Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Snow Flake Cocoa Recipe

Snow Flake Cocoa Recipe

 

Ingredients:

2 cups whipping cream
6 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 (12 ounce) package white chocolate chips
Garnish:
Whipped cream
Candy canes, crushed candy canes or finely crushed candy cane bark
(Candy could be replaced by coloured sprinkles if you are not a mint fan, although candy canes come in many different flavours and colours now)

Directions:

Stir together the whipping cream, milk, vanilla, and white chocolate chips in a slow cooker.
Cover and cook on low for 2 to 2 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally, until mixture is hot and chocolate chips are melted. Stir again before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and candy canes, as desired.  It says it yields 10 servings, but I bet that depends on how generous a cup you like to give out ;)
Original recipe was located here:

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Cookie*Love - angel wings for your coffee

I just fell mildly in love.  It happens all the time. I see something cool, wish to have it, then see something else shiny... but bask in this moment of 'Look at this cool thing' with me.





Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Links of note

Looking for some interesting ideas for the holidays that are impending upon us?  I spend a lot of time eying up other sites for my food pron fix...  and here are a few of the sites I have found that have me craving time to make them... and also crave a reversal in food roles where junk food helps you loose weight... but now I am just wishing.

The Jelly Shot Test Kitchen has some amazing recipes for more 'classy' alcoholic jigglers.  Ever thought of having a tray of beautiful jelly cosmos instead of wine glasses to serve to people?  Maybe you should. 


Over at Annie's Eats they have a good tutorial to show you how to decorate with royal icing if you are planning on making the infamous sugar cookies this Christmas.

More resources and amazing stuff can be found at University of Cookie too, on the cookie topic, while I am still on it.

Search & Win

Let us not forget to make life easier on our selves by getting free gift cards to Starbucks, like I do (Over 5 free $10 cards, I lost count :)  or Amazon cards to buy some of the presents.  You could gift the cards themselves, there are lots to pick from, or get some of the swag directly from them if you are in the states.  Believe me, it isn't hard to look up my food obsessions in Swagbucks instead of other search engines, and when I feel like 'googling' I just look it up in swagbucks ;)

Anyways, there is tonnes more I could write, but I need sleep more right now, so for the moment, happy holidays!

Kraft Dinner of the Week: Festive confetti KD


Festive Confetti KD

1 box of Kraft Dinner or like wise mac and cheese box, preferably white cheddar flavour

1/2 cup of drained pimentos, or substitute chopped roasted red peppers if you wish

1/2 cup of chopped spinach (or a few 'cubes' if you have the frozen pre-cubed variety)

1-2 tablespoons of plain cream cheese


Directions:

Prepare KD as package indicates, adding spinach during the last few minutes of cooking.  Return to pot and to the burner it was just cooked on, and add the cream cheese, stirring until blended.  Add in the pimentos and enjoy.  The added creaminess from the cream cheese should trump the spinach for most finicky kids.  Just tell them that the big guy in the red suit eats this for lunch too... cookies can't possibly be his only solid food...

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Something is better than nothing...

I hate to be that blogger that takes an unexpected break, but it seems like it happened already... it has been a while.  I do plan to have lots more in the future, however at this time life seems too hectic to focus all my energy here for the time being, so I will write what I can, and in the mean time, here is an article I came upon that may interest some of you. 

I look at it and think about how if I want to treat my husband to bacon... this may be the way to do it.  This is all about how to perfectly cook bacon... and I was actually a little surprised that it involves baking.  Go figure, but it sounds logical in the end.  Click here:  Perfectly cooked bacon

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Kraft Dinner of the Week: R.I.P KD

In the spirit of Halloween, I created my own little KD.  It didn't photograph well, but it tasted good and got the basic look idea I was going for, so I am sharing it with you, so you can have one more idea to add to your Halloween lunches for your child, or you, if you are whimsical about this holiday (like me)

R.I.P KD

Ingredients:

Kraft Dinner, or similar macaroni, in white cheddar flavor

1 cup of chopped spinach (can be frozen spinach cubes too)

A few drops of green food coloring 

1/2 cup of grated mozzarella, or white cheddar, or a few slices of processed mozzarella

3 hard boiled eggs (or as many as you see fit depending on your serving sizes, I do two generous ones, you might not want that!)

Directions:

Prepare KD, adding spinach to the last 3-4 minutes (no matter what your cooking method is, I boil)  Mix as directed and add extra cheese and food coloring if desired.  Put into the bowls.  Peel your hard boiled eggs and cut in half long ways.  Place three halves of eggs into the top of KD to make gleaming white tombstones.  You could experiment with food pens, colorings or tinted mayo piped onto the eggs to make crosses and R.I.P's, which I did, but if you do that, make sure you cool the eggs first, which I did not, and the heat from the eggs melted off my mayo so it wasn't so pretty by the time I found my camera.  If you have etable flowers or are handy with an apple peeler you could design or add some flowers for your graves. Eggs can be substituted by sliced hot dogs or maybe even cheese strings if you like, get creative ;)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

KD of the week: 14K Mac 'n Cheese


14K Mac 'n Cheese

1 package of Kraft Dinner or similar macaroni and cheese

1 jar or pureed carrot baby food, or puree your own carrots to taste

2 tablespoons of Parmesan cheese

Directions:  Prepare macaroni and cheese, stir in pureed carrots, top with Parmesan to serve.  I opted for jarred carrot because it is quick and easy, always available and won't over-power your dish with a carrot-y taste.  Good for children, if they hate veggies, they would barely notice, and you could make it with whole wheat KD or that Smart KD, for extra healthy stuff. 

As always with KD, the more cheese the better, so feel free to add a slice, or some grated to it and mix over low heat till blended for a more cheesy experience. 

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Coffee*Love : Triumphs and Tragedy

Triumphs and Tragedy




In my quests for good coffee I have tried many a thing.  This last week I tried two.  Let's just say I am starting out by discussing the second one first, as it was more successful than the latter attempt.

Starbucks at home, the quest for the White Chocolate Mocha recipe.
This began with me searching again for an easy version of this recipe.  It would be much more authentic if I actually had an espresso machine anymore, or a milk frother to go with that, however, it would still be nice to have something that resembles the drink that has me addicted.  I even redeem my Swagbucks and my Air miles for Starbucks gift cards to stretch my tight monetary status.  (I can't say 'budget' because that would imply I have a plan for my low funds... and I don't)  Here is what I came up with from my searches and trials.

Okay, so this recipe isn't exactly like the coveted drink, but it is pretty good, and if you had the proper espresso and found the perfect white chocolate instead of just going out and buying a bag of Chipits, I am sure this could be way closer to the actual recipe. 

White Chocolate Mocha (ish)

Ingredients:

2/3 cup whole milk (use half and half if you like it richer, use 2% or skim if you like it lighter)

6 tablespoons white chocolate chips (or shave/chop 2 ounces of white chocolate)

Coffee, any kind.  Obviously espresso would be best, but any coffee will due if that isn't an option.

Whipped cream (optional)

Directions:

Add milk and chocolate chips to saucepan. Heat and stir until chips are melted. Meanwhile brew coffee  or make espresso. Pour half of milk mixture in coffee mug and fill rest of mug with coffee, saving enough room for whipped cream if you are using it.  Drink with a spoon handy if you are doing something like, oh, writing a blog post, because the white chocolate will 'skin' a bit if you leave it unattended for a while.  I will attend to mine now for a moment, then move on to the failed coffee moments.

Okay, now many years ago my mother-in-law got a gift set of coffee and offered us the coconut flavored grinds when we came for a visit.  It was the best non-mocha coffee I have ever had.  My husband couldn't even believe I remembered that coffee after all these years, but it just kind of stuck with me.  This lead me on a journey to try and find the best coconut coffee flavoring I could.  I, for some reason, choose the 'coffeemate-ish' route.  I guess it is because I had been using tonnes of hazelnut C-mate for a month or so. 

I do a few searches, but no one has anything on making your own coconut coffee anywhere.  The closest thing I could find was that there is such a thing as "Coconut Creme C-mate" (guess it's only in the States...)  but alas, no recipe.  It would be nice to completely eliminate the C-mate all together anyways, it is hydrogenated and full of fake stuff, and a bit costly. 

I come up with the idea to make my own, so I go out and get a big container of half and half, and find some coconut oil.  Let's just say, the concoction I came up with did not even taste like coconut.  My first mistake with that was after heating two cups of half and half with the tablespoon of coconut oil (it says coconut oil in the C-mate ingredients, go figure this goes soo wrong)  I decide to put this into a bar shaker, and since the shaker is stainless steel I forget that it will be a good idea to let it cool first.  One tiny shake later, I am cleaning half of it off the floor.  In my defense, my baby was having a nap and I wanted to finish and have coffee before he woke up.
 
With what was left I made the second mistake; using it in my coffee.  It was like a mouth full of oily wax and it had the look of a coffee lava lamp with all the oily bubbles in it.  Time to clean it all out and try something else.

I figured I didn't have much time left before the baby awoke, so I took the remaining 2 cups of half and half and dumped it in the shaker, (freshly cleaned and de-greased of course) and grabbed a can of coconut milk out of the cupboard, adding it to the mix.  I added a teaspoon of real vanilla extract, shook it and added it to the coffee.  Not bad, not the best, but next time I will take the time to heat it and add about a cup of sugar, that would make it pretty good.  Not the coffee I had years ago but alright.  I might try to find some coconut extract and add a measure to the pot before I brew some coffee, that might be even closer to what I am trying to achieve. 

So, if you are trying to attempt this, use extract or milk of coconut, not oil.  Trust me though, coconut coffee is worth a try if you can get a hold of it.  I can't find the bloody stuff anywhere though.


Inspirational recipe for the white chocolate mocha was found here:
http://starbucks-secretrecipes.blogspot.com/2009/05/starbucks-white-chocolate-mocha-recipe.html

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

KD of the week: Macaroni Bake


KD of the Week:  Macaroni Bake

Ingredients:

1 lb. Ground beef (or for me I would substitute either veggie meat, TVP or ground chicken)

1/2 cup  chopped onion 
1 can (15 oz.) tomato sauce 
1/3 cup  KRAFT Grated Parmesan Cheese, divided 
1/4 tsp. Ground cinnamon 
1/8 tsp.  Ground nutmeg 
1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 
2 Tbsp.  Butter or margarine 
2 Tbsp. Flour 
1-1/2 cups  Milk 
2 Eggs, lightly beaten 
Directions:
Preheat oven to 350°F. Brown meat or heat veggie substitution for meat; drain. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Stir in tomato sauce, half of the Parmesan cheese and spices; simmer 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
 
Prepare Kraft Dinner as directed on package. Spread mixture onto bottom of 9-inch square baking dish; top with prepared KD. 
Melt butter in medium saucepan on low heat. Blend in flour. Gradually add milk; cook on low heat until thickened, stirring constantly. Stir small amount of hot mixture into eggs. Return to remaining hot mixture in saucepan; mix well. Pour over KD; sprinkle with remaining Parmesan cheese. 
Bake 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown.
Original recipe found here:
elbow macaroni on Foodistaelbow macaroni
 
 

For the love of coffee...

Having children teaches you things you never even thought about before having them.  I learned something new all the time now.  Like just a while ago I discovered that fruit flies do not just enjoy fruit.  They also enjoy that carefully prepared cup of coffee you got yourself for when the baby naps. 

In fact, they love it so much they swim in it.  Fruit flies are poor swimmers too. 

They also love that glass of wine you and your husband sneak in after the baby falls asleep and you want a little quality time together while you can get the chance.

I have also discovered that I hate fruit flies. 

Thursday, September 9, 2010

KD of the week: Fiesta KD

  
For those of you who are waiting for me to do something other than the KD of the week, never fear, I am working on a few things, but this time I want to try them first instead of putting more stuff on my 'wish list' in this scrapbook-type page I have here.  There is nothing wrong with my wish list, its just that sometimes you can tell when something will taste good, and other times when its better for me to be the guinea pig... and then if it is horrible I will still tell you all about it!  
 For the time being though, here is this week's Kraft Dinner recipe.

Fiesta KD

This recipe is very similar to Mexican KD, but has it's own merit to stand alone as a recipe.

1 pkg. (14 oz.) KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (or any kind of KD like substance)

1 lb.  lean ground beef (or substitute with TVP, veggie meat, ground chicken, or even omit entirely)

1 large Green pepper, chopped 
 
1 pkg.  (10 oz.) frozen corn, thawed 
 
1 cup Thick and Chunky style Salsa 
 
(optional)  1/2 cup of chopped sun-dried tomatoes

 (optional)  a shot or two of hot sauce or a can of chopped jalapenos for spicy lovers

 Directions: 



Prepare in large saucepan as directed on package, cooking Macaroni for just 8 min. 

Meanwhile, brown meat(or prepare substitute) with green pepper in skillet; drain

Combine meat(or substitute) mixture, corn and salsa to prepared KD; mix well. Cook until heated through, stirring occasionally.

Add chopped fresh cilantro to this dish just before serving.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Kraft Dinner of the Week: KD Taco Bake


KD Taco Bake

Ingredients:

1 pkg. KRAFT Deluxe Macaroni & Cheese Dinner (or any KD or KD substitute)
 
1 lb.  Ground beef or beef substitute (like veggie ground round or TVP)

1 pkg. (1-1/4 oz.) Taco Seasoning Mix 
 
3/4 cup Sour Cream 
 
1-1/2 cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese, divided 
 
1 cup  Thick 'N Chunky Salsa 
 
 
Directions:
  Heat the oven to 400°F. Prepare Dinner as directed on package. While Macaroni is cooking, cook meat (or meat substitute.) with taco seasoning as directed on package.

 Stir sour cream into prepared Dinner; spoon 1/2 into 8-inch square baking dish. Top with layers of meat mixture, 1 cup cheese and remaining Dinner mixture; cover with foil.

Bake it for 15 min.; top with salsa and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 min. or until cheese is melted.


Original recipe found here:

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Orange Chocolate-swirl Cheesecake

I am finally going to post about the second birthday cake that made an appearance August 15th, my aunt's birthday cake, as she shared the same birthday as my son.  I was holding out to see if  I could find anyone who had taken a picture of my creation, but it turns out that in the haste of that week, I forgot to take a picture, and no one else snapped a shot during the party.  Oh well. 

A note on my decorating of this cheesecake:  My aunt loves the Tigger, you know, Winnie the Pooh's Tigger, and so that was the theme of this cake.  I added extra orange (red and yellow actually, in my case) food colouring to the batter to make it more 'Tigger coloured', then used a similar method to make Tigger stripes  as I did to make the 1 up mushroom for my son's cake.  I used dark chocolate piped onto parchment paper, and this time I coated the chocolate stripes with chocolate cookie crumbs to make them more black.

Orange Chocolate-swirl Cheesecake

Ingredients:


4 ounces semisweet or dark chocolate, chopped

3 (8 ounce) packages cream cheese, softened

1 cup sugar (I used organic cane sugar, I buy it at Bulk Barn ;)

5 eggs

2 tablespoons orange juice (or you can sub. orange liqueur if you like)

zest of 1-2 oranges ( a teaspoon or more for the crust, and a tablespoon or so, maybe more for the batter)

1 package of chocolate cookie crumbs, and any ingredients (like butter) the package says it needs

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Prepare a chocolate crust as directed on the package of chocolate cookie crumbs, with the addition of about a teaspoon of orange zest from your collection of zest for the cheesecake. Press into the bottom and 1 1/2 inches up the side of a 9 inch springform pan.

In a metal bowl over a pan of simmering water, melt chocolate, stirring occasionally until smooth. Set aside to cool, but do not allow to harden.

In a medium bowl, mix together the cream cheese and 1 cup sugar until smooth. I buzzed a cup of organic cane sugar in the magic bullet to make it a bit finer, but that is only optional. Mix in the eggs, one at a time on a low speed, or by hand. Gradually stir in the orange juice, and orange zest. Reserve 1 cup of the batter. 
Pour the remaining batter over the baked crust. Stir the melted chocolate into the reserved batter. Drop the chocolate batter by large spoonfuls onto the white batter. Use a knife to cut through the batter, and leave a swirling design.

Bake for 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the center is almost set. Run a spatula or thin knife around the edge of the pan while it is still warm, so the cake will not crack. Allow cake to cool completely before removing the sides of the pan. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. 
To help prevent cracking, use a water bath or steam method, as this cake doesn't have a starch to it.
To water bath, put a large piece of foil over the bottom of the spring form pan before closing the ring around it, and fold the sides up, then put 2 more layers of foil around the outside, to try and seal out water.  Put the spring form into a pan with sides and put about an inch of boiling water in the pan, around the spring form but don't get water on the cheesecake.  
To  steam bath, you can either wrap your spring form as mentioned above and set on a muffin tin filled with boiling water, or you can set a pan of water in the bottom rack of the oven when preheating and add some ice to the water when putting the cheesecake in, to make it a bit more steamy.
 
Either way, you need to cool the cheesecake gradually, and it needs to be cool before sticking it in the fridge or freezer, to prevent cracking.
Original recipe was found here:
http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Orange-Chocolate-Swirl-Cheesecake/Detail.aspx
but, was of course tweaked by me to suit my personal desires... mmmm cheesecake.

Friday, August 20, 2010

KD of the week: Mac and Cheese Lasagna


Mac and Cheese Lasagna

Ingredients:

1 pkg. (7-1/4 oz.) Kraft Dinner 
1-1/2 cups  Spaghetti sauce 
1/2 lb. lean ground beef  (or substitute 1 cup chopped leftover cooked chicken or 1/2 pkg. of veggie ground round)
1 cup  Shredded Low-Moisture Part-Skim Mozzarella Cheese 
2 Tbsp. Grated Parmesan Cheese

Directions:

HEAT oven to 350°F.
PREPARE Dinner, using the Light Prep directions on package. Meanwhile, brown meat in skillet; drain.
SPOON half the Dinner into lightly greased 8-inch square baking dish; top with layers of half each sauce, meat and shredded cheese. Repeat layers. Sprinkle with Parmesan.
BAKE 20 min. or until heated through.


Original recipe found at link below:

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Banana Cake with Caramel Buttercream Frosting


Okay, so I am playing a bit of catch up since my son's 1st birthday (on August 15th)  which was also my aunt's birthday as well.  As such, I spent that whole week before baking two cakes, my son's cake, pictured above, is the one I will post now, and I will post about my aunt's cake later.  By the way, this tasted amazing, and they all were amazed I baked and decorated it myself.  

...And I will add if you do not know what the theme of this cake is... it's the '1 up' mushroom from Super Mario, complete with coins around the sides.  I figured this fit, what with him being 1 up and all ;)


The Banana Cake:

I made three batches of this cake in a square silicone cake pan, I think it is about 8 x 8, but I am not going to go measure it, I am sure it would turn out in any pan.  Each layer turned out only to be about an inch or two high, and the cake was more impressive with three layers, however if you do not want that much cake then just prepare the amount of cake you want.  

This cake freezes well, and I froze each layer after removing the edges and skimming the bottoms off the cakes, to remove that harder, flour-y layer.  I wrapped each (cooled) cake layer in plastic wrap, then put in large freezer bags and sucked the air out with a straw, like a vaccum seal, sort of (thanks to Kendra at New Life On A Homestead for the straw tip!)  The cake is easier to ice and decorate when frozen too, as a bonus.

Ingredients:

3/4 cup of unsalted butter

3/4 cup of brown sugar

2 lage eggs

3  tbsp yoghurt

3 large banana, mashed

1 cup self raising flour, sifted  (after doing the recipe, I recommend the tip below instead of self raising flour)
If you are using plain flour, use 8 oz plain/cake flour with 1tsp baking powder and 1tsp baking soda


Directions:

1, Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius (the original says 180, but you have to watch because my first layer got a bit dark, and the first baby cupcake was burnt crispy)
2. Cream butter & sugar till light and fluffy
3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well
4. Add yoghurt and banana mix till well blend
5. Fold in flour to mixture and pour into a greased baking pan
6. Bake at 160C for 40 min - 1 hr or till golden brown and skewer comes out clean

Original of this recipe comes from here:
Quick and Easy Treats From Zu's Kitchen



Caramel Buttercream Frosting

For the three layers of cake I had, a double batch of this was just about perfect.

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/3 cup caramel topping (look for ice cream sundae topping stuff)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 (16 oz.) package of powdered sugar (2 cups, and sifting is a good idea for the best frosting)

1 - 3 Tbsp. milk  (2 was perfect for me)

Beat the first four ingredients together at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 1 tbsp milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.  Beat in extra milk if needed to achieve the right consistency.

Original recipe for frosting found here:  My Recipes

*** If you are not freezing your layers of cake, or are afraid of that crumby crust, take a small amount of your finished frosting and 'water' it down a bit with milk, and use to do a crumb coat before frosting outer cake.  Let your crumb coat set, or better yet, give it 10 - 15 min in the freezer before applying your outer layer of frosting.
Use a hot, but dry spatula or cake knife to smooth icing.  Heat it by sticking it in a glass or pot of hot to boiling water, then wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel, being careful not to leave 'fuzzies'. 
To make the mushroom or something similar for the top of your cake, draw or print a template picture and outline with heavy black marker.  Lay out a piece of parchment paper on top of your template, then use slightly cooled chocolate melts in a piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in the bottom corner to trace and fill your design, allowing time for each colour to cool between.  Be cautious using the fridge for the chocolate, as it is temperamental and can discolour.  Chocolate melts help, not being real chocolate, but the darker colours may still change if cooled wrong.  Be very careful in removing your image, and avoid picking delicate designs, or else you will want to switch to royal icing, and I am not an expert at that.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Sanity savers for people with lil peoples



Someone commented to me a while back about the more clever of my baby solutions, and I thought since it is food related enough, I may as well share it here.

I am not the kind of person who really worries that much about a messy baby.  They are meant to have fun with food, so they will enjoy it more as they get older, and maybe not be such a picky eater along the way.  However, to keep that mind set, sometimes I use a few measures to help make the mess less.

My top tip is shelf liner.  Yea, that vinyl crud we stick on the bottom of cupboards and forget about, it is cheap and usually hidden somewhere in your house, I got mine for free when my boss was cleaning out a storage area, and asked if I wanted it.

We just happen to have the kind of table that splits apart in the middle, and the booster seat sits at the middle point where the crack is... and food was getting crammed between.  The little man likes to try and eat everything, so placemats are out of the question, and plates fly and smash when he gets hold of them, so the solution for me was to put a chunk of shelf liner right on the table, covering the crack and wrapped down to cover the edge.

I place all his food directly on it, and wipe it clean.  No dishes to clean, not cracks to de-gunk, and if it gets stained or starts to pull up I replace it with a new sheet.  Easy.

Next tip?  Dollar store table cloths or old picnic table cloths, or vinyl shower curtains.  Why?  You use it like a painter's drop cloth under high chairs or booster seats to catch the mess.  Afterwards, you just shake it off, and if messy the dollar store ones are easily replaced, and picnic table cloths wipe clean, and shower curtains can be wiped or even gently washed in the washing machine (hang dry of course)

Now, high chairs and booster seats can be taken outside in nice weather and hose sprayed, then sun dried for a nice, quick clean with the added bonus that the sun kills germs.  In winter or bad weather, just lug them in the shower and let them drip dry, then set on the table cloth a fore mentioned to catch any hidden water as it finishes drying.  This way you don't have to spend enormous amounts of time wiping down every nook and cranny, and get a better clean usually.

If you are worried about clothes, then feed baby naked.  Diapers are changable and babies hose down pretty good too ;)  Hope this helps.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Kraft Dinner of the Week: mac & cheese stuffed poblanos


Mac and Cheese Stuffed Poblanos


Ingredients:

2 pkg. (7-1/4 oz. each) KRAFT Macaroni & Cheese Dinner 
 
3   OSCAR MAYER Wieners, chopped 
 
1-1/2 cups KRAFT Mexican Style Finely Shredded Four Cheese, divided 
 
8   Poblano chiles, roasted, peeled and seeded 
 
1/2 tsp. Paprika


Directions:

HEAT oven to 350ยบ F.

PREPARE Dinners as directed on package. Stir in wieners and 1 cup cheese.

FILL chiles with Dinner mixture; place, filled-sides up, in single layer in shallow baking dish sprayed with cooking spray. Top with remaining cheese and paprika.

BAKE 15 min. or until cheese is melted and peppers are heated through.


How to Roast, Peel and Seed Poblano Peppers
 
Heat broiler. Place peppers on rack of broiler pan. Broil until skins are charred or covered with black blisters, turning occasionally. Place hot peppers in resealable plastic bag; seal bag. Let stand 10 min. Remove peppers from bag. Place peppers under cold running water and remove peels, being careful not to break the skins. To remove the seeds, make vertical cut in each pepper. Remove small cluster of seeds attached to the base.
 
This recipe was found at the link below without any alterations, this time.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Orange Creamsicles... drinkables

 Lately I have been thinking about foods and drinks that use flavors from other foods and drinks, and somehow this led to a small creamsicle smoothie obsession.  Here are my smooth results.

Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

Ingredients:

1 cup of orange juice

4 scoops of vanilla frozen yogurt or vanilla ice cream 
(may I suggest natural vanilla bean ice cream)

Instructions:
Combine the orange juice and frozen yogurt or ice cream in a blender, magic bullet or food processor. 
Blend until creamy.  



Breakfast-worthy Orange Creamsicle Smoothie

Ingredients: 

1 11 oz. can mandarin oranges in juice 

1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks 

1/2 cup vanilla yogurt

1 Tbsp. honey

1 cup vanilla soy milk

1/2 cup ice
 
Instructions:
 Open can of oranges and drain. Place in a zip-top plastic bag and freeze the night before.  Place the frozen oranges and pineapple chunks in the bottom of a blender, magic bullet, or food processor.  Puree until the mixture reaches the texture of a milkshake. Add more ice, if desired.

Easy Boozed-up Creamsicle

Ingredients:

2 oz Smirnoff® Vanilla Twist vodka

8 oz orange crush

Instructions:
Pour the vanilla vodka into a collins glass with ice. Add orange crush til it tastes good. Serve.
 
 
 
'The Best' Creamsicle Recipe (boozed-up)

Ingredients:
 
tablespoons Grand Marnier or other orange liqueur

   tablespoons Galliano liqueur

   1/2 cups partially frozen diced oranges

   1/2 cup vanilla ice cream
 
Instructions:
Place all the ingredients in a blender and pulse until the ingredients are mostly blended. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.




Recipes and ideas for recipes came from these links:
http://kidscooking.about.com/od/beverages/r/orangedreamsmo.htm
http://www.drinksmixer.com/drink12155.html
http://www.dvo.com/recipe_pages/smoothies/Creamsicle.html

Monday, July 26, 2010

Kraft Dinner of the Week: Apple-Glazed Chicken KD



 Apple-Glazed Chicken KD
 
I know.  Apple?  Hey, give anything a try once, you never know what is good out there in the big, wide world.  I once made chicken burgers for my baby and covered them in carrot baby food while I baked it (I felt he needed more veggies that day, and that is what I had on hand)  and that actually turned out amazing, so now my world view on 'what goes with what' is askew.  Anyways, back to the Mac and Cheese stuffs.

Ingredients 

2 boxes of kraft dinner
2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2-4 cloves garlic (depending on how much you love garlic, and you could chop some onion too, my husband hates onion though, so to each their own...)
1/4 cup apple juice 
2 -3 cups broccoli florets and/or cauliflower, cooked
1/2 tsp. dill weed
salt and pepper to taste

Prepare Kraft Dinner and set aside.  Chop chicken in bite size pieces and cook in some olive oil or oil of choice until fully cooked.  Remove chicken from the pan and add more butter or oil if needed in pan and keep the pan hot. Chop the garlic into chunks and coat with  your salt, pepper and dill, then saute in the hot oil for a few minutes.  Pour apple juice in the garlic-oil concoction and return the chicken to pan.  Cover and simmer for a few minutes, then mix in the prepared Kraft Dinner.  Lastly add the cooked broccoli and/or cauliflower, and mix a bit together.

This recipe was adapted from the 'Super Kraft Dinner Recipe' I found here.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Chow for the Chubster: using up infant cereal


Although I have not had any infant cereal in the house for quite a while, I thought I would look into recipes that use it up, as it tends to get wasted and well, babies don't really like it.  There are many ways to get iron into your baby, but infant cereal is an easy way, so why not have some fun with it if you have it.

 Always supervise children when eating any finger foods

BABY OATMEAL CEREAL COOKIES
2 c. flour
1 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 1/2-3 c. baby oatmeal cereal
2 eggs
1 c. white sugar
1 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. oil
1 tsp. vanilla
Mix eggs, sugars, oil and vanilla. Add dry ingredients and mix well. Bake at 350 degrees about 15 minutes.


 You can use the infant cereal to thicken your smoothies, for you or the baby.  Added vitamins never hurt a smoothie.


The plainer varieties can be used in meatloaf and meatballs instead of bread crumbs.  It's best to buy plain anyways, because a few spoons of baby food or applesauce tastes much better for baby anyways, and adds real fruit in the mix, instead of fake powdered fruit.  On the same note, you could use it to top macaroni and cheese casseroles, and you could use the fruity ones with a bit of butter and brown sugar to top your muffin recipes.


Dip chicken strips in plain yogurt and then roll or shake in plain cereal and bake them.  Makes a good chicken finger for toddlers.


Teething Biscuit Recipes - Egg-less Baby Cereal Cookies

Ingredients:
1 cup flour
1 cup dry infant rice cereal with bananas (or other flavored or
unflavored infant cereal)
3 tablespoons cooking oil
ice water

Directions:
Preheat oven 425F
Mix flour and cereal.
Gradually stir in oil. Mix a little ice water at a time (start with 1/4 cup) until dough begins to form a ball and pull away from the bowl.
Roll out to the thickness of a cracker on a floured surface and cut into desired shapes.
Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet 10-12 min. or until lightly brown. Cool completely.

Store in an airtight container. (you may want to try 1/2 plain and 1/2 flavored baby cereal as the taste when using full flavored baby cereal is very strong.)



Orange and date muffins

250 ml pure orange juice
1/2 cup of finely chopped dates
1 egg(you can us 2 egg yolk only if there are egg allergies in family)
3tbs canola oil
3tbs honey(you can use sugar instead)
1 cup flour
2 cups fortified baby cereal(I found rice made the dough tougher, so I prefered oatmeal)
2tsp baking powder
2ml of salt

-mix wet ingredients together
-mix all dry in a seperate bowl, then pour wet mixture with dry until just blended.
-in greased muffin tins, add then bake at 200C(400F) for about 15 mins.
should make about 24 muffins. They can be kept for 4 days in the fridge or up to 3months in the freezer.

If you find the mixture to dry, you can add a bit more liquid.


Cereal Pancakes

1 egg
1 cup milk
2 Tbsp oil
3/4 cup dry infant cereal
1/4 cup flour
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda.

In a med bowl, beat egg; add rest of ingredients and mix. Pour 1/2 cup batter onto hot, greased skillet for each pancake. Turn pancakes as soon as they are puffed and full of bubbles. Cook other side until golden brown. Makes 6-9 pancakes.


Baby Cereal Cookies

1/4 cup molasses
1/4 cup butter
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
2 cups infant cereal
3 TBsp whole milk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a cookie sheet or spray with nonstick spray. Lightly cream molasses and butter. Mix in egg and vanilla. In a seperate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, and cereal. Add to the butter mixture. Blend. Add milk. Drop on the cookie sheet 2 inches apart. Bake 10-12 minutes.


 There.  No more waste.  The recipes I found mostly on the internet in various forums, and there are plenty more if you 'Google' or 'Swagbucks' them.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Food Ideas Of Interest...


Hmm.. I thought I would post a few links about things you can do with food.

New tricks for your coffee:
http://www.browniepointsblog.com/2009/05/10/new-tricks-for-your-coffee/

Utilizing Leftovers:
http://frugalliving.about.com/od/utilizingleftovers/Utilizing_Leftovers.htm

List of foods that are better to buy generic:
http://www.momsbudget.com/groceries/genericgrocerylist.html

(This one isn't really that much about food but has a lot of frugal tips that are great!)
Tips for the Truly Frugal:
http://www.frugaltimes.com/frugaltips.html


Hopefully someone can find some use out of these links :)

Crock pot chicken



This is the easiest dinner I can even think of.  You may think you need a recipe to successfully crock-pot, but it really is a simple process requiring little thought depending on what you are cooking.  Today we look at chicken.

When I do chicken in the crock-pot, I take whatever chicken or turkey was the cheapest, be it bone-in chicken breast or turkey wings (surprisingly good) or what have you, then spray the crock-pot of choice with spray or put 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil or oil of choice in the bottom.  Place in the chicken pieces, any chopped vegetables you may want, then you can use a can of soup and a touch of water to add in for flavour and moisture.

Mushroom soup works well, and you can add a tablespoon or so of  Mrs.dash, parsley or your spice of choice to the soup before covering the chicken.  If you have the pot mostly full, you may want a second can of soup, but do not add a lot of water, it doesn't escape the pot and you will end up with soup instead.

If you want the chicken to have a bit of crispness on top, don't fill with soup over the chicken level, and put the veggies on the bottom.  For moister chicken, veggies on top and coat with soup.  All you have to do now is turn on low for 6-8 hours or on high for 4-6 hours.  This will depend on your unit, but if you are worried go to the max on low, if you are not, just pick a time that best suites your dinner time.  I find it depends when I can get my kid down for a nap and can get to actually throwing things in the pot.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kraft Dinner of the Week: Souped up KD



Souped up Kraft Dinner

Sorry for the delay in KD recipes,  with the husband getting over illness, baby with pinkeye and myself catching said illness the husband is getting over, I am afraid that my thoughts have been towards soup instead of KD.  This, however, makes this KD recipe more appropriate than ever being about soup and all.


PREPARE 1 package Kraft Dinner as usual, replacing the milk with 1 can (10oz/284mL) tomato soup, and 1 soup can of water.
HEAT.

That wasn't so painful.  Found that 'recipe' at Kraft Canada.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Hot Toddy for a cold


Contrary to popular belief, a hot toddy does not cure a cold, however, many people do swear by it as a non-drug alternative to cough medicine.  I even read about some people who have had their doctors recommend the recipe to their adult patients instead of cold and flu medications. 

The hot toddy originates in Scotland, and originally calls for whiskey, hot water and sugar.  Most modern recipes have adapted the sugar to be honey.  This is a recipe I kludged together from a bunch I read while looking it up, as I am still avoiding most medications until my son is completely weaned.  The odd alcoholic drink when given enough time between feeds (baby is asleep right now)  is fine. 

If you can't (or don't want to) have alcohol, don't worry, because the alcohol is more of a relaxant, maybe a little bit antiseptic, but not that important.  It's the hot water and honey that soothe the throat, with the honey's vitamins and immune boosters helping, and the vitamin C from the lemon that help alleviate the cold.  It isn't mandatory, but some recommend having a hot shower or bath to ease the congestion right after this drink.


Ingredients:

2 oz. of Whiskey, any kind (if you don't have whiskey... or had bad quality whiskey like I did, it is fine to sub in brandy for whiskey.)
1 tablespoon of honey
1/2 teaspoon of lemon juice (I used the stuff in the squeeze bottle, when using fresh you may want to up it to half a cup as the squeeze juice is more concentrated and bitter)
250 ml of hot water, almost boiling.
1 green tea bag (adds antioxidants that help fight the cold.)
1 fresh slice of lemon.

Directions:

In a mug, mix the whiskey, honey and lemon juice, leaving the spoon in the mug.  Put the tea bag in the measuring cup and pour hot water over it.  Let steep for 3-5 minutes.  Stir with honey spoon and remove bag, then pour tea into the mug and stir mixture together.  Add the slice of lemon and drink.  It tasted different to me, but not too bad, and this is coming from someone who is not a big fan of whiskey or brandy.  (the exception with brandy is in eggnog, but that is a different story)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Chow for the Chubster: baked fruit


Baked fruit

I found this post here and thought it sounded like a great way to get extra fruit into my little man.  It can be hard to find good kiddie chow sometimes, and these recipes are great because you can chop the fruit up for finger food, puree it if you are into that whole 'mushed baby food' thing or serve it with a variety of things for adults and older kids too.  The site suggests serving it with frozen yogurt, oat meal or even cake, but they are all good on their own too.

BAKED PEACHES, NECTARINES and PLUMS

  • Turn on the oven to 400(F),
  • Halve the fruit if using peaches, pears, or nectarines and plums
  • Do not peel
  • Add 1-2 inches of water to a baking pan,
  • Place fruits "face down" and bake at 400F for approx. 40 minutes or until skin puckers. 
  • If you use this method for pears, bake for 20 minutes or until skin puckers
  • Once baked, slip off the skins if you desire and enjoy warm

BAKED APPLES
  • Core a few apples (leave peel on),
  • Wipe center inside with butter if desired or add a wee bit of water to the inside
  • Sprinkle some cinnamon if desired
  • Add raisins and a wee dash of brown sugar if desired too. 
  • Place apples upright in a baking pan filled with 2-3 inches of water (more water than with peaches as peaches are more shallow) -
  • Bake at 400 for approx. 40 minutes or until skin puckers and/or fruit begins to bubble.

BAKED BANANAS and PEARS

  • peel and cut bananas or pears in half length-wise
  • then place on baking sheet lightly spread with olive oil -
  • You choose the temp and keep a watch.  We use 400 for approx 10 minutes. 
  • Pears are generally more soft so keep a watch as they may bake up faster than you realize.
  • Sprinkle bananas and/or pears with some cinnamon, ginger or nutmeg if desired
Bananas are also yummy when fried in a dash of butter on the stove top - sprinkle with cinnamon and drizzle with honey if age appropriate.   Pears are very yummy when lightly fried with a touch of vanilla.

KD of the week: Lentil Mac and Cheese Bake


Lentil Mac and Cheese Bake

Ingredients
  • 2 pkg. Kraft macaroni and cheese
  • 1  can of lentils
  • 1 (16 oz.) pkg. frozen mixed vegetables, any variety, as red bell pepper, broccoli, mushrooms or any vegetables you enjoy
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. milk
  • Shredded cheese
  • 1/4 cup of bread crumbs or coating mix (like shake and bake or something, you could also use panko)
Preparation
  • Bring water to boil, add macaroni.  With 5 minutes left on the clock add frozen vegetables. (3 minutes for any fresh or canned veggies) Cook until tender, drain. Add lentils, butter, cheese mix, milk and additional shredded cheese. Mix well. Place in casserole dish and top with more shredded cheese and bread crumbs. Bake 30 minutes in 350 degree oven or until browned and bubbly, depending on your oven.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Free food



Since tomorrow is my birthday I feel that it is appropriate to speak of all the good freebies and discounts I took advantage of this year just for being born.  You should always check for free sign ups at your favorite food and drink locations, because it makes the week of your birthday full of free treats.

*Starbucks.  I registered one of my many free gift cards I have received from redeeming my Swagbucks and as a reward I got a free any size and type of drink voucher, in the mail (snail mail, but I prefer tangible coupons anyways).  I chose a Venti White Chocolate Mocha.  IMMD.

*Baskin Robins.  Joined their fan club and received an e-mail coupon for a free scoop of ice cream.  While I enjoyed my free ice cream, I got the tiny spoons of sampling for free for my little man to try.  Free ice cream for me and my baby.  Sweet.  I had Chocolate Mousse Royale.

*Boston Pizza.  I am going there tonight for birthday dinner.  I got a free e-mail voucher for free gourmet pasta or dessert.  Not sure yet which I will choose.  :)

*Red Lobster.  Probably won't end up using it in the end, but it is $5 off any dinner menu item. 

*Dairy Queen.  Have an e-mail coupon for a free Blizzard sitting in my virtual mailbox.

*Orange Julius.  Free print out coupon for a 16 oz. Julius fruit drink.

The best part of free stuff for your birthday is that they also don't expect that you will actually go on your birthday, so you can sign up for them all, and most have a week or two to redeem them, so enjoy the free ride where you can, and of course, let me know if you find anymore sweet freebies for birthdays, I have a son and a husband who have birthdays too.

Cinnamon coffee scones

 Baking with coffee.

At Folgers.ca they are offering free recipes that include their coffee, but I am sure any strong-brewed coffee would work for the recipes they offer.  ... also offering free recipes is not exactly a 'new' thing, but I did like the idea of this recipe... with the exception of raisins, I don't like raisins in my food.  To each their own I suppose. 





Prep Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Makes: Two dozen scones (depending on their size)
2 cups self-rising flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
6 tablespoons sugar
1-1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) unsalted butter
2 eggs
1/4 cup strong brewed Folgers coffee
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup golden raisins (or chopped dried apricots) 1/2 cup chopped pecans (or walnuts)
Extra milk and sugar for toppings
Stir together the flour, cinnamon, and sugar. Cut the butter into tablespoon pieces and blend with the pastry blender or two knives into the dry mixture. (Butter pieces should be the size of small peas.)

Mix together the eggs, coffee, and milk. Stir into the dry mixture to form a soft dough. Stir in the fruit and nuts. Turn out onto a floured board and gently pat into a circle of dough about 1/2" thick. Cut out rounds with floured biscuit cutter and place them on a greased baking sheet. Gently brush tops with milk and sprinkle with sugar.

Bake in a preheated 400° F oven for 12 to 15 minutes or until golden-brown.