Friday, March 28, 2014

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Soft Caramel Topping

I love caramel, but I hate it when it gets stuck in my teeth. I saw a recipe for chocolate chip cookies with caramel that has the store bought caramels. I wondered if there was another way.
This recipe starts with basic chocolate chip cookies. After they come out of the oven, top with easy-to-make caramel with basic ingredients--brown sugar, butter, and marshmallows.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Meal Planning for People with Different Tastes--Dealing with "Picky" Eaters

Cooking for others can be a real challenge, especially when they have different tastes.
I even remember as a kid every time I went to a birthday party and they wanted to order pizza, there was always that one kid that said they would only eat cheese pizza, and "No, I can't pull off toppings because I can still taste it." If you were lucky, you got some of the pepperoni pizza. If you were unlucky, you got stuck with some of the cheese pizza.

I cook for my family and have cooked a lot for my extended family too (especially for my in-laws. That can be a learning experience! The differences in how we eat and cook crack me up a bit. When you're a kid, you kind of assume other families are like your own.)

I do my best to make balanced meals that people will enjoy and eat. Getting kids, and even adults, to eat vegetables is hard.

Saturday, March 22, 2014


Make your own breadcrumbs. Why pay several dollars for breadcrumbs when you can make yours from bread scraps at home?  

I usually use breadcrumbs either to coat chicken (like shake and bake), or to put on baked casseroles, like baked spinach or homemade macaroni and cheese.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Chicken Nuggets--healthy option

Crispy chicken nuggets will make your picky eaters--and yourself happy. The fact that it's lean chicken with flour, egg, breadcrumbs, and spices will make this guilt free. Just serve it with vegetables.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mary's Amazing Biscuits--only 3 ingredients

These are great as a last minute addition to dinner (or breakfast) because they're so fast and easy. I also love that because they have mayonnaise in them rather than an egg, I can easily halve the recipe if I only want 4-5 biscuits. That means I can whip up a few fresh for every meal for 2. And don't worry, you can't taste the mayonnaise at all.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Skillet Lasagna

I made this several times for my sister-in-law and her family. It comes together really quickly--in about 30 minutes, but with the full lasagna taste. It's especially great when you don't want to heat up the entire oven for an hour. And kids like spiral noodles. To be honest, I think spiral noodles are pretty cool too.

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Lentil Soup

Last Thanksgiving my husband, Jay and I took a great 10 hour drive to visit family and friends back in Utah. It was great, but does anyone else feel kind of icky when you get back after eating so many rich foods? Maybe it's just Jay and me, but we're always ready for real food after a long car ride of travel snacks.
So I made sure I had this soup and some sausage in our freezer for when we got back on a Sunday evening. It microwaved while we unpacked the car and took a walk. My body was so happy with me for feeding it hot, healthy lentils.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Cinnamon Fingers

Happy Pi day!
I already shared Frito Pi(e) with you, but here's something else. If you're making a pie with a traditional crust, you probably will have some dough scraps leftover. Why not make leftover pie dough into cinnamon fingers? Or, if you're craving them, just whip up some dough just for this recipe.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

My Husband's Favorite Broccoli

I can only think of a few surefire ways to get my husband to eat vegetables, and this broccoli is one of them. It comes with a lot of good flavor and smells.

husband's favorite broccoli
The garlic and lemon on it is yummy, but the real trick is roasting it.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Hermits--Molasses Cookies with Raisins

This exact recipe originated over 100 years ago.
I didn't know what a hermit was until I found this recipe in a very old cook book, which had been put online as a part of Project Gutenberg. I downloaded Things Mother Used to Make by Lydia Maria Gurney here.
Hermits are molasses cookies with chopped raisins in them. I have a favorite molasses cookie recipe, but never thought to add raisins. What a great idea!
molasses cookies with raisins cookie cutter shapes
It was also so fun to look at a cookbook from someone who lived in a very different world than I did.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Mint Smoothie

Made with fat free Greek yogurt, 1 cup spinach, mint flavoring, chopped chocolate chips

My Pinterest feed is green. Everyone is excited to celebrate Saint Patrick's Day and look forward to the coming of spring!

I decided to call this a smoothie, though it was so thick I actually ate it with a spoon, and I don't usually put chocolate in my smoothies!
But being filled with healthier ingredients, including spinach, I decided smoothie was the best label.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Berry and Cherry Muffins with Coconut Topping

Today I was thinking about contrast. In foods contrast is great. These muffins have tangy cherries and berries and a splash of lemon in them, paired with a sweet coconut topping. Delicious.
berry and cherry muffins with coconut apple and milk

In life, some contrast can also be tasty. Today I woke up sleepy and stayed sleepy all while cooking and cleaning this morning. After lunch I thought about drifting off for a nap, but decided to push myself instead into some contrast. I put a leash on my miniature dachshund, and we went on a 2 mile adventure together, enjoying some sun. Recently it has been raining, raining, raining, cutting our daily walks short. I've had to watch the weather for a good window, and then drop everything when it's finally dry enough outside. Today the sun finally came out for a good time, so I carpe diem-ed it, dropped everything, and just walked for awhile. It was so much better than just trying to make do with exercise DVDs inside! And since my long walk I'm finally over being sleepy. The contrast of being outside is sweet.
The contrast of the sour cherries and sweet coconut are also a great pair.

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Frito Pie

Well it's March and we all know what that means:
Saint Patrick's Day? Yes, but no.
March Madness? Ummm... I'm not entirely even sure what sport that's for. So yes March Madness is probably a thing right now, but I'm thinking of something else.
Give up?
Pi Day is coming! Hurrah for math, circles, and constant ratios.

Fritos, chili, shredded spinach, diced tomatoes, cheddar cheese, Greek yogurt, chives, cilantro
March 14, or 3.14 is the day we eat pie, so I'm putting together some different pies this month, starting with Frito pie.
Fritos, chili, cheese, tomato, spinach, Greek yogurt, green onion, and cilantro make this so delicious.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Oat Flour--from oats

Apples and oats go together so well, but my husband isn't always game for muffins with oatmeal in them, even if I put apples in them to tempt him. He really should give in to the temptation of apples: Adam and Snow White both did.*

So we compromised. I put oatmeal in the muffins anyway. That's compromise, right?
I ground up the oats into oat flour. I use it in rolls, muffins, cookies, and sometimes to help thicken chili. It's easy to make. Oat flour helps you get another whole grain into your diet.