Friday, December 29, 2006

Three-Cheese Enchiladas

This was a recipe from an old
Country Woman magazine. It was so colorful and very good! I thought some of the amounts for the ingredients were a little small...but maybe I'm just used to cooking for a large family. Feel free to make more filling for fuller enchiladas.

I also substituted a can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers (like Rotel) for the picante sauce because that's what I had on hand. It worked well.


Three Cheese Enchiladas

Serves: 4

1 1/2 c. shredded Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 1/2 c. shredded chedder cheese, divided
3 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 c. picante sauce, divided
1 medium red or green bell pepper, diced
1/2 c. sliced green onions
1 t. cumin
8 flour tortillas
shredded lettuce, chopped tomato, sliced black olives--for garnish


Combine 1 cup Monterey Jack cheese, 1 cup chedder cheese, cream cheese, 1/4 cup picante sauce, diced bell pepper, onions, and cumin; mix well.

Spoon 1/4 c. of mixture down center of each tortilla. Roll and place seam side down, in a baking dish. Spoon remaining picante sauce evenly over enchiladas; cover with remaining cheeses.

Bake at 350 for 20 min. or until hot. Top with lettuce, tomato, and black olives. Serve with additional picante sauce, if desired.

Cherry Pictures

Here are the pictures from our Chocolate Covered Cherry day earlier this month. These delicious delights were very popular...we only have 2 left of the 5 1/2 dozen I took home that day. I'm saving them for Justin because he loves them.

Here Mom and I are rolling the white dough over the cherries. After they are dipped, this white creme will begin to melt into a liquid.

Dipping the creme-covered cherries in chocolate....

Making them pretty with white chocolate swirls....

Finally we packaged them up to give to family and friends!

Ellie helped us finish up the leftover chocolate by dipping pretzels in it. Yummy!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Christmas Yummies

One of my favorite activities in December is the Christmas baking with the kids. The past few days we have made a several yummy and delicious treats, pictures posted here.

While I shopped one afternoon, Katie, Ellen, Jacob, Emily, and a friend of Katie's decorated these sugar cookies which I had baked the day before. Sugar cookies are my absolutely most favorite kind of cookie, and already I've eaten too many. :-)

Katie made the dough for the spritz cookies pictures above. Heather manned the cookie press, and Jacob and I decorated the tops. I really like the recipe that came with my Pampered Chef press for these spritz cookies.

These chocolate chip meringue cookies were made by Katie. She got the simple recipe from her friend Hannah's blog.

Pizzelles were one of those family traditions that I remember as a girl. My grandmother or my Aunt Pat always made pizzelles every Christmas. Several years ago I bought a pizzelle maker so that I can carry on the tradition with my own family.

Easy-peasy, pretzels dipped in white chocolate are a big favorite around here. I made a big batch this year so that they'll last longer than a day.

Another simple recipe, this is another family favorite. Simple spread peanut butter between two Ritz crackers and dip the whole thing in chocolate. Mmm, mmm, good!

Lastly, this picture was taken of the chocolate covered cherries that Jessica helped make when she came over one day. We made over 175 cherries....I forget the exact amount. Jessica, you need to make a post just about these Chocolate Covered Cherries. We have made this recipe every Christmas for the past 15 years or so--a family recipe that I'm not sharing with anybody but family. :-)

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Crazy eggs that make me smile!

With me being pregant, we eat a lot of eggs around here for breakfast (lots of protein!).
Last week when I was frying our eggs, I got a really strange one...

Have a great day!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

a couple of good cooking blogs

Full Bellies is a cooking blog I've enjoyed browsing around on...there are some awesome looking recipes...check them out!

I hope to try the Monterey Chicken soon. It sounds soooo yummy...

I haven't spent that much time browsing cooking blogs, but Baking Sheet is another fabulous one. Lots of good pictures, and lots of yummy baked goods that make my mouth water.


Pumpkin-Pecan Pie

Pumpkin Pecan Pie

1 single crust pie crust, unbaked
3 slightly beated eggs
1 15 oz. can pumpkin
3/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. dark corn syrup
1 t. vanilla
3/4 t. cinnamon
1 c. pecans

Pre-heat oven to 350. Prepare pastry

Combine all ingredients except pecans. Pour into pie shell, sprinkle with pecans

Bake 50-55 min, or until knife come out clean. Cool on wire rack. Serves 8.

This pumpkin-pecan recipe came from a Better Homes and Gardens book, and it was good! Pies are so special and fun to make, and I enjoyed baking for this Thanksgiving. I made 2 pumpkin pies, a pumpkin-pecan pie, and a cherry cream cheese pie.

Give Thanks!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Thanksgiving Cookies and a Teddy Bear Murder

Two nights ago we made and decorated Thanksgiving sugar cookies for some of our neighbors. Taking little plates of goodies to our neighbors was a tradition that my family always did at Christmas in the various neighborhoods that we've lived in, and it's a tradition I want to continue...only I think I'll do it at Thanksgiving! It's a good way to reach out to those around us and begin relationships with our neighbors. Everyone likes cookies. =)

Justin really had fun decorating this teddy bear that I accidentally "decapitated". Poor Teddy!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pizza, Pumpkin Rolls, and Pork Chops

My husband getting ready to enjoy some homemade pizza!

These Pumpkin Dinner Rolls are from Tammy, and they were soooo yummy. I loved the orange color!

I think I am going to make them again to take to my ladies Bible study tomorrow. We're having a soup and salad potluck afterward, and I'm signed up to bring bread.

I have made this simple pork chop recipe from my Taste of Home magazine twice now and have gotten rave reviews from my husband who said that he doesn't normally like pork chops. He says we can pretend like we're eating steak when we eat these. =) They are very tender

The recipe didn't originally call for bell peppers, but I think they go very well with the onions on this. Of course I adjust the recipe for two people, but here it is in its original form.


Pork Chops with Onions and Bell Peppers

6 pork chops
1 T canola (or olive) oil
3/4 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper
2 medium sweet onions, slicked and separated into rings
2 bell peppers (red or green, or both!) sliced into rings
1 cup beef broth
1 T cornstarch (or flour)
2 T cold water

In large non-stick skillet, brown pork chops in oil over medium-high heat. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Transfer to ungreased 9 by 13" baking dish. In the drippings, saute onions and peppers slightly. Spoon over chops; add broth. Cover and bake at 325 for 40-45 minutes or until juices run clear. Remove pork chops and onions; keep warm.

For Gravy:
In skillet, combine corn starch and water until smooth; stir in pan juices. Bring to boil. Cook and stir for 1-2 minutes or until thickened. Serve with pork chops and onions.

This is good served with brown rice or mashed potatoes, and a vegetable (like asparagus or green beans, or a green salad).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Thanksgiving Pot Pie

This is a pot pie that I have been making for's sort of my special dish, as I'm the only one in my family who ever makes it. The recipe came from my Aunt Patsy, (Bonny's mom) years ago when she mailed it to me for a family cookbook that I was making my mom's birthday. Although it's a little more work to make, I think this dish is worth it. The flavor is so good (I love the cloves in the broth!) and the biscuit recipe is one of the best I've ever made. This pot pie is definitely at the top of my list of comfort foods .

Aunt Patsy's Chicken Pot Pie

1 roasting chicken (4 lbs) or chicken breasts
4 c. water
1 rib celery
1 onion
2 tsp. salt
2 whole cloves

Bring to boil, simmer 2 hours. Remove meat from bones and place in 9 by 13 cassarole. Frozen mixed vegetables may be added at this point if desired. Strain and reserve broth.

1/4 c. chicken fat or butter
1/4 c. flour
2 1/2 c. chicken broth
2 egg yolks
1/2 c. half & half or milk
1/2 t. salt, 1/4 t. pepper

Melt butter, stir in flour until smooth. Gradually stir in broth, stir until thickened. Remove from heat. Beat yolks and milk, stir into broth mixture. Season with salt and pepper. Pour over chicken, and keep warm.

2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
1/2 t. salt
1/4 t. soda
1/2 c. butter
2/3 c. buttermilk

Mix dry ingredients. Cut in butter. Stir in buttermilk. Knead 4-5 times and roll 1/2 thick. Cut into 2" rounds or squares. Place on top of chicken and gravy. Bake at 425 degrees, 20 minutes, until biscuits are browned and chicken mixture is bubbly.

Traditionally I've always, always made heart-shaped biscuits on this dish, (my way of adding some love into it!) but this time I went with turkeys!

Friday, November 03, 2006

I'm Back to Cooking Again!

I was completely out of it from mono and being very sick for a couple months, but now I am starting to get back on my feet. That means I'm cooking a little more now! My wonderful husband did a great job at cooking when I was sick. It's good to have a handy man who likes to cook and does a good job at it!

My family didn't have meatloaf very often, but I wanted to try it and got this recipe from my mother-in-law. I'll call it Mom's Best Meatloaf.

1 pound ground beef
1/4 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup bread crumbs (or 2 pieces old bread, crumbled)
1&1/2 teaspoons onion powder
2 eggs
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1/4 quick cooking oats

Mix all ingredients. Bake in a crock pot for 1-1&1/2 hours or in the oven at 350 degrees in an uncovered baking dish. You can also cook it in the microwave. Mine burnt around the edges (that's why I didn't take a picture!) the first time because my oven is hotter and I have to turn the temperature down for certain things. I'd suggest watching it closely as it cooks and finding out what works for you.

I love butternut squash and got this recipe from my husband's sister. It's delicious and easy to make!

Butternut Squash Casserole

1 pound sausage (not the breakfast kind)
2 cans green beans (or beans of your choice)
1/2 medium butternut squash, cooked and mashed
1 cup shredded cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Brown and drain sausage. Spray casserole dish with non-stick cooking spray. Mix green beans with squash in dish. Spread sausage over green bean/squash mix. Sprinkle cheese over top. Bake uncovered for 10-15 minutes or until heated through.

I baked my first pie all by myself and took it on extension last weekend for everyone to enjoy. It was delicious!

Dutch Apple Pie

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup packed brown sugar
3/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup quick cooking oats
2/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1-14 cups water
3 cups diced peeled tart apples
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine first 4 ingredients; set aside 1 cup for topping. Press remaining crumb mixture into an un-greased 9-in pie plate; set aside. For filling, combine sugar, cornstarch and water in a saucepan until smooth; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 1 minute or until thickened. Remove from heat; stir in apples and vanilla. Pour into crust; top with reserved crumb mixture. Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes or until crust is golden brown. Yield: 6-8 servings.

NOTE: I did 2 cups of the apples and 1 cup of frozen (thawed) strawberries instead and it turned out delicious!

I made two batches of these cookies for gatherings at Northland and everyone loved them so much that there were no leftovers to bring home.

Chewy Gingersnaps

1-1/2 cups margarine
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/2 cup molasses
2 eggs
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons ground cloves
4 teaspoons cinnamon
4-1/2 cups flour

Mix first 8 ingredients well. Mix in flour well. Chill dough for 10-15 minutes. Roll into 1" to 1-1/2" balls, then roll balls in a cinnamon/sugar mixture. Bake @ 375 for 7-10 minutes or until golden brown on bottom edges and just set, but not hard on top; should feel like a crust.

NOTE: To make lighter, try white sugar and light molasses or honey instead. I did this and they were delicious!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

4 Generations of Tortilla Makers

Today Jessica inspired me to try my hand again at making flour tortillas. You see, I grew up watching my mom make homemade flour tortillas on a weekly basis. She didn't measure anything, and she made it look so easy. Several times she attempted to teach me how to make tortillas, and as long as she made the dough they came out okay. All right, so my tortillas were shaped like many of the states of America, not round like my mom's, but still they tasted great if she made the dough.

When I got married I once again wanted to make flour tortillas. As a young mother I would often visit my beloved grandma and my great aunt Jennie, and I would beg them to teach me how to make tortillas. I remember the two of them laughing at the way I rolled out the dough and the shapes that transpired underneath my rolling pin. I remember Grandma telling me that there was a right and a wrong side to every tortilla, and I didn't dare lay the rolled out dough on the hot griddle facing the wrong direction. I remember the dough encrusted in Grandma's ring as she attempted to pick it out after we were finished making the tortillas. I remember Grandma sending home a dozen tortillas, beans, and green chili for Mark to enjoy. She knew how much my husband loved her good cooking.

I never did learn to make good tortillas, but Grandma did teach me how to crochet. She also taught me about love and laughter and hospitality and family loyalty and so many other things that I can't begin to express. Two years ago (or was it three?) in October my grandma, Tillie Gomez, died in her home. So many days I think of her, and I never stop missing her.

Today I finally made some tortillas, all by myself, that came out like they should. I'm sure mine don't taste as good as Grandma's tortillas, but they're still good. I think Grandma would be proud of me!

This picture was taken about 8 years ago. Four generations of tortilla makers!

Jessica is 15 years old here.

Mom, Grandma, Me, Jessica

Thank you, Jessica, for inspiring me today!

How to Make Flour Tortillas

Yesterday I made homemade tortillas, and they came out good (In the past when I've made them they've been dry and cracker-like). I guess this must be a good recipe, so I'm posting it.

Interesting article about flour tortillas

Flour Tortillas--make 12-18
3 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4-6 Tbsp. vegetable shortening or lard
about 1 1/4 cups warm water

Mix dry ingredients in a large bowl.

Add vegetable shortening or lard. Or use a combination of half lard, half shortening.
Use a fork or a pastry cutter to cut in the shortening or just do it the old fashioned
way and use your hands.

Next add warm water a little at a time until your dough is soft and not sticky. You do
not need very hot water.

Knead the dough for a few minutes.

Now you will pull off pieces of dough to form about 12 small dough balls. Let them rest for at least 10 minutes, longer if you like. Cover with plastic wrap while they rest so they don't dry out.

This is a good time to heat up the skillet. Cast iron skillets and griddles work best. You will want to set it at medium to high heat. If it is too hot the tortillas will cook too fast.

Now you can roll out the dough with your tortilla rolling pin. It is a good idea to shape each ball into a disk shape and then dust each ball with a little flour just before you roll them out. Lay the rolling pin in the center of the dough ball and roll up, center and roll down. It is good to lift the dough and turn it. Again, rolling pin in the center and roll. Roll them out fairly thin.

Lay your tortilla on the hot skillet. It takes just a few seconds to cook. Flip to the other
side. When they are done it should have lots of nice brown speckles. Place them in a
towel. They are ready to be served!

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Chocolate Chip-Pumpkin Muffins

Chocolate Chip-Pumpkin Muffins

Prep:15 minutes
Bake: 20 minutes

1 2/3 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 1/2 t. cinnamon
1 t. baking soda
3/4 t. ground mace
1/2 t. salt
1/2 t. baking powder
1/4 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 t. ground cloves
2 eggs
1 c. canned pumpkin
1/2 c. butter melted
1 c. semisweet chocolate pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Lightly grease 18 muffin cups, or line muffin pans with paper bake cups.

In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, mace, salt, baking powder, nutmeg, and cloves. make a well in the center of the flour mixture.

In a smaller mixing bowl, beat eggs. Stir in pumpkin and melted butter. Add pumpkin mixture all at once to the flour mixture. Stir just until moistened (batter will be lumpy). Fold in chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into prepared muffin cups, 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 min. or until toothpick comes out clean. Serve warm.

These muffins were really good this week for breakfast. They are a basic, cake-like recipe with a fluffy texture, and a fairly mild taste.

Changes I made:
I sprinkles the chocolate chips on top rather then mixing them in. This conserved on chocolate chips.
I don't have ground mace, so I just omitted it.
I doubled the recipe and used half of the batter in a loaf pan for pumpkin bread. This seemed to work just fine. I froze the loaf for later.

Chocolate Pizzelles

Mom, here's that recipe for those Chocolate Pizzelles that I was telling you about from the Better Homes and Gardens, Celebrate the Season 2003 book. Let me know when you want to make pizzelles this Christmas, and I'll try to come and help you! I wish I could show you the picture of these, because they look so pretty.

Christmas is coming...That means lots of yummy goodies. Yeah!! If you read this blog, please feel free to share some of your favorite Christmas goodies. I'd love to try some new recipes this Christmas.

Chocolate Pizzelles

Prep 20 min.
Bake: 2 min. per cookie

1 1/2 cup hazelnuts, toasted
2 1/4 c flour
3 T unsweetened cocoa
1 T baking powder
3 eggs
1 c sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted and cooled
2 t vanilla
1 recipe chocolate glaze

Finely chop 1 cup of the hazelnuts; set aside. Process remaining 1/2 cup hazelnuts in a blender or food processor until very fine, but dry and not oily.

In medium mixing bowl, stir together ground hazelnuts, flour, cocoa, and baking powder, set aside.

In large mixing bowl, beat eggs with an electric mixer on high speed about 4 minutes, or until thick and lemon colored. Reduce speed to medium; gradually beat in sugar. Beat in the butter and vanilla. Add flour mixture beating on low until combined.

Heat an electric pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer's directions.

For each pizzelle, place a slightly rounded tablespoon of batter onto the pizzelle grid, slightly off-center toward the back. Close lid.

Bake according to manufacturer's directions (about 2 minutes, until golden.)

Turn warm pizzelle onto a cutting board, and cut in half or in quarters. Transfer to a paper towel to cool. Repeat with remaining batter.

Dip the rounded edge of each pizzelle piece into the chocolate glaze; dip into the reserved chopped hazelnuts. Place on a wire rack; let stand until glaze is set. Makes 36 pizzelle halves.

Chocolate Glaze

In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar, 3 T unsweetened cocoa powder, and 1/2 teaspoon vanilla. Stir in enough milk (2-3 T) to make of glazing consistency.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Steak Adventures

I did it! I learned how to cook a steak on my stovetop! Steak has been a craving with my pregnancy that I have just not gotten to indulge in much. On a whim I decided to try to cook some frozen steaks I had even though they weren't that high of quality (Top Sirloin Steaks, 3/4 " thick, about $3 a pound). I was so excited because they came out wonderful...much better then we expected. Along with the steaks, we had a green salad, and mashed potatoes. Justin was wonderful and mashed up the potatoes as I was cooking the steaks. I wish I had pictures because it was beautiful. First I gathered as much information about pan frying steaks as I could. This was important because I learned a lot that I didn't know.

Here are a few of the links where I gathered information:

A message board with lots of opinions
How to Cook the Perfect Steak
HGTV steaks
Pan Fried Strip Steak (with good photos)
Making a sauce with the drippings (good photos)
Everything you need to know about Cast Iron Skillets

Important things I learned:

Always use a cast iron skillet if possible.

The cast iron skillet must be heated to a very high temperature before meat is placed on it. I preheated my skillets in a 500 degree oven and then placed them on hot preheated burners.

Always let the steaks come to room temperature before cooking.

Marinate the steaks in some olive oil or use some olive oil in the pan.

Don't salt the meat ahead of time because this could draw some of the moisture out of it.

Don't stir them around as they cook on the stovetop. You want a black crust to form.

Don't overcook. I cooked my steaks 3 minutes on each side in a sizzleing hot skillet. The skillets were then placed in the 500 degree oven for 5-8 more minutes to finish cooking. Even then, by the time we ate them, they were completely cooked through, and I like a little pink in the center.

Use the drippings in the pan to make a sauce or gravy. Yummy!

Be prepared for lots of smoke!

Homeland Savings this week

For those of you that have a Homeland Grocery Store in town, go by the store and pick up one (or 20!) of their weekly ads. This week only, ( 10/18-10/24) each ad contains a coupon for one free can of Red Gold canned tomatoes. My mother-in-law gave me 5 of these coupons and I was able to use them at my local grocery down the street to get 5 free cans of diced tomatoes in one single transaction.

This is one coupon offer that seems to good to be true. You bet I'm going to be be getting more of these coupons and stocking up on diced tomatoes!


Fun Free Kitchen Printouts From Martha Stewart

This is for all you crafty cooks...I thought these various printable lables and kitchen guides from Martha Stewart were so fun!

Old fashioned Decorative Jam Lables (see picture at left)

Easy to read Freezer Lables

Pie Chart-- basic recipes for 5 fruit fillings at the turn of a wheel. So cute!

Milk-bottle shaped Kitchen Equivalents and Substitutions list. I like the idea of laminating these and turning them into magnents.

Thanks to Mrs. Wilt for the links!

Friday, October 06, 2006

Chicken Parmesan

Today I was featured as a "guest chef" on another great cooking blog, Tammy's Recipes.

Check out this yummy recipe for Chicken Parmesan!

Have a great day!

Cheddar-Sausage Scones

I served these lovely Chedder-Sausage Scones for breakfast this morning. Different than your usual scone, these are more like a breakfast biscuit with a sweet taste. I thought they were good served with fried eggs and hot apricot tea, and I would definitely make them again to serve at a breakfast brunch or potluck.

This recipe makes quite a bit--I cut it in half for Justin and me and we still had leftovers. I really liked these, but next time, I think I would cut out most of the sugar and add some salt for a more traditional flavor. Of course, then they would be less like scones, and more like biscuits... I guess it's just personal preference. =)


Cheddar-Sausage Scones

Prep 20 minutes
Bake 12-15 minutes

1 12 oz. package pork sausage
3 1/4 cups flour
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cups shredded cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk

Preheat oven to 400. In a skillet, cook sausage until brown, breaking meat into small pieces. Drain off fat and set aside.

In a large mising bowl, stir together flour, sugar, and baking powder. Using a pastry blender, cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse crumbs.

Stir in sausage and cheddar cheese. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture; add buttermilk all at once and stir just until moistened.

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for 10-12 strokes or until dough is nearly smooth. Divide in half.

On a lightly floured surface, pat each half of the dough into a 3/4" thick circle. Using a 2 1/2" floured biscuit cutter, cut out dough. Place on an ungreased baking sheet, 1" apart.

Bake for 12-15 minutes or until golden. Serve warm. Make 16 scones.

Friday, September 29, 2006

What I did today....

Isn't my bread pretty? I can't wait to eat it.

I'm serving the rolls for dinner with this super easy recipe for chicken breaded with French's Fried Onions. I've never made it before, so we'll so how it comes out.

I also made more
cream puffs for a bridal shower tomorrow that Mom and I are hosting for a friend. They came out so pretty that I couldn't resist taking another picture!

Have a great day!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Taco Soup

If you want a quick and tasty meal, this is it-- Taco Soup!

Tricia emailed this recipe to me yesterday, and since I had most of the ingredients on hand, I made it for supper tonight. Matthew thought the soup was so delicious that he had three servings. Well, at 14 Matthew usually eats multiple servings at every meal, but the rest of us thoroughly enjoyed the soup, too. It must be the ranch dressing mix that gives the soup such a good flavor. Who would have thought of putting ranch dressing in soup? I will definitely be making this recipe again!

Taco Soup with Black Beans

1 lb ground beef, browned and drained
28 oz can crushed tomatoes
15 1/4 oz can corn, undrained
15 oz can black beans, undrained
15 1/2 oz can red kidney beans, undrained
1 envelope dry Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 envelope dry taco seasoning
1 small onion, chopped
tortilla or corn chips
shredded cheese
sour cream
1. Combine all ingredients except chips, shredded cheese, and sour cream in slow cooker.
2. Cover. Cook on Low 4-6 hours.
3. Garnish individual servings with chips, cheese, and sour cream.

Notes: I did not have kidney beans so I substituted pinto beans. I added an extra can of diced tomatoes and an extra can of pinto beans to make a larger quantity. It's a good thing I did, too, because there wasn't much soup leftover. We ate the soup on top of tortilla chips on a plate and not in a bowl.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Breakfast Fun

This is what my husband does when we have pancakes and sausage patties. =)

Yesterday I made homeade granola using this recipe from Tammy. It came out really good, and I even left out the brown sugar in an attempt use less sugar in my diet. It still was slightly sweet though because the recipe also calls for honey (only I didn't have any honey, so I used pancake syrup instead). This makes a very filling and healthy breakfast!

As the weather turns cooler, I've really enjoyed making breakfast for Justin and me. Some of the satisfying breakfast combinations I've made are listed below...

Granola in milk with yogurt and peach slices on the side
Oatmeal with diced apples, bananas, or peaches cooked in with it, with fried eggs and milk
Malt-O-Meal cereal with wheat germ cooked in it, with fruit on the side
Yogurt smoothies made with fruit and protien powder, served with peanut butter toast
Fried eggs with salsa and chips
Peanut butter bagels and fruit
Cold cereal with grapefruit halves
Scrambled egg burritos

I've found that if I have eggs, various fruits, and a couple types of cold and hot cereals in the pantry, I can come up with endless options for breakfasts that are fast, filling, and healthy.

happy breakfast!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Cream Cheese Eclairs

Although these are normally only made for very, very special occasions--like tea parties with the queen, today the urge for cream puffs hit me and I made them just for the fun of it! We took them to our prayer group at church tonight and everyone enjoyed them.

So easy to make, and light and delicious to eat, these could quickly become addicting. Not a good thing in my case, but today I was very good and only ate 2 and 1/2 of them. I especially like how the filling contains cream cheese. Very yummy.

Cream Cheese Eclairs

1 cup water
1/2 cup butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup all-purpose flour
4 eggs
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups milk
1 (5 ounce) package instant vanilla pudding mix
1 (1 ounce) square unsweetened chocolate, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons boiling water

1 Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

2 For shells: In medium saucepan bring 1 cup water to a boil, stir in 1/2 cup butter and salt. Stir until melted. Add flour all at once and stir vigorously until mixture forms a ball. Remove from heat and beat in eggs, one at a time, until smooth. Drop by tablespoons onto baking sheet.

3 Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) and bake until golden, 10 to 15 minutes. Cool completely.

4 For filling: In large bowl, beat 1/2 cup of milk, a little at a time, into softened cream cheese, until creamy. Beat in remaining 1-1/2 cups milk and pudding mix. Stir until thick, 1 to 2 minutes. Cut tops off cooled pastry shells and fill. Replace tops.

5 For icing: In small saucepan, melt chocolate and 1 tablespoon butter over low heat. Remove from heat and, with electric mixer, beat in confectioners' sugar and 2 tablespoons hot water. Beat until smooth. Drizzle over filled eclairs.

Makes 20-24 pieces

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sandwich Inspirations

The wonderful thing about being pregnant is that all sorts of amazing food inspirations hit me all the time. Now that I'm past the 'everything-tastes-yucky' stage, I often find myself daydreaming about all the yummy things I feel like eating and making.

Today it was turkey-guacamole sandwiches. Mix up some fresh guacamole by combining one avocado with some sour cream, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and lemon juice.

Imagine taking two slices of toasted wheat bread. Start with thinly-sliced deli turkey breast. Add thick slices of chunk cheddar cheese, lettuce, and tomato slices. Bacon would be good too, but I didn't think of that until just now. Finally spread with a thick (like 1/2 in. thick) layer of fresh guacamole. Serve and eat with tortilla chips.

Now doesn't that sound good?


Chicken Tortilla Soup

This is a recipe I clipped from my newspaper, and it was awesome. It tasted like something you might get at a restaurant. Not only was it rich and full of flavor, but it was very aesthetically pleasing too. The soup is a reddish color with lots of flecks of color. Topped with baked tortilla strips, cheddar cheese, sour cream, and fresh cilantro, it made an appealing meal.

The night I made this soup, we ate outside on our porch and I set it all up for a picture--the soup was in the foreground with our glasses of water and tea-lights in the background. Just as I was about to snap a picture for you, my camera battery died, and I wasn't able to get a picture. Trust me though, this is very good!

Chicken Tortilla Soup

6 corn tortillas cut into 1/2 in strips
non-stick cooking spray
2 T olive oil
1 medium onion diced
1 T chili powder
3 garlic cloves crushed
1 T ground cumin
1 T dried oregano
2 bay leaves
4 cups chicken broth
1 can (15oz) diced tomatoes--do not drain
8 oz boneless skinless chicken breasts cooked and diced
salt and pepper to taste
1 avocado diced
1T lemon juice
1/4 cup Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Lightly spray tortilla stips with cooking spray and spread them on a baking sheet. Bake until the are crisp and golden, about 8-10 minutes

In large stockpot, heat the olive oil over medium high heat, add the onion and cook unil lightly browned. Stir in chil powder, crushed garlic, cumin, oregano, and bay leaves and cook until fragrant (about 3 minutes).

Add the broth to the stockpot and stir well. Place 2 cups of the broth in a blender along with 1/2 cup of the toasted tortilla strips (reserve the remaining strips for garnishing the soup) and puree until smooth. Return the pruee to the pot.

Add the diced chicken, tomatoes and juice. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered, stirring occasionally, for 30 minutes. Discard bay leaves and season with salt and papper.
Dice avocado and sprinkle with lemon juice.

Serve in soup bowls topped with avocado, cheese, tortilla strips, and cilantro

Serves 4-5

Personal notes:
I added more then 1/2 cup of the tortilla stips, and some of the tomatoes and chicken to the broth that I pureed for a thicker broth. I also added some of the cilantro into the soup, and garnished with sour cream. Next time around I would use a little less chili powder, because it was a little spicy in my opinion, and I would make more of the tortilla strips for garnish because there can never be too many of them...they were yummy!


Friday, August 18, 2006

Delicious Rice Pudding

This is the best recipe for rice pudding that I have ever had! I made too much rice a couple days ago and needed something to make with it. My husband mentioned that his mom aways made a really good rice pudding dish whenever thay had leftover rice so I called her for the recipe:

1 cup rice
1/3 cup sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Enough milk to get slightly soupy (it will thicken as it cooks)

Bring to boil while stirring. Boil for about 3 minutes. Taste test: it should be very sweet.

I doubled the recipe and still have leftover rice so I plan the make more rice pudding! It makes a great dessert or breakfast. Jeremy likes it served cold, but I prefer it served hot so whichever way you decide is best.


Just wanted to add a wedding picture!
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