Friday, January 31, 2014

Chicken Salad

I posted this recipe a couple of years ago but had forgotten how good it was. Today I did a remake and enjoyed it again for lunch with the addition of alfalfa sprouts and ground flax seeds. It was just as amazing as it was two years ago!
3 cups chicken breast, roasted and diced
1 cup Savoy cabbage, thinly sliced then chopped
½ - ¾ cup celery, diced
¼ cup green onions, thinly sliced
½ cup sliced almonds
1½ teaspoons ground
golden flax seed meal

1 cup olive oil mayonnaise
2½ teaspoons mustard
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Milk, to desired consistency
Serve in a slightly hollowed out avocado half and on a bed of sprouts. Yum!
To make it easier to scoop out with a spoon cut the remaining avocado in squares (leaving them in the shell) before placing the sprouts and a scoop of chicken salad on top.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Secret Ingredient Broccoli Soup

Figuring out ways to outsmart unhealthy additives to food has been something I enjoyed doing off and on for the past 9-10 years. I've definitely fallen 'off the wagon' a time or two in those years but it's still always there in the back of my mind and so I get back on again.
Confession: I have trouble staying focused once I feel like I know how to do something. I enjoy a new challenge, hence the reason for falling off said wagon. Does that even make sense?
Yesterday I had an inspiration like that and couldn't wait to try it. I love Broccoli Soup but the flour and Velveeta Cheese that is normally used for thickening are two things currently on my naughty list. I don't purchase Velveeta unless, well... never... if I can help it!
I had a few Avocados in the fridge full of healthy fats and friendly as ever. I decided to use one of those to thicken my soup and see what happens. I was pleased with the outcome. I hope you try it and enjoy it too!!
Let me know if you do!
1½-2 cups steamed broccoli
1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons chopped Onion
1 cup Chicken Broth
½ Avocado
3 Tablespoons Heavy Cream
Salt and Pepper, to taste
Optional Toppings:
Cheddar Cheese
Bacon Bits
Hard Boiled Egg
Saute onion in butter till tender and beginning to caramelize. Put into blender along with ½ avocado, chicken broth, and most of the broccoli. Blend until smooth or almost smooth.
Pour back into saucepan and heat through. Add the heavy cream and stir. Season to taste.
This makes approximately two servings. Yesterday I enjoyed a serving with cheese and bacon bits.
This morning, yes for breakfast, I added a hard boiled egg and a little cheese. 
Delicious and satisfying!! 
♥ Hope you all have a wonderful Day!♥
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Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Brownie & White Mocha Cream Trifle


I volunteered to bring this years desserts for our youth groups annual Valentine Supper fundraiser, so I've been trying out different ones when I have extra 'help' around to eat things. This one is super yummy and will definitely be there! It's also very easy which is a bonus!
A good quality boxed brownie mix is what I started with and I used the cake like option versus the ooey gooey one.
Bake as directed then cut into small squares when completely cool.
The creamy part... oh my... yum!!
1 can sweetened condensed milk
1 cup water
1 small package
Instant White Chocolate Pudding
3-4 teaspoons (approx.) Mocha powder
(Starbucks Via ready brew)
16 oz. Cool Whip
Crushed Malted Milk Balls, optional
Combine all ingredient except the Cool Whip and whisk together.
Fold in Cool Whip. Refrigerate until firm, then layer with brownies into a trifle dish.

Monday, January 27, 2014

Just for funzies...

I can read minds...
 and I'm pretty sure at least one of them is thinking, "I'm hungry!!" haha
and she's thinking, "I have more fun rolling in the snow than I've ever had playing with any dolls. Just saying!" :)
and he's thinking, "WHY ISN'T IT WARM?!!!"
(This fellow and a bunch of his buddies showed up early for the Super Bowl but discovered like many others will, that it will be much too cold to sit outside and watch. Brrr!! I think I'd head South again if I would be them!)
and he's thinking, "It was so embarrassing, I feel red all over!!" :)
and he's thinking, "The berries around here sure are scarce!! But the Lady of the House seems thrilled to have me here!!
 I was at the window today and suddenly this guy and some of his friends showed up. I was tickled!! I love when unusual birds show up!
...and what am I thinking?
I'm thinking it feels much better in here since THE propane man brought me some propane! :) Yes, in case you're wondering, it happens to all of us! even the guy in charge. :) 
Stay inside where it's warm and have a lovely evening!
♥ Be Blessed!♥

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Lemon Raspberry Layer Cake


If you enjoy the flavors of lemon and raspberry you're in for a treat. And I promise it won't be a time consuming thing to make!
I started with a white cake mix and added whole eggs, softened butter in place of the oil and buttermilk in place of the water. Divide evenly into two 8 inch (parchment lined and non stick sprayed) cake pans. Bake as directed. Remove from the oven and run a sharp knife around the edge. Invert onto a piece of waxed paper on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely.
Cut each cake in half and proceed to fill.
For the Lemon filling I used this Lemon Curd recipe with the addition of sour cream to tame the tanginess of the lemons. The raspberry filling is Smucker's Simply Fruit (spreadable fruit).
Refrigerate until firm.
The icing is my favorite. Basic Buttercream with the addition of raspberry Smucker's Simply Fruit. I'm not sure how much I added but add enough to make it a pretty color. It will improve the flavor as well. :)
1 cup shortening (Crisco)
1 cup soft butter
8 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons clear vanilla
milk, to desired consistency
Beat until fluffy.
Extra icing can be stored in the fridge for quite a while.
Garnish as desired. 
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Stir Fry

Lately I've been enjoying stir fry's for my lunch and then a lighter supper. Seems to be what works for me. It's a great way to get in a variety of veggies.
Chicken, broccoli, red bell peppers, red and green onions, carrots, and fresh ginger (grated) are usually the main stays. Sometimes I add spinach, zucchini or snow peas and water chestnuts or rice. Sautéed in coconut and sesame oil and seasoned with an Asian Sweet Ginger and Garlic seasoning. Yum!!
"Hang on to the image of who God created you to be.
 Stick to it and endure the storms and trials that come.
Keep within eyesight of the Father
and be diligent to guard the holy things planted inside of you." ~Kerry Kirkwood

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Heathier Choice Dark Hot Chocolate

It's a beautiful snowy day outside and a laid back, cozy day inside today. Perfect for Hot Chocolate but I wasn't in the mood for the mix with all the artificial things in it so I concocted my own version with better choices. It was rich and yummy!
½ cup heavy cream
1½ cups water
2 Tablespoons dark cocoa powder
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
½ teaspoon almond extract
Stevia, to taste
Dash of Cinnamon
Whipped Cream, for topping
In a small saucepan combine all the ingredients except the Whipped Cream. Heat till scalding. Pour into two cups and serve with a dollop of Whipped Cream and Cinnamon.
We did a lot of bird watching and just before dusk a bevy of beauties (blue birds) showed up! I can never get enough of them!!
...and the Cardinals were in abundance.

Everything is better-
"In the company of friends."

I have several of these Roosting Pockets around and the birds faithfully use them during the nights. Especially if they are at a cozy out-of-the-wind kind of place.
"Dutch Blitz"
Do any of you play this game?
 It's a game I remember playing when I was young with my sister Miriam (when she wasn't reading). She read... like...A LOT!! CONSTANTLY! ALL THE TIME!! You get the picture? :) She would go outside and hide behind the farm equipment so no one could find her and read for hours!! I guess she knew where she was headed. She is married to an Editor/Publisher.
Lucky for me, I had an active imagination and playing by myself wasn't much of a problem. As I recall I "cooked" for a whole line up of dolls and teddy bears and was usually in "my kitchen". Funny how some things don't change. I'm still in my kitchen cooking for a doll(s) and teddy bears. Haha :)
Stay Safe... and warm.
My Volunteer Firefighter Husband and Sons are hanging out at the Fire House in case they get a call. The snowy roads are not conducive to getting anywhere quickly.  The rest of us are staying cozy here at home.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Mr. & Mrs. Snack Mixes

Need a good snack for a mid morning or afternoon? These two are Linford's and my favorites. His is on the right and mine on the left. I keep them in glass jars on the counter for easy access and convenience and enjoy eating mine with an apple.
The Mr.
Roasted and Salted Peanuts
and Pistachios
Dried Strawberries
Dark Chocolate Chips

The Mrs.
Roasted and Salted Sunflower
and Pumpkin Seeds
Golden Raisins
Roasted and Salted Gourmet Mixed Nuts
I spent part of the morning at the boys' school with several other Mom's for the "Mom's in Prayer" and I have a few things I need to prepare in the kitchen for some upcoming events this week. A cheesecake for Wednesday, a banquet meal for Thursday, a dessert for Friday.
Always food! Can't seem to get away from it!
Lucky for me, that's what I enjoy doing. Especially if I get to prepare a recipe or two that I've never made before. That's always fun! And my sis shared a decadent dessert recipe with me that I've been waiting for a reason to try. :)
Outside my cozy house there's a shroud of fog and mist and it seems perfect for curling up somewhere drinking tea and reading a good book. But that may have to wait till later. :)
....onward to the kitchen!
Have a lovely afternoon!

Friday, January 10, 2014

White Chocolate Lemon Curd Ganache

If you're looking for a bright, cheery topping for a cake that is also delicious, look no further!
I really loved the flavor of this one! And its super simple. Well, at least if you have Lemon Curd hiding out in the fridge, or maybe the bought stuff in your cupboard? I'm kind of partial to this Meyer Lemon Curd.
4 ounces White Chocolate Chips
or coating wafers
¾ cup (scant) Heavy Cream
Lemon Curd, to taste
Place the chocolate in a small bowl.
In a small, heavy saucepan heat the cream till small bubbles appear around the sides. Whisk while it heats so that it heats evenly.
Pour over the chocolate and let sit for about a minute then whisk until smooth.
Add the Lemon Curd a Tablespoon at a time, whisking after each addition, until you reach the flavor that you prefer. If the Lemon Curd is room temperature let this mixture cool for a little bit before pouring onto the cake. If it was refrigerated it should be good to go.
Pour slowly onto the center top of the cake until it runs down the sides.
Any extra can be stored in the refrigerator for a while and slightly heated to pouring consistency when ready to use.
Or like my sister suggested, it would be delicious to dip strawberries in it! Haven't tried that yet but I know that I will! Yum!!
Have a lovely day!

Monday, January 6, 2014

Creamy Potato Soup with Venison Sausage

 It's cold and windy today. The rain took our pretty snow away over night and we are back to a lack luster winter landscape. I wanted to prepare something that would warm up the ones that had to work outside today. I had some leftover mashed potatoes in the fridge and I'm always looking for ways to quickly use the venison meat in the freezer. This pot of soup worked well to use up the taters and some of the sausage. It's full of yummy flavor and I think it will hit the spot!
2 Tablespoons butter
¾ cup chopped sweet onion
¾ cup chopped celery
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 teaspoon dried parsley
3 pints chicken broth
1/3 cup finely shredded carrots
2½ cups prepared mashed potatoes
3½ cups cooked, crumbled
bulk venison sausage
½ cup heavy cream
salt and pepper, to taste
Saute the onion in butter till they are soft, add the celery, basil, and parsley. (If you have the fresh herbs on hand that would be great. I didn't so I used the dried). Continue to sauté till the celery is mostly soft.
Pour one pint of broth into the blender and add all of the onion/celery mixture except 1/3 cup. Blend and pour into a soup kettle. Add the rest of the ingredients except the heavy cream and heat through. When it's good and hot add the heavy cream and stir. Don't let it boil.
Here are a few of my recent favorite photos of Nature. I hope you enjoy these too! :)
 Winter Sunset
My recent visitor!! I was so excited!
And a few days before one of his younger kin was circling around above us! I love the common birds (well, most of them) but I get excited when I see the more unusual ones around here.
These are always favorites too. I think he's trying to tell me something but I don't understand bird speak.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Happy New Year!

My wish for all of you as we start a new year~~
I wish you enough sun to always keep your attitude bright and cheerful
I wish you enough rain so that occasionally you will see a rainbow to remind you of Gods faithfulness
 I wish you enough happiness to keep your spirit from being broken
 I wish you enough pain so that the smallest of joys in life appear much bigger then they are
I wish you enough gratitude so you will take nothing for granted
 I wish you enough gain to satisfy your needs and then some to share with others
 I wish you enough loss so you can better appreciate all your blessing
 I wish you enough grace to forgive without reservations.
♥Be Blessed!♥