A while ago I wrote about checking labels and trying to eat a little healthier. That has worked pretty well so I decided to step it up a notch. There are entire camps out there who disapprove of sugar, from the "my personal opinion--you do whatever you want" people to the "you're just killing yourself, one spoonful at a time" folk. I'm always leery of believing something when a bunch of nut-jobs are advocating it. That said, I read an article the other day that detailed how excess sugar can mess with all these different organs and their functions. Most were not horrible; none were life-threatening. This article didn't warn that I'd die of cancer if I kept eating sugar, it simply suggested that certain areas of my life might flow smoother if I cut back a little. Now that's an attitude I can get behind! So here's me cutting back a little.
I stumbled across this blog post about strawberry jam in the crockpot. I was going to just cut up my extra strawberries and put sugar with them to make sauce, but this other thing sounded like a nice change from the norm. She found a recipe on the internet that didn't use pectin--instead used lemon juice. That worked for her. Well, I don't have pectin OR lemon juice, so I scoured the comments (most of the time, a gold mine) and found someone said that the lemon juice is what prevented botulism, and citrus fruits do the same thing. Several other people also mentioned using an apple instead of lemon juice, and that DID work for me. So I cut up my ginormously huge strawberries (1 and 1/3 pounds):
and cut up an apple and opened a can of pineapples with 100% juice:
They are yummy--especially when it's actually chocolate-dipped strawberries in chocolate pudding. I got these punch cups at the dollar store--after searching Walmart for 15 minutes to no avail and a desperate call to my sister in law!
I made the pudding a day earlier, that's why there's a tiny bit of separation. I would have stirred it, but I didn't want to get "dirt" all over the sides of the cups.
Last week I ordered a chip maker from Pampered Chef, and today I was going to make chips, but my potatoes were slightly squishy, so I decided to make mashed potatoes instead. Cans of tomatoes were on sale last week so we have like, six cans of diced tomatoes. I wondered how I could use them both--the potatoes and the tomatoes. A quick search online told me that the only good way to use both were with a meat, either fish or chicken, neither of which I had. I thought, I'll show them! I'll invent something! So I looked in my freezer and found half a bag of broccoli (which I steamed in my new micro-steamer), and I had a bag of mixed veggies that I pan seared.
It really doesn't look very appetizing, but let me tell you--we all three went back for seconds. You can see in the bowl how full it was before we devoured most of it! And even though the broccoli, peas, carrots, asparagus, and red peppers were all frozen, this soup was so much better than any store-bought, from-a-can soup out there. And bonus: there are seven vegetables in here! I will definitely be making this again!
The recipe called for yellow cake mix, but when I saw the pink lemonade mix in the store, I just couldn't pass it up. I got white chocolate instead of almond bark, and I didn't notice until afterward that the chocolate says not to add oil (which I forgot to do anyway until halfway through dipping the pops). I don't know that it made a difference...I'm hoping adding that oil isn't going to make the chocolate explode when I reheat it for another food project. :-/ The recipe also said to use a food processor, but I used a wooden spoon and old fashioned elbow grease.
EJ helped with the sprinkles. I reminded him that these were for Valentine's Day (after he put green sprinkles on 3 in a row) and ALL the rest got red sprinkles.
This was a freezer meal I made with my mom last week. It was one of the few that was to be baked, not crock potted. I don't remember what ALL went in it, because it made enough to split and I left the recipe with my mom's meal. I do know it called for frozen diced potatoes, but we had a ton of regular potatoes, so we just diced those instead. It also called for bacon, already fried. There was cheese (cheddar) and probably sour cream or something like it in there too.
I baked it for 20 mins. at 325, then pulled it out to sprinkle more cheese on top and baked it another 10 mins. There was a perfect amount of bacon, because half the recipe (what I brought home) fit perfectly in an 8x8 dish and the bacon just covered the top. (I had to dig the bacon out of the mess--with clean hands, of course!) Here is a picture of it after I got our three servings out.
Bandwagon, here I come! Yes, I have succumbed to the ever-increasingly popular freezer meals. My mom flew across the country to do it with my sister, and when she returned, she made me do them, too. Well, that's what I thought at the beginning. By the time we finished, I was enjoying myself way more than I had imagined possible in the kitchen. Let's just get this picture out of the way first, shall we? :-)
I had half a zucchini left over from a few days ago, and I had seen recipes for zucchini chips pop up around the internet, so I figured I'd try it. I don't have a mandolin, so I just sliced them as skinny as I could with my knife.
By request, I made minion cupcakes for ladies' meeting this month. I had seen large cupcakes with the minion face, but all the ones on Pinterest had fondant frosting. They looked professional--nice, clean lines, but I only had regular "rich and creamy", 99 cent frosting. So I did something completely different from anything I've seen. I made mini cupcakes.
My mom showed me something amazing that I just have to share with whoever stumbles across this blog post. I could have just put the title as my status on facebook, but I took pictures and I have this blog, might as well make use of it, right?
So the first thing you need is a coffee maker. This one's mine. I love it. Since it's not the Keurig brand, it cost about $100 cheaper (but it's the exact same thing!).
Who am I, you ask?
In 2006 I had a stroke, and every day my husband encourages me to use my remaining brain cells to the best of my ability. I love to organize, make crafts, and go on adventures (safe ones). I hope that through my blog posts, you will be encouraged to accept and make the best of challenges God throws at your life.