Sunday, September 30, 2012

We Thank Thee, O God, For A Prophet


General Conference for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints is next Saturday and Sunday. View or Listen to it here.

I have listened to conference almost my whole life. Scratch that. I have always "attended"--whether in my parent's Utah home, over the internet with only audio, at a church via satellite, in our own home watching on the Church's website--but truthfully, ashamedly, I have not always listened.

When I walk into conference wishing to learn something, I always do. Whether I have something I am specifically searching for an answer to or I just want to be enlightened, I ALWAYS am. Sometimes answers come for me that I didn't even know I was searching for.

This is a testimony to me that our Heavenly Father knows ME. He knows my concerns, my needs, or in some cases (as in April conference of this year) he knows when I need a little chastisement in order to set myself straight.

Yes, I Thank Thee, O God, For Prophets. I am thankful for the men and women who lead our church are so much more wise than I--that we have a way to be uplifted every six months.


We Thank Then, O God, For A Prophet (Hymns 19)





Thursday, September 27, 2012

Veggie Shooters



These are so cute and good for you as well. Plus it was a good way for me to use up some homemade Ranch dressing--which made a ton, or a half gallon at least.  Really, it filled a half gallon pitcher.  You can get that recipe HERE.  Tasty.  I could not really tell you a source for the shooters as I have had them in several different venues--our blog launch party (made by Julie), at an ice cream social (yes, we needed the contrast.  Opposition in all things, right?) and most recently at an Arts Council board meeting (made by me).  See how versatile these are?  And I had enough left over (because I forgot where to turn on the way to the host's home and almost everyone had "helped their plate" by the time I got there) to serve to some of the Young Women at church after a yoga class!  Awesome.  Love to get more bang for my buck.  Who doesn't these days?



Ingredients:
Celery, cut into 3-4 inch sticks
Baby Carrots, cut in half, lengthwise
Ranch Dressing

1.  You will need to purchase plastic "shot" glasses.  I got mine locally at Party City . These glasses are so versatile and come in several colors but you will want to use clear.

2.  Squirt about a tablespoon of Ranch dressing into the bottom of each glass.  Next, stand the celery and carrots into the dressing.  I used 5 celery sticks and the two carrot halves, but play with it and see what you like. It's also really good with zucchini, yellow squash, red or green bell peppers, etc.

3. Serve these in a fun way or just on a tray.  I used my chips/salsa basket.  Looks really festive, don't you think?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Honey Coconut Granola

We eat granola as much as a snack as we do for breakfast.  This is great in yogurt and is such an easy and yummy recipe!  It is fun to try different things in it after the "base" is made. Recipe works well doubled.

Ingredients:
4 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup honey
1/4 cup oil - we like to use coconut oil instead
1 cup whole wheat flour
3/4 cup coconut - if you don't like coconut, leave this out.
1 tsp vanilla

1.  Thoroughly mix together all ingredients
2.  Spread evenly on a cookie sheet
3.  Bake at 300 for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally while baking
4.  After cooking, add any or all of the following:

Add-ins
1/4 cup sunflower seeds
1/4 cup slivered almonds or chopped pecans
1/2 cup craisins or raisins
1/4  cup sesame seeds

Source:  The Hows and Whys of the Year Supply - By:  Melissa Coombs



Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Corn and Blueberry Salad



Call me crazy but I love this fruit and veggie combo.  It keeps pretty well in the fridge too.

Ingredients:

6 fresh sweet ears of corn, husked
1 c. fresh blueberries
1 cucumber, sliced
1/4 c. finely chopped red onion
1/4 c. chopped fresh cilantro
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and finely chopped
2 T. lime juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. honey
1/2 t. cumin
1/2 t. salt

Directions:

1.  In Dutch oven bring salted water to boiling.  Add corn.  Cook, covered, 5 minutes, or until tender.  When    cool enough to handle, cut corn from cobs.

2.  In a serving bowl combine corn, blueberries, cucumber, red onion, cilantro and jalapeno.  For dressing, in screw-top jar combine lime juice, oil, honey, cumin and 1/2 t. salt.  Cover; shake well to combine.  Add to salad; toss.  Cover and refrigerate overnight (up to 24 hours).  Makes 6 to 8 servings.

Source:  Better Homes and Gardens

Friday, September 21, 2012

Quinoa Primavera


My husband and I are trying to eat healthier. We don't eat a lot of meat to begin with, but we thought it would be a good idea to have one totally meatless meal a week. I thought quinoa would be a great dish to serve since it's high in protein and a great food.

This was actually my first time cooking (and eating) quinoa, and it definitely will not be my last. This dish is so yummy and very filling. Although we ate it as a main dish, it would also make a great side dish.


Ingredients
1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
3 cups chicken broth
4 ounces cream cheese, cubed (I used light cream cheese)
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon butter
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
3-5 cups thinly sliced or bite sized pieces assorted uncooked vegetables (I used a bag of frozen mixed cauliflower, broccoli, and carrots)
Grated  Parmesan cheese

Directions
- Bring quinoa and broth to boil in a saucepan; reduce heat. Cover and simmer 20-25 minutes or until broth is absorbed. (Follow package instructions)
- While quinoa is cooking, melt butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Cook garlic in butter for about one minute, stirring frequently, until golden. Stir in vegetables. Cook about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables are crisp-tender. If you are using frozen vegetables, you'll just need to cook them until they are warm/hot.
- Stir cream cheese and basil into cooked quinoa. Toss vegetables with quinoa mixture and sprinkle with cheese.

Adapted from Christy's Culinary Collection

Thursday, September 20, 2012

S'mores Treats

I remember coming home from school to these. I LOVE S'mores and these are perfect for an after-school snack without getting all smokey.

Ingredients:
2/3 Cup Corn Syrup (I use white)
1 (12 oz) package Chocolate Chips (your favorite--I used Semi-Sweet)
1 tsp Vanilla
6 - 8 Cups Golden Grahams Cereal (I use closer to 6 Cups because I like them well coated)
3 Cups Mini Marshmallows

1. In a Large mixing bowl, pour your Graham Cereal and Mallows in. You don't need to mix them yet.
2. In a Medium saucepan, bring just to a boil (not quite!) corn syrup. Remove from heat and immediately add the chocolate chips. Stir until smooth.
3. Add vanilla and stir until smooth, again.
4. Pour over the mallows and graham cereal. Stir until will incorporated. The chocolate may seem a bit thick, but persevere! Also, don't worry if the mallows melt a little. That's the best part!
5. Press into a greased 9x13 pan and cut into squares when cool.

Source: My mama, Karri H.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Slow Cooker Chicken and Cheese Biscuits

My kids really loved this! This is a pinterest recipe that I have saved for a long while just waiting for the right time to try out.  It was really Yummy! The only thing I didn't like about this recipe was the Thyme. I am not a big thyme (seasoning) fan.  When I make this again, I will probably leave that ingredient out. But!, it was very yummy and a good comfort food recipe.  I simplified it a bit and left a couple of original ingredients out to make my family happy.  I loved using my slow cooker, it made this easy!

Chicken Stew:
2 cups chopped red potatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 tsp dried sage
1/2 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
2 TBSP quick -cooking Tapioca
1 lb chicken, boneless & skinless, cut into pieces (for quicker cooking)
1 cup chicken broth
 1 cup frozen peas
1 oz cream cheese, cut in pieces
cheesy biscuits

Biscuits:
1 2/3 cup biscuit mix
1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 cup milk

 In a slow cooker, combine the following: potatoes, carrots, onion,celery, garlic, thyme, sage, salt, and pepper. Sprinkle tapioca over the mixture. Lay the chicken pieces over the mixture and pour the chicken broth over all of it. Place the lid on and set the timer for about 3 1/2 hours on high.

About 15 minutes before the timer goes off, add the frozen peas and cream cheese. Stir a bit. The chicken breaks apart and almost shreds it is tender! Replace the lid and continue cooking.

In a mixing bowl add the following ingredients for the biscuits: 1 2/3 cups biscuit mix, cheese, milk. Stir well until the dough forms. Then drop by heaping TBSP fulls into a greased cupcake pan! (this was easier for me than rolling out dough.) Cook in a 450 degree preheated oven for about 10 minutes! Really watch these, they burn easily. (so says my first batch!)

Serve this when the biscuits come out of the oven!  Spoon the Chicken Stew over the biscuits. The kids loved this!





Adapted from pinterest





Monday, September 17, 2012

Salmon Sliders

As a kid, we used to have Salmon Croquettes every so often, and this is really just a new use for them.  Canned salmon is pretty cheap and packed with Omega-3 fatty acids.  If you keep canned salmon around, as I do, you've got a quick, cheap go-to lunch or dinner.  I kind of just threw in whatever, so this recipe is not precise.

Ingredients:
1 can of salmon, drained*
chopped onion and peppers (I used a small onion and 1/2 to 3/4 of a bell pepper)
1 egg
salt and pepper
seasonings**
bread crumbs
oil (I used coconut oil)

1.  Empty the drained salmon into a medium bowl.  Using a fork, mash the bones and skin pieces together with the flesh until well mixed.*  Saute the chopped onion and peppers (I used a little yellow, orange, and red bell pepper) in oil  in a skillet on medium heat until they are to your liking.  (I like my onions slightly caramelized.)  Add this to the salmon in the bowl and stir together.
2.  Add the egg and seasonings, stirring until well-combined.**  Add enough bread crumbs so that the mixture forms patties easily...not too dry to fall apart, but not so wet that it's mushy.  Form into small patties about the width of the rolls you are using; mine were about a half inch thick.
3.  In a skillet on medium heat, allow the oil to heat up.  Carefully place the patties in the skillet and cook for a few minutes on both sides until browned.

Makes about 8 small patties

Source:  inspired by this but embellishments are mine

Notes:
*The bones and skins don't bother me; the bones are so soft they crush up easily.  But if it bothers you, take them out while draining.  Personally, I just don't want to bother!
**I used lemon pepper, but you can add any seasoning that you enjoy in your burgers (onion soup mix, Montreal steak seasoning, etc.).

Also,

  • I used dinner rolls from Sam's for the buns.  I buy the big bag and divide it up by the dozen into freezer bags.  I keep them in the freezer and pull them out when needed.  For added flavor, after cooking the sliders, add some butter to the skillet.  Place the rolls cut-side down in the skillet and allow to "cook" until they are golden brown.
  • For slider fixin's this time, I used provolone cheese, mayo, and spinach.  I would've thrown some avocado on there if I'd had some.

Friday, September 14, 2012

Sopapilla Cheesecake Bars


Here's a way to make an easy version of a Mexican favorite!  (So-pa-pee-ah)

Ingredients:
2 cans (8oz ea.) refrigerated crescent dinner rolls OR Pilsbury Crescent Creations Seamless Dough
2 packages (8oz ea.) cream cheese, softened
1 1/2C Sugar, divided
1 tsp vanilla
1stick butter (1/2C), melted
1 T ground cinnamon

First mix together the softened cream cheese and 1 cup of sugar, then add the vanilla.  
I don't like to measure vanilla. Just splash it in...you can't go wrong.  Go ahead, try it. I can almost guarantee it'll make you happy. ;) Then stir it until it's nice and creamy.
Next, unroll one can of crescents into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.  Press together the seams and fill out the pan to the edges like this:
Pour the cream cheese mixture over the bottom layer of crescents 
Then unroll the second can of crescents over the cream cheese mixture. This part is a bit trickier than the first.  Sometimes it helps to unroll the dough on the counter, press the seams together, roll it back up and then unroll it again over the mixture.  Either way it's a sticky, tricky job.  But don't worry about perfection. It ends up looking DELICIOUS, no matter what. 
Then...you know what to do.  That's right...pour--that--butter!  You might be thinking, "Why in the world would I need ALL THIS BUTTER?"  I will happily answer that question for you.  Because it's good.  And because it gives the whole top of the dish a deep-fried-with-butter effect.   
Now, you'll mix 1/2 C of sugar with 1T of ground cinnamon.  
I like to put it in a container with a lid and shake it up!  
After you do that, sprinkle it evenly over the melted butter. Mmmmm. I can taste it now.


Bake for 30 minutes at 350* and let it cool a bit before you cut into it.  Let me show you, again:
Mmmm. Mmmm. Mmmm. Fabuloso! 





Thursday, September 13, 2012

Summer Corn Cakes




Yes.  Another Pinterest Repin.  This one is my SAVORY board cover so I just had to try it.  It's so pretty.  It's so yummy.  I will now post the original ingredients, but know that I was able to pull things from food storage and, by rehydrating the freeze-dried corn, I had perfect kernels for this recipe, and my buttermilk was from a mix.  Also, I didn't have a scallion but I did have a leek, so I substituted that and took out the minced garlic.  Now, there are two different recipes here, one for the corn cakes and one for the Chopped Tomato & Avocado Salsa.  Pay attention and be sure to get all of your ingredients for both recipes.  Pay ATTENTION...I emphasize this because I put the red onion in the salsa instead of the corn cakes because I was trying to watch the Republican National Convention at the same time. 


Corn Cakes Ingredients:
3 ears of corn, shucked
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cornmeal
1/4 cup diced red onion
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
Sea salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons well-shaken (not stirred) buttermilk (sorry, just had to use that James Bond reference)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Canola oil, for frying

1.  Preheat oven to 200 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with a brown paper bag.

2.  Cut the corn from the cobs into a large bowl.  Scrape the stripped cobs with the back of the knife or spoon to release the juices into the bowl.

3. Place 2 cups of the corn kernels into a food processor. Pulse several times until the corn is slightly pureed but still chunky.  Scrape into the bowl with remaining kernels.

4.  Add flour, cornmeal, onion, basil, baking soda, baking powder, salt and pepper to the corn.  Stir to mix.

5.  Add the eggs, buttermilk, and butter, and stir just to combine--do not overmix.

6.  Place a large skillet over medium heat.  Add just enough canola oil to cover the bottom, and heat until sizzling hot.

7.  Scoop the batter onto the skillet, one heaping tablespoon at a time.  To avoid overcrowding, do in batches of 4 or 5 at a time.  Fry the cakes 1-2 minutes per side, until golden brown.



8.  Drain on the lined baking sheet, and place in the oven to keep warm while cooking the rest of the cakes.  Serve warm with LARGE spoonful of the Chopped Tomato & Avocado Salsa.



Chopped Tomato & Avocado Salsa Ingredients: 
1 large tomato, cored and chopped
1 scallion, trimmed and minced
1/2 jalapeno pepper, cored, seeded and diced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
1 garlic clove, minced
Juice of 1 lime
1 1/2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

1.  Place all ingredients, except avocado, in a bowl and stir to mix.  Refrigerate in an airtight container until ready to serve (for up to 2 days).

2.  Just before serving, add the avocado and mix gently.




Source:  Ezra Pound Cake





Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Mini No-bake Key Lime Pies



Anything key lime takes me back to the Keys of Florida or to the Caribbean for that matter, back where everybody says, "Everything is ire (i ree) or in other words, "Life is good, no worries".

Ingredients for Crust:

3/4 c. graham-cracker crumbs
1/4 c. finely chopped pecans
3 T. unsalted butter, melted

Ingredients for Filling:

8 oz. reduced-fat cream cheese, softened
1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk
1/2 c. bottled Key Lime juice
1 container (8 oz) frozen whipped topping, thawed
Lime slices, optional

Directions:

1.  Line 12 cupcake cups with foil liners.  In bowl, stir together graham cracker crumbs, pecans, and melted butter.  Spoon 1 T. mixture into each liner, pressing it down to form crust.

2.  In large bowl with electric mixer on low speed, beat cream cheese about 30 seconds, or until creamy.  Add condensed milk and Key Lime juice, and blend on medium speed 20 to 30 seconds, or until just combined.  Add 1 cup whipped topping and blend on low speed 15 seconds longer.

3.  Spoon mixture evenly into liners.  Cover pan with plastic wrap and freeze at least 3 hours, or until firm.  Remove from freezer 15 minutes before serving; peel off liners and dollop 1 T. remaining whipped topping on each pie.  Top with lime slices, if you like.

Source:  Quick and Simple

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hostess with the Mostess


As a child it was a good lunch day if my mom threw in a Hostess Cupcake into my lunch box. Those things are dangerous. I don't buy them... because I know I'd eat every last one in about 2.4 seconds. So...if you love Hostess Cupcakes, you're going to LOVE these! One thing, the icing on these is not very sweet. It balances the sweetness of the filling perfectly though. (If you want it sweeter, use milk chocolate chips).

Devil’s Food Cupcakes with Cream Filling and Whipped Chocolate Ganache Frosting 

Make your favorite chocolate cupcakes or prepare purchased cake mix. Let cupcakes cool.

Creme Filling 
1 – 7 oz container marshmallow cream
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup powder sugar
1 tablespoon water
1/4 teaspoon salt

With electric mixer beat ingredients together until fluffy.  Fill the cupcakes with the filling. You can either use an apple corer and remove the center of the cupcake (that's how I do it) or use a long filling tip to fill them.

Ganache Frosting 
12 oz semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Place chocolate chips into a bowl and pour cream over the top. Heat in microwave until chips are soft. Allow mixture to sit a minute to continue melting the chips. Stir well. Let mixture come to room temperature. With electric mixer beat until fluffy. Fill pastry bag with large star tip and pipe onto cupcakes. Enough frosting and filling for 12-15 cupcakes depending on your frosting and filling style.

Seriously, how good does that look?!


Thursday, September 6, 2012

Cream Cheese Peach Pie

We are in the throws of peach season here and this is my favorite time of year because of it! :) This pie is so light and fresh. It's hard to go wrong with Cream Cheese AND Peaches. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do! I have to give a big shout-out to our friend, Audrey, for giving us the recipe. It's quickly becoming a fav!

Ingredients:
2-3 Graham Cracker Crusts (I use 3--and I cheated and used store bought. *gasp!*)
12 - 15 Peaches, Peeled
1.5 Cups Granulated Sugar
1/4 Cup Cornstarch
1/2 Cup Water
1 (3 oz) package Lemon Jello
8 oz Cream Cheese
1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
1 Cup Whipped Cream (or Cool Whip--I use Whipped Cream)

1. Puree 4 - 5 peaches--enough to make 1.5 Cups. I don't have a food processor, so I cut them up and sloshed them around in my KitchenAid (be sure to use the splash guard!) until they were good and juicy. It was a little chunky, but I actually like it that way!
2. Dissolve the cornstarch into the water and set aside.
3. In a medium saucepan, bring the puree and granulated sugar to a boil.
4. Add the cornstarch (you may need to shake it up a bit again) and cook until thickened.
5. Remove from heat and stir in the dry jello. Put in the fridge to cool.

6. Cream together the cream cheese, powdered sugar, and fold in the whipped cream.
7. Divide evenly between the pie crusts. Smooth along the bottom and sides. Be careful not to pull the sides away from the pan. It will still taste good, but it won't look it! :)
8. Slice the remaining peaches and distribute them evenly among the pie crusts. I use around three peaches per pie.
9. Pour the cooled mixture over the sliced fruit and put each pie in the fridge to set (about 3 hours).

Source: Audrey Miller, who says she got it from her aunt

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

My Best Mac & Cheese

    
   How many recipes have you tried for mac & cheese? Seriously, I have tried too many.  Look no further! This is the one!  Totally delicous! My kids totally asked for 2nds and 3rds!   There are 4 differents cheeses in this and seasonings that you already have handy. You are going to make this your go to recipe for homemade mac & cheese. I promise!

This recipe makes a 13"x9" casserole dish full! 

2 TBSP. butter, melted
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
4 cups milk
1 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1- 1/2 cup cubed velveeta cheese
1/2 cup cubed cream cheese
1-1/2 boxes of Rotini pasta, cooked
onion powder
italian bread crumbs, or your favorite
Pam

Spray your casserole dish with pam, and set it aside. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

Cook your pasta and drain. Set it aside.

In a good sized pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add in the following: flour, pepper and milk. Slowly add the milk using a whisk until mixture is smooth. Bring this to boil over medium heat; cook for one minute, stirring constantly so your sauce doesn't stick! Immediatly reduce heat; add cheeses, stirring in until melted. Remove from the heat and add in the pasta. Stir until the pasta is coated well and pour into the casserole dish. 

(If youhave a bigger dish it might be a good idea to use it. My 13x 9 overflowed! But man, was it good!)

Sprinkle over the onion powder over the top, generously, but don't go crazy! The sprinkle the bread crumbs over the top. You can add as much or as little as you want.

Bake for 30 minutes or until bubbly.

Recipe seriously adapted from Gooseberry Patch.


Monday, September 3, 2012

Coconut Whipped Cream

I've been wanting to try this for a while now.  It's a gluten-free, dairy-free way to enjoy something like whipped cream and can be enjoyed in hot chocolate, on desserts, or on fruit.  It's easy and fast, too!


Ingredients:
Coconut Milk
Vanilla
Cinnamon

1.  Chill an unopened can of coconut milk in the fridge for several hours or overnight.
2.  Open the can; into a bowl scoop out just what has firmed up on the top.  What's left underneath is coconut water...don't use that for your "whipped cream" but do save it to use in smoothies.
the leftover water after scooping
3.  Add some vanilla (I used about a teaspoon for the one can) and a sprinkle of cinnamon.  Mix well with a fork.

That's it.  You're done!  Now, obviously this doesn't taste just like, or have the same consistency as, real whipped cream.  It has a slight coconut flavor.  But it's kinda fun and may be good for those trying to cut back on dairy.  Give it a try and see if you like it.

Source:  about a million places via Pinterest