Friday, December 7, 2012

Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies


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You must make these delicious cookies this holiday season. These green mint chips are my favorite and in my stores, they are only available during the holidays, so if you see them, buy lots!

(Note: I happened to have extra fresh whipped cream from making my kids strawberry pancakes one morning, and I dipped one (okay, three) of these cookies in the whipped cream, and oh my...it was perfection!)

Polka Dot Cookies (Chocolate Mint Chip Cookies)
Yield 4-5 dozen cookies

2 cups (12 oz) Guittard Semisweet Chocolate Chips
½ cup butter
1 ½  cups unsifted all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (12 oz) Guittard Green Mint Chips

Preheat oven to 350.

In top of double boiler over low heat, melt semisweet chips and butter, stirring constantly until smooth. Set aside to cool. In small bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In large bowl beat eggs, sugar and vanilla until light. Blend in melted chocolate then dry ingredients. Stir in green mint chips and chill for 10-15 minutes or until stiff. Drop by well-rounded teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake 8-10 minutes; cookies will be soft in centers but will harden as they cool.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins
Recipe from here.

4 eggs, room temperature
1 c. vegetable oil
2 c. sugar
3 c. all-purpose flour
1 14 oz can pure pumpkin
2 t. baking soda
2 t. cinnamon
1 t. Kosher salt
12 oz. semisweet chocolate chips

Makes about 36 muffins
1. Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and prepare a muffin tin and set aside.

2. In a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment combine the eggs, oil and sugar. Add the pumpkin and mix well. In a separate bowl mix the flour, soda, cinnamon and salt. With the mixer on low add this to the wet ingredients until combined. Stir in the chocolate chips with a wooden spoon.

3. Spoon the batter into the muffin cups until they are 2/3 full. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until the tops spring back when touched. Enjoy!

Monday, October 29, 2012

Healthy Pumpkin Crumb Cake


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Healthy Pumpkin Crumb Cake
(no sugar added and gluten free; adapted from Libby's Easy Pumpkin Crumb Cake recipe)

1 ½ cups Splenda
1 tsp. salt
2 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground ginger
½ tsp. ground cloves
4 large eggs
1 can (29 oz.) LIBBY'S® 100% Pure Pumpkin (not the easy pie mix)
1 ½ cans (12 fl.-oz. can) NESTLÉ® CARNATION® Evaporated Milk (or one 12 oz. and one 5 oz. can)
1 pkg. (around 15 oz.) Betty Crocker Gluten Free Yellow Cake Mix
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine, melted
1/2 cup chopped pecans or walnuts
Whipped topping (optional)

Directions

PREHEAT oven to 350° F. Grease 13 x 9-inch baking pan.

COMBINE first eight ingredients, through evaporated milk in a large bowl. Pour into prepared pan.

COMBINE cake mix, melted butter and nuts in large bowl until crumbly (clean hands may be used). Sprinkle over filling.

BAKE for 50 to 55 minutes or until golden brown on top. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into bars. Top each serving with whipped topping, if desired.

*The Betty Crocker Gluten-Free Yellow Cake Mix can be found in most grocery stores in the baking aisle alongside the regular cake mixes.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall

Stolen Innocence by Elissa Wall is what the front cover says: her story of growing up in a polygamous sect (of the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints church), becoming a teenage bride and breaking free of Warren Jeffs (the prophet that made her get married at age 14).

Ms. Wall has incredible courage to come forth and leave her religion, her family, and press charges against Warren Jeffs (who was convicted). Now she lives a free life. I am in awe of her. The things she went through as a child (rape, multiple miscarriages, hunger, abuse, no access to medicine) are unbelievable. What's also incredible about this story is that happened to her in the late 90s, early 2000s. It's hard to believe in a time of such technology, advancement, etc., people can still be living this way (the FLDS way) and that those want to get out, can't. They are children and often live in remote areas and have had NO access to the outside world. I learned a lot about why is it so hard to leave. Ms. Wall had to leave the only family she knew. She was not allowed to have a proper education, so she did not have a solid means of employing herself. And maybe most importantly, she was taught to believe that she wouldn't go to heaven unless she stayed married to her husband and bore him children. So by leaving, she was taught that she was putting her eternal salvation at risk. This is something I had never considered when hearing about cases like this. Stolen Innocence is definitely a good read, especially if you want to understand what goes on when a cult brainwashes its victims.


Fourth of July Fireworks

Our new neighborhood and the surrounding areas really know how to set their money on fire!

I was able to get all these shots from the comfort of my front yard.

 I used my tripod, a remote control release, and I underexposed a lot of these shots, otherwise my longer shutter speed was letting in too much of a light blue sky.


I would like to personally thank my neighbors three doors down who provided lots of fireworks for me to take pictures of! Happy Fourth!

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Baby DJ


I had the privilege to photography 5 day old baby DJ. What a cutie!





I love watching moms interact with their babies!


Monday, June 25, 2012

Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies

Crisco’s Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies (slightly adapted)

¾ stick Crisco Baking Sticks (Butter-Flavored or regular)
1 ¼ cups firmly packed light brown sugar
2 tablespoons milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 ¾ cups All Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon salt
¾ teaspoon baking soda
1 (12 oz.) package semi-sweet chocolate chips

Directions:
Heat oven to 375°F.

Combine shortening, brown sugar, milk and vanilla in large bowl. Beat at medium speed of electric mixer until well blended. Beat in egg. Combine flour, salt and baking soda. Mix into shortening mixture until just blended. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by rounded measuring tablespoonfuls 3 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheet.

Bake 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies, or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies. Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet on a cooling rack. Remove cookies to rack to cool completely.

I omitted the nuts that the recipe says are optional. I think nuts in cookies are an abomination, so I can’t even write it into the recipe as optional. But what you will enjoy instead is that WHOLE 12 ounce bag of chocolate chips in your cookies. Also, if you opt for the chewier cookie, I suggest letting them cool on the baking sheet for the 2 minutes as suggested, then removing them to a sheet of foil placed on the counter. This will ensure your chewy cookie doesn’t fall through the cooling rack. Enjoy!



Weight Watcher's Cobb Salad


This All-Tossed-Together Cobb Salad is from the Weight Watcher's One Pot Cookbook. My whole family will eat this salad, which really says something to how good it is!

All-Tossed-Together Cobb Salad

2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
¼ teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1 small head romaine lettuce, thinly sliced
2 cups shredded cooked skinless chicken breast
1 large tomato, seeded and chopped
1 small Hass avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and cut into ½-inch dice
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 hard-cooked large egg whites, chopped
¼ cup crumbled reduced-fat blue cheese
2 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

To make dressing, whisk together vinegar, oil, salt, and pepper in serving bowl.
Add all ingredients except blue cheese and parsley to dressing; toss until mixed well. Serve sprinkled with cheese and parsley.

Serving size is 2 cups. Weight Watchers Points Plus = 7

Sunset from my Backyard

I love that I can see the broad expanse of the sky from my house now - no more being surrounded by tall trees that block my view. This was a sunset a few nights ago. I under exposed it to make the sun not so harsh.

Crescent Moon

I had the opportunity to see this beautiful sky from my house the other night. The crescent moon was so clear and then a plane flew through my shot leaving that lovely light trail. I took many shots, and in all of them, there is that creepy second moon artifact - not sure why it's there, but it makes the picture even more interesting. I love the light from the sunset on the clouds. It's hard to believe, but I took this picture at 10:30 at night. This is straight-out-of-the camera.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Cheese, Beef & Noodle Casserole




This is a scrumptious, easy-to-make dinner. Seriously, I was able to make it while listening to my five-year old read aloud from his Aliens book, while my three-year old squirted water all over the kitchen with the kitchen faucet hose, and while I talked on the phone.

My tips are to add some salt to the ground beef as you cook it. It seems quite a few of the Weight Watcher recipes don’t call for any salt. Also, this really isn’t a one-pot meal. The recipe calls for hot cooked penne. How do you get hot cooked penne without cooking it in a pot? Another thing - the recipe calls for a flameproof casserole dish. Raise your hand if you have one of those (*me not raising my hand*). So, I had to sauté the onions and garlic and brown the ground beef in a nonstick skillet then transfer it to my casserole dish. So that makes it a three pot meal, but that’s okay, right? It was worth it.

Cheese, Beef & Noodle Casserole
From Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook

2 teaspoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
¾ pound lean beef (7% fat or less)
4 cups hot cooked whole wheat penne
2 cups fat-free marinara sauce
 ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
¾ cup shredded reduced-fat Monterey Jack cheese

Preheat oven to 375F.

Heat oil in 2-quart flameproof casserole dish over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, and pepper flakes; cook, stirring, until onion is softened, about 5 minutes. Add beef and cook, breaking it apart with spoon, until browned, about 10 minutes.

Stir penne, marinara sauce, ½ cup of Monterey Jack, and the parsley into beef mixture and spread evenly; sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese. Transfer casserole to oven and bake until cheese is melted and filling is bubbly around edge, about 20 minutes.

Points Plus value = 7 points for 1 cup serving. Makes 6 servings.
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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Spinach and Provolone-Stuffed Chicken



Spinach and Provolone-Stuffed Chicken
(from the Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook)

4 (1/4-pound) chicken cutlets
¼ teaspoon black pepper
4 very thin slices prosciutto
1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 slices reduced-fat provolone cheese, each cut in half
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can reduced-sodium chicken broth
1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley

Place chicken cutlets between two pieces of plastic wrap and pound to even thickness with meat mallet or bottom of small heavy saucepan.
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Sprinkle chicken with pepper. Place 1 slice of prosciutto on top of each cutlet. Spread spinach evenly over prosciutto and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan. Top each cutlet with ½ slice of provolone. Roll up up each chicken cutlet starting at tapered end. Secure each roll with toothpick.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken rolls and cook until golden brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. Add broth and cook, scraping up browned bits from bottom of skillet with wooden spoon. Bring to boil; reduce heat and simmer, covered, until chicken is cooked through, about 10 minutes longer.

Transfer chick to platter and keep warm. Increase heat under skillet to high and cook until pan liquid is syrupy, about 5 minutes.  Pour over chicken and sprinkle with parsley.

Tips: don’t use colored toothpicks to secure the rolled-up chicken; the color will transfer and you’ll have red or blue chicken. Also, I found the prosciutto to be very hard to separate since the slices were so thin – I say just work with it and if it tears, don’t worry about it. Also, very important: my syrupy sauce took longer than 5 more minutes of cooking, and I left it unattended for a minute and it burned! Don’t do this. Stick with it and you’ll get a good sauce. Notice, there is no sauce in my picture.

I served my stuffed chicken with a garden Rotini tossed with browned butter and sea salt. Enjoy!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli and Bacon




Spaghetti Carbonara with Broccoli and Bacon from Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook

 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped broccoli, thawed and gently squeezed dry
¾ cup low-fat (1%) milk
½ grated Parmesan cheese
1 large egg, lightly beaten
¼ cup fat-free egg substitute
1 Tablespoon olive oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
3 slices turkey bacon, chopped
¼ cup dry vermouth or dry white wine
4 cups hot cooked whole wheat spaghetti
1 Tablespoon chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Mix together broccoli, milk, Parmesan, egg and egg substitute in medium bowl.

Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until light golden, about 2 minutes. Add bacon and cook, stirring, until crisp, about 4 minutes. Add vermouth and cook until it is almost evaporated, about 30 seconds longer.

Reduce heat to medium-low. Add spaghetti and broccoli mixture to skillet; cook, tossing constantly, until eggs are cooked through and mixture is creamy, about 3 minutes. Remove skillet from heat; sprinkle with parsley and pepper; toss to mix well.

9 Points Plus per serving (about 1½ cups)

My tips: this recipe does not call for any added salt and I think it desperately needed it, so I say add salt to taste. Also, I forgot to buy egg substitute from the store, so I just used two whole eggs total. Also make sure to cook the spaghetti at the beginning of the recipe.


Sunday, June 3, 2012

Shane's Last Stand

Shane's Last Stand is the e-short before the first book of Suzanne Brockmann's new Fighting Destiny series. It gives the back story of Shane Laughlin, the star of Born to Darkness. It's really short and reads like a preface for Born to Darkness. I had a little trouble keeping track of the secondary characters, the other SEALs on Shane's team, since the story is so short. I can't say I learned anything dramatically new and you definitely don't need to read it before you read Born to Darkness.

Harvard's Education by Suzanne Brockmann

Harvard's Education is one of two books in Tall, Dark and Devastating, a reissue of Brockmann's Tall, Dark and Dangerous series. I had read the 10 books in this, one of my favorite series before, but I just found out today that there's an 11th book! I get my copy on Wednesday. This weekend, I found myself without a book to read, so I enjoyed reading Harvard's Education again.

Taylor's Temptation by Suzanne Brockmann

This reissue of Suzanne Brockmann's Tall, Dark and Dangerous series contains two books: Get Lucky and Taylor's Temptation. I've read both books before, but decided to re-read Taylor's Temptation and I really enjoyed it even the second time around.

Sunrise Point by Robyn Carr

Sunrise Point is book number 19 in Robyn Carr's Virgin River series. I love this series, but this book wasn't my favorite, but that's not to say I didn't enjoy it. I love visiting Virgin River.

Redwood Bend by Robyn Carr

Another winner by one of my favorite authors. I love this Virgin River series and I hope Carr never stops writing.

Weight Watchers One Pot Cookbook

I was lucky enough to get this book for three weeks from the library and I made a long list of dishes I want to make. Looks like lots of good recipes in this book. I've already tried the All Tossed Together Cobb Salad and the Cellophane Noodle and Shrimp Salad which were both really good. Now I'm off to get my act together so I can start taking pictures of some of these dishes.

Loving by Karen Kingsbury

Loving is the fourth and final book in Karen Kingsbury's Bailey Flanigan series and it didn't disappoint. I really enjoyed watching Bailey fall in love and marry the right person. Definitely a good read.

Through My Eyes by Tim Tebow and Nathan Whitaker

I've become a Tim Tebow fan!! I LOVED reading his biography and felt inspired as a parent to instill in my children all I can like Tebow's parents did for him. My children and I have started memorizing Bible verses and I've really tried to make every moment a teaching moment. I mentioned that we've moved and until the end of the school year, we spend 80 minutes a day in the car just to get to preschool. I've been inspired by this book to be a better parent and so I've decided to redeem that time we spend in the car and we practice our memory verses. I really want to meet Tim's mom! Definitely a must-read!

Born to Darkness by Suzanne Brockmann

Born to Darkness is the first in Suzanne Brockmann's new futuristic series. There's definitely a grim side to this novel as many of Brockmann's other books have, like in the Troubleshooter series, which I don't like to read, but the characters, the story - it was still addicting. This story also has a gay couple and details about their intimate relationship, which I also don't like to read. I'll still look forward to the next one though. I actually just found out today that there's a short e-story that precedes this first novel called Shane's Destiny, so I'm off to read that now.

Barefoot Season by Susan Mallery

I won't go into a summary of these books I'm about to share with you, but I will tell you that this is the first book in Susan Mallery's Blackberry Island series. It's a little different than her other books which are really based on the romance. This one is based on female friendship with a little romance thrown in as well. I really liked this book and can't wait to read the next book in the series. The characters were well-developed and interesting. A very good read!

I'm Back!

I've spent the past two months (okay three months!) moving out of my old house, turning it into a rental, living with in-laws for two weeks and now we're in our beautiful new home. I'm ready to cook and take pictures again! But, I haven't stopped reading, so I'm going to share with you the books that have gotten me through this big transition.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Monster Cookies - Gluten Free

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Monster Cookies have everything my heart desires. Peanut butter? Check. Mini M & Ms? Check. Mini Chocolate Chips? Check. Yep, it's a match made in heaven.

I slightly adapted this recipe which was given to me by my husband's Great Aunt Betty. She made these cookies for a get-together and when I said I couldn't have them because I can't eat gluten, she surprised me by saying they have no flour in them. So I helped myself to the cookies and the rest is history. Note: if you have to strictly avoid gluten, make sure to use gluten-free oats.

1 stick butter, softened
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ teaspoon vanilla
¼ teaspoon light corn syrup
1 teaspoon baking soda
¾ cup peanut butter
2 ¼ cups old fashioned oats
1 cup mini chocolate chips
1 cup mini M & Ms

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream butter and sugars
  3. Add egg, vanilla, corn syrup, baking soda, and peanut butter
  4. Mix well until smooth
  5. Add oats
  6. Mix well, scraping side of bowl
  7. Add chocolate chips
  8. Mix again
  9. Add M & Ms
  10. Mix
  11. Drop batter by rounded tablespoonful onto ungreased cookie sheet. (I like to use a baking mat or a cookie sheet lined with parchment.)
  12. Bake until edges are golden brown, about 10-12 minutes
  13. Let cool on cookie sheets about 3 minutes before removing to cooling racks. 
Makes about 60 cookies (depending on how much of the dough you eat!)

Books: Hidden Summit by Robyn Carr

Robyn Carr is my most favorite author of all. She has interesting and believable main characters, good story lines, and fascinating secondary characters as well. Even the fictitious town of Virgin River, California seems to have become a character throughout the 17 books based there. Hidden Summit is book #17 in her Virgin River series. I can't believe I've read 17 books in her Virgin River series, and I still feel like I can't get enough. (Don't ever stop writing Robyn!). Well, if you couldn't tell, I really enjoyed Hidden Summit. The conflict in the story surrounds the circumstances the couple is in rather than the conflict coming from poor decisions one of the main characters has made and that's the way I like it. If you haven't read any of Carr's books, I suggest starting with the first book in the Virgin River series, Virgin River.

Books: Longing by Karen Kingsbury

I've finished Karen Kingbury's third book in the Bailey Flanigan series, Longing, a week or so ago. I really enjoy Kingsbury's writing and have read almost all of her books (oddly enough, the one I couldn't finish was Dandelion Dust which was made into a movie!). But enough of that. The big question in the Bailey Flanigan series is which man will she choose? Her first crush-turned love who suddenly started ignoring her a year ago? Or the man who loves her and pursues her now? My vote is for the currently man, Brandon Paul. I was very pleased with how the third book played out and I hope Kingsbury doesn't change up things for the fourth book (meaning I hope she doesn't have Bailey switch which guy she chooses). This book actually had me shedding a tear or two (which just does not happen for me when I read books. I felt very cliche when I realized my eyes were misting up, but there is a certain sad scene that warrants tears.) 

One of Kingsbury's amazing ideas is to have the main characters of her book, Bailey, Brandon, and Cody have a Facebook page. You can like them and see their updates. Kingsbury has movie trailers for her books as well and her daughter acts in the role of Bailey. You know when you read a fiction book and it really feels like the characters seem so alive to you? Well, having the fictional characters have their own Facebook page really makes the characters come to life. All of Kingsbury's books are good, inspirational reads.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Chocolate Cookies with Dipping Bar

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I love Ree Drummond, the Pioneer Woman. I've been reading her blog since 2007 and I love watching her show on the Food Network. I think I've made something from every episode of season 2 so far. These Chocolate Cookies are from this past Saturday's chocolate episode. I thought these cookies would be perfect for my son's preschool Valentine's party. These cookies are easy to make and they are delish!
Ingredients:
2 sticks salted butter, slightly softened
1 cup powdered sugar
1 whole egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces white almond bark (4 squares)
4 ounces chocolate almond bark (4 squares)
Dipping Bar:
Pistachios, finely chopped
Chocolate covered candy, such as M and M's, chopped
Chocolate covered toffee bars, such as Skor Toffee Bars, chopped
Chocolate sprinkles
Other variations: different candy bars, chopped; different varieties of sprinkles; different chopped nuts
Directions:
For the cookies: Cream the butter with the powdered sugar. Add the egg and vanilla and mix to combine. Add the flour, cocoa powder and salt, and mix together until the dough comes together. Place plastic wrap on the surface of the dough and refrigerate for 2 hours.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line baking sheets with baking mats or parchment.

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Roll out the cookie dough and cut out the cookies using a cookie cutter, re-rolling the scraps in order to use as much of the dough as possible. Place the cookies onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake for 7 to 9 minutes, in batches if necessary, being careful not to burn. Cookies will remain the same general size and shape after they bake.

Remove from the oven and place the cookies on a cooling rack. Allow them to cool completely.
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Melt the almond barks in separate bowls in the microwave. Stir and continue heating at 30 minute intervals until smooth. Dip half of each cookie into the white almond bark and half into the chocolate bark.
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Immediately sprinkle or press toppings from the Dipping Bar over both sides of the cookies.
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Gently set on parchment paper or another nonstick surface and allow to cool before serving.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

French Toast with Strawberry Compound Butter

 

French Toast with Strawberry Compound Butter 
Ingredients:
Bread (we use Sourdough, French, or this time I bought a loaf of actual French Toast bread)
Milk
Egg(s)
Cinnamon
Nutmeg
Vanilla Extract
Butter

For every 2 slices of bread, use 1 egg and 1/8 cup milk. For example, if you want eight slices of French Toast, use 4 eggs and ½ cup milk.

Put the milk and egg in a shallow dish like a pie pan. Whisk together. Add cinnamon and nutmeg to taste and about ½ teaspoon vanilla extract. Whisk together.

Melt about 1 Tablespoon butter on a hot griddle (I heat mine to 400 degrees) or a skillet on medium. Dip both sides of each slice of bread in the egg mixture and place on griddle. Cook for about 3 minutes on each side or until done. Serve hot and enjoy!

Strawberry Compound Butter
I saw Pioneer Woman make a blackberry compound butter on her show a few weeks back and it looked delicious and easy, but there was no recipe for it on the Food Network. So here I have typed up my version of her compound butter. My friend Sheree came over and we made compound butter together, isn’t it fun to cook with friends? We split what we made, but I think next time, I’m going to make a lot more because it’s so good.

Ingredients:
2 sticks of salted butter, softened
5 or 6 fresh strawberries

Wash strawberries well and pat dry. Remove stems. Cut strawberries into small pieces.

Put the butter into the bowl of a stand mixer. Using the whisk attachment, whip the butter until its creamy. Remove whisk attachment, and put on the paddle attachment. Add the strawberries and gently mix them together (mixer should be on lowest setting).

Place a sheet of foil (about a foot long) on the counter, then put the same amount of plastic wrap on top of it. Put half the strawberry butter on the plastic wrap and form into a log. Roll the plastic wrap around it (like a tootsie roll). Then wrap the foil around it (like a tootsie roll). Store in the freezer. When you’re ready to use it, take it out, slice it and let it sit out for about ten minutes, then enjoy! This would be good on toast, pancakes, French toast, etc.

Books: A Home By the Sea

I chose this book because I used to love reading Christina Skye's books and I haven't read one in a while. This one was sadly disappointing. I really liked the two main characters and I loved the family of the male interest (I can't even remember his name!). But half way through the book, the main character moves across the country and we're introduce to a whole new set of secondary characters and we never hear from the lovely family again. The introduction of these new secondary characters and a second setting made the book boring. I had force myself to finish it. Very disappointing.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

Salmon and Spinach Salad

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I've posted about this recipe before, but it's so pretty and delicious I have to do it again. My kids liked the salmon as well. My 5 year-old said, "This SPAM is good!"

This time I've cooked the salmon in a skillet because it's winter and I don't want to BBQ outside like the original recipe suggests. It was just as good. It was also good to see my picture from almost 2 years ago compared to the one from today. I think I've improved!

Salmon and Spinach Salad
Vinaigrette:
¼ cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ teaspoon honey mustard
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 garlic clove, minced
Salad:
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
4 (6-ounce) salmon fillets (about 1 inch thick)
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 Tablespoon butter
1 (6-ounce) package fresh spinach
4 oranges, each peeled and cut into 6 slices

1. To prepare vinaigrette, combine first 7 ingredients in a large bowl; stir well with a whisk.
2. Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Drizzle lemon juice over fillets, sprinkle with 2 teaspoons pepper. Cook salmon until done about 5 minutes each side or until fish flakes easily when tested with a fork or until desired degree of doneness. (I used fillets with no skin.)  
4. Add spinach to vinaigrette in bowl; toss well. Place 2 cups spinach mixture on each of 4 serving plates; arrange 1 fillet and 6 orange slices on top of greens. Yield: 4 servings
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