My Messy High Bun

This will be a super quick post, but I’ve been trying to make the trendy high bun work on my hair for some time now.

While I have a lot of hair, my hair is very fine.  Therefore, when I pull it into a bun, it tends to look ridiculous because it’s about the size of a golf ball lol!  Sigh.  I adore the look on models and celebrities:

 

Messy high buns

 

After watching a few online tutorials, I found that by simply combing my hair into a high ponytail, pulling it through about 3/4 of the way and simply bobby pinning it to death, I too could achieve a decent sized “messy bun” on the top of my head!

 

IMG_20130927_190447 (1)

 

I enjoyed the feeling!  It kinda makes you feel like a queen if you’ve never experienced a voluminous bun before lol. :)

 

IMG_20130927_191053

 

IMG_20130927_211618

 

I typically wear my hair up using a claw clip and a side swept bang.  It was fun to play and change it up.  I’m not sure how confident I am yet to wear this look out and about but it was fun to show it off here on Maggie’s Mile.

What up do’s do you love and/or do you wish you knew how to achieve??

 

 

Posted in My Style. Tagged with , , .

Cajun Shrimp Boil

My family in New Orleans is going to laugh at me because I was raised in Chicago and know very little compared to them about cooking up a Cajun Shrimp Boil.  But last week-end I was missing them all and craving the Crawfish Boil they treated me to last time I was there.  It was soooo good.

Tub-O-Crawfish

Tub-O-Crawfish

Pile-O-Crawfish

Pile-O-Crawfish

 

Getting a lesson from my cousin on how to eat Crawfish

Getting a lesson from my cousin on how to eat Crawfish

 

Unfortunately, us yankees up north don’t have access to Crawfish and/or Zatarain’s crab boil seasoning.   Therefore I did some research and came up with this recipe for a Cajun Shrimp Boil that at least helped curb my appetite for mud bugs.  Here’s how I made it:

 

Ingredients:

10 cups water

1 tablespoon Old Bay seasoning

1 tablespoon Cajun seasoning

1 teaspoon cayenne pepper

1 bay leaf

1 clove garlic, smashed

4 whole cloves

2 lemons, halved

8 baby red potatoes

4 small whole onions, peeled

2 ears fresh corn, halved

1/3 lb smoked sausage, sliced (Cajun sausage or Keilbasa sausage)

1 lb raw shrimp (e-z peel aka deveined with shell on)

 

Instructions:

1)  Place first 7 ingredients into a large pot, with two lemon halves, the potatoes, and the onions.

2)  Bring to a nice rolling boil.  Cook potatoes and onions for 45 minutes or until they start to get tender.

3)  Throw in the corn and cook for 5 minutes.

4)  With tongs remove potatoes, onion, and corn from the pot and place on a platter.

5)  Toss in the sausage and the shrimp.  Cook for a 2 or 3 minutes or until the shrimp turn pink and curl.

6)  Remove from heat, strain out the shrimp and sausage, and place on platter with the veggies.

7)  Serve with tabasco sauce and remaining lemon halves.  :)

 

Cajun Shrimp  Boil

 

If any Louisiana natives can offer any advice on how to improve on this recipe, your comments are most welcome!

 

 

Posted in Main Dishes, My Recipes.

Chicken Pho

My ex husband introduced me to Pho after he went to lunch with one of his coworkers who happened to be Korean.  While Pho is a Vietnamese dish, his friend was more familiar with asian cuisine and brought him to a small restaurant in a nearby town (near where the Fireside Roller Rink used to be, for you locals).  Pho is an asian soup, but I’m calling this a main dish because of its heartiness.  The broth is light yet flavorful containing a unique mix of exotic spices which includes whole coriander, whole cloves, and star anise. 

Spices

It was a bit difficult to find whole cloves and star anise, at least for me.  I got lucky and found some at a local grocery store with the intention of one day making this dish one day.  There are many different kinds of Pho, but my favorite is chicken.  Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did!

 

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons whole coriander seeds

4 whole cloves

2 star anise

1 onion

1 3-inch chunk of ginger

8 cups (64 oz.) prepared chicken broth (homemade or store-bought)

2 tablespoons fish sauce

1 tablespoon sugar

2 chicken breasts, bone in

1 package linguine style rice noodles, cooked according to package instructions

Bean sprouts

Fresh cilantro

Fresh basil

Fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced

Onion, very thinly sliced

Lime wedges

 

Instructions:

1)  Place one half of the onion (reserving other half for slicing later) and the chunk of ginger under the broiler for 15 minutes.  Turn each over half way through to char on both sides.  Remove from broiler and allow to cool slightly. 

2)  Meanwhile, toast the coriander, cloves, and star anise in a frying pan over medium heat.

3)  Pour the chicken broth into a large pot.  Add toasted spices, fish sauce, sugar and chicken.  Peel the onion and ginger, cut into chunks and add to the pot.

4)  Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer for 40 minutes or until chicken is cooked through.

5)  Remove chicken and shred or slice the meat.

6)  Strain and discard the solids from the broth.

7)  In a soup bowl, place desired amount of noodles and chicken.  Top with desired amount of remaining ingredients and ladle in some broth. 

 This recipe is adapted from:  http://www.healthy-delicious.com/2009/10/daring-cooks-quick-and-easy-chicken-pho-pho-ba/.

 

Veggies

 

 

More Veggies

 

 

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Chicken Pho

 

 

DSCN1651

 

Posted in Main Dishes, My Recipes.

Mini Tomato Pies

There is no story behind this recipe.  I’m just on a mini pie kick.  I bought this cool mini pie pan over the week-end for my mini blueberry pies (http://maggiesmile.com/mini-blueberry-pies/).

 

Mini Pie Pan

 

It makes super cute little pies, plus I had left over pie crust, plus my body must be craving lycopene because I wanted tomatoes.  I used these little cuties because they are larger than cherry tomatoes but smaller than regular ones…  I’m on a mini everything kick!  You can use any tomato you like.

 

Mini Tomatoes!

 

 Ingredients:

Pie crust dough for 1 single pie (you can use my pie crust recipe from (http://maggiesmile.com/mini-blueberry-pies/) if you like.  That’s what I used.

 1 lb tomatoes

2 tablespoons onion, very finely chopped

1 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded

1/2 cup mayonnaise

Salt

 

Instructions:

1)  Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

2)  Slice tomatoes.  Place in a colander and sprinkle with salt.  Allow to drain over a bowl while preparing other ingredients (approximately 10 minutes).

3)  In a separate bowl, combine cheese and mayonnaise.

4)  Line 4 mini pie shells with pie crust dough.  Crimp edges if desired.

5)  Layer bottom of pies with one layer of tomatoes and a small sprinkling of diced onion.  Repeat once, and again if you have room.  Careful not to pile too high, the cheese mixture still needs to go on top!

6)  Place a quarter of the cheese mixture on top of each of the pies and spread so it covers the circumference.

7)  Bake for 30 minutes.  Allow to cool slightly and serve!

 

Looks pretty good!

Looks pretty good!

 

 

Ooey gooey deliciousness!

Ooey gooey deliciousness!

 

 

Wow...

Wow…

 

I hadn’t planned on eating it, but holy shiznit this was good!  I ate the salad and half the pie but wanted desperately to eat every last crumb.  What is your favorite pie flavor?

 

 

Posted in Main Dishes, My Recipes.

Top lines from LOTR Return of the King

Aragorn

 

I came across a blog post regarding the top ten lines from Lord of the Rings Return of the King authored by the Pioneer Woman.  Check it out, she rocks:  http://thepioneerwoman.com/entertainment/2011/07/top-ten-lines-from-the-lord-of-the-rings-the-return-of-the-king/.

I am still learning this “blog” thing and didn’t realize it was so cool to post subject matter such as this!!!  I would like to make my own additions to her post because, while most of her’s were really good and I agree with them whole heartedly, I have a few favorites I’d replace at least 5 of hers with if it were my top ten:

1)  Frodo remembers Galadriel’s gift in his time of great need, as Shelob the giant spider is preying upon him:

“And for you, Frodo Baggins, I give you the light of Earendil our most beloved star. May it be a light to you in dark places when all other lights go out.” 

2)  Aragorn is “such a stud” and therefore would never cheat on his woman!!!  Even beautiful Eowyn can’t woo him.

“It is but a shadow of a thought that you love; I cannot give you what you seek.  

3)   Arwen has Aragorn’s sword reforged. 

“From the ashes a fire shall be woken; A light from the shadows shall spring; Renewed shall be blade that was broken; The crownless again shall be king.” 

4)  King Theoden answers Gondor’s call.

“Forth! Down fear of darkness! Arise! Arise, Riders of Théoden! Spears shall be shaken, shields shall be splintered! A sword day… a red day… and the sun rises! Ride now… Ride now… Ride! Ride for ruin and the world’s ending! Death!  Death!!  DEATH!!!” 

5)  Eowyn slays the Witch King (I felt this “quote” needed more elaboration).

Witch King: “Feast on his flesh.”  Eowyn: “I will kill you if you touch him!”  Witch King: ”Do not come between a Nazgûl and his prey.”  Merry interferes.  Witch King:  “You fool! No man can kill me!  Die NOW!”  Eowyn:  “I AM NO MAN!  AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!”  

I don’t feel a good cry coming on, but I sure would like to put on some armor and go to battle!  Arrrrrrgh!!!!!  I am no man!!!!!!!

 

 

Posted in Other Stuff.

Cheap Christmas Gifts

So I know the friends I gave these to at work today might have a little “ah ha” moment right now if they are reading this, but I found these little gift box thingies at the grocery story last week-end:  $3.49 for 5 boxes.  Although I have posted mainly “recipes” on Maggie’s Mile, please do not think for a second that I am a Suzie Homemaker.  For the love of Pete, I work full time…and go to school!  I can’t spend hours in the kitchen baking up various Christmas shenanigans, nor have I been one to hand out little hand crafted gifts around this time of year.  However, I now realize I too can create hand crafted gifts at a low cost to show the folks you interact with on a daily basis how much you appreciate them….eh he he…  In all seriousness, I’ve learned from experience how much a simple thought or gesture is worth, especially when you are going through a rough time.  I thought a semi-easy way to give someone something special while you are on a budget might be appreciated.

Saturday morning I made fudge, following the recipe on the Marshmallow Fluff jar.  All I added was walnuts.  I also made pralines  (http://maggiesmile.com/pralines).  Candy is so simple, requires fewer ingredients, and takes less time!  This took about an hour and a half for both candies.  I had all of the ingredients on hand except for the nuts…they are the most expensive but are usually on sale this time of year.  It was fun to put these together.  Hope you agree. :)

 

  Candy!

 

 

Candy in baggy!

 

 

Candy in a box!

Posted in Other Stuff.

Pralines

Pralines (pronounced “prawleens”) are synonymous with the south.  I’ve tried making them over the years and they’ve always turned out either crumbly or into a hard glob that I can’t get out of the pot.  It’s always bothered me, because these are a staple in my family and I really wanted to learn to make them properly.  Therefore, I enlisted the assistance of my dear Aunt Becky who graciously gave me a tutorial.  She shared with me two key pieces of information to remember when making pralines:  1)  Add a tablespoon of corn syrup.  She said she didn’t really know why, but it seemed to be the magic ingredient to ensure a successful execution.  2)  Even if the recipe states to “beat until the mixture loses its gloss,” she advised me to remember that I am in the south, and therefore things move much more slowly!  Don’t beat the candy mixture.  Simply stir it until it is the proper consistency.  Hope that these tips and this recipe will help end all of your praline making frustrations!

 

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup evaporated milk

1 tablespoon corn syrup

4 tablespoons butter, cubed and frozen

1 tablespoon vanilla

2 cups pecan halves

 

Instructions:

1) Toast pecans on a sheet pan in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes. 

2) Use a wooden spoon to combine sugars, evaporated milk, and corn syrup in a sauce pan.

3)  Cook on medium heat until a candy thermometer reads 239 degrees (soft ball stage).

4)  Immediately add vanilla, butter, and toasted pecans.

5)  Stir continuously until mixture begins to thicken and lose its gloss.  It will take several minutes.

6)  Moving quickly, spoon mixture onto a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.  Allow to cool completely and enjoy!

 

Pralines

 

 

Pralines and milk!

 

 

Broken Praline

 

 

Posted in Desserts, My Recipes.

Caprese Salad

It’s a warm summer evening.  The sun is low in the sky and shining through the window.  I spent the day running errands, cleaning house, and jogging.  I’m all showered now, and  sitting down to drink  a cool glass of sparkling wine and enjoy this deceptively light dish for supper.  I just love the memory this conjures up.  Despite the fact that this salad is half cheese, at least it is fresh cheese accompanied with sweet tomatoes and aromatic basil.  Summer in a bite.  And because this recipe calls for cherry tomatoes, you can enjoy it all year round.  It can be used as an appetizer, a main dish, or a side dish.  I could drink the dressing!  Hope you like it!

 

Ingredients:

2 pints cherry tomatoes (red, or a combination of both red and yellow)

1 8 oz container fresh small mozzarella balls

3/4 oz package fresh basil (a small bunch, approximately 16 – 20 leaves)

1 clove garlic, minced

1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste, start small; you can add more later)

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

2 tablespoons white or golden balsamic vinegar

 

Instructions:

1)  Slice cherry tomatoes in half and place into a mixing bowl.

2)  Slice mozzarella balls in half and place into bowl of tomatoes.

3)  In a food processor add basil, garlic, salt, vinegar, and olive oil.  Pulse until basil is finely minced and ingredients are fully combined.

4)  Pour dressing over tomatoes and mozzarella and stir to combine.  Serve and enjoy!

 

 

 

 


Posted in My Recipes, Soups & Salads.

Chicken Tikka Masala

When I was growing up, we were pretty much a meat and potatoes family.  We did Italian, Mexican, Cajun, hotdogs, fish sticks, and pork & beans (I don’t know what nationality those food items fall under).  I didn’t try Chinese, Thai, or Indian until I was an adult.  My first Indian food experience was when I was roughly 16 years old and working at a small one hour photo studio in the mall (pursuing my dream of becoming a world-famous photographer).  My boss, Ravi, was from India and had me over for dinner.  I can’t remember everything that was on the menu that evening, but I do remember the kebab and mango smoothies.  Wow, had I been missing out!  Indian food is so full of flavor!  We also spent that evening watching a Bollywood movie which was actually quite interesting.  When the evening was over I felt like I had been on a tour of India.  Over time, I’ve decided Chicken Tikka Masala is my favorite Indian dish.

 

Ingredients:

1 cup plain yogurt

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4  - 1/2 teaspoon cayenne

1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon black ground pepper

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 large or 4 small boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 medium onion, diced

1 jalapeno pepper, diced

2 tablespoons butter

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger

1 28 oz can crushed tomatoes

1 tablespoon salt (start with 1/2 tablespoon and salt to taste)

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons garam masala

1 1/2 cups half and half or heavy cream

1/4 cup chopped cilantro

2 cups basmati rice

1 teaspoon cumin seeds

1/2 cup frozen peas, thawed

 

Instructions:

1)  Mix first 7 ingredients together in a bowl.   Pour into a ziplock bag.  Place chicken breasts inside the bag and coat them in the yogurt mixture.  Spray some cooking spray on a foil lined baking sheet.  Place chicken on baking sheet and broil for 10 minutes on each side or until chicken looks slightly charred.

2)  Meanwhile melt the butter, and saute onion and jalapeno pepper for 2-3 minutes on medium low heat.  Add garlic and ginger.  Continue to saute until onions and jalapeno are softened.

3)  Add crushed tomatoes, salt, sugar, and garam masala.  Let simmer on low for about 15 minutes.

4)  Start cooking the rice according to the package instructions.

5)  In a small frying pan, on a medium low heat, toast the cumin seeds.  Set aside (this step is optional; untoasted cumin seeds work fine).

6)  Chop up the chicken into bite sized cubes.  Stir the cream into the tomato mixture.  Toss in the chicken and cilantro.  Stir to combine.

7)  When the rice is done cooking, toss in the peas and cumin seeds and fluff together with a fork.

8)  To serve, spoon the Chicken Tikka Masala over the rice like in the photo below.  Enjoy!

chicken tikka masala

 

Posted in Main Dishes, My Recipes.

Roasted Chicken, with Lemon, Garlic, and Basil

I am starting with the basics.  This was one of the first recipes I prepared as a young single mother when I moved into my little condo with my then 5 year old.  It is an adaption from a cookbook my stepdad bought for me as a housewarming present.  I like to make this recipe because it brings me back to that time.  It’s also extremely cost efficient and very versatile.  You can have a comforting chicken dinner on the first night, then utilize the remaining chicken in all kinds of recipes later.   I would typically make this on a Saturday or Sunday, and then use the leftovers during the work week.  Perfect for a mom on the go.  Plus the meat stays very moist and flavorful.   I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

 

Ingredients:

1 whole broiler-fryer chicken (3 – 3 1/2 pounds)

1 lemon

Salt and pepper

2 tablespoons butter, melted

2 large cloves of garlic

1/4 cup freshly chopped basil

 

Instructions:

1)  Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.

2)  Rinse chicken.  Remove giblets.  Pat dry.  Tuck its wings behind its back.  Place on a clean cutting board.

3)  Grate the zest of the lemon, mince 1 clove of garlic, and melt the butter.  Combine these three ingredients.  Set aside for future use.

4)  Cut the zested lemon in half.  i the juice over the chicken.  Rub the juice in and give the chicken a good coating.  Sprinkle with desired amount of salt and pepper.

5)  Slice the second clove of garlic.  Place it inside the cavity of the chicken along with half the basil and the remainings of the lemon.

6)  Tie the drumsticks of the chicken to the tail and transfer chicken breast up in a roasting pan.

7)  Brush the chicken with butter mixture and sprinkle with the rest of the basil.  Distribute the basil evenly and press it into the chicken.

8)  Roast your chicken uncovered for approximately 90 minutes or until a thermometer reads 180 degrees.  Brush the chicken 3 times during this time with its pan juices. 

9)  Let chicken stand at least 15 minutes before digging in.  Transfer to a clean cutting board and carve or display on a pretty platter.

 

Chicken

 

 And look how much chicken there is left over for other recipes!

 

Pile O Chicken  

I love it!  Hope you enjoy!

Posted in Main Dishes, My Recipes.