Tag: cooking

Happy 4th!

July 4
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Happy 4th of July

 

Happy Independence Day friends. I may be home alone sick, but I wanted to take a second and share a few favorite recipes just in case you are still looking for something to bring to a gathering.

Love cookies and sprinkles? These festive red white and blue cookies are perfect and so easy to make. (Actually, I may go make some right now….)

Check your fridge, you may have everything you need for this simple, healthy, fruit salad. 

Thirsty? Check out this 10 minute sangria recipe that looks like something from Martha Stewart.

Still looking for more ideas? See this cute pool party I hosted a little bit ago, complete with a DIY mimosa bar.

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My experience with Blue Apron

July 25
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A few weeks ago my husband and I went ahead and tried out Blue Apron meals.  We have been very busy with the buying and selling of our home and figured it would make eating somewhat healthier and homemade a little easier.  We signed up online and were given the option to pick out meals.

My Blue Apron Experience

Because it is just the two of us we went with the three meals for two people box. The meals are $9.99 each so it comes to $59.94 for the box and shipping is free.

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We went online and selected our meals from the six choices. The way Blue apron is set up, you get to pick your meals but not all meal combinations are available. This may be  a cost issue as not all meals cost the same and some ingredients cost more than others.  The three meals we selected were Butter Brown Gnocchi, Sweet Chili Chicken, and  Spiced Shrimp Pearl Couscous.

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Our box was shipped via FedEx one day from New Jersey to our home in Florida.  The box  is designed to be able to sit outdoors in the elements until the evening of the delivery day.  I was home from work that day so I was able to bring it inside and put the items away fairly quickly, but I am sure it would have been fine for  a few more hours.IMG_6054

The box was packed with a thickly insulated inner liner which acted like a cooler for the contents.  The fresh vegetables and other items were on the top of the box and perishables such as meats were on the bottom of the box under a sheet of cardboard and between two layers of ice packs.

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I went ahead and pulled all the items out and stored them.

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All three meals were able to be cooked in a half hour or less and we enjoyed all three of them.  I love that we got to try gnocchi; I had never cooked this before and I doubt I would have tried it if it were not for Blue Apron.  The recipes were all easy to follow and steps were explained.

One thing that I was a little disappointed by was the lack of full nutritional information on the meals.  When you select your meal you shown the calorie count per serving, however no other nutritional information is shared.  We were able to look at the ingredients for the meals to decide if they would fit our needs, but knowing the full nutritional information would be very useful.

Have you tried Blue Apron?  What did you think?

Note:  This is NOT a sponsored post.  I purchased the box on my own and am not being compensated for this post in any way.  All ideas and opinions are my own.

 

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Brunch Ideas

April 26
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With Mother’s Day coming up I wanted to share with you some of my favorite and some new brunch recipes. I don’t cook brunches very often, but when I do, I stick to a few staples.

Mini-Spinach-Quiches I’ve been making these Muffin Frittatas for a few years now. I love they are crustless so they are low carb. I use Turkey Sausage and lots of veggies. The best part? You can freeze them and then pull them out one at a time for hearty on the go breakfasts.

overnight-blueberry-french-toast-3 My mother ran across this recipe for Blueberry French Toast Casserole in an issue of Taste of Home magazine back in the mid-1990s. Ever since then we’ve been making it here and there both as a breakfast and a dinner. What I love about this recipe is it is an overnight meal. You put it all together at night and then just pop it in the oven when the time comes. Perfect for entertaining and overnight guests.

sheetpan-hashbrowns-d I am a HUGE Hash Browns fan.  Whenever I am in a restaurant that serves them, I need an order.  However, I am not the best at cooking them.  Mine always come out too crispy or too soggy, its a mess.  Anyways, I really want to try this Sheet Pan Hash Browns recipe and see if it could be my hash browns savior.

Mango-Carrot-Smoothie-Culinary-Hill-3Wouldn’t this Mango Carrot Smoothie be fun to try? Perfect for a quick breakfast for overnight guests. The recipe only takes FOUR ingredients!

What are you go to brunch dishes?  Do you like heavy casseroles or lighter fruit options?  Tell me below!

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Simple Smoothies

October 20
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Simple Green Smoothies

 

I get a lot of questions about the smoothies my husband and I make so I figured I’d make a post about our system.  Because it’s so easy we have no problem whipping them up before work in the mornings.  We blend in a Ninja blender with the personal smoothie cups.  This is mostly because someone broke the large pitcher and blade by blending a spoon while sick.  We won’t name names of course.  Anyways, we hadn’t used the personal cups much before so when we switched to them it was new.  Personally, (heh) I like them better as they seem to get a smoother blend.  Basically though, use whatever blender you have, I am not going to go tell you to spend $300 on one.

All of our smoothies are green smoothies.  This means we start with a hearty base of mixed greens.  Our favorites are spinach and kale.  We also use collard greens from time to time.  The kale is a little tart so we do a half and half ratio with spinach.  We purchase these in large bags pre washed and then stick them in the freezer.  You are also welcome to use fresh. The recipe we are going over today is for one 12 oz smoothie.  We use 1 cup of spinach and 1 cup of kale as this green base.

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We then add 1/2 to 1 cup water.  After adding the water you will notice that the greens kinda smoosh (yes, this is the official word) to the bottom.  This is good.  Now you have room for everything else. Make sure you put in enough water to smoosh them and almost cover the greens.  This isn’t a science to you may have to play with it.  You can always add more later.  Now this is always where I get asked about why we use water.  The simple answer is I’m lazy.  Water is free, its right next to the blender, and its 0 calories.  Why not use water?  I mean really.

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Next is your banana.  We use a whole banana in each smoothie.  You are welcome to use 1/2 or less, but this is what we like.  The banana gives the smoothie that good thick texture and its a great source of sweetness next to that kale.

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Now comes the fun part.  This is where you add your extra fruit for flavor. Today I used avocado and mango.  Strawberries, blueberries, peanut butter, and apple are other ingredients we enjoy regularly.

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We use chia seeds in all our smoothies as an extra umph.  Curious?  Here is a nice article explaining the benefits.  Around 1 Tablespoon is good. Whatever you do, don’t add these first if you’re using a small blender cup.  They will get stuck on the bottom and never get into the smoothie.

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Now we put on the lid and buzz!  Make sure you run your blender for long enough to get a nice fine blend. This is a smoothie, not a chunky.  Also, if your greens are bunching up at the top of the blender, go ahead and shake them down (with the lid on.)

 

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After you are done blending pour into your favorite up and enjoy!  If your smoothie is too thick add a little water and blend again and you’re good to go.

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So what do you think?  Do you make smoothies at home?  If so what do you do differently?  Any great ideas I need to try?

 

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My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

September 23
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My Review of the Happy Planner Recipe Organizer

 

So I have finally gotten my hands on the new Recipe Organizer from Me & My Big Ideas.  I love their Happy Planner so I wanted to give this a try too.   I don’t own very many recipe books, and I generally use Pinterest to store recipes found online. I don’t like cooking straight from a blog post as then I have to move my tablet to the kitchen and keep swiping it with messy hands to keep it on.  (Not to mention, many blog posts are so image heavy its hard to find the actual instructions.) Hopefully with this new recipe book I can write down the recipes I like so that I have one place to go for them all without dealing with all that other stuff.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

The book comes with 10 of these little shopping lists

 

The front of the book has the shopping lists and a three page glossary of cooking terms.  The book is then divided into eight sections with tabs for different types of foods.

The tabs are: Family Favorites, Main Dishes, Slow Cooker, Entertaining, Healthy Fare, Quick and Easy, Desserts, and Misc. Personally I am not in love with their choices so I will make new labels for some of the tabs.

I plan to keep- Main Dishes, Desserts, Entertaining and Slow Cooker.  I will switch the others to Breads, Lunches, and sides.  I think I will keep the misc. until I think of something else I want.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

Don’t you love this table setting chart? Its perfect just in case.

 

One thing I love about this book is that, like the Happy Planner, it uses the ARC system for its pages.  This means that I can take pages out and move them around change them as I see fit.

I immediately got started entering my first recipe.  We always make corn muffins using the recipe from the back of an old Quaker Corn Meal canister.  We no longer have that canister or buy that brand but we kept the recipe from the back.  Each time I go to make these I cross my fingers that I still have the little cup out recipe because I am sure that one day it will get lost or accidentally thrown out.  It’s just too little. This was the perfect recipe to transfer over. I pulled out a sheet and got to work.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

 

I love how the pages have prompts on the side so that you don’t forget to write down the oven temperature or cook time.  The prep time and servings information will also be helpful if it’s been years since I’ve made something, or if someone else is using my book. It comes with enough pages to write down 192 recipes, one on each side of the paper which should be way more than enough for me.

Of course, after I got all finished I noticed that the colored top right corner of the page was unusual.  I then looked at the rest of the pages and realized that this color coordinates with the section of the book that the page is from.  Great. So now I have Corn Bread as a main dish.  (Actually, that would be awesome, but no. )

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

I looked over the rest of the pages and the only other difference I saw between categories was for the Slow-Cooker pages.  They have this nifty little icon which is actually pretty adorable.

Review of the MAMBI Create 365 Recipe Book

So if you purchase this book keep that information in mind, but otherwise the book is completely customizable to meet your needs.  Below you can see this book on top of my Happy Planner to see the size comparison. They are pretty much the same, which makes since being that they share the same $24.99 price point.

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Overall, I think that I will be getting a lot of use out of this book to record all the dishes that I make from randomly found internet searches as well as recipes that I keep in my head.  Also, this will be a written record if anyone… maybe my husband?  Wants to make one of my dishes.

Interested in purchasing your own?  Currently they are only available on the MAMBI website,but they should be in Hobby Lobby this fall.
Do you have one?  Tell me what you think in the comments!

 

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Rice Cooker Jambalaya

September 16
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The Happy PlannerReview (2)

Today I wanted to share one of my favorite super easy meals.  I discovered this recipe after college when I purchased a rice cooker after my roommate who had one moved out.  After she left I of course knew I couldn’t live without perfect rice and snagged my own on Amazon.  After I got the rice cooker I realized it had so much potential and started researching other easy dishes.  This is one of my favorites and its always a crowd pleaser.

 

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What you need:

1.5 Cups rice.  (I use parboiled, but you can use whatever you like. If you use brown add more liquid.)
1 package kielbasa or whatever sausage you like.  (I prefer turkey)
1 can (15.6 oz) diced tomatoes
1 can (8 oz)  tomato sauce or paste
1 cup diced onion
1 cup diced bell pepper
1 clove diced garlic
2 TBS butter
1 cup water
1 packet chicken seasoning (or stock)
2 tsp ground pepper
2 tsp chili pepper

Chop kielbasa into slices or halved slices and set aside. Dice onion, pepper and garlic.  Place all ingredients into the rice cooker and turn on.  THAT  IS IT GUYS.

Easy rice cooker jambalaya

See? This is it!

 

Variations:

I am lazy, cheap, and hate buying chicken stock so I’ve been using chicken bullion.  If you’re a stock person substitute the bullion and water for a cup of chicken stock.

Picky eaters?  Try taking the tomatoes and veggies and running them through blender for a few seconds.  This will create a nice puree that they won’t even notice.

Like it hot?  Add cayenne pepper.  How much?   Consult an expert. (Not me.) This blogger says 2 tsp but as a non-spicy food eater I’m going to say I don’t know.

Cooking for a crowd?  Go ahead and add more rice.  You could do  2 cups rice and 2 cans of tomatoes if you’d like.  You could skip the sauce then.  It’s mostly for an extra tomato color and kick.

Not a sausage lover?  Add chicken or shrimp or both.  Cook them before adding to the rice cooker.

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Convinced you need a rice cooker now too? Try this one!

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Easy Turkey Chili

August 24
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I don’t know about you but I am always looking for easy, quick, reheatable meals (yes, reheatable is a word now) that don’t require special obscure ingredients.  So many things I see online and in cookbooks require some single use ingredient that I just plain am too lazy to buy.  This easy chili recipe is one of my favorites because it can be made from ingredients that are almost always available in my kitchen.  I enjoy regular chili but often times its a little heavy.  This chili is beef free and about as low-calorie/high protein as you can get.

 

Sometimes it takes two photos to get all of your ingredients in. 

This recipe is adapted from a dish found on @mealprepmondays on Instagram.

1/2  pound ground turkey (chicken or beef can work too in a pinch)

2 cans (16 oz.)  kidney beans  (I like to do light and dark for more color variation.)

1 can (16 oz.) tomatoes (we do crushed, but use what you like/have)

1/2 large onion diced  (more or less to taste)

1 clove minced garlic

1 cup water

1 cup corn (fresh, frozen, or canned)

1 can (8 oz.)  tomato sauce or paste

1 tbsp. chili pepper

1 tsp. cumin

Salt & pepper to taste



Serves 5-7 (Depending on if my father is coming to dinner or not.)

Start by browning your turkey.  Once cooked throughly drain and place the turkey in your large pot.  Sauté onions and garlic until soft or caramelized (Or until you get bored.)

Combine turkey, kidney beans, tomatoes, onion & garlic, tomato sauce and water on medium or medium-high heat.  Add chili pepper and cumin to taste.  I like things pretty mild around here but do what works for you and your family.

I like to cook this for about 20 minutes to let the flavors mush together and then I add the corn for the last five minutes.   This keeps it nice and crisp.

 

Wanna make it a meal?  Chili goes great with cornbread.  We love the Quaker cornbread recipe.

nom nom nom



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