Thursday, November 26, 2009

Deviled Eggs

12 eggs, hard boiled, shelled and cut in half long
1 cup mayonnaise
salt and pepper
garlic salt--dash

squirt of lemon juice
1 heaping T. mustard
yolks of eggs

Beat well. Squeeze filling into egg whites. Sprinkle with paprika and parsley sprig. Sometimes I use a tube (you could just use a plastic bag and cut off corner) with a fancy tip to make them look fancier. Usually I just spoon the filling in though.

Tip: Older eggs are easier to peel than fresher ones.

Hope you all had a GREAT THANKSGIVING!

Easy Holiday Green Beans

Toss fresh green beans with olive oil and minced garlic and fresh ginger.  Bake at 350 for about 20 minutes.

Candied Yams

Boil with skins on for 1/2 hour-45 minutes.  Remove peels and slice.  (This is great to do the day before.)  The day of: Pour brown sugar, karo syrup, and sliced butter.  Bake for another 30 minutes.  Top with mini marshmallows and put back in oven while watching carefully.  Remove when browned (these burn easily so watch closely).

Fruit Gobbler

From the magazine "Family Fun"
  • Bosc pear (head)
  • Melon (body)
  • Cheese (beak and tail feathers)
  • Red pepper (snood, feet and side feathers)
  • Raisins (eyes)
  • Grapes (tail feathers)
  • Bamboo skewers
  • Toothpicks
  1. Stabilize the melon body by cutting a shallow slice off the rind to form a flat base. Using a section of bamboo skewer, attach a Bosc pear head to the melon, as shown.
  2. Cut a cheese triangle beak and red pepper snood. Attach both, along with raisin eyes, to the head with sections of toothpick.
  3. Cut red pepper feet and set them in place. For tail feathers, skewer cheese cubes and red grapes, then insert the skewers as shown. Pin pepper side feathers in place with toothpicks.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Creamy Chocolate Mousse

I got this yummy recipe from Heidi (found here), and she got it from the magazine "Simple and Delicious."  It was yummy!  I made it late last night after my kids went to bed and halved it to make 2 LARGE portions for just me and Brian.  Shhh.  Don't tell the kids.   :)  hee hee.

2 cups cold milk
1 package (5.9 ounces) instant chocolate pudding mix
1 carton (8 ounces) frozen whipped topping, thawed
1/2 cup sour cream

In a large bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Fold in whipped topping and sour cream. Pour into individual dessert dishes. Dollop with whipped topping if desired.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Andes Mint Cookies

1 Devil's food cake mix
1/2 c. oil
2 eggs
1 pkg. Andes Mints, broken up

Combine all ingredients. Scoop onto cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 9-10 minutes.

So easy and so delicious. I love everything mint!

Friday, November 20, 2009

New Moon Party Food

We met at a friends for a New Moon party before going to the midnight opening show.  My cute friend Desiree had her house decorated as "Bella's Birthday Party."

I had lots of fun dressing up for this movie!

*Did you have a New Moon party?
*Are you team Edward or Team Jacob?

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Twilight Treats

Are you going to the "Big Movie" tonight at midnight?

Which movie?


I'll be there.

At midnight for the opening show.

And I will be dressed up.  Because I LOVE dressing up.

Last year I went to the opening show of Twilight.  A friend rented out an entire theater, and we all went in Prom dresses (if you've read the book you'll get it, if you haven't you'll probably just think I'm crazy).

A few years ago I hosted our book club at my house.  We sat around the campfire in my backyard, and discussed the saga of vampires and werewolves, played trivia games, and debated into the wee hours of the morning the pro's and con's of Edward vs. Jacob.

Oh, the important things in life.  It really is imperative that we get to the bottom of this.  It was a deep discussion.  I mean really--debating between whether it's better to be married to a vampire or a werewolf.

Deep stuff.


But in case you are headed to a New Moon party yourself this weekend (or even better--tonight!) here are some vampire treats ideas.

Bella's Blood Cupcakes

Cold Kisses (straight from the freezer)

Cherry "BITES"

Recipe for Twilight cupcakes (from my friend Ann):

Cream Together:

8 oz. cream cheese
1 egg
1/3 cup sugar
dash of salt (very little salt)
6 oz. chocolate chips 

Note: I added red food coloring to get the blood look
Set aside

Sift together:
1 1/2 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1/4 c. cocoa
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt

1 c. water
1tsp. vanilla
1T. vinegar
3/4 c. oil

Beat until smooth.

Fill muffin tins 1/3 cup full with cocoa mixture. Then spoon cream cheese mixture on top. Bake at 350 for 20-25 min.

Enjoy the show!

(Come back tomorrow to see the werewolf treats I'm working on for the party I'm attending tonight.)
(After all, Book 2 is where all of the werewolves come out!)

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Chicken 'n Dumplins

1 rotisserie chicken, remove chicken and dice
1 box chicken stock
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 1/2 stalk of celery, diced
1 tsp. garlic (fresh minced or powdered)
1 tsp. salt
1 egg, slightly beaten
flour (approx. 2 1/2 cups)
salt and pepper to taste
Lemon pepper
Seasoning salt

Can you believe I lived in Kentucky for 4 years and never had "Chicken 'n Dumplins."  A crime.  We really made an effort to dive into all of the good Southern cooking that is to be had there.  And believe me, there is a lot of good Southern cooking in KY!

But I digress, and I need to be very careful because when I talk about Kentucky I miss it so much and want to move back.  That place holds the dearest of memories for me.  Okay, really.  I need to stop.....

So back to the Chicken 'n Dumplins.

I found this one in the same recipe book as the Creme Brulee French Toast.  That's turning out to be quite a great cookbook.  And I just noticed that there is a Christmas edition of it out.

I was having a hard time picturing what it was supposed to look like, and regrettably this cookbook doesn't have but a few pictures, so I googled Chicken 'n Dumplins to see pictures.  I also looked at a bunch of other versions of the recipe, and incorporated some of the things into this recipe.  For example, this one didn't call for celery, but most of the others did so I added it.

Here's my version.

Fill pot with box of chicken stock (all but 1 cup which you will uses later to make dumplings) and cream of chicken soup.  Bring to a boil, then add diced celery, diced chicken, garlic.  Allow to continue boiling softly while you prepare dumplings.

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup of hot (not boiling) reserved broth, 1 tsp. salt, beaten egg, and enough flour to create the consistency of bread dough.  Flour a rolling pin, then countertop, and the top of the dough.  Roll the dough out until paper thin (I like mine a little thicker).  Using a pizza cutter, cut dough into 1 inch by 2 inch pieces.  Drop the dumplings one by one into the softly boiling both.  Stir very gently. (If there isn't adequate broth to do this because you added a lot of chicken, just add more.)  Add salt, pepper, lemon pepper, and seasoning salt to taste.  Bring back to a full boil.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Cover the pot, turn the heat off, and don't peek until you are ready to serve.  Serve within 30 minutes.  (Note from cookbook:  if you keep the heat on, the dumplings tend to stick to the bottom of the pan.)

Comfort food on a cold day, for sure.

And it was cold here today!  Summer, I sure do miss you!  xoxo

Monday, November 16, 2009

Windswept Leaf Cookies

I know fall is nearly past, and with all of the snow that fell over the weekend here it's really time to start making the snowflake cookies, but I just couldn't resist.  I saw these in Woman's Day magazine about a month ago and I knew I had to make them.  It took me a while, but I'm so glad I did.  I love them, and my kids think they "are so awesome."  It makes a mom happy when she can impress her kids!

I really liked the sugar cookie recipe too.  It has a tablespoon of pumpkin spice that gives these cookies a really nice, fall flavor.

***Notes to self:  Follow directions exactly next time so you only have to try once.  Do not try and take a shortcut and buy pre-made sugar cookie dough.  As you found out--it does not work.  Chilling the dough really does make a difference, so just do it.  And read the directions completely on the icing.  I learned many of these the hard way, and had to start over.  Lots of wasted time, but they finally turned out in the end.  Only variation for me from original recipe is to cook 1-2 minutes less as my oven seems to bake hot.

Preparation Time: 45 minutes    Total time including chilling and baking: 3 hours

1 stick (1/2 c.) unsalted butter (not spread)
1/2 c. sugar
1 Tbs. pumpkin pie spice
1/4 tsp salt (I omitted the salt because the butter I used was already salted)
1 large egg
1 Tbsp. light corn syrup
2 tsp vanilla extract
2 1/4 c. flour
leaf-shape cookie cutter

Decorating Icing:
1 lbs. box confectioners sugar
1/4 c. powdered egg whites (just whites)
1/3 cup water
yellow, orange, red gel food colors

    1. Beat butter, sugar, spice and salt in a large bowl with mixer on mediumhigh until light, about 3 minutes. Reduce speed to medium; add egg and beat until combined. Beat in corn syrup and vanilla. Reduce speed to low; gradually add flour and beat until blended. Shape dough into two disks, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate at least 1 hour. 

    2. Heat oven to 350ºF. Roll out 1 disk between 2 sheets of wax paper to 1⁄4 in. thick. Remove top layer of wax paper and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Transfer to a baking sheet. Bake 12 to 14 minutes until cookies are golden. Cool on sheet on wire rack 5 minutes; transfer to rack and cool completely. 

    3. Icing: Beat confectioners’ sugar and powdered egg whites in a large bowl with mixer on low speed until combined. Add water; beat until blended. Increase speed to high; beat 8 minutes or until icing is very thick and white. 

    4. Divide decorating icing into 3 bowls; tint one each yellow, orange and red. Add a few drops water to thin slightly until easy to spread. Spread a little of each color frosting onto a cookie.  Drag a wooden pick through colors to swirl. Let dry at least 1 hour; repeat with remaining cookies and icing.

In case you are wondering about the powdered egg whites (I was, this was the first time I have used them) you can purchase these at craft stores in the baking section (like Roberts) or at cooking stores.  Use can use meringue powder (it says on the front of the container that it can be used in place of powdered egg whites).  Hmm, I learn something new every day!  Actually, I learned a lot of new techniques from making theses cookies.  They were fun.  I want to make them again next fall!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Creme Brulee French Toast

I am sitting in a stupor of happiness right now.  For real.  I am in love with this new dish.  I want to be BFF's with this French Toast.  I know that sounds ridiculous.  But it's G.O.O.D.


When we finished eating, we all just kind of sat around the table staring at each other with happy smiles on our face and sighing.  Joey (my 6 year old) said, "I'm not sure if I was eating a meal or dessert!  That was so good!"

I found this recipe in the cookbook "The Worldwide Ward Cookbook," in the breakfast section.  (I've seen this cookbook sold at Deseret Book, Costco, and Walmart in case you are looking for it.)

Um, we will definitely be having this again.  It will be perfect for Christmas morning.  And conference morning.


1/2 c. unsalted butter
1 C. packed brown sugar
2 Tbs. corn syrup
bread, sliced, to cover butter mixture (if you are using a reg. casserole dish, it will take 6 pieces)
5 large eggs
1 1/2 C. half-and-half (I used heavy cream because I already had some in my fridge.  Oops--not so healthy but very yummy, hee hee)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 tsp. salt (I omitted this because I used salted butter)

In a saucepan, melt butter, brown sugar, and corn syrup.  Pour into a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish.  Arrange bread pieces on top.  Beat together eggs, half-and-half, vanilla, and salt.  Pour egg mixture over the top of the bread.  Cover and chill overnight in the refrigerator.  The next morning, bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes.

Happy stupor:

Friday, November 13, 2009

Sweet and Sour Smoothie

We've been making smoothies for years.  This is my all-time favorite!

Blend together:

1/2 frozen banana, sliced
4 large frozen strawberries
1 cup pineapple juice (or whatever juice you have--we use cranberry raspberry a lot)
2 T. vanilla yogurt
1/4 cup limeade frozen concentrate (just chop a big chunk off the top)
couple squirts lemon juice
1 scoop protein powder (vanilla flavored)

Then add lots of ice!

Blend and serve.

My kids call these "slushie drinks." They are a yummy, healthy treat. Also a filling drink to have for summer breakfasts.

(Just a tip: cut your bananas up into slices, put them in a plastic baggie, then put them in the freezer. Then you have them ready to pop into your smoothies every time you make them. This really comes in handy if you made them often.  You could throw in some almonds, or even a small scoop of oatmeal.)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  tacos, beans and rice, green salad, Sweet Potato Fries

Tuesday:  Chicken Pillows, rice pilaf, apples with Toffee Chip Apple Dip

Wednesday:  Creme Brulee French Toast, bacon

Thursday: Chicken with Lemon Caper Cream Sauce, asparagus, side of rice or pasta

Friday:  Tin foil dinners (hopefully up the canyon)

Saturday: Leftover buffet

What r u cooking this week?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Sweet Potato Fries (or are they????)

Have you ever wondered what the difference was between sweet potatoes and yams?  Probably not--you are probably all much smarter than me.  But I can tell you I've wondered for a long time.  Well, actually I believed for a really long time that they were the same thing.  Then I heard that they weren't even biologically related plants.

So when I looked it up I found that the main distinguishing factor is that a sweet potato tends to have pointed ends, and yams tend to have rough scaly skin.

I wanted more of answer than that, so I decided to buy them both and check it out for myself.

The other thing that fueled this experiment is a new local restaurant called The Blue Lemon.  I am addicted to their "Sweet Potato Fries."  They are delicious and I order them every time I eat there.  I wanted to try to replicate them, since I like deconstructing my favorite dishes at home.

The first thing I did was peel both vegetables, and what did I discover?  They aren't even the same color!  Um, okay that's the first obvious difference between the two.  (Although I did read that yams vary in color from white to ivory to yellow to purple).

The other thing I discovered during this experiment is that those Sweet Potato Fries that I've been orderin' and lovin' are not made out of sweet potatoes!  They are yams.

I actually liked both the yam fries and the sweet potato fries.  I think I lean in favor of the yam fries (but I think I'll keep calling them sweet potato fries too.  Old habits die hard.)


Peel and cut into fry fry sized slices.  Drizzle with olive oil or vegetable oil, then sprinkle with cumin, coriander, and salt.  When I made these I just did one of each kind of potato.  It was a late night snack for just Brian and I.  If making for a family I would probably cook 3-4 of them.

Bake in the oven at 400 degrees until soft, and they start to brown.  Just watch them, but it took mine about 30 minutes, and they came out perfect!

Dipping sauce:

3 T. bbq sauce
3 T. mayonnaise
1 tsp. lemon juice


Friday, November 6, 2009

Dulche de Leche and Apples

When we were trick-or-treating, a neighbor gave us a box of apples from her trees.  They are delicious!  There are a lot of them, and I was in the mood to try out a new recipe.  I came across this on on, and I had all of the ingredients already, so I decided to give it a try.

Making your own dulce de leche is an easy process--it just takes time, plan on at least an hour and a half to make the sauce.  The dulce de leche can be done ahead of time and refrigerated until you are ready to use it.

Ingredients needed:

3 Tbs. butter
4 apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/4 in. slices (using a mix of apples will give it added flavor)
2 tsp. sugar (and cinnamon if you like)

Good quality vanilla ice cream

1 (14 oz.) can sweetened condensed milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Step One:

To prepare dulce de leche:  Put unopened can of condensed milk in large heavy saucepan that is higher than the can.  Add water to come about three-quarters of the way up the sides of the can and bring to a simmer over medium heat.  Reduce heat to a very low simmer, partially cover and cook, turning the can over at the halfway point (45 minutes), for a total of 1 1/2 hours.  (You can remove the wrapper in the water with tongs when it falls off.)  Remove the saucepan from the heat.

Let the can cool in the pan of water until it reaches room temperature.  Open the can and pour the contents into a small bowl.  Stir in the vanilla.  The mixture should be very thick and taste like a rich caramel sauce.  Cover and refrigerate.
Step Two:

In large skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat.  Add apple slices and saute for about 10 minutes, or until softened and lightly browned.  Sprinkle sugar and cinnamon over apples and cook for 3 to 4 minutes until they are nicely browned and softened but not mushy.  Remove from heat and keep warm. 

Step Three:
Scoop ice cream into individual bowls.  Spoon warm apples over and then the warm dulce de leche over the apples.  Serve immediately.

Crockpot Chicken Verde

Cooking is so much fun--I love it.  I love experimenting and trying new recipes, and feeding delicious things to my family.

But occasionally I look at the mess in my kitchen afterwards and groan.

Yesterday I just really didn't feel like making a huge dinner mess.

This is why I love my crockpot.  Throw everything in, stir it around a little.  And that's about it!

Crockpot  Chicken Verde Burritos


3 chicken breasts
1/2 packet fajita seasoning
1/2 jar green tomatillo salsa

Cook on low for 2-3 hours or until meat is cooked thoroughly.  

Roll up in a tortilla with sour cream, grated cheddar cheese, and anything else you like.

I served this with rice and beans, and it's fiesta time!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Buffalo Wings

Last night was the last game of the world series.  My husband, Brian, was so excited to have a big party and have everyone over to watch it on our big screen.  He doesn't watch sports very often, so it was cute to see him get excited over this one.

Unfortunately I woke up throwing up that morning, and consequently the party was OFF.   On the upside, he got to eat the whole plate of buffalo wings by himself and didn't have to share with anyone.  :)  Brian loves his wings, and that was the only party food he'd even mentioned wanting.

My friend Dusty has a recipe blog, and is pretty famous for her wings, so I knew I needed to give them a try.  I can see why everyone wants her to bring them all the time--they were a smashing hit, and my husband said they were the best ones he's ever had.  Granted, he is so sweet to me and always compliments me on my food even when it is a complete disaster, but I do think he really liked these a lot. I will definitely be making them for him again.

Thanks for sharing Dusty!  You can link to her blog and find the rest of her great recipes here:

8-10 Chicken wings, or about 2 lbs. (you can also get the drummets, they are already separated)
1 bottle of Franks red taco sauce (they were out of this one so I got the small bottle of Franks Red Hot--the hotter the better, right?)
1 Tbls Cayenne pepper (or more)
1 cube butter or margarine

Fry chicken in vegetable oil until cooked through. This took me about 20 minutes on medium high heat.

While chicken is cooking: melt butter, add taco sauce, and Cayenne pepper.  Once chicken is cooked dip in sauce, place on foil lined baking sheet, bake on 350 for 10-15 min. Repeat for spicier chicken.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Mizithra Cheese Pasta

When my sister was younger, she used to work at The Old Spaghetti Factory.  This worked out nicely for our family, since we love that restaurant.  Our family loves all Italian restaurants in general.

My favorite dish that I always get there is pasta with Mizithra cheese and browned butter.

It's been a while since I've eaten there, and I got a craving, so I decided to make my own version of it.  It turned out really good, but I wish that I had a different cheese grater that would grate finer.


1/2 lb. of your favorite pasta--I bought angel hair, then cooked half of the 1 lb. box
1/2 cube butter or margarine--brown this over medium heat for a few minutes, or until it darkens in color, careful not to burn
1-2 cups grated mizithra cheese--I found this at Smith's Marketplace in their deli section
1-2 cups grated parmesan cheese--I don't know if OSF uses this or not, but my husband loves it so I threw it on as well.  It came grated the size that I wish my mizithra cheese was

The Old Spaghetti Factory spells it "mizithra cheese."  Smith's spells it like this:

I served it alongside my standard spinach salad.  My husband is always so impressed when I make this salad.  He must think I've fussed over it longer than I really have, because honestly it takes me all of 3 minutes to throw this together.

I usually always have a bag of spinach in my fridge, and I ALWAYS have some Brianna's Poppyseed dressing (yes it has to be that brand).  I chop up some strawberries and toss on some sugared almonds from a bag, and that's it!  All pre-made so it's an easy cheater salad.  But we love it and have it all of the time.

Thanks for reminiscing with me about The Old Spaghetti factory.  The kids all liked it--especially my six year old.  I was so impressed that he had 3 helpings of pasta.  I was not as impressed later as I noticed that about half of it was on the floor.  *sigh*  Gotta love those cute little kids.  :)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Creamy Tortellini Soup

Happy Halloween!

I hope your holiday was great!  I love dressing up and watching my kids have so much fun.  Holidays are so fun with children.

We decided to host a street party this Halloween, so I could have one last chance to feed my kids something healthy before they gorged themselves with sugar for the next few days.

I cooked up 3 pots of soup:  my taco soup, my potato soup, and because I was getting tired of my same old recipes and wanted to try something new--Creamy Tortellini Soup.

I made homemade root beer, and everyone on the street brought a side dish or dessert to share.  We had a great time!

And I found a new soup recipe that I love!  This one was a hit.

Creamy Tortellini Soup (from La Bonne Cuisine)

1 Tbsp. butter or olive oil
1/2 onion, diced
2 carrots, diced
8-10 mushrooms, diced
5 cups water
6 Tbsp. flour
2 potatoes, peeled and diced
1 cup frozen corn
1 (14 oz.) can chicken broth
2 chicken bouillon cubes
1/2 tsp. garlic powder (I used fresh garlic because I had some already on hand)
1/2 tsp. basil (instead of the basil and oregano, I dumped in some italian seasoning)
1/4 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper, optional (I just put in a few dashes, and I thought it tasted great)
1/4-1/2 tsp. salt
2-3 cups frozen tortellini
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
4 cups spinach (pile it up and slice through it to get thin pieces)

In a large soup pot, heat butter or olive oil. Add onion, carrots, and mushrooms. Saute for about 5 min. 

In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup cold water with 6 Tbsp. flour. Whisk until smooth. 

Add 4 cups of water to vegetables in soup pot. Stir in the flour and water mixture. Stir to blend well. Add potatoes, corn, chicken broth and all spices and bouillon. 

Bring to a boil. Turn to medium and boil for about 20 minutes or until potatoes are soft. Stir occasionally. 

Add evaporated milk, frozen tortellini, and spinach and cook for 5 more minutes. 

Hope you all had a great Halloween!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Teriyaki Pasta Spinach Salad

I saw this recipe on La Bonne Cuisine, a recipe blog that I think is really cool because it has a lot of french recipes.  It reminded me of one I had at a church function a few years ago, and really liked.  (Coincidentally, I think she got her recipe at a church gathering as well.  Church is a great place to get new recipes, eh?)

My picture above was before I poured the sauce on.  I put the original recipe here, as well as notated any changes that I made to it.  One other thing I did: I used pre-cooked frozen chicken breast strips (love them, I use them for everything), diced them, and fried them in a pan to thaw it and release natural oils, then dumped a little teriyaki sauce on them for added flavor.

Teriyaki Pasta Spinach Salad

1 bag (10 oz.) spinach
2-3 green onions, sliced
1/4 c. fresh parsley (didn't have any of this so I threw in dried and it was just fine)
1/3 c. craisins (or more!)
1/3 c. honey roasted peanuts (I had a bag of chopped nuts, so I dumped that in this time)
1 can mandarin oranges, drained (can cut in half just to make more pieces)
1-2 c. cooked, cut-up chicken (or  she used 1 large can chicken breast)
1/2-1 box (12-16 oz.) bow tie pasta, cooked (I used half a box and it was plenty.  She used the mini-size pasta and they looked so cute)

1/2 c. vegetable oil
1/3 c. Teriyaki sauce
1/3 c. rice vinegar
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper

Prepare the dressing ahead of time and refrigerate overnight. (Mine got about one hour of refrigeration and it tasted just fine).  

Mix all salad ingredients together and add dressing just before serving.

So yummy!  

Total girl food.

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