Thursday, September 30, 2010

Sesame Noodle Salad

I have actually posted this recipe before, but it is soooo good, that I wanted to post it again with my modifications for Share a Spoon! With Think Tank Momma!  Head over, check out some fab PASTA recipes and link up to add your own.  I can't wait to get more pasta ideas.  It's become my new favorite obsession!  Aside from chocolate of course.  I got the original idea for this dish from Got No Milk when she made Sesame and Cilantro Vermicelli Salad.  I have changed it up a bit to suit my taste buds!

Sesame Noodle Salad
Dressing:

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

3 tablespoons sesame oil

1 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes

3 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons soy sauce

Salad:

8 ounces vermicelli or pasta of choice - I use a whole wheat or high protein pasta

salt (for cooking pasta)

1/4 cup coarsely chopped fresh basil or to taste (or cilantro)

1/2 cup thinly sliced green onions

1/2 cup sliced and chopped red bell pepper

2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds - I love toasted sesame seeds!

You can also add chicken to this salad, to make a complete meal!

-Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse.
-While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a microwave-safe dish, heat the canola oil, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes, in the microwave on high heat for 1-2 minutes. Add the honey and soy sauce and mix well.
-Combine the drained pasta with the dressing in a large bowl until the pasta is well coated. Cover and chill for several hours.

When ready to serve, mix in the basil, green onions, bell pepper (and chicken, if desired). Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. 

This is currently my favorite pasta dish!  My second favorite is to take the drained pasta, with just a little of the liquid and saute it in a pan with a little olive oil.  Then add fresh Parmesan cheese, basil, red pepper flakes, and black pepper.  So easy and so good!

What about you? What's your favorite way to eat pasta?

I'm also linking this up with Eat at Home for ingredient spotlight - honey, and Finding Joy in My Kitchen - ingredient spotlight: bell peppers!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Peanut butter cookies...hold the peanut

There are so many awesome recipes calling for peanut butter.  And peanut butter and chocolate go together like peas and carrots.  Ugh - bad example.  I hate peas.  How about...like Oreos and milk?!  Anyway, I'm getting off subject.  My point is - peanut butter is awesome, but I'm allergic.  Not severely, but enough that I avoid it.  And my son, my little Terrible Two - is allergic to not only peanuts, but tree nuts as well.  So he can't even have a spoonful of my beloved Dark Chocolate Almond Butter.  (this stuff is the bomb!)  But due to his allergies, he has missed out on a common childhood staple.  My other 2 children eat peanut butter on a very regular basis.  Isn't genetics weird?

I have avoided making a lot of stuff with nuts in it b/c I feel bad when Mr. Two can't have any.  BUT, the other day, I was reading a blog post over at The Candid RD and she reminded me about soynut butter.  I've tried it before, along with sunflower butter, but my little man wasn't crazy about it.  I did not however, think about baking with it.  So, after reading her post I thought, hmmmm, I should make Mr. Two some soynut butter cookies!  Let him have a taste of how the other half live.  So, the other night after dinner I told my girls we were going to bake some cookies...I wanted something super quick and easy (it was a school night you know), and I remember seeing somewhere that you could make cookies with a cup of peanut butter, a cup of sugar and an egg.  I was skeptical, but thought I'd give it a try....
With mods of course.  Believe it or not, it worked! 

I used -
  • 1 cup soynut butter
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup NuNaturals Stevia Baking Blend
  • 1 T. ground flax seed with 3 T. water to replace the egg (yes, he's allergic to those too!)
I baked these at 350 degrees for about 7 minutes I think.  Next time, however, I will not use the Stevia.  I think I'll just try to reduce the amount of sugar a little.  These cookies, aside from having that artificial sweetener taste to them, were pretty good.  They are crumbly until they cool, but then they hold together fine.  It's definitely a recipe I'm going to try again, and I am going to use soynut butter in more recipes!
Mr. T. Two - enjoying his first non-peanut peanut butter cookie ;)


WW - breathtaking

This was the view out my back door last evening.  I wish I was skilled enough to actually capture the true beauty of it!



For more Wordless Wednesdays posts and to link up
head on over to Project Alicia!

Hopefully, I will have time to do a blog post (with words!) soon!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

mmmm, mac & cheese please

Growing up, I was never a big fan of mac & cheese.  Say What?!  I know, what kid doesn't like macaroni and cheese.  Well, I didn't.  However, that's because all I ever had was from the blue box with the powdered cheese.  (which 2 out of 3 of my children love).  Once I discovered homemade mac & cheese, I realized what all the fuss was about, but have not had good luck making it myself.  My first experience, quite a while back, was filled with all kinds of delicious cheeses, making a roux, spending lots of time preparing....just for it to taste like....like....well, nothing.  It was the blandest mess I had ever eaten.  I still don't know what I did wrong.  But anyway, needless to say, I haven't been too eager to try it again.  Until I found this recipe from Raise Healthy Eaters.  It looked too simple.  The picture looked delicious.  I decided to give it a try.  SCORE!  It was yummy and super easy!!!
Doesn't it look good?  All that fabulous cheese....


 by Maryann Tomovich Jacobsen, MS, RD


Ingredients:


2 TBS butter or margarine  I used Smart Balance Light

2 1/2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni  I used whole wheat penne pasta (I couldn't find elbow mac in ww)

1/4-1/2 tsp salt to taste

1/4 tsp dry mustard powder

1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

2 cups shredded cheddar cheese  I used sharp, it would be good with a mixture of cheeses

3 oz precooked andouille or turkey sausage, diced (1 cup) (optional)  I omitted

3 1/2 cups skim milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put the butter in a 2-quart casserole dish and let it melt in the oven. Remove it and then add the macaroni to the dish and stir and coat. Stir in the salt, mustard, nutmeg, cheese and sausage (optional). Pour the milk over everything and stir gently.

Bake it for an hour, uncovered (don’t stir while cooking). Let the casserole cook for 5 to 10 minutes before serving it.
****************************************************************************************

See?!  I told you it was super easy.  We had 'Sloppy Joes', salad and mandarin oranges to go with it.  We were supposed to have the sloppy joes for dinner Sunday night, but the power went out, so we had sandwiches and chips!  That's what happens when I try to meal plan.  Something always messes it up!  But anyway, my kids didn't like the sloppy joe....shocker, I know.
Number One's plate

I, of course, had carb overload.  My plate = food coma

I even made dessert...egg-free soynut butter cookies.  I know you're excited to hear about those! haha.  That will probably be tomorrow's post since I've bombarded you with pictures. 

Don't forget to check PINT with That One Mom at Only Parent Chronicles!  I didn't have enough sarcastic witty comments to make post-its today. 

ALSO - if you have a dollar to spare...donate to my Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society!!  It's coming up on 10/9!!  There's a link on the right side of the page.  Every dollar helps!! Thanks!


Monday, September 27, 2010

Makes My Monday

God is great, God is good....

I, of course, had my camera at the dinner table - taking food pics :D
I happened to snap this pic while the kids were getting ready to say the blessing.  Even though the picture quality is not the greatest, it is the sweetest picture to me!!  It makes me feel so happy and blessed for my children, and makes me feel like maybe I'm doing something right!

If you'd like to see more Makes My Monday posts...visit Twinfatuation!  I don't have twins, but I wanted to play too ;)

Sunday, September 26, 2010

farewell garden...until we meet again

Well, it's a sad day folks.  My garden is being mowed down as we speak.  Or as I type rather.  My husband was a little too excited to rip my little fence up and start mowing.  Of course, it does look like a mini-forest now.  I gave up when the bugs got bigger than I am.  I did run out there and salvage a few peppers and grabbed the last watermelon of the season.  I feel like I should play taps or something.  Say a few words in remembrance.  Oh, how I have loved thee.  I'll spare you more pics of my lovely garden, but if you would like, you can look back over previous posts and check them out.  I'll wait ;)

Did you look? (Hell no) My first garden! What a bounty we had!!  I can't wait to do it again next year.  I may even see what I can plant for the winter, since I totally missed the pumpkin and gourd planting 'season'.  Yes, this made me sad too.  But, I've learned a lot, even how to cook and eat vegetables.  Some veggies anyway.

To cheer me up, I decided some happy food was in order.  And I have all these!
So I decided on Apple Scones.  Sounds sophisticated doesn't it?  Yeah, a scone is basically a biscuit in my book, but whatever, I'm sure there is a difference, I'm just too lazy to look it up.  Scone sounds better, and they were very good.  In fact I may go eat another, I've only had like four a couple.  The original recipe was found at Nancy's Kitchen, and I, of course, made a few changes.
Apple Scones  
my changes are in italics

2 c flour    1 c. all-purpose and 1 c. whole wheat

1/4 c sugar

2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 t. cinnamon - will use more next time

1/2 t. pumpkin pie spice

1/4 c cold butter or margarine  Smart Balance Light

1 shredded apple

1/2 c milk

milk for brushing tops  I used orange juice

sugar for sprinkling

cinnamon for sprinkling

Measure flour, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt and spices into large bowl. Cut in butter until crumbly. Add shredded apple and milk. Stir to form stiff dough. Turn out on lightly floured surface. Knead gently 8-10 times. Dough was very sticky! Pat into two six inch circles. Place on greased baking sheet. Brush tops with milk orange juice.

Sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Score each top into 6 or 8 pie shaped wedges. Bake in 425 F oven for 15 minutes until browned and risen. Serve warm with butter.
Because the dough was so sticky and I felt like I had to work it so much, I was expecting my scones to be little bricks.  I was also concerned with them being dry with the addition of whole wheat flour.  HOWEVER, to my pleasant surprise, they were moist and soft and yummy!  I would recommend increasing the amount of apple and cinnamon.  My shredded apple ended up being abt 3/4th cup, so it just depends on how big yo' apple is.  I will definitely plan on making these again! 

Now, I'm planning my next apple recipe....apple butter?  egg-free apple cookies?  Not sure yet...


Linking up over at Eat at Home and Finding Joy In My Kitchen for Ingredient Spotlight - Apples!

Friday, September 24, 2010

sometimes life gets in the way

Of blogging that is.  This has been a crazy busy week.  Of course, if you read my previous post, you know what was going on in the beginning of the week...thank goodness that's over.  So, I'm looking forward to a relaxing weekend.  I have 3 children, who will all be home, unless I can pawn them off on the grandparents so "relaxing" is probably not going to happen.  But anyway...I found these
They scream "FALL", and I just have to give them a try - tonight! Even though the weather is
Yes, that says 97.  Yesterday.  Craaazy.  I hate cold weather, but I do insist that it be cold for the holidays.  You hear that Mother Nature?  I insist.  It's usually not all that cold for Halloween, but come Thanksgiving, I want cold weather.  And December?  I want chessnuts roasting on an open fire, and winter wonderlands and all that crap.  It is chessnuts right?  Chestnuts doesn't sound right.  Sounds down right frightening actually.  So anyway, I digress.  As usual.

I did make these last night
Yummo - not to quote the annoyingly perky Rachel Ray.  But I saw a recipe for a lower fat rice krispie treat the other day, and have been wanting to try it.  Yes, you can reduce the amnt of "butter" (I used Smart Balance Light) in the original recipe, and still have yummy treats.  Since I used less butter, I felt justified in adding the toffee and mini chocolate chips.  This is totally Buffee's fault.  She posted about a version of these a while back, and since Heath bars are one of my favorite candy bars...you know I had to try it.  We've pretty much devoured the whole pan.  Good thing they were low fat ;)  You can see the recipe here.

 And speaking of Ms. Buffee - I won a giveaway she was hosting for MAMA CARDS from Mabel's labels.  How cool are they?  I'll be that mom, who appears super organized and everyone hates envies.  Except for the hair that needs highlighting, the lack of make-up, the really-needs-a-pedicure...okay, so maybe they won't be that envious, but I'll have cool cards to pass out to the few people I actually deem worthy of association.  haha.  (I'm only sort of kidding).  If you want your own Mama Cards, you can head over to Think Tank Momma's blog  - she's hosting a giveaway, but you have to hurry - THE GIVEAWAY ENDS TOMORROW!!!  I don't mean to scream, but I wanted to make sure I had your attention.  And, you don't have to be a mom - you can have whatever you want put on your cards!

Hope everyone has a fabulous weekend.  I'm going to go try out my pumpkin spice ale!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

the good, the bad, the ugly

When I started this blog I had in mind that it would be my "happy place". No talk of cancer, bone marrow transplants and all the other serious issues that have been a part of my life for the past year. However, if you've been reading, you know that my Dad has been battling Leukemia, had a bone marrow transplant, etc. What I have found is that a blog is a place where people are probably more themselves than anywhere else! It's a place where you can say whatever you want, without editing yourself (too much) b/c of the anonymity a blog affords. So, my "real life" has definitely seeped into my posts, b/c it's a part of who I am. With all that being said, I was debating about whether or not I wanted to share this weeks "experience"...and obviously, since you don't see pictures of something chocolate, I have decided that I would - b/c who knows, it may help someone.

Because of my family history (we have lots of cancer and GI issues on my dad's side), and b/c of what my dad has been going through, I have tried to be very diligent in staying on top of my health. All I have been able to think of is...anything that could be wrong would be better if caught early. I do not want my children to have to watch me go through all the things I've seen my dad face. So, cancer screenings have become very important to me. Hence, I give you - the good, the bad, and the ugly!

The GOOD - I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week that showed no evidence of cancerous or precancerous changes.

The BAD - I had a colonoscopy and endoscopy this week.

The Ugly -
Bowel prep - I had to drink 64 oz of Gatorade at 6AM!

The GOOD - They allow you to have jello, chicken broth and other non-pulp liquids the day before.

The BAD - I hate jello unless it's a jello shot.  And chicken broth, even though I like it, is just flavored hot water.  I was STARVING!

The UGLY - you spend right much time back and forth to the bathroom.

The GOOD - I lost a few pounds during all this.

The BAD - I'm sure I've already gained it all back.

The UGLY - cellulite.  okay, that has nothing to do with this, but hey, it's ugly.

The GOOD - they give you Demerol and Versed for the procedure.  Versed is an amnesiac.  I remember NOTHING.

The BAD - they fill your intestine with air so they can see with the scope.  The air has to come back out.  My husband was witness to this.  He was giving me "high-fives".  Thank goodness I was too doped up to remember.

The UGLY -
wasn't it nice of my hubs to take this?  there is nothing flattering about hospital gowns.

The point of this post?  Take care of yourselves!!  Get regular physicals.  Do whatever screenings are recommend.  You can not be too careful or diligent when it comes to your health. 

Also, my sister and I are doing the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society on 10/9 in Raleigh, NC.  If you are in the area and would like to join my team, let me know!  AND if you'd like to donate to my team, let me know, I'll send you the link to my fundraising page!!  All proceeds go to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

So that's it for my serious post.  I'm sure there will be something chocolate coming up very soon.  I'm due for some baking!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday from Mr. Terrible Two

Mr. Terrible Two a.k.a. Mr. Blue Eyes
For more Wordless Wednesday posts, go HERE....

Monday, September 20, 2010

shhh! It happens...

Well, Saturday I spent the day with my mom and dad.  We "celebrated" my dad's 100th day post transplant, as it is a milestone for transplant patients.  To help celebrate, I made a cake.  Because you can't have a celebration without CAKE!  After much deliberating, I decided on a lemon pound cake.  Glazed Lemon Pound Cake to be specific.  I know, yum!  I even made the cake as written - no changes or substitutions.  Yes, I'm shocked too.  However, I didn't quite follow ALL the directions.  Such as "spray budnt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour".  Apparently, WITH FLOUR is key here.

yep, non-stick my ass.
I sprayed it with Pam Cooking Spray, but obviously, that wasn't enough.  If I had gone with the recipe that called for multiple sticks of butter, this probably wouldn't have happened.  But noooo, I had to be more health conscience.  Not that there is anything healthy about this cake.  So, what did I do?  Did I cry?  No.  Did I bake another cake?  Hell no. (pronounced HAY-ell no)
I slapped that baby back together, poured some glaze on it (which held it all together nicely) and called it a day.  My dad nevers wears his glasses anyway.  I knew he wouldn't notice.  (He thought my chocolate chips waffles were a steak.)  And I knew my mom wouldn't care, because she's cool like that. 

So, we had cake.  Less than picture perfect, but pretty freakin' good.
Ingredients - recipe from busycooks.about.com
•2-1/2 cups flour

•1-1/2 cups sugar

•2-1/2 tsp. baking powder

•1/2 tsp. baking soda

•1/4 tsp. salt

•1/2 cup orange juice

•1/4 cup lemon juice

•3/4 cup canola or safflower oil     I used canola

•2 tsp. vanilla

•4 eggs        I only used 3 eggs b/c the hubs bought HUGE jumbo eggs - they had to be from a mutant chicken

•1-3/4 cups powdered sugar

•1/2 cup lemon juice

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Spray 12 cup bundt pan with nonstick baking spray with flour. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, orange juice, 1/4 cup lemon juice, oil, vanilla, and eggs. Beat well until combined.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake at 325 degrees F for 40-50 minutes until dark golden brown. While cake is in oven, combine powdered sugar and 1/2 cup lemon juice and whisk to blend.

Remove cake from oven, beat powdered sugar mixture again, and carefully spoon 1/2 of the lemon and powdered sugar mixture over cake. Loosen edges of cake and turn out onto serving plate. Slowly drizzle remaining lemon mixture over cake. Let cool.
***************************************************************************************
It was very good.  I don't know if I would call it a pound cake, b/c it wasn't as dense as normal pound cake, but definitely a good cake.  Next time, I will play around with the ingredients just to see if I can make it with less fat, and I will add blueberries!  B/c I love lemon and blueberries.  The glaze is very sweet and very tart at the same time.  I think some lemon zest would be a good addition to the cake as well as adding some orange juice to the glaze.  Damn, now I want to make another cake.  Guess me and Mr. T. Two will be heading to the grocery store.  Always fun with a 2 yr. old.  Hope everyone had a FABU weekend!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

chocolate for breakfast?

Oooohhhhh yeeaaaaaa....
Whole Wheat Double Chocolate Chip Waffles
 recipe from How Sweet It Is

If you do not follow Jessica at How Sweet It Is, you should.  She has some awesome recipes.  When I saw double chocolate chip, you know I had to try it out.  Her pictures look way better than mine, but you get the idea.  Chocolate.  For breakfast.  (or whenever)  and they are made with whole wheat, so that makes them totally healthy right?!

I made these last weekend for myself the kiddies.  They loved them (of course, it's chocolate, what's not to love?).  Even Mr. Terrible Two ate them!

Ingredients-

2 cups whole wheat pastry flour *this cannot be found anywhere in my town. i've looked. everywhere. so I subbed 1 cup whole wheat flour and 1 cup cake flour.  checkout out this link for all kinds of substitutions.

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 tablespoons sugar *I used NuNaturals baking blend

1/4 cup cocoa powder

1 cup skim milk

1 egg *I used an egg substitution for Mr. Two (1 T. vinegar, 1 T. milk, 1 t. baking powder)

2 tablespoons canola oil

1/2 cup chocolate chips *I used mini chocolate chips

Directions -
Preheat waffle maker.  Combine all dry ingredients together, then add egg, milk and oil. If batter is too dry, add milk 1 tablespoon at a time, until it is wet but thick.  I had to add additional milk b/c my batter was super thick, but I didn't use an egg.  Fold in chocolate chips. Spoon 1/3 cup batter into waffle maker, cooking for 2-3 minutes or until waffle is set.


These waffles are really good.  They are not real sweet, but each bite had mini chocolate chips in them and we know chocolate chips makes everything MO'BETTA!!  I ate the leftovers for dinner, cold. straight from the fridge.  yes, I have a problem. 

Friday, September 17, 2010

Fab Finds

Every once in a while I come across an item that gets me all excited..... (not those kind of items, and not that kind of excited).  I'm talkin' about FOOD.  (what else?!)  When you live in a small town, it takes a while for the local stores to start carrying new items, so some of these may have been around a while, but I'm just discovering them.  and because I am the nice chick that I am (stop laughing) I wanted to share my fab finds with my friends. 

for example
I have been buying the plain Cape Cod Reduced Fat chips for a long time - but recently, I found these!  Barbeque! (and they had Salt &Vinegar - Number One's favorite).  I love kettle cooked chips and usually only buy reduced fat.  AND they have a short list of ingredients that I can actually pronounce.

A peanut-free trail mix!  And it is sooo good.  This came from Sam's Club.  My little man is allergic to tree nuts as well, so he can't have them, but I'm only allergic to peanuts.  It's hard to find a mix that doesn't include them.  and it has blueberries!
My sister introduced me to these.  Obviously, I have a thing for blueberry.  These are too good!  My kids liked them too....JUST KIDDING, do not call social services.  I do not share my alcohol.  With anyone.
And this isn't a new product, but a few months ago a friend mentioned that she put cinnamon in with her coffee grounds before brewing.  The next morning I tried it, and have been addicted since.  I'm not crazy about flavored coffee in the morning, but I love cinnamon and this is awesome!  Also, add a little Vanilla Stevia and you have a heavenly cuppa joe!  Take that Starbucks!  I hate paying 4-5 bucks for a cup of coffee.  Even if it is delicious.

So anyway, that's all I got.  Hope everyone has a fabulous Friday, and weekend.  My kids are heading west with the in-laws and are going to pick apples!  YAY!  I should have some apple recipes to share soon!  I'll be heading east to see the parentals.  My Dad reaches a huge milestone this weekend...Day 100 post bone marrow transplant!!!  The first 100 days are considered the most critical after transplants, so we are thankful to reach this and that he is doing (fairly) well. 

Anybody got any big plans for the weekend? or have any fabulous apple recipes for me to try?

Thursday, September 16, 2010

SaS - COOKIES!!

This week's theme, in honor of International Women's Friendship Month, is COOKIES!!  Anyone who wants to bake me a plate of warm, delicious cookies is definitely someone I call 'friend'!  Apparently, I don't have many friends.  Get to baking people. 
Head on over to Think Tank Momma and link up - she has posted some yummy recipes, and others have linked up some awesome cookie recipes too.  I've gained 5 lbs just reading them.

I couldn't decide which recipe I wanted to share.  I have a few already posted, like Low-Fat Oatmeal Cookies with Chocolate Chips!  They were delish.  And the classic and easy No Bake Chocolate Cookies.  Or just for laughs, check this one out.  However, today, I wanted to share these...


                                                                Photo & recipe by: Taste of Home


1/3 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup sugar

1 egg

1/2 cup mashed ripe banana

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour  I used 1/2 whole wheat

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/8 teaspoon baking soda

1 cup (6 ounces) semisweet chocolate chips

Directions

In a small bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg, banana and vanilla. Combine the flour, baking powder, salt and baking soda; gradually add to creamed mixture and mix well. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 in. apart onto baking sheets coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 9-11 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Remove to wire racks to cool.

These cookies are very good, and not too terrible for you!  And not only is it International Women's Friendship Month, it's also Leukemia Awareness Month!!   I'd love for you to check out my sister (and BFF) Reed's post.  Thanks!  Now, let's go swap some cookies!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

sometimes i cheat

Once again, I'm talking about FOOD.  What else?  Unless you want to talk potty training.  Speaking of potty training, how's it going you (don't) ask?  Well....every morning I ask my 2 year old "do you want to use the potty?"  He says "no".  I say "do you want to put on big boy pants?"  He says "no".  I say "you want to be a big boy don't you?"  He says "no".  Then later in the day I hear "unnnhhhh" - a grunt.  I say to Mr. Two "are you doing a _____(you know what)?"  He says "no".  Then goes and hides to finish his man-size turd in his diaper.  That's how potty training is going.  Thanks for asking. 

So, anyone still reading?  If so, let's get back to my original post.  Cheating.  No Hubs, you don't need a divorce lawyer.  I'm talking about cheating in the kitchen.  Since I was forced decided to start cooking more things from scratch, and trying to feed my kids healthier "real" foods - I have gotten away from pre-packaged convenience foods.  But every once in a while....
Betty Crocker makes her way into my kitchen. 
probably a clearance item at Target!

My Terrible Two couldn't have it because of his egg allergy, which is why I don't use the pre-packaged mixes very often - but lemon is one of my favorites!  However, these are nutritionally pretty weak.  I was wondering what I could add to them to make them a little better for me and the girls.  I decided on this...

Blueberries are a super food, rich in antioxidants and go great with lemon flavor!  And flax seed adds fiber and Omega 3's.

These souped up muffins ended up being pretty tasty!  So, even if you are using a pre-packaged mix, there are usually substitutions or additions to make it a little bit healthier.  Or, they can go fix themselves a bowl of cereal so mommy can blog :)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

review and a snack!

CSN stores gave me the opportunity to do a review.  On any product I wanted.  I was super excited b/c CSN has over 200 online stores with everything you can imagine, from kids stuff, coffee table, housewares, dinnerware, cookware, bakeware, - all the WARES you can think of.  I was like a kid in a candy store.  I had a good time checking everything out, but wanted to be practical (I know, boring right?!) and get something I actually needed.  My sister is rolling her eyes here I'm sure.  She would be ordering her 354th pair of shoes. haha, love ya sis.  Anyway....I really needed a good non-stick skillet.  Which we call a fryin' pan in these parts.  I have a nice set of stainless steel cookware gathering dust, but a lot of stuff STICKS.  It's probably my cooking in-expertise (made up word?).  But - me and the hubs really wanted a good pan to cook up some eggs, make a grilled cheese, you know, basic stuff.  and who knows, I might bust out and make something fancy in my new skillet.  but i doubt it.

One of the reasons I got rid of all my old non-stick pans is that they started to either warp or flake and were just pieces of crap.  There has been a lot of controversy about the safety of non-stick pans, especially once they start to wear.  If interested, you can read an article here.  So, obviously I wanted the convenience of a non-stick pan, but without it being potentially harmful to my family.  This is what I found.
Eco-Friendly Cookware...the EarthPan II with Sandflow Nonstick technology.  How cool is that?  I didn't even know there was such a thing.
It's non-stick, suitable for all kinds of stovetops, oven safe (up to 600 degrees!!), dishwasher safe....in other words, it's the bomb.  You can read more about the specifics if interested here.  As you can probably tell, I'm in love with my new fryin' pan!  So much so that I am interested in looking into their other products, and maybe getting more items.  Don't tell my husband however.  He thinks one pot, one pan, etc. is enough.  But we know, you can never have too many kitchen gadgets.  or shoes. or chocolate. 

As far as csn.com, I appreciate being given the opportunity to do a review.  Ordering was easy, shipping was fast (they even gave me a free shipping upgrade!), and my item was delivered well packaged and in good condition.  I had no complaints.  Which is unusual, since I can usually always find something to complain about!

AND totally unrelated to my new pan....a snack!!  I can't say it's a healthy snack, but it's better than some of the pre-packaged convenience snacks out there.  I have to pack lunches and snacks for my kids for school, plus after school snacks, so I'm always looking for different things to change it up a bit.  I found this recipe at allrecipes.com and just adapted it to what ingredients I had on hand.  The kids loved it (and so did I) - we love cereal at my house!

Cocoa Munch Mix adapted from allrecipes.com

4 cups Cheerios® cereal

4 cups Chex cereal (any variety) Crispix

1 cup slivered almonds

2 cups pretzels

2 tablespoons baking cocoa

2 tablespoons sugar

1/2 cup butter or margarine, melted   50/50 Smart Balance

1 cup raisins mixed dried fruit

1 (12 ounce) package vanilla or white chips  cup mini chocolate chips

1/4 cup mini M&M's (just some we had left!)

Directions

In a large bowl, combine the cereals and almonds pretzels. In a small bowl, combine cocoa, sugar and butter. Pour over cereal mixture and toss to coat. Pour into a greased 13-in. x 9-in. x 2-in. baking pan. Bake at 250 degrees F for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Cool completely. Stir in raisins dried fruit and chips.
 
You can increase the fiber of this snack by changing up the cereals you use!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Mo'Betta gets crafty

Every once in a while, I get into the notion to make something.  Not bake something, b/c I love to eat and the notion to do that comes often.  But I mean to actually create and make something.  I love crafts, but I seldom have the time or the attention span (or the financial freedom) to do them.  Over the years, I've started many different little "projects", just to have them abandoned soon after...like crochet, scrapbooking, sewing, etc. 

Anyway, since my dad has been battling the "C" word, I've been interested in increasing awareness.  Leukemia awareness, bone marrow transplant awareness, and so on.  I decided one way to do that would be to get a tattoo.  I wanted a ribbon or something in a visible location...well, the hubs was just NOT down for that.  In fact, he said he would divorce me.  Okay then.  Plan B. 


I made this bracelet, that I could wear everyday!  Orange is the color used for Leukemia and Green is used for transplants.  I also found the little ribbon and Believe charms at Michaels craft store.  'Believe' became our new family motto around Christmas time. 
I made a couple of others, one for my mom and one for my sister as well.  Theirs were a little different, but I do not have good photos of them.  So, even though people may not know what the colors represent, when I catch them checking it out, or they ask about it, it gives me the opportunity to make them AWARE.  It's not as cool as a tattoo, but it will have to do for now!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

My first 5K

me and my sis
I did it! After complaining talking about it for weeks, I finally ran my first 5K.  I didn't do great, but I didn't do terrible either! Overall, I was pretty pleased.  I ran most of the time, but walked a little too.  I finished 61 out of 89.  So, like I said, not great, but not last :)  It felt good!  I can remember not that long ago thinking "THREE miles! There's no way I can run 3 miles."  But I CAN (well, mostly run anyway!)  The weather was GREAT, the race was on a golf course (and not too many hills!) and I ran with my sister and a couple of friends.  I enjoyed the experience and have already been thinking about doing another one.  Since I got dusted by a friend's 9 year old (she finished 17th!), I need to work on my time.  Of course, her mom runs marathons, so she's been running since she could walk - that's got to be why she beat me by EIGHT minutes!  Or it could be that I'm slow, but I choose not to believe that.  Denial is a good thing.
demonstrating my awesome running technique

We did it!
pure dorkiness


And check out this post from Cute As a Fox, she is doing a Breast Cancer Awareness giveaway and has a link that you can click on to help her sister get votes...the most votes gets $250 for their fundraising efforts.  She is participating in the 3 Day Walk for a Cure.  All you have to do is "CLICK" - so help a girl out and support a great cause!  Thanks!

Friday, September 10, 2010

egg rollin'

Sometimes I suprise even myself.  I have a tendency to "experiment" in the kitchen.  I like to try new recipes, and I like to make substitutions to make it as tasteless low-fat as possible.  So whenever my husband finds out I am making something new, he secretly cringes and makes a mental note to pick up a hamburger later.  He would deny this of course.  But every once in a while, I'll make something that is delicious. and we're usually both pretty surprised.  This was one of those evenings... homemade egg rolls and asian noodle salad.  I've watched the egg rolls being made once before and I've made similar things to the asian salad, so I wasn't totally in the dark.  But still, when left to my own devices in the kitchen, you just never know what 'cha gonna get.  but sometimes i get lucky.  take that as you will.

Anyway, back to dinner....

ok, so this doesn't look incredibly good, but stick with me...

I shredded a carrot, cut up a celery stalk and a green onion (should have used two) and cooked that in just a little bit of olive oil for a few minutes.  I then added a bag of coleslaw mix (shredded cabbage and carrots), some chicken and a little salt and a lot of pepper.  My chicken also had some dressing on it from the asian noodle salad that's coming up!  Cook this until it starts to soften...

Then place some of the mixture in the middle of your egg roll wrapper.

wrap that baby up...directions are on the package if you are like me and couldn't remember

bake those little suckers at 350-375 degrees until nice and brown.  Or you could fry them.  But I don't fry.  Pretty much ever.  And they are much healthier if they are baked!

I served my eggrolls with this.  Isn't it pretty?  It was sooo good.  I got the original idea from Got No Milk when she made Sesame and Cilantro Vermicelli Salad.  I had to make a few changes...


honey soy dressing:

1/4 cup corn oil  I didn't have corn oil, so used canola. not sure if this was a good idea, it was a little greasy
3 tablespoons sesame oil
1/4 teaspoon crushed dried red pepper flakes I used chilli powder per another recipe
3 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons soy sauce

salad:

8 ounces vermicelli or thin spaghetti  I accidently bought regular spaghetti
salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped cilantro  I used fresh basil - to taste, instead
1/4 cup chopped roasted peanuts   omitted b/c my son and I are allergic
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1/4 cup sliced and chopped red bell pepper
1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
leftover chicken, cut into bite-sized pieces  did not use chicken since I had chicken in the egg rolls

Cook the pasta in a large pot of salted boiling water, according to package directions. Drain but do not rinse.


While the pasta is cooking, prepare the dressing. In a microwave-safe dish, heat the vegetable oil, sesame oil, and red pepper flakes, in the microwave on high heat for 2 minutes. Add the honey and soy sauce and mix well.

Combine the drained pasta with the dressing in a large bowl until the pasta is well coated. Cover and chill for several hours.

When ready to serve, mix in the cilantro or basil, peanuts, green onions, bell pepper (and chicken, if desired). Garnish with toasted sesame seeds. Makes 4-8 servings.

Final product.  Delicious.  The only thing I would do different next time is use a different oil and increase the amounts of onion and red pepper.  I also added extra sesame seeds!

My hubs and I really enjoyed this.  Number One would not even try it "the noodles are cold, I don't like cold noodles".  Number Two tried the noodles, but said she didn't really care for it.  And Mr. Terrible Two....well, he wouldn't even smell it.  There loss.  I ate their portions.  Hmmm, guess we know why I need to lose 10 lbs.!

I'm linking this up with Eat at Home: Ingredient Spotlight Cabbage!

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