February 29, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 29 - Monte Cristo Mini Loaves

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My kids love the Hero Loaves I make, and I love changing things up. Came up with this after wanting a Monte Cristo sandwich. The variation is different, you can still pretty much add your own fillings to the bread alone and make it to your liking. Instead of making it into 1 loaf , I cut it up to 8 mini loaves. This way each of my children could make their own filling but they all cooked at the same time. Easy, and pretty pleasing to a crowd!



Ingredients
 3- 1/2 to 4 cups flour
2 envelopes rapid rise yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup very warm water
1/4 cup prepared mustard
2 tablespoons butter softened

Filling-
Mayonnaise
9 ounces thinly sliced swiss cheese
3 cups cooked or thinly sliced ham and turkey meat
*You can mix up your own fillings

Directions

In large bowl combine 1 1/2 cups flour, undissolved yeast, sugar, and salt. Stir in warm water, mustard and butter into the flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until the dough is smooth and elastic. Cover and let rest for about 10 minutes.

On lightly floured surface , roll out the dough to a 15x10 rectangle. If you want to make the full loaf, transfer right to the greased baking sheet.(I don't grease my sheet I sprinkle it with corn meal)
  Brush  the loaf with a layer of mayonnaise . Alternate laying down, Ham, Swiss and Turkey. With a sharp knife make cuts from the filling of dough to the edges at 1 inch intervals. Alternating sides, fold strings at an angle across the filling (your pretty much braiding) Cover and let rise in warm draft free place till doubled in size. It will take anywhere from 25-40 minutes. Do not rush this.
**If you want to make mini loaves, cut down the middle of the dough, then across to make 8 squares.Layer as directed above, and do the same folding process just make smaller cuts in the dough.


Brush egg with a slightly beaten egg white (or egg, your choice)  Bake at 375 for about 35 minutes or until done. The bread will be slightly golden brown. Move to a wire rack and let cook for about 5 minutes. Serve with favorite dipping sauces .
Yum!
This was the last day of the Recipe Challenge this month! If you missed the rest of the recipes, just click on the tab at the top of the blog. And stay tuned, because I'll be doing this again soon.

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"I'm Not Tired Yet" by Marianne Richmond




All parents have been there before, the never ending bedtime routine with our young children. One more book , they ask or the horrid sentence, I'm not tired yet! We've heard it all dozen of times. I remember doing it to my parents and now I'm going through it with my own.

The adorable book, "I'm Not Tired Yet, "  illustrated and written by Marianne Richmond ,  is a must for parents and children at bed time. The story brings back memories full of laughter and makes bedtime more enjoyable for all that are  involved.

Six year old Ralphie comes up with endless excuses to put of bedtime\, as all our kids do. Though he thinks he's come up with the perfect way to stall bedtime, he's engaged by his perceptive mom in a series of silliness that involves his favorite animals and leaves a trail of endless giggles.

It's a new favorite in our house! My three youngest children adore the book and get to enjoy this one last story before the lights go off. My son who is almost ten even got a few chuckles out of this. He won't admit it, but I know he enjoyed it jsut as much as everyone else. It's a great read for the entire family at bedtime.

"I'm Not Tired Yet " by  Marianne Richmond went on bookshelves as of March 1, of this year.
Age range - 4+
Format - Hardcover
ISBN-10: 1402268785
ISBN-13: 978-1402268786

You can pick up a copy of this book at any bookstore or order yourself a copy Here. It's truly adorable and heartwarming, you'll enjoy radiant this to any little ones that like to giggle :)


**Disclosure- I received the products mentioned above ,  in order to write an honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this post. I did not have to write a positive review, Any and all opinions are and will always be my own.* 





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February 28, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 28 - Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup

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Everyone should make their own chicken stock! It’s not hard, it’s easy. You can make it from the discarded vegetables you’d likely throw out as well. It’s cheap, easy, makes a lot, and you know just what’s going in the stock. I think the best part about making chicken stock is the taste. Compare it to store bought and you’ll never go back to buying it again. I'm sharing the Chicken Stock recipe because I used it in today's recipe for Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle soup. It came out wonderful!


Ingredients for Chicken Stock

2lbs chicken pieces (wing tips, necks, backs plus the body with some meat still on it’s bones is best)
3 stalks celery, sliced
1 large carrots sliced
1 large onion quarter
1 leek sliced
6 springs of fresh parsley
½ teaspoon dried thyme
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon black peppercorns

Directions

In a large Dutch oven combine all the ingredients. Add enough water to cover the chicken. Over low heat bring mixture slowly up to a boil. As it’s cooking skim off the “scum” that rises to the surface. This is the fat or skin cooking. Reduce the heat partly cover the pan and simmer until the stock is fully flavored. Anywhere from 3-4 hours. The longer it simmers the richer the stock.
Line a fine sieve with cheesecloth and set it over a large bowl. Carefully pour the stock through the sieve. Discard all solids. Let the stock come to room temperature. Pour in serving size air tight containers. Cover, label and date. You can store the stock in the fridge for a week, or freeze for 6 months. If any fat congeals on the stock while stored, remove before using stock. This will make about 2 quarts of stock
 
Slow Cooker Chicken Noodle Soup
*A note about this recipe, I didn’t use the chicken bouillon powder as my stock was rich enough. I also added more than the called for broth as I didn’t add the full amount of water. I wanted a richer soup. Adjust to your liking, just keep the liquid over all equal so the noodles will cook correctly. In the end after I tasted it, I threw in a can of cream of chicken soup, I can't help it, I like rich creamy soup :)


Ingredients

5 cups hot water
2 tsp sodium free chicken bouillon powder
46 oz low sodium and fat free chicken broth
2 cups cooked chicken
4 cups home-style noodles, uncooked
½ cup chopped small celery
½ cup chopped carrots
½ cup diced onion
Pepper to taste

Directions

If using the bouillon, dissolve it in the water. Pour into slow cooker. Add remaining ingredients. Mix up well. Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours.


Enjoy!!




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February 27, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 27 - Baker Potatoes

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My kids don’t’ like the scalloped potatoes or even a quartered potatoes all they like is mashed. This recipe kind of brings in the two, but without all the cream and butter. The potatoes while they cook soak up all the chicken broth bringing in lost of flavor while staying very tender and moist. My kids enjoyed these very much! My friend said to keep basting these throughout cooking time but I simply covered my dish with foil and left it alone. Worked out perfectly.

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil, plus more
1 onion very thinly sliced
2 pounds potatoes
2 cloves of garlic finally chopped
1 tablespoon chopped thyme
Coarse salt and fresh ground pepper
2 ½ cups chicken broth

Directions
Preheat oven to 350
Brush a dishpan with oil scatter onions on the bottom of the baking dish or gratin dish. Using a sharp knife thinly slice without going through the bottom of each potatoes. Place the potatoes in the prepared dish. Drizzle 2 tablespoons oil over the potatoes and onions. Sprinkle with garlic and thyme, pepper and salt.
Pour the chicken stock over the potatoes. Bake 45 minutes , occasionally basting the potatoes till they are tender. *I covered my dish with foil and left it alone” Taste and adjust salt/pepper to liking.

Enjoy!




 
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February 26, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 26 - Balsamic Pork Tenderloin

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Another easy Pork Tenderloin Recipe! This calls for indirect grilling but I just baked it in a pan for the oven. I needed a no fuss dinner today.

I added some mustard seed :)


Ingredients

1lb pork tenderloin
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon fresh rosemary
2 cloves minced garlic
3/4 teaspoon pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
Balsamic Glaze (recipe follows)

Directions. Place pork in a large plastic bag. Whisk together the balsamic vinegar, oil, rosemary, garlic, pepper and salt. Pour into the bag with the pork. Seal bag and turn to coat pork. Leave marinate in the fridge for about an hour or until ready to cook.
Preheat oven to 350F
Remove pork from the marinade and discard leftovers. Place tenderloin in baking dish lined with foil. Cover with foil and cook for about an 45 minutes. Uncover the pork and brush pork with the balsamic glaze. Bake for another fifteen minutes or less till the temp of the pork reaches 155F.Let stand for fifteen minutes then cut.  Garnish with some fresh thyme.

Balsamic Glaze
Bring to boil a 1/2 balsamic vinegar. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 5 minutes or until mixture reduces to 1/4.

*For the grilling directions Prepare grill for indirect grilling. Test of medium heat above the drip pan. Place tenderloin on the rack over drip pan. Cover and grill about 40 minutes or until the instant thermometer reads 155F. Brush sides of tenderloin on all sides with Glaze. Grill one minutes , then remove from grill. Cover to let stand for about 15 minutes.

Enjoy!

 
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February 25, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 25 - Roasted Salmon

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Some days you just need a care free meal to fall back on. We adore fish in the house so on busy nights I always try and cook some sort of fish. My kids love pretty much any type of fish, but they really enjoy Salmon. This recipe is fast and you can easily double or cut it down for how many your cooking for.



Ingredients

4 Salmon fillets (about an inch thick) 
cooking spray
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons smoked paprika
1 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 lemon cut into wedges


Directions

Preheat the oven to 350F. On a baking sheet or baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray arrange the fillets. Combine the the seasonings together and rub it over the tops of the fillets. Coat fillets with cooking spray. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the fish is done. To keep the dinner healthy serve with a salad of mixed greens and a light dressing.
Really simple :)

Enjoy!
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February 24, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 24 -Three Cheese Spread

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I needed a quick snack today, and whipped this out to enjoy with homemade crackers. I didn't have that much cheddar cheese to use though, so it came out more pepper jack and cream cheese than anything. This recipe came from Real Mom Kitchen.  I added more garlic into the mix, dill as well and left out the hot sauce. My kids don't really enjoy hot sauce but I want to make some with it. The recipe mentions that you should add more milk to thin it out more, which I did. It became a creamy lump of cheese . :) Nice afternoon snack!

Three Cheese Spread

8 oz. block sharp cheddar cheese
4 oz. block pepper jack cheese
8 oz. cream cheese
1 clove garlic *I added 2 gloves
1 teaspoon parsley
1 teaspoon onion powder
*I added 1 heaping teaspoon of dill
Dash of Tabasco
Dash of Worcestershire sauce
Salt and pepper to taste
Milk to help thin out mixture to desired consistency
 Directions

Working in a food processor fitted with the shredding disk, shred two first kinds of cheese. Empty the mixture from the work bowl and place the metal blade into the bottom of the bowl.

Add the cream cheese, garlic and remaining seasonings into the work bowl and process for one minute. Add in the shredded cheese mix and process for 1-2 minutes. Keep mixing until everything is well mixed and creamy.
Store in refrigerator until ready to serve.

Easy to put together and you can change the taste using a different cheese of choice. Mine came out creamer cause I didn't add in most the cheddar!

Enjoy!
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February 23, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 23 - Coffee Marinated Steaks

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 I love coffee so much, I had to make dinner with it! :) I made a Coffee Marinated steaks for dinner. Super easy, and quick you'll love the result. You can use the marinade for any steaks or beef really. Would love to try this on a roast see how well it comes out.

It seems I can't take a good picture of steak!

Coffee Marinade for steaks

1 cup strong brewed coffee
1 1/2 tablespoons darn brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
2 cloves of minced garlic
4 beef tenderloin steaks
cooking spray

Combine the first 6 ingredients in a large zip lock bag. Add steak and seal the bag. Marinate in the fridge for 8 hours. Turn every few hours. When ready to cook discard the remaining marinade. I cooked my steaks in a cast iron skillet with buttone and onions. You can grill just as easily! Whichever you perfer. Cook to your liking.

Very easy marinade!
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February 22, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 22 - Walnut & Pecan Soda Bread

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An easy bread with no yeast to worry about is perfect for any busy day. You can not only put this bread together but bake it in under an hour. Sounds great doesn't it? My kids loved this bread, it made a great afternoon snack for them.

Walnut and Pecan Soda Bread

Ingredients

1lb flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cream of tartar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp sugar
3/8 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1 1/4 cup buttermilk

Directions,
Preheat oven to 350F Dust a baking sheet with some a little flour .
 Mix all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Pour buttermilk and mix to form a soft dough.
With floured hands knead the dough slightly then shape or form into a 8-10 inch circle. Transfer dough to the prepared baking sheet and cut a criss cross on the top of dough.

Bake for 30 minutes, then place a piece of foil over the bread and bake another 10-15 minutes. Bread should be slightly browned and cooked through. Removed, cool slightly and serve warm.

Really simply bread to make, I want to try this with cranberries I bet it would taste great!

Enjoy!

 
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February 21, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 21 - Greens , Beans Soup

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There's nothing like soup :) This is an easy hearty soup to pull together as a side to a meal or just to enjoy alone. My kids adored this so much,there's no leftovers what so ever! What more can I ask for?

Instead of just Kale, I put Spinach in it as well fresh from the garden. It was wonderful, I really liked the taste of this. With added pepper and some minced garlic the soup came together nicely.


Greens , Beans Soup

Ingredients
3 cups packed chopped Kale (mustard greens or spinach work in a pitch)
2/1/4 cups water
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 pepper
2 cups cannelloni beans (I added about 3 cups to feed my entire crew)
1 1/2  cup and a half of chicken broth
two garlic cloves minced
Directions

Add some bacon dripping (or butter about 2 tablespoons) in a saucepan over med. heat. Add Kale and the next 5 ingredients. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes till beans are tender.

Simple , quick and delicious (:

 
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February 20, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 20 - Chocolate Soufflé

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My very first Chocolate Soufflé. I've not only never made one, never tasted a soufflé either. This was a triple treat for me because this was also my birthday dessert! For years I've wanted to make one, never really came around to it though. So glad that I finally made it, because it was not only easy but tasted wonderfully.
 The kids only got one bite, the rest was mine!
Chocolate Souffles

Ingredients

2 tablespoons unsalted butted, plus more for greasing the ramekins
1 tablespoon sugar plus more for lining ramekins
1/2 cup chocolate syrup
1 large egg, plus 3 egg whites
Pinch of Cream of Tartar

Preheat oven for 400F. Butter the 6 ounce ramekins then sprinkle with sugar. Tip upside down and tap out the extra sugar. Transfer to a baking sheet and put in the freezer while making the batter.
Heat the syrup and the butter till butter melts. Let it cool. Whisk the egg yolk in a medium bowl. Slowly whisk in the chocolate syrup until combined.
beat the egg whites with a mixer on med speed until foamy. Add the cream of tartar and beat until soft peaks form. Add 1 tablespoon sugar in while beating and beat until stiff peaks form. About 2 minutes.
Fold part of the egg white mixture into the chocolate mixture and combine. Add in the remaining egg whites until completely combined. Make sure there are no white streaks in the mixture. Divide batter among the four ramekins. Bake in the oven for about 18 minutes or until souffles are puffed and browned slightly around the edges.
Dust with either cocoa powder or white powdered sugar.  This recipe makes 4

Enjoy! Thank you all for the wonderful Birthday Wishes :)


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Disney Publishing Apps Review - Beauty and the Beast: Storybook Deluxe



Disney Publishing Worldwide the largest publisher of children's books and magazines is also dominating the App store with six new Children's titles in books. We were able to review on, "Beauty and the Beast"

My girls love this movie! It was a really joy to watch them be able to read it and enjoy the sing a long songs!

"Beauty and the Beast" Storybook Deluxe is a wonderful app that you can use on your iPad, iPod, and iPhone with the kids. It's so cute, my three girls really enjoyed this app. The classic story of Beauty and the Beast comes alive in their hands. The app includes some extra fun features including :

· Eleven new animated scenes included in the updated version
· Have the kids help Belle find her way to the Beast’s castle in the Hedge Maze or hunt for hidden roses in exciting story-based mini games
· Follow along while the story is read aloud, or explore at your own pace
· Record your voice reading the story, then play it back
· Have the kids join in with the original voices in Sing Along mode, featuring classic songs like “Be Our Guest.” (My all time favorite!)

One of my girls reads this story aloud while my other two will sit and just listen along as the story is read aloud to them. They truly enjoy it, and when we're stuck in traffic or perhaps at a Dr's office they can easily enjoy a story or even color some pages .
There's movie clips as well for them to watch! Loads of fun!

All Disney Publishing apps are available from the App Store on the iPad, iPhone, and iPod Touch or at www.itunes.com/appstore. I highly recommend checking them out if you have little kids around. It's a fun new way to enjoy books wherever you go!

 Other titles include

“Don’t Let the Pigeon Run This App!”
“Pooh’s Birthday Surprise”
"Toy Story Showtime!"
"It's A Small World"

Check them all out and enjoy with the kids! :)




**Disclosure- I received the products mentioned above ,  in order to write an honest review. No monetary compensation was received for this post. I did not have to write a positive review, Any and all opinions are and will always be my own.* 
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February 19, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 19 - Vegetarian Linguine Carbonara

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Pasta Night! I love Pasta :) This is a simple yet fully flavored dish. Easy to make and is ready in pretty much under 20 minutes you can't go wrong.  You can also dress up this dish the possiblitiles are endless.  Add chicken if you wanted, or even more vegetables. Summer squash would work perfectly, cherry tomatoes even would give it a boost in extra sweet flavor.  Serve with some home baked french bread and enjoy!
Vegetarian Linguine Carbonara
Ingredients

1lb linguine pasta
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 cup fresh spinach
3 tablespoons fresh chopped basil
1/4 teaspoon read pepper flakes
1 whole bulb garlic chopped and minced
1/4 cup olive oil
2 large eggs
half a cup of oven roasted bell peppers
Fresh Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste.


Directions

Cook pasta as package directs. Drain and place back in pot. Add 2 tablespoons olive oil and the spinach, bell peppers,  basil,  red pepper, salt and pepper. Toss the mixture on very low heat. In a small skillet saute the garlic in 1/4 cup olive oil for about 3 minutes. Don't let it burn. Add the garlic mixture to the pasta and toss. Whisk the eggs in a small bowl add them over the pasta and mix as well. Cook over the low heat till egg is fully cooked and mixed well with pasta.

Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese. Feta cheese would also do this dish wonders :) Enjoy!

Only 10 more days left to the Recipe Challenge, Don't be missing anymore days!
 
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February 18, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 18 - Chicken Fried Steak

Pin It There's so many recipes for this one dish it's hard to pin one down. I picked a fairly easy and common one though to share. I did however change up the recipe a bit. Instead of crackers I used flour with seasoning. Besides that instead of only one flour coating I changed it to dipping it twice. Makes a much better  batter.  This is a basic recipe, so change up the seasonings to make it your own, I used cracked red and black pepper,  paprika, a little kosher salt and some minced garlic that I mixed in with the flour.
Chicken Fried Steak



Ingredients
1 1/2 pounds beef boneless round steak about 1/2 inch thick
1 tablespoon water
1 egg
1 cup crackers (or flour)
1 /4 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup oil

Milk and flour for gravy


Cut the beef steaks into serving sizes. Pound each piece until about 1/4 inch thick (you can also use cubed steak for this)
Beat the water and egg setting aside. Mix your crackers (or flour)  and pepper (or seasoning to your choice, cajun would work great!)  together. Dip your beef into the crackers/flour. Dip into the egg and back into the crackers/flour. Meanwhile heat the oil in a 12 inch skillet over med-high head. Place beef into the oil when it's hot and cook for about 5 minutes before turning. Adjust the heat if it's cooking too fast. Try to turn only once, this shouldn't take no longer than ten minutes.

Using either bacon drippings or the reserved drippings for the cooked beef to prepare gravy.
Mix about 1 1/2 cup of milk (up to 2 cups) into the skillet, scraping up all the bites from the pan. Using a whisk mix in about 1/4 cup flour and pepper to taste. Heat  till it thickens to your liking. If more flour is needed add just a tablespoon at a time, if more milk is needed add a tablespoon at a time and keep heating. Again, takes less then 10 minutes.


Enjoy!
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February 17, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 17 - Vegetable Fritters

Pin It Hope you guys like peas!!  We made Sweet Pea Fritters today and they made a wonderful afternoon snack for the kids. This recipe would do great for parties or get togethers  even birthday's. Simple and easy to make you'll enjoy the bite sized vegetable treats. My kids gave them thumbs up and said they were awesome, so definitely a win in this house.

So yummy!!

Ingredients

1 (16 ounce ) package of frozen peas  thawed and drained(or fresh, I used my canned peas from last summer)
1 (10 ounce package frozen onions thawed and drained. ( fresh is fine too, that's what I used, just chop them up small
3 large eggs separated
3 tablespoon flour
1 tablespoon yellow corn meal
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
peanut oil for frying


Directions
Combine the peas, onions, egg yolks , flour, corn meal , salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
In a separate bowl beat the egg whites at high speed with an electric mixer until stiff but not dry (about 2 minutes) Fold eggs into the pea mixture. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.
In a large pot pour oil in to a  depth about 3 inches. Heat oil on med-high and heat to 350. Using a ice cream scoop out fritters and carefully drop into hot oil.

Working in small batches cook till slightly browned about 3 minutes. Turn and cook till other side is browned. Remove and drain on paper towels.

*I found using a spoon and simply letting the mixture slide in the oil worked better. If you drop it, or plop it in, it separates and really gets to be just floating peas. Just let the mixture slip off carefully from whatever tool you use to get it in the oil.

Serve with favorite dip.

Isn't it cute? Perfect bite sized for the kids :)
Simple and fun, enjoy!
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February 16, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 16 -Spinach Tofu Burger

Pin It Who doesn't like a awesome burger? I mean come on! No one can say no to a delicious juicy burger. Am I right? I'm right, I know I am  which is why you should keep reading this, it's all about a burger!

 Today's Recipe Challenge became a very sneaky (incredibly sneaky) way to get my kids to try something totally new to them.
  Now, yes some may call it mean, some may even think I lied, or hey in my kids eyes I am now the most rotten Mother on earth, but let's move on. The entire point to the Challenge is to try new things, not just new ways to cook food. Kids need to learn to try things at an early age this way they grow up more willing to try new things further on in their life. So today, I made my kids eat

 <insert drum roll>


"The Spinach Tofu Burger"

Did you hear that? That was my kids screaming and running the other way. They will not admit they took second and third bites of this burger, nope, they will cross their arms, stick their noses up and give you the most pitiful look you'd ever see. It's alright, they tried it, that was the entire point. They really did taste it and gave me an honest opinion, that's as much as I hoped for!


 Grace over at Blessed Elements and Sam at Have Sippy Will Travel gave me the idea about bringing Tofu into this months Recipe Challenge. They were sharing their favorite ways to cook it which got me thinking about why I haven't ever tried it before. The search was on for Tofu recipes!
 I looked at several recipes and needed an easy way to introduce tofu to the kids. I plan on cooking with it again most definitely, but the first time had to be at a "kid friendly" level. I found the Spinach Tofu Burger over  , at "Eats Well With Others"  . The recipe is at another blog which can be found here



 I'll admit you have to get over the "Tofu" part of it, and just take a bite. After that you just wonder what else you can do with it. I will be trying more Tofu recipes, if anyone has any, please send them my way! The directions and ingredients are really simple as well as quick to put together. I tossed them into the standing mixer and mixed it up. After it was mixed I formed the mixture into  patties.


 Heated up oil in a skilled and then carefully  placed the burgers in to cook till both sides were browned.


Really easy this is how it came out,  My first Tofu Burger


 The Spinach Tofu Burger was good, I would have it again . It's different yes, but certainly tasted good enough for me to want more.  
Today was truly an adventure in the kitchen, even though I was sneaky about it with the kids they were eager and willing to try. That's all you can hope for. Encourage the kids to pick out some new foods  at least once every time you go to the store. Ask for their honest opinion about the food. You may just find out you like something you never had before! It's fun, I encourage you all to do it !

Thanks Grace and Sam for convincing me to try tofu :)  I really enjoyed this and look forward to cooking with it some more!

Enjoy and remember to try new things!
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February 15, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 15 - Chicken Biscuit Bake

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My Grandmother sent me this recipe, I'm always excited when she sends me one. Since I live well across country now I don't get to see my family at all, so a recipe from back home is a much welcomed surprise. My Grandmother also has a ton of recipes that just end up being perfect. Comfort food by far, I keep them safe and tucked away in my recipe box.


The recipe is called, Chicken Biscuit Bake. I  changed this  up a bit only because of the fact that I don't use the refrigerator biscuits. My Mom helped me get it down so it would work. Using a Baking powder Biscuit recipe I used half the dough to do the recipe the original way stated in the recipe from my Grandmother. Using the other half of the biscuit dough I made dumplings to see if I could do it on the stove. The result? Two winning ways to make the same dish!
Since I split my recipe in half to cook two different ways I used a cast iron skillet instead of the baking pan.  
I completely forgot to add the topping to the dish too, I was just too excited to be doing two different things at once! It tasted good being heated and poured over the top as we ate it though.


Chicken Biscuit Bake
Ingredients
1 can condensed cream of chicken soup ,undiluted
2/3 cup mayonnaise light or fat free can be used
2-3 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
4 cups cubed cooked chicken
2 cup chopped broccoli already cooked
1 medium onion chopped
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
*I also added chopped up carrots and green onions

2 tubes of refrigerated buttermilk biscuits. (I used the Baking Powder Biscuit recipe below and cooked the same way as recipe directed. )

Topping:
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 teaspoons celery seed
1 teaspoon salt


In a bowl combine the soup, mayonnaise and Worcestershire sauce. Stir in the chicken , broccoli and the onion. Move it to a greased 13x9x2 baking dish. Sprinkle with cheese. Cover and bake at 375F for about 20 minutes. Separate biscuits. Cut each in half. Arrange, cut side down over hot chicken. In a bowl combine the topping ingredients and pour over biscuits. Bake uncovered for about 20 minutes or until biscuits are lightly golden brown.


Baking Powder Biscuits

Ingredients
2 c. all-purpose flour
3 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. shortening
3/4 c. milk
Directions

Mix dry ingredients together, cut in shortening thoroughly, until mixture looks like meal. Stir in almost all the milk. If dough is pliable, add just enough milk to make a soft, puffy, easy-to-roll dough.
Round up dough on lightly floured board. Knead lightly 20-25 times, about 1/2 minute. Roll 1/2 inch thick. Cut with floured biscuit cutter (about 2" diameter)
Place on ungreased baking sheet. Bake in 450' oven for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.
You can also use this recipe for drop biscuits, just increase milk to 1 cup, and drop by spoonfuls onto greased baking sheet. You can also add 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese for cheese biscuits, and 1 tsp. granulated garlic for cheddar bay biscuits (like Red lobster)



Now for the Dumplings I added a little more liquid to the dutch oven on the stove, just chicken broth and thickened with more condensed soup. Just enough liquid was added so I had about 3 inches of cooking room for the dumplings. It has to be boiling in order for the dumplings to work. All I did was, taking the biscuit dough which was moistened with an extra tablespoon of milk  to make it work better for dumpling, I dropped the dough by teaspoon into the boiling pot. Cooking uncovered for 10 minutes then covered for 20 minutes or until the dumplings are plump and you can stick a toothpick in the center and have it come out clean.

In order to make the two dishes, I took out half the mixture from the dutch oven and put it into the skillet for the biscuit bake (original recipe) What was left in the dutch oven was made into the Dumplings


My family loved it! I have no leftovers what so ever! You don't have to go through the extra work to make the biscuits, simply use the refrigerated tube dough as the original recipe calls for.
Enjoy!



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Smile Your Way to New York City!

TopDentists.com wants to know what makes YOU smile for the “Who Makes You Smile” contest.
Want to win a trip to New Your City for a professional teeth-whitening makeover? Here's how easy it can be!

Simply share a picture of something that makes you smile along with a  little caption about the picture with TopDentists.com to win a chance for an all-expense paid trip, $1000 spending money and a professional photo shoot for you and a lucky guest.

After you upload and enter, have friends and family vote for your picture. The top five pictures with the most votes will have a chance to win the grand prize! Top three voted pictures within 100 miles of Beverly Hills, CA; Troy, MI; Austin, TX; Philadelphia, PA; and Aventura, FL will also be judged for prizes in their  own regions.

The contest goes from now until February 24th. In addition to the big NYC grand prize, there are daily prizes and chances to win teeth whitenings in selected local areas! What are you waiting for? Go smile and snap a picture or take a picture of the kids and Enter!


Smile!

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February 14, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 14 - Shortbread Cookies & Greens Pie

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Another double recipe day! Couldn't help myself  :)


I made a bunch of sugar cookies for the kids and friends, and let's just say I'm tired of them by this point. My kids all asked for cookies though and it had to be something new and different. First recipe up for today is simple, and the kids can help make them. Shortbread Cookies!


Ingredients
3/4 cup butter flavored shortening
1/2 cup sugar
1.4 cup confectioners sugar
2 3/4 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large egg yolks
2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 bar bittersweet chocolate melted (for dipping cookies if wanted)

Directions

In a medium bowl beat the shortening sugar and confections sugar on high until creamy. Reduce the speed to low and add the flour, salt, yolks, cream and vanilla beating until all combined. Dived the dough and warp each half in the fridge to chill for an hour
.
 Preheat oven to 325F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside. On lightly floured surface roll the dough to 1/4 inch thickness. Use any cookie cutter you want (3 inch) Re-roll the dough until all the cookies are cut. Place cookies on prepared baking sheets. Bake until the edges are slightly browned, about 12 minutes. Let cool on the pan and then remove to wire wracks to cool completely.
Melt the chocolate till there's no more lumps and it runs smooth. Dip part of the cookies into the chocolate and place on parchment paper to cool.




The second recipe for today is a nice and healthy dish to even out all the sugar the kids got for Valentine's Day.  Easy to make as well, and you can either do it with or without the pie crust. I'm calling it Greens Pie because I didn't follow the directions and made it my own. Instead of a crustless quiche, I made a crust, not to mention tossing in Collard Greens, Green onions,  and Broccoli along with Spinach.
Hence the Name...Greens Pie!  

Look at all that green goodness!!


Ingredients
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 (10 ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained (I used 2lb fresh Spinach)
1 cup wilted Collard Greens
Half a pound of chopped Broccoli
1/2 cup green onions
5 eggs, beaten
2-3 cups shredded Muenster cheese
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
*Pie Crust if wanted

Directions

Preheat oven to 350F
Lightly grease a 9 inch pie pan. (If your using a crust, grab your favorite pie crust and line the ungreased pie pan with the dough. Set it aside. )
Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring occasionally, until onions are soft. Stir in spinach and other greens and continue cooking until excess moisture has evaporated.
In a large bowl, combine eggs, cheese, salt and pepper. Add greens mixture and stir to blend. Scoop into prepared pie pan.
Bake in preheated oven until eggs have set, about 30 minutes.(If using a crust, bake about 25 minutes, check to see if the crust is brown, if so cover edges with foil and cook till a knife in the center comes out clean.  Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.


Enjoy!!
Happy Valentine's Day!
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February 13, 2012

'MIRROR MIRROR' - Printable Valentines & Movie Clip


Relativity Media has a new film, 'MIRROR MIRROR'  which is opening March 30, 2012.
The film is a family-friendly twist on the classic tale Snow White, and stars Julia Roberts and Lily Collins.

A quick summary of the Movie


One of the most beloved stories of all time is coming to life in the motion picture event, "Mirror Mirror".
A fresh and funny retelling of the Snow White legend, Mirror Mirror features breakout star Lily Collins
(The Blind Side) as Snow White, a princess in exile, and Oscar®-winner Julia Roberts as the evil Queen
who ruthlessly rules her captured kingdom.
Seven courageous rebel dwarfs join forces with Snow White as she fights to reclaim her birthright and win her Prince in this magical adventure comedy filled with The film also stars Armie Hammer (The Social Network) as the Prince and Nathan Lane (The Birdcage) jealousy, romance and betrayal that will capture the hearts and imaginations of audiences the world over as the hapless and bungling servant to the Queen.



You can download some last minute Valentine cards using this link here
http://www.bighonchomedia.com/assets/Relativity/MirrorMirrorValentines.pdf



Here's a Preview of the movie!






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Recipe Challenge: Day 13 - Baked Eggs with Spinach & Buttermilk Biscuits

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Dinner plans changed again due to, well cookies. I've been baking cookies all day, and just didn't have enough time to prepare what was planned.

This is a double recipe day. I made breakfast for dinner because that always wins the kids over on a very hectic day. This first dish didn't appeal to the kids at all, but they all tried it willingly. It's called Baked Eggs with Spinach. Simple and quick and healthy for you.


Baked Eggs with Spinach
Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
3 shallots finely chopped
1 lb of baby spinach leaves
4 tablespoons light cream
freshly grated nutmeg
pepper to taste
4 large eggs
4 tablespoons Parmesan cheese finely grated


Directions
Preheat the oven to 400F. Heat oil in cast iron skillet over medium heat. Add shallots and cook stirring frequently. Continue for about 5 minutes or until soft. Add the spinach and cover to cook for about 4 minutes or until the spinach has wilted. Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated.
Add cream to the spinach and season with pepper and nutmeg (to taste) I skipped nutmeg all together. Spread the spinach around the cast iron skillet and make 4 wells with the back of a spoon in the mixture. Crack an egg into each well and cover with cheese. Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes or until eggs are set.

Since I knew my kids would put up a fuss about spinach I made some Buttermilk Biscuits so they could make a sandwich out of the egg dish. Worked perfectly. If you are doing these two dishes together, start making the biscuits as soon as you start doing the spinach on the stove. When the egg dish is ready to pop in the oven so are the biscuits, and they can both cook at the same time . My day may have been all over the place, but these two paired up perfectly down to the minute they were taken out of the oven.
Yumm Biscuits!
Ingredients

2 cups flour
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 teaspoon salt
3 teaspoon baking powder
1 cup butter softened
1 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1 teaspoon baking soda

Buttermilk Biscuits

Lightly grease a baking sheet. In a large bowl combine the flour, oil salt, baking powder, butter, milk and baking soda. Stir with a wooden spook until a good mixture forms into a smooth batter. Drop by spoonful onto the pan and bake in the 400F oven for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Makes 12 biscuits

Enjoy! Now I must get back to my cookies!
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February 12, 2012

Recipe Challenge: Day 12 - Bean Burgers

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Do not, I repeat do not tell my kids I served them a bean burger! Not that they would complain, considering they ate every last ounce but still, if they knew it was a bean burger they would have rolled their eyes even before they took a bite.
  That's all it takes sometimes with kids, you mention one ingredient and you get the "ewww, yuck" Eye roll here, grimace over there. Kids are tricky, so Mom's need to be sneaky. I'm one sneaky Mom let me tell you. I feed them zucchini brownies, carrot muffins, even carrot and eggplant patties! They didn't even blink an eye when I made their french fries out of squash! If you don't tell them, they will never know! Or at least don't mention anything until after they ate it all. ha

Meet the Bean Burger which is Diabetic friendly !

I used the Rosemary Focaccia I made yesterday to make the bread crumbs. Since the bread was full of garlic and rosemary there was plenty taste just from that alone and I didn't add much garlic to the burger mix. It tasted wonderful! We really enjoyed this!
Bean Burgers!
Ingredients

1 can white kidney beans, rinsed and drained.
3/4 cup soft whole wheat bread crumbs (one slice of bread crumbled up)
1/2 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup walnut pieces
2 tablespoon coarsely chopped fresh basil or 1 teaspoon dried
2 cloves garlic quartered
1 tablespoon olive oil
Directions


In a food processor, combine the beans, 1/4 cup of the bread crumbs, onion, nuts, basil and garlic. Process until mixture is coarsely chopped and holds together.
 Shape bean mixture into 1/2 thick patties. Place remaining 1/2 cup bread crumbs in a shallow dish. Carefully brush both sides of each patty with oil. Dip patties into bread crumbs, turning to coat both sides.

They are very sticky, be careful placing them into the hot skillet.

 Preheat a large skillet over medium heat. Add patties and cook for about 5 minutes before turning. It takes about 10-15 minutes for them to cook through. Reduce the heat if they are browning too quickly.
*One thing I noticed right away, these patties are very moist, so flipping them too early will break them apart. Wait at least 5 minutes and flip very carefully.
Serve on a whole wheat bun with spinach and some light ranch salad dressing. Makes about 4 burgers, but the recipe can easily be doubled!

My kids liked the different taste, half ate the burgers with ranch dressing the other with ketchup. Thumbs up for a healthier burger ;-) Enjoy this one!
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