December 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Fudge


Each holiday season, I volunteer myself to make what seems like too much, but somehow end up finding the time to bake it all! This peanut butter fudge recipe will change your life! With only three ingredients AND no baking, this one can be tackled and crossed off of the list in less than 15 minutes.

Recipe adapted from Lauren's Latest.

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 (14-oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
  • 12 Reese's peanut butter cups, unwrapped and quartered
DIRECTIONS
  1. Line an 8x8 pan with foil and lightly spray nonstick cooking spray; set aside. 
  2. In a double boiler over medium heat, combine the chocolate chips and sweetened condensed milk. Slowly heat until melted, about 7 minutes. Stir until there are no lumps, then immediately pour it into the foil-lined pan. Smooth the surface with a spatula.
  3. Press the chopped Reese's into the smoothed surface. Refrigerate for at least 2 hours before removing from the pan and cutting into bite-size squares. Enjoy!




December 23, 2014

Turkey Meatballs


As a distance runner, this is my go-to for a great source of carbs and protein. When eating clean during training, I love to use Kroger's 99% fat free ground turkey and their 100% whole grain spaghetti noodles. Since the meatballs are very simple to make, I make them a pound at a time and freeze any leftovers for a future, even easier meal.

Original recipe was from Gwyneth Paltrow's It's All Good: Delicious, Easy Recipes That Will Make You Look Good and Feel Great cookbook and featured in Self Magazine, but has been adapted.

INGREDIENTS
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, freshly minced
  • 2 Tbsp. EVOO
  • ¼ c. Italian Parsley, chopped
  • 3 Basil leaves, chopped
  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 c. Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
DIRECTIONS
  1. Heat skillet over medium heat with EVOO. Once oil is hot, add the chopped onion and garlic. Sauté until fragrant and translucent. Remove from heat; set aside.
  2. In a glass bowl, add the ground turkey, chopped parsley and basil, breadcrumbs, salt and pepper, onion and garlic mixture, and egg. Mix with hands; combine well, but careful to not overwork the meat.
  3. Add more EVOO to the skillet; reheat oil. Roll turkey mixture into balls. Cook meatballs in skillet, flipping sides until browned, about 10 minutes. 
  4. Serve immediately over cooked pasta noodles and freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Enjoy! 






December 21, 2014

Potato Bites



This is one basic, easy-to-go-to recipe you will want to keep in close reach. With only four ingredients, these potatoes are packed with flavor, yet can be served with breakfast or dinner. Oh and did I mention this is another recipe from my mother? She seriously has the best recipes in her collection!

INGREDIENTS
  • 4 russet potatoes, cut into cubes
  • 3 Tbsp butter, melted
  • 1/3 c. EVOO
  • 2 packages Lipton Onion Soup Mix
DIRECTIONS
  1. Combine all ingredients and arrange on a baking tray.
  2. Bake at 350°F for 40 minutes, or until potatoes are cooked through. Enjoy!

*Baker is from Crate and Barrel, similar here.



December 16, 2014

Carrie's Creations Turns 5


Five years ago today, in my college apartment with a point-and-shoot camera, I published my very first post.

I initially started this blog to share recipes I made with my family while I was away at college. My photos, staging, and writing have come a long way since then!

177 posts and 33,137 all-time page views later, I want to thank each of you for reading and sharing. Thank you for the accountability. Thank you for the support. You have no idea how much it means to me when you tell me how much you enjoyed a certain recipe or that you miss my posts when some time has passed. I love being able to share my passion with you. Here’s to another year!

November 19, 2014

RVA Wednesday: Strawberry Street Café


Strawberry Street Café has been operating since 1976. Located on Strawberry Street in the heart of the historic Fan District of Richmond, the restaurant is within walking distance for many Fan residents, including myself. Their notorious salad bar bathtub is the talk of the town! With fresh fruits, veggies and salads [pasta, chicken, tuna, etc.] you could easily fill up at the salad bar. The menu is reasonably priced and the atmosphere is casual and cozy- a great spot for catching up with with friends.



Offering traditional American cuisine with a southern flair, I wasn't sure how I would settle on one menu item. I was very pleased with my final decision- the Fried Green Tomato BLT. It came on toasted white bread, had thick cut hickory smoked bacon, crisp lettuce and a lightly breaded fried green tomato with a side of basil aioli. The basil aioli was a perfect complement to the sandwich. For my side, I chose the White Cheddar Mac and Cheese. My tummy was in southern heaven!


Whether you live in the area or are visiting Richmond, be sure to visit Strawberry Street Café. This Fan favorite will not disappoint!



November 18, 2014

Travel Tuesday: Tybee Island


This past Fourth of July, Mike and I vacationed on Tybee Island for two days. The island, nicknamed Savannah's Beach, is located on the eastern most point of Georgia, about a 20 minute drive from Savannah. The island offers plenty of charm and fantastic dining options throughout its three square miles. Knowing we wouldn't be able to try all of the restaurants on this trip, I wanted to make sure we ate at establishments recommended by our friends and family. We ended up deciding on AJ's Dockside Restaurant and Tybee Island Social Club.

Simply charming. My favorite house on the island that we passed
while walking to AJ's Dockside Restaurant for dinner.

Enjoying the sun!




AJ's Dockside Restaurant is on the southwestern side of the island, overlooking the river. We lucked out going early as they do not take reservations. Upon arriving, the hostess gave us our choice of seating- all with prime views of the river! After looking over the menu, we decided on the same thing- house salads with balsamic dressing (the best balsamic we've ever had I might add!) and grilled chicken sandwiches. Yum!

During our walk, we noticed we only had 382 steps to AJ's left to go :)



House Salads and Grilled Chicken Sandwiches




I'll be honest, the Bacon Bloody Mary's are what drew me to Tybee Island Social Club. Located along the main road, this place is every bit relaxing and refreshing. The eclectic decor, made-from-scratch menu, and friendly staff made for a pleasant escape from the afternoon sun. I wanted to order everything on the menu!

The Best Smoked Vodka Bacon Bloody Mary Ever came highly recommended and did not disappoint! It was almost too pretty to consume. Almost. Since I couldn't be on just a liquid diet, I also ordered a side salad and fish taco. The fish taco was a white fish marinated in fresh lime juice with a strip of bacon, pear puree, chorizo and fresh cilantro. Ahhh-mazing. Mike enjoyed the Social Burger. Unfortunately, I wasn't quick enough to snap a picture! We left feeling replete and knowing we would be coming back the next time we visit Tybee Island.

A quaint covered porch.

Tybee Island Social Club's delicious menu

"The Best Smoked Vodka Bacon Bloody Mary Ever"
Literally.

Fish Taco, Side Salad & "The Best Smoked Vodka Bacon Bloody Mary Ever"

Mike found the deer on the island ;)

Patiently waiting for our food with my natural beach waves!


 Until next time, Tybee, thank you for the great food and memories!

November 16, 2014

Carrie's 2014 Culinary Christmas Tree


It's turning into the most wonderful time of year! After seeing decorations on display at Short Pump Town Center and my first snowfall of the season in New York last weekend, I couldn't wait any longer!

Growing up, my parent's would call me "the Christmas girl" because I loved getting the house decorated early for the holiday season… and I still do to this day. I saw this eCard and immediately knew this will be me one day. To my future children, I am sorry, but this will happen. Who knows, my parents probably did the same thing to me!


Baker Santa is from Kohl's back in 2010.
Stainless utensil set is from Crate and Barrel, 2011.
Red kitchen ornaments are from Sur la Table, 2011.
Copper ornaments are an eBay win, 2012.
The best for last - the tree is from my American Girl collection!

Check out these links from previous posts of my culinary tree and baker Santa.







November 11, 2014

Veteran's Day


Thank you to all who have served our country and fought for our freedom.
God Bless America.



October 27, 2014

Monster Bars


Can you imagine many of your favorites mixed into one delicious bar?
Reese's Pieces… Peanut butter… Oats...
As a kid, my mom has made these bars every fall and they never lasted long in my family. Since it contains eggs, peanut butter and oats, they are considered healthy, right?!

INGREDIENTS
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 stick of butter, melted
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. white Karo syrup
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 c. crunchy peanut buter
  • 4½ c. uncooked oats
  • 6 oz. chocolate chips
  • 6 oz. Reese's pieces
DIRECTIONS
  1. Preheat oven to 325°F.
  2. Cream together eggs and butter. Add baking soda, Karo, vanilla, and peanut butter until blended; stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips and Reese's pieces.
  3. Press into an ungreased 9x13"baking dish. Bake for 20 minutes.
Let bars cool completely before cutting. Enjoy!


October 26, 2014

Lasagna


Italian food is hands down, my favorite cuisine. I have made pizza, spaghetti, ziti, stuffed shells, but never lasagna. After looking through many recipes, I came across this one, which I adapted from Maggiano's blog. It was very simple-- just allow some prep and assembly time.

This is a great meal to make the night before, and let sit in the refrigerator overnight. The next day, just preheat the oven and bake for 30 minutes. A little serving goes a long way, as this is very rich! Disclosure: Recipe is not gluten free, dairy free, or lactose free!

INGREDIENTS
Assembly:
  • 1 box lasagna noodles, cooked
  • Lasagna filling (recipe below)
  • 1½ lbs. ground beef (optional for vegetarians)
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 2 (28 oz.) jars marinara sauce
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 10 oz Mozzarella cheese, freshly grated
Filling: (3.5 quarts)
  • 4 whole eggs
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 lbs Ricotta cheese
  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, finely minced
  • ½ cup all-purpose, unbleached flour
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Dash of nutmeg
  • Dash of oregano
DIRECTIONS
Filling:
  1. In large mixing bowl, add the eggs, Parmesan cheese, ricotta cheese and garlic.
  2. Mix well with whisk. Add the flour, salt and pepper, nutmeg and oregano. Mix until completely incorporated.
  3. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate.
Meat option:
  1. In a large sauté pan, cook ground beef, onion, and Italian seasoning over medium heat, until browned. Drain and set aside for assembly.
Assembly:
  1. Using a spatula, spread ½ cup marinara sauce on bottom of 8 qt. baking pan. Lay a layer of pasta over sauce.
  2. Spread 3 cups of lasagna filling evenly over pasta with spatula. Spread ¾ cup of cooked meat evenly over filling (optional). Spread 3 ounces of marinara sauce evenly over filling. Sprinkle ¼ cup Parmesan cheese on top. Place another pasta layer on top.
  3. Repeat layers of pasta and filling. Spread ¼ cup of marinara on top layer.
To Cook:
  1. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes or until sauce is bubbling around the edges.
  2. Melt grated Mozzarella over top and broil for 5 minutes. Remove from oven and allow dish to rest for 15 minutes.
  3. Cut into portions and serve with additional marinara, grated Parmesan, and fresh basil.
Enjoy! :)