Saturday, December 31, 2011


Chicken and Sweet Potato Soup (Kitchen Cafe)
*Note: Increase the red pepper flakes if you like more heat. The 1/4 teaspoon in the recipe will give gentle and flavor but is not overly spicy (as in, my kids ate it with no problem).
*Serves 6-8
1 tablespoon butter
1 red onion, finely diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
3 ribs celery, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
7-8 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1 1/2 pounds chicken, cut into 1/2-inch pieces (or use about 3-4 cups of shredded, cooked chicken)
2 sweet potatoes, peeled and diced into 1/2 - inch pieces
1 can (14 oz.) can diced tomatoes, undrained
1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon dried marjoram
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
3 bay leaves
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon pepper
In a large pot (4 or 5 quarts), melt butter over medium heat and add onions. Cook, stirring often, about 5-6 minutes, until softened. Add bell pepper, celery, and garlic. Cook 5-6 more minutes, stirring occasionally, until the vegetables are tender. Add remaining ingredients (don’t add the cooked chicken, if using, you’ll add it near the end), stir well, and bring to a low boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 40-45 minutes, until the potatoes are tender and chicken is cooked through. If using cooked chicken, stir it in at this point and let it heat through. Discard bay leaves and serve.

We really liked this soup!

I've been looking up lactogenic foods because I feel like I'm losing my milk (I started taking More Milk Plus - hope it helps). Basil, marjoram, and yams were listed ... a coincidence?

Friday, December 23, 2011

French bread.

1 pkg dry yeast
1 tbsp sugar
1 tbsp soft shortening
1 1/2 cup very warm water
1 1/2 tsp salt
4 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup water.  Dissolve sugar and salt in remaining 1 cup water in 2 quart bowl.  Add shortening and yeast.  Mix well.  Add flour and stir well.  Cover.  Work through dough with spoon at ten minute intervals for 5 consecutive times.

Turn dough on lightly floured board and divide in half.  Shape into balls and let rest 10 minutes.  Roll each ball into a 9 x 12 inch shape , then roll up like a jelly roll.  Start with long side.  Seal edges.  Place on greases baking sheet.  Score top 6 times diagonally.  Cover with towel and let rise 1 1/2 hours.  Bake at 400° for 30 to 35 minutes.  Brush with butter.

Call Kim For tips

Monday, December 19, 2011


My sister called and asked me for the "Sorensen family eggnog recipe." Aka, the one out of Better Homes and Gardens. :) I thought I'd post it since I had it all typed up. 

1/3 cup sugar 
egg yolks
1/4 tsp. salt
4 cups milk
egg whites
3 tablespoons sugar 
1 tsp. vanilla
brandy/rum flavoring to taste (I leave this out)
1/2 cup whipping cream, whipped

Beat 1/3 cup sugar into egg yolks. Add salt; stir in milk. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, till mixture coats spoon. cool. Beat eggwhites till foamy. Gradually add 3 tablespoons sugar, beating into soft peaks. Add to custard and mix thoroughly. Add vanilla and flavoring. Chill for 3 or 4 hours. Pour into punch bowl or cups. Dot with "islands" of whipped cream; dash with nutmeg. Serves 6 to 8.

It says till mixture coats spoon, but I don't really know what that means. I just do it till it's good and hot and cooked through. You can cook the nutmeg in with it to add more flavor too.

Remember last year when a girl in Wal-Mart asked me if I wanted to sample her eggnog and in the most snobbish way I said, "No thanks, we make our own." Seriously, I'm still reeling over that one. So embarrassing. 

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Dinner Ideas?

What are you all having for Christmas dinner?
I'm for sure going to make a ham...but what else?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Chicken Stew

Chicken Stew
Adapted from Ina Garten

• 3 whole (6 split) chicken breasts, bone in, skin on
• 3 tablespoons olive oil
• Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
• 5 cups chicken broth
• 2 chicken bouillon cubes
• 12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
• 2 cups chopped yellow onions (2 onions)
• 3/4 cup flour
• 1/4 cup heavy cream
• 2 cups medium-diced carrots (4 carrots), blanched for 2 minutes
• 1 10-ounce package frozen peas (2 cups)
• 1/2 cup minced fresh parsley

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Place the chicken breasts on a sheet pan and rub them with olive oil. Sprinkle
generously with salt and pepper. Roast for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked
through. Set aside until cool enough to handle, then remove the meat from the
bones and discard the skin. Cut the chicken into large dice. You will have 4 to 6
cups of cubed chicken.

In a small saucepan, heat the chicken stock and dissolve the bouillon cubes
in the stock. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and saute the onions
over medium-low heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until translucent. Add the flour and
cook over low heat, stirring constantly, for 2 minutes. Add the hot chicken stock
to the sauce. Simmer over low heat for 1 more minute, stirring, until thick. Add
2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and the heavy cream. Add the cubed
chicken, carrots, peas, onions, and parsley. Mix well. Place the stew in a 10 x 13
x 2-inch oval or rectangular baking dish. Place the baking dish on a sheet pan
lined with parchment or wax paper. Bake for 35 minutes or until bubbly.

Note: To make in advance, refrigerate the chicken stew. Bake the stew for 55
minutes or until bubbly.

This recipe is from my friend. I saw that it was from Ina, so I looked up the recipe online to see the difference. Pretty much, my friend just omitted the frozen pearl onions and didn't use the biscuits. Here is the original recipe from Ina. You can pretty much call this Chicken and Biscuits or Chicken Pot Pie. It is soooo good and really quick and easy. I don't know if it's all the butter or what, but it is delicious. It's pretty plain jane, but so yummy. After reading the reviews online, I put in WAY less salt (like 1/2 tsp) in the stew .. but I also don't use unsalted butter ... really, who does? I also only used 1 stick of butter (rather than 1 1/2). I made the biscuits (yum!) and added less salt to them too b/c reviews had said they were too salty. I made my own half and half for the biscuits since the stew used cream ... and i still have cream from Thanksgiving :). I also left out the pearl onions like my friend does. This filled my 9x13 pan to the brim! Makes a lot. I made it on Sunday ... did as the "make ahead" instructions say and just made the "stew" and biscuits before hand, refrigerated them (separately) during church, and then just had to cook it when we got home. Oh, there's a lot of chicken in it, so if you don't have 6 chicken breasts, less would still be plenty.

Sunday, December 4, 2011


What's your family's favorite and/or most common vegetable dish to make it to the dinner table (and the recipe).


Grilled (or roasted) Asparagus --- evoo, salt, pepper. Grill.
Kim's Carrots and Onions --- in the family cookbook.
Roasted Carrots and Onions --- evoo, salt, pepper, sometimes a little Italian seasoning. Roast.

What's yours?

Friday, November 25, 2011

Grandma Cook's Vanilla Cream Pie

3/4 c sugar
1/3 c flour
1/4 tsp salt
2 c milk
2 slightly beaten eggs
2 tbls butter
1 tsp vanilla

combine flour, sugar, and salt in saucepan.
gradually stir in milk with a whisk.
cook and stir over medium heat until bubbly. cook and stir for 2 min.
remove from heat. temper the eggs. (stir small amount of hot mixture into beaten eggs).
add eggs into hot mixture, cook 2 minutes longer.
remove from heat, add butter and vanilla.
cool slightly then pour into baked cool pie shell. to cool pudding, lay saran wrap on surface and refrigerate.

to make chocolate pie: add 3 tbls of cocoa and 1/4 c sugar to dry ingredients in saucepan.
to make banana cream pie: slice 3 bananas into pie shell, pour pudding over.
to make coconut cream pie: add 1 c coconut flakes to warm pudding

Wednesday, November 23, 2011


Here's something fun ... let's all say what we are making for Thanksgiving (and doing) ... since it really is "eat or die" on Thanksgiving day. I'm always interested. I'm sure nobody will participate, but I'm trying this anyway.

We are going to a friend's house and she is pretty much doing everything. But I'm making a turkey breast (bone in) brined in this; she's doing a whole turkey. Gonna cook it in a roasting bag. Also taking a veggie tray and sour cream lemon pie. Yep, that's all I'm responsible for. Kind of nice.

What are YOU making/doing this Thanksgiving?

Saturday, November 19, 2011


Stop what you are doing and drive straight to Costco and buy this pesto.
 It is so so good. I want to drink it.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Caramel in a Crockpot

Take an unopened can of Sweet and Condensed Milk (regular or non fat),
Put it in the crockpot,
Fill the crockpot with water until the can is completely submerged,
Turn it on low for 8 hours,
Open and use for dippin.

Warning! When you open the can, contents will be under pressure, so keep your face/eyes out of the way of any "spitting". I learned that the hard way.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Meatballs with Sauce on Them

Put a bunch of meatballs in the crockpot (I like the Costco ones),
a cup and a half of salsa,
a cup and a half of grape jelly,
cook on low for a few hours.
I'm not saying this is the most gourmet meal you will ever eat, but it's easy and tasty.

You can serve them over rice, but I've come to realize I don't like rice. It's so weird. I think it has to do with throwing it up while pregnant. (I'm not pregnant).

Emily you could add this to your "grease fest" spread come Christmas.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

I know everyone has this recipe, but I want to record it here, so I know where it is.
    1 cup diced onion
    1 cup diced celery
    2-3 TB butter
        Saute onion and celery in butter using a heavy soup pot.
    Add 1 large can Swanson Chicken Broth (49.5 oz.)
            1 small can Swanson Chicken Broth (14 oz.)
        Bring to a low boil and add 1 cup diced carrots
    Add:  Uncle Ben's Long Grain and Wild Rice (1 - 6 oz. package).  Rice and seasoning packet
        Simmer on low for 20-25 minutes
    dissolve 2 chicken boullion cubes in 2 cups water.
    Mix in 1 pt. heavy whipping cream
    Add 3/4 cups Wondra Flour
        Add above mixture to soup pot with:
    2 TB flat leaf parsley (or dried parsley)
    1 tsp. ground sage
    a shake of cloves
    2 pinches coarse ground pepper
    Simmer on low until soup thickens - stir often.
    Add 3 1/2 - 4 cups bite-sized chicken chunks - DO NOT BOIL  AFTER THIS.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Mom's Zucchini Bread

We went to an orchard last week and I picked a million pounds of zucchini. After we ate all we could handle, I made some bread today ... and grated and froze the rest (in 2 cup portions) for zucchini bread later and later and later. Told you I got a million pounds.


Mix 1 c sugar, 1 c brown sugar, 3 eggs, 1 c oil.  Add 2 c grated zucchini, 3 T vanilla.  Mix in 2 1/4 c flour, 1 t baking soda, 1/4 t baking powder, 3 t cinnamon, 1/2 c nuts.  Bake at 350* for 1 hour. Makes two regular size loaves.

This is the most delicious zucchini bread I've ever had. The brown sugar and all that vanilla ... yum! Next I'm going to try Nettie's Cranberry Nut Bread (in the family cookbook).

Friday, October 21, 2011

White Bean Chili

2-3 chicken breast cooked, chopped
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can chicken broth
2 cans white beans rinsed
1 can (4 oz) chopped green chilies
1 1/2 tsp. powdered garlic
1-2 dashes cayenne pepper
1 tsp. cumin
1 tsp. oregano
1 tsp. salt
1/4-1/2 tsp. pepper

20 mins before serving add:
1 c. sour cream (best if you use regular, not light)
Handful of chopped cilantro

Throw it all into the crockpot. Cook on low 5ish hours. 
I love it with cornbread.
Jimi calls it "albino chili"

Monday, October 17, 2011

sloppy joes

I got this recipe years ago from my sister in law.  Actually, Jeff and I weren't even married when I got it.

This is a super easy one, and all 3 of my kids eat these sloppy joes:

1 lb hamburger (browned and drained)
1 can tomato soup
1 can chicken gumbo soup (this is getting a little difficult to find, so I bought some chicken and rice soup, but haven't tried it yet)
1 Tbs ketchup
1 tsp mustard

serve on bun, we like to put cheese on it too.  If you are looking for a good whole wheat store bought hamburger bun, we really like Sara Lee's brand.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Crock Pot Chicken Parmesean

This was a hit with the whole entire family. Yum.
(originally found here)

2-4 boneless, skinless chicken breast halves (I cut mine into strips, to make them into more reasonable serving sizes for the kids)
1/2 cup plain bread crumbs
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 Tbs. olive oil
1 egg, beaten
4-6 slices mozzarella cheese
1 jar (28-ounces) favorite marinara sauce

Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the bottom of the crockpot stoneware.
In a medium bowl, beat egg. In second medium bowl, mix the bread crumbs, spices, and grated Parmesan cheese all together.

Dip chicken in beaten egg and then toss into bread crumb mixture to coat completely on both sides. Place chicken breasts on bottom of crockpot. Place a layer of mozzarella slices on top of breaded chicken breasts. Cover cheese layered chicken with entire jar of sauce.

Place lid of crockpot securely on and turn heat to LOW for 6-7 hours or HIGH for 3-4 hours. Serve over cooked pasta of your choice. 

Sunday, October 2, 2011

sunday treat

i love making treats on sunday. since i'm avoiding chocolate because it makes my babies spit up, i had to reach out of my normal chocolate chip cookies, no bakes, etc and find something in my cook book without chocolate and that i didn't have to go to the store for. i found kim's Luscious Lemon Bars. luscious is right! totally dang good. highly recommend. it's found in the family cookbook. if i wasn't lazy, i would post the actual recipe on here. maybe someday i will...

oh, and i only had lemon juice from a jar, so i can only imagine they would be 10x better with fresh lemon juice. but still, soooo yummy. just make sure you don't suck in the powdered sugar on top when you take a bite like i did. you may have a cough attack if you do.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

2 Day Meal: Chili and Nachos

Day 1: Chili.
I like Jamie's recipe here.

Day 2: Nachos.
tortilla chips scattered about a plate,
queso cheese (I get the stuff found in the chip dip section) heated on the stove then slathered on the chips,
leftover chili, (even tastier with time),
pico de guyo for freshness (I just use three ingredients for my pico - tomatoes, finely chopped onion, cilantro).

We had the "day 2" nachos for Sunday dinner, and it was so good and easy. Maybe because it was after church it was extra delicious, I don't know, but mmmmmmmm mmm.

Monday, August 29, 2011

baked zucchini fries

made these last night and they were good!

Baked Zucchini Fries
Recipe adapted by Our Best Bites from Aggie’s Kitchen

About 1 lb. zucchini
1/2 c. Italian-seasoned panko bread crumbs
1/4 c. grated Parmesan cheese (the crumbly stuff, not shreds)
2 eggs

Preheat oven to 425. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.

Combine bread crumbs and Parmesan cheese. Set aside.

Whisk 2 eggs together in a shallow pie plate and set aside.

Cut the ends off the zucchini and then cut the zucchini in half so you have two short, stubby pieces. Set one piece on its end and cut it in half lengthwise. Cut that half in half, making 2 planks. Repeat with the remaining halves (so you’ll get 16 planks per zucchini).

Stack 2 planks on top of each other and cut into strips. Thicker strips will yield “meatier” fries with more zucchini flavor while thin strips will be crispy and taste virtually nothing like zucchini. When all the fries are cut, blot the pieces with a paper towel.

Working with a small handful at a time, dip the zucchini sticks in the egg, shake them to remove any excess, and then roll them in about 2-3 tablespoons of bread crumbs at a time, adding more as needed; you just don’t want to work with all the bread crumbs at once because they’ll soak up moisture from the egg and won’t stick to the zucchini. Place the coated strips on the prepared baking sheet and repeat until all the zucchini strips have been coated.

Bake for 10-12 minutes in the prepared oven then remove from oven, flip the fries, and bake for another 10-12 minutes or until the zucchini is not soggy and the coating is crisp and golden brown. Serve immediately with Pizza Sauce or Buttermilk Ranch Dressing. Serves 6-8 as a side dish.
Weight Watchers Points:
2 (for 8 servings) or 3 (for 6 servings)

Friday, August 26, 2011

Cheesecake Stuffed Peaches

These are soo good, and easy to make. I found it in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine. We prefer them cold or chilled rather than warm, but you can eat them however you like.

A few notes:

I also use a mellon baller to take the pit area out of the peaches because I like to pile the cheesecake in. If you really like tons of cheesecake, only use 4 or 5 peaches rather than 6. I made them twice, and I also tried putting them in a muffin tin instead of on a sheet pan, and it worked much better. You could peel them first too if you don't love the skin. 

Recipe also here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Chicken Tikka Masala and Naan

Love love this recipe. We ate at an indian restaurant recently, and we're hooked. And as always, I got the recipe here from Mels KC (PS, I think my picture looks much more appetizing than hers).

I also whipped up some Naan. It's soo good. The addition of the yogurt makes it moist and delish. Rob loves it.

Chicken Tikka Masala

1 cup plain yogurt
1 tablespoons lemon juice
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper (could sub. paprika if you don't like the heat)
1 1/2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 tablespoons minced fresh ginger
1 teaspoon salt
3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips or chunks
Combine all ingredients except chicken. Pour sauce over chicken and refrigerate for one hour or up to 8 hours. Grill or cook chicken in frying pan. Discard marinade
1 tablespoon butter
1 clove garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
2 teaspoons ground cumin
2 teaspoons paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces tomato sauce
1 cup cream (I would use half and half next time. a bit rich for me)
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Melt butter in large skillet over medium heat. Saute garlic and jalapeno for one minute. Season with cumin, paprika and salt. Stir in tomato sauce and cream. Simmer on low heat until sauce thickens, about 20 minutes. Add grilled chicken and simmer for 10 minutes. Garnish with fresh cilantro. Serve over hot rice.

Naan – Indian Flatbread

*Note: as with all yeast doughs, I never use the flour amount called for in the recipe as a hard fast rule (unless a weight measure is given and then I pull out my kitchen scale). Because humidity, temperature, altitude and a multitude of other factors can impact how much flour you need in your yeast doughs, I always judge when to quit adding flour by the texture and look and feel of the dough rather than how much flour I’ve added compared to the recipe. Thistutorial on yeast may help identify how a perfectly floured dough should be.
*Makes about 12 pieces of naan
3-4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
1 1/2 cups milk
1 teaspoon sugar
3-4 tablespoons, melted butter
Pour the milk into a liquid measure and heat in the microwave until warm to the touch (about 110 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer). If using active dry yeast, mix the sugar and yeast into the milk and let it sit for 4-5 minutes until the mixture is foamy and the yeast has activated. Once the yeast/milk mixture is foamy, pour the mixture into a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer and add the salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour (proceed with the second paragraph of the recipe). If using instant yeast, pour the warm milk into a large bowl or the bowl of an electric stand mixer. Add the sugar, instant yeast, salt and 2 1/2 cups of the flour. Proceed as directed below.
Mix well to combine. Continue adding flour gradually in small amounts, until a soft dough is formed that cleans the sides of the bowl. Knead the dough by mixer or hand until it is smooth and elastic, about 3-5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and let it rest at room temperature, covered lightly with greased plastic wrap, for about 2 hours.
After the dough has rested, turn it onto a lightly floured surface (I like to use my roul’pat for this) and divide the dough into 12 equal pieces, rounding each into a ball shape. Cover the pieces with a towel and let them rest for 30 minutes. While the dough rests, preheat your oven to 500 degrees F and place a pizza stone on the bottom rack of the oven. (If you don’t have a pizza stone, try grilling the dough on a lightly oiled outdoor grill or use a hot griddle to bake the naan – you’ll have to experiment with cooking times but I’ve seen either of those methods used with cooking naan also.)
Once the dough has rested for 30 minutes, one by one, roll each piece into a circle about 6-8 inches wide, depending on how thin or thick you want your naan. Lay the circle of dough on the hot pizza stone and spritz lightly with water. Close the oven and bake the naan for 2-4 minutes, until it is lightly puffed (some pieces will puff more than others) and brown spots begin to appear on the top. Remove the naan from the baking stone and place on a cooling rack. Brush lightly with melted butter. Stack the hot naan on top of each other as it comes out of the oven. Cover with a towel and let the naan cool completely or serve warm.
Recipe Source: adapted slightly from Evil Shenanigans

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tortellini Soup

This recipe for Tortellini Soup is on the menu this week.

I don't shred the zucchini like it calls for. I cut it the same size as the carrots so that little fingers can easily pick it up and throw it eat it.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Spaghetti and Meatballs

 Recipe from Our Best Bites
Italian Meatballs:
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 lb. Italian sausage
1/4 c. dry bread crumbs
1/2 tsp. pepper
2 Tbsp. dehydrated onion
2 eggs, lightly beaten
2 Tbsp. freshly grated Parmesan cheese
1 tsp. basil
1/2 tsp. parsley
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. salt*
*If you want, you could substitute all the Italicized ingredients with 3 Tbsp. garlic bread seasoning found here.

Gently combine meatball ingredients in a medium bowl. Shape into balls, whatever size you like, but I prefer using my standard cookie scoop (about 1 Tbsp.) to shape meat into balls and then rolling it between my hands to make them even more round. Place on a broiler pan and broil until the meatballs start to brown--I actually use my toaster oven. Just because I can. Remove from oven and set aside until ready to use (or freeze for later use).

1 large onion, chopped
4-5 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
Olive oil
2 28-oz. cans crushed tomatoes
16 oz. tomato sauce
1-2 Tbsp. sugar (to taste)
2 tsp. basil
1 tsp. Italian seasoning
Pinch of red pepper flakes
Salt and pepper to taste
Pinch of baking soda (to help neutralize the acid)
Heat olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and garlic and cook until onions are translucent and garlic is fragrant. Add remaining sauce ingredients and combine well. Bring to a simmer and add meatballs. Simmer on low, uncovered, until desired consistency is reached--about 25-30 minutes for a sauce that's of medium consistency (my husband, bless him, likes it very thick while I like it a little on the thin side. Whatever will we do??)
Serve over hot spaghetti, maybe with some breadsticks and some freshly grated Parmesan on top. Serves a lot--like probably 12 regular people or 2 teenage boys.
Prepare meatballs as directed, but divide the meatballs among two freezer-safe containers. Prepare sauce through adding all ingredients to the pan, but don't simmer; rather, divide the sauce among the two containers. Freeze until ready to use. When ready to use, place in slow cooker and cook on low for about 5-6 hours, although you'll want to keep an eye on the sauce and make sure it's not burning if you go for the whole 6 hours.

This was dinner tonight. I'm not totally sold on meatballs. I just end up cutting them up into little bits anyway, and my kids aren't that enchanted by them. Maybe too much work for little reward. But it's a delicious recipe. I think I will just mix it all together as normal instead of making balls next time.

That paragraph won't "unbold", so just imagine I'm yelling at you.


Friday, August 5, 2011

Calorie Counter

Here is a cool website I found today. It keeps track of your calorie intake, and also calculates your calorie output (exercise). It's really user friendly and stuff too.

Start by entering your information, and then click the "start your journal now" button.
Then you register so that you can sign in to your journal every time.
From there it's self explanatory and fun!

(does this sound preachy? i don't really care if you keep track of your calories or not, so i won't be checking in on you to see how it's going. you don't have to do it.)

Thursday, August 4, 2011


this meatloaf is soooo good.

had it for lunch today with squash from mom's garden. yum! sammy even ate some squash (she doesn't love veggies).

anybody else ever going to post some meal ideas??? jk.

now i need to go fold my laundry from our trip ... unpacking/post-trip-laundry is one of my top 5 least favorite things to do.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

kelvington special

our friends call these the kelvington special. we love them ... super quick and easy. it just cheese and tomato on a bagel. here's how:

toast up buttered bagel under broiler (open face). once it's golden brown, place cheese on top - i always use havarti. put back under broiler until cheese is melted. take out of oven and top with sliced tomato, sprinkle of seasoned salt, and some pepper. they are really good. i promise.

anybody recognize these plates?

Thursday, July 7, 2011

mango quinoa salad

made it and totally loved it!!! just my two cents about it though: too many beans, i'll add less next time. too little mango, i put 3 in and wanted more! so good though.
we used to not like mangoes because we had never had the good kind of mangoes. we got the good kind in a bountiful basket a few times and they are like candy. totally good.  costco has them too.

good mango...
not so good mango...

anyway, here's the recipe:

Mango Quinoa Salad

2 cups cooked quinoa* at room temperature, or chilled
1 14 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 medium mango, peeled and diced
1 red bell pepper, diced
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1 handful chopped cilantro (about 1/2 cup)
4 tablespoon red wine vinegar
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1-2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
kosher salt
freshly cracked black pepper

Place cooked quinoa in a large bowl.  Add mango, red pepper, green onion, black beans, and cilantro.  In a small bowl combine vinegar, olive oil, and lime juice.  Whisk until smooth and pour on top of salad.  Toss to combine and add salt and pepper to taste.  Chill for at least one hour before serving.

NOTE (8/4/11): i take back my snobby mango comments. we made this at mom's house and used the other kind of mangos. they were totally good (but not AS good) and had way more "meat" on them. maybe i just didn't like them at all before ... 

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

THE best pork tenderloin you will ever have.

we made this for 4th of july. it was soooo delish. (i marinated mine <8hrs)

we had grilled veggies with it (red pepper, zuchinni, and asparagus) --- my current favorite way to eat veggies. i grill them like in mary's post below. andy even loves veggies when they are grilled.

Citrus and Soy-Marinated Grilled Pork Tenderloin

*Serves 6
2-3 pounds pork tenderloin
3/4 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
2 cloves garlic, finely minced
2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice (from about 1 lemon)
Combine all the ingredients except the pork and mix well. Pour the marinade into a ziploc bag or baking dish and add the pork tenderloin, making sure the marinade completely covers the pork. Marinade for 8-10 hours.
Preheat an outdoor grill (charcoal or gas). Grill the pork tenderloin about 3-4 minutes on each of its four sides (the exact time will depend on the temperature of your grill) or the internal temperature is about 150 to 155 degrees. Remove from the grill, tent with foil, and allow to rest 10 minutes before slicing and serving.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Sticky Coconut Chicken

We made this recipe for dinner a few nights ago. She uses chicken thighs, which are great. We decided to make kabobs instead this time. It turned out so good. It's pretty spicy though, so you might want to skip the last glazing part if you have kiddies eating it. I hate turning my oven on during the Summer, so this is a great way to keep the heat outside.

Sticky Coconut Chicken
from Mels Kitchen Cafe
6-8 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
1 cup canned coconut milk
1 Tbsp. minced fresh ginger
1 tsp. fresh ground pepper
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
Marinade chicken in coconut milk, ginger, pepper and red pepper flakes at least one hour (I let mine marinade four about four to five hours). Grill on barbecue.
3/4 cup rice vinegar
1/2 cup sugar
3 Tbsp. soy sauce
1 tsp. red pepper flakes
While the chicken is grilling, bring above ingredients to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until mixture is reduced and thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Be patient because it takes a little while. But once it starts getting really thick, immediately take it off the heat! Glaze both sides of chicken the last few minutes of grilling and serve chicken over rice.
Sidenote: I used the extra coconut milk left in the can as part of the liquid in my rice and it was unbelievable! It was very mildly sweet and paired so well with the chicken. Yum!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

bananas foster bread pudding

i made this today for fathers day. super good if you like bananas foster and bread pudding.
i made a caramel sauce to put on top. it was really good but really sweet. i forgot to buy some ice cream at the store yesterday ... that would be better (esp melted) i think. delish nonetheless. esp with a glass of milk. yum.

and here's an idea for a meal: mom's sweet and sour meatballs. andy requested them for f-day...coincidentally, so did dad. ha. seriously, i think i can make these faster than anything else (mix the meatballs in a kitchenaide). we love them. (recipe is in the family cookbook that kim made).

Monday, May 23, 2011

Split Pea Soup

I like to have ham for dinner just so I can have split pea soup with the leftover ham and bone.  Surprisingly this is a hit with my kids (even the picky one). 

2 cups dried split peas
1 ham bone
3 celery stocks, chopped
5 carrots, chopped
1 large onion, chopped
1//2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp oregano
salt and pepper

Rinse split peas and soak overnight (sometimes I forget to soak over night, a couple hours works fine).
Boil ham and bone in water 4-5 hours. 

About 1 hour and 15 min. before serving add the rest of the ingredients to the boiling ham stirring occasionally until peas are tender and liquid is partially cooked down.  Stir frequently towards end of cooking to keep from scorching. 

 Before serving, transfer ham and bone to cutting board and cut into bite size pieces, return ham to soup and discard bone.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  If soup is too thick add water. 

Crusty Dutch Oven Bread

This is an easy, rustic, no knead bread.  The hard part is remembering to start it the night befor you eat it.

3 c flour
1/2 tsp yeast
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c warm water

Make dough the night befor serving. Mix all ingredients by hand (no mixer).  Set it on countertop in a bowl, covered with towel and leave overnight.  3 hours before serving dump dough onto a floured counter top and fold into thirds (like an evelope) 3 times.  Cover with cloth and let rise for 2 hours.  1/2 hour before baking place dutch oven into 425* oven to heat.  After 2 hours of rising place dough into hot dutch oven and bake for 30 min with lid on.  Remove lid and bake for another 10-15 min.  Remove from dutch oven and listen to the bread crackle as it cools.

I like to just break the bread apart with my hands and dip into olive oil with balsamic vinegar and pepper like at Macaroni Grill.  Yum Yum!

Thursday, May 5, 2011

happy cinco de mayo!

baked creamy chicken taquitos.

i made these today for lunch. good ... very much kid food. i used corn tortillas. it made 20. i would double it next time since i love lots of leftovers - and to freeze some.

made this too.  kim has mentioned it before. i love this salsa. and all mexican foods. thank goodness for cinco de mayo for an excuse to have mexi food all day long.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

clam chowder

 this is one of our favorite go-to-frozen-easy meals.

It's really good, you can find it in the deli/cheese section of costco (at least that's where I found it).  I don't really even like clam chowder, I originally got it for Jeff to take to work, but have ended up eating it on nights we get home late and dinner isn't ready, and now I can say I do like clam chowder.  It tastes homemade and isn't very fishy/clam-y.

I usually serve it with homemade bread and some raw fruit or veggies or edamame because the servings are pretty small.

here's the nutrition info if you are interested:

Monday, April 25, 2011

Bran Muffins

These are definitely a Marty special. I love them. They're super healthy, so I don't feel bad pounding them. I made them with quick oats and old fashioned, and I like both. I think the quick oats make them more moist though. Next time I make them, I don't think I would add as much sugar...


Mix dry ingredients:

1 1/2 cups sugar
3 cups whole wheat flour
3 1/2 cups oatmeal 
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1 1/2 cups Crazins
1 1/2 cups nuts (optional)

Mix wet ingredients:

1 1/2 cups oil
3 mashed bananas
1 1/2 cups chopped apples (about one large apple)
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla.

Combine dry and wet ingredients together. Bake in a muffin tin at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Makes about 2 dozen.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

blueberry pie

This is currently my favorite pie.  I LOVE it, especially with ice cream on top...we are having it tomorrow for easter dinner.

from mom:
3-4 cups of blueberries
1/2 c juice from frozen berries or water if using fresh berries
3/4 c sugar
2 TBS tapioca
1 1/2 TBS corn starch
1 tsp lemon juice
mix liquid, sugar, tapioca, corn starch and thicken.   Add berries and lemon juice.  Pour into a pie crust and top with another one.  Bake at 425 for 30 min.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Chicken Peanut Thai Noodles

Rob and I eat "Thai" food at least twice a month. We love it. I found this recipe from Picky Palate originally, but I've tweaked it to how we like it. This is really peanut-y, but we like it like that. A tip that I learned is that you can buy fresh ginger and freeze it. Just pull it out when you want to use it, and it's great.

1 lb whole wheat thin spaghetti noodles (I use rice noodles instead)
2 Tablespoons sesame oil
1 garlic clove, peeled
1 (1 inch) piece of fresh ginger, peeled
½ Cup smooth peanut butter (I've used crunchy too)
¼ Cup soy sauce
2 Tablespoons brown sugar
1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes (add more if you like it hotter)
1 Cup hot water
2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
½ Cup finely chopped white onion
½ Cup finely chopped red or orange bell pepper (I put tons in. Like 3 whole bell peppers)
1 Cup cooked, shredded chicken breast
¼ Cup finely chopped cilantro leaves 
1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste
¼ Cup dry roasted peanuts, chopped (optional) (I use honey roasted. Soo good)
2 Tablespoons sesame seeds (optional)
1. Cook noodles according to package. Drain, rinse with cold water, place in large pasta bowl and toss with sesame oil. Set aside.
2. Place garlic and ginger in food processor until well chopped. Add peanut butter, soy sauce, brown sugar, vinegar and red pepper flakes. Pulse until well combined and slowly add hot water. Set aside.
3. Place olive oil in hot skillet over medium heat. Saute onion and bell pepper for 5 minutes or until softened. Stir in chicken breast, cilantro and salt. Stir until heated through.
4. Add sauce and chicken mixture to noodles. Toss to coat and garnish with peanuts and sesame seeds if desired.
6 servings

Monday, April 11, 2011

Potato Tacos

*I know you probably already have this recipe, but I just posted it on the other food blog I do with my gal friends, so what the heck. It's a Sorensen original. (I reminds me of mom anyway, and I have never seen it anywhere else in the world)

lb ground beef
1 onion diced
1-2 baking potatoes
1 tsp seasoned pepper
1 tsp seasoned salt
1 tsp garlic powder 

Brown the meat. Halfway through, add the diced onion. Allow these to cook together while you work on the potatoes.
Peal and cut your potato into chunks. Boil until nice and tender.
Drain the meat.
Drain the potatoes.
Combine the meat and potatoes.
Add seasoned pepper (it's a real spice found in the spice isle) and seasoned salt and garlic powder. 

I love serving them in corn tortillas that have been crisped up on the stove. I top it with queso fresco, but of course you can add any of your regular taco toppings.

Here is a visual of what your potato taco guts will look like:

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Jailhouse Chili

This is Andy's uncle's recipe.  He's big into dutch-ovening. I remember he made this when we were dating and I LOVED it. Lucky me - it was in the recipe book that Andy's cousin gave me for my bridal shower. Yum. It is sweet and spicy and thick --- which I love. You could change any of that up I suppose if you don't like chili the way I like my chili.  I made this the other day because soup/stew/chili days are running low around here with the weather warming up, so I had to make it one more time :). Plus, it is super duper fast. Also, I know that Jeff won your chili cook off Nettie (right?), but I dare you to try this one this year.

1 lb ground beef
1 onion, diced
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 can diced green chilies
1 can jalapeno peppers (WAY too hot ... I add a little at a time. Maybe 1/2 a can. I once used this much and yowzas!)
1 can diced tomatoes
1 can tomato paste
2 T chili powder
1 T cumin
1 T vinegar
2 T brown sugar (I add a little more)
1 T oil (I never add this ... I don't get the point of it)
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
Salt and Pepper
Dash of oregano
Dash of curry powder (yum ... this really gives it that little something)

Cook ground beef and onions until cooked through; add garlic and cook for 30 seconds.  Add green chilies, jalapeno peppers, tomatoes, tomato paste, chili powder, cumin, vinegar, brown sugar, and drained beans. Simmer for 1 1/2 -2 hours (I never wait this long ... I let it go for as long as it takes to get the table set, kitchen picked up some, etc ... )

I actually just add 1 packet of Chili Seasoning from the store + little extra cumin and the oregano and curry powder instead of the seasonings separate. I don't know why. That's how I did the first time I made it and I never changed. I'm sure I get more seasonings that way. I also add a little water to thin it out (I told you it was a thick chili) ... or sometimes I just use a can of tomato sauce if I don't have (or forgot to buy) tomato paste and that makes it thinner. This doesn't make a whole lot ... enough for my little family x2 meals. So if you have more kids, I would double (or triple if you want leftovers). I double it when I want lots of leftovers. And I'll add this: I think when I doubled the batch, I added more beans and didn't quite double the meat ... just so I'm not using up so much of my beef, makes it cheaper. I usually make cornbread with it. This meal fills me up! Little Sammy loves it too.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

chocolate crunch brownies

I posted this over on my blog, but thought I'd put it here too.  I made these yesterday for the activity day girls and they were soooo good.
Chocolate Crunch Brownies
1 c. butter, softened
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
6 T. cocoa
1 c. flour
2 t. vanilla
1/2 t. salt
1-7oz. jar marshmallow creme
1 c. creamy peanut butter
2 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 c. rice krispies

Cream butter and sugar
add eggs
stir in cocoa, flour, vanilla, salt
spread into greased 9x13 in. pan
bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean (I think I usually have to bake things a bit longer, due to the altitude)
spread marshmallow creme over cooled brownies
in small saucepan, melt peanut butter and chocolate chips over low heat
remove from heat, stir in cereal
spread over marshmallow layer
chill before cutting
store in refrigerator
makes 3 dozen

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Spanish Rice

I love this rice. Tasty. I serve it along with those chicken burritos or anything Mexican.
Spanish Rice

2 cups uncooked rice
1 onion, chopped
2 T. garlic, minced
2 T. olive oil
1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes (I prefer petite diced for this)
3 heaping tsp. chili powder
3 heaping tsp. chicken bouillon
1 tsp. Salt
2 1/2 cups water

Heat the oil in a large pot. Add the rice, onion, and garlic and sauté for 5 minutes. Then add all the rest of the ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes. Serve with burritos or any other Mexican dish!!

Thursday, March 31, 2011


Okay, I talked about this before (in our email chain), but I am more and more convinced that if you want get your kid to eat more veggies, sneak em in a smoothie.  Actually, if you want to get me to eat more veggies, sneak them in a smoothie.

I basically use this recipe:
  • frozen strawberries
  • frozen or fresh blueberries (I don't use the mixed berries because morgan does not like the seed).  I definitely like to add the blueberries because they are so good for you
  • 1/3-1/2 cup of yogurt, I use vanilla, but I'm thinking about making my own yogurt here pretty soon (my Indian friend does it and thinks it's much better.  I agree.)
  • banana...bananas really sweeten it up and mask other flavors
  • any other fruit--pear is a good one, it's pretty sweet
  • 1 cup(or more) milk or apple juice.  I'd prefer to just use milk, but the juice really sweetens it up and my kids are more likely to drink it.  I usually add both.
  • spinach.  I fill my blender up as full as I can with spinach
  • grated carrot (or left over baby food you want to get rid of.  beware if it has peas in it.  they kind of have a strong flavor.)
  • honey or agave if it needs sweetening
  • flax seed, i usually add 2-3 tablespoons
  • sometimes I add protein powder if I remember.
I usually just make the above recipe, but my friend makes green smoothies, which are more veggie-ish and she adds kale, cucumber, sprouts, bock choy, avocado(makes it creamy), zucchini.  So I bought some kale (which is supposed to be the healthiest of the greens--is that true jamie?), cucumber, zucchini and added it today, and I like it (I grated the cucumber and zucchini).  I can really taste the cucumber, can't taste the zucchini or kale, although the texture is more mealy

There you go, lots of healthy veggies in a smoothie.  If morgan is home i add less veggies, she has a pickier pallet when it comes to these.  Beware of the color.  It's greenish/brown (depending on the blueberries).  I usually put it in a cup with a lid and straw.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Asian Salmon with Rice Pilaf

This recipe calls for salmon, but I've made it with talapia or you can use whatever fish you have.  I really like this, it's something different to do with fish than the usual lemony dilly style I usually do when we have fish.  (next time I will remember to take a picture)


1 tbs olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
2 c water
1 c uncooked rice
1/4 c finely chopped parsely (or a tbs or so of dried)
salt and pepper

Salmon Ingredients

4 4 oz skinless salmon filets (or your preference of fish)
1 tbs olive oil
1 garlic clove, minced
1 tbs grated fresh ginger root (my favorite part)
1 tsp soy sauce
1 tsp maple syrup
2 green onions, chopped

Rice:  Heat oil in sauce pan and saute onions and pepper.  Add water and rice; bring to boil.  Reduce heat; cover and simmer 50 min., or until rice is tender and liquid is absorbed.  Fluff with fork; stir in parsley. Season with salt and pepper.

Fish:  Marinade salmon in ingredients above for 15-20 min.  Heat grill pan on medium .  Add salmon, discard marinade; cook 3-4 min per side until salmon is opaque and cooked through.  Serve over rice.

Omelets in a Bag

This is the kids latest. We learned this from Brad and Kathryn several years ago but had kind of forgotten about them. A few days ago I couldn't think of anything for them to eat for lunch. I asked if they wanted to make omelets in a bag and they were sooooo excited. So we did it and they ate them up!

We have a hard time getting them to eat a good breakfast in the morning. Especially protein. So this morning we had them make omelets in a bag and again they ate them up! I love it cause there is little mess, only your boiling pot of water and the cutting board that you cut the veggies up on (and the egg on the floor if someone happens to miss the bag:)).

  • Boil water in a pot. If we are just doing 2 or 3 I used my 4 qt, when we do more I use bigger.
  • I use a quart size freezer bag cause I don't want it to break in the water, but a regular might still work, put in your egg. (aaron and I do 2)
  • Put in about a tablespoon of milk and some salt and the kids squish it together.
  • Add veggies and cheese. The girls only like broccoli , I like onions, mushrooms and anything else I might have. Chop the veggies up pretty small so they can cook.
  • remove air from bag and seal it up.
  • Drop the bag in boiling water and let cook. I use a wooden spoon to squish it around and make sure the runny inside gets pushed to the outside. I also make sure the zipper part stays above water so I can handle it.
  • when its done - maybe 3 to 5 minutes, I don't know I have never timed it, drop it out on a plate, throw your bag away, and enjoy!

Moo Shu Noodles

I fixed this for dinner Saturday night and doubled it so we could have it for Sunday dinner also. We love it, the kids eat it great (except for the mushrooms, which I gladly take care of) and its yummy leftover.

At first it had kind of a different taste to me because I have never cooked with hoisin sauce before. But now, I love it, and I love the taste the fresh ginger gives it. I have used dried ginger when I didn't have the fresh - it was a little different, but still delicious.

Picture and recipe can be found here at Mel's Kitchen Cafe.

Moo Shu Noodles
Printable Version

12-ounces fettuccine
3 tablespoons canola oil, divided
3 eggs, beaten
3 medium-sized boneless pork chops, thinly sliced (it is easier to slice thinly if pork chops are slightly frozen)
Ground black pepper
3 scallions, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons ginger (about a 2-inch piece), peeled and grated
3 to 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped or grated
1/2 pound mushrooms, stems removed and caps thinly sliced
1/4 cup hoisin sauce
3 tablespoons soy sauce
1/2 small head Napa or Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chicken broth

Place a large pot of water over high heat to boil. When the water comes up to a bubble, add some salt and drop in the fettuccine. Cook the pasta to al dente according to package directions. Drain the cooked pasta and reserve.

Combine the hoisin and soy sauce together in a small bowl. Set aside.

In a 12-inch non-stick skillet, heat one tablespoon oil over medium heat. Add eggs and scramble. When done, scrape them onto a plate and reserve.

In the same skillet heat two tablespoons oil over medium-high heat. Season the pork with salt and pepper, add to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and cooked through, about 5 minutes (don’t overcook or pork will be tough!). Remove the meat from the pan onto the same plate as the eggs and keep warm.

Add the scallions, ginger and garlic to the pan, and cook until aromatic and the scallions are tender, about 1 minute. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir-fry until golden brown, 4-5 minutes.

Add the cabbage to the pan and stir-fry until tender, about 3 minutes. When the cabbage is tender, add the reserved pork and scrambled eggs back to the pan along with the hoisin-soy mixture and the chicken broth. Stir-fry to fully heat through, about 1 minute, and then toss with the reserved cooked pasta. Cook to heat through and serve.

Recipe Source: adapted from Rachael Ray