Sunday, November 29, 2009

Roasted Broccoli

This is my favorite method of cooking broccoli or asparagus.

Roasted Broccoli

-1-2 large bunches of broccoli, chopped into big chunks
-fresh garlic, minced, or garlic powder (whatever I have on hand that day)
-parmesan cheese (not the grated kind in a can)
-salt and pepper to taste
-drizzle of olive oil

Grease or spray cookie sheet(s). Spread vegetables in a single layer on the cookie sheet. Sprinkle with fresh garlic (2-4 cloves per pan), or about ½ tablespoon of garlic powder per pan. Sprinkle with parmesan cheese (about ¼ to ½ cup per pan). Then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Drizzle with a small amount of olive oil. Roast at 400 for ten minutes. Stir and continue to roast until desired doneness is achieved.


Saturday, November 28, 2009

Photo Shoot

Today we had a friend of ours do a photo shoot with us for some pictures for our Christmas cards. Here are a few of the photos from the session. (Thanks Laura!!!!!)


Thursday, November 26, 2009


I hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving filled with family, friends, fun, food, and gratitude! I know we sure did! We spent Thanksgiving at Jeremy's parents house with his parents, sister Lisa, and three of our friends who don't have family in the area. It was the first time that I wasn't hosting for Thanksgiving in 3 years, and I enjoyed the break. The food was excellent as always, as Jeremy's Mom is a fantastic cook. The day was filled with good conversation, food, laughter, and games.

Jeremy's Dad, carving the turkey

the table set so pretty

the desserts and appetizers (artichoke dip, apple pie, and chocolate pecan pie)

the main dishes (cranberry green beans, ham, turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, sweet potato casserole and gravy)

us enjoying the food

Arthur and Chad

for some reason Jeremy walked around with this bat all day long


Cori and Chad playing corn hole

J's Dad


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Artichoke Dip

This is my friend Kim's recipe for artichoke dip. I was able to make it ahead for Thanksgiving, and then pop it in the oven just before serving. I doubled the recipe. It is a delicious recipe, that is lighter and more healthy than most cheesy dips. The dip is pretty spicy as is, so you may want to cut the cayenne by half if you don't like super spicy. Kim likes to serve this with whole wheat tortillas that are cut up, and baked until crisp. I went the easy way for Thanksgiving and served with Wheat Thins. This is excellent with your favorite tortilla chip or cracker.
Artichoke Dip
-1-15 oz can artichokes(drained and chopped)
-1/4 cup low-fat mayo
-1/4 cup nonfat plain yogurt
-1/2 cup grated parmesan
-1/4 tsp black pepper
-1 tsp coarsely chopped parsley
-1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
Combine all ingredients except the parsley. Spread evenly in a pan. Bake 400 degrees for 20 minutes or lightly brown, stirring halfway through. Top with parsley.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Not Your Mamma's Tuna Casserole

This recipe is way better than the traditional cream of... soup version. It has more flavor, is more economical (without buying the processed soup), and is a bit healthier. The recipe for the white sauce could be used in any recipe to replace the standard cream of... soup, just add desired veggies or meat to achieve the needed replacement. It's the same technique as making a standard white sauce or gravy, and is very versatile.

Tuna Casserole

-1 lb. whole wheat egg noodles, cooked al dente to package directions
-1/4 c. butter
-4 stalks celery, diced
-1 onion, diced
-1/4 c. flour
-1 t. salt
-1/2 t. black pepper
-1 1/2 c. skim milk
-2-3 cans water-packed tuna, fully drained
-3/4 c. light mayonnaise
-2 c. frozen peas, thawed
-Spices to play along with dish- curry, dill, cayenne pepper, Italian seasoning, cumin, thyme, lemon pepper (my current favorite is 2 teaspoons of garlic powder along with 2 teaspoons of Italian seasoning and 1/8 tsp. of cayenne)
-Salt and pepper to taste

In a small saucepan, melt the butter or margarine over medium heat. Stir in celery and onions. Cook for 3 minutes, until veggies are slightly cooked but still crispy. Whisk in flour, salt and pepper. Cook 2-3 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened to a condensed cream-of soup consistency. Cool. In a large bowl, combine cooled sauce, tuna, mayonnaise and peas. Stir in any additional desired seasonings and salt & pepper, to taste. Add cooked noodles, stir to coat and pour into a large casserole dish. (Can be refrigerated until dinnertime at this point.) Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes, until heated through and bubbly.

Some optional topping ideas: shredded cheese, breadcrumbs mixed with melted butter, crushed potato chips or crackers, crushed goldfish (these would all be excellent, but we like ours on the healthy side and skip these options).


Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

Baked Jalapeno Poppers

-12 jalapeno peppers, halved, seeds and ribs removed
-4 oz cream cheese, softened (I use Neufatchel)
-1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded (I use reduced fat)
-1/8 tsp. cayenne
-1/8 tsp. cumin
-1/4 tsp. garlic powder

Mix cheeses and spices together. Stuff pepper halves with cheese mixture. Bake at 350 for 20-30 minutes.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

homemade broth

last night we stopped by Whole Foods to pick up some take out dinner on our way to a friends house to watch a movie. Jeremy picked out a rotisserie chicken for his dinner and happily ate all of the meat. i decided to seize the opportunity to use the leftover chicken carcass to make some homemade broth.

i placed the chicken carcass in my slow cooker and added some leftover onions, celery, and parsley stems that i had sitting in the freezer. i filled my slow cooker up with water, added some black peppercorns and a teaspoon of salt. i cooked all of this on low for about 8-10 hours. then i strained the broth, discarded the veggies, picked through the meat and froze it for a casserole at a later date, chilled the broth, skimmed the fat off, and then divided the broth into storage containers. i plan on using all of the broth for dishes this week, but if i didn't i would have frozen it in 1 cup portions in freezer bags, and maybe an ice cube tray for smaller portions.

the slow cooker all ready to cover and turn on (i left the extra bits of meat on the bones)

the beautiful dark, rich broth

i managed to salvage 1 cup of chicken pieces that had fallen off the bones while cooking and plan to use them for a soup, pizza, or casserole in the near future


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

2 T shirts, turned into 3 projects

I was given these fun t shirts by Jeremy's mom who received them free. As much as I liked the shirts, they were both size XL and way too big for me, so I decided to use them for crafting rather than wearing. I sewed a tote bag from the main panels of the T shirts, and then made some headbands, and fabric flowers with the scraps.

T shirts before

Front of tote bag

Back of tote bag (the straps were supposed to be cut from the white T shirt, and contrast here, but I made a mistake in cutting)

One of the fabric flowers, sewed to a pin, so it can be put on a bag, worn as a broach, pinned to a headband etc.

the flower on the bag

a headband


Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Tackling the pumpkins

This week I tackled the two sugar pumpkins that had been given to us by a friend. I cut each pumpkin in half, spooned out the seeds and strings (saved the seeds for roasting), and placed the halves cut side down in a baking dish.

I added 1/2 cup of water to the baking dish, and baked the pumpkin halves at 450 degrees for 1 hour.

They came out looking like this.

Once cooled, I spooned the flesh into tupperware to sit in the fridge until I was ready to tackle this further.

The next day (only because I ran out of time the first day) I pureed all the pumpkin in the food processor

I mixed half the seeds with cinnamon and sugar and half with salt, garlic powder, and cayenne pepper and roasted them for 50 minutes at 300 degrees

then I used 2 cups of pumpkin to make this bread

I still have 2-3 cups of fresh pureed pumpkin left in the fridge, so I'll definitely be whipping up another treat soon.

Pumpkin Bread
-2 cups whole wheat flour
-1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
-2 cups pumpkin
-1/2 cup oil
-1/2 cup applesauce (or leave this out and use an extra 1/2 cup of oil... but we like things on the healthy side)
-4 eggs
-3 cups sugar (I used brown because ants had infested my bag or white sugar)
-1 teaspoon salt
-1 teaspoon baking powder
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-3 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice/ seasoning
-1/2 cup water

Whisk salt, baking powder, baking soda, pumpkin pie spice, and flour in bowl. Beat eggs, oil, applesauce, sugar and pumpkin until well mixed. Alternately add in flour and water until all ingredients are well mixed. Pour into 2 greased 9x5 loaf pans and bake for 60 minutes at 350. The texture and flavor are even better if you let the bread sit in the fridge overnight.


Sunday, November 8, 2009

Moo Shu

Ever since I was a little girl Moo Shu has been my favorite dish to order at a Chinese restaurant. Here's my healthier version of this take-out classic. I also stir fried some strips of pork for Jeremy to add to his, but any protein would be great here. If you're adding a protein, stir fry it in some peanut or sesame oil for added flavor. I just used button mushrooms, but wood ear or shitake would be more authentic. Serve Moo Shu either on Chinese Pancakes, or flour tortillas (we like Whole Wheat tortillas), with some plum sauce to spread over them.
Moo Shu
-1 head green cabbage, shredded (or if feeling lazy, 1 bag of coleslaw mix)
-16 oz mushrooms, sliced
-1 (small) can sliced bamboo shoots, sliced in half lengthwise
-2 teaspoons sesame oil
-3 large eggs, lightly beaten
-1 tablespoon fresh ginger, minced
-2 garlic cloves, minced
-5 scallions, sliced
-3 tablespoons rice vinegar
-2 tablespoons dry sherry
-2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
-2 tablespoons hoisin sauce

Heat sesame oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add eggs, and stir-fry 2 minutes. Remove eggs from pan. Add minced ginger and garlic to pan, and stir-fry 1 minute. Add mushrooms, cabbage, and bamboo; stir-fry 2 minutes. Add scallions and next 4 ingredients, and stir-fry 1 minute. Stir in eggs and serve.

Sloppy Lentils

Today I made a big batch of Crockpot Sloppy Lentils (think meat free Sloppy Joe's) to be my lunch to bring to work for the week. I quadrupled (except for the water and tomatoes) the recipe because lentils get eaten pretty quickly in our home (it's one of the few meat free dishes that Jeremy can't get enough of). I also added 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to give it a bit of a kick, and a teaspoon of cumin. This dish is designed to be served on a bun, but I just eat it plain, out of a bowl. It would also be excellent over brown rice. Since I made so much, I actually cooked it on high, for about 10 hours before they were done. I think next time I would just cook them on the stove because it only takes about 30 minutes start to finish to assemble this that way. Also, next time I think I would do more of a barbecue sauce like the one on these BBQ Lentils. Overall they were a good, solid dish that Jeremy and I both enjoyed, I just happen to like the flavor in the BBQ lentils better.


Saturday, November 7, 2009

Sesame Noodles

Sesame Noodles have been one of my favorite foods, ever since I was young. Any type of noodle works well here; rice noodles, whole wheat spaghetti or linguine, soba noodles, etc.
Sesame Noodles
-12 oz noodles, prepared according to package directions
-a few carrots, shredded
-5 scallions, sliced
-1/4 cup soy sauce
-2 Tablespoons sugar
-3 cloves garlic, minced
-2 Tablespoons rice vinegar
-3 Tablespoons sesame oil
-1/2 teaspoon chile garlic sauce
-2 Tablespoons hot water
Whisk together soy sauce, sugar, garlic, rice vinegar, sesame oil, chile garlic sauce and hot water in large bowl. Stir in cooked noodles, carrots, and scallions. Serve at room temperature.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

What to do with pumpkins...

A friend gave me two of the smaller cooking pumpkins (I think they're called sugar pumpkins but I'm not sure) yesterday. Now I'm going to work them into my menu plan for next week. I will definitely be using the flesh for something, and then be roasting the seeds. I need your help, what's your favorite way to cook, and/or serve pumpkin?

P.S. I'm not in the mood to make another Pumpkin Soup right now considering that will still be my lunch for the rest of this week from the batch from last night.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Use up what I have dinner

Tonight for dinner I wanted to use up some things that I had laying around. I had 3 Tablespoons of curry paste leftover from when I opened a can of curry paste for Tilapia Curry last week. I also had most of a head of red cabbage left from our Fish Tacos on Sunday. The result was two delicious dishes, and quite a modge podge of Thai and Russian or German flavors. Completely unintentionally I ended up with an orange and purple dinner, so I'll dedicate this one to my friend Katie, the Clemson fan.

Red Curry Coconut Pumpkin Soup

The 3 Tablespoons of curry paste that I had leftover are exactly how much I need to make my standard Red Curry Recipe. Having been inspired by a Thai Pumpkin Soup recipe that I read recently I decided red curry would be great with pumpkin. I made my standard curry recipe, but without the veggies (which probably would have been great in here), Thai basil, and plus the pumpkin.

-2 (15 oz) cans pumpkin puree (NOT PUMPKIN PIE MIX)
-2 cups chicken or veggie broth
-2 (15 oz) cans coconut milk
-3 Tablespoons red curry paste
-3 Tablespoons soy sauce
-3 Tablespoons brown sugar
-juice of 1/2 lime

Heat large pot over medium heat. Add coconut milk and red curry paste, stirring until well mixed. Add remaining ingredients. Simmer 15 minutes.

Sweet and Sour Red Cabbage

If I hadn't been in a hurry to have this ready before our friends came over for Bible study I may have added some sliced onion and apple into this dish, as they pair well with red cabbage. A great thing about this dish is that it will be even better the next day, so make enough for leftovers.

-1 Tablespoon olive oil
-1 head red cabbage, finely shredded
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-fresh ground pepper
-1/4 teaspoon celery seed
-1 teaspoon caraway seed

Heat oil in large pot over medium heat. Add cabbage and cook for 5 minutes, until it starts to soften. Add remaining ingredients, stir to combine. Cover and simmer 15-25 minutes depending on desired tenderness, stirring intermittently.


Monday, November 2, 2009

Huevos Rancheros

Ever since we enjoyed The Guatemalan at Slim Goodies Diner I've been eager to make my own version of Huevos Rancheros. I think traditionally this would be served with a green/ tomatillo salsa, but I really like the salsa recipe that I've been using for years so we went with that. Normally I would serve this with plain sour cream, but I had this sour cream sauce leftover from our fish taco dinner from Sunday, and it went great with the Huevos Rancheros. I served it the way Slim Goodies does, all deconstructed on my plate, ready to be assembled into wraps. The only thing I was missing was the chunks of friend plantain that Slim Goodies uses as a garnish... yum!!!! We could eat this for breakfast, lunch or dinner, it is a frugal, healthy, easy meal that's sure to please.

Deconstructed Huevos Rancheros

-corn tortillas (2-3 per person), heated and blistered in a dry frying pan
-1/2 avocado per person, sliced
-2 scrambled eggs per person, seasoned with salt and pepper
-black beans (either canned, or dried cooked to desired tenderness)

Sour Cream Sauce
-4 tablespoons light sour cream
-juice of 1/2 lime
-1 teaspoon sugar
-a few dashes of cayenne

Whisk together all ingredients and chill until serving (chill at least 2 hours for best flavor).

-6 roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
-1/4 red onion, diced
-1 clove garlic, minced
-fresh ground black pepper
-dash of cayenne
-fresh cilantro, chopped
-1 teaspoon sugar
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-juice of 1/2 lime

Combine all ingredients. (If finer salsa is desired chop roughly in blender or food processor, but we like our salsa chunky).

Present all ingredients, and let guests assemble their own.


Sunday, November 1, 2009

Asian Cucumber Salad

Asian Cucumber Salad

This is an easy, refreshing, and healthy side dish. You can garnish this with a sprinkling of sesame seeds, if desired.

-4 english cucumbers sliced
-4 scallions, sliced
-1 cup rice wine vinegar
-1 teaspoon sesame oil
-1 Tablespoon soy sauce
-3 Tablespoons sugar
-1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Whisk last 6 ingredients together in medium bowl. Stir in cucumbers and onion, toss to coat. Chill at least 2 hours or up to overnight before serving.