Thursday, September 22, 2011

HCG Diet Spanish Chicken Soup

1 of 1 Photos RecipeGuru
HCG Diet Recipes - Delicious And Healthy Spanish Chicken Soup Recipe For Phase 2 Of The HCG Diet Plan.
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 15 minutes


3.5 ounces chicken breast
1/2 can diced tomatoes (sugar free, low sodium)
1 jalapeno
1-2 tablespoon cilantro
1-2 teaspoon garlic salt
1 green onion
1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
6 drops lemon Stevia
1 cup beef broth
1 cup water


In a small pot add beef broth, water, chicken, jalapeno (put two knife slits in pepper) and garlic salt. Remove pepper after about 5 minutes or taste broth to make sure it has a little flavor of jalapeno.
Cook chicken through and remove from broth, let cool and shred with fingers. Put tomatoes, cilantro, and a 1-3 inch piece of the pepper in blender. Pulse until creamy. Add puree to broth and simmer a few minutes over med heat. Lower heat to med-low, add chicken, green onion, lemon juice, stevia and vinegar. Simmer 10-15 minutes. Garnish with fresh green onion and cilantro.

Makes 1 Serving

Found on:
HCG Diet Spanish Chicken Soup :: Recipe Kitchen

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Freezer Cooking Tips & Tricks

Fall-Ready Freezer
A few weeks ago I started our fall freezer stocking a little early after we eagerly picked 12 pounds of blueberries at the U-Pick farm in Snohomish. Once I admitted that I was going to have to freeze a ton (or ~10 pounds as it was) I realized our freezer needed some serious attention.
I cleaned out what was in there then I hit the cookbooks for our favorites and the blogs for some new things to try. I made my list and went shopping.
Our old standards that made the list were:
  • Taco meat
  • Spaghetti meat sauce
  • BBQ pulled pork
  • Spicy turkey burgers
  • White calzones
  • Red calzones
  • Banana bread
  • Chocolate chip cookie dough
The new items on the list were:
  • Sloppy Joes
  • Egg Muffins
Then the ‘no work / no cook’ items were:
  • Shredded rotisserie chicken
  • Marinara (for the calzones)
  • Pesto
The 1st things tackled when I got home from shopping were the ‘no work / no cook’ items on the list.
The shredded rotisserie chicken was hands down the best find in my freezer idea search. It’s so brilliantly simple it’s hard to believe I never thought of it myself, but this stroke of genius came from Clean Mama. We use this stuff for chicken pot pie, chicken & dumplings, soups, quesadillas, salads, etc. etc. I simply shredded it and put it in freezer bags – SO EASY!

I froze the marinara and pesto in mini muffin tins (which don’t absorb flavors like plastic), turned them out onto wax paper to harden the rest of the way, then tossed them into flat bottom freezer bags. Mini muffin tins hold a little over 1 tablespoon so they’re great for things like this.

For any of the protein dishes that were cooked (as well as the cookie dough), they were all put into quart freezer bags and flattened before freezing them on a sheet pan. This way they can stand up and are easy to flip through to quickly find what I need.

The egg muffins were cooked in regular muffin tins then frozen on the sheet pan before being lined up in the flat bottom freezer bags.

These are a new favorite grab & go breakfast item in our house.
The calzones were individually wrapped in plastic before going in the freezer bags and the banana bread was cut in half and each half wrapped in plastic before both pieces went in the bag.
When all was said and done, this was the end result. A well stocked and organized freezer.
Top drawer:

Bottom drawer:

Total tally of work done:
  • 3 ravioli dinners
  • 3 taco meat
  • 3 spaghetti meat sauce
  • 4 shredded chicken
  • 4 BBQ pulled pork
  • 8 spicy turkey burgers
  • 4 red calzones
  • 6 white calzones
  • 18 egg muffins
  • 9 T marinara
  • 18 T pesto
  • 1 batch chocolate chip cookie dough
  • 1 loaf (split) banana bread
Thank you to Kristi for a great, in-depth tutorial on how to freeze meals at home! What are your favorite tips for making freezer meals at home?
If you have a delicious freezer meal recipe & would like to share with Thrifty NW Mom readers, you can email me at thriftynwmom(at) hotmail (dot) com. Even better if you have a picture of your dish to include.
Kristi is a stay-at-home-Mom to a crazy, wild, typical 3 year old boy. She’s always used her freezer but got serious about freezing meals and meal starters when she got married and realized most recipes make way too much food for 2 adults. And now that they have a little boy running around non-stop it’s that much more important to have food pretty much ready to go morning, noon, and night for us as well as for impromptu entertaining.

Freezer Cooking Tips & Tricks

Rainbow Cake in a Jar | Family Kitchen

BabbleJarRainbow2 Rainbow Cake in a Jar
I’ve always had a penchant for sunshine in a jar. Doesn’t the very phrase itself, “sunshine in a jar,” roll off your tongue and fill your mouth with magic? While I’ve never yet found myself a sunshine in a jar, I think we may have just concocted it in our kitchen tonight. In this simple recipe, a basic white cake is turned into a slew of bright colors, baked to perfection, then topped with a creamy white frosting.
Cakes baked in jars can be topped with traditional metal canning lids and stored in the fridge for up to five days. They make a great treat to ship to someone, so long as you can ensure delivery to it’s final destination within 3 days. Of course, you don’t have to do anything special with your cake-in-a-jar. There’s something lively & different about serving personal-sized batched of cake in glass mason jars. They make for great dinner party conversations and ever better after-school suprises for your kiddos. Especially this one. Because, who doesn’t love sunshine in a jar?

BabbleJarRainbow1 200x300 Rainbow Cake in a JarRainbow Cake in Jar
  • 1 box white cake mix made according to package instructions
  • Neon food coloring in pink, yellow, green, turquoise, and purple
  • 3 one-pint canning jars
  • 1 can vanilla frosting
  • Rainbow sprinkles
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Thoroughly wash and dry the inside of each canning jar. Spray the inside of each jar thoroughly with nonstick cooking spray. Set aside.
Scoop about 1/2 cups of cake batter into five small bowls. It doesn’t have to be perfect, don’t panic if you get a little more of less of one color than another. Tint each bowl of cake batter with the food coloring until very vibrant.
Spoon about 3 tablespoons of the purple batter into the bottom of each jar. Spoon equal amounts of turquoise batter, then green, yellow, and pink. Place the jars in a shallow baking dish, add about 1/4″ in water in the baking dish. Place the baking dish in the oven and bake for 30-35 minutes.
Remove jars and allow to cool completely before scooping a small portion from the top of your cake and adding a hefty dollop of vanilla buttercream to the top. Sprinkle & serve, or cover with a lid and store in the fridge or pop into the mail & surprise someone you love!
POST EDIT: Several commenters have indicated that the cake is not cooking all the way through in the 30-35 minutes indicated in the recipe. This was enough time for our cake, but I’m cooking at high altitudes, and my oven tends to bake hot. So, I’d recommend baking the cake for 40 minutes, then return it to the oven if it still doesn’t spring back to the touch when you check to see if it’s finished. As for the cake puffing up and out of it’s bottle, ours did that a bit, as well. Easy fix. We just scooped a bit of the cake out to make room for the frosting and wiped the outside of our jars clean. Several people have indicated that the wide-mouthed mason jars work a little better for this purpose. I’ve not yet baked with wide-mouthed. What you see above is what was baked in my kitchen according to the recipe instructions, and what came out of the oven when it was all. Of course, if you’re feeling wildly impatient, you can also zap the cake in the microwave for 2 minutes. It’s going to bubble up, for sure, but you can scoop the top part of that cake out, frost it, and no one will ever be the wiser. Good luck, everyone! This is such a fun cake. My kids went nuts over it, and I hope it works as beautifully for you as it did for us!
BabbleJarRainbow3 234x300 Rainbow Cake in a Jar

Posted by brooke mclay on April 8th, 2011 at 12:08 am

Rainbow Cake in a Jar | Family Kitchen

Sunday, September 11, 2011

DIY Paper bag flooring

Okay so in the process of renovating with very little money I had to come up with flooring that was durable, beautiful, and unique but most of all CHEAP. After surprisingly little net surfing I stumbled on several people who had used brown paper bags to make amazing floors. As soon as I saw the first photo I was sold. now I had to convince my dear "Do it the right way and do it once" husband of my plan. He hesitated at first but as soon as I showed him the photos he too was sold. And the best part is that we could do it all for under $100 and some elbow grease. Here is what we started with 9X9 asbestos tile

Because our tile was cracked, broken and uneven we decided to remove them, but this method of flooring is designed to go over your exsisting floor. But fear not we wore the proper gear and disposed of the tile properly, I promise.

Here is Jessie, my husband, removing the awful tile, and scraping the adhesive off the floors.

After filling the screw holes

the wet paper after having been laid down

Here is the first layer. It is so easy to apply all you do in brush on a coat of WATER based poly and then lay the paper down and brush another coat of poly over it. I ripped all my pieces before I began laying them down I had a trash bag of pieces with a straight edges, and bag of crumpled pieces, and bag of non-crumpled pieces and a bag of pieces that I had hand painted with acrylic paints. All the different textures makes for a more interesting floor but you can do them all the same if you wish. The crumpled paper absorbs more poly than the regular paper. Also as I went I dipped some pieces in the can of poly so they would really soak it up. The more poly that is on a piece the darker it will dry.
When I laid the first layer down it was perfect and took only about 20 minutes. But when I came back in a while later to peek at it the floor was covered in ripples and bubbles. While I had done a lot of internet research on this before I started no one had ever mentioned this. I freaked out and instantly began re-smoothing the floor. My delusions of a beautiful and cheap floor were shot. of course, I spent the rest of the evening pouting. But then when I woke up the next morning the bubbles had all sucked back down and my perfect floor was dry and beautiful.

Next I took out my acrylic paints and mixed them with some poly. I made a brownish sludge and added some metallic paints to give the floor some more depth. I brushed this over the cleaned and dried first layer and it really changed the overall appearance of the floor. Lastly I added 6 more thin coats of poly. The more you add the stronger and smoother the floor is. We live on the coast with 100% humidity so things take longer to dry and cure here. It took our floor about a day to be dry enough to walk on and about a week before we felt comfortable bringing our rugs back in

In all we are very happy with this floor. with 2 small children, 2 cats, and a dog it can be very difficult to keep a floor clean. This floor is easy to clean and actually hides dirt rather well between cleanings. I have already dropped dishes, knives, food, and all sorts of stuff on this floor with even making a scratch in the floor. And the best part is if you do get a hole all you have to do is lay another piece of paper over it and add some poly. Plus if we ever decided to upgrade the flooring all we have to do is lay it right over the paper floor and it acts like more insulation. If you were trying to decided if this is the floor for you I say go for it. Since our installation we have convinced many other low budget/green budget renovators to give it a try and they have had fantastic results too.
Have a great day!

Lilliedale: Paper bag flooring

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Mini Mummies

Mini Mummies

I like to come up with funny & original Halloween crafts for my kids – this project is super easy and perfect if you’re looking for a party activity…

Mummies made from rubber coated flexible wire and strips of muslin are easy to make and a look cute hanging around the house for Halloween.

The bendable wire frame allows you to position your mummy any way you like.

Relaxing Dude Mummy.

Yoga Mummy.

To make these you will need: flexible wire (I used a flexible garden tie that I picked up in the dollar spot at Target - but I have seen these at dollar stores too. If you can't find this - look for any flexible wire at craft stores), wire clippers and muslin.

Using the flexible wire, make the frame for your mummy body.

Tear muslin into 1/2-inch strips. I do the "snip and rip" method to speed this up; make a small cut and then rip the rest of the fabric.

Wrap your wire form with muslin strips. Add strips by tying ends together. End muslin with a knot and trim ends.

Let your mummy hang out.
found on:
Mini Mummies | Family Chic

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cauliflower Pizza Crust.

The first thing you need to do is "rice" cauliflower. Apparently, this is a low-carb revolution, where when chopped and cooked the right way, cauliflower acts and tastes like rice. I thought it was total crap until I used it and now I think I may need a cauliflower patch in my yard.

To rice the cauliflower, take a fresh head, chop into small chunks and pulse through a food processor until it literally looks like grain. Do not over-do it or you will puree it. You can also grate the whole head with a cheese grater if you don't have a food processor. It should look like this.



Then you need to cook it. All you have to do is stick it in the microwave for 8 minutes for a whole large head. No added water. The moisture in the cauliflower will cook itself. Microwaving or roasting is actually the best way to cook all vegetables as boiling/steaming extracts a lot of the vitamins and minerals in the water. So unless you plan on drinking the "broth" you made your veggies in, microwave them. Trust me.

Once it is cooked, use this recipe ratio to make the "dough" based on how much you want to make.

2 cup riced cauliflower
1 .5-2 cup shredded mozzarella
2 beaten eggs
1 tsp crushed garlic
1/2 tsp Italian herbs (you can use oregano/basil)
-(and I sprinkles some garlic salt on top because I love me some garlic)
-(you can also brush some melted butter on top to give it a more browned crispiness)

-I used my hands to mush this all together.



-Then formed it onto a tin-foil covered cookie sheet I had sprayed with Pam.



-I cooked on 400 for 10 minutes, then lowered to 350 and cooked for an additional 20 minutes. Based on your oven, I say just keep an eye on it until it's done. Yeah, that's real precise huh?

-But, look how nice! And you guys, it was SO good. Like really really good!



I mean, it even looked like bread.


I now that not eating a piece of candy here or having a drink there is not an lifetime option. But I also know that I will never go back to low-fat and "diet" foods. It's just not what we - as humans - were meant to eat. Especially when I can make it so damn delicious

Santa Hat Brownie Bites

So cute, and so so easy. I highly recommend you to bring these to any holiday party in the coming days. Your friends and family will go crazy for them!

Santa Hat Brownie Bites
Adapted from The Crafty Kook

1 box brownie mix
24 small strawberries
2 cups white chocolate chips

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease 1 mini-muffin pan
- Prepare brownie mix according to box's instructions and fill cavities 3/4 of the way full (I had some leftover brownie mix that I just baked off as regular brownies because I didn't have enough strawberries)
- Bake for 25 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean
- Let brownies cool and use this time to hull and clean the strawberries
- Once cool, place strawberries upside down onto brownie bites
- Melt white chocolate in a double boiler and transfer into a piping bag
- Pipe a ring around the base and a small dot on top -- work quickly, the white chocolate can dry fast and clog up your tip!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Individual s'mores using Halloween peeps.

Individual Peep Smore Kits

1 graham cracker
1 fun-size Hershey bar
1 ghost Peep

Place in a clear cello bag with a pretty orange ribbon. Voila!

Buttons Galore & More

  • Belt made of loosely woven or crocheted fabric. It is best if it has a hook closure.
  • Buttons
  • Plastic covered wire
  1. Lay the belt out and arrange buttons so they are spaced to your liking
  2. Make sure they do not interfere with the closure
  3. Stick the shanks through the belt and secure them on the back by running the wire through each shank
Secure the ends of the wire on both sides with a few stitches.

Button Charm Bracelet

-small buttons

- jump rings

- jump rings
- chain
- clasp of any kind
- small pliers

Step 1: Measure the length of chain needed for your wrist and break off that section.
Step 2: You need to decide how many buttons to use. The number of buttons needed depends on the type of chain used so a lot of that is up to your judgment. For chains with larger links I would put a button on every link but with tighter chains you might want to go every other link or more so the bracelet isn’t too crowded.
Step 3: Use your pliers to open up a jump ring and thread your first button onto it. Then slide the jump ring through one of the links of the chain and close it back up with the pliers. Start at one end of the chain and work your way down so that you don’t miss any links. Make sure to leave a couple links empty at either end of the chain to attach the clasp to.
Step 4: Keep adding your buttons until you’ve filled the chain.
Step 5: With all of the buttons on double check the size of the bracelet to make sure it will still fit.
Step 6: Attach your clasp to the open links at the end of the chain. Depending on the type of clasp you might need to use more jump rings. For a really clean look try opening one of the links of the chain to attach the clasp.
See more of Caitlin’s button jewelry by clicking on the link below: