Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Pumpkin Crisp

Pumpkin Crisp

1 (15-oz.) can pumpkin
1 cup evaporated milk
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 (18.25-oz.) package butter-flavored yellow cake mix
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup butter, melted
whipped cream (optional)
Ground nutmeg (optional)

1. Preheat oven to 350. Stir together first 5 ingredients. Pour into a lightly greased 13x9-inch baking dish. Sprinkle cake mix evenly with pecans. Drizzle butter evenly over pecans.

2. Bake at 350 for 1 hour to 1 hour and 5 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven, and let stand 10 minutes before serving. Serve warm or at room temperature with Whipped cream, if desired. Sprinkle with nutmeg, if desired.

Recipe taken from Southern Living 2009 Annual Recipes

From My Experience:
This recipe was so good! I made it for our small group last Thursday because I was feeling the October fever and wanted something with pumpkin power! It was a success. As you can see from the close-up picture, I added about a cup of uncooked oats on top. To me this has to be included to be called a "Crisp" plus it added to the crunchy topping. I left out the nutmeg since I didn't have any, and served it with vanilla ice cream. It was another easy and yummy recipe I will definitely make again, maybe soon!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Recipe of the Week: 3 Dips

I love dips! They can enhance many foods and are easy to make. So I combined two weeks worth of recipe challenges to give you a trio of dips for all occassions.

Chili's Salsa

4 tsp. fresh or canned (not pickled) diced jalapeno pepper
1/4 cup diced onion
One 14.5 oz. can tomatoes and green chiles
One 14.5 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes, with juice
3/4 tsp. garlic salt, or to taste
1/2 tsp. cumin, or more to taste
1/4 tsp. sugar, or to taste

1. Place the jalapeno and onion in a food processor; pulse for a few seconds.
2. Add both cans of tomatoes and the garlic salt, cumin, and sugar.
3. Process all ingredients until well blended, but do not puree. You want the salsa to be chunky.
4. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
found in America's Most Wanted Recipes

From My Experience:
The author of this book takes restaurant favorites and creates a copycat version. I love Chili's salsa and decided to give it a try. Mine didn't come out tasting exactly like their version because it was alot spicier but it did have the same texture and appearance. I used a whole jalapeno seeds and all thinking my h usband would appreciate the heat. The salsa turned out so hot I couldn't taste much else; no complaints though from my husband.

Peanut Butter Dip
makes 1 1/2 cups

3/4 cup low-fat vanilla yogurt
1/2 cup reduced-fat peanut butter
1/2 cup raisins
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

In a small serving bowl, stir together all ingredients.

Found in September 2010 Family Circle magazine.

From My Experience:
This was printed in a section about after-school snacks and suggested serving it with apples, celery, and pretzels. I thought this dip was really good! I tried it with the celery and pretzels and liked it with both. I thought it would be a great after-school snack and it's super easy to make. The amount of yogurt required is about the amount in a single serving container and the amount of raisins called is a handfull. I will definitely make it again and I'm thinking about trying it with hazelnut spread in place of the peanut butter just to have another variety.

5-Minute Humus
makes 1 1/2 cups

1 15oz. can of chickpeas, rinsed
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup olive oil, plus more for serving
2 Ttsp. fresh lemon juice
2 Tbsp. tahini (sesame seed paste, optional)
1 tsp. ground cumin
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. paprika

In a food processor, puree the chickpeas and garlic with olive oil, lemon juice, tahini (if using), cumin, and salt until smooth and creamy. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons of water as necessary to achieve the desired consistency. Transfer to a bowl. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with the paprika before serving.

From My Experience:
I really like humus. The store-bought kind is awesome, but it is definitely more affordable to make it yourself and easy to do so. While you may not create the splendor of a name-brand version, you will be able to create a similar version of your liking. When I tried this recipe, I didn't use the lemon juice or paprika because I didn't have any. I also didn't add more olive oil because I thought it would be too oily. For my humus, I also added a red bell pepper, some green olives, and some of the olive juice instead of water; I like mine salty! I just threw them in the food processor. On the matter of the optional tahini, I used it. I think it helps the chickpeas become the creamy and smooth humus and adds a special flavor.

Sloane Laughs at Lily

I hope this works! After Jake and I returned home from dinner last Friday night, we let Lily out in the front yard to play before we all went inside for the night. Jake started throwing sticks in the air for Lily to catch. Sloane thought this was so funny, she broke into laughter! It didn't matter how long we continued to throw these twigs, it never got old for Lily or Sloane. The sound of her laughter will bring a smile to your face.

Monday, September 20, 2010

7 months

I couldn't decide which picture and there wasn't one great one so you got four! Sloane is now 7 months, and has made progress in the last month. We don't think she has grown too much but she can no longer wear her 3-6 months footed pajamas; she has long legs. She still sleeps about 12 hours a night and takes two naps a day. She has stopped taking a nap in the evening even though it is obvious she is sleepy. She takes 4 bottles a day and eats a fruit and vegetable during the two afternoon feedings. She eats whatever I feed her without a complaint.

8:00=8 oz. bottle
12:00=fruit or vegetable & 5/6 oz. bottle
4:00=fruit or vegetable & 5/6 oz. bottle
7:00=8 oz. bottle

Here are some things Miss Sloane can do:

*sit without support
*turn in the direction of a voice
*babbles more frequently especially when playing by herself
*work to get a toy out of reach
*rake object with fingers and pick it up in her fist
*stand on legs holding on to someone
*push up and put weight on arms straightened
*get on her knees
*notice when Lily is nearby
*stick her hands out for Lily to lick

Sloane is still such a happy baby. She has started to become more vocal about it too. The only syllables detectable are ma-ma-ma which she says usually when she is upset. Sloane hasn't cut any teeth yet nor do we see any approaching, but she puts everything in her mouth and has been drooling since she was 3 months old. She isn't crawling yet either but she can get on her arms and her knees just not simultaneously. She still smiles at everyone who talks to her. Her favorite toy is our dog, Lily. She started to really notice her this past month. She likes to watch her and tries to grab any piece of Lily she can reach. Sometimes she just looks at Lily and laughs when Lily is doing nothing funny at all. Her favorite though are licks from Lily; doesn't matter where either!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Busted Lip!

Sloane busted her lip on a toy while playing yesterday morning. It swelled up a little, but this is what it looked like later that afternoon when she woke up from a nap. It looks painful, but she never fussed. Sloane is such a wonderful baby!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Tex-Mex Lasagna

I was given this lasagna recipe and a sampling from my neighbors after I had Sloane. It was so yummy that I have been wanting to make it on my own. Well another friend thought the recipe sounded delicious as well, so we decided to make lasagnas a plenty to share with others.

I'm not sure from which cookbook or magazine it was printed, however it is a Paula Deen creation and she never disappoints me!

Tex-Mex Lasagna
makes 12 servings

* 1 (15 oz.) can plus 1 (8 oz.) can tomato sauce
* 2 cups chopped cooked chicken
* 1 (15.25 oz.) can corn, drained
* 1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained and rinsed
* 1 (10 oz.) can diced tomatoes with green chiles, drained
* 1 cup chopped red bell pepper
* 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
* 2 cloves garlic, minced
* 1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
* 2 teaspoons ground cumin
* 1 teaspoon chili powder
* 1 teaspoon salt
* 1 (16 oz.) container sour cream
* 1 ( 8 oz.) package of cream cheese, softened
* 6 oven-ready lasagna noodles
* 1 (8 oz.) package Monterey Jack cheese with peppers, shredded
* 1 (8 oz.) package Chedder cheese, shredded

1. In a large Dutch oven, combine tomato sauce, chicken, corn, black beans, tomatoes, bell pepper, cilantro, garlic, jalapeno, cumin, chili powder, and salt. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes.
2. In a medium bowl, combine sour cream and cheese.
3. Preheat oven to 350. Spray a 13x9 inch baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.

4. Spoon 1/3 of sauce into prepared dish. Top with 3 lasagna noodles. Spread half of sour cream mixture over lasagna noodles; top with 1/3 of sauce. Sprinkle evenly with half of shredded cheeses. Top with remaining 3 lasagna noodles, remaining half of sour cream mixture, remaining 1/3 of sauce, and remaining half of shredded cheeses. Bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until hot and bubbly. Let stand for 10 minutes before serving.

From My Experience:

My friend and I decided to make the lasagnas together and wanted to make several, so we quadrupled the recipe and made 3 each. We used low-fat sour cream and cream cheese and frozen corn. The outcome was even better than I remembered it! My husband thought it was restaurant worthy and didn't complain about eating the leftovers.
I know that all of the ingredients seem overwhelming, so I recommend doubling the recipe and making two, one for now and one for later. You wouldn't have to buy two of everything like the box of noodles or rotisserie chicken, and I think by taking the time to do a project such as this you might as well use it wisely and make another one. Also it was alot of fun making the recipe with a friend, so if you can enlist an eager participant share the experiment with another. Happy cooking!

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Recipe of the Week: Meat and Potato Loaves

So I know this may be hard to believe, but I had never made meatloaf and wanted to give it a try. I found many different variations of the recipe, but one stuck out to me because it was unique and more importantly I had all of the ingredients which saved me from going back to the grocery store; love when that happens!

Meat and Potato Loaves
serves 4

1 egg beaten
1/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs
1/4 cup finely chopped onion
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pound ground beef
1 1/4 cups loose-pack frozen shredded hash brown potatoes; thawed
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (4 ounces)
3/4 cup purchased chunky salsa

1. Preheat oven to 350 F. In a large bowl, combine egg, bread crumbs, onion, broth, salt, and pepper. Add ground beef; mix well. Divide beef mixture into four portions.

2. In a medium bowl, combine potatoes, 1/2 cup of the cheese, and 1/4 cup of the salsa; set aside.

3. On a sheet of foil, pat eat portion of the beef mixture into a 5-inch square. Place one-fourth of the potato mixture down the center of each square, leaving about a 1-inch border on each side. Shape beef mixture around potato mixture, pressing to seal. Place loaves, seam sides down, in an ungreased 9x13-inch baking pan of baking dish.

4. Bake, uncovered, about 30 minutes or until done (160 F). Top with the remaining 1/2 cup salsa and the remaining 1/2 cup cheese. Bake for 5 minutes more.

recipe found in Better Homes and Garden 9x13 The Pan That Can

From My Experience:

I tried to simplify this recipe by eliminating dishes. I made the meat mixture in a large bowl, then rinsed it once the loaves were formed on the foil, and reused it for the potato mixture. The foil I had already wrapped on a baking sheet, so once the loaves were ready, I just popped them in the oven. I also didn't want to open a can of beef broth only to use 1/4 cup, so I used water instead. The meatloaves turned out excellent. They tasted great and were a different twist on a traditional recipe. My husband loves salsa so I knew he would like this recipe however I was greatly surprised when he gave me his opinion; he said, "This might be the best meatloaf I have ever eaten!" Well that was the best compliment a chef could receive from her husband. The meatloaves were easy and fun to assemble. I will definitely make them again.

New Spot to Play!

Jake and I frequently eat dinner at the coffee table since Sloane is still awake and usually craving attention at this point in the day; it is easier to be near her play area for quick interaction. The other night, I sat down at the coffee table to eat with Jake but noticed I didn't hear Sloane. Jake said, "Look under the table", and this is where I found Sloane amusing herself! She was happily playing in her cave under the coffee table. So cute!