16 November 2011

BzzAgent.com Campaigns

I am a part of a product testing group called BzzAgent and I am taking part in this product trial

Kroger Totally Awesome Cookies

I tried them and they have more chocolate Chips in them than other packaged cookies and I liked that. They also have simple ingredients, just like you would find in your own recipies for chocolate chip cookies.

27 August 2011

Pina Colada Zuchinni Bread

OH MY GOODNESS!!!!! I just finished a boot camp workout at the gym and treated myself to a slice of this homemade goodness and I am feeling GOOD!!! I made the loaves and took them out of the oven just before I left. I gotta say that this is what I am doing with the rest of my zuchinni...watch out neighobrs because these are coming to your doorsteps! :)
Pina Colada Zuchinni Bread
4 cups flour (I used 2 all-purpose and 2 whole wheat)
3 cups sugar ( I used 1 1/2 white and 1 1/2 brown)
2 tsp baking powder
2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups canola oil (I substituted applesauce or you can even sub pureed white beans)
1 teaspoon each coconut, rum, and vanilla extracts
3 cups shredded zuchinni (FRESH FROM THE GARDEN:))
1 cup canned crushed pineapple, drained REALLY well
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional)
1/2 cup coconut (optional)
Grease 3 loaf pans and preheat oven to 350.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugars, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In another bowl whisk together the eggs, oil (or substitute) and extracts. Mix into dry ingredients just until moistened. Fold in zuchinni and pineapple and nuts.
Transfer to prepared pans and sprinkle tops with toasted coconut(optional). Bake 45-55 minutes or until toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean. Cool at least 10 min. before transferring to wire cooling rack.
Makes 3 delicious "what's your recipe" loaves!

24 August 2011

Yummy Plummy Leather

I had an abundance of plums this week and I have officially finished them. I made 25 jars of plum jam and 2 large cookie sheets of fruit leather. It was soo easy and I was able to make it without making my house a sauna!!
6-8 cups pureed fruit ( I pitted and put it in a fruit processor)
2 Tbsp Honey
2 Tbsp Lemon Juice
2 Parchment or plastic lined baking sheets
Start by pureeing fruit until smoothie consistency. Add honey and lemon juice and stir in.
Line baking sheets with parchement or plastic wrap and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
Pour fruit until 1/8 in thickness onto lined baking sheets.
heat oven to 200 degrees and bake for 2-5 hours until dried out and dry to the touch.
Place baking sheets on a flat surface outside where they will get lots of sunlight. Cover with a screen, cheesecloth or tulle to keep bugs or anything out without taking the sun away. Place a few cookie sheets covered with foil (shiny side out) to reflect sun onto leather. Let the sun bake it for 4-8 hours or until dry to the touch.
use a knife or pizza roller to cut leather into strips and wrap in wax paper or plastic. Make pieces as big or small as you like.
I stared out in the oven, but my house started to get really hot so I moved it outside. It was ready by the time naptime was over and my kids just ate it up!

Wannabe Chili's Margarita Chicken

Everytime that I go to Chili's, I get the same thing. Their margarita chicken and chips and salsa. I wanted to see if I could re-create the tasty dinner at home and so I got on the ball and came up with this!
Margarita Chicken Knock-off
1 1/2 lbs chicken
1 pkgs McCormick Grill Mates Mojito Lime marinade mix
1 1/2 cups white rice
15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
8 oz pineapple chunks, diced
1 jalapeno pepper
5 oz cherry tomatoes, grilled
1 Tbsp vinegar
4 Tbsps olive oils, separated
1 cup whole kernal corn
Place chicken in a bag or pie plate with 2-3 Tbsp marinade mix and 1/2 cup pineapple juice from the can. Let sit to marinate. Grill unil juices run clear.
In a bowl, combine beans, jalapeno and diced pineapple chunks (reserve the remaining pineapple juice for the rice) Dice and add tomatoes and 1/2 cup corn with 1 tsp seasoning mix, vinegar, and 2 Tbsp oil.
In a 2 qt saucepan, heat oil and rice until browned. Add remaining pineapple juice with water (total 3 cups liquid) and remaining seasoning mix. Bring to boil, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed into rice. Add remaining corn to rice when cooked through.
Serve 1 cup rice with 1/2 cup black bean salsa and top with grilled chicken.
It is less than 400 calories per serving and much cheaper to make than going out!

New Cookie recipe from an author that I LOVE!!!

So I was just browsing some of my favorite blogs and websites and came across this decadent cookie recipe that sounds like it is TO DIE FOR!!!! The webiste is through EVERYDAY FOOD STORAGE. and she just came up with a new cookbook that reduces fat and adds fiber with BEANS!!! I am excited to check the book out and take it for a spin. You can bet that it will be on Christmas list this year (if I don't give in and buy it before! :))
1 pkg devils food cake mix
1/2 cup bean puree (white or black - pureed in processor or blender until smoothie like consistency)
2 eggs
1 Tsp Vanilla
1 8 oz pkg cool whip (fat free)
1/2 pkg dark chocolate chips, melted
Preheat oven to 350. Combine half of the cake mix, beans, eggs and vanilla in mixer for 2 minutes or until thouroughly combined. Add in second half of cake mix unitl thouroughly combined. Drop balls of cookie dough onto greased cookie sheet and bake 10-13 minutes or until done. Remove from oven and drop sheet onto counter or stovetop from about 6-12 inches to flatten cookies and make them chewy. Allow to cool
mix cool whip and melted chocolate to make a mouse. Sandwich between 2 cookie.

18 August 2011

Lemon Zester Cookies

I swear these are some of the easiest knock-offs EVER!!!! I really like going to Paradise Cafe for their AWSOME cookies! They have some of the tastiest Chocolate Chip Cookies (my knock off recipe to be posted soon!) and in the summertime, I look forward to the Lemon Zester cookies. I decided to try and make my own because I am a Cheap-o and The cookies are expensive at the store. Here is my knock off recipe!
Lemon Zester Cookies (like Paradise Cafe)
1 box lemon cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil (for chewier version - if you like them crumbly, use cold shortening)
1/4 cup lemon zest
Easy peasy...mix it all together and shape into balls. Bake at 375 for 7-11 minutes or until set around the edges. When the cookies are done, drop the cookie sheet about 4 inches to cooling rack. Let cool 1-5 minutes and remove from sheet.
Have a bowl or plate of powdered sugar right there and just cover cookie in the powdered sugar or else sprinkle over the tops before they are completely cooled.
Its as simple as that. I had 2-3 dozen cookies made and plated in 30 minutes....perfect for moments when you forget that you volunteered desserts for a party!

16 July 2011

Curry Chickpea Quinoa

SO I have to give someone else the credit for coming up with this recipe. I actually got it from the July 2011 issue of Taste of Home Healthy Cooking Recieving these magazines is actually what got me off my fanny and got me cooking even in the summer heat (I am really stingy and do not turn on my air conditioning unless it is making my kids uncomfortable). For those of you who are not familiar with quinoa, it is a very high protein grain that cooks up like rice or couscous.

This recipe took me 20 minutes from start to finish and its a good thing. My husband had to get to work and the cafeteria at his work is under construction, so hello brown bag! I had 25 minutes to get him out the door and luckily, I had a leftover bbq chicken breast in the fridge and some carrots for the veggie, but he needs something substantial to help fill him up...enter todays recipe!!!

Curry Chickpea Quinoa

1 1/2 cups water

1/2 cup orange juice

1 (15 oz) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

2 medium tomatoes, shopped

1 medium bell pepper, julienned

1 cup quinoa, rinsed

1 small red onion, finely chopped (I left this out as my husband does not like onions)

1/2 cup raisins or craisins

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro

In a large saucepan, bring water and juice to a boil. Stir in chickpeas, tomatoes, pepper, quinoa, onion, raisins, and curry. Return to a boil. Reduce heat and cover. Let simmer for 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Sprinkle with cilantro.

This healthy side makes 8 servings (3/4 cups each) and has 178 calories, 2.5 g fat, 0 cholesterol, 78 mg sodium, 35 g carbohydrates; 4.5 g fiber and 6 g protein.

16 June 2011

Key Hanger in 30 min

I have been feeling really lazy lately and decided that tonight I am going to make something. My husband is working late and so I had about and hour until he got off. In that time, I managed to make something useful and not too shabby if I do say so myself
It was super easy to make and it only took 30 minutes from start to finish.

Step 1: gather materials
Step 2: Sand wood block
Step 3: Prime wood with sealer
Step 4: Paint the block
Step 5: Glue or Mod Podge KEY writing onto block
Step 6: Seal the paper onto block and finish the whole block
Step 7: Screw key hooks onto bottom of the block
Step 8: Hang and give yourself a pat on the back!

Healthified Sloppy Joes

So as of this week, my husband has lost 30 lbs on good ol' home cooking and regular exercise. This blog has actually played a big part in that . Having it actually inspired me to try new recipes or take older ones and "healthify" them. I have found a few blogs to help there and wanted to share one with my readers. I love this one because it is run by a registered dietitian that just wants to raise healthy eaters. I changed just a few things and doubled the recipe so that I have another night's dinner already cooked

Healthified Sloppy Joes!

1 lb. ground turkey, beef or vegetarian ground meat,

1/2 yellow onion, finely diced

1 red or yellow bell pepper, finely diced (I used a yellow and several small sweet peppers)

1 large carrot, grated

2 large tomatoes, diced (or 15 oz tomato sauce)

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

2 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce

2 Tbsp. ketchup

8 whole wheat buns, (I used sandwich Thins)

In a large skillet over medium heat, brown the meat in its own juices until it is almost cooked through. . Drain off the excess liquid, if necessary, and add the diced vegetables to the skillet. Sauté the mixture for 2 minutes and add all the remaining ingredients, except the buns. Bring it to a boil, reduce the heat, cover the skillet, and simmer it for 15-20 minutes until the vegetables are tender. At this point you can refrigerate or freeze the mixture, or proceed to the next step.
To serve the sandwiches, lightly toast the buns and fill each one with a large spoonful of the meat mixture.

I used to have a pretty picky eater, but he ate this right up so I am thinking that the pickiness was subdued by the tasty sloppy Joes!

Nutritional Information per serving (% based upon daily values)

(with turkey)

Calories: 261

Total Fat: 10g, 15%

Saturated Fat: 2g, 5%

Cholesterol: 40mg, 15%

Sodium: 550mg, 22%

Total Carbohydrate: 30g, 10%; Dietary Fiber: 4g, 16%; Sugar: 5g

Protein: 17g

29 May 2011

Pear Cranberry bars

I saw a recipe similar to this in a Kids Cooking magazine a while back. I was burning a candle tonight that smelled like toasted apple butter and that made me want a sweet treat that comibined apples with other good things like oatmeal. I realized that I didn't have enough apples to make the original, but I had some pears that I peeled and sliced a while back in my freezer. Now this is what happens when I crave something and don't have the ingredients to make it!



3/4 cup old fashioned oats

3/4 cups whole wheat flour

1/2 cup toasted almonds or pecans, chopped

1/2 cup light brown sugar

1/2 tsp cinnamon

pinch of baking powder

3 Tbsp mashed white beans (the recipe called for butter, but I wanted my healthy boost)

3 Tbsp applesauce (the recipe originally calls for oil, but why not healthify it??)


4 apples (or in my case, pears), diced

1/4 cup craisins or raisins

2 Tbsp honey (or maple syrup or brown sugar)

1 Tbsp whole wheat flour

Mix the dry ingredients for the crust together in 1 bowl. Add mashed beans and applesauce and mix until crumbly. Press half of the crust into the bottom of a greased 8x8 pan.

Add filling ingredients in a different bowl and mix well.

Dump onto crust and top with remaining crust from the bowl and pat down.

Bake at 350 for 40-45 minutes for fresh apples or 30 minutes for frozen.

It tastes kinda like apple pie with a twist. When serving, I like to serve the pieces upside down. It just looks a little nicer to me!

This recipe has 215 calories for each piece, with 5 grams of fiber and 2.5 grams of protein.

26 May 2011

Healthified Chicken Pockets

Since my hubby and I started our diets, we have really had to sacrifice. I managed to make one of our favorite dinners a little healthier. One serving is 318 calories and 20 gr. of protein. I added a litte carrot for a boost of beta carotene and just to get some veggies in!

Healthified Chicken Pockets - 8 servings - 2 crescents=1 serving

1-1 1/2 lbs cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded

8 oz fat free cream cheese, softened

3 Tbsp I can't Believe It's Not Butter, melted

1/2 cup milk

1/4 cup crushed croutons

1 carrot, grated



2 pkgs reduced fat crescent rolls

shred chicken and place in a bowl with softened cream cheese and melted margarine. Add milk and stir. Grate carrots into the mixture. Crush croutons into crumbs and add. Cut cilantro and mix into filling. Spoon onto uncooked crescents and roll up like a normal crescent.Bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

To make the filling a little more flavorful, you can add craisins and celery and make it like a yummy Thanksgiving dinner in a crescent!

24 May 2011

Tasty Tacos with Black Bean Mango Salsa

TOnight I was feeling a little experimental and I think the fruits of my labors were delicious! Easy too!

We had chicken hard shelled tacos with a black bean, corn, and mango salsa.

Step 1: take corn tortillas and fry them up into shells in olive oil.

Step 2. Make Salsa:

1 can black beans

1 can whole kernel corn

2 tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp cumin

1 mango, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

juice from 1 lime


Step 3: Prepeare chicken (mine was bbq-ed last week and frozen so that made it easy)

1 lb chicken breast, cooked and chunked or shredded

1/2 tomato, chopped

1 jalapeno, chopped

1-2 TBSP taco seasoning


The surprising thing about this dinner is that my picky 2 year old sat down and ate it right up (I guess it helps that I tell him everything in it will make his muscles bigger)

20 May 2011

MOODY bars (aka PMS Bars)

Every now and then people need a sweet pick me up. I wanted to share my new pick-me-up with others so they can satisfy that craving for sweet, salty, and a good amount of fat in there!


(aka PMS cookie bars)

1 box of yellow or white cake mix

1 egg

1/2 cup butter (I used I can't believe its not butter)

2 TBSP water

1/2 chocolate chips

1/2 cup peanut butter chips (or if you want to keep it simple, use all chocolate)


1/2 cup chunky peanut butter, heated in microwave for 30 seconds

1/2 cup hot fudge sauce

1/2 carmel sauce

1 chopped candy bar of your choice

mix the cake mix with egg, butter,water, and chips. Pour batter into a 9x13 pan and bake at 350 for 20 minutes.

While the cookie is still hot, pour hot peanut butter on top. Heat the hot fudge and carmel and pour over peanut butter. Spread toppings over the entire cookie. Chop/Crush cand bar and sprinkle over the top. It is a VERY rich dessert, but worth the calories in my opinion!

13 May 2011

Sugar Free Mini Pavlovas

Perfect little place to put some fresh fruit! My mom actually made these a few years ago for me and I really like them! The vanilla in them takes away from the artifical sugar taste and these literally melt in your mouth.

Sugar Free Mini Pavlovas

4 egg whites

1 cup Splenda + 4 Tbsp

1 tsp vanilla

Whip in mixer until stiff peaks form. Spoon or use a ziplock to squeeze pavlovas onto baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5 minutes and 250 for 20 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool

Top with Sugar Free whipped cream (recipe below) and fresh berries.


1/3 cup heavy whipping cream

1 Tbsp Splenda

whip until stiff

Sugar Free Sub"Lime" Strawberry Sauce

For my usual breakfast for dinner tradition on Sunday nights, My wonderful husband made me French Toast(with my favorite recipe!! :) ) To top the toast, I made a sauce/chutney the night before and was taken back by the flavor combination. I had heard that strawberries and limes went well together, but I had no idea how well.


1 lb fresh strawberries cut into slices (I actually like chunks to make it like a chutney)

juice and zest of 2 key limes

1/2 cup Splenda (I like it sweet, but 1/4 cup will do)

THATS IT!!!! Combine the ingredients in a bowl and let sit in the refridgerator for at least 30 minutes. Use as a topping for pancakes, waffles, french toast, shortcake, etc... or as a filling for crepes and other yummy stuff!

Green and Bean Chicken Quesadillas

With my spring garden prep going on, I have a nice patch of spinach growing. It comes back every year and I LOVE IT!!! I am surpised at how well those little seeds keep on producing(I have extra seeds if anyone is interested). The best part about these leafy greens is that they produce while it is still cold outside so I don't have to worry about a May Frost taking them away! To use up some of the leaves, I came up with a Green and Bean Chicken Quesadilla.


6 whole wheat tortillas

1 LARGE cooked chicken breast (I grilled mine up the other day while the BBQ was fired up)

1 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack Cheese

1/2 cup black beans

1/2 cup fresh spinach leaves

1 can diced green chiles

On a medium/hot skillet, place a tortilla sprinkled with cheese on and add some chicken, beans, spinach, and chiles and a little more cheese and cook until slightly melted. Place another tortilla over the top and use a pan to press the tortillas together. Flip and cook until both sides have browned and cheese is melted. Repeat with other tortillas. Cut into 6 pieces per quesadilla and serve with salsa, sour cream and guacamole!

26 April 2011

Spring Cupcakes

I had my little girl's 1st birthday party over the weekend and had a fun time making her cupcakes! The frosting didn't turn out like I had hoped it would (for some reason, it wouldn't stay fluffed), but they tasted great and looked super fun!

I made 3 boxes of cake mix into cupcakes and a mini bundt for the birthday girl.
For the frosting, I added 1 tub of vanilla frosting and a couple of drops of food coloring with 1 tub of cool whip. You are supposed to fold it in and it should make a fluffy thick and whipped frosting, but mine just ended up a little too runny for my liking, so I topped it with jellybeans and put them in the fridge to set. This is what we ended up with. After chilling, the frosting tasted so good and creamy and the jellybeans added the perfect flavoring! I will definitely be doing this one again!

19 April 2011

Sugar Free Marshmallows

WOW!!!!! Sounds different! My diabetic mom is coming into town tonight and so I wanted to surprise her with a treat! I actually tried making regular marshmallows earlier, but they did not turn out AT ALL!!! That's probably why I am so excited that I was able to make these yummy treats!

YOu can make these either way, but because we are counting calories here....we opted for Sugar free!
Homemade Sugar Free Marshmallows

2 pkgs Knox unflavored gelatin (or 5 tsp)
4 Tbsp cold water
1 cup boiling water
2 cups Splenda (or sugar if you want the sweet stuff)
dash of salt
1 sm pkg sugar free jell-o (any flavor) - OPTIONAL (or for plain, just add 2 tsp vanilla)

Place unflavored gelatin in a mixing bowl and add cold water. Set aside. In a medium-sized saucepan, mix 1 cup water and 2 cups splenda and a dash of salt. Bring to a boil, mixing only occasionally. Pour boiling mixture over unflavored gelatin in the mixing bowl. Using a wire whisk attachment, beat on low for about 2-3 minutes. Gradually increase speed until maximum speed is reached. beat for about 10-15 minutes until a thick marshmallow has formed.
you can either pour over flour and cut into rectangles (which is what I should have done this time....) or make a mold by filling a 9x13 pan with flour and using whatever shape you like (ie: the back of a large spoon for eggs) and spoon into molds.

To make a more indulgent treat, you can dip the marshmallows in chocolate and have a tasty little treat!

18 April 2011

Strap Covers Made Simple

For the past year and some, I have been planning on making strap covers for my little boy's car seat, but I never really got around to it. Finally I sat down and got them started. Before I knew it, I was done. I think that they turned out pretty cute and they were way easier than I thought they would be!

All I did was:
1. Cut out 2 rectangles of each fabric (for the front and the back of the covers)
*ab0ut 6 1/2 - 7 inches x 8- 9 inches (depends on the size of cover you want.
2. Turn the printed sides together and sew around 3 sides.
3. Turn right side out.
4. Cut high-loft batting to fit inside rectangles. and fit inside cover.
5. Turn the open edge inside and sew all the way around the cover.
6. Fold into thirds and make a stitch on the 1/3 lines
7. Cut Velcro to fit the cover and sew on the outer thirds to close the cover around strap.

That's all it took. No pattern, no fancy stitching, just straight lines and that's it!

Whole Wheat Crepes!

SO I made some tasty crepes for dinner last night. When I asked my 2 year old what he wanted for breakfast, he quickly replied -CREPES!!! I like to keep calories down if I can, but we have breakfast for dinner every Sunday and I don't usually eat a whole lot for the rest of the day, so I indulged a little with the filling!

Whole Wheat crepes

4 eggs
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup milk
2 tsp butter (or margarine)
2 tsp sugar (I used Splenda)
1/2 tsp salt

Mix all ingredients in a blender until smooth. Pour about 1/4 cup of batter onto a lightly greased skillet and tilt pan to coat bottom evenly with batter. Cook over medium heat until browned. Flip and brown the other side.
****Now on a few of them, I tried flipping them too soon and they tore so be careful!
Makes about 8 crepes!Fill or top with whatever sounds yummy!
fresh berries
cream cheese
powdered sugar
maple syrup

13 April 2011

My BEST cleaning Budddy!

I have a cheap way of getting things clean in my house. If anyone asks me how to clean certain areas and what I use, the answer is almost always the same....

BAKING SODA!!!Buying a big 13 lb bag at Costco or Sam's Club for like $5 is one of my favorite investments. I was working on a part of my spring cleaning while I was waiting for my hubby to come home and decided to clean the grout in my kitchen (it was looking sad when I tried to mop/scrub the floor). I wanted to see the original color of the grout again so I made a paste consisting of about 3/4 cup baking soda and a couple of Tablespoons of water. I just added until it was a thick paste-like consistency. Then I scooped the paste onto the grout and grabbed an old toothbrush. The results were not surprising....nice and like new!!
Other ways that making a baking soda has saved me have been:

getting crayon off the wall - use a non abrasive scrubber with paste
getting scuffs off the wall- paste and scrubber
cleaning a glass top stove- paste and washcloth
Cleaning any stove top (especially close to the burner drips) -paste
Keeping my garbage disposal fresh - sprinkle a half a cup in and let it sit
A Non-stinky trash can - sprinkle a little in the bottom of a can
laundry booster - a 1/4- 1/2 cup works like oxi-clean
Clearing a shower drain with a scoop and some vinegar
deodorizing floors just before vacuuming - sprinkle in areas and vacuum up!
keeping mattresses fresh - sprinkle on mattress and leave on until next sheet cleaning

There are more ways than this, but I just had to share my cleaning secret!!!

09 April 2011

Sweet and Savory Chicken - Ready in minutes

One of my easiest recipes consists of about 4 ingredients.

Sweet and Savory Chicken

1 lb boneless skinless chicken, thawed and chunked
1 pkg. onion soup mix
1 1/2 cups peach jam (or any citrus fruit preserves)
1 pkg stir fry mix - OPTIONAL

In a skillet, cook chicken chunks until browned. Add preserves and soup mix and stir until mixture melts and glazes all the meat. Add stir fry mix and keep warm until serving.

My sister just moved into a new house and I went to visit. To help her out, I made this dish with her along with some rice. From start to finish, it only took about 20 minutes to make. We added some extra bell peppers, green beans and a few other little veggies and it was soo yummy. It feeds a family too!

04 April 2011

Migas! (My dads mexican breakfast)

I am not exactly sure how mexican this breakfast is, but I know that whenever my dad comes to visit, we usually make this. He was around this past weekend and of course, Migas were on the menu. These are pretty tasty and can be healthy too!


2 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
1 tbsp olive oil
1/4 onion chopped
4- 5 eggs, beaten
2 Tbsp milk
1/4-1/2 cup salsa
Tortillas for serving (toasted)

In a large skillet, saute onion and tortilla strips until browned.
Beat eggs and milk and pour onto sauteed tortillas. Add salsa as eggs begin to set.
On an open flame (I just use one of the burners on my gas range), toast a few corn tortillas. Fill with cooked egg mixture and enjoy!

30 March 2011

WANNABE Panda Express Orange Chicken - made with CUTIES

Another tasty night that took a little (I mean quite a bit more) work than usual. I haven't made Orange Chicken in over a year and I have kinda been craving it. I checked my fridge and noticed that I had almost all of the necessary ingredients (or substitutes) needed to make this WANNABE Panda Express favorite! Bear in mind that I just had some CUTIES sitting on my counter so rather than get some oranges, I wanted to see if these would work as well.

2 lbs boneless skinless chicken chopped into bite sized pieces.
1 egg (lightly beaten)
1 1/2 tsp salt

white pepper (or just fresh ground pepper is what I use)

Place in a large Ziplock bag and toss together.

1/2 cup Cornstarch

1/4 cup Flour
Oil (for frying)

Stir together cornstarch and flour. Add chicken pieces, stirring to coat.

Heat oil for deep frying in a wok (abt 375 degrees)

Add Chicken in small batches at a time and fry 3-4 minutes or until golden crisp. Remove chicken from oil and drain on paper towels - Set Aside and prepare orange sauce.

Orange Sauce

1 1/2 tbsp soy sauce
1 1/2 tbsp water
5 Tbsp sugar (or Splenda)
5 Tbsp white vinegar
Juice of 1 cutie + zest of entire cutie (Or 1 orange juiced and zested)

mix together and set aside until ready to use.

1 tbsp gingerroot, minced (I jsut use a small grater)
1 tsp garlic, minced
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper flakes
1/4 cup green onion, chopped
1 tbsp rice wine vinegar

1/4 cup water
1 tbsp cornstarch

Clean wok and heat 15 seconds over high heat. Add 1 Tbsp oil. Add ginger and garlic and stir fry for about 10 seconds or until fragrant. Add pepper flakes and green onions. Add rice vinegar and stir 3 seconds. Add orange sauce and bring to a boil. Add cooked chicken, stirring until well mixed. Stir water and cornstarch together until smooth and add to wok. Heat until sauce is thickened and serve warm.

No-Bake Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies (AKA Elephant Poo)

Dessert tonight was something that I have not had in a LONG time!!! Its easy and my kiddos LOVED it! I made those No-bake Chocolate Peanut Butter cookies with oatmeal. I remember making them and hearing them called Elephant Poo, so that name kinda stuck with me. Sooo Tasty!

3 1/2 cups dry quick-cooking oats, divided
1/2 cup peanut butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 stick (8 tablespoons) butter, cut into pieces (OR Margarine)
2 cups sugar (OR Splenda)
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons cocoa

Measure 3 cups of oats, the peanut butter and the vanilla into a large heatproof bowl. Set aside.
Place the butter, sugar, milk and cocoa in a small saucepan. Give them a quick stir. Turn the heat on high, and leave the mixture alone. (No more stirring.) Bring the mixture to a full, rolling boil, and let it boil for exactly 1 minute. Remove immediately from the heat, and pour the chocolate mixture over the oats and peanut butter.Use a rubber spatula to quickly stir the ingredients together. (If the mixture seems runny or it’s a very humid day, stir in the remaining half-cup of oats.) Working with two spoons or a small ice cream scoop, drop the mixture by tablespoons onto some wax paper. Let the cookies cool until set. (or you could just eat them with a spoon!)

28 March 2011

CUTIE Pies!!!!!

I was looking online tonight for recipes to use some CUTIE Clementines/Mandarins and I couldn't find any for a tasty dessert. I know those little CUTIES are sooo good to just peel and snack on, but I wanted to see if I could find more uses. I found a basic orange/lemon pie recipe and changed a few ingredients and added a few other and ended up with a DIVINE pie!!!
My father-in-law works for the company that grows CUTIES, so I have a few bags here so you might see CUTIES one here more than once!


1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs
2 Tbsp Sugar (or splenda)
3 Tbsp melted butter/ margarine

3 Tbsp Corn Starch
2/3 cup sugar (or splenda - if you go this route, add a little vanilla)
2/3 cup Milk (doesn't matter which percent)
4-6 CUTIES, juiced and the zest of 2 or 3)
2 egg yolks, slightly beaten
2 tbsp fresh Lemon Juice + 1/2 Tbsp zest
1 cup fat free sour cream

For the Crust, mix ingredients together and press into a 9 inch pie plate. Bake a 375 for about 7 minutes and remove to cool.

For the Filling, combine corn starch and sugar. Gradually stir in CUTIE Juice until smooth. Stir in Milk, egg yolks, and lemon juice until well blended. Add zests. Cook on stove at medium/ high for 5-7 minutes or until mixture thickens (a minute or 2 past boiling). FOLD in sour cream. Pour into crust and refrigerate for 1-2 hours until set.
Garnish with a dollop of Whipped cream and a lemon or orange curl or a slice of Cutie!

25 March 2011

Little Lemon Tartlets

I was on the phone with my sister, Laura earlier this week and she told me about how she got some yummy lemons and decided to make my mom's FABULOUS Lemon Curd Pudding. As she was talking about it, I started to think of that tart goodness and how tasty it would be! That led me to think about Marie Callender's Double Cream Lemon Pie and it clicked.....tell Laura to make some of her own!!!! Apparently we were already on the same wavelength and as I told her how to do it, she said that she was already thinking of doing something like that with all these sleepover girls at her house with her daughter. She did it and sent all the lemony luscious details.

For starters, you need to make a Lemon Curd Pudding:
~Lemon curd pudding~
4 tsp. lemon zest
2/3 cup lemon juice( i juiced the lemons I zested yielding approximately 4 lemons)
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter

add all ingredients into a blender, except for the butter, blend till smooth then slowly pour melted butter into it while blending. Pour into a sauce pan and heat till it bubbles and thickens (appr. 5-6 min) remove from heat and let cool, then refrigerate.

Then there's the cream cheese filling

~Cream Cheese pie Filling~
1 lb. cream cheese
1 cup powdered sugar

Whip until it looks creamy (appr. 8-10 min.) while whipping add powdered sugar or until it's as sweet as you'd like it.

~graham cracker crust~
about 10 graham crackers, crushed
2 TBSP Melted Butter or Margarine
1 Tbsp sugar
Mix all the ingredients together and press into muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 6-7 minutes.

Let the crusts cool and put the filling and the curd into ziplock bags with the corners cut out. Squeeze good sized glob of cream cheese onto the crust. IN a swirling motion, squeeze lemon pudding on top and serve with a sprig of mint and a lemon curl.

22 March 2011

Making Bread FYI

As we are all aware, food prices are on the rise. We hear of crop failures and weather problems, and increased prices for food distribution because of the increase in fuel prices. If grocery stores were suddenly empty, would you have enough food in your home to feed your family nutritious and good-tasting meals?
We have probably all heard the quote by Brigham Young when he said "The time will come that gold will hold no comparison in value to a bushel of wheat."
If you are thinking that you have plenty of wheat stored, consider this: For one loaf of bread per day for a year, you will need:
275 lbs of wheat
4 gallons of oil
46 lbs of sugar or honey
8 lbs of yeast
and 8 lbs of salt.
It is estimated that most families would need at least 2 loaves of bread per day if they were living on survival foods. I would prefer to have some nice homemade bread instead of just boiled wheat. Then some homemade jam and peanut butter would be great also. Think about what your family would need for an appetizing and nutritious diet in an emergency.

21 March 2011

Monster Cookies

Have you ever been to the Target Cafe' and had those yummy giant monster cookies??? I absolutely love indulging in those bad boys after an exhausting couponing expedition. I just hate saving all this money on everyday things and paying over a dollar for 1 cookie. So I played around in the kitchen tonight and found a recipe that I tweaked a little to get things just right!

Monster Cookies

1 stick of butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chunky peanut butter
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup oats (quick cooking or old fashioned - I prefer old fashioned)
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup m&ms
(if you like lots of peanuts, you can chop some up and add them to the mix too)

cream butter, sugars, peanut butter, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Add dry ingredients and mix well. add chips and m&ms. Bake at 350 for 10-12 minutes.

This recipe doesn't make a whole lot of cookies (abt 2 dozen), but if you are trying to limit how much you are eating, then this one works!

19 March 2011

Cutie Clippies!

I had a few minutes to do a little something while I was waiting for my husband to get home from work. I remembered that my neighbor gave me a bunch of alligator clips to make my little girl some hair clippies! I didn't realize how EASY they are to make. I had some scrapbook ribbon that was just a tad wider than the clip, some hot glue and a few minutes and I just made these!
They are some of the easiest little things to make. Just line the ribbon up with the clip and squirt a line of hot glue down the middle of the prongs and fold the ribbon over the top. Add a little more glue to the ribbon and wrap around the hinge.Do the same on the bottom side and press together again.

**if you want, you can tie a cute bow with the ribbon and glue it to the top to make it a little more dressy or add whatever you like to them!

Voila!!! YOU ARE DONE!!!
I made 2 in each of the ribbon prints that I had and I think they turned out pretty darn cute and sooooooo much cheaper than buying them at the store.

16 March 2011

Easy Rice Wraps

I had a craving earlier this week and it was satisfied with tonight's dinner. Easy Spring Wraps!! Last year, I bought some at the store and fell in love with the light cool taste of these healthy rolls. They cost about $3-$4 for 2 rolls, but I hate paying for something that I can make my own for much cheaper. Most everything I just got at the regular grocery store. I know some stores carry sheets of rice paper, but I couldn't find any at my regular store, so I just went and bought a 30 pack for about $3 at Whole Foods.

Ingredients to try out - I will put a star next to what I used and how much to make about 8-10 rolls
*cucumber - 1/3 large hothouse
*spinach/lettuce- about 1/3 bunch cut into strips
*bell pepper - 1/4 red in strips
*avocado - 1/2 medium hass
*carrots- 2 cut into thin strips
*chicken - 1 cup cut into chunks or shredded
cooked rice

Step 1: Take rice paper and dip into warm water for 10- 30 seconds or until flexible without cracking or breaking. (Some packages differ from others, so just keep an eye out for cracking)

Step 2: Fill with veggies and meat. Roll like a burrito or egg roll and press together to seal ingredients in.

Step 3: Let the rolls sit for a few minutes and cut diagonally down the center and put on a plate, careful not to let them touch (sometimes the wrappers stick to eachother)

Dipping Sauce for Rice Wraps

3 Tbsp Rice Vinegar
1/4 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 tsp Sugar
1 finely sliced Green Onion
Splash of sesame oil

The hardest part of making this for me was keeping my wrappers from cracking. If there is a little crackage, its ok. These rolls don't look that great until you cut them down the middle anyway.

15 March 2011

A taste of Summer!

Today has been such a beautiful day!!! I made me think about summer and being outside, which led to my choice for dinner tonight. Barbecued Turkey Burgers. My sister makes these all the time in the summertime and even in the off season on her indoor griddle, so I called her for the recipe and shortly after, I was eating a picnic outside with my kiddos! The flavor in these bad boys makes for a great change from traditional burgers!
Zippy Turkey Burgers

1 lb ground turkey
1 egg
1/2 chopped yellow/red/orange bell pepper
1/2 cup grated cheese (tonight was pepper jack!!!!)
1 Tbsp A1 steak sauce

I mix all these together in a bowl and it makes about 5 average sized burgers.

Then I toss them onto a hot bbq and cook for about 7-10 minutes on each side or until they look good.

A good bun idea is using those orowheat or whatever brand sandwich thins. They have less calories than a traditional bun and a different flavor.

14 March 2011

Under $5 and 15 minutes!

Ok...my husband usually works until 11:30 at night and I don't like to go to bed by myself, so I try to find ways to pass my time. I was at the dollar store about a week ago and got a small round wreath form and a couple of loose silk flowers.
I got to crafting around 11:15 because I was cleaning and just lost track of time. I decided that this was something that I wanted to get done that night and sure enough....I did it in 15 minutes and under $5!!

Step 1: Cut flowers off of stems (leave about 1-2 inches to stick in wreath form.
Step 2: Place same color flowers a few inches apart on the ring.
Step 3: Fill in all the way around the ring with as many color/variety flowers that you like (I used blue and fuchsia hydrangeas and mini while calla lilies) I also saved a few of the leaves to use as a filler in sparse areas on the ring.
Step 4: Cut a piece of cardboard about 1/2-1 inch longer than inner diameter of the ring.
Step 5: Cut scrapbook/craft paper to fit cardboard ( I even used some thin scraps to accent the sign on top and bottom) and adhere to the wreath with crafter's glue or hot glue.
Step 6: Using a sharpie or nice pen, write a fun spring saying on your sign.

THAT'S IT!!!!!
How much simpler could it get??

11 March 2011

Grandma Norma's Blondies

Another recipe that I have wanted to do for a while, but never found time to until just recently.
When I got married, my mother in law gave me a bunch of family recipes that I am so excited to try out. Most of them came from my husband's great grandma who was a FABULOUS cook! This is one of the easiest recipes that I have made and it tastes soooo yummy!

Grandma's Norma's Blondies
2 1/4 cups flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 1/4 cups brown sugar
2/3 cup oil
1 tsp vanilla
3 eggs
6 oz chocolate chips
1/2 cup chopped nuts

Sift together first 3 ingredients. Cream the next 3 ingredients. Add eggs to creamed mixture. Mix in flour mixture. Add chocolate chips and nuts. Spread out on a greased shallow pan. (11 x 15 x 2) . Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes.
Tastes even better served warm with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce!

**a quick tip for these yummy treats...mix by hand instead of a mixer for a thicker cookie!
***To make them true blondies, use butterscotch chips instead of Chocolate.

Magic Mix and Homemade Pudding

SO I like to challenge myself from time to time, and this past week, I found a recipe that took me 4 attempts to make it right! I wanted to have some yummy homemade pudding and I had never even tried to make the store bought heat and serve stuff so this was my challenge.
So my first attempt yielded Chocolate soup.....tasted yummy but not what I wanted. Tried again about an hour later and used a different recipe. This time it was a little thicker, but not successful enough to call it a victory. Then I called my mom and asked for a little help. She told me to cook it a little longer, so I did. Wouldn't you guess it, it was almost pudding consistency on the third try. Finally I cooked it 5-6 minutes and it turned out! YAY!!!

I got this one from a cookbook called I CAN'T BELIEVE IT'S FOOD STORAGE


2 1/3 cups dry powdered milk (Morning MOOs)
1 c. all purpose flour or 1/2 cup cornstarch (great for gluten free)
1 c butter at room tempearture
combine ingredients in a large bowl an mix with an electric hand mixer until the mixture resembles cornmeal. Keep mix tightly covered in the refrigerator for up to 8 months

Magic Mix Pudding
1/2 C. Sugar
1 C. Magic Mix
2-3 T. Cocoa (optional)
2 C. Water
1 t. Vanilla
Combine Magic Mix, sugar and cocoa in saucepan and mix well. Add water, stir over medium heat until pudding bubbles. Add vanilla and beat. Cook for about 5 minutes or until mixture thickens. Cover and Cool.

These and other recipes can be found online at everydayfoodstorage.net

Winter Squash Soup

When the weather is cold, there's not much better than a cup of hot soup to warm you up! I had a hankering for some squash soup like what I got from costco, but wanted to try and make it on my own.


1 cooked squash, pureed
1 can of chicken broth
1 can of water
3-4 stalks of celery sliced thin (i used a food processer/shredder)
2 carrots sliced thin
1/2 an apple cut into small chunks
2 cooked chicken breast cut in cubes
1/4 cup milk
2-3 tbsp sugar
2-3 tbsp butter or margarine
2 tbsp flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg

Heat in a large stock pot and cook until veggies are tender.

I kinda just added ingredients until they tasted the way I wanted it to. Thats why the measurements are not precise. Good luck and I hope that you enjoy it!

06 March 2011

Cranberry White Chocolate Cookies

One way to jazz up plain sugar cookie dough mix.

2 1/2 cups sugar cookie dough mix (krusteaz) or one package betty crocker.
1 stick of butter or margarine, softened
1 egg
1/2 cup almond paste
1 cup craisins
1 cups white chocolate chips

Mix well and place on cookie sheet. Bake at 375 for 10-12 min or until brown on edges.

Chicken Tortilla Soup

Chicken Tortilla Soup - found on livestrong.com

1 lb cooked chicken, cubed
3 cups water (I just used the water that I boiled the chicken in for extra taste)
1 can chicken broth - low sodium
1 can diced green chilies
2 cans black beans
2 cups frozen corn
2 cans diced tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 tbsp cumin
1 tbsp garlic powder
Add ingredients together in a large stock pot. Cook for 1 hour or until flavors are blended. Serve with tortilla chips, sour cream, avocado chunks, cheese or whatever you like. I just left it plain tonight and it was sooo tasty! Perfect dinner for a rainy night.

** This recipe makes A LOT of soup. It made abt 4 quarts for me so if you have leftovers, they freeze great!