Thursday, December 8, 2011

Molasses Sugar Cookies

 It's just not Christmas until we've made a batch or two of these delicious spiced cookies. They have a crunchy outside, chewy center, and the aroma of these cookies will fill your house with yummy! They are amazingly simple, keep well, make a wonderful addition to your kid's teacher gifts. That is, if you can hide enough of them from your family to give away. They're also a great cookie for kids to help make as they can help roll the dough into balls and dip them in the colored sugar.

Molasses Sugar Cookies
yield: 6 dozen

Ingredients:

A great gift for friends, neighbors, and teachers in these
cute bags I got from Hobby Lobby.
1 1/2 c. shortening
2 c. white sugar
1/2 c. molasses
2 eggs
4 c. flour
4 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. cloves
1 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. salt
1 pinch of cardamom (optional)
Christmas colored sugars

Directions:

  • Melt shortening in a saucepan and cool. 
  • Add to mixer bowl and cream with sugar, eggs, and molasses.
  • Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and slowly add to wet mixture. Mix well.
  • Cover and chill in the refrigerator for 3 hours or overnight.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Roll dough into walnut size balls and roll in colored sugar. Place 2 inches apart on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes or until tops appear to crackle (see picture).
  • Cool and store in an airtight container.
            


Thursday, December 1, 2011

Peppermint Brownies

Decorating for Christmas got me in the mood to bake something special for dessert tonight. I got this crazy idea to whip up some peppermint flavored buttercream icing and spread it over a batch of brownies. Then I remembered the Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses that I had hiding in my cupboard. Voila! So simple and so fancy I think I might make these for Christmas.

Candy Cane Brownies
for the brownies:
1 box of your favorite brownie mix

for the frosting:
1/4 c. butter
2-21/2 c. powdered sugar
1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
3/4 tsp of peppermint extract
2-3 tbsp. of milk
15 unwrapped Hershey's Candy Cane Kisses

Directions:
Prepare brownies according to package directions. Cool completely.

In the meantime prepare the frosting. Cream butter in mixer until fluffy. Gradually add in powdered sugar, extracts, and milk and whip on medium speed until combined.

Spread frosting onto cooled brownies. Lightly chop the kisses and sprinkle over the top.  Enjoy!

Friday, November 18, 2011

Butternut Squash Scalloped Potatoes

Okay, so my life has been admittedly a little bit crazy lately...but good crazy!  I started a new business called "My Mommy's Designs" selling custom made  photo cards, birth announcements, and invitations. So instead of baking, cooking, and blogging my life has been filled with a little bit of learning and a lot of hiding away behind my computer creating new designs. I'm excited about it, but I do miss blogging all my delicious recipes. Today during naptime my house was quiet and cozy and I started thinking about the recipe I had found for Butternut Squash Scalloped Potatoes. It's only noon, but my oven is filling my house with a delicious aroma that I can't wait to share.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Pumpkin Spiced Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting

You've got to try these! I decided I needed a "fall" themed cupcake and found this awesome Pumpkin Cupcake recipe from Martha Stewart. Because they were a "test batch" of sorts, I quartered the recipe and made these in my miniature cupcake pan, perfect for a bite size treat. I'm definitely going to whip these up again for Halloween. The remaining minis in my refrigerator are definitely going to work with the hubby tomorrow.The month of October is packed with enough sugar on it's own!


Pumpkin Spice Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting
recipe Adapted from Martha Stewart
Makes about 18 regular cupcakes, and approximately 4 dozen minis

2 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
1 c. packed light brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1 c. (2 sticks) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 15 oz can pumpkin puree

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Coat pan with non-stick spray or line with paper liners.
In a medium bowl combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin pie spice. Set aside.

In a large bowl whisk together both sugars, butter, and eggs. Add dry ingredients and whisk until smooth. Whisk in pumpkin puree.

Fill cups about halfway with batter. Bake 20-25 minutes (about 12-15 for miniatures) until tops spring back when touched. Remove to a wire rack and cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8 oz. tub cream cheese      
1/2 c (or 1 stick) unsalted butter
2 tsp. vanilla
4 c. powdered sugar

Whip cream cheese and butter until combined and creamy. Add in vanilla and powdered sugar and whip on low speed for 1 minute and on medium-high speed for an addition 3-4 minutes until creamy.

To Decorate:

Tint frosting desired color, I used yellow and red drops to create and orange tint. Pipe onto cupcakes with a frosting bag or a sturdy Ziploc bag with the corner cut off and top each cupcake with a candy corn, or three...:) .

    Monday, September 26, 2011

    What to do with a leftover veggie tray?

    Over the weekend we celebrated Garrison's 2nd birthday with family and friends. It was so much fun. The birthday boy got spoiled rotten and managed through the evening with minimal 2 year old tantrums! The weather was perfect and the flies were horrible! We ate lots of delicious food and enjoyed some extra special cupcakes for dessert. Of course, I over estimated the amount of food we needed and had mounds of leftover's to use up. Tonight I set my sight on making a soup from all the leftover vegetables from the veggie tray. I had several cups of fresh broccoli, cauliflower, and baby carrots.  I channeled some inspiration from a Broccoli Cheese Soup that was hiding in the back of my memory from last fall and mixed that with some pantry (and refrigerator) staples. Voila! Rich & Creamy Vegetable Soup!

    Creamy Mixed Vegetable Soup

    2 c. each Broccoli & Cauliflower
    1 1/2 c. carrots (or baby carrots)
    1/2 onion, diced
    1 clove garlic
    4 c. chicken broth (or 4 c. water with 4 tsp. granulated chicken bouillon)
    1/2 c. fat free (or regular) half & half
    1 c. milk
    1 c. grated Colby Jack (or cheddar) cheese
    2 T. butter
    2 T. flour
    1/2 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. grated black pepper
    1/2 c. grated Colby Jack (optional, for garnish)
    Fresh Croutons (optional, for garnish)


    Add broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots to a large pot. Add broth and salt and bring to a boil. Turn to low and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are very tender. With a slotted spoon remove about 3/4 of the vegetables and place in a blender and puree with half & half. Set aside.

    In a saucepan melt butter over medium heat. Add diced onion and garlic and cook about 5 minutes or until onion is soft and translucent. Stir in flour to make a roux and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add milk and cheese, stiring well to combine. Mixture will be thick.

     Mix roux into the large pot of remaining vegetables and broth. Stir in the vegetable puree. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with fresh croutons and additional cheese if desired.

    Saturday, September 17, 2011

    Pumpkin Spiced Latte

    Did you run to Starbucks as soon as the Pumpkin Spiced Latte became available a couple of weeks ago?  Are you remortgaging your house so that you can afford said "lattes." The hubby and I tested out this recipe tonight and I give it an A+ for being as close to Starbucks as possible. I was so glad to find canned pumpkin, albeit a small can, for less than $2.00 today at Walmart. I've had this recipe in my hands for over a week and I just couldn't find it in me to shell out 3 almost 4 dollars for a can of pumpkin at other stores. Before I share the recipe a few notes: Use 1% or 2% milk and real sugar. After you've tasted this the right way then you can try and lighten it up. Also, you may find the pumpkin puree to be a bit mealy. If it bothers you Torani does make a Pumpkin Spice Syrup. You can replace the puree with the syrup. Without further or do, here is a recipe for a copycat pumpkin spiced latte.

    Pumpkin Spiced Latte
    2 tablespoons canned pumpkin puree
    1 teaspoon good quality vanilla extract
    2 tablespoons white sugar
    1 cup 1 % milk
    1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
    1 (1.5 fluid ounce) jigger brewed espresso or double strength coffee  (I had no idea what a jigger was...but apparently it's the equivalent of a shot glass.)
    Whipped cream, whipped topping, or whatever floats your boat :).

    Brew your espresso and set aside.
     In a small saucepan over medium heat whisk pumpkin, vanilla, sugar, spice, and milk. Whisk continuously until hot. Do not bring to a boil or your milk will burn.
    Place milk in a blender and whir a few minutes or until frothy. Pour into a mug and top with your jigger of espresso. Stir to combine and top with whipped cream. Enjoy!

    At this rate you may still have money left over for Christmas shopping by the time fall is over.

    Wednesday, September 7, 2011

    Oreo Cupcakes Oooh la la

    Another successful cupcake idea for Garrison's upcoming 2nd birthday! Today I set out to make a test batch of Cookies & Cream Frosting to pair with some chocolate cupcakes. Cupcakes which I didn't plan on making with this recipe since it was just a small test batch. But then the frosting looked so delicious and I couldn't let it go to waste. Besides, my kitchen was already a mess and my husband, who was going to work in about 2 hours could easily take these off my hands and share with some of the guys at the office. When I first dreamt up these cupcakes I had planned to make the chocolate cake from a box (disgraceful right?). I didn't have any cake mix in my pantry, so I found a quick chocolate cupcake recipe and had them baked and cooling just 20 minutes later. I popped them in the freezer and iced them after another 15 minutes, after which came time for the taste test. Honestly, I don't think I ever want to make chocolate cake from a box again! The cake was moist and delicious and the frosting was rich and sweet! My husband thought they were so good that he wanted to eat them for lunch...but I convinced him to save these for dessert :).

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    Crockpot Chile Verde



    There's something comforting about coming home on a Sunday afternoon to the aroma of something hearty stewing in the slow cooker. The rich aroma  reminds me of going to my grandma's house as a little girl for  Sunday afternoon supper. I would love to go back in time and spend it with my grandma in the kitchen. We went for supper nearly every Sunday, and it's a tradition I miss dearly. I've never tasted another pot roast the way grandma made it. She always pulled out the best dishes and served us a big spread like it was a special occasion, even when it wasn't.

         Occasionally I take something out of the freezer and put it in the slow cooker on Sunday morning because even though we can't always eat together, its nice for my husband to have some leftovers to take to work on Sunday nights. Last weekend I made Slow Cooker Chili Verde. It's definitely not the traditional pot roast I was raised with, but this recipe has a nice balance of flavor and can be served with rice and beans. Leftovers can be transformed into dishes like tostadas, enchiladas, burritos, or tacos.

    I'm sure that someday soon my boys will grow up and start eating real meat (instead of chicken nuggets and hot dogs), and appreciate the comforting smell of a Sunday Supper. I suppose that for now I will just keep practicing and wait for that day to arrive.



    Slow Cooker Chile Verde

    3 lbs of pork shoulder or lean pork roast cut into large cubes.

    3 T. olive oil

    1/2 c. onion, chopped

    3 cloves of garlic, minced

    5 - 7 oz cans of salsa verde

    1 4 oz. can diced jalapeno pepper (or for milder taste use diced green chiles)

    1 can of diced tomatoes



    In a skillet heat olive oil and add onion, garlic, and cubed pork. Cook until pork is browned on the outside. Transfer mixture to a slow cooker and top with salsa verde, jalapeno peppers, diced tomatoes, and oregano.



    Cover and cook on high for 3 hours and then turn to low heat setting and cook an additional 4-5 hours. Enjoy!







               




    Friday, August 19, 2011

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Bliss



    Lately I've been thinking a lot about cupcakes. Maybe that's because Garrison's second birthday is just around the corner and I want to make something special. This week I experimented with chocolate and peanut butter. You can't go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter, especially when you swirl them on top of a pretty little peanut butter cupcake. The recipe comes from one of my favorite recipe blogs, "Our Best Bites." I added my own twist and decided made them miniature, which is how I prefer my cupcakes. The reason: when they're tiny they don't seem so terrible for you, and because I was taking them to a church dinner and I knew they would stretch a bit further this way.  I had to forgo putting a Reese's Miniatures  in the center since these were so small, but I quartered regular size Reese's Peanut Butter Cups and they made a perfect decoration for the top!



    Peanut Butter Cup CupcakesRecipe adapted from Our Best Bites

    1 white or yellow cake mix.

    1 c. sour cream (full-fat or light, but not fat-free)
    3 eggs
    1/4 cup canola oil

    1/8 c. water

    3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    24 unwrapped mini Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups (omit if making miniature cupcakes)



    Chocolate Frosting:

    1/4 cup  butter softened

    3 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    1/2 pound powdered sugar
    3 tablespoons evaporated milk
    1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract



    Peanut Butter Frosting:

    1/2 c. creamy peanut butter
    1/4 c. butter, softened
    2 cups powdered sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla
    2-3 tablespoons of evaporated milk



    Preheat oven to 350. Line 2 12-cup muffin tins with cupcake liners and set aside.

    In a large bowl, combine all the cupcake ingredients and beat with mixer on medium-low speed for 30 seconds and make sure to scrape the bowl. Adjust the speed to high and beat for another 3 minutes.

    Fill each muffin cup about 1/2 full with batter. Top with an unwrapped Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup (omit this step if you're making miniatures), then fill the muffin cups with the remaining batter. Make sure the Peanut Butter Cups are covered and the cups are about 3/4 full. Bake for 18-22 minutes (for regular size) or 12-14 minutes for miniature,  or until the tops are golden. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.



    In the mean time, prepare the frosting. For both flavors combine all the ingredients for each  and whip until light and fluffy. You can add extra milk, a little at a time, if needed. Frost the cupcakes with the *swirled frosting.



    *Here's a tip on swirling the frosting, if like me, all you have are basic supplies such as a frosting bag and a star tip. If you don't have even these you can improvise with a large Zip Lock baggie and cut a hole in the bottom, but your swirl may not look as pretty.

    - Cut off the tip of the bag (about 3/4 inches, depending on the size of the tip you are using) and put in your tip.

    - Hang your frosting bag in the inside of a large glass or tumbler and fold over the sides, this will make it easier to fill.

    - Spoon in Peanut Butter frosting, pushing it over to one side of the bag, don't sweat imperfection! Spoon in the Chocolate Frosting to the remaining side of the bag.

    - Remove bag from cup and lay on its side, push down the frosting into the base and roll the edge down to close. If only one color is in the very base you can pipe out a bit of the frosting until you begin to see it swirl.

    Friday, August 12, 2011

    Grilled Pork Loin Chops


    Chances are, if you are watching your grocery budget at all, you've bought some pork loin chops (a very lean cut with very little fat) and cooked them, only to have them come out pretty dry. A few months ago I found this recipe from Alton Brown for a Pork Chop Brine and the days of dry pork chops got left behind.



    Last night I grilled up a few of these chops and shared with my neighbor Jen, whose husband  doesn't like pork chops. He loved them and I hope you will too!





    2 Hour Pork Chop Brine

    Alton Brown, Food Network

    this is enough brine to cover about 5 chops



    1 c. kosher or coarse sea salt (not iodized salt)

    1 c. brown sugar

    1 T. black peppercorns

    1 T. dry mustard

    2 c. cider vinegar

    4 c. ice cubes

    In a sealable container combine salt, brown sugar, peppercorns, and mustard. Heat cider vinegar in a small pan until hot (not boiling).  Pour cider vinegar into container and stir to dissolve sugar/salt. Let mixture stand for about 20 minutes and then add ice cubes and dissolve.  Add pork chops, making sure they are completely covered with brine and store in the refrigerator for 2 hours.




    Remove from brine and season to your liking. I used a Stubs BBQ Dry Rub.




    Preheat grill and cook until internal temperature in the thickest part of the meat reaches between 145 and 160 degrees. Don't overcook* or you'll be left with dry pork chops anyways!




     *The USDA lowered its recommended cooking temperature from 160 degrees to 145 degrees in May and added a 3 minute rest time.

    Friday, July 22, 2011

    My Summer Grilled Chicken

    My favorite summer inspired food consists of fresh tomatoes and basil from our garden stacked with slices of Mozzarella Cheese and drizzled with olive oil and balsamic vinegar...Hungry yet? It's delicious! When I thought up this recipe I couldn't think of a better name to give it than Summer Grilled Chicken. It's fresh, simple, and gorgeous on a plate. It was so delicious that The Hubby literally licked his entire plate clean. Not very attractive, but definitely taken as a compliment!
    SUMMER GRILLED CHICKEN

    4 Chicken Breasts
    1/3 c. Lemon Juice
    4 T. Olive Oil
    2 cloves of Garlic, finely diced
    Sea salt and fresh ground pepper
    4 slices of Mozzarella
    1 large Tomato sliced or diced 
    1 handful of fresh Basil leaves, rinsed and patted dry.
    1/4 of a Red Onion, sliced into rings
     2-3 oz. Goat Cheese
    1 c. Balsamic Vinegar
    In a shallow dish or Ziploc bag combine lemon juice, olive oil, and garlic to combine. Add chicken and marinate at least 1 hour, turning over chicken half way through.

    Pour Balsamic Vinegar into a small sauce pan over high heat. Whisk continuously (to avoid burning) and bring to a boil. Continue whisking until vinegar is reduced by half, it will by syrupy and coat your spoon. Congratulations! You've just created a Balsamic Reduction to top your chicken with.

    Preheat Grill. Remove chicken from marinade and season with salt and pepper. Grill over medium-low heat. Place Red Onion rings onto the grill as well, removing when they are starting to soften.

    When chicken is just about done (internal temp should reach165 degrees), turn grill to low and  top with sliced Mozzarella (Work quickly, you don't want to overcook your chicken). Shut the grill for a few seconds and allow Mozzarella to melt onto the chicken.

    Remove chicken breast from grill and place on a serving platter. Layer tomatoes, basil, red onion and crumbled Goat Cheese over chicken. Lightly drizzle with Balsamic Reduction. Serve with a crisp green salad and Voila! Enjoy licking your plate :).



    Tuesday, July 12, 2011

    Tequila Grilled Chicken with Jalapeno Cream Sauce

    Last week I was at a baby shower and I had a very delicious stuffed Jalapeno Pepper. As I planned out this week's dinners I wondered what it would be like to combine those flavors with grilled chicken. The end result was this delicious concoction of zesty grilled chicken drizzled with lime and topped with a rich creamy Jalapeno Sauce.  Serve this with Mexican rice, refried beans, or a crisp green salad. Talk about Yum!

    Tequila Grilled Chicken with Jalapeno Cream Sauce
    Chicken only adapted from Foodnetwork.com

    Chicken:
    2 T olive oil
    1/8 c. finely chopped red onion
    1 1/2 T ground cumin
    1/4 tsp. chopped garlic
    1/4 tsp. garlic powder
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
    1/8 tsp. cayenne pepper
    Juice from 1/2 of a lime, or about 1 Tablespoon
    2 T. finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
    1 oz. Tequila
    1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts (2 breasts sliced in half to make 4 equal portions)

    Sauce:
    3/4 c. milk
    4 oz of cream cheese
    1/2 of a seeded and diced Jalapeno Pepper
    1 1/2 c. Monterey Jack cheese
    a few shakes of granulated chicken bouillon (approx 1/2 tsp)

    For the chicken:
    Combine all ingredients except chicken and 1 tablespoon of the lime juice in a Ziploc bag to make a marinade. Add chicken and marinade for about 1 hour.
    Grill Chicken on an outdoor grill over medium heat for about 5 minutes per side or until meat is no longer pink. Drizzle with 1 tablespoon of additional lime juice.

    For the sauce:
    Add milk to a small saucepan over low heat. When milk is warm add cream cheese. Slowly bring heat to medium low and stir to combine, making sure all lumps are gone. Add Jalapeno, Bouillon, and Monterey Jack cheese, stirring until melted and smooth.

    To serve, place chicken on a platter and top with sauce. Garnish with lime wedges, cilantro, and diced red onion (optional).

     




    Friday, July 1, 2011

    Raspberry Sorbet

    I'll be the first in my family to admit that there wasn't much about our move to Southern California that was easy. There were unwelcome delays, rounds of illness, lots of homesickness, and weeks of loneliness. The only bright spot in the process of getting settled here has been the overwhelming blessing of being part of a very awesome church family. This week we packed up the picnic gear and spent our Wednesday evening in fellowship with some of those very awesome people. Someone (I'm embarrassed to say I don't even know who) pulled up in a truck with enough quickly ripening raspberries (and other produce) to bless each and every family with an entire flat! Wow! Obviously we've got to use up these berries quickly, so yesterday I set out to make some fresh raspberry sorbet.
    Raspberry Sorbet
    slightly adapted from Paula Deen for Food Network
    2 c. white sugar
    2 c. water
    2 fresh mint leaves
    2 quarts raspberries
    1/4 c. lime juice
    1/2 c. light corn syrup

    Combine sugar and water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer and add mint leaves. Simmer for about 3 minutes or until sugar dissolves. Remove mint leaves and cool completely.

    In a blender or food processor puree raspberries and lime juice. Press puree through a strainer to remove seeds. If you don't mind a few seeds just leave them in!

    Combine cooled sugar sugar mixture, raspberry puree, and corn syrup. Stir well.

    Pour mixture into ice cream maker and freeze according to manufacturer's instructions.

    Sorbet will be soft after churning but will firm up after freezing.

    Thursday, June 30, 2011

    Turkey Sliders with Cilantro Pesto

     Most people either love cilantro (like we do) or hate it. If you are a cilantro hater this recipe is not for you! This week I happened upon an extra bunch of cilantro. That, combined with the half used bunch already in my produce drawer needed to be used up quickly. Tonight I decided to make a cilantro pesto and then I mixed it into and smeared it onto some delicious mini turkey burgers.


    Cilantro Pesto

    2 c. packed cilantro leaves (cleaned and trimmed of long stems)
    1 clove garlic
    ¼ c. chopped onion
    ¼ c. sliced almonds (optional)
    ¼ tsp. cayenne
    ½ tsp. salt
    1 tbsp. white wine vinegar
    1 tbsp. lime juice
    1 tbsp. honey
    3-4 tbsp. olive oil

    In a food processor combine cilantro, garlic, onion, almonds, cayenne, and salt and pulse to combine. Add vinegar, lime juice, and honey. Run food processor and stream in olive oil until combined. Refrigerate pesto and use within 1-2 days. *extra pesto can be frozen for later use*


    TurkeySliders with Cilantro Pesto
    (serves 4-6)

    1 lbground turkey
    salt & pepper
    ¼ c. finely diced red onion (optional)
    4 T. prepared cilantro pesto plus additional for topping
    1 package of 12 small dinner rolls (we like Kings Hawaiian)
    Monterey or Pepper Jack Cheese
    mayonnaise
    lettuce
    slices of tomato cut in halves.

    Preheat grill.

    Combine ground turkey with about 4 tablespoons of prepared pesto and diced onion. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.

    Divide meat into 12 equal portions and shape into small patties. Place burgers on grill and cook until done (be careful, patties this small will cook quickly!)

    Assemble sliders by topping each patty with cheese and about 1 teaspoon of pesto. Smear the top bun with mayonnaise. Top with lettuce and tomato. Avocado would also be delicious on these!

    Turkey Sliders with Cilantro Pesto




    Most people either love cilantro (like we do) or hate it. If you are a cilantro hater than go away!  Mostly likely you are not going to want this recipe anyways. This week I happened upon an extra bunch of cilantro. That, combined with the half used bunch already in my produce drawer needed to be used up quickly. Tonight I decided to make pesto with all my cilantro and to smear it atop of some delicious turkey sliders.





    Cilantro Pesto



    2 c. packed cilantro leaves (cleaned and trimmed of long stems)

    1 clove garlic

    ¼ c. chopped onion

    ¼ c. sliced almonds (optional)

    ¼ tsp. cayenne

    ½ tsp. salt

    1 T. white wine vinegar

    1 T. lime juice

    1 tbsp honey

    3-4 tbsp olive oil





    Pesto: In a food processor combine cilantro, garlic, onion, almonds, cayenne, and salt and pulse to combine. Add vinegar, lime juice, and honey. Run food processor while streaming in olive oil until combined. Refrigerate pesto and use within 1-2 days. *extra pesto can be frozen for later use*



    TurkeySliders with Cilantro Pesto

    (serves 4-6)



    1 lbground turkey

    salt & pepper

    ¼ c. finely diced red onion (optional)

    4 T. prepared cilantro pesto plus additional for topping

    1 package of 12 small dinner rolls (we like Kings Hawaiian)

    Monterey  or Pepper Jack Cheese

    Mayonnaise

    Lettuce

    Tomato



    Preheat Grill

    Combine ground turkey with about 4 tablespoons of prepared pesto and diced onion. Add desired amount of salt and pepper.

    Divide meat into 12 equal portions and shape into small patties. Place burgers on grill and cook until done (be careful, patties this small will cook quickly!)

    Assemble sliders by topping each patty with cheese and about 1 teaspoon of pesto. Smear the top bun with mayonnaise. Top with lettuce and tomato. Avocado would also be delicious on these!

    Thursday, June 23, 2011

    Red White & Blue Berries

    I found this idea in the July edition of Family Fun magazine and couldn't resist trying it for a picnic we went to last night. They were a cinch to make and very fun! Colton, who doesn't even like strawberries (crazy I know!) couldn't resist helping me make these.

    You'll need:
    2-3 pints of fresh strawberries
    1 bag of white chocolate chips
    blue decorator sugar

    Rinse off strawberries and let dry thoroughly on a clean towel. Line a large cookie sheet with wax paper and set aside. Place blue sugar into a small bowl and set aside. Place chocolate chips in another bowl. Microwave for 20 seconds at a time on medium power stirring until smooth. Working with 1 at a time, hold the stem of each strawberry and dip about 1/2 way into the chocolate. Shake off excess and dip the end into the sugar mixture so that the white chocolate layer is still visible, forming a stripe. Place on cookies sheet and chill once all berries are finished until chocolate is firm. Enjoy!

    Tuesday, June 14, 2011

    As Easy as Pie

       If you're looking for something simple (no measuring required!), refreshing, and delicious I've found your pie! And, have I mentioned that this is low-fat? Use it as an excuse and have some dessert!
        I stumbled upon this yummy recipe yesterday when I was trying to find something to pair with the Mahi Mahi Fish Tacos we were having for dinner. I didn't even read over the recipe, I just put the few ingredients on my list and went to town.  As usual, I spent way to long shopping and was scrambling to make dinner before everyone got really cranky. I didn't even think about dessert again until dinner was completed and dishes were done...but I didn't really need to. It was that easy!

    Low-Fat Key Lime Pie
    adapted from Epicurious

    1 graham cracker crust (store bought or homemade)
    1 small box of Lime flavor sugar free gelatin
    1/4 c. boiling water
    1 8 oz container of fat free whipped topping
    4 (6 oz.) key lime pie flavor yogurts
    1 lime, zested
    Additional whipped topping for garnish (optional)

    Stir Lime Gelatin into boiling water until completely dissolved. Whisk in 4 containers of yogurt and whipped topping and mix well. Stir in most of the lime zest, reserving a bit for garnish (optional). Pour mixture into your prepared crust and chill for about 2 hours. Serve with additional whipped topping and garnish with a small lime wedges (optional). Enjoy!