May 16, 2015

Product Review

Red Baron Brick Oven-Style Pizza


I just tried out the new Red Baron® Brick Oven-Style Pepperoni pizza for free, thanks to Red Baron brand & Bzzagent.com.  I expected it to taste just like most other frozen pizzas but my family really liked this one.  The texture of the crust was not too rubbery and not too hard like some cardboard tasting brands.  The flavor of the sauce was good.  However, I did need to blot some of the grease from the pepperoni (have you ever done that?!).  The price was reasonable as well (mine cost $3.50) so for a quick lunch or snack you may want to try this brand.  The one disappointment I have is that at this time was that there was not a lot of varieties.  My store only had the trio cheese and the pepperoni variety.  According to Red Baron's site there is also Meat Trio and Sausage Supreme.  I think a spinach and mushroom or other veggie type variety would be a great addition.  If you decide to see if this pizza will be "love at first bite", let me know!


"Love at First Bite" Commercial

April 30, 2015

Bean Fajita Tacos

As I'm sure you're aware of, Cinco de Mayo is just around the corner so I thought I would share this recipe with you.  I love, love, love this one -- it's so simple, so easy, so fast and so yummy.  It's also a good one where you can substitute ingredients that you  and your family like.  The added bonus is that it's healthy for you. . . shh, just don't tell the kids!

Bean Fajita Tacos
Bean Fajita Tacos



1 large green pepper (or orange or yellow or red), sliced and halved
1 medium onion, quartered and sliced
1 can (15 oz.) diced tomatoes with green chilies, undrained (I used original)
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 Tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon chili powder
2 teaspoons cilantro
1 teaspoon oregano
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
8 tacos
Mexican cheese
Toppings such as guacamole or sour cream, if desired

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.  Grease a 9 x 13" pan.  Add peppers, onion, tomatoes and beans to pan and mix.  In small bowl, mix oil, chili powder, cilantro, oregano, garlic powder and salt.  Drizzle over vegetables.  Stir.  Bake for 20 - 25 minutes or until vegetables are tender (do not cover).  Spoon into taco shells and sprinkle on the cheese. Serve with guacamole or sour cream if desired.

Servings:  8 tacos

April 28, 2015

Let's Talk

Have you ever wondered what the difference is between caramel and butterscotch?  Well, I never knew the answer until I did some research.

The difference has to do with the sugar.  Caramel is made using granulated sugar (somtimes it's cooked along with milk and or/cream, butter and sometimes vanilla).  Whereas, butterscotch is made with brown sugar and has more butter than caramel.

And for those you may be wondering where toffee fits in. . . here is your answer.  Toffee is actually butterscotch but it is cooked to the hard crack stage.




April 22, 2015

Did You Know

that the word "caramel" comes from the Spanish language?  It is believed that caramelo actually referred to caramelized sugar and not the chewy candy that we associate with today.

that the first time that "caramel" is used in the English language was in 1725?


that caramel is made when you slowly boil sugar?  As the sugar cooks it begins to break down and turn into a dark, amber liquid. 


that soft caramel was invented in the United States?

that the difference between making hard caramel vs. soft caramel has to do with temperature?  Soft caramel is cooked to 245 degrees F.  Whereas, hard caramel is cooked to 290 degrees F.

that Milton Hershey actually began making caramels before he started making his famous chocolate?

April 18, 2015

What's For Dinner

I don't know about you but lately I haven't been feeling like cooking too much.  With two part-time jobs and volunteering with Hospice, my day is pretty full.  That's why I always try to throw in some quick meals during my meal planning so that I can have that break when I need it.  As you can see, this wasn't the most ambitious cooking week!

*Veggie Rice Medley, Plums, Homemade Herb Bread

*Grilled Hot Dogs, Sweet Potato Fries, Carrot Sticks, Pears (canned from our trees!)
Chicken Noodle Dinner

*Microwaveable Macaroni & Cheese, Fresh Vegetables, Apples, Homemade Herb Bread

*Chili Soup, Green Pepper Strips, Humus, Cheese & Crackers, Bananas

*Chicken Noodle Dinner, Mashed Potatoes, Homemade Apple Sauce

*Grilled Fish, Rice, Green Beans, Strawberries

*Homemade Pizza, Salad, Raspberries


Note:  if the dish is highlighted, the recipe has been posted

Caramel Sundae Dessert

I recently made this dessert for my husband's birthday and everyone really liked it.  It was so easy to put together and it's really great for those who want a gluten-free dessert (it's also great to be used as a Passover dessert because no flour is used).  Plus, there are so many variations to this recipe.  You could use a layer of salty caramel ice cream or even butter pecan in place of the vanilla ice cream.  Make it chocolately with hot fudge sauce and mint chocolate chip ice cream or during the holidays use a peppermint ice cream.  The ideas are endless. . . what are your's?!

Caramel Sundae Dessert
Caramel Sundae Dessert

6 Tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups ground walnuts
4 Tablespoons brown sugar

* * * * *

2 quarts of vanilla ice cream, softened
1 jar caramel sauce
8 oz. whipped topping (e.g. Cool Whip)


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Cream butter.  Add walnuts and brown sugar and combine.  Press (with hands) into 9 x 13" pan.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Cool completely.

Spread half of ice cream over crust.  Drizzle with half of caramel sauce.  Chill 20 minutes.  Repeat.  Top with whipped topping.  Freeze completely.

Serves:  12 - 16

March 10, 2015

Product Review


Quaker Steel Cut Oatmeal

Healthy + Good = Breakfast


I received the Quaker Steel Cut Blueberry & Cranberry Oatmeal to try for free. Each pouch only took 3 minutes. You just have to put the oats into a bowl, add water and microwave. That’s it! It is any easy way to get a healthy breakfast into your family and because the oats are cut instead of rolled, they have a more thick, satisfying whole-grain texture (less gummy). The blueberries & cranberries are real pieces of fruit and taste great. If you have a sweet tooth, you may want to try the Brown Sugar & Cinnamon variety.

October 31, 2014

Barley Veggie Chili

With the colder weather coming, I thought you might like to try this dish.  My family really liked this -- and  there is an added bonus -- it is full of good and healthy ingredients!


Barley Veggie Chili

3 Tablespoons olive oil
Barley Veggie Chili
1 1/2 cups onion, chopped
3 carrots, sliced
1 pepper, cut into chunks
3 stalks of celery, chopped
1 cup zucchini or squash, cut into chunks
15.25 oz. can of corn, drained
4 oz. can mushrooms
28 oz. can chopped tomatoes, not drained
28 oz. can tomato sauce
2 cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed
1 can chili beans, undrained
2/3 cup barley, drained and rinsed
6 oz. can tomato paste
3 cups vegetable broth
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3/8 teaspoon pepper
1 teaspoon dried cilantro
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 Tablespoon oregano
2 teaspoons rosemary
1 Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes

In medium saucepan, heat oil.  Add onions and cook until translucent.  Add carrots, pepper and celery.  Cook for another 3 minutes.  Add to slow cooker and add rest of ingredients.  Stir to blend everything.  Cook on low for 6 to 8 hours.

October 10, 2014

Let's Talk

Here is an invitation I received for my readers to win a free cookbook!  It is called Sweet and is a handbook for all things dessert from the editors of Food Network Magazine.  One of their favorite partners, Read it Forward would love for you to participate in their "sweet" giveaway -- they have five copies up for grabs and anyone can enter to win by simply following this link.

Good Luck Readers!
Sweet

September 16, 2014

Freezer Fun

(I did mention this quite a few posts ago but I thought it was worth mentioning again)

Did you know that you can freeze zucchini?  According to the Will It Freeze book by Joan Hood, it is best to use young zucchini about 3 in. (7.5 cm.) long.  Wipe zucchini with damp cloth, trim ends and then cut into 1/2-in. (1 cm.) slices.  You can either blanch for 1 minute, cool in ice cold water for 1 minute, drain and open-freeze or you can saute in butter for 1 minute.  If you use the saute in butter method, cool in fridge afterwards.  Once these processes are done, pack into rigid containers leaving 1/2-1 in. (1-2 cm.) headspace or put in freezer bags.  Can freeze up to one year.

When ready to use, cook the blanched, frozen zucchini in boiling water or thaw in a colander so they remain firm (and not soggy).  You can then prepare the zucchini as your recipe dictates.  If the zucchini was sauteed in butter, finish cooking in butter until tender and golden brown.  

* * * * *

I just used some of the frozen zucchini from my garden this summer in last night's meal -- Vegetarian Chili or many times I'll just  throw some in the pot when I am making soup.  Of course, if you shred the zucchini just freeze in rigid containers or freezer bags (no need to blanch first).  When ready to use, unthaw and use in your bread and muffin recipes.

September 12, 2014

August 17, 2014

Zucchini Chips

I don't know about you, but I've made zucchini every which way lately!  I have so much in the freezer too for future muffins, stews, soups, etc.  Our garden went a little crazy this year!

Anyways, I decided that the last recipe I was going to try this summer was making zucchini chips.  Oh my gosh. . . these were really, really good!  And I'm not a super fan of zucchini to begin with.  You've got to try them and then tell me what you think!

Zucchini Chips
Zucchini Chips


1 zucchini
1 - 2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon salt
pepper (about 4 shakes should do!)
1/2 teaspoon paprika

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F. Cut off the ends of your zucchini.  Then slice them thin (no need to peel).   Make sure the slice them thin so they will crisp up.  Place between two sheets of paper towels and blot them.  Then place them on parchment-lined cookie sheet.  Lightly brush with olive oil.  Mix salt, pepper and paprika.  Sprinkle on top of zucchini being careful not to use too much.  The chips will curl up as it bakes so a little goes a long way.  Bake for about 2 hours until chips are browned and crisp.  Every oven is different so check periodically.  If you have any left over (!) put in a sealed container to store.

August 6, 2014

Health and Fitness

I've already told you a few health benefits of cherries (go to this link) but here are a few more. . .

Because of the melatonin, cherries can naturally help you get a better night's sleep.

Cherries can also improve your memory due to it containing anthocyanin.


A study in 2012 discovered that people experiencing gout had less of a chance of having an acute gout attack after eating cherries.

Because of the fiber, eating cherries may also improve your cholesterol.

The beta carotene found in cherries helps with eyesight as well.

July 3, 2014

What's For Dinner

What's on your kitchen table this week?  Here is what ours is looking like!

*Barley Veggie Chili, Corn on the Cob, Pears, Rolls

*Honey Garlic Chicken, Rice, Sweet Carrots, Cherries

Honey Garlic Chicken
*Spaghetti with Garden Marinara Sauce, Spinach Salad, Watermelon, Garlic Toast

*Grilled Turkey Sausage, Baked Fries, Corn on the Cob (we still have some corn left to use up!), Blueberries

*Grilled Hamburgers, Potato Salad, Fresh Veggies, Sliced Apples

*Tomato Pie, Italian Salad, Fruit Cup

*We have a BBQ to attend!


 Note:  if the dish is highlighted, the recipe has been posted

June 29, 2014

Patriotic Trifle

Do you need a quick dessert idea for the Fourth?  Here's one that fits that bill and it tastes good too!

Patriotic Trifle
Patriotic Trifle

Angel Food Cake
21 oz. can cherry pie filling
21 oz. can blueberry pie filling
12 oz. Cool Whip
1 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons almond extract

Cut the angel food cake into 1" squares.  Place half in a large trifle bowl (or any large bowl). Spread cherry pie filling over cake.  Mix Cool Whip, sugar and extract together.  Spread half of Cool Whip mixture over cherry pie filling.  Place rest of angel food cake on top.  Then spread blueberry pie filling.  Top with remaining Cool Whip. Refrigerate until ready to serve.  (Although this is one of those desserts that tastes better the next day so allow the flavors to blend!)

Servings:  a lot!