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.


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!

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!
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! 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.


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!


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!


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 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!
Here are some great pumpkin recipes for fall!


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

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

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.


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.


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!


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


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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.

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