"Creation brings deep satisfaction and fulfillment. We develop ourselves and others when we take unorganized matter into our hands and mold it into something of beauty—and I am not talking about the process of cleaning the rooms of your teenage children." Dieter F. Uchtdorf

Friday, December 2, 2011

Zucchini Bread

When we were in Utah this summer, we went to Park City with my mom, sister and her family.  My sister brought with them some zucchini bread that her friend, Jenny Williams had made.  My kids went crazy and I'm pretty sure ate the whole thing.  Sorry, Suz.  So I wrote to her and begged her for the recipe.  It is pretty amazing.

3 Eggs
1/2 cup Vegetable Oil
1/2 cup Applesauce
2 cups Sugar
2 cups Zucchini, grated
3 tsp. Vanilla
3 cups Flour
3 tsp. Cinnamon
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1/4 tsp. Baking Powder
1 tsp. Salt
If you have any Flax Seed throw some of that in, too

Preheat Oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour 2 loaf pans.  Beat eggs until frothy.  Mix in oil, applesauce, and sugar.  Stir in zucchini and vanilla.  mix in flour, cinnamon, soda, powder, salt, and flax seed.  Divide into 2 pans.  Top with a cinnamon streusel.  Bake for 60-70 minutes.

Cinnamon Streusel:
1/4 cup Flour
1/2 cup Brown Sugar, packed in
1 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon
2 T. Butter, melted

Combine all ingredients with fork until well mixed.  Place on top of whatever you wish!

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Chicken Tortilla Soup

One of my friends, Stephanie, brought me some of her Chicken Tortilla Soup.  I loved it!  One night, I was desperate to make it but didn't have her recipe.  So I googled it and the first one I came to was The Pioneer Woman's recipe.  Of course it would be awesome, so I did it.  Kind of.  Since it was so last minute, I didn't have all of the ingredients so I made it my own.  And I loved it.  Plus she cooks hers for a really long time and I am not that patient.
Now, there are a lot of ingredients but it's not that hard.  Don't be deterred, just do it.  You'll thank me later.

2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
1 T. Olive Oil
1 1/2 tsp Cumin
1/2 tsp. Chili Powder
1/2 tsp. Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt

1 T. Olive Oil
1/2 Onion, diced
1/2 Green Bell Pepper, diced
1/2 Red Bell Pepper, diced
1 clove of Garlic, minced
1 can Rotel Tomatoes & Green Chilis
32 oz Chicken Stock
1 can Black Beans, drained
1 can Pinto Beans, drained
4 Tortillas, cut into strips
1/4 cup Cilantro, finely chopped

Garnishes (optional):
Sour Cream
Red Onion
Pico de Gallo

Preheat oven to 375.  Mix cumin, chili pepper, garlic powder, and salt.  Drizzle 1 T of Olive Oil on chicken breasts, then sprinkle a small amount of your spice mix onto both sides.  Use about half of it.  Set aside the rest of the spice mix for later.  Wrap the chicken in foil to make sure it is perfectly moist.  Place wrapped chicken breasts onto baking sheet.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.  Use 2 forks to shred then set the chicken aside.
Heat 1 T of Olive Oil in a pan over medium high heat.  Add onion, peppers and garlic.  Stir and then mix in the rest of the spice mix.  Then add the shredded chicken and stir.
Pour in the tomatoes, chicken stock, and beans.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer for about 30 minutes.  Add more spices if needed.  At the very end is when you will want to add your tortilla strips and cilantro.  Stir in and serve.  Top with any garnishes you might like.  I only added cheese to mine but that was mostly because of lack of ingredients.

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Pomegranates, Cranberries, & Artichokes

For decorations of course!

Not only are these all delicious, but they are awesome holiday decos, too!

Here's a quick trick to getting the pomegranate seeds out.  Soak the pomegranates in water first.  It's much easier getting the seeds out if you do this.  Trust me.  I soaked mine for a full 24 hours first.  Not on purpose, I just didn't have time to get to them before that.  I'm not sure what the least amount of soaking time would be.  But it's worth it.  My kids LOVE to snack on these.  I guess I do, too.  They are really yummy
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Roasted Green Beans & Mushrooms

For Thanksgiving, one of my friends, Christi and her family celebrated with us.  She brought roasted asparagus topped with mushrooms. And another time when we had dinner together, she brought roasted green beans.  So I combined both of her ideas and did this.  I've only ever done green beans not out of the can once other than this and failed miserably.  I never thought to roast them or to top them with mushrooms.  They were delicious, easy, and they look super elegant.

Green Beans
Mushrooms - out of can or fresh, I used canned
Olive Oil

Snap ends off of green beans and wash them.  Place on cookie sheet and cover in olive oil and salt and pepper.  Cook at 400 for 15 minutes.
This time, I first sauteed the mushrooms in a little olive oil and then also roasted them when the beans were about halfway through.  I don't know if the sautee-ing was necessary. Next time I might skip that.  I wasn't planning on roasting them at all and then it hit me that it would be a good way to do it.  So I did and it was awesome.
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Friday, November 11, 2011

Real Strawberry Shortcake

For all of you Angel Food Cake "Strawbery Shortcake" Lovers, this is how you actually make it.  The version with angel cake tastes fine but it's not an actual shortcake.  This is quite a bit different so don't expect it to taste the same or even close.  I definitely prefer this to angel food cake.  But it totally depends on your tastes.  My sister, who obviously grew up in the same house that I did, prefers the Angel Food Cake version. And I still love her. :)

I grew up with this recipe which is what my mom has always made.  She uses the Bisquick recipe and now so do I.  We also always always always use real whipping cream.

If you are using real whipping cream, now is the time to place the bowl and beaters in the freezer to get cold before whipping.

4 cups fresh strawberries, cored, washed, and sliced
4 Tbsp. Sugar

Pour sugar over strawberries and slightly mash with potato masher. Let this sit while you make the shortcake.  This is called macerating (pronounced maserating).

2 1/3 cups of Bisquick
2/3 cup Milk
3 Tbsp. Sugar
3 Tbsp. Butter, melted

Preheat oven to 425 degrees.  Stir Bisquick, milk, sugar, and melted butter until soft dough forms.  Do not over mix.  Drop spoonfuls onto cookie sheet or form in circle and cut into 8 pieces pizza style.  Bake 10-12 minutes until golden brown.

Right before the shortcake is finished, it is time to make the whipping cream.  Get your bowl and beaters out of the freezer.  Pour the cream and a few tablespoons of sugar and beat on a high setting until whipped.

Cut the shortcake in half and top with macerated strawberries and whipping cream.
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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Miso Glazed Salmon

Since I am in Arizona and can't order this at Hamilton's in Logan, I decided I was perfectly capable of making this to taste just as good as theirs.  It is pretty amazing.  It is best served on a bed of red mashed potatoes with roasted asparagus, even though it's not pictured here.

Miso Glaze:
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 Tbsp Soy Sauce
2 Tbsp Hot Water
1 Tbsp Miso (Soybean Paste)

Wisk ingredients together and brush onto salmon using a pastry brush.  Don't put too much on.  You can keep brushing it on as it cooks.  Place in 350 degree oven for 10-15 minutes or until cooked.  Do not over cook.
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Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes

I made these for a going away party for one of my best friends last night.  Kind of a bitter-sweet night.  We had so much fun but it's never easy saying goodbye.

This is a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake with a Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting (say that 5 times fast), topped with a Peanut Butter Cap'n Crunch.  If I had had the time, I would have bought the new Reese's Minis and topped it with that.  But I didn't and I had Cap'n Crunch in my pantry!  Someone made the comment at the party that you know that if it has Cap'n Crunch on it, it's good.  I liked hearing that.

Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake:
1 Devil's Food Cake Mix
Ingredients on box
1/2 - 1 cup Peanut Butter, depending on how much you like.
I used 1/2 cup and thought it was perfect.  I wanted the chocolate to still be the main flavor.

Bake according to directions on box.

Peanut Butter Buttercream Frosting:
1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter, room temperature
2 tsp. Vanilla
1/2 - 1 cup of creamy Peanut Butter (again, you decide how much you like)
4 cups Powdered Sugar
2 Tbsp Milk, if you need to make it a little thinner.  I actually like the consistency that it was.  Perfect for piping.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Carson's Kindergarten Graduation Cake/Cupcakes

There are always things that I wish I could have done better but I do love how this turned out.
However, the one thing I really wish would have worked was that I planned on having fondant stars on wires sticking out of the top of the cake.  But apparently the wires that I used weren't strong enough and of course I didn't put them in until last minute so I didn't have enough time to properly fix the problem so I ended up just putting the fondant stars on top of the cake to cover the holes that I had made with the wires.

I used my pudding cupcake recipe and my marshmallow fondant recipe

Me and the graduate, Carson.

My husband cut out the wood for me to make the cupcake stand.  He said he felt like he was on Cupcake Wars.  We would make a good team on that show.
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Chicken Pot Pie

I used frozen veggies for this which made it really simple but if you're going for taste, you should really use fresh veggies.  It was still good, though.  It depends on what you're going for, quick and easy or tasty...er.  If you decide to use fresh veggies, I would definitely cook them first to soften them up.

1 package of thawed Frozen Stew Vegetables (potatoes, carrots, celery, onions)
1 cup of Frozen Peas
1 can Cream of Chicken Soup
1 cup Chicken Stock
2 cooked, cubed Chicken Breasts
Salt and Pepper

1 cup Bisquick
1/2 cup Milk
1 Egg

Bake chicken in oven at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cooked. Then cube.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Combine first six ingredients well. Pour in baking dish.
Combine the last 3 ingredients together and spread over chicken mixture. Bake at 400 for 30 minutes or until golden brown.
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Monday, May 9, 2011

Cake Balls and Pretzels

Happy Mother's Day!

Here's what I want to know:
1. Why are these SO addictive?
2. Why is it so impossible for me to make cake balls look decent? It seems like everyone else can do it. When I make them, they are delicious but not so attactive. These were the best of the group.

I think I need a face-to-face lesson from Bakerella herself.

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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Take The Cake

This is my 6 year old son, Carson who was in his school's Take The Cake decorating competition yesterday. He took 2nd place in the Kindergarten competition out of 7. He came up with the design mostly by himself. It was actually his dad who intervened to try and make it a little better. It's a Black Widow Spider.

They had one hour to decorate. He finished just under 4 minutes. We had 56 minutes left plus 30 minutes of judging so we went and grabbed dinner while we were waiting. We are so proud of him and it was so much fun!

The wedding of Q and U was also yesterday. The kids did such a good job and it was so cute.

The cake did not turn out great. It was ok, especially for a kindergarten class but I wasn't happy with it. It has been very hot here in AZ lately and the fondant was hard to work with. Oh well! I've decided that cupcakes are probably more my thing. It did taste great, though! 
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Monday, April 18, 2011

BBQ Chicken Pizza

Pizza Crust - homemade or store bought. Mine was store bought
1 or 2 Roasted Chicken Breasts, shredded
Mozzarella Cheese
BBQ Sauce

After I roasted the chicken breasts in some olive oil, I shredded it and mixed the mozzarella in with the chicken. Then I added a little BBQ Sauce. Before adding the toppings, I baked the pizza crust as directed for about 6 minutes or until lightly browned. Then I brushed BBQ Sauce on and added the chicken and cheese mixture and spread evenly. I dotted the top with a little more cheese. Then baked for another 6 minutes or until golden brown.
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Blueberry Muffins

I got this recipe from the Essential Mormon Celebrations Cookbook by Julie Badger Jensen. And it rocks.

1 1/2 cups Flour
1/4 cup Sugar
1/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 tsp. Baking Powder
1/4 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Cinnamon
1 Egg, beaten
1/2 cup Butter, melted
1/2 cup Milk
1 tsp. Lemon Zest
1 cup fresh or frozen blueberries
1 recipe Muffin Topping (see below)
1 recipe Muffin Glaze (see below)

In a large bowl (not a mixer), combine flour, sugar, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon. Stir until well blended. Make a well in center of mixture. Place egg, butter, and milk in center and stir just until blended. Carefully stir in lemon zest and blueberries. Fill 12 muffin cups. Sprinkle with Muffin Topping. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes. Remove from oven and drizzle with Muffin Glaze (not pictured above)

Muffin Topping 
1/2 cup pecans, chopped (not pictured above)
 1/2 cup packed Brown Sugar
1/4 cup Flour
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Lemon Zest
2 Tbsp. Butter, melted

 In a bowl, combine above ingredients and sprinkle over muffins.

Muffin Glaze 
1/2 cup Powdered Sugar
1 Tbsp. fresh Lemon Juice

In a bowl, mix powdered sugar and lemon juice together. Drizzle over muffins after baking.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Q & U Wedding Cake

You are going to get a kick out of this.  This is not a real wedding cake.  It's actually a practice wedding cake for the wedding of the letters Q and U for my son's kindergarten class in a couple of weeks.  After school the other day, his teacher and some of the parents were talking about the upcoming nuptials, and his teacher asked who would like to make a wedding cake.  Stupidly, I answered, "I Do!" (No pun intended.)  Have I ever made a wedding cake?  No.  Have I ever made anything that would remotely come close to one?  No.  But I thought it would be fun.  I decided that I wanted to practice first.  So I did.  

Mistake #1. I made the bottom layer out of Rice Krispie Treats, and it's not thick enough.  It's also a different color than the other two layers even though they're all covered in white frosting underneath the fondant.  

Mistake #2. I got impatient towards the end and messed up.  Most of that is either covered up by flowers or in the back.  

Mistake #3. I didn't level the cakes so the top is kind of lop-sided.  

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Red Mashed Potatoes

All you're doing is making mashed potatoes but with red potatoes and you leave the skins on. I'll give directions anyway. These are delicious with meatloaf.

5 red mashed potatoes
2 Tbsp. Butter
1 Tbsp. Milk
1/2 Tbsp. Salt
1/2 Tbsp. Pepper

Wash and cut potatoes. Put in sauce pan and fill with water until potatoes are completely covered. Once the water is boiling, turn the heat down and boil for 15 minutes. Once it's done, drain the water. Using a standing mixer or hand mixer, add all ingredients and mix together until all the lumps are gone. If you like your potatoes thinner, you can add more milk.
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Sunday, February 20, 2011

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Green Peppers
Red Peppers
Meatballs - fresh or frozen

Ingredients for the Sauce:
1/2 cup Pineapple Juice
1/2 cup Vinegar
5 Tbsp. Brown Sugar
3 Tbsp. Ketchup
1/2 Tbsp. Salt

Mix well and add to either a crock pot or a sauce pan with other ingredients. Be sure not to overcook meatballs and veggies as they will become mushy. If you're using a crock pot, cook on low for about 3 hours.

Prepare Minute Rice as directed on box.

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Saturday, February 12, 2011

Hawaiian Haystacks

Usually when people make these, they have tons of different toppings to choose from. Which is fine.  I however, like mine very simple. Mainly because I'm really picky.

2-4 Boneless, Skinless Chicken Breasts
2 Cans of Cream of Chicken Soup
1 Cup of Chicken Broth
1/2 Cup Sour Cream (optional)
3 Cups of Minute Rice
Salt & Pepper to taste

Chow Mein Noodles
Green Onions
Bell Peppers
Cheddar Cheese

Directions for Crock Pot:
There are several ways this can be done. If I've planned ahead, my choice way of cooking would be in the crock pot.
Put Chicken, Cream of Chicken Soup, Chicken Broth, and Sour Cream in crock pot and cook on low for 4-6 hours. Shred chicken.

Directions for Oven:
Place chicken and chicken broth in baking dish. Bake at 350 until cooked. Cube or shred and add cream of chicken soup and sour cream. Bake for an additional 10 minutes or until hot.

Directions for Stove:
Place chicken and chicken broth in pan and boil until fully cooked. Add cream of chicken soup and sour cream and cook until hot.

Prepare and serve over Minute Rice.
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Saturday, January 29, 2011

The reason for my long absence

Meet Duncan.
Now that he's here and I'm recovering really well, hopefully I'll be able to start cooking and blogging again!
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