Monday, September 5, 2011

new recipe anyone???

Well guys, I just don't have much free time as of late... SORRY! But, I did discover one fantastic recipe that MUST be shared. Literally, to die for. And semi-healthy (as brownies go). Anyway, it's zucchini brownies. I can't take the credit for the recipe, but here's the link:

Also, if you shred the zucchini, the batter will be super dry. Don't worry! The zucchini will make it moist. Yes, there are no eggs in the recipe. Also, if you puree the zucchini, you won't be able to tell there are vegetables in these brownies at all. They'll be super fudgy, chocolatey, and yummy!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

well, I tried...

To anyone who reads this blog...sorry! I haven't posted much lately. However, I will get back into it. Soon. Right now, I have a MILLION projects to get caught up on. So, just sit tight, and I'll get more posted in a few weeks! :-)

Monday, July 25, 2011

Sunday Suppers #6

I've been composing this blog post in my head all evening, and boy do I have a lot to say! Maybe with Clayton being at scout camp, I feel like I have no one to talk to. I mean, obviously he rarely talks back when I am talking (sometimes I am just sure he's not listening, but then he can spit back what I just said word for word), but it's nice to know that there is someone there capable of conversation. :-) Anyway, on to the food, because that is really what everyone wants to hear about! This week, since I'm alone, I figured I'd try some new, smaller things. With Clayton gone, I can have fruit and yogurt for dinner and not think twice, and I don't need to pack up leftovers for lunches because I get free lunches at work. So here are a few things I've tried so far. If anything else goes over really well, maybe I'll post it.

Disclaimer: Experimentation with me usually means throw stuff together till it looks good. In other words, these "recipes" are very loose measurements.

Philly Chicken Flatbread Sandwiches

I went to the store on Saturday and chicken drumsticks were on sale ridiculously cheap. So I grabbed some and we had bbq chicken for dinner. However, we had leftovers, and I'm not big on eating meat by itself. I like it better surrounded by pasta or a taco or something. So, to get rid of the extra, I pulled the chicken off the bone and made flatbread sandwiches (on the flatbread that was on clearance in the bakery!).


1/3 c. Sliced Onion

1/2 c. Sliced Green Bell Pepper

Salt and Pepper to taste

1 c. Shredded, cooked chicken

3 Tbsp. cream cheese

2 deli slices Pepperjack or Provolone Cheese

Sandwich spread*

2 pieces of flatbread

Toppings: Lettuce, tomato, cucumber, etc.

*So this could be as simple as mayonnaise, but if you like a little extra flavor look in the dairy section of the grocery store. There are lots of flavors of cream cheese spreads. We have a spread that is actually a "chip dip" but it is a roasted red pepper flavor with a sour cream base. We really like it.

Sautee the onion and bell pepper in butter until tender. Add chicken, salt and pepper. Cook until heated through. Add cream cheese and sliced cheese and stir until melted. Prepare flat bread by warming for a few seconds in the microwave. Add sandwich spread and any toppings, then the philly mixture!

Spinach and Ham Omelet

Clayton asked for a snack, and I decided to make him an omelet. I've realized that there are a couple secrets to omelets that took me a while to figure out:

1. Use a pan that is the size you'd like your omelet to be. (You can't contain your egg in half of the pan).


Grease the pan with a little butter or cooking oil and heat over medium-high. Scramble 2 eggs and add 1-2 Tbsp of milk. Add salt and pepper to taste. Pour eggs in skillet. Allow them to cook without stirring until the bottom is completely set. Using a rubber spatula, lift up part of the egg and tilt the pan to that side to allow the liquid egg still on top to run down underneath the cooked egg. Continue until all liquid egg is now underneath the cooked egg. Wait about 30 seconds-1 minute and flip the omelet over with a spatula. Add toppings. I used a handful of spinach, torn up deli sliced ham, and a small handful of mozzarella. Let sit for about 30 seconds, then slide onto a plate and fold in half.

Turkey and Roasted Red Pepper Burgers

My goal for these was to have something a little better than a regular old burger. And I got it! YUM!

Sprinkle basil and your favorite chicken seasoning (mine is a garlic/red pepper/sea salt blend) onto turkey patties and incorporate by rolling into a ball and re-forming the patties. I read in a Rachel Ray cook book that if you make the patties thicker on the edges, when it cooks, it will become a flat burger instead of puffed in the middle. Cook the patties in a greased skillet for about 5-7 minutes on each side. Cook until no longer pink in the middle. Add a slice of your favorite cheese (I put on mozzarella) and heat until melted.

For the chutney topping, cook 1/3 c. onions and 1 Tbsp garlic in butter until carmelized (about 15-20 minutes on medium heat). Add 1 roasted red pepper and cook until heated through.

Put your favorite toppings on a hamburger bun (we used potato buns with lettuce and bbq sauce), then add the burgers and chutney.


I feel like you can never go wrong with a smoothie unless you put ingredients in that don't taste good, but expect them to magically taste great when mixed together. Otherwise, go crazy! My smoothie this morning had roughly:
1/2 c. vanilla yogurt

1 banana

1/2 c. frozen strawberries

1/4 c. mixed berry juice

small handful of spinach (for extra nutrients -- mix it well and you won't taste it).

It was surprisingly sweet!

Well, there's my blog for the week. I'll let you know if I come up with any more great single serving style meals!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Sunday Suppers #5

Well, Sunday Suppers are being blogged about on Tuesday this week. Oh well, it’s been a busy week already. And I’m now on a plane headed to Texas for a dance conference. Saturday I’ll fly to Tennessee to spend a few days with my family!

It seems like some weeks I make to completely different dishes, and other weeks I make things that are very similar… Well, this week I wanted to make pasta primavera, and Clayton asked for Turkey Tetrazzini. He didn’t know what it was, but he saw it at work, in the freeze dried meal cans. So, when I asked for suggestions, he said that’s what he wanted. I ended up going to the grocery store and deciding that I didn’t want to buy a whole turkey, and turkey breasts are just too expensive. So, we had chicken tetrazzini instead. I just took a turkey tetrazzini recipe I found online and modified it for chicken instead. It turned out SOOOO good! It is a little longer than many of my recipes, but it is basically just a regular white sauce with cheese and seasonings.

Chicken Tetrazzini

½ sweet onion, diced

¼ c. butter

¼ c. flour

1 c. milk

1 can cream of chicken soup

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. pepper

¼ tsp. ground mustard

1 tsp. poultry seasoning

1 red bell pepper, diced

2/3 c. shredded cheddar

1 pound cooked chicken, diced

1 box thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta

1/3 c. shredded cheddar

Cook pasta to package directions and drain. Set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Melt butter in sauce pan over medium heat. Add onions and cook until tender. Slowly add flour, stirring with a whisk. The mixture should become very thick and have a grainy appearance. Slowly add the milk, stirring briskly so that no lumps form. Add can of soup and cook until heated through. Add seasonings, red bell pepper, and 2/3 cup of cheddar. In casserole dish, layer ½ pasta, ½ chicken, and ½ sauce then repeat. Top with 1/3 cup of shredded cheddar and bake for 25 minutes.

The other dish we made was pasta primavera. Clayton and I make it frequently, and it is different every time. I don’t think that it really matters what kind of pasta or veggies you use, and you can add meat or leave it vegetarian! My goal for this time was A LOT of vegetables!

Pasta Primavera


¼ c. butter

½ sweet onion, diced

1 green bell pepper, diced

¼ c. flour

1 ¼ c. milk

½ c. parmesan

½ -1 c. shredded mozzarella

½ tsp. dried parsley

1 tsp. salt

¼ tsp. black pepper

One box of pasta of your choice (I like fettucini or rotini), cooked and drained

About 1 pound of veggies of your choice (I cooked ½ pound of carrots and ½ pound of sugar snap peas)

Melt butter over medium heat in sauce pan and cook onion and bell pepper until tender. Add flour to make a thick rue. Slowly whisk in milk and cook until mixture thickens. Add parmesan and mozzarella, adding more or less to taste. Add seasonings, more or less to taste. Toss with cooked pasta and vegetables. YUM!

My last dish of the day was fish. We really like fish, but it gets so expensive… This week “Wahoo” fish fillets were on sale. They were thick filets, almost more like the cut of a tuna steak. For these, I heated up my large skillet with olive oil and cooked minced garlic until browned. I added the fish and sprinkled each filet with lemon juice, salt and pepper, and cooked for about 5 minutes on each side (sprinkling both sides with the seasoning. They were really yummy, but you could add a little more flavor with a good sauce. Maybe a spicy hollandaise…I’ll keep experimenting with that one and get back to you!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Fresh Lemons!

Clayton really likes milkshakes. I feel like they are not the best choice because you drink WAY more ice cream than you would eat if it was in a bowl. Milk shakes are really just ice cream with about 1-2 Tablespoons of milk for every cup of ice cream! So, we came up with an alternative. Also I had a bunch of fresh lemons!

First, we made a lemon syrup -- equal parts lemon juice, water, and sugar and heated until the sugar was dissolved. Cool the syrup off and add water to taste and you have lemonade! Or if you want to get fancy, try this:

Lemon Julius
3/4 c. lemon syrup
1 c. milk
1 c. water
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. sugar
10-12 ice cubes
1 large scoop of vanilla ice cream (optional)

Mix the first five ingredients together in a blender. Add ice cubes one at a time through the whole at the top. If you want a creamier, more decadent dessert, add the ice cream. Pour and serve! (Makes 3-4 servings)

Want to make it easier? (Although fresh lemons are better...)
You could tweak the recipe by using 1 3/4 c. of already prepared lemonade and omitting the water. Then you'd need to add 1-2 Tbsp. each of bottled lemon juice and sugar to get the lemonade to have the potency of the lemon syrup.

It tastes a lot like a orange julius, but has that refreshing taste that you only get from lemonade! YUMMY!

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Sunday Suppers #4

Before I get started on Sunday suppers, here's me showing off the pound cake I made yesterday. We brought it to a Fourth of July party and it all got eaten but one little slice -- just enough for an after church snack for Clayton and I today! I always use the same recipe when making pound cake, because I have never tasted a pound cake better than my Grandma Odom made. I have a tendency to undercook it, making it slightly doughy in the middle, but this time, it was PERFECT! The decorations were not that great, but I was using leftover icing from Clayton's cake (I just died the orange to a reddish, more patriotic color) and I had a half hour to make it work. So, not my best, but still delicious!

Oops...looks like I didn't quite get one of the strawberry slices stuck down.

I was thinking to myself today, well, what happens if I make something that I've already made and put on my blog??? And then I realized, well, life will go on. And maybe, just maybe, I'll even spend less time blogging because I won't have to describe a dish twice in a row! After all, I am not trying to do one of those crazy blogs where they make something different every single week. So, here's my warning: I may in the near future make something that I've already made and recorded on this blog. And when that happens, well we can all smile and think to ourselves, "Well, maybe she is human after all..." :-)

This week I got a produce basket from a co-op called bountiful baskets. I really enjoy it because I get a variety of produce for pretty cheap. So, I thought today I'd start off with the before picture -- all the stuff on my counter that would soon be made into delicious dinners.

We're going to make fresh lemonade tomorrow! And most of the fruit we just eat plain. I just wash it and put it in the dish rack to dry.

However, sometimes I get items in my produce basket that are more of a challenge for me. Exhibit A:

Swiss chard. To me, it's a close relative of lettuce and spinach, both of which I am not a big fan of, except on sandwiches. What to do, what to do...???

Exhibit B:

Iceberg lettuce. Now how is that hard? All you do is throw on some tomatoes, cucumbers, and cheese, and you've got a salad. Right? Wrong. I really don't like green salads much. It feels like such a waste of chewing. :-) And Clayton is not a big lettuce eater either.

Well, I tackled the chard first. This is a cooked chard dish that is supposed to go over couscous or brown rice. I just liked it plain. It tastes WAY better than spinach.

Chard with Beans and Roasted Tomatoes

Olive oil

One Tomato, sliced

One small bunch of Swiss chard, stems removed and leaves torn

1/4 c. raisins

1/4 c. craisins

2 cloves garlic

2 Tbsp water

salt and pepper to taste

1 15-ounce can kidney beans

2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add the tomatoes and cook, shaking the pan occasionally, until browned -- about 3-5 minutes. Turn and cook for one more minute and remove from the pan. Reduce heat to medium and add the chard, raisins, craisins, garlic, water, salt and pepper to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes, until the chard wilts. Return the tomatoes to the skillet and add the beans and lemon juice. Cook until heated through, 1-2 minutes.

Next, to tackle the lettuce. I decided to try some lettuce wraps. Asian foods is one of the kinds of foods that I often use shortcuts for. It's just expensive to buy hoisin sauce, sesame oil, fresh ginger, and teriyaki sauce, and then store them in your cabinet for several months before you pull them out again. So, I buy a "seasoning mix" packet at the store for $.75. I made General Tso's Chicken just as the packet instructed, but added diced onions, asparagus, celery, and edamame. Once it is cooked through, just place in lettuce leaves and roll. It's not really a great picture, but there are several wraps on that plate (it was our dinner), and I wanted you to see the inside of one.

And last but certainly not least, Moroccan Tangine. This is one of Clayton and my absolute FAVORITES! And it is very different from almost anything else we eat. For this one, I actually follow a recipe -- surprise! So, below is a link to the recipe:

The only change I make is that I always cook chicken in batches. I bought five pounds of chicken yesterday. I used some for the lettuce wraps and marinated the rest in a greek dressing and grilled it all. I diced it and put a third of it in the pan for the tangine and put the rest in two bags and froze it. Cooked chicken for two more meals!

Above is some tri-colored couscous. I just put it in my rice cooker and it takes about five minutes!

And there's my Sunday Suppers for this week!

Friday, July 1, 2011

For my mom

All right-y! Here are the recipes I used from last Sunday. Remember the measurements are quite rough!

Mexican Lasagna
12 small corn tortillas
1 can refried black beans
1 pound of ground beef
1 pouch of taco seasoning (or make your own from the below recipe)
2 cup sour cream
2 cup salsa (I added black beans and corn to mine)
2 cups shredded cheese

Brown ground beef and drain. Add taco seasoning and heat until well incorporated. Add refried beans and cook until heated through. Layer ingredients in the following pattern in a greased 13x9 pan: tortillas, beef mixture, salsa, sour cream, cheese, REPEAT. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 30-45 minutes.

Taco Seasoning
4 tsp dried minced onion
1 Tbsp chili powder
1 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/8 tsp cayenne pepper

Mix all ingredients together. Makes equivalent of 1 packet of taco seasoning.

Baked Gnocchi
2 small bags frozen gnocchi pasta
1 jar pasta sauce
1 lb ground beef
1 small onion, diced
1-2 roasted red peppers, diced
1/2 c. diced turkey pepperoni
1-2 c. shredded mozzarella

Brown ground beef and onion. Drain. Add pasta sauce and red peppers and cook until heated through. Cook gnocchi pasta in boiling water for 2-3 minutes. Drain. Pour gnocci into casserole dish. Sprinkle pepperonis over pasta. Pour on the sauce mixture and sprinkle mozzarella over the top. Bake in a 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes.


Sunday, June 26, 2011

Sunday Suppers #3

I'm on a roll! Number 3! Here goes...

Since we are now working on really saving money after our very significant car expenses, I'm trying to work more with what we have at home. This week's theme happened to be ground beef (I had about four pounds of it in the freezer). Today I didn't have to do too much. I already had all the fruit washed so all I had to do was veggie bags and two main dishes. I made a bunch of tortillas to use in the mexican lasagna and for sweet pork tacos.

Next, I cooked up some ground beef and onions, then split it in half. One half got taco seasoning (I just learned you can make that from spices in your cabinet and you don't have to buy the packets. We'll be having Mexican much more often now), and the other half got pasta sauce and roasted red peppers.

The first dish I made was with gnocchi pasta, the pasta sauce and ground beef mixture, pepperonis, and mozzarella cheese. I layered it in a 13x9 and baked it for about 30 minutes.

Next, I made Mexican lasagna. I layered corn tortillas, salsa, seasoned ground beef, refried beans, sour cream, and cheese (then repeated all the layers) and baked it for about 45 minutes. It turned out pretty good too. And I'm really excited that I used my tortilla press sucessfully! YAY!

Also, should I put the full recipe on these things? Most of the time (like today) I either make up the recipe as I go or I look at a similar recipe and tweak it to whatever I have on hand. But I could write down what I do. Let me know!

Clayton's BIRTHDAY!

SURPRISE! Clayton has lived all the way to thirty! As he put it, it's all downhill from here. On the upside of things, I've decided to take up cake decorating. So, I bought new decorating tips and made him a black cake (since he's turning 30) with orange decorations. Here are some pictures:
Pretty smooth icing, huh?

Adding a licorice border. I almost wanted to take it off because it left a pretty cool design on the icing too. I may do that another time.

And playing with all my new icing tips. Clayton had to convince me to quit -- I wanted to keep finding more ways to add icing... It was so fun!

And since I couldn't find any nice looking number candles at Hobby Lobby or Wal-Mart, I though that the pinwheels were a nice finishing touch.

And the kitchen after I finished...Don't worry. I cleaned it up.

The party animals by the pool!

We had a lot of fun. Very successful thirtieth birthday in my opinion.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Meet me on Monday!

Yep, I just linked it up. I'm getting smarter!

1. What feature of the opposite sex do you notice first?

Their weight. I notice everybody's weight first. Don't worry...that includes my own too.

2. Do you talk to yourself?

Daily. I remind myself what I need to do, then I discuss with myself how I will do it. I have so many great conversations with myself, I just wish I could replicate them with someone else...

3. What is your current relationship status?

MARRIED! (and if you couldn't tell, I LOVE it!)

4. Do you have a garden?

No...we don't have any land at all - just a basement apartment. Clayton bought a potted flower for my birthday, but we gave it too much sun and water, and now it doesn't look so great. Here's what it should look like... (I'm obviously too embarrassed to put up a picture of what it really looks like :-)

5. What is your favorite licorice flavor?

Strawberry twizzlers. There's nothing better.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Sunday Suppers #2

Well, here I go, trying to establish my own blogging tradition. We'll see how long it lasts... Anyway, today, I laid down with Clayton to take a nap. He got up, but let me sleep for 3 hours! This resulted in not finishing the cooking until 10:15 -- super late for me! Oh well... he really prizes sleeping and cannot grasp the concept that I WANT to be woken up, even if it looks like I need the sleep. As for our vacation, it was great! I'm going to let Clayton cover it though. He put up pictures on facebook, and maybe, just maybe, he'll blog about it, if we all ask very nicely. :-)

So, for the cooking today, I had potatoes to get rid of. I made roasted red potatoes with butter, thyme, Tony's seasoning, olive oil, salt and pepper. YUM!

Next, I made a bruschetta chicken bake. I love this recipe, and I found it on the back on the chicken stove top box! All I do is marinate and grill chicken breasts, then sprinkle with basil and mozzarella. Next you mix stuffing, diced tomatoes, water, and garlic and pour it on top. Bake it and you're done!

Next came a potato casserole that I had growing up, and Clayton and I both really like it. First, make mashed potatoes with onion and garlic (adding milk, butter, salt, and pepper when you mash them). Then, I add diced sausage, shredded cheese, and parmesan cheese and put it in a dish. Decorate the top with sliced sausage, cheese, and thyme, and bake!

Finally, I made veggie bags. I make these every week. They each include: jicama, cucumber slices, red pepper slices, and baby carrots. That way I make sure Clayton eats his vegetables even when he makes his lunch in a rush!

Well, that's it! Happy Father's day! I hope this post didn't make you too hungry...

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Meet Me on Monday (a few hours early)

And just to keep with my new tradition -- so that I don't miss a week after only two -- here is a quick meet me on Monday. Then I really will go and pack!

1. What is your favorite yogurt flavor?

Anything Wallaby's brand. SO YUMMY!!!!

2. Ankle or knee socks? and on the same theme, white socks or coloured??

Colored ankle socks. Except, I always wear white ankle socks because I'm hard on socks and I don't want to ruin my cute patterned socks. So, my favorite socks sit at the bottom of my drawer, unworn. Dumb.

3. How is the weather right now?

Mostly sunny. WAY too cold. Highs in the 70's. I'm still waiting for summer to come.

4. Are you a fast typer?

very. I can't remember the wpm. At least 70. I think it was 79 last time I took a typing test though. I also can't stand watching slow typers type. I just want to do it for them. Oh and when people right click to copy and paste instead of using keyboard shortcuts -- that is a huge pet peeve!

5. Red or White Wine?

I have no idea. In my year of it being legal for me to drink, I have not partaken. I'll always pick water. I guess if I am really in the mood for something other than water, it would be lemonade. I love a good lemonade with mint leaves! YUM!

Sunday Suppers

So, I've decided to come up with a type of blogging I might just like...talking about the food I make! YAY! In case you didn't know, every Sunday, I make about 3 big dinners for us to eat the rest of the week. I wash and cut all the fruit and veggies and bag it in one serving size bags. Then I put all the dinners into single serving size tupperware for lunches throughout the week. I know it's a little overkill, but I really like the kitchen. I do everything in the kitchen, and Clayton can do everything else. This week we are going to be at Lake Powell on a houseboat with friends! So, the cooking was a little different. We're in charge of bringing all the food for lunches all week and two dinners.

The lunch menu includes:
sloppy joes
grilled cheese
deli sandwiches
brats and hot dogs
string cheese
fruit snacks
assorted fruits and veggies

Pork chops, stuffing, green beans, and red potatoes
Pulled pork sandwiches, potato salad, and corn on the cob

Here are some pictures:

There's pineapple, grapes, cucumbers, corn, and lettuce.

Sloppy joe filling, potato salad, jicama, and peanut butter cookies...

Chocolate chip, snickerdoodle, and peanut butter cookies! (I made three separate batches -- each of those stacks is seven or eight cookies...)

Yes, everything is in ziploc bags. I can hardly believe it myself, but it will be so much more convenient to pack in an ice chest than tupperware. So, that was my weekend! That, work, and running! And I am ready to go on VACATION!!!!

***Well, not really ready at all. Now I'm going to go pack...wish me luck!