Creamy Linguine with Shrimp & Veggies

As promised and maybe a little late, the recipe for the linguine and shrimp I cooked a while back. Recipe courtesy of Cooking Light magazine.

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Yields 4 servings at 2 cups per serving

Ingredients:
6 quarts water
1 teaspoon salt, divided
8 ounces uncooked linguine
3 cups small broccoli florets
1.5 tablespoons butter
1 cup chopped onion
8 ounces sliced mushrooms
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 ounces peeled & deveined medium shrimp
1 julienne-cut carrot (I had to look this up, but it basically means thin strips like on salads)
.75 cup of 1/3-less fat cream cheese
.25 teaspoon ground black pepper
Pinch of mozzarella cheese

Start by bringing the water to a boil in a saucepan and adding half the salt and all the pasta. Cook for 5 minutes. Add broccoli and cook for 3 minutes.

Drain through a sieve over a bowl and reserve .5 cup of pasta water.

You’ll use the water to make the sauce.

Melt the butter in a pan over medium-high heat and add onion and mushrooms to the pan. Sauté for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add garlic and sauté for 1 minute, stirring constantly.

Add the remaining salt, shrimp, and carrots; sauté 3 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Add the pasta mixture, .5 cup pasta water, cream cheese, and pepper to pan; cook for 3 minutes or until cheese melts and shrimp are done, stirring occasionally.

Mix in a pinch of shredded mozzarella cheese to give it a more cheesy flavor.

SERVE DELICIOUSNESS!

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I left out the mushrooms for my dish and everything still tasted great and I didn’t have to tweak the recipe.

Average per serving nutritional info: 501 Calories 16.3g Fat 32.2g Protein 57g Carb 5.6g Fiber

I hope you enjoy this dish like I did!! Have one you wanna share? Let me know! I love trying new dishes!

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Shrimp, Shrimp, & Cake! But not all together

I have the need to cook! Does anyone else just ever get antsy and feel they have to cook something, anything?

There’s been a cooking spree in my house lately! Which for me isn’t extremely crazy considering a spree to me is like 2 days straight. I’m pretty hooked on pasta with veggies and shrimp. Though I am looking for a good salmon recipe. If you know of any, please point me in that direction (unless there are tomatoes. I hate tomatoes!)!

I recently discovered the gloriousness of cooking blogs and let’s just say my list of recipes is adding up a lot faster than I can cook. There’s one blog in particular that is such a great frenemy to me. I say this because 80% of the recipes are desserts and well, I’m trying to cut back on those caloric temptations.

The only sweet treat I’ve produced from How Sweet It Is are the Pink Velvet Cake Balls. I don’t like red velvet cake though, so I dyed my vanilla cake pink to give it a little pizzaz. They were like the best dessert I’ve ever had. Ever!

Keep in mind that I’d never had any type of cake ball before and didn’t know what to expect. Needless to say, my friends and I gobbled them all up!

I highly recommend trying them or really anything on her blog.

Just the other night, I used her recipe for Shrimp & Bacon Risotto. It turned out pretty well!

I've already devoured most of it!

This was my first time cooking with wine and making risotto. I’d say it was a win, and I owe a lot of thanks to my phone for letting me google and YouTube all the cooking terms I didn’t understand.

I did tweak her recipe a little bit to make it healthier by using turkey bacon instead of pork. Also, I think the risotto was “too homey” feeling. I have no other way to describe it, but I wasn’t a fan. So I think next time I will use chicken broth instead of chicken stock to keep the chicken flavor down….Too many meat flavors all at once.

Otherwise, delicious! Ate some more today actually. If you divide it into 3 servings, it’s only about 350 calories per serving. I eat a little less than the serving and am full, so yay low cal meal!

I’m also subscribed to Cooking Light magazine which is where I got my Creamy Shrimp, Veggies, & Linguine recipe. I don’t have a link to it unfortunately 😦

It too was delicious, but since the creaminess was made mostly of melted cream cheese, there wasn’t a lot of taste. I fixed that by adding half a cup of shredded mozzarella. Bam! Flavor instantly and oh so good! I will share the recipe with you next time I am home.

Trust me, you’ll want it!

Looks good doesn't it?

Promise I’ll give you the recipe and share with you how my cake balls turned out because they are amazing! If you subscribe to one food blog ever, and I mean EVER, then you need to choose How Sweet It Is. Awesomeness!!

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From MIA to Back Again

Okay, okay, I know. I suck at posting frequently. I’m working on doing better. I promise. I really am!

It’s summer time here in the heart of Texas, and man is it hhhhooooooottttttttttttttttttt!

I mean, I don’t even want to be outside most days unless I’m lounging in a pool. However, about a month ago, a friend and I decided we were going to sign up for a 5k. I’ve been sweating it up in the heat with my dog just trying to get back into shape where I could even do a 5k.

I average about 4 miles a workout now, but I would love to cut my time in half. Why? Well, if I’m going to be in a 5k, I sure as heck don’t want to be last to cross the finish. I’d much rather be first and get some type of award…even if it’s just a stupid ribbon!

What can I say? I love to win!

I had a whole day of it on Sunday when my best friend came to town. All we do is play games. Board games. Computer games. Video games. Card games. Anything and everything. I think the score of the day ended up being ME: 30  HER: 2

It’s pretty awesome! I’m very competitive and hate to lose…which is why I win…or I won’t do something ’til I know I can win.

I’m not a very experienced runner though and could use any and all help I can get.

Any suggestions/secrets/tips/helpful hints? What works for you when you’re running? Or what keeps you motivated? I kind of lack in the motivation since I hate running and I hate sweating. Bleh!

For those of you who run with iPhones: I use the iMapmyfitness app. It tracks your mileage, pace, time, calories, and trail. Amazing!

Not a necessity, but it is fun to use and it motivates me to pick up my speed every time I look at my pace.

Maybe with enough motivation I won’t hate running or sweating.

But I doubt it!

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New Year means New Experiences!

Long time, no blog. I know I’ve been MIA. There was a bit of vacationing going on and this past week I was sick. But I am back now!

I hope everyone had a great New Year’s! I spent mine with my sister (not really related, but so close we’re family) and we had an absolute blast!! I got to wear my lovely dress that I bought way back in summer along with a beautiful chunky necklace that I also bought last summer, neither of which I have ever gotten to wear. Unfortunately, we were enjoying the night so much we forgot to take pictures, so I have no pictures of us dressed up 😦

A few new things in my life:

1)  I did manage to score a job this January. I have a guaranteed position at a tax firm for the next 3 months. After that, my life is back to up in the air. Anyone want to hire me?

I’m a great worker, I learn fast ( I did teach myself to crochet in just a few hours), I multitask (yes, I can talk on the phone and listen to music while I work and still hand in great results), and well, I’m just awesome (definitely not lacking confidence, huh?).

2)  I’ll be upgrading to a smart phone (finally!) in a few weeks and get to experience what life is like for all of those space phone users.

3)  Just recently, I got to reconnect with one of my best friends from high school. Her phone number changed a lot, so it was hard to keep up with and we eventually lost touch. I constantly looked for her on Facebook and MySpace, and just a few days ago we found each other on Facebook. I’m so excited and I can’t wait to go see her sometime in the next few months!

4)  A new boyfriend. Okay, so I don’t have one yet, but I’m open to one. The last one broke my heart and it sucked. On the plus side, ignoring my feelings and staying busy because of the breakup was the whole reason I learned to crochet (yay for that. Just wish it didn’t have to happen that way for me to learn an awesome craft).

5)  I foresee a new computer in my future too. Or at least, getting mine fixed so I can stay connected to the internet for more than 2 minutes.

6)  A new and real job in one of three places in Texas that I have been looking at. I will also accept owning my own business in place of “a new and real job”.  Any business ideas? I’m down for most things that don’t require me to have a lot of programming knowledge because all I know is basic html.

7)  The final new experience that I will get to experience this year won’t happen for quite a few months, but I am so excited for when it does. Unfortunately, due to a promise I made someone, I cannot reveal what this exciting secret is until a few months from now.

So that concludes the NEW things in my life right now. I hope to add more to my list as the year goes on, but I will settle for numbers 6 and 7.

Now that I’m back, there will be more up to date posts and I promise they won’t be as long and picture-less as this one has been.

Cheers!

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My new scarf’s first trip!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! I know I did. Texas finally had a cold front move through and it is now freezing outside. I love it!!

I had to venture out once tonight to return some Redbox movies and was actually really excited to do it. Why? Well, I’ve been crocheting scarves since October, but it hasn’t been cold enough to wear any. The friends/family that I gave scarves to for Christmas all live in places cold enough for scarves and were able to break in my creations already.

However, I live further South than everyone else and have been craving to wear my new hobby outside. Tonight, I got to do just that!!! 🙂

I have to say I am very pleased with my blue scarf. I used a basic shell stitch on it and used one of the “made for baby” yarns, so it is super soft. (I used this to learn the stitch: Shell stitch. Theresa is a great crochet teacher). It felt so good to wear my own creation in front of the world. I can’t wait to do it again!! I’m also really excited to tell anyone that compliments it, that I made it. Obviously, I’m a bragger, but that’s fine with me!

I also just finished the scarf shown below tonight. I think I’m going to be putting this one in my Etsy shop (when I get one). I love the pattern on this scarf and I don’t think that pictures do it justice. I’ve used this pattern on quite a few different scarves; adjusting it for various size yarns. I have never added the single crochet edging/trim on it as the creator suggests. **There is a correction that needs to be made if you do use it. Instead of chaining 21, you need to chain 23 or your work will be off.** Also, in the beginning, add 4 chains or subtract 4  to make the scarf skinnier or wider.

If you have trouble with that pattern, the creator is very responsive and helpful, or you can ask me. I’m pretty much a pro with this pattern now.

Sorry, these are the best pictures I could get in my current lighting situation. The scarf is a deep purple color and is 5″ wide and 76″ long. I made it with Caron Simply Soft and it lives up to the name….so soft!!

I’m always looking for pretty and creative scarves (especially fast ones, as I have a few requests from family right now), so if you know of any or have any favorites, please share!!

On a sidenote, if anyone knows any good dog sweater tutorial, I would be very thankful as I’m having trouble understanding even the “beginner” ones.

Again, I hope everyone had a Very Merry Christmas! I enjoyed my family time and can’t wait for New Year’s Eve!

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Annual Christmas Cookies from Scratch

About a week ago I made some delicious iced butter cookies. I do this every year as part of a holiday tradition. It started when I was little and used to visit my grandparents every Christmas, they always made these cookies and everyone participated in the decorating of the cookies. Well, my grandpa has since passed and my grandma doesn’t cook much anymore, so I have picked up the tradition.

Though I love chocolate and chocolate chip cookies, these are by far my favorite cookies. They taste great, are fun to decorate, and bring back memories of past Christmases.

I can’t share the recipe for the cookies with you, but I’m sure there are lots of butter cookie or sugar cookie recipes available online that you could use. I would go with a less sweet recipe like butter cookies because the icing is pretty sweet.

Just a fyi for those of you that like to eat cookie dough: the cookie dough still tastes really good even without a lot of sugar. ‘Tis yummy!

My favorite part (other than eating leftover cookie dough) is decorating. I don’t get too detailed or pretty with my decorating. It’s pretty hard to do really nice stuff when all I decorate with is a spoon and toothpick.

The icing I use is just powdered sugar mixed with water and food coloring for different colors.

This is as creative as I get when it comes to cooking. Everything else I do in the kitchen isn’t nearly as cute or pretty, but I make sure everything I cook tastes good 🙂

I had to use my mom’s cookie cutters since mine are packed away and she had this one gingerbread man that I was excited to use. However, when it actually cuts out the cookie, the cookies end up looking like stick men. Since they were too little to decorate and put faces on, I kept it simple. I even made one a ninja (see below) since his legs were all crooked and it looked like he was kind of kicking.

I love the ninja! He may appear in some random places in the house soon. For obvious fun reasons, he will be the last cookie to be eaten.

Enjoy the holiday cheer and I hope I inspired some of you to make some fun cookies! Good luck on your endeavors!

Feel free to leave some great recipes, your family traditions, pictures, links, etc in the comments.

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Crochet for a Cure

As you know, I’m looking to start my own business. While trying to come up with some fun and unique ideas, I came across this site: Crochet for a Cure . They sell their handmade crochet items and donate 50% to the American Cancer Society. They are doing this in memory and support of a loved one lost to cancer.

I like the concept of their company and the reason behind it, but they haven’t had many people visit the site. I don’t know why, but I’m thinking it might not be a popular subject or just lack of SEO.

What got me interested in their site was a search for the actual title of their page. I wanted to see if someone had already started a company like that because I was interested in it. While their website is small scale and involves only their handmade items, I have some bigger ideas.

If there is an interest, I want to create a non-profit Crochet for the Cure company where anyone can give handmade crochet items to the company and 100% of the proceeds are donated. They can send the items or drop them off at local dropbox locations (mostly in metroplexes, until/unless this gets big enough to include smaller cities and towns). Naturally, I say crochet because it’s what I know, but knit work would be just as welcome.

I’m not sure what cancer society the money would be donated to, but I’m thinking that a note from the maker could be attached to the item if there is a specified organization(from a predetermined list) they would like the proceeds from their craft to go to.  Also, I think it might be neat if any of the crocheters that are cancer patients or survivors attached a note to the item about themselves or with words of encouragement.

I know that I would include breast cancer among the top that I would like to donate to as I have had friends and coworkers affected by it. Other than that, I am open to suggestions.

Also, if there is quite a bit of interest in this, I think it would be neat to host a day where everyone gets together in their own metroplex and Crochets for a Cure.

I don’t know how popular this would be or if there is even any interest in it. If there is, please let me know because I am seriously interested in doing this or something like it.

Have any ideas/concerns/thoughts/ on this? Any and all would be appreciated!

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