Sunday, September 16, 2012

Weekly menu Sept 16

During the last few months, I have lost a couple of pounds and I'm happy to say it's completely due to changing my diet. I have been getting a lot of inquiries of my menu. So, as a cheater blog I have decided to post this weeks menu.

Four of the six meals we have actually made before and are amazing. Two we're just trying out. Some I have stole from others (I'll post the links,) and some we have made on our on.

White Cheddar Mac and Cheese with Squash
-This is freaking amazing! You must try it. We're making it right now and it's making our house smell delicious! Take in mind that the squash has to bake for an hour, so don't do this on a night when time is tight.

Eggplant Panini with pesto
-This is really easy and pretty cheap for us, because we have a basil plant in our backyard. The link for the pesto sauce in the link provided.

Crock pot Buffalo Chicken Lettuce Wraps
-Another great recipe from the skinnytaste blog. Not too spicy for the kiddos, but spicy enough for the parents. *We save some of the chicken for our next recipe. But it's two adults and two small kiddos, so if you're feeding a hungry family, you might want to make more if you plan to make the pizza.

Buffalo Chicken Pizza
(I will post the recipe with pictures when we make it this week. (but if you're grocery shopping, you need ff sour cream, low fat greek yogurt, an ranch dressing packet, blue cheese)

Tofu Nuggets and Baked Sweet Potato chips
-This is one of our tester recipes. I'll let you know how it goes.

Spinach Ricotta Veggie Pizza
-This is another tester recipe, but we will be making a few changes. I'll do my best to post the final recipe on the bog by next weekend.

Saturday is up in the air. I think I'm going to try to get Chef Blackheart to go camping the weekend. I guess we'll see.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

My lack of blog skills

When I started a blog, I thought to myself, who will actually read this? I will spend all this time and no on will read it. But people did read it. I was shocked. I was amazed. I was inspired. Then life changed and the extra thrity-ish minutes to write the blog one to every three days dissappeared in to getting the girls ready for school and to start daycare, to getting my husband healthy, and finally to find the energy to to still maintain my fifty an hour a week job that was demanding as ever. No blogs entries for almost three months. I have been cooking and making healthy meals, (most that my children won't eat simply because it's too fancy.) Also my camera no longer automatically updates my photos which would require for me to manually upload them. That may never happen. If I can't figure out how to fix that problem, I will just go ahead and shut this blog down. I think it all started when I downloaded instagram (although I have never used it.) The picture above is the last one it uploaded, in July.

Oh my I finally figured it out!!!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Hello. Where are we?

Ok, ok, I know, I haven't been posting! Really I just forgot my password, and it seemed like too much work to figure it out. Oh well. Things have been crazy around out little household. Blackheart got into a program at UT@MDAnderson. Rose got into KIPP. Things are looking very busy in the next two years. :) I just hope my gas bill doesn't go crazy high. We've actually been doing really well with cooking at home and trying new healthy recipes. I also found the blog, Skinny Taste. At first we were very skeptical, but everything we've made has been good. The garden was doing so well, but then the never ending rain came. The tomato plants got so heavy, they fell over. They've thinned out considerably. The basil has flowered. We have tons of weeds in the garden. But the green peppers are doing amazing.

Portraits by Rose Blackheart.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Delicious Summer Berry Cobbler (Vegan)

I wrote just yesterday about how I don't really "believe" in making vegetarian and/ or vegan substitutes for recipes. Well I guess I'm literally eating my words. I was looking for a good cobbler to finish off the berries I had bought for the coffee cake. I've been craving cobbler so I went looking. I had a really hard time finding one that spoke to me, finally I found one and it was vegan. Hmmm. Well I guess I'll try it out. I normally don't trust things that don't have milk, cream, and or eggs in bread or pastries, but I must say this turned out great! The only change I made to the recipe was to serve the cobbler with vanilla ice cream rather than make coconut whipped cream (also vegan-Find the original recipe here)
This was also really easy and quick.

This was also Blackheart's Father's Day present since we're on a budget this year and we are saving for either a vacation this winter or a big five year anniversary gift. I don't know if he likes the homemade gift better, but he did enjoy the cobbler!

What you'll need:


Dough Topping:

1 1/3 cup all purpose flour
3 tbsp sugar
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp sea salt
1/4 cup canola oil
1/2 cup soy milk


1/2 cup of sugar
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 cups raspberries
2 cup black berries
(The berries really don't matter, just make sure you have 4 cups of berries)

Items you'll need

2  metal whisks
1 large bowl
1 medium bowl
1 small bowl
1 wooden spoon
9 x 13" baking pan
large spoon

Directions or Guidelines:

Preheat 375F

Sift the flour into the medium sized bowl

Whisk in the rest of the dry ingredients
In a small bowl mix the canola oil and the soy milk
 Whisk the two together
Add the mixture to the flour mixture
 Mix together with a wooden spoon until the consistency of dough
Set aside

Rinse the berries, set aside to drain in the sink

Add all the dry ingredients into the large bowl
 Let your little helpers mix the sugar, flour and cinnamon mixture

Add the berries to the mixture, make sure to completely coat the berries
Place into the pan and scope the dough on top of the berries

 Bake for 45 minutes, turn after 25 minutes.

Let it cool
It was a huge success!
 Ryan thinks it is grrreeaaattt!
 Honestly, Rose LOVED the ice cream, and liked the cobbler
 End result
Freaking Yum!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Blackhearts Paella

We hit up the library today, and I HAVE to check out the cookbook section. It's a must, they're free, there are ones I've never even seen, and they have to have something I've never tried before. Where could I go wrong? Well lucky for me Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution was on the shelf. Beat to hell, but there, none the less. I have been looking for this book casually for about six months. I have two other cookbooks from Jamie, and I really support what he's doing as a whole. Even if I sometimes wonder how he uses so much bacon, and stills calls it healthy. Just because it's called pancetta, does not mean it's not bacon. So as soon as I get home, everyone looks through their finds and I search for new recipes to try out this week. Well lucky for you, page 292, in the Classic Fish section, there is a recipe for Paella.

I don't know what it is either, but it looks good! So I read Jamie's explanation of "traditional Paella." "This is a traditional dish from Spain that works like a dream." (Jamie's Food Revolution) What does Jamie Oliver know about traditional meals from Spain? My uncle is from Spain, and my cousins lived there for years. One of them recently went to school in Spain. Who better to know a traditional Paella recipe? So I immediately text my aunt. She later calls me and explains that paella is a variety of recipes from different areas of Spain. Cities up North would have seafood in the Paella and other would only have meat because that's what is available to them. I've decided that it's the gumbo of Spain. No one will like that but me, but basically you throw in your leftovers and almost overripe veggies with tasty saffron rice. And ta-da you have Paella.

I have changed the recipe a little. It's a must. Why bother posting the exact same recipe? So if you go to your local library and check out Jamie's Food Revolution, there will be some differences.

What you'll need:


1 lb fresh gulf shrimp, peeled and deveined
1/2 lb American/ Mexican style chorizo
a small bunch of fresh Italian parsley
1 medium onion
2 cloves garlic
1 quart chicken broth, preferably organic
olive oil
a pinch of saffron
2 cups jasmine rice
sea salt and fresh ground black pepper
2 handfuls of frozen peas (or fresh of you can get them)
2 lemons

Items you'll need:

2 cutting boards
a small knife
a chef's knife
a large sauce pan
a deep frying pan or iron skillet
a large strainer
a rice cooker for the lazy people
2 large spoons

I'm thinking about getting some leftovers right now. This turned out excellent despite not really following directions.

Directions, or guidelines:

Make 2 cups of rice in the rice cooker

Peel and devein the shrimp

Pick and cut the parsley leaves and roughly chop stalks

Peal, half and roughly chop the onion and garlic

In the cast iron, drizzle some oil and heat.

Add parsley and the chorizo, cook for 3-4 minutes

Add the onions, garlic and shrimp, cook for another 5 minutes or until onion cooks down and the shrimp have become opaque.

In the large sauce pan, turn on heat and add 2 cups of chicken broth. Mix in the pinch of saffron.

Add rice and mix. Add additional chicken broth if the rice seems too dry.

Stir in peas and squeeze in juice of one lemon

Add everything in cast iron into the sauce pan with the rice without transferring all the grease residual from the chorizo.
Cook for an additional 5 minutes with the lid on. Taste and add salt pepper or chicken broth for taste or if the rice got too dry.

 Yay for Paella!

A Very Berry Blackheart Coffee Cake

Things have been super crazy around my house in the past month. Last night I finally had the mental breakdown that had been looming for weeks. Tears were shed, words were had, and BlueBell's Red Velvet Cake was consumed. Then miraculously I woke in an amazing mood. Does anyone see this bi-polar behaviour besides me? Anyhow, I am in my best form today and I have been busy!

Last weekend Blackheart and I had a whole evening to ourselves. We planned going out to a bar, hanging out with all our old friends who didn't have kids, and staying up as late as possible. So of course we got coffee to keep us awake past 8:30. Since then, we've both been a little obsessed. I missed having someone give me dirty looks while I was ordering a very expensive coffee, and having them send  me their negative views of who I am as a person determined by what I just ordered. Blackheart just missed tasty coffee. So the other day, we both get coffee separately, but from the same place. And he gets our lovely little ones the very berry coffee cake to hold them through the 5 minute round trip from our house to the coffee shop. BIG MISTAKE! I haven't stopped hearing about coffee cake since. I mean seriously, anything that could get Rose to stop talking about her birthday for almost two days was welcomed, but now I realize it was just a replacement. So what's a mom to do. Google a Very Berry Coffee Cake Recipe! So I got this from Chef In You. Now Chef in you generally has substitutions to make it vegetarian or vegan. Stuff that I appreciate, but don't actually follow. So I'm going to change it all to use butter, milk, eggs, and all that. Now take note, I had to increase my bake time by 15 minutes. I'm not sure if her oven is off, but others commented that they had the same problem.

Alright, alright, enough of my chit chat. Let's make coffee cake. Yummy!

This takes about an hour and a half total to cook, so give yourself some time.

What you'll need:


Coffee Cake
1 1/2 Cups of sifted all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup softened unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp low fat sour cream
1/2 cup milk (whatever you have)
Total of a 1 1/2 of berries, (I used 1/2 cup of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries

Crumb Topping
3 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1tsp ground cinnamon

Items you'll need:

A mixer
2 large bowls (3 if you don't like to wash)
a fork
a spatula
an  8x8 baking pan
metal whisk

Instructions, or what I like to call guidelines:

Preheat oven to 350

Grease the bottom of the baking pan. (I used an olive oil spritzer I have made instead of PAM

Sift the flour and mix with the baking powder and salt.
Whisk the dry ingredients

Beat the butter and the sugar until they are fluffy.
 My little helpers
Add the eggs until thoroughly mixed (It looks like grits to me at this point.)
Add the vanilla, lemon zest and the sour cream. Mix well.

Add 1/2 of the flour mixture, add the milk, add the remaining flour mixture

 Mix well
It almost looks like icing. Yum.
Put half the batter into the baking pan.

Rinse your berries
Lay the berries into the batter
Add the remainder of the batter on top of the berries
Make the topping. Here's the ingredients, just so we don't have to scroll up.

Crumb Topping
3 tbsp cold butter
1/2 cup of brown sugar
1/2 cup all purpose flour
1tsp ground cinnamon

Mix all dry ingredients then use a fork to work butter into the sugar mixture.

My topping failed miserably because the butter was too warm, but it all worked out in the end.

Bake for 40 minutes, check for browning and if it's browning too much cover with aluminum foil.

Bake an additional 10 minutes. Add 5 minutes of bake time if it's not done.

The Very Berry Coffee cake came out awesome!, but I did have some difficulty getting the bake time correct. The girls really did help with this one, and they were so proud when they got to eat their coffee cake. Their smiles and yums were worth every mintue. Hope yours turns out as good for you!

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Roasted Banana Blueberry Muffins

Happy Saturday Morning!!! We've got a awesome day planned. I have work, we have a three year old monster party, and to Nana's for the girls and night out for the adults! Yay! It's going to be a busy busy day. And Rose has been telling my she's hungry since she woke up. So I decided to make some banana blueberry muffins to get started. This is a first try for this recipe and I didn't have any ripe bananas. So I stole a banana roasting recipe from A Cozy Kitchen. Hope this works out. Keep your fingers crossed for me.

Things you'll need:


Roasted Banana recipe

2 large bananas
2 tsp of brown sugar
2 tsp cold butter cubed

Roasted Banana Blueberry Muffins

1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup quick bake oatmeal
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed roasted banana and juice 
1/2 cup milk
1 large egg
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1 1/2 cups fresh blueberries or 1 1/2 cups frozen blueberries, unthawed (6 to 7 ounces)

What else you'll need:

A knife
Cookie sheet ( Lined with Al, optional)

2 Large bowls
muffin pan
muffin liners (optional)


Roast the bananas first.

Preheat to 400F 

Line a cookie sheet with aluminum foil

Cut a silt in the banana skin. Open the skin and sprinkle 1 tsp of brown sugar on each banana

Cube 2 tsp of stick butter, split and place on top of the bananas

Roast the bananas for 15 minutes
Leave the oven at 400F

In the meantime, mix the dry ingredients on a large bowl.

Aerate with a whisk

Mash the roasted bananas with the juice in a large bowl
Add the 1/2 cup of milk ( I used whole milk, but you could use skim or soy)

Add large egg.

Add the lemon juice. If you're using a lemon for the lemon juice make sure not to get any seeds into the batter.

Mix in the dry ingredients

Make sure it is completely mixed.

Was the blueberries

Fold in the blueberries
Separate the better into the muffin pan

Bake for 20  minutes or until the muffins are done in the middle (Use a toothpick to check)

Remove from oven
Remove from muffin pan using a fork

Let the muffins cool 10 minutes on a cooling rack.

And done!

Note for next time, I think I will use an egg wash to brown the tops a little more.

They were pretty delicious.