Tuesday, February 26, 2013

New Blog

I have moved my blog to a new location. I would love for you to check out my new website and start following me at the new location.



Saturday, February 23, 2013

Baked Blueberry Oatmeal

Oatmeal is such a satisfying breakfast and I find myself eating it several times a week. Whether it's Overnight oats, stove top oats, or baked oatmeal, it's all good to me. This is a big difference from someone who grew up thinking oatmeal tasted like cardboard. My how times have changed.
I have seen this recipe for baked oatmeal all over the blog world and knew I needed to give it a try. I wanted to keep it simple, yet sweet and flavorful. The combination of the sweet warm blueberries and the coconut made me feel like I was eating a dessert. I simply cannot get enough of this heart-healthy, fiber-rich breakfast. 
This dish makes several servings, perfect to reheat and have for breakfast throughout the week. How is that for a quick and healthy breakfast option?!
Baked Blueberry Oatmeal
 (Recipe yields 4 large servings)

- 2 cups old fashioned oats
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 egg
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup blueberries
- 1 1/2 cups almond milk
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1/4 cup coconut

- In a large bowl mix together the oats, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and coconut. Set aside.
- In a separate bowl mix the sugar, milk, egg and vanilla together. Add to the dry ingredients and mix together.
- Fold in the blueberries.
- Bake in a greased 8" square baking dish on 375 degrees for 30 minutes.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Chicken, Potato, and Leek Potpie

Chicken potpie is the quintessential comfort food containing a creamy vegetable filled sauce and surrounded by a thick pie crust. In other words, it's a delicious yet calorie-laden dish.

This recipe is a healthier spin to the traditional potpie, full of veggies and served with a flaky biscuit on the side. I chose to serve the pie crust in the form of a biscuit to eliminate excess crust but still have something to soak up the creamy sauce found underneath all of those good for you veggies. This is a hearty, one-dish meal the whole family will love and keep you warm on those bone chilling winter nights.

Chicken, Potato, and Leek Potpie
(Recipe adapted from Cooking Light Magazine)

- 2 slices center cut bacon, chopped
- 2 cups cubed red potato
- 1 sheet of puff pastry, thawed
- 1 cup chopped carrots
- 6 skinless, boneless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
- 3 1/2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 3 cups sliced leeks (about 2)
- 1- 16oz. bag frozen okra, thawed
-  1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 2 cups fat-free, low sodium chicken broth

- Preheat oven to 450 degrees
- Cook bacon in a large skillet or saucepan. Add the potatoes and carrots to the pan stirring occasionally, about 3 minutes
- Add in the chicken; saute until lightly browned; Stir in flour, leeks, salt and pepper; saute 1 minute.
- Slowly add the broth to pan, stirring constantly; bring to a boil. Cook until slightly thick (3 to 5 minutes)
- Pour mixture into a glass or ceramic baking dish and bake at 450 degrees for 30 minutes.
- Turn oven down to 425° F. Using a 4½-inch cutter or large glass, cut the pastry into 4 circles. Place on a baking sheet and bake until golden, 8 to 10 minutes. Flatten out excess dough to make more circles if you wish.


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Preparing for Baby Key's Arrival

This past weekend my girlfriends gave me a baby shower. The shower was held at Chantilly's, the tea room that Jason's mom started back in the early 90's, which made the day even more special.

Instead of bringing a card guest were asked to bring a children's book to sign so that we can start a collection of books for the nursery. When I arrived at the shower I realized the girls continued with this idea to make a storybook theme for the shower. There were children's books displayed throughout the tea room and they had this adorable cake made to go along with the theme as well. The top layer was Vanilla Almond and the bottom cake was red velvet (my favorite). I have a slight sugar addiction these days and loved every bite of the two slices of cake that I had.

There was a huge spread of food that the owner of Chantilly's put together for the party. She did a wonderful job creating a variety of food and there was more than enough for everyone to enjoy.  

fruit, cheese and crackers and mini quiches.

Meatballs, tea sandwiches, chicken salad in phyllo cups, and chips with hummus

Chicken and cheese on a baguette (tasted like a pizza), spinach dip and crackers, and veggies with ranch dressing dip.

The famous poppy seed muffins with strawberry butter that Jason's mom started at the tea room and it is still served today to munch on while waiting on your food.

It was truly a memorable day and I am so thankful for wonderful friends and family for making the day so very special. Only a few more weeks until we get to meet our baby girl!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Chocolate Eclair Cake

Happy Valentine's Day. Nothing says romance like this succulent homemade cake.


My mom has been making this cake for my family as long as I can remember. The first time Jason tried it he immediately declared it his favorite thing she has ever made (next to her chicken and dumplings). Per mom's orders you need to use french vanilla pudding versus regular vanilla for a richer flavor.

This no-fuss dessert is simple to make and requires no baking making it the perfect dish for anyone to try. Who knew something with only 5 ingredients and little prep work could taste so good. To allow for a more "cake" like texture let the cake sit in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight before serving.

Chocolate Eclair Cake

- 1 (16oz.) container milk chocolate icing
- 1 box of graham crackers
- 2 (3.4oz.) boxes french vanilla instant pudding
- 3 1/4 cups skim milk
- 1 (8oz.) container light cool whip

- Whisk together milk and pudding for 2 minutes. Fold in the cool whip until mixed well.
- In a 9 x 13 inch baking dish lay graham crackers down on the bottom until covered.
- Pour half of the pudding mixture on top of the first layer of graham crackers.
- Lay down another layer of graham crackers and pour the remaining pudding mix over top.
- Add one more layer of graham crackers. Set in fridge until cold (about 2 hours).
- Spread the top of the graham crackers with the chocolate icing. (Icing should be at room temperature). Return to refrigerator for several hours or until ready to serve.




Monday, February 11, 2013

Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup

One of my best friends loves cooking as much as I do so we are always trying out new recipes and sharing them with each other. She recently shared this recipe with me for Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup and included a few modifications that she had made. I included some of her changes and added a few of my own to come up with this thick and creamy soup.

If you order this soup in a restaurant it is usually loaded with fat and calories but by using very little butter, skim milk, and less cheese this is a much healthier version. Per Emily's suggestion I also added in more broccoli than the original recipe called for to give it an extra veggie kick. This cheesy soup is full of flavor leaving you feeling warm and cozy.

Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup

- 5 cups chopped broccoli
- 1 cup chopped onions
- 1/2 cup chopped carrots
- 2 cloves garlic
- 3 cups chopped red potatoes
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups skim milk
- 1/2 cup flour
- 1 1/2 cups sharp cheddar 2% shredded cheese
- 1 1/2 cups shredded Gouda cheese
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- salt to taste

- In a large pot saute onions, carrots, and garlic in butter over medium heat until tender.
- Add in the flour, pepper, salt, paprika and basil until smooth
- Add broth, milk, butter, broccoli and potatoes stirring constantly until it boils and thickens.
- Reduce heat; cover and simmer until broccoli and potatoes are tender (20-30 minutes)
- Stir in cheese and cook over low until cheese is melted and soup is heated through.

* Optional: Top each bowl with extra cheese*



Friday, February 8, 2013

Red Velvet Hershey Kiss Cookies

With Valentine's Day just around the corner these cookies are the perfect treat to make for someone special. Since this recipe is a healthier version than the original red velvet cookie you don't have to feel guilty about keeping them around the house for your family to enjoy next week.  
These super moist cookies only have three ingredients: cake mix, plain nonfat Greek yogurt, and Hershey kisses. I prefer my cookies to be soft and chewy and the addition of the Greek yogurt makes these extra fudgy.

Red Velvet Hershey Kiss Cookies
(Recipe yields 18 cookies)
- 1 box of red velvet cake mix (I used Betty Crocker super moist mix)
- 1 cup plain nonfat Greek Yogurt
- 18 unwrapped Hershey Kisses
- Pour cake mix and yogurt into a large mixing bowl, stirring with a spoon. It may look as if there is too much dry batter to blend with the yogurt but if you continue to stir, it will eventually come together. 

-Shape dough into 1" balls and place on an ungreased cookie sheet, about 2 inches apart. Dough will be sticky to work with.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes in a 350 degree oven. 
- When cookies finish baking immediately press a Hershey kiss into the center of each cookie.
- Allow cookies to cool and become firm before removing from the baking sheet.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing

I have made this dish many times and  not only is it quick and easy thanks to the crock pot but it is healthy and delicious too. This is most definitely one of my husband's favorite dinners, which is good for me because all I have to do is combine the ingredients and let the crock pot work it's magic.
This is a hearty dish that gives us some of our favorite holiday flavors anytime of the year.

The pictures do not do this chicken dish justice so you will just have to take my word for it that it is yummy. We like to serve it over brown rice or you can simply enjoy it as it is.

Crock Pot Chicken and Stuffing

- 1- 10.75 oz. can reduced-fat and reduced-sodium condensed cream of mushroom soup (or cream of chicken soup)
- 2 tablespoons melted butter
- 1/4 cup water
- 1- 16oz. package frozen mixed vegetables such as broccoli, corn and red peppers or broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots
- 3 chicken breast
- 1 1/2 cups Pepperidge Farm herb stuffing mix

- Mix together the soup, melted butter, and water in the bottom of your crock pot. Add in the frozen vegetables, chicken breast, and stuffing mix. Stir until well combined.

- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 5-6 hours or on a high-setting for 2 1/2 to 3 hours.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Mixed Nuts with Rosemary

This past weekend I helped host a bridal shower for one of my good friends. One of my contributions to the party was some mixed nuts to add to the food spread. Instead of bringing plain old ordinary peanuts I found this recipe on the food network website that would add a bit more flavor.
These peanuts are perfect to have around when entertaining or would even make a nice gift for a neighbor or friend. These slightly addicting nuts are super simple to make and require very few ingredients so if you are wanting to add some spice to this wonderful snack I would definitely recommend giving this recipe a try.

Mixed Nuts with Rosemary

- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
- 1 tablespoon dried crumbled rosemary
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne, or to taste
- 3 cups mixed nuts (whatever your preference may be)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
- Melt butter with dried rosemary, salt, and cayenne. Pour this mixture over 3 cups mixed nuts, tossing to coat them. Bake the nuts on a cookie sheet for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

The Secret Keeper Book Review

Brief Summary
On a summer day in 1961 Laurel witnesses a tragic scene between her mother and a man that will forever haunt her. Fifty years later, Laurel comes across a photograph of her mother and a woman named Vivian  that brings about many questions that Laurel has of her mother's unspoken past and what led her to do what she did on that long ago day in 1961. The Secret Keeper takes the reader from pre-WWII England, to the 60's and beyond. It is full of twist and turns keeping it's readers in suspense up until the very end.

Goodreads: 4.12 out of 5 stars
Amazon: 4.5 out of 5 stars
My Score: 4.5 out of 5 stars

My Review
I absolutely loved this book because it was full of twist and turns that left me shocked and surprised several different times. Even though the book covers three different time periods it continued to flow smoothly and for me it kept me interested in continuing to read to see how the mystery would unfold. The Secret Keeper takes it's readers on a journey as they read about the compelling characters and the significance each one plays in the evolution of the story.The biggest shock of all comes at the very end which left me thinking about this book and replaying previous chapters in my mind over and over. This book is about love, friendship, heartache, and second chances.
I would definitely recommend this book but would warn others to be patient because the book starts out a bit slow. I have heard that Kate Morton has written other novels that are just as fascinating so I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Blueberry Cheesecake Oatmeal

I have been eating hot oatmeal a lot lately because it's warm and comforting on these cold winter mornings and it sticks with you for hours. I like to switch up my bowl of oats by adding in different ingredients or toppings such as pumpkin, peanut butter, granola, or honey. While trying to find a new way to dress up my  morning oatmeal I came up with this tasty concoction. Of course you can switch up the berries to make a different flavored cheesecake oatmeal depending on your preference or what you have on hand.  This whole bowl contains approximately 5 grams of fat and 274 calories! All you need is about 5 minutes of prep and cook time to come up with this heart healthy and delicious recipe that will keep you feeling full for hours. 

Blueberry Cheesecake Oatmeal
(Recipe makes 1 serving)

- 1/3 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/3 cup Almond milk
- 2/3 cup water
- 1/2 banana, thinly sliced
- 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 heaping tablespoon light cream cheese
- 2 teaspoons chia seeds
- 1/2 cup fresh blueberries

*Optional: 1 tablespoon honey if you want to add more sweetness*

- In a saucepan add the oats, milk, water, thinly sliced banana, vanilla and chia seeds. Allow the mixture to come to a boil then reduce the heat, stirring constantly.
- Once the mixture thickens and the bananas have disappeared remove oatmeal from the heat.
- Stir in the cream cheese until it has melted. Top with blueberries.