Thursday, May 31, 2012

May Foodie Penpals

Oh how I LOVE getting Foodie PenPal packages!! 
Amber from was my May Foodie PenPal.

These items were so good! The Very Berry Crunch was like strawberry rice krispies only crunchier. I have been adding this to my yogurt everyday to kick it up. The cookie - vegan and fabulous - was wonderful...even the kids chomped on it. 

Now for the tea bags - I am a fan of tea, green tea mostly. Amber included a recipe that I had to try...I warmed up some Vanilla Almond Milk and steeped my new Aged Earl Grey tea bag in it. Creamy and wonderful as a bedtime beverage!

Want to join in the monthly foodie fun? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

Memorial Day Grilled Chicken

This is the most juicy, tender grilled chicken I have ever tasted. Usually, my grilled chicken is dry that ketchup is needed to choke it down! The marinade is very easy: balsamic vinegar, mango nectar and some thyme. Now, if you know me you are aware that I am emphatic that fruit and meat DO NOT MIX! Apricot Chicken makes me want to gag, Pineapple Ham just seems wrong, and even fruit salsas on fish gives me the shivers. I can't handle my meat dishes tasting sweet and fruity...just sayin'. So this recipe actually accomplished two "firsts" for me: tender grilled chicken AND fruit with meat (even though it wasn't actual fruit).

 Take a gallon ziploc bag and place it in a bowl...this will be how you marinate the chicken overnight. 
I used a can (14oz-ish) of Mango Nectar. I found this one in the Ethnic/Mexican isle at Kroger.
Add the nectar to the bag along with 1/3 cup of balsamic vinegar, 3TBSP of olive oil and some sea salt.
Add the chicken to the bag - I marinated 5 boneless skinless chicken breasts.
I had some fresh thyme growing in the garden, so I added a few sprigs.

Marinate overnight and cook on the grill (20 minutes) or in the oven at 375* for 25 minutes. Check to be sure that the juices run clear (not bloody) before you eat.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Pound Cake meets my new Curd

I was so excited that my Grapefruit Curd came out fabulous! But now that I have a jar of it, I feel like I need to find things to eat it with...not to go to waste. I thought maybe pound cake but I didn't want boring pound cake. Using a little semi-homemade technique, I simply added sliced almonds to pound cake mix. Wa-la: Almond Pound Cake! Since I made the cake two days before and I wanted the cake warm...toaster! I figured the microwave would make it soggy or too soft so I tried the toaster. 

Wonderfully warm, toasted almond pound cake with grapefruit curd and cool whip :) So yummy!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

New Fun Find: HINT

I am pretty picky about my beverages. I can't drink anything with milk...or my stomach will hate me. I can't drink anything with artificial sweeteners...or my headaches will hate on me. Most flavored waters have some sort of artificial sweeteners in them so I was pleasantly surprised to find Hint. This water literally has just a hint of flavor...and that's all! Not overly sweet. Perfectly refreshing. I bought the watermelon and the raspberry-lime. Try 'em!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

New Finds: Earth Fare

We have a new store in town! Earth Fare is open and I needed to see what it was all about. I picked up a few snacks after looking over some amazing sandwiches, coffees and candy! 

There is a station where you can grind your own peanut butter: Honey Roasted Peanut (which I bought), Almond, Peanut and Dark Chocolate, and Regular Peanut.

These carrot chips were among okra chips, green beans, and mixed vegetable chips. They are delicious!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

My Iced Coffee

My friend Ana loves iced coffee...and I mean LOVES iced coffee. I have never really liked iced coffee. This dislike probably came from the one and only time that I had iced coffee, thirteen or so years ago when I worked at Dunkin' Donuts. So, after realizing my real age and understanding that iced coffee may have changed a bit in the last decade plus...I searched for recipes to try.

 Instead of brewing double strength, hot coffee, I went with a cold brew approach. Taking an empty gallon jug from my iced tea, I poured in 1/2 pound of coffee grounds. Then I filled the gallon to the top with cold water. Put the lid on, give it a good shake and let it sit over night.

 In the morning, line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and filter out the grounds. Go slowly as the grounds can start to back it all up. You can use a spoon to smush the coffee through (yep, I said smush). Discard the grounds.

There were still some floaties in the liquid, so before I put it in the storage container I strained it again. Place another section of cheesecloth over the container with a rubber band and pour the liquid through.

 I added Vanilla Almond Milk and the Coffee mixture - half and half in a cup with ice. 
Ana is correct...this stuff is GREAT!

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Tofu Alfredo

I was a little nervous to try this recipe.
One of my chef buds makes the best alfredo sauce...the kind of alfredo sauce that you can't not eat but that your stomach hates you afterwards because of the amount of fat in it. Chef Andy...please don't hate me for using tofu and soy milk instead of fat!

 At least it was easy enough...put it all in the blender and then just heat it up.

Tofu Alfredo

by Rebecca Kraynek
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (serves 4)
  • 1 package firm tofu
  • 6 leaves basil
  • 6 leaves parsley
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1 cup plain soy milk
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese (soy alternative if you'd like)
  • 1 package fettuccini noodles
Cook pasta based on package instructions.
Break tofu into chunks and place in a blender or food processor (sometimes I wait until the ingredients are blended before I add the herbs, but I don't really mind the "green tint"). Add remainder of ingredients, except parmesan cheese.
Blend until creamy.
Transfer to a saucepan and heat over medium heat until hot - do not boil.
Add in parmesan and stir until melted.
Serve over pasta.
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Thursday, May 17, 2012

Successful Curd

One of my favorite things to put on scones is lemon curd. I am not quite sure if it's the texture or the tart that I like the best...but I like it! I came across this recipe for a Grapefruit Curd and thought it might be interesting. Having never actually made curd...a challenge!

Squeezey, Squeezey 4 grapefruits!

Careful not to scramble those eggs when you add the hot liquid!

Buttery goodness!

Grapefruit Curd with Thyme

by Rebecca Kraynek
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Ingredients (jelly jar full)
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed grapefruits
  • twig of thyme (I used one "branch" or 4 sprigs)
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 5 TBSP unsalted butter
Place the squeezed grapefruit juice and the thyme sprigs in a small saucepan over medium heat. Simmer until this has reduced by half. Discard the thyme twigs.
Add the honey and sugar to the juice over low heat until dissolved.
In a separate bowl, beat eggs together. Slowly pour half of the juice mixture into the eggs, whisking constantly then whisk the egg mixture into the pot.
Cook over low heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture becomes thick enough to coat the back of the spoon. Remove from the heat and stir in one TBSP of butter at a time until melted. Cool to room temp then store, covered, in the frig.
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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Fresh Strawberry Pie

I love strawberries! The kids can polish off a quart each night at dinner if I let them. I have never like the store bought strawberry filling - it tastes so artificially tart - but I wanted to try to make my a pie. This recipe is tart, but the refreshing kind of tart... a "summer lemonade with strawberries" kind of refreshing. Enjoy!

Fresh Strawberry Pie

by Rebecca Kraynek
Prep Time: 40 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Ingredients (8 slices)
  • Packaged pie shell
  • 2 quarts strawberries
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 TBSP cornstarch
  • 1 TBSP lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup water
  • whipped topping
Bake pie shell according to package directions.
Wash berries, remove stems and quarter.
Place the berries in a medium bowl and smash them (potato masher or fork) to get the juice released.
In a separate bowl, mix the sugar and corn starch together. Stir this into the berries and let it sit for 15 minutes.
Place berry mixture, water, lemon juice in a saucepan. Cook over medium heat for about 5 minutes, stirring, until it comes to a boil and thickens/turns clear. Reduce heat and cook for an additional minute.
Remove from heat and cool to room temp.
Pour into pie shell and refrigerate until fully set.
Serve with whipped topping.
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Sunday, May 13, 2012

Oh the lovely produce!

Oh the lovely produce!
This slaw has great color and such a fresh taste.
Perfect as a side dish or as a salad with some grilled chicken on top.
Try it.

 Fresh Carrots - I didn't even peel them!

 Tahini Dressing - tahini sauce, some vinegar, maple syrup, salt and lemon juice.

Rainbow Slaw with Tahini Dressing

by Rebecca Kraynek
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 0 minutes
Ingredients (Serves 4)
    • 2 Tbsp Tahini
    • 2 Tbsp maple syrup
    • 1 Tbsp red wine vinegar
    • 3 Tbsp lemon juice
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1/2 tsp onion powder
    • half head of red cabbage
    • half head of green cabbage
    • 2 fresh carrots
    • 1/2 red onion
    • 1 cucumber
    Stir the dressing ingredients together and set aside.
    Shred all vegetables...not thinly slice...SHRED
    You get an arm work out AND a great dish!
    Mix the all together - best if it sits over night but perfect as soon as you are done mixing!
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    Saturday, May 12, 2012

    Dairy Free Veggie Dip

    At work, we make a mean tofu ranch dressing with Tofutti Sour Cream. I mistakenly told a co-worker that it was made from tofu. She was SO excited that she had eaten something with tofu and my news of Tofutti Sour Cream had just deflated her! I can't walk away from  that type of challenge...Tofu Veggie Dip with actual tofu comin' up!

    Tofu Veggie Dip

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 0 minutes
    • 1 cup soft tofu (use Silken if you want a salad dressing consistency)
    • 2 tsp salt
    • 1 Tbsp chopped garlic (the type in the tube is best)
    • 2 Tbsp Worchestershire sauce (start with 2 Tbsp and add more if need be)
    • 1 Tbsp lemon juice
    • chives (start with 10)
    Add it all to a food processor and blend. There will be chunks of chives, but that's good!
    Taste and add more of which flavor you like best ( I added a tad more garlic).
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    Add it all and blend away - it's just that easy!

    Friday, May 11, 2012

    The Eggs are Green!!

    Avocado Deviled Eggs

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 10 minutes
    Cook Time: 12 minutes
    Ingredients (serves 4)
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 avocado
    • 1/4 cup lite mayo
    • 1 tsp chopped garlic
    • 1 tsp kosher salt
    Boil eggs to a hard boil, let cool before peeling and slicing
    Scoop out yolks into a bowl
    Add remaining ingredients
    Smash all together
    Fill egg white with yolk/avocado mixture
    Chill until ready to eat
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    Use a potato masher for easy smashing!

    Thursday, May 10, 2012

    Semi Homemade Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

    Semi homemade is my version of "I'm a slacker and don't feel like cooking from scratch but want something that doesn't taste the it was made 6 months ago by a huge manufacturing company". Enjoy!

    Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bread

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 45 minutes
    Ingredients (1 loaf)
    • Chocolate Chip Bread Mix
    • 1/4 cup oil
    • 1/4 cup water
    • 1 egg
    • 3/4 cup shredded zucchini
    Mix it all together
    Place in a Pam sprayed loaf pan (or make as muffins)
    Bake for 40 to 45 minutes
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    Tuesday, May 8, 2012

    Training A.D.D.

    If you have recently began to lose weight by increasing your physical activity, you may very well have hit a plateau at some point. "I continue to workout but I'm not losing any more weight!", is usually what I hear. It can be frustrating to put in 30 to 45 minutes at the gym and not see more results. And finding time to add another 30 minutes to that workout may not be available within the 24 hours that time allows us.

    Diagnosis? Training A.D.D.

    Your body is telling you that this workout isn't enough anymore. Your muscles have gotten used to this workout and frankly don't need to burn many more calories to continue.

    Dorene Internicola writes about this very thing in her article Taking fitness plateaus from failure to feedback. Check it out!

    Monday, May 7, 2012

    Love This: What 2000 calories can look like!

    Can You Stay for Dinner? recently posted this GREAT description of what 2000 calories a day can consist of. I hear so many people say, "I can't imagine cutting my calories! I bet I'll be starving." This post shows just how much you can have with 2000 calories if you just plan it out.

    Sunday, May 6, 2012

    Spinach Cheddar Muffins Biscuits

    I made some great creamed chicken and vegetables in the crockpot but need some sort of starch to go with it. I whipped up these muffins using some leftover spinach I found in the fridge.

    Before I get to the muffin recipe - the chicken dish! Totally easy! I took four frozen boneless, skinless chicken breasts and placed them in the crockpot. I poured in a bag of mixed vegetables. Then I topped it all with a can of cream of celery soup (condensed) and then a can of water. Cook for 10 hours. When I got home, I used a spoon to break up the chicken and added 1/4 cup of fat free half and half. Done!

    Spinach and Cheese Muffin Biscuits

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 23 minutes
    Ingredients (serves 12)
    • 2 cups flour
    • 2 tsp baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp baking soda
    • 1/2 tsp salt
    • 1 tsp garlic powder
    • 1 tsp onion powder
    • 1 1/2 cup milk or soy milk
    • 1/3 cup veg oil
    • 1 egg
    • 1 cup chopped fresh spinach
    • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese
    Mix all of the dry ingredients first.
    Mix all of the wet ingredients separately.
    Make a whole in the flour and pour in the wet ingredients.
    Toss the spinach and cheese on top.
    Mix it all together.
    Scoop batter into muffin tins - paper or no paper, your choice.
    Bake for 23 to 25 minutes or until edges are golden.
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    Finished Chicken and Muffin

    Saturday, May 5, 2012

    Buy Handmade!

    Besides loving to cook, I also love to sew. Actually, I believe it is called an addiction to fabric which leads me to sewing! I wanted to share some of my favorite handmade items and promote the wonderful shops that they come from.

    Starting with my new find from Scooter's Sewing Shenanigans - how cute is this towel!?! Scooter creates amazing clothes, towels, and kitchen items. Check out her store here:

    Then there is Mary from Pog Totes - I love her bags! She has a range of bag, purses, and iPad cases. She uses the greatest fabrics, some classic and some retro. Check her out here:

    Kater's Acres does amazing work with clay. From sculptures to this Carmex lid cover, Katie does amazingly cute things with colorful clay. Check out her shop here:

    And last but not least, I had to do a little shameless self promotion! Among the coffee cozies and heat therapy packs, I have been selling these hot guy pinup oven mitts to happy, happy kitchens! Check out the whole shop - whose proceeds all go to Kaitrin's Klub:

    Friday, May 4, 2012

    Wheatberry Salad

    Wheatberries are a whole grain that also has protein. This is a great option for vegetarians or a meatless meal. The wheatberries can be eaten hot as a meal or cold as a salad. You can add salt to the cooking water and mix with sauteed vegetables for a savory side dish. Or you can add fruit or fruit dressings for a light salad. I like to take the leftovers of this salad and eat it with yogurt. 

    Wheatberry Salad

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 1 hour
    Cook Time: 15 minutes
    Ingredients (Serves 6)
    • 1 cup cooked wheat berries
    • 1 fuji apple, diced
    • 1 cup dried cranberries
    • 1/2 cup orange juice
    • 1/4 cup pecans (optional)
    • 1/2 cup raspberry vinaigrette dressing
    Cook wheatberries by the instructions on the package. Cool.
    Dice apples.
    Place apples and cranberries in orange juice to soak for 30 minutes.
    Drain apples and cranberries.
    Mix apples, cranberries, pecans, wheatberries and dressing together.
    Chill and serve.
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    Thursday, May 3, 2012

    Coconut Water Smoothie

    Coconut Water Smoothie

    by Rebecca Kraynek
    Prep Time: 5 minutes
    Cook Time: 0 minutes
    Ingredients (serves 3)
    • 17 ounce container of Coconut Water, unsweetened
    • take a 2 cup measuring cup - fill a third of it with frozen strawberries then fill to the top with frozen sliced peaches
    • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
    Blend in a blender until smooth!
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