Monday, December 29, 2014

Spicy Beef Burritos




Now that the holidays are over, what are we to do with the leftovers?  If you had beef instead of the traditional ham or turkey, stay tuned and I will show you a quick and easy way to spice up those leftovers.  How does some Spicy Beef Burritos sound?  

Ingredients:

1 pound of left over roast beef
1 onion diced
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 tablespoon of chili powder
1 tablespoon of taco seasoning
1 cup of salsa
2 cups of water

Instructions:

Cook onion in the butter and olive oil, until translucent.  Add in dry seasonings and whisk until they form a paste.  Next add in the salsa, water and meat.  Simmer on medium until the meat and sauce are reduced by half.
Spoon into a warm tortilla, add some cheese and there you have it.  A quick and easy way to use up some leftovers and still keeping it interesting.  

Live, Laugh and Love.

Bonus Tips:

You use butter and olive oil together for two reasons, the butter gives flavor the olive oil prevents the butter from burning too soon.

When reducing something that means just letting the water evaporate.  Keep an on eye on it though you dont want it to reduce too much where all the water evaporates and you are left with a scorchted mess.  



Thursday, December 18, 2014

Homemade Spanish Rice




Its that time of year again where the stores are full of impatient children and parents are pulling their hair out.  I have a recipe for you today that is not something you think of when you think of Christmas.  However I feel it shouldn't be forgotten over the holiday season either.  Its quick and easy and affordable.  Add some chicken or beef to it and you have a filling meal that will feed an army, plus save you a few pennies and a lot of time.  Let's do this!

Ingredients:

1 Onion diced
2 chicken bullion cubes (if you are using beef use 2 beef bullion cubes)
4-6 cups of water depending on how much rice you are cooking
1 pat of butter
2 tablespoons of chili powder
2 tablespoons of taco seasoning (homemade or store bought its up to you)
2 1/2 cups of quick cooking rice, I used minute rice
1/8 of a teaspoon of Cayenne pepper, not for heat just for the flavor
1 can of diced tomatoes

Instructions:

In a medium stock pot or dutch oven, add in the butter and onions.  Cook the onions until you can see through them and they haven't started browning yet.  Next add in all the dry seasonings its ok you will want to whisk the seasonings into the butter and onions.  It will thick and pasty and that is what you are looking for.  From here add in the water, tomatoes and bullion cubes.  When the bullion cubes have disolved and the liquid come up to a boil, add in the rice.  Now just follow the instructions on the rice box.  Cover with a lid until all the liquid is abosorbed into the rice.  Serve with vegetables and either beef or chicken.  

There you have it, Hommade Spanish Rice.  I made this with some homemade beef burritos from left over roast beef.  Stay tuned for next week's recipe for that burrito.  So full of flavor yet so little time to make.

Live, Laugh and Love

Heather

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

My Thoughts on Healthy Living and Surgery



Hi everyone, as some of you know I have had the RNY gastric bypass.  Dont ask me what the difference is from reg. bypass surgery, I think it may have something to do with the way vitamins are absorbed in your body.  I am going to tell you all what my experiences have been so far.  I will not hold anything back and if I made mistakes I will tell you those too. I am no way an expert but here are a few things to help you if this surgery is something you are considering.

Exercise:

As some of you already know any change including changes you go through for any surgery, is a process.  You cannot just dive in on day one.  Gastric bypass surgery is a lot of work.  Its not an easy way out at all.  Its a tool, and it will only work to benefit you if you use it correctly.  Changing eating habits is a big one, but an even bigger one is exercise.  Everyone including some people who have had this surgery find every excuse not to do this.  My personal experience is do it anyway.  You dont have to join a gym, you dont have to buy fancy equipment or fancy clothing.  I do most of my exercise right here, in my own home.  I have stairs so I use them to my benefit, I walk when I am talking on the phone.  I walk around the house with the music turned up loud (my husband just loves that one).  I have been working out since day one, meaning since the first appointment I had with my dr.  There are going to be days you will not feel like doing it, do it anyway even if its just using handweights.  Move somehow and in someway.  Its not only good for your body but it prepares you for surgery.  It makes you stronger and it will come in handy after surgery because you have already established a routine with it.  Before too long it will be like drinking water, which is also important.  In the beginning I struggled with this one, I hated every aspect of it.  Exercise to me was my enemy, it physically hurt.  Instead of quitting, I got mad.  I looked at excercise as someone I couldnt stand and pushed through even harder.  I worked out so hard I injured myself so do not go that far lol.  I was out of commision for two weeks.  Even now that I have had my surgery exercise is a key part of my day.  I do not feel like I am ready to tackle the day without 30 minutes of cardio first.  

Eating Habits:

Before surgery the drs and dieticians want you to change your eating habits.  Eat a lot of protein, veggies and small amounts of carbs like rice and potatoes.  The more protein you consume through the day the less likely you will snack and the fuller you will be.  This part I didnt have a problem with at all, I have always loved my meats and veggies.  When I was getting enough protein, I was finding I didnt want sweets, or candy.  That feeling is only going to continue after surgery too.  However the protein shakes, ewww those are different story.   Two weeks before surgery you are put on a liquid diet, at least the center I went to you are.  I have to admit I didnt do well here.  I did have things that were not liquid but overall I did stick to the plan with just a few bumps here and there.  If that happens to you do not beat yourself up over it.  Stress causes your weight to go up.  Just know that tomorrow is another day.  This has been the theme through this whole process with me.  Head hunger is real, guilt is real, throwing up is real, and dumping syndrom is real.  After I had the surgery food wasnt enjoyable to me not like it used to be.  It all tasted funny and smelled strange to me.  I was on again the liquid diet and that was ok but I didnt know why I felt so sick.  The next phase was implimenting dairy back into my diet.  That is where I found my answer, the dairy was making me so sick, throwing up, stomach cramps.  I had it all.  Come ot find out reg. protein powders have dairy in them, I bought the whey isolate that has no dairy and it was like my world had changed.  I no longer felt sick.  I still havent found a milk I enjoy yet.  Before surgery I was drinking almond milk a lot and now I cannot stand it.  I am not fan of the coconut milks either and soy is ok but not my favorite. I will find something I am determined to.  There are going to be things that other people have no problems with that may make you sick and that is ok.  There have been a lot of allowable foods like dairy products that I just cannot tolerate.  Oh and did I mention the first time I had a small taste of icecream? Yes I was sick as a dog and before surgery icecream was incredible.  I still get a sweet tooth, most of the time peanut butter helps with that or sugar free jam.  Truvia is a great sweetener because its all natural from a plant, however it makes it very expensive.  It lasts forever though so I would consider that.  

Mind Games:

Be prepared, after surgery your mind will play tricks on you, you will be hungry for something you never had an interest in.  For me that was seafood, I hate it.  However a week after surgery I was craving shrimp, lobster, clams, ect.  That feeling soon passed when I was able to eat real food.  Your mind is not going to catch up to your new stomach right away either.  Your mind is going to think you can consume the same amount of food you did before surgery.  Do not fall into that, recognize how you feel if you feel hungry eat something small if you are not hungry then drink some water.  Chances are your head is confused between hunger and thirst.  

My Life so Far:

If I am leaving things out I am sorry, there is just so much more to any change than what can be written.  I have lost 60 pounds so far from the very first visit to the dr.  I have no regrets with this surgery.  Yes there were some moments where I regretted it and yes there were times when I thought what did I just do to myself?  However here is the bigger picture, I am no longer on high blood pressure medicine.  I no longer have high blood pressure.  How I deal with stress now verses over a year ago are two different animals.  I actually deal with what bothers me and move on.  A year ago I wouldnt deal with problems or stress.  I would eat my feelings and then get angry about it later.  I still have good and bad days however the good days are outweighing the bad just because I have implemented positive habits.  I still get stressed and that is when I work out longer or more often through the day.  I still wind up making not the greatest choices sometimes when it comes to food.  However I am trying to use every mealtime as an oppertunity to get the most nutrition for my body so I have the energy to follow through with my work out.  You will stumble, you will cave to a potato chip or a piece of candy now and then.  However do not let now and then be every day.  So I have had this surgery it doesnt mean I am through learning and it doesnt mean I wont make mistakes.  We do, we all do and those who tell you they never made a mistake after surgery are not being 100 percent real with you.  

I hope this helped you and I know it helped me.  Next week is a new recipe!

Live, Laugh and Love.   Heather

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Warm Pasta Salad



Hello everyone, I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving if you celebrate it.  If you do not I hope you have had some wonderful opportunities to make some long standing memories.  Either way today's post is about a salad I made about a year ago and my family loves it.  Its not too bad for you health wise either.  It makes a great side dish to anything you are making.  I believe last year when I made this it was a side dish to our Christmas dinner.  So I hope you all enjoy this as much as my family does.  

Ingredients:

1 cup of whole wheat pasta shells
2 tomatoes diced
2 laughing cow cheese wedges any flavor you enjoy
1 celery stalk diced
1 slice of bacon crumbled, or you can use turkey bacon
1 teaspoon of parsley
1 teaspoon of onion powder
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
the juice of half of a lemon
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
salt and pepper 

Instructions:

Cook and drain the pasta as directed on the box.  Do not rinse the pasta.  Next in a large mixing bowl add in pasta, and all veggies.  In a separate bowl mix in the seasonings including lemon juice, olive oil and salt and pepper.  Whisk the seasonings, oil and lemon juice together and pour over the top of salad.  Last crumble up the bacon and cheese wedges.  Give the salad one last mix and you are ready to serve.  

I hope you all get a chance to try this recipe, its very simple but the flavors compliment each other in such a way that it can go with any main course.  Live, laugh and love all.

Heather


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Roasted Fall Vegetables







Hi everyone, so today I thought I would share with you my recipe for roasted fall vegetables.  Now since I have had my gastric bypass surgery, I have come to find what my trigger foods are.  You know those little cravings that bug you either in the middle of the day or middle of the night.  Well for me I love sweet, salty and spicy together, and I thought what if I kept with the same flavors I so enjoy but what I have them with.  Instead of potato chips or something else equally unhealthy.  I came up with this and I was amazed how each ingredient played a huge role and in texture and flavor and they all worked so wonderfully together.  I thought I had to share this with you, if you are looking for something healthy but doesn't taste healthy, and hits the same flavors that I enjoy too, then keep reading.  

Ingredients:

1 small squash peeled, seeded and cubed
3 sweet potatoes peeled and cubed
1/2 pound of Brussel sprouts 
1/2 cup of roughly chopped pecans
2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/4 cup of water
1 teaspoon of Cayenne Pepper
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 packet of truvia 
1 heavy lid
Salt and pepper to season as you go


















Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 375.  While the oven is doing its thing, start cutting up your squash and sweet potatoes.  Drizzle about half of the extra virgin olive oil over the veggies and coat them very well with the oil.  Sprinkle some salt and black pepper over them and let them roast for about 20 minutes or until the veggies are soft.  While the squash and sweet potatoes are in the oven, grab a dry skillet and add in the pecans.  We are just going to warm them up and toast them lightly we dont want to fully toast them and you will know why in a minute.  Put the pecans in a small bowl when done and put the skillet back on the stove.  While the pan is still hot add the rest of the extra virgin olive oil and add in the cubed brussels.  Keep shaking them around in the pan until they turn golden brown and hit them with a little salt and pepper.  Its all about layering flavors.  Now when you see that golden brown on your brussels add in the balsamic vinegar and water. Put a lid over the top of the pan and turn off the heat.  Let the brussels steam for about 15 minutes or until soft.  Next drain the brussels you don't want them soggy just cooked through.  It should be time to check on the squash and sweet potatoes, so haul them out of the oven and if they are soft add the brussels and pecans.  From here add the truvia, salt and cayenne pepper, just add as much or as little as you prefer.  Stir them all around until all the veggies are coated and back into the oven for about 5 minutes or until all the flavors marry up.  Once they are done plate em up and serve with either Thanksgiving dinner or alone like I did for lunch.  You will be amazed at the flavors and texture.  

Live, Laugh and Love.   Heather

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

New England Boiled Dinner, In a Crock Pot






Long time no see, I am happy to report that I am back.  I have a lot of ideas to keep you all entertained for a long time.  I will get into why the long absence in another post.  Today I am going to talk about how to make a traditional New England boiled Dinner and we are going to simplify it.  Before I get into the recipe though I want to talk about something, I think we shouldn't be afraid to cook outside the box.  No one says you cannot make a boiled dinner in crock pot and honestly it comes out a lot more flavorful and what makes this even better, you can turn on your crock pot with all the ingredients and let it go all day.  No babysitting required!  

Ingredients:  You can adjust these ingredients to how many people you are feeding, this feeds a family of 4

1 small onion
3 carrots make them chunky 
3 potatoes
1/2 head of cabbage
2 pound bone in picnic ham
4 tablespoons of peppercorns ground coarsely
4 tablespoons of old bay seasoning, please don't get caught up old bay in only seafood trap, it is wonderful in soups, stews, gravies, boiled dinners and just about anything.  Dont box yourself in.
approx. 6 cups of water, after you add your ingredients to the slow cooker just fill the crock pot up with water just leaving about an inch from the top of the slow cooker.

Your Veggies should look like these:



Instructions:

Cut up all your veggies and cube up your cabbage.  Put them aside in a bowl.  Next rinse and dry your ham and coat the ham generously with the old bay and peppercorns about 2 tablespoons each.  Now its all about layering the ingredients you want to start with the potatoes, carrots and onions first.  Then add in the ham and finally the cabbage on top.  Once you have all that add the remaining 2 tablespoons of seasonings each to the water, stir it up and pour it over the cabbage.  Put the lid on the slow cooker and let it go for about 8 hours on low, 6 if you put it on high.  Serve it with a little butter, salt,  pepper and some vinegar.  Welcome to New England in the fall!  

More Pictures:




The finished product:  

Video: 


Live, Laugh and Love   

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Applesauce Bread



Hi everyone!  So fall is just days away from us and I thought its time for fall recipes.  Now I have made this recipe before and my family loved it, so much so that I took a picture.  I knew I had to make it again, so I can add more pictures for you all to enjoy.  This is by far one of the quickest recipes out there.  I used homemade applesauce but you can use store bought as well.  So let's get on with this recipe!

Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of flour
2 tablespoons of Cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon or less of ginger
1/4 teaspoon of all spice
A pinch of salt just to bring out the sweetness
1 tablespoon of baking powder
1 Egg
1 1/2 cups of applesauce
1 cup of brown sugar
2/3 cup of milk
2 tablespoons of butter melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Mix all your dry ingredients like the flour, spices, salt  and baking powder in a medium sized mixing bowl.  In a different bowl mix all your wet ingredients, this includes sugar as well.  So add in your eggs, milk, butter, vanilla, brown sugar, and applesauce.  Form a small well in the center of your bowl that has the dry mix.  Now just dump in the wet ingredients into the dry and mix it up.  Spray a bread pan with non stick cooking spray. Once the batter is mixed up and all the flour is incorporated, spoon the mixture into the bread pan.  Bake for about 50-60 minutes depending on your oven.  To tell if the bread is done, just stick a toothpick or the tip of a small knife in the center of the bread.  If the knife or toothpick comes out clean with no batter on it, then its done.  Let the bread cool for about 5-10 minutes before cutting.  

Its that simple and your house will smell amazing!  Enjoy and as always Live, Laugh and Love..  Heather

Monday, May 12, 2014

Strawberry Vanilla Cupcakes with Strawberry Butter Cream



Hello everyone, so even though I am eating healthy and changing my lifestyle doesn't mean my whole family is doing everything I am.  I made during the winter, we had some snow going on and I thought these were so much fun to make with the girls.  They had a blast and so did I.  Sometimes we all need a cupcake to boost our spirits.  I hope you get a chance to try these because they are so yummy, sinfully yummy.  Ok let's get right into the recipe shall we?

Ingredients:

1 pint of strawberries
3 cups of flour
1 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
3/4 teaspoons of salt
1 1/2 sticks of softened butter, I use unsalted
1 1/2 cups of sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 teaspoon of almond extract
1 1/4 cup of milk
3 eggs

Ingredients for Butter-cream:

1/4 cup strawberries mixed with sugar
1 cup of softened butter
1 teaspoon of vanilla
1 teaspoon of almond extract
4 cups of powdered sugar
2 tablespoons of milk

Instructions:

You do not need a stand mixer for this but if you have one use it.  Before you begin start cutting up your strawberries, cut up the whole pint except leave 24 whole and off to the side to put on top of the cupcakes.  After your strawberries are diced add 1/2 cup of sugar to them, stir and put aside.  Now at this point you can start mixing your butter and sugar together.  Now add your eggs one at a time.  Add in your extracts and mix.  From here grab your strawberries that are in sugar and run them through your blender.  Add 1/2 cup of the blended strawberries to your mixer too.  In a medium mixing bowl mix the flour, baking powder and salt together.  Alternate adding the milk and flour, I usually start with the flour mixture and end with the flour mixture.  Once everything is mixed, grab a muffin tin and cupcake liners and start filling them about 3/4 of the way full.  Bake on 350 for about 20 minutes.  The cupcakes are cooked when you poke the centers with a toothpick and the toothpick comes out clean.  Let cool before frosting them.

Butter cream Instructions:

In your stand mixer add in the butter and let that whip up until creamy.  Then add in powdered sugar and let the sugar and butter cream together.  Now slowly and gradually add in the strawberries mixed with sugar from the blender you will want to add about 1/4 cup.  From here add in the extracts and milk. Gradually add in the powdered sugar.  I usually just add the sugar a little at a time mix it and then add a little more. Once finished chill it in the fridge until your cupcakes are ready for the frosting.  
Top each cupcake with a slice of strawberry on top and you are ready for a yummy dessert!  

Thank you all for stopping by.  Heather


Friday, May 9, 2014

The Secret is Out!



So I have finally fessed up and talked about what my secret is.  For those of you who do not know I am choosing to have gastric bypass surgery.  The above picture is me taken about 3-4 years ago.  I am sharing this picture because it was this picture when I saw a different person in that picture than how I felt.  I didn't feel any different, but when I saw this picture I knew I needed to start taking my life seriously.
 Now it was a long road from 3-4 years ago to now where I am making the decision to have surgery. For 3 years I put in so much effort, and I did lose weight, but it always came back.  It wasn't until this last year when I gained most of my weight back that it became more of a mental thing for me than anything else.  As women we put so much pressure on ourselves to put our families, friends and God first.  To always put ourselves last and that is what I did.  I couldn't possibly believe that if I put myself first and made myself a priority that my family and friends would be happy. I was DEAD wrong!!!!!  First of all how responsible is it of me to maintain a lifestyle that would cause me to be dead before my children have their children?  How responsible is it of me to ensure that my mother buries her only child before her?  How responsible is it of me to continue living mentally and physically unhealthy?  In order to take control over your life you have to live your life like a boss. Period.  You want your kids to adopt healthy lifestyles?  Live what you preach!  Yes I am having surgery its not an easy solution and for the past 3 years I have worked out all my brain demons, I have parted ways with my love affair with carbs and picked up a new love of working out.  I have parted ways with sitting on the couch, watching TV and noshing on junk.  Instead I may still watch my shows while kicking my own ass with resistance bands.  Instead off cookies and ice cream, in my life its frozen Greek yogurt and granola bars and fruit.  Instead of candy, cakes and pies, its natural peanut butter, chocolate soy milk and cottage cheese.  This is my life now and has been my life before I thought about surgery.  When a close family member was also trying to change her life she opted for surgery and I saw her wanting different things and choosing activity over inactivity and I wanted that for myself too.  The easy part is making the decision to have surgery or not.  The hard part are the damn requirements and there are many.  While I understand why they have the requirements they do, to make sure you are committed for a change for the rest of your life!  
The first part is pretty easy, just go to a meeting.  You will get the nuts and bolts of the surgery, what would be allowed vs what isn't allowed.  I promise you that you do not have to eat anything weird or strange unless you want to just broaden your health food horizons.  You have to eat a lot of protein and you have drink a shit ton of water.  If you are hungry still you can have fruit and veggies and make sure you get those whole grains in too.  With all of that there isn't much room for anything else.  However this is a tool it will only work if you follow exactly what the Drs tell you.  They give you this information for a reason, and that is to educate you on how to use your new tool for success.  
Now I will be honest here obesity runs in my family, I am obese and obese is different than overweight.  Obese means you have health problems associated with your obesity they are called comorbidities.   Some people have a lot I was fortunate to have just one, high blood pressure that started as pregnancy induced to something I will continue to have until I have surgery.  So are you guys ready for the requirements I must complete just to be considered for surgery?  

This is coming from Central Maine Bariatric Surgery Center of Excellence:

History/ Physical Including, pap, breast exam, 3 year weight
Upper Endoscopy
Sleep Study
ABG's Blood test
Chest X Ray
Bilat. Venous Duplex
EKG
Hemoglobin A1C (another blood test)
BMP (not sure but I did it lol)
LFT (?? I think its blood work)
CBC with Diff
Fasting Lipid Levels
TIBC
Iron/ sat
Transferrin
Ferritin
Vit. B12
Folate
Vit. B1
TSH
PTH
25- Vit. D ( which I am deficient in)
H.Pylori test
Hemoccult (this is disgusting!  its a poop card sample thing)
Psych Evaluation
Sports Medicine Consult
plus 6 months of nutrition classes, it depends on your ins though some only require 3 mos mind of course requires 6 mos. 

I started this in October and as of last week I have been approved for surgery from the team of Drs I have been working with. However I still need approval from my ins.  Chances are it wont be until August when I have the surgery.  I have completed everything on this list, I am currently on my 4th nutrition class.  Next month will be the 5th one.  There are days when I am so excited about my future new life for myself and more importantly for my kids.  There are days when I don't really feel like working out and I feel down.  Lately the things that get me down is something that may or may not prolong the surgery.  I am ready for this, I am ready for the changes.  I have gone through the food cravings and adjusted I have gone through aches and pains of working out and I work through them and work harder.  I am ready to be released from my own personal prison and live my life.  Thank you for being a part of my journey.  Change is only profound if you are willing to put in the work.  If you are not mentally ready to do anything it wont happen until YOU  are ready!  


This is me just two days ago: 


Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Homemade Hawaiian King Rolls



Hi everyone, before I even begin to get into this recipe, that I almost didn't post mind you.  I want you all to please ignore my typo in the above picture.  When it comes to food blogging, I got it down but photo editing is a whole other animal.  Quite frankly if it wasn't for the people out there in cyber space world that love to snag other's pictures I may have just done no editing for this photo.  I was going to fix it but I don't have time for that in my life.  I have come to realize in my old age that anything that requires too much work for a maybe is not worth it.  In other words, if I was going to work my ever loving ass off for a semi decent picture, its not worth it.  
So about a week or so ago I asked my facebook mob over at https://www.facebook.com/Heatherzblueyez1975?ref=hl if they would like the recipe for these rolls and they all told me they do want the recipe or I will face dyer consequences, like them unliking my page.  People still unliked my page however being the generous person I am, I will give out this recipe anyway.  Those who unliked me well they will just have to find this recipe the hard way won't they?  

Ingredients:  

 7-8 cups of flour 
1 cup of whole milk
1  1/2 sticks of butter
1/2 cup of warm water
2/3 cup of sugar
2 packets or 5 teaspoons of yeast ( I use instant)
1 cup of pineapple juice
3 eggs

Instructions:

Before you begin you need to add about half of the amount of flour needed to your mixer,about 3 cups, (yes a mixer is needed for this recipe).  Now we need to add in the sugar and yeast.  Grab a microwave safe bowl or cup and put 1 stick of butter and milk in the bowl and nuke for about 30 seconds, just until the butter has melted and the milk has warmed up.  Add the milk and butter to the mixer along with the pineapple juice and water.  Add eggs one at a time.  Mix until all ingredients come together and then gradually add more flour, so about a cup at a time.  As the flour incorporates you will notice its a very sticky dough, its ok that is what its supposed to do.  After about 7 cups of flour and letting it kneed for 7 minutes approx., it should form a soft dough ball and that is where you want to be.  If you feel like it needs more flour go ahead and add the last cup but just be careful because you don't want to wind up with crackers.  You will need to grease up your hands to handle the dough, I find cooking spray works best.  Put your dough in a greased bowl so it can rise.  You want the dough to be double in size.  Once the dough has risen, lightly push the air out of it with your fingers. Grease up a cookie sheet and just pull small pieces of dough, about golf ball size and place on the cookie sheet.  When all the dough is on the cookie sheet let it rise a second time.  Pre heat your oven to 350 and bake for about 20 minutes, when the tops are golden brown.  Remember that half stick of butter, go ahead and melt that either in the microwave or on your stove top and brush the tops of the rolls with the melted butter and serve.  Its a bit of a process however the work is so worth it.  


Thank you for stopping by.  Heather

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Potatoes O' Brien



Have you ever had one of those recipes that is so good and so easy to make that sometimes you forget about it?  However the flavor is so memorable your family begs for it every time you walk out into the kitchen, even if its just to wash dishes.  Anyway this recipe is one of those for me.  I have had this kicking around for some time (about 3 years at least), and I am just now bringing this recipe to now.  Hey better late than never right?  Ok so I am going to get started on this and you will amazed at the complex flavor with such simple ingredients.  

Ingredients:

4 potatoes cubed  ( count 1 potato per person)
1/2 red pepper diced or sliced like I did 
1/2 yellow pepper sliced or diced whatever you prefer
1/4 Jalapeno diced seeds and all 
1 medium onion diced
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon of butter
Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions:

Heat up the oil and butter, just until the butter melts into the oil on medium heat.  Add in the potatoes, as they start to brown put a lid over the top of them and lower the heat to a medium low.  This will ensure the inside of the potato is cooked while still keeping that crispy outside.  When your potatoes are done, drain on paper towels.  Leave the oil in the pan and add in all veggies as they get soft add the potatoes back and let simmer just until all the potatoes soak up all the flavors from the peppers.  Take off the heat and sprinkle with salt and pepper to your liking and serve.  Its really that easy and makes for a great breakfast or brunch.  Honestly though sometimes we have this for dinner too.  Pair it with poached eggs or even have it alone.  

Thank you for stopping by,

Live, Laugh and Love.

Heather

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Chicken and Biscuits




Hello everyone, so today's post is a mistake I made in the kitchen.  Sometimes mistakes we make turn into something even better.  My original idea was to make a chicken pot pie. I knew early on that this was not going to be a pot pie because I made way too much filling.  This is the same idea of a pot pie but it has a biscuit topping, the filling is the same but there is so much of it there is no way it was going to fit in a pie pan.  So I grabbed my biggest casserole dish I have.  I took a little help from a cookbook one of my newest ones and one of my favorites too, Miss Kay's Duck Commander Cookbook.  I am not the best biscuit maker, just ask my oldest child.  She will tell you that my biscuits turn out to be more like crackers than biscuits.  Oh the memories.  However when I tried Miss Kay's recipe I was pleasantly surprised.  I had to improvise on one ingredient but you will understand when I get there.  So before I keep rambling on and on, I will just get to how to make this ok.

Ingredients for the Filling:

2 large boneless skinless chicken breasts
3 stalks of celery diced
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 large onion diced
3 carrots diced
1 large potato diced
1 tablespoon of butter
1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
2 tablespoons of flour
4 cups of chicken stock or broth
1 teaspoon of dried mustard
1 teaspoon of rosemary
1 teaspoon of thyme
1 pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
1 pinch of poultry seasoning
black pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning

Ingredients for Biscuit Topping:

4 cups of prepared biscuit mix 
1 stick of cold butter
1/2 to 1 cup of soda water (in the cookbook she recommends 7 up or sprite I had neither)
1 teaspoon of old bay seasoning 
1 teaspoon of thyme 
1 teaspoon of rosemary
(the seasonings were my touch to pick up the flavors from the filling, you can leave them out and the biscuits will turn out just fine.)

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350, throw your chicken breasts on a cookie sheet and season them with a drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and salt and pepper.  Let roast in the oven for about 45 minutes to an hour.  I roast my chicken even for soups because it gives the chicken more flavor and makes the chicken more moist. When the chicken is fully cooked, set it aside to cool.  Now grab a large stock pot and throw in your butter and extra virgin olive oil.  Let the oil and butter heat up just until melted and throw in all veggies.  Let them soften a little and add in all your seasonings.  Add in the flour, and mix it all through the veggies.  You will want to add water now but please dont not until the raw flour flavor cooks out and that only takes about couple of minutes.  Now add in the stock or both, stirring constantly.  While that comes up to a boil, dice up the cooled chicken and throw that in pot as well.  Make sure when you stir it you get the stuff on the bottom, that is called fond and fond means kick ass flavor. It should look like this in your pot:


 While the filling is simmering and thickening, its time to get started on the biscuit topping.  Grab a large mixing bowl, throw in biscuit mix and seasonings and add in the butter diced.  With a pastry blender or a fork, cut in the butter, almost like your making a pie crust.  Once the butter starts to get cut through all the biscuit mix, slowly add in the soda water 1/4 cup at a time.  Mix it through until it forms a ball like this:
Put the biscuit dough aside to rest and go back to your filling.  Give it a good stir and if the filling coats the back of the spoon your are stirring with its done.  Grab a large casserole dish and spray it with non stick cooking spray.  Carefully pour in your filling and then take small pieces of your biscuit dough and make little balls. Place the balls on top of the filling.  Once you have the top of the filling covered in biscuits, drizzle the tops of the biscuits with a small amount of extra virgin olive oil and sprinkle with thyme and rosemary.  Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.  When it comes out of the oven its going to be piping hot so let it cool for about 5-10 minutes. 
This is what it looks like served up and ready to eat!  I hope you get a chance to try this its a warm yummy bowl of comfort food.

Thank you for stopping by, Live, Laugh and Love.


Heather

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Breakfast Scramble








Hello there friends, back with another recipe for you.  Now I will be honest with you this recipe can be used for dinner just as much as breakfast.  Even though its called a breakfast scramble, really it should be called anytime your craving breakfast scramble.  I took some pictures to walk you through the steps because it will just make life easier.  This is a no fuss no muss idea that I came up with when the ones by Jimmy Dean were getting a little heavy on our wallets.  So grab your frying pans and let's get started!

Ingredients:

4 whole eggs
4 slices of bacon
1/2 pound of bulk sausage flavor is your choice
2 extra large potatoes cubed
1/2 teaspoon of cumin
1/4 teaspoon of old bay seasoning
1/4 teaspoon of parsley
1 tablespoon of milk

Instructions:

Preheat your oven to 350 and put the bacon on a cookie sheet like this:

Bake until crisp.  Drain the grease and measure out a tablespoon because you will need that later.  Trust me!  Let the bacon cool on a paper towel to get all the grease off it.

Now heat up your cast iron or reg. frying pan, once its warm add in the sausage like this here:  
You will want the heat of your burner on a medium low setting so the sausage doesn't burn.
When the sausage is fully cooked add to a paper towel to drain.  Now add in the tablespoon of bacon grease to the pan and then add in the potatoes,  like this:
The potatoes are going to take some time to cook, so while they are cooking you want to line up your cooled bacon and cut them up into bits, (yes we are making homemade bacon bits because the ones you buy in the store are nasty) 

When the potatoes are cooked add in sausage and bacon like this:
Then your cumin and old bay seasoning: 
In a medium bowl crack your eggs and add your milk and whisk them around until the egg is well incorporated into the milk.  Add your eggs to the pan with your potatoes, sausage and bacon and bingo bango Breakfast scramble!  
This recipe is very easy to make and takes maybe 30 minutes to whip up.  I hope you all enjoy it and Live, Laugh and Love.  


Heather

Monday, March 3, 2014

Homemade Pumpkin Cake with Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting



  Hello everyone,  over the weekend I made this cake and asked people over on my facebook page, if they were interested in the recipe.  With a resounding yes, I knew before I posted any other recipe, this one had to be up today.  Now in my house pumpkin is not limited to just the Fall.  Its a fall, winter, spring, summer kind of ingredient.  I figured with all the pumpkin I have, I could make a cake.  Here is what I came up with and I am going to have the recipe for the frosting on here too.  Ladies and gentlemen, start your stand mixers, hand mixers and whisks, which ever one you have. 

Dry Ingredients for the Cake:

3 Cups of Flour
1 Teaspoon of Baking powder
1 teaspoon of Baking soda
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1 Tablespoon of Cinnamon
1 Teaspoon of ground Ginger
1/2 teaspoon of Nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon of All Spice

Wet Ingredients for the Cake:

1 cup of brown sugar
1 cup of white sugar
1 cup of unsalted butter softened
1 can of pumpkin puree 
1 teaspoon of Vanilla
2 eggs
1/4 cup of milk

Instructions for Just the cake:

Pre heat your oven to 350 degrees.  Next grease up either two round cake pans or 1 square pan the choice is up to you.  Now Add in your butter give that a good whip for a minute in your stand mixer.  Add in all sugars, and blend that with the butter.  Now Add in the eggs 1 at a time.  Add in the vanilla and pumpkin and mix until well incorporated. Leave the milk out for now. In a medium sized bowl measure out your flour, baking powder and baking soda. Add in the salt and spices. Sift sift sift.  Now by small amounts I usually use a half cup measure, slowly add in the dry ingredients to your wet ingredients. Mix until well mixed and slowly add a small amount of the milk I usually go by a tablespoon of milk after a half cup of the dry ingredients.  When the milk is well blended keep adding the dry and alternate with the milk.  I usually start with the dry and end with the dry.  When the cake batter is all incorporated, add half the batter to one round cake pan and the other half to a second round cake pan.  If you are using a square cake pan no worries add it all in the square one.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes, when you stick a toothpick or a knife in the middle and if there is no batter on them your cakes are done.

While the cakes cool, let's get started on the frosting!

Ingredients for Cinnamon Butter Cream Frosting

1 cup of softened unsalted butter
3 1/2 cups of powdered sugar
pinch of salt just to bring out sweetness
1 tablespoon of vanilla 
1 1/2 tablespoons of cinnamon (if you dont like cinnamon you can leave it out)
4 tablespoons of milk ( you can use heavy cream,or half and half.  I used whole milk and it came out beautiful)

Instructions:

Add in your butter and whip it up in your stand mixer.  Now add in salt, vanilla and cinnamon.  Whip that until everything is mixed together.  Alternate the sugar and milk by using 1 tablespoon of milk to 1 cup of sugar.  Once all ingredients are well blended, put your mixer on a high speed and let it go for 3 minutes, no longer because it will break if you do.  After three minutes your frosting is ready, if your cakes are not cool to the touch. You can store the frosting in the fridge covered with plastic wrap, just bring out for about 10-15 minuets for it to get soft and give it one more mix from your mixer to bring it back to life if you need to.

When your cakes cool frost the top of one of the cakes and stack the other one top. Cover it with the frosting and serve.  


Frosted Cake
I hope you get a chance to try this cake because its amazing!  The cake has all the flavors of a pumpkin pie while still keeping with the fact its a cake.  And the frosting it so amazingly delicious with a mild sweetness and just enough warmth from the cinnamon, you cannot go wrong with this!  I hope you all get a chance to try this for yourselves and Live, Laugh and Love.  

Heather