Friday, December 10, 2010

CandyCane Cheesecake

candycane cheesecake

*the great thing about doing a cheesecake in a 9x13 or on a cookie sheet, is that it not only cooks faster and more even, but you don't have to do it 2 or 3 days ahead of time. My vote now goes to cheesecake bars, instead of your typical cheesecake.

chocolate shortbread cookie crust:

1 c. butter
1 c. powdered sugar
3/4 c. powdered cocoa
3/4 c. flour

Cream butter, sugar, and cocoa in a mixer until completely combined, make sure to scrap the bottom of the bowl. Add flour, and mix until combined. In a buttered 9 by 13 pan (or bigger if you have it) press dough evenly on the bottom of the pan.
Bake at 375 for 10-12 minutes. Because you cannot see a golden color, you just want to make sure that it looks as if it is cooked, and not a cough dough texture anymore.

Cheesecake filling:

24 ounces of cream cheese (3 boxes)
¾ c. sugar
3 eggs
1 T. vanilla
¼ t. salt
1 c. sour cream
a few drops of peppermint extract (to taste)
1/2 c. crushed peppermint candies (I like the ones that melt in your mouth, not the hard candycane ones)

2 c. sour cream
1/2 c. sugar
crushed peppermint candies, and whole candies

Cream the sugar and cream cheese in a mixer or with beaters. Add one egg at a time, scraping the bottom of the bowl after every egg. When completely combined (it is very important that you have no lumps, so the first few steps are crucial) add vanilla salt and sour cream. Mix until smooth. Add peppermint extract and candies, if you want more flavor, add a few more drops. Pour filling into crust, smooth out top.

Bake for about 1 hour and 20 minutes at 330 degrees. It can be tricky to know when the cheesecake is done. The top should lose it's wet luster and have a dull look to it and it should be set. Check at the 1 hour mark first, if it is starting to crack or brown, turn the temp down to 300. Add the 2 cups of sour cream mixed with the sugar to the top of the cheesecake. Be careful to only add small spoonfulls at a time as to not break to the top. Smooth out and bake for another 10 minutes. Make sure you place on a rack for an hour or so before placing in the fridge. You should keep the cheesecake refrigerated for at least 24 hours before serving.

Decorate with the crushed candies, and chocolate sauce.. you know, if you like chocolate :)

I hope the directions make sense. I took most of the instructions from my basic cheesecake, and then made the adjustments for the chocolate crust and candycane filling. Normally I put the candycane crumbs on before serving, but I put it on a few hours earlier, and so it somewhat dissolved, hence the pink/red layer over the top. It turned out kind of pretty.

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Saturday, December 4, 2010

just a little fun!

I am almost done with the quarter! I just can't wait to not be bogged down by school work, and have time to cook and do fun things again. In the mean time, I thought I would share something. Glee isn't for everyone, but how can you not love the songs!! Usually I don't cry while watching t.v. or movies, but I teared up in this episode if you can believe. The ones getting married in the seen are parents of kids in the glee club, and they have both lost their spouses (so already emotional for me) and they've fallen in love and are getting married. Anywho, this song has been stuck in my head since last week, I just love it so much! And it's a recent song, which is the amazing thing, I thought for sure it was an newer rendition of an older song. Enjoy!

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Friday, November 26, 2010

November :)

Well the votes are in , and yes, I win the award for the worst blogger of the month award :) I thought for sure once things kind of got rolling with school that I would get in a groove and find time, but didn't. And not really that I didn't find time to get to my computer and read your blogs, but to cook, and then take pictures (which has to be done in the afternoon) and then write up the recipe, and all that. I also thought I would have my "little shop" open the day after thanksgiving as a it's almost christmas suprise, but, it's not quite there. But with the christmas shopping spirit in full force (being the day after thanksgiving and all) I thought I would share my wish list. And here it is...

my wish list

What's funny about this wishlist, is that I can't really have any of these things. Sad I know. The boots (nicole winchester riding boots) are a style from last year, and even though I technically purchased the only pair available anywhere, they got lost in the mail. Don't feel too bad for me, I found a similar pair and decided to just deal with only getting my second favorite. The jacket (dalilah from abercrombie and fitch) is also an older item of theres and not available anywhere. But I love it so much and tried my hardest to find it. Found it, and then things went awry. We were charged but the order was cancelled, and still not resolved. I'm probably not going to get it. The bag (from Fossil) is gorgeous right? Well I've been wanting a new purse for about a year and a half, ever since I grew out my last fossil bag, and it started having some strap issues, but I just can't seem to find one that I like. And everytime I say to myself, ok, I think I really like that one I was looking at, I find out it is sold out. What do you think of the one above, I think I like that, not sure if it's sold out so I better make up my mind :) And the lovely straight and LONG blonde hair, well that's just a silly wish I threw in because, OBVIOUSLY I can't have that right now :) I'm still working on getting the hair past shoulder length, it's been stuck there for a few years now, and most likely it won't ever be as pretty as the gorgeous miss witherspoon's.

Moral of the story.. My wish list isn't really very important :) I'm not into christmas shopping. I think I tried to go christmas shopping nuts one year, and realized, it's just not that important. I LOVE the holiday season, thanksgiving almost more so than christmas, and I think it's because its a relatively no stress holiday. Yes, I still by gifts for the loved ones, but it's not number one on the list during the season. So I just thought I'd show you a few pretty things, but remind you that the holidays should be about love, and family, and gratitude, and all those warm fuzzy things.

This is my first married holiday season, and we're both so lucky to have so much family close by, and so much love. What I'm looking forward to most is having a break from school, and getting to spend more time with my husband and family.

with love,
kristin ann :)

p.s. I can't wait to have some more time in the kitchen in a few weeks.. get excited :)

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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Baked Ziti.. and gluten free!

Since I've really wanted to make a point to cook gluten free I thought I might as well check out some pasta alternatives. I wasn't expecting much because I have not enjoyed most other gluten replacements, up until now. In my cooking I have never liked making substitutes. If you can't eat something, just don't eat it: this has been my philosophy until now at least. And usually it's because the alternatives aren't necessarily good for you, they're just alternatives. I bought some gluten free cookies the other day, and I eat them all the time, but they're just not as good as the original. And when you read the ingredients, it has I think 5 flour substitutes, and if I were baking it's just not worth the hassle.
Back to my dinner. I wanted to at least try another form of pasta, because I love pasta, and it makes for an easy and cheap dinner usually. On a few food sites I check out I have seen quinoapasta, and I thought, I'll try it. So I went to our local health food store (fremont natural foods, I think) and I wasn't impressed. I was hoping to see isles of glorious healthy food, and it is really more of a health supplement store, but they had a few food items. I found a bag of brown rice pasta, and decided to try it out. I love brown rice, it's always been one of my favorites, and so healthy! Anyways.. here's what I made :)

{top and bottom photos are the pre baked shots}

A Gluten-Free Healthy Baked Ziti

package of penne pasta (1 lb/16 ounces)
I used Tinkyada brown rice pasta
1/2 an onion, chopped
1 lb ground turkey
1 T. fennel seed
1 tsp. dry thyme or sage
salt and ground pepper to taste

1 1/2 c. sliced mushrooms
3 cloves of garlic minced
1 jar of marinara (any flavor or brand) they're usually 26 ounces
16 ounce container of low fat ricotta cheese
1 bunch of fresh basil leaves chopped
2 cups grated low fat mozzarella cheese

Cook pasta according to package instructions; rinse with cold water, drain, and set aside. In a large pan, saute the onion with a little olive oil, add ground turkey. Keep on medium heat, and continue to separate the meat into smaller pieces. Add fennel, and seasonings to taste. Cook until all meat looks seared and cooked through, about 10 minutes. Place the meat on a plate and set aside. In the same pan, over medium heat, add garlic and mushrooms with a drizzle of olive oil. Cook until golden brown, and add the marinara. Over low heat, stir the ricotta cheese into the mixture. Turn off the heat, but make sure that the cheese is completely mixed in, with no chunks. Add the basil to the marinara sauce, as well as the cooked turkey, and mix.

In a large baking dish (or a 9x13 pan) drizzle some olive oil to grease the pan. Add about half of your cooked pasta to the pan. Spoon or pour about half of the sauce over the pasta. Lightly toss the pasta and sauce. Continue to add the pasta and sauce until the pan is just about full. (I usually have a cup or two of pasta left over, which I refrigerate and use as a quick meal in the next few days). Make sure to add all remaining sauce. Add salt and fresh ground pepper to the top of the mix. Cover the pan with foil and bake at 350 for about 45 minutes or until the edges all begin to bubble. Remove foil and top with grated cheese, and bake for another 10 minutes.

And enjoy!

Why I used some of the ingredients..
brown rice pasta - gluten-free, full of fiber and nutrients
ground turkey - much healthier than your Italian sausage, but tastes great
fennel - it gives you a similar taste to the Italian sausage
low fat ricotta - tastes and feels almost identical to the original, and less saturated fat
low fat mozzarella - tastes and feels almost identical to the original, and less saturated fat

Feel free to use your everyday pasta, Italian sausage, and any cheese you would like. I just wanted to give you a healthy alternative to a classic Italian dish!

(Jonna I absolutely love the dishes you gave me!!)

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Saturday, October 30, 2010

We've been feeling under the weather...

Martin and I had a not so fun case of the flu this weekend :( Luckily it was only one horrible day. Anyways, this really kept us from a lot of halloweeny things. Which is really just too bad, because I have all these cute cookie cutters that I wanted to use, and last year I bought a bunch of clearance halloween sprinkles, and.. you know, it's ok though. We have another couple of amazing holidays coming up :) But, I did have something that I wanted to try, and didn't get to, but I posted it down below, and I linked my ideas from last year. I'll do better for thanksgiving (one of my favorite holidays of course). And we did make it to the ghost house and carve pumpkins before the sickness hit, which was good, because originally we planned to do that all today.
Hope you all are having a great weekend!
Lots of love

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A little Halloween Fun

This idea has been my favorite new Halloween treat, at least the look of it. I bought everything for it, but didn't get to making it this week :( But if you're still having festivities tomorrow, it's a pretty easy treat!

Isn't it sooo cute! I found it here :)

You’ll need:

  • graham crackers
  • marshmallows
  • chocolate chips
  • yellow candy melts
  • candy corn


  1. Cut one marshmallow in half and place both pieces on a large graham cracker (2 stuck together).
  2. Put a candy melt on top of the marshmallows.
  3. Heat in the microwave for about 2-5 seconds, just enough to make the marshmallows puff up, but not get too hot.
  4. Take out of microwave and add a chocolate chip on the yellow candy melt and the candy corn beak while the marshmallows and candy are still warm. Everything should stick together nicely.
  5. Let cool and serve! You can make these the night before a party and everything is still very tasty.

Last year I went around and found a whole bunch of halloween treat ideas, mostly cupcakes, and posted them here. There's a great pumpkin cake/cupcake recipe, and lots of easy ideas. Also, here, you can find a treat bag idea from Martha.
I hope you all have a very happy halloween.

with love,
kristin ann :)

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Maxie Boy :)

just around 9 months.. oh how we love him so





precious right? he's like our adorable little bull dog.. just so cute :)

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Friday, October 29, 2010

pumpkin time :)

I don't actually love the holiday Halloween (I know, I'm just no fun). But I love everything that has to do with pumpkins! So the other night I agreed to go to our local Haunted House, only if afterwards, we could go get pumpkins to carve. The Haunted House, not my favorite (as Jen would say), but they had some fun games and delicious carmel apples, AND Martin won that silly little eye patch that he wore throughout the rest of our Halloween activities. I think he's cute :)
Oh, and I hope you notice all the bunny ear action going on. Yes, that's Jennifer, and it pains her to take a picture without giving bunny ears :)

For cute pumpkin ideas, check out this post from last year. I have a bad habit of collecting pictures from all over; but luckily for you, I have all these great ideas in one spot.
This one is my fav..

I hope you're enjoying all the Halloweeny happenings this week.
I may have a few more ideas up tomorrow :)

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Thursday, October 14, 2010

Lemon glazed angel food cake for my mama

Happy Birthday to Hootie :)
that's what we call her (hehe)

lemon angel food cake



For the angel food cake, I used a box mix and followed the instructions (and of course made sure to not over cook it).
For the glaze:
Juice from 2 lemons (about 6 T.)
6 T. melted butter
just a few drops of vanilla
1 c. powdered sugar
Mix the lemon juice butter and vanilla. Add powdered sugar, and mix thoroughly. I didn't thicken mine up as much as I should have, so depending on how you want it to look on the cake, and more or less powdered sugar. Pour the glaze along the top of the cake, it should drip down by it self. You can spoon more into areas that didn't get enough.
Garnish with candied lemon peel/zest.
I peel some of the lemon, sliced it thin, and put it in a saute pan with a little bit sugar. Once the sugar began to caramelize I took it off the heat and sprinkled more sugar over the top. I have no idea how you should really do it, maybe check out martha stewart's website :)

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Friday, October 8, 2010

just a few fall dessert ideas...

I love fall, I know I've already told you. Everyday as the weather gets colder, I get happier. A lot of the food blogs and websites I look at are just filling up with fall recipes and ideas; so I thought I would share a few with you. Unfortunately, I'm on a cleansing diet this week. I meant to do one before school and fall began but kind of ran out of time. For me, I think it is very important to just clean out my system once in a while. No, they're not fun, but I usually feel so much better afterwards (I have a lot of random little health quirks). Sooo, as I am not allowed desserts for the next few days, I find ones to drool over. From my two favorite blogs, I found absolutely delicious looking and sounding apple cakes perfect for fall. Give them a try; let me know how they turn out.

Here we have an "Easy Apple Cake" from Bakerella. She's absolutely wonderful if you haven't looked at her blog before. Cake pops were kind of her invention and they're huge now. She was on martha stewart, and people are using cake pops and brownie pops and cheesecake and cake balls and they're just such a great idea. I have yet to try any, but I will soon. This apple cake will be my next endeavor. And it's easy!

From the kitchen of honey and jam; a carmel cake with apple filling. Yum right? This one doesn't look quite as easy. Since there are three parts; the cake, the filling, and the frosting; it make take a little more time, but I still think it's worth trying. I might try this at thanksgiving. Honey and Jam is another one of my favorite blogs. The photography is stunning and her recipes are also just as dreamy.

I hope everyone has a fabulous weekend. Mine will be full of homework and studying, but spent with my love, so still wonderful.

with love,
kristin ann

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Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I love me some eggs :)

Yes, it's a fact, I love breakfast. And, I love to cook breakfast! It's by far the easiest meal to make, and therefore, the most satisfying. For me its even better than making a quick sandwich, because it's a hot meal, which I also love. So my thought for today is to encourage you to make breakfasts. If you get in the habit of it, and just have breakfast foods around, its a great thing. I know cold cereal is tempting, and trust me, I love cereal (I usually have cereal for dessert or a midnight snack) but you should consider your options in the morning, especially if you're feeding little ones. Eggs are a wonderful thing. They are full of protein, vitamin A (and several others), and although they have cholesterol, studies have shown that the dietary cholesterol in eggs does not effect your blood cholesterol the same that other saturated fats do. If you didn't know already, your brain is made of primarily fats, so foods like eggs, that have dietary cholesterol are considered brain foods. When your brain is developing, so in your very young years (especially before the age of 5) it is important to have certain fats in your diet. When I have been at my absolute healthiest eggs are usually a staple in my diet.
Ok, enough of that...

My breakfast for two (of course)

1 leftover sausage sliced at a diagonal (thank you mary)
4 eggs beaten
2 pieces of bread toasted
a slice of cheese diced (or shredded)
salt and pepper
green onions, chopped

Saute the sausage for just a minute, add the eggs, keep the heat on med/low. Make sure to keep the eggs moving around, I very much dislike overcooked or burnt scrambled eggs. Feel free to salt and pepper at any step. When the eggs are just about done, so they still have a little bit of moisture, add the cheese. Serve on top of toast, or to the side. Garnish with green onions or chives.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

breakfast crazy

The fact of the matter is, I lOVE breakfast. I really do, just outright love everything about breakfast. I love eggs, I love ALL breakfast meats, I love pancakes and waffles in every flavor (even though I should stay away from gluten, they're still worth it to me), I love muffins, and doughnuts (oh how I LOVE doughnuts!), I love orange juice, and grapefruits, and cereal (I had cereal for lunch today), and fruit, and smoothies, and everything else that you could possibly incorporate with breakfast. I used to not like french toast, but I found a restaurant a few years ago that made it so divine (Maglebee's in Utah) that now I know a way that I even like french toast.
Well here was my breakfast today. I actually made just about the same thing yesterday, but better, but no camera, and no Martin. So today, because I didn't have school, and my amazing husband did. I got out of bed a little bit before he did, and I whipped this up. A breakfast burrito. I used to not love the idea of putting all my favorite things in a flour tortillas and having it for breakfast with salsa, but I got over that right quick (again, while living in Utah, thanks to the 24 hour Beto's). All these memories of Utah make me miss my sister. When I lived there for that short year, we ate together ALL the time. It was our favorite thing to do. Anyways, love you Jana.
So, here's how it went down.
  • first, microwave a medium potato (after washing and piercing) for about 5 minutes, unless you have a leftover baked potato from the night before, which work the best!
  • Next, cook your meat. I used a few strips of bacon and deli turkey. Cook the bacon first until almost crispy and set aside.
  • Then, get the eggs ready. For 2 burritos, I would use 4 eggs; crack and scramble in a separate bowl. Feel free to add salt and pepper as you go along, set aside.
  • In the same pan you cooked the bacon, or sausage, or steak, or whatever, saute the potato (after dicing in 1/2 inch cubes, with skin still on). This only takes a few minutes, if they look dry, add a drizzle of olive oil.
  • Add the meat (diced turkey, and crumbled bacon) and some hot sauce. I prefer tapatio. Once all is hot and incorporated, set aside.
  • In the same pan, cook your scrambled eggs. When the eggs are almost done (so still slightly runny) add a handful of cheese (small cubes, slices, shredded, whatever works) and once the cheese starts to melt, add the potato meat mixture.
  • And you're done!
  • You can heat up or cook the tortillas ahead of time if you would like.
  • Serve with cilantro, avocado, hot sauce, tomato slices, whatever you see fit.



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Sunday, September 19, 2010

My first day of... school :/

This whole school thing is a very up and down issue for me. I actually love school. I like taking classes in interesting subjects and learning new things, and feeling smart, and knowing that I'm furthering an education that in the long run will be a great thing.. yes, all that stuff I like, but I still have the jitters! I feel like I'm a teenager all over again, except, without braces, acne, frizzy hair, and being boyfriend-less. The start of school years were hard for me for every reason except "school." It's the social intricacies, and the waking up early, and the bad hair days, and now that I'm in college, it's the paper work, and transcripts, and prereqs, and parking tickets, and all of that. Ugh. But I'm doing a good thing, and once I get past the first week, I'll be great I'm sure (I hope). Also, good news, next quarter I will most likely get to go to school with my sweetheart, at Cal State East Bay. Soooo, it will only be one tough quarter. I have a lot of good things to look forward to. Wish me luck!

Oh, and these little numbers are first day of school gems :)

I'm not sure, but I think this was the first day of kindergarten. Awesome, right? I had potential when I was younger, but a tomboy mom and four older brothers kind of killed it, until I hit 16 or so.

There are no words to explain this one. I think this was jana's first day of kindergarten, therefore it was my first day of 3rd grade. Look at those legs!? If only the tan and the leanness could've stuck around for ever. And I'm sure Jana loves this one too. You can't see it, because of the back pack, but the shirt is definitely tucked in and the shorts are riding high :) And of course we both had weird partly wavy, partly curly, partly straight hair. Good times.

{sorry for the poor quality of pictures, they're old, and I was too lazy to scan then}

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Saturday, September 18, 2010

my breakfast.. a deliciously gourmet breakfast quesadilla

It's about 1 in the afternoon and I haven't had breakfast yet; this isn't weird for us because we wake up at 11.. yes, isn't our life amazing :) I'm in the kitchen and thinking to myself, eggs sound really good. We have eggs, cheese, lots of tomatoes, and some flour tortillas I recently purchased for a taco night. I then thought, well these tortillas are too small for a burrito, I'll figure something out. Martin was just on his way home from playing tennis so I knew he would be hungry, and I just started whipping things up. I prefer fried eggs, or sunny side up to scrambled, so I made 2 fried eggs, sliced up a golden tomato from the garden, found half of an avocado in the fridge from yesterday, and realized I had cilantro left from taco night as well. Long story short.. this is what I made. And it was delicious, and took just as long as any normal breakfast would take.





breakfast quesadilla:
2 fried eggs
1 medium size tortilla
1 sliced tomato
half an avocado
2 slices of cheddar cheese
sliced ham (or turkey lunchmeat)
salt and pepper

Have a wonderful weekend everyone :)

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oh how I love.. fall!

{not my picture, I found it here}
I know that it's weird, but I don't LOVE Summer. But you know what I do love? Fall, and Winter! I love the weather, I love the clothes, I love the food, and the holidays, and the cozy nights in, not so much the school but I'm trying to love the idea of it. I went into Michael's yesterday, like I do often enough, especially on night's Martin works, and it just smelled like fall. They have their Halloween and autumn decorations and the smell of cinnamon and everything fall was everywhere and it made me smile.
School is going to make it a little tough to absolutely enjoy everything about the season, but I'll get over it. (Just this minute, I signed up for microbiology, yes, that's what I said, microbiology. What am I thinking right? I don't know. But I do know that I am going to give this nursing idea a major attempt, and this is my first push. So wish me luck.) Martin and I are excited and nervous (I'm more the nervous one) for this fall. There is so much going on and so many new things for us, good and exciting things, along with the hard and not so fun. We will be spending a lot of time a part, first time ever. We will have a lot of responsibility on our plate; with school costing money, it's not like something you just try and quit, at 1,700 a quarter, which I know isn't the worst, but you have to take it seriously. And for me, I am lucky I don't have to pay that much, but the possibility of not getting into nursing school because of a grade I get this quarter, I'm not taking my chances.
Ok, back to how much I LOVE Fall. The food during the fall is just soooo wonderful. I saw on a blog the other day, I don't remember where, but, homemade butternut squash ravioli. That made me want to drive to my favorite restaurant in San Francisco just so I could have some ravioli. And anything pumpkin, in my mind, is just to die for. One of my favorites, pumpkin cheesecake, my pumpkin cheesecake, so take a look. Soup! I almost forgot how much I love cold weather, so that I have an excuse to make large amounts of delicious soup! On my favorites list: lobster bisque, tomato bisque (really anything bisque), any chowder, especially clam, cream of anything, and butternut squash soup, oh and I could go on and on.
I hope you take some time to notice the changing weather and color around you. If you're in the bay area, where there isn't A LOT of color change, there is still enough to appreciate it. And if you're somewhere like Maine, where the color is just amazing, YOU better appreciate it! Start practicing some of your fall recipes now, then they'll be perfected when the weather is right. (I even started practicing Christmas songs on the piano recently :/ don't shoot me, I just love the season.)
with love,
kristin ann :)

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Monday, September 13, 2010

my breakfast.. a protein berry smoothie


This is an attempt to be healthy. I'm trying atleast :) Because my family is full of athletes and very weight conscious people I have developed a few habits that help me to be a little healthier. We eat at home a lot, which trust me, if you're trying to be healthier, is crucial, and we eat a lot of fruits and vegetables. The easiest and quickest meal I have, is a smoothie or shake. I like a milk base (it tastes so much better, and I believe in dairy, it's not for everyone though) to start out my smoothie. So in the blender I put about 3/4 cup of milk. Fruit is something I try to always keep on hand, but unfortunately most fruit doesn't last long. So, I freeze fruit that isn't used quickly, but usually only berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, cranberries) because they freeze well. To the milk I add 1 1/2 cups of frozen/fresh berries, and a scoop of a chocolate protein mix. Unfortunately I don't have the brand or any information because I stole a bag from my parents, who bought in bulk (shhh). Most grocery stores now carry protein mixes, or a store like GNC. Blend until completely smooth; you may have to add a little more milk (or water) to the mix.
If you don't like the milk/protein style shake, do the same thing but use a juice base (apple is my favorite) and don't add the protein. I made on like this the other day and it was fabulous. Just like Jamba Juice (our favorite) but it's practically free, and no garbage, so you're helping your pocket and the environment, and yourself because it's so healthy!



In the last few months I have been trying to eat more "raw" foods. A lot of my health issues can be easily cured just by making some adjustments in my diet, and this has been not that easy. But this is an easy way to get a 100 % raw meal (if you do just the bare fruit juice smoothie), and it feels substantial. Anyways, food for thought.
Enjoy your day!
with love,
kristin ann :)

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Sunday, September 12, 2010

yum.. from smitten kitchen

Ok, so the honest truth? I haven't done any cooking in about a week; or anything interesting for that matter. I don't love the summer. I know this sounds weird, because everyone loves the sun and the summer and the summer activities, but I don't think I ever have LOVED it. Being hot is one of my least favorite things, and I try all the tricks to keep cool but even during the winter, I'll wear a t-shirt and shorts; I don't know what the deal is, but I'm always hot. I love fall, and winter, and spring; so my good mood in those three seasons makes up for the complaining mood of summer. Well, since it has been rather hot (I'm so spoiled I live in a city with the worlds most mild temperatures) I have kept my activities to a minimal. We (Martin and I) start school in about a week, so that's another reason why we have tried to keep our schedule open. So I have managed to stay out of the kitchen and the yard, but it's time to get back. Kind of sad, but we have to have a normal life now. The honeymoon is over. No more seeing each other for about 95 % of everyday and having most of the week to do as we please. It's time to get serious (with school at least) and unfortunately we're not at the same school this quarter. This fall is going to be a HUGE adjustment for me. Have I not given you the details to our current delightful schedule? Martin works 2 nights a week. On those nights, I bring him dinner on his break, and I get to stay in text contact with him most of the evening. And I could visit him if I wanted (which I used to do). He plays a show every Sunday night, which I go to most weeks (so we're not actually apart). And occasionally he has shows on Saturday somewhere in the Bay Area, and I almost always go with him (so again, we're not apart). I babysit for a living (a minimal living, but again we do not have to part). Up until last week we shared my car, so we run most errands and do just about everything together. Pretty awesome huh? And to think, we're giving that up for an education (wink wink). We've been dying to go to school actually. With budget cuts and registration cuts, we were not able to apply last fall or spring, and opted to not go summer, so we've been having the time of our lives. So wish us luck!
Enough of the personal stuff.. I wanted to tell you about all these yummy thoughts I have, and since I'm not posting about anything else, I've been sharing what I have found. Also, I've organized the blogs I look at into my favorites folder this week, and so I can actually keep up with some of them. This picture, of peach shortbread is from smitten kitchen, which I check out regularly, and I plan on making these.. like this week. Don't they look yummy?! And, my guess is they aren't that difficult to make, so I'm gonna give it a try. Anyways, I hope you have a had a wonderful weekend, and I hope you take a look at a few of the blogs I recommend. I don't cook often enough to have a stacked library of recipes, but, I can lead you in the direction of some people that do.

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Friday, September 10, 2010

i've been thinking about...

this.. or something like it. For the past while I've been trying to eat healthier, and I have been. I think I dropped a few lbs and I've been feeling better. BUT, I just have these cravings for sweets, and not just sweets, but like, buttery, gooey sweets, with a crust, the worst kind! Anyways. I saved this picture of a chocolate pecan (derby pie) pie, which I think I've made a similar one before, and this is kind of what I want right now. Doesn't it look delish :)
Well happy weekend everyone. We've got plans for yard work, a good bike ride, a big family birthday party, and hopefully some down time.
with love
kristin ann :)
p.s. the picture was found here and the recipe as well. i tend to go through blogs and save pictures of pretty things or things that I want to make, and I think that's why this yummy thing was saved in my pictures. it's a sweet little blog much like mine; recipes, fashion, photography, weddings, and on and on. she found my blog, and then I found hers. it's great how blogging works like that.

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Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Star Wars Cake for Jack :)

Cakes are usually my gift at family birthdays. Especially when the lego set to decorate that cake costs so darn much! Anyways, I love to create cakes for the nieces and nephews of the fam. I obviously don't make cakes for myself on a regular basis, so it keeps me in practice. Also, when I'm doing a family birthday cake, I get to use my mama's kitchen, which is really the only way I can make a cake. She has a kitchen table that is larger than all of my counter space put together and a plethora of addition kitchen space, and an extra fridge that is usually fully able to store my creation for the day, with out being touched.
Well, here's the cake.. Yellow cake (from a box, and not overcooked) with my chocolate buttercream frosting, chocolate ganache, and chocolate sprinkles!






And of course, the birthday boy, licking the buttercream off the legos. Which by the way, made martin's day, getting to set up that whole lego scene. I felt like I was married to a 12 year old for about an hour and a half :) I think he'll like when he has a little one around so he doesn't have to pretend he doesn't love toys as much as he does :)

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Friday, September 3, 2010

sauteed mushrooms

Use as a side to a chinese inspired dish, or serve as an appetizer with crostini. If you use button mushrooms you can serve with toothpicks.



3 large portobellos
olive oil for cooking
2 cloves of garlic (minced)
1 small pepper (your choice, minced)
2 T. soy sauce
1 T. oyster sauce

In a large saute pan drizzle in some olive oil and add garlic. After about a minute on medium heat, throw in the mushrooms and minced pepper. It only takes a few minutes too cook mushrooms, you may need to add a little more olive oil, as mushrooms tend to soak it up. Add the soy and oyster sauce and cook for another few minutes. And done.
You can garnish with chives or green onions.


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Thursday, September 2, 2010

Chicken Lettuce Wraps

I've been meaning to spend a little more time in the kitchen, so tonight, that's what I did. I kind of created this recipe a few years ago because I just LOVE lettuce wraps. We make Chinese type dishes at my house all the time, so I figured I could do it, and to be honest, it was pretty easy.
Use it as an appetizer or a meal, serve it with rice. Feel free to substitute any item, it will still turn out, I promise. We do a lot of stir fry dishes at our house, so we have things like oyster sauce, and sesame seed oil on hand, it's not necessary, just adds more character. You can find them at any grocery store.





2 chicken breasts (thawed)
2 T. minced garlic (2 large cloves)
1 c. chopped carrots
1 c. chopped zucchini
1 can of sliced water chestnuts, chopped
olive oil for cooking
3 T. soy sauce
drizzle of sesame seed oil
about 2 T. oyster sauce
salt and pepper to taste
sriracha if you like it spicy
1 head of butter lettuce
Slice chicken into 1/4 inch strips and then chop into tiny pieces. In a medium saute pan, on a medium heat, saute garlic and chicken with a bit of olive oil. Cook for about 5 minutes, and add the carrots. Continue to stir on medium heat, after a few minutes and the carrots have gained some color, add the zucchini and water chestnuts. Cook for about 5 more minutes. Now add the soy sauce, sesame seed oil and oyster sauce. Continue to stir over heat for another minute or so. Add salt and pepper to test. Let cool for a few minutes; and spoon into individual lettuce leaves.

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Spending some time in the kitchen: Tapas!

When Martin and I were in Australia our friend, Katie, took us to a Tapas restaurant. Tapas is a form of Spanish cuisine, that focuses on appetizer type or finger food dishes, instead of a main course and sides. So the point is to order a whole bunch of these smaller dishes and you share with your table, so you end up with a lot of different flavors. Well I absolutely loved the idea and all the dishes that we ordered, and ever since, I have been meaning to come up with a few of my own "tapas" recipes. Instead of aiming my cooking in the Spanish directions, I figured I could do any style, but just keep it in smaller portions and easier to eat; so either with toothpicks or your fingers. I know Martin is pretty excited about this (since he just loves all appetizers) and I hope you will be too. If you have any ideas, or suggestions, feel free to send them my way!

with love
Kristin Ann :)

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