Friday, October 29, 2010

Dracula Eyes

It's almost Halloween, so here is my festive recipe for this year....
Dracula Eyes.
My mom started making these when I was in high school. I came home one night, and our table was covered with these eyeballs. It is a little creepy to look at, but don't be scared...unless you are allergic to peanut butter! Basically, these are the same thing as Buckeyes. My sister just took them in for my nephew's kindergarten party, and the kids went nuts over them.

Makes about 20
1/2 c peanut butter
3 Tbl butter, softened
1 c powdered sugar
4 oz vanilla candy coating
red & black gel icing
  • Stir together peanut butter and butter. 
  • Gradually add powdered sugar, stirring until combined.
  • Shape into 1 inch balls.
  • Place on waxed paper and let stand about 20 minutes until dry. 
  • Melt candy coating (it's easier to do 1 square at a time) melting in microwave for about 45 seconds or so. Don't overcook!
  • Dip balls, one at a time, into coating. Let excess drip off. Place on waxed paper.
  • Press m&m's on top (m's facing down)
  • Let stand til firm. 
  • Add black dot on top of m&m for pupil.
  • Drizzle red gel onto balls for bloodshot eyes.

Other ideas for Halloween Party
  • Witches fingers:  breadsticks w/half a pepperoni on the end
  • Bones: breadsticks w/knots tied on each end, marinara (blood) for dipping
  • Mummies: Baked potato w/ strips of American cheese across top like mummy
  • Dracula teeth:  Peanut butter spread between 2 apple slices with almond slivers (teeth) sticking out
  • Quick Sand: cheeseball w/hand shaped breadsticks sticking out (plus more hands and veggies to dip in)
  • Spider Pie: Chicken pot pie w/ top crust cut in strips and placed like a web, make a spider for center
Peanut Butter Balls

    Thursday, October 28, 2010

    Breaking the Chain of Amish Bread

         I love the taste of Amish Friendship Bread and all the ways you can alter it to suit your tastes.  Debbi Does Dinner has all kinds of ideas, including turning the bread into pancakes!
         That being said, I would much rather someone give me a loaf of baked bread than a bag of bubbling, yeasty goop that I have to mush every day and "feed" on days five and ten. The directions then tell you on the tenth day to split your starter into four other bags and give them away to your unsuspecting friends. You also keep a bag for yourself, so you can do it all over again in ten days. It's a culinary chain...a vicious cycle.
         Now, you could freeze your extra starters instead of giving them to friends. Each bag takes about three hours to thaw, and the day of the thaw is considered to be day 1 of the recipe. But, even if you freeze them, you still have four extra bags each time you go through the cycle. I don't know about you, but I don't have that much room in my freezer....or in the waist of my pants!
         You can stop the cycle. Now, when someone gives me a bag of starter, I follow the directions for the first nine days, then on the tenth day I tweak it so that I only end up with what I will be baking that day and nothing to pass on to friends.

    Here is a link to the paper that I received with my starter bag: Amish Friendship Bread
    Follow all directions for days 1-9.
    Now for my changes to stop the cycle
    On day 10, which is baking day: Mix and divide the starter as follows:
         Pour entire contents of bag into large non-metal bowl and add
              1/4 c flour
              2 Tbl sugar
              2 Tbl milk
         Preheat oven to 325*. Then add these ingredients to the bowl:
    3 eggs
    1 c canola oil
    1 c milk
    1 c sugar
    2 tsp cinnamon
    1/2 tsp vanilla
    1-1/2 tsp baking powder
    1/2 tsp baking soda
    1/2 tsp salt
    2 c flour
    1 large box instant vanilla pudding (or other flavor)
    • Grease two large loaf pans and mix an additional 1/2 cup sugar and 1-1/2 tsp cinnamon. Dust the greased pans with half of the cinnamon/sugar mixture. Pour batter evenly into the pans, and sprinkle the top with the remaining sugar mixture.
    • Bake for 50-60 minutes. Cool until bread loosens form sides of pan (about 10 minutes).

    Amish Bread on FoodistaAmish Bread

      Tuesday, October 26, 2010

      Apple Pie Oatmeal

      I don't know about you, but sometimes I think oatmeal is boring *gasp.* Oatmeal is a great breakfast because it is filling and can be very flavorful. This oatmeal tastes more like apple pie than oatmeal. Yum!
      recipe adapted from The Biggest Loser Cookbook

      3 apples, coarsely chopped
      2 tsp cinnamon
      1 tsp vanilla
      2 c water
      pinch salt (or leave out)
      1 c old-fashioned oats
      3 tsp sugar (or to taste)
      optional: almonds or walnuts
      • Spray frying pan with a little oil. Place over medium heat and add apples, cinnamon, and vanilla. Cook, stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes, or until the apples are soft.
      • Meanwhile, in a saucepan, bring the water and salt to a boil. Add oats and reduce heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the water is absorbed. Remove from heat and cover.
      • When apples are done, stir them into the oatmeal. Stir in sugar and nuts (if desired). 
      • Serve immediately.

        Monday, October 25, 2010

        Menu Plan Monday 10/25---10/30

        I thought this week was a little crazy as I was planning, and now, looking at it on paper, I can see how busy we are going to be.
        We have a couple of repeats from last week that we didn't get to. I'm going to try my hand at homemade (no salt) ketchup this week. We'll see how that turns out...

        Sunday-Surprise visit from free food:)
        Monday-Salsa topped chicken, roasted potato, asparagus (we didn't get to this last week)
        Tuesday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, green beans
        Wednesday-Pork chops of some kind, brown rice, broccoli
        Thursday-homemade meatballs, baked potato, broccoli (My husband really liked this and requested it again!)
        Friday-OUT...with no toddler in tow!
        Saturday- Friend's wedding

        I'll also be making pumpkin cinnamon rolls that I mentioned before.
        And I ended up with a starter of Amish "Friendship" Bread. I'm not sure you want to give this stuff to your friends, because you will end up getting it, giving it away, getting it, giving it away, getting sick of it yet? I'll share my recipe for stopping the vicious cycle. Don't get me wrong I love the stuff...but I don't want it every 10 days...and I don't want to pawn it off on everyone I know, because eventually you end up with more of it when someone gives it back to you.

        This is linked to lots of other menu plans at orgjunkie. 

        Thursday, October 21, 2010


             My mom always made meatballs for our birthday parties or on Christmas Day when we just have lots of snack foods sitting around. I've had a lot of different flavors, but I always thought hers were the best. I called and asked how to make them the other day and she says, "half a bottle of Sweet Baby Rays and half a jar Apple Jelly." Sounds healthy right? No wonder they taste so good.
             I've been trying to limit my intake of sugars, salts, and fats, so I had to think of a different way to make these but still taste similar to what I remember. BBQ sauce has a lot of added sugars and salt, but it doesn't have to. I made homemade BBQ sauce for my "healthier" meatballs and they turned out delicious.

        1 bag turkey meatballs (or make your own)
        1 (8oz) can tomato sauce
        2 Tbl vinegar
        1 tsp worcestershire sauce
        1 tsp brown mustard
        1 tsp parsley
        1/8 tsp pepper
        1/8 tsp garlic powder
        3 Tbl Simply Fruit Apricot (or apple jelly)
        • Cook meatballs according to package directions (or make your own)
        • Combine all remaining ingredients for sauce. 
        • Pour sauce over meatballs and heat to boiling.
        • Reduce to low until ready to serve.

          Monday, October 18, 2010

          Portobello Pizza

               Since starting to eat less salt and fat, I've had trouble find foods that still taste good after removing those delicious ingredients. Some things have come out OK, some things have come out terribly, and some things, like this, taste amazing! I could eat this every week, and it's much healthier than traditional pizza.
               One piece of advice before making these: Only make what you will eat in one sitting. We usually save our leftovers for lunch the next day, but if you save these the mushroom gets a little watery. I recommend saving your sauce and uncooked mushrooms separately and putting them together to cook when you want to eat them.
          Adapted from The Biggest Loser Book

          5 whole portobello mushroom caps (about 5 inches each), stems removed
          8oz tomato sauce
          6oz tomato paste
          chopped onion
          1/2 clove minced garlic
          1 tsp brown sugar (or substitute)
          1 Tbl parsley
          1/2 tsp oregano
          1/2 tsp salt (or leave out if your watching)
          dash pepper
          dash bay leaves
          1 lb turkey Italian sausage, cooked, drained, and crumbled
          4 Tbl mozzarella cheese
          2 tsp grated Parmesan cheese
          1 tsp basil
          • Preheat oven to 350*
          • Wipe mushrooms clean of any dirt. Place them on a baking sheet, gill side up.
          • To make sauce: combine tomato sauce, tomato paste, onion, garlic, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, and bay leaves. Pour over cooked sausage and stir.
          • Spoon meat sauce onto each cap, then sprinkle on the cheeses.  (freeze extra sauce for another time)
          • Place in oven and bake 6-8 minutes, or until cheese is melted.
          • Garnish with basil. Serve immediately.
          Portobello Mushrooms on FoodistaPortobello Mushrooms

            Menu Plan Monday 10/16--10/22

                 I'm pretty excited about the food I've planned this week. Last week did not go over so well with us. I don't know if you saw my post? Yuck!
                 I'm trying something new this week by roasting my own turkey breast in an attempt to make lunch meat...or at least snack size portions. Deli meat is $5.99/lb, but you can get four pounds of turkey breast for $9.99. I figured it was worth a shot. I can cook and slice meat, right? I'll let you know. 

            What you are here for....The menu plan:
                 cinnamon apple oatmeal
                 turkey patties and fruit
                 berry slushies (frozen berries blended with ice)
                 turkey breast slices
                 baby carrots, apples, bananas
                 Saturday-Portobello "Pizzas"
                 Sunday- Meatballs, broccoli topped baked potatoes
                 Monday-Asian spiced pork chops, brown rice, asparagus
                 Tuesday- Taco Salad, homemade "refried" beans
                 Wednesday- Chicken Curry, brown rice, asparagus
                 Thursday-Meatloaf, mashed potatoes, broccoli
                 Friday- aztec chicken, oven fries, broccoli

            This is linked up to Menu Plan Mondays at
            Stop by her site to see lots of menu plans!

            Tuesday, October 12, 2010

            Don't try this at home, people!

                 There have only been three meals that I can remember which turned out so badly that we had to go out to dinner.
            1. A layered Mexican type dish. No one wanted to say it was bad, so they all took several bites until I put an end to the madness and ordered pizza. So gross!
            2. Cornish hens. These were not so bad in taste, but they looked like the birds and I couldn't eat them. It's really better not to think about where the meat comes from when you are trying to eat it. Chipotle, here we come!
            3. Tonight's meal: mock gyros and tzatzki sauce. I took a bite and said, "Well, it's not the worst thing I've ever made." And it wasn't...The layered Mexican thing was still the worst. I purposely left it sounding hopeful though so the hubs would take a bite...(I'm a mean, evil wife). He disagreed on which was worse. One person in our house thought it was fabulous though. Miss E finished up her helping as we got cleaned up to go out to the local authentic Mexican restaurant.  (so much for no salt this week!)

            Miss E cleaning her plate

            Monday, October 11, 2010

            Menu Plan Monday 10/10-10/15

                 Last week, we started trying to eat healthier by cutting out most fats, salts, and sugars. We pretty much stuck with it. I didn't cheat once...until Saturday! That day was crazy with J reffing soccer games and Octoberfest nearby. J was on his own for lunch, while Miss E and I had Mexican: Salt overload---but delicious! Later that night we had Papa Murphy's pizza and ice cream, too. Oh well, one day once in a while isn't too bad right? Sunday, we were back on track and plan to be this week. This is what we will be eating...

                 Egg/Potato scramble, turkey sausage & fruit, healthier waffles
                 Leftovers, as always
                 Sunday: Meat Pie-fail! * See note below
                 Monday:Baked Chicken and potatoes, broccoli
                 Tuesday: Mock gyros w/ Tzatziki sauce (another brave attempt to make something "normal" without salt)
                 Wednesday: White chicken chili
                 Thursday: Chili topped baked potatoes, asparagus
                 Friday: In laws are coming, going out
                 Saturday: I go to the store, so who knows

            *The Meat Pie....I thought I would try this because it sounds so unhealthy I was sure it would be a hit to J who just about refuses to eat healthy. My sister ate with us and said it was pretty good "if" you add butter, salt, and more pepper. My problem with it basically was that I felt it had no taste, but I did leave out the butter and salt on purpose. Here is the recipe if you want to try it for yourself...hopefully adding more butter or salt.

            1-lb ground turkey
            1 sm chopped onion
            1/2 tsp chili powder (more to taste)
            1/8 tsp pepper
            8 oz tomato sauce
            2-1/2 c mashed potatoes (I recommend adding the salt and butter here)
            • Brown meat and onion. Add tomato sauce and spices. Simmer 15 minutes.
            • Put meat in baking dish. Top with potatoes. Sprinkle with paprika.
            • Bake @ 350*  until browned on top.

            This is linked up to Menu Plan Mondays at
            Stop by her site to see lots of menu plans!

            Friday, October 8, 2010

            Healthier Waffles with Strawberry Syrup

                 If you regularly follow my blog, you know we have a bad habit of eating waffles or pancakes every Friday. You may have also seen an earlier post that I'm trying to eat without sugar, salt, or oils right now. Now you are probably wondering how or if we had waffles or pancakes this morning.
            We did. 
                 They were a little different than our normal waffles, but to me they were fabulous after eating not so good turkey sausage links and delicious fruit for breakfast all this week. I even made enough for J to try...he's so supportive.

            1 c oats, ground into flour
            4 egg whites
            2 tsp butternut extract
            4 tsp sugar substitute (or real sugar if you aren't cutting back)
            1 c berries (I used strawberries, but blueberries would be awesome!)
            4 tsp sugar (or sub)
            • Preheat waffle iron. If you get it really hot, you don't have to spray it with oil before using.
            • Combine ingredients for waffles. Add enough water to make smooth. 
            • Pour onto waffle iron until golden.
            • For syrup: Over med heat, or in microwave, cook berries until soggy. Puree with a little water and sugar until desired consistency.

            BBQ Chicken Topped Baked Potatoes

                 This could be made in the slow cooker, which is how I did it, or grilled, sauteed, baked, whatever. It tasted really good, and even a little spicy which wasn't intended. I wish I would have tasted it before I gave a piece to my one year old!
                 The sauce is not a traditional BBQ sauce. It actually tastes more like a mix of BBQ and enchilada sauce. Is that what they call "Tex-Mex?" In any case, it's very good and filling. We will definitely make this again.

            1-lb chicken
            24 oz tomato sauce (no salt added)
            2 tsp worchestershire sauce
            2 Tbl Chili powder
            1 tsp cumin
            1 tsp pepper
            1 Tbl paprika
            2 tsp garlic powder
            1 onion, chopped
            4 tsp sugar (or sugar substitute)
            • Cook in slow cooker; 5 hours on low. Shred chicken after cooking. OR marinate chicken, and cook as desired.
            • Serve over garlic mashed potatoes, baked potatoes, rice, or salad.
            Baked Potatoes

              Slow Cooker Chicken Surprise

                   This week,in yet another attempt to eat more healthily, I have been trying to create meals without sugar, salt, or fats/oils. It's been hard. I thought that we ate relatively healthy, but it has been difficult to find things to make. Everything has oil in it...even if it's just to keep your food from sticking to your pan.
                   My first new recipe attempt is somewhere between success and failure. This chicken was OK; I guess that is the "surprise." My husband described it as, "Fancy," whatever that means. It was definitely flavorful, but I just couldn't put my finger on what it was missing. If I made this again, I would mess with the seasonings and try to find what was missing. I would also wait to add the zucchini at the end of the cooking instead of letting them sit in the crock pot all day. I don't really like soggy vegetables.

              2-3 lbs chicken
              1 onion, chopped
              2 tomatoes, diced
              2 c zucchini, diced
              1 c mushrooms, chopped
              1/2 c wine (I used red)
              8 oz tomato sauce (no salt added)
              1 tsp parlsey
              1 Tbl Italian seasoning
              2 tsp garlic, minced
              1/4 tsp each: red pepper, thyme, oregano, rosemary, ginger, cinnamon, paprika, and garlic powder
              • Throw everything into the slow cooker and cook on low for 5-6 hours. 
              • Serve over brown rice.

              Monday, October 4, 2010

              What's cooking this week?

              I'm on week two of trying to post my weekly menu. I hope you are enjoying it. It is really motivating me to stay on track.
              This week I'm trying to start cutting back on sugars and fats. I know, this is the wrong time of year to be thinking of that! I figured, if I can do it till Thanksgiving...well, we will see how it goes.
              I had more trouble this week trying to think of things that were lower in fat. It amazing how things add up over the course of a week! Any suggestions for the following weeks would be appreciated!

              Here it is...
              Breakfasts include fruit smoothies, turkey sausage, egg white omelets, and fruit
              Monday--out to eat...last day to splurge...and because I didn't get to the store until after noon today!
              Tuesday--Pf Changs Lettuce Wraps $4.50
              Wednesday--Crock Pot-Chicken Surprise with brown rice and asparagus $4.75
              Thursday--BBQ Chicken on baked potatoes, broccoli $3.75
              Friday--Spaghetti Squash with tomato sauce and zucchini $4.75

              This is linked up to Menu Plan Monday at orgjunkie

              Friday, October 1, 2010

              Pumpkin Streusel Muffins

                   As promised, I made pumpkin muffins for breakfast and snack this week. I really wanted to make some with cream cheese...but I didn't have enough cream cheese. Maybe in the next few weeks....or I could just make these pumpkin cinnamon rolls! Umm, yes please!!!
                   After searching, I ended up with these pumpkin streusel muffins. I picked them mainly because I had all the ingredients, but also because the recipe called for molasses (molasses cookie recipe here) and I have some that needs to be used.  The great thing about these pumpkin muffins is that they are truly a breakfast muffin, not a dessert muffin. They are not super sweet, and give you just a hint of that pumpkin pie flavor. My husband, who doesn't like pumpkin pie, liked these muffins....even though he didn't want to like them since they were made with pumpkin. He's so stubborn! If he know something (pumpkin)  is good for him, he won't eat it.

              Makes 12 regular muffins + 12 mini muffins
              1/4 c butter, softened
              1/2 c sugar
              1/4 c brown sugar
              2/3 c canned pumpkin (or make your own)
              1/2 c buttermilk
              2 eggs
              2 Tbl molasses
              1 tsp grated orange peel
              2 c flour (I used half white/half wheat)
              1 tsp baking soda
              1/2 tsp baking powder
              1/2-1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
              1/4 tsp salt
              1/3 c flour
              3 Tbl brown sugar
              2 Tbl cold butter
              • Cream butter, sugar, and brown sugar.
              • Beat in pumpkin, buttermilk, eggs, molasses, and orange peel.
              • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder, pumpkin pie spice, and salt. Gradually add to pumpkin mixture.
              • Stir until just blended.
              • Fill greased or lined muffin cups two-thirds full. 
              • For topping. Combine flour and brown sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly.
              • Sprinkle over batter.
              • Bake at 375* for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

              Special Note

              For the present, anonymous comments are not allowed at Robin, Restored due to the large number of spam comments that make it through Blogger's spam filter. I'm sorry about those of you who comment as Anonymous and sign your names. I'll try later to enable the function again.
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