Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Saying Hello to Halo~~Product Review

I was approached by Halo Top Creamery and offered a coupon for a complimentary pint of ice cream in return for posting an honest opinion on this blog and posting a photo and link to this review on Instagram.  I received no monetary compensation nor did I receive any further instructions or requirements regarding my post.  This review is 100% mine and 100% true.

Halo Top describes their ice cream as "low-calorie, high-protein, and low-sugar, we use only the best, all-natural ingredients to craft our ice cream so that it tastes just like regular ice cream."

I was skeptical, especially since this entire pint of Sea Salt Caramel ice cream only contains 320 calories.  Especially considering that a 1/2 cup serving of Hagen Daz Salted Caramel ice cream contains 240 calorie.  That is a huge difference.  Huge.....160 calories, huge.  That means you could eat 3 servings of this ice cream for the same calories as 1 serving of regular ice cream.

This is great unless the low calorie, high protein and low sugar ice cream tastes like pooder dooder. Pooder Dooder is a technical term adopted from my nephew when he was being potty trained.  He is 40 now and our entire family still says pooder dooder.

So I scooped myself a serving of ice cream and added no adornments of any kind.  No hot fudge, no whipped cream, no cherry.  Just plain old unadorned Salted Caramel flavored Halo Top Ice Cream.

It is rich, smooth and creamy.  Had I been served this ice cream in a blind taste test I would have never guessed in a million years that it was low fat and low sugar.  It was delicious and I will be indulging in other flavors, guilt free (or at least with less guilt) from now on.

I was slightly disappointed by the salted caramel flavor. It was good but, to me, it tasted more like butterscotch.  Now, I know, that some people believe that caramel and butterscotch are the same thing.  I know that sometimes the terms are used interchangeably.  

I, however, do not think they are the same thing.  I think they are two very distinctive flavors.  I like butterscotch, hence I enjoyed this bowl of ice cream.  However I was expecting and looking forward to caramel.  This is a slight little disappointment that perhaps nobody else would even mention.  I am looking forward to trying some of their other flavors. Next up?  Peanut Butter Cup......YUM!!!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Oh My Darling Muffins #MuffinMonday

Oh my Darling
Oh my Darling
Oh my Darling, Clementine.......

Yep, these tasty muffins contain the zest of one Clementine and the juice of two Clementines.  OH MY DARLING....you knew they were going to be good.

But just in case we needed a touch more goodness, I added a streusel topping.  Not just any streusel topping but one made with the addition of trail mix.

These could also be called "Clean out the Pantry" muffins.  Because that is exactly what I did.  Frank was having a CPL class and I wanted to serve muffins and fruit for the students in the morning.  I had a bowl of fruit salad left from Sunday that I had been picking at but still had plenty left for the students.  So that left the muffins.  I opened the refrigerator and spied half of a bag of clementines....perfect.  Then I looked over and saw half a jug of buttermilk and grabbed that out as well.  

I made up the batter and started scooping it into the cupcake papers.  I felt like they were kind of blah. I was considering emptying them back into the bowl and adding some dried fruit or maybe chocolate chips to the batter.  Mmmmmmm, orange and chocolate.  I really didn't want to deal with that mess, so then I considered just sticking a few chocolate chips into each filled cup.  

I grabbed a handful of trail mix as I pondered and finally decided to make a streusel topping.  Maybe some brown sugar, butter and cinnamon would be good.  How about nuts?  I grabbed another handful of trail mix and turned to the freezer to see what kind of nuts I could add when I had a smack your palm to your forehead moment.

My trail mix had nuts.  And dried fruit.  And chocolate.  Hallelujah, my muffins were saved!!  I threw some of the trail mix in the food processor with some flour, sugar and butter and sprinkled it, very generously, over the muffins.

They baked up beautifully, with a tender crumb and a nice crown from the combination of baking powder and buttermilk.  The streusel was gorgeous and the muffins had to be eaten with one hand underneath so you didn't lose any of that crumbley goodness.

I served them up along with the fruit, coffee and juice.  As I was putzing around the kitchen, I heard one of the students exclaim to the others "Wow, this is some muffin!".  

Oh My Darling Muffins

2 c. flour
1 T. baking powder
pinch of salt
2 eggs
1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. buttermilk
zest of one clementine (mandarin)
juice of two clementine (mandarin)
1/4 c. canola oil


1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. sugar
1/3 c. butter, cut into chunks
1/2 c. trail mix

Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt in a large bowl.  Make a well in the center and set aside. 

In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, sugar, buttermilk, zest, juice and oil.  Dump into the well of the dry ingredients and stir just until moistened.  Divide batter between 12 muffin tins lined with paper cups.

Make the streusel by placing the flour, butter, sugar and trail mix in the bowl of a food processor. Pulse to desired consistency.   Sprinkle the streusel topping generously over the batter.

Bake in a preheated 400* oven for 15-18 minutes or until a skewer inserted into a muffin removes cleanly.  Print Recipe

More Magnificent Muffins

#MuffinMonday is a group of muffin loving bakers who get together once a month to bake muffins. You can see all our of lovely muffins by following our Pinterest board.

Updated links for all of our past events and more information about Muffin Monday, can be found on our home page.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs for #SundaySupper

Sunday Supper is being hosted by Lisa, of Jersey Girl Cooks , this week.  Please stop by her great blog and show her some appreciation for all her hard work.

Our theme this week is Citrus Recipes That Make You Smile.  I can't think of a citrus recipe that doesn't make me smile. Citrus Salad, Mandarin Orange Yakisoba Salad, Citrus Beef Skewers, Chicken Breasts in Lemon Sage Sauce, Orange Chicken, Lemon and Rosemary Pork Tenderloin, Grilled Mahi Mahi with Citrus Marinade, Spicy Citrus Shrimp, Orange Coffee Cake, Pasta with Lemon and Basil. Smiling yet?  And this doesn't even list all of the wonderful desserts made with citrus fruits.  I had to stop or we would never have time for today's recipe which is sure to keep that smile on your face.

This recipe is healthy, using organic, pure and whole ingredients.  It is nearly FMD friendly for Phase 1 except for the addition of olive oil in the marinating liquid. It is quick and easy.  Even with the marinating time you will have dinner on the table in less than an hour.

Line the baking pan with aluminum foil to cut down on the amount of clean up afterwards.  There are much better things to do after dinner than an hour of dishes.  Like maybe having a Michigan Cherry Lemonade and watching a good movie.

These chicken thighs were moist and juicy with a bright citrusy flavor.  I served them up with steamed brown rice and lightly steamed asparagus that still had a bit of crunch to it.  It was an awesome dinner and one that I am sure your family will love as much as mine did.

You will find many more Citrus Recipes to Make You Smile following this recipe.  Make sure you stop by and visit the rest of the Sunday Supper Family.

Citrus Marinated Chicken Thighs
adapted from Bon Apetit

1 bunch scallions, white and light green parts, thinly sliced
1/2 bunch cilantro leaves and tender stems
2 garlic cloves, crushed
zest and juice of 1/2 a lemon
zest and juice of 1 orange
1/4 c. coco aminos
2 T. olive oil
1 T. kosher salt
pinch of red pepper
2 lbs. boneless, skinless chicken thighs

Set aside some of the scallions for garnish.

Place the remaining scallions, cilantro, garlic, lemon zest and juice, orange zest and juice, coco aminos, olive oil, salt and red pepper flakes in a heavy duty blender or food processor.  Pulse to a coarse puree. 

Wash the chicken and place into a plastic bag that seals.  Reserve 1/4 c. of the pureed mixture and pour the remainder over the chicken.  Seal the bag and turn to coat the chicken.  Chill for 20 minutes or up to 2 hours.

Remove the chicken from the marinade and place onto a foil lined baking sheets.  Discard marinade left in bag.  Bake in a preheated 350* oven for 25-35 minutes, until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thickest thigh shows 165*.  Remove from the oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Arrange the thighs on a platter, drizzle with the reserved citrus marinade and sprinkle with the reserved scallions.  Print Recipe

Sunday Supper Citrus Recipes That Will Make You Smile

Sunday Supper MovementJoin the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. To get more great Sunday Supper Recipes, visit our website or check out our Pinterest board. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

Friday, March 24, 2017

Weekly Menu for the Last Week of March

I am sure that there is a huge party up in Heaven today.  It is Mom Klik's birthday and as I write this I can see her, with her head thrown back and her mouth open and I can hear her infectious laugh.  Mom Klik had the best laugh in the world and she used it often, especially at parties.  We will go down to the city today to visit her gravesite and wish her a Happy Birthday.

One of my favorite photos of both Moms, taken at Mom Klik's 90th Birthday party.
Tomorrow we are going with Tingting, Melody, Amy and Doug to see Disney on Ice.  I am not crazy about the venue where it is being held but I am sure we are going to have a great time.  I know that our Little Angel Face will be entranced.

The rest of the week is just typical.  Church meetings, choir, Little Miss, Aunt Irene, food pantry, etc. Nothing too exciting on our plate, as the expression goes, I will try to put something exciting on our dinner plates this week.

Chicken/Brown Rice Casserole (using leftovers from last week's crockpot Chicken)

Filet Mignon
Fried Potatoes
Garlicky Green Beans

Meatless Monday
Pupusas de Queso
Refried Beans

Spaghetti with Meat Sauce
Roasted Eggplant Salad

Dinner out after food pantry

Lions Head Meatballs
Steamed Rice
Stir Fry Veggies

Fish Friday
Shrimp Fried Rice

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Murder on the Ballarat Train; A Phrynie Fisher Mystery (Book Review)

Image result for murder on the ballarat trainThis is the 3rd book in a series by Kerry Greenwood starring Phrynie Fisher as an Australian rags to riches success story who finds herself working as a detective.  It takes place during the 1920's and it is a fun little series.  Perfect when you just want to relax and spend an enjoyable few hours cuddled up with a book.

You can't help but love Phrynie, who takes no guff from anyone and has a heart as big as an ocean.  Having come from a poor background, Phrynie is very empathetic and generous with those she deems worthy. Having been treated badly during her early years, Phrynie has no energy or compassion to waste on those who treat others shabbily and/or victimize others.  

She is high spirited and adventurous.  She knows exactly what she wants out of life and she is not going to allow anyone to stand in her way.

In this 3rd book, Phrynie and her companion, Dot, are traveling on the Ballarat train when they are suddenly overtaken by the smell of chloroform while in their sleeping car.  Phrynie is able to shoot out a window and clear her head enough to save the other passengers of the sleeping car discovering that one of the passengers, an elderly woman, is missing. 

Thus begins another fun adventure with Phrynie who is hired by the woman's daughter to find the killer.  I had taken a copy of a book that I had borrowed from my friend Kirsten, containing the first 3 stories of this series, with me to Dominica.  I had read the first two books and was planning on finishing the third while on vacation.  My friend, Linda, was out of reading material and since I had my Nook with me, I loaned her this series.  She LOVED it and has continued on to read the next 3 in the series as well.  She likens the books to "Nancy Drew for adults".

The book was returned to me last week and I finished up this story last night.  Linda is now traveling in Asia but when she gets home I am going to borrow the next three stories so stay tuned folks.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Sweet and Sour Chicken #FoodnFlix

I am hosting FoodnFlix this month and I chose the movie "The Martian" starring Matt Damon.  If you have seen the movie and loved it as I did, please join us.  If you saw the movie and hated it, please join us.  If you haven't seen the movie....what the heck are you waiting for??  Get it, watch it and please join us.

FoodnFlix is a fun little group started by Heather of All Roads Lead to the Kitchen.  You can find out more about it here.  Once you watch the movie and get inspired to run to the kitchen and start cooking you can go over to my Invitation Post and learn how to have your blog included in this month's event.

I took my inspiration right from the very beginning of this movie.  Mark Watney has returned to his work station on Mars to find that he has been presumed dead and left behind.  He begins going through his supplies to list what he has so he knows what he needs to do to survive alone on Mars for the next 4 years until a rescue mission can reach him.  One of the packages that he sorts through is marked Sweet and Sour Chicken.

For those who haven't seen this movie yet.....Watney, is a botanist who was part of a team assigned to Mars.  When he is left behind he is determined to survive.  All he has to do is figure out how to make water and grow food.  Luckily for Watney, he is the smartest botanist on Mars.

The movie volleys back and forth between Watney on Mars, NASA on Earth and his team in space heading back to Earth.  The interaction between them is at times funny, at times serious and at times tragic and sad.  Damon does a great job portraying Watney's determination amidst his fear and anger. You find yourself cheering on his successes and reeling along with him on his setbacks.  It is a great film and you owe it to yourself to watch it.

I am currently trying to maintain the Fast Metabolism Diet as part of my Lenten Journey.  The FMD restricts sugars, fried foods and soy sauce.  Not very Sweet and Sour Chicken friendly.  I got to work and found a recipe from Eating Well, that while not FMD friendly, was pretty close and still very darn healthy.

I adapted the recipe a bit.  Most noticeably was the swap from apricot preserves to a Mango/Raspberry jam that our son, Anthony, had made.  Feel free to use apricot or your favorite flavor preserves.  I also used sesame oil instead of canola and substituted mandarin orange slices for the water chestnuts.  

I served this up over steamed brown rice and while not 100% FMD friendly it was close enough that I didn't feel like I cheated.  Now, I just need to justify those almond M&M's I ate yesterday......

Sweet and Sour Chicken
adapted from Eating Well

2 c. cooked brown rice
1/4 c. seasoned rice vinegar
2 T. reduced sodium soy sauce 
2 T. cornstarch
2 T. Mango/Raspberry preserves (or flavor of choice)
2 T. sesame oil
1 lb. chicken breast, cut into bite size pieces
2 t. garlic paste
2 t. ginger paste
1 c. chicken broth
6 c. bite size pieces of vegetables, I used mushrooms, broccoli, bell peppers and celery
1 (11 oz) can mandarin oranges, drained

Whisk together the vinegar, soy sauce, cornstarch and preserves.  Set aside.

Place wok over medium high heat.  Add 1 T. oil.  When oil starts to shimmer, add the chicken and cook, stirring occasionally until no longer pink and starting to brown in spots, 4-5 minutes. Remove to a plate and set aside.

Add the remaining oil to the pan along with the garlic and ginger.  Stir together for a few minutes and add the chicken broth.  Bring to a boil, stirring constantly.  Add the vegetables, reduce heat, cover and simmer until vegetables are crisp tender, 5 minutes or so. Stir in the chicken and the reserved sauce. Simmer, stirring constantly, until sauce is thickened and chicken is cooked through. This should only take a minute or two. Stir in the mandarin sections.

Place 1/2 c. rice into 4 shallow bowls.  Top each with 1/4 of the Sweet and Sour Chicken. Print Recipe

Monday, March 20, 2017

Monday, Monday...so good to me

We had a very busy weekend so I didn't get the weekly menu figured out and posted.  We ate out both Saturday and Sunday so I'm not really behind.

Nothing much out of the ordinary happening this week.  I have a meeting at church tonight.  We have Mel Tuesday morning through Wednesday evening after Aunt Irene's shower.  Choir on Thursday.

So here is a shortened weekly menu.....until next time......

Image result for Let's eat

Meatless Monday
Peanut Stew over Brown Rice (Moved from last Friday)

Swiss Steak over Brown Rice Noodles

Crockpot Chicken
Spinach Salad

Out to dinner before choir

Fish Friday
Gingered Shrimp and Veggie Stir Fry