Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

My treat for today is that I am starting to feel better. Hooray! The boys are ready for the big day:

Also, this week's Newsweek is all about children and food allergies. Just in case anyone wants to check it out. I plan to read it later this week.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Where's My Nurse?

Oh yeah, I'm the nurse. I have been playing Nurse Sweet Pea since yesterday morning when I took my small sweet pea to the doctor for a regular check-up and found out he had a double ear infection! Then, my older sweet pea comes home from school, whiny and begging for a nap. Huh. He wakes up out of sorts, so you guessed it, back to the pediatrician we go and yep, he has a double ear infection too! Only the second in his life...guess the boys are good at sharing some things.

ANYWAY, I did not cook tonight since I woke up feeling sick and have no energy. Plus its the weekend! So instead of the usual "Friday Night Bite" recipe, here is my suggestion for a fun, easy and healthy meal:The result? Everyone's excited, I don't have to really cook and I can feel good that I gave them at least a pretty decent meal while they are under the weather. Would have done another soup, but that was our lunch!

Friday, October 19, 2007

Friday Night Bite for my Big Sweet Pea

My parents are on their way to the SP house as I type. Hooray! Hubby and I have a night out so I am running to the grocery story to get some things for an easy dinner tonight for our older sweet pea...this is one of his favorites. Who doesn't like pizza and pasta together in one meal?

We use Barilla or Dreamfields pasta to make it even healthier:

Pasta Pizza Pie

1/2# (eyeball it) whole wheat spaghetti, broken into pieces (fun for the sweet peas!)
2 egg whites
1/4 cup milk
2 c part skim shredded mozzarella cheese, divided use
1-2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 t salt
1/4 t pepper
1/2 t dried oregano
jar of spaghetti sauce (if you want to sneak in some veggies, mix them into the sauce)
toppings: we like turkey pepperoni, sliced black olives, and mushrooms

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Cook pasta, drain and let cool. In a large bowl mix egg whites and milk until frothy. Add 1/2 cup cheese, garlic, salt, pepper and oregano. Add pasta and mix well. Pour into a 9 x 13 pan, coated with cooking spray. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until mixture is set and slightly browned. Top with spaghetti sauce (may not use the entire jar), remaining cheese and toppings. Return to the oven until cheese is melted and bubbly...usually about another 15 minutes (depends on how many toppings, etc).

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Short and Sweet

I'll keep this's something sweet for the autumn! This is a sweet pea family favorite:

Awesome Pumpkin Muffins (Adapted from
2 ¼ c flour
1 ¾ c sugar
¾ t each of salt, baking soda, baking powder, nutmeg, cinnamon, ground cloves
3 eggs (or 6 egg whites to make them almost fat free)
1 – 15 oz can of pureed plain pumpkin
½ c unsweetened applesauce
½ c walnuts (optional)
¾ c raisins (optional)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and ground cloves. In a separate bowl, mix the eggs, pumpkin, and applesauce, until smooth. Add this mixture to the dry ingredients and stir thoroughly to make a smooth batter. Stir the raisins and walnuts (if using) into the batter. Spoon batter into greased muffin cups. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Friday, October 12, 2007

A Corny Friday Night Light Bite

I mean really, the whole "Friday Night Bite" name is corny in and of itself. Here is a corn spoonbread that is a lightened version of my favorite (Jenn's recipe) spoonbread. Easy to make and extra yummy, no one will ever know it is lightened. I am making some tonight with a pork loin and broccoli.

Friday Night Corn Spoonbread
1 package corn muffin mix (usually about 8oz)
1 small can corn, drained (about 8 3/4 oz)
1 regular can creamed corn (about 15 oz)
1 8oz container plain fat free yogurt
2 egg whites, lightly whisked
1/4 cup butter, melted

Preheat the oven to 350. Combine all ingredients, pour into a square baking dish, coated in cooking spray. Bake for 45 minutes or until set.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Great Chili Recipe

Here is the recipe (sans beets) that I used Tuesday for my experiment with beet puree. It is wonderful (actually won a neighborhood chili cook-off when we were living in Virginia) and can be whipped up quickly or allowed to simmer all day in a slow cooker.

Fast-or-Slow Chili

1 pound ground beef (93% fat free)
1 pound turkey hot italian sausage, out of casing, and crumbled
2 medium onions, diced
4 cloves of minced garlic or 1 t garlic powder
2 T chili powder
2 T cumin
2 - 28 oz cans of crushed tomatoes
1 - 15 oz can of diced tomatoes with chili peppers
2 - 15 oz cans of kidney or chili beans
1 - 6 oz can tomato paste
1-2 t (or more) hot sauce, depending on your taste

In a large pot, brown onion, sausage and meat. Drain fat. If doing a slow cooker, place meat and onions and all other ingredients in slow cooker on low and cook for at least 4 hours, but can be left all day. If doing it "fast," add remaining ingredients, bring to a fast simmer, and reduce to low, cover and simmer for 30 minutes.

PS--can of pureed beets is optional! :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Great Chili Experiment

So after yesterday's comments and post, I had an idea. I just happened to have some chili simmering in the slow cooker. I also had a can of beets that had been gracing my pantry shelves for way too long.

Exhibit A: Plain Ole' Kroger Canned Beets:

Exhibit B: Said Beets After Being Pureed (Can Anyone Say, "Magenta?")

Exhibit C: Chili Pre-Puree

Exhibit D: Chili Post-Puree and a Good Stir (Not Much Difference, N'est Pas?)

Result: The unsuspecting Sweet Pea and my husband ate it up! I have to admit, in something as flavorful as chili, there was virtually no taste difference. But it was fun to experiment.

The only thing is, I wonder if I would stick with this puree business consistently. I had a major revelation doing is just like making baby food for the younger Sweet Pea...which while I enjoy doing this when I have time, I am not too sad about beginning finger food and leaving the puree stage behind me.

We will see...

Friday, October 5, 2007

Friday Bite--TGIF

This has been a looooong week for this sweet pea chef. My wonderful husband takes night classes two nights a week this quarter, and he was gone another night for a team meeting. Today he is gone all day and into the night at an annual charity golf tournament that he organized. So all good reasons for being busy, but oh-my-goodness it has been a long week. I will spare you all the details, but it is has involved a trip to the doctor, a flat tire on my way to pick up my three year old at preschool (thanks Shannon for getting him!), and to top it off, our air conditioning/HVAC unit broke yesterday and it is supposed to be in the low 90s all weekend! Not your typical Ohio October weather, can you say, "Global Warming?"

SO...we are headed to eat out tonight. I am not cooking when it is this hot with no AC. But I wanted to share one of my favorite recipes for Teriyaki Chicken Thighs and Soba Noodle Vegetable Salad.

These are two great easy, flavorful recipes for you to enjoy!

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Pre-Trick-or-Treat Treats

Thinking of making these with my 3 year old sometime this month:

They are Candy Corn Popcorn Balls, which I think look really yummy, and so fun for a special fall treat. Thought I would share the recipe, since they seem easy to make and might be fun for some of you too!