Mar 31, 2006

Breakfast. - The Most Important Meal Of The Day

Thanks to everyone who took my weekly poll (to your left) this week. I just though it would be a fun addition to the blog to have a poll. I wasn't very shocked to see that most people eat cereal for breakfast, but I was a little surprised to find that the next highest vote was for "I don't eat breakfast" Huh? The "mom" side of me was struck by that because breakfast is so important to your health! Think of it this way... starting your day without breakfast is like starting your car with no gas. You need fuel to get through your day. OK, so now that I've scolded everyone, take a look at this post where I have a lot of brekfast ideas and if you are one of those non-breakfast people, and you might just find something you'll enjoy! (I only spanked your hands because I care!) ;) Tune in for a new poll tomorrow and don't forget to eat your breakfast!

Mar 30, 2006

Mexican Corn Bread

Tonight for dinner I made Arroz Con Pollo and decided to try a recipe I found for Mexican corn bread. My mom used to make it a lot when we were growing up. This recipe was "almost" as good as my mom's. ;)

Mexican Corn Bread

2 eggs
1/4 c. canola oil
1 c. buttermilk
1 c. shredded Cloby-Jack cheese
1 (8 oz). can creamed corn
1 small can green chilis, drained
1 c. cornmeal
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease an 8 x 8 in. square baking dish. Combine dry ingredients then add wet ingredients and mix well. Pour batter into prepared pan and if desired sprinkle with more shredded cheese. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until center is set and top is golden brown.

Mar 28, 2006

Chef Michele's Store

After seeing the adorable products Sweetnicks has in her new store, I decided to create some products myself. What fun that was! Cafe Press is such a fun site! I love the little fruits and veggies in my logo and thought they would be adorable on a shirt or hat. Check out what I made here. :)

Cool new website!

A friend of mine, Patty Gale, has a really great new websie, I just thought I'd share it with you (especially since she's having a grand opening contest!). Take a look at My Grandmother's Kitchen.

Mar 27, 2006

Homemade Refried Beans

I have been asked a couple of times recently about how to make homemade refried beans so I thought I'd post about it. Growing up in Arizona, I always had authentic, homemade Mexican food both in restaurants and at home. My mom is half Mexican so I've got lots of authentic recipes.

Homemade refried beans are pretty easy to make, but it does take a bit of time since you start off with dried beans. I personally think they are healthier than the canned kind because I know exactly what goes into them as opposed to canned beans and in my opinion they taste much better! Most of the canned beans (the ones that don't say vegetarian or fat free on the label) have lard or hydrogenated oil in them. I do use canned refried beans in a pinch. When I do I always heat a little canola oil in a sauce pan, add the canned beans and some milk (we use 2%) to loosen them up. I stir them until I get the consistency I like then add a little chili powder (New Mexico Ancho Chili) and cheddar cheese then stir until the cheese melts.

To make homemade refried beans, start off with a large pot... mine is 4 1/2 quarts. I use 3 - 4 c. of dried pinto beans. Sort the beans (remove any stones or broken or "yucky" looking beans) then rinse them well. If you want them to cook faster, soak them in water overnight but you don't have to do so if you don't want to. Drain your beans and put them in the pot and cover them with water to about 2 inches above the beans. Then add 3 strips of turkey bacon or a ham hock (we prefer turkey bacon because it is healthier than the ham hock and not greasy). Bring the beans to a boil then turn down to a simmer and allow to cook about 3 hours or until tender. You'll want to stir them every so often and add more water as needed. At about the 2 hour and 45 minute mark add salt to taste... I'd say at least 2 tsp.... I don't really measure it. You should put less than you think you need as you can always add more later. When the beans are done, remove the pot from the heat and set it aside. Now get a large skillet and heat about 1 Tbsp. of canola oil in the skillet over medium-high heat. Add the beans with a slotted spoon and about 1/4 c. of the bean liquid and 1/2 c. milk. Reserve the remaining liquid in case you need more. Don't overfill the pan, you can do this in batches if you need to or freeze and extra beans and liquid for later use. With a potato masher, mash the beans until they are of desired consistency, adding more bean liquid if needed. Stir well. Add chili powder and shredded cheddar cheese and stir until mixed well. Allow to cool a bit then stir again, if they seem too dry add more milk and stir again. If they seem too liquid, just keep cooking them and stirring them, the liquid will dry up as they cook. Leftovers can be frozen and reheated in the microwave.

If you're looking for refried beans that taste like they came from a Mexican restaurant, try this recipe!

Mar 25, 2006

Saturday In The Kitchen

With a very busy week ahead, I thought I'd get a jump start on cooking this weekend. I saw a recipe for Carrot Ginger Morning Cookies on 28 Cooks last week and those were at the top of my list to make. I made them with a few slight variations based on what I had on hand and they turned out really good! This is my version of the recipe:

Ginger Carrot Morning Cookies
(adapted from 28 Cooks)

3/4 c whole wheat flour
1/4 c flax seed meal
1 1/4 c rolled oats
1/4 c chopped walnuts
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 c grated carrot
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
pinch salt
2 tsp fresh ginger, minced finely
1 egg
2/3 c vanilla soymilk
3 tbsp honey
1 tbsp oil

Preheat oven to 375. Combine all dry ingredients, flour to salt, in a large bowl. In a small bowl, combine ginger through honey. Add wet ingredients to dry, and stir with a large spatula until combined. Do not overstir! 14-16 strokes should be enough. Place on parchment paper-lined baking sheets, and place into oven. Bake about 20-25 minutes, until done in the center. Cool on a rack and serve.

I've also been wanting to make some more tortillas with my tortilla baker. I posted about it recently but it seems like Blogger lost that post because I couldn't find it to link back to... so here's a new pic.

You can use this little gadget to press tortillas as well as bake them. I am trying different recipes until I find exactly the one I am looking for. This time, I used the baker to press them and get them started cooking. I found that in order to get them with the nice brown spots like homemade tortillas should have, you have to cook them in a skillet or griddle. The baker just doesn't get hot enough so they come out looking like store bought (cooked but all white with no spots). This new method worked a lot better and it made the work much faster too as I could cook one and press one at the same time and they cooked much faster too in the skillet. I am not 100% happy with this recipe because they seem like they had too much oil in them, the texture was a bit more like gorditas than regular tortillas. Last time I used shortening but I didn't like the texture. The oil gives a much better texture but I think next time I will use less. Here is that recipe:

Flour Tortillas

3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 c. vegetable oil
1 c. warm water

Combine flour, salt and oil in a large bowl and mix with a fork or pastry blender as if making pie crust (seeking a texture like coarse crumbs). Add water and mix until dough forms then gather dough into a ball. Transfer to a floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. Wrap ion plastic wrap and allow to rest at room temp. for 30 minutes up to 2 hours. Divide into 12 pieces. Roll into a ball and flatten with a tortilla press or rolling pin until the thickness of a tortilla. Cook on a hot griddle or skillet for about 30 seconds - 1 minute or until spotted brown, then flip and cook second side until spotted brown. Place in a tortilla warmer or on plate then cover with a kitchen towel. Makes 1 dozen.

For dinner tonight I FINALLY got to make the Nacho Stuffed Shells recipe I first got from Theresa at A Momma And The Boys On A Budget. I've had this recipe on my menu list for the past couple of months but each time I am ready to make it I either am missing an ingredient or I run short on time. I am so glad I finally made it, it was really good! I think this would be great with rice as well in place of the pasta. I changed the recipe a bit because I didn't have the large size pasta shells on hand to stuff, so it was more of a casserole. This is how I made the recipe today:

Nacho Shells Casserole

1/2 lb. medium sized pasta shells
1 pound extra-lean ground beef
1 small can diced green chilies, drained
2 c. homemade refried beans
1 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
1 can (8-ounce) tomato sauce
Seasonings to taste - salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, oregano
Sliced scallions, salsa and sour cream for serving

Preheat oven to 350. Prepare pasta according to package directions. While pasta is cooking, saute beef and seasonings in a large skillet until browned; drain well. When pasta is done, drain well and set aside. Put beef mixture into the bottom of a 9 x 13 in. pan sprayed with cooking spray Top with pasta, then tomato sauce. Spread on refried beans and top with cheese. Cover with a tent of aluminum foil; bake 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Remove foil and bake 5 more minutes or until cheese is browned. Garnish as desired.

Mar 24, 2006


I've been in a spring cleaning mode lately around the house so thought I'd spruce up the blog a bit as well. I took down a bunch of un-necessary a bit and added a little "bling" down on the bottom left side. Feels a little more like home now ;)

Veggie Wontons

I've been craving wontons ever since I made the Butternut Squash Wontons a while back. I thought I'd make some that were more traditional this time. These were very good but I actually prefer the butternut squash ones better, they were more flavorful. to give these a boost I added a little rice wine vinegar and brown sugar to the Sesame Dipping Sauce. They were a hit with my 6 year old as well as myself.

Veggie Wontons

1 pkg. wonton skins
1/2 head of cabbage
1 carrot
1 clove garlic
2 scallions
1/4 tsp. ginger
salt and pepper to taste

Process cabbage, carrots and garlic in food processor. Remove processed veggies to a bowl and add ginger, salt and pepper. Stir well. Fill wontons and fold according to package directions then flash freeze on a cookie sheet for at least 30 minutes. Fry in hot vegetable or canola oil until golden brown, turn and fry on second side until golden. Drain on paper towels before serving.

Mar 23, 2006

Recipes To Try

My goodness, being sick a couple of weeks ago sure did throw off my cooking plans! I still have some wonton wrappers and the ingredients for a filling just waiting for me in the fridge... I hope they are still useable! I had been creating a list of recipes I want to try as well but figured I'd better post them here before I lose track of them all. That way as I make them I can post recipes as I make them (I always have to modify them don't I... LOL!) and pics. So here's what's caught my eye lately and is on my "to make" list...

Tropical Breakfast Risotto from The World's Healthiest Foods
Crusty French Bread from Culinarily Obsessed
Baked Oatmeal from Peanut Butter And Purple Onions
Spiced Oatmeal Jam Bars from Coconut & Lime
Buttermilk Pie, Pita Bread and Orange Pudding Cake from The Baking Sheet
Ginger Carrott Morning Cookies from 28 Cooks

Now let's see how many weeks it takes me to get these all done ;)

Mar 22, 2006


Life has been getting really hectic around our house lately and I'm starting to realize that I am going to have to cut back a bit on blogging in order to keep up with some other necessary things. So, I wanted to post about the changes I plan to make on my blog just in case you're interested :)

I'm am putting my newsletter on hold for now. I took down the subscription form and for current subscribers, I may send one out occasionally but not twice a month as I have been. Any new info I have will be posted to the blog only, so please visit often! I have all the feed subscription buttons up but for those without a feed reader I have added a Bloglet subscription box to receive updates by email.

I'm also putting my Monday Guest Bloggers event on hold for the time being.

I plan to post two to three times a week. Some weeks I may post more, other less, it just depends on the time I have available.

And finally, I wanted to comment on a question I have received several times in my email recently...

I continue to get the question "Why do you have ads on your blog... other people don't have them so why do you?" I have been told that my blog ads are annoying and some people have gone as far as telling me they won't return to my blog if I don't remove the ads. So here's my answer to that quesiton.

I have the ads on here because Blogger offers blog owners the option to place ads on their blogs and earn a small sum when people click on those ads. I also participate in affiliate programs when I find a product or service that I enjoy and want to share it with others. I don't see anything wrong with that. I happen to be one of those people who believes in free eneterprise. There are many bloggers who have ads on their blogs, I am not the only one. If my blog is offensive, I am sorry but you don't have to visit me here if you don't care for what I have to offer. There are many, many blogs and other websites that offer that same sort of information I have here with no ads to view.

I really want to thank those of you who visit regularly and post comments. I don't blog for the money, I started this blog for personal reasons and it has just grown from there. I enjoy doing it and have met so many nice people through my blog. Although there may be times like this where I have to cut back on posting I plan to continue posting as long as I have something to share (which I hope will be for the rest of my life!) So I hope you keep on visiting me and please comment often, I love to hear from you!

Beef and Broccoli

I have a copy of the Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook I bought some time ago and I've never made many recipes from it.  I really love this book because as I have read through it I see how healthy eating can help you lose weight.  I've never tried the weight watchers program but if I lose a few pounds from using their recipes, all the better!  This is one I modified from a recipe in the book, I added some extra vegetables because I had them leftover from the other night but normally I would use just broccoli.  This dish is very flavorful as well as good for you!

Beef and Broccoli

(adapted from Weight Watchers Complete Cookbook)

2 Tbsp. rice wine vinegar

2 Tbsp. soy sauce

1/2 tsp. ground ginger

1 tsp. garlic powder

1 tsp. toasted sesame oil

1 Tbsp. brown sugar

dash red pepper flakes

1 lb. beef for stir fry (sirloin steak strips work well)

1 tsp. corn starch

1 Tbsp. canola oil

4 c. frozen broccoli

3 scallions, sliced

sesame seeds for serving

Combine first 7 ingredients in a large Ziploc bag then add beef and shake well.  Place Ziploc bag in refrigerator for at least one hour. 

Drain marinade into a measuring cup and add enough water to make 1/3 cup of liquid.  Add corn starch and stir well.

Heat oil in a large non-tick skillet or wok over high heat.  Add canola oil and beef., stir fry until beef loses it's red color.  Remove beef to a plate.  Add broccoli to pan and stir fry 3 minutes.  Add back beef and pour in marinade.  Stir fry until sauce thickens.  Sprinkle with scallions and sesame seeds and serve over brown rice.

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Mar 21, 2006

ARF Tuesday - Antioxidants Galore!

We're having pinto beans and collard greens tonight for dinner (mucho ARF's baby!) but for future ARF Tuesday refrence I thought I'd gather a list of foods that I could consider using in new recipes.

Sweetnicks has a list of the top 20 ARF's here but I know there must be more lurking out there somewhere so I Googled a bit and found a website called The Top 10 Antioxidant Foods with the following information:

Carrots - "Carrots are loaded with a potent antioxidant called beta-carotene, a member of the healing family of carotenoids."

Soy - "The enduring favorite of health-foods aficionados, soy can help prevent cancer, lower cholesterol, ward off osteoporosis and lessen the effects of menopause."

Whole Grains - "Vitamin E in grains is a potent antioxidant that plays a role in preventing cancer, especially prostate cancer."

Tea - "Tea has been shown to significantly reduce the risk of cancer, heart disease, stroke and other diseases."

Spinach - "Studies have shown that people who eat spinach are less likely to develop cataracts and macular degeneration, the two most common causes of vision loss."

Tomatoes - "Studies have shown that men who eat more tomatoes or tomato sauce have significantly lower rates of prostate cancer."

Garlic - "Studies have shown that garlic keeps the heart healthy by lowering cholesterol levels, reducing blood pressure, fighting free radicals and keeping blood from clotting."

Broccoli - "Cruciferous vegetables contain a compound called indole-3-carbinol (I3C - a potent antioxidant that breaks down estrogen in the body) that reduces the risk of breast cancer and other estrogen-sensitive cancers, like cancer of the ovaries and cervix. Other studies have shown that broccoli can help fight cervical dysplasia, a precancerous condition. Broccoli also contains other protective constituents like beta-carotene, which can help prevent cancer and heart disease."

Who knew eating healthy could be so tasty! Can't wait to sit down and come up with more ideas for future ARF Tuesdays!

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Mar 20, 2006

Guest Blogger #14 - Serfronya Wallace

Please welcome Serfronya Wallace as my guest today. She's got a wonderful and delicious recipe to share.


Universal Quick Fruit Crumble

1 cup graham cracker crumbs

½ cup brown sugar, packed

2 Tbsp butter or margarine, melted

1 Tbsp lemon juice

2 cups fresh fruit cored and sliced or

1 large can of fruit, drained

Combine the crumbs, sugar, butter, and lemon juice. Combine the mixture and fruit in a large bowl. Then toss gently. Bake in a buttered 8x8 inch dish at 350 degrees for 25 – 30 minutes.

This recipe makes 4 servings but you can easily double or triple it and bake it in a larger dish.

This is my 7 year old son’s favorite snack. He’d have it every day after school if I let him. He likes it because it tastes sweet. He has even tried to convince me that it counts as a serving of fruit so he should be able to have seconds.

Anyway, I enjoy it because it’s quick and frugal. And yes, I also like the fact that it’s sweet. (But don’t tell my son.) I also enjoy the versatility of this recipe. For the fruit you can use fresh or canned. I have used apple, peaches, and pears; all of which have yielded delicious results. Of course fresh fruit tends to be more economical than the canned. But I purchase the large cans of generic peach or pear halves and then slice them myself.

Like I said, this recipe is a bit on the sweet side. So you may want to adjust the brown sugar according to your tastes. Also, if you opt for the canned fruit then make sure to drain it well. You may want to go for the longer cooking time so that the canned fruit has time to “dry out.”

I prefer this treat served warm. But room temperature tastes good also. Either way, this snack tastes so delicious that you probably won’t have any leftovers to worry about refrigerating. My son always offers to “take care of” any leftovers for me.

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I've Been Tagged

Heather from Simple Ways You Can Make A Difference and Lynn Terry tagged me for a 4's meme. I did a similar one back in January, but since this one has a few different questions, what the heck, let's give it a spin!

Four Jobs I've Had
  1. Receptionist
  2. Car Washer
  3. Teaching Assistant
  4. Mom (the best job of all!)

Four Movies I can Watch Over and Over
  1. Titanic
  2. Little Women
  3. Fat Albert
  4. Shrek

Four TV Shows I love to Watch
  1. American Idol
  2. Wife Swap
  3. Extreme Home Makeover
  4. Oprah

Four Places I've been on vacantion
  1. Disneyland
  2. Washington D.C.
  3. Cancun, Mexico
  4. Alberta, Canada

Four tunes that I play in my head
  1. Grillz (Nelly)
  2. Unpredictable (Jamie Foxx)
  3. Georgia (Ludacris)
  4. Chcek On It (Beyonce)
Yes, I have been listening to the radio TOO MUCH lately :)

Four Favorite Dishes
  1. Lasanga
  2. Teriyaki Chicken
  3. Pizza
  4. Hummus and pita chips

Four Books I really love
  1. The Bible
  2. The Power of A Praying Wife
  3. The Prayer of Jabez
  4. What To Say When You Talk To Yourself

Four places I'd rather be
  1. In Bed
  2. On the beach
  3. In Italy
  4. At a day spa

Four Bloggers I am tagging

Since I already tagged people for last time, I tag anyone who hasn't done this meme yet. So if you haven't played yet please do so now! :)

Mar 19, 2006 Deal!

Just a heads up...

One of my favorite on-line shops is having a special. If you shop on this week only you get a free one pound of Virginia style Deli ham (with $125 purchase). Use the code DELIHAM at checkout. If you have never shopped with them, before you can use this link and get free delivery of your purchase as well. They bring your groceries stright to your door! Gotta love that!

Mar 18, 2006

Saturday Shopping

Today was such a nice day, we went out to run some errands. The weather reminded me of summer... just a reminder that the hot weather is just around the corner and how much I would love to get out of the Arizona heat when it starts getting too hot. My girls have been asking a lot recently to take a trip to Disney ("land" or "world", either would be fine by them!) We're hoping to start saving to take a family trip in the next year or two. I found a great website for vacation home orlando. That really got my mind going in the direction of saving. Last night I started a new blog to chronicle our savings goals (in general)! I'll post a link when I get a few more posts up.

I was able to FINALLY visit Sprouts today. What a cool store! As you know from my previous posts, I really love Trader Joes, but in my opinion, Sprouts is so much better. They have huge bins of things like flours, grains, nuts, beans, a huge variety of different kinds of rice, etc. If there's one in your area I would highly suggest you take a visit! I picked up some whole wheat pastry flour, flax seed meal and a variety of little things like graham cookies and chocolate covered pretzels for the kids. The prices are awesome!

Mar 17, 2006

Happy St. Partick's Day!

It's been a long day here friends so no cooking going on in our kitchen today. But I wanted to wish you all a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

I know we all know all about the leprechauns, green beer and shamrocks but if you want to know the real meaning behind the holiday here's a little history for you.

Hope you're all having a wonderful day!

Mar 15, 2006

Brunch Goodies

Stephanie over at Dispensing Happiness hosts a really cool monthly blog event called Blog Party. It's a virtual cocktail party for foodies to get together and enjoy some fun, food and recipes. When I saw the theme for this month I knew I had to drop by. A "Brunch" cocktail party? What fun! Here are the goodies I whipped up for the event...

Oatmeal Banana Smoothie

1 frozen banana
3/4 c. vanilla soy milk
1/2 c. quick cooking oats
1 Tbsp. ground flax seed
1/2 c. maple flavored yogurt
2 Tbsp. honey

Add all ingredients to blender and blend until smooth. Makes two "cocktail size" servings.

Bacon Parmesan English Muffins

2 English muffins, split and buttered
2 slices turkey bacon (or regular bacon) cooked, drained and cut in half
Fresh Parmesan or Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, shaved

Broil English muffins in oven or toaster oven until lightly toasted. Add two half bacon slices and several shaving of cheese to each then return to broiler until cheese melts. Serve warm. Makes 2 servings.

Mar 14, 2006

ARF Tuesday - Ravioli Casserole

When trying to decide what to make for ARF Tuesday this week I began to think Italian because of an abundance of tomato products I happened to have on hand. I had a large container of pasta sauce and a small container of tomato paste in the freezer as well as some diced tomatoes and tomato sauce in the refrigerator. I figured I'd add all of those items to my crock pot and let it simmer for most of the day today to make a sauce.

When I first thought of this recipe I had originally intended to make *ravioli*. I didn't know if my family would like them nor was I sure if they would turn out right since I've never made them before. The whole idea of making ravioli from scratch came to me when I read on a package of wanton wrappers that they are "good for ravioli". The only reason I have never tried to make ravioli before is that I don't own a pasta machine so using wonton wrappers sounded like a great idea! I love ravioli!

I started to make this recipe yesterday. For the filling, I began with 3/4 lb. each of ground turkey and ground beef. I combined those and added it to a large skillet to brown and seasoned it with about 1 cup of frozen chopped spinach (still frozen), some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, basil, fennel seed, and oregano and parsley. Once the meat browned well I added some fresh Parmesan cheese and mixed it well.

I added about 1 1/2 Tablespoon of the filling onto a wonton wrapper then topped that with a pinch of mozzarella cheese, wet the edges with a little water and applied a second wrapper then pinched the edges shut. I repeated the process which yielded 20 ravioli. I then froze them in ziploc bags (be sure to lay them flat inside the bag, side by side or they will stick together).

When I was ready to prepare the ravioli for dinner tonight, I put most of them in the crock pot right along with the sauce once it was hot and let them cook right in the sauce. I added the remainder to a pot of boiling water (for my pasta sauce hating 6 year old). That is when the recipe began to take on a new dimension.

First of all, the ravioli that I put into the pasta sauce cooked just fine, however I learned that wonton wrappers are NOT as "good" for ravioli as the package states. They taste great and cook just fine but they are VERY delicate. The ravioli stuck together and we basically had to eat this as a casserole because we could not plate them seperatly since they easily fell apart. The raviolis that I boiled all did fine except for one that got a hole in it and the filling fell out. Those were also very delicate and the only reason I could remove them from the pot easily is because I cooked only about 4 or 5 of them and pretty much slid them out of the pot.

All in all this was a great recipe because my family loved it and asked that I make it again soon. My husband doesn't usually care for ground turkey in dishes like this and he didn't even notice until I told him. My 1 1/2 year old NEVER eats ground meat of any kind and she ate every bite. 4 year old gave a thumbs up and 6 year old loved the sauce-less version as well.

Mar 13, 2006

Guest Blogger #13 - Darcie

I met Darcie on and invited her to stop by as my Guest Blogger today. She has lots of great German recipes that she shared over at WAHM and she has a couple of really cool recipes to share today that I think you will enjoy. Frugal and fun, now those are recipes that I like! Thanks for sharing Darcie!


I was so excited when Michele invited me to be a guest blogger. I have never done this before and would not consider myself a chef or a writer but I do love to eat!

I am what I call a “Closet Cooker”. I don’t tell many people I enjoy cooking/baking and I certainly don’t like them watching me or looking over my shoulder while I am in the kitchen. For some reason, people make fun of me; I don’t look like someone who cooks. What? I used to act like Julia Childs and when I was in my 20’s, I even video taped my impression of her. We can talk about that some other time, let’s move on!

Over the years, I have collected a lot of recipes from friends and family and made some up along the way. I don’t mind spending an hour on a great meal but then there are those days, you know, those days where McDonald’s can make a better burger than you. Then you eat it and wish you would have used that leftover ham for something. But it doesn’t end there; you want an apple pie because that sweet tooth is killing you. Darn, the pie was made 4 hours ago and doesn’t really taste that great. Then you wish you would have just dumped the bag of chocolate chips down your throat. If you ever feel that way, then I have two recipes that are made up to satisfy those darn sweet and salty cravings.

When I was a little girl my Mom would make me chocolate covered Cheerios. I am not sure why or where she got the idea, but I love them! I think it is a great alternative to a candy bar; kids love them and do have some health benefits, right? I mean, there are Cheerios under that chocolate! My Grandmother “made up” the other recipe. She likes to call it Haloopsie (pronounced ha-loop-see). Odds are a million other people make it in their own way but no one makes it like my Grandma! But we all know that moms and grandmas never use a recipe. They just say “Oh, I don’t know how much to add, just keep adding until it tastes right”. Well, I did that over and over until it tasted right and not once did I write it down. So, I too, shall carry on that tradition. I will tell you what I was told, if it doesn’t taste right, add more salt and pepper.

My last recipe is a family favorite. Fleishkuekle is a German/Germans from Russia recipe that where I was raised can often be ordered right along with your Knoephla soup. If you have the time, try out Fleishkuekle.

Chocolate Covered Cheerios

Chocolate chips

Melt the chocolate in a double boiler. If do not have one, melt on low heat. After the chocolate is melted, add a dash of salt and a splash of milk. Stir. Pour the Cheerios into boiler and stir until completely coated. With your tablespoon, scoop up a spoonful of chocolate covered Cheerios. Place spoonful on wax paper, sprinkle with salt and let cool. Repeat process until all of the chocolate is gone.


1 small head of cabbage, cut into chunks
1 small onion, finely diced
1½ cups rice
Leftover ham, cut into chunks

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Boil rice until almost done, rinse with cold water and strain.
Microwave chunks of cabbage until soft, probably a minute or so. Mix all ingredients together.
Salt and pepper to taste. Butter or spray cooking oil on the bottom of your casserole dish or 8x8 pan. Place mixture in dish/pan; add a few dollops of butter on top. Cover and bake for about 20-25- minutes.



3 cups flour
1¼ cup Carnation Milk
1 teaspoon salt

Make dough and set aside.


1 small onion, cut fine
2 lb. ground beef
1 teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
¼ cup cold water

Mix all together

Roll out dough into individual 6 inch circles (¼ inch thickness); spread about 2 or 3 tablespoons of meat mixture on half of circle. Moisten edges with water. Fold over other half of dough and seal with fork. Deep fry in shortening, 400 degrees until done, takes about 10 minutes. Serve hot.

*Can be prepared in advance and frozen. If frozen, thaw before deep frying.

Mar 12, 2006

Meatloaf Muffins

I don't usually post twice a day but these were so good I didn't want to save it for later. In honor of Meatloaf Madness I decided to try a recipe I saw recently in Cooking Light magazine. Of course, I can never stick to a recipe so this is my interpretation of the original. These are great for kids because they are individual portions and if one doesn't like ketchup on top, that's ok, you can make different kinds like I did...topped with BBQ sauce, cheese, a slice of bacon or leave some plain. Served up with Mashed Potatos, gravy and veggies it's the perfect All American meal :)

Meatloaf Muffins

3/4 lb. ground turkey
3/4 lb. ground beef
1/4 c. frozen chopped spinach
a squeeze of lemon juice
1 Tbsp. dried parsley (or 1/4 c. fresh)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 onion, minced
1 carrott, minced
1/2 c. Rice Krispies, crushed *
1/2 c. panko bread crumbs *
1 tsp. mustard powder
1 tsp. Lea and Perin's Worshteshire Sauce
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
2 egg whites
1 c. tomato sauce

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl and mix well with clean hands. Spray a muffin pan with non-stick spray. Divide meat mixture between the 12 muffin sprayed cups. Top with your choice of toppings. Bake for 30 minutes. Once done, remove immediately to a plate so they don't soak up all the grease in the pan. (I used two forks to remove them).

*You could use any kind of bread or cracker crumbs or even crushed corn flakes or uncooked instant oatmeal instead.

Back in the kitchen

Hubby and the kids are off to church this morning and I'm still here nursing a cold and preparing to cook dinner tonight. I actually have enough of an appetite to think about food again (yea!) so here are the menus I've come up with for the rest of this month. I have a couple of desserts in mind too but will post those when I prepare them so I can share pics along with the recipes.

On to the menus...

Sun. - Meatloaf Muffins, mixed veggies, mashed potatoes and gravy
Mon - BBQ chicken, corn on the cob, baked beans
tues - homemade ravioli, broccoli
wed - Teriyaki chicken, brown rice, mixed veggies
thurs - pinto beans, corn bread, brown rice
fri. - leftovers
sat - baked crispy fish, roasted potato wedges, corn on the cob
sun - grilled turkey and cheese sandwiches, tossed salad, chips
mon - Chicken Sate, Thai noodles (mix), Asian style mixed vegetables
tues - beef stew, biscuits
wed - leftovers
thurs - chicken lasanga florentine
fri - homemade pizza
sat - breakfast for dinner (homemade turkey breakfast sausage, eggs, fried potatoes, grits, toast and jam)
sun - deli sandwiches, chips
mon - bean soup
tues - leftovers
wed - chili mac, mixed veggies
thur - clean out the fridge night

Mar 11, 2006

For My Fellow Bloggers

I'm a bit under the weather today so no cooking happening in our kitchen tonight. I did want to mention to my fellow bloggers a new site that may be of interest to you. It's called Blogitive. Check it out and if you sign up let them know that sent ya :) I'm off to rest now, I've got menus and some cool new recipes coming up this week so stop back by!

Mar 9, 2006

What's In Your Fridge?

OK, be honest... when's the last time you cleaned out your fridge? Do you know what's in there... lurking in the back? I have to be honest, I am obsessive about cleaning out my fridge and always knowing what's in there. I'm not that way about most things but our food stocks must be in order and a mental list be always be accessible at all times. So what's the best way to keep track of your food? Here are some tips that have helped me keep tabs on things.

1. Take It All Out - If you haven't taken a refrigerator inventory in a long time, take everything out and put it on your kitchen table. Then wash down the inside of your refrigerator, including the bins. This will give you a clean slate to start with.

2. Sort It - First get rid of anything that is obviously spoiled. Next groups things such as condiments, fruits and vegetables and deli items.

3. Date It - Check your expiration dates. If the date has passed toss it out. Don't risk your health if you think something is still good but the date has passed toss it anyhow.

4. Check your leftovers - If you have any leftovers older than 3 days old toss them. Bacteria can grow quickly on food so even if you think it's still good it's better to be safe.

5. Freeze it - any foods such as leftovers that you are not planning to eat in the next couple of days should go in the freezer. You can always microwave them if you need them in a hurry.

6. Put it all back - Start by putting all your vegetables back in the veggie bin and cold cuts in the cold cut bin. Put items that last longest towards the back and the most perishable items in the front.

7. Are you finished? - There are certain items that can and should be refrigerated that most people don't think of. Nuts, harder grains such as barley, brown rice and steel cut oatmeal should be kept refrigerated. Ketchup, peanut butter (especially the natural kind) and cooking oil should also be refrigerated to give it a longer shelf life. Milk can be frozen and so can cheese, although it may tend to crumble when you grate it after thawed.

8. For the future - To keep your refrigerator straightened out on a normal basis keep the following tips in mind.
  • Freeze leftovers that won't be used within 3 days.
  • Freeze fresh meats that won't be used within 2 days.
  • Don't overstock your fridge. Shop more often so that you don't buy too much at one time.
  • Do a weekly toss of items that have spoiled or things that your kids have insisted they will eat *later* and you know they won't.
If you control your fridge and don't let it control you, cooking will be more of a pleasure!

Mar 8, 2006

Whole Wheat Tortillas

I absolutly love the tortilla baker I posted the other, it is amazing! I made a dozen whole wheat tortillas in about 10 minutes. How cool is that! It did take some practice on how to get them the proper thickness but I think I have the hang of it now and plan to make more soon. And the cool thing about this recipe is you don't need a tortilla baker to make them, you can make them on a griddle or even a nice heavy skillet would work as well. Here's the recipe.

Pipin' Hot Bakery Whole Wheat Tortillas

(From Recipe*

1 cup white flour
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
4 tablespoons canola oil
2/3 cup water

1. Combine flours, baking powder, and salt.
2. Stir in the water all at once, using mixer or a fork, and toss quickly.
3. When dough can be gathered into a soft mass, turn onto floured surface and knead a few times.
4. Form 8 balls of dough, dredge in flour, and store in a plastic bag to prevent drying until ready to be used.
5. Flatten first ball of dough into a disk.
6. Roll out dough on floured surface until 7 inches or larger with even strokes that do not reach to the edge, turning over frequently.
7. Place tortilla in ungreased, frying pan that has been preheated to medium-high heat.
8. Cook 30-40 seconds on one side, turn over with spatula and cook 30-40 seconds on other side., First side should be pale and sprinkled with brown spots and the other side will be blotched.
9. Repeat process with other balls of dough.
10. Stack tortillas on a plate as they are cooked and cover them with a dish towel, which will keep them soft.

Mar 7, 2006

ARF Tuesday - African Chicken Stew

I hope I'm not breaking the rules today, but I just had to veer off of Sweetnik's list of the top 20 ARF's to add another favorite ARF for today's recipe. According to The World's Healthiest Foods,
"Sweet potatoes feature many antioxidants

When it comes to antioxidants, sweet potatoes may offer a bit of an advantage. Not only are they a more concentrated source of vitamin C, but they are an excellent source of vitamin A, in the form of beta-carotene (potatoes contain hardly any beta-carotene). The vitamin C and beta-carotene in the sweet potatoes work as powerful antioxidants to help to eliminate free radicals, molecules that damage cells and cell membranes and which are associated with the development of conditions such as colon cancer, atherosclerosis and diabetic heart disease.

Yet, the antioxidant profile of sweet potatoes extends even further. Some of the proteins found in sweet potato, usually referred to as root storage proteins, have been found to have antioxidant activity. In fact, one of the compounds studied (an as yet to be named compound simply referred to as 33 kDa TI) has been shown to be about 1/3 as active as glutathione, one of the most active antioxidant compounds in the body."
Any boy do I LOVE sweet potatos! I know, a lot of people refer to them as "yams" but no matter the name they are delicious! Sweet potato pie, sweet potato muffins... anything to get that nice rich warm flavor. So when I saw a recipe for African Chicken Stew I knew I had to prepare it in honor of ARF Tuesdays. The recipe can be found in my latest newsletter which is located in the recipe archives. And if you aren't a newsletter subscriber yet, what are ya waiting for? Fill out the form at the top left of your screen. :)

Mar 6, 2006

Guest Blogger #12 - Passionate America

Happy Monday everyone! "Wild Bill" is my Guest Blogger today. His blog, Passionate America, is full of political satire and humor so stop by and pay him a visit. He's sharing with us his award winning chili recipe today. I can't wait to try it! Here's Bill....


Wild Bill's Award Winning Chili

When you are a married stay-at-home Dad of two growing boys and the family is living on one (small) paycheck you learn how to be frugal. Being frugal dose not mean that a little competitive fun is out of the question, so when my wife informed me about the chili competition at her work, I just had to enter. Now I'd never entered any kind of cooking competition, so I had my work cut out for me.

I headed to the store with a shopping list, $10, and a dream. Shopping without a list is a no no on a tight budget, so I wrote my list and headed off to Wally World (Wal-mart for those of you that don not live in Oklahoma.) The $10 was for my chili fixin's and a 2 liter of Dr. Pepper, (my wife has to have her Dr. Pepper.) And the dream was to pound my chest, make grunting noises, and loudly declare to the world that I am a winner, I AM A WINNER!

Here is my chili recipe:

  • 1 med onion (chopped)
  • 1 green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 2 pounds ground chili meat
  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 2 Table spoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 3 Table spoons minced garlic
  • 1 10oz can milder or regular Rotel
  • 1 15oz can Hunt's seasoned diced tomato sauce for chili
  • 1 8oz can tomato sauce
  • 1 packet "Old Hammett Chili Seasoning "
  • 1 cup beef broth

Add chili meat, sausage, onion, green pepper, Worcestershire sauce, black pepper, and garlic to a BIG pot. Cook until meat is browned. Drain fat (got to watch our figures.) Return meat to pot, add remaining ingredients and simmer covered for 30-45 minutes. Serve and eat. For best flavor put in refrigerator over night.

Sounds simple doesn't it? It is, and boy is it gooooood!

The next day my wife took my chili to work in our crock pot. I patiently waited for my wife to get home and when she walked in the door with an empty crock pot I started to well up with pride. She hugged me, then handed me an iPod Shuffle and told me I won 1st place. My $10 pot of chili landed me an iPod, appreciation from the wife, and the title of Chili Champion, not to shabby, if I do say so myself.

My 2 year old likes my Chili too.