Sunday, December 8, 2013

Teriyaki Chicken - Win!

Back to the food!

I have a love - hate relationship with jarred sauces and marinades. Love the convenience. Hate the sodium, additives, and sometimes even the taste. I usually end up adding in some herbs or spices of my own to tweak the flavours.
I've been looking for a good teriyaki sauce for a while, our jarred sauce is getting boring and frankly is way too sweet. And here is another Pinterest win!

Teriyaki Chicken

The modifications I made will be noted.

Ingredients
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1 Tbsp cold water
1/2 cup white sugar (substituted for 1/2 cup BROWN sugar)
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup cider vinegar (substituted for 1/2 cup rice vinegar)
1 clove garlic, minced (increased to 2 cloves)
1/2 tsp ground ginger (fresh grated ginger was used)
1/4 tsp black pepper
12 skinless chicken thighs (substituted for 2 skinless/boneless chicken breasts)
Sesame oil for cooking
Vegetables of your choice - broccoli, cauliflower, carrots were my pick
Brown rice

** The following is the cooking instructions I used since I diverted from the original. Please visit The Baking Beauties for the original instructions. 
In a small saucepan over low heat, combine cornstarch, water, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, garlic, ginger and pepper. Let simmer, stirring frequently, until sauce thickens
While the sauce thickens, wash and slice your vegetables, and dice up your chicken. Heat a pan with the sesame oil. Cook your chicken pieces - you may lightly season with salt and pepper if you like.
Saute your vegetables in a saute pan with water. Don't forget your rice (I used minute microwave rice)
When chicken is cooked you can either leave it in bit sized chucks or take two forks and shred it. Add the sauce to your chicken.
Serve with rice and vegetables. 


I diverted from the original instructions for the sake of time, since they said to bake the chicken and baste it with the sauce. Sounds amazing, but time consuming. So I went to the standard stir fry technique. 

It turned out fantastic. My hubby who is a teriyaki lover really approves of this recipe. The rice vinegar adds a nice bite to the sauce (it can be reduced if you like but don't cut it out). The sauce is nice and thick and covers things nicely.
And yes, it's Munchkin approved.

Another Pinterest food win!


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Arm Knitting an Infinity Scarf in 30 minutes - Win!

First things first, I am NOT a knitter. I have aspirations to be one but the one previous attempt in my life to learn knitting was an utter failure. So when I saw arm knitting I figured I'd give it a shot.
The original video I found on Pinterest was alright but way too confusing for a knitting-nubie like me. The poster went too fast and didn't describe things very well. Luckily a commenter on the video posted another which was significantly better. She went much slower and explained things much clearer. The link is here and this is the one I'd recommend using.

I purchased one ball of 82m/90 yard yard in a fairly bulky thread.

Knitting in progress
It took a good few tries to figure out what to do and I ended up doing the whole thing twice since the first time my scarf was too short.I did 6 stitches total across my arm.
 The whole thing (once I got the hang of it) took me about 45 minutes from start to finish, including connecting the ends to make it an infinity scarf. You can also skip that part if you just want a regular scarf. 

The finished product
A shot of the stitches




















I'm not posting instructions or a whole lot of in-progress pics since obviously my hands were a little busy :)

I really really love this project. It was quick (with the right video and once you get the hang of it) and cheap - about $8 with tax for the yarn I used. I think I'll be using this one for gifts in the future!

A definite winner!

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos - Win

After the last slow cooker recipe I was hesitant to try again, but a co-worker of mine put me onto this recipe. She told me her little man ate this and claimed "THESE ARE THE BEST TACOS EVER" so I had to give it a try.

Huge advantage to this recipe? Super simple and you can eat the final results lots of ways. You can tweak the heat level to your liking as well. 

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

INGREDIENTS
3-4 chicken breasts
8oz taco seasoning (I used my own mix - recipe here)
2 cups salsa

Spray slow cooker with non-stick spray, or use a liner to help with clean up. Place chicken breasts into slow cooker, cover chicken with taco seasoning. Pour salsa over chicken and spread it out so it covers everything. 
Cook on LOW for 8 hours. **NO PEAKING**
Once cooked, take two forks and shred the chicken. It will help absorb all the salsa left over and turn into a thicker mixture. 

Serve with rice, on tacos (hard or soft), tortilla chips, whatever you like!


















This recipe was fantastic. Really easy to do. I halved the recipe (2 chicken breasts) and we had lots of chicken and even left overs for a couple lunches the next day (still tasty). The Munchkin ate it too! We had it on soft and hard taco shells with the usual fixings. A definite win and a new twist to taco night!

Enjoy!



Slow Cooker Chicken Spaghetti - Fail (unless you love onion)

It's not often I have a recipe fail. I tend to pick my recipes carefully according to what my family will eat and what I know I can cook. I'll occasionally push my skills with good result. Even though slow cookers are easy, I'm new to these recipes and slow cooking is uncharted territory. I feel this recipe failed for two main reasons.
1) WAAAAY too much onion. I followed the recipe fairly exactly and I thought the onion would cook down more. It didn't. Every single bite had onion in it. Every.One. So unless you LOVE onion, reduce or cut it out.
2) I didn't like that this recipe required already cooked chicken and pasta. This would be a good leftover type meal - where you have leftovers from other nights and combine them for a new meal. Not much of a time saver when you have to cook chicken and pasta prior to using the slow cooker

Crock-pot Chicken Spaghetti

1 lb cooked chicken, diced
1 lb package of spaghetti, cooked and drained
1 medium onion, diced
2 cans cream of chicken soup
1 can Rotel (canned diced tomatoes)
16oz Velveeta, cubed
1/2 cup chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste

MODIFICATIONS - when I made this recipe I made 3 modifications 

1) Macaroni instead of spaghetti
2) 8oz of Velveeta (I did't buy the right one) and 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
3) 1/2 cup water instead of broth (I didn't want to open a whole carton for just 1/2 cup)

Dump everything in the crockpot, give it a stir to combine it all, and cover.  Cook on low about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 


If I ever made this recipe again I'd cut the onion completely and use a little green onion as a garnish at the finish for colour and flavour. The flavour was bland, but it might have just been overpowered by onion. I'd also probably add some mustard or spice into the mix to kick things up a bit. Maybe I'll try this again, but it won't be in the regular rotation since of the extra pre-cooking required. Even the Munchkin didn't like it and he'll eat anything that resembles Mac and Cheese. 



Primal Fudge - Win!

Looking to deal with your chocolate fix? How about healthy fudge? 15 minutes to chocolately heaven? HECK YES!
This recipe is quick, easy and super tasty! It's vegetarian too! Original recipe from here.
This recipe involves coconut oil which is my new favourite thing. I've been using it as a hair mask and on my skin (love it but a heavy scent), and now with cooking in place of oil or butter. It's a lovely alternative and doesn't always leave a coconut taste. If you have never used coconut oil before it is solid at room temperature but it melts even in your hands. I kept a small jar in my bathroom for hair masks and it was constantly liquid in the summer months from the increased temperature (no AC in my neck of the woods). You can use a microwave to melt your oil, but some people believe it ruins the health benefits so do so carefully. Again, you won't need much heat to melt your coconut oil. 


Primal Fudge

Ingredients
1/2 cup Coconut Oil
1/2 cup high quality cocoa powder
1/2 cup smooth almond butter
1/4 cup honey or maple syrup (I used honey)
1/2 tsp vanilla




Melt coconut oil. Blend ingredients (Original recipe says to use blender or food processor, but a spoon/whisk worked just fine for me). 




Pour mixture into lined muffin tins, filling about half full. Chill in fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10. When firm - remove from tin.



















These are FANTASTIC. They store well in the fridge or freezer and are great for a quick chocolate fix. They get fairly melty once out of the fridge, so eat them quick!

Enjoy!!


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Crock Pot Creamy Tomato Pasta - eh, Fail

I think this is the first recipe in a long time that has actually not worked out! This recipe wasn't a total fail but it definitely needs some major tweaks to get into our regular menu routine. I mean it was super easy to put together, but didn't really win us over. The recipe is from here.

Creamy Tomato Pasta
1 24 oz jar Spaghetti Sauce
1 16 oz jar Cheesy Ragu Alfredo Sauce or Ragu Roasted Garlic Parmesan Sauce
1/2 pound large pasta like Farfalle or Rigatoni
Parmesan Cheese

Not Ragu but it's what I had
Directions
Combine spaghetti and cheesy sauce in crock pot. Boil pasta as per directions on package. Drain and rinse (if you choose to rinse your pasta). Pour pasta into crock pot and mix together so sauce covers pasta. Cook on low for 1 hour. Serve with Parmesan Cheese
Sauce ready to go
Directions are dead easy. Taste was a bit off for me, but that's just me. I used an Alfredo sauce because I couldn't find the Roasted Garlic which I thought would have tasted better. It was just a weird taste and a bit bland. I figure next time I'd add in some chilli powder or flakes and some chicken for protein. So like I said, not a total fail but needs some work. But the easy directions is a definite win for me!

Comment if you tried this with modifications! I'll update when I come back to this recipe with adjustments

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Free Online Disney Movies - WIN!

I think I can safely say we all grew up with Disney in some form or another. There is a stash of classic Disney in my parent's basement that I sadly can't watch cause they're all on VHS. 

Anyhoo while searching for ideas for activities and crafts for the Munchkin on Pinterest I came across a pin that claimed to contain almost all of the Disney movies online - FOR FREE.
Serious?
Now I'm a huge skeptic with this stuff but folks - IT WORKS! I've already watched 2 movies and quickly checked more and they seriously work. No joke. No parts cut out. NO ADS! The movies are broken up into segments anywhere from 10 - 30 minutes from what I've seen.
They have everything from the first Disney movie Snow White first released in 1937 to Tangled released in 2010. It also has all the 'second' movies like Cinderella 2 and Little Mermaid 2 (one's I've never heard of to be honest).

Here's the link

ENJOY! 

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Homemade 'Cliff' Bars - Win!

I'm all about finding snacks that are quick and healthy for my family. Convenience is one thing, but I always prefer homemade if I can manage it. I discovered Cliff Bars a few years ago when the Munchkin was still a baby and breastfeeding like crazy. The protein bars tasted pretty good, plus it was a quick way for me to eat something while dealing with a newborn. However, like most healthy things they aren't cheap. Now that I'm back working shift work that usually means lots of quick nutrient filled snacks that I can munch down during my break. Enter the recipe for Homemade Cliff Bars!

INGREDIENTS

1 1/2 cup puffed rice cereal (I used Brown Rice Crispies)
1 cup uncooked quick-cooking oats
3 tbsp ground flaxseed
1/4 cup finely chopped dried fruit (I used a combo of raisins and cranberries)
1/4 cup finely chopped nuts (I used walnuts and almonds)
1/3 cup honey (can be changed for maple syrup or agave)
2 tbsp dark brown sugar (optional but it helps the bars stick together)
1/3 cup nut butter (Love my almond butter!)
1 tsp vanilla extract
Optional: 1/2 tsp cinnamon, 1/4 cup unsweetened flaked coconut



DIRECTIONS

1) Combine cereal, oats, flaxseed, dried fruit, and nuts into a large bowl
2) In a small saucepan over medium-high heat bring the honey and brown sugar to a boil, stirring constantly, then remove from heat.
3) Stir nut butter and vanilla into honey/sugar mixture until blended and smooth (you may need to keep it over low heat)
4) Pour nut butter/honey mixture over cereal mixture, stirring until all dry ingredients are coated (it will be stiff). The nut butter mixture will be hot so check the temp first before you decide to use your hands or get the kiddos involved. 
5) Press mixture firmly into an 8 inch square pan sprayed with nonstick cooking spray, using a large piece of wax paper to keep the mixture from sticking to your hands. 
6) Cool in pan then cut into bars!

I didn't have wax paper left over for wrapping, so I just used plastic wrap and it worked fine. These stored in the fridge nicely for about a week.




These were really excellent and turned out nicely. Obviously not as thick or heavy as Cliff bars, but probably more nutritious. Next time I'd probably double the recipe to make them a bit thicker. 
A nice big win for the munchkin. And a great mid-morning snack!


Sunday, June 16, 2013

DIY Dry Shampoo for Brown Hair

Hey Look - A non-food post! :D

I've never been one to wash my hair daily. And since Munchkin was born, I will sometimes go 2-3 days without washing my hair (as long as there are no major engagements other than errands). So to extend my shampoos I started looking into Dry Shampoos. If you haven't heard of them it's a powder or spray you put on your hair to take out the grease, or something to that effect. I started with a spray I bought from Shoppers Drugmart which was HORRIBLE. It smelled like chemicals and made my hair look worse. Plus it went on white and left a white dusty tinge to my hair. Looking for alternatives I had someone suggest cornstarch. This worked very well but again white powder on brown hair didn't go so well. 
And once again Pinterest to save the day.
After a quick search I found the solution - cornstarch and COCO POWDER! Seriously? After a few tries and changes in techniques, this is my go to method to extend a shampoo. Plus who doesn't mind smelling like chocolate?

The mix is about 50/50 cornstarch to coco powder. You can mix more or less of one or the other depending on how dark your hair is.


My technique is this - I use an old stiff makeup brush for application. I find this works much better than using my hands. I start with a deep part about an inch above my ear and apply a light coat of powder. Then move the part up and repeat until you've done both sides. Give your head a good rub with your fingers to work everything in.
I find this works best before bed, with a quick touch up in the morning.

Couple of notes - Apply a little at a time, you can always add more if needed. I also avoid applying this directly on the part line, it can sometimes tinge your skin. This is also a messy process so keep your shirt covered.

Final review? I find it does make my hair less shiny but a bit dull, but I tend to tie up my hair on these days anyway so that's not a big deal to me. It really does take out the nasty 'need a shower' look and lasts most of the day as well. And no white powder!

Before - 24hrs post shower (eww)
After - Much improved!



















And girls with bangs! Yes I do have bangs and yes I have used this, but I prefer to just wash my bangs and style as normal on my 'crap I'm late, no time to wash my hair' days.

Overall, a definite win. It took some tweaking to get the technique right but I really love this DIY Dry Shampoo.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chocolate Avocado Mousse - Chocolaty Win

I am currently eating the fruits of my labour as I post this. So good I could not wait to share!

Sorry for the hiatus - we are going through a major life overhaul. Both the Hubby and I have/are starting new jobs and Munchkin just dropped his nap. So Life has been a little nuts over here. I plan to catch up fairly soon!

So on to the Chocolate Goodness or as I will now call it "Holy Crap this is Avocado??" Mousse.
I am forever in search of a desert that will satisfy my sweet craving but not killing my slowly shrinking waist line. I actually came across this recipe here when searching for ways to get more vegetables into the Munchkin. 

Now I must say I am NOT an Avocado person. I'm not a huge fan of it, I never buy it, and the only time I have it in my house is when my California born-and-raised Mother-in-Law is in town cause she puts Avocado on everything. Apparently its a California thing. But I'm sure I'd be disowned if Munchkin never tasted an Avocado.

This recipe does NOT taste like Avocado. YAY!

CHOCOLATE ACOVADO MOUSSE
with revisions

4 ripe avocados (3 were used)
1 cup agave syrup (replaced with 3/4 cup honey)
1 cup unsweetened coco powder (3/4 cups were used)
1 TBSP Vanilla Extract

Remove flesh from avocados and cut into chunks. Place all ingredients into stand up mixer or food processor (my blender worked fine) and blend until light and smooth. Chill, then serve.
This is the WHOLE RECIPE in one large bowl. Booyah!
Chill?? Haha yah right. I dare anyone who's been craving chocolate to take one lick of this out of the blender and wait for it to be chilled. 

This is a definite win recipe.
You get healthy fats from the avocado, not a whole tone of sugar but an excellent way to keep those chocolate cravings satisfied.

This recipe even with the reduction made a HUGE portion. And it's very rich - the bowl I've portioned out for myself is sitting right now cause it's almost too much. Almost ;)
It's thick but light, chocolatey, rich and down right amazing. And really does not taste like Avocado at all.

SOOO GOOOOOD!

Saturday, April 13, 2013

Creamy Peanut Butter Dip - Win

If your kiddos are like my Munchkin healthy snacks and protein can be hit and miss. Sometimes he'll eat LOADS of chicken and fish and yogurt, and some days he won't touch a bite and reverts to a carbohaulic. Sound familiar?
We're having a quite day in today (yay waking up to toddler-vomit) and I was searching Pinterest for an light and easy snack that would be easy on tummies (and waistlines) :D Enter recipe for Creamy Peanut Butter Dip!

Now when I made this I totally winged it - no recipe in front of me, only knowledge of ingredients. The recipe below is what I used, but the original link with actual recipe is below

2-3 tbsp nut butter (I used almond butter)
3-4 tbsp low fat plain greek yogurt
1/4 tsp honey
dash of cinnamon
Mix ingredients
Slice up various fruit (we used Granny Smith apples), dip, and enjoy!

Whole think took about 3 minutes to create.


Apparently my photo won't rotate


Now if you search for this recipe it says it makes multiple portions. Unless you're like me and totally end up loving this dip and could eat it right out of the bowl with a spoon. So maybe divide it up if you're watching calories.
Overall - definite win! Really tasty and light, but full of protein (yay Greek yogurt!). This would work for snacks or a desert as well. Munchkin didn't try any (see previous comment about iffy-tummy today) but I have some left over and I'll report back if he ever gets around to trying some.

Overall a great quick recipe!
Original link from Fit Sugar

Thursday, April 11, 2013

DIY Parachute Craft - Win!

This past weekend was a cold and crappy Sunday, complete with snow. Yay Calgary! We decided to stay inside and have a cozy family day which means crafts and baking. I'm always looking for new little crafts for the Munchkin and this looked like an easy winner

To make your Parachute
Supplies
1 dinner sized napkin
Tape
Hole punch
Yarn or string
Scissors
Paratrooper (we used a driver from one of Munchkins cars)

The instructions are simple
Spread out napkin (I decorated ours since plain white was boring)
Place clear tape on each corner on both sides of the napkin for support
Punch a hole in each corner, about an inch in
String yarn though holes
Tie two strands together
Tie a second knot in each already tied strand to create a little arm hole for your 'volunteer' paratrooper
Attach your paratrooper to the yarn

Then DROP!

This was a super cute and easy craft. Pictures will come - I didn't take any since I wasn't sure how this would go over.
Munchkin love it! It provided a whole 5 minutes of entertainment which is hours in when converted into toddler time.
A great little rainy day craft!

Original instructions can be found here:
http://www.notimeforflashcards.com/2011/02/toy-parachute-craft.html

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Peanut Butter Fro-yo

In my never-ending search for the answer to 'how to get an ice cream fix without ice cream' I came across this at one of my favourite clean eating websites and figured I'd give it ago. My bananas are ear-marked for tomorrows banana bread so the Banana Ice Cream wasn't an option.

So here it is
1 serving Greek Yogurt (I used 3/4 cup of fat free Greek yogurt)
1 tbsp unsweetened coco powder
1 tbsp natural peanut butter (I used regular cause my boys HATE natural :( 
Stevia to taste (I used about 1/8 a tsp)

Combine ingredients so you get a mousse-like consistency in a freezer safe bowl.
Place lid on bowl and place in freezer for about 30min
When time is up let it thaw slightly then enjoy!

I'm kind of 50/50 on this one. I LOVE Greek yogurt, but this was still a little too yogurty for my sweet tooth craving. And I'm still getting used to the taste of Stevia since it (and other sugars) is not used regularly in my house. The consistency was really yummy. I'd probably up the PB and coco next time and see how that goes, or just use less yogurt.

So not a total win, but I'm hopeful.
I'll post tweaks as I go!

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Honey Sesame Chicken (aka OMFG! Chicken) - Win!

I love this recipe. Let's get that one out of the way.

Some nights when my little family gets home we do the 'What do you want for dinner' dance. We knew chicken was on the menu (yay meal planning!) but chicken and potatoes and salad just really didn't appeal to us yet again. A quick jump on Pinterest would solve my problem! But do you know how hard it is to find a recipe where you have ALL the ingredients in your house? Pretty damned hard if you ask me - but I digress...

I came across this recipe from Cooking Classy and lo and behold I had (most) of the ingredients. SO happy I purchased sesame oil! :D And the culinary adventure begins!
Sorry again about no 'in-progress' pictures but I had no idea how this would turn out.

Honey Sesame Chicken 

1 1/2lb skinless boneless chicken breasts, cut into bite sized pieces (about 3 breasts)
2/3 cup low sodium chicken broth (I replaced this with water)
1/2 cup honey
3 Tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp sesame oil
1 tsp white vinegar
3 Tbsp finely chopped yellow onion (I omitted this, didn't have any)
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 1/2 tsp finely grated ginger
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup + 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch
1 1/2 Tbsp cold water
Vegetable oil, for frying
1 tsp baking powder
2 large eggs
1 Tbsp sesame seeds
Chopped green onions, for garnish (optional)
Directions
  • In a small saucepan combine chicken broth, honey, soy sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, onion, garlic, ginger and season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring mixture to a boil
  • Meanwhile in a small bowl whisk together 1 1/2 Tbsp cornstarch with 1 1/2 Tbsp cold water until well blended. Once sauce has reached a boil, whisk cornstarch and water mixture into honey mixture, then reduce heat to medium-low and cook stirring constantly until mixture has thickened, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat and cover with lid to keep warm.
  • Pour vegetable oil into a large cast iron dutch oven, filling pot about 1 1/2-inches deep and heat oil to 350 degrees. Meanwhile, whisk eggs in a shallow dish until well blended. Pour remaining 1 cup cornstarch into a separate shallow dish, add in baking powder and whisk well to blend. Dip chicken pieces into egg followed by cornstarch and toss pieces to evenly coat in cornstarch, then carefully place 1/3 of the chicken pieces into preheated oil and cook for 5 - 7 minutes until golden, turning once during cooking. Using skimmer, remove fried chicken from oil and transfer to a paper towel lined cookie sheet to drain excess oil. Repeat process with remaining chicken working in two more batches. Pour drained fried chicken into a bowl and toss with sauce and sesame seeds. Serve warm over white or brown rice garnished with green onions if desired.
LUCKILY THERE WERE LEFTOVERS SO I COULD TAKE A PICTURE
Overall this recipe was a little tedious with all the dip, dunk, fry, repeat but it was totally worth the effort. I eliminated the chicken broth and onion because I didn't have any, but I would do something to replace the onion next time since you do need something to cut the sweet.
I really cut down on the oil since I'm not a fan of frying. I maybe used 1/2 cup in my pan for the whole batch of chicken
This recipe makes about 4 adult servings (yay leftovers!), we served it over brown rice and some vegetables.
This was a HUGE FREAKING WIN. I seriously cannot express how amazing this chicken is, the hubby and I kept stopping to just marvel at the awesomeness of this recipe. The sauce was sweet and tangy from the soy sauce, and the chicken was crispy. It was perfect over the rice.
This will now be our replacement for the occasional Chinese take-out craving. This recipe probably won't make it into our regular weeknight rotation because of the time and effort, but we will definitely be eating it again.

And the Munchkin's review is "Yummy Chicken Mummy!"

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Handprint Ornaments

Considering it's the middle of March and it's still snowing I thought it'd be appropriate to post a Christmas project. 
After the Sharpie mug fiasco I was in desperate need of a replacement Christmas gift for the grandparents. And good old Pinterest came though again!

I found a craft that used your kid's handprint on an ornament and then you, the parent (with all your crafty skills) turn said handprint into some sort of festive creature like a reindeer or snowman.
With such short notice I was hard pressed to find plain ornament balls that didn't come in bulk. So I found a small canvas square at our local craft store. I then purchased paints, and used the Sharpies I had from our failed project. The whole thing cost about $15 since I didn't have any paints or decent brushes on hand.

The canvas was white so I painted it a light blue and let it dry overnight. Then we painted Munchkin's hand and fingers white and pressed them on the canvas. Again - dry time was required. Then came the parental creativity - I used a fine brush and the Sharpies as well to decorate the white fingers into little snowman families. I even made a dog out of the deformed thumb! And the disconnected finger? One jumps and one is upside-down! 
                                          

Pretty cute if you ask me. We made 3 in total, there was to be a 4th but I got messed up. And it took a whole 5 minutes of my son's participation which was great. It's a neat way to get creative. I attached some green wire to each one so they hung on our tree. They were a definite hit with the grandparents!

Have fun!
 The original idea is from here - http://www.littlebitfunky.com/2010/12/make-these-now-handprint-snowman.html

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Bacon Brittle - WIN!


Yes, this is a real thing.
Yes, this is as amazing as it sounds.
Yes, it is another food post, but I'll hopefully be doing something non-food related soon.

And sorry for the hiatus. I can't cook like this all the time! :D

So my lovely, amazing and talented sister-in-law came across this recipe for her husband's 30th Manly Birthday Party. Since her husband and my husband are brothers and birthdays are a week apart, I decided to make this as my "I have no idea what to get you but I still love you" birthday gift. And who doesn't like bacon encased in sugar for their birthday?

Great thing about this recipe is I had pretty much everything except the corn syrup and bacon (it's a real treat in our house). I should say I do NOT have a candy thermometer and probably will never purchase one. Going on my Sister-in-Laws advice she cooked her brittle for about 13 minutes, again without a thermometer. 
And here we go!

The recipe comes from here. It takes a bit of time but is really super easy.




First - Assemble ingredients
6 slices bacon, cooked and finely diced
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup water
1/4 cup butter
3 Tbsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp baking soda
coarse sea salt for sprinkling








Next - cook bacon. Feel free to cook extra for lunch, snacks, whatever.












Next - prepare the sugary goodness. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray VERY WELL (or use butter). Set aside, but not too far.





In medium, heavy bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, water, butter, and corn syrup. Bring to a boil over moderate heat. Stir occasionally until mixture reaches 300 on candy thermometer (or like I did, wait till it turns golden brown), about 10 - 15 minutes.

Remove pan from heat and stir in baking soda. Then mix in bacon bits. Immediatly pour onto prepared greased cookie sheet and quickly spread out into a thin, even layer. Sprinkle with coarse sea salt.

















Allow to cool., Break into pieces, and CONSUME
 Final verdict? FREAKING AWESOME! Meaty and sweetie at the same time! The brittle was slightly soft, but still crunchy. The bacon was amazing against the caramel and the salt added a bit of extra taste. It didn't last long!      Couple Notes - I cooked the caramel for about 15 minutes, my sister-in-law did for about 13, but my pan is massive. I also think I over-greased my pan with butter and spray (I panicked). Won't do that again.
Overall - A gigantic man-tastic win!

Monday, February 18, 2013

Sesame Ginger Sweet Teriyaki Salmon with Garlic Quinoa Stir-Fry

Say that 5 times fast ;)

Tonight was Monday which usually means eating the salmon I picked up on Saturday before it goes bad. And as I previously mentioned, I'm looking for ways to expand our recipes and a quick Pinterest searching (including a few of the ingredients I have sitting around) brought up this recipe. Plus the Hubby LOVES Asian style food and I recently acquired a giant piece of ginger and sesame oil - so here we are

I do need to mention that the Salmon recipe is a MODIFICATION of an original recipe. And I modified the modification so it was slightly closer to the original but still going with what I had in my pantry.

The recipe I used is from Ambitious Kitchen but the Original is from How Sweet It Is. I will make notes on the modifications I made, including in how I made it. See websites for originals.

And sorry I'm lacking pictures. As soon as I pulled this from the oven we were so starving I just served and we ate the whole thing in under 10 minutes. Did I mention we were hungry?

SESAME GINGER SWEET TERIYAKI SALMON WITH GARLIC QUIONA

For the Salmon
1 lb Salmon
1 cup teriyaki sauce
1 tsp freshly grated ginger
2-4 cloves garlic, minced (*I used 2 lrg cloves)
3 tbsp dark brown sugar (*I used 2 tbsp)
2 tbsp honey
1/4 cup olive oil (*this was a lot for me - I used 1tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp sesame oil)
*1 tbsp soy sauce - this was from the original recipe, I added it in

For the Quinoa Stir Fry
3/4 cups quinoa, rinsed (*I used what was in the package)
1/2 tsp garlic salt (*I used 1/2 tsp garlic powder and 1/4 tsp salt)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 yellow bell pepper, thinly sliced 
2 clove garlic 
1 tsp fresh grated ginger
1 1/2 cup sugar snap peas (*I used green beans)

Extras I used
2 Tbsp sesame seeds, toasted

Still following me? Ok

Mix all of your ingredients for the salmon and place into a zip lock bag. Marinade fish for 30min to 1hr (I did about 45 min)
Heat oven to 400 when fish is marinated
Place fish on pan with tinfoil lightly covered in cooking spray
Cook fish for 15-20 min depending on thickness

While salmon is cooking start the quinoa as per directions adding garlic salt (or garlic powder + salt) to the water. Cook as directed.
While quinoa / salmon are cooking, heat up olive oil/sesame oil in pan. Toss in garlic and ginger, then bell peppers. I made a boo-boo here - just prior to cooking the veges I used the same pan for toasting some sesame seeds so the pan was extra hot and the garlic kind of burned. Don't do what I did :(
Cook peppers, then add in peas/beans at the end.
Mix vegetables and cooked quinoa. Serve with your now cooked salmon, garnish with toasted sesame seeds.


Yes, I know it's rice not quinoa - just as tasty though!

This was such an amazing and easy recipe. The cooking time was about 20 min total, excluding the marinading of the fish. The fish was a bit too sweet for us, so I might add a little chili powder next time to the marinade and maybe cut the sugar or honey even further.
The quinoa was very tasty, even the Hubby who doesn't like quinoa and my Munchkin who's never even tried quinoa ate the WHOLE THING! Definitely toddler approved!
I cut a bit of the ginger and garlic when making the peppers because I worried it'd be to much with the fish but next time I'll do the full amounts. 
This is definitely a make again. I might even try it on chicken next time and see how it goes.
I have lots of quinoa and vegetables left over. The recipe says it serves 4, but I think they'd be pretty small pieces of fish - just under 1lb served the 2 of us (Munchkin refuses to try fish)

Enjoy! 

I should also add that I made this recipe using chicken last week and it was just as tasty! I've also replaced the quinoa with brown rice and it was also a success!