People become really quite remarkable when they start thinking that they can do things. When they believe in themselves they have the first secret of success. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Week 2 Menu

I didn't do it as well as week 1, but I still managed to get it done, which says something.  It's time consuming right now, but I know it will get easier as I go along. Zucchini was on sale this week.  I didn't include my grocery list because it was more work.  It's been a crazy week!

Here goes:

Week 2 menu
Breakfast and Dinner

Monday – breakfast quesadillas
Monday: Farmer's Market Vegetarian Quesadillas/ Vegetarian Tortilla Soup
Tuesday – yogurt and fruit
Tuesday: Crepes with eggs and fruit (maple syrup) / scrambled eggs
Wednesday – breakfast muffins
Wednesday: Bow-tie Pasta with Veggies
Thursday - pumpkin chocolate chip muffins
Thursday: Zucchini Parmesan / garlic green beans
Friday – fruit smoothie
Friday: French toast with eggs


Breakfast Quesadillas

1 cup shredded Mexican cheese blend (2 oz.)
4 whole wheat OR flour tortillas (7-inch)
vegetarian bacon
6 EGGS, beaten

Sprinkle 1/4 cup cheese on one side of each tortilla. Top each with 2 veggie bacon slices. Coat a large nonstick skillet with cooking spray. Heat over medium heat until hot. Pour in eggs and scramble. Spoon eggs on top of veggie bacon, dividing evenly. Fold tortillas over filling to cover, pressing gently. Coat skillet with oil and heat over medium-low heat until hot. Toast quesadillas just until cheese is melted, about 1 to 2 minutes per side. CUT into wedges; serve with salsa.

Vegetarian Quesadillas


1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped zucchini
1/2 cup chopped yellow squash
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1/2 cup chopped mushrooms
1 tablespoon olive oil
cooking spray
6 (9 inch) whole wheat tortillas
1 1/4 cups shredded reduced-fat sharp Cheddar cheese


In a large nonstick pan, cook red pepper, zucchini, yellow squash, onion, and mushrooms in olive oil over medium to medium-high heat for about 7 minutes, or until just tender. Remove vegetables from pan.
Coat the same pan with cooking spray, and place one tortilla in pan. Sprinkle 1/4 cup of cheese evenly over tortilla, and layer 3/4 cup of the vegetable mixture over the cheese. Sprinkle another 1/8 cup of cheese on the vegetables, and top with a second tortilla. Cook until golden on both sides, for approximately 2 to 3 minutes per side. Remove quesadilla from pan, and repeat with remaining ingredients. Cut each quesadilla into 8 triangles with a pizza cutter. Serve hot.

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup


2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 (1 pound) package frozen pepper and onion stir fry mix
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 t ground cumin
2 (28 ounce) can crushed tomatoes
4 (14 ounce) cans vegetable broth
1 can black beans drained/rinsed
salt and pepper to taste
1 small package frozen whole kernel corn
12 ounces tortilla chips
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 avocado - peeled, pitted and diced


Heat the oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the pepper and onion stir fry mix, garlic, and cumin, and cook 5 minutes, until vegetables are tender. Mix in the tomatoes and beans. Pour in the broth, and season with salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer 30 minutes.
Mix corn into the soup, and continue cooking 5 minutes. Serve in bowls over equal amounts of tortilla chips. Top with cheese and avocado. (add some lime juice)


Fruit Crepes


4 eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/3 cups milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
(T vanilla)
(fruit, cottage cheese)


In large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, melted butter, flour sugar and salt until smooth.
Heat a medium-sized skillet or crepe pan over medium heat. Grease pan with a small amount of butter or oil applied with a brush or paper towel. Using a serving spoon or small ladle, spoon about 3 tablespoons crepe batter into hot pan, tilting the pan so that bottom surface is evenly coated. Cook over medium heat, 1 to 2 minutes on a side, or until golden brown. Serve immediately.

Scrambled Eggs: 4
scramble eggs


Breakfast Muffin Mix

1 1/2 cups all purpose unbleached flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup quick cooking rolled oats
1/2 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp finely snipped chopped candied lemon peel
1/2 cup snipped dried cherries, strawberries, apples, or apricots 1/3 cup chopped walnuts or pecans

Mix all dry ingredients and store


Beat 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 cup milk (or vanilla yogurt) and 1 egg together in a mixing bowl until combined. Stir in contents of jar. Spoon into 12 greased muffin cups and bake at 400F for 20-25 minutes or until done. Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan. Transfer to a wire rack and cool slightly; serve warm.

Bow Tie Pasta With Veggies


1 (16 ounce) package farfalle (bow tie) pasta
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 red onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 zucchini, chopped
2 yellow squash, chopped
1/2 cup sliced fresh mushrooms
1/2 red bell pepper, cut into strips
5 roma (plum) tomatoes, chopped
1/4 cup fresh basil leaves
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese

Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Add pasta and cook for 8 to 10 minutes or until al dente; drain.
Heat 1 tablespoon olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Saute onion, garlic, zucchini, yellow squash, mushrooms, bell pepper, and 1/2 the chopped tomatoes until tender. Season with basil, oregano, salt and pepper. Add pasta and 1/4 cup olive oil. Mix well, and heat through. Sprinkle top with Parmesan and remaining chopped tomatoes.


Pumpkin Chocolate chip muffins


1 ¼ cup brown sugar
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 eggs
1 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup and 2 tablespoons water
2-1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Grease and flour muffin pan or use paper liners.
Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water. In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.. Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.
Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes.

Zucchini Parmesan


2 large zucchini, thinly sliced
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large onion, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 (16 ounce) jar spaghetti sauce
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
In a large pot boil the zucchini until tender; drain. Meanwhile, in a medium frying pan heat the olive oil over medium heat and saute the onion and garlic until the onion is tender.
Combine the zucchini, onion and garlic in a 9x12 inch casserole dish, and mix well. Pour the spaghetti sauce over the mixture and stir well. Top with mozzarella cheese (use more or less depending on your preference).
Bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until heated through and cheese is bubbly.

Garlic Green Beans


1 tablespoon butter
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium head garlic - peeled and sliced
2 (14.5 ounce) cans green beans, drained
salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


In a large skillet over medium heat, melt butter with olive oil; add garlic, and cook until lightly browned, stirring frequently. Stir in green beans, and season with salt and pepper. Cook until beans are tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat, and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Weekly Menu

In my quest to have everything organized this year, I decided to start doing "meal planning" and have a weekly menu.  I'm trying to follow what is on sale, in season, etc.  Asparagus is on sale this week, so I tried to incorporate it into a lot of my recipes.

So, here is my menu this week:

Week 1 menu

Monday:  Asparagus soup with spinach/cranberry salad and biscuits
Tuesday: Taco Pita Pizza
Wednesday: Chicken Wraps with asparagus/tomato salad
Thursday: Bean/sweet potato burritos
Friday: Pumpkin Soup with asparagus side dish and homemade bread

Ingredient shopping list:
black pepper
sea salt
taco seasoning
chili powder

lemon juice
olive oil
brown sugar
red wine vinegar
Dijon mustard
Canola oil
prepared mustard
soy sauce

1 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
2 cups milk
5.5 cups plain yogurt
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese

4 red onions
4 lbs asparagus
(6 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1 small bunch leaf lettuce
5 tomatoes (Roma)
10 grape tomatoes, halved
6 cloves of garlic - or one bunch
1 bunch of cilantro
1 lime
3 summer squash
3 zucchini
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
3 sweet potatoes

Canned Goods:
5 cups veggie broth
3 cans kidney beans
1 can pumpkin

1 12-oz. pkg. Ground Mexican seasoned turkey
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)

4 whole wheat pitas
16 tortillas

1/2 cup dried cranberries


Asparagus soup

1 pinch of black pepper
2 t lemon juice
2 T butter
2 T flour
2 T sea salt
½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
1 chopped onion
3 cups veggie broth
2 cups milk
2 cups yogurt
2 lbs asparagus

Place asparagus and onion in a large saucepan or stock pot with 1/2 cup vegetable broth. Bring the broth to a boil, reduce heat and let simmer until the vegetables are tender (about 6-8 minutes). Reserve 8 asparagus tips for garnish. Pour vegetable mixture into an electric blender and puree until smooth. Using the same saucepan, melt butter over medium heat. Slowly add flour, salt, and pepper while stirring continuously. Cook for 2 minutes, being careful that the flour doesn’t brown. Stir in the remaining 2 1/2 cups vegetable broth and increase the heat to medium-high. Continue stirring until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the vegetable puree and milk to broth. Whisk in 1 cup of yogurt and lemon juice. Stir until heated through (careful not to boil to avoid curdling). Ladle into bowls and garnish with yogurt and reserved asparagus tips. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese if desired.

*Biscuits are just the canned variety this week. 

Cranberry Spinach Salad

(6 ounce) package fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup olive oil
3 tablespoons brown sugar
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon sour cream
1/2 teaspoon Dijon mustard

In a bowl, combine the spinach, and cranberries. In a jar with a tight-fitting lid, combine the remaining ingredients; shake well. Drizzle over salad and toss to coat; serve immediately.

Taco Pita Pizza

1 12-oz. pkg. Ground Mexican seasoned turkey
4 whole wheat pitas
2/3 cups reduced fat cheddar cheese
1/4 cup mild salsa
1/2 cup shredded leaf lettuce
1/4 cup diced tomato
1/2 cup Brown Cow Plain Yogurt
2 tbsp. fresh cilantro, rough chop
1 tbsp. taco seasoning

Preheat oven to 350º F.
Place pitas on a non-greased cookie tray. Sprinkle each evenly with ground turkey, cheddar cheese and mild salsa. Bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted and pitas have crisped around the edges.
In a small bowl blend together plain yogurt, taco seasoning and cilantro, set aside until ready to use.  Top each pita with shredded leaf lettuce and diced tomato. Drizzle yogurt mixture over each taco pita pizza. Slice pizzas into 4ths and enjoy!

Grilled Chicken Wraps / Veggie Wraps

2 cloves of garlic
1 bunch of cilantro
1 cup plain yogurt
juice of one lime
1 tsp. chili powder
1 tsp. black pepper
Salt to taste

Chicken Wraps
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
2 tsp. cumin
2 tsp. chili powder
Salt and pepper to taste
2 tbs. olive oil, divided
3 summer squash
3 zucchini
1 red onion
1 red pepper
1 yellow pepper
4 whole wheat tortillas

Dressing Place garlic and cilantro into a food processor and chop into semi-coarse pieces. Add yogurt, lime juice, chili powder and black pepper and blend. Adjust taste by adding salt. Chill and reserve.

Chicken Wraps Season chicken breasts by rubbing with cumin, chili powder, salt, pepper and 1 tbs. olive oil. Marinade chicken breasts for 30-40 minutes. While chicken is marinating, slice the squash lengthwise, slice onion into 1/4 inch rings, and toss squash, onions and whole peppers with remaining olive oil. Grill these items and then allow to cool. Peppers will take slightly longer, they should be grilled until they are black. Once peppers are blackened, rinse away the charred skin, and then slice into strips. Slice squash halves into 1/2 inch pieces. Grill chicken next, and once done, allow to cool, slice into strips. To serve, place grilled vegetables and chicken into a whole wheat tortilla and top with cilantro yogurt dressing.

Asparagus/Tomato Salad

2 tomatoes, chopped
4 tbs. plain yogurt
1 tbs. Dijon mustard
1 tbs. grated Parmesan cheese
1 lb. asparagus, tough ends trimmed

Steam asparagus for 5-7 minutes and transfer to an ice bath. Once cooled, cut asparagus into third. In a separate, medium size bowl, mix together yogurt, mustard and cheese. Add asparagus and tomatoes and toss. Serve cold as a side dish.

Sweet Potato Burritos

Canola oil
1 onion
4 cloves garlic
3 cans kidney beans
2 cups water
1T chili powder
1 t cumin
4 t prepared mustard
3 T soy sauce
3 mashed sweet potatoes (bake, then mash)
12 tortillas
8 ozs shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350
Sauté onion and garlic until soft.  Stir in beans and mash.  Gradually stir in water and heat until warm.  Remove from heat and add other ingredients.  Divide evenly between tortillas, top with cheese, fold as burrito and bake for 12 minutes.

Cream of Pumpkin Soup

1 1/2 cups yogurt
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1/2 cup finely chopped onion
2 cups veggie broth
1 can pumpkin
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1 tsp. lemon juice

Heat olive oil in a 2 1/4 quart saucepan. Add onion and cook for about 2 minutes.
Add broth, pumpkin, sugar, salt and nutmeg, and bring to a boil.
Reduce heat, and simmer for 15 minutes. Add lemon juice, and serve warm topped with dollop of yogurt.

Asparagus Side Dish

1 bunch fresh asparagus, trimmed
2/3 cup water
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
10 grape tomatoes, halved

Combine the asparagus and water in a 10 inch skillet and place over medium heat; cover.
Allow the asparagus to steam until tender, about 10 minutes; drain. Reduce heat to low and return the skillet to the heat. Drizzle olive oil over the asparagus; sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Add the grape tomatoes to the skillet and replace the lid. Allow to sit covered until the cheese melts and the tomatoes are slightly steamed, about 2 minutes.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Greek Bean Pitas

Greek Bean Pitas
Serves 6

It's one of our favorites.

1 (15 oz.) can white beans
1 diced cucumber
3 diced Roma tomatoes
1 diced bell pepper ( I used orange tonight, but any color works)
1 diced red onion
1 can pitted black olives -- chopped
3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon dried oregano
salt and pepper to taste
whole wheat pitas
lettuce leaves (something nice and green for nutrition)
crumbled feta cheese

Combine all ingredients except pitas, feta cheese and lettuce in a bowl. (May
be made several hours in advance.) stuff the pocket of pitas with lettuce on sides, then bean
mixture between lettuce. Sprinkle feta cheese on top. Eat. Enjoy.

Pumpkin Bars

These aren't sweet enough for me, but Emily likes them, so those who want a low sugar, no butter sweet fix... or something, here they are.

1/3 cup brown sugar (I did 1/2 cup and it wasn't sweet enough, though)
2 eggs
1/2 cup pumpkin puree (that canned stuff is actually healthy)
2 tablespoons of whatever oil you like to use (or melted butter, cause it tastes better)
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon cocoa (fair trade!)
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup of chocolate chips

Preheat your oven to 350 and oil/spray an 8 inch square baking pan
mix the pumpkin, sugar, eggs, and oil in a mixer until well blended
Mix the flour, salt, baking powder, cocoa, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a separate bowl until well mixed, then mix into the wet mixture until well blended.  Fold in chocolate chips.
Pour into your baking dish/pan and spread evenly.  Bake for 25 minutes, or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.
Let cool a little bit, and eat.  ---- and think about the delicious brownies you could be eating instead

How to make your own Biscuit Mix with no hydrogenated oils

Here's one you can make yourself, and it's much much healthier.  I'm going to try using some rye flour and see how it turns out - like maybe just 1/3 rye flour (it has a smaller glycemic load and far more nutrition)


   10 cups all-purpose flour
   1/2 cup baking powder
   2 tablespoons white sugar
   2 teaspoons salt
   1 1/4 cups vegetable oil


Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt in a mixing bowl. Add oil and mix with a fork or pastry blender; you should have small lumps throughout the mixture.
Store in an airtight container in a cool, dry place for up to three months.

Friday, April 30, 2010

How to make your own Carrot Cake

Here is my recipe for making a carrot cake from scratch.  So far, so good. My kids and husband don't like nuts, so I didn't make this recipe with nuts, but you can add them if you like.  I also didn't add pineapple because the kids won't eat anything that may be slimy in the cake, so you can add a can of crushed pineapple that has been well drained if you like.

4 eggs
3/4 cups vegetable oil
1/2 cup applesauce
2 cups brown sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract (the real one, not artificial)
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1Tablespoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
4 cups grated carrots

1/2 cup butter, softened
8 ounces cream cheese, softened (I use the lower fat one, but it doesn't taste as good)
4 cups confectioners' sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease and flour a 9x13 inch pan.
In a large bowl, beat together eggs, oil, applesauce, brown  sugar and vanilla. In separate bowl, mix flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, nutmeg and cinnamon. Add to wet mixture and stir just until all flour is moistened (if you stir too much, it will be dense). Stir in carrots - just until mixed  in. Pour into prepared pan.
Bake in the preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Let cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely.

In a medium bowl, combine butter, cream cheese, confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Beat until the mixture is smooth and creamy. Frost the cooled cake. --- Just a small fyi: It's much easier to do if the cream cheese and butter have sat out until they reach room temp.  It's almost impossible if the butter is cold, and just harder if the cream cheese is cold.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

How to make your own yogurt and yogurt cheese

Okay, this is how I make our yogurt.  I'll write down the small recipe, for those who don't go through as much, then the gallon of yogurt recipe.  Also, note at the end that I show you how to make yogurt cheese, which is quite good.  ---- and Greek Yogurt, which is so popular now.

Smallish amount of yogurt:

4 cups of milk (whole milk works best, but low fat is just fine)
1/2 cup of powdered milk
1/2 cup of plain yogurt that has active cultures (this is where you get your live cultures)
Some way to insulate your yogurt for 12 hours.  I use my crock pot because it is so insulated, and wrap it in a quilt - unplugged, of course.

First, many people will pasteurize the milk before making the yogurt.  I don't, but if you prefer, you will want to bring your milk up to 185 degrees F, then let it cool down to 120.  Otherwise, pour your milk and powdered milk  in a pan on the stove and slowly (stirring constantly) bring your milk up to 120 degrees F.  You do not want your stove on high, or it will scald your milk and make it taste nasty.  Do this slowly, while stirring, with your stove on medium. Once you hit 120F, turn the stove off and stir for another minute or so.  Grab your yogurt that you are using for culture and pour it in a bowl - then pour about a cup of your warmed milk in the bowl and stir them together until your yogurt is nice and runny.  This will keep it from clumping when you pour it in your milk mixture.  At this point, you want to pour the yogurt in your milk mixture, stir well, (if you want vanilla yogurt, or sweet yogurt, now is the time to stir in vanilla - and/or a quarter of a cup of sugar.  I prefer not to sweeten it.) and insulate your entire mix.  There are different ways to insulate it, including a commercial yogurt maker, a crock pot, etc.  I pour it in my warmed crock pot (not hot, just not cold), put the lid on, and wrap the whole thing in a quilt.  --- let sit undisturbed for 12 hours or so.   If you don't like tart yogurt, let it sit for 8 hours, if you like it really tart, let it sit more than 12 hours.
After the time is up, stir your yogurt and put it in your fridge --- it's ready!  When you want to eat it, you can add a sweetener and/or some fruit compote.  Sometimes we just add some jelly to it.

The gallon recipe:
1 gallon milk (whole works best, but low fat is just fine)
1 cup of powdered milk
1 cup of yogurt

Follow directions as above!  Again, I use my crock pot to insulate it (keeping it in the base, even). -- wrap it up really well with blankets, towels, whatever works.

Greek Yogurt and Yogurt Cheese:
Once your yogurt is done, grab a strainer, a coffee filter, and a bowl.  Put the coffee filter in the strainer, and keep the strainer over the bowl.  Pour as much of your yogurt as will fit in the strainer/coffee filter, and place in the fridge (keeping it over the bowl of course).  This will strain some of the whey off so that your yogurt is thick.  In a few hours, it should be thick enough, but if not, leave it longer.

If you are making yogurt cheese, do as above but leave it there for 12 hours or more.  I've left it straining for more than 24 hours.

Throw that whey in your smoothie or something, so it's not wasted!  It's very healthy.

*It sounds harder than it is, but I can assure you that the second time around, it's super easy.  Once you get the hang of it, you don't even measure.... just eyeball it and it only takes a few minutes once your milk is heated.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

How to make your own laundry detergent

I've been trying to make everything myself, and here is the laundry detergent I've been making.  It's surprisingly easy, sort of fun, and works just as good as Tide.

What you need:
You will need a bar of soap.  I smell the different soaps and decide from there.  Right now, I'm using Lever 2000, cause I liked the smell that day.
About a quarter of a bar of Fels-Naptha soap, found in the laundry detergent section of your grocery store.  I got mine at Kroger, on the top shelf.
1 cup of washing soda
1/2 cup of Borax  --- both of which can also be found in the laundry detergent section of your local grocery store.
A bucket
A pot

First, you'll want to put about 4 cups of water in the pot, on the stove, so it will start heating up while you are doing the next step.
Then, you really want a food processor for this:  Shred your bar of soap and 1/4 bar of Fels-Naptha.
Once shredded, slowly add to the water while stirring.  Keep stirring every few minutes, and watching your pot, until the soap shreds are dissolved and you have soap soup.
Add about 3.5 gallons of hot water to your bucket, then pour your soap soup, your borax, and your washing soda in the bucket.  Stir well until all is mixed.  Put a lid on it and let set for 24 hours.  At this point, it will be all gel-like and funky looking.  That's all cool.  Just use a wire whisk or something and stir it up really well.  I pour some into an old laundry detergent bottle so it's easy when I want to use it, and use 1-2 capfulls of the laundry soap mix per load.