Friday, October 31, 2008



Pumpkin anything
Decorated houses
Creative costumes
Trick or Treaters
Scary movies
Sugar buzz
Sugar crash
Babies in pumpkin costumes
Front yard friends

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Fall Gardening

Two weeks ago I planted seeds in my garden. This is after solarizing it for eight weeks and adding four cups of Worm Gold in each garden as instructed by my friend Jill Green of Sweet Life Gardens.

We planted spinach, beets, snap peas, carrots, radishes, green onions, lettuce, and napa cabbage. And now they are all sprouting! It is a beautiful sight. I have never planted from seed--last season all plantings were transplants. It is very exciting to plant a seed the size of a grain of sand and two weeks later see tiny green healthy leaves.

Yesterday afternoon my gardens received a little gift. Darcey brought her daughter, Emma, and Emma's friend Megan, to deliver squirmy little worms to the garden. Both 7-year olds happily tossed worms into my two vegetable gardens and Tammy's flower garden. Hopefully the worms are doing their thing making the soil and plants even healthier.

We'll see how our second season of gardening turns out.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Turkey Chili

It's that gorgeous time of year--Autumn, the leaves are changing, the mornings are crisp, the evenings cold...wait, no they're not. It's still ridiculously hot and October is almost over! But, my niece, Ellie, has been asking me to make her favorite chili so no matter that we are still running the a/c I made a batch this morning.

I also decided to use some of my dry pinto beans. I have not had great luck in the past soaking and cooking the beans--they've always turned out hard. But this time the beans turned out great. I soaked the beans for 10 hours and then cooked them in the slow cooker for 10 hours on low. Then I added them to the chili. Perfect.

This chili, by the way is very healthy. And if you are familiar with Weight Watchers a cup is only 2 points. Which if you don't know is a screaming deal!


1 lb. lean ground turkey
1 onion chopped
3-4 cloves chopped garlic
1 ½ cups chopped celery

1 red pepper chopped

1 15 oz. can tomato sauce
1 small can chopped green chilies or jalapenos
1 15 oz. can chopped or stewed tomatoes
4 16 oz. cans of beans
1 package taco seasoning
1 package Hidden Valley Ranch Salad Dressing Mix
2 teaspoons cumin
1 6 oz. bag frozen white corn
½ cup water or more depending on your preference

Brown turkey, adding onions, garlic, red pepper, and celery about halfway through. Add the remaining ingredients. Simmer for a bit.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Beautiful Produce

I know I have mentioned the Bountiful Baskets coop before but I wanted you to see just how much produce you receive for $15. This picture was taken after I had removed 4 roma tomatoes, 3 ears of corn, a red onion, and an apple. Our basket consisted of the following: 1 romaine lettuce, 3 zuchinni, 10 red potatoes, 10 roma tomatoes, 2 red onions, 6 ears of corn, 1 cantaloupe, 5 apples, 7 pears, a bag of grapes, 8 bananas, and a box of strawberries. For more information go to

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Chicken Bow Tie Pasta w/Bruschetta

Tonight we had a birthday dinner for my sister, Lori. Since we just received a gorgeous bunch of vegetables and fruit from Bountiful Baskets this weekend I needed to incorporate some of those veggies in our dinner.
My friend Leslie gave me the recipes for the pasta dish and the bruschetta that I made. And both were delicious!
The bruschetta is so easy and pretty (but not easy to photograph so there is no pic). I had some great french bread in the freezer (also from Bountiful Baskets) and did the following with it:
Slice any type of hearty bread--rub with garlic clove and drizzle with olive oil, toast.
In a bowl mix the following:
Chopped tomatoes (I had 4 Roma and they were great)
Chopped red onion (about 1/4 of a large red onion)
Olive oil (I used garlic-infused) - just drizzled a bit
Chopped garlic - 2 cloves
Red Wine Vinegar - a couple of splashes
Salt and pepper
Spoon the tomato mixture on top of the sliced toasted bread--yum yum!
Chicken Bow Tie Pasta
3 Boneless, skinles chicken breasts
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 T ginger - chopped
2 cloves garlic - chopped
2 ears of corn - roasted
2 red peppers - roasted
1 lb. Farfalle pasta
3 T fresh basil or 1 T dried basil
Vinaigrette: 3 T balsamic vinegar and 1/2 cup olive oil
Marinade: Place soy sauce, ginger, and garlic in a small sauce pan and bring to boil. Set aside for 30 min. Pour marinade over chicken breasts, cover and refrigerate for at least four hours. Season with pepper and grill or saute. Remove chicken and let sit for 10 minutes then slice crosswise into strips.
Corn: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Remove the silk from the corn and all but one layer of the husk; dip corn into water to moisten. Cover with layer of husk, place on baking sheet, and roast for 45 minutes. Scrape kernels from the corn and set aside.
Red peppers: Rub peppers with olive oil. Place on baking sheet and roast for 25 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and place in closed brown paper bag until cool. Peel the blistered skin and remove seeds. Slice peppers into strips. Set aside.
Vinaigrette: Wisk together olive oil, balsamic vinegar, basil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Pasta: Cook pasta according to directions
Toss chicken, corn, peppers and vinaigrette with the pasta.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Care Card

For several years now I have purchased a wonderful little card known as the Care Card. For $50 (tax deductible) the Care Card offers a 20% discount to over 400 stores throughout the Valley. It is produced by the Board of Visitors (the oldest charitable organization in Arizona) and 100% of the Care Card sales price goes to directly to Ryan House, a respite home for children with life-limiting conditions.

The Card is good at participating retailers from October 17 - October 26. And the stores are great! I'm talking Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Domestic Bliss, Ann Taylor, Anthropologie, Gap, Restoration Hardware, I could go on and on. Instead, go to the website and take a look yourself-- The 20% discount can really take the sting out of dreamed-about items from some of these stores.

Happy shopping! And remember, it's for a great cause!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Buttermilk Salad Dressing

Since I had leftover buttermilk from the banana muffin recipe, I started searching for some recipes that included buttermilk. I found an easy and delicious buttermilk salad dressing which couldn't have come at a better time given that we have a ton of vegetables in the house.

My sisters, Tammy and Lori, and I participated in the Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op this past weekend and we all have a lot of produce. If you haven't heard of this co-op, check out its website You will save some money on produce (if you can eat it all and not let any go to waste!)

This recipe is from Gourmet magazine via and we loved it. I don't know about the calories but since it has so much flavor and is very thin you really don't need much to dress your salad.

1/2 cup well-shaken buttermilk

2 tablespoons mayonnaise

2 tablespoons cider vinegar

2 tablespoons minced shallot

1 tablespoon sugar

3 tablespoons finely chopped chives

Whisk together buttermilk, mayonnaise, vinegar, shallot, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large bowl until sugar has dissolved, then whisk in chives. Done!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Banana Muffins with Cream Cheese Filling

We had a beautiful morning today--opened the windows for a while (that was a treat) and enjoyed a great General Conference. Hope and gratitude! That was definitely the message I received this weekend.

And I also tried a new recipe. My sister, Lori, had some over-ripe bananas that she didn't want so I used some in a new banana muffin recipe and stashed the rest in the freezer.

This recipe comes from a blog I visit now and then called Pinch My Salt It is very easy and while the muffins are not beautiful (I'm sure yours will be) they are delicious. Enjoy!
Cream Cheese Filled Banana Muffins
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
Muffin batter:
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1/4 cup oil
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a 12-cup standard muffin pan.
2. In a small bowl, beat together cream cheese, sugar, and egg. Put bowl in refrigerator while you make the muffin batter.
3. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and soda, salt, and sugar; set aside.
4. In a medium bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla.
5. Pour wet ingredients into the large bowl filled with flour mixture then stir with wooden spoon just until the mixture is combined.
6. Spoon enough batter into muffins cups so that they are just under halfway full. Add one spoonful of cream cheese mixture into each cup, then top with remaining muffin batter. Muffin cups will end up being almost completely full.
7. Bake for 20-25 minutes at 375 degrees. Check after 20 minutes, muffins are done when a toothpick inserted into center comes out clean.