DIY Easter Chicks – for Dinner! What?!

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Traditionally Easter is a time that families spend together celebrating family as well as the resurrection of Christ. But that doesn’t mean Easter has to be entirely a serious occasion. You can add an interesting twist to your Easter dinner this year by crafting these DIY Easter chicks with the kids!

DIY Easter Chicks - It's what's for dinner! Traditionally Easter is a time that families spend together celebrating family as well as the resurrection of Christ. But that doesn't mean Easter has to be entirely a serious occasion. You can add an interesting twist to your Easter dinner this year by crafting these DIY Easter chicks with the kids!

These DIY Easter chicks are actually mashed potatoes. Crazy, right?! They are both fun to make and fun to eat! To learn how to make your own mashed potato Easter chicks, simply check out the easy step-by-step tutorial below.

The instructions for these DIY Easter chicks has been graciously provided by guest blogger, Melike, of A Cup of Sparkle Blog. Be sure to visit Melike’s blog for other great diy projects and food recipes as well as check out her handmade shop, A Cup of Sparkle, for beautiful, handmade jewelry and accessories.

DIY Easter Chicks - It's what's for dinner! Traditionally Easter is a time that families spend together celebrating family as well as the resurrection of Christ. But that doesn't mean Easter has to be entirely a serious occasion. You can add an interesting twist to your Easter dinner this year by crafting these DIY Easter chicks with the kids!

DIY Easter Chicks: A fun cooking activity for kids and adults

I have a fun cooking tutorial today for you in preparation for Easter, made of potatoes. Are you ready to make the cutest chicks you ever seen? I have to warn you beforehand though. You will have hard time eating them afterwards 🙂

Here is what you need: Potato, pepper, salt, carrot, butter, lettuce

DIY Easter Chicks - It's what's for dinner! Traditionally Easter is a time that families spend together celebrating family as well as the resurrection of Christ. But that doesn't mean Easter has to be entirely a serious occasion. You can add an interesting twist to your Easter dinner this year by crafting these DIY Easter chicks with the kids!

Step 1: Boil and then, mash potatoes – I didn’t use milk to make it easy to roll later.

Add desired amount of salt, ground pepper and butter while meshing the potatoes

Step 2: Roll two different sizes of balls from mashed potatoes: one for the body and one for the head of the chicks.

Step 3: Put the head on the body and shape the chicks with your hand — this is where creativity kicks in! Just have fun using your fingers…

Step 4: Cut the carrots to make the mouth of the chics. You can have the mouth open and closed. It is a bit simpler to make it closed. Tomatoes also work well instead of carrots.

Step 5: Use ungrounded pepper for eyes or small pieces of black olives

Step 6: Now, it is time to decorate your serving plate. You can cut lettuce, or use any other green vegetables you have to make it look like grass. Place your chicks on top of the greens…

WA-LA …it is time to serve your mashed potatoes! It will make an awesome Easter dish that you can prepare with kids. It will also make a great appetizer for any lunch or dinner party.

If you enjoyed this recipe for making mashed potato style DIY Easter chicks, then you may also like these other food recipes for white chicken chili, molasses cookies, crockpot pork tenderloin and avocado + pistachio salad.

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Fresh Shrimp Salad Recipe

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I recently purchased an amazing pot of lettuce and field greens from Walter’s Greenhouse on the Roanoke City Market.
After getting a few side salads with dinner, it was really time to pick a good portion of the more mature lettuce to eat so some more could grow back in it’s place. So Scott used our home grown container greens to make a really great fresh, shrimp salad. Following is that recipe. Feel free to substitute the greens for your favorite lettuce or whatever you may have growing in your garden!
Shrimp Salad Recipe
Ingredients:
1 lb. fresh raw shrimp, peeled and de-veined (I bought ours at The Fresh Market)
3 cloves fresh garlic, minced
2 shallots, finely diced
cracked pepper and sea salt (I buy mine organic and in bulk from Mountain Rose Herbs)
1 TBS butter
1/8 Cup white wine (We used a local wine from Château Morrisette Winery)
1/8 Cup chicken broth
1 1/2 TBS fresh thyme, chopped (I’m using a plant I bought from Rolling Meadows Farm)
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Fresh lettuce greens of choice

Directions:
Salt and pepper the shrimp. Then prepare your pan by drizzling some olive oil in a skillet over medium to medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon of butter to the pan. Add shrimp to hot skillet and cook for about one minute. Turn shrimps over and cook for an additional 30 seconds more til shrimp is cooked through. Place the shrimp on a plate and set aside.

Leave the drippings in the skillet and add 1/8 Cup white wine and 1/8 Cup chicken broth. De-glaze the bottom of the pan by scraping the leftovers from the bottom of the pan off the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon and mixing with the wine and broth. Immediately reduce the heat to medium, then drizzle a little more olive oil into the pan. Add the minced garlic and finely diced shallots. Cook 1 minute.

Reduce heat to low and stir in cooked shrimp and thyme.

Remove all from skillet and plate on top of your fresh lettuce greens. Top with fresh, grated Parmesan cheese.

Serve and enjoy!

What are some of your favorite ways to eat shrimp?

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Scott’s Easy Pan Fry Rib-eye Recipe

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There’s been a little bit of cooking going on in the apartment. Of course, it’s all been on Scott’s end. We made a deal. He cooks and I’ll clean. Because each of us hate to do the other but don’t mind the roles we’ve agreed to. Our first night in the new apartment Scott made some excellent Chicken Parmesan.
The next night, we were in desperate need of groceries, however, so he made tuna salad sandwiches. And he dressed up the plate with orange slices and licorice so it would be pretty for me. (Though it was a pretty weird combo.)
Sunday night, though, he cooked Rib-eyes from a local farmer with a side of sauteed zucchini and bell peppers. I managed to coax him out of that recipe to share with you.

Scott’s Easy Pan Fried Rib-eye
Ingredients:
Two 8-10oz. Rib-eyes (We bought natural, locally raised beef from Sandy River Pork of Axton, VA from our City Market)
10oz. Italian dressing (or enough to cover steaks)
3oz. beef broth
2oz. red or white wine
salt and pepper to taste
butter
Directions:
Marinate the steaks in the Italian dressing, beef broth, wine and salt and pepper overnight. When ready to cook, heat a skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 Tablespoon butter. Cook the steaks for 4-5 minutes on each side depending on the thickness of the steaks for a medium-rare steak, longer for medium to medium-well.

Sauteed Zucchini with Red Bell Peppers
Ingredients:
2 medium sized zucchinis cut into 1/4″ thick medallions
1 red bell pepper, julianned
1/2 cup chopped scallions
4 garlic cloves, minced
salt and pepper to taste
dried basil and oregano to taste
1/4 Cup Italian dressing
1/2 Cups beef broth
olive oil
butter

 

Directions:
Mix zucchini, red peppers, scallions, garlic, Italian dressing, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil in a bowl. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 Tablespoons olive oil and 1 Tablespoon butter to the skillet. Add your zucchini mix and cook over medium-high heat for 6-8 minutes stirring frequently. Turn heat to low and 1/2 Cup beef broth and 1/4 Cup red or white wine. Cover and allow to simmer for 8-10 minutes.
Serve on a plate with your steaks! Eat and enjoy!
(We also ate our with Portabella mushroom caps stuffed with cheese and crab courtesy of Kroger.)
What are some of your favorite food items to buy from your local farmer’s market or co-op?

Seared Sashimi Tuna with Sauteed Shrimp in an Orange-Soy-Ginger Reduction Sauce Recipe

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For New Year’s Eve my boyfriend cooked me up a special dish choosing from several of my favorite foods to eat: tuna, shrimp and asparagus with the fact that I love sushi niggling in the back of his head. The dinner was in truth a great experiment that we both thought turned out to be a great success. Scott, my boyfriend, calls it Seared Sashimi Tuna and Sauteed Shrimp in an Orange-Soy-Ginger Reduction Sauce with a side of Asparagus. You may want to file this one in your recipe book as simply “DELICIOUS.”

Following is the recipe for Scott’s dinner. Keep in mind that for him cooking is an art – and while he by means thinks of himself as a great chef – he doesn’t treat his dishes like and exact science. He likes to have fun with his food preparation and all ingredient amounts are approximate because he never measures anything. Basically, he considers himself a self-taught cook who just likes to eat. He rates his own recipe 4 out of 5 stars and I think that’s pretty darn accurate. I encourage you to try this recipe, play around with it a little yourself with a little more of this, a little less of that and maybe something we never would of thought of. Then come back and tell me how it turned out! You can want to cook this up for your special someone on Valentine’s Day!

Ingredients:

  • 2 Wild Sashimi Tuna Steaks (Our steaks were approximately .43lbs. each bought from The Fresh Market at $14.99 a pound.)
  • 1/2 lb. large, raw and peeled deveined shrimp
  • 1-2 lb. of fresh asparagus depending on your love for this vegetable
  • Cayenne Pepper Sauce (We used Frank’s Red Hot Original)
  • Soy Sauce (We used Asian Gourmet)
  • Toasted Sesame Oil (We used Eden Selected)
  • Peanut Oil (You can substitute canola oil if you have nut allergies)
  • Horseradish (We used Agrosik)
  • Pickled Ginger (We didn’t like the way the yellow pickled ginger looked in the jar, so we bought pink pickled ginger from the prepared sushi section of The Fresh Market. It’s our favorite.)
  • Fresh Garlic
  • A large California Naval Orange
  • Black pepper

Optional Ingredients:

(Because it’s fun to get a little crazy.)
  • Brooklyn Brown Ale or your beer of choice
  • Schmitt Sohne Reisling (Ya know, the label on the bottle screams, “Pick me, pick me!”) or your white wine of choice
  • Château Morrisette Sweet Red Table Wine (or your red wine of choice)

Directions:

This recipe can be made using one pot, a random dish for marinating the tuna and shrimp, one large sauce pan to minimize clean up later – and a colander. You’ll also need a knife and a spatula at minimum. So even bachelor’s wh generally eat out can probably swing this one as long as their stove top works.
Asparagus Prep: First you’ll want to prep your asparagus for later. Rinse your asparagus in cold water, then snap off the ends. You’ll know where to snap because if you try to snap too low you’ll get some resistance. Move higher if this happens and you’ll end up with great tasting asparagus and no chewy, tough ends to contend with. (It still boggles my mind that there are restaurants who leave the ends intact.) Bring a pot of water to a boil, then blanch the asparagus in boiling water 1-2 minutes until bright green. Transfer to a colander and drain. Set aside. (I’ll admit we did consider buying both white and green asparagus, but as I’d never tried white asparagus, I chickened out.)
Make Your Marinade: Your marinade is what will later become your Orange-Soy-Ginger Reduction sauce. So be sure to reserve about 1/3 of this marinade for your sauce later on. First, however, you’re going to make a marinade for the shrimp and tuna.
In a food processor combine approximately 1/8 Cup peanut oil, 1/4 Cup soy sauce, 1/8 Cup toasted sesame oil, about an 1/8 Cup pickled ginger, your whole naval orange peeled and sectioned, 3 cloves of fresh minced or chopped garlic, a dash of black pepper, 1 Tablespoon horseradish, 2 Tablespoons of the hot sauce, and if you want to be silly like us – a dash of beer or wine or both just for kicks. Blend well.
Then pour about 2/3 of the marinade into a dish with the shrimp and tuna. Allow to marinate for approximately 10-15 minutes.
Cook the Asparagus: While your tuna and shrimp marinate, you’ll prepare your asparagus. Add a little peanut oil, toasted sesame oil, soy sauce, and a couple of teaspoons of the marinade into a large sauce pan over medium high heat. Once hot, add the asparagus and saute for 4-5 minutes. Remove from pan and cover.
Sear the Tuna: Using the same pan you just sauteed the asparagus in and still over  medium-high heat, add a bit more peanut oil and soy sauce and a Tablespoon of the marinate to prep the pan. Add your sashimi tuna steaks to the pan and sear on each side for 1 – 1 1/2 minutes. Remove from pan and plate. (You want it rare inside because rare tuna is tasty!)
Saute the Shrimp: Again, you’ll use the same pan you just seared the tuna steaks in. Add a bit more peanut oil and soy sauce and about a Tablespoon of marinade to the pan. Add the shrimp and saute over medium-high heat until pink, turning once. Remove the shrimp from the pan – while reserving as much “juice” as possible in the pan – and drain the shrimp in a colander.
Prepare your Sauce: Now you’ll make your Orange-Soy-Ginger Reduction Sauce. To do this, simply pour the remaining marinade set aside earlier into the sauce pan you just used to cook the tuna, asparagus and shrimp. Add a touch more peanut oil followed by a shot or two of wine. White is recommended – we used a Riesling only because that’s what I like to drink – but you can go a little wild like us and add a shot or two of red wine as well. Oh, and maybe just a touch more beer. We did. Leave the marinade mixture on medium-high heat stirring occasionally until it reduces into a sauce.
Plate it and serve: Plate your shrimp with tuna and pour as much sauce as desired over the tuna and shrimp. Add asparagus to the side and serve immediately.
The center of the tuna when cut should be rare with just the edges seared. I like to eat mine with some fresh pickled ginger.
As an afterthought, Scott also made the suggestion of encrusting the tuna steaks with sesame seeds and a bit of cracked peppercorn and sea salt by coating the surface of the tuna just before placing in the hot oil in your pan.
Looking to purchase quality, organic herbs, spices and seasonings for your own gourmet dishes at home? I highly recommend shopping Mountain Rose Herbs for the best quality and prices. Not only will you receive a great product, but you will save a lot of money by buying in bulk over shopping for spices at grocery stores.

Oh pepper plants, why do you tease me so?

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I was a wee bit disappointed today to find out from one of my favorite market vendors that I can’t plant peppers for another three weeks. Apparently they are not hardy plants and won’t bounce back if we get a late frost. However, I do have a few tomato plants in the ground – Better Boy, Beefsteak, and Cherokee Purple – and today I planted a small selection of herbs in my brand new herb garden. A little rosemary, lavender, oregano, sage and tarragon to start. Still, I really want those peppers!
Green_Pepper

Mom found a Kroger recipe from some magazine or newspaper insert with an amazing recipe for unstuffed pepper bake. I googled it and also found the recipe online as well. We had it other night and it was quite tasty. I even ate leftovers for two days afterwords and I am generally not a fan of anything on the second day. Next go round mom plans to add some drained corn and extra pepper.

Here’s the recipe:

Ingredients:
1 lb Kroger® Ground Beef
1/3 c Kroger® Frozen Diced Onion
10 oz pkg Kroger® Recipe Beginnings Chopped Green Peppers
2 Garlic Cloves, minced or ½ tsp Garlic Powder
½ tsp Kroger® salt
¼ tsp Kroger® Ground Black Pepper
14.5 oz can Kroger® Petite Diced Tomatoes, drained
1 cup Kroger® Instant White or Brown Rice
1 tsp Kroger® Worcestershire Sauce
1 tsp Kroger® Italian Seasoning
8 oz pkg Kroger® Finely Shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese, divided
15 oz can Kroger® Tomato Sauce

Instructions for preparation and baking can be found on the Kroger website. It’s not a quick dinner – 20 minutes prep and 40 minutes to bake – but I think it’s worth the wait.