Friday, September 23, 2011

Stuffed Poblano Peppers

Inspired by a friend who recently served stuffed banana peppers, I made a last minute run out to Whole Foods last night to concoct a similar version for dinner. While I didn't look too hard, I was unable to find fresh banana peppers so I went with Poblano instead. Awesome choice!

Stuffed Poblano peppers are typically served as a Mexican dish, but I had an obscene amount of sweet Italian sausage at home (thank you Costco) so I went with an Italian theme instead.

One thing about me, as a cook. I am not a measurer. Baking of course, cooking rarely. Especially if I'm not going off a recipe and just making it up on my own (which I love). Often the hubby just looks at me and sarcastically questions, "You just CAME up with this on your own?!?!" Like he doesn't believe things can be made without following recipes.

This held true for last nights "recipe" as well. I mixed several casings of the Italian sausage (removing the sausage from the actual casing first) with Monterrey Jack cheese. No idea why I went with that cheese. I should have used Mozzarella, but I think that would have been Italian overkill anyway. I threw in a dash of dried Oregano and Basil seasonings and mixed together.

Now the gloves come off. Remove all jewelry and get your hands dirty. Stuff each hallowed out, washed pepper full of the sausage and cheese mixture till it's overflowing. Next, place the stuffed peppers on a pre-heated grill pan. My sister gave us one for our wedding from Crate & Barrel. They're perfect for grilling when the hubby's gone or the back deck has a foot of snow on it. Especially if you go with cast iron, which seasons itself the more you use it. I want to get one for my mom so she can grill whenever she wants.

Anyway, cook on both sides until you get nice grill marks. The sausage won't be cooked through though, so you'll have to place the peppers in a pan and finish cooking at 350 degrees in the oven. This should take about 20 minutes.

Since there are really only three main ingredients it's an easy, no-recipe-to-follow dish to take a risk on. The Poblano peppers give a little kick and crunch to the dish. Add a can of marinara sauce and serve on a bed of Penne pasta for a complete meal.

I'm Falling For Fall

Photo courtesy of
Especially in Cleveland! Summer is way too hot and humid, Spring is really rainy and wet, and Winter? Well everyone knows about Winter in the Cleve. (The people here don't know how to drive, it baffles me that anyone would buy a 2WD here, and the snow stays on the ground from December through February.)

Fall is by far my favorite season everywhere, but I appreciate it even more now that I live here. Fashion-wise, it's the best. Scarves, boots, vests, corduroy pants, etc etc. It's the one and only time I appreciate all of these monsterous trees (there's nothing like seeing the rolling area hills on "fire"). Did I mention the weather relief?

It seems I'm not the only one either. Every other day I'm reading on Facebook how my friends are relieved that fall has arrived.

In honor of this glorious season, I'm planning some awesome fall blog posts. Places to visit, recipes to cook, crafts to make, and drinks to, well, drink. The list is bountiful. Some might be Cleveland-tailored, but you can adjust by region.

To kick-start us off, I just found out the Cleveland Botanical Garden is hosting their Second Annual Ripe! Fest. Featuring local chefs and farmers, cooking demos and tastings, live bands, a farmers market, and children's activities. It starts today, but you can stop by this whole weekend (September 23-25) to get yourself in the fall mood. While you're there, peruse the grounds to take in all of the fall folliage. Visit for more information.
For those not in Cleveland, check out your local farmers market. Their bound to have some awesome prepared seasonal foods to grub on (think caramel apples on sticks for the kids) as well as fall vegetables to stalk up on. Are you excited yet?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Use Number 797,654 For Ziploc Bags

Once again I find myself in the middle of a home painting project. We can never get anything completed in one day so there's always a "middle". I enjoy the painting, it's the cleaning up part that I hate! Depending on how many brushes and rollers I use, it can take a good 30 minutes at the end of the day (aka middle of the night) to clean. After day two of our latest project, painting our remodeled kitchen, I remembered a trick I saw my parents do once.

If you place your paint brushes in Ziploc bags, seal them tight pushing out excess air, and store them in the refrigerator the paint will stay wet for several weeks and the brushes won't get ruined. Rollers don't last as long as brushes do because of the added air that surrounds them. Essentially, it's almost more beneficial to pack on the paint before you place them in bags for storage. As to why you should put them in the fridge, I don't have a good reason. That's just always what my parents did.

And you thought there were no more uses for Ziplocs. Paint away!

P.S. Pics of our finished remodel job to come. Aren't you loving that deep Merlot color though? It's actually "Blackberry" by Sherwin Williams.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Re-Purposing Liquor Bottles

Wondering how to get a second life out of those pretty liquor bottles that once adorned your bar? So was I after the hubby finished off his Jack Daniel's Single Barrel (with the help of friends) and was preparing to throw it in recycle. In a desperate attempt to convince him not to toss it, it dawned on me; why not use it to class up the bathroom.

Specifically, I refilled the Single Barrel bottle with green mouthwash.

While I brought this bottle upstairs because it's pretty, he just loves the fact that every morning he's taking a swig from a Single Barrel bottle. Can't get more manly than that.

Another, less manly option: Bubble bath. It's probably the only safe way to use these bottles in the actual tub as BB is typically applied before you get in when your hands are still dry.

Just don't get them mixed up!

Of course, this may not be a great idea if you share the bathroom with little ones. Both for breakage and responsibility purposes.

Friday, September 16, 2011

2 Good 2 Be 4 Gotten

While finally unpacking a bunch of boxes I had shipped myself from my parents house I came across my dad's 6th grade "Memory Book" circa 1955. It's full of cute little notes from fellow classmates (apparently rhyming was the big thing back then) and offers an interesting insight into his 11 year old self. This particular page really hit home. Little Miss Heisbrook's math is right on the money!