Sunday, January 29, 2012

Homemade Trail Mix

I remember eating my mom's homemade trail mix on many occasions! On road trips, camping, at sporting events, for snacks...the possibilities are ENDLESS! Not only are there many places to eat the delicious mix, there are many different ways it can be made. And it's SO easy to make too!

I recently made a batch that was based on the one my mother made - M&M's, raisins, mixed nuts, and mini marshmallows, but I added a few more thing. I bought a few of the items, but threw in other things I had in my pantry. So what ended up in my delicious mix?

Let me show you! 
M&M's (Milk & Dark Chocolate), Raisins, Craisins, Salted Peanuts, Sunflower Seeds, Slivered Almonds, Mini Marshmallows and Coconut Flakes. 

Mix it all together and you're done!

Store in a ziplock bag or other airtight container. 


I recently said I'd post about Scotcharoos BUT I forgot to take pictures when I made them a few weeks ago, so I invited Alison over for an afternoon of baking!

We make the Scotcharoos first to give the Chocolate/Butterscotch coating time to harden. After making the ever so delicious Scotcharoos, we made two kinds of cookies - traditional chocolate chip and another the two of us created together! There will absolutely be a post about this in the very near future!

Enough about the cookies - lets look at how to make Scotcharoos, which are loved by MANY! Feed them to your family, feed them to your friends. They'll love them and ask you to make more! :)

The Goods:
  • 1 cup light corn syrup
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 6 cups Rice Krispies 
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup butterscotch chips

 Add sugar and corn syrup to saucepan and cook over medium low heat. 

Stir to combine and continue until sugar is dissolved. 

Bring mixture to a boil. 

Remove from heat and add Peanut Butter.

Stir until fully melted.

Add mixture to Rice Krispies.

Mix until evenly distributed. 

And pour into greased 9 x 13 pan.

Spread out evenly and press down firmly creating a level surface. 

 Spread melted chocolate/butterscotch mixture over the top. 

Make sure every inch is covered!

Done! Now let it cool until the toop is hardened. 

Then cut into squares and devour! 

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sunday Night Dinner: Take 14!

It's been FOREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEVER since I did a Sunday Night Dinner Post! I haven't stopped cooking Sunday Night dinners - I just haven't been taking pictures and blogging about them. I've been a little busy and I'm sorry.

So without me going on and on, lets get to the wonderful meal I made for dinner tonight!

On the menu this wonderful January evening was Homemade Sesame Chicken with Broccoli Stir Fry served with Brown Rice!

I've enjoyed Sesame Chicken numerous times, but this was my first time actually making it! Take a look at the cooking process.


·      tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
·      teaspoons toasted sesame oil
·      teaspoons honey
·      1 1/4 pounds skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into 1-inch chunks
·      tablespoons canola oil
·      green onions, white parts thinly sliced and green tops reserved
·      1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
·      cloves garlic, minced
·      1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth
·      teaspoons cornstarch
·      tablespoon rice vinegar
·      teaspoon chili paste
·      small head broccoli, cut in florets, steamed until crisp-tender, 4 to 5 minutes
·      tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
·      Hot cooked brown rice (optional)

In a medium bowl - whisk together 3 Tbsp. of soy sauce, 1 tsp. of sesame oil and 2 tsp of honey. Add chicken, toss to coat and marinate at least 20 minutes. 

 In a large nonstick skillet or wok heat 2 tsp. of canola oil over medium-high heat and cook chicken. 

In the same skillet heat the remaining 2 tsp. canola oil over medium-high heat. 
Add the white parts of onions, ginger, and garlic. 
Cook and stir for 1 to 2 minutes until fragrant. 

Add chicken back to skilled, lower heat and make Sesame Sauce (in a small bowl whisk together broth, remaining soy sauce, remaining honey, the cornstarch, vinegar, and chili paste until cornstarch and honey are incorporated. Add remaining sesame oil.) 
Add sauce to skillet and cook until slightly thickened.

I have some leftover and I can't wait to have it for lunch tomorrow! I'm hoping it'll be just as tasty!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Winter Garden Growth

The last few weeks have been unseasonably warm (we're talking 80's in January people!!!) and my garden is really loving it.

I knew that my lime would be thriving this time of year, but I had NO idea that my tomato plant would start to blossom again! Not only is it blossoming in one place - it's has FOUR different clusters of new blossoms.  I had no idea this could or would happen in JANUARY and I'm shocked. I must say that I'm constantly being amazed and surprised by the things that grow in my garden.

Now back to the lime tree that I recently picked the first lime from! I actually picked the second lime on Saturday and have a few more that are going to be ready soon. But the more exciting part are the new tiny little limes that are growing. I'm also super happy to see tons of new blossoms that will hopefully become little limes eventually!

And lastly, a quick look at my newly planted Paperwhites. I loved growing them last year so I look forward to them again and can't wait for the amazing fragrance!

Homemade Restaurant Salsa

I looooooove salsa and now I can say I really enjoy making it too. I enjoy it so much that I haven't used salsa from the store in months!

I blogged about one recipe I made less than a year ago, and have tried multiple different things since then. I tried roasting everything once, then tried roasting everything but the tomatoes another time.  My most recent attempt was making a recipe from The Pioneer Woman. I am never disappointed when I make her recipes and I was not even close to disappointed with this salsa! It is by far my favorite of all the ones I've made and it doesn't involve ANY fresh tomatoes. I thought that was the trick all along, but boy or boy was I wrong!

Before I forget - a little word of caution - this recipe makes a HUGE batch! I always do it in two separate batches in my food processor and then combine it into one in a giant bowl!

Now let me show you just how to make this amazing salsa!

The Goods!

Add half the can of Peeled Whole Tomatoes and 1 can Rotel.

Now half of the onions, garlic and jalapeno.

Mix it all up!

Add salt, sugar, cumin, lime juice and cilantro.

And mix it all once again!

All done!!!

Now time to enjoy with some homemade tortilla chips.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Chocolaty Delicious Brownies

I was asked to make a few finger-food desserts for a family gathering recently and we decided on Scotcharoos and Brownies. 

The Scotcharoos (I'll post about those soon!) were easy because I'd made them countless times before, but I wasn't as comfortable with the Brownies. I wanted to make homemade Brownies as opposed to making them from a box like usual. After doing a quick search I found a recipe that peaked my fancy on a blog I'd visited many times.  

So I made the Brownies one night to test and decided if they were what I wanted to bring for my family. They were VERY chocolatey, but they were exactly what I was going for! While I love brownies that are ooey and gooey, I knew those would be too messy, so I stuck to a simple traditional chocolate brownie.

After making the test batch, I measured out all the ingredients to mix up and bake after work on Thursday night.

Here's What Baking Brownies Thursday Night Looks Like:


 Melting butter with cocoa powder, sugar & salt.

Adding the flour!

 Ready for Baking.

Almost done!

And I COMPLETELY forgot to take a picture of them done...or cooled...or cut into small brownies!

I was making them really late after a long day at work. That's my only excuse. I'm sorry! :(

These brownies are just a little more work than using a mix from a box, but very worth the few extra steps. 

The 1st Lime!

While outside planting some bulbs this afternoon, I took a quick look at my lime tree and noticed one of the limes was starting to turn from green to a light yellow in one area. It'd been growing for awhile, so I took the color change as a sign that the lime was ripe and ready for picking!

I was a little scared I'd picked the lime too early, but after cutting into it and tasting it, I'm positive it was ready! 

For the size - it was quite juicy. As expected, it was quite tart as well!

I can't wait to pick and use more limes. And for more to start growing!  If I ever get TONS - I will definitely be making a key lime pie. YUM!

Homemade Soup: Minestrone!

  • I used to love Minestrone soup - especially the Olive Garden version with the little shell pasta. I remember how tasty it was, and was craving it recently, so I decided to try to make my own version of Minestrone soup!
After looking at a few recipes online, I decided I didn't like ANY of them completely and I just did my own thing! I think it turned out quite well, but I may do a few things just a little differently next time. 

The Goods:
  • (NOTE - Garlic was forgotten in photograph above...)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled, chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 russet potato, peeled, cubed
  • 1 (14 1/2-ounce) can diced tomatoes
  • 1 fresh rosemary sprig
  • 1 (15-ounce) can cannelloni beans, drained, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup garbanzo beans, drained, rinsed
  • 28 ounce chicken or vegetable broth
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian Parsley leaves
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh Basil leaves
  • Salt and pepper
Since I forgot to take the step by step pictures I usually take and include, I've included a more detailed description of the cooking process below. It's quite simple - I promise. Make it and enjoy!

Cooking Instructions:
Heat the oil in a heavy large pot over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, celery,  and garlic. Saute until the onion is translucent, about 10 minutes. Add potato; saute for 2 minutes. Add the tomatoes and rosemary sprig. Simmer until the tomatoes break down, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, blend 3/4 cup of the cannelloni beans with 1/4 cup of the broth in a processor until almost smooth. Add the pureed bean mixture and remaining broth to the vegetable mixture. 
Simmer until the potato pieces are tender, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes. Stir in the whole beans, basil and parsley. Simmer until the beans are heated through and the soup is thick, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Discard rosemary sprig (the leaves will have fallen off of the stem.)
Ladle the soup into bowls and serve.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Homemade Tortilla Chips

One of my FAVORITE things about going to an authentic Mexican Restaurant is eating their chips and salsa. 

I recently started making my own salsa (I haven't had any from a jar in months!!) and I decided I was going to make my own tortilla chips for New Years Eve. It wasn't my first frying experience so I was quite comfortable. 

Here's the chip making process!

Heating Up the Oil.

Cutting the Corn Tortillas!

Cut Tortillas.

Starting The Frying Process!

After Flipping!

Annnnnd done!

Last But NOT Least - Salting!!!

Homemade tortilla chips are simply amazing, but seem to be more oily and fattening than those out of the bag.  

Who know? 

Who cares??? :)