June 30, 2009

Whats for Breakfast in your house?

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My mornings (on weekdays) are usually so busy I don't have time to eat at home. I may be up early, but that is the time I blog, read other blogs, watch the Y&R (which I keep threatening to stop watching - but I've watched it since it first came on tv....). I also am known to bake, do laundry, put together Grumpy's lunchbox - and even my own ;o). What time do I wake up you wonder? ha ha. I'm a real early bird. Sometimes I am awake at 3:30....but the norm is between 4 and 4:30 AM.


Even getting up that early I'm not usually ready for food until about 8 or 8:30 which is when I am already at work. Usually I pack up some fruit and yogurt and sometimes I add some granola if I have it on hand. So, when MyBlogSpark asked me if I was interested in trying out and reviewing the new Nature Valley Nut Clusters, of course I said YES!

These came in the mail yesterday and of course I had to open every bag (they sent me 4 different flavors) and try them all. Of course Grumpy got into it. Of course I got after him because he was eating it all up on me and I wanted to make sure I got to try all the flavors again. I even promptly reminded him that he hated crunchy food. lol. Well, obviously this crunchy food he does not hate. He was really enjoying the mixed nut version.



These little clusters are awesome. Perfect to go with my yogurt in the morning. My only problem......it is hard to leave them alone. I could probably eat the whole bag (or 4). Thanks to MyBlogSpark for giving me the opportunity to try them!

47 years ago today...

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...my Mom & Dad said their vows. I had planned to have something special made for them to post today, we had an emergency here and I was unable to do so. I can't forget their day here though and am posting a photo from last year at Justin & Kristina's wedding.


Shelby, Mom, Phil Jr (in back), Dad, Steve

The family created by Phil & Gwen Law

Happy Anniversary Mom & Dad. I love you! XOXO


June 29, 2009

Happy Anniversary Aunt Marlene & Uncle Gary!

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My beautiful aunt and handsome uncle!
Happy Anniversary!


Remember a few days ago I said that there were many birthdays and anniversaries coming up? Today is my Aunt Marlene & Uncle Gary's anniversary. I remember when they were first married and I was 5 years old and toothless. Well, I was missing my two front teeth. I was spending the night at their house and Aunt Marlene had made corn on the cob. Since I was missing those two front teeth my Uncle Gary cut the corn off the cob for me. That is one of my earliest memories I have from before they had kids. Um, besides Gary chasing me around Nanny's house trying to catch me to give me a kiss. I always pretended I didn't want him to kiss me. ;-) I would squeal and run if I thought he was going to come after me to give me a smooch.


Then I remember Allen coming along. They had moved from their apartment to a house and I remember the layout of that house so well still. When you would walk in the front door, to the left was the living room. You would walk straight back to another room which is where I remember watching my Aunt change Allen's diaper at the changing table in that room. To the left near the front of the house was the spare bedroom that I remember sleeping in and then in the back right was the kitchen.

That little ole kitchen....I have another memory involving their kitchen, Christmas, and mashed potatoes. I'll bet Aunt Marlene is grinning right now. ha ha. Believe it or not I did not like potatoes as a kid. One Christmas the kids ate in the kitchen and I thought I was being sneaky by tossing my mashed potatoes in the trash. Only I didn't realize I missed the trash and Aunt Marlene seemed to immediately know it was little ole innocent me. I don't hate them anymore but if you ask Grumpy he knows I do try to get out of making them with our meals. ;-)

Since I am always making sweets and Uncle Gary has been known to tell me that any extra can come his way....I decided to make them something special. Aunt Marlene tends to stay away from sugar so I decided to go with Mini Blueberry Crumb Tarts made with Splenda.

Mini Blueberry Crumb Tarts
ala HoneyB's Kitchen

Tart Dough:

3 ounces fat free cream cheese
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup flour

Blend cream cheese and butter together. Work in flour. Shape into a ball and refridgerate up to one hour.
Shape 20-1" balls and place in tart pan. I use a tart shaper to shape my tarts (I use this one) or you can just press the dough up the pan. Set aside in refridgerator until filling is ready.

Filling:

4 cups blueberries (mine were frozen)
juice of 1 lemon
3/4 cup splenda
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1/8 cup cold water

Place blueberries, lemon juice and splenda in medium sauce pan. Bring to a slow boil. When blueberries begin to cook mix in cornstarch mixed with cold water all the while stirring your mixture. Cook 1-2 minutes or until thick. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

Topping:

1 cup flour
3 tablespoons brown sugar splenda
3 tablespoons softened butter

Work flour, sugar and butter with fingers until resembles small crumbs. You won't use all this topping. I placed what was left over in the freezer for future use!

Preheat oven to 375.

Place blueberries in tarts, top with crumb topping. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until crust and topping start to brown.

June 28, 2009

I messed up, but only on the date....

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Well, I guess I have to start by saying I was messed up yesterday! Here I thought it was June 28 until Mom informed me about halfway through the day that it was only the 27th! Well, I guess at least I wasn't late for my Nanny's birthday. Then on the other hand, I can present a 2nd cupcake and do it on her birthday for real! ;-)

Yesterday, for the first time in a long time, I attended a camp meeting church service. I have to admit that the speaker had me entranced. He was great and I would listen to him again if he were to be around here. I also got to see a few old classmates, had lunch with my friend Phyllis and her family and shared my Jelly Filled Peanut Butter frosted cupcakes....along with these Vanilla flavored ones.

I saw a cupcake on Cupcakes take the Cake that was red and white swirled and frosted with red and white swirled frosting....then topped with blue M&M's. I decided these would be pretty cool to share with my friends so I went to my TK Blogging friend Dishy and made her Yellow Cupcake recipe.


Because I wanted to replicate the cupcake I saw on the other blog I added some food coloring to some of the batter and frosting and did a copy cat. I think that I might make these again and maybe add some strawberry flavor to the cupcake batter. I did get a small taste of this cupcake when I got home as Grumpy was willing to let me cut a little piece from the one I left here for him to try. This was a really nice cake with a really nice crumb. I would definitely make this recipe again! If you want to try Dishy's recipe CLICK HERE.

June 27, 2009

Remembering Nanny's Birthday

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If she were here, today would be my Nanny's birthday.


This is Nanny and I back in 2001. I made these cupcakes last night to share with friends but making them I thought of her the whole time. Guarantee she would love these cupcakes. I know Chris does and when he sees this post I am going to hear it....so just to make sure none of the kids come after me for not giving them any of these specific cupcakes....I will make sure Chris, Justin & Kristina do get some of another batch that I will make! ;-)

The recipe is from Peanut Butter and Company and I have posted about these before with the recipe. If you would like to see the recipe please CLICK HERE.

June 26, 2009

Friday morning muffins

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This morning..............


I just felt like making muffins......


Ever feel like this? Quiet I mean? Kind of abnormal for me.
Just ask my co-worker Sue....umm, or any of the faculty, students or staff. I have a good dose of the gift of gab for the most part. Probably Grumpy would thoroughly agree too ! ;o)




This muffin is naturally from Cooking Light. Did you expect anything less? ha ha. I think I am their biggest fan. I look at their magazines and cookbooks everywhere. In the boat, on the couch, in bed, in the truck..... and even in the bathroom. Yeah. I think I'm addicted. I'm also upset my new one hasn't shown up yet but I know others have received it! Oh well.

Lemony Blueberry Muffins
from Cooking Light


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup blueberries
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
3 tablespoons butter or stick margarine, melted
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray
1 tablespoon sugar

Preheat oven to 400°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl. Stir in blueberries; make a well in center of mixture. Combine buttermilk, butter, rind, and egg; stir well with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moist.

Spoon batter into 12 muffin cups coated with cooking spray; sprinkle evenly with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pans immediately; place on a wire rack.


June 25, 2009

Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club launches!!

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Chicken Salad on mini croissants (serving suggestion)

Today is an exciting day for Helene, Val, Aggie, Jamie and myself. Today we are launching the very first ever Cooking Light Virtual Supper Club. Have you ever heard of a Supper Club? I heard of it years ago when Cooking Light first started them - however, being that I live in such a remote area, I was hard pressed to find anyone else on the Cooking Light boards that lived close enough by to start a Supper Club with.

A Supper Club is a group of people who all share a passion for cooking and cooking healthy. They get together once a month and create a meal that is from Cooking Light. If you want to know more about Supper Clubs, please go to the link HERE.


It is no secret to my readers that I love Cooking Light recipes. I rarely make anything that isn't from Cooking Light. My love for their recipes is what brought Val and I together. It also is what attracted my attention to Aggie & Jamie when they did a week of Cooking Light prior to Val and I. Helene saw what Val and I were doing and immediately wanted to join in. ;-) When I was asked if I wanted to continue some sort of Cooking Light venture, I knew I would ask Aggie & Jamie if they were interested. Thanks to Helene who is active on the Cooking Light boards, we came into an opportunity to start the very first Virtual Supper Club with cookinglight.com!! So, our Virtual Supper Club consists of two girls from Canada, and 3 from the US. One from Northern NY (that be me) and two from Florida. We will be coming together monthly with meals we have prepared from Cooking Light. We will be spotlighted on the Cooking Light Website as well!

Chicken Salad in lettuce cups

I will no longer be posting the recipes on my blog, but instead, I will direct you to Cooking Light's website where you can easily nab a print version of the recipe. If I make any changes - on purpose or by accident ;-), I will let you know what I did.


Please visit my virtual dinner partners below to see the item they brought to supper. Before you leave, I will fill you in on a little bit about each of us and what we brought to dinner.

I will start with my recipe which was the Curried Chicken Salad with Nectarines that you see pictured here. I thought this was delicious (especially in a mini croissant sandwich!) and loved the nectarines in the salad rather than the normal grapes! The curry complimented the sweetness of the nectarine really well. To view the recipe for this salad CLICK HERE. If you are counting your weight watcher points one serving is equal to 4 points for each 3/4 cup serving. If you choose to eat this with a mini croissant add 2 points.

Val of More than Burnt Toast is a single mom living in British Columbia, Canada of a 21 year old university student who juggles a full time job and 2 part time jobs; as well as being the co-founder of BloggerAid-Changing the Face of Famine (a group of food bloggers raising funds for the School Meals Programme). How does she manage to fit a health lifestyle and exercise into her daily routine....by having 3 hour lunch breaks!!! Val brought the main course of Maple Grilled Salmon.

Aggie of Aggie's Kitchen is a Florida gal who loves to eat good food...and feel good eating it. She is a stay at home mom to two young energetic children and has a husband who loves food almost as much as she does. Nothing makes her happier than feeding her family and friends. Aggie brought a Spinach Salad with Stone Fruits and Maple Spiced Pecans.

Jamie of Mom's Cooking Club is Married nearly 18 years to her Greek/Italian husband and mom to "tween" twin daughters. She lives in a coastal, military town in the Panhandle (the arm) of Florida and works part-time for a financial institution. She started her food blog 2 months ago through the encouragement of her sister-in-law, Aggie, who is also part of this group. She enjoys trying and sharing new recipes as well as teaching her daughters the basics and joy of cooking. Jamie brought a side dish of Charred Corn Relish.

Helene of La cuisine d'Helene is a stay-at-home mom of three (20-18-15), loves to cook and bake. Lived in seven provinces and now reside on Vancouver Island. Has been a fan of Cooking Light for more than 15 yrs now. Spends lot's of time with her family enjoying sports, camping, travelling, hiking, skiing and make sure she feeds them with fresh home cooked meals. Helene brought a dessert of Cool Creamy Chocolate Dessert.

Shelby of The Life and Loves of Grumpy's Honeybunch is a mom of two young men and wife to the infamous Grumpy living between the Adirondack and 1000 Island region in Northern New York. Inspired by her Grandmother, she started her blog as a record of memories and recipes and it gradually brought forth a passion for photography and writing along with a whole new world of internet blogging friends! She satisfys her "need" to bake by feeding the "starving" college students and staff at her place of employment and recently started a venture called HoneyB's Kitchen.




June 24, 2009

Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins for Taste & Create!

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This month for Taste & Create I was actually paired with someone I "knew" before being paired with them! I met Marthe of Culinary Delights through Tuesdays with Dorie when I was participating in the group. I developed a friendship with Marthe and realized very quickly what a thoughtful and kind girl she was. I was very pleased to have been paired with her and this post could only have been better if while she was over in Canada, she and I had been able to meet up. We now need passports to cross the border here and unfortunately mine had not arrived when she had been close by. I was very saddened by this! I still hope to someday meet her! I started to search her blog for something to make that I could possibly take to work. When I came across the Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffin I knew this would be it.


There are a few people at work (ahem....do I dare call you out?) who "complain" that they are getting faint because I'm not feeding them anymore. Today, if they actually make it in the office, they can stop their complaining. I have even been teased that I don't really "make" the goodies seen on the blog since they aren't "seen" in the office. Sigh. Can you really believe the tactics gone through to make me feel "guilty"? ha ha. Well, maybe it works sometimes! ;-)


This muffin was very tender and soft and oh so yummy. Yes, of course I ate one...how else would I tell you how they were? ;-)


Cinnamon Sugar Donut Muffins
as seen on Culinary Delights

Batter
2 cups flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
2 large eggs
1 cup plain yogurt
2/3 cup packed brown sugar
4 to 8 tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla

Topping
1/2 stick butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar
½ tsp cinnamon


Position oven rack in the middle position and preheat oven to 205 degrees Celsius. Line a standard muffin pan with paper cups.Whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a large bowl.

In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, yogurt, sugar, oil, and vanilla. Add flour mixture and mix with light strokes until the dry ingredients are just moistened. Don't overmix; batters should not be smooth.

Divide batter among the muffin cups and bake until a toothpick inserted in one or two of the muffins come out clean, 12-15 minutes.

While the muffins are baking, melt 1/2 stick butter and place in a bowl just large enough to hold a muffin. Combine ½ cup of sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon in a small, shallow bowl.

As soon as the muffing are done, dip them one at a time in the melted butter and then roll in the sugar mixture.

Set on a rack to cool.





 Below is what I did with and got from the recipe:

  • This made 15 muffins for me - I could have made some a "little" smaller and gotten 16
  • I only used 4 Tbsp oil. The recipe called for 4-8 Tbsp and I went with the lesser amount
  • I ended up needing a half cup of sugar and full teaspoon of cinnamon to coat all the muffins
  • I used fat free vanilla yogurt instead of plain as that was all I had :-)

June 23, 2009

Strawberry Almond Cream Tart

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June 19 was Grumpy's and my 5th wedding anniversary. Yes, the day went right by us and neither of us even realized it. There is just so much happening that it is hard to remember everything!

Soon it will be my Nanny's birthday, my Aunt Marlene & Uncle Gary, then my Mom & Dad's anniversary...all at the end of this month. Then we will come to July 5th which is Justin & Kristina's 1st wedding anniversary and my Aunt Ann's birthday! Then, ten days later, my first born will be 24. We certainly have a lot to celebrate the end of June and first of July!

Since Grumpy and I have been good and haven't had dessert in the house for over a week (believe me, that is an accomplishment!) and since my mom gave me two quarts of strawberries from her berry patch over the weekend, I decided I had to so something with these berries so they didn't go to waist. Oops. I meant waste. ;-) So, off to Cooking Light again....

Sunday while we were driving to town to meet up with Grumpy's dad and step-mom for some boating I looked at my Best of Cooking Light cookbook. On the cover of this book was a photo of this Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart. Right then and there I knew what I was doing with those strawberries. I followed the recipe as written except I made the mistake of doubling the almond extract. No problem though, it still tasted absolutely delicious - so much so I would have liked to eaten two pieces tonight instead of one!

 
Strawberry-Almond Cream Tart 
WW Points: 6
 Crust:
36  honey graham crackers (about 9 sheets)
2  tablespoons  sugar
2  tablespoons  butter, melted
4  teaspoons  water
Cooking spray

Filling:
2/3  cup  light cream cheese
1/4  cup  sugar
1/2  teaspoon  vanilla extract
1/4  teaspoon  almond extract 

Topping:

6  cups  small fresh strawberries, divided
2/3  cup  sugar
1  tablespoon  cornstarch
1  tablespoon  fresh lemon juice
2  tablespoons  sliced almonds, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°.

To prepare crust, place crackers in a food processor; process until crumbly. Add 2 tablespoons sugar, butter, and water; pulse just until moist. Place mixture in a 9-inch round removable-bottom tart pan coated with cooking spray, pressing into bottom and up sides of pan to 3/4 inch. Bake at 350° for 10 minutes or until lightly browned. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To prepare filling, combine cream cheese, 1/4 cup sugar, and extracts in a medium bowl; stir until smooth. Spread mixture evenly over bottom of tart shell.

To prepare topping, place 2 cups strawberries in food processor; process until pureed. Combine strawberry puree, 2/3 cup sugar, and cornstarch in a small saucepan over medium heat, stirring with a whisk. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to low; cook 1 minute. Remove glaze from heat, and cool to room temperature, stirring occasionally.

Combine 4 cups strawberries and juice; toss to coat. Arrange berries, bottoms up, in a circular pattern over filling. Spoon half of glaze evenly over berries (reserve remaining glaze for another use). Sprinkle nuts around edge. Cover and chill 3 hours.

June 22, 2009

Trying something new

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Before I start with that yummy looking salad pictured.....the winner of the Pillsbury prize pack is Lori of Lori's Lipsmacking Goodness! I knew Lori was in NY state, but I did not realize how close she is to me! I am so excited to find out there is another blogger who is within a decent driving distance. In Northern NY you have to drive almost an hour to get almost anywhere worth going. Congrats Lori and I look forward to a blogger get together someday in the near future!


I have known about couscous for a long time now but never took the initiative to try it. Then, while looking through my Best of Cooking Light cookbook, I saw this recipe that looked too good not to try! Because we are eating healthier in our home, I thought this would be the perfect item to add to my lunch menu. It is high in protein and is full of flavor.

This dish is very quick to throw together! If your looking for a summertime salad this is a great one to put out on that picnic table! For the recipe, please visit the link by clicking here.

WW Points: 4 for 1 cup serving

June 21, 2009

Nanny's Brown Sugar Fudge

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I have been a bad blogger this last week. I have been so busy between work and personal life that I just didn't have the time to think about photographing and blogging.. I have some exciting news in the works and because of this exciting news I have been working on remaking the look of my blog. I am so proud of myself for finding the instructions on what code to use for creating the navigation links at the top of my page!! I am working on finding the correct code for 3-columns to help pull things together better also. So, what you are seeing here is still a "work in progress" and is not complete yet.

With everything piling on top of me, I realized yesterday morning I had to get cracking and make something for the Family Recipes event that I co-host with Laura of The Spiced Life. I opened up my emails sent to me by my Aunt Ann with scans of Nanny's recipes and decided on something that I could give to my and Grumpy's dad for Father's day. (Happy Father's day daddies!)

Nanny used to make a penuche frosting that was to die for. So, when I saw this recipe for brown sugar fudge that was one she made I knew I was going to make it. I only had to pray....and pray hard that I didn't fail at making it. Fudge has been something I have failed at many times. I don't understand why because I grew up with mom making it almost every Saturday night to go with our popcorn while we watched TV shows like Lawrence Welk & Green Acres. Oh, am I telling you how old I am by mentioning that? ;-) In any case, I have never been good at making fudge so I don't make it. Much.

Which brings me to a story I probably should tell you - although embarrassing to me, my ex-husband (Dana) thought it was hilarious and actually now I can laugh at it. Some. he he. When he and I were first married I decided to make fudge for him while he was at work. It turned out gooey and so, in order to "hide" it from him I actually put it on a shelf in the spare bedroom closet. Then I totally forgot about it. I wonder now why I just didn't throw it out? When we bought our own home a few months later Dana was cleaning out that particular closet.....and found my failed fudge!! ha ha. Well, it wasn't gooey anymore. ;-) but it also wasn't edible! Ok, now you can all laugh. Oh, you already were? LOL. Yeah. A candy maker I am not. But I still like to try sometimes! All that said, I am very proud of that piece of fudge up above. I did pretty darn good this time! I can just hear my Nanny say "Shelby Mae, lets have "just a taste" of that fudge."

Now that I have shared a few memories with you, I will share the recipe my Nanny's would make for Brown Sugar Fudge. Including a few "pointers" since Nanny just wrote the basic instructions. (as if I know what I am doing! ha!)

  

Brown Sugar Fudge
recipe from Mae Iris Whitton - my precious Nanny
Ingredients:
2-1/2 cups light brown sugar
3/4 cup evaporated milk (I used half and half since my evaporated milk I pulled out of the cupboard was outdated..and it worked just fine)
1/8 teaspoon salt
3 Tablespoons corn syrup
3 Tablespoons butter (I used unsalted)
1 teaspoon vanilla

Instructions:
Walnuts (she didn't have a measurement so I took a good handful from the bag and chopped them prior to putting in the fudge)

Combine ingredients 1-4. Cook over medium heat until sugar dissolves. Bring to a boil. Soft boil. Remove from heat and add butter. Do not stir. Cool to 110 degrees. Stir in vanilla and nuts. Beat. Pour into greased pan.

Don't you just love those directions? They are from a lady who knew what she was doing. If I didn't grow up with my mom making fudge I wouldn't know what all of that meant. So, this is what I did.

When it say's to bring the fudge to a soft boil, this means bringing it to a temperature of 234 degrees. I use a candy thermometer. My mom, she would just test it by dropping a bit of the hot syrup into a small bowl of cold water and if she could form a "soft ball" then she knew the fudge was ready. Well, since I am no good at candy making I need a thermometer!

Make sure you let the syrup cool to 110 degrees. You may look at the pot and think your have a failure before - and resist the urge to stir!! By letting it cool you are dramatically reducing your "beating" time.

When you do beat the fudge, beat it until it "just" begin's to lose it's shinyness (mom would say until it begins to lose it's gloss). Then you want to make sure to get it in your pan as quickly as possible to let it set. If you stir it too long you will have hardening fudge in your pan before you can pour.

I lined my 9x9 pan with wax paper and then sprayed it with some Pam spray. This allowed me to lift the fudge out after it had set and cut it into clean squares.

June 18, 2009

Lions and Tigers and Bears.....and Dinosaurs!?

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Dont forget to enter the Pillsbury giveaway by clicking here and leaving a comment!

Sunday I convinced Grumpy to drive me 2 hours to Syracuse just to go to the zoo and then afterward we would go to dinner. I figured driving his new truck and getting to go to dinner would be more than enough to convince him to go. After all, the truck only is driven when we go somewhere together as he drives a work van daily. It took some convincing, but finally he agreed to go. ;o)



You see, I love, love, love bears. Black bears are my very favorite. While they aren't scarce around here I have only seen them in the Adirondacks while in their natural habitat. I also love the Kodiak bear! In any case, I was being hit with memories of going to the Syracuse Zoo when I used to live only a couple of blocks from it and had the urge to go. I was slightly disappointed because the Kodiak bear wasn't there, but was satisfied when Grumpy told me to buy a little stuffed black bear to bring home!


I have to admit for as much as I love to see these animals I left the zoo sad - as did Grumpy. The animals just did not look happy to me. They aren't in their natural environment. I wish they were. I'd give up seeing them in order for them to be where they would be happiest. I never really felt that way all those years ago when I used to visit. Somehow, as I have gotten older, I realize that its not fair to those animals to be enclosed and caged and not where they belong. How sad.


After our trip to the zoo we decided to head on over to a prehistoric scene. ha ha. Not really - but the name of the resturaunt is prehistoric! We went to the Dinosaur BBQ. Oh my goodness. This was the most awesome meal out we had experienced in a long time. Grumpy isn't big on BBQ (I know, I know, you all are thinking what is wrong with him! ha!) but he willing went there because I wanted to go so badly. The view from outside can be somewhat intimidating and you might wonder if you dare go in lest there be a big ole biker fight you get caught up in the middle of, but there we no fights...not while we were there at least! ;0)

Once we were seated the waitress was right there to wait on us. She was the best waitress we have had in a long, long time! She was friendly and helpful and when I told her we had never been there before she brought us a sample of their macaroni salad and baked beans. Yummy! We ordered the Sampler platter which was ribs, brisket and chicken along with two sides. We added on an order of the Cajun Boiled Shrimp (AWESOME!). The whole experience was great and the cost of dinner was only $33 plus a generous tip. Oh, and BTW, that price included 3 beers! If you are ever near a Dinosaur BBQ, make sure to go. The food is definitely worth it and I would jump at a chance to go again!

June 17, 2009

Calzones!

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Last Friday evening I was in the mood for something pizza like. Its kind of funny how Friday night is pizza night for many people. I think it is because it is the end of the work week and most of us are too tired to think about what to make for dinner and it is easy to think about stopping at the pizza shop on the way home. Well, because I am trying to stay healthy and didn't want to bring home a whole pizza pie that I would eat more than I needed of and that Grumpy would finish....I decided to try these calzones that I had been looking at in an older issue of Cooking Light. I had bought the sausage earlier in the week because I saw it in the store and knew that it was one of the ingredients for this calzone. The dough was super easy to work with and tasted great! If you like sweet, you will like this. Grumpy ate his, but he wasn't crazy about it - he definitely wants more cheese. However, I was very pleased and froze the remaining single servings (the greatest part of this recipe!) and can now pull this out for myself to take to work or have one evening when I'm making something different for Grumpy.



Sausage and Mushroom Calzones
adapted from Cooking Light, May 2007

Dough:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour, divided (about 12 1/3 ounces)
1 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
1 package dry yeast (about 2 1/4 teaspoons)
Dash of sugar
1 tablespoon extravirgin olive oil
3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
Cooking spray

Filling:

1 teaspoon olive oil
2 cups sliced mushrooms
1 cup chopped onion (about 1)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 pound chicken apple sausage, cut into 1/4-inch slices (I used Al Fresco)
3/4 cup (3 ounces) shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup no-salt-added tomato sauce
1/4 cup 2% low-fat cottage cheese
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper
To prepare dough, lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup warm water, yeast, and sugar in a large bowl; let stand 15 minutes. Gradually add 1 3/4 cups flour, 1 tablespoon oil, and 3/4 teaspoon salt; stir until a soft dough forms. Knead until smooth and elastic (about 8 minutes); add enough of remaining 1/2 cup flour, 1 tablespoon at a time, to prevent dough from sticking to hands.
Place dough in a large bowl coated with cooking spray, turning to coat top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in size. (Gently press two fingers into dough. If indentation remains, dough has risen enough.)
To prepare filling, heat 1 teaspoon oil over medium-high heat in a large nonstick skillet. Add bell pepper, onion, garlic, and sausage; sauté 10 minutes or until tender. Spoon mixture into a bowl; cool slightly. Add mozzarella and remaining ingredients to sausage mixture; stir well.
Preheat oven to 450°.
Punch dough down; cover and let rest 5 minutes. Divide into 8 equal portions. Roll each portion into a 6-inch circle on a lightly floured surface. Spoon about 1/2 cup sausage mixture onto half of each circle, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Fold dough over filling; crimp edges of dough with fingers to seal. Place calzones on a large baking sheet lined with foil and coated with cooking spray. Pierce the tops of the dough once with a fork. Lightly coat the calzones with cooking spray. Bake at 450° for 14 minutes or until browned. Remove from oven. Cool completely on a wire rack.
Coat a sheet of foil with cooking spray. Place 1 calzone on coated side of foil; seal. Repeat procedure with remaining calzones and cooking spray. Place calzones in a heavy-duty zip-top plastic bag; freeze.
Preheat oven to 450°.
To reheat, place foil-wrapped, frozen calzones on a large baking sheet. Bake at 450° for 40 minutes or until thoroughly heated.

Calories: 327 (30% from fat), Fat: 10.7g (sat 3.5g,mono 2.4g,poly 0.6g, Protein: 16.3g, Carbohydrate: 42g, Fiber: 4g, Cholesterol: 49mg, Iron: 3.2mg, Sodium: 680mg, Calcium: 124mg
WW Points: 7

June 16, 2009

Sour Cream Coffecake Muffins

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53 days. Then we fly to Florida and the next day we will sail off to the Western Carribean! Last night Grumpy and I turned the TV off and went upstairs. With the laptop. he he. We sat and looked at the different excursions we can do. This is our first cruise ever. Deep Sea fishing (appeals to Grumpy). Horseback riding (appeals to me). Swimming with the dolphins, snorkeling, ATV tours, private beach. This all means I get to call my dr and ask what am I going to be able to do?? Sigh. I never planned on having a neck injury when we planned this cruise. I don't want Grumpy to be disappointed and not get to do his fishing. I'm willing to sit on the beach for the day and let him go though if I am not allowed. Still though, it is 53 days away. Maybe he will say I can do a little more than I am allowed to do than if it were right now?


Then the food. What to expect? I don't have a clue! I have heard people talk about how wonderful the food is. I see they have Supper Clubs. The Supper Club is going to be available on our ship. For an extra cost we can do the Supper Club. Our dining time is 6 PM. That's a good time don't you think? Then I read you can eat between 5:45 and 9:00 PM? I'm confused. All you seasoned cruisers tell me what you think/know?


Oh, and before I leave....these are the muffins I made on Sunday morning. I had been looking at this recipe for a while now and finally decided on Sunday that I had the desire to finally throw them together. It is another Cooking Light recipe (now have you all figured out why I'm Cooking Light so much lately?) and this one is a definite keeper. I made the recipe as written except I didn't have egg replacer so I used 4 egg whites instead of the egg replacer. Turned out awesome. Loved the cinnamon sugar pecan swirl inside and then sprinkled on top before baking. Yummy. Try them, you'll like them!

Sour Cream Coffeecake Muffins 
WW Points: 4


1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup egg substitute
1 cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (about 7 3/4 ounces)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
Cooking spray
6 tablespoons powdered sugar
3 teaspoons fresh orange juice
Dash of salt


Preheat oven to 400°.

Combine first 3 ingredients; set aside.

Place granulated sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 3 minutes). Add egg substitute; beat 3 minutes. Beat in sour cream, water, and vanilla.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture; add sour cream mixture. Stir just until combined.

Place 3 tablespoons brown sugar mixture in a small bowl; set aside. Sprinkle surface of batter with remaining brown sugar mixture. Gently fold batter 4 times.

Place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Spoon batter into prepared cups. Sprinkle batter evenly with reserved brown sugar mixture. Bake at 400° for 25 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove muffins from pan immediately; place on a wire rack. Cool 10 minutes.

Combine powdered sugar, juice, and dash of salt in a small bowl, stirring until smooth. Drizzle powdered sugar mixture evenly over muffins.

June 14, 2009

Rhubarb, memories, winners and another giveaway!

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Cooking Light Subscription winners are:

Delectable Dining
Coleen's Recipes
Linda of Oklahoma Peach Fuzz and For Goodness Sake
(Linda authors two blogs!)

Thanks to all who participated and entered! Winners please email me at grumpyshoneybunch at yahoo dot com with your full name and mailing address so I can pass this on to Aaron at Magsdirect.com!

First of all, I finally have a photo to post for my blogging friend Debbie of The Friday Friends. She has been posting photos of "Outside my kitchen window". This is off the side of my front porch and is basically the view from my kitchen window. I just didn't want to take a photo thru the screen. ;o) Surrounding 2 sides of my home this is basically what you will see. Green grass and fields and/or pasture. This side you can see out in the far left corner Grumpy's target practice section. :o) Another day I will give you a shot from the other 3 angles! You will be surprised what I see in the evening hours outside my living room window!

This morning as I was on the CL boards updating my info (thanks Helene for bringing me back there!) I was typing in my signature line that I like to use. "Loved you yesterday, love you still, always have, always will." in memory of my Nanny, Mae Iris. This still brings tears to my eyes and I miss my grandmother so much...she has been gone over 6 years now. It would be mornings like this that I would jump in my car, pj's and all and drive the couple miles down the road to her house where I would have coffee and breakfast with her. I can't believe it is still so hard after this much time when the memories come flooding back. I wish she could be here now to see Justin married and happy (almost a year now!) and Christopher so kind and handsome and both so willing to be here for me anytime I need them - I'm certainly well taken care of! She would be happy to know that Grumpy and I just live down the road from her home still and that we are married, happy and successful. For the most part. ;0)

She would also love my blog - I am certain of it. When I think of her favorite baked item I would make I remember Rhubarb Pie. The first time I ever made a rhubarb pie I was living in my Uncle Jimmy's little brown farm house (just across the road from where I grew up and only a few miles from where I am now!). There was rhubarb growing out along the shed and I decided I wanted to make a rhubarb pie. I think I was probably all of 19 years old. Gram loved that pie and for years she would mention my "first pie" I ever made and how it was the best she had ever had. I believe she would love this recipe I am going to share with you today also. Of course she would. She loved to eat sweets (the apple doesn't fall to far from the tree eh?!). This sweet however is on the lighter side because it is yet another Cooking Light recipe. I made this recipe for the first time in 2002. Grumpy and I hadn't been together a year yet and I remember making this for him ~ and remembered that we really loved it. Recently I my parents gave me some rhubarb and I had enough for the rhubarb jam I made and this recipe. Grumpy took this treat in his lunch box, Amanda and Randy had some for dessert on the day I made my Cooking Light recipe for the Apricot-Glazed Grilled Chicken, and I had a couple small pieces myself! This is a definite keep around recipe and I will make sure to make this again next year - along with a pie, as my dad planted some rhubarb for me at my own home to have!


You can view the recipe for these Rhubarb Custard Bars
by clicking here.

36 servings (serving size: 1 bar)

WW Points: 3

************************************************************************************

Now for the giveaway! My sponsor gave me the opportunity to tell you about the Pillsbury Million Dollar recipe contest a little while back. Now they are giving me the opportunity to offer you a giveaway AND the opportunity to be a judge!

How does the You Be the Judge! voting work? Judges will select 20 recipes to be placed online at www.bakeoff.com in pairs for a period of two weeks for each pair. Consumers can vote for their favorite recipe in each pair. The recipe from each pair that wins the most votes will earn a spot in the final competition, April 11-13, 2010, in Orlando, Florida.

Voting is limited to one vote per person per each pair of recipes. Voters must be registered members of www.pillsbury.com and 18 years of age or older as of May 1, 2009, to participate. The first pair of recipes was posted on May 14, 2009 and a new pair of recipes will be posted every two weeks (namely, May 28, June 11, June 25, July 9, July 23, August 6, August 20, September 3 and September 17, 2009). The voting period for the tenth and final pair of recipes will close at 11:59AM CDT on October 1, 2009. Visit www.bakeoff.com for the official rules.

To help you decide which recipe deserves a shot at the million-dollar top prize, watch this short video of Jann Atkins, Bake-Off® Kitchens assistant manager, as she shares some tips for evaluating a recipe.

To celebrate this exciting opportunity to help chose the bake-off winners, MyBlogSpark is offering two prize packs featuring a magazine of past Bake-Off® recipes and a Pillsbury Doughboy giggle doll.

To enter the contest, check out past Bake-Off recipes and leave a comment telling me your favorite recipe. Entries will be accepted until midnight on Thursday, June 18, 2009.

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