Thursday, December 3, 2009

Cookie Exchange

All packaged for the party

Over the holidays I was invited to a cookie exchange so I brought sugar cookies (dyed pink) dipped in white chocolate and crushed peppermint candy canes.  Very easy sugar cookies (from a mix!) but they look a little more special.

melt the white chocolate chips

and dip into the crushed candy canes

allow to dry on wax or parchment paper

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Easy, Fun Recipe

My mom's friend Alice always has good, easy recipes and I gave this one a try because I could do it from memory! Three ingredients! 

Easy (from the) Pantry Fruit Cobbler

2 or more cans fruit 
one box of cake mix 
one stick of butter

This is one can of fruit (peaches). I would recommend using two or more cans. I used the fruit packed in it's own juices- not syrup. Then you just pour a box of cake mix (vanilla) on top of the fruit. Then a whole stick of butter, cut up in pats.

Then you just bake at 350 until it's browned and bubbly (yours will be more bubbly with more juice!)- it took less than 30 minutes.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Leftover Chicken or Turkey

Did I mention that I cooked my first whole turkey? I didn't have any of the roasting bags my mom swears by, so I was left to the old-fashioned way.  It really turned out well!  But we are still eating turkey... this recipe will probably finish it off.  Dinner tonight:


6 servings (serving size: 1 enchilada)

Cooking spray
3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon ground coriander
Dash of black pepper
2 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1 cup fat-free sour cream
3 cups chopped cooked turkey or chicken (about 1 1/2 pounds)
1/4 cup bottled salsa
6 (6-inch) flour tortillas

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place a medium saucepan coated with cooking spray over medium heat until hot; add bell pepper and onion. Sauté 3 minutes or until tender.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour, coriander, and black pepper in a medium bowl; gradually add broth, stirring with a whisk until well-blended.

Add to saucepan; bring to a boil, and cook 3 minutes or until thick, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and sour cream. Combine 1 cup cheese mixture, turkey, and salsa in a bowl.

Spread 1/2 cup turkey mixture down center of each tortilla; roll up. Place in a 13 x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Pour remaining cheese mixture over tortillas.

Bake at 350° for 20 minutes or until bubbly.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Easy Pumpkin Spice Cookies

This Friday is our school's very popular Grandparent's Day. I need to bake some cookies and I have cake mixes (they were on sale) and several cans of pumpkin (it's FALL-time!!). So I have all (2) the ingredients for these!

Pumpkin Spice Cookies

1 (18 1/4 ounce) box spice cake mix
1 (15 ounce) can solid-pack pumpkin (the small can)

(optional) 1 cup chopped walnuts, pecans, 1/2 c. raisins, or 1/2 c. chocolate chips
(optional) 1 cup cream cheese frosting

Preheat oven to 350°F.

Spray cookie sheets lightly with vegetable spray (Pam).

In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and pumpkin with a fork or mixer until well blended; stir in nuts or chips, if desired.

Drop by large rounded spoonfuls onto the cookie sheet; they don't flatten out much so however you place them on the sheet is pretty much how they'll look after baking.

Bake for 8 to 15 minutes, depending on the size of your cookies.

Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for up to 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.

Frost, if desired.

How many cookies you get depends on how large you make them of course - just increase your baking time if making larger cookies (it's truly difficult to burn these, but they will get crispier & less moist); Mine, made with a medium size cookie scoop, took 13-15 minutes to bake and yield about 3 dozen.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Happy Fall

Caramel Pecan Pumpkin Bread Pudding



4 large eggs
2 (15-oz.) cans pumpkin
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup half-and-half
1 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 (12-oz.) French bread loaf, cut into 1-inch pieces (about 10 cups)

1 cup pecans, chopped
1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup butter
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1. Prepare Bread Pudding: Whisk together eggs and next 8 ingredients in a large bowl until well blended. Add bread pieces, stirring to thoroughly coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and chill 8 to 24 hours.

2. Preheat oven to 350°. Spoon chilled bread mixture into a lightly greased 13- x 9-inch baking dish. Or into individual ramekins.  Cover with aluminum foil.

3. Bake, covered, at 350° for 35 minutes. (Less if using individual servings) Uncover and bake 15 minutes.

4. During last 15 minutes of baking, prepare Caramel-Pecan Sauce: Heat pecans in a medium skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often, 3 to 5 minutes or until lightly toasted and fragrant.

5. Cook brown sugar, butter, and corn syrup in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, 3 to 4 minutes or until sugar is dissolved. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla and pecans.

6. Remove bread pudding from oven; drizzle with Caramel-Pecan Sauce. Bake 5 minutes or until sauce is thoroughly heated and begins to bubble.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Like  every other woman in America, I loved this book.  I actually think I would like the author if I ever met her in real life.  This is definitely one I hope Mary Fowler will read when she's a little older.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Marinating Right Now

I get a warm, fuzzy, domesticated feeling inside when I plan far enough ahead to actually marinate something all day long. It doesn't happen often, but tomorrow I'm taking dinner to a friend who recently had a baby and I want to try this out before I decide to give it to her.

I am one of the last on the list so I am assuming she has had a lot of comforting casseroles. And I LOVE me some casseroles... But... you know how sometimes you just want your food separated??? 

I think I'll do a yummy, gooey, cornbread souffle to add the "comfort factor".
Add a green salad and special banana pudding- and hopefully they'll be excited about dinner!

Margarita Chicken

3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green onion, minced
1/2 jalapeño pepper, minced
3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 1/2 tablespoons tequila
1 tablespoon fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
(I added some Italian dressing)
Chicken or Pork Tenderloin

Combine first 10 ingredients in a shallow dish or large zip-top plastic freezer bag. Cut pork diagonally into 1-inch-thick slices, and add to tequila mixture. Cover or seal, and chill 1 hour, turning occasionally.

Remove chicken from marinade, discarding marinade.

Grill until done.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Dinner Tonight

"I came up with this dish to satisfy my cravings for the tamales I had at Mexican restaurants when I was growing up in Houston. Homemade tamales are too time-consuming to prepare for weeknight meals, but I discovered a corn bread mix approximates the flavor." —Risë Minton, Smyrna, GA

Chicken Tamale Casserole

8 servings

1 cup (4 ounces) preshredded 4-cheese Mexican blend cheese, divided
1/3 cup fat-free milk
1/4 cup egg substitute
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (14 3/4-ounce) can cream-style corn
1 (8.5-ounce) box corn muffin mix 
1 (4-ounce) can chopped green chiles, drained
Cooking spray
1 (10-ounce) can red enchilada sauce 
2 cups shredded cooked chicken breast
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 400°.

2. Combine 1/4 cup cheese and next 7 ingredients (through chiles) in a large bowl, stirring just until moist. Pour mixture into a 13 x 9–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.

3. Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until set. Pierce entire surface liberally with a fork; pour enchilada sauce over top. Top with chicken; sprinkle with remaining 3/4 cup cheese.

4.  Bake at 400° for 15 minutes or until cheese melts. Remove from oven; let stand 5 minutes.

5.  Cut into 8 pieces; top each serving with 1 tablespoon sour cream.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Giada De Laurentiis to Gena Knox

I bought this at our local grocery store and I love it! The recipes have only a few ingredients (one of my prerequisites) and they are very healthful and easy. If you like my favorite Food Network lady- Giada- this cookbook is very much like something she would write.

While Gena Knox does a LOT of plank-grilling, we are able to use our Calphalon indoor grill for most recipes.

Here is one of my favorites:

Scallops with Pinapple Salsa

The pinapple salsa is just:

1 fresh pinapple- diced
a small red onion, diced 
jalapeno, diced
2 limes- juiced 
chopped cilantro
(I don't care for the mint)

Then you just salt, pepper, and grill the sea scallops. Yum!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Get Out of Jail Free

As I'm sure I've said before, I was lucky enough to have my girlfriend Amy who became a mother before me and preached being a "sleep nazi." It was so good for me to hear how matter-of-fact she was about putting the baby on a good sleep schedule- for everyone's benefit! While I didn't read the whole book, I believe On Becoming Babywise was the book I referred to. 

I certainly did not learn this mindset from my sweet parents who I don't think ever thought we- as kids- needed naps... (oh, the horror!! I cannot imagine!!)

So, we've really never had sleep issues. But lately, with the introduction of the new bunk beds, and Mary Fowler giving up her nighttime security item (from Harry Potter, "that which shall not be named") the kids have been having some issues.

I consulted my John Rosemond Parent Power book and he suggested using a "ticket system" where each child gets one ticket to be redeemed for ONE time getting up and out of bed. If they get up after that one time, they have consequences including a) going to bed one hour earlier the next day and b) losing a privilege like having a friend over.

He goes into all the details and luckily he even predicted that the first night they will almost certainly get up more than once (which they did).

I can tell that after a few nights, Mary Fowler will be back on track.

My sweet Davis, though, is still learning...

I was in my room putting some clothes away when I heard a little knock at my door. I looked over in that direction, saw his "ticket" slide under the door and heard a little voice say,

"Here's your ticket!"

Friday, April 10, 2009

After School Snack

I was so proud of Mary Fowler- she came up with a very healthy after school snack and I thought I'd share the "recipe".

Her specialty: peanut butter spread on a toasted english muffin (whole wheat), topped with banana slices and drizzled with honey. Yum!

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Special Tomato Soup Day

Today Mary Fowler and I chaperoned Davis' preschool field trip- a walking adventure to the neighborhood post office. Two little boys insisted upon holding Mary Fowler's hands and luckily one of their dad's showed up just as Davis was demanding his sister's hand. She had a great time and the teachers commented on how helpful she was- it was just like having an extra parent help out!

After Davis and his class went back to school, I took Mary Fowler to her favorite lunch spot Wildflour and she ordered the Tomato Cheddar Soup and pasta salad- the soup is her favorite! I love it, too, although I don't even notice that it has cheese in it? It has texture from the tomatoes and the onions. 

Here is a recipe from Cooking Light that looks similar:

Fresh Tomato Soup
2 cups fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped celery
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh basil
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 pounds plum tomatoes, cut into wedges
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
6 tablespoons plain low-fat yogurt
3 tablespoons thinly sliced fresh basil

Combine first 6 ingredients in a large saucepan; bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and simmer 30 minutes. Place half of tomato mixture in a blender. Remove center piece of blender lid (to allow steam to escape); secure blender lid on blender. Place a clean towel over opening in blender lid (to avoid splatters). Blend until smooth.
Pour into a large bowl. Repeat procedure with remaining tomato mixture. Stir in salt and pepper.
Ladle 3/4 cup soup into each of 6 bowls; top each serving with 1 tablespoon yogurt and 1 1/2 teaspoons basil.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Meal Planning

Barefoot Contessa's Mexican Chicken Soup

February 16-22

In January I feel like I was going to the grocery store almost daily so maybe if I begin posting my weekly (best case scenario) menu, I'll be more likely to stay organized! I love looking through Journey to Our Daughter's menu planning blog- she always has healthy recipes that I want to add to my menu.

So, Sunday I picked out these weekly recipes and made my grocery list. One of my Barefoot Contessa cookbooks suggests using a white sheet of paper and listing items under the following categories: Meat & Seafood, Produce, Dairy, Personal (toilet paper, toothpaste, etc), Bread, Misc. and I do think that helped me.


Chef Salad

Whole Grain Rolls


Shrimp and Pasta with 5 Minute Tomato Sauce





Roast Turkey Breast

and Vegetables


Company's coming!

Salmon with Puff Pastry & Pesto


Night Out


Whatever the chef at the Homestead prepares for me!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

One Sweet Recipe

I have to bring the sweet treat for the school Valentine's party and I think the kids would really like these rose Valentine cupcakes! I know my kids always want the roses- and luckily these are made from fruit roll ups instead of icing.


Monday, February 9, 2009

Creature Comforts

I gave this book to Mary Fowler for Christmas and she hasn't shown much interest in it until tonight. She has a security object she is mostly embarrassed of and I wanted her to see that it is normal for people to have something (sometimes silly) that comforts them. She loved hearing the different stories about people and their comfort item.

I wanted to remember this little moment:

"Mary Fowler, what is your security object? Is it your _______?"
"No... YOU are my security object, mommy. Sometimes when I'm away and you aren't with me, it just hurts me inside. And, anyway, objects can be replaced but people are the most important."
So true!