Hot Creamy Cocoa

The time for hot chocolate has arrived!
Photo: Graham van der Wielen
Homemade cocoa simply doesn't compare to the store bought stuff; which comes from a can or envelope!

Treat yourself and/or family to some delectable hot cocoa on the cold winter's days which lay ahead. ~ Liz Rhoades

{Christmas} Baked French Toast

Breakfast on Christmas morning is a big deal in our house and we'll be including this as part of our buffet this year. 

This version of Baked French Toast is a bit healthier than many other versions we've found. We've prepared this recipe with both real eggs and egg substitute and results were great either way. 

Merry Christmas to you!
~ Marie Rhoades







 

Brown Sugar Biscuits

I recently asked my husband if there was something special that he'd like us to include in our Holiday menu this year and he quickly responded with, "Brown Sugar Biscuits."

I'd never heard of them; but they sound delightful and I'll be giving them a try for Christmas this year. Evidently they aren't really a biscuit, but a roll. Either way, how can you go wrong with flour, cinnamon and brown sugar? ~ Liz Rhoades







Glazed Ham with Apricots

Photographer: James Baigrie
Ham CAN be a part of a healthy meal!

Select the ham shank; which is leaner.  Finding a low sodium and smoked variety will also help the health factor a bit. Smoking the ham reduces the amount of fat.

Apricots and a marmalade glaze provide a wealth of flavor to this Holiday recipe. ~ Marie Rhoades

Spiced Apple Cider

Michigan Cider Mill
Photo by Vasenka
What's yummy, hot and tastes like Apple Cinnamon? Spiced Cider, of course!

This delightful warm beverage is often saved for Halloween and Thanksgiving; but should be enjoyed anytime you want to cozy up to something warm.

~ Liz Rhoades







{Holiday Relish Recipe} Cranberry Goodness!

If you dropped by our house during the Thanksgiving Holiday weekend, you would of found my mother and I perched atop a pair of counter stools while flipping through numerous cookbooks and sharing stories of hits and misses in the kitchen.

This session of recipe reminiscing brought to mind this Cranberry Relish recipe which I originally made for my in-laws...in fact, it was taken to their house for my first Holiday at their home.  Of course, I was extremely nervous about impressing the in-laws and finding something they would love. This recipe did the trick! They love sweet foods and this relish was devoured in no time at all.

Using a Valencia Orange for this recipe creates great results since they have a thin skin, are juicy and mostly seedless. They are also generally available at this time of year.  Make sure you use the entire orange - peel and all!

a bowl of berries


Cranberry Goodness Holiday Relish

Ingredients
  • 1 large Valencia orange, quartered with peel
  • 1 pound fresh cranberries
  • 1 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 1/2 cup apricot or peach preserves
  • 1 (8 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice

Directions

  1. Chop the orange by hand (a food processor would be a great option)
  2. Combine cranberries and sugar in a heavy saucepan. Cook and stir over medium heat until cranberries just begin to pop, about 10 minutes.
  3. Transfer cranberries to a bowl, add preserves and mix until melted. Stir in chopped orange, drained crushed pineapple and lemon juice.
  4. Cover and refrigerate until well chilled.
  5. Serve on your holiday table and enjoy!

Sweet Potato Pound Cake

This delicious pound cake is a sensational choice for using up leftover mashed sweet potatoes from Thanksgiving dinner. The cake is moist and has the perfect combination of spices to please your palette.

This Sweet Potato Cake uses a Bundt pan which are generally used for baking the denser batters of coffee cakes and sweet cake. Their fluted sides and greater surface area produce more crust, which is desirable in cakes of this type. The tube in the middle of the pan promotes even baking as well as makes the cake easier to slice.
If you decide to use a different cake pan then please keep in mind that baking time is likely to be shorter if you use a shallow pan. Regardless of the pans shape, you can use a wooden skewer inserted into the middle of the cake and when the skewer comes out clean, the cake is done.


SWEET POTATO POUND CAKE

Ingredients:
Pam© nonstick cooking spray
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon  ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
2 sticks of unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups organic granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups of leftover mashed sweet potatoes (substitute 2 cups of canned yams)
4 large eggs at room temperature
1/4 cup flaked coconut
1/2 cup chopped pecans


Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Spray 10 inch Bundt pan with Pam© cooking spray.

  1. Using a medium bowl: Sift together flours; baking powder; cinnamon; nutmeg; baking soda & salt.
  2. Using a large bowl and mixer: Mix together butter, sugars and until creamy. Mix in sweet potatoes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each.
  3. Slowly add the flour mixture into creamed ingredients. Add vanilla, nuts, and coconut. Mix until all ingredients equally combined.
Pour mixture into prepared pan and bake at 350 degrees for about 1 hour or until cake tests done. Sift powerded sugar over top of cake when cooled or glaze while still warm with icing.


POWDERED SUGAR ICING RECIPE >> CLICK HERE

Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake & a Bit of Organization

It's hard to believe that it's almost Thanksgiving again...where does the time go? I've been baking up a storm the past few weeks and have not been very good at keeping this blog up to date...please accept my apologies. Since I received my new Hamilton Beach Eclectrics All-Metal Stand Mixer in Sugar  from CSNStores.com I've been certainly enjoying baking much more - it really does help to have good kitchen equipment to use! Read my review of the Stand Mixer on my other blog>> READ NOW




Besides whipping up some yummy treats I have also been working on organizing my kitchen areas. I've found that by putting my ingredients into clear glass jars with descriptions printed inside the lids that it makes it quicker; which equals easier. My daughter loves to bake and cook when she visits so by having everything easily accessible she will be able to find ingredients without rummaging through the pantry.





Part of my kitchen organization also included removing the doors on the kitchen cabinet which houses our everyday dishes.  I wasn't sure if I would like it or not; however I'm finding that it is much easier to grab plates and bowls with much less effort, so my aching shoulders and arms are much less painful after cooking. When my dream kitchen becomes reality I'll definitely have a few open shelves!








This pumpkin cake recipe is extremely moist and was just as delicious on the fourth day as the first (kept covered in the fridge).  It reminded me of pumpkin bread with frosting - YUM! We ate it up so quickly that I totally forgot to get a picture for you.  If raisins aren't your "thing" then feel free to substitute them with chopped pecans, walnuts, dried cranberries or whatever you wish. How about some Frosted Pumpkin Spice cookies? RECIPE HERE

I wish for Christmas
Thank you to  aloshbennett of Flickr for the pic!


Cinnamon Pumpkin Cake
Recipe by: Marie Rhoades of That Girl Can Cook!©

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

Ingredients:
1 1/4 cups unsalted butter, softened
2 eggs, room temperature
1 cup granulated organic sugar (or regular sugar)
1 1/4 cups packed brown sugar
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon sea salt
4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground allspice
1/2 cup raisins, walnuts or pecans (use what you prefer)

Directions:
  • Spray Pam© Cooking Spray onto 10 inch Bundt pan or 9" x 13" rectangular glass pan .
  • Sift dry ingredients into a bowl: flours, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and allspice. Set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl: Mix together butter, eggs and sugars until light and fluffy. Mix in the pumpkin. Beat in the flour mixture until creamy. Stir in the raisins (or nuts).
  • Pour cake batter into your prepared pan and bake for 60 minutes, or until toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
  • Let cake cool on a wire rack and frost when completely cooled
Sour Creme Frosting Recipe from AllRecipes.com >> VIEW NOW 

Join us at Metamorphosis Monday!!

CROCK POT CHICKEN SOUP

Chicken Soup - A classic and traditional soup that most Americans have sitting in their pantry...but why not make your own Chicken Soup?


Canned soup is known for having a very high level of sodium per serving and making your own is much  healthier to consume as well as very easy to make.  Another benefit? The cost! If you compare the cost to create your own vs. canned it is easy to see big savings by making your own.

I don't usually measure my vegetables as I just chop and toss them in until it looks right. Making soup is a wonderful way to use up small amounts of fresh veggies that may otherwise go to waste.  I've averaged the amount used for the recipe below...since it's homemade there is no right or wrong. If you want more onion, then add it! Want less carrots? Cut back the amount!



That Girl Can Cook! Crock Pot Chicken Soup
Serves 4 to 6

Ingredient List:
1 large chicken breast, thawed & cut into pieces (about 6 oz.)
2 cloves minced garlic
1 large carrot, chopped into pieces
1 large stalk celery, chopped into pieces
1/2 cup purple onions, chopped
1 bay leaf
3 chicken bouillon cubes
4 cups of hot water
2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Several dashes of Mrs. Dash, original
Sea Salt
Ground Pepper
Cooked Pasta (I used about 1 cup dry)

Directions:
  1. Throw chopped chicken, garlic, carrots, celery and onion into crock pot;
  2. Dissolve 3 bouillon cubes into the 4 cups of hot water - once dissolved add to crock pot;
  3. Stir olive oil into soup mixture;
  4. Add seasonings to taste.
  5. Cover and cook soup  in crock pot on low for 6 to 8 hours (or High for 4 to 5 hours.)
Remove bay leaf and then add your favorite hot cooked pasta to crock pot - Stir & serve.

Best Spanish Rice Recipe EVER!

After a long day there is nothing better than sitting in comfy dining chairs around the dining table to visit with loved ones. A bit of Autumn ambiance and candlelight make any meal special and Spanish Rice is the perfect side dish for adding to this scene.  Its Autumnal orange hues and comfort food status make it phenomenal for adding to your  menu. 

Mg Photography© ~ Autumnal Table Setting makes any meal special.

Spanish Rice is delicious, easy for beginners to cook, fairly inexpensive to prepare and accompanies chicken, pork or Mexican foods perfectly.  It stores easily in the refrigerator for several days as long as it is kept in a tightly covered container or Ziploc© bag.  Add a tiny bit of water when re-heating the rice in the microwave and it will re-fluff nicely. Why not wrap some leftover rice in a tortilla shell with some shredded cheese and salsa for lunch or a snack?  Another great snack is to heat up the Spanish Rice and and serve with tortilla chips, sour cream and salsa.

Spanish Rice is perfect for Autumn Meals

Save money by simply dissolving 2 chicken bouillon cubes in 2 cups of hot water instead of paying for a can of chicken bouillon. We had white "jasmine" rice in the pantry so that's what we used, however brown rice might be very nice too...just make sure to cook a little longer.

Ingredients:
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup chopped purple onion
1 1/2 cups uncooked white rice
2 cups chicken broth or chicken bouillon
1 cup thick n chunky mild salsa

Directions:
  • Over medium heat; heat oil in a large skillet. Cook onion until tender (about 5 minutes); add uncooked rice to skillet, stirring often. Once rice begins to brown add chicken broth and salsa. 
  • Reduce heat, cover and simmer (stir once in a while) for 20 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed.
  •  Serve with shredded cheese, a dollop of salsa and/or sour cream on the top ~ enjoy! 

 Grate your own cheese and store in Ziploc© Bags to save lots of money!

    Quick & Easy Quiche

    I recently experienced my first quiche at a friend's Bridal Shower and instantly fell in love. I'm not sure why I'd never made one before...or even eaten one; however after creating this recipe last weekend, my husband and I have added this to our "must-eat regularly" selection of meals. We ate the leftovers for brunch several days later and it was just as good cold.


    Photography by Lisa Renee


    My Easy & Quick Quiche recipe is easy for beginners and very affordable to make. I used both bacon and ham in my recipe (because that's what I had); however you could use all bacon or all ham as well as chicken, crab, shrimp or tofu. It's a great way to use up small amounts of leftover meat or vegetables - whatever you like. I think I may try a turkey and Swiss cheese version in the near future. Traditional quiche has a pastry crust, however since this doesn't,  it reduces the calories and makes it all the more simple.

     

    Ingredients

    • 4 slices bacon, cut
    • 4 slices ham, chopped
    • 1/2 cup shredded smoked cheddar cheese
    • 2 tablespoons melted butter
    • 4 eggs, beaten
    • 1/4 cup finely chopped purple onion
    • 1/2 cup frozen chopped broccoli
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
    • 1 1/2 cups nonfat milk

    Directions

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. 
    2. Cut bacon into small pieces with kitchen scissors then cook over medium heat until evenly brown.  Drain bacon on paper towels and set aside.
    3. Spray bottom of a 9 inch round cake pan/pie plate with Pam© Cooking Spray
    4. Layer cheese, bacon and ham on bottom of pan. 
    5. Combine eggs, butter, onion, frozen broccoli, salt, flour and milk. Whisk until smooth; pour into pan.
    6. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 45 minutes, until set. 
    7. Serve hot or cold ~ enjoy!


    Baking with Paula Deen - CONTEST CLOSED

    CONTEST CLOSED ~ WINNING COMMENT IS #4 by S. Buckingham ~ Congratulations!


    It's officially Autumn and I'm ready for some serious baking, how about you? Paula Deen has some fabulous items to help make your Holiday baking easier and CSNstores.com has generously offered to provide one of our loyal readers a $55 gift card to be used at any of their 200+ online stores...so you don't have any more excuses for not getting your kitchen ready for baking season.  CSN Stores has over 200 online stores where you can find everything from a coffee table to fantastic fitness equipment to cookware!  

    I did some window shopping for you and picked out some of Paula's coolest baking products; which you  may think about purchasing when you WIN that $55!

    Click product names for full product information . . . 







     

     



    So now that you've sampled a few wonderful kitchen items, let's get to the giveaway information.

    Giveaway Entry Rules for CSN Stores $55 Gift Certificate*
    *Can be used at any of CSN's 200+ online stores
    Earn one (1) entry for every comment you leave on this blog post from now until October 1.  

    Leave a comment for each entry completed. 
    • Follow me on Google Friend Connect, which is located on the right side bar.
    • Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me.  Leave me your link to show the post.
    • Follow me on Twitter, and tweet about this giveaway.
    • Follow me on Facebook
    • Subscribe to my blog feed via email, link on right sidebar.
    CSN Giveaway Rules
    This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.  Giveaway ends 10/01/10 at 11:59 pm PST ~ winner will be selected by Random.org.   The winner will be announced and must respond with within 48 hours to claim ~ otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen.   
    Please make sure that you leave a way for me to contact you in case you win.  Good Luck!

      CONTEST CLOSED!

    Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

    Since purchasing Wholesome Sweeteners© Organic Sugar (evaporated cane juice) about a year ago, I've created some delectable baked items which no one can believe are not made from "regular" sugar. Evaporated cane juice can be used just like sugar for sweetening foods and beverages as well as in cooking. Since it is considered to be more wholesome, it is also used as a sweetener in a host of processed, natural foods. The cane juice is rich in molasses, vitamins and minerals and is extracted, clarified, evaporated and crystallized.  The result is a blond-colored, delicious and natural organic sugar that will enhance all your favorite recipes.  Use as a one-for-one replacement for refined white sugar. Even though it appears a bit better for us than refined sugars, I encourage you to use common sense and limit your intake.


    The wonderful thing about the Wholesome Sweeteners© company is that it is dedicated to bringing Fair Trade!  Their delicious sweeteners are made at some of the smallest mills in the world.  Fair Trade means that the farmers are paid directly for the sugar cane they grow, which helps support the farmers, their families and their communities. Whenever possible, the company works with Fair Trade Certified farmers cooperatives to improve agricultural and social conditions on small family farms.

    Today's Peanut Butter Cookie recipe has been developed over the past year and become a family favorite...what's so special? Well, I have a hubby and daughter who don't like peanut butter cookies and now they gobble them up! They still can't believe that I make these and don't purchase from a bakery. There is something in the organic sugar which adds a nice little sugar crystallization to the bottoms ~ just like in a bakery. Give these a try and enjoy...


    That Girl Can Cook! Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies


    Yield: 3 dozen

    1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
    3/4 teaspoon sea salt
    3/4 teaspoon baking soda
    3/4 cup creamy peanut butter (I've used both organic & regular, both are great!)
    1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    3/4 cup organic sugar (evaporated cane juice)
    1/2 cup packed light brown sugar
    6 tablespoons milk (I've use both nonfat and evaporated, depending on mood)
    1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
    1 egg, room temperature
    Organic Sugar, for rolling cookies in...


    Directions:
    • Preheat oven to 375 degrees: I use an "Air Insulted Large Baking Sheet"; however you can also just line your baking sheets with parchment or use a silicone baking mat.
    • In a small bowl: combine the flour, salt and baking soda. Set bowl aside.
    • In a large mixing bowl: combine peanut butter, olive oil, sugars, milk and vanilla. Beat ingredients until well blended.  Beat in the egg, just until blended. 
    • With mixer on low: gradually add the flour mixture into the creamed mixture until combined.
    Make cookies: 
    • Place extra sugar into a small bowl. Scoop one (1) tablespoon of dough and use your hands to roll into a ball...place ball into sugar bowl to coat. Place ball onto baking sheet and gently use tines of fork to make a crisscross pattern, which will flatten them a bit.
    • Bake cookies for 7 to 9 minutes (just beginning to brown & set). After baking, cool cookies on baking sheet for a few minutes and then place on cooling rack.

    Storage:
    Either keep baked cookies in an airtight container for 5 days or freeze in Ziplock© bags for up to 3 months. 

    And the winner is . . .

    E. Whatley is the winner of our $65 Gift Card Giveaway sponsored by CSNstores.com - Congratulations!!!

    Unique & Delectable Banana Pudding

    My friend, Steph Jordan, has created the most unique banana pudding I've ever come upon and it looks fabulous PLUS it is so easy to make. Watch Steph walk you step by step through the process...and...ENJOY!



    Visit Steph's blog for more colorful inspiration...recipes, artwork, music and more!

    **TIME IS RUNNING OUT!! Have you entered our $65 CSNstores.com Gift Card Giveaway? Also, enter our sister site's blog contest to win $40 CSNstores.com gift card too.

    CSN Stores $65 Giveaway!! CONTEST CLOSED!

    Even in 2010, the dinner table is the focal point of family and/or social gatherings.  You can make that focal point one with heart by adding just a little bit of color and style to your table's decor. Creating a loving space for your meal to be served will help create memories for you, your family, and all of your guests.  I love to make every meal a special occasion. Even if you're serving bacon and eggs for dinner you can easily "bring life to everyday dining" by using different dinnerware sets and serving pieces. Unique patterns lend a level of sophistication to any table. If I had the storage space, I'd have different dinnerware for every day of the week. Lucky for me, CSN Stores, have a huge selection of plates, serving pieces and glassware for me to select from.

    If you're not familiar with CSN Stores, then let us introduce you! CSN's product categories cover everything from cookware,  furniture, bunk bed-office combinations and fitness equipment to gaming chairs, grills, greenhouses and much more. Beyond stellar customer service, their 200+ sites offer the largest selection of items for most home and office goods.

    CSN has generously offered to provide one of our loyal readers a $65 gift card to be used at any of their 200+ online stores...now that's truly generous!  I did some 'window' shopping and selected some wonderful items which you may want to purchase when you WIN that $65! CSN has literally thousands of kitchen items to select from so visit them to look at all they have to offer.

    IMAX 2-Tier Rose Plate Holder is wrought iron and glass. The glass top serving stand with budded roses is inspired by Victorian design.











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    Progressive International Silicone Baking Mat

    Turn your regular baking sheet into a non-stick pan with our silicone baking mat. Baked goods come right off the mat with ease and it is reusable batch after batch. Safe to use in ovens up to 600¢¨£F, the mat is also microwave safe for reheating foods. It measures 16.5" x 11.75" and has standard measurements molded into the edge of the mat so there's no printing that might rub off over time.




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    Certified International Bubble Cobalt Blue All Purpose (Set of 4) ~ As welcome as a cool summer breeze, this light-hearted glassware refreshes your beverage with its profusion of freeform bubbles. Set of four All Purpose 16 oz. in cobalt blue finish is perfect for your casual dinnerware and any events.






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    Cuisinart SmartPower 7-Speed Electronic Blender in Chrome ~ Powerful motor crushes ice instantly with no liquid added. It blends, purées, chops, mixes, and liquefies all with the push of a button! This very smart and versatile SmartPower 7-Speed Electronic Blender has enough power and speeds to do it all.







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    Paula Deen Cookbook Stand in Antique Bronze ~ Fabulous cookbook stand in an antique bronze finish. This piece is a perfect accent to any counter top or table. The ornamental rooster design fits well in a variety of kitchen styles.








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    So now that you've sampled a few wonderful kitchen items, let's get to the giveaway information.

    Giveaway Entry Rules for CSN Stores $65 Gift Certificate*
    *Can be used at any of CSN's 200+ online stores
    Earn one (1) entry for every comment you leave on this blog post from now until August 31.  

    Leave a comment for each entry completed. 
    • Follow me on Google Friend Connect, which is located on the right side bar.
    • Post about this giveaway on your blog and link back to me.  Leave me your link to show the post.
    • Follow me on Twitter, and tweet about this giveaway.
    • Follow me on Facebook
    • Subscribe to my blog feed via email, link on right sidebar.

    CSN Giveaway Rules
    This giveaway is open to U.S. and Canada residents only.  Giveaway ends 08/31/10 at 11:59 pm PST ~ winner will be selected by Random.org.   The winner will be announced and must respond with within 48 hours to claim ~ otherwise, another eligible entry will be chosen.   
    Please make sure that you leave a way for me to contact you in case you win.  Good Luck!

    Cold Four-Bean Salad

    Bean Salads are absolutely wonderful to serve during the heat of Summer. Our friend, Julie, of Get Healthy Cheap has offered to share her bean salad variation; which we personally ♥love♥ ~ If you're looking for real food; real families; eating better on a budget...then you'll love Julie's blog!


    Julie says, "I love this salad! It travels well for pot lucks and picnics and just plain tastes great with dinner or lunch!"

    Ingredients:
    1 can cut or whole green beans (drained)
    1 can wax beans (drained)
    1 can garbanzo beans (drained)
    1 can red kidney beans (rinsed & drained)
    1/2 a medium onion
    1/2 red or yellow bell pepper
    1/8 cup sugar
    3/4 cup white vinegar
    1/3 cup olive oil
    1/2 tsp. celery salt
    salt & pepper to taste

    Drain all of the beans and put in a large serving bowl. Pulverize the onion and bell pepper in a food processor separately. Add each to the beans. Lightly mix before adding liquids & spices. Mix sugar, vinegar, oil and spices in a small bowl and pour over bean mixture. Stir. Refrigerate until chilled.


    Tips & Comments
    Some people prefer more sugar, make sure you season to your own tastes. I tried making this with balsamic vinegar and the taste was a little too sweet for me.

    I think the key to this recipe is using a food processor on the onions and peppers. It brings out the flavors without the chunks. It also makes it more kid friendly.

    Visit Get Healthy Cheap for full photos and enjoy!

    Baked Summer Squash Fritters

    That Girl Can Cook! is happy to welcome guest blogger, Julie, of Get Healthy Cheap. She's sharing a Baked Summer Squash Fritter recipe with us today and make sure to check back as we'll be featuring another one of her wonderful recipes soon!

    My name is Julie, I live in Phoenix, AZ and I recently changed my lifestyle. This blog is my way of sharing recipes and money saving tips while I get healthy and fit.

    Isn't it funny that for less than $5 you can buy enough food at Taco Bell or McDonald's to get stuffed, but a loaf of fresh, whole grain bread can cost $6? Coupons can cut your grocery bill by over 50% if you eat processed foods but try to build the components of a healthy meal at the grocery store and it gets very discouraging when you are living on a budget. Since I'm determined to do this AND I'm on a budget, I'm trying to uncover every way I can to save. Hopefully, you will have some great ideas to share with me too.

    Good tasting food is important. I am not a healthcare professional, just an old dog learning some new tricks. My recipes do not include nutritional information and they are not always the perfect low calorie meal. They are, however, real meals for real people and include fresh, healthy food.

    Visit Julie at Get Healthy Cheap for full recipe photos & details.




    BAKED SUMMER SQUASH FRITTERS

    1 large or 2 medium yellow summer squashes
    1 large or 2 medium zucchinis
    2 medium carrots
    1 medium onion, diced
    2 cloves garlic, diced or pressed ( I use a press)
    1/2 cup parmesan cheese
    1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
    1 tsp. Mrs. Dash or any 'table' type spice blend
    1 Tbsp. olive oil
    1 egg + 1 egg white
    salt and pepper to taste

    Shred the squash, zucchini and carrots in a food processor. Put it in a strainer with a good sized bowl underneath to catch the liquids. Sprinkle about 1 teaspoon of salt on it and let it sit for about 15 minutes.

    Meanwhile, lightly saute the diced onion until almost done then add garlic and finish cooking just until onion is tender. Let cool while you start removing liquid from squash mixture.

    Removing as much liquid from the squash as possible is the most important element for the success of this recipe. Liquid should be starting to drip into the bowl under the strainer. Squeeze out as much as possible. Then, squeeze them into balls to remove the last bit.

    Put the squash into a large mixing bowl. Add the cooled onion mixture. Add the parmesan cheese. If you use flakes or whole, run it through the food processor.

    Add the remaining ingredients including the eggs and mix well. Form into patties and put on a baking pan (I cover mine in foil & use non-stick spray). They can also go on the grill. Make sure you use heavy duty foil or they will fall through. On the grill they should be turned over half way through cooking.

    Bake at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes or until the cheese is browning.

    Picnic Foods for Vegetarians

    We're excited to welcome, Chen, of PicnicFood-Ideas.com as our first guest blogger.  Chen offers us some great vegetarian recipes; which would work perfectly for carrying in your picnic basket.  Look for more guest posts during the week ~ if you're interested in sharing a favorite recipe or money saving food tip then please email us!

    *********************************************************************

    Picnic is a very good form of recreation, especially with family. However, not all people are able to enjoy it fully because they are not able to decide which foods to cook for their picnic. Vegetarians are seen more in trouble when picnic meals have to be cooked. The reason being, presence of non-vegetarian ingredients in most of the foods available in the market and many non-vegetarian foods are easy to cook for outing purpose. Examples include barbecue, fried fish or snacks such as chicken nuggets, patties and chicken/beef burgers. Selecting a vegetarian dish for picnic is somewhat obscure.

    So, here we provide you some recipes of picnic foods for vegetarians:

    Vegetarian Rice Balls

    Rice balls

    Ingredients:
    rice - 300 grams
    eggs -  3
    bread crumbs - 2 cups
    carrot - 1
    bell pepper - 1
    green onion - 1
    mayonnaise - ½ cup
    salt to taste
    black pepper - 1 tsp

    Procedure
    Clean the rice by washing with water and boil them. After they are boiled, pour them in a strainer and wash with cold water. Then, let all the water strain from the rice until they are properly dried. In the mean time, chop all the vegetables thin and mix them together. Also mix the spices, salt and pepper, in them. Now, mix these vegetables into boiled rice along with mayonnaise. Make normal sized balls of this mixture. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl and dip the rice balls in beaten eggs. Then cover these balls with bread crumbs. If you want a very crispy meal, which will be better as a picnic food, repeat the dipping and covering step once again. Heat oil in a pan and deep fry the rice balls till they change colour to golden brown. Then dish them out and decorate with little amounts of salty cheese or cream. Pack in aluminium foil, put in a box, and finally into your picnic basket. It is a very healthy and delicious picnic meal.

    Sweet and spicy salad

    Ingredients:
    mayonnaise - ½ cup
    bell pepper - 2 (long)
    ice berg lettuce - 1
    cucumber - 1
    strawberry - 1 cup
    walnuts - 50grams
    black pepper - ½ tsp
    white pepper - ¼ tsp
    sugar - 1 tsp
    orange juice - ¼ cup
    salt to taste
    raisins - 50grams

    Procedure
    Wash all the vegetables and chop them into very thin squares. Take all the vegetables, strawberry, walnuts, and raisins in a bowl and mix them well. Powder the salt, sugar, black pepper and white pepper on the ingredients present in the bowl. Now put all the mayonnaise in the salad and mix well. Finally, pour the orange juice and mix it too. Delicious sweet and spicy salad is ready. For better presentation, decorate the salad with salad leaves and for increased taste, refrigerate it for some time. For picnic purpose, keep the salad in the refrigerator for much time so that it stays cold till you have it. You can take it along you in any kind of utensil; orange juice helps keep the salad fresh for long, and the fruits help keep you fresh for long!

    This article is courtesy of Chen from picnic food ideas.

    Pineapple Pound Cake


    Better late than never...I'm finally getting around to posting a new recipe. Even though the summer days are longer I find myself much busier so time is just flying past. Today, I'd like to share something that I whipped up last weekend...a  delightful Pineapple Pound Cake. We had teriyaki chicken thighs with stir fry veggies/noodle combo for dinner and while the chicken baked it was easy to throw together this cake for dessert.

    I had chunk pineapple so just threw it in the blender to crush for 10 to 15 seconds...if you don't want a messy blender to deal with then I suggest purchasing pre-crushed pineapple. The hubby absolutley fell in love with this cake and when it's served with a small scoop of vanilla ice cream it is out of this world.  I would imagine that if you added a bit of coconut either/or the batter or topping that you'd have a nice tropical 'pina colada' flavor.  Enjoy!


    Ingredients:
    •1/4 cup crushed pineapple with juice
    •1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
    •1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
    •2 cups granulated sugar
    •6 large eggs, room temperature
    •3 cups sifted all-purpose flour
    •1 teaspoon baking powder
    •1/4 cup nonfat milk
    •1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

    Glaze:
    1 cup crushed pineapple, drained
    •1/4 cup butter, softened
    •1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar


    Preparation:
    Put 3/4 cup of undrained pineapple with its juice into a bowl and set aside. Drain remaining pineapple and measure 1 cup of drained crushed pineapple; set aside.

    Cream shortening, butter, and sugar together in large bowl. Add room temperature eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition.

    Sift flour and baking powder together; add to creamed mixture, one spoonful at a time, alternately with milk.

    Add vanilla; stir in 3/4 cup undrained pineapple with juice and blend well.

    Pour batter into a well greased and floured 10-inch tube pan.

    Place in cold oven; set oven to 325° and bake for 1 1/2 hours, or until top springs back when lightly touched.

    Let the cake stand for a few minutes in the pan before running a knife around the edges to loosen. Remove cake carefully and place on a cooling rack for a few minutes. Place cake on a large round plate (make sure it's plenty big so that topping doesn't spill over sides).

    Topping: Combine butter, confectioners' sugar, and about 1 cup drained pineapple. Pour the topping over cake while cake is still very warm. Enjoy!


    Original recipe from: http://southernfood.about.com/od/pineapplecakerecipes/r/bl30425u.htmImages © Diana Rattray

    Grilled Orange Chicken

    Oranges and Chicken are the perfect combination for a summer meal.  Quite often I throw together my marinade the night before or even in the morning so that the chicken is ready for cooking when it's dinner time. We use our George Foreman© grill all year long; but it's especially nice during summer because they cook fast and don't heat up the kitchen much. If you're an outdoor grilling enthusiast then this chicken is great for that too. Enjoy!


    Ingredients:

    1/2 can (11 oz. can) mandarin oranges, drained
    1/4 cup pulp free orange juice
    1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
    2 tsp fresh lime juice
    3 minced garlic cloves
    2 tsp Bragg Organic Sprinkle (blend of All Natural Herbs and Spices)
    1 tsp Mediterranean sea salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1 lb chicken breasts, boneless & skinless

    Directions:

    You can use either a large Ziploc© bag or large bowl covered with plastic wrap for marination of the chicken. Place all above ingredients into your container and let sit in refrigerator for an hour or more.

    When desired time has passed, remove chicken from marinade and grill chicken on Foreman© grill Grill until thoroughly done, about 4 - 6 minutes (juices should run clear!).  Serves: 4

    Inspired by http://www.georgeforemanrecipes.com/archives/grilled-orange-chicken/

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    Wild about Watermelon

    Low calorie, super easy and inexpensive Watermelon drinks to help cool you during the dog days of Summer!  Besides being tasty, Watermelon is a good source of vitamin C, lycopene and beta carotene. If you have extra watermelon, you can freeze it for more slushes in the future.



     
    We love this super-simple Watermelon Slushie during the summer. If you have company coming then just pour into in a pretty glass with lime wedge.
     
    That Girl's Watermelon Slushie

    Ingredients:
    3 cups seedless watermelon
    1 tablespoon Splenda (or your favorite sweetener)
    12 large ice cubes
    1/2 cup water

    Directions:
    - Place all ingredients into Blender (ice cubes on bottom)
    - Pulse until mixture is of a slushy-type consistency
    - Enjoy!






    Watermelon Wave Smoothie Recipe

    Ingredients
    2 cups of cubed watermelon pieces (fresh or frozen)
    1 cup of raspberries
    2 scoops of vanilla ice-cream

    Directions
    - Add watermelon and raspberries to the blender. Blend for 20 to 30 seconds.
    - Add ice cream. Blend for 20 to 30 seconds or until desired texture.
    - Serves 2





    Frozen Watermelon Slush

    Ingredients
    3 cups seedless watermelon, cubed
    1 cup frozen strawberries
    2 scoops lemon sorbet
    1/4 cup pineapple juice, chilled
    2 tablespoons fresh lime juice

    Directions
    - Combine watermelon, strawberries, sorbet, pineapple juice, and lime juice in blender
    - Blend until mixture is smooth
    - Pour into 4 glasses & serve

    Recipe from Good Housekeeping's Blend It!.

    Red Lobster Crab Alfredo

    Guest post by Recipes McGee
    Say hello to your new "copycat" Red Lobster Crab Alfredo Recipe, the most succulent, delicious alfredo you'll ever make! This dish is sure to get you recognized in a big way!

    Enjoy this mouthwatering crab alfredo with that special someone, with a whole group, or with a good book and something nice to drink. Your kitchen, your rules! Here you go!


    Steven Groves - Creative Commons License

    Red Lobster Crab Alfredo

    The Ingredients:

    •1/2 pound linguine

    •1/2 pound snow crab meat

    •4 tbsp. butter

    •4 tbsp. flour

    •2 cups half & half or heavy cream

    •1/2 cup grated parmesan

    •1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

    •salt & pepper, to taste


    The Process:

    1.Cook linguine according to package instructions.

    2.In medium saucepan, melt butter over medium heat.

    3.Stir in flour until the mixture has a "sandy" appearance. Do NOT allow it to change colors.

    4.After 45 to 60 seconds, whisk in half & half. Blend until a thick sauce forms.

    5.Stir in parmesan and season to taste.

    6.Reduce heat to low. Add crab meat. Simmer until crab is heated through.

    7.Divide linguine into two bowls and pour even amounts of sauce over the top.

    8.Sprinkle cayenne pepper, to taste.

    9.Enjoy!

    That's it! Your own "copycat" Red Lobster Crab Alfredo recipe. I have no doubts you will get tons of pleasure out of this one, as will anyone else who is privileged to try it.

    This dish goes very nicely with a few thick slices of garlic bread. Or, if you're feeling a bit adventurous, you can try making some Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuits. That recipe is available to you when you click the link below!

    http://www.articlesbase.com/recipes-articles/red-lobster-crab-alfredo-recipe-sinfully-delicious-1193940.html#ixzz0sOwYxw3J  Under Creative Commons License: Attribution

    Half a cup of Friendship

    A great big thank you to Kat's Confessions for sharing this recipe from What's Cooking in the North Shuswap! This recipe is low calorie, costs nothing and is sure to satisfy even the pickiest of eaters.



    MRS. HJORTAA'S RECIPE

    Half a cup of friendship

    Add a cup of thoughtfulness

    Creamed together with a pinch

    Of powdered tenderness

    Very lightly beaten

    In a bowl of loyalty

    With a cup of faith and one of hope

    And one of charity.

    Be sure to add a spoonful each

    of gaiety that sings

    And also the ability

    To laugh at little things

    Moisten with sudden tears

    of heartfelt sympathy

    Bake in a good-natured pan

    And serve repeatedly.

    Have a beautiful weekend, friends!

    Frosty Mango Delight

    The calendar says, "Summer!" but our neck of the woods is still stuck in Winter. I'm being an optimist and looking for summery recipes that can be enjoyed on the deck once the warmth finally arrives.

    My favorite new recipe website is Better Recipes and I highly recommend you give them a visit if you are in search of something new. This fresh and fruity dessert looks just perfect for a hot summer day and I'll give it a try as soon as the sun comes out...but, you can give it a try now!

    Frosty Mango Delight from Better Recipes

    Recipe source: Better Recipes, Submitted by: roxiechan
    Photo by: Katy Stovall

    Diced mango & kiwifruit, flavored with candied ginger & lime, are spooned over mango sorbet that's scooped into frozen creamy dessert "cups".

    Ingredients
    8 ounces cream cheese, softened
    1/2 cup sugar
    1/4 cup mango nectar
    3/4 of an 8 oz. container of frozen whipped topping, thawed
    1 or 2 ripe mangoes, peeled and diced
    1 or 2 kiwifruit, peeled and diced
    1-2 tbsp finely chopped candied or crystallized ginger
    1-2 tbsp lime juice
    12 small scoops of mango sorbet
    Garnish: mint sprigs

    Method
    Beat cream cheese and sugar together until smooth. Slowly beat in nectar, then fold in whipped topping by hand until well blended. Spoon mixture into a 12-cup muffin pan, pressing with the back of a spoon to make "cups." Freeze 1-2 hours or until firm. Combine mango, kiwi, ginger, and lime juice; cover and chill. To serve, unmold each frozen cup and place on a chilled dessert plate. Fill with a scoop of sorbet then spoon fruit mixture over top. Garnish with mint.

    Number of Servings: 12

    John's Black Bean Burgers

    That Girl Can Cook! loves BetterRecipes.com and we also love black bean burgers. We recently made this recipe and thought that you would enjoy it too. We use Mediterranean Sea Salt and eggs are at room temperature.

    It's the perfect recipe for vegetarians or those who just wish to limit their beef intake...they are also cheaper than the cost of hamburger. Oh yeah, they're delicious too...Enjoy!




    These healthy black bean burgers are full of flavor and good texture. Try them as a variation to your everyday burger for a pleasant surprise.
    Ingredients

    1 can black beans, drained
    1 small carrot, minced
    1/2 onion, minced
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    2 tbsp sesame seeds
    1 tbsp ground cumin
    1 tbsp fresh oregano
    1 tbsp fresh thyme
    1 tbsp fresh basil
    1 1/2 tsp salt
    1 tsp black pepper
    1/2 tsp ground ginger
    1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
    1/4 tsp ground cayenne
    2 eggs
    3/4 cup quick oats

    Method

    Mash drained black beans (food processor or potato masher work well). Combine with all ingredients except eggs and oats. Once mixed well add eggs until thoroughly mixed (it's really easier to do this by hand even though it's a bit messy). Once mixed add oats (you may need slightly more oats depending on consistency, mixture should hold together fairly well and not be too mushy). Shape into 2-3 inch balls and press flat to form a patty. Place on hot fry pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray. Cook until browned on both sides (3-4 minutes per side). Serve on a bun with cheese, on a bed of fresh greens, or let cool and store in fridge for later use.

    Notes: You may substitute dried herbs for fresh (1 tbsp fresh = 1 tsp dried). These burgers make a wonderful meat substitute; crumble them on pizza, nachos, or in a salad. You may also vary the ingredients (e.g. add some minced green pepper or minced sweet potato). Be as creative as you wish. Very healthy and low fat. Enjoy and happy eating.

    Number of Servings: 6-8 depending on size of burgers


    Source: Better Recipes

    Keep Calm & Eat A Cupcake!

    It's obvious from my blog design that I'm a fan of the ever popular cupcake. Today's post is offering a fat free and calorie free dessert post! 

    I had found a shop named Tickle Me Pink Boutique a few months ago and stopped by recently to ooh and aah at the adorable pieces she creates (they are all handmade).  They feature fun and unique, altered collage jewelry; which in my opinion is fabulous! It's fun, sassy, cute, feminine and right up my alley.  The piece that first caught my eye was this absolutely adorable pendant necklace which states "Keep Calm and Eat a Cupcake"




    If you're not a cupcake fan, how about cookies? Don't you ever feel like cookies will make everything all better?!  The next delightful piece I found features a cute fairy holding a big ol' cookie and reads, "Some days require cookies". The other side features a sweet girl next to a yummy cupcake and reads "Life is too short....Eat dessert first". Isn't that precious?



    Last but certainly not least, we're back to cupcakes! (yippy!) One side of this pendant features a fabulous collage of Marie Antoinette, roses, Eiffel tower and reads "Paris".  The other side is a pretty coordinating collage of yummy cupcakes and reads "Let them eat cupcakes". Sooo pretty and fun!



    Of course, I wouldn't leave you without an actual recipe today...here is a wonderful Almond Cupcake recipe from Krystina Castella of Crazy About Cupcakes...give it a try!


    Crazy About Cupcakes

    Almond Cupcakes

    Ingredients:
    1 3/4 cup sour cream
    1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
    1/2 cup walnut or vegetable oil
    3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon baking powder
    1 teaspoon baking soda
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    2 cups granulated sugar
    2/3 cup almonds ground and toasted
    4 large eggs, at room temperature
    2 teaspoons almond extract
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    1. Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Line a medium cupcake pan with liners.

    2. In a bowl cream 1 cup sour cream, the butter, and the oil.

    3. In a separate bowl sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Stir in the sugar and almonds.

    4. Add the dry ingredients to the creamed butter mixture in three additions. Mix thoroughly after each addition.

    5. In another bowl mix the eggs, 3/4 cup sour cream, almond extract, and vanilla extract.

    6. Add the egg mixture to the batter in three additions, beating for 1 minute after each addition.

    7. Fill the cupcake liners three-quarters full with batter. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Cool cupcakes in the pan.

    Almond Frosting


    Ingredients:
    3 cups confectioners’ sugar
    2 teaspoons almond extract
    3 tablespoons hot water

    1. Mix together the confectioners' sugar, almond extract, and hot water.

    2. Beat to desired spreading consistency. You may need to add more water or sugar.

    Visit Crazy About Cupcakes site for a full selection of cupcake recipes, frosting & tips.


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