Monday, April 29, 2013

I think it's time for a giveaway!

The weather outside was gorgeous over the weekend here in New England.

We spent most of our time outside working in the yard. 

It felt great to get my hands dirty again. We were busy, busy, busy!
  • We planted a tree.
  • We power washed the house and some fences.
  • We made a new table for our gazebo.
  • We built two cool lantern holders for the yard.
  • We re-potted my fig Thor.
  • We weeded and dug in the dirt.
  • We got really filthy.
  • We went to Lowes three times.
  • We raked, we fertilized.
  • We ate Subway and I got sick.
  • I locked my keys in the car (no we there). Had to call AAA.
  • I applied lip balm 314 times.
  • We were really tired Sunday night.

Another wonderful thing that happened was Eileen from Say Your Piece contacted me about doing a giveaway. Eileen is the wonderful lady who sent me a special gift after Moose passed away. Click here to read that story. She really is a special person.

So, since it's almost time to start planting (I know some of you have already planted) but here in Rhode Island we are just getting ready. I think it's the perfect time to give away these beautiful ceramic herb garden markers to one lucky reader.


These hand made beauties were made by Eileen herself. If you haven't checked out her site, you need to head on over and browse through all the gorgeous ceramic work. Click here!

Eileen makes the cutest little bowls you ever laid your eyes on. She'll even personalize a keepsake just for you!

What a perfect gift for someone you love!


So here is what's up for grabs.

8 of these beautiful markers. Mine, Sage, Basil, Thyme, Oregano, Cilantro, Parsley and Rosemary.


Each marker is about an inch wide, 6.25" long and little less than a quarter inch thick.

Wouldn't they look adorable in your herb garden?

Here's how to win.......out of the 8 above mentioned herbs...which is your favorite?

If you don't have a blog, please leave me email address to contact you (no email and I'll move on to the next name).

There are three ways to enter: (1) leave a comment on the blog (2) If you haven't already, go “like” The Cutting Edge of Ordinary on Facebook or (3) Already a fan? Just leave a comment here to let me know! 

Giveaway ends on Friday, May 3rd at midnight EST. Good Luck!

Friday, April 26, 2013

Spaghetti Pie

Spaghetti Pie 2

My "to do" list is getting long. Very long.

I think my husband is getting scared.

Spring always brings out the "doer" in me. I want to just keep doing and doing. All my focus shifts from the house to the yard and garden, oh and yard sales. You do know I'm obsessed with them right?

I can't tell you how many wonderful treasures I found at local yard sales. Yes I said treasures. I say it every time we trek out on a Saturday morning...."oh I wonder what treasures we'll find today?" and I many times I do find them. I'm hoping to find a large piece that I can use for a kitchen island. I'm so OCD that I carry my yard sale wish list with me every Saturday. Here are some of the items I'm on the hunt for:

4 old windows (same size) for cupola
old wood
wooden stools (for risers)
small bed frame (for garden bench)
old silverware
old blue/green mason jars

My dream is to stumble upon an old farmhouse whose owners just want to get rid of it all. Maybe it'll happen someday?? Until then I'll dream and eat spaghetti. This spaghetti in particular.

There is something so very enticing about baked spaghetti to me. I'm a crispy edge lover so maybe it's because the edges get crispy and crunchy. I'm the person always looking for the crunchy end of lasagna too.

Spaghetti Pie 1

I adapted this recipe from several that I had stored in my recipe file. It's the best parts of them all.

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Spaghetti Pie
1 lb spaghetti
4 slices bacon, chopped
1 small red onion, finely chopped
1 container (15-ounce) part-skim ricotta cheese
4 large eggs
2 cups milk
1 teaspoon cayenne (ground red) pepper (optional)
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup frozen peas

Preheat oven to 350.

In a large pot of salted water cook spaghetti until al dente.

While the spaghetti is cooking, cook the chopped bacon in a large skillet until crisp, stirring occasionally. Remove with a slotted spoon leaving the bacon grease in the pan. Transfer to paper towels to drain. Add the onion to the bacon grease in the pan. Cook until tender. While the onions cook in another bowl, whisk the ricotta, eggs, milk, cayenne, half of Parmesan, and a pinch of salt.

Drain spaghetti well. Stir into ricotta mixture. Add in the peas, bacon and onion. (no need to defrost the peas). Pour into 3-quart greased shallow baking dish. Sprinkle remaining Parmesan and bake 30 to 35 minutes or until golden.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

Cinnamon Roll Casserole

I have a confession to make. I love the Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls.

I get giddy every time I whack that tube on the counter to break it open. I always let out a little gasp every time too. Like I don't know that one of those little buns is going to ooze out the side. I know it's coming but it's like a surprise every time.

I love that little plastic container of icing.

I love how the house smells when they are baking.

I love spreading the icing on and watching it melt.

Most of all I love to eat them.

After 6 weeks of practically no sugar, this was the first sugary treat I ate and boy was this good!

Cinnamon Roll Casserole 1

I changed the original recipe up just a bit. I used silvered almonds instead of the suggested walnuts or pecans, and I decreased the amount of maple syrup.

A big ole pan of cinnamon rolls. How great is that?

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Cinnamon Roll Casserole
adapted from a recipe at Look What Mom Found
2 packages (8 rolls in each) of Pillsbury Cinnamon Rolls
4 eggs
1/2 cup whole milk or heavy cream or half and half
1 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds)
1/4 cup maple syrup

Preheat oven to 375. Spray a 9 X 13 casserole dish with cooking spray. Open the cinnamon rolls and reserve the icing. Cut each roll into 8 pieces. I found my kitchen shears worked really well here.

Place the pieces of cinnamon rolls in the pan. If you are using nuts, sprinkle them on top now. In a bowl, beat together eggs, milk, cinnamon, vanilla and maple syrup. Pour evenly over cinnamon roll pieces. Bake for 15-18 minutes or until golden brown. While rolls are still hot drizzle with included icing. Serve warm.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Roasted Garlic Dipping Oil

Garlic Olive Oil 1

I'm so excited about spring and everything that comes with it.

I have my honey-do list hanging on the fridge and it includes about a dozen wood projects. From birdhouses to a utensil holder, to a new laundry basket holding system. Oh yes Pinterest you have lured me in.

My "Feeling Crafty" folder is busting at the seams and I'm lucky enough to have a hubby who can make me most of the projects I pin.

I saw a pin on this utensil mason jar holder.

mason crate

And now I have this!


I knew this would be perfect for all our parties throughout the year, so John made me one. I painted mine October Red, one of my favorite colors. Now it will fit right in for the 4th of July, Fall, and Christmas. I covered all my bases.

He also made me a laundry basket holder. I'm getting ready to paint it. I'll share once it's finished.

So those are just two of the 14 or so projects we have planned. Some are big and some are small, so it's not as daunting as it sounds. I love painting and distressing so it's all fun for me.

When I'm in the middle of crafting I'm not thinking about cooking so much. Dinner on those nights can be sandwiches, or instant noodles or even bread with olive oil, one of my favorites.

When I was growing up breakfast on many Sunday mornings was crusty Sicilian bread dipped into the sauce my Mom was making for lunch. I still do that to this day when I'm making sauce.

I know lots of restaurants serve bread and dipping oil before your meal. One of my favorite Italian places here in Rhode Island is Marchetti's. They have the best dipping oil I've ever tasted. I'm always trying to duplicate it, so here's my version.

Garlic Olive Oil 2

You'll need to roast a head of garlic. It's simple and easy. Here's my post on how to roast it. Click here!

Once you have the garlic roasted you're ready to roll.

Roasted Garlic Dipping Oil
recipe from Lisa at The Cutting Edge of Ordinary
1 head roasted garlic
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil (make sure you use a really good olive oil for this)
Pinch salt
cracked black pepper
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar

Add the olive oil to a small saucepan. Add in the garlic and bring to just simmer. Once the head of garlic is cooled all you have to do is push the cloves out into the pan. Bring to just a simmer and turn off the heat and let it cool. Add in the salt & pepper and about a tablespoon the balsamic just before serving. Crusty Italian or Sicilian breads are great for dipping.

Friday, April 12, 2013

One Bowl Mocha Brownies

One Bowl Mocha Brownies

Want to know what a crazy person who is cutting back drastically on sugar does??

She makes brownies.

Yeah, that would be me.

What is wrong with me?? I can't help myself.

I saw the words "brownie" and "one bowl" and "mocha" and I started to salivate and the next thing you know I'm buying dark chocolate and sniffing the package on the way home in the car. I really did.

One Bowl Mocha Brownies 2

I saw these amazing brownies on Leites Culinaria and I knew I had to make them.

They only make nine generous sized brownies, so it wasn't like I was making a great big pan of brownies. It was just a little pan. A smackerel as Pooh Bear would say.

I seriously think this no sugar thing is effecting my brain.

So, I made them Saturday. I wrapped them up and let them sit over night. Sunday I unwrapped them and I smelled them. They smelled so good. So unbelievably good. I photographed them. I brought them back into the kitchen. I looked at them on table. I smelled them again and then I got a small knife and cut a quarter of one and ate it and I gave John the rest. I think I demonstrated unbelievable self-control. I mean come on...look at these!

One Bowl Mocha Brownies 1

That one bite was so glorious. These are moist, gooey brownies, not cake-like brownies. If that's what you're looking for...this is not the recipe for you. I used instant espresso powder in mine. The mocha flavor was amazing and that wasn't the sugar talking! 

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One Bowl Mocha Brownies
recipe from Leites Culinara
2 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, plus more for the baking dish
2 cups semisweet or dark chocolate chips or chopped chocolate (about 12 ounces)
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 tablespoon instant coffee or, for a more robust taste, espresso granules

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Butter an 8-by-8-inch glass baking dish. (I placed a piece of parchment in my pan and sprayed it with cooking spray so I could just lift them out when they were cooled. Worked perfectly).

In a large microwavable bowl, add the chopped semisweet chocolate, butter, and 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Microwave on high for 1 1/2 minutes. Whisk together the melted butter and chocolate.

Whisk in the sugar, vanilla, flour, cocoa powder, and salt. Let cool for just a minute or so, then whisk in the eggs and instant coffee or espresso granules. Whisk for about a minute, or until the batter is smooth. Fold in the remaining 1 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate. Scrape the batter into the baking dish.

Bake the brownies for 22 to 25 minutes. * See note. You can try to check the brownies for doneness by inserting a tester or toothpick in the center, although since they have chunks of chocolate, you can’t really be certain with this method. You may need to guess a little and leave them in the oven a touch longer if you like them less gooey. Let cool slightly in the pan on a wire rack before cutting and serving.

Note* These took so much longer than 25 minutes to bake for me. I baked mine for 43 minutes. They came out perfectly, so please check yoru baking time! 

Monday, April 8, 2013

Minestrone Soup

Minestrone 3

I know, spring is here and my soup making days are numbered. I do live in New England, so even though sping has sprung, it's still pretty chilly here.

I feel sad when soup season is over. I miss it when the warmer weather hits. I know you can still make and eat soup during the spring and summer, but when the temps begin to rise, soup is not the first thing on my "to make" list.

So I'm holding out on the last chilly days here in Rhode Island and I'm still making soup.

Minestrone 2

I saw Ina Garten make this a few weeks back and I instantly wanted a bowl of it.

She served this with garlic bruschetta which looked delicious also, but I skipped the bruschetta this time.

I didn't have a butternut squash so I substituted frozen turnips. My kids think they are potatoes. I've been putting them in soups for years and they still haven't caught on.

We really loved this soup. Filled with yummy veggies, beans and a whole bunch of spinach it was healthy and hearty all at the same time.

This was a bowl full of goodness.

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Minestrone Soup
recipe from Ina Garten
Good olive oil
4 ounces pancetta, 1/2-inch-diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) carrots (3 carrots)
2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) celery (3 stalks)
2 1/2 cups (1/2-inch-diced) peeled butternut squash (I used frozen turnips)
1 1/2 tablespoons minced garlic (4 cloves)
2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 (26-ounce) can or box diced tomatoes, such as Pomi
6 to 8 cups chicken stock, preferably homemade
1 bay leaf
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 (15-ounce) can cannellini beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups cooked small pasta, such as tubetti
8 to 10 ounces fresh baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup good dry white wine
2 tablespoons store-bought pesto
Freshly grated Parmesan cheese, for serving

Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large, heavy pot or Dutch oven. Add the pancetta and cook over medium-low heat for 6 to 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until lightly browned. Add the onions, carrots, celery, squash, garlic, and thyme and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, for 8 to 10 minutes, until the vegetables begin to soften. Add the tomatoes, 6 cups of the chicken stock, the bay leaf, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper to the pot. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer uncovered for 30 minutes, until the vegetables are tender. Discard the bay leaf. Add the beans and cooked pasta and heat through. The soup should be quite thick but if it's too thick, I add more chicken stock.

Just before serving, reheat the soup, add the spinach, and toss with 2 big spoons (like tossing a salad). Cook just until the leaves are wilted. Stir in the white wine and pesto. Depending on the saltiness of the chicken stock, add another teaspoon or two of salt to taste.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Raspberry Coconut Layer Bars

Raspberry Coconut bars 2

So Easter has come and gone and I suppose if I was a organized blogger I would have had this recipe posted before Easter so you could have added this deliciousness to your Easter table, but I'm a slacker!

Hey, at least I'm sharing the recipe!!

I made these and photographed them the day before Easter. They looked so good. I say looked because I didn't sample them. My husband did and proclaimed them delicious, but I resisted. I've been on a little sugar fast. Trying to see what happens when I lay off sugar entirely. I mean nadda. Nothing. No sugar or honey in my tea (which is the absolute worst!) with the exception of my birthday when I had a piece of cake and Easter when I had HALF of one of these bars, yes I said HALF (it's so sad) I haven't had any other sugar in a MONTH! 30 days. It's epic. Me the girl with the sweet teeth, notice I didn't say tooth cause one tooth could not remotely describe how much I love sugar.

I have a disease that I've been struggling with for almost 16 years now and I read somewhere that a low glycemic diet might help, so I'm giving it a whirl. I don't know how long I'll stay on this "no sugar" diet, but I'll do it as long as I can to see if it's helping.

I have to say, the first week was hard, but then it got easier. I couldn't have picked a worse time to quit either.....chocolate bunnies, cookies, pies and my beloved Cadbury mini eggs all taunting me! I didn't have any mini eggs this year. I look forward to eating them every Easter. I still can't believe I didn't eat any. *snob*

Let me tell you, I had a big table full of desserts for Easter. I made four and my Mom brought lots more. I knew I had to limit myself to one dessert, so I scanned the table to see what I REALLY wanted to eat and these were the winner hands down. After I heard everyone ooohing and ahhhing over them, I knew I made the right choice.

Raspberry Coconut bars 1

I'm so sorry if you not a coconut lover cause these are so good.

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Raspberry Coconut Layer Bars
recipe adapted from one at Mom on Time Out
1 2/3 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 stick butter (melted)
2 tablespoons sugar
3 cups sweetened flaked coconut
1- 14oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 1/2 cups seedless raspberry jam (I used enough to cover the whole pan which was almost the whole jar)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used slivered almonds, but any nut would work)
White chocolate chips
Semi-sweet chocolate chips

Combine graham cracker crumbs,butter and sugar in a bowl. Press firmly into bottom of ungreased 9 x 13 pan. Spread coconut over the top and then pour sweetened condensed milk evenly over top.

Bake in preheated 350 oven for 20-25 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on wire rack.

Spread jam over cooled top, sprinkle with nuts. Melt the white and semi-sweet chips separately in a small bowls in the microwave for 30 seconds and then at 10 second intervals until just melted. * see note. I used a spoon to drizzle both chocolates over the bars. Cool and cut into bars. You can stick these in the fridge to speed up the process.

*Note - I didn't measure out the chips for sprinkling. I just put a big handful in each bowl and microwaved until just melted.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

One Pot Spaghetti

One Pot Spaghetti

Spaghetti in one pot. I'm in.

I know, what's so hard about making spaghetti in one pot and then heating up sauce in another and combining them? Not a thing, but I liked the whole concept of making this all in one big pot, although I did cook the hamburger in a separate pan, but I could have used the pot if I wanted to.

One Pot Spaghetti 1

I made this on a Saturday afternoon when I was in a bit of a cleaning frenzy. Spring fever hit me and I got in a mood and was a cleaning fool.

I doubled this recipe. I laugh when I see 8 ounces of spaghetti cause that would never feed my clan. If there are only a few people in your clan, then this recipe should work just fine.

I put my little twist on it, adding in some Italian seasoning and some parsley and more garlic than the original recipe called for cause garlic don't need no reason.

This was really good. The spaghetti just soaked up all that broth and sauce and it made this dish so flavorful. It was cooked just perfectly too.

Great recipe for a lazy afternoon.

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One Pot Spaghetti
adapted from a recipe at Fantastical Sharing of Recipes
1 lb. ground beef (or sausage)
1 onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, minced
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 tablespoon parsley
1 can chicken broth (14.5 ounces) or use homemade
1 (26 oz.) jar sauce
1/2 cup water
8 oz. spaghetti, broken into pieces
1/4 cup grated Parmesan for topping

In a large pot or separate skillet, brown the ground beef and onion. Add the garlic in at last minute or so along with the Italian seasonings and the parsley. Drain off any fat.

In a large pot add the broth, spaghetti sauce, and water. Bring to a boil. Add spaghetti and reduce heat. Cook, covered, for 17 to 20 minutes or until spaghetti is cooked al dente. Stir occasionally and add more water, if needed. Top with Parmesan when serving.