Friday, October 28, 2011

Chocolate peanut butter goodness

Our friends are HERE! After one of our favorite meals of cheesy chicken rice and broccoli casserole, we feasted on this incredible gooey dessert and talked for hours about life! We are off to bed after a LONG crazy busy week, but excited to spend the weekend with Heidi, Joseph, and little Tate!

Chocolate Peanut Butter goodness:


 (18.25) package plain yellow cake mix
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 eggs
1/2 a 12 oz package semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 a can sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons vanilla

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
2) Combine cake mix, melted butter, peanut butter, and eggs in a large bowl using a mixer or spoon. Press this into a 9X13 pan reserving 1 1/2 cup of the mixture to crumble on top.
3) In a small pot, melt chocolate chips, sweetened condensed milk, and butter. Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla and coconut.
4) Spread chocolate mixture over the mixture pressed in the pan and then crumble the 1 1/2 cups of reserved cake mixture on top evenly.
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely before cutting into bars.

Oh. My. Goodness.
Adapted from here.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Roommate Reunion

My sweet roommates from Wheaton College
I've been counting down the days for the past two weeks til one of my best friends from college comes to visit me!!! She is coming with her husband and 3 year old, Tate, who is the cutest little boy you have ever seen. I am SO thankful we have a house that can hold visitors! And YAY for old friends! 
Being in a totally new place (especially since I've only been working part time for the past 3 weeks and have more free time) I have been REALLY missing old familiar faces and the sweetness of GIRL fellowship! Ever since high school, I have basically had girls around me 24/7 to do life with! There is something SO sweet about a close knit group of Christian girls to laugh with, cry with, rejoice with, pray with... and the Lord has been SO good in giving me that in college and every year after. And though I am SO SO SO thankful for my husband who is my BEST friend, I MISS my girls!  

Since my Wheaton College years, all of my college friends have completely spread out across the nation (and world!). We have all been living such different lives, and don't get a chance very often to come back together and catch up. In fact, there are 2 of my close college friends who I haven't even SEEN since college! (Shout out to Mimi Green and Kyle Boyes! Miss ya!) LUCKILY, my sister married the brother of one of my best college friends, Sarah Day, so I have gotten to see HER every year or two.    
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And the one coming this weekend, Heidi Bayley, is the other one I've seen pretty frequently since college. She got married halfway through her senior year and they adopted the most PRECIOUS boy  from Africa a couple years ago. She and her husband live in Indianapolis and he is a pastor there.
ANYWAY, I love them all and miss them dearly and am so thankful Heidi and her family can come see my new world here. 
                                                                                     In preparation of their coming, I have made apple muffins and am about to make banana bread! Here is the recipe for the apple muffins which turned out healthy and delicious!

Apple Flax Muffins: 
1 3/4 c whole wheat flour       1/2 c brown sugar
2 apples                         1   egg
2 tsp baking soda               1/2 c unsweetened applesauce
1/2 tsp baking powder           3/4 c ground flax seed
1/2 tsp salt                    1/2 c plain non fat yogurt
1/2 tsp cinnamon               1/2 tsp vanilla extract

STEP 1: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. In a large bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, ground flax seed, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon).

STEP 2: In a medium bowl, whisk together the wet ingredients (egg, brown sugar, yogurt, apple sauce, and vanilla). Core and chop the apples into small pieces.

STEP 3: Pour the wet ingredients into the bowl of dry ingredients. Stir just until combined. Fold in the chopped apples just until they are evenly distributed. Try not to over stir the mixture or else the muffins may become tough or rubbery.

STEP 4: Spray a muffin tin with non-stick spray. Fill 12 muffin cups with 2/3 batter. Bake in the preheated 400 degree oven until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (about 20-25 minutes). Remove the muffins from the tin and let cool on a wire rack. 
Recipe found: here.

YES they are healthy, YES they are made with no oil or butter, and YES they have whole wheat flour, but guess what? They STILL taste good! Well, we will see if the Bayley's and little Tate can get on board with my healthy breakfast recipes. If not, maybe they will like the banana bread.


Here is the banana bread recipe.
Ingredients




  • 1-½ cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • ½ teaspoons Baking Powder
  • ½ teaspoons Salt
  • 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
  • 1 dash Nutmeg
  • 1 cup Splenda
  • 2 whole Eggs Beaten
  • ¼ cups Butter, Melted
  • 1 teaspoon Vanilla
  • 2 whole Bananas, Mashed
  • Preparation Instructions
1. Grease and flour 7×3 inch loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In one bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg and Splenda. Mix in slightly beaten eggs, melted butter, vanilla and mashed bananas. Pour into prepared pan.
3. Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) uncovered for 45 minutes, then cover with foil. Bake for an additional 15 minutes covered. Found here!
SMELLS DELICIOUS!

For dinner tonight! Another recipe experiment. The real test is if my husband likes it.   


Spaghetti Squash with Chicken, broccoli, peas and dried tomatoes  

Ingredients:

  • 1 whole Spaghetti Squash
  • 2 Tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • 4 cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 1 cup Chicken Broth, Divided Use
  • ⅓ cups Sundried Tomatoes, Chopped
  • 2 cups Broccoli Florets
  • 1 cup Frozen Peas
  • 2 whole Chicken Breasts, Grilled And Sliced
  • ¼ cups Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • 1 pinch Salt/pepper To Taste
Preparation Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees (F).
2. With a sharp knife, cut spaghetti squash in half lengthwise. Scrape/remove seeds with a spoon.
3. Place squash halves cut side down on a baking sheet: bake for 45 minutes. Let squash cool.
4. Using a fork, scrape the inside of the squash with the tines to remove strands.
5. In a large, deep skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic. Saute 1 minute.
6. Add 1/4 cup of chicken broth, sundried tomatoes, and broccoli and saute 5 minutes.
7. Add peas, grilled chicken, and remaining 3/4 cup of chicken broth. Shake about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into mixture (just enough to thicken the chicken broth).
8. Reduce heat to medium-low. Cover skillet and simmer for about 3 minutes.
9. Serve on top of the squash strands with fresh shaved parmesan cheese.   
Recipe found here.
We will let you know how it goes! Hope you have a great weekend!                

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Free time and cooking experiments

Hello! 
  Well, I may just end up blogging on Sundays since it seems to be a recent trend, AND the day that I try new recipes which are always fun to share. Let's see, what's new in our world...
  Well last Friday was my last day working full-time at Briarcrest. I will still be teaching in the mornings, but I'm done teaching 6th-8th PE classes in the afternoons (I was taking over for a girl on maternity leave). So... what to do with my days now that I'm done at 10 AM?! We shall see, I'll let ya know if something comes along, but for now, you may just find MORE recipes and house updates on this blog while I have the time. 
     I am really going to pray and see if there is something God wants me to do, another job somewhere or a place to serve. The teaching job He gave me came out of nowhere, and I LOVE when God just surprises us and puts things in our path straight from him. I am sort of hoping He'll do that again with whatever I should be doing next. One thing I know, I am GOING to be spending more time with Him AND reading some BOOKS! I used to fly through book after book, and always learned and grew so much in the process. Seems like now there are SO many distractions to reading, things that come first. Maybe it's my Iphone, maybe it's Pinterest or the computer, or TV, but I always seem to find something else to do instead. I've decided I'll have to come up with a place to 'study' the word and read and hang with the Lord OUTSIDE my house, or I'll get super distracted. 
     Now that I've said all that out loud, ya'll can hold me accountable and ask, "So, what are you READING these days?" or "So, what are you learning?". But besides that, Kent & I are loving our jobs and our house and thankful for the Lord's hand on us. Still experimenting continually with new recipes (I never realized how much I'd LOVE cooking and baking! This is SO a first for me!). The one we made for dinner tonight was SO good, and I'd recommend it to anyone. 

Chicken with 'Cauliflower Rice'
4-6 servings
Ingredients
  • 3/4 head cauliflower (about 4 cups)
  • 2 eggs, beaten with a fork
  • 1/2 onion, 1/4" dice
  • 2 cloves garlic, peeled, minced
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled, 1/4" dice
  • 1/2 cup frozen edamame or peas (shelled)
  • 1 cup fresh bean sprouts
  • 10 ounces cooked chicken,* cut in bite-size pieces (about 2 cups)
  • 2 scallions (white and pale green parts only), minced
For the sauce:

    • 2 tablespoons fresh ginger, peeled, minced (i used 1 teaspoon of ground ginger instead)
    • 2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
    • 1 tablespoon chicken broth
    • 1 teaspoon oil (sesame or olive oil will work)
    I got the recipe from this website, but tweaked it a little.http://www.stephencooks.com/2010/05/chicken-cauliflower-fried-rice.html

    Method
    1. Remove green leaves from the cauliflower and shred it with the food processor (or cheese grater, like I used).  Place shredded cauliflower in sealed microwave-safe bowl. Microwave on full power for 4 minutes. Remove from microwave. Allow to rest five minutes with the cover in place. 
    2. Meanwhile, prepare a small sauté pan with cooking spray and cook the beaten egg on a hot fire, breaking into pieces when firm. Remove to a side plate.
    3. Make the sauce: mix the soy sauce, chicken broth, ginger, and oil and set aside.
    4. Place 1 tablespoon vegetable oil in a heavy skillet on high heat. When just starting to smoke, add the onion, garlic, carrot and ginger. Sauté 2 minutes-3 minutes until the carrot is just tender (add water if the mixture becomes too dry).
    5. Add the chicken, bean sprouts and edamame or peas. Cook another 2 minutes or so, stirring, to warm. 
    6. Add the cooked egg, sauce and cauliflower and toss to combine. Add salt and Pepper to taste.
    Serve immediately, with the minced scallions scattered on top.
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