We are adding chia seeds to our meals, making fresh veggies a staple, and preparing homemade healthy meals instead of going out, BUT what are we eating in between meals?? Yeah, I took a fork to my son’s leftover birthday cake today because it was sitting on my kitchen counter saying “Eat Me!!!”
What if we had super healthy snacks that could satisfy our sweet, salty, spicy cravings?? And were sitting on the counter ready to grab???
I found it!!
NatureBox!!! NatureBox ships one box of delicious healthy snack made from wholesome, minimally processed ingredients for you to enjoy every month!
Pizza, pasta, dessert for dinner…not my kid! Shrimp and gourmet mac ‘n cheese and, Oh yea, jello! Love this kid to death! I can’t believe he is 5!! Where does the time go? Enjoy these recipes with your family and make some great memories!
Old Bay Steamed Shrimp!
I use equal parts beer, white vinegar and water in my largest deepest frying pan. Don’t be afraid to do 2-3 different batches. Ideally, you want one layer of shrimp so they can cook evenly.
Shake on the Old Bay!
Cook until pink!
(seen in post from 02/28/14- Old Bay Co.Shrimp Recipe)
Gourmet Mac ‘N Cheese
1 lb. Cavatappi pasta, cooked to al dente
2 tbsp. olive oil
3/4 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream (more if too dry)
4 cups freshly grated white sharp cheddar cheese
1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
Preheat oven 350 degrees!
Mix all ingredients together and add to baking dish.
Salt and pepper the top!
Cover and refrigerate if you want to make ahead.
Before baking, Cover with foil.
Bake for 45mins-1 hour until firm and golden around the edges.
Sometimes we need a great all day crockpot recipe, especially on Mondays!! Throw all of the ingredients in and leave for the day! This one is more delicious the longer you cook it and adds a mouthwatering edge to the traditional beef taco!
Crockpot Pork Tacos
2.5 lb. pork shoulder butt roast, fat trimmed and cut into 3 chunks
1 35 oz. can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 medium onion, chopped
1 bell peppers, choppd
1/4 cup taco seasoning
1/2 cup medium salsa
1 can black beans
Add all ingredients to the crockpot.
Cook 6-8 hours.
Serve in your tortilla shells with your favorite toppings or on top of a salad!
I said “Yes, I got it at The Gabriel Brothers? Have you ever been?” And everyone laughed, “Gabes?!” Once a degenerate, damaged item discount store, Gabes has transformed itself into a mecca for thrifty fashionistas!
From Spring clothing must haves to amazing home items, you can find some great pieces at this store! Trust me I am a princess and I can’t get enough! Rule #1- You must be in a shopping/hunting mood and have zero expectations. Rule #2- You must not let some of the “crazy I would never wear that” attitude distract you from the task at hand. Rule #3- If you don’t succeed, try try again! One day you hit the gold mine and the next time, totally nothing.
Let’s look at my latest hot Spring fashion buys!!! Great day!!
First look: Graphic wide leg pant paired with a racer back tank!
This trend is huge THIS Spring!! So comfortable and effortless! BUT will it be around Next Spring???
Guess what I found at Gabes…
Next look: Casual, everyday tie front tunic dress or even swim cover up! Floral prints are in! Turquoise, coral, pastels are hot!
Guess what I found at Gabes…
Last look…Flirty, funky, floral minidress!
Guess what I found at Gabes…
Save your money for big classic items like a fabulous Louis Vuitton bag! Bargain shop the trends! You will be lucky to get one season out of them!
Check out The Gabriel Brothers! “Unbelievable”
Talk about trending, you can now follow Parmesan Princess on twitter @freshgratedparm!!
This post is dedicated to my #bargainbunnies #huntinghoneys #gabesgirlz #loyaltymemberloves #squeekycartsinners #Nikki #Kathy #XOXO
I have almost achieved the impossible, but with temps dropping back down into the 30s tonight, I’m not so sure Bernardo will live much longer. Bernardo is my basil plant, that lived outside all summer and has died and risen on three separate occasions since September. (Even though his branches are black.) Hoping to nurse him back to his happy porch spot in the warm, partial sun, I have given him remnants of pressed garlic, the last drops in my wine glass, and of course, sprayed his branches with vinegar. I have no “green thumb,” but new shoots have shot and I have been harvesting fresh basil all winter!!
Preheat oven to 375 degrees!
Add pressed garlic to olive oil.
If 1-1/2-2 inch thick, butterfly chicken breasts to 3/4 inch thick.
Rub with olive oil and garlic.
Mix Panko bread crumbs, parmesan cheese and spices.
Lightly coat chicken breasts in bread crumb mixture.
Place in stoneware baking dish, aluminum foiled jelly roll pan, or non-stick baking pan.
Bake for 40-50 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F (75 degrees C)
Broil for 5 minutes and watch closely to brown the top of the chicken!
Always top with freshly grated Parmesan and Enjoy!
Health bars, granola bars, oat bars…we try, but what are we really buying? Often times, we are buying a way fattier version of what we think, and might have been better off with a bag of potato chips! Reminds me of Mean Girls, when Lindsay Lohan’s character gives Regina the “Caltine” bars that were supposed to taste amazing and help her burn calories and lose weight. Remember this? They were 1000 calories each! Poor thing!
So lets talk peanut butter! High in fat, but a staple protein source for athletes, vegetarians, and many others! Delicious and creamy, a definite staple for my kids! What if you could trim the fat down by 85%? Have you heard of PB2? PB2 is a powder form of dry roasted peanuts that have been stripped of extra fats.
Some common everyday uses:
Add almond milk and make a homemade peanut butter!
Add to smoothies and protein shakes for flavor!
Bake with it, substitute PB2 when making homemade health bars instead of regular peanut butter! Read more!! http://www.bellplantation.com/nutrition
Did I mention there is also PB2 chocolate? Yes, chocolate peanut butter. Mmmmmmm…
I whipped up my own, no bake, easy health bars using healthy ingredients in my pantry!
Easy No Bake Health Bars With Chia Seeds and PB2
2 cups oats
2/3 cup honey
1/4 cup coconut oil
1/4 cup chia seeds
1/2 cup sunflower seeds
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup shredded coconut flakes
1/3 cup PB2
(2 cups of oats and 2 cups of any other mixable dry ingredients you would like. Try dried fruits, nuts, chocolate chips, etc.)
Heat Honey and Coconut oil in a small saucepan.
Add all other ingredients and coat. DO NOT COOK , just warm.
(If adding chocolate chips, you need to cool the mixture before adding or they will melt!)
Press into the bottom of a glass 9X13 pan or for 1/2 recipe 8X8 dish cover and refrigerate for 4 hours.
Ready to pull your hair out when you need to make cutout sugar cookies?? Take a deep breath, I have a never fail recipe and some great tips to ensure cookie success every time!! No tears! And they are delicious!!!
I am no cookie connoisseur, but I have learned a few tricks along the way that I wish someone would have told me!!!
#1 Always place cutouts on parchment paper lined cookie sheets!
This eliminates scraping cookies off of the sheet, breakage and bottom burning!
#2 Always set a cold cookie sheet on dough while you are working!
If the dough gets warm, it get sticky and sticks to the rolling pin and work surface. Not to mention, the cookies will not rise when baked!
#3 Always switch to the dough hook after creaming butter and sugar. The dough can bend or break your beater arm! It gets way to heavy!
#4 Always let the cookies cool before trying to use icing or decorate!
If the cookies are not completely cool the icing will run and waste your hard work! They will taste good, but look a mess!
Simply Super Sugar Cookies
Makes 3 dozen 2-1/2 inch cookies
3 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
1 egg, beaten
1 tbsp. milk
1 cup powdered sugar for work area
Preheat oven 350
Cream butter and sugar and beat until light and fluffy.
Add egg and milk, beat.
Sift together flour, baking powder and salt .
Mix on low dry mixture into bowl a little at a time.
Beat until it pulls away from bowl.
Refrigerate dough in 2 balls wrapped in waxed paper for 3-4 hours.
Brush rolling pin and work area with powdered sugar.
Roll out 6 inch ball into an oval 1/4 inch thick.
Cut with cookie cutters.
Place cutouts 1″ apart on parchment covered cookie sheets.
Bake 10-12 minutes or until edges are golden!
Let them cool 5 minutes on pan and transfer to cooling rack.
Decorating is a whole different post for sure! It can be a meticulous process! Making delicious cookies, is definitely the first priority. Use an easy cookie glaze or buy the squeeze bottle Wilton icing as a start!
How many middle men are handling your meat before it gets to you? Why is meat so expensive right now? I decided to visit The Butcher, Pittsburgh’s own Ken Zvirman, owner of Jo-Mar Provisions in the Strip District and get the beef!
Located at the corner of 18th and Smallman St., Jo-Mar’s store front emits the style and charm of the Strip District. Walk in the front door, and you will see it is not your typical meat case lined with cuts of raw red ready to be packaged. Why not? As Ken explained, he wants his customers to experience an unmatched freshness and quality when shopping at his store.
Buying meat straight from farmers in the Mid-West ensures a great price and an unquestionable quality. Why have meat prices gone up? Ken explained that the herd counts are down which means with supply down and demand up, prices increase.
Lets talk safety “Cleanest meat plant for 9 years!”
We talked safety, a lot!! Ken has binders and binders of rules and regulations to uphold. I asked why he doesn’t have all the meat hanging from the ceiling and he laughed. Nobody does that anymore except at the farmers’ butcher’s level. The sanitation regulations are stringent and they should be!! What does that mean for us at home?? He says disinfect, disinfect, disinfect…with E coli 0157 running rampant and salmonella from chicken, you don’t want to take any chances. Wash all surfaces in and around your work area! 70% of flus are actually reactions to raw meat contamination aka food poisoning.
What we really want to know?
How much meat to cook per person when entertaining?
Ken says bone in 1 lb. per person, boneless 8-12oz. per person
What is the difference between an oven roast and a pot roast?
Contrary to what we think, these are two totally different things! An oven roast can be a ribeye and a pot roast is made in a pot and cooked over time!
Can’t I buy my meat at Giant Eagle or WalMart?
Sure! You will pay more!! According to Ken, their “everyday low price” isn’t so low. Not to mention, how many middle men are handling their meat??
What is the best way to cook (insert cut of meat)? should I marinate it? season it? cook all day? cook to a temp?
Ken’s head butcher Jim, executive chef, can answer any of these questions! Awesome!
Here are some basics…
Grilling is #1- Jim grills all year!
New York Strip steaks require just salt and pepper grill on a hot flame!
For Pork tenderloin, high temp cook -shut off and let it cook for a juicy finish!
Want your Spare ribs to fall apart? Long, wet cook on low heat such as in a crockpot!
Bottom Round Roast requires tenderizing cook for a long time -great for stew!
Ken started his business in 1988 and his awesome selection of exotic meats, impeccable reputation, and a love for people has made Jo-Mar provisions the go-to butcher shop for restaurants, foodservice companies and customers looking for the best steaks in the Burgh!
Go down, check it out! Meet Jim! Pick his brain!
Jim’s picks for best burger in the Burgh- a meat patty from Jo-Mar, of course! close runners up…Butter Joint, Legume, Bar Marco!
My Nuni, maternal Sicilian great-grandmother, made what she called “empanadas” or “broccoli pies”. Since it is impossible to replicate any of her creations, here is my version…For my Nuni!
Sicilian Broccoli Empanadas
Rosemary Pizza Dough:
2-3/4 cups flour
1 small packet dry yeast
1/2 tbsp. sugar
1/4 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp.chopped rosemary or dry flakes
1 cup water
1 tbsp. olive oil
Flour for working surface
Mix together flour, yeast, sugar, salt and rosemary well with a wooden spoon.
Stir in water a little at a time. Dough begins to form. Work with hands
Add olive oil.
Cover bowl with a dish towel and let sit 3-4 hours.
1 tbsp. olive oil
2 garlic cloves pressed
1-1 lb. bag of broccoli florets
1 small onion chopped finely
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan
Put olive oil in a fry pan on medium heat.
Add pressed garlic then onions and stir for a few mins.
Add thawed broccoli.
Cover with a nice coat of pepper.
Add a few shakes of salt.
Mix all together.
Cover with a lid and stir frequently.
Put them together:
Preheat oven 400! With pizza stone inside oven!
Section dough in to 4
Roll out dough on floured surface into 4″x6″ ovals.
If too elasticy let it sit a min.
Scoop mixture from pan into center of oval.
Add a handful of mozzarella and a shake of Parmesan.
Fold dough over and tuck and pinch all the way around
Put 2 slits in the top of each.
Brush with a tiny bit of oil.
They say the perfect eggplant is “tight-skinned” “fresh” and “young”…Yeah, yeah, yeah sounds like a mom in her 30s worst nightmare!! Well, you will be happy to hear these “types” don’t exist in Western, PA! The eggplants, that is. Ours are slightly older, a little looser, more bitter…
Since we don’t get the ripe, young eggplants, to get the best taste we need to degorge!!
Degorging takes out any bitter taste and really makes the dish delicious!
Preheat oven 350!
Spoon 1/4 cup sauce in bottom of 9X13 baking dish. Spread around with spatula.
Prepare egg coating by beating with milk.
Dip eggplant rounds in egg and then cover in Panko breadcrumbs. Create a layer of these in the dish.
Next add a layer of ricotta topped with mozzarella and Parmesan.
Follow with a layer of sauce then another layer of eggplant.
Cover with foil.
Bake 45 mins at 350 covered.
Remove the foil and bake another 10-15 mins until cheese is melted and it is bubbling a bit.
Let it sit for 15 mins before serving!
Always serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan! Enjoy!