Sunday, July 29, 2012

Crockpot Bread (Tried and actually worked)




I guess today, I would call it experimental day. You know those days, were you are stuck inside, because here in GA it is boiling outside. Yesterday, we made the mistake of turning on the oven and we were boiling inside too.

I have been contemplating on making my own bread. One because I can get all the stuff at the Sam's Club for alot cheaper than buying it. All those Artisan Breads are expensive and we seem to not use it all at one time. Which translates into waste in the summer. The bread never lasts too long in this heat, ac or not.

I have a bread machine that makes a loaf in an hour. I also can make my own dough in it and then transfer to the oven or where ever to cook. It makes for a great grilled pizza dough. I follow a basic bread machine recipe and there is dough. If I am not going to use the dough right then, I spray a gallon baggie with Pam spray and put dough in and slid in fridge (it will rise, so be sure to come back in a bit and push it back down. ) I keep a few of these in the fridge sometimes. Come in handy for a pizza, breakfast pizza, bread, or even calizones.

Today though I had stumbled upon using a crockpot to get a loaf of bread, and since I made my caramel sauce in the crockpot, I thought I would give it a try.

Crockpot Bread

Ingredients:

1 batch of dough. (for the one in the picture I used a frozen bread dough, I bought and thawed out. I actually put it in, straight from the refrigerator)

1 piece of parchment paper (to line the crockpot)

Spices you would like to use as topping. (sesame seeds, poppy seeds, sea salt)

Instructions:

1) Line the crockpot with the parchment paper

2) Take your dough and form into a large ball. (I have seen where they used a bread pan, but mine wouldn't fit. The parchment paper worked great)

3) Put your dough down in the crockpot in the center of the parchment paper.

4) Sprinkle in your seasoning of choice. (I used sesame seeds and sea salt)


5) Turn on crockpot on high

Now for the timing. I put mine in cold from the fridge and I also fell asleep, so mine came out brown and crunchy on the bottom, light on the top and it was how we liked it.
That took 4 hours.

I would say 1 and 1/2 hours and check. Do realize it may not brown and be done. When you thump it, it sounds hollow. You can slip a light loaf into the broiler for color.  I liked leaving it because it did make it get color and it was crunchy outside.


I know this is probably as easy as a bread machine, but I find it a very interesting thought. Imagine what I can do with this. My crockpot lives on my counter and it was very easy just to slip it in and turn it on.



This actually could be a very bad thing. Especially for my diet. So I am looking for a diet friendly recipe for my bread.  I am thinking about trying a banana bread or a few other flavors.

I actually have another loaf in, for making sandwiches for lunch this week.  quick update* I finished this one, the crockpot was already hot and it took only 1 and 1/2 hours.. a little light on top, but a sweet brown on the bottom. So be sure to watch it.*

When I get a minute I will calculate WW points. So for now.. go slow..

So get out there and experiment with your food. Make it your own. Be creative, or just make a fresh loaf and enjoy the comfort in it.

Until we meet again. Have a wonderful Sunday!

Crockpot Caramel Sauce (tried and actually worked!)


Well everyone knows that caramel is a great thing to dip anything in..apples, bananas..elbow, fingers...oooopss...okay I am back on track.. I even saw a cute idea the other day on pinterest..where you did grapes, and then into chopped peanuts, and into a small candy cup..like a small caramel apple.
Oh yea, that brings me back to my apples. That is where is all started. My kids are forever asking for me to get the caramel apple dip that is in the carton in the produce. I hesitate every time, just for the fact that it is expensive.

One day I was searching the great web of Internet for an idea on how to cut costs on some of the indulgent items that we love. I mean I have cut out chips, and soda. Just because the cost is killing me.

I came across this site."http://worththewhisk.com/2010/03/15/crockpot-caramel-sauce-cooked-in-a-can/
This I guess is my way of quoting the source.

I wanted to share this, because I actually tried it and it worked.

Crock pot Caramel Sauce

Ingredients:

1 can of sweetened condensed milk (not the pop top)

Instructions:

1) Peel off paper on the can.

2) Put a small piece of foil or a tea plate in bottom of crock pot (it leaves a ring)

3) Put in the can of sweetened condensed milk.

4) Fill crock pot with water to about an inch above the can.

5) Turn on low for 7 hours ( I actually turned mine on high for 5 hours and it turned out okay.)

6) Let it sit unplugged for 3 hours until all cools down..It is super hot.
   Or I removed mine with tongs and put on top of stove to cool. Then opened it carefully.

And as you can tell by the picture....


**** I found that down near the bottom the caramel was thicker.. I am wondering if I went longer could I have made it thicker. The next time I try it I will do two cans and see what happens.

Cost wise this whole can was 1.25  compared to the 4.00 of the dip at the store.

This stuff was creamy and sweet.. Very yummy.. I am sure I could find a few nice recipes to use this in..but sometimes just the simple way is the best.

I have a whole bag of apples. I will make me a little  portion with a beautiful apple and sample a small bite of heaven'.

So get out there today...make something new.. create a recipe, a craft. Inspire your soul.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Tuna Melt Pizza (Pizza Style) wwpp=5 pt per 1/4 pie


Yesterday, I was craving fresh tomatoes from the garden. I asked my husband to stop at a local farmers market and he picked me up some, however..they were getting too ripe. So this morning I decided to use them quickly. I figured what is good with tomatoes, hmmmm...tuna.. hmmmm...what to eat it with. Now you know I could have just eaten it as tuna salad, stuffed in a tomato, but hey that is a whole other recipe...(I assure you I will share that one down the road)

For the crust of my tuna melt, I go to a Big Lots here in town and they have this


It is a wonderful tasty little bugger. For those Weight Watcher Plus Points it rates as 3 points per quarter. It also is thin and makes it a little crunchy.

Well let me get on to the creation..


Tuna Melt  (Pizza Style)

Ingredients:

1 can 5oz can of tuna ( I use albacore, seemed to flake better)

1 -2 tomatoes (sliced thin)

1/2 cup of fat free mozzarella cheese

3 tbsp of fat free ranch dressing

garlic, salt , pepper, Italian seasoning


Instructions:

1) Spray your pan that you are going to lay your crust on.

2) Spread the 3tbs of ranch fat free dressing on the crust.

3) Lay on the tomato slices.


4) Drain tuna and crumble on top of tomato slices.


5) Top with Fat Free Mozzarella cheese


6) Sprinkle  a little Italian seasoning, salt and pepper on top.
7) Bake at 400 for 10 to 15 minutes, until top is melted.



I really enjoyed this one. After all the tally of points, I came out with about 5 pts per quarter. It was a nice portion and with a nice salad on the side, could be a complete meal.

*** note *** next time I might try the shredded cheddar on top. The mozzarella was a little mild for me. So if you try it, let me know what you think.

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This was a great meal for me, had all the balance I need for a meal, especially doing Weight Watchers. I even got the kids to try it. Score one for the MOM...

Let me run on outta here...got to get onto that laundry, my screaming kid and guess what he wants to play...with the kids band stuff....ohhhhhhh...headache here we come...

Get out there, change one thing, a small thing...feed your soul...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Quinoa (via rice cooker) wwpp= 4-5 per cup


Okie, Dokie...I tried it. I have bought this a long time ago and it has sat and sat and I had left it for one of those back of the shelf things. I was so wrong.

I had my rice cooker out from the other day and I thought maybe I would give this a shot. What would have been the worst thing to happen. I would have to throw it out. Well now that I have tried it. I will be making this all the time.

Let's see I researched a bit and found out that it a relative to spinach. Well now you got me sold. It has 8 grams of protein in a cooked cup. The fiber is 3 grams.  So this all sounds pretty good.

Now for the taste....

Let me tell you how I did it..

I took my quinoa and put one cup into a bowl.. filled the bowl with water.. swished my fingers in it to kinda mix it up..poured out the water (easy don't lose the quinoa). I did this three times. (I also do this to my rice before it goes in cooker, makes it fluff better)

Put in rice cooker 1 cup of quinoa (rinsed) with two cups of water. In this particular batch I put in two tsps of chicken boulion powder.

Turn on and the rice cooker did its thing.

How I ate it? I put it in a bowl with a bit of salt, pepper and a sprinkle of grated Parmesan cheese.


I was afraid there wouldn't be much flavor, but this turned out to be really delicious.
The next time I try this I am going to just use water. Then add fresh tomatoes, cucumber and onion.. maybe with a vinaigrette. Almost like a mock tabbouleh salad. Sounds yummy and refreshing.

So get out there and make something new.. get out there and buy some quinoa..be adventurous

Monday, July 16, 2012

Roasted Eggplant-Mushroom-Onion- and Tomatoe Stromoboli wwpp=3pt per slice





Roasting Vegetables is a really great way to get a new depth of flavor. It isn't just the plain old veggie taste. It brings out a whole new flavor, rich, deep, sweet...I have been trying to stay on my WW program and vegetables are a great way to bulk up on meals. I am not saying I am turning vegetarian, but it is happening more frequently at my house.. The "Meatless Meals"   whoooooo! Now if you have a significant other that was raised on meat and potatoes, you may feel my pain. My husband thinks it should all fall in that category.  Roasting is a new way to introduce a new vegetable. Kale chips, divine. Asparagus, yuumy. Broccoli a whole new taste.

I roast all mine the same way. Toss with olive oil and a little sea salt...pour onto parchment paper (or a non- stick pan..) mine always stick and foil isn't my friend either.

In this recipe I will break this down to the Roasted Vegetables first and then what I made with them.

Roasted Vegetables

For this recipe I used an eggplant, mushrooms, onions and a few tomatoes.
I cut them up into bite size cubes (I didn't peel any, but you can), tossed with a little olive oil and sea salt.
Put in oven for ohhhhh about 35-40 minutes, at 400 degrees...

For the eggplant, I have read you can salt it and leave out for 30 minutes and it will get rid of the liquid, but I was rushed and didn't do it.
I also know you can use grape tomatoes, I used tomatoes that were getting ready to be too ripe. Save...another rescue from the depth of the refrigerator.

When these were done you can then do what you want with them, top a pizza, a potato, or make a calizone or even try my Stromboli.

I actually ran out of time yesterday and I didn't even get to make anything with them. I layed them gently in a container and put in the fridge for today.

Roasted Eggplant - Mushroom-Onion and Tomato Stromboli

Ingredients:

The already roasted veggies

1/2 cup of fat free mozzarella cheese

1 pizza dough ( I actually buy those frozen, pre-made dough loaves in the freezer section at the store. I take one loaf out and squirt a gallon storage bag with Pam and leave it in it on the counter and as it thaws it stays in the bag. You can then squeeze it down and use it then or store in fridge for a quick meal) I added ww points and it came to a total of 27 for the whole loaf. There is also a pizza crust, pre-made that I get at big lots for 99 cents.. it is a total of 12 for the whole crust.. so even a pizza made of this is a better deal on points. I like variety, so next time maybe a pizza..

Instructions:

1) Spread out your pizza dough as far as you can on your parchment paper.

2) Put roasted veggies (if there is liquid, try to not pick up too much) and fill all the way down the middle.


3) Top with the cheese.


4) Then pick up one side of parchment paper and fold over the middle, this brings one side of the dough up to cover the middle mixture. Make it release from parchment paper.


5) The get under parchment paper and roll Stromboli over onto last side and it will seal it closed.

6) Press down ends. Poke a few holes for steam.

7) Bake at 375 for 40 minutes. Until golden brown. Mine seems to be a little runny so for the last 10 minutes I rolled the heat up to 400 and it kinda caramelized what was liquid...

Let cool and cut. I cut mine in half and then into 12 slices.

Here is a picture showing the size of my piece. Sometimes, especially when you are dieting it is important to understand a portion. This is also on a small size plate. This is just an information report. (laughing out loud!)


For the ww numbers I figured it would be about 3 points per piece.

I found this to be really tasty. And yes, the two pieces I had were very filling. With a salad it could actually be a great entree.

***Warning Note***
Put up all extra portions, because they taste even as good cold..ruttt rooowww!

As you try this, you will come to the conclusion that there are quite a few other combinations you could try.

Broccoli and cheese
Asparagus

You could also pare it with a meat... steak bits and mushrooms .. you would just have to adjust the numbers.


Sunday, July 15, 2012

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups wwpp=3 points per piece


I have been off the grid for a bit. Seems every time I start to get over this pulled hip muscle, I get too far ahead of my recovery and I over do it in some simple way. I think my problem is that it has progressed into sciatic nerve problem. If anyone has chronic sciatic I am sure you feel me..

I have found a way to keep cooking and going, of course I would have to I am a mom and a wife and there is not stopping that force of nature. I have a really tall stool that I can perch on and create.

I am still doing weight watchers, although it really is very difficult to stay on task , with a health problem and not even that, I have 3 kids and it seems to me that since school has been out they are HUNGRY>>>>>>>ALL THE TIME>>

This morning I tried the Ham Cups with a Baked Egg. I had seen it done in my others blogs, and I wanted to try it and turn my blog readers onto it to. I don't want you to miss out on the good stuff.

It was really one of the most simplest things I have ever done. My kids thought I should have used bacon, me I was thinking spinach.

 I have tried Baked Eggs before on a pizza, which I suggest you give it a try. It turned out to be about  points per piece. Which isn't a bad breakfast. I would think these would do well in the fridge and probably the freezer. Mine didn't make it past the breakfast table.

Baked Eggs in Ham Cups  wwpp= 3points per piece (actually one wasn't a bad serving)

Ingredients:

Ham Slices ( I get the lowest calorie I can find, and makes it for about 4 slices. Canadian bacon works too and the numbers are low on it too)

Eggs

1/4 cup of fat free shredded cheddar cheese

Muffin Tin ( I used the 24 one I had, but use as many as you want to suit your needs. I always make a bit extra)

Instructions:

1) Spray your muffin tin WELL, unless you are a great dishwasher.. <<

2) Press in your ham slices, I used two per cup. Canadian bacon, I would use one because it is thick.

3) Crack an egg in each one.

4) Season with a bit of salt and pepper.

5) Sprinkle just a bit of cheese ( actually you could skip it, i found no taste difference with or without, and I am all for saving points.)

6) Pop in 400 degree oven for about 10-12 minutes, mine like their eggs cooked all the way. A little less and you get that runny kinda good egg...


I thought these were just a great, and easy way. You could make these for dinner and serve a salad along side.

You must try to make them. I was a little intimidated over whether or not I could do the egg right. But they have turned out every time.

Give them a try and holler back...
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You know I had written at the beginning about chronic pain. It is no joke and it is a burden on a persons soul. I just wanted to share with you what gets me through the day.

My mother passed in November and I miss her every single day. She is always the inspiration behind me even wanting to cook, experiment as you can call it. One of her saying to me was that..
"Think of good things and these will be the good things you will think upon"
So every day, I start out with that mantra, and I use it all day long.

Another little saying that keeps me rolling also is.."Please Lord Jesus, clear my mind of all the clutter (worry, hate, pain) so that I may hear You clearly."

So my friends, Get out there and get busy.. enjoy your life.. make something new..




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Celery - regrowing..




Okay, Okay, I am a big non-believer. I actually would think that as long as I kept that celery in the fridge that there would be no hope at all..

Here's the website I saw it on first..http://www.17apart.com/2012/02/growing-celery-indoors-never-buy-celery.html

Well feast your eyes on this...do you see what I see, yep that is a new celery bunch coming up.. hmmm. this is a very interesting thing. I am going to keep watch on this and see if it will keep on going. If it does that should make for a great growing project.

I use celery all the time. I have also heard you can do the same to green onions and even onions.

Oh, how I wish I had the garden area, up about 5 feet so I don't have to bend down to garden.. no telling what I could get going.

Well just wanted to share with you, I am sure now that this sparked my interest that I will be coming back with a few more ideas..

Keep cool and stay connected..

Get out there and make the day yours, do something outta the box...