My name is Clarice, but most people, call me ReCe. I'm a happily married USAF spouse, mother to 3 girls, and an older sister to many....Here is my blog and here are some of my candy filled thoughts, lol

Monday, December 30, 2013

How to Grill Eggplant with Fresh Herbs

Fresh herbs are best with this recipe, but if you don’t have any on hand, you can certainly use their dried counterparts. Just use a pinch of each herb if you’re using dried.

Ingredients:

1 eggplant
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cloves minced garlic
¼ cup fresh basil, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh thyme, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh dill, finely chopped
¼ cup fresh oregano, finely chopped
Salt and pepper

How to Make It:

Cut the eggplant into slices and salt them lightly. Let them sit for about 15 minutes, so the salt can bring out the moisture of the pieces. Wipe them dry with a bit of paper towel.

Meanwhile, combine the oil, vinegar, garlic herbs, salt and pepper. Let site to absorb the flavors for about 15 minutes.

Brush eggplant with oil and herb mixture all over, ensuring that the herbs get distributed well.


Place on a lightly greased grill and grill for about 15-20 minutes, flipping half way through.  Mix with olive oil and garlic. Then let the flavors blend for about 15 minutes.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Golden Winter Seafood Chowder

http://www.flickr.com/photos/maynard/3793578671/
Who want's seafood chowder???? 

On a chilly day like today, I do!

It's going to be gooooood!!!!

Ingredients:

1/2 cup onion, chopped fine
1/4 cup butter
1 (14.5 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup potato, peeled and cubed
2 ribs of celery, chopped (At my store they already have diced onion and celery together, so I used that)
2 carrots, chopped (I used a can of carrots - feel free to use some shortcuts people lol)
1/4 cup Clamato juice (Found this at Target)
1/4 teaspoon lemon pepper
1/4 cup all purpose flour
2 cups milk
1 (8 ounce) package of sharp Cheddar cheese, shredded (I actually shredded a block of cheese, is it just me or does the shredded cheese taste different that comes in a bag??)
1 (6 ounce) can crabmeat, drained and flaked
1 cup shrimp, peeled, deveined and cooked

Instructions:

Place the butter into a soup pot over medium heat.  Allow the butter to completely melt.  Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally for 5 minutes or until tender.  Pour in the both.

Add the potatoes, celery and carrots.

Pour in the Clamato juice and stir to combine.  (I found it in Target)

Sprinkle in the lemon pepper and stir to blend the ingredients together well.

Bring soup to a rapid boil.

Reduce heat to low, cover the pot and simmer for 20 minutes or until the vegetables are fork tender.

Place the flour and milk together in a small bowl. Whisk until completely combined or it will be lumpy & gunky, and who wants that?

Turn the heat back up to medium.  Add the mixture to the soup.  Bring the mixture back to a rapid boil.

Continue to cook stirring constantly for 2 minutes as the liquid thickens to your liking.  Once thick reduce the heat to low and add the cheese, crabmeat and shrimp.  Cook, stirring often, for 10 minutes or until the cheese has completely melted into the soup.

Then Viola! Let me know how you liked it :) 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Easy Vinaigrette To Make For The Holidays (Or Any Day)

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sifu_renka/3930473372/

Thanksgiving is this Thursday, as well as my birthday (hint* hint*) and it’s easy to throw your healthy eating plan out of the window. Believe me, I’m going to pray before each house that I walk into that I don’t eat so much food that I have a hangover afterwards. Fresh salads and healthy lifestyles can go hand in hand, even when you’re surrounded by pies and buttery casseroles. 





On the other hand, having a salad can be just as calorie dense as that dessert you pass up. Unfortunately, you could end up negating these delicious and healthy choices if you aren’t careful about the type of salad dressing you use.

Taking a quick look at the list of ingredients on your favorite bottle of store-bought dressing can be a real eye opener. In fact, you may be surprised to see a host of ingredients you weren’t expecting, including high-fructose corn syrup and other sweeteners, trans fats, MSG, and an assortment of artificial colors and preservatives to make it all seem more fresh and natural.

When it comes to homemade salad dressings, vinaigrettes are fast, easy and delicious choices. One general rule of thumb to keep in mind when creating your own vinaigrettes is to use 1 part vinegar (or other acidic ingredient) to 3 parts oil. In other words, if you use ¼ cup vinegar, you’ll want to use ¾ cups of oil. If you like a little more kick to your dressing and a little less calories and carbs, try a 2:1 ratio instead.

When choosing these key ingredients, don’t be afraid to get creative. Think beyond plain white, red or cider vinegar and give rice vinegars, aged or white balsamic, or fruit-infused varieties a try, as well. Citrus juices, such as lemon, lime, oranges and grapefruit, also work particularly well.

When it comes to choosing your oil, it’s hard to beat a high-quality extra virgin olive oil. However, you may want to consider other healthy alternatives, such as grape seed oil. Olive oils infused with garlic, rosemary or other herbs are also great choices.

A third ingredient you may want to add to your vinaigrette is Dijon mustard. Dijon is a popular choice because it tastes great and helps bind all the other ingredients together.

Beyond these three ingredients, there are countless ways you can customize your vinaigrette recipes to complement your salad ingredients. For example, you can add minced garlic, onion, shallots, fresh or dried herbs, honey, or a variety of fruit juices or zests.

Here is a basic recipe to get you started:

3/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
1-2 cloves finely minced garlic
salt and pepper, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a glass bowl or container with tight-fitting lid. Mix or shake vigorously to combine thoroughly.

Starting with this basic recipe, I bet you can come up with dozens of yummy options to suit whatever salads are on your menu. Enjoy!


Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Got a few things coming up on the horizon...!

I'm excited to start blogging about a few experiences I have coming up! I'm doing a virtual promotional book tour for Veggie's Bully, which will include me giving away a gift basket filled with stuffed animals, books, and an inspirational coffee mug, plus a fruit scented candle! You'll see the book tour image (the one on the left) on 12 bloggers pages and I'm happy they volunteered to host this event!


Have no idea what this book is about?

Here's the info and book trailer below:


Veggie’s Bully

A Book Encouraging Self Esteem for Readers Young and Old
A book inspiring lessons about self love, Veggie Bunnie learns something that all readers need to know…. Love yourself, no matter what others may say! Filled with colorful illustrations, this book follows Veggie’s relationship with her friends Carb Monkey and his Uncle Bear. Throughout the book, ‘Carb’ wants to get even with the bully that is bothering Veggie, whereas ‘Uncle Bear’ wants her to take a different approach. This book encourages readers to be the best person they can be, regardless of how people may act around them.

I got some other things coming up and I promise to update it on my blog...and of course on Facebook :)

Are you friends with Carb & Veggie on Facebook? Go to www.facebook.com/chefreceejay

Wanna Tweet me? www.twitter.com/iwrite_2



Thursday, February 14, 2013

Interview with, 'Don't Fear The Reaper' author Michelle Muto

Description: Haunted by memories of her murdered twin, Keely Morrison is convinced suicide is her only ticket to eternal peace. 

But in death, she discovers the afterlife is nothing like she expected. Instead of peaceful oblivion or a joyful reunion with her sister, Keely is trapped in a netherworld on Earth with only a bounty-hunting reaper and a sarcastic demon to show her the ropes.

When the demon offers Keely her ultimate temptation--revenge on her sister's killer--she must determine who she can trust. Because, as Keely soon learns, the reaper and demon have been keeping secrets and she fears the worst is true--that her every decision changes how, and with whom, she spends eternity. 

Sounds like it's going to be good right? It's my pleasure to have Michelle visit my blog and tell us more about herself, give tips about publishing, writing, and how she balances family time. 



Ten Questions 

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I think I was ten. At least, that’s when I started writing short stories about school, magic, animals, and kingdoms complete with dragons. 

2. How long does it take you to write a book?

It really depends on the book. But, I also tend to obsess. I work up character sheets, plots, do research. It can be anywhere from 4-9 months.

3. What do you think makes a great story?

I’d say it’s the characters and how I can relate to them and their world and how interested I am about  the predicament they’re in.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I live at the keyboard. I don’t have a set schedule, although I admit that I could probably use one. It might help me write faster.

5. How do you balance family and writing?

Sad to say, I sometimes don’t. I think that’s the curse of a lot of writers. There are days when I don’t seem to have a lot of time for hubby and the dogs. I do try to make up for it between chapters, drafts, or revisions. 

6. How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?

I’ve written four. My favorite is usually the one I’m working on at the time.

7. Are your characters based on anyone you know?

Never. Well, except one. There’s a character in The Book of Lost Souls named Devlin. He’s the pet of a teen witch, a dog breed known as a Beezlepup. Devlin is heavily based on my own dog, Ronan, aka The Ronanator.  

8.  How hard is it to get published?

Hard, if you take it seriously and treat it like a business. I wear a lot of hats: writer, accountant, marketer, geek, and pseudo employer when it comes to hiring cover artists and editing services. 

9.  Do you have any suggestions to help aspiring writers better themselves and their craft? If so, what are they?

Write. A lot. Read books on writing. Always strive to improve your craft. Surround yourself with good beta readers and crit partners. Listen to them. 

10. For an aspiring writer what do you feel are certain do's and don’ts for getting their material published?

Do: Be professional and courteous.
Do: Make sure your story is in the best shape it can be.
Don’t: Randomly query an agent or book reviewer. Find out their likes, preferences, and requirements.
Don’t: Give up. Not if you’re truly passionate about writing. 

Thanks for stopping by and please enter below for a chance to win a copy of her latest book! 

Where to buy: 



Michelle Muto lives in northeast Georgia with her husband and two dogs. She loves changes of season, dogs, and all things geeky. Currently, she’s hard at work on her next book.

How can readers stay in touch with you?







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Saturday, February 2, 2013

Blog Challenge: Team 1

Cooking down the days until our Airman gets back!

Are you guys ready for some football???

I don't really watch the Super Bowl for the game, I watch it mainly for the commercials, and for the food that is sure to be at any Super Bowl gathering, lol.

So this challenge for Team 1 was preparing Super Bowl food battle fest!

P.S. If anyone is wondering why there is one lonely hot dog in the background, it's because I forgot to get the hot dogs...Wienie FAIL on my part.

I'd like to thank Bobby Deen for this spectacular recipe. We prepared the buffalo wing sauce using his mamma, Paula Deen's recipe though. Yum, yum, and yum!

For the creamy dip, they didn't use the Roquefort cheese or the white wine vinegar. They also added 2 tablespoons of milk to help with the consistency, but it turned out great.

And for the wings buffalo sauce, instead of honey, they used half a stick of bur-ter, lol and a half a cup of Louisiana hot sauce.


ingredienTS

CREAMY ROQUEFORT DIP:
  • ounce Roquefort cheese, crumbled
  • 1/3 cup nonfat Greek yogurt
  • tablespoons mayonnaise
  • tablespoons chopped scallions
  • teaspoon kosher salt
  • teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • teaspoon white wine vinegar
  • Juice of 1 lemon, fresh squeezed
  • Juice of 1 lime, fresh squeezed

    BUFFALO WINGS:
    • Nonstick cooking spray, for greasing
    • 12 chicken wings (about 3 1/2 pounds), disjointed
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
    • 1/2 cup hot sauce
    • 1/4 cup honey
    • Celery and carrot sticks, for serving






















    DIRECTIONS

    Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. 

    For the roquefort dip: Cream the Roquefort until smooth in a medium bowl. Mix in the yogurtmayonnaisescallions, salt, pepper, vinegar, lemon juice and lime juice until well blended. Chill for 2 hours. 

    For the buffalo wings: Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Toss the wings with the salt and pepper to coat evenly in a medium bowl and then transfer to the baking sheet. Bake until the skin is golden and crispy or the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F, 25 minutes. 

    Preheat the broiler. 

    Combine the hot sauce and honey in a small bowl and then brush the wings with 1/4 cup of the hot sauce mixture. Broil for 3 minutes. Brush the wings with another 1/4 cup of the hot sauce mixture and flip the wings. Broil again until browned and crispy, 3 to 4 minutes longer. Remove and immediately brush with the remaining sauce. Serve with celery and carrot sticks.


    There was no mishaps in the kitchen today...It seems like this team is ready to flour up the kitchen by tackling some dough for their next challenge!

    Up next for Team 2...Valentine's day treats! Woo-hoo!


    Personal Valentine's day card mailed for just $1.79 each

    This deal is live now. As a Happy Freebie blogger, I'm able to share with you the discounts Happy Freebie get for products and you get to participate in their giveaways for being one of my blog readers! Be sure to check out the reviews before purchasing anything.

     Greeting card plans from Card Gnome take the hassle out of buying and sending cards. Card Gnome helps you find the right greeting card for any occasion from their boutique artist community. They also partner with national and local non-profit organizations to ensure that a portion of their proceeds benefits those in need. You can check them out on Facebook! Happy almost Valentine's Day!

    Sunday, January 27, 2013

    Blog Challenge: Team 2

    "The Best Gourmet Dish Ever...by kids!"


    These girls were so excited to be in the kitchen battling against their older sister and uncle. They couldn't wait to show them that their meal could be just as awesome without using the stove. 


    One thing I noticed is that, it'll be helpful to have another photographer while supervising these adventures, because some of the good things are missed while I'm trying to help them out. It's hard to hold the camera and guide them along at the same time. So next time, I'll have the opposite team on camera duty. 

    Today we're bringing you breakfast!

    I really wish I would have videoed  how Kayla cracked the eggs. It brought back memories of how you have to have a steady hand to crack an egg. Kayla just slammed hers right on the edge of the bowl, splattering it everywhere....not only once, but twice!  


    Danielle then took an egg and said, "See Kayla, you got to take it easy," and did a pretty good job for a rookie. She cracked the egg and spilled a little bit of the egg on the side, but they both got points for trying without frustration!



      After wiping up the spilled eggs and having fun with the seasonings, the next thing we wanted to do was add diced tomatoes and shredded cheese. 

    It took a bit of strength for them to be able to use the can opener, but they did it, and were all smiles. We used the can of diced tomatoes to eliminate using a knife, to make it more kid friendly. Although, if you know my Kayla, the manual can opener can still be a little dangerous, but she succeeded opening it and removing the lid with careful fingers. Mind you, I handed her a fork to lift it up, but she shook her head and said, "I don't need that."  

    Ooops! Silly me, of course not Kayla. 


    I am so loving the Ziploc Zip' n Steam bags! I have a few readers who dislike using the microwave for anything and I can just imagine hearing Chef Robert Irvine screaming, "The MICROWAVE?! That's not fresh food! That's not the best!" 

    LOL, for the kiddies though, I hope even Chef Robert Irvine can turn a blind eye to how the microwave can be a good thing! Especially for this team, who was getting more excited by the minute, as their quickie dish was forming right before their eyes. 


    We mixed the eggs first in the bowl, before pouring in the Ziploc bag. As an alternative, you can pour the ingredients straight into the bag and either press on the closed bag with your fingers to break up the yolks, or gently shake the bag. 

    The eggs were placed in the microwave for 2  1/2 minutes and then Kayla popped Eggo waffles in the toaster. We like Buttermilk Eggos!  As soon as the waffles popped up, Danielle was on the ball, with buttering the waffles with a butter knife. 

    I purchased a mixed fruit cup for this breakfast event, although I could have cut the fruit myself, I wanted the children to have very minimal help from me. This way, they literally could say they prepared this meal, 99% on their own. 

    I did forgot the vanilla yogurt to layer the parfait with, so we used whip cream to put in between the layers of fruit, but no one was complaining! 




    Team 2 was very happy that they were able to pull off such an appetizing breakfast. The eggs were not rubbery or what you would expect out of the microwave. They were soft, cheesy, and the flavors from the Pico de Gallo diced tomatoes were still vibrant. Yum! Congrats Team Two for a job well done! 

    Up next Team One - Super Bowl battle Royale, they're picking up the pace! 

    Monday, January 21, 2013

    Blog Challenge: The Basics

    "The Best Gourmet Dish Ever...by kids!"

    Team 1 - Calvin and Corra had their turn at bat last night. Never having chopped an onion a day in his life, this was a seemingly easy challenge for Calvin...until the tears came, lol.  

    Tonight's challenge: Hamburger helper revved up with fresh onions and sweet peppers. 


    I didn't post the watery red eyes, but did give him a trick my husband gave me awhile ago, which was to run the onions in cold water. 
    From About.com about why onions make you cry: Enzymes that were kept separate now are free to mix with the sulfenic acids to produce propanethiol S-oxide, a volatile sulfur compound that wafts upward toward your eyes. This gas reacts with the water in your tears to form sulfuric acid. The sulfuric acid burns, stimulating your eyes to release more tears to wash the irritant away.

    Calvin got points for dicing onions successfully and slicing the peppers with ease. He gave the onions and peppers to Corra to add to the pan. Cleaning the board and asking Corra if she needed help with anything else before moving to his next dish, which was the salad.

    Corra took to the stovetop to brown the ground turkey and had no problem mashing up the meat while keeping the temperature at a medium high heat. 

    Corra got points for using a heavy skillet to help stabilize the heat, waiting until the skillet was hot, before adding the meat, and making sure she didn't crowd the pan so that the heat could circulate freely throughout the pan. 


    There was a mishap with the salad!

    Calvin was tossing iceberg lettuce in a bowl and went to use the Garlic Salt grinder/shaker, but instead of twisting the top to grind the salt out, he opened the top, and out flew the majority of the Garlic Salt. 

    He didn't let it stop him though, he grabbed the broom, swept up the mess, and kept moving. I shook off the excess salt for him, but then he drizzled with a little bit of olive oil, pepper, and tossed the salad with tongs to evenly coat the lettuce. 

    Summary of event: Things started to heat up in the kitchen, literally, as Corra prepared the food in the pan, the food started to stick to the pot, with a little bit of water, she was able to continue cooking without remorse. 

    Teamwork picture of the day:


    Up next: Team Two, Kayla & Danielle 

    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Cooking down the days 'til our Airman gets back...

    Credit:Winnond
    Well, in an effort to teach my brother some ways around the kitchen and to get my girls involved in a family project, we (mainly me) came up with the idea to cook the:

     "The Best Gourmet Dish Ever...by kids!"

    I know my 16 year old brother is probably clutching his heart at being called a kid, but 'by minors' didn't sound as appealing.

    Points will be awarded for team collaboration, presentation, and of course...Taste!  

    Okay, what's so exciting about this cooking challenge you may ask?

    It'll give them an opportunity to really work together and it'll be even more awesome to have my husband follow along while he's away.

    I'll show the good...and the bad...If it's charred, it'll be posted and if it turns out wonderfully, then I'll post it.

    Wish us luck and hopefully by the time our favorite guy gets back, we'll have a great feast prepared for him, that the youngins' prepared on their own.

    Friday, January 18, 2013

    Slow and steady wins what?

    I have a few things that I'm doing and I'm trying to manage my time better. I was watching a program...maybe it was The Doctors, or Dr. Oz, or somebody, and there was a lady who mentioned taking a simplistic route to time management.


    "Put fewer things on your,'To Do,' list."


    I was flabbergasted! It didn't occur to me to reduce my mile long list of things to do. I always piled seven or eight things on there, but don't ask me how many of them I actually got done!     

    So now I have three...yes three! And wouldn't you know it? I actually get some stuff done now. Hot damn! So I guess, slow and steady, really does win the race huh?

    What are some of your time management tips and tricks?