Sunday, October 19, 2014

pirate party

We enjoy parties and it was time for a pirate party- AArrgg!  The cake was almost too simple to make and since this party was for kids I used a box cake mix and two tubs of blue raspberry icing (I'd say yuck! but the kids loved it so it was a good move).  My son crushed up some graham crackers for an island and loved placing the sharks in the water ever so meticulously.  It was a busy day so last minute I had the idea to make the apple sailboats with salami sails.  We threw in a tattoo parlor, pin-the-eyepatch-on-the pirate a treasure hunt and some pirate t-shirts and called it a day!

italian chicken stew

It's soup season and this is a good one especially with a lot of sourdough bread for dipping! (I modified this recipe to be a crock pot recipe- who has 50 minutes to prepare dinner around dinner hour?!  Not me.)

italian chicken stew (Food Network, specifically Giada De Laurentis)
 3 frozen chicken breasts
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 carrots, sliced
1 small onion, chopped
salt and freshly black pepper
1 (14.5 ounce) can chopped tomatoes (I used pureed, my kids don't like chunks)
14 ounces chicken broth
1/2 cup fresh basil leaves, torn into pieces
1 tablespoon tomato paste
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (15 ounce) can kidney beans, drained and rinsed (we omitted)

Place frozen chicken breasts in a large crock pot and turn the crock pot onto HIGH.  Add everything else and cook for 5-6 hours until you can shred the chicken right in the crock pot.  Serve with crusty bread.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

tangy slow cooker pork roast

I had two pork roasts in the fridge and wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with them.  I was out of liquid smoke so knew I'd better come up with another alternative.  That's when I found this recipe.  It's great!  I drizzled a little soy sauce over mine but the others drizzled teriyaki on theirs.  Either way, served over some brown jasmine rice and steamed carrots on the side- you're all set!

tangy slow cooker pork roast (
1 large onion, sliced
2.5 pounds pork roast
1 cup water
1/4 cup sugar (I used Splenda)
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon ketchup
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon garlic

Place sliced onion on the bottom of your slow cooker.  Place the pork roast on top.  Combine the rest of the ingredients and pour on top of the pork roast.  Cook on low for 6-8 hours.  Serve over jasmine or basmati rice with soy sauce and/or teriyaki sauce.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

oatmeal coconut cookies

My new visiting teacher delivered some delicious cookies to us one evening (how's that for a good first impression?!) and my kids were delighted to sample them for breakfast with a tall glass of milk.  Here's the recipe!

oatmeal coconut cookies (my visiting teacher Laura Lee)
2 cups butter
2 cups brown sugar
2 cups white sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
4 eggs
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
6 cups rolled oats
1 1/2 cups shredded coconut

Cream butter and sugars.  Add eggs and vanilla and beat well.  Add flour, salt and baking soda mixing well.  Mix in rolled oats and coconut.  Drop by spoonfuls onto greased cookie sheets.  Bake at 325 degrees about 10 to 15 minutes.  This recipe is for soft and chewy cookies.  Do not over-bake.   Makes approx. 4-5 dozen.

Friday, August 8, 2014

baked salmon patties

I've been going strong eating like a saint for over a month.  I indulged for lunch by having a couple of these baked salmon patties with some petite peas, apple slices and a glass of milk.  These were great- crispy on the outside and creamy in the middle.  I'll make these again for sure.

baked salmon patties (Fill Up To Slim Down by Edward B. Diethrich, M.D., and Jyl Steinback)
2 (6 ounce) cans salmon, drained
1 cup corn flake crumbs, divided (I used low fat Triscuits, broken up)
1 tablespoon nonfat sour cream
2 tablespoons lemon juice
2 egg whites
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1/2 teaspoon mustard
3/4 teaspoons garlic powder

Preheat the oven to 350.  Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with cooking spray.  Combine the salmon, 1/4 cup corn flake crumbs, sour cream, lemon juice, egg whites, onion powder and mustard in a medium bowl; mix until the ingredients are blended.  Shape into 4 patties.  Combine the remaining 3/4 cup of crumbs and garlic powder in a zip-lock bag; shake until mixed.  Place the crumbs on a plate.  Place one salmon patty on top of the crumbs and flip over to coat both sides.  Place breaded patties on the baking sheet.  Bake for 20 to 25 minutes until lightly browned and crisp.

226 calories, 5g fat, 18g carbs, 24g protein
exchanges: 3 lean meat, 1 starch

ninjabread cookie cutters

Have you seen these?  We got them for my husband for Christmas but it's taken us a while to get around to baking with them- Ninjabread cookie cutters!  You can find them HERE.  Instead of baking with gingerbread I went with our favorite sugar cookie recipe which you can find here.  We're going to surprise my husband with a little Ninja party.

ninjabread cookies (
Mix up your favorite sugar cookie recipe and use these cutters to create ninjas!  Then frost and ice with details.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

store bought favorite: rojo's tomatillo avocado salsa

This photo demonstrates how much I love this salsa.  The serving size is 2 tablespoons but I use at least 1/4 cup to 1/2 cup every time.  I'm not cooking as much for myself lately because I've had to simplify.  My body wants to gain weight but I will not let it (that's what happens when you leave your thirties) so I've been sticking to the basics of grilled chicken, shredded chicken, whole grain tortillas, whole grain pasta and fresh fruits and veggies.  REALLY simple.  What makes it okay (I LOVE TO EAT, DANG IT!) is the delicious sauces I put with my chicken because the intense flavors satisfy me- not necessarily the food or the quantity.  I was born a lover of rich foods but am learning to enjoy the simple flavors of real food.

store bought favorite:  rojo's tomatillo avocado salsa (purchased at Costco)
made from all-natural ingredients- roasted tomatillos, avocado, garlic and cilantro
great cooking sauce for beef, pork, chicken or chile verde