Monday, September 7, 2009

Shish Kabobs Baby!

Hi all,
I haven't written in a while.  I got a teaching job two weeks about and have been frantically setting up my classroom.  I hate to admit it but John and I have been eating junkfood every night for dinner.
Last night we had some of out lovely friends over (Nate, Taylor and Travis).  Taylor and Nate brought some fabulous couscous and a tasty apple crisp.
John and I took care of the main dish.  I wanted to make kabobs because I NEVER make them, so I googled some recipes online and found some tasty ideas.  I added and took away some ingredients and everything turned out so good! We also had an abundance of cucumber and tomato from the garden so I made a scrumptious salad with that too.
Happy Labor Day!
Dinner with Taylor and Nate:

Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs 
Servings: 8
3 tablespoons soy sauce
3 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1/2 teaspoon fresh ground ginger
2 garlic cloves, crushed
4 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves -
cut into 2 inch pieces
1 (20 ounce) can pineapple chunks, drained
bacon for wrapping around chicken ( I did not do this but I saw many people with similar recipes who did and it sounds really good!)

1.     In a shallow glass dish, mix the soy sauce, brown sugar, sesame oil, ginger, and garlic. Stir the chicken pieces and pineapple into the marinade until well coated. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator at least 2 hours.
2.     Preheat grill to medium-high heat.
3.     Lightly oil the grill grate. Thread chicken and pineapple alternately onto skewers. Grill 15 to 20 minutes, turning occasionally, or until chicken juices run clear.

Steak Kabobs
Servings: 4


 1 ½ - 2 pounds of lean beef, preferably filet mignon, although any steak cut will do.
 1 green pepper
 1 Spanish onion
 1 pint cherry tomatoes
Small potatoes, various colors.
 2 cups olive oil
 1 clove, minced garlic
 2 tbsp chopped basil
1 Tbsp chopped oregano
1 Tbsp chopped rosemary
 1 tbsp grill seasoning
1/4 cup olive oil
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar

1. Begin by cutting the beef into 1 - 1 ½ inch cubes. Or enough to place 4 on each kabob.      
2.  Now it's time to chop the vegetables. Cut the zucchini into thick slices to make round circles.
3.   Clean the peppers. Cut into square slices, about an inch or so wide, do the same with the onion. You want it to look uniform so all the pieces should be about the same size.
4. Place the beef cubes and vegetables (with the tomatoes) into a large bowl.
5.  Add olive oil, vinegar, basil, oregano, rosemary, garlic, and your salt and pepper. Mix this up until the vegetables and beef cubes are covered evenly.
 6, refrigerate this mixture for at least 6 hours, 24 recommended.
7.  When you are ready to grill, light your grill and let it get hot.
8. Put everything on skewers.
9.  When you're ready to grill, just place them across the bars to get some good grill marks, close to the heat. Turn each one every 3-4 minutes, allowing each side to brown evenly.
10.  The beef should come out about medium, though you'll probably get a variety of temperatures.

Tomato and Cucumber Salad

4 medium tomatoes diced or sliced the way you want them2 medium cucumbers, peeled & sliced
2 onions, sliced and separated into rings
2 Tbsp. Vinegar
1/4 c. Olive Oil
2 Tbsp. Sugar
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. black pepper
2 tsp. minced fresh parsley.  
Set aside your cut up tomatoes, cucumbers & onions.  In your bowl or mason jar, pour in the remaining ingredients and mix or shake. Throw in your maters, cumbers, and onions into the jar with the mixture and toss around until mixed good.  Marinate 2hrs before serving.

Friday, August 21, 2009

The Greatest Gift I will Ever Bestow Upon You: Shrimp Tacos.

Tequila Lime Shrimp Tacos with Cilantro-L
ime Sauce (Imaginative, I know.)

Serves 2-4 depending on how much shrimp you put in each taco)

18 medium shrimp, raw
2 Tbsp. tequila
1 lime, zested. (Save the lime. Cut in half.)
2 garlic cloves
1 avocado
1/4 c. onion
3 Tbsp. minced cilantro, divided
1/4 chopped tomato, seeded
1 tsp. lemon juice (or lime if you have extra)
olive oil
shredded cabbage (about 1/2 cup)
Wheat tortillas
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/4 tsp. cumin

1) Shell and de-vein shrimp if necessary. Cut off tails. Place prepared shrimp in a small glass bowl. Sprinkle half the lime zest on shrimp. Add a few sprinkles salt. Cut lime in half and squeeze juice over shrimp. Add tequila and stir. Place in fridge to marinate. (note: don't do this too long or the shrimp will start to cook itself in the juice).

2) Slice avocado in half, remove flesh from the halves with a spoon and place in a small bowl. Add onion, 1 tablespoon cilantro, other half of lime juice, tomatoes, 1 minced garlic clove, salt, and pepper. Stir. Place in fridge.

3) In a third bowl, mix sour cream, lime zest, lemon juice, 2 tablespoons cilantro, and cumin. Salt and pepper to taste. Set aside.

4) Over medium heat, warm a small amount of olive oil. Add one minced garlic clove. Let cook a minute or two and then add shrimp, tequila and all. Turn dial to medium-high heat and cook shrimp. About 2 minutes per side. Most of liquid should evaporate.

5) Warm tortillas in the microwave. Spoon guacamole onto them and spread all around.

6) Sprinkle with cabbage. Layer shrimp. Drizzle sour cream mixture over the top and then fold in half.

(Note: I ran out of shrimp for my last two tacos so I sliced up some cucumber and used it in place of the shrimp. It was really tasty and I liked the crunch of the cucumber. I even added some thin slices to the shrimp tacos as an afterthought and they were really good.)

Shrimp Tacos! Wooo Hoo!

Hi all,
So I got a hankerin' for some shrimp tacos tonight. I grabbed my keys and went to the store. On the way I called my good friend Christina to see if she had any suggestions. She had never made shrimp tacos but told me that fish tacos had shredded cabbage and tartar sauce. The cabbage sounded good but the tartar sauce, not so much for shrimp. I was feeling like something with a lot of kick. Something that was going to make my taste buds do the meringue.
I ran through the store (which is completely torn apart and under construction), searching for the flavors I wanted to include. Wheat tortillas.... yes! Guacamole? Yeah baby! Lime juice? Oh yes I did! Cilantro? Of course! I grabbed some sour cream for the fun of it and all the fixins' to make my guac and before I knew it, I was back at home. Stopping briefly outside to grab myself a large cucumber and a few ripe tomatoes from the vine. What would I do with them? Who knew! I was in the mood for a fiesta!
First, I took the shrimp out of the fridge. Then, I sprinkled it with some lime zest and juice. I was staring at the shrimp, pondering what else to add to it's citrusy lime marinade when suddenly, Jose Cuervo was staring right back at me, daring me to tango! A splash of tequila... well, maybe more than a splash... and on to the guacamole.
Guacamole is my favorite dip of all dips. Fresh and tasty. I mashed the avocado, diced some onion, chopped some cilantro, squeezed some lemon juice, chopped my baby cherry tomatoes and ohhhh freshness! I love it!
Now... sour cream.... what a bore! I stared at my ingredients once more. I added some cilantro, a bit of cumin, lime zest, juice, salt, pepper! Taste.... oh yeah! Now we're talking.
I looked over at my marinating shrimp.. Oh no! The shrimp is cooking with the citrus! Get those babies in that pan! I sauteed some garlic, tossed the shrimp on and watched Mr. Cuervo do his magic... should I light it? No.. I'm afraid... maybe next time. Ok.
I warmed my tortillas, spooned the guac onto them and spread it all around. Then I saw that shredded cabbage and sprinkle it on top of the green goodness. Hmmm... looks like cheese. No cheese here! Oh well! I removed the curled up shrimp from the frying pan and layered them on the cabbage. Last. I took my cilantro, sour cream, cumin... thing! and I drizzled it over the top.
I folded it over and before my eyes lay the most beautiful of all tacos... Oh shoot. I forgot about the cucumber. Hmmm... I sliced it up, trying to make him feel he wasn't an afterthought, and made him into his very own shrimpless taco with all the fixins of the shrimp taco.
John comes upstairs. He has his camera. Quick! I say! Take the picture! It's PERFECT!
John says, "Yum."
About twenty snapshots later John is saddened that the cucumber from our garden is not showing. He lays some on the side of the plate and announces that now everyone will know it's our cucumber... so pretty.
FINALLY we are ready to eat. We take a bite... YES!!!!!!!!!! Day two! I do a little dance in my chair. John is still eating... and then... "This is my favorite meal... ever." OMG. Did you hear that? He then describes to me all the flavors he tastes... "This is my favorite meal... ever". Yes. Y'all. I've done it. I have made the world's greatest shrimp taco. Someone give me a medal. I am the master.
I am about to bestow upon you, the greatest gift you will ever get. All seven of you.

Chicken Bruschetta

Yum Yum Yum.

This chicken was amazing. Please make it. I wish I had some right now, I'd be eating it.
It tasted so good! I think I'm going to make it again tomorrow. Note the fresh basil and tomatoes from my garden. Ahhhh... freshness!

I decided to put a light Parmesan crust on because I thought the crunchy would contrast nicely with the juicy tomatoes. I decided just to spread the crust just on the top though instead of trying to coat the entire breast because it always falls off when I dish it up.

Chicken Bruschetta
Serves 4 (unless you eat two because it's so darn good!)

1/2 cup flour

1 egg + 2 egg whites, beaten
4 boneless, skinless, chicken breasts
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup dry breadcrumbs
1 tablespoon light butter
2 cups cherry tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 cub chopped FRESH basil leaves
2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar

1) Put flour and beaten eggs in shallow bowls or deep plates. Season flour with salt and pepper. Season chicken with a little salt and pepper as well.
2) Dip chicken in flour then in egg and place on a 9x13 pan.
3) Combine cheese, breadcrumbs and butter with a fork and then spoon over chicken. Press with the back of a spoon to make sure the crumbs are stuck to chicken.
4) Cover pan with foil and bake chicken at 375 for 20-25 minutes.
5) Mix the remaining ingredients together in a medium bowl and salt and pepper to taste.
6) Uncover the chicken and bake 7 minutes longer until top is browned and slightly hard to the touch.
7) Spoon tomato mixture over chicken, return to oven for 5 minutes.

I plated these up and served them with a light cucumber salad. They were very filling! Next time I'll make extra bruschetta and save it for some crunchy bread.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Dinner Tonight

For dinner tonight, I think I'm going to make chicken breast with a bruschetta topping. It sounds yummy. I have been craving bruschetta for a long time so we'll see how it turns out on the chicken. I think TGI Fridays use to have a pasta dish with angel hair pasta, chicken and bruschetta. I might use that as inspiration, minus the pasta.

Any suggestions? Let me know.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Five Spice Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw

My brother is in town from California and has come to visit John and I! I am happy to have him here. He is a body builder (I actually spotted him yesterday as be bench pressed 365 lbs! Like I could have saved him if it fell!) so he is constantly eating... and the majority of the food he eats is meat. Myself not being much of a meat eater, decided to make him a high protein meal that consisted of two grilled chicken breast, two cups of brown rice, and just for fun, a Five Spice Turkey Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw. Yummmm! Not a vegetable in sight! Oh my! Ok, well, the Mu Shu is all vegetables but it's covered with hoison sauce. Anyway, he is a pretty plain eater so I knew I was taking a chance with the burger but he ate it anyway and at 7:45 am this morning, I awoke to find him in the kitchen in his boxers, burger patty in his hand, no bun, fulfilling his protein craving. Ahhhh "little" brothers. Whatever will we do with them.

John and I love this recipe despite it's non-traditional burger flavor. It tastes great and the spices really make this burger unique. You will need no ketchup here, this little guy is great on his own!

Ps: My good friend Marie so kindly gave us this recipe. It is a family favorite at her house and we are so glad she shared it with us! I believe it comes from/is inspired by Rachel Ray.

Five Spice Burger with Warm Mu Shu Slaw
Serves 4-6

1 1/2 pounds ground turkey

2 tsp Chinese five-spice powder

1 tbsp Grill seasoning

2 Garlic cloves, minced

1 Inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated

5 Scallions, 2 finely chopped, 3 cut into thirds lengthwise

3 tbsp Tamari (or soy sauce)

1 tbsp Vegetable oi

12 Shitake mushrooms, thinly sliced

1/2 pound Shredded cabbage (I use purple but any kind will do)

3 tbsp Hoisin sauce

4 rolls of your choosing. We usually use some sort of wheat.

In a medium bowl, combine the meat with the five-spice powder, grill seasoning, garlic, ginger, finely chopped scallions, tamari, and a drizzle of vegetable oil. Form your burgers (I make small burgers so I usually get about 6 4oz patties). Grill the burgers. (note: they are pretty fragile. I notice that they actually turn out better in a grill pan on the stove than outside. But either way, just be careful with them and they should be ok).

Heat a nonstick skillet over high heat. Add the 1 tablespoons of vegetable oil. Cook the shiitakes for 2 minutes, add the cabbage, and stir-fry for 3 minutes more. Add the sliced scallions and hoisin sauce, toss to combine, and remove from the heat.

Serve the burgers on the buns piled high with mu shu slaw on top. Serve with chunks of fresh pineapple an exotic chips alongside the burgers.

1 patty: 270, 11.5g, 11g, 25g

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake

John signed up to bring breakfast to his work today and I thought of it as the perfect excuse to make my all-time favorite Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake. This recipe is exactly like the original which I found in Cooking Light Magazine in 2005. It is just too good to change anything! I still had some fresh blueberries leftover from blueberry picking so I used those. Make sure to use fresh lemon juice and zest. It really makes a difference. If you like a really nice crumbly top on your coffee cake, I would suggest doubling the topping.

I don't have a pretty picture of my own for this but I stole the one off of Cooking Light's site. It looks exactly the same!

Blueberry-Lemon Coffee Cake
Cooking Light Magazine
Serves 12

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/3 cup almond paste
2 tablespoons chilled butter, cut into small pieces
1 large egg
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup fat-free milk
1 1/2 cups blueberries
2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
Cooking spray

1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons sliced almonds, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1) Preheat oven to 350°.

2) To prepare cake, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl, stirring with a whisk.

3) Place 1/2 cup sugar, almond paste, and 2 tablespoons butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add egg and lemon juice, beating well. Add flour mixture and fat-free milk alternately to sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Fold in blueberries and rind. Spoon batter into a 9-inch square baking pan coated with cooking spray.

4) To prepare topping, combine 1/4 cup sugar and remaining ingredients in a small bowl, tossing with a fork until moist. Sprinkle topping evenly over batter. Bake at 350° for 35 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on a wire rack.

Calories: 196
Fat: 6.5g
Protein: 3.8g
Carbohydrate: 31.6g
Fiber: 1.4g
Cholesterol: 27mg
Iron: 1.2mg
Sodium: 243mg
Calcium: 82mg

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Hairy Dog Day

Wow. Today is a scorcher here. This is a picture of Griswold after a very short walk. He is huffing and puffing away and I decided to brush him. LoL. The "small" pile of hair next to him is only about 2 minutes of brushing with a small brush.

The other picture is me (5'6'') standing next to my cherry tomato plant. There are a few red ones so far. The other plants bear large fruit and will not turn red for a few weeks yet but when they do, we will be canning up a storm in the John and Heather household. My neighbor Andrew and I are determined to find the perfect Tomato Basil or Chunky Garden pasta sauce recipe this year. If any readers know of a great pasta sauce to can, please, help a sista out and share it with me!

Woo Hoo!

Just wanted to let everyone know that my Fabulous French Toast Casserole was INDEED fabulous. Oh yum. I had two servings today. It was the perfect day for it too. John and I slept in because it was too rainy to meet Marie for a bike ride and when we woke up it was still rainy. So I popped my casserole in the oven and thirty minutes later, I was tucked back in bed with my yummy breakfast creation and hot coffee... watching Shark Week on Discovery.


Friday, August 7, 2009

Fabulous French Toast Casserole

Oh my my my! I have some leftover french bread on the counter and this evening I thought to myself, "Woman, you need to make a french toast casserole for breakfast tomorrow!". And so I did. Now, I haven't tasted it yet because it needs to sit in the refrigerator all night but I have a feeling this will be one for the books! I worked really hard to make it as low cal and healthy as possible because my girlfriend Marie and I are going to eat a TON of cheese fondue tomorrow night before we go to see the movie "Julie and Julia" (I CAN'T WAIT!) so I really have to be careful what I eat earlier in the day.

I'll let you know how it turns out. I am super excited.

Fabulous French Toast Casserole
Serves 12

1 loaf whole grain french bread (sliced into 1-1 1/2 in. pieces)
4 eggs, 8 egg whites
2 cups light soy milk
1/2 cup sugar free maple syrup
1 tsp. cinnamon
1/8-1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 Splenda
1 Tbsp. vanilla extract
1 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 cup pecans, chopped

1) In a 9 x 13 pan, place sliced bread along the bottom.
2) In a large bowl, whisk eggs and whites. Add sugar, Splenda and cinnamon. Whisk in soy milk, maple syrup, and vanilla until well blended. Pour evenly over bread. Sprinkle brown sugar over the top of the toast. Put in fridge overnight.
3) The next morning, take out the refrigerator and sprinkle pecans over the top. Bake 30-40 minutes at 350 until firm.

Calories: 202
Carbs: 29
Fat: 6
Protein: 10
Fiber: 1.5

Latest Harvest

Wow! John harvested our lettuce the other day and boy did we have a tin! Pictured is also some zucchini, squash, green beans and a few cherry tomatoes.

Hello again!

Hi all. I am so excited that I have three followers now! And one of them isn't someone I asked to join my blog (Hi Eric!).

I haven't been on in a while. I cooked a few things here and there but nothing too special to report. I have also still not quite figured out how to use John's camera and post pics to my blog :). I have a beautiful one of my Cream of Yellow Squash Soup but who knows if you'll ever see it!

What has everyone else been cooking up?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Cream of Squash Soup

I am still on a mission to not let my vegetables go to waste this summer and this morning after my bike ride I went out into the garden and picked three more yellow squash! I found this recipe online and only changed the heavy cream to low fat buttermilk to cut down the calories.

FYI: did you know that 1 cup of heavy cream has over 800 calories and 1 cup of low fat buttermilk has only 120? Big difference!

I am not really wild about this soup. It tastes tangy but that is most likely due to the buttermilk. I am guessing this recipe tastes much better with cream!

It is however, fresh tasting and a good way to use a lot of squash fast so I may make it again but next time I may add some herbs from the garden to give it more flavor and probably even use the cream. If anyone has any squash soup recipes they love, please share!

ps: This soup tasted better later in the day. The flavors really came out a lot more and I ended up eating three bowls so it must be good.

Cream of Squash Soup
Serves 8

1 1/2 pounds yellow summer squash
1 medium onion, sliced
juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 cup flour
6 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon white pepper
dash of ground nutmeg
1 cup heavy cream (or low fat buttermilk in my case)

1) Wash and trim squash. Slice, reserving 8 very thin slices for garnish. In a large saucepan, splash a bit of chicken broth and gently saute onion and lemon juice. Sprinkle with flour and cook slowly, stirring, until flour is absorbed.

2) Add chicken broth gradually, then sliced squash, salt and pepper. Simmer for 1 hour. Puree soup in blender or food processor. Add nutmeg. To heat, stir in cream with a wire whisk and cook over low heat. Do not allow to boil. Garnish cream of squash soup with reserved squash slices.

Note: A serving of this soup is very low in calorie even though the amount of soup is quite large. This is probably a good soup to eat as a side rather than a meal or you'll be hungry later!

Calories: 86
Carbs: 10
Fat: 2.5
Protein: 6.3

Awesome Blue Cheese Dressing!

Being lactose intolerant has been really hard for me, especially because of my love of cheese. I was so sad to give up blue cheese in particular. I decided to make a nice salad for dinner tonight and really wanted a nice creamy dressing for John (I think he sometimes gets tired of always eating low fat dressings:) so I found some blue cheese dressing recipes online, subbed out some ingredients for healthy alternatives and YUM! I made a low calorie blue cheese dressing (and I DO mean low cal) that is better tasting than any dressing I have ever had! If you have sworn off creamy dressings because of their fat and calorie content, please try this recipe! There is still hope! The mayo I used is a low fat mayo by Hellman's. There are only 15 calories per tablespoon so that really drops the calories down. Break out the Lactaid! I am having this dressing tonight!

Heather's Totally Rad Blue Cheese Dressing
Makes about 1 cup (or 16 Tbsp.)

1/3 c. low fat mayo (Hellman's Low Fat)
1/3 c. low fat buttermilk
1/2 Tbsp. Dijon mustard
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/4 cup or 1 oz blue cheese

1) In a food processor, process mayo, buttermilk, Dijon mustard, salt, and pepper until well blended.
2) Add blue cheese and pulse until blue cheese breaks into chunks.

Note: The dressing comes out quite thick so if you like a thinner dressing add a little more milk.

Per Tbsp:
Calories: 14
Carbs: 1
Fat: 1
Protein: 1

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Zucchini Bread

The other day I was walking with my friend Marie, griping about my garden and how much zucchini I had to eat, and she suggested making zucchini bread. I have never made or eaten zucchini bread before but decided to give it a shot. I went online and found a million yummy recipes but I started to realize that this was not going to be as healthy as it sounded because of all the oil and sugar needed to make it so I decided to do some detective work and figure out what I could swap here and there to ensure the baking of this bread did not sabotage my morning of running! In this recipe I swapped unsweetened applesauce for oil, egg whites for whole eggs, Splenda for some of the sugar, wheat flour for a cup of regular and there you go! I calculated the calories and I was floored! A "normal" slice of zucchini bread with all the oil and sugar etc. is on average a whopping 215 calories and 10 grams of fat! My zucchini bread has only 60 calories and .12 grams of fat! No joke.

Because I've never had zucchini bread before this may taste nothing like what it should to others but it tastes good to me. Someone pass the Country Crock Light! :)

Won't Hurt the Waistline Zucchini Bread

Makes 24 slices (2 loaves)

3 C. organic grated zucchini
5 organic egg whites
1/2 C. sugar
1 C. Splenda
1 C. unsweetened applesauce
1 tsp. vanilla
1 C. whole wheat flour
1 C. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1) Mix eggs, sugar, Splenda, and vanilla in a bowl until light and fluffy. Add zucchini and mix well. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl and then add to the wet mixture slowly.

2) Pour into two loaf pans and bake at 350 for 55-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.

Note: I cut each loaf into 12 pieces. I have read online that the zucchini bread freezes well so I may do this with the second loaf.

Calories: 60
Fat: .12
Carbs: 12.5
Protein: 2
Fiber: 1

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Yummy Veggie Surprise!

Today I went out into the garden and realized, "I have way too many veggies!" if there is such a thing. I've been in a pasta mood lately so I decided to make a veggie packed pasta. You can use whatever veggies you want but these are what I had on hand and needed to get rid of before it went bad. It's not my favorite pasta ever but it is certainly healthy and packed with a ton of nutrients. Check out the nutrition facts below!

Pasta with Vegetables
Serves 6

3 cups tri-colored pasta (I used organic bow tie)
1/2 cup low sodium chicken broth
1 cup chopped carrots
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 cup sliced colored sweet pepper
1 cup organic zucchini, cubed
1 cup organic yellow squash, cubed
2 tsp. organic Italian seasoning
1/2 cup organic fresh basil, roughly chopped
1 can organic chunky garden pasta sauce (I used Meijer Organic)

1) Cook pasta according to the package.
2) Heat chicken broth in a skillet. Add carrots first. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then add peppers, zucchini, squash, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper as desired.
3) Cook vegetables until tender (I like mine a little crunchy still).
4) Add the basil, seasoning, and pasta sauce to the pan and let heat through.
5) Toss pasta into sauce and serve.

Calories: 196
Fat: 2 g
Carbs: 37
Protein: 6.5 g

Monday, July 27, 2009

Raspberry Picking

John and I went raspberry picking on Saturday. We ended up with 13 pints filled to the brim with berries. They looked so good and fresh. They were pretty pricey but still much cheaper than buying them at the store.

We had the intention of making jam with them Saturday night but we were too tired and decided to put them in the fridge and can them the next day.

Well, yesterday we went to make the jam and about 75% of them were covered in mold! I was so sad! I don't know what happened or why they molded in less than 24 hours in the fridge.

We salvaged as many as we could and John made jam with them last night but we only got 8 8oz jars of jam out of all those pints!

We make our jam with half Splenda and half sugar and it turned out really tasty still but I'm a little worried that they might still spoil.

Any thoughts on why they molded so fast? Any tips on making jam at your house?

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

My mother gave me two peppers the other day and I had lots of mini peppers from Costco that I still needed to use so I decided to make vegetarian stuffed peppers. I have never made them before so I searched a few sites online to find a recipe that seemed simple and I altered it. It was inspired by "Cole's Kith" a fellow Google blogger. The recipe below is as I made it but you can always substitute things you like to make it more appealing to you. I know this picture at the right is not very appetizing. It's so hard to take pictures of food and make it look good, but you get the idea.

Vegetarian Stuffed Peppers

2 bell peppers and 10 mini peppers (Or just use 4 bell)
1-2 Tbsp. low sodium chicken broth
1 onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 c. Basmati rice, cooked
6 oz. tomato paste
1 Tbsp. balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp. fresh organic oregano, chopped
2 Tbsp. fresh organic basil, chopped
2 Tbsp. Parmesan cheese (a little extra to sprinkle on top and melt at the end if

freshly ground black pepper

1) Remove the tops and seeds of the peppers.

2) Heat the chicken broth in a pan and cook the onions and garlic until they are tender.

3) Mix all the ingredients together in a bowl until well blended. Then stuff peppers with filling and place in a pan (I used a bread pan so they didn't tip over).

4) Bake 30-50 minutes at 350 degrees.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

The hairy dogs in my kitchen

Well, here they are. My hairy dogs.

Welcome to my garden!

This is my organic garden. The only "fertilizers" we use are leftover fruits, vegetables, lawn clippings and coffee grounds that have been cooking up in our compost pile.

This is my third year tending to a garden, and as you can see, I'm running out of room! Next year John and I are going to expand it to at least twice it's size to make room for more fruits and vegetables.

It is fenced in because Griswold and Lola love nothing better than to sit in the garden all day and eat our harvest! Tomatoes are their ultimate favorite but Griswold also loves to gnaw on squash and zucchini! Although we appreciate their love for organic vegetables as much as we do, we really wanted to be able to eat some ourselves!

This year we are growing yellow squash, zucchini, celery*, beets, carrots*, different kinds of peppers, cucumbers, pole beans, lettuce, sweet corn, pumpkins*, tomatoes, cilantro, lavender, mint, rosemary, basil, chives and oregano. Last year in addition to most of the list above, we also tried our hand at strawberries, soy beans, raspberries, egg plant and onions. We decided not to grow these things again because we either had bad luck with them, space limitations, or simply the fact that we just didn't use them as much as we thought!

When fall comes, we dry our herbs and can our tomatoes. In addition, we also can many of the fruits we pick and make tasty jams with them as well!