New recipe ideas – and videos!

Posted on May 15, 2011. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

MyBlogSpark and Bisquick have put together a few recipe videos to show us lots of new ways to use Bisquick – it isn’t just for pancakes and biscuits!  This video tells you how to use Bisquick to make a delicious crumb coating for chicken tenders.  It looks great, and I would never have thought to use Bisquick for something like that.  This one is a quick and easy blackberry shortcake.  I’m not a big dessert chef, but I might make this for a dinner party.  And it would be really easy to sub a different fruit, so you could use whatever is in season.

This caprese pizza recipe is my favorite – we love homemade pizza at my house!  It looks super simple and you could even prebake several crusts to keep on hand for quick week night dinners.  You could use them for other kinds of pizza too, whatever your family likes!  I think I will try a new experiment soon – freezing prebaked crusts.  That way I can make them every couple of months and keep 10 or so in the freezer.

What are your favorite uses for Bisquick?  Do you have any great recipes that are quick and easy?  Or do you make your own Bisquick style mix?  I would love to hear your ideas!

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Back to school!

Posted on August 6, 2010. Filed under: Daily life, Homeschool, kids | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We started our new school year last Monday!  Yes, we started early.  One of the benefits of homeschooling is that we can set our own schedule, and we like to take an extra week off for the little man’s birthday, so we start a week early too.

This is our third year homeschooling – I can hardly believe it!  We still haven’t added Latin to our curriculum (Latin is a must for any well-rounded classical education) but we did add a precursor to logic in the form of Mindbenders puzzles from the critical thinking company.  So far they are a hit.  Actually, he liked the look of them so much that he started working his way through the book over the summer.  I’m going to have to move up to the next book soon!  Anyway, for any interested parties here is our list for this year:

  • math – Singapore Math 3A and 3B
  • language arts – MCT Island level
  • spelling – Spelling City
  • science – The Elements, plus classes at the Florida Aquarium
  • history – Story of the World 3
  • music – piano lessons
  • art – painting lessons and art history
  • logic – Mindbenders logic puzzles
  • foreign language – still looking for an affordable Spanish teacher
  • PE – karate (and maybe swim team in the spring)

I have my excel spreadsheet with our schedule broken down by day, with the assignments all laid out to finish on time by the end of the year.  Of course, a lot can happen in the next 9 months – that is why I use a spreadsheet instead of a pen and paper, it is so much easier to adjust.  But back to that benefit of homeschooling – we adjust our schedule to life, rather than trying to adjust life to fit a schedule.

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Progresso samples from MyBlogSpark

Posted on November 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , |

I got some wonderful samples from Progresso and MyBlogSpark.  Included in the box were Progresso broth and panko bread crumbs.  Then I got a recipe book from Progresso with some amazing recipes, each on its own removable 3×5 recipe card!  We made the first one this week – Italian Wedding Soup.  It was phenomenal, and it only took 40 minutes to make the whole meal, start to finish.  I made the soup, which had meatballs, spinach, and pasta, and Italian white beans (canellini) with tomato, basil, and garlic, and crescent rolls.  Even my 5 yo liked it, and he is pretty picky.  (To be honest, he liked the soup and the rolls.  He wasn’t crazy about the beans.)  This week we are going to try another recipe from the book, Cheesy Tuna and Vegetable Chowder.  The picture on the recipe card looks great.  It looks like we will be trying one a week for a while. 😉

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Slow Cooker Chicken

Posted on October 25, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , , , |

I made the most fabulous dinner last night, with a minimum of effort, which of course made it even better!  I bought a whole roaster chicken (about 7 lbs), rubbed it down with spices, and cooked it in the slow cooker!  I got the recipe from A Few Short Cuts – an awesome blog by the way – and followed it exactly this time.  I think in the future I may vary the spice rub a bit to pair it with different sides.  This time I served it with Uncle Ben’s Chicken and Wild Rice and lima beans.  Hubby wasn’t home to take a picture of the chicken when it came out of the pot or I would show you.  The only problem I had was that it was so tender it fell apart.  Literally.  I went to pull off a drumstick for the munchkin and the bone slid right out!  I’m thinking I may pull the rest and add some BBQ sauce.  I bet it would make killer sandwiches.  And as an extra bonus, the chicken was on sale for $.99/lb and I had the rest of the meal in the cabinet, so it was very budget friendly too, especially since we will get 2 meals from it.

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Betty Crocker magazine cover

Posted on August 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Money, Recipes | Tags: , , , , , , |

I got to vote on another Betty Crocker magazine cover yesterday – this one was for the Christmas cookie edition that will come out in November.  They had some awesome looking cookies, and the information pack they sent along with the potential covers talked about some truly yummy sounding recipes.  None of them waistline friendly, of course, but we are talking about Christmas cookies here.  And brownies.  They had a best of brownie recipe section too.  I love brownies.  Yummmmmm….sorry, I got distracted.  Anyway, here is the cover I voted for:


Pretty, huh?  Keep an eye out for this magazine in a few months!

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A Handy Kitchen Tip…

Posted on August 7, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , |

I am the worst egg-cracker EVER!  I get little pieces of shell in stuff all the time, and as you probably know, they are not easy to get out!  I was bog surfing today and ran across this great tip for how to get those nasty little pieces of eggshell out much more easily by using the big part of the eggshell.  I haven’t tried it yet, but you can be sure I’ll have the chance next time I make a frittata.

I also clicked through and checked out this recipe site, which looks pretty good – although I didn’t see a lot of nutiritonal info, so I don’t know how healthy the recipes are.

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Smoothie Adventures

Posted on June 14, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, kids, Recipes, Weight loss | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , |

We love smoothies at our house!  My little guy is just crazy about them, and they make a great snack or meal replacement – especially in the summer when it is so hot.  We like nice creamy smoothies, so I use skim or 1% milk, and of course I put some yogurt in to add a little more pizzazz.  We use a wide variety of fruits in our smoothies, whatever we have on hand actually.  In the past we have used pears, kiwi, blueberries, strawberries, blackberries, banana, cherries, cantalope, peaches, and nectarines – not all at the same time though!

We also add honey as a natural sweetener, cinnamon and sometimes vanilla extract for flavor, and fiber powder and protein powder for extra nutrition.  At my house we like thin smoothies that are easy to drink from a glass, but on occasion we want something thicker, so we use frozen fruit and add ice to make it more of a milkshake consistency.

Here is one of my favorite smoothie recipes:

  • 1 banana, broken into pieces
  • 1/2 – 1 cup dark sweet pitted cherries, frozen
  • 2 large spoonfuls of non fat vanilla yogurt
  • 1/2 scoop vanilla whey protein powder
  • 1/2 scoop flavorless fiber powder
  • 1 squirt honey
  • ground cinnamon to taste
  • milk to taste

I mix all ingredients in a tall glass – filling the rest of the glass with the millk – and use an immersion blender to blend in the glass (I avoid dirtying extra dishes whenever possible – I hate washing dishes!).  You can of course increase, decrease, or alter any of the ingredients as desired.  Sometimes I only have plain yogurt on hand, so I add a little vanilla extract to make up for it.

We eat tons of fruit at my house already, but if you have picky eaters who don’t like fruit this can be a good way to sneak it in.  It can also be a good way to hide yogurt if your kids don’t like it (although I’ve only ever met one child who didn’t like yogurt).  This recipe is super healthy and very low fat, and adding the protein and fiber powders makes it more filling – we often use it as breakfast.  I hope this inspires you to make smoothies at your house!  Enjoy!

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Mango Pineapple Jam

Posted on May 9, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , |

Ok, so after letting my first ever attempt at homemade jam sit in the fridge overnight, I am ready to declare it a success!    Hubby has still not tried it, but my dad and stepmom were over today and they tried it.  Plus, I like it, and that’s what is really important ;).

So anyway, here is the recipe I used:

  1. 2 cups diced mango (I actually used a melon baller to get the mango off the seed)
  2. 1 small container of pineapple chunks or tidbits – or even crushed pineapple
  3. 3-4 tablespoons honey
  4. a couple squirts of lemon juice

I mixed all ingredient in a 2 qt saucepan and brought the mixture to a boil, then reduced heat and simmered for about 30 minutes, stirring about every 5 minutes or so.  If you want more fruit chunks, cook less.  If you want your jam smooth, cook longer.  Then I put the jam into 2 pint jars that I had previously cleaned.  I let them cool on the counter for a while before I put them in the refrigerator.

I would assume the basic recipe would work for any type of fruit.  As I have extra fruit I will try different things and update you all on how it goes.

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Healthy Italian Food

Posted on March 23, 2009. Filed under: Daily life, Recipes | Tags: , , , , |

If you’re like I used to be, you probably think there is no such thing as healthy Italian food – that it all comes laden with melted cheese over mounds of pasta, with rich sauces and meats in between.  Well, that certainly is Italian food that most Americans are familiar with, but there are many regions in Italy that favor vastly different food.  Sauteed seafood and vegetables in olive oil with a few fresh spices is every bit as Italian as a plate of lasagna.    And if you keep that in mind, eating healthy Italian food becomes a lot easier.  As my mother says ‘If you can’t change something, change the way you look at it.’  I can’t change the calorie content of that lasagna, but I can change my view of a good Italian dinner.

I have a few recipes that are healthier than lasagna or chicken parmigiana, but don’t quite make the cut for my current extreme diet.  The best is Sweet Italian sausage with Tortellini.  Basically, I just prepare tortellini (fresh, frozen, or dried is fine, whatever I have on hand).  While it is cooking, I par cook the sausage until it is firm enough to slice, then finish cooking the slices.  Once the fat starts to render I add diced fresh tomatoes, onions, and mushrooms and cook until just tender.  I sometimes add extra vegetables such as bell pepper, carrots, broccoli, or asparagus if I have some leftover from a previous meal.  Then I add basil and parsley, and toss with the tortellini.  Sometimes it needs just a little extra olive oil to toss properly – it just depends on how much fat renders out from the sausage.  It is delicious, and is only about 450 calories for a 1 cup serving that’s heavy on the veggies!

Now, on my current diet I have had to cut back a lot, and sausage and pasta aren’t in the mix.  Luckily I found a recipe in a magazine for a quick, Americanized skillet dinner that is very similar.  I just use boneless, skinless chicken instead of sausage (cooked in 1/4 cup fat free Italian dressing) and skip the pasta.  (This one is particularly good with asparagus added to the sauteed veggies.)  That cuts the calories down to 190 for a 1 cup serving!  For those of you who are eating more than 200 calories per meal, you can even still have a slice of garlic bread or top your entree with cheese – in moderation.

It may take a little getting used to, but changing the way you think of Italian food will help your waistline (and the rest of you too) in the long run.

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