Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Holiday favorites

I hope that everyone enjoys their holiday with their loved ones.  This year my family and I are going to my Mom's house for Thanksgiving, which means I don't have to cook! However, that also means that I don't get to test out some new recipes this holiday season, maybe Christmas since my Mother-in-Law is flying in from Denver.

Here are some holiday favorites that I am sure I will be seeing at my Mom's this Thanksgiving since they are a family favorite.






Make this one at least 3-4 hours ahead of time to give the peas time to defrost



Here are some more non-traditional routes you can go with your holiday feast


Sunday, November 24, 2013

where I've been and what I've been up to

I am sorry that I have not been posting new recipes lately.
I had a lot planned to post over these past few months, however, my body had a different plan for me. 

Early in September I awoke to a horrible pain in my chest and a racing heartbeat, which was nothing less than frightening.  As the thunder struck outside, I tried to tell myself that I had woke because of the thunder which had startled me.  However, after waiting, for probably longer than I should have, I realized that the pain, nor my racing heart were going to go away on their own. Wanting sleep, but too scared to do so lest I never wake up again, I told my husband of my situation and we headed off to the closest hospital.

Once at the hospital I was given an EKG and then immediately shuttled off to a room in the ER.  In my new room they gave me nitroglycerin, and monitored my condition, after a while they took another EKG. It seemed like an eternity, but of course it wasn't, only a few hours had passed since I woke, time passes so slowly when you are waiting for news from the doctor.  When the doctor did come in, it wasn't to tell me that I could go home, but to tell me that I was going to stay there for at least another day or so for more testing.

I spent a few days in the hospital while they poked and prodded me, scanned my heart, stressed my heart, and then they put a catheter into my wrist, up my artery and into my heart. They found no answers.  They cannot tell me why, that when my heart is stressed, my coronary artery will spasm, reducing, and sometimes stopping the blood flow to sections of my heart. Why sometimes my heart has T-Wave inversions. Why my heart randomly decides to stop beating correctly sending me to the hospital, sometimes by ambulance. They have no answers for why my resting heart rate, even on heart medication, is between 100-122 beats per minute (a normal, healthy adult of my age/weight/gender is 70-80 bpm).

So, I am apologizing for my lack of posts these past few months, and the possibility of me lacking many more in the future. For the time being it looks as if I am to be spending a large porition of my time getting to know the doctors and nurses in my local hospital.  Next month I will begin treatment at a research hospital, maybe they will find some answers.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Rock Candy



Kids love candy, I mean what kid doesn't? So how could I make candy part of a learning experience? Well a few good ideas came to mind, but the one that stood out the most was Rock Candy.

Rock Candy is fun to make because you don't get instant gratification, instead over time you see these crystals growing out of seemingly nothing into this beautiful yet seductively sweet prize, and the kids have learned about Chemistry and Earth Science without even knowing it.

To make rock candy you need a good amount of sugar, roughly 1 lb for every 2 cups of solution, this is because you need to make what is called a super saturated solution.
In Chemistry we learn that all solvents, things we dissolve other things into, have a point at which they can no longer dissolve the solute, what we put into the solvent to dissolve, when this happens it is called a saturated solution.  However, to go from a saturated solution, to a super saturated solution we need to temporarily change the solubility, how well the solvent can dissolve the solute, we do this in a sugar/water solution by raising the temperature of the water to boiling. Once the water boiling we continue to add sugar until it can no longer dissolve the sugar, leaving us with yet another saturated solution. As the sugar/water solution cools to room temperature the water's solubility returns to its original proponents, creating a super saturated solution.  The excess dissolved sugar has no choice but to revert, meaning change back, into crystal form; in chemistry we call this process precipitation, and the crystals the precipitate, what has come out of the solution in solid form.
This crystal formation is where we bring in some really fun Earth Science.  See as the water cools and evaporates the solution begins to be more and more saturated meaning that more and more of the sugar needs to leave the solution. In this attempt to leave the solution they cling to any "seed" material they can, including the sides of the container and your string/stick. As these seed crystals form they attract other sugar crystals to form atop them molecule by molecule.  Your finished rock candy will be made up of roughly a quadrillion, or a million-million, sugar molecules attached to your string/stick. These crystals should be clearly defined in monoclinic crystals, which are crystals with sharp right angles and smooth sides of various sizes. This process is similar to how crystals such as quartz are made in caves today, except this is much more tasty!


Rock Candy

Ingredients
3-5 cups sugar, more may be needed
2 cups water
food coloring, optional
candy flavoring, optional

Directions
Seed your string/stick so that crystal formation has a "preferred" place to attach.

If using string: string should be 2/3 the length of intended jar/cup depth. Wet string, roll in sugar, lay flat on a piece of wax paper to dry completely.  Dry time can take a few days, so plan in advance.

If using a stick: no prep is necessary, but seeding provides a better surface for crystal formation.  Wet stick, roll in sugar, allow to dry completely.

Heat the water in the saucepan over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil.
Pour about 1/4 cup of sugar into the boiling water, stirring until it dissolves.
Keep adding more and more sugar, each time stirring it until it dissolves, until no more will dissolve. This will take time and patience and it will take longer for the sugar to dissolve each time. Be sure you don't give up too soon. Once no more sugar will dissolve, remove it from heat. Allow to cool for 5 minutes.
Pour sugar/water solution into your container. If you wish to add flavors and colors now would be the time. Put enough food coloring in the solution, make sure you add enough coloring that the solution is many shades darker than your intended result. Add in your candy flavoring, we used 1/4-1/2 dram of flavoring oil per 2 cup container. Stir well with spoon or unseeded stick.
Gently suspend your stick/string in the solution, try to keep the stick/string from touching the bottom or sides of the container or the crystals will attach the stick/string to the container.
Cover lightly as to not slow down the evaporation process, but to keep out dust.
Place in an area where it will not be disturbed for seven days.

My husband attacked the containers with tape to keep them from moving
Feel free to check your crystal growth over the next few days, but be sure not to disturb the containers! After 7 days you should have sufficient crystal growth, remove from solution and allow to dry. 
Enjoy!
Aeries' solution after 14 hours
Safety Note:  When working with the sugar-water solution an adult should be present.  When you heat sugar to super high temperatures it can create some very nasty burns. Be safe and use the necessary safety equipment.

This experiment is still in process, check back later for updates. This is also cross-posted from my DIY page.

Friday, August 9, 2013

Tarragon Parsley Chicken





Hi I’m Marvel’s Husband, I help out with the cooking in the house and this is my first entry on here. Since our kids are picky when it comes to meat we have to be creative in how to serve it to them. Since we always have chicken in the deep freezer that ends up being a main part of our diets but our kids get bored of having the same thing over and over so we have to get creative. My wife also prefers to eat chicken over any other animal protein. So one night while trying to find something healthy to make for dinner I put together some spices and baked up my own version of Tarragon Parsley Chicken.

So I designed the spices portion of this recipe to have a lot so that you can just pull out the pre-made mixture whenever you need it. You can scale it up or down depending on how big your storage jar is.


Spices
Tarragon | 1 Tbsp
Basil | 1 Tbsp
Parsley | 1 Tbsp
Onion powder | ¾ tsp
White pepper | ¼ tsp (or to taste)

Boneless/Skinless chicken breast | 3
Bay leaves | 1/per chicken breast
Butter | ½ Tbsp/chicken breast
Garlic Clove | 3 crushed cloves
Directions

1.      Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees

2.      Take the Tarragon, Basil, Parsley, Onion Powder, and White Pepper and pour them into your mortar and pestle (you can also use a blender or food processer). Grind them together and then either set aside or pour into a spice jar.

3.      Thaw chicken if frozen, then rinse off chicken and pat it dry with a paper towel. Put chicken on plate and season meat to taste on both sides with the Tarragon mixture.

4.      Take sheet of tin foil, enough to fully enclose chicken in, break up and place half of your butter on bottom for chicken to rest on, also place your bay leaves where you will put the chicken. Put the chicken on top of the bay leaves and butter, then top off with the remainder of the butter.


5.      Now to close up the tin foil, you take the long sides and fold them up above the chicken like a tent, then fold or crimp them closed. Next, roll up the open ends so that your chicken is completely sealed.

6.      Place your tin foil chicken tent in the oven where it’ll camp out at a toasty 350 degrees for 35-40min.

7.      Very important – DON’T PEAK IN THE TENT! Think of it as if you are changing in your tent. You wouldn’t want anyone to see you before you are finished, the same goes for the chicken. The sealed environment allows for natural juices in the chicken to steam cook the meat.

8.      When the timer goes off, take the tent out of the oven and very carefully open up a small hole in the top of the tent so that you can check the temperature of the meat with a meat thermometer. The temperature should read 165 degrees Fahrenheit. If it’s not there yet, seal it back up and place in oven for another 5-10min.

9.      When finished I suggest that you serve it on top of a bed of rice with a spinach salad on the side. But you can make it your own and serve it with cotton candy if you would like to.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hawaiian Style Macaroni




If you read my previous post on Shoyu Chicken, you will know my deep love of Hawaii and of their famous plate lunches.  This is the amazing macaroni salad that goes along side the meat to complete the plate lunch.  It is amazingly simple, yet tastes amazing, it is truly sinfully delicious.

I edited the recipe just a touch to add a bit of sugar that I felt the recipe was lacking, though this could be due to my onion not being overly sweet, I would suggest leaving out the sugar until you've tasted the salad first.  
The last time I was in Hawaii I caught a shot of a beautiful double rainbow.

Hawaiian Style Macaroni Salad

Ingredients
1 lb elbow macaroni
1 C mayonnaise
1/2 tsp kosher salt
2 tbsp grated white onion
1/4 tsp ground black pepper, more to taste 
1 tsp sugar, to taste, optional

Directions
Grate onion, set aside. Cook macaroni until just tender in salted water. Strain and rinse in cold running water, stir macaroni thoughally. This rinses off the excess starches that make it sticky as well as quickly cools the macaroni stopping the cooking cycle, which otherwise would continue for 3-5 minutes after being removed from heat.
Pour cool macaroni into a large bowl, stir mayonnaise, salt, onion, and pepper into the noodles until well combined. Taste, mixture should have a mild sweetness, add sugar as needed.
Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve. If the salad seems dry add a bit of milk, 1 tbsp at a time or a little more mayonnaise.

Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken



I love Hawaii, I miss Hawaii, and I dream about Hawaii.  However, financially I can't afford to hop on a plane and go visit Hawaii.  For me, one of the biggest things that sticks out when I travel is the food; if the food's not worth eating, you won't see me returning, and let me tell you, Hawaii has some of the best food I've tasted.  My favorite part of Hawaiian food was the hole in the wall restaurants where the locals would eat and not the super trendy, super spendy tourist spots, where you could get some amazing food for some rock bottom prices.  One of those such meals was the "plate lunch" where you got a heaping scoops of meat, rice and macaroni salad.

This style plate lunch has been becoming more and more famous with all the little Hawaiian style restaurants popping up here and there.  Their food is good, don't get me wrong, however, like my ability to hop on a plane to Hawaii, there's no way I can afford $8 a plate for my family of five on a recurrent basis. Lets also not forget that both my husband and son can eat not one, but two plates each.

Hungry for Hawaiian food, I looked up some recipes and stumbled upon Heather Likes Food, who had not just the macaroni salad, but also the chicken.  Oh happy day.  I immediately went to the store and bought the three missing ingredients to the recipe.  I put it all together, except for the extra sauce, and waited.  Oh, how would this taste? Would it be as good as the real thing? I have to say that it was nothing short of amazing, if this isn't an authentic recipe, I would be surprised!

Enjoy!
Marvel

Me, enjoying a scenic hike on Kauai

Hawaiian Shoyu Chicken

Ingredients
Chicken:
3 lb boneless skinless chicken thighs, chopped
1 1/2 C soy sauce*
1 1/2 C water
1 1/2 C sugar
1 1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
2 in piece fresh ginger, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced

Extra Sauce:
1/4 C soy sauce*
1/4 C water
1/4 C + 2 tbsp sugar

Directions
Chicken:
Chop the ginger and mince the garlic, set aside.
Chop chicken thighs into slightly larger than bite size pieces, they will shrink to bite size in cooking process. Place chicken in a large pot on the stove top or in a slow-cooker.
Combine soy sauce, water, sugar, Worcestershire sauce, red pepper, ginger and garlic in a bowl, stir until sugar is dissolved. Pour over chicken and stir until all chicken is immersed in sauce.
Stove top-
Bring to a low boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Let cook for about 1 hour at a low simmer until the chicken is tender.

Slow cooker-
Cook on LOW for up to 8 hours or HIGH for 4.

Extra Sauce-
Combine all ingredients, stir until sugar is dissolved.

* using gluten free soy sauce can make this recipe gluten free. 

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Homemade Frosty





My husband LOVES Wendy's frosties, however the closest Wendy's to our house is almost 7 miles away, he doesn't have time to always run out and grab one when the craving strikes.  Which, of course, is why he loves that I have discovered the quick and easy recipe to make some at home, I am not joking when I say that this tastes like a real Wendy's Frosty! What's even better is this is so simple to make!

Homemade Frosty

1/2 gallon chocolate milk
8 oz cool whip
1 can sweetened condensed milk


Chill all ingredients first, mix together well.  Pour into an ice cream maker and serve when "frosty."

Bananas Foster over Sweet French Toast



I LOVE bananas foster, however I don't get many chances to make it in my day to day life, which is why I decided to share this little treat with my kiddos.  My son asked for our new favorite Brinner (breakfast for dinner) which was my Carmel Bacon Stuffed French Toast, but having had that every two weeks for the past month, I thought it was time for a change so I paired my sweet french toast with bananas foster.  This brinner is sure to become a new family favorite.

Bananas Foster


2 tbsp butter
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/4 - 1/2 cup dark rum
3 bananas, peeled

In a heavy skillet, melt butter over medium-high heat. Add brown sugar and rum, stir together. Add cream and continue cooking until smooth and bubbly, around 4-6 minutes. slice and stir in bananas, cook while gently swirling skillet, until bananas are just warmed through, 1 to 2 minutes.

Note: if you want a fiery display, wait to add rum until you've added the bananas, carefully with a long handled lighter set on fire. Flames should put themselves out in less than a minute.


Sweet French Toast


Ingredients
8 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
8 slices bread
1/4 cup milk
6 tsp sugar

Directions
In a shallow dish, beat egg, sugar, milk and vanilla well.
Heat griddle or pan on medium heat. Coat with butter or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Soak each side of bread in egg mixture until wet, but not soggy, about 10-20 seconds a side.
Grill each side until golden brown.
Remove from heat. Serve, top as desired.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Southern Sweet Tea



When I lived in the south the idea of not having sweet iced tea might as well have been synonymous with not having running water.  Everyone had it, everyone made it and you're darn right everyone was drinking it.  So why is it that everyone up north has no idea what a good sweet tea should taste like?  Sweet tea is not the same as "sweetened tea," no, this tea needs to be sweet, not lightly sweetened, but straight up sweet.  Maybe the north needs a few more southern gals to show them what real tea tastes like.

For me, the funny thing was in our house it wasn't the girls who made the tea, but it was actually the man of the house, who was constantly saying "I'm probably not makin' this righ', but it tastes righ' ta me." Sure as heck tasted right to me! Almost like my sweet ole grandma's tea.


Southern Sweet Tea

1 pitcher sun tea
1 cup sugar
ice
Lemon wedge, optional

Directions
Make yourself a large pitcher of sun tea: I use 3-6 tea bags per 2 quart pitcher, depending on how long I'm willing to let the tea set in the sun, the longer it sets, the less bags I use.  Let your pitcher of water and tea bags set in the sun for a few hours, until the tea is nice and dark.
Once you have your pitcher of sun tea remove the tea bags, and add in the whole cup of sugar, yes it's a lot of sugar but it is needed!
Store in refrigerator, serve with ice and a lemon wedge.

Monday, July 8, 2013

Sausage Egg Muffins



My husband LOVES fast food breakfast, I've never really been a fan because of all the preservatives, and of course, the cost.  I know for a fact that it doesn't cost $1.50 plus tax to put together two eggs, one slice of sausage and an english muffin, that's just outrageous.

So my husband has been going about finding a way to get his fast food fix, without the fast food price.  He's pretty happy with his newest find swaggerty's premium sausage, which comes pre-sliced for his convenience. I would have been just as happy buying ground sausage by the chub, letting it get almost frozen, and then slicing it myself. Alas, the pre-sliced sausage was roughly the same price per ounce as the chub, so I let him indulge, and I have to say, it tastes pretty good, if not better than what I normally buy.
Note: If you opt for buying the chub, you can save time in the mornings by preforming your patties up to 3-5 days in advance if kept in your fridge, and 1 month ahead if kept in your freezer, just remember to thaw a day or two before cooking to allow for even heating of the patty.

This super simple breakfast can be easily prepared in less than ten minutes, and munched on as you head off for your hectic commute. Recipe makes 1 muffin, and is easily altered to make many.

Sausage Egg Muffin

Ingredients
1 English muffin, split open
2 eggs, beaten
1-2 sausage patties
1 slice cheddar, optional

nonstick cooking spray

cupcake tin

Directions
1. Preheat oven to 550*F and heat a skillet on medium heat.

2. In a small bowl beat eggs.  If you have to form your sausage patties, do it now, while everything is heating up. Cut a slice of Cheddar or other cheese if desired.


3. In a cupcake pan, spray nonstick cooking spray into the cups.  Pour beaten eggs evenly into cups, I usually do two cups per sandwich. Place in 550*F oven for roughly 8 minutes.  Eggs should puff up and look like mini muffins.
4. While eggs are cooking, place sausage patties in your skillet.  Flip patties over after 5 minutes, or when first side is thoroughly browned, cook roughly 3-4 minutes on alternate side.  Times may vary depending on type of skillet and heat source, just be sure to thoroughly cook the patty as to no pink remaining inside.

5. Slide patties and eggs onto one side of the muffin, top with cheese if desired, close sandwich and enjoy.

My husband and I find that the sausage gives enough salt to the sandwich that the eggs do not need any salt, but one of my daughters disagrees.  Easiest way to find out is to make it without the first day and then add salt than to add salt before trying and find out that it is too much.
Also note, that if you add salt to your eggs before cooking you often taste less of the salt and end up salting more, which increases your sodium intake.  Salting after cooking reduces this.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Guacamole



This dip is perfect for all your chips and dip needs.  I am not normally one to like guacamole because it never tastes "right" this, is one exception, I LOVE this dip and would eat it with or without chips.  It was so good that some people even used it as a condiment on their burger!

Here's a tip I learned a long time ago from one of my nieces: Leave the avocado pits in the guacamole to keep it from browning as quickly.

Guacamole

Ingredients
3 large Avocados
1 large hot house tomato
1 medium hot house tomato
1/2 large sweet onion
1/2 tsp garlic, minced or fresh
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 Tbsp mayo*
salt, to taste
lime juice, 1 generous squeeze
1 tsp Serrano finely chopped, optional- these are MUCH hotter than jalapenos, use with care

Directions
1.) Cut your avocado in half, and remove pit.  With a spoon scoop the avocado from the skin. Depending on the ripeness of your avocado you can either mash the avocado with a fork or dice the avocado into more manageable pieces before mashing. When mashing the avocado put into a medium to large mixing bowl before mashing.

2.) Dice tomatoes, and onion, add to the bowl with the avocado.

3.) Shell and mince garlic, add to bowl.  Chop the cilantro, stems and all, add to bowl.

4.) Mix all ingredients together with one generous squeeze of fresh lime juice and 1 Tbsp mayo, salt to taste.
* using gluten free mayo will make this recipe gluten free.

Sweet dry rub



This sweet dry rub was created by my friend David, in an attempt to make a rub that was low in fats and oils so that I could eat it as well.  This rub is very sweet due to the large amount of sugars in it, if you're not in the mood for something as sweet adjust your ratios. Can be used on beef, pork, chicken and vegetables.

The recipes from David are always done in ratios or percentages. Start with the larger percentages first, then incrementally go down the list.  This allows you to determine how much of the smaller mixtures you are going to need and reduces the guess work.
When working with a recipe that deals with percentages or ratios it allows the chef to adjust the recipe to their specific tastes.

This means if it says 30% of brown sugar, you want brown sugar to be 1/3 of the total recipe.  So if I want 1 cup of rub, I will use 1/3 of a cup of brown sugar, and so on.
It becomes slightly more difficult when you are using a mixture with a percentage, always start off with LESS than you feel you will need of each ingredient and mix them in a measuring cup so that you don't go over your percentage.
Once you have all of the ingredients that are in the percentage mixture, go back and adjust your increments of the ingredients you want to be more dominate, such as if you want something to have more of a kick, add in more paprika, etc., keeping in mind that your increments should be small and all need to be within the percentage/ratio.

I usually aim for 1 cup rub unless I'm having a party, where I make 1 1/2 cups to 2 cups, and I almost always have some rub leftover.

Sweet Dry Rub

35% - Brown Sugar
35% - White Sugar

20% - Paprika
        - rosemary
        - cumin
        - salt
        - cinnamon

10% - garlic, fresh, chopped
        - molasses
        - Johnson's meat tenderizer
        - McCormick BBQ rub

Directions
1.) Figure out how much rub you want to make total, see above for directions about percentages.
2.) Measure out your sugars put into a medium bowl.
3.) After making your percentage mixtures combine with the sugar mixtures. Let set for 1-2 hours for flavors to combine.
4.) Before cooking meat, generously rub the dry rub into the meat, if desired, let set for an hour for the meat to absorb the rub mixture.


For the percentage mixtures:

I start out with 1/4 tsp of each ingredient, except for salt, as the meat tenderizer contains a lot of salt.  Then I adjust my paprika first, then my rosemary and cumin, finally my cinnamon.  I don't touch the salt again until the very end, after I've added in the tenderizer.

When a recipe calls for garlic in a percentage I usually chop 1/2 a clove, and then adjust as I go on.  For this recipe your only moisture is in your molasses and garlic, use more molasses than other ingredients in this percentage, I would start with 1 1/2 tsp - 1 Tbsp, and then adjust accordingly.  Remember 1 cup has 16 Tablespoons, so 1 Tbsp is a lot for a 1 cup mixture.

Bourbon Onions



These Bourbon Onions are first marinated in the mixture, and then sauteed in a pan.  Great for topping your burgers!

Bourbon Onions

Ingredients
1/2 cup Stub's Hickory Bourbon Sauce
1 packet McCormick Spiced Brandy and Herb mix
2 Tbsp Brown Sugar
2 Tbsp flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 - 3 medium sweet onions, sliced in rings

Directions
Peel and slice onions and set aside.
Mix all other ingredients together, in a medium bowl.
Add onions into bowl and coat well.  Set aside 20-30 minutes to marinate.
After onions have marinated saute onions in a pan over medium heat until the onions are soft and the mixture begins to caramelize.
Serve warm.

Teriyaki sauce


Here are two different teriyaki sauces that were used at our most recent BBQ, both were pretty good on burgers.

Teriyaki Sauce #1

Ingredients

33% - soy sauce
33% - pineapple juice
33% - sake

2 - 3 Tbsp ginger, finely grated
2 - 3 cloves garlic

Directions
Mix all ingredients together in a bowl, let set for 20 - 30 minutes for flavors to combine.


Teriyaki Sauce #2

Ingredients

30% - Pineapple juice

25% - Teriyaki BBQ marinate
20% - Soy sauce

20% - cumin
        - celery seeds
        - sesame seeds
        - turmeric
        - thyme
        - ginger powder
        - agave nectar
        - garlic, fresh, finely chopped
        - hot sauce, Louisiana style, use very little
        - serrano pepper, 1/4 of a pepper - thick sliced, removed from marinate before serving

Directions
1.) Figure out how much rub you want to make total, see above for directions about percentages.
2.) Measure out the pineapple juice, BBQ marinate and soy sauce, mix together in a medium bowl.
3.) After making your percentage mixture combine with the wet mixture mixtures. Let set for 1-2 hours for flavors to combine.

Please note: Agave Nectar is not as sweet as other sugars so you will need more agave than you would other sugars.  If you cannot find agave nectar or do not wish to use it, try honey as a natural substitute.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Cream Soda ( Italian and Traditional )



My husband LOVES cream soda.  A few years ago I convinced him to give up store bought soda, in exchange he was allowed to make his own italian sodas at home from carbonated water and flavored syrups, he was okay with this until he realized that he would need recipes for such sodas.  So here are two recipes for cream soda, one is the traditional American version, which oddly enough contains no cream at all, and then there is the Italian version which does contain cream. Try both, see which one you prefer.



Italian Cream Soda

2 Tbsp Vanilla syrup
6-8 oz carbonated water (aka soda water)
2 oz cream

Mix all ingredients together, serve over ice.



Traditional Cream Soda

2 Tbsp Vanilla syrup
1 pinch brown sugar
8 oz carbonated water (aka soda water)

Dissolve brown sugar in vanilla syrup. Combine syrup mixture and carbonated water, serve over ice.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Marshmallow Banana Sandwich with Chocolate Sauce

Growing up did your mom or dad ever have that one sandwich that they only made on special occasions, like if you were really really good that day?  Or that the day was just so incredibly nice that you just had to go out for a picnic?  Well this, is my mom's super special sandwich.

I looked forward to the days when the stars would align and she would make me her "favorite sandwich." As an adult I think we lose touch a lot of times on those special foods we ate as a child, they're more than comfort foods, they're time machines that take us back to when we were five sitting on a river bank watching the fish jump and the birds busily bustle about. We're often too busy to take the afternoon off and enjoy that special treat.

As a parent I know that I often feel like I'm in a rush to get this done, that fixed or get to so-and-so's appointment, which is also why moments like these are so important.  Let the health food restrictions slide for a day, after all, this sandwich does contain a full serving of protein, potassium and other minerals, not to mention that eating peanut butter in moderation promotes a healthy heart and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes (Source: Harvard Health).

This sticky-gooey delight should be shared, and enjoyed, outdoors. I hope you enjoy more additions such as these to my Sinfully Delicious Summer Series.

Until next time.

Love Ya!
~ Marvel


Peanut Butter Marshmallow Banana Sandwich with Chocolate Sauce

Ingredients

2 slices of bread
2-3 tablespoons peanut butter
1 generous scoop of marshmallow creme
1/2 banana, sliced
chocolate sauce, or syrup

Directions

Cover one side of both slices of bread with peanut butter, this keeps the bread from being soggy by the fruit and chocolate sauce, and also makes sure every bite has some peanut butter.
Spread the marshmallow creme on top of the peanut butter on one of the slices of bread.
Slice the banana and place in an even layer across the marshmallow creme.
Drizzle with chocolate sauce, and close the sandwich.
Enjoy, and don't forget the napkins.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Brag Post: I graduated!

My husband and I posing for a pre-graduation photo in the heavy wind
So, as some have noticed I have been gone a lot more lately than usual.  This is because I was super busy over the past term getting things ready for graduating from my junior college before my big transfer over to my 4-year university. 
I am exceedingly happy to announce that I walked with my class, receiving honors in not one, not two, but three different Associates Degrees.
Excited to be done with this school and on to our next! It was a long two years!

While this term kept me super busy, it also allotted me some opportunities that would not have otherwise been available:
  • I got to work at an Indian Boarding School as a Teacher's Assistant/Student Mentor, where I made some amazing connections with not only the staff at the school but also with the students who attend there.  It was honestly hard for me when their school year came to an end earlier than expected due to sequestration. Their school year ended the first week of May, instead of the first week of June, there were lots of tears shed by teachers and students alike. For more information read: NPR: Indian Nation Squeezed by Sequester and Indian Country Today: "Every Child Left Behind: Sequester Guts Indian Education"
  • My boss directed a Soft Opera by Guilbert and Sullivan called Ruddigore: The Witch's Curse where we had 74 costumes, which were handmade by my best friend, the head costumer, and myself, with some help from my husband, his best friend and my best friend's mother. It was a tiring experience, which had all sorts of hiccups along the way, to which on more than one occasion we heard the cast musing if the play too was cursed and not just a part written in the story line.  Nights were long, drawn out and occasionally dirty. Blood and tears were shed on multiple occasions, and the Bride may or may not have been pinned into her dress on opening night because all four of our sewing machines broke down minutes before opening curtain.  But it worked, it looked amazing, and the audience loved it. Look here for some behind the scenes photos: A few behind the scenes photos from Ruddigore
  • I organized a blood drive at my college where we were able to beat the school's record for most units donated in a single school year set all the way back in 2005, and I gave my first double red cell donation.
  • I was able to work at an alternative High School as a Teacher's Assistant where kids who are kicked out of other schools or do not have the credits to graduate before the cut off age (21 yrs) go to get an actual high school degree.  The school has 3 week terms, where the students are given 2 classes per term and a whole semester's worth of information is given to them, and then they are tested on.  This gives the students the ability to make up 18 classes in a single school year, mind you students need 44 classes to graduate, so students who previously dropped out in their freshman year can come back in their junior year, and still graduate with their class.
Hope that you all have been well in my absence, for I have missed you all.  Looking forward to catching up with you over the course of summer.

Please enjoy the Summer Series' that I have planned, one is a Summer Drink Series where I hope to give both "adult" and "virgin" versions of popular summer drinks, and maybe some less well known drinks too. The other is a Sinfully Delicious Series where I hope to provide recipes so good, you know they can't be good for you, although you may be surprised that some of them actually are health food.

Love Ya!
~Marvel