Wednesday, November 7, 2012



Smartfood

 <img src="https://img.bzzagent.com/image/smartfood.jpg?Type=activity&Activity=9602242601&Campaign=9090448031&Uid=1101753&token=b60f853edcdaab9ac2bc020c48029603" alt=""/>

We all want to eat smart food and be healthy, and we all love to snack. I was recently selected to field test some products by Smartfood and I was not let down.

I was sent a large bag of Sour Cream Onion puffed corn, and a small bag of Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn and Garlic Tomato Basil Hummus Popped Chips (yes!).  None of these products lasted very long in my house.

The puffed corn was a great treat because there were no corn kernels to deal with getting stuck in your teeth.  The flavor was very tasty, simple and mild. There was no big clumps of powdered flavoring sticking to the peaces.  And with over 60 pieces of these per serving, it's most definitely a filling snack!

The Garlic Tomato Basil Hummus Popped Chips were definitely my favorite. Who came up with this flavor?  Can I hug them or send them a holiday card? My taste buds were doing a happy dance with every single bite I took. The chips are also popped, which means no greasy taste or weighed down feeling in our belly (or all over your hands). The serving size is a bit on the smaller side, but aren't all chips serving sizes small?

The Cinnamon Brown Sugar Popcorn was also tasty. Not too sticky-sweet and covered with thick gobs of carmelized sugar and the service size was equally as filling.

All in all, I think this might have been my most favorite field testing so far for Bzzagent. I've been very lucky to have received so many products to field test and "bzz" about.. the best part?  #IGotitFree.   The worst part?  Trying to find these flavors in my local grocery store!

Monday, December 5, 2011

A quick tip!

I'm a multi-tasker.  To means that means that I can and always do more then I should be doing at one time. I'm also a mom of a sweet and busy little toddler. That means while I'm cooking dinner, I'm also very busy trying to steal hugs & kisses and spend some quality time with the little ones in my house (can't forget about my fur baby!).  This sometimes (75% of the time), leads to pots boiling over and me cooking "cajun style" (blackened). Thankfully my husbands stomach has gotten used to this :)

While cooking one day I noticed my pot of potatoes were drastically close to boiling over.  Instead of frantically turning down the heat, a light bulb went off in my head.  I remember reading in one of my cooking magazines that if you lay a wooden spoon across a pot of boiling water, it would prevent it from boiling over.  Hmm.. lets try this.

It worked!  Well, it mostly worked.  It works best if you lay the wooden spoon onto the pot as soon as you start boiling.  Once the starch boiled over the pot the initial time, it didn't happen again and I didn't adjust the heat settings.
      
I then tried it again, placing the spoon on the pot immediately and it worked like a charm!

uh-oh

getting close...

CRAP!

it didn't boil over after that

I placed the spoon on the pot from the start and it didn't boil over at all!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Chocolate & PB filled crescant rolls

I saw this recipe and my mouth just started watering.  Three of my main loves are carbs, chocolate and peanut butter.  Mix them all together and you just get pure heaven.  I've been meaning to try this recipe for a while now, and it's SO simple (no mixer needed) I just kept putting it off.  We were doing some family visiting over the weekend and I thought this would be the perfect timing for this new recipe for a a few reasons, mainly because the left overs wouldn't be in my house to eat :)  Since I have a toddler, I usually travel with an insulated bag to tote around her milk or yogurt or other meals.  Adding in there a tube of crescent rolls was extra task.  And it also took me less then 10 minutes to prep, then a few minutes to bake.  Winner!



Ingredients:
1 container of crescent rolls
1/4 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup chocolate chips.

Directions:

Pre-heat oven according to crescent package.  Unroll crescents and layer with a thin layer of peanut butter. Then evenly divide chocolate chips on top.  Roll up crescent rolls and bake according to package.

Serve warm & enjoy!

add as much (or little) of the PB and chocolate chips as you'd like

roll them up like regular plain-jane crescents

holy crap did the house smell yummy!

ooey-goey center!

One quick side note is that I used reduced-fat crescent rolls.  I figured with all that PB and chocolate, I could at least TRY to reduce the fat somewhere (all though I am counting the PB as protein!).

Monday, November 21, 2011

Fabric covered boxes

When I first started this blog, I originally thought it would be a perfect mix of recipes and crafts, but I've really only focused on the cooking/baking part.  That's the easiest part.  I need to eat and so does my family, so it's killing 2 birds with 1 stone.  The crafting part.. that's the hard part.  With cooking and baking so many yummy recipes, I've now started using my "free time" to work-out instead of craft.  Unless we get a nice relaxing weekend at home, with no errands and super long naps, not much crafting gets done lately.  This weekend was one of those exceptions!

Since we have a toddler, we buy a lot of diapers and wipes.  And we buy in bulk. This leads to very many cardboard boxes. I'm a fanatic about recycling, but I'm an even bigger fanatic about organization (or at least I dream to be!).  With all sorts of toys, puzzles, hats, gloves, mittens, etc all piled around the house, I need to find a pretty way to store them.  My solution is to cover some of these boxes with fabric that I already have a good stock of, and see what happens. 

The best part about this project is that I didn't have to use my hot glue gun (we don't work well together), and I could use my spray glue that I had leftover from a previous project.  Spray glue is ah-maz-zing!  You just need to make sure you have your work surfaced covered and have the room well ventilated :)

Materials needed:
box or item to cover
material, amount depends on the size of the box
scissors
spray glue (or hot glue gun for all you show-offs!

Directions:
I'll post the directions with each picture, so it will be a bit easier to follow.

Start with cutting off the top flaps on your box. I used a pair of all-purpose scissors and not my fabric sheers.
Lay box on the fabric and roll over to the side, you want to make sure you have enough fabric on each side, plus about 2 inches to fold over into the inside of the box.  Repeat with the opposite side.

Repeat the previous step with the remaining sides of the box.

Cut fabric accordingly, leaving about an inch allowance on the sides where it will meet up on the outside corners of the box.  Start with one side of the box and spray with the fabric glue and immediately fold over fabric, smoothing out any creases.

Spray more fabric glue on the inside of the box and fold over the remaining fabric to secure.  Repeat for the opposite side of the box that you are working with.

When you are ready to move onto the next 2 sides, snip the fabric that meets up on the outside corners with your scissors so you can fold in the extra fabric.

Secure the top extra fabric to the box with spray glue, and fold the unsecured fabric to create a seam.  Be sure to do a trial fold onto the box to make sure it lines up properly.

Spray entire side of box with glue and fold up fabric, smoothing out any wrinkles.  Then secure fabric to the inside of the box.

I had 2 boxes I wanted to cover, so I used my original template to simply cut out an additional cover.

Box is ready to use!  You can also cover the inside of the box with some pretty scrap booking paper, plain construction paper or additional fabric.  The plans I have for these boxes is be full of hats and mittens, so I don't feel the need to make the interior pretty this go-around.

If you notice your fabric on the inside of the box isn't stinking well, you can break out the hot glue gun to tact this part down.

Another fun idea for these is to cut out felt letters and add a child's name or to simply tag the box with what you are storing. 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bubble Up Enchiladas

So, apparently this is a Weight Watchers recipe.  How, I'm not sure.  It's full of cheese and biscuits... that's not me complaining, but if a large serving of cheese and biscuits is dieting, count me in!

I did like the flavor of this recipe, and the easiness of it.  But as my husband pointed out, even though I used a whole pound of ground up turkey, it seemed to get lost in all the biscuit.  The next time I try this recipe, I would either use more ground meat, or cut back the biscuits by at least 2.  I think the main problem was that I used "Grands" biscuits, and should have bought the "normal" kind.  I'm not typically a refrigerated-biscuit buying kinda gal, so I had no clue, but now I do!

Ingredients:
1 pound ground turkey     
1 (10 ounce) can enchilada sauce
1 (8 ounce) can of tomato sauce
1 can reduced fat refrigerator buscuits
1 1/4 cups shredded low fat mexican cheese

Directions:

Pre-heat oven to 350 deg.  Brown turkey and drain juices if needed.  Pour and mix enchilada sauce and tomato sauce over ground turkey.  Cut refrigerated biscuits into fourths and stir into meat mixture.  Dump into greased 9x13 casserole pan and bake for 25 minutes.  Take out of oven and sprinkle cheese on top, then back for an additional 10 minutes.  Let stand for 5 minutes and enjoy!


I used the 93% - 7% turkey meat

brown the turkey meat

add in the sauces

add in the cut up biscuits

post baked & pre cheese

mmm... cheese!

Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

** UPDATE**

It was brought to my attention that I was mistaken with the orgin of this soup.  Big thank you to Calissa Lazowicki for handing down this recipe and for clearing up that mistake.  Credit is due where it is earned.  And also thank you for sharing your post on Facebook and getting my blog more traffic.


The funniest part about this recipe is my husband doesn't like tomatoes but he LOVES this soup!  This soup is really that good! :)

Ingredients:
2 15oz. cans of diced tomatoes (I use the kind with green chilies in them)
1 small can of diced chilies
1 can cream of chicken soup
1 soup can of water
2 cups of chicken broth               
1-2 boneless skinless chicken breast, diced and cooked
Shredded cheese
Flour tortillas, cut into small strips
tortilla chips

Directions:
For the chicken part of this recipe, I dice up a chicken breast and cook it on medium heat in water.  No need adding oil or other fats to this recipe, save that for the toppings!

Place the first 6 ingredients in the crock pot and let simmer on low for 3-4 hours.  Mix a few times to break up the cream of chicken soup.

When ready to serve, place a handful of the flour tortilla strips in the bottom of your soup bowl.  Spoon soup into bowl, top with shredded cheese and mix.  Top with crumbled tortilla chips and serve!
cooking the chicken in water

stir well

flour tortilla strips

almost ready...

best. soup. ever!

On a side note, if you don't eat all your soup or tend to "over cheese" like me, you want to make sure you rinse out your bowl right away or soak in hot soapy water to break up the melted cheese stuck on the bottom of the bowl and spoon.  I rarely have this problem, but sometimes it just happens.

Enjoy!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Pesto

I've only recently learned to love pesto.  I always thought of it as an oily & heavy topping for pasta and that dish just doesn't appeal to me. 

Before we started our garden earlier this spring, I had the bright idea of growing plants on our window sills.  I bought a herb garden kit to do this myself and promptly upon arriving home, I gave it to my husband to do for me (if you know me personally, you know my mistrials with keeping plants alive).  Our basil kit kept growing and growing and growing.  We eventually moved this plant outside into our garden, which quickly turned into a basil bush!  What was I going to do with all this basil?  The only thing I really used basil for was for my chicken mozzarella roll-ups.. we would be eating these every day to keep up with the basil plant! 

My friend suggested I make pesto, and I was leery.  I didn't realize this was something so easy to make at home.  And also, what would I do with it?  I found a simple pesto recipe and sought our recipes with pesto in them.  I ended up making a few batches of this and would put my final product in ice cube trays, cover with plastic wrap and freeze.  Once frozen, I would move to a ziplock storage bag and easily store my pesto in the freezer for future use.  Amazingly easy!

Ingredients:      
2 cups of washed fresh basil leaves, packed
1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/3 cup pine nuts or walnuts
3 medium sized garlic cloves, minced
S+P to taste

Directions:

Combine the basil with the nuts in the food processor and pulse a few times.  (If you are using walnuts instead of the pine nuts, pulse them a few times in the food processor first before before adding the basil.)  Add the garlic and pulse a few times more.


Slowly add the olive oil.  Stop to scrape down the sides of the food processor with a rubber spatula.  Add the grated cheese and pulse again until well blended.  Add a pinch of salt and fresh ground pepper to taste.

Each ice cube tray is about a tablespoon (I've learned this from making and storing all of my daughters foods as a baby).  This will help for future use with recipes.

pulsed walnuts

presto - pesto!

getting ready to freeze