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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