Follow by Email

Monday, December 13, 2010

Peppermint Meringues

I was in Hawaii when all the food blogs had cookie week, so I've been having my own the past few days!  I started out with a simple, but so delicious recipe from my Auntie. 

These are so easy to make with kids!  And they stand out in a cookie exchange.  A lot of people are intimidated by making meringue, but don't be.  Have your kids smash the peppermint candy canes in a bag, and they can even do the work of holding the mixer for you.  Let them practice cracking eggs, and sprinkling the candy bits on top.  SO easy, and SOOO yummy!


Makes 3 dozen.  Allow total time of 3 hours until ready to eat, but prep time is only about 20 minutes.

ingredients
2 egg whites
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup sugar
2 peppermint candy canes, crushed

directions

In a bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Sprinkle with salt and cream of tartar; beat until soft peaks form. Gradually add sugar, beating until stiff peaks form, about 7 minutes. Drop by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased foil or paper-lined baking sheets; sprinkle with the crushed candy. Bake at 225° for 1-1/2 hours. Turn off heat; leave cookies in the oven with the door ajar for at least 1 hour or until cool. Store in an airtight container. Yield: 3 dozen.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Disney On Ice Denver 2010

We had the amazing opportunity to attend Disney on Ice at the Pepsi Center on Thursday night.  We had the best seats in the 8th row center!  (I was hoping to write about this on Friday but have not been feeling well.)  We have still been talking about that night though, as we such such a wonderful time!

We got to come early and meet Mickey and Minnie, and the kids got their pictures taken with them (to follow, hubby took the camera out of the country on a trip!)  They were so cute and wide eyed!  The characters were so friendly, and super cute!

It started out with the characters trying to figure out whose birthday it was, and a number where they all played keep away with the Mad Hatter's Hat.  Then there was a Fantastia number that was AMAZING with brooms dancing on ice, on screen, and coming down from the ceiling.  My daughters favorite was definitely the princesses!  They did a "How do you know?" (you're in love) number where they introduced each princess and they danced with their princes.  Mickey and Minnie throughout all of it were lost to each other and hopping all over the world trying to find each other again, so there were dances from all over the world.  There were also dances for many holidays. 

Probably my least favorite was the Halloween one, as we aren't into scary stuff, and I wasn't prepared for it.  Otherwise, my favorite was definitely the amazing finale!  All the characters were on the ice, and there were fireworks, and huge ribbons and fabric coming down from the ceiling.  The kids loved the finale too!

The take home souveniours were expensive which was expected.  Expect to spend at least $15 per kid for something decent to take home.   Be prepared for people walking the isles trying to sell you stuff too!

I am so thankful to Feld Entertainment for the opportunity to attend, and for the tickets to give away! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Disney On Ice Winner Announced!

Hello lovely readers!

Thank you so much to everyone that entered my Disney On Ice giveaway!

Today I get to announce the winner! Congrats to Miss Amy G!!!! You will receive a family 4-pack of tickets for the Thursday, December 9th, 2010 show at 7:00pm at the Pepsi Center in Denver ,CO.

You can still buy tickets, and check out my previous post for a special coupon code I have to offer my readers. I hope to see you there!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Layered Bean Dip

I made this for a Book Club recently, and everyone asked for the recipe.  It's something I got out of an old Cooking Light magazine.  It is SO good you'll be shocked it's light!  You can make this 24 hours before and leave it in the fridge until you are ready to bake it, so it makes for an easy addition to a menu when you are entertaining.

Layered Bean Dip


Serve with pita chips or baked tortilla chip. I double this for a large crowd and serve it in a 9X13 pan. This is a light version of a regular bean dip.

Yield: about 2 1/2 cups dip (serving size: 1/4 cup)

ingredients

1 (16-ounce) can fat-free refried beans

1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained

1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream

1 cup bottled salsa

1 cup (4 ounces) pre-shredded reduced-fat Mexican blend or cheddar cheese

Chopped cilantro (optional)

preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Combine beans; spread in an 8-inch square baking dish. Spread sour cream over beans; top with salsa and cheese. Cover; bake at 375° for 20 minutes. Uncover; bake 10 minutes or until bubbly. Garnish with cilantro, if desired.

Note: To make pita chips, cut 5 (6-inch) onion-flavored or regular pitas into 8 wedges each. Arrange on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray. Lightly coat tops of wedges with cooking spray, sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and 1/4 teaspoon salt. Bake at 375º for 8 minutes or until lightly browned.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies - oh yeah!

We made the BEST cookies this week!  I do not say that likely.  I am not a huge cookie person.  And by that I mean I'm picky.  A cookie pretty much has to knock my socks off to make me eat the extra calories.  I'd take a cupcake over a cookie most any day.  This one however knocked my socks and my stocking hat off.  :D  These cookies are so great because whether you are 4 years old or 80 they have that kind of comfort food yummy-ness to them, without wrecking your diet.  Even better, they are sugar free, and gluten free folks. 

So what are you waiting for? 

Peanut Butter and Jelly Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 14 minutes
(Gluten and sugar free!)


¾ cup sugar substitute (I used Splenda)

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup creamy Trans fat-free peanut butter (it says creamy, I prefer chunky)

1 teaspoon baking soda

¼ cup sugar-free jam, any flavor (I used Blackberry)



Heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Mix sugar substitute, egg, and vanilla together with an electric mixture on low for 3 minutes. Add peanut butter and baking soda. Mix on medium until dough comes together, about 30 seconds.

Form dough into 24 (2-teaspoon) balls and place on the baking sheet 1 inch apart. Gently press your thumb into the center of each to make an indentation. Fill each indentation with ½ teaspoon jam.

Bake until lightly browned on the bottom, 12 to 14 minutes. Let cookies cool briefly on the pan, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 24 (2 per serving)

Per serving: 140 calories, 11g fat, 2.5 grams sat fat, 6 g protein, 7 g carbs, 1 g fiber, 210 g sodium

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Disney on Ice Family 4-Pack Tickets GIVEAWAY




I am so excited for the opportunity to give away tickets to Disney on Ice here in Denver CO!
I remember going to Disney on Ice when I was little, and just having my jaw dropped, eyes wide, the whole time. I was dazzled, and it is still such a vibrant memory to me. I am so excited to take my kids this year, and to get to watch their eyes get wide, and have them experience the same thing.

Disney On Ice is going to present "Let’s Celebrate!" this December. It’s one colossal party on ice, with all your favorite Disney friends! Enjoy a winter wonderland with Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse, a Halloween haunt with the Disney Villains, a Very Merry Unbirthday Party, a Royal Ball with the Disney Princesses and more in a magical medley of holidays, celebrations and festivals from around the globe.

SOOO.... here's the scoop :)

I currently have 2 ticket offers if you are interested in immediately purchasing your tickets:

Ticket offer #1: Purchase a 4-pack of tickets for only $44 for weekday performances. Enter the code FFA4 at: www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce or call 1-866-461-6556 (Weekday = Thurs 7pm, & Fri 11am performances. Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required for 4-pack; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each)

Ticket offer #2: Receive $4 off weekend tickets. You also enter the code FFA4 at: www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce or call 1-866-461-6556

A few things about the show this year if you are interested in purchasing immediately:
  • This is the first time ever this all-new Disney Celebration has come to Denver
  • This show is playing PEPSI CENTER only (not Denver Coliseum like usual)
  • OPENING NIGHT PRICE is only $14 – (!!)

The performance schedule is:
Thursday, Dec. 9 – 7PM
Friday, Dec. 10 – 11AM & 7PM
Saturday, Dec. 11 – 11AM, 3PM & 7PM
Sunday, Dec. 12 – 1PM & (5PM SPANISH PERFORMANCE)

The ticket prices are:
$75 (Front Row)
$42 (VIP)
$26
$20
$15
*Service charges and handling fees may apply

Tickets are on sale through TicketHorse at www.TicketHorse.com/DisneyOnIce, by calling 1.866.461.6556 and at the Pepsi Center Box Office.


GIVEAWAY

** You do not need a blog or website to enter this giveaway. You only need a VALID email address, and to live in the Denver Metro Area **

Buy It: Can’t Wait?! You can buy Disney on Ice tickets now using the great link I have provided for you above.


Win It: One lucky winner will receive a family 4-pack of tickets for the Thursday, December 9th, 2010 show at 7:00 PM at the Pepsi Center in Denver CO.

To Enter: With the holidays approaching, it's a wonderful time of year to reflect on all the blessings we have in life. Write a comment below and tell us what you’re thankful for for a chance to WIN tickets to Disney On Ice presents Let’s Celebrate!

Leave me a comment below and please leave a valid email address that I can contact you at if you are the winner!

You can enter for a family member or friend, but the person on the ticket MUST be present at the show. Tickets can be picked up at the Will-Call window with a valid photo ID before the start of the show on Thursday, December 9th 2010 7:00 PM.

Additional Entries

Post: Post a Blog/Facebook about this giveaway (please leave me a link ) in your comment.

Follow: Follow this blog (leave a comment below letting me know you did this)

Twitter: Follow me on twitter and tweet about this giveaway (once per day)


You will have until 11/30 to enter this contest. The winner will be announced using random.org on 12/1 .

Please remember to leave 1 comment per entry or they will not be counted separately.

(All additional entries are optional and worth 1 additional entry each)



Winner will have 24 hours to claim their prize or a new winner will be selected.
Get your entries in, and be sure to spread the word!

** I was given review item free of charge for review on my blog. No cash compensation was received. All ideas and opinions in this review are my own, unless otherwise stated. Information about the company may be paraphrased or quoted.**


I would like to say a special thank you to Feld Entertainment for this opportunity.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Portobello Burgers

Even though the time of year to grill on the back porch is over (at least for us :) I still like a good vegetarian burger once in awhile. We had these the other night and they were fabulous! The kids loved them too, and I got a table of thumbs up :). I ate mine with no bun, and some chipotle rance sauce drizzled on top. I can't wait to have them again.

Portobello Burgers
Meaty mushrooms — combined with protein-packed textured vegetable protein (TVP), provolone cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes — make these vegetarian burgers hearty and super flavorful. TVP is a favorite vegetarian source of nonanimal protein and can be found at health food stores. If you have extra time, form the burgers ahead and refrigerate for 30 minutes for easier handling.

6 servings
Prep time: 20 minutes
Start to finish: 25 minutes

ingredients
1 cup textured vegetable protein (TVP)
4 ounces provolone cheese, shredded (1 cup)
1 large egg, lightly beaten
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 medium portobello mushrooms, stemmed and chopped
1 small onion, finely chopped
1 small zucchini, coarsely grated
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (packed in oil), drained and chopped
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

instructions
Combine TVP, cheese, egg, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a mixing bowl; stir to mix well.
Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add garlic and sauté until fragrant, 30 seconds. Add mushrooms, onion, and zucchini; sauté, stirring often, until vegetables are softened and liquid is evaporated, 8 minutes. Stir in tomatoes. Add vegetable mixture to egg mixture; stir to mix well. Cover and let stand 5 minutes.

Shape vegetable mixture into 6 (3-inch) patties. Heat remaining oil in a clean skillet over medium heat. Cook patties, turning once with a wide spatula, until lightly browned, 3 minutes per side.

Recipe from The South Beach Diet® Quick & Easy Cookbook.
For information on the book, click here.
Nutritional Information:230 calories16 total fat (5 g sat)11 g carbohydrate14 g protein4 g fiber190 mg sodium

Friday, November 5, 2010

Got leftover candy? Bake it! Part 2

I came across another recipe, and this one more flexible for using up all that halloween candy.

Candy Bar Squares

3/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 cup brown sugar, packed
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups quick cooking oats
1 1/2 cups flour
1 egg
1 (14 ounce) can sweetened condensed milk
4 cups candy bars, chopped (for example Snickers, Milky Way)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, combine butter or margarine and peanut butter. Add brown sugar and baking soda; mix well. Stir in oats and flour. In a seperate bowl, reserve 1 3/4 cup crumb mixture; set aside. Stir egg into remaining crumb mixture; press firmly in bottom of 15x10x1 inch pan. Bake 15 minutes. Spread sweetened condensed milk over baked crust. Stir together reserved crumb mixture and candy bar pieces; sprinkle evenly over top. Bake 25 minutes or until golden. Cool. Cut into bars. Store covered at room temperature.

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Leftover Halloween Candy? Bake it!

My aunt passed on these recipes to me for that use candy bars. I think they are just perfect for using up all that Halloween candy! Bake these up, and freeze them to put in the kids lunch boxes. Or send them with the kids for the teachers lounge at school. Of course, save a few for yourself :) If you don't have enought candy for one of these recipes, it's the perfect excuse to head to Target and buy all that candy at 75%.

Butterfinger Cookies

ingredients
1/2 cup butter (or marg) softened
3/4 cup white sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 egg whites
1 1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4-5 butterfinger candy bars (2.1 ounces each) chopped

directions
Mix butter and sugars, then add eggs and beat well. Add peanut butter and vanilla, and blend. In a seperate bowl combine flour, baking soda, and salt and then add to the creamed mixture and stir well. Stir in candy bars. Shape into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on a greased baking shet. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Cool.

tip
Unwrap the butterfinger bars, and put them doubled up freezer bags, and put in the freezer a day ahead. When frozen, just use the side of a hammer to smash the bars in the bags into small pieces.

Rolo Cookies
Some places Rolos are hard to find, so look for them first before planning to make this recipe

ingredients
1 bag of Rolo candy (should have 48-50 pieces)
1 cup sugar plus more for rolling
1 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
3/4 cup cocoa
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/2 cups flour
finely chopped pecans

Directions
Mix sugars, vanilla, eggs, cocoa and baking soda well with an electric mixer. Add flour and mix again. Shape 1 tablespoon dough around a Rolo candy. Roll in finely chopped pecans and then roll in sugar. The dough will be soft to work with. Do not flatten the cookie. Bake for about 8 minutes at 350 degrees until lightly cracked. Do not overbake. Cool.

optional
When cool, drizzle with melted almond bark.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Jack-o'-latern Quesadillas


Do you have favorite recipes you come back to every Fall? It's a tradition in our house every year to make a HUGE amount of caramel corn, and bag it up all pretty to deliver to the neighborhood. This year my air popper died so we didn't get to make as much as we wanted, and only got to half the neighborhood, but it was still so much fun! We carved pumpkins, and Saturday will go to a local Harvest Party.

If you have any fun fall recipes or tradition, I'd love to hear them!
Here's a cute recipe I plan to try with the kiddos this weekend in between festivities. We'll use Whole Wheat low carb tortillas.

Jack-o'-latern Quesadillas
from delish.com

You'll need a sharp paring knife to create the recognizable faces in the tortilla.

ingredients
16 (8-inch) flour tortillas, preferably red or orange
8 teaspoon(s) vegetable oil
4 cup(s) (12 ounces) grated pepper Jack cheese

directions
Preheat broiler to high and place an oven rack about 5 inches from heat source. Line a baking sheet with foil and mist with nonstick cooking spray. Stack 8 tortillas on a cutting board and use a sharp paring knife to trim away some of top, leaving a 1-inch "stem" so tortillas are shaped like pumpkins. Repeat with remaining 8 tortillas. Use a knife to cut two triangles for eyes and a crescent for a mouth into 8 tortillas.

Warm 1 teaspoon oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a tortilla without eyes and mouth, sprinkle with a scant 1/2 cup cheese. Cover with cutout tortilla. Cook until underside is golden, 1 to 2 minutes, slide onto baking sheet, and repeat to make three more quesadillas.

Place baking sheet under broiler and broil until tops are golden. Slide onto a serving platter and loosely tent with foil to keep warm. Repeat with remaining tortillas and cheese. Serve immediately.

nutritional information
Calories 524 Total Fat 25g Saturated Fat 11g Cholesterol 45mg Sodium 753mg Total Carbohydrate 55g Dietary Fiber 3g Sugars Protein 19g

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Curried Chicken Salad with Apples and Walnuts

Yep, we're still working on apples. I love it! I made this the other night, and served it with some roasted kohlrabi and new potatoes. It was fabulous! I highly recommend using Organic Chicken.

If you have some leftovers, wrap them up in a tortilla and bring them to work for lunch, or pack them in your kids lunch box.

2 8-ounce boneless skinless chicken breasts
4 1/4 -inch-thick slices fresh ginger
1 teaspoon black peppercorns
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper
1 heirloom apple, cored and chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
1/4 cup low-fat mayonnaise
2 tablespoons store-bought apple chutney or make your own
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh cilantro
5 ounces arugula
1/3 cup toasted chopped walnuts

1. Place chicken in a 2-quart saucepan and cover with water by 2 inches. Add ginger slices and peppercorns. Bring to a boil, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Remove chicken and place on a plate to cool. (Discard cooking liquid.) When cool, chop into 1/2-inch pieces.

2. In a medium bowl, place chicken, celery, green onions, bell pepper, and apple. In a small bowl, mix mayonnaise, chutney, lime juice, ginger, curry powder, pepper, salt, and cilantro. Mix until smooth. Add to chicken mixture and toss well.3. Divide arugula onto four plates. Top with chicken salad and garnish with walnuts.

PER SERVING: 180 cal, 31% fat cal, 6g fat, 1g sat fat, 44mg chol, 20g protein, 12g carb, 2g fiber, 357mg sodium

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Apple, Raspberry, and Frisée Salad

I'm still here, and still in apple heaven. I made this salad the other night, and it was divine. The lime in the salad dressing does something so perfect with the raspberries. Put it on your must try list!

Dressing
2 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
1 tablespoon lime juice
1/2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Salad:
3 cups frisée
5 cups mâche
1 sweet-tart red apple (such as Gala or Braeburn), cored and sliced
3/4 cup fresh raspberries
2 tablespoons (1 ounce) crumbled goat cheese
2-3 tablespoons toasted chopped pecans

1. Mix all dressing ingredients together in a small bowl. In a large salad bowl, combine frisée, mâche, apple, raspberries, goat cheese, and pecans. Drizzle with about three-fourths of the dressing and toss gently.

PER SERVING: 104 cal, 62% fat cal, 8g fat, 2g sat fat, 4mg chol, 2g protein, 8g carb, 2g fiber, 38mg sodium

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

German Apple Cake

We have SO many apples right now, it's awesome! We have two apple trees in our back yard, plus we got a bushel from our CSA. We are in apple heaven. We've been chopping them up in lettuce salads, chicken salads, making crisps, pancakes, you name it.

But one apple recipe I can't wait to make every year is one that I had growing up called German Apple Cake. Not very many people have heard of it, or had it. But when they take a bite they always groan and say "This is SOoooooo good!" :) All it needs is a dusting of Powdered Sugar to serve.

If making at altitude, keep an eye on the top. You might have to cover it with foil the last 15 minutes so the top doesn't burn, but the cake can cook through.

GERMAN APPLE CAKE

3 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup orange juice
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups generously filled thinly sliced peeled apples (about 4-5 apples)
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
3 tablespoons sugar
Confectioners' sugar, optional

Combine the first three ingredients; set aside. In a large mixing bowl, beat
eggs and sugar. Combine oil and orange juice and add alternately with dry
ingredients to egg/sugar mixture. Mix until smooth; add vanilla and beat well.
Pour half of the batter into a greased and floured Bundt (tube) pan. Arrange
half the apples over the batter. Combine cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle
half over the apples. Top with remaining batter, apples and cinnamon/sugar.
Bake at 350 degrees for 1 hour and 10 minutes or until cake tests done.
Allow cake to cool 1 hour before removing from baking pan.
Cool, apple side up, on a wire rack. (It is served with apple side up, or upside down.)
Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar, if desired.
Yield: 12-16 servings

My auntie says: "With long, cold winters we have here, this recipe has warmed many a kitchen.
The cake is perfect for breakfast, mealtime dessert or evening snack. I've make it
for many parties, and I've always received compliments on it and shared the recipe
with many people."

Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Ringling Brothers Circus Comes to Denver!




We had the opportunity to go to the opening night of the Ringling Bros Circus Thursday night and it was so much fun. The kids (and I) have never been to a circus before.
This year’s Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus presents a new production called Barnum’s FUNundrum, which celebrates the 200TH anniversary of the birth of the legendary P.T. Barnum. It is seriously JUMBO-sized. It will be playing Denver Coliseum September 30 – October 10.

The animals are beautiful! You can learn more about their animal care, and specifically, their commitment to the Asian elephant at http://www.elephantcenter.com/. They also invite everyone to come see their high standards of animal care firsthand at the Ringling Bros.® Animal Open HouseSM which is FREE to all ticket holders! You get to see all of the amazing animals up close, ask questions and speak with their animal staff. This special event begins 90 minutes before every show (excludes the Friday, October 8th, 11am school performance). So come early! Your kiddos will love to pet the animals and see them up close before the performance.

You also get to meet the performers and hang out on the main floor 60 minutes before the performance starts. This was really cool! The kids got autographs, pictures, and got to see up close some juggling and other acts. We had such a fun time.

I have a coupon code to offer to all of my Colorado readers:

Purchase a 4‐pack of tickets for only $44 for weekday performances with the code FFAWD
or receive $4 off weekend tickets with the code FFAWE
Enter the chosen code at: www.Ticketmaster.com/circuspartners or call 1‐800‐745‐3000
(Weekday = Wed 7pm, Thurs 7pm, & Fri 11am performances. Minimum purchase of 4 tickets required for 4‐pack; additional tickets above 4 can be purchased at $11 each.)

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes & Other Riches

Wednesday night I had the opportunity to go to a fabulous exclusive members-only adult event at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science . I went with the Mile High Mamas and Mom It Forward Colorado groups and we had a blast!

The evening was so that we could have a private showing of their new exhibit The Amazon Voyage: Vicious Fishes & Other Riches. We got to tour the exhibition, and enjoy a South American buffet dinner.

The new exhibit is amazing, and I can't wait to take my three kids! They had interactive videos and stations to learn more about all of the animals on the Amazon River. There is a huge life size snake, insects, birds, and of course "vicious fishes" galore! My boys especially are going to be thrilled to see it all!

It's a beautiful museum and the new exhibit will be in Denver until January 2, 2011. I was so honored to be amoung such amazing ladies that night. Thank you so much to Mile High Mamas, Mom It Forward Colorado, and The Denver Museum of Nature and Science for having me!!!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole

I don't know if it was the hearty whole wheat bread, the spinich, or the hint of dijon in it, but my husband declared this his favorite egg bake ever! I leave out the roasted red peppers for the kids. They aren't picky, but they aren't into them in their breakfast food. I highly recommend this, it's delish!

Also, you can make this the night before, and just bake in the morning. Perfect for when you have company.

Ham and Cheese Breakfast Casserole
Serves 6 (we are a family of 5 and we got 2 generous breakfasts out of this)
Time 1 hour and 45 minutes

Ingredients
4 large eggs
4 large egg whites
1 cup(s) nonfat milk
2 tablespoon(s) Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon(s) minced fresh rosemary
1/4 teaspoon(s) freshly ground pepper
5 cup(s) chopped spinach, wilted (see Tip)
4 cup(s) (about 1/2 pound, 4-6 slices) whole-grain bread, crusts removed if desired, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 cup(s) (5 ounces) diced ham steak
1/2 cup(s) chopped jarred roasted red peppers
3/4 cup(s) shredded Gruyère, or Swiss cheese

Directions
Preheat oven to 375°F. Coat a 7-by-11-inch glass baking dish or a 2-quart casserole with cooking spray.
Whisk eggs, egg whites, and milk in a medium bowl. Add mustard, rosemary, and pepper; whisk to combine. Toss spinach, bread, ham, and roasted red peppers in a large bowl. Add the egg mixture and toss well to coat. Transfer to the prepared baking dish and push down to compact. Cover with foil.
Bake until the custard has set, 40 to 45 minutes. Uncover, sprinkle with cheese and continue baking until the pudding is puffed and golden on top, 15 to 20 minutes more. Transfer to a wire rack and cool for 15 to 20 minutes before serving.

Tips & Techniques
Tip:
To wilt spinach, rinse thoroughly with cool water. Transfer to a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and punch several holes in it. Microwave on High until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Squeeze out excess moisture before adding the spinach to the recipe.Make Ahead Tip: Prepare casserole through Step 2; refrigerate overnight. Let stand at room temperature while the oven preheats. Bake as directed in Step 3.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

Thing I like about this recipe: you can make it 24 hours ahead, and it uses whole wheat bread!

Definitely serve it with warmed maple syrup!

Baked Apple-Cinnamon French Toast

Serves 12

Ingredients


3 cup(s) nonfat milk
2 cup(s) pasteurized liquid egg whites, such as Egg Beaters
3 tablespoon(s) honey
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon(s) salt
1 bag(s) sliced whole-wheat bread
1 cup(s) chopped dried apple rings (3 ounces)
1/2 cup(s) raisins
1 1/2 teaspoon(s) ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon(s) freshly grated nutmeg
1 tablespoon(s) confectioner's sugar

Directions
Whisk milk, egg whites, honey, vanilla and salt in a large bowl.
Trim crusts off 8 bread slices and set aside. Cut the crusts and the remaining bread into 1-inch pieces. Toss the cut bread with dried apples, raisins, cinnamon and nutmeg in a large bowl.
Coat a 9-by-13-inch baking dish with cooking spray. Transfer the bread mixture to the pan. Lay the reserved crustless slices evenly over the top of the casserole, trimming to fit. Whisk the milk mixture one more time, then pour evenly over the bread. Press the bread down with the back of a wooden spoon, making sure it's evenly moist. Cover with parchment paper, then foil, and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 24 hours.
Preheat oven to 350°F.
Bake the casserole, covered, for 40 minutes. Uncover and continue baking until puffed, set and lightly browned, about 20 minutes more. Let stand for 10 minutes; dust with confectioner's sugar and serve.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Rhubarb Pecan Muffins

Hello! I know I've been MIA in 2010, but that's just the season I'm in right now. So busy with the kids, and other things. Also I've realized I actually cook more when I'm not trying to keep up with the blog and other things, so that puts me in a weird position. Blog about cooking, and cook less? Or blog less, and cook more? I've chosen the latter lately. We'll see what the rest of 2010 brings!

I went to the midwest to visit family, and my Auntie sent me home with a huge bag of Rhubarb, and a recipe for muffins. It worked great at altitude also, I just reduced the cooking time by about 5 minutes. Also I tried some variations with Whole Wheat Pastry Flour instead of white flour, and Splenda instead of sugar, and they all turned out great, so feel free to use any combinations of those things as well if you try this. They are so good, and make for a hearty snack or breakfast! These muffins have simple instructions and come together quickly. If you can get your hands on some rhubarb, enjoy!!

Rhubarb Pecan Muffins
Makes one dozen
Doubles and freezes well

2 cups flour (white, or whole wheat pastry, or one cup each)
3/4 cup sugar (or Splenda)
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 tsp. grated orange peel
3/4 cup orange juice
2 eggs
1 1/4 chopped rhubarb
3/4 cup chopped pecans

Combine eggs, orange peel, and juice. Add dry ingredients all at once. Stir until moistened, then stir in pecans and rhubarb. Fill 12 lightly greased muffin cups 3/4 full. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes ( 20 to 25 at altitude).

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I'm back!




I've been gone for so long! For personal reasons, I've been unable to post (or cook much) this past month, but I think I'm back in the game now. I thought I'd share some pictures from this past months little cooking we did - mostly all for special occasions or traditions that we couldn't let pass by.
All three kiddos had Bdays, so you get to see three cakes that my husband helped me make (what a man!) (The holes in the second cake above are from the candles being taken out! Still haven't gotten the better pics of that cake on the computer)
The third picture is a picture of Baked Alaska from New Years eve. We had friends over to celebrate, and we watched Julia Childs make Baked Alaska from the Julie & Julia DVD extra, and then bought the ingredients. It wouldn't light on fire as much as the show (we then rewatched later, and realized we forgot the step about warming the liquor. It's a layer of angel food cake, chocolate hazelnut ice cream, with meringue (made by my wonderful MIL!!). You then singe the edges with a torch, pour a little brandy over it, and light it on fire. viola! :)

The last pictures shows our Christmas morning tradition of making apple Pannekoeken (oven puffed pancakes) with the kids.
More to come soon!!