Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Greetings, all! Long time no see!


I haven't had a lot of time to make any new recipes or even to experiment with any gems found on the internet, so unfortunately, my recipes are spreading further and further apart. That being said, last weekend, I had a craving for the ultimate in comfort food - meatloaf, mashed potatoes, and sweet peas. Growing up, the only time we ever ate sweet peas was with meatloaf and mashed potatoes and I really can't eat them any other way. They just don't seem to go with any meal as well as with that power combination.

I tried a recipe that I found on the Philadelphia Cream Cheese recipe site called Garlic Mashed Potatoes. Now, you all know about my obsession with all things cream cheese so I figured I would give these a try. They came out really well and I felt all domesticated peeling potatoes and finally getting to use my potato masher.  There's nothing quite like smashing things by hand. It's quite therapeutic actually. (LOL)  Well, this recipe resulted in a delicious blend of cream cheesy goodness that just gave my mashed potatoes that extra oomph. I loved it and will definitely be adding this to the regular rotation.  Give it a try and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS
2-3 lbs baking potatoes - peeled and coarsely chopped
3-4 cloves of garlic - minced
8 oz cream cheese - softened
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
1 tsp sea salt


DIRECTIONS

  1. After peeling, chopping, and washing potatoes, boil with garlic in large saucepan for 20-30 minutes or until potatoes are tender.
  2. Drain well and return to pot.
  3. Cut cream cheese block into squares and add to potatoes.
  4. Mash ingredients together well.
  5. Stir in butter and salt until well blended and enjoy!




This was a shot of my hubby's plate for the full meal. Just click on the link for my Southern Meatloaf recipe.
What are y'all having for Sunday dinner?
Try this recipe and let me know if you like it as much as we did!


~Peace and blessings!~






Sunday, July 21, 2013

MUSIC BLAST: Lake Street Dive Plays "I Want You Back" On a Boston Sidewalk



Oh my my my, as those of you who read this blog know from previous music blast posts, I absolutely LOVE Michael Jackson.  With that being said, the lead singer of Lake Street Dive, Rachael Price, is a vocal beast!
Her voice is ridiculously smooth and creamy - like butta, baby.

I asked my hubby what I would need to get a deeper smoky voice like Rachael's, he looked at me in confusion and said, "I don't know, start chain smoking?"
LOL!
(That just goes to show you how adolescent my voice still sounds at 38 years of age.)

Well, whatever...
I've got to use what I'm working with and in the meantime sit in awe of jazz singers from Hendersonville, TN, who sound like they were born with a mic in one hand and a glass of bourbon in the other.
(sigh)

Check out what is possibly THE BEST cover of "I Want You Back".

Major shout out to the bass player/harmonizer, Miss Bridget Kearney.  I love seeing girls play the bass and drums.  Don't ask me why.  I think I have problems accepting traditional gender roles. With that being said, hearing Rachael and Bridget harmonizing really made my ears happy.


So anyway, enjoy the video and  have a great weekend!
~Peace and Blessings~


Saturday, April 20, 2013

Easy No Bake Lemonade Pie



Delicious, light, and lemony...
What more is there to say?  With the summer coming up,  this easy dessert will have you coming back for more and is perfect for the spring/summer season.
Feel free to thank me later!
:-)

INGREDIENTS

6 oz can frozen lemonade 
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk 
8 oz container Cool Whip or whipped cream
1 graham cracker crust (I buy this already made - but if you want to make one from scratch, follow my easy directions below)



DIRECTIONS
  1. Use mixer and mix all ingredients until fluffy. 
  2. Pour into ready made crust. 
  3. Refrigerate until firm (overnight is best).
  4. Top with whipped cream or Cool Whip and garnish with lemons.
  5. Enjoy!

Friday, April 19, 2013

MUSIC BLAST: Fantasia Barrino "Lose to Win" - Live on American Idol

Fantasia's new album "Side Effects of You" is going to be available April 23rd!

When I saw the official video to "Lose to Win", I fell in love with the retro feel of the video but even more so, I fell in love with the words to the song.
Fantasia's "Lose to Win" is an amazing song and I love the sample from the Commodore's "Night Shift" thrown in there.  I don't think I know a single person who has never been in a situation like this where you loved someone and they just weren't on the same page as you.  I love all of the words in this song but one of my favorite parts is in the bridge and the following chorus:


Some of you know what it feels like
Caught up just in his light
Don’t wanna try again, thinking what’s the difference?
Why am I not interested?
Cause when you’ve been broken, you feel like no one can fix it
Yeah


Chorus:
Have you ever needed someone so bad?
But he ain’t willing to make it last
Sometimes you gotta lose to win again.
If it makes you cry, cry, cry
All you do is smile
Can you not sleeṗ at night?
Sometimes you gotta lose to win again.



I honestly haven't watched a single episode of American Idol since Simon left, but I saw this video online from the show last night where Fantasia performed "Lose to Win" and seriously watched it twice in a row.  I love the raw emotion that she allows to show through while singing this song.  I don't know if she wrote the song or not, but it is obvious that the words have a special meaning for her.  One of the things I love the most about Ms. Fantasia Barrino is that she allows herself to feel the words of whatever she is singing and that emotion comes across not only as pure talent but as passion for her calling in life.


 
Fantasia Lose To Win by caseycarlsonx1

Fantasia has been through so much and it is so wonderful to see her picking herself up, dusting herself off, and soaring in spite of.  She is an inspiration and I cannot wait to see what her new album holds in store.

Check out the original video below.

 

Enjoy the videos and the weekend!

~Peace, Love, and Happiness!


Friday, March 1, 2013

Homemade Salsa



So I decided to remake my homemade salsa recipe the other night for a potluck baby shower at work today.  All of the ingredients are still the same, however, the quantities are a little different.  I ventured into making the salsa hotter this time around and I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  This is a really quick and easy way to make restaurant-style salsa.  Now, keep in mind I did not use fresh tomatoes, especially since they're not really in season this time of year but I really think that doesn't take away from the "freshness" of this salsa.  I used canned tomatoes and the rest of the ingredients were fresh.  This recipe got rave reviews from everyone at work so be sure to try it and let me know what you think!

INGREDIENTS
28 oz can diced tomatoes - no salt
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies - original
1 can Rotel tomatoes with chilies - mild
1 medium-sized jalapeno
1/2 cup red onion - coarsely chopped
approx 1/2 cup fresh cilantro - coarsely chopped
1-2 clove(s) garlic - minced
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp sugar
1 medium lime -juiced (or approx 1 Tbsp lime juice)

Here are the ingredients that I used...

DIRECTIONS

1.  Rough chop your onion and cilantro. Add to food processor or blender.



2.  Roll your lime on the counter top until softened, slice in half, and squeeze juice into processor. 
3.  Cut and remove stem from jalapeno. Chop in half, then into quarters. Slice and throw into processor.
Depending on the amount of heat you want your salsa, you will have to decide if you want to leave the seeds and membrane inside. If you don't want the salsa that hot, then remove the seeds.
*REMEMBER:  Always wear gloves or wash your hands thoroughly after handling any hot peppers! 
Do NOT rub your eyes after handling, you will be sorry!!!

4.  Add tomatoes - undrained
(Just open the cans and add it all in the processor.)



5.  Add a clove or 2 of minced garlic to the mix. I use the jarred minced garlic, so I added about a tsp to the mix but if you feel inclined to peel and mince your garlic yourself, by all means, feel free to do so!

6. Add all seasonings - the salt, pepper, cumin, and sugar.

7.  Hit the pulse button on the processor or blender a couple of times until the salsa has the consistency you like.

8.  Enjoy!  Now this does taste better if you let it sit in the refrigerator for a couple of hours to let the flavors marinate and meld together.  It tastes even better if you let it sit overnight.



~Peace & blessings!~

MUSIC BLAST: Michael Jackson - Earth Song

This evening I have been in a Michael Jackson listening type of mood.
I came across his "Earth Song" that I truly thought was titled "What About Us?"
I love this song and but watching this amazing video made me love the song even more.  The visuals are stunning but what catches your attention are the lyrics. Catch out the video below and I even included the breakdown at the end of the song underneath!



That man had an amazing amount of talent. Rest in Love, MJ!


~Peace and blessings!~





Hey, what about yesterday 
(What about us) 
What about the seas 
(What about us) 
The heavens are falling down 
(What about us) 
I can't even breathe 
(What about us) 
What about the bleeding Earth 
(What about us) 
Can't we feel its wounds 
(What about us) 
What about nature's worth 
(ooo,ooo) 
It's our planet's womb 
(What about us) 
What about animals 
(What about it) 
We've turned kingdoms to dust 
(What about us) 
What about elephants 
(What about us) 
Have we lost their trust 
(What about us) 
What about crying whales 
(What about us) 
We're ravaging the seas 
(What about us) 
What about forest trails 
(ooo, ooo) 
Burnt despite our pleas 
(What about us) 
What about the holy land 
(What about it) 
Torn apart by creed 
(What about us) 
What about the common man 
(What about us) 
Can't we set him free 
(What about us) 
What about children dying 
(What about us) 
Can't you hear them cry 
(What about us) 
Where did we go wrong 
(ooo, ooo) 
Someone tell me why 
(What about us) 
What about babies 
(What about it) 
What about the days 
(What about us) 
What about all their joy 
(What about us) 
What about the man 
(What about us) 
What about the crying man 
(What about us) 
What about Abraham 
(What was us) 
What about death again 
(ooo, ooo) 
Do we give a damn? 

Friday, February 22, 2013

MUSIC BLAST: Cee Lo Green - Cry Baby (Official Video)




I don't know if you have had the chance to listen to all of Cee Lo Green's "Lady Killer" album but let me tell you it is FULL of really great songs.  Cee Lo's voice is amazing as always, but I really find myself loving the retro feel to the album.  Cry Baby, F*&@ You, Fool For You, Bright Lights Bigger City, and Old Fashioned are just a few of my favorites.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered the official video of Cry Baby on YouTube! First off, I love the scenery, the retro costumes, and the dancing from the video. The cherry on top for me, however, was Jaleel White.  Come on now, don't tell me you don't remember Steve Urkel! Or better yet, Stephan the so fine! (LOL)
I'm not even gonna lie, I did have an intense liking for the swagger of Stephan.  Makes me blush just thinking about it! (LOL)

So anyway, it just buttered my biscuit to see Jaleel in this video and I literally laughed out loud when he started lip syncing and his girl friend who was getting dumped looks at him like, "WTH??? Who is he singing to and where did these backup dancers come from?" (LOL)

Check out the video above!
Enjoy the video and enjoy your weekend!

~Love, Peace and Happiness!~

Friday, February 15, 2013

The Daniel Fast and Valentine's Day



On Tuesday night, the hubby and I went to Bible Study at church to learn about this Daniel Fast that our pastor had mentioned.  After thinking about it and praying in church, I felt a whisper telling me that I may find the answers and direction that I was seeking if I participated.  Keep in mind that I have NEVER done a church-directed fast before.  Ever...  I was always one of those folks who insisted that I could never not ever be that disciplined, that I didn't really have anything that I needed to beseech the Lord for that bad.  Hmmm...
I made a hundred thousand excuses and as a result, I am now 37 years old and this is my first time ever going into a fasting and prayer time with just me and the Lord.  Crazy, huh?

So obviously, the hubby and I are in the process of adopting.  We are now officially home study certified (yaay!).  However, unless there is a money tree that my loving husband has been secretly growing somewhere, there is absolutely no way that we could ever come up with the $30,000 that our adoption agency says we need by the time we are matched with a potential birth family.  Daryl has even tried to get approved at a credit union for an adoption loan and we were turned down.  Before we were officially turned down at the credit union, we thought about adopting through DHS, however we were told that the particular program we were looking into rarely has infants that are available for adoption and that if we would consider fostering first, we might have a better chance. As it is, they currently had one couple who were going the straight adoption route and they had been on the waiting list for five years.  Yes, you read correctly, five years!  So yeah, things have been looking pretty hopeless for us lately.  I have been struggling to not be depressed by what was going on, to remain faithful, and to stay prayerful, but honestly, it has really been hard for me to do that.  It seemed like every way we turn, we keep hitting dead ends but I know what that angel told me in my dream.  I. Know...
Have you ever been so sure of something that you know it is going to come true but you have no earthly idea what the Lord has up His sleeve or how He will bring it to pass?  I don't know what He is doing right now or how He is going to do it, but I know that it will be done.  I have to believe that. And in the meantime, I will continue to pray.

So anyway, we decided to do the Daniel Fast with our church.  The fast lasts from Ash Wednesday (02/13/13) through Easter Sunday (03/31/13) but it does allow you to exclude Sundays if you want to.  It will be 40 days of fasting and praying.  For myself, I felt that I needed to participate in this event in order to receive some clarification about things and some direction for my life.  I'm looking for a miracle and a light in the darkness right now and if I have to sacrifice to at least see what our next step is going to be then I think it will be worth it.

Information about the Daniel Fast can be found on many places online such as here at Daniel-Fast or here at 3 Ways to do a Daniel Fast.  Our church's web page dedicated to the fast is here at Enon Tabernacle Baptist Church.  It is basically a plant-based diet focused on fruits, vegetables and nuts, allowing only water as a beverage.  There's a long list of foods to avoid and for me personally, the meat loss isn't that big of a deprivation.  For me, the hardest part will be no sweets and no dairy products.  Our first day's menu (Ash Wednesday) went as follows:

BREAKFAST
Protein shake: Made with plant protein powder, unsweetened almond milk, strawberries, mango, and pineapple, 1/2 Tbsp ground chia seeds and 1/2 Tbsp ground flax seeds
(I used PlantFusion protein powder - found at Whole Foods)
1/4 cup raw almonds

LUNCH
Mixed vegetables with seasoned tomato sauce
small red potato

SNACK
med. banana

DINNER
Black bean burger patty (from Whole Foods)
Sweet potato fries
Romaine lettuce salad with balsamic vinaigrette dressing

SNACK #2
Air-popped popcorn

WATER: 80 ounces

It was surprising that I didn't feel too hungry throughout the day.  I was absolutely certain that I would be starving, but I really wasn't.  The thing about it is that as long as you are eating veggies, there isn't a set limit on the amount.  So I didn't have to measure out 1/2 cup of pineapples and 1/2 cup of strawberries, etc.  I did because I am just that anal, I am still strictly counting my calories on SparkPeople and I still track my steps with my Fitbit pedometer, but it's good to know that I didn't have to if I didn't want to.  By dinner, I had stopped measuring everything so crazily and just enjoyed my baked fries and salad.

Valentine's Day was pretty much the same.  I had oatmeal with raisins in it for breakfast, more raw almonds for my mid-day snack, vegetable soup and a banana for lunch, and carrots for snack #2.  On the church's website, there are a list of restaurants in the Philadelphia area that have a Daniel Fast menu so we decided to go to Relish.  It is a modern southern soul-food restaurant here in Philly that we love for the good food and the live music.  Since they were participating with the menu, we decided to go there for Valentine's Day.  We were early for the live music. She was supposed to have started her second set at 8:00 pm, but we were finished eating by then.  We actually waited 20 minutes for the act to come on stage, but since she didn't, we left and decided to come home to watch a movie. (Side note: If you have not rented Taken 2 yet, please do so immediately! Yes, it was just that good! LOL)




For dinner, the hubby and I had the whole wheat penne pasta entree.  It was really tasty with olive tapenade, sun-dried tomatoes, garlic, spinach, and olive oil.  I didn't expect for it to taste as good as it did, but it was actually pretty good.  My only complaint was that there was quite a bit of olive oil in it so it was a little greasy but other than that, it was delicious.  Of course I had them to add sauteed onions to my dish because in my world, anything with garlic in it deserves to dance with onions. (LOL)  I think it rounded the flavors out and I absolutely loved it.



So if you are in the Philadelphia area and you like to hear live jazz or blues music while you eat a really good meal reminiscent of some little old ladies in the south cooking for the church picnic, then stop by Relish.  And if you are thinking about doing the Daniel Fast and would still like to go out on a date with your honey bunny, then their Daniel Fast menu is small but really good.  Hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!

                                                


~Peace and Love~


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