Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Blueberry Banana Smoothies

This post is to show I eat something other than dessert :) I really enjoy fruit smoothies. Grayson used to have them every day but I think he got sick of them, and now Thatcher will drink them almost every day. I vary the fruit I use--usually I would use frozen strawberries but this time we went to Sam's Club I got a bag of frozen blueberries instead so I'm using those. I have also purchased the frozen mixed fruit bags in the past, but didn't think honeydew and cantaloupe worked well in these. Peach and pineapple were yummy though.

4-6 oz orange juice (I try to squeeze fresh juice whenever possible)
1-2 bananas (depending on how thick and banana-y you like it)
1 cup frozen blueberries (use more if desired), thawed in microwave for about 45 seconds
several heaping spoonfuls of plain, whole fat yogurt (I usually use homemade)

Put all ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. This will make 1 1/2 to 2 cups of smoothie.

I didn't always add yogurt--that is a fairly recent addition. My mom has done reading about the benefits of probiotics, and the whole milk fat is good for all of us (especially my kids, who don't drink straight whole milk). My mom got us a yogurt maker and she has one as well. She uses goat's milk because it's easier to digest, but my most recent batch was cow's milk. It adds a creaminess to the smoothies that's really nice. I opt for plain because it doesn't have any added sugars. So between the fresh orange juice, all the fruit, and the healthy yogurt, we really feel good about our breakfast when we make these!

For Thatcher

For me

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Mini Ritz Cookies

I got this YUMMY recipe from Jadi's blog. She used Ritz crackers, spread peanut butter between them, and dipped them in chocolate. I made a minor change by using peanut butter Ritz Bits (the little ones), and dipping them in chocolate. This is soooo easy and the result is awesome. I'm sure the full size ones are great and can't wait to make those, but I also really like the mini version. They're a great bite-sized treat. It goes without saying that the kids loved them, too.

1 package Ritz Bits peanut butter crackers
Milk chocolate chips
White chocolate chips
A little bit of vegetable oil

Melt about 1/2 an 8 oz bag of milk chocolate chips, 1/4 of an 8 oz bag of white chocolate chips, and about 1 tsp of vegetable oil in the microwave. Stir until smooth. Dip peanut butter crackers in chocolate until covered. Use a fork to remove them from the chocolate. Put wax paper on a cookie sheet and place the chocolate covered crackers on the wax paper. Place cookie sheet in the fridge for 10 to 20 minutes so chocolate can harden. Enjoy!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Easy Ice Cream Cake

I got this recipe from an old coworker of mine named Teri. It is really easy and yummy--a great summer dessert--and much less expensive than buying an ice cream cake. I think it tastes just as good as a store-bought one (if not better!).

1 package Oreo cookies
1 stick butter
1 container of cookies n' cream ice cream, softened
1 container of Cool Whip

Break Oreos into small pieces (you could probably use a food processor but I just put the cookies in a large mixing bowl and used the bottom of a glass cup to break them. I think bigger chunks work better than a powder). Take out some (1/2 to 1 cup depending on how much you want on top) for sprinkling on the cake when finished. Melt butter and mix with remaining crushed Oreos. Press into a 9 x13 pan. Put in freezer for a few minutes to set. Remove from freezer and spread softened ice cream over crust. Spread Cool Whip over ice cream. Sprinkle the Oreos you set aside over top of cake. Store in freezer until ready to serve.

I have made half-and-half cakes before--put cookies n' cream on half and another type of ice cream on the other. You could also use another type of cookie (like a peanut butter cookie) with whatever ice cream you wanted.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009


After a rich, decadent dinner of sole (fish) stuffed with crab and scallops, loaded baked potatoes, and fresh, juicy tomato wedges, I decided to try this recipe. I got it from a "Better Homes and Gardens" cookbook I got for my wedding. This was my first time trying this recipe and I thought it turned out nicely. It calls for less butter and 1/3 the chocolate of my cookie bars, but is still very rich, buttery, and chocolaty. Grayson took one bite and said, "This is DELICIOUS!" I loved melting the brown sugar and butter in the pan together--it looked so pretty. :)

2 cups packed brown sugar
2/3 c butter
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
2 c all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 c semisweet chocolate chips
1 c chopped nuts

Grease a 9x13 baking pan; set aside. In a medium saucepan heat brown sugar and butter over medium heat until butter melts and the mixture is smooth, stirring constantly. Cool slightly. Stir in eggs 1 at a time; stir in vanilla. Stir in flour, baking powder, and baking soda.

Spread batter in prepared baking pan. Sprinkle with chocolate pieces and nuts. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 to 30 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted near center comes out clean (avoid chocolate pieces). Cool slightly on a wire rack. Cut into bars while warm.

I didn't add nuts to mine, but think they would add a nice crunch. This would be delicious, of course, with milk or vanilla ice cream.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

German Chocolate Brownies

This isn't even really a recipe--just a combination of two yummy things to make an even yummier one. I bake a 9 x 13 pan of my favorite brownie mix (anything with Hershey's chocolate chunks in it) and top it with coconut pecan frosting (any brand). Serve it with milk, ice cream, or just on its own. Scrumptious.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Muffuletta Sandwiches

This is the sandwich Ryan made for New Year's Eve. He based his on a Bobby Flay recipe (from an episode of "Throwdown" we saw), and I know he improvised a little from what it calls for--for example he used provolone cheese and used a greek olive salad that he blended up instead of making his own olive mix. Click here for the Bobby Flay recipe on Food Network's website.

Lemon Fruit Dip

I found this in a "Simple and Delicious" magazine and thought it sounded yummy. Ryan made the dip and put together this beautiful fruit tray for New Year's Day. The dip was really good--light, cool, and creamy. It got great reviews from those who tried it--I highly recommend it!

1 c cold milk
1 package (3.4) oz instant lemon pudding mix
1 c (8 oz) sour cream
Assorted fresh fruit

In a small bowl, whisk milk and pudding mix for 2 minutes. Let stand for 2 minutes or until soft-set. Whisk in sour cream. Chill until serving. Serve with fruit. Makes 1-2/3 cups.