Monday, April 30, 2012

Edamame Sandwich Spread

So I sat wondering last night as I was getting ready to make dinner, if you can make an avocado spread to put on a sandwich, 
I bet you could do the same thing with edamame. My husband is the official taste tester in all my recipe developing and he loved it, so I thought I would share with you guys. 
It's just a little thing, but does give a sandwich a big WOW.


1- 8 oz. package of edamame, steamed
1/2 tsp sea salt
1 heaping spoonful of olive oil mayonaise


Steam your package of edamame,

 remove the shells, add salt.
Mash, then mash some more.

The end result will be chunky. 
You could put it in a food processor, but I rarely pull mine out unless it's for something big. 
I prefer the old school, use your pathetically small muscles method of cooking. 

Here's what it looked like when I served it up on a 
Toasted Ham and Provolone Sammie with a side of Sweet Potatoes Fries... 



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Scavenger Walk

This game I thought up (so to speak) for my daughter today was such a hit that I'm sure we will be doing many more like it. It was such a beautiful day that I thought it would be fun to get out and do something. We are very lucky to live right next to our City Park, so I made up a Scavenger Hunt that we could do while walking in the park.

Make up a list of things to find. Check. 

Grab a clipboard, attach the list and a pencil, so you can mark off your items as you go. Check.

 Find a super cute bag to put your "treasures" in. Check.

I simply told my daughter I had a surprise for her, got her dressed, grabbed the stuff I put together, and we were on our way. 
I think it was more exciting that way because it was like an adventure for her. My daughter kept saying how fun it was and had no idea we were actually learning about reading and that!

Mom rocks! Check.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Meatloaf and Roasted Brussels Sprouts

YAY! It's Friday everyone. Today I am sharing two recipes, one meal, that would be perfect to make this weekend. Our weather forecast is calling for rain, and this meatloaf is a perfect comfort food for a cold, rainy day.

Roasted Brussels Sprouts


Olive Oil
Brussels sprouts
Bacon Crumbles 
French Fried Onions 
Sea Salt
Lemon Zest


Drizzle olive oil generously onto a baking sheet. I always put tinfoil down first, but that's up to you.  
Zest a lemon onto a cutting board,

 then add it to a 1/4 cup olive oil and 2 tbsp soy sauce and set aside. 

(You will drizzle that on last, leave it to marinate while you make the rest of meal.) 
Cut your brussel sprouts in half and put them flat side down until you have covered your baking sheet. 
Sprinkle bacon crumbles over top, 

then do the same with your French Fried Onions. 

Sprinkle with sea salt. 
Right before you put them in the oven with the meatloaf, drizzle your olive oil and lemon zest mixture over the top.

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

Now to prepare the meatloaf...


1 lb of ground beef
2 tbsp Bleu cheese dressing
1 tbsp minced garlic
1/2 c. French Fried Onions
6-7 Ritz Crackers, crumbled (medium to fine)
1 egg beaten


Mix all those ingredients together, honestly it's easier to use your hands when you doing meatloaf, 
that way everything is thoroughly combined. 
Then spray a bread pan with non-stick spray, add your ingredients and gently press down all over 
to distribute ingredients to the edge of the pan.

Bake for both your brussels sprouts and meatloaf for 20 minutes. 

Remove your meatloaf from the oven and let it sit 2-3 minutes. 
Meanwhile, turn the oven to broil and give your brussels sprouts a little crisp 
under the broiler for a couple minutes. Watch them carefully, you don't want them to burn. 
I usually move them to the bottom rack of the oven so that doesn't happen. 
When you are satisfied with their crispiness, remove them from oven. 
Slice your meatloaf and serve with the roasted brussels sprouts.

Enjoy! ♥

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Chipotle Chicken Salad

So here's the story behind the title of the recipe I developed last night...
I love Chipotle's Chicken Salad, but the location near us is always crowded (cause it's near the college) and their music is so loud you can't even converse with the people you are dining with. It's like the atmosphere in Hollister stores, but without the cool clothes that are so small that you could never eat at Chipotle if you wanted to fit into them. 

So basically what I've done is taken what I usually order at Chipotle and I made it at home, where I can talk with my husband and my daughter while we're eating and there's no "what?" or "huh?' being uttered every other sentence.

So now that we've established that is there is no chipotle in the salad I'm about to unveil to you. I want to give you a word of advice - don't eat too much or you'll have a belly ache all night long like I did. Seriously, it's addicting. You'll want to eat til you explode, don't do it, it will be a mess. Nobody wants to clean THAT up. Unfortunately, that's what happens when you get older, you can no longer "pig out" like you did in your younger years.


1 large chicken breast, cooked (or two small ones)
1 cup of canned (or fresh) corn
1 cup of black beans
2 medium size avocados
2 handfuls of cherry tomatoes, diced
2 tbsp chopped onion


1/2 cup of olive oil
the zest from a large lemon
the juice from the above lemon 
a handful of cilantro
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tbsp of sea salt 


{Dressing ingredients}

Zest your lemon and measure your sea salt.

Extract the juice from your lemon

Add all the dressing ingredients to a blender or food processor 
and blend until it looks like the picture below.

Set dressing aside. Get out a large bowl and add one cup of corn. 


Shred your chicken breast with a fork and add it to the corn.

Dice your tomatoes and add them to the ingredients in the bowl.

Hopefully you have a cool avocado slicer like the one below,
if not, you can pick one up at your local Walmart or even the Dollar Store I believe.
Slice and dice your avocados and add them to the bowl as well.

Drain your beans once you have emptied them from the can 
then add them to the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

Add your dressing you made earlier + your chopped onions and voila...
You've got Chipotle's Chicken Salad!

Serve with your favorite beer and tortilla chips. 
A side of sour cream is optional, but it sure makes it even yummier! (if that's possible)

Enjoy! ♥

Saturday, April 21, 2012


I find inspiration in nature.  Photography is one of my passions and I love to photograph flowers. 
They are so naturally beautiful and their colors are simply amazing. 
This past week I have been taking many pictures of what Mother Nature has bestowed upon us 
for this wonderful spring season and I thought I would share them with you.

How can there be too many children? That is like saying there are too many flowers.
Mother Teresa

Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful; they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul.
Luther Burbank
Every flower is a soul blossoming in nature.
Gerard De Nerval

The Amen of nature is always a flower.
Oliver Wendell Holmes

A flower cannot blossom without sunshine, and man cannot live without love.
Max Muller
Stretching his hand up to reach the stars, too often man forgets the flowers at his feet.
Jeremy Bentham

Nobody sees a flower really; it is so small. We haven't time, and to see takes time - like to have a friend takes time.
Georgia O'Keeffe

One could not pluck a flower without troubling a star.
Loren Eiseley

Anybody in his right mind should have an inferiority complex every time he looks at a flower.
Alan Kay
Deep in their roots, all flowers keep the light.
Theodore Roethke
Flowers are happy things.
P G Wodehouse
Flowers are the sweetest things God ever made and forgot to put a soul into.
Henry Ward Beecher
You're only here for a short visit. Don't hurry, don't worry. And be sure to smell the flowers along the way.
Walter Hagen
 A woman should be like a single flower, not a whole bouquet.
Anna Held


©2012 M. Hamilton Photography, all rights reserved. 

 These photos are not to be used without my written permission.

Banana & Chocolate Chip Muffins

This Saturday morning my daughter, Shelby and I decided we needed to make something yummy for breakfast. I saw the bananas on the counter gathering spots and I suggested we make muffins. She was a little hesitant until I added that we could put chocolate chips in them, then she was totally on board.

So we put on our special matching aprons that Grandma made for us, 
cause you have to look cute when you are in the kitchen of course.

We got out our tiaras, cause you have to wear a tiara when you're baking, duh. 
And Shelby got out her pig spatula - it's way I right?

Then lastly, we pulled up our "cooking tunes" playlist on my computer  
cause your goodies always turn out better 
when you can shake your hiney while you are baking.

Now to begin, pulling out everything you need is very important. 


1 stick of butter, softened (or 1/2 c. butter)
3/4 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup sour cream 
3 bananas
2 cups of flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla 
6 oz. of semi-sweet chocolate morsels
paper muffin cups


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar with a mixer. 

Add eggs and mix thoroughly.

Dissolve baking soda in the sour cream. 
Let it "rise" before adding it to the butter, sugar and egg mixture. 

Mix well on medium speed.
Add bananas. Mix. It's ok, actually preferable, if there are chunks of banana.

Add flour, cocoa powder and baking powder together, mix in thoroughly. 
Add vanilla. Then stir in your chocolate chips by hand. 
Line muffin pans with paper liners and fill your muffin cups. 
Bake 20 minutes.
Recipe makes approximately 18-20 muffins.

Now, make yourself a cup of your favorite coffee, mine is Dark Magic by Green Mountain
and enjoy! ♥