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How to boil a lobster

From time to time, my sister, brother-in-law, and me like to have fancy pants dinner.  Like a couple of weekends ago.  I happened to see that Filet Mignon was on sale at Wholey’s and when I suggested a fancy pants dinner, my sister told me she had just been thinking the same thing because she saw that live lobsters were for sale for $7.98 each at Market District.  That’s right.  $7.98!  You can’t beat the price and it doesn’t get much fancier that surf and turf.  So, to the strip I went to pick up the filets and then to the Market we went to get delicious, fresh, and feisty lobsters.

Cooking lobsters at home is lots of fun, very easy and super economical!  The trick is to have a large enough pot enough to be able to completely submerge the lobsters (especially if you are cooking more than 1 or 2).  The lobsters are fine out of water for quite some time; I actually read you can keep them in the fridge over night wrapped with wet newspaper, but we left it up to the store to keep them fresh.  Whatever you do don’t, I mean DO NOT put them in fresh water for a last little swim in fresh water before their final swim in the boiling water.  If you put them in fresh water, they drown.  They drown and they release a poison into their body.  How do I know that?  Well, since you asked, luckily I know that from second hand experience and did not have to experience the heartbreak of witnessing a few drowning lobsters in the bath tub myself.  My parents lived near Boston for a few years early in their marriage.  Their best friends also had been living there.  One day they decided to have lobsters, and being the kind and humane ladies that they were (are) decided to give their little guys one last hoorah.  Even if you get a deal for $7.98 each, you don’t want that!

To cook the lobsters, you will need a very large stock pot.  Fill about 2/3 with water and slice 2 lemons in half.  Squeeze each half into the water and then add the lemon rind into the pot.  Cut a whole clove of garlic in half and add to the party.  Then add a handful of springs of fresh thyme and a few bay leaves.  We had used plain water several times, and honestly did taste the difference in the lobster by adding the extra flavors.   Bring the water to a boil.  Remove the lobster from their container and carefully clip the rubber bands off of their claws before dropping in (it’s helpful to make this a 2 person job).  Drop the lobster carefully into the water.  Repeat for each lobster you have.  Put the lid on to help bring the water back up.  The lobsters will take about 12-15 minutes to cook.  They will turn a bright red when they are done.  I also read that you can tell when they are done when you can remove one of the feelers easily.

It is a delicious treat!  Serve with lots of melted butter, a cracker and a little lobster fork to help get meat out of the little areas.

We had the lobsters, grilled filet and roasted potato slices (recipes to follow soon!).

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“Holiday Hangover”

I had a little get together last night with a “holiday hangover” theme.  Christmas time is always so busy and rushed, and I wasn’t able to have a party during the holidays, so I decided to try to prolong the festive spirit into January.  Though the bulk of my decorations had been put away, I did use some ornaments and silver “icicle” tinsel stuff to decorate.

The menu included an antipasto and cheese platter, spinach and artichoke dip and 4 mini dessert.  I also set up a hot chocolate bar that was a hit!  It was fun to be able to mix and match some different syrups and toppings to customize the flavor.  I can’t wait to share all of the recipes with you!

 

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Balsalmic Glazed Meatloaf

This meatloaf is the combination of several different recipes I found, and turned out to be pretty delicious (if I do say so myself, and usually I do haha!  and I also say when it’s not so delicious).  I have made it twice, and the second time I diced up portabello mushrooms to make it a little healthier.  The first time I made individual servings by balling up the meatloaf mix and cooking them in a muffin tin.  A serving that way was 2 “muffins” per person.

Use 1 -1 1/2 pounds meatloaf mix (which is ground beef, pork and veal already combined)

1 or 2 eggs

1/4-1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs

1/4-1/2 cup milk

about 1 TBSP ketchup

a few shakes of Worcestershire sauce

salt and pepper

1 tsp Tastefully Simple Onion Onion

1 tsp garlic powder

Glaze

1 TBSP ketchup

1 TBSP brown sugar

1 TBSP balsamic vinegar

Preheat your oven to 350.

In a large mixing bowl add the ground meatloaf mixture, breadcrumbs, milk, ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, salt, pepper, Onion Onion, garlic powder.  In another small bowl, lightly scramble an egg and then add it to the bowl.  Use your hands to really get in there and mix everything together well (but be careful to over mix, because it will make the loaf a little tough).  It can be a little bit different every time you make it, so I recommend starting with 1/4 cup of milk and breadcrumbs and then add as you need it to get a nice moist loaf that holds a form well.  If you are doing it in muffin tins, divide the mixture into portions that are about the size of a lemon (the goal is to fit them into the tins).  Or use a loaf pan or just line a baking sheet with foil and do a loaf shape (or you can split it into 2 loafs).

Once the meatloaf or “muffins” are formed, mix equal parts (about 1 TBSP each) of ketchup, brown sugar and balsamic vinegar in a small bowl until it is combined.  Brush the glaze over the meat and cover with tin foil.  Bake for about 30 minutes and uncover and cook for an additional 15-20 minutes.

If you are adding in mushrooms, chopped them finely and mix in with the other ingredients.  You will need a little more milk to get the right consistency.

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Chocolate Bark

I really like the show Dessert First, I think Anne Thorton is so fun and I think we could be friends.  She made a chocolate bark like this a while back, and I was so excited to try it.  The nice thing about a recipe like this is that it is so quick and easy and can be changed up to your taste.  I will definitely be making this again with other combinations.  It’s the perfect kind of snack to have when you are craving salty and sweet.  I used milk chocolate and a thin layer of semi sweet chocolate (I also think dark chocolate would taste amazing together) and mixed in dried cherries, cashews and pretzels.

about 1 lb. of milk chocolate

1 bag of semi sweet chocolate (or dark)

about 1 cup pretzels chopped in small pieces

1/2 cup dried cherries, chopped

1/2 cup cashews, chopped

Melt the milk chocolate in a double boiler.  While the chocolate is melting, line a jelly roll pan with parchment paper.  When the chocolate is nice and shiny and melted, add in the pretzels, dried cherries and cashews and stir until combined.  Pour that mixture into the lined pan and spread out with a spatula to make an even layer.  I used the same pan to melt the semi sweet chocolate in.  Once the semi sweet is melted, pour it in a thin layer on top of the milk chocolate.  Let it cool.  Once the chocolate has set you can break (or try to cut) the bark into pieces.  Enjoy!

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Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

I hope that everyone has had a very Merry Christmas!  Mine was filled with lots of love and fun and family.  And, some pretty amazing gifts also!  My parents got me a Kitchenaid stand mixer!!  I am beyond excited to break it out of the box and get rocking with it!  I have so many recipes that I’ve wanted to try but seem a bit too tough to tackle without a stand mixer.

 

I also hope that you have a great New Years!  I’m not so much making a resolution but definitely plan on rededicating myself to the blog and posting new recipes in a timely manner.  I’ve finely gotten pretty used to my new schedule and plan to definitely set aside time to post new kitchen adventures 🙂

 

What are your favorite holiday dishes and cookies to make?!

Thankful

I know I have been awful at keeping up with my blogging in the past couple of months, but I promise I have been cooking!

But, more importantly than that I hope that everyone had a VERY wonderful Thanksgiving!!  What were you thankful for this year and what are dishes that you can’t live without on your Thanksgiving table?

Pumpkin Spice Bars

This is a recipe that my mum used to make, but I never really had a taste for when I was younger.  But, luckily for me, my taste buds changed (did you know that that happens every 7 years?!?!) and I now love them!  They are really easy to make, and are always a big hit.  It’s a really easy recipe to double if you are taking to a party.

3/4 cup sugar

1/4 cup margarine

1 egg

1 tsp vanilla

3/4 cup canned pumpkin

1 1/4 cup flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

1/4 tsp cloves

14 cup chopped walnuts (optional)

Cream sugar and margarine; add egg, vanilla and pumpkin; add flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Then fold in the walnuts (if you’re using them).  Spread the batter in a 10 x 13 pan.  Bake at 375 for 17-20 minutes, or until tooth pick comes out clean.  Cool slightly and frost with spice frosting.  Cut into bars and enjoy!

Spice frosting

1/2 cup brown sugar

6 TBSP margarine

4 TBSP milk

1 tsp vanilla

1/2 tsp cinnamon

dash of ginger and cloves

2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a sauce pan, except for vanilla and powdered sugar.  Cook and stir over medium heat until the mixture bubbles.  Remove from heat, add vanilla and beat in sugar until it’s a spreadable consistency.

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