Monday, February 27, 2012

Pizza Poppers!

This week will be a Pinterest-filled week of new dinner ideas. I often grow tired of cooking the same meals week after week, so new dinner ideas are always welcomed here! Sunday night I wanted something quick, easy and fun since it was still the weekend. For whatever reason, I have always preferred to cook my more labor-intensive meals during the week. It doesn't really make sense since my time is usually more limited then, but I hate cooking on the weekends. We usually go out to eat on Saturdays and oftentimes on Fridays too. I think it's because I loathe doing dishes and eating out gives me a break from those duties! ;) So, since it was Sunday and we didn't have leftovers to eat, I wanted something simple to throw together for dinner.

This recipe would actually be perfect for a party, but it makes a nice meal for kiddos too. It is adapted from a pin I found with just a short description and no concrete directions. They called them pizza balls, but I like Pizza Poppers better. :)

(Serving size: 4-6 poppers, Servings: 4-6)
  • 2-3 cans Pillsbury biscuits (depends on how many you want to make)
  • 1 bag (2 cup) Mozzarella cheese, shredded (I used ~2/3 of bag)
  • 1 lb pepperoni, diced
  • Garlic powder, to taste
  • Pam olive oil spray
  • 1 jar pizza sauce

Preheat oven to 425 degrees (temperature given on biscuit directions). Prepare muffin pans by spritzing with olive oil spray.

Dice the pepperoni into small pieces (~1/4" to 1/2" squares).

Separate biscuits. Put about 6-8 pieces of the pepperoni into the biscuit.

Top this with about 1 Tbsp of mozzarella cheese.

Roll everything together loosely into a ball.

Place ball into muffin tin.

Sprinkle with a little bit of garlic powder. Bake for 10 minutes.

Heat up a small amount of sauce for each person. Dip the balls into the sauce to eat. Enjoy while hot!

I was thrilled with how these turned out. I wasn't sure how long they were going to need baked at that temperature, but when I checked them after 10 minutes, they were perfect! They were just browned nicely on top and the cheese was melted perfectly. By using the olive oil in the pan, the bottoms crisped up nicely and reminded me of the crust on a deep-dish Chicago pizza. Yum!

The great thing about this recipe is how versatile it is. You can change the pizza ingredients to fit your family's or guests' preferences or even for the nature of the occasion. I decided to try pepperoni because it's your typical go-to pizza topping. I just bought a chunk of sandwich pepperoni from the deli at The Fresh Market and then diced it like I would any other meat. This worked well. I suppose you could also just buy pepperoni slices as an alternative and cut them up, but I think that might be more difficult than dicing a block of it. The biscuits tasted pretty good as the dough component, but next time I would like to try this recipe using actual pizza dough. I'll probably plan on making the dough in my bread machine, then separating it into equal size pieces similar in size to the biscuits. I would LOVE to have the recipe for Publix's pizza dough because it is so incredibly tasty. So, if anyone happens to have access to that, please share! ;) I think I might also try adding some other herbs or spices next time too. I think oregano or Italian seasoning might be a nice addition. While these are a great, fun food for kids, you can also make them fancier for entertaining an older crowd. Ingredients like prosciutto, fresh basil, feta cheese, fresh mozzarella or fresh garlic might be fun to try. Instead of using pizza sauce as the dip, a marinara sauce or bruschetta dip (i.e., something like diced tomatoes, minced garlic & onion, fresh herbs) would pair well with this more grown-up version of the poppers. The possibilities are truly endless!

I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we did if you give it a try. It's a great one for those who love pizza and want something a little different than the usual pizza pie. As an added bonus, I also found that it was a great way to get my son to eat an ingredient that he normally doesn't - pepperoni! I know, my child is strange. He normally picks the pepperoni off his pizza...the only ingredient I didn't pick off my pizza as a child! He eats things a normal 2-year-old wouldn't touch, but refuses some typical foods a kid would normally like. Haha! But as you can see, he was happy to indulge in these! :) Makes this recipe a keeper for sure!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My big boy will be THREE!

It's hard to believe that in one week my "little man" turned "big boy" is going to be three years old!! I know it's very cliche, but seriously, where did the time go? It doesn't seem very long ago when he was turning one and I was in disbelief that my little guy wasn't an infant anymore! Sigh.

Isn't it amazing how much they change that first year?? I love how these pictures capture the ornery nature that my little Ethan still possesses two years later. :) This was my month-by-month project that first year. I took a picture of him each month wearing a 12-month onesie to show how much he grew over the year based on how the onesie fit. I always laid him on the same blanket, though in hindsight, sitting him up may have been easier, as getting a boy who just wants to roll over, crawl, or run away, was not an easy task! haha! By the end, at 12 months, I gave up and let him hold the lens cover to try to keep him in one place. ;) To complete the project, I put the photos I had taken of him into an Adobe InDesign document to arrange them all to fit into an 8" x 10" picture frame. Next, I exported the document into a .jpg where I could edit it in Adobe Photoshop to try to make the individual pics blend together as nicely as possible. :) I'm in the process of working on Noah's photo montage too. I can't wait to see it completed in July!

Here is my big boy at almost three years. Oh. my. gosh. Can I stop time and keep him little forever?!?

He looks so grown up!! And he is. :'( Bringing home a baby last summer definitely made him seem much bigger than before we had left for the hospital. He has become such a great little helper with everything Josh or I do, and he is actually really, really helpful now! haha! He is super ornery and quite the funny man. He can also be quite stubborn (gee, I have no idea where he gets that from! ;) hehe) and independent, but fortunately for us, he is still pretty well-behaved and good-natured, especially for his age. We didn't go through a "terrible twos" with him, so I am hoping that three is just as nice! He really has been the perfect child. I fear he will spoil me for the future kiddos! haha! He is quickly picking up the potty training that we just started last month and is doing such a great job at it! I think it just clicked for him last weekend and it has been a breeze since then. He doesn't even need us to help him now! Awesome. He has known all his letters, numbers and colors for the last year or more now and his vocabulary has exploded in the last six months. You can't get the little chatterbox to stop talking now! haha! He is a boy after his Daddy's heart, as his cars are his most prized possessions. Hs is never without at least one of them in hand, and it's usually more like ten or however many his little hands can grasp at once. ;) He also loves reading, building things, puzzles, playing with Daisy (and any other doggy we encounter on our walks), and anything he can help Mommy or Daddy do. We are so blessed to have such a wonderful little boy as our son.

We decided to have Ethan's birthday party in Ohio this year. With our recent move to Tennessee, it meant he couldn't have a party with all the friends he left behind in Georgia. Also, with our temporary living situation in the apartment, it wouldn't allow much room for a party here for out-of-town guests. After much thought, we decided Great Wolf Lodge would provide a fun-filled day for the birthday boy, his little brother and their cousins. :) Oh, did I mention that the boys have another cousin as of this week? That I am an aunt again? Yay! Another beautiful little girl, Hannah Kathleen, was born to my sister and her husband on Tuesday, February 21st (same day I had been due with Ethan - neat!).

So...back to the party. We decided that a Cars 2 theme would be best this year, as Ethan is obsessed with his "race car movie," as he calls it. I think he would watch it every day (multiple times too!) if I let him! We are fortunate it's a good movie that we don't mind watching hundreds of times. Literally. ;) haha! Mater is his favorite, but Lightning McQueen comes in a close second. Once we had decided on the location for the party, I was able to start designing the party invites.

To continue the Cars 2 theme, I made the invite an "all access pit pass," including a lanyard to make it look official. :) The back included details about the party and directions to the Lodge.

I designed and printed the invites, then laminated them with no-heat self-laminating sheets and trimmed them with the paper cutter. Then I just punched a hole in the top and attached the lanyard. Piece of cake! I stuffed the invites in envelopes, complete with coordinating return address labels, and we were off to the post office to get them mailed out to the VIP guests. :)

FYI, if you mail anything with lanyards, it will cost more than 45 cents. They can't put it through the regular mail sorter because it's too thick (the weight was fine though). So, it required 65 cents to mail each one. Good think I checked before just slapping a regular stamp on them and sending them off that way!

I have a lot more details to figure out before the party next weekend, but I think we're off to a good start. It should be a fun trip to celebrate a wonderful little boy.

Available in my Etsy shop:

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Quick and Easy Family-Favorite Meals

It's time to share a couple more tasty, quick and easy family-friendly meals with everyone!

Last week, I tried another recipe I found on Pinterest. You can find the pin here. The recipe originated from Annie's Eats blog, a great food blog I have now discovered. :) This meal is excellent and definitely one to put on your list to try!!

Tomato and Mozzarella Pasta al Forno

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 2-14 oz cans diced Italian plum tomatoes
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • salt & pepper
  • 1 lb pasta (tubes)
  • 8 oz mozzarella cheese, cubed
  • 2/3 cup parmesan cheese

Heat the oil in a skillet. Add garlic and cook over medium high heat for 1 minute. Add the tomatoes and oregano and simmer rapidly, stirring occasionally until thickened, about 15 minutes.

Add salt and pepper to taste. Meanwhile, cook the pasta (al dente!). Drain the pasta and toss it with the sauce.

Place half of the pasta in an oiled 9" x 13" dish. Cover with half of the parmesan and half of the mozzarella. 

Top with remaining pasta, then parmesan and mozzarella. Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes.

I did make a few changes to the original recipe and I will make a few more the next time I make it as well. I used 3 cloves of garlic (you can never have too much garlic if you ask me!) and I minced them instead of crushing them. Next time, I will add a couple additional cloves too. Apparently when I was writing down the ingredients for my shopping list, I must have missed the diced part of the tomatoes. The only ones I could find that said plum tomatoes were whole, peeled ones, so that is what I bought. I went ahead and diced them myself before cooking them. Next time, I may get the same ones, but will probably use an additional can as well. I thought the dish could use more tomato. I don't really like my pasta super saucy, so I love that this dish focuses more on the chunks of tomato versus a lot of sauce. I used whole wheat penne instead of regular pasta and the box I bought was just shy of an entire pound - I think 14.5 ounces instead? This was a good amount of pasta. Next time I will double the amount of mozzarella cheese I use. I bought fresh mozzarella to cube and it was delicious, but I think the dish needed more. You can never have too much cheese either! ;) One final addition - I added a pound of pre-cooked chicken strips (fajita seasoned) and added the strips in layers, like I did the cheese. I think the chicken was a nice addition to give it some added protein and made it very filling without loading up on too much pasta. I ended up baking it for 20 minutes, and I think it may have benefited from another 5 minutes to help the cheese melt even more. This recipe produces a huge gigantic amount of food and it was enough for all three of us for dinner and Josh and I had leftovers for lunch for the next two days as well! :) I'm also not usually a big fan of leftovers, but this dish was still great when re-heated too. I love how easy it was to make my own sauce for it from just tomatoes, garlic and oregano. So, not only a tasty, easy dish to make, but also very cheap. That is a definite winner in my book!

To accompany the dish, I made another loaf of bread in my bread machine. Because who doesn't love a loaf of fresh bread with their pasta? ;) This time I tried out a loaf of French bread. It was a 2.5 pound loaf set to light crust. It was heavenly. It tasted just like the bread my momma used to make for us when we were kids and it was always delightful as well! If you are interested in the recipe for this loaf, let me know. :)

Another dish I would like to share is one that I have been making for years now. I have a friend whom I worked with at UK, Visnja, to thank for the original recipe that I modified a bit. For that reason, I call it V's Easy Rice Dish. :)

  • 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 to 3 red bell peppers, diced into ~1" pieces
  • 2 bunches of green onions, diced into ~1/2" pieces
  • 2 cups brown rice (I use Minute Rice because it's quick and easy)
  • Garlic salt, to taste
  • Curry powder, to taste (about 2-3 Tbsp is good)
  • 1 pound chicken breast, diced into ~1" pieces
  • Salt, to taste
Heat the oil in a skillet. Clean and dice the red peppers and green onions and add them to the skillet, cooking over medium to medium-high heat.

Meanwhile, prepare the brown rice as directed. When the rice is finished cooking, add it to the peppers and onion, mix well, and continue cooking over low to medium heat.  

After you get the peppers and onions into the skillet, start dicing the chicken. Heat another skillet to medium to medium-high heat and add the chicken, cooking just until done. 

Season both the chicken and the rice mixture with garlic salt and curry powder, to taste. I normally use hot madras curry powder (it's yellow), but I was running low, so I used red curry powder this time. It was also good. :) I use at least 2 to 3 Tbsp of the curry powder in the rice and then sprinkle it over the chicken too. 

Once the chicken is ready, add it into the skillet with the veggies and rice and mix everything together until blended well. Season with additional salt, to taste. Serve while hot!

This is such an easy and quick meal to throw together. It is great for busy nights when you still want to serve your family a tasty, healthy dish. It also yields plenty of food for dinner for the three of us with leftovers for one to two lunches. It's also easy to increase or decrease the amount of each ingredient to adjust to your family's needs. :) If you try it out, please let me know what you think!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Noah is Seven Months Old!

Another month has passed and it is time to update what Noah is up to again! First up, his stats. He weighed in this month at 17 lbs, 3 oz (25th to 50th percentile), which means just a 2-ounce gain. I think this is due to all the moving around he has been doing now! He is probably burning calories as quickly as he is consuming them! haha! He actually didn't grow any taller because he was still measuring up at 27 inches (down to 50th percentile). His head circumference was 45 cm (50th to 75th percentile).

Below is the pic of Noah at seven months, wearing the 12-month onesie. He is so happy in this pic! :) I think he is starting to thin out a little bit now too. He's getting a little more hair on that head and it is a nice shade of strawberry blond. :) His eyes are still quite blue too. He's looking more and more like his Momma's twin every day!

As I posted a couple weeks ago, Noah has been sleep trained! Yay!! He has been sleeping anywhere from 9 to 12 hours straight now every night, and the nights he is up after 9 or 10 hours, he eats and goes back to sleep for another few hours. It. is. awesome. I had forgotten just how wonderful it was to sleep all night. It has done a lot for my sanity, that is for sure! ;) He is still taking two to three naps a day too. He has shifted a bit to normally taking a longer morning/early afternoon nap of 1 to 2 hours, then a late afternoon nap of another 1 to 3 hours. If they are shorter naps, then he usually needs a short early evening nap too. Naps are a necessity because a well-rested Noah makes for a much happier Noah!! He gets that one from his Daddy. ;)

New foods tried this month:
  • Carrots
  • Apples
  • Peaches
  • Squash
  • Peas
  • Pears
  • White grape juice
He is doing really well with the food introductions. He wasn't a big fan of carrots or apples, but has done really well with all of the others. He loves peaches and squash and gobbles up seconds of those! I have kept up with making all of the food myself. It hasn't been hard at all and I am really enjoying it. For the squash, I have been using butternut and roasting it, then pureeing it. We all eat the squash, either just roasted or in soup. It is so good!! The peas are super easy. I can just throw frozen ones into the Baby Brezza and let them steam and puree. Can't get any easier than that! :) We introduced the white grape juice, diluted 50/50 with water of course, to try and help with his constipation. It does seem to be helping some, but his love of bananas for breakfast aren't helping the issue. :( Just a few more things to introduce by themselves for now, then I'll probably start mixing some of them or adding some spices to make it interesting. I will probably try to add some cereal to the fruits and veggies too, so that I can get him to eat it that way. He continues to nurse every 2-3 hours throughout the day, so I know that is where he is mainly getting his nutrition. We're doing the solid foods just twice a day at this point, but I may add in another meal at lunchtime soon too.

New accomplishments this month:
  • Pulling himself up on everything, including couches, crib, big toys, etc
  • Cruising around the room once he is standing
  • Crawling, instead of scooting, around the room
  • Taking big boy baths
  • Sitting at the table when we go out to eat
He has become quite the little mover and groover! I can't turn my back on him for a second or he is all the way across the room!! He quickly learned how to pull up on anything sturdy enough to hold his weight, including his crib. Unfortunately, when he doesn't feel like going to sleep right away, he will now stand up and walk around the crib to entertain himself. We used to keep the video monitor on the top of the rails in the corner, but he discovered it there. Bummer. He quickly learned that if he pulled the monitor down, we would come in the room to put it back up. So he kept doing it...over and over. :( It was like a scene out of the Blair Witch Project. Took you back with that one, eh? ;) You see him getting closer, then all the sudden it is in his hands and you just see part of his face taking up the entire screen, then it drops and you are staring at the floor. Awesome. So, Daddy fixed that one by propping the camera up high on the curtain rod. I think he was pretty bummed about that fix. Haha! He is sitting up so well too, that I decided to let him start taking big boy baths instead of using his infant tub. He loves playing in the water with all the toys that Ethan makes sure to get out for him. ;) Since he is getting so big in his infant car seat and doesn't care so much to be in it through dinner, we started bringing his clip-on chair (one of the best gifts we received when Ethan was born, that we hadn't even thought to register for!) with us to dinner. It's such a great gadget. It can hook on to any table and then he is able to sit right there with us at the table. Since he is still so tiny, high chairs can oftentimes leave him sitting below the table, which is never fun, so we love the chair. It folds up pretty compact and it's easy to carry too. We are fortunate that the boys are great little diners and we can still go to nice places to eat!

Here is the pic of both Ethan and Noah at 7 months. I love seeing their similarities and differences every month! It's definitely Ethan, the ornery funny man, and Noah, the sweet angel! haha!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Foil-Baked Salmon with Pesto and Tomatoes

I should be working on Ethan's birthday plans (less than 3 weeks to go now!!), but instead I am blogging about this recipe. It is a very tasty one though, so I wanted to make sure I didn't wait too long to share it! :)

We normally enjoy grilling our salmon at home, but now that we are living in the apartment, our beloved grill is in storage, so I have to get creative with some of our usual food prep. I had an old recipe for salmon, baked in the oven, so I dug it out and made a few modifications to improve it. Here is the original recipe.

  • 2 salmon filets, about 6 oz each
  • 2 tsp olive oil (to grease foil)
  • 4 tsp pesto
  • 4-5 medium tomatoes (sliced about 1/4" thick)
Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place a baking sheet in the oven to heat while you prep the salmon. Tear two pieces of foil, big enough to wrap salmon with some overlapping. Place foil pieces one on top of the other. Put about 2 tsp olive oil in center of top piece of foil and lay salmon on top of oil. Spread each piece of salmon with about 2 tsp pesto. Arrange sliced tomatoes over pesto so they cover the top of the salmon. Wrap salmon securely in foil, doubling over the seam and ends several times. Place salmon packet on heated baking sheet and cook 15 minutes. Remove from oven after 15 minutes and let sit 2-3 minutes. Then open carefully and serve immediately, while salmon and tomatoes are hot.

I buy our salmon fresh from the seafood counter and I normally buy around a pound total for Josh and I. So, the filets I had were a bit bigger than the recipe called for originally. I first start any fish dish by soaking the filets in milk for at least 30 minutes before cooking them. This helps to draw out some of the "fishy" tasting oils to give it a better flavor when cooked. This recipe is titled Foil-Baked Salmon with Basil Pesto and Tomatoes, but I wanted to use my favorite homemade pesto, poblano, instead. Below is a pic of it. I have blogged about this pesto in the past, but made a couple changes to it this time. I was very happy with the results.

Here is the recipe again, with my changes in parentheses.

  • 2 poblano peppers (I used 3 large ones)
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan (I used 3/4 cup)
  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, roughly chopped (I omitted this ingredient)
  • 2 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped (I used 3 cloves)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder (I toned down the heat and used 1 tsp)
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil (I used 1/4 cup olive oil)
  • Kosher salt, to taste
Char the poblano peppers (on top of a gas burner, on a grill, or under the broiler) until all of the sides are blackened. Place in a bowl covered tightly with plastic wrap, allowing the steam to help loosen the skin. With your fingers or a spoon (I wear gloves in case the peppers are hot, as it irritates my sensitive skin), scrape and discard the blackened skin then remove the seeds and core. Coarsely chop the poblanos, and place into a food processor. Add the Parmesan, cilantro (if you want to use it), garlic, chili powder and oil and process until well combined, but not totally smooth. Taste and season with salt.

I charred the peppers under the broiler this time, and it worked very well. Unfortunately the smoke alarm beeped a couple times at me, but no fires. ;) Oops! I preferred this version of the pesto to the original because the original was a bit oily and by decreasing the oil and increasing the cheese, the balance of the ingredients seemed to be better.

So, I used the poblano pesto to top the salmon filets. I know I used more than 2 tsp for each, but I don't think you can have too much of this pesto, so that's why. ;) The pesto recipe also yields a good-sized portion of pesto, but you can easily freeze it in small packets to thaw and use in the future for other dishes. :) I am planning on using it again tomorrow night to top the NY strip steaks I purchased for our Valentine's Day dinner. It tastes heavenly on steak too!

The salmon recipe calls for a lot of tomatoes, but because my salmon filets were thick, they didn't have a lot of surface area to stack tomatoes on top. So, I placed just one slice of tomato on each filet. I ended up roasting the additional slices of tomato I had, along with some asparagus, to have as a side. I topped the tomatoes with a little grated pecorino romano cheese. They were quite tasty! Back to the salmon...the recipe says to bake for 15 minutes, but after checking them at that time, they weren't cooked quite enough for me, so I added an additional 5 minutes. The filets were still very moist and pink. Delicious! I always serve my salmon over a serving of brown rice and I love oven-roasted or grilled asparagus as a side dish. A healthy, tasty meal for the entire family.

Let me know what you think if you try this one out! :)

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

A Few Good Meals

Last week, I decided I wanted to go all out and make a few delicious, but kind of time-consuming meals for the family. For the first meal, I decided to try out my new bread machine for the first time (thanks, Mom!). I had never used a machine, but after reading the directions, it appeared like it would be pretty simple. I gathered what I needed for this particular recipe for a one pound loaf and went to work early that morning.

  • 1/2 cup + 3 Tbsp water, 80 degrees
  • 1 Tbsp butter or margarine
  • 1 Tbsp dry milk
  • 2 cups bread flour
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp active dry yeast
I placed all of the ingredients in the bread machine, as directed, and set it to start. Since my end product would involve making sandwiches from the bread, I decided to go ahead and use the sandwich setting. It was supposed to make a lightly textured loaf with a thinner crust than usual.

I was quite happy with the finished product. After just three hours, I had my very own loaf of freshly baked bread, from scratch! No preservatives or additives. Just yummy bread. Awesome!

Later that day, I sliced the bread to prepare it for my sandwiches. To accompany the soup I was making, I had decided to make grilled mozzarella cheese and bacon sandwiches. Yummmm.

For the soup, I wanted to make roasted butternut squash soup. I had made it in the past, but it had been awhile. Recently, we have started frequenting Atlanta Bread Company, as it is a mere three minutes from our apartment here in Tennessee. Dangerous! They make an incredible roasted butternut squash soup, so I wanted to try to recreate it.

To start the soup, I prepared the squash. First, slice it lengthwise in half.

Next, scoop out the seeds.

Place both pieces, cut side down, in a greased dish (I use olive oil spray). Using a knife, cut slits in the squash to allow steam to escape while it is roasting.

Roast the squash in a 425-degree oven for an hour or so. The squash should start to brown nicely.

Next, allow the squash to cool a bit, then gently peel the skin off of each piece. Place the cooked squash into a food processor to puree it. You can also scoop the squash out of the skin, but peeling the skin off allows you to get more of it removed.

Puree the squash, adding in additional ingredients to thin the consistency. I added 1 cup of chicken broth. Next, pour this into a saucepan on the stove, to gently heat it, while adding additional ingredients. I did not measure out the additional ingredients I used, but relied on consistency and taste to guide me. I started by adding in some skim milk, maybe 1/2 to 1 cup. Next I added in some heavy cream, maybe 1/4 cup. This gave me the consistency that I wanted for the soup. Next, I added some spices to give me the flavor I was desiring. I decided to use some curry powder, ground cinnamon and ground ginger. I didn't use a lot, but as I said, used taste to determine how much I wanted of each. The end result was a soup with a little spice from the curry, but was balanced nicely by the cinnamon and ginger.

The finished meal...

For the sandwiches, I buttered the bread and cooked the sandwiches in a grill pan on the stove. I used slices of mozzarella and bacon, that I first cooked in a frying pan on the stove as well. The sandwiches turned out perfectly. The crisp, buttered bread balanced the creamy, melted cheese and the crispy, salty bacon. Delicious.

The next meal I made was chicken curry. I love this recipe. It originated in the Joy of Cooking.

  • 2 Tbsp butter
  • Onion, chopped (large)
  • 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp curry powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • One-13.5 oz can unsweetened coconut milk
  • 1 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • One-8 oz can crushed pineapple with juice
  • 2 to 3 cups diced chicken, cooked (I use about 1 pound of chicken breast)
  • Salt, to taste
  • White or ground red pepper, to taste
  • Cooked rice
  • Cilantro and/or minced seeded fresh or canned chiles
In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the onion. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent, about 7 minutes. Before I start dicing my onion, I start the rice. I make basmati rice, which requires soaking before you start cooking it.

Add and cook, stirring 1 minute, the flour, curry powder, ginger and cinnamon. Remove the pan from heat and whisk in the coconut milk, chicken broth and crushed pineapple.

At this point, I dice up my chicken breast and start cooking it, over medium-high heat.

Place the saucepan back over medium-high heat and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil until the sauce is reduced to about 1.5 cups and is lightly thickened, about 10 minutes.

Here is what the chicken will look like when it is done.

Stir the chicken into the sauce. Cook over the lowest possible heat, stirring now and then, for 5 minutes to blend the flavors. Season to taste with salt and white or ground red pepper. I use ground red pepper.

Serve over cooked rice. If desired, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and/or chiles. I used the cilantro the very first time I made it, but decided it didn't really add anything to the dish, so I don't add it now. Serve with a piece of naan. Yum!

Since I ended up getting sick last week, I wasn't able to cook up any additional yummy meals, but here is one more treat for you. This is another Pinterest find that I had been wanting to try for awhile. It is a recipe for chocolate peanut butter crescent rolls. You can find the pin here. It is super simple!

  • 1 tube crescent rolls (I used Pillsbury)
  • Peanut butter
  • Semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • Chopped walnuts (this is actually one I added because I thought it sounded good)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Place the unrolled crescent rolls onto an ungreased cookie sheet. Spread a layer of peanut butter on each triangle. Top each with some of the chocolate chips. Also the walnuts, if you would like to try those too.

Roll from the bottom of the triangle to the point. 

Place in the oven and bake for 10-11 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Serve hot. 

This was a pretty tasty little treat, but I did find that it lacked one thing essential to a dessert...sweetness! By using the semi-sweet chocolate chips, there really wasn't any element to this dessert that was very sweet. So,  when I try making them again, I am going to also sprinkle some brown sugar on the layer of peanut butter too. I think this will help give it the sweetness I desire! Another fun twist to this idea would be to spread nutella on the crescent roll and use peanut butter chips, instead of the chocolate chip. I may try this next time too! Let me know what fun twists you put on this simple dessert. :)

One last fun idea I came up with a couple of weeks ago for Ethan...peanut butter and banana "sushi" rolls! I decided he needed something fun to eat one day for lunch while I ate indulged in my california roll. So, I whipped him up some "sushi" rolls of his own using chunky peanut butter (his favorite) and little slices of banana. While I dipped my rolls in soy sauce, he dipped his in some honey. A perfect combo! So tasty looking that I think I may have to make myself one next time too! ;)

I started by spreading the peanut butter on a piece of whole wheat bread, with the crusts trimmed from the sides.

Then I placed pieces of banana on top and rolled them up!

Here is his lunch, complete with veggie and the honey dip.

And one happy camper! :)