Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Non-Alcoholic Margarita Dessert

On Thanksgiving, one of the guys brought a lemonade pie.  He failed to put it in the freezer, so it was runny.  No matter, I liked the taste, and when I found out how easy it was, I was hooked.

I made it on Monday with these changes.

Instead of graham-cracker crust, I used pretzel crust to go along with the Margarita theme.  It is the same basic recipe, half the sugar and substituted crushed pretzels for crushed graham crackers.  I baked it for 10 minutes in a 9x13 Corning dish.

The main part of the pie has only three ingredients - a regular-sized can of frozen, concentrated margarita mix (non-alcoholic), a regular-sized can of condensed milk (NOT the sweetened kind) and a large tub of Dream Whip.  I combined them with my electric mixer and poured it into the cooled pretzel crust.

I covered the dish with plastic wrap and froze it overnight.

The original recipe called for a graham-cracker crust and frozen-lemonade concentrate.  We found it a little too tart for our tastes.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

New Shelf Paper in the Pantry

I usually lined my shelves with leftover wallpaper and had been dreading re-organizing and re-shelf papering the main pantry.

Last time, I was at Walmart, I saw the product below and had a different idea for it use.  When I got it home and opened the package, I decided to see how it would hold up in the pantry.  I did one shelf as an experiment, and I was impressed.  So I did another...and another, and another, and soon it was all done.

I put all the stuff back (like with like) and sat back admiring my accomplishment.

EasyLiner, the shelf liner I used, doesn't require any glue to hold it down and comes in two sizes.  Both sizes have the same square footage and was priced under $6 a roll.  It says it is machine washable.  Hummmm, I wonder.

Now I am going to do the cabinet that holds the glasses and cups.  It is looking pretty shabby -- and not shabby chic if you know what I mean.

this is what I used

pantry itself - veggies with veggies, fruit with fruit, etc.

more storage in door

Thursday, November 10, 2011

BBQ Manwich and Ground Chicken or Turkey

You can dress it up with other things like chopped bell peppers, onions, shredded carrots, etc.), but these are the only thing you need.  

Brown up the meat and add the Manwich.  Add a fruit and veggie, and you are ready for supper in no time.  
We like only the barbecue flavored.  I don't see it all that often, but I saw it at Target last fall and bought every can they had. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

How to Roast Chili

Here's a video entitled "How to Roast Chili" by TaxidermyOutdoors.  I always wondered how it was done.  

Hit the left arrow to return to this blog.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Ready, Set, Go Machine

At the last of the summer garage sale season, I found the above kitchen appliance on sale at a senior center.  For $4, I got the cooker and an insert pan with multiple wells and nothing else.

I thought it would be a good thing because:
  • we cook only for the two of us
  • it had a timer - I get distracted easily when cooking
  • it wouldn't heat up the house on hot summer afternoons
  • the TV ads made the product look convenient
I got it home and washed it up.  I knew it didn't have the several other insert pans that was shown on TV and no recipe booklet.  So it sat in my cupboard awaiting my inspiration.

Sunday after the Garden of the Gods, we spotted a garage sale at Manitou Springs.  We always like talking to locals, and garage sales are good opportunities.  And guess what:  they had a Ready, Set, Go Machine for $5 that had the rest of the insert pans.

I offered then $4 as it was pretty dirty, and they accepted.  As a last-minute thought, I asked if they had the recipe booklet, and they fetched it from the house.  

Yesterday, I got out my old machine added one of the insert pans from Manitou Springs using the recipe bookley and made up some meat balls - easy, peasy.  

The recipe was simple enough.

1 cup stuffing mix - I like Pepperidge Farms
20 oz. ground turkey or chicken
1 beaten egg

Mix together.  Use an ice-cream scoop to shape meat balls use the insert pan with no dividers.  Grease pan and top inside of appliance (where tall food will touch with lid closed.  It made 8 meatballs with enough left over to make another batch.

The recipe booklet says cook 10 minutes.  Since there was lots of meat in the pan, I checked it with a meat thermometer at the 10-minute point, and it wasn't done.  It took 20 minutes.

The bottom line is that husband liked the meatballs, and I like how quick I could make supper.  Add some fruit and a veggie, and it was table ready in a jiffy.

One thing about this small appliance that disappointed me: the timer and the heat on/off are not connected.  The timer is a reminder only.  The food continues to cook.

Ready Set Go machine


Monday, October 31, 2011

Cutting Calories - Eat Slowly from Small Plates and Bowls

When we eat fast from a large plates and bowls, we don't realize how much food we are consuming.  And since the stomach and brain are slow to send and receive "full" signals, we are ready for seconds before the body is finished with our firsts.

Here are some suggestions to consider:
  • eat from an 9" plate with appropriate portions - see a later blog for this
  • eat with others.  Spend time talk about their day and yours
  • notice the smell of the food while it is cooking, when you plate it up and when you eat it
  • notice the flavor, taste and feel of each food in your mouth.  Chew it well
  • if you must have seconds, make it protein
  • stop eating three hours before bedtime
  • eat a healthy breakfast of protein, veggie and fruit

More suggestions:
  • don't eat during the night
  • don't eat over the sink or standing up
  • don't graze what is in the refrigerator - plate it up and sit at the table
  • don't watch TV and eat
Regarding dish sizes for dinner and dessert back in the day, they were much smaller.  And our relatives used more calories getting to work, working and home chores than we are today.

12"x17" place mat, 9" plate, 3.5" bowl

12"x17" placemat, regular-sized plate and bowl at bottom

Friday, October 28, 2011

Getting Little Cowgirls and Cowboys to Eat Fruits/Veggies

My little cowgirls and cowboys have grown up and left The Place.  However, they return with their kids when schedules permit.

When they are here, my hubby and I want their little cowboys and cowgirls to eat their fruits and veggies, and here is how we do it:

When they arrive, we set out a craft table and appetizer table just for the kids.

Brightly-colored crayons and washable pens as well as place-card-sized paper and place-mat-sized paper are on the craft table as well as a list of people who will be eating, so they can copy the names.  There are extra blank place cards and mats in case of mistakes.  They make place cards and place mats for the meal.

They check off the names when the person's card and mat are done.  This keeps little hands and minds busy.

On the kids' appetizer table is fruit and veggie finger foods with a veggie dip and fruit dip.  Sometimes, I include cheese sticks.

I usually put out small plates and bowls for each child as double-dipping isn't encouraged.  Notice, I didn't include any candy, crackers or chips.  Our grocery store has fruits and veggies already cut up, and I have used them often.  The kids can eat anything they like from their table.

Their drinks (usually sprite and ice) are in cups with well-fitting lids and a straw.  So if the cup is dropped or tipped over, it survives.  And so does my floor and carpeting.

Nothing stirs up appetites like making things, serving oneself and eating at one's own speed without adult supervision.

I repeat many of the kids' items in the adult appetizers as well as a glass of wine or a margarita.   The adult appetizers include some crackers or chips that the kids don't recognize which limits their begging for the familiar.

Before everyone arrives, I put a tablecloth on the table where we will be eating and set out glasses, plates and silverware.  The kids (or anyone else) can set the table quickly using the kids' art work.  It is always fun to see who gets to sit next to who.

When it is mealtime, I don't worry when the kids eat some protein and spend the time talking.  They have filled up on fruits and veggies - our goal.