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Monthly Archives: May 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Memorial Day 2014

I am back to a healthier style of eating. I promise this does not mean I am not going to be cooking (eating) amazing foods, or even less healthy and unhealthy foods. What this does mean is that I am at the very least going to be adding much more healthy foods to my diet (again?).

Let me tell you about my newest attempts at some healthy eating recipes. First, let me give you a short backstory. I got a text message around 10:15 this morning from one of my sisters-in-law. Apparently my 2nd brother (the one who loves to cook) had gone to the meat shop and picked up a few things and decided to grill them up. In addition to grilling ribs, pork shoulder, and hamburgers and had made some homemade buns to serve up on! He made a pot of baked beans (Hobie’s) and some deviled eggs. He was hauling it all to mom’s house around 1. We were all invited.

I don’t eat pork and neither does Daughter Number 2. I had to make sure I had something that we would eat if we were going. I decided to whip up some healthy deviled eggs, coleslaw, and one of my all-time favorite side dishes for grilling season: pickled red onions.

The eggs were really pretty easy. I just substituted Greek yogurt in place of mayonnaise and added some dill weed.

I got out my Moosewood Cookbook

moosewood

to make the Pickled Red Onions, and then looked up some non-Mayonnaise coleslaw recipes. My parents used to make one using oil, but as I recall it had to be cooked. I didn’t have time for that. I found one that seemed easy and tasty and started there.

http://www.pbs.org/food/fresh-tastes/no-mayo-coleslaw/

I adapted it a bit, and came up with what was a big hit with a few of the family who aren’t afraid of coleslaw.

Fresh, Healthy Coleslaw

  • ½ head cabbage, shredded
  • 2 carrots, shredded
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • ½ apple, shredded
  • 1 lemon, juiced
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 Tablespoon honey
  • ½ teaspoon celery seed
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper

In a small bowl, mix lemon juice, olive oil, and honey. In a large bowl toss cabbage, carrots, onion, and apple. Sprinkle over celery seed and black pepper. Pour over lemon and oil mixture and toss. Refrigerate until chilled and serve.

It felt great to have some healthy options with dinner. The addition of the apple was a huge success. I will definitely be making this again, and may try some variations.

I hope you had the opportunity to spend time with loved ones today and also spend at least one moment thinking of our service men and women who paid the ultimate sacrifice for our Freedoms. Happy Memorial Day.

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Posted by on May 26, 2014 in recipe

 

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Mother’s Day 2014

Mother’s Day 2014

Catching up from the busyness of life, I just have to share some of the great things we did for Mother’s Day weekend.

On Saturday Daughter Number Four told me she just HAD to make me some muffins that she had found a recipe for. At nine, she isn’t quite capable of baking by herself, so what she was asking was if I would help her bake muffins.  She pulled up a recipe that she had found online at “KidsHealth”. We did have all of the ingredients, so we got right to it.

Mixing Muffins

Peanut Butter Banana Muffins

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup milk
  • ¼ cup banana (about 1 banana), mashed with a fork
  • ¼ c. peanut butter
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • ¼ cup frozen apple juice concentrate, thawed (left out of the freezer until it’s soft)
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk
  • 2¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • 1½ teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a small bowl, break the eggs and use a fork to beat them a little bit. In a large bowl, combine the milk, mashed banana, peanut butter, vegetable oil, apple juice, dry milk, and the eggs from the small bowl. Mix with a mixing spoon until the mixture is creamy. Add the flour, baking powder, and baking soda into the large bowl. Mix again. Line a muffin tin with paper liners or lightly spray with nonstick spray. Spoon in the muffin mix. Fill each muffin cup about 2/3 of the way up. Bake for about 15 minutes. When your muffins are finished baking, remove from muffin tin and cool them on the wire rack.

Makes 12 muffins

PBMuffins

The muffins were very good, and Daughter Number Four did most of the work herself. She is becoming a great cook! We shared some of the muffins with our family. Everyone was impressed.

On Sunday, while the girls and I were at church, The Hubs made brunch for me / us. To be honest, the weekend did not turn out quite the way we had wanted it to. I couldn’t even believe that after our drain debacle on Cinco de Mayo, the night before Mother’s Day we had a pipe brake under the house. The Hubs had spent several hours on Saturday evening working on it, and started back up on Sunday morning.

The girls and I did clean up and go to church. I surprised and excited to come home to a brunch bake and champagne cocktails. The brunch casserole he made was absolutely delicious, and the girls loved it just as much as I did. This is a dish I will make for brunch in the future!

Blintze Bake

  • 2 – 8 ounce packages Neufchatel cheese, softened
  • 15 ounces part-skim ricotta cheese
  • 5 eggs, divided
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 lemon (3 Tablespoons juice, 1 teaspoon zest)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¾ cup butter, melted
  • ¼ cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder

Heat oven to 325 degrees. Beat Neufchatel, ricotta, 2 eggs, 1/4 cup sugar, lemon zest and juice in large bowl with mixer until blended. Whisk remaining eggs, sugar, flour, butter, milk and baking powder in separate bowl until blended. Spread 1/3 of the batter onto bottom of 13×9-inch baking dish sprayed with cooking spray; cover with Neufchatel mixture, then remaining batter. Bake 45 minutes or until center is set.

I served Strawberry pie filling over mine. It was absolutely wonderful!

http://www.kraftrecipes.com/recipes/blintz-brunch-bake-54201.aspx?cm_mmc=eml-_-rbedesk-_-20140506-_-140506_USA_EN_RBE%5e1009&cm_lm=C6C6993E2EF3D66E64BBC3968330270D

The Blintze Bake paired perfectly with Mimosa’s and Apricot Bellini’s.

The food was really wonderful, and I am over joyed that we were able to get the water leak fixed!

These are definitely some morsels worth trying and would both be great for a brunch.

 

 
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Posted by on May 19, 2014 in recipe

 

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Cinco de Mayo Rewind

Cinco de Mayo Rewind

Rewinding a bit to go back and hit some recipes from last week! I’m  going back to Cinco de Mayo to share a couple more of the recipes I made that didn’t hit the mark 100%, but were hits with 50% of the family and good enough to try again!

The first one is a recipe that one of my friends posted recently on Facebook. It just screamed ‘try me, I’m delicious”! The Hubs was not a fan, and Daughter Number Three were so-so on the Avocado Fries. Daughter Number Four liked them a bit more than they did, and I thought they were awesome! I served them as a side or topping for our taco / burritos, but think they would be GREAT as an appetizer with a dip.

Avocado Fries

  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • Chili powder
  • 1 egg
  • 1 avocado
  • Nonstick cooking spray
  • Sea Salt

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Spray baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. In a bowl combine panko and chili powder. In a separate bowl whisk egg. Peel avocado and cut into thin strips, or wedges. Dip the avocado into the beaten egg then press into breadcrumb mixture. Lay out coated avocado wedges onto baking sheet, sprinkle with salt and spray with nontstick cooking spray. Bake for 10-12 minutes, turning once, until crisp.

The next recipe is one that I have wanted to try for a long time and just hadn’t taken time to make. I am so thrilled that I did it. I have been cooking beans forever, but had never cooked them in a slow cooker. I cooked them the day before I mashed and finished them up. They were just a bit dry and a little bit bland. The Hubs said that they weren’t at all dry the day before, because he had eaten LOTS!

Slow Cooker Refried Beans

  • 1 pound pinto beans
  • 8 cups water
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon cumin

Rinse and sort the beans, discarding any broken or rotten beans or rocks. Place the beans in the slow cooker crock. Add spices and water. Cook on high for 8 hours. If it appears that too much water is evaporating, turn the heat down. When the beans are done, strain the juice from the beans and reserve. With a potato masher smash the beans, adding in reserved liquid. Add additional seasonings as desired.

That wraps up the fun new recipes I tried for Cinco de Mayo. I’ll definitely try them again. I’ll keep you posted on any changes I make to these tasty morsels!

 
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Posted by on May 12, 2014 in recipe

 

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National Shrimp Day ~ and a Snail Tale

National Shrimp Day ~ and a Snail Tale

We spent some great time helping my mother in her yard today. We were picking up rocks and bricks from an old pile of landscaping. There were a few squeamish moments when the bugs and spiders started squirming and moving around on the moist ground when their cover was blown. There were pill bugs, ants, aforementioned spiders, and snails to name a few. Daughter Number Four, who had been working in the garden planting peppers and tomatillos, came over to see what was going on at the rock pile. She was excited to see the pill bugs (aka rolly polly). She was more excited to see the snail shells. She started to collecting the shells and laying them on the picnic table. As she was inspecting one of the shells the snail stuck it’s head out. Then it stuck it’s head out further and touched her hand. She was shocked when it touched her. It was so sticky.

Fast forward a few hours. Today is National Shrimp Day! Who knew that May 10 is National Shrimp Day? Well, I found out and decided that I would make a shrimp recipe today. Even cooler than that, after the snail fun earlier in the day I decided to make some Escargot. Yep. That’s right…

I had been the lucky recipient of Escargot at the office party White Elephant exchange. I had put the ‘kit’ on a shelf in the pantry. Well, today I took that ‘kit’ out and read the instructions. It seemed pretty easy. Did I really want to do this? Make the canned gag gift for my family to eat with dinner? I could.

For the main event though, I made Coconut Shrimp. I found the recipe on Skinnytaste.com a few years ago and it is a huge family favorite.

Skinny Coconut Shrimp

  • 1 pound large raw shrimp, peeled and deveined
  • ½ cup shredded sweetened coconut
  • ½ cup panko crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 large egg
  • Salt
  • Nonstick cooking spray

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray. Combine coconut flakes, panko, and salt in a shallow bowl. Place the flour in a separate shallow dish. Whisk the egg in another small dish. Dip the shrimp in the flour, shaking off excess, then into egg, then into the coconut mixture. Lay shrimp on the cooking sheet and coat with nonstick cooking spray. Bake for 10 minutes in preheated oven. Turn over and cook for 5-6 more minutes, until cooked through. Remove from the oven and serve with dipping sauce.

There is a dipping sauce recipe on the Skinnytaste.com webpage, along with the recipe. I like to dip mine in a mixture of orange marmalade and Sriracha. It’s a little too spicy for the family, though.

Everyone enjoyed the shrimp immensely, and Daughter Three liked the Escargot more than I ever would have imagined. She ate four. Daughter Number Four was still a bit icked out from the sticky one she picked up earlier in the day. She only ate 2. The canned escargot were really pretty darn good. I think I had four of them also.

escargot

I hope you enjoyed these bits of our lives and try these morsels for yourself!

http://www.skinnytaste.com/2011/12/skinny-coconut-shrimp.html

 
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Posted by on May 10, 2014 in recipe

 

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Cinco de Mayo

Cinco de Mayo

Happy Cinco de Mayo! I know, I know…it’s really Seis de Mayo, but unplanned events of the evening yesterday did NOT allow for any cooking to go in my house.

I actually got off work a little bit early yesterday to cook and do some cleaning and prep work leading up to the delivery of a new washer and dryer today (May 6). I did a couple of quick things to start the prep for cooking, like washing and sorting pinto beans. I had started the girls on a composition lesson (that’s one of my parts of homeschooling) and headed down to the laundry room. I was shocked, saddened, distraught, and about 50 other emotions all at once. I hollered up the stairs for the girls to get their Daddy as I waded through water that was already above my toes. We must have a clog somewhere. Very long story shortened somewhat, The Hubs and I tried everything we knew to unclog the drain. The water was rising to about ankle level and edging toward our bedroom when we decided to throw in the towel (we had already thrown several of them at the water) and call a plumber. He was there within 2 hours, which I thought was pretty speedy. He had found the clog and taken care of it in about another hour. I spent a few hours driving back and forth to my mother’s to do laundry (remember, no washer or dryer). I got a call from The Hubs while I was at her house washing some towels and enjoying an icy cold beverage. There was water coming up from the floor again. Apparently, the clog had NOT been 100% removed. I went home to help work on the problem. We could call the plumber back out, or flush this drain out ourselves (gotta love Google). We chose the second option (I was going to say Number 2, but that’s just not funny right now). We tried a couple of things and then The Hubs made a quick trip to Lowe’s (45 minutes). He used the extra strength clog remover foam, and in 30 minutes the drain was completely cleared. By this time, it was way past everyone’s bedtime. I got cleaned up and went to bed.

I took the day off of work today to clean up the rest of the mess that had been caused by the clogged drain, flooded basement. I scrubbed and scrubbed. We did have a little wetness on the drywall, but we have a heavy duty fan that took care of that! The room was ready in time for the delivery of my brand new washer and dryer!

I got to spend the rest of the day doing laundry (much more exciting with a new washer and dryer), doing crafts with the girls, and cooking!

For dinner I finished the slow cooker not so refried beans that I had started working on when the plumbing problem was discovered. I had intended on making some homemade salsa, chicken breasts, and a fabulous dessert, but because of everything that had gone on I simplified a bit. I browned some ground beef and added some seasonings for taco burritos (as the girls call them). I made some oven avocado fries, guacamole, and chile con queso. I had some diced onion, tomato, cilantro, jalapeno, and shredded cheese for toppings. I served apricot nectar and orange juice for our drinks.

I liked the avocado fries, but The Hubs was not a fan. We all agreed the beans could use a little more flavor and a little more liquid. The queso was awesome. Nothing short of fantastic. Delish. The recipe for the Chile Con Queso came from my dad. He got it out of a little cookbook with a Velvet matador on the cover, sometime before I was born. The Chile con Queso recipe is my favorite.

Chile Con Queso

  • 10 ounces shredded cheddar cheese (I used a combination of Sharp and Colby Jack)
  • ¾ cup Evaporated Milk
  • 2 Tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ¼ cup green onion
  • 1 small can green chiles

Combine all ingredients in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined and thoroughly melted. Serve with chips.

I’m not sure if was the rough day yesterday, the hard day today, or if it really was just delicious! The queso is just one of the morsels from today that I will share! Be on the lookout for more Ort

 
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Posted by on May 6, 2014 in recipe

 

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S’Mores

S’Mores

Today the girls and I spent some great time with my Mother, did some major cleaning in our house and worked on a gigantic de-cluttering project. We are de-cluttering the whole house. That’s quite a project. Also, with Daughter Number Two bringing her stuff back from her first year at college (she’s so organized she’s bringing it home in waves) it’s been especially cluttered. After a long, hard-working morning we decided to give The Hubs a break from our maniacal cleaning and head to the grocery store, list and menu in hand.

As we were leaving, a friend of Daughter Number Three stopped by to see if she wanted to go to the City Park.  That was a much better offer than going grocery shopping with Mom and the Sisters, so she headed off to play. That was probably better for the rest of us, anyway. As the saying goes, too many shoppers spoil the trip…

Since it was a long and tiring day I decided to take a pass on dinner. I asked The Hubs if he minded making hot dogs and S’Mores for us in the fire pit. He agreed, but wanted to wait for the sun to dip. Since it was still about 90 degrees at 7, we decided to go ahead and brave the heat. The Hubs cooked the dogs (turkey dogs for me and Daughter Number 2) and I heated up some leftover cheesy grits from last night’s dinner and made a quick batch of slaw. We all came in to eat and cool down a bit before heading back out to make the S’Mores. The Hubs was still chugging iced tea so Daughter Number 2 took over as the pit master for the Marshmallows. She finally let her sisters make a couple. She brought me a perfectly toasty mallow cuddled up with the melty chocolatey heaven of a Hershey’s bar, sandwiched between the crispy graham crackers. What better way to end a Sunday.

I can’t remember a time in my life when I hadn’t had them. They have been in existence since at least 1927 when they were mentioned in a Girl Scout Publication. They became a popular camping food and were turned into a cult classic in the 1993 movie, The Sandlot. Here is a conversation between two of the characters:

Hamilton ‘Ham’ Porter: Hey, Smalls, you wanna s’more?

Smalls: Some more of what?

Ham: No, do you wanna s’more?

Smalls: I haven’t had anything yet, so how can I have some more of nothing?

Ham: You’re killing me Smalls! These are s’more’s stuff! Ok, pay attention. First you take the graham, you stick the chocolate on the graham. Then you roast the ‘mallow. When the ‘mallows flaming… you stick it on the chocolate. Then cover with the other end. Then you scarf. Kind of messy, but good! Try some!

I can’t argue with Ham’s logic on this one. You’re killing me, Smalls! They are kind of messy, but really good. You should try some if you haven’t already, and then you should try s’more!

 

 
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Posted by on May 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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Kentucky Derby Day 2014

Kentucky Derby Day 2014

I have wanted to do a Kentucky Derby themed party for many years. This year was no exception. This year was also no exception in the ‘too busy to have a Derby party’ realm, either. I did promise myself that I would at the very least cook a Kentucky Derby inspired meal.

I was thinking Hot Browns, Burgoo, Deviled Ham, Chocolate Walnut Pie, Mint Juleps and Sweet Tea. After a very long work week and a busy day of housework and family time, I was just too zapped to get that creative.

In honor of Kentucky Derby day I made homemade fried chicken, cheese grits, baked sweet potatoes, green beans, and homemade biscuits with honey. For dessert, I served Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream.

I am not a big fan of fried chicken so I made a pan of oven fried chicken (skinless) for anyone who might want that. For The Hubs and any of the girls who wanted ‘real’ fried chicken I made a recipe I had ripped out of a magazine. I did make a few changes to the recipe. If I remembered which magazine it came from I would give credit. As I do not know which magazine I will give a shout out to Cooking Light, Woman’s Day, Family Circle, and Good Housekeeping. It probably came from one of these, as my mother subscribes to them and then gives them to me to go through prior to recycling. Pretty sure it wasn’t Cooking Light…

Southern Buttermilk Fried Chicken

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ cup fine cornmeal
  • 1 Tablespoon Paprika
  • ½ Tablespoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon red pepper
  • Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ¾ cup lowfat buttermilk
  • 6 chicken legs
  • Canola oil, Coconut oil blend

In a large sealable container or gallon zippered bag combine flour, cornmeal, paprika, garlic powder, red pepper, salt and black pepper.  Transfer ¼ cup of the mixture to a large bowl. Add buttermilk and whisk to combine. Add the chicken to the bowl; toss to coat. Refrigerate for between one hour and overnight. Turn chicken occasionally to coat thoroughly. Fill a cast-iron dutch oven or deep skillet with ¾ – 1” of oil mixture. Heat to 350 degrees. Place a cooling rack in a rimmed baking sheet. Transfer the chicken from the bowl to the sealable container or zippered bag, tapping off the excess buttermilk before adding to the flour mixture. Seal and shake the bag to coat the chicken in the flour mixture. Working in 2 batches, place the chicken in the skillet and cook for 5 minutes. Turn, cover the skillet and cook until the chicken is golden brown and cooked through (165 degrees) 5-7 minutes. Transfer the cooked chicken to the wire rack. Repeat with remaining uncooked chicken.

I didn’t try the chicken, but I heard that it was crispy and delicious. It did seem a bit greasy to me, but I guess that’s part of it!

I hope you all had a wonderful Derby Day, and celebrated in at least the smallest of fashion!

 

 
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Posted by on May 3, 2014 in recipe