Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Today's Segment on Fox

Healthy After School Snacks aired today on Fox 10 Arizona Morning. Stuffed Pretzels and Stuffed Bread sticks. I still am a little in buzz-land from all the love I feel at the studio. They are such nice amazing people who have always made me feel at home. Thank you so much, especially Tiffany Jarratt, Andrea Robinson and Rick D'Amico for this morning's fun. I hope that this continues for a very long time. Once the dust settled I realized we had not really gotten into the stuffed bread sticks with the roasted green chile, sharp cheddar and blackberry jam. They where in the my regular Stuffed Bread sticks fashion but I used a tablespoon of sugar free seedless blackberry jam, a 4 inch thin slice of sharp cheddar on top of a teaspoon of diced roasted green chile. This is what it looked like...

For a demonstration on how to actually stuff the bread sticks and pretzels, watch today's segment: Healthy After School Snacks
Bake 350 degrees 20-25 minutes until golden brown. I also top with a little Parmesan cheese.
The pumpkin carmel pretzels actually didn't make it to the studio. I have no comment at this time. Ace . Need I say more? Yes. But I will be a nice lady and keep my mouth shut. What? What carmel on my chin?
That being said, if you have further questions on recipe and ideas, please see the posting :
Vegan Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels .

There you go.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Fox 10 again!

Remember the Stuffed Pretzels and Stuffed Bread sticks? I made some yesterday with a spiced pumpkin dough stuffed with Carmel and sprinkled with nuts. Little man told me that I was in cahoots with the devil and needed to be destroyed. Pretty sure he meant "You're the best mom on earth". Tomorrow morning I have the exciting chance to visit the Fox 10 Phoenix studio again! I can't wait! For those who will be joining me after seeing the segment and wanting more information on the doughs, I will be using the chocolate sourdough bread dough for the stuffed pretzels. Using sun-dried cherries instead of raisins and some cherry jam with a little cayenne pepper mixed in it for the stuffing. We will also be using the pumpkin yeast raised dough that I used for doughnuts in the post " Let Me Sleep You Crazy Man! " from last November. It is amazing coupled with Carmel stuffing. I used some Peter's Carmel my mother sent me. She loves me. Love is... the fat bomb 5 lb brick of Carmel. It's the simple things really. NOW...If you feel ambitious you can also make caramels using the apple cider Carmel recipe "Apple Cider Carmels...And STEAK." I think that is one of my favorite recipe of all time for caramels. Do what you want. I am on Carmel making restriction. Seems I have a complete lack of self control when looking at a pot of warm Carmel. Who knew?!
The quick and easy pretzel recipe is listed here as Vegan Whole Wheat Soft Pretzels. Ironically the only one under pretzels even though we will be adding the other two in the next few days. Big hugs and kisses to all! I'm so glad to be in your lives and continue to feel your love. What a blessing you all are to me. God bless! Now go make some pretzels. There you go.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Baked Spiced Peaches with Chocolate Raspberry Sauce

Well, I'm back. I know it's been torture to have me gone...well for me anyway. I missed blogging terribly and realized what a void it fills in my soul. I have finally found a way to touch lives and bring joy and love to many new and wonderful friends. I just want to say thank you to so many who have sent their love and encouragement to me the last week as we have been going through this life change. Taking on a new challenge has been exciting as well as difficult. There is a part of small part...that wants things to remain as they always have. The other part of me is jumping at and chomping at the bit. I'm feeling so much love and support from God and so many on Earth. Thank you all! I stopped twitching from all the life change-anxiety and am starting to feel a semblance of normal. an effort to not go completely insane...

I want to share the first dessert I made for my diabetic mother in law. Hence forth known as Granny. If I refer to Granny and you don't know who that is, just know she is crazy, zany fun. I love her. She cusses a little...and keeps me laughing. A very strong woman. After the dust settled and my new kitchen was a bit organized, I started in. I think one of the biggest challenges for a diabetic (and I have a dear sister and mother in law who tell me this...) is finding something to satisfy the sweet tooth without having to shoot up on insulin. As fun as insulin shooting is, I can well imagine that it gets old. I wanted to find a few things that would help with the blood sugar levels as well as give a satisfying sweetness. Baked domestic fruit has been helpful. By domestic fruit, I mean apples, pears, peaches, apricots. Here's a website that has been a great resource. I'm not claiming to be an expert, I just have seen some good results so far.
For the baked Spiced Peaches I simply peeled 3 fresh peaches and sprinkled 1/4 tsp cinnamon and 1/4 tsp nutmeg over the fruit. No added sugar. I baked them in a shallow casserole dish for 20 minutes at 350 degrees. While they baked I made some spiced nuts and sugar free Chocolate raspberry sauce.
For spiced nuts:
1 cup Walnuts, Pecans or Almonds (I used almonds)
1/2 tsp rum extract
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp butter
1/2 tsp sugar or Splenda
melt all together in a heavy skillet until the butter is melted and the nuts are coated. Remove from the heat. Toss into the pan:
1 T sugar or Splenda
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
1/4 tsp allspice
Allow to cool.
Chocolate Raspberry Sauce
1/4 cups sugar free seedless raspberry jam
1T unsweetened cocoa powder
1-2 T orange juice
In a small microwave safe dish, heat all ingredients until jam is melted, about 1 minute. Stir well.
Remove 1/2 cooked peach from the baking dish and place in a bowl. Drizzle with 1T chocolate sauce and 2T nuts.
Carb counts:
1/2 peach, 8.5 carbs Og fat
Chocolate sauce1T, 4g carbs Og fat
5 almonds 3 gr fat 2 carbs

There you go.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Random Thoughts...Hospice Chick-a-dee of Glory

I love my husband. I love his parents. I never imagined I would have to combine the two under one roof. However, due to health issues with the ever sweet cussing Granny and her husband (my Father in Law that I call Mr. Putt Putt)...we're doing something crazy. Both of them need a little extra help. Ace needs a shorter drive to work. It's win-win. My mother in law had another spell with the paramedics Monday night. She can't be alone any more. Technically she's not alone, she does have my father in law. Mr. Putt Putt is adorable. He insists on washing dishes. I'm going to get along with him just fine. Grin. He's just not as strong as he used to be and can't do much. Not because he's lazy or deaf (though we do have to talk really loud and deliberate for him to make out our conversations)...Yeah, no comments from the peanut gallery. I know what you're thinking..."she's already loud and pretty deliberate..."
At any rate, yesterday we spent the better part of the day moving in with Granny and Mr. Putt Putt. So, it's official. I'm not looking back. Am I someone who loves them more than my condo? Yes!...Totally selling it. I'll be off line for a while trying to sort and settle. Love to all!...hopefully back in full by late next week. Add to the job title of "Chef and mom"..."Hospice chick-a-dee of Glory". I will be now entering a whole new phase of blogging diabetic recipes. Hopefully trying not to go into having to humiliate spaghetti in a blender. Mmmm. Hospice food. Now we're really moving up. But, seriously, I know that there are a lot of people who will be facing these challenges and joys as well. It can only be good. Puree the prunes folks. I'm so pumped...(wink). We'll see what happens. Did I even mention the dog?! Karmel the chiwawa. Crap (sorry for the slang). I'm in trouble.'s going to be fine. Change is good.
Eye twitching right now.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Manicotti with Face

One of my favorite budget friendly meals is best cooked with my little boy Face. It's a recipe called:
Marilyn's Manicotti
Bon Appétit March 1990
by Marilyn B. Leone: Huntington Beach, California
yield 8 servings
Marinara Sauce
2 pounds tomatoes, peeled, seeded (I used our own Organic Tomato Farming )
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 6-ounce can tomato paste
5 fresh basil leaves, cut julienne
1 teaspoon salt

For sauce:Chop tomatoes in processor. Heat oil in heavy medium saucepan over medium heat. Add garlic and cook until soft (do not brown), about 1 1/2 minutes. Stir in tomato paste, then tomatoes, basil and salt. Simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Set aside.

One pound box of large manicotti noodles, cooked according to package directions and drained. About 16.
I don't want to freak out anyone. I normally use the ricotta, homemade. However, since I have not done a tutorial on that on the blog yet, just know, it can be done.
1 1/2 cups whole milk ricotta cheese
1 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 eggs, beaten to blend
1/4 pound prosciutto, coarsely chopped (optional. My vegetarian husband won't eat it.)
2 tablespoons minced fresh Italian parsley

Beat ricotta in medium bowl until smooth and creamy. Mix in 1 cup Romano cheese, eggs, prosciutto and minced fresh parsley.

I usually fill a large pastry bag with the filling and squeeze it into the manicotti, but it is also really fun to give the kiddos a small spoon and see them try to fill up the pasta tubes.
Lay out in a casserole and cover with sauce. We have fun at this point. Some we did with Alfredo sauce...

Some we did with the homemade marinara...

(Can be prepared ahead. Cover noodles and sauce separately and refrigerate 1 day or freeze up to 2 weeks. Rewarm sauce over low heat, stirring occasionally.)
Stir whole basil leaves into sauce. Pour sauce over noodles. Sprinkle lightly with additional Romano cheese. Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through, about 35 minutes at 350 degrees.

There you go.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Lowering the fat...Cottage Cheese in the Mac.

This week I wanted to share some of the fun budget saving ideas we use at our house. I know it is probably not rocket science. Simple ideas that work for us. One thing for sure is using fresh local produce. One thing my kids will eat all day is butter lettuce with salad dressing. This happens to be the homemade ranch dressing. The lettuce at thirty three cents a head. I splurged and we had half a head each person.
One of the fast simple dinners we have around here is also, believe it or not, healthy. I don't claim to be a genius in any way, but if you choose to think I'm smart...I won't stop you. One box of organic mac and cheese. On sale 1$. Yup. To make it low fat I add 1/2 cup Homemade cottage cheese instead of butter and milk. It gets all gooey. Who can even deny the beauty of it?

Another very low fat alternative is to use 1/2 cup of fat free sour cream or Homemade Cream Cheese instead of the milk and butter. It's a great way to cut calories and still feel like you're having a good indulgent mac-n-cheese night.

Baked apple crisp for dessert and we had a feast.
There you go.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Granny's Slow Cooked Rice Pudding

I mentioned my sweet Mom-in-law that I lovingly refer to as Granny. She's feisty. I can say that because she knows it. I can also honestly say that I have never heard so much cussing from a little old gal until this week watching her go through the shingles. I didn't know she had it in her. Maybe I'm weird. Okay, let's be real...I'm weird. I have a whole new respect for the woman. Yes, I know, I should be appalled. I should be packing my bags because I'm going straight to...the hot place. You know I should be upset at hearing such cussing, but instead, I've been kind of giggling. Not laughing at her pain. I'm quite sympathetic. The cussing, it just doesn't fit her in any way so I've had the irony giggles. Yes. I know. It's totally lame. I realize I'm going straight to...the hot place. And if I do go there, I guess it will be good that I know how to make a slow cooked hot pudding. Since my cussing Granny will there with me and vastly in need of something comforting.

 This is a recipe we have used for a few years now. It's actually the recipe Thomas Jefferson's Granddaughter, Virginia Randolph Trist, used to make rice pudding. So, it's vintage. I found it in Jeff Smith's, "The Frugal Gourmet Cooks American". It is sooo  creamy slow cooked. Like 3 hours. Granny's Granny used to cook it in the old farm stove while they where away to the church on Sunday in the small town in Southern Colorado. Go figure. For those who don't church is still a 3 hour deal. So...we made pudding and went to church to repent for all the cussing. Ah...

You need:
1 cup long grain white rice, rinsed
6 cups milk
1/2 cup sugar
dash of nutmeg
dash of cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
Combine all ingredients in an uncovered casserole. Bake at 300 for 2 hours 45 minutes. You may stir half way through baking time if desired. Pudding is ready when there is a caramel colored crust on the top and the pudding is thickened and creamy. Serve hot or cold. Please put left overs in the fridge.

No cussing. It is really good.
There you go.

Bread of Life Section...rice pudding.

Has anyone noticed I've been a little out of the loop the last week or so? I've actually been a nurse. My sweet little old lady mother-in-law has the horrid miserable experience of going through the shingles. I have seen the strongest most solid and independent woman at her most wretched moments. I wish I could take all the pain away. It's awful to watch someone you love and hold dear go through something like that. Even worse to feel helpless in offering much comfort. Yet, that has been my challenge the last couple of weeks. In the middle of all of this, Granny (that's what I've called my mother in law for years...isn't that funny?), told me about her childhood. It wasn't easy. She grew up on a small potato farm in southern Colorado. In the winter, Granny's Granny would make a slow cooked rice pudding. It took about 3 hours to cook this rice pudding and it was creamy with a skin that had to be taken off to see the sweet creamy pudding underneath. A few years ago I found a recipe for that pudding. We love it. Now after a busy week, I finally made some for Granny. Guess what Granny gets for breakfast? Why does that make me so excited? I've come to the realization that God gives us the chance to bring comfort in ways we never could understand. They are called Tender Mercies. Little reminders of our importance to God, given to us by the hand of someone on earth. They happen to me on a regular basis. Little random acts of kindness from friends or strangers that remind me how deeply and personally the Lord knows me and what I need. I hope you'll notice them a little more this week...for they are all around you. They may be something as simple as rice pudding.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Chef Tess Goes to Australia

Look what I got in the mail today. I could hardly believe it as I held the magazine...
Not because I finally got a magazine in the mail...but because on page 31 I found this amazing article on my painted breads! They told me it would be there. It was just surreal to actually see it in print. So, now it's official. I've been published. Ahhh. This calls for some chocolate.
So, if any of you new readers are here from Australia, "g'day". Welcome. I hope I can inspire you in any way I can. Here's the first place to start : painted breads. Enjoy.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Green Chile Lime Corn on the Cob with Parmesan and Cilantro

Why don't I live in Kansas? Corn is my friend. If I could walk around with it in my shirt pocket and suck on the kernels everywhere I went, well let's just say I would be happy. I'd be locked up...but I'd be happy. This is why I keep it in my purse. I'm kidding. Or am I? It has come to my gleeful attention that corn is on sale like crazy down here in the Southwest. Do you see the freaky-eye-twitching I'm doing right now. Sure sign that it's time to make some crazy sweet corn. Lend me your ears. No pun intended. Bend over here really close and listen very carefully...hear that? It's the sound of me not liking boring old straight corn. Nope. I like mine with so much flavor oozing off the kernels that it isn't right to eat alone. Case in point...
This is the stuff. Sweet right off the farmer's field, cooked to perfection with an amazing Chile Lime and Parmesan butter on top. I know. I know. It's a happy place. I'm tapping my ruby slippers right now...
You will need:
4 cobs of corn, simmer 5-10minutes in a pot of boiling water. Remove with tongs and place on a serving tray.Add salt and pepper to taste.

Chile Lime and Parmesan butter
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/4-1/2 cup cooked, diced green chile (depending on the heat you like...I love Hatch chiles)
1/4 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
1 clove fresh pressed garlic
zest of one lime
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Combine well. I like to reserve the cilantro and sprinkle it over the top.
At service, pile the butter on top of the hot corn and spread it out. Season again with black pepper. Then to really make it evil and good...I squeeze the juice of one lime all over the corn.
Yup. I'll be sucking on these corn cobs for quite a long time. SSSShhhhllllkkkk. Ahhh.

There you go. Corn rules!

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Chocolate Peanut Butter Stuffed Breadsticks

Don't hate me. I walk a fine line between total chaos and complete harmony. Do I share the evil stuff or do I just share the good stuff. Is it possible to be both evil and good? These are wrong. They should never happen. Yet, here they are. These are wicked little devil stuffed bread sticks full of Chocolate and peanut butter. I love that combination (along with 90% of the American people). I love it all chucked together in a bundle you can take anywhere and it doesn't melt. This of course is the kick in the pants post. The "walk an extra mile" post. I mean the "need to burn more calories" post. In my twisted plot to get you deeply enmeshed into reading my lovely blog and staying forever in happy will need to look at the post :Stuffed Breadsticks for full information on how to make the dough for the bread sticks. These ones are made with white flour. Use organic if you can. It took a large bar of Lindt cut into strips...
About a tablespoon of peanut butter spread out on the dough and then the chocolate kinda mashing it in place. No comments on my thighs needing to be mashed into my jeans after this. I'm just saying...I had to put in a 3 mile walk this morning to compensate for my indiscretion yesterday. Totally worth it. I'd do it again.

Yes folks. I would do it again. When some fancy food chain picks this idea up and makes them into frozen convenience snacks you can get next to the Stuffed Pretzels, I don't expect to get full royalties. I just want to saw it here first.
In the meantime, these are totally going in the lunch boxes. My Little Man had a blast making them with me yesterday. Cooking with kids is the best. Yes.
There you go. Evil and good. Just another service I'm happy-giddy to provide.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Rambling Reviews...Junket Ice Cream Mix

I'm breaking down. It's two posts in a row that I'm showing my weaknesses. Is anyone getting scared? I hope not. I think it's healthy. It gives me freedom to be human. Breath...Here goes. I'm making a true confession. I have a weakness for this ice cream mix.
Did I ever once claim that I would never use a mix? Ever? I'm not above it. I think if you find something that works, you should. In this case I broke down because I was really craving a good chocolate ice cream. This box was just over a dollar and since I already had cream at home it was a really low cost alternative to the other ice cream at the store. I would have paid a lot more for the cocoa powder alone. I like the premium stuff because it only takes a few small spoonfuls to kill my craving. Weight Watchers loves me. My "regular milk"allergy doesn't allow much more than that anyway. Well, imagine my joy in finding that it made a rich creamy spoon full of heaven. I am already a fan of Junket tablets for making and Homemade Cream Cheese . Now, I'm stocking up on this mix as well. It' was awesome. I folded in some toasted chopped almonds and chunks of gourmet chocolate I had tucked away earlier this year. With stuff I already had on hand, I made premium ice cream for just over a buck. Thank you Junket! I love you guys!
The other benefit of making ice cream at home? Seeing my son excitedly looking into the ice cream mixer. It took me back to the painted cinder block steps on my grandma's porch. Just for a moment, I was there. I was a bright eyed child again waiting for ice cream from the mixer. Speaking of bright eyed children...look at Face. I told him we may never buy this stuff again and he almost cried. Don't worry. I was being sarcastic. Face just didn't get the joke.
There you go. Maybe if I talk about Junket enough they will give away some free ice cream mix to some of you. Awe crap (pardon my slang). Maybe they would give some to me too! Wouldn't that be a little spoonful of heaven? Anyone with me?!
As an end note...I ended up taking some of this ice cream to my home bound neighbor and she cried. She used to make this Junket as a kid. What a sweet ending to an already joyful day.