Wednesday, December 26, 2012


May you always have love, hope, faith and peace in all you do!!


Some people don't believe this, but I think we all have to acknowledge it!

A friend of ours became very sick after drinking water left in a car overnight (not cancer) but she was ill for a couple of month.
No matter how many times you get this E-mail,
Please send it on!!!!
Bottled water in your car is very dangerous!

On the Ellen show, Sheryl Crow said that this is what caused her breast cancer.
It has been identified as the most common cause of the high levels of dioxin in breast cancer tissue..

Sheryl Crow's oncologist told her: women should not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.
The heat reacts with the chemicals in the plastic of the bottle which releases dioxin into the water. Dioxin is a toxin increasingly found in breast cancer tissue.
So please be careful and do not drink bottled water that has been left in a car.

Pass this on to all the women in your life. This information is the kind we need to know that just might save us!
Use a stainless steel canteen or a glass bottle instead of plastic!


(This was new to me - Helen)

This information is also being circulated at Walter Reed Army Medical Center ...
No plastic containers in microwaves.
No plastic water bottles in freezers.
No plastic wrap in microwaves.

Dioxin chemical causes cancer, especially breast cancer.
Dioxins are highly poisonous to cells in our bodies.
Don't freeze plastic bottles with water in them as this releases dioxins from the plastic.
Recently the Wellness Program Manager at Castle Hospital , was on a TV program to explain this health hazard.

He talked about dioxins and how bad they are for us. He said that we should not be heating food in the microwave using plastic containers.....
This especially applies to foods that contain fat.

He said that the combination of fat, high heat and plastic releases dioxin into thefood.

Instead, he recommends using glass, such as Pyrex or ceramic containers for heating food... You get the same result, but without the dioxin..
So, such things as TV dinners, instant soups, etc., should be removed from their containers and heated in something else.

Paper isn't bad but you don't know what is in the paper. It's safer to use tempered glass, such as Pyrex, etc.

He reminded us that a while ago some of the fast food restaurants moved away from the styrene foam containers to paper. The dioxin problem is one of the reasons....

Also, he pointed out that plastic wrap, such as Cling film, is just as dangerous when placed over foods to be cooked in the microwave.
As the food is nuked, the high heat causes poisonous toxins to actually melt out of the plastic wrap and drip into the food.
Cover food with a paper towel instead.

This is an article that should be sent to anyone important in your life!


Saturday, October 6, 2012

Copy Cat Panera Bread Broccoli Cheese Soup Recipe

Recipe type: Soup
Serves: 4
  • 1/2 medium onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 2 cups half-and-half ( or skim milk)
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/2 pound fresh broccoli ( florets only)
  • 1 cup carrots, julienne
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
  1. Saute onions in a little butter in a small pan – set aside.
  2. In a large stockpot ( I accidentally used a medium-size pan) – melt butter. Add flour and mix for 3 minutes.
  3. Slowly add half- half – mixing the entire time.
  4. Slowly add chicken stock- mixing the entire time.
  5. Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
  6. Add broccoli, carrots; onions and cook on low for 25 minutes.
  7. Season with salt, pepper; nutmeg.
  8. Place soup in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree.
  9. Heat soup over low heat and add cheese and mix till melted.
  10. Serve ( hopefully in a bread bowl) and Enjoy 
What You Need
1/2 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half ( or skim milk)
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 pound fresh broccoli ( florets only)
1 cup carrots, julienne
1/4 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon pepper
8 ounces grated cheddar cheese
What To Do
Saute onions in a little butter in a small pan – set aside.
In a large stockpot ( I accidentally used a medium-size pan)  – melt butter. Add flour and mix for 3 minutes.
Slowly add half- half – mixing the entire time.
Slowly add chicken stock- mixing the entire time.
Let simmer on low for 20 minutes.
Add broccoli, carrots; onions and cook on low for 25 minutes.
Season with salt, pepper; nutmeg.
Place soup in a blender or use an immersion blender and puree.
Heat soup over low heat and add cheese and mix till melted.
Serve ( hopefully in a bread bowl) and Enjoy

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Monster Cookie Dough Dip

A Monster Cookie Dough Dip eating fool...I made this dip around lunch time and could not stop eating it. I ate so much I just decided to call it lunch. Hey...peanut butter has protein in it.

I managed to save a little but for my husband to try after he came home from golfing. 

My husband, the personification of self-control said, "Why can't I stop eating this?!!"

You can customize it to be thinner like an actual dip or thicker like cookie dough which is how I like it. Serve it will graham crackers, apples, pretzels, or just a spoon ( I like it).

1 (8 ounce) package cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, slightly softened 
1 cup creamy peanut butter 
2 cups powdered sugar 
3 Tablespoons brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla 
2 ½ cups rolled oats, old fashioned or quick (see Note)
2/3 cup plain M&Ms (give or take)
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. With a hand mixer or stand mixer, beat the cream cheese, butter, and peanut butter until smooth. 
2. Add in the powdered sugar, brown sugar, flour, and vanilla.
3. Using the paddle attachment on your stand mixer or just a wooden spoon, mix in the oats. You may want to use more or less here. I really like the oats in it and a thicker dip so I added a lot. Remember that the dip will also firm up a bit in the fridge.
4. Add the M&Ms and chocolate chips.
5. Store in the refrigerator until serving. Serve with pretzels, graham crackers, or apple slices. You can dip or spread this depending on how thick you made your dip. Try not to eat it all like I did!
6. Note: You can use more or less oats to adjust the thickness of your dip. Start with about 1 1/2 cups oats and keep adding until you reach your desired thickness. If you use quick oats you might use less since it's finer and will make the dough thicker.

Here’s my list of freezable foods.

1. Baked Goods:


I’ve been known for baking huge batches of sweets in one day and then freezing them for our enjoyment over the next few months. This save me tons of time — we LOVE our sweets!
Brownies & Cookies: Yup, I do it all the time. Just put them in resealable bags or storage containers with tight-fitting lids and they’ll last as long as you can resist them!
Breads, Buns, Muffins, and Rolls: Just double-bag them to prevent freezer burn and they should be fine for several months
Cupcakes & Cake: Yes, I’ve frozen cupcakes and even full cakes! You can frost cakes before or after freezing them, but if you use store-bought frosting, you’ll want to wait to frost them until after they defrost…trust me, I know!
Granola: We love homemade granola but if I’m going to make it, I only make a huge batch….and then freeze it in mason jars or zip-top bags.
Pies: I don’t usually freeze pies, but if you do, just make sure to freeze them BEFORE you bake them.

2. Baking Supplies:


I freeze many of my baking supplies in shoe boxes in our freezer! {Shoe boxes stack well and allow for ventilation.}
Chocolate: I store all my baking chocolates in the freezer because I think they keep for much longer this way and taste “fresher”. Plus it frees up more space in my cabinets.
Nuts: I store all our nuts in the freezer to keep their oils from going rancid. I first heard this tip from Rachel Ray and it seems to work — so it must be true!
Flour and Sugar: While it’s not necessary, I often freeze my flour and sugar — especially in the summer when our house is more humid.

3. Dairy:


I’ve saved a bunch of money by purchasing dairy products in bulk and freezing them. From my experience, most dairy products should keep for at least 6 months.

Butter/Margarine: No trick here, just stick the whole package in the freezer and remove when you’re ready to use.
Block Cheese: I freeze cheese ALL the time, just remember to slice and shred it before you freeze it, otherwise it will crumble.
Cream Cheese: Believe it or not, you can freeze cream cheese. It might be a bit “lumpy” after it defrosts but it still tastes the same.
Milk: I don’t have the need to freeze our milk on a regular basis, but I do it whenever we go on vacation. Just remember to pour about 1 cup of milk out before freezing.
Yogurt: Freeze yogurt for a delicious, healthy treat. I let it defrost a bit before eating so it’s really creamy.

4. Fruits:


Before freezing fruit, make sure it’s washed, dried, and divided up into smaller portions. This will make it easy to quickly grab what you need without defrosting the entire batch. Fruits should keep for up to a year if properly sealed.

All Fruits: You can pretty much freeze any fruit you plan to use in smoothies because it will get mashed up anyway, however, don’t plan on freezing fruit simply for eating — it will be really soggy.
Berries: I freeze all kinds of berries for pancakes and smoothies. I also keep 2-cup containers of crushed berries to use for making jam, ice-cream toppings or, for berry shortcake.
Bananas: I peel any rotten bananas and put 4 bananas in a bag or freezer container. Then whenever a recipe calls for bananas, I just grab a container to defrost {most recipes call for 3-5 bananas so I figure I’m safe with 4!}
Jams and Jellies: I usually can my jam, but my mom and mother-in-law always freeze it. Freezing jam is quicker and easier…so if you have the freezer space, here are 20 delicious freezer jam recipes to get you started!

5. Herbs & Vegetables:


Herbs: I freeze fresh herbs in ice-cube trays to use for soups, stews, and casseroles later in the year. Here’s a free Herb Reference Sheet that explains how you can use and preserve different herbs.
All Veggies: To save myself some time — here is a link to my Vegetable Freezing Worksheet. It’s a list of 20 different vegetables and how to freeze them … and you can print it for free!

6. Meals:


I’m always making double batches of our favorite foods to store in the freezer. Then on busy days, I just defrost one in the morning, and it’s usually ready by dinner time.
Soups, Stews, and Broths: I divide these up into 1 or 2 cup portions so they defrost quicker. Here are some of my favorite soup recipes.
Casseroles: I’ve frozen everything from lasagna and fajitas, to enchiladas, chicken dishes, and more! Just make sure all the ingredients are fully cooked before you freeze it. When you’re ready to eat it, just defrost and bake as normal.
Pasta Sauce: We usually never go through an entire batch of pasta sauce in one meal so I just pop the leftovers in the freezer for the next time we eat pasta.
Meat: You can freeze cooked meat, raw meat, ground meat, shredded meat, “whole” meat, etc. Just make sure it’s properly sealed to prevent freezer burn. {I once had a whole turkey in the freezer for about 18 months and it was absolutely delicious when we cooked it!}

What did I miss?


I’m sure there are so many other foods you can freeze, but these are the ones I have personally tried with much success. I’d love to learn about any other freezer foods, so please share them in the comments below!

Cucumber Cups

Some good sides to go along with this lunch would be some cucumber cups
To make the cups you simply scoop out some of the inside of the cucumber, as shown below (from food(ed)) and then fill them with cottage cheese, yogurt, nut butters, veggie dips, hummus, salads etc. Also you can save the scooped out bits and add it back on top like a hat.

Sour Patch Grapes (a.k.a. Glitter Grapes)

1 pound of green seedless grapes, pulled from the stems and rinsed
1 3-oz. package of Melon Fusion Jell-O (NOT prepared)
Rinse the grapes under water until all are clean and wet. Spread the gelatin mix on a plate, about 1/3 at a time. Place a handful of grapes on the plate and gently roll each grape in the gelatin powder until it is covered. Place the coated grapes into a bowl and repeat the process with the remaining ingredients until all of the grapes are covered. Place the bowl and let set in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour, until the gelatin is set. The colder these are, the better they taste!

Lasagna Roll Ups

Yields 12

4 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil, divided
1/2 lb lean ground beef
1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes (I'd recommend Contadina Brand)
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 Tbsp dried basil
1/2 tsp dried oregano
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

1 (15 oz) container Ricotta Cheese
1 large egg
1/3 cup fresh flat leaf parsley (aka Italian Parsley, its about 1 small handful), chopped
2 1/4 cups freshly grated Mozzarella Cheese, divided
3/4 cup freshly, finely grated Parmesan Cheese, divided
1/3 cup freshly, finely grated Romano Cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper

12 uncooked lasagna noodles

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Drizzle one tablespoon olive oil into a large non-stick fry pan.  Heat over medium high heat, crumble ground beef over oil, add chopped onions and cook mixture stirring occasionally and breaking up meat, until browned.  Drain fat from beef.  Pour beef mixture into a food processor and pulse for about 5 seconds until it is ground into fine pieces.  Pour beef mixture back into fry pan and add crushed tomatoes, minced garlic, basil, oregano and 1 tablespoon olive oil and stir.  Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste then cover with a lid and simmer over low heat while preparing pasta and cheese mixture.
Cook lasagna noodles in a large pot of boiling water along with 1 tsp salt and 2 tablespoon olive oil to al dente according to directions listed on package.  Once noodles are cooked, drain and immediately line noodles in a single layer on waxed paper or cookie sheets.  
Prepare cheese mixture (I do this while pasta is cooking) by stirring together Ricotta cheese, egg, 1/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper with a fork in a large mixing bowl until well combine.  Stir in chopped fresh parsley.  Add in 1 3/4 cups grated Mozzarella Cheese, 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese and 1/3 cup Romano Cheese, stir mixture until well combine.
Stir meat sauce and spread 1/3 cup evenly into a 13x9 inch baking dish by tilting pan back and forth.  Spread 1/4 cup cheese mixture evenly onto each cooked lasagna noodle, then spread 1 heaping tablespoon meat sauce along the top of cheese covered noodle.  Roll noodles up jellyroll style and arrange seam side down in baking dish.  Cover rolled noodles with remaining meat sauce (about a heaping 1/8 cup over each) then sprinkle remaining 1/2 cup Mozzarella Cheese and 1/4 cup Parmesan Cheese evenly over roll ups.  Tent lasagna roll ups with foil (don't allow foil to rest on cheese or it will stick you just want to loosely tent to prevent the cheese from browning) and bake for 35 minutes in preheated oven.  Serve warm garnished with additional chopped fresh parsley. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

10 quick Kid-Approved After-School Snacks

snacks 10 Quick & Kid Friendly After School SnacksThis is my first year with two kids in school — Speed went last year, but he never seemed to be too tired out from the first year. Now that both him and Raru are hitting the books at school a few times a week, I’ve become quite used to what happens the moment we get back home. They feel like they are STARVING and want to eat right away.
They eat a lot at school, but kids need a lot of energy because they spent all day using up their energy. I like to have a snack for them when we get home for them to eat to tie them over before it’s dinner time. I did realize pretty quickly though that there isn’t a huge amount of time for me to get it all together for them. I need it to be quick, healthy and something that they will actually eat and enjoy.
My kids are only in school part time right now — going only 2-3 times a week, so I can re-use many of the recipes for snacks, but have a great group of about 7 that I tend to rotate that are favorites of the kids — but looking around, there are a lot of fun, quick and healthy recipes for after-school snacks!
Click through for 10 after-school snack ideas that are healthy, enjoyable and quick to prepare:
Multi-Grain Chips, Salsa & Guacamole
Kids love being able to dip and you can prepare the dips ahead of time - just pulling them out of the fridge when they get home.
Chocolate Dipped Pretzels
Salty and sweet this snack give just the right protein for hunger and sweetness kids crave.
Peanut Butter & Banana Sandwich
An oldie but a goodie the kids can make this themselves when they come in the door.
Strawberry Jello Cups
Super cute, bite-sized, combining fresh strawberries with the fun of jello provides a quick snack.
Fruit & Cheese Kabobs
Fun to eat, healthy and quick to make.
A kid-favorite, this snack offers more for your nutrition then chips but is still quick and crunchy
Hard Boiled Eggs
The best thing about these is you can make ahead of time and store in the shell, refrigerated for a week.
Glass of Milk or Chocolate Soy Milk
If your kids don't need a huge snack but just a boost of energy, a cold glass of (cow) milk or soy milk could be all they need.
Mixed Nuts
The kids won't need a lot, just a handful will give them the right amount of energy to make it to dinner.