Friday, October 31, 2008

Raisin Bran French Toast and A Surprise In My Coffee

Here is a fun way to add a new flavor and texture to your French Toast. All you have to do is mix up your favorite French Toast milk and egg mixture. Crush up some Raisin Bran in a ziploc bag and pour on a plate. Dip your bread into the egg/milk mixture and then coat each side of the bread in the crushed cereal. Pat the cereal into the bread a little for staying power. I cooked mine for 3 minutes on each side. Watch closely because the cereal can brown very quickly! Did you see the surprise I saw in my coffee this morning? This happy face just spontaneously appeared! I was so shocked to see someone smiling at me from my coffee cup! Pretty amazing! SMILE everybody and have a wonderful Halloween!

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Thursday, October 30, 2008

Cakes and Memories!

Here's are some of my sister's amazing cake creations! As I look at them, I remember all the wonderful cakes I had growing up through the years. Birthday cakes are always so special and leave lasting memories. I would love to hear about your cake memories. I'll start with my cake memories! I remember some of my favorites...I had a clown cake, a Muppets cake, a Garfield cake, and a Strawberry Shortcake cake!

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You Know You Are A Food Blogger When #4

You know you are a food blogger when.......
you have caught yourself describing food as "photogenic"!

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Espresso Chocolate Chip Scones

I have been craving scones lately, but did not want a treat high in fat or calories. I found this Weight Watcher's recipe for scones, and decided to use it as a base for an espresso flavored scone. They turned out to be a tasty breakfast treat. The scones were more soft and chewy than a typical scone because they were low fat, but they were full of flavor. It was hard to resist having more than one. I am going to have to play with the base recipe and create some more flavor combinations. Any suggestions?

Espresso Chocolate Chip Scones
2/3 cup quick oats
1/3 cup Reduced Fat Bisquick
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 tsp instant espresso powder (use more if stronger taste is desired)
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 cup skim milk
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the ingredients. Pour into a pie plate and bake at 400 degrees F for 10-12 minutes. Let cool.

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Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Pumpkin Pie and Gingerbread Yogurt

I found these Holiday yogurts at my Tom Thumb/Safeway. Both yogurts were quite delicious. The pumpkin pie flavor was creamy and full of spice flavor. I added Nature's Path Pumpkin Raisin Crunch granola for an afternoon snack. The flavors blended quite well. I also loved the gingerbread flavor. It had just the right amount of spice, and combined well with some crushed graham crackers. I suggest both of these flavors for a holiday twist to your yogurt snacks. They would probably taste good in oatmeal or mixed in smoothies too!

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The Great Pumpkin and Some Pumpkin Favorites

Last night, we watched the annual Halloween Favorite It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown. One of my furry friends really enjoyed it this year too!
Here are my latest favorite pumpkin finds:

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Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Maple Pumpkin Napoleons

I decided to use up the rest of the puff pastry for a dessert treat. I found a great recipe for maple pumpkin cannoli filling and decided to use that to create a Napoleon dessert. The cannoli filling recipe calls for Stonewall Kitchen's Maple Pumpkin Butter (of course the butter has already made it's way into my oatmeal). I also experimented with using cookie cutters to imprint designs on the tops of the pastries.

Maple Pumpkin Cannoli Filling
from Stonewall Kitchen
1-cup ricotta cheese, strain off excess liquid
1/2 cup Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter
2 Tbsp. confectioners’ sugar
Combine the ricotta cheese, Stonewall Kitchen Maple Pumpkin Butter, and confectioners’ sugar. Mix until uniform. Chill in the refrigerator 2-4 hours.

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Monday, October 27, 2008

Individual Chicken Pot Pies

Tis the season of creamy comfort food. I have never used puff pastry before, but I decided it was time. I was surprised to discover how easy it is to use. I bought some Pepperidge Farm frozen puff pastry and went to work to create some individual chicken pot pies. I cut a full piece of puff pastry into 6 rectangles and baked them in the oven. Meanwhile, I prepared the filling using a recipe from Campbell's (see below), and using the veggies I had already and pastry sheets instead of shells. Then I just served the filling between two pieces of puff pastry. It took no time at all to make this delicious creamy comfort food!
Individual Chicken Pot Pies
1 pkg. (10 ounces) Pepperidge Farm® Puff Pastry Shells
1 tbsp. vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 can (10 3/4 ounces) Campbell's® Condensed Cream of Chicken Soup (Regular, 98% Fat Free or Healthy Request®)
1/2 cup milk 1 pkg. (10 ounces) frozen peas and carrots
2 cups cubed cooked chicken
Bake, cool and remove the "tops" of the pastry shells according to the package directions.
Heat the oil in a 10-inch skillet over medium-high heat. Add the onion and cook until it's tender.
Stir the soup, milk and peas and carrots in the skillet and heat to a boil. Reduce the heat to low. Cover and cook for 5 minutes or until the vegetables are tender. Add the chicken and cook until the mixture is hot and bubbling. Serve in the pastry shells.
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Running For Preston

A quick topic switch away from food! This weekend, my sister and her family/friends are going to be walking in the Jacksonville - 6th Annual Walk For Epilepsy. My nephew Preston (pictured above) first started having seizures a year ago. They have tried to pinpoint a cause, searched for answers, and been to countless doctors, but Preston still continues to have seizures. No donations necessary, just some good wishes and prayers would be great. If you would like to donate to further research in Preston's name please visit here: Running for Preston. In the comment box, write: Donation in honor of Preston Bateman. Please let me know if you donate, so that my sister can thank you personally by e-mail!

New Logo

Thank you everyone for all the wonderful comments on my new look and new logo! My wonderful blogging friend ZestyCook crafted my new logo for me. You too could have your own logo crafted by Zesty. Just visit ZestyCook for contact info. While you are there, check out the caramel apples.

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Sunday, October 26, 2008

I Am So Honored!

I received this award from Gloria of Cookbook Cuisine. Not only does she have an awesome food blog, she is a fellow Texan and has 4 self published cookbooks with another coming out soon. I am passing on this award to the following blogs. Winners, please pass on the award love to other blogs!

Miss V's Vegan Cookbook - Miss V was one of my first blogging friends and I fell in love with her blog. This blog is full of delightful Vegan recipes that everyone will love. Check out the Potato Enchiladas!

Tri To Cook - Delightful recipes keep making appearances on this blog. Check out the Fall Harvest Butter!

La Fuji Mama - This is a daily read for me, but the best part is that she had a Pumpkin Palooza on her blog! This screams "winner" to me!

I received this award from Reeni of Cinnamon Spice and Everything Nice! This was one of the first blogs that I found through FoodBuzz. Reeni is always posting amazing recipes and pictures. Check out her amazing orange swirl pumpkin cupcakes and vote for her in the Iron Cupcake challenge. Winners, please pass on the award love to other blogs!

The Hungry Mouse - This blog never disappoints. It is always fun and exciting. Check out one of my favorite posts: Molasses Ginger Drop Cookies.

ZestyCook - An awesome guy with a delicious blog...You are missing out if you haven't visited this blog yet. Check out the Homemade Pizza.

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Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn Pumpkin Orzo

I found this wonderful Autumn orzo last weekend at a craft fair. It is a combination of pumpkin, sage, and chestnut orzo. I searched for the perfect recipe to use it in, and I found it! I might use more pasta next time, because it seemed a little too saucy to me. The flavors that blend in this recipe are amazing. Check out the Pappardelle's Pasta site. They have tons of recipes and a wide variety of flavored pastas, including chocolate linguine!

Pumpkin Orzo
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
2 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon balsamic vinegar
1/2 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
1/2 cup orzo pasta

In a medium saucepan, combine chicken broth, pumpkin, butter, honey, balsamic vinegar, ginger, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add orzo. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, stirring frequently, for about 15 minutes, or until orzo is tender. Serve immediately

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Friday, October 24, 2008

Chicken and Dumplings

When in need of comfort food....make chicken and dumplings! Here is a recipe for creamy chicken and dumplings that is very easy to make! I didn't use carrots, but added corn instead. The dumplings are made using refrigerated biscuits. How easy is that? This would also be a great recipe for when you have leftover chicken. All the tummies in my house are happy now. Time for some relaxing!

Easy Chicken and Dumplings

1 tablespoon all purpose flour
12 ounces skinless, boneless chicken breast halves or thighs, cut into one inch pieces
2 tablespoons margarine or butter
1 stalk of celery, sliced
1 medium carrot, chopped
1 onion, cut into wedges
1 1/4 cups chicken broth
1 10 3/4 ounce can condensed cream of chicken with herbs soup
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 4.5-ounce package (6) refrigerated buttermilk biscuits*
1 cup frozen peas

Place flour in a plastic bag. Add chicken pieces and shake until coated. In large saucepan cook chicken, celery and onion in hot margarine for 2-3 minutes or until chicken is brown. Stir in broth, condensed soup and pepper. Bring to boiling, reduce heat. Simmer covered about 20 minutes or until chicken and vegetables are tender. Meanwhile separate biscuits. Cut each biscuit into quarters. Stir peas into chicken mixture: return to boiling. Place biscuit pieces on top of chicken mixture. Simmer, covered over medium-low heat 10-15 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center of biscuit comes out clean. Serve in bowls.

Notes: As an option, substitute drop biscuits for refrigerated biscuits. To prepare, in a medium bowl combine 1 cup packaged biscuit mix and 1/3 cup milk. Drop mixture by teaspoonfuls into 8 dumplings on top of chicken mixture. Cook, covered, as directed.
Number of Servings: 4
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Sharing Some of My Faves!

This award was bestowed on me by Jo of The Adventures of Kitchen Girl. I feel so honored to receive this award from such a wonderful blogger!

The acceptance of Premio Arte Pico has some rules:

1) Pick 5 blogs that you consider deserve this award, creativity, design, interesting material, and also contributes to the blogger community, no matter of language.

2) Advertise name of the author and also a link to his or her blog to be visited by everyone.

3) Each award-winner, has to show the award and put the name and link to the blog that has given her or him the award itself.

4) Award-winner and the one who has given the prize have to show the link of "Arte y pico" blog, so everyone will know the origin of this award.

5) Share these rules.

I pass this award on to the following awesome blogs:

StephChows- She loves to cook with pumpkin! How could I resist? Check out her Pumpkin Cinnamon Rolls.....a pumpkin lovers dream come true.

Kath Eats Real Food - It's Kath's birthday weekend so she totally deserves an award. Plus, her site is awesome and she never fails to make beautiful bowls of oatmeal every morning!

Two Peas and Their Pod - This blog never disappoints. It is full of lovely food pictures and recipes. Of course, I love this features Pumpkin Pancakes with Cinnamon Sauce.

Retorte - A wonderful blog full of delicious recipes, mouth watering pictures of foods, product finds, and restaurant reviews. This is definitely a daily read for me!

Southern Plate - I can't resist sharing this award with a fellow Southern Girl! This blog is full of delightful recipes and frequent giveaways. I have bookmarked so many recipes from this site. Go and bookmark your own favorites!
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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Gardenburger Gourmet

I have tried several veggie burgers in the past and some of my favorites are from Gardenburger. These new products have not made their way into my grocery cart, but they are on my "to try" list. Gardenburger has new veggie steaks in two intriguing flavors. The Hula flavor has pineapple, sweet onions and savory ginger. The Tuscany has Gorgonzola, caramelized onions and couscous. They both sound delicious, and I have seen them at Whole Foods. Has anyone tried these yet?

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You Know You Are A Food Blogger When #3

You Know You Are a Food Blogger when.....
You find yourself drooling on your keyboard as you stare at pictures of delicious food on other blogs!

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Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Tomato Artichoke Rice Soup

I have been craving tomato soup lately with the weather cooling down. I decided I wanted more than just plain tomato soup, but I wanted something I could cook up fast. So...I started combining some of my favorite tastes and textures in the saucepan. I used Imagine Tomato Soup. It turned out perfect! I loved every bite. Tomatoes and artichokes compliment each other so beautifully.

Tomato Artichoke Rice Soup

4 cups tomato soup (not condensed)

4 cups cooked brown rice

1 can artichoke hearts drained and cut into small pieces

feta cheese

Italian seasoning


Combine tomato soup, rice, artichokes, and Italian seasoning to taste. Heat in a saucepan. Serve and top with feta cheese.

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Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Time For A Field Trip

I am officially a featured writer over at Florida Foodies Restaurant and Travel Magazine. I will be posting articles there at least two times every month. Come on a field trip with me and check out my Chocolate Peanut Butter Halloween Treats. When your done, check out the rest of the blog for some recipe, travel, and restaurant fun!

Claim Your Free JamFrakas Bars!

If you commented on my JamFrakas Giveaway, you won some samples! LaraBar has set up a form for you to claim your sample! The kind people at LaraBar have also allowed me to offer samples for all my readers. YEAH!The first 200 people to respond get samples! Here is the link:

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Monday, October 20, 2008

Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal

Did you hear about the woman dancing down the cereal aisle in WalMart? Well...that was me when I found the Holiday Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal by Quaker! The other Holiday flavor is Maple Pecan, but I only grabbed two boxes of the Pumpkin Spice. It is one of the best instant oatmeal flavors I have ever tasted. I really don't know that it has that much of a strong pumpkin flavor, but it definitely has a creamy flavor with hints of cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. I will be stocking up on this one because I know it will disappear by the end of the year.

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Charlie Brown Memories and Recipes

It's The Great Pumpkin Charlie Brown is an annual tradition for me. I watched it every year as a child, and now my husband and I watch it together. It never fails to make me happy. I notice new elements in it every time. I thought I would share some Charlie Brown recipe links with you all in celebration of one of my favorite Holiday cartoons!
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Sunday, October 19, 2008

Jocalat Fun

The people over at LaraBar are awesome. They sent me a 24 count variety pack of JamKrakas and this wonderful shirt! I tried two new JamFrakas bars, which I will review soon! Details should be available this coming week for all of you who commented on the JamFrakas Giveaway and won samples. Before I got my surprise package in the mail, I bought some new Jocalat bars at Whole Foods: Chocolate Hazelnut and Chocolate Cherry. The bars are posing with the cute napkins RhodeyGirl sent me in my Prize Basket! The Chocolate Hazelnut is now my favorite Jocalat bar. It tastes more like a brownie than the other flavors! The Chocolate Cherry was pretty good too, but I am not a big fan of the fruit/chocolate blend. If you are a Chocolate Cherry fan, you will love it. So my burning question of the day is: When will they have a Chocolate Peanut Butter Jocalat bar?

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Saturday, October 18, 2008

Cherry Delight

I was inspired by The Hungry Housewife to try this recipe! It is so simple. You just mix a can of cherry pie filling and angel food cake mix! When you need an easy recipe for office parties or school parties, this is definitely your answer! This is a Weight Watchers recipe that has many variations including: pumpkin, pineapple, and spice. I bet you can guess which one I am trying next! Click here for other variations: Angel Food Cake Variations.

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Friday, October 17, 2008

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

I felt like playing in the kitchen this morning since I don't have to go to work until later. I wanted to make something easy, but fun and tasty! I found this recipe for Peanut Butter Energy balls at RecipeZaar. I must say they are quite tasty! Watch out though!! They are quite "poppable"! It doesn't take long for several of them to pop into your mouth and disappear! I only made half the recipe because I was afraid of the "popability" factor! I did not have flax seed or wheat germ, so I did not roll these balls in a topping. I actually am intrigued with the idea of rolling them in coconut!

Peanut Butter Energy Balls

1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup oatmeal
1/2 cup sunflower seed
1 cup raisins
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon flax seed (optional)
1 tablespoon wheat germ (optional)

Mix peanut butter, oatmeal, sunflower seeds, raisins, and honey.
Roll mixture into balls.
Mix equal amounts of flax seeds and wheat germ in a bowl and roll the balls in this mixture (optional).
Let balls sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
If you use natural peanut butter the mixture could be more dry. If this is the case add a little milk; about 1/2 tablespoon at a time.

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Thursday, October 16, 2008

Sweet Potato Pancakes

I guess I love my orange foods! Pumpkin is one of my favorites, but sweet potatoes are a close second. I discovered these sweet potato pancakes at Sprouts. They are a delicious way to enjoy sweet potatoes...crispy on the outside and smooth on the inside. These would be a great addition to breakfast or in a hash recipe! The kids will probably love these too. The great part is that they are all natural! Check out Dr. Praeger's other pancakes including spinach pancakes and broccoli pancakes!

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Motivational Eggs

One of my little friends walked in with this shirt on yesterday, and I couldn't resist snapping a picture! I love it! I am going to try to remember this saying when I am not in the best of moods! Have a great day everyone and "keep your sunny sides up!"

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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Eggnog Ramblings

As the weather starts cooling and the Holidays approach, I have found myself dreaming of eggnog! Unfortunately, sometimes my stomach doesn't do well with dairy, so last year I found some alternatives. I tried Silk Nog, and found that it was quite pleasant. It was definitely lighter than the real thing. Lactaid also came out with a lactose free version of eggnog! This one tasted closer to the real thing, but was also a bit lighter. I am just so happy that I have alternatives, so I can enjoy the wonderful taste of a holiday treat. My favorite thing to do with eggnog is to add it to my oatmeal in place of milk! I also like to substitute it for milk when making French toast.

Here are some of my favorite eggnog recipes:

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You Know You Are A Food Blogger When #2

You know you are a food blogger when....

Your camera is considered a kitchen tool!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Exciting News For All Who Commented On The JamFrakas Giveaway

Guess what! You are all winners! LaraBar is going to send everyone who commented a sample!! WOOHOO! Details will follow in the next couple of days. They are trying to set up a system where you can submit your addresses. Stay tuned for more details and congrats to everyone!!!!

Favorite Pumpkin Posts #2

Pumpkin Coffee Cake at Pumpkin and Spice

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cake at Stephanie's Kitchen

Spiced Pumpkin Soup at Bay Area Foodie

Monday, October 13, 2008

Fall Hummus

I love hummus! In the Fall, I like to make pumpkin hummus to spice things up a little bit! It tastes wonderful on pita bread and chips, but it also makes a great sandwich spread. I use the following recipe, but I substitute canned garbanzo beans.

Pumpkin Hummus
link at
1 3/4 cups dry garbanzo beans
1 (15 ounce) can pumpkin puree
5 fluid ounces lemon juice
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 cup tahini paste
3 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
salt to taste

Place the garbanzo beans into a large container and cover with several inches of cool water; let stand 8 hours to overnight. Or, bring the beans and water to a boil in a large pot over high heat. Once boiling, turn off the heat, cover, and let stand 1 hour. Drain and rinse before using.
Place the soaked garbanzo beans into a large saucepan and cover with several inches of water. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the garbanzo beans are tender, 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Once cooked, refrigerate the beans and liquid until cold.
Drain the garbanzo beans, reserving the cooking liquid. Place the beans and 1/2 cup of the reserved cooking liquid into a blender, and puree until a smooth paste forms. Add the pumpkin puree, lemon juice, olive oil, tahini, garlic, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Cover and puree again until smooth. Use additional cooking liquid as needed to achieve a smooth consistency. Season to taste with salt.
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Polenta Happiness!

I was so happy to learn that my Black Bean Pumpkin Polenta Chili won the Blogger Secret Ingredient contest this week. Thanks RhodeyGirl for picking Polenta! Check out all the other wonderful Polenta recipe entries. I can't decide which one to try first!