I Got A New Toy

Anyone who knows me, knows that I am a serious fan of cooking and baking. It is a true passion of mine and I would like to think that I’m pretty good at it. I love buying kitchen gadgets and cookware of all sorts and nothing makes me more happy than when I find something that truly works like “they” say. Are any of you wunderful readers familiar with Air Fryerindexs? If not, an Air Fryer is a kitchen appliance that cooks by circulating hot air around the food. A mechanical fan circulates the hot air around the food at high-speed, cooking the food, which then produces a nice crispy layer. I literally just heard about Air Fryers about 2 months ago and really wasn’t that interested or impressed until I read that no oil is needed for this small appliance, making it a healthier choice when cooking foods you would normally fry in oil. With all that being said and after receiving some Amazon gift cards for Christmas, I decided to purchase one.

Now, I thought this was going to be an easy process by simply purchasing one and that’s it. That wasn’t the case at all because there are literally hundreds of these Air Fryers on Amazon, to choose from. I had no idea what I was looking for or what kind to purchase. There were every brand name available and at every price point. The lowest was $49.97 by Della and the highest priced was $564.79 by Balakie. I knew I wanted something that was moderately priced because I didn’t know how they worked or if I was going to even like it. After reading SO MANY reviews and watching SO MANY videos, I finally narrowed it down to the ZENY 7 in 1 1500W 3.7 Quart Electric Air Fryer w/ Touch Screen  for $65.99 (Below, you will find the link to Amazon, to purchase your own). I received my new toy a few days later and when I opened the box, I was immediately intimidated by it. It looked like some futuristic pod in a scientific movie. My husband will tell you that I have no patience and I never read the directions on anything. I feel the best way to learn how to use something is to play around with it and that’s exactly what I did.

I happened to have 2 packages of raw chicken wings and thought that would be the first thing that I was going to try cooking. A little side note: using salt, pepper, and a dusting of baking powder will make your wings super crispy…just saying. Anyway, there is a pre-programmed setting for chicken which is 400 degrees for 20 minutes. My husband and I were really skeptical and we were waiting with anticipation, only to be pleasantly surprised by how brown and crispy they turned out and let’s not forget about the taste…ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!!!!!! I went on to make some french fries and frozen taquitos (You can even make a steak and make some cake). Everything was turning out amazingly well. The machine itself, doesn’t make any noise and the clean up is extremely easy because nothing sticks to it. The Air Fryer is a little big and if you have a small kitchen and little counter space, it can take up some room and of course you need to have somewhere to store it. Other than that, I am one happy camper. It is one of the best purchases I have made in a very long time and I look forward to using every chance I get.

Do any of my wunderful readers, own an Air Fryer? If so, tell me what you think. I look forward to hearing from you. Don’t forget to subscribe!

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B078489JMD/ref=oh_aui_detailpage_o00_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

Let’s Play A Game

nintendo 2017When it comes to my history with video games, owning a Super Nintendo changed my life. That era of gaming, and specifically my time with that console, transformed me into a kid who likes video games into a full-blown gaming enthusiast (at least for me and anything Nintendo related). While growing up, my first memory of a video game console, was the Atari 2600. I never personally owned one but I vividly remember playing Pong, Space Invaders, Breakout and Combat at various friend’s houses. And of course, let’s not forget playing Pacman, Mrs. Pacman, Donkey Kong and Centipede in every Arcade and restaurant available. I miss those days. The times were so simple and so much fun and today’s kids will never get to experience. Trust me, there is a point to all of this.

For a very long time, I stopped playing video games. That is, until I met my husband. Of course, he was really into video games and knew pretty much everything about them because he had owned several gaming systems. I was out of the loop so he introduced me to Nintendo and then later Super Nintendo. I was instantly hooked. I could not get enough of Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong Country. My husband and I would literally stay up all night, having competitions, against each other. Those are some of my most fondest memories.  Donkey_Kong_Country_-_North_American_Boxart

As time went on, after several moves and having children, things get lost or misplaced, such as the Nintendo gaming system. My children are 23 and 17 and we’ve had every gaming system since the Super Nintendo and to me, nothing compares. I’m sure my wunderful readers have seen the Super Nintendo NES Classic Edition gaming console which includes 21 pre-installed games (yes, including my favorites such as Super Mario Brothers and Donkey Kong Country) and 2 controllers for $89. When I saw this, I got super excited and Just knew I had to have this game. Needless to say, every time a store would sell them, they would instantly sell out. Yes, Amazon and eBay would sell them but of course, for 3 and 4 times the original price. After a while, I just gave up but still wanted this game more than anything. AND THEN IT HAPPENED…on Christmas morning, I opened one of my gifts, both from my daughter and my son, and it was Super Nintendo NES Classic Edition gaming console; there in all its glory! I felt like a kid who sat on Santa’s lap only to tell him of the one and only toy they so desperately wanted. Well, I got it and I loved it and it was everything that I remembered and wanted it to be. I thought it would be a struggle to play but it all came back to me almost instantly. This is one of the best gifts I have ever received from my kids and I am truly happy. If you want a little nostalgia in your life and if you’re a Nintendo fanatic like me, this system is for you.

If you have one, please let me know what you think and if you’re just as happy as I am.

Thank you for reading and much love to all you wunderful people!

I Want To Go On A Trip

san fran         When I was 16-years-old, I went to San Francisco with my parents. I remember thinking then, while walking all over the city, that I was going to return one day. Though not being able to truly explain it, I just knew it was a city that I needed to get back to. I am 48-years-old and I never returned to that amazing city. If someone asked me what my dream vacation would be, I would have to say San Francisco, hands down. There is no other place that I would like to go.

Now, my husband and I have been together for over 30 years and he is well aware of me wanting to take this trip. Everyone I know, is aware of my love for this place. I even have a picture of The Golden Gate Bridge, above my couch (see above). And, while talking about it so much over the years, I have even convinced my husband that this too, is also a place that he would like to visit. Now, he will say that he wants to go because he wants to see me happy (so sweet, that man of mine) but I truly believe (or hope) he is just as excited. I am happy to say that we will finally be traveling there, in the next couple of months. My husband tells me that I think of the negative in every situation even if its a good thing. This is something that he is right about. I’m very concerned that San Francisco and all of its greatness is something that I made up in my head; that something I have built up and talked about for so many years, won’t be that great. All of the pictures and YouTube videos says different but its still a concern.

Has anyone taken a trip to somewhere, they thought was going to be amazing and it turned out to be less than? Please share your thoughts or comments. If you have been to San Francisco, I would love to hear about it. Much love to all of you wunderful people!

The One Thing I Regret…

Image result for dieting picturesRecently, I’ve noticed just how much weight I have actually gained, over the last several years. I noticed that I am wearing clothes to hide in, instead of clothes that I like to wear. Don’t get me wrong, I knew I was gaining weight but not to the degree as to where I am now. And yes, each year, I tell myself that this will be the year that I’m going to shed some pounds. It never happened and I finally had to figure out why I continue to keep gaining the weight. I would like to put the blame to the fact that I work too much, that I’m too busy taking care of everyone else’s needs instead of my own, not knowing what to eat or how to exercise. That’s all bullshit! The problem is that after all of that, I am tired and lazy and I really like to eat (I love my sweets and I love my Pepsi). And the worst part about it, is that any time I choose to take part in dieting and exercising, I respond very well and very quickly. What I have come to understand is that I am going to have to retrain my mind on how to do things better. The hard part is getting started. Is anyone out there having the same issues? What’s working for you and how are you losing the weight and keeping it off? I really want to know and I would love to hear from you.

Today’s Wunder Recipe

PASTA FAGILOI

Ingredients
3 Tbs plus ¼ c extra-virgin olive oil
2 carrots, finely diced
1 yellow onion, finely diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 plum tomatoes, diced
2 15-oz cans chick peas, drained
6 c chicken stock
2 fresh thyme sprigs
3 fresh rosemary sprigs
8 oz ditalini or other small pasta, cooked to al dente
Salt and pepper to taste
Pecorino-Romano cheese, grated
Instructions
1. Heat 3 Tbs olive oil in a large dutch oven. Add carrots and onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 8 minutes. Add garlic and tomato, and cook another minute. Add chick peas, chicken stock, and thyme sprigs. Increase heat to medium-high and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, covered, for 30 minutes. Discard thyme.
2. Chop one rosemary sprig and set aside. In a large skillet, heat remaining ¼ c olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining 2 rosemary sprigs and let fry for 2 minutes. Remove rosemary, and keep olive oil warm.
3. Using a slotted spoon, scoop about ½ of the chick pea mixture into a bowl. Mash with a potato masher until almost smooth. Add chick pea puree to the olive oil in the pan and saute for 2 minutes. Add pasta and 1 c of soup broth, and cook until warmed through. Add back to the rest of the soup. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with Pecorino-Romano cheese and reserved chopped rosemary

Today’s Wunder Recipe

Lemon Ricotta Parmesan Pasta with Spinach and Grilled Chicken | Cooking Class

LEMON RICOTTA PARMESAN PASTA WITH GRILLED CHICKEN AND SPINACH

Doesn’t this sound amazing??? I love ricotta on anything!

Ingredients
1 lb grilled chicken breasts, sliced into strips
1 lb dry linguine, fettucine or spaghetti
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 cup reserved pasta water
6 oz fresh baby spinach, steamed just until beginning to wilt
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups ricotta cheese
1/2 cup finely shredded parmesan, plus more for serving

Directions
Cook pasta in salted water according to directions listed on package, reserve 1 cup pasta water before draining pasta.
Drain water (reserve 1 cup) and return pasta to pot. Set pot over medium-low heat and add olive oil, lemon zest, lemon juice, ricotta, 1/2 cup hot reserved pasta water and parmesan and toss to evenly coat. Add in more pasta water as desired to thin and season with salt and pepper to taste, cook and toss, about 2 minutes, until ricotta is heated through. Toss in spinach and grilled chicken. Serve warm topped with more parmesan if desired.

Challenging!

Good morning everyone, have a great weekend!

Hello to my wunderful readers. Sorry that it’s been so long since I’ve lasted posted anything. Going back to school, on top of working two jobs, has proven to be a little more challenging and time consuming than I had anticipated. I go through these thoughts wundering why I am even bothering with any of this at my age. Then I think, “why not?” The only thing I can gain from this is good. It’s never a bad thing to go back to school and of course it takes a lot of time and work but all good things do, right? I just wanted to check in and let you know that I think I have finally got a hold on things and should be able to post on a regular basis, once again. Thanks for reading. Have an amazing weekend! I will be taking a mid-term, (everyone pray for me, LOL).

Today’s Wunder Recipe

Creamy pasta filled with chicken, sun dried tomatoes and spinach! Bake in a casserole topped with lots of cheese, YUM!

ITALIAN CHICKEN CASSEROLE

Ingredients:
• 1 lb cooked and cubed chicken breasts (or use a rotisserie)
• 1 box (16oz) linguine noodles
• 2 Tbsp olive oil
• 4 cloves garlic, pressed
• 1/2 cup tomatoes, chopped
• 2 Tbsp cornstarch
• 1 cup chicken broth
• 2 cup heavy cream
• 1 cup milk
• 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
• 1/2 tsp black pepper
• 5oz pkg fresh spinach
• 1/2 cup parmesan cheese, grated
• 2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese, divided

Directions:
1. Cook linguine according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium high heat. Add garlic and tomatoes. Cook for about 2 minutes. Sprinkle with cornstarch, mix thoroughly.
3. Add chicken broth, heavy cream and milk, whisking quickly. Add salt and pepper. Heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add spinach and parmesan cheese. Remove from heat. Pour sauce over cooked noodles. Add cooked chicken and pour into a large casserole dish (13×9 size). Top with mozzarella cheese. You can bake immediately, or cover with foil and place in refrigerator until dinner.
4. If baking immediately, bake covered with foil for 350 degree for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5 minutes until cheese is browned.
5. If baking after the dish has been refrigerated, bake covered with foil in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes. Remove foil and bake an additional 5-10 minutes. ENJOY!

Today’s Wunder Recipe

Gooey Ginger Chicken - Make this delicious restaurant-quality Vietnamese recipe at home using commonly found ingredients!

GINGER CHICKEN

Ingredients
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon chopped shallots
• 1 tablespoon minced garlic
• 1 teaspoon chopped fresh chili pepper (your choice of pepper – mild or hot, or leave the chili pepper out entirely if you prefer)
• 3 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
• 2 pounds boneless skinless chicken cut into bite sized pieces (mix white and dark meat)
• 4 tablespoons Vietnamese Caramel
• ¼ cup chicken stock
• 2 tablespoons fish sauce
• Corn starch as needed
• ½ cup scallions, cut on the bias into one inch strips (3 or 4 scallions, top and bottom)
• Steamed white rice, to serve with the chicken

Instructions
1. Begin by preparing (chopping, measuring, etc.) all of the ingredients for this dish (per the ingredients list in this recipe) before you start to cook.
2. Prepare your rice so that it is cooked and ready when this dish is ready. It takes about 30 minutes to cook the chicken so plan your rice cooking time accordingly.
3. In a wok or similar shaped fry pan, heat to high and add oil, swirling it around to coat sides.
4. Add shallot, garlic, optional chili pepper and ginger and stir fry for one minute. Add chicken and toss to coat. Reduce heat slightly and cook for five minutes tossing and stirring occasionally to season the chicken.
5. Stir in caramel sauce, chicken stock, and fish sauce. Reduce to a simmer and let chicken cook in this liquid for approximately 20-30 minutes until the sauce thickens and clings to the chicken. If after 30 minutes the sauce is not thick enough, mix a small amount of corn starch and water together and drizzle a small amount at a time into the hot liquid and stir as you go. Once it reaches the desired consistency, remove from the heat and stir in scallions.
6. Serve over plenty of steamed white rice.

Today’s Wunder Recipe

Chicken Penne Salad with Creamy Parmesan Dressing | Creme de la Crumb

CHICKEN PENNE SALAD WITH CREAMY PARMESAN DRESSING

Instructions
  1. Place penne in a medium sauce pan. Cover noodles with water. Bring to a boil and cook until fork-tender. Drain and set aside.
  2. Season chicken on both sides with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning. Cook in an oiled pan or skillet over medium heat 4-5 minutes on each side until cooked through. Transfer to a cutting board and chop into 1 inch pieces.
  3. In a large bowl toss together penne, chicken, spinach, red peppers, sundried tomatoes, and cheese.
  4. Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender or food processor. Pulse until smooth. Pour dressing over salad ingredients, toss to combine, and serve.