Sunday, October 2, 2011

Fried Green Tomatoes

So we inherited a couple of little, shriveled up tomato plants from the previous owners of our home. I didn't think there was much hope for them, but we watered them and tended to them none the less.

Turns out, all they needed was a little love because they have since EXPLODED with tomatoes. Unfortunately we were going to get our first frost this past weekend so we needed to pick some of them before they were ripe.

What's a southern girl to do with a bunch of green tomatoes?

Duh...Fry them.

After I made these I went upstairs and turned on the television only to find the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes" playing. Not even kidding. It was meant to be!

Great movie!

I like to think these fried green tomatoes would live up to the ones served at Whistle Stop Cafe.

I really just winged it with the recipe so the measurements aren't precise. Just use whatever proportions and spices you like. It really doesn't matter!

Fried Green Tomatoes
Source: Me

4-6 green tomatoes (mine were small so I used 6), sliced
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 Tbsp flour (I used whole wheat)
1 tsp garlic salt
1 tsp pepper
1/2 tsp celery salt
dash of cayenne pepper
1/2 cup Egg Beaters (or 2 beaten eggs)
canola oil (or oil of choice...but not olive oil because it will burn)

Place a large, deep skillet over medium high heat. Pour enough oil in just to cover the bottom of the pan. Allow oil to heat for at least 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, mix the cornmeal, flour and spices together in a shallow dish. Place the egg in another shallow dish. Dip each tomato slice in the egg to cover completely and then into the cornmeal mixture. Make sure to press each slice well into the cornmeal so it sticks.

Put the coated tomato slices into the hot oil and cook for about 3-5 minutes per side (depending on how hot your oil is) until golden brown on both sides. Don't crowd the tomatoes too much in the'll probably have to do at least two separate batches.

Place cooked tomatoes on a plate lined with paper towels and sprinkle with more salt if desired.

Serve tomatoes with ranch dressing, hot sauce, marinara or whatever you like! Or just eat them plain. They don't even need a dip!


Monday, September 5, 2011

Reese's Cheesecake Bars

Oooooooh boy.

Do I have a recipe for you!

I've been absent a lot lately and the food-related posts have seriously been lacking, but now I'm back with a BANG!

Feast your eyes on these babies:

Hello, beautiful. Get in my mouth.

Reese's Cheesecake Bars.

Yes. You read that right. Reeses + cheesecake. Two of my favorite things, and hopefully two of your favorite things too.

If not, you're weird. (sorry)

My only complaint is WHY THE #$%^ DIDN'T I MAKE THESE SOONER?!?

In case you can't tell already, these are amazingly delicious. Probably going to make a batch of these as often as I possibly can (which if I want to still fit in my jeans is not that often).

I hope you enjoy these as much as we did!

Reese's Peanut Butter Cheesecake Bars

source: The Sweets Life

-7 whole graham crackers, broken into small pieces
-6 tbsp unsalted butter, melted & cooled
-3 tbsp brown sugar
-2 tbsp all-purpose flour
-1/8 tsp salt

-2 packages cream cheese, softened (I used reduced-fat cream cheese)
-2/3 cup granulated sugar
-2 eggs
-1/4 cup sour cream (I subbed 0% greek yogurt)
-1 tsp vanilla extract
-1 bag mini Reese's peanut butter cups, chopped

-1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325F. Line an 8-in pan with aluminum foil, leaving a 3-4 inch overhang on each side. Grease foil.
2. Make graham cracker crust by adding crackers to food processor and pulsing until fine. Add butter, brown sugar, flour, and salt. Pulse until mixture is combined. Press into the bottom of the baking dish.
3. Bake crust for 12-15 minutes until browning. Cool for at least 30 minutes.
4. In a large mixing bowl, beat cream cheese until smooth. Slowly add sugar, beating well. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in sour cream (or greek yogurt) and vanilla extract until fully combined.
5. After chopping Reese's peanut butter cups, set aside approximately 1/2 cup for later. Stir the remaining chopped candies into the cream cheese batter.
6. Pour batter into baking pan, spreading evenly over crust. Bake at 325F for 35-40 minutes (rotate halfway through), until the edges are set and middle still jiggles slightly.
7. Cool cheesecake for 2 hours. Cover and refrigerate 3-24 hours.
8. Remove from fridge and using the foil overhang, remove bars from pan. Melt chocolate in the microwave (stirring every 15 seconds). Drizzle chocolate over bars and top with remaining chopped Reese's cups. Cut into squares and enjoy!

**Ashley's Notes: I had to speed this process along because I made these just a few hours before I wanted to eat them, so there was no time for 24 hours of chilling. Instead, I pulled the cheesecake out of the oven and let it cool at room temp for about 1 hour. Then I put the cheesecake into the freezer for about 2 hours (just enough to thoroughly chill but not freeze them). They still turned out great so if you're in a pinch, you can do it the faster way!

Another note, don't freak out if your cheesecake cracks as it cools. This happens. And you're just going to cover it with chocolate and Reese's anyway so it doesn't matter!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Still Alive and Kickin'

I'm still alive!!!!!

Apologies for the large gap in posting lately. We've been in our new home for almost a month now and our time has been taken up with LOTS of home improvement projects, unpacking, organizing, etc.

Cleaning carpets when we moved in. Fun! (not)

Hubs prepping for paint. We're becoming pros at painting!

Also, I spent about 2 weeks applying for a bajillion jobs here in the area and good news....I GOT A JOB!!!! Yahoooooo!

I started my new full-time job (I'm an office assistant for a property management company) this past Monday so I pretty much transitioned from house madness into new-job madness. Whew! I'm tired!

I promise I'll be back to posting regularly soon, when I've adjusted to being back in the working world. (So far, I've pretty much been EXHAUSTED at the end of every work completely useless. So I hope I get my energy back soon!)

Thanks for sticking with me during this crazy time! :)

Friday, August 19, 2011

Mil Spouse Friday Fill-In #54

Well, hello there!

You may or may not have wondered if my absence meant I'd fallen into a black hole on my way to Tennessee, but I did not! We made it to our new duty station, closed on our house (!!!), moved in, and have been furiously attempting to get settled ever since. I'll be sure to update you on the new house more when I really get the time, but for now I'll just leave you with this week's MilSpouse Fill-In.

1. My spouse and I rarely agree on what to watch on TV (I like trashy reality, he likes boring history and corny sitcoms), but always agree on how to spend our free time (we like to do the same movies, cook, eat, etc).

2. If I could use one word to sum up the way I feel right now, it would be overwhelmed. We still have so many things to do with this house to get settled, plus I need to find a job soonish so we can AFFORD all the home improvements! :)

3. One of the things my spouse does that grosses me out is he's not very good about brushing his teeth at night before bed. I think that's gross, but he thinks it's normal. I always tell him he's going to get cavities but he NEVER does so I guess that argument doesn't work...

4. My readers may think I’m crazy for doing this, but I really love to try new foods that some may consider weird or gross. I've eaten raw quail egg, raw beef (beef tartare), caviar, duck liver (foie gras), cow thymus gland (sweetbreads), pig intestine (chitlins), etc. I'm a strong believer in always at least trying something before you say you don't like it, and most of the time I'm surprised at how delicious it is!

5. Frankly, my dear, I don’t want to read about how much you love your spouse EVERY SINGLE DAY on Facebook. I've noticed a ton of people doing this lately and I don't get it! Just send them a private message! It's weird that you feel the need to profess your love in a public manner on a daily basis...and it makes me wonder if you are trying to prove something.
End of rant....phew!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

12 Things Learned During Our Cross-Country Move

1. Check every cabinet, nook and cranny before letting the movers leave your house because there could very well be an entire kitchen cabinet that they missed FULL of bulky kitchen appliances. That was fun...but on the bright side we had tons of homemade waffles and burgers cooked on the George Foreman grill during our move! (Not really)

2. Hope and pray that your landlady has already made out your deposit refund check when she comes to do your final walk-through, because otherwise she will try to charge you for not mowing the "lawn" (a.k.a. weeds...this is Arizona, people!).

3. Audio books from The Cracker Barrel are life savers for getting through a cross country drive. (I listened to The Hunger Games and The Island and both were excellent!)

4. Driving across West Texas is really, really, REALLY boring, but you can drive really fast (80 mph). And it hurts me to say that since it's my home state (but we don't claim the Western half).

5. It is possible to sneak a 36 pound dog into an indoor-entry hotel (in middle of nowhere, Texas) that technically doesn't allow pets. Picture this: Dog wrapped in a blanket, tail sticking out conspicuously, me on the lookout. It was reminiscent of the scene in The Hangover where they sneak the tiger out of the hotel room....and it was hilarious.

6. Arkansas is really freaking hot in the summer. Like, 115 degrees, hot. It felt like an oven. Thank goodness we only spent one night there. (Sorry, Arkies)

7. Your husband's bladder is even smaller than you originally thought. Another bathroom stop?!?! No more liquids for you until we arrive!

8. Big rig trucks should not be allowed to pass each other on highways where there are only 2 lanes. I swear it's like a pissing contest for them to see who can get in front of each other and it SLOWS ME DOWN and ruins my cruise-controlled contentment! Just get the heck out of my way!

9. Having walkie talkies while you're driving cross country seems like a great idea at first, until your husband proceeds to interrupt your attempt to listen to an audio book no less than 357 times during the most intense part of the story to tell you about random things he sees on the road (such as roadkill) via his walkie talkie. Apparently he was bored (see #4). He should have rented an audio book!

10. Tennessee is a pretty state, but I hate the highways (see #8). Coming from Arizona, I was in green landscape OVERLOAD with all the trees, rivers and rolling hills.

11. Your household goods delivery men will have at least one lazy one amongst them who will refuse to actually read the label on the boxes and will just put them wherever he wants. Such as boxes clearly labeled "office" or "master bedroom" being lovingly placed in the garage. Thanks, dude.

12. Moving is fun. (not really...see #1-11)

Have you experienced any of these pleasures? Do tell!

Monday, August 1, 2011

This Week in Fitness

Monday 7/25: 4-mile walk with the puppers (had to get her out of the house while the packers did their thang)

Tuesday 7/26: 4-mile walk with the puppers (see above) + POP Pilates: New Body Makeover (A YouTube 30-minute Pilates workout...It was awesome! I can't wait to try more of Cassey's videos.)

Wednesday 7/27: 4-mile walk

Thursday 7/28: 20 minutes on the stairclimber (at the gym) + 1.5 mile jog + some dumbbell arm exercises

Friday 7/29: None -- driving all day!

Saturday 7/30: None -- driving all day!

Sunday 7/31: None -- spending time with family all day! :)

We're staying in a hotel in Little Rock, Arkansas tonight so I'm just popping in to say hi! Tomorrow we make it to the location of our new HOME (!!) but we don't actually close on the house until August 4th (Thursday). I'm sooooo excited and anxious to get our new lives started! And so ready to be done with driving hours on end every day! Have a great week!

Monday, July 25, 2011

This Week in Fitness/Moving Time!

Monday 7/18: None (traveling all day)

Tuesday 7/19: None (recovering all day...who knew a 3 hour time difference could cause jet lag?!)

Wednesday 7/20: Jillian's Best Moves from Exercise OnDemand...I didn't do all of it. It's a KILLER workout and would take about 2 hours. I did about 1 hour worth of it.

Thursday 7/21: 2-mile jog + 1-mile walk

Friday 7/22: 1-mile jog + 2-mile walk

Saturday 7/23: Xtreme Timesaver Training (Jackie Warner) DVD

Sunday 7/24: None (although I was organizing for packers/movers to come all day so I still got in some movement!)

The move has officially begun!! The packers arrived this morning to start putting our life into boxes. Today and tomorrow are packing days, then on Wednesday they pick everything up. Friday we leave Arizona for good and start making the long trek towards Tennessee!

Time for a new chapter in our Army life!!