Saturday, February 9, 2013

watercolors and jar cake

It was fun and it was exhausting, but for the first time I made Valentines with my 6 year old and my 2 year old. Now that G Boy can actually help it seemed like a project worth doing. I didn't have too much of a plan when I started but I knew I'd need color so I hoarded the kids' water color pictures for the last week. I ended up cutting them up into heart appliques (free hand). And for G Boy's teacher we stepped it up and made a jar cake! I made an absolute mess out of one box of lemon cake but I learned how to jar cake and I have one fabulous Teacher long as she likes lemon frosting.

I looked up a few pictures on Pinterest but most of the links sent me nowhere so I experimented! I baked a few small cakes in jars and then a flat cake to cut and layer in a clean jar. Process #2 was the winner. When you bake the cake right in the jar it's easy but you can't layer it and it pulls away from the sides and looks pretty messy. It still taste fabulous though. Here's what I did:

Bake a box cake or your own recipe 
Let your sheet cake cool
Take the tin from a wide mouth mason lid and lay it on cake layer
 (You can add a dab of frosting to make it stick if needed)
 Cut around it with a knife 
Scoop it out and put on a plate
Trim the sides just a bit to shrink, you don't have to be perfect
It should slide right into your jar
Add a frosting layer
Repeat cake and frosting layers
Cap and decorate.

I added my frosting layer by putting store-bought topping in a ziplock bag and nipping off the corner to make a disposable pastry bag. My decor choice was chevron tape from Paper Source and red bakers twine. Now that was doable!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Super Green - Tart Smoothie

Inspired by my trip to Whole Foods where I saw kiwis and had to buy them, I bring you: Super Green!

Super Green - Tart Smoothie

1 green apple cut in half
2 giant kale leaves
1 small avocado (not necessary but makes it creamy)
1 peeled kiwi
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
6 or 7 ice cubes
1 cup of apple juice
1/2 cup of water
1 Tbsp agave nectar 
(or your sweetener of choice)

Makes 36 oz / 4 medium cups

Pretty green ey? And here is the best news. After sitting down with his smoothie G-boy said - I kid you not - "This is the best! You should make this one all the time!" C-baby had no words but came back for seconds.  I use a Breville which makes this combo very drinkable but I do still dream about a Vita-mix. Someday friends, someday.

And because I am sooooo super healthy I made this for dessert. So bad! I'm working to slaughter my old personal 5k record in March so I am pushing my runs and I have many thoughts of eating better. My first idea was to cut out the late night eating. Can't do it. So I decided I'm going to cut fast food completely and drink a smoothie a day. I'll let you know how it goes.

Enjoy the green!

Sunday, January 13, 2013

In a Pinch Apple Crisp...and Breakfast

My latest victory from Pinterest is this baked apple. Oh the goodness! I never make apple pie (dessert baking is my husband's job actually) but I am making these all the time right now. In fact I had one last night! All the goodness with WAY less work, plus it's a better choice then an ice cream milkshake or a plate of nachos - my other late night loves. 

According to my recipes, calculations online, and on food packaging:

Nachos: 850 calories
Milkshake: 625 calories
Baked apple (half an apple topped with crisp): 200 calories

I also found out if you make extra you can have one for breakfast the next day. Oh yeah. I have a hard time eating breakfast at all so at least I'm eating something - and my Runner's World Mag just gave me permission for a sweeter breakfast in "No Baloney" page 34 January 2013. They did not give permission for a giant chocolate muffin but I think this apple falls in the author's boundaries.

The original recipe that I found is here. You should look it up because I butchered it, but in the process you might find it only easier and healthier.

Fast Baked Apple Crisp

Makes one - increase the batch for more. 
You do not need to be precise as I have proven. Yes I often make just one because it only takes 
5 minutes of real effort and I eat them when the kids go to bed.

Half one Granny Smith apple and scoop out the core with an ice cream scoop.
Line baking sheet with foil if you want easy clean up.

Mix crisp topping together in glass container:
1 tablespoon of margarine or butter melted in the microwave
add 1/2 cup of oats
1 tablespoon of flour
1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
1 tablespoon of agave nectar - or enough to get all the oats wet
I always forget the cinnamon but if you remember add a sprinkle - it's good for you

Heap as much crisp as you can on top of your apples

Bake at 350 degrees until the oats are golden brown and apples are soft, about 30 minutes.
Add ice cream when served if you are going all the way!

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

The Friendly Green Smoothie

Working overtime I've gotten lazy about my vegetables so I'm easing myself, and the children, back into it with a very friendly, Jamba Juice inspired, green smoothie. All the goodness and a spoon full of sugar to help the medicine go down. There are a lot of ingredients as I just went grocery shopping yesterday so feel free to take out a few you don't have but get yourself some orange sherbet it's the key to a friendly green drink.

Friendly Green Smoothie

1 celery stick
2 medium juicing carrots
1/3 cucumber
1 scoop of orange sherbet ice cream (that's the Jamba influence)
5 frozen strawberries
1/2 large banana
1 scoop plain greek yogurt
1 scoop vanilla Arbonne protein powder - optional
3 or 4 giant kale leaves (you'll have to squish to fit)
apple juice and water to blend

Very green and very good. I've made it two days in a row now.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti

We have no frilly foods, meats, or vegetables in the house and grocery shopping was bumped when I had to drive all over town for wedding stamps I needed for a client. But I still did it! I didn't order pizza!

Here's a throw-together meal you may also be able to prepare in a pinch. I started with this recipe I found while pinteresting and turned it into something a guy might make.

Cook spaghetti for 4 - 6 people
Don't drain because we're going to use the cooking water!

Saute 3 to 4 garlic cloves chopped well in liberal oil
(I use grape seed or conola oil)
Add dried Basil to the oil and garlic

Now in a large bowl toss -
garlic, basil & oil
1/2 cup of pasta cooking water
3 or 4 tablespoons of lemon from the plastic fruit in the fridge
salt and pepper to taste
a hearty sprinkling of Parmesan cheese from the shaker until it's all covered a little when tossed

Pair with peas from the freezer or carrots. Not bad for scraping the bottom of the barrel!

I hope your new year is going GREAT!

Sunday, January 1, 2012


Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! I've been too busy to cook fun and new things!!! Just living on mexican and chicken with Trader Joe's Teriyaki Sauce. But I made my jalapeno poppers for Christmas and the family LOVED them! I scraped out the pepper really well to bring down the heat and made boat halves this time. And check out my wood serving platter I got for Christmas! Ooh La La!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Easy Butternut Soup

I'm not a big veggie soup person but last year as I was trying to get my family to eat vegetables in different ways I tried squash soup - and G-boy LOVED it. This was not for dinner tonight, I was just making it to keep in the fridge for the rest of the week but guess who had two bowls for DESSERT!? Yes, G-boy.

And tonight I accomplished my soup in half the time and effort I usually put in so I felt I should share. Normally I peel, chop, boil, then puree. But tonight I slipped it in the oven with my sweet potatoes.....ahhhh, much better!

Easy Butternut Soup

Halve your medium to large butternut squash and lay cut side down on a foil lined pan.
Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or so until soft.
Let cool and scoop squash from skin with a big spoon.

Put your squash in the blender and add:
3 cups of chicken stock
(vegetable stock if you're a vegetarian)
1/2 cup water
a generous shake of onion powder
a generous shake of garlic powder
a little shake of cinnamon
a little shake of nutmeg
a pinch of salt to taste

Puree in blender until smooth, add more water if needed for your favorite consistency.
Reheat to eat.

After the baking it should just take 10 minutes to put together. No cream and no butter - because it tastes good with out it, and you can use those calories to make the salad taste good! Add breadsticks if you got 'em. Enjoy!