Wednesday, December 26, 2012

EASY & SIMPLE RECIPES: USING LEFTOVER CHRISTMAS HAM: HAM AND GOAT CHEESE CARBONARA


It became a clear the minute I turned on the food network channel and saw the recipe being made that Carbonara would become my favorite thing to make. Carbonara is also considered Italian bacon and eggs because its spaghetti pasta, cheese, and bacon tossed in an egg sauce (talk about a twist on breakfast) In the beginning I would make it different versions of it using roman noodle I was Carbonara crazy. I would try different cheese and meats and it was always great. That when it occurred to me this dish will work with any pasta that can be tossed in a tomato or cream sauce.  It won’t be the traditional Carbonara of course, but a yummy quick meal anytime of the day it will be.

Now that Christmas is over we all have plenty of leftovers from that 15lb ham we’re trying to rid ourselves of. This is also that time of year where we don’t mind spending a little extra for the chesses we love. (Actually, I was making this long before the holidays, but you get my drift) This is the perfect after Christmas meal to make. Now get up and get ready to make your family an after Christmas breakfast they will not forget!

Before we get started I want to share a few tricks to making great Carbonara. First don’t add any milk or cream. I know I too thought it had cream because the sauce is soo dreamy creamy, but there is none. The next thing is don’t scramble the eggs. I mean if you do a little bit its ok because scrambled and ham is yummy but that’s not what you want to shoot for. A nice smooth sauce is what you want.

 

INGREDIENTS:

-A Package of Pasta, uncooked (About 4 cups)

-1tsp Dijon Mustard

-2 Eggs

- ½ tsp. Salt

-1 tsp. black Pepper

-1 cup Cooked Ham, Chopped

-2 tsp. Olive Oil or Vegetable Oil

½ cup Goat Cheese

-4-6 cups of water

Serves: 4

1. In a large pot, bring water to a rolling boil. Add 1tsp of oil, salt, and pasta. Cook until al dente according to package directions and strain. (I used spaghetti and it took about 9 minutes)

2. In a pan, heat the other teaspoon of oil on Medium heat. Sauté ham for 1 minute just to heat through and release the flavors

3. Add pasta to the pan and toss until the pasta is combined with the ham. Remove from heat.

4. In a bowl combine eggs, pepper, and mustard. Whisk the mixture constantly for 1 minute.

5. Pour the mixture over the pasta and toss it lightly. Place over Medium-low heat and add cheese. Continue cooking just until cheese melts. Enjoy!

Tips

*The heat from the pasta will cook the eggs, so to save on cooking time add the cheese to the egg mixture.

*Ham can be really salty along and with salting the pasta water it is best to taste before deciding to add more salt to this dish.

 

 

Friday, December 21, 2012

TWINING'S TEA REVIEW & CHAI TEA RECIPE



Even if you like me and never tried Twining’s tea you know the name just as well as I do. What? Am I the only die hard 50 shade of gray fan that read all 3 books and knows that Anastasia Steele drink Twining’s English Breakfast Tea? That right when I saw the sample offer I jumped on it for that reason and I was not disappointed.

Personally, I prefer my tea strong and my coffee weak, so my experience was slightly different from Ana who hated coffee and preferred a weaker version of her favorite drink. I received several samples: 2 English breakfast and many Chai teas. I tried both of the breakfast teas and the French vanilla chai tea. The tea bags come in these red packages with the flavor written on the front and a list of ingredients it’s so cute. The bags themselves are old school and I love that with the long string and paper logo at the end. It gives a real “let’s sit down” tea time feel because some tea brands have removed the string but that takes away from the product if you ask me.

Now if you’re not familiar with these type of teas they are black tea. This means it can get as dark as coffee and that is just the way I like it. My first sip was heaven it was the color of coffee but with a strong robust flavor. I did add some sugar but to be honest I didn’t need any it’s good as is. Chai tea is usually black tea, spices, milk, and sweetener butTwining’s has the tea and spices covered you just need to add the milk and sweetener quick and easy. It also comes in many flavors. That orignal sip was very spicy and delicious but too strong for my taste I was actually sweating! There was a very nice flavor there but the cardamom in it made the tea a bit harsh but that’s great for sweating out a cold so I put the rest of the chai tea away for those times but I will be using that 15% they gave off to buy a whole box of English Breakfast tea.
 
 
I know I gave you all a drink recipe , but that what winter is about to me. Bundled in a blanket , having a snack ,watching tv,  all while sipping a hot drink. This is where this recipe came from. Right before I got the tea samples I was testing homemade chai tea recipes using some tea I had on hand. Twining’s gave me more teas to work with and that when it all came together right.

YOU WILL NEED:

6 cups of water

4 tsp of pumpkin pie spice

½ cup cream or dry coffee creamer

A pinch of cayenne pepper

2 tsps vanilla

4 Twinings English Breakfast tea bags

½ cup sugar or ¼ cup honey

Serves: 4

1.      Place water, cayenne pepper, and pumpkin pie spice in a pot. Cover and bring to a boil over Medium-high heat.

2.      Add in cream and sugar/honey. Continue to boil uncovered on Medium for 1 minute.

3.      Remove from heat and add vanilla.

4.      Place a tea bag into each serving mug.

5.      Pour some of the hot liquid into each mug and stir.

6.      Steep 5-6 minutes and serve.

*Tips

*Easy Holiday Gift: Chai tea mix: In clean dry jars combined 1cup sugar,1cup dry coffee creamer,1/2 TBsp pumpkin pie spice,1/8 tsp cayenne pepper. Tie some colorful ribbon around each jar and hand them out to your friends and family along with some black tea bags for a gift that keeps on giving. Dissolve 1TBsp of the mix in a cup of boiling water and pour over a tea bag for tea pefect cup of tea!

   *Keep the chai tea mix in a dry area to keep it fresh .

   *Everyone likes their tea differently so when serving  a crowd tea of any kind leave the bags in to allow guest to remove when they desire.

 

 

 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

KEEBLER CINNAMON ROLL COOKIE REVIEW & CARAMEL LATTE RECIPE


I been away dealing with that toothache from hell but I came across a product that I just to review. Keebler caramel pecan cinnamon rolls cookies. They are little pieces of heaven! That is when I had a thought why not make drink to go along with these lovely cookies.

       I don’t know why but when something has caramel in it I have to smell it so I open the bag of cookies and inhale. It smells of a very spicy caramel aroma I would probably wear it as perfume if I could. After I came off my caramel high I pull out the plastic tray that is divided into 6 sections with about 4 cookies in each one. First of all, that is a lot of cookies how great is that but from the package I thought I was going to get a simple cinnamon roll shaped cookie. Boy was I wrong!
     They are these thin, soft molasses tasting cookies with a cinnamon icing over them just like the real thing with a hint of caramel. After tasting them they were delicious, but as much as I love caramel I was screaming WHERE IS THE PECANS! Just as I was about to panic I got these small pecan clusters I really must learn to be patient lol. They say you’re not supposed to eat sweets in the morning but if I couldn’t get that cinnamon roll fresh out of the oven these cookies would be my next choice. This is why my double caramel latte goes perfect with these cookies.
 
 

Now you know how it is when you want that coffee house coffee but have no coffee house money. We all have gotten in the kitchen and made a form of caramel coffee by putting that store-brought caramel syrup in a mug, added coffee, and milk. The only problem with that is it is yucky and not coffee house at all. As crazy as I am about caramel I had to find a better way. I finally got it right, but I fell in love with those Nescafe Mementos and combine the two to make it even better. That how this drink for those yummy cookies was born! It has all the flavors of that gourmet coffee we love!
The secret is it is homemade caramel and you can make it in advance and keep it on hand for other things. It’s quick, easy, and addictive!

You will need:

¼ cup butter (1/2 a stick)

½ cup brown sugar

6TBsp heavy cream

4 packets of  Nescafe Memento Caramel Latte

½ tsp. cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice

4 cups water (really hot but not boiling)

Whipped cream (optional)

Serves:4

1.      In a saucepan on Medium-low heat melt butter.

2.      Take the pan off the heat and whisk in cinnamon and sugar until well combined.

3.      Place pan back over Medium heat. Do Not stir at this point just swirl the pan occasionally around until the mixture starts to boil. Let boil for 1 minute.

4.      Whisk in the cream and turn heat back down to Medium-low. (don’t want the mixture to boil at this point) Whisk constantly for 1 minute. Remove from heat and whisk another minute.

5.      Divide the caramel into 4 mugs equally. Stir in the content of one Nescafe packet into each mug combined well

6.      Add about a cup of water to each mug, top with whipped cream, and serve with Keebler cinnamon roll caramel pecan cookies Yum!

Tips:

*Don’t like caramel? You can use any flavor that you like in your coffee.

*No Nescafe Memento on hand? 1tsp instant coffee and a little cream will do the trick! Cut back on the water course.

*Want more foam action? Replace the water with hot milk. Place the hot milk carefully in a blender. Blend for 1 minute before adding it to your mug.

 

 

 

 

Thursday, November 1, 2012

JUST MY OPINION: Clear Scalp & Hair Therapy Total Care Shampoo & Conditioner Review





During the time I was trying this product I was scared to put anything in my hair because I had gotten a relaxer a month before and my hair started to break. Yes, I had a relaxer before but this time it over processed a bit. My hair could not be washed, combed, or brushed without shedding. I actually had developed bald spots that were so embarrassing. The smell of it is what gave me courage to try it. The scent was light, fresh, and clean. A light fragrance is important because I have very sensitive skin.  Usually if a beauty product is easy on my skin I know it safe to use.

The samples came in two small packets; one with shampoo and the other with conditioner. I was so happy that it was total care meaning it would work on any type of hair. I have thick African-American hair (as I like to call it lol!) and it is difficult to find products that work. With my sensitive skin and texture of hair a product has to be on point to get my vote.

As I massage the shampoo in my scalp it felt so good I almost fell asleep! Now I will admit the sample was only enough for two washes, so I had to do the third with my normal shampoo. The Clear Scalp & Hair conditioner was applied afterwards and I immediately saw difference. The package the samples came in said it would take a week to see results but for me I notice a change in a day! I was able to comb through my hair without shedding. While my mom styled it she even said “this may be good to stop the breaking.” Yes, I know it works because I’m a wild sleeper and the next morning my hair still looked freshly done. Imagine the results I would get in a week!

I tend to wash my hair every two weeks and usually it would be so itchy with dandruff. It’s been a little bit over two weeks and that has been reduced dramatically. It does not just care for the hair but the scalp too. The only criticism I have is the scent only last a few hour after washing but the final results outweigh that. It is bit pricey for me, but this is now my primary  hair care treatment when I can get it. Anything that help my hair grow that fast deserves a billion stars.  This is another one you must go get it.  Your hair will never be the same.  They can be found on twitter @clearhair  , Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/clearhaircare , or their site at http://www.clearhaircare.com/women .

 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

JUST MY OPINION: Ben & Jerry's "What a cluster" Ice Cream Review




One thing I love is ice cream flavors that are inspired by other desserts. They tend to taste better than the original in my opinion, and I can get them without waiting 30 minutes for baking.  Peach Cobbler and Pumpkin Cheesecake are the Ben & Jerry flavors I live for! You can only imagine my thoughts when this peanut butter ice cream, with marshmallow and peanut butter swirls, and caramel clusters popped up in my local store recently.  FLUFFERNUTTER! It goes by the name “What a Cluster” but you get my point. Another classic dessert made into an ice cream flavor (and yes no cooking this either). I don’t know about you but, I add a little caramel to my peanut butter and marshmallow sandwiches, so this hit home for me.

When I originally saw that it was peanut butter ice cream and swirls my thoughts were peanut butter overload. I even shared on twitter that it could use more caramel. Don't hold me to that thought because it was wrong. In a summary, this is more like childhood in a scoop; a combo of fluffernutter and caramel candy! When the lid is first open you see those swirls in that pale colored ice cream . The caramel clusters are hidden waiting for a spoon to dig in and I couldn't wait!

When I take my first bite of the ice cream the peanut butter is thick and rich in a good way. It's something that has to be savored because that is how peanut butter is.There was lots smacking lol! My favorite part of this experience was the clusters; they are small but kind of chewy and slightly crunchy. This is the part that make you feel like a kid chewing on your favorite caramel candy. When eaten with the ice cream they taste like salty caramel goodness. Personally, I ate the  whole half pint enough for four people but it's that good.

Overall, this is really great and yes run and go get it.  I will say though this should be enjoy a little at a time just because the peanut butter gets a bit excessive. Also all the peanut butter gets in the way of the marshmallow flavor but it's still very delicious. Now if you love these three flavor together this one is a winner.  If you aren't a Ben & Jerry's ice cream fan look them up at  http://www.benjerry.com or on twitter at @benandjerrys .

 

Saturday, October 20, 2012

JUST MY OPINION: Nescafe Memento Review




If you are a fan of Nescafe coffee like I am you’ve already been daydreaming about receiving those samples of their latest and greatest Nescafe Memento product in the mail. Well that day came for me and for that reason I am now addicted to the stuff! (No shame in my game!)

When the samples came there were two flavors: Mocha and Caramel Latte. I had no choice but to try caramel since I am newly allergic to chocolate, but mocha didn’t go to waste my mom also tested it out with me. The thing I loved the most is the samples were actual real packages that you would get from the box if you brought them from the store. Not just a small sample to taste. You’re having a cup of coffee here, so you can curl up with a nice book to read and enjoy the drink. The directions stated place the contents of the package in a 10 oz. mug and add 8oz of hot (not boiling) water.  The content of the package I remember thinking this is a lot of coffee mix; I was nervous it wouldn’t dissolve. However, the show must go on so I heated the water a bit in the microwave, and yes it dissolved amazingly. Now when I say this next thing don’t be alarmed, but it foams. Yes, it foams just like an overpriced coffee house drink! The fact that I can have that affect just by adding hot water, at home, use my own coffee mug makes it so cool! It’s not just one of those one-minute foams either. You can actually tell it’s really creamy and frothy. I almost didn’t want to drink it because it looked so beautiful but who am I kidding. The first sip was love in a mug; lightly sweetened, warm, and with a hint of caramel flavor. The love affair began from there. I drank it in five minutes tops.  My brain went into the “must have more” mode, so I sent my sister to the nearest store with the Nescafe coupon and got a whole box of the Caramel Latte.

Let’s be honest it is impossible to give a proper review after downing it within five minutes. That gave me the perfect excuse to try it again! Sadly, I had to wait to the next day because I easily overdose on things I like and my body will make me pay for it. After a long wait I gave it a second try, but actually savored it this time. One thing I notice is it taste the exact way I like my coffee. Usually with lots of cream and very little sugar is just perfect for me. It has replaced my usual coffee that’s for sure. Another thing that came to mind was using milk instead of water when I try it for a third time, but haven’t decided if it’s necessary since it’s so great without it. When I decide to get a little wild and crazy I might though.

I mentioned earlier my mom tried the mocha. Her exact words were and I quote: “Ooo this needs some fixing up.” This is what I expected mainly because she likes her coffee really sweet. There may be others out there that agree with her, but you have to think about what memento means. Kind of like a small token of something, and this is exactly what this drink is: A small token of flavor in every cup. Keep that in mind when you try it!

This coffee gets like a million stars from me! Don’t walk, run and get some of this. It will save you a drive to the coffee house and a few dollars for your piggy bank. My only suggestion is that Nescafe make other flavors like French vanilla, hazelnut, pumpkin pie or even Italian cream for those of us who can’t have chocolate. It’s always nice to have options you know.  Now if you have not heard or just don’t know what Nescafe coffee or their new Nescafe Memento brand is look them up on Facebook, Twitter, or your local grocery store.

 
http://www.nescafe.com/
Twitter:@NESCAFE https://www.facebook.com/#!/nescafeusa?fref=ts
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/nescafeusa

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