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Monday, February 28, 2011


Ok, someone asked me if I have a good recipe for this.  I LOOOVE avocados & when we have them in our house (which is pretty often) we always make guacamole.  I find this recipe challenging to share because I don't really measure anything when I make it.  And sometimes we make a small amount for just us (cuz extra doesn't keep well) & sometimes we are making a whole bunch when we're having people over.  So it's hard to narrow down amounts for me.  But I will do my best to share this.  There are also millions of different ways to make guacamole, this is just how we like it in our house. 


Ripe avocados (if you have unripe ones & want to speed up the ripening process place in brown paper bag & check daily for ripeness)
Cilantro (the more the better is my opinion)
Onion powder
Garlic powder
Chopped fresh onion (optional)
Chopped fresh tomato (optional)

*wash, dry, & finely chop cilantro
*wash, peel, & seed avocados, scoop flesh out of skins & place in bowl
*mash up avocados with a potato masher or similar object, add in cilantro & mix well
*add onion &/or tomato if using & mix well
*add seasonings & adjust to taste

Note 1: I like mine just as it is, but my mother in law always likes to add water, not a lot to make it watery, she just doesn't like it so thick I guess.  So that's another option as well.

Note 2: I don't own a food processor (would LOVE to have one, still on my personal "wish list") but I would imagine you could make this in a food processor rather than using a potato masher if you wanted to.

Note 3: I have read (but as of yet haven't tried it, so don't kill me if you try it & it doesn't work, LOL!) that if you have extra guacamole  (this NEVER happens in my house, LOL!!) to keep it from going "brown" & ugly you need to put the saran wrap down into the container so that it is flush against the top of the guacamole, much like you are supposed to do with pudding to prevent that "skin" from forming on top.  If you do try this please let me know if it works!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Crockpot-Chocolate Chip Blondies

This is soooo phenomenally good!  It's also very easy to make.  It's sort of like a giant cookie, kinda like the pazookies you get at BJs, if you've ever had one.  I definitely recommend giving it a try.

Crockpot-Chocolate Chip Blondies

Just my personal touches: I doubled the vanilla & halved the amount of chocolate chips.  I also used our regular table sugar (which is organic evaporated cane juice) instead of brown sugar, only because we didn't have brown sugar in the house.  I don't use crock pot liners, I don't think they're healthy, but I did lay a piece of parchment paper across the bottom of the crock pot.  I did use the paper towels across the top to keep the condensation from making it soggy & did cook it for 3 hours.  I can't recommend it highly enough.  Try it, I promise you won't be disappointed.  I would even say go buy a crock pot just so you can make THIS!! 

The Hungry Housewife: Building Flavors

I thought this was a really great blog on some good cooking basics. Just wanted to share in case someone could benefit from it. I also sometimes use vinegar to deglaze pans myself.

The Hungry Housewife: Building Flavors

Crock-Pot Chicken Balsamico with Potatoes

This one had mixed reviews in my house.  My stepdaughter & her boyfriend LOVED it.  My hubby didn't like it at all.  My son liked the chicken but not the potatoes.  While it all smelled wonderful I only tasted the potatoes, not the chicken, but I thought the potatoes were mighty good.  :)  I still recommend it highly.

Crock-Pot Chicken Balsamico with Potatoes

4 potatoes, quartered
4 strips of turkey bacon, cut into 1/2" pieces
2 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless is what I used)
salt & pepper
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
4 cloves garlic, quartered
1/2 Cup balsamic vinegar
1 Cup chicken broth

*place potatoes in slow cooker
*cook bacon in skillet until crisp, remove from pan, leaving any drippings behind
*sprinkle chicken evenly with salt & pepper & brown chicken well on all sides in bacon pan
*add rosemary & garlic & saute for 1-2 minutes
*deglaze skillet with vinegar & transfer all contents of skillet into slow cooker on top of potatoes
*add broth, cover, & cook on high for 3 hours or on low for 5-6 hours
*sprinkle bacon on top before serving

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Parsley Lemonade

At my house when sickness is going around we make parsley lemonade.  I learned this from my hubby, who learned it from his mother.  So essentially the credit goes to my mother in law.  Parlsey is high in vitamin C & is a natural antibiotic as well.  My mother in law makes it weaker than I do & she uses sugar.  I prefer it stronger, I feel like it will work better/faster that way.  And in my own research on all things health related I have learned that sugar actually lowers the immune system.  Because of this I refuse to make mine with sugar.  Honey also has some antibacterial properties of it's own, making it great to use when you're sick.  So here is my personal version of my mother in law's parsley lemonade.  Feel free to make changes as you wish as well.

Parsley Lemonade

1 bunch parsley, well washed
2 Cups lemon &/or lime juice, freshly squeezed is preferred
10 Tablespoons raw honey
10 Tablespoons honey
5 Cups water

*place parsley in blender
*add honey
*add juice & enough water to blend well
*in a large container place the rest of the water & then strain the contents of the blender into this container
*mix well & refrigerate

Note: in the past I would sometimes "cheat" & buy bottles of lemonade from Trader Joes', I would use 1 bunch of parsley to 2 bottles of lemonade.  However, the bottles of lemonade are sweetened with sugar & they are also pasteurized & of course not "fresh" juice. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Miso Soup

I have become more interested in vegan & macrobiotic ways of eating recently.  I know I can never be 100% vegan, but I can choose to eat vegan at least some of the time.  One big plus is that my hubby can also eat vegan meals, since they don't have dairy products.  A lot of times vegetarian recipes are heavy on dairy products & my hubby cannot partake.  I am by no means an expert on macrobiotics, but I am very interested in learning more about it.  It would seem to me that the most important staple in the macrobiotic diet is miso soup.  I often see it being eaten as breakfast.  I do have to say that I love miso soup.  There are many recipes out there, but this is the one I like best.  It's just so simple & it's the one I always reach for.  I personally vary what goes into it somewhat.  I usually always have daikon, carrot, & mushroom in it, but sometimes I put in more, just depends on my mood & what's available in my kitchen.

Miso Soup

Soy Sauce
1 garlic clove, minced
1 small carrot, sliced
1 slice daikon radish, chopped
Handful of mushrooms, sliced
Handful of water chestnuts, sliced
Soba noodles, optional
Greens or sea vegetable
1 teaspoon miso per cup water

*I generally start with 4 cups of water & add just enough soy sauce to make it "brothy", not too much or it will be too salty, & bring to a boil
*add veggies & simmer for 10 minutes
*add greens & noodles, if using & turn off heat
*take a small amount of broth out of the soup & mix miso into it, once it's mixed in smoothly, no lumps, add back to soup pot & stir it in well

Note 1: miso is a fermented product, much like yogurt & kefir--you never want to "cook" it or else you will kill off the healthy enzymes it contains; always add it in after the heat is turned off

Note 2: for greens I usually use the sea vegetable wakame

Note 3: I am a tad anti-soy, I personally think soy is way overused & too much of it is not a good thing--it can affect our hormones, thyroid, etc.  I also have a very severe bad reaction to LIQUID soy products.  However, I have seen studies that show that FERMENTED soy products are much much healthier for us than other soy products are.  Fermented soy products include miso, tempeh, & true fermented soy sauce (tamari, shoyu, etc).

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Chicken with Olives

This dish smelled REALLY yummy while cooking.  I got ZERO comments from the family on it, so I would guess that they felt it was "just ok".  If they hate something I hear about it & if they LOVE something I usually hear about it, so I'm guessing it was a "just ok" based on the "no feedback" I received.  But like I said, it smelled super yummy, so I do recommend it.

Crock Pot Balsamic Braised Chicken with Olives

3 1/2 lbs chicken pieces
2 onions, finely chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cracked peppercorns
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 (14 1/2 oz) can crushed tomatoes with juice
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
2 Tablespoons black olives, chopped
2 Tablespoons capers, optional

*brown chicken on all sides in oil & transfer to slow cooker
*add onions to pan & saute until softened
*add garlic, salt, peppercorns, & thyme--cook, stirring, for 1 minute
*add tomatoes, broth, & vinegar--bring to a boil
*pour mixture over chicken in slow cooker
*cover & cook on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2 1/2-3 hours
*add olives & capers, if using, & serve immediately

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Zucchini "Crab" Cake

I found this recipe as a vegetarian alternative to crab cakes.  I've never been a big crab cake fan, I'm actually not even sure I've ever tried one.  So I don't know how close they come to actual crab cakes, but I do know that they are quite good just as they are.  Even my hubby likes them & is requesting me to make more of them & that's saying a lot, LOL.

Zucchini "Crab" Cakes

2 1/2 Cups grated zucchini
1 egg, beaten
2 Tablespoons butter, melted
1 Cup bread crumbs
1/4 Cup minced onion
1 teaspoon Old Bay seasoning

*combine zucchini, egg, & butter
*mix in bread crumbs, seasoning, & onions
*shape into patties
*you can dredge these in flour & pan fry OR you can bake them

I chose to bake them on a lightly oiled baking sheet at 400 for 15 minutes on each side

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Crock Pot Recipe Exchange: History of the Crock Pot

I enjoyed reading this very much & wanted to share. I always love learning the history of things & had actually been wondering specifically about the history of the crock pot.

Crock Pot Recipe Exchange: History of the Crock Pot: "Since slow cooking is one of my favorite (and I do mean F A V O R I T E) methods of cooking I started wondering where crock pots came from...."