Friday, December 30, 2011

Winter Fruit Salad

I've made this twice in the past week...we really enjoyed it!

Winter Fruit Salad {adapted from}

1/3 c sugar
2 Tbsp cornstarch
1/3 c pineapple juice
1/3 c orange juice
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1 whole pineapple, peeled, cored and cut into chunks
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained
3-4 apples, unpeeled (I used Granny Smith and Gala)
2-3 bananas, sliced

In a saucepan, whisk to combine sugar and cornstarch. Add pineapple juice, orange juice and lemon juice. Cook and stir over medium heat until thickened and bubbly; cook and stir 1 minute longer. Remove from the heat; set aside.

 In a bowl, combine pineapple chunks, oranges, apples and bananas. Pour warm sauce over the fruit; stir gently to coat.

Cover and refrigerate.  Can be made a day ahead of time and refrigerated and will not brown.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls

I'll admit it....I'm afraid of my bread machine. Every time I try to make something it's a disaster. So, when I decided to try Cinnamon Rolls for Christmas morning, I was skeptical. I thought there was something wrong with my machine. But finally....success!! These rolls are incredible and not difficult to do. They are definitely a special occasion recipe but oh, so yummy!

Follow this link to the recipe: Bread Machine Cinnamon Rolls.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Brown Bag Turkey

My friend, Julie, has convinced me to try this recipe. This will be my first time to make a turkey....

1 stick butter, melted
12-24 lb turkey, defrosted completely
large clean brown paper bag (preferably one without ink or handles)
large roasting pan

Preheat oven to 375F. Coat entire inside of bag with melted butter using a pastry brush. Rinse off bird and take giblets out of cavity (Toss or use for later). Salt and pepper bird generously. Place bird inside bag (breast side up) and staple bag shut. Put bagged bird inside roasting pan. Cook in oven for 11-14 minutes per pound (roughly 3 hours). Do not let the bag touch the heating element in the oven. No need to baste or peek at bird. Check thickest part of bird with thermometer, should read 165F to be done. A lot of turkeys with the pop-up timer overcook the bird. Those timers pop up around 180-185F. 165F is the minimum internal temperature that all poultry should be cooked to. This method will produce a juicy golden brown roasted turkey. The butter makes the skin crisp and keeps the bird moist while cooking. This differs from the plastic oven bags because those actually steam the bird while the paper bag roasts it. After turkey is done, remove from oven and let rest in bag 15 minutes (this allows the juices to redistribute throughout the bird and it won't dry out when you cut it). You can then use the drippings in the pan for gravy or check here for a delicious Make-Ahead Turkey Gravy is awesome and creates a stress-free Thanksgiving!

**Feel free to add any herbs or seasonings to this recipe. I haven't and it comes out great! I also have not stuffed the bird while using this recipe so I do not know what the results will be.**

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Skinny Chicken & Rice

This recipe comes from Skinny Crock Pot. I made this yesterday, and it was yummy!

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours, 10 minutes
Yield: 9 Servings
Serving Size: 1/2 cup


1 tablespoon Extra Virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, diced
½ cup diced red bell pepper
1 cup wild rice blend, uncooked (wild rice, long and short grain brown rice)
2 (thawed) chicken breasts fillets, skinless, cut into 2” pieces
1 cup chicken broth, fat free, low sodium
1 (14.5 ounce) can diced tomatoes with liquid
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
½ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)
½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt to taste
NOTE: If you like extra spice in your dish, use “Fire Roasted Tomatoes” as a substitute for diced tomatoes. The rice used for creating this recipe was Lundberg Wild Blend.


Heat oil in a large skillet, add onions and bell pepper and sauté on medium low heat until tender, about 3 minutes. Add rice and continue to sauté for another 1 to 2 minutes. Remove skillet from heat and add the remaining ingredients, except chicken, stir to combine. Place chicken in the crock pot and pour ingredients from the skillet over chicken. Cover and cook on low 4 hours.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Snicker Apple Salad

Got this recipe on Pinterest. If you can even call it a recipe, it's soooo easy!

Small cool-whip
bag of snickers (little bite size or you can cut snack size or larger into pieces
2 peeled, cored, diced granny smith apples

Directions: Mix all in large bowl

See what I mean? Yummy, too

Monday, November 14, 2011

Acorn Squash

Think of how yummy a sweet potato is smothered in cinnamon and brown sugar and multiply it. This is SO YUMMY.
Acorn Squash Recipe

Prep Time:
5 Min
Cook Time:
1 Hr
Ready In:
1 Hr 5 Min

  • 1 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • (I also sprinkled cinnamon)


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. Turn acorn squash upside down onto a cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven until it begins to soften, approximately 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Remove squash from the oven and turn onto a plate so that the flesh is facing upwards. Place butter and brown sugar into the squash, and place remaining squash over the other piece. Place squash in a baking dish (so the squash wont slide around too much) while baking.
  4. Place squash in the 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven and bake another 30 minutes.


Friday, November 11, 2011

Applesauce Bread

I have recently discovered this awesome foodie site, SkinnyTaste, and I have loved every recipe I've tried from her!  This one is no exception.  I've made 4 loaves of it already and the whole family loves it!  This is a "light" recipe too...and if you are following Weight Watchers, she includes all the nutritional info along with the points for each recipe.

Applesauce Bread {I slightly changed the recipe, so my revised version is below....for the original recipe, visit the link in the title}
1 large finely diced, peeled apple, diced into 1/4" pieces
  • 1/2 tsp lemon juice

  • 1 tbsp honey

  • 1/8 tsp + 1/2 tsp cinnamon

  • 1 1/2 cups applesauce

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour

  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, not packed

  • 1 tsp baking soda

  • 1/4 tsp ground nutmeg

  • pinch of allspice

  • 1/4 tsp salt

  • 2 TBSP canola oil

  • 2 large egg whites

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

  • In a medium bowl, combine diced apples, lemon juice, honey, and 1/8 tsp cinnamon.  Set aside.

    Preheat oven to 350°. Spray a 9 x 5 inch loaf pan with baking spray.

    In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking soda, nutmeg, 1/2 tsp cinnamon, allspice and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

    In a large bowl mix oil, egg whites, sugar, apple sauce and vanilla; beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

    Add the flour mixture, then blend at low speed until combined. Do not over mix. Fold in apples.

    Pour batter into loaf pan and bake for 55 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

    Let cool in pan for 20 minutes and then remove to finish cooling.

    Monday, October 31, 2011

    Popcorn Pumpkins

    I wanted to make a yummy and easy treat for Halloween today. I suggest doubling (or tripling!) the recipe because they go fast!!

    Halloween Popcorn Pumpkins Recipe

    Prep Time:
    5 Min
    Cook Time:
    5 Min
    Ready In:
    20 Min

    Original Recipe Yield 12 pumpkins

    • 5 cups popped popcorn
    • 1 cup candy corn
    • 1 cup chopped salted peanuts
    • 1/2 cup butter or margarine
    • 3 cups miniature marshmallows
    • 4 drops red food coloring
    • 3 drops yellow food coloring
    • 4 sticks green Twizzlers/licorice, cut into thirds (This was hard to find--I found it in the checkout lane at A.C. Moore in green apple flavor)


    1. Grease a muffin pan and set aside. Place popcorn, candy corn and peanuts into a large bowl and set aside.
    2. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Stir in marshmallows, red food coloring and yellow food coloring, adjusting color if needed to get a nice shade of orange. When the marshmallows are completely melted, pour over the popcorn and stir to evenly distribute the candy, nuts and marshmallow.
    3. Use a greased spoon to fill the muffin cups. Insert a piece of licorice to act as the stem, and mold the popcorn around it. Let stand until firm, 10 to 15 minutes, and then pull the pumpkins out by their stems and admire your pumpkin patch!


    Wednesday, October 26, 2011

    Kale Spinach & Pear Smoothie

    I know, that sounds gross, right!? It is SO GOOD. Even my 1-year-old and 2 1/2-year-old are diggin' it. I am not a salad lover, so anything to get me to eat green leaves is a plus! And it's dairy-free!


    1 heaping cup chopped kale leaves

    1 heaping cup spinach leaves (I actually didn't have Kale or Spinach on hand today, but did have dark green lettuce so I used about 1 1/2 cups of it and it was delicious both ways!)

    1 frozen banana

    1 1/2 cups cold almond milk (I used Coconut Milk because that's my preference)

    1 tablespoon honey

    1/2 pear (I used the whole pear and it was scrumptious)

    Remove kale leaves from their rough center stalk and coarsely chop.

    In a blender, combine kale spinach and almond milk.

    Blend until no big kale bits remain.

    Stop blender and add banana honey and pear.

    Blend until smooth.

    *I also added 1/2 cup oats from another smoothie I've been making lately. It kept us full a little longer!

    Adapted from:

    Friday, October 21, 2011

    Oatmeal-Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies

    So the title is a bit long but these cookies are! It's hard for me to venture away from the regular, good, old-fashioned chocolate chip cookie recipe but I'm glad I tried these. My only regret is I didn't double the recipe and these are going quickly!

    I adapted these from Mel's Kitchen Cafe. I think next time I will decrease the salt just a tad bit because the salt flavor stands out to me more than I'd like, but other than that...wonderful!!

    Oatmeal-Cherry Chocolate Chip Cookies
    Makes about 18-24 cookies

    2/3 c white whole wheat flour
    1 1/2 c quick-cooking oats
    1 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp sea salt {maybe a bit less}
    6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
    3/4 c packed light brown sugar
    1 c dried cherries {or other dried fruit}
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 large egg, lightly beaten
    1/2 c semi-sweet chocolate chips

    Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a large bowl, combine flour, oats, baking soda and salt. Stir together melted butter and brown sugar and add to the the flour mixture, beating with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add the cherries, vanilla, and egg. Beat until combined. Fold in the chocolate chips.

    Spoon rounded tablespoonfuls of dough onto greased or parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake for 10-12 mintues, until lightly browned on edges. Remove cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Hide half from your family! ha! ENJOY~

    Wednesday, October 19, 2011

    Southwestern Chicken Soup

    This is the one chicken chili recipe that I make over and over in the fall and winter. I tore the recipe from a Real Simple magazine in 2004 and it continues to be one of the easiest and tastiest soups I make. Bon appetit!

    1 12-16 oz. jar salsa verde
    3 cups cooked chicken pieces
    1 15-oz. can cannellini or Great Northern beans
    3 cups chicken broth
    1 tsp. ground cumin
    2 green onions, chopped
    1/2 cup sour cream
    Tortilla chips

    Empty the salsa into a large saucepan - cook 2 minutes over medium-high heat, then add chicken, beans, broth, and cumin - bring to a boil, lower heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally - top each bowl of soup with a sprinkling of green onions, a dollop of sour cream, and some tortilla chips - Monterey Jack cheese is also delicious on this soup!

    Tuesday, October 18, 2011

    Jello Worms - Really gross

    I'm not so sure I can make these...but I KNOW my boys would love them! Maybe I'll have to try them.

    You can go here for a step-by-step tutorial

    Monday, October 17, 2011

    Slow Cooker Pasta Fagioli

    A recipe from Mia -

    This may be my favorite soup ever. All healthy ingredients, about as easy as it comes. My friend, Casey, recommended it to me and I have made my usual health-nut modifications (though it didn't need many).


    -1 pound lean ground turkey, browned and drained
    -1/2 large red onion, chopped
    -1 cup carrots, chopped
    -2-3 celery stalks, sliced
    -2 cans (14.5 oz) Italian-style diced tomatoes (and juice)
    -1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
    -1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
    -4 cups reduced sodium beef broth
    -1 jar (16.5 oz) pasta sauce
    -Italian seasoning to taste
    -1-3 tbsp. Cholula hot sauce
    -Salt to taste
    -1 cup dry whole wheat pasta, to add at end of cooking time

    The Directions:

    ~Brown the turkey on the stove top, and drain well.

    ~Chop up the carrots, onion, and celery. Add it to the empty crock pot.

    ~Drain and rinse the beans, and add them to the crock pot.

    ~Add the whole cans of tomatoes, pasta sauce, beef broth, Italian seasonings, Cholula hot sauce and salt.

    ~Stir in the turkey.

    ~Cover and cook on low for 8 or 10 hours or high for 4 or 6 hours.

    ~In the last 30 minutes, add in the dry pasta.

    This makes a very full crock pot of this delicious soup!!

    Saturday, October 15, 2011

    McCormick's Vanilla Rich Chocolate Chip Cookies

    I saw this recipe recently in a magazine. I can't wait to try it.

    3 1/4 cups flour
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 teaspoon salt
    1 1/3 cups butter, softened
    1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
    1 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
    2 eggs
    4 teaspoons McCormick® Pure Vanilla Extract
    1 package (12 ounces) semi-sweet chocolate chips
    1 cup chopped walnuts

    1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Mix flour, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Set aside. Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add eggs and vanilla; mix well. Gradually beat in flour mixture on low speed until well mixed. Stir in chocolate chips and walnuts.

    2. Drop by rounded tablespoons about 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

    3. Bake 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool on baking sheets 1 minute. Remove to wire racks; cool completely.

    Makes 5 dozen cookies

    Saturday, October 1, 2011

    Black Bean Salsa

    2 - 15 oz black beans, rinsed and drained
    1 - 17 oz can whole corn, drained
    2 - large tomatoes diced
    1 large avocado peeled and diced
    1 purple onion diced
    1/4 cup cilantro
    3-4 Tablespoons lime juice
    2 Tablespoons olive oil
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon pepper

    Combine all ingredients and chill for an hour or two before serving. It makes a lot of salsa and is great for a group event. Serve with tortilla chips. You can even put it in a burrito with cheese for dinner.

    Thanks to my friend, Jennifer who gave me this recipe.


    Michelle H. shared a link on All Recipes for a chili recipe. She tweaked it after reading some of the reviews. It is my go to chili recipe now.

    1 pound lean ground beef and 1 pound of sausage (I did 1 1/2 lb lean ground beef, and 1/2 lb sausage)
    1 (46 fluid ounce) can tomato sauce
    1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
    1 1/2 cups chopped onion
    1/2 cup chopped celery
    1/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
    1/4 cup chili powder
    2 teaspoons ground cumin
    1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder
    1 teaspoon salt
    1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon white sugar
    1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (I only used a pinch of cayenne pepper as we have two young children. Even 1/16 teaspoon will make it spicy. Use how you like it)
    2 cups canned red beans, drained and rinsed.


    Place ground beef (and sausage if you wish to use it) in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium-high heat until evenly brown. Drain, crumble, and set aside. Cook on high in slow cooker for 4 hours. Michelle makes her chili the night before and then lets it simmer during the day. Both turn out great.

    - I serve this either with tortilla chips or corn bread.

    Thursday, September 29, 2011

    Grandma Ople's (a.k.a. World's Best) Apple Pie

    To give you an idea of how scrumptious this is, it got 5 stars from almost 4,000 reviews on!
    recipe image
    Prep Time: 30 Minutes
    Cook Time: 1 Hour
    Ready In: 1 Hour 30 Minutes
    Servings: 8

    1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch double crust
    pie (I used frozen store-bought and let thaw)
    1/2 cup unsalted butter
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1/4 cup water
    1/2 cup white sugar
    1/2 cup packed brown sugar
    8 Granny Smith apples - peeled, cored
    and sliced
    1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C). Melt the butter in a saucepan. Stir in flour to form a paste. Add water, white sugar and brown sugar, and bring to a boil. Reduce temperature and let simmer.
    2.Place the bottom crust in your pan. Fill with apples, mounded slightly. Cover with a lattice work crust. Gently pour the sugar and butter liquid over the crust. Pour slowly so that it does not run off.
    * I also sprinkled cinnamon all over the top after I poured the syrup over. I feel like apple pie isn't apple pie without cinnamon, don't you think??
    3.Bake 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Reduce the temperature to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Continue baking for 35 to 45 minutes, until apples are soft.

    Adapted from: