"Sometimes I wonder about my life. I lead a small life - well, valuable, but small - and sometimes I wonder, do I do it because I like it, or because I haven't been brave?" - Kathleen Kelly (You've Got Mail)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!

Margot 2 1/2 - Amelia 5 months

Wishing you a very Merry Christmas and many blessings in 2012!

Friday, December 23, 2011

Spiced Pork Chops with Butternut Squash

I've had this recipe saved for a while and I wanted to make it before squash totally went out of season. This is totally a me recipe but I wasn't sure if I could get Randy on board. But he ended up loving it! The flavors were awesome and I can't wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow.

4 boneless pork chops, about 3/4 in. thick
1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. pepper
1-1 1/4 lb. butternut squash
1/2 an onion, diced
1/4 c. water

Mix together the pumpkin pie spice, salt and pepper. Sprinkle the mixture evenly on both sides of the pork chops. In a large skillet, over medium heat, drizzle a little olive oil and spray with cooking spray. Add the seasoned pork chops and cook 4-5 minutes on each side, or until fully cooked. Remove from pan and keep warm. Leave any drippings in the pan.
Meanwhile, place the squash in the microwave and cook on high for 3 minutes. Using a vegetable peeler, remove the skin. Cut the squash in half, scrape out the seeds and dice into 1 inch cubes. Using the same skillet as before, over medium-high heat, add the squash and water. Bring to a bubble and cover. Cook for 5 minutes. Remove lid and allow any remaining water to evaporate. Turn the heat down to medium. Drizzle with a little olive oil and add onions. Saute the squash and onions for 5-7 minutes, or until both are tender. Place pork chops a bed of whole wheat orzo or quinoa and top with the squash and onions. Makes 4 servings.

Chicken and Biscuits

The other night I was totally in the mood for warm, yummy (unhealthy!) comfort food. Pot pie sounded good but I don't really like pie crust. Chicken and dumplings sounded good but it was going to take too long. So I came up with this! It's kind of a mix of the two of them. It definitely hit the spot! It was delicious!  Perfect for a chilly, snowy evening. 

3 chicken breasts, cubed
1 c. diced carrots
1 c. frozen peas
1/2 c. diced celery
1/3 c. butter
1/3 c. diced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
1 3/4 c. chicken broth
2/3 c. milk
6-8 unbaked biscuits (homemade or store bought)

Directions:Preheat oven to 350, grease a medium baking dish and set aside. In a saucepan, combine chicken, carrots, peas, and celery. Cover with water and boil for 15 minutes. Remove from heat, drain and place in the bottom of the baking dish. In the saucepan over medium heat, cook onions in butter until soft and translucent. Stir in flour, salt and pepper and bring to a bubble. Slowly stir in chicken broth and milk. Simmer over medium-low heat until thick. Pour over the chicken mixture in the baking dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 1 minutes. Remove from the oven and place the biscuits over the top over the casserole and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until biscuits are golden. Let stand for 5-10 minutes before serving. Serves 6.

Recipe adapted from here             

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

What I've been up to....

I've taken a little break from my regular blogging (trying new recipes and posting them) because I've been busy with something else! I was a vendor at several different craft shows in the last month or so and I had my last show on Saturday. I sold yarn wreaths, knitted hats, hair clips, bobby pins and flower headbands. At my last show I added coin purses and gloves.

Here's my table at my very first show. This one was at our local high school to support their dance team. At this point, I had no idea what I was doing!

Here's my second show, at a church here in Rio Rancho. They've been doing their craft fair for almost 25 years! My booth was supposed to be outside but we got our first snow that day so they moved me inside...they only had really tiny tables available so I brought a shelf from home so I'd have more space.

Here's my last show from Saturday. This was by far my favorite! It was a fund raiser for my mother's group I go to called Bloom. I shared a booth with my sister-in-law, Jacki. I used a couple little Christmas trees to display some of my items.

Sorry the picture quality isn't that great. I took all the photos on my cell phone. Here's one my mother-in-law took of me at my first show (thanks, Jackie!)

The shows were a lot of fun....also a LOT of work. I haven't decided if I'll do it again next year or not.  I did pretty well though! I had lots of support from my friends and family who came to see me at each show. All the things I didn't sell will be listed in my Etsy shop over the next couple weeks.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Bean Chili

This was the perfect, simple fall dish! It's hard to believe I used to dislike sweet potatoes so much because I can't get enough of them now! The sweetness of the potato went really nicely with the spice of the chili. It was a great combo! Randy scarfed 3 of these down before I was even done with my first! So I think they were a hit ;)

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Black Bean Chili

4 small sweet potatoes, washed and cut in half lengthwise
2 tbsp olive oil, divided
1 small yellow onion, diced
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. cumin
Salt and black pepper to taste
15 oz. can black beans, drained and lightly rinsed
10 oz. can diced tomatoes with green chilies
1/4 c. water
Shredded cheese and sour cream (optional as garnish)

Heat oven to 450 degrees. Brush the cut sides of the potatoes with 1 tablespoon of the olive oil and place cut-side-down on a baking sheet. Bake for 15 minutes, flip over and bake an additional 10 minutes or until potatoes are easily pierced with a fork.
Meanwhile, while the potatoes are roasting, heat the remaining tablespoon of oil in a medium/large dutch oven or sauce pan. Add the onion and saute for about 8 minutes, until tender. Add the garlic and saute an additional 2-3 minutes. Season with chili powder, cumin, salt and pepper. Stir well to combine. Next, add the beans, tomatoes and water and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes.
To assemble, place the potatoes on a serving dish or on plates cut side up and top evenly with chili. Garnish with shredded cheese and sour cream if desired. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe adapted from here

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

I kept seeing this recipe in blog after blog...so being the pumpkin lover I am, I had to try it! Only 2 ingredients seemed too good to be true. But it's not! I was really pleased with how these turned out and I will totally make them again! You can't ask for a simpler recipe! I kind of turned them into 3 ingredient muffins by adding 1 cup of semisweet chocolate chips to them...mmm :)

Two Ingredient Pumpkin Muffins

15 oz. canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
18.25 oz. boxed spice cake mix

Preheat oven to 350 and place paper liners in 2 muffin tins (24 total). In a bowl, combine the pumpkin and cake mix. Mix on medium/high for 30 seconds. Fill muffin papers 3/4 of the way full. Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes. Makes 2 dozen muffins.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto and Cheese

Wow this dish was delicious! And really fun to make. The recipe called for 8 chicken cutlets but I just used 4 regular chicken breasts, cut in half horizontally and it worked great.

Chicken Rollatini with Prosciutto and Cheese

8 chicken cutlets
4 slices of prosciutto, cut in half
4 slices of provolone cheese, cut in half
1/2 c. whole wheat italian bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated romano or parmesan cheese
juice of 1 large lemon
2 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat oven to 450. In a shallow dish, mix together the bread crumbs and romano (or parmesan) cheese. In a separate dish, mix together the lemon juice and olive oil. Dip each chicken cutlet, one at a time into the olive oil mixture and then into the bread crumb mixture. Lay flat on a work surface and place a piece of prosciutto and then a slice of provalone at the end and slowly roll it up. Place each roll, seam side down (no need for toothpicks) in a baking dish. Once you've rolled all eight pieces of chicken, bake in the preheated oven for 25 minutes, or until chicken is fully cooked. Serves 4.

Recipe adapted from here

Honey and Spice Glazed Pork Chops

This is probably one of the best pork chop recipes I've ever tried! Amazing flavor and super easy to throw together! I will totally make these again.

Honey and Spice Glazed Pork Chops

4 boneless center cut pork chops
Salt and pepper
1 tbsp. olive oil
1/4 c. honey
2 tbsp. dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon

Season both sides of the pork chops with salt and pepper. Heat oil in a skillet over medium/high, add pork chops and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. Reduce heat to medium/low. Stir together the remaining ingredients and pour over the pork chops in the skillet. Cook for 10 more minutes, turning once while cooking. Serve immediately with sauce poured over the top. Serves 4.

Recipe adapted from here

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

I found this recipe in one of the many food blogs I subscribe to but the link isn't there anymore. Not sure what happened to it. Anyways, these were delicious! Randy loves meatballs and I've never been a big fan but I loved these! They weren't greasy at all and the flavors were awesome! I highly reccomend this recipe.

Turkey and Veggie Meatballs

Ingredients:1 tsp. olive oil
1/4 c. diced onion
1/4 c. shredded carrot
1/4 c. shredded zucchini
3-4 garlic cloves, minced
1.5 lbs ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 c, shredded parmesan cheese
1/2 whole wheat italian bread crumbs
1 tbsp. dried parsley
Salt and black pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Heat olive oil in a medium skillet and add onion, carrot, zucchini and garlic. Saute, stirring occasionally until vegetables are tender, about 6-8 minutes. Meanwhile, mix together the remaining ingredients (using your hands works best) and add the sauteed vegetables to the mix. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls (I used my medium cookie scoop from Pampered Chef) and place on a cookie sheet. Bake in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, or until fully cooked. Makes 25 meatballs

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

So I've never made bread pudding before...I've never even eaten bread pudding before! So this was a major first for me. I love all things pumpkin so I was excited to give this a try. I was really happy with it! It was really easy to throw together and had a great, cozy autumn taste. My grocery store sells great, fresh baked whole wheat french bread which I'll probably use whenever I make this again in the future :)

Pumpkin Bread Pudding

2 c. low fat milk
1 c. canned pumpkin puree
3/4 c. packed brown sugar
3/4 c. unsweetened applesauce
4 eggs
1 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. salt
1 loaf french bread, cut into 10-12 thick slices

Directions:Preheat oven to 350. In a toaster, toast each slice of bread until golden brown, cut into cubes and spread evenly in a 13x9 baking dish. Whisk together all the other ingredients until well combined pour over the bread cubes in the pan. Bake in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes, or until set. Serve immediately, topped with whipped cream if desired. Serves 6-8.

Recipe adapted from here

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Chewy Whole Wheat Spice Cookies (revised)

This was the first recipe I posted in my blog almost 2 years ago...crazy! I made a double batch of them this morning and made a couple little changes (mainly, I left off the glaze) and I thought they turned out much better so I thought they deserved to be re posted...plus the photo I took last time was AWFUL! If you want a yummy, simple, delicious fall cookie recipe, this one is great!

Chewy Whole Wheat Spice Cookies

1 c. white sugar
1/2 c. butter or margarine, softened
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. milk
1 egg
2 c. whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. pumpkin spice
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 c. white sugar mixed with 1/2 tsp. cinnamon (for rolling the dough in)

Preheat oven to 350 and grease a couple cookie sheets. In a large mixing bowl, cream together the sugar, butter, vanilla, milk and egg until smooth. In a separate bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and nutmeg. Slowly add to the butter and sugar mixture until well combined. Roll dough into 1 inch balls and toss in the cinnamon sugar mixture. Place on the prepared cookie sheets and bake in the preheated oven for 8-10 minutes. Do not over bake, cookies should be very soft and will get more firm (still chewy) as the cool. Makes about 2 dozen cookies.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Chicken Capri

This recipe is from the South Beach cookbook and I only made a couple little changes and it was really yummy. I love that it's getting cooler outside so I can finally (comfortably!) use my oven again :)

Chicken Capri

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, pounded to an even thickness
1-2 tsp. garlic powder
1 tbsp. olive oil
1 c. low fat ricotta cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 tsp. italian seasoning
1 c. canned petite diced tomatoes
1/2 c. shredded mozzarella cheese (I used sharp cheddar instead)
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium. Rub the chicken breasts with the garlic powder and place in the hot skillet. Cook for 5 minutes on each side. Meanwhile, combine the ricotta, salt, pepper and italian seasoning. Stir well and set aside.
After the chicken has cooked 5 minutes on each side (does not need to be fully cooked) place side by side in a baking dish. Top each breast with 1/4 cup of the ricotta cheese mixture. Spoon 1/4 cup of the diced tomatoes over the ricotta. Next, evenly sprinkle the shredded cheese on top follwed by the parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven for 20 minutes. Makes 4 servings.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chili Lime Pork Loin

I came across this recipe in Budget Bites (really cool blog!) and it looked simple and delicious. It was exactly that! I've always been intimidated by large pieces of meat, lol! That sounds really weird but it's true. They cost a lot of money and they seem like they'd be pretty easy to screw up...either under cook them or totally dry them out. But I went for it this time and it was so easy and MOIST! I was pleasantly surprised :)

Chili Lime Pork Loin

2 lb. pork loin
1 tbsp. chili powder
2 medium limes
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tbsp. soy sauce
4 tbsp. olive or vegetable oil, divided

In a small bowl, squeeze the juice from both the limes and add the chili powder, garlic, soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of the oil (I used olive). Whisk until well combined. Place the pork loin in a large Ziploc bag and pour the marinade over the meat. Seal the bag well and squish the marinade around to fully coat the meat. Refrigerate for 1-24 hours (I did mine about 9 hours).
When ready to cook, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium/high. When the oil is really hot, add the pork loin (do not discard marinade!) and sear for 5 minutes on each side, until brown and crispy.
Transfer the meat onto a baking sheet and baste with the remaining marinade. Cook in a preheated 400 degree oven for about 30 minutes. Allow to rest 5 minutes before slicing. Makes about 6 servings.

1 Year ago today: Double Chocolate Mini Meringues

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Spicy Sichuan Style Green Beans

I have been loving Kayln's Kitchen! It's a wonderful blog filled with South Beach recipes. When I saw this one I knew we had to try it! Randy RAVED throughout the whole meal about how amazing these green beans were. I made a few slight alterations to Kayln's original recipe but they turned out awesome. We will definitely eat these again...and again...and again! They went great with my asian turkey lettuce wraps :)

Spicy Sichuan Style Green Beans

1 lb. fresh green beans, washed, trimmed and cut into bite-sized pieces
1/2 c. water
2-3 tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. Splenda (you could use sugar instead)
1/4 tsp. red pepper flakes
1/4 tsp. ground white or black pepper
1 tbsp. olive
2 tbsp. minced garlic
1 tbsp.  peeled and minced ginger root (I used a small cheese grater to "mince")

Mix together the soy sauce, sweetener of your choice, red pepper flakes, and ground pepper and set aside. Heat a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over high. When the pan is hot, add the beans and water. Cover and cook on medium-high heat for about 5 minutes or until the beans are bright green and starting to get tender. Remove the lid and continue to cook until all the water is evaporated.
Add the oil, minced garlic and ginger and cook about 2 minutes, stirring constantly so the garlic and ginger don't burn. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook an additional 2 minutes, until the sauce thickens and beans are tender-crisp. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

1 Year ago today: The Best Chocolate Chip Cookies

Friday, August 19, 2011

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

This is something I threw together this evening that turned out surprisingly well! It's not a pretty picture, but I promuise you these were delicious! Very high in protien and low in fat, carbs and sugar....perfect for the South Beach Diet! We ate these with steamed edemame on the side. I think these will be on the menu again next week :)

Asian Turkey Lettuce Wraps

1 lb. ground lean turkey
1/4 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 tbsp. sweet chili sauce (or to taste)
2 tbsp. teryaki sauce or marinade
1 tbsp. hoisen sauce
2 garlic cloves, minced
4-6 green onions, sliced (greens only)
1/4 c. unsalted peanuts, chopped finely
4-6 Bibb or Iceburg lettuce leaves

In a large skillet, cook the turkey over medium heat, breaking into small pieces as it browns. Meanwhile, whisk together the soy sauce, chili sauce, teriyaki sauce, hoisen sauce and minced garlic. Once turkey is fully cooked, pour the sauce mixture over the turkey and stir until meat is well coated and sauce is heated through. Remove from heat and stir in the onions and peanuts. Serve immediately in leattuce leaves. Makes 4 large or 6 medium wraps.

1 Year ago today: Mexican Pizza

Monday, August 8, 2011

It's a little late...

...but I'd like to announce the birth of our second daughter!!

Amelia Ann
7/23/11 @ 7:35pm
9 lbs 13 oz, 22 inches

Sorry for posting this so late but things have been quite busy around our house the last couple weeks! Amelia is an amazing addition to our family and it feels like she's been a part of it forever. She is super laid back and easy going...it's great! The delivery went really well, we were at the hospital for under 2 hours and she was here! Margot is still adjusting to being a big sister, but overall she's doing great. We have been blessed with many wonderful meals from church family and other friends so there has been no need for me to even think about cooking (till this week...boo!).

Daddy with his girls :)

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Quick update!

Hello everyone! I'm down to the last week of my pregnancy...I can hardly believe it! I just wanted you to know I'm still here and will (hopefully) be back in the full swing of things soon. My next post should contain some fun news.... :)


Saturday, June 25, 2011

Teriyaki Chicken Salad Sandwiches

2 chicken breasts
Teriyaki sauce or marinade
2 ribs of celery, thinly sliced
3-4 green onions, chopped
1/4 c. sliced almonds, toasted
1 small can of Mandarin oranges, drained and cut in half
1 small can pineapple tidbits
1/2 c. mayonnaise
Salt and pepper to taste
Croissants or pitas
Lettuce leaves

Marinate chicken in teriyaki sauce for several hours. Grill, cool completely and chop. In a bowl, combine chicken, celery and green onions. Add mayonnaise and 2-3 more tablespoons of teriyaki sauce to taste. Stir well, cover and refrigerate for several hours.
Right before serving, add oranges, pineapple, and nuts. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on a croissant roll with lettuce leaves. Serves 4-6.

Notes: I've never made chicken salad sandwiches before (not sure why!) and when I came across this recipe in Our Best Bites I book marked it and saved it for a hot summer day. I'm glad I did! These were so delicious, flavorful and a nice twist on the average chicken salad.

1 Year Ago: Iced Chai Latte

Monday, June 20, 2011

Avocado Pesto

12 oz. pasta of your choice
1 ripe avocado, diced
3/4 c. loosely packed basil leaves
1 large clove of garlic
1 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
1/3 c. grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c. olive oil

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook pasta according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a food processor, combine the avocado, basil, garlic, lemon juice, salt  and pepper until creamy. Scrape down the sides of the food processor, add the parmesan cheese and pulse just until blended. Slowly add the olive oil in a constant stream while the food processor is running. Once the pasta is cooked, drain and place in a serving dish. Pour the pesto over the top and toss to coat. Makes 4 large portions.

Notes: I've had this recipe saved for a long time and I finally got around to making it. I make this pesto quite often in the summer so I was excited to try a new recipe....I loved it! The avocado added a really nice creamy texture and the lemon juice gave it a nice zip! I will definitely be making this again :)

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Mango Sorbet

3 large mangoes, peeled, pitted and diced
1/2 c. cold water
3/4-1 c. sugar (depending on how sweet you like it)
2 tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 tbsp. vodka (to keep from freezing solid)

Place diced mangoes and water in a blender or food processor and blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl (preferably with a lid) and add sugar, lemon juice and vodka. Stir for several minutes until sugar is completely dissolved. Cover tightly and chill in the fridge for several hours or overnight. Pour mango mixture into your ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions. Store in a sealed container in your freezer until frozen.

Notes: I looooove mango and I loooooove any frozen dessert! I've been meaning to make this sorbet for a while now so when I saw mangoes were 50 cents this week at my grocery store I knew it was the perfect time! Plus being huge and pregnant in 90 degree weather, I can always go for something cold and refreshing :) I loved how this stuff turned out! It wasn't overly sweet like store bought kinds I've had in the past. It tasted just like eating a frozen. smooth, creamy mango...mmm!

Thursday, June 9, 2011


So sorry for my continual lack of posting lately...I hope I haven't lost anyone! I know I said I'd be better about it but I'm due 6 weeks from today with our second daughter and I can tell you without a doubt that is the reason I haven't been cooking, creating, blogging, etc. Some days I have zero energy (probably due to my insane "nesting" attacks) so sometimes cooking is out of the question!

Life has been full of other things, too! My brother got married on May 20th which was also Randy's and my 5 year anniversary. We took a 3 day trip to Santa Fe before the wedding to celebrate. A couple weeks before their wedding I had a vintage tea party themed bridal shower for his wife, Jacki. Also, our first daughter turns 2 weeks from today so I've been planning a little family party for her. In between, I keep myself busy getting the house ready for the new baby, cleaning things I haven't touched in years and trying to rest and enjoy these last few weeks before our family of 3 becomes a family of 4.

So there's a quick little update. I promise I will try harder to keep everyone up to date on things. Thanks for staying faithful and following my little blog :)

Here is a shot of the casita we stayed at in Santa Fe. I took this on my cell phone walking back from breakfast one morning. The place was called Los Polomas and we really enjoyed it!

Here is the food/tea table from Jacki's bridal shower

Here's Margot the flower girl peeking out from behind my dress at Stefan and Jacki's wedding :)

Friday, April 29, 2011

Spinoccoli Pizza

Sauce Ingredients:
1 tbsp. butter
1 tbsp flour
3/4 c. half and half
1 garlic clove, smashed
Salt and pepper to taste
6 tbsp. freshly grated parmesan

Pizza Ingredients:
1 ball of pizza dough (homemade or store bought)
Olive oil, for brushing
1 c. chopped fresh spinach leaf
1 c. small broccoli florets
4 oz. shredded cheese (I used an Italian blend)
Grated parmesan, for sprinkling

To make the sauce, melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking constantly, until bubbling, about 1 minute. Whisk in the half and half and garlic clove and season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens and bubbles. Remove from the heat and whisk in the grated Parmesan until completely melted and smooth. Discard the garlic clove.
To make the pizza, preheat the oven to 500 degrees. Roll out the pizza dough into a 12-14 inch round. Lightly brush the perimeter of the dough with olive oil. Spread a thin layer of the white sauce over the crust, leaving a border around the edge for the crust. Sprinkle the chopped  spinach leaves over the white sauce followed by the broccoli florets. Top with the shredded cheese. Finish with additional grated Parmesan. Bake in the preheated oven until the cheese is melted and bubbling and the crust is lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly before slicing and serving.

Notes: I came across this recipe in Annie's Eats a long time ago and bookmarked it...I finally got around to making it this week! We have pizza night once a week and I've gotten lazy and have mostly been buying frozen pizzas and I want to try making more from scratch. This was a great one! I would have never thought to have broccoli on pizza but it was a great combo with the cheese sauce. YUM!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Dirt Cake

32 oz. Oreo cookies
1/2 c. butter, softened
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. powdered sugar
2 3.5 oz. packages instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 c. cold milk
12 oz. frozen whipped topping, thawed
Gummy worms

In a food processor, chop the Oreo cookies until they become crumbs (white parts will disappear). You should have about 8 cups of crumbs. Set aside.
Beat together the butter, cream cheese and powedered sugar. Separately, beat together the pudding mix, milk and whipped topping. Combine the cream cheese mixture with the milk mixture until smooth.
To assemble, simply layer the crumbs and pudding mixture in a round serving dish (or a brand new flower pot) starting with the crumbs. Place a few gummy worms on top of each layer of crumbs. Its up to you how thick or thin to make each layer. Makes 10-12 servings.

Notes: I've made this cake a few times before and it's always a hit! It's really fun and easy to make, too. This time I made it for Easter to share with my family and some of our friends. Recipe found here.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Sour Cream Noodle Bake

1 lb. ground turkey
15 oz. can tomato sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
8 oz. large egg noodles
1/2 c. sour cream
1 1/4 c. small curd cottage cheese
1 c. shredded sharp cheddar cheese

Preheat oven to 350. In a large skillet, brown the meat. Add tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Stir well and allow to simmer while you prepare the remaining ingredients. Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook noodles until al dente. Meanwhile, combine the sour cream, cottage cheese, salt and pepper. Once noodles are cooked, drain and stir into the sour cream mixture.
To assemble, place half the noodles in a greased 13x9 baking dish, top with half the meat mixture followed by half the cheddar cheese. Repeat this layering process, ending with the last of the cheddar cheese. Bake uncovered in the preheated oven for 20 minutes.

Notes: This is a fairly simple recipe so I honestly wasn't expecting too much out of it but I was pleasantly surprised but all the flavor it had and I couldn't get enough! I will definitely make this again. It was simple and delicious!

Recipe adapted from here

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Yarn Wreaths

I kept coming across these really fun looking wreaths on Etsy and in some blogs I subscribe to and they looked like something I could easily make myself. So I read a few simple tutorials and got the supplies! All I needed was a straw wreath, yarn and felt. I already had everything else I needed. I didn't even spend $9.00 on the first one and I had a blast making it so I've made several more since! So let me show you the wreaths I made and then I'll tell you how I did it....

This is the one I made for my front door. I picked colors that matched my door, rug and other outdoor decor

Our  church is having a silent auction this week so I made a couple wreaths to donate to the auction. This first one is entirely black and white

This is the other one I made for the auction. It's chocolate brown with lots of bright, fun colors

So basically all you need is a plastic wrapped straw wreath (leave the plastic on!), yarn, hot glue, ribbon and whatever decorations you like. I chose buttons of course :) and I thought the felt was fun with it.

You start by attaching the end of the yarn with a small dot of hot glue to the back of the wreath and then tightly wrap it around. If you notice small gaps as you go, wrap the yarn around an extra time to cover it. Every few inches, add another dot of hot glue just to keep the yarn in place. You may find you don't need anymore hot glue until you're finished...the yarn stays put pretty well. If you want to change colors, just cut the yarn and glue it in the back then start your next color.

Once you're done, cut and attach the yarn to the back with a dot of hot glue. Decide where the top will be and tie a ribbon around, securing with hot glue if you like. Leave about 1-2 feet hanging on each side to tie into a bow to hang on your door.

Decorate with whatever you like! I sewed buttons to felt and then glued them right onto the wreath. For the black and white one, you can see I used a white daisy at the bottom and buttons on their own all the way around. If you have any questions about how I made these, please feel free to ask! I realize this was kind of a quick desciption. Thanks for reading :)

Pumpkin Spice Latte Ice Cream

2 c. heavy cream
1 1/2 c. whole milk
2 tbsp. instant espresso powder
1 1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp. ground ginger
4 egg yolks
3/4 c. white sugar
1 c. pumpkin puree

In a medium or large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the heavy cream, milk, espresso powder and spices and bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally. Meanwhile, using a mixer on medium speed, beat the egg yolks and sugar together until the mixture becomes light in color and falls from the beaters in ribbons.

Remove one cup of liquid from the cream mixture and gradually pour into the egg yolk mixture, beating the entire time, to temper the eggs. Add tempered egg mixture back to the saucepan and whisk well. Add the pumpkin puree and continue to whisk until the mixture is smooth. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue cooking until the custard has thickened and coats the back of a wooden spoon.

Transfer the custard to a large bowl, preferably one with a pour spout, and cover tightly. Chill for at least two hours, or overnight. Freeze the custard in an ice cream maker according to manufacturer’s directions. Once the ice cream has reached soft serve consistency, transfer to an airtight container and freeze for 3-4 hours, or until ice cream has hardened.

Notes: I was really excited when I came across this recipe back in November and I just now got around to making it since I had some extra cream on hand. Pumpkin spice lattes are one of the few things I can't resist! This ice cream turned out great. In my opinion it needs more of an espresso taste though...the pumpkin really over powers it. Next time I'll add an extra tablespoon of espresso powder and I think it'll be perfect!

Recipe adapted from here

Hawaiian Chicken

Don't let the ugly picture fool you, I can't say enough good things about this recipe! It was easy, cheap, moist and flavorful! This is definitely going in my regular meal rotation. We ate it with sauteed garlic asparagus and big, fresh strawberries. Next time I may try chunking up the chicken and then serving it over rice...mmm! I can't wait to make this again.

Hawaiian Chicken

4 small bonless skinless chicken breasts
1 c. crushed pineapple
1/3 c. low sodium soy sauce
2 cloves garlic, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 tbsp. honey
1 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tsp. hot sauce (optional)

In a medium sized bowl mix together pineapple and all other ingredients (except the chicken) until well combined. Place chicken in the bowl, cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour. After marinating, place chicken and all the marinade in a large skillet. Cook over medium heat for about 20 minutes until chicken is cooked through and marinade has reduced slightly. Serve chicken topped with cooked marinade. Makes 4 servings.

Recipe found here

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Espresso Chip Meringues

3 egg white at room temperature
Pinch of salt
3/4 c. white sugar
1/8 tsp. cream of tartar
1/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tsp. instant espresso powder
2/3 c. semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat the egg whites and salt until frothy, about 1 minute. With the machine on medium-high speed, gradually add the sugar, about 1 tablespoon at a time until sugar is dissolved. Add the cream of tartar, vanilla extract and espresso powder. Increase the speed to high and beat until the mixture is thick and holds stiff peaks, about 3 minutes. Using a spatula, fold in the chocolate chips. Drop by 1/4 cupfuls onto the prepared baking sheet about 2 inches apart. Bake exactly 1 hour. Turn off the oven and allow the meringues to cool completely while still in the oven, about 2 hours. Makes about 1 dozen cookies.

Notes: I am a HUGE meringue fan and I watched Giada make these on one of her shows and they looked amazing so I bookmarked the recipe. I had some egg whites leftover today from making ice cream (only used the yolks for that) so I decided to try these out. They are by far the BEST meringues I have ever had! I love the espresso/chocolate combo....YUM! Next time I will probably make them about half the size, just so I have more than 12 to eat :)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Brunch Stuffed Peppers

4 yellow or orange bell peppers
1 c. frozen hash browns, thawed
8 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled
3 eggs
1 c. shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 c. milk
1/2 c. biscuit mix (I used Bisquick)
1/4 c. sour cream
2 tbsp. chopped green onion
Salt and peper to taste

Directions:Preheat oven to 350. Pour 1/2 cup of hot water into an 8x8 baking dish. Cut the tops off the bell peppers and remove seeds. Place the peppers cut side down in the baking dish with water. Place in the oven to steam for 10-15 minutes.
Meanwhile, whisk together the eggs, cheese, milk, biscuit mix, sour cream, onions, salt and pepper and set aside. Remove peppers from the oven and discard the water. Fill the bottom of each pepper evenly with the hash browns followed  by the bacon. Pour the egg mixture into each pepper, filling to the top.
Bake in the same 8x8 dish for 45 minutes. Remove and allow to cool for 5 minutes before eating. Makes 4 servings.

Notes: I saw this recipe on Paula Deans show and it looked too good not to try! The only change I really made was steaming the peppers beforehand (the reviews said they came out a little crunchy) and I'm glad I did! They came out perfect that way. I also recommend letting them sit few a few minutes before eating them or else the filling isn't quite set. Randy and I both loved these. We ate them for dinner with a fresh fruit salad...yum! You could omit the bacon and make this a great vegetarian dish, too!

Pregnant...sick...tired...busy...no computer

Those are a few of my excuses for my lack of blogging! Being pregnant still makes it hard to stay motivated to meal plan and cook. Margot had the flu two weeks ago and then I got it last week so obviously that put a damper on things and the combination of the last two things makes for a very exhausted and busy mama AND our computer crashed last week so there was no way I could get to my blog to update it.

We bought a new laptop this weekend and this morning is my first time using it! It's wonderful :) I have several blog updates I want to post (an awesome stuffed pepper recipe and my latest craft adventure!) so be looking for those things soon!

Thanks for sticking around...I appreciate all my readers. For now I'll leave you with a picture of Margot from this weekend...enjoying lunch at our favorite local spot and sporting her new shades:


Friday, March 4, 2011

Mediterranean Penne Pasta Toss

10 oz. whole wheat penne pasta
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
Salt and pepper to taste
4 tbsp. olive oil, divided
2 medium tomatoes, chopped
4 garlic cloves, minced and divided
1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
1 tsp. dried basil
1 zucchini, diced
1 orange or yellow bell pepper, diced
15 oz. can white beans, drained and rinsed
3/4 c. crumbled feta cheese

Bring a large pot of water to boil and cook penne according to the package directions. Drain, and set aside.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet, season chicken breasts with salt and pepper and cook in the skillet for 6-8 minutes on each side or until completely cooked through.Chop into bite sized pieces.

In a bowl, combine the tomatoes, 2 of the minced garlic cloves, balsamic vinegar, 2 tablespoons olive oil, basil and salt and pepper to taste. Stir well and set aside to marinate.

Heat the last tablespoon of oil in another large skillet and saute the zucchini, bell pepper and 2 remaining minced garlic cloves for about 5 minutes, or until tender. Add the beans and cook just until heated through.

In a large bowl, combine the cooked penne, chicken, tomato mixture, sauteed vegetable mixture and 1/2 cup of feta. Stir well and then top with remaining feta cheese. Serve hot or refrigerate and serve cold! Makes 6 servings.

Notes: I came across this recipe in another food blog and put it on my menu a couple weeks ago...I finally got around to making it this week and I'm SO glad I did! I made a few changes and it turned out delicious. It's yummy both hot and cold and can work as a main dish or a side. It dirtied up quite a few dishes but it was worth it :)

Friday, February 25, 2011

Garlic Cheddar Chicken

4 chicken breasts, pounded to even thickness
1/3 c. Italian breadcrumbs
1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 c. butter
3 cloves garlic, minced


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a shallow bowl, toss together the breadcrumbs, parmesan, cheddar, salt and pepper and set aside. Heat the butter and garlic in a skillet over medium and saute for a couple minutes, stirring occasionally then remove from the heat. Dip each chicken breast, one at a time into the melted butter and then press into the breadcrumb mixture, coating both sides well. Arrange chicken breasts in a 13x9 baking dish and bake in the preheated oven for 30 minutes or until chicken is fully cooked. Serves 4.

Notes: This recipe is SO delicious! It was a huge hit among food bloggers several years ago and I used to make it then. I came across it again recently and since I'm eating meat for the time being I had to make it. It never disappoints! Probably all that butter... :)

One Year Ago: Button Tree

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Garlic Lemon Chicken for Two

2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
2 large garlic cloves, minced
2 chicken breasts, pounded thin
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1/3 c. breadcrumbs
2 tbsp. parmesan cheese
1 tsp. dried parsley
Salt and pepper to taste
1 egg

In a shallow dish, combine lemon zest, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, parsley, salt and pepper. In another dish, whisk together the lemon juice and egg.  Heat butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat, add garlic and saute for a minute or two. Dip the chicken breasts, one at a time in the egg mixture and then into the breadcrumb mixture and coat well. Place in the hot skillet and cook for 3-4 minutes on each side until the chicken is fully cooked. Serves 2.

Notes: I made this for Randy and I for Valentines Day and served it with couscous and sweet corn. We both loved it! I will definitely be making this again. Randy said it gets 5 stars :)

One Year Ago: Reeses Fudge Cookies

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cream Cheese Chicken Packets

2 chicken breasts, cooked and shredded
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
10 oz. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
1 tsp. dried minced onion
Salt and pepper to taste
2 8 oz. packages crescent rolls (16 rolls total)
Parmesan cheese (for garnish, optional)
Dried parsley (for garnish, optional)

In a large mixing bowl, stir together the shredded chicken, softened cream cheese, spinach, minced onion, salt and pepper until well combined and set aside. Preheat oven to 350. Open the rolls and place two triangles together to make a rectangle. Using your fingers, press the seams together to create one piece and place the formed rectangles onto a baking sheet. Spoon the cream cheese mixture onto half of each rectangle. Fold each roll over, covering the filling, creating a square. Roll up the three open sides to seal in the filling. Sprinkle each packet with parmesan cheese and dried parsley and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, or until golden brown. Makes 8 packets.

Notes: My mom made something similar to this when I was growing up and I always loved it! I remember watching her make them and I was always so anxious to eat them when they were ready. I recreated them myself...not sure if they're exactly the way she made them but they tasted pretty close! If you're not a huge spinach fan you can substitute broccoli for sure :)

One Year Ago: Oven Roasted Cabbage Wedges and Balsamic Chicken with Feta

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Zesty Shredded BBQ Chicken

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (frozen or thawed)
1 c. barbecue sauce
1/4 c. Italian salad dressing
2 tbsp. packed brown sugar
1 tbsp. worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp. black pepper

Place chicken in the crock pot. Whisk together the remaining ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved. Pour evenly over the chicken breasts. Cover and cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours. Once chicken is fully cooked, remove from the crock pot and shred. Place shredded chicken back in the crock pot and stir until well coated with the sauce. Serve on buns or hoagies with additional barbecue sauce if desired. Makes about 6 servings.

Recipe adapted from here

Notes: What an easy and delicious recipe! I loved the extra kick the italian dressing gave to the sauce. We ate this along with sweet potato fries and a lettuce salad...yum!

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Balsamic Vinaigrette

Notes: This is a simple and delicious recipe from Emeril Lagasse. His recipe calls for 1 whole tablespoon of minced garlic and I made it this way at first and it was barely edible in my opinion because the garlic was SO overpowering, which is why I changed it to 1/2 a tablespoon. You could even do less if you want. We love garlic in our house so the 1/2 tablespoon was just right. We loved this dressing and I will definitely make it again!

Balsamic Vinaigrette

1/4 c. balsamic vinegar
2 tsp. packed brown sugar
1/2 tbsp. minced garlic
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
3/4 c. olive oil

Whisk together the first 5 ingredients (everything besides the olive oil) until sugar and salt are dissolved. Add the olive oil slowly, mixing constantly or place everything in a sealed container and shake until well combined. Makes about 1 cup of dressing. Store in the refrigerator and shake well before each use.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Skillet Sausage and Potatoes

4 medium red potatoes
1 medium sweet onion
2 tbsp. butter or olive oil
14 oz. turkey polska kielbasa
Salt and pepper to taste

Wash potatoes and microwave for 6-8 minutes (all at the same time) until tender. Heat butter or oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Cut potatoes lengthwise and then slice into half moon shapes. Cut onion in half and then into thin slices. Place potatoes and onion into the heated skillet and saute for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Season generously with salt and pepper. Thinly slice the sausage and add the the pan. Saute an additional 15 minutes, until everything has a nice golden brown color, stirring occasionally. Makes 4 generous servings.

Notes: This is such a comfort food to me and I've been craving it like crazy! I haven't made it in a long time because it has meat, obviously. This is a great, easy dish to throw together and we eat it with garlicky green beans...delicious!