Sunday, October 30, 2011

Recipe of the week: Candy Bar Cookies

What are you going to do with all that leftover Halloween candy?  Make cookies of course!  This recipe calls for mini Snickers bars but I'm sure the snack size cut into 3 pieces would work.  You can also use Milky Way, Reeses, Baby Ruth, Twix....whatever you like.  I don't make these very often because they're not very healthy, but once in a while won't hurt.  Enjoy!

Candy Bar Cookies
1 cup softened butter
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
3 cups flour
1 tsp.baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
60 snickers miniature candy bars
chocolate glaze (recipe below)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.  In large bowl beat together margarine or butter, peanut butter, sugar and brown sugar until fluffy. Add egg and vanilla. Combine flour, baking powder and baking soda then add to peanut butter mixture, beat until combined.  For each cookie shape a rounded Tbsp of dough around a candy piece, forming a ball. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake @ 350 for 15 mins, cool on rack.  After they're cool drizzle with glaze.

Chocolate glaze:
2 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp milk
add additional milk 1 tsp. at a time
mix all ingredients together

Saturday, October 29, 2011

DIY foot scrub

Last year for Christmas my mom asked for family pictures, we didn't end up getting them done because my step-dad hasn't been well enough.  So tomorrow is finally the day we're going to get them done.  We're all wearing jeans and black shirts, I found the cutest shirt at work last week, yay.  I'd like a picture of the five of us barefoot, this week has been busy with back to back football games so I didn't have time for a pedicure like I'd wanted.  I made a scrub for my feet out of stuff in my pantry and refrigerator and it came out well.  My feet are super soft!  (Just make sure you rinse the tub out well after you wash your feet, you don't want to slip the next time you take a shower. )  After a couple of coats of coral nail polish, I think my feet are ready for their close up : )  

In a bowl mix:
2 Tbsp raw sugar
1 Tbsp salt
2 Tbsp oatmeal ground into a fine powder in the blender
1 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp fresh grapefruit juice (or other citrus)
It's going to be a thick paste.  Smear on your feet, wait about 15 minutes and wash off.  I wrapped my feet in plastic grocery bags after I put the scrub on so I could still walk around and not make a mess.  Enjoy your beautiful feet!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The Golden Box

Some time ago a man punished his 5-year-old daughter for wasting
a roll of expensive gold wrapping paper. Money was tight and
he became even more upset when the child pasted the gold paper
so as to decorate a box to put under the Christmas tree.

Nevertheless, the little girl brought the gift box to her father
the next morning and said, "This is for you, Daddy."
The father was embarrassed by his earlier overreaction, but his
anger flared again when he found the box was empty.

He spoke to her in a harsh manner, "Don't you know, young lady,
when you give someone a present there's supposed to be something
inside the package?"

The little girl looked up at him with tears in her eyes and
said, "Oh, Daddy, it's not empty. I blew kisses into it until
it was full."

The father was crushed.

He fell on his knees and put his arms around his little girl,
and he begged her to forgive him for his unnecessary anger.

An accident took the life of the child only a short time later
and it is told that the father kept that gold box by his bed for
all the years of his life. And whenever he was discouraged or
faced difficult problems he would open the box and take out an
imaginary kiss and remember the love of the child who had put it

In a very real sense, each of us as human beings has been given
a golden box filled with unconditional love and kisses from our
children, family, friends and God. There is no more precious
possession anyone could hold.

~Author Unknown~

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Recipe of the week: Stuffed Spaghetti Squash

I love spaghetti squash, until my kids were older they didn't even know what pasta was.  We like it with marinara sauce or with sauce and meatballs.  I've recently made it and stuffed it with onions, mushrooms, zucchini and spinach, topped with some parmesan cheese and basil.  It goes well with marinara sauce (for the vegetarians in my house), it also goes nicely with a ribeye, like the one I just had or red sauce with meatballs.  If you try it let me know what you think.  A Votre Sante!

One spaghetti squash, about 4 lbs cut in half and cleaned out
2Tbsp olive oil
1 medium onion sliced
1 glove garlic diced
1-2 cups sliced mushrooms
1-2 sliced zucchini
3-4 cups spinach
2 Tbsp Parmesan cheese
1/2 tsp basil


Preheat oven to 375.  Slice spaghetti squash in half and discard seeds.  (I use an ice cream scoop to clean mine out).  Put the halves in a 9x13 pan with 1/2 inch of water, cover with foil and bake for 40-45 minutes.

While the squash is in the oven, put 2 tbsp olive oil in a skillet (I always use cast iron), saute the onion, mushrooms, zucchini.  When those vegis are almost done toss in the spinach, you want the spinach barely cooked.  Take the squash out the oven and spoon the mixture into one of the halves.  I like to leave one of the halves plain and stuff the other.  Top with the parmesan, basil, salt and pepper to taste.  Serve with marinara sauce, meat sauce or just eat it like it is....enjoy!

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

What Mom Taught Me

"If you're going to kill each other, do it outside.
I just finished cleaning!"

MOM taught me RELIGION:
"You better pray that will come out of the carpet."

MOM taught me about TIME TRAVEL:
"If you don't straighten up, I'm going to knock you into the
middle of next week!"

MOM taught me LOGIC:
"Because I said so, that's why."

MOM taught me FORESIGHT:
"Make sure you wear clean underwear in case you're in an

MOM taught me IRONY:
"Keep laughing and I'll give you something to cry about."

MOM taught me about the science of OSMOSIS:
"Shut your mouth and eat your supper!"

MOM taught me about CONTORTIONISM:
"Will you look at the dirt on the back of your neck!"

MOM taught me about STAMINA:
"You'll sit there until all that spinach is finished."

MOM taught me about WEATHER:
"It looks as if a tornado swept through your room."

MOM taught me how to solve PHYSICS PROBLEMS:
"If I yelled because I saw a meteor coming toward you,
would you listen then?"

MOM taught me about HYPOCRISY:
"If I've told you once, I've told you a million times,
Don't exaggerate!!!"

"Stop acting like your father!"

MOM taught me about ENVY:
"There are millions of less fortunate children in this world who
don't have wonderful parents like you do!"

And most of all ..... MOM taught me THE CIRCLE OF LIFE:
"I brought you into this world, and I can take you out."

Author Unknown

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Recipe of the week: Vegetarian French Onion Soup

  • Cooking for my family has become increasingly difficult, earlier this year my youngest daughter, Mackenzie, decided she was going vegetarian.  (For moral reasons, which I can support, if you're just jumping on the vegi/vegan band wagon because of some thing you read on the internet, then spare me.)  Her two favorite soups are broccoli cheese and french onion.  She had a mini-melt down when she found out french onion was made with beef broth the last time she ordered it at Panera.  I promised her I'd come up with a vegetarian substitute and this is what I came up with.  (FYI:  Don't start out with sweet onions, as the onions caramelize they will get sweet and you don't want them to be too sweet.)  Let me know what you think (and you can always make it the traditional way with beef broth).  A Votre Sante!

  • For the soup:
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 3 large brown onions, sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1/2-1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2-1 tsp raw sugar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 Tbsp flour (optional)
  • 32oz or 4 cups vegetable broth
  • For the topping:
  • 1/2 to 1 loaf french baguette 
  • Parmesan cheese, Mozzarella or Gruyere (or a mixture)
  • Butter, olive oil or oil spray

  • Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Add the onions, cook for about 15 minutes then add garlic, bay leaves, sugar. salt and pepper and cook until the onions are very soft and caramelized, about 30 minutes maybe a little longer. Add the wine, bring to a boil, turn back down to medium low. Discard the bay leaves.  Dust the onion mixture with flour and stir.  (Optional) Turn the heat down to medium low so the flour doesn't burn, and cook for about 5 minutes.  Add the vegetable broth, bring the soup back to a simmer, and cook for 5-10 minutes. Season, to taste, with salt and pepper.
  • For the topping:  
  • When you're ready to eat, preheat the broiler. Arrange the baguette slices on a baking sheet in a single layer. Sprinkle the slices with the cheese/cheeses and broil until bubbly and golden brown, 3 to 5 minutes.
  • Ladle the soup in bowls and cheese bread on top.
  • Alternative method: Ladle the soup into bowls, top each with 2 slices of bread and top with cheese. Put the bowls into the oven to toast the bread and melt the cheese.
  • I wasn't sure if my dishes were oven safe so I floated the cheese bread on the top.   Enjoy!

Thursday, October 6, 2011

The Top 10 things I love about fall

Autumn or fall is my favorite season, it has been for as long as I can remember.  Perhaps it began with new starts, ie, going back to school, making new friends, getting new clothes etc.  Growing up both my parents were die hard USC football fans, so Saturdays belonged to college football, my mom is famous for screaming at the TV.  Once I got to high school I came to love the game myself  (and I especially love it now that my son plays!!).  So, now you know my number one reason for loving are the rest.

  1. Football season
  2. Losing those few pounds I gained during the summer
  3. Sweaters, jeans and boots
  4. Baking yummy treats
  5. Curling up with a good book and a blanket
  6. Hot tea (especially when curled up with a good book)
  7. My favorite TV shows being back on with new episodes
  8. The changing leaves
  9. Soups and stews (my favorite dinners are soup, salad and bread)
  10. Gathering with family and friends because of "the holidays"

Now you've heard my top 10, what are yours?  Whatever they are, I hope they are filled with love, laughter and beauty!

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Getting in shape

I was at a friends house the other night and we were talking about losing weight and getting in shape.  There are LOTS of different opinions out there and as I've said before I believe in balance.  I've also done my own research on how and what to eat, which I highly suggest everyone does.  The biggest thing you need to know is how what you eat makes you FEEL.  Pay attention to that, keeping a food journal will help.

Now, having said all that, I think eating the Paleo way makes the most sense for me.  A Christian friend posted a negative comment on something I posted about the "caveman" diet months ago and I deleted the link.  Anyone who knows me should know I do not believe in evolution, in the Darwin sense.  If you go back just 100 years you can see how the evolution of industrialization has made us as a population sicker, and fatter.  And I certainly don't see anywhere in the Bible where they're eating fast food or food from packages.  They ate real, whole foods, mostly that were in season.

I told my friend I could have her in shape in 6 months, maybe for some that's a stretch but I dare you to try this for 30 days and see how you feel.  (75 to 80% of losing weight and getting in shape is diet.)  If you do let me know how you feel!  A Votre Sante! CheatSheet

What is paleo and why should I do it?
Paleo is a lifestyle that emphasizes the parts of Paleolithic life which are healthier for us than typical 
modern life. The first main example is eating whole foods such as meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and 
healthy fats instead of factory-processed foods and newer agricultural products, especially grains. The 
second is making time for regular exercise and proper sleep. Doing these will make us feel better and give 
us fitter, more attractive bodies.     

Nothing in this CheatSheet should be taken to constitute professional advice or a formal recommendation by any certified nutritionist, physician, or therapist; and we exclude all representations and warranties relating to the content and use of this CheatSheet.

How do I go paleo? Tell me the steps!

  • Eat a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits, nuts, eggs and healthy fats
  • Don’t eat added sugars 
  • This includes “organic” sugar and artificial sweeteners. Never drink soda
  • Don’t eat grains or legumes (This includes soy, rice, corn, wheat, and any grain product like pasta, breads, or cereals)  as well as legumes (beans) and white potatoes
  • Don't eat processed vegetable oils (This includes canola, corn, soybean, peanut, and cottonseed oils, to name a few)
  • Don’t eat any factory-processed foods (If it comes in a box, most likely you shouldn’t eat it)
  • Eat dairy only if it is from grass-fed animals and you digest it well
  • Plan one or two cheat meals a week if it keeps you on track (Try to “treat not cheat” by indulging in more decadent paleo foods occasionally
  • Exercise regularly and intensely, and rest
  • Give yourself rest days throughout the week and extended rest every couple months
  • Get a full night’s sleep in a dark room every night
  • Drink lots of water
  • Don’t drink much or any alcohol, and avoid caffeine late in the day
That’s it?
Yep! But, only if you are consistent. The above paleo basics make up 90% of a 
successful paleo lifestyle, but they must be followed for you to see results. One of 
the biggest keys in doing so is the ability to prepare your own paleo food. The Recipes page has hundreds of free easy-to-follow recipes you can 
choose from to find paleo foods that you like and can prepare yourself. Check it out 
and as always, Kristin and James and the awesome FastPaleo community are more 
than happy to help out in any way we can.