Posts tagged ‘YUM’

September 21, 2012

Corny!

I love saving summer sweet corn for use in the long winter months!  Cutting corn off the cob can be tricky, messy and dangerous, but years ago my grandma gave me a genius tip that takes care of all that.  Grab yourself some blanched sweet corn {put ears of corn in boiling water for 5-6 minutes, then immediately put it into ice water to cool} and an angel food cake pan and take a look at this video!

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September 18, 2012

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins

I’d love to show you a photo of my scrumptious zucchini chocolate chip muffins, but they never last long enough to capture on film!  But, trust me, you’re going to want to keep track of this recipe!  Every time I make them, my kids smother me with hugs and kisses and tell me I’m the best mom ever.  Not even kidding!  They love these things that much.

This year I haven’t gotten any zucchini from my garden.  Nope, not. a. single. one.  Major {un}perfect fail!  Still not sure what the problem was.  Luckily I had some generous friends who were willing to share a few of their billy club sized green monsters, which I immediately shredded and froze for future muffin-making.

When I make these, I always double the recipe so I end up with at least 4 dozen.  I freeze about half of them and *try* to forget about them so that we don’t finish all 48 within the week.  Sometimes I make the double batch with half  shredded zucchini and half mashed bananas.  SO GOOD!  And, without further ado…the recipe!

Zucchini Chocolate Chip Muffins
makes 24 muffins

  • 3 cups flour
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup vegetable oil {or substitute unsweetened apple sauce}
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Combine dry ingredients {flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon & salt} in a medium bowl
  2. In a separate bowl mix eggs, oil, milk, lemon juice and vanilla
  3. Stir wet ingredients into dry and mix until moistened
  4. Fold in zucchini and chocolate chips
  5. Fill greased or paper-lined muffin cups 2/3 full
  6. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes
  7. Try not to burn yourself sneaking a taste of these babies straight out of the oven

**You can thank me later** 🙂

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February 20, 2011

Sometimes I forget

This afternoon/evening, the boys are away, so it’s just A and me for dinner.  While at D&W, the cute little sushi rolls were calling to me.  A is such a great eater and will try most anything, so I asked if she was up for trying sushi and egg rolls for dinner.  As usual, she was game.  I bought the smallest “snack pack” I could find.  It had 4 each of avocado, cucumber, carrot and {imitation} crab.  Nothing too scary. 

{cute little snack pack. we'll just ignore the spicy stuff in front there}

Miss A tried the crab roll first and loved it.  She loved the avocado one, too.  Cucumber and carrot not so much.  I’m proud of her for giving it a shot–I even told her about the seaweed! 

{A gives her crab snack roll a thumb's up!}

Enter the {un}perfection… while I think little sushi rolls are super cute, and I love all the ingredients, the seaweed smell really grosses me out.  If I shove the whole thing in my mouth really quickly I’m ok, but if I linger too long or take more lady-like bite, I have to choke it down.  And sometimes I forget that.

February 20, 2011

Grande Chemically Processed Latte, please

I *love* coffee.  That’s one of my favorite things about winter–warming up with some yummy creamy coffee.  Caramel is my absolute fave, but I’m open to other flavors, too.  A few days ago I came across a post on Deliciously Organic where Carrie posted recipes for coffee creamer withOUT using processed ingredients.  I’m not hugely concerned about that, but I’m gradually coming around to seeing the benefits of sticking with natural {and sometimes organic} foods.  We’ve switched almost exclusively to organic free-range locally farmed eggs, we’re growing our vegetable garden without chemical fertilizers, our beef comes from grass-fed locally raised cows, same with our pork.  And I just recently discovered a source for organic free-range chicken.  When I can afford it, and when it makes sense I’m going natural/organic.  So when I came across these creamer recipes {and I have to admit, I go through the creamer!!} and was reminded that most creamers are full of artificial colors, flavors, preservatives, refined sugars, high fructose corn syrup, and hydrogenated oils, I thought I’d give it a shot.  I love homemade things as long as it’s not too tricky and these recipes looks pretty darn simple! 

Little Miss A and I stopped at the store on the way home from church today {while the Hubs and Mr. M headed to the in-laws’ for the afternoon} and I picked up the ingredients I needed to make the caramel creamer.  Good thing we did–in the last 4 hours we’ve gotten over 6″ of snow…and sleet and freezing rain is in the forecast in the next few hours.  Faaaaaannnntastic.  {sarcasm dripping}  At least I’ll be able to cozy up with my girl, some movies and a hot cup of creamy caramelly coffee goodness! 

Here it is, friends:

CARAMEL CREAMER

The caramel recipe makes twice what you need for the coffee creamer recipe. You can store the caramel in the fridge to use for another coffee creamer recipe or use it to drizzle over ice cream. Makes about 2 1/2 cups
Caramel:
3/4 cup organic whole cane sugar or sucanat
5 tablespoons water
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream {I used half & half to make it a little lighter}
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

{Not the cheapest option, but more natural and has a great rich flavor}

Put the cane sugar and water in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Continue to simmer until mixture reaches 240ºF. {I don’t have a candy thermometer, just a meat thermometer that only goes up to 200º so I heated it about a minute or so after it hit 200º} Remove from heat and whisk in cream and vanilla. Cool.

Creamer:
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup whole milk {again, I used 2 cups half & half, instead of buying cream AND milk}
1/2 cup homemade caramel

Whisk together cream, milk and caramel in a medium saucepan over medium heat. When the mixture begins to steam, remove from the heat. Pour into a glass bottle and store in the refrigerator. {I didn’t have a glass bottle, so I poured it into a canning jar.  Umm…maybe I’m not that coordinated, but it made a mess when I poured it!  So I poured it back into the half & half container since it had a screw on cap.  I had a small amount that didn’t fit, so I put it into another container and sent A across the street to share it with K.N. 🙂 } 

{mason jar = cute for photo = not at all practical for pouring}

{yummmmmm...}

 For more great organic/all-natural creamer {and other} recipes, check out what Carrie has over at Deliciously Organic!

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February 15, 2011

Love is in the air!

The Hubs is one of those who thinks Valentine’s Day is a lame Hallmark holiday, but he “celebrates” it to appease me {what a guy}.  This year {in the spirit of lowering my expectations}, I decided to try a few things with the kids to make it a day of celebrating love in a FUN way!  I think we all had a good time, it was special, and it didn’t cost much at all.

Miss A and I started our celebration a little early on Sunday afternoon with custom heart-felt manicures.  A wanted red, pink AND fuchsia {why not?}, so we alternated the colors, then topped them off with hearts drawn on with a nail art pen.  I painted my nails fuchsia and did 1 heart on my thumb 🙂

{I ❤ this manicure}

 Monday morning I had a special breakfast for the kids: Jell-O jigglers! {I know, I don’t usually share the kids’ names, but I wanted to show the Jell-O 🙂 }

Of course, in my true {un}perfect impulsive way, I decided to make the jigglers the night before and had to use what I had on hand.  Jigglers take 4 boxes.  I had 2 Grape, 1 sugar-free Strawberry and 1 sugar-free Raspberry.  Made for an interesting flavor…

{darn his long name and our little plates!}

{He said, "Yum! I wuv Jeww-O! Hey, how did the Jeww-O know my name??"}

I love making treat bags for the kids’ holiday parties–this one was no exception.  And because my kids LOVE them, I slaved and included some pretty cute cake pops.

{another pic because they're just so cute!}

{my little heart breaker}

{A's teacher painted hearts on the kids' faces--so cute!}

Regrettably, I didn’t get a pic with The Hubs, but honestly, neither of us was looking too hot that morning.  He did, however give me a nice card and a certificate for a mani/pedi/massage.  Ahhh…can’t wait!    I, being equally sweet, gave him this:

{card by upupcreative.com}

That evening I spent a romantic evening with some of my girls, watching the Bachelor.  I made these bad boys especially for them! 

{chocolate cake pops made with chocolate frosting and chocolate candy coating--for my chocolate loving Valentines!}

{C.Y., J.J., K.N.}

February 1, 2011

Let’s get comfortable

Like I mentioned earlier, we’re snowed in here.  School has already been cancelled for tomorrow and, while I’m not exactly thrilled about the kids not having school {and therefore me not having some “me” time}, I’m just going to live into it and get comfy.  We’re not going anywhere so I might as well enjoy it, right?  So, I’m already catching up on my DVR’d shows with a glass of yummy Moscato and eating one of my favorite comfort foods.  And that got me thinking…about comfort food.  What’s your go-to food when you’re sad, cold, tired, lazy, etc.?  Mine can vary, but at the end of the day, if available, I’ll always go for Wheat Thins.  Sometimes Wheat Thins and cheese, sometimes Wheat Thins with tuna.  Yep, tuna.  My all-time favorite comfort “meal” is Wheat Thins, tuna and Diet Dr. Pepper.  A bit random and not at all healthy {except for the protein in the tuna, I suppose}, but oh man do I feel good when I eat it! 

{my #1 staple}

So tell me…what’s YOUR go-to comfort food??

{mixed with olive oil mayo...yum}

{make it diet, please}

 

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January 12, 2011

Today’s salad brought to you by Hamm the pig and Bubba the beef-cow

{steak and bleu salad}

For the last 3 days I’ve been enjoying this fabulously yummy salad.  Yes, I’m a creature of habit who likes to try new things.  Make sense?  I like to try new things, then when I find something I like, I eat it…a lot. 

Let me back up by telling you about the pig and the cow.  This past summer we decided to take a different approach with some of our meat–locally grown/raised.  This way we’d know it was fed the healthiest kinds of food, that there were no artificial growth hormones used and other things like that.  Buying meat like this isn’t for everyone, but we decided to give it a shot!  A friend of ours was raising pigs and asked if we wanted one.  Sure, why not?  The kids had fun “visiting” the pigs at different stages of their growth.  We ended up splitting a pig with the in-laws in August.  We’ve still got some of the bigger cuts left, but the pork sausage {unseasoned, so it’s basically ground pork} flew out of the freezer {when pigs fly??}!  For anything I would’ve used ground beef, I used the ground pork.  It was a great subtle change.  We enjoyed having the meat in the freezer so much that when we learned of another friend raising grass-fed beef cows, we were definitely interested!  A month and a half ago we split 1/2 a cow with 3 other families.  That’s a lot of beef!  But we’re going through it and oh, is it goooood.  We just learned that our friend with the pigs has 1/4 cow to offer and you’d better believe we’ll be taking it.  I’m definitely sold on buying local meat!  I’m really enjoying transitioning to homegrown, local food.  We’ll give the garden another shot this spring/summer and we’re considering getting a few chickens {I know!!}.  There’s a home  near our church that sells organic/free-range eggs {XXL in brown, light blue, mint green} and I’ve been buying them there for about 9 months.  I’m excited to possibly have our own chickens so we’re not spending $3/dozen…yikes!

Ok…back to the post!  One of my favorite restaurant salads is Boston’s steak & blue salad.  The other night I pulled a big ol’ sirloin steak out of our deep freeze for dinner.  The Hubs is very much a meat-n-potatoes kinda guy and, while I like my fair share of meat and potatoes meals, I wanted something a little lighter…with a few more veggies involved.  I remembered my fave salad and thought I’d try my hand at recreating it.  It turned out so fantastically fabulous that I had it for dinner again last night and for lunch today.  Not sick of it yet 🙂

To start, I threw a healthy heap of romaine in my salad chopper along with some grape tomatoes, crumbled bacon {yum–fresh, thick cut!}, crumbled gorgonzola and chopped it a bit.

I sliced some of the “like butta” steak {medium rare}

{Mmm...I heart this steak!}

Then added my butter toffee almonds, dried cranberries and some dressing {I used about a 1/2 Tbsp T. Marzetti’s Strawberry Chardonay and 1/2 Tbsp ranch} and tossed it with a spatula. 

{pre-toss. almost done}

{essential to all my best salads}

Seriously, I could eat this salad for lunch and dinner every day for a week, I think!  Oh, and I’ve had a lot of questions about the salad chopper.  You can see it in the above pics, and you can find it at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx for $10-15.  I would highly recommend getting one!  I know my previous list of ingredients seemed long, but when else do you get that many veggies in all at once?  Heck, I wouldn’t normally eat some of those veggies, but in a chop salad, I can’t get enough.  My kids will even eat a chop salad!

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January 10, 2011

Guitar Hero I am not {continued failure on my unofficial quest for perfection}

Last night was another one of those sigh-inducing scenarios for me.  Monkey M’s 4th birthday is tomorrow and today was his day to bring his birthday treat to school.  He LOVES cake pops {thank you, BAKERELLA!} so I decided to make some for his treat.  He’ll be having a rock-n-roll studio recording party this Saturday {he loves drums even more than cake pops}, so I got the bright idea to make little tiny guitars and drums out of fondant to stick on the cake pops.  {sigh}  Why do I make my life so difficult?  The pops aren’t that big to begin with, so I can’t use a cookie cutter…so how to make the tiny {approximately 1″} guitars/drums?

FONDANT: M’s favorite color is green & I had bought white fondant.  I used food coloring to get the right hue.

GUITARS: I bought a tiny wooden guitar from Micheal’s, put it on top of the rolled out fondant and traced it with an exact-o knife.  After the guitars hardened a bit, I dipped a toothpick in sparkly black decorating gel to “draw” the strings and other details of the guitars.  {Seriously?!  What was I thinking?!}  After the gel dried a little bit I brushed on a coat of metallic green {leaf green pearl dust mixed with a drop of lemon juice and a drop of water to make a “paint”}.

DRUMS: There were no tiny wooden drums to trace, so I free-handed them all before cutting them out with the exact-o knife.  I then drew on the details with the black sparkly decorating gel.  After attaching the fondant to the pop, I used the gel to draw drum sticks.

While the itty-bitty instruments were hardening off the side I got everything else ready.  {I had already prepared the cake balls and they were chilling in the freezer}  I dipped the pops in the melted chocolate and, while it was still wet I stuck the fondant shapes to the side.  Easier said than done, trust me.  I was NOT happy with how they turned out, but I reminded myself that I was making these for a class full of 3- and 4-year-olds.  Are they really going to care if the strings aren’t straight?  Or if the drum sticks are crossed or not?  Nope, I think they’re going to look at them and see a ball of chocolate on a lollipop stick and think–YUM!  Sugar!  Once I got past my penchant for perfection {and, let’s face it, I love the reaction I get for my crafty creativity} I moved on to the cake pop holder I found.  Cardboard, made by Wilton, cheap {$5.99 and then an additional 40% off w/ coupon}, reusable, way cuter than the chocolate-dropping-covered disc of styrofoam I usually use for letting my cake pops dry…how could I go wrong?  Assembling that thing should NOT have been as difficult as it was!  {sigh}  Oh well, I eventually got it put together, wrapped some green ribbon around the “plates” and it turned out pretty cute.  So…what do you think?

{tiny guitars and tiny drums on yummy little cake pops}

Here’s where more went wrong…the pops started to crack.  Guess I should’ve listened to the cake pop master when Bakerella said don’t freeze them, just chill them.  They expand as they warm back up–duh!

{cracking up}

 

{Such a bummer! Probably the best guitar...and the pop cracks.}

 

{cake pop counter chaos!}

 

{couldn't send the cake pop holder to school with an empty top tier and I just didn't have any more instrument-making in me...}

 

{some with sprinkles, some with pearl dust}

{my birthday boy with his special birthday treat. Can you tell he's excited??}

Despite my {un}perfect results, when M came downstairs this morning and saw them all, the look on his face was pure perfection in my book!

January 10, 2011

Bowl full of joy!

{healthy goodness}

Some days I love nothing more than to fill my salad chopper with all the yummy fruits and veggies I can rustle up, add some chicken and feta, give it a good chop and VOILA!   Here I have what my friend C calls a “bowl full of joy”!  I might be imagining things, but I truly believe that regular bowls full of this deliciousness have been the thing to keep my winter sickness at bay so far.  But like I said, maybe I’m imagining things…but it can’t hurt, right??

{My typical chop salad includes: romaine, spinach, tomatoes, green/orange/yellow peppers, cucumbers, apples, strawberries, avocado, chicken, feta, dried cranberries, butter-toffee sliced almonds {YUM!}, and a touch of Brianna’s “New American” creamy balsamic vinaigrette dressing}

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