Thursday, September 30, 2010

I love pretty peppers!

As the season is turning, the produce at the Farmer's Market is changing! I was visiting my parents last week and enjoyed a visit to their market. I found these beautiful small peppers in various colors. I decided to use them in a stir-fry! No recipe here...just my own creation.

 I started with 3 small bell peppers.

Cleaned and cut into strips- I love how the purple pepper is so green on the inside!

8 oz of Button Mushrooms, sliced.

For flavor, 1 bunch of green onions, ginger and garlic.

If you have never used fresh Ginger before, I recommend peeling the whole root. Grate what you want and throw the rest in the freezer. It lasts forever and you can grate it frozen the next time you need it.

In a bowl, grate 1 TBS of fresh Ginger with 1 TBS of fresh Garlic (this will be for the sauce).

I used two semi-frozen chicken breasts. It cuts so easy when it's still partially frozen. Easier to get super thin slices.

Love my new skillet- I only used 1 TBS of vegetable oil for the whole dish! Brown the chicken...about 6 minutes.

For the sauce, I used the garlic and ginger, plus 1 tsp red pepper flakes, 1 tsp sesame oil, 2 tsp corn starch, 1/4 cup soy sauce, 2 TBS of rice wine vinegar and homemade chicken broth. I just added the broth to the pan until I had the consistency I was looking for.

Remove chicken from the pan and add the mushrooms first. Cook about 2 minutes then add the peppers and onions. Cook until tender over Medium heat...about 8 minutes.

Add the chicken back in to the pan to finish cooking as the peppers and mushrooms cook.

Add your sauce and thin with chicken stock/broth.

I served ours over Brown Rice- so yummy and the different colored peppers were gorgeous!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

I love a spontaneous trip...for food :)

Since my first trip to The Calico Bean, I've been itching to go again. You need a trip there just to much to take in! Today, we decided to be spontaneous. We jumped in the car and met our buddies half way. The kids enjoyed Toy Story in the back seat and I got to catch up with a great friend! We enjoyed a wonderful visit to this awesome store and had a fun lunch too. A perfect way to enjoy a beautiful Fall day! Check out my newest finds...

Christmas Tree Sprinkles = $1.80

Orange Extract= $3.52 ...on sale! Going to make orange flavored cream cheese "mints" in my pumpkin mold!

 I stocked up on spices....Red Pepper Flakes= $.95 

Basil- $.82....that's 4 times the amount you get from Tones!

Chili Season is upon us...time to stock up on Cumin and Chili Powder. I bought the Dark Chili Powder- $1.82 and the Cumin- $1.14. Crazy Cheap!

Lots of Rosemary for my Rosemary Bread and Focaccia= $.92

Ground Ginger for all my favorite holiday goodies...2 oz from Tones was $2.34 at Target, I got 6 times that for $.84! And something new- White Pepper for my White Chicken Chili = $1.76

This was also a crazy good deal- $2.26 for this tub of Taco Seasoning. You use 2 tsp and there are about 20 servings in this container. A bonus- it's MSG Free!

Spontaneous buys for my Spontaneous trip...Panko Bread Crumbs = $1.50, Peal Barley for winter soups= $1.30 and Mini Marshmallows for cocoa= $1.40

And last, but NOT least, fresh ground Peanut Butter! Nothing but honey roasted peanuts and they grind it to order. I've had a few spoonfuls today :) Brought back memories of grandma Bauer used to make us Fresh Peanut Butter and Butter sandwiches on White Bread. YUM :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Who doesn't love a good deal?

I had a half price coupon at Michael's last week, so I bought myself a set of cake decorating tips and bags. 4 tips, 2 couplings, 8 disposable bags and 5 colors for $4!

I started by just making up a batch of yellow cupcakes for my hubby to take to work.

I also doubled my favorite Cream Cheese frosting recipe when I made pumpkin bars, so I decided to try and make it chocolate! SO GOOD! I added one melted square of unsweetened baking chocolate and 3 TBS of cocoa powder. I also added about 1 cup of powdered sugar to make it thick enough to pipe.

I used a star tip and filled my piping bag with the frosting.

Nothing fancy, just playing around with frosting!

And for Mark to take to work- topped with my adorable Fall Leaf sprinkles from the Calico Bean!

Monday, September 27, 2010

I love theme food for the holidays!

Fall is my most favorite time of year, and Halloween is my husband's favorite holiday. The last few years, I  have tried to make lots of themed food for Halloween. A family favorite- Mummy Dogs! Nothing healthy about these cute treats, but they sure are tasty!

You only need 3 ingredients for this recipe- easy! I always use the reduced fat crescent rolls.

Start by pre-heating your oven to 375 degrees. I like to use my pizza cutter for the dough- slice each triangle of crescent dough into skinny strips.

Wrap each little smokie with a strip of the dough, leaving a small space on the top for the mummy face.

Repeat process until you have used up all the dough- I usually get about 40 mini mummies. This can also be done with full sized hot-dogs, but these are super cute as a party appetizer or for kids. I did cut some of my mini dogs in half to make them kid-safe.

Bake for about 12 minutes- or until crescent dough is lightly browned. Use yellow mustard and a toothpick to apply "eyes" to each mummy.

I like mine served with a mixture of yellow and spicy mustard. Cute and tasty :)

I love re-vamping a classic!

I think it is so fun to take a classic recipe, such as Tuna Noodle Casserole, and give it a healthy update! I really don't use many canned foods (Soups,sauces,etc), so this recipe is completely from scratch. It's one of my husband's favorites- and I actually enjoy it as well.

I used Baby Bella Mushrooms, Yellow Onion, Celery, Green Olives, Tuna in Water, Low Fat Mozzarella, Fresh Grated Parmesan, Skim Milk, Olive Oil and Healthy Harvest Egg Noodles (Whole Wheat).

I cooked my mushrooms first to get a little color on them. Cook in 2 tsps of olive oil over Medium heat until they just start to brown.

Chop 2 ribs of celery (leaves too) and 1 small onion. 

Add to the mushrooms and cook until soft.

In a separate pot- boil the water for the noodles. I used 3/4 of the bag.

To the mushroom/onion/celery mixture, I add an additional tsp of olive oil and 2 TBS of flour. Cook 1 minute and slowly stir in 3 cups of skim milk. Drain and add 2 cans of tuna (in water) and 1/2 cup of fresh grated parmesan. Most classic recipes call for Pimentos- we just use green olives with the pimento :) I added about 12 Queen sized olives, sliced.

Grease a 9x13 pan and add the pasta and mushroom sauce. Stir to combine and top with 1 cup of Mozzarella cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cheese starts to brown.

This recipe makes a lot- but it freezes really well and my hubby can eat it for days!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

I love Cream Cheese Frosting!

I've been searching and searching for canned pumpkin. I couldn't imagine a Fall without making Pumpkin Bars!! I printed a recipe on-line in 2003- it's no longer available on-line, but I'm here to share it with you!

Oops...forgot to put the baking soda in the picture :) Don't forget to put it in the recipe!

Begin by beating the eggs until frothy.

Add pumpkin, oil, cinnamon, sugar, baking powder and soda. Mix well.

Add flour and mix until smooth.

Pour into an un-greased baking dish....I use a 9x13 but it can also be made on a sheet pan. Throw in a 350 degree oven, for about 30 minutes. Check with a toothpick.

While the bars bake, mix 3 oz of cream cheese with 1/4 cup of softened butter until fluffy.

Add 1 tsp of vanilla and 2 cups of powdered sugar. Beat until smooth.

Let the pumpkin bars cool....I always stick them in the fridge because I can't wait!

Frost and serve...yum! I added cute little Leaf Sprinkles on top. I love to eat mine cold :)