Meet the Sullivans: February 2011

February 28, 2011

Menu Monday 2/28

Happy happy Monday everyone!

Many of the recipes from last week's Menu Monday are now favorites in our home. You can see our reviews and even get a copy of each recipe for yourself here.  Now, on to this week...

Turkey Cranberry Braid - This is a recipe from Kendall's blog, Keeping Up with the Joneses. I've had it bookmarked for a few weeks and can't wait to give it a try. Keith loves the Thanksgiving like combo on turkey and cran. We'll serve it with a simple spring mix salad.

I blogged about this recipe here

Mini Meatball Sandwiches - Another tempting recipe from The Pioneer Woman. These look kinda cute, don't they? I'm counting on them tasting wonderful too!

I blogged about this recipe here.

CPK's BBQ Chicken Pizza - I made this recipe from The Pioneer Woman last November, but it never made it to the blog. You can expect to see it on here soon!

Mini Peach Cobblers - This will be an easy dessert to throw together sometime this week. I'll make them in ramekins so the leftovers will be easy to store for later. 


This recipe was great! I will definitely make it again. It was sooo easy. Here is the recipe I used.



Sherried Tomato Soup - I love soups and I haven't made one in a while. I'm going to throw together some grilled cheeses to go with this creamy Pioneer Woman tomato soup.

This is my all time favorite tomato soup. I blogged about it here.


That's it for this week! Can you tell I spent some time cruising around The Pioneer Woman's blog this weekend? All of her recipes look so good that I had trouble just picking a few.

In other news...

Today is my little sister Kathee's birthday! 
Happy Birthday Khaki-pants! 
Kathee is an actress--isn't she purty!? I love you so much Kath, and I often thank God for giving me you as a sister, and best friend. There is no relationship like that of sisters. I'm looking forward to dropping by after work to bring you a little surprise and cook dinner-- and I can't wait to celebrate this weekend! Xoxoxo !

February 25, 2011

Our Papal Blessing

At one of our meetings with our priest before our wedding we mentioned wanting a papal blessing for our wedding day. Father John was so helpful, he wrote us a letter of recommendation and had all the proper paper work mailed. We knew our papal blessing would not arrive by our wedding day, but I had no idea it would take almost 6 months to arrive. We were so excited when it finally came!

It came all the way from Vatican City in this tube. 

The stamps are little pieces of art work all on their own.

My first thought when we got this in the mail was that my dad would have thought this was so special.  I wanted to have one for my parents on their 35th wedding anniversary, which would have been 8-7-11.

We had it framed in a big, chunky, important looking wood frame. 

The details are intricate and beautiful. 
 

It has found its home in the hallway near the office. 

February 23, 2011

Bananas Foster Bread

Prepare to meet your new favorite banana bread, Bananas Foster Bread. This is a Cooking Light recipe from their Best of Cooking Light special edition. This bread may be the best bread I have ever had in my life, no kidding.

Yum!

Bananas Foster Bread 

Ingredients
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana
1 packed brown sugar, divided
6 tablespoons butter, melted and divided
1/4 cup cognac or dark rum, divided
1/3 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 large eggs
6.75 ounces all-purpose flour (about 1 1/2 cups)
1/4 cup ground flaxseed
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
Cooking spray
1/3 cup powdered sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°

 Combine banana, 1/2 cup brown sugar, 5 tablespoons butter, and 3 tablespoons cognac in a nonstick skillet. Cook over medium heat until mixture begins to bubble.


Soon it will look like this. Remove from heat; cool.

 In a large bowl combine yogurt, remaining 1/2 cup brown sugar, and eggs. Add banana mixture and beat until combined. Weigh or lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (through allspice) in a small bowl.

Add banana mixture to flour mixture; beat just until blended. 

Pour batter into a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven; cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack. Remove bread from pan; place on wire rack.

For the glaze: Combine remaining 1 tablespoon melted butter, remaining 1 tablespoon cognac, and powdered sugar; stir until well blended. Drizzle over the warm bread. I also added a little extra powdered sugar to top for extra flavor!


Usually I wouldn't add the glaze unless the bread was all going to be eaten in one night, but I thought I would try it out so I could tell you all exactly what works best, but honestly it still tasted good days later with the glaze on it. I think it soaked into the bread making it extra tasty. Although the bread includes rum as an ingredient, it doesn't have an alcoholic flavor to it. The rum simply adds to the spicy warmness of the banana bread.

I hope you try this recipe out! Enjoy !

February 21, 2011

Menu Monday 2/21

What a nice weekend! We had dinners with family and friends, I saw a movie with my mom and sis, we bought baby shower and engagement party gifts and even managed to find a bistro table for our balcony--and now I am enjoying having Monday off! 

Here is the menu for this (short) week,

Slow-Cooker Chicken Tortilla Soup - I'm going to make this Thursday in the slow-cooker to bring to my mom's for dinner. I'll be making many new SC recipes to bring to dinner with my mom and sister.

I dropped the ball and forgot to get a picture of this recipe. It was good. Keith loved it. Next time I will include less enchilada sauce and less hot pepper sauce. You can get the recipe here.

Carmel-Nut Pull-Apart Bread - I made this Sunday morning for Keith and I, and let me tell you it was outstanding! I found it in a magazine of Southern Living recipe cards. I'm going to make it again this week and bring it to work.

This was so good! I highly recommend it to you and yours. I didn't end up bringing it to work though, there was so much food in the faculty room this week, we did not need anymore! Here is the recipe.

Southwestern-Style Taco Salad - I have class on Tuesday afternoons this semester, so I'll mostly be making simple salads on Tuesday each week. I'm counting on this one being great!

This was great! Here is the easy recipe. 

Bananas Foster Bread - I'll be making this recipe from the Best Cooking Light 12 magazine this week. We looove banana's foster, so I imagine we'll be lovin' this bread too!

My new favorite banana bread. I blogged all about it here

Sesame-Soy Meatballs - I'm making this Best of Cooking Light 12 recipe tonight for dinner. It looks great, different and sounds so easy. I'll let you know how it all turns out.
 This turned out really well. We liked it a lot! The steamed snow peas were a great addition. Here is the recipe.

Happy Monday everyone!

February 20, 2011

Brownie Hearts & Brownie Bites

My sister Kathee and I threw this little dessert together on Saturday when it was all rainy and yucky out. Rain makes me want to stay home and bake all day. The brownies taste good, and the presentation makes them look cute--win, win!

Follow the pictures, and its pretty self-explanatory. 

 I usually bake from scratch, but every once in a while I feel lazy and just use the mix.



 Reserve the scraps to form 1-inch balls to make brownie bites.



Form the balls and roll them in some pretty stuff. 



 

So simple!

Chicken and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine Sauce

This Chicken Marsala dish is on the cover of the special edition magazine The Best of Cooking Light 12, which is basically all of their "greatest hits" for the year. I made this recipe Friday night. It was great, and absolutely worth all that prep (measuring, chopping and dividing) and all that. I served it on a bed of mashed potatoes (made the right way with butter and heavy cream!) and a side of green beans.


Chicken and Mushrooms with Marsala Wine Sauce
Get a printer friendly version here.
 
Ingredients  
4 (6-ounce) skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
4 teaspoons all-purpose flour, divided
¾ teaspoon salt, divided
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
½ cup chopped onion (I used half a large onion, which is about 1 cup)
¼ teaspoon crushed red pepper
5 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 ½ cups thinly sliced shiitake mushroom caps (about 4 ounces)
2 (8-ounce) packages sliced mushrooms
1 teaspoon dried oregano
½ cup dry Marsala wine
⅔ cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
¼ cup small fresh basil leaves

Directions
 
Place each chicken breast half between 2 sheets of heavy-duty plastic wrap; pound chicken to 1/2-inch thickness using a meat mallet or small heavy skillet. Combine 3 teaspoons flour, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and black pepper in a shallow dish. Dredge chicken in flour mixture. 

Heat a large stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add chicken; cook 3 minutes on each side or until done. Remove from pan; cover and keep warm. 

Heat remaining 1 tablespoon oil in pan over medium-high heat. Add onion, red pepper, and garlic; sauté 2 minutes or until onion is lightly browned. Add remaining 1/2 teaspoon salt, shiitake, button mushrooms, and oregano; sauté 6 minutes or until mushrooms release moisture and darken. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon flour; cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Stir in wine; cook 1 minute. Add broth; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 1 minute. Add chicken and tomatoes; cook 2 minutes or until thoroughly heated, turning chicken once. Sprinkle with basil.

       

    February 15, 2011

    Valentine's Day 2011

    I hope everyone out there in blog world had a great Valentine's Day. Since the holiday fell on a Monday this year that meant Keith was off while I spent the day at work. This sounds unfortunate, and although I admit I would have liked to have had the holiday over the weekend, BUT really I love my job and my class so it was really quite fun! 
    At school we had a Valentine's Day celebration at snack recess. The parents in charge of the special snack had cookies made for each student (and teacher!) with their names inscribed in frosting. Sweet, huh? We also exchanged valentines later in the day, which is always lots of fun.

    Since Keith was off he was in charge of dinner. I had a feeling he would do something cute and that flowers would be involved somehow, but what follows still puts a smile on my face. 

    As I came to our front door I noticed a rose taped to the front of the door. (no picture, sorry!)

    After I went inside and greeted Keith I saw he had a dozen roses on the table, and dinner in the oven. (He's a keeper.)

    As I went to put down my heavy school bags I noticed there was also a rose in the hurricane on the coffee table:


    And one on the mantle:


    And also in the orchid plant:

    At this point I said to Keith "Gosh, you put roses everywhere!". Smiling he said, "Yep".

    So I went into our room to get changed and there were roses on the bed,

    And in our closet,

    Cuteness in the hallway too,

    and in the bathroom,

    then it was time for dinner, which was very tasty, and diverted me from my flower hunt...

    Until, I helped Keith clean up the kitchen. He was watching me as I opened and closed, opened and closed the fridge as I put away leftovers and such. I must have opened the fridge 4 times when Keith finally stepped in laughing and asked "Have you not noticed something?" when I opened the fridge and found another rose! I can't believe I missed it!

    Well, now I wanted to know if I had missed any others---and if I was going to be finding roses all over our place for days, so he told me there were 12 in all...I had only found 11 at this time. After a little searching I found "the final rose" (that's for all you Bachelor fans!) in the pantry.

    My contribution to the holiday was quite simple and pales in comparison to Keith's...
    Kara's Cupcakes. Banana, Vanilla / Chocolate, Chocolate / Chocolate and (my personal fav) Passion Fruit.

    This was the best Valentine's Day we've ever had, possibly because we spent it at home just the two of us!

    February 13, 2011

    Presidio

    On Sunday we took a little trip to the Presidio. We take our bikes up, ride around, enjoy the sights, have brunch and do a little shopping at the Sports Basement. It's one of our favorite ways to spend a sunny Sunday!

     Handsome hubby!

     Beautiful old buildings. I like to imagine what it was like here in the 40's and 50's when people really worked and lived here.

     The Presidio Chapel. We couldn't go inside because there was a private service being held.

     This was just sitting in the lot of the chapel. We think it is a totem poll?

     These old homes are just so gorgeous. Every time we go to the Presidio I take pictures of them and tell Keith I want to buy one, BUT alas he reminds me that you can't buy them because they're government owned. So sad!

    I think what I like most about them are the porches.

    We also always make a stop at the Lucas Studios office building. It was hard to find the first time. We had to do a little hunting, but the Yoda statue in the fountain is a easy giveaway.

    When you peak through the window you can see all sorts of neat movie memorabilia.

    I heard some where that George Lucas had this little area rebuilt and landscaped. Pretty right?

    We stopped at La Terrasse for a quick brunch.

    A mimosa for me!

    Black coffee for Keith!

    Huevos Rancheros for him.

     Eggs Benedict for her.

    Last stop was Sport Basement where I got new running shoes and some t-shirts for working out. This is the view from the parking lot! Beautiful San Francisco!