Sunday, January 31, 2010

Winter baking recipes!


Winter baking is the weekend review theme this Sunday!
If you are stuck inside the house due to snow and ice (as we are) why not bake up something good?
Here are some great winter recipes and chances are you will have the ingredients in your pantry to make them right now!

Weekend review: Winter recipes
Coffee
Crockpot Hot Chocolate

Easy pumpkin bread

Fall recipes: Easy banana bread

Banana chocolate chip bread

Banana pineapple bread
Sopapilla cream cheese bars

Chicken salad braid
Easy clam chowder soup

Meatballs or meatloaf

Chicken and dumplings

Muffins

Pecan cranberry scones

Spinach pie

Egg muffins

Easy cake bars

Fall recipes Chocolate latte cookies

Sugar cookies

Banana cookies

Peanut butter cookies

Coconut macaroons

Chocolate chip cookies

Cream cheese cookies

Pine nut cookies

Kolacky cookies
Electric skillet cookies

Easy pie crust

Easy pie crust 2

Apple pie
Pecan pie

Brownies
Blueberry cream cheese bars

Blackberry crisp

Easy apple crumble
Cream cheese and cherry Danish

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Julie & Julia AND bread baking part 2...


Happy Saturday! Here in Raleigh, NC we have snow on the ground and a high temperature of 24 degrees!

I have watched Paul Blart Mall Cop with my family, cooked and eaten breakfast and lunch and am currently watching Julie & Julia for the 88th time since I got the DVD for Christmas. (I'm not technically sure it is the 88th time, but it must be close)


I have to say that I made another loaf of whole wheat bread yesterday afternoon and it came out MUCH better than the first. First of all, I made a 2 pound loaf instead of the 1 pound loaf. Also, this time, during the kneading process, there were no loud and intrusive noises coming from the bread machine. I figured out why that was happening... I did not have the metal pan inserted properly the first time! This time, I pressed it in better and presto...no more jack hammering on my kitchen counter!


Now I can bake bread day or night without waking up my neighbors :-)


Have a wonderful weekend...watch a movie that inspires you today :-)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Whole wheat bread experience!


Here in NC, they are calling for snow tonight and through Saturday. So, last night I got the itch for baking! I decided to make home made whole wheat bread in my bread machine.

I went into the kitchen drawer to get the manual for the machine that mind you, contains the recipes. It was no where to be seen! Now, I ALWAYS keep all of my manuals together in this place so I am not sure where it is hiding.
I decided to go online for a recipe. Yeah...good luck with that! I was NOT going to PAY for a recipe to use with my machine. Thankfully, I found this wonderful article on Ehow.com about my specific machine AND she included a link to the manual...for FREE!
OK, I printed off my directions and several recipes and I was ready to bake some bread!

I got all of my ingredients into the machine and turned it on. It sounded like a jack hammer pounding away at my kitchen counter! Put it this way, it was loud enough that my dad, who was speaking to my son on the phone heard it and asked him if I was pounding bricks! I went to check on it and discovered this strange smell coming from the machine...was it THAT long since I have made bread? Let me ask you this... you know when the weather starts to get chilled...the seasons turning from fall into winter and your heat kicks on for the first time? You know that smell that comes out of the vents? It is like a mixture of old air mixed in with the heat? THAT is what I smelled last night coming out of my bread machine...sad but true. It HAS been that long :-P
FINALLY, it got through the kneading process and the little light switched over to the word "rise". Ahhhh...the quiet! Then, about an hour later it started to bake. The aroma was heavenly!
At 11pm, my bread was cooled and ready to be removed from the machine. I removed it and cut a slice. Yum! It was very tasty. I would like to make another loaf only this time, I would like it to be lighter... not as dense. Any ideas on how I could accomplish that?

All in all, I am pleased with my whole wheat bread and the baking experience!

Lesson learned: Do not start up the bread machine while others are sleeping. They will be awakened by loud hammering noises!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Loco Lu's Coffeehouse... Pampered Chef anyone?


Last night I went to my first TAF (Triangle Area Freelancers) meeting. We met at Loco Lu's Coffeehouse in Raleigh, NC. The meeting went really well and I did pick up a few things about Twitter and Linkedin that I did not know. I saw an old friend that I have not seen in a while and it was nice to get to catch up a little bit. Other than that, I am sad to say that I did not meet anyone new :( I am hoping that next month when I go I will be able to meet some new people.

We met at
Loco Lu's Coffeehouse and I have to say I really liked it there! The environment left me feeling very comfortable, as if I was sitting in my own living room. There were tables and chairs set up along with several couches and upholstered chairs for sitting. The staff was SUPER friendly and the coffee was great! Their prices were very reasonable and I have to say I would definitely go back there again... with or without the TAF group. They are located at: 5210 Hollyridge Dr Raleigh, NC 27612 which is in Oak Park Shopping Center, off Glenwood Ave. I recommend you go and check it out and support this great company!

Today, I p
ublished an article about Pampered Chef and a GREAT representative here in Raleigh!
If you would like to have a show or order something online, please check out this article: Pampered Chef: Raleigh consultant



Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Cinnamon in my coffee and a pochette to go with it!


Good morning blog world!
Every morning I wake up and make a pot of coffee. Several weeks ago I switched to decaf (but sshhhh.... don't tell my husband. He still thinks he is drinking regular). This morning I decided to add ground cinnamon to my coffee grinds before I brewed my coffee. I used to do this every morning and for some reason I stopped! After taking my first sip of coffee this morning, I thought to myself... Why did I stop adding cinnamon to the coffee? And to be quite honest with you...I just don't know!!!! From this day forward, I WILL be adding my cinnamon =D

In addition, I posted a Pochette recipe today! This recipe way made by Melissa D'Arabian (from the Food Network) when she was on The Next Food Network Star last season. My friend Kendra made them and brought me some to Church one evening. That was all it took for me! I liked them so much I made a batch a few days later. These sweet delights would go PERFECTLY with a cup of cinnamon coffee!

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Healthy banana oat bars (Banana oat bar recipe)




As I have said before, January is, "Let's get healthy month"! I know I have made some strides to eat better myself. I have been attending an, "Eat for Health" class that does include reading the book with the same title.
In the second book to the series, there are many recipes listed to get you started on your healthy walk. I do not have the book, but I looked online at the website and found this
banana oat bar recipe. I took the recipe and made a couple of subtle changes to it. The results were really good! I have made this recipe twice and the second time I added 2 shakes of cinnamon for an added burst of flavor. I liked it better with the cinnamon added in!
These are very healthy! I like to eat them warm. So, even if I make them and eat them later, I like to warm up my piece in the microwave.

Lesson learned: I thought I needed eggs to hold my recipes together, but then I tried this recipe and learned that I do not!

Healthy banana oat bar recipe
If you try these, let me know what you think!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Time to make the juice!


Have you ever juiced fruits and vegetables before?
I used to incorporate it into my every day diet! Then, I decided the juicer took up too much space on the counter and I was not using it enough to constitute having it out...so under the cabinet it went to live a long lonely life.
Today, I decided to take it out, thinking: Fresh squeezed juice is much healthier for us that packaged juices.
I just made and drank orange apple juice...WOW, was it good. I made a cup for myself and my son and we both enjoyed it so much! Think about all of the vitamin C we just drank and how healthy that is!!!!
I peeled 1 medium/large orange and sliced up 2 small/medium apples to make the juice. Next, I think I will add some fresh peaches to the mix!

Fresh carrots are also really good when juiced. They are much sweeter juiced than they are when eaten raw. To my carrots I used to add tomatoes and celery...it was like a fresh V8.

Just like the Dunkin' Donuts guy used to say: "Time to make the donuts", I say: "Time to make the juice!"

Sunday, January 24, 2010

It's a great day for a cheesecake! (cheesecake recipes)


I have been thinking about cheesecakes for several days now! I am contemplating making my Mascarpone Cheesecake for the Super Bowl party at Church. Not only have I been thinking about that, I have been having visions of The Cheesecake Factory...a restaurant in Raleigh that serves wonderful, luscious, creamy cheesecake!
I'm sure you have guessed what today's post is about...CHEESECAKE!

Weekend review: Cheesecake recipes!

Mascarpone cheesecake

Chocolate cheesecake

Apple cinnamon cheesecake

Butterscotch cheesecake

White chocolate cheesecake

Coffee cheesecake

Pumpkin cheesecake

Honey nut cheesecake

Caramel cheesecake

Cheesecake tips

Sopapilla cream cheese bars

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Whole wheat pancakes... how did he know?


Last night for dinner I made breakfast..pancakes, eggs and sausage for my husband. For several weeks I have been cooking healthier and serving more fruits and vegetables with our meals. My son and I have always eaten a lot of fruits and veggies, I am doing this for all of us, but especially for my husband.

Last night I made whole wheat pancakes from scratch. I also concocted a maple syrup and butter topping (I know, this is not healthy). I figured I would take one step at a time in the direction of health. My thoughts were to get him to like the pancakes then get healthier with the toppings. Baby steps, right?

As we were eating, I asked my hubby, "Do you like the pancakes?" He said, "Yeah, are they wholw wheat?"
WHAT!? How did he know that? I figured it was the color or texture, but it surprised me that he knew.

Lesson learned: Do not try and trick the husband!

Friday, January 22, 2010

Bought new books today! (Christmas cookbook reviews)


Well...Happy Day!
I treated myself to some new books today! I enjoy reading Inspirational Christian books. When food is threaded into the book... Even better!

I have been reading the Potluck Club series of books. These books are wonderful, entertaining and chock full of recipes! Pictured above is the first book of the series. There are three books in this series and then two in the Potluck Catering Club series. I am currently reading the last book in the catering series, which is why I treated myself to new books today!

Today's books include: Christmas Love at Lake Tahoe, Sisiterchicks, Sweet Treats, Nosy Neighbors and In North Pole Alaska. I saved $42.00 and spent $16.00 on all five books! Between Family Christian having a sale and a 25% off coupon I had, I would say I got a great deal!

I was chatting with the sales clerk and told him that I am praying and believing that my books will be sold in their store very soon! I have written three non-fiction titles and one fiction title. I am currently writing the sequel to the fiction title.
If you know an agent or a publisher who may be interested in my work, please let me know :-)

In addition to this great deal, I took my son to Play N Trade (a local video game store) and they were also having a sale! We purchased two Playstation 3 games for only....dum dum dum....
$16.00!
I'm guessing the number 16 is a good number for us today!

Over the Holidays, I wrote several book reviews about cookbooks and other great books. Click here to view the articles

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Toothpaste in the sink!


OK, this is so NOT a food related post!
I am one of those people who like things to ALWAYS be clean. I clean SOMETHING every day. Whether it be a bathroom or the kitchen counter, to my eyes something always needs a cleaning.

Yesterday, as I was about to clean the master bathroom counters, I noticed a spot of toothpaste within the sink. I thought to myself: This has to be from my son because he was the last one to brush his teeth today.

I looked down at it and guess what I saw? (That is your hint to look at the above picture and see if you can see it...take your time...I will wait for you to take a look....do do do do do do do....do do do do DO...humming Jeopardy music for you while I wait...)

It is a HEART! Not only is it a heart...it is a PERFECT heart!
Jesus tells us: Above all, love one another. That was my reminder for the day :-)
Today's lesson: Go out today and show someone some love =D

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Cucumber lime water...is it good? (cucumber lime water recipe)


I was on the phone with a friend of mine several days ago, actually it was the friend I wrote The Sopapilla article about! Thankfully this conversation, there was no yelling involved! We were talking about eating healthier and we were exchanging a few recipes with one another. As were were chatting, she mentioned to me that she heard that cucumber water was very refreshing. We were planning to get together for a play date with our children so I told her I would make some of this cucumber water.

Together we decided that cucumbers and lime would taste good together and that is what I decided to make. Have you ever tried cucumber water? From what I have been reading, they often serve it at day spas.

Today, I posted the Cucumber Lime Water recipe.
I have to say that it was very refreshing and the flavors were not overpowering at all! After we drank all of the water I made, I refilled the container with fresh water and kept the existing cucumber and lime in it. I drank it the next day and it was just as good as the first. The only difference was the flavors were not an intense...which was OK with me!

What lesson could I possibly have learned from this, you may ask... I learned that the more you type the word CUCUMBER on your computer, the more mistakes you make :-)

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Birthday cake!


Sometimes I think it strange that I make my own Birthday cake...Is it strange?
My thought process behind making my own cake is this:

A. I do not want my husband to buy one because homemade tastes better

B. He does not know how to bake one

C. How RUDE would it be for me to ASK someone to make me one

One year I did ask for an ice cream cake. You know, the Carvel cakes with the chocolate crunchies in the middle... Oh, those crunchies, they are so good! It should be against the law for anyone to consume an ice cream cake without the chocolate crunchies!

Last year, I made: Deanna'a Double Chocolate Cheesecake and

a Julie Hession's: Winner of The Food Networks, Ultimate Recipe Showdown,

Chocolate Malt Cake with Cherry Vanilla Icing

Both were AWESOME!

Hmmm... What shall I make this year?

Monday, January 18, 2010

Free online writing classes! And uses for yogurt article...


Good Monday, everyone! Remember the beginning of January when I posted this post... Happy 2010? It was about a new year with a new focus?
I have had such a desire to learn more this year! Last night I did a Google search to see if I could find some free online writing classes. I am happy to say that I found some good stuff!
In case you are interested, here is a link to some free online writing classes. These classes are offered by actual Universities across the nation!

If you are not interested in writing, I encourage you to do a search for free classes in the field you ARE interested in :-)
If you enjoy food and cooking, the Culinary Institute of America has some wonderful videos on www.youtube.com! Click here to see what videos they have to offer.

In just 2 short weeks, I will be attending my first writers meeting and I am truly looking forward to attending!

Lesson learned: We are NEVER too old to learn :-)

On a lighter note:
Do you enjoy yogurt? It is great for a quick snack, isn't it? Well, I published an article this morning that tells about other ways we can use yogurt! Please take a look: Uses For Yogurt

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Desserts that go with coffee!!



Since yesterday's post was pertaining to coffee, I thought today would be a great day to post recipes to go with that coffee!
Weekend review: dessert recipes

Blueberry coffee cake recipe
Easy coffee cake
Cream cheese and cherry Danish
Easy apple crumble
Blackberry crisp
Ice box cake
Girl-Scout apple cobbler
Peach dessert
Peach pound cake
Short bread
Mocha chip short bread
Sopapilla cream cheese bars

And let us not forget the COOKIES!

Have a great Sunday...happy baking everybody :-)

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Coffee...caf or decaf? (Plus coffee recipes)


Happy Saturday! I hope you are all getting some rest this weekend :-)
Today's topic to be discussed is coffee! About one week ago I took a poll on Facebook to see who enjoys coffee and WHY! I asked who preferred coffee for the taste and who enjoyed it for the caffeine. Here were my results:

Out of 31 people:

17 enjoyed the taste

4 drank it for the caffeine only

and

9 drank it for both taste and caffeine

1 person hates coffee (you know who you are)

So there you have it...the majority of people drink coffee because they enjoy its comforting flavor.
About two weeks ago, I decided to switch to decaf coffee because it was truly the flavor of the coffee I enjoy. That is actually what prompted me to take this poll :-)
On that note... here are some flavored coffee recipes you can make for yourself in the comfort of your own home! Save that $5 that you would spend at Starbucks and in a few months go and buy something nice for yourself or donate the money to your Church or a special charity!

Lesson learned: Flavor over legal stimulant...

Coffee Recipes:
Making Coffee
Pumpkin Latte
Vanilla Cinnamon Coffee
Creamy Spiced Coffee with Spiced Whipped Topping (topping also great for desserts)
Chocolate Vanilla Coffee
Coconut Coffee
Apple Cider Coffee

Dessert recipes that contain COFFEE:
Chocolate Latte Cookies
Mocha Fudge Bars
and
Coffee Cheesecake

Friday, January 15, 2010

Chicken burgers!



I like to eat healthy (aside from my tremendous sweet tooth, that is). I do not care to eat red meat or pork, but my husband has to have it! He likes for every meal he eats to contain meat. Me... I can do without it.

Last night I decided I wanted homemade vegetable soup along with chicken burgers. I gave my husband the option of having the burgers or having left over sloppy joes that I made for him the night before. To my SHOCK he said he would have the burgers. I was so happy! Prior to last night he would not eat ground turkey or chicken...it always had to be beef!

So, I put together the vegetable soup at 11:30am, and got it going in the crockpot (pictures of the soup were put up on yesterdays blog post). I got to go to the store at 5:30pm yesterday to get my ground chicken, all white meat of course). To the ground chicken I added a bit of low sodium soy sauce and Pad Thai sauce. Then as they cooked, I added a bit of pepper, garlic powder and onion powder.

These burgers were SUPER moist! The juices dripped onto the plate as we were eating them!
We all enjoyed the burgers and vegetable soup last night and plan to have them again for dinner tonight.

Lesson learned: Never give up on trying :-)

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Where is the car? (And an easy weeknight recipe: Turkey sausage and pasta)


Happy Thursday!
After a good night sleep, I woke up this morning feeling good and in a happy mood. I homeschool my son, so we had school and it went well. My husband went to help a friend of his move his furniture into a storage facility. All was well in my world. Until....

I went to a class last night that is taught around the book, "Eat for Health". I learned some valuable tips about eating healthier. Today, I got a big pot of vegetable soup going in the crockpot and ate a salad. I decided to go to The Fresh Market to pick up some more veggies and some other items as well. I got ready, got my son ready, fowarded the business phone to my cell (after about 4 different attempts). Finially, it was time to go pick out some healthy food :-)

We went down to the garage and as I reached over to press the garage door opener button, I realized it... my car was gone!

Instead of taking the work truck to go and help his friend move, my lovely husband took our recreational vehicle :/
Needless to say, I was NOT happy.
I'm over it now though...as I sit here I realize that I need to catch upon some writing today anyway :)

Lesson learned: Husbands are not mind readers... we have to express our thoughts to them verbally :-)

For an easy weeknight recipe, check out this:
Turkey sausage and pasta recipe!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Steak Diane: Julia Childs dish


For two weeks now I have been putting off making this dish! Two weeks ago I decided to try Julia Childs recipe for Steak Diane, so I did a Google search and found it. Julias way of cooking is to have everything prepared ahead of time and to have all ingredients needed sitting right next to the stove so that they there when you need them.
I am a clean freak! I do not like a mess in my house at all. So, for me to place every ingredient I needed out on my kitchen counter next to the stove was a REAL stretch! But I did it, none the less.

Last night, I made the Steak Diane. I do not eat red meat. So, when I saw from the recipe that I only needed to sear the steaks for 30 seconds on each side, I grew concerned. After I made the sauce in the pan, I was instructed to put them back in for about 1 minute. I really thought the meat would be totally RAW inside! I got a little nervous.
My husband called to let me know he was on his way home and I told him about my concern. He said as long as it was not well done it would be fine. So, my tension eased up quite a bit after he told me that.

I made mashed potatoes and salad along with biscuits to go with the dish. I ate the salad and potatoes as well as some biscuits. I took the sauce from the meat and covered my potatoes with it. It was fabulous!!! In place of cognac and wine, I used red cooking wine in the sauce.
The meat was very pink inside but not red...apparently just the way my husband likes it! Thank God!

Lesson learned: Feel the fear and do it anyway! :-)
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