Saturday, February 24, 2007

Spinach Tortellini Soup

This is a tasty, simple recipe that you can quickly put together for a filling meal.

2 cans chicken broth
2 cans diced Italian tomatoes
1 pkg. (10 oz) frozen chopped spinach
1 bag frozen cheese tortellini
Oregano to taste

Simmer for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with freshly grated Parmesan cheese.
Wonderful with garlic bread.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Baked Oatmeal

This is a delicious recipe that all of my children love!

1/2 cup oil
3/4 cup sugar, honey or maple syrup (I prefer maple syrup)
2 eggs
3 cups oatmeal
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 cup milk

Mix oil, sugar, and eggs with mixer until yellow and glossy. Add remaining ingredients and beat on medium until well blended. Add optional ingredients such as apples and raisins.
Bake at 400 for 30 minutes in 9x13 pan.
Serve warm with milk, brown sugar , raisins, or dates if desired!

Friday, February 16, 2007

Stuffed Chicken Breasts

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, pounded flat
4 basil leaves
1 Tbsp. oil

Drizzle oil on one side of each breast and lay basil leaf on top of oiled side.

In small bowl combine:

1/2 cup chopped sun dried tomatoes
4 oz mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/3 tsp. rosemary
1/3 tsp. oregano
Salt and pepper to taste

Spoon equal amounts of this filling on top of each basil leaf. Carefully roll the edges of the chicken breast around the filling and secure with toothpick. Place seam side down in baking dish. Drizzle with a little more oil and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Sesame Chicken

4 boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into small chunks
2 Tbsp. sesame seeds
1/4 cup soy sauce
3 Tbsp. oil
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. pepper
3 cloves garlic, pressed
1 tsp. ginger, fresh or powdered
sliced green onions, optional

Mix all together (make a double batch and freeze the second one!), marinate for a few hours and then broil for 10-15 minutes, turning once!
Serve with steamed broccoli and brown rice.

Monday, February 12, 2007

2 weeks of meals

On Saturday my sister Leslie and I prepared 2 weeks worth of meals for our freezers! It took about 5 hours (we both think it would have been less if we had planned a bit better), but it is an amazing sight for hungry eyes to find all that beautifully prepared food! We made burger patties and froze them along with some buns, beef and bean burritos, stuffed chicken breasts, sesame chicken, caribbean steak, crockpot barbeque chicken, crockpot beef and peppers, poppy seed chicken, meatloaf, and chicken scallopini. Most of these were simply freezing the meat along with a marinade...when I defrost, it will either be grilled, put in the crockpot or baked.

These are very easy meals that will be accompanied by fresh vegetables and salads. If any of these recipes interest you...just comment. We froze everything in gallon ziploc bags FLAT so that everything stacked neatly on top of each other. We labeled each bag with a sharpie with instructions on how to cook the meal.

Grab a buddy, schedule a Saturday, and fill your freezers full of food!

Friday, February 9, 2007

Delicious Living

I picked up Delicious Living magazine from my local health food store and found an interesting article about how Japanese people keep their weight and eating under control.

"Japanese women have the greatest longevity on Earth and the lowest obesity levels in the developed world. You may think it's all in our genes, but when Japanese people shift to unhealthy foods and too-big portions, they get fat, just like I did. What's our secret to staying slender? Fresh seasonal foods prepared in the healthiest, simplest ways and served in modest portions on beautiful dishes--a style of celebrating food that lets the natural beauty and flavor of the ingredients shine through"

So not only does simple cooking, buying produce local, and basic beauty bring me kitchen happiness, it also means a healthier, celebratory lifestyle. All year long, the Japanese "eat with their eyes" not only their mouths. "We take time to enjoy the natural goodness and beauty of the food".

Here's to eating healthy, modest portions on beautiful dishes and taking the time to savor and admire the beauty of your meal!

Thursday, February 8, 2007

Making Your Table Pretty

It doesn't take much to create a pleasing centerpiece. I laid out an eyelet tablecloth I found at a garage sale for 50 cents and filled an enamelware pot with Granny Smith apples.
A basket filled with pinecones is nice for the winter. I love bowls full of lemons and limes. I also love bringing nature inside and cut some greenery or small branches and put them in a hurricane vase. Or put some "flower money" in your food budget and pick up a pretty bouquet from your grocery store. White pillar candles always add warmth and beauty and can be bought regularly and inexpensively and placed in hurricane vases. Your family will appreciate the extra small touches you take to make the dinner table inviting, warm, and pretty. And you may then linger longer as you eat and enjoy some wonderful conversation and memories.
Here's to a pretty table...simply!

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

Groovy Guacamole

One of God's most wonderful creations is the avocado. I started this love affair about 10 something years ago. Not only are they rich in potassium, vitamin A, folate and good fat that lowers cholesterol, avocados are DELICIOUS and wonderful in wraps, on sandwiches, and my perennial fave, guacamole.

I belong to a fruit and vegetable Coop and get my avocados for only 50 cents. I allow them to ripen on my counter for a few days, and then I put the ones I haven't used yet in the frig. They can keep several weeks in there without spoiling!

Here's an easy guacamole that I make almost daily:

2 ripened avocados
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 fresh lime, squeezed
1-2 cloves garlic, pressed

Here is a link to the health benefits of avocados.
And for those of you with babies, they make the perfect first baby food!! Just mash and serve!

Key West Style Cuban Marinade

This is my new favorite marinade that I find at my local grocery store Publix. It is Nellie and Joe's Key West Style Cuban Marinade with lime juice, orange juice, canola oil, onion, garlic, oregano, salt, habanero peppers and spices. It is delicious to use to marinate chicken, grill and slice for fajitas. We are going to grill some tonight with red peppers and onions and then top on a whole grain tortilla with cheese, sour cream, salsa, and guacamole. OH BABY! I am salivating just thinking about it!

Monday, February 5, 2007

Whole Wheat Pizza Crust

This recipe is for use in your bread machine!
Add the ingredients in this order and then use the dough setting on your machine.

1 cup water, room temperature
2 Tbsp. olive oil
3 cups whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast

Wipes Solution

If you choose to stop using disposable wipes for your baby, you can begin to simply use baby washcloths as wipes or cut up old flannel receiving blankets and sew 2 squares together to make a nice soft wipe. There are also many places you can buy cutie wipes online. This is a wipes solution you can make to keep in a squirt bottle to spray your cloth wipe before using OR keep it in an old wipes container with your cloths soaking in it.

1/8 cup olive oil
1 Tbsp. Baby shampoo
4 drops tea tree oil
8 drops lavender essential oil
3 cups water

You can find the oils in any natural health food store. Tea tree has anti-microbial and antibacterial properties and lavender gives a wonderful soothing scent!

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Whole Wheat Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup oil
1 1/3 stick butter
2 tsp. vanilla
2 eggs
3 cups whole wheat flour
1 cup nuts, chopped (optional)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
12 oz. chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar...add the rest!
Bake at 375 for 8-10 minutes.

Friday, February 2, 2007

I love sharing food

I started this recipe blog as a place to share recipes with one another and to inspire each other to cook loving meals for our families. Everything is so fast food and junky these days and I love living a simpler schedule so that I can cook healthy, tasty meals for family and friends. I want my children to have memories of being with me in the kitchen and having the safety of routine dinner times together around the table. I read a book recently called "The Surprising Power of Family Meals: How Eating Together Makes us Stronger, Healthier, and Happier" by Miriam Weinstein. It shows the wonderful impact regular meals together make on all of us.

Although I try to eat organic and what I deem to be healthy, I still love me some comfort foods and Southern-style cooking. So you will see a variety of recipes on here that we simply enjoy.

I also want to chronicle my sister Leslie and my adventures in once-a-month cooking...also known as Freezer cooking. We are trying to get our shed wired for electricity so that we can buy a used chest freezer. Until then I will use our humble freezer space and Leslie has some space in her extra frig in her garage. Our next cook day is on February 10th and we are attempting to make 2 weeks worth of meals for our freezers.

And I may even share all my failed attempts at bread baking! I would love to get a sourdough starter and bread going so we shall see how that pans out. Forgive the pun :)

We'll just see where this blog goes, but I will mainly be using it to post recipes that we enjoy. I also have many thoughts about dining vs. eating and how to make mealtimes meaningful, beautiful, and fun. I also want to jump into the world of simple entertaining and de-myth how hard it is to most people to open up their home. Hospitality should be simple!

Happy Happy Dining Adventures with your Friends and Family!