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Sunday, August 29, 2010

Short Sabbatical

Hello readers! I just wanted to give you all a heads up on the big change in my life. After 15 yrs of living with Crohn's disease and 2 surgeries, it has completely destroyed what large intestine I have left. So Aug 31st, I will be going for an ostomy surgery. The recovery period is 1 week in hospital and 4-6 weeks at home. Plus, I will not be able to follow a normal diet for a few months, so I will not be posting during that time.

I also wanted to thank all of you, who take the time to follow my blog. I started this as a way to keep track of recipes I really liked and that my family (especially my children) also enjoyed. I appreciate that anyone takes the time to read my ramblings and leave comments. Hope to be back and cooking soon and I hope to be able to come on and leave an update on how things are going soon!

Happy cooking!!

Cindy

Friday, August 27, 2010

Chocolate Cherry Cupcakes

I saw this recipe on one of my Eating Well news letter and saved it. We hardly ever buy fresh cherries, but did last week and I desperately needed to use them up, since they were slowly going bad on me. Let me tell you, these cupcakes are AWESOME!! Not too sweet or chocolate-y, with nice bursts of sweet cherry throughout. They are a bit more dense than regular cupcakes, due to the Whole Wheat flour, but other than that, you can't really tell there is WW flour in them. I didn't make the cream cheese frosting since I didn't have any cream cheese. Instead, I made a vanilla cherry frosting, which just makes the cupcakes that much more sinful. Mr.B inhaled his in no time flat and asked if there were still some left, this morning, LOL. Queenie, who refuse to eat her dinner, had to do without and will have hers tonight, if dinner is eaten. Definitely a great somewhat more healthy cupcake!



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Chocolate-Cherry Cupcakes
Adapted From EatingWell: May/June 2010

3/4 cup whole-wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup cake flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup nonfat buttermilk (or 1/2 C low fat milk with 1 1/2 Tbs vinegar)
1 1/2 cups chopped pitted cherries, fresh or frozen (thawed and drained), plus 12 fresh cherries with stems for garnish

Frosting

6 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese (Neufch√Ętel), at room temperature
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1 cup packed confectioners’ sugar

To prepare cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350°F. Line 12 (1/2-cup) muffin cups with paper liners. Whisk whole-wheat flour, cake flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Beat granulated sugar and oil in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on medium speed until combined. Beat in egg and vanilla until well combined. With the mixer on low, alternately mix in the dry ingredients and buttermilk, starting and ending with dry ingredients and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed, until just combined. Fold in chopped cherries until just combined. Divide the batter among the prepared cups (they will be full). Bake the cupcakes until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 22 to 26 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool completely.

To prepare frosting: Meanwhile, beat cream cheese, sour cream and confectioners’ sugar with an electric mixer until smooth. Refrigerate the frosting until very cold, about 2 hours. Spread the frosting on the cooled cupcakes and decorate with a cherry on top, if desired.

NutritionPer cupcake : 269 Calories; 10 g Fat; 3 g Sat; 4 g Mono; 32 mg Cholesterol; 42 g Carbohydrates; 5 g Protein; 2 g Fiber; 286 mg Sodium; 150 mg Potassium

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Vanilla Cherry Frosting

2 C powdered sugar
2 Tbs unsalted butter
1/2 tsp clear vanilla
1/4 tsp almond extract
1-2 Tbs milk

In a bowl cream the butter with both the vanilla and almond extracts. Add the powdered sugar and 1 Tbs of milk. Whisk until all smooth, adding another Tbs of milk if too thick.

This post has been submitted to

Potluck Sunday
Foodie Friends Friday
Cupcake Tuesday

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Rhubarb Cake

One of my favorite things about summer at my parents house is their big patch of rhubarb, in the back yard. I have so many fond memories of sitting on the back steps, with friends, cups of sugar at hand and munching on rhubarb. As I got older, I started to appreciate rhubarb as more than a quick snack. My Mom would make this cake every summer and I never really was interested in it, until I was older. Now it's one of my summer must haves. Thankfully we live closer to my parents, so I can make this cake when ever I want, which makes me so very happy. This cake is more dense and chewy, than regular cakes. The batter is supper thick and the rhubarb add moistness. The cinnamon sugar topping helps balance the tart rhubarb and the meaty toasted nuts adds a wonderful savory note to the sugary topping. The kids, who will not touch raw rhubarb with a ten foot pole, with scarf down a piece of this cake in the blink of an eye. One of my favorite ways to relive my childhood memories.



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Rhubarb Cake

3 C chopped rhubarb
1/2 C shortening
1 1/2 C sugar
1 egg
2 C+1 Tbs flour
1 C buttermilk or sour milk

Topping

1/4 C sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 C chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a medium bowl, cream together the sugar and shortening. Add egg and mix well. Add flour, alternating with milk and mix until just combined. Fold in rhubarb and pour into a lightly greased 9x11- inch baking dish. In a small bowl combine 1/4C sugar, cinnamon and walnuts. Sprinkle over cake batter and bake for 45 minutes.



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This post linked to

Hearth and Soul

Monday, August 23, 2010

Meal Plan Monday~ Aug 23

This will be the last meal plan I'll be posting, for a few months. On Aug 31st, I'm scheduled for an ostomy operation. Crohn's has destroyed my large intestine, and this is the only way that I may be able to live a somewhat normal and pain free life. So, the next few weeks will be quite stressful, with having to adjust to everything and learning how to eat again. Since I'll pretty much be on pureed foods for the first few months, I won't bore you with our meal plans, LOL. I plan on posting 1-2 more recipes before the 31st and a reminder post of my abscence.

I'm kind of winging this week's meal plan. We are due to do groceries, but I'm just not in the mood. With a full freezer and pantry, I'm pretty set for meals, but will be heading out to get a few fresh fruits and veggies. So here is what I have planned for the week, in no particular order.


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Don't forget to pop over to OrgJunkie.com to check out tons of other great Meal Plans for the week!!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Chicken Cacciatore

This week, I've been trying to use what is in my fridge/freezer and pantry, since we weren't due to grocery shop until this weekend. So after taking inventory, I remembered seeing this recipe in my Crohn's cookbook. I quickly located it and was so happy I had all ingredients on hand. Well, I didn't have diced tomato or tomato paste, but I did have tomato sauce. Same difference right? The kids don't eat cooked tomatoes anyway, LOL.

This was really good. Simple to make, but tasted great and comforting. The kids really enjoyed it and they both had 2 servings. They also did not complain when we had the leftovers for lunch yesterday. There's just something about meat simmered in tomato sauce. It just tastes wonderful. The chicken was tender and the sauce was flavorful, without being too overpowering. This one is surely going on regular rotation!!




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Chicken Cacciatore
Adapted from How to Cook for Crohn's and Colitis

1 Tbs olive oil
8 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 C diced onion (1 med onion)
1 tsp minced garlic ( 2 medium cloves)
8 oz fresh white mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced
1- 14.5oz can diced tomatoes
4 Tbs tomato paste
1 tsp Italian seasoning
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Hot spaghetti or fettuccini

Heat olive oil in medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken thighs and brown about 4-5 mins on each side. Remove thighs and set aside. Add onion and cook about 5 minutes, until translucent. Add garlic and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes, until mushrooms are tender.

Add tomatoes, tomato paste, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper. Stir well. Add chicken and nestle into the sauce. Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25-30 minutes, until chicken is tender. Serve over hot spaghetti or fettuccini.

Cindy's notes: I used a 14.5oz can to tomato sauce, in place of the diced tomato and tomato paste. I also used a mixture of dried basil, thyme and oregano, for the Italian seasoning.

I'm submitting this recipe for Cookbook Sunday, over a Brenda's Canadian Kitchen.

cookbook sundays

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I'm also submitting this recipe to Potluck Sunday, over at Mommy's Kitchen.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Baking Powder Biscuits

Well, I've caught a summer cold, so soup was definitely on the agenda for dinner, last night. I can't have soup without some sort of dipper, so I decided to make one of my favorites. My Mom makes these often when she makes soup and these just remind me of home. Exactly what I needed, since I feel less then stellar. I love the fluffy inside and crunchy outside. Just perfect for soaking up the nice hot soup. My Mom usually uses shortening, but I like to use butter, for a richer taste.



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Baking Powder Biscuits

2C flour
1Tbs baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1/3C shortening or butter
3/4C milk (more if needed)

Mix all the dry ingredients together. Cut in shortening or butter, mixture is crumbly (about the size of peas). Add in milk and stir until just combined. Transfer to a floured surface and knead 10 times. Roll out to 1/2 inch thick and cut with a round cookie cutter. Place on cookie sheet and bake in a 425 degree oven, for 10-15 minutes or until golden.

Cindy's notes: I usually make drop biscuits, so I add a bit more milk, to make a stickier/looser dough. Then drop onto a cookie sheet ( about 2 Tbs dough, per biscuit) and bake as directed above.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Anniversary Cake

As I mentioned last week, Hubby was creating a cake, for my parent's 40th Anniversary. I have to say it turned out wonderfully and both my parents loved it. We had such a great time with everyone and enjoyed a ton of great food. I brought my pasta salad and of course my Dad's favorite, baked beans. I just wanted to show off Hubby's creation, since it was such a huge hit. It was topped with a boat and gum paste figures of my Mom and Dad, LOL.


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Since we returned home last night, I've yet to plan a menu for this week. I'll basically be using what ever I find in the pantry and freezer, since we aren't due for grocery shopping, until the weekend.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Pasta with Bacon in Tomato Cream Sauce

In my quest to come out of my cooking rut, I found this recipe. The kids are really fond of pasta carbonara, but I was getting tired of making it, so I wanted to find a different pasta recipe, that uses bacon. This was really good. The smoky bacon paired well with the mushrooms and thyme. I really liked how the cream cut the acidity of the tomato. The kids loved it and had 2 servings each, plus some of the leftovers for lunch the next day. MIL enjoyed the leftovers as well and asked for the recipe. All in all, I think it was a hit and I'll surely be making this more often.


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PASTA WITH BACON IN TOMATO CREAM SAUCE
Adapted from Cooks.com

1 med. onion, chopped
1/2 lb. ziti
1/2 lb. bacon
3 cloves garlic, minced or crushed
1/2 lb. sm. mushrooms
2 tsp. flour
1 (16 oz.) can crushed tomatoes
2 tbsp. tomato paste
1 1/2 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/2 c. heavy cream
2 tbsp. chopped parsley

Cook pasta as package directs, 10-12 minutes al dente.Meanwhile, in large skillet, cook bacon, crumble and set aside. Add onion, mushrooms and garlic to bacon fat until they start to brown. Add flour, cook about 1 minute. Add tomatoes and spices. Bring to boil. Then lower heat to simmer 5 minutes. Add cream and heat 1 minute. Toss with drained pasta, crumbled bacon, and parsley. Serves 4.

Cindy's notes: I used a 14.5oz can to tomato sauce, instead of crushed tomatoes, so I omitted the tomato paste. I also used half and half, instead of the cream, with no problems. I served it on the kids favorite pasta, spaghetti.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Meal Plan Monday~ Aug 9

Good morning! I actually took the time to make a menu last night, once the kids were in bed. It wasn't too hard, since most of it will consist of using up leftover turkey, that I'm roasting for dinner tonight. It's a 13 lb bird, so I'm sure we will have plenty leftover for the week. I'm also only planning 6 meals, since we will be out of town from Sunday to Tuesday night. We will be attending a BBQ at my brother's, to celebrate my parent's 40th wedding Anniversary. DH and I are making the cake and I'll make sure to post pics. So, here is what we should be having this week, in no particular order:



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  • Turkey, mashed potatoes, veg and rolls
  • Sweet and Sour turkey balls, with fries and corn
  • Hubby's seafood fettuccine (lobster and shrimp in some sort of tomato sauce), salad and bread sticks
  • Turkey fried rice
  • Hot turkey sandwiches with peas
  • Leftovers

Make sure to head over to OrgJunkie.com, to check out tons of other great meal plans for the week.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Cookie Cheesecake

While browsing a new dessert cookbook last week, Hubby caught a glimpse of this recipe and requested I make it. I was a bit apprehensive about it, since I've never made a baked cheesecake before. I've always been worried that it would turn out lumpy or dry, so have stuck with simple no bake cheesecakes. Hubby loves cheesecake and he offered to help me make it. I agreed and bought all the ingredients. 4 days later, we still hadn't made the cheesecake, LOL. So this weekend, while Hubby was helping my nephew move, I decided to make the cheesecake, so we could enjoy it once he got home. You know what? It was very simple and straightforward to make. I did think about leaving the cheesecake in the oven longer than suggested, but I'm glad I followed the recipe and took it out after the suggested time. It's creamy and tangy, with sweet chunks of cookie throughout. Hubby loved it and we polished it off in a matter of days, LOL. The kids aren't really crazy about cheesecake. I think it's the tanginess of the cream cheese. I'm definitely making this again and will be trying other baked cheesecakes in the future!!


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Cookie Cheesecake
Adapted from Company's Coming: Most Loved Recipe Collection

COOKIE CRUMB CRUST

2 Tbs butter
1 1/2 C finely crushed Oreo cookies

FILLING

3-8oz blocks of cream cheese, softened
1 C sugar
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 C whipping cream
3 large eggs
1 C coarsely chopped Oreo cookies

Cookie Crumb Crust: Melt butter in medium saucepan. Remove from heat and add crushed cookies. Stir well. Press firmly in bottom and 1/2 inch up side of greased 10 inch springform pan.

Filling: Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl, until smooth. Add whipping cream and beat well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition until just combined. Fold in chopped cookies until evenly distributed. Spread evenly over crust. Bake in 325 degree oven for about 1 1/4 hours, until center is almost set. Run knife around inside edge of pan to allow cheesecake to settle evenly. Let stand in pan on wire rack until cooled completely. Chill overnight.

Tip: Garnish with whipped topping and whole cookies, for an extra special look that's sure to make the kids smile.

I'm submitting this recipe to Cookbook Sundays over at Brenda's Canadian Kitchen. And also over at Mommy's Kitchen, for Potluck Monday. Also submitting to Recipe Swap Sunday @ Remodelaholic. Also linked to Countdown to 2011:Desserts.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Meal Plan Monday~ Aug 2

I'm in a total cooking rut. I'm sure it has a lot to do with my medication, it either makes me ravenous, or so indecisive I don't want to cook. This week's meal plan was hard to think up. Mostly because I'm not in the mood for anything and therefore not eating much. Oh the joys of living with IBD. Anyhow, I finally finished my menu, though I'm not sure how closely I will follow it. I do take comfort in the fact that I do have a plan, so I'm not just flying by the seat of my pants, LOL. So here it is, in no particular order....


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  • Chicken and corn, on the grill, with mashed potatoes and gravy
  • Bacon pasta, with garlic bread and a salad
  • Pierogies, with bacon and onion, tossed salad
  • Vegetable soup and Baking Powder Biscuits
  • Peameal Sandwiches on homemade buns, with coleslaw
  • Prime rib, crash hot potatoes (new recipe), glazed carrots, Yorkshire pudding and au jus
  • Leftovers

Head on over to OrgJunkie.com, to find tons of other meal plans for the week!!