The Perfect Avocado, Ham, Tomato and Cheese Grilled Panini


Grilled panini's are one of favorite lunch items to make.  I like them ten times better than plain turkey and peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.  Want to know the secret ingredient? Believe it or not it's not the panini press, they can be made without, it is fresh bread.  I've tried to make panini's with bread from a loaf, but it does not work, it does not taste the same.  It does not get as flat either. I really like using the avocado and stone ground mustard in the panini instead of regular mayonnaise and mustard. The avocado provides a spread inside, and is much healthier than mayonnaise and the stone ground mustard  provides a depth of flavor with a hint of sweetness.


Avocado, Ham, Tomato and Cheese Grilled Panini, Printable Recipe
  • 1 fresh bread loaf
  • stone ground mustard
  • 1 avocado
  • 2 slices ham
  • 4-5 slices of cheese
  • canola oil
  1. Slice the fresh bread into panini slices.  Cut the loaf the width of the panini's.  Cut four slices from the cut loaf.
  2. Slice and add the avocado on one side and spread the stone ground mustard on the other.
  3. Put on the cheese, turkey and tomato slices. Place the two halves together.
  4. Turn the burner on a cast iron skillet over medium heat. Cover the pan with a thin film of oil.
  5. This step is important, Using a pastry brush coat one side of the panini.
  6. When the pan is hot, the oil starts to smoke, place the coated side of the panini on the skillet. 
  7. Coat the other side of the panini.
  8. Cook 3-5 minutes per side or until golden brown, pressing down with a panini press or a heavy pan. Enjoy!
*Use canola oil or a high heat capacity olive oil, otherwise it will not brown well.
*If there is no panini press a heavy pan can work as a press.

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Amazing Steak and Cob Salad

I made this cob salad recipe up when I was shopping in the fresh section of the grocery store.  I love cooking with seasonal ingredients and love getting inspired by seeing what is at the grocery store. It happens to be the time of year again for corn and peppers.  I chose an orange pepper to give a little color to the salad and ham instead of bacon because ham is not as crunchy, but provides the same pork flavor in the salad. The egg creates a nice softness and adds a nice flavor to the salad. 


We have really come to enjoy cooking steaks around here since we learned how to cook them. With steaks and roasts being about the same price as ground beef we have been cooking them a lot more. My local grocery store was having a sale on steaks for the 4th of July so I picked them up and saved a ton.  I have included some of the tips I have learned cooking steaks.


Cob Salad
1 corn on the cob
1 boiled egg
2 slices of ham
1 orange pepper
1 head of lettuce
  1. Fill a pan with enough water to cover a corn on the cob, but do not put it in yet.  Heat the water to boiling and put in the corn on the cob for 10 minutes.
  2. Put an egg in a pan and fill with water 1 or 2 inches over the egg.  Heat the water to boiling over medium heat.  When the water is boiling remove from heat, cover for 12 minutes.  Remove the water and fill the pan with cold water to stop the egg from cooking more.
  3. Add oil to a pan over medium heat.  When the oil is hot add the ham.  Brown slightly on both sides.  Chop up the ham.
  4. Slice the orange pepper.
  5. Chop up the lettuce.
  6. Combine the ingredient and toss the salad.
  7. I like to dress this salad with Buttermilk ranch.
Seasoned Steak
1 steak, any cut will do
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
  1. Leave the steak out 30 minutes before seasoning.
  2. Combine the salt and pepper in a bowl.
  3. Spread the salt and pepper mixture on the steak.  Press the mixture into the steak.  See above picture.
  4. Turn the over to 375 degrees F.
  5. Heat oil in the pan.
  6. When the oil is hot place the steak in the pan with meat tongs. Do not touch the steak in the first 4 minutes.  When the steak has achieved a nice brown sear turn the steak over with the tongs.
  7. Sear the other side.
  8. Place in the over until the desired doneness is achieved.  It will be anywhere from 2-10 minutes.  Do not over cook.
  9. Let the steak rest for 5-10 minutes.
Seasoned Steak
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Fresh Raspberry Greek Yogurt

My dietitian recently told me to eat more yogurt.  She recommended Chobani Greek yogurt.  I bought the fruit flavors for a few months. It was okay, but I found the fruit flavors lacking, the fruit didn't taste right. I had a thought to make my own yogurt from fresh fruit and see how it compares.  And let me tell you I bet this yogurt is better than any of those flavored yogurts out there.  It would win in a yogurt tasting contest hands down. It is super simple to make too.

Fresh Raspberry Greek Yogurt, Printible Version
  • 3-4 fresh raspberries
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon sugar or to taste
  • 1 plain Greek yogurt
Crush and stir the berries with a fork to release the juices.
Add the yogurt and sugar and stir.
Enjoy the freshest yogurt ever!
*You can put in other fruit besides raspberries, strawberries, pineapple, kiwi, whatever you have in the house.  I have also made it without any fruit and it tastes pretty good plain, with a little sugar too.

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Magnolia Bakery Vanilla Cupcakes and Chocolate Icing

I used to live in New York, whenever I would visit the city I would stop at Magnolia Bakery and get a cupcake.  I was super sad when I moved away.  No more cupcakes :(  I put the Magnolia Cupcake Bakery cookbook on my Amazon wishlist and my husband got it for me for mother's day last year.  I've made several recipes from the book since then.  The recipes usually turn out amazing, especially the frosting, but the cupcakes are a little dry at times.  This time I put in a little less flour and they turned out great! I made the cupcake pictured below for a baby shower.  They tasted amazing. Now you can make them too!


PS. You will want to eat everything the icing touches, the real chocolate in the recipe gives this icing a very real delicious edge.

Vanilla cupcakes recipe (adapted Magnolia Cupcake's recipe used with permission)

1 cup unsalted butter
2 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted self rising flour
1 cup sifted flour 
  1. Leave the butter, eggs and milk out for at least an hour before making the cupcakes.
  2. Preheat over to 350 degrees.
  3. Put cupcake wrapper in cupcake pans. 
  4. Sift the flours, measure, and combine.
  5. Beat the eggs until well blended.
  6. Combine the milk and the vanilla.
  7. Cream the butter for at least 3 minutes with mixer.
  8. Gradually add the sugar and cream for 3 more minutes.
  9. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture, beating well.
  10. Alternate between add the milk mixture and the flour mixture.  Mix well but do not over beat.  
  11. Using a number 20 food disher scoop the cupcake batter into the cupcake wrappers.
  12. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out dry and the cupcake is spongy when pressed upon.
  13. Let cool and ice.

Chocolate Icing (Based on Magnolia's frosting recipe used with permission)

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
2 Tablespoons milk
9 ounces semisweet chocolate, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cup powered sugar
  1. Leave the butter, and milk out for at least an hour before making the frosting.
  2. Melt the chocolate using a double broiler method. Boil some water over the counter, place a heat resistant bowl on top.  IMPORTANT-Do no let any water get in the bowl or the chocolate will seize.
  3. Let the chocolate cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Beat the butter for 3 minutes, incorporating lots of air.
  5. Add the milk and mix well.
  6. Add the chocolate and beat for 2 minutes.
  7. Add the vanilla extract and beat for 3 minutes.
  8. Add the sugar gradually, beating on low. You may need more, you may need less depending on your desired frosting consistency and temperature of the butter.
  9. Spread on your cupcakes and enjoy!
*I use a Wilton straight spatula
*Sprinkles add a very nice touch
*If you do not have time to let the butter cool down, cut the butter into slices and leave on a plate for 5 minutes.  Put the milk in a wide bowl.
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The Perfect Kettle Corn

I love the kettle corn from Trader Joe's. I get some every time I go, unfortunately is not often because there isn't one by me. My husband bought me a popcorn popper for Christmas and I was excited to try to make some kettle corn. I picked up some kettle corn topping at the store, popped some popcorn and sprinkled on the topping. Alas is did not taste like kettle corn. So I looked online, found a recipe, tried it and failed, was going to give up, but decided to try one more time. I adjusted the recipe, cooking method and walla, it was perfect. I'll probably be making this several times a week. You don't need a special popcorn popper or a special seasoning just a pot and basic ingredients that you probably have on hand.

                         

Perfect Kettle Corn, Printable Recipe

1/3 cup corn kernels 
2 1/2 Tbsp Trader Joe's canola oil
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
1/4 cup sugar

1. Heat oil and 3 popcorn kernels in a large flat pot over medium heat. 

2. Once one popcorn kernel has popped put in the rest of the kernels. 

3. Add sugar and salt evenly around the pan. Stir in with the kernels. Put the lid back on the pot. 

4. Wait for the kernels to start popping. When they start popping lift the pan and shake the popcorn side to side. Set down every once in a while for the pot to stay hot. 

5. When the popcorn starts to not pop as quickly immediately remove from the heat and lay popcorn on parchment paper on a cookie sheet. Use a spoon to spread out the popcorn. It will be a little sticky. And should not be discolored. 

6. Wait five minutes and enjoy. If you don't devour it all right away you can store in an air tight container for several days. 

*I used a clear lid. It was very helpful to see what stage the popcorn was at and that it wasn't burning. 
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Smoothie Recipes

Today you get a real treat, Jamba Juice recipes. I've tried to be as thorough and comprehensive as possible.  I have old recipes, new ones, and "special orders" ones that are not on the menu board.  I used their website to figure out the ingredients.  Jamba lists all the ingredients for their smoothies on their website and I just filled in the amounts.  I've tried out a lot of them and they are very similar. On their website it says, "We want to give you the opportunity to use these formulations to make your own smoothies at home."  I have experimented and tried and they taste quite good.  I'm enjoying Peach Pleasure as I type this.

This blog post contains affiliate links.
Based on Peach Pleasure
A little knowledge about these recipes.
1 scoop = ½ cup
5-6 ice cubes is about 1 cup crushed ice
Frozen fruit is so important to make them have the same texture as Jamba Juice.  You can use fresh fruit and get a thinner smoothie.

I bought a Blendtec blender like the ones they use at Jamba Juice to make these smoothies. My favorite part it is self cleaning. Click here to find the blender on Amazon.

Hope you enjoy, I sure am.

Based on Acai Super-Antioxidant Smoothie-2012
½ cup soy milk
½ cup Acai juice blend
2 scoops raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
Antioxidant power boost

Based on Amazing Greens
1/2 cup peach juice blend
1/2 cup lemonade
2 scoops peaches
handful kale
2 scoops bananas
1 scoop pumpkin seeds
1 cup ice

Based on Apple ‘N Greens Smoothie-2012
½ cup apple strawberry juice blend
½ cup green vegetable juice blend (carrots, spinach, bell pepper, kale, spirulina, lettuce)
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen mangos
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Aloha Pineapple
1 cup pineapple juice blend
1 scoop pineapple sherbet
1 scoop nonfat plain yogurt
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Banana Berry
1 cup apple strawberry juice blend
1 scoop nonfat vanilla frozen yogurt
1 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Berry Bitten- 2012
1 cup mixed berry juice
1 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Berry Blend-2012
½ cup mixed berry juice
½ cup soymilk
2 scoops frozen blueberries
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
Balance boost
Weight burner boost

Based on BERRY FULFILLING
½ cup raspberry juice
2 scoops enlightened base
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen raspberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Berry Lime Sublime
1 cup raspberry juice
2 scoops of lime sherbet
2 scoops of frozen strawberries
1 scoop of frozen raspberries
1 cup of ice

Based on Berry UpBEET-2012
½ cup mixed berry juice blend
½ cup red vegetable juice blend (carrots, beets, broccoli, spinach, kale, lettuce)
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen Mangos
1 cup ice

Based on Blackberry Bliss
1 cup apple strawberry blend juice
1 scoop blackberries
1 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop plain sorbet
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Blue Banana Blast
1 cup soymilk
1 scoop nonfat plain yogurt
1 scoop nonfat frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Blueberry Balance
1 cup lower calorie dairy base (nonfat milk, natural flavors, whey protein, Splenda),
1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Blutopia
1 cup blueberry juice soymilk
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
2 scoops frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Bounce Back Blast
1 cup kiwi juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
Performance Boost

Based on BRIGHT EYED AND BLUEBERRY
1 cup soymilk
2 scoops yogurt
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Caribbean Passion
1 cup passion fruit-mango juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Caribbean Passion
1 cup guava juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Carrot Quencher 
2 cups fresh squeezed carrot juice
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
1 cup ice.

Based on Chocolate Covered Cherry
½ cup soymilk
½ cup chocolate moo’d base
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen cherries
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Chocolate Moo’d -2012
1 cup chocolate milk
2 scoops frozen yogurt
1 cup ice

Based on CHOCOLATE PEANUT BUTTER MOO’D
1 cup chocolate soy milk
2-3 scoops vanilla frozen yogurt
1-2 scoops frozen banana
1 scoop frozen strawberries (optional)
1 cup ice
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 heaping tbsp peanut butter

Based on CITRUS SQUEEZE
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup orange juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on COLD BUSTER
1 cup orange juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
2 scoops frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Eggnog Jubilee-2012
1 cup eggnog base
1 cup soymilk
4 scoops frozen yogurt
1 cup ice

Based on Electric Berry Lemonade
1/2 cup lemonade
1/2 cup mixed berry juice blend
1 scoop strawberries
1 scoop fat free vanilla frozen yogurt
1 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop strawberries
1 scoop blue spirulina
1cup ice

Based on Five Fruit Frenzy-2012
1 cup mixed berry juice
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Get Up and Mango
1 cup soymilk
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen mangos
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Golden Turmeric Spice
1 cup oatmilk
Tumeric Spice Blend to taste
1 scoop bananas
1 scoop mangos
Agave to taste
1 cup ice

Based on Grape Escape
1 cup concord grape juice
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Greens 'n Ginger
1 cup lemonade
2 scoops peaches
2 scoops mangoes
handful kale
ginger to taste
1 cup ice

Based on Just Peachy
1 cup peach juice blend
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
2 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice.

Based on KIWI BERRY BURNER
1 cup Kiwi juice
2 scoops raspberry sherbet
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen raspberries
1 cup ice

Based on Lime Sublime
1 cup raspberry juice
2 scoops lime sherbet
2 scoops frozen mixed berries
1 cup ice

Based on Mango-a-go-go
1 cup passion fruit-mango juice
2 scoops pineapple sherbet
2 scoops frozen mangos
1 cup ice

Based on MANGO MANTRA
½ cup orange juice
2 scoops enlightened base (yogurt or sherbet)
2 scoops frozen mangos
2 scoops frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Mega Mango-2012
½ cup pineapple juice
½ cup orange juice
2 scoops frozen mangos
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on MIGHTLY CHERRY CHARGER
½ cup raspberry juice
½ cup soymilk
2 scoops frozen yogurt
2 scoops frozen cherries
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Matcha Green Tea Bast
1/2 cup soymilk
1/2 cup match green tea
2 scoops vanilla frozen yogurt
1 cup ice

Based on Ocean Sunrise
1 cup raspberry juice blend
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on ORANGE-A-PEEL
1 cup orange juice
2 scoops frozen yogurt
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 scoop ice

Based on Orange Berry Blitz 
1 cup 100% pure orange juice
2 scoops pineapple sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Orange Carrot Karma Smoothie-2012
1 cup carrot juice
2 scoops frozen mangos
2 scoops frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on ORANGE CHERRY CHEER
½ cup orange juice
½ cup soymilk
1 scoop frozen yogurt
1 scoop orange sherbet
3 scoops frozen cherries
1 cup ice

Based on ORANGE DREAM MACHINE
½ cup orange juice
½ cup soymilk
2 scoops frozen yogurt
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 cup ice

Based on Orange Octane
1 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Peach Mango-2012
1 cup peach juice blend
2 scoops frozen mango
2 scoops frozen peaches
1 cup ice
Balance boost
Weight burner boost

Based on Peach Perfection-2012
½ cup peach juice blend
½ cup apple-strawberry blend
1 scoop frozen mangos
2 scoops frozen peaches
1 scoop strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Peach Pleasure
1 cup peach juice
2 scoops orange sherbet
2 scoops frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Peenya Kowlada
1 cup pineapple juice blend
1 scoop pineapple sherbet
1 scoop nonfat frozen yogurt
2 scoop frozen frozen bananas
1 cup ice
2 tbsp dried unsweetened coconut

Based on Pina Colada
1 cup pineapple juice
2-3 scoops pineapple sherbet
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
2 tbsp coconut flakes

Peppermint Twist
1 cup Jamba Peppermint Blend
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Pick-Me-Up Peach 
1 cup peach juice blend
2 scoops nonfat plain yogurt
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on PINK STARBURST
½ cup lemonade
½ cup soymilk
1 scoop of each: pineapple, raspberry, lime, and orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Pomegranate Paradise-2012
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 scoop frozen mangos
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 cup ice

Based on Pomegranate Pick-Me-Up
½ cup Pomegranate juice
½ cup mixed berry juice
2 scoops raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 cup ice

Based on Powerberry
1 cup orange juice
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen banana
1 cup ice
Vita Blend Buzzer Blend
Amino Blend Fiber Blend
Enertia

Based on Protein Berry
1 cup soymilk
2 scoops frozen bananas
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 cup ice
Whey Protein Boost

Based on PUMPKIN SMASH-2012
1 cup soymilk
4 scoops frozen yogurt
1 scoop pumpkin mix (from can)
2 scoops ice

Based on Raspberry Rage
1 cup raspberry juice
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen raspberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Raspberry Refresher
1 cup raspberry juice
2 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen raspberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Razzmatazz
1 cup Mixed berry juice blend
2 scoops orange sherbet
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Razzmatazz alternate
1 cup raspberry juice
2 scoops raspberry sherbet
1 scoop frozen raspberry
1 cup ice

Based on Smooth Talkin' Mango
1 cup oatmilk
2 scoops mangoes
1 scoop pineapple
agave to taste
1 cup ice

Based on Strawberry Banana
1 cup orange juice
2 scoops frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Strawberry Nirvana
½ cup dairy base
½  cup apple strawberry juice blend
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Strawberry Raspberry Banana-2012
½ cup apple strawberry juice blend
½ cup soy milk
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop raspberries
1 scoop frozen banana
1 cup ice
Balance boost
Weight burner boost

Based on Strawberry Surf Rider
1 cup lemonade
2 scoops lime sherbet
2 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on Strawberries Wild
1 cup apple-strawberry juice
2 scoops nonfat frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on SUNRISE STRAWBERRY
1 cup soymilk
2 scoops yogurt
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Strawberry Whirl
1 cup apple strawberry juice blend
1 scoop frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on TANGO TROPIC
1 cup peach juice
1 scoop raspberry sherbet
1 scoop orange sherbet
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice

Based on TROPICAL AWAKENING
1 cup pineapple juice
2 scoops enlightened base (sherbet or frozen yogurt)
2 scoops frozen strawberries
1 scoop frozen blueberries
1 scoop frozen bananas
1 cup ice

Based on Vanilla Blue Sky
1/2 cup almond milk
1/2 cup coconutmilk
2 scoops bananas
2 scoops pineapples
blue spirulina boost
1 cup ice

Based on WHITE GUMMIE BEAR or White Gummie
1 cup peach juice
1 scoop of each: orange, lime, pineapple, and raspberry sherbet and frozen yogurt
1 scoop frozen peaches
1 cup ice


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