Sunday, December 30, 2012

Top 10 of 2012

I can’t believe this year is already over! It has been a whirlwind for me with finishing my first year of teaching second grade, to moving while 9 months pregnant, to having a baby a week later, and moving 3 months after that back to where we came from. Wow! And needless to say I have not necessarily been the greatest at being consistent with my cooking blog. But I feel like I have gotten back into the swing of cooking and inventing new recipes and I have a lot of great things planned for 2013 that I am really excited about, and I hope you are too. Thanks so much to those of you that have stuck with me all this time and to any of you who are new I am so glad to have you.
I am very excited about this post!
top 10

I have looked back at my most popular posts of this year and I want to share them with you. Just in case you missed them or just want to check out their goodness once more! So without further delay:
The grand prize winner was actually my husbands Blue Velvet Cake recipe. Figures that HE would get the most views on my cooking blog. Maybe I should rename it Marks Cupookies??
And now for the runners up in no particular order:
2. Funnel Cakes
Can you say fair food? These are my favorite thing to get at a fair but I’ve been making these with my mom for years at home. We like having them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, dessert, snacks, midnight snacks etc. Yum!
3. Chicken Fajitas
I love when they bring you fajitas in a restaurant and the pan is sizzling, they warn you it is hot, and you feel like your meal is cooler than everyone else at your table. Well…now you can feel that way at home!
4. Cream Cheese Stuffed Chicken Breast
If you can believe it this is actually ANOTHER hubby homemaking post. He made my top 10 list twice! I am worried he is going to try to be the entire top 10 list next year. These were amazing though so I guess he gets some credit for that!
5. Oven Roasted Red Potatoes
We love red potatoes in our house and this is one of the best ways I have ever had them! They have parmesan cheese on the top and you just can’t go wrong with that…sooooo good!
6. Brownie Bites
I think these might be my top favorite thing on this top 10 list. They are so small that you can eat like 20 at a time! haha okay that is probably not a good idea but it is fun to do anyway because it will make you happy in the “short run” and probably make you want to go running later so you can eat more!
7. Quinoa Salad
My neighbor introduced me to Quinoa and I loved it! I guess a lot of other people love it too because this salad made my top 10 list! IMG_3073
8. Toastadas
Mark convinced me to get a toastada when we were at a yummy restaurant in Orem, UT called Mama Chus. I had never had one before and loved it! Then we decided to try to make them at home…one of my FAVORITE dinners ever! I love how you can choose what you put on them and make it your own. Plus Mark makes amazing refried beans!
9. Honey Grilled Red Salmon
Salmon…Grilled…need I say more? I know it is winter but lets break out the grills and have some of the most amazing fish you will ever taste :) Just put on a warm coat!
10. Easy Fruit Tart
I never really thought of making a tart because they “look” so complicated! But it was requested by Mark for his graduation celebration so I decided to try it out. After looking for many recipes and after a lot of trial and error (trust me there was a lot of error and failed tarts) I came up with this delicious tart! It is the best of many tart recipes that I found and we love it. :D
There you have it. The best of  my 2012 cooking blog efforts! I have SO MANY great recipes in store for you for 2013!
If you aren’t on a “new years diet” be sure to check back on Thursday for some death by chocolate brownies. Or if you are dieting you still should check back for when you stop dieting in February…because it never lasts right?

 I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season and have a Happy New Year! Check out our Christmas card this year…
christmas card1 copy
Don’t I have the cutest baby in the world?? :) Pin It

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Gucamole Meatballs

I have been loving avocados lately. They are delicious and very high in good fats and calories that I am in desperate need of right now! So I have been having chips with guacamole all week long. My guacamole was not going to last another day so I decided that I would use it for dinner. We had no bread so I couldn't make guacamole burgers like I thought sounded delicious. So I decided to make my favorite thing to make when I don't know what to make. MEATBALLS! I love meatballs. It is so fun to make new and different flavors. (I have a feeling I have posted this same statement before)

I told Mark my plans to make guacamole meatballs and he agreed with me that those sounded pretty good! Either they would be good or they would be a weird failure.

I can promise you that they were anything but a weird failure. They were so mouthwateringly delicious. Tonight we ate the rest of the leftovers and when Mark was finished he said,"Oh, those are so good!" I think I hit a creation jackpot!
Here is what you need:

1lb ground beef
1/4 cup guacamole
1/8 cup salsa
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (we used Italian seasoned)
1/2 tsp seasoning salt

Mix it all together and roll into balls. This made 14 meatballs for us but it just depends on the size you make them.

Heat about 1/4 cup oil in a skillet on medium. Test the readiness by throwing a small amount of your meat mixture in the oil. If it sizzles it is ready! Add your meatballs and fry,turning as you go, until they are crisp on the outside and cooked through in the middle. (The time frame for this just depends on exactly how hot your oil is so you may have to sacrifice one meatball to determine if they are done but normally it is around 7 minutes) Make sure you don't crowd the pan! Pretend these meatballs are at a dance might take 2 different batches of meatballs to avoid crowding...a dance party is never fun when you can't show off your moves because you are squished! haha

Tips from Kj:

The seasoning salt was Marks idea and it was such a good one! We only put the salt in half of our meatballs (because he came in halfway through the process) and trust me they were so much better than the non-salted. If you don't have seasoning salt you can just use regular salt.

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Thursday, December 6, 2012

Throwback Thursday Thanksgiving Style: Candied Yams

So from what I understand on Thursdays it is an instagram thing to post old pictures from the past. AKA "Throwback Thursday" Yes? I'm not very cool right now and am currently living an instagram free lifestyle. But it's okay...I'm still happy :) So instead of instagraming I am throwing back a recipe from Thanksgiving. It was going to be a post on another blog but that has fallen through so here it is: 

(Keep in mind that this post was written right before there are many references to the great holiday to come even though it has already passed. We can still be excited for next year right? And besides who says you can't make candied yams at Christmas too? They are so good!) 

I love Thanksgiving because I love food. My favorites are stuffing smothered in gravy and candied yams. This Thanksgiving I am in a predicament because I can’t eat Dairy or Soy right now. My sweet little guy is allergic. So I had to make a choice. What food am I going to choose to bring to Thanksgiving dinner so I can at least have a smidgen of the experience?? I decided to go with the Candied Yams so I could have some at dinner and then some more while everyone was eating their pumpkin pie.

Here is what you need:

4 Large Sweet Potatoes/Yams peeled and cut into ¼ inch half circles (cut into circles and then cut in half)

2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Orange Juice
¼ cup water
2 Tablespoons  Syrup
½ tsp Cinnamon
¼ tsp Nutmeg
¼ tsp Salt
2 Oranges sliced into circles
Pre-Heat oven to 350
Once your Sweet Potatoes/yams are peeled and ready to use boil them for about 10 minutes or until you can just pierce them with a fork. Drain and spread out in a 9x12 baking dish.

Next mix all of the other ingredients together in a bowl and pour over the sweet potatoes. Then because we don’t want any of our little potatoes to feel left out toss them to make sure they are all nice and coated in the syrup. Then place your orange slices over the top of the potatoes.

Bake in your oven at 350 for about 50 minutes. (Take them out after about 30 minutes to toss once again in the pan so they get re-coated in syrup mixture. You will have to remove your orange slices to do this and then just put them back on top)
After 50 minutes you have a choice to make. You can either be done and take them to your thanksgiving dinner looking fancy with the orange slices. They will be delicious and everyone will love you.
Or you can do this: 

Remove orange slices and sprinkle more brown sugar generously over the tops of the potatoes.

The amount is up to you. I like to go a little crazy with brown sugar. Then take a bag of mini marshmallows and spread over the top of the potatoes. Put back into the over for about 10 minutes or until the mallows are nice and golden brown.

I adore these sweet potatoes and they were a big hit with my family! Especially my little cousin Trevor…I think he had 3 platefuls! My baby boy also loved them and will probably never go back to regular unflavored sweet potatoes now…we’re surprised he slept after eating them since he consumed more sugar than he ever has in his short life.

Tips from KJ:
You can add ¼ cup butter to this if you want. I just didn’t because of the whole dairy free thing.

These are also yummy if you add 2 cans of fruit cocktail in the mixture
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Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Chinese Chicken

A couple of days ago Mark was asking me what we were going to have for dinner and I told him that I wanted CHINESE! He laughed at me and said, "That isn't going to happen" because...chinese food is loaded with Soy Sauce. I have not had an ounce of chinese food in almost 3 months and I was in dire need. You are talking to a girl who normally has a "Panda Express Craving" about once a month.

He was talking to a determined girl and I decided I was going to make it happen! I searched and searched for a soy sauce substitute. To no avail. Not because they don't exist but because I had a lack of ingredients on hand. So I decided to just wing it.

When we were done eating my husband said,"Did you write this down? Because you need to remember it and make it again!"

Lucky for him I did write it down. And it was delicious. And I want to make it every week...for the next 6 months. :)

Here is what you need for the sauce:

1 Cup Orange Juice
1/2 Cup Chicken Broth
3 Tablespoons Honey
2 Tablespoons Rice Vinegar
1 1/2 tsp Salt
1 Tablespoon Balsalmic Vinegar
1 tsp Corn Syrup
1 tsp Ginger
1 small can crushed pineapple

1 Tablespoon Oil
2 Cloves Garlic Minced

2 Tablespoons Water + 1 Tablespoon Corn Starch Mixed

8 Small Button Mushrooms Sliced

In a small saucepan heat the oil on medium and cook the garlic until nice and golden and delicious. Then add all of the other above ingredients. (I mixed them beforehand-leaving the water/cornstarch separate until putting it in the pan) Turn heat down so it is just at a simmer and simmer for about 15 minutes. Stirring occasionally.

While that is simmering you need to make your chicken. Defrost 1lb. of chicken and cut into cubes.

Dip in a batter made up of:

2/3 cup flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 cup pineapple or orange juice

Warm up 1/3 cup of oil and add 1/2 of an onion cut into strips. Fry the onion for about 3 minutes on its own. Once the chicken is coated add it to the oil and onion.
Fry in about 1/3 cup of oil until golden brown and chicken is cooked through.

Serve with rice. Smother chicken in the delicious sauce.

I am serious people. Even if you are not Chinese food deprived you will want to eat this again and again. We were so sad when our leftovers were gone.

Tips from Kj:

You could add even more things to the sauce mixture. Mandarin oranges, green peppers, celery, the onion, zucchini etc. Anything you want just think Chinese stir fry and put it into the sauce. Pin It

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Honey Balsamic Salmon and a WINNER!

Okay 2 winners :) So I am going to keep this post short and sweet. I have an over the hill cake to decorate (Pictures to come) and candied yams to prepare. Today is my mom's 50th birthday and tomorrow...well you know, its THANKSGIVING!

So now to decide what I should tell you first? The Salmon Recipe or the winners?

I think I'll do the winners...because if I did the recipe first you might just scroll down to see if you won and miss out on simple salmon goodness. Or if I do the winners first I guess you might just see if you won and never scroll down to the goodness. I guess I can't win either way?? I promise that after you see if you won you really should scroll down and see how to make this:

Okay and now drumroll!!!! The winners are:

2 Caramel Apples go to: Hannah A. 
A box of 9 cupcakes go to: Megan H. 

CONGRATULATIONS! Be sure to check your email for instructions on how to retrieve your prize. Thanks to everyone who participated in my very first giveaway! And a HUGE thanks to Sweet Dreams Cupcakes and Treats for being a part of it. If you live in the Utah/Salt Lake County areas you need to keep her in mind if you need treats for any party or special occasion! She will not let you down :)

 I am hoping to have more giveaways in the future and if you could not enter this one because of location do not despair!  I will make sure to have one that can reach all readers...

On to the Salmon. Here is what you need:

2 Salmon Fillets
1 Tablespoon Sea Salt
1/4 teaspoon dry mustard
1/2 teaspoon pepper

1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup balsamic vinager

Pre-heat your broiler on high

Mix together the salt, mustard, and pepper. Sprinkle that on the tops and bottoms of the salmon. I like to press it in so it really sticks.

Then put your salmon onto whatever pan you are going to use. (I just used a cookie sheet covered in aluminum foil so it would be easy cleanup after)

Mix your honey and balsamic vinager together. I like to put it in the microwave so the honey really gets liquefied. Drench the salmon in the Balsamic honey mixture.

Place in oven and broil for about 10-15 minutes or until the salmon gets nice a flaky.

Put the salmon on your plate and then cover it again with the sauce that is in the pan. Then die and go to heaven as you eat it! :) I LOVED this recipe. I really just love salmon but when you have the right seasonings it is like a party!

Tips from Kj:

HAVE A HAPPY THANKSGIVING! Eat a lot and don't feel can exercise later. haha

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa...what is that?? That is what I first thought when someone said they had something made with Quinoa. It sounded weird, possibly healthy, and like it could be made of chicken hearts or something. Who knew what it was. Come to find out it is a GRAIN! :) Great. I love grain and rice and everything so I got this recipe from my neighbor and gave it a go. (First she brought me some and it was absolutely I just had to make it myself!) And lucky me it was soy and dairy free which is always a bonus! Because, then I can eat it. ha

We had this with Salmon and it was amazing. Stay tuned for my salmon recipe it is coming up next. Also keep your eyes peeled for a GIVEAWAY on Sunday!! I am so excited about it so be sure to check in!

You need:

Salad Mixture-

1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa
1 1/2 cups cooked black beans
1 1/2 Tablespoons Vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro


6 Tablespoons Lime Juice
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 1/ tsp Cumin
1 1/2 tsp Corriander
1/3 cup olive oil

Pepper to taste

Basically cook the quinoa according to the package directions. Then add the salad mixture ingredients. Mix the dressing in a separate bowl and then add that to the salad mixture. Voila! Now when we got this from her originally we were unsure if it was supposed to be warm or cold. So we tried it both ways. I personally liked it the best when it was warmed up! But you can have it cold too and it is very good!

Did I mention I am posting a giveaway on Sunday? Silly me! I did..but I thought I'd tell you one more time :)

Tips from Kj:

As you might have noticed there were no black beans in my salad. I didn't have any. So neither did my salad. The great thing is that it was still very good!

You also have a lot of freedom with what you add to this salad. Try tomatoes, cucumber, avocado, chicken etc.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Twice Baked Sweet Potatoes

I am in love with sweet potatoes. They really are one of my favorite foods. Slathered with butter and cinnamon sugar and then sprinkled with a little bit of salt. Oh yum! Right now I am banned from butter but I still have my cinnamon so it is okay.

Our little guy had some sweet potatoes for his first solid food experience and we decided to have some right along with him.

 Ours were just a little more delux.

Bake your sweet potatoes (after you wash them of course) in an oven set to 350 for 1 hour. Take your potatoes out, cut them in half, and scoop out the insides into a bowl.

Then you need:

1 Tablespoon Butter
2 Tablespoons Cream Cheese
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 1/2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk

Mix all of those things with the sweet potato insides. (You can use a blender or just a potato masher)

Scoop back into the potato skins and bake still at 350 for another 10 minutes. Then take them out and sprinkle a little bit of salt on the top of each potato. I promise the salt makes them so delicious!

Now how did I eat these you ask? Being banned from butter and goodness and all? I just mixed in the cinnamon, milk (rice milk) and brown sugar and scooped that into my potatoes. Then I added the rest of the delicious ingredients to my husbands potatoes. Mine were still VERY good! So if you want your potatoes to be a little more healthy take the dairy free road my is still a good road. Just maybe like going to Disneyland but not California adventure. My husband on the other hand? He got to go to both parks. haha And if you can go to both should!

Tips from Kj:

If you want these to be more savory instead of sweet add some garlic and sour cream to your potatoes instead!

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Taco Seasoning Anyone??

I am here to tell you that you never need to buy a taco seasoning packet again in your life. I know I just made your whole day. You're welcome.

Okay,  so I realize I probably didn't make your day but maybe I made your dinner tonight! Whenver we don't know what to have for dinner we almost always have tostadas (recipe HERE) or tacos or burritos of some sort. Mainly because we always have the ingredients for those things on hand. Or we have hamburgers with sweet potato fries. I adore making hamburger concoctions...but that is a different post for a different day.

I used to buy the taco seasoning packets until we didn't have one one day and I decided that it couldn't be that hard to make taco seasoning right? It just needs to be a little spicy and I had chili powder so I decided to do some experimenting. Now I have figured out what I guess I will call "Kj's Taco Seasoning" So original right? Thank you.

Here is what you need:

2 Tbsp Chili Powder
3/4 tsp Garlic Powder
1/2 tsp Onion Powder
1/2 tsp Oregano
1 Tbsp Cumin
1/2 tsp Cayenne Pepper
2 tsp Salt

Mix it all together and keep in a sealed container.

When you want to use it simply mix about 2 tablespoons in with your ground beef as you are cooking it. (Or more or less to your liking. I have found that 2 tablespoons is the magical amount for me)

If you want it to be more saucy you can add 1/4-3/4 cup water depending on how saucy you want it to be.

Tips from Kj:

Make A LOT of this at once and then you will always have it on hand!

If you are missing an ingredient that is okay! Sometimes I don't have an ingredient so I just don't worry about it and carry on. As long as you have 2 tablespoons of something spicy in there it will work!

You can use this on chicken/steak and make fajitas just make sure you do add about 1/4-1/2 cup water to make it a little more saucy!

If I have one I like to sautee an onion in about a tablespoon of oil before cooking my burger.

CHECK CH CHECK CHECK CHECK...CHECK IT OUT! (Anyone know what song that was supposed to be? haha)

I wanted to throw a shout out to a great blog I think you should check out! (Hence the song) They are an entertainment blog with great DIY ideas for weddings and parties. It is wedding week on their blog and they are having some awesome giveaways this week! Here is the link:

To Entertain

Hope you like it and if you are like me....I can never resist a great giveaway! :)

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Honey Garlic Pork Chops

A while back my hubby's parents came to visit us and our new little guy. They graciously gave us some meat from Costco that we normally wouldn't buy ourselves. (Well at least not on our College Student Budget we wouldn't! Trust me we love meat and would buy all kinds of meat all the time if we could! Give me about 7 more months and we will be officially out of our college student budget and you will be able to feast your eyes on even more delectable culinary masterpieces...I hope.) I have been having a lot of fun trying different things with the meat we have had. Tonight I decided it was time for some chops. I even bought applesauce just to celebrate our chop eating. Even though it will never be the same as my mama's homemade chunky applesauce with pork chops. YUM!

These chops were amazing without applesauce and delicious with. So if you don't have any applesauce never fear!

We had rice with these. I swear that my husband is the king of rice. We have a rice maker. I could put the rice in and the EXACT same ingredients he uses and the rice would rebel against me. Then he would come along doing the same thing I did and out comes rice goodness that could be served in a restaurant. I don't know how he does it...the rice whisperer.

All you need for these chops is some mustard, honey, pepper, and garlic powder. And Pork Chops of course. They are seriously easy peasy like a cake! (Once a girl I knew worked in a classroom with a teacher that was teaching spanish to the students but learning english. As you hopefully know by now the english language and our slang can be a little out there and hard to understand if you are learning it. I know first hand because I am a teacher and sometimes I would realize how crazy our language is as I try to explain silent letters and other nuances to my 7 year old second graders. Anyway back to the story she got confused one day and said "Easy Peasy Like a Cake!
 Instead of piece of cake. It stuck as something we said a lot in my college classroom...

Here are the exact ingredients:

2 Pork Chops

1/4 cup mustard
1/4 cup overflowing with honey
1/2 tsp pepper
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tablespoon oil
1/4 cup water

Mix the first 4 ingredients in a bowl.

Heat your oil over medium heat in a frying pan for 2 minutes. Add your pork chops and cook for 1 minute on each side. Then put half of your sauce on top of the two chops. Cook still over medium for about 3 minutes flip over and put the other half of your sauce on top. Cook for another 3 minutes. Cook for 2 more minutes flipping one more time. Add water and turn temperature down to medium low. Let simmer for about 3 minutes. Now your chops should be done and ready to eat!

Tips from KJ:

You can use about 2 cloves of real garlic instead of garlic powder.

Experiment with different kinds of mustard! Use spicy mustard for an extra kick! Pin It

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Franken Crispies

Aka: Rice crispy treats that look like Franken Stine. (Or they are supposed to)

The next few recipes I post will be fit for a Halloween dinner. I will hopefully have them all posted before Halloween just in case you are in need of help for a dinner for your kiddos. Every year my family has a "spooky dinner" where we eat lots of spooky and sometimes gross Halloween food. We also play fun games and watch fun movies like The Witches. (An old classic I guess you could say. We had never seen it until last night...but it was old and classic. haha)

It is fun and....gross. I'll save those recipes for tomorrow though.  Lucky for you these little guys are just pure cute and very delicious too. Even better they are Dairy and Soy free for me! Which means. I can eat them. 10 of them if I want. And nothing will happen to my little guy :) Oh joyous day.

Essentially these are your typical rice crispy treats. You just use Canola oil instead of butter.


Green Food Coloring
6 Cups Rice Crispies
3 tablespoons Canola Oil
1 small bag mini marshmallows (If trying to go soy free make sure you check the ingredients!)


2/3 Powdered Sugar
1 Tablespoon Milk (I used Rice Milk)
Orange and Purple Food coloring

In a large saucepan heat up the canola oil on medium heat. Add your marshmallows and about 6 drops green food coloring. Or a nice squeeze of gel food coloring. Stir constantly until the marshmallows are melted. Then add your rice crispies and stir until coated with the marshmallows. The will be nice and green and ready to monsterize. Well almost.

Coat a pan with canola oil. (I use the spray from Costco) Press your lovely green bites of goodness into the pan and let them cool. Choose your ban based on the thickness of treats you want. I used an 8x8 pan. I wanted them to be thick!

Once cool, cut into rectangles.

In a separate bowl mix together the powdered sugar and the milk. You should get a nice glaze not too runny but runny enough you can squeeze it out of your frosting applicator. (A zip lock bag with the corner cut off. ha.)

Separate that into two portions in two zip lock bags and add your purple and orange coloring. Squeeze to mix. Then cut off the corner and go to work drawing your cute little frankie faces on your treats. Be creative. I sure am not an artist and wish I was. I am sure some of you could come up with even more awesome treats than this. They were a hit with the kids though so that is what counts. And they were also a hit with me...because I am a highly dessert deprived lady right now. I practically licked the pan clean of the crispy and marshmallow mixture before you could blink. :)

Happy Halloween!

Tips from Kj;

If you wanted to leave the Frankenstein route and make these into more monsterish treats you could make them in all sorts of shapes and colors using different colors of the glaze to add all sorts of scary features!

When my kiddos are old I want to make this a tradition. Of course they will get their own bags of glaze to go crazy and make big messes with :) Pin It

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Yams...Sweet Potatoes... two words that are absolutely confusing. From what I understand what we call Yams are really actually sweet potatoes? These are not orange that is for sure so just to clairfy we made these with the yams/sweet potatoes that have lighter skin and flesh. Not brown skin and orange flesh. But happy day! You can make these with either one and they will be delicious I cross my heart and hope to die.

Just as a disclaimer. I know, don't worry I promise I know, that fries are so delicious fried. Hence the name. My husband thinks they are delicious fried. And so do a lot of other people in my immediate family, extended family, apartment complex, county, the world? I like them fried but...I love them BAKED! I like thicker potato pieces and I like them to get a little crunchy from the oven but then they don't have grease all over them. Yuck. I feel like when I fry my own fries at home they are always a lot more greasy than fries you get from fast food. I need to invest in a high quality fryer and then maybe we'll talk about frying fries at my home.  Until then the oven is my friend.

The great thing about these is that sweet potatoes are good for you! Using cooking spray helps keep them pretty low in fat :)


3-4 Sweet Potatoes washed and sliced into strips
Season Salt
Cooking Spray

Pre-Heat your oven to 350

Take your sweet potatoes and lay them on a cookie sheet. Do a spray with the cooking spray over the whole sheet and toss the potatoes around to make sure they are coated. Then sprinkle season salt over the potatoes and toss again to make sure all of the potatoes are covered in the salt. (Not covered completely of course but that they all have some salt on them) I am one who likes a lot of the season salt so I am not very good at using sparingly....maybe taking the nutrition level down a notch. haha

Bake at 350 for 15 minutes or until they are the softness you desire.

Tips from Kj:

If you put the sweet potatoes in the microwave for 3 minutes before you slice them they are a lot easier to cut and they cook a little faster!

I love the salty sweet combination that the season salt gives. But I love to experiment with different seasonings that we have. Steak seasoning, Mrs. name it we try it on potatoes and it is often times really good! Pin It

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Salmon and Asparagus Packet

I LOVE tinfoil dinners. They are one of my top favorite parts of camping. Unfortunately my family does not always share my enthusiasm for them and we rarely have them. I think I might be able to convince them they are a good idea once they see this recipe.

I baked this in the oven but I am sure you could make it tinfoil style in the campfire if you wanted. And even better you could make smore's while you waited for it to be done....can you tell I like having dessert while dinner is cooking? I am going to have to get better at that when my kiddos are older! haha

This recipe is amazingly quick and easy. It practically makes itself. If you never have time to make dinner this is for you.

All you need is:

Salmon (I think we had a little less than 1 pound)
Asparagus (About 14 Spears)
1 Lemon
1 Tsp Rosemary
1 Tsp Lemon Pepper
1/2 Tsp Dill
2 Tablespoons Butter
Lay your asparagus on the bottom of the tinfoil. Slice your lemon and place on top of asparagus.

Place your Salmon on top and give it a nice butter back rub. (Really try to rub the butter in onto both sides of the fish) Then sprinkle on the 3 spices on each side of the fish.

Take pictures of your cutie sitting on the table making faces at 

Wrap the tinfoil closed and bake at 400 for about 25-30 minutes. Check it around 25 minutes to see if it is flaky if it is take it out! You don't want to overcook it. 

Oh my! I wanted to eat it right out of the foil all by myself. 

This was honestly some of the best salmon I have had. Ever. And with how easy it was I'd say that is a big deal! I loved it and I want to try it with other kinds of fish too. I don't think you can go wrong with lemon, lemon pepper and rosemary. They are just so yummy together! The dill was an experiment but we really liked it in the mix and I think I'll be using it more in recipes! 

Tips from Kj: 

Spice Quantities were a rough estimate because I was just sprinkling the spices on. So if you want to put more on...I say go for it! 

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Root Beer Pot Roast (It's Amazing!)

I am not necessarily a pot roast queen. On most occasions I have made the pot roast and it hasn't been husband didn't even have to tell me that because our mouths were so dry after eating it that we could not speak. haha

This pot roast however was extremely moist and tasty enough that my husband requested that we have it again, and again :) In fact it may be the only pot roast I ever make again in my life. Ok, not true...with pinterest and all of the roasts I've "pinned' I will have to venture out of my comfort zone and try some new recipes.

This roast is SO EASY you will love me forever and your family will love you forever because it is so juicy and delicious. And I promise it doesn't taste like root beer.

All you need is:

A Beef Pot Roast
An Onion (And any other veggies you want but we just did an onion)
2 Liters of Root Beer

Ice Cream (I'll explain this is NOT for the roast but it will be useful I promise)

Turn your crock pot on high.

Season your roast with salt and pepper and brown edges in a skillet.

Put roast in the crock pot.

Slice your onion into wedges and put around the roast.

Add enough of the root beer that the roast is covered.

Cook on High for 5 hours.

While cooking use the left over root beer and the ice cream to have a root beer float! :)

We took the roast out of the crock pot so we could cut it, and just reserved some of the yummy juices!

 Tips from Kj:

If you have the time...cook this on low for 8 hours!

You can add any other veggies you want like potatoes or carrots.

We put mushrooms on top sauteed in butter with garlic Mrs. Dash and season salt. YUM!!!!

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Sunday, September 30, 2012

My Pinterest Fail

You all have one...right? A pinterest fail? Something you saw and thought "oh boy! I'm going to make that!" And then right before your eyes it all goes downhill? Please tell me I'm not alone....

Introduce: Scrambled egg bananas

These are my "banana pancakes" made from 1 banana and 2 eggs. They are supposed to be amazing and apparently people actually succeed in making these. See here. I, on the other hand, fail. Miserably.

They wouldn't flip, turned to mush, and then into a scrambled kind of mess.

So then I made the rest of it into real scrambled eggs for fun. I tried to feed them to my husband. He decided maybe if our little guy was a toddler they would be a good toddler food. I guess he didn't like banana flavored eggs. Bummer. lol

I always ask Mark if a recipe is "bloggabe", or not after he tries it. Normally they are, but this was an unbloggable sort of day for me to say the least.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Chicken Fajitas

Normally when we go to Costco I go into the vegetable cooler and come out with Mushrooms. Period. I am always so tempted by all of the other delicious things in there but we are frugal so I get mushrooms and leave before I cram every other healthy veggie into my cart. Then I head over to Buy Low...which is like a on sale produce heaven here in good old Provo, UT. I may just cry when we leave because that store is my best friend. Seriously sometimes they have oranges 10 lbs for $1 NOT LYING PEOPLE. It is incredible and that is just one example. 

The only thing wrong with Buy Low is they normally have just your fruit and veggie basics so we don't ever get anything out of the ordinary...but we're frugal so it works. Now the other day I sent my hubby into the vegetable cooler because I didn't want to freeze my cute little dude that I was holding. And he does not come out with only mushrooms. He on the other hand and he comes out with: Asparagus, Sugar Snap Peas, and Mini Bell Peppers. Oh my how I love that man. Those are actually 3 of my most favorite things in the world! He does not even like the peas or the peppers but knows i'll eat them all raw in a week. 

I had to reward him for his purchases and decided to use the bell peppers in something he would eat: fajitas. We had these with the rice I posted Thursday. Here is what you need: 

First you are going to make a marinade for your chicken (cut into strips) and marinate it for 1 hour:

2 Boneless skinless chicken breasts cut into strips

1/4 cup lime juice
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
6 cloves garlic minced
1 teaspoon chili powder
Salt and black pepper, to taste

While your chicken is marinating cut up 1 onion into strips and about 6 mini bell peppers or 2 regular sized bell peppers into strips. 

Once chicken is done marinating dump it with the sauce into a skillet and cook until the chicken is cooked through. Take the chicken out and add 1 tablespoon of oil to the skillet (but don't rinse it out at all leave everything from the chicken in the skillet) Cook your bell peppers and onion until soft and add the chicken back into the pan. By now your kitchen should smell so delicious you might find yourself sneaking bites of the fajita mixture before you tell anyone else dinner is ready. 

Tips from KJ: 

We had these on corn tortillas...but you can have them on any kind of tortilla you want. 

You could also add some cheese and enchilada sauce and turn these into enchiladas or smothered burritos. 

We just had them with sour cream and guacamole but the fun thing about fajitas is that you control what goes on them and what doesn't :) 

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Sweet Lime Rice

When I first married Mark I was not really much of a rice eater. I would have it every now and then but really it was not a staple in my diet. I quickly learned that while I LOVED potatoes and veggies as sides with meals Mark really loved rice. It soon became something I loved too and I have fun trying out new rice recipes so we don't have to have plain white rice all the time. (Or I would not love having rice always) Even if it is just adding a few herbs/spices rice is easy to experiment with.

This rice gets most of it's credit from my mom. She has a recipe for it and she has given me the recipe too. But, we were up camping and we didn't have the recipe so I decided to just wing it. I came up with this rice (it does not taste like her original recipe but my dad liked it so much he said she had to get the recipe from then I had to try to re-create it and I got pretty close I think!)


4 Servings rice pre-cooked. (you can use instant or regular...I normally use my rice maker for this part) This is about 4 cups of rice.
1/3 c Milk
1/2 c Sugar
Juice of 2 limes
2 Tsp Dried Cilantro
Salt to taste

Once your rice is done just add all of your ingredients and stir it up! I like to add salt to this because it gives a little bit of a nice contrast to the sweet. It is okay though if you just want to let everyone add salt as they see fit because it is very good without it!

Tips from KJ:

If your rice is seeming a little dry you can add a little more milk. It is supposed to be more of a sticky rice consistency.

We always use Vanilla Soy Milk for this. I can't have dairy right now and Mark just can't have cows milk so we pretty much only drink Soy milk in the Helberg home :)

If you don't like Cilantro leave it out! Or if you love it than add FRESH! Pin It

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Garlic Broiled Asparagus

Recently I have become more healthy than I ever thought was possible. I have been banned from DAIRY for the next 8 months while I breastfeed my little guy. I guess his little tummy does not do well with the protein that is in dairy and for now because I love him and want him to be happy I am taking all dairy out of my diet. It is HARD my friends. But possible! I just have to do a little bit of tweaking to my portion of the foods I make and have to watch Mark eating cheese, trifle, cheese, ice cream, and more cheese making me Jealous. I just keep reminding myself that there is no better way to lose pregnancy weight like going dairy free! :) 

Mark got me a giant bag of Asparagus when we were at Costco the other day and I could not wait to experiment with some new recipes. He is lucky because he got to enjoy the full deliciousness of this recipe while I had to leave one part off of mine...the Parmesan Cheese so all of you diary lovers out your Parmesan cheese for me.  
These are so quick and easy. Here is what you need!

1 Bunch of asparagus
2 Tablespoons Oil
3 Cloves of Garlic Grated/Minced
Sprinkle of Garlic Salt
Parmesan Cheese

Pre-Heat your broiler on High. Mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Place asparagus on a cookie sheet and drizzle mixture over the top. Then make sure all of the asparagus is covered completely. Once coated sprinkle Parmesan cheese (or as we call it Parm Cheese)  over the top of all of the asparagus.

Broil for about 8 minutes or until they are tender. (They still will be a little crunchy but you should be able to easily pierce with a fork)

Tips from Kj:

LEMON!! I cannot say that enough. Lemon with Asparagus is absolutely delicious. We didn't have one. It was sad. Next time. Drizzle it on before or after broiling and you will not be sorry. Pin It

Herb Grilled Pork Chops

Pork chops are a tricky meat...either they will turn out juicy and delicious or on the other hand you might find yourself taking a big bite of a dry flavorless disappointment.

Fortunately for us these were delicious and juicy! 

Here is what you need: 

1/2 cup oil
1 tsp Parsley
6 Garlic Cloves Minced/Grated
1/2 tsp thyme
1/2 tsp rosemary
1/2 tsp Salt

2 Pork Chops

Mix all of the ingredients in a zip lock bag and add the pork chops. You can let them marinate for a while or just stick them on the George* once they have been coated in the mixture. 

*George is the name that we lovingly and naturally call our George Foreman Grill. If you are lucky enough to have a real live grill out on your beautiful wrap around porch with nice patio furniture, while your children play on your in ground trampoline, and playground worthy swing set, waiting anxiously for the marshmallow roasting in your own backyard fire pit after dinner....grill away my friends. But we use George for all of our grilling needs and dream of the days we can have a real grill with all of the above mentioned extras. :) 

Grill on your George if you have one for about 3 Minutes Per side (Flipping Every 3 minutes) 

We had these with some lovely Rice A Roni Rice Pilaf and Garlic Broiled Asparagus (See THIS post) 

Tips from KJ:

I think it would be so yummy to omit the oil and baste the chops with butter as you are cooking. So I would coat them in the dry herb mixture and then baste them on each side as I flipped. Sounds healthy right? Probably as healthy as oil and you could use light butter, so there. 

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Sweet Meatballs

My hubby is staring at me in disbelief….I just put a movie I have been dying to watch in the dvd player, our baby is sleeping, we can totally snuggle and all of a sudden I said, “Wait!! I have to post the meatballs or all my followers of my cooking blog will be so disappointed” You know, because I promised you all a recipe today. So here I sit frantically typing this recipe so we can still get in some good cuddle time before our little cutie wakes up :) (He also laughs when I say followers…like he doesn’t think you are out there but I have faith that there might at least be two of you)

I have seen on pinterest recently a lot of posts of meatballs cooked in the crock pot with grape jelly. I decided to make my own rendition of those…minus crockpot…I love cooking in the crock pot it just takes planning. I didn’t have hours to let them cook or any pre-made meatballs so I made my own and I baked them in the oven for 30 minutes!



For the meatballs

1 lb Hamburger
1 Tbsp Mustard
1/8 C Milk
1/2 C Breadcrumbs
1 tsp Onion Powder
1 tsp Garlic Powder
1 Tbsp Honey

Mix all together and roll into 12 balls and place in an 8x8 baking dish.

Add 1/2 of an 18 oz Jar of grape jelly and spread around the meatballs.


Sprinkle 1/4 cup brown sugar over the top of the meatballs.


Bake at 350 for 15 minutes

Take the meatballs out and flip them all over so they are now bottom up and the tops of them can get covered with sweet goodness :)

Bake for 15 more minutes and you are done! We had these with our usual spaghetti and American cheese on the side. Yummy.

Tips from Kj:

If you have pre-made meatballs go ahead and use those but I prefer to make my own. It is fun to experiment with the spices I put into them. I don’t think I ever make the same meatballs twice.

I am sure if  you don’t like grape jelly you could make these with other kinds of jelly. Although you can’t really tell it is grape jelly in the end…promise!

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