Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Fruit flies

I have a fruit fly problem. Fruit flies are commonly used to do research on autism and other types of diseases. Scientists really should come to my kitchen and set up shop.

So, I went online to see the safest way of tackling the problem. Of course you want to keep any fruits away. I have bananas in my fruit bowl, but there's no where else to put them... and the flies tend to leave them alone anyhow.

One site said to take a bowl and put a small piece of fruit in it with some balsamic vinegar.... cover it with saran wrap, punch a few holes in it. The flies will get in and then they can't get back out. Well, I've done that over the several days and it's worked well, but my gosh they just keep coming out of the woodwork.

Then my husband says he's done some internet research and they are also known as "drain flies" and "vinegar flies" because those are things that attract them.

Well... all of a sudden a light bulb goes off in my head. In an attempt to be green, I've been using a cleaning solution of water and vinegar as suggested by a book I read. All this time, I've been contributing to the problem. So... I've given up that cleaning practice and just waiting for these things to become extinct.

If anyone has any ideas.... I'd love to hear them.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Mmmmm... Rice pudding

So, I have some extra Basmati rice and I looked up some recipes to use it. I came across this nice rice pudding recipe. I didn't take a picture... well because... it just doesn't photograph well. :D I got the recipe from "The Daily Green" but I made a few changes to it.

Basmati Rice Pudding

3/4 c Basmati rice
1 tsp salt
4 c milk
1/2 c sugar
1 slightly slightly heaping tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp ground cardamom (I didn't have cardamom, so I used cinnamon and allspice)


1. Combine 1.5c water, the rice, and the salt in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and simmer over very low heat ~ 8-9mins, until most of the water is absorbed. Check frequently and stir to make sure it doesn't stick.
2. Add 3 c of milk and the sugar. Continue simmering on very low heat for an additional 20-25 minutes, until the rice is soft and most of the milk is absorbed. You want a spongy texture. Remove the rice from the heat.
3. Pour 1/4 c of the of the remaining milk into a bowl and whisk in the cornstarch to dissolve. Add the vanilla extract and cardamom (I used cinnamon and allspice). Pour the cornstarch-milk mixture along with the remaining 3/4c milk into the hot pudding and stir to combine.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Frugal Friday!

Here is my entry for this week.

I made a Black Bean soup with mini Corn bread muffins. This time of year is great to throw a pot of soup on. The recipe for the soup is from Pampered Chef. I have enjoyed many of their recipes. I went through a phase where I kept getting invited to parties, then coerced to throw a party, then people would buy stuff from you and book a party... and of course I felt obligated to go there and buy something. So anyway, I have plenty of their gear and recipes. The Corn Bread recipe, I got right off the can of cornmeal. I've tried several and this was the best one by far. And very quick to make also.

Quick Black Bean Chili

1 c chopped onion
1 c coarsely chopped red bell pepper
1 tbsp finely chopped jalapeno
2 tbsp snipped cilantro
1 tsp vegetable oil
2 garlic cloves, pressed
2 cans (15.5 oz) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can (16oz) fat-free refried beans
1 can (14-14.5 oz) vegetable broth
1 tbsp lime juice
1 tsp ground cumin

1. Chop onion, bell pepper and jalapeno pepper.
2. Heat oil in saucepan over medium heat. Add onion, ell pepper, jalapeno pepper and pressed garlic; cook & stir 3 minutes. Add black beans, refried beans, broth, lime juice, and cumin; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, 10 minutes.
3. Remove from heat; stir cilantro into chili. Sprinkle with cheese, if desired.

Easy Corn Bread

1 - 1/4 c all purpose flour
3/4 c Corn Meal
1/4 c sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 c skim milk
1/4 c vegetable oil
2 egg whites, or 1 egg, beaten

1. Heat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Grease your pan.
3. Combine all dry ingredients. Stir in milk, oil and egg, mixing just until dry ingredients are moistened.
4. Pour batter into prepared pan.
5. Bake 20-25 minutes or until light golden brown and wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. (For the mini muffins, I cooked them 18-20 minutes.)

Thursday, November 13, 2008

A great cookbook!

I got this cookbook last Christmas from my brother. It was my first Christmas as a mom and he thought this would be helpful. Well, I've not made too many recipes from it. I pulled it out the other day and picked out a couple. I made chicken breasts with some honey mustard sauce and decided upon 2 side dishes: Dijon Cauliflower and Rice with Dried fruit and nuts.

The nice thing about this cookbook is that the recipes are fairly easy and can be done in a reasonable amount of time. It is a hard covered, spiral book.

Here are the recipes for you to try!

Dijon Cauliflower

2 (10oz) packages frozen cauliflower, defrosted
-- I used some fresh cauliflower instead.
3/4 c grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 c mayonnaise
1 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp Dijon-style mustard
1 tbsp dried parsley

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Cook caulifower according to package directions. Drain and set aside.
3. Coat a 2 qt baking dish with cooking spray. Add cauliflower.
4. In a medium mixing bowl, combine the remaining ingredients, stirring well to mix. Spread the mixture evenly over the cauliflower.
5. Bake for 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

Rice with Dried Fruit and Nuts

1/2 stick butter or margarine
1 c frozen chopped onion (I used fresh)
1 (32 oz) container chicken broth
2 c basmati rice
1/2 c dried fruit of your choice.
1 tsp salt
1/2 c sliced almonds.

** I have to say this. I almost substituted regular brown rice. It would have been a huge mistake.... the Basmati rice really makes this dish!

1. In a large saucepan over medium-high heat, melt the butter or magarine. Add the onions and cook until tender, about 5 minutes.
2. Add the chicken broth, rice, dried fruit, and salt. Bring to a boil, cover, reduce the heat to medium-low, and simmer for 20 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed.
3. Add almonds, stirring well to mix.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

A baby shower!

We had a baby shower for a gal at work. She is expecting a little girl in January. It was a potluck dessert theme. I have been having fun experimenting with the white chocolate (as evidenced by my cupcakes). I thought it would be fun to do a little girly cookie. So these are some sugar cookies that I made. I used a buttercreme frosting recipe and tinted the icing green. Then I used the white chocolate to make butterflies. I should have done little snails too... but I thought of that later. The cookies were a hit. People at work always get a kick out a dietitian bringing in sweets. But hey! Moderation is the key.

Friday, November 7, 2008

My Election Night Cupcakes!

Every big election night, we get together at my mom's house. We had sandwiches, chips, dip and I brought the cupcakes. If you have read past posts, I did cupcakes with donkeys on top for the First Debate. This time I tackled the Obama Logo. I also did little stars to top the other cupcakes. I got the technique from "Gourmet Mom on the Go". I learned last time, that you can't use red coloring, because it turned out pink, so this time I picked up red candy wafers.
Here's another picture! I had some donkeys left over that I added to the bunch.

A thrifty Halloween afterthought.

While I was trick or treating with my little guy, we came across a house that was all decorated. What they did was take empty milk gallons and cut a whole in the bottom for lights. Then they drew a face on it with a black marker and it was a ghost that was lit up. They strung about 5 of them together and they lit the pathway to their house. That was so creative and inexpensive.

What a great night for us. Zach picked up trick or treating very quickly. He was more excited to see everyone's Jack-o-lanterns. He tried to enter people's homes too which was kind of funny.
He was a porcupine... here are a couple of pictures!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

A funny story.

I was making lunches the other night for Zach. He loves fruit. So I was cutting some strawberries and I put some in his container and gave him one to eat. I set it on the counter because I was cutting up some kiwi and wanted to add it in. As I turned around, I couldn't find the container... I thought I was going crazy. I looked around for Zach and heard him going down the stairs. He was making a getaway! He was sliding down the stairs on his butt, with the container in had. I just had to laugh at how smart he is getting.