Thursday, July 31, 2008

School Lunch Peanut Butter Bars

I haven't made these in a while, and I think that I forgot how good they are. If you like peanut butter and chocolate, this is the recipe for you!! Sorry, I forgot to take a picutre!

¾ C Butter
¾ C White Sugar
¾ C Brown Sugar
¾ C Creamy Peanut Butter
2 Eggs
1 1/2 C Flour
1 1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla
1 1/2 C Quick Oats

¾ C Peanut Butter
½ C Butter
3 ½ C Powdered Sugar
2 T Cocoa
¼ C Milk
1 tsp. Vanilla

Cream butter, sugars, peanut butter, eggs and vanilla. Mix together dry ingredients, and gradually add dry mixture. Stir in oatmeal. Spread evenly onto a 11 x 15 Jelly Roll Pan. Bake at 350 for 12-15 minutes, or until golden brown. Cool for 10 minutes. For the frosting: Whip ¾ C Creamy Peanut Butter until fluffy and spread over cookie. Combine butter, milk and cocoa in a small sauce pan over med heat, stirring constantly. Heat just until boiling. Remove from heat and add vanilla and powdered sugar. Stir until thickened. Pour over cookie, and spread evenly. Cool completely, and slice into bar cookies.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Open Faced Pepper and Cheese Melts

Sorry, sometimes these pictures don't turn out looking very appetizing. We had this for dinner last night and it was so easy. My husband doesn't like tomatoes, and my kids don't like tomatoes or peppers, so I just adjust the sandwiches to everyone's preference before broiling them. It's easy to make everyone happy with this dinner. I served it with watermelon and sliced cucumber with balsamic vinaigrette. Yum!
Open-Face Pepper & Cheese Melts

1 Cup Green or Red bell pepper strips (about one large pepper)
1 Tbs FRESH minced Basil (don’t skimp on this!)
1 clove garlic, pressed or minced
1 medium onion, sliced
1 Tbs. Stone ground mustard, yellow mustard, or Dijon mustard
4 slices of Rye bread, toasted (wheat and white are also good)
4-8 tomato slices, depending on size of the tomato
4 1 oz slices mozzarella cheese (or mixture of cheddar and mozzarella cheese, grated)
Mayo or Miracle Whip (optional)

Coat a non-stick skillet with cooking spray. Saute pepper strips, garlic, and onion until tender, add basil and cook another minute or two. Spread toasted bread with mustard and mayonnaise if desired. Top with pepper mixture, tomato slices, and then the cheese. Place under the broiler for 3-5 minutes or until cheese is melted. Serve hot with your favorite salad or fruit.

Grilled Fajitas and Spanish Rice

I love fajitas on the grill. You can use any kind of meat or peppers that you want to use. They are so good and pretty healthy (if you don't load them up with too much stuff!).

Chicken or Steak (a pound or a little more)
Packet of Fajita Seasoning
3-4 T Worcestershire sauce
2 T Oil
3-4 T Water
1-2 large bell peppers

Combine seasoning packet, Worcestershire sauce, oil and water. Pour half of it over the meat and then the other half over chopped vegetables (in separate containers or plastic bags). Let marinate for ½-1 hour. Grill meat until it reaches your desired doneness. Grill veggies in a grill basket until tender. Cut meat into strips just before serving. Serve with tortillas, sour cream, salsa, lettuce, cheese and guacamole.
This is my husband's aunt's recipe, and it's fabulous! It's kind of tempermental, so don't be surprised if it doesn't always turn out the same way. This is the original recipe that I was given, but I add less water than it calls for (only about 1 1/2 cups of water per cup of rice).
Spanish Rice

4 C White Long Grain Rice (I've also used Jasmine Rice, which is good)
2 T Oil
15 oz tomato sauce
8 C Water
Salt, Pepper, Garlic (I usually use 1-2 cloves of garlic, pressed)
2 big spoonfuls Knorr Caldo con sabor de Pollo (Chicken Bullion, found with other Mexican foods) 1 Onion, cut into small wedges or slices
1 Lime
Chopped Tomato

Fry uncooked rice in oil until amber colored. Combine water, tomato sauce, salt, pepper, garlic and onion. Add water etc. to rice, then cover and cook on low heat for 15-20 minutes or until rice is tender. Add tomato and lime juice. Serve with fresh limes and tortillas or as a side dish. **I usually half this if I am serving it as a side dish for 6 people.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Delicious Whole Wheat Bread

This bread is the best whole wheat bread I've ever had. My husband complained one day about how much I was spending on bread, so I decided to look for a recipe and try baking my own. I found this on This wonderful mother of 8, who makes her own EVERYTHING, and also home school's her children, developed this recipe. It is fabulous. I have altered it a little to fit my taste, so click on the link to see the original recipe. I haven't been baking because it's been so hot, but today I broke down and made 4 loaves because I missed this bread so much. The best thing's SO easy!

You can get the wheat gluten at a natural food stores, or many grocery stores sell it too. I bought mine at Walmart. I ordered some white whole wheat flour online, and my favorite for this bread is 2 cups of red wheat flour, and 3 cups of white wheat flour. Here is a picture of the dough and a finished loaf.

Delicious Whole Wheat Bread
2 cups warm water
1/3 cup honey
1 T yeast
1/4 cup olive oil
2 t. salt
1/4 cup gluten flour
5 to 7 cups freshly ground whole wheat flour

In a large bowl or in a large mixer combine the water, yeast and honey. Let sit for a few minutes to give the yeast a chance to start working. Add the salt, oil, gluten flour and 3 to 4 cups of whole wheat flour. Continue to add more flour until the dough does not stick to the side of the bowl and does not feel sticky to the touch (about 5 ½ cups for me). Knead for 7 to 10 minutes in mixer. (This is the key! Knead lots!) When dough has finished kneading let it rise once until doubled in bulk. Punch down dough and divide it into 2 pieces and form into loaves and set in bread pans. Let it rise again in a slightly warm oven (this means that you turn the oven on for just 2 or 3 min. or until you can feel the heat and then turn it off, if it is too hot then it will kill the yeast) for 15 to 25 minutes or until the dough is ½ inch above top of pan. Turn oven to 350 (without taking bread out) and bake for approx. 30 minutes or until golden brown.

Then, the key is to try not and eat a whole loaf while it's hot! I made the mistake of making some strawberry freezer jam a week after I discovered this are incredible together!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

I've been craving shrimp for a few months...weird. Anyway, I found this recipe on We had it for dinner last night and I really liked it. My husband doesn't like shrimp as much as I do and would have preferred chicken, beef or pork, but he said that he liked these. I thought that the cabbage was going to be too chewy, but it was really quite good!

Grilled Shrimp Tacos

1/2 cup sour cream
3 tablespoons mayonnaise
3 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1 1/2 pounds large shrimp, peeled (mine were 26/30...good size)
3 tablespoons butter, melted
2 large garlic cloves, minced (or pressed in a garlic press)
4 limes, cut into quarters (unless you REALLY like lime, this might be too much, I did 2)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
8 6-inch corn tortillas
2 to 3 cups finely shredded green cabbage
Bottled green tomatillo salsa

Whisk together the sour cream, mayonnaise, milk, and cumin. Set aside. Skewer the shrimp. (If using wood skewers, soak them in water for 10 minutes beforehand.) In a small bowl, combine the butter and garlic. Preheat a gas grill to high; adjust to medium after 15 minutes. (If cooking over charcoal, allow the coals to burn until they are covered with gray ash.) Brush the skewered shrimp with the garlic butter. Place them on the grill with the limes. Cook about 4 minutes on each side or until the shrimp are opaque and the limes are browned. Remove from grill. Lightly salt the shrimp. Grill the tortillas for 30 seconds on each side, then place inside a paper bag to keep warm. To serve, pull the shrimp off the skewers and divide them evenly among the tortillas. Top with the cabbage, sour cream sauce, tomatillo salsa, and a spritz of grilled lime.

Rainy-Day Method: Broil the shrimp and limes about 4 inches from the heat using the cooking times above. Wrap the tortillas in foil and heat in a 350° F oven for 15 minutes, or wrap them in a napkin and microwave for 3 minutes.

Yield Makes 8 first-course or 4 main-course servings

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 247(0% from fat); FAT 13g (sat 5g); CHOLESTEROL 147mg; CALCIUM 96mg; CARBOHYDRATE 18g; SODIUM 345mg; PROTEIN 16mg; FIBER 3g; IRON 3mg

Hummus anyone?

I know, this isn't a very appetizing picture of the hummus, but it really was good. If you haven't tried hummus, you should. It is loaded with fiber and if it doesn't have too much oil in it, it's pretty low fat. You can eat hummus with pita chips, homemade or store bought, or with veggies. I bought these pita chips at Costco, but evidently they sell them at the Good Earth too. This recipe has you make your own pita chips, but I haven't tried that part of the recipe...seems too expensive. You can add more water, or liquid from the beans until you reach your desired consistency. You definitely have to process or blend this for a minute or more for it to be smooth. I added more garlic and more sun dried tomatoes because I liked the flavor. I LOVED this with cucumber slices! I also got this recipe from If you don't try the hummus, try the pita chips, they are addicting!

Garlic and Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

Cooking spray
2 (6-inch) pitas, each cut into 10 wedges
1/4 cup water 2 tablespoons chopped oil-packed sun-dried tomato halves
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1-2 garlic cloves
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained

Preheat oven to 425°. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. Place pita wedges on pan, and coat with cooking spray. Bake at 425° for 6 minutes or until golden.
Combine water, tomato, salt, pepper, garlic, and beans in a food processor, and process until smooth. Serve with pita wedges.
Yield 5 servings (serving size: 1/4 cup hummus and 4 pita wedges)

Nutritional Information
CALORIES 175(9% from fat); FAT 1.7g (sat 0.2g,mono 0.5g,poly 0.6g); IRON 1.9mg; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 52mg; CARBOHYDRATE 33.7g; SODIUM 623mg; PROTEIN 6.6g; FIBER 4.5g

My new favorite breakfast!

Okay, these aren't going to be the best photos, but here you go! I started making my own granola. Most of the recipes I looked at were very high in fat, but this one wasn't. It's also very nutritious. The nuts and flaxseed have all kinds of nutrients, like omega 3's and fiber. The oats have fiber as well, and the berries are all being called super foods!

This is my current favorite way to eat it... on yogurt (Yoplait large packaged yogurts come in strawberry and vanilla and have 1/2 % milkfat. They are awesome with this) and sometimes with fresh fruit if I have some. Oh yum! My two year olds BEG for this. If I don't have "granona" at lunch time, my daughter will cry. I found this recipe on If you're doing Weight Watchers, 1/2 C of this yogurt, with 1/4 C of granola is about 4 points! It's also great with milk.

Power Granola

2 cups regular oats
1/3 cup ground flaxseed
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup chopped slivered almonds (I used whole raw almonds that I chopped myself.)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1/3 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cooking spray
1/3 cup dried cranberries (or I used ¼ C dried cherries, ¼ C dried blueberries, and ¼ C dried cranberries)

Preheat oven to 300°. Combine first 5 ingredients in a medium bowl. Combine orange juice, honey, and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat just until sugar dissolves, stirring frequently. Remove from heat; stir in oil and vanilla. Pour honey mixture over oat mixture, stirring to coat. Spread mixture in a thin layer onto a jelly-roll pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 300° for 10 minutes; stir well. Bake an additional 10 to 15 minutes or until golden brown. Spoon granola into a bowl; stir in dried cranberries. Cool completely.
Note: Store completely cooled granola in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 2 weeks. Yield about 4 3/4 cups (serving size: about 1/2 cup) **If you’re going to double this, use two cookie sheets or else it doesn’t get done enough!

CALORIES 196(31% from fat); FAT 6.8g (sat 0.7g,mono 2.2g,poly 3.3g); PROTEIN 4.1g; CHOLESTEROL 0.0mg; CALCIUM 38mg; SODIUM 5mg; FIBER 3.6g; IRON 1.5mg; CARBOHYDRATE 32.5g

Here we go

The site where I usually get my cute backgrounds is under construction, so for right now you'll have to look at this naked blog...sorry. I am starting this blog because I LOVE food. I have always loved to cook and bake. (I think that I baked my first cake from scratch when I was 8.) I wish that I had more time to be creative with cooking, but for now I am mostly doing what is easy and fast...that's what you do when you have two kids, right? I love to try new recipes and am really trying to feed my family healthy. I would love any new recipes from you if you would like to share!!