Monday, April 18, 2011

Chicken Taco Pasta Salad

1 lb. box of Campanelle Pasta
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 medium sweet yellow onion, minced(reserve 1/4th to blend with dressing)
2 cloves garlic, pressed
2 cups frozen yellow corn(try grilled)
1 can black beans, drained & rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained & rinsed
3 grilled boneless, skinless chicken breasts, diced

1/3 cup white wine vinegar
1/3 cup olive oil
Zest and juice of one lime
¼ cup light mayonnaise prepared with olive oil(heart healthiest)
1 packet of Splenda or other zero calorie sweetener
1 Tbl. Chili powder
1 Tbl. Cumin powder
½-1 cup Pineapple-Peach Salsa
Kosher Salt & Fresh Ground Pepper to taste
Cilantro(dried or fresh, to taste)

Prepare vegetables while you are cooking the pasta according to directions.  Combine vegetables, beans, & chicken in large bowl.  In a blender puree dressing ingredients and 1/4th cup minced onions, set aside.  When pasta is done, drain and rinse with cold water to stop cooking process and cool.  Add to veggie/chicken mix in large bowl.  Top with dressing, kosher salt, cilantro(I used freeze dried), pepper, and mix well, until all is coated.  Serve with optional toppings such as:  grated cheddar cheese, avocado, diced tomatoes, olives, sour cream, salsa, fresh cilantro, etc….

Makes 20 large servings = WW 5 points plus

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Nutella Cake Pops

Sorry, no pictures!

1 Box of Triple Fudge Chocolate Cake, prepared as package directions.
1 small jar Nutella(13 oz.)
2 containers Chocolate Hazelnut Round Wafer Cookies(hint: $ store)
2 packages Milk Chocolate Chips or Chocolate Melting Wafers

Crumble baked, cool cake into bread crumb like consistency in a large bowl.  In a food processor, pulse cookies until finely ground.  Add to crumbled cake.  Add about 3/4ths jar of Nutella and mix with fork.  You want the dough to resemble the texture of Playdough.  Add more Nutella if needed.  This is where I put on food grade disposable gloves sprayed with a little non-stick spray and rubbed in.  Get your hands in there and "play" with it until it is all combined.  Scoop out a ball with a large cookie scoop and roll into a slightly pressed round ball.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or non-stick foil  This recipe makes 4 dozen and I needed 2 large cookie sheets.  Melt 1/4 cup of chocolate chips in 30 second increments in microwave.  Dip one end of a lollipop stick in melted chocolate and push about 3/4 way through the cake balls.  Freeze for 20-30 minutes.  In the meantime melt the remaining chocolate, again in 30 second increments in microwave.  Dip each cake pop into the chocolate and place back on cookie sheet.  Allow to set on counter or in refrigerator.  Yum!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Orange Roasted Pork

This is my favorite new way to cook pork and even chicken.  I'll assume beef would also be wonderful.

3-5 lb. Pork Roast(or other meat, boneless skinless chicken breast, etc...)
All Purpose Seasoning, such as Pappy's or Lawrys
1 Medium to Large Sweet Onion
2 cloves Garlic, Pressed or Finely Chopped
1 jar Orange Marmalade
1 cup Non-Alcoholic White Wine or Chicken Stock
2 Tbl. Hoisin Sauce
1 tsp. Kosher Salt(or to taste)
1/2 tsp. Fresh Ground Pepper
Sprinkle of Red Pepper Flakes

Rub roast or chicken pieces with all purpose seasoning.  Place meat in a 5qt. crock pot sprayed with non-stick spray.  Slice onions in have lengthwise, trim off ends, and slice into skinny half moons.  Top meat with onions.  In a medium mixing bowl, combine remaining ingredients with a whisk.  Pour over onions and roast.  Cook on high one hour, reduce temperature to low and cook another 5-6 hours. 

I served this over Turmeric Rice. 

Monday, April 11, 2011

Aromatherapy Socks!

I found these at Walmart this weekend.  They are No-Nonsense Aromatherapy Hidden Cotton Liners.  I know, sounds like a feminine product, and kind of smells like one too.  But they're not bad!  After several hours, when I was finally ready to kick off the shoes, they smelled fresh and light.  The Rose scent(white liners) didn't smell too strong at all like some foot powders and sprays.  So, now, my challenge is, for No-Nonsense to market a line specifically for stinky teenage boy socks!  Maybe some Axe fragrances infused.  That would make one happy mom!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Starburst Mirror

When we gave K-Bug's room a makeover we knew we wanted to make this.  I found a great tutorial HERE, at Under the Table and Dreaming.

I printed up her TEMPLATE HERE but didn't glue it to the back, I was afraid the paper might come off the back.  The disk I found to use was about a quarter of an inch smaller than the template so I just marked the edges of the disk I used and then marked the template myself with a Sharpie.  Our itty bitty town doesn't have a craft store, at least not until this fall(squeal), so I asked at our new Lowe's.  When I showed her what I wanted to make she took me over to the garden center and found the perfect 6 1/2" circle for me, it's a coaster used for potted plants.  But this filled the bill perfectly!  I bought skewers from Walmart, .97 cents for a package of 100.  I picked up 2 packages so I could find the most even skewers.  I didn't use nearly as many as Under the Table did, but we didn't want a really full one.

Sort through the skewers to find the straightest ones.  If you have a grouted tile counter top, this works perfect, roll the skewers between the straight tile.  Mark 16 skewers 10 1/4" from the flat tipped end.  Mark 32 skewers at 9" the flat tipped end too.  NOT from the pointed tip, some skewers are not the same length, so you need to measure them from the flat tipped end.

Hot glue the first 16 at each marking, pointed tip in.  What worked best for me was making a small line of hot glue about an inch long, putting the skewer on the glue and twisting it.  If there is too much glue on the side then it makes it harder to align the next length next to it.  I added an extra bead to give it a little 3D dimension so the skewers that were marked at the 9" mark were actually a little raised if looking at the back side of the starburst.  When I flipped it, the longer skewers appeared to be raised.  You'll see....

 Keep gluing until all are fastened down. 

I took it outside and spray painted glossy black on both sides.  When dry, bring it back in and turn right side up.  See how the shorter ones appear to be recessed?

Flip it back over and fill in the skewers with lots of hot glue.  The back won't be pretty, but no one looks there anyways.  Decide which part of the starburst you want to be the top when you hang it on the wall.

I took some framing wire, twisted some loops and bent in half.  Hot glue it to the back.

Then, add even more hot glue.  Turn over and attach the mirror.  I found a grouping of peel and stick mirrors at TJ Maxx for around $6.00.  I think the coaster cost around $4.00, spray paint around $3.50.  The whole thing came to less than $20.00.


Thursday, April 7, 2011

Root Beer Cake Pops

I've been playing with this idea for a while and so my Young Women are my guinea pigs for tonight.  My kids have already sampled them as well and gave them two thumbs up.  Caution:  If you have a sweet tooth, this fits the bill.

1 Package Butter Recipe Yellow Cake Mix
Zatarains Rootbeer Extract(or another brand)
1 tub Vanilla Frosting
2 packages White Chocolate Chips
Lollipop Sticks

You're going to prepare the cake mix according to package directions, except....  Measure water as directed on the box directions, minus 2 Tbl. water.  Replace with 2 Tbl. Rootbeer Extract.  THEN, prepare and bake, and allow to cool completely.  Using a fork break up cake mix into crumbs in a large bowl.  Dump 3/4 of vanilla frosting into crumbs and sprinkle 1 Tbl. Rootbeer Extract evenly over the top.  Mix with fork and then hands until the crumb mixture resembles more of a Playdough like consistency.  I use food prep gloves coated, rub in a little non-stick spray on them or butter.  Use a large cookie scoop to make uniform size balls and roll into balls.  Place on a cookie sheet lined with wax paper or non-stick foil.  Melt 1/3 cup white chocolate chips in 30 second intervals in the microwave and stir well in between(it took me about 90 seconds total).  Dip one end of lollipop sticks in melted white chocolate and push about 2/3 way through cake balls.  Freeze cake pops for about 30 minutes.  In the mean time, melt remaining white chocolate chips, you may sprinkle 1 tsp. canola oil over the top before melting to get a smoother consistency.  Remove one cake pop at a time from cookie sheet and roll in melted chocolate to coat.  Return to sheet and refrigerate or allow to set out on counter for 2 hours. 

I didn't have anything to stand them up, but you could use styrofoam to allow them to dry upright.

You can find rootbeer extract here, at Zatarain's.