Saturday, December 25, 2010

Easy Greek Salad

Greece is one of my favorite countries.  One of my friend's mom lived in Greece for a long time.  She made a salad similar to this.  I love the fact it does not include lettuce.


1 cucumber
1 quart cherry tomatoes
1 Tbs balsamic vinegar
1 Tbs olive oil 
feta cheese


Wash and dice cucumber, put in bowl.  Wash tomatoes and add to the cucumber. Add feta cheese (however much you like).  Top with balsamic vinegar and olive oil.  Mix well and refrigerate until ready to serve.

Add bell peppers, olives, purple onions, or any other none lettuce veggie you like.

Easy Stuffed Mushrooms

I used blonde mushrooms here
For Christmas I also make stuffed mushrooms.  I got the idea for this recipe online one year and adapted it to what I could easily get at the grocery store.  

  • 1 pound of bacon
  • 8 ounces of softened cream cheese
  • 1.5 teaspoons of Italian seasoning 
  • 18 large (stems removed) mushrooms 
    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
    Cut bacon into 1 inch pieces. Fry until crisp and drain on a paper towel.
    Mix bacon, cream cheese, and Italian seasoning.
    Wash mushrooms and remove stem.
    Fill mushroom caps with cream cheese mixture and place in baking dish.
    Bake 18-21 minutes or until fork tender.

    Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Butter Recipe

    I saw this Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Butter recipe in Family Circle Magazine last December.  We made this last year for Christmas and absolutely loved it.  We don't like turkey very much and for only three people it seems like a waste to buy a whole turkey.  So we decided to start a new tradition and cook beef tenderloin for Christmas.  Beef tenderloin is the MOST tender cut of beef.  It is pretty expensive which is why we only cook it at Christmas.  You will not have to chew this for hours when eating this.  It comes from the short loin primal and is from the same region Filet Mignon is cut from.  The leftovers are really good too.

    Beef Tenderloin with Blue Cheese Butter

    • 1  about 2-1/4 pounds  beef tenderloin, trimmed and tied
    • 1  tablespoon  unsalted butter, softened
    • 3/4  teaspoon  salt
    • 1/2  teaspoon  black pepper
    • 1/4  cup  crumbled blue cheese
    • 3  tablespoons  unsalted butter, softened
    • 2  tablespoons  chopped parsley


    1. Beef: Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Pat beef dry and spread with butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and place on wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Roast at 350 degrees for about 35 to 45 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 135 degrees, flipping roast halfway through cooking.
    2. Butter: While roast is cooking, stir together blue cheese, butter and parsley in a small bowl; refrigerate until ready to use.

    3. Remove roast to a serving platter and top with 1/3 of the blue cheese butter. Tent with foil and let roast rest for 10 minutes. Slice and serve with remaining butter. Makes 8 servings.

    Crème Brûlée Recipe

    Before baking
    For Christmas my husband I love to make Crème Brûlée.  This French dessert is one of our favorites and the recipe is very simple.

    2 cups heavy cream
    5 egg yolks
    1/2 cup sugar
    1 tablespoon vanilla extract
    ~1/2 cup or so of light brown sugar

    5 - 7oz ramekins

    water halfway up the sides
    -Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). 
    -Whisk the cream, egg yolks, sugar, and vanilla extract together in a bowl. Mix it all up until it  is creamy.  
    -Pour mixture into ramekins (ceramic dishes). I distributed the mixture between 5 7-ouncers. 
    -Place the ramekins in a 8.5x11 baking pan. Fill the baking pan with about 3 cups of hot water.  You want the water to be about halfway up the sides of the ramekins. 
    -Place the pan with the ramekins in the oven for one hour or so. After 1 hour or so check them every ten minutes. They are done when you can stick a knife in one and it comes out clean. 
    Done!  Enjoy!
    -Remove the ramekins from the baking pan, set them on the counter, and 
    let them cool for about 15-20 minutes.
    -Put Crème Brûlée in the refrigerator for 8 hours or overnight.
    Before eating, remove from refrigerator, sprinkle a THIN layer of the light brown sugar on the top of each. Now torch it! Or, if you don't have a torch, you can put them under the broiler for a minute or until the sugar is caramelized.

    This recipe from CDKitchen.

    Oreo Truffles

    Merry Christmas!!  I'm going to share with you a few recipes that we made this year.  First is a super yummy and easy Oreo Truffle recipe my sister shared with me. She got this recipe from I changed things up a bit.  Here is my recipe.  They are really good!

    White Chocolate Truffles rolled in Oreos and
    Oreo Truffles rolled in Semi-Sweet
    Oreo Truffles

    They are ready in about 1.5 hours.


    • 1 (16 ounce) package OREO Chocolate Sandwich Cookies, divided
    • 1 (8 ounce) package PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
    • 2 (8 ounce) packages BAKER'S Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate or White Chocolate, melted


    1. Crush 9 of the cookies to fine crumbs in food processor; reserve for later use. (Cookies can also be finely crushed in a resealable plastic bag using a rolling pin.) Crush remaining 36 cookies to fine crumbs; place in medium bowl. Add cream cheese; mix until well blended. Roll cookie mixture into 42 balls, about 1-inch in diameter.
    2. Dip balls in chocolate; place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. (Any leftover chocolate can be stored at room temperature for another use.) Sprinkle with reserved cookie crumbs. Or roll balls in crushed Oreos like above.
    3. Refrigerate until firm, about 1 hour. Store leftover truffles, covered, in refrigerator.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    Mamapedia Voices Cloth Diapering Article

    Back in October, Mamapedia Voices published one of my articles, "Is Cloth Diapering For You?".  Mamapedia is a great resource for mothers of all walks of life.  Since it has been a while since I have blogged about cloth diapering I thought I'd share some of my current thoughts on the subject.

    Cloth diapering is time consuming.  Our washing machine in Germany takes an hour to wash one load of clothes.  If I put the diapers in the dryer it usually takes about 2 hours to dry.  The dryer is not the most environmentally friendly appliance so I try and hang the diapers to dry when possible.  Sunshine is the best  natural dryer.  However, in the winter it rains and snows a lot so it takes 1-2 days to air dry them because there is not a lot of sunshine.

    I have honestly stopped using cloth diapers when I go out unless it's just a quick errand where I would possibly only need to change a diaper once.  I don't know if it is just because I have gotten so busy or because of the convenience of disposable diapers but primarily when I leave my house I put a disposable diaper on my son.  When we travel we only pack disposable diapers now.  

    My son no longer sleeps in cloth diapers except for naps.  His winter pajamas are tighter than summer pajamas and I am unable to zip his foot pajamas up when he's wearing a cloth diaper.  Not to mention the fact that it is challenging to cloth diaper at night.  It's not impossible but even hemp sometimes leaks if your child is a heavy wetter.  Also I have found that Pampers Baby Dry keep his bottom dry at night and they are less bulky.

    Other than that cloth diapering is great.  I think if I didn't have to walk two flights of stairs to my basement to do laundry and my washing machine and dryer were faster it would be less of a hassle.  

    If you are a cloth diapering mama I'd love to hear from you.

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Garmisch, Germany

    This past weekend we went to a marriage retreat in Garmisch, Germany.  The retreat was awesome and we enjoyed Garmisch a lot.  We took a personality test and learned how to better communicate with each  other based on our personalities - being a communications minor, I loved it!  

    The last time we visited Garmisch was before I was pregnant and was during the fall.  This time the ground was covered in snow and it was simply beautiful.  We drove through Austria on our way and on our way home.  Austria is a beautiful country too.  

    Friday afternoon we had some free time and could have gone skiing but ended up not going.  The easy trails down were not open and it has been a while since either of us have skied.   Plus childcare was only available for a certain amount of time. Instead we took our son sledding, played in the snow, and went swimming in our hotel's heated swimming pool.  It was a nice getaway and our marriage benefited from it.

    Walking down the streets in a cute town in Austria

    Outside our hotel room at night

    Playing in the snow

    About to drive under a mountain
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