Turkey Burgers with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

We have a local restaurant, Bistro Byronz, that makes the very best turkey burger.
It is my absolute favorite.

What makes their turkey burger so fantastic is that is is juicy and full of flavor--
a great bun, a cheese filled burger, roasted red peppers and a special sauce. 
It is absolutely very tasty.
(They also have really great blue cheese chips, but we'll save that for another day.)

I really love to take a great dish and make it my own,
so here is my take on the Bistro Byronz turkey burger.

I paired the turkey meat with mild provolone cheese, dressed it with roasted red peppers, red onion, and spinach and made my own not-so-secret "secret" sauce.

Turkey Burgers with Roasted Red Peppers and Spinach

Printable recipe

2 pound lean turkey meat (90/10)
3 ounces shredded provolone cheese
2 tablespoons garlic powder
2 tablespoons onion powder
1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
roasted red peppers, sliced
red onion, sliced
baby spinach leaves
1/4 cup mayonnaise
2 tablespoons mustard
2 tablespoons candied jalapeño peppers, minced
hamburger buns

In a large bowl, mix turkey, cheese, garlic powder, onion powder, and cayenne pepper together until well mixed.  Separate the turkey meat into 8 different portions and create the hamburger patties.  Heat your grill to 425 degrees.  Cook for approximately 15 minutes turning twice during cooking until cooked through (165 degrees).

Meanwhile in a small bowl, combine te mayonnaise, mustard, and the minced candied jalapeño peppers to create your "secret sauce".

Dress your turkey burger with your sauce, roasted red peppers, red onion, and spinach leaves.


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Sweet Candied Jalapeno Peppers

I should have posted this back when I made them, but I wanted to make sure that they tasted good.
My brother-in-law (who is a candied jalapeño freak) can attest that they are really good, 
but pretty darn hot!!
(He actually commandeered a jar for himself at Christmas-
and I literally could not take it away from him.--gotta love him)

Last fall, I had a bumper jalapeño crop.
I usually always buy candied jalapeños from the store, but thought surely I can make my own.
I've made pickles before, so it can't be that hard.

There is a website called Jalapeño Madness, that really helped me with the inspiration for this recipe.

I knew that I wanted them hot, but really sweet.
I use candied jalapeños all the time in place of sweet pickles.
They are so delicious with a little kick.

Candied Jalapeño Peppers
(adapted slightly from Foodie with Family)

Printable Recipe

3 pounds fresh, firm jalapeño peppers, red and green
2 cups apple cider vinegar
6 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon celery seed
6 cloves garlic, finely sliced
1 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper

Prepare the jalapeño peppers by removing the stems.  Slice the peppers into 1/8-1/4-inch rounds. Set aside.

In a large pot, bring the cider vinegar, sugar, turmeric, celery seed, garlic, and cayenne pepper to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for 5 minutes.  Add the sliced peppers and simmer for exactly 4 minutes.  Use a slotted spoon to transfer the peppers, loading into clean, sterile canning jars to within 1/4-inch of the upper rim of the jar.  Turn the heat up under the pot with the syrup and bring to a full rolling boil.  Boil hard for 6 minutes.

Use a ladle to pour the boiling syrup into the jars over the jalapeño slices.  Insert a end of a wooden spoon to the bottom of the jar two or three times to release any trapped pockets of air.  Adjust the level of the syrup if necessary.  Wipe the rims of the jars with a clean, damp paper towel and fix on a new, two piece lid to finger-tip tightness.

Place jars in a canner or a large pot of water and cover with at least 2-inches of water.  Bring the water to a full rolling boil.  When it reaches a full rolling boil, set the timer for 10 minutes for half-pints or 15 minutes for pints.  When the time goes off, use canning tongs to transfer the jars to a cooling rack.  Leave them to cool, undisturbed, for 24 hours.  When fully cooled, wipe them with a clean, damp cloth, then label.

Allow the candied jalapeños to mellow for at least two weeks, but preferably a month before eating.

(I had several red jalapeño peppers and thought that they would make the mixture look really pretty.  Beware, I think that they are a little bit more powerful.  I thought that this recipe would make several jars--I had so many peppers, but I would really double the recipe next time.  The peppers really cook down and they are so delicious!!!  ) 


Homemade Hamburger Buns

You know how I said that I wanted to become a better baker this year...
I've been going at it full force.
(to the dismay of my diet--gotta love carbs!!)

This time I tackled ---
(wait for it)

Homemade Hamburger Buns

I really don't know if I will ever go back.
I now image them with sesame and poppy seeds, with all kinds of herbs and cheese mixed in.
I'm so excited.
I don't know why I've waited so long to bake things.
I had this irrational fear-- but no more.
I am a baking convert!!!

They were actually pretty easy.

Hamburger Buns
(adapted slightly from the kitchn)

1 package active-dry yeast
1/2 cup (4 ounces) warm water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) whole milk
1 extra-large egg
2 tablespoons canola oil (or vegetable)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 tablespoon butter, melted

In the bowl of a standing mixer (or a large bowl, if mixing by hand), stir the yeast into the warm water and let it sit until dissolved.  (Make sure to stir with a wooden spoon.)  Allow the yeast/water mixture to sit until it starts to bubble.

In a separate bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, oil, sugar, and salt.  Add this to the yeast mixture and stir until combined.  Add all the flour and stir until it forms a shaggy dough.  Using the dough hook attachment, knead at a low speed (or by hand), for 10 minutes.  The finished dough should be smooth, feel slightly tacky, and spring back withen poked.

Place the dough in a large, oiled bowl and cover with a damp towel to rise.  (I usually heat my oven to 170 degrees and turn off when ready to put the bowl in and prop it open a little bit for the dough to rise perfectly.)  Let the dough rise for about an hour, until doubled in size.

Once it is double the size, punch it down.  Dust your work surface with a little flour and turn out the risen dough.  Divide the dough into 8 pieces and shape each into a tight ball.

Transfer the balls to a prepared baking sheet and let rise until they look hamburger-sized, approximately 30-40 minutes.  

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.

Melt the butter and brush it over the risen hamburger buns.  This helps the tops to brown and keeps the crust soft.  Bake the buns until golden, 15-18 minutes.

Let the buns cool to room temperature before slicing a using. They are best if eaten within the next day or two, but will keep in an airtight container on the counter for up to a week.


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What I'm Reading--January

I am a member of the most awesome book club of all time!!!

Now you may disagree, 
and think that your book club is better, 
but I must say that mine is pretty awesome.

I have been in this book club for about 8 years now.
We read a book a month, and we eat at a fabulous restaurant every month.
Some of our members are originals, some are new, and some sporadic--
but we always have a great time.

That's the beauty of a book club, like ours, you just have to be interested and take the time,
you don't even have to read the book every month.
(Like when we read Dracula and Tale of Two Cities back to back--you know who you are!!)

Here's how our book club goes:

---Some months we just read and book and eat at a fabulous restaurant.
---Some months we read the book and see the movie--this is really great (especially when you have a husband that hates going to the movies).
--And, some months we read the book, see the movie, and eat at a great restaurant.
It's a win, win!!

One month we read a scary book and went on a haunted ghost tour of our city--that was a lot of fun!!
(We were acting like we were really scared on the cemetery tour--It was actually a little bit scary!

But, the best part of this book club is that we are not only reading really good books, eating really good food, and drinking really good wine...
we are really great friends!!

After all, it is pretty easy to become great friends with people that you spend at least one night a month with for years.

Not everyone could make it this month, but 
here are a few members of our fabulous book club out this month---

This month we read---

read about it here

This book was so good!
It had it all--a little bit of romance, some screwed-up-ness (is that a word) and a really good story.
I love a book that once I start reading it, I can't put it down and I can't wait to see how it ends.

This is totally me (btw)

We also saw the movie here and we ate dinner here.
(I'll definitely have to blog about this place later on--it's great!!)

If you haven't seen the movie yet, I would definitely recommend.  
Bradley Cooper and Jennifer Lawrence are both amazing!!!

A few other books that I've read this month are--
(I really know how to mix it up-wouldn't you say.)

read about it here
(my sweet MIL gave this to me)
read about it here
read about it here
read about it here
and if I get a chance before the month runs out, I'll definitely read

read about it here

Next month we are reading--

read about it here
Stay tuned fro more great books in February!!

Are you in a book club?
What are you reading?

Saturday Inspiration

A word of wisdom from one of my absolute favorites, Salvatore that is---
(This is for you Carolyn!!)

Facial Cleanser--Let's Start at the Beginning

Last week I posted my first beauty post geared primarily for women 40 and over.
I've had some really great feedback from the post and am definitely inspired to carry on.

I thought, why not start at the beginning and talk about facial cleansers.

This is a huge subject for me, with my sensitive and allergy prone skin.

Thank goodness I'm not prone to break-outs  and can stick to really sensitive, calming cleansers.
I do have a little bit of rosacea, which I use a prescription to treat.
This is where I get most of my redness (on my cheeks).

I think that I have tried everything over the years--from cheap drugstore cleansers (what my dermatologist recommends) to really expensive department store cleansers.
I've found, overall, that a mid range cleanser made for sensitive skin really works the best for me.

Here are a few that I've tried and what I liked or disliked about them:

Purity One-Step Facial Cleanser

I'm currently using this cleanser with really good results.
It was recommended to me by a friend with similar skin type.
Easily removes eye makeup with no burning or irritation.
My face feels a little dry after use, but clean.
It does not create any redness or itching.
Overall price is good--$33.00 for 16 ounces.
This size lasted me several months.
You can read about it here.

Dior Gentle Foaming Cleanser

I used this cleanser with fairly good results, but really don't like the price.
$43.00 for 4 ounces.
Made my face really soft and smooth.
It did not foam, but I had no redness or itching.
It left my face feeling a little oily.
Not good for removing eye makeup, stings eyes.
It smells fabulous.
I probably will not use it again, but normally love Dior products.
You can read about it here.

Dermalogica Ultra Calming Cleanser

I used this cleanser with good results.
It creates a cooling effect and really calms my skin and removes any redness.
It is not very good with eye makeup.
It is easy to buy--and the cost is rather high-$51.00 for 16.9 ounces.
I really like this cleanser and will probably start using it again, especially in the summer
when I'm in the heat and sun.
Read about it here.

Cetaphil Gentle Skin Cleanser

I have used the cleanser on and off for year.
My dermatologist actually recommends this for an everyday face wash with a good moisturizer.
It is a very gentle cleanser, not the best for removing eye makeup.
I use it when I've needed a gentle cleanser without having to remove any makeup.
It dried my skin out quite a bit with repeated use.
The price is fabulous--$13.00
Read more about it here.

What's your favorite facial cleanser?
Do you have any issues (allergies/irritations) that determine what kind you use?
I would love to hear your thoughts and recommendations.

I'm Over at Mommy is Coo Coo--Come Check Me Out

Hi everyone,

Today, I'm over at Mommy is CooCoo

I'm so excited to be one of her newest contributors.

So head on over there for a perfect cajun recipe to celebrate carnival season!!!

Spare Bedrooms Update--Still in Progress, Part 1

In the last few weeks or so I've made several changes to my spare bedrooms.
I wanted to share the changes and show you some of the really neat antique pieces that we have in these rooms.

All of the antique pieces are from my husband's grandparents and great-grandparents.

The first part of this spare bedroom update takes place in our more masculine decorated bedroom.
(This was "L's" room, who is as feminine as it gets, but we call it that anyway.)

It's decorated with items from our grandparents, mainly our grandfathers.
The color palate is very masculine-- browns, rusts, reds, gold, and green.
There is a lot going on in this room.

We have an antique bed and secretary, and a new armoire as the main pieces of furniture.
The bed was my husband's grandparents, who owned an antique store in Lincoln Parish.
My MIL said that she thinks that someone gave it to therm.

Here is a close-up picture of the bed with all of the "Victorian" era carvings.

This bed is called an "Eastlake Bed".
You can read about them here.
(According to the articles, they were supposed to be easy to clean--I would beg to differ.)

We really love this bed and what it brings to the room.
I find myself constantly changing out the pillows and bed linens.
I like to mix patterns to keep it fun.

I usually make all of the pillows and many of them have been in other parts of my house at one time or another.
The bedspread is from Restoration Hardware, and the matching drapery panels, that I got on clearance a few years ago, and the quilt was from Pottery Barn many years ago as well.
The red sham close to the back is also from Pottery Barn.
The small fleur de lis pillow is from a local boutique.

I've also changed out a few pictures on the gallery wall.

Two of my favorite pictures are also in here, one on the gallery wall and the other on top of the armoire.

The first is of my sweet grandmother, who would have been 90 this year, and two of her brothers.
(I was told that she was 3 or 4 in this picture.)

The other new picture in this room is of my great-grandfather, on my father's side of my family.

The picture is of him and some of his brothers when they were children on horseback.
I have no idea when this picture was taken but can only assume that it was early 1900's.

You can see the more pictures of this room here.

Check back soon for our other guest bedroom update coming soon (Part 2).

Roasted Red Peppers

I wasn't going to post this recipe, 
but was told by several people that I work with that they had no idea how to roast peppers.

It is a super easy recipe and one that you can use for all types of vegetables.
I guess you wouldn't really call this a recipe, just a how-to of sorts.

Aren't they beautiful!!!

Roasted Red Peppers 

2 red bell peppers
olive oil
sea salt

Preheat your oven to 450 degrees.  Spray your peppers of vegetables with olive oil.  (With peppers, you want to char the skin so that it blisters and comes off easily.)  Place your peppers on a baking sheet with sides and bake for 15-20 minutes, turning frequently so that all sides blister.

Once the peppers are blistered and start to soften, remove from the oven and place in a paper bag.  Seal and allow the peppers to cool enough to touch.  Remove the skins and seeds.  Slice each into thin strips.  Sprinkle with sea salt.

Turn down your oven to 250 degrees and place the pepper strips on your baking sheet and roast for an additional 30-45 minutes until softened.  (This will make your peppers extra sweet.)

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How to Make Drapery Panels in Less Than 3 Hours

I really like simple, elegant drapery panels.
I use them in most rooms of my house.

The very best thing about them is that they are so easy to make.
You only need very basic sewing skills.

This tutorial will show you how to make simple lined drapery panels (in less than 3 hours start to finish).
I kid you not, 3 hours is all that you need to make lined curtain panels.
Can you believe it?
It's true though, I even timed myself.

Here's what you wil need:

drapery lining
iron-on interfacing (cut into 3" strips)

First, decide what size panels you want to make.
Here is my window, I want them almost to the ceiling.
Minus the drapery rod (3") and the rings and hooks (1")

Next, cut your fabric.
Here are my measurements:
Cut your fabric 98" + 2" at bottom and 4" at top = 104" for each panel.

(I usually use my husband's old square to make sure that it is perfectly straight.)

Next, cut the liner to the same length.

When cutting the liner, subtract 4 inches off the width.
(My fabric is 57" wide, so I cut the liner to 53".

The next thing that I did was to serge all of the edges.
(If you don't have a serger, then use pinking shears so that the fabric doesn't fray.)

Pin the edges together down each side, right sides facing each other.
Don't pin the top and bottom together yet.

When you start to pin the opposite side together you will see that the outside fabric is too wide.  
That's ok, pin it anyway.

Sew together the two sides of the fabric and liner down the length of the fabric.

Next, you will need to turn the fabric inside out and you will see that the outside fabric makes 
an 1-1 1/2" overhang.
Press this with your iron to give you a nice crisp edge.

Now, your fabric will be sewn on both sides, but open at the top and bottom.
Pin the bottom together, and sew along the bottom edge.
The outside fabric will be turned in.

Once this edge is sewn, turn the fabric right side out and make a straight edge along the bottom with your iron.

Next, place your interfacing on the top of the drapery and liner and iron down to adhere.
Measure down 4" and pin.
Make sure to make a 1/4" hem.  
Sew along the hem line to finish the panels.

Hang and enjoy your new drapery panels.

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