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Monday
Aug262013

Tuna salad

There's a little bit of a weird vibe going on this week. It's the last week before school begins, so we are squeezing a lot in--fun things, catch-up and work alike. All in the 100-degree humid Minnesota heat. You really truly never know what you are going to get in this state! It could be snowing right now and I wouldn't be surprised. Wednesday is our annual trip to the State Fair (ahhh, can't wait for pronto pups and cheese curds!), so that is helping me get through the busy-ness of today and tomorrow. Are the rest of you scrambling at the end of the summer, too? It's not just me, right?!

I always think of tuna salad as being such a good, light summer meal, so now is the perfect time to share my favorite version of it. You will find some crunch and kick in this recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

In a medium bowl, combine:

Two 5-oz. cans tuna, drained

1/4 cup mayonnaise

1 avocado, peeled, pitted and chopped

2 stalks celery, sliced

2 tablespoons capers

1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper

Salt and pepper, to taste

Mix well. Serve in large hollowed-out tomatoes or as a sandwich filling. The tomato route is my personal favorite, unless I'm looking for a more hearty meal.

Wishing you all a great last week of summer!

Printable recipe: Tuna salad

Monday
Aug192013

Huevos rancheros

My boys and I are smack in the middle of what I call getting back into the groove. I am consistently (freakishly, perhaps) putting the little boys to bed at ridiculously early times each evening and feeding them food that is healthier than anything they have seen in months. It feels good, after a summer filled with inconsistent sleep schedules and loads of sugar and activity.

One of the perks of putting healthy things into my little ones' tummies is that I tend to also have the desire to put healthy things into my own tummy. I have been wanting to make my own version of Huevos Rancheros for a long long time, and this morning finally felt it was time. I added a few nutritious twists to this breakfast favorite. I loved it so much that I plan to make it again tomorrow.

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. 

Add:

1 bunch green onions, thinly sliced (white and light green parts only)

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 jalapeño pepper, finely chopped (optional, but highly recommended)

If you would like to know how my skillet became scorched, you can ask my huband. :) daporta at gmail dot com (you're welcome, Hubby!)

Cook, stirring, until softened and fragrant (mmm, it will start to smell sooo good), about 3 minutes.

Add:

14.5-oz. can diced tomatoes

1 cup fresh chopped kale leaves

1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce to medium-low heat and simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Meanwhile, in a separate scorched skillet, heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Turn the skillet until the bottom is thoroughly coated with the oil. Add two 6-inch corn tortillas (one at a time), cooking each side for 1 to 2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form on the surface.

(Although I suggest using corn tortillas, I used whole wheat. Either one will provide you with a great result.)

Remove the tortillas from the skillet and cover to keep warm.

Crack 4 large eggs into the same skillet and cook to desired doneness (I like my yolks nice and runny).

Place each tortilla on a serving plate and top each with half of the sauce and 2 prepared eggs.

Garnish with salsa and cilantro.

This is my new favorite breakfast, I swear.

Printable recipe: Huevos rancheros

Monday
Aug122013

Hawaiian ham and cheese sandwiches (tailgate sandwiches)

My little boys and I arrived home at noon today from summer vacation #3. I am extremely excited about the idea of getting back into a routine. Even Elijah, who typically wants to be away from home socializing and playing and doing anything but being cooped up at home, excitedly said, "We're HOME! I love my home! I'm going to cuddle with my home!" I would relive our summer all over again in a heartbeat (and I plan to next year--in a westerly direction), but I am so. glad. to. be. home. 

This week's agenda? Laundry. Limited electronics. Fruits and veggies. Early bedtimes. Smoothies. Cleaning. School clothes shopping. Exercise. Sleep. Repeat. Repeat.

I have been wanting to try a version of these very popular sandwiches for a while now. They were so good that I got busy pigging out and forgot to put them in the fridge overnight. I sadly had to throw most of them away and I am still upset about it. Let that be a lesson. Or something like that. I'm not one to preach lessons, unless it's by accident.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the bottom halves of 20 small Hawaiian sweet rolls, setting the top halves aside.

Top with 1 pound of black forest ham deli slices.

Top with 20 slices of provolone cheese. Yes, that is a lot of cheese, but you will thank me in about 30 minutes.

Generously spread cream cheese onto the bottoms of the sweet roll tops (one 8-oz. container will take care of them all). Place the tops over the cheese slices in the pan, lining them up with the bottoms of the rolls.

In a medium bowl, combine:

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted

1 tablespoon yellow mustard

1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce

2 tablespoons dried minced onions

1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Mix well and pour evenly over the tops of the sandwiches in the pan.

Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons of poppy seeds.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until the cheese is melted and sandwiches are warmed through. Cut at the seams with a sharp knife and serve warm! These are addicting, to-die-for snacks or appetizers and can even be a satisfying meal. 

(Refrigerate leftovers, if there are any.)

ENJOY! Have a great week, friends.

 

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sandwiches (aka Tailgate Sandwiches)

Crowd-pleasing, delicious, gooey sandwiches that make bellies happy!

Serves: 20

Total time: 45 min

Hawaiian Ham and Cheese Sandwiches

 

Ingredients:

  • 20 small Hawaiian sweet rolls, cut in half crosswise
  • 1 pound deli black forest ham, sliced
  • 20 slices provolone cheese
  • 8-oz. container spreadable cream cheese
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, melted
  • 1 tablespoon yellow mustard
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onions
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons poppy seeds
Instructions:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Line the bottom of the pan with the bottom halves of the sweet rolls. Top with the ham, then the provolone cheese slices. Spread the cream cheese onto the bottoms of the sweet roll tops and place them in a layer on top of the cheese.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the butter, mustard, Worcestershire sauce, onions and Parmesan cheese. Mix well and pour evenly over tops of the sandwiches. Sprinkle the poppy seeds over the top. Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until warmed through. Cut at the seams with a knife and serve warm!

 

 

Monday
Aug052013

Ooey gooey butter cake (Paula Deen style)

We are wrapping up our yearly summer trip to Iowa. This year my 20-year high school reunion coincided with our family reunion, so we have been busy spending time with family members and also catching up with classmates that I haven't seen in a decade or two. Dan and I are wrapping up our time away by sitting on my aunt and uncle's deck overlooking the lake, while listening to the waves crash onto the shore and gazing at the sun as it sets behind the trees. We will be out the door early tomorrow in order to make it back for Elijah's therapies (that we have missed for the past four weeks--yikes). 

While I was visiting friends in Texas, we made Paula Deen's Ooey Gooey Butter Cake for dessert one night. I LOVED IT. Seriously, you guys, I could have eaten the entire freaking pan. Once I got back home, I decided I needed to make it again. You know, to share it with other people. Not so I could potentially eat another pan by myself. Of course not that. This is a super deliciously sweet and addictive dessert that will make you fall to your knees. It is Paula Deen's recipe, with just a few teeny tiny ooey gooey additions.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9x13 pan with cooking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl, combine:

18.25-oz. box yellow cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup (1 stick) salted butter, melted

Using a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed until combined. Press into the bottom of the prepared pan and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine:

8-oz. package cream cheese, softened

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Using a hand-held mixer, beat on medium speed until smooth. 

Add a 16-oz. package of confectioners' (powdered) sugar.

Beat until smooth. 

Add 1 stick of melted butter.

Beat until smooth. 

Add an 8-oz. package of milk chocolate toffee bits.

Fold in the toffee bits with a spatula and stir until combined.

Pour the mixture over top of the crust and spread evenly. Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, leaving the center of the cake nice and gooey. Add sprinkles over the top (if desired), once the cake is removed from the oven.

Let cool and cut into squares. Enjoy it while it lasts 'cuz it will not last long, people. Thank you, Paula Deen!

Printable recipe: Ooey gooey butter cake (Paula Deen style!)

Monday
Jul292013

Basil sun-dried tomato dip

I am still alive, can you believe it?! I survived 18 days on the road, in my very old but awesome car, with 2 little boys by my side. We drove 3,800 miles. We met or reunited with 75 people. We visited 17 families. Fourteen of the people we saw were children with congenital heart disease, just like my oldest monkey. It was an incredible and unforgettable experience. I still have much to process and ponder before I begin to write about the details of the journey. In a nutshell, it was an adventure of a lifetime filled with memories we will never forget with people who we consider lifetime friends. Amazing stuff, friends, amazing stuff. We are blessed and our hearts are filled with love.

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