Category Archives: Create!

BLT Chicken Burgers

blt chicken burgersMmmmmmmmmm. It’s summer! Summer means burgers (to me at least, and I think my husband is pretty okay with that!)

I was messing around the other night and developed a new recipe that I wanted to share with you all. Before I start, please don’t hate me, but I’m one of those ‘eye it’ people. I’m not very precise on measurements, especially since I am in a metric country! Also, sorry, but I don’t have a photo of my burgers, mostly because we were really hungry.

This recipe came about because I am a huge fan of BLT, Jeremy is a huge fan of anything with bacon, and we don’t have bacon here. We do, however, still have a bag of the salad topping bacon bits that we have been using sparingly for the last six months. Also, I am not sure where the prices currently are in America, but here meat is about more than three times as expensive as chicken. So, I recently discovered that I could grind chicken in my food processor (they won’t do it at the butcher, but by cutting the chicken into smaller pieces and putting them in with the blade attachment of the food processor, you can easily grind your own.) With that revelation, I knew that I had to try to make a chicken burger, so I did. And it was beautiful.

BLT Chicken Burgers

Ingredients: (again, these are not super precise)

1 kilo ground chicken (2.2 pounds)
2-3 tablespoons McCormick Grill Mates Molasses Bacon spice (I might add a bit more of this next time, because it wasn’t overly strong.)
about 2 cups crushed crackers/breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups bacon bits
1/2 a large onion, chopped

I took all of the above ingredients and mixed them thoroughly (mostly using my hands.) Then, I shaped the chicken into burgers, mine were quite big because I had anticipated them shrinking some as they cooked, but they didn’t. I had 7 huge burgers, but if I did it again, I would probably decrease the size quite a bit and get more like 12 from this much chicken. Once I had shaped the burgers, I stuck them in the oven on 240° C/450 °F for about 10 minutes to start the cooking process. Then, I removed them from the oven and fried them on the stove top in a small amount of oil. Cook until the outsides are browned.

pin this!
pin this!

Then, of course, to make it a true BLT Chicken Burger you should pair with onions, lettuce, and fresh tomatoes on a bun with ketchup, mayonnaise, and mustard . . . the perfect combination for summer!!

The best side dishes for this meal: sunchips and cucumber salad.

Afiyet olsun!!

Summer Hair

This is me, venturing out a little into the world of beauty blogging! I don’t generally do this, but I’ve recently stumbled upon a perfect summer hairstyle that my hair has personally been in the last two days straight! I started doing this with my hair before going to bed because I was getting really tired of sleeping on a wet pillow, but I still wanted to have manageable hair in the morning. If I braid my hair, it’s manageable, but I have a wet pillow. If I put it in a bun, it keeps my pillow dry, but is rather unruly in the morning. Well, turned out that I combined the two and then liked it so much that I started wearing it during the day too!

I know I’m probably not the first one to do this, but I didn’t get it from anyone else, hence I’m actually sharing the pictures of me doing it today to hopefully help you out if you want to try the same. This has become my go-to for the summer because it keeps my hair up and off of my neck, but I like the look, too. Plus, as a bonus, it takes me less than 5 minutes to do!

hair

To start, this can work with almost any hair. I actually have quite slippery hair, and I haven’t had a problem getting my hair up in this at all. You can start wet or dry, but I kind of prefer in the middle (again, I sleep with my hair like this at night, and it gives it an extra boost of volume and a little bit of curl, too.) Next, pull all of your hair back in to a pony – I prefer it to be rather high, and slightly off center – I am definitely NOT a ballerina!! Once you’ve got it all up in a high pony, start braiding (I’d suggest making sure the top of the braid is fairly tight so that it will lay well when you spin it around.) You don’t need an elastic to hold the braid, because once you finish, you are going to wrap it around the ponytail. Once you get to the end of your braid, tuck the open end back into the elastic from your original pony-tail. At this point, you should have a pretty good looking braided bun on top of your head, but if there are any places that look questionable, just mess around and stick some bobby-pins in until it looks the way you want. And voila! Super easy, super fun summer hair that requires no heat, and very few materials.

If you try it, post a pic on instagram and tag me!

By the way, I do realize that I was MIA for a few weeks, but I have just finished my Master’s Degree, have been reading voraciously (aka, reviews to come!!),  and summer is here, so . . . I’m getting excited for the possibilities!!

28 Days of LOVEliness: His Something Sweet

So, my sweet husband posted for me yesterday so that I wouldn’t have a missed day. I love him. 🙂 The picture he posted was of my choice of sweet last week when he took me out for my birthday dinner.

Well, tonight I decided to bake something for Jeremy for Valentine’s Day, and I wanted something that he’d be able to take with him when he is traveling this weekend. So, I found a set of silicone mini muffin cups and a recipe that I have to say turned out pretty good!! Sorry I don’t have pictures of the muffins, but they did turn out quite nice and cute!!

I’m sharing the recipe with you here (in case you need a last minute gift for probably just about ANY guy!) but I found the original recipe HERE at Food.com.

Enjoy! Let me know what sweet treats your whipping up this week in the comments below!

IMG_5066Maple Bacon Muffins

Time: about 30/40 minutes
Servings: around 35 mini muffins
Oven Temp: set to 400° F or 200° C 

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
a handful or two of crumbled bacon (the recipe calls for 8 slices, but we use the pre-cooked, pre-crumbled salad bacon)
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
——————-
1 egg
1/2 cup milk (I used soy!)
1/2 cup oil
2/3 cup maple syrup (we don’t have maple syrup in Turkey, but I generally make syrup for pancakes by boiling together 1 c. white sugar, 1 c. brown sugar, and 1 c. water – and that worked great!!)

Now, here’s the tricky part. Mix together the dry ingredients (above the line) in one bowl. Mix the wet ingredients (below the line) in a second bowl. Mix the dry and the wet ingredients until the mixture is just moistened. Spoon into muffin cups (about 2/3 of the way full.) Because I was using the mini muffin cups, I set the timer for 10 minutes with 24 in, and then added 5 – so 15 minutes total. The second batch was only about 10 or so, so they only needed around 11 minutes. Just start with 10 minutes and keep an eye on them. A toothpick should come out clean when they are done.

Then . . . be careful, because the mini muffins are far too easy to just pop in your mouth, and before you know it 2 . . . or 6 are gone!!

Let me know what you think about this recipe!! It was definitely a hit for the both of us (I had to have one . . . or two to make sure they were worth giving!!)

Happy Valentine’s Eve!!

New Beginnings: Cleaning!!

71624_103231003077722_3910936_nMaybe your house is already perfect, but mine is far from it. So, as New Year’s rolled around, one of my resolutions was to get a little more organized in the cleaning department. I had an inkling that I might not be the only one out there who could improve on my cleaning skills, so I decided to ask someone who I really respect in regards to keeping a clean house. Meet my mom!! There have been times in our family where we might possibly have made fun of my mom for cleaning all the time, but when it comes down to it, she is really a great example of keeping a clean home and why it is important. I asked my mom if she would be willing to answer some questions on here, and she agreed! So, today, I get to share with you her ideas about cleaning!! Enjoy!

1. Why do you think it is important to keep a clean home? 

I think that my husband deserves to come home to an orderly and clean home after a hard day at work. I believe that it sets an example for my children and I believe that I should always be ready in case someone should stop over or someone would need a place to stay.  Don’t be afraid to include children in the cleaning.  You can make cleaning fun.

2. Do you follow a schedule in your cleaning?

No, I just try to do a little each day so that you aren’t overwhelmed on cleaning day or when you have to get ready for guests. 

3. What is your best advice for keeping a clean home? 

To clean up as you go.  It only takes a few minutes to put something away when you are through with it.  Do things that make your home look tidy like making your bed as soon as you get up.  A bedroom looks much neater if the bed is made.  Hang your clothes up or put them in the hamper as soon as you take them off and teach your children to do the same thing.  If you are baking, put things away and dirty dishes in the sink as you go along. 

4. How do you manage your time with full-time work, cooking, and keeping the home? 

I try to take a couple of minutes before I leave for work to make sure everything is put away off the kitchen counters like dishes that I left to dry the evening before.  My bed is always made when I leave for work.  That means I don’t feel overwhelmed as soon as I get home.  I make dinner and clean up all that I can before we eat.  If I have pans, knives, cutting board, etc., I wash all that while dinner is cooking/baking.  I clean up right away after dinner.  I try to keep the laundry caught up so it doesn’t become a daunting task.  I try to complete some cleaning each day. 

5. What is the biggest challenge for you with house-keeping (either cooking and/or cleaning)?

My biggest challenge is getting ready for company and still allowing my family to live their lives in the house.

6. What are your favorite products or resources for keeping a clean home? 

A good vaccuum cleaner with attachments.
A duster/webber with a long handle.
A good stringy mop and large bucket.
Pine Sol – it makes the house smell clean.
Murphy’s dusting spray.
Soft Scrub.
Mr. Clean Magic Eraser.  (these are wonderful!)

7. For people who are hoping to improve their cleaning habits this year, what are three small steps that you would suggest that they take? 

  1. Take the extra minute to do the small tasks that make your house look neater. 
  2. Make a list of all the cleaning that you need to do in a week and make sure you check something off each day.
  3. If you are a TV watcher, use the commercials to get some small cleaning task done.

What is your best tip for New Year’s cleaning? Leave it in the comments below!!

Menu: Summer Picnic

Who doesn’t love an outdoor picnic in the summer! I was having company of four adults and three kids over to our tiny apartment the other night. I felt bad that the kids would be “cooped” up and unoccupied, so we decided to take dinner down to the park in the middle of our apartment complex. It turned out great! Also, I had wanted to have most of the preparations done before people arrived so that no one would feel obligated to help me, and I would be free to visit with friends and not worry about food. Well, this menu lends itself perfectly to that. The only thing that needed to be warm was the chicken, and I had made it ahead of time, left it on trays in the oven, and warmed it up for about 10-15 minutes once everyone had arrived and we were about ready to eat. Enjoy!

Mom’s Chicken Fingers

So good, and so incredibly easy!! I stole this from my mom. She usually makes hers in a deep-fryer, but I don’t have one, so I use a skillet on the stove-top. 

For a dinner party of around 9-10:

8 boneless, skinless chicken breasts sliced into one-inch strips
crackers (I use Turkish fish crackers, mom uses a sleeve of saltines)
3 eggs
oil

Begin by whisking your eggs in one bowl, and crushing your crackers in another. (You may find it easier to crush the crackers with a slicer or in a bag.) Heat a 1/4-1/2″ of oil in your skillet on the stove. Take your chicken strips, dip into the whisked eggs, dip into the cracker mixture so that the strips are completely coated, and place into the skillet. Allow the strips to cook until the crackers turn a golden brown (usually about 3-5 minutes) on each side. If you have thicker cuts of chicken, it will be important to leave them in a little longer so as to cook all the way through the meat.

You’re finished! I placed mine on baking sheets and left them in the oven until company arrived, then I just warmed them up for about 10 minutes, and they were great! These strips even taste great cold. We used to take them on the boat for dinner on the lake when I lived at home, and they are perfect!!

Honey Mustard

Now, I am an experimental cook, meaning that I don’t often measure things. So, I have no idea how much of everything I use in this recipe!! But, just guess and taste until you get it right.

Mayonnaise
Mustard (any kind, I’ve used dijon, sweet, normal yellow . . .)
Honey – optional
Cracked Pepper – optional (but it makes it prettier!) 

I usually start with my mayonnaise and put close to 3/4 cup of mayonnaise in a bowl. Then, I add around 1/4 cup of mustard. If you want it a little sweeter, add just a few squeezes of honey. I wanted mine to look pretty last night, so I added some cracked pepper, and it looked great. Just keep stirring and tasting until you get it to the right mixture of sweet and tangy!

Italian Pasta Salad

Nothing special here, just a tried and true pasta salad. 

Mixed pasta
Italian Dressing
Tomatoes
Olives

Cook your desired amount of pasta. Drain. Add Italian dressing (I used an entire bottle on my large bowl of pasta.) Add some tomatoes and olives. Put in the refrigerator. Done. You can also add some peppers, onions, or other vegetables as well. 

BLT Salad

I discovered this recipe my first year of marriage, and it is one of the best ways to get my husband to eat vegetables! 

Lettuce
Tomatoes
Onions
3 slices of cooked bacon (keep the drippings!)
Bread (any kind)
1/2 cup mayonnaise
2 tbs. vinegar
Any leafy spice

Combine chopped lettuce, tomatoes, and onions. Crumble bacon on top of the salad. Mix together the mayonnaise, bacon drippings, vinegar, and a dash of your favorite spice. Pour over salad. Butter the bread and toast in a skillet until crispy and toss on top of the salad. Voila!

Fruit Salad & Cinnamon Crisps

I did this on a whim, but was really happy with the outcome! 

Fruits of your choice, I used:
Watermelon
Peaches
Grapes
Kiwi
Honey
Tortillas
Butter
Cinnamon & Sugar

Prepare your fruit salad to your own liking. I added a touch of honey on the top of mine, and also made sure to cut all of my fruits relatively small so that they would be easier to dip the crisps into.

For the crisps, cut your tortillas into small triangularish pieces. Butter on the top, sprinkle with cinnamon and sugar, and bake at around 325* for 5-10 minutes or until the tops are golden brown.

That was our dinner! Super easy and summery. Hope you enjoy!