18 December 2012

A "GREEN" Christmas

 I have been hording greeting cards for a few years now.  I just didn't have the heart to put them in recycling and I think that some of them probably shouldn't be recycled because of the establishments on them.  This fall, while I was organizing the craft room, my daughter and I started prepping them for crafts by cutting the parts that were written on off and at least recycling those.

So, I am wrapping today and realize that I don't have any stickers but I remember the cards.  So I decided to make gift tags out of some of them.
I was extremely easy.  Just cut to size and punch a hole.  Some of them I threaded ribbon through and taped the ribbon to the gift but for bags I just untied the handle and threaded the handle through.  

29 November 2012

Mushroom Arugula Quiche with Hash-brown Crust

I have been feeling very sluggish lately.  Also very disappointed in myself as I have gained 10 lbs back from when I did the 17 Day Diet.  My husband did also.  We are both trying to get back on track.  We are going to start it again after the holidays.  In the mean time, I am still trying to cook healthier.  I made this quiche this morning and it was fabulous.

Mushroom Arugula Quiche with Hash-brown Crust
1 Carton of Costco Hash-browns soaked according to directions on package
1 tbsp melted butter
1 Carton of Egg Whites  (16 oz)
1 1/4 cup of Kraft Fat Free Mozzarella 
1/2 cup of 2% milk
1 tbsp all purpose flour
1/8 to 1/4 cup of chopped or sliced baby bella mushrooms or white button mushrooms
1 small bunch of green onion chopped
1 tbsp of fresh chives chopped
1 tbsp of dried Tarragon
1 tbsp of dried Chervil
salt and pepper to taste
1 handful (about 1 cup) of baby arugula
Preheat oven to 450°

Soak hash-browns according to package directions.  Line a tart dish with parchment paper or butter or oil dish so quiche will not stick.  Toss hash-browns with melted butter in a bowl, pour into lined tart dish and press into bottom and up sides of dish.  Bake in oven for about 30 to 35 minutes or until hash-browns start to brown on top

Meanwhile, mix together egg whites and milk.  In a small nonstick pan saute mushrooms for 3 to 5 minutes on medium heat, remove from heat and add green onions and chives to the pan and toss.  In a small bowl,  toss cheese with flour.  Stir mushroom mix into eggs, stir cheese mix into eggs, stir in Tarragon and Chervil, salt and pepper to taste.

When hash-browns are done, remove from oven and spread arugula over hash-browns  pour egg mixture on top.  Reduce oven temp to 325°, place quiche in oven and bake 30-40 minutes until a knife comes out clean.  Let sit for 10 minutes. only 176 calories each.  Serves 6.   Enjoy!!  °

19 November 2012

New projects

I have been slacking on blogging because I am working on some house projects and items for my Etsy store.  

for my living room

also for living room

I am really happy with how these turned out.  I will be making more in the future to sell.  They were pretty easy.  I used scrap materials.  The embroidery on the black and grey was from a sweatshirt I purchased at Goodwill.  The brown background is an old short of my daughters.  Frames were purchased at a discount reseller.

I also just added numerous items to my Etsy store. BVMFeltworks .

17 August 2012

Chocolate, Chocolate, Chocolate: Chili and zucchini bread!

I think I have a problem.  I have been having chocolate cravings so badly that I have been trying to find different ways to incorporate it into recipes.  From my previous post  on Chocolate Balsamic Cherries, you know that I recently discovered Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar from The Olive Mill.  I have been racking my brain trying to think want else I could use it in and I remembered that chocolate is used in Mexican cooking.  I tried it in chili last night and it was the best chili I have ever made: slightly spicy with a soft chocolate aroma.  You can't taste the chocolate but it balances the other flavors nicely.

Chocolate Chili

2 15 oz cans of black beans
1 15 oz can of pinto beans
1 14.5 oz can of diced tomatoes
1 28 oz can of crushed tomatoes
1 package of extra lean ground turkey (I used Jennie-O and I think it was around 1 1/3 lbs)
1 medium to large yellow onion-diced
2 bell peppers seeded and diced
1 Anaheim pepper seeded and diced (the one I used was very mild)
Extra virgin olive oil
3 tbsp of chocolate balsamic vinegar
2 tbsp Chili Powder
1/4 tsp - 1 tsp of Cayenne pepper
1 tsp of cinnamon
1 pinch of ground clove

2 tbsp of minced garlic  
1 tbsp of Better Than Bullion Chicken  ( it about 1/2 the price at Meijer than on Amazon)

1 tbsp of fresh basil
1 tbsp of fresh marjoram
1/2 disc of Taza Salt and Pepper Stone Ground Mexican Chocolate 

Rinse and drain you beans, I learned that this greatly reduces the flatulence factor! While they are draining, cover the bottom of a heavy pot with extra virgin olive oil and heat on medium heat.  Add onion, reduce to low heat, and cook until they are translucent.  Add the garlic and cook another couple of minutes being careful not to burn the garlic.  Add the turkey and raise heat to medium and brown turkey.  Add vinegar to deglaze the pot.  Then add all of the peppers, tomatoes, and drained beans.  Stir in chili powder, cayenne, cinnamon, clove and chicken bullion.  Bring to a boil and reduce heat to low but so it stays at a simmer.  Simmer for 50 minutes.  Then add the basil, marjoram, and Taza chocolate and simmer for 5 more minutes.  Serve with cornbread.

I also found this wonderful chocolate zucchini bread recipe from Barbara Bakes .  I love this recipe because it also uses Greek yogurt!  I am helping my best friend out with her garden while she is on vacation and harvested 3 of the biggest zucchini I have ever seen (one was about 2 feet long).  So I grated all of it, froze some, and then baked like crazy!  The first batch I wasn't paying close attention and think I only put in one cup of flour.(side note:  this is one of the reasons I mainly cook instead of bake, I have a hard time following recipes because I to measure things)  This was the larger loaves seen here.  They are still yummy but are more like brownies.  The second batch I added a 1/2 cup of chopped dried cherries and made the mini loaves and the mini muffins.  I can't eating them so good thing I made so many.

09 August 2012

Chocolate Balsamic Cherries

Saugatuck, Michigan is one of my favorite lake-shore towns. I am fortunate enough that one of my best friends lives not to far from there and is kind enough to host, what is becoming an annual, girls weekend.  This involves a lot of relaxing, beach, great food, and of course shopping in downtown Saugatuck.   My favorite stores are Spice Merchants (where I actually found Chevril!), The Butler Pantry (cute aprons and any kitchen gadget you can dream of), and The Olive Mill.  At The Olive Mill, I found the most amazing smelling and tasting Chocolate Balsamic Vinegar.

When I got home, I had some Michigan sweet cherries that were on the verge of turning and I wasn't sure what to do with them. I found this recipe on  nomnivorous.com and adjusted it by using the 3 tbsp of the Chocolate Balsamic that I bought.

I let them sit in the refrigerator for a couple of days.  This morning I was getting my plain fat free yogurt out for breakfast and decided to try the cherries.  One of my favorite treats are chocolate covered cherries, thanks to my father who also loves them!  The aroma when I opened these made my mouth water.  They are sweet but not overly and have a fabulous chocolate aftertaste.  I am heading to the farmer's market this afternoon and will be making a big batch.

01 August 2012

Stone Fruit Salad

 I have been trying to incorporate more fresh fruit into our family's diet.  So I stocked up this week.    I have been wanting to try balsamic vinegar and basil with fruit for awhile.  I threw this together tonight and was amazed that I have never tried it before.  The smooth oaky acidity of the balsamic balances the sweetness of the fruit and had my taste-buds jumping for joy.   Always one to experiment new flavors, I decided to top some plain fat free yogurt with the salad and sprinkle that with some chopped walnuts.  It is everything I can do not to run back in the kitchen for another bowl.  This recipe comes with a warning label:  you might not be able to stop eating the whole bowl so you should take precautions and make a double batch!
P.S.  This was so good I ate it before I remembered that I didn't take a photo.  I will have to do that tomorrow, if there is any left.

Stone Fruit Salad

This is what I used but you could use any combination that you want.
1 peach
1 white flesh peach
2 apricots
1 midnight plum 
1 mango
1 cup of sweet dark cherries, pitted and halved
1 gala apple (I know it is not a stone fruit.)
one handful of fresh basil chiffonade
4 tsbp of really good balsamic vinegar.  I used Old World Press 18 Year Traditional
drizzle of really good extra virgin olive oil

Mix together in a bowl and toss.

Great by itself or scoop a cup over one cup of plain fat free yogurt, sprinkle with walnuts, and drizzle with EVOO and vinegar.  ENJOY!

12 March 2012

Eggs baked in muffin tins and an Eggs Benedict Alternative

I love Pinterest and found that you can baked eggs in muffin tins on there.  It is so easy to do.  You can use either cooked bacon, slices of ham, or opt for no meat.  I chose ham.  

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  I have a 6 muffin tin which I sprayed with olive oil.  I lined each one with two pieces of lean ham.  Crack an eggs into each.  Baked for 15 minutes and then sprinkle with cheese if you would like and return to the oven until the tops are set.  If you like yours eggs yolks runny, this might not be the best option.  I took them out as soon as they whites on the top were set and the yolks had also set.
  I did these for my daughter with cheddar.

I love Eggs Benedict but Hollendaise sauce is so high calorie.  As an alternative I made these.  When I baked the eggs, I sprinkled with thyme and did not add cheese.  I toasted 100 calorie light English muffins, put them on a plate cut side up, line with spinach, plave backed egg and ham on top and then drizzle with 1/4 cup of warm Classico brand light Creamy Alfredo per plate.  This recipe ends up being less than 400 calories total.

4 slices of Kirkland lean ham = 70 calories
1 English Muffin = 100 Calories
Spinach= less than 5 calories
2 organic brown eggs = 140 calories
Classico Light Creamy Alfredo Sauce= 60 Calories
Total= 375 Calories!!!

20 January 2012

Back on The 17 Day Diet--Carrot Ginger Soup with Chicken

We I gained 12 lbs over the holidays because I did not stay with Cycle 4 and now I am regretting it.  Started back up.  On Cycle 1 Day 12.  I have a lot less to lose this time so I am not surprised I have only lost 2lbs so far but I haven't weighed myself the past two days.  Discouraging but I am sticking with it. 

I made this soup yesterday.

1 tsbp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 cup of chopped white onion
1 medium chopped shallot
1 tbsp minced garlic
1 stalk of celery chopped
3 cups of shredded carrot
3 tsp reducec sodium Better Than Bouillon Chicken
1 lb of bonelss skinless chicken breast cut into bite-sized
1 tsp to 1 tbsp of powdered giner (to taste)
1 to 3 pinches of oriental 5 spice (optional)
6 cups of water

Saute onion, garlic, shallot, and celery in heavy bottom pan on low-medium heat until onions are almost translucent.  Add chicken and brown.  Add the rest of the ingrediants and bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and simmer for 1/2 hour. 

Strain soup with a fine mesh colander.  Pick out chicken pieces and save in a separate bowl.  Bowl strained liquid back in pain.  Put remaining vegatables in a blender with 1 cup of liquid.  Leave the center of the blender top off and cover with a dishtowel.  Puree while holding dishtowel on the top.  Pour puree in with the strained liquid and stir to mix, add chicken and serve.