27 October 2010

What's on your plate? A is for Apple

In Northern CA we have this wonderful
place called Apple Hill.
Apple Hill is a crafters heaven and the good food,
apple beer and apple wine are not too bad either.

In honor of one of my favorite fall hot spots here are a
few Apple goodies for you.


Apple Crisp
1 cup flour
3 cup dry oatmeal
1 1/2 cup brown sugar
1 2/ tsp salt
3 tsp cinnamon
1 cup margarine, melted
1 gallon can apples

Mix thoroughly in medium pot flour, oatmeal, brown sugar, salt, and cinnamon. Add melted margarine and mix well. Mixture should be crumbly. Place large pot lid upside down in dutch oven and line with foil. Grease well with margarine. Add apples. Top with oatmeal mixture. Cover and place coals on bottom and top of oven in 1 to 3 ratio. Bake 1 hour. Serve warm. Peaches, pineapple, or cherries can be substuted for apples.

Caramel Apples
Makes 6 medium or 12 mini candy apples

Unsalted butter, for parchment paper
2 cups sugar
3/4 cup water
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon red food coloring, (optional)
6 medium apples, or 12 lady apples

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; butter parchment, and set aside. In a medium heavy-bottomed saucepan, combine sugar, 3/4 cup water, corn syrup, and food coloring, if using. Bring to a boil over high heat; reduce heat to medium-high. Insert candy thermometer and continue to boil until temperature reaches between 300 degrees and 310 degrees (hard crack stage), about 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, insert a wooden stick into the top of each apple, pushing about halfway through; set aside. When mixture reaches temperature, immediately remove from heat. Working quickly, dip apples in sugar mixture until completely coated. Transfer to prepared baking sheet; allow to cool.

Low Cal Apple Pie
SERVING SIZE = 1 slice
Weight Watchers Points Value = 4 (WW Points)

4 medium apple(s), McIntosh, peeled and thinly sliced
3 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, chilled and cut up in small chunks
1 cup all-purpose flour
2 Tbsp water, or more if necessary
1/3 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
2 tsp sugar
1 Tbsp cornstarch
2 Tbsp reduced-calorie margarine, melted
5 Tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbsp sugar
Preheat oven to 400ºF. Start by making the crust. First, in a large mixing bowl or a food processor, combine 2 teaspoons of sugar and 1 cup of flour. Add 3 tablespoons of chilled, reduced calorie margarine and process until mixture looks crumbly, like coarse meal. If you don’t have a food processor, just use your fingers. Then start to mix in cold water, one tablespoon at a time, and mix well forming a dough. Using a rolling pin, flatten dough in a circle a bit larger than a9-inch pie pan. Press dough into the bottom and up the sides of the pie pan.

Next, make the filling. To do this, combine 1/4 cup of sugar, apples, cinnamon and cornstarch in a large bowl; add in the apple slices and toss to coat. Place mixture in prepared piecrust.

Finally, make the topping by mixing 2 tablespoons of sugar, melted margarine, 5 tablespoons of flour, 2 tablespoons of sugar and oats in a small bowl; scatter over apples.

Bake for about 45 to 50 minutes or until crumbly topping is golden brown in color and apples are tender. Cool for at least a half hour before serving. Serves 8.

MMMMM ... they all look so yummy!
What to do first?


26 October 2010

Party prep is underway ...

This year Daughter is having her birthday party on Halloween.
This is the first time that ::
a) she is having it on Halloween, and
b) we are having the party at our house.

With her softball touneys and Thanksgiving there
really was no other free weekend around her actual birthday
to do it.

She is so excited!

The dealio is this, we are spooktifying our entryway.
We are having a couple games, pizza, cake & icecream.
Then, the 13 little goblins will be trick-or-treating together.
(oh gosh, Daughter will be mortified if she finds out
I called her and her friends little goblins. Not cool for a
5th grader, don't you know!) HA!

I went and bought the party favors yesterday.
Here's a sneak peak - the only one you'll get until after the party ... hee hee
A quick funny about these pumpkins ...
Daughter loves neon green right now which is why I got them all in green.
Last night she gets home and I show her I got her party stuff.
She says, "OH! I call the green one!"
I said, "Sweety, take a look at the pumpkins."
She says, "Oh" and starts laughing.

I love that little munchkin.

Stay tuned for the party post next week!

P.S. I haven't made the stew yet.

20 October 2010

What's on your plate? Pumpkin Seeds!

Did you know?

Pumpkin Seeds May Promote Prostate Health
Benign prostatic hypertrophy, or BPH, is a condition that commonly affects men 50 years and older in the United States. BPH involves enlargement of the prostate gland. One of the factors that contributes to BPH is overstimulation of the prostate cells by testosterone and its conversion product, DHT (dihydrotestosterone). Components in pumpkin seed oil appear able to interrupt this triggering of prostate cell multiplication by testosterone and DHT, although the exact mechanism for this effect is still a matter of discussion. Equally open for discussion is the relationship between pumpkin seed oil extracts (which could be purchased in the form of a dietary supplement) and pumpkin seeds themselves. The prostate-helpful components found in the oil extracts are definitely found in the seeds; the only question is whether the amount of seeds eaten for a normal snack would contain enough of these prostate-supportive components. The carotenoids found in pumpkin seeds, and the omega-3 fats found in pumpkin seeds are also being studied for their potential prostate benefits. Men with higher amounts of carotenoids in their diet have less risk for BPH; this is the connection that has led to an interest in pumpkin seed carotenoids.

Zinc is one further nutrient found in pumpkin seeds that might impact prostate function. The fact that pumpkin seeds serve as a good source of zinc may contribute to the role of pumpkin seeds in support of the prostate. However, studies about the relationship between zinc and BPH show mixed results, and more research is needed to determine the circumstances under which zinc might be helpful versus harmful.

Protection for Men's Bones
In addition to maintaining prostate health, another reason for older men to make zinc-rich foods, such as pumpkin seeds, a regular part of their healthy way of eating is bone mineral density. Although osteoporosis is often thought to be a disease for which postmenopausal women are at highest risk, it is also a potential problem for older men. Almost 30% of hip fractures occur in men, and 1 in 8 men over age 50 will have an osteoporotic fracture. A study of almost 400 men ranging in age from 45-92 that was published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found a clear correlation between low dietary intake of zinc, low blood levels of the trace mineral, and osteoporosis at the hip and spine.

Anti-Inflammatory Benefits in Arthritis
The healing properties of pumpkin seeds have also been recently investigated with respect to arthritis. In animal studies, the addition of pumpkin seeds to the diet has compared favorably with use of the non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug indomethacin in reducing inflammatory symptoms. Importantly, though, pumpkin seeds did not have one extremely unwanted effect of indomethacin: unlike the drug, pumpkin seeds do not increase the level of damaged fats (lipid peroxides) in the linings of the joints, a side-effect that actually contributes to the progression of arthritis.

A Rich Source of Healthful Minerals, Protein and Monounsaturated Fat

In addition to their above-listed unique health benefits, pumpkin seeds also provide a wide range of traditional nutrients. Our food ranking system qualified them as a very good source of the minerals magnesium, manganese and phosphorus, and a good source of iron, copper, protein, and as previously mentioned, zinc. Snack on a quarter-cup of pumpkin seeds and you will receive 46.1% of the daily value for magnesium, 28.7% of the DV for iron, 52.0% of the DV for manganese, 24.0% of the DV for copper, 16.9% of the DV for protein, and 17.1% of the DV for zinc.

Pumpkin Seed Phytosterols Lower Cholesterol
Phytosterols are compounds found in plants that have a chemical structure very similar to cholesterol, and when present in the diet in sufficient amounts, are believed to reduce blood levels of cholesterol, enhance the immune response and decrease risk of certain cancers.

Phytosterols beneficial effects are so dramatic that they have been extracted from soybean, corn, and pine tree oil and added to processed foods, such as "butter"-replacement spreads, which are then touted as cholesterol-lowering "foods." But why settle for an imitation "butter" when Mother Nature's nuts and seeds are a naturally rich source of phytosterols-and cardio-protective fiber, minerals and healthy fats as well?

In a study in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, researchers published the amounts of phytosterols present in nuts and seeds commonly eaten in the United States.

Of the nuts and seeds typically consumed as snack foods, pistachios and sunflower seeds were richest in phytosterols (270-289 mg/100 g), closely followed by pumpkin seeds(265 mg/100 g). (100 grams is equivalent to 3.5 ounces.) Sesame seeds had the highest total phytosterol content (400-413 mg per 100 grams) of all nuts and seeds, while English walnuts and Brazil nuts had the lowest (113 mg/100grams and 95 mg/100 grams).

Pumpkin seeds, also known as pepitas, are flat, dark green seeds. Some are encased in a yellow-white husk, although some varieties of pumpkins produce seeds without shells. Pumpkin seeds have a malleable, chewy texture and a subtly sweet, nutty flavor. While roasted pumpkins seeds are probably best known for their role as a perennial Halloween treat, these seeds are so delicious, and nutritious, that they can be enjoyed throughout the whole year.

Like cantaloupe, cucumber, and squash, pumpkins and pumpkin seeds belong to the gourd or Cucurbitaceae family. The most common genus and species name for pumpkin is Cucurbita maxima.

Pumpkins, and their seeds, were a celebrated food of the Native American Indians who treasured them both for their dietary and medicinal properties. The cultivation of pumpkins spread throughout the world when the European explorers, returning from their journeys, brought back many of the agricultural treasures of the New World. While pumpkin seeds are featured in the recipes of many cultures, they are a special hallmark of traditional Mexican cuisine. Pumpkin seeds have recently become more popular as research suggests that they have unique nutritional and health benefits.

Today, the leading commercial producers of pumpkins include the United States, Mexico, India and China.

Very interesting. I love learning new things. 
(recipe ideas to come)

18 October 2010

Cold & Flu ... Icky Ooo

Well my fabulous Peeps, Hubber has the flu.
Yep it's true. The poor guy never gets sick.
He even managed to avoid H1N1 last August when I had it.
Humpf ... poor guy.

I decided to do some web surfing in an attempt to locate
cold and flu prevention tips.
I stumbled upon Clorox's site. Huh, would have never thought to look here
but it does make total sense to be a good resource.

So here ya go ...

Flu symptoms                                  Cold symptoms

Sudden onset of illness                       Slow onset of illness
High fever                                        Low or no fever
Extreme fatigue                                Mild fatigue
Dry cough                                         Severe cough and runny or stuffy nose
Achy head                                         No headache
Achy muscles                                     No achy muscles
Chills                                                No chills

1) Get vaccinated :: Vaccination is the first step to flu prevention. In general, all healthy people should get vaccinated. The CDC now recommends that, in addition to other high risk groups, all healthy children get a flu vaccination.

2) Wash your hands :: Cold and flu viruses may be spread by indirect contact. Maybe someone sneezes onto their hand and then touches a doorknob, only to have the virus picked up by the next person who also touches it.

3) Do the elbow cough :: Since viruses cling to your bare hands, you can reduce the spread of viruses by perfecting the art of the elbow cough. When you cough, simply cover your face with your entire elbow. It’s also an easy technique to teach kids.

4) Disinfect common surfaces :: Viruses that cause colds and flu can survive on common surfaces for up to 72 hours and kids can touch up to 300 surfaces in 30 minutes.

5) Drink water :: Water can help strengthen your immune system, keeping the flu at bay. And if you do get sick, water flushes your system, re-hydrates you and washes out the toxins. An adult should drink eight 8-ounce glasses of fluids each day. If the color of your urine is close to clear, then you are getting enough. If it's deep yellow, drink more water.

Flu is responsible for approximately 22 million missed school days each year.

Five to twenty percent of Americans get the flu every year, causing around 200,000 hospitalizations.

The flu virus can survive up to 72 hours on surfaces like doorknobs and desks.

Adults can spread the flu virus up to a day before developing symptoms and 3 to 7 days after symptoms start. Children can pass on the virus even longer.

Antibiotics are only designed to kill bacteria, so they can’t cure the flu virus. The best medicine is plenty of rest and a lot of liquids. And if your illness gets worse, be sure to see your doctor.

A recent study found a strain of the flu virus was present on 60% of common household items in homes with just one sick kid.

Stay healthy the best you can this winter season. 

15 October 2010

A Friday Fun Yummy

Check out these cauldron cubcakes I found.
They are the CUTEst idea. In my opinion.

I want to make these adorable little goodies for
Daughter's birthday party. She's having it on Halloween this year.
It's going to be a spooktacular time, I already know.

Baked cupcakes
Chocolate frosting
Vanilla pudding or yogurt
Green gel tube frosting
Small candies
String licorice

1. Remove paper from a purchased or baked cupcake. Turn cupcake upside down; trim bottom, if necessary, to make cupcake stand straight.

2. Using a spoon, scoop out center, leaving 1/2 inch around the edges and about 1 inch on the bottom. Spread chocolate frosting on the sides and top of each cupcake.

3. Spoon the vanilla pudding or yogurt into the center of the cupcake. Decorate it with green gel tube frosting. Sprinkle the small candies onto the fillings. Push the ends of the licorice into opposite sides of the cupcake to make a handle.

Make-Ahead Tip: Store decorated cupcakes in airtight container up to 24 hours.

So easy! Daughter and I are going to have a blast
making these.

Enjoy your weekend!

13 October 2010

What's on your plate? [from the slow cooker]

Tis the season to bust out the slow cooker, aka crock pot.

Yall know I have been trying to jump on the cooking bandwagon right?
Well so far so good. I am really enjoying this more than
I thought I would.  Actually, I am starting to plan meals 
sporadically. True story. I know ... I know ... HUGE step for me.
Sunday, I want to make this ...

Beef Stew (minus the mushrooms because those are fungus-fyi)
I am still paranoid of leaving the slow cooker on and unattended
all day long which is why I have to do this on a weekend day.
(baby steps)

Here is the recipe.
p.s. I LOVE this web site.

I'll let you know how it turns out next week!

12 October 2010

Game on Mr.!

Last night, after another 14 hour work day
(gosh I love being busy), I was on the couch watching the
end of a Disney Channel program with Daughter when my
text notification goes off.
Not an unusual thing in the evening since I am a Realtor and I like to be available.
So I grab my phone and see the text is from
my father-in-law who I call 'Pops'.
He and mother-in-law are the Raider season ticket holders and the ones
who introduced us to the Sac Raider Rooters who happen to
be a blast to go to games with, but ANYHOO ...
Let's move on to the content of this text:

Pops: "Next Sunday Raiders vs 49ers. Loser cooks next dinner
and not Jamie (aka Hubber), you and I."
(I like how he says not Jamie because I totally would have sat back
and let them cook. No harm no foul ... right?) :o)

Me: "Sounds good. Lord help me."

Pops: "It's throw down time."
(this is my favorite part of the text) hee hee hee

Me: "I think I can cook a little."

Pops: "I think you are doing wonderful. Keep it going."

Me: "Ahhh thank you!"

So ... I am a little nervous since I am novice and Pops is like a
master in the kitchen. Ah what the heck, it's gonna be FUN!

Game on Mr.!


photos: credit

11 October 2010

It's All Good {& a rib recipe}

I had 3 hopes for this weekend:

1) Kylee and the Rebels have 2 FUNtabulous games.
2) The ribs that I got up at 6:30 Sunday morning to season and get in the oven turn out ok.
3) The SF 49ers beat the Eagles.

Well we all know #3 did not pan out so well so let's move on to the others ...

1) The Rebels were FANtabulous on Sunday winning both of their games.
Game 1: 15-0; Game 2: 3-2
You see, this is big since Saturday they won just 1 of their 2 games.

Kylee decided to start her Sunday with a pregame breakfast.

it's what she wanted & how she wanted it
Cut huh? She's a creative little munchkin.

To change things up we brought a radio yesterday so the
girls could do their warm-ups to music
in an effort to get them pumped up. It worked!
Another mom brought red and blue hairspray and that was also a BIG hit.
They looked adorable!

Then game time ...

The girls were on fire!  They look great!
Put it this way, they were so pumped that I was still
hearing softball cheers in my head this morning.

2) The ribs were YUMMY. It's true.  I ended up doing them
because Hubber left at 4:45am to get some work done before
Daughter's game.  Poor guy. So I said the night before that I would
season and get them in the oven. This was a first for me.
He didn't object. He must of been very tired. :o)
If you are a frequent reader you know I don't cook often.

Anyhoo ...
They turned out DELISH. I know they weren't lying because
all of the ribs were eaten and nobody got sick! HA!

Here is what I did (nothing was measured):
Preheat oven to 195
Seasoned ribs with rib rub, seasoning salt, garlic salt and pepper.
Topped them off with Sweet baby Ray's BBQ Sauce.
Bake in oven for 4 hours

After softball Hubber finished them on the BBQ with a little more bbq sauce.
(sorry no pic of finished product because we ate them too fast)
They were good and I was proud of myself ... again. {pat pat}

Yep, just waiting for an amateur cooking show to call me. heeee

Now on to that #3 ... humpf! I watched the score of the game the entire
time via my blackberry.  After I saw the dissappointing final score
I got on Facebook to see what smack people were going to talk. ha ha ha
No smack but I did get to see this

So cute already. hee hee hee Boy I sure do hope he
takes after his Auntie. ;o)

All in all we had a great day!

08 October 2010

Little Miss Hairy Legs ...

Oh boy.
Yes, what I am about to admit really did happen.
Yes, I am about to throw myself under the bus.
Yes, I am sure at least 95% of you can relate to what you are about to read.

So here it goes ...

Yesterday I looked cute. My outfit. My hair. My amazing personality.
(just thought I'd throw that last one in there ~ HA!)

Anyhoo ...
My outfit was a light sweater with a belt, a knee-length skirt
and THE cutest wedge boots I have ever owned.

{Do you see where this is going?}

Under those boots I had unshaven legs & little ankle sport socks ... true story.
Hey, I didn't want to be hot ya know.

Let's move on ...

I meet my clients to view homes.  We pull up to this one house -
beautiful new neighborhood, new home & dead grass in front yard.
The dead grass was an eyesore on the street. The house even appeared to be vacant.
Thinking we were going to look at a mess when we walked
in the front door, I was confident we wouldn't have to remove our shoes.

Then the door opens and there we see this immaculately clean,
perfectly decorated home with sparkling carpet.

And then ...

My client: "Would you like us to remove our shoes?"
Home owner: "That would be great."

And so it happens ... boots off and my hairy little legs and sport socks were exposed.
(thank goodness I have blonde hair ~ it could have been worse)

To my defense, I am a busy girl which makes me a tired girl and not
so much a morning person. heee heee

Hmmm ... ya ... I am still giggling about this.

Lesson learned: Shave legs in the winter as if it were summer.
Check!  Will do. Thank you very much.

06 October 2010

What's on your plate? Comfort food!

That's right. Even the uber want to be healthy eaters splurge
from time to time.  I figured since we have had a pleasant
change in the weather here in No. CA comfort food would
be just the topic for this week's What's on your plate?

So here we go ...

When it is chilly outside, I want some chili. Hubber makes
an amazing chili in the slow cooker.
Yum Yum YUMMY!

A few other things I absolutely positively LOVE
are a good cheeseburger ...
Oh my geesh! My mouth is watering. Mmmm
Seriously, when I was prego my mouth would literally water
for a McDs Big Mac. Guess what? I still like them I just
don't indulge too often anymore.
(Hey, I am tucking in my shirts again. Can you blame me? I'm pretty H.O.T!) HA!

And ...
even though I am not a huge sweets/dessert eater I do
enjoy some good ice cream from time to time.
Especially the seasonal flavors ...

What are your favorite comfort foods?

05 October 2010

The Meat Loaf Experiment

I pulled ground turkey out of the freezer a few
days ago.  I figured we would make spaghetting or something with it then
I decided I didn't want spaghetti last night and
I didn't feel like going to the store.  So, I suggested meat loaf.
It sounded good and I was willing to make it. WHOOOAA!
Daughter said she didn't want
meat loaf if it wasn't the one we had before.
(this is the one from Deceptively Delicious - see previous post)
Ahhh ... that's sweet but, um, no we were trying something new.

I quickly jumped online and searched for an easy (you know me)
meat loaf recipe that required ingredients we had on hand and 
wa la! I found this little diddy.
Sooo easy and it required Ritz crackers! (true story)

I gathered the ingredients together then my mind started to
wonder what if? So I got to work.
(keep in mind I am not a chef nor do I claim to be good at this type of
thing but I was feeling very Top Chef like last night for some reason)

See recipe below with my changes in color:

Prep Time: 10 Min ~ Cook Time: 1 Hour ~ 8 Servings

* 1 egg
* 1 1/2 pounds ground beef (I used ground turkey) 
* 1 (14 ounce) can diced tomatoes with green chile peppers (such as RO*TEL®), undrained
   (I used 14 ounces of tomatoe sauce and 6 ounces diced green chilis) 
* 1 sleeve buttery round crackers (such as Ritz®), crushed
* 1 teaspoon onion flakes (optional) (I used minced onion - not measured) 
* 1 1/2 teaspoons garlic powder, to taste, and/or (I used 3 small cloves of fresh chopped garlic - Yes I did this on my own HA!)
* 1 1/2 teaspoons seasoned salt, to taste, and/or
* 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, to taste

* Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
* Beat the egg in a mixing bowl, then add the ground beef, tomatoes, and crushed  crackers. Season with onion flakes, garlic powder, seasoned salt, and pepper.
* Mix until evenly combined.
* Pack into a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
* Bake in the preheated oven until no longer pink in the center, about 1 hour. An instant-read thermometer inserted into the center should read at least 160 degrees F

Nutritional Information
Amount Per Serving Calories: 246
Total Fat: 14.9g
Cholesterol: 80mg

Guess what? We all liked it! (another true story)
I feel like I could be on an amateur Top Chef series.
You know, one that I don't need to know all of those fancy names of the
foods and spices? Ya, I think I could rock something like that. HA!


01 October 2010

Well Hello October!

I am so glad to see you.
Boogety boogety BOO!
This is the month for Halloween. All things Halloween.
Yep, I just decided. This is Halloween month.
photo credit

Jack-o-lanterns ... pumpkin patches ... costumes ... pumpkin spice ... OH MY!
My costume is in my possession. Yes it is, but I am not telling the details.
Not elaborate, just cute.
We are hosting a party this year. Weeeeee. Can't wait.

Our town is having a huge festival this weekend.
It's going to be a blast. Such a perfect way to kick off Halloween month!

Have a wonderful weekend!