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  1. Friday, June 29, 2007

    Onera Giveaway Winners!

    It’s Friday, which means it’s time to announce the winners for the Onera Spice Set Giveaway!

    Our two winners are…drumroll…

    illiya, who said: “Pick Me, Pick Me!!” (she got her wish!)


    jmccowan (lynn), who said: “I am trying again. Love to try new seasonings and this one would be no exception.” (now’s her chance!)

    Congratulations! I hope you enjoy your spices as much as I do! And to everyone else, be sure to visit Onera’s website to buy the spices or request free samples! (You can even pretend you “won” the samples if that makes you feel better.) A special thank you to Onera for a great giveaway! (Oh, and thanks to everyone for all your nice blog compliments when entering the contest!)

    illiya and lynn – please email

  2. Wednesday, June 27, 2007

    Don’t Forget! Onera Spices Free Giveaway!

    You have still have a little time to enter the random drawing for the Onera Spices! Just post a comment, any comment, HERE. Deadline is Friday morning 8 AM PT. Good luck!

  3. Tuesday, June 26, 2007

    Featured Recipe: Deep Dark Chocolate Cake

    This weekend was Nate’s birthday and boy did we celebrate…in fact, this poor pregnant lady is still recovering. Red Sox-Padres Friday night (we had to stand the whole game, but the sox won so it was worth it!), San Diego Zoo Saturday morning, and a “party” with the three of us Saturday night. It was lots of fun and Cate was WAY into all the preparations, including making the birthday cake!

    Nate’s Grammy McCarthy is a great cook and has lots of yummy recipes. One of our favorites is her “Deep Dark Chocolate Cake” (click to link to recipe). It’s a bundt cake that is moist and chocolatey and yum-yum. I have a few similar recipes to this one, but this is by far my favorite. Thanks, Grammy!!!

    (As you can see from the picture, Cate couldn’t keep her hands out of the cake before the party started…and she picked out and placed the candles as well. Gotta love the 2-year-old touch, although she did go timeout the 5th time she stuck her hands in the cake.)

  4. Sunday, June 24, 2007

    Week 22 Menu

    This week there are a lot of “cravings” popping up on my menu. Kinda funny…I never think I have them when I’m pregnant, but here they are all over my menu! I gotta say, if I didn’t have medicine to help with my sickness, none of these cravings would be possible. Thank goodness for modern medicine b/c I ate the yummiest ribs ever last night…Nate wanted to go to Phil’s BBQ for his birthday, and boy am I glad he did. But now all I can do is think about going back and eating more RIBS!! So, I think we’re going to have to…and I’ll do a nice Phil’s post later this week!

    PS – Only 2 menus posted last week…come on people, do your homework! Share your menus! πŸ™‚

    – Orange chicken (it’s like the Trader Joe’s frozen mandarin chicken, but from Costco…will let you know how it is!)
    – Egg rolls

    – Chicken Marsala (TJ’s simmer sauce – Nate’s sick of this, but it sounds alright to me right now and I have it in the cupboard…so, too bad!)
    – Pasta
    – Veggie

    – Phil’s BBQ! Bring on the ribs and unhealthy side dishes!!

    – Beef Stroganoff
    – Egg noodles (I want egg noodles! That’s craving #2 of the week)

    – Leftovers

    – ????

    – Main dish TBD…all I know is I want…
    – TWICE BAKED POTATOES…I don’t care what we have with them. That makes craving #3! πŸ™‚

  5. Friday, June 22, 2007

    Free Giveaway! Complete Onera Spice Set

    Happy Friday! I’m happy to announce a free giveaway to end your week off right!

    Remember my post about Onera Original Spice, with accompanying giveaway? Well, believe it or not, you have a second chance at getting this awesome spice in your cupboard!

    The prize: A complete set of Onera Spices – Original, Mesquite, Southwest and Cajun. The big bottles to boot! I have 2 sets, so there will be two lucky winners! Thank you, Onera Blended Spices!

    To enter the contest: Simply add a comment, any comment, to this post by 8 AM PT Friday, 6/29. I will announce the two winners next Friday, 6/29!

    As a quick follow up, there was some question as to whether the company found at was the same as the spice I’ve been buying all these years. They ARE the same company – new owners, new label, SAME SPICE. Yea! Also, if you visit their website, you can request samples of the spices – they offer a generous 1-oz. sample of each spice. Great spices, great company!

    Good luck on the giveaway!

  6. Wednesday, June 20, 2007

    RECIPES: Meatloaf

    Here are all your wonderful meatloaf recipes, compiled into one place!

    From Adrianne’s Mom
    After placing in loaf pan, place half strips of bacon on top, so each piece is cut and defined by its own piece of bacon. It looks and tastes good.

    From Nicole Beckstrand
    – 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
    – 1 2-ounce envelope onion soup mix
    – 1 cup shredded Italian cheese blend
    – 1 cup fresh flat-leaf parsley, chopped
    – 2 eggs
    – 1 1/2 cups saltines finely ground (recipe calls for saltines, I use panko bread crumbs)
    – 1/3 cup water
    – 1/2 cup barbeque sauce (recipe calls for this – I sometimes just use ketchup)

    Heat oven to 400Β° F. In a large bowl, combine the beef, soup mix, cheese, parsley, eggs, and saltines. Add the water and combine. Transfer the meat mixture to a baking dish and form it into a 9-inch loaf. Bake until cooked through, about 40 minutes. If using barbecue sauce, remove the meat loaf from oven after 25 minutes and pour the sauce over the top. Return to oven for about 15 minutes more.

    To Freeze: Wrap the uncooked meat loaf in a large sheet of aluminum foil and cover with plastic wrap. Store for up to 3 months.

    To Reheat: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Cook according to the recipe.
    Makes 4 servings

    Nutritional Information
    CALORIES 630(55% from fat); FAT 38g (sat 15g); SUGAR 1g; PROTEIN 45g; CHOLESTEROL 241mg; SODIUM 1,300mg; FIBER 1g; CARBOHYDRATE 25g

    From Jenn MacArthur
    1.5 lbs ground beef
    1 cup oatmeal
    1 envelope onion soup mix
    1 egg
    1 cup ketchup (or BBQ sauce – I use half and half)

    Mix ingredients together in a bowl. Pack into bread pan and cook at 350 for 1 – 1.5 hours. To experiment with adding some hidden vegetables, the last time I made this I added shredded carrots and shredded zucchini, and it turned out really good! It stays more moist if you keep it covered for the first half of cooking, then drain off the fat near the end if necessary.

    MADE-OVER MEATLOAF (Healthier)
    From Kraft Food & Family, via Jenn MacArthur
    – 2 cups bran flakes
    – 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
    – 2 egg whites
    – 3/4 lb. extra lean ground beef
    – 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
    – 1 medium green pepper, chopped
    – 1/2 cup shredded carrots

    Preheat oven to 375. Mix cereal, 1/3 cup BBQ sauce and egg whites in a large bowl until well blended. Add meat and vegetables, mix lightly. Shape into loaf, place on broiler pan lined with foil. Brush with remaining BBQ sauce. Bake 1 hour or until cooked through. Makes 4 servings.

    CAL 240, FAT 4.5g (sat 2g), CHOL 45 mg, SODIUM 640mg, CARB 32g, FIBER 5g, SUGARS 16g, PROTEIN 21g, VIT A 45%DV, VIT C 20%DV, CALCIUM 4%DV, IRON 45%DV

    From Terra
    – 1 lb. lean ground beef
    – 1/4 cup chopped fine
    – 2 celery sticks chopped fine
    – 1 egg
    – 2 slices of bread (in the food processor)
    – 3 Tablespoons Worcestorsire sauce
    – 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
    – 1/2 teaspoon pepper
    – 1 teaspoon oregano (fresh)
    – 1/2 teaspoon parsley (fresh)
    – 1 can (15 oz.)tomato sauce

    Mix and bake in loaf pan at 375 for 1 hour.

    From Leslie, adapted from her Grandmother’s recipe
    – 2 lbs lean ground beef
    – 1 lb sausage (not flavored or hot)
    – 1 package Lipton Onion Soup mix (this is my shortcut for not having to chop onions and add the spices)
    – 1 tsp dry mustard
    – 1 box seasoned croutons (maybe ”” I just add them by look now. Or if the bos is almost empty I add what’s left inclduing the cumbs.)
    – 2 eggs
    – 1/2 C milk
    – 1/2 C thinly sliced celery, if you have it – optional

    Now if you were my grandmother, you’d dry the ends of bread loaves then cut them up and then soak them in the beaten egg and mixture. I just throw everything into my mixer and mix it together with the dough hook.

    Shape into two loaves and place in a 9×13 pan. I run ketchup on the top down the center of each loaf in a squiggled line. I hate ketchup, But can almost tolerate it when it’s cooked like this. Bake at 350ΒΊ for about an hour. You can bake potaoes at the same time. Or increase the oven to 375ΒΊ or 400ΒΊ for a faster end time. I usually cut in to the center of one to check to see if the meat is cooked before removing fromt the oven. Let sit for a bit before slicing.

    From Brittany Reisenberg
    – 1 pound ground beef
    – 1 cup cheese, grated
    – 3/4 cup oatmeal
    – 1 egg
    – 1/2 chopped onion

    Mix all together with a little salt and pepper. Form into 8 mini loaves and place in 9 x 13 pan (I line it with foil for easy clean up).

    Mix the following:
    – 1 cup ketchup
    – 1/2 cup brown sugar
    – 2 Tbl mustard

    Spoon sauce over each loaf. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.

    From Kathy Allen
    – 2 pounds ground beef
    – 1 pkg (6 oz) Stove Top Stuffing Mix, any variety
    – 1 cup water
    – 2 eggs, beaten
    – 1/2 cup BBQ sauce (I prefer Bulls Eye)

    Mix all ingredients except 1/4 cup BBQ sauce. Shape meat into 2 oval loaves, side by side, in 9×13 baking dish. Top with remaining BBQ sauce. Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

    From Dottie LaPierre
    – 1 1/2 lbs very lean ground beef
    – 1/2 lb mildly seasoned pork sausage
    – 1 1/4 c fine bread crumbs
    – 1 carrot
    – 2 cloves garlic
    – 1/2 tsp sesame oil
    – 2 Tbs A-1 Sauce
    – 2 eggs
    – 3/4 c milk
    – 2 cleery stalks
    – 4 green onions
    – 1 Tbs poultry seasoning

    Place meats in a large bowl. Break in eggs and mix. In another bowl, soak breadcrumbs in the milk. VERY finely chop the veggies and garlic. Mix all together. Bake in a loaf pan uncovered at 350 degrees for about an hour. My sister-in-law, Lucie (bill’s wife), claims it to be the best meatloaf west of the Mississippi.

    From Rachael Ray via Megan Rich
    I saw it on a 30-minute meal episode and everytime I make it everyone loves it. It looks complicated, but it’s really not too hard and well worth the extra effort. Technically it’s supposed to only take 30 minutes start to finish, but I always give myself an extra 10 or 15.
    – 1 1/2 pounds ground beef, pork and veal mix from the butcher’s counter (meatloaf mix)
    – Salt and pepper
    – 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
    – 1 egg
    – 2 cloves garlic, minced
    – 1/4 small white onion, grated
    – 2 tablespoons golden or dark raisins, chopped
    – 3 tablespoons pine nuts, chopped
    – 3 tablespoons grated cheese, Parmigiano or Romano
    – 2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley
    – 1 cup arugula leaves or baby spinach
    – 6 slices prosciutto di Parma
    – 6 slices deli sliced provolone (I use harvarti)
    – Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling

    Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Mix meat and next 10 ingredients as if you were making meatloaf.
    Flatten meat out on a waxed paper lined cookie sheet into a thin layer: 1/2-inch thick, 12 inches long by 6 to 8 inches wide. Cover meat with arugula or spinach, prosciutto and cheese then roll the meat, using the waxed paper to help roll up into a large log, working across the 6 to 8-inch side, resulting in a 12-inch long log. Drizzle the log with extra-virgin olive oil to coat lightly. Roast meatroll 20 minutes. Cut into 1-inch slices, 3 pieces per portion, and serve.

  7. Tuesday, June 19, 2007

    Musings: The Prettiest Fruit

    Every time we have blueberries, the whole time I’m washing them, cooking with them, eating them…I can’t help but notice how beautiful they are. I know, kind of cheesy, but they are seriously cool looking. That dark blue, with the matte kind of finish, know what I mean? It’s hard to describe and the pictures I took don’t really capture what I love about them, but I couldn’t help but snap a few shots yesterday. Blueberries win the prize for prettiest fruit.

  8. Call for Recipes: Meatloaf

    Stacey requested good meatloaf recipes in the Menu comments yesterday. I was thinking this might be a fun ‘Call for Recipes’ and since you all responded to Corn Chowder so positively…bring on the meatloaf recipes! (Just post your recipe in the comments section – thanks!)

  9. Sunday, June 17, 2007

    Week 21 Menu

    Happy Father’s Day to all the millions of dads out there who read the blog. πŸ˜‰ We’ve had a nice lazy day around here, complete with drive down to the ocean. It was such a pretty day. Happy Father’s Day, Nate – you’re the best!

    This week is a fun one…the Red Sox are playing the Padres in SD this year. We are SO EXCITED. If you don’t know my history…I went to Boston University (I could literally see into Fenway Park from my sophomore year dorm) and my husband and his family are New Englanders to the core. We are a Red Sox family, much to my father-the-yankees-fan’s dismay. Too bad for him. We’re going Friday night to the game, then Nate’s birthday is on Saturday – fun weekend and hopefully good food! Will try to remember to bring the camera along. πŸ™‚ Go Sox! Yankees suck! (sorry mom…I know I’m not supposed to use that word)

    Waffles & Fresh Fruit
    – Hashbrowns

    – Nachos with chicken
    Mexican 7-Layer Dip

    – Leftovers

    Orange Chicken
    – Rice
    – Veggie or Salad

    – Going to see the RED SOX play the Padres! WOO-HOO! GO SOX!

    – Nate’s Birthday…something fun!

    Pot Roast
    – Mashed Potatoes
    – Veggie

    Time to share your menus for the week! πŸ™‚

  10. Thursday, June 14, 2007

    Yummy Easy Peasy Meals

    Okay, time for you guys to do some work. πŸ˜‰ Are you ready?

    The last 2 months have been rough for me as you all know…feeling sick, working a ton, trying to be a good member of the family. I find many nights I just need something EASY (and “homemade”) to make for dinner. I’m so sick of take-out and don’t like super processed foods, but cooking isn’t so easy for me right now. The other night when I just didn’t know what to make, I went to the store and grabbed those frozen Chicken Cordon Bleu packs, a box of Rice-a-Roni Long Grain & Wild Rice and a bag of carrots to steam. EASY and YUMMY. Definitely my yummy easy peasy meal.

    So, time to share your most favorite, most yummy, EASY recipe or dinner idea (note, mine above is certainly not a recipe!). I’ve been wanting to ask you this question for days…bring on the great ideas! πŸ™‚