Friday, July 29, 2011
Thursday, July 28, 2011
Time is short, so I will just post the link instead of all of my pictures :) Thank you google!
Friday, July 22, 2011
be excited for tomorrow.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
(I took this photo from the website that the recipe was on... this is really what it looks like, I just forgot to take a picture tonight :) )
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 pint store-bought fresh salsa (so far i've just used Pace salsa.. I'm sure it'd be better with fresh, but it's what I've had on hand :))
1 16-ounce can refried black beans
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 14.5-ounce can vegetable or chicken broth (you can buy "Better than Bullion" at Costco. It's an organic broth base, I think my jar was 8 bucks but if you were to compare it to cans, you could make around 40 cans of chicken broth with on of those jars - and it's ORGANIC :) .. Can't beat that!)
Fresh cilantro, roughly chopped
Heat the oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add 1 ½ cups of the salsa and cook, stirring occasionally, for 4 minutes.
Add the refried beans, black beans, and broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
Divide among bowls and garnish with the sour cream, cilantro, and remaining ½ cup salsa.(extra salsa optional.. I never put more on)
By Kate Merker, September 2006
Monday, July 18, 2011
Have you ever had these at a restaraunt before? I'm pretty sure Rumbi Grill has them - anyway - They are SO good. A few years back my wonderful mother in law bought a huge bag of these from Allison's Pantry and gave me a bunch of them. You can also find them at Costco for like 7 bucks or so if you don't feel like making them. - I was so thrilled to find this recipe on "Our Best Bites". I LOVE LOVE LOVE their blog. I have NEVER made anything that I didn't like from that blog and I have a few "regulars" that I got from them .. this will make blogging very easy since they've already done all of the work for me :).
They have a Sweet Potato Fry recipe that looks fabulous. They prepare them with a lot of herbs and spices and even a dip. I'm definitely going to have to try it some day! I just make these for Sammy and Claire to munch on, so I don't put anything on them. Sweet Potatoes have enough natural flavor as it is :). If you want to add something to make it more like a treat, you can sprinkle light cinamon or even cinamon and brown sugar, but really.. they are sweet enough as it is :). I just took the basics from the blog - how much olive oil, what temp and how long to cook them for :)
What I love about these that Our Best Bites doesn't mention is that you can make large quantities and then freeze them!!
I bake mine slightly under what I would if I were going to eat them fresh then let them cool a bit then line them on a pan just like you did when you baked them and place them in the freezer. When they are frozen, you can clump 'em all up and put them in a gallon ziploc bag! (SO EASY)
When I am ready to eat them, I take the portion I want out of the freezer onto a pan (I don't need to make much each time, so I just use my 9x9 baking pan) and bake them at 400 degrees (or broil them on low) until they are golden and have that awesome crisp outside and soft inside.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
I have had a few requests for the homemade laundry detergent recipe, so here it is!!
First - There are two different recipes, a liquid and a powder laundry detergent. The liquid detergent is more cost effective, but I worry about using it with my front loader washing machine... So! I haven't tried it yet... so, if you do, let me know!! The powder detergent seriously took me about 5 minutes to make and is so so easy and it works great! The powder is like paying .06 cents/load vs about .21 cents/load with store bought. The liquid detergent is like .01 cents/load (amazing hu!?) Here is a link for the recipe and how to for the liquid detergent :)
You ready for this?
1c Arm&Hammer washing soda (not to be confused with baking soda)
1 bar of soap grated - Most recipes call for Ivory soap. I had Fels Naptha which is a heavy duty laundry bar soap, so I just used that.
You can find all of these ingredients in the laundry isle at the store. :)
Mix all of the ingredients together until it's all well incorporated ... then... you're done!! Can you believe it?? Pour into a container with a lid and use 1 1/2 Tablespoons per load, or 2 for heavily soiled loads. -
If you have a bad stain, just scrub some of the detergent onto the stain and let it sit for a few hours, then wash.
You could also put a few scoops of Oxi-Clean in your detergent for a boost - So far I haven't needed to :)
I just used a cheese grater to grate the soap - you can also break it in chunks and put it in a food processor.
This is what it ends up looking like after mixing the borax and washing soda with the fels naptha.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
3-4 boneless skinless chicken breasts (Tip: Chicken breasts are HUGE, slice the chicken laterally to form 2 thinner breasts.. your meal will go twice as far and you will have a much healthier portion.)
1 1/2 cubes of butter melted
1- 1 1/2 boxes of chicken stove top stuffing
Mix together and then add to stuffing:
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
½ t onion powder
½ t garlic powder
First - prepare a cake pan by greasing and lightly cover the bottom with some of the stuffing mixture. Dip chicken in butter and then roll in stuffing mixture. Place in greased bake pan. When finished, pour the rest of the stuffing, and then butter on top of chicken. Cover with foil. Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes if needed.
Okay! Let's get started! You know my post "Don't waist a single?" ... well! I was watching a show that gave me a few ideas- you can save and use your butter wrappers to grease your pans instead of using cooking spray. (Mike thinks I'm crazy.. oh well :) ) - If you are using oil for another recipe, use a cloth to rub some of the oil left in the measuring cup you used to grease your pans)
Melt Butter in one shallow container and mix the dry ingredients in another. Dip chicken breasts in butter......
Then roll in stuffing mixture......
Well! Last Saturday, Macey's had a STEAL of a deal on strawberries - $.78 /lb! Awesome right? So I got .. well, A LOT - I figured I could make a bunch of freezer jam with it ... turned out I didn't need the million lbs that I got! hee hee! - I looked into the fridge yesterday and, well, I had sad, sad strawberries. There was NO way we could eat them fast enough.. and to be honest.. well.. I don't I could've stomached the sad strawberry texture.
Line a pan with ... basically whatever.. tinfoil, wax paper, parchment paper.. or nothing.. I just didn't want ONE more dish. Slice the strawberries how ever you want.. perfection is kind of a joke right? Claire needed to be held. All. Day. Long... poor girl has a nasty cold...so these babies were cut one handed.. and it didn't matter - they all freeze the same in the end. :) - Stick that pan in the freezer, and wait!
Remember - If you don't have a deep freezer, just use a smaller pan and in a few batches :)
Mine stuck a little to the tinfoil,(this is where I justified using the tinfoil) so just lift up the sides- this makes it easy to pour into a freezer bag.
Taa Daaa - I really feel like I saved their lives today. Doesn't that feel good? hehehehe. I am sure you can do this with any fruit you can find in the frozen fruit isle. :) You can use these in your oatmeal, smoothies, shakes, snacks for your kids... anything!
Thursday, July 7, 2011
Cranberry Nut Bagels
3-1/3 cups warm water (Good rule of thumb: make the water temp the same as you would fill up a baby's bathtub with :))
1 ½ T yeast
1 t sugar
¼ c sugar
½ tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon and 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
3/4 cup quick-cooking oats
8-9 cups bread flour (Just add until dough cleans the bowl)
2 cups dried cranberries
3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
Combine water, yeast and 1 t sugar. Let sit until bubbly.
Mix together sugar, salt, cinnamon oats and flour.
Add cranberries and chopped pecans.
Let dough in mixer for about 4 minutes or 10 minutes by hand
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface; cover and let rest for 15 minutes. Divide into 12 balls. Push thumb through the center of each ball to form a 1-in. hole. Place on a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
In a large saucepan, bring 2-qt. water to a boil. Drop bagels, one at a time, into boiling water. Cook for 30 seconds; turn and cook 30 seconds longer. Remove with a slotted spoon; drain well on paper towels.
Place 2 in. apart on greased baking sheets. Bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown.
This is me and my sweet Sam Man making the bagels :) .. Mike was like "should I take a picture of you cooking?" My first instinct was "Hide the dishes, hold on, let me get out of my jammies.. where's my makeup?" .. and then I was like "No. Yes, it is still light outside and I am in my PJs, my dishes are overflowing... but that's what's real. :) )
This is what your dough should look like. It is really sticky after you are done mixing it, so the floured surface is a must, roll it around in it so it's workable :).
This is the best way I've found to evenly cut the 12 pieces of dough to form the bagels
Punch your thumb through the center of the ball and sort of stretch the dough to make a 1-1 1/2 hole in the middle. Remember! :) They don't have to be perfect :).
This is the fun part! Boil some water and drop those bagels in!! This is what gives the chewy outside texture. :) Plop them in and let them be on each side for about 30 seconds or so. Then with a slotted spoon or spatula, place on cloth or paper towel to let the water soak in.
Then bake following the instructions...... cool on cooling racks then ... waaaLAa! :) BAGELS! :)
SO! I HAVE to tell you about my amazing sister Heather. As I was thinking of all of my favorites, I kept realizing that a few of them come from her and she is writing a recipe book, SO, I am SWORN to secrecy :) --- HOWEVER... She does have a blog -
She is involved with a food co-op called Bountiful Baskets It is really popular around here, so each week she makes a recipe using some of the fruits and/or vegetables that she gets in her basket and calls it "Bountiful Bliss" :) - Here it is and ENJOY - She is the most "REAL" cook ever. She is beyond the "look for a recipe" stage and she makes her own - DEFINITELY check her blog out. It's still new and because she's REAL and has 3 kids, she posts once a week - but it is definitely something to be excited about each week :)
Watch out Chinese restaurants.... THIS is the best orange chicken I have EVER had! :) I found this recipe a long time ago and never made it until last year... WHAT was I thinking? You will LOVE this! :)
Harry Wetzle's Asian Orange Chicken
1 1/2 cups water
2 tablespoons orange juice
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup rice vinegar
2 1/2 tablespoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh ginger root (or 1/8- 1/4 t of ground ginger :))
1/2 teaspoon minced garlic
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
3 tablespoons cornstarch
2 tablespoons water
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons olive oil
Pour 1 1/2 cups water, orange juice, lemon juice, rice vinegar, and soy sauce into a saucepan and set over medium-high heat. Stir in the orange zest, brown sugar, ginger, garlic, chopped onion, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Remove from heat, and cool 10 to 15 minutes.
>Place the chicken pieces into a resealable plastic bag. When contents of saucepan have cooled, pour 1 cup of sauce into bag. Reserve the remaining sauce. Seal the bag, and refrigerate at least 2 hours.
In another resealable plastic bag, mix the flour, salt, and pepper. Add the marinated chicken pieces, seal the bag, and shake to coat.
Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Place chicken into the skillet, and brown on both sides. Place chicken to drain on a plate lined with paper towels, and cover with aluminum foil.
Wipe out the skillet, and add the sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Mix together the cornstarch and 2 tablespoons water (do not skip mixing this in separate dish... you will have a very very sad experience if you do... mix it first!); stir into the sauce. Reduce heat to medium low, add the chicken pieces, and simmer, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Serve over rice with broccoli as a side and add some fortune cookiesfor fun! :) mmmmm...
Nicole asked me to post my favorite recipes! I like that idea! :) ... however... I have about a million of them! :)
Food! My mom (yes, I know .. my mom is amazing) - is an excellent cook. I'm pretty sure she can do anything she wants in the kitchen and turn anything into something gourmet. I remember when I first got married, I just felt like I was a good cook, it must've been in my blood, my sisters, mom, and grandma all had the "good cook gene"... ..
........... and then I had to ask my mother in law how to boil noodles. YES! Boil noodles! I guess it's just one of those things where I saw so many people cooking my whole life, I figured I knew how to do it too.... no no no no I didn't. I'm pretty sure I ruined just about every recipe, couldn't make mac and cheese and burnt pop tarts. .........BUT! I love good food. SO I was determined to figure it out- I started by finding recipes .. I'd think of what I wanted to eat, then look the recipes up in books and on the Internet. Then you practice.. :) - Do this enough, and then you feel like you can start tweaking things, combining different recipes, adding more or less of what you like to make them your own...I am no chef by any means, but I do have so many good recipes that I can't wait to share with you! :)
They won't be in any particular order.. because, well.. I"m just not organized like that! ha! :) Mainly I just can't make up my mind... they are all my favorite for different reasons! :)
Monday, July 4, 2011
So! I have a MILLION ideas, recipes and tips that I am so excited share, but I have so little time, so I just don't know where to begin...
So, I am wondering...
What would you like to see?
Money saving tips?
Healthy meals and snacks for kids?
Bread/cereal and cracker recipes?
Fun activities for kids?
Quick, easy and delicious recipes?
Not so quick, but DELICIOUS recipes
What? :) :)
Obviously a few of these can be found in each post, but I'm curious as to what you are hoping to see out of this! Hope to hear from you soon! :) Also, I would LOVE to spotlight YOU with your REAL living ideas :) .. recipes, fun activities with your family, money saving tips, your "story" ;) - I will be setting up an email address for this blog.. but alas! The 4th of July bbq is calling my name... mmm.. - SO! I will post the email address to where you can send your info on my next post! :) ... HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY!!!!! :) :) :)
*Quick and easy idea for the 4th - maybe it's not as novel of an idea as I think, but I heard it in church on Sunday and LOVED it!! --- Make a birthday cake for America with your kids... decorate it like a flag (or like me, I used fun fetti frosting ... with a box cake... and called it good..... see, I am real! :) No one ever has time to do everything! :) You pick and choose your battles each day, right? :) ) Light some candles, turn of the lights and sing happy birthday to America!! :) .. totally memorable! You can even get pots and pans or play instruments and have a little parade around it before you sing and blow out the candles :)