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Share a Spoon - The Red, White and Blue

Thursday, June 30, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Thursday

"Red, White and Blue"

Happy Thursday Smackers!  Are you ready for the long holiday weekend?  I know I am!  I can't wait actually.  My boys are going to Gramma's.  My sister is moving into her own place.  The 4th is going to be a quiet reflective holiday with just BDC, Belly and MOMMA!  *insert happy dance*

I love the 4th.  We normally have a big party, fireworks, the whole shebang!  This year has been such a whirlwind though, I am looking forward to the quiet holiday.  We can't light off fireworks this year, there is a BIG "No BURN BAN" in place here in Florida right now.  You know, given that everything is already on fire.

We're going to throw a couple of sausages on the grill marinated in BBQ sauce, some vegetables and I will make some of my favorite potato salad.  To make it special I am going to use some Star Spangled Potatoes!

These little red, white and blue potatoes are so pretty!  I love them!

RWB Potato Salad

2lbs red, white and blue small potatoes
1 shallot finely diced
2-3 ribs celery chopped
1-2 medium Kosher dill pickles diced
3 boiled eggs diced
2 teaspoons of dijon mustard
Drizzle Olive Oil
3/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
Splash of milk or cream
1 teaspoon celery seeds
1/2 teaspoon celery salt
Salt and pepper

Boil 3 eggs.  I cover mine with cold water, bring them to a boil and then turn them off.  Allow them to cool down and then I peel them.

Cut the small potatoes in halves.  Boil in salted water until just fork tender.  Don't overcook.

As soon as you drain the potatoes drizzle just a bit of olive oil over the potatoes, along with the mustard and salt and pepper.

In a small bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, celery salt and a splash of milk (or cream).  Set aside.

In a large bowl toss potatoes, diced shallot, pickles, celery and chopped boiled eggs.  Stir in the mayo/sour cream mix.  Sprinkle with celery seeds.


I hope you have a safe and happy holiday with friends and family!  Remember how lucky we are to live in FREEDOM!  Love!

Share a Spoon Theme - Red, White and Blue

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon Theme

"Red, White and Blue"

Images via Google Images

Happy Saturday Smackers!  It's that time again.  My favorite holiday is approaching!  I love the 4th of July.  The BBQs, the family gatherings, the parades, the lemonade on a hot day and of course my favorite FIREWORKS!  Mostly though, I love celebrating our freedom.

The freedom that allows me to write whatever I want here.  The freedom that lets me speak freely about whatever I want, whenever I want in any place or forum without fear that I might end up being punished for it.  Is there any better gift in the world?  I don't think so.

This week's theme is all about the big party for celebrating Independence Day. I know it says red, white and blue.  If you have fancy schmancy desserts that are red white and blue, by all means share away.  If you don't,  share your favorite recipe for the big cookout!  Your favorite red or white potato salad.  See how I added the red or white.  Making you think huh?  Perhaps a black and blue burger (Black Angus/Blue Cheese)?

It doesn't really matter if it's red, white and blue.  As long as it's a recipe for a celebration, bring it on!

See you Thursday for some tasty fun recipes!

Share a Spoon - Summer Fruit

Thursday, June 23, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Summer Fruit"

Image provided via Google Images

Have I ever mentioned how much I love fruit?  I love fruit!  Love, love love it!  However, I'm picky about my fruit.  I don't like strawberries, watermelon or bananas.  *gasp*  I know, I never claimed to be normal.  I don't even know how I developed such a strong aversion to those fruits either.  I liked them when I was little.  I remember going to pick strawberries when we were kids.  We would skip school, my sisters and cousins.  Get up before the roosters and my aunt would drive us to Plant City to pick strawberries.  We ate so many we would have belly aches at the end of the day.

I remember eating watermelon until it would cover us from head to toes in the summer.  Every family gathering, church function, picnic, etc. included coolers with watermelons nestled in melting ice getting them as cold as possible.  It's so hot in FL that ice cold watermelon felt great as the juices ran down our face, and arms, and legs.  Plus, spitting watermelon seeds at your siblings and neighbors was always big fun.  Then one day my taste buds changed and I just didn't like it anymore.  Same with strawberries.  Bananas though...that's all about texture!

Anysquishyfruit, my daughter and her wonderful boyfriend have brought me blueberries the past two years fresh from the farm.  They go down and pick them on his grandfather's blueberry farm, much like we picked strawberries when I was little.  Blueberries are so sweet when they are in season.  

Blueberries make THE best muffins!   That's my opinion, and there's not much anyone can say to change it.  I do love lemon poppy seed muffins, and I am more than fond of cranberry orange muffins.  However, blueberry muffins take me back to my childhood and blueberry crunch!  Mmm...mmm....good!

Blueberry Muffins w/Crumb Topping

1½ cups cake flour
½ cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
1 extra large egg
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup canola oil
1½ cups fresh blueberries w/2 Tablespoons sugar
1 lemon zested

Crumble Topping:

2 Tablespoons softened butter
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup cake flour
Pinch of nutmeg

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.  

Add milk, egg and canola oil to dry ingredients.  Stir by hand until ingredients are just combined.  

Wash and drain berries.  Sprinkle berries with 2 tablespoons of sugar. 

Fold in sugared berries and lemon zest.

Line muffin tin with paper liners.  Spoon in muffin mix to fill each tin 2/3 full.

In a small bowl mix crumble topping ingredients together with a fork.  Mash together until all combined.  

Sprinkle each muffin top with the mixture. 

Bake for 20-25 minutes.

These muffins are perfect.  You can make them all year round using frozen berries.  Don't thaw them if using frozen, but add the sugar.  However, during the summer when the berries are fresh, these muffins are absolutely AH-MAZING!  The sugar helps to keep the berries evenly distributed in the muffins so that every single bite has blueberry!  

That's my real "recipe".  During the summer though, I buy fruit every time I go to the grocery store.  Whatever looks amazing and smells fresh I pick up.  I like to keep a large container of cut up fruit in the refrigerator for snacking.  Melons, grapes, berries and apple slices!   Grab a couple of lemons, juice them.  Add a bit of agave nectar.  Toss over the fruit.  It will keep the fruit from turning dark.  Plain yogurt also makes a nice "dressing" for a fruit salad.

There you have it Smackers!  Share your favorite FRUITYLICIOUS recipes with me today!  Leave me some love and let me know what you want to see here on Share a Spoon.  Ya'll have been slacking in the theme department lately!  Speak up!

Share a Spoon Theme - Fruit Basket

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Summer Fruit"

There's something wonderful about fruit.  It's sweet and juicy and nature's own way of providing us dessert.  Fruits are low in calories, packed full of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants.   How great is that?  Good for you and tastes good too?

I decided on this week's theme last night while walking through the produce section of my grocery store.  There were fresh peaches and nectarines that smelled so amazing.  Then there was a sampling station for the fresh berries.  Blueberries and raspberries that were sweet and on sale.  There was a whole section of cut up melons made into fruit bowls.  Everything looked amazeballs!  Mini-me and I had a hard time deciding what to buy.

Summertime produces so much amazing fruit.  I am excited to see what you all post with fruit.  Savory dishes, fruit salad (yummy yummy...Sorry throw back to The Wiggles) fruit salsas, desserts, drinks.  I cannot wait for some more fun recipes!  So make sure you link up this week with your favorites!

Share a Spoon - Homemade Drive-Thru

Thursday, June 16, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Homemade Take Out"

I am having major computer issues this morning Smackers.  It's making me cranky.  Smartphones are great, but I need my laptop.  As it is right now, I have highjacked one of my kids' desktop dinosaurs and I have none of my pictures, files, etc.  *sobs*

Those of you who visit often know that I am not a huge fan of fast food, boxed food or preservatives.  I try to make healthy choices for my family.  I'm not perfect, none of us are, but the more we cook fresh, the better off we are right? 

My boys are big fans of Taco Bell, or any other taco place.  We have a local authentic Mexican place they like to go too.  Problem with the drive-thru places are mystery meats.  Ewww!  The authentic place?  I know they use fresh ingredients, but talk about calorie overload!  Whew!

So, I decided I would try making grilled stuffed burritos at home.  I was certain I could make something tasty.  I was certain I would cut out most of the unwanted calories.  I was skeptical that I could make something that the boys would like as much as Taco Bell.   To my surprise, the boys loved my homemade grilled stuffed burritos, and I even got a "these are better than TB" from one of them!  SCORE!  Those are huge mom points people!

Grilled Stuffed Burritos

1.3lbs ground sirloin
1 small onion diced
2 Tablespoons Taco Seasoning (use a packet if you like)
1 can fat free refried beans
1 package prepared Mexican Rice (or homemade)
1 cup diced tomato
shredded Pepper Jack cheese
low fat sour cream
10 burrito size flour tortillas

In a large skillet saute the onion in a couple tablespoons olive oil until softened.  (3-4 minutes)
Add the ground sirloin.  Cook until browned.  Drain excess fat.  Add taco seasoning.

Warm the can of refried beans.  Prepare the rice according to the package.

I warm the tortillas in the microwave.  Open the package.  Wet a paper towel.  Wring out excess moisture and place the moist paper towel in the resealable tortilla bag.  Heat for 1 minute.

Spread 2-3 tablespoons of warm beans in the middle of the softened tortilla leaving enough of an edge to fold in and roll.  Top with some of the browned taco meat.  Add a couple of spoonfuls of prepared rice.  Top with tomatos, sour cream and shredded cheese. 

Fold one of the long sides over the filling.  Tuck in the sides and roll the burrito.  Repeat with the remaining burritos.  I usually placed the prepared burritos in the oven on 400 degrees for a few minutes to brown the tortilla just a bit.  If you want to "grill" them like you would get from a drive-thru you could use a skillet.  I have browned them on the griddle with cooking spray.

We have cut down the fat, cut down the calories, cut down the sodium and there's no mystery meat in these!  Using a packaged rice or taco seasoning is in moderation in this so I am completely fine with that.  I don't use fat free sour cream, I think it has a weird texture.  The low fat version keeps the textural integrity of the full fat version and cuts the calories down.

Give these a try.  They are easy to make and you won't be disappointed!

There is an issue with McKlinky right now.  I will get back on and try to get everyone linked up in a bit!

Happy Thursday Smackers!

Share a Spoon Theme - Homemade Take-Out

Monday, June 13, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

"Homemade Take-Out"

I am super excited about this week's theme.  I was talking to my BFFs, the other 2/3 of The Wonder Triplets, Kristin of Only Parent Chronicles and Ducky from Batcrap Crazy.  I asked them for a theme for this week.  Collectively we all agreed take-out made at home would be a really FUN theme.

We all the love the convenience of take out.  However, I personally do not love the calories associated with take out.  Nor do I love the sodium, or the fact that I have no idea what the ingredients are or where they came from.  Hello? Mystery meat?  BLECH!

It really is just as fast to cook many of those things we pick up in drive-thru, or call to have delivered.  It's better for us.   AND?  It's ABSOLUTELY much less expensive to eat at home!  We all could use wallet relief right?

This week is all about what you cook at home that is a take out go to.  Pizza, burger and fries, Chinese, etc.  Share your favorite take out items made at home.  Fewer calories, less expense and waaaaay less guilt!  That's a win in my book!

Share a Straw - Summertime Sipping

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon

Summertime Swigs

There's nothing quite as refreshing as a cool drink in the summertime.  It doesn't matter if it's an iced drink, a slush type drink, an adult beverage, a cold beer, whatever your taste buds like, when it's hot outside, and the drink is ice's...ahhhhhhhhhh refreshing!

Mixing the other thing that I love about summer, which is SWEET FRESH fruit with a cold icy sweet beverage is so much fun.  I experiment a lot with flavors that I love!  I am not a big fan of my kids drinking too much soda or sugary artificially flavored crap so we make citrus "ades" a lot, or mixed fruit drinks. 

I thought I would share one of my favorite things this week though.  I am a huge fan of cantaloupe.  But you can substitute honeydew melon if you like for this as well.

Cantaloupe Granita Spritzer

1 cantaloupe cubed and pureed
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice 
1 tsp orange zest
3 cups Seltzer
Sliced orange for garnish

In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the sugar and water to a boil.  Stir until the sugar is completely dissolved.  Remove from heat and cool.

In a blender, puree the cantaloupe in batches.  Pour the pureed mix through a fine mesh strainer and add to a glass or non-reactive 8in dish.

Zest an orange and mix into the strained puree.  Juice the orange and stir in as well.  Add the cooled simple syrup (water/sugar).  Mix well, cover and freeze for at least 6 hours.

Scrape granita with a fork.  Spoon about a cup into six glasses.  Top each with 1/2 cup of seltzer and garnish with a fresh orange round.

(Note:  If you use honeydew melon in place of the cantaloupe, substitute lime zest and juice in place of the orange.  Also, with either granita, if you are a fan of fresh mint, add a small bunch to the melon when you puree it.)

Killer Smurf

1 oz Blue Curacao
1 1/2 oz Bacardi Razz
Sprite Zero

Fill a glass with ice.  Add Blue Curacoa and Bacardi Razz.  Fill the rest of the glass with Sprite Zero.  Stir.

This is a drink that my friends love.  I don't drink them, but everyone who comes over to play RockBand seems to really enjoy!  I'm sure that this drink probably has another name as well, but here at Casa di Romano, amongst the best of friends, they are Killer Smurfs.  Best thing?  They won't KILL your diet!

Now, it's your turn Smackers!  Share your favorite summertime thirst quenchers!

Share a Straw - Summertime Swigs

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Think Tank Momma

Share a Straw

Summertime Swigs

Image via Google

Smackers, it's that time again.  It's getting hot outside (so take off all your clothes).  It's grilling season.  We spend many more hours outdoors, which means we need to drink more!  That is one great thing about summer in the heat.  We all enjoy some sort of liquid refreshment.  Something to quench that insatiable thirst Mother Nature seems to bring when it's hotter than the surface of the sun outside!

Now, for all you lushes, alcoholics, who indulge in adult libations, I expect to see some grown up lemonades, or whatever.  For the rest of us, anything is fine.  Punches, fresh limeades, lemonades, fruit punches.  Anything goes as long as you can slurp it up in a straw, or swig it in a glass.

I've had requests for fun summertime shots, beers drinks, brunch drinks, punches (hunch and otherwise), Sangrias.  It doesn't matter.  If it's wet, and you drink it?  BRING IT!

Party at Momma B's on Thursday!  Ya huuuurrrr me?

Share a Spoon - Garden Fresh Veggie Soup

Thursday, June 2, 2011

 Think Tank Momma

Share a Spoon


Images via Google Images

We have already been able to enjoy our garden this year.  Living in FL does have one advantage.  Only one, but at least all the heat and sunshine is good for something.  One of my FAVORITE things about a garden is the fresh squash and zucchini.  I don't know why I love it so much, but I can eat it raw, cooked, fried, steamed, whatever!  LOVE IT!

I make zucchini bread every summer.  Zucchini and tomatoes are a side that BDC and I LOVE!  I throw it in soups too!  That's what I thought I'd share today.  Soup.  Even in the middle of the summer heat, we eat soups.  We eat salad and soup here often.

Garden Fresh Vegetable Soup

1 lb ground pork
1 sweet onion
3 ribs celery
3  medium carrots
2 medium zucchini
1 clove grated garlic
2 28oz cans San Marzano tomatoes
1 Tblspoon Fennel Seeds
1 tsp fresh thyme chopped
1 tsp fresh oregano chopped
1 large bunch flat leaf parsley chopped (probably 2Tbsps)
2 cups Small pasta noodle of your choice
olive oil
salt and pepper

In a large soup pot over medium high heat, add olive oil.  Twice around the pan.

Brown the ground pork.  (You can substitute Italian sausage here if you like, or ground turkey.)  Season with salt and pepper and the fennel seeds, oregano, and thyme.  (if you use sausage omit the fennel seeds)

Chop all your veggies and season with salt n' pepper.  Add the onions, celery and carrots to the soup pot.

Allow them to soften. (3-5 minutes)  Add the zucchini and grated garlic and cook for another 3-5 minutes.

Add the tomatoes to the pot.  I crushed them in my hand as I add them to the pot, but you can blitz them in a food processor if you like.  Fill each can half full with water and add to soup.

Bring the soup to a boil and lower the heat to simmer.  Allow to simmer for 20 minutes.  Add the pasta cook until softened (about 7 minutes).  (I use a small penne.)

Stir in flat leaf parsley and serve.

Alright Smackers, time to share your favorite garden fresh meals!  Let me know what you need recipes for, what themes you would like to see.