Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sodium-Free Italian Dressing

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Since I have been in the process of losing weight the last couple months, my diet has changed extremely!  While how much sodium an item did not even phase me in the past, I noticed that I had to start monitoring it.  Once I lowered it, I started seeing the pounds fall consistently over the last month and a half as I stopped retaining as much water.  Take note, that watching my sodium is not the only thing I'm doing in addition to counting my calories and working out at the gym, but it's one of the major items for my successful weight loss.  * I am not giving out medical advice for your situation. *

Because I'm not eating a purchased dietary program's food, I am still able to eat the same foods I love but with caution.  I don't feel restricted or deprived by my food cravings for pizza, pasta, bread, or dessert.  Although, I must monitor and plan for certain allowances.

While one of my favorite foods is grilled chicken, I had to seriously find an alternative of my favorite Kraft Foods Zesty Italian dressing to fulfill my goal of 1500 mg/day for sodium and still eat other things!  I'm pretty stoked about this new recipe I came across but modified it for my dietary needs.  Now, I can eat my favorite grilled chicken using this as the marinade and still be within my limit.

If you'd like to join me in my new adventure, I'm using My Fitness Pal and my username is haymancm.  It'd be pretty cool to do this together! :)

1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 cup oil
1-2 tsp Mrs. Dash Onion & Herb seasoning
1 tsp sugar

Combine all ingredients, stirring until dissolved.  Store sealed in the fridge.  Use for your favorite salads or marinades.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Grilled Chicken Alfredo

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Served some grilled chicken Alfredo to my family for dinner tonight; it's my boys' favorite!  However, it struck me by surprise when my DH not only had one serving of the pasta, but went back for more!  He has not been one to "like" my Alfredo.  It made me laugh inside & smile for sure!  This is all what's left for tomorrow's snack.

1/2 stick butter
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup shredded cheese (I used jack/cheddar)
1 cup milk
garlic powder to taste
16 oz cooked pasta
1 lb grilled chicken

In a large skillet, melt the butter over med-med high heat.  Add your heavy cream and cheese, and bring to a low boil until thick.  Gradually, add the milk to thin it out some.  Season with garlic powder.  Toss with pasta and grilled chicken.  Sauce will thicken as it stands.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Rich Chocolate Ice Cream

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Last summer I bought a Cuisinart ice cream maker.  I had only made a simple vanilla recipe, but tonight, I wanted to try a chocolate recipe.  It's definitely very rich, almost like a Dutch chocolate flavor.  The recipe is adapted from Cuisinart's recipe book.  It tastes really good with a dollop of peanut butter~!  It yields about 5 cups, 10 1/2 cup servings.

3/4 cup cocoa powder
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
dash of salt
1 cup milk
2 cups heavy cream
1 tsp vanilla extract

In a blender, combine the cocoa powder, sugar, brown sugar, salt, milk, heavy cream, and vanilla.  I used my Vitamix blender, & it only took less than 10 seconds before the mixture got super thick, like the consistency of pudding.  (I like this method better than mixing it together with a mixer, as the powder will go all over the place! :( )

Let sit in fridge for about an hour before spooning into Cuisinart's frozen freezer bowl, following the directions from the manufacturer.  It should be done about 15-20 minutes.  If you can wait and want a firmer texture, place ice cream in a freezer safe container with a lid for about 2 hours.  Enjoy!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Thousand Island Dressing

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Putting aside ranch dressing for salad, my husband's favorite salad dressing growing up is Thousand Island.  But, shoot!  After 19 years of marriage, I've never really bought it at the store...I always bought ranch.  Recently, I bought some Thousand Island dressing.  And, uh-oh, we are almost out.  So, my husband challenged me to find a recipe for it.  This recipe is adapted from  What do you think?

1/2 cup mayo
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tbs sweet pickle relish
dash of garlic powder

Mix all ingredients together and serve.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Crockpot Orange Ham

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Yes, I know it sounds unusual, especially to my husband, for a ham to be made in a crockpot.  When I was growing up, I didn't like ham....sorry, Mom.  So, with a combination of orange pop, pineapples,  and brown sugar, my ham tastes really, really good!? Prior to the last couple weeks, I had no idea how orange pop would taste with ham!  

However, I've gotten the raised-eyebrow look from everyone in my family...which is a really good feeling, considering I was skeptical about trying it!  What made it even nicer, was how easy it was to put this all together. :)  This recipe is adapted from The Crockin' Girls.  Thank You!!!! Cause it's a nice feeling to have your skeptical family sneak in bites of the ham when you're not lookin'...  Which leads me to consider going to get an extra spiral cut ham at King Soopers on clearance. 

10 lbs spiral sliced ham, sized to fit your crockpot
20 oz can pineapple chunks or tidbits
1/2 cup brown sugar homemade
12 oz can orange pop

For my ham to fit in my large crockpot, I had to trim, dismantle, the top of the ham just to get the lid on all the way.

Spray your crockpot with a nonstick cooking spray and place the ham in the crockpot.  Pour the orange pop and pineapples with juice over the ham.  Then to top the ham, sprinkle the brown sugar over the ham to make a glaze.  Serve when heated through.  Enjoy!

Monday, December 31, 2012

Flavored Lit'l Smokies/Meatballs

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Another one of my childhood favorite appetizers are Lit'l Smokies.  Haven't made them in years, since I used to wait tables on holiday night parties.  But since my family is starting our celebrating early (like all day) on New Year's Eve, I thought I'd share this recipe with ya'll.  It's really good with meatballs, too!  My family loves this special treat....I think they are on a "protein-high!" lol  It's a hit with company or special events, too.

Since I'm making both today, the sauce only had to be made once.  The original recipe called for chili sauce, but I saved over $2-$3 by making my own recipe with ingredients already on hand.   The chili sauce recipe is adapted from

2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 cup brown sugar homemade
4 tbs vinegar
3 dashes allspice
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 can jellied cranberry sauce
3 lbs of smokies ( I used beef)
2-3 lbs of meatballs

You can either make this over the stove or in a crockpot.

Since my tomato sauce is stored frozen in quart size bags, because I portion the big cans from Costco, I heated it up in the separately from the smokies...but you don't have to...I just like to heat up the sauce with the spices before tossing it in the meat.

So, in a medium bowl, mix together the tomato sauce, brown sugar, vinegar, allspice, & cinnamon, stirring well.  You can heat it up before adding it to the meat, but don't have to...I like the flavor of it...tastes just like the bottle @ the store!  (YES!!!)

Either in a crockpot or in a large pot on the stove, heat together the homemade chili sauce, cranberry sauce, and meat.  The jellied cranberry sauce will "melt" once warmed.  Once heated thoroughly , serve.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Coconut Bonbons

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Well, I think I did it?!  I have never made this candy before.  My husband's favorite childhood candy are these Coconut Bonbons.  He says that it tastes just like the way his granny used to make them! :)  However, he prefers them with the nuts, but I do not.  You may add them, if you wish.  The recipe is adapted from Taste of Home.  I'm glad my adventurous experimental recipe paid off, as it brought a smile to his face... lol

2 2/3 cup flaked coconut (almost a whole bag)
2/3 cup powdered sugar
14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
2 tbs butter
1/2 tsp vanilla
chocolate flavored almond bark candy coating
*or use melted chocolate chips

In a large mixing bowl, add coconut, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk, butter, and vanilla.  Place in the microwave to warm it up just a bit to stir easier.  The butter should melt on it's own as you mix it all together.

Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper, and drop small spoonfuls of the coconut mixture onto the paper.  Place in freezer or fridge until hardened.

Melt either your chocolate flavored almond bark candy coating or your chocolate chips in a shallow bowl.  Place the coconut balls into the chocolate & rescue with your fork, shaking off extra chocolate.  Or you can just drizzle chocolate over coconut balls on the liner.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Starbucks Hot Chocolate

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Oh, geez!!!  It all started when I was at Costco (again) today and saw that they are selling these tin canisters for Starbucks Hot Chocolate.  I thought how special their hot chocolate must be to 1) be selling them in a tin canister for the holidays 2) offer them at Costco 3) Costco has a coupon for $2.90 off in their monthly coupon booklet.  

Anyone who knows me, knows that I don't do coffee.  I don't crave it, don't like the smell of it, and don't really like hot drinks.  But, I do love hot chocolate!  Who doesn't? Right?  So, I thought I might as well just Google to see if there was a recipe for this special hot chocolate online.  hmmmmm?  The recipe is adapted from Todd Wilbur's-Top Secret Recipes.  

Even though Colorado has already gotten some snow this last week, and it's gotten cold and windy outside, it's in the 70's this week, Hot Chocolate Season is approaching us!  Although, my oldest (teenager in the house!) would have hot chocolate every day, if he had it his way! lol  I am grateful that even though I just made some of the whip cream recipe over the weekend for another recipe, that it won't be going to waste.  This hot chocolate recipe finished up the rest of the whip cream!  Yay!  ...Now, I just need to make more whip cream to go with this hot chocolate.... Does it ever end???! lol

1/4 cup water
2 tbs sugar
2 tbs cocoa powder
1 3/4 cup hot milk
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
whip cream or Cool Whip homemade

In a 2-cup measuring glass, add the water, sugar, and cocoa powder.  Heat in microwave for about 30 seconds and stir.  Then, stir in the milk and vanilla extract to the chocolate syrup and heat until desired warmness, 1-2 minutes in the microwave.

Divide the chocolate milk between 2 coffee mugs and garnish with whip cream.  ( I personally think the whip cream makes it even more creamier and more enjoyable!  mmmmm....) 

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Cream Cheese Chocolate Chip Cookies

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With cream cheese on sale for $1/each here in town, I've been stocking up.  As you know, I'm always looking for an amazing chocolate chip cookie recipe.  Not sure what kind of effect I'd get using cream cheese in a cookie recipe, I thought I'd give it a shot.  Why not!? Right?  They are very soft and chewy.  I like them a lot! ...And so does everyone else in my family....  I've made these cookies several times in just the last week! (oy.)  They definitely taste best when hot, right out of the oven, with chocolate oozing out of each bite.... mmmmmm.  The recipe is adapted from Bake or Break.

So, not only does my Dear Husband not want my beloved French Silk Pie for his birthday, but he wants these cookies and Chocolate Eclair Dessert instead! Wow.  What a change in plans!  He's always had French Silk Pie for his birthday, 'cept for that time back in '07 when we had a power outage from an ice storm for 3 days in December!  We had no heat, no electricity, no generator, but we did have a fireplace! I don't remember how we ate, or what we ate...our stove was not gas.  I remember buying overpriced luxurious wood at about 6 a.m. at Lowe's in place of regular firewood...they were out of firewood!  We all camped out in our family room with blankets, sleeping bags, pillows, stuffed animals, etc during those long 3 days, even Grandma stayed with us.  Pockets of our town had electricity, like only one in a whole neighborhood would have electricity, while everyone else would be in the dark for days.  Fortunately, we were not trapped in our neighborhood from downed trees or power lines.  I remember storing my refrigerated items, like milk for my little boys, outside in the cold...just to be safe! Ice Storm Pictures

1 stick butter softened
8 oz cream cheese softened
1 cup sugar
1 cup brown sugar homemade
2 eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
12 oz chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line your cookie sheets with parchment paper.

If you bake like me, in a large microwave-safe bowl, I soften the butter and the cream cheese in the microwave for about a minute.  Then, I added 2 cups of plain sugar with about a tablespoon of molasses.  ( I do this when I don't have any brown sugar made and don't feel on making any.)  Whip it all together with a mixer until nice and creamy.  Beat one egg at a time, mixing well after each egg.  Then, stir in the vanilla.  

Add the flour, baking powder, and salt.  Stir well.  Then, stir in the chocolate chips.  ( I always love to taste the batter....mmmm... the cream cheese tastes sooo good!)

Drop the dough by teaspoons on the parchment paper.  Bake in the oven for about 12-15 minutes.  12 Minutes normally works fine in my oven.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Chocolate Eclair Dessert

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Does anyone else use Pinterest or Google to find new recipes using up items in their pantry, even items that are out-dated, aka expired?  A lot of times, I'm searching for new recipes to use up close-to-expiration items or past-expired-items, all because I like to stockpile!  I think I came across this recipe a few months ago and forgot about it.  I bought a big ole box of graham crackers from Costco a few months ago, and they didn't get used up before the expiration date 1-2 months out, of course! 

After making this recipe, I'm thrilled to be down a box of graham crackers after this recipe; I have one left to go! lol  It was really pretty easy to make.  The recipe is adapted from The Kitchen is My Playground.  My husband is trying to decide on if he wants this recipe to be his "Birthday Cake" or do his favorite French Silk Pie again.  I love that this recipe has a super-terrific fudgy coating...from scratch! mmmmmm  It's so rich and delicious!  I'm told I have to make this again!...I take this as a compliment! :)

2 cups homemade Cool Whip recipe
1 5.9 oz box Jell-O vanilla instant pudding
2 1/2 cups milk
1 box of graham crackers
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup butter
1 tsp vanilla

In a medium mixing bowl prepare the homemade Cool Whip.  In another mixing bowl, mix together the pudding and milk with a mixer for 2 minutes.  Gently fold the Cool Whip into the prepared pudding until well combined.

In a 9x13 pan, lay out a layer of graham crackers.  Pour half the pudding mixture onto the graham crackers, top with another layer of crackers, and repeat.  Make sure that all the graham crackers are coated with the pudding.  Top with a final layer of graham crackers and set aside.

In a saucepan, heat the cocoa powder, sugar, and milk.  Stir until boiling.  Boil for 1 minute.  Remove from heat and let rest for 1 minute.  Add the butter and vanilla.  The chocolate will quickly get thicker as you stir just long enough to melt the butter.  Once the butter is melted and the frosting looks amazing, be proud of yourself!, pour on the 3rd layer of graham crackers.  Make sure the chocolate is as even as possible.  Refrigerate for about 3-4 hours, or until firm.  (My family couldn't wait for this process to be over!!!)

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