Thursday, January 31, 2013

Chicken Enchiladas

One of my favorite recipes from College Days came from my roommate Robin Parks. She was from southern California and provided several yummy recipes.  There is another one for hamburgers with fried eggs and cranberry sauce on it.  Seriously good, no kidding!  These enchiladas are a little time-consuming and really end up looking like a casserole, but they are so-o-o good. These are a family favorite.

1 chopped onion
2 tablespoons vegetable oil, plus more for frying tortillas
1 crushed garlic clove
2 cups stewed tomatoes
2 -3 whole chopped green chilies, or 2 small cans
1 doz. corn tortillas
2 cups cooked, chopped chicken
6 bouillon  cubes, or 6 teaspoons granules
3 cups hot 1/2 & 1/2
1/2 lb. Monterrey Jack cheese, grated

1.  Saute onion in oil til soft .  Add garlic, tomatoes, chilies and chicken.  Season with salt and simmer 10 minutes.

2.  Fry tortillas in 1" of hot oil.  Do not let them crisp.  Place on paper towels to drain excess oil.

3.  Dissolve bouillon cubes in hot 1/2 & 1/2.  Dip each tortilla in this, fill with about 1/4 cup chicken filling and roll up.

4.  Arrange rolls in a 9 x 13 baking dish.  Pour remaining 1/2 & 1/2 mixture over them.  Top with grated  Jack cheese.

5.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes.

Source:  Robin Parks, Fullerton CA

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Oreo Cheesecake Cookies


1/2 c. unsalted butter, room temperature
3 oz. cream cheese, room temperature
1 c. sugar
1 t. vanilla
1 c. flour
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips
1/2 c. white chocolate chips
1 c. Oreos, crushed


1.  Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

2.  In a mixing bowl, cream together the butter and cream cheese on medium speed until smooth and well-combined.

3.  Add the sugar and vanilla and mix until the ingredients are well-combined.  Add the flour and mix on low until the flour is incorporated.   Stir in the mini chocolate chips and white chocolate chops with a rubber spatula.

4.  Place the Oreo cookie crumbs in a small bowl.  Scoop the cookies into about 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls and then roll in the cookie crumbs.  Place the cookie balls on the baking sheet.  Bake for 12 to 15 minutes or until edges are golden and the tops are slightly puffed.

5.  Cool on the pan for 2 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.  Store in airtight container.

Source:  Brown Eyed Baker

Monday, January 28, 2013

Puff Pastry Chicken

I made this for the first time tonight, and my family LOVED it! It was such an easy recipe too! I will definitely be making this again! YUM!

I've never cooked with puff pastry before, and I really liked it! So flaky and delicious!

Puff Pastry Chicken

4 chicken breasts
frozen puff pastry sheets, thawed (I bought 1 box of Philo dough, and it was enough) 
4 oz cream cheese, softened
3-4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
fresh parsley, a few sprigs, chopped
1 green onion, chopped (can use dried onions instead)
1 egg, put in bowl and whisked
salt and pepper to taste

1. Mix together cream cheese, bacon, parsley, and onion. This is your filling.

2. Cut a deep slit into each chicken breast, and add the filling. 

*Once I got the chicken breasts slit and stuffed with the filling, I felt they were way too large, and I cut them each in half. Then I wrapped them with the dough. I am so glad I did this! They were the perfect serving size for us. A whole breast would have been way too big!

3. Generously salt and pepper the chicken.

4. If you get two large sheets of puff pastry like I did, you will need to cut them into pieces the right size to wrap around each piece of chicken. This is slightly tricky, but I made it work. 

5. Place the chicken onto the dough, filling side down. Brush some egg around the edge of the dough -  this is used to help seal the dough together. Fold the dough around the chicken and place on greased baking sheet, with the ends of the dough down.

6. Brush top with egg.

7. Bake at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes, or until the chicken is done. 

These were truly delicious! I hope you enjoy them like we did!

Source: adapted from kayotickitchen

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Our Hands are His hands.

I recently had an experience forced me to really think about how our hands are His hands. (I appologize for the length, but it was a definite testimony strengthening experience for me!)

     A few weeks ago I had packed up my kids (age 4yrs. & 11 mo.) and was headed to my parents house for the weekend. I was driving along and boom, my back tire exploded. I thankfully was able to stay in control of the car and was able to pull off to the side of the highway. Unfortunately, the tire that blew was my spare. I definitely had a little moment that I lost it and was mad about the situation I was in. Dusk was starting to set, my husband was  few hours away teaching a class at a neighboring university, and I have my very concerned 4 year old and sleeping 11 month old in the back seat... oh, and being feet from a very fast moving highway. I called my husband knowing that I needed assistance. A tow was needed and I needed someone to help get my family off the side of the road to safety.
     By the time I hung up the phone someone was pulling off to come to my aid. A man about my fathers age had pulled off. He approached the car. As he was coming, I asked silently to my Heavenly Father if I could trust this man, I heard an immediate YES. He approached us and asked to help. He worked for Goodyear tires and (obviously) knew his way around busted tires. He spoke directly and said that we needed to get my children to a safer place. He lived barely 500 yards away from where I had pulled off. He asked if it would be alright to take us to his house where his wife was to wait until our car was towed. Again, I asked my Heavenly Father if I could trust him and I heard YES. He also mentioned that he supplied tires to a garage that he trusts completely and would be happy to call in a favor to have us towed. It just so happened that the garage he spoke of was under a half mile of my home (clear on the opposite side of town from where we were).
     He called and found that it would only take 20 minutes to get the tow truck to us. He then helped get my children off the side of the road and to his home where his extremely welcoming wife was. He returned back to my car to wait to get it towed. Once the car was towed he came back and drove us to the garage and then on to our home.

     The whole time this was going on I could not contain how extremely grateful I was to him and his wife and their extreme hospitality and Christian attitude. They would simply reply stating that we are here on this earth to serve those around us and we were to be instruments of the Lord.
     As he was driving us to the garage he shared that he was just coming home from being out of town for business. He saw us as he was getting ready to pull off the highway to return home (and I'm sure a comfy recliner or something) and he saw us. He said that he simply asked the Lord out loud 'Should I stop and help?' and he heard YES.

     When we got home my son and I instantly knelt in prayer to offer our gratitude for the seamless blessings that poured onto us and asked to help us be more like this Good Samaratian who stopped to save us.

The blessing that poured onto us were undeniable. A man who worked for a tire company stopped to help us. He had a buddy who could tow us... to a garage a stones through from my home. His home was just around the corner and took us there for safe keeping. Heavenly Father DEFINITELY put the exact right person in my path when I needed him the most.

The impression that was left most was the thought "am I allowing my hands to be His hands?" Am I living my life in a way that I can receive and listen to the promptings of the spirit when my hands are needed to answer someones prayer? What can I do to live my life that way?

These are questions that we all need to ask ourselves. We are here to be instruments of our loving Heavenly Father. Closing, there is a clip from one of Elder Utchdorf's conference addresses that focuses on this topic. I encourage you all to watch, listen, then go forth allow your hands to be His hands.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Baked Chicken Taquitos

The Superbowl is coming! I made these taquitos for New Years Eve, and boy were they good. I'm pretty sure they'll show up on our table during the Superbowl as well.

Baked Chicken Taquitos 

1/3 cup (3 oz) cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup green salsa
1 Tablespoon fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
3 Tablespoons cilantro, chopped
2 Tablespoons green onions, sliced
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
1 cup grated pepper jack cheese
about 12 small flour tortillas
kosher salt
cooking spray

1. Preheat the oven to 425 and line your baking sheet with foil. Spray the foil with cooking spray.
2. In a bowl, combine the first 7 ingredients. Stir until well incorporated. Add the following 4 ingredients.
3. Now, it's time to assemble them. You'll spoon about 3 Tbs. of the chicken mixture into the lower part of the tortilla. Do not spread to too close to either side. Now, roll it up as tight as you can. As you roll, the mixture will spread closer to either side.
4. Place seam side down onto your spayed, foil lined, baking sheet.
5. Spray the tops of the taquitos with cooking spray and sprinkle salt over the top.
6. Cook in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes.

* You could easily make this with corn tortillas to make this gluten free!

Source: Our Best Bites

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Maple, Cinnamon, and Orange Creme Brulee

I had leftover heavy cream so it was the perfect excuse to experiment and try my hand at creme brulee.  Making creme brulee was easier than I thought.  This recipe uses pure maple syrup instead of refined sugar as the sweetener. 

2 Cups Heavy Cream
1 Egg plus
3 Egg Yolks
7 Tablespoons Pure Maple Syrup
1 Cinnamon Stick
Zest of 1 Orange
1-2 Tablespoons of Orange Juice
1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
Sprinkle of Sugar for the Topping
4 (7 ounce) brulee ramekins

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.

In a saucepan combine the heavy cream, 3 T maple syrup, cinnamon stick, orange zest, orange juice.  Whisk the ingredients together and bring to a boil in the saucepan.  After the cream has come to a boil, remove from the heat and let it cool.

In a mixing bowl, whisk together the egg and egg yolks, remaining maple syrup, and vanilla extract.  Slowly whisk the cream into the egg mixture until the two are well-combined.

Set the ramekins in a glass baking dish.  Add hot water so it goes half way up the ramekins.  This will prevent the eggs from cooking too fast.  Fill the ramekins with mixture.  Cook for 40-50 minutes making sure the custard is set and slightly jiggly but not liquid.  Let the creme brulee cool for an hour before serving.

The last step is to sprinkle sugar on the top of each custard.  You can either burn the sugar with a blow torch or broil it in the oven.

Serve and Enjoy!

Source: Cinnamon & Orange Recipe and Maple Syrup Recipe

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sugary Peanut Butter Kisses

These are so yummy.  The kids enjoyed mixing the colors into the sugar, and then rolling the cookies in the different colored sugars.  So, this is a very kid friendly recipe and so good to eat!
Coloring sugar:
1-2 drops Wilton Gel Food Colors
1/2 c - 3/4 c Granulated sugar
Pour sugar into a ziploc bag and squeeze one drop of gel color into the sugar. Seal the bag and start squishing the color into the sugar unto all the sugar is colored.  You can darken the color  by adding more drops of the gel. You can lighten the color by adding more sugar.
Cookie Ingredients:
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. firmly packed brown sugar
1/2 c. real butter, softened
1/2 c. peanut butter
2 TBSP. milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
1- 3/4 c. self-rising flour
Hershey kisses, about 30 or more pieces, with the foil off
Preheat your oven to 375%. Cream together the white sugar, brown sugar and butter. Really give a few minutes to get nice and creamy. Scrape down the sides of your bowl and add the following peanut butter, milk, vanilla and egg. Mix well and scrape down the sides of your bowl. Whisk the flour and then scoop up the right amount needed.  Slowly add in the flour and continue to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl.
Pour colored sugars onto paper plates. With a cookie scoop drop 1" balls of the dough into the different colors of sugar and roll around. Place the cookies about 2" apart on the cookie pan. Bake for 10 minutes for a soft chewy cookie, and 12 minutes for crunchy cookie.  (The cookie will flatten a bit as it bakes.)
Take cookies out of the oven and immediately press the hershey kiss into the cookie slightly! Move cookies to a rack to cool.  It takes a while for them to cool down because the hershey kiss melts a bit and then solidifies again.  So, give them time.  Then enjoy!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Cloud Bread

Though I found this recipe intriguing while browsing Pinterest, I never really felt a need to give it a try.  I mean, why should I try to make a nearly carb-less bread?  I'm perfectly happy with the carb-laden kind!  Well, it wasn't long before I found out that I'm prediabetic and need to drop some weight and get my carb intake under control.  At present time, I'm still working on it.

I won't say this recipe fulfilled any deep bread cravings, but it was nice to have SOMETHING to make a breakfast sandwich out of.  I've also toasted it and used it as a sort of tostada.  If you decide to give it a try, make sure to follow the directions very closely.

3 eggs (separated)
3 Tbsp. cream cheese
1/4 tsp. cream of tartar
2 tsp. stevia

1.  Preheat the oven to 300 degrees.  Separate the whites of the eggs into a mixer bowl and the yolks into a small mixing bowl.
2.  Into the YOLKS, whisk in the stevia until smooth and well-combined.  Into the WHITES, add the cream of tartar and mix until you get stiff peaks.
3.  Add a little of the whites mixture (maybe 1/4 c.) into the yolks mixture and stir together until combined.  This will lighten up the yolks mixture a bit before folding it into the whites.  Carefully fold in the yolks mixture into the egg whites.  Fold only!  Do not stir or whisk as this will make the whites "deflate".  Fold gently until the whites and yolks are combined.
4.  Place a sheet of parchment or waxed paper onto each of two cookie sheets.  With a large spoon or large cookie scoop, dollop the mixture in four or five piles on the paper/cookie sheet.  Use the back of the spoon to make these dollops into nice even circles.  You want these to be at least 1/2-3/4" thick.
5.  Bake on the middle rack of the oven for about 30 minutes (you really have to watch these, only bake until they are golden).  Since I had two large cookie sheets I switched their positions halfway through and just baked each sheet until the "bread" was a nice golden color.
6.  Allow to cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack (I just transferred the papers straight onto a wire rack).  Once cool, they will become soft but just out of the oven they are a bit crispy.  Store in a ziploc bag.

Makes 8 to 10 pieces


  • Another recipe that I saw said you could use the same amount of cottage cheese in place of the cream cheese.  Haven't tried that yet.
  • The recipe I used called for 1 packet of stevia, but I only had it in a large bag.  A web search informed me that 1 packet = 2 tsp.
  • The recipe I used did not suggest lightening up the yolks mixture with the whites, but I've watched enough cooking shows to know that this is a great tip and helps with the folding process (plus, it's always worked better for me personally).
  • These are fairly fragile.  They stood up okay to an egg/sausage load for breakfast, but just barely and only because I sort of cradled the sandwich carefully.  Toasting them makes them crispy but may also make them taste more egg-y.
  • One piece is about 38 calories and about .25g of carbs, by my calculations.
  • I've learned that this recipe is also known as Oopsies.
Source:  all over the internet, but I used the recipe from Mom, What's for Dinner?

Sunday, January 20, 2013

Mormon Morsels: God's Perfect Love

This summer my brother-in-law was diagnosed with stage IV melanoma.  He went from healthy to almost dying in a matter of six weeks.   Aside from the cancer, there was complication after complication with his treatment.  As I struggled to understand why he and my sister were having to endure so much, I began to wonder whether they'd been forgotten.  After all, so many people were praying and fasting for them.  Why weren't they getting any relief from their trials?

In September, with the support of my husband in the water, my brother-in-law was able to baptize his daughter.  Baptizing her was something he would not have been physically able to do the week before.  The spirit at the baptism was so strong and felt by everyone in attendance.  As we sang, I Feel my Savior's Love, I felt the immense love our Heavenly Father has for them.  Trials do not mean that we've been forgotten.  Mortal life is full of tribulations and problems.  But that does not mean God doesn't love us.  He is always there to love and support us in our afflictions.  I know his improvement in health was the Lord's tender mercy--a result of faith and prayers offered on their behalf.

Another tender mercy was the birth of their son in November.  My brother-in-law was feeling the best he's felt since his diagnosis at the time of his son's birth.  Seeing him able to hold his newborn son was another confirmation of God's love and His great plan for us.  I'm so grateful that families can be together forever

I love the new young women's manual and all the media the church created to go along with the lessons.
This video, "He Knows Me" is about how to strengthen our relationship with God.  The better we know God the more likely we will be to recognize His hand in our lives and feel His love for us.

A free printable in honor of tomorrow's holiday.  May we all remember that through prayer we can communicate with our Heavenly Father and feel the perfect love He has for each of us.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Belgian Waffles

These are my FAVORITE waffles!  The whipped egg yolks make them light and fluffy and the cornstarch keeps them wonderfully soft.  

Belgian Waffles

Makes about 8 big waffles

3 egg yolks

2 cups milk
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 1/3 cups flour
1/4 cup corn starch
1/2 cup sugar
2 tablespoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

4 egg whites
A pinch of cream of tartar  
2 tablespoons sugar

Mix together flour, corn starch, sugar, baking powder, and salt.  In separate bowl mix together egg yolks, milk, oil, and vanilla. Beat the egg whites with cream of tartar until soft peaks form. Add the two tablespoons of sugar and beat until stiff peaks form.   Mix together the dry ingredient and wet ingredients then fold egg whites in to the batter. Do not over mix  Bake in a greased waffle iron.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

School Food Trays

Today I thought I would share one of my favorite tips for eating in front of the TV.  Yes, I know this is totally discouraged in this day of finding ways to keep you from overeating--and meals in front of the "boob tube"are taboo in the diet culture.  But, really, we all do it because, if there are just two of you and the kitchen island is covered with the stuff of life and the dining room table is just too big, and you want to watch "The Five," then in front of the TV it is!

 Years upon years ago I read a wonderful book entitled "Simplify Your Life,"  The subtitle is "100 Ways to Slow Down and Enjoy the Things That Really Matter."  Page 33 is on using food trays.  The author took herself on a personal retreat (awesome) and the place she stayed had a rule for taking food to your room--any food or drink leaving the kitchen had to be on a tray.  It saved on spills, crumbs, etc., and it's a great idea for taking food from your kitchen at home to your family room so that you can eat and view simultaneously.  I picked mine up at a thrift store.  They are school lunch trays.  The food in my picture looks like school food, too, LOL..but it was really yummy--and low fat-- and maybe I will share the recipes one day!

Source: Elaine St. James, Simplify Your Life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Stuffed Baguette

I am in favor of recipes that you can make ahead and leave in the fridge until needed.  This recipe reminds me of those pinwheel tortilla appetizers that you buy in the freezer section of Sam's Club.  I would imagine you could come up with several variations of this and pack them for picnics.


Baguette about 14 inches long

8 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature
4 oz. fresh goat cheese
1 large garlic clove, minced
1/2 c. finely chopped red bell pepper
1/2 c. finely chopped sun dried tomatoes in olive oil
1/4 c. finely chopped kalamata olives
2 oz. finely chopped spicy salami
2 T. minced Italian parsley
1 t. minced fresh thyme
freshly ground black pepper
salt to taste (if needed)


1.  Slice off both ends of the baguette.  Using a long thin knife and working from the both ends, hollow the baguette out leaving about 1/2 inch thick crust all around.

2.  Using an electric mixer beat the cream cheese until smooth and lump-free.  Beat in the goat cheese and garlic.  Stir in the rest of the ingredients.

3.  Working again from the both ends, fill the baguette with the cheese mixture.  Pack the filling tight.  Wrap the stuffed baguette very well in plastic and refrigerate for at least 2 hours and up to 2 days.  Right before serving, slice* the baguette into 1/2 inch thick slices and serve.  (I left them in larger sections but the small ones work great for appetizers.)

*Hint:  For the most neat looking slices, treat it as a cheesecake - each time slice it with a hot knife.


Monday, January 14, 2013

30 Minute Rolls!

I think this is my favorite recipe of all time! 

I use it to make dinner rolls, cinnamon rolls, hamburger and hot dog buns, crescent rolls, bread bowls for soup, etc. I think they should be called "45 Minute Rolls", because I've never made them in 30 minutes. I like to let them rise a little longer and bake a little slower than the original recipe calls for. Here's how I make the AMAZING dinner rolls you see in the picture.

(PS - this recipe makes 48 rolls, so you might want to half the recipe. I do the whole recipe and usually make a pan of 24 dinner rolls, and a pan of 24 cinnamon rolls!)


3 1/2 cups of warm water (as warm as a nice bath...not scalding)
1 cup oil (I use canola)
1/2 cup honey (or 3/4 cup sugar)
6 TBSP yeast

1 TBSP salt

3 eggs
10 1/2 cups flour (approximately) This recipe is FABULOUS for whole wheat rolls too!

1. I put the water, oil, honey and yeast in my Bosch and turn it on for just a second to mix it up a little. (You can do the same with a mixing bowl and wooden spoon.) Then I let it sit until the yeast rises up and is frothy looking. This might take 10-20 minutes, depending on how warm your mixture is and how fast the yeast grows.

2. Then I add the salt, eggs and half of the flour. The secret to good bread is not adding too much flour. Start off by adding half the flour and turn on the mixer. Then keep adding in a cup or less at a time until the dough forms a ball and is no longer sticking to the side of the bowl. The second it stops sticking to the bowl, do not add any more flour. Keep mixing for a few more minutes. Then turn it off and let the dough rise for about 10 minutes. I put a cloth over it to help it not dry out.

If you are using a bowl and spoon, follow the same directions. Just add half the flour at first and give it a good mixing. Then start adding in more flour until it gets difficult to stir. Then you can turn it out onto a floured counter and keep kneading in a little flour at a time until the dough stops being so sticky. It takes a little practice to know when you have the right amount of flour. But a little less flour is better than a little too much! Too much gives you a hard, dry bread.

3. Form into rolls. I divide the dough in half and work with one half at a time. I just gently press it out with my hands until it is about 1 inch thick. Then I take a cup and cut out rolls and place them onto my large baking sheet (half sheet pan). I can put 24 rolls on that pan, and they are placed touching each other.

4. Let the rolls rise for about 10 minutes or more until you think they look perfect, and put into the oven. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or so, or until they are lightly browned and are done in the center. You can brush them with butter when they come out of the oven. Get your honey butter and homemade jam ready, and ENJOY! (The original recipe says to bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. I like to cook them slower and not have them get so dark brown on the top.)


1. I use the Saf Instant yeast. It's a lot of yeast, but that's how it rises so fast! If you are not in a hurry, use less yeast. You can use 2-3 TBSP and still have fabulous rolls, but it will take longer to rise!

2. How to make cinnamon rolls: Take half the dough and roll it out into a rectangle about 1/4 inch thick. Pour on enough melted butter to coat the whole surface. Mix brown sugar and cinnamon together and spread on. I've never measured how much...maybe 2-3 cups brown sugar and 2 TBSP cinnamon. Be generous with the cinnamon....that's what makes them taste so amazing. Roll up the dough from one of the long sides, forming a long roll of dough. Cut into 1 inch slices and place onto the pan to rise. Follow the rest of the directions above for the rolls. I make a cream cheese frosting for mine. Of course, I never measure, so here's approximately what I do: Soften about 2 oz of cream cheese and 1 tablespoon of butter in a large plastic bowl. Add 3-4 cups powdered sugar, a dash of salt, 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, and a few (maybe 4??) tablespoons of milk. Mix with hand mixer. You may need to add more milk or powdered sugar to get the right consistency you like. I like it kinda medium like a cake batter, not thick like cake icing.

3. I have learned that making bread is really easy but can be tricky to give an exact recipe. It depends on what kind of flour you use, how warm the water is that you use, how your oven cooks, and a dozen other variants. When I use freshly ground whole wheat flour, I use a different amount than when using white flour. Just remember the rule about the dough forming a ball and pulling away from the bowl and not sticking to the bowl anymore. That's the precise moment when your dough has the perfect amount of flour. Also, I use a convection oven at 350 degrees (instead of a regular oven at 375 degrees) and cook two pans of rolls at once. In my mom's oven, I can only cook one pan at a time, and it cooks hot and uneven, so I lower the temp just a bit and rotate the pan halfway through the cooking process. With a little practice you can perfect the art of bread making!

Source: My mother in law, Glenna Coombs, first shared this recipe with me. She's a wonderful bread maker! 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Green Smoothie [For Beginners]

So... have you fallen into the Green Smoothie craze yet? If not, you really should. My husband and  I have been doing green smoothies for about a year now. I can honestly say that it's been the best "eating" decision we've made as a couple.

I know that if I have this smoothie for either breakfast or lunch, I instantly have 4 (1/2 cup) servings of fruit and 2 servings of veggies (if you use 2 cups of spinach).

Don't let the ingredients or color of the drink shy you away. This is a GREAT beginners recipe. I PROMISE you won't be able to taste the spinach! This makes a 32 ounce serving. It'll be really filling, and really tasty!

Beginner's Green Smoothie
1 cup water (you could also use juice, I just don't want the extra calories)
1 cup light vanilla yogurt
1/2 c. unsweetend natural apple sauce
1 frozen banana
1 heaping cup of frozen strawberries
1-2 cups of fresh baby spinach

- Put the ingredients in the blender in the order they are listed.
- Blend!
- Enjoy!

If you are doing Weight Watchers (like I am!) this whole drink is 4 points. You may be able to find a yogurt with less points... if you notice the only points in this drink is from the yogurt.

Want more of my smoothie ideas?
Blueberry Banana Smoothie
Jamba Juice's Strawberries Wild Knock Off

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Sticky Gooey Caramel Corn

We just got an air popcorn popper. You remember those? I hadn't seen one since I was a kid. We received one for Christmas and IT IS SO FUN! Delightful! It's the little things in life, you know?

I digress. The recipe, Kara. The recipe.

The name of this recipe is EASY. Quick and easy. Ignore the header. That's what it's name *should* be. And kiddos of all ages (even those of "Mature Years") will love it.

2 bowls of popped popcorn (I use one scoop full of kernels)
1 C butter
2 C Brown Sugar
3/4 - 1 C Light Karo Syrup
Nuts (opt)

1. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat.
2. Add the sugar and syrup. Stir constantly until it begins to bubble.
3. Boil for 1 min. (Continue stirring. You'd hate to burn it!)
4. Remove from heat and pour over the bowls of popcorn.
5. Stir carefully with a wooden spoon until all the popcorn is covered a fair amount. Add the nuts if you are using them.

Serve immediately--that's the way we like it! You can put it into balls if you wish. Just lay them on wax paper and let them cool.

Source: My long lost friend, Erika Johanson.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Lasagna Cupcakes

I can never seem to get lasagna noodles to cook correctly.  These lasagna cupcakes are made with wonton wrappers instead of traditional lasagna noodles.  They are a great alternative and work well for individual servings and kid portions.  This recipe is quick and easy, but I think it tastes better than traditional lasagna.

Olive oil
One onion and a few cloves of garlic 
1-1.5 pounds of ground turkey or beef
26-ounce jar of your favorite pasta sauce
Shredded mozzarella cheese
Shredded parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees
Cut up the onion and garlic cloves and cook in olive oil until translucent.

Add the ground turkey and cook until no longer pink.  
Add a jar of your favorite pasta sauce.

While the meat is cooking, grease the cupcakes pans with olive oil and press the wonton wrappers into the bottom on the pan.  You can use square or circle wonton wrappers.
Add a layer of the meat and sauce.

Then add a layer of the cheeses.  I simply sprinkle a little of each.
You could also add ricotta to the cheese mix.  If you do this, mix the three cheeses in a bowl and spoon the mixture in for the cheese layer.

Add another layer of the meat sauce and a layer of the cheese. 

Bake at 350 degrees for 18-20 minutes or until sauce and cheese are bubbly.

Makes 24-30 cupcakes.  
Let them cool for at least five minutes before removing them for the pan or they will not hold their shape.
Any part of the wonton wrapper that is not covered by the lasagna mix will be crunchy so make sure they are completely covered or pushed into the mix.
You can substitute the meat for veggies saut├ęd in olive oil and pasta sauce.

Source:  Adapted from a recipe on

Monday, January 7, 2013

Favorite Cheeseball

I was given a Lion House Christmas cookbook as a wedding gift.  One of the very first recipes I tried from it was this cheese ball.  At the time, all cheese balls seemed to include canned pineapple and that just grossed me out!  I didn't want any sweet in my savory!  It's been my go-to recipe for cheese ball ever since.  My kids request it for when we do party food for different celebrations.  After 20+ years, it's still a favorite!

Um, as for the spider....well, it was for a family reunion where we celebrated several holidays all in the same week (we called it Holiday Inn week) and I was in charge of Halloween.  I hope it doesn't freak you out too much.  I hate spiders and it freaked me out a little to make it!

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese, softened
2 cups finely grated sharp cheddar cheese 
2 Tbsp. finely chopped green onions
2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. lemon pepper

1.  In a mixing bowl, combine all ingredients and cream together until well-combined.
2.  Line a bowl with plastic wrap, leaving enough overhang to fold back over the cheese ball mixture you're going to put in it.  Firmly press the mixture into the bowl.  Flatten the top and fold the plastic wrap over to cover.  
3.  Refrigerate until ready to use.  Let it sit out for at least half an hour before serving.

  • Half a recipe makes about a 3-inch ball.
  • For a fancier looking cheese ball, you can form the ball inside wax paper or plastic wrap, then roll it in finely chopped pecans and finely chopped parsley, mixed together.  Then wrap it in plastic wrap to put in the fridge.  I don't do this anymore as my kids prefer it without nuts.
  • You'll have to eyeball what size bowl to use.  I usually use a wide soup bowl from my china, but I have also used other shaped bowls for a different look.
  • Serve with all types of crackers, pretzels, pita points, or bagel chips.  (Bagel chips are a favorite in my house!)

Friday, January 4, 2013

Apple Crisp

My cousin's nanny made this Apple Crisp for us last conference weekend.  It is truly the best Apple Crisp I have ever had!!!

Apple Crisp
For the filling:
5 large apples, peeled and sliced thin
1 lemon, zested and juiced
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup tightly packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Pinch kosher salt
For the topping:
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats (I like quick-oats best, but old-fashioned rolled oats are fine too)
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/4 stick cold unsalted butter, cut into pea sized pieces
1/2 cup chopped pecans
Pinch kosher salt
1 to 2 tablespoons cold water
Special equipment: 6 (6-ounce) ramekins OR large casserole dish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
For the filling:
Toss the apples in a large bowl with the zest and lemon juice. Add the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine. Divide the filling evenly between the ramekins.
For the topping:
Combine flour, oats, sugar, and brown sugar. Add butter; use your hands or a pastry blender to incorporate the butter. The mixture should be crumbly. Stir in pecans and salt. Add water, 1 tablespoon at a time until mixture is clumpy but crumbly.
Top each ramekin with the topping. Be sure to loosely sprinkle the topping and not pack it down. The idea is to look very crumbly and craggy. Place the ramekins on a sheet tray and bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until the filling is hot and bubbly and the topping, brown and crispy.

Source: Jenny Stewart

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Yummy Healthy Smoothie

So, how many of you are doing the "set a goal to lose weight" goal AGAIN this year?  Oh, come on, you know you did.  It's like the number one New Year's Resolution EVER!!  Anyway, it hit me tonight, as I looked at my calendar (didn't have time to check it yet this week.  What is that about?) that it was my week to post on Thursday.  After cleaning the kitchen and living room this morning, vacuuming up copious amounts of pine needles from the Christmas tree, going to my 3rd Zumba workout this week, doing a couple of loads of laundry, going back to work after the long Christmas break, working like crazy to catch up at said work, getting my entry ready for our Arts Council photo contest, running to the bank, yadda, yadda, yadda....I got home from work and had about 30 minutes to breathe and throw down a fold-over ham sandwich before a 6:00 planning meeting at church, prior to the youth meeting at 7:00 pm. I did NOT have time to whip up an amazing recipe to post, but I do have time to make a smoothie for my breakfast in the morning!  So I am going to go do that right now and snag a few pictures and then I will  be sharing that smoothie recipe with you!  Now we can work on our weight loss goal together!

2 cups of frozen fruit, we like blueberries
1 cup low fat vanilla yogurt, we like to use 2 containers of Activia
1/3 cup of Whey Protein, chocolate flavor
1 heaping tablespoon low fat peanut butter
Honey, to preference
Ground flax seed, about a tablespoon or so
1/2 banana
1/4 cup quick oats (or less), or a packet of instant oatmeal of desired flavor
6 oz. low fat milk, we use 1%

1.  Place the fruit in a blender, food processor, or "Ninja" and process for a few seconds.
2.  Add remaining ingredients and process until desired consistency.
3.  Pour desired amount in a glass and ENJOY your healthy beverage.