Friday, February 22, 2013

My latest and greatest recipes

So I haven't posted any recipes lately, though I'm still obsessively baking and cooking new things ALL THE TIME. I don't know why I'm like this, but I just like constantly trying new recipes, even if we have found some that are amazing, Kent has to ask me to make something again or I'll just keep moving on to new things!
With Valentines Day last week, I of course made and decorated some funfetti cake cookies... YUM!

Then when Kent got home from work Thursday, we had a REALLY yummy dinner that I'd never made before.

I found the recipe for this here and immediately knew he would love it. There are prettier pictures than mine on the other blog. But this is TOTALLY worth making again. Although it's not my typical healthy meal, it was fun for a celebration : ) and made the hubby happy.
Broccoli Cheddar Chicken Braid
Ingredients
  • 2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls (seamless is easier)
  • 2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
  • ½ cup light mayonnaise ( I used plain Greek yogurt)
  • 1 egg yolk
  • fresh rosemary (I didn't have any)
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. On a cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise  and press the seams together to form a long rectangle.
  3. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayo (or greek yogurt).
  4. Spread mixture over the center of the dough.
  5. Cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.
  6. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, left then right, to make a braid.
  7. Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle  rosemary on top if you are fancy. ( I didn't have any).
  8. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.
Hubby and I ate half of this entire thing in one sitting. And he ate the rest for lunch the next two days.

For dessert I had to make something with Oreos in it, because they are his favorite. So I decided on Oreo Pudding Pie (because pudding is MY favorite!) Sorry for the lack of pictures. But you can imagine how it would look. I just got a bag of Oreos and crushed maybe 10. I whipped up some sugar-free vanilla pudding with 2% milk and added half a container of light cool whip, mixed in the crushed Oreos, poured it into a pre-made graham cracker crust, and let it set in the fridge for a couple hours. Top that with the rest of the cool whip and some leftover oreo crumbles and it is DELICIOUS. You can also freeze it for more of an ice cream pie texture.

Another favorite of ours is this Couscous. If you have never had couscous, oh my goodness, we LOVE IT! It's such a good break from rice or potatoes. There are all different flavors you can try. This is the only wheat one I have found but it is incredible.  I like to make this with a simple chicken and veggie meal.

One of our favorite ways to make chicken is to defrost a few tenderloins, pour Italian dressing on them and let them marinate for an hour or longer. Then I sprinkle Parmesan cheese on top and cook it at 400 for 25 minutes. YUM!

And a favorite side veggie of ours is roasted cabbage. Cabbage is a super food! It's soooo good for you but doesn't taste great. But we like to slice it into 1inch sections, lay them on an oiled 9x13 cookie sheet, dash some olive oil over the top and sprinkle on garlic salt and pepper. I roast it at 425 degrees for 40-45 minutes, depending on how crispy you like it. I got the idea from Martha Stewart so it has to be good, right? Roasted veggies are AMAZING.

What else would I recommend. Ok this is only for my healthy recipe lovers.
I always eat something homemade for breakfast along with my daily apple and coffee. It's usually some sort of muffin, bread, my homemade granola (with unsweetened vanilla Almond  Milk, YUM!) or yogurt, OR...it's a breakfast cookie! I saw this recipe from one of my favorite blogs,  Oh She Glows for Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies and just HAD to try it. It's definitely not dessert (aka it's healthy tasting), but I loved eating them with my coffee every morning! They have a great texture and flavor.

Carrot Cake Breakfast Cookies
Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans, toasted
  • 3/4 cup ground flax
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup regular rolled oats
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1 cup shredded carrots (use finest grate)
  • 3 tbsp coconut oil (I used olive oil)
  • 1/2 cup pure maple syrup (I used honey)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp fresh grated ginger
Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 325F and toast the pecans for 10-11 minutes. Meanwhile, prepare the batter. In a large bowl, mix together the flax, flour, oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and raisins.
2. Grate the carrots and ginger (or use pre-ground, like I did). In a smaller bowl, melt the oil in the microwave for about 45-60 seconds and add in the maple syrup, carrots, applesauce,  ginger, and vanilla. Stir well.
3. Remove pecans from the oven and add to the dry ingredients. Increase oven temp to 350F. Now add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well. The dough will be very sticky.
4. Scoop about 13 cookies onto a lined baking sheet. They don’t spread much so you can put them an inch apart. Bake for 14-15 minutes at 350F and allow to cool on baking sheet.

Now that we have breakfast taken care of, let me pass on two other healthy cookies I have made lately when you need something for dessert but don't want to feel too bad about it (and when do you NOT need dessert!?) I loved these fat Oatmeal Raisin cookies from this other blog, Sally's Baking Addiction, although they are definitely not crisp at all. And if you add raisins instead of chocolate chips, they could really pass as a breakfast cookie.

Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour (or all-purpose)
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 cup yogurt (greek yogurt, plain, vanilla, whatev)
  • 1/4 cup applesauce
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla 
  • 2 Tablespoons dark molasses (molasses is best but honey, agave nectar, or maple syrup will work)
  • 1/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup Raisinets ( I just used choc chips)
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350F degrees. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together oats, flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves (I didn't use this), and salt. In a medium bowl, whisk together yogurt, applesauce, and vanilla. Mix in molasses and brown sugar.
  3. Pour the wet mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients. Gently mix together until just combined and no dry lumps of flour or oats remain.  Fold in chocolate chips.
  4. Spoon cookies onto a sprayed cookie sheet,  flattening slightly so they'll bake through. Bake for 10-11 minutes. Remove from oven and allow cookies to cool on a cookie rack. Cookies will stay good if covered well for 5 days. I froze half the batch and they still taste great.
Now for the peanut butter chocolate chip cookies. I found them off pinterest of course, but they came from this blog. These are best right out of the oven with a big glass of milk. I would also say don't use natural peanut butter or they will be too dry. Lesson learned.
Flour-less and Oil-free Peanut Butter Chocolate chip cookies
This is a picture from the blog I found the recipe on here
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup of smooth peanut butter (low-fat if you prefer)
  • 1 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1/2 cup of semi sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1-2 tablespoons of crushed walnuts (optional)
Directions:
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease a cookie sheet with cooking spray.
  • Throw into your kitchen aid mixer peanut butter & brown sugar
  • Add eggs, one at a time until fully mixed. Then add flour, baking soda, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and oats until fully mixed. Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Scoop dough onto the cookie sheet and press them flat a little so they cook through. 
  • Bake for 12-14 minutes or until tops are golden brown.
  • DEFINITELY good with milk
So there ya go. Some of the latest food items you will see around the Austell house. I will say my husband doesn't touch my healthy cookies or desserts for the most part. It's not that he doesn't like to eat healthy, but if he is going to eat dessert, it will be one of 4 things. Oatmeal Creme pies, Honeybuns, Oreos, or Nestle chocolate chip cookies (from the pre-made dough) with milk. I say "GOOD! MORE FOR ME!" and hope he doesn't die of a heart attack!


    Friday, February 15, 2013

    She's singing!

    Kennedy, HOW are you already 7 months old!


    Let's see what's new with you since month 6...

    -For one, you have become so loud! You used to just make these sweet girly coos or squeals. But now I often find you yelling or babbling loudly, especially when you are busy playing or think no one is paying attention to you. You are still pretty shy around strangers, but thankfully don't mind being held by others or dropped off at the nursery and away from mommy.

     -You are getting pretty fast with your army style crawling, and if I leave you alone for a second, you are in a completely different place, usually up to trouble! I will put you in the middle of ALL your toys, and you immediately move towards the electrical outlets or any cords you see, or any other thing that you should NOT be touching. I have QUICKLY realized the ways I need to baby proof each room, removing all our cords and covering the outlets.  This also means you have experienced your first injuries; bumping your head on table legs and corners, face planting on our kitchen tile floor...it is awful seeing you get hurt! You have also gotten stuck in a few places already. I found you on the bottom shelf of the island table in our kitchen the other day, and you got your arm stuck under the cabinets in our bathroom. I'll turn my back for a second and you will tip over the trash can and try to chew on some Kleenex (so gross). If the closet door is cracked open, you will scoot over there, open the door and grab whatever is within your reach. You are so curious and we just love it! You definitely keep us on our toes!

    -You love eating pureed food and still eat twice a day, around lunch and dinner. You inhale any kind of fruit (like your mama) and your favorite veggies are sweet potatoes and carrots (which is why your nose has turned orange) : ). As much as you love eating, you complain the whole time. You bang your hands on the table and sort of whine. We don't know if it's because you don't like the food, you're excited, or you want more of it faster, but you are pretty high maintenance once you are in that high chair. Our dinners together are pretty rushed as we try to shovel your food in fast enough for you to stop whining and as soon as you are done, you are ready to get out and play. There is no just sitting still, ever.
    -You can now easily go from a sitting position to a crawling position and back to a sitting position without face planting. (Now the face-planting happens when you start trying out yoga poses).
    -You have settled on sucking your 3rd and 4th fingers, and usually only do it when you are tired or are in your crib going to sleep.  Your pacifier's are a thing of the past. You never fall asleep in our arms anymore or anywhere besides your crib (this has been for the past few months, actually).
    -One of my new favorite things is that you try to sing along with us! When daddy is playing his guitar and singing, you will just babble away and it sounds like you are trying to join him. SO cute. We hope you grow up loving music!
    -You laugh more easily now and LOVE when we play with you and shower you with kisses and tickles. You only seem to be ticklish under your arms. You like it when we get on our hands and knees and chase you around the floor or play peek-a-boo.

    -Your hair is out of control.  I'm really debating whether to give you a haircut (But I've said that for months).  I have to put a headband on you and push your hair out of your face when you are eating or food will get all over it.  But it's one of the things I love about you and it definitely makes you unique. Everyone always comments on 'that HAIR!' : ) And we are close to a ponytail in the back!

    You started coming to track with me on Tuesdays and Thursdays and running with the girls in your jogging stroller. Not so sure how this will go all spring, but the girls love you and I hope you are okay being outside during that time (and I hope the weather warms up asap!)

    I haven't weighed you, but since the doc told us you were only in the 5th percentile for weight last month, we've really tried to get more food in you, and I'm PRETTY SURE you have a grown quite a bit this month! Those cheeks and that tummy have definitely filled out.

    You are still:
    -wearing 3-6 month and 6-9 month clothes
    -wearing size 1 shoes
    -wearing size 2 diapers
    -taking 2 or 3 naps a day, totaling 3ish hours (short morning nap, longer noon nap, short 4pm nap)
    -toothless
    -making all kinds of goofy, expressive faces
    -going to bed by 7pm and getting up between 6:30-7am
    -nursing about 5 times a day, but can sometimes go 3 or 3.5 hours between feedings (progress!)
    -constantly gnawing on your toes since you found them last month, pulling off your socks, and holding onto them while you nurse.

    We have SO much fun with you, Kennedy, and love how interactive and joyful you are! Even after being sick with a nasty cold all week, you were a trooper.  We love you so so so much!

    In other news, you got another cousin on Monday, February 11th! William James Day was born exactly 7 months after you, giving you 3 boys cousins so far. We can't wait for you to meet them when we visit your Aunt Leslie in May!





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