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Sausage Alfredo Pasta Casserole

I tried this recipe few weeks ago and my family loved it. I love Alfredo sauce and the smoky taste the sausage added to it was so delicious. Our little Julia loves pasta so much and it was her first time to try fusilli shape. She grabbed one piece and started analyzing it and wondering if it's eatable.. as soon as she saw me eating, she started tasting carefully... humm mmm humm... until fished her whole plate. 

This is definitely a family weekdays cooking recipe. I think you can control how creamy you want the pasta to be. I baked it a bit longer so that I get the golden color on the top. You can follow the recipe exactly or add up your own creativity. It's a classic recipe :-) enjoy!




Ingredients

16 ounces / 453.6 g dry pasta
3 tablespoons butter
2-3 cloves garlic, minced
3 tablespoons flour
1 cup / 2.37 dl chicken broth
2 cups 4.73 dl half and half
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1/2 cup / 1.185 dl grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups / 4.73 dl mozzarella cheese, divided
1-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1 (12 oz) / 340.2 g fully cooked smoked sausage, any variety

Instructions

Cook pasta according to package directions until just al dente; drain.
While pasta cooks, melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 1-2 minutes. Stir in flour.
Whisk in chicken broth until smooth, then stir in half and half.
Add salt, pepper, cayenne, and red pepper flakes and simmer until sauce is thickened, about 5 minutes.
Stir in Parmesan cheese and 1 cup of mozzarella until cheeses are melted and smooth.
Slice sausage into 1/4 inch pieces and add to the sauce, along with the chopped parsley and cooked pasta. Season with additional salt and pepper if needed.
Preheat broiler. Pour the pasta mixture into a lightly greased, 9x13 inch baking dish. Top with remaining mozzarella cheese.
Broil for 2-3 minutes, or until cheese is bubbly and golden.


Source 

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FREE PSD Action For Better Blog Photographs

One of the most challenging things that bloggers face is photography development skills which takes years of practice. Some take short ways and rely only on editing their photos by using filter, presets and actions.  But one still need a good quality photograph so that the editing actually work. I suggest for new bloggers to watch lots of photography tutorials on youtube and educate themselves very well about this very important method to make a blog stand out. Here is my Photography / retouch tips and tricks pinterest board where I collected lots of useful things.  

I've been blogging since 2006 and my photos back then were nothing comparing to what I managed to achieve right now. Just looking back at my 2014 blogpost photos I see clearly that I got better at taking photos, thanks to learning how to use my camera manual mood. I am still on the learning journey by the way.

Even best pro photographers still edit their photos using tools like psd and lightroom. I usually edit my food and travel photos in lightroom and the rest on photoshop. I save my editing routine to action and presets which saves me time and help me edit a large number of photos with just a click. So here I share with you one of my often used psd actions to light up and add a touch of modernity to my blog photos. 

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How To Use Light Up Action:

This action folder has two action parts within it. Number 1 reduces the red hue from the image to add a modern minimal clean style touch to photos and of course brighten them up. Number 2 keeps the same red hue of the original  image and only lights up the image and fix the contrast to match the exposure. 

Once you apply the action, two more layers will be added one to control the exposure and one for the contrast. You can still edit them manually by changing the opacity of each layer. I suggest using 50% each if the 100% results were too bright. As you see below the exposure opacity was reduced to 80% when I edited this image. Once you are satisfied with the image result select all 3 layers, merge to one and save. I hope you find this action usefull to edit your blog photographs from now on :-) enjoy!  




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Marinating Shish Taouk Recipe

Finally I managed to translate this recipe to share with you guys. We love Middle Eastern food! it makes us remember those lovely days when we lived in Turkey and visited Lebanon. We had such great food experience and from time to time we like to recall those memories by making our own home cooking Middle Eastern dishes. 

This was made for lunch couple of days ago. I often try to marinate the Shish Taouk ( Chicken on sticks ) a night before, but if I didn't plan it ahead I let it marinate for couple of hours. Of course the longer it marinate the softer and tasty it gets, because chicken breast are dry when cooked.  

As a side dish I like to make bulgur, cooked in water, tomato paste, onion, red peppers, spices, coriander and one chilli pepper. I also roast red bell peppers, peel and cut them to small cubes like in this image or stuff them with the bulgur it self. 

The best sauces to this dish is either hummus, motabel or both. In case I didn't prepare a sauce for the Shish Taouk, I usually let my bulgur stay creamy by adding more water so that the meal doesn't taste dry. 

I hope you enjoy this inspiration.. more Middle Eastern recipes to come! 






Ingredients

8 small /4 big garlic cloves
6 chicken breasts
4 tbsp soft greek yogurt 
2 tbsp 7 spices mix 
2 tbsp tomato paste
1 tbsp mustard 
1 tbsp thyme (grounded)
3/4 cup lemon juice
50 ml olive oil
1 tsp ground black pepper
1/4 cup vinegar


Optional 
2 Chilli peppers 

1 cup = 240 ml


Method

Cut chicken breasts into small cubes.
In the blender, add the mustard, garlic, yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice, vinegar, spices, chilli peppers, thyme and tomato paste, and mix them well.

Add the chicken cubes to the mixture and put them in a box with a lid and keep in the fridge before the roast / grill day.


Put the chicken cubes into wooden or metal sticks and grill in the oven or bbq until they turn into a golden color. 

Brush them with olive oil and serve with lemon and coriander together with hummus, moutabel, bulgur and salad. 



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Holiday Family Mountains Trip


One of our family traditions during Easter holiday is to travel to the mountain cabin and do the country living activities. Finally after two years of pregnancy and postpartum I managed to ski again. I was surprised that I remembered the techniques I've learned when I first started. The second day my body was exhausted and I could move a muscle. I had to wait for the 3th day to resume the training.  

Best thing about being in the mountains is spending the days outdoors. We do picnics, we grill, drive snowmobile, ski, take long walks and enjoy the lovely sunset view. April weather makes it less painful I also love taking lots of photographs there. 

Julia was happy spending quality time with her cousins. Her grandparents and aunt helped during our stay together so I could have some relaxing moments which I rarely get when I am with her by myself. 

We were lucky with such beautiful weather, sunshine and blue skies. And a good snow for skiing. I will be looking forward for the next time we visit the mountains during summer, which is a total different feeling when the grass gets green and the water sparkle under the sun.    



  

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Swedish Love Letters ( Rullrån ) Recipe

Hello buddies! here is the recipe I've been asked to post when I shared a photo on instagram. I learned this recipe from my mother in law when I first moved here with my hubby few years ago. I try to make these lovely rolls every now and then.. especially during holiday seasons. I even sold lots during the Christmas market participation on 2012 and 2016. I sold a total of  60 pieces in each pack. 

I filled these rolls with whip cream, poured dark syrup over them, added some cloud berries and sprinkled powder sugar on top. I would recommend these lovely treats for tea or coffee break. Or even a light dessert after lunch or dinner. Enjoy! 





Ingredients

35 pieces

150 g of butter or margarine
1 egg
1 1/2 dl 130 g of sugar
1 1/2 dl 90 g flour
1 1/2 dl 120 g potato flour
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 tsp vanilla Or 1 teaspoon vanilla sugar
1/2 dl 50 ml cream + 1dl  100 ml milk

Tip  add a 1/2 teaspoon cardamom seeds minced for extra flavor.



Method

Melt the butter and let it cool. Stir together eggs and sugar. Mix dry ingredients; wheat flour with potato flour, baking soda and vanilla or vanilla sugar. Add the butter and then cream and milk. Add the cardamom to all ingredients mixture and blend them together very well. 
Heat the mould pan and brush it with a bit of butter.

Put some of the batter in the mould plate and bake for about 2 min if you have two sides mould. If not. turn it and bake for 1 min on each side. Use the same heat as when baking pancakes.

Roll immediately after the baking. Roll them around a stick to get a perfect roll shapes in the same level / size. Let them cool until you are done with all pieces. 

Serve them with your favorite topping / filling. You can choose from whip cream, ice cream, berries, chocolate, nuts, powdered sugar .. ect..


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Color Your Wardrobe Giveaway Contest

As promised, here is the GIVEAWAY of the month sponsored by JustFashionNow. I know you guys have been waiting and now the waiting is over. Luckily this giveaway will have two winners which increases the chances of winning shopping coupons worth $150 to color your wardrobe for the season. 

Below you will find how to participate in the contest and more info about JustFashionNow


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JustFashionNow are giving away $150 worth of shopping coupons to TWO (2) lucky Winners! This giveaway contest is open for Nature Whisper followers in the US, UK, Canada, Italy, France, Germany, New Zealand and Australia. Winners will be chosen randomly via electronic raffle by JustFashionNow.


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