Pinning and Planning – December 23

Honestly, I wasn’t going to post a Pinning and Planning post since two days of this week’s menu would be consumed with Christmas dinners.  But then I had a thought that perhaps my readers would want to see what Allan and I had planned for our Christmas dinners.

We spend Christmas Eve with my family which is typically a meatless meat per my mom’s request.  It’s an Italian-American Catholic thing.  Over the years, Allan has slowly added some meat dishes into the mix (chicken cutlets or Italian sausage) and no one has complained, although my mom, my sister and I still elect to remain meatless.  (Some really rude joke come to mind.  Keep it clean, guys! lol)

Growing up, our meatless Christmas Eve meals consisted on shrimp marinara, but Allan isn’t the biggest fan of shrimp and so years ago, he decided to serve eggplant parmesan.  Now fifteen years later, everyone expects the dish on Christmas Eve.  No lie, Iron Chef Allan makes the most delicious eggplant parmesan and I can’t stomach restaurant eggplant parmesan anymore.  I’m always disappointed because it doesn’t taste as good as Allan’s, which really is a thing of beauty and I’ll have to post a photo of it for you.

Of course, there is nothing light about Allan’s eggplant parmesan and you could probably bake the eggplant to save on calories and fat, but it’s Christmas and Christmas calories don’t count, right?  It’s a Christmas miracle!  Thank you, Baby Jesus!

We serve our eggplant parmesan with spaghetti topped with marinara sauce and there’s always a huge tossed salad.  So, those who are concerned with calories can pass on the parmesan and save room for the Yule log cake Allan always bakes (another photo worthy masterpiece).  My oldest daughter has requested cheesecake too.

On Christmas Day, we’re entertaining Allan’s family and for the Taylor Clan, Iron Chef Allan will prepare a somewhat traditional British Christmas dinner of roast lamb and a small turkey with all the trimmings, potatoes and stuffing.  His family loves Brussels sprouts so I think I’m going to try my hand at Healthy Homemade’s Brussels sprouts because she promises that her recipe will make the pickiest person a fan.  There will also be roasted parsnips and mince pies for dessert.

The food fest continues the next day with Boxing Day.  Iron Chef Allan always prepares huge sweaty British breakfast complete with scrambled eggs, fried tomatoes and mushrooms, fried bread, baked beans, potatoes and English breakfast sausages.

Since the Day-After Turkey Soup was such a hit in our house will eat that for dinner on Boxing Day, if we have any room for food.

I imagine it’s going to be a week of yummy leftovers.  I can be healthy again when January first rolls around next week.

S – Eggplant Parmesan with Pasta Marinara and Salad and Yule log for dessert

M – Roast Turkey and Lamb with Mashed Potatoes, Sage Stuffing, Lemon Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Glazed Winter Veggies, Parmesan Asparagus and Mince Pie for dessert

T – Sweaty Breakfast and Day-After Turkey Soup for dinner

W – Leftovers

Th – Leftovers

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up for Christmas and the rest of the week?  Will it be a lotf of leftovers for you too?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Pinning and Planning – December 9

We kicked off the holiday season with our Advent calendar on December 1.  Each day in December, my family and I participate in some type of Christmas activity which in turn, changes our daily routines and dinner plans.   Also thrown into the mix are Christmas parties, dinner dates and other fun holiday hoopla.

A few nights last week, my family had dinner without me due to some blogging obligations.  Basically, I left them to the Dad’s devices.  I believe they ate baked potatoes one night and mac ‘n cheese another.

This week will be just as busy, but the dinner will be a little bit better.  At least I hope so.

M – Skinnytaste’s Broccoli and Cheese Stuffed Chicken with Mashed Cauliflower

T – Dinner out

W – Ground Turkey Tacos

Th – Skinnytaste Cuban Sandwich Quesadillas

F – Pasta

What things are you cooking up this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Run DMT Second Annual Ultimate Virtual Christmas Cookie Swap

Maestro cue the music.

*cough*

Eh hem.

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
When flour needs some sifting
And batter mixed with an ingredient of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s yum, yummiest season of all!
Oven timers will be dinging and mom will be singing
As she samples them all!
It’s yum, yummiest season of all!

There’ll be cookies with chips
And some will call to be dipped
And some are powdered with snow
Sometimes you feel like nut
But sometimes you don’t but you choose
To present them with a bow

It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year!
Oh the most wonderful time of the year!

Yes, it’s that time of year again.  It’s time find your favorite cookie recipes or maybe share some new ones in Run DMT’s Second Annual Ultimate Virtual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap. I know that the title of the cookie swap linky party is a bit of a mouthful, but then so are the cookies I will be stuffing in my face all month long.

Simply post a cookie recipe or any sweet treat on your blog.  Be sure to included add The Ultimate Virtual Christmas Cookie Recipe Swap button to your post and link back to this post.  Then, swing back here to Run DMT and add your link to the linky list.  It’s that simple!  Can’t you just taste the fun already?!  Cookies and comment love is a tasty pair.

It’s all the fun of a regular Christmas cookie swap without all the extra calories.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – November 25

Are you sick of turkey, pumpkin and all things squash related yet? 

Me either.  We’re still eating Thanksgiving dinner leftovers as well as a delicious day-after turkey soup Iron Chef Allan made.

Although we may have lots of leftovers stockpiled in our fridge, sadly it won’t last much longer; however, I still have plenty of turkey left to make my turkey enchiladas, which everyone in family gobbles up quite happily.

Thankfully, all the vegetables that make excellent side dishes are still on sale at our local supermarket.  I love when Publix’s sale runs longer because of a holiday in the middle of the week.  Therefore, I will be taking full advantage of all the meats and vegetables still on sale this week to serve some delicious soups, sauces and side dishes.

S – Roasted Acorn Squash with Drop Biscuits

M – Spaghetti with Creamy Butternut Leek Parmesan Sauce

T – Turkey Enchiladas

W – Sautéed Tilapia with Lemon-Peppercorn Pan Sauce

Th –  Mojo Marinated Sirloin with Roasted Veggies and Potato Balls

F – Pizza

Are still eating Thanksgiving leftovers?  What things are you cooking up this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.



Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Pinning and Planning – November 18

Can you believe Thanksgiving is this week?

We’re hosting Thanksgiving this year.  Last year we happily passed on hosting because we were traveling over to the east coast for the Space Coast Marathon.   Although I don’t have a marathon to burn off all those Thanksgiving calories this year, I’ll still try a get a few miles in before we feast.

Iron Chef Allan is excited to be cooking again this year.  He really missed it last year and all the leftovers in our fridge.  Despite his excitement to be brining a turkey again, he hasn’t planned the menu yet.  That’s not good.

No worries!  It will all come together once he buys the turkey.  Nope, he hasn’t bought the bird yet, but like I said, that’s not my job or my concern.  My job is to plan the rest of the menu for the week and while I’m pinning and planning, maybe I’ll offer Iron Chef Allan Skinnytaste suggestions for our Thanksgiving menu.

This week, we’ll try eating a lighter since the Thanksgiving will make up the calories and the carbs for the lighter days.  Plus, Allan always prepares a Black Friday Brunch, a welcomed sight and a great way to refuel after fighting the crowds for hours.  However, for the past couple years, I’ve skipped out on Black Friday and just shopped online throughout the season.  Funny enough, I always found the same deals or better online after Black Friday.  See, sometimes the early bird doesn’t always the worm, but this one will still get a brunch either way.

Once we’ve had enough Thanksgiving leftovers (Is there even such a thing?), I’ll probably make my turkey enchiladas once again.

S – Lentil Soup with Spinach

M – Black Beans with Spanish Rice

T – Tampa Bay Blogger Meetup at Taps

W –Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Th –  Thanksgiving

F – Brunch and leftovers for dinner

S – Turkey Enchiladas

What things are you cooking up this week?  Have you planned and shopped for you Thanksgiving dinner?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.

Pinning and Planning – November 5

October has come and gone and now things have returned to somewhat normal routine for November.   There are still lots of fun things happening like races, 30 Days of Giving, a fitness challenge and of course, preparing for Thanksgiving.

Speaking of Thanksgiving, Camille of Growing Up Gabel and I are co-hosting a Thanksgiving food blog hop, Thankful for Good Food.  If you have some Thanksgiving favorites, we would love for you to link up and share them here or if you need some menu ideas for Thanksgiving, our Thankful for Good Food is a great place to start.

As for menus, here’s what I’m planning this week.

M – Pasta Shells with Tomatoes and Cheese

T  – Turkey Tacos

W  – Crock Pot Turkey White Bean Pumpkin Chili

Th – Loaded Baked Potaoes

F – Pizza

What things are you cooking up this week?  Link up and share the delicious dishes you are pinning and planning to serve this week.

Plan your menu for the week and if you have some favorite food pins, add those too. Then, link up and share your post. If you’re not on Pinterest, send me an email and I’ll send you an invite.


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+

Friday Food Fight: Celebrating Two Years

PhotobucketIt’s been two years since I started flinging foods and recipes at my readers.  By doing so, I gained a few pounds new foodie followers who eagerly wanted to share their recipes with my readers and me.

So today, to celebrate the two year anniversary of Friday Food Fight and to show my gratitude for your support, we’re going to do something a little different.  I’ll still have a blog hop for you to link up and share your recipes, however, today when you link up, you’ll be entered to win a copy my favorite cookbook, Joy of Cooking.  In the Taylor home, the Joy of Cooking is our kitchen bible, our go-to cookbook.  In fact, Iron Chef Allan and I use the Joy so much that we’ve broken the binding on our third copy.

Joy of Cooking: 75th Anniversary Edition - 2006

So, link up and share your recipes (as many recipes as you like) and you’ll be entered to win the Joy of Cooking.  The linky collection closes Thursday 11/8 at midnight and one lucky winner will be announced during our regularly scheduled Friday Food Fight next week (11/9).

And while I have your attention, I would also like to announce a new foodie feature for the month for the month of November.  I’ve teamed up with Camille of Growing Up Gabel for a Thanksgiving linky party.  Every day leading up to Thanksgiving, we would love for you to link up and share some of you favorite Thanksgiving foods.

Read all the details for our Thankful for Good Food blog hop here.  That’s where you will also find my mashed cauliflower recipe that I keep promising to share with you.

In the meantime, I’ll leave you with a teaser photo of my mashed cauliflower and our regularly scheduled Friday Food Fight program.

Thanks for joining this anniversary edition Friday Food Fight! Can’t wait to see what everyone is flinging this week!


Denise Mestanza-Taylor+