Archive for the 'recipes' Category

Happy Birthday to Me….a little early.

Sunday, May 16th, 2010

So a while ago I started making smoothies. I was attempting to make the kind you buy at Jamba Juice, or a smoothie place, and I was pretty dang good at it. I wasn’t making any specific flavor, just something to enjoy that had fruit in it and was sweet and tasty. Then I came across some info on green smoothies and I attempted to make one of those. It didn’t go so well. The taste was fine, but the texture, ugh, gag me. I made a green smoothie in Sam’s Vitamix and was sold that that was the blender I needed if I ever was going to do the green smoothie thing. So my green smoothie making died, but my fruit smoothie making lived on.

Then my blender started making weird noises, and I decided I needed a new one and it had to be a Vitamix.

Truthfully, we did a little research on other blenders that were cheaper, still costly, but only 1/4 the cost of the Vitamix. Since I only wanted the Vitamix to make smoothies, Jon wasn’t too hot on spending a small fortune, partially because he wasn’t sure I would use it for a long time, and the smoothie making would probably die out, like my Wii work-outs. (In my defense I am healthier overall, so even though I’m not working out I’m doing other things, and the fact that I’m not in shape for the Waltz is also because no one is in shape to do the Waltz except those who do it regularly.)

Wait, where was I? Oh yes, blenders.

We read some reviews on different blenders, but they were all mixed and the one we wanted to buy actually got some bad consumer reviews and we would have to go to an actual department store, not just Target, to buy it. So a part of it was laziness. Then I told Jon we could grind wheat with the Vitamix, though it needed a different blade and container, which would cost extra, but we could also make our own peanut butter and my smoothies would be so much better, and made in much less time. Plus. it had a tamper, which is specifically made to push food into the blades, and I wouldn’t accidentally slice any of our spatulas while making my smoothies and being too impatient to wait for the blades to stop spinning before stirring the smoothie contents.

Eventually he was sold on the Vitamix, mostly for the wheat thing and consumer happiness, and we decided we’d get one, but they’re expensive and not something we wanted to be too hasty about.

Then I heard they sold them at Costco at different times throughout the year, and it’s the cheapest my friends said I could buy it, and where they got theirs.

So I waited and waited to see them at Costco, but I rarely went to Costco and I worried I had missed them.

Then in April a friend said they’d be there in May, so I asked a worker what day, and they told me May 7th.

May 7th, it was about 3 weeks away, but I had a date to look forward too.

So put it on my calendar and I waited.

And waited, and then May 7th came, but it was the day before we left for Disneyland, and I had a messy house, laundry, and a long list of stuff to do. Plus showering was not on my list, so instead, I stayed home on May 7th, went to rehearsal all day on May 8th, left for Disneyland in the evening of May 8th, and did not return home till May 11th.

So May 12th was the fateful day for me to buy my Vitamix.

I went and ate/drank some of the recipes the gentleman, Vitamix seller had prepared at his little stand at Costco. A few of us had a small conversation about the machine, all the while the seller was talking through his microphone headset, and then I picked out a nice, black Vitamix and a dry mix blade/ container. I also bought a huge bag of spinach to make green smoothies.

I opened it up once at home, five hours later since I had gone grocery shopping, rehearsal, and had two girls to get to bed. It was so pretty and nice. It’s my Birthday/ Mother’s Day present, but mostly birthday.

I’ve used it a handful of times and as I look through the recipe book I know I can easily integrate it into my life more than I had planned as long as I’m conscious of what I’m cooking and actually cook. It sits on my counter so I can easily access it and use it for mixing, cutting, and making things. It doesn’t go in the dishwasher, and cleans easily, so I can use it over and over in one day.

Tonight, I made some Minestrone Soup, in the Vitamix because it heats it up food, not to boiling, but hot enough to cook when left on long enough. It was delicious and had a fresh taste to it, not like any other soup I’ve had. Then for dessert I made Strawberry Lime Sorbet. It was sweet and tangy and it’s consistency was close to what I make my smoothies, but most homemade ice cream/ sorbet is very soft unless frozen after it’s made. (Funny note: They do a demonstration on how you can flip the ice cream or sorbet upside down once it’s made and the four hills appear, so Lilah took it to Jon, who was in the living room, while I rinsed the lid off, and flipped it upside down so he could see it was frozen too. I’m so happy it didn’t slide out of the container because it was melting and would have two minutes later and then I would have had Strawberry Lime Sorbet all over my rug. )

Tomorrow, I think I will use it to make some pancakes and whatever else floats my boat.

So I’m in love with my Vitamix. It really is a wonderful machine, costly, but so worth it.

Also if you’d like to make tasty fruit smoothies here’s what I do in no particular amount or order, but these are my smoothie making rules:

Use Frozen fruit. You can buy fresh fruit and then freeze, or just buy frozen. This is important for the consistency and then you don’t have to add ice. I usually use strawberries, mangos, blueberries, pineapple, or whatever I want. Banana’s being the one exception to the frozen rule, unless you want a very banana smoothie, then I would freeze them.

Use sorbet to sweeten, but it’s not necessary if you have pineapple juice.

Use Orange juice or pineapple juice for your liquid. Orange juice does not sweeten, but pineapple juice does. If you want the flavor of the fruit or if you have sorbet to add, use orange juice. If you don’t have sorbet, use pineapple juice to sweeten, but if you don’t want it to taste to much like pineapple, use both orange juice and pineapple.

So basically throw in your fruit, a little sorbet, and your liquid. I know pineapple and banana’s sweeten, so I don’t need to sweeten as much with the juice or sorbet when I add those. Go easy on the liquid, you can always add more, and I usually do, and blend till smooth. Since I don’t use ice, but frozen fruit, I find that most blenders can make it a smooth consistency like what you get at smoothie store. My old blender is still working after many smoothie making afternoons, I think it just can be temper-mental, so I will be donating it to DI.


Thursday, March 26th, 2009

My sister Andrea did a post about planning on making chocolate chip cookies. She gave no recipe so I thought I’d look on-line to see what would pop up if I searched for “best chocolate chip cookie ever”. I found this recipe in there and it’s pretty good, though I don’t know if I would say it’s the best but they’re pretty good and very big if you make them the whole 1/4 cup sized scoop of dough. It only makes around 14 cookies though.

So pretty on my cookie sheet. I had to cool them on a towel because I couldn’t find my cooling racks.

The girls loved the cookies. They’re about twice the size than they normally get.

When I say I ate two, does that still make me a cookie hog?  (I ate only 1 1/2 at first because they were so big, but then I just couldn’t bare to put half a cookie in the bag to keep for later.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (for pure convection, adjust accordingly; I used 310 F on convection). Grease cookie sheets, or line them with parchment paper or use a Silpat.

Sift the flour, salt and baking soda and set aside.

Mix the sugars and butter just until thoroughly mixed, then add egg, yolk and vanilla and mix until creamy. Add the sifted ingredients and mix until just blended.

Stir in the chocolate chips/chunks, then drop dough 1/4 cup at a time on a cookie sheet, about 3 inches apart, and bake for 15-17 minutes. Leave them on the cookie sheet to cool a bit when removed from the oven (this is important… they fall apart if you move them too quickly). Once they cool a few minutes, remove the cookies to a cooling rack to finish cooling. Or eat them right away, with milk!


Wednesday, March 11th, 2009

I was first introduced to hummus when I was pregnant with Lilah. My supervisors took me and the other student worker out to lunch and they had me try hummus since I had never had it.

I then forgot all about hummus until Jon  and I went to a Mediterranean restaurant near UNLV for our 5th year anniversary and I once again tried hummus and I loved it and I remembered I loved it and have since bought hummus and had hummus on other occasions.

While at Sam’s yesterday she had hummus, homemade hummus from a recipe we both aquired at a Home and the Range activity, but I don’t know where I put mine, though I’m almost positive it’s in the pile of reciepes I need to organize for my reciepe book.

Anyways, Sam had bought tahini to make her hummus, the odd ingredient that I don’t have, and brought some to me today since I forgot to take some home yesterday and I made my first batch of homemade hummus this afternoon. I am so happy because it’s so much cheaper than buying it and all but Lilah really love hummus in our family though, since this isn’t spicy like the kind I just bought she’s more inclined to eat it. I just think it’s funny that Eden loves hummus and will eat a nice portion with her pita bread while Lilah mostly eats the pita bread. Very opposite than what I’m use to.

This is the recipe for hummus that I’ve made. I’m full from lunch, so I can’t wait till it’s slightly chilled and ready to be our afternoon snack. Now I just need to make my own pita bread to lessen the cost even more and make it even more my own.


1 can Garbanzo beans
1/4 cup liquid from can
3-5 Tbsp. Lemon juice.
1 1/2 Tbsp. Tahini
2 cloves garlic, crushed
1/2 tsp. salt
2 Tbsp. olive oil

Combine all ingrediants into a blender and puree till smooth or desireed texture. Add a little more oil before serving.

Just a note: I’d stay closer to 3 tablespoons lemon juice. I added more to help puree it a little bit smoother and now it has a lemony taste, not bad, but I’d rather taste the garlic and olive oil more. I think I’d save more of the canned juice next time for making it a smoother texture or add oil.

Tuscan Stew

Thursday, February 5th, 2009

Today I went to Home and the Range. It’s an activity for church where we get together and share ideas about food and home and is specific to our little ward.

Today our focus was on bread and since Chris, or the woman in charge of Home and the Range, always provides soup or food some some sort, I offered to bring soup to this activity.

I made the following stew, which is really good and practically everything in it is something you can have on hand in food storage. Jon actually had my cook book open to another recipe and I saw this one and thought, “Hey we have everything but the tomatoes.”, so I bought the tomatoes and he made it while I had gastritis, and I ate it since it was before I knew I had gastritis and I was still eating some regular foods and then laying on the couch in pain because all I knew was I had to eat but eating caused pain and I had so much pain because beans and tomatoes are like the two worst things for someone who has gastritis, but it was good regardless, and today I enjoyed it pain free.

I think it’s a great recipe and it’s so easy, and it uses food storage, especially if you store beans like we do, but only have one recipe to use them, except the fact that your husband just cooks them and eats them with rice for lunch.  So if you have some good bean recipes, share them, I need them.

Tuscan Bean Stew

1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground sage
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (33.5 oz.) can peeled plum tomatoes with basil, undrained, cut up
1 (15.5 or 15 oz.) can kidney beans
1 (15 oz.) can black beans, drained, rinsed
1 (15 oz.) can garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
1/3 cup dry red wine*
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

Heat oil in Dutch oven or 3- quart saucepan over medium heat until hot. Add sage and garlic; cook and stir 2 to 3 minutes or until garlic is tender.

Stir in remaining ingredients. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low; simmer 15 to 20 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring occasionally.

*I use 1/3 cup water with chicken bullion, or chicken broth, instead of red wine. You can use any red wine substitute you want.

Lilah’s Smoothie Recipe

Sunday, November 23rd, 2008

While at the store on Friday Lilah thought up a smoothie recipe.  She then wrote it down so we could make it Friday night, but Mommy wasn’t up to it Friday night, so we made it Saturday. I was going to take pictures, but I forgot since I was making it, but I have scanned in recipe that Lilah wrote down and my translation for those of you who do not live in our house and know that Daddy’s yogurt is plain yogurt and Mommy’s yogurt is vanilla yogurt.

Here’s what she wrote out:

7 Ingredients

Mommy’s Yogurt (vanilla yogurt)
Daddy’s Yogurt (plain yogurt)
Chocolate (we used chocolate syrup, though she wanted t use the semi sweet chocolate baking chips we just bought at the store.)
Lilah- I think it was suppose to be By: Lilah- she’s not one of the ingredients

Her S’s are backwards, so they look like Z’s, but she’s had a hard time with S’s lately, they usually come out looking like 3’s, so I’m just happy they’re now backwards, which is pretty typical.
I’m impressed with her spelling of milk even though it has a C instead of a K, they both say the same sound, so I’m also just happy she got all the sounds and especially the vowel. As you can see in some words, like banana, she often doesn’t hear the vowels in the words.
Also, she did this all by herself, with me only telling her that CH made the ‘ch’ sound in chocolate, though I’m not sure how to write that down. I hope you as a reader just know what sound CH makes. 😉

The smoothie was mostly like drinking banana yogurt. We didn’t need to add sugar, but we would have used honey had we needed to. We also keep the chocolate to a minimum.

It was actually pretty tasty and it’ll be interesting to see what she comes up with next.

Healthy eater

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

Lilah loves being healthy, or really eating things that will help her be healthy.

She likes flax seed because it helps her brain, or makes her smart. One time when she was reading and I said she was doing really well she said it was because of the flax seed, I said it was because she was smart and flax seed just helped her brain, but she was the smart one. She seemed to still put a lot of credit on the flax seed, which she had been eating with yogurt a lot at the time.

I watched a video on this Cookus Interruptus site. It was on how to properly cook collard greens, and the chef said how they were the most nutrient rich food on the planet, and Lilah now repeats that every time we have collard greens, which she happily eats, and always has happily eaten, even when I steamed them and they were more bitter.

Yesterday I was having some sweet potato fries that were left overs. I asked if the girls wanted any and they both said no. I said how they have vitamin A in them which is good for you eyes and then Lilah was all over having some.  She said they would help her see clearly.

I don’t know many children who will try, or eat things, just because you say they’re good for you.

At one point she swore off candy because it’s bad for you, but that didn’t last, but we also taught her that some things, even if they’re bad, are OK in moderation, or small portions.

I told my friend Sam about Lilah’s eating habits, and she asked to trade kids because her daughter is a very picky eater, and it doesn’t matter what you say, she won’t eat it if she doesn’t want to. Eden takes more of this approach and it’s kinda cute to watch Lilah try to persuade her to try something because it’s good for you.

I just hope Lilah keeps this appraoch to eating and trying new foods and that Eden someday learns from it.


Monday, May 19th, 2008

Beets are our most successful crop thus far. You can eat the leaves. (I get the steamer boiling, put the cut up leaves in and then remove the beet leaves from the heat. I also eat them with Italian dressing ’cause they’re too bitter to me without it.)
You can eat the root, well the beet is the root.

I did not like beets as a child. My mom would buy them and they were awful.
Then I ate regular beets as an adult at Jon’s house. They were nothing like the beets I knew as a child because the beets I knew as a child were pickled.

Pickled beets are not regular beets.

That said I still feel that beets are not for everyone. I, myself, like the earthy sweet taste our garden beets have, and canned beets are OK too, but not as tasty as our garden beets. Eden does not like beets. I try to tell her they’re red pancakes but she doesn’t buy it and barely touches any beets we give her.
(Broccoli are trees, mashed potatoes are clouds. We give our food different names for fun most of the time. Lilah loves red pancakes. )

This was our beet harvest this year.



I’m thinking we should plant all beets and plum tomatoes because they seem to produce the most for us. Our radishes also grow well, but I detest radishes, and Jon’s breath for the hour after he’s eaten any.

After dinner note: Eden ate her beet without any complaint and even had a second one! I guess she only likes beets from our garden.

Grocery shopping

Tuesday, October 2nd, 2007

With wanting to stick to the budget I didn’t go grocery shopping the last week of September even though we needed a few things. I had spent the final part of our grocery budget at Costco. Milk was the main thing we needed. So this last week to make it last we had a lot of oatmeal and the girls got french toast twice within 4 days. We had plenty of eggs and bread, just not a lot of milk.
So yesterday being October 1st, I can’t believe it’s October, I went on one of my normal long shopping trips. First to Food -4-Less, where nonperishables are usually cheaper and then to Smith’s where I can find the store brand bran flakes and shredded wheat that I can’t at Food-4-Less and where dairy is cheaper.
I took the girls along and since Lilah found a penny that I pointed out to her. She was actually very happy and didn’t complain about being tired. Then at Smith’s I let her pick her own yogurt as a reward for behaving. (Before the penny happened and before we even got in the store she started to say she was tired!)
I’ve decided that many people do a month’s worth of shopping on the first day of the month. I saw a lot of people with two shopping carts full of groceries and the lines took forever to get through.
It reminded me of when I would got o the commissary with my mom for our monthly shopping trips for groceries.
It was crazy.
Smith’s was busy but not nearly as bad as Food- 4 -less.

Anyways, I bought a whole chicken and roasted it in my crock pot last night. It is delicious and was perfectly falling off the bones this morning.
I did it during the night so I could cook it on low, as to not rush it, and because I have Lilah’s gymnastics class tonight and I don’t like leaving things like crock pots on when I’m not at home, even if that’s one reason to use it. If a fire is gonna happen I’d like to be here to call the fire department.
I got the idea of roasting the chicken in the crock pot from Sam, and I figured now we have chicken to do whatever we what with. Put it on sandwiches or do a salad.
I feel like I’m finally doing something extra special for my family since they’ll be getting two not usually made dishes in a row.
Monday night I made black bean enchiladas, red peppers were on sale, and tonight we’ll have chicken sandwiches from homemade roasted chicken. This is a lot of cooking for me in two days. We have rice and soup like once a week, or rice and pot pies, or pizza. I cook the same things over and over again, so these dishes are nice changes.

Jon’s diet changes have kinda put me in a funk. I don’t know what to do to spice things up, though I have been making different stir fry’s which we find delicious but Eden does not like. Oh well.
Since the chicken was cooked with the skin it’s slightly fattier than what Jon should eat, but he can still have small amounts and the breast meat is still really good for him.
I’m just happy to do something extra for us.
The chicken was also hormone free and farmed raised so that’s one extra thing I also did. Now I just have to start buying those kind of chicken breast. The frozen ones I get are huge and obviously hormone injected!

Also with trying to save money I also took our coupons. We’ve been getting a condensed version of the coupons you would get in the Sunday paper, so I’ve been cutting the ones I’d use. I’m also keeping the good store coupons that are relevant to what I buy. Like if I buy this brand of soup I will probably buy it again. So I’d rather get a coupon for that brand of soup and not some random thing that’s associated with it. Like you often get store coupons for formula if you buy diapers, or a different brand of diapers.
Anyways. I love to look for the bargains and I’m liking getting the coupons each week in the mail.

Also here’s the recipe for Black Bean enchilada’s, it’s from the Pillsbury cook book. Enjoy, it’s delicious!

Black Bean Enchiladas
prep 20 minutes (ready in 40 minutes)- really it takes an hour

2 (10oz.) cans enchilada sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil or vegetable oil
1 onion, sliced separated into rings
1 small red bell pepper, sliced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 (15 oz.) cans black beans, drained , rinsed
8 (6 inch) soft corn tortillas, heated
8 oz. (2 cups) shredded colbymonterey jack cheese

1. Heat oven to 425 degreed. Spoon 2/3 cup of the enchilada sauce in bottom of ungreased 12×8 inch (2 quart) baking dish.
2. Heat oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat until hot. Add onion, bell pepper and garlic; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until onion is tender.
3. In medium bowl combine onion mixture and beans; mix well. Spoon about 2 tablespoons beans mixture down center of each tortilla. Top each with 2 tablespoons cheese; roll up. Place, seam side down, over enchilada sauce in baking dish.
4. Spoon remaining enchilada sauce over filled enchiladas. Sprinkle with remaining 1 cup cheese.
5. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

my way- I use regular flour, or whole wheat, tortillas.(If you use larger tortillas use a 13×9 pan.) I also use an added 1/2 green bell pepper and a large red bell pepper so I can have more filling. I also end up using more cheese than the recipe calls for because I love cheese and it balances out the extra filling.