Saturday, March 31, 2012

Homemade Taco Seasoning

Ingredients:
1 tbsp. chili powder
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4  tsp. onion powder
1/4  tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
1/4  tsp. dried oregano
1/2  tsp. paprika
1 1/2 tsp.ground cumin
1 tsp. sea salt
1 tsp. pepper (optional)
Mix all spices together and use for 1lb of meat.  Add pepper if you like more heat.

*The measurements listed above make around 2 tablespoons worth of seasoning.  You can quadruple this recipe (like I did) and store the leftovers in an airtight container.

*For taco meat, add seasoning to cooked beef with about 1/4-2/4 cups of water.

Source: Food Renegade

Thursday, March 29, 2012

My Turkey Chili

We are trying the Insanity Meal Plan at our house.  My daughter got the 60-Day Workout plan for Christmas so I agreed to make the food and we would all eat it.  One of the meals calls for White Chili so I thought I would just make some.  Well the recipe I clipped from a magazine the other day looked really good but I had some ground white meat turkey I had to cook today, so I substituted that for the shredded white chicken.  Actually, I just ended up substituting on quite a few things.  It ended up not being white chili at all but it is DELISH!


Ingredients:
1 cup onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 pound ground white meat turkey, browned
2 (14.5-oz.) cans chicken broth
1 (4.5-oz.) can chopped green chilies
1 pkg. (1.75 oz.) chili seasoning mix
2 (19.5-oz.) cans frijoles charros
1 (16 oz.) can kidney beans
1/2 can (14.5-oz.) refried pinto beans

Desired Toppings:  chopped fresh avocado, sour cream, shredded Monterey Jack Cheese.

1.  Saute onion and garlic in olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat for 5 minutes or until onion is tender.

2.   Stir in the rest of the ingredients.  Heat to a boil, stirring often; cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 10 minutes.  Serve with desired toppings.

TIP--I served this with a salad consisting of arugula, baby spinach, cherry tomatoes, cucumbers, and sliced hard-boiled egg whites and dressed with red wine vinegar and olive oil.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Snickers Cheesecake Brownies





My husband had a stressful week in St. Louis and his favorite candy bar is snickers and he adores cheesecake so.............Oh heavenly welcome home day! These are divine. You should definitely NOT skip the ice water bath for the brownie layer. It makes for a very fudgy experience. This is super easy to make. Enjoy!

Preparation: Heat oven to 400 degrees. Cover 8x8 pan with baking spray.

Ingredients:

Brownie Layer:

8 T. unsalted butter
4 0z. unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/4 t. salt
2 large eggs
1/2 cup flour

Cheesecake Layer:

1 large egg
1 T. vanilla
8 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 T. powdered sugar
8 fun size snickers, coarsely chopped*

Directions:

1. Place butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl over simmering water. Stir frequently until mixture is melted. Remove chocolate mixture from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla and salt.

2. Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until each is incorporated before adding the next. Stir in flour and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy about 1 minute.

3. Scrape the batter into the pan and bake for 20 minutes, or until the brownie starts to pull away from the sides of pan. While brownies are baking prepare ice bath. Fill a pan with ice cubes and water 3/4 inch deep. When the brownies are done baking, remove the pan from the oven and place it in the water bath. Allow brownies to cool completely in the water bath.

4. Place cheesecake ingredients (except snickers) in a bowl and mix to combine. Pour on top of cooled brownie and bake for 25-30 minutes or until set. Cool to warm then press chopped snickers into cheesecake layer. Keep refrigerated.

*I used 13 bars for complete coverage.

Source: Brownie portion adapted from Alice Medrich, Pinterest

Monday, March 26, 2012

Lazy Lasagna


This is actually a baked ziti recipe, but at my house it has been dubbed "Lazy Lasagna." Who wants to spend all that time carefully layering delicate noodles and filling? Not Me! This tastes just like a lasagna. In fact, take this basic recipe and mix in your favorite lasagna veggies for real kick! You could try zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, and/or peppers. This is a great make-ahead dish and can be frozen for a future dinner.

Servings: 6-8
Ingredients:
1 lb. bag or box of uncooked ziti
15 oz. ricotta cheese
3 C. shredded mozzarella, divided
28 oz. jar spaghetti sauce
1/2 C. parmesan cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Cook the ziti as directed on the package. Place ziti in a large bowl. Add ricotta cheese and 1 1/2 cups mozzarella. Grease a 9 x 13 casserole dish. Spread half the spaghetti sauce on the bottom of the pan. Add the ziti mixture and cover with remaining sauce. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese and the remaining mozzarella. Bake covered with foil for 20-30 min. Remove foil and bake another 5-10 minutes til cheese is bubbly on top.


Sunday, March 25, 2012

Mormon Morsels: Serendipity Moments



I serve on the Power of Moms board.  We have a great goal-setting/reaching program called The Bloom Game where we are able to go up and set goals for ourselves in many different areas and it is kind of fun because you get to do it as a game.  Recently our board was put to a two month Bloom challenge by site co-founder Saren Loosli.  She needed some peer pressure to work on her goals, and I sure did as well, so we are all having fun doing this together--I was doing pretty well until this week, but that's beside the point.  Anyway,  we set goals in 3 areas each week as well as sharing 2 "serendipity moments"--times when out of the blue we learn something or realize something or are able to stop and take a teaching/nurturing moment with our children.  I have actually experienced a couple of those kinds of moments since starting this challenge and it has been a truly good experience.  I will share one of those:

One of my goals one week was to really pray about what message the Lord wanted me to learn during my scripture study time and I set a goal to do that 3 times that week.  Now, this goal for me had two purposes--one was to actually study the scriptures 3 times (I am so slack in this area) and one was to actually look for something the Lord wanted to tell me.  One day I was reading from the ENSIGN--church magazine--in an issue that was all talks from our November 2010 (yes I am behind in my reading there as well) General Conference.  The particular talk was really more focused on the responsibilities of the men of the church.  It was a really good message for anyone, though, and when I got to the end I was thinking that maybe there was no specific thing there for me to take away.  Then it hit me!  An answer to a question that I had about how to recognize our young women in our congregation, as they accomplish milestones in their auxiliary of the church while they advance to the next level or age group.  That was my Serendipity Moment--seeing that the Lord does answer any question we have when we take the time to ask to receive his messages for us.

Other moments can be stopping what you are busily doing when your young child wants you to read with him and enjoying that time without worrying about getting the laundry done on time or finishing that scrapbook page or getting that blog post done on time.  Here are some others you might enjoy reading about.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Spinach-Artichoke Dip


A party favorite!

Ingredients:
1 8-oz. block cream cheese
1 10-oz. box frozen cut or chopped spinach, thawed (you can also use the majority of a 16-oz. bag)
1 12-oz. jar artichoke hearts, drained
3/4 Cup sour cream
1 Cup grated mozzarella cheese (original recipe called for cheddar; I used a combination of Monterey jack and cheddar b/c it's what I had)
1/2 tsp. kosher salt
1/4 tsp. black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

2. Soften the cream cheese (I think I micro-waved mine for 30 seconds). Whip the cream cheese with a mixer.

3. Squeeze the spinach between paper towels to remove excess moisture and then add it to your mixing bowl with the cream cheese.

4. Roughly chop the artichoke hearts; add the artichoke, sour cream, and cheese to the mixing bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Mix together.

5. Scrape the mixture into a small oven-safe baking dish. Bake until lightly golden and heated through, about 15 minutes.

6. Serve warm with pita chips or bread.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Oatmeal Cream Pies


I LOVE Little Debbie's Oatmeal Cream Pies. I enjoy them so much that I limit myself to one purchase a year of those little sweeties... (if I bought them more, I'm pretty sure I'd have a much larger waist line).

I saw this recipe, and knew I had to try it. These are delicious! A grown-up version (and much less processed) of Little Debbie's creation. And sadly, these cookies didn't last more than 48 hours in my house!!

Enjoy!

Oatmeal Cream Pies
(Makes 18 Pies)

Cookie Ingredients:
1 cup margarine
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon molasses
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 cups quick oats

Cream Filling Ingredients:
2 teaspoons very hot water
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 (7 ounce) jar marshmallow cream
1/2 cup shortening
1/3 cup powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

Directions:
- In large bowl, cream margarine, sugars, molasses, vanilla, and eggs.
- Combine flour, salt, baking soda, and cinnamon. Add to the creamed mixture; mix in the oats.
- Drop dough by TBS on ungreased sheets. (I used a small cookie scoop.)
- Bake at 350 degrees F. Bake for 10-12 minutes,or until just starting to brown around the edges. They will look moist; don’t overcook.
- While the cookies bake prepare the filling. In small bowl, dissolve the salt in the hot water. Allow this to cool.
- Combine marshmallow cream, shortning, powdered sugar, and vanilla in med bowl; mix on high until fluffy.
- Add the cooled salt water and mix well. Spread filling on flat side of one cookie, press 2nd cookie on top.


(Source)

Thursday, March 22, 2012

All Purpose Bread Dough


I love making bread. Maybe it's my mom's blood coursing through my veins, but making bread just makes me feel so...so...ACCOMPLISHED! If I do nothing else in a day but make a loaf of bread, I have been successful. The end.

We use this recipe for many things. That's why it's ALL PURPOSE! Rolls, Cinnamon Rolls, a regular loaf, etc. I have even used it to make Navajo Tacos and fried it for the scones. All these things will be posted on the blog eventually, but we have to have the basics first. Right?

Ingredients:
4 Cups Warm Water, divided
4 Tbsp Yeast
2/3 C + 1-2 Tbsp Sugar
4 Eggs
1/2 C Butter (or margarine)
4 tsp Salt
10 - 12 Cups Flour

1. In a mixing bowl combine 1.5 C warm water, yeast and 1-2 Tbsp Sugar. Wait approximately 5 minutes for it to activate (get bubbly).
2. Add the rest of the water, 2/3 C sugar, the eggs, the butter and the salt and mix together. It won't fully incorporate, just kind of mix it all around.
3. Mix the flour in, one cup at a time, until a slightly sticky dough forms. Knead for 200 turns on a floured board--or, if you're lazy like "yours truly," let the stand mixer go for 10 - 15 minutes.
4. Cover with a towel and let raise till doubled in size.
5. Punch Down and make something YUMMY!



~Recipe halves easily!
~Can be refrigerated for up to 1 week for later use.

Source: My friend, Stasha P.

~Kara

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cranberry Glazed Meatballs and Rice

Oh man, were we craving Chinese cuisine tonight! I was rummaging through the kitchen tryng to figure out something to make that would satisfy this craving. I spotted a bag of frozen meatballs and that was where I began. This dish is sooo yummy! My family really enjoyed it and I heard lots of "this is great mom!" comments. So, I thought you would like the recipe. It's super easy and delicious!

1 bag of home style frozen meatballs
1 can Whole Cranberries Sauce
1/2 c Sweet Baby Rae's BBQ sauce, or your favorite
1/2 -3/4 c. orange juice
3/4 can pineapple chunks and the juice
4 carrots, cleaned and sliced into circles
1 bunch of broccoli, cleaned and sliced into small spears
2 cups of cooked white rice

When your rice is covered and turn to low begin cooking your meatballs.

Cook about 3/4 of the bag of meatballs in the microwave for about 5 minutes. Set aside.
In a stew pot, add the following, 1 can whole cranberries sauce and stir until smooth. Drain out the juice fromt the can of pineapple. Turn the heat to medium and add the bbq sauce, orange juice, and the pineapple juice. Stir well. Chop veggies. As the sauce begins to bubble turn it down to med -low and add in the meatballs and stir and add in the carrots. Cover. Cook for about 15-20 min. Add in the broccoli and cook for about 5 min or until you like the "bite" of the broccoli. Turn to low and cook for another 5-10 min.
Serve immediatly.

Easy Zucchini Parmesan

Here's a great alternative to having breadsticks with your pizza!  Carb free! 

Ingredients:
2-3 Medium size zucchini
olive oil or butter
Parmesan cheese
Garlic salt (or my fav. Garlic & Herb seasoning)

1.  First, slice your zucchini any way you like it.  I cut mine in half width wise, then made lengthwise slices.  I found that thicker slices turned out more crisp, and thinner slices were softer.
2.  Next, spray or brush your zucchini with olive oil, butter, spray butter...what ever you like best. I used butter, of course.  ;)
3.  In a small bowl or ramekin mix together about 2 parts parmesan and 1 part garlic seasoning. I honestly didn't measure. Approximately 1/2c parmesan and 1T garlic seasoning.  It's going to turn out great...you'll see.
4.  Line a cookie sheet with foil (for easy clean-up), and coat with a non-stick spray (or just brush with some butter or olive oil)
5.  Lay the zucchini slices out in a single layer on your cookie sheet.  Brush liberally with butter or oil and sprinkle on the parmesan mixture.
6.  Set your oven to broil.  And bake for about 4-5 min. or until the cheese turns golden. Watch them closely.  All broilers are not created equally.

*Very yummy served with a marinara sauce or a ranch dip.
**Recipe Adapted from SparkRecipes @ SparkPeople.com

Monday, March 19, 2012

Baked Broccoli


I like broccoli.  A couple of my kids like broccoli.  My husband likes broccoli.  But now, we LOVE broccoli.  Seriously, we went from buying some once a month or so to buying the BIG bag from Sam's (we used half that big bag the other day for dinner!).

Ever since trying this recipe (first seen on Pinterest), I crave it.  I have kids asking for thirds, for crying out loud!  I don't know that I will ever make broccoli any other way again.

Baked Broccoli

Ingredients:
fresh broccoli
olive oil
salt and pepper

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Wash broccoli and make sure it is cut into bite-size pieces.  That big ol' broccoli tree on the right will still be tasty but trust me, you want smaller pieces for cooking time and for taste.  Trust me.  I know we don't know each other well, but you really can trust me.  Honest.
2.  Spread out in pan and drizzle with olive oil right in the pan.  I don't measure because I don't always make the same amount.  I just fill the pan in a single layer of broccoli and then drizzle the oil and toss with salt and pepper.  Right in the pan.  (sorry for the blurry pic...I was my own photographer and "I am not left-handed!")
3.  At this point, try to look over the broccoli heads to find any dry ones.  Take these dry heads and brush them around on the pan to pick up some olive oil.  As you can see, they are not swimming in it.  Best case scenario, they all have shiny but not drippy heads.
4.  Place in oven for 30 minutes.  When the broccoli comes out, it will have shrunk and have brown crunchy spots (these are mighty tasty!).  Serve immediately.  (You may like your broccoli more tender or more crispy...play with the time till you get it right.  Remember that the more crowded the pan, the longer the broccoli will need to cook.)

Enjoy!
Source:  adapted from several recipe sources found on Pinterest;  some use lemon juice and steak seasoning, but I really enjoy the plain salt and pepper

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Chicken & Dressing Casserole

This is one of my favorite comfort casseroles and it's a big favorite when you invite missionaries over to eat supper.  Our's just left a bit ago and I am surprised that there are leftovers.  They put a major munch on this!


Ingredients:
5 chicken breasts    (or 2 fryers or use 3 boneless, skinless breasts (cooked) and use packaged chicken broth)                         
1 regular (14oz.) package Pepperidge Farm Herb Dressing Mix (reserve 1/4 cup)
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used the low fat version and didn't notice any difference in taste!)
2 soup cans of chicken stock
1 stick butter or margarine
2 eggs 
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 cup milk

1.  Simmer chicken until tender.  Save stock and strain.  Let chicken cool; remove bones and cut into bite-size chunks.

2.  Combine soup, stock and butter in pan and bring to a boil.  Remove from heat.  Add black pepper.

3.  In a slightly greased 9x13 pan, layer half of dry dressing mix, half of chicken and half the soup mixture (about 2 1/2 to 3 cups soup mixture).  Repeat layers.  

4.  Beat eggs in milk and pour over top of casserole.  Sprinkle reserved dressing over top.

5.  Bake at 350 for 45 minutes.  Serves 10.

This is great served with cranberry sauce and green beans, I mean,  if you just needed to know...

Source: My mom, Pat Brew, in our first edition of the Brew Family Cookbook.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Happy Pi Day: Nutella Pie


I love Pi Day.  I mean, who wouldn't love an excuse to eat pie?  March 3.14 is for both geeks and gastronomists alike.

I just happen to be both.

Ingredients:
For the Crust:*
about 2 1/2 cups of graham cracker crumbs**
1/4 cup melted butter
1/3-1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
_______

For the Filling:
16 ounces Neufch√Ętel cheese, softened (the 1/3 less fat "cream cheese")
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup Nutella
1/2 cup whipping cream
_______

For the Nutella Ganache:
1/4 cup Nutella
1/4 cup whipping cream

1.  Spray your pie plate with non-stick cooking spray (or butter it) and set aside.
2.  Combine graham cracker crumbs, butter, and peanut butter (I do this in the food processor since I usually use that to make the crumbs).  Make sure the mixture is combined well.  (When you press some of the mixture together, it should hold its shape.)
3.  Pour crumb mixture into pie plate, spreading evenly on the bottom.  Then, using the bottom of a straight-sided measuring cup, start pressing the crumb mixture down.  Work your way from the center of the pie plate out to the edge.  Use the measuring cup to coax the mixture firmly into the bottom edge of the pie plate (where the bottom meets the sides).  Then use your fingers to press the mixture up the sides.  Place in the fridge to chill.
4.  Whip the cream cheese and sugar together until well blended.  Stir in the vanilla and Nutella.  Scrape the sides down, then stir in the cream.  Increase the speed of the mixer and whip the mixture for about 3 minutes or until very thick.
5.  Pour filling into pie crust, smoothing the top.  Refrigerate about 2 hours to set.
6.  When ready to serve, microwave the Nutella and cream together in a small bowl for about 30 seconds.  Whisk with a fork until completely mixed together.  Drizzle this lovely ganache over the slices of pie.  Enjoy!

Source:  slightly adapted from Tasty Kitchen

Notes:
*Original recipe uses 24 Nutter Butter Cookies and 1/4 cup melted butter for the crust.  Grind the cookies up in a food processor and then add the melted butter.
**I say "about 2 1/2 cups" because I don't really measure here.  I don't normally buy graham cracker crumbs; I just crush regular graham crackers.  I kind of eyeball it, then add the butter and peanut butter and adjust the amounts until it will hold its shape when pressed.

Granny's Chocolate Pie


First of all, ignore the cut in the pie tin. I got too excited and cut too deep! This pie is soo yummy! It tastes chocolatey and light all at the same time! You could soo add some topping to this but, really it doesn't need it. Its delicous! And its super easy to make!
Happy "pi" day!

1 square of baking chocolate
1 stick of butter
Melt these two together in the microwave and stir really well to make sure all the chocolate is incorporated.

1 cup of granulated sugar
1 tsp. vanilla flavoring
Stir these into the chocolate mixture and stir really well.

2 eggs
Stir in one egg at a time and mix well. Making sure all ingredients are incorporated well.

Bake in an unbaked pie shell at 350 degrees for 30-40 min. The pie will settle while it cools. Then put it in the fridge until your ready to serve. It is addicting!

Creamy Chicken Enchiladas

In the past, we haven't eaten Enchiladas at our house. Our children didn't like the way "red" Enchilada sauce looked and wouldn't taste it. As Enchiladas are a must have, I set out on a quest to find a different recipe. I saw this recipe in a Campbell's soup pamphlet and changed it to our tastes. It is quick, freezes well, and is delicious!

Ingredients:
3 cups diced or shredded cooked chicken (canned could work)
1/2 small onion chopped fine
1 3-4 oz can chopped Green Chiles
1 tsp garlic powder
1 1/2 cups shredded Sharp Cheddar Cheese
3/4 cup shredded Monteray Jack Cheese
1/2 cups Light Sour Cream
1 10-11oz can Cream of Chicken Soup
3 cups milk
12-16 medium size Flour Tortilla

1. Mix Chicken, onion, chiles, garlic powder, 1 cup sharp cheese, and 1/2 cup Jack Cheese in medium bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes.
2. Spray 13 x 9 inch pan with non-stick spray
3. Blend sour cream, cream of chicken soup, and milk in bowl or blender. Pour 1/3 of this mixture into chicken mixture
4. Place 1/3 cup (aprrox - it will depend on the size of your tortilla) of chicken mixture in middle of flour tortilla. Fold side edges in and top edge over - "roll" to desired size. Place "outside edge" down in prepared pan repeat until mixture chicken is gone.
6. Sprinkle remaining cheese over top of Enchiladas, pour remaining soup mixture over the top of the cheese.
7. Cover with foil and bake at 400 for 20-25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 5 minutes more.


Source: Campbell's Soup and me

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Ultimate Pretzel Crusted Peanut Butter Cookie Candy Brownie Bars




Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups crushed butter pretzels
1 cup melted butter
5 T. Sugar
Peanut Butter Cookie Mix (and all ingredients the mix calls for)
Brownie Mix (and all the ingredients the mix calls for)
2 (10.5 oz. bags) snack size Reeses peanut butter cups

Directions:

1. Crush the pretzels in a food processor or however you like to crush pretzels. I recommend not crushing the pretzels to dust but keep some small pieces to keep the crust crunchy. Mix the melted butter, sugar and pretzel crumbs. Press into lightly greased 9x13 pan. Set aside.

2. Make the cookie dough according to package directions. Lightly press the cookie dough evenly on top of the pretzel crust.

3. Unwrap 32 peanut butter cups and cover the cookie dough with the candy.

4. Whip up your brownie mix and pour evenly over the peanut butter cups.

5. Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes.

6. Cool completely before cutting.

Source: Hollie Schultz

Monday, March 12, 2012

Chicken Teriyaki Rice Bowl


Mmmmmmmm.....Oh! Hello. I was dreaming of eating this bowl of Teriyaki Chicken. Tender, stir-fried chicken, crunchy veggies, and a to-die-for homemade teriyaki sauce all on top of a scoop of brown rice. Pass the chopsticks please!!

Serves 5
Ingredients:
3 T. low sodium soy sauce
1 T. honey
1 T. brown sugar
2 tsp. corn starch
2 chicken breast halves, cut into bite size pieces or thin strips and lightly coated with corn starch
2 cups assorted vegetables (I used carrots, celery, and onion, but you could add broccoli or red bell pepper instead)
1 T. freshly minced ginger (if you don't have fresh ginger mix 1/4 tsp. of ground ginger into the sauce)
2 cloves garlic minced
3 cups cooked brown rice
Peanut or canola oil

Directions:
1. In a small bowl combine soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, and corn starch. Whisk together and set aside.
2. Heat a large wok or skillet on the stove. Add just enough oil to lightly coat the wok (about 2 tsp.-1 tbsp).
3. Saute chicken in the wok until completely cooked. Remove and place on paper towel to absorb any excess grease.
4. Transfer the freshly minced garlic, ginger, and vegetables to the wok and saute for about 1 minute.
5. Transfer chicken back to the wok and saute until hot. Add the soy sauce mixture and cook to thicken, about 1 or 2 minutes.
6. Serve over brown rice.

Source: Chef Bryan Woolley

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Mormon Morsels: Looking Through Windows



I remember hearing President Thomas S. Monson tell this story at a recent General Conference.  I remember feeling both sides of it too.  I have been "in the kitchen", looking through the dirty window...not knowing I had cleaning to do on my side of things.  I have also been "hanging laundry", working hard but being misunderstood.

I think we have probably all "been there" on both sides.  But even when we have been the laundry hangers and have felt what it is like to be misjudged, we still struggle sometimes to not be the woman peering through the kitchen window.

Being aware of our own imperfections and weaknesses (being humble) can help us to overcome unrighteous judgement.  We all have our pet peeves and we are quick to find those pet peeves alive and well in others; but we fail to realize, sometimes, that others have pet peeves too.  And we are probably poster children for those pet peeves!

It's interesting to me that the woman in the story would have found out very quickly that her dirty windows were to blame if she had simply gone next door to visit her neighbor....

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Rolo Brownies


Chocolate, chocolate, and caramel. Mmmmm...

Ingredients:
24 frozen Rolos
Brownie mix (or make batter from scratch) and whatever the brownie mix calls for (eggs, vegetable oil, etc.)
Pam

1. (Freeze the Rolos first.) Make the brownie batter.

2. Grease muffin pan well and fill each insert 2/3 of the way full with batter.

3. Place a frozen Rolo into the center of each brownie.


4. Spread batter from around the Rolo over the top to cover it completely.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Let cool for a several minutes and carefully remove from pan. Enjoy!!!

Source: Rachel B. posted to Pinterest, my friend Porsche repinned it, and Porsche and my sister, Kylie, were kind enough to make them while visiting :)

Friday, March 9, 2012

Eco-friendly Multipurpose Cleaner

Since having a new baby in my home, I'm trying to be more eco-friendly and trying not to use cleaners that are harsh to our skin or the air we breathe. My sister has been using this cleaner for a while, I'm totally on the band wagon now. This is great, has a clean (vinegar) smell and cuts grime and grease really well too.

 Eco-friendly Multipurpose Cleaner

Ingredients
2 Tbsp. Distilled White Vinegar
1 Tsp. Borax
2 Tbsp. Dawn dish soap
1 C. Hot Water

Directions
Pour vinegar, borax and hot water into spray bottle.
Then continue filling spray bottle with cool water.
Add dawn dish soap last. No need to shake.



Thursday, March 8, 2012

Turkey Avocado Panini Sandwich


This time of year always brings out cabin-fever in my house. I get itchy for "summer food." And since our local grocery store had avocados at reduced prices (nice of them to comply to my mood, don't you think?), I thought, "What better way to kick winter in the bum?" (That's right. Bum.)

Ingredients:
2 slices Country White or Sour Dough Bread (or your favorite thick bread)
Turkey Breast, sliced thick*
2 slices Provolone Cheese
1/2 Avocado, mashed
squirt of lime
5 - 8 Cherry Tomatoes, halved

1. Add the squirt of lime to the avocado and stir until thoroughly incorporated.
2. Layer in the following order: 1 slice of bread, 1 slice of cheese, turkey breast, avocado, tomatoes, 1 slice of cheese, and top with the other slice of bread.
3. Smash them onto a Panini Maker until the cheese is melted and gooey. Mmm-MMMM!!

If you don't have a panini maker, don't sweat it! Toast your bread for a little added crunch and warmth.

*Left overs are great. We have also used deli slices, and Oscar Meyer Cutting Board turkey breast.

Serves 1

~Kara

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Apple Nachos

Contrary to what you may think, there is no cheese involved in this recipe...but lots of gooey PB and other crunchy toppings to satisfy your snacky cravings. Thanks to Pinterest and Manifest Vegan we now have another healthy (not to mention FUN) morsel to make with the kids. ;)


Ingredients
Apples (we usually have Gala or Pink Lady...but use your fav.)
Lemon Juice/Fruit Fresh/or Lemon Lime Soda (if you don't want them to brown)
Peanut Butter (about 1/2 C per 2 apples), Warmed
Craisins (Dried Cranberries)
Shredded Sweetened Coconut
Slivered Almonds (or any other type of chopped nut)


The best part about Apple Nachos is that you can use 
as much or as little of your choice of ingredients as you would like! 
And the kids LOVE to help!
First, just get your apples washed and sliced.  
If you want to prevent them from browning, put the apples in a bowl 
or ZipLock bag and pour either lemon juice, a Fruit Fresh solution 
or some lemon lime soda (like 7Up or Sprite) over them and stir 
or shake to coat them completely.
Warm up the PB in a microwaveable cup or dish. 
I did 1/2 C for about 30-40 seconds.
When you get the apples on the plate, just start piling it on!
We started with the Craisins, then drizzled that melty PB all over.
Mmmmmmm. Melty Goodness.
Some how those little people always make their way into my pics. ;)
And.......Voila! Apple Nachos!
Mmm Hmmm...They're sticky, alright! 



Slow Cooker French Dip Sandwiches

Oh my goodness these are delicious! My family was completely quiet while they ate these. It was so funny! No one had time to talk...to busy eating! We were soo craving a roast for Sunday dinner. I wanted something a bit different. I found a recipe for French Dip sandwiches and tweaked it for my family and this is what happened! Very yummy.

3-1/2 lbs beef chuck roast
16 oz beef broth
1- 10.5 oz can condensed French onion soup
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1 tsp. garlic powder
2-3 TBSP. Worchester sauce
salt and pepper, to taste
4-6 French rolls
olive oil
sliced provolone cheese, optional

Trim excess fat off beef roast and season meat with salt and pepper. Into the slow cooker add the following ingredients: beef broth, condensed French onion soup, red wine vinegar, garlic powder, worschester sauce and mix well. Then add the beef roast.
Set your slow cooker on high! Set the time for 5 1/2 to 6 hours. This will be falling apart when you next look at it! But, you need to adjust this to your slow cooker. My slow cooker cooks really hot and fast. So think about yours before you set it. If you have time, put this on earlier in the day and set it to low. Since this is cooking in liquid it will not dry out.
When its time, take beef out and rest it, covered with aluminum foil, for about 15 minutes. Slice beef and return to sloow cooker on low for another 20 minutes.
Slice french rolls and brush them with olive oil. Lay cut side down onto baking sheet and toast them to your liking. If someone wants cheese on their sandwich add the cheese onto roll to melt in the oven face up! Divide beef onto rolls and spoon the au jus sauce into little bowls for each person. (no one wants to share their au jus sauce!) Serve while hot! Your family will love this!







Monday, March 5, 2012

My Best Brownies

I've been in search of a great brownie recipe for years.  A few of them made the cut, but none satisfied my yearning when it came to texture.  I don't know why, but for some reason nothing beats the texture of a store-bought brownie mix.  Okay, maybe you don't agree, but I love them there mixes!

Recently, I decided that even though my brownie search had left me jaded and disillusioned (drama queen?  I don't know what you're talking about), I would open up my heart to yet another brownie recipe.

And this time....wait for it....I found LOVE!
This recipe comes the closest by far to duplicating (or at least closely mimicking) that elusive brownie-mix texture I've come to know and love.  And, as with so many brownie recipes, they get better with age.  (Yes, I appreciate brownies more as a middle-aged woman but I'm talking about the brownies' age, not mine...they are better the next day.)

So, now that I've found it, this recipe will now be named (at least in my house) My Best Brownies!

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. unsweetened cocoa powder
11 ounces dark chocolate, coarsely chopped*
1 cup butter, cut into 1" pieces
2 cups sugar
5 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla

1.  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter sides and bottom of a 9x13-inch glass pan.  Line with parchment paper (you will use the ends of the parchment to lift out the brownies later).
2.  In medium bowl whisk together:  flour, salt, cocoa.
3.  Put chocolate and butter in a large bowl set over a saucepan of simmer water.  Stir occasionally until completely melted and smooth.  Turn the heat off, but keep the bowl over the pan and add the sugars.  Whisk until thoroughly combined.  Remove bowl from pan and set aside to cool to room temperature.
4.  Add 3 eggs to the chocolate mixture and whisk until combined.  Add remaining eggs and whisk until combined.  Add vanilla and stir until combined, being careful not to over-mix.**
5.  Sprinkle flour mixture over chocolate mixture.  Use a rubber spatula (not a whisk) to fold in the flour mixture.  There should be just a bit of flour visible when you STOP mixing.
6.  Pour batter into pan and smooth the top.  Bake for 30 minutes, but rotate the pan halfway through the baking time.  Brownies are done when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs sticking to it.  Let the brownies cool completely.  Lift them out using the parchment paper.  Cut and serve.

Makes 24 brownies; serve with ice cream, warmed up peanut butter (as a sauce), and Bittersweet Chocolate Sauce

Notes:
*I didn't have enough dark chocolate so I mixed what I had:  some German chocolate, plain ol' baking chocolate, and some dark chocolate.
**Over-mixing will result in cake-y brownies.

Source:  slightly adapted from Brown Eyed Baker

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Something Little


"What holds us back from helping another?
I have thought about this and realized that I tend to make grandiose plans, and it is hard for me to settle for “something little”. I don’t want to just send one valentine, I want to send everyone a valentine. I don’t want to just stop by for a 10 minute visit to my widow neighbor, I want to bake bread and take it over to her when I visit and stay an hour. In the process of daily life, and being realistic about what I can manage, I end up losing heart and doing . . . nothing! Sad, huh?

Today I thought about the little things. Don’t they make a huge difference in your life? As I entered church this morning, a leader up in the front smiled and nodded at me. That was little. But I felt so much better, as it had been a discouraging morning. I know that took hardly any effort, and no forethought. But it made a difference to me! A big difference. I think it changed the outcome of my day.

Just think! If everyone just did something, no matter how small, what a enormous wave of good works it would create. If we all followed through on even 1/10th of our good intentions, it would transform our neighborhood, church or community. When I was a young mother, we lived in Holland. The Dutch housewives would come out in the mornings and wash their porches with a mop and a bucket of suds. They had a saying: “If each wife washes her own porch, the whole world will be clean”. How true! Each of us doing something small would have an tremendous effect! Doing something little reminds me of the children’s picture book—Ordinary Mary’s Extraordinary Deed—about how one ordinary little girl’s small act of kindness actually multiplied to touch everyone on the planet!

If you are like me, with idealistic plans that end up sabotaging your good intentions to love and serve others, let’s work on this together. Can you manage just a very small act every single day this week? Just one valentine to someone who might be lonely. Just one short visit, minus the homemade bread. A phone call. Even just a smile and a nod really matters! Something little. Loving kindness administered in small enough doses that you don’t overwhelm yourself and wear yourself out.
Are you up to the challenge?
Just something little."

Source: entire quote taken from Diane Hopkins

I just couldn't have said it better myself. This morsel really spoke to me. It pretty much IS me. I LOVE to serve and little things have always meant so much to me. I forget though, sometimes, how much a single kind word or gesture can literally saves someone's day. I have seen it happen and have had it happen to me. Be always on guard to serve someone "a little something".
Amy

Image from Google

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Grilled Chicken Sandwich with Alfalfa Sprouts

Lately my husband and I have been adding sprouts to our diet because of their health benefits.  We love them on our salads and sandwiches.  I'm not sure where the idea for this particular sandwich came from.  I know I've had something similar to this in a restaurant.  It may not look pretty but it sure is delicious!

Ingredients (for 2 sandwiches):
2 grilled chicken breasts (I marinated mine in olive oil, fresh garlic, lemon, parsley, salt, and pepper)
4 slices or bread (we used ciabatta)
1 medium tomato
1 ripe avocado
a lemon or bottled lemon juice
sea salt
freshly ground pepper
mayonnaise (optional)
alfalfa sprouts

1.  Lightly toast your bread.  
2.  While bread is toasting cut 4 slices of tomato.  Scoop out flesh of avocado and put into a bowl.  Mash with back of a fork until desired consistency.  Give it a splash of lemon juice and salt and pepper to taste.
3.  Take slices of bread and spread a thin layer of mayo on them followed by the avocado spread.
4.  Build your sandwich starting with the chicken breast, tomato slices, then finished with a layer of alfalfa sprouts. 
*This sandwich would taste great with a few bacon slices!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Scrambled Egg Cups

I love eggs. Unfortunately I am the only person in my family who does. But I found this great recipe and couldn't resist making them. Then I made them again and again and... you get the picture.

The original recipe called for 6 slices of bacon cooked and crumbled but I try to go meatless at breakfast so I've substituted either diced peppers and onions or diced mushrooms and onions. Delicious either way, although I can see how bacon or sausage would be awesome.

Scrambled Egg Cups
12 eggs
3 Tbsp milk
1/2 to 1 cup diced veggies or meat
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese + additional for topping
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 12-count muffin tin with cooking spray. (Be sure to spray it on thick; those eggs like to stick.)
2. Whisk together the eggs and milk.
3. Stir in the cheese and veggies.
4. Pour into the greased muffin tin. (I used a soup ladle.)
5. Sprinkle additional cheese on top of each egg cup.
6. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.

Since I'm the only one eating them I tried to freeze them. Unsuccessful. Don't even try it. Just trust me. However, they do keep well in the refrigerator, so I make a batch on Saturday or Sunday morning and have a couple every day for the week.



Source: Semi Homemade Mom