Yogurt Streusel Muffins



I had two tubs of plain low-fat yogurt in my fridge taking up valuable space so I needed a plan of what to do with them. I stumbled upon this recipe when I was looking for Menu Plan Monday ideas this week. I had all the ingredients on hand and the picture looked good so after the gym I whipped up a batch. I put them in my husbands lunch and also had some with dinner. The crunchy sugar topping is super.
Yogurt Streusel Muffins (From All You Magazine May 2008)

Streusel Topping:
2/3 Cup Nuts, finely chopped (I left this out because I do not like nuts!)
1/3 Cup Packed Brown Sugar
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
2 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted

4 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter, melted and cooled
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Large Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1 Cup Plain Low Fat Yogurt
2 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

1) Make streusel topping: In a small bowl, combine streusel ingredients and pinch together into large crumbs. Place bowl in freezer.
2) Make muffins: Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Line cups of a muffin tin with paper liners. In a large bowl, whisk butter, sugar, eggs, vanilla and yogurt. Stir in flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt with a wooden spoon. Fill each muffin cup with batter. Scatter streusel topping over each muffin and press lightly on crumbs so they adhere to batter. Bake until tops are golden, 17 - 20 minutes, then remove muffins to rack to cool completely.

Eat and freeze the leftovers. They make a great breakfast on the go!

The Best Pumpkin Bread Ever



This is the pumpkin bread that my Mom and I made on Christmas morning. She made this recipe over Thanksgiving this year and I loved it so much that I wanted to eat it again at Christmas. It is from an old church cookbook compiled in 1984 by my great aunt. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

3 1/2 c. flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
2 tsp. cinnamon
1 tsp. nutmeg
3 c. sugar
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs
2/3 c. water
2 c. pumpkin or sweet potato (fresh or canned)

Sift dry ingredients together. Mix pumpkin, water, oil, and eggs. Pour into dry ingredients. Mix well. Pour into 2 greased loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour, 15 min., until toothpick comes out clean. Cool before removing from pans.

PS This recipe freezes really nicely and I just remembered that I still have some. I guess I am going to have to get some right now!! That's how good it is.

- Seanna

2009 Christmas Cookie Wrap-Up



At the end of my baking this year my mom and I were both laughing so hard because it had become a little crazy. I had cookies covering the kitchen and we had to spill out into the dinning room. My mom said I need to go to cookie therapy. The final count of what we made was 26 different cookies not counting the things my mom made without my help. That is insane so next year I think I will try to tone it down a bit. Here is the list of what we made:

1) Spritz
2) Sugar Cookie Cutouts
3) Gingerbread Men
4) Gingersnaps
5) Yuletide Bars
6) Chocolate Crinkles
7) Simple Fudge Tarts
8) Mocha Logs
9) Candy Cane Cookies
10) Neapolitans
11) Homemade Marshmallows
12) Mint Brownie Bites
13) Peanut Butter and Jelly Thumbprints
14) Chocolate Cherry Loaf
15) Cranberry Bread
16) Cherry Tassies
17) Linzer Cookies
18) Pecan Goody Cups
19) Reese's Chewy Chocolate Cookie
20) Chocolate Caramel Cookies
21) Angel Food Cookies
22) Oreo Truffles
23) Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
24) Cinnamon Spiced Hot Chocolate Cookie
25) Eggnog Truffles
26) Marshmallow Fudge

My plan it to post pictures, recipes, and reviews of all the cookies. Looking at the list I think it could take a while.

Menu Plan Monday



Hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas! For me the season always goes way too fast and I have a very hard time getting back in the mood to do regular things after it is over. For that reason my menu plan is late this week. Honestly I didn't want to even do it at all but I decided to force myself in an effort to come back to reality from my Christmas high. Also, whenever I leave a week up to chance I find we have terrible dinners that are late or we have to eat out. Neither of those options sounded great. So here is my minimal effort meal plan.

Monday: Dinner at Mom and Dad's House (thank heavens!)

Tuesday: Brown Sugar Chicken with rice and peas

Wednesday: Gouda Spinach Quiche (haven't tried this before but I have Gouda leftover from our party so I think I will give it a shot), fresh fruit

Thursday: Dinner out for New Years!

Friday: Family Christmas Party

Saturday: Buffalo Chicken Spaghetti, bread, salad

Sunday: I hope to re-start a family tradition and go out for pizza. We will see what everyone else thinks. If it is a no-go I will be making Crispy Yogurt Chicken, Oven Fries, and Green Beans. Mmmm that meal actually sounds really good. Maybe I will make it instead of pizza.

Looking at this list I think my side dishes could use some more creativity. Any ideas???

Wishing you luck on your weeks plan!

Holiday Treats!


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I hope everyone is having a great holiday! It is tradition for my Mom and I to make divinity on Christmas morning so I thought I would show you how pretty they turned out. It is a secret family recipe so I can't share (yes, I begged my mom to let me but no luck!). You will have to just have a feast for your eyes! We also made pumpkin bread. This is the best recipe ever. I will share this one on a day that I have more time.

Merry Christmas blog world! Hope you eat lots of great food today! And Merry Christmas Sheena! Wish I was there with you guys!!

Peppermint Bark



This peppermint bark is aMaZiNg!! I learned how to make this last week from a coworker and I was so excited about making it for the holidays. I am planning to give it away as gifts however I am hoping that I don't eat it all first! I was surprised how easy it was to make and now I don't know why we have been buying it for so long. You can also do a variation of this recipe by doing regular chocolate first and when it is half hard add the normal mixture to the top. This will make the same look found in the stores. Hope you enjoy. Happy holidays!

2 lbs vanilla melty wavers (from Winco in the bulk section)
1/8 teaspoon of Peppermint Oil
1 box candy canes, crushed (place in a ziploc bag and hit with a hammer. NOTE: My mother and I could only find candy canes that were individually wrapped! Try not to do this but if you do, it was a little funny!)
4 sheets of foil

Melt the wavers in a GLASS bowl, in the microwave. Do this slowly, 1.5 minutes, stir, then keep cooking at 30 second intervals until it is smooth with some chunks still visible. It will melt all the way as you stir in the other ingredients. Be VERY careful that you don't keep cooking until fully melted, it will burn. Add in the Peppermint oil and crushed candy canes. Pour and spread the mixture evenly (not too think) into foil covered cookie sheets. Place in the fridge for 20 minutes until the edges lift and it looks shinny. Pull of foil and break into the sizes you like. You should have enough for 4 cookie sheets worth.

More holiday cooking to come this week...pumpkin bread and old fashioned divinity!

Five Minute Double Layer Chocolate Pie



Well I forgot to take a finished picture of this so you will just have to imagine it in all its glory instead of actually seeing it. I made this the other night when we had friends over for dinner. It is an old standby dessert that I make when I want something super quick and sweet.

Five Minute Double Layer Chocolate Pie
1 1/4 Cups Cold Milk
2 Packages Chocolate Instant Pudding
1 Tub Cool Whip
1 Graham Cracker Crust

In a large bowl beat milk and pudding with wire whisk for 1 minute. Whisk in half of whipped topping. Carefully spread in crust. Spread remaining Cool Whip over the top. Refrigerate until ready to serve. That is it. Can you believe anything could be so easy?!?! I usually put chocolate shavings on top or sprinkles that match the season.

Menu Plan Monday



It is that time again....Menu Plan Monday! I can't believe how much easier making dinner is when you start with a plan at the beginning of the week. I find I don't waste any time thinking or planning during the week I just go straight into action. It is very nice to know exactly what needs to be in the fridge thawing or what needs to be in the crock pot before I got to work. If you have not tried making a menu plan you should give it a try.

This week is going to be very short because of CHRISTMAS!! I am so excited! I love this season and everything about it. I wish it didn't have to go so fast. I really liked having several weeks off while in college to fully soak in the magic of the season. What a shame to grow up.

Monday: No dinner at Mom and Dad's house this week. I am very disappointed but I will go on. We will be having Applesauce Chicken with Crock Pot Risotto if all goes well. I will also add a veggie but probably just green beans since I have tons of them.

Tuesday: Pasta E.Fagioli with bread and salad

Wednesday: Macaroni and Cheese with..... what to have with it??? I am not sure at this point. Hopefully inspiration strikes.

Thursday: Christmas Eve!! Dinner at Grandparent's house

Friday: Merry Christmas!!

Saturday: Not sure if we will be at home or out with the family so I am keeping it open

Sunday: Spaghetti since we never had it last week

That is all for today. Have a great week and a very MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Noodle Junk



It doesn't sound pretty but Noodle Junk is a favorite in our house. It is a recipe that came from my Grandma. It is so easy, fast, and I almost always have the ingredients on hand. You can also use leftover beef from steaks, roast, etc. Last time I made this I used leftover round steak and it turned out just fine.

Noodle Junk
Stew Meat or Steak cut into pieces (use more if you like lots of meat and use less if you don't. I have made it with lots of meat, very little meat, and everything in between. This is a very adjustable recipe.)
1 Can Cream of Mushroom Soup
Cooked Noodles (Again this is adjustable to what you have. Last time I made this I used a whole box of noodles which made it a drier dish at the end. Less noodles makes it more creamy.)

Cut meat into bite size pieces and brown in a skillet with a little oil, salt and pepper. If you are using cooked meat you can skip this first step and just throw the cut up meat in, warm it and continue on with the recipe. Put cream of mushroom soup into the skillet along with a can of water. Mix it all together and then add cooked noodles. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes.

We like to pepper ours heavily just before eating but if you don't like pepper feel free to leave that out.


Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing


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Tonight I made Falafel Pitas with Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing from Cooking Light. This is the second time that I have made this recipe and I think it is just wonderful. I use this Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing in many other recipes as its so good! Don't worry if your patties fall apart, it looks nice crumbled as well. I had about a half of a cucumber left so I sliced it and added it to my pitcher of water in the fridge. I love cucumber flavored water. It is so refreshing. I have also seen people put oranges, lemons, raspberries, and even rosemary in their pitchers. I recommend you try it if you never have. Back to the subject, I like these pitas and you will too! Let me know how yours turns out!

1/4 cup minced red onion
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (15 1/2-ounce) can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), rinsed and drained
1 (1-ounce) slice whole wheat bread, torn into pieces
1 large egg
1 large egg white
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 (6-inch) whole wheat pitas, split
1 cup arugula
1/2 cup Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing

Mix the first 10 ingredients in a food processor; blend. Heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Spoon about 1/3 cup chickpea mixture per patty into pan. cook 4 minutes on each side or until golden brown. Line each pita half with 1/4 cup arugula, add 1 patty to each pita half, and spoon 2 tablespoons Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing into each pita half.

Cucumber-Yogurt Dressing

1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
1/2 cup diced seedless cucumber
1/4 cup minced red onion
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice

Combine all ingredients in a small bowl.

Nutritional Information
280 (30% from fat)
Fat:9.4g (sat 1.2g,mono 5g,poly 2.2g)
Protein: 11.4g
Carbohydrate: 40.1g
Fiber: 7.3g
Cholesterol: 53mg
Iron: 3.3mg
Calcium: 81mg

Charity Ferriera, Cooking Light, JANUARY 2007

Butternut Squash Soup



Tonight I decided to continue with on with my winter of soup making. I wanted to try a new vegetable and so I searched my local grocery store and found...butternut squash. The recipe was my traditional soup format with squash instead. I served this soup with a side salad with sliced apples and pomegranate seeds and a dinner roll. It turned out to be a great winter meal. Hope you enjoy!
1 butternut squash, peeled
1 onion, chopped
4 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper
Optional: Swiss, or any other, cheese

Cut the squash into small squares (make sure you peel it and discard the seeds). In your pan, add butter and saute the onion for about 10 minutes. Add the squash and chicken stock. Cook the mixture until squash is tender then place in a blender and puree. Stir and add nutmeg, salt, and pepper to taste. Optional: I added a few 1/2 inch squares of swiss cheese to the middle of the soup when done. It melts just a little bit and adds great character to the soup!

Easy and Festive Holiday Dessert



My mom made this easy and very festive looking dessert for our Monday night dinner and it was so good. I thought I would share it so anyone looking for a simple and attractive dessert could keep these ingredients on hand for any unexpected guests.

Peppermint Hot Fudge Sundaes

Peppermint Ice Cream
Hot Fudge (store bought or I think this recipe from Our Best Bites looks good)
Whipped Cream or this yummy chocolate whipped cream from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures
Maraschino Cherries
Small Candy Canes

I am sure this is self explanatory but I will write it anyway. Take cute bowls and scoop ice cream in. Top with warm hot fudge, whipped cream and a cherry. You could also add nuts if you like them. Finish with a small candy can garnish. MMM...my mouth is watering just thinking of this!

Black Bean Burrito Bake (Enchiladas)



It has been so long since I have posted last! A week actually. Life has been so busy lately with the engagement, my birthday, Christmas, and my fiance being out of town for work. All this takes its toll on my cooking. Trust me, the things I have been making have not been blog material! Now that I am ready to get back to it, I am easing myself back into cooking. Tonight I made the Black Bean Burrito Bake from our first post ever. You should really try this one. This is the third time I have made it and I just love it. It takes less than 30 minutes to make and is great for leftovers. Hope you like it!

Tomorrow - Finally the Butternut Squash Soup!!

Menu Plan Monday



UPDATE: I wanted to give a little update on how our weekly meal plan was going. We have loved both things I made from the new cookbook. The steaks were so easy and so yummy. I ended up with a ton of leftover meat though so I made Noodle Junk to use it up instead of doing the Peanut Butter Chicken. I still plan to make that though. It will probably be later in the month.

The Minestrone was great and it did use up all the leftover veggies I had in the fridge. It made so much soup that I called my Mom to come get dinner for her and my Dad. The two of them ate, we ate, and we still have enough for another dinner or 3+ lunches.

Hope everyone's week is going well. It is FRIDAY!!! Whoo Hoo!


Yesterday in the mail I got my copy of Make it Fast, Cook it Slow. I was so excited I took it with me in the car to the wedding we attended. Not so that I could read it on the way since I get car sick extremely easy but instead just so I knew it was with me. Yes I was that excited! So you will see a theme in my meal plan this week. I went to bed with the book last night and started marking all the things I want to make. I settled on these for the first week.

Monday: Dinner with Mom and Dad

Tuesday: Clean Out The Pantry Minestrone Soup, Bread and Salad (if I get to the store)

Wednesday: Indonesian Peanut Butter Chicken, Rice, Veggie of Some Kind

Thursday: A-1 and Dijon Steak, Potatoes, Peas

Friday: Out to Dinner

Saturday: Spaghetti, Garlic Bread, Green Beans

Sunday: Enchiladas from Freezer

Browned Butter and Myzithra cheese



My favorite meal at Spaghetti Factory is any pasta with browned butter and Myzithra cheese. It is so simple and so good! Since we have been trying to eat out less I decided I would experiment with making it at home. I got the Myzithra at Winco so it was very reasonable and had the butter from one of the last sales at Fred Meyer.

To brown the butter I followed the directions on Simply Recipes, one of the food blogs I enjoy. When the butter was ready to go I poured it over the hot spaghetti noodles and then grated the cheese over that. My husband and I both thought it was delicious and whenever I end the night without any leftovers I know I have stumbled upon something good.

Gingerbread House



Last night my husband and I made our annual gingerbread house. We used to do huge elaborate houses but since we seem to be busier and busier every year we have moved on to the kits you buy at the store and put together. I got this one at Costco. It was fun to do in front of the fire while watching Christmas movies on TV.

The first year we were married when I was still in school and not working we made a beautiful Christmas village. I think my little animated characters are too cute to leave out even though they are not great pictures.

Do you make a gingerbread house this time of year?

Christmas Cookies Day Two



Well yesterday was day two of my Christmas cookie baking for 2009. The first baking day went very well and we got through 4 of the cookies I wanted to make which included chocolate crinkles, spritz, peanut butter and jelly cookies, and gingersnaps. I also made the gingerbread boy dough and put it in the freezer.

My plan for my second baking day this Saturday was much more intense. We (my friend Kelly and I) started at 9:30 and ended at 3:15. The only break we took was a 15 minute one to eat soup my mom had prepared to tide us over. I will post pictures of what we made soon, all eleven different cookies. One dough is still sitting in my mom's fridge but I think I will roll it out tomorrow after work. So much fun but so exhausting! Worth every minutes of it when people eat and enjoy them at Christmas.

The question is how is your baking going this year and are you as crazy as I am for Christmas goodies?

Menu Plan Monday



Before I go on with my Menu Plan Monday, I have an exciting announcemnent!!

Some of you know, but for our new readers, Sheena and I know each other because I have been dating her brother for the past year and a half. Well, over the past weekend we got engaged! So last week was a little busy but I promise to get back to the blogging this week! Now I have to really practice so that I can be an excellent cook when I turn into a wife : )

Now here is the food...Menu Plan Monday!

Monday: We had leftovers in quesadillas
Tuesday: Perfect Red Sauce Pasta, salad, and garlic bread
Wednesday: Butternut Squash Soup, steamed veggies, bread
Thursday: Fiancé's night! Pork Chops and applesauce (I am having him do one night this week so that he can learn how to cook, I will be helping of course!)
Friday: Happy hour!
Saturday and Sunday: TBD

Hope you all have a great week!

Easy Oreo Truffles



I had a request today to post the Oreo Truffles recipe I used in my cooking class last week. It was so easy and here it is! With more pictures of the kids making them of course.

Easy Oreo Truffles

1 16 Ounce Package of Oreos
1 8 Ounce Package of Cream Cheese, Softened
2 8 Ounce Packages of Bakers Semi-Sweet Baking Chocolate, Melted

Crush 36 cookies to fine crumbs. In a mixing bowl combine the cream cheese and crushed cookies until well blended. Roll into 42 balls.

Dip balls in chocolate and place on wax paper-covered baking sheet. Sprinkle with decorations if desired.

Refrigerate until firm about 1 hour.

Eat and enjoy!

Menu Plan Monday



The beginning of another week. I am loving the Christmas season we are in. I wish it would slow down though! Tonight we went to see the new Christmas Carol movie in 3D and it was scary. I don't know how kids can sit through it. Anyway I am excited for my Menu Plan Monday because this time I feel like I actually have a plan we can stick to. The only thing this week that will throw off our normal routine is my office Christmas open house on Thursday. Wish me luck that it all goes well!

Monday: As usual dinner at Mom and Dad's

Tuesday: Crock Pot Pork Fajitas with Grilled Veggies, Homemade Tortilla Shells and Beans

Wednesday: Grandma's Meatloaf, Sweet Potatoes, Broccoli and Pumpkin Muffins or Bread (depending on my mood and timing)

Thursday: Office Party-Hubby will eat leftovers

Friday: Chicken Noodle Soup, Homemade Bread from Freezer, Apples Slices

Saturday: Dinner at a Wedding we are Attending

Sunday: Loaded Baked Potato Soup, Fruit, Salad (if I get to the store to buy lettuce)

Have a great week and Happy Holidays!

Perfect Winter Hot Chocolate



It has been so cold these past few days I thought I would share an amazing hot chocolate recipe I found on all recipes.com. It will not disappoint! I have made it twice in the last week after discovering it.

Fluffy Hot Chocolate

8 Teaspoons Sugar
4 Teaspoons Cocoa Powder
4 Cups 2% Milk
1 1/2 Cups Mini Marshmallows
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
Whipped Cream (optional but oh so good)

Combine the first four ingredients in a medium size saucepan. Heat over medium heat until marshmallows melt, about 8 minutes. Once marshmallows are melted remove from heat and add vanilla.

Pour into holiday mugs of choice and top with whipped cream!

Merry Christmas!!

Cooking Class was Great!



I had my kids cooking class again this Wednesday and below is a little sampling of what we made. A feast for the eyes! The Christmas season is here!!

Each child took home a basket of goodies to share with their families.

This is a photo of the monkey bread rising. It was soooo delicious smelling!

We made stained glass cookies. This is a shot of the pan before it went in the oven.

These are the Oreo Truffles. They turned out so well I think I will be making them for my own holiday goodies that I hand out at Christmas.

Cooking Class



Tomorrow is another one of my kids cooking classes. I am very excited for the lineup of what we will be making. I will hopefully remember to get pictures of everything so I can post them here. It is easier with the older kids that I have tomorrow to get pictures because they don't need as much help in getting stuff made.

So here is our menu:

1) Mini Monkey Bread
2) Oreo Truffles
3) Stained Glass Window Cookies
4) Ranch Oyster Snack Crackers
5) Chocolate Covered Pretzels
6) Fluffy Hot Chocolate

This might be ambitious for the hour and a half I have the kids but we will see. Hopefully we get through it all especially the hot chocolate. I did a test run with the hot chocolate today for my husband and I and it was super good. He even had two glasses of it!