Saturday, January 17, 2015

quick and easy thai coconut chicken soup









While getting my rear end kicked at my boot camp class my friend Liz began to describe the delicious soup she had made the night before.  All the ingredients sounded so fresh, healthy and delicious.  The whole scenario reminded me of those Lean Cuisine commercials (except you know how far fetched those are!).  I was pretty certain I would love this soup as much as Liz and her family did.  AND WE DID!  It was super quick and easy and super yummy.  

quick and easy thai coconut chicken soup (my friend Liz found the recipe at Our Best Bites)
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoon minced jalapeno pepper
1 1/2 tablespoons fresh minced ginger
2 (14.5 ounce) cans chicken broth
1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup cooked whole grain basmati rice (Our Best Bites uses Ramen Noodles without the seasoning packet)
3/4 cup mushrooms (they're so delicious, you must put them in)
1 ½ tablespoon fresh lime juice
2 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 cup diced or shredded cooked chicken
toppings:  additional chopped cilantro, sliced green onions, and lime wedges

Heat medium sized pot to medium-high heat on stove top.  Add olive oil, jalapeno, and ginger (if using fresh.)  Cook for 1-2 minutes, stirring frequently, until jalapeno and ginger are softened and fragrant.  If using ground ginger, add now and stir.  Add chicken broth, coconut milk, and salt and increase heat to bring mixture to a boil.  Reduce to simmer and add noodles (note you will discard seasoning packet that comes with noodles.)  Simmer 3-5 minutes, until noodles are softened.  If using mushrooms, add them in the final 2-3 minutes of cooking the noodles.  Add chicken and simmer for about 30 seconds to heat through.  Remove pot from heat and stir in lime juice, chicken, and cilantro.  Ladle into serving bowls and garnish with additional chopped cilantro, green onions, and lime wedges if desired.  Serve immediately.  Serves 4-6.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

store bought favorite: spinach & 3 cheese stuffed chicken patties



I am so excited about these "burgers"!!  I made greasy hamburgers for the rest of the family but wanted to try these out myself before handing them out.  Finally- a product that looks like the picture.  These are delicious.  To be honest I have grown tired of all the chicken burgers and salmon burgers out there- they taste funny.  I think I will keep these to myself and pull one out for lunch for the rest of the week.  Please go out and try these and keep buying them so Costco will keep them in stock. :)

store bought favorite: spinach & 3 cheese stuffed chicken patties (from Costco)
made by Jack's Special Grilled
all natural & gluten free
22 grams of protein, 7 carbs, 6 grams fat, 1 gram sugar per serving 
It cost around $12 for 8 patties 

I microwaved mine for 90 seconds and put it on a whole wheat sandwich thin (also purchased at Costco).  Added some cheese, onion, tomato and shredded lettuce.

Monday, January 12, 2015

peach blueberry crumble (gluten free)

























Why do I always get flustered knowing a gluten free guest is coming to the table?  We had the sister missionaries over last night and one is gluten free.  It's really not that difficult to come up with gluten free meals but I seem to freeze when it comes to desserts in particular.  This is a FANTASTIC recipe!  Everyone enjoyed it- and I love when I can turn fruit into a dessert for my family.

peach blueberry crumble, gluten free (adapted from Texanerin Baking)
1/2 cup oat flour (see below how to make your own)
6 tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup rolled oats or quick oats
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt

filling
1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons oat flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 (32 ounce) cans peaches, drained or if fresh peaches are in season use them!
1 cup frozen blueberries or if you have fresh use them! 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.
In a medium bowl, mix together the oat flour and sugar.  Cut the butter into the mixture using a pastry blender or fork.  Add the oats, cinnamon and salt and stir until combined.  Set aside.
To make the filling, mix together the sugar, oat flour and cinnamon in a medium bowl.  Add the peaches and blueberries and stir just until combined.  Pour into your 9x13 pan.  Place crumbles on top.  Bake for 35 minutes until the topping is golden brown, crisp and the filling is bubbling.
Remove from the oven and wait 10 minutes before serving.
If not eaten on the first day, cover and store at room temperature for 1 day.  You can also refrigerate up to 4 days.

oat flour
To make oat flour, grind oats in a food processor or vita mix until flour like.  For this recipe I blended a cup of oats and had about 1/4 cup left over.




Friday, January 2, 2015

birdseed wreath













You can imagine how excited I was when my kids went to my friend Shonda's house to play on Christmas Eve and got to make one of these darling birdseed wreaths and bring it home with them.  I LOVE it!  It's supposed to be hung outside but not where it is too wet which is tricky in the Pacific Northwest so this will be its home until the rain settles down...around the 4th of July. :)  I look forward to finding the perfect tree, and there are plenty to choose from!

birdseed wreath  (Infarrantly Creative)
4 cups of wild bird seed
1/2 cup warm water
1 envelope Knox gelatin
3/4 cup flour
bundt pan (Shonda used a disposable tin cake pan and put a plastic cup in the center for the hole)
nonstick spray
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
ribbon

Spray bundt pan with nonstick spray (or make your own like Shonda did).
Mix knox gelatin with 1/2 cup warm water and whisk until mixed.  Whisk in the flour and corn syrup.
Add the bird seed and stir coating the seed well with a wooden spoon.  Then pour it into your greased bundt pan.  Press it tightly with the back of a wooden spoon into the bundt pan.  Use wet hands to press it more if need be.  Let it dry overnight.  Once completely hardened it will come right out of the pan.  Tie a bow and hang in an area that won't be exposed to the rain.


Thursday, January 1, 2015

molasses crinkles









I went to make this recipe for my dad who is visiting from out-of- town and I couldn't believe that this recipe wasn't already on my blog!  I've been making this recipe for years from the "favorites" cookbook I've been compiling since college. I wasn't sure where this recipe originally came from at first but I compared it to the Betty Crocker recipe and it's the same!  I have the recipe doubled in my cookbook because why make a single batch when you can double the recipe and share?!  Here's the recipe, doubled.

molasses crinkles (Betty Crocker)
1 1/2 cups shortening
2 cups packed brown sugar
1/4 cup mild-flavor molasses or full-flavor molasses
2 eggs
4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon slat
granulated sugar for rolling

Mix shortening, brown sugar, molasses and egg thoroughly in large bowl.  Stir in remaining ingredients except granulated sugar.  Cover and refrigerate at least 2 hours (I didn't.).
Heat oven to 375 degrees.  Grease cookie sheet.  Shape dough into 1 1/4-inch balls.  Roll in granulated sugar.  Place balls 3 inches apart on cookie sheet. 
Bake 10 to 12 minutes or just until set but not hard.  Remove from cookie sheet to wire rack.




Thursday, December 18, 2014

sparkly sugared cranberries










This photo doesn't do these sparkly sugared cranberries justice.  That's because I didn't want to make a scene photographing these at my friend Julie's party.  She hosted an amazing party in her amazingly decorated home.  Every square inch of her home screamed Christmas and in a beautiful way.  Our friend Nicole brought these and they are so pretty.  The perfect addition to any holiday party.  And delicious too!
P.S.  Don't feel bad if you weren't invited to the party.  There were two qualifications: Your spouse had to work with our husbands and have a church connection.

sparkly sugared cranberries (Nicole W. got the recipe from Our Best Bites)
12-ounce bag of fresh cranberries
1 cup granulated sugar
1 cup water
additional sugar for rolling
note: You can use regular granulated sugar for this recipe but Best Bites suggests first rolling in a slightly course sugar then rolling in regular granulated sugar that has been pulsed several times in a food processor to create a slightly finer sugar.

Wash cranberries and discard any damaged ones.  Place in a bowl.  Combine sugar and water in a pot and heat until simmering.  Stir until sugar is dissolved and let cool for a few minutes until warm (not hot).  Pour over cranberries and let sit in fridge, covered, overnight.
Use a slotted spoon to remove berries from syrup.  Set berries on a cooling rack that is placed over foil to collect drips.  Spread berries out so they are not touching each other.  Let dry for 1 hour.  Roll berries a handful at a time in sugar.  Place sugared berries on a baking sheet and let dry for an hour or two.  Store in a container at room temperature.  Try not to stack them too deep if possible.



Saturday, December 13, 2014

store bought favorite: stir fry kit from Costco




















I was happily surprised to see all four of my kids happily eating this stir fry kit that I decided to throw into my cart while at Costco.  It looked WAY too healthy for my kids to like but I figured I may as well try; I figured I would like it and sometimes that's enough for me.  It turns out that the gourmet sauce that was provided is too sweet for me (I bet you didn't know this about me- I don't eat added sugar) but my kids loved the sauce.  My oldest stood over the wok after dinner and continued to eat the "leftovers" with her fingers while I continued to tell her to put the rest in a bowl and eat it like a lady.  She never did.  We don't, however, have any leftovers anymore.

kale & red chard stir fry kit (from Costco)
includes: broccoli florets, red chard, kale, snow peas, carrots and stir fry sauce
if you want to make it a chicken stir fry, you'll need a pound of fresh raw chicken breast, thinly sliced