Friday, April 30, 2010

Spinach Stuffed Manicotti

Well I don't look Italian but I assure you I am! No really I am! I have a beautiful tiny Italian Grandma to prove it!!

I had to call on my Italian heritage for this one! I think it worked. Granted it could use some work like all new recipes but heck I think for my first try at a pasta like this I didn't do so shabby.

Here is the recipe I made up as I went and some pictures. If you ahve any suggestions please feel free to drop me one I always love pointers.

What you will need:
12 manicotti shellls (some always tear so make enough to cover that)
3.5 cups ricotta cheese
2 (10 ounce) packages frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
1 cup grated fresh parmesan cheese
1 cup grated frech mozerella cheese
1 egg
2 teaspoons dried basil
4 cloves garlic, minced
salt and pepper to taste
3 1/2 cups spaghetti sauce (I make mine from scratch but you can always use your fav jar sauce)

***In a large pot of water (I add 1/4 cup of olive oil so the dont stick) boil pasta shells until al dente. Drain and rinse with cold water.
***Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
***In a large bowl, combine spinach, mozzarella cheese, egg, parmesan cheese, and Italian. You can do this with a anything you like, me personally I used my hands to make sure it was all mixed well.
***Pour 1 cup of your spaghetti sauce into a 8x12 inch baking pan, make sure it is spread evenly.
***Fill each shell with the spinach and cheese mixrure (i again used my hands).
***Place shells in pan. Spoon the rest of your spaghetti sauce over shells.
***Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until shells are heated through.

I grated a little extra parm and mozz to melt over the top when it was done and wooo it was good!

I hope you enjoy this recipe and like I said please feel free to comment with any tips or alterations you may have made to the recipe.


Sunday, April 25, 2010

some of the most important fruits and vegetables you should buy organic

During the past 2 years I have really turned my life around in many ways, one of the most major ways is my weight loss. Along with learning how to eat properly I have also learned a lot about eating organic. I try to use as many organic ingredients as possible. I found this on one of the blogs I frequent and thought I would share.

16 fruits and vegetables you should buy organic
borrowed from

i think most of us have become more price conscience at the grocery store. i know i have.
one of expenditures i debate often is whether to "splurge" on organic food. i hate to not buy organic but lets be honest - times are tough.

i have complied a list of fruits and vegetables to buy organic. these foods are often on the "top offenders" lists for having some of the highest concentrations of pesticides and chemicals.

in no particular order...

peaches - they have a very thin skin and are often heavily sprayed with chemicals to ward off pests. their thin skin also means that the chemicals penetrate to the flesh so even if you peel them you won't get rid of them.

apples - another thin skinned fruit that is often heavily sprayed.

bell peppers

celery - since celery has no skin it is impossible to wash off chemicals and pesticides.


strawberries - this is especially true during the off season as they are shipped in from other countries with fewer regulations on pesticides and chemicals.



leafy greens

grapes - especially the imported ones.




tomatoes - have been taken off some worst offenders list but their skin keeps them on my list


citrus that you are using for zest.

also you should be aware of organic labels.

100% organic - products that carry this label are indeed 100% organic. they will carry the USDA seal. you usually see this on produce.

organic - at least 95% of the ingredients will be organic. these products will also carry the USDA seal.

made with organic ingredients - at least 70% of the ingredients must be organic. they will NOT carry the USDA seal.

one of the things i love to do

Suzi an I used to sit for hours upon hours and do counted cross stitch. I swear there were some winter weekends that this is all we would do.

I have liked doing counted cross stitch since I was little. As I've gotten older I have obviously taken on larger projects. Let's just say I have many many unfinished works ahaha!

Here is a picture of one I swear every six months or so that I wil finish. The back stitching is a killer though. But I will finish it one fine day!

I have some other fun things I have been workiing on forever and a day.

Stay Tuned!


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Oven Baked Onion Rings (guest post from my MO. BFF)

So I am always telling Jan what I'm going to make next and run ideas by her. I also send her recipes I know she and her uber cool hubby Neal "the big deal" West will enjoy!

I sent Jan this recipe a couple weeks ago and next thing you know she's sending me a text message with this yummy pic of her onion rings!

Here is Jan's awesome cell phone photo shoot and the recipe!!

Thanks for being awesome J. West!! What would I do without you in my life!!

Oven Baked Onion Rings
Cooking spray
4 cups Ritz crackers
1/2 teaspoon cayenne
1 cup low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
1 to 2 large Vidalia onions, peeled

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees. Spray a baking sheet slightly with oil and set aside.

Place Ritz crackers into a food processor and process into crumbs, or place in a sealable plastic bag and crush with a rolling pin. Transfer to a shallow bowl, add cayenne, and set aside. In another bowl, combine buttermilk, 2 tablespoons of flour, salt and pepper and set aside. Slice onions into 1/2-inch circles and separate into rings.

Place the remaining flour in a sealable plastic bag, then add onions, and shake to coat. Dip onions 1 at a time into the buttermilk mixture, then into cracker crumbs and place on baking sheet.

Spray cooking spray evenly over rings and bake for 20 minutes, or until coating is crisp. Season with salt and serve immediately.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Low Fat Banana Bread.

Who doesn't love a yummy loaf of moist bread with a swipe of salty butter on top!

This is one of my most fav things to bake because its so easy and so delish. Oh and LOW FAT!!! HELLOO!! Does it get any better!

If you like banana bread you'll love this recipe. I try to use all organic ingredients, which don't necessairly change the taste it just makes it better for you.

What you will need:

2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 4 bananas)
1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°.
Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, and stir

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl, and beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add the eggs. Add banana, yogurt, and vanilla; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist. Spoon batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray and a little flour. Bake at 350° for 1 hour or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

Sometimes I cannot wait for it to cool to cut off a chunk ahaha! ENJOY!!
Please give me feedback if you try this recipe.

My Chicago Adventure 4/16/10 - 4/18/10

For those of you who know me know that I love taking pictures so going to Chicago made for lots of great photo ops.

We had such a great time. Lot's of walking, great drinks, great food, and one of my most fav cities!

Here are some pics from our fab weekend.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I love dark chocolate. I've made these brownies about 4 times now and they are a big hit with everyone I share them with.

Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Brownies

What you'll need:
1 bag of Ghiradelli Dark Chocolate Chips
1 cup of Ghiradelli Dark Coco Powder
3/4 cup salted butter melted
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 350F
Using a hand mixer put all your dry ingredients in the mixing bowl first then add your wet ingredients and mix. Then add your chocolate chips and give it a good stir.
Spread in greased 13 x 9 inch pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes (do not overbake)burnt dark chocolate brownies taste horrible!

I have some in the oven now, stay tuned for pictures!

Made Up Milanos

I love Pepperidge Farm Milano cookies, I just hate paying all that money for such a simple cookie.
So in my quest to simplify life and save a few pennies I put this simple recipe together.
The best part is there are only 5 ingredients!

You will need:
1 cup flour
1/4 cup unsalted melted butter
1 egg
1/4 cup sugar

Combine the above ingredients except for the Nutella till it forms a somewhat crumbly dough.

Pre heat oven to 350F

Use the palm of your hand to flatten the dough ball on your baking sheet

Place in oven

Bake at 350 F for 6 minuets

After 6 minuets flip the cookies over , and bake for another 6 minuets

The cookies wil be slightly golden.

Let cool completely. Once cookies are room temp this is the fun part. Use a table spoon to smear a dollop of nutella on half the cookies. Now take the ones that do not have Nutella on them and sandwich them together. Let the nutella set and VOILA yummy Milanos!!


Wednesday, April 14, 2010

'ello 'ello!

Ok so here I go taking a stab at this blog thing. If you know me you know I am always making something. It could be some sort of craft, it could be a "mix tape" for my BFF's, maybe some new recipe I just found or a loaf of banana bread.

So I guess what you will find here is a bunch of random tidbits of all the things I "make"

I'll also be posting links to my fav blogs and of course my friends blogs.

Who knows I may get bored with this or get slightly obsesssed with it ahahha!! It's the OCD in my sometimes I just cannot stop myself.

I think I'll also post some of the randomness I come across that entertains me!

Peace Out Girl and Boy Scouts!

Oh and I always have typos and grammar errors. I'm flawed what can I say!