Happy Pinning!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Too many recipes, too little time...

My brain is on overload of all the recipes that I want to make but my freezers are so full I need to eat out of them for a little while.  I am working on trying to use the stuff we already had to incorporate it into meals so I can cut grocery costs a little in this overly expensive time of the year.  Last weekend was thanksgiving, I am sure you all had lovely times with your family full of traditional recipes and lots of bonding.  There was a construction project going on at our house the whole weekend which meant we had a fair amount of time with the men segregated from the ladies.  In an effort to help shoulder the burden of all my Mom's major hostessing responsibilities and say thank you for the free labor at my house I made a yummy little spread for our ladies scrapbook afternoon.  It was a recipe I saw on Pinterest (of course) and it was yummy!

Taco Pizza
Ready for how easy this is?
Take two tubes of crescent rolls and roll them into jelly roll pan and bake at 375 for 11-14 min.  Take two cans of refried beans, I used two different types mixed together.

Meijers Organic Black Bean Refried Beans and Roasted Green Chile and Lime Refried Beans

Warm beans in microwave and spread over baked crust.  Cook meat of choice in skillet with taco packet.  I used chicken.  Spread on top of beans.  Add toppings, I used black olives, green onion, cheese, and cilantro.  I figured I would just use salsa instead of diced tomatoes.  Put back in the oven for 3-5 minutes until cheese is melted. 

I served with chips and guacamole and a tropical fruit salad.  Remember this salad here, I did the same thing but added pomegranate, tis the season after all!

In this hectic holiday season there is a super quick and easy dinner for you.  I hope I have many more recipes like this so I can spend less time in the kitchen and more time with my family this Christmas!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

You guys won't believe this one!

Remember when I was obsessed with these....

This is one of the recipes that went straight to freezer and I hadn't thawed it until now and I am bumming because you have no fresh peaches to try this, you seriously don't want to wait till next summer. I would suggest maybe using those frozen fresh peaches from the freezer section to pull this off. 

Cheddar-stuffed Turkey Burgers with Peach Ketchup

4 medium peaches, peeled and pitted and cut up
1/4 cup sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Dash cayenne pepper
2 pounds ground turkey (We actually did ground chicken, it was really good)
2 - 3 ounces white cheddar or Havarti cheese, shredded (1/2 to 3/4 cup)
1 tablespoon canola oil
Leaf lettuce (optional)
8 hamburger buns, split and toasted
Additional peach slices (optional)

First:  You need to make Peach Ketchup, that's right Peach Ketchup:

1. In a blender or food processor combine cut up peaches, sugar, cider vinegar, chili powder, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. Cover and blend or process until smooth = Peach Ketchup
2. In large bowl lightly mix turkey with half of the Peach Ketchup, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. black pepper. Divide into 8 balls. Make an indentation in the center of each ball and fill with some cheddar cheese. Shape meat around cheese. Flatten into patties.
3. In a 12-inch skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add half of the burgers and cook about 5 minutes, or until well browned. Turn and cook 5 minutes more or until no pink remains (165 degrees F). Repeat with remaining burgers.
4.  Serve on lettuce-lined buns with additional peach slices and remaining Peach Ketchup. Makes 8 burgers. (We actually ended up with 9! Score!)

I had never done cheddar stuffed...anything before! It was so good.  Literally I took a bite of my burger tonight and white melted oozy cheese came out, it was so so good.  And peach ketchup!? It was amazing.  And we have a ton left over, Craig said I was giddy thinking of what I could marinade in it. 

I am tired and I worked a long day and my kids are whiny so I really am wracking my brain trying to think of something else clever to say or talk about....but I have got nothing.  Promise me you will make peach burgers and you will make them often.  I know I will!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Fall treats

Can you believe my "baby" is turning three? Say no.  Because I can't.  This is too much, I may need another baby now and that just sounds exhausting...

Isn't she precious?
So I had a fall themed party with her (complete with directing my family to wear fall colors to the party, I don't think my brother in law will ever let me live this down, what can I say I am a total control freak!)

Have to share a few of the little treats I made...

Look at these adorable acorns!!! Take a mini Nutter Butter, and a Hershey's Kiss and glue them together with peanut butter and then "glue" a chocolate chip on the other side, freeze.  Yummy, PB and Chocolate is the ultimate combo!

Halloween Bark: This is the best way to use up leftover halloween candy.  Chop up a whole bunch of different candy bars and add a bunch of peanuts (make sure if you use M&M's you only use the red/orange/yellow/brown to keep in halloween colors, this means you can eat greens and blues while you cook!)  Melt 1.5 bags dark chocolate and spread out on wax paper on cookie sheet.  Sprinkle with topping and gently press in.  Refridgerate until hardened.  Melt 3 oz white chocolate and drizzle on top and refridgerate again until hard.  Break apart into pieces and enjoy.

The Cake! It originally was going to be a pumpkin.  But it had a dent around the middle where I stacked the two Bundt cakes ( I am not a fan of baking!) so my Mother in law had the brilliant ideas of the ribbon and the flowers.  Turned out cool and very "autumnal" (that is my favorite word this month).  Recipe was good, I got it off Pinterest!

Caramel Apple Cake with Apple Cider Frosting
2 cups whole wheat pastry flour
1¾ cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1½ tsp. baking soda
1½ tsp. ground cinnamon
½ tsp. salt
1½ cups light brown sugar
¾ cup canola oil
¾ cup unsweetened applesauce
¾ cup caramel sauce (homemade or jarred)
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 eggs
1½ cups buttermilk

Apple Cider Frosting:
7 1/2-8 cups confectioners’ sugar (to desired consistency)
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened
1/2 cup apple cider or apple juice
3/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
pinch of salt

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour two (8 or 9 inch) round cake pans and set aside.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together whole wheat pastry flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In a second large bowl, beat sugar and oil together with an electric mixer until well combined, about 30 seconds. Add applesauce, caramel and vanilla, beat for 30 seconds, then add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, and continuing to beat until well combined.

3. Pour batter into prepared cake pans and bake until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of each cake comes out clean, about 35-40 minutes. Set aside to let cool for 10 minutes, then gently loosen cakes and turn out onto a cooking rack; set aside to let cool completely.

4. For the frosting, put sugar, butter, cider, cinnamon and salt into a large bowl and beat with an electric mixer until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Arrange one cake on a large plate and spread about 1 cup of the frosting evenly over the top. Arrange second cake on top then frost top and sides of entire cake with remaining frosting. Set aside at room temperature or in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour to allow frosting to set before serving.

Makes a tall 2-layer, 8-9 inch round cake. (I made two recipes, in two bundts to stack for the pumpkin shape and I added food coloring to get my orange color!)

For actual food I should share more than just treats with you!

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

  • 6 large baking potatoes, peeled, cut in 1/2 -inch cubes
  • 1 large onion chopped
  • 1 quart chicken broth
  • 3 garlic cloves minced (or pressed)
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 cup cream
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh chives
  • 1 cup sour cream (optional)
  • 8 slices bacon, fried & crumbled  
  • Cheese for sprinkling


  1. Combine first seven ingredients in a large crock pot; cover and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 8 hours (potato should be tender).
  2. Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soupy is slightly thickened.
  3. Stir in cream, cheese and chives.
  4. Top with sour cream (if used), sprinkle with bacon and more cheese
Brie with Apples and Cranberries

8 in round brie
1/4 cup cranberries
1 medium apple chopped
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp melted butter
1/2 cup sliced almonds

Mix all ingredients minus brie in bowl, cut brie in top and bottom halves.  Layer brie, 1/2 filling, brie and top with other 1/2 filling.  Bake at 350 12-15 min, serve with crackers

It was a great party full of fun fall foods and colors! Hope you are having a wonderful fall!

Is it thanksgiving yet??

So a couple of weekends ago my Mom and Sister and I had a girls scrapbook weekend.  I thought I would treat them to a special treat.  My Ode to Thanksgiving Prelude meal.  It is so yummy and wonderful and I always feel fancy when I make it so it's especially good to make for loved ones.  I think it will be a LONG time before I am in the position, house, etc to make me able to be the Thanksgiving hostess so I love this meal because I feel like I am doing a Thanksgiving day spread but I am able to easily pull it off myself.  I went from the Pampered Chef Turkey and Cranberry wreath recipe and I started improvising and adding and I was inspired by a meal I had at a fall wedding to create my own special "gravy".  I love this recipe so much, I hope you will try it and love it too....

Amanda's Ode to Thanksgiving Prelude

1 pkg cream cheese
4 tbsp softed butter
2 pkg. refrigerated crescent rolls
1/2 C. mayonnaise
1 T. honey Dijon mustard
½ tsp coarsely ground pepper
2 C. cooked turkey, chopped (I buy a thick ½ in slice from the deli counter and cut it in chunks)
½ cup celery sliced
½ cup dried cherries
2 chopped apples
3 T fresh parsley
4 oz provolone/mozzarella shredded cheese
1 egg

Hollandaise Gravy:
Hollandaise packet
Cinnamon and brown sugar and apple pie spice
Milk and butter

Also for serving: Mashed potatoes, Stuffing, Meijers Cranberry Sauce (it's the best!)

Preheat oven to 375

Unroll dough, separate into 16 triangles.  With wide ends of triangles toward the center.  Arrange 8 triangles in a circle on large round stone.  Corners of wide ends will touch and points will extend 1 inch beyond of baking stone.  Arrange remaining 8 triangles in center matching ends.  Seal seams using pizza roller.   Points will overlap in center, do not seal. You can also do this in a straight braid but the wreath is good for serving/entertainment and I will tell you why in a moment...

Blend cream cheese and 4 Tbsp butter until creamy.  Add mayo, mustard and black pepper into the bowl.  Add shredded cheese into the bowl.  Mix filling by adding turkey, celery, cherries and apples and parsley.  Scoop filling over seams of dough, forming a circle. 

Beginning in center lift one dough triangle across mixture continue alternating with outer triangles, slightly overlapping to form wreath.  Tuck last end under first.

Separate egg over bowl.  Beat egg white lightly; brush over dough.  Bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown.  (Ok I don't know how Pampered Chef predicts 30 min, we usually do 45 min and the bottom can still be doughy so watch this and alter as needed!)

Hollandaise gravy; I literally took a packet of hollandaise, followed the directions but added 3 T brown sugar and sprinkled in cinnamon (about 2 tsp) and apple pie spice (1 tsp)

Make with stuffing and mashed potatoes (for easy "mashed"  potatoes I boiled red skins with skin on and then drain and add 1/2 to a full stick of butter and garlic salt and smash) (For stuffing I start with a box of stove top and I add extra celery, dried cherries and chopped apples and onion and saute and add to prepared stuffing, fancies it up a little!)
As an homage to thanksgiving, serve pretty for guests with potatoes and stuffing in center of wreath.  Hollandaise drizzled a la gravy.  Cherries, apples, and cinnamon flavors of fall mixing with the turkey make it a wonderful fall preview.  Also serve Meijers cranberry relish on the side. 

Seriously people make this for someone today! You will love all the oohs and aahs! Be prepared for food coma to set in shortly afterwards though....

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Breakfast!! The most important meal of the day!

Who doesn't need a few breakfast ideas? Good gravy if I don't have anything planned it's a granola bar.  That is about as boring as you can get! Started my first week of exercising with my new fabulous accountability partners on Friday (You know who you are!) and I wanted to have a snack for us after especially one that the kids would eat.  I think it often helps keep your blood sugar stabilized throughout the day to eat frequent little meals so these ideas make a perfect mid morning snack or 2nd breakfast or if you are a Hobbit "Elevensies".  First:

 Fruit and Yogurt Parfait

This is not rocket science.  My husband loves these.  My kids love these.  McDonald's has them on the dollar menu.  You can mix and match a million different fruit and yogurt combos (again I can't stress enough how much kids like choosing and building their own food). One 3 pt yoplait yogurt and 2 pts worth of granola (differ by brand, check your label), beautiful pick me up for 5 pts! You may remember a very popular PB&J parfait we made here.

Next up: Egg Mugs

Mediterranean Egg Mug

This is Hungry Girl's specialty here is her Greek Mug. There are more ideas to be found here and there and everywhere.  Make your own! I bet my husband would go crazy for a Mexican one with chorizo and salsa. Here is how mine went.

Chopped 3 baby bella mushrooms, handful of cherry tomatoes, handful of green onion chopped and a handful of black olives.  Spray big coffee mug with cooking spray, toss in veges and microwave one minute.  Now Hungry Girl uses Egg Beater liquid on these 1/2 cup = 2 eggs.  I am not opposed to Egg Beaters, I just didn't have any! 2 eggs in, you also want to add any seasonings to go with your flavor here, I added a dash of garlic salt and a dash of italian seasoning, stir up to scramble with your veges.  Microwave 45 sec to 1 min.  Add cheese and stir.  I added 1-2 Tbsp feta.  Microwave another 45 sec to 1 min.  Perfect Mediterranean Egg Scramble, no dirty pan, 2.5 min, 5-6 pts.  This would be really fun if you had overnight guests.  Set out a variety of toppings and let everyone build there own egg scramble and get some big huge mugs easy and quick.  Only warning I would give, especially for kids.  These are really hot! I scalded my tongue on a moist tomato steaming hot from the bottom of the cup. There was a lot of stirring to release the heat and a lot of blowing on the spoon involved.  No burn injuries please.

One last breakfast recommendation!

Protein Shakes

I take my magic bullet and I even make it right in the cup piece so after I blend... I am ready to go.  I add a scoop of this

and a scoop of this
1 cup of milk and then if I want a combo flavor with the chocolate I may add one of these

I can say enough about these shakes.  7 pts but the whey keeps your blood sugar stabilized ALL day, you hardly ever feel hungry so you snack a lot less.  Sometimes I will even make one for my kids.  They feel like they are getting away with having a chocolate milk shake for breakfast but they are getting their fruit, their milk, healthy protein and more concentration power especially the little ones in school! Another tip is keep a bag of flaxseed in your freezer, add a tbsp to your parfaits or protein shakes, you won't notice but the health benefits are limitless!

So no more breakfast skipping and I will also try not to keep going to that dreaded granola bar fall back so often, not with these much more satisfying and delicious (and simple!) choices.  Eat a good breakfast everyone!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

Sitting here passing out candy with my trusty sidekick

Whilst my adorable munchkins troll for candy

I sure hope we get more action soon because as of 7:05 we had one person and this is my bucket

Everyone gets two right now and it may be handfuls by the end of the night! I don't need extras laying around that is for sure! We usually have tons so I don't understand it!? Maybe because it's Monday.  Anyways I was being a good doobie and went running tonight! 1.5 miles.  I have slacked off for far too long and there is no time like the present!

Thanks to my accountability girls for giving me the nudge! Helps that I have a halloween colored running shirt! And I selected a VERY easy dinner for my husband to prepare while I ran! How many Seinfeld fans are there out there??? Question: What was Elaine's favorite thing to order at the little diner they all went to? While you think about that watch this (I love Jerry!):

Oh my word I could listen to that a thousand times, so funny! My brother in law (who is the hugest Seinfeld fan) is also the hugest candy fan! So perfect.

Anyways anyone get the trivia question yet....

It's the BIG Salad!

I don't know about you all but I was always getting the Salad Bar at restaurants as a kid.  I love it.  I think it's the make your own aspect of it all.  All the choices.  Plus they always had chocolate pudding.  How can you go wrong? My absolutely favorite part about working at the hospital on weekends is that I get to do "Big Salad".  I do that junk up right!
I can make a hugnormous salad for 10-12 pts.  And my kids LOVE big salad night.  I believe that they like building there own dinner as well.  I make all the cobb ingredients but add additional!

Big Salad

Ingredient Possibilities
Lettuce (did I need to say this?)
Hardboiled Egg
Grilled Chicken
Bacon Crumbles
Avocado Chunks
Dried Cherries
Cheeses (Feta, Blue, or Shredded Colby)
Green Onion
Garbanzo Beans
Your favorite dressing (I always ration all my points carefully so I can have the worlds most naughty salad dressing - Blue Cheese!)
Perfect after running dinner!  My kids love this idea!

Try your own salad bar and let me know what special ingredients your family enjoys! Happy Halloween everyone!!!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

It's a good day

I am having a good day today, nothing special or out of the ordinary, just simple and good.  I was able to keep my house clean all day, some days that feels like quite the feat as the kids seem to follow behind me like mini-tornadoes.  And I managed a  home cooked meal that had my husband humming, I love it when I can make something so simple and his heart brims with love for me! One thing I really appreciate about my husband is how much he always notices and appreciates the little things.  I think that is important for us moms that feel like we spent the day "in the trenches" of dirty diapers and dirty dishes.  Sometimes I get to the end of my day and I think "what did I do today?" so when he walks in and says "Honey the house looks so beautiful" or "This is the best soup I have ever had" it makes the simple life feel rich after all. 
Ok, sorry about all the mushiness.  Maybe I should just share my recipes and quit with the emotional fluff?

Still on a fall kick I have been gathering all my favorite fall recipes and of course new ones always make the mix and am excited about all the fall inspired stuff I can bring between now and Thanksgiving.

So tonight's menu was very simple; Grilled Cheese and Tomato Soup, Applesauce.  No big deal right? Well when all those items are homemade, use items from your garden and take regular no-brainer items, keep the simplicity but kick up the elegance it's worth a closer look. 

Now if you haven't already seen this...

then maybe you don't know about Pinterest. I LOVE Pinterest.  I totally blame my sister for introducing us.  Here are some good descriptions:

HAHA that's so true, or to sum up...

Yes, I love it.  And I have actually starting using it! I have taken 5 pictures this week based on ideas from my photography board.  And I have 5 crafts planned and like 8 recipes planned from other boards so hey I am at least applying it!   So anyways enter with caution, it's addicting...

All that to say that found this soup recipe on Pinterest! (Feel free to pin my blog anytime you want too because that is like an early Christmas present to me!)

Grilled Ham and Cheese and Tomato Basil Soup
Ok grilled cheese doesn't require much instruction I would hope! I didn't fancy it up in any way but I did do dual-cheese with a slice of Provolone and a slice of Colby Jack and because my carnivorous husband is dead-against meat free meals we made them honey ham and cheese! Yum.  Perfect for dunking in the soup!

3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons of olive oil
1 28 oz. cans of Meijers Organic Basil and Garlic Crushed Tomatoes
1 28 oz. can of Basil and Garlic Whole Tomatoes
2 cups of stock (chicken - I used organic, low sodium)
2 colored peppers coarsely chopped
A couple handfuls of cherry tomatoes (the last of our garden, hand crushed)
1 tsp of sea salt
1 tsp of sugar
1/2 tsp of fresh ground black pepper
1/2 cup of heavy cream
3 tablespoons of fresh basil, julienned (I actually added some to the soup and then some as a garnish too)
Parmesan cheese

In a saucepan, saute garlic in olive oil on medium heat for 1 minute - being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the crushed tomatoes.  Add the whole tomatoes one at a time, squeezing them into the pan to break them up. (also threw in some of our tomatoes - the more the merrier right?)  Add peppers. Add the juice from the whole tomatoes, as well.  Add chicken stock, salt, pepper and sugar.  Cook the soup on medium at a simmer for 10 minutes.  

To finish, reduce the heat to low and stir in heavy cream and basil.  Serve topped with Parmesan cheese
Warm yummy goodness!
Still recovering from when I went peach crazy last month I have been avoiding a similar obsession with apples although I know they will be popping up in my food like crazy this month.  I wanted to try making homemade applesauce.  Even simpler I wanted to make it in the crockpot.  Almost all recipes I found online were the same.  So Monday night before bed I started the applesauce at like 11 pm set for 8 hrs I woke up to apple-cinnamon goodness.  I was a little surprised by the look.   It's.....brownish red! (Kind of like apple butter!) As near as I can tell the color may be related to the ripeness of the apples or the type of apples so I can offer you no guarantees of what color your applesauce will be if you attempt this! One kid already doesn't like applesauce so I knew it was a long shot but thought maybe a smidgen of whipped topping would sweeten the deal...not so much! Incidentally the other kid hates tomatoes and refused to eat the soup and was apprehensive about the color of the applesauce so she wouldn't eat that either so the dinner was kind of a bust with the kids.  Oh well. Hubby and I enjoyed ourselves!)
Crockpot Applesauce
Told you it was dark!
Easy and yummy though.  While watching the Sing Off on Monday night I peeled and cored and cut my apples into wedges.  I got two different "good for baking" types from Robinette's Apple Orchard, I think Gala and Spies.  Originally the recipe said 10 apples but it said your crock pot should be 3/4 full so I ended up closer to 15 apples.  Then I added 1 cup of apple cider, 1 tsp of cinnamon and that was it! Slow cook on low 8-10 hrs.  Made about 8 cups of applesauce.  You could do a cup of water and 1/2 cup to a cup of sugar instead of cider but my friend told me to try cider, kill 2 birds with one stone! The color issue is funny to me but I don't mind it.  The kitchen is an unpredictable world.  I kind of like when things don't turn out exactly how you wanted but still taste great, teaches you to be more flexible and easy going about your cooking I think.  My mom and I were having a heart to heart about balance and time management last week and she passed on her sage Motherly wisdom "Honey, in all honesty, you just need to remember, things don't always need to be perfect." You're right Mom (as always!) and sometimes you just need to let yourself off the hook.   I have gotten pretty good about this when it comes to my cooking.  Now I need to work on that with my photography.  And my house-keeping.  And my, sigh, the list goes on and on...
But! Today was a good day.  I hope you are having a good day too! I hope you are warm and cozy as the nights grow colder.  I hope you have some delicious soup on your menu for the week.  I hope you love yourself enough to let things go as good enough, I am learning this day by day.  I hope you also are blessed with wonderful people in your life to affirm your efforts as I am blessed to have.  Have a wonderful night everyone!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Happy Birthday to me!

Wow, really? I haven't blogged since September! Hmmm...this explains A LOT.  I apparently stink at handling stress.  And I have had a lot.  In the last week and a half I have cooked once.  Yup once.  I have been eating though, don't get me wrong.  I have definitely been eating.  I shudder to think what I will find next time I weigh in.  Now that the worst of the stress is behind me I need to dig deep down within myself and find the gumption to get back on track.  As a first step to getting back on track I thought I would blog. After all the meal we had Sat night was worth blogging and I have already had multiple requests for the recipe so without further ado....

Fabulous Fall Slow Cooker Pot Roast
3-4 lb chuck roast
2-3 bay leaves
1 pkg dry onion soup mix
4 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cups water
1 lb carrots
5-6 peeled potatoes or 8-10 red potatoes
2 Tbsp Italian seasoning
1 Sweet onion coarsely chopped
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp Dijon mustard
1 tsp garlic salt
1 cup ketchup

Add all ingredients to crock pot and cook on low 8 hrs, than 30 min before finished add 2 cups frozen peas.  That's it, it's perfect.  (I should know I ate the leftovers for lunch a little while ago!)

And I paired it with my absolute favorite fall dish. 

Brown Sugar Acorn Squash Casserole

1/3 cup butter, softened
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 small can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
... 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 acorn squash (mashed)

1/2 cup crisp rice cereal
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans (I swap out almonds, my preference!)
2 tablespoons butter, melted

Poke a bunch of holes in squash and bake at 350 on cookie sheet about 45 min to an hour until knife goes easily in all over squash with no resistance
Half squash remove seeds, scoop out squash and set aside
Mix butter and sugar
Beat in eggs, milk and vanilla
Stir in squash
Pour in greased 9 x 13
Bake uncovered at 350 for 45 min
add topping crust and bake for additional 5 min

Enjoy, it will soon be one of your favorites too
The perfect fall meal and it makes for really good lunch leftovers on this cold rainy day that happens to be my birthday!
Have some cake in honor of me tonight and I will drag myself from this slump and resume my health transformation! Cheers!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

More peaches anyone??

I know I seriously should be done with peach recipes by now but....I'm not!
Tonight I made

Peach and Shrimp Quesadillas
(if shrimp makes you or your husband highly anaphylactic - you know who you are - try chicken instead)

So easy ready...
Saute 1 lb shrimp and an onion in cumin, garlic salt and lime juice.  Add diced peaches.  (Now I split it into two batches and froze it.  One half batch really only made 3 full quesadillas so you may want to not split it up or just make it fresh. 

Today I thawed my filling.  Sprayed a skillet with cooking spray threw in a whole wheat tortilla, used a slotted spoon to put in some filling sprinkled with cheese and green onion and browned and folded in half (the girls had halves, Craig and I had each had 2 halves because full sized were too hard to flip), Yummy!!! Dipped in a little fat-free sour cream and we ate it with salsa in chips.  Seriously dinner in like 5 min!!! They were 10 pts each  (for a whole - you could easily go for just a half) but so good.

I hope if any of you also got some peaches you have tried some of these recipes! I heard one friend tried cobbler and one tried the salsa! Makes me so happy to know you are trying my recipes! Big smiles.  Happy Wednesday everyone!

Monday, September 19, 2011

All about comfort!

I can't believe I haven't blogged in a week, crazy! I feel like I barely have cooked in a week, who knows what we have been eating?? Some of you heard on Friday I lost the exact weight that I had gained the week before! Such a lucky do-over feeling.

Today was sort of rotten. Mondays are always a lot of work, it's my housecleaning day AND laundry day, I of course have driving to and from school and to and from dance class for my daughter and my husband is always home late due to staff meetings, we are usually tired from the weekend festivities and today I was working hard on my bedroom makeover! Whew!  My kids, particularly the 2 year old, were being seriously naughty today and by the end of the day I didn't know if I wanted a do-over, a let's just be done with this day, or just some chocolate.  But comfort food definitely seemed the order of the day and now that the weather has turned colder my husband was requesting one of his faves, it comes with a story....

...and the story comes with lots of cute old pictures of us (just because) from what seems like a lifetime ago...

(Those pics span 2000-2002, weren't we cute!? and wasn't I tiny! It's amusing to me to think of how I thought I was so fat back then, sigh, when I get there again I think I shall be much more appreciative this time around!!!)

When I met my husband there was a little coffeehouse on campus that served some yummy food and his favorite thing on the menu was White Chicken Chili.  I tasted it and it honestly was the closest I had tasted to my Momma's superb chicken chili recipe but hers was still better so I had her make him a batch.  He was so happy! So I quickly learned how to make it (the way to a man's heart...) and when we married as a young bride it was one of my favorite things to make for him because it made him so happy. My roommates in college liked it a lot too.  So on a day with as many ups and downs as today had I made a big humongous batch (almost 2.5 x a regular batch!) I always like to try to make a lot because hey I have a giant soup pot why not use it and I can freeze some (so we don't have to have chicken chili every night this week, that would be a lot of beans!) and we can give some away.  In fact in Sunday School yesterday the kids learned the story of Jesus feeding the five thousand and they had a little challenge to bring some food to a sick person this week.  A good life lesson for my little people so they are out delivering the soup and I get a tiny corner of peace and quiet in my day to write up this blog! Everyone wins!

So that was a LOT of ado but here goes...

White Chicken Chili

- 1/2  tsp salt                                                               
- 2 Tbsp butter                                                              
- 1/2 tsp sage                                                              
- 1/2 tsp cumin                                                            
- 1 clove garlic                                                            
- 1/4 tsp ginger                                                           
- onions sliced  
- 2 chicken breasts cut up

- 3 Tbsp butter (light)
- 1/4 cup white whole wheat flour
- 1 cup milk
- 2 cups chicken broth
- 1 jar northern white beans
- cayenne pepper and white pepper

- Tortilla chips, green onion and shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Use 5 qt pan to sauté onions, garlic, salt, sage, ginger, and cumin.  Add chicken and cook until chicken is just done.   Remove mixture and set aside.  Melt butter in pan.  When bubbling add flour and whisk briskly while adding cream.  When smooth and thick add chicken broth.  Stir until well blended.  Stir in beans and chicken mixture.  Simmer, add peppers (Careful! Both of these types of pepper can heat your chili up quickly, spicy lovers may want extra.)   Serve with shredded cheese (we always go with monterey jack), chopped green onion and tortilla chips (I like the Lime Tortilla chips!) on top. 

A full bowl of over a cup is only 3 pts, a couple extra for toppings but still not much and if you are hungry you can easily eat two bowls of this yummy goodness. So if you are looking for a little fall comfort food I invite you to get out the big pot, make a huge batch, a little for now, a little for later, and a little to brighten someone else's day with a little comfort!  Blessings to you all!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Peachy sippers and Sunday Night Blues

Well for today's edition of Peachapalooza I am going to share a couple of peach beverages:

One is a recipe for Peach Sangria, obviously you can make this up fresh however we were freezing ours into a slush to use all these peaches up now:

White Summer Sangria with basil, peaches and raspberries
(From Betty Crocker - Hey it may be September but we hit 80 this weekend!)
  • 1 Bottle of white Zinfandel wine
  • 1 cup Amaretto
  • 1 cup Peach Schnapps
  • 1 cup peach puree (see this recipe here)
  • 1 L diet ginger ale
  • 3-4 fresh peaches, pitted and sliced into wedges
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen raspberries
  • A handful of fresh basil leaves, torn
Mix everything well in a punch bowl or large pitcher, and then add the fruit and the basil. Chill and serve cold. (We froze it and then scooped it as a slush in a glass and poured diet Sprite or diet Vernors on it to serve, lovely Friday night treat!)

And if you need a non-alcoholic sipper idea...

Peach Limeade
5 peaches
1/4 cup sugar, plus 2 tablespoons
1 cup lime juice (from approx 6-7 limes)
3 cups of water
Mint for garnish (optional)
Lime slices for garnish (optional)

Peel and slice the peaches and transfer to a blender. Add the sugar and blend until completely smooth.
In a small bowl (or measuring cup) juice the limes. Add the lime juice and water to the peach mixture. Chill in the refrigerator until ready to serve. Serve with a few ice cubes, mint and a lime. Pretty! (Once again we chose to freeze it and serve it slush style with diet Vernors or diet Sprite, a yummy combo, kids really liked it!)

Lastly I wanted to talk about a health and wellness topic near and dear to my heart, the Sunday night blues.

Being married to a teacher I don't know if that magnifies it so much more during the back to school season for me but my husband and I both really get Sunday night blues.  I used to think this was just a description of a feeling only I had but this is an actual condition recognized by the medical community.  Wikipedia defines the Sunday night blues is an acute condition, mostly affecting nine-to-five workers and students. This condition is characterized by anxiety about the week ahead and a sense of helplessness and depression.  It most often occurs on Sunday afternoons and evenings. It is also referred to as "school bus blues" or "Sunday night depression". WebMD sites a study where 85% of workers polled admit to struggling with sleeplessness and most often it is on Sunday nights.  In an attempt to improve my whole self, it's not just about weight loss, one of the areas I hope to improve is not only my sleep habits but change my outlook so that this issue itself is improved for the overall health of our entire family.  Here are some tips I gathered from both our MESSA newsletter and HealthyNow.com:

  • Do your weekend chores early so Sunday is a fun and relaxing day (it is the day of rest after all!)
  • Accentuate the positive by finding or planning something fun for Monday to look forward to whether it's coffee with a friend or catching up with coworkers
  • Be mindful to enjoy and live in the present, enjoy Sunday instead of focusing on any worries of Monday
  • Write a to-do list for the week so you feel organized and prepared (My husband and I are much more at ease for the week when we sit down on Sunday nights and coordinate our schedules)
  • Do something enjoyable and relaxing, spend time with family, get some exercise, go for a walk outside (and of course for us the main focus of Sundays is worshipping at church)
  • Recognize the Sunday Night Blues for what they are and that those feelings are relatively common, in other words you aren't alone in feeling this way!
  • Finally and most importantly get some sleep, not just Sunday but all week long!

 I am totally speaking to myself.  I am notorious for staying up till 1-2 am all the time.  I can't sleep, I worry about junk, I enjoy the peace and quiet late at night and lastly I find staying up late my delusional way of avoiding something unpleasant the next day.  In other words, if I go to bed the unpleasant task will come "sooner" so I should stay up late to delay the inevitable.  Yup totally weird like that.  So lately I have been feeling very convicted that I needed to start getting healthier sleep and I have been trying desperately to get my butt in bed by 11.  I am definitely a work in progress. Having a kid starting school has caused me to be more organized at night and especially Sunday nights, to make better choices and I believe these things will work for a healthier me.  I am not in any way a psychologist or a Dr, of the tips I read these were the ones I wanted to start diligently applying and I wanted to put it on my blog because you are my main source of accountability. Now you all can ask me if I have been going to bed at a reasonable time! (Oh no, what have I gotten myself into...) Thought I would also share in case any of you ever feel this way and wanted to change your Sunday night outlook with me.  By the way, tonight we started our first week as AWANA leaders and after playing with a ton of cool kids excited to learn the word of God and coming home and having a bunch of giggles playing with my kids, getting them into bed, reading a couple of Shel Silverstein poems and Magic Tree House book I had absolutely NO Sunday night blues.  It's all about changing your outlook, it works! Hope none of you have the blues tonight and you all have a fabulous joyous Monday morning!