Thursday, December 31, 2009

Monday Night Football

The Vikings played on Monday Night Football this past Monday (second time this season).  The outcome of the game was not nearly as good as the food we had, although the second half was pretty exciting with the Viks scoring 30 points to tie the game.  Unfortunately, the Viks couldn't pull it out in overtime.  So, we had to settle for 11-4.  At least we had good food and a fun time with family!

Artichoke Dip (recipe below)

Something healthy - Veggie Tray!

Hot Sauce
Broiled Wings
Hot Wings!!!

Nephew John

Daughter # 1 Eden

Cousin Erin and Daughter #2 Haley


1 cup mayonnaise
1 can artichoke hearts, chopped
1 cup parmesan cheese

Combine ingredients together.  Bake 40 minutes at 350.

There are many versions of this recipe, and many of them are much healthier than this version, but we've been making it forever.  I did not calculate the WW points as I elected not to eat any of this delicious dip!  Talk about will power!


Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Chili Chili Chili

During the winter months, we are a soup/stew kind of family.  Chili is one of our favorites.  I started a while back with a basic Chili con Carne recipe and made a few changes to come up with the recipe we now use.


1 lb ground beef
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 cup)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1 tbps chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano leaves
1 tsp cocoa
1/2 tsp red pepper sauce
2 - 8 oz cans mushrooms, drained or 2 cups fresh mushrooms, sliced
1 can diced tomatoes (15 oz)
1 can beans (light or dark kidney, or white)
2 cups water with 2 cubes beef bouillon or beef base for 2 cups

Brown beef, onion and garlic in 3 quart sauce pan.

Since I used canned mushrooms this time, I threw them in with the onions to brown them a bit, but you can just toss them in when you add the tomatoes, broth and spices.  If I have any, I will also throw in green/red peppers and chopped celery.

Stir in remaining ingredients except beans.  Heat to boiling; reduce heat, cover and simmer 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Stir in beans.  Continue to simmer until beans are heated through.

Serve over whole grain rice with a dollup of sour cream and sliced green onions.


Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Christmas Morning Brunch Part I

We traditionally have a Christmas morning brunch which includes an egg bake and fruit.  This year I added The Pioneer Woman's Cinnamon Rolls.  They were divine!  They are now part of our new Christmas morning brunch tradition (and I'm betting we'll find a few other times to make them as well!).  Click here for the recipe!

Did I mention they were heavenly?  Divine?  Absolutely delicious? 

The dough.

Rolling the dough after smearing with butter, brown sugar and cinnamon!

Cinnamon Rolls in the dish before baking.

Cinnamon Rolls fresh out of the oven, smothered with Maple Icing!
Did I mention they were absolutely phenomenal?



Sunday, December 27, 2009

Christmas Morning Brunch Part II

Egg bake has been a holiday tradition for our family for many years.  No two egg bakes are ever alike as you can layer just about anything you like into the bake...the meat(s) of your choice, vegetables, cheeses, or just keep it plan cheese for those they don't like the 'extras'.  Just use what you happen to have on hand.  I love it with everything!

This Christmas I made two different egg bakes - one was loaded and one was simple.  That way there was something for everyone!

Everything Egg Bake - includes ham, crumbled bacon, cheese, spinach, green onions and mushrooms.

Basic Egg Bake with ham and cheese.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8 slices bread (use any type; great for the 'day old' variety)
16 oz cheese, shredded (use your favorite- I use sharp cheddar or cheddar/jack mix)
2 cups meat (ham, bacon, sausage; or any combination)
2 cups vegetables (chopped green onions, mushrooms, green peppers, spinach, broccoli; or any combination)
8 eggs
3 cups milk
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp dry mustard

Break up bread, layer in a greased (use spray oil) 9x13 pan.  Follow with a layer of cheese (save some for top after baked), meat, veggies and cheese.

Beat eggs in medium bowl with wire whisk.  Add milk, salt and dry mustard.  Mix thoroughly.  Pour over bread, meat, veggie and cheese layers.

Bake 55 minutes.  Sprinkle with remaining cheese.  Let stand 10 minutes.

Note: If I add a lot of veggies, I will increase the milk by 1 cup to 4 cups total and add 2 additional eggs (10 total). Increase baking time to 65 to 70 minutes.

Great to make a day ahead and store in the refrigerator to pop in the oven the next morning!


Peace on Earth

A winter wonderland.  Located at Baseline Road and Mallard Pond Drive, Boulder, CO.

I hope you are enjoying the beauty of the season. :)


Christmas Treats - Secret Fudge Recipe

We've made this fudge recipe for years.  I originally got the recipe from my mom.  It has a secret ingredient, and you'll never guess what it is!


1 lbs. butter
4 lbs. confectioner sugar
1 lbs. Velveeta cheese (yes, you read right.  I said Velveeta cheese!)
3 Tbsp. vanilla

Cut Velveeta and butter into cubes and melt in large pan, stirring constantly (cheese burns easily).  Remove from heat when melted and combined.

Sift cocoa and powdered sugar.  Sifting helps with lumps.  But, make sure you don't hit the sifter too hard...or you'll get it all over!

Mix cheese/butter mixture with cocoa and powdered sugar.  Add vanilla.  Stir until smooth.

Spread in cake/cookie pan.  Refrigerate.  When firm, cut into pieces.



Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas Treats - Mint Oreo Truffles

We tried a new recipe this year - Oreo Truffles. They were scrumptious and very easy to make!


1 pkg Double Stuff Oreos - Cool Mint (1 lb, 1 oz pkg)
   - use 22 cookies with cream centers included
   - use 10 cookies with cream centers discarded
1 - 8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
Candy Melts or Chocolate Coating

Finely crush the cookies in a food processor.  Stir in softened cream cheese.  Use the back of a large sppon to help mash the two together completely.

Roll the mixture into 1 inch balls.  Place on waxed paper covered cookie sheet.  Place in freezer for a few minutes to help retain their shape when dipping.  Melt Candy/Chocolate.  Dip balls into candy/chocolate.  Tap off extra.  Allow to dry. 

Refrigerate and enjoy!


Thursday, December 24, 2009

Christmas Treats - Cut Out Sugar Cookies

The picture above is our home this Christmas Eve.  Every year, one of our neighbors lines the entire cul-de-sac with luminaries. It's so beautiful and peaceful. The picture doesn't do it justice.

The girls and I have spent the last two days baking.  We had a great time making some of our old favorites as well as trying some new recipes we found on a couple of our favorite food blogs. 

When we were finished frosting the last cookie, Jim and I delivered goodie bags to all of our neighbors in the cul-de-sac.  I love these bags!

Now on to the yummy stuff!  Let's meet the pastry chefs!

Daughter #1

Daughter #2


Preheat oven 350 degrees.

3 c. all-purpose flour (unbleached)
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 c. butter (2 sticks)
2 large or extra large egg
1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure almond extract

In a bowl, combine flour, salt and baking powder, set aside. In a separate bowl, cream the sugar and butter. Add the egg and extracts and mix. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat just until completely combined.

No need to chill dough.  Roll onto a floured surface and cut into shapes. Place on parchment lined baking sheets and bake for 7-9 minutes. Let sit a few minutes on the sheet, then transfer to a cooling rack.


3 Tbsp Meringue Powder
4 cups powdered sugar
6 Tbsp water

Beat all ingredients until icing forms peaks (7-10 minutes at low speed with a heavy-duty mixer, 10-12 minutes at high speed with a hand-held mixer).  Makes 3 cups.

Divide and add food coloring.  We used squeeze bottles and they worked wonderfully!

Pipe around the edges of each cookie.

Once you complete the piping around the edges, add a small amount of water to the icing in the bottles, making it the consistency of syrup.  Use the thinner icing to fill inside the piping.

And when you're done, this is what you get!

Stay tuned for another recipe soon!


Sunday, December 20, 2009

Caramel Popcorn

With Christmas less than a week away, we're tapping into more of our traditional holiday recipes.  Since yesterday I've made two batches of heavenly-buttery-creamy-melt in your mouth caramel corn -- for Haley's holiday party last night and for today's afternoon movie marathon.  I thought I would share this wonderful recipe with you! 

3 T. oil
1/2 cup popping corn (prefer Orville Redenbacher white or yellow kernels)
popcorn salt
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup (one stick) butter
7 large marshmallows

Yields:  approx 16 cups Caramel Popcorn

Pop corn  in oil.  Salt the popcorn kernels in the oil with popcorn salt.  Once popped, move to a large bowl.  Meanwhile, melt butter, brown sugar and marshmallows in pan over medium heat, stirring constantly.  Bring to a bubbling boil.  Remove from heat.  Drizzle over popcorn, gently turning popcorn until it's completely coated with caramel.

Tip:  Ensure your popcorn is salted to taste before you drizzle the caramel.  The salt and the sweetness compliment each other.  If you don't, the caramel corn is too sweet.


Monday, December 14, 2009

My Weight Loss Journey - Month 2

Month two of my weight loss journey went well, considering it included Thanksgiving and the start of the holiday season.  For the most part my resolve has remained strong (my continued results don't hurt either).  The week of Thanksgiving I saved all my weekly points and used them on that day.  I even had a very small slice of pecan pie, my favorite!

Daughter #1 discovered a blog dedicated to Weight Watcher recipes, Gina's WW Recipes, and it's very helpful as the points are already figured out.  Additionally, I use E-tools on line to track my food and points and they have a recipe builder function where you can input all the ingredients of your recipe, determine the number of servings and it will calculate the point value for you.  This has been exceptionally helpful in calculating points for our regular family recipes.  It's really helped me realize just how many points (fat and calories) are in certain foods-- and sometimes it's just not worth it!  I guess that means I'm actually changing my thoughts and habits regarding food, which is key to long term success.  For the first time in many attempts, I actually know that I can succeed.  And, while I wish I could drop 10+ pounds a week like the Biggest Loser's do, that's not realistic nor will it help me build long term habits to stay healthy.  :)

Foods that got me through-- Fiber One Bars (again) 2 points per bar and new this month are sugar free Jello pudding cups which are 1 point per cup. I especially like the mousse chocolate flavors.

What's working for me-- Tracking and measuring my food every meal, every day.  H20 Aerobics 4 times a week.  I don't use my weekly points usually and I don't add additional points for working out.

Time for this month's results...

Month 1      -8.4 lbs 

Month 2  
                   Weekly     Total
Week 5       -1.8 lbs    -10.2 lbs
Week 6       -0.0 lbs    -10.2 lbs      Thanksgiving week
Week 7       -3.6 lbs    -13.8 lbs  **earned 5% award!
Week 8       -1.2 lbs    -15.0 lbs

Goals for Month 3:  1) Increase my activity on days I don't have H20 aerobics  2) Ensure I get my 5 veg/fruits per day.  Wish me luck!