Showing posts from 2011

Recipe: Apple Cheese Salad

This recipe totally surprised me with how good it was. It's not nearly the bother you'd first assume. I found it in a very old cookbook called "Joys of Jell-O." I cannot find a print date, nor an ISBN. Yes, you can use the sugar free Jello. In fact, I used the lime flavor. Delicious, and so cool after a hot day.

Apple Cheese Salad
1 3 oz pkg Jell-o Lemon or Lemon-Lime gelatin 1/2 tsp salt 1 cup boiling water 3/4 cup cold water 1-2 T lemon juice dash pepper 1-1/2 c. cottage cheese 3/4 c diced unpeeled apples (tart ones work very well, like Granny Smith) 1/4 c chopped pecans
Dissolve gelatin and salt in boiling water. Use a whisk to stir for a full two minutes. Add cold water, lemon juice, and pepper. Chill until very thick, about 45 min. (When you can drag a spoon through it and it leaves a clear mark, it's done enough.) Fold in the cheese, apples, and nuts. Pour into a mold, if desired. Chill until firm. Un-mold. Makes about 4 cups, or 4 entree servings.
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The Ultimate Pantry Stock-Up List

While I can agree with most of these, I have to admit there are some (like clam juice) that I consider specialty items. I wouldn't keep them in stock. That's the way we roll here. However, overall this list pretty much guarantees a way to have most of what you need on hand.

Check it out and see if you don't agree.  I think I'm going to merge this list with my regular grocery list and see how well it matches.

Recipe: Layered Mexican Casserole

Layered Mexican Casserole 1 lb lean ground beef 1 jar (16 oz) Old El Paso Thick n Chunky salsa 8 soft corn tortillas (6 inch), torn. (Recommendation: tear 4 in one bowl, then 4 in another bowl.) 1 can (16 oz) Old El Paso refried beans 1-1/2 cups shredded Mexican cheese blend (6 oz) 1 can (15 oz) Spanish rice 1 cup coarsely crushed tortilla chips Diced tomato, if desired Chopped green onion, if desired Sour cream, if desired Heat oven to 350F. Spray an 11x7 (2 quart) glass baking dish with cooking spray. In a 10-inch skillet, cook beef over medium-high heat 5-7 minutes, stirring frequently, until thoroughly cooked. Drain. Sir in 1 cup of the salsa; heat about 2 minutes or until hot. Line baking dish with one bowl of the tortilla pieces. Stir the refried beans and remaining salsa; spoon and spread evenly over tortillas. Top with 1/2 of the meat mixture and 3/4 cup of the cheese. Layer remaining tortilla pieces over the cheese. Spoon and spread rice over tortillas. Top with remaining meat mixture, …

Another FlyLady toy!

Woohoo!! I got the coolest "toy" for Mother's Day a week early! Anyone who knows me for more than a week, knows I love and the organizational tools therein. Today, I can add another "toy" from FlyLady to my list of "you gotta try this!" items-- The Rubba Sweepa.

Okay, I admit I was skeptical. Really, how great could a rubber-headed "broom" be? Brooms are brooms. You sweep with them. Not much to it, right? Wrong!! Brooms are a pain in the tush, and limited. They have to be somewhat tall, so they can't get under things easily. I never got my broom to reach all the way under my china cabinets, where the dust bunnies accumulated like tribbles on Star Trek. My broom never could get all the cat littler that accumulated around the litter box. I'd see a fine white-ish gray dust trail left behind and sweep until I gave up in frustration. Sweeping the entire house was even more of an exercise in frustration as the wind from my swe…

Freezer Meal Update

For those who haven't popped into my Yahoo Group, "Catitude" recently, I recently posed about a new concept for me-- Homemade Freezer Meals. The concept came from The Dinner Diva, Leanne Ely, who has recipes especially for this concept. She's the one who also came up with and she's a genius!

Basically, the idea is to come home from the grocery store, but instead of putting away all the food, immediately pre-prepare your meals into Ziploc freezer bags. A roast might be seasoned before freezing. Ground beef may be made into an uncooked meatloaf and frozen. In the case of a soup or stew, the meat can be quickly browned and thrown into the bag with the other ingredients.Think how nom-nom good a steak would be if it marinated in its sauce for days. (Excuse me, my mouth is watering. ::Dab, dab::)

Label with recipe and page number in cookbook, date, and store in the freezer. It works! I tried it! I'm sold on this method. (More on this la…

Recipe: Grapefruit Chicken Salad

Grapefruit Chicken Salad
Serves 4

1 1/2 cups grapefruit segments; cut into bite- sized pieces

2 cups diced cooked chicken breast (no skin)

1/4 cup chopped celery

1/4 cup red onion, chopped fine

1/4 cup reduced-calorie mayonnaise

1/4 cup low-fat plain yogurt

1/4 cup minced fresh parsley

Very easy! Just combine all the ingredients, mix thoroughly, and throw on top of a bed of mixed baby salad greens!
Lena Austin

Freezer Meals

One of my Dinner Diva newsletters had an idea I just love. I may try this concept of making your own Freezer Meals. She specifically cited meatloaf. You make up the meatloaf, then freeze it raw. Defrost and cook when ready.

That's what stopped me from making make-ahead meals before. They were essentially frozen leftovers that always came out soggy and terrible. With the Dinner Diva concept, you leave it raw and ready to cook. No soggy meatloaf when you cook it, because it hasn't been cooked before.

Wow! What a revelation. I began to think of all my favorite recipes, many of which could be easily frozen in their ready-to-cook state, defrosted overnight, then popped into the oven or crock pot. My mind races ahead to soups and stews, casseroles, and even pre-preparing roasts/meats but adding the veggies at the last minute. Wow, now there's a marinade that really has a chance to work on a steak.

I'm so thrilled with this concept, I can barely stand to go to work today. I …

Recipe: Colcannon for St. Patrick's Day

Colcannon By: Marc Boyer "This is a recipe from County Mayo. It is traditional Halloween fare but good anytime! Kale can be substituted for cabbage."  Serves 5 Ingredients1 pound cabbage1 pound potatoes2 leeks1 cup milksalt and pepper to taste1 pinch ground mace1/2 cup butter DirectionsIn a large saucepan, boil cabbage until tender; remove and chop or blend well. Set aside and keep warm. Boil potatoes until tender. Remove from heat and drain. Chop leeks, green parts as well as white, and simmer them in just enough milk to cover, until they are soft. Season and mash potatoes well. Stir in cooked leeks and milk. Blend in the kale or cabbage and heat until the whole is a pale green fluff. Make a well in the center and pour in the melted butter. Mix well. Nutritional Information Amount Per Serving  Calories: 302 | Total Fat: 19.7g | Cholesterol: 53mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient DatabaseNutritional Information Colcannon Servings Per Recipe: 5Amount Per ServingCalories: 302Total Fat: 19.7gC…

St Patrick's Day Recipe: Slow-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage

Slow-Cooked Corned Beef and Cabbage3 1/2 cups Swanson® Beef Broth or Swanson® Beef Stock 1/4 cup cider vinegar 2 medium onions, cut into quarters5 medium potatoes, peeled and cut into quarters (about 5 cups)5 medium carrots, cut into 2-inch pieces (about 2 1/2 cups)1 corned beef or beef brisket (about 3 pounds)1 head green cabbage, trimmed and cut into 6 wedges (about 2 pounds)Bouquet GarniStir the broth and vinegar into a 6-quart slow cooker. Add the onions, potatoes, carrots, beef and cabbage. Submerge the Bouquet Garni in the broth mixture.Cover and cook on LOW for 8 to 9 hours or until the beef is fork-tender. Remove the Bouquet Garni. RECIPE TIPSBouquet Garni: Lay a 4-inch square of cheesecloth flat on the counter. Place 4 cloves garlic, 1 tablespoon pickling spice and 2 bay leaves in the center of the cloth. Bring the corners of the cheesecloth together and tie with kitchen string into a bundle.Time-Saving: Or you may cook the recipe on HIGH for 4 to 5 hours.For thicker sauce: Re…

Low Fat Chocolate Muffins

Cynnara does it again! Let's give her a hand!

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Cynnara T <>

Sent: Fri, February 18, 2011 9:49:24 PM

I get Taste of Home each month. (It's my treat to myself!) So, there was this
recipe a couple of months back-- and it's on the website. :D

Low-Fat Chocolate Muffins Recipe

* 12 Servings
* Prep: 10 min. Bake: 15 min. + cooling


* 1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
* 3/4 cup sugar
* 1/4 cup baking cocoa
* 2 teaspoons baking powder
* 1 teaspoon baking soda
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2/3 cup fat-free vanilla yogurt
* 2/3 cup fat-free milk
* 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
* Confectioners' sugar, optional


* In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients. Stir in the yogurt, milk
and vanilla just until moistened. Coat muffin cups with cooking spray; fill
two-thirds full.
* Bake at 400° for 15-20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted near the center
comes out clean. Coo…

Recipe: Low Fat Death by Chocolate

Cynnara sure knows how to make a diet recipe sound delectable, doesn't she?

----- Forwarded Message ----
From: Cynnara T <>
Sent: Fri, February 18, 2011 9:48:38 PM
Subject: [ChangelingPress] Recipe: Low Fat Death by Chocolate

Death By Chocolate

This low-fat dessert is made by layering prepared fat-free instant chocolate pudding, slices of fat-free chocolate pound cake, and fat-free whipped dessert topping in a large bowl, then sprinkling with chocolate chips.


* 2 Pkgs fat-free instant chocolate pudding
* 1 fat-free chocolate pound cake
* 1 container fat-free Cool Whip, thawed
* Sprinkle of chocolate chips


Prepare pudding according to instructions. Cut cake into 12 slices. In a trifle or clear glass bowl, layer cake slices, pudding, and Cool Whip; repeat 3 times. Sprinkle top with chocolate chips. Chill.

Get Rich Slowly: Fight Rising Prices by Building Your Own Food Bank

Get Rich Slowly: Fight Rising Prices by Building Your Own Food Bank
Fight Rising Prices by Building Your Own Food BankPosted: 02 Feb 2011 03:00 AM PSTThis post is from new GRS staff writer Donna Freedman. Donna writes the Living With Less personal finance column for MSN Money, and writes about frugality and intentional living at Surviving And Thriving.According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, food prices are expected to rise as much as 5.5% in 2011. Those prices aren't likely to go back down. So why not invest in food futures, i.e., your own pantry? Put it this way: If you have an emergency fund in the bank, why not have food in the bank?Liz Pulliam Weston calls a full cupboard "the emergency fund you can eat." Having plenty of staples on hand makes sense for several reasons:You're locked in at the price you paid, which ideally will be the sale price (more on that later).There's always something to fix for supper, which can mean less temptation to order in.…

Healthy Foods - Why a Food Journal?

Why a Food Journal?
by Leanne Ely, C.N.C Keeping a food journal is a great way to track your nutrition, your water
intake, your moods, sleep patterns, and your exercise. All of these things are
interrelated to your physical and mental health. By tracking these things you
can figure out why you eat what you eat and why you feel how you feel. It's a great way to find food sensitivities, emotional eating triggers, and
quality of sleep. For example, you may learn that drinking caffeine after 3:00
keeps you up all night or you might learn that tortillas give you heart burn. As you are able to monitor and evaluate how different foods make you feel you are
able to make better choices and improve your quality of life. A food journal is also a great way to keep you on a healthy eating plan. Being
accountable to yourself is a powerful thing. If you know that you have to write
down everything you eat you may find yourself thinking twice about having that
piece of pie after dinner time. I know…

The Weekend from Hell

Okay, here's the official report of why I ended up incommunicado and incarcerated in a hospital all weekend, starting January 28, 2011. (Warning-- foul language and aspersions cast upon the wisdom of several professions.)
After Randy's death, I'd been feeling very down and considered myself very unlucky. I think most folks can understand my feelings. However, I began to realize the depression was interfering with my work and daily life. So, I made an appointment with my primary care physician's office to reinstate the prescription I'd had previously for Wellbutrin. It had worked well before, so I was confident that would be all I needed to even out the peaks and valleys of my mood swings. My appointment was for late Friday morning. Dante and I went with the idea of having a bit of lunch and taking care of a few errands while we were out.
As usual with my PCP, I had to see her PA (physician's assistant). No big deal. I had a short list of problems to discuss, suc…

Baketastic Butternut Squash Fries from Hungry Girl

Lena Amanda Austin thought you would be interested in this link to "Bake-tastic Butternut Squash Fries" on the Cooking Channel:

Comments from Lena Amanda Austin:
I think this is just what you've been looking for to replace those nasty french fries. I don't have a crinkle-cutter, but it's not necessary.

Spicy Cheese Soup

Spicy Cheese Soup Serves 4, doubles easily 1 lb Velveeta, cubed 1 lb ground beef, cooked and drained 1 can (8 oz) whole kernel corn 1 can 15 oz kidney beans 1 can (4 oz) minced jalapeno 1 14oz diced tomatoes with chiles 1 14oz stewed tomatoes 1 envelope taco seasoning mix Throw them all in the slow cooker on Low for no more than 6 hours. After that, reduce to Warm. Serve with corn chips if desired. (Yeah, it's that easy.)

Lena Austin

How Clean is Your Kitchen?

Dinner Diva
This is a great article to share with your friends & family How Safe Is Your Kitchen?
By Leanne Ely, C.N.C.

Dirty dining reports are becoming quite popular with local news stations all around the country and are grossing out America at the same time. I'm sure you've seen it before; local reporters go into the kitchens of restaurants to see what health code violations they can find. I'll spare you the gory details, but it's usually one more reason I prefer to cook my meals at home.

But let me ask you-- how would your kitchen stand up to one of these inspections? I like to keep my sink shiny (thanks to FlyLady) and my pantry neat (thank you Rubbermaid) but as you may have seen in my pantry makeover blog just about a year ago, I found an old sprouting potato hiding in the dark recesses of my pantry. It happens!

So how safe is your kitchen? When is the last time you gave your fridge and freezer a good disinfecting? How old is the shelf liner in your cabinets? …

Rubba Scrubba to the Rescue!

I love, love, love my Rubba Scrubba from This has to be one of the all-time great things about being a Flybaby. (Don't you dare call me a maggot!) FlyLady just posted this list of all they can do. I've cleaned dishes, removed pet hair from furniture and crevices, and dusted my lampshades using mine.

Rubba Scrubbas to the Rescue!

Cleaning window screens

Cleaning vegetables

Cleaning dishes

Cleaning mud/etc. off the bottom of shoes

Sweeping up broken glass

Sweeping up dust around baseboards

Brushing off carpeted stairs

Cleaning fan and hairdryer vents

Cleaning grill vents

Scrubbing out yucky garbage cans

Picking up pet hair

Rubbing/combing your pet


Sweeping dirt out of tent

Brushing snow off of clothing

Brushing up lint (especially velvet lint)

Cleaning Dryer Lint screen

Cleaning lamp shades

Cleaning blinds

Cleaning window sills

Cleaning the divots and grooves in tile and linoleum

Cleaning dust off of ball caps

Cleaning crevices in paint

Scrubbing spots on …