Sunday, December 19, 2010

Gingerbread Man Cookies

My friends laughed at me when I told them I didn't know people ate gingerbread cookies. I seriously thought they were just for decoration. These were great, so I am glad I was wrong.  Charlie's a big fan too! I got this particular recipe from Simply Recipes online.


3 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour

3/4 tsp baking soda

3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed

1 Tbsp ground ginger

1/2 tsp ground cloves

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg

1/4 tsp finely ground black pepper

1/2 tsp salt

1 large egg

1/2 cup usulfured molasses

Royal Icing:

1 egg white

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1 3/4 cup confectioners sugar


1. In a large bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and spices. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter.  Add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Mix in eggs and molasses. Gradually add the flour mixture; combine on low speed.  Divide dough in thirds; wrap each third in plastic. Chill for at least an hour or overnight.  Before rolling out, let sit at room temperature for 5-10 minutes.

3.  Heat over to 350 degrees.  Place a dough third on a large piece of lightly floured parchment paper.  Using a rolling pin, roll dough to 1/8 inch thick.  Use a cookie cutter or stencil to create desired shapes.

4.  Transfer to ungreased baking sheets.  Bake until crisp, not darkened, 8 to 10 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Let sit for a few minutes ad then use a metal spatula to transfer cookies to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. To make the royal icing beat the egg white and lemon juice together, adding the powdered sugar until the mixture holds stiff peaks.  Have fun decorating.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Sugar Cookies with Royal Icing

I made these for a playgroup Christmas party I am having tomorrow.  It's from The Joy of Cooking. I frosted some with E and have some for the kids to decorate tomorrow.


3 cups all purpose flower

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp baking soda

1 cup unsalted butter, room temp (I used salted because I was too lazy to go shopping. Don't do what I did.)

1 cup white sugar

2 large eggs

2 tsp pure vanilla extract


1. In a separate bowl whisk together the flour, salt, and baking soda.

2. In another bowl blend together the sugar and butter until fluffy and well combined (about 3 to 4 minutes). Add the vanilla extract and eggs. Blend together until well combined. Add flour and beat until you have a smooth dough.

3.  Divide batch in two. Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator for an hour or so, until firm enough to roll.

4. Preheat the oven to 350.  Line baking sheets with parchment paper.  On a lightly floured surface roll out dough to 1/4 inch thick.

5. Bake 8-10 minutes, until edges are starting to brown.

Royal Icing Ingredients:

2 large egg whites (salmonella, what?)

2 tsp fresh lemon juice

3 cups confectioners sugar, sifted


Using hand mixer, beat together egg whites and lemon juice.  Add confectioners sugar. Mix well on low until it reaches desired consistency.


Royal Icing dries very quickly so use it immediately. Cover with plastic wrap when not in use.  I created small batches with various food coloring and put them in ziploc bags, then used those to pipe onto the cookies.

Magic Cookie Bars

You can get a variation of this recipe every where.  This is the one that works for me!

Yes, I taste tested a piece. Now let's see if I can resist anymore before dinner!


1 1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs

1/2 cup butter, melted

1 can (14 oz) sweetened condensed milk

1 pkg (8 squares) semi-sweet bakers chocolate, coarsely chopped

1/3 cup butterscotch chips

1 1/3 cups flaked coconut

1 cup chopped pecans


1. Heat over to 350 degrees.  Spray a 9x13 pan with cooking spray.

2. Mix butter and graham crackers. Press into bottom of pan.

3. Pour condensed milk over crust. Top with remaining ingredients. Lightly press down.

4. Bake 30 minutes or until lightly browned.  Run a knife around the edges of the pan to loosen from the sides of the pan.  Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Friday, December 10, 2010



2 3/4 cups all purpose flour

1/2 tsp salt

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 1/2 cups white sugar

2 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

CoatingI had a cinnamon sugar mix already on hand so I just used that.

1/3 cup white sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon


1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

2.  In a bowl, beat the butter and sugar until smooth.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Add vanilla extract.

3. In a separate bowl sift the flower, salt and baking powder together. Add flour mixture to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until you have a smooth dough.

4.  Shape the dough into 1 inch round balls.  Roll the balls of dough in the cinnamon sugar coating and place on cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, about two inches apart.  Using the bottom of a glass, gently flatten each cookie to about 1/2 inch thick.

5. Bake cookies for 8-10 minutes, or until they are light golden brown around the edges. Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool.


This made about four dozen cookies for me.  Take care not to leave them in too long because they get hard quick. If you take them out when just the edges are starting to turn the cookie firms up nicely keeping the center soft and chewy.  Now let's see if they last me the week like I need them too!

If the dough isn't forming balls nicely, refrigerate for one hour and try again.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Rice Crispy Bon Bons

My MIL raved about these after my SIL made them.  She told me about them when I went in search of holiday treats for "Operation Make My Neighbors Fat" aka tins of sweets for the holidays that I will be handing to my neighbors. Isn't that neighborly of me?

I must confess that I only tried one of these, but was already so stuffed to my gills from Hubby's birthday dinner that I didn't even enjoy it. I sent the rest to work with Hubs and he said they passed the taste test.  Making them was easy enough, though I do think dipping things in chocolate is a total pain in the ass.  Let me know if you try them!


1 1/2 cups Rice Crispy Cereal

1 1/4 cups crunchy peanut butter

1 cup Graham Cracker Crumbs

1/2 cup powdered sugar

12 oz white or dark chocolate


1. In a large bowl combine cereal, peanut butter, graham crumbs and powdered sugar.  Refrigerate for 1 hour.

2. Shape crumb mixture into balls, using one level tablespoon for each.

3. In a small saucepan, melt chocolate.  Dip balls and put on wax paper. Refrigerate for 20 minutes.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Golden Eggnog Cake

I sent out a request for new Holiday recipes via Facebook the other day and received this recipe from an old friend from high school.  I don't enjoy drinking eggnog, but I sure do recommend eating it in baked goods!

This is a mini loaf that Hubs will be bringing to work with him.
The mini cupcakes I made were delish!

Cake Ingredients:
1 box pudding added yellow cake mix
whatever additional ingredients your boxed mix calls for omitting water (mine wanted eggs and oil)
1 tsp nutmeg (not gonna lie, I totally missed this and it still tasted great)
eggnog, substituted for water according to your cake mix directions

Eggnog Glaze Ingredients:
2 cups powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, softened
1 tsp vanilla
3 tsp eggnog (I used more than this, but start with this amount and add until you achieve your desired consistency)


1. Bake your cake according to your cake mix box directions, substituting eggnog for required water and adding the nutmeg.

2. When the cake is finished and is cooling, throw the ingredients for the eggnog glaze together in a medium bowl.  Mix until well blended, adding addition eggnog until you reach your desired consistency.

I know, too simple, right?!?

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanksgiving 2010

We will be having a wonderful meal that took three hours including prep and cooking.

Appetizers (to hold us over until our late lunch is finished)
Shrimp Dip w/Chips
Doritos (don't ask)

Main Course
Turkey (I got a 6 pound turkey breast, since it's just he five of us and three out of the five barely eat!)
Sweet Butternut Squash
Mashed Potatoes
Cranberry Sauce (canned, we prefer it that way!)

Chocolate Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (out of a box, don't judge)

Scotch on the rocks for the Dad (another don't ask!)
Mimosas for the Mom
OJ in a wine glass for the mini Mom (yes, we are in our matching aprons)
Chocolate Milk/Soy Milk for the boys

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Roasted Cauliflower


6 cups of cauliflower florets

1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

1 Tbsp sliced garlic

2 Tbsp lemon juice

1 tsp salt

1/2 tsp black pepper


1. Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

2. Place florets in a 9x13 baking dish.  Add the additional ingredients. Mix.

3. Bake for 15 minutes. Enjoy.

Variation:  sprinkle with Parmesan cheese after removing from the oven

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

African Coconut Curried Chickpea Soup

I loved this soup.  It was rich and creamy with a kick. Hubby wasn't in love with the chickpeas, but he would have been 100% sold if I had added some shredded chicken.


2 Tbsp olive oil

1 medium onion, chopped

1 red bell pepper, chopped

1 jalapeno, seeded and finely chopped (I left this out.)

2 cloves garlic, finely chopped

2 cups low sodium vegetable broth

1 (15 ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed

1 cup tomatoes, chopped

1 tsp curry powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 (14 ounce) can light coconut milk

3/4 cup brown rice, cooked

2 Tbsp cilantro, chopped


1. In medium stockpot, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, and chili; cook, stirring until softened, about 5 minutes.

2. Add garlic and cook stirring constantly, 1 minute.

3. Add the broth, chickpeas, tomatoes, curry powder, salt, and black pepper.  Bring to a boil over high heat.

4. Reduce heat and simmer gently, uncovered, stirring occasionally, about 10 minutes.

5. Add the remaining ingredients and cook, stirring occasionally, until heated through, about 5 minutes. Serve warm.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Sesame Seasoning

After googling “sesame seasoning” I needed for a recipe I found that although you can buy it at Whole Foods, it is also very easy to prepare. Most basic recipes are as simple as sesame seeds and salt, others add various spices.  To this one I added nutritional yeast for a boost of B vitamins… because really who couldn’t use some extra B vitamins. My reading suggests sesame seasoning tastes great over steamed veggies.


¼ cup sesame seeds

¼ tsp salt

1 Tbsp nutritional yeast


1. Toast sesame seeds in a skillet, about five minutes.

2. Transfer to a blender then add salt and nutritional yeast (or whatever herbs/spiced you’d like) and grind into a fine powder.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Carrot and Red Pepper Soup

Probably my favorite soup of all time that just so happens to be the first soup I ever attempted to make from scratch. The best thing about it, besides the taste, is how ridiculously easy it is to make!


1 onion, chopped

6 carrots, thinly sliced

2 cups of vegetable stock

2 roasted red peppers

2 cups soymilk

2 tsp lemon juice

2 tsp balsamic vinegar

1/2 tsp salt

1/4 tsp pepper


1. Place onions and carrots into a pot with stock and simmer, covered, over medium heat until the carrots can be easily pierced with a fork, about 20 minutes.

2. Blend the carrot mixture along with the roasted bell peppers in a food processor in several small batches. Add some soymilk to each batch to aid in b,ending.

3. Return carrot mixture back to the pot and add lemon juice, vinegar, salt and black pepper.

4. Heat until steamy and serve.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Garlic Shrimp

We had this tonight. I halved the recipe because I knew if we had the entire thing we would have eaten it! I also made mine dairy free so I can only imagine how much better it would have tasted with actual butter. We had it served over whole wheat spaghetti garnished with lemon and fresh parsley. I imagine it would be good over rice as well. This will definitely be a go-to recipe when I can buy shrimp on sale because it was super fast and super easy!


2 lbs shrimp (fresh or frozen, shelled)

1/2 cup light olive oil

2 Tbsp butter

12 garlic clove, minced

1 Tbsp flour

1 cup chicken broth

1/4 tsp salt


1. Prepare your shrimp. If frozen, thaw out. Pat dry so the excess water doesn't mess up the sauce.

2. Heat the olive oil and butter in a large skillet. Add the minced garlic and sauté for about a minute.

3. Add flour a little at a time to avoid clumps. Stir well. Add chicken broth and salt.

4. Add shrimp. If raw cook 4-5 minutes until they turn pink. If cooked, just heat them up 2-3 minutes over medium-low heat.

Nutrition: (serves 6)
Calories: 388.6
Fat: 27.8g
Sodium: 514.6mg
Carbohydrates: 2.5g
Protein: 32.2g

Monday, July 19, 2010

Kung Pao Chicken

The hot sauce in this recipe didn't provide enough of a kick for us, but it was great for the kids. We sprinkled red pepper flakes over our plates with the green part of the scallions and that did the trick!


1 lb boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces

1 tsp sesame oil

1 tsp canola oil

1/2 cup roasted peanuts

1 clove garlic, minced

4 scallions, chopped

1 red pepper, cut into bite sized chunks

1 1/4 cup water

1/4 cup soy sauce (I'd recommend low sodium!)

4 tsp cornstarch

1 Tbsp sugar

1 tsp red wine vinegar

hot pepper sauce (to taste)


1. Toss chicken with sesame oil and set aside.

2. Heat canola oil in skillet and add peanuts. Saute 23 minutes, without browning them. Transfer peanuts to a large bowl and set aside.

3. Add garlic, white portion of the scallions and the pepper chunks to the pan and saute about 1-2 minutes until tender. Transfer these ingredients to the bowl with the peanuts.

4. Add chicken to the pan. Saute until browned and fully cooked, about 6-10 minutes.

5. While chicken start preparing the sauce in a bowl by adding the water, soy sauce, cornstarch, sugar, vinegar and hot sauce. Stir until well blended.

6. When the chicken is full cooked add it to the bowl with the peanut and pepper mixture. Stir the sauce one more time to ensure the cornstarch isn't sticking to the bottom and then add it to the pan, stirring constantly until thickened.

7. Once the sauce has thickened add the chicken and peanut mixture. Simmer 1 minute until heated through.

8. Serve over rice with scallion greens sprinkled on top.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The Perfect Baked Potato

I had to write this here because every time I look up how to bake a potato in the oven I always get different instructions and different temps. On the search for how to make the perfect baked potato, I finally figured it out!

1. Preheat oven to 425.
2. Wash and pat potatoes dry, then pierce them with a fork to let out steam while cooking.
3. Place potatoes on rack in the middle of the oven for 40 minutes to an hour or until tender.

You get a soft tender inside and crisp skin. Just the way I like them!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Grilled Eggplant


1 large eggplant

3 Tbsp olive oil

2 Tbsp balsamic vinegar

2 cloves garlic, very finely minced

1 pinch each thyme, basil, and oregano

salt and pepper


1. Heat grill. 

2. When grill is hot, slice eggplant about 1/2-inch thick. In a small bowl, whisk together the olive oil, balsamic vinegar, garlic, herbs, salt, and pepper. Brush both sides of the eggplant slices with the oil and vinegar mixture.

3. Place eggplant on the hot preheated grill. Grill about 15 to 20 minutes, turning once.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Paradise French Toast

I really have to write up the recipe for this.  It was my favorite breakfast for a while in my pre-no-dairy-only-eat-what-is-good-for-you diet. I got it at a local diner and tried to throw it together. It was delicious. Not good for you by any means, but SO delicious.  My only regret was not toasting the coconut first. It's basically just french toast (to my credit it IS whole wheat french toast) topped with caramelized bananas, caramel, and coconut. Yum.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Breakfast Frittata

Breakfast Frittata - it was yummy - recipe to follow :)

Monday, February 22, 2010

Cheesecake Pancakes



1 package (8 oz) cream cheese

2 cups Bisquick mix

1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs

1/4 cup sugar

1 cup milk

2 eggs

Strawberry Syrup:

1 cup sliced fresh strawberries

1/2 cup strawberry syrup for pancakes


1. Slice cream cheese lengthwise into four pieces. Place on ungreased cookie sheet cover and freeze overnight.

2. Brush pan with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray; heat over medium heat.

3. Cut cream cheese into bite-size pieces; set aside. In large bowl, stir Bisquick mix, graham cracker crumbs, sugar, milk and eggs with whisk or fork until blended. Stir in cream cheese.
4. For each pancake, pour slightly less than 1/3 cup batter onto hot pan. Co until edges are dry. Turn; cool other side until golden brown.

5. In small bowl, mix strawberries and syrup; top pancakes with strawberry mixture.

 per serving: Serves 5 (three pancakes and 3 Tbsp topping each)

Calories: 580
Fat: 26g
Cholesterol: 140mg
Sodium: 830mg
Carbohydrate: 75g (Fiber 2g, Sugars 39g)
Protein: 11g

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Homemade Mac & Cheese

I just made homemade mac & cheese for the first time ever. Not gonna lie, I usually just make it out of the box on a weekly basis for my kids. I’d like to think most Mom's do... This is a very easy and much more delicious option though! This is mac & cheese I'm not embarrassed to admit I eat!


2 cups macaroni

¼ cup butter or margarine

¼ cup flour

½ tsp salt

¼ tsp pepper

¼ tsp ground mustard (I didn’t have any on hand so I just put in a squirt of yellow mustard)

¼ tsp Worcestershire sauce

2 cups milk

2 cups shredded or cubed cheddar cheese


1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Cook macaroni as directed on package.

3. While macaroni is cooking, melt butter in a 3 quart sauce pan over low heat. Stir in flour, salt, pepper, mustard and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture is smooth and bubbly; remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir 1 minute. Stir in cheese. Cook, stirring occasionally, until cheese is melted.

4. Stir cooked macaroni into cheese sauce. Poor into ungreased 2 quart casserole dish. Bake uncovered 20 to 25 minutes or until bubbly.

Variation: Try adding your favorite crumb topping to add some crunch. I used Whole Wheat Crackers crumbled up on top. Yummy!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Vegetable Lo Mein

This is another awesome super easy to make recipe from Whole Foods! Enjoy!


3/4 pound lo mein noodles or whole wheat spaghetti (I used whole wheat linguini)

Sesame oil (start with a small amount)

1/4 cup hoisin sauce

2 Tbsp soy sauce

2 Tbsp canola oil

2 Tbsp minced fresh ginger

3 cloves minced garlic

1/3 cup sliced scallions

1 cup julienne carrot (2 large)

1 cup thinly sliced celery (1-2 stalks)

1 cup thinly sliced red onion (1 medium)

3/4 cup fresh bean sprouts

3 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro


1. Cook the lo mein noodles in boiling salted water until al dente. Cool. Toss lightly with sesame oil to prevent sticking.

2. Combine the hoisin and soy sauces in a small bowl and mix well.

3. In a wok or a large skillet heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and quickly sauté the ginger, garlic and scallions until they release aroma, then add the carrots, celery and red onions and briefly sauté before adding the bean sprouts, about 2 minutes.

4. In a separate medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon canola oil and sauté the noodles. When they are hot and look pan-fried or lightly browned, add them to the other sautéed ingredients in the large pan. Add the soy-hoisin mixture and stir to coat. Sprinkle with the chopped cilantro and serve.


Per serving (makes 8):

Calories: 188 calories

Fat: 1g

Cholesterol: 0mg cholesterol

Sodium: 739mg sodium

Carbohydrates: 43g total carbohydrate (2g dietary fiber, 41g sugar)

Protein: 8g

Monday, February 15, 2010

Vegetable Biryani with Cashews

I tried this recipe from my Whole Foods Recipe App for my iPhone.  I imagine they must have it online as well.  I am trying to incorportate at least one vegetarian meal into our menu rotation each week now.


1 Tbsp canola oil

2 to 3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 large red onion, cut into small wedges

1 (2-inch) piece ginger, peeled and finely chopped

1/2 cup chopped roasted cashews, divided

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt

1 Tbsp curry powder

5 cups (1 1/2-inch) chunks fresh vegetables such as cauliflower, carrots or green beans

2/3 cup water

1 cup frozen peas

1 cup basmati rice, rinsed until water runs clear then drained


1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

2. Heat oil in a large ovenproof pot over medium high heat. Add garlic, onion, ginger, half of the cashews, salt and pepper and cook, stirring often and adding a splash of water when the mixture sticks to the pot, until deep golden brown and soft. Add yogurt and curry powder to the pot and cook until thickened.

3. Stir in vegetables, water, salt and pepper, cover and simmer until vegetables are tender on the outside but not cooked through. Remove pot from heat and stir in frozen peas.

4. Meanwhile, bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Add rice and simmer for 5 minutes; drain well. Arrange rice over vegetables in pot, cover pot with foil then a tight-fitting lid and bake until rice and vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Uncover, carefully transfer contents of pot to a large bowl and toss together gently. Spoon into bowls and serve garnished with remaining cashews.


Per serving (makes 6-8 serving.):

Calories: 240

Fat: 7g

Cholesterol: 0mg

Sodium: 230mg

Carbohydrates: 42g

Fiber: 5g

Sugar: 6g

Protein 6g


This dish was good. It would be great with some chicken or tofu as well. I will definitely make it again.