Thai Style Coleslaw

I have been in such a funk lately.  An "I'm-such-an-old-frumpy-grumpy-blah-looking-Mom" type of funk.  Have you been in one of those before?  They really stink!

Yesterday, I decided it was enough.  I marched into my stylist and told her to chop off my hair.  Yep.  A total pixie cut with my ears sticking out and everything.  I needed a change and it needed to be drastic to snap me out of the blahs!   It is amazing how powerful a sassy new cut and color can be to a person.
My awesome new cut inspired me to change into an outfit that would match my cute hair.  I can't rock a great new hairstyle in jeans and a sweatshirt.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some jeans and a t-shirt/sweatshirt but, here's to trying a bit harder on a more regular basis.  How you look on the outside has a powerful effect on how you feel on the inside.

And when you feel good on the inside, you are more inspired to do things like eat right, exercise, work hard and prioritize your life the right way.  So go throw on your sassiest outfit, some sexy make-up then make your rock-star self this kick-butt coleslaw.  Healthy food has never been so sassy!
This coleslaw is sweet, sour, spicy, salty and crunchy, which equals delicious!  The dressing recipe does make a bit more than what you need, so you can either save some for later, or just add a bit more coleslaw.  

Thai Style Coleslaw
(recipe by Carole Jones of
1 Tb Thai sweet chili sauce
1 large garlic clove, minced
1 tsp minced fresh ginger
1 Tb soy sauce
1 tsp sesame oil
2 Tb sugar or sugar substitute
1/2 tsp fresh ground black pepper
1/3 C rice wine vinegar
1/3 C peanut oil

1 bag of coleslaw mix
5 green onions, chopped
3-4 Tb chopped cilantro
roasted, salted peanuts, chopped

1.  To make the dressing, combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and whisk well together until the mixture comes all together.  Add the ingredients for the slaw, except for the peanuts, and toss together with the dressing.  Allow the slaw to sit for 10-15 minutes then serve immediately with the peanuts sprinkled over the top.  If you let it sit too long with the dressing on it, your coleslaw will wilt too much and become mushy.

Coconut Pecan Frosted Brownies

I'm going to say the line every man dreads to hear from the woman he loves: you notice anything different about me?

Well.  Do you?
If you are a man, and haven't figured it out yet.....I got a make-over!!  Well, I guess my blog got a make-over, but I feel like I did too!

I was looking for something much more clean and modern.  Not so much "stuff" to distract from the purpose of what I do here....the FOOD!

So, be honest with me and tell me what you think.  I have heard from some readers who love it and some who preferred the old "homier" look.  If you don't like it, don't worry.  I figure in about a year, I will be tired of this new look and head back to my blog beautician for something different.
In honor of this momentous occasion, I decided to give my favorite brownie recipe of all time a new and different look as well.  I use this brownie base for everything and I adore it.  However, it was time to spice it up a bit beyond my normal chocolate frosting.  This coconut pecan frosting did the trick. 

Now, I'm going to ask something that will sound impossible when you read it.  Please make these the day before you need them and let them sit overnight.  You can do it.  I promise.  Your patience and willpower will be tremendously rewarded.  I can't tell you the science of what happens, but I can tell you from experience that these are great after they cool but outstanding after they sit overnight.

Coconut Pecan Frosted Brownies
makes 9 x 13 pan
(Brownies from The New Best Recipe, Frosting from Trisha Yearwood)

1 1/4 C cake flour
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 tsp baking powder
6 oz unsweetened chocolate, chopped fine
12 Tb unsalted butter, cut into pieces
2 1/4 C sugar
4 large eggs
1 Tb vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees and lightly grease a 9 x 13 glass baking pan.  In medium bowl, whisk the four, salt and baking powder.
2.  Melt chocolate and butter in microwave in a large bowl using 30 second increments, stirring after each time.  Do not let the chocolate burn!  Whisk in the sugar gradually.  Add eggs one at a time, whisking after each egg until thoroughly combined.  Whisk in the vanilla.
3.  Add the flour mixture in three additions, folding with a rubber spatula until the batter is smooth and homogeneous.
4.  Spread batter into prepared pan and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the brownies comes out with a few moist crumbs attached, about 30-35 minutes.  Make the frosting while the brownies cook.  After cooked, cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes then top with frosting.  Allow to cool completely before serving, and even better would be to let them sit overnight!

Coconut Pecan Frosting:
1 C evaporated milk
4 egg yolks
1 C sugar
1/2 C butter
10 ounces shredded coconut
1 1/2 C pecans, toasted *Yes, it makes a difference!
1 tsp vanilla

1.  In a medium saucepan, whisk together the evaporated milk and egg yolks until completely combined.  Add the sugar and continue to whisk.  Place over medium-low heat, add the butter and mix continually until it begins to simmer.  Continue to cook and stir for another 12 minutes until thick.  If you happen to get any piece of cooked egg, just simply remove it.  Mix in the coconut, nuts and vanilla and set aside until the brownies are ready.

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower

I am busy working on my sole New Year's resolution.  Don't ask me what it is, because I won't share it with you.  Don't take it personally.  I don't share my resolutions with anyone.  Nope.  Nada.  No one.

This is my first year just to focus on one instead of becoming overwhelmed by too big of a list.  Granted, I am only 11 days in, but it is going well.  I also haven't hit the "hard" part of this change either, so I know my most difficult challenge still lies ahead of me.

I am proud to even consider pushing myself so completely outside my comfort zone.  Wish me luck!
For anyone whose resolution is related to food in any way, this post is just for you!  Don't just pass by this post because it is about boring, bland cauliflower.

This cauliflower will kick you in the butt and sass in your face about how amazing it is and how you have always underestimated its awesomeness!

My cousin over at Made From Pinterest also gave this recipe a go and they loved it at well.  Now you know two of us can't lie about how crazy good this stuff was!
Seriously, I'm not trying to trick you.  This cauliflower is OUTSTANDING.  I don't think I will EVER steam cauliflower again.  The only change I will make the next time I prepare this (and there will be many, many more preparations of this stuff) will be trying a bit less olive oil just to cut down on the fat content.  I will try 3 Tb next time and see if the results are any less SPECTACULAR!

Honestly, my husband and I ate the WHOLE head of cauliflower ourselves at lunch.  Yep, that great.

Garlic Parmesan Cauliflower
recipe adapted from One Perfect Bite
1 large head of cauliflower, cut into florets
4 large cloves of garlic, minced (I use a microplane)
1/4 C extra virgin olive oil
2 Tb fresh lemon juice
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1/4 C freshly grated parmesan cheese

1.  Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients, except for the parmesan cheese.  Mix well until all the seasonings are evenly distributed over the pieces of cauliflower.  Pour the mixture evenly onto a large ungreased jelly roll pan and spread out so the cauliflower is in a single layer.  This is very important so don't crowd your pan!  Use two pans if you don't have a large enough pan to put it all on at once.  Roast in the oven for 25 minutes.
2.  Remove from the oven and sprinkle on the parmesan cheese.  Put back into the oven for another 2-3 minutes.  If you would like to serve this in a nice dish, transfer the cauliflower into a serving dish before adding the cheese, then put the pretty dish in the oven for the 2-3 minutes.

Walking Tacos

So my baby is officially gone.  Last night was her first night in her dorm 1100 miles away and I spent the whole night with tears in my eyes and anxiety tight in my chest.  All the excitement I had felt for the past few months flew out the window and was replaced with an overwhelming level of sadness, nervousness and fear.  It shocked me because that has never been me as a Mom.

Before she left for BYU, we threw her a fun early-graduation party with family, friends and teachers.  What a perfect way to send someone off to college:  surrounded by all those who had a hand in helping you get there!
When it came time to design her graduation cake, she was quite specific that it needed to be hot pink and black.  When I reminded her that BYU (or "The Y") proudly sported the blue and white, she didn't seem to care.  Hot pink and black it was!
The 8" triple layer cake itself was quick and easy to make, however the 140 cupcakes that went with the cake took all day.  She adored the end result, so it was well worth my time, sore feet and back.
Since the cake took all of my time leading up to the party, I knew I needed something quick and easy to serve the guests.  I chose to do walking tacos, because now after 8 years in Minnesota, it is about time I embrace the tradition.  Maybe now that I have served them in my home, I can be considered a native Minnesotan.  I'll have to check the state by-laws and statutes.

I had never heard of a walking taco until I went to my first PTA meeting here and was put in charge of them for the carnival.  I explained I was more than happy to help, but first they would have to explain to me what the heck one was!  They thought I was joking.  Really.
Like all good things in Minnesota, a walking taco is simple and ingenious.  Use a pair of scissors to slice off the side (NOT the end!) of a bag of Doritos.  Sure, you could use Fritos, but I'm trying to be pure Minnesota authentic.  Why cut the side you ask?  Because that opening is bigger and it is easier to stuff all your toppings into it without making a mess!
Now that your bag is open, crush the chips a bit with your hand and load it up with all the fixings!  I used lean ground beef seasoned with taco seasoning, cheese, lettuce, sour cream and salsa.  Grab your fork and viola!  A taco you can walk around with and not make a mess....a walking taco!