Friday, January 19, 2018

A new favorite salad!

We actually made this meal in October, but since it's a new year and we are attempting to eat healthier, it was time to share it. And it was SO. Yummy!!!

I found this recipe on facebook, at least a couple of months ago. I started following the page for healthy dinner ideas to throw into our mix- I don't follow the Whole 30 plan at all.

This is the photo that was shared with the recipe below.
Hawaiian Pineapple Salad - Whole 30 FB page 
-mixed romaine greens
-grilled chicken breast
-fresh grilled pineapple slices
-diced avocado
-sliced cherry tomatoes
-diced purple onion
-lime wedges
-unsweetened coconut flakes
1. Grill your chicken breast then slice after it is cooked
2. Grill your fresh sliced pineapple slices
3. Lay a bed of romaine lettuce on your plate
4. Then add the remaining toppings
5. Squeeze the limes over your salad as your dressing or you could add any whole30 compliant dressing you have. We love the lime with a little salt for a change up.
6. Sprinkle with shredded unsweetened coconut flakes
We have some picky eaters, lol, so we prepped the various ingredients and set it all out on the table for people to take what they wanted. I think we said something like lettuce and chicken plus at least two more things.

And I enjoyed it so much I ate it for lunch until all the ingredients were gone! We will definitely make this one again!
(and you can always grill your pineapple and chicken on the stove or under the broiler if it's too snowy at your house!)

Saturday, December 16, 2017

2016 Christmas Goodies

Last year we tried two new recipes* to give as neighbor gifts. I typed this all up last year and never got around to sharing it! Now that it's Christmas again, it must be time! 
*Because you should always try new things when you want to share, haha....
(Actually, we made four different treats, but two are already on this blog.)
Fortunately they were both very yummy, and the recipes need to be kept!

The first recipe can be found HERE, and I'm copying the info to this blog in case it is ever deleted from the other. This one has a subtle flavor and should not be eaten immediately after the other treat, haha.... These are very light, and as stated in the original source, the perfect introduction to fall flavors. We've now made them twice since Christmas, so I'm okay eating it any time of year! This was possibly my favorite treat we shared this year.

Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies:
8oz cream cheese, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (not pumpkin pie mix)
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
1 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice*
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs (for rolling the cookies in)
1/4 tsp pumpkin pie spice (optional)

*I don't have pumpkin pie spice. We did 1/2 tsp ground ginger, 1/2 tsp ground cloves and 1/2 tsp nutmeg

In a large bowl, stir together cream cheese, butter and pumpkin until smooth. Add the sugar and vanilla until combined. Add the flour, 1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs, pumpkin pie spice and cinnamon. Mix until smooth. Scoop into balls and roll in the remaining graham cracker crumbs, which may include the optional pumpkin pie spice.
Place cookie balls on sheets lined with parchment paper (we use silpats). Bake for 15 mins at 350*. Remove from oven and flatten slightly, with your fingers or with the bottom of a glass. Bake three more minutes.
Allow to cool completely. Store in the fridge, just like cheesecake!

The second recipe can be found HERE. It was possibly the family favorite. It has a much stronger flavor, and I wondered if my kids would even like it. HA. They definitely did!

Gingerbread Cookie Bars:
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup molasses
1 egg
2 tsp baking soda
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt

Cream Cheese Frosting (or just dust with powdered sugar)
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 8oz pkg cream cheese, softened
1 lb (3 3/4 cups) powdered sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350*. Cooking spray all over a 9x13 inch baking dish. (I covered it in foil, and sprayed the foil).
In a large bowl, beat butter, sugar, brown sugar, vanilla and molasses on medium speed until creamy. Add the egg and stir until completely incorporated. Add baking soda, flour, spices and salt, and mix until well combined. Spread dough into prepared pan, unsing clean hands or a rubber spatulat to press the dough to the edges of the pan.
Bake 15-20 minutes, do not overbake! Cool in pan, on a wire rack.
When bars have cooled, frost with cream cheese frosting or dust with powdered sugar. Cut into squares to serve.
If using frosting: Cream together the butter and cream cheese. Add the powdered sugar and vanilla. Slowly mix on low and then beat on high til light and fluffy.

Friday, September 29, 2017

Cheesy Chicken n' Ham Soup in a Bread Bowl

Ingredients Bread Bowl:
4 Cups White Bread Flour
3 Cups Stone Ground Wheat Flour
1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon dough enhancer
2 1/2 cups warm water
2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons olive or vegetable oil
some butter to coat the hot bowls fresh out of the oven
grated Parmesan cheese to sprinkle on top of the buttered bowls

Soup Meat:
1 Ham Steak or 1 lb chopped cubed ham in 1/4 cubes
2 or 3 large chicken breasts (about a 1 1/2 lbs)
1/4 lb bacon for rendering and flavor

Soup Sauce:
1 onion diced
1 1/2 cups frozen mixed vegetables
3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons flour
1 1/2 cup chicken broth or stock
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 1/2 cups milk
1/2 cup apple or white grape juice
3/4 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 cup sour cream, light or regular

Feeds 8 people one full serving. 6 out of 7 family members really liked it.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fruit Yogurt Parfait

I saw this recipe ages ago on a Yoplait ad. I forgot all about it and then went thru the drafts on this blog and found it again. Sooo now that I've made it frequently for months, I'm sharing it!

This is what the original post said: 
"This Spiced Pear Yogurt Parfait with crunchy granola layers and a little bit of cinnamon is exactly what we need to bring in the holiday season.
To make: Layer a glass with your favorite granola (we used Nature Valley) and spoon Yoplait Greek 100 Vanilla yogurt on top. Sprinkle in chopped pear and repeat. Top with a little extra granola, cinnamon and pear then break out the spoons!"

So when I make it, I have used vanilla yogurt and I've used vanilla greek yogurt- whichever I get works fine. I have used Nature Valley granola, Cascade Farms granola and Kashi Go Lean. I like all of them. Most of the time I use chopped up bottled pears, but you can see I've used raspberries, peaches, and blueberries. I'm guessing any fruit will work great! When I use pears or peaches I add a dash of cinnamon.
Personally, I scoop up some yogurt, add the fruit and sprinkle on the granola, then I stir it up!
And it is delicious! I eat it anywhere from 3-7 times a week, sometimes as breakfast or lunch, sometimes as a snack! 

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Buttermilk Pancakes from Martha Stewart

This one is a keeper. Posting it here in case the recipe disappears from the website I got it from. Here's the original link in case anyone is wondering.

I have made these a few times and they have become a staple for pancakes in our house. Yes use real buttermilk. I have started keeping buttermilk on hand for various recipes especially pancakes, waffles, and southern style biscuits. I have done the soured milk thing when I have to, but I am finding that just keeping buttermilk on hand is the way to go. My experience is that you never have to throw the stuff away. I have kept it way past the expiration date even after it goes "sour" and used it in my cooking with no noticeable in flavor. Sometimes, I kidd you not, up to two or three months after it expired. It just seems to be thicker than when it was fresh from the store. If I need to, in those instances, I just thin it out a little bit with milk.

I like to make them smaller in diameter than the recipe recommends below, but to each their own.


2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons sugar
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
3 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted, plus 1/2 teaspoon for griddle

Heat griddle to 375 degrees. Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl. Add eggs, buttermilk, and 4 tablespoons butter; whisk to combine. Batter should have small to medium lumps.

Heat oven to 175 degrees. Test griddle by sprinkling a few drops of water on it. If water bounces and spatters off griddle, it is hot enough. Using a pastry brush, brush remaining 1/2 teaspoon of butter or reserved bacon fat onto griddle. Wipe off excess.

Using a 4-ounce ladle, about 1/2 cup, pour pancake batter, in pools 2 inches away from one other. Scatter with berries, if using. When pancakes have bubbles on top and are slightly dry around edges, about 2 1/2 minutes, flip over. Cook until golden on bottom, about 1 minute.

Repeat with remaining batter, keeping finished pancakes on a heatproof plate in oven.

Homemade Pizza Dough and Sauce

Pizza Dough

2 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
2 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
2 Tbsp Sugar
1 Tbsp Active Dry Yeast
2 Tbsp Dry Milk Powder
2 Tsp Salt or Onion Salt
2 Tsp Dough Enhancer
1 Cup Warm Water
2 Tbsp Olive Oil

Combine all ingredients (except sugar, yeast, and water) into bread maker and run on the dough setting. Proof yeast in water with the sugar. Water should be no more than 103 degrees. Let bread maker mix and knead the dough, but pull it out of the machine before it starts it's rising cycle. Continue to knead on the counter to create a strong gluten structure that can be stretched thin without tearing, about another 5 to 10 minutes. Dough should be sticky to the touch by not so sticky that its impossible to knead on an unfloured counter. After kneading put in an oiled bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Put it in the fridge to do a cold rise for at least 5 hours, but it could stay in there all day. Leaving it in the fridge to rise very slowly develops great flavor in the dough.

Makes 4 dough balls that can be turned into four 8" round pizzas.

Cook at 425 degrees for 15 mins for 8" pizzas, preferably on a pizza stone that was preheated in the oven. I haven't done a larger size pizza yet, but 15 to 20 minutes should do it in general.

Pizza Sauce

1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 8 oz can of tomato sauce
4 oz of water (use water to rinse out tomato sauce can then add to the sauce)
1 Tsp of dried Sweet Basil
1 Tsp of dried Oregano
1 Tsp of dried Parsley
2 Tsp Salt or Onion Salt
1 Tsp of Onion Powder (leave out if using onion salt)
2 Tsp of Granulated Garlic or 1 Tbsp of Minced Garlic
2 Bay Leaves
1 Tbsp Olive Oil

Dump all of the ingredients except bay leaves into blender and puree until smooth. Pour contents into sauce pot on stove and add bay leaves.  Bring to a near boil then reduce heat, cover and simmer until the sauce reduces by a bit and looks all saucy. About 10 to 15 minutes should do it. Cool down or refrigerate until needed. Sauce stores well in the fridge. Makes enough sauce for about 12 8" pizzas. Use within about 30 to 60 days or divide into thirds and freeze.

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken Enchilada Casserole

Well, I had a baby and moved twice sooo there were very few recipes tried and even less blogging happening. Maybe this summer I can catch up...! And since I'm ready to make this a second time, here you go!
You know those videos on facebook of a recipe being thrown together? That's where this came from.
The actual link to the recipe is HERE.
We made some modifications, haha. As in, we added three ingredients. But here's how we did it:

2 huge chicken breasts
30 oz enchilada sauce
6 oz olives, sliced
1 cup cheese
1/2 cup chopped yellow or white onion
1 can black beans
6oz ish corn
12 corn tortillas (I cut these in half then cut the halves into short strips)
top with more cheese and olives
Put thawed chicken into crock pot, cover with enchilada sauce. Cook on high for 4 hours.
Shred chicken with forks, in pot.
Add sliced corn tortillas, cheese, olives, black beans, corn and onion. Stir.
Add enough cheese to cover the mixture and olives on top.
Cook 40 more minutes

Serve with sour cream, lettuce and salsa.

*I like to use an egg slicer to cut olives. Three fit in the cuppy spot perfectly and come out easily! 

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Burt's French Toast

For the batter:
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 cup half & half
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 2 tbsp buttermilk
  • 1/8 cup brown sugar
  • cinnamon & nutmeg (as much as you'd like)
Put all of the ingredients in to a nice wide bowl and whisk to combine. The batter should have a nice uniform yellow color that will remind you of egg nog. (BTW, you can replace the half & half with egg nog, be sure to add a couple of tablespoons of milk to thin the egg nog. Also you can leave out the vanilla, buttermilk, and nutmeg.)

This amount of batter should be enough for 12 to 13 slices of regular sandwich bread, about 8 slices of Texas Toast, or about 10 slices of french bread cut to a 3/4 inch thickness.

For best results, be sure to dry bread out so that the outsides of the bread are dry to the touch, but the interior of the bread is still soft. About 12 minutes in a 225 degree oven should do the trick. Place the bread in half sheet pan on a cooking/cooling rack that fits inside the pan. Flip the bread slices after about 6 minutes so both sides dry evenly.

If you don't have the rack that fits inside a half sheet pan then put the bread directly onto the oven rack arranging them in such a way that they don't fall through. When placing the bread directly onto the oven rack it won't be necessary to flip them.

After you take the dried bread out of the oven, turn it down 200 degrees and leave in/put a half sheet pan inside. If you have a cooking/cooling rack leave that in the pan too. As the toast comes out of the frying pan or griddle, you will put them in the oven to finish cooking the interior of the toast.

Heat up a non-stick frying pan on medium heat. Right before you put a piece of soaked bread into the pan to cook use a little spray oil on the part of the pan where the bread will go. This will ensure the bread won't stick. If you have one, an electric griddle is ideal for this because you will be able to fry multiple slices of toast at one time. Since the toast goes into the oven to finish, bigger batches will help ensure that all of the slices don't overcook and dry out before all of the slices are done.

Cooking the French Toast

Step 1: Put the dried bread into the batter and let soak on each side for a few seconds. You want the liquid to penetrate to the middle of the bread. Drying out the bread before hand ensures that you let the bread soak, but won't turn into a soggy mess when you try to put it in the pan.

Step 2: Cook on each side until the side is a mostly uniform golden brown. This should take about 3 to 5 minutes per side. If it takes longer than that your pan may be too cool. If your toast gets darker than that in that time, turn the temperature down. You can even wave the pan through the air to cool it down between batches a little.

Step 3: Put the cooked slices into the heated oven on the half sheet pan to continue slowly cooking the interior of the toast while you finish the rest of the slices. They only need about 7 minutes in the oven before they are ready to serve.

Take them out of the oven warm, cover with whatever (butter, syrup, etc) you'd like and enjoy!

I'll add pictures to this post next time I make french toast.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Sweet Potato Casserole

I really love sweet potatoes. This is a trend I can get on board with! Sweet potato fries, sweet potato tator tots, mashed sweet potatoes...yep, all good. Don't get me wrong- I really like white potatoes and red potatoes too. But sweet potatoes have this nice reputation that make me feel like its better for me, hahaha, and it's a good change.

At Thanksgiving, my dad has always baked or microwaved a single yam and topped it in marshmallows, and usually he's the only one who eats it.
One year my husband and I tried to put something together in place of said yam, and it was so sickly sweet no one ate any of it. sad...

This autumn, on Pinterest, I found THIS. And I thought it sounded really, really yummy. I really wanted to make it...but what if it was yucky?? I didn't want to make the whole 8x11 pan for just my I thought I'd try it out as a side dish for Thanksgiving. Then scoops of it could get thrown away bit by bit instead of "wasting" the whole pan, hahaha!

So, we gave it a shot!
 It smelled soooo dreamy good!!
And it was a huge hit! I could not get enough of it, and I think all the people who had some enjoyed it. YEAY! and phew...

And since we liked it so much, we made it for our Christmas Eve dinner, and then again in January, just for dinner!
I really think it might be my very favorite food right now. My kids aren't huge fans tho, so unless we have company we have to halve the recipe.

  • 3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • ½ cup milk
  • ½ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ⅓ cup flour
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • ½ cup chopped pecans
In a medium bowl, combine the first six ingredients.
  1. Transfer the mixture to a buttered 1½ or 2 qt casserole dish.
  2. Mix remaining ingredients listed in a small bowl.
  3. Sprinkle mixture on top of potato mixture.
  4. Bake at 350 for 30-40 minutes

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Quinoa Enchiladas

I found THIS recipe on Pinterest and have wanted to try it for quite a long time. I finally did!
First, I had to find out how to make quinoa, lol! it really is just about the same as making rice, but THIS is the recipe/instructions I used. Also, you have to rinse quinoa, apparently...until the rinsing water comes clear. My rinse water was clear from the beginning and it stayed that way, sooo maybe my package was safer?? haha...

So on that note, I found these two links very interesting and informative. HERE and HERE.

I adjusted this recipe...
And this is what my family ate:

olive oil
1 small onion, finely chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
14 oz can chicken
15 oz can black beans
4 oz can green chiles
3/4 tbsp chili powder
2 cups enchilada sauce
1/3 cup pepperjack cheese
2 handfuls cheddar

I decreased the chili powder and I switched the amounts of pepperjack vs cheddar because I always have at least one child complain that flavorful food is "too hot", haha.

I started by cooking the quinoa like rice. I rinsed for a long time, haha, then I put them into a dry pot to roast-ish. That makes rice really tasty, so I figured it would work the same. Then I just added twice the amount of water, and let it cook 10 mins. Then I let it sit for 15 before "fluffing with a fork".

I chopped up the onion and put just enough olive oil to just cover the skillet, and then cooked it for 6 or 7 minutes. I added the chicken, the black beans, chiles and chili powder, and heated them all thru. I alternated dumping that mixture and the cooked quinoa into a big mixing bowl. I added the pepperjack cheese to the mixture, then the two cups of enchilada sauce.
I put all of that into a greased 9x13 baking dish, and topped it all with cheddar. I baked it for 15 minutes, and broiled it for about 2.
Then we served it!

I really liked it. I had two servings, which is not super common for me. My husband liked it, tho he did say it reminded him of the texture of tamales. Both kids preferred to eat it like a dip, with tortilla chips, and I think they both added sour cream.

However, if I make it again, I'll half the recipe. The leftovers stuck around for what felt like forever, and we all had some as left overs. So apparently that makes too much food for my family of four.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Sweet Potato Avacado Soup

Today's recipe comes from a facebook page called 10 Pound Challenge with Melanie Douglass. I have followed this page for a few January's now, but I have never actually, officially joined. I just really enjoy the tips and food and workout suggestions. This was actually shared a year ago, but I finally tried it this weekend. 
This is what I did: 

1 sweet potato, as long as my hand and half as wide
1/2 avocado
1 tbsp lime juice
Freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup water
1/4 cup milk
1/8 tsp red pepper flakes

I peeled and baked the sweet potato on a foil covered baking sheet, at 425* for close to 2 hours. I pulled it off the foil, lol, and put all the ingredients in my blendtec. I pureed it on the "whole juice" setting. I did scrape it down once and pulsed a few times to really blend it. Then I microwaved it for 2 minutes to get it hot! haha!
It says it makes 2 servings, and I ate probably 2/3 of it.
Full disclosure: I grew tired of it after a while, and I finally added a small pinch of shaved Parmesan to it. I wouldn't want this regularly, but every so often, it would be just fine. Pretty sure this will be lunch tomorrow!
I made two dinners that night: My daughter could live off spaghetti if we let her, and since it's quick and easy, we make it a lot....and I am tired of it!!! But I know the rest of my family really enjoys it, and, I knew they would not enjoy this so much. So I made spaghetti for them and this soup for me. I had them all try it and they all three pulled quite a face, haha, so no, this won't be a common meal around here. Still- a good one for my lunches!
And here's the information with the original recipe.

1 large sweet potato (baked to soft flesh)
1 ripe avocado
Peel and put flesh in a blender with 1 cup of water. Puree.
Add juice from 1/2 a lime and a bunch of fresh ground black pepper. Puree a few more seconds. If you want it thinner, add a bit of milk or water.
Stir in some Crushed Red Pepper flakes and serve! Cold or hot. It's a thick creamy soup. Yummy! (er, on the scale of a "cleanse" recipe that has no sodium or junk and tons of fiber to promote weight loss wink emoticon. You can play around with other seasonings, like chipotle, cayenne or nutmeg, etc. But red pepper flakes did it for me!

Makes 2 servings and packs some powerful nutrition:
240 calories (per serving)
50% heart-healthy monounsaturated fat
10 grams fiber
4 grams protein (not as high as I like, but it's a complete protein)
350% Vitamin A (want healthy glowing skin?)
50% Vitamin C
30% Potassium, Vit K, Folate, Manganese

Friday, January 15, 2016

Apple Nachos!

Originally I saw this recipe all over Pinterest and I pinned the idea HERE.
I started making it just after school started last August, as a welcome-home-after-school-snack....and then we sort of forgot about it. Today my daughter asked if we still knew how to make that, haha, so I thought I'd blog it.

1 apple, thinly sliced
1 tbsp creamy peanut butter
small handful shredded coconut
smaller handful semi-sweet chocolate chips.

I only used green apples until today- this time I used a Gala apple. I slice it into a lot of thin slices and arrange them flat on a plate. I microwave a tablespoon or so of peanut butter til it's more runny (about 15-25 seconds). Drizzle that over the apple slices. Sprinkle shredded coconut and a few chocolate chips on top.
Depending on the size of your apple, it can serve a quick snack for 1-2 kids.