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July 2013

Roasted garlic and cauliflower soup two ways

Yesterday I was feeling experimental.  I put a head of cauliflower and a head of garlic in the oven to roast.  My thought was to make some soup with them.  Little did I know that one head of cauliflower makes a lot of soup.  

Like, a LOT.  

Like so much that if I were to eat one bowl of cauliflower soup per day, I'd be done with it by Christmas '15.  

It's a lot of soup.

So I decided to split the base soup in half and dress it up two different ways.  Here are the recipes!


Roasted Garlic and Cauliflower Soup

For the roasted garlic and cauliflower:

  • 1 head of garlic
  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the top off the head of garlic to expose the tops of the cloves.  Drizzle with a little olive oil and wrap the whole thing in aluminum foil.  Slice the cauliflower into 1 inch thick pieces.  Drizzle with olive oil and salt & pepper and toss to coat both sides. Don't worry if it falls apart a bit.  Place it in a roasting pan.  Put the garlic and the cauliflower in the oven to roast for about 35-40 minutes turning the cauliflower once.  Pull it out if it when it starts getting brown on the edges.

T0 make the soup:

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 small carrot diced
  • 1 small stalk of celery diced
  • 3 small or 2 large red skinned potatoes
  • 6-8 cups chicken or vegetable broth
  • 1 head roasted cauliflower 
  • 1 head roasted garlic

Saute onion, carrot and celery in olive oil over medium heat for about 2 minutes until onion is transparent.  Add potatoes and saute one more minute.  Add 6 cups broth and cook until potatoes are cooked through.  Take off heat and add cauliflower and roasted garlic (squeeze the garlic right out of the skins).  Whirl up the mixture with a hand mixer or blender.  Add more broth or water if needed.

Now that you have the base soup, you can come up with your own spice mixtures to add to it.  It is delicious on its own with just some salt & pepper, but here are two ways I came up with that worked really well.  I just took the whole pot of soup and split it into two separate pots:

In one pot I made Parmesan & Sage Soup by adding 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese and 1 tsp dried Russian sage. PS: My 9 year-old daughter tried this one and said, "Now THAT...is good soup.  It's perfect, Mom."  ***I'm melting over here!!***

Parmesan & Sage Soup


In the other pot I made a Southwest Soup by adding 1 tsp cumin, 1 tsp chili powder, 1 tsp diced chives and 1/8 tsp cayenne pepper.  

Southwest Soup garnished with salsa & chives


For both recipes, I just added the extra ingredients and put the soups back on the stove to heat them back up.

I hope you like them both!  

Interview with Zerve.com

A couple of weeks ago, I was asked by the lovely people at the travel website Zerve.com about my favorite things to do at the Jersey Shore.  Check out their awesome article including interviews with some of my blogging friends and myself!  While you are there, click around to see what looks good for your next day trip.  

Greek Yogurt: It's not just for lunch - 2 recipes and a giveaway

Do you like Greek yogurt?  I love its thick creamy texture and the fact that all that extra protein fills me up.  A nice bowl of Greek yogurt drizzled with honey and walnuts tastes like a decadent treat to me.  My husband eats it every single day for lunch.  

But Greek yogurt can be used for so much more than just a quick lunch.  Did you know you can use it in place of a lot of other dairy products in your recipes to get the benefit of its active yogurt cultures and extra protein? Yup.  In fact, it tastes better in some recipes, if you ask me.  

I tried a recipe given to me by the American Dairy Association and Dairy Council for Easy to Make, Easier to Eat Muffins and found them to be quite good.  Here it is if you would like to try it yourself.   IMG_2262

Easy to Make, Easier to Eat Muffins

  • 1 1/2 c flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 c sugar
  • 1/2 c softened butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c plain Greek yogurt (I may try vanilla Greek yogurt next time for a different flavor)
  • 3 Tbsp whole milk (although I used skim and it was fine)
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350.  Whisk butter and sugar together and add eggs.  Add Greek yogurt, milk and vanilla.  Mix flour with baking soda in a separate bowl and gradually add to liquid mixture.  Fill muffin tins almost full and bake for 20 mins or until golden.  Makes about 12.

It got me thinking about what else I could put Greek yogurt in... I came up with this recipe for Potato Salad with Greek yogurt and chives which came out absolutely perfect.  I hope you will try it!IMG_2261

Potato Salad with Greek Yogurt and Chives

  • 8-10 small cooked and cooled redskin potatoes cut into bite-size pieces*
  • 1/4 small yellow onion diced
  • 1 large stalk of celery diced
  • 1 hard boiled egg chopped
  • 1/3 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/3 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 tsp diced chives
  • 1 tsp diced parsley
  • Salt & Pepper to taste IMG_2250

All you really need to do is add all the above ingredients in a bowl and stir them up.  As with all potato salad, in my opinion, it is better when it sits for a while before eating it.  I like to make it in the morning and put it in the fridge until dinner.  

*To save time, I like to put the egg and the potatoes in the same pot to boil.  To do so, just put a cold egg in a pot and cover it with water.  Bring it to a boil on the stove and add your potatoes.  Once the potatoes are done, drain the water and stick the whole thing in the fridge to cool.

Oh, and guess what?  The American Dairy Association and Dairy Council would love to get you on board with all the fantastic benefits Greek yogurt has to offer, too!  They have given me a lovely gift pack for one of you awesome readers consisting of some really handy Silicone Solutions baking items, an apron with I Love Greek Yogurt emblazon on the front, a cooler tote with the same sentiment on it and the best part... coupons for FREE Greek yogurt!  IMG_2298

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Greek yogurt is great for a lot of different diets including diabetis and gluten-free diets.  A lot of lactose intolerant people find that Greek yogurt is easy to digest as well!

To find out more about the benefits of Greek yogurt and other awesome dairy products, check out the American Dairy Association and Dairy Coucil's website ADADC.com.  You can also visit their Facebook page and follow them on Twitter @AmerDairyAssoc.

Disclosure: I was given the same gift pack as listed in the giveaway.  No other compensation was given to me.  All opinions in this post are my own.  I love Greek yogurt!

Really good chicken fingers recipe

Choosing what to make for dinner is one of my least favorite things to do each day.  I mean, I know what I would make for myself.  (Vegetable lasagna.  Hands down.)  But I like watching my family's face light up when I make something they all like.  So whenever my family gets a hankering for something, I usually make it.  Last night my daughter had one of those hankerings for some chicken fingers.  

Of COURSE I was out of bread crumbs and had to improvise.  But guess what?  They turned out to be the BEST chicken fingers I ever made.  Here's the recipe:


Really Good Chicken Fingers 

  • 1 sleeve of Keebler Club crackers
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 + 1/8 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 boneless chicken breasts cut into strips
  • about 1 c flour
  • 2 eggs
  • Canola oil

Put the crackers, parmesan, oregano, salt and 1/4 tsp of garlic powder in a large plastic bag and smash them to smithereens.  Set aside.

Scramble the eggs with the remaining 1/8 tsp of garlic powder and set aside as well.

Put oil in a large skillet and let it heat up to about 350 degrees.  

Dredge the chicken in the flour shaking off any excess.  Next, dip the chicken into the egg mixture.  Then toss the egg covered chicken into the bag of crushed crackers.  

Fry the chicken for about 5 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  Remove to a paper toweled plate to drain excess.


These came out so good my normally lollygagging son was actually the FIRST one done with his dinner last night!  Hope you like them.



Dermagist Hydrating Spa System- review and giveaway!

If you guys know me at all, you know that I am a cheapskate.  No, frugal is too nice a word for what I am.  I am a flat out, penny-pinching pain in the arse when it comes to buying anything.  I hate spending money.  I especially hate spending money when it comes to myself.  


When it comes to my skin, I will spend whatever it takes to make it feel good.  See, I have dealt with skin issues my entire life.  I have always had the driest skin due to environmental issues and allergies.  I also suffer from psoriasis that can be downright painful at times.  I will try anything and everything to help make the pain go away.  When I find something that makes me feel even a little bit better, I stick with it.  

Dermagist Hydrating Spa System


Recently, I was asked to try some skin products from Dermagist and write about my experience with them.  Of course I jumped at the chance because 1)they were giving me free samples to try and 2)my skin was being particularly mean at the time.  

Within a week of my saying yes, I received Dermagist's Hydrating Spa System (sold on their website for $89.99) which included full bottles of three products: Hydro-Renewal Hand Cream, Foot & Heel Revitalizing Cream, and Hydropeutic Body Lotion.  

I took some "before" pictures and started using the products immediately.  Within a week, I could already see a difference in the way my skin looked and more importantly how it felt.  I have been using them now for about a month and can tell you honestly that my skin feels fantastic.

Here are some things I noticed since using Dermagist:

- My nail beds and cuticles on both my hands and feet are smooth and shiny.

- My inherently cracked, dry heels look much better in my sandals since I've been using the foot cream.

- My whole body feels smooth to the touch.

- I don't feel the constant need to slather on extra lotion throughout the day.  Using the Hydrating Spa System twice a day (once in the morning & once at night) has been enough.

- I have not had any psoriasis flare-ups when using the Dermagist products. No, the products themselves are not meant to be psoriasis treatments.  However, stress is a known cause of flare-ups in a lot of psoriasis patients, including me.  My skin has always been a stressor in my life.  The psoriasis makes me anxious which causes more flare-ups which causes more stress...it's a vicous cycle.  Since the Dermagist helped my skin, it helped keep my stress level in check as well.  Therefore, I have been having less psoriatic flare-ups.


My hands feel and look SO much better!

 I was very happy to have been given the opportunity to try Dermagist's products.  My experience with them has been wonderful.  If you are anything like me, you probably won't take my word for it and want to try them yourself.  Well, good news!  Dermagist is offering a Hydrating Spa System for one of my lucky readers!  All you have to do is fill out the Rafflecopter form below and complete the tasks to be entered into the giveaway.  

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't fret if you don't win!  Dermagist is also offering a 10% discount with promo code "SUMMER" good until Sept 15, 2013.  Just enter it into their site when ordering.  They also offer discounts for repeat customers as well.  I hope you like it!

*I was given a Dermagist Hydrating Spa System free of charge.  No other compensation was given.  All opinions are my own.

Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta: Part of the Progressively Perfect Dinner Party blog hop

Thanks for stopping in!  If you are following the Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop, I hope you hare having a wonderful time visiting all the blogs and checking out everyone's recipes.  

To keep the party going, I thought I'd make an entree my family absolutely loves- Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta.  It is my 'go-to' dinner on many nights.  It also works great as a party food because it can be eaten warm or cold and the ingredients can be easily adjusted depending on how many people you will be having.  In a lot of cases, I just add additional pasta.  Don't worry if you make too much - it tastes GREAT in an omelet the next day for breakfast, too.  Enjoy!

IMG_2084Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta
For the pasta:
  • 1 box of fusilli pasta
  • 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1/2 cup grated parmesan
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup water from cooked pasta
For the sausage & arugula topping:
  • 1 pound bulk hot sausage 
  • 4 cloves of minced garlic
  • 1 cup diced fresh tomatoes
  • 1 large bunch fresh baby arugula

Cook fusilli according to box directions.  While it is boiling, crumble sausage and brown it in a separate deep pan (I use a wok) on medium heat.  Add the minced garlic to the browned sausage and let cook for one minute.  Stir in tomatoes and let them cook down a bit (about 2 minutes).  Fold in arugula, cover and turn off heat.  The arugula will steam nicely with the heat that remains.

When pasta is done, drain it reserving a 1/3 cup of the water.  Mix salt, pepper, parmesan and oil in a small bowl.  Stir in water.  Toss onto hot pasta coating it evenly.

For small parties, you can serve the pasta with the sausage mixture on top.  For larger parties, I like to toss it altogether in a big bowl so people can serve themselves.  Hope you like it!


  To get the full Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop experience, click the links below in order:





Coffee, Tea & Dessert

Late Night

Decorations, Outfits and Music

Hope you have as much fun reading through the party as we did planning it!

Welcome to the Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop!


Have you ever heard of a progressive dinner party?  Usually they are held between neighbors or friends that live relatively near to one another.  Each household hosts a course of a meal for everyone involved.  Once that course is devoured, everyone scurries over to the next house for the next course.  

Progressive dinner parties always sound SO cool! They can be loads of fun for everyone involved.  Everyone gets to add their own personal touch to a bit of the party making each one quite unique.  

But planning a progressive dinner party can be difficult.  It's hard work trying to fit several people's schedules together these days.  So my blogging buddies and I decided to try something new- a VIRTUAL progressive dinner party!

Each blogger in our Progressively Perfect Virtual Dinner Party blog hop has been assigned a course for you to enjoy.  Once you've completed the course, you can hop on over to the next blog to enjoy the next course and so on and so on... 

Here is a complete list of each blog and each course.  You can follow through each blog post by clicking the links in order.  Each of us has chosen a dish that interprets our chosen theme of 'Hot and Cold'. We even have decoration tips, outfits for your kiddies to wear and a DJ to keep the party jumping!


We will start at Diapered Daze and Knights where Heather shares her recipe for Tuna Salad Rolls.

Then we can mosey on over to Kelly's blog The Fabulous Food Fairy for some Roasted Tomato Caprice in Garlic Bread Bowls.

Next, Jen fromWorthington Lower whipped up some Chili Layered Dip.

To finish off the appetizer course, we will head over to Chockababy where Carrie made some Sweet & Spicy Chicken Wings.


Our first salad comes from Beth at Life at the BAT Cave who decided on a Chipotle Shrimp Salad.

Tina presents her Homemade Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad over at Life Without Pink.

And Melinda invites us to sample her Veggie and Pasta Summer Salad at Look What Mom Found- Dad Too!


Heather at Real: The Kitchen and Beyond invites us to quench our thirst with her recipe for Blackberry Melon Lemonade.

And Linda from Giggles, Gobbles and Gulps keeps the party going with some Moscow Mule Beer Cocktails.


Lauryn from The Vintage Mom starts our entree course with her yummy recipe for Kale and Zucchini Meatloaf.

Colleen will tempt your tastebuds with her recipe for Lettuce Wraps over at Souffle Bombay.

Dawn from the whole-y grail keeps all the younger guests in mind with Family Friendly Grilled Pizza 5 Ways.

I try to entice you here on Whatever Works with my recipe for Spicy Sausage & Arugula Pasta.

Coffee, Tea & Dessert

If you still have room after all those delicious dishes, Noelle made a lovely Dark Chocolate Cream Pie with Berries over at An Opera Singer in the Kitchen.

What would go better with chocolate cake than some S'mores Frozen Coffee?  Debi from Will's World will be serving it up.

A Grande Life's Stephanie makes us smile with her No Bake Strawberry Icebox Cake.

Lindsay from The Naughty Mommy cools us down with a wonderful Key Lime Pie.

To end the dinner courses, Stephanie from Legos and Lattes whipped up her recipe for Vanilla Spiced Chai Lattes.

Late Night

If everyone is still in a partying mood later in the evening, Kelly from The Turnip Farmer invites us to share her Vodka Gummi Bears.

Decorations, Outfits and Music

Becky from Crafty Garden Mama decorates the entire affair with her Eco Friendly Entertaining tips.

Sarah from Finnegan and the Hughes helps get your kids ready with her Dressing the Kiddos pointers.

And Robin from Honey Badger Mom keeps the party flowing with her Progressive Party Playlist, Playa!

Hope you have as much fun reading through the party as we did planning it!