Monday, October 31, 2011

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Happy Halloween! I had originally intended to make these pumpkin chocolate chip bars, but muffins seemed to be the easier option when I started baking at 11pm. I haven't tried them yet, but the batter tasted yummy and they look beautiful. I used this recipe which I found at Lynn's Kitchen Adventures, which is also posted at



3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used canola)
2 eggs
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup water
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used 1/2 c whole wheat, 1 c all purpose)
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 each ground nutmeg and ground cloves (I subbed 1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice)
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Prepare muffin pan.

Mix sugar, oil, eggs. Add pumpkin and water.

In separate bowl mix together the baking flour, baking soda, baking powder, spices and salt.

Add wet mixture and stir in chocolate chips.

Fill muffin cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 20 to 25 minutes.

Makes 12 muffins


Saturday, October 29, 2011

Menu Planning (Week 2)

Happy Saturday! I'm a little bummed because while an early winter storm is crossing through the east this weekend carrying rain and snow, all we're seeing is RAIN. Folks just west of us have received quite a bit of snow, which just isn't fair.

Anyway, turning to the menu. Let's review last week's menu. From the list, I made chicken stock (about 12-14 cups worth), butternut squash soup, baked apricot chicken, unstuffed bell peppers, and slowcooker Moroccan Chicken. We also had turkey sandwiches, cherry and goat cheese salads, raviolis, and pasta w/mixed veggies. I didn't get around to making the zucchini cheese soup or muffin mixes so they will be carried to this week. Additionally, because they looked yummy, last night we had sweet and savory short ribs in the slowcooker with a baked sweet potato.

On the menu this week:

Main Dishes

1. Zucchini Cheese Soup (continued from last week)

2. Chicken Brown Rice Bake

3. Turkey Spinach Lasagna

4. Black Bean and Rice Burritos

5. Spaghetti and Meatballs

6. Ribs (using this rub and a bottled sauce I got while apple picking)

Other goodies:

1. Pumpkin Chocolate Chip bars

2. Muffin Mixes

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

About 3 months ago, I made my first ever Stuffed Bell Peppers, rediscovering something that I hated as a child. I think it may have been the minute rice that my folks used or maybe the peppers weren't par-boiled. Nonetheless, I loved the recipe which I found at What's Cooking Chicago? This time, I followed a recipe from Finding Joy in My Kitchen entitled "Unstuffed Pepper Skillet", making only minor adaptations based on what I had on hand and the order I added some of the ingredients. I loved this recipe nearly as much as the real deal, as did my husband. Plus, I was able to throw it together in about half an hour using precooked or leftover brown rice, which is always a plus for a weeknight.

Sorry for the poor picture. I'm still unpacking and have misplaced the digital camera.

Unstuffed Bell Peppers

1/2 lb ground turkey
1 medium onion, diced
2 medium carrots, diced
2-3 medium bell peppers (I used red and yellow), chopped
15 oz can of tomato sauce
1/3 c water (I eyeballed and used about 1/2 a can)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
1/4 tsp chili powder
2 c brown rice, cooked
1 c shredded cheese for serving (I used cheddar)

Saute onions and carrots in olive oil for 2 minutes or so until they begin to become tender. Add turkey, sprinkle with salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Continue cooking until turkey is browned and cooked through.

Add peppers and cook for a minute.

Add water, tomato sauce, and chili powder. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, on low for 10-15 minutes until veggies are tender.

Stir in rice and cook on medium-low until heated through, about another 10 minutes.

Serve with a sprinkle of cheese.

Serves 4.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Menu Planning! (Week 1)

Yes, I finally decided to start menu planning on my blog. For ideas on how to menu plan and more lists, make sure to check the Organizing Junkie's Menu Planning Monday. I don't know when I'll post this list each week, probably either Saturday or Sunday, so we'll see if I remember to link my list to her site. Anyway, I've made weekly lists of dishes to cook for some time, but for whatever reason never bothered to post my lists on my blog. Now with Pinterest, posting what I plan to cook should be a breeze. To obtain the recipe, click the picture which will take you to Pinterest, then click the picture again for the website where the recipe is found. Each week I'll probably include a couple favorites from my blog as well as new recipes from the web that I've been meaning to try. For recipes from my blog, I'll try to remember to hyperlink the title of the dish, as well.

Here's what we'll be eating this week, in no particular order:


1. Zucchini Cheese Soup

2. Butternut Squash Soup

3. Sandwiches/wraps (turkey w/cranberry sauce)

4. Salads (e.g. dried cherry with goat cheese, black bean w/chicken and cheddar)

5. Stuffed baked potato (bacon, sour cream, cheese)

Main Dishes

1. Unstuffed Pepper Skillet

2. Baked Apricot Chicken

3. Slowcooker Moroccan Chicken

4. Raviolis (from Sam's Club)

4. Penne w/mixed veggies

Other Things to Make

1. Chicken stock (with leftover bones, if I remember)

2. Muffin mixes

Welcome to Northern Virginia!

Source: None via Michelle on Pinterest

Hello everyone, I know it's been over a month and I'm sorry for the long blogging silence. As you may know (or guessed from the title of this post), we've recently moved to Northern Virginia, just south of DC. After more than a month of living in-transit (with family and hotels), we finally are settling into a new home (with a ton of unpacking to do). All my furniture and stuff which was stored in Chicago has been delivered though we're still waiting on our stuff from Hawaii (which was picked up by the movers at the end of August!), but I'm happy for the breather in between.

I'm slowly adjusting to semi-suburban life, which has its pros and cons. Public transit-wise, we're just beyond the DC Metro system and thus are limited to commuter trains and buses. They're are some sidewalks, but like many suburbs, they tend to stop abruptly. However, I did make sure the sidewalks nearby go to all the important places--the gym, a grocery store (Super Walmart), and several little strip malls which house a CVS, 7-Eleven (with Citibank ATM), Dollar Tree, Five Guys (best burgers ever), Little Cesars (my husband's childhood fav), Applebees, a dry cleaners, and more.

Our new home for the present is a cozy apartment in a complex right across the street from the nicest Super Walmart I've seen, and thus far doesn't seem scuzzy at all. Somehow I've managed to live across the street from a market in every apartment I've rented in the mainland so I'm glad to continue this trend. Prices aren't as nice as the commissary, but they're close enough for many things. I'm going to do my first real bit of marketing there later today, so I'll get a better feel for the selection. (I'm not too worried, however, as there's Costco, Sam's Club, as well as Safeway and a bunch of little markets not too far away.)

I have the whole day to unpack so I'd better get moving. Check back later today to see what I'm planning foodwise for the coming days.