Saturday, June 30, 2012

2012 Olympic Swim Trials



Last week I mentioned that the US Olympic Swim Trials are this week. We have been watching them both on NBC and on nbcolympics.com. The kids are really loving it and it makes them even more excited for their swimming lessons this week!  They are actually disappointed that they don't have lessons next week due to the holiday.  It sure helps to see a perfect model of how a stroke looks. We loved watching Phelps and Lochte battle it out in the 200m freestyle. So exciting! My kids are huge Michael Phelps fans but there are a bunch of other ones that they have each picked to root for. If you haven’t watched the trials this week there is still time! The trials are running through July 2, 2012 and will continue to be broadcasted every night at 8 pm Pacific on NBC.

There is an awesome site that you should be sure to visit, USA Swimming and  also the website SwimToday.org. This site is a wonderful tool for parents who want to get their kids into swim lessons. On the site, you can find a place to swim in your area, self-assess your ability, and learn the benefits of swimming and fitness. SwimToday.org can also help parents find swim facilities that offer scholarships. If you haven’t already, be sure to check them out!




The Motherhood and USA Swimming are throwing a Twitter party on Monday, July 2, at 7:30 p.m. ET to cheer on Dara Torres in real time as she swims. My daughter can't wait for this one!  The party will last about an hour and they will be giving away some prizes, talking about swimming, and cheering on Dara.  I can't wait!

So has your family been watching the trials? Does your family plan to watch the Olympics?  My kids were excited before but the swim trials on NBC have made them even more excited!


Friday, June 29, 2012

Almond Mice



My daughter has been wanting to make these for a long time.  She got a cookbook from a friend full of desserts and she has post it notes marking many pages. We needed to bring something to a potluck and she immediately pulled her cookbook out and wanted to make these. They seemed easy enough and she did most of the work. 

They turned out adorable and everyone loved them!  We thought about putting tails of them but decide they probably wouldn't stay on so we didn't.  We also had trouble finding the silver balls for the eyes.  My kids went to the store for the ingredients and called me saying that they couldn't find silver balls anywhere in the decorations.  We ended up just using a small tip and dotting the eyes on. It wasn't as pretty as they could have been but they still were adorable and fun.   



Almond Mice

5 oz. semisweet chocolate chips
6 tbsp. heavy cream
1 cup Oreo crumbs**
1/3 cup confectioners sugar
Silver balls for decorating
Flaked almonds for decorating
Red licorice for decorating ( I didn't use)

Melt the chocolate with the cream in a double boiler.  Mix in the chocolate wafer crumbs until well blended.  Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 1 hour until firm.  Form the dough into balls the desired shape.  I rolled mine into balls and then just elongated one side for the "nose".  Roll half the balls in the confectioners sugar until well blended.  Decorate with sliver balls for the eyes, almonds for the ears and a small length of licorice for the tail.

**I made 2 batches, one with the cream filling in the Oreos and one without the cream filling.  There wasn't a whole lot of difference, both held together fine.  The one with the cream filling were just a bit sweeter. 

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Motherhood - Gluten Free Living

Join me this afternoon! I've been trying to live gluten free for a long time now and still have questions and love to talk and get ideas for better ways to eat.  

What: A live, all-text Talk on The Motherhood, called How to Life Gluten Free. What does it mean to live gluten free? How and where can you find gluten-free food options? What's the best way to tell if a particular dish or ingredient contains gluten? Tell us about how you handle your gluten allergy (if you have one), share recipes and resources, and exchange ideas for life without gluten.

When: Tuesday, June 26, at 1 p.m. ET. We will chat for 30 minutes!

Where: On The Motherhood, right here -
http://bit.ly/Kz1Cqd

Who: The all-text chat will be hosted by Debbi Smith of the blog Debbi Does Dinner ... Healthy & Low Calorie, http://debbidoesdinnerhealthy.blogspot.com/. Co-hosting are these lovely people:

Lauren, As Good as Gluten,
http://asgoodasgluten.blogspot.com/Lisa, Extraordinary Gluten Free Life, http://my-extraordinary-life.blogspot.com
Veronica, Veronica’s Cornucopia, http://veronicascornucopia.com/


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Baked Salsa Rice with Green Chilies, Lime & Cilantro


I still haven't bought a rice cooker or a good pan with a lid to make rice.  So I was excited to make a baked rice.  I love having rice with my mexican meals. I actually ended up chucking the rice and the beans onto the taco for one big heaping messy taco. 


Leftovers are the best! Dinner the next night was taco meat with beans, rice and scrambled eggs with spinach. Once again, it didn't stay pretty for long. All jumbled up, it tasted pretty darned good!


Baked Salsa Rice with Green Chilies, Lime & Cilantro Recipe
Adapted from Kalyn's Kitchen

1 onion, chopped
1 can (4 oz) diced green chilies, with juice
1/4 tsp. tsp. ground cumin
1 cup salsa
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
2 tbsp. lime juice, divided
1 cup long grain rice
1/2 cup cilantro, chopped

Saute onion in a bit of cooking spray for about 5 minutes.  Add the cumin and diced green chile peppers and cook for about 2 - 3 minutes more.  Add the salsa, chicken broth and 1 tbsp. of the lime juice and bring to a boil, then stir in rice.

Transfer the mixture to a casserole dish with a tight fitting lid.  Cook the rice, covered for about 45 minutes or until all the liquid has absorbed and the rice is cooked through.  When the rice is done, fluff with a fork, stir in the other tablespoon of lime juice and chopped cilantro.  Serve hot.  Add Tabasco sauce if you'd like it hotter. 

One Year Ago...








Ham and Pineapple Fried Rice



Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Sausage, Butternut Squash and Veggie Cassoulet


I'm always impressed by a dish that has a ton of veggie and tastes so good.  Joanne put vegetarian sausage in her cassoulet and I wasn't even sure that I wanted any sausage. I was thinking about just putting some large butter beans and keeping it meatless.  Chickpeas would have been good too.  In the end, I did happen to have some sausage in the refrigerator that I threw in.  It's really up to you, vegetarian or not. You really can't go wrong here.




Sausage & Veggie Cassoulet
Adapted from Eats Well with Others

1 large butternut squash, peeled and diced
12 oz. sausage links, cut into coins (feel free to use vegetarian if you'd like)
1 tbsp. minced garlic
1 large onion, chopped
2 carrots, cut into chunks
2 zucchini, cut into coins or moons
Salt and pepper
28 oz. canned diced tomatoes
1/4 cup chopped parsley
1 tsp. dried thyme
1 tsp. oregano
1 can white beans, drained and rinsed
Pinch of cayenne

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.  Spread butternut squash on baking sheet, spray with cooking spray and then sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 30 - 40 minutes or until fork tender.

In the meantime, heat about a tablespoon of oil in a pan and add the sausage coins, turning as needed until the pieces are deeply browned on all sides about 5 - 10 minutes.  Remove from pan.

Reduce heat to medium and add the garlic, onions, carrots and zucchini.  Sprinkle wit salt and pepper.  Cook until starting to soften, about 5 minutes.  Add the canned tomatoes and the liquid along with the sausage and herbs.  Bring to a boil.  Add the beans and bring to a boil again.  Reduce the heat so that the mixture bubbles gently but continuously.  Cook for about 20 minutes.

Add the butternut squash into the mix.  Simmer for a couple of minutes and taste and adjust seasoning.



Sunday, June 17, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 17 - June 24, 2012


Monday: Chicken fajitas

Tuesday: Chili

Wednesday: Smokehouse Chicken & Roasted Red Potato Salad

Thursday: Asian Broccoli Slaw Wraps

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Busy day running around, we'll probably eat out or at my dads

Sunday:  Family party, I'm bringing Bacon Ranch Potato Salad, Shredded BBQ Chicken, Berry Trifle



More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.





Saturday, June 16, 2012

Swimming Fever and Summer Olympics


My kids are crazy about swimming.  They just started the next batch of lessons this last week in fact.  My son wants to be a swim instructor and plans to take the class this fall helping to learn how to teach.  He's only 13 but loves to play and help the little ones in the pool. He also is interested in diving and plans to pursue that as well. My daughter is 15 and plans to take the life guarding class this fall.  She's hoping to get a job at the community center life guarding!  While it's hard for me to believe my kids are even old enough for jobs, I am glad they have chosen swimming as the direction they want to go.  At least while they are young.  They will learn things that will last a lifetime.

Check out this short video of the Olympic pool being built.  I watched it several times, very cool. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kgmnyBgVViE

I had the pleasure last week of participating in a conversation with Karen Linhart and Jamie Fabos Olsen from USA Swimming.  Also Lindsay Mintenko and Emily Silver, gold and silver medalists in the Olympics for swimming.  It was a blast listening to them and their enthusiasm for swimming is contagious! 

We all know the summer olympics are coming up and the swimming team trials will be aired live on NBC June 25th - June 2.  Won't it be awesome to see who's going to be in the olympics!  I know my family and I are very excited. Fans rank swimming as their favorite Summer Olympics sport.

We're hoping to spread the swimming enthusiasm around to moms and kids. People want to swim, but have questions on how to begin: What level of swimmer am I? What level is my child? What equipment does my child need? Where can I find a place to swim in my area? How do I get started or get my child started in swimming?



 I learned about a fantastic website SwimToday.org. SwimToday.org is an online resource that provides moms with a one-stop shop to get all the information they need to make entering the sport as easy as possible. On the site, you can: find a place to swim in your area, self-assess your ability, and learn the benefits of swimming and fitness.
Benefits of swimming – why should moms get their kids involved? 1) SAFETY 2) FITNESS 3) SOCIAL

SAFETY Drowning is the 2nd-leading cause of accidental death for kids 1-14
Swimming lessons can reduce the risk of drowning by 80%

FITNESS
Swimming is a whole-body exercise
A low-impact sport, it is a life-long fitness option

SOCIAL As an individual sport, swimming teaches work ethic and goal-setting
As a team sport (swimming is both!) swimming builds social skills and teamwork


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Here are some questions answered by the team at USA Swimming and Medalists Lindsay Mintenko and Emily Silver:

Q: At what age should I start teaching my child to swim?A: Most places that offer swim lessons begin when the child is six months old, but there are places that do “Mommy and Me” classes as an introduction to water at an even younger age.


Q: What is the right age for kids to start learning swim strokes? Should young kids focus on strokes or fundamentals?

A: It depends on what you are comfortable teaching them. Focus on the fundamentals first, but if they know the fundamentals, you can move on and teach the strokes whenever they seem ready. The goal is for kids to have fun and be safe and comfortable around the water.
Q: How can I give my child the confidence to swim without arm floaties?
A: USA Swimming advocates against flotation devices, because they can give kids a false sense of security. Try to avoid any kind of flotation aid, and get your child in swimming lessons. There is no substitute for professional swimming instruction, and instructors are trained to help kids with their fear of the water and help them acclimate to the water at their own pace.

Q: Should kids be allowed to wear goggles in the water?

A: If goggles help kids when they are in the water, wearing them will not be detrimental.

Q: What are the expenses for swimming lessons and team swimming?

A: It varies by location and club, but a full session of swim lessons (approximately 8 lessons) generally costs about $50. USA Swimming partners with about 525 participating clubs nationwide on their Make a Splash charitable effort, which provides every child in America with the opportunity to learn to swim. Swim clubs on SwimToday.org with a water drop next to their name provide a designated number of swimming lessons for free or at a discounted cost. The distribution of free or discounted lessons is club-dependent, and you can ask your local club about it directly. If expense is a concern, visit SwimToday.org and enter your ZIP code to find out if a swim club in your area is a Make a Splash partner. More about Make a Splash: http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=2092&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en


Q: For kids interested in competitive swimming, what type of time commitment should they expect?
A: Summer league teams require a minimal time commitment, take place during just the summer months and are a great way to get kids started in swimming. Summer leagues are often offered through local YMCAs. The actual club teams usually have two-hour practices each day, which are similar to the time commitment involved in other sports like basketball or soccer. The club finder tool on SwimToday.org will help you locate clubs with competitive swimming programs that fit your family’s needs.
Q: Is there anything kids can do outside the pool to help strengthen their swimming skills in the pool?
A: It depends on the age of the kids. Coaches will probably tell your kids if there are exercises that might help them outside of the pool, but if your kids are younger and just getting involved in swimming, the best thing they can do is enjoy the sport and get involved in other sports. In competitive swimming at an older age, you could add push-ups, pull-ups and sit-ups outside the pool.

Q: What about lessons for adults?

A: A lot of the Make a Splash providers are able to provide lessons to adults as well. It’s never too late to start swimming.
Q: What are the health benefits of swimming?
A: Swimming is one of the best all-around exercises out there for toning your body. It is better for your knees than running, and it’s very good for your cardiovascular health. In addition, being active generally sets a good example for kids.
Q: What is your advice to moms of young athletes in general?
A: The most important thing is to allow kids to make their own decisions regarding their sport, and to make sure they enjoy it. Encourage them to try new sports and identify what they love to do, rather than starting them in just one sport from a young age. If they want to take a break from their competitive sport and the intense training, allow them to do so. Burnout is very real.
Q: How can we support the swimmers involved in the U.S. Olympic Team Trials June 25 – July 2?A: Tweet using the #SwimToday hashtag, follow @USA_Swimming on Twitter (where you can also find Twitter IDs for U.S. swimmers competing in the Trials), encourage your friends and family to watch the trials and cheer the athletes on, and host Olympic watch parties using Splash Bash resources from USA Swimming: http://www.usaswimming.org/DesktopDefault.aspx?TabId=1611&Alias=Rainbow&Lang=en
Don't forget!  U.S. Olympic Team Trials – Swimming will air live on NBC June 25 – July 2.



Thursday, June 14, 2012

Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes


Have I mentioned that I love sweet potatoes?  I ate this whole dish by myself. Not in one sitting, it was over 3 days, but I ate it all.  And I'd do it again.

Layered with spinach and a fantastic tomatillo serrano pepper sauce, this was incredible. 

This was supposed to be inverted on a plate after cooling. I skipped that step as I wanted to dig into it fast.  Plus, in the past, I haven't had much luck with inverting things.  I put this in an 8 x 8 in. pan because I don't have a deep dish pie plate and I was afraid mine was going to be too small. I used a lot of potatoes though.  I think this would have inverted nicely though and made a great presentation.  Maybe next time.



Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Cooking on the Weekends

1 cup roughly chopped tomatillos
2 tbsp. chopped serrano, seeds removed
3/4 cup half and half
2 cups pepper jack cheese (I used a bit less)
2 tsp. garlic, minced
4 tbsp. maple syrup, divided
3/4 tsp. salt
Pepper
About 2 lbs. sweet potatoes, peeled
1 tbsp. butter, melted
2 cups packed, fresh spinach leaves

Combine the tomatillos, serrano pepper and half and half into a blender or food processor and puree until smooth.  Add the cheese, garlic, 3 tbsp. of the syrup, salt and pepper.  Set aside.

Slice the sweet potatoes with a slicer fairly thin.  Set aside.

Add the melted butter to an 8 x 8 in. pan or an 8 in. pie plate.  Add the other tablespoon of maple syrup and swirl around. 

Neatly add two layers of sliced sweet potatoes directly over the butter syrup mixture.  They should be overlapping and layered.  Add the remaining sweet potatoes to the cream mixture and use your hands to be sure that each slice is well coated with it. 

Layer about a third of the coated sweet potatoes on top of the first two layers already in the pan.  Then add half of the spinach. Repeat with 1/3 more coated potatoes, then the rest of the spinach.  Then layer the last of the sweet potatoes on top.  Pour any remaining cream mixture on top and move around so it seeps into the dish.  Bake in oven at 425 for 20 minutes.  Then, turn the temp down to 375 and cover with foil and bake for another 30 - 35 minutes. 

Remove the pan from the oven and let it sit at room temperature for about an hour. Place on a plate or a platter that is a couple of inches larger than the cake pan, upside down on top.  Flip over gently to invert potatoes.   (I skipped this part and we just dug in but I'll bet it would have been gorgeous inverted on a platter.)


One Year Ago...








Strawberry Lemonade Muffins




Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Roasted Veggies with Pineapple


Pineapple is one of my favorite things to add to foods.  It's sweetness blends well with many foods and changes it just enough to make it unique or different. I just added pineapple to baked beans last night. I also love what it does for topping on a meatloaf with BBQ sauce. Eating with a pile of roasted veggies was incredible as well.



The beauty of this recipe is that you can add what you'd like from the refrigerator.  Don't skip the garlic though.  It might not be your first choice with pineapple but I loved the contrast in flavors. It certainly made for an awesome, healthy side dish!


Roasted Veggies with Pineapple Recipe
Adapted from Our Eating Habits

1 can pineapple chunks
2 small zucchini, sliced into coins
1 handful of baby carrots
2 bell peppers
1 onion, chopped into chunks
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tsp. celery salt
1/2 tsp. cayenne pepper

Combine all the veggies, the pineapple in the juice and the spices together in a 9 x 13 in. baking dish.  Bake at 425 for about 25 minutes or until veggies are done to your liking.



Monday, June 11, 2012

Sweet Potato Ice Cream


I always look forward to getting my Secret Recipe Club assignment.  There is always the anticipation of visting a new blog and perusing through to find just the right recipe.  I found several intriguing recipes on Biking and Baking this month but as I just bought an ice cream maker, the Sweet Potato Ice Cream sounded perfect. I also just happen to have an obsession with sweet potatoes at the moment as well.

This is a non-dairy version, I couldn't find nondairy cream cheese so mine wasn't technically nondairy but I think it will be okay.  I also made a dairy version of the sweet potato ice cream.  Both were delicious!  I especially loved the 5 spice powder in the dairy free version.  I never would have thought to put it in ice cream!



Sweet Potato and Five Spice Ice Cream - Non Dairy
Recipe from Biking and Baking

1 sweet potato, baked and peeled
2 cups almond milk, or other nondairy milk
1 Tablespoon arrowroot powder, cornstarch, or tapioca flour (I used cornstarch)
3/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon light corn syrup
2/3 cup coconut creamer, or other nondairy creamer
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon five spice powder (or 2 teaspoons for a milder flavor)
3 Tablespoons nondairy cream cheese

Start by placing your ice cream processor bowl in the freezer to chill. Next, mix the arrowroot with 1/4 cup of the almond milk, and set aside. In another bowl, beat the cream cheese until soft and smooth.

Now, place the remainder of the almond milk, the sugar, the corn syrup, and nondairy creamer in a sauce pot and heat to a gentle boil. Stir as it warms to incorporate and melt the sugar. Boil for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potato, vanilla, and five spice and blend with an immersion blender or in a blender or food processor. Keep warm over very low heat, and let the mixture steep 10 minutes. Strain the potato solids from the mixture and return the liquid to the pot.

Next, heat the mixture to just shy of a boil. Add the arrowroot powder mixture and simmer until it thickens, about 3-5 minutes. Pour this mixture into the bowl with the cream cheese and whisk until the cream cheese is incorporated. Place this bowl in the fridge and chill until completely cooled, about 1 hour.

Finally, process according to the instructions of your ice cream maker. The ice cream should pull away from the edges of the bowl, and be about the consistency of soft serve. Enjoy right away, or place in the freezer and serve later for a firmer ice cream.


Sweet Potato Ice Cream - Dairy Version

2 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 cup half and half or whole milk
3/4 cup dark brown sugar, packed
5 egg yolks
1 cup sweet potato puree

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (slightly heaping)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (slightly heaping)

To make the sweet potato puree, bake in oven for 30 - 40 minutes until done or microwave for 4 - 7 minutes until soft.


Add the sweet potato flesh and 1 tablespoon of water to a food processor, and process until completely smooth. Measure out 1 cup, and set aside.

In a medium saucepan, heat the cream, milk, and sugar until the sugar has dissolved completely and the mixture is hot.

In a medium-sized heat resistant bowl, lightly whisk egg yolks. Slowly pour half of the cream mixture into the egg yolks, whisking the entire time. Next, pour egg/cream mixture into the remainder of the cream in the saucepan, whisking the entire time. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly for 6-8 minutes, or until mixture has slightly thickened and coats the back of a spoon. Do not let it boil!

 Whisk in the sweet potato puree and spices until thoroughly combined.  It's okay if there are some brown chunks from the spices. Try to break them up but it will all turn out okay.

Cover, and refrigerate the bowl until chilled before churning in your ice cream maker according to manufacturer's instructions. Freeze for several hours before serving.










Sunday, June 10, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 10 - June 17, 2012



I made the tortilla chicken last week and we liked it a lot. I forgot to make the avocado salsa along with it so I'm going to make it again this week.  Other than that, it's kinda clean out the cupboards week.  We have so much stuff that I just don't want to go grocery shopping this week except for milk and fruit. 


Monday: Sweet Baked Beans & raw veggies

Tuesday: Tortilla chicken with avocado salsa

Wednesday: Spaghetti & Meatballs

Thursday: Tilapia & Coleslaw

Friday: Pizza (I haven't decided what kind yet)

Saturday: Sweet Potato & Black Bean Burritos

Sunday: Leftovers


Check out I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas!







Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas


I was looking to make something light, fresh and easy. This certainly fit.  The pepitas were awesome but you could certainly use sunflower seeds if you can't find pepitas.

I love carrots and this was such a good marinade for them.  I've been trying to make healthy side dishes like this. This is especially nice and light for the summer.

What healthy and light side dishes do you recommend?



Carrot Salad with Cilantro and Pepitas
Adapted from Good Cheap Eats

4 cups shredded carrots, 1 bag
1/4 cup pepitas
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup orange juice
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. oregano
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt

In a large bowl, combine the carrots, pepitas and cilantro.  In a small bowl, whisk together the orange juice, cumin, oregano and pepper.  Whisk in the olive oil.  Toss the dressing with the carrot mixture.  Adjust seasonings with salt and pepper.  Chill in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes.  Stir before serving. 

One Year Ago...








Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Shells



This is linked with:
Tuesday at the Table at All the Small Stuff
Hearth and Soul Hop at 21st Century Housewife
Slightly Indulgent Tuesdays at Simply Sugar and Gluten Free
Works for Me Wednesday at We are THAT Family
Kelly The Kitchen Kop's Real Food Wednesdays
The Mommy Club at Crystal and Co.
Gluten Free Wednesdays at Gluten Free Homemaker
Recipe Linky at Newleyweds
Whole Food Wednesdays at This Chick Cooks
Weekend Wrap Up Party at Tater Tots and Jello

Monday, June 4, 2012

Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers



Sweet potatoes, sweet potatoes, oh how I love sweet potatoes.  I buy them at Costco in a 10 lb. box.  I can't possibly think of a meal that I wouldn't want to eat a sweet potato. I don't eat them with every meal but I do a lot. 

I was impressed with these burgers as they pressed together nicely and were incredibly delicious.  I admit, I ate more than my share and was quite full.  They are packed with protein and very healthy and filling.  There is only a small amount of quinoa in these but I suggest making a larger batch as it stays in the refrigerator quite well.

I kept mine gluten free and didn't use a bun but the family ate theirs as burgers and loved them.  



Sweet Potato Black Bean Burgers Recipe
Adapted from Once a Month Mom

1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cups sweet potato, cooked and mashed (I used a bit more)
1/4 cup corn
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1/4 cup quinoa, cooked
3 tbsp. oats, partially ground
1 tbsp. sunflower seeds
1 tbsp. taco seasoning (I used a combination of chili powder, cumin and coriander)

Mash half the beans in a bowl until paste like.  Add in the rest of the beans and give it a light mash but keep them a bit chunky.  Add the mashed sweet potato and taco seasoning.  Mix in the onion, garlic, corn, black beans, quinoa, sunflower seeds and ground oats until just combined. Form into balls, between your hands and flatten into a patty.  Place on a lightly greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees for 30 - 35 minutes, flipping once half way through.  Serve with guacamole.

Guacamole

2 avocados, fairly soft, peeled and pit removed
1 tbsp. lime juice
1/2 tsp. vinegar
1 tsp. seasoned salt
1/4 tsp. cumin
1/4 cup onion, minced
1 serrano pepper, minced
2 tbsp. chopped cilantro
1 roma tomato diced

Pour lime juice and vinegar in a medium bowl.  Mash avocados roughly into the vinegar and juice.  Stir in spices.  Mix in red onion, serrano pepper, cilantro and tomato. 

One Year Ago...

Mexican Meatloaf




Sunday, June 3, 2012

Menu Plan Monday ~ June 4 - June 10, 2012



Monday: Chicken & Spicy Serrano Maple Scalloped Sweet Potatoes

Tuesday: Tortilla Crusted Chicken & Salad

Wednesday: BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Thursday: Leftovers

Friday: Vegetable Enchiladas

Saturday: Cherry Vanilla Baked Oatmeal

Sunday: Chili


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

More menu planning ideas at I'm an Organizing Junkie.




Saturday, June 2, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Rice Crispy Treats


One of my favorite things is making food for potlucks.  I enjoy trying to figure out something new to make that I wouldn't normally make for just my family.  Not that I don't love making dessert for the family but I know I would eat way too many if they all were here.  This way I just was able to eat the ends for a nibble.


I made the mistake of not putting oil on my hands before trying to spread them out.  Uh, not smart.  They were sticky and gooey and got all over my hands.  The good part was that before I washed them, I was able to lick my hands.  So I washed them up, sprayed a bit of cooking spray on them, and they were able to be spread really easily. 


When it came time for rolling, I decided to stop half way and cut it in half.  This way, the cinnamon rolls weren't quite so big around.  I wanted them to go farther. After all, I was serving them at a party with about 60 people. 


I did end up making a second batch for the party and I'm glad I did.  They went over great and everybody loved them. My husband and kids are already requesting them again!



Cinnamon Roll Rice Crispy Treats Recipe
Adapted from Baking and Boys

1 bag mini marshmallows
4 tbsp. butter
6 cups Rice Crispies cereal, I used gluten free
1 tbsp. cinnamon

Cinnamon filling:
6 tbsp. butter, softened or melted
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp. cinnamon

Icing:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 tbsp. corn syrup
1-2 tbsp. milk
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract

Spray a 15 x 19 in. baking pan with cooking spray.  I didn't have one of these so I just used a large cutting board sprayed with cooking spray.

In a large microwave safe bowl, combine the marshmallows and butter.  Microwave in 30 second intervals until  melted, it takes about a minute and 1/2. Add the cinnamon and stir.  Add the cereal and combine.  Spray your hands with cooking spray and press the cereal mixture evenly in the baking sheet.  I cannot stress enough how much you'll want to spray your hands first.  This is sticky stuff!  Get it thin but even. 

In a medium sized bowl, combine the brown sugar, melted butter and cinnamon.  Stir to combine.  Remove the rice crispy treats from the baking sheet (if they are in one).  Spread the cinnamon/butter mixture evenly over the treats.  Roll the treats up starting from the long end.  If you want smaller treats, stop rolling half way and cut the crispy treats.  If you want large ones, just keep rolling the whole thing up.  Now you'll have 1 or 2 rice crispy logs.  Slice these into rolls at desired thickness.  I kept mine pretty thin as I was trying to make them go a long way. 

In another bowl, combine the powdered sugar, corn syrup and vanilla.  Add one tablespoon of the milk and whisk together.  Until the icing is the desired consistency, add a little more milk at a time until it is the thickness you'd like.  Put the icing in a plastic bag and snip a corner.  Drizzle the icing over the cinnamon rolls.  Let sit until the icing is set, about 30 minutes.  I thought they were so sweet that I only used a little icing. 

One Year Ago...









Salted Browned Butter Crispy Treats