Monday, August 29, 2011

Menu: August 22-28

A week ago today was my birthday. I received many birthday wishes on facebook and loved it. Having a birthday at the end of August leans to it being forgotten or overshadowed. For a few examples: school has started on my birthday... jump a few years ahead to college - I was crossing things off my packing list on my birthday. Okay so I was out and out packing on my birthday - not a great way to celebrate. After getting married, hubby and I spent one of my birthday's driving through a few states moving to grad school. This year my birthday was overshadowed by us buying a house - and tell you what. I'm okay with that, because out of all of the things that have happened to overshadow my birthday this is by far the BEST one ever. I actually learned on my birthday that we should be closing on our house 11 days from today. At least I wasn't packing ;). 

Now on to my menu:

 (My birthday - and I didn't cook)
Monday: Rotisserie Chicken and some sweet potato fries

Tuesday: Chef Salad with corn on the cob and cantaloupe

Wednesday: Ate out

Thursday: Pear Pecan Muffins and Ham Nests (variation on Canadian Bacon Eggs)
Friday: Plum Crepes with Ricotta, Zucchini
Sunday: Stuffed Shells and broccoli and cantaloupe

 Vote for the recipe you want to see posted next Thursday. Spinach, Leek & Bacon Quiche won this week's poll and will be posted this week.

Friday, August 26, 2011

My 30 for 30

This past week I turned 29... It came and went, I received many birthday wishes on my facebook page (private account) and that made me smile... actually I'd forgotten it was my birthday until checking my email and receiving all those facebook messages telling me someone posted on my wall (thanks to all my friends for making me feel loved, and to those who emailed as well)! At the end of the day I wondered if I've accomplished all I wanted to before I turned 30 - since this is my last year before I hit 30. I came up with a 30 things to do before turning 30 list for myself and some of the things I have already completed, but added them because they are important to me. I have actually come to realize that I have done the most important things I wanted to do before turning 30. 

If you would have asked me 10-15 years ago, I am sure this list would have been very different. It would have included traveling to how many other countries and states in the US, none of which you'll see on this list below. However, in the past decade I've learned I like being home and close to home instead of going to exotic places (my fear of flying probably has something to do with that!) In about a year I'm going to re-post this list and let you all know how I did on it.

My 30 for 30 list: 
*Donate my hair, once (I grew it out once but had highlighted it so I couldn't donate it... sad! I'm currently working on growing it out again.)
*Deliver 2 babies (Already delivered one, just one more to go - and no this is  not an announcement but hopefully will be in the next 6 months.)
*Send flowers to 3 friends
*Make 4 baby blankets (I've made one so far!) This is the blanket I made before I sewed it together... I forgot to take a picture before I mailed it to my friends who just had their first baby.
*Donate 5 months of blog earnings to Bloggers without Borders (Only a total of like $10-12. I don't blog for the money. ;)
*Celebrate 6 years of being married (will be doing that in December!)
*Invite 7 people/couples over to dinner (I actually tend to be more introverted than I use to be so this is actually going to stretch me!)
*Make 8 aprons (never done this, but I want to!)
*Read 9 classic novels I haven't yet read
*Send 10 letters to 10 blog readers (I'll need your help with this - so please help me reach this goal - if you would like to receive a letter, please email me with your address - crystalscozykitchen @ gmail)
*Ride my bike 11 miles in one day (I'd like it to be more, but this is realistic - I'm all about realistic goals... sometimes.)
*Make 12 handpainted signs (I've been wanting to paint wooden signs, but haven't yet...)
*Give away 13 batches of cookies
*Clean my closet and donate 14 items
*Go on 15 picnics
*Mail 16 handwritten letters (not including the 10 I'm writing to blog readers.)
*Finish 17 years of school (K-Bachelors) ~Completed - picture of hubby and me at our college graduation!
*Spend 18 months as a missionary ~Completed!
*Enjoy 19 sunsets
*Leave 20 nice comments on 20 blogs I read (Unfortunately I've gotten out of the habit of leaving comments lately...)
*Eat vegetarian for 21 days in a row (my def of vegetarian includes all dairy products, eggs and fish)
*Plant 22 plants (for beauty - such a flowers - not for eating.)
*Unpack 23 boxes (definitely doable since we're moving soon!)
*Give away 24 cupcakes
*Lose 25 lbs (may conflict with #2, unless I count weight I've already lost - which kind of seems like I'd be cheating...)
*Make 26 different types/recipes of cookies (will help me with #13)
*Take pictures of 27 different types of flowers.
*Make 28 new vegetable recipes (side or main dishes but comprise of mainly vegetables)
*Write 29 pages (at least) in my personal history (which would require me actually starting it...)
*Call 30 relatives on their birthdays and wish them happy birthday
 So I now have quite a bit to accomplish before my next birthday. What are things you want to do in the next year?

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Chicken Taco Salad

I absolutely love Chicken Taco Salad. In fact I don't usually make regular taco salad... I typically use chicken. It is one of my favorite chicken recipes and one of my favorite salad recipes as well. I love the Mexican flavors this salad combines. It is like a party on my palate. I use my home made taco seasoning to season the chicken - less expensive and I know exactly what goes into it! Next time I make this, I want to try grilling the chicken - just thinking about the grilled flavor in this salad makes me happy.
 Chicken Taco Salad
 First you'll need cut up chicken, sprinkled with Taco Seasoning. I've found using smoked paprika instead of regular paprika makes a huge difference!
 You'll also need a tortilla bowl - unless you just want to use tortilla chips.
 These I baked in pot pie pans, and it worked perfectly. (Simply spray each side with cook spray, bake at 350 for 10-15 minutes. Be sure to put the foil in the middle to help it keep shape.)
 Prepare other salad ingredients - we used: mozzarella cheese, red onion, cucumber slices, chopped tomatoes, sliced olives, my salsa-sour cream salad dressing (half salsa, half sour cream mixed together.)
and of course lettuce. 
Add salad to tortilla bowls, top with dressing.
Print Recipe 

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I realize that today is Tuesday and I usually post a dessert recipe, but I also realized that when I posted the Chicken Souvlaki recipe I said I'd be posting this soon afterward. Well, Thursday got busy and I came down with a terrible head cold that affected my memory and totally forgot about posting this recipe at all... Now I'm all better and finally remembered to put together this post. Tzatziki is a great low-fat healthy recipe that adds great flavor.

First, you'll need a cucumber - seeded and grated.
Next, you'll need to squeeze the water out of it. I used a double thickness of paper towels.
Look at all the water coming out of there!
When you're done, you should have about a half a cup of drained cucumber.
You'll also need 1/2 cup Greek yogurt.
and 2 cloves garlic, minced
Next toss in 1 tsp dill (dry)
and 1 Tbsp lemon juice,
salt and pepper to taste.
Mix well and chill for 1 hour before serving.


Monday, August 22, 2011

Menu: Aug 15-21

We did not have a lot of new recipes last week, but I did love the menu we had and there is a link to almost every recipe! My husband and I have been taking part in a produce Co-op (first time I've ever used a food Co-op) so I've been putting together my dinner menus on Saturdays after I see what produce I have to work with. I feel it stretches me from my 'norms' and actually makes me put effort into my menus. Plus it makes me plan my menus around produce, which is something I am loving as it shifts the focus from my typical comfort foods to healthier foods (most of the time...) In addition I am actually back to planning my menus, so there is no more asking, "What's for Dinner?"

Here's our Menu:
Monday: Cauliflower and Cheese, Steak Salad (leftover steak and greens), Strawberries
 Tuesday: Zucchini Boats
Wednesday: BLT Pizza
 Thursday: Spaghetti & Meatballs, Breadsticks
Friday: Grilled Corn and Veggie Burgers (I did not use the alfalfa sprouts or the lemon zest)
 Saturday: Bean and grain salad (Used left over grilled corn, and grilled squash, did not add any pasta or other grain.)
Sunday: Spinach, leek and bacon quiche, Zucchini Pancakes

Vote for the recipe you want to see next Thursday.  Chicken Taco Salad won this week's poll and will be posted this Thursday.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Foodless Friday: What has been occupying my time

During the past month, I've been super busy due to driving an hour multiple times per week to look at houses to buy (and you can also add looking into lending places...)  The search is over, WHEW! and we are now waiting on the bank to appraise the house and then process a loan. 
So for those of you who want to know what the house we're hoping to be in sometime next month looks like, here it is: 
 and I'll have a new kitchen I'll be working out of:
 This isn't the worst kitchen I saw, but it is also not the best either. However, it's what I'll be working with for who knows how long... (well the dishwasher will be getting replaced by the end of the year.) However, this kitchen does have a sky light which makes it light during the day without lights, which is nice. Just not light enough to take great photos...
However, out of all the kitchens I saw (in real life or pictures) I would have loved this one:
 Maybe I'll get my dream kitchen in the next house we buy...
Note: these photos were taken from real estate websites and were not my own work, but did not have credit to give for them.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Asparagus Ribbon Pizza

 This week's recipe is Asparagus Ribbon Pizza... and I've already posted two posts related to it.
 However, this post I'm actually using as a post on another site, so I'm going to give you a link to it.
 I just thought I'd get your mouth watering, looking at all these photos of the completed pizza.
 It really did turn out great.
I hope you enjoy it: Asparagus Ribbon Pizza
Print Recipe 

Herbed Cream Cheese

I wanted to use a herb cream cheese dip for a pizza sauce a few weeks ago, but who wants to pay twice to three times as much for a dip (vs. regular cream cheese) when you can make your own? We're trying to be especially frugal now, saving money wherever we can since we're going to be closing on a house in the next little while. Plus home made ingredients can be so much better! Of course you can add whatever spices you want to make it suit your purpose and tastes.
Herbed Cream Cheese
 First, you'll need 4 oz cream cheese-softened,
you'll also need 1 Tbsp fresh parsley- chopped, 1-2 Tbsp green onion, chopped
and 1/4 tsp garlic, 1/4 tsp dill
 mix until combined. I just used a spoon, but an electric mixer would be better ;).
Refrigerate for up to a week.