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Thursday, January 31, 2013

MY 2012 FAVORITE RECIPES

I already posted the TOP 10 RECIPES for 2012 picked from popularity of my posts and now I wanted to share MY FAVORITE RECIPES from my blog in 2012. I've picked out 10 recipes to share with you that I made this year, new to me and to my family and now they will continue to be life-long recipes that I will make over and over again. They will also be included in my Volume 3 - Family Scrapbook/Cookbook, this is when you know they are keeper recipes if they make it into the scrapbook. ENJOY, I hope you have had or will have the chance to make one of these MY NEW FAVORITES!

Homemade Cheeseburger SAUCE
If you know my family, you know we are Cheeseburger freaks, we love fast food and In-N-Out is on the top of our list. But so is a homemade hamburger, it's just as good and so I set out to create a homemade sauce and I defiantly found a winner. We make it, eat it, love it and repeat (as often as we can)!

Grandma's Apple Crisp Pie
This was a recipe that was shared with me from my mother-in-law and then I created and made it into a pie and I absolutely LOVE it, and I never ever have liked Apple Pie (and I still don't), but this Apple Crisp I LOVE LOVE LOVE. It's so delicious!


Pineapple Cupcakes
These are out of this world delicious, and I top them with my all time favorite frosting from Magnolia's Bakery in New York City; White Chocolate Frosting, OH MY! Can I have a dozen of these right now PLEASE! The cupcake recipe is actually a Weight Watcher recipe (cake mix and can of pineapples), but the frosting NOT SO MUCH!



Banana Crunch Muffins
I seem to always have bananas left over that need to be made into something, I usually just throw them into the freezer and when I get the chance I make Banana Bread for the boys, another thing I do not care for, Banana Bread. But I found this recipe and OH MY, Banana Crunch Muffins are my NEW thing. I know I will be making these again with that next batch of over ripe bananas.


Better than Anything Cake
Yep, it's THAT cake and it is pretty darn good. This cake has already been repeated several times this year.



White Chicken Enchiladas
This is now my go-to Mexican dish. I love the white enchilada style SO much better then any red sauce enchiladas. This recipe has circled the Pinterest boards for months and I am so glad I made it. And if you aren't on Pinterest yet, RUN don't WALK. It's the best thing since sliced bread (hahaha!). It is really good though! I love it!



Pioneer Woman's Fried Chicken
This is a recipe I've been trying to master for years. I made this, it's AWESOME and I will never ever try another fried chicken recipe. This is THEE one and only for me, and my hubby is happy!



Upside Down Turkey
Once I found this Turkey recipe and made it, I've never tried another. And I make about 3 to 4 Turkey's per year (which reminds me it's about time to cook me up a whole Turkey very soon), I've got 2 more in my freezer, that I grabbed for $8 bucks each.



Peanut Butter Krispies
These are a bite size snack that everyone loves. There aren't many desserts I make over and over again, but this is one that I do. My step son Brandon LOVES them and it's first on his list every time he comes to visit (and yes he is 22 years old and still loves my treats), he just can't get enough of them, I try to send some home with him as long as he doesn't eat them all before he leaves.



Panda Express Cream Cheese WonTon {copycat recipe}
I just LOVE these at Panda Express, so why not make them at home. This is a super duper great find and I am so happy I tried it out! SCORE!

Here they are MY FAVORITE recipes, ones I know I will continue to make over and over again. Blogging is SO much fun and it's really exciting each year to see how I add new recipes to my regular rotation. Plus, I love finding new desserts that will go down in our family history and hopefully be repeated for generations to come. I better get working on that Volume 3- Family Cookbook/Scrapbook ASAP!

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

BIGGEST LOSER CHALLENGE {WEEK 3}

It's already Week 3, and I do NOT want to write this post (but I am thinking if I don't then I will be hiding and if I do then maybe just maybe I can pick myself up and continue on this healthy life style change). Yep, those dreaded words {gain}, okay in all fairness it was only .2 (yes look closely that is a POINT, I only gained POINT TWO POUNDS), but it might as well of been 2 lbs, I was so SAD.

AH, I've been working so hard, and eating so well and even bumped up my exercise AGAIN. And not only did I not LOOSE weight, I gained. It's only week 3 and I am a little discouraged right about now. Over all I am still down 3.2 lbs, but I am going to make some MORE changes this week and see what happens.

Here is a recap of what I did last week and what I plan on changing this week.

Photo 1: Healthy Salad, this was a delicious salad I made with a homemade ranch dressing made from greek yogurt. I will share the recipe soon, it was yummy! In order to add in some extra greens this next week, I proportioned enough salads for the week from my awesome farmers market trip on Sunday, this has really taken the guess work out of "what's for lunch" everyday (chicken and salad).

Photo 2 & 4: My protein shakes. I LOVE this for my diet, I make them up every morning with all kinds of amazing fruits and veggies, along with the 2 scoops of protein powder it's around 300 calories for breakfast and it keeps me full until around 10am for my morning snack. I have actually decided to remove this from my diet (or at least not have one everyday). I am not sure if this is part of my reason for not loosing weight or not, but from week one when I lost 2.7 lbs to week 2 and week 3, this was the ONLY thing I changed in my diet, so I am gonna try and eliminate it this week and see what happens.

Photo 3: NEW Snack Idea Apples with dip, not such a new idea but the dip is NEW to me. Greek Yogurt and Peanut Butter the scale is 1 part peanut butter to 2 parts greek yogurt. It's OUT-OF-THIS-WORLD-DELICIOUS and I feel so guilty eating it, but it's scrumptious.



My son and I took a trip to a new Farmer's Market we located just a few minutes from our house (and it's open everyday), very cool. We are going to try and make it a habit to visit it every Sunday and stock up for the week on all kinds of delicious items. I just LOVE that I only bought ONE of each item, so that everyday I can enjoy a different fruit or veggie instead of eating the same ole' apple or banana every single day.


And the last thing I added to my diet/exercise plan this week was walking/running around the park (yes I love this FREE app on my iphone that tracks all this info, it's called Free Pedometer). It's 4 miles and I try and walk as fast as I can with a few runs here and there. I am hoping to increase my run time over time and have this help me in my weight loss. I did this TWICE this week and NOPE didn't help at all. Like I said I gained weight instead, I am hoping this was just a freak thing and that this eventually help me loose weight. This next week I am planning on trying a Zumba Class and a Cardio Class and try and KICK my body into going along for this ride of dieting and LOOSING weight. Until next week.....


 
Starting Weight: 182
Tonight's Weigh-In: 178.8
 
DOWN this week  + 0.2 lbs
TOTAL loss for this challenge < 3.2 > lbs
 
Goal for Next Tuesday Weigh-In: 177
Challenge Goal Weight (10 weeks): 164
 
Ultimate Goal Weight: 139
 

 I guess this is exactly what I needed this weekend.
Lunch (salad of course), Facebook (iphone) and a Star Magazine (and I don't even read this stuff).
 
 

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

TOP 10 RECIPES 2012

Here are the TOP 10 RECIPES for 2012!

Yeah, I know January is ALMOST over, not quite though. I've got a few days left and I wanted to get out all the top posts/recipes for 2012. I had an amazing blogging year in 2012, my biggest yet. I grew my blog and doubled my readers, plus made some great extra cash on the side, it's all very exciting. I will say my cooking/blogging has decreased a bit, but only because I went from a family of 5, with daughters who LOVED to try new things, to a family of 3, with a son who eats NOTHING! And now with my Biggest Loser Diet in place, the cooking and baking around here has come to a halt.

I just love quotes, sayings and posters like prints such as these:



It's a brand new new and I hope that throughout the year, I can inspire people along the way to LIVE LIFE! "A brand-new year... to live; to believe; to give; to receive; to fall in love; to share a smile; to walk an inch; to run a mile; to dive into sunsets; to forgive; to forget; to love where you’re going; to embrace where you’ve been; to take a deep breath, close your eyes... and begin. May the new year be filled with love, adventure, and dreams come true. Welcome 2013!! :)"

Joshua 1:9 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified: do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you where ever you go"

Live like no one else, so later you can LIVE LIKE NO ONE ELSE (Dave Ramsey)

Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, but today is a gift!
 

Now, let's get on to what was my most popular recipes for 2013.... there were alot of good recipes and a few favorites that will now be family favorites for years to come.

#1 White Chocolate Candy Cane Pudding Cookies


#2 Olive Garden Alfredo {Copycat Recipe}











#6 Pioneer Woman's Chicken Pot Pie


#7 Peppermint Frosting Fudge


#8 Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Smoothie


#9 Egg Nog Truffles



#10 Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookie Cupcakes



And there you have it, the TOP 10 recipes that were most popular from my readers (that's YOU!) I hope you all take a look back at some of these favorites, try them if you haven't had the chance already, I'd love to hear from you. My personal favorite out of these are #9 Egg Nog Truffles, these will be made every Christmas from now on, I LOVE THEM!

Monday, January 28, 2013

French Onion Burger or Salisbury Steak Style {CAMPBELL'S KITCHEN}

I love when I come across a recipe, make it and my mouth just waters right from the first bite. Well, that is exactly what happened when I made this for dinner. I really thought, this is just gonna be another burger recipe. I wanted to stick with my New Year's diet plan so I decided to eliminate the bun and serve this new French Onion Burger over a bed of mashed potatoes. I took my first bite and it brought me back to my childhood with memories of a Salisbury Steak TV dinner, something that I absolutely love. And now I can make it from fresh ingredients and it taste SO GOOD!


I am so excited that I picked up this soup from Campbell's Kitchen, it's not something I would have ever tried if it was not for Campbell's and Foodbuzz, so THANK YOU! I promise you all this recipe will not disappoint you, the photos do not do it justice (photographing a hamburger patty isn't easy, I did the best I could). And if you have picky little kids (like me), I served my son's burger with cheese on a bun, so this recipe is good for making a delicious grown-up meal and a kid meal all in one shot.


Check out this recipe and many more at Campbell's Kitchen.

French Onion Burger {Salisbury Steak}
recipe from Campbell's Kitchen

1 lb ground beef
1 can (10 1/2 ounces) Campbell's Condensed French Onion Soup


Optional: Cheese Slices and Buns or serve over Mashed Potatoes or Egg Noodles

Shape the beef into four burger patties. Heat a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the burgers and cook until well browned on both sides. Remove the burgers from the skillet. Pour off any fat.                                                    
 
Stir the soup in the skillet and heat to a boil. Return the burgers to the skillet. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the burgers are cooked through.
 
Traditional Burger Style: Top the burgers with the cheese and cook until the cheese is melted. Serve the burgers on the buns with the soup mixture for dipping
 
Salisbury Steak Style: Leave the burger in pan to cook for add'l 5 minutes flipping once. Make your choice of mashed potatoes or egg noodles and serve the burger patty on top with as much or as little gravy as you'd like.
 
 
"As part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker Program,
I received free coupons and a stipend."
 


Presented by Campbell’s Kitchen

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

BIGGEST LOSER CHALLENGE {Week 2}

Week 2 and I am only down < .08 >, okay so that is ALMOST 1 pound, but it's NOT. I knew yesterday all day that my numbers weren't going to reflect a huge loss. I knew because I weighed myself that morning on my home scale. It was very discouraging, knowing I worked out all week, ate good (for the most part), and then still didn't loose any weight. < .08 > is not a BIG enough number for me, I was looking for average of 2 lbs per week and I was just NOT happy about this. BUT, the show must go on. I have to power through this and move on, pick myself up and change some things around and plow forward. (okay, so glad I got all of that out of my system, overall I am down 3.4)


Moving on now, we had a wonderful golf/camping trip at Pechanga Resort in Temecula, California this past weekend. It was our first time camping there and my husband and son LOVED the golf course. Challenging, but loved it. My hubby shot a 91/93 and my son, Justin shot a 97/98. (yeah I am trying to get this whole golf lingo down, I moved from a Dance Mom for 10 years to now a Golf Mom and you can't even cheer at a golf tournament, you have to BE QUIET. UM, this is going to be sooo hard)




I was really good with my food for the most part I had 2 protein shakes a day (meal replacement shakes). We did do 2 dinners out, which probably didn't help my weight loss, but I did walk at least 2 to 4 miles each day while we were camping. Fast walking and it felt GREAT. It was better then just sitting around like we usually do, it felt really good getting out and walk. My cousin, her husband and my aunt also came out to visit and since she is ready to pop, we just hung out with them at the casino and enjoyed lunch and an awesome dinner at the Italian restaurant inside Pechanga, I would highly recommend it (and FAR better then the buffet they serve there).

Here are some of my snacks and meals that I had for the rest of the week. I am getting pretty creative with eating vegetables and fruits more often and with drinking the protein shakes everyday, I have been meeting my protein levels more often too.

Photo 1: Snack Time with some yummy celery with peanut butter and my 10 baby carrots and my 1 tbsp spoon of super delicious onion dip. (one of my down falls)

Photo 2: My cousin Jeff joined me on this Biggest Loser Challenge and he is a large boy (over 300 lbs), he likes to cook chicken breast at the beginning of the week and then he puts them in baggies and eats one everyday for lunch. This was such an awesome idea, I plan on doing this very soon too and getting in some more protein into my diet. I am happy to report my little cousin (yea, he is younger then me) lost 11 lbs this week. WAY TO GO JEFF!!!

Photo 3: Lunch Time cucumber, chicken, carrots and tomatoes. Simple, easy and yummy!


I also made an AWESOME recipe, that I was so proud of and it was both quick and delicious. I am not a good "healthy cook" and so for me to come across and make a delicious healthy recipe, made me very happy. Here is my new favorite veggie side dish Tomato and Avocado Salad. I have created a few more fun items that I plan on sharing with you all very soon.



Starting Weight: 182
Tonight's Weigh-In: 178.6
 
DOWN this week < 0.8 > lbs
TOTAL loss for this challenge < 3.4 > lbs
 
Goal for Next Tuesday Weigh-In: 175
Challenge Goal Weight (10 weeks): 164
 
Ultimate Goal Weight: 139
 
 

Monday, January 21, 2013

Tomato & Avocado Salad {SECRET RECIPE CLUB}

It's time to go healthy. I haven't blogged much since the new year start and it's because I am on a diet. I joined a neighborhood Biggest Loser Challenge, and I am eating veggies, fruit, some protein and no recipes are being made in my kitchen right now. It's bitter sweet, because I LOVE to cook, I am enjoying the lost pounds, but I've got to find a way to get back into the kitchen. When I saw this recipe on my Secret Recipe blog, I knew that this was a healthy recipe, but I had know idea I would enjoy it so much.


Here is my SECRET RECIPE CLUB post for the month of January, and this will be my last post with this club for a little bit while I try and get my blogging back up to where it was last year. My plate is full and I just need to take a step back and regroup. The blog I had was called Canela Kitchen and I pinned a whole bunch of fun recipes to try, but this one made it to the top of the list, because it was everything I could eat on my diet.

Here we go with my 21st post for the Secret Recipe Club; Group C .


Secret Recipe Club
 

I would say, I liked this dish just a LITTLE! :-)
Tomato & Avocado Salad
original recipe found at Canela Kitchen
made this for 1 serving

1 red tomato, cut into wedges
1/2 avocado, sliced and diced
1/4 cup white grated cheese (Mozzarella or Monterrey Jack)
1 tbsp chopped chives
1tbsp soy nuts
1 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tbsp balsamic vinegar

In a serving size dish layer tomato wedges and diced avocados. Sprinkle in white cheese, chives and soy nuts. Serve with a small dish of the olive oil and vinegar.


 
Here is a list of my past Secret Recipe Club recipes:

Golf Cupcakes {Cupcake Recipe from a Box}

My little guy is a golf fanatic, and that is saying it lightly. He golfs at least 3 days a week and would love for me to take him to the range everyday. He just joined the SC Junior PGA, so I would say that he is pretty serious about this. Believe me it's taken a lot to get to this point. He is only 13 years old and he has tried it all; Karate, Soccer, Baseball, Football, Basketball and last year even tried Volleyball. He was so so good at baseball too, he was an excellent pitcher, but his heart was not in it. It was a struggle getting him there and he just hated it. So, what's a mom to do? Try, try and try some more.

It was the summer last year and I enrolled him into his schools summer golf camp where the junior high kids got to practice with the high school kids. I went to pick him up on the first day the coach told me "he was good", I said "okay", then he said "no, he is REALLY good. and that he could practice all year with the high school kids, until the tournament season started". Justin was only in 7th grade and he was able to practice with the High School kids, he was thrilled and he did just that. Last year his 7th grade year was filled with golf-golf and some more golf. Sure he had played a little before with his dad and game or two per year, but now he was playing 3-days a week. And his dad is loving it too because now they hit plays and play a game or two each week. Such a difference in just one year.


Now it's the summer before his 8th grade year and he still has to wait one more school year to be on the High School team, so he gets to just do summer camp with them and of course practice another half-a-year until the tournament season starts. He loves every minute of it. We also enrolled him at a local golf course for weekly lessons and now he takes private lessons with a pro-golfer there too. This week we got him all signed up for the Junior PGA and he will now start competing at local golf courses all year round with kids his own age. This has been such and awesome thing to watch him grow and finally find "THAT THING" that thing he loves to do more then anything. And yes he is very hard on himself, he is really serious about his game.

My twins always have had that, they danced and were cheerleaders for 10 years, they started when they were 8 years old and now they are going off to college with a scholarship to dance. I am just so happy for my son now has "THAT THING" and that thing he loves which is golf and that this will probably carry him through high school and hopefully onto college. It's perfect timing and I knew God had a great plan for him. I will now be trading my Dance Mom Hat in for a Golf Mom Hat. It's a crazy life, but I am SO glad I am in it.
Now, onto these adorable, awesome golf cupcakes I made for my son's birthday (last year). I know blogging doesn't always happen right when you want it to, but better late than never.
 
The recipe for the golf ball cupcakes are quite easy, I will share my new favorite cupcake from a box recipe, and then the trick is making the golf balls and the grass from icing.
 
This is a new favorite of mine, cupcakes from a box but adding in so much more.

GOLF CUPCAKES
Cupcake Recipe {from a box and more}
original recipe found at Big Bears Wife

1 box white cake mix
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp salt
4 egg whites
1-1/3 cup water
2 tbsp vegetable oil
1 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Pre-heat oven to 325. In a large bowl, mix together cake mix, flour, sugar, and salt. In the bowl of a mixer, mix together the egg whites, water, and vanilla. Mix on low for about 10 seconds. Slowly add the dry mix a little at a time. Mixing on low until everything is combined. Add sour cream and mix well. Add color now if desired. Mix well. Line a muffin/cupcake tin with paper liners. Fill each cupcake liner 3/4 full of batter. Bake at 325 for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and cool.

I purchased a chocolate golf mold at my local cake store, I made the golf balls by melting white chocolate and using the mold without the sticks.

I then used a favorite frosting recipe of mine, White Chocolate Buttercream frosting, this recipe hardens well after being refrigerated and made the grass look great.

White Chocolate Buttercream Frosting
from Magnolia Bakery Cookbook, New York City

1-1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
6 tbsp milk
9 oz white chocolate, melted and cooled to lukewarm
1 tsp vanilla
3 cups sifted powdered sugar

In a large bowl, on medium speed of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the milk carefully and bet until smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the vanilla and beat for 3 more minutes. Gradually add the powdered sugar and beat on low speed until creamy and desired consistency. 

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