Monday, September 29, 2008

From my debate party...

Okay... I am going to tip my hand here. I love to talk politics and could go on and on and on, however this is not the blog to do it. BUT... I made these cupcakes for the debate party that I threw. It was a small party ~ just me, my mom and stepdad, SIL and BIL, and my hubby. Any cupcake recipe will work however I used the recipe from "Gourmet Mom on the Go" (which is a fabulous blog) and the candy technique. I found a picture on the internet and used it for a guide. Red is a tough color to do, because it always comes out pinkish looking.

Here is the link to get the instructions.

I taped my donkey picture from the internet to my counter and put wax paper down over it. Then I melted some white chocolate to do the outline. After that was solid, I add my colored chocolate and then put in the freezer to solidify.

Here is the chocolate donkey!

Here is my donkey cupcake!

Here is a whole herd of donkeys!

You can do so many things using the same principle! It's opened up a fun new world for me.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Oatmeal Coconut bars with Raisins

This is a nice and easy recipe to make. I picked it up from somewhere online and tinkered around with it. I have added ground flaxseeds to give it some Omega 3, but will not include that in the recipe. Zach loves this for breakfast and they are pretty healthful. I had some raspberries from a recent trip to the u pick so after I cooked the bars for 10 minutes I opened the oven and just stuck some raspberries in the top. That's totally optional for you though.

If you like, you can substitute margarine or Smart Balance or something instead of butter if you like. I've been trying to reduce hydrogenated oils, therefore I used butter.

Salt is optional, I left it out.

You cook this in a 13x9 inch pan, however the first time I made it, the pan was so big, that the bars came out very thin. So you can either double the recipe, or use an 8x8 inch pan to make them nice and thick.

Oatmeal Coconut Bars with Raisins


4 tbsp butter, softened
3/4 c packed brown sugar
1/2 c sugar
3/4 c applesauce or apple butter
2 egg whites
2 tbsp skim milk
2 tsp vanilla
1 1.5c all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt (optional)
2 cups rolled oats uncooked
1 cup shredded coconut (If you don't want this, just add one more cup of oats instead)
1 cup raisins


1. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Beat together sugars and butter until blended. Add applesauce(or butter), egg whites, milk and vanilla; beat well.
3. Combine flour, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt; mix well. Add into wet ingredients.
4. Stir in oats, coconut and raisins; mix well (Optional - add 2 tsp ground flax seeds)
5. Spread dough in greased 8x8 pan for thick bars, or 13x9 pan for thin bars (or doubled recipe)
6. Bake for 35-35 minutes or until light golden brown. (3o mins has worked for me.)
7. Cool before cutting.

More U picks!

During the week I saw an ad for Hafner Upick. The ad said tomatoes and peppers. This was different from the normal berry and apple picking you see in this area. I've noticed some people have peach u pick and I have been so jealous of that! So we go to this place, having no idea what to expect and it's not fancy by any means. Just a house, with huge fields behind it. They have the general vicinity labeled for the food. They had eggplant, tomatoes, peppers, hot peppers.

It was amazing the amounts of plants they had. I mainly loaded up on tomatoes and red peppers. I can't believe it took me so long to find out about this place. Zach was funny. He hates walking in taller plants so I would have to find an area for him to stand it. He kept wanting to throw them like he does with his baseballs. We saw a grasshopper. It's been ages since I've seen one... I could have taken a picture and zoomed in on it but I didn't think of it until after because I wanted to grab Zach so he could be sure to see it.

I actually had no idea how much this was going to cost me. When I drove back to the house, they had a scale and calculator set up. They were holding copies of the receipts down with rocks. (told you it wasn't fancy). They were generous about estimating how much your container weighs, (as they ask you to bring your own). I ended up with 6 pounds of tomatoes and 7 pounds of peppers. The price almost floored me. 60 cents/lb for tomatoes, and .75 cents/lb for peppers. I can't understand how the stores get away with charging $2.99/lb for red pepper! My grand total was $15.00! I'm going to can the tomatoes and I've cut up some red peppers and are freezing them for pasta dishes during the winter. They said they let people keep coming until the first significant frost, so I think I'm going to go back on Friday!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

My next canning adventure

So, there have been some incredible deals at the supermarket. A big bin of tomatoes for $5-6.00. Now I'm not a HUGE tomato fan. I don't eat tomato and mayo sandwiches, but I do love chili and use tomatoes in soups and salsa. So in this picture you see the 3 large jars of diced tomatoes, and the small jar of diced tomatoes as well. The 2 smaller jars on the outside are some salsa that I made. I am officially addicted to canning I think. At work, some patients brought in peppers and tomatoes for us. There was about 20 tomatoes left and no one wanted them, so I took them. I'm waiting for them to ripen a little bit more. I also found a U pick tomato and pepper place that I'm going to take my little guy tomorrow. There is a chance of a frost tonight, so we'll see if that derails our plans. I used very simple instructions found on

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No... it's not a farmer's market trip....

It's from my garden! Last week we were threatened with a very
cold evening, so I wanted to pick most of what I had just in case.
I had a large bowl of purple and green beans. On the right are
some carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, hot red peppers, onions
and 1 sweet red pepper. It didn't actually get too cold out so
hopefullyI can get a little more out of it. I will probably freeze some
of the beans because my poor husband is tired of them.

Monday, September 15, 2008


As I was packing my lunch this morning, I realized something simple that I do that saves $$ and resources. It's twofold actually. First of all, I hang as many clothes to dry as I can. I have some clothesline in my basement and usually hang my work clothes so that they don't shrink. I also hang dry cloth diapers.

I also use clothespins as bag clips in my kitchen. This way I can save money (and less to go to a landfill) on the cheapo plastic ones that always seem to break. It will start with one piece of plastic chipping, and then the spring gets all out of whack. But the trusty wood clothespins work just as well, if not better and it's an endless supply at my house.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Does anyone else think this is crazy?

I'm kind of a news junkie. So, I've been seeing a lot about Hurricane Ike. And I just don't understand these weathermen. They stand out there in a middle of a hurricane to report about it. They will talk about how the residents were asked to evacuate or else they would face "certain death"... meanwhile, they're out there being blown around by the wind.

I would be happy to find out about the damage and whatnot later. I can be patient enough to see what's going on after the fact, rather than them risk their lives for a story.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Broccoli Ricotta Pockets

I used a recipe from "Fun Foods on a Budget" for the Biscuit Dough. It's very easy to make and works wonderfully. This is the second time I've used it. You should check out this blog, it's very good. And then I just mixed some ricotta cheese and mozzarella together with some broccoli. The big pouches were for me and hubby and the little ones were for my baby to take to lunch. He hasn't given them the time of day yet... I was hoping this would be a big hit since they're easy to make, but I guess I just have to keep trying. I heated some up the next day for lunch at work and it was delicious.

Biscuit Dough


2 c all-purpose flour
1 T sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1/2 c shortening
3/4 c milk (used skim)


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Mix flour, sugar, baking powder and salt in medium bowl. Cut in shortening using pastry blender or criss-crossing 2 knives until mixture looks like fine crumbs. Stir in milk until dough leaves sid eof bowl (dough will be soft and sticky.)
3. Place dough on lightly floured survace. Knead lightly 10 times. Separate into 8 sections. Roll each out into 4-5 inch disks.


1.5 c Broccoli,chopped and cooked
1.5 c Ricotta cheese
1/4 c Mozzarella cheese

Place about 2 T ricotta mixture onto the dough and fold over. Place onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake at 400 for 15-20 minutes.

For the small ones, I just put a rolled out piece of dough on the top of another with some of the ricotta mixture on it. Then I used my little cookie cutter to cut them out. I cooked those separately for 10 minutes.

I served them with a little marinara sauce.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Scratch Cooking - Animal Crackers

With my new quest to try to make things from scratch, I embarked on animal crackers. I found basically the same recipe everywhere which I'll post below. I actually printed it from, however if you do a search they are all the same recipe. I had bought some Noah's Ark cookie cutter several weeks ago and was able to bust them out for a christening with this recipe. Now... they were much easier than I thought. The dough was easy to manage and they don't take long to cook, however they were very bland. They need a little something, so I think the next time I make them I will add vanilla extract or a tiny bit of sugar. My little guy seemed to like them just fine, which was the final goal.

Animal Crackers


1/2 c rolled oats
3/4 c all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 c butter
2 tsp honey
1/4 c buttermilk


1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Grind oats until fine using a blender of food processor.
2. In medium bowl, stir together the oats, flour, baking soda and salt. Cut in the butter using a pastry blender or your fingers until the butter lumps are smaller than peas. Stir in the buttermilk and honey to form a stiff dough. On a lightly floured surface, roll the dough out to 1/8 inch in thickness. Cut into desired shapes with cookie cutters. Place cookies 1 inch apart onto cookie sheets.
3. Bake for 5-7 minutes in the preheated oven, until edges are tightly browned. Remove from cookie sheets to cool on wire racks.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Been busy... learning to can.

Well, this weekend is wrapping up my vacation. Last weekend we went to my dad's camp. We had a cookout on Labor Day at my SIL's. So, with some of my free time, I thought I would give canning a try since I got all my canning goodies for my birthday. The first thing I made was applesauce with the apples we picked a week ago. This website was extremely helpful.
Not only do they give you canning instructions for just about everything, they also have a list of the Upick places in your area.

For the applesauce, I just put a little cinnamon, applesauce and brown sugar. This was the first thing that I ever canned and I wasn't sure if I was even doing it right... but the next day my lids were sealed so I figured it was fine.

Unfortunately there aren't any Upick peaches places around here. So, I bought a big box of peaches from the farmer's market on Thursday and I canned most of them. I forgot to take pictures of my purchases. I bought orange sweet peppers, potatoes, mini pears, and romaine lettuce.

I went to the Farmer's Market briefly today. I also forgot to take pictures. I don't know what is wrong with me. But, I got a big pack of tomatoes, some green peppers, and cilantro to make salsa to can. I also got some broccoli, pears, eggs and taco seasoning (this is for the taco dip we're making for the kickoff of football season tomorrow.)

I would love to hear your stories of different things you've canned. Or even your first canning experience. I think this might be a new addiction. (Like I need anymore)

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Omnivore's hundred

Okay... so I am not a good Omnivore... and I have no intentions of trying many of these foods. haha.. but at least I did it.

Here’s what you do:
1) Copy this list into your blog or journal, including these instructions.
2) Bold all the items you’ve eaten.
3) Cross out any items that you would never consider eating.
4) Optional extra: Post a comment at linking to your results.

The VGT Omnivore’s Hundred:
1. Venison
2. Nettle tea
3. Huevos rancheros
4. Steak tartare
5. Crocodile
6. Black pudding --------->What is this?
7. Cheese fondue
8. Carp
9. Borscht -----> Not sure what this is.... is it beet soup?
10. Baba ghanoush
11. Calamari
12. Pho
13. PB&J sandwich
14. Aloo gobi
15. Hot dog from a street cart
16. Epoisses
17. Black truffle
18. Fruit wine made from something other than grapes
19. Steamed pork buns
20. Pistachio ice cream
21. Heirloom tomatoes
22. Fresh wild berries
23. Foie gras
24. Rice and beans
25. Brawn, or head cheese
26. Raw Scotch Bonnet pepper
27. Dulce de leche
28. Oysters
29. Baklava
30. Bagna cauda
31. Wasabi peas32
32. Clam chowder in a sourdough bowl
33. Salted lassi
34. Sauerkraut
35. Root beer float
36. Cognac with a fat cigar
37. Clotted cream tea
38. Vodka jelly/Jell-O
39. Gumbo
40. Oxtail
41. Curried goat
42. Whole insects
43. Phaal
44. Goat’s milk
45. Malt whisky from a bottle worth £60/$120 or more
46. Fugu
47. Chicken tikka masala
48. Eel
49. Krispy Kreme original glazed doughnut
50. Sea urchin
51. Prickly pear
52. Umeboshi
53. Abalone
54. Paneer
55. McDonald’s Big Mac Meal56. Spaetzle
57. Dirty gin martini
58. Beer above 8% ABV
59. Poutine
60. Carob chips
61. S’mores
62. Sweetbreads
63. Kaolin -------> Not really clear what this is
64. Currywurst
65. Durian
66. Frogs’ legs
67. Beignets, churros, elephant ears or funnel cake
68. Haggis
69. Fried plantain
70. Chitterlings, or andouillette
71. Gazpacho
72. Caviar and blini
73. Louche absinthe
74. Gjetost, or brunost
75. Roadkill
76. Baijiu
77. Hostess Fruit Pie
78. Snail
79. Lapsang souchong
80. Bellini
81. Tom yum
82. Eggs Benedict
83. Pocky
84. Tasting menu at a three-Michelin-star restaurant.
85. Kobe beef
86. Hare
87. Goulash
88. Flowers
89. Horse
90. Criollo chocolate
91. Spam
92. Soft shell crab
93. Rose harissa
94. Catfish
95. Mole poblano
96. Bagel and lox
97. Lobster Thermidor
98. Polenta
99. Jamaican Blue Mountain coffee
100. Snake