Saturday, July 31, 2010

McDonald's New Fruit Smoothies

I've been dying to try McDonald's new fruit smoothies ever since my eyes discovered the ginormous billboards all around town enticing like-minded individuals that know smoothies are the best, and  should be consumed as meals three times a day.

It was good. As good as any other smoothie I've had at an actual smoothie cafe. McDonald's offers two flavors: strawberry banana and wild berry. They were equally tasty. The best part: $2.78. Wowza. Beats a fancy $5.00 one.

As for nutrition, there is a lot of added sugar in this smoothie, even in a small. You can check that out here.

 I'd call this maybe a dessert smoothie based on the amount of sugar, but it is what it is. It's still delicious and when you are having a moment, sugar is the best remedy.

More garden recipes coming next week!

*This is not a paid review.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Seriously Awesome Bruschetta with a Side of Surprise

I got this recipe from Cooking Light. Ever read it? It is the best...but since my last day of work is today, I won't be able to snag them from the gym anymore. A subscription is in the works.

1 baguette
2-3 large tomatoes (garden tomatoes are the best!)
6 t. good quality olive oil
4 t. balsamic vinegar
salt & pepper
raw garlic cloves

Cut the baguette into thin slices and place in oven at 425 until toasted (about 8-10 minutes). Meanwhile, dice your tomatoes and place in bowl. Add oil and vinegar and toss well. The original recipe called for 2 T. chopped fresh basil, but I used dried. Just a few's hard to measure seasonings exactly. Salt and pepper, and stir to meld all the flavor together. Cover bowl and set in fridge. Once the baguette toasts have slightly cooled, rub your raw garlic clove over the top of one side.

When you are ready to serve, spoon tomato mixture on to the garlic side of the toast.Seriously awesome. My guests even thought it was fancy.  Yum!

As for the surprise...check out this fantastical cloud I saw hovering directly over the West side Wal-Mart.

It was so striking that I thought of the Second Coming, which is just...weird. But if Christ was going to return to Earth on a cloud, it would have look like that one.

I came out 30 minutes later and it had turned a most spectacular shade of pink.

But, then I quickly squashed the idea of Christ returning on this cloud...I mean, it was over Wal-Mart. (joke. joke. it was a joke...Christ loves the people from Wal-Mart, too...)

And just because it is fun, I will share this picture (even though I look hefty and hot).

We blew up 250 balloons at the Posey County Fair to hand out to children so their parents would read CLOWERS for PROSECUTOR and want to vote for Travis.

I hope it worked. Those balloons took FOREVER to blow up. It was a lot of fun though, as we looked out across the arena during the Demolition Derby, the first thing we could see were red and blue balloons bopping around. The kids loved it.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Summer Lovin': Zucchini Squash Pasta Toss

It's nearly August. People who have gardens are surely seeing their harvest's bounty by now.

We haven't been so lucky in the garden department. Last year, it was too shady. This year, we moved June 1st. I wanted to at least do a window pane herb garden, but I was consumed with spur-of-the-moment moving/campaigning details. You know.

But, we are lucky enough to have family members that have big beautiful gardens that like to share....and hopefully they will share their gardening tips when we finally buy our own house.

So we've had an abundance of asparagus, blackberries, sweet corn, squash, cucumbers, zucchini, and now...tomatoes!

But, I have to admit...when you've eaten squash 3 days in a gets a little boring. And don't even ask what my boys have to say about it.

All this week I am going to feature recipes that include fresh garden vegetables. First up...

Zucchini Squash Pasta Toss

1 pound squash, chopped
1 pound zucchini, chopped
1 onion, chopped
fresh garlic, minced
16 oz. whole-wheat pasta (I used spaghetti)
freshly shredded Parmesan
olive oil
fresh ground pepper and salt

Add oil to a saute pan and throw in the garlic. Saute for just a minute then add the squash, zucchini, and onion. Saute vegetables until tender. Meanwhile, boil pasta until done. Place in large bowl. When the vegetables are done, pour into bowl with pasta (including any the juice!) and toss well with tongs so that the vegetables are evenly distributed throughout the pasta. Top with freshly ground black pepper and salt. Put desired amount into individual bowls or plates and top with chopped tomato, parsley, and shredded parm. This is fabulous with garlic bread! Yum Yum!

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

A Sick One In The House.

Oh me. It never fails...if we've got big plans, something is going to happen. Right? Last week was the Posey County Fair, a hot spot for candidates, including Travis Clowers for Posey County Prosecutor. :)

Travis planned to be at the fair every night. For the most part, I had planned for the kids and myself to be by his side.

On Monday afternoon, the first day of the fair, Bryce comes meandering in to my lap. I picked him up and felt the heat. You know you are a mother when no thermometer is needed to check for a fever. But, we checked anyway and it came in at 101.4.

So Travis went to the fair solo and met with his many supporters. I stayed home and played nurse to  a kid who bounced off the walls and wowed a 3-person audience (that would be me, Trison, and Jackson) with some sweet dance moves. If I didn't know otherwise, this kid was not sick.

Until dusk. As soon as the sun went down Bryce's fever shot up to 104.2. I, the mother who stays calm in all situations, began to worry. I doubled up on the meds and got him in a cool bath. The fever came down and he rocketed out of bed in the morning like usual.

It was over. Not another symptom showed itself. I called it a fluke and went on about the week like normal. Went to the fair and geared up to send the kids to Mamaw's for the weekend so Travis and I could hit the campaign trail hard. (Plus, I really wanted some fair food that I didn't have to share. Know what I mean?!)

Friday came and as much as I tried and wanted to deny it: Jackson was sick. We went through the motions with ibuprofen and cool wash cloths, and saint of a mother still offered to take the boys. She called the next day to say that Jackson had a rough night, but was mysteriously better, and Triston was being awfully quiet and wouldn't eat any cake at Great-Grandma Wilson's.

Strike number 3.

So we skipped church Sunday morning and picked up our little sickies first thing. We came home and somehow among all the crying, whining, and fits, managed to make some kickin' chicken noodle soup. Actually, Travis made it. It's kind of his specialty.

But the next day: All was better. We're calling it the 12-hour mystery virus. And if you find yourself or your kid with the same thing, make this:

Chicken Noodle Soup

2-3 chicken breasts
1-2 cartons of chicken broth
1 c. carrots, chopped
1 c. celery, chopped
1 c. onion, chopped
1/2 can of peas, drained
egg noodles
salt & pepper
red pepper flakes

Boil the chicken in enough water to cover and one to two cartons of broth.  When the chicken is done, cut into tiny pieces and set aside. While the broth is still at a rolling boil, add the vegetables, and seasonings. Place lid on pot and let boil until vegetables are tender, about 20 minutes. Add egg noodles and let boil until just done, 5-10 minutes. Add the chicken back in the pot and let simmer for as long as you'd like. Enjoy...and get better soon!

Chicken Noodle Soup on Foodista

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Flop to Hot...Fresh Blackberry Cobbler.


So I have this cobbler recipe that I can never get right. Ahem...couldn't ever get right.

It's really very simple. 1 cup milk, 1 cup sugar, 1 cup self-rising flour, 1 stick of butter, and 1 cup of fresh blackberries. (And I add just a sprinkle of cinnamon over the top before putting it in the oven.)

I high-lighted the self-rising flour because that is the part I always screw up. As you can see in the first picture.....all-purpose flour doesn't rise by itself.

The second picture shows the kind of pan I was using was not working, either. It was very thin. (And I left it in the oven too long.) It is a 9 x 13 stoneware, and I was just informed this week that this recipe does best in a regular size loaf pan!  Who knew? It was my official Aha! moment.

Finally, this time I got it right. Finally! Right flour, right pan, right time in the oven.

Here's the recipe.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Melt 1 stick of butter in a regular size loaf pan. Mix together milk, flour, and sugar and pour into pan over the melted butter. Drop a handful (or more) of fresh blackberries (or really any kind of fruit you want) over the top. I add just a sprinkle of cinnamon, too. Let bake until browned on top, about 30 minutes.

And it was so good.

A little tip for you: If you have a recipe that calls for self-rising flour and you find that you are out, do this. Take one cup of all-purpose flour. Discard 2 tsp. of flour out of that one cup. Add 1 1/2 tsp. baking powder and 1/2 tsp. salt. Now you have flour that will work. It will rise and you will have a beautiful cobbler! You're welcome.

And....this blog was selected to be featured in the foodbuzz blog roll! Check it out in the right side-bar.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Greek-Week Wannabe

I totally wish I were a creative enough cook to come up with a week's worth of recipes using Stonyfield's Greek yogurt. But here's the thing: I actually hate Greek yogurt.

I tried to get on the bandwagon a couple of years ago, because it is so good for you, but I can't do it. It really just tastes awful.

But what I can do is use it as a base. Recently, I've begun swapping Greek yogurt for the mayo in recipes. Things like tuna fish, cole slaw, and potato salad or using it as a base for smoothies...all things that I love to eat, but don't like the extra calories.

So, does it taste the same? Kind of. I fed my "Greek tuna" to Travis - unbeknown to him, though. He will put a halt on anything healthy before it even reaches his mouth- He thought I used light mayo instead of regular. And thought it was pretty good. The change is subtle enough not to affect the taste or texture. 

Here's the thing: Greek yogurt packs 23 grams of protein per serving and only 130 calories. Awesome. Let's do some math.

Hellmann's real mayo has 90 calories in a 1 T. serving and 0 grams of protein (and we know protein is what keeps us full and energized, right?).
Stonyfield's Oikos Greek Yogurt has 8 calories in a 1 T. serving and 1 gram of protein.

Not a huge difference, if you really love mayo, you might go ahead and choose it. BUT, see what happens when the serving size goes up.

1 c. of mayo is 1440 calories (and still no protein) compared to the one serving of Greek yogurt I listed above. It's a big difference. Greek yogurt as the base of a recipe is actually changing potentially unhealthy food into a better choice.

So what about the taste of plain Greek yogurt? I don't know, it's just gross. I wouldn't eat it plain, but if you blend some strawberries or give it SOME kind of flavor, even just honey works wonders, it does taste better.

Anyone else have any purposes for Greek Yogurt?

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Chocolate Covered Cherry Cake

Let me start out by saying: I don't like chocolate-covered cherries.
Really. But this cake is SO GOOD.

Let's begin:

1 devil's food cake mix
1 21 oz. can of cherry pie filling
1 t. of almond extract****
2 large eggs

Whip the eggs with a fork and add cake mix, filling, and almond extract. I starred the extract because this is really the most important ingredient. I have made this cake without the extract and it did not taste the same. It's vital! Stir the mix well, it will be stiff. Spread in a 9 x 13 pan and cook for 30 minutes at 350.

And here's the best part: The Topping.

5 T. butter
1/2 c. milk
6 oz. chocolate chips (half the bag)

Melt the butter in a heavy bottom pan. Stir in milk and chocolate chips and stir constantly until melted. Pour over cake while it's still hot.

You can let it set for a few hours, and it's great.
But I prefer to eat it right out of the oven with a scoop of vanilla.


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