Thursday, July 31, 2014

Chocolate Covered Nilla Wafers with Strawberries

Sorry for the lack of a post for those expecting it yesterday.  One Z-Pak later and I'm back on track!  This "recipe" is something I whipped up with items I already had on hand.  It is perfect for the summer and to top it off, each one is under 50 calories!  I only ate two because they were pretty filling.  The version where I dipped the Nilla Wafer in the chocolate were my favorite.  They were a little easier to construct and they look prettier than the other version.  Make a couple of these for a delicious, health dessert for yourself.  Or, make a lot for a cookout, but be warned, they will go fast!  Enjoy!

Chocolate Covered Nilla Wafers with Strawberries

Nilla Wafers
Strawberries, sliced
Cool-Whip (I used fat-free)
Mini Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips (some for melting, some for topping if desired)

Melt your desired amount of chocolate in a microwave safe bowl or in a double boiler.  Dip the tops of the Nilla Wafers in and place on a baking sheet.  

Top with strawberry and a dollop of Cool-Whip.  Sprinkle with mini chocolate chips.  Place in freezer to set, about 15 minutes.  

*I kept my extra ones in the freezer and they still were amazing.  I just let them sit out a few minutes before eating.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries

What would you say if I told you you could have cheese fries for 259 calories!  Yes that's not a typo, 259 calories!  Usually when I see the skinny in a recipe title, I think it might be decent, but in no way as good as a full-fat version.  This recipe proved me so wrong.  It was so flavorful and full of gooey cheesiness that I was hooked.  Not to mention, with only two potatoes it made a ton for just two people that we didn't even finish them all.  You probably have the majority of the spices already so with just a couple items, this dish can be yours.  You should also check out more of the recipes on SkinnyTaste, I know I am going to!  Enjoy!

Skinny Texas Cheese Fries

2 medium potatoes, washed and dried, skin on
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/8 teaspoon cumin
corse salt and fresh cracked pepper
1 slice center cut bacon, cooked and finely chopped
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
2 Tablespoons green onion, diced
1 Tablespoon jalapeños

Optional (additional calories)
Sour Cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Prepare your baking sheet with aluminum foil and lightly spray with cooking spray.

Cut the potatoes into 1/4 inch pieces lengthwise, then again into 1/4 inch fries. 

In a large bowl or large plastic bag, place the potatoes and oil.  Then add all of the seasonings, tossing well to coat evenly.

Place the potatoes in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake approximately 25 minutes, or until crisp, turning once halfway through

Remove from oven and place on one large or two smaller oven-safe dishes and top with the cheese and bacon.  Return to the oven about 2 minutes or until the cheese melts.  Top with jalapeños and green onions.  Serve with dip of your choice if desired.   

Monday, July 28, 2014

Chappelle at Radio City

Hello everyone!  I hope you all had a great weekend!  Ours was pretty low key for once, but more on that later.  

Back in May, I think, Dave Chappelle announced he was going to be performing only in New York for a few days so Kev jumped at the chance to get tickets.  First of all, he is hilarious.......I always think of the Prince episode, "Game blouses".  Secondly, it was at Radio City Music Hall, a venue neither of had attended before.  Now if you have followed his career, you'll know that he walked off stage about a year ago in Connecticut because the crowd wouldn't stop harassing him, so this was a pretty big deal.  That being said, you'll notice that I don't have any pictures of him performing.  There were hundreds of signs posted in Radio City against taking pictures or heckling him, otherwise you would be escorted out.  Bummer I know, but, understandable.  Regardless of all that, he put on an amazing show!  We were laughing the entire time and definitely glad we were there to witness his comeback!  I hope he keeps at it for a little while longer at least!  If he does go on a national tour and you like him or comedy in general, you should check him out.         

My hobby with a sly grin and Radio City from the outside.

We went to the show with on June 23 with Nas, but he played after Chappelle and we aren't really fans so we didn't stay........sorry Nas.

The one pic I got before security told me to shut it down and all of my closest 6,000 friends in attendance!

We stopped in Magnolia Bakery after the show.  I first heard of it on Sex and the City many years ago and have one of their sweet and delicious!

Friday, July 25, 2014

Hot Chocolate French Toast

You love hot chocolate.  You love french toast.  Why not combine the two?  This recipe, found here, does just that.  It is so decadent you can hardly call it a breakfast meal, but go ahead and indulge once in a while.  I deliberately posted this on Friday so you have plenty of time to get your ingredients and make it this weekend!  I promise you will love alway enjoy!

Hot Chocolate French Toast

French Toast:
1 cup milk (we used 1%)
4 Tablespoons Hot Cocoa Mix
3 eggs
2 Tablespoons vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 Tablespoons butter
8 slices Challah bread, thick
Optional:  Cool Whip, Ice Cream

3/4 cup heavy cream
9 ounces semi-sweet chocolate
1 Tablespoon butter
2 teaspoons instant coffee

First make the ganache by combining everything but the coffee in a microwave safe bowl.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until the chocolate is melted and smooth.  Stir in the instant coffee and place the ganache in the freezer for 15 minutes or the refrigerator for 30 minutes.

Heat the milk in a microwave safe bowl for 2-3 minutes or until hot.  Stir in the hot cocoa and let cool for 5 minutes.

In a 9x13 pan, whisk together the eggs, vanilla, salt, and hot cocoa after cooled.

Prepare your French Toast "sandwiches" by spreading ganache between two slices of bread.  You can be generous, you will have plenty.  Place the four "sandwiches" in the egg mixture, cover, and place in the refrigerator for 15 minutes.  After 15 minutes flip the "sandwiches" and let sit 15 minutes or overnight (we did the 15 minutes).

Heat butter in a medium nonstick skillet and cook french toast 2-3 minutes per side or until golden and crisp.  Serve with whipped cream or, for a more decadent treat, ice cream.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


What do you do when your hubby has to work a few days in Philly?   Well, fortunately for me, I packed the dogs up and tagged along!  Stella and Bella are becoming quite the travelers and don't mind elevator trips to the 10th floor now!  The trip to Philly actually is an easy one for us, about an hour and a half away.  We didn't get to do a whole lot since Kev did have to work and it was raining pretty much the whole time, but what we did get to see and do was really fun and we can't wait to go back and actually spend some time.        

We walked around the downtown area and unfortunately everything had closed for the evening, but that didn't stop up from taking a long walk and the historical views in.  Plus, I like practicing photography in different settings.  The shot above was from an area outside the Liberty Bell.  The one below is Carpenter's Hall.

Kevin and I share a love for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  So, when we were there we had to check out something.  We decided on Mac's Tavern which isn't in the show, but co-owned by Sweet Dee and Mac (characters on the show).  It was trivia night so we decided to kick back and have some fun as The Real MAC-larnon's.  We enjoyed some beer, calamari, and skillet mac and cheese while we played.  It was all so scrumptious and such a fun atmosphere.  However, we had to be responsible petarents (pet parent) and left before the whole game was finished.  We were in third when we left though!       

On our way out we decided to get a coffee and a little breakfast before heading out.  It was rainy, of course, so we made a quick trip of it.  We stop at Love Park above and the Reading Terminal Market, below, for coffee.  We got to Love Park at just the right time because not only did it start pouring, but a group of 10 came and were taking pictures with the Love artwork right as we were leaving.  The area was very pretty regardless.  The market was already really busy with the hustle and bustle of people trying to get to work and it was huge!  Not everything was opened because it was so early, but imagine a mall food court back home, times that by about 6 and add not as much seating and everything pushed together.  It was hectic, I can't imagine the afternoon time, but there were so many shops and places to look at that I can't wait to go back and explore!  

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Jalapeño Poppers in a Blanket

In June I did a post, you may or may not remember, with the agonizingly hot jalapeño peppers in the Firecracker Shrimp recipe.  Well, not ready to throw in the towel on jalapeños, because I do usually enjoy them, I decided to try another recipe.  I got the same peppers from the same store.  Am I a glutton for punishment?  I would soon find out!  The assembly, while not at all difficult, it was a little tedious.  I was lucky to have an extra set of hands to work on the filling while I wrapped and sealed the jalapeños in the puff pastry.  As time passed, I couldn't help but worry that this recipe would just be a waste, that I was just setting myself up for failure.  I sneakily pretended to be so enthralled with whatever was on TV just so Kev would have to take the first bite......haha.  He was still alive and kicking, not gasping for air or reaching for a beverage, so I decided to give it a go.  I took the smallest bite and waited for a few minutes.  I knew that I would be sweating and needed massive amounts of milk, but, none of that came.  Instead, it was the slight heat and delicious taste I had grown accustomed to.  The pastry was golden and crisp and the filling was delectable!  This is a definite must keep recipe!  They will be an especially great appetizer for football parties........Go Colts!  When you have a little extra, or extra hands, I urge you to give this recipe a try!  Enjoy!      

Jalapeño Poppers in a Blanket

1 egg
1 Tablespoon water
All-purpose flour
1 (17.3 ounce) package frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup Cheddar cheese, shredded
4 cloves garlic, minced
3 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled
12 medium jalapeños, cut in half lengthwise and seeded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Beat the egg and water in a small bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle flour on your work surface and unfold 1 pastry sheet.  Roll it out until it is about 9x12.  Cut into 12 (3 inch) squares.  Repeat with the second pastry sheet.

Stir the cheeses, garlic, and bacon in a bowl.  Spoon about 2 teaspoons of the cheese mixture into each pepper half.

Place the filled pepper, stuffed side down onto the pastry square at a diagonal.  Fold the pastry over the pepper and press to seal.  Line on a baking sheet.  Brush the pastries with the egg mixture.  Bake 20 minutes or until golden brown.  Let the pastries cool 10 minutes on wire racks.  Serve with ranch or sour cream.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. B

So I decided to take my camera to the wedding with me to practice with tricky indoor lighting.  My pictures aren't the greatest, but they are straight out of the camera, so some might have even more potential.  I was glad to have my cousin Tyler there to help me out with settings and he even took some of the photos.  All that being are some of the shots I/we got.  I didn't want to step on the photographers toes so I didn't want to take too many and let's be honest, I wanted to have some fun!  I hope you guys enjoy!

The best man speech.

First dance as husband and wife.....they look so happy!

My aunt and her handsome son, the groom!

Parents of the groom sharing a dance!

It was such a wonderful and blessed day!  Thank you for a wonderful time!

Monday, July 21, 2014

Back home again in Indiana........

Well it feels a little bit late to say this, but I hope everyone had a great 4th and last couple of weeks.  It feels like a lifetime since I have been on here, but it was nice to get away and spend time with family and friends.  That being said, I still haven't recovered and need a vacation from my vacations......oh geez I sound old.  

While my hubby was at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas for work, all work and no play unfortunately, I headed back home to Indiana.  A small two door coupe, two adults, 2 dogs and an almost broken finger later, we made it.  Now a weird thing happened to me while I was in Indiana.  The place I had always called home, felt foreign to me now.  Maybe it's because I was always encroaching on someone's space, or that I am just getting used to life in New Jersey.  While we love Indiana and would never rule out living back there, it is invigorating to get out and see what else there is in the wonderful world and have an open-mind.  It's quite freeing really.      

Kevin made it to Indianapolis late Friday night and it was cram time.  We were leaving early Monday morning and had a wedding Saturday, so the rest of the time was spent trying to get around to see all of our family and friends.  One of our nights was spent at our old usual place, The Fox and Hound, with our besties, Hayley and Justin!  Man had we missed them!  I would of packed them in our bags and brought them back with us if I could have.

The main event that we came back for was the union of my cousin Josh to his beautiful bride Whitney!  Above is obviously me and my handsome date and below some family shots and of course the new Mr. and Mrs.  It was such a wonderful ceremony with so much love all around.  I couldn't be happier for them and am so excited to see how they grow even more as a couple.  Welcome to our family Whitney and we love the both of you, as well as everyone else.....haha, so very much!  I was so happy to get to share your big day with you!

I know this, like my 4th comment, is long overdue, but congratulation Germany on your WorldCup win!  We actually did watch the game with family while home so I had to throw that in!  I promise I won't wait so long to post again!    

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th

Hey everyone!  Just a quick post to let you know I am singing off for about a week to go home for a wedding!  If I have time I might do a post here or there, but I really want to spend time with the fam since I haven't seen them in 3 months!!  I hope everyone has a fun and safe 4th of July!

The McClarnons

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bobby's Lighter Baked Spaghetti and Garlic Cheese Bread

You have to try this recipe.  I repeat, you have to try this recipe!  It was absolutely scrumptious and a lighter take on the original.  It was super simple, can feed a crowd, and if you don't have a crowd, it reheats really well.  So, why are you wasting time reading my thought and not making your grocery list right now?  It is great by itself, but feel free to accompany it with garlic bread.......especially the recipe below ;).  

Bobby's Lighter Baked Spaghetti

6 ounces angel hair pasta
2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, finely chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1/4 cup water
1 pound sweet Italian sausage, remove casings
1 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
1/4 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cook pasta according to package directions and drain.  

Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat.  Add the onion and pepper, cooking 2-3 minutes, then add water.  Continue cooking, occasionally stirring about 8 minutes or until vegetables are tender.  Add the sausage and cook until browned, 6-8 minutes.  Stir in the tomatoes and seasonings and bring to a boil.  Reduce the heat to a simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  After the 15 minutes, add the pasta, tossing well to combine.

Spray a 1 1/2 quart casserole, we used a 9x13 glass baking dish, and add 1/2 of the pasta mixture.  Sprinkle 1/2 cup of the Cheddar over the top.  Repeat with the remaining pasta and 1/2 cup of cheese.  Spray aluminum foil and loosely tent over the pasta.  Bake until hot and cheese is melted, about 20-25 minutes.  Let stand 5 minutes before serving.     

My Garlic Cheese Bread

Rosemary Foccacia loaf
oven roasted garlic cloves
smoked mozzarella
storeaged extra sharp provolone from Italy
Parmesan Reggianito from Argentina 
Italian seasoning

I cut off the top of the loaf, poured the melted butter on top and then the seasonings and garlic cloves.  Then I topped the bread with the cheeses and broiled until golden and the cheese was melted.