Thursday, June 16, 2011


I have been very bad lately.  I have neglected my poor blog and I feel very bad.  The bad thing is that I have pics of food to upload and just haven't gotten to it.  My mind has been on vacation and little else :)  We are driving from Dallas to San Francisco, to Santa Fe and various spots in between over the next ten days.  I'm hoping to get some good shots of the food in all these spots and have some good posts when we come back!

See ya soon!

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Lemon Chickpea Salad With Roasted Red Peppers

I love Sprouts.  Or actually any place that has bulk isles, but Sprouts in particular.  A few weeks ago, on a whim, I bought about 1 lb of dry chick peas and have been meaning to make something with them.  Of course, there is always yummy Indian food, but since summer is closing in, I wanted something light and summery.  I found this recipe online and decided to try it out.

Chickpeas are treated just like any dry bean, you have to soak them for a few hours (I soaked them overnight) and them cook them for about 2 hours.  Watch out for high boil, or you wind up with a marshmallow monster trying to get you:

The recipe is super simple, and the flavors are amazing.  The one complaint is that I was not able to slice the lemon thin enough for my taste.  When I make this again, I may just use the zest and lemon juice, not the slices.  

Lemon Chickpea Salad With Roasted Red Peppers

from Honest Cooking: Jessica Smith


2 large red peppers
1/2 a lemon, halved lengthwise
3 Tbsp. olive oil
1 clove garlic, minced
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
3 cups cooked chickpeas (rinsed and drained if using canned)
salt and pepper


  1. Turn on the oven’s broiler and line a baking sheet with foil. Cut red peppers in half and discard core and seeds. Place red pepper halves, skin-side up, on the baking sheet, brush a small amount of olive oil and cook under the broiler until the skins blister and blacken, 5-10 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and fold and seal the foil around the peppers, allowing them to steam while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. Cut the lemon into very thin slices (the thinner the better, as these will be added directly to the salad), discarding the seeds. Combine the lemon slices, olive oil, garlic, parsley and basil in a large bowl and stir well.
  3. Remove the blackened skins from the red peppers and cut the peppers into long, thin slices. Add the peppers and chickpeas to the dressing and toss to combine. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately or refrigerate up to 24 hours before serving
We had this , plus the Tex-Mex Tabbouleh and some nice bread sticks for a very fulfilling vegetarian dinner :)  Too filling, as hubby couldn't finish (no worries, I did though!)

Nutrition Facts
6 Servings
Weight Watchers PP: 10

Calories 432
Calories from Fat 116
Total Fat 12.9g
Saturated Fat 1.6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 27mg
Total Carbohydrates 62.3g
Dietary Fiber 17.7g
Sugars 11.5g
Protein 19.7g
Vitamin A 10%
Vitamin C 49%
Calcium 11%
Iron 37%

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Tex-Mex Tabbouleh

Not only is this my first time making Tabbouleh, its also the first time to taste it.  So I'm not really sure what to base it of off, but its outstanding.  Loved it, will be making it many, many more times.  This recipes is based off a Weight Watchers recipes , but theirs called for bulgur, and I just happened to have couscous instead.  Hopefully a good replacement :)  I also substituted a regular cucumber for English because, even at Sprouts, an English cucumber was $2.99/ea and regular was $0.49/ea  Hmmm.  So I used a spoon to scrape out the seeds from the regular cucumber and it seems to have worked fine. ;)

Tex-Mex Tabbouleh 

1 1/2 cup water   
3/4 cup uncooked couscous   
1 cup tomatoes, diced   (I used Fire Roasted Hunts)
1 cucumber, diced   
1/3 cup cilantro, leaves, fresh, chopped   
3 Tbsp scallions, sliced   
3 Tbsp fresh lime juice   
3 tsp olive oil, extra-virgin   
3/4 tsp table salt   
1/2 tsp ground cumin   
1/2 cup avocado, diced


  1. Bring water, couscous and 1 tsp oil to a boil in a small saucepan, and then remove from heat. Cover pan and let stand until water is absorbed and couscous is tender, about 10-15 minutes. 
  2. Fluff couscous with a fork and let cool to room temperature or until just slightly warm. 
  3. In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, cucumber, cilantro, scallion, lime juice, oil, salt and cumin. 
  4. Add cooled couscous to bowl; toss to combine. Gently fold in avocado and let stand 10 minutes for flavors to blend. 
  5. Serve, or cover and refrigerate up to 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 10 minutes before serving. Yields about 2/3 cup per serving.

I should be updated frequently, as this weekend is a recipe laden weekend for me, and a lot of yummy and healthy recipes at that! :)

Nutritional Info:
Serving Size 2/3 Cup
Weight Watchers PP: 4

According to

Calories 136
Calories from Fat 39
Total Fat 4.3g
Saturated Fat 0.6g
Cholesterol 0mg
Sodium 299mg
Total Carbohydrates 21.6g
Dietary Fiber 2.6g
Sugars 1.8g
Protein 3.7g
Vitamin A 7%
Vitamin C 15%
Calcium 2%
Iron 4%

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Fusilli with Caramelized Onions and White Wine (and steak, yum!)

I made a brilliant (to me) discovery over the weekend.  One that I can't believe I hadn't thought of before.  Getting older issues of cooking magazines at the half price book store.  Duh. 

I love cooking magazines, and even though I really don't need any more (can anyone say pack rat?) I felt the urge to buy.  Not to mention they will make excellent reading material on our two day drive from Texas to California in June!

On a whim, I went to Half Price and found a HUGE selection of Cooking Light, Bon Appetit, Rachel Ray, and so many more for as low as $1 per magazine.  Um, yes!  And the June issue of Cooking Light for only $1.98.  That's a deal to me!  I also ventured into the cookbook area and had to quickly leave before spending precious vacation money.  There are just TOOO many choices!

So that leads us to today's post, a recipe from Cooking Light, April 2011.  The recipe actually calls for Spring Onion, which I couldn't find, and says you can substitute with vidalia onion- which I also couldn't find at my neighborhood Kroger so I just used white.  Turned out fine to me :)

Fusilli with Caramelized Spring (or white) Onions and White Wine
Rori Trovato, APRIL 2011

(served with sirloin, just grilled with some seasoning)

Mmmm steak!
  • YIELD: 4 servings
  • COURSE: Main Dishes
  • 1/2 cup Italian Breadcrumbs (recipe originally called for panko, but I was out)
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, divided
  • 2 cups thinly sliced white onions (about 1 pound)
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/4 cup fat-free, lower-sodium chicken broth
  • 8 ounces uncooked fusilli (or other twisty pasta)
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese (grated) 
  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°.
  • 2. Combine breadcrumbs, 1 tablespoon oil, 1 teaspoon garlic, and a dash of salt in a small bowl. Spread panko mixture in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake at 375° for 6 minutes or until golden brown, stirring after 3 minutes. Cool.

  • 3. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Add remaining 2 tablespoons oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add onions to pan; cook 20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Add remaining 1 teaspoon garlic and wine. Increase heat to medium-high; cook 1 minute. Add broth; cook until liquid is reduced to 1/2 cup (about 4 minutes).



  • 4. Cook pasta in boiling water with 1 tablespoon kosher salt according to package directions, omitting additional fat. Drain. Add pasta, remaining salt, and pepper to onion mixture; toss gently. Place about 1 cup pasta in on dish; sprinkle each serving with 2 tablespoons breadcrumb mixture and Parmesan.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Roasted Chicken and Veggies

Sometimes there is no time to make a dish with tons of ingredients, as fun as it may be :) I have recently been introduced to teh wonders of whole roasted chicken. So easy and sooo yummy. And much lower in sodium than the store bought Rotisserie ones (as good as those can be)

All across the internet, there are several different opinions on temps and times to roast a chicken. I chose to go with Ina's way - I'm pretty confident she knows what shes doing :) I basically threw some veggies under the chicken and let loose. No real recipe here, just tossing items together to see what works. But here is the link that I used the times/temps for cooking the chicken. Everything else is just winging it. Har Har.

Fresh Veggies

Raw chicken not so pretty

Spices I used

About ready to roast this bad boy!

Whole Chicken
Veggies of choice
Seasoning of choice

Preheat oven to 425 degrees
Wash chicken, removing any weird stuff on inside (I have yet to buy a chicken with chicken parts inside thankfully) pat dry - put seasoning of choice all over (I used Greek Style as pictured)
Cut lemon in half and stuff in cavity
Chop veggies (I used onion, carrot and fresh green beans), place in roasting pan - place chicken on top.
Cook chicken for about 1.5 hours, check thigh/leg area to make sure juices run clear.

This is such an easy dinner to make, and a bonus dinner for later in the week if you have leftovers. I shredded the leftovers and combined with BBQ sauce, and served it with biscuits for some BBQ chicken Biscuit Sandwiches. Um, yum. Was sooo yummy, wish I had taken pics :) The possibilities for leftover shredded chicken are pretty endless.

What do you use shredded chicken for? I plan on making many more roasted chickens, and need ideas :)

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Lemony Risotto with Asparagus and Shrimp

For the first time in my life I have been paying attention to items that are in season, and cooking with them.  Since asparagus seems to be the go-to veggie in spring, I have been looking for lots of recipes (it helps that every store has it on sale for CHEAP!)

On a whim, I bought a box of Arborio rice last week in hopes that I would figure out what to do with it later.  Never having made Risotto before I had no idea what to expect, but I know I have heard the word yelled A LOT by Chef Ramsey :)  That had me a little worried.

It was actually very easy to cook, just a bit time consuming since you have to constantly stir, but not that big a deal at all.  And the hubby and daughter LOVED it.  So its something that will frequent the household more often.
What are your favorite Risotto Recipes?  I need to stock TO MAKE LIST!

Lemony Risotto with Asparagus and Shrimp

Source: Gourmet | May 2009 (via

Makes 4 (main course) or 6 to 8 (side dish) servings

3 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cups water
3/4 pound asparagus, trimmed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1 small onion, finely chopped
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
1 1/4 cups Arborio rice
1/4 cup dry white wine
3/4 pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined
1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
1/4 cup grated Parmesan
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

Bring broth and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan. Add asparagus and simmer, uncovered, until just tender, about 4 minutes. Transfer asparagus with a slotted spoon to an ice bath to stop cooking, then drain. Keep broth at a  simmer, covered.

Cook onion in 2 tablespoons butter with 1/4 teaspoon salt in a 4-quart heavy saucepan over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes.

Add rice and cook, stirring constantly, 1 minute. Add wine and simmer, stirring constantly, until absorbed.

Stir in 1/2 cup broth mixture and briskly simmer, stirring frequently, until absorbed. Continue adding broth, 1/2 cup at a time, stirring frequently and letting each addition be absorbed before adding the next, until rice is creamy and tender but still al dente (it should be the consistency of a thick soup), about 18 minutes. (There will be leftover broth mixture.)

Stir in shrimp and cook until just cooked through, 2 to 3 minutes.

Stir in asparagus, zest, remaining 2 tablespoons butter, parmesan, parsley, and pepper to taste. (Thin risotto with some of remaining broth if necessary.)

linked to:
It's a Keeper

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Easter Yumminess at the In Laws :)

Yumminess.  Don't think that's even a word but that's what I felt going over to the In Laws for Easter.  My MIL does the old school southern cooking that we dont have very often anymore, just for health reasons alone.  But when we do, its oh so yummy!  So thank  you Diana, for inviting us and having us out :)

This is why everything tastes so yummy!

Photo ops everywhere!


This was just super yummy!

Fruit Bowl
Mmmm, sugary fruit!

The Spread
Only about 1/2 the Spread

Almost finished...

Sage Eyes
MOM!  I'm hungry! See my sad puppy eyes!

Hunger makes the hubby goofy.  Think his step dad has had enough and wants no kissy face!

The chef and her creations :)
The chef and her creations :)

Food was amazing.  Now back to Diet Land :)

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Too Much Chocolate Cake

Friday was my co-worker (and friend) Suzie's birthday, and I wanted to make her a cake that I have been promising for a year now.  She loves chocolate almost as much as my hubby and daughter, so I thought it would be appropriate to make her a cake called Too Much Chocolate cake.  I found the recipe a couple of years ago, made it a couple of time but never had the confidence to actually bring it to work to share :)

There is nothing healthy about this.  AT ALL.  Im sure that changes can be made to slim the cal/fat down but since I planned on leaving this cake at work, I didnt bother (evil, yes, I know!).

Too Much Chocolate Cake


1 (18.25 ounce) package devil's food cake mix
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips (I used mini)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
2. In a large bowl, mix together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, beaten eggs and water. Stir in the chocolate chips and pour batter into a well greased 12 cup bundt pan.
3. Bake for 50 to 55 minutes, or until top is springy to the touch and a wooden toothpick inserted comes out clean. Cool cake thoroughly in pan at least an hour and a half before inverting onto a plate If desired, dust the cake with powdered sugar.

Being the good friend that I am, I also chose to add a chocolate drizzle as well. Of course, that is completely optional, but at this point... whats a few hundres more calories?

Chocoloate Drizzle:
3/4 cup mini chocolate chips
3 tbsp butter
1 tbsp honey (I didnt have corn syrup, so used this instead)
1 tsp vanilla extract

Pop in microwave until melted (or you could do the double boiler bit)

Drizzle over cake.  Enjoy!


Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

First off, I hate apartment indoor lighting.

I don't have much of a sweet tooth (although I think my hubby's and daughter's LOVE of all things sugary is starting to rub off on me), but one thing that I adore is a good cookie. I can eat the heck out of some fresh baked cookies. Cookie monster aint got nothing on me!

Sad to say, but I am a pretty novice cook, that has not made many desserts before, so I was looking for a fairly easy, and would it be possibe...a fairly healthy Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe? I was in luck. I spied a lovely recipe via Ginas Skinny Recipes by Gina  I'm going to pretty much post her recipe word for word because there was no need (IMO) to change anything. It was sooo yummy!

Low Fat Chewy Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 cup all purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup unpacked brown sugar
1 large egg (I used 1/4 cup eggbeaters)
1/4 cup unsweetened apple sauce
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups quick oats
3/4 cup dark chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°; line two baking sheets with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon.

In a large bowl, with a mixer, cream together the butter and the sugars on medium speed. Add the egg, followed by the applesauce and vanilla extract. Working by hand, stir in the flour mixture and the oats until just combined and no streaks of flour remain; stir in the chocolate chips.

Drop heaping tablespoonfuls (approx 1 tbsp each) of the dough onto prepared baking sheets, flattening each cookie slightly.

Bake for about 10-12 minutes, or until cookies become light brown at the edges.

Let cool on baking sheet for 3 or 4 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.


These were sooo good! They didnt last past the weekend :)


Nutritional Info:
Serving Size: 2 cookies
Points+: 5 pts
Calories: 190
Fat: 6.3 g
Protein: 2.6 g
Carb: 34.2 g
Fiber: 2.0 g
Sugar: 19.3 g

Friday, April 15, 2011

Gnocchi With Shrimp, Asparagus & Pesto

There's something to be said for quick and easy but FRESH meals. This meal was so easy to make and I guarantee anyone could make it.  If you can boil water, this is the recipe for you :)  I pretty much followed the recipe exact, it was just too good to mess around with.

I acquired a magic bullet through marriage (thanks honey!) and I am ashamed to say that I don't use it to it's fullest.  Its fantastic for making Pesto, so why we are not having fresh pesto is a mystery. Something that I MUST change though!  ;)

On to the recipe:

Gnocchi With Shrimp, Asparagus & Pesto

Source: Cooking Light JULY 2007 (via

YIELD: 4 servings (serving size: 2 cups)


2 quarts plus 1 tablespoon water, divided
1 (16-ounce) package vacuum-packed gnocchi
4 cups (1-inch) slices asparagus (about 1 pound)
1 pound peeled and deveined large shrimp, coarsely chopped (I forgot this step, so shrip was whole and worked fine)
1 cup basil leaves
2 tablespoons pine nuts, toasted
2 tablespoons preshredded Parmesan cheese
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
2 teaspoons bottled minced garlic
4 teaspoons extravirgin olive oil
1/4 teaspoon salt


Bring 2 quarts water to a boil in a Dutch oven, or large pot. Add gnocchi to boiling water and cook 4 minutes or until done (gnocchi will rise to surface). Remove gnocchi with a slotted spoon; place in a large bowl. Add asparagus and shrimp to water, cook 5 minutes or until shrimp are done. Drain. Add shrimp mixture to gnocchi.

Combine remaining 1 tablespoon water, basil, and next 4 ingredients (through garlic) in a food processor (or a handy dandy magic bullet); process until smooth, scraping sides. Drizzle oil through food chute with food processor on (or just stop and unscrew bottom from bullet - it doesn't seem to hurt the process); continue until well blended. Add salt and basil mixture to shrimp mixture; toss to coat. Serve immediately.


This was so yummy and fresh and light!  The daughter loved it, which REALLY surprised us.  She ate it even though the entire dish was green AND it had asparagus.  Its a mother's dream come true :)

Nutritional Information

    * Amount per serving
    * Calories: 355
    * Calories from fat: 24%
    * Fat: 9.3g
    * Saturated fat: 1.6g
    * Monounsaturated fat: 4.5g
    * Polyunsaturated fat: 2.5g
    * Protein: 26.5g
    * Carbohydrate: 42.7g
    * Fiber: 3g
    * Cholesterol: 170mg
    * Iron: 5.7mg
    * Sodium: 894mg
    * Calcium: 108mg

Monday, April 11, 2011

Red Beans and Rice

Back in the day I spent a few years in New Orleans, and of course, one of the things that the Big Easy is known for is delicious food! Too bad I spent those years in teenage la-la land. I couldn't have cared less about food or cooking in those days. Oh well, live and learn :)

So now in my older years I am making an attempt at Red Bean and Rice for the first time. And I have to say, it turned out pretty darn tasty!

IMG_1740Serves: 6-8 easily

1 lb uncooked red kidney beans
1 tbsp olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped (I may have had more than 3, but we are garlic fans here)
7 cups water
Sausage of your choice (I used Sprouts Spicy Andouille 12 oz- pic below) sliced
1 cup uncooked Brown Rice (more if you like more rice)
IMG_1741Cajun Seasoning

Soak beans in water overnight. Once beans have soaked, drain, rinse and set aside.

Place olive oil in large pan/Dutch oven over med-high heat. Add the onion and bell pepper, salt and pepper and cook for about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Add beans and water. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Decrease the heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 1/2 hours, stirring every 30 minutes.  Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a steady simmer, add sausage and Cajun seasoning, and continue to cook for another 30 to 40 minutes or until the beans are tender and the sauce is thickened to your liking.

During the last 30 minutes of the beans cooking, add rice to a seperate pot. Add just enought water that when you stick your finger into pot and the tip of your finger touches the rice, the water reaches your first knuckle of your middle finger (or first line). Set on med-high, cover and let boil. Once the water begins to boil, reduce to low-med and simmer until ready. I love the knuckle trick, I saw it on Cooking Channel's Spice Goddess and its worked everytime.

Once beans are cookied to your liking, serve over rice.  Enjoy :)

Nutrition Facts (Based on 8 servings)
(Approximate - from
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 396

Total Fat - 9.1g
Saturated Fat - 2.5g
Cholesterol - 51mg
Sodium - 455mg
Total Carbohydrates - 58.8g
Dietary Fiber - 10.0g
Sugars - 3.2g
Protein - 20.7g
Vitamin A 9% • Vitamin C 38%
Calcium 11% • Iron 35%

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Lemon Pepper-Chipotle Fish Tacos

I have been craving Fish Tacos since I saw this blog, almost a month ago.  I went the lazy way and bought the slaw mix from Central Market (big tub of already cut cabbage/carrots for $1.77 =Win in my book!), but I'm ok with that :)  Friday nights are for quick dinners anyway!

The base of this recipe is the same, but I wanted a little more spice in mine.  My recipe calls for some Chipotle powder for a little kick!  Yum!  Next time I do this recipe (and I will, because it was super simple and very yummy) im going to make a Chipotle Cream sauce or something, maybe Chipotle mayo ;)  Although I did add some Queso Fresco & Chipolte laughing cow to this

Servings: 4 (or 2 very hungry people)
  • 4 tilapia fillets 
  • 2 cups cole slaw mix
  • 1 lemon (1/2 sliced, 1/2 for juice)
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 lime 
  • Chipotle powder
  • lemon pepper
  • salt, pepper
  • cooking spray 
  • 2 wedge laughing cow Queso Fresco/Chipotle laughing cow
  • soft tortillas (I used low carb

1. Preheat oven to 350

2. Spray cooking spray along bottom of cooking pan. Season both sides of fish with lemon pepper and chipotle powder.  I used generous amounts of both, because tilapia if pretty bland IMO. Sprinkle a litttle dalt, then add sliced lemon over fish, Squeeze about 1/2 the lemon all over the fish.

3. Line pan with fish, bake for 20-25 minutes, until fish flakes easily.

IMG_17294. While fish is baking, in a bowl whisk together olive oil, honey, lime juice, salt and pepper.  Add in coleslaw mix.  Toss well and let sit to marinate while fish cooks.

5. Warm tortillas in oven for 2-3 minutes. When ready to serve, break fish into chunks, spoon onto warm tortilla, add 1 wedge of laughing cow (in chunks), then add slaw.  Top with guacamole (optional, not included in nutritional info).

This was pretty tasty, as far as I can remember - I pretty much inhaled them so the 15 seonds my tastbuds actually came in contact with the food was pretty tasty!

Nutrition Facts (from
Serving Size: 1 Taco
Amount Per Serving
Calories - 270
Calories from Fat - 78
Total Fat - 8.7g
Saturated Fat - 2.3g
Trans Fat - 0.0g
Cholesterol - 63mg
Sodium - 983mg
Total Carbohydrates - 23.3g
Dietary Fiber - 9.0g
Sugars - 7.5g
Protein - 26.0g
Vitamin A 1%     •     Vitamin C 57%
Calcium 7%     •     Iron 6%

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Orange-Cranberry-Banana-everything I can think of Muffins

I have discovered there are a million and one recipes for muffins on the internet. For a beginner like me, its a little overwhelming. So, what the logical thing to do? Add one more of course!

I honestly don't know that much about baking. My husband, who spent some years in the restaurant biz a few years back, does. Obviously he was going to play a roll in this recipe :) I know that everyone tells me that baking is exact, and the measurements must be correct or nothing good will come about, so that always makes me a bit nervous because I forgot lots of stuff a lot of the time.

My base recipe was adapted from Serious Eats: Orange Cranberry Muffins (so I could get the basics ratios!)

FYI: This makes 16 muffins - I didn't realize that until I was ready to pour. Oops :)

After adding a little of this, and a little of that, this is what we finally came up with:

Orange-Cranberry-Banana Muffins

2 cups flour
1 cup sugar, plus 1 tablespoon, divided
IMG_17081 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup orange juice
8 oz can mandarin oranges (save the juice for a later step)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 large egg, lightly beaten (we used 1/4 cup egg beaters)
1 cup dried cranberries
1 ripe banana
Cooking spray

1. Preheat oven to 400°F.

2. Pour juice from mandarin oranges over the dried cranberries and let sit until ready to mix. (or you could do this overnight).

IMG_17123. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together 2 cups flour, 1 cup sugar, baking powder, salt, and baking soda. Make an indentation in the middle.

4. In a large glass measuring cup, mix orange juice***, oil and egg. Pour mixture into flour indentation and stir until everything is just combined.

4. In a small bowl mash banana and mandarin oranges, stir in cranberries. Stir into batter.

5. Divide batter evenly among muffin tins. Sprinkle with reserved 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 15 minutes. Remove from tins and cool on a wire rack.

***We actually thought that the little bit of juice left over from mandarin oranges would be enough, but it wasn't and we added about 3/4 cup water. I'm going to add 3/4 cup orange juice to this recipe, as the original had, that would probably work much better, haha!

These turned out really good. Our daughter, who doesn't really like fruity muffins, loved it! Not bad for my first time I think :) Thanks to the hubby I'm sure!

They definitely have my mind rolling about different items to toss into the batter :) I just happen to have some blackberries and ripe banana left...hmmm... ;)

Nutrition Facts(from
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Amount Per Serving
Total Fat

Saturday, April 2, 2011

New Discoveries

Today was a beautiful day in the North Texas area and we just HAD to get out of the house. My hubby and I decided to take a trip to Central Market. One thing about this place, is that even though its an amazing place to explore, its WAY too easy to load your cart and leave $100+ poorer. So before going in, we decided we had a $40 limit, and pulled out that amount and no more!

Its amazing how a cash budget will put things into perspective for you. A person becomes much more picky on purchases. Although there were so many samples that were sooo yummy (Oyster Po-boys for goodness sakes!) we held strong!

One item item that peaked our interest, mainly because the loud POP the machine was making as it spit the fluffy bits of crispiness out, was something called Kim's Magic Pop.

Kim's Magic PopNutrition / Ingredients

Maybe we live in a cave, but we had never heard of these. So we took a sample, with some artichoke spinach hummus, and knew right away that these items were some of the chosen ones. And just by chance, they had a sell buy the POPs and get the hummus free :) Like that!


Amazingly, with these items and just a few more, we got out of Central Market only spending just under $14.00. Definitely a first for us!

On our way home, we decided to stop by one of our favorite places for fresh Samosas, a place called Royals Sweets. Samosas for $1.25/ea Yes indeed.

So for lunch we had a light and oh so yummy meal of Samosa, and hummus covered POP.

15 Cals per POP
70 Cals for 2 Tbsp Hummus

I don't know what the cals on the Samosa are, but considering the POP/Hummus is less that 100 I think we are ok :)