Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Fluffy Frozen Peanut Butter Cups

When I began my weight loss journey, I joined weight watchers. In the beginning, I had a lot of cravings for sweets but was unaware that there were any "sweets" that were ok for me to eat. A woman at one of my meetings shared this recipe with me, and it was just what I needed to satisfy my cravings.

  • 8oz container Fat Free Coolwhip
  • 1/3 cup reduced fat creamy or chunky peanut butter
  • 1/.4 cup hershey's light chocolate syrup

Line a 12 muffin tin with cupcake liners (foil works best). Combine 1 cup of cool whip and the peanut butter with a whisk. Fold in remaining cool whip. Divide mixture evenly into the cupcake liners. Top each one wth a squirt of chocolate syrup. Freeze and enjoy!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Menu Plan Monday 3/29/2010

It's been quite hectic around here lately, but I'm glad to say that even amongst all the craziness that is our lives I managed to get our menu planning done (unlike last week!). After my crockpot had a tragic accident last week (my husband dropped it in the driveway after taking it out of the car from our son's Baptism party), I found a replacement this week and I'm happy to say that it will be working it's way back into our menu!

As always, lunch for the week will be leftovers from the night before with Friday being our eat lunch at work day. The kids will eat lunch as part of their daycare food program.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes (from the freezer)
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins (from the freezer - recipe to come!)

Monday: Chili Mac
Tuesday: White Chicken Chili (crockpot)
Wednesday: Mexican meatloaf (recipe to come!)
Thursday: Leftovers
Friday: Make your own pizza night
Saturday: Homemade Chinese (General Tso, Chicken w/ Broccoli, and fried rice)
Sunday: Easter Dinner @ my Grandmother's house

For more yummy meal ideas, visit I'm an Organizing Junkie!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Homemade Chili Seasoning Packets

I've been trying to come up with my own special chili seasoning for a while so that I could stop buying the premade chili seasoning packets at the store. The packets in the store are obviously convenient, but they are LOADED with sodium and who knows what else!

After lots of experimenting, I finally came up with a mixture of seasonings that worked perfect for my chili recipe, and I'm sure that it will work well in any other dish that needs a little kick! I made a bunch of this ahead of time and packed it into ziploc bags so I don't have to worry about measuring and mixing every time I want to make chili. I think it will work out perfectly! Still convenient, but much more healthy!

Chili Seasoning Packets:

4 Tbsp Chili Powder
2 tsp dried Oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Paprika
2 tsp Cumin
2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 tsp dried Onion Flakes (or onion powder)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day. In fact, I could eat breakfast food for every meal and be perfectly happy. This weekend, I decided to whip up a large batch of pancakes and freeze them so that I had something quick and easy to make the kids for breakfast. They turned out wonderful, and my three year old cannot get enough. She ate three whole pancakes last night at dinner time and said to me "mommy, your pancakes are the most delicious pancakes I've ever ate". My little guy ate a whole big pancake all by himself and seemed quite satisfied as well.

We made ours plain, but this recipe would also be wonderful with blueberries, strawberries, chocolate chips, or even bananas as well!

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes (makes approximately 3 dozen pancakes) - Adapted from Glimpse of Sonshine


3/4 cup egg beaters
3 ¾ cups fat free buttermilk
6 tbsp. canola oil
1 ¾ cups wheat flour
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tbsp. sugar
3 tsp. baking powder
1 ½ tsp. baking soda
1 ½ tsp. salt

Mix all ingredients in a large bowl. Drop by 1/4 cup servings onto pre-heated griddle. When the dough begins to bubble, flip pancakes and cook until lightly browned on both sides.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Pretzel Dogs

I've always been a sucker for the hot dogs wrapped in pretzels at the little booth at the mall. However, until I saw this recipe on Real Mom Kitchen, I never thought of making something similar in my own home. This recipe was for Bagel Dogs, but I modified it a bit to make it more like a pretzel dog. My daughter was home sick today with a horrible chest cold, so I decided this morning that I was going to make these as a special "feel better" lunch for her.

I just finished the dogs about a half hour ago, and they were a hit with my little food critic! I hope you enjoy these as much as we did.

Pretzel Dogs

  • 2 cups water (110° F)
  • 4 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 3 Tbsp sugar
  • 3 tsp salt
  • 5 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 8 quality all-beef hot dogs
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg yolk plus 1 tablespoon water, lightly beaten
  • Coarse Salt for garnish

Pour the water into the bowl of an electric stand mixer and sprinkle with the yeast. Let the mixture stand about five minutes or until foamy, then stir in 3 tablespoons of sugar and the salt.

Using the paddle attachment, add flour one cup at a time, beating until well-blended and smooth, until you have a stiff dough. Replace the paddle attachment with the dough hook and knead thoroughly until smooth and elastic in texture (about 5-7 minutes). Form the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Turn the dough over to grease the top. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place for about an hour or until doubled in size.

Punch down the dough and knead as needed to rid the dough of any air bubbles. Place dough on a lightly floured cutting board and roll out into a 8 x 10 rectangle or until the dough is about 1/4 inch thick. Add flour as necessary to keep dough from sticking.

Using a pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 long strips.

Dry the hot dogs. Starting at one end of each hot dog, wrap a strip of dough around the hot dog, overlapping as you go until you reach the other end of the hot dog. Place seam down on a parchment covered baking sheet as you finish them. Let dogs rest on the sheet for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the over to 400°. Fill a stock pot with water and add the baking soda. Bring to a gentle boil. Working two bagels at a time, carefully drop the bagel dogs into the boiling water, turning frequently with a slotted spoon or spatula, for about a minute. Lift out of the water and gently dry each bagel well on a kitchen towel and arrange about 2-inches apart on a parchment lined baking sheet, seam side down. Repeat with remaining bagel dogs. I put four dogs to a sheet and used two sheets.

Brush the bagels with egg wash and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake for about 35 minutes or until nicely browned and crusty, turning the pan about halfway through Serve warm or let cool on a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

My First Blog Award!

I am so excited to announce that I've been nominated for my first blog award! I received this award from Michelle at All Home Cooking All Year Long and Heather at Out of The Box Into the Kitchen. Both of these girls have been a great inspiration to me!

Around Thanksgiving of 2009, my family decided to take the plunge into healthier home cooking and started to wean ourselves from the processed foods that we were so accustomed to. My "real life" friend Heather started the same mission a little earlier than us, and she was a great help in getting us started on the path to giving up processed foods.

Here's a link to learn more about the Stiletto Award.

Recipients of the Stilleto Award:
  1. Display the Stiletto badge of honor.
  2. Brag about it-post a link to the page to highlight what the award is about
  3. Say thanks! Include a link to the friend who nominated you.
  4. Share the love-nominate 5-10 more blogs. Leave links to their blogs and leave them a comment so they know they won!
  5. Do what you do! Keep at it and keep inspiring others!

I'd like to nominate the following blogs for this award:

These are all blogs that I've followed for quite some time. I don't comment very often, but I enjoy each and every post I read!
  1. Mommy's Kitchen
  2. Tami @ Tami's Kitchen Table Talk
  3. Annie @ Annie's Eats
  4. Heart N Soul Cooking
  5. Mare @ Meet Me in the Kitchen

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake

Pasta is always a winner in our house, and when you add broccoli and chicken it's a definite winner! I stumbled upon this recipe while browsing through the archives on Cooking During Stolen Moments, and I was instantly eager to try it.

I modified the recipe a bit, but it was absolutely delicious and I'm sure that this will become a regular in our house.

Chicken Caesar Pasta Bake - Adapted from Cooking During Stolen Moments

  • 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tsp lemon pepper seasoning
  • 1 lb. penne pasta
  • 1 cup broccoli (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 cup cauliflower (fresh or frozen)
  • 2 cups part skim ricotta cheese
  • 1 c. Reduced Fat Creamy Caesar dressing
  • 1/2 t. black pepper
  • 1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Boil water for pasta. Cook pasta until it is al dente. Drain and put aside.

In a skillet, add cubed chicken, garlic. Sprinkle chicken with lemon pepper seasoning and cook until chicken is cooked completely through.

In a large mixing bowl, combine ricotta, dressing, pepper, broccoli, cauliflower, chicken, and pasta. Toss until all pasta/vegetables are evenly coated in the sauce. Pour mixture into a 9x13 casserole dish and sprinkle evenly with Parmesan cheese. Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Breakfast Biscuit Cups

I've been looking for a quick fix breakfast for a while now, and I think I found a winner! I modified this recipe from one I found at "Cooking During Stolen Moments". I made two dozen of these, and my husband (who despises breakfast food) kept stealing them while I had my back turned so I ended up with only 20 in the end. I froze them and now when we are ready to eat them I can either pop them in the microwave or oven to heat them through. They have been great for fast breakfast in the car on the way to work!

I made these again for brunch after my son's Baptism this weekend, I made a double batch (1/2 with bacon, 1/2 with sausage) for a total of 4 dozen and they were all gone before I even got the chance to steal one for myself!

Breakfast Biscuit Cups (makes 2 dozen) - Modified from Cooking During Stolen Moments

  • 2 1/2 c. flour
  • 2 1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 1 T. sugar
  • 1/2 c. butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten

Dough Directions:

In a large bowl, whisk or sift together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. Cut in butter until crumbly. Stir in milk and egg until dough comes together. Knead a few times by hand and set aside.

  • 1 1/2 cups egg beaters
  • 3 oz. reduced fat cream cheese
  • 1/2 c. 1% milk
  • 1 lb. turkey bacon, cooked and crumbled (I've also used turkey breakfast sausage)
  • 1 1/2 c. reduced fat shredded cheddar cheese

Filling Directions:
Whisk egg beaters in a large bowl. Stir in cream cheese and milk until smooth. Add other ingredients and stir to combine.

To Assemble:

Press biscuit dough into the bottom, and 3/4 of the way up the sides, of lightly greased muffin tins. Pre-bake at 400 degrees for 3 minutes.Fill each biscuit cup with egg mixture and bake for 12-15 minutes longer, until eggs are completely set and biscuit cups are slightly browned.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Samoas Cookie Bars

I love me some delicious girl scout cookies, and samoas have ALWAYS been my absolute favorite. After seeing a post by Michelle at All Home Cooking. All Year Long where she made homemade thin mints and trying the recipe myself (they were wonderful!), I decided to search for a samoas clone.

Knowing how much hard work goes into the samoas, I was delighted to find that there was a bar version!

Samoas Cookie Bars - Shared from Baking Bites

Shortbread Crust Ingredients:
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Crust Directions:
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly grease a 9×13-inch baking pan. In a large bowl, cream together sugar and butter, until fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla extract. Working at a low speed, gradually beat in flour and salt until mixture is crumbly. Pour crumbly dough into baking pan and press into an even layer. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until base is set and edges are lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack before topping.

Topping Ingredients:

  • 3 cups shredded sweetened coconut
  • 12-oz good-quality chewy caramels
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3 tbsp milk
  • 10 oz. dark or semisweet chocolate (I used Ghirardelli and it was delicious)

Preheat oven to 300. Spread coconut evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (preferably one with sides) and toast 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes, until coconut is golden. Cool on baking sheet, stirring occasionally. Set aside.

Unwrap the caramels and place in a large microwave-safe bowl with milk and salt. Cook on high for 3-4 minutes, stopping to stir a few times to help the caramel melt. When smooth, fold in toasted coconut with a spatula. Put dollops of the topping all over the shortbread base. Using the spatula, spread topping into an even layer. Let topping set until cooled.

When cooled, cut into 30 bars with a large knife or a pizza cutter (it’s easy to get it through the topping).

Once bars are cut, melt chocolate in a small bowl. Heat on high in the microwave in 45 second intervals, stirring thoroughly to prevent scorching. Dip the base of each bar into the chocolate and place on a clean piece of parchment or wax paper. Transfer all remaining chocolate (or melt a bit of additional chocolate, if necessary) into a piping bag or a ziploc bag with the corner snipped off and drizzle bars with chocolate to finish.
Let chocolate set completely before storing in an airtight container.

Makes 30 bar cookies.

Note: You can simply drizzle chocolate on top of the bars before slicing them up if you’re looking for yet an easier way to finish these off. You won’t need quite as much chocolate as noted above, and you won’t quite get the Samoas look, but the results will still be tasty.

Cheesy Chicken and Corn Chowder

Chowder is a favorite here in New England. Most Chowder (or as we say in Boston, "chowdah") here in New England is either clam or seafood chowder, but since I'm allergic to shellfish I had to find something that worked for me. I've always been a big fan of soups, and I tend to like them a little on the thicker side so chowder just floats my boat.

I came up with this recipe after having a thick and creamy bowl of corn chowder at Panera Bread one day. I looked up all sorts of recipes, but nothing really sounded healthy to me so I decided to just wing it. This recipe is one of our favorites, even the kids love it!

  • 2 Cups Chicken Broth
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, Minced
  • 2 Cups Diced Red Potatoes (skin on)
  • 4 Ears Corn on the Cob, cut off of the cob (or if out of season, a 16oz bag of frozen corn)
  • 2 Cups Skim or 1% milk
  • 2 Cups Diced Cooked Chicken Breast (I like to use leftovers from a whole chicken for this recipe)
  • 2 Cups of Low Fat or Fat Free Shredded Cheddar Jack Cheese
  • Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 4 Slices Cooked Turkey Bacon, crumbled

In a large stock pot, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add chicken, potatoes, corn, and garlic. Cover and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes or until potatoes have softened. Reduce heat and add milk, chicken, and cheese being careful not to boil. Add salt and pepper to taste. Once chicken has cooked through, remove from heat. Scoop into bowls and add turkey bacon to the top for garnish.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Cheesy Chicken Rice and Broccoli Casserole

I was really craving comfort food tonight, and this was the perfect way to rid myself of that craving. I've always been a big fan of the packaged rice dishes, so I thought I'd try my hand at making something similar to my favorite one which is the broccoli cheddar rice.


  • 3 cups cooked whole grain rice
  • 2 cups cooked, diced chicken
  • 2 cups chopped fresh or frozen broccoli
  • 2 cups shredded sharp cheddar cheese (divided)
  • 1 1/4 cup condensed cream of chicken soup (or 1 can store-bought)
  • 1 1/4 c. milk
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper

Mix rice, chicken, broccoli, 1 cup of the cheddar cheese, soup, milk, salt, and pepper in a bowl. Pour into a 9x13 pan and top with remaining cheese. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until casserole is hot and cheese is melted and bubbly. Enjoy!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Captain's Chili Mac

My husband has been told several times that his "celebrity" look-alike is Jason Varitek from the Boston Red Sox. So, as a joke we started calling him "The Captain" because Jason Varitek was the captain of the Boston Red Sox. With that said, my husband LOVES chili mac, but I never made it because it wasn't very healthy. This recipe changed all of that, and it is his new favorite.

  • 1lb casserole elbows (or pasta of your choice...we were out of elbows today, hence the ziti)
  • 2 cups, 1 point chili
  • 8oz reduced fat velveeta

In a saucepan over medium heat, heat chili and velveeta until all cheese has melted. Stir frequently to avoid cheese burning to the bottom of the pan. In the meantime, cook pasta until it is al dente. Drain pasta and pour into large mixing bowl. Pour chili-cheese sauce over pasta and mix until all pasta is covered. Serve.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Menu Plan Monday ~ 3/15/2010

Meal planning has become a very important part of life in our household. It really helps us stick to our food shopping budget, and also helps us use up what is already stored in our pantry, which in turn also saves us money.

This weekend, we went to our local farm to stock up on meat, and we're finally out of food from our last "freezer cooking day", so this is a fresh new menu!

Since my husband and I both work full time, we rarely have time for breakfast during the week, and we leave so early that the kids don't eat breakfast until they get to daycare. So, we typically only cook breakfast on the weekend. Lunches during the week are typically leftovers from the night before.

Monday: Chicken Paprika Stew *new recipe
Tuesday: ChiliMac (my own creation, recipe to come)
Wednesday: Cheeseburger Soup
Thursday: Leftover night (husband plays volleyball, so it's just me and the kids)
Friday: Pizza Night, we'll be making individual sized pizzas with our choice of toppings
Saturday: Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes, Grilled Cheese, Cheesy Broccoli and Rice with Chicken *new recipe
Sunday: Cinnamon Rolls, Mac and Cheese with Broccoli, White Bean Chicken Chili and cornbread

Check out lots of other yummy menus at orgjunkie!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup

There are so many recipes out there that call for cream of chicken soup, and since we're trying to get away from buying canned soups, I've been really searching for a good homemade replacement for these convenient little cans.

Last night, I made some homemade chicken stock, and it was the perfect opportunity to try my hand at making my own condensed cream of chicken soup. The original recipe is only enough to make 2 "cans" of soup, so I tripled the recipe so I'd be able to freeze a bunch to take out as needed for recipes.

Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup- Adapted from Tammy's Recipes

  • 4 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt (or less; taste to test)
  • 3/4 teaspoon parsley
  • dash of paprika
  • 4 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/4 cup flour

In medium-sized saucepan, boil chicken broth, 1 1/2 cups of the milk, and the seasonings for a minute or two (longer if using fresh onions or garlic).

In a bowl, whisk together the remaining 3 cups of milk and flour.

Add to boiling mixture and continue whisking briskly until mixture boils and thickens.

This came out great, and I was able to freeze enough cream of chicken soup to equal 6 10.5oz cans!

Saturday, March 13, 2010

BBQ Pork

My husband loves BBQ, and one of his all time favorites is pulled pork. I found this recipe in one of my Taste of Home books, and we decided to give it a try. We didn't have any barbecue sauce in the pantry, so I made my own and it was quite tasty! We'll be serving ours on whole wheat buns.

  • 1 boneless pork loin roast (3 to 4lbs)
  • 1-1/2 tsp seasoned salt
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce (See BBQ sauce recipe below)
  • 1 cup cola (I used Pepsi)
  • 8-10 sandwich rolls

Cut roast in half, place in slow cooker, sprinkle with seasoned salt and garlic powder. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours or until meat is tender.

Remove meat, skim fat from cooking juices. Shred meat with a fork and return to slow cooker. Combine barbecue sauce and cola; pour over meat. Cover and cook on high for 1-2 hours or until sauce is thickened. Serve on rolls.

BBQ Sauce

1 Cup Ketchup
2 Tbsp spicy brown mustard
2 Tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
2 Tbsp white vingegar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
3 Tbsp brown sugar
1 Tbsp chili powder (to add a little smokey flavor)
Black pepper (to taste)

Friday, March 12, 2010

Hearty Minestrone Soup

One of my wonderful online friends shared this recipe with me, and it has become a favorite in our house. I used to make this at least once a week, but I found that it freezes very well, so I started making it once a month and freezing it for later. This soup is great on a cold winter day and is wonderful with or without pasta.

Hearty Minestrone Soup


3 tbsp. olive oil
3 cloves of garlic, minced
2 medium yellow onions - chopped
2 cups celery - chopped
5 carrots - sliced
2 cups chicken stock (vegetable stock if you'd like to make a vegetarian version)
2 cups water
4 cups tomato sauce
1 can kidney beans - drained.
1 can green beans (15 oz)
2 cups fresh spinach, chopped
3 zucchini - half moon, thin slices
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tbsp dried basil
1/2 box of small shell pasta (optional)
1/4 cup grated parmesan

Saute oil, garlic, and onion (4-5 minutes); add celery and carrots (2 minutes). Add stock, water, and tomato sauce. Bring to boil. Reduce to low; add kidney beans, green beans, spinach, zucchini, oregano, dash of salt (maybe a teaspoon) and dash of pepper.

Simmer 30-40 minutes.

Boil pasta separately. (This keeps the pasta from getting water logged and soggy.)

Place cooked pasta in bowls. Pour soup over pasta, and sprinkle with grated parmesan.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Weight Watchers 1 Point Chili Recipe

At one of my weight watchers meetings, I was telling my leader that I was having a really hard time finding lunch options that allowed me to stay within my points range for the day. She then told me that while she was losing her weight that someone shared this wonderful chili recipe with her that was only 1 point per cup. The next week, she brought the recipe in and shared it with us...it has been the secret to my weight loss success and I make it once a week to pack for lunches.

10 oz. extra lean ground turkey
1 medium onion diced
1 green bell pepper, diced
2 28 oz cans diced tomatoes (I use mexican style w/ green chiles)
2 medium zucchini – diced
2 medium yellow squash diced
15 oz can black beans – rinsed & drained
2 cans fat free low sodium beef broth
4 celery stalks diced
1 or 2 packages dry chili seasoning or to taste

Saute turkey, pepper, and onion in the bottom of a large stock pot until browned. Add remaining ingredients and simmer over medium heat until veggies are tender (about 30 minutes). I like to simmer mine for a while longer to help the flavors blend, but it's definitely not necessary.

Makes approximately 20, one cup servings.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Giving Up The Goods...

Canned goods that is!

One of our very first steps in our journey to rid ourselves of processed foods was giving up canned soups. Not only are canned soups full of sodium, they are super expensive. We are big soup eaters, especially during those cold New England winters! After the first few soup recipes we tried, we decided that we'd never buy a can of soup again!

One of our favorite soups to make is Cheeseburger Soup. We are big cheeseburger fans, and what better way to warm up on a cold winter day than with a bowl full of hearty soup (maybe we should call it cheeseburger chowder?). Since our first attempt at making cheeseburger soup, we've tried a few different things and all of them have been delicious!

Cheeseburger Soup - Modified from Taste of Home

  • 1 pound ground beef or turkey (I like to use turkey)
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3/4 cup shredded carrots (optional)
  • 3/4 cup diced celery
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 4 tablespoons butter, divided
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 4 cups diced peeled potatoes (1-3/4 pounds)
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) Velveeta
  • 1-1/2 cups milk
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup sour cream

In a 3-qt. saucepan, brown beef; drain and set aside. In the same saucepan, saute onion, garlic, carrots, celery, basil and parsley in 1 tablespoon butter until vegetables are tender, about 10 minutes. Add broth, potatoes and beef; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 10-12 minutes or until potatoes are tender.

Meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt remaining butter. Add flour; cook and stir for 3-5 minutes or until bubbly. Add to soup; bring to a boil. Cook and stir for 2 minutes. Reduce heat to low. Add cheese, milk, salt and pepper; cook and stir until cheese melts. Remove from the heat; blend in sour cream. Yield: 8 servings (2-1/4 quarts).

Optional Modifications:
  • Add 1/2 cup chopped hamburger pickles
  • Add 1 cup iceburg lettuce, chopped
  • Add 1 can diced tomatoes
  • Garnish with crumbled bacon
  • Note, if you add all of these vegetables in addition to those in the original recipe, you may want to add one cup of chicken broth and extra velveeta so the soup isn't too thick (unless of course you'd like it to be a stew, which is also super yummy!).

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Once Upon a Time...

Once upon a time, there was a girl who desperately wanted her family to live a healthier lifestyle. She wanted to set an example so that someday, her children wouldn't have to deal with the hardships of being overweight as she had. She wanted herself and her husband to start over and learn to be healthier and eat more "whole" foods and lose weight to set a healthy example for their children. Of course, everyone has to splurge now and then and eat something sweet and delicious. But, the girl really wanted to do her best to make even the sweet things just a little more healthy, even if it meant just making things from scratch and knowing the ingredients that went into it instead of buying processed snack and dessert foods.

This is the start of a new adventure, a new lifestyle, my very own fairytale. The goal - to have a happy ending to this fairytale by making better food decisions, making more food in our home instead of buying processed foods with ingredients we've never heard of, and set an example for my growing children so that they too will continue the pattern when they are older.


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