Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Hot Cocoa Mixes

For each quart jar,
1 cup granulated sugar,
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder,
1 cup powdered milk or dry coffee creamer,
1/2 teaspoon salt,
1/2 cup miniature chocolate chips,
and 1/2 cup miniature marshmallows.

Mocha- add 1/2 cup instant coffee granules
Mexican/Aztec Style Mocha- add 1 Tbs cinnamon and 1/2 cup instant coffee granules, I also added 1 tsp black pepper, can also use 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper for spicy
Peppermint Cocoa- Add 1/2 cup crushed peppermints or candy canes
Makes 1 quart of the mix or 12 servings hot cocoa.

Attach a lable with these directions:
Mix ingredients in a bowl, stirring well.
Return mix to jar.
Stir 2-3 Tablespoons of mix into a mug of  hot water, hot milk, or hot coffee.
Sip & enjoy, friend!
I mixed enough for 6 quart jars at once.
In a large bowl, combine:
6 cups granulated sugar, can do 3 cups white & 3 cups brown for deeper flavor
6 cups unsweetened cocoa powder,
6 cups powdered milk or dry coffee creamer,
1 Tablespoon salt,
3 cups miniature chocolate chips,
3 cups miniature marshmallows

I then personalized the jars with a spice/candy variation and added ribbons, lables, and directions to the individual jars.

Papertowel Tube Poinsettias & Hot Cocoa Mix

Paper Towel Tube Poinsettias
Paper Towel Tube Poinsettias
Fold a paper towel tube in half. (May also use toilet paper tubes)
Then, begin cutting cut each half into half, forming rings.
Continue cutting until you have 1/2 inch or 1/4 inch rings.
  These rings are now your petals.
Place a drop of glue at one end of each petal, and join petals side-by-side.
I liked the look of 6 petals, but you can add more,
or even add a second layer between the tops of existing petals..
I used clothes pins to hold them in place until the glue dried.
You may paint them and/or add glitter.
Place on top a gift instead of a bow or tie with ribbon for hanging.

Hot Cocoa Mix 
Paper Towel Tube Poinsettia

* Stay tuned for Cocoa Mix in a Jar recipe *
* Coming up next *

Friday, December 16, 2011

The Harbor Bridge all lit up

The Mocha Brownies I promised you...

(Minus the one I packed in my sister's lunch and the crispy edge I ate)
Yummy Mocha Brownies!!!
(Adapted from the Ultimate Chocolate Brownies recipe on the back of a Hershey's chocolate chip bag)
3/4 cup cocoa (I used 1/2 cup cocoa & 1/4 cup instant coffee granules)
1/2 tsp baking soda (I didn't have any, so I used 1/4 tsp baking powder)
2/3 cup butter or margarine, melted (I didn't have either, so I used oil)
1/2 cup hot water
2 cups sugar (I only used 1-1/2 cups)
2 eggs
1-1/3 cups flour
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips
Heat oven to 350°F and grease one 13x9x2 inch pan or two 8 inch square baking pans. 

Stir together cocoa and baking soda in large bowl; stir in half of the butter.
Add boiling water and stir until it becomes thick.
Stir in sugar, eggs and remaining 1/3 cup butter; mixing until smooth.
Add flour, vanilla and salt; blending completely.
Fold in chocolate chips, and pour into prepared pan. 

Bake 25 to 30 minutes for rectangular pan or 15 to 20 minutes for square pans or until brownies begin to pull away from sides of pan.
Cool completely before cutting.  Cut into squares. About 36 brownies

You may frost, if you want. I found the gooey, melted chocolate chip center to be perfectly sweet, so I did not.

6 tbs butter or margarine, softened
2-2/3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup cocoa
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Beat butter in medium bowl.
Whisk together cocoa and powdered sugar.
Add powdered sugar and cocoa alternately with milk, beat until reaches spreading consistency (additional milk may be needed). Stir in vanilla.
About 2 cups frosting.

Have a heart with your waffle!

This was totally unintentional, by the way...
Just happened to notice that it looked like a heart, so
i snapped a pic.
Otherwise, it would have been an ordinary breakfast, with no picture taken...

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Why in the world did I think it was a good idea to stir up brownies at this time of night??? I'm so ready for bed. Lol. They are in the oven. Now it's time to wait...for them to finish baking and then cool, so I can put them up... Recipe and pictures tomorrow :)
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The dinner, minus the soup

Baked chicken tenders, broccoli cheese soup, & toast

For the Chicken:
I used 2 chicken breasts, slicing in half before cutting into tenders.
Yeilds about 8 Large or 16 Small tenders
Sprinkle with lemon pepper season salt, & garlic.
Thin about 1/2 cup sour cream with about 1/4 cup milk.
Dip in chicken in flour, sourcream/milk mixture, then flour again.
Placed on greased baking tray then spray top with nonstick cooking spray.
Bake in 425* oven for 5-10 minutes per side, or until Golden Brown.
The time depends on the size of your tenders. The larger ones longer than the smaller ones.
You can also do this with the whole chicken breast, or with it only halved, and not cut into strips.

*Makes 4 servings

Broccoli Cheese Soup - Makes 6-8 servings
2 Tbs butter, margarine, or oil
2 carrots, shredded
1 small onion finely chopped
3 Tbs flour
2 cups cheese, the sharper the better
6 cups broth, stock, or water
1 lb broccoli, can be fresh or frozen, cut into pieces
salt, pepper, garlic powder
2 cups milk

Saute carrots & onion until tender.
Add flour, stirring until combined.
Mix in cheese, stirring constantly until melted.
Add liquid and simmer for about 15-20 minutes.
Add milk, and season to taste.
Add broccoli, remove from heat, and let stand 10 minutes.

May top with additional cheese, croutons, or serve with toasted bread or crackers.

After... Roasting

Garlic Roasted Veggies:
1 Tbs oil
salt & pepper
Roast at 425* for 30-45 minutes, or until tender


The finished Paper

...and the carrot sticks. Almost forgot

Sunny lunch when there are clouds out...

Turkey & Mozzarella Panini on Wheat
with Mustard on the side
Apple with Peanut Butter & Sunflower Seeds

...but the moon is still out

It's morning!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Paper making

Supplies needed:
scraps of paper
glitter, flower petals, etc (optional)
hot water with a few drops of soap added
rubber spatula
strainer & coffee filter or a splatter screen

draining the pulp

Mid morning snack

Green apple & peanut butter with sunflower seeds

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Paper flowers & gift bows

In the LunchBox: Turkey sandwich, Carrot sticks, Grapes, & Mozzarella stick

Turkey sandwich with mustard, on wheat bread,
Carrot sticks, grapes, & mozzarella cheese stick

Smokey Chicken, mushroom rice, & roasted asparagus

Marinate 2 chicken breasts in:
1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce,
1/4 cup cider vinegar, and
a few drops of liquid smoke.

Refrigerate 24 hours, turning chicken twice.
Season with salt & pepper.
Place onto hot grill.
(I used a Foreman grill, and reserved the drippings)

Cook brown rice.
Saute 8 oz. mushrooms and 
2 cloves of minced garlic in 1 Tsp oil.
Add reserved drippings, 2 Tbs water, & remaining marinade.

Cook for at least 10 minutes, or until a thick sauce forms.
Add rice to mushroom mixture & remove from heat.
Taste before seasoning with salt & add pepper.
Stir in 2 Tbs sour cream & sprinkle top with cheese.

Preheat oven to at 375*F.
Rinse asparagus, and pat dry.
Peel the bottom quarter and slice off dry ends
Drizzle with 1 tsp oil, and
Roast for 8-12 minutes.
Season with salt & pepper

Monday, December 12, 2011

Paper ornaments & decorations

Grilled Chicken Fajita Quesadillas

Updated post now includes the RECIPE
From 11.30.11 @ 7:13 Pm
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Grilled chicken, beef, shrimp, or mushrooms & grilled veggies  (omit meat for vegetarian version)
1 med onion and/or bell pepper per every 4 quesadillas
(sauteed in 1 tsp canola oil)
2 tortillas per quesadillia
1/2 cup cheese per every 4 quesadillias, any kind you like

(i used mozzarella b’c it’s what i had)
jalapenos, spinach, etc

Place 1/4 cup cheese onto each of 4 tortillas.
Add the other toppings.
Top with another tortilla.
Grill or brown in skillet until golden brown,
turn gently and cook on other side.

Suggestion: serve with salad, salsa, sour cream, guacamole, and citrus slices

Quick & easy pasta for 2

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What you need:
1/4 tsp oil
1/2 cup asparagus
1 grilled chicken breast
2 Tbs water
1/2 cup broccoli
2 oz cooked pasta
2 Tbs sourcream
2 Tbs shredded cheese
dash og salt, pepper, & garlic powder
2 Tbs seeds or nuts (I used sunflower seeds)
Would also be good with pecans, almonds, walnuts

Sautee asparagus in 1/4 tsp oil
Add diced chicken, water, & broccoli.
Simmer for 3-5 minutes, or until broccoli reaches desired tenderness.
Add sourcream, cheese, & spices.
Stir to combine.
Garnish with seeds or nuts.
Serve with a salad & whole wheat toast.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Voila! The finished product. Veggie soup

With the tomatoes added

Let any leftover cool, then store in refrigerator.
It's much better the nex day, when flavors have had a chance to develop.
Will also be thicker.
Soup-er Yummy!

It's a soup kind of day...

What you'll need:
2 boxes broth
1 med onion, diced
1 lb baby carrots
6 small red potatoes, diced
1 large can crushed tomatoes
1 pkg frozen green beans

Bring broth to rolling boil.
Add onion & carrots.
Turn heat down, and simmer for 20-30 minutes, or
until carrots are almost tender.
Add potatoes and simmer for 15 minutes, or
until tender.
Add tomatoes, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.
Drop green beans in and remove from heat with lid on.
Let stand 5 minutes.

Ocean Drive... In the rain

The waves are crashing beautifully, violently, onto the bay.
In addition, it is cold and rainy; so serene & calming.
God is a master artist!


Isn't it Ironic???
...that we just dropped of 3 months of plastic, aluminum cans, and paper. It was our first time to recycling in the big city. Then, as we are going about our day of shopping, we see this sign.
Funny thing...

Friday, December 9, 2011

Almost done with bulb ornament wreath

This ended up taking more ornaments than I had imagined it would.
From Dollar Tree:
5 pkgs large bulbs,
3 pkgs tiny bulbs.
You'll also need
a wire hanger,
hot glue gun,
pliers, and
some ribbon to embellish.
Total cost $8, plus some things I already had around.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Just started reading...

Rice & Bean bowl

The finished product: Peanut Butter Stuffed Baked French Toast

Tastes a bit like peanut butter cookies :)

Preheat oven to 350*F

What You'll need for every 4 servings:
8 sliced bread (I used whole wheat)
8 Tbs peanut butter (1 Tbs per slice of bread)
1 egg, beaten
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 Tbs maple syrup (optional)

Spread peanut butter onto half of each slice of bread. Fold slice, pinching around edges to seal.
Beat egg with cinnamon until combined. Add maple syrup at this point if using, and mix well. 
Dip each folded sandwich into the egg & cinnamon mixture.
Place onto a non-stick baking sheet and bake for 3-5 minutes on each side, or until golden brown.
Remove with spatula and let cool a few minutes. The peanut butter will be extremely HOT.
May sprinkle with powdered sugar or serve with jelly, jam, or preserves

Peanut butter stuffed baked french toast

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Took the new guys out on the town last night :)

Had an amazing midnight run with Harley last night... I actually ran more than I walked!!! It really made me miss Abbi, though. However, she will be so glad that we're going to be running (instead of walking) when I get back :) I swear that girl's part cheetah.
I've had so much energy, which is surprising, considering the cooler weather. But then again, it was way too hot to do much of anything this summer. So, I'll consider it a blessing.

One of the NEW guys

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Dinner tonight: burger, baked cheese fries, & salad

Baked mini apple pies

Mini Apple Pies-before baking

Jazzed up Ramen Soup

Add 1 ramen soup cup to pot of boiling water.

Toss in:
  • jullienned spinach,
  • jullienned baby carrots,
  • sliced onion,
  • frozen broccoli,
  • frozen peas,
  • green beans,
  • clove of sliced garlic,
  • 2 Tbs. diced jalapeno,
  • dash salt,
  • dash black pepper,
  • dash cayenne pepper.
  • May also add grilled chicken, thinly sliced beef, or any other vegetables you like. I've done it before with shredded cabbage...

Simmer about 5 minutes, or until veggies reach desired tenderness.

Beat 2 eggs and drop by spoonful into pot.

Cook about 3 more minutes, or until egg fluffs up and floats to the top.


Simmering: Jazzed up ramen soup

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Mexican casserole & spanish veggie rice

Lighting is really bad... can't wait to get a better phone (or my camera fixed)!!!