For the last week, I have been entered as a contestant in the Maniac Magazine Mom Contest. The rules are:
#1)photo gets likes through Facebook
#2)the magazine chooses one winner out of the three with the most votes
#3) the winner gets a Body Beautiful Medi Spa and Whitehouse Salon prizes as well as a spread in the magazine
What a great way to promote Parmesan Princess! In Maniac Magazine!
Here is the link! Please like the photo to cast your vote!
Cook quick, easy, healthy and delicious meals for your family on the grill all summer long! All you need is a great marinade or BBQ sauce recipe and a side dish! Here is one of my favorites this summer! (I have served this meal more than 4 times already!!)
BBQ Baby Back Ribs
Inspired by Mario Batali’s Kicka$$ BBQ sauce -My way!
Makes 3 cups
1 medium onion
6 garlic gloves, finely chopped
2 cups ketchup
1/4 cup lemon juice
3/4 cup orange juice
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. red wine vinegar
2 tbsp. tomato paste
2 tbsp. honey
2 tbsp. brown sugar
2 tbsp. molasses
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1 tbsp. chili powder
1 tsp. ground cumin
1 tsp. Tabasco or hot sauce (I used Sriracha)
Here is my edit:
2 cups of Sweet Baby Rays BBQ sauce instead of ketchup
1 cup of orange juice instead of lemon juice
4 tbsp. brown sugar
Sriracha instead of Tabasco
Put everything into a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Remove from heat and cool. Keep sealed and refrigerated for up to one week!
Use this sauce to marinate ribs overnight.
Heat grill to 350 degrees.
Place ribs on grill and coat with sauce.
Grill for 8 mins. and flip, coating with sauce again.
Cook for an additional 5 mins. or until juices run clear.
Cut hard bottom inch off of asparagus.
Add 2 tbsp. olive oil, 1/4 cup parmesan cheese salt, pepper, and asparagus to a Ziploc bag.
Grill asparagus on a grill vegetable tray or on aluminum foil.
Cook until the asparagus can be poked with a fork, but is still crisp!
Sometimes I only have 20 minutes to cook dinner! A quick San Marzano tomato pan sauce mixed with cooked pasta is quick, light, and delicious! In the summertime, I include fresh vegetables and fresh herbs! Here is one of my favorite summertime dishes!
The key to a great tasting quick pan sauce is getting the acidity out of the veggies by tossing them with olive oil and garlic before adding them to the tomatoes.
Simply adding squash and zucchini to the tomatoes creates a sour taste. Follow these simple steps and your simple pan sauce will be transformed into a gourmet dinner!
Summer San Marzano Veggie Pasta
1 yellow squash, chopped into quartered rounds
1 zucchini, chopped into quartered rounds
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 cup chopped kale
2 35 oz. cans San Marzano tomatoes
1 tbsp. fresh chopped basil
1 tbsp. fresh chopped rosemary
Freshly grated parmesan cheese
1 lb. of your favorite pasta
Heat olive oil in your largest, deepest frying pan on low to medium heat, and add pressed garlic.
Add squash and zucchini, cook until slightly softened but still firm.
Add kale, basil and rosemary and coat with liquid.
Mix in tomatoes and heat through.
Cook pasta according to package in a separate pot of boiling water until al dente.
Add pasta to sauce and mix well.
Always top with fresh grated parmesan cheese.
Want to add meat?
The addition of chopped bacon, italian sausage, or ham adds another layer of flavor! Experiment!
We have been obsessed with s’mores this summer. We don’t camp, yet (gulp) and we don’t have a fire pit at home, so I have tried to incorporate the summer favorite without the traditional sticks and campfire.
Family photos, what to wear? Should we all wear white or all wear black? Please don’t! Style your session, show your family members’ individual personalities, and watch them shine!
Our latest family photos were taken by the amazing Amy Wilson of Amy Wilson Photogrpahy www.amywilsonphotography.com. When I asked her what she wanted us to wear, she suggested a styled session.
I originally peeked at clickitupanotch’s styling tips!
Here are my top 5…
Styled Session Tips:
1. Choose the most colorful, patterned article of clothing and match other articles around that piece.
2. Don’t be afraid to use different hues of the same color.
3. Use different textures, they pop in the photos.
4. Use statement pieces- necklaces, earrings, or hair accessories to bring in a vibrant color.
5. Be comfortable! Uncomfortable models equals uncomfortable looking photos!
I let Bella, age 3, choose something she wanted to wear first because she is the most difficult! Ha! She chose a top by Pittsburgh Boutique Clothier, Miss Priss Kids.
https://facebook.com/missprisskids Bella chose her favorite Miss Priss piece, a swing top with different textures and beautiful patterns and colors.
I chose a slightly darker pink dress with tiny navy polka dots for myself with a beautiful yellow statement necklace and a similar hue in my shoes. To even out the brightness, Brady, age 5, wore an adorable relaxed blue dress shirt and dark grey beach pants from H&M. The blues and greys complement the pinks and purples from the girls. Since Brady had a light shirt and dark pants, I alternated with Kevin, giving him a dark blue shirt and light tan shorts.
Amy captured our personalities, styles, and memories from this moment in our lives. She is an amazing, talented photographer!
See for yourself…
Thank you Amy Wilson Photography for the gorgeous photographs!
To see more photos visit Amy’s blog! And “Like” Amy Wilson Photography on Facebook!
As an alternative to red meat/ground beef hamburgers, turkey burgers offer a different texture and flavor. However, turkey burgers need ingredients, seasoning, something. Ground turkey can be very bland even with traditional burger toppings. Mixing the flavor into the meat creates a juicy, flavorful bite!
I made Ina Garten’s pesto the other day- minus the walnuts, double the Parmesan cheese- it proved to be a great addition to turkey burgers!
Here is the recipe:
Pesto Turkey Burgers
Makes 8 burgers
1-1/2 lb. ground white meat turkey
2 Roma tomatoes, chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
1/4 cup Ina Garten’s pesto (minus the walnuts, double the parm)
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Preheat grill to 350 degrees.
In a mixing bowl combine all ingredients and mix with hands until well blended.
Mixture should be slightly sticky and able to hold form.
Make a burger patty by taking a small ball, flattening it and pressing the edges while turning until firm.
Grill the patties for 5 mins. Flip over and grill another 3-5 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F.
I topped the burgers with sliced fontina cheese for approximately one minute until melted, and served the burgers on wheat hamburger buns with our favorite burger toppings! The pesto was not overpowering, it was perfect!
NOLA On The Square, Pittsburgh’s taste of New Orleans, is located in Downtown’s quaint brick road Market Square. After a 6 month fire damage repair hiatus, NOLA reopened its doors today and we were thrilled to be a part of the excitement!
Keeping the menu favorites of old, NOLA has a few new surprises up their sleeve!
Flatbread pizzas topped with ricotta, a chicken panini, smoked tomato soup, and many more! Definitely some new menu offerings for those who don’t care for a Creole/Cajun kick. I tried the Roast Beef “Debris” Po Boy for lunch.
The roast beef is marinated with a New Orleans rub for 24 hours and it is served on a fresh, super soft Mancini’s hoagie roll, and topped with pickles, sprouts, and horseradish aioli. The Mancini’s roll made the sandwich for me! There is nothing worse than a sandwich with delicious ingredients served on a rock hard roll!
The kids and I sat outside and enjoyed people watching and the hum of the jazz music in the background. The servers were attentive and enjoyed the monkeys (I think). Unfortunately, we were never offered dessert! We definitely would have tried something sweet!
We are happy to have NOLA On The Square back in business and we can’t wait to try something new next time!
Sometimes lettuce is overrated. Although I am a sucker for traditional leaf lettuce, spring mix, “rabbit food” salads, I always spice them up with fun toppings such as cranberry, pecans, and crumbled blue cheese. Need a salad change? Hold the lettuce!
Perfect for entertaining, a veggie stack or veggie and cheese stack with a drizzle of olive oil and vinegar is easier to serve and easier for your guests to eat!
Did you know cutting salad greens is a major dining etiquette no no? Proper salad eating etiquette is to shove the leafy lettuce in your mouth and chew with puffed cheeks while spatters of sticky dressing cover your entire mouth area, cheeks, and probably make their way up a nostril or two. Sounds perfectly proper to me! This comes from the past when knives were made from steel or iron and could react with the vinegar from the dressing. Today, cutting huge pieces of lettuce is acceptable one piece at a time; however, chopping your entire salad is still frowned upon.
Etiquette expert Nancy R. Mitchell, The Etiquette Advocate, shows us how…
Here is a basic Caprese salad I love to serve because it looks beautiful and tastes delicious!
Tomato Mozzarella Caprese Salad
Makes 6 individual salads
5 vine ripe tomatoes, slices 1/4 inch thick
1-1/2 lb. fresh mozzarella sliced 1/4 inch thick.
12 fresh basil leaves
Olive oil to drizzle
Course salt and pepper
Layer the slices starting with the mozzarella, following with a tomato, and then a basil leaf.
Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper!
Eggs plus flour plus water equals homemade pasta! Surprised? The ingredients are extremely basic. The process takes practice, and a whole lotta patience!
I am very “old school,” so everyone says, and old school ravioli making involves a hard surface, eggs-flour-water, a hand crank pasta machine, some filling, a knife, and a fork. I do not use pasta making KitchenAid attachments or ravioli cutters. I’m so fancy. Ha!
Kale Ricotta Ravioli
Makes approx. 3 dozen 3″X 3″ ravioli
3 cups flour
1/2 cup water
Extra flour for surface.
2 cups ricotta
2 tbsp. Parmesan cheese
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup kale, finely chopped
Clean your work surface. If it is porous, cover it with waxed paper.
Wash your hands!
Crack the eggs on top of the flour pile and mix with your hands using a squeezing molding motion.
Add water 1 tbsp. at a time and continue kneading until a dough ball forms.
If the dough is sticky, add 1 -2 tbsp. flour. If the dough is dry and cracked looking, add water 1-2 tbsp. at a time.
This is the trickiest part. I always keep a pile of flour and a a little bowl of water right on the work surface. So many external factors are involved with dough making including humidity and air temperature.
When you feel that the dough ball is malleable and well mixed, break off a handful of dough and flatten it into an oval.
Sprinkle some flour on the pasta machine and work surface.
Starting at #1 setting, feed the dough through the machine while turning the crank in one fluid motion. Repeat at #3 and finish on #6.
(I have the craziest pasta machine ever! The numbers are backwards, so I start with #7. Took me minute to figure it out!)
Place 1 tbsp. of filling on the dough approx. 1 inch apart.
Fold the dough over and press finger between filling.
Cut with a knife into squares.
Press and seal the raviolo’s edges with a fork.
Add the ravioli to salted boiling water and remove with a slotted spoon when the ravioli are floating.
Sirena Taco Joint and Bar is nestled in the Donaldsons Crossroads shopping plaza off of Route19 in McMurray! Almost a secret location, the urban warehouse dining area shifts gears into a great outdoor space! Yes, a full patio with a tiki “swim up” bar in the center gives you a Mexican beach feel!
So what do you get when you take Chef John Bingham from Nine on Nine and an awesome sous chef from Butcher and the Rye? A sexy Mexican restaurant in Peters Township, of course! Their taco menu will make you dizzy with choices. Owner Doreen Valentine, former owner of Dozen Cupcakes, really snagged a great chef! I secretly wish they had a cupcake dessert menu to match! Now there’s an idea, Doreen!
First time to the new spot earned us a $5 gift card for a future visit! A little bold, right? Nope. Totally confident, as they should be.
We started off with the guacamole which is made to order and the chips and salsa…
The kids’ portions were huge! As parents, we love this because the kids aren’t asking for another meal or dessert while we are relaxing.
Kevin ordered the Pittsburgh taco…
The rest of us enjoyed the Carne Asada tacos, which are a seared flank steak, yellow rice, garlic and salsa. The steak was cook perfectly showing dark pink in the center!
Will there be a next time? Yes! No kids and outside!
Sirena Taco Bar
Dine In and Take Out
3909 Washington Road
McMurray, PA 15317