Monday, March 21, 2011

Avocado Tomatillo Green Sauce

This salsa/sauce/guacamole is great because it is all veggies, and so the only fat in it is the good kind from the avocados. Contrary to popular belief, I did not get it from any of my favorite Mexicans, past or present. This one came from one of the whitest guys I knew at BYU; actually, from his aunt. Guess he's out of luck because I still have his aunt's hand-written recipe.

-8 tomatillos
-2 jalapeños (fresh)
-2 avocados
-1/4 red onion
-1 clove garlic (sometimes I omit, because it leaves a pretty strong aftertaste)
-1/3 to 1/2 bunch of cilantro (go ahead and include the stems)
-lime juice to taste (my addition to an already pretty good recipe. It also keeps it from turning brown. Added bonus!)
-salt to taste

1) Peel the tomatillos and wash the sticky film off. Cut the tops off the jalapeños, but leave the seeds in. Boil tomatillos and jalapeños in water until tender (you can stick a fork in it easily.) Usually the tomatillos are done first, and I let the jalapeños go a minute or two more.

2) Put tomatillos and jalapeños directly into a blender. Add some of the water you boiled them in. Usually, just about 2 inches or so. You can always add more later, but you don't want it too watery. Blend.

3) Add avocados, onion, garlic (if used), cilantro, lime, salt. (Note: Sometimes the cilantro stems will get caught in the blades, so just use a fork to untangle. But usually, they're fine).

4) Adjust salt and lime as needed.

5) Best served warm. You can heat up again later if you need to. It's great with tortilla chips, or also on quesadillas or tacos. Disfrútalo! (Enjoy it!)

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Microwave Caramel Popcorn

This should be a hit in a popcorn-eating family like ours. (That's you Katie and Dana. If you get tired of peanut butter and regular, you could try this out!) It takes under 10 minutes, and I think the kids would have fun helping shake the bag.

  • 1 cup butter (comments said you can reduce this by about half and it's still good)
  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 5 quarts popped popcorn

  • Pop the popcorn in a regular popper. For five quarts, it's about a cup.
  • Put popcorn in a paper grocery bag.
  • Microwave butter, sugar, corn syrup, and vanilla until it boils one minute.
  • Stir the baking soda into the caramel mixture.
  • Pour it over the popcorn in the bag, and shake it up.
  • Put the whole bag into the microwave for another 30 seconds, and shake again.
  • Spread out popcorn on wax paper to cool.
Yummy! And cheap. I was looking for a movie treat that used stuff I had around. I think this is one that I will use again and again. I forgot to take a picture. I'll take one next time and add it to this post.

Healthy Banana Muffins

These muffins have become my new favorites, especially for breakfast. Since cereal is expensive (at least for us), I freeze them and can eat one or two for breakfast instead.

  • 1 ¼ cup rolled oats
  • 1 ½ cup oat flour (refer to #3)
  • 1/2 cup plain, low fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk or soy milk
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 large, really ripe bananas mashed
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup raisins, walnuts or both
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  1. Preheat oven to 400°
  2. Mix rolled oats, yogurt and milk together in a bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes.
  3. It will require about 2 cups of rolled oats to make the 1 1/2 cups or oat flour you need. Just pulse the 2 cups rolled oats in the food processor until they turn to a powdery consistency (like dry grits).
  4. Now, combine oat flour, salt, sugar, spices, baking powder and baking soda in a separate bowl.
  5. Add mashed banana, egg and oil to the rolled oat mixture and mix well.
  6. Now add dry oat flour mixture to rolled oat mixture and mix together well. Add in nuts and/or raisins if desired and incorporate evenly. Chocolate chips are great too!
  7. Fill greased or lined muffin cups 2/3 of the way. Bake for approximately 16-20 minutes.

*I don't have a fancy food processor so I just use some wheat and some white flour in place of making my own oat flour. I also have used Greek yogurt in place of the regular yogurt, but I don't think it really matters.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Zebra Cake

A few weeks ago, I was looking for cool new desserts to make for our girls camp baked goods auction fundraiser. I came across this and have since made it twice. It's super cool, on the inside. The first time I frosted it chocolate (bc that's what I had) and put strawberries on the top to make it look sleek. Today I made it again and frosted it white, then drizzled melted chocolate chips like stripes across the top so it is zebra-like, inside and out. Then I did add a small pile of raspberries into the middle for a pop of color.

I didn't use almond extract: 1) I didn't have it, and 2) I don't really like it.

It's pretty easy for the cool striped inside effect!

Zebra Cake


4 large eggs

1 cup sugar

1 cup milk

1 cup vegetable oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

1/8 tsp. almond extract

2 cups all-purpose flour

1 tbsp. baking powder

¼ tsp. salt

2 ½ tbsp. cocoa powder


Preheat the oven to 350°. Line a 9-inch round cake pan with a circle of parchment paper. Lightly grease the bottom and sides of the pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the eggs and sugar until mixture is light and creamy and the sugar has been mostly dissolved. Stir in milk, vegetable oil, vanilla and almond extracts. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, and salt. Pour into wet ingredients and whisk to combine. Measure out just over two cups of vanilla batter and put it back into the medium bowl. Sift cocoa powder over the bowl and whisk until fully incorporated.

Put 3 tablespoons of vanilla batter into the center of the pan and let it spread slightly on its own. Put 3 tablespoons of chocolate batter in the center of the vanilla. It will push out the other and, as it sits for a moment, will also spread itself. Alternating spoonfuls of the two batters, repeat the technique until all the batter has been used up.

Bake for 38-42 minutes, until the cake is light gold and a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10-15 minutes, then turn out the cake and remove the parchment paper. Reinvert onto a wire rack and let cool completely. Frost if desired.

Before baking:

After baking:

Zebra frosted:

I should have waited a little longer for it to cool. The frosting started to melt, as well as the chocolate. But the young women were getting restless. I also let them do the chocolate stripes, so I would have done them a little more neatly. But, we had fun. We took it to a less active girl who had a birthday yesterday. Sometimes all you can do is show you love them.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Tuna Casserole

For some reason Mom can't post and I can, even though she set it up. So, she asked me to post this for Miranda. I'm sure it would take all of us down memory lane. Straight from Mom's email:

Tuna Casserole

1 c dry macaroni
1/2 c. chopped onion
1/4c chopped green pepper
3 Tb fat (I always used marg, but I'll write it as it was given to me:)
2 Tb flour
1 1/4 c. milk
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 c. chopped pimiento
1 7oz can tuna, flaked

Cook macaroni and drain. Cook onions and green pepper in hot fat until tender.
Add flour and blend. Add milk and cook over low heat until thick, stirring constantly.
Stir in chicken soup. Add remaining ingredients. Pour into greased 1 1/2 quart
casserole. Bake at 350 for 30 min.

I think it was supposed to have chopped almonds or bread crumbs or something on top,
but I never wrote it down.

There you go! Mmmm. Bet you can't wait!

Sunday, May 16, 2010

BBQ Chicken Pizza Calzones

I've been cooking a lot more consistently since we've been married, (and unfortunately starting to see those results on the scale. eh hem.) And I thought I'd try to resurrect or maybe surrect(?)--you know what I mean, get this going for the first time--this recipe blog.

We had some friends over, and these were a big hit!

BBQ Chicken Calzones


  • 4 slices bacon
  • 1/2 small onion, chopped
  • 3 cups shredded, cooked chicken breast meat
  • 2/3 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 (10 ounce) can refrigerated pizza crust dough
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
  2. Fry bacon in a large skillet over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove from the pan to drain on paper towels; crumble. Add the onion and shredded chicken to the hot bacon grease in the pan. Fry over medium heat until onion is tender. Stir in 1/3 cup of barbeque sauce, and remove from the heat. Mix in the cooked bacon.
  3. Roll the pizza crust dough out onto a greased cookie sheet. Press out to an even thickness, and then cut in half. Divide the chicken mixture between the two pieces of dough, spreading on only half of each piece to within 1/2 inch of the edge. Drizzle the remaining sauce over the filling. Sprinkle the cheese and cilantro over the top. Fold the uncovered portion of dough over the filling, and press the edges together with a fork to seal.
  4. Bake for 25 minutes in the preheated oven, or until browned to your liking. Cool for a few minutes, then cut each calzone in half. Each serving is half of a calzone. These can be served with additional barbeque sauce if you like.
Here's how they turned out:

This was the whole meal. It was fun to have our own little place and be kind of fancy. :)

OK, who's next?

Monday, February 9, 2009

Spicy Baked Sweet Potato "Fries"

2 med. sweet potatoes, washed and cut into strips
1 1/2 Tb olive oil
1 tsp ground cumin
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp onion powder

Spray cookie sheet with Pam. Preheat oven to 450.
In large mixing bowl, combine spices. Add potatoes and stir to coat.
Bake 20-25 min., until crispy. Turn once or twice during baking.
Serves 4.
Note: I usually use more spices to add more flavor.

fat: 5.5g; carbs: 16.4g; cal:117.6; protein: 1/2g

Thursday, January 1, 2009

No-Bake Chocolate Browns

2c sugar
1/2 c. cocoa
1/2 c. canned milk
1 stick margarine
1/4 tsp salt

3 c. oatmeal
1 c. coconut
1/2 c. nuts
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. peanut butter

Mix first column in a saucepan and bring to rolling boil. Boil 2-3 minutes, remove from heat and add 2nd column; mix well. Drop by tsp onto waxed paper and let cool. Makes about 3 dz cookies.

If necessary, you may leave out the coconut and nuts; can substitute any kind of milk for canned milk.

The only trick is the cooking time: if they cook too long, they'll be dry and won't stick together; if they are undercooked, they'll be syrup-y and won't set up. Keep an eye on the time.

Silly note: this recipe came from a friend who was running for a student government office at BYU wen I was a freshman. Don't remember the first name, but his last name was "Brown!"

Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Here's our traditional Dutch New Years' treat, a good way to start off a new project. (Copied directly from Grandma Giles' version -- spelling quirks included!)

4 cups of flour
2 cups of luke warm milk
2 yeast cakes [= 2Tb or 2oz]
1/4 cup of sugar
1 cup of raizins
1 cup of currants
2 sliced apples
1 1/2 tsp. of salt

Disolve yeast in 1/4 cup of warm water (not hot) Sift flour, mix in sugar, raizins, currants and sliced apples. Mix disolved yeast with milk and mix well with flour mixture, untill you have a thin bread dough. Cover bowl with greased pie tin. Let rise in warm place to double its size, about an hour.
Heat oil in deep-fry pan or electric frying pan, as for doughnuts. Form small balls from dough, with 2 spoons and deep fry till done, about 3 min. Balls will turn themselves, when done on one side.