Thursday, November 27, 2014

i am blessed, grateful and thankful

The other day I stopped by my friend Shonda's house and she gave me these beautiful kitchen utensils that express exactly how I feel.  I am very blessed, very grateful and very thankful for endless reasons.  I saw these utensils online a while back and wanted them but I hadn't ever attempted such a project.  THANK goodness I am so BLESSED to have such talented friends.
I re-found this great craft idea HERE.
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

slow cooker latin chicken

That's how dinner tonight looked before cooking and after cooking.  This dish was delicious!!  I will write the recipe according to the way it should be prepared but at the end I will show you how I made it healthier and with frozen chicken instead of thawed.

slow cooker latin chicken (
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 pounds skinless chicken thighs
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into chunks
1 red bell pepper, cut into strips
2 (15.5 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/4 cup loosely packed cilantro leaves
1 cup hot salsa
2 teaspoons cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice (I omitted because I am sometimes uncertain about this spice)
3 cloves garlic, minced
lime wedges for serving
sour cream for serving

Heat the olive oil in a large skillet; season the thighs with salt and pepper.  Sprinkle 1/4 cup cilantro over the chicken thighs; brown both sides of the chicken.
Arrange the chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker.  Place the sweet potatoes, red bell pepper, and black beans on top of the chicken.  Mix together the chicken broth, 1/4 cup cilantro leaves, salsa, cumin, allspice and garlic together in a bowl; pour into the slow cooker.  Set the slow cooker on low and cook for 4 hours.  Garnish with lime wedges and top with sour cream.

I'm not in my twenties or thirties anymore so no chicken thighs for me!  I put frozen chicken breasts in the bottom of the slow cooker and followed the rest of the directions except I cooked it on HIGH for 5 hours.  At the end I took some of the broth out and thickened it with some cornstarch to make a gravy and poured it over the top.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

apple & gumdrop turkey

My kids had a play date yesterday afternoon so we made these fun apple turkeys.  I considered using all fruit but what's the fun in that?!

apple & gumdrop turkeys
to make one:
1 apple
6 toothpicks
15 gumdrops
1 sugar gummy orange slice

Just look at the picture and take a stab at it. ;) 


Monday, November 17, 2014

triple layer chocolate mint brownies

My double layer mint brownies have gotten a lot of attention (with good reason).  Well today I did something I've never done before.  I think I took them up a notch by turning them into TRIPLE layer chocolate mint brownies!  I served them at a primary meeting this morning and they were very well received.  It was even suggested that they might be even better than the double layer mint brownies.  Could it be?!  Let me know what you think.
Update: my kids think these are BETTER than my double layer brownies.  My husband enjoyed them but thinks the others might be more "balanced"- these are rich!!

triple layer chocolate mint brownies (pass the peas please)
1 box family size brownies, baked according to directions on package
1/2 can chocolate frosting
1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
1/4 cup butter
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Bake brownies according to directions on package.  Let cool.
Mix the chocolate frosting with the peppermint extract and spread over brownies.
In a small saucepan, heat butter on low heat, stirring constantly.  When melted stir in chocolate chips and stir until smooth.  Pour over brownies and spread evenly over the top.  Let chocolate set then cut into small pieces- they are rich!

super duper giant cupcake

If you haven't made a giant cupcake, you should- it's fun!  The last time I borrowed this Wilton cupcake pan (go here to buy one) I borrowed it from my friend Julie when we both lived in Pennsylvania for my daughter's first birthday.  Six years later I borrowed the same pan from the same friend for the same daughter only now we both live in the same town in Oregon.  Crazy.  This is what the cupcake looks undecorated.  You can use your imagination to envision what it looked like when my daughter was done with it- iced in chocolate with candy star sprinkles.

giant cupcake (cupcake pan by Wilton)
All you need is some non-stick cooking spray to spray down the pan.  Mix up two boxes of cake mix according to the package directions and pour the cake batter into the pan.  Bake, let cool and ice.  Piece of cake.

butterscotch sticky buns

Instant family favorite!  My family LOVED these little goodies.  We hold our FHEs on Sunday evenings- I prepared the lesson (to see a great new twist on the "grateful list" go HERE) and my son prepared the treat- butterscotch sticky buns.  They're super easy to make and they were devoured in no time.   This would be the perfect thing to pop in the oven on Thanksgiving or Christmas morning. Thanks to an old friend from Hershey for the recipe!

butterscotch sticky buns (my friend Linsy at Recipe Picnic
15 frozen Rhodes rolls, cut in half (you may need to let them thaw a half hour before cutting)
1 small box cook and serve butterscotch pudding
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup milk
cinnamon to sprinkle 
1/2 cup chopped nuts, optional (we opted not)

Spray bundt pan with cooking spray; cover bottom with nuts.  Place rolls around the pan.  Sprinkle with butterscotch pudding powder.  Combine butter, milk and brown sugar and pour over rolls and butterscotch.  Sprinkle with cinnamon to taste. Let rise overnight (or see below).  Bake at 350 for 30 minutes.

Another baking option:  If you don't have all night to wait (I didn't read the entire recipe beforehand-oops!) then give the frozen rolls about a half hour to soften then cut them in half and place them into the bundt pan.  Follow all directions except do not bake yet.  Let the rolls sit for 2 hours while the rolls thaw and rise before baking.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

chipotle pork with tomato onion relish

This dish was outstanding!  The flavors were "just right" and there certainly wasn't a lack of flavor- it was bursting!  We'll enjoy this dish again for sure. 
Note:  This dish is a good one to serve company.

chipotle pork with tomato onion relish (adapted from Your Home Based Mom
2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce plus 1 tablespoon sauce
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 onion, halved and sliced
1 (14.5 ounce) can fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup chopped cilantro
1/3 cup olive oil (I omitted to make it healthier.  Next time I might use 2 tablespoons.)
4 bone-in pork loin center cut pork chops (I used boneless and suggest it!)

Combine chiles, sauce, garlic, cumin, thyme, cinnamon and 4 teaspoons salt in a food processor and pulse to make a paste.  Place mixture in a bowl and add onions, tomatoes, cilantro and 1/3 cup olive oil.  Add pork chops and marinade into a zippered plastic bag and let refrigerate for at least 4 hours.  When ready to cook, remove pork chops and put the "relish" into a saucepan with 1/4 cup water.  Cook over medium high heat until onions are soft, about 10 minutes or so.  Grill pork chops about 8-10 minutes per side.  Top with tomato onion relish and serve.