[worth Giving] just because they’re yummy

Tis the season of giving. Fa la la la la la la la la!

I love a good Christmas cookie. Especially a soft sugar cookie that my mom makes.

Of course learning from the best (my mom), I make a double batch of these at Christmas time and keep them in the freezer to have handy to take with me anytime I go to a friends, a neighbors, or a party.

They are always welcomed with an open mouth…haha! I crack myself up! LOL!

Here is the yummy recipe:

Fabulously Soft Sugar Cookies
3/4 C Real Butter, softened
2 Eggs
1 C Powdered Sugar
1 C Granulated Sugar
1 C Vegetable Oil
1 tsp. Cream Of Tartar
1 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Vanilla
1 tsp. Almond Flavoring
4 C Flour

Directions:
Cream together butter, eggs, powdered sugar, and granulated sugar. Add remaining ingredients in the order listed. Mix real good and refrigerate overnight. Place cookies onto a chilled cookie sheet with a small cookie scoop. Bake at 375 degrees for about 10-12 minutes. It is very important that all cookies are placed on a cooled cookie sheet before baking. Keep cookie dough chilled between batches.

Frosting
1/2 C Real Butter, softened
1 tsp. Vanilla
1/4 tsp. Almond Flavoring (or more to taste)
Powdered Sugar
Milk (a few drops)

Directions:
Combine all ingredients. Use enough powdered sugar to achieve desired and spreadable consistency.

Tint to your desired color and top with your favorite sprinkles.

And voila! There you have it. Melt in your mouth heavenly yummyness that’s totally worth giving! (yes I make up words)

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[worth Giving] for the birthday Girl…

double layer spice cake & winter jammies

I have a few friends who know how to give the best gifts. I don’t know how they do it, but they do. They must have some special “super gift” skills. Their gifts are random and unsuspected or they’re not your typical “I’ll run by Target” gifts. Their unique and purposed.

I need these skills! Bad. I love to give, but most times I feel a day late or a dollar short. I want my gift to bless like that. I want to give creatively and thoughtfully.

After much contemplating of how to give the most perfect gift it dawned on me, just be deliberate.

 

Talk about eureka! Really, that’s it? Deliberate.

"splurge on shoes"

For example, the birthday Girl gave me this little unexpected gift. Just for organizing a much needed girl’s night out. How sweet right? I’m gonna get some of those little things to have on hand.

I can do deliberate. So lately, each morning I wake, I ask myself, “who can I bless today?” And then do it…or prepare to do it in the near future.

With my new found love of baking and cooking I believe I have found my niche. It works well for me too. With a 7 month old crawling at my feet I need my “deliberate gifts” to work within my already crazy schedule and where I’m already gonna be…the kitchen. Cool how God worked that out.

birthday girl ♥ such a sweetie ♥

The pictured spice cake and jammies were for my dear friend, Charla. I had never given her a birthday gift so that made this all the more fun.

I was at her house the night before her birthday and she mentioned that she really wanted a fall dessert for her birthday, and how she planned to get some pumpkin frozen yogurt after dinner with her family the next night.

I took that information and left with a mission to make her my favorite spice cake that my mom makes in the fall. It is heavenly! I have not personally made this cake before, not that I have made much of anything until now. It’s my new love remember…to bake?

But I put my neck out and thought, “this is how I’m gonna learn.” Plus my mom being a great cook and a good teacher made this a win-win for me.

After my second batch baked and a dozen phone calls (that’s a part of my recipe any time I’m cooking) I had a winner.

Tastes great! Looks great! And what girl doesn’t like a comfy set of jammies? Throw them in too, and this is the perfect gift. And I’m doing the Happy Dance because I’m about to bless someone!

Deliberate gifts are perfect gifts regardless of what the actual gift is, and they say so much. Gifts that say, “just because you’re special”. I like those. And I believe everyone else does too.

Most people wear an invisible sign around their neck that says, “make me feel important.”…or beautiful, seen, loved, etc.

I want to respond to those invisible signs, and I hope you’ll join me.

[worth Giving] because she had surgery

Since I’ve had Chloe (((just love her))) I’ve been discovering new things about myself. I love to bake and cook! Who knew? And who would’ve thought that adding extra busyness to my life would incur a desire to add even more?

I have so much fun thinking about who I can bless. Now before you send in your meal order you must know I have a limited budget. But who knows maybe one day you will be the one.

Here is my last meal creation that I gave away to a friend who had her gall bladder removed and was not able to make dinner for her family.

This is a super easy and yummy chicken pot pie recipe I got from my friend Courtney. Of course, if you can’t tell, it isn’t baked yet. I took it over earlier in the day and thought they could bake it when they’re ready to eat, and that way it would be nice and hot out of the oven.

And the brownies are just heavenly! This recipe is from my mom who has baked these for years with a few extra yummy adjustments. Not sure if I can post this recipe or not. I’ll ask.

A quart of milk, the perfect beverage to wash this all down.

And voilà! There you have it. A simple all American meal worth giving.

[recipe] pesto stuffed salmon

You’ve been asking…so here it is.

I really wouldn’t classify myself as someone who knows how to cook. I just know how to follow a recipe. I’m a rule follower my nature so that helps me get along just great with recipes. If I didn’t have a recipe I would cry and order take out.

So for all of you recipe followers this is for you.

Pesto

2-3 Cloves Garlic, coarsely chopped
2 C Fresh Basil
1/3 C Pine Nuts, toasted
1/4 C Olive Oil
1/2 C Parmesan Cheese, grated
1/4 C Kalamata Olives, pitted and chopped

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Toast pine nuts for about 5 minutes. Watch so they don’t burn. Leave oven preheated for salmon.

Combine garlic, basil, pine nuts, and olive oil in a food processor and process until finely chopped. Stir in Parmesan and olives.

Salmon

4 (5 oz.) Salmon Fillets
1/2 C Dry White Wine
Salt & Pepper

Fillet salmon lengthwise leaving the two sides attached. Open and fill with pesto mixture and lay top side of salmon back down. Salt and pepper to taste. Place salmon fillets into a shallow baking dish and pour white wine around the fillets. Make sure the fillets are not touching. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on how thick your meat is. Remove from oven, let rest for 5 minutes. Set oven to broil and put salmon back in for 3 minutes.

Salad

Baby Romaine
Cherry Tomatoes
Blue Cheese or Feta
Drizzle of Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar

You can really use any sort of salad mix that you like. Caesar salad would go great with this. I’m sure my choice of dressing and cheese is a culinary faux pas with pesto and salmon, but it worked for me.

And I found these little cute guys at my grocery store just recently. They are uber yummy and add that healthy color to your diet. Great for snacking on too!

…and voila. Enjoy!

 

[recipe] Moroccan Chicken with Cabbage

This is one of my families favorite dishes, and it’s super easy to make. Unfortunately I have never measured the seasonings out so just season to your liking. If you would like another side dish with this, roasted potatoes are a great choice (I’ll post that below).

Chicken Dish
1 lb. Chicken Breast (bone in or boneless)
1/2 bottle Kraft Light House Italian Dressing
2 tsp. Garlic, crushed
1 can Diced Tomatoes (or 4 fresh)
Cinnamon
Tarragon
Ground Cumin

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In an oven safe pan, sauté chicken in Italian dressing and garlic until chicken is cooked through. Pour tomatoes over chicken and generously dust the top of chicken with spices. Cook covered for 45 minutes. Remove lid and cook an extra 15 minutes.

Cabbage
1 head Cabbage
1 lg. purple onion
1T Olive Oil
Adobo Seasoning
Mrs. Dash

Slice cabbage and onion as thin as you can.  Heat olive oil in a large skillet and cook cabbage and onion until cooked through and has the crunch or (no crunch) you want. I like mine pretty well done. Season with Adobo and Mrs. Dash as it reduces to your liking.

Nutrition for Sauce (about 1/4 cup):
Calories:  41, Fat: 2, Sat. Fat: <0.5, Chol: 0, Sodium: 339, Carb: 4, Fiber: <0.5, Protein: <0.5

You will have to figure your chicken out separate it varies by type.

Just a quick way I prepare my roasted potatoes. Boil little red potatoes. Let cool. Seasoning cookie sheet with olive oil. Place potatoes on like cookies, and mash with the bottom of a glass. Brush olive oil on top and sprinkle with kosher salt and rosemary. Bake for the last 15 minutes of chicken cook time. Once chicken is removed from oven, turn broiler on and broil potatoes for a few minutes until they crisp up on the top.

[recipe] Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken With Arugula Mushroom Salad

I’m always trying to find good healthy recipes, and came across this one that we absolutely love. I just made this dish last Monday, and it was better than I remembered. The dish has an earthy flavor that is balanced with hints of tang and sweetness. Each flavor is beautifully married with each other. ENJOY!


Sun-Dried Tomato Artichoke Chicken

Ingredients:
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
1 3/4 lb boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cut into 1″ pieces
1/4 cup flour (I omitted this)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1/2 cup white wine (I substituted chicken broth)
Juice of 1 lemon
1 (14-oz) can quartered artichoke hearts (drained)
1/3 cup julienne-cut sun-dried tomatoes
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:

  1. Preheat large saute pan on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Place flour and chicken in large zip-loc bag; seal and shake to coat. Place oil in pan then add chicken; cook and stir 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned.
  2. Stir in wine. Reduce heat to medium-low; cook 2-3 minutes or until liquid is slightly reduced.
  3. Sprinkle lemon juice over chicken; stir in remaining ingredients (except thyme and cheese) and cover; cook 2-3 minutes or until chicken is 165°F. Remove pan from heat; stir in thyme and sprinkle with cheese. Serve.
CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 430kcal; FAT 19g; CHOL 125mg; SODIUM 340mg; CARB 14g; FIBER 2g; PROTEIN 44g; VIT A 8%; VIT C 25%; CALC 8%; IRON 15%

Arugula Mushroom Salad

Ingredients:
1 red bell pepper
8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms
1 bag baby arugula leaves (4-5 oz.)
1/3 cup macadamia nuts
1/4 cup goddess dressing (I use Annie’s brand)

Chop red bell pepper and baby portabella and toss all ingredients together.

CALORIES (per 1/4 recipe) 170kcal; FAT 14g; CHOL 0mg; SODIUM 190mg; CARB 8g; FIBER 3g; PROTEIN 4g; VIT A 35%; VIT C 70%; CALC 8%; IRON 8%


[recipe] Tim’s Turkey Burgers

ready for the grill

Looking for a healthy alternative to that greasy hamburger? Well maybe you’re not, but you got to give these a try. These Turkey Burgers will leave you wanting nothing more.

Ingredients:
1 lb. Ground Turkey
1 T Soy Sauce
1/4 tsp. Garlic Powder
3-5 Scallions, finely chopped
2 T Ketchup
3/4 C Monterrey Jack Cheese, shredded

Directions:
Combine all ingredients, and form into patties. Grill on a low heat making sure not to cook too fast causing them to dry out.

I serve them on a whole wheat hamburger bun, but you can serve them like a traditional hamburger with all the fixings. I eat mine without a bun topped with tomato, onion, pickle, and red pepper.

So yummy, and a great summertime treat! ENJOY!