Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds Part 2

I went ahead and made some pumpkin seeds this afternoon. I made this recipe with a few modifications. I don't have any chipotle and my grinder broke so I didn't add any pepper. Also, I added in about 1/2 a teaspoon of chili powder. I cooked them for about 10 minutes longer than the recipe called for, but that's because I am easily distracted. They turned out wonderfully. I had made them with butter last year and as tasty as they were, they were too rich. I like the salty, sweet and savory combination that these have. I am actually tempted to buy a pumpkin just for the seeds!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Pumpkin Seeds

There a lots and lots of recipes out there for pumpkin seeds. I have yet to find one that I am in love with, but we are carving up pumpkins tomorrow so I will have lots of seeds to experiment with! I'm linking up recipes that I think look promising. If you have a recipe that you love link it up, or if you try one of the following recipes let me know what you think.

Roasted Seeds (plain)

Spiced Seeds

Gourmet Seeds

Two types, spicy or sweet

Sweet Seeds

*image via fabulousfoods*

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Evil Cupcakes!

In the spirit of Halloween, check out this book. So neato!

*image via cakehead loves evil*

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Blueberry-Banana Pancakes 2

I finally got around to making these. Let me just say, SO YUMMY! I skipped putting the blueberries in because we didn't have any on hand. I did find that putting the banana in the freezer for 10 minutes made slicing the banana super easy. Everyone liked them. I took some of the random pieces of banana that I had left over and threw them in the pan with some butter after I had cooked all the pancakes. I stirred them in the pan until the bananas were slightly browned and used it to top some pancakes that I didn't put a banana in. I think that next time I will just do that instead of placing the bananas into the pancakes. I think the bananas tasted better that way. I have to admit that these were by far the best tasting pancakes I have ever made.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Meal Plan

It's Monday and that means time for a meal plan. The menu is vegetarian friendly, meaning, if there is meat, there is another option. I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at

Monday- Burritos and salad
Tuesday- Grilled sandwiches (ham, cheese, lettuce etc.)
Wednesday- Garlic Tilapia (skipped from last week) with Pasta and Baked Broccoli
Thursday- Chickpea Curry (if it comes out great I'll post the recipe later) and Samosas (from the freezer)
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Eat Out
Sunday- Halloween (probably fast food)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Hot Chocolate Part 2

I got to thinking about all the ways you can modify hot chocolate and personalize it. I decided to list all the different add in ideas that I have come across.

Grown Up Versions: Add in Kahlua, Vanilla Vodka, or Irish Cream

Top it: Roasted marshmallow, flavored whip cream, any type of sprinkles

Add extracts: ½ teaspoon of maple, orange, or almond after you remove the cocoa from the heat

Spice it up: with 1 teaspoon of cinnamon, chili powder or pumpkin pie spice to the cocoa powder

Add in some coffee to make a lovely mocha!

Mix ins:


Butterscotch Chips


Chocolate shavings

Creamy Peanut Butter or Nutella

Mix in crushed candy: peanut butter cups, Butterfinger, toffee, Red hots, peppermints

Marshmallow Creme

Ice cream

Flavored syrups

Fun Stir Sticks:

Candy Cane

Cinnamon Stick

Chocolate coated spoons

How do you do your hot chocolate? I'm a sucker for all things chocolate and peppermint. You could make this for a holiday party and have a hot chocolate bar.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Hot Chocolate

It was rainy today. I thought it might inspire me to make soup, but instead I was sidetracked by Hot Chocolate! I keep the packet, instant stuff on hand, but the best is making it from scratch. Every year, around the holidays, I end up making the following recipe several times. I like to top it with whip cream and festive sprinkles. Or add in a shot of Irish Cream and make it a grown up hot chocolate.

Hot Chocolate
½  cup sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa
dash salt
1/3 cup hot water
4 cups milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Combine sugar, cocoa and salt in 6-quart saucepan; gradually add water. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture boils. Boil and stir 2 minutes. Add milk. Heat to serving temperature, stirring frequently. Do not boil. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Serve hot.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Smoky Paprika

I have smoky paprika amongst my spices. We bought it after searching several stores, and used it to make Smoky Split Pea Soup and it really shined in that soup. Now I see it, and yes, sometimes I open it and smell it because I am weird. And I think to myself, there HAS to be another use for this. Today I was reading about making deviled eggs and substituting Greek yogurt for mayonnaise. We always have Greek yogurt on hand. Hmmm... And then it hit me! I always have paprika on my deviled eggs! I put directions, just in case someone doesn't already know how to make deviled eggs. I found another recipe that added in sun dried tomatoes and had fried shallots on top, but I know I won't be doing that any time soon, so here is what I think would work.
Smoky Deviled Eggs

6 eggs, hard boiled and peeled
1 cup Greek yogurt
1 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/4 teaspoon salt

Slice the eggs in half and scoop out the yolks into a bowl. Set the whites aside. Smash the yolks with the back of a fork. Add the Greek yogurt and stir until well combined. Add smoked paprika and salt. Put the filling into the eggs and EAT!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Pumpkin Dip

Pumpkin Dip. Served with ginger snaps and tart green apples. So yummy. And seriously easy. The recipe is forgiving. As in, I didn't put in the pie spice and added in vanilla. I sorta just mixed it all together. Well, actually kiddo did the mixing. It was fun. I used whipped cream cheese instead a regular block that needed to be softened. I also sifted the powdered sugar, but it might have been overkill. It was such a hit with my boy and the kiddo that I plan on making it for the next family get together. And I plan on putting the finished dip into a sugar pumpkin for a festive presentation.

Pumpkin Dip

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
2 cups confectioners' sugar
1 (15 ounce) can solid pack pumpkin
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon pumpkin pie spice
1 teaspoon frozen orange juice concentrate
1 teaspoon vanilla

In a medium bowl, blend cream cheese and confectioners' sugar until smooth. Gradually mix in the pumpkin. Stir in the cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, vanilla and orange juice until smooth and well blended. Chill until serving. 

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

J-E-double hockey sticks-O

I bought a silicon jello mold. It had leaves and pumpkins and I thought it was lovely. I took kiddo to the store and he selected raspberry jello. We also grabbed a container of cool whip because we were doing this up right! I made the jello and the next day as I removed the tray from the refrigerator it hit me. How was I going to get the jello out of the mold? Here are my ideas, in no particular order:
-Butter knife around the edges
-Pressing them out from the back
-Scooping with a spoon
-More swearing
-Placing in warm water
-Smashing them out
-Inverting the tray onto a cookie sheet and banging against the counter

Let's just say we were a chainsaw shy of a jello massacre in my kitchen that night.

The picture above is the lone survivor. There was a nice heap of jello pieces and luckily the kiddo is not picky. And honestly, neither am I. We enjoyed our jello pieces with our cool whip and we were happy! And don't worry, I didn't try to feed any to my vegetarian boy. Because jello is delicious, but not veg friendly. Don't feel bad for him, he had a cupcake.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Reason #88

This place! This site is brimming with recipes that have been illustrated. The artwork is gorgeous fun lovely enchanting amazing and the recipes look delicious. It is a site for sore eyes after combing through tons of recipe sites. (get it? site? heh)

Monday, October 18, 2010

Meal Plan Monday

The menu is vegetarian friendly, meaning, if there is meat, there is another option. I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at

Monday- Pasta Shells, Garlic Bread, Salad

Tuesday- Split Pea Soup, Crusty Rolls

Wednesday- Banana Pancakes, Fresh Fruit

Thursday- Baked Garlic Tilapia, leftover Pasta shells, Baked Broccoli

Friday- Leftovers

Saturday- Dine Out!

Sunday-  Burritos

And here is the grocery list for this meal plan.
Grocery List for October 18, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pea Soup Andersen's Knock Off

So I have spent my day so far searching for a knock off of Pea Soup Andersen's soup. I have found many, many recipes. Some have chicken broth listed in the ingredients list, or even a ham bone, which I found funny since the original is vegetarian. The one below is the one that I think would come the closest to the original. I found several sites referencing the same recipe. And don't forget to serve with bread for dipping or you can really try to recreate the Andersen's experience and have toppings. If I remember correctly, they offer croutons, scallions, shredded cheddar cheese and crumbled bacon.

Andersen's Split Pea Soup

8 cups water
2 cups green split peas
1 rib celery, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1/4 tsp thyme
Dash red pepper sauce
1 bay leaf

Combine water, peas, celery, carrot, onion, thyme, red pepper, and bay leaf in large pot. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Boil vigorously 20 minutes, then reduce heat, cover, and simmer until split peas are tender. Press soup through fine sieve. Or you can remove the bay leaf and puree. Then reheat just to boiling point.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Today I had...

Yeah, I ate that today. As well as the stuff pictured below. First we have a cottage pie, which I consumed at the Renaissance Faire today. It's a pastry filled with beef, carrots, potatoes and onion. It was tasty. I've been trying to find a suitable vegetarian dinner type pie to make at home, but haven't came across a recipe that I've wanted to try. Kiddo wasn't interested once he found out that the pie wasn't sweet. Then we went to Pea Soup Andersen's for dinner. The bowl of soup below is what they are known for, and for good reason. It is lovely. I already have a go to recipe for Split Pea soup, but I can honestly say that this soup is different enough that I plan on spending some time trying to recreate it at home.

The last picture, which is slightly blurry *sorry*, is the roll that was our bread service. I should have thought to cut it open for the picture too, because there were poppy seeds in it. It was an onion roll, with poppy seeds and I think some cheddar cheese on top. Sounds weird, but they were actually pretty good.
Finishing up with a picture of the windmill at Pea Soup Andersen's because I think it is pretty.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Popcorn and other tales

I haven't been posting much this week. We have had a packed schedule and lots of day trips. I keep meaning to take pictures of the yummy food we have been enjoying, but I keep eating it before any pictures can be snapped. Today is my official day off, at home, doing nothing. That includes cooking! The kiddo and I watched 3 movies and went out for lunch. I did, however make the peanut butter popcorn. Let me just say, SO TASTY! It's super easy and impossible to mess up. I think I put more M&Ms than most people would, but I seriously think there should be 1 candy per bite. A note about the recipe, we use organic, all natural peanut butter. That means it's just peanuts and salt. If you use, say JIFF or Skippy, I think that it might be a little sweeter. Below is a picture of the popcorn cooling, before I added the M&Ms. I didn't have wax paper, so I just spread it out on a plastic cutting board. Then I just scooped it into the popcorn boxes that I had impulsed bought from World Market forever ago that I always forget to use. I sorta layered M&Ms and popcorn to try and get an even distribution. Reminds me of when I go to the movies and dump my candy into my popcorn.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Popcorn + Peanut Butter + Chocolate = YUM! An easy snack that kiddo will love.

Pop 1/2 cup of popcorn however you like to pop your popcorn. I use the microwave method. Melt 1/2 cup of peanut butter and 1/2 tablespoon of butter in the microwave and mix together. Pour the peanut butter mixture over the popped popcorn and mix. Then spread on wax paper to cool. Add in the some plain M&M's, the amount is up to you. Then eat until your mouth hurts enjoy! Delicious and easy!

*image via foodgawker*

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

To Build A Better Pancake

I am in a pancake mood! I have found that everyone has a few tips on how to make the best pancakes. Here is a list of the ones that I thought were the most helpful:

Mix all the dry ingredients in one bowl and all the wet in another. Then combine.

Measure your ingredients carefully.

Sift your flour twice.

Gently mix the batter.

Don't overbeat your batter.

There will be lumps, don't worry!

Refridgerate your batter for 30 minutes before using.

Heat the griddle until drops of water dance and evaporate immediately (375 degrees).

A 1/4 cup measuring cup is a good size to use to scoop batter. 

Space the pancakes about 2 inches apart.

Let the pancakes cook until the edges start to look dry and bubbles form on the uncooked surface. Don't move the pancakes before this, because they will just break apart.

NEVER press down on your pancakes with the spatula while they are cooking.

Serve immediately.

If you have to wait to serve, don't stack them! Place them in a single row on a cookie sheet in a 200 degree oven.

*image via google*

Monday, October 11, 2010

Cottage Cheese Pancakes

Here is another idea for pancakes. Cottage Cheese! Now, some people have an aversion for cottage cheese, but I don't. As I scoured the internet for a recipe, I found a lot of variations and had a hard time choosing one. I ended up with the one that follows, and only mostly because the ingredients list wasn't that long AND it calls for sugar and I like my pancakes sweet.

1 cup unbleached flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
4 eggs
1 cup cottage cheese (use whatever % you like,)
1/2 cup milk
2 tbsp canola or veg oil
Cooking spray or Butter or whatever you use to grease a pan

Mix flour, baking soda, salt and sugar together. In a different bowl, whisk together eggs, cottage cheese, milk and oil.  Add in the flour mix and whisk until completely blended.
Grease up your pan over medium heat.  Add around 1/4 cup of batter to the skillet. Flip pancakes once. You want golden brown on both sides. It takes about 5 minutes total.

*image via foster farms*

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Blueberry-Banana Pancakes

So, I have been on a french toast kick for awhile now. I don't think I have found the absolute best way to create it, but I know that I have greatly increased my ability to make it. And despite the fact that My Boy wouldn't mind french toast every week, I have to admit to a wandering eye. And after seeing the lovely pancakes pictured above on Food & Wine, I can't resist. I think my favorite part is the banana cut lengthwise and placed into the pancake. We have a rather busy and mixed up schedule coming up next week, so I might dish these up for dinner at some point. We usually have everything needed on hand except for the buttermilk. I think I might even sprinkle some chopped pecans over it. And a little tip, freeze your bananas for about 10 minutes prior to slicing.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
2 cups buttermilk
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3/4 cup blueberries
2 bananas, sliced lengthwise 2/3 inch thick and cut to fit the pancakes
Confectioners' sugar and pure maple syrup, for serving

   1. In a small bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a medium bowl, beat the eggs with the buttermilk. Quickly stir in the flour mixture, then stir in the melted butter and blueberries.
   2. Heat a griddle or a large nonstick skillet over moderately low heat and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Ladle 1/4 cup of the batter per pancake onto the griddle, leaving room for the pancakes to spread. Gently lay one banana slice in the center of each pancake and cook until bubbles appear on the surface, 3 to 4 minutes. Flip the pancakes and cook until golden brown on the second side, 2 to 3 minutes longer. Generously dust the blueberry-banana pancakes with confectioners' sugar and serve with maple syrup.

*image and recipe via Food&Wine*

Friday, October 8, 2010


In my first meal plan I had linked a recipe for stuffed pasta shells. Super delicious! Also, we doubled up the recipe, filled all the shells, and then placed them on a cookie sheet. We placed them so that none of them were touching and stuck them in the freezer. After they were frozen, I placed them in bags and popped them back into the freezer. Next time we want them, just pull out how many we want, place in a dish, cover with sauce and bake for about 30 minutes at 350 degrees. We ended up with 50 stuffed shells. That means we stuffed 50 shells. I wish I had known of, or thought of, this hack before we started.

All you have to do is place the filling in a pastry bag or a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. You can then fill the shells with ease and little mess! Neato huh?

Ah well, next time I suppose.

*image via*

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

What's Cooking Wednesday

I was invited to participate in the What's Cooking Wednesday over at The King's Court IV. I linked up the Smoky Split Pea recipe that I posted the other day. Head on over to their site, they have a few recipes that look tasty! I think I'm going to try to link up there weekly, and it's another resource to find recipes!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


This frosting is one that you cook!! I was a little worried about it, but I had to try it. Also, you get to use a hand mixer, which I happen to LOVE to use. It's very zen for me. AND I think it's yummy.

5 tablespoons flour
1 cup milk

2 sticks of butter
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla

Whisk together the flour and milk in a small saucepan, over medium heat. Keep whisking until it thickens. Allow this to cool to room temperature. It has to cool first! If you need to, put the pan over ice in the sink to speed things along. While waiting for the mixture to cool, cream the butter and sugar together. Add in the vanilla. Then add in the COOLED milk/flour mixture. Using a mixer beat until the consistency of whipped cream.

Everyone loves this frosting. I wonder if it's all the butter?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Meal Plan

Last week’s menu worked out quite well! The tilapia was a hit and was requested again this week. The menu is vegetarian friendly, meaning, if there is meat, there is another option. I will post the recipe for the quesadillas tomorrow. I'm linking this up to Menu Plan Monday over at

Monday- Tilapia, Pasta, Salad
Tuesday- Lentil Sloppy Joes on Thin Buns
Wednesday- Chicken or Black Bean Quesadillas, Broccoli
Thursday- Smoky Split Pea Soup with Crusty Bread
Friday- Leftovers
Saturday- Eat Out
Sunday- Bean and Cheese Burritos, Salad

And here is the grocery list for this week.
 Grocery List October 3, 2010

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Smoky Split Pea Soup

I love this recipe! We have made it several times. I came across it in a Vegetarian Times magazine. It freezes quite well too, so we usually make a double batch. I like to take it to work for an easy, filling, lunch. The recipe below is from Vegetarian Times.

Smoky Split Pea Soup

1 cup green split peas
2 Tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. smoked paprika
1 tsp. chopped chipotle chile, canned in adobo sauce
1 large sweet potato, peeled and diced (3 cups)
2 medium onions, diced (3 cups)
3 ribs celery, diced (1 cup)
4 cloves garlic, minced (4 tsp.)
1 14-oz. can diced tomatoes

1. Soak split peas in large bowl of cold water overnight.
2. Heat oil in 3-qt. saucepan over medium heat. Add paprika and chipotle, and stir. Add sweet potato, onions, and celery, and season with salt and pepper, if desired. Cover, and cook 10 minutes, or until onions are soft and translucent. Add garlic, and sauté 2 minutes.
3. Drain split peas, and add to pot with 6 cups water. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 1 hour. Add tomatoes, and cook 30 minutes more, or until split peas are tender. 

*image via vegetariantimes*

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Lentil Sloppy Joes

After several failed attempts to make a vegetarian version of Sloppy Joes, we tried the recipe that follows. I have come to the decision that there isn't a version that can replace the traditional hamburger sloppy joes. We did, however, find a yummy recipe that we all love. The recipe is good for you and is made in a crock pot. It's super easy too! Use whatever type of lentil you like, we used red since that's what we had on hand.

Lentil Sloppy Joes

1 tbsp oil
1 chopped onion
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp oregano leaves
1/2 tsp salt
black pepper to taste
1/2 cup ketchup
1/4 cup water
1 tbsp vinegar
1 tbsp brown sugar
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2cups cooked lentils

Heat the oil, add onion and celery and cook until soft, about 5 minutes.
Add garlic, oregano, salt, pepper, cook 1 minute.
Stir in ketchup, water, vinegar, brown sugar, mustard.
Transfer to slow cooker and add lentils. Stir well.
Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3.