An Adventure in food, DIY, and More

Monthly Archives: December 2013

So, I’ve never really had a knack for just throwing things into a pot and having it come out right. But, now that I’ve been spending more time in my kitchen, tinkering with ingredients and seasonings, things have been coming along a little better. The other day I was very pressed for time, and needed something to make in the crock pot for my husband and my mother, since I had to work that night. I kept looking for a recipe, but was missing at least one or two things ingredient wise on each recipe. Not so helpful. So, I decided that I was just going to try a “recipe” of my own, and see what happened. Well, needless to say, it actually turned out quite good!

chicken

You can use frozen or fresh chicken breasts for this, it doesn’t particularly matter, although it’s easier when they’re thawed in my opinion. I’m just overly picky. To each their own, as I always say. And the vegetables you add to it can vary, I was in a hurry so I used a frozen mixed vegetable blend of onion, green and red peppers, and mushrooms. It turned out great, but I’m sure it would be much better with fresh veggies. I always prefer to use fresh, more nutrients that way as well. As we come up on the new year, my husband and I have resolutions for weight loss, healthy meal plans, and exercising that we intend to stick with. πŸ™‚ With that in mind, I will be focusing my recipes on low calorie, but high “good” fats/protein meals. So if you have a resolution to stay fit and eat better, this is definitely the blog to follow! I am also contemplating posting a few entries on Mom and Baby Yoga, so even if you’re a new mom, you could totally get in on this for 2014. Which, I can’t believe, is seriously already here. My son turns 3 months old January 2nd. Goodness how time flies.

Ok, now, back to the point. I’m sure you’re wanting the recipe for this fantastic chicken, huh? πŸ˜‰ Well, here it is.

Directions

3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, thawed or frozen (thawed is easier, in my opinion)

2 cans cream of mushroom soup (the cans say to add one can of water with each, you will only add ONE can of water)

2 cups of your choice of cut vegetables (broccoli, onion, peppers and mushrooms work great, frozen veggie mixes work as well if you are in a time crunch)

1/2 packet of powdered chicken marinade of your choice (you can vary the flavor this way, I used an Italian chicken marinade)

Combine all ingredients in crock pot, and turn on high 4-6 hours, or low 6-10 hours, depending on how long you need it to cook for. πŸ™‚ That’s it. Super easy, and super tasty. This is fantastic served over white or brown rice. Just pop a package of quick cooking rice into the microwave when you get home, and dinner is done! Serve with a drizzling of the sauce over the chicken, veggies and rice.


I know this is a bit last minute, and I’m sure I’m not the only one, so I figured I’d share this recipe anyway. You know, just in case there are other procrastinators out there who need a boost when it comes to a breakfast idea. This one is simple and quick, and can even be prepared the night before, so in the morning you can just pop it into the oven! It’s another one of those crowd pleaser kind of menu items, it has cheese, biscuits, eggs, and, you guessed it, BACON. Or sausage. Whichever is your cup of tea. This year we are doing a chicken breakfast sausage, as my mother doesn’t eat red meat. There are lots of options with this one when it comes to the meat choice, and you can always play with the cheese as well to make the perfect combination. Like spicy? Add pepperjack. Like mellow? Add some mozzarella. Lots of combinations! Ham, bacon, sausage…you could probably even get away with steak bits if you really wanted to.

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So, be creative, be festive, and make your Christmas morning breakfast an easy yet delicious one. This would be excellent served with a fruit salad and some fresh orange juice, or even fresh eggnog! Or…of course, coffee!

Biscuit Breakfast Bake

5 eggs
1/4 cup milk
16 oz refrigerated breakfast biscuits ***DO NOT COOK FIRST***
4 scallions/green onions
1 cup shredded extra sharp cheddar cheese, or your choice of cheese.
If you’re into the meats – cooked bacon or cooked sausage, or even cooked ham!
9×13 pan, sprayed with cooking spray

1. Mix your eggs and milk in a large bowl. Cut each biscuit into fours and add it to the bowl.
2. Cut up your scallions, shred your cheese, cook and break up your bacon (or sausage). Add everything to the bowl.
3. Mix it all up and pour into your pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes .. closer to 30 so it isn’t runny. Let cool for 5-10minutes.

4. Serve and Enjoy!

Quick Tip- if you want to make this the night before leave it in the mixing bowl in the fridge covered with saran. In the morning, give it a good stir then pour into prepared baking dish and proceed to bake as directed!!!


Since we are on the topic of nuts, it seems, I figured I would share a neat little trick I learned of recently. I always thought that making nut butters, like peanut or almond, required time and oils, etc. Well, it’s really much more simple than that! This is a fantastic thing for people who really dislike extra oily peanut butter, or the people who really dislike the preservatives and other unnecessary stuff that companies put into the nut butters that are marketed these days. It’s frustrating, in my opinion, to pick up a jar of peanut butter, and see that 90% of it is an oily mess. This recipe for nut butters brings out the natural oils, with absolutely NO added ingredients whatsoever. So if there is any separating (the natural oils will sometimes separate from the butter), you’ll be happy and comforted to know that it’s not some random added oil with who knows what else in it.

peanut-butter

All you need for this is whatever nut or nuts you would like to make into a butter, and a food processor. Not only is this super easy, but you can also add so much variety to it at the end. If you want a chocolate peanut butter, you can make it. If you want to add spices or something to it, you can! You can also used seasoned nuts to add flavor too. Honey roasted nuts make a fantastic butter, and so do BBQ roasted ones. Obviously BBQ roasted nut butter probably wouldn’t go too well with jelly for a classic PB&J, but hey, this is all about being creative!

Directions:

Depending on how much butter you want to make, measure out your nuts. Once blended, they usually reduce down to about half the amount you originally started with. I used 3 cups of nuts, and ended up with about a cup and a half of butter at the end.

All you need is the nuts. No oils, no added salt, no water, nothing. Easy as can be.

Place the nuts into the food processor, and turn it on. This part is cool because you can watch as it processes the nuts first into a fine powder, and then into a big thick ball, and then you’ll see the natural oils from the nuts begin to release. As it does, the butter will start to take shape. It will start to get more smooth, like a normal peanut butter. This whole process usually takes about 3-5 minutes. After it is smooth enough for your liking, it’s done. It will probably be a little bit more runny than the peanut butter you are used to, but upon refrigeration (which is necessary because there are no preservatives in this butter), it will thicken up. Very rarely will you ever see any separating with this recipe, but if so, it will be easy to mix back together.

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I tried using the mixed nut blend from Costco, and it turned out really good! It has cashews, almonds, brazil nuts, macadamias, etc. It was a little on the salty side, but will go fantastic with a sweet jelly!

For families with nut allergies, this could be a big lifesaver, being able to make butters at home, because they are WAY overpriced in the grocery store, in my opinion. You can make almond butter, cashew butter, etc. A 16oz can of nuts sold at the store is much cheaper than buying a jar of premade butter. If you have the five minutes it takes to throw it into a processor, why not try it?


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This is a fantastic little treat for the family! It’s not as hard as it probably sounds like, and I’m sure that you’ll be drooling a bit by the time the nuts make it into the oven. The best part of this whole recipe, besides eating them, of course, is the amazingly delicious smell that fills the house when they are baking! Definitely make sure that when you make these, that you follow the directions and stir the nuts every 15 minutes while they’re baking, if not even more frequently! This way they don’t burn and they get crispy all the way around! My favorite part is to snack on them when they’re still a little warm from the oven.

Don’t be shy with the cinnamon either. If you’re a cinnamon fan, the more the better. You could probably get away with 3 teaspoons if you are a die-hard cinnamon lover, or only 2 if you aren’t. You also can substitute other nuts into this recipe as well. My husband and I made this recipe with walnuts and almonds instead of pecans, since those were the nuts that we had handy at the time. I can imagine that it would be good with peanuts, macadamias, hazelnuts, anything really! The best thing about these types of recipes are that they’re easily “tweaked” to fit every taste!

Ingredients:

    • 5 cups whole pecans, unsalted
    • 1 cup whole almonds, unsalted
    • 2 egg whites
    • 2 Tablespoons water
    • 2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 and 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 300F degrees. Line two large baking sheets with parchment paper and spray with non-stick spray. Set aside.

Toss the pecans and almonds in a large bowl and then set those aside as well.

Using an electric mixer, beat egg whites and water on high speed until stiff peaks form, which usually takes about 4-5 minutes on average. Add the sugar, cinnamon, and salt, and mix on medium speed until well combined.

Pour the nuts into the sugar mixture and stir to coat completely. Spread the nuts as evenly as possible over the baking sheets and bake for 45 minutes, stirring every 15, or more often if your oven runs especially hot. Allow to cool completely and enjoy.Β Store nuts at room temperature for a few weeks, covered.

*Recipe can easily be halved to keep around the house or doubled to feed a large crowd. Recipe courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction.


Well, this is probably one of the most simple, yet delicious slow cooker meals I’ve yet to find. It’s easy to put together (even with a screaming baby!), and tastes fantastic when it’s done. πŸ™‚ I usually make it once or twice a week because my husband loves it so much.

Easy Crockpot Pot Roast

1 2-3lb Pot Roast (thawed is best, but frozen works too)
1 can cream of mushroom soup + the one can of water the soup calls for.
1 packet of onion soup mix.
2-3 potatoes, cubed (I usually don’t peel mine because I like potato skin, but either way works just fine)
2-3 carrots, sliced.
1 white onion, sliced/diced depending on your preference.

Combine all ingredients into the slow cooker, liquid ingredients in first, then potatoes, carrots and onions, then sprinkle the onion soup mix over everything and stir, lastly place the roast into the cooker. Turn on high 4-6 hours, or low 6-8 hours, depending on when you want your dinner ready.

I’m not joking when I say this roast is fantastic. πŸ™‚ Give it a try and leave me a comment, telling what you think of it! I’d appreciate it!

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First off, I’d like to apologize for my lack of posting over the past two months. My son was born via semi-emergency cesarean section on October 2nd, 2013. His name is Liam Oliver-James, he was 6lbs 9oz and 19 1/4 inches long at birth, and is a super healthy baby. Recovery was relatively easy for me, and now I’m just settling into daily life as a mom and a housewife. I went back to work very part time recently, and just haven’t had a lot of extra time. I do promise to start updating more, especially now that I have discovered the joys of my crock pot and baking over the past two months. I also will try and share as much info as possible for moms out there. πŸ™‚Β 

Keep an eye out for blog topics on crock pot cooking, Christmas cookie baking, and grilling recipes…as well as topics on babywearing, cloth diapering, and more!