Archive | Cooking RSS feed for this section

Recipe: Spiced Molasses Cookies

17 Dec

Raise your hand if you conveniently have all the ingredients to make molasses cookies in your kitchen right now…Okay, I just happened to have everything I needed to bake these delicious delights–really! I used a recipe I found through Pinterest from blogger The Tasty Gardener. Her recipe seemed very straight forward, the only thing I did differently was combine it all in my Kitchen Aid mixer.

Molasses Cookies Kitchen Aid Mixer

Love this Kitchen Aid mixer, received it as a wedding gift!

So here is the recipe:

Spiced Molasses Cookies by The Tasty Gardener

Ingredients
  • 2¼ cup flour
  • 2 tsp baking soda
  • 1½ tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp ginger
  • ½ tsp nutmeg
  • ½ tsp cloves
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • ¾ cup butter
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ cup molasses
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • white sugar for coating
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl combine the flour, baking soda and spices.
  3. In another bowl cream the butter then beat in the brown sugar, eggs, molasses and vanilla.
  4. Mix in the flour until soft dough has formed.
  5. Roll dough into 1″ balls and coat in white sugar.
  6. Place on prepared pans, press with fork and bake until browned 6-8 mins.
  7. Let cool on wire racks.

Mine turned out great! Mixing it all in the Kitchen Aid mixer made things super easy. I baked the first batch for 7 minutes then tried 8 minutes and found 7:30 to be just right. The cookies were soft coming out of the oven so I removed them from the baking sheet and let them cool. As they cool down they start to harden–but they don’t get rock solid. They are soft and chewy and so good! So glad I came across this recipe, perfect for holiday baking and it makes the house smell so nice.

Molasses Cookies Rolled Into 1 Inch Balls

These are 1 inch balls (or as close to 1 inch as I could eyeball) rolled in white sugar

Molasses Cookies Pressed with Fork

Placed on the baking sheet with a gentle push from a fork

Molasses Cookies Baking

Who doesn’t like to peek at the oven while something is baking?

Molasses Cookies Cooling

Here are the cookies fresh out of the oven. I lifted the parchment paper off the baking sheet to let it cool on the counter for a minute before placing on the cooling rack. You can see some of the white sugar got clumped on some cookies. Just makes it a little sweeter!

Molasses Cookies on Cooling Rack

Cooled off and ready for enjoyment! Some of the fork marks stayed, some didn’t but it doesn’t matter to me!

What are your favorite baked goods around the holidays?

Monique is Blog Signature

5 Packaged Mexican Foods I Don’t Understand

12 Dec

Now, I’m not the expert in Mexican cuisine. I admit to owning a container of “Fajita Seasoning” and enjoy a super simple bowl of pozole from the can. When I make enchiladas I use canned sauce. I sometimes get a hankering for Taco Bell’s Cheesy Gordita Crunch. That shouldn’t even count as Mexican food really. I don’t often make Mexican food myself at home. I’m as Americanized as it gets but there are a few things I spot in grocery stores that confuse me.

1. Taco Seasoning

What is Taco Seasoning even made of? Is there a specific recipe? I feel like this is something big food companies invented. My mom didn’t really make tacos, if she did they were bean or chicken. We didn’t really do ground beef tacos all that often, I feel like she made them more when she was with my ex-step-dad, if memory serves me right. She would however, make a delicious batch of carne asada seasoned with salt, pepper, lime, seasoned salt, sometimes a splash of beer. Then we’d have our corn tortillas on the side and use that to tear up the carne asada into bite sized pieces or we’d cut up the carne asada and place it into the tortilla as a taco. You don’t need to buy these packets of “taco seasoning” — unless there is something that goes into tacos that I’m unaware of?

Lawry Taco Seasoning2. Hard Taco Shells

While we’re on the topic of tacos…what’s up with these super yellow pre-made taco shells? If you must harden your tacos just take some regular corn tortillas and fry them in the pan. I doubt these pre-made, processed, bright yellow shells are any healthier than a home fried shell. I’m in no place to judge though, my mom did make us tostadas using the pre-made type. I get it, she was a tired working mom and didn’t want to stand in front of the stove frying up tortillas after being on her feet all day at work. But we didn’t always use the pre-made tostadas, it was a good mix of home fried and pre-made.

Old El Paso Taco Shells3. Mission Tortillas

I only buy Mission Tortillas if I MUST. I do not like Mission all that much. I favor Diana’s when I can find them and second choice is Guerrero. Although I just found out Guerrero and Mission are made by the same company, Gruma! They are the largest processed corn flour (they call it Maseca) producer. Devastating, so I now need to avoid using Guerrero. If you want good tortillas do not buy Mission. Find something more locally produced from a tortillaeria like Diana’s. It will taste much better, I promise!

Mission Tortillas4. Rice with “Mexican Style” Seasoning

This is one I just do not understand at all. My mom certainly would turn to pre-made foods when she was tired, busy and in a pinch but NEVER bought fake Mexican rice. That is something she always took the time to make herself. I wonder if this really existed in the 80s or 90s or is it something as of late that has popped up as Mexican food becomes more normalized in American cuisine? Anyway, like all Mexican foods everyone has a slightly different way of making this rice. My mom calls it Spanish Rice. She uses onion, tomato sauce, and bouillon. Some people use a bit of garlic and diced up fresh tomato as well and some even throw in peas and carrots. I’ve seen the peas and carrots thing a lot in Mexican grocery stores and restaurants. I have subjected myself to trying one of these “Mexican Style” rice packets and I can honestly say it was GROSS. Do not buy these. Look up a recipe and make it at home for the best experience. old El paso Mexican Rice5. Canned Tamales

Why, why, WHY was this ever invented? Just don’t. Find a place that makes these fresh. What the heck is this. I’ve eaten them once. They were weird. You will never find me buying anything like this.

Hormel Canned TamalesI must say though, Mexican food is becoming more and more prevalent in American culture. I take these pre-packaged, processed versions of Mexican foods as a sign that more people outside the culture are WANTING to eat more Mexican style food at home. That’s good! Americans should try more diverse foods, it’s a reflection of our country. We truly do have it all here in the United States. I can one day eat Thai food, the next day Italian, the next Ethiopian–it’s a trip around the world with food. I embrace that and I’m happy to see other people embracing diversity and being brave enough to try something outside their box.

Monique is Blog Signature

*All photography found on Amazon.com

Bridal Body Update 2

1 Jul

Something finally clicked. It started in April. I started making salads for lunch and taking my dog for long walks. She needed to lose weight and I needed to lose weight. Then the Tone It Up Bikini Series started so I began following the workouts and changed my eating habits even more. I set my alarm an hour earlier and I workout in the morning now. At night I hit the gym to spend some time sweating on the elliptical.

Guess what. My jeans fit again! Not only do they button, but they don’t squeeze me and I can wear them buttoned ALL day without feeling pain! Even after lunch! That might sound crazy to some people but my jeans not buttoning and causing me pain is an issue I dealt with for over a year.

I didn’t see results right away. It was around the two month mark that I started being able to button again. Now we’re in July and my jeans are fitting me just fine.

So, what’s my big secret? It’s not much of a secret. It’s eating clean and working out at least 1 hour 4-5 days a week. Eating clean means staying away from high processed pre-packaged foods. I’ve known about clean eating for a long time but finally I just decided it’s time to make a change.

This video by Cassey Ho of Blogilates gives a good explanation of what clean eating is all about.

Reading the Tone It Up and Blogilates blogs have really helped educate me about living a healthier way. I still use My Fitness Pal occasionally to track my eating. Not to track calories so much but to track that I’m getting all of my vitamins/minerals/nutrients each day and not overdoing any one nutrient. Especially fiber, I was overdoing the fiber for a while and that was unpleasant!

I drink almond milk instead of regular milk. I eat protein pancakes, shakes and bars as my pre and post workout fuel. I try my best to prepare lunches ahead of time. My snacks are fruits, veggies, nuts, greek yogurt with granola. I started drinking green tea regularly. I’m staying away from white carbs like white bread, pasta, tortillas and rice. I eat multi grain bread, quinoa and brown rice now. When I make tacos I use lettuce leaves instead of tortillas. I’m not topping all my foods with cheese all the time. I eat lean proteins like chicken, eggs and beans.

This is what meal prep looks like. Cooked some chicken and quinoa with peas. Put some veggies and fruits on snack sized containers. Stuck it all in the fridge to easily grab and go each day!

This is what meal prep looks like. Cooked some chicken and quinoa with peas. Put some veggies and fruits on snack sized containers. Stuck it all in the fridge to easily grab and go each day!

This doesn’t mean I don’t eat yummy delicious pizza and authentic Mexican tacos anymore. I still go to Yogurtland and load up on the sprinkles and chocolate syrup. I just do that a lot less these days. When I do indulge in a delicious juicy cheeseburger it makes it that much more enjoyable.

I don’t feel bad about indulging because I workout too! I never deprive myself. I eat three main meals and about three snacks each day. I drink lots of water and I never had a soda drinking issue before so I continue to just avoid sodas. I’m not always looking at the scale anymore. My jeans are my scale now.

An example of clean eating snacks. No more munching on chips or highly sweetened cereal bars!

An example of clean eating snacks. No more munching on chips or highly sweetened cereal bars!

I will continue on this path because I feel better and look better. When my sisters and fiance are paying me compliments (unprompted!) I KNOW something is working! They are always honest with me and only give me compliments when it is 100% genuine. When I met up with a friend I only see occasionally last month she even noticed some changes on my body! On my wedding day I’m going to feel very confident and I will be starting my marriage on a healthy track.

An example of a clean eating dinner I make for my future hubby. Grilled chicken and veggies. Flavorful, filling and healthy for us.

An example of a clean eating dinner I make for my future hubby. Grilled chicken and veggies. Flavorful, filling and healthy for us.

Monique is Blog Signature

Monique’s Yummy Nacho Casserole

27 Dec

Check out my guest post on Double Chin Diary! Full recipe and directions through the link:

Monique’s Yummy Nacho Casserole.

Nacho-Casserole-Recipe-Image

 

Monique is Blog Signature

 

 

 

 

 

 

Recipe: Simple Veggie Stir-Fry

16 Nov

I made this simple and healthy stir-fry recipe from the top of my head the other day. A bowl of steamed white rice topped and a bit of Sriracha and soy sauce completed the meal.

Quick, easy, healthy and yummy! Love how you can see my lap top and phone charger in the back…this is my “pro” iphone photography >.<

Ingredients

Continue reading