Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Baked Ziti with Turkey Sausage

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 pound uncooked turkey sausages, spicy-variety, casings removed
  • 1 medium uncooked onion, chopped
  • 1 medium green pepper, chopped
  • 28 oz canned diced tomatoes
  • 10 oz frozen green peas, thawed
  • 2 Tablespoons canned tomato paste
  • 1 Teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 Teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 Teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon fennel seed
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, freshly ground
  • 12 oz uncooked whole-wheat pasta, ziti, cooked according to package directions
  • 6 oz. shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese


Instructions:

  1. Position the rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Crumble the sausage meat into a large saucepan and brown over medium heat, stirring often, about 4 minutes.
  2. Drain off any fat, then add the onion and bell pepper. Cook, stirring often, until softened, about 3 minutes.
  3. Stir in the tomatoes, peas, tomato paste, oregano, basil, thyme, fennel seeds, salt and pepper. Bring to a simmer, then reduce the heat and cook uncovered 5 minutes, stirring often.
  4. Stir in the cooked pasta and half the cheese. Spread evenly into a 9-x13-inch baking pan. Top evenly with the remaining cheese.
  5. Bake until the cheese has melted and the casserole is bubbling, about 20 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes at room temperature before slicing into 8 pieces. 
Recipe from the kitchen of Weight Watchers. 8 Weight Watchers Points Plus Value per serving.

Monday, April 29, 2013

West Michigan Yarn Quest Review

Well, the West Michigan Yarn Quest is now over. And did we ever go on a quest for yarn this weekend! We made it to all 10 participating stores. Thursday night we headed south and shopped at Your Local Yarn Shop in Battle Creek, Lady Peddler in Hastings, and Henny's Yarn Shop in Caledonia. Then on Saturday we hit six stores including Country Needleworks in Jenison, Painted Trillium Yarns in Hudsonville, A Grand Skein in Grand Rapids, J.T. Stitchery in Rockford, then all the way up to The New Ewe in Newaygo, and finally Clever Ewe in Ada. We picked up the last shop on Sunday when we went to The Needlesmith in Grand Haven. Our favorite shops of all?  Henny's in Caledonia and Country Needleworks in Jenison. All-in-all we had a wonderful time, got a fun tour of West Michigan, found some new yarn stores, and got lots of goodies and great prices on quality yarn. Love!
Every store shared wonderful FREE patterns! We got:
  • Alexi Sweater and Scarf set
  • Bath Mitt
  • Berry Boot Topper
  • Better Basic Mittens
  • Boulder Cabled Satchel
  • Cashmere Shawl
  • Charm Washcloths
  • Coffee Beenz Textured Throw
  • Creativity Unleashed Pillow - The Rockford Dam
  • Encore Worsted Christmas Stocking
  • Ewe-Fit Skirt
  • Fantasy Naturale Dishcloth & Towel Set
  • Flower Lace Poncho
  • GAP-tastic Cowl
  • Garden Cowl
  • Jeans Scarf
  • Make-It-Your-Own Infinity Scarf
  • Norwich Hat
  • Mobius Wrap
  • Ruffled Row Scarf
  • Summer Scarf
  • Tannenbaum Mittens

Many stores gave us a goodie bag with a purchase. Here's what we snagged:
  • 20% off coupon at Country Needleworks
  • Wind & Willow Recipe Card
  • Country Needleworks Yarn Quest Recipe Book
  • Post-It Notes
  • Crabtree & Evelyn Lotions
  • Eucalan Delicate Wash
  • Key chain with cheat-sheet cards

And of course, we bought great yarn - all these projects for less than $200:
  1. 2 skeins of Chunky Misti Alpaca (copper) to make the GAP-tastic cowl
  2. 2 balls Bamboozle Crystal Palace Yarn to make blue slippers
  3. 2 balls Bamboozle Crystal Palace Yarn to make green slippers
  4. 3 skeins of Cascade Ultra Pima (grey) to make the Flower Lace Poncho
  5. 1 ball Crystal Palace Cotton Twirl yarn to make the Bath Mitt
  6. 6 skeins of Plymouth Yarn Coffee Beenz to make the Coffee Beenz Textured Throw (Christmas present for my parents)
  7. 1 skein of Tahki Boulder to make the Boulder Cabled Satchel
  8. 1 ball Ty-Dy to make a Jeans belt (most excited about this one for myself!)
  9. 2 balls Lovely Jeans to make the Jeans Scarf


Sunday, April 28, 2013

Draining the Fat off of Meat

Have you learned the secret to draining fat off of your meat?  You've been told it will hurt your drains if you let the fat pour down them. So how do you drain your meat?  Line a bowl with some aluminum foil. Drain the meat into the bowl. When the fat has hardened just wrap up the foil and throw it away. Voila!

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Arugula

Arugula is a wonderful leafy green.  Here are a bunch of ideas for salads, pesto and sandwiches using this green wonder. Enjoy!

Salads - Use about 8 cups arugula for each salad and add the other ingredients to taste. Dress lightly with olive oil, vinegar, and salt and pepper, or use your favorite bottled dressing.

  • Italian - Arugula, sliced radicchio, Parmesan cheese shavings, quartered artichoke hearts and pitted black olives.
  • Summer - Arugula, sliced beefsteak tomatoes, fresh corn kernels, fresh basil.
  • Steakhouse - Arugula, sliced steak, cucumber, chopped scallions, crisp bacon.
  • Sweet and Salty - Arugula, diced fresh apricot, crumbled feta cheese, toasted almonds.
  • California - Arugula, crumbled Gorgonzola, toasted pecans, dried cranberries.


Pesto - Puree 2 garlic cloves, 2 cups packed arugula, 1/2 cup olive oil, and 1/4 cup toasted walnuts. Add 1 tablespoon lemon juice; season with salt and pepper. Serve on grilled fish or chicken.

Sandwich - Layer slices of ripe peach, thin slices of Gruyere cheese, and a handful of arugula between 2 slices of whole wheat bread. Bake until cheese melts.

Friday, April 26, 2013

Monster Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon Karo syrup
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 box dark brown sugar
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup butter
  • 9 cups quick oats
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 pound M&Ms
  • 2 cups peanuts
  • 1 cup raisins


Directions:

  1. Mix eggs, baking soda, vanilla, Karo syrup in large bowl. 
  2. Beat in sugar, brown sugar, butter and peanut butter until smooth. 
  3. Stir in oatmeal, chocolate chips, M&Ms, nuts and raisins. Chill 4 hours. 
  4. Drop onto greased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Spring Vegetable and Barley Risotto

Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 cup sliced leeks (white and light green parts only)
  • 4 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 3/4 cup uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/2 pound asparagus, trimmed, cut diagonally into 2-inch pieces
  • 1/4 pound snap peas, trimmed, cut in half diagonally
  • 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted butter
  • 1/4 teaspoon table salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon fresh, chopped dill
  • 1/8 teaspoon fresh lemon juice


Directions:

  1. Heat oil in a large, nonstick saucepan over medium heat. Add leeks; cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until leeks are light golden, about 4 to 5 minutes.
  2. Stir in broth and barley; bring to a boil. reduce heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, until barley is almost tender, about 30 minutes.
  3. Stir in asparagus and sugar snap peas; cover and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Remove saucepan from heat; stir in cheese, zest, butter,salt, and pepper. Stir in dill and season to taste with fresh lemon juice; serve immediately.

Recipe from the kitchen of Weight Watchers.
Yields about 1 cup per serving. Serves 4.
6 Points Plus Weight Watchers points per serving.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Pepperoni Pizza Burgers

Ingredients:

  • Cooking spray
  • 1 pound uncooked lean ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 2 medium plum tomatoes, sliced 1/4-inch thick
  • 1-1/2 ounces Parmesan cheese, thinly sliced
  • 4 leaves basil
  • 1 ounce thinly sliced pepperoni


Directions:

  1. Coat a large griddle, outdoor grill rack, or stovetop grill pan with cooking spray; preheat to medium-high.
  2. In a large bowl, combine beef, salt, garlic powder, oregano, and crushed red pepper; divide mixture into four balls and then gently press each one into a 4-inch patty.
  3. Place sliced tomatoes on grill; cook until grill marks appear, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from grill; set aside.
  4. Off heat, recoat griddle or grill pan with cooking spray. Place burgers on hot griddle or grill; cook 5 minutes per side for medium. Sprinkle each burger with 1/4 of the cheese about 2 minutes before fully finished cooking on second side; cook until cheese melts.
  5. Serve each burger on a toasted bun, topped with 1 basil leave and 1/4 ounce pepperoni.
Yields 1 burger per serving.
Recipe from the kitchen of Weight Watchers. 8 Points Plus Weight Watchers points per serving.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Peanut Butter Trail Mix Bar

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups Rice Krispies
  • 3 cups Cheerios
  • 1-1/2 cups Raisins
  • 1/2 cup sunflower nuts
  • 1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup honey
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 cups peanut butter
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract



Directions:

  1. Combine Rice Krispies, Cheerios, raisins, sunflower nuts and chocolate chips in large bowl.  
  2. Combine honey and sugar in medium pan; heat over medium heat 3 to 5 minutes or until mixture comes to a boil. Boil 1 minute. 
  3. Add peanut butter and vanilla; stir until peanut butter is melted. Pour over cereal mixture; mix well. 
  4. Press mixture into greased 15x10x1 inch baking pan. When cool cut into 1-1/2 inch squares.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Happy Earth Day!

In honor of Earth Day I thought you might enjoy checking out some websites with ideas for saving our planet. Enjoy!

http://earth911.com/
http://www.nrdc.org/
http://www.takepart.com/


Sunday, April 21, 2013

Chocolate Mint Creams

Ingredients:

  • 1-1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 6 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 Tablespoon water
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 pound pastel cream mint kisses


Directions:

  1. Stir together flour and baking soda. 
  2. In a medium saucepan heat and stir brown sugar, butter, and water over low heat until butter is melted. Add chocolate chips. Heat and stir until chocolate is melted. Pour into a large mixing bowl and let stand for 10-15 minutes or until cool. 
  3. Beat egg into chocolate mixture. Stir in the flour mixture until well blended. Dough will be soft. Cover and chill for 1-2 hours until easy to handle. Shape into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. 
  4. Remove and immediately top each cookie with a mint. Return to the oven and bake about 2 minutes more or until cookies are done. Swirl the melted mints with a knife to "frost" cookies. Remove and cool until mints are firm.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pumpkin Cake

Ingredients:

  • 1/8 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1-1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 can pumpkin
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons light whipping cream
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar


Directions:

  1. Mix together shortening, sugar, eggs, flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg and 1 cup of pumpkin. 
  2. Mix baking soda in 1 cup of pumpkin. Add milk to pumpkin and soda. Mix with the first mixture. Bake in a 9x13x2 loaf pan for 45 minutes at 350 degrees. 
  3. Frosting: Mix melted butter, brown sugar and cream. Put on cake while hot. Sprinkle on chopped nuts. Put cake under broiler for a few minutes.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Holiday Cutout Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg


Directions:

  1. Cream butter and sugar. 
  2. Beat eggs and add 3 tablespoons water and vanilla. 
  3. Sift dry ingredients together and add alternately with egg mixture to the creamed mixture. Do not add more of the flour than can be mixed well into the dough. 
  4. Chill at least 1/2 hour or overnight before rolling out. Roll about 3/8 inch thick on a floured pastry cloth. Cut in fancy shapes with cookie cutter. Bake on an ungreased cookie sheet at 350 degrees for about 8 minutes. Makes about 8 dozen cookies.


Recipe from the kitchen of Marie Weishuhn.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Corn Flakes Holiday Wreaths

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 10 ounces marshmallows
  • 1 teaspoon green food coloring
  • 6 cups Corn Flakes cereal
  • Cinnamon candies


Directions:

  1. Microwave margarine and marshmallows on high for 2 minutes in microwave safe mixing bowl. Stir to combine. Microwave on high 1 minute longer. Stir in food coloring. Add Corn Flakes. 
  2. Stir until well coated. Using 1/4 cup dry measure coated with cooking spray, evenly portion warm cereal mixture. Using buttered fingers, quickly shape into individual wreaths. Dot with cinnamon candies.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix

Ingredients:

  • 3/4 cup flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup raisins
  • 1-1/4 cups quick cooking dry oats
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. To make mix: Use clean 1 quart glass jar with tight-fitting lid. Stir together the flour, baking soda and granulated sugar; pack into the bottom of jar. Layer and pack with brown sugar, raisins, oats, and chocolate chips in that order. Cover jar; attach card with the baking instructions.
  2. To make cookies: Heat oven to 350 degrees. Spoon contents of jar into large bowl; break up any lumps with wooden spoon. Add 1/3 cup softened butter, 1 lightly beaten egg and 3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract; beat with spoon until well blended (batter will be stiff). Drop by rounded teaspoons onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. Cool completely.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Magical Mint Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 48 chocolate mint kisses
  • Powdered sugar


Directions:

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter, sugar, and vanilla in a large bowl until creamy. Stir together flour and cocoa; gradually add to butter mixture, beating until blended. 
  2. Mold scant tablespoon dough around each chocolate mint kiss, covering completely. Shape into balls. Place on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes or until set. Cool about 1 minute; remove from cookie sheet to wire rack. 
  3. Cool completely. Roll in powdered sugar. Roll in sugar again just before serving, if desired. Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Mediterranean Black Bean Salad

Ingredients:
  • 2 (15-ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup chopped green bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped red bell peppers
  • 1 cup chopped tomatoes, unpeeled, unseeded
  • 1 cup chopped avocado, cut into ½-inch cubes (about 1 medium avocado)
  • ½ cup diced onions
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley or cilantro
Dressing
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced 
  • ½ teaspoon salt

Directions:
  1. Put beans, peppers, tomatoes, avocado, onions, and parsley in a large bowl. 
  2. In a small bowl, combine lime juice, olive oil, garlic, and salt. Whisk until combined and pour over salad.
  3. Toss well to coat. Refrigerate for 2-4 hours to allow flavors to blend, and serve. 

Yield: 12 servings (serving size: about 1/2 cup). 2 Weight Watchers Points Plus Per Serving.

Recipe from the kitchen of Susan Gregory, author of The Daniel Fast

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Hello Dolly Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup margarine
  • 1-1/2 cups graham cracker crumbs
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1-1/3 cups shredded coconut


Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  2. In 9"x13" pan melt margarine in the oven. Sprinkle crumbs over margarine. Pour milk over crumbs. top evenly with remaining ingredients. Press down firmly. 
  3. Bake 25-30 minutes. Cool. Chill thoroughly if desired. Cut into bars. Store loosely, covered at room temperature.

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Mortal Sin Bars

Ingredients:

  • 1 Box German Chocolate Cake Mix
  • 1/3 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 3/4 cup margarine, melted
  • 1 package (8 ounces) caramels
  • 1/3 cup evaporated skim milk
  • 1/4 cup pecans
  • 12 ounces semi-sweet chocolate


Directions:

  1. Mix together cake mix, 1/3 cup evaporated skim milk and melted margarine. Take 1/2 of the mix and spread over well greased 9"x13" pan. Bake at 350 degrees for 6 minutes. 
  2. Meanwhile, melt caramels with evaporated milk. Spread over cake. Sprinkle top with nuts if desired and chocolate chips. Top with the other half of cake mix. 
  3. Bake 16-18 minutes. Chill and cut in small pieces.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Santa's Surprise Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 cup peanut butter
  • 1 cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3-1/2 cups flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 25 Miniature Snickers
  • 24 Dove Milk or Dark Chocolate Gifts


Directions:

  1. Combine the butter, peanut butter, and sugars using a mixer on a medium to low speed until light and fluffy. Slowly add eggs and vanilla until thoroughly combines. 
  2. Then mix in flour, baking soda and salt. Cover and chill dough for 2-3 hours. 
  3. Unwrap all Snickers miniatures. 
  4. Remove dough from refrigerator. Divide into 1 tablespoon pieces and flatten. Place a Snickers miniature in the center of each piece of dough. Form the dough into a ball around each Snickers miniature. Place on a greased cookie sheet and bake at 325 degrees for 10-12 minutes. 
  5. Let cookies cool on baking rack or wax paper. Drizzle melted Dove milk or dark chocolate gifts over the top of each cookie. Makes 2 dozen cookies.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Deviled Eggs

This recipe for Deviled Eggs comes from "old faithful". It's the best recipe I've found and it's all because of the secret ingredient (the dry mustard).  It gives the eggs a wonderful texture and just the right amount of salty taste. Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 6 hard-cooked eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 tablespoons light mayonnaise


Directions:

  1. Cut peeled eggs lengthwise into halves. 
  2. Slip out yolks; mash with fork. Mix in salt, mustard, pepper and mayonnaise. 
  3. Fill whites with egg yolk mixture, heaping it lightly. Arrange eggs on a large serving plate. 
  4. Cover and refrigerate no longer than 24 hours.


Recipe from Betty Crocker's Cookbook

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Egg in a Hole

Ingredients:
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons coconut oil
  • 1 slice bread
  • 1 egg
  • Salt and ground black pepper to taste

Directions:
  1. Melt the coconut oil in a non-stick pan over low heat.
  2. Cut a 1-1/2 to 2-inch hole from the center of the bread slice; lay in the hot skillet. When the side facing down is lightly toasted, about 2 minutes, flip and crack the egg into the hole; season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Continue to cook until the egg is cooked and mostly firm. Flip again and cook 1 minute more to assure doneness on both sides. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Caramel Bars

Ingredients:

  • 12 ounces caramel
  • 5 teaspoons milk
  • 1 cup flour
  • 1 cup dry oatmeal
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 3/4 cup butter
  • 8 ounces semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

  1. Melt caramels in pan with milk slowly. 
  2. Mix flour, oatmeal, sugar, soda, salt and melted butter. Put 3/4 of the mixture in a 9x13 pan. Spread over entire pan evenly. Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven. 
  3. Add chocolate chips; drizzle caramels over top. Sprinkle remaining crumbs over top. Bake 12 minutes at 350 degrees. Cool slightly; cut in squares.


Monday, April 8, 2013

Cauliflower Fritters

Ingredients:

  • 1 large head cauliflower, trimmed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 10-ounce bag salad greens
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice


Directions:

  1. Steam the cauliflower until tender, 10 to 15 minutes. Transfer to a large bowl, mash and let cool for 10 minutes. 
  2. Stir in the flour and eggs, season with salt and pepper and refrigerate for 15 minutes. Roll 1/4 cupfuls into balls, then flatten into patties, to make a total of 12 to 14. 
  3. In a skillet, heat 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Working in batches, fry the patties until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side. 
  4. Serve with the salad greens tossed in olive oil and the lemon juice.


Recipe from the kitchen of Rachael Ray.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Cream Wafers

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup butter
  • 1/3 cup whipped cream
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract


Directions:

  1. Mix 1 cup butter, cream and flour thoroughly. Chill for 1 hour. Heat oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. Roll out dough and cut in rounds. Transfer to waxed paper heavily coated with sugar and coat both sides. Prick in 4 places with fork to resemble soda cracker. Bake on ungreased cookie sheet 7-9 minutes or until slightly puffed. Put 2 cookies together with filling in the middle.
  3. Filling: Mix 1/4 cup butter with powdered sugar, egg yolk, vanilla and tint green or pink.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup peanut butter
  • 1/4 cup vegetable shortening
  • 1/4 cup margarine
  • 1-1/3 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • Chocolate Kisses


Directions:

  1. In a bowl beat peanut butter, shortening, and margarine with an electric mixer on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until softened. 
  2. Add about half of the flour, sugar, brown sugar, egg, vanilla, baking powder, and baking soda to the peanut butter mixture. Beat until thoroughly combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Then beat or stir in the remaining flour. 
  3. If necessary, cover and chill dough until easy to handle. Shape dough into 1-inch balls. Place 2 inches apart on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until bottoms are lightly browned. 
  4. Remove cookies. Slightly press a milk chocolate kiss into each hot cookie. Cool on a wire rack.

Friday, April 5, 2013

West Michigan Yarn Quest

Will you be joining me for the West Michigan Yarn Quest? For a second year, some of the local yarn shops have banded together to offer a wonderful week of yarn shopping and knitting fun! It looks like it will be a great time to scoop up some great deals on yarn, needles and notions and get some free patterns. 

Plus I'm going to enjoy discovering some new yarn shops I haven't seen before. If you visit all 10 of the participating shops between April 25-30, 2013 (and get them to stamp your passport) you will be entered into a Grand Prize drawing valued at over $500. In addition, there is a Runner-up Prize valued at $250. Each store is also offering specials and free patterns. All events, prizes, and specials are listed on the West Michigan Yarn Quest passport. You can pick up your passport for $10, at any of the 10 stores listed below. 

But of course my favorite yarn shop of all is Henny's in Caledonia. Henny is planning a special event on Thursday and Friday from 5:00pm-7:00pm with Chari Jousma Pottery (think yarn bowls)! Plus passport holders will receive 20% off all regularly priced yarns.

Can't wait!  Hope to see you at one of the following stores:
Clever Ewe in Ada
Country Needleworks in Jenison
A Grand Skein in Grand Rapids
Henny's Yarn Shop in Caledonia
Lady Peddler in Hastings
J.T. Stitchery in Rockford
The Needlesmith in Grand Haven
The New Ewe Yarn Shoppe and Quilting in Newaygo
Painted Trillium Yarns in Hudsonville
Your Local Yarn Shop in Battle Creek

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Basil Pine Nut Pesto

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups basil leaves, loosely packed
  • 1 cup parsley leaves, loosely packed
  • 2/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh garlic (4-6 cloves)
  • 1 cup toasted pine nuts
  • 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice (2 or 3 lemons)
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper or to taste
  • 1 teaspoon salt to taste


Directions:

  1. Heat the olive oil on low in a small frying pan for 10 minutes. Peel, stem and coarsely chop the garlic. Add the garlic to the oil, and lightly brown. Lightly toast the pine nuts in a large fry pan on medium-low heat. Stir, and watch carefully to make sure they don't get too brown. Remove from pan and set aside to cool when done.
  2. Squeeze the lemons and strain the juice.
  3. Wash the basil and parsley, shake in a colander to get rid of excess water. Pull the basil and parsley leaves off the stems, add to a measuring cup until you have 3 cups of basil and 1 cup of parsley, loosely packed.
  4. Add oil, lemon, garlic, salt and pepper to the blender scraping out all the oil from the pan with a spatula.
  5. Blend until smooth. Keep the blender running on low, add the parsley and basil a handful at a time, blending coarsely.
  6. Add pine nuts 1/4 cup at a time, and blend. Add more olive oil & lemon if it gets too thick to blend well. Taste and blend in more salt and pepper if you like. Use the spatula to get all the pesto out of the blender, into a bowl or storage container. Using a blender stick: Make sure you have a large, deep container so you don't spatter pesto everywhere. Blend the oil, lemon & garlic. Chop the basil and parsley, then add to the liquid in stages, and blend. Then add the pine nuts, salt & pepper, and blend.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Meal Planning Made Simple

Just discovered this super cool app for grocery lists, recipe storage, and meal planning.  The app can even tell you what groceries are on sale at your favorite stores. I'm gonna give it a try.

Check it out! www.ziplist.com.


Tuesday, April 2, 2013

BBQ Chicken and Corn Pizza

Ingredients:

  • 1 Boboli pizza crust
  • 1/2 cup BBQ sauce
  • 1 chicken breast, cooked and diced
  • 4 ounces corn
  • 1 cup shredded Monterrey Jack cheese


Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. 
  2. Place pizza crust on a large baking sheet; spread 1/4 cup BBQ sauce over crust. 
  3. Combine remaining 1/4 cup BBQ sauce and cooked, chopped chicken in a bowl; stir well. Spoon chicken mixture over crust; top evenly with corn and shredded cheese. 
  4. Bake at 450 degrees for 10 minutes or until cheese melts.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Baked Bananas with Dark Chocolate

I made this amazingly yummy dessert for Easter yesterday. Very easy to prepare and was loved by all!  Also, not too bad on the Weight Watchers point scale for such a satisfying, filling dessert. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 4 (9" x 14") sheets phyllo dough
  • 4 medium ripe bananas
  • 1 tablespoon chopped walnuts, crushed into a coarse powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Canola oil spray
  • 1 (4 ounce) bar dark chocolate
  • 2 Tablespoons vegetable oil

Directions:
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray an 8x8 inch baking dish with canola oil or nonstick cooking spray. 
  2. Unroll thawed phyllo dough and place it on your workspace. Remove one sheet, place a peeled banana along one end and sprinkle the rest of the dough with a fourth of the walnut powder. Sprinkle the banana with a little cinnamon and carefully roll it up in the phyllo dough. Place it seam-side down in the baking dish. Repeat with remaining bananas. 
  3.  Spray the top of the bananas with canola oil. Bake for 20-30 minutes or until the tops are golden brown. 
  4. In a small bowl, combine dark chocolate and vegetable oil. Microwave in 30 second increments until melted. Drizzle dark chocolate on top of baked bananas and sprinkle on any remaining walnuts. Can also top with fat free whipped topping if desired.
Weight Watchers - 6 points per serving