Kitchen Concoctions: January 2010

Sunday, January 31, 2010

An End To A Health Kick

Well out of the recipes I tried from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook, January's cookbook of the month, I would say 75 of them were winners and if I was giving the book an overall score I would give it an 80. There are a wide variety of recipes in this cookbook, quite a few pictures, and it has not only the number of weight watcher points listed for each recipe but also the number of fat, calorie sodium, sugar, carb, and protein grams. This is huge since most cookbooks lack this information, information that is very helpful for people that are trying to eat healthier or lose weight.

Now some of the recipes weren't that "hot" (read that as not that tasty). But some were surprisingly very tasty and did not feel like I was eating "diet" food (I even had Eric asking for seconds).

These Savory Biscotti were a unique twist on the traditional sweet biscotti. Mine turned out good but I think I should have let them cook a little bit longer so that they were crisper. Tuna salad, chicken salad, or hummus would be great toppings for these.


These Pumpkin-Apple Muffins were good but not great. The flavor combinations had all the potential but this recipe really did not bring it all together as I would have hoped.


The Southwestern Sloppy Joes were by far my favorite recipe from this book. This ground turkey mixture was great on a hamburger bun, great over yellow rice, or rolled up in a tortilla. This meal came together fast and was very tasty.... It will be seen on my dinner table again.


These Cumin Spiced Fries were the perfect side to the Southwestern Sloppy Joes. These were full of flavor, easy to make and WAY cheaper than any frozen fries at the store or ones bought at a restaurant... And who knew fries could be good for you too!


This Chocolate Coffee Shake was just as good as any you would find at any coffee shop but without the guilt trip.









Stay tuned for February's cookbook coming up (don't worry no more weight loss cookbooks).

Saturday, January 30, 2010

A Little Photography Lesson

I don't have a very fancy camera (one day I will!!!) just a basic point and shoot digital camera. One of my New Year's goals was to work on my blog and photography. Using the equipment and resources I have and doing a little bit of research I have been playing with my camera and a new photo editing software all afternoon. Playing with different back drops for several different recipes, cropping, editing, enhancing, learning, and having fun along the way.

The one bit of advice that I read everywhere I went regarding food photography was that natural light and no flash was best. Well I actually read that quite a bit ago but using natural light for my photos is a struggle since I work a full time job and do most of my baking and cooking at night. And I also feel like a lot of my pictures don't turn out as good as they could be because I am rushing to take the picture because I am starving, have dinner guests that are starving, or just plan tired after it all. Well after today's photo session, in which I took my time and used natural light I firmly believe patience and sun light are key. So even if I can't take every photo with sunlight I can work on my photography patience, styling, backgrounds and editing skills.

Another New Year's goal was to eat healthier and that is why I choose Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook for the cookbook of the month for January. And since the month is coming to an end I am posting one last recipe from this book.

I am not a big coffee drinker but sometimes I crave the frozen frappes or iced mochas covered with whipped cream and caramel and chocolate so it doesn't taste like coffee any more. This is a healthier version of a frappe but still yummy.

***Notes: The original recipe called for hazelnut flavoring but I used chocolate syrup instead. Also I added the whip cream because whip cream makes everything better!


I don't really like the background for this pic but the original background I was using was not working so this was a last minute photo because my drink started to melt. I guess you live and you learn.

Chocolate coffee shake

1/2 cup low-fat milk
1 cup sugar-free vanilla nonfat frozen yogurt
1/4 cup coffee, brewed, chilled
3 ice cubes
1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tablespoon chocolate syrup
Whip cream, Redi-Whip

Combine all ingredients, except whip cream, in a blender; and blend until smooth. Pour into a chilled tall glass. Topped with whipped cream and additional chocolate syrup.


adapted from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

A Heavenly Way To Use Leftovers

After making those Pumpkin-Apple muffins, a few weeks ago, I still had half a can of pumpkin puree leftover. I am so anal about letting food go to waste (too many times at the dinner table when I was a kid hearing... "you can't leave the table until you clean your plate.. don't you know all the starving children that would love to have that plate of food). Since then it literally kills a piece of me if I have to through out any food that has gone bad.

Because of this, I am constantly looking for ways to use ingredients in new ways or spruce up leftovers. When I saw that I had over a cup of pumpkin puree left over I went on a hut to find an awesome pumpkin recipe, since I thought those muffins didn't really cut it. I combed my cookbooks, I combed the blogs and food websites. I found hundreds and thousands of pumpkin recipes. I went through each and every one looking for just the right recipe; and well the recipe that called for just 1 cup of pumpkin puree (cuz that is what I had) and did not require me going to the store to buy any additional ingredients that I did not already have on had. For hours upon hours I read through those thousand and thousand of recipes... ohhhing and ahhing, drooling, and dreaming of eating every single recipe (and then envisioning how many miles I would have to run to only try and keep off all the pounds that I gained from just LOOKING at all those recipes)!

And then, after all that I remember one recipe. One delightful, and scrumptious, melt in my mouth perfect pumpkin recipe. I knew it would taste just like this and I hadn't even tried it yet. I immediately headed over to the blog The Sister's Cafe and found this recipe for these pumpkin pancakes and apple cider syrup that they had posted back in November. This was it. This was the one. After all that searching I was going to make THIS pumpkin recipe. And it was a good thing I did, for my taste buds sake. These pancakes were delicious. Just the right combination of spices and pumpkin. But what really set these pumpkin pancakes off was the apple cider syrup. This syrup and these pancakes were a match made in heaven. Pure yummy in my tummy heaven. I could have drunk that whole pan of syrup all by it's self and been completely satisfied; but I didn't, I just drenched these pancakes in it.

***Notes: I halved this recipe and it made a lot of pancakes. About 1 1/4 cup of syrup and 10 pancakes; so heed this advice when you go to make these on whether you need a full batch or a half. I did make a few changes to the original recipe so my version is below. Enjoy!



Pumpkin Pancake Recipe

2 cups flour
3 1/2 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground all spice
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup pumpkin puree
2 eggs
2 tablespoons canola oil
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla

In one bowl mix together the buttermilk, pumpkin, eggs, oil, vanilla and vinegar. Combine dry ingredients separately and them stir into pumpkin mixture just until combined. Heat your pan or griddle (lightly butter or oil if it is not seasoned), using about 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot with apple cider syrup.

Apple Cider Syrup
(Perfect over Pumpkin Pancakes)

3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 cups fresh apple cider (or juice would work)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup butter

Mix sugars, cornstarch, cinnamon and nutmeg well. Add apple cider and lemon juice. Bring to a boil and continue boiling for 1 minute, stirring constantly. Remove from heat and stir in butter. Store leftovers in the refrigerator, use within a week or two.



Both recipies adapted from The Sister's Cafe

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Perfect Side Kick

Today's cookbook of the month recipe is actually one you have already seen before. No I am not posting a recipe repeat... but you have seen this recipe before.. or at least pictures of this recipe before. You actually saw them last week and didn't even know that those same fries that were pictured with the Southwestern Sloppy Joes were gunna be this week's recipe. WOW! I should really pat myself on the back for knocking out two recipes in one photo opt. Which allowed me to be ahead of schedule on my cookbook of the month recipes and was able to create this post last week and have everything ready for today and not be rushing till the last minute to make and blog today's cookbook of the month recipe and have to stay up till midnight to do it all (wow that was one looonnnggg and windy sentence; my high school and college English teachers would be SOOO disappointed).

Whoa... let me catch my breath for a moment and tell you about the fries. (A few minutes later) ahh that's better- now onto the fries. Last week when I posted the Southwestern Sloppy Joes I talked about how I like creating/finding recipes that are spins on traditional foods/recipes. The Southwestern Sloppy Joes were a fun and tasty version of a childhood classic. Well the dilemma when you put a twist on a classic is always do you serve a classic side (like if you do a Mexican Lasagna do you still serve french bread with it or do you serve black beans and corn)?

Well what goes better with a Sloppy Joe (no matter what version) than fries. And the best thing about these fries is that they are seasoned with spices that are found traditionally in Southwestern Cooking; like cumin and cayenne powder. These fries were perfect with the Southwestern Sloppy Joe, were easy to make, and cost literally just pennies. How can it get any better than that?



Cumin-Scented Oven Fries
adapted from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook
3 baking potatoes, cut into 12 wedges each
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Lightly spry a baking sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Combine potatoe wedges and olive oil in a bowl. Combine all spices in another bowl. Sprinkle the spice mixture over the potatoes and toss well.

Arrange potatoes in a single layer on the pan. Bake 20 minutes, then turn the potatoes, and bake until crisp and cooked through, 8-10 minutes longer.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Not Just For Breakfast

You know the one food that I could probably never live without? You might actually be surprised what it is! Come on take a guess! Nope it's not Eric's Chicken and Yellow Rice! And it's not my Mom's Lemon Peppered Chicken! And my Loaded Peanut Butter Cookies are to die for BUT the one food that I can not live without is.....

CEREAL!!!!

I know I know you a probably thinking how can a person who is so passionate about food and has a food blog love cereal so much?

Well maybe it is because it is so versatile. You can eat it dry or with milk. You cake make cookies out of it, top your yogurt with it, you can even cook with it. You can eat it morning, noon and night and every meal in between. When it comes to cereal I am like a kid in a candy store wanting to try every kind.

Well when the people who make my favorite cereal, Cheerios and Honey Nut Cheerios contacted me and offered me the opportunity to try their cereals, my obvious answer was of course!



And did you know General Mills commitments to further reduce sugar in cereals advertised to kids under 12 to single digit grams of sugar per serving. The company has already been reducing sugar in cereals while increasing key nutrients, such as calcium and vitamin D, and providing whole grain.

One of my favorite recipes using cereal is Chocolate Chex Mix. I posted it originally back in December but it is so good and uses my favorite cereal Cheerios! So I feel like it is worth the repost.



Chocolate Chex Mix
Kitchen Concoction's Version

4 cups Cheerios
4 cups Chex cereal
1 cup macadamia nuts
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons butter, melted
3 tablespoons sugar
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 bag white chocolate chips
1 1/4 cups sweetened dried cranberries

Preheat oven to 250 degrees.

Combine cereals and nuts. In a small bowl mix butter, sugar, and cocoa. Pour evenly over cereal and toss to coat. Pour into a 9x13 pan and bake for 1 hour stirring every 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool just for a few minutes and stir in chocolate chips and cranberries.

Another one of my other favorite ways to eat cereal is to use it to top my yogurt. I feel kinda silly posting a recipe for a fruit and yogurt parfait (because I am sure yall know how) but I thought I would and list various cereals that would make good toppings (besides the classic granola).



Fruit and Yogurt Parfait
Kitchen Concoctions version

Yogurt: Vanilla, strawberry, strawberry banana, or mixed berry yogurt
Mixed fruit: strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries; fresh or frozen
Nuts: Almonds, pecans, or walnuts
Cereal Topping: Total Blueberry Pomegranate, Total Cinnamon Crunch, Total Cranberry Crunch,Total Honey Clusters, Total Raisin Bran, Raisin Nut Bran, Oatmeal Crisp Crunchy Almond, Oatmeal Crisp Hearty Raisin, Fiber One, Fiber One Caramel Delight, Fiber One Honey Clusters, Fiber One Raisin Bran Clusters

Layer all ingredients to your liking in a bowl or glass and enjoy!

General Millis is alsooffering all Kitchen Concoctions readers a $1 off coupon so you all can enjoy some cereal anyway you like it, just click here.

**Cereal coupons were all provided by General Mills through MyBlogSpark.

Monday, January 18, 2010

It's Nice To Change Things Up A Bit

I love finding or creating recipes that take 'old classics' and recreate them with a 'new twist'. Take for instance taking that 'plain old mac n' cheese' and making a 'chili mac' or taking that 'traditional meatloaf' that your mom used to make and making it an Italian Meatloaf, or taking that italian lasagna and making it a Mexican Lasagna.

It's nice to have favorites and traditional recipes/menus but it is also nice to change it up a bit. That is why when I saw these Southwestern Sloppy Joes, from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook I wanted to try them. I mean come on I love traditional Sloppy Joes that I ate as a kid and I love Mexican Food so how could these not be good!

These were very tasty and came together fast; perfect for a busy weeknight dinner. I used mild salsa in mine and even with the jalapeno it was not that spicy (incase you wanted to feed these to kiddos). If you wanted to bump up the spiciness you could always add another jalapeno or use medium or hot salsa. These will definitely become a regular around here for when I have a busy or exhausting day.



Southwestern Sloppy Joes
adapted from the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook

1 tablespoon canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 garlic clove, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and chopped
1 teaspoon chili powder
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1 pound ground turkey
1 (oz) can mexican-style corn, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 cups chunky salsa (the heat level you prefer)
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Hamburger buns

Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Heat the oil and add the onion, garlic, and jalapeno. Cook, stirring occasionally, until softened. Add the chili powder and oregano and cook one minute more. Add the turkey and corn and cook until meat is cooked through and no longer pink. Stir in the salsa and sugar and cook, stirring occasionally until slightly thickened. Spoon over the open rolls and serve.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Thanks For The Shout Out!

I have to say thanks to Madeline over at Everything Rachael Ray for featuring my blog. The blog Everything Rachael Ray is a true fan's dedication! Madeline documents her adventures cooking Rachael Ray recipes and also features 'everything Rachael Ray'... not just her recipes, but also her books, her TV shows/appearances etc, etc. Madeline also has a 'Rachael Ray Roundup' section every Friday on her blog were she features other cooking blogs who have cooked, featured, or recommended Rachael Ray recipes that week. Since I recreated RR's Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe Tortilla Soup and blogged about it a few days ago Everything Rachael Ray featured me and my version of that recipe! So thanks Everything Rachael Ray for featuring Kitchen Concoctions and my recreation!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

My Cookie Monster

When I decided to feature Betty Crocker Christmas Cookie Magazine Dec/Jan 2009 as the cookbook of the month for December, needless to say Eric was extremely excited when he found out. So when I went to make the first cookies (remember those outrageous Chocolate Peanut Butter CookieTreats) he asked if I was making chocolate chip cookies too. I told him that I was not going to make chocolate chip cookies that night (since it was already extremely late). He said that he really wanted chocolate chip cookies so he was going to make some. I said ok and went about my merry way. Eric then leaves the kitchen and comes back a few minutes later with one of my cookbooks and a chocolate chip cookie recipe picked out. He said he was going to make chocolate chip cookies all by his self. I was quite impressed. But then he started asking me questions like "what's the difference between baking powder and baking soda?" And "Should I use milk chocolate chips or semi-sweet?" (all by yourself???). But for the most part he did make them all on his own (I was so proud).

Now these chocolate chip cookies are not the best ones I have ever eaten but they weren't (that) bad. To me they tasted more scone like rather than like soft and chewy chocolate chip cookies that I prefer, but they were better dipped in milk. I probably won't make this version of chocolate chip cookies again (I dont' know if it was the recipe or the baker to blame for the way they turned out!!! lol!!!!) but I wanted to share how proud I was of my guy!!


Chocolate Chip Cookies
adapted from Cookies: 1,001 Mouthwatering Recipes From Around The World

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets. Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Beat the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy. Add the egg, beating until blended. Mix in the dry ingredients. Stir in the chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoons on prepared cookie sheet, 1 inch apart. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, rotating the sheets halfway through baking for even baking. Cool on cookie sheets for 15 minutes and then transfer to wire racks.

Makes about 30 cookies

Monday, January 11, 2010

All the potential...

This second recipe from January’s cookbook of the month did not turn out as good as I had hoped. Sure these muffins look cute and yummy but they tasted pretty bland (I guess that is to be expected with diet food)!

I think this recipe has a lot of potential but just didn’t come through. I like pumpkin bread/muffins (or pretty much anything pumpkin flavored) and I thought that adding the apples would be a tasty touch. But these muffins were just so bland and kind of chewy (I even added the vanilla, nutmeg and extra granulated sugar to help with the flavor). Like I said I did like the apple/pumpkin bread combo so maybe I will have to try these again with a different batter as the base of these muffins.

The recipe says to ‘dust’ the muffins with powdered sugar but I found that if I completely covered mine in the powdered sugar they were a little easier to eat (but so is anything covered in sugar)!

Oh, and PS… Please ignore my Christmas muffin liners. I bought them on clearance to save for next year but then realized half way through making these that I had no other muffin liners.

Pumpkin-Apple Muffins
adapted from Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon nutmeg
1 large egg
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
½ teaspoon vanilla
1 apple, peeled, cored, and grated
½ cup canned pumpkin puree
1 tablespoon confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a muffin tin with muffin liners.

In a large bowl combine all dry ingredients except for the confectioner’s sugar. In a small bowl beat egg, buttermilk, vanilla, pumpkin, and apple. Pour pumpkin mixture over dry ingredients; stir just until blended (do not over mix).

Spoon into prepared muffin tins; filling about 2/3 full. Bake for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Dust with the confectioners’ sugar and serve. Makes 12-14 muffins.

And incase you were wondering 1 muffin is 3 WW points.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

It's Cold Out There

It's been cold here... real cold. I know not as cold as places like Fargo, North Dakota or Fairbanks, Alaska but for Texas it sure is freakin' cold. We supposedly were in the teens last night and the high yesterday was only 30 degrees! That's below freezing (in case you didn't know)! How can our HIGH be below FREEZING! And seriously I know I can't complain since the whole country is under a sever freeze warning and it is much much colder every where else; but those people can handle it not me! Luckily, for my sake today was warmer!

What's the perfect cure for the winter time blues? Well a big ole bowl of Chicken Tortilla soup! Eric has been asking me to make tortilla soup for months now (since like our first 'cold front' way back in October). But since he placed such high expectations on it and repeatedly asked for it I put a lot of pressure on finding the perfect tortilla soup recipe. I searched high and low and could never find a recipe I could deem as THE perfect tortilla soup recipe. This one was very delicious (Eric and I ate the whole pot in just two sittings, just between the two of us) but I guess I am still on the hunt for the PERFECT tortilla soup!

Note: I found the original recipe for this tortilla soup on foodnetwork.com, and it is a Rachael Ray recipe. Her recipe was the bases for this recipe, however, I did make several changes. My final version is the recipe below. Enjoy!

Why-the-Chicken-Crossed-the-Road Santa Fe Tortilla Soup
Kitchen Concoctions version of Rachael Ray's recipe featured on foodnetwork.com

Vegetable or corn oil, for drizzling, plus 2 tablespoons
1 red bell pepper, split and seeded
2 large chicken breast, boiled and shredded
1 cup frozen corn
1 medium yellow skinned onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, chopped
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce (medium), chopped -- available in small cans in Mexican and Spanish food section of market
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
1 teaspoon cumin
Salt and pepper
1/2 tablespoon of the adobo sauce
1 can stewed tomatoes, 28 ounces
1 can tomato sauce, 8 ounces
3 cups chicken stock, available in re-sealable paper containers on soup aisle

Garnish with:
1 cup blue corn tortilla chips, broken up into large pieces
1 cup shredded cheddar or pepper Jack cheese

Heat broiler. Line a baking sheet with foil and place bell pepper on top. Drizzle pepper with oil and roast under broiler for 3-4 minutes. Remove to cool, 5 minutes. Remove charred skin from the pepper and chop.

Heat a soup pot to medium high. Add 2 tablespoons oil to hot soup pot. Add onions, garlic, chipotle peppers and corn. Cook vegetables 5 to 7 minutes to soften. Add boiled and shredded chicken to pot. Season with poultry seasoning, cumin, salt and pepper. Heat chicken through to incorporate seasonings. Add adobo sauce, tomatoes, tomato sauce and stock. Bring soup to a bubble, reduce heat to medium low. Chop grilled red pepper and stir into soup. Heat soup through for 15 minutes.

Serve soup immediately with a scatter of shredded cheese and topped with crushed tortilla chips.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Now Why Didn't I Think Of That

I love me a good biscotti. Traditional ones, chocolate ones, fruit flavored ones, pretty much any type. A good biscotti with a big cup of joe or hot cocoa on a cold winter's day like today is perfect! But I have honestly only made biscotti once year and years ago in culinary school.

So when I saw this recipe in the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook for a savory biscotti I was intrigued. I dont' know why I never thought of making a savory biscotti before. I am sure there are one or two other savory biscotti recipes out just as there are sweet, I had just never thought of it before.

This savory' biscotti are just that full of flavor. The only thing I wish I had to make them even better was something to dip them in like hummus, or spinach artichoke dip, or a chicken/tuna salad would have also been perfect with these. MMM! Now as the ideas are flowing I MUST now go make one of these to dip them in!

Note: The original directions did not call for any other 'binding agents' than the eggs and oil and butter. For me this was not enough- my dough was not a dough at all but crumbles so I added some milk to help things along. The original recipe also calls for crushed fennel seeds and of course I didn't have that so I substituted ground cumin.



Savory Biscotti
adapted from Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook

2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon curry powder
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cayenne powder
2 eggs
1/4 cup milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Stir the oil, butter, garlic, cumin, and curry powder in a microwavable bow. Microwave on high for 15-30 seconds until butter is melted.

Whisk together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder sugar, salt, and cayenne powder in a large bowl. Whisk the eggs and milk into the butter mixture; stir into the flour mixture until dough forms.

On a lightly floured surface, roll dough into two 12-inch logs and place 2 inches apart on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake until light golden and firm to the touch- about 22-25 minutes. let cool completely. With a serrated knife, slice the logs on a slight angle 1/4-inch think.

Arrange the slices flat side down on the baking sheet. Bake 2-3 minutes, turn, and bake on the other side until light golden brown , about another 2-3 minutes.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

New Year Goals

With it being the new year I am sure many people have made resolutions or some of you may have not because you don't believe in resolutions. I personally like setting goals and challenges for myself with the fresh start of a new year (I don't like using the word resolution but goals).

So some of my 'goals' for 2010 are the typical eat more healthy, exercise more, take time to relax, but I also have quite a few blogging/cooking goals too (so you all will get to benefit too)!

As far as cooking/baking and goes there are quite as few recipes I want to try and I really would like to lean more about cake decorating. I also need to majorly organize recipes I have printed of the internet or found in magazines in some sort of orderly fashion so that I can use them. As far as blogging goes I really would like to get a new camera and learn how to take better quality photos of my food. I also have some plans in mind on how I want to better enhance my cooking blog and possibly have more sections and or blog about other areas I am interested in. But like I said these are all goals, dreams, and wishes for this new year. Hopefully over time I can mark some of these 'goals' off my list.

Anywho, to help with the eating healthier thing and to recover from my bingeing on sweets from the last month and a half I decided I needed to feature a more healthier cookbook this month. So I am featuring the Best of Weight Watchers Magazines, Vol. 1 Cookbook. Now don't panic; this not going to turn into a weight loss, rabbit food, health conscience blog. I am still going to make, eat , and blog about recipes such as cookies, and pasta, and things that are fried but I just need a few healthy foods in my diet right now to make me not feel so bad about the over-eating at the holidays.



I liked this cookbook and found many versatile recipes within. The book is divided into you typical cookbook sections of drinks, main courses, desserts, etc. A large majority of the recipes have photos and every recipe has all the nutritional content along with the number of Weight Watchers points (incase you are counting).

I know I am a little late posting this but with the holidays and trying to get back in the swing of things has been hard. And although I was very excited about this cookbook the first recipe I tried from it came out horribly. I normally post cookbook of the month recipes even if they do turn out bad because I am giving a review and my opinion but I couldn't dare post this one... it was that awful. And in case you have the book it was the Barbecued Sweet Potatoes. I don't know if I did something wrong or what but I have to choose another recipe to feature for this week. I sure hope this is not a sign that this is a bad cookbook!?! The first cookbook and recipe of the year and it was awful. EEK!

Friday, January 1, 2010

One Last Sugar Rush Before That New Year's Diet Begins

Whoa!!! What a month it has been!! With all the holiday festivities, baking and hustle and bustle it was a busy and fun month!

I was so pleased with my selection for the cookbook of the month for the month of December; The Betty Crocker Christmas Cookie Magazine Dec/Jan 2009. This book was perfect choice for all of my holiday baking! Since this is technically not a book but a magazine your time to pick up a copy is limited. I have still seen this magazine on sale in the check-out lane at the grocery store but it probably won't be there for much longer!

This little booklet was fun to read and bake from! Every recipe had a beautiful picture to go with it and you could tea the recipes out into little 3x5 recipe cards (I choose to keep mine in book form).

And in case you were thinking why would you by a book of Betty Crocker recipes when you can just find them on-line. Well they are not all on-line; so you get new ones to include in you collection and nice copies of all your on-line favorites!!

I seriously don't think I had a disappointing recipe from this book (a first for the cookbook of the month series)! But I mean really how can you go wrong with recipes that call for brownie mixes, cookie mixes, peanut butter, chocolate, and tons of butter! : )


Chocolate-Peanut Butter Cookie Treats... need I say more??? The picture and the name of the cookie says it all!!! A little messy and a bit more time consuming than the other sweet treats featured this month; but truly the end result is a sweet reward.

These Carrot Cake-Oatmeal Cookies were an unlikely surprise. They were not one of my 'top picks' to make this month but I am sure glad I did!!! On my original post about these cookies (and as seen in the picture) I put the frosting on top and sprinkled it with nuts. Eric (the little genius that he is) turned these into sandwich cookies by spreading the frosting on the bottoms of two cookies and pressing together. This brought me back to when I was a kid and ate oatmeal cream pies. This cookie came pretty darn close to that!


And these Almond Macaroon Brownie Bars took me straight to heaven!!! They were a cinch to make and were absolutely divine! They were so rich that a few bites satisfied your sweet tooth. And I am totally renaming them to Almond Joy Brownies because that is what they reminded me of: an Almond Joy Candy bar only WAY WAY better.

And if you are in need of another quick and easy brownie/bar these are for you. These Peanut Butter-Fudge Bars are a triple layer bar LOADED with peanut butter and chocolate. I took these to a Christmas Party and could not believe how quickly they disappeared.

And even though I stated yesterday that I had made my self sick by eating so many sweet treats I had to make room for one more sweet for the year 2009. And I am glad I chose these Buckeye Delights. I know another chocolate/peanut butter combo but really how can you go wrong with that? Plus little bite sized desserts... how cute is that!

Hope you all have a safe and Happy New Year! Come back soon from some 'not so sweet' recipes!
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