Thursday, December 28, 2006

Baking cookies for Santa

Here is a cute picture of Grandma and Kinsey baking cookies for Santa. Grandma gave Kinsey the cute apron, rolling pin, and cookie supplies. They had a lot of fun making cookies.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year

What? You thought I was going to keep posting like I was before, didn't you? I wish I had but things got in the way. I finished baking, went to Kinsey's Christmas party, we had our Christmas, then we went to my parents for a few days. I've been back 2 days but I had to get groceries, find places for all this stuff, and just rest. One of my New Year's resolutions is going to be that I keep up with posting. I love blogging! Thanks for continuing to read!

What will your New Year's resolution(s) be?

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

I've decided that our vehicles hate us this week......

It was my turn this time. I was leaving work at lunch today and slid into a huge rock in my bosses driveway. She lives on a hill so you have to drive up or down to get on the road. I went down the steep side (I thought about turning around and going down the other side but noooooo). I started sliding in the packed snow and couldn't get going the right way. I stopped right at the rock and barely touched it--tiny scratch. I couldn't back up or move so I put it in PARK and set the parking brake. I called Neal and he came to pull me out. I thought he would just pull me out but he decided he needed to try and get it out....well he managed to back up then slid INTO the rock. Yep, my front bumper is shattered AGAIN! In less than 3 month my SUV has been hit by a deer, fixed, and messed up again. He did end up pulling me up the hill so I could go down again and not hit the rock this time.
We decided we wouldn't turn it into insurance this time. After looking at our estimate for the deer accident, we figured out we can get it fixed ourselves for cheaper than the deductible. Since it's only the bumper it won't be so bad this time. Maybe the body shop guy needs some plumbing work done...he is building a new house.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Last minute gift

I thought I would post this lotion "recipe" as a last minute gift. My cousin gave me some one year then I found the recipe to make myself. The last few years I made it and gave it out but haven't gotten around to making any this year. It's really good for dry skin.

DRY SKIN LOTION

32 oz baby lotion (you can get the regular scent or try other scents like lavender)
8 oz Fruit of the Earth Vitamin E (oil or cream-I like the cream)
7 oz Vaseline (also available in scents)

Get as close to the sizes as you can. I usually buy my supplies at the dollar store so the ounces vary. I buy the store brands instead of name brand. Use a spatula to get everything out of the containers and dump them into a bowl. Mix with an electric mixer until well blended.
One recipe fills eight 8oz jars or put it back into some of your empty containers. It's almost impossible to put back in the baby lotion bottles. Last year I bought some pretty candy dishes that seal to put it in for gifts. Anything that seals works (except for tin).
This recipe is easy to double.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Deer Season 2006: Neal 0, Deer 2

Yep, it happened again. Thank goodness is wasn't in my SUV this time. Neal was driving to the shop today and out of no-where a deer ran into the side of his company work truck No one was hurt but the passenger side door and back door are dented. They both still work so that's a blessing. Neal said he didn't even see the deer until it was bouncing off the truck. He stopped and looked for the deer and couldn't find it. Since he was so close to the shop he went there and got one of the other guys. They saw it a few times but it kept running off.
It's not been a good year for us and deer.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

How many kinds of flour does one person need?

Today I was looking for some dried cranberries in my pantry and started looking at all the flour I had in there. I have cake flour, self-rising flour, whole wheat flour, un-bleached all-purpose flour, Gold Medal Harvest King (best for bread) flour and all-purpose flour. Why do I have all these kinds of flour?? I have been trying different recipes and have bought different kinds for different things. I used to just use all-purpose flour but now have a flour for every occasion...lol!

I am sooooooo tired....

The last few days have been a blur. Friday my sister Melissa and I went shopping for the day. We dropped the kids off at school and headed to the "big city" (roll eyes). It's a good thing we took my SUV because we ended up filling it up. It was a long day but we both got our shopping finished.

When I got home, Kinsey was running a fever and very sleepy. I gave her some ibuprofen and sent her to bed. Saturday she woke up feeling bad again. I ended up taking her to the ER because there are no doctors or clinics open on the weekends here. She tested positive for strep and was put on antibiotics. Neal and I were supposed to go to his work party last night but I ended up staying home with Kinsey and getting a start on my candy making. I made 2 pans of fudge (one with pecans and one without), a pan of peppermint bark, and hot chocolate mix.
This morning I got up and started baking. I made 8 mini loaves of banana bread, 4 loaves banana nut bread, and 4 loaves cranberry nut bread. Then I moved on to candy making. I made pralines and divinity. Neal helped me drop the divinity pieces on parchment because it was hardening so fast. Later when I thought it was hard I put them in a container....they all "melted" back into a big glob...lol! Oh well, I'll figure out how to serve it some how. I've got all the bread packaged and ready to hand out. I need to put the candy in containers but will do that tomorrow.

Tonight while I was watching the Survivor finale, I wrapped all the presents I bought Friday. I have the ones going to Pecos in a box ready to go. I feel like I got a lot accomplished the last few days. I'm ready for the holidays!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Paula Deen candy recipes

Two of my favorite cookbooks are The Lady & Sons Savannah Country Cookbook and The Lady and Sons Just Desserts. I have made quite a few things from both. Two of my favorites are her Gooey Butter Cakes (pumpkin being my favorite flavor) and Shrimp Gumbo Casserole. I've also made a few of her candy recipes. Last year I made Mama's Divinity and this year I'm going to try Pralines.

MAMA'S DIVINITY

4 cups sugar
1 cup white corn syrup
3/4 cup cold water
3 egg whites
1 teaspoon pure vanilla
2 cups chopped pecans

In a heavy saucepan over medium heat, stir together the sugar, corn syrup, and water. Stir only until sugar has dissolved. Do not stir after this point. Cook syrup mixture until it reaches 250 degrees F on a candy thermometer, bringing it to a hard ball stage.
While the syrup is cooking, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Once the sugar mixture reaches 250 degrees F, carefully pour a slow steady stream of syrup into the stiffly beaten egg whites, beating constantly at high speed. Add the vanilla and continue to beat until mixture holds its shape, approximately 5 minutes. Stir in pecans.
Using 2 spoons, drop the divinity onto waxed paper, using 1 spoon to push the candy off the other. This may take a little practice because the technique is to twirl the pushing spoon, making the candy look like the top of a soft serve ice cream. If the candy becomes too stiff, add a few drops of hot water. You will need to work fast when making this type of candy. After you spoon the cooked sugar and nuts onto the waxed paper, you're done. Cool the candies on racks completely. You can store them in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

PRALINES

1 1/2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 tablespoons dark corn syrup
1 cup evaporated milk
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups pecan halves

Butter the sides of a heavy 2-quart saucepan. Place the sugar, salt, and corn syrup, milk, and butter in saucepan. Over medium heat, stir mixture constantly with a wooden spoon until sugars have dissolved and mixture comes to a boil. Continue to cook to a soft ball stage, approximately 236 degrees F on a candy thermometer. If you do a cold water test, the ball of candy will flatten when you take it out of the water. Remove from heat and allow to cool for 10 minutes.
Add the vanilla and nuts, and beat with a spoon by hand for approximately 2 minutes or until candy is slightly thick and begins to lose its gloss. Quickly drop heaping tablespoons onto waxed paper. If the candy becomes stiff, add a few drops of hot water.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Peppermint Bark and Almond Bark Pretzels

This is probably one of the easiest candies to make but makes such a pretty presentation. Just break it up and put in cellophane bags for a great gift.

PEPPERMINT BARK

1 24 oz vanilla almond bark
peppermint extract
6 or more candy canes


Lightly grease a jelly roll pan or large cookie sheet with sides. Break candy canes into pieces of all sizes (good to get out your frustration). Melt vanilla almond bark according to package directions. Stir in 1 tbsp. peppermint extract and candy canes. Pour into pan and cool until solid. Break up into pieces and store in an airtight container.
Variation: Melt an entire package of chocolate almond bark and pour in pan. Cool. Follow above directions and pour over chocolate. Makes a nice double layer.

I also like to dip mini pretzels and mini Ritz peanut butter bites in the almond bark for a salty sweet treat. With the pretzels I occasionally will dip half in the chocolate and then dip the other half in the vanilla. It takes awhile but looks really cool. If I don't do that, I just dip the whole thing in one flavor and drizzle a little over the top with the other flavor. I can usually do a huge bag of them with 1 chocolate and 1 vanilla almond bark. For a festive touch you can sprinkle colored sugars or candies before the almond bark dries.

Cool picture

Miss Zoot had a great picture on her blog so I decided to see if I could take one like it. Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Fantasy Fudge

I love to make fudge for Christmas but finding the right recipe was hard. Kraft had a great recipe for years but changed it a few years ago. With the help of the internet you can still find the recipe floating around out there. Of course if I couldn't find it online, I could always call my Mom and she would open a cabinet door and read me the recipe from a copy she's had taped up there for years...lol! There are lots of variations you can do to this recipe with all the new chips available....peanut butter, mint, white chocolate, milk chocolate, and so many more.

FANTASY FUDGE

3 cups granulated sugar
3/4 cup unsalted real butter
2/3 cup evaporated milk
12 oz. bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
7 oz. jar marshmallow cream
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts OR pecans - optional

Combine sugar, butter and milk in heavy 2 1/2 quart saucepan. Bring to a full rolling boil, stirring constantly. Continue boiling 5 minutes over medium heat or until candy thermometer reaches 234 degrees, stirring constantly to prevent scorching. Remove from heat. Stir in chocolate pieces until melted. Add marshmallow creme, nuts and vanilla. Beat until well blended, pour into a greased 9 x 13 inch pan. Cool at room temperature, cut into squares.

Store in an airtight container. I like to buy tins and layer it with foil or wax paper. It makes a great gift.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Honey Sugar Cookies

These cookies are a recipe I remember making with my Nana (grandmother). She got the recipe from her mother (my great-grandmother). I have a copy of the recipe in my great-grandmothers handwriting that I will keep forever. I decided to add this recipe today since so many bloggers at Club Mom are posting cookie recipes for Jenn's Virtual Cookie Exchange. Make sure and check out Sarah's Mint Cookies while you are at it!

HONEY SUGAR COOKIES

1 c honey
1 c sugar
1 heaping cup shortening
2 eggs
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 c buttermilk
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ginger
1 tsp cloves
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cinnamon
5 c flour

Mix all ingredients until dough forms a ball. Roll dough out and cut into circles. Sprinkle the top of each cookie with a little sugar and bake at 350 degrees until done. Can also add 1/2 tsp vanilla and 1 cup of nuts if desired. This recipe is an old one and doesn't have the time to cook the cookies. You just have to keep and eye on them and judge for yourself when they are done. I would say anywhere from 8-13 minutes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Hot Chocolate and Spiced Tea mixes

These are family favorite recipes that I have had since I was a child. My Mom made hot chocolate mix for me and spiced tea mix for my sister. We still to this day have our favorite and rarely stray from them. The hot chocolate mix is a very creamy chocolaty mix that is so much better than those little pouches that you buy in the store. The spiced tea is very fragrant and tasty. Both are great for gifts. You can put the mix in cellophane bags, tie with a ribbon and put in a nice coffee mug. Be sure to include the recipe or instructions for how to serve.

I watched Tyler Florence make marshmallows today on The Food Network but I'm not that brave yet...lol! I seriously thought about it but not this year.

HOT CHOCOLATE
1 (8qt) box powdered milk
1 (1lb) box Nestle Quik chocolate mix
1 (1lb) box powered sugar
1 (1lb) coffee creamer

Mix the 4 ingredients together. Store in closed container. To serve, put 1/3 cup of mix into a cup; fill with boiling water. Stir and add marshamllows.
I usually find the closest amount to what the recipe says and use that. It's yummy!


SPICED TEA
2 (26oz) jars instant organge flavored breakfast drink (Tang)
1 (3 oz) jar instant tea
1 (6 oz) sweetened lemon flavored drink mix
1 c. sugar
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 tsp. ground nutmeg
2 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. ground allspice

Combine all ingredients, stirring well. Store in airtight container. To serve, place 2 tablespoons of mix into a cup; add boiling water and stir well. If not stored in airtight containe, it will get hard.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Holiday baking and candy making

Well it's that time of year again! I am getting ready to start baking and making candy for the holidays. I love to give homemade gifts when I can. The last 5 years or so I have made candy for family and friends. This year I'm making divinity, fudge with and without pecans, pralines, and peppermint bark. For school I'm making banana bread and hot chocolate mix. I've been saving my old bananas in the freezer for awhile so I'll be able to make quite a few loaves. A friend on my parenting board gave me a really great recipe that uses lots of chunky banana which makes a very moist bread. I have recipes for all of these things and will get them posted this week in case anyone wants them!

BANANA BANANA BREAD

2 cups all-purpose flour*
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
2 1/3 cups mashed overripe bananas**

Preheat oven to 350 degree. Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan***. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir until just moisten. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick into center of the loaf come out clean. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on to a wire rack.

*I use 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1 cup whole wheat flour. Also for higher altitude I add about 1/4 cup extra flour.
**I use a potato masher and leave it in chunks.
***I am making mini loaves but am not sure of the cooking time or how many it will make. I'll update when I make them.

Remember if you want to print a recipe, make sure to copy and paste it to a blank page (Word Pad or Notebook) or you will print out my whole blog :-)

Update on Neal

First, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers! You don't know how much your support has meant to me
Well, we found out that that the doctor's still not exactly sure what's wrong with Neal. He suspects it is still something with his diverticulitis. The reason he wanted to see him so soon was to put Neal back on antibiotics and to talk about the next steps. Right now Neal is going to be back on antibiotics then he will go back and the doc will check him again. He then talked about doing a colonoscopy to check out Neal's colon. The doc said surgery would be a last option that he hoped Neal wouldn't have to do. So for now we really don't know any more than we knew before but I'm not as worried as I was.
Again, thank you so much for your support!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I know, it's been 5 days since I posted...

We went to Neal's CT scan and blood work appointments Friday and were told that the doctor would receive the results Monday. On Monday the doctor's office called and wanted him to make an appointment. They would not give us any information over the phone. We don't know what it's about and Neal and I are both stressing. My healthy eating has gone out the window. I made fudge brownies tonight!! Ok, it could be PMS too but combine PMS and stress and I need CHOCOLATE!!!
I really need to get back to my healthy eating and making menus. I come home at night with no idea what we will have for dinner. After making menus for a few months it's kind of a weird feeling. Tonight I threw together turkey meatballs with mushroom gravy, rice, and broccoli. It was quite good if I say so myself.
Forgot to add that Neal's appointment is Thursday afternoon. I will try to update when we find out something!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

It's a snow day! ~m~

It snowed hard yesterday from about 3:30 until about 9pm. I think we probably got 3 or so inches...guessing since I didn't measure. Our school district announced a 2-hour delay last night and this morning they canceled school. I still had to be to work at 8am. Kinsey and I had a hard time getting on the highway because the roads are snow packed and there is an incline. After about 4 tries we got going and made it to work a few minutes late (I'm definitely getting a 4 wheel drive next vehicle!). The kids were wound up today but did play pretty nicely. I made taco/tostadas for lunch and they chowed down. They are all down for a nap now....sweet silence ;-)



Here is a picture my sister took at her house last night.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

The ham that fed a family...

Neal's boss gave us 1/2 of a baked spiral sliced ham on Saturday. We had sandwiches from it both Saturday and Sunday. On Monday I made ham and cheese omelets for dinner. On Tuesday I had another sandwich from it. Tonight I made Baked Potato Soup and added small bites of ham to it...yummm! Tomorrow I'm making pinto beans and I'm going to throw the shank and the last bit of ham in there. It's amazing how far you can stretch something as simple as half a ham!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Just a little update

Neal and I went to his doctors appointment yesterday. He does not have a hernia after all. The doctor felt all around and said he didn't feel one but isn't really sure what's wrong with Neal. We talked about his diverticulitis and tests he's had done in the last 6 years. The doctor ordered more blood work and a CT (CaT) scan. We made the appointments for Friday. After the doctor reviews the results he is going to call us. That's all we know so far.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Mama, Mama take my picture!

Kinsey loves to have her picture taken and loves to pose--in my Mom's family you have to be that way. Everyone has a camera and at family gatherings there is always someone taking a picture...especially when we are eating.

Here are a few pictures I took today




I know, I know....

I said I would post every day in November but I haven't. I think I have done really well though. If you look at the list over to the right side you can see that November has been my most productive month so far. I pretty much have a post for every day but did not post every day. I'm counting multiple posts in a day towards my goal. Hey, it's my blog I can do that ;-)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving with family and friends. We had a nice meal and enjoyed the day. I've been browsing the sale ads and planning what I will be buying tomorrow. I only have two stores to shop at so it's not like I have a big plan...lol! Wal-Mart opens at 5am so I have to be up at 4am so I can leave here at 4:30am. I don't have to much to get there. After Wal-Mart I'm going to swing by Walgreens and see if I need anything there. I should be back home before Neal needs to leave for work. Hopefully Kinsey will still be asleep and I can crawl back in bed for a little nap. Let the Holiday Season begin!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

R.I.P. Bandit

My ex-husband emailed me to let me know that our dog had passed away. Bandit had cancer in his jaw and was unable to eat so ex-husband had to put him down. I just wanted to post a picture of him.



Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Thanksgiving Dinner at school

Kinsey's school had Thanksgiving Dinner today. Neal and I went up early to see her art work and help her get dressed in her Native American outfit. She is so cute in it! We had a really good lunch of turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans, 2 rolls and pumpking pie! The rolls were to die for! I can't believe we got two as big as they were.



Here is Kinsey and her Teacher.



And this is Kinsey and her friend Madison. Aren't they cute!?!

Monday, November 20, 2006

Her diary His diary

HER DIARY: Tonight, I thought my husband was acting weird. We had made planst o meet at a bar to have a drink. I was shopping with my friends all day long, so I thought he was upset at the fact that I was a bit late, but he made no comment on it. Conversation wasn't flowing, so I suggested that we go somewhere quiet so we could talk. He agreed, but he didn't say much. I asked him what was wrong; he said, "Nothing." I asked him if itwas my fault that he was upset. He said he wasn't upset, that it ha dnothing to do with me, and not to worry about it. On the way home, I told him that I loved him. He smiled slightly,and kept driving. I can't explain his behavior. I don't know why he didn't say, "I love you, too." When we got home, I felt as if I had lost him completely, as if he wanted nothing to do with me anymore. He just sat there quietly, and watched TV. He continued to seem distant and absent. Finally, with silence all around us, I decided to go to bed. About 15 minutes later, he came to bed. To my surprise, he responded to my caress, and we made love. But I still felt that he was distracted,and his thoughts were somewhere else. He fell asleep - I cried. I don't know what to do. I'm almost sure that his thoughts are with someone else. My life is a disaster.

HIS DIARY: Missed a big deer today, but at least I got laid.

LOL...this is just like my life

Sunday, November 19, 2006

A baking marathon

I got into a baking mood today and ended up making 3 things! I made a Pumpkin Sheetcake with cream cheese frosting to take to the teachers at Kinsey's school tomorrow. I also made Cranberry Nut Bars. I made one pan for the teachers and one pan for myself. In mine I used turbinado sugar, whole wheat flour, and I Can't Believe It's Not Butter sticks. I used pecans in both and they taste great! For Neal and Kinsey I made my cousin Karen's No-Bake Chocolate Oatmeal Cookies. This is one of Neal's favorite treats and he's been craving them. I wish I could figure out how to make them more low-calorie but we haven't done that yet. They need the sugar to make the base so Splenda is not an option.

KAREN'S NO-BAKE CHOCOLATE OATMEAL COOKIES

2 c. sugar
1/2 c milk
1/4 c bakers cocoa
1/2 c margarine
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 c chunky peanut butter***
pinch salt
3 c quick cook oatmeal

Mix first 4 ingredients together and cook over medium heat until melted. Bring to boil and boil for 3 minutes stirring often. Remove from heat and let cool 1 minute. Add last 4 ingredients and stir well. Drop by spoonfuls on wax paper and let cool. Store in an airtight container. Makes 35-40
***I used regular peanut butter b/c I didn't have chunky and it comes out fine.

Creamy green chicken enchiladas

A friend of mine makes something similar to this but when I called to get her recipe she wasn't home. I decided to try and make it from what she has told me is in it. It ended up turning out really good. We had the enchiladas and a baked sweet potato......yummmm!

CREAMY GREEN CHICKEN ENCHILADAS

1 lb chicken breast
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can green diced green chilies
1 8oz container sour cream
12 corn tortillas
8-12 oz shredded cheese (I like Fiesta blend)

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a casserole dish with non-stick spray. Boil chicken breasts until done. Put chicken on plate with paper towel so they can cool. Put both cans of soup in a sauce pan and add 2 cans water. Stir to break up lumps then add green chilies and sour cream. Dice chicken into small pieces and add to sauce. Cook until thoroughly heated and thicker. Poor a little sauce in casserole to cover bottom. Tear up 4 tortilla's into bite size pieces and cover bottom of dish. Put a layer of sauce and 1/3 of cheese. Continue layering and end with cheese. Bake in oven for 15-20 minutes until bubbly. Take out of oven and let set for about 5 minutes before serving.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A sad day for us

I started this post yesterday but never published it.

Our neighbors are moving today. He got a job in a nearby town so they decided to move half way between her job and his. We became close to them this last year so I hate to see them go. We were supposed to help them move but with Neal down we only went over to visit for a bit then got out of their way. We will all miss them. Kinsey loved to play with their little girl. Neal liked to visit with the husband about hunting, fishing, and trucks. I liked to visit with the wife about our kids, cooking, and other stuff. Good luck and best wishes to such good neighbors!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Does he even know me??

Sometimes I wonder if the man I married 6 years ago really knows me. Tonight I took a long bath and read. Later, I came out and Neal asked where I had been (we live in a small house--not a lot of places I could have been) and I told him I had been taking a bath. He said "Your hair's not wet". Well, no duh! I take baths 3-4 nights a week and never wash my hair when I'm in there...it's more of a time to relax and read...by myself! I can't believe after 6 years of seeing me do this that he just realized that I don't wash my hair...lol!

By the way, I do wash my hair but it's in the shower in the morning.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Color changes

You may have noticed by now that I change the colors or template on this blog often. I was in an apple mood so I had a leafy green template, then in a pumpkin mood so a pumpkin colored template........now I'm in a cranberry mood ;-)

Cranberry Nut Bars

Last week I was signing up for freebies and came across one for an Ocean Spray cranberry recipe book. I signed up thinking I wouldn't get it until after Thanksgiving. Guess what showed up in my mail today? I've had a bag of fresh cranberries in my fridge for over a week just waiting for me to make something. I had planned on muffins or cookies but once I saw this recipe, I had to try it. They are very good...a little sweet with a tangy tart taste from the cranberries. I didn't have any nuts so I left them out but I bet it would be even better with them (I would choose to do pecans though).

CRANBERRY NUT BARS

2 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 cup flour ***
1/3 cup butter or margarine, melted
1 1/4 cups Ocean Spray® Fresh or Frozen Cranberries
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease an 8-inch baking pan.

Beat eggs in a medium mixing bowl until thick. Gradually add sugar, beating until thoroughly blended. Stir in flour and melted butter; blend well. Add cranberries and walnuts, mixing gently just until combined. Spread evenly in pan.

Bake for 40 to 45 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool and cut into bars.

Makes 16 servings.

Per Serving: Cal. 146.7 (7% DV), Fat Cal. 62.9, Pro. 2.2g (4% DV), Carb. 19.6g (7% DV), Fat 7.0g (11% DV), Chol. 36.6mg (12% DV), Sod. 36.3mg (2% DV), Vit. A 36.1RE (3% DV), Vit C 1.2mg (2% DV), Vit. E 0.3mg (1% DV), Calcium 10.0mg (1% DV), Iron 0.6 mg (3% DV), Folate 21.2 Ug (5% DV), Zinc 0.3mg (2% DV), Pot. 40.1 mg (1% DV), Dietary Exchange: Fruit 0.5, starch 1, Meat 0, Fat 1

***I used whole wheat flour for mine and they came out fine.

Want to get your own recipe booklet? Go to Ocean Spray and click on the Twelve Months of Cranberry link to have one sent to you (you can also print it out but you won't get the coupons).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

To tired to post

I should have been in bed an hour ago but can't seem to get there. I'm really tired because when Neal doesn't sleep well, I don't sleep well. His doctor prescribed some new pain medicine that will hopefully help him sleep tonight. Instead of posting a recipe or picture, I'm going to bed. Goodnight!

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yes, turkey again

I made a menu this week but haven't made anything from it yet. Neal is not feeling well and most of the things I had planned are somewhat acidic/spicy and don't agree with his stomach. He went to the doctor yesterday because his side has been hurting and we assumed his diverticulitis was acting up again. His doctor now seems to think he has a hernia. She referred him to a surgeon that he will see on the 27th. Right now I'm not sure he will make until then. He's been hurting pretty bad tonight. The doctor put Neal on light duty for work so he isn't able to lift anything over 15 pounds. So if everyone could say a little prayer for him, we would appreciate it!
Now on to my recipe......

TURKEY MEATBALLS

This is a recipe I pretty much made up as I went tonight but they were so good I thought I would share them. These are all estimates since I just added stuff as I went. Feel free to add more or less to suit your taste.

1lb ground turkey
1 cup bread crumbs (seasoned would have been really good)
1/2 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
1 egg
1/2 cup milk
couple of dashes of Worcestershire sauce
garlic salt
kosher salt
pepper

Heat oven to 350 degrees and spray a cookie sheet with non-stick spray (I put a sheet of foil down then sprayed it). Mix all ingredients until thoroughly mixed. Mine was somewhat soggy but it made them very moist. Roll into about 1 inch balls and put on a cookie sheet. Bake for 25-30 minutes until done. Make a package of brown or mushroom gravy and add meatballs. Simmer for about 5 minutes and serve over egg noodles or rice.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Baked Potato Soup


Last month I went to a Taste of Home Cooking School and learned all kinds of great recipes. One of the ones I wanted to try was Baked Potato Soup. I decided not make what I had on my menu for dinner and made this tonight. It's windy and cold so it was the perfect weather for soup. Neal and I both loved it. We just sprinkled some cheese on top. I think next time I make it, I will put some ham in it. It was so easy and very YUMMMY!

BAKED POTATO SOUP

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter or margarine
1/4 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 can (14.5 fl. oz.) chicken broth
1 can (12 fl. oz.) evaporated milk
2 large or 3 medium baking potatoes, baked or microwaved
Cooked and crumbled bacon (optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)
Sliced green onions (optional)

MELT butter in large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion; cook, stirring occasionally, for 1 to 2 minutes or until tender. Stir in flour. Gradually stir in broth and evaporated milk. Scoop potato pulp from 1 potato (reserve potato skin); mash. Add pulp to broth mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until mixture comes just to a boil. Dice remaining potato skin and potato(es); add to soup. Heat through. Season with salt and ground black pepper. Top each serving with bacon, cheese and green onions, if desired.
VARIATION: For a different twist to this recipe, omit the bacon, cheddar cheese and green onions. Cook 2 tablespoons shredded carrot with the onion and add 1/4 teaspoon dried dill to the soup when adding the broth. Proceed as above.
***Copied from VeryBestBaking.com***

Internet problems

Due to a poor internet connection yesterday, I was not able to post. I'll catch up tonight.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

What a wonderful day

Kinsey wanted to go on a picnic today so we got our things ready and headed out. It was such a pretty day. I don't think the temperature got over 60 degrees but it was sunny.
We went to Two Rivers Park, had our picnic and then let Kinsey play on the playground for awhile. After that we decided to drive up to the ski run and look at the little bit of snow up there. The ski resort is supposed to open Thanksgiving weekend but I'm not sure that's going to happen unless they start making a lot of snow soon.
Next we drove up to Monjeau Lookout. It was so pretty but cold up there. We took a few pictures on the rocks before heading back down. Here are Kinsey and I sitting on top of the world.

Here are Neal and Kinsey.



And here is one of just Kinsey.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Capitan 30 Tucumcari 33


Yes, we lost the quaterfinals for state 2A football playoffs. It was a hard fought game.
I'm freezing, my throat hurts, and I'm tired but I had fun. Thanks for the great season Tigers!

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Herbal Fish

This recipe is really good served with wild rice. I leave out the olives and shallots. I use dried herbs sometimes. Just depends on what I have on hand. I also use whatever fish I have on hand.

HERBAL FISH

3 tablespoons olive oil
3 onions, thinly sliced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1/2 green bell pepper, sliced
3 shallots, thinly sliced
1/2 zucchini, thinly sliced
1/2 yellow squash, thinly sliced
1 large tomato, cubed
1/2 (6 ounce) can black olives, halved
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste
2 pounds cod fillets
1/3 cup chopped fresh chives
1/3 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1/3 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
Heat oil in a large frying pan. Stir in onions, red and green bell peppers and shallots. Cook 3 minutes. Sir in zucchini, squash, tomato, olives, and balsamic vinegar. Saute until vegetables are just tender. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
Spread 1/2 of the vegetables into an oiled 9x11 inch baking pan. Cover the vegetables with 1/2 cup of the herbs.
Arrange the filets on top of the vegetables and herbs. Spread the second 1/2 of the vegetables over the fish and sprinkle the rest of the herbs onto the vegetables. Cover the dish with foil and bake for 25 minutes

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Perfect attendance



Kinsey was awarded with a perfect attendance award last week at her school's assembly. This is Kinsey and her teachers Mrs. "W".

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Lucky Kinsey

I think Kinsey got her Grandma's and Daddy's GOOD LUCK! Our school district does Character Counts and has monthly drawings for prizes. In kindergarten the teachers give tokens (poker chips ) for doing these things. When you have five tokens, you get to put your name in a drawing for prizes. Last month she won a jump rope. Her name was pulled again this month and this is what she won




Hopefully we get enough snow to go sledding this year. We really missed going last year.

Did you vote today? I did!

Monday, November 06, 2006

Turkey isn't just for Thanksgiving

We have discovered ground turkey! I tried it years ago and didn't care for it but have tried it again and love it. I have found that I can substitute ground turkey for any recipe using ground beef. Using ground turkey is 1/2 the fat, lower in calories, AND cheaper!! I'm all about the cheaper part...lol! At my Super Wal-Mart the 93/7 ground beef is $3.08 a pound but the Jenny O ground turkey is $1.37 a pound!!!!!
This morning I made a great turkey meatloaf to put in the crockpot. My house smelled so good all day. Neal and I both loved it. Kinsey's not sure about it. She's still learning to eat what we do. I made "smashed" potatoes and steamed green beans. So much color on one plate!

CROCKPOT TURKEY MEATLOAF

2 pounds ground turkey (or 2 lbs lean ground beef)
2 eggs
2 slices bread (I used 3/4 sleeve saltine crackers crushed)
milk (I used evaporated milk)
salt
pepper
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 bell pepper, seeded and diced
small can of tomato sauce

First, make foil "handles". Fold a 30-inch long piece of foil in half lengthwise. Place in bottom of a slow cooker with both ends hanging over the top edge of cooker. The foil strip will make it much easier to remove the meatloaf when it's done.
Whisk eggs; tear bread up and add to egg (or crushed crackers). Add enough milk to make nice and wet. Add seasonings. Mix in ground turkey, onion, and bell pepper.
Drop mixture into crockpot and shape into a loaf. Pour tomato sauce on top. Cook on LOW for 7 to 8 hours or HIGH for about 4 hours.

SMASHED POTATOES


5 large russet potatoes (leave skins on)
1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
1 small (5oz) can evaporated milk
salt and pepper to taste

Slice potatoes into cubes and boil potatoes until fork tender. Drain and put stick of butter and milk in pot. Cover and let butter melt. Sprinkle with salt and pepper to taste. Using a potato masher, mash potatoes until the consistency you like.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Music brings back memories

Do you ever have a song that reminds you of a place or time? When I hear certain songs they remind me of high school or college, first loves, and special times in my life. I recently found a song that I loved in college. It's called "What's on your mind? (Pure Energy)" by Information Society. Every time I hear it now it reminds me of the carefree fun time I had. Occasionally I would go to a dance club and that was my favorite song to dance to. This club was an old movie theater that had been converted into a club. They left the old screen up to show videos on and left some of the old seat for people to lounge it. It was such a great place. I just read online that it is slated for demolition...wow!

Saturday, November 04, 2006

I created a Slide Show! Check it out!

If you would like to see who is in the picture, put your mouse on the picture and a title will show at the bottom.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Kinsey and Mikeala

This is our neighbors little girl. She turns 2 today and just loves Kinsey. Happy Birthday Mikeala!

Thursday, November 02, 2006

STRIKE!!!

Kinsey and I went to a birthday party held at the bowling alley on Sunday. She loves to bowl and she did so well. The party was a little chaotic with 10 or so kindergardeners running round but Kinsey did manage to get a decent score. Here are a few pictures that tell the story.




Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Challenge to bloggers

There is a challenge out there for all bloggers to post at least once a day during the month of November. I am going to try and see if I can can meet that challenge. I may just post a picture or a quick snippet but I will be trying my hardest to post!

D is for Doughnuts

This week in pre-school we learned about the letter D. On Wednesdays I try to make a special snack that starts with or has something to do with the letter of the week. We've had Apple oatmeal cookies, Banana muffins, and pumpkin Cupcakes. I asked the kids what snack they wanted that started with D and they came up with doughnuts. Usually when we make doughnuts, we use can biscuits and just fry them up. Today I decided to use a recipe I saw in the recent issue of Family Circle. They were very easy and the kids loved them. Instead of the cinnamon and nutmeg, I used Pampered Chef's Cinnamon Plus Spice Blend . I used regular sugar and the spice blend for the coating.

SUGAR DOUGHNUTS

3½ cups sifted all-purpose flour, plus more for rolling
3½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 large egg yolks
2/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
¾ cup milk
6 cups vegetable oil, for frying

coating
½ cup superfine sugar blended with 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

1. In medium-size bowl, whisk together the 3½ cups flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
2. In large bowl, lightly beat yolks on medium speed. Gradually add granulated sugar, beating until pale and slightly thickened, about 3 minutes. Mix in butter. Add flour mixture alternately with milk, stirring with wooden spoon until combined.
3. On well-floured surface, with floured rolling pin, roll dough into ½-inch thickness. Let rest for 15 minutes.
4. Meanwhile, heat oil to 365ยบ (a cube of bread will be browned and crisp after 1 minute) in a heavy-duty saucepan over medium-high heat.
5. Cut into doughnuts with 2¾-inch round cutter along with ¾-inch round cutter for the centers. Gather scraps and re-roll if needed.
6. Coating: Place cinnamon-sugar in a small bowl. Carefully slip the doughnuts and doughnut holes, 3 or 4 at a time, into the hot oil. Fry until golden, turning once, about 2 to 3 minutes total per batch. Drain doughnuts on paper towel, then transfer still-warm doughnuts to cinnamon-sugar coating and roll to cover completely. Serve warm.

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

This is a new recipe we tried tonight. It was really good and very easy. I ended up not doing it in the crockpot. I just put it in one of my dutch ovens and let it simmer on low heat for about 30 minutes. I also added a can of corn to the recipe.

UNSTUFFED BELL PEPPERS

1 lb ground beef or ground turkey
4 large green bell peppers, cut into bite size pieces
1 medium onion, diced
1 can of Sloppy Joe sauce
1 can (14 oz) diced tomatoes
1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
2 c. rice
3 c. water

Brown ground meat in a pan. Drain fat and transfer meat to crockpot. Add remaining ingredients. Cook until peppers and onions are soft.
***I did mine on top of the stove in a dutch oven. I turned it down and let it cook for about 30 minutes until the peppers were soft. I also added a can of corn because we like corn in our stuffed bell peppers.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Princess Kinsey

I finally finished Kinsey's Halloween costume just in time for a Halloween carnival today. I put a little make-up on Kinsey and gave her Princess Hair so she could look like Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses. Princess Hair involves lots of mousse and hairspray but it's so pretty when it's done. We only do it for very special occassions and Halloween. Kinsey just loves her costume!!

Kinsey with her jacket.



Kinsey without the jacket.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Turkey Chili

It's such a cold windy day that chili just sounded good today. I have been buying ground turkey to use in stews and chili since it's amazingly cheaper than ground beef and is much healthier. The thing about turkey is that it will take on the taste of what you mix it with so it's good for stews, soups, and casseroles. This isn't a traditional Texas chili because I add beans and diced tomato to my chili but that's the way we like it.

Brenda's Turkey Chili

1 lb lean ground turkey (or beef)
1 onion chopped
1 package dry chili mix
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
1 15 oz can Kidney beans
1 15 oz can chickpeas

In a large dutch oven or soup pot brown turkey meat with onion and a little water. You have to watch turkey meat because it has very little fat and can burn easily. Add chili mix and stir through. Add tomatoes, beans and chickpeas. I usually add about 2 big cans of water and let it cook on medium heat until it thickens up (30 minutes to an hour). Serve with grated cheddar cheese, chopped onion, and cornbread.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Viva la bell pepper!!

I haven't posted in a few days because I've been busy working on Kinsey's costume. It's going pretty good. I had a little problem with the skirt but I'm working it out. I still need to make the jacket but I have it cut and ready to go.

I haven't made any new recipes so I have nothing to report there. My Mom is here visiting and brought me my birthday presents. She and my Dad got me a great set of Dutch Oven pans. I have been wanting a BIG pot to cook soups and stews in and these are prefect. My brother got me a set of Wolfgang Puck Santoku knives with a wood block to store them in....really cool knives. I keep finding things to cut with them...lol!

Speaking of cutting, I have been buying bell peppers to cut up and freeze. My little grocery store has a rack that they put packaged veggies at a reduced price on. I always check it out to see if there is anything I can use. Lately they have had bell peppers on it. The regular price for 1 red pepper is $.89 or I can get 4 for $1.50 on the reduced price rack. Usually the peppers have a little mushy place that I just cut off. Tonight I bought 2 packs of peppers. One pack had 4 yellow peppers and the other had 5 green and one yellow. I had so much fun chopping them up. It's amazing how fast you can cut things up with a sharp knife.

I love bell peppers because they are so versatile and are considered one of the world's healthiest foods . They are high in vitamins A and C and have a good fiber content. You can use them in Mexican, Italian, Chinese, Cajun, and so many other kinds of foods. I just take some out of the freezer and toss them into things when I'm cooking...good flavor and color!

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

It's that time of year again....Halloween!

Most people love Halloween and all the dressing up and decorations but then most people didn't manage Halloween stores for 3 years. I used to love Halloween but after having to set up stores, dress in a costume for 2 months, and deal with customers it's not my favorite holiday. I pretty much just put with it for Kinsey's sake. For the last few years she has wanted to be some sort of Princess or another and I've just bought her costumes or used ones we had. This year she wants to be Princess Genevieve from the movie Barbie in the 12 Dancing Princesses. I did find a costume at Wal-Mart but it's so cheaply made that I decided that I could make a better one. I just hate it when I get these ideas...lol!
I bought tulle, gauzy sprakly material, fake fur, ribbon and all kinds of other stuff. Today I started getting the tulle ready to make the skirt...oh what fun. I think it's going to turn out very pretty but is going to be more work than I first anticipated! My Mom used to do this for two girl...God Bless her! One year we went as Cinderella and The Fairy Godmother, another year we were Little Miss Muffet and the Spider. It was a lot of fun. Thanks for everything Mama, we love you!

Monday, October 16, 2006

Printing recipes

If you would like to print a recipe open a blank page in your Word Pad or some sort of word processing software. Then you highlight the recipe (right click and pass over recipe), copy and paste (left click for menu) to the blank page then print that page. If you highlight something on my blog then hit print it will print the WHOLE blog--background color and all. My friend Carla found this out the hard way...lol! She now has a hard copy of the whole thing. ;-)

Enjoy the pictures Carla! Send me a piece of Pumpkin Sheetcake.

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Pumpkin Love


Lincoln County Cowboy Symposium and Chuckwagon Cookoff

Happy Birthday to me! Happy Birthday to me! My birthday was Oct 14th and I got to choose what we did for the day! Neal had to go work at the Cowboy Symposium for a bit so Kinsey and I got to walk around and check out the chuckwagons. It was raining most of the time but it was interesting to check out the camps. This cookoff has been featured on The Food Network several times and I saw quite a few people I recognized from the shows. Here are a few pictures of different camps.







Here is Kinsey petting a goat at a little petting zoo they had there.




After doing that we drove out to the Mescalero Apache Reservation and had lunch at a really good Mexican food place. You would just have to know it's there because there isn't a sign for it. Neal has eaten there several times when he's worked on the reservation. It reminds me of my favorite place in my hometown. We will definitely go back again.

We ran a few errands then went to the movies to see "Open Season". It was a cute movie.

When we came home I had 6 phone calls from family and friends and a card from my parents. My sister brought over some sugar-free ice cream bars and a great present! She got me some very comfy pj's and a Rachael Ray cookbook.

Thanks to everyone for such a great birthday!!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Taco Soup

This is one our favorite soups to eat in the fall and winter. It's very filling and can be changed to used whatever beans you have on hand. Last night I only had one can of Mexican-style chili beans (Ranch Style Beans) so I added a can of pinto beans and a can of chick peas. We eat it with a small handful of Fritos, low fat cheese and low fat sour cream.

TACO SOUP

1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
3 (15 oz) cans Mexican-style chili beans, undrained
1 (14 oz) can whole kernal corn, undrained OR Hominy
1 (15 oz) can tomato sauce
1 (14 oz) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1 (4.5 oz) can chopped green chilis
1 (1 oz) envelope taco seasoning mix
1 (1 oz) envelope Ranch-style dressing mix

1. Cook beef and onions in a Dutch oven over medium -high heat until meat is browned and onions are tender, stirring until meat crumbles; drain off grease.

2. Stir beans and next 7 ingredients into beef mix; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Spoon soup into bowls; top with desired toppings.

Toppings: corn chips, shredded lettuce, chopped tomatoes, sour cream, shredded cheddar cheese

***This would be very easy to do in the crockpot. Just brown your meat and onions ahead of time and freeze. In the morning, throw frozen meat/onions and all the ingredients in the crockpot on low. By the time you get home from work it would be ready! It does come together very fast though since everything is pre-cooked except for the meat and onions.

The best low cal/low fat pumpkin recipe yet!

PUMPKIN FLUFF

1 15 oz can pumpkin
1 4 serving box sugar free/fat free vanilla or cheesecake pudding
1 8 oz Cool Whip Free (or Lite)
1 tsp or tbsp pumpkin pie spice (depends on your taste)

Mix together and refrigerate. Serve as a dip with graham cracker sticks or animal crackers.

I found this recipe the other day and tried it yesterday. It tastes just like pumpkin pie. It is so good!

I spread the fluff on graham cracker squares for my snack today and it was very good.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Basic Oatmeal cookies

About a month ago I found a great basic oatmeal cookie. I have been reworking it to make it a little healthier and have changed a few things. I used whole wheat flour for half the all-purpose flour, I use dried cranberries instead of raisins, and raw cane sugar for brown sugar. They end up tasting so good.

This past week in daycare/preschool we were learning about the letter "A". We had a story about an alligator name Alec who baked apple pies, apple muffins, and apple cookies. I decided to make apple cookies so I just added 1 cup of diced fresh apple instead of raisins. They were so good and stayed very moist. Next week we are studding Bonny Bunny and she likes carrots so I may have to see if I can add carrots to this recipe...lol!

OATMEAL COOKIES

¾ c unsalted butter, softened (real butter makes it so much better)
¾ c white sugar
¾ c packed light brown sugar (or turbinado raw cane sugar)
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 ¼ c all-purpose flour (½ c all purpose flour, ¾ whole wheat flour)
1 tsp baking soda
¾ tsp ground cinnamon
½ tsp salt
2 ¾ c rolled oats (quick cooking)
1 c raisins (dried cranberries, dried cherries, diced apple, etc)

1. Pre-heat oven to 375°.
2. In large bowl, cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Beat in the eggs and vanilla until fluffy. Stir together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Gradually beat into butter mixture. Stir in oats and raisins. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets.
3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until golden brown. Cool slightly, remove from sheet to wire rack. Cool and store in air tight container.

***I use a small cookie scoop to make my cookies all the same size. I also use air bake cookie sheets so the bottoms don't burn. Since we live in a higher altitude I add about ¼ c extra flour and bake my cookies for about 12-13 minutes.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Field trip to the pumpkin patch

Kinsey's class went on a field trip to the Pumpkin patch today. It was a long drive but worth it. Two of my friends rode with me and we had a very nice visit. Kinsey and I both found the perfect pumpkins to bring home. Here are a few pictures

Kinsey


Kinsey finding the perfect pumpkin.



Mrs. W's kindergarten class 2006



Kinsey and I with our pumpkins. Wonder what I can make with mine??



The nice people at the pumpkin patch had ice cream with raspberry sauce for the kids.



The place we went is called Lavender Spring Ranch. They had dried lavender for sale and it smelled wonderful. They also sell raspberries, black eyed peas, jalepenos, and pumpkins.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Pumpkin anyone??

If you know me, you know I love anything baked with pumpkin. My favorite recipe is Pumpkin Sheetcake with cream cheese frosting. I have been tweeking the recipe to make it healthier and have come up with a really good one.
Tonight a friend on the parenting board I post on gave me a great pumpkin-oatmeal muffin recipe and I found a Low Fat Pumpkin oatmeal cookie recipe. I was baking apple-oatmeal cookies for daycare and starting thinking I wish I could find a way to make pumpkin oatmeal cookies. When I checked my board, there was a post from Danyele with the muffin recipes...I think she was reading my mind...lol!
Here are some great pumpkin recipes for fall!

PUMPKIN SHEETCAKE WITH CREAM CHEESE FROSTING

1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil***
4 eggs, lightly beaten***
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt

FROSTING
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, softened
5 tablespoons butter or margarine, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar
3 to 4 teaspoons milk
chopped nuts

Instructions:
In a mixing bowl, beat pumpkin, sugar and oil. Add eggs; mix well. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon and salt; add to pumpkin mixture and beat until well blended. Pour into a greased 15-inch x 10-inch x 1-inch baking pan (I use a extra large cake pan). Bake at 350F for 35 to 30 minutes or until cake tests done. Cool.

For frosting, beat the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla in a mixing bowl until smooth. Gradually add sugar; mix well. Add enough milk until frosting reaches desired spreading consistency. Frost cake. Sprinkle with nuts.

***to make a healthier version, you can use 1 cup of natural applesauce instead of the oil and replace the eggs with 8 egg whites. There is a Splenda out for baking but I haven't found it any any stores around here. I think it would cut down on the calories in this recipe.

OATMEAL-PUMPKIN MUFFINS

2 Cups plus 2 tablespoons Quaker Old Fashioned Oats
3/4 Cup whole-wheat flour
1/2 Cup sugar
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon each, baking soda and salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 Cup canned pumpkin
3/4 Cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil

1. Lightly coat twelve 2 1/2-inch muffin cups with non-stick cooking spray; set aside. [Paper muffin
cups can also be used. Cool thoroughly before serving.]

2. Place 2 cups of oats in a food processor; cover and process until fine. Transfer ground oats to a
large bowl; stir in flour, sugar, pumpkin pie spice, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cloves. Make
a well in center of oat mixture; set aside.

3. Whisk together pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs and oil in a medium bowl. Add pumpkin mixture all at
once to oat mixture. Stir just until moistened [batter should be lumpy and thick].

4. Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full. Sprinkle with 2 tablespoons oats. Bake
in a 375 degree oven for 20 minutes, or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out
clean. Cool in muffin cups on a wire rack for 5 minutes. Remove from muffin cups.

Makes 12 muffins. Serving size: One muffin

Prep: 30 min Bake: 20 min Cool: 5 min

Nutrition Facts per serving: 210 calories, 5 g total fat [1 g saturated fat], 36 mg cholesterol,
199 mg sodium, 34 g carbohydrates, 4 g dietary fiber, 7 g protein.

LOW-FAT PUMPKIN OATMEAL COOKIES

These low-fat pumpkin cookies are great for the fall holidays and make a healthy after-school snack for the kids too. Try them. You won't believe how good they are until you do!

Ingredients:

1 c. pumpkin
2 egg whites, whipped
1 c. brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
3 c. rolled oats
1 c. raisins

Directions:

Spray baking sheet with cooking spray. In a large bowl combine pumpkin and egg whites. In a separate bowl combine sugar, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, oats, and raisins. (Batter will be very dry at first.) Mix ingredients together just until moistened.

Drop cookies by tablespoonfuls onto prepared baking sheet, 2" apart. You can leave the cookies in the shape of a ball (the baked cookie will still be a ball) or flatten them out with the bottom of a glass before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees for 15 minutes.

Monday, October 09, 2006

How do I find all these recipes?

I love browsing through cookbooks. I have a vast collection of books to look through but of course the fastest way now days it to just look it up on the internet. I find most of my recipes that way but I still love to read cookbooks. Have you ever read one of Paula Deens cookbooks? They have the cutest stories to go with the recipes. My favorite cookbooks to read are the older ones from the 1950's. There are tips on how to make your man happy and have a happy household. It makes me laugh to think about doing those things now. My how times have changed.

I found this very basic recipe for chicken tortilla soup and have made it my own. I have added legumes and corn to it for the added fiber. I also added tomato paste to give it more flavor.

EASY CHICKEN TORTILLA SOUP--JAZZED UP

2 cans of chicken broth OR 1 can of chicken broth + 1 can water
1 cup of cooked, cubed lean boneless chicken
1/2 can Ro-Tel diced tomato & green chili ***
1 6 oz can tomato paste
1 15 oz can chick peas or any bean
1/2 10 oz bag frozen corn or 1 can corn
chili powder to taste
garlic power to taste
shredded low fat cheese
sliced avocado
homemade totilla strips (recipe included)

In a large saucepan or dutch oven, combine all ingredients except last 3. Simmer about 10 minutes. Serve soup hot over tortilla strips with shredded cheese and avacodo on top.

***I use the whole can and sometimes add extra green chilis. If you want more heat, you could add jalepeno.

HOMEMADE TORTILLA STRIPS

slice corn tortillas into thin strips. Spray with non-stick spray and place on cookie sheet in preheated 375 degree oven until crisp.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Speedy Cassoulet

This great recipe can be made either on the stove top or the crockpot. I have made it both ways and it turns out great.

SPEEDY CASSOULET

1 can (15-16 oz) cannellini or great northern beans, rinsed and drained
1 can (14.5 oz) dice tomatoes with roasted garlic, undrained
1 can (14.5 oz) readt-to-serve chicken broth
1/2 pound fully cooked turkey kielbasa (Polish or smoke sausage), cut into 1/2 inch slices (1 1/2 cups)
1 1/2 cups frozen chopped bell peppers , thawed***
seasoned bread crumbs, if desired

STOVE: Heat beans, tomatoes, broth and turkey kielbasa to boiling in a 3-quart saucepan, stirring occasional; reduce heat.
Stir in bell peppers. Simmer uncovered 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Sprinkle with bread crumbs
CROCKPOT: Put everything in the crock pot on low for about 4-5 hours.

***We prefer our bell pepper cooked through so I always add it at the beginning instead of the end.

1 serving: calories 345 (calories from fat 155); fat 17g (sat. 6g); cholesterol 35mg; sodium 1200mg; carbohydrate 36g (dietary fiber 9g); protein 21g)
% daily value: vitamin A 10%; vitamin C 52%; calcium 14%; iron 30%
diet exchanges: 2 starch, 2 1/2 medium-fat meat, 1 vegetable

10-12-06 I guess I really like this recipe because I was just looking through old posts and realized I also posted it on July 7th. At least this one had the calories for you! It really is yummy and comes together fast.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Should I change the name of my blog?

So I'm thinking I should change the name of my blog to "Cooking Healthy with a Crockpot" because I have been trying new recipes all week. I found 2 great recipes that are both tasty and healthy! I haven't been doing any baking because....well it's not not so healthy. It could be if I didn't scarf up all the cupcakes/cookies/pumpkin anything in the first 5 minutes but that's not going to happen any time soon. I'm an emotional eater and tend to turn to food when I'm happy/sad/everything. I'm trying to change that but after almost 37 years it's kind of hard. Are you wishing I would quit blabbering about my problems and just get to the recipes yet??? Here they are

SOUTHWEST STEAK AND BEANS

1-1/2 lbs. flank steak*
1 onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
16 oz. jar chunky salsa
1/2 tsp. dried oregano leaves
2 tsp. chili powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed**
1 red bell pepper, sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, sliced
3 cups hot cooked rice***

Trim excess fat from steak. Place onions and garlic in bottom of 3-4 quart slow cooker and top with steak. Mix salsa, oregano, chili powder, salt, and pepper in small bowl and pour over meat. Top with drained black beans. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 7-9 hours until meat is tender. Remove meat from slow cooker and slice into thin strips against the grain. Turn heat to high and return beef to slow cooker along with sliced peppers. Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes, until peppers are tender. Serve with rice. 6 servings.

*I couldn't find flank steak at my little grocery so I used bottom round steak. After 8 hours in the crockpot it basically just flaked into chunks so I never got to slice it. It was very tender.
**I found out I really don't like black beans. I think next time I make it, I will use pinto or red kidney beans.
***We ate it more like a stew and put low fat sour cream and low fat cheese on top. We also each had a flour tortilla to scoop it up. Kind of like eating picadillo or green chili stew. Very yummy and filling.

CHICKEN CACCIATORE

3 lbs. bone-in chicken thighs, skin removed
14 oz. can diced tomatoes with Italian seasoning
6 oz. can tomato paste
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 onion, sliced
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 green bell peppers, chopped
1/4 cup dry red wine *
1/8 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. salt

Place all ingredients in 3-4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low 6-8 hours until chicken is thoroughly cooked and tender. Serve with hot cooked pasta, if desired. 6 servings

*didn't add the wine b/c I don't drink wine.
This was very good! I served it over egg noodles.

I had a few tips for both these recipes. Since I know I'm going to be in a hurry in the morning when I start the crockpot, I try to cut any veggies up and put them in baggies in the fridge the night before. I also set any can goods, spices, etc on the counter with the crockpot. I always spray my crockpot with non-stick spray. It makes clean up so much easier. Lastly, since I'm using the bell peppers in the crockpot, I checked the discounted veggies section. Instead of paying $.89 each I got 2 red, 1 yellow and 1 green for $1.50!

Even though we are trying to eat healthier, I still want great flavor. This is why I found recipes that would give us that. I have also been making my lunches taste good. Today I made chicken salad with a can of chicken, 1 tbs of light mayo, 1/2 a small chopped Granny Smith apple, 10 grapes sliced, 2 tbs pecans pieces, salt and pepper. Mix and serve on a bed of romane lettuce or spinach leaves (if we can ever eat them again). I sliced the rest of the apple and put it around the edge of the plate and had a few thin wheat crackers with it. Arby's makes a similar sandwich filling that I love but they use tons more mayo. I got the same results with much less LITE Miracle Whip.
Stay tuned for more healthy crockpot recipes!!

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Healthy eating has begun

Neal and I are both trying to lose some weight so we are eating healthier and I'm exercising! I've been looking up recipes for us to try and found a few new ones I'm going to try this week. Today I made minestrone soup for us to take for lunches and it smells soooo good! I've already divided it into containers so we can just grab one and go.

MINESTRONE SOUP
6 servings

1 can (28oz) whole tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15-16oz) great northern beans, undrained
1 can (8oz) kidney beans, undrained
1 can (8oz) whole kernel corn, undrained
2 medium stalks celery, thinly sliced (1 cup)
1 small zucchini, sliced (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
1 cup shredded cabbage
1/2 cup uncooked elbow macaroni or broken spaghetti
1 1/4 cup water
2 teaspoons vegetable bouillon granules
1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
1 clove garlic, crushed

Heat all ingredients to boiling in Dutch oven, breaking up tomatoes; reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until macaroni is tender. Serve with grated Parmesan cheese.

I made a few changes by using diced tomato instead of whole and used chicken bouillon cubes instead of veggie. I added extra Italian seasoning and some pepper. I started it on the stove but my pan was not big enough so I put it in my 6qt crockpot and it came to the top. I would advise not putting the elbow macaroni in the crockpot because it tends to not cook. If you are going to cook it in the crockpot, cook your pasta separate and just add some in your bowl when you serve it.

This recipe is Low Calorie, Low Fat, and High in Fiber.
1 serving: calories 240 (calories from fat 25); fat 3g (saturated 1g); cholesterol 5mg; sodium 900mg; carbohydrate 47g (dietary fiber 9g); protien 15g.
diet exchange: 2 starches, 3 vegetables

Thursday, September 14, 2006

I have not fallen off the face of the Earth

Contrary to popular belief, I have not fallen off the face of the Earth! It's just been extremely crazy around here.

I have wanted to change the bedrooms around in the house for a year and finally found the right weekend to do it. I had to find a weekend that I had 3 days off, Neal would be working, and I didn't have anything planned...Labor Day weekend! Neal working was pretty important because if any of you have done anything like this before, you know that having your husband around will drive you crazy. I also had to have a few days to do this in because you can't just move one room and leave the rest until later.

The week before the "big move" I worked on getting the rooms ready. Saturday morning I got up bright and early and started moving things out of Kinsey's room into the living room. Next I cleaned the room and started moving my craft room into Kinsey's old room. That took most of the day. Sunday I finished moving the craft room then cleaned it. After lunch, I started moving our bedroom furniture into the old craft room. I cleaned our room and moved Kinsey's stuff into our old room. Monday I sorted through toys and clothes in Kinsey's room. I still have to change the closets around but that just hasn't gotten done.

When I was doing all this moving around, I found out that our village was having a village wide yard sale on the following Saturday. My sister and I decided to have a sale at her house so I spent all week going through things and pricing stuff. On Friday night we set up our canopy's in her yard and set out some stuff. Saturday morning we put out our signs and had a running start. We both sold a lot and made more than we could imagine. I ended up with 2 boxes of stuff left and she had 2 wheel barrows full of stuff.

Sunday, Neal, Kinsey, and I decided to drive down to Alamogordo and look at metal storage sheds for our yard. My plan is (was?) to get rid of the storage unit we pay for and to put stuff from the craft closet in there. We went to Home Depot and Lowe's then had dinner at Chili's. On the way home we were 2 miles from the house and hit a deer! It tore up the front of my SUV. This week I have been dealing with insurance adjusters and body shops. My beloved SUV will be fixed next week. Here is a picture of the damage.



Kinsey is loving Kindergarten and comes home everyday with new things she has learned. I'm so glad she likes it so much!

Thanks for reading this and keeping up with our crazy life!

Sunday, August 27, 2006

We have squash!

Our squash plant has taken over the garden. Have you seen the movie The Rocky Horror Picture Show? My squash plant is that HUGE! Neal has been bringing in 2 to 3 squash a day. If you live near me you will be receiving your squash soon...lol!

Tonight Neal sliced one, dipped the slices in an egg/milk mixture, rolled them in flour, and fried them. They were so good. I wish I had taken a picture of them on the plate but we ate them all before I could even think about it. YUMMY!!

I know I had planned on blogging about food but I just haven't been in a cooking mood lately. During the winter I tend to bake a lot more so get ready for that! It's almost time for Brenda's Famous Pumpkin Sheetcake with cream cheese frosting. The recipe will follow soon!

I've been tagged!

A dear family friend tagged me so here are my answers....

What was your favorite thing about being a kid? The freedom to be or do whatever I wanted.

What was your favorite subject in school? band. Yep, I'm a band geek.

Who was your best friend when you turned 10? I have no idea

If you could be any animal what would you be? a cat

What would you change about your school, occupation, or life right now? I would go back to college. I have no idea what for though...early childhood education, chef, retail....who knows.

What's your favorite color? blue or green...depends on the day

What is your favorite type of crust and toppings? thick crust supreme from Pizza Hut

Rain, Rain go away....

After so many years of drought, we have had amazing amounts of rain. The lakes and rivers are all full and there is flooding every where. Yesterday, Kinsey and I stopped on Gavilan Canyon where it crosses the Rio Ruidoso to take a few pictures. It's been closed for about 2 weeks from all the water.


This is supposed to be a bridge.


Before all the rain, the water came out of the drain pipes at the bottom.


Yes, those are the stripes on the road.

Next we went to a park that we took the day care kids to last year. The kids would wade in the very shallow cold water. Now it's a roaring river.


The area to the right under the trees is where we would picnic.



Just amazing!


Here's one of Kinsey on the play ground.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

First day of kindergarten!!


Here is my kindergartener! What a great first day. It finally stopped raining for a few hours this morning so we were able to get some great pictures. Kinsey loves her teacher and was so excited to start school. Neal and I only shed a few tears each...lol!
Kinsey was so tired tonight that she asked me if she could go to bed early. I'm sure she will be raring to go again tomorrow!

Monday, August 21, 2006

School starts in 2 sleeps......

This is how we count days in our house...how many sleeps it is until the event.
Kinsey starts school Wednesday. I can't believe my baby is starting public schools. She will be out of my care for 8 hours a day. This is both a good and a bad thing. Right now we are together pretty much 24 hours a day/7 days a week. I know I'm going to miss her but I think the time apart is going to help us both.
Here's a picture of me on my first day of kindergarten. I'll post a picture of Kinsey on Wednesday.

We tortured our child tonight

Yes, you read that right we actually tortured her tonight. The neighbors were surely calling CYFD for all the crying and screaming going on. Want to know what we were doing?? We were cleaning her belly button!
Before Kinsey put her pj's on, I decided to wipe her off with a wash cloth since I had sprayed bug spray on her earlier. Tonight wasn't bath night but I didn't want her going to bed with all those chemicals on her. I was wiping her off and looked at her belly button...ewwwwww!! It was almost black. I tried to wipe it real quick but she was having nothing to do with that. I finally told her to go to Daddy and show him. Neal got a good look at it and told Kinsey we had to clean her belly button out. I got a Q-Tip wet and brought it to him. Kinsey started crying and covering her belly button. I finally had to get a wash cloth for Neal and then I had to hold her down while he wiped it out. YUCK! Of course after it was all over she was fine and asking for ice cream.
Who knew that having kids would mean cleaning out belly buttons....lol!

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Home from camping

We had a great time camping. Even though I still did the same domestic things I do at home it wasn't so bad. I cooked breakfast and dinner plus cleaned up after each. I also made the beds, picked up clothes, and kept up with everything. For this I was "rewarded" with free time to read and relax. Neal took Kinsey swimming or for walks several times so I got time for myself. I really really enjoyed it way more than I thought I would. We didn't have the distractions of TV or internet and only used the cell phone a few times. We played games and just enjoyed each other. I'm sure we will be doing this a lot more now that we have the camper!! (Yes, we are buying it!)
Here are a few pictures from this weekend
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Here is our camp at dusk.


This is the lake just after the sun was setting.


Kinsey never would never get the marshmallows close enough to the fire to even get them warm.


How many marshmallows can you roast at one time??


Kinsey beating Neal at Disney Memory.

Sorry this took so long to post. I tried doing it last week but for some reason I couldn't download the pictures.