February 25, 2011

Black Bottom Cupcakes

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Pull your hair up and call the kids in the kitchen; it is time to have some fun!
You and your family have to try this recipe.
You will surely have smiles all through the day.
Makes 24 cupcakes

1 large egg at room temperature
½ cup- sugar
1 package of cream cheese at room temperature
Cake Mix
 2 ¼ cups- cold water
¾ cup- vegetable oil
1 TBS- vanilla extract
5 tsp- balsamic vinegar
3 ½ cups – all purpose flour
¾ cup- cocoa powder
2 tsp- baking soda
2 ¼ cups- sugar
1 tsp salt
¾ cup- semisweet chocolate
1. Preheat - the oven to 350 and line a muffin pan with paper cupcake liners.
2. Make the filling- in a medium bowl, using the electric mixer on medium speed; beat the egg, sugar, and cream cheese until smooth- about 2 minutes.
Prop up a pastry bag in a sturdy glass or mug with the bag’s wide opening at the top. Fold the top of the pastry bag down over the glass. Using a rubber spatula, scrape the filling mixture into the pastry bag. Set the filled pastry bag aside.
3. Mix the liquids- In a large liquid measuring cup combine water, oil, vanilla extract, and balsamic vinegar.
4. Make the batter- In the a large bowl, use a whisk to stir together the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, sugar, and salt until evenly blended.
Slowly pour the liquid mix into the flour mixture. Stir until the batter is smooth.
5. Pour in the batter- Fill each lined muffin cup three-quarters full.
6. Add the filling- Pick up the pastry bag and plugging the tip with one hand, twist the top of the bag to close it. Using one hand to guide the top and the other to squeeze the top of the bag, insert the tip into the center of one of the cupcakes. Gently squeeze a small amount of the cream cheese filling into the batter. You will see the chocolate batter rise as the filling fills the middle.
7. Bake the cupcakes- sprinkle the top of each cupcake with the chocolate chips.
Put the muffin pans in the oven and bake until a thin skewer inserted in to the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Bake about 25 min.
Let the cupcakes cool in the pans for 20 minutes, then lift out the cupcakes and put them directly a cooling rack for about 30 minutes or until completely cool.
Note- I have a gas oven and I usually have to take them out at about 20 min of cooking. Just watch and check regularly to ensure they do not burn.
8. Enjoy!
This recipe is from Chocolate Galore

February 21, 2011

Don’t under estimate the power of the Bell Pepper!

Fun Facts
-All bell peppers are a good source of vitamin C, but ½ of a red bell pepper contains twice as much vitamin C than one orange.
- Bell peppers are a fruit not a vegetable.
- Bell peppers are a good source of vitamin A.
-A red bell pepper is a green bell pepper fully ripened.
-Come in many different colors, including purple.

Dice or slice bell peppers and use them for: A garnish, sprinkle on salads, a fresh topping for pizza, and cut into strips for dipping. The possibilities are endless!

February 18, 2011

Simple Baked Chicken

As a busy mother of 3 I am always looking for quick, favorable meals. This recipe for simple baked chicken is one of my favorite in hurry meals. Experiment with different seasonings to suit your own taste, you really cannot go wrong.

1 ½ lbs- chicken tenders
6 TBS of melted butter or coconut oil
½ cup of flour
1 tsp- paprika
1 tsp- salt
1/4 tsp- of black pepper
1 tsp- garlic and herb seasoning

1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Mix flour, paprika, salt, pepper, garlic & herb seasoning in a gallon size snap and seal storage bag. Add chicken to the flour mixture, seal the bag, and shake until the chicken is evenly coated.
3. Pour melted butter in a 9 x13 casserole dish. Place the chicken in the baking dish and bake for 15 minutes. Turn and bake another 15 minute until juices run clear and no longer pink.
4. Serve with veggies of your choice and enjoy!

February 11, 2011

Happy, Little Snack

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You have been running errands all day and the kids are super hungry and you haven’t even had a chance to start dinner. Beware…drive thru windows are tempting you right and left on the way home. Your children are even whining, “Mom, can we stop there and eat.” Stop and think for a second! What quick fix do I have at home? Offer a small plate of fruit with crunchy mini rice snacks and a dipping side of fruit yogurt. A happy, little snack such as this will conquer the hunger inside your darling little ones without filling them up on empty calories. Now you will be able to prepare a nourishing dinner with peace.

If you have older children they can help organize a healthy snack for little ones. Having your older children help prepare healthy snacks for their younger siblings not only helps you out, but teaches them how to prepare healthy snack alternatives for their children in the future!

February 10, 2011

What's for dinner on a cold night?

It is literally FREEZING today in Houston TX, so I decided to spice my dinner menu up with Chicken Tortilla Soup. My family absolutely loves this recipe and I want to share it with you!
Whenever possible I choose low sodium and organic ingredients.


For a smaller recipe just cut all ingredients in half.

2- 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes
5 cups of chicken broth (add less if you like chunky soup)
1 TBS of chili powder (or to taste)
1/2 tsp cumin
2 tsp of oregano
olive oil
large purple onion finely chopped
5 cloves of garlic minced
1 ½ pounds of chicken tenders or boneless, skinless chicken breast
½ tsp cumin (or to taste)
½ tsp garlic powder (or to taste)
½ tsp chili powder (or to taste)
1- 12oz frozen corn
2 cans of rinsed black beans
1- 4oz can of green chilies
1/4 cup chopped cilantro (or to taste)
salt and pepper to taste

Garnish with:
fresh chopped cilantro
crushed tortilla chips
sliced avocados
shredded Monterey jack or Mexican blend
chopped green onions
dollop of sour cream

In a large cooking pot add crushed tomatoes, chicken broth, 2 TBS chili powder, 1/2 tsp cumin, and 2 tsp. oregano, begin to simmer. In separate pan sauté garlic and onion with olive oil, then add onion and garlic to the large cooking pot.
With the pan you just used for the onion and garlic, sauté chicken tenders add more olive oil if needed. Sprinkle the remaining chili powder, garlic powder, and cumin over chicken as it cooks completely (no longer pink). When your chicken is done cut into bite size pieces or shred and add to the large cooking pot.
Add rinsed black beans, frozen corn, cilantro, and green chilies to the large cooking pot. Salt and pepper to taste and simmer 5-10 minutes.
Serve soup warm and garnish with tortilla chips, sliced avocados, shredded cheese, green onions, cilantro, and a dollop of sour cream.
This recipe feeds my family of five and provides lunch for tomorrow! For a smaller recipe just cut all ingredients in half.
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