Sunday, February 24, 2013

Life These Days....

             These days I have really been exploring where I live. Going on as many back roads
                           and off beat paths. I have to tell you...It's been very dreamy.

                           I stop and pull over on a very busy road and take in the beauty.

On these journeys - you have to stop and grab a cupcake or 4.

                  A twisty road on - Mulholland Dr. and you see the famous Hollywood sign.

                                             Having a tasty lunch is a must - of course.

                                 A little Rodeo Drive is good for the soul once in a while.

The Valley View

                              The evening sky is a vision of beauty that... I can't get enough of.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Incredible Lasagna

               When I was growing up we had Italian food every Wednesday night. It was
         something I looked forward to a lot. I'am a self proclaimed carb addict. The more I
                       try to stay away from the starchy goodness - the more I want.

                  This lasagna is by far the best I have ever had. You're are going to like this..
                                                         Like - Love at first bite

                                                         Incredible Lasagna

                       1 pound ground beef
                       1 pound sweet Italian sausage. ( Casings removed )
                       1 onion, chopped
                       4 garlic cloves, minced
                       1 (28 oz ) can crushed tomatoes
                       1 ( 15 oz ) can tomato sauce
                       2  ( 6 ounce )can tomato paste
                       1/2 cup water
                       1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
                       2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
                       1/2 teaspoon onion powder ( optional )
                       1/2 teaspoons fennel seeds
                       2 teaspoons sugar
                       1 1/2 teaspoons dried basil
                       1/2 teaspoon salt
                       1/2 teaspoon pepper
                       1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
                       5 tablespoons fresh parsley
                       12 lasagna noodles
                       16 oz whipped cream cheese
                       1 egg
                       1/2 teaspoon salt
                       6 slices provolone
                       1 cup Mozzarella - shredded
                       3/4 cup parmesan

       1) In a Dutch oven cook sausage, beef, onion and garlic over medium heat until
       browned. Stir in tomatoes, paste, sauce and water. Season with sugar, dried basil,
       Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, fennel seeds, garlic powder,
       onion powder and 2 tablespoons parsley. Simmer
       2) Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Cook lasagna for about 10 minutes.
       Drain noodles and rinse with cold water.

       3) In a mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, egg and remaining parsley & salt.

       4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

       5) To assemble, spread 2 cups of meat sauce in the bottom of a 9 by 13 pan.
       Arrange 6 noodles lengthwise over meat sauce. Spread one half of the cream
       cheese mixture. Top with a provolone slices. Spoon 1 1/2 cups meat sauce over
       mozzarella and sprinkle with parmesan cheese. Repeat layers and top with -
       remaining cheese. Cover loosely with foil . Make sure foil doesn't touch cheese.
       6) Bake in a preheated oven for 25 minutes. Remove foil and bake for another
       25 minutes. Cool for 15 minutes.
                                          Serve with garlic bread and salad.


Monday, February 18, 2013

Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Chocolate

       There was a time ( a couple years ago ) That I ate brown sugar oatmeal with bananas
               every single day. I was slightly obsessed and it made me feel full all day.
          Fast forward 2 years later. This oatmeal is my new obsession and it's amazing.

                                                  Baked Oatmeal with Bananas and Chocolate

                                                               3 cups quick cooking oats
                                                               1 cup packed brown sugar
                                                               2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                               1 teaspoon salt
                                                               1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
                                                               1 teaspoon vanilla
                                                               2 eggs
                                                               1 cup milk
                                                               1/2 cup butter, melted
                                                               1/3 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
                                                               1 banana plus one for garnish

                   1) In a large bowl combine oats, brown sugar, baking powder, cinnamon and
                    salt. In another bowl, whisk eggs, milk, vanilla and butter. Stir into oatmeal
                    mixture. Add in banana and chocolate chips.
                   2) Spoon into a greased baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
                                   Serve with milk additional banana and chocolate chips.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Heart Fruit Salad with Yogurt Dip

I love fruit and luckily for me my kids do to...When I cut any fruit
or vegetables with a cookie cutter they tend to eat more, go figure.

This is a pretty straight forward and fruit salad with a healthy dip that you
and your family will love and the simplicity is what makes this a winner.

Heart Fruit Salad with Yogurt Dip

1 small watermelon
1 pineapple
1 honey dew melon
1 cantaloupe 

1) Cut all of your fruit up and with a cookie cutter make fun shapes.

Yogurt Dip

1 cup vanilla yogurt
2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
Mix in a bowl or drizzle on top.

A healthy and easy dip - full of flavor.

Friday, February 8, 2013

Crumb Coffee Cake

                 If you love coffee cake as much as I do, you will love this delicious from scratch
                 cake. Light, moist and extra good served with a great cup of coffee. The topping
                 is the real winner, for me. I do double the topping but you do not have to. Either
                 way you will love this. Great for potlucks, church or any day of the week.

                                                                  Crumb Coffee Cake

                                                               1/2 cup butter, softened
                                                               1 ( 8oz) package cream cheese, softened
                                                               1 1/3 cups sugar
                                                               2 eggs
                                                               2 cups all-purpose flour
                                                               2 teaspoons baking powder
                                                               1/2 teaspoon baking soda
                                                               1/2 teaspoon salt
                                                               1/2 cup milk
                                                               1 teaspoon vanilla extract

               1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat butter and cream cheese at medium speed
               with an electric mixer until creamy. Gradually add sugar, beating until light and
               fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating just until yellow disappears.

               2) Sift flour and next 3 ingredients, add to the butter mixture alternate with milk
               beginning and ending with flour mixture. Beat at low speed just until combined

               after each addition. Stir in vanilla and almond extracts. Pour batter into a -
               greased 9 x 13 pan. Sprinkle with crumb topping.

               3) Bake for 35 to 40 minutes or until done. Let cool 20 min before serving.

                                                                    Crumb Topping

                                                                  1/2 cup sugar
                                                                  1/2 cup flour
                                                                  1/4 cup butter
                                                                  1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

                     Stir together, flour, sugar and cinnamon. Cut in butter with a fork until
                     mixture resembles small peas. Note that is you like to double the topping
                     you can.

       This is so so good!! It's going to go so well with your morning coffee, tea or cocoa.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Valentine Muddy Buddies

               How cute would this be as a Valentine's, goodie bag for your kids, neighbors,
             friends, classmates, or yourself? This is a fun treat to put together with your kids,
             it's so simple and easy and oh so tasty! You can be as creative as you'd like by -
             adding any of your favorite treats. Just a little something to make your day a tad

                                                            Valentine Muddy Buddies

                                         9 cups chex cereal, ( I used half rice and half corn)
                                         1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
                                         1/2 cup peanut butter
                                         1/4 cup butter
                                         1 teaspoon vanilla
                                         1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
                                         1 cup m&m's
                                         colored sprinkles

                1) In a large bowl place cereal and set aside.
                2) In a microwavable bowl, heat chocolate, peanut butter and butter for one
                minute, stir and heat for another 30 seconds or until smooth. Stir in vanilla.
                Pour mixture over cereal and stir to coat. Pour into 2 gallon resealable bag.
                3) Place powdered sugar in bag, seal and shake until coated. Spread on -
                cookie sheet to cool. Once cooled add your m&m's and sprinkles. Store
                in container or sealable bags.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Perfect Green Smoothie

                     Yes, I realize that I'm on a bit of a smoothie kick. I just can't help myself.
                 I love packing in as many nutrients I can early in the morning. I like starting my
                 day on the right track. If I eat some not so good things for me during the day I
                 can feel good about my morning breakfast! Great way of thinking, right? Ha.
                          I have tried many green smoothies and this one is my favorite.

                                                          Perfect Green Smoothie

                                                         1 1/2 cups green grapes
                                                         1 banana
                                                         2 cups spinach
                                                         1 cup pineapple
                                                         1/2 cup ice cubes
                                                         1/2 cup water

                      1) Place all ingredients in blender and blend until desired consistency.

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