern.  Off to the spice aisle I head to track down something suitable.  I thought with the popularity of regular bruscetta and there has to some sort of spice blend available, my local Independent (Loblaws) has never let me down before.  There's always a first time & this was mine - nothing specifically labeled for bruscetta :( .

So there I stand with fevered determination to find the perfect blend.  I must have been standing there reading every label for ten minutes when I picked up the Holy Grail of spices.......President's Choice Blue Menu Sun-Dried Tomato & Herb seasoning blend.  I carefully read the label and thought " Yup, sounds about right" When in all honesty I had no clue - I'd never made it before.  But in my cart it went and I've never looked back.

So, without further ado.  Here's how make these taste morsels.

Bruscetta Bagels


What you'll need:



1 bag of bagels 
1 Large Tomato, a meaty variety like beefeater works best
1/4 cup Butter (or margarine), at room temperature
2 cups Marble Cheese
1/2 tbsp Blue Menu Sun Dried Tomato & Herb seasoning.

The assembly:

1. Pre-heat your oven to 350*. 
2. Combine the seasoning blend and butter.  I just use a fork and smash it together.  Set aside.
3. Shred and slice all the other ingredients as required.  Just a tip most packaged bagels come pre-sliced at least partially through.
4. Lightly butter each half of the bagels with the seasoned butter.  
5. Place a slice of tomato on each and put on your baking sheet.
6. Add generous amounts of your shredded cheese on top of the tomato.
7. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until cheese melts.
8. This part might scare some but trust me it's necessary. Crank up your oven to broil (500*) without opening the oven door.  Turn on your oven light and keep a close eye inside - this isn't the best time for a pee break - you're going to have to hold it..  You only need to keep this temp for up to 5 minutes - you're looking for the cheese to brown up a bit.  Once it does remove right away.
9. Place on a cooling rack promptly or else the grease & butter will absorb into the bagel and make it soggy.
10. Once completely cooled, place in a storage container, and refrigerate.  These are great cold but you you pop them in to the microwave for 20 seconds for a warmer treat.

I hope this helps you if you or yours get tired of the same old sandwich.

Enjoy & stay sweet!

Tammy








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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Diamonds Downtown

I'm big into shopping locally.  Not that I'll EVER pass up a shopping trip to the mall in the city. I absolutely hate shopping at places like Walmart - as a company it's fine, great prices, decent quality & selection, etc.  My problem is with the people....See I wanted to grab a few groceries before leaving the city I work in so I didn't have to drive back in later.  Big mistake!  I was only in there for about 15 minutes and got ran into not once but four times by crabby looking, pj wearing (that's a post for another time) women.  No 'sorry's' or 'excuse me's', just a glare and they carried on.  I've tried to assertain  whether it was in some way my own fault but came up short.  Needless to say, I grabbed what I needed to feed the fam for dinner that night and got the hell out there.

Anyway, this post isn't really about terrible shopping experiences.  It's about good ones from places that are just outside your door.

I have a super cute store in my town that carries home decor, kitchen accessories, jewelry, scarves, purses. I know, I know it sounds like a crazy mesh up of items but it is gorgeous in there and some how it all works.  I'm always talking about it to my co-workers.  When my birthday rolled around in Feb those sweet ladies got me a gift certificate.  Unfortunately for me, the store was relocating to a bigger place and was closed for a few days.  Then life got busy and I couldn't get in there until last week.  Let me tell you it soooooooooo worth the wait.  Here's my score:



The bracelet was $18 and the purse was $52.   I'm absolutely in love with both. They're so unique and fun & affordable!  A co-worker even thought the purse cost a lot more than it did :D

So peps, go to your own downtown - take a walk and go find your own diamond.  I think it's better to shop locally and help out a real family and maybe make a new friend in the process.

Tammy
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