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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Spring and Summer Dining Outdoors

Spring is here, Summer is right around the corner! It's time to get that patio set out of the garage and cleaned off.

We now have extended our homes by bringing the inside outside. A grill and a folding lawn chair has come along way. Outdoor couches, rugs and pillows extend the beauty of our style. Oh and don't forget the ambiance and mood set by outdoor step lighting I love the look of the round step and deck lights in ceramic, such a elegant touch to my rod iron set that never goes out of style.

Hanging strands of lights, torches, candles and outdoor step lighting are all the little accents you need to make your look complete. Oh, and it serves a purpose too!

So update your old looks with some new chic items, who said that skewer has to be straight? It doesn't fit on your plate, why not bend it!!! Try it you will be pleasantly surprised ;)

Skewers are used for more than grilling. Try my recipe: Caprese Salad Skewers With Basil Vinaigrette at your next outdoor dinner. Such a great Appetizer perfect for outdoors and a party favorite while sipping lemonaide or Spring Sparkling White Wine Sangria on a lazy Saturday afternoon while Cooking The Perfect Steak on the grill.

Keep your eyes peeled, we have some great product reviews heading your way soon ;)

Happy Cooking ;)

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pretty Baby Shower Party Planning Ideas

We just had a Baby Shower for my Nephew this last weekend. The happy couple is indeed having a "boy" if you didn't already guess.

We held it at the family's Heavenly Scent Herb Farm a wonderful amazing place to visit just South of downtown Fenton Michigan. The huge barn on the property has been converted to a herb farm, gift and home decor shop. They hold weddings, garden parties and tea's there all the time. If you ever get the chance you need to check it out. Steve and Cathy (the owner's) have done an amazing job.

The theme they choose for the baby's room is green, yellow, brown's and blue with little animals.

Here I ordered the cupcakes in the green, blue and yellow. How perfect. We stacked heirloom cake plates to form a tree and placed the cupcakes around rotating the colors. Cupcakes are all the rage now and makes a beautiful presentation.

The gift table.

Coffee, Tea and Punch Service.

The table decorations, Ivy topiary with bunnies! How fitting for a baby shower this time of the year! The tables were lined with linen clothes and green, orange and yellow satin ribbons as accents.

I just fell in love with this stained glass wall! Some of the panes are broken but that makes it all the better! They have done a wonderful job with the little added touches to the room. The Heavenly Scent Herb Farm has wonderful herbs for sale, beautiful gardens with fountains oh there is so much to do and see. They even give cooking, gardening and fairy house making classes.

My Daughter and I will be heading out there in May for the Fairy House class. They carry a line of little collectible fairy's and all the little wonderful accessories to make her a tiny home ;)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday


Happy Palm Sunday ;)

Palm Sunday

In Christianity, the first day of Holy Week and the Sunday before Easter, commemorating Jesus' triumphal entry into Jerusalem. It usually includes a procession of members of the congregation carrying palms, representing the palm branches the crowd scattered in front of Jesus as he rode into the city. The liturgy also includes readings recounting the suffering and death of Jesus. Palm Sunday was celebrated in Jerusalem as early as the 4th century and in the West by the 8th century.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Baked Cheese Fries Quick Snack For Hungry Kids Or Football Parties

My kids are always hungry! You can use any type oven ready fries but I do use "real" cheese! Not the "cheese food" or processed cheese. Here is a little quick and easy snack for the growling tummies:


Oven ready french fries
Chunk of Real Medium Cheddar Cheese (shredded)
One scallion, sliced
Lite sour cream

Preheat oven to 400

I use the Schwan's quick bake french fries about one large handful per child. Place french fries on a cookie sheet and bake in oven about 20 minutes until slightly browned.

Transfer fries to oven safe plate and top the fries with the shredded cheddar cheese. Pop back in the oven for a couple of minutes until the cheese is melted.

Top with scallions and serve with a side of sour cream ;)

You can also top with your favorite chili for a football party appetizer too!


Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Healthy Chicken Meatloaf

This recipe is not only easy but it's healthy as well. No red meat here! It's also moist!

  • 1 lb. ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 1 - 14 1/2 oz can diced tomatoes, juice drained
  • 1/4 of a large onion, diced
  • 1/4 of a large green bell pepper, diced
  • 1 large carrot, diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg and 1 egg white, whisked
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tablespoon Italian spices
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • Ketchup
Preheat Oven to 350

Combine all ingredients into a large mixing bowl and mix together well.

Spray a loaf pan with non stick cooking spray.

Pour meatloaf mixture into prepared pan and make a well in the center. This prevents the edges from shrinking down and burning.

Fill the well with ketchup as shown here:

Bake at 350 for 40 minutes. Remove, cover and let sit for 15 minutes before serving.


Perfect Every Time Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

My Son Jack helped me bake these very simple and easy Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins. They are so good! They were gone by dinner time.


  • 3 Large Ripe Bananas
  • 3/4 Cup Sugar and some extra set aside
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup or one stick butter, melted
  • 1 1/2 cup chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 375

Line your 12 count muffin tin with liners and then spray them with non stick cooking spray, yes inside the papers.

Mix the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a mixing bowl.

Combine the bananas and sugar in a separate mixing bowl and mash with a potato masher until mashed and mixed well.

Beat the one egg with a fork with one teaspoon pure vanilla, then add to the banana, sugar mixture.

Add the flour to the banana mixture a little at a time just mix until blended (do not over mix). Add the chocolate chips mix in.

Using a ice cream scoop, scoop batter into the muffin tins.

Sprinkle the sugar you have set aside all over the top of the muffins.

Bake 20 minutes, remove and let cool on a baking rack.

Makes 12 yummy muffins ;)

Happy Cooking!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Craig's Restaurant Review: Brasserie, New York


100 East 53rd Street, New York
(212) 751-4840

What did I eat:

The Chef's selection Scottish Salmon with Brussels Sprouts, Cumin Beurre Blanc and a Caesar Salad.


I didn't really like it! It was just ok. The fish seamed to be prepared perfectly. I was expecting an amazing dinner which it was not. I did have food envy for the Filet that the person sitting next to me had ordered.

Wine: Red, have no clue, it was ok. I usually choose my own but this one was ordered from the other end of the table.

Atmosphere was great.

I would probably not go back unless I had to.

Restaurant Reviews: Cafe' Via, Birmingham MI

Cafe' Via Restaurant Review:

Location: Birmingham Michigan

Hubby had a filet w/pommes frites filet was good ;) The frites I think was the best part of the entire dinner.

I had the linguine, mussels, shrimp dish... wouldn't recommend. Something about the sauce I didn't care for the mussels were very "fishy" I HATE fishy! The other couple had the salmon and the sea bass. Sea bass was yummy ;)

We would go back for the ambiance and would have to try another meal before I would say whether or not I recommend it :/

I did have the Cafe' Via Chardonnay Napa - great! The rest had Duckhorn Merlot... it was pretty good & ok.

There you go ;)

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Cheese Class: English Hollow Wisconcin Aged Cheddar Cheese

I recently had a ladies clothing party at my home. I put out some fruit, cheese wedges, a artichoke jalapeno cheese dip, a strawberry cheese dip, my favorite crackers and some wine of course.

Being so busy getting ready I forgot to take a photo for all of you! Errrrrrrr!

Anyway, back to the point of the post. I happened to pick up a wedge of cheddar that I wanted to try. Something new. It happened to be English Hollow Wisconsin Aged Cheddar Cheese. Oh my! I love it! I would have to say good bye to my old stand by. All the ladies raved and with it sitting next to a Manchego, a Irish white cheddar infused with red wine, oh and the warm brie with raspberry sauce and pine nuts that as a matter of fact is still sitting in my oven (I just realized this while writing, having warmed it up turning off the oven and yes FORGETTING about it until now!) all my fav's.

This aged cheddar is so smooth yet with a mild sharp bite, not over whelming at all just perfect with the Kirkland Sonoma Chardonnay and the Me'nage a' Trois California red wine I served. Make a note both wines under $10.

My Family loves chips and cheese for snacks. My Husband and my Son just came in for a mid day break from playing football on the XBox and wanted chips and cheese. I grabbed the chips, shredded some of the English Hollow Cheddar on top and popped it in the microwave for 30 seconds and walla! Instant chips and cheese pipping hot!

No processed cheese here. Once you leave that behind you never go back.

Happy Cooking ;)

Happy Spring: Giveaway

Happy first day of Spring ;)

I have been followed by: Pan Gravy Kadai Curry who has a wonderful cooking site you need to check out!

Pan Gravy Kadai Curry is also having a phenomenal give away and you get to choose the prize! Hope on over and check it out.

I love to get goodies for my readers ;)

Click link to enter: Pan Gravy Kadai Curry

Happy Cooking ;)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Traditional Irish Stew For Saint Patrick's Day Or Any Day!

This traditional Irish dish is so easy to make. You add the ingredients into one pot and let it cook. There is no adding broth, the ingredients you have here makes a very nice broth when it's finished.

2 pounds boneless lamb shoulder or beef, cut into 1 inch chunks
6 medium potatoes, cut into quarters
1 Large onions, sliced thick
2 celery stalks, sliced
6 carrots, cut into 1/2 slices
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
2 cups water
chopped parsley

Layer meat and vegetables in a large Dutch oven in the order listed. Sprinkle with salt, pepper and thyme. Add water. Cover and bring to a boil. Simmer 15 minutes, then transfer Dutch oven to preheated 325 degree oven. Bake for 2 to 3 hours until lamb is tender. Do not lift cover for first two hours. To serve, stir and sprinkle with parsley.

You can also do this on the stove top simmer until meat is nice and tender.

Serve with traditional Soda Bread ;)

Serves 6.


Sunday, March 14, 2010

Folklore Of A Leprechaun

Found in Wikipedia;

Leprechaun - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


A leprechaun counts his gold in this engraving c. 1900

The earliest known reference to the leprechaun appears in the medieval tale known as the Echtra Fergus mac Léti (English: Adventure of Fergus son of Léti).[8] The text contains an episode in which Fergus mac Léti, King of Ulster, falls asleep on the beach and wakes to find himself being dragged into the sea by three lúchorpáin. He captures his abductors, who grant him three wishes in exchange for release.[9][10]

The leprechaun is said to be a solitary creature, whose principal occupation is making and mending shoes, and who enjoys practical jokes. According to William Butler Yeats, the great wealth of these fairies comes from the "treasure-crocks, buried of old in war-time", which they have uncovered and appropriated.[11] According to McAnally the leprechaun is the son of an "evil spirit" and a "degenerate fairy" and is "not wholly good nor wholly evil".[12]


Saturday, March 13, 2010

Irelands 240 Year Old GUINNESS Stout

Did you know that the famous Ireland 240 year old stout brewing company


pours two and a half million pints per day?

Karen B's Looking For a Apron Site To Work With ;)

If you have a site or company that makes custom aprons Karen B's is looking for someone to out fit me and offer aprons to my cooking class clients as well as Karen B readers!

Please contact me at kmbierley@gmail.com right away ;)

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

How To Cook Easy Bacon Wrapped Filet Mignon In Minutes

Cooking a filet is easier than you may think and a lot less expensive if you make it at home than eating out at a restaurant. I picked up these two for around $19 at a high end market. You can do much better at a club like Costco or Sam's, purchase the entire filet and cut it up and freeze your self ;)

  • Filet Mignon (one per person)
  • Olive oil
  • Course Salt
  • Fresh Ground Pepper
  • Grill or Grill Pan
  • Bacon (2 pieces per Filet)
  • Tooth Picks
The first step is I took the bacon placed on a paper towel with a piece of towel on top, on a microwave safe plate and pre-cooked it for one and a half minutes in the microwave.

This releases some of the fat that we don't need and being as the filet only takes 16 minutes total to cook I want the bacon done.

Here is the filet's one per person should be plenty. Remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before cooking.


Wrap the filet with the bacon strips and secure with tooth picks.

Season heavily and I mean a lot, with fresh ground pepper and salt (I use course sea salt). Season both sides. Then drizzle both sides with olive oil.

Preheat your grill or grill pan to medium high.

Place filet's on the grill and grill eight (8) minutes (with out turning or peeking) on each side. Eight minutes should give you a nice medium rare, grill 6-7 minutes for more rare.

Remove from grill (add a pat of butter if you prefer on top) and cover until ready to serve. You should always let your meat rest about 10 minutes before cutting. This redistributes the juices back into the meat keeping it juicy. Otherwise if you cut it right away all the juices run out all over your plate :(

I served this with asparagus steamed in a little bit of beef broth. I took the reserve broth added three pats of butter and reduced quickly then poured over the fillet just before serving.

Click here for the recipe for the potato's: Easy Stovetop Herb Roasted Yukon Potato's

Enjoy ;)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gevalia Coffee - Sponsored Post

Gevalia Coffee - itsallfreeonline.com

Karen B's loves free stuff and likes to pass it along to my readers :)

Happy Cooking ;)

sponsored like
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Gevalia Coffee - Sponsored Post

Gevalia Coffee - itsallfreeonline.com

Karen B's loves free stuff and likes to pass it along to my readers :)

Happy Cooking ;)

sponsored like
Karen Bierley's profile on MyLikes

Tip Of The Day: Easiest Brown Gravy In The World!

Are you in a hurry and don't have a lot of time? Here is a tip of mine to make the quickest gravy ever! It takes less than ten minutes ;)

  • One can of Cream of Mushroom Soup (I use Cambell's)
  • One equal amount of beef broth (I use the soup can to measure).
Reserve your drippings from searing meat or roasting. While pan is hot add the broth, while it is sizzling and all bubbly scrap the bottom of the pan to get all the little bits of flavor. Add your can of mushroom soup, stir to combine. Simmer until desired thickness. Your done ;)

No messy thickeners (flour or starch) to deal with.

You can add a little red wine or butter to enhance the flavor but there is really no need.

You can also do the same thing for Turkey or Chicken gravy, just use chicken broth instead.

Tip: always use low sodium broth, you can always add salt if needed.

Happy Cooking ;)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Karen B's Saint Patrick's Day Corned Beef And Cabbage

Corned Beef and Cabbage is a wonderful dish that you can make at any time not just for Saint Patrick's Day! It's a great Sunday dinner and is great for left overs. You can make sandwich's soups just about anything with it ;)

I took the basics and then added my own twist on the recipes. I felt it need a little extra ompf and it worked out great for the restaurant.

You can cook it one of two ways. In a Dutch oven covered or in the oven in an open roaster. I prefer the open roaster method. I like the bit of browning of the fat that occurs but that's me.

You can find brisket in the supermarket well-trimmed and boneless. They usually come with a little spice packet. I choose the one with the most fat on the top for my open roaster method.


  • 2 - pound corned beef boneless brisket
  • 1 onion (cut into fours)
  • 1/2 head of garlic (cut in half - a head not clove, no need to peel)
  • 1 orange (cut in four)
  • 1 apple (cut in four)
  • Spice packet
  • 1 head cabbage (cut into 6 wedges)
  • 6 medium carrots (cleaned and cut into large pieces)
  • Parsley for garnish
  • 1/2 stick butter (optional)
If you don't have a spice packet here is what you will need:

8 Allspice berries
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
2 Bay leaves crushed
2 Fresh Thyme sprigs or 1/2 tsp dried Thyme

Place brisket into your Dutch oven.

Add enough water to just cover. Add all ingredients except the cabbage and carrots.

Bring to a boil, reduce to simmer and cover. Simmer for about two hours until beef is nice and tender.

Remove meat to cutting board and cover.

Bring liquid back up to a boil, add the cabbage and carrots reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes. For a bit of extra flavor I add 1/2 stick of butter to the liquid before adding the cabbage and carrots ;)

Cut the brisket as shown below and arrange on the serving platter along with the cabbage and carrots. Pour some of the hot liquid over the dish just before serving, garnish with parsley and serve with brown mustard.

Oven method:

Preheat oven to 350.

Place brisket fat side up. Follow the same instructions as above. Uncover after the first hour.

Serves 6

Here is the correct way to carve a brisket.

You always need to cut "across" the grain".


German Red Cabbage and Apples

Amy Ruth,

I found this recipe this morning for you from Allrecipes to try. It has a sweet and tart flavor.

Enjoy :)


  • 1 medium head red cabbage, cored and sliced
  • 2 large tart apples, peeled and sliced
  • 1 medium sweet onion, sliced and separated into rings
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup cider vinegar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 6 whole peppercorns
  • 2 whole allspice
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 2 teaspoons cold water


  1. In a Dutch oven, toss cabbage, apples and onion. Add water, vinegar, sugar, butter and salt. Place the peppercorns, allspice, cloves and bay leaf on a double thickness of cheesecloth; bring up corners of cloth and stir with kitchen string to form a bag. Add to Dutch oven. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 1-1/4 hours.
  2. Discard spice bag. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and cold water until smooth; stir in cabbage mixture. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened.
Serves 6

Happy Cooking!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Quick and Easy Healthy Baby Mixed Greens and Salmon Salad

You can throw this salad together in just minutes!

It is so healthy for you 1/2 can of Salmon is about 40 calories, 1.5g fat (the good one) and 6g protein. Go ahead and it tastes great too!


  • Organic mixed baby greens
  • Natural canned salmon in natural juices
  • Grape tomatoes (halved)
  • Blueberries
  • Nuts (optional)
  • Seedless English cucumbers (sliced)
  • Balsamic vinegar
  • Olive Oil
Wash and dry your greens toss into a mixing bowl, toss in the salmon, tomatoes, blueberries, nuts, and cumbers, toss.

Drizzle with Balsamic vinegar and Olive Oil, season with very little salt and pepper.

Amazingly tasty :)

Happy Cooking!

Send In Your Corned Beef And Cabbage Recipe!

March is here!

Saint Patrick's Day is right around the corner!

Send in your favorite Corned Beef and Cabbage Recipe and I will post it ;)

We would love to share them with everyone:


Happy Cooking ;)


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