Monday, January 30, 2012

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

I hope everyone had a great weekend! I can't believe that this month is almost over! This weekend we decided to take a quick road trip over to Houston and visit a bunch of friends. We love going to visit and wish we were able to do it more often. Now that we're all growing up and purchasing houses and doing adult like stuff, staying in a hotel when visiting is starting to diminish. I'm ok with this because it saves a lot of money but at the same time you have to remember to bring a hostess gift. A bottle of wine is always something easy but sometime that can get a little bit monotonous.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Fabulous French Toast

It's always a good day when you know brinner is for dinner! My personal favorite for breakfast and brinner is Eggs Benedict. Mmm... a warm, toasted english muffin, topped with a poached egg and a runny yolk smothered in hollandaise sauce. This fantastic dish has now been put on the top shelf only to be taken down every once in awhile. That's ok though because we are working our way down the caloric ladder to a better, healthier life style. So, our first notch down the scale for breakfast was figuring out how to make a healthier French Toast. As I continue to post recipes, you will see that there are just some things I won't budge on while making a dish even healthier. I do try and combat these choices by eating more moderate portions. I will, however, post the healthier alternatives to each recipe so you can choose how you would prefer to make it!

Fabulous French Toast
Serves 2 people

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

There's no place like home...

Family dinners were a big thing when I was younger. Almost every night we sat down as a family, ate and talked about our day. This would also be the time that my parents would lecture my brother and I on whatever topic was relevant at the time. Now that I am older, I understand the importance of sitting down and having some family time. Both of my parents cook. I love my mom's cooking but when ever my dad cooks it's something I really look forward to because it didn't happen but maybe a few times a month. Now
that I live in a different city it's even more rare. He doesn't cook from books or written recipes but more from memory and how he feels that day. One of the things I've pick up from him is cooking how you feel. Nothing I cook is ever made the same as before. I have a base recipe that I use and add spices and vegetables that might not have been used before. One of my favorite examples of this kind of cooking I do is my dad's stuffed peppers that my brother and I have dubbed Big Jim's Stuffed Peppers (Big Jim is what my brothers friends call my dad). The recipe sounds more complicated than it really is because everything is happening all at one time. It is really a quick preparation and yummy dinner.  So, without further ado…

Big Jim's Stuffed Peppers

Monday, January 23, 2012

Hint of Spring

Usually during the winter months I like to make hearty warm meals and warm baked desserts, but it has been unseasonably warm in Texas this winter. Thus, it has thrown me into a spring mode of thinking, cooking and dressing. So much for all of those cute winter clothes I bought for this year!

During the spring and summer months I stock up on berries, peaches and nectarines to freeze for use when they are not in season. They make some yummy smoothies! Since we are moving soon I am trying to use up everything we have since they won't travel well. In searching for a yummy dessert that won't bust every healthy decision I have made this far, I found this recipe for Strawberry Granita. It is so good and so fresh! This very easy, make ahead recipe is great for kids and small gatherings. I hope you all enjoy it as much as we did!

Strawberry Granita

Friday, January 20, 2012

Sweet Little Treats

Have you ever had one of those days where you're looking all over you kitchen for something to eat? Usually it's you don't want something to heavy, but you also don't want something to small because you're hungry, but dinner is in just a few hours…some of you know exactly what I'm talking about! I can safely say I have found my new favorite snack! Chewy homemade granola bars! If you have ever had one of the Quaker breakfast granola bars, they are very similar to those minus all the fat, calories and random ingredients.

Another reason why I really like this recipe is because there are so many different ways to make it! I am a chocolate lover so I put dark chocolate bites and raisins in mine. Kevin is not a chocolate lover so I made half of this past batch with craisins and raisins only. It is also a relatively quick recipe that uses mainly household cooking staples. So lets get baking!

Chewy Granola Bars

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Taste of Italy

This is one of my favorite dinners! Not only is it really yummy but the picky eater I live with loves it too! The sauce part of the recipe is something that I've played with for a while and happy to share. We like to make our own pasta sauce since we don't eat pasta enough to buy a big jar of it. Creating your own sauce is fun! It allows you to play with flavors and spices and discover new tastes. In particular it allows me to use some of the basil I grow and pop open a lovely bottle of wine to cook and drink! So, open up that spice cabinet a create something marvelous!

Spinach Manicotti in Creamy Tomato Sauce

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Chocolate Strawberry Cupcakes

I have been seeing cupcakes made with brownies and strawberry cake and boy do they look yummy! I've attempted to remedy sugar/ sweet cravings by keeping Godiva dark chocolate gems in the pantry but that can only get a sweets loving girl so far. So this weekend I decided I deserved a sweet treat and baked my own version of these chocolate strawberry delights!

Chocolate- Strawberry Cupcakes

Monday, January 16, 2012

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I love the winter for the sheer fact that it usually means it’s time for warm, hearty meals! Unfortunately, Texas hasn’t really given way to the cold, but I’m not going to let that bring me down. Making soups is one of the easiest things you can make and most of the time you can just throw a bunch of canned good together, but not in this household! My fantastic fiancĂ©, Kevin, and I like to go fresh as much as possible. We are also doing the best we can to eat healthy without sacrificing too much because we all know that sometime you just have to have that chocolate covered donut! Moderation is key! Most of my recipes are tailored to a two person household with some left over for left over lovers (me!).  Without further ado, restaurant style chicken tortilla soup!