Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Chicken Meatballs

Chicken Meatballs

Yes, chicken meatballs.  I do not eat beef, and choose not to feed my baby boy soy meatballs (my favorite Oh! Naturel frozen ones) due to soy not being so great for growing boys and their hormone balance... and this recipe turned out better than I could have hoped for.  I only think I will change the size of the meatballs, because I want to be bombarded with tonnes of tiny balls instead of a few honkin' sized chews.


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (I used southern fried chicken coating aka fake shake & bake)
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced or a teaspoon of garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons fresh oregano (or the equivalent dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt (I omit salt... its up to you)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil


  1. Place ground chicken,egg,1/2 cup Parmesan,bread crumbs, garlic,oregano and 1/2 tsp salt in a medium bowl.
  2. Knead mixture together with hand till evenly combined.
  3. Form mixture into 1-inch balls.  (I think I will make mini meatballs next time though, they are one big chunk of ball)
  4. In large non-stick skillet, warm olive oil over high heat.
  5.  Place meatballs in pan,up to 8 at a time,and cook until all sides are browned,approximately 8 minutes for each meatball.
  6. Remove with slotted spoon,and add to your favorite spaghetti sauce.
     Secondary cooking method:  I chose to bake the meatballs on a cookie sheet, at 400 degrees for 15 - 20 minutes, then added them to my spaghetti sauce.   If you cook them 5 - 10 more minutes they would probably be easily frozen to pop into recipes as needed.

KD of the week: Cheesy Chicken Cacciatore

Cheesy Chicken Cacciatore

1 tsp. oil
1 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts - chopped
1 small onion - chopped
1 Tbsp. Oregano
1 can (19 fl oz) Aylmer Chili Style Tomatoes
1 can of water (empty can from tomatoes)
1 box of KD (any variety)
1 cup shredded cheese or a couple slices of cheese from the fridge.

-Heat oil in large skillet. Add chicken and cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until no longer pink.

-Add oregano, tomatoes, water and pasta from KD. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat to a simmer and do so until pasta is tender.

-Stir in cheese sauce and extra cheese and remain cooking until heated through.

(note:  I love to add extra cheese to almost all of my KD... my husband is not always fond of that though, so to each their own)

*adapted from a recipe found here (I found it through a web search... not from being a member lol)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Pass the lols : My Food Looks Funny

Oh the cheezburger network, how your funnies fill my dull days.  Poor little red shirt bear, he didn't know what he was getting into.  Anyways, this food related site offers amusing images of food gone funny.  

Just in case you were in need of seeing rainbow coloured bacon or the famous Cheezhenge... it is worth checking out.  Oh what the heck, here is Cheezhenge as a second preview:

OAMC Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Casserole

In my quest for frugal recipes while I was pregnant, I did a lot of searching for OAMC recipes (once a month cooking)  and recently I flipped back through my other blog and discovered this recipe in a post, which I will now copy over to this site for good measure.  By the way, I still have not had the chance to make this one, but it still excites me so it is good to have in the collection.

I found a recipe for a cabbage roll casserole, and that one truly makes me excited, because my aunt used to make cabbage rolls when I was young and I loved them, but I haven't had anything close to that experience in years due to the fact that you just don't see vegetarian cabbage rolls, its just not done. I hope this one works out well :)
A lot of the best freezer planning and meal planning advice and recipes I have found came from this site: http://www.momsbudget.com/ which also covers money management and decor too, so it is one of my more visited pages.
Also, in case you were curious, this is the cabbage roll casserole recipe ;)
OAMC Vegetarian Cabbage Roll Casserole(serves 10)
4 cups cooked brown rice
1/2 cup olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
1 cups mushrooms, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cups sunflower seeds
1 head cabbage, shredded
4 cups tomato juice or tomato puree
Optional sweet-sour tang:1/3 cup brown sugar (add to sauce)3 tablespoons cider or rice wine vinegar (add to sauce)1 cup raisins (add to rice with mushrooms) 

In deep, heavy pot saute onion, pepper and mushrooms in oil until tender. Add garlic and seeds. Add rice.

In large pan layer 1 cups juice or puree,then 1/3 of cabbage (approx.) then 2 cups rice and vegetable mixture.

Repeat twice. Pour remaining juice or puree over top. Cover and freeze.

To serve, place directly into 350 degrees oven from freezer. Bake 1 1/2 - 2 hours or more until cooked through.

KD of the week: Shipwrecked KD

 Shipwrecked KD

3/4 lb. (340 g) extra lean ground beef  (or if you don't eat beef like me, use a package of Yves ground round)
1 pkg.  (225 g) KRAFT DINNER Macaroni and Cheese
1 can (19 fl oz/540mL) stewed tomatoes, undrained
1 cup  frozen green peas
1 cup skim milk (that is what they call for... I say 2% is in the fridge already...)
1/2 cup  KRAFT Part Skim Mozzarella Shredded Cheese (... and I don't like to 'skinny' my cheese either...)


BROWN meat in large nonstick skillet on medium-high heat; drain. reserving meat in skillet.
STIR in Macaroni, Cheese Sauce, tomatoes, peas and milk. Bring to boil; cover. Simmer on medium-low 12 min. or until macaroni is tender, stirring occasionally.
TOP with mozzarella. Let stand, covered, 5 min. or until melted.

Original recipe... found in many places, but this link has a person who is very passionate about their KD, I find that commendable.
Say Radio - Gourmet Kraft Dinner Recipes

Monday, June 21, 2010

Pistachio pudding cupcakes

The night before father's day I made these wonderful little guys to have with all the father's day indulgence.  After successfully making candied bacon for my husband, and ending up making my famous pancakes (due to not finding an economical waffle iron in time for father's day) at the end of the day these were a great sweet treat to end with.

So what I did was look up different recipes for cupcakes containing my husband's beloved pistachio pudding, which I actually don't like but this is his day after all.  After finding them all too complicated I decided to wing it, and it turned out to be moist, tasty cupcakes that even a pistachio hater like myself could thoroughly enjoy.

Pistachio Pudding Cupcakes
(or cake if you want...)


1 white cake mix, I used the package of Added Touch white cake
1 package of Jello instant pistachio pudding (would probably work with lemon, banana or any pudding)
1/4 teaspoon of almond extract (pure is best)
green food colouring.  ( i used the directions for neon green on my neon food colour box)
eggs, water and oil as the recipe for the cake calls for. 


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees or the temperature specified by the cake mix.  Mix the cake mix in a bowl with the pistachio pudding powder.  Add your almond extract and food colouring to the oil and mix all your ingredients together with a hand mixer (or whatever mixing tool you may use)  *Note:  it will be thicker to beat then normal cake mix because of the pudding, just ignore that part.  Pour into lined cupcake pans, or pans that have been greased and dusted with flour and bake as directed to a golden brown colour.

  Cool completely, on wire racks if you can.  Remember the rack in your toaster oven?  It doubles perfectly as a free substitute for a wire cooling rack.  Don't sweat it if you don't have a rack, it just takes a little longer and your bottoms may be a little ... softer, but no harm done.  
I frosted with that amazing buttercream frosting recipe I found, and just coloured it green instead. 

I will say that they were some of the most moist cupcakes I have ever had.  I would make them again, and they were easy, I like easy. 

Friday, June 18, 2010

Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

 Pumpkin Swirl Cheesecake

 I tried this as my last Christmas cheesecake (the year before that was eggnog cheesecake, yum) and I fell in love with the pumpkin cheesecake.  I already could eat pumpkin pie every month of the year, and now if I wasn't so lazy I know I would be gorging on this beauty more often. 


For filling:

  • 3 (250 g) packages PHILADELPHIA Brick Cream Cheese, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar, divided
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1 dash ground cloves
For crust:
  • 1 1/2 cups crushed graham crackers
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup butter, melted
  • about 1 teaspoon or so of pumpkin pie spice
  • a dash or two of cinnamon and nutmeg if you fancy


  1. Combine cookie crumbs,spice and butter. Press onto bottom of 9 inch springform pan.  Refrigerate for 30 minutes before filling, or bake at 375 degrees F for 8-10 minutes or until crust is lightly browned. Cool on a wire rack before filling. 
  2. Heat oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Beat cream cheese, 1/2 cup of the sugar and vanilla with electric mixer until well blended. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing on low speed after each addition just until blended. 
  4. Remove 1 cup plain batter; place in small bowl. 
  5. Stir remaining 1/4 cup sugar, pumpkin and spices into remaining batter. Spoon pumpkin batter into crust; top with spoonfuls of reserved plain batter. Cut through batters with knife several times for marble effect. 
  6. Bake 45 minutes or until centre is almost set. Cool completely. Refrigerate 4 hours or overnight. Cut into 12 slices. Store leftover cheesecake in refrigerator.
Original recipe found at: http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/philadelphia-pumpkin-swirl-cheesecake/Detail.aspx

Cheesecake tips can be found at this link (there are a lot and it does help to read them)
water baths and pre-whipping already room temperature cheese can save your cheesecake :)

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Coffee*Love : changing up the same old brew

Coffee.  Many of us love it.  I will take some time to rant and rave about my new grind and brew coffee maker in some other post, after I have got the hang of the programming thing... I don't care to elaborate in this post.  However, I do care to share some wonderful ideas I have found in my online recipe collecting fashion, as I have now just lost every link I had when my hard drive decided to bite the dust a week ago.  I guess I have an excuse now to search more recipes and earn more swagbucks towards my next free Starbucks cards.  Life goes on.

Tips on brewing the best coffee:

I worked at a Timmies for just over five and a half years, did all the training in every position except for management (I was a supervisor though, yay me :) so I feel I have sufficient knowledge in the coffee department.  I also have much drinking experience from the many coffee facilities in and around my fine city.
For the best coffee you need :

1. the best water you can get.  If you drink only filtered water because of the taste, then use tap water for coffee hoping a magic cure for that taste exists in the coffee, I am afraid you are wrong.  Coffee is 98% water, so if you don't like the taste of the water, your coffee will not be the best either.

2.  fresh coffee.  At Timmies they use the opened grinds immediately and throw the coffee every 20 minutes (in theory... there are always a few bad apples)  I am not saying you need to do that, but having the freshest ground coffee, kept in air-tight conditions, away from moisture, NOT in the freezer, (though if you absolutely must, you should divide it into coffee pot sized portions so that it doesn't go back and forth from freezer to counter, it causes the coffee to coagulate the oils that make it so pretty.)  and coffee starts to fade from its best after about two weeks, so try and buy what you need and not the costco bulk bag (unless you go through it, I do love costco... just costco efficiently)

3.  Preheat your cups and carafe.  To save you a google if you don't know what a carafe is, its the coffee pot.  just fill them with hot water before brewing and discard the water, and if your coffee maker has a cup warmer, all the better, but if not, the cups can get a hot water bath too, or steam from a steam nozzle.  This keeps the coffee hot longer, and helps the aroma develop. 

Now here is a link to some 'new tricks for your coffee'.  It's the little things like adding a cinnamon stick to your grounds or re-thinking your sweetening.


 As always, I could go on about coffee forever, but it is getting late, so this will be all for now.

KD of the week: Mac and Cheese Pizza

Mac and Cheese Pizza


  • 1 (7 ounce) box macaroni and cheese mix, prepared according to package directions
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 (8 ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 teaspoon basil
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/4 cup chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1 (4 ounce) can mushrooms
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • any other favorite toppings you have, my man likes pineapple and chicken on his pizza


  1. Mix prepared macaroni and cheese with eggs and put into a greased 9-inch x 13-inch pan.
  2. Bake for 10 minutes at 375 degrees.
  3. Top with the tomato sauce, basil and oregano.
  4. Then add the rest of the ingredients.
    This recipe would probably go well into packed lunches and seems pretty kid-friendly too.  Pizza is a fairly universal food and even in mac form should please most people.
    I had seen the basic idea for this recipe in many places long ago, but this recipe has been adapted from the one I found here:

Monday, June 7, 2010

GM foods... where science and stupid meet

I found this article a while ago which explains about genetically modified foods, and how although it sounds like smart people weilding powerful knowledge to make things better, you find out that making these crops is more of a frankenstein experiment in trial and error. 

I found the topic to be thought-provoking to be sure, and if you are curious about knowing more concerning your food and what GM actually means for your food, then click the link bellow and read this.


This is more in the states then up here in Canada, where we don't have hormone ladden cow's milk and such, but since we get a lot of our products from the states, we should still be informed.

As I read it, I thought about how it could even be too late now to turn back from this badly broken road we are on with GM food, and how it could just be a little problem, or the end of all things?  I guess time will tell, but I will say, I have lost a lot of respect for the scientists that think kludging together pesticides with food was a good idea in the first place.

You can also read more about this here:

they have funny pictures and are very intelligent about the subject.

KD of the week: Chili Chicken mac & cheese

Chili Chicken Mac & Cheese

1 pkg. (200 g) Kraft Dinner Whole Wheat Macaroni and Cheese
3/4 lb. (340 g) boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into bite-size pieces
1 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup shredded Cracker Barrel Old Cheddar Cheese Light
1/4 cup salsa

PREPARE Dinner as directed on package, using the Sensible Solution directions. Meanwhile, toss chicken with chili powder in large nonstick skillet sprayed with cooking spray; cook and stir on medium heat 5 min. or until chicken is cooked through.
ADD prepared Dinner to chicken; mix lightly.
SERVE topped with remaining ingredients.

recipe found at: http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/chili-chicken-mac-cheese-112602.aspx

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Vegetarian Barley and Mushroom Stew

Barley and Mushroom Stew ^

This is a hearty vegetarian stew that looks amazing, and I want to make it.  I had to post something meatless to take the thought of the last post out of my mind, lol.
1/2 cup dried porcini mushrooms
2 tbsp olive oil
1 cup onion, chopped
1 cup carrots, chopped
1 cup celery, chopped
3 red potatoes, peeled and cut into eighths (about 2 cups)
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
2 cups mushrooms, sliced
1/3 cup pearled barley *Tip: Make sure you buy pearled barley, with the husk removed.
1/2 tsp dried thyme
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
3 cups vegetable stock
Chopped parsley for garnish (optional)

Add hot water to cover porcini; set aside.
Heat oil on medium-high heat in large pot; add onion, carrot, celery, potatoes and garlic.  Cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables brown, about 12 minutes.  Drain porcini, reserving liquid, and chop. Add fresh and reconstituted dry mushrooms; cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Add barley and cook, stirring, until shiny and coated. Stir in thyme, salt and pepper.  Add vegetable broth to porcini soaking liquid to make three cups; add to stew. Bring to boil over medium-high heat; turn heat down so stew barely bubbles. Cover and cook 30 minutes, stirring once or twice
Serve with chopped parsley if desired.
Makes four servings.

Found recipe at:http://www.thestar.com/living/article/543177 From Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything Vegetarian.

Candied Bacon (Father's day idea)

Would probably go great on top of the Ultimate pumpkin waffles .

I spied this recipe in Canadian Family magazine and thought about the meat-ivore in my life, my loving husband.  I don't eat bacon, but I can already hear the drool forming in the corners of the mouths of most meat-loving men, and probably the women too, over this interesting treat for a special breakfast.


12 slices of bacon
1/4 cup of brown sugar

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.  Place bacon on a foil-lined baking sheet with edges (like a jelly roll pan)  Sprinkle a spoonful of sugar over each strip of bacon and press it so that it adheres to the entire slice.  Bake for 13 - 15 minutes or until bacon is crisp and mahogany-coloured.  Watch carefully in the last few minutes because bacon can go from underdone to overdone very quickly.

There you go.  Bacon lovers rejoice.  Non-bacon lovers like myself be happy for the happiness of the bacon recievers, shake it off and go look up a tasty falafel recipe... mmmm, falafel... maybe later...

Drool Fodder: Ultimate Pumpkin Waffles

I will start by saying I need a waffle iron.  I want this recipe, want it badly.  I am thinking about getting the waffle iron just for this recipe alone, plus for all you people looking for a good father's day breakfast idea, I think this recipe will do, and maybe put candied bacon on top.  I have that recipe in a magazine, I will post it soon.  I don't eat bacon, but my mega-carnivore husband will probably love it to death.

Anyways, back to the drool worthy recipe at hand...   found at this webpage: http://pumpkinwaffles.wordpress.com/ultimate-pumpkin-waffle-recipe/
(they actually have pumpkin waffles in the webpage name lol, this person is really really serious about these waffles) 

This website is so devoted I am not even going to attempt to write the recipe on my page.  You will have to see for yourself, especially because the directions are fairly detailed and the pictures are very food-pretty.  I recommend at least drooling over this recipe for a few minutes before moving on to your bland frozen waffle substitutes.

Freeze ahead breakfast burritos

I really want to start eating a proper breakfast, but I have trouble getting up in the morning as is, then I have to feed the baby and 3 days a week we go straight to the chiropractors in the morning, so time is not on my side as they would say. 

I plan to try out this recipe, it looks good and may be the solution to my breakfast problems.  They do say that eggs provide energy and can keep you satisfied until the next meal, and eating two eggs a day for breakfast is supposed to help with weight loss. I am not on a 'diet' but after having a baby it would be nice to loose a few pounds so I am fairly interested in food that helps my weight but still tastes good.

By the way... who are 'they' and why are they always telling us what to eat??  Oh well, this looks good anyways.  I put my own spin on the recipe of course, so make your own changes too if you are brave.

You can vary the additions to this recipe for breakfast burritos. Add onions or frozen hash brown potatoes, omit the salsa, try using different types of cheese or flavored tortillas. The possibilities are endless!


12 eggs

2 Tbsp. butter

1/2 cup chunky salsa

1 can or 1-2 cups chopped mushrooms

A cup or two of  'loose' veggies if you have them on hand, like onions, peppers, etc... the more veggies the healthier and better, sauteed or cooked and chopped.

1 tablespoon roasted red pepper dried spice (or your favorite spices, montreal chicken spice is good in everything too, even pasta sauce)

2 cups Cheddar or Pepper Jack cheese

24 flour tortillas


In large skillet, melt butter. Beat eggs and spice in large bowl and add to skillet. Cook eggs in butter, stirring frequently, until scrambled and set. Add cooked veggies and salsa to egg mixture and mix gently.

Warm tortillas as directed on package. Place about 1/2 cup egg and veggie mixture onto each tortilla and sprinkle with some cheese. Roll up each tortilla to make burritos, folding in the ends and rolling up. Place on parchment paper lined cookie sheets and freeze until solid. Then wrap individually and package in zip-lock freezer bags.

When you're ready to eat, unwrap the burritos, wrap loosely in microwave safe paper towel and heat in the microwave on high power for 1-3 minutes until hot and cheese is melted.

You can also thaw burritos in the refrigerator overnight, then wrap each in foil and bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes until hot. The thawed burritos can also be deep fried for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and crisp.

makes 24 burritos roughly.

original recipe found here:  http://busycooks.about.com/od/breakfastmaindishes/r/freezerburrito.htm

Kraft Dinner of the week

Tuna Casserole

For me, I usually just kludge my tuna casserole together in a pinch, either adding a can of tuna and some peas to the last minutes of the boiling water, or the last 3 minutes of the microwave method, but if you want to try something a little more formal, here is a kraft dinner tuna casserole recipe.


1 pkg (227 g) Kraft Dinner Macaroni and Cheese
1 (10 oz/284 mL) can cream of mushroom soup
1 can drained tuna
 1 cup frozen peas
1 Tbsp. Miracle Whip Dressing

PREPARE pasta as directed on package.

STIR in soup, tuna, peas and salad dressing. Spoon into a baking dish.

BAKE at 350°F (180°C) for 15 minutes.

recipe found at: http://www.kraftcanada.com/en/recipes/kraft-dinner-tuna-casserole-85472.aspx

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The dark secret of sucralose

I may want to loose a few pounds, but I think real sugars, like cane sugar, maple syrup and honey are the 'good in moderation sweeteners' we should be using.  I take real junk food over fake health food anyday now.

I have been worrying more and more about the effects of 'fake foods' on my health, and have already been avoiding aspartame like the devil, then I came across this very thorough and thoughtful article that told me more than I needed to know about an increasing in popularity and use artificial sweetener we all know by the brand name of Splenda. 

Now I will be keeping an eye out for sucralose on the labels too, I mean, even if you don't take the time to read that article, you need to remember that Splenda was discovered by a person trying to create a new pesticide. 

It may look like sugar and taste like sugar as they claim, but if it's a chlorocarbon (comprised of sucrose (sugar) — except that three of the hydroxyl groups in the molecule have been replaced by three chlorine atoms to be technical) it might have just left the food categorie.

Here is the article I found, but you could also just look up splenda on the internet. 


*picture, and more info on the dangers of aspartame found at this site:


Coffee Love: Starbucks white chocolate mocha

I have an addiction.  Okay, so I might have more than one, like chocolate and cheesecake.. I could go on, but one of my top addictions is coffee.  Fancy coffee, regular joe, lattes, mochas, pretty much the whole coffee food group (don't you wish it was a food group?)  I love it all.  I occasionally like to pay tribute to my favorites though, and today is one of those days.  I guess it is because I am almost at my swagbucks total to get my 3rd free starbucks card to feed my addiction.  Free coffee is always the best coffee ;)

Starbucks White Chocolate Mocha.  My absolute favorite above favorite drinks.  When I was young and visiting Toronto, I happened into a coffee place where my friend and I ordered white hot chocolate, a novel idea at the time to me.  I loved that way back then.  Later on in life I ended up in a Starbucks, and was trying to remember what I ordered that was so great as a child, at one of these 'fru-fru hippie' coffee places.  It wasn't normal for me to be near a place like that.  Not at that time. 

I ended up ordering a white chocolate mocha, which fueled an addiction to last the ages, being the best thing I had ever had.  It is even responsible for me drinking regular coffee again, and trying different coffees and places, because before that fateful moment I had not really liked coffee, I was only a tea drinker.  (I drink both now.)

I am only have the coffee budget to go their every once and a while, but I think it is worth a try if you ever end up in a 'fru-fru hippie' place like Starbucks.  You might just like it.  It may just change your life.

Also, if you are interested in getting free starbucks cards (or other free stuff for you non-coffee people) just for internet searching like you normally would, feel free to click my referral link and check out Swagbucks.

Search & Win

Amazing buttercream frosting

My first attempt ever at making buttercream frosting.  For many years I had avoided making icing, as it always ended up being that weird sloppy thin stuff made of pretty much just icing sugar and milk.  I had recently had a cupcake from my beloved Starbucks with buttercream frosting on it, and decided that would be worth a try myself.  Warily I attempted this recipe, but one taste told me this may be one of the best things I have ever made, and I make a mean cheesecake, so that is saying a lot. 

I don't have a piping set yet, so I just used a freezer bag with a hole cut in the corner to pipe the icing thickly onto some cupcakes... I would recomend doubling the recipe though, for a generous and sensual cupcake.  I sacrificed a two or three cupcakes for the sake of this, which is okay, because although my husband loved the cupcakes too (and perhaps a little bit sneaked into my infants mouth as well...)  he enjoyed having a few that were not as super-sweet to snack on. 

I topped each cupcake with yellow white chocolate swirls I made by placing out parchment paper on the table, melting some yellow bakers chip-thingys in a bowl and scooping the contents into a sandwich bag.  I cut a tiny hole in the corner (no piping set yet as I said) and created rough swirls, kind of like how a child draws the sun.  I made many because they don't all turn out beautiful from a hot-to-hold plastic bag, but when cooled they are nice decorations to top your cupcakes. 

Here is the recipe for those who are curious:


1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened (I used organic, because I had it on hand for the baby)
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract  (real if you can)
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
2 tablespoons milk
food coloring as needed (optional)


Cream room temperature butter with a hand mixer, the paddle attachment of a stand mixer, or a wooden spoon until smooth and fluffy. Gradually beat in confectioners' sugar until fully incorporated. Beat in vanilla extract.

Pour in milk and beat for an additional 3-4 minutes. Add food coloring, if using, and beat for thirty seconds until smooth or until desired color is reached.
I got the recipe here: http://allrecipes.com/Recipe/Quick-and-Almost-Professional-Buttercream-Icing/Detail.aspx

Tip of the moment

Let us always remember, cooking is an art and baking is a science.  Sure, I prefer baking to cooking personally, but when playing with recipes it is always good to keep in mind that if you are cooking, as long as you have a basic idea of how tastes go together and what you like, you can substitute and change pretty much everything.  When it comes to baking, however, changing a recipe takes knowledge of what the substitutions will do to your recipe.  Baking is all about chemical reactions with things like baking soda ... okay I may have watched too much Magic school bus and Bill Nye the science guy as a child... but it is true.  Let me just say that cooking is a free-for-all and when it comes to baking you really do need to measure those ingredients.  I still remember my first muffins I baked, with the lumps of baking soda dryly exploding in my mouth every so often... I was pretty young then... but lesson learned I suppose

Crock pot chicken stew

Creamy and random, it worked out well.  Here's what I did:


2 cans mushroom soup
1 tablespoon Mrs. Dash
1 tablespoon mixture of parsley, garlic powder and some red pepper spice I had in the cupboard
2 cups chopped celery
1-2 cups chopped carrots (I used what was left in the carrot bag, no measuring to be sure)
1 cup pearl onions (so my husband could pick them out easily later, you can just chop one med. onion)
1 can of mushrooms or about 10 fresh white mushrooms cut in half
1 sweet potato or 2 med regular potatoes (I made the recipe twice, using each in different batches, next time I plan to use both kinds together)
2-3 skinless chicken breasts cut into chunks (or with my knives, more like hacked and pulled into chunks)

Put soup and spice into a bowl and mix.  Spray your crock pot with a bit of cooking spray, any kind, but I used olive oil cooking spray by Pam.  Chop and place veggies into the crock pot.  Chop the chicken and place into the soup mix.  Mix well, let sit for a bit while you clean up half-heartedly, then add mixture to crock pot and mix with vegetables.  Set for 7-8 hours on low, or 4-5 hours on high, or adjust based on how your crock pot works best.  If using a smaller crock pot you should adjust your ingredients so that it only goes about 1/2 to 3/4 of the way filling the unit, for best cooking.  Now you can goof off for that time, come back and have dinner ready to go.  Easy is always my kind of meal.