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Fruit Overload!

17 Jul

Since life has been a little topsy-turvy lately due to some life-altering changes, like my new puppy, and my MIL moving in with us for a while after her surgery(oops, forgot to mention that, huh?).   Anyway, because of all the potentially “negative” (think patience-trying) things that come with these changes, I have decided to focus on the POSITIVE in my life.

This is actually only a small portion of the fruit that has been in our house this week!

– We have been given a LOT of fruit.  Think truckloads!  I exaggerate, more like basketfuls of fruit!  We actually had about 5 big bunches of bananas on our counter during the last week! Plums galore, oranges, strawberries, kiwis, pears, and cherries!  That’s not even counting the 4 papayas we (well, my MIL) were given!   I appreciate the bananas, etc, but I’m not a big fan of the papaya- I tried it once and it tasted like poo. Anyone have any papaya tips to share?

I froze a bunch of bananas for smoothies, and I’m planning to make some type of banana bread tomorrow.  I also plan on using them to make this for dessert tonight! (I know I’ve seen this on some food blogs I read- but couldn’t remember whose)

* I think I’m a pretty patient person. You HAVE to be when you teach Kinder through fifth graders.  But this summer’s experience is teaching me to be a little more patient and, dare I say it, *GASP, less selfish.  I didn’t think I was selfish, but challenges show you sides of yourself you didn’t know you had.  :-/

* Hubby’s Mom gave a gift I definitely wasn’t expecting.  She ordered us a Bullet Express Trio from a tv infomercial! She said it was a gift for our 2 year anniversary since she knew we (actually “I”) like to cook.  It was super sweet of her as it was not a cheap gift! Its a food processor, blender, and juicer all-in-one!  Well sort-of, because it has a lot of parts you have to switch out to use each different process. It has a LOT of parts and takes up a whole cabinet on its own, so initially the machine is very overwhelming!  Its still pretty neat, so I’ll be posting a review on it once I try all of its uses.  I’m pretty excited about the food processor attachment because I don’t have one, just a little tiny chopper. Last night we made fresh juice with the juicer attachment- cantaloupe juice and orange juice.  It was AWESOME, but cleaning the juicer not so much…  I tried making a smoothie in the blender, it came out super creamy, but didn’t blend the harder frozen ingredients very well, it took it a couple minutes.  Today I tried making hummus, and it came out super creamy and smooth.  I can’t wait to try all the attachments!

I’ll be back soon to let you know how all my “fruity” recipes turn out! 🙂

Bored?  Here are some awesome giveaways going on at some other food blogs!

-$40 CSN giftcard courtesy of Lil’ Veggie Patch

– Free Cookbook from The Broccoli Hut

GO NOW!

A few of my favorite things, part II

14 Jul

So in continuation of my last post, here are some more of my favorite kitchen appliances!

3.) Keurig Coffee Machine-

This was a Christmas gift from my parents two years ago.  When we visited them, we enjoyed their Keurig so much they decided to gift us one during the holidays.  Hubby actually uses this more than me- most of the time he has a cup or two per day.  This machine runs on coffee “pods” that come in many flavors. You just pop one in the machine, close the lid and press a button, and you’re literally seconds away from a tasty brewed cup of joe!   Our favorite flavors are Green Mountain Coffee’s French Vanilla and Breakfast Blend. If you’re a “green” consumer and worried about the amount of waste created by using the plastic pods- a cap is available where you can re-use the pods and fill them with your own coffee. The price ranges from $70 to $200 depending on how many features and brewing amounts you want.

From the website: “The Keurig brewing system offers gourmet coffee drinkers a top quality, coffee house cup of coffee with the convenience of brewing immediately in your own kitchen. It makes a fine cup of coffee in under a minute and takes away all the guesswork from brewing a consistently great cup of coffee.The Keurig single-cup brewing system uses a special packaging for coffee, tea, and hot cocoa called K-Cups. Each K-Cup is an airtight, mini-brewer that locks out oxygen, light, moisture, and humidity while locking in freshness and flavor.”

PROS: super fast, tasty coffee- far better than my school lounge’s coffee. There are a HUGE variety of flavors to choose from including Coffee House brands like Caribou Coffee and Donut House.  You can’t beat the convenience!

CONS: Pods are not cheap- they cost approx. .50 cents a 10 oz. cup. (not too bad compared to buying a cup at the gas station or SBUX every day) The hot chocolate and tea pods are worthless- they are flavor-less, as the machine dispenses the water through the pods so fast they don’t have time to “brew.”

4.)Rolling Garlic Chopper-

This little guy I picked up recently at target for $9.99.  His cute little round body and lime green and black wheel were just too cute- but don’t be deceived my his cute exterior, inside he’s full of spinning blades of garlic death!  I bought this on a whim, but it does work very nicely for chopping fresh garlic, when you want small, uniform pieces.  You can fit about 1-2 cloves a garlic at a time inside, and with a few rolls on the countertop you’re left with a couple teaspoons of fresh minced garlic!  I should mention its fun to use to.  Clean-up is not bad either, just open the top, pop out the blade and rinse the sphere with some water, and you’re done!

These are a few of my favorite things! part I

13 Jul

Happy Tuesday! I would have posted yesterday, but I was summoned for jury duty (during my summer vacation!)- so I spent the morning in court.  I have to go back next Monday for my actual assignment- hopefully it doesn’t last too long or I won’t get to go on my short vacay to visit my parents in Michigan!

For today’s post I thought I would share a few of my all time favorite kitchen appliances and utensils that the crafty-foodie- musician uses all the time. This is part I of a series of posts giving my favorite kitchen appliances.

1.) Mr. Coffee Ice Tea Maker!

This is an all-time favorite! Growing up, whenever my Grandma would host get-togethers for the whole family she would whip out her Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker and make gallon after gallon of her (super) sweet tea.  We little ones loved the artificial sugary goodness and sucked it down, since tea is considered an “adult” drink.  That is one thing I could always expect, and still do whenever I go visit my grandmother in Ohio. My mom used to make sun tea when I was little, but when I was in my teens my mom purchased the tea maker as well. You just can’t beat the convenience and almost instant gratification of it! The best part about it is it only costs $17. at Walmart!  (*note: I’m not being endorsed to review this product, I just use it all the time!)

So naturally when I got out on my own I HAD to have one to make my very own tea. Hubby LOVES this- he’s still being weaned off of flavored beverages (namely diet pepsi) so its nice to have a healthier alternative! I use two parts black tea to 1 part green tea. You can adjust how strong the tea is brewed by moving a knob on the front of the machine.

2.) George Foreman Grill-

This amazing contraption is a life saver when it comes to  eating healthy on busy days!  It heats up quickly, cooks food without added grease, and at cooks food at lightning speeds! (about 7-10 minutes average)  Definitely a much better option than the microwave!  It’s not just for meat either, it can easily be used to grill vegetables also! I recommend giving it a try.  Also, I think it’s worth spending a little extra to get the grill with detachable plates.  SO much easier to clean!

I will post some more favorites tomorrow, but in the mean time,

–>What is your FAVORITE kitchen appliance or utensil?

Mooo! (How far would you go for FREE food?)

11 Jul

So how far would you go for some free chicken?  or more specifically for some FREE Chic-fil-A?  Would you dress like a cow?  I did!

Friday was “Cow Appreciation” Day.  How many of you hugged a bovine? 😉  Chic-fil-A was celebrating by giving away free meals to anyone who came dressed like their mascot, a cow!  (cowgirl voice) Well I done roped a couple friends into joining me, along with their little heifers to come on down and get some free grub!

I had donned a cow mask and spots back in July 2008, when I was bored, hubby was at work and I wanted some free chicken, so I went all by my lonesome.  This year was much more fun!

Me, 2008

Me this year: a more natural cow

My friend Hannah and her little boy Karsten came with me and our other friend Hannah (it gets confusing sometimes!) and her baby girl, Bethany, came along too.  The restaurant was packed and the drive-thru line wrapped all the way around the building, almost into the street.  I guess us valley folks gotta have our chicken! It was worth it to get all that juicy, succulent chicken though!  Even the baby was given a free kids meal (and he’s too young to eat it!) =more nuggets for his mommy!

My FREE meal! I got their original chicken sandwich, waffle fries and diet coke.  Not all that healthy, I know, but hey it WAS my free food day!

I’m so glad they went with me because my hubby thinks I’m crazy, and a cheapskate when I go all out for free food.  I tried to get him to go backwith me for dinner, but he told me to moooove on. 😉

So let me know, how far would you/will you go to get FREE food?

AND, what was the best thing you ever got for FREE?

Pepper Fries and Mini Meatloafs

28 Jun

Okay, so here is my first attempt at documenting some new recipes that I tried out this week! Forgive me if I am not clear enough, and feel free to ask any questions!

I’ve been enjoying my summer vacation off of work (I’m a teacher!)  and finding things to fill my days.  As I mentioned before, I’ve been reading up on some food blogs and they’ve inspired me to cook more creatively, eat a little more healthfully, and try new things!  Below are a few of my recent meals that turned so good, I just had to share!

Mini Meatloafs

These turned out SOO good! Very moist and tasty, although I think I can make them with less salt next time.  The hubby LOVED them!  I found the recipe linked from this food blog: mymarblerye .  It’s from Giada’s recipe on the Food Network, but she had the fun idea of using muffin pans to make mini meatloafs!  (I seriously love the idea- seems like an easy way to take some to work with me in the fall!)  Here’s the original recipe.

And of course, I made my own substitutions! I didn’t have parsley, so I used chopped spinach, and I didn’t have sun dried tomatoes, so I used marinated bell peppers.   I also had an epiphany that next time I will be making Chipotle Tex-Mex meatloafs.  Subbing in cilantro for the green stuff, and chipotle peppers in adobo sauce for the red. I’ll let you know when I try it.

I also made some pepper fries.  After seeing Rachel Ray make some on her talk show I had to try it!  But no matter where I looked I could not find her recipe!  So I tried using this recipe as a vague guide:  Pepper Fries. Sorry this recipe was not very exact!   Next time I’m adding more liquid to the mustard mixture and more salt.

Should actually have 2 EGGS pictured!

I chopped up all these peppers (only ended up using one poblano, one bell pepper, and one jalepeno pepper) into strips.

Then I dunked them in these three bowls.

First I rolled them in flour, then the egg-mustard mixture, and last the breadcrumbs/parmesan cheese.

Then I threw them in the oven at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes.  They came out crispy and brown with juicy middles! Mmm…  The bell peppers had the most juicy inside since the pepper was much thicker than the poblano or jalepeno pepper.  But the other peppers I thought had a slightly better flavor.   They weren’t spicy at all, in case you were wondering! 😉

YUMMY!

SO I have a question for you!  What is your favorite thing to eat covered in breading?

Food, glorious food!

24 Jun


So lately during my summer vacay I’ve become a stalker.  Yes, you read it right, a STALKER!   Well, of food blogs, that is.

I’m not sure what got me started, I must have searched some recipe online, but all I know now is there are about four different blogs that I can’t seem to get enough of. (not to mention all the recipes and pictures of food on them!)  I’ve always loved trying new dishes and ingredients so that helped spark my interest in the following blogs. Both of which are vegan. Hmmm…

One of my stalkees (is that even a word?!) is: Mamma Pea .
Her blog is just too cute! So are her two adorable daughters!  She has lots of delicious recipes, and even though she is vegan (I’m not) I can’t get enough of her blog!  I tried her green smoothies, and although I was initially skeptical about the spinach mixed with smoothie ingredients, you couldn’t even taste it!  I’ve already had them twice this past week.  And her food photos make me drool… 😛

And I’m not even going to mention her fabulous giveaway for Anthony Bourdain’s autographed book: “Medium Raw.” (oops, I mentioned it!) Go now!!

I’m not sure what has gotten into me with vegan blogs, but I’m also digging Chocolate-Covered Katie’s blog as well.  Did I mention she has gobs of sweet recipes, and CHOCOLATE all over her blog.  Can’t wait to try some more of her chocolate-covered goodness as well.  I have a huge sweet tooth so I know I’m going to be visiting her site often. 🙂  In fact, I’ve already tried her banana butter,  and I’m planning to have some chocolate protein cake tomorrow, that is if I can track down some canned pumpkin! (turns out after searching 3 aisles its a seasonal item at Walmart)

Those are my food blogs of the day! Tomorrow I’ll share my other recent favorite foodie blogs! And add some of my own favorite recipes!  Mmmmm….