Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Wordless Wednesday - Southern Women

Southern Women - Perfectly at ease 'doing lunch' at the country club with the girls or hangin' with the boys shooting shit and drinkin' a Bud :)

**side note- no school. AGAIN.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I'm still here...

Hey y'all! If you follow me on Facebook you know that we survived hurricane Irene with minimal damage, however, internet has been out since.  Finally got it back yesterday evening for all of 5 minutes, when another terrible storm came through (spawning tornados no less!) and lost it again.  Obviously it's back...but who knows for how long!  This weather is C-R-A-Z-Y.  First we experienced an earthquake, which is virtually unheard of in these parts, then the hurricane (which thankfully made landfall at a Category I instead of III like they originally predicted), and then stupid tornados.  What. Is. Up?!  I feel the need to get to church Sunday, and I am not even kidding.

My kids have been out of school all week too, due to all the downed trees and power lines around here, which would keep me from blogging even if I had internet.  They went to school for 2 days, now out for 2 days...and we haven't heard about tomorrow yet.  Anyway, I hope everyone else is doing well and I will be back to my regular nonsense blogging ASAP.  I haven't even been able to cook that much b/c all the recipes I want to try are on Pinterest, which I couldn't access! I need an app for that. (Apparently my smart phone isn't that smart.) I did make Fiber One Crunchy Fudge Cookies last night.  I know you all can't wait for that post ;)  I think I'll title that post...cookies that move you. hahaha

Friday, August 26, 2011

Random thoughts for Friday

What is Kim of Mo'Betta thinking this Friday.....

Hurricane IRENE. Bitch. Not looking forward to the weekend and worried.  My parents, brother and other family all live in eastern NC.

Pinterest. Love.  All I want to do is eat and decorate.

Kids. They started school yesterday. My oldest has a really good class, my middle child has a.... less than ideal class.  I'm getting quite the repuation at their school I'm afraid.  Good thing I don't care.
via

And finally ('cuz my thoughts are limited these days)...
via

Hope everyone has a SAFE weekend!! 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Lemon Basil Zucchini Bread

Yep, zucchini has not disappeared from your life just yet!  I had a hankerin' to bake something with lemon. Plenty of zucchini was laying around, so I thought, hmmm, lemon zucchini bread? lemon blueberry zucchini bread?  And then I saw this.  Gotta love Pinterest!  I didn't want to use rosemary when I have all this fresh basil, so I decided on Lemon Basil Zucchini Bread.  After a little searching, I saw this, but it was a little more savory than what I had in mind.  So, when I finally got off Pinterest, I went and made this yummy bread!
I also discovered that my new cute little dish doesn't cook all that evenly, but that's a different story.
Lemon Basil Zucchini Bread adapted from Simply Recipes

Ingredients

3 cups flour (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 whole wheat)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
2 Tbsp minced basil
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted unsalted butter
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 teaspoons salt (omit if using salted butter)
1 1/4 cup sugar
1 Tbsp lemon zest
3 cups grated zucchini (from about 1 pound of zucchini)
1 tsp lemon extract

Method

1 Preheat oven to 350F. Prepare two 4x9-inch loaf pans, either coating with butter or spraying with baking spray.
2 In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and basil.
3 Beat the eggs in a mixer (or by hand) until frothy. Beat in the sugar. Beat in the melted butter and olive oil. Stir in the lemon zest, lemon extract and grated zucchini.
4 Add the dry ingredients to the wet, a third at a time, stirring after each incorporation.
5 Divide batter/dough into two loaf pans. Bake in a 350°F oven for 45 to 50 minutes. Test after 40 minutes. If you gently press down on the surface of the loaf, it should bounce back, and a bamboo skewer inserted into the center should come out clean.
6 Remove from the oven. Let cool for a few minutes and then remove the loaves from their pans to cool on a rack.

Notes - This would have made one regular size loaf. I made 2 small ones.  I also had to decrease my baking time, but I'm figuring out that my oven cooks hot! I'm going to have to start decreasing the temp on all my baked items.  The flavor...very good!  I loved the lemon and would have loved more basil. You get just a hint of it in this.
It has nice flecks of green, which my children thought was awful!  Needless to say, I was on my own with this one. I took some to my parents, otherwise I would have eaten IT ALL.  No self control.
I'm kinda sad that my zucchini plants are dead. But a little relieved at the same time. I worked hard to use all that zucchini!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Carbonite - Back it up!

This is a Sponsored post written by me on behalf of Carbonite for SocialSpark. All opinions are 100% mine.

Is your life on your computer?!  I know I've got TONS of pictures (as you can tell from my blog, I love my pictures!), music, important emails, as well as some saved documents.  What would happen if my  computer completely crashed, and everything was lost?  Well, Carbonite can alleviate those worries!  It's unlimited online computer backup that will securely and automatically back up the files on your PC or Mac to one of their highly secure, state-of-the-art data centers.

Carbonite Online Backup

It is completely automatic, by working continually in the background whenever your computer is connected to the internet.  Furthermore, Carbonite offers free mobile apps so you can access your files from your "smart phone", iPad or iPod Touch.

I think it is definitely worth looking into online backup to store the thousands of pictures I have.  Plus it's affordable!  Only $59 a year!  Which includes the anytime-anywhere access to your files.  Also, try it for 15 days for FREE (no credit card required) and get 2 months FREE if you decide to purchase.  That's pretty good incentive for giving it a try, plus the fact that Carbonite has safely recovered over 7 billion files that might otherwise have been completely lost.  I like the idea of how convenient it would be to have my files automatically backed up, instead of having to remember to manually back them up (which I have a really hard time remembering to do!)  

Go check out Carbonite for more details, and use the code BLOGAD for 2 free months with purchase!

Visit Sponsor's Site

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

This recipe is fabulous for several reasons...1. No cooking required  2. Fresh ingredients (tomatoes and basil straight from my garden!) 3. It's delicious.  4.  It's healthy  5.  No cooking required.  Oh yeah, I said that already.  However, as hot as it's been, it is worth repeating!
This is another great recipe from The Newlyweds Blog!  She has some great step-by-step photos.  This recipe is super simple...all you have to do is chop up your ingredients, let it sit, give it a stir and .... DONE.

Fresh Tomato and Basil Sauce

10 garden tomatoes various sizes

1 garlic clove

large handful of basil

salt and pepper to taste

olive oil

Dice tomatoes and garlic, add to a large bowl, julienne basil, salt and pepper to taste, mix well. Then drizzle olive oil on top until it covers all the tomatoes about 1/4 inch, cover and let sit in room temperature 2-3 hours before serving (or longer...mine sat for 4 hours or more the first time I made it). Cook pasta al dente, mix the fresh sauce and add on top of pasta (or whatever you like - spaghetti squash, zucchini, etc)
YUM.MO.

This recipe makes quite a bit of sauce, so you can scale it down if needed.  I've made it twice so far, once for 3 adults (and had plenty left over) and once just for me! 
Simple, fresh, delicious!!

I'm linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou,  The Girl CreativeDelicious Dishes, Tuesdays at the Table,  Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday ,Blue Cricket DesignGinger Snap CraftsAt Home with Haley, Lady Behind the Curtain,  Little Brick Ranch, These Chicks Cooked, Miz Helen's Country CottageMangoes and Chutney , EKat's Kitchen, Simply Delish, Feeding Four, It's a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, The Sweet Details, and Eat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight - Fresh Herbs), The Ease of Freeze; Gooseberry Patch Blog, Finding Joy in My Kitchen

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Orange you glad I didn't post zucchini?

I have at least one more zucchini recipe to post, and then that should be about it for me.  My garden is kaput.  Of course, I have reserves in the freezer!

However, today, I wanted to post these -
The perfect thing for a Saturday morning. Or Sunday.  Or Tuesday for that matter.

These are the fluffiest pancakes ever. Definitely the fluffiest I've ever made.  It's a slight variation from my no milk, no eggs, no problem pancakes
  • 1-1/2 cups orange juice
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour *I usually do 1 cup all-purpose and 1 cup whole wheat
  • 3 tablespoons white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 T. vinegar, 1 T. orange juice and 1 t. baking powder (OR ONE EGG)*see note
  • 1 t. cinnamon
  • 1/2 t. ginger (powdered)
  • 1 t. orange zest
Glaze - Mix 1 cup confectioner's sugar with enough orange juice to get the consistency you want.

Directions

1. Mix orange juice and eggs or egg substitute in small bowl. *NOTE-Since I doubled this recipe from the original, it should actually be 2 eggs instead of one...but I didn't double my egg substitute.

2. Combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon/ginger and orange zest in a large mixing bowl.

3. Add wet ingredients to dry. Let sit for 10 minutes. (I'm convinced this is the key to fluffy pancakes!)

4. Heat a large skillet (or electric griddle) over medium heat, and coat with cooking spray. Pour 1/4 cupfuls of batter onto the skillet, and cook until bubbles appear on the surface. Flip with a spatula, and cook until browned on the other side.

Verdict?  Dee-wishes, in the words of my 3 year old!  I'm still amazed at how high these rose.  I would have liked a little more orange flavor in the pancake, so more zest is certainly an option. 

Have a great weekend!

Friday, August 19, 2011

it's my birfday

Well, actually, my birthday was a couple of weeks ago, but being the slacker busy mother that I am, I haven't had the chance to share.  However, my parents gave me something that's been on my wish list....
a mini Keurig!  (Photo from Keurig.com)
Thanks Mom & Dad!
I looove it...makes the best coffee!

My hubs gave me a couple of child-free days here...
heaven on earth baby!
I went with my sister and a friend, and just reeelaxed.
and since it was my birthday ;) cookies, Pretzel M&M's, brewsky
and some girly fun.
 I had a pic, but you could tell I had maybe drank a few brewskies before painting my toenails..wasn't the best lookin' paint job! oops.
Or maybe these were responsible...
Mojitos are the bomb.

And my sister, who knows my love for kitchen toys, gave me
Helen's Asian Kitchen Dumpling Press
It's very similar to this, I was too lazy to take an actual picture and upload it - but it makes little hand held pies! Can't wait to play with this! 
My children, who know their mama oh so well -
HERSHEY'S SPECIAL DARK Mildly Sweet Chocolate Bar
Straight from the factory in Hershey, PA! They had their own little vacation with my in-laws, and got to see the Hershey factory, and how the Amish live.

It was a pretty nice bday, and this weekend, we'll be celebrating my dad's 60th birthday!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Easy Chicken Cordon Bleu

Let me first apologize for the less than delicious looking picture...
It's hard to get a hunk of meat to look pretty to begin with, secondly, I didn't try.  I was hungry.

This was so simple that I almost didn't post it, but my family really liked it, so I thought I would share- just in case you haven't tried it before.  Cuz, you know it's a rare occasion around here when everyone agrees that a dish is good.  Unless it's chocolate cake.  Without zucchini or some other hidden vegetable ;)

Chicken breast are extremely versatile and the main meat in the Mo'Betta house.  (Much to my husband's dismay I'm sure)  I'm not knockin' beef or pork, but chicken is easy and relatively inexpensive.  However, sometimes I'm looking at these chicken boobs (totally @adrienzgirl's fault for that mental image) and thinkin'...chicken again?!  What will I do with it this time?

I had bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts from Sam's Club. I don't know what kind of chickens these bad boys came from...but they had to be tripleD's.  They were HUGE.  I tried pounding them a little and it was futile, so I decided to stuff them. Kinda like my bra when I was younger.  Just kidding (maybe), wanted to see if you were paying attention.

So, when you have monster chicken breasts, swiss, and ham in the fridge...you make chicken cordon bleu. (a quick and easy version, not a fancy French version)

I butterflied my chicken breasts, stuffed a slice of ham and swiss inside, secured with a toothpick (which my husband later ate) and then topped with another slice of ham and swiss, and fresh ground pepper.  Because fresh ground pepper makes everything better.

Bake until done...I can't tell you how long this is, b/c it depends on the size of your...uhm, breasts. Wow, that sounds weird. Wonder what kind of spam this post will generate.  Anyway, size does matter. But we women already knew that.

Before this post digresses any further...you can also use up your leftovers in a yummy risotto
Risotto, chopped chicken cordon bleu and spinach. It was delicious!

I'm linking up today with Think Tank Momma for Share a Spoon! Today's theme is...you guessed it...chicken boobs!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

back in the day and a little advice

Another not so wordless Wednesday...
Backdrop - Grandparent's house
from left to right - Dad, Sister, Mom, Brother, ME
Note - velcro high top Reeboks (also had them in royal blue!), stirrup pants with long rockin' print shirt, multiple watches (Swatch Watch anyone?!); and check out my Mom's feet....red stockings (it was Christmas you know) and DUCK SHOES - it must have been raining.  I love it!

My parents were younger than I am now in this pic.  Amazing.

I'm feeling a little nostalgic and emotional today.  Having almost lost my Dad last year to cancer, and having experienced the death of his step-mother, mother and most recently, his father (all to cancer) - all within the past 2 years...it just makes me really take a look and realize how fast time goes by, how quickly it can change, and how precious it is.

Don't waste time on crap that doesn't matter.
Use the fine china.
Wear your best perfume.
Buy flowers for no reason at all.
Tell those important to you how much you love them.
Every.Day.

because in the end, whenever that may be, someone is going to be going through your attic, cleaning out your belongings...and you want them to know "wow, they had a good life"


Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Watermelon Granita

So I found myself with some watermelon....
yep, those are all from my garden!
My watermelon that decided to come up all by themselves from last year.
Now, we love watermelon...but one family can only eat so much!
I have never tried freezing watermelon before.
Come to find out...it's delicious.

Watermelon Granita
6 cups watermelon (seeds removed)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar*

*several recipes called for more sugar, but I started with 1/4 cup and that was plenty. I think we could have omitted the extra sugar all together, since watermelon is pretty sweet all on its own.

Directions - puree watermelon in a food processor or blender (I used the food processor). Add lime juice and sugar (if using) and give it a few pulses to mix. Pour into freezable container.  Let freeze 1 to 2 hours then mix. Place back into freezer to harden.  Scrape with fork and serve.

Of course, if you're like me, you forget about the granita in the freezer and go to bed, skipping the whole mixing part at 1-2 hours.  Then you have a frozen block in the morning.  No problem.  Let sit at room temp until it starts to melt some, take a fork and scrape away.  This is delicious and refreshing.  I was amazed at how much flavor the lime juice adds to the watermelon.  
Here, have some...
For an adult treat, you can also add tequila for frozen watermelon margaritas! YUM!

We also made watermelon popsicles, with just pureed watermelon.  Blend it up and pour into popsicle molds.  The kids love it and it's a convenient way to eat watermelon!

I'm linking this recipe up with Delicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff,  Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs

Monday, August 15, 2011

Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake

I had these in my fridge.
(except they were whole and I had to pit them, which dyes your fingers a lovely color. As well as your lips and tongue if you eat a few that you massacred while trying to get the pit out.)
Then I saw THIS over at my adopted daughter's blog, Eats Well With Others.  She doesn't know I've adopted her, so maybe you shouldn't mention it. It might be a little stalkerish awkward. 
I attempted to re-create her delicious looking Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake.  Cuz I just love anything with cornmeal.  I semi-achieved my goal.  I say 'semi' b/c I ran into some....issues...along the way.  First, I forgot to put aluminum foil (or tin foil as we say in the South) on the bottom of my spring-form pan before pouring my cherry mixture into it.  It leaked. Of course it did.  Then I quickly get the tin foil wrapped around the bottom, with minimal cursing I might add.  Then, while putting it in the oven...I manage to rip the foil.  Of course I did!  Cherry juice starts spewing leaking all into the bottom of the oven - so I quickly yank it out, which results in my slinging juice on my cabinets.  White cabinets.  Have I mentioned the nice maroon color of cherry juice.  And the staining capabilities?  yeah.  Moderate cursing at this point.  (Mr. Clean to the rescue.)

So, I finally get the damn thing cake baked. The verdict?  Well, let's just say I rewarded myself for my efforts with a very large piece! It was goooood.  By the way...this can be made in a cast iron skillet (a must have for all Southern women).  Since I've recently acquired one (Thanks mom!) and I have another bag of cherries sitting in the fridge...I see this cake being made again in the very near future.  I might wait until the PMS has passed.  No need to add fuel (aka cherry juice) to the fire.

Cherry Cornmeal Upside Down Cake slightly adapted from Eats Well With Others

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature, divided
1/4 cup packed dark brown sugar
2 tsp balsamic vinegar
3 cups whole pitted fresh cherries
1 1/4 cups AP flour
1/4 cup yellow cornmeal
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs, separated
3/4 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup skim milk
1/4 tsp cream of tartar (I used 1/2 tsp lemon juice in its place)


Preheat to 350.  Combine 1/4 cup butter with brown sugar and vinegar in a skillet.  Stir over medium heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves.  Increase heat to high.  Add cherries and bring to a boil.  Set aside.

Whisk flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl.  In a separate bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter and sugar until pale and fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Beat in egg yolks and vanilla.  Add half the flour mixture, then half the milk, beating just until blended, then add remaining flour and milk, mixing just until blended - scraping down the sides as needed. 

Using clean, dry beaters, beat egg whites in medium bowl until foamy.  Add lemon juice (or cream of tartar) and beat until whites are stiff.  Using a rubber spatula, fold egg whites into batter in 3 additions.
Cover the bottom half of a 10-inch springform pan with aluminum foil to prevent leakage. Pour the cherries pan.  Pour the batter over the cherries, spreading evenly to cover the cherries.    Bake cake on center rack until golden and toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, approx. 45 minutes.  

Cool in pan, on rack, for 5 minutes.  Run a spatula around the sides to loosen, and remove sides of springform pan.  Place a large serving plate on top of the cake, and flip over.  Remove the base and let cool before cutting.

I'm linking this recipe up at Eat at Home for Ingredient Spotlight: cherries and pomegranates



Saturday, August 13, 2011

Dark Chocolate Cake Donuts (baked, egg free)

My oldest daughter wanted donuts for breakfast.  So I said fine, but you have to make them!  We decided on the baked chocolate donuts we have made before.  Hop on over for the full recipe.  The only changes we made to the original this time was that we used dark chocolate cocoa instead of regular, plain yogurt instead of soy, and an egg replacement of 1 T. vinegar/1 T. milk/1 t. baking powder.
They were a hit with the little man.  Note all the fruit still sitting on his plate.  He finally ate some of it once all the donuts were gone.
all this came from my garden :D 

These donuts were better than the last time I made them.  My daughter is convinced that it was her special touch that made them better.  I'm pretty sure it was the dark cocoa powder, but I'm not going to burst her culinary bubble.  Still not the same as eating a full fat, fried doughnut...but they are evil and should be avoided ;)

Have a great weekend!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Pickled Jalapeno and Banana Peppers

On jalapeno pepper overload?  How about banana peppers?  When my sister and I made the Jalapeno Salsa, we also made these pickled jalapenos.  They are supposed to sit for 5-6 weeks before eating...so I don't know how they turned out yet, but look how pretty they are!
**UPDATE - They are delicious! I will definitely make more of these next year!
And the best part is, they are super simple.

Pickled Jalapeno (or banana) Peppers
10-cups banana or jalapeno peppers
2-cloves garlic
4-cups white vinegar
2-tsp pickling salt
Pack washed peppers into hot sterile jars
Put 1/2 clove garlic in each jar
Boil vinegar & salt
Pack peppers in hot pint jars leaving ¼” headspace
Ladle hot liquid over peppers leaving ¼” headspace
Remove air bubbles with a non-metallic utensil
Put on caps
Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water canner
Best if left for 5-6 weeks before eating.
makes 10 cups

I also made more of these....


Click on the link for the recipe.  They do not require a canner or water bath, you just store them in the fridge (which my jars sealed on their own anyway).  These are delicious!  They require some spices, but are super easy.  The hardest part is cutting up all the banana peppers! (which could be done in a food processor if you don't want "perfect" rings)  You could do jalapenos with this recipe as well.

Just remember....wear gloves when dealing with any kind of hot pepper!!!  Trust me on this, I learned the hard way last year.

Enjoy!

Linking this up here....

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins (egg free)

We do love a muffin around here, but I haven't been making them as much.  So when the kids asked for chocolate chip muffins the other morning, I decided to oblige (and I wanted to try out a new recipe.)

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Muffins slightly adapted from How Sweet It Is

1 cup whole wheat pastry flour (or all-purpose)  *I used 1/2 cup all purpose, 1/2 cup whole wheat


1 cup rolled oats

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/3 cup brown sugar

1 egg  *Egg replacement - 1 T. milk, 1 T. vinegar, 1 t. baking powder

1/4 cup butter, at room temperature

1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup milk (any kind will do) 

1 cup chocolate chips  *I used 3/4th cup mini chocolate chips

Directions -
Preheat oven to 350.

Add oats to a bowl and add 1/2 cup of milk. Let soak for 5-10 minutes, while you prepare the first few steps of the muffins.

In a large bowl, combine *egg and brown sugar and whisk until smooth and caramel in color. Add in vanilla and butter, whisking well. Try to smooth the batter as much as possible – there still may be some small butter chunks. Add flour, oat mixture, baking soda, salt and cinnamon and mix. Add remaining milk and combine until smooth. Fold in chocolate chips.

Line a muffin tin with liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.  Pour about 1/4 cup batter into each cup. Sprinkle the tops with raw turbinado sugar (optional, I didn't have any, so I skipped it). Bake for 15-18 minutes, or until cooked through. Serve with butter!
Verdict?  Yummmm.  We all enjoyed these.  They had an interesting texture with the soaking of the oats and of course, you can't go wrong with chocolate. 
And to make it a healthy breakfast, we had a nice fruit salad to go with....
the nutrients from the fruit cancels out any fat and sugar from the muffins ;)

Linking up today with: Share a Spoon at Think Tank Momma,  It's a Keeper Thursdays, What's Cooking Thursday at Feeding Four, Full Plate Thursday at Miz Helen's Country Cottage,  Fat Camp Friday at Mangoes and Chutney, Friday Potluck at EKat's Kitchen, Fantabulous Friday at Momma's Kinda Crafty, Fun for Kids Friday at Local Fun for Kids , Foodie Friday at Little Brick Ranch, Sweet Tooth Friday at Alli 'n Son, Sweets for Saturday at Sweet as Sugar Cookies, Muffin Monday at Talking Dollars and Cents

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Homemade Stuffed Crust Pizza

The motto around here is that you can not have too much cheese.  So, while making homemade pizza the other night, I had a light bulb moment....why not add cheese to the crust like they do at Pizza Hut?!  I think it's Pizza Hut - I'm not even sure since I haven't eaten pizza out in for-ev-ah.  This is THE simplest thing.

1. lay out your pizza dough (homemade, store bought, whatever)
2. Place 'string cheese' (mozzarella sticks) around the perimeter of the pizza (I split mine in half b/c I'm acutely aware of the fat content in cheese. Ohhh to not need to worry abt calories...)
3. Wrap the edges of the dough around your cheese, pressing to form a seal.
add toppings
Bake. Can you tell which section is mine?!
and there you have it...stuffed crust pizza! Super easy and
it got a thumbs up from the kids and hubs.  Awesome.

One year ago on Mo'Betta:  Easy Lunch Box System Review and French Bread in the bread machine

Monday, August 8, 2011

Jalapeno Salsa

My sister and I decided to pool our (garden) resources the other day...
What do you do with that many tomatoes and peppers?!
Well you make salsa of course!

We had a little "canning" party and made several pints of salsa and pickled jalapenos.  It was quite a task, but I'm so glad we did it!  I've never made salsa before, and we had so many jalapenos, that we went with a recipe from a trusted fellow blogger.  

We made Jalapeno Salsa from The Perks. (A Ball Book of Canning Recipe)

Ingredients
3 cups chopped peeled cored tomatoes
3 cups chopped jalapeno peppers  *We used 2 cups jalapenos and 1 cup assorted peppers (bell, banana, hot banana)
1 cup chopped onion
6 cloves garlic, minced *We used 3 cloves (they were huge!)
2 tablespoons minced cilantro *We doubled this
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1 cup cider vinegar

Directions -
Combine all ingredients in large sauce pot.
Bring mixture to a boil.
Reduce heat.
Simmer for 10 minutes.
Ladle hot salsa into hot, sterilized jars, leaving 1/4-inch head space.
Adjust 2-piece caps.
Process for 15 minutes in boiling-water canner.

This is pretty simple once you get all your ingredients washed, cut/chopped/diced, etc.  (that part takes a while)  The easiest way to peel the tomatoes is to blanch them in boiling water (not long, maybe a minute?) and as soon as the peeling starts to peel away (make a little slit in the side of your tomato to make this easy to spot) then remove them from boiling water and place in a bowl of ice water.  You want to stop the cooking process so you don't end up with tomato sauce.  The peeling will then peel right away.  

We threw all of our ingredients (separately) in the food processor.  Rough chop for the tomatoes, finer chop for the onion and peppers.  We were going for a 'restaurant style' salsa consistency.  The only thing we didn't do is remove the seeds from the jalapenos.  Yeah, this stuff is H-O-T!!  But delicious.  However, next year, will be removing at least half the seeds. We also doubled the recipe and got 6 pints out of it.  

With the second batch, instead of adding vinegar, we added 3 T. of lime juice to each jar and then proceeded as written.  You can definitely taste the lime juice, but I love lime, so I like it.  I haven't opened the other jars with vinegar yet, so I'm curious to see the difference.  

I've also used the same recipe to make fresh salsa...I doubled the cilantro, used lime juice, and didn't cook it. I also used only the bell peppers and hot banana peppers that I had on hand.  It is delicious too, but not quite hot enough, so I've been mixing the fresh with the spicy hot canned!

It was a fun little project to do with my baby sis, and a great way to use our garden veggies.  I'll share the pickled jalapenos later in the week!

One year ago on Mo'Betta - No Bake Oreo Cheesecake (made by my daughter from her Sandra Lee kid's cookbook!)

I'm linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Mouthwatering Monday @ A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl CreativeDelicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff,  Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs,Blue Cricket Design, At Home with Haley, Lady Behind the Curtain,  Little Brick Ranch, These Chicks Cooked, Miz Helen's Country CottageMangoes and Chutney for Fat Camp Fridays, EKat's Kitchen, Simply Delish, Feeding Four, It's a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, The Sweet Details for Savory Sunday 
Also linking up at Canning Week! Photobucket and Memories by the Mile, Finding Joy in My Kitchen, The Gooseberry Patch blog

Friday, August 5, 2011

Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies

Remember the other day when I posted the Strawberry Zucchini Marmalade? I mentioned the Newlyweds blog, and how it was a great resource for zucchini recipes...and this is another from Sweet Pea's site!
Dark Chocolate Zucchini Brownies
adapted from Newlyweds

  • 1 3/4 cups flour
  • 1/3 cup baking cocoa *I used Hershey's Dark
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 2 cups zucchini (shredded)
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sour cream *I used fat free plain yogurt
  • 1/2 cup oil *I used 1/4 cup oil and 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • I also added chopped walnuts
Combine flours, cocoa, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl. Stir in zucchini.

In a separate bowl, whisk together egg, sugars, sour cream or yogurt, oil and applesauce (if using), and vanilla. Add to zucchini mixture.

Pour into a sprayed 9 x 13 baking dish and sprinkle chocolate chips on top.

Bake at 350 degrees until a toothpick comes out clean (35-40 minutes).

Verdict?  YUM! Takes care of that chocolate craving, and my kids couldn't believe their brownies were full of zucchini!

Have a GREAT weekend! Hopefully while you are reading this, I am laying out on the beach with an adult beverage in hand.  ahhhhh.  Holla!

I'm linking this recipe up with Eat at Home (Ingredient Spotlight - sour cream & yogurt)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Strawberries n' Cream Banana Muffins

It's Thursday, so you know what that means...it's Share a Spoon time over at Think Tank Momma!  Today's theme is BREAKFAST!  Breakfast foods are my favorite, and I enjoy them anytime of day.  One of my biggest weaknesses is bread.  Muffins, flatbreads, french bread, white, wheat...it doesn't matter. I.love.them.all.  I'd probably be super model thin if I would stay away from the stuff.  HAHAHA, who am I kidding, there is still chocolate....

Anyway--I've been experimenting with a healthier but moist and tasty muffin and today I'm sharing a Strawberries n' Cream Banana Oat Muffin.  I bet you thought it was going to be something with zucchini! (I'll save that for tomorrow.)
Ingredients -  adapted from here
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup oatmeal *I used 1/2 cup cinnamon roll flavored instant oatmeal and 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup Splenda
2 t. baking powder
1 large mashed banana
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup skim milk
1 egg
2 T. olive oil
1 cup diced strawberries

Directions -
Preheat oven to 375.
Mix all dry ingredients in a medium bowl and set aside
Mix all wet ingredients and combine with the dry
Spray a 12 cup muffin pan with cooking spray
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full and bake for 12-15 minutes.

Drizzle - 1 cup confectioner's sugar with enough half-and-half cream to reach desired consistency. (I used fat free creamer)

Notes - if you do not use the drizzle, you may want to increase amount of sugar in recipe.  This is not a super sweet muffin, and the strawberry flavor really shines through.  Next time I am going to switch white sugar for brown sugar, and walnuts would be a good addition.  I did not make this recipe egg free since I knew my son wouldn't eat them, but you can substitute the egg with 1 T. milled flax seed mixed with 3 T. warm water or add a teaspoon of vinegar to the recipe.  With the banana and baking powder, I'm pretty sure the egg would not be missed.

So head on over to check out other breakfast recipes, or add your own.  It doesn't have to be a new post, just link up!
I'm linking up @ Think Tank Momma, and Eat at Home (for ingredient spotlight,Bananas!)

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wordless Wednesday

In keeping with my zucchini theme I've had going over here....

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Zucchini Yeast Bread

Ha! I know, another zucchini recipe! But you can't have Strawberry Zucchini Marmalade and no zucchini bread to put it on!  This is not your regular old zucchini bread...even though my chocolate chip zucchini bread is quite tasty...but this is a yeast bread, with hints of citrus and cinnamon, that makes it delicious! It reminds me of the Hot Cross Buns I made at Easter.  I am storing some zucchini in the freezer so I can make this again at Christmas - it just has that yummy, festive flavor.
My bread sort of oozed over the sides of my loaf pan, so it's not the most beautiful loaf, but tasty nonetheless.

Zucchini Yeast Bread
adapted from Taste of Home

1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup warm milk (110° to 115°)
1/3 cup sugar
3 tablespoons butter, softened
3 tablespoons grated orange peel *I used orange and lime
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups shredded unpeeled zucchini
1/3 cup raisins *I used a blend of dried cranberries, cherries and blueberries
1-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons ground cardamom *I used 1 t. cinnamon, 1/2 t. nutmeg, 1/2 t. allspice instead
1-2/3 to 2-1/3 cups all-purpose flour *I used half whole wheat

Directions

  • In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Beat in the milk, sugar, butter, orange peel and salt. Beat in the zucchini, raisins, whole wheat flour, cardamom and enough all-purpose flour to form a soft dough.
  • Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1-1/4 hours.
  • Punch dough down; shape into a loaf. Place in a greased 9-in. x 5-in. loaf pan. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
  • Bake at 375° for 40-45 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to cool on a wire rack. Yield: 1 loaf.
**NOTES:  Either the baking time is too high or the cooking time is too long.  It took about 30-35 minutes for my oven, and even then it was a little dry.  Next time I'm going to reduce the oven temp to 350 F.  Also, I recommend doubling the amount of dried fruit.
holla. 
peace, love and happiness.
word.

I'm linking this recipe up with Life as Mom - Ultimate Recipe Swap

Monday, August 1, 2011

Strawberry Zucchini Marmalade

Yes, you read correctly, strawberry jam meets zucchini while partying with pineapple.  The result - fantastic!  When I sent out a plea for more ways to use up my zucchini surplus, Sweet Pea from the Newlyweds blog answered the call.  She very casually mentioned that she had a few zucchini recipes on her site if I would like to check them out.  And lo and behold, it was a zucchini gold mine!  One of the recipes that quickly got my attention was this Zucchini Marmalade.  I thought....weird. Then I saw that it would use 6 cups of zucchini, and I had to give it a try.  I'm so glad I did! Everyone who has tried it has given it a thumbs up. Even my Grandma (who claims she doesn't like zucchini) ate an entire jar in just a few days! (a jelly jar size, not like a quart or anything)
and it's so pretty! I'm thinking it would make excellent Christmas gifts - the red with flecks of green.  However, I'm going to have to make another batch or two, because this one is not going to last until Christmas! (Update: I did give this out at Christmas with homemade bread and called it 'Christmas Marmalade'! You can see the post HERE.)

Zucchini Marmalade
from the Newlyweds
  • 6 Cups grated zucchini (squeeze to remove excess water)
  • 5 6 Cups sugar
  • 1/2 Cup lemon juice
  • 1 large can crushed pineapple (juice and all)
  • 1 (6oz) package Jello, any flavor (I used strawberry, but have orange waiting in the cabinet!)
Boil zucchini and sugar for 20 minutes. Add lemon juice and crushed pineapple. Boil for 5 minutes. Add gelatin and stir until dissolved. Remove from heat, pour into hot jars and seal. Process in water bath for 5 minutes. Makes 6 jelly jars (half pints?).

**Five cups of sugar instead of 6 worked just fine, and this is definitely a keeper recipe!
Pretty darn good on a bagel with a little butta...


One year ago on Mo'Betta - Homemade microwave popcorn

I'm linking this recipe up with Homemaker on a Dime, Delightfully Dowling, Mouthwatering Monday @ A Southern Fairytale, Skip to my Lou, Just Something I Whipped Up @ The Girl CreativeMaking the World CuterDelicious Dishes at It's a Blog Party, Tuesdays at the Table at All the Small Stuff,  Hearth and Soul Blog Hop, Dr. Laura's Tasty Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays @ 33 Shades of Green, Tempt My Tummy Tuesday, Made from Scratch Tuesday, Tasty Tuesday @ For The Love Of Blogs,Blue Cricket Design, At Home with Haley, Lady Behind the Curtain,  Little Brick Ranch, These Chicks Cooked, Miz Helen's Country CottageMangoes and Chutney for Fat Camp Fridays, EKat's Kitchen (currently being held at Girlichef), Simply Delish, Feeding Four, It's a Keeper, Bacon Time with the Hungry Hungry Hypo, The Sweet Details for Savory Sunday, Alli n Son, Sweet As Sugar Cookies, Life as Mom - Ultimate Recipe Swap and
Photobucket , The Ease of Freeze

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