Sunday, July 31, 2016

Recipe Share: Potato, Egg, and Broccoli Bake

This is a Martha Stewart recipe I love to make for brunch, or Christmas morning, or baby showers. It's lovely and delicious. I love that there isn't a crust, because you make the crust out of potatoes. (And you all know how much I love potatoes!)
I also love that it's versatile. You can make it with sausage, or bacon, or ham, or without meat if you'd like. You can also use broccoli, or drained spinach, asparagus, or even zucchini. My favorite version is with bacon and broccoli. Or ham. I can't decide. It's all yummy, any way you make it.
Our breakfast on Christmas morning

Butter, for pan
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons coarse salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper
  • 2 baking potatoes (about 1 1/4 pounds), peeled
  • 10 ounces sugar-baked ham, thinly sliced (less than 1/4 inch thick)
  • 1 package (10 ounces) frozen broccoli, thawed and squeezed dry with paper towels
  • 1/2 cup grated cheddar cheese (2 ounces)

  • Directions:
    Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9-inch-round cake pan(at least 2 inches deep). Line bottom of pan with a parchment-paper round. (I just take my pan and put it on the parchment paper. Then I use a pencil to trace the bottom of the pan on the parchment paper, then cut out the circle. I usually have to trim the circle a tiny bit to get it to fit inside the pan.) In a large bowl, whisk together eggs and cream; season with salt and pepper. Thinly slice potatoes (less than 1/4 inch thick); drop into egg mixture. Lifting potatoes out of egg mixture, arrange half the potatoes in pan. Layer with ham, broccoli, cheese, and remaining potatoes. Pour egg mixture over top. Press down firmly so that potatoes are fully submerged in egg mixture. Cover with foil; bake until potatoes are tender, about 1 hour. Uncover; continue baking until golden and set, 30 to 45 minutes more. Cool 15 to 20 minutes in pan. Run a knife around edge, and carefully invert onto a plate. Peel off parchment. Reinvert, top side up. Slice with a serrated knife.

    Make this soon. You'll love it.

    Saturday, July 30, 2016

    Recipe Share: Stone Fruit Salsa with Cinnamon Sugar Chips

    This is one of those dishes that is magical, because it is appealing to adults, and children, too! (In my house that is a miracle.) It does take some time to prepare, but it's so worth it. The flavors and textures are divine, I say. This recipe comes from one of my favorite chefs and TV personalities, Kelsey Nixon. This is a great dish for summer barbeques or potlucks. I've made it a few times for get togethers with friends, and it's always a hit.

    Here's the printable recipe.

    6 cups chopped mixed stone fruit (apricots, cherries, peaches, plums - I used what I could find at my local store and added in strawberries and blueberries, too)
    2 Tbsp. honey
    1 Tbsp. minced fresh basil
    1 Tbsp. lemon juice
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    pinch kosher salt

    1/4 cup sugar
    1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    6 (8 inch) flour tortillas
    4 Tbsp. (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted

    For the salsa: In a large mixing bowl, combine the mixed stone fruits, honey, basil, lemon juice, cinnamon and salt. Stir to coat the fruit evenly. Taste and season accordingly. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

    For the chips: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

    In a small bowl, combine the sugar and cinnamon. Brush both sides of the flour tortillas with the melted butter. Sprinkle the cinnamon sugar over both sides of the tortillas. Cut the tortillas into 8 wedges. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crisp, about 20 minutes, flipping half way through. Serve with the fruit salsa.

    Make this soon! You'll love it! 

    Thursday, July 28, 2016

    How we do chores.

    I was searching the internet a few months ago for some ideas on creating a chore schedule for myself and my kids that would help us to keep our home clean. I tend to get into the habit of letting things get really dirty and then doing a major scrub down for a few days that leaves me exhausted and cranky. I thought there had to be a better, more manageable way.

    And then I found an idea to make a 7 day chore schedule that went along with the days of the Creation in the Holy Bible. I thought this was a great idea and so creative, which I always appreciate. So, I sat down with my hubby and kids and we brainstormed ideas of how this could be done. We broke down each day and what we could do.
    And then I found pictures online that went along with our chores and typed up these pages. After laminating them, they were ready to go!

    I keep them in a file folder my kids can easily reach on the kitchen counter, and each morning one of them will put up the chore page for the day.
    So, Monday is our laundry day (at least for the kids' laundry)
    Tuesday is bathroom day
    On some days, there are boxes the kids can cross off when they complete their chore. I tried to be reasonable and split up the chores in 3's for each of my kids, while also keeping the more difficult chores for me to do. (For example, I vacuum the stairs, and I do the mopping. But the kids can help me if they want extra credit - extra money.) We decide as a family what the kids' will earn each week for completing their chores.
     Wednesday is picking up carpeted areas and vacuuming day
     Thursday is dusting and cleaning windows day (and also washing bedding day - which sometimes we only do once every 2 weeks)
    Friday is picking up tiled areas and mopping day
    Saturday is cleaning bedrooms and vacuuming bedrooms day
    On Sunday, since it's the 7th day, and a day of rest, we spend the day together as a family. I like to teach my kids a recipe and have them help me make dinner and or dessert. A good friend of mine from college did this growing up, and as she and her siblings got older, they would plan the Sunday menus and would do all the cooking for their parents. I thought that was brilliant. Not only do the kids learn to cook and bake, but they are becoming self reliant! (Not to mention the added bonus of the parents getting a break!)
    I would love to get to this point in my home. So far, my kids know how to make really simple things. But we are working on increasing their cooking skills.

    I have to say there is nothing better to me than seeing my kids work together toward a goal. I think it teaches them so much having them take responsibility in the home.
    I also started using these great printable chore charts last summer for my kids. I love them, because you can type in your child's name and what chores you want them to do, and then print them out. They are cute and work great. During the school year, they are pretty short with their main chores being taking the trash out, brushing their teeth, reading, and doing their homework. During the summer, they have a lot more added on their lists.
    I must say here that we are far from perfect at being consistent with our family and personal chores each day/week. Some weeks we are so busy with sports and school, that we barely get much done. But having these charts really have helped us to at least have a goal and have a purpose. And that's a lot more than where we were a few years ago, so I call that success!

    Monday, July 25, 2016

    Recipe Share: BBQ Chicken and Black Bean Burrito

    Sometimes I just want something different for lunch. A salad or sandwich isn't cutting it. This recipe I found in my Jillan Michaels' DVD program is awesome. It's super tasty, heatlhy, filling, and hits the spot every time.
    1 tsp olive oil
    1/4 lb. skinless, boneless chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
    1/8 C. chopped white or yellow onion
    1 garlic clove, minced
    2 Tbsp. barbeque sauce
    1/4 C. black beans, drained
    2 Tbsp. shredded cheddar cheese (reduced fat is a good option if you're watching fat intake)
    whole grain tortilla (I like the Guerrero brand)
    1-2 Tbsp. low fat sour cream
    sliced red onion, sliced tomato, green leaf lettuce, and cilantro for toppings

    Heat oil in a nonstick skillet mover medium heat. Add chicken, onion, garlic, and cook for 8 minutes or until chicken is done, stirring constantly. Stir in barbeque sauce and beans, and cook for 5 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

    Warm tortilla according to package directions. (I like to wrap my tortilla in a damp paper towel and warm it for 15 seconds or so in the microwave.) Spoon chicken mixture down the center of your tortilla. Top with red onion, tomato, lettuce, cheddar cheese, and cilantro. Roll up and enjoy! Yummy!!

    Friday, July 22, 2016

    I feel like salad.

    I've been on a salad kick lately. I found these Skinny Girl brand salad dressings at Walmart, and I love them. They are fat free/sugar free, and they are quite tasty.
    I feel like a good yummy salad will have a few qualities --
    1. A mix of textures
    2. A variety of flavors that go well together (for example, fruit, nuts, and cheeses go well together)
    and 3. Lots of color!

    It's so true that we eat with our eyes first. When I look down at a pretty salad, I am so much more excited to eat it!

    I try to have my pantry and fridge packed well with things I know I like in salads -- a variety of fruits (fresh and dried), veggies, proteins, greens, nuts, crunchy foods like chow mein noodles and tortilla chips, cheeses, and dressings.

    Here are some salads I've enjoyed.. I hope they inspire you to make a salad for yourself soon. They really are so tasty and satisfying. And I have to say that I always feel great about my day when I know I've had 2-5 servings of fruits/veggies in just one meal!

    Spring Mix salad with raspberries, feta cheese, pecans, craisins, and poppy seed dressing:
    Spinach, gala apples, pecans, blue cheese, craisins, and balsamic vinaigrette:
    Green leaf lettuce, hard boiled egg, black beans, tomato, red onion, cilantro, tortilla chips, and light ranch dressing:
    Spinach, blueberries, pecans, mandarin oranges, feta cheese, green onion, and poppy seed dressing:
    Spring Mix, roasted butternut squash, tomato, bacon, green onion, blue cheese, and light blue cheese dressing:
    Spinach, red onion, orange segments, beets (I just buy canned beets, but you could roast them, too), pecans, goat cheese, and poppy seed dressing:
    Broccoli slaw, craisins, mandarin oranges, pecans, chow mein noodles, and poppy seed dressing:
    Spring Mix, rotisserie chicken, yellow and red grape tomatoes, nectarines, blue cheese, sugar snap peas, and balsamic vinaigrette:
    Spring Mix, carrot (I used my peeler to peel carrot strips), grape tomatoes, red onion, blue cheese, and mixture of light catalina and light blue cheese dressing:
    Spring Mix, mandarin oranges, strawberries, pecans, craisins, feta cheese, and poppy seed dressing:
    Fat free refried beans warmed in bottom of bowl, green leaf lettuce, green onion, tomato, purple onion, cilantro, tortilla chips, and light ranch dressing:
    Green leaf lettuce, mandarin oranges, steak (I marinated it before cooking it), chow mein noodles:
    Spring Mix, green apple, red grapes, almonds, dried cantaloupe, blue cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette:
    And now my mouth is watering and I want a salad!