Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Happy Birthday, Bloggy!

Today is our one year anniversary of blogging on Rosebuds & Buttercups...thank you to all of you who are reading out there!  It means more than we can say.  Here's to another wonderful year of food, fun, and friendship!


Rose & Jenny

One Sip and You’ll Surrender

Strawberry Basil Caipirinha

Take a sip, close your eyes, and be transported to Rio De Janeiro…Brazil’s national cocktail is a perfect drink for summer and you’ll love this lightened up version with a twist.


Muddle together 4 strawberries and 3 large basil leaves with a packet or two of Splenda (to taste) and some club soda. Add the juice from ½ a lime and 1-2 shots of cachaça. Shake with ice and serve on the rocks. Garnish with a lime wedge or a strawberry.


Put Da Lime In Da Coconut

This simple cocktail is great for laying out by the pool. It’s simple and tasty and the calorie count is about as low as it gets for something that tastes like a dessert.


Shake up the juice from ½ a lime, 1-2 shots of Bacardi Rock Coconut and enough club soda to fill the glass. Pour over ice and serve with a lime wedge.

Thai Curry Tofu

So this is more of a product review than a recipe, but we’ll call it a two-fer. I’m not at all into curry or tofu, but these two things together are delicious! Never something I though I would like, but gave it a shot just in case. It’s spicy (but not too spicy) and flavorful and just really good. I like to eat it with chopsticks just for fun. This is such a quick thing to whip up, it’s nice when you’re whooped at the end of the day and just want something easy to throw together.


Start off by steaming a bag of frozen broccoli and cooking up some mushrooms.

Cut up extra firm tofu into bite size chunks (serving size is 1/5 or 1/4 of the package depending on brand) and sauté in a pan until there is a nice golden color on the edges.

In a separate pan, heat up a ¼ cup of Trader Joe’s Thai Red Curry Sauce.

Mix it all together and you’re set!


Nutritional information:

Calories: 250

Fat: 13

Carbs: 24

Protein: 19

Creamy Spinach and Mushroom Pasta

I’m starting out with my favorite healthy recipe. This is so delicious, you would never guess it was a lighten up version. It has a sort of alfredo-ness about it, but not as rich. It’s just creamy and flavorful and seriously yummy. You’ll crave this whether you’re trying to cut back or not. Here’s a recipe for 2 servings.


Start off by boiling some Dreamfields spaghetti (1” dry circle) This is low-carb pasta that seriously doesn’t taste any different from normal stuff. I hate whole wheat pasta – it tastes like cardboard. I also can’t get into shirataki noodles – way too weird of a consistency. The Dreamfields is right on in taste and texture, just make sure you cook according to the instructions on the box. If you overcook your noodles, the carbs will creep back in.

Combine 2 wedges of Laughing Cow light garlic and herb, 1 Tablespoon of fat free sour cream, 1 Tablespoon of grated parmesan cheese, and garlic salt to taste. You’ll want to heat this up in the microwave for 30 seconds or so just to make it smoother. Stir this sauce into drained and heated frozen spinach (a 10 oz box is good) and cooked baby bella mushrooms ( I used about 10-15). When your pasta is finished cooking, drain it and mix in the spinach/mushroom sauce. I like to sprinkle the top with fresh diced tomatoes. Feel free to add some chicken in the mix, but I prefer it without.


Nutritional information per serving:

Calories: 304

Fat: 4.5

Carbs: 19

Protein: 16.5

Lighten Up

The next handful of recipes I post are going to have a healthier, lower cal, lower fat spin on things. Nobody craves diet food, but these recipes are tried and true winners and you won’t feel like you’re missing out on anything. I’ve adapted most of them from the popular Hungry Girl books, just tweaking them a bit to my taste, or if they’re good as is, I’ll give you a review so you can try it for yourself. I’ll categorize this new little series as “deLIGHTful” :-)  Enjoy!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


I'm seriously craving my mom's Italian food.  So please forgive the slew of recipes that I'm posting that involve some sort of sauce and gooey melty cheese combination.  But in case you're ever in the market for an easy, family pleasing lasagna recipe (and who isn't), try this one out.  It's basic and it's delicious.  Plus, you always have the option of adding veggies or meat to the recipe if that's what floats your boat.  But try out the original recipe (courtesy of my mom) below first - you won't regret it!


15 lasagna noodles

16 ounces mozzarella cheese

16 ounces large curd cottage cheese

1 jar pasta sauce (avoid the watery marinara variety)

parmesan cheese


Cook lasagna noodles according to directions on box.  Once the pasta is drained, carefully lay out each lasagna noodle flat on pieces of wax paper to cool.  Spread a thin layer of sauce on the bottom of a 9x13 inch baking dish (I use a glass pan).  Add a layer of noodles (3, next to each other), then a layer of cottage cheese, then a layer of mozzarella cheese.  Spoon a line of sauce down the center of the cheese topped noodle.  Sprinkle the top of the sauce with parmesan cheese.  Then repeat the layering (noodles, cottage cheese, mozzarella, sauce, parmesan).  Keep the 3 best lasagna noodles (no cracks or breaks) for the top layer.  Layer the last 3 noodles next to each other on the top, then cover with sauce and mozzarella and parmesan cheese.  Spoon cheese around the sides of the pan so the lasagna doesn't dry out.  Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to an hour, until bubbly.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Veggie Pizza

Have you ever noticed that graduation parties and reunions have some of the best food ever?  I love good old fashioned party food, and this is one of my favorite appetizers.  Delicious!  The recipe is adapted from a cookbook that my parents gave me a few years back, which was made by the family of one of the guys that my dad works with.  Long story, I know, but I try to give credit where it's due.  Here are the ingredients:


two cans refrigerated crescent rolls

two 8 ounce packages cream cheese, softened

1 packet of ranch dressing mix (dry)

1/2 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup sour cream

assorted raw veggies of your choice (here are some ideas):

  • chopped broccoli

  • shredded carrots

  • chopped cauliflower

  • sliced mushrooms

  • sliced radishes

  • black olives

1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat together cream cheese, mayo, sour cream, and ranch dressing packet.  Unroll the crescent roll dough and cover the bottom of a 15x10 inch jelly roll pan and pinch the edges together (make sure you press the perforations together as well).  Prick the dough all over with a fork.  Bake the crescent roll dough for 10 minutes until very lightly browned.  Remove from oven and spread on the cream cheese mixture.  Sprinkle the assorted veggies on top of the cheese.  Sprinkle the cheddar cheese on top of the veggies.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2 hours.  Cut into squares and serve.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Smelly Chicken

Don't be turned off by the name of the chicken, I beg you.  This is a recipe of my Gram's, and we used to call it this because it made the house smell SO. GOOD.  I talked to my Grammy today and was thinking of her when I was going through recipes for this post.  This is perfect for summer - fresh herbs, and such a delicious and unique taste.  Try it today!  You and your family will love it!


1 to 1.5 pounds chicken pieces (you can use boneless breasts, or bone-in pieces like wings, legs, etc - up to you)

Sprinkle the chicken pieces with salt, allspice, and cinnamon.  Brown the chicken pieces in a deep pot in 3 tablespoons of oil.  Once the chicken pieces are browned, add:

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1/2 cup flat leaf parsley, finely chopped

1 teaspoon rosemary, finely chopped

1 teaspoon thyme, finely chopped

1 tablespoon basil, finely chopped

1 large vine ripe tomato, chopped into small chunks

1/2 cup dry white wine (whatever you would feel comfortable drinking)

Mix the herbs, tomato, and wine well with the chicken, cover and cook slowly until tender (45 minutes to 1 hour).

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Hot Crab Dip

When it's summertime, I always think of eating seafood.  It's delicious, summery and light.  This is the perfect summer appetizer that will rival any crab dip that you would order at a restaurant.  It's also great for holidays as well.  This is my aunt's recipe, and she always brings it to my grandma's house for Christmas.  It's gone in about two seconds.  So here it gift to you!  Think of it as Christmas in July!


1 can crab meat (6 oz)

8 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

1 teaspoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

1 tablespoon finely minced onion

grated parmesan cheese for the topping


Combine all ingredients (except for the parmesan cheese) and pour into a shallow baking dish.  Top with a layer of grated parmesan cheese.  Bake for 30 minutes at 400 degrees until brown and bubbly.

Monday, July 18, 2011

More S'mores, please!

This recipe is a little bit of this and a little bit of that. Everyone loved these and I thought they looked absolutely adorable.

First off, use the graham cupcake recipe from my key lime pie cupcakes. Fill these little guys with marshmallow fluff (from a jar, because you know I'm not making homemake fluff. Please.) Then frost them with my sent-from-the-heavens chocolate ganache frosting.

I decorated these with mini marshmallows, a piece of Hershey's chocolate bar, and then drizzled them with some of the liquid chocolate ganache. Gorgeous!

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Key Lime Pie Cupcakes

Because Key West is calling my name but I’m dirt poor, I opted to bring a little bit of the Keys to me. There’s nothing like a cool, refreshing key lime pie on a hot summer day. And because I’m the local cupcake dealer and my coworkers are cupcake junkies, I modified this classic treat into a portable delight. Like most of my cupcakes, there are 3 parts to this recipe – the cupcake, the filling, and the frosting. These were absolutely delicious. Just a few tips – they were better on the first day, so make these right before you plan to eat them. They were fine as leftovers, but the filling sort of soaked into the cake and just…eh…eat em while they’re fresh. Also, if you have to refrigerate them and then serve, make sure they come back to room temperature. They are definitely not as good while cold. The flavors are so much more pronounced when you let them warm up a bit. Who needs Margaritaville when there’s cake?

Graham Cupcakes
Makes about 3 dozen

1 cup softened butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs, room temperature
2 cups milk (I used 2%)
2 cups flour
3 cups graham cracker crumbs (do yourself a favor and just buy the box of crumbs – it would take forever to smoosh graham crackers into a powder. However, if you’re feeling angry and need an outlet, this might be a perfect project for you.)
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Sift together the flour, graham cracker crumbs, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Break out the Kitchenaid (you’ll need it – there’s a lot of wet batter and it’s kinda messy) and mix the butter until it’s creamed. Add the sugar a little at a time and mix for another couple of minutes until it’s nice and fluffy. Slowly add one egg at a time, mixing thoroughly between each one. Incorporate some of the dry mix into the butter/sugar/eggs, then add some of the milk. Switching back and forth, add the flour mix and the milk, a little at a time, ending with the dry. Continue to mix until it looks like it came together nicely.
Scoop into cupcake liners and bake for about 16-18 minutes.

Easy Peasy Citrus Curd

While that’s baking, you can make your “Why the Heck Have I Painstakingly Been Using A Double Boiler and Timing It Precisely For Years” Key Lime Curd (remember this when you want to make lemon curd, you hear that, self?! Don’t be a dummy - do it the easy way!)
This makes about 2 cups and you’re going to need…

1 cup sugar
3 eggs (the whole egg, not just the yolks as most other recipes have)
1 cup citrus juice (I used key lime, but you can use lemon, lime, orange, meyer lemon…mmm)
1/2 cup melted butter

In a large microwave-safe bowl, whisk together the sugar and eggs until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in citrus juice, and then a little bit of the melted butter. You don’t want the eggs to scramble, so incorporate the melted butter slowly.

Cook in the microwave in one minute intervals, stirring after each minute. The timing will depend on the strength of your microwave, but mine took 4 minutes. You will know the curd is done cooking when it coats the back of a metal spoon. I tasted this while it was still hot, and I wasn’t very impressed. There was just something off. Wait until it’s cooled off and you’ve refrigerated it for at least an hour before you taste test. It thickens up and has a nice tang to it. Yummy!


My Go-To Cream Cheese Frosting Recipe

Beat one package of cream cheese (8 oz) with 5 Tablespoons of softened butter and 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract until combined. Very slowly (seriously, this is going to puff out of the mixer like it’s snowing) add 3 cups of powdered sugar. Mix until it’s nice and creamy and delicious looking. Since I was putting this on a key lime pie cupcake, I added about 2-3 Tablespoons of key lime juice to the frosting. It was very subtle but tasty.

Friday, July 15, 2011

A Triumphant Return

Hey...remember that one time when I used to post pictures every friday?  And I even had a name for that "weekly" posting?  Photo Friday?  Any takers?

Yeah, I hardly remembered myself.  But, I'm bringin it back, baby!

Here is a shot from a drive earlier this spring on the Blue Ridge Parkway here in the lovely mountains of North Carolina.  No leaves on the trees yet...but I loved how the sun looked in this photo.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Raisin Bran Muffins

I'm craving carbs like crazy today, and I was digging through recipes to post...these sounded delicious.  I forget where my mom and sister actually got this recipe (maybe a newspaper), but I DO remember the dozens of muffins that this recipe made.  The recipe is for 6 dozen muffins (yes, you read that correctly), but obviously you can split it if you want less.  The great thing is that because this recipe uses buttermilk, it can keep in your fridge for up to 6 WEEKS.  Now, that sounds a bit weird to me, but that's what the recipe says.   Here's what you'll need:


4 eggs, beaten

1 quart buttermilk

5 teaspoons baking soda

3 cups sugar

5 cups unsifted flour

1 cup cooking oil

15 ounce box of raisin bran flakes


Combine all ingredients well and refrigerate the batter at least overnight.  Batter will keep up to six weeks (see, I told you.  You can make the entire batch or make just enough for the week or even make some each morning if you want).  Spoon the desired amount of batter into greased muffin tins (or you can use those cute little cupcake liners).  Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Stuffed Shells

My sister and I were talking the other night about our upcoming family reunion (fondly referred to as "The Italian Picnic" by family members).  We were discussing what to make, which prompted me to dig this recipe out.  If you've had stuffed shells before and disliked them, I PROMISE that you will love these.  If you've had stuffed shells before and liked them, you will like this recipe even more.  And if you haven't had a stuffed shell ever in your life, haven't lived.

These shells have the perfect cheese-to-spinach ratio and they are absolutely delicious.  They are easy to make and they feed a boatload of people.  My mom taught my sister and I to make these a long time ago...we used to take them to parties, at Christmas or for potlucks.  Other moms begged us for the recipe.  People have confessed to daydreaming about these stuffed shells.  But that's another story.  Here's what you'll need:


one 12 oz box of jumbo pasta shells

24 ounces ricotta cheese

1/2 pound mozzarella cheese

3/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

2 to 3 eggs, beaten

3/4 teaspoon salt

3/4 teaspoon pepper

10 oz box frozen spinach, cooked and drained (squeeze as much of the water out as you can)

1 tablespoon parsley

garlic salt to taste

1 jar pasta sauce (avoid watery marinara varieties)


Cook pasta shells al dente according to directions on the box and after draining, rise in cold water.  Cover the bottom of a large baking dish with a layer of sauce (I use a 9x13 inch glass pan).   Mix together cheeses, eggs, spinach, salt, pepper, parsley, and garlic salt in a large mixing bowl.  Fill the shells with the cheese/spinach mixture and line them up in the baking dish.  Spoon more sauce over the tops of the filled shells and along the edges of the baking dish so that the shells don't dry out while baking.  Bake at 350 degrees for at least 1 hour, until bubbly.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Striped Jello

Let's be honest:  I love jello.  It's a weakness.  Whenever I was a kid, Jello came up with the Jello "jiggler" idea and I was sold.  I've always thought Jello was awesome...and this is the ultimate summer Jello dessert.  You can use any kind of jello you want, which makes this dish perfect for just about any occasion.  For instance, if I took this to my family's Italian Picnic at the end of summer, I would maybe only use red and green jello.  Or if this was for my sister's graduation from Virginia Tech, I would have used dark red and orange jello.  See what I'm saying?  It's versatile and delicious.  Although if you are not making this dish for a specific event, follow my "suggestion" for flavors below.  It's a proven winner.  Plus, once this is finished, it's absolutely beautiful.


6 small boxes of jello, any flavors (my favorite combo is cherry, orange, lemon, lime, blue raspberry, and grape)

2 cups sour cream


Dissolve 1 box of jello with 1 cup boiling water.  Take out 1/3 cup of the jello mix and combine with 1/3 cup of sour cream; whisk together and set aside.  Pour the clear layer of jello in a 9x13 inch glass pan.  Let this layer gel (it will be very thin, but it needs to be firm).  Once the first layer is gelled, pour the jello/sour cream mixture over top and let this layer gel.  Repeat the above steps with the remaining 5 boxes of jello.  Be sure to let each gel layer set before adding the next layer.  This is time consuming, but once the first layer is set, the others will set quickly.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Summer Squash Casserole

Happy Monday, everyone!  Here is another one of those perfect summertime recipes, when the zucchini and yellow squash in your garden seem to be multiplying by the second.  What to do?  My parents used to make this casserole for summer picnics and get-togethers, and it was always a hit.  Even with me, the world's pickiest kid!   It's delicious and full of vegetables, but still has a savory, homey, comfort-food quality.


3 cups squash (zucchini or yellow squash, or a mix of both)

2 carrots, shredded

1 small onion, grated

1 cup cream of chicken soup

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 package Pepperidge Farm stuffing (the cubed kind)

1/3 cup melted butter


Cut the squash into bite sized pieces.  Lightly cook and drain.  Mix the stuffing with the melted butter.  Mix the squash, carrots, onion, soup, sour cream, and half of the stuffing mixture.  Pour into a casserole dish and top with the remaining half of the stuffing mixture.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until brown and bubbly.  Serves 8-10 people.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Pepperoni Pasta Bake

Recently, my sister came down to visit.  My parents sent some things with her to give to me, and among those items were seven jars of tomato sauce.  Yes, seven.  Apparently, they were a dollar a piece at the grocery store, and my dad bought a whole case.  This "gift" from my dad prompted the question, "what the heck am I going to do with all of this sauce?"  We didn't have a whole lot of food in the refrigerator OR the pantry...but I managed to rustle up something that was pretty tasty and VERY easy last night.  Try this next time you want an easy Italian meal!  The pepperoni definitely adds some delicious flavor, but it doesn't overpower the dish.


3/4 pound pasta (I used rigatoni, but you can use anything - I want to try either bow ties or egg noodles next)

1/2 jar tomato sauce (avoid the watery "marinara" variety if possible - I used Del Grosso tomato basil)

1 large handful of pepperoni slices, cut into thin strips (turkey pepperoni is a great alternative)

1 cup shredded mozzarella or provolone cheese

garlic salt

red pepper flakes


Cook pasta according to directions; drain and return the pasta to the pot.  Stir in the sauce and pepperoni strips, then stir in 1/4 cup of the cheese.  Add a dash of red pepper flakes and garlic salt and stir.  Pour the pasta mixture into a casserole dish and top with the remaining 3/4 cup of cheese.  Bake covered at 350 for 25 minutes.  Remove cover and turn on the broiler for 5 minutes in order to make the cheese brown and bubbly.  Serve with Garlic Parmesan Bread Bites and a salad.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Peach-a-Berry Cobbler

My grandma is a phenomenal baker.  PHENOMENAL.  And when summer rolls around, she has been known to knock our socks off with this delicious dessert.  I love most cobblers, but this one is special.  If peaches and blueberries (the latter of which I usually despise) were in season in November, I would ask for this as my birthday "cake."



1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/4 cup brown sugar

1/2 cup cold water

2 cups sliced fresh peaches

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 tablespoon butter

1 tablespoon lemon juice



1 cup flour

1/2 cup sugar

1 and a half teaspoons baking powder

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup softened butter


Start with the filling.  Mix the cornstarch, brown sugar, and cold water together.  Then add the peaches and blueberries.  Cook the filling mixture on the stove top until thickened, then remove from the heat and stir in the 1 tablespoon of butter and lemon juice.  Pour the filling mix into a 8 or 9 inch deep baking dish.  Next, make the topping.  Sift together the dry ingredients.  Add the milk and butter all at once and beat the mixture until smooth.  Pour or dollop the topping mix over the fruit.  Sprinkle the top of the batter with an additional 1 tablespoon of sugar and a 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg.  Bake at 350 degrees until the top is golden brown - the actual baking time will depend a lot on your oven!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Strawberry Pretzel Salad

There are many, many versions of this recipe floating around on the internet...and in my kitchen.  Unfortunately I didn't write down the source of my recipe, but I think it is a combo of my grandma's version and an internet recipe I found at some point.  Some versions for this call for crushed pineapple, but I am not a fan of that...I think it takes away from the deliciousness.  Feel free to add that though, if it's your style!

Do your family a favor this weekend and make this for your Fourth of July festivities.  Then do yourself a favor and make a separate batch, just for yourself.  This stuff never lasts long at picnics!



2 cups crushed pretzels (regular ones - not the thick ones)

3/4 cup melted butter

3 tablespoons sugar


Middle Layer:

8 oz cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar

8 ounces cool whip, thawed


Top Layer: 

1 six ounce package of strawberry jello

2 cups boiling water

2 ten ounce packages of frozen, unsweetened strawberries (sliced if you can find them)


Mix the ingredients for the crust together and press into a 9x13 glass baking dish.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8 minutes and then let cool completely.  Beat the cream cheese and the sugar together for the middle layer.  Once these ingredients are combined, gently mix in the cool whip.  Spread the cream cheese mixture over the cooled pretzel crust.  Next, combine the jello and boiling water together and stir until the jello is dissolved.  Set this aside for a few minutes to cool.  Then, mix the frozen strawberries into the jello mixture (it's okay if the jello starts to thicken at this's because of the frozen berries).  Pour the jello/strawberry mixture over the cream cheese mixture.  Cover and refrigerate for at least 3 hours before serving.


Or you can dig into it early, and it will be a little sloppy...but you won't care because it's so yummy.

Happy Fourth of July, everyone - have a safe and happy holiday weekend, and remember the reason that we are celebrating!