Monday, April 29, 2013

Pizza Dip

(FYI:  pictures below are from my personal blog and are watermarked with that address)

When I found this recipe on--where else?--Pinterest, I figured it would be pretty good.  I didn't know it would be AWESOME.  I made the original dip but also made a second dip with different toppings.  Both were a hit. But I have some bad news. If you make this for an event or party, you will have no leftovers to enjoy.

Ingredients:
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup sour cream
1/4 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1 cup pizza or spaghetti sauce
1/2 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
pizza toppings of your choice


1.  Mix the cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, 1/2 cup mozzarella, and 1/4 cup parmesan together in a bowl. Spread this into a shallow dish, like pie plate.
2.  Spread the pizza or spaghetti sauce on top. Sprinkle on the remaining cheeses and whatever toppings you like (I chose mini pepperoni slices for one and pineapple tidbits and Canadian bacon for the other).
3.  Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until it all looks deliciously melted and slightly bubbling along the edges.
4.  Serve with crackers of your choice, bread slices, breadsticks, etc.



For serving:  I got baguettes and sliced them diagonally, about 1/2" thick.  I drizzled them with a little olive oil, sprinkled them with salt and pepper, and baked them for about 8 minutes in a 425 degree oven.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

"Where Shall I Work Today?"

A Relief Society lesson at church was taken from the October 2012 General Conference talk "First Observe, Then Serve" by Sister Linda K. Burton.  During the lesson a story was related of a man who worried because he had not been asked to serve in "important" callings or positions in his ward congregation.  He felt somewhat diminished and fretted that at his age he ought to be having heavier leadership responsibilities and ought to be contributing more.  It reminded me of a poem by Meade McGuire that I ran across in college, so I thought I'd share it.  I think of this poem from time to time and it always reminds me that every contribution counts.

Father, where shall I work today?
And my love flowed warm and free.
Then He pointed out a tiny spot
And said, "Tend that for me." 
I answered quickly, "Oh no, not that! 
Why, no one would ever see,
No matter how well my work was done;
Not that little place for me."
And the word He spoke, it was not stern;
He answered me tenderly:
"Ah, little one, search that heart of thine.
Art thou working for them or for me?
Nazareth was a little place,
And so was Galilee."

christ-teaching-the-people-39554-gallery
image source: lds.org


Friday, April 26, 2013

Grandma's Brownies


Brownie's 2 day's in a row!  These are my Grandma's brownies. I love them!

1 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
2 heaping Tblsp. Cocoa
2 cubes melted butter (be careful pouring this in so as not to cook the eggs)
1/2 c. chopped nuts if desired.

Pre-heat oven to 325 degrees.
Mix all ingredients together and place in greased 9x13 cake pan.  Bake for 40-45 Min.  Top with frosting (I usually make my frosting to taste using butter, powdered sugar, cocoa, and milk)

Source: Grandma Larson


Thursday, April 25, 2013

Lunch Lady Brownies






Shut the front door!  Slap yo' Mama!  Have mercy!  Best danged iced brownies I have EVER sunk my teeth into (and I don't like my brownies with icing).  I am so dang serious.  This recipe came from Saltbox House  via Facebook or Pinterest.  I don't know.  Last week was a busy blur, so I have no clue.  I made a double batch (baker's half sheet pan worked great) right from the get-go because family was coming to grill out and Mike also needed something for a Relay for Life bake sale at work.  This will be my brownie recipe of choice from now on, and my family will expect nothing less.  Are you ready for this?



Ingredients:

For the batter--
1 cup butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup cocoa
2 cups sugar
4 eggs
4 tsp. vanilla
1 cup chopped nuts (optional)

For the icing--(make this while the brownies are baking)
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1/4 cup cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
dash of salt
1 tsp. vanilla (I added this ingredient.  Just thought it tasted better.)




1.  Melt the butter in the microwave and put into mixing bowl.

2.  Add cocoa and mix until smooth.

3.  Add flour and sugar.  Beat together and then add eggs, vanilla, and nuts, if desired.  Mix until combined.  Do not over stir.

4.  Spread evenly into greased and floured 9 x 13 baking pan (I used baking spray with flour and it worked fine).


5.  Bake 20-25 minutes at 350 F or until done.  Check at about 20 minutes. Toothpick inserted into center should come out clean.

6.  Remove brownies from oven and wait only about 10 minutes to frost them.  You want to frost while they are warm, not hot.

Results:  fudgy, cakey deliciousness!!


Source:  Bonneville Junior High School Brownies via Saltbox House (see link above)






Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden style)


     Thank you so much for inviting me to post on this wonderful blog! I love to cook and try new things, so I am looking forward to being here very much. 

    For my first post, I will share a wonderful soup we tried a few weeks ago. If you have ever tried Olive Garden's Chicken and Gnocchi soup, you will be as excited to try this as I was. I was pleasantly surprised by how easy this was to put together. We all loved it (kids included)! It is hearty, silky, and satisfying. And let's be honest, Gnocchi is just fun to say.

Chicken and Gnocchi Soup (Olive Garden Style)

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon EVOO
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 4 tablespoons flour
  • 1 quart half and half
  • 1/2 cup celery, finely diced
  • 1 cup onion, finely diced
  • 2 minced garlic cloves
  • 1 or 2-14 ounce cans of chicken broth (adjust to desired level of thickness)
  • 1 cup carrots, finely grated
  • 1 cup chicken breasts, cooked and diced
  • 1 package gnocchi, cooked  (usually in the pasta or prepared food sections of the store)
  • 1 cup of fresh spinach coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon parsley
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (optional, but you should use it!)

Instructions

Saute the onion, celery, and garlic in the butter and olive oil over medium heat until the onion becomes translucent. Cook gnocchi according to directions. Stir in flour to make a roux and cook out the raw flavor of the flour for about one minute. Add half and half. Add in the carrots and chicken. Once the mixture becomes thick, add the chicken broth. Stir until the mixture thickens again, add the cooked gnocchi, spinach, and seasoning. Simmer until soup is heated through. May season with additional salt to taste.

Notes: I used home canned chicken for speed and it was delicious. You could also use a Rotisserie chicken, which would give it an added flavor boost.

For those of you who don't know, Gnocchi is Italian for potato dumplings. 


Source: Copykat.com


Monday, April 22, 2013

Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

This is probably the recipe I get asked for more than any other. It is heavenly! If you like creamy, cheesy, gooey mac and cheese, this recipe is for you! The youth at church ask me to bring it to every pot luck dinner, and they scrape the pot clean! 


Crock Pot Mac and Cheese

Ingredients:
4 cups dry macaroni noodles
1/2 cup butter, melted
2 cans evaporated milk (you can use regular milk if you don't have this)
3 cups milk (Ok, I never measure this...I just add it until it looks almost right. See photo and note below.)
4 eggs, beaten
8 cups shredded cheese (I personally like the shredded Mexican Blend, but sharp cheddar is yummy too.)
Salt and pepper to taste 

Directions:
1. Cook macaroni noodles in salted water until done. Drain off water and put into crock pot.

2. Pour in melted butter, evaporated milk (or a few cups of milk), beaten eggs, salt and pepper. Stir until mixed.

3. Add about 6-7 cups of the shredded cheese. (You want to save a cup or two to spread over the top.) Mix in the cheese and add a few more cups of milk. Keep adding a little milk until you have it just right. You know you have enough milk when you pull back the noodles, and you can see milk a little below the surface. See photo. I have never measured the milk, because this is how my grandma and mom taught me to do it. : )

4. Put a cup or two of shredded cheese over the top of the mixture and cover with lid.

5. Cook on HIGH for 45 minutes to 1 hour (until it's nice and hot), and then turn it to LOW or WARM for another few hours. In my crock pot, if I leave it on LOW, it will burn the edges and overcook it, so I turn it down to WARM. It's done when the milk and eggs are absorbed and set.

6. Enjoy every last bite of this delicious macaroni and cheese! 

Notes:
1. This recipe makes enough to fill a huge 6 quart crock pot. If you have a smaller crock pot, you might want to half the recipe. You can also cook a half recipe in a casserole dish in the oven. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. It's done when the milk and eggs are absorbed and set. Some people like to take the foil off and let it bake uncovered for about 10 minutes so the cheese gets crusty. I like creamy and melty cheese, so I keep mine covered the whole time.

2. You can use whatever cheese you like, and as much or as little as you like. I have a friend who puts in some Velveeta cheese, although I would never do that because I am crazy over cheddar cheese. My point is, use your favorite cheese and make it your own!

3. I often make it without the evaporated milk and just use 2% milk or whatever I have in the fridge. I've even used reconstituted powdered milk and it turned out great. 

Source: I have made this for years and years and cannot remember when or why I first made it, or who might have given me the idea. All I know is that it is the best mac and cheese I have ever had!







Sunday, April 21, 2013

To Be The Best Parent


 

       Recently, I was having one of those spells where I thought I was doing a sub par job as a mother.  (I am just assuming that many other mothers have those feelings at one time or another.)  On one particular evening, as I went to my bedroom to retire for the night, I noticed some papers tied up with ribbon and a handwritten note on my pillow.  It was from my daughter. The following is an excerpt from that note:  "Hi Mommy!  I read this talk for Personal Progress.......and it made me think of you..........You are an amazing mother, whether you realize it or not.  You may not feel like it, but you've taught me a lot.  No one expects perfection from you.  You're doing a great job. Thank you so much for being spectacular you.  I love you!"

The talk she was referring to is by Elder Holland entitled,
"Because She Is A Mother".  In this talk, one mother wrote, "I am deeply moved that God finds His ultimate purpose and meaning in being a parent, even if some of His children make Him weep.  It is this realization that I try to recall on those inevitably difficult days when all of this can be a bit overwhelming.  Maybe it is precisely our inability and anxiousness that urge us to reach out to Him and enhance His ability to reach back to us.     Maybe He secretly hopes we WILL be anxious and WILL plead for His help.  Then, I believe, He can teach these children directly, through us, but with no resistance offered.  I like that idea.  It gives me hope.  If I can be right before my Father in Heaven, perhaps His guidance to our children can be unimpeded.  Maybe then it can be His work and His glory in a very literal sense."

Elder Holland says in this talk the same thing my daughter was trying to tell me, "In the name of the Lord, you are magnificent.  You are doing terrifically well.  The very fact that you have been given such a responsibility is everlasting evidence of the trust your Father in Heaven has in you.  He knows that your giving birth to a child does not immediately propel you into the circle of the omniscient.  If you and your husband will strive to love God and live the gospel yourselves; if you will plead for that guidance and comfort of the Holy Spirit promised to the faithful; if you will go to the temple to both make and claim the promises of the most sacred covenants a woman or man can make in this world; if you will show others, including your children, the same caring, compassionate, forgiving heart you want heaven to show you; if you try your best to be the best parent you can be, you will have done all that a human being can do and all that God expects you to do."

I feel to wish you all an early "Happy Mother's Day".  You are doing better than you think you are!



Friday, April 19, 2013

Lemon Curd Cheesecake

We served this cheesecake on Easter. It was unbelievably good! The lemon curd was so fresh. Homemade tastes so much better than jarred. It'll be worth your time to make it. It is the perfect Spring or Summer time dessert. Enjoy!


Lemon Curd Cheesecake

Ingredients:

Crust
2 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup sugar
2/3 cup butter, melted

Filling
3 packages (8 ounces each) cream cheese, softened
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs, beaten
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Glaze
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice
2 tablespoons grated lemon peel
6 tablespoons butter, melted

Directions
1. Combine the cracker crumbs, sugar and butter. Press onto the bottom and 2 in. up the sides of a 9-in. spring form pan. Place on a baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until set.
2. Place pan on a wire rack (leave oven on).
3. For filling, in a large bowl, beat cream cheese and sugar until smooth.
4. Add eggs; beat on low speed until combined. Stir in the lemon juice, lemon peel and vanilla just until blended. Pour into crust.
5. Return pan to baking sheet. Bake for 40-45 minutes or until center is almost set. Cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.
6. Carefully run a knife around edge of pan to loosen, but do not remove ring; refrigerate overnight.
7. Remove the ring when you are ready to glaze.
8. For glaze, in a small heavy saucepan, whisk the eggs, sugar, lemon juice and peel until blended.
9. Add butter; cook, whisking constantly, until mixture is thickened and coats the back of a metal spoon. Transfer to small bowl; cool for 10 minutes.
10. Cover and refrigerate until chilled. Spread glaze over cheesecake.

Refrigerate leftovers or freeze individual slices.

Source

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Baked Halibut Cakes

Hi all. My name is Becca and I am new to the Mormon Mavens in the Kitchen! I am so excited to be a part of this blog. 
The first recipe I am sharing is a twist on my mom's Halibut Cakes. I lived in Alaska growing up and we had a lot of fresh fish. One of my favorite dishes was my mom's halibut cakes. Lately my husband and I have been working on losing weight and so I wanted to try and lighten up the halibut cakes by baking them instead of frying them. To make sure they had a nice crisp crust, I used Panko breadcrumbs instead of the original breading of crushed saltine crackers.




Halibut Cakes

1 lb. halibut or other mild fish chopped into small chunks
2 large celery stalks-diced
1 small onion-diced
3 slices white bread-cubed
1 egg-beaten
2 Tbsp. mayonnaise
1 Tbsp. chopped parsley
1 tsp. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1-2 tsp. old bay seasoning

For breading:
1 1/2 C. panko crumbs
S&P to taste
Old bay seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees. Or you can set it to broil on low.
2. Saute onion and celery until tender.
3. Mix chopped fish, bread, mayo, parsley, lemon juice, egg, sauteed veggies and seasonings. Shape into patties.
4. Coat patties in breadcrumbs, place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Broil/bake about 3-4 minutes per side, or until the crumbs are golden and patties are cooked through.
Serve with tartar sauce and lemon wedges.


Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Ratatouille

For last week's family movie night, we decided to watch Ratatouille AND make ratatouille for dinner. It was my first time making it.  My verdict: it's tasty and healthy.  You can't beat that!

Ingredients:

1 package ravioli or some kind of pasta (optional)  
Olive oil
2 diced onions
5 cloves minced garlic
1 diced yellow pepper
1 diced red pepper 
1 diced eggplant
1 diced zucchini 
1 can crushed tomatoes (I used the basil, oregano, and garlic flavored kind)
1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Instructions:
  1. Heat a large skillet over high heat. Add in olive oil, then onions and garlic; cook until the onions are tender. Add in peppers, and cook until the peppers are tender. Season with salt and black pepper to taste. Remove and keep warm.
  2. Heat another pan over high heat, add in more olive oil and saute the zucchini until tender. Remove from pan and add to the pan with the onions and peppers mixture.
  3. Return the pan to high heat, add in the remaining olive oil and saute the eggplant until browned and softened. Add the tomatoes and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer; add the onions, pepper, and zucchini mixture.  Mix everything together well and continue to simmer for 3 minutes.
  4. Serve over cooked ravioli/pasta (follow cooking instructions) and then top with parmesan cheese.






Recipe adapted from www.pastaprima.com  

Monday, April 15, 2013

Bruschetta

Though this simple but satisfying snacketizer is best served with homegrown tomatoes, store-bought and out of season tomatoes still produce good results.  I don't have any amounts listed....hope that's copacetic with you.  Just adjust the amounts according to what YOU like.

Ingredients:
fresh tomatoes, diced
onion, diced (optional...I don't like raw onion so I leave it out)
basil (fresh or dried)
garlic powder
salt
pepper
olive oil
red wine vinegar
baguettes, sliced 1/2-3/4" thick
fresh parmesan cheese, grated

1.  Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Place baguette slices on cookie sheet.  Drizzle lightly with olive oil.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until edges are golden and middles feel like they're starting to get crunchy.
2.  In a bowl, combine tomatoes and onions.  Add your basil (see notes below), garlic powder, and salt to taste (don't over salt...you can always add more later).  Drizzle a little olive oil over it.  Then sprinkle on the red wine vinegar. Stir to combine.

How I Like to Eat It:
Okay....here we go.  Grab a toasted baguette slice.  Sprinkle on the grated cheese that I insisted you grate by hand.  Spoon the tomato mixture on top (yes, it is messy and you had better be doing this over a plate).  Sprinkle a little bit of salt over the top.  Now, take a crunchy bite and enjoy!

Notes:

  • Tomatoes--use whatever tomatoes look the most ripe and tasty.  
  • Basil--if you have fresh that's great...simply chiffonade to get the right amount (use more with fresh).  If using dry, sprinkle in a bit at a time until you get the right taste.  Here's a video on how to chiffonade fresh basil:
  • Garlic Powder--yes, you can use fresh, but I don't like to bite into raw garlic so I use the powder. 
  • Olive Oil--I just put in enough so that I can tell each piece of tomato is bathed but not swimming in it.
  • Red Wine Vinegar--I love this!  I put in more vinegar than oil, but I still don't have the whole thing swimming in it.
  • Baguettes--if you can help it, don't buy the ones that are really flat on top.  When you slice it, you are creating a little bread plate for your tomatoes so a flat baguette will make for a narrow plate.  Find the roundest ones you can.
  • Parmesan Cheese--I really must insist <wink> that you buy the lovely triangular cheese and grate it on the large holes using your cheese grater.  The powdered stuff in a can will NOT give you the same tasty results.
Source:  Honestly, I have no idea.  I've been making this for years!  But I have no idea where I got it from.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

For Peace at Home


A photo of my children several years ago. 


I had 5 children in 7 1/2 years. When my 5th child was born, my children's ages were 7 1/2, 6 1/2, 4, 2 and newborn. Yep, I even did that on purpose!  Life was definitely crazy, but OH SO MUCH FUN! But I'm not sure I would have called it PEACEFUL! 
At General Conference this past weekend, Elder Richard G. Scott gave a wonderful talk titled "For Peace at Home". I really loved it, and it has made me think back on those years when my children were young and being a mother was exhausting. But I look back at that time in our family and have such happy memories. Those were very good times, and even though our home may not have been quiet and peaceful (because we are a loud and crazy family), it was a time of wonderful peace and happiness in our lives. 
Then my children grew up to all be teenagers at once, and we still actually had a happy home with good, respectful children who loved us and they really loved each other too. (Of course, we had your typical teenage moments, but overall, they were really good kids.)
So I have been thinking about what made the difference. And I am convinced it was the little things we did on a daily basis, not the big grand events that have made the difference. 
One of my favorite scriptures is Alma 37:6. "By small and simple things are great things brought to pass."
It was the seemingly small things like having family prayer together every morning and night. It was reading the scriptures together every morning, even if one or two kids were wiggly or falling asleep. It was supporting each other in church assignments. It was having family dinner together as much as possible. It was having a fun Family Home Evening each Monday night where we had a short gospel lesson, did crazy "special numbers", played hilarious games, and had yummy treats together. Those are some of the things that I know have helped make a happy family. 
But you need to know that "special numbers" may have consisted of a spitting contest, or burping a song, but sometimes was something more dignified like playing a piano piece, or reciting a memorized scripture. I rarely had lessons truly prepared in advance. Many times we read articles out of the Friend or New Era, discussed a needed topic, or read a section out of For the Strength of Youth. Games could be anything from Duck Duck Goose, Hide and Seek in the Dark, Buckle Buckle Beanstalk, or having a rubber band war shooting army men off a Lincoln Log fort. And many times treats were whatever we could scrounge up from the pantry because we did not have time to make something really good. Those crazy made up treats were some of our favorite and most memorable.
Nope, everything was definitely not always perfect, cause that's not real life. But it was consistently doing these things that bound our family together in love and unity, that still exists today. Just a little note - I used to keep a Family Home Evening journal where I wrote down each week what we did. One entry said how fussy and whiny the kids were being, so I put them all to bed early and enjoyed a truly peaceful evening. Yes, life happens, but the happiness comes as you keep trying.
Here is a little excerpt from Elder Scott's talk: 
Many voices from the world in which we live tell us we should live at a frantic pace. There is always more to do and more to accomplish. Yet deep inside each of us is a need to have a place of refuge where peace and serenity prevail, a place where we can reset, regroup, and re-energize to prepare for future pressures.
The ideal place for that peace is within the walls of our own homes, where we have done all we can to make the Lord Jesus Christ the centerpiece...Regardless of your circumstances, you can center your home and your life on the Lord Jesus Christ, for He is the source of true peace in this life.
I’m sure you can identify the fundamental principles that center your home on the Savior. The prophetic counsel to have daily personal and family prayer, daily personal and family scripture study, and weekly family home evening are the essential, weight-bearing beams in the construction of a Christ-centered home. Without these regular practices it will be difficult to find the desired and much-needed peace and refuge from the world.
As you center your home on the Savior, it will naturally become a refuge not only to your own family but also to friends who live in more difficult circumstances. They will be drawn to the serenity they feel there. Welcome such friends into your home. They will blossom in that Christ-centered environment. Become friends with your children’s friends. Be a worthy example to them.
One of the greatest blessings we can offer to the world is the power of a Christ-centered home where the gospel is taught, covenants are kept, and love abounds.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Strawberry Lime Jam


I LOVE STRAWBERRY JAM!  I love that freezer jam tastes so fresh which I haven't found in a canned jam.  Well I haven't had a freezer so last year I added lime juice hoping it would help maintain the fresh flavor.  It did!  I love the lime and strawberry flavors together, so this year I added the zest.  It is so yummy. Enjoy.

Ingredients:
Low-Sugar Pectin (Sure Jell)
6 cups crushed strawberries (about 6 pints)
4 cups Sugar
1 tsp butter
Juice and zest from 1 large lime

-Wash 5 pint jars, and screw bands in hot soapy water (or you can run them through the dishwasher which is my preferred method).  Place flat lids in small saucepan and cover with water. Put saucepan on the stove.

-Measure sugar into a bowl.  MAKE EXACT MEASUREMENTS!  I slide a butter knife across the top of my measuring cup.

-In another small bowl  mix 1/4 cup of sugar, from the sugar you have already measured out, with a package of low sugar pectin (again I use Sure Jell).

-Clean strawberries and lime.  Crush strawberries in a food processor or smash with a potato masher.  DO NOT PUREE!

-Measure Strawberries into 6 or 8 quart sauce-pot.  Again MAKE EXACT MEASUREMENTS.

-Mix lime juice and zest into the mashed strawberries.

-Stir pectin-sugar mixture and butter into the strawberries.

-Bring mixture to a full roiling boil (doesn't stop boiling when being stirred) on high heat stirring constantly.

-Stir in the rest of the sugar quickly, bring back up to a full roiling boil stirring constantly. Boil for exactly 1 minute, again stirring constantly.

-At this point turn on the hotplate to the flat lids to high.

-Quickly ladle jam into jars, filling to the thread for the screw bands.

-Wipe the jar rims and threads with clean damp paper towel.

-Drain water off of flat lids and place on top of jars with screw bands, tightly.  Turn jars upside down for 5 minutes, then place them right side up.  Let stand for 24 hours.  Store unopened jam for up to a year.

Yields 4-5 pints

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Chicken with Tropical Barbecue Sauce



It was late in the day on Sunday and I really just wanted to throw something in the slow cooker for even later.  What did I have on hand?  First I checked my trusty Fix-It and Forget-It  Cookbook and right there on page 176 was the answer.  Thank you Lois Stoltzfus from Honey Brook, PA.  It was just a simple, no fuss meal but I was grateful to have it cooking away as I watched the afternoon session of our Church's world-wide conference.  Love my slow cooker.  Seriously.



Ingredients:
1/4 cup molasses
2 T. cider vinegar
2 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 t. prepared mustard
1/8-1/4 hot pepper sauce (I used about a teaspoon of Sriracha sauce, but that wasn't spicy enough)
2 T. orange juice
3 whole chicken breasts, halved ( I used about 5 boneless, skinless breasts)



1.  Combine molasses, vinegar, Worcestershire Sauce, and orange juice.  Brush over chicken.
2.  Place chicken in slow cooker (I poured the rest of the sauce mixture over the chicken).
3.  Cover.  Cook on Low 7-9 hours, or Hight 3-4 hours.

I served this with rice and some canned tropical fruit, chilled.  Yummmm....



Source:  Lois Stoltzfus, Fix-It and Forget-It, p. 176.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Mango-Strawberry Masque





This clarifying, hydrating masque unclogs pores and helps reduce acne.   Of course, you are certainly welcome to use it as a super healthy snack .                                                                                                                                                                                       Ingredients:

4 slices of mango (an antioxidant)
1/2 c. plain yogurt (an exfoliant)
4 strawberries (collagen boosters)

Directions:

1.  Mix all ingredients in a blender until you've got a paste.  Then massage onto skin.  Leave on for 10 minutes.

2.  Rinse off and shield your eyes from the glow you've unleashed!

 Source:  cosmoforlatinas.com

Monday, April 8, 2013

AMAZING 100% Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes!



You are going to LOVE these pancakes!!! They are delicious and made with wholesome ingredients. I like to make the batter a little thinner so I can get crunchy edges. 

Whole Wheat Oatmeal Pancakes

1. Mix all of the dry ingredients together in a mixing bowl:
2 cups whole wheat flour (I like to use Hard White Wheat and grind it fresh. Hard Red Wheat tastes really good too!)
1 cup oats (you can use instant or old fashioned rolled)
1/4 cup dry milk powder (mix in with flour)*
1/2 tsp salt
3 tsp baking powder

2. Now add the wet ingredients:
1/4 cup of oil (I like canola oil)
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/2 cups water (I use 3 cups to make the batter thinner so it makes those crispy edges! Yum!)

You can add in blueberries, chocolate chips, apple dices and cinnamon, some pumpkin and cinnamon, nuts, or whatever your heart desires!

3. Whisk batter until mixed well. Let sit for a few minutes. Do not stir again. It will flatten the batter.

4. Pour some batter onto a very hot and buttered griddle or frying pan. Let it cook on that side for a minute or so until edges start looking done and bubbles start to pop. Flip pancakes once and let finish cooking.

5. Serve with butter and syrup, fruit, or whatever you like on pancakes. My husband doesn't like to put sugary syrup on them, so he eats them with homemade applesauce. I'll stick with maple syrup! : )

These freeze well. Delicious and healthy!

*Notes: 
1. If you do not have dry milk powder, you can omit that and use 2 1/2 cups of milk in the place of water. The milk helps them brown nicely, so you at least need some. You could just use 1 cup of milk and 1 1/2 cups of water if you prefer to use less milk. 

2. I have a friend with a sweet tooth who said he added a few tablespoons of sugar to the recipe. I think he's crazy because then he drowns it in syrup, but whatever! Ha ha! If it makes him feel better, he can add sugar with no objection from me!

Source: Me : ) 


Sunday, April 7, 2013

General Conference

I think my 2 favorite weekends of the year happen the first week in October and the first week of April.  What a miraculous time we live in, that, in all corners of the earth we can hear a living prophet speak! I was so excited yesterday when they announced a new temple would be built in my home town of Cedar City Utah!!! But, I believe that the talk by Sister Elaine S. Dalton was what I needed to hear most.  Often times I find myself worrying more about what others think of me and forgetting that I am a daughter of God!  I know that the messages are inspired, and that we each will hear something that touches on something that we, individually, need.  



Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Sweet Potato and Turkey Chili

 This is chalk full of healthy veggies and protein.   It's perfect for a cold day.  It was our favorite chili this winter.  The chili has a unique flavor and the sweet potatoes are the best part!  It makes a big batch and freezes well so it's ideal for when you need to take a meal to someone else or are having guests over.

1 tablespoon olive oil 
1 diced large onion 
4 cloves minced garlic 
1 diced green bell pepper 
1 minced jalapeño
20 ounces ground turkey breast
2 teaspoons cumin
2  teaspoons kosher salt
½  teaspoon pepper
1  teaspoon oregano
1  teaspoon chili powder
2  teaspoons paprika
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 inch cubes
1 28 ounce can tomatoes (not drained)
3 15 ounce can black beans, drained and rinced
32 ounces beef broth (one box/carton)
1 28 ounce can pumpkin puree (make sure you’re not using pumpkin pie filling 
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder



Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat.  Add olive oil and saute onion, garlic, bell pepper, and jalapeno for 5-10 minutes, until veggies are tender and fragrant.   Add turkey and cook until no longer pink.  Sprinkle in cumin, salt, pepper, oregano, chili powder and smoked paprika.   Add turkey mixture to slow cooker.




Add sweet potatoes, tomatoes, beans, broth, pumpkin and stir.  



Then add the cinnamon, and cocoa powder to slow cooker and mix it all together well.  Place lid on pot and cook for  4-6 hours on high, or 8-10 on low.   The chili is done when the sweet potatoes are soft.



When done, turn off heat and let chili sit with lid off for 10-15 minutes to thicken.  



Recipe adapted from Our Best Bites



Monday, April 1, 2013

Frog Eye Salad

Although this recipe has been around quite a while, it still seems to be unknown to many.  At a recent church function I was asked two questions about it:  "What is this?" and "Can I have the recipe?"  It makes a lot and is a very satisfying side dish or light dessert.

Ingredients:
1 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. flour
1 tsp. salt
1 3/4 cup pineapple juice (reserved from canned pineapple)
2 eggs, beaten
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 16-ounce package acini de pepe pasta
2 11-ounce cans mandarin oranges, drained
1 20-ounce can crushed pineapple, drained and juice reserved
2 20-ounce cans pineapple chunks, drained and juice reserved
1 9-ounce carton non-dairy whipped topping
marshmallows
coconut
maraschino cherries, halved

1.  Combine sugar, flour, pineapple juice, and eggs in a medium saucepan stirring well to combine.  Cook over medium heat until thickened stirring often.  Remove from heat, add lemon juice and stir to combine.  Set aside to cool.
2.  Cook acini de pepe pasta according to package directions.  Drain, rinse with cool water, and set aside to cool.  (Unless you have a sieve-type large collander, you may have to line your collander with paper towels like I did.....otherwise the pasta will escape through the holes!)
3.  In a large bowl, combine the cooled egg mixture and the cooled pasta.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap (or lid if you have it) and refrigerate until serving time.
4.  When ready to serve add the fruit, whipped topping, marshmallows, coconut, and cherries.

Notes:

  • The amounts for the marshmallows, coconut, and cherries are up to you.  I like a lot of each, so I added almost a whole bag of mallows, about half a bag of coconut, and a large jar of cherries.
  • This salad keeps well in the fridge after the initial serving but is always best right after the last ingredients are added.  To "freshen" it up a bit after it's been in the fridge, just add some more whipped topping.
  • Acini de pepe pasta is not hard to find in most grocery stores.  It's just with all the other pastas, not in a special section or anything.  It looks like little balls....it's the "frog eye" in this salad.
Source:  I got it for the first time from my sister, Amy (fellow Maven known as "Amos")