Sunday, February 28, 2010

not your grandma's tuna casserole

jk.. I loved my grandma's tuna casserole, and to be honest I love all casseroles. For whatever reason they have a bad rep, but I'm going to change that. Tuna casserole can be delicious, and so I decided to whip up a healthier and even more delicious version! Here you go.. try it!!

2 c. egg noodles (cook to package directions and drain)
3 cans of white albacore tuna (packed in water Not oil)
1 can of cream of mushroom soup
1/2 c. milk
3 T. butter
1 c. chopped or sliced mushrooms
1 c. finely diced onion
1 1/2 c. chopped fresh spinach
2 c. shredded cheese (whatever you like)
salt and pepper to taste
In a pan saute butter, onions, and mushrooms. Once the onions become slightly translucent, add spinach, and saute for another minute or two. Salt and pepper to taste, and set aside. In a mixing bowl add the cream of mushroom soup and milk and whisk. Drain the tuna cans and add tuna to the soup mix. Add 1 cup of shredded cheese (I used cheddar for this part) and add the vegetable mix. Add the drained pasta and mix until ingredients are combined. Pour in a casserole dish of choice. Bake for about 40 minutes at 375. The edges will begin to bubble and will be heated through. Add the last cup of cheese to the top and bake another 5 minutes. Let stand for ab out 5 minutes before serving!!

**The trick to a healthier casserole that sits a little better in your belly is adding vegetables!!! Add the spinach, onions, and mushrooms to the mix, it makes such a difference!
Also, have a few sides of veges! We love broccili! Cut your broccili into bite size pieces, place in a pan with a lid and just a few tablespoons of water, steam on med. heat, it only takes about 5 minutes. Squash we usually bake. It takes a little longer, close to 45 minutes, at 375, u can also microwave it in about 6-8.

Pin It!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Newborn photography

I love baby Maximus. He is just so precious. Good work Heidi and Todd :)


There will be more pictures to come (I got to do a little photo shoot with the kiddies) but I'm going to let Heidi send out her new baby announcement first!!

Pin It!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

I hosted a baby shower for my darling sister in law (Heidi) about a month ago, and I still haven't posted the pictures of my cake!! It was a wonderful shower, thanks to all of Heidi's friends and amazing family members who came to celebrate the almost here baby max. We love you Heidi!! Congrats on getting Max here safely!

I purchased most of the decorations for the cake at Michaels, they're just so wonderful there. And picked a few twigs of a grape vine.

Pin It!

A belated Valentine's Day dessert for my sweetie

This is one of my favorite cakes to make for sure. The chocolate dipped cake :) I used a box of any old chocolate cake mix, prepare it as directed. (For this size cake I used smaller pans then the usual 8 inch, but you can make this cake as an 8 inch for sure). Whenever I plan on layering and frosting a cake, I freeze the cake, still in the cake pans; just to provide a little more stability while frosting and decorating. I used two cake pans, and cut both of those layers in half. So I layered, strawberry filling (my mom's homemade jam), layer of my chocolate buttercream, and then another layer of strawberry filling. After frosting the entire cake with the buttercream, the cake goes in the freezer, just for an hour or so. The melted chocolate over the top, you can find at any grocery store, I'm not sure of the brand, but it's usually by the chocolate chips and it comes in a little bowl almost, and it's meant for dipping fruit. I follow the melting directions and then add a few tablespoons of butter. Pour the melted chocolate over the top of the cake, using a spatula to spread evenly, and the chocolate drips over the edges; gorgeous, I know! This is the hard top chocolate, you can also use my ganache recipe to cover the top (or also as a filling). You can dip the strawberries before hand and have them dry, but you may have to use toothpicks to keep them in place, or just arrange the strawberries on the cake as you dip them in chocolate. I like to use sprinkles of all kinds with my chocolate dipped strawberries, just to be pretty.

Vanilla or Chocolate Buttercream Recipe

Makes about 10 cups
2 1/4 cups sugar
9 large egg whites
2 cups of butter (at room temperature)
2 cups of shortening
3 t. pure vanilla extract
1 bag semisweet chocolate chips (optional, for chocolate buttercream)
1 c. cocoa powder

Over a pot of simmering water, in a heatproof bowl, whisk together sugar and egg whites until sugar is dissolved and mixture is very warm to the touch, about 5 minutes. Remove From heat. Beat on medium until completely cooled and stiff peaks have formed, about 10 minutes.

With mixer on medium, add butter a few tablespoons at a time until completely combined, then shortening, same process. Add vanilla, beat on low speed until smooth, about 5 minutes.

If you want the chocolate buttercream, add the semisweet chocolate chips, after being melted completely, and slightly cooled. Add the cocoa powder and mix thoroughly. Frosting is much easier to use once cooled, so refrigerate about an hour or two before use.

p.s. this recipe is mostly a martha stewart recipe, I made a few changes ;)

Chocolate Ganache

1 bag of chocolate chips
1 1/2 c. heavy whipping cream

Either over a double boiler or in a microwave you can melt the two ingredients until you get a smooth consistancy (mix with a whisk).

Pin It!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Bridal Shower Thank You

Have I said thank you to all my amazing friends and family for such a wonderful bridal shower?? Well, THANK YOU!!!! Thank you so much to Cindy, for hosting the shower and putting it all together. Thank you to Megan for letting us use her beautiful home and for helping with everything (including my group gift). Thank you to all the wonderful ladies who I have known almost all my life who helped (RaeDene Hodson, Jan Skubal, Heidi Little, Robin Kalcic, Terri Topham, Gayle Hollingshaus; just to name a few). Thank you to those who chipped in for the group gift, my kitchen aid mixer!!!! Most of those who helped did, and then plus, Janice Carlile, Margaret Holmes, and Nancy Stewart. Thank you to all of Martin's wonderful family who came (even though they already came and gifted at a previous party thrown for us). I could not be luckier to have joined the family that I did. Thank you to all of Heidi's wonderful family that came (I know we're not technically family, but you are to me! I love you Wittmer family!) Thank you to all my dear friends who came out for the night; Karla, Gabi, Tracy, and Allisa. You girls are wonderful. And especially thank you to one of my bestest friends JILLIAN and her mom Beth, who drove out all the way from Winters, to be a part of my shower. Thank you to all the other ladies of the ward who came to support me and show your love. I am so blessed. I truly love all of you, and I can't tell you enough thanks, not only for the gifts, money and gift cards, but for the friendship and love you show and have shown Martin and I. Thank you!!

What made me think to say thank you, was because of the cakestand I just bought and posted about!! I received sooo many wonderful gifts, yes a few cake stands, and the gift cards were just wonderful. Once I get through some of my things, hopefully I'll be using them and blogging about them soon!

Pin It!

Martha Stewart.. oh how I love her

Is this not just so beautiful...


I was recently given a small giftcard to macys, and thought I would see what I could find, and I stumbled upon this amazing new collection of martha stewarts. I believe it is called her whitewear line, and I just love it! I actually own quite a few white dishes and serving dishes because I can't get enough of them. Well when I was there, I decided to make this purchase.


Only one of them though, but aren't they just so lovely!!!! Sigh.. I love, love, love cakestands, and to be honest, just about anything pretty that belongs at a table or in a kitchen.

Pin It!

pretty cran-apple pie

Sorry for the no recipe posts lately. With all the wedding amazingness I've been a little busy!!! I made this gem around christmas time I think. I was a hit. Even if you don't like cranberries, just try it, you'll love it.


Pie Crust

2 c. flour
1/2 t. salt
1/4 c. sugar
2/3 c. shortening
8-9 T. cold water

Mix flour salt and sugar. Add shortening and with a fork mix in the shortening. With the fork you lift from bottom to top, you don't press down to break up the shortening. It will take a little bit of time, and the pieces of shortening should all be pea size or smaller.
Take a few fork fulls of dough crumbles and set aside. Add the water to the flour mixture. If you're adding sugar to the recipe, you may need the extra tablespoon of water. The dough should come together as a ball in your grip, add a few more drops of water if necessary.
On a floured surface roll out dough with a rolling pin. Just roll it out to the edge of your surface or about 1/4 inch thick. It doesn't matter the shape or look of the dough at this point. Sprinkle the dry dough mixture, that had been set aside, on the top of the dough, to the edges. Roll dough up, like a fruit roll up, and close off the edges so the crumbs don't fall out. Cut into fourths, stack on top of each other, and smash down, so you have one large mass of dough. Cut in half and set one half aside.
Again on a floured surface roll out dough. This time you're going to eventually need a close to perfect circle, so when rolling out, try to keep your shape. After you've rolled dough out an few inches wider than pie pan. Place pan in the middle of dough and cut a circle out, use the extra pieces of dough to fill in places that didn't quite keep shape. Using rolling pin, roll dough over and then onto the top of the pie pan. Lift dough into pan, making sure that it's up against the walls and edges. Using your fingers roll the edges of the crust down and in so that it sits just along the edge of the pan. Once you've circled the whole crust, go back around, using your thumb and index finger to shape the crust. You can make the wave as tight or loose, as big or small as you would like.
Your crust is done! Whether or not the crust is cooked now or after filled depends on the pie being made.

{for picture instructions}

Cran-Apple filling

3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
2 T flour
1 t. nutmeg
dash of ground cloves
6-8 apples (peeled, cored, and cut in 6-8 slices)
1/2 c. cranberries whole (frozen or fresh)

After you're finished with the apples (yes it takes forever sometimes, I know). Mix all the dry ingredients separately. Add about 3/4 of the mixture to the apples. With the bottom crust prepared in the pan, start to assemble the apples. It works best if you place the on the outer ring of the crust and work your way in. Sprinkle a few cranberries on each layer of apples until you've filled and exceeded the top of the crust. Dust the filling with the rest of the sugar/cinnamon mix. Assemble top as a basic pie, or a lattice top.

{for picture instructions for a lattice top}

Bake at 375 for about 50-60 minutes. You may need to use foil to cover the top and edges of your crust (they tend to burn before the filling is cooked through). The pie is done when the apples can be poked with a fork with ease (there shouldn't be much tension).





Pin It!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

sad news...

I need some help; maybe just a few suggestions would be nice. I can’t eat bread anymore. Gluten to be exact. And this is very sad for me. I love bread, especially sourdough, and it just always makes me feel better (temporarily) and it makes me feel full, and happy. My sister Jana, lives on a 100% bread diet and I actually try to stay away from it (evil carbs) when I’m trying to be good, but I’m the one that has the health problem. Maybe I’m taking one for the team. If Jana had to stay away from bread, she may possible starve to death, so I had to be the one :) I love you this much Jana. Anyways, I have a few longstanding health problems, that I’ve really just gotten used to over the years, but some recent trips to the doctor (chiropractic) have made me see that I really should make a drastic change in my diet, so I’m going gluten free. Or I’m at least going to try. To be honest I should consider myself lucky, because I’m not allergic to gluten; those who are have much worse problems when they eat it, so I can have some, I should just try to stay away from the bulk of it. For those of you who don’t know, gluten is pretty much flour (products from wheat). From bread, to pasta, crackers, cereal, bagels, pastries, cakes, pies, cookies, and who knows what else, I should be staying away from. Isn’t it just so sad; I love to bake more than anything but I really should be staying away from my own creations. I guess it couldn’t have come at a better time though; I’m married to the most supportive and compassionate man around and we both want to go on a health kick and this will kind of force us into one.

Since I was a little girl I have had a very nervous and sensitive stomach. So I feel sick to my stomach with lots of things. Eating too much, or too little, or going to long without eating, too much sugar, too much water, not enough water, too much dairy, too little fat, too much fat, a stressful event, not enough sleep, overexertion, under exertion.. you name it, it will make me uneasy. Well a few years ago the pains developing in my tummy took me back and forth to the doctors for months (it became more painful than I could handle) and finally my gallbladder was removed. I had hoped this would cure me completely, but it didn’t, it made it worse. Since then (I believe that was the summer of 2007) I have had the same problems with a few more to the list. My stomach swells up from time to time, sometimes very painful, sometimes just uncomfortable and on a regular basis I just feel not right. I thought my puffy stomach had to do more with my lack of exercise and sedentary lifestyle (and getting a little older, I’m not exactly 18 anymore) but I guess that’s not all of it. My doctor said my stomach is just in a constant state of swelling, due to gluten, and possibly a few other things.

For some time I have known I have a candida (yeast) problem, which is an imbalance of yeast in your system. Everyone has some, it helps with digestion and just keeps everything functioning, but I have it in abundance. This is due to, not exactly sure, but I have read, possibly an overconsumption of antibiotics (which I took for a few years off and on for random things; acne, bladder infections, other skin problems, lots of colds) and it also runs in the family. So with the removal of gluten, I might be able to tame the problem. My doc thinks and hopes that with a strict strict diet, things might get to the point where I can go back to my regular somewhat healthy and carefree diet without any future problems, but I won’t know until I try.

So, this is my declaration that I am going to change my diet to change my current state of health. Everyone has problems, whether health or something else, and I have always been a firm believer of fixing your problems if the solution is out there, and mine just might be. Hopefully in a few months, my tummy will be less grumbly, I won’t have constant nausea (which I sadly have now), and I will finally be able to work out or do anything with a bit more vigor, without nearly throwing up (gross I know).

Wish me luck!!! Any blogs, websites, ideas, favorite foods, recipes that you think might fit into my diet, let me know!!!

With love,
Kristin ann

I recently changed my email

Pin It!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Recipe Index

Recipe Index

appetizers and snacks

brunch and breakfast





other desserts


Pin It!

My recipe index

I have been looking at other cooking blogs and have been provided with a few wonderful ideas! On the left of my blog I will have an clickable icon that will take you to my recipe index, where I will have my recipes sorted by subject and then listed alphabetically. So I will not have my list of labels on the left side anymore (since it makes it much more difficult to sort through). I hope this will be helpful!! I love creating new things and perfecting old things, and then sharing them with all of you. Thanks for reading :)

love, kristin ann

{I will work on it a lot in the next day or so, hopefully I will have it up and running in no time.}

Pin It!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Our Valentine's Day

I hope everyone had a wonderful Valentine's Day!! Yesterday was busy for us, so today is our "unofficial valentine's day".

{this picture was taken at the tech museum in san jose, it's a thermal image of the love of my life giving me lots of hugs and kisses as he usually does, I'm just so darn lucky}

Pin It!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Dessert ideas!!

I love pink, and desserts, and cupcakes, and Martha Stewart (most of these ideas are from her), and of course, I love my Martin.
Who and what do you love?!



Pin It!

Happy Valentine's Day!!!

So I went through my lot of pictures and pulled out the best of the best for valentine's day!! I know it's a little late, it would've been better if posted a few days ago, but I've had a busy weekend!! Martin and I went to a wedding yesterday, we actually had a few acquaintances get married yesterday (and it was Martin's parents anniversary, so happy anniversary Mary and Patrick).

So from wreaths, to heart mobiles, and personalized fortune cookies, or dinner party idea's.. oh how I love holidays.
Tomorrow we're celebrating valentine's (due to a busy and already ocupied sunday) so I have a little more time to go through ideas.
I hope everyone is having a fabulous Valentine's day!!
{Some of the wreath and craft ideas came from }

Pin It!