May 30, 2011

New Things Monday

Peanut butter and Banana treats=AWESOME! :) Never really tried pb on a banana until recently and I'm hooked. I've been eating these as a quick to go snack and it's healthy and oh so good. I got the idea from a clip of one of the Survivor Redemption cast members. She ended up going to the holding house since she was a member of the jury. The clip showed the house and what the members do while during the wait time since they can't go home yet. This was a quick and easy snack that I knew I wanted to try and it's especially good if you have some bananas going bad and need to use them up.

You will need:
peanut butter (I use reduced fat)
storage bag

First use a cutting board or lay down foil. Peel bananas, and cut the ends off. Then cut each banana in half.

Slice the banana to make halves. (long ways)

MMMMMMMMM Peanut butter! :)

Spread Peanut butter on one half. As little or as much as you'd like.

Add the top part of the banana back on. Kinda looks like a banana sammich. :)

Wrap each piece in foil and then store them in a freezer storage bag. Let sit out for a few min before you eat.

May 29, 2011

Strawberry Fruit Roll-up

I saw on pinterest, 'Strawberry leather' which is Fruit Roll-up. I looked at the recipe and thought it was easy enough and decided to give it a try.

You will need STRAWBERRIES.

I did 5 cups like the recipe stated. (I'm excited about this pic....Nate even said "good shot"). :)

After your berries have been washed, cut them up and put them in a pot.

On low heat, cook the berries for 15 min. Be sure to mash them to get the juices out. The Pampered chef mix n' chop is perfect for mashing fruit.

After 15 min put your berries into your blender and puree them till they are smooth.

On a parchment lined baking sheet ad your puree'd berries. On 150 degrees bake your fruit roll-up for 6 to 8 hours. The lowest temp setting my oven will go is 170 degrees. So, I put it on 170 degrees and at 2:40 pm I put the roll-up in the oven. I checked every time I went into the kitchen. It surely made the house smell like I was canning Strawberry jam. LOL :)

8 hours later...........

Looks kinda cute.....

Blech....the middle is still not done. I didn't care....I wasn't spending anymore time on this. I ate a few pieces. Not much flavor at all. I was a little disappointed. The berry flavor isn't really there anymore. Nate said he felt the berry flavor was cooked out. I'm glad I made it but it def isn't worth the time it takes. Not for me anyway. You could add sugar or honey or maybe even lemon juice if you want to but I didn't. I wanted to keep it as healthy as I could by not adding anything to it. I know I won't be making this again.

Lora turns 30

My cousin, Lora turned 30 on Friday. My Aunt, Karen threw her a surprise party. The theme was a Mexican Fiesta! Nate, Ashley and I got there early to help Karen with last min party prep. Kristen and Dave showed up shortly after and we got to chat a little bit before other guests started showing up.

Lora thought she was dropping her daughter off to Karen to watch while her husband and her were going to go see a movie. But little did she know that she was not going to be seeing a movie.....

Lora coming in through the garage, looking very surprised and laughing.

Lora wearing a '30' pin and a little sombrero that Karen got her.

Here is the cake I picked up from the store. It was cute with the pink daisies. And all the vases on the table that Karen had set out had multi-color daisies so it perfectly fit in. It was meant to be. haha

Some appetizers to munch on while everyone was chatting and while the rest of the dinner was getting prepared.

This is 7 layer dip! It was soooooooooooooooo good! A huge hit and so colorful. It's a dish that you bring to a party and you can't expect any leftovers. It's that good. I'm not a fan of guac, or sour cream or even olives but on a chip with all of these flavors together it's A-M-A-Z-I-N-G! :)
Karen's BFF-Barbara (who's sooo very wonderful) told me her sister made this.

I picked up some little plastic sombrero hats at party city. It was a pack of 8 (2 yellow, 2 orange, 2 red and 2 purple) hats for like $2.99. So, I knew I had to have them b/c they are silly and fun. They were a hit.

Karen rented a Margarita Machine. When we got there Karen needed our help setting it up. Nate and Ashley did more than me. I sat on the chair and watched and held the empty tequila bottles. LOL :) A little more tequila was put in than should have been but who cares. haha

Kristen had found some cute favor ideas for Karen a few days before the party. And she chose one for some spice mix. They were so cute with a little recipe card attached.

Barb made a strawberry dip. She told me it was cream cheese, marshmallow fluff and a little brown sugar. It was good! :) Karen had also made some frozen bananas with chocolate and pecans.

For dinner there was a lot to choose from. Tacos (hard or soft shells) with chicken or beef. There was Tequila Lime Chicken, Spanish Rice, Dirty Rice, Queso, and of course shredded cheese, lettuce, tomatoes, and salsa.

Karen got a pinata that she filled with 80's themed candy. I helped hang them up outside.

Lora hitting the 3. We didn't have a pinata stick so Lora used a golf club. LOL The 3 took a few hits and it finally busted. The 0, Lora had to hit a bunch of times before it finally busted. haha The party was a lot of fun and everyone had a great time! HAPPY BIRTHDAY LORA and welcome to the 30's!!!!! :)

Worms and Dirt

The other day when I was running some errands with my brother he mentioned that he wanted to make worms and dirt. He asked what he would need to get. I told him what he would need and he got all the goodies and later that night he decided to go ahead and make them. They turned out great. Who doesn't love worms and dirt? It's easy to make, and it's fun and cute.

You will need:
plastic cups
gummy worms
oreo cookies
Instant chocolate pudding mix (fat free milk)

Make your pudding according to the box directions. Crush your oreos. Once the pudding is done and has been set go ahead and mix in some of your crushed oreos. You can also add in some cool whip if you'd like but it's not really necessary. Fill your plastic cups with the pudding/cookie mixture. Leave some room at the top and then add some crushed cookies. (as much or little as you'd like) Then add some gummy worms. Enjoy! :)

May 26, 2011

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Farmhouse French Bread

Another thing we learned at the strawberry class was how to make a marinade for pork loin using fresh herbs. It was delicious and we all said we would def make it. Kristen made hers yesterday on the grill and she said it was great. YEY! I made it today.....I made the marinade yesterday so the pork loins would marinate overnight. You can marinate 2 to 6 hours, of course the longer you marinate the more flavor you will get.

You will need:

1/4 cup soy sauce
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
1/4 cup canola or vegetable oil
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp salt
Red pepper flakes
Black pepper
minced garlic

*You can also add other herbs like thyme, marjoram and sage but I didn't have those so I left them out and instead added red pepper flakes, black pepper and parsley.

Whisk all these ingredients in a bowl.

Take out your pork loins out and place on a cutting board. With a meat fork poke holes all around the pork loin. This will let the marinade seep into your meat. Great trick! Then put the loins in a large ziploc bag and then pour the marinade onto them. Be sure to massage the meat and marinades so the marinade gets in all in the meat. :)

I stored my bag in a tupperware container so if the bag dripped it didn't make a mess in the fridge.

*Once you're ready to cook your pork loins, remove them from the marinade and place them on a rack on a cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 degrees for 40 min or until a meat thermometer registers 160 degrees.

*Another way to cook them (and I've done this several times) you can put the marinated pork loins in a deep baking dish, cover with the marinade, and some water. Cover with foil. Bake on 350 degrees for 40 to 50 minutes or until the meat registers 160 degrees.

*Or if you want to do this in the crock pot. Just put the pork loins in the crock pot, cover with the marinade and add some water. I would cook on low for about 5 to 6 hours. I'm sure it will turn out nice and tender.

About an hour later my pork loins were done. They look good and juicy. Can't wait to make a sammich. :)

I also made some more Farmhouse French Bread today so we can make some pork sammiches. :) You can eat the pork and bread plain or add a spicy mustard or bbq sauce. Enjoy!

*Different cooking methods. :)

Farmhouse French Toast

Yesterday, I made some Farmhouse French Bread. You can find the recipe here. Yes, you really can have fresh, homemade bread in an hour. Today, I decided to use some of the leftover bread and make some French Toast. :)

4 eggs
2/3 cup fat free milk
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp orange zest
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium bowl whisk together all of your ingredients. Cut a few slices of bread. I cut mine pretty thick. (think Texas Toast) Put the slices into your mix and let them soak. Be sure to flip to coat each side. Let them soak up the mixture while your pan heats up. :)

In a skillet, on medium heat melt some butter, olive oil or veg oil. I used a tbs of butter. Cook each slice of bread until brown. About 5 min or so.

Pour on Maple Syrup or regular syrup and sprinkle some powdered sugar on top.

Trust me...........................You will love it! :)

May 25, 2011

Cheesy Chicken Alfredo Bake

I saw a recipe the other day for a 3 cheese Alfredo bake and I knew I wanted to make it. I changed it a bit by adding chicken and not using 3 cheeses. The recipe called for ricotta cheese and I'm not a fan so I didn't use that.

What you need:
Ziti Noodles
3 cooked and cut chicken breasts
2 packs of McCormick Alfredo sauce mix (2 cups fat free milk, 6 tbs unsalted butter)
Parm Cheese (sprinkled in the mix)
2 pkgs Mozz Cheese

*You can also add minced garlic but the alfredo mix has garlic so I didn't add anymore to it.

Cook your chicken, let it rest and then cut up and put into a bowl. Set aside. Boil water and cook your noodles. Also in a separate pot cook the alfredo mix. Once everything is done you can combine everything together. Spray a big baking dish with pam spray and then add your 'mix'. Spread evenly and then cover the top with cheese. Bake on 350 for about 15 min or until cheese is melted.

Farmhouse French Bread

Homemade bread.....YES PLEASE! :) I had this bread at my Strawberry Class and it was so good. Jo, our teacher gave us her recipe (that is actually Bernie's, her assistants family recipe) and I thought I would make it today. Kristen made it last night and she told me that it seemed like an easy recipe so I was excited to get to bake it today.

How yummy does that look?

Into a 2 cup measuring cup, measure these ingredients:
2 cups warm water
1 tbs sugar
2 pkg rapid rise yeast

Let set until "proofed"...about 5 min.

Into a large mixing bowl, add:
4 1/2 cups unbleached flour
2 tsp salt

Use a whisk to combine.

Once the dry ingredients are combined, add in the proofed yeast mixture. Mix, until combined, scraping sides as you mix. Then add in another 1 cup of flour. Mix until the dough comes clean from the sides and comes into a ball.

Let dough rest in bowl for 10 min. (cover bowl tightly with saran wrap)

After 10 min, punch dough down. (I kneaded the dough a bit and didn't use all the loose pieces)

Divide dough in half, shaping into 2 loaves. (I also kneaded each half a little more to mix dough more so there wouldn't be any lumps)

Spray baking sheet with PAM spray. Place loaves on pan. Cut slits across the top of each loaf. About 5 slits on each loaf. Brush with olive oil.

Cover with wax paper and let rise in warm place (I put on top of preheated stove) for about 25 min.

Bake at 425 degrees for 23 min.

*You can also use a French bread pan if you don't want to use a baking sheet.


May 24, 2011

Strawberry Crumb Muffins

I was going to make some homemade blueberry muffins but thought to myself 'what about strawberry muffins'. It sounded like a good idea. I researched several recipes and figured I could combine a few of the recipes to make into one. Why not right? :)

First off, you want nice clean berries. I put a paper towel on a cookie sheet and washed each berry then laid onto the paper towel to drain. I then put another paper towel on top of the berries and put them in the fridge while I ran out and did a few errands. When I came home I pulled the tray out and set them on the counter. I cut up about 2 cups of berries and put aside.

This recipe makes a dozen muffins. (12)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp nutmeg

In a medium bowl combine the above 4 ingredients with a fork until well mixed.

2 eggs, (lightly beaten)
1/2 cup fat-free Strawberry yogurt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp lemon juice
1 tbs fat free milk
1 1/4 cups or 2 cups chopped strawberries. (you can use fresh or frozen)

In another medium bowl whisk the above ingredients except for the berries. Stir into the dry mix until moistened. Then fold in your strawberries.

Folding in berries. You can cut them up smaller than I did if you wish. I wanted big chunks of berries. At this point I tasted the batter and I liked it.

Crumb Topping:
1/3 cup brown sugar
2 tbs flour
1/8 tsp cinnamon
1 tbs butter (unsalted)

Mix the above ingredients until it looks like a cornmeal texture. This is the same crumb topping I used for the Banana Crumb Muffins. Fill muffin cups coated with cooking spray or lined with paper muffin liners 2/3 full. Sprinkle crumb mixture onto each muffin.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15-18 min or until a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool for 5 min before removing the muffins from pan to a wire rack.

How cute?
MMMMM good! :)

Muffins in a Strawberry Quart container. :)

May 23, 2011

New Things Monday

Over the weekend I had 'BEER STEAK'. My friend, Dave grilled some steaks with beer. They were good. I know the beer cooked off of them but they were a huge hit. All beer steaks were consumed. :) Thanks Dave!

May 22, 2011

The Battles of Spotsylvania 2011 Civil War Reenactment

I worked a remote at a local reenactment this morning. Kristen and Dave met me after my remote was over. We went into the museum to cool off a bit. Inside the museum Dave ended up winning a sticker for guessing something right in the treasure chest of bullets. Yey Dave! :) Then we went over to the Hawaiian Ice stand where I got a grape ice and Kristen and Dave got waters! MMMMMMM (to the grape ice..water is boring...haha)

Dave took some pics of the band that was playing. I took a picture of this dress. I love the time period dresses but I couldn't imagine myself wearing a dress like this in 90+ degrees. Whew! LOL Once we were ready we took a hay ride over to the battleground.

The cannons were LOUD when they went off.

Soldiers posing for pics.

Preparing for battle....(there was about 800 reenactors)

The blue and gray battling it out. I can check this off my life list. :) It was a great event and I'm glad we saw it. Oh yeah, silly me needs to remember just b/c it's a little cloudy I still need to wear sunscreen. I even had the sunscreen (100 SPF...yes they do make 100 SPF for ppl like me who burns so easily) in my bag. I got burnt pretty bad. :( Luckily, it looks worse than it feels.

After the reenactment we surprised Sharon for her Choir Concert that was at a church downtown. :)

Strawberry Class down on the farm

Back in the fall I took a pumpkin class with some friends at Miller Farms in Orange, VA. This weekend, I took a Strawberry class with my girls. (Kristen, Sharon, Melissa, Crystal, Ashley and her friend Anna). We got to the farm a little early so while we waited for Jo (our instructor and owner of farm) we walked around the shop.

Cute sign hanging up outside at the shop.

Lots of STRAWBERRIES! $5 a quart.....and these strawberries taste so much better than grocery store.

Berries and sugar snap peas.

Asparagus!! :)

Lemons, Limes and garlic.

Cute sign! :)

I went into the greenhouse and saw these cute flowers.

More flowers.

Miller Farms is selling spices and such now. Great idea!

Finally at 10am we were able to go into the farmhouse for our class in the kitchen!

We each had a place setting. Cute! :)

Jo and Bernie (Jo's assistant) first made a big pitcher of water with sliced lemons, limes, fresh mint and some frozen strawberries.

How refreshing? :) I love the big jar concept.

French cream


So delicious!! :) We also learned how to make a pork loin and fresh french bread and made some sammiches. Everything was so good. We learned a trick with a straw. (poke straw thru middle of berry out other side and the cap of the berry pops off) The class was very informative. We all got a 10% off coupon for anything in the shop. I think everyone got berries. I bought some blueberries, strawberries and Miller Farm tote bag. I can't wait to make some goodies. I already have some great ideas planned. :) I can't wait to take some more classes. Jo is such a great teacher and she's just so nice. :)