Thursday, March 31, 2011

This Dish SCREAMS Spring!!

Pea Puree with Shrimp and Scallops

I was minding my business, blog stalking, when I switched over to Facebook and my dear, sweet, trouble making sister, Shameeka Ayers, posted a recipe from Bon Appetit that not only sounded delicious, but looked as delicious as it sounded. Well, Ms. TSE couldn't wait to make it. As a matter of fact, I replied to her post and immediately went to the kitchen to take out the required ingredients. I was determined to have it for lunch.

As you can see, I went a little overboard with the peas, but hey, I like peas. You can make this QHM (Quick and Healthy Meal) in just a few short minutes and it'll taste like you spent much more time on it. Here's the recipe. Give it a shot.

Enjoy the rest of this fabulous Thursday!!

Sheila Denise

Got Duck Sauce?

I was reading one of my many foodie magazines {Every Day with Rachael Ray} and thought this little snippet about using those little packets of duck sauce was worth sharing. Many of us order Chinese takeout and end up with a secret stash of assorted sauce packets. What in the world do you do with them when your dish has been eaten? Well, here are three really great ideas to incorporate these sweet little packets.

Cream Cheese:

Toss dried cranberries, golden raisins and finely chopped red onion with duck sauce. Season with salt and pepper and spoon over a block of cream cheese. Serve with crackers, pita chips, etc.


For a sweet-and-sour addition, dress up your favorite slaw recipe or shred broccoli stalks and red cabbage and add duck sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil and top with toasted sesame seeds.

Grilled Cheese:

Add a new spin to a basic grilled cheese sandwich, by spreading duck sauce on the bread. Try adding muenster, avocado and turkey or whatever you enjoy. For inspiration, click here for more grilled cheese idea.

Do you have other quick tips for using duck sauce or any other sauce packets we seem to accumulate?

Sheila Denise

Photo Credits:

Cream Cheese: Kraft Brands
Slaw: Nuts About Food Italy
Grilled Cheese: Sunset Magazine

Thursday Treasure - Cookie Love

This is one of those days where I'm not posting about what I had originally planned to talk about. I know I'm not the only one who falls into this mind-changing category, so don't give me that look. ;-)

Today's treasure popped up last night as I was preparing to fulfill a cookie request. My instructions were to make just any kind of cookie. Say what?? I mean, I received absolutely NO, el zippo, nada. So in traditional TSE fashion, I stood looking into the pantry waiting for something to fall into my hands to help me make a decision. Sadly, that didn't happen--I actually had to REACH into the pantry and this is what I pulled out.

The red chips are cherry flavored. I discovered these little red goodies in January while stalking the shelves at Super Target and thought I'd add them to pancakes for Briana, my four year old great niece or possibly use them for Valentines. A cookie never occurred to me, since I'm more of a Plain Jane cookie type. Well, I've officially changed my mind. Anywho, I thought the cherry chips would go well with white chocolate and pecans, so that's where I went with it. I must say, I am quite pleased with the outcome. Just the right balance of flavors. Since I'm not enamored with chocolate, I'm not a fan of the old school chocolate chip cookie and I wasn't sure if I'd actually like this one. Give me a simple shortbread, vanilla or lemon cookie and I'm a happy girl...until last night. This cookie is now on my Cookie-With-Stuff-In-It list. I'd like to introduce you to my friend. Her name is Cherry-White Chocolate Chip Pecan Cookie.

The recipe is super easy and you can find it here. If you've ever followed the Nestle Toll House Cookie recipe, it'll look extremely familiar, because it's the same thing. I simply used 1 cup each of the chips.

Now that I have a multi-faceted cookie to add to my list of favorites, I've decided to nominate it for the Thursday Treasure Award.

While I'm munching, I'd love to hear about your favorite cookie.

Sheila Denise

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

A Brand New Look & A Spring Contest

I've been working behind the scenes to re-vamp TSE for the past several weeks. You may have noticed on my BEAUTIMOUS new logo on my Facebook page; however, TSE is in desperate need of a tagline. With the direction in which TSE is progressing, "Food, Home & Randomness" is no longer a great fit. Here's where you come in. Take a look at some of my blog posts and Facebook posts to get the feel and tone of the blog, then I'd like you to put your thinking cap on and suggest a tagline that reflects what True Southern Elegance means.

Now you may be wondering what's in it for you. Well, I have a perfect, just-in-time-for-spring gift for the winner of the tagline contest. It's extremely versatile and can be used in a number of creative ways and the colors simply SCREAM spring and fun!! As a matter of fact, I've only used it for it's intended purpose once, but many times for other purposes. Have I kept you in suspense long enough?? Good! LOL

Okay, before I reveal the adorable prize, we need to cover the rules. You may submit up to three (3) taglines (you can submit them all at once, if you'd like). You must be a TSE follower of the blog AND Facebook. All submissions must be entered by posting on Facebook OR by leaving a comment here. Entries must be received by Saturday, April 2 at midnight (EST). I, along with my trusty Mastermind Group members, will make a decision on Sunday April 3. When the decision is made, the announcement will be posted on Facebook, directing you back here to reveal the winner.

Soooooooo, without further delay, here's a look at the prize that's up for grabs for sharing your creativity with TSE...

Egg Cups...aren't they a.d.o.r.a.b.l.e??

Mini vases...perfect for individual place settings.

Just imagine these filled with jelly beans for Easter
with syrup for a pancake or waffle spring brunch.

I can't think of many things I enjoy more than having you take a peek in to the world of TSE. I truly appreciate your support and welcome you to continue along the ride as TSE makes it's transformation.

Have a wonderful evening and let's slip on those thinking caps!! Remember, the deadline is Saturday at midnight (EST) and you must be a follower of both the blog AND Facebook page. All entries must be posted on TSE's Facebook page or in the comments section below. I'm looking forward to receiving some outstanding suggestions!!

TSE's Facebook Page

Thank you so much and stay tuned for the new and improved TSE!!

Sheila Denise

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Temptation Tuesday - Dining For A Cause

This week is Inman Park Restaurant Week here in Atlanta. It began yesterday, March 28 and ends, Sunday, April 3. I began participating a couple of years ago year and am committed to continuing. There are 12 restaurants participating.

They are:

$15 Menu
Pure Taqueria
The Albert
North Highland Pub
Victory Sandwich Bar

$25 Menu
Parish Food & Goods
Park's Edge
Sotto Sotto
Fritti also has a $25 menu (which I selected from tonight)

$35 Menu
Kevin Rathbun Steak

This week, you can purchase a $1 raffle ticket to support Open Hand Atlanta and enter to win an hor d'ouerves, beer and wine party at one of my favorite restaurants, Kevin Rathbun Steak. There will be three winners and each winner can bring 10 friends and the menu will consist of tastes from each participating Inman Park restaurant. The winner will be announced at the end of Restaurant Week.

There's a really simple reason for asking you to support Inman Park Restaurant and Open Hand Atlanta and it's because of the following statements from Open Hand Atlanta:

Our Mission, Vision, Purpose, Core Values & Guiding Principles

Open Hand helps people prevent or better manage chronic disease through
Comprehensive Nutrition Care, which combines home-delivered meals and nutrition education as a means to reinforce the connection between informed
food choices and improved quality of life.

Open Hand seeks to eliminate disability and untimely death due to nutrition-sensitive chronic disease.

To serve our community by empowering people to live healthier, more productive lives.

Core Values
We value success and our passion for winning through trust, transparent leadership and our commitment to diversity.

Guiding Principles
Our guiding principles that frame all decision-making are based on our purpose, these values and a mutual respect for each individual’s contribution to the fulfillment of our mission.

Tonight, I joined a few foodie friends for dinner at Fritti and enjoyed a wonderful meal while supporting a charity that I believe in. Please understand, it's about much more than winning a raffle, it's about raising awareness about organizations that exist for the good of others.

Can I tempt you to participate in Inman Park Restaurant Week or a Restaurant Week in your city while giving a charity your support?

Have a great evening!

Sheila Denise

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Thursday Treasure - Quick & Healthy Meals

Some quick and healthy lunch huh? Well, there's a little bit more to this post than a bowl of chickpeas, I assure you.

Who hasn't had a few back to back crazy days that didn't allow much time to throw a meal together and you were forced to eat something not so healthy? In efforts to eliminate this, I'm compiling a list of TSE Quick & Healthy Meals, affectionately known as QHMs. When I discovered this recipe, I knew it would be one of the first that I'd add to my list. It requires minimal cooking, the ability to open a can and a few other steps and lunch or dinner is served. I promise you it'll take WELL under 10 minutes from start to finish and it's healthy and versatile to boot. Give it a try. I'm sure you'll love it. I'm excited to build my QHM list and fill it with tasty treasures.

Here's what you'll need:


Lemon Juice & Green Onion

Shrimp/Scallops (or even leftover grilled chicken)

You'll also need olive oil and sunflower oil (or the oil of your choice) and blackened seasoning, which I elected to skip today.

Here are the RIDICULOUSLY EASY steps:

1. In a bowl combine chickpeas with green onions, lemon juice and olive oil. Season with salt & pepper.
2. Heat sunflower oil in a nonstick pan.
3. Dredge shrimp in blackened seasoning and cook for about 1-2 minutes on each side in sunflower oil.
4. Dish out your lemony chickpeas on a plate and top with hot shrimp. Eat!

Printable recipe with adaptations.

As you'll see, the original recipe uses shrimp, but following a phone conversation last night, I decided to use scallops and I'm really happy that I did.

I'd love it if you'd share a few of your QHMs with me.

Sheila Denise

Recipe: Mango & Tomato via 5 Star Foodie Culinary Adventures

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's National Chip and Dip Day!!

Good afternoon y'all!! Last night, it was brought to my attention that today is National Chip and Dip Day. I immediately thought of thick, crispy, rustic, skin-on chips with a creamy Greek yogurt blue cheese dip. Well, in sticking true to my "Lighter Fare" mode, I decided to bake them and they turned out fabulously (Lord knows, I've managed to burn a few pans of baked chips before)!!

How are you celebrating this great holiday??

Sheila Denise

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Temptation Tuesday - A Big Sale on Berries

Have you even gone a bit overboard and placed yourself in a WTH dilemma? Well, Ms. TSE just committed that crime yesterday. I went absolutely BONKERS while at the market. I was sooooo tempted by the 99 cents sign that I forgot I was shopping for one. Strawberries, blackberries and blueberries were on sale, so silly me went crazy. Sometimes, I question my sanity, but then I quickly snap out of that foolishness. Ha!!

What's a girl to do with a TON of berries?? Here are a few things I did today:

Oatmeal (with almost more fruit than oatmeal):

I haven't had this dip in a few years, but it's always nice to go back to something tried and true. I was reminded of this dip while blog stalking.

Strawberries with Greek Yogurt (or Sour Cream) Brown Sugar Dip:

I invited a few friends over last minute and we enjoyed a quick dessert served with Talenti Tahitian Vanilla Bean Gelato. OMG!! They were so good and the perfect size for sharing to keep the four of us from going completely overboard.

Blueberry-Blackberry Galettes:

I made this "shortcut" version last week with Simply Lemonade, but I'll do the real thing this week.

Blackberry Lemonade:

Up next on the agenda:

~Mixed Berries Shortcakes

~Mixed Berries Green Smoothie

~Greek Yogurt with Berries


As much as I've gone on and on about overbuying berries, I've really enjoyed playing with them and planning my week around them. I happily welcome any suggestions you may have to help me with my berry dilemma.

What's your most recent temptation?

Sheila Denise

Hold the Lettuce, Please

Looking forward to warmer weather and dropping a few pounds, I decided to start researching foodie blogs that showcased lighter fare. So over the weekend, I discovered blog after blog filled with healthier goodness and quite a few with recipes that could be tweaked into lighter versions. I saw a photo of a Shades of Green Chopped Salad on Food 52, via For the Love of Yum and I immediately posted it on my Facebook page. As you've come to expect of me, I had to try a few this week, and this one is already on repeat. I was particularly drawn to the crunch of the apple and cucumber, blended with the creamy texture of the avocado, then throw in ANY cheese and nuts and I'm all over it. This is the perfect green salad, with no lettuce in sight. I'm notorious for opening the veggie bin and being creeped out by what my greens have turned into, so this eliminated that problem. The next plan is to enjoy it with a teeny bit of crumbled bacon, grilled fish or chicken, or all by it's lonesome again.

Here's the original recipe. I skipped the dressing and used the ingredients that I had on hand. I enjoyed it last night for dinner, with a drizzle of oil, then again today for lunch without the oil, but with a splash of champagne vinegar instead. That's the great thing about creating dishes you enjoy, tweaking them to your heart's desire.

Here's how I made lunch today (I missed taking shots of cutting and removing the avocado pit):

Add the chopped mixture to serving dish (no photo), then add the following:

This can easily be switched into a pear salad, you can play with the cheese or nut options and choose your own dressing (or not). Whatever the case, I think you'll enjoy a nice chopped lettuce-less salad. Go ahead, try it, add your own spin to it and come back and leave your comments.

By the way, this isn't the Temptation Tuesday's coming. I was just so excited about this salad that you're getting a rare double post today.

Sheila Denise