Thursday, February 11, 2010

How to Make an Easy, Romantic Valentine's Day/Anniversary Dinner

I know it's not so popular to say that I'm not into Valentine's Day because I'd rather be given flowers or candy on a random Tuesday, not because Hallmark tells you to show me you love me. For more, I wrote a review of Valentine's Day. Little did I know it would cause such an uproar, and surprisingly enough, most of my naysayers were men. But, like I told them, I'm not super anti-VD, I just don't like to get caught up in the craziness of it. I usually reserve that for Christmas LOL. Unfortunately, I missed our 3 year anniversary on Feb. 4th, so we postponed it until this weekend which happens to be V Day weekend. Luckily for me, I can combine both celebrations into one dinner at home that I had wanted to impress him with anyhow and that I can share with you guys that don't want to get caught up in the craziness of it but, still want to show your special someone that they'

So, let me know if I'm crazy but, I'm thinking Baked Chicken with Herb Skin and Roasted Garlic Cream Gravy with Oreo truffles for dessert. He love Oreos and chocolate, so there you go for dessert. The beauty of the Baked Chicken dish, thank you very much Rachel Ray, is that you will have three meals for the price of one- absolutely perfect for these economic hard times!

Baked Chicken with Herb Skin and Roasted Garlic Cream Gravy

  • 6 boiling onions or 8 cipollini onions
  • 2 large heads garlic
  • Extra virgin olive oil (EVOO), for liberal drizzling
  • 2 sprigs rosemary, finely chopped
  • 1 roasting chicken
  • 6 sprigs fresh tarragon
  • 6 sprigs flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
  • 2 fresh bay leaves
  • 6 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 1/2 pound baby potatoes
  • 1 cup purple carrots or baby carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 tablespoons flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 cup cream
  • 4 cups baby spinach, packed, coarsely chopped
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Farenheit.
  2. Take out the gizzards and organs (I know, I said a huge OMGOMGOMG my first time I did this)
  3. Prepare veggies and place in a roasting pan- I would quarter potatoes and cut the carrots into smaller pieces, so that they will roast easily. 
  4. Cut the heads of garlic to expose all of the cloves. Drizzle EVOO over the exposed garlic, then press into the rosemary to coat. Wrap the garlic in foil and roast in the oven until tender, 45 minutes.
  5.  Loosen the skin of the chicken that covers the chest and thighs and legs. Arrange the tarragon and parsley sprigs, bay leaves and thyme leaves under the skin, distributing evenly around the bird. Rub 4 tablespoons of softened butter all over the bird skin, then season liberally with salt and pepper. Settle the bird over top of the potatoes and vegetables. Roast for 1 hour and 15 minutes, then switch on the broiler to crisp the skin, 5-8 minutes.
  6.  When the garlic is done, let cool until it's cool enough to handle. Squeeze the garlic cloves out of the skins and mash into a paste.
  7.  In a saucepot, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat, then stir in the flour. Cook for 1 minute, then whisk in the stock and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil and whisk in the mashed garlic. Let thicken for 5 minutes, then add the cream and reduce the heat to low.
  8. Remove the chicken from oven and carve. Fold the spinach into the vegetables to wilt. Serve the vegetables and chicken with gravy on top.

Oreo Truffles: Makes: 3 1/2 dozen  Takes: 1 1/2 hours


  • 1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
  • 1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
  • 2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, melted




  1. Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
  2. Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs.
  3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.


  • How to How to Easily Dip Truffles 
  • Place truffle ball in melted chocolate to coat; roll if necessary. Lift truffle from chocolate using 2 forks (this will allow excess chocolate to run off) before placing on wax paper. 

So, what do you guys think? I'll have to let you know how it turned out and how F liked it!


Monday, January 25, 2010

How To DIY Vinyl Record Bowl!

Hey guys! Thought I'd share a couple of pictures of our homemade wedding fund bowl...actually, I have two. One's a vase for pennies and the other is the bowl for all other coins.

The bowl is a Bobby Gentry and Glen Campbell vinyl record that my friend got at a thrift store for 50 cents but, I've bought vinyl for as low as a nickel. This is her creation- thanks Jill! She was kind enough to give me the how-to, so I can share it with all of you! There are two methods, so whichever works for you- go for it!

1) The fun part! Shopping for vinyl!!!! Go to your local thrift store or garage sales or second-hand record stores and buy a cheap record that reflects your musical taste.
2) Preheat your oven to 200-250 degrees Fahrenheit (100-150 Celsius)
3) Place your record on the center of an upside down, oven-safe bowl on top of a baking sheet.
4) Place in oven and KEEP A CLOSE WATCH.
5) Each oven is different but, the record takes around 4-8 minutes to "droop" or melt around the bowl.
6) Wearing oven mitts (duh!), take out your creation and place it around another bowl.
7) Either mold it around the bowl or you can hand mold it to your liking. If you like what it looks like after you take it out of the oven, ignore this step.
8) Let cool for 10-15 minutes.
9) Flip it over and you're done!


View from bottom of the bowl
"Edges Up Method" (I think this is the easier version!)
1)Find an oven-safe glass bowl that's slightly smaller than the record.
2) Preheat oven to 200-250 F or 100-150 C.
3) Put the record, centered, over the top of the glass bowl.
4) Put the record and bowl into the oven, place a can (canned food) on top of the record.
5) Again, WATCH THE BOWL CAREFULLY!  If the sides of the record start to fold over the glass bowl, then your can may not be heavy enough, or you might need a larger bowl. If you don't want to start over, or if you simply want a deeper vinyl bowl, try pushing the can down carefully.
6) When you like what you see, take the bowl out of the oven.
7) Cool for 10-15 minutes, flip and enjoy!

View from the side
These bowls are really cute, you can infuse your musical taste throughout the house and they also make great, inexpensive gifts. I just made it into the wedding fund, with my so obvious DIY sign, because it's cute, convenient and very "us".

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Be The Change You Wish To See In The World...

I know we are all caught up in our own issues and hardships. Every once in a while, an unfortunate disaster happens in some place that you don't quite give too much thought to, and it reminds us how lucky we are to be alive- to be at the right place at the right time, even if it doesn't always feel like it. When things like that happen, we often feel overwhelmed with the desire to help but, have no clue where to start. I've made it easy for you. I've listed 3 different aid agencies below that are assisting in Haiti relief.

Haiti is the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere, the citizens live on under $1 a day and half of them are under 21 years of age. The Archbishop is reported killed, the embassies are destroyed, the National Penitentiary has collapsed with reports of inmates escaping, bodies are being stacked on top of each other "block after block after block" reports CNN Pentagon Correspondant. So, yes, there will be a lot of aid needed and I'm sending this plea: Instead of your morning coffee, donate that amount to one of the agencies listed below. You can go without coffee for a couple of days or you can make it at home (because I will tell you that I can't survive without my coffee but, I can make due with just regular, cheap, and homemade) and it'll help tremendously.

I hope this finds you well and if you have family or friends in Haiti, may you find them healthy and well. Here's the toll-free number for you to locate information on your family/friends: 1-888-407-4747. My thoughts are with Haiti at this devastating time. We do not have to be overwhelmed, we do have the power to help.

  • Text "Yele" to 501501 to donate $5 to Wyclef Jean's Haiti relief efforts, the maximum number of texts is 6; however, you can go to and donate as much as you want. 100% of funds go to relief efforts.
  • Red Cross relief is "incredibly overwhelmed" and water is of the utmost importance. To donate to Red Cross efforts, You can also text "HAITI" to 90999 to donate $10 to American Red Cross relief efforts for Haiti. The amount will be added to your cell phone credit card bill. OR you can donate the International Relief Fund.
  • UNICEF: Here is the link to the donation form to help Haiti's children.
  • Here's a link to my full list of 5 aid agencies (good news: you don't always have to spend can drop off much needed items!).