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For links to the recipes in the posts, click on the bolded pink words!  

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Great Idea!

Kudos to the minds over at Glad. They've come up with a great idea for affordable, easy to use bakeware that you aren't afraid you'll never see again when you go to a potluck or a food day! I used this with the breakfast casserole (recipe below) and I am so impressed. I was honestly worried b/c it is plastic, but it didn't melt and held up perfectly in my 400 degree oven! So, I highly recommend this product to anyone who may be in the market!!!

Easy (and Yummy) Breakfast Casserole

This is such an easy recipe to make. I often make it for work and it's so easy to put together the morning of, or prepare and bake the night before and simply reheat. Either way, it's delicious! I believe I'll be serving this for my Christmas morning brunch! Enjoy!

2 packages (12 oz each) bulk pork sausage
1 medium bell pepper, chopped (1 cup)
1 medium onion, chopped (1/2 cup)
3 cups frozen hash brown potatoes
2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese (8 oz)
1 cup Bisquick (or store brand baking mix) mix
2 cups milk
1/4 teaspoon pepper
4 eggs

1. Heat oven to 400ºF. Grease rectangular baking dish. Cook sausage, bell pepper and onion in 10-inch skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until sausage is no longer pink; drain. Stir together sausage mixture, potatoes and 1 1/2 cups of the cheese in baking dish.
2. Stir Bisquick mix, milk, pepper and eggs until blended. Pour into baking dish.
3. Bake uncovered 40 to 45 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Sprinkle with remaining cheese. Bake 1 to 2 minutes longer or just until cheese is melted

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Best Oatmeal Cookies

I think oatmeal are by far my favorite cookies (well, right behind pumpkin walnut). This recipe is fantastic. I can't stop eating them! This is another refrigerate overnight recipe, so plan ahead! It's great b/c by chilling overnight, it allows the oats to soaks up the delicious flavors of the other ingredients. Make sure you cook directly on the pan, not on parchment paper, though it is tempting b/c of the easy cleanup!

1 c plus 2 T all-purpose flour
2c rolled oats
1 t baking soda
1 t ground cinnamon
1/4 t ground nutmeg
16 T butter
3/4 c packed light brown sugar
3/4 c granulated sugar
1 t vanilla extract
1/2 t salt (omit if you are using salted butter)
2 lg eggs
1 c chopped walnuts
1 c raisins


Mix the flour, rolled oats, baking soda, cinnamon, and nutmeg together thoroughly with a whisk or fork. Set aside.

Cut the butter into chunks and melt in a large saucepan over medium heat. Remove from the heat and stir in the brown sugar, granulated sugar, vanilla and salt. Whisk in the eggs. Stir in the flour mixture just until all of the dry ingredients are moistened. Stir in the walnuts and raisins. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Preheat the oven to 325 Degrees. Position racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven.

For large cookies: scoop about 2 level tablespoons of dough and place the cookies about 3 inches apart on the cookie sheet.

For small cookies: scoop 1 level tablespoon of dough.

Bake for 15-17 min for large cookies or 13-15 min for small cookies, or until the cookies are deep golden brown. Rotate sheets from top to bottom and front to back (it really makes a difference) about halfway through the baking time to ensure even baking. Use a metal pancake turner to transfer cookies to a rack to cool completely before storing or stacking.

Can be store in an air tight container for several days.

Cookie Menu

Being the dork that I am, I also made a Cookie Menu. I took a picture of each cookie I made and made a menu out of them. Inspired by the food network and the guide in the box of chocolates, I created this little gem. Plus I also included a personal note to each of the people I gave cookies to.

This picture of the Cookie Menu took me a while to do. It's not great, but you get the idea!

Christmas Cookies!

Well, I went a little nuts. I got a KitchenAid Stand Mixer, and I went a little nuts. I made so many cookies. I don't know if I can ever look at another cookie, let alone bake one. But, I have to say that I love the stand mixer. It is one of the best things I've ever bought. I made some Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies with the mixer and they were pretty tasty. Usually, I don't like sugar cookies and I have discovered I dislike making them into shapes (circles I can handle) but I enjoyed this recipe and I especially enjoyed the glossy sheen the icing gave to the cookies. It looked almost professional! I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. Just remember to start early, the dough has to chill for 8 hrs before you can work with it!

Merry Christmas.

Cream Cheese Sugar Cookies

1 cup white sugar
1 cup butter, softened
1 (3 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon almond extract
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg yolk
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a large bowl, combine the sugar, butter, cream cheese, salt, almond and vanilla extracts, and egg yolk. Beat until smooth. Stir in flour until well blended. Chill the dough for 8 hours, or overnight.
2. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
3. On a lightly floured surface, roll out the dough 1/3 at a time to 1/8 inch thickness, refrigerating remaining dough until ready to use. Cut into desired shapes with lightly floured cookie cutters. Place 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets. Leave cookies plain for frosting, or brush with slightly beaten egg white and sprinkle with candy sprinkles or colored sugar.
4. Bake for 7 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, or until light and golden brown. Cool cookies completely before frosting.

Yummy Icing:

1 cup confectioners' sugar
2 teaspoons milk
2 teaspoons light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
assorted food coloring
-In a small bowl, stir together confectioners' sugar and milk until smooth. Beat in corn syrup and almond extract until icing is smooth and glossy. If icing is too thick, add more corn syrup.
-Divide into separate bowls, and add food colorings to each to desired intensity. Dip cookies, or paint them with a brush (or, I just used the back of a spoon.

A great cookie resource for all your holiday (and otherwise baking) is

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Pumpkin Roll

I made a rolled cake for the first time for a food day at work. I never made one b/c I thought they were super hard to make.. a rolled cake? That is against nature! But, much to my shock, it was incredibly easy, and of course delicious! I didn't have a "jelly roll pan" so I just used a cookie sheet and that worked just fine. Just remember to refrigerate and don't let the cream cheese get to soft before you cream it with the butter!

Get that spatula dirty!!

Pumpkin Roll:

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 cup pumpkin puree
3 eggs
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup confectioners' sugar

To make Pumpkin Pie Spice (makes 1 teaspoon):
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger, ground
1/8 tsp allspice
1/8 tsp nutmeg, ground

Preheat oven to 375 F . Grease and flour a 9x13 inch jelly roll pan or cookie sheet.

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, baking soda, and pumpkin pie spice. Stir in pumpkin puree, eggs, and lemon juice. Pour mixture into prepared pan. Spread the mixture evenly.

Bake at 375F for 15 minutes.

Lay a damp linen towel on the counter, sprinkle it with confectioner's sugar, and turn the cake onto the towel. Carefully roll the towel up (lengthwise) with the cake in it. Place the cake-in-towel on a cooling rack and let it cool for 20 minutes.
Make the icing: In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese, butter, vanilla, and sugar with a wooden spoon or electric mixer.
When the cake has cooled 20 minutes, unroll it spread icing onto it. Immediately re-roll (not in the towel this time), and wrap it with plastic wrap. Keep the cake refrigerated or freeze it for up to 2 weeks in aluminum foil. Cut the cake in slices just before serving.

The Best Thanksgiving Dinner Rolls Ever!

I actually made these for Thanksgiving last year, but never posted the recipe. So, in time for Thanksgiving this year.. the recipe!

** Get started early on this recipe b/c it has to rise for a while all-total about 2 hrs and 15 m for the rising only.

If you want, you can make them up to a week ahead of time storing the baked rolls in a Ziploc plastic bag and freezing them. Defrost the rolls for 1 hour at room temperature before reheating. To reheat, wrap the rolls in aluminum foil, 6 rolls to a package. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until heated through 10-15 min.

1 - 1/4 oz package active dry yeast
1 & 1/2 c buttermilk
6 T unsalted butter, melted, plus additional for brushing the rolls
2 lg eggs
2 T sugar
5 c bread or unbleached flour
3/4 t baking soda
1 & 1/2 t salt
Approx. 2 & 1/2 t poppy seeds for sprinkling

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast over 1/4 cup warm (100 - 110 F) water and let stand until creamy, 5 to 10 minutes. Stir to dissolve the yeast.

In a medium saucepan, heat the buttermilk, stirring constantly, just until warm (100-110F). or, place the buttermilk in a 1-quart glass measuring cup and microwave on high for 1 minute, or until warm. Transfer the buttermilk to a 1-quart measuring cup, if necessary, and stir in the dissolved yeast mixture, the melted butter, eggs, and sugar.

Mix the flour, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl and make a well in the center. Pour in the liquid ingredients and mix to form shaggy dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and elastic, 8-10 minutes. Form the dough into a ball.

Place the dough in a large buttered bowl. Turn the dough to coat with the butter, and turn the dough smooth side up. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until doubled in volume (if you poke the dough with your finger, an impression will remain) about 1 & 1/4 hours.

Lightly butter 2 9-in round cake pans. Punch down the dough and knead briefly on an unfloured work surface. Cut the dough into 18 equal pieces. (Easiest way: cut the dough into thirds, then cut each third in half and each half into 3 pieces) Place a piece of dough on the work surface. Using the sides of your hands, tuck the dough underneath itself, turning the dough as you tuck, stretching the top surface, and eventually forming a taunt ball. Repeat with the remaining dough, transferring the rolls to the prepared pans as you form them, allowing nine balls per pan. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place until almost doubled in volume, about 40 minutes.

Preheat oven to 400F

Brush the tops of the rolls lightly with melted butter and sprinkle with the poppy seeds. Bake until golden brown, about 20 minutes. Remove from the pan and serve warm.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

Sweet Potato Casserole

As I am sure I have stated many times, I love fall! One veggie in particular I really love (any time of the year) is the sweet potato. They are heart healty and of course deliciously sweet! This recipe is Weight Watchers and was so yummy I felt like I had dessert!

My stand-in taste-tester (Dad) had this to say:

"Rachael Ray would have been envious"

Makes 4 Servings

2 apples, peeled, cored and thinly sliced
1 lb sweet potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 t finely chopped crystallized ginger (I just used regular ground ginger)
1/2 t salt
1/4 c thawed frozed apple juice concentrate
2 T packed brown sugar
2 t fresh lemon juice
1/4 t cinnamon
1/8 t ground cloves
2 t margarine, diced

Preheat oven to 375 F; spray 8" square baking dish w/ non-stick cookig spray. Arrange half of the apples in the baking dish; top w/half of the sweet potatoes, then sprinkle w/ half the ginger and half the salt. Repeat the layers.

In a small bowl, combine the juice concentrate, brown sugar, lemon juice, cinnamon, cloves and 1/4 c wter. Pour over the potatoes. Cover with foil and bake 45 min; dot w/margarine. Bake, uncovered until tender, bubbling and lightly browned, about 15 min longer

Cal: 220/serving
Fat: 2 g

Friday, October 06, 2006

Butternut Squash Soup and "Sammies"

Well, the recipe for the Butternut squash soup is below, under "First Day of Autumn". I made it tonite and to accompany the soup, I made Rachael Ray's Deviled Ham Sammies or Mug Toppers. Pics of both are above.

I love the soup! So flavorful and low in calories and fat. I used I Can't Believe It's Not Butter and fat free no/low sodium chickn broth. Plus, you have to love the golden color! It's beautiful!

The Sammies were good, but next time I make them I will only put in maybe 1 & 1/2 T mustard and 1/2 T paprika. It was a little intense. The butcher didn't have white cheddar so I went with the regular kind!

A great "getting cold" treat! YUM!

2 sandwich size English muffins, split
3/4 pound boiled deli ham, chopped
1 tablespoon paprika
2 tablespoons hot sauce
3 to 4 tablespoons yellow mustard, squirt top bottle -- eyeball it
A handful parsley, curly or flat
8 deli slices, about 8 to 10 ounces, white sharp Cheddar

Heat toaster oven or broiler then toast split English muffins. While muffins toast, grind ham with paprika, hot sauce, mustard, and parsley in a food processor. Spread ham on toasted muffins. Top each muffin half with 2 slices Cheddar and melt cheese in toaster oven or under broiler.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Polish Pierogi

As part of my dad's birthday, we made a favorite of his, Pierogi. Though my dad's family is Polish, I have never made Pierogi. In fact, I didn't even know if I like it until I made it last night! It was pretty easy to make (once I got the dough right) and was delicious. You can have all types of fillings though cheese and potato is what I used.

The good thing about pierogi is that you boil it in water, so you don't add a lot of oil/grease to recipe. I did throw them in a skillet with some sauted onions and sourkraut just to brown them up and give them a beautiful golden color.

I love this recipe and know that anyone can make it, it is really easy and homeade, which makes it even better!

1 c flour
1 egg
1/4 c water (or more I used 1/4c then an additional 1/8c)

3 medium potatoes
1/2 c cheddar chz
salt & pepper to taste

Boil potatoes until soft, drain water from pan. Mash potatoes and add cheese and salt & pepper. Set aside to cool.

In a mixing bowl, place the flour and egg. Add 1/4 cup of water and stir all ingredients with a fork. The dough should be the consistency of pizza dough. Add more water (if necessary) until this consistency is attained.

Assemble the pierogies:
On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of dough to 1/8th of an inch thickness, making sure that there are no holes.
Cut dough into 3 inch squares and place approximately 1-2 Tablespoons of the filling mixture slightly off center.
Flip half of the dough over filling creating a triangle. Crimp all edges securely.
This is the important part. If you do not crimp the edges securely, they will break apart when boiled.

Gently submerge them into a large pot of boiling water. They will sink to the bottom. Once they rise to the surface of the water, they are done. Takes about 3-5 minutes.

Sauté some chopped or sliced onions in butter. When onions are soft and lightly browned, add the pierogies, stir and serve.

Serve pierogi with sourkraut and onion! Yum!


I love breakfast, it is by far my favorite meal of the day. I even like to eat it as dinner! Fall is upon us and since pumpkins are in season, the more I can cook with pumpkin, the happier I am! So, on the menu: Pumpkin Pancakes, Breakfast Potatoes and Sausage (just plain ole patties, nothing special)!

This recipe came from who else other than Martha Stewart (October 2004)
Pumpkin Pancakes:

1 & 1/4 c flour
2 T Sugar
2 t baking powder
1/2 t cinnamon
1/2 t ground ginger
1/2 t salt
1/4 t nutmeg
pinch of cloves

Wisk above ingredients together

In a separate bowl, stir together:

1 c milk
6 T canned pumpkin puree
2 T melted butter
1 egg

Fold mixture into dry into dry ingredients. Melt some butter in a skillet (or use a griddle) over medium heat; pour in 1/4 c batter for each panake. Cook pancake about 3 minutes per side. Serve w/ butter and syrup.

Breakfast Potatoes:

3-4 potatoes (you could use "regular" or red)
1 onion
Cajun Seasoning (or another all-purpose seasoning)
Olive oil

-Microwave potatoes about 8 minutes until a fork pierces through potato. Cut into cubes.
-Chop onion.

Heat a skillet with olive oil (ok, a total Rachael Ray comment here) I just did a couple swirls around the skillet and added more as needed throughout cooking. Add onion to warmed skillet/oil. Saute onions for about 2 mintues. Add potatoes and cajun seasoning, I just did about 2 tsp or a little less of the seasoning. Season to your liking! Saute potatoes & onion together until potatoes are a nice brown color it takes about 8-10 minutes. Make sure you watch them so they don't burn. I added a little more oil about half way through so they would brown better. Serve immediately (they can lose heat fast)!


Not much explanation needed here. Buy sausage, either already in patty form, or form into patties. Cook until finished. I like to use the George Foreman to get rid of a lot of grease!

Enjoy this hearty, comfort food breakfast!

An October Birthday

Well, today is Oct 1! Not only are we just 2 months away from the end of 2006, it is also my dad's 56th birthday! What birthday is complete without an awesome birthday cake? Inspired by Martha, this cake entitled, Cocoa Buttermilk Cake, is very rich and delicious! Serve with ice cream or frozen yogurt to make it a little less intense. If you are into very chocolate-y cakes, this is your cake! The icing is also chocolate containing both cocoa and bittersweet chocolate morsels. So yummy!


Cocoa Buttermilk Cake

Find the recipe at:
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened, plus more for pans

1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutchprocess cocoa powder, plus more for pans

3 cups all-purpose flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 3/4 cups sugar

3 large eggs

1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups low-fat buttermilk

Chocolate Frosting (it makes a TON!)

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Butter two 8-by- 12-inch cake pans, and line with parchment paper. Butter parchment, and lightly dust with cocoa powder; set aside. Sift cocoa powder, flour, baking powder, and salt into a medium bowl; set aside.

2. Put butter and sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium speed until pale and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes. Mix in eggs, 1 at a time, and vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add cocoa mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the buttermilk.

3. Divide batter evenly between pans. Bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack 15 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack; remove parchment, and reinvert. Let cool completely.

4. Trim cakes level. Place 1 cake on a platter. Spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake. Spread 4 1/2 cups frosting on top and sides.

For the icing:

4 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar

1/2 cup unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

3/4 cup (11/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened

18 ounces bittersweet chocolate, melted

1 1/2 cups sour cream

1. Sift sugar, cocoa powder, and salt into a large bowl. Put cream cheese and butter into the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; mix on medium-high speed until pale and fluffy, about 4 minutes. Reduce speed to low. Gradually add sugar mixture; mix until combined, 1 to 2 minutes. Mix in chocolate and sour cream. Use immediately.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Apple Cinnamon French Toast

I you have never tried Kings Hawaiian bread for your french toast, you are truly missing out. This bread makes fabulous french toast because it is already sweet! I have made 2 recipes for french toast using this bread and both are amazing. I really like the french toast bakes vs. traditional french toast b/c there are more options with the bake and it's a lot easier that dipping and flipping! Plus, this is a perfect fall treat because of the apples!

This recipe come directly from the Kings Hawaiian Website:

1/2 loaf Kings Hawaiian Sweet Bread (16 oz) cut into 1-inch pieces
4 eggs, slightly beaten
1 & 1/2 c milk
1/2 c sugar, divided
2 t cinnamon
1 lg apple, peeled, cored, and thinly sliced
2 T butter/margarine

Makes 8 Servings


Here is a picture of my husband SSG Rich Vos on Friday September 22 at his re-enlistment ceremony. Rich is in the Army and re-enlisted for another 6 years making it a total of 12 years he'll be in. I am very proud of him!

The photos are taken in Baghdad on Saddam's old parade grounds beneath the crossed swords.


Sunday, September 24, 2006

Eggplant Lasagna

Well, lasagna doesn't exactly always take the best pictures, but I assure you it's delicious!!!

I'd never actually had eggplant before tonite, but always wanted to try it (basically b/c it is pretty!). I was very impressed with this dish and liked it very much. A definite make again!

Eggplant Lasagna:

6 lasagna noodles (I used whole wheat)
3 c chopped, peeled eggplant
1 medium green bell pepper, diced (about 1 c)
1 lg onion, chopped (about 1 c)
1/4 c fresh basil or 1 T plus 1 t dried, crumbled
3 medium cloves garlic, minced, or 1 & 1/2 t bottled minced garlic
2 8 oz no-salt-added tomato sauce
2 t low sodium Worcestershire sauce
1/8 t salt
1/4 t fennel seeds (optional)
1 c fat free cottage cheese
1 c part skim mozzarella chz, shredded
2 T shredded or grated parmesan chz

Preheat oven to 350F. Spray 12x8x2-inch glass baking dish w/ vegetable oil spray.

In a large stockpot, cook noodles using package directions, omitting salt and oil.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Remove skillet from heat and spray with vegetable oil. Cook eggplant, bell pepper, onion, basil, and garlic for 10 minutes, or until eggplant is tender, stirring occasionally; reduce heat to medium if mixture sticks to skillet.

Add tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, salt, and fennel. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes, or until sauce has slightly thickened and bell pepper is tender. Remove from heat.

To assemble, lay 2 noodles lengthwise in baking dish. Spread a scant 1 c eggplant mixture over noodles. Spoon half the cottage chz over sauce; spread evenly. Sprinkle w/ 1/4 c mozzarella. Repeat layers twice, ending with remaining 1/2 c mozzrella. Tuck in ends of noodles if overhanging; cover w/ aluminum foil.

Bake for 30 min. Remove from oven, discard foil.

Sprinkle lasagna w/ parmesan; let stand for 5-10 min to allow chz to melt and to make slicing easier.

Calories: 214
Protein: 15g
Carbs: 30 g
Fat: 4g
Fiber: 4g


Friday, September 22, 2006

Happy First Day of Autumn!

Though it is officially not for another 2.5 hours, I want to be the first to wish all a Happy Autumn!

I love Autumn, Fall, whatever you may call it! The crisp days the smell in the air of leaves and freshness. I love the colors and the produce! Squash! I love it! Pumpkin and butternut squash are two of my favorites followed by acorn. I think I love them all. Not to mention the APPLES! If you've never been to an apple orchard, do it this year! The delicious varieties of apples along with pumpkins and cider make a great weekend getaway!

Make sure you checkout my posts from October 2005. I have some great decorations on there such as chiffon ghosts and a scary fence. Both of which are super easy to do and make a great decoration and conversational piece. I also have some great recipes such as pumpkin cupcakes as well as others.

So, here is to Autumn! Welcome Back!!!

Here is one of my favorite fall recipes! So yummy!

Butternut Squash Soup

4 slices bacon
3 lbs (2 small) butternut squash
3 T unsalted butter
2 lg onions, couarsly chopped
2 small carrots, halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
2 small celery stalks, thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
3/4 t salt, or more to taste
3 & 3/4 c low sodium/fat free chx broth
2 T thinly slivered fresh sage OR 2 t dried
1/4 t freshly ground pepper

Cook the bacon over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown and crisp. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bacon to paper towels to drain (I use a george foreman for this!), then crumble and set aside. Pour off and discard the fat from the pot and set the pot aside.

Meanwhile, cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds. Cut each half lengthwise in half again and, using a sharp paring knife, peel the squash. Cut the squash into 3/4 inch chunks

Melt the butter in the pot (a large heavy pot) over medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, garlic, and 1/4 t salt and cook, stirring, until the onions are translucent, 10-12 min. Add the squash and stock and bring to a simmer. Partially cover and simmer, sitrring occasionally, until the squash is very tender, about 15 minutes.

In batches, puree the soup in a blender until smooth and return to the pot. Stir in the sage, and season with the remaining 1/2 t salt and pepper. Reheat over medium heat, stirring occasionally , until hot. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle some of the crumbled bacon in the center of each serving.

Serves 8.

Picture to follow.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Orange-Blueberry Angel Food Cake

This is a delicious cake with a little tang to it! So yummy!

1 1/2 c egg whites (10-12 large)
1 1/2 c sifted powdered sugar
1 c sifted cake flour or sifted all-purpose flour
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t cream of tartar
1 c granulated sugar (or substitute Splenda baking sugar just make sure to read the equivalency directions)
1 1/2 c freeze dried blueberries (I used the little "wild" blueberries in the frozen food section)
1 T finely shredded orange peel
1 C sifted powdered sugar
3-5 t frozen orange juice concentrate thawed (I didn't have this, just regular OJ and it tasted fine!)


In a very large mixing bowl allow egg whites to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the 1 1/2 c powdered sugar and the flour together 3 times. Set aside.

Add cream of tartar and vanilla to egg whites. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until soft peaks form (tips curl). Gradually add granulated sugar, about 2 T at a time, beathing until stiff peaks form (tips stand straight).

Sift 1/4 of the powdered sugar mixture over beaten egg whites; fold in gently. Repeat, folding in the remaining powdered sugar mixture by fourths. Gently old in freeze-dried blueberries and orange peel. Pour into an ungreased 10-nich tube pan. Gently cut through batter to remove air pockets.

Bake cake on the lowest rack in a 350F oven for 40-45 min or until top springs back when lightly touched. Immediately invert cake in pan; cool completely in pan. Loosen cake from pan; remove cake.

In a small bowl combine the 1 c powdered sugar and 3 t of the OJ concentrate. Stir in enough of the remaining OJ, 1 t at a time, to reach drizzling consistency. Drizzle over cooled cake.

You will LOVE this cake and want to eat more than just one piece! and at only 208 c and 0g fat per serving (makes 12 servings) you can!!


Chicken Tetrazzini

This delicious and creamy comfort-food is great for a chilly night, or really any night! The recipe has been modified for a more healthful approach, so don't be scared to try it only 394 calories per serving (makes 4 servings).

6 oz dried spaghetti (I use whole wheat spaghetti)
1 1/2 c sliced fresh mushrooms
3/4 c chopped red or green sweet pepper
1/2 c cold water
1/4 c flour
1 12-oz can (1 1/2c) evaporated low fat milk
1 t instant chicken bouillon granules
1/4 t black pepper
1/8 t salt
1 c chopped cooked chicken or turkey (5 oz)
1/4 c finely shredded Parmesan cheese (1 oz)
2 T dry sherry or milk
1 T sliced almonds


Cook the spaghetti according to package directions, except omit the cooking oil and lightly salt the water. drain well.

Meanwhile, in a large covered saucepan cook the mushrooms and sweet pepper in a small amount of boiling water until tender. Drain well, return to saucepan.

In a screw top jar combine 1/2 c cold water and flour; cover and shake well. Stir into the veggie mixture in the saucepan. Stir in the evaporated milk, bouillon granules, black pepper, and salt. Cook and stir until thickened and bubbly. Stir in the cooked spaghetti, chx, parmesan cheese and dry sherry/milk.

Lightly coat a 2-qt square baking dish with nonstick cooking spray. Spoon spaghetti mixture into dish. Sprinkle with almonds. Bake, uncovere, ina 400F oven about 10 min or until heated through and nuts are lightly toasted.

Serve with a tossed salad and low cal dressing! ENJOY!!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Self Diet

Well, I've started the Self Reach Your Goal Diet. I've chosen the Lose 8 lbs in a month with a little sculpting sexy muscles thrown in there as well. It's a great program. If you haven't seen it, go to Self.Com and check it out. I sound like a promotional video right now! Anyway, last night I had a great salad that I just had to share!

Three Pepper Salad

1 yellow pepper chopped
1 red pepper chopped
1 green pepper chopped
2 T parsley chopped
1 T chopped red onion
1 1/2 t olive oil
splash of balsamic vinegar

mix a half each red, green and yellow bell pepper, chopped, tossed with chopped parsley, chopped red onion, olive oil and balsamic vinegar! So easy to make and delicious and nutritous!

My only suggestion is to leave out at least half of the parsley, for me, it was a little over powering! YUM! It also has an amazing aroma and is very pretty with all the different colors!


Well, the husband came home from Iraq for 2 weeks and we had a great time. We vacationed in the Virgin Islands and then just hung around good ole' NKY! He's back in Iraq now not to be seen for another 6-10 months!

Chocolate Cake

Not only is this a perfect opportunity to share a GREAT chocolate cake recipe, I can also show off my birthday present from my sister, Pam. It's from and it's so cute! I love it!!!



. 2 cups sugar
. 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
. 3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
. 1-1/2 teaspoons baking powder
. 1-1/2 teaspoons baking soda
. 1 teaspoon salt
. 2 eggs
. 1 cup milk
. 1/2 cup vegetable oil
. 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
. 1 cup boiling water

1. Heat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

2. Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

3. Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with Buttercream or any frosting you prefer.

ONE-PAN CAKE: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350 F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.

THREE LAYER CAKE: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.

BUNDT CAKE: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.

CUPCAKES: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

Buttercream Frosting:

1 cup butter or margarine, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

1 . Beat butter and powdered sugar in medium bowl on medium speed until smooth. Gradually beat in vanilla until smooth and spreadable

Monday, July 03, 2006

My Avatar

So, I have created my "avatar" not exactly sure what that is.. but it was fun making me!

Yahoo! Avatars

and of course, what avatar wife is complete without her avatar husband!

Yahoo! Avatars

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Birthday Celebration

Happy 25th Birthday Kari!

What better than a home-made birthday cake with UDF ice cream to start a new year?! It's even better with it's kind of okay to eat!!

This cake seems to bake really fast, so make sure to watch it so it doesn't overcook! Don't forget to add a little flair to your birthday celebration, even if you are celebrating in a restaurant! Bring a bday table cloth and Target has some super fun square bday cake plates!

Healthy bonus: 1/2 serving of fruit per slice, potassium from bananas, iron from walnuts
Makes 16 servings.
1 cup whole-wheat flour
1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp baking soda
4 large overly ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup plain lowfat yogurt
2 egg whites
2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup walnuts, chopped
Vegetable-oil cooking spray
1 cup lowfat milk
3/4 cup Splenda Sugar Blend for Baking
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tbsp butter
2 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F. Combine flours, Splenda, cocoa, and baking soda. Add bananas, yogurt, egg whites, vanilla, and 1/2 cup walnuts. Stir. Coat a 9" x 13" cake pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into pan, spreading evenly. Bake about 35 minutes. Cool.

Raise oven to 375°F. Toast remaining 1/4 cup walnuts 6 minutes. To make frosting, pour 1/4 cup milk into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in Splenda, cocoa, and cornstarch. Slowly add remaining 3/4 cup milk and bring to a low boil, stirring continuously until thick. Remove from heat and stir in butter and vanilla. Cool and spread over cake. Sprinkle walnuts over cake.

Seasons Restaurant at the Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa, Farmington, PA
Nutritional analysis per serving: 203 calories, 5.4 g fat (1.3 g saturated fat), 26.1 g carbohydrates, 5.9 g protein, 3.8 g fiber

Recipe from and Self Dishes Spring 2006

Ginger-Lemon Tea

If you are a tea fanatic like I am, you are always looking for new teas to try. This is so easy to make and is delicious, not to mention the awesome aroma!

Ginger-Lemon Tea

6 c water
4 t sugar
1 (1-in) piece of fresh ginger, thinly sliced
8 lemon peel strips (2.5X1in)
8 green tea bags
*Lemon slices (*optional)

In a large saucepan combine the water, sugar, ginger, and lemon peel strips. Bring to a boil; reduce heat, simmer, uncovered for 10 min. remove ginger and lemon strips with a slotted spoon and discard.

Place tea bags in a teapot; immediately add simmering water mixture. Cover and let stand 3 to 5 min. remove tea bags and discard. Serve immediately in mugs. Garnish with lemon slice.

Very refreshing on a summer evening!

Double Chocolate Brownies

This may be the most perfect Brownie recipe ever! It is incredibly easy, quick, and melt-in-your mouth good!

Non stick cooking spray
1/4 c butter/margarine
2/3 c sugar
1/2 c cold water
1 t vanilla
1 c flour
1/4 c unsweetened cocoa powder
1 t baking powder
1/4 c mini semisweet chocolate pieces
2 t sifted powdered sugar

1 - lightly coat the bottom of a 9X9X2 baking pan w/nonstick cooking spray being careful NOT to coat the sides of the pan

2 - In a medium saucepan, melt butter; remove from heat. Stir in sugar,water, vanilla. Stir in flour, cocoa powder, and baking powder until combined. Stir in chocolate pieces. Pour batter into prepared pan.

3 - Bake in a 350 oven for 15-18 min until a wooden toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack. removed from pan. cut into 16 bars, sprinkle w/ powdered sugar!


Low in fat and Cal: 103 cal & 4 g fat per piece!!!


Vegetable Lasagna!

This is a super fast, easy recipe that is sure to be a crowd pleaser! Not to mention that it only has 251 cal per serving and 9 g fat!

I would definitely make this again!

From "the woman" : "very tasty and not too chewy like some lasagnas"
The woman will be taking over as "taste-tester" until the husband returns from Iraq!

The recipe:
Vegetable Lasagna!

6 dried lasagna noodles (I use whole wheat! Gotta look out for the heart! Whole grains!)
2 & 1/2 cups zucchine and/or yellow summer squash halved lengthwise and sliced (2 medium)
2 cups fresh sliced mushrooms
1/3 cup chopped onion (1 small)
2 t EVOO
1 c light (or skim) ricotta cheese
3 T finely shredded Parmesan chz (1 oz)
1/4 t black pepper
2 C purchased pasta sauce (I use Ragu Garden Primavera .. so good and has LOADS of veggies!)
1/2 c chopped, seeded tomato (1 medium)

1 - cook noodles according to package directions; drain and rise with cold water. drain well.

2 - In a large non-stick skillet cook and stir squash, mushrooms, and onion in hot oil over medium-high heat about 5 min or until tender; remove from heat and set aside. In a small bowl combine ricotta cheese, Parmesan Cheese, and pepper.

3- To assemble, place 3 lasagna noodles in bottom of a 2 - quart rectangular baking dish, trimming to fit as necessary. Spoon half of the ricotta chz mixture over the noodles. Top w/half of the veggie mix, half of the sauce, and half of the mozzarella chz. Layer w/ remaining noodles, ricotta chz mix, veggie mix, and sauce.

4- Bake, uncovered in a 375 oven for 30 min. Sprinkle with tomato and the remaining mozzarella chz. Bake 5 more or until heated through. Let stand 10 min before serving.

Serve w/ a yummy side salad and brownies!

Thursday, April 20, 2006

Delicious Stuffed Pepper Recipe

This is such a nutritious, filling alternative to the traditional stuffed pepper.

1 &1/4 c fat-free reduced sodium chx broth
1 c couscous
1 T olive oil
1 medium onion
3 cloves garlic, minced
2 c fresh spinach
1 c canned corn, drained
1 c canned diced tomatoes
1 c grated lowfat/nonfat mozzerella chz
4 red/yellow/green peppers cored, stemmed, and seeded
4 tsp grated parmesan

Heat oven to 350. Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. heat chx both in a small saucepan until poinlin; add couscous, cover and remove from heat. let stand 10 min; fluff with a ford and set aside.

warm oil in a large pan over medium heat; saute onion and garlic until translucent, 5 to 10 min. add spinach and saute until wilted. add corn and tomatoes (with juices) and cook for 5 min. remove from heat, drain and transfer to a bowl.

stir in couscous and mozzarella; season w/ salt and pepper. place peppers upright in baking dish and fill with stuffing, then top with parmesan.

bake 20 min (including pepper tops). serve warm

383 calories

Serve with northern beans!


Wednesday, April 19, 2006

My New Favorite Pizza

This is so very yummy! And, it's low in calories but very high in yumminess!

1 flat pita bread (not the pita pockets)
Sauce (I use Ragu Garden Primavera b/c it's got big chunks of veggies)
additional toppings (I used fresh mushrooms)
part-skim mozzerella cheese (for an added bang, i usually put a little bit of cheddar on it too)

Preheat oven to 375. Place pita bread directly on the rack in the oven. Bake for about 3-5 min - until desired crispiness. Removed from oven add sauce (I like mine w/ a lot of sauce), additional toppings, and cheese. Return to oven until cheese is melted!

Enjoy! I know this is so very simple, but the pita makes this unique. Not to mention that they are "personal" size, so if someone is on a diet they can be as healthful as they like and others don't have to "suffer" their dieting!

Rigatoni Bake

A very quick, yummy, and aromatic recipe!

2 c uncooked rigatoni pasta
1 lb lean ground beef**
1 medium onion, chopped
1 small green bell pepper, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
28-oz can of crushed tomatoes, undrained
1/2 tsp dried dill weed (optional)
1/2 c shredded mozzarella cheese**

heat oven to 375. spray casserole dish w/non-stick cooking spray. in a large saucepan, cook rigatoni to desired doneness. Drain; return to saucepan.

In large skillet, cook ground beef, onion, bell pepper, and garlic until beef is browned and thoroughly cooked, stirring frequently. Drain.

Add ground beef mixture, tomatoes, and dill to cooked rigatoni; mix well. Pour into sprayed casserole dishh. Cover

Bake at 375 for 30 min. Uncover; sprinkle w/cheese. Bake uncovered for an additional 5 min or until cheese is melted.

Serving size: 1 & 1/2 cup

** to make this recipe lower in fat/caloris substitute lean 99% fat free turkey for ground beef and part-skim low fat mozzerella cheese for the regular cheese.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter Treats

Well, the bunny cake didn't turn out so well, but what can you do?

Cupcakes were easy and cute to make! Just an extra drop of icing and some marshmallow ears!

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

An Easter Tradition

This cake is so yummy and so easy! It is an Easter tradition in our house.

Carrot Cake w/ Toasted pecan cream cheese frosting

3 sticks, plus 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 cups grated carrots
1 cup chopped toasted pecans **be careful not to over toast**
Pecan Cream Cheese Icing:
8 ounces cream cheese
1 stick unsalted butter
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup chopped toasted pecans

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter 3 (9-inch) cake pans with 1 tablespoon of the butter and set aside. In a large bowl, cream the butter with an electric mixer. Add the sugar, and beat. In a medium bowl or on a piece of parchment, combine the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt, and mix well.

Add the dry ingredients, alternating with the eggs, beating well after the addition of each. Add the vanilla extract and mix. Add the carrots and beat on medium speed until well incorporated, about 2 minutes. Fold in the nuts. Divide between the 3 cake pans and bake until set and a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and let rest in the cake pans for 10 minutes. Invert onto wire racks, remove from the pans, and let cool.

For the Frosting: In a large bowl, cream together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy. Add the sugar gradually, beating constantly. Add the vanilla and pecans.

When the cake is cool, place 1 cake layer on a cake plate or stand. Spread the top with cream cheese frosting and top with a second and third cake layer, spreading the icing between each layer. Spread the icing around the sides of the cake and let harden slightly before serving. To serve, cut into wedges.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blueberry French Toast Bake

I made this for an office "food day". It went over very well and is super yummy! Try with blackberry or blueberry syrup!
You can make it the night before and throw it in the oven as you are getting dressed! So easy!

Seriously.. this recipe has 3 of my favorite things: breakfast, blueberries, and french toast.

1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
6 eggs
10 slices French bread, 1 inch thick, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 package (3 ounces) cream cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 cup fresh or frozen (thawed) blueberries
1/2 cup chopped nuts (I used walnuts, but I think pecans would have been better!)
Powdered sugar, if desired
Blueberry or maple syrup, if desired

1. Generously grease 2 1/2-quart casserole or rectangular baking dish, 13x9x2 inches. Beat flour, milk, sugar, vanilla, salt and eggs in large bowl with hand beater until smooth. Stir in bread cubes until coated.
2. Pour bread mixture into casserole. Top evenly with cream cheese, blueberries and nuts. (make sure you spread the cream cheese out - don't leave it in the cubes!) Cover and refrigerate at least 1 hour but no longer than 24 hours.
3. Heat oven to 400°F. Uncover and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until golden brown. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Serve with syrup.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006


I haven't tried this recipe yet, but I want to very soon!

I do love soft pretzels! YUM!

1 & 1/4 c warm water
1 T plus 1/4 t yeast
3 & 3/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c plus 2 T powdered sugar
1 & 1/2 t salt
2 t vegetable oil

4 c warm water
1/2 c baking soda
1/4 c butter, melted

kosher or pretzel salt

Cinnamon topping:

1/2 c granulated sugar
2 t cinnamon

1. Dissolve the yeast in the warm water in a small bowl or cup. Let it sit for a few minutes.
2. Combine flour, powdered sugar, and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add water with yeast and vegetable oil. Stir with a spoon and then use your hands to form the dough into a ball. Knead the dough for 5 min. on a lightly floured surface. Dough will be nice and smooth when it's ready. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover it, and store it in a warm place for about 45 min. or until the dough doubles in size.
3. when dough has risen, preheat oven to 425 degrees.
4. Make a bath for the pretzels by combining the baking soda with the warm water and stir until baking soda is mostly dissolved.
5. Remove the dough from the bowl and divide it into 8 even portions. Roll each portion onto a flat non-floured surface until it is about 3 feet long. Pick up both ends of the dough and give it a little spin so the middle of the dough spins around once. Lay the dough down w/the loop nearest to you. Fold the ends down toward you and pinch to attach them to the bottom of the loop. The twist should be in the middle.
6. Holding the pinched ends dip each pretzel into the bath solution. Put each pretzel on a paper towel for a moment to blot the excess liquid. Arrange the pretzels on a baking sheet sprayed w/non-stick spray. If you want salt, sprinkle pretzels w/salt. Don't salt any pretzels if you plan to coat w/cinnamon sugar. You will likely have to use 2 baking sheets, and to be sure to bake them separately. Bake the pretzels for 4 min, the spin the pan halfway around and bake for another 4 to 5 min. or until the pretzels are golden brown.
7. Remove the pretzels from the oven, and let them cool for a couple of min. if you want to eat some now, brush 'em w/ melted butter first, if desired, before serving. If you want the cinnamon sugar coating, make it by combining the 1/2 c sugar and 2 t cinnamon in a small bowl. Brush the unsalted pretzels you plan to coat w/a generous amount of melted butter. Sprinkle a heaving coating of the cinnamon sugar onto the entire surface of the pretzels over a place!


Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Chx and Black Bean Skillet

1 lb cuben boneles, skinless chx breast
2 t olive oil
2/3 c salsa
3/4 c uncooked instant rice
1/3 c water
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained

-in a large no-stick frying pan, combine the chx and oil. cook over high heat, stirring, for 4 min, or until the chx begins to brown.
-stir in the salsa. cook for 3 min. add the rice, water, and beans. bring to a simmer.
-cover and simmer for 8-10 min, or until the chx and rice are cooked through. fluff w/fork before serving. season w/ the salt (if using) and pepper.

This is SOOO easy to make only takes like 20 min and it is very, very tasty.

Adding a little shredded chz to the dish adds a nice touch!

Smothered Chicken and Sweet Potatoes

One word: YUM.

2/3 c flour
1 frying chicken (3-3.5 lbs) cut into serving pieces and skinned (I used boneless/skinless chx breasts)
3 c defatted reduced-sodium chx broth
1/2 large onion
2 c halved mushrooms
2 large sweet potatoes, cut into eights
2 T cornstarch
2 T cold water
3 c hot cooked rice/noodles

-Preheat oven to 350
-Place 1/3 c of the flour in a self-sealing plastic bag. Add the chx, close the bag and shake to coat the pieces w/the flour.
-Coat a Dutch oven w/ no-stick spray. (I used a pot and then transferred to a baking dish) Set the pot over medium-high heat until hot. Add the chx. Brown the pieces on both sides. Remove from the pot and set aside.
-Pour 1/2 c of the broth into the pot and scape the bottom w/a wooden spoon to loosen and browned bits. Bring to a simmer. Add the onions, reduce the heat to low and cook for 5 min. Add the mushrooms and cook for 5 min, or until softened.
-Add the remaining 1/3 c flour and cook, stirring for 2 min (the mixture will be dry). Add 1 c of the remaining broth and stir to break up any lumps of flour.
-Add the sweet potatoes, chx and the remaining 1 & 1/2 c broth. Bring to a boil, cover and transfer the pot to the oven.
-Bake for 1 hour, or until the chx is cooked through and the sweet potatoes are tender. Remove the chx and sweet potatoes from the pot to a serving platter.
-In a cup, mix the cornstarch and water. Pour into the pot. Cook, stirring, over medium heat until the broth is thickened. Serve the chx, sweet potatoes and rice or noodles.