Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4th of July Popcorn

Want a fun treat for the Fourth of July?  This is so easy and delicious. It is sweet, salty, and buttery and crunchy.   And you probably have all the ingredients!

4th of July Popcorn
3 bags microwave popcorn, buttered variety
1 cup sugar x3
2 Tablespoons butter x3
1/4 cup water x3
Red and blue food coloring

First pop the corn according to the package directions.  Lay out waxed paper on your countertop or in large cookie sheets.  In a large kettle, combine 1 cup of sugar, 2 Tablespoons of butter and 1/4 cup of water.  Bring to a boil and boil for about 3  1/2 -4 minutes (If it starts to brown, take off heat immediately.)    Take off of the stove.  Mix in 1 bag of the popped corn.  Stir and stir until all the popcorn is coated.  Lay the candied corn out on the waxed paper.  Cool completely while you wash the pan.  Put the candied corn in a very large bowl, leaving the waxed paper for the next batch.  Then do the 2nd batch.  This time add a few drops of red food coloring after you take the cooked mixture off the stove.  Be sure to add enough that it makes red and not pink.  Then repeat with the third batch, this time adding blue food coloring.  Be sure to add enough color so the colors are vibrant!    Mix the three colors together in the large bowl, then store in an airtight container. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

4th of July Taco Salad

I saw this cute idea on Pinterest.  It's just a taco salad with layered ingredients instead of mixed together.

4th of July Taco Salad
1 lb. ground beef
1 onion, diced
1 can tomato paste (or 1 can tomato sauce)
1 can water (don't add the water if you use the sauce)
1 package taco seasoning mix
Shredded lettuce
Grated Cheese
Sliced olives
Cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
Tortilla chips
Guacamole and/ or ranch dressing
Tabasco Sauce

Brown the ground beef and onion together.  When browned, add the tomato paste, water, and taco seasoning.  Add about 1 teaspoon of sugar.  Simmer for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients, stirring occasionally. 

In a tray or 13x9 pan or casserole dish, layer the ingredients.  First, the hamburger mixture, then completely cover that with the shredded lettuce.  Leaving a square in the corner for the stars, make stripes, alternating the tomatoes and cheese.  Put sliced olives in the square, representing the stars.  Put tortilla chips all around the edges.  You can make a layer of tortilla chips below the hamburger mixture if you would like, as well.  Serve with guacamole (mashed avocado mixed with salt and pepper and lemon juice), salsa and tabasco sauce.

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Yogurt Smoothie

I've been eating a lot due to being pregnant and this is one of my favorite healthy snacks.

2 large scoops of plain yogurt
2 large scoops of flavored yogurt (raspberry is my favorite)
1/2 cup of milk or grape juice
1/4 cup frozen blueberries 
1/4 cup frozen strawberries 

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth and a little frothy. Serve immediately and enjoy!
Yields: 1 serving

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos

I recently tried this new recipe that I loved and wanted to share.  I made it for the Mackrorys while I was there, and it was a hit!  Kids love them, and they make great freezer meals.   I got it from Sara at Our Best Bites.  I will link directly to her post, since it is very thorough and helpful.
Our Best Bites Baked Creamy Chicken Taquitos intro
This picture came from

It is yummy served with Creamy Lime Cilantro dressing for dipping.

Coconut Curry Chicken Soup

Thai cuisine - Looks lengthy, but goes together very quickly. A very hardy soup with fabulous flavor. This recipe was put together by a personal chef who cooks for professional athletes. It is on the regular rotation at our house. I got it from my friend Eve about six years ago, and have been making it regularly since.  Every time we have made it for guests, they have asked for the recipe. It was originally from "Eating Well" magazine, but I have made some changes to simplify, decrease cooking time, and decrease the amount of pans I have to wash afterwards. Definitely a pleaser!


  • 1 T canola or olive oil
  • ¼ C thinly sliced onion, chopped
  • 2 tsp red curry paste (essential – find it in big grocery stores or health food store)
  • 1 ½ tsp curry powder
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 6 C chicken broth (can use low fat, low sodium) I use boullion cubes or better than boullion
  • 1 (13.5 oz) can light coconut milk (I used regular)
  • 2 ½ C shredded cooked chicken breast or turkey (about 1 lb) I usually pre-cook and chop chicken breasts, sprinkling them with salt and pepper after baking. Could use shredded rotisserie chicken or whatever chicken you have on hand.
  • ½ C chopped green onions
  • 2 T sugar
  • ½ C fresh chopped cilantro
  • ¼ tsp crushed red pepper OR 4 small hot red chiles, seeded and chopped (I used 1/8 t ground)
  • 3 C fresh spinach leaves
  • ½ lb snow peas, trimmed and cut in half crosswise (I often omit this b/c I don't have it on hand, could use peas)
  • 1 (5 ¾ oz) package pad thai noodles, aka: wide rice noodles (4 packages ramen worked okay in a pinch, but definitely not optimal)
  • 7 lime wedges 


1.  Heat oil in large pot over medium-high heat. Add onions and the next 5 ingredients (through garlic) to pan; sauté 1 minute, stirring constantly.
2.  Add chicken broth to pot and bring to a boil. Add coconut milk to pan; reduce heat and simmer for five minutes. Add remaining ingredients, except for lime wedges.  Simmer for about three minutes to soften the noodles.
3.  Serve with lime wedges. I like to serve some kind of bread on the side, such as muffins, naan, or peasant bread.

Yield: 7 servings (serving size: 2 cups soup and 1 lime wedge)

A note about some of the more unusual ingredients:  

  • The red curry paste is available in the Asian food section of most grocery stores. I have found it at Walmart, Albertsons, and Safeway.
  • The pad thai noodles are wide rice noodles. The package that I usually buy looks like this, but any brand is okay.


Monday, June 6, 2016

Whole Wheat Berry Banana Muffins

  • Yields: 12 muffins

  • Ingredients:
  • 2 cups (240g) whole wheat flour (I used 1 cup of wheat flour I ground myself and 1 cup of white flour.)
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp baking soda
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp (14g) butter or margarine, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 large egg whites, room temperature
  • 1 ½ tsp vanilla extract
  • ¾ cup (200g) mashed banana (about 2 medium)
  • ¼ cup (60g) plain or honey Greek yogurt
  • 3 tbsp (45mL) honey
  • ¼ cup (60mL) milk
  • ½ cup (80g) diced fresh strawberries (about 4 medium-large) I used slightly thawed frozen, sliced berries.
  • ½ cup (70g) fresh blueberries (I used frozen berries straight from the freezer.)

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and get out your muffin tins, spray them with nonstick spray if you use it.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. In a separate (larger) bowl, whisk together the butter, egg whites, and vanilla. Stir in the mashed banana, Greek yogurt, and honey, mixing until no large lumps of yogurt remain. Alternate between adding the flour mixture and the milk, stirring just until incorporated, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. (For best results, add the flour mixture in 3 equal parts.) Gently fold in the strawberries and blueberries.
  3. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin tins. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If you're using frozen berries bake closer to the 25 minutes. I started with 20 minutes and checked them every couple of minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.

I got the original recipe from I've made a few minor changes but love how they turned out!

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Simple Chocolate Ice Cream

This recipe came with our Cuisinart ice cream maker and we decided to try it out. It was rich and oh, so delicious!

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I just used 1/2 cup cuz I am cheap and I used chocolate milk instead of regular milk.)
2/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
1 1/2 cup whole milk
3 1/4 cup heavy cream
1 T vanilla extract

Place the cocoa and sugars in a medium bowl; stir to combine. Add the whole milk and use a hand mixer on low speed or whisk to combine until the cocoa and sugars are dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Stir in the heavy cream and vanilla. If not freezing immediately cover and refrigerate until ready to use.

Turn on machine; pour mixture into freezer bowl and let mix until thickened, about 25-35 minutes. The ice cream will have a soft, creamy texture. If a firmer consistency is desired, transfer the ice cream to an airtight container and place in freezer for about 2 hours. Remove from freezer about 15 minutes before serving.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Yaki Noodles

This picture is a little blurry because of the steam rising from the hot food.

One of the favorite questions for Japanese people to ask is "What is your favorite food?"  Often the answer is yaki soba or yaki udon.  Yaki means "fried" and soba and udon are noodles.  Soba is thin, kind of like spaghetti and udon are thick noodles.  So, I went on an Internet search and found recipes to try this favorite.  Though I'm not sure you can get soba or udon in America, I really think any noodle will do.  The other ingredients are easily attainable in America.  I hope you enjoy it!

Yaki Noodles
2 packages frozen udon noodles (or equivalent in other noodles, cooked.  Each package of frozen noodles is about a cup of cooked noodles)
1/2 large onion
2-3 large cabbage leaves
1 carrot
1 package shitake mushrooms (or white button mushrooms)
2 green onions or scallions
1/2 lb. sliced pork belly, or your choice of meat  (sliced pork belly is just very thin slices of stir-fry pork)
Black pepper
About 1/4 cup soy sauce
About 2 Tablespoons sugar

Cook the noodles until el dente.  Drain and rinse.  Set aside.
Slice the onion and cut the cabbage into 1 " squares.  Julienne the carrots.  Cut them into 1" sections, then cut those sections into "matchsticks"  Slice the mush rooms.  Thinly slice the green tops of the green onions and set aside for garnish.  Slice the rest of the green onion into 2 " pieces.  Cut the stir-fry meat into 1 " pieces.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium heat.  Add the pork and cook until almost cooked through.  Add the onion and cook until translucent and soft.  Add the cabbage and carrot and stir fry until coated with oil and starting to wilt.  Add the mushroom and green onion and cook until wilted.  Add the noodles, and mix with the other ingredients well.  Mix together the soy sauce, sugar, and a little water.  Add it in and stir and fry together.  Season with plenty of black pepper.
Serve, garnished with green onion.