Thursday, March 31, 2011

Stuffed Strawberries

If you are looking for a relatively guilt free treat that won't add too much junk to your trunk this is a goodie. Perfectly sweet and light.

Stuffed Strawberries

1 lb fresh strawberries
2 1/2 teaspoons Splenda sugar substitute
4 ounces fat free cream cheese
2 tbl spoons heavy whipping cream (optional)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
dash of lemon juice (I did this to taste)

1. Clean the strawberries and cut off the tops so that they are flat. Place them on a plate.
2. Take a knife and make a x shaped cut in the top being sure not to cut all the way through the berry.
3. Using a mixer, blend the cream cheese with the cream, vanilla, lemon juice and Splenda.
4. Using a small spoon, put little dollops of the cream cheese in the holes in the strawberries. If the mixture is a little on the runny side, don't fear it will firm up during chilling time.
5. Chill until ready to serve.

***Note*** To fill my strawberries, I used a piping bag. However, this is not at all necesary.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Blackberry Cobbler

I was at the grocery store recently and noticed that blackberries were on sale. Maybe I was feeling particularly nostalgic that day, but often when I see berries I think first of warmer weather and second of New Zealand. I am reminded of memories of spending time in Nelson, New Zealand (one of the most beautiful places on earth) as a child with my Nana, Aunties and Uncles, picking our own berries and then taking them home and eating them with nothing but a drizzle of New Zealands heavenly cream on them. Oh how I miss those days!

As I snapped back into reality, I also realized that although my Gabe loves strawberries and raspberries, he had never tried blackberries. I was interested to see if 1. I could convince him to try one and 2. if he would enjoy them as much as I do. SUCCESS! Not only did my little guy like blackberries, he LOVED them. So after letting him eat almost his weight in blackberries for a mid morning snack, I set out to look for a way to use the remaining berries in a dessert to be had that night after dinner.

This blackberry cobbler was delicious. It was easy to throw together, no fuss, little mess and was the perfect accompaniment to our evening meal.

Blackberry Cobbler
Pioneer Woman

OH YEAH!!! Cream makes everything better!

1 stick Butter
1-¼ cup Sugar
1 cup Self-Rising Flour- SEE NOTE BELOW
1 cup Milk
2 cups Blackberries (frozen Or Fresh)


Melt butter in a microwavable dish. Pour 1 cup of sugar and flour into a mixing bowl, whisking in milk. Mix well. Then, pour in melted butter and whisk it all well together. Butter a baking dish.

Now rinse and pat dry the blackberries. Pour the batter into the buttered baking dish. Sprinkle blackberries over the top of the batter; distributing evenly. Sprinkle ¼ cup sugar over the top.

Bake in the oven at 350 degrees for 1 hour, or until golden and bubbly. If you desire (and I did), sprinkle an additional teaspoon of sugar over the cobbler 10 minutes before it’s done.

If you come across a recipe that calls for self-rising flour, and you don't keep that in your pantry, here is a quick and easy way to make a substitute.

Per cup of flour called for by your recipe, add 1 1/2 tsp baking powder to your regular flour, mix and you are good to go.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Anderson rebounds home

This is just the first of what I hope to be many media articles written about my talented brother Ben. I just can't even express in words how proud of him I am and how thrilled for him we all are. Though Ben said some of the details weren't quite right, I simply reminded him that the tabloids often don't get the details of what celebrities say and do spot on and that he should just get used to it...=)

When I found out that my brother was going to be playing for a team called the Jets, I thought "of course, it couldn't be more perfect" In my mind and in my dreams I see him doing fabulous things on the court...his sweet 3 point shot for example followed by the bball DJ playing "B B B Benny and the Jets" loud as the crowd cheers him on. Poor Ben, when Brad, Gabe and I go to see him play in July he will be so embarassed. I'll be a yelling, crying, sobbing, screaming, hot mess! But this is what our family lives for. We love and support each other and it's my job and my right as the oldest and the only girl to gush and embarras my younger siblings. BRING IT ON!

p.s what a handsome pic ey?!

Anderson rebounds home

Jets to get some Utah experience on their side. Ben Anderson is the latest recruit to hit town for the Manawatu Jets.Relevant offers Ben Anderson will enjoy having a few people to pass the ball to at training during the next couple of weeks.

The latest recruit to hit town for the Manawatu Jets has been working out on his own in a gym in Sandy, 20 minutes from Salt Lake City in Utah.

That was where he first met Tony Smith, a former National Basketball League veteran from the 1980s, who put him on to the idea of playing in the competition.

Hamilton-born Anderson moved to Melbourne with his family at age seven before they uprooted and pushed on to Utah when he was 18.

He played point guard for Snow College but for family reasons gave up the game for a couple of years.

The solidly built personal trainer has been back on court for a while now and wanted the chance to play in the country of his birth, so got in touch with Jets coach Ryan Weisenberg about the chances of being recruited.

"It wasn't the traditional scouting," Anderson said.

"It was me contacting Ryan and going from there ... If it wasn't for Tony I definitely wouldn't be here."

Anderson arrived in Manawatu on Wednesday, at the same time as his flatmate Jeremy Kench, who was a late pickup from the Christchurch Cougars.

"I've been homesick ever since I left. It's good to be back, even though I'm not familiar with the place. It's good to be home," Anderson said of his return to New Zealand.

Anderson said he was looking forward to the road trips to meet the Nelson Giants and the Waikato Pistons because he has extended family there. The 26-year-old hadn't come out here with huge expectations of playing a big part in the Jets' theatre this year, but just wanted to contribute, he said.

"I'm definitely a role player. Mostly coming off the bench, wherever the system allows me.

"Right now I just want to fit in. I don't want to be a standout."

Anderson admitted he didn't know a lot about the NBL, but was learning quickly.

"I've been following as much I can on the internet. I think it's awesome we've got some Tall Blacks on the team."

Tall Black Kench, who was left without a team following Christchurch's withdrawal from this year's competition, was just happy to be back in the gym.

"It's been good. It's been a bit of a shock to the system because I haven't been able to train for the past three or four weeks back home. The workouts we've had so far have been good."

He said the early signs of joining the team had convinced him he made the right move to turn down offers from Waikato and the Otago Nuggets for this year.

Ad Feedback "A big reason why I came up here is I definitely thought we'd have a chance of winning a championship. That's been a goal of mine for a long time."

- Manawatu Standard

Creamy Deviled Eggs

A few weeks ago while my Brad and I were sitting together, cuddling and enjoying The Bachelor, Brad told me he really liked deviled eggs. I was shocked by this. Although we are fast approaching our 8th wedding anniversary, this is one thing I did not know about my man. In some small, but significant way, I was greatly affected by this new revelation. I thought "How could I not know after 8 years of marriage that my Brad loves deviled eggs so much?" AND I have never made them for him! I genuinely felt bad. What kind of a wife was I? So...I set out to redeem myself. Though I don't share Brad's love for deviled eggs, I made sure that the next day when he walked in the door from work that I had a plate of homemade deviled eggs waiting for him. After watching him eat a few and feeling satisifed that he was satisfied, I was feeling much better about things. Seems dumb, I know, but my Brad works hard for us and so endulging him with his favorite foods, is the very least I can do.

I had never made deviled eggs before but trust Martha so knew that if I made her deviled eggs, I'd likely be safe. They were quite finicky to make I thought. Just peeling the eggs and cutting them all whilst trying to keep them intact was a little tricky, but well worth it. Brad gave them his seal of approval and so I decided this recipe is a keeper.

Creamy Deviled Eggs
Martha Stewart

8 large eggs
1/3 cup light mayonnaise
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1 teaspoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon minced shallot
1/4 teaspoon hot sauce, such as Tabasco
Coarse salt and ground pepper
Paprika, for garnish

1.Place eggs in a medium saucepan; add cold water to cover by 1 inch. Bring to a rolling boil. Remove pan from heat; cover, and let stand 13 minutes. Drain, and run eggs under cold water to cool them.

2.Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together mayonnaise, mustard, vinegar, shallot, and hot sauce.

3.Peel eggs, and halve lengthwise; remove yolks, leaving whites intact. Transfer yolks to bowl with mayonnaise mixture, and season with salt and pepper. Mash with a fork until smooth.

4.Mound yolk mixture into whites. Sprinkle with paprika just before serving, or cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate up to 8 hours.

Monday, March 21, 2011

B B B Benny and the Jets

Ahhh a fabulous song, however not the reason for this post.

Today my younger, but no so little (any more) brother Ben is flying out to New Zealand where he will live for the next few months. This amazingly talented and handsome brother of mine has been drafted to play professional basketball in New Zealand for the Manawatu Jets.

Who would have thought that working as a personal trainer at Golds Gym, working out and shooting hoops would lead to Ben being discovered by a scout and now a professional basketball career? I am totally gushing and crying!

I could not be more proud of my little brother. He has worked extremely hard for this and it is not only a dream come true for him, but also a dream come true for me to see happen. I have always loved to watch Ben play basketball. He truly was born to play and today I am one happy sister.

Good luck Ben!!! We love you and will miss you, but can't wait to come visit you in July to watch you tear it up!!!

Pic of all my cute brothers...left to right Blake, Jarom, Josh and Ben Brothers are the best!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

BEST Creamy Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

OMG! I can not say enough about this wonderful soup. I recently made it to take to our ward soup night and not only was it a hit with Brad and I but anyone who tried it and knew I made it was also singing it's praises. It is hearty, filling, creamy and the addition of the curry powder just added to it's deliciousness. This is currently HANDS DOWN my favorite chicken soup recipe and I'll be surprised if I find one that tops it. Pure heaven in a bowl.

Chicken and Wild Rice Soup

Recipe and photo courtesy of Mel from

*Note: The vegetables in this soup are very adaptable. I used a combination of carrots, celery and corn and use the guideline of having 2 cups total of any number of combinations (i.e. only carrots and corn, carrots and celery, carrots, celery AND corn, you get the picture).

½ cup butter
1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
½ – 1 cup frozen corn
½ cup chopped celery
½ cup carrots, sliced
1 pound boneless, skinless chicken breasts, cubed
½ pound fresh mushrooms, sliced
¾ cup all-purpose flour
6 cups chicken broth
2 cups cooked wild rice
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon curry powder
1 teaspoon mustard powder
1 teaspoon dried parsley
½ teaspoon black pepper
1 cup slivered almonds- I left these out as I didn't have any.
2 cups nonfat half-and-half (use normal half-and-half if you prefer, but you won’t believe how delicious this is with the nonfat variety!)

Melt the butter in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, celery, corn, chicken and carrots and sauté for 5-7 minutes until vegetables are tender and chicken is cooked through. Add the mushrooms and sauté 3-4 more minutes. Then add flour and stir well. Over medium heat, gradually pour in the chicken broth, stirring constantly. Bring the soup just to a boil and then reduce heat to low and let simmer, while stirring, for 5-6 minutes, until it has thickened slightly.

Next, add the rice, salt, curry powder, mustard powder, parsley, ground black pepper and almonds. Allow all the ingredients to heat through and then pour in the half-and-half. Let the soup gently simmer for about 1 hour, stirring occasionally to prevent sticking. The soup should not boil but should simmer over low heat so that it thickens slowly.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Really needs this!

I don't need much, but I really do think I need this. Can you say GORGEOUS! Wish it were my b'day. When is Mothers Day?

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Strawberry Shortcakes

Any dessert involving fruit and especially strawberries doesn't usually disappoint me. This was no exception. A crusty buttery biscuit, topped with sweet strawberries and sweet whipped cream? Yes please. It has all the elements of sweet, refreshing, creamy, a little crunch from the biscuit and walla...these were simply delicious.

Strawberry Shortcakes

America's Test Kitchen
8 cups strawberries hulled
6 tablespoons sugar

2 cups unbleached flour plus extra for your working surface
5 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
8 tbl spoons of butter cut into 1/2 inch pieces and chilled
1/2 cup plus 1 tbl spoon of half and half or milk
1 large egg lightly beaten
1 large egg white lightly beaten

Whipped cream
1 cup heavy cream
1 tbl spoon sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the fruit: Crush 3 cups of the strawberries in a large bowl with a potato masher. Slice the remaining 5 cups of strawberries and stir them into the crushed berries along with the sugar. Set aside until the sugar has dissolved and the berries are juicy, at least 30 minutes and up to 2 hours.

2. For the shortcake: Adjust an oven rack to the lower middle position and heat the oven to 425 degrees. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. Pulse the flour, 3 table spoons of the sugar, the baking powder, and salt in a food processor until combined. Sprinkle the butter pieces over the top and pulse until the mixture resembles course meal, about 15 pulses. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl.

3. Whisk the half and half and lightly beaten whole egg together in a small bowl and then stir into the flour mixture with a rubber spatula until large clumps form. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knead lightly until it comes together.

4. Pat the dough into a 9 by 6 inch rectangle, about 3/4 inch thick. Do not over work the dough. Using a floured 2 3/4 inch biscuit cutter, cut out six dough rounds. Arrange the shortcakes on the prepared baking sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches apart. Brush the tops with the lightly beaten egg white and sprinkle evenly with the remaining two tablespoons of sugar.

5. Bake until the shortcakes are golden brown, 12-14 minutes rotating the pan half way through the baking time. Transfer the sheet to a wire rack and let the shortcakes cool to warm.

6. For the whipped cream: In a medium bowl combine the cream, sugar and vanilla and beat until soft peaks form.

7. To assemble: When the shortcakes have cooled split them in half. Place the shortcake bottom down on an individual serving plate and spoon a portion of the berries on top of the shortcake followed by a dollop of whipped cream. Then place the top of the shortcake on top.


Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Amber's Yummy Lime Drink

A while ago we had my brother Josh and his fiance Amber over for dinner and she made these delicious drinks. It was so good that the next day I made one for myself because I was craving it so much. I haven't made it again since for fear that I would feel like I needed to have it every day. The next time I want to make a fancy drink for a dinner party or celebration, this will definitely be my choice. In fact it was so delicious, if you weren't in the mood to make or eat a heavy dessert, then this would certainly satisfy your sweet tooth craving.

Amber's Yummy Lime Drink

2 limes, washed, ends cut off and quartered
1/2 cup sugar
3 table spoons of sweetened condensed milk (could use low fat if you like)
3 cups of water
Crushed ice

Put all in a blender and blend together for a short time. Once blended strain off the lime and serve!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Chicken Cannelloni

I love Italian and I loved this dish. I hunted all over the web for a recipe for chicken cannelloni which is one of my favorite Italian dishes and ended up creating my own based on the aspects of a few recipes I liked. We all loved these. Tomorrow I will post the recipe for the drink my brothers fiance made to go with dinner which was simply AMAZING!

Chicken Cannelloni

Cannelloni Filling 8 ounces chicken breast (about 2), cooked thoroughly and diced into small pieces
1 cup fresh spinach, chopped
1 small can of diced tomatoes in their juices
16 ounces ricotta cheese
1 cup mozzarella cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon table-ground black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
12 lasagna pasta sheets, approximate size of 5 x 6 inches

Cannelloni Sauce

5 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups whole milk, warmed
1/2 cup Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground white pepper

Melt the butter in a saucepan. Once butter is melted add flour and whisk, let it cook in the saucepan for about a minute, be sure not to burn. Add milk to the butter and flour mixture and whisk until smooth. Once the mixture begins to thicken slightly add the Parmesan cheese salt and pepper. Continue to cook on medium heat until the cheese has melted.

Once the chicken breast has been cooked thoroughly, allow it to cool.

Dice the cooled chicken breast into 1/2-inch pieces and place into a large mixing bowl. Add spinach, tomatoes, ricotta, mozzarella, pepper and salt, and mix thoroughly.

Arrange precooked pasta sheets on a cutting board and place two or three rounded tablespoons of filling mixture down the center of each pasta sheet and carefully roll pasta around filling. Place the rolled cannelloni, side by side, into an ovenproof shallow baking dish. Place cheese sauce (or Alfredo sauce) and tomato sauce in bowl and mix until well incorporated. Pour sauce over cannelloni covering completely. Sprinkle grated Parmesan cheese over top of sauce. Cover with aluminum foil and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20 minutes.

Remove foil and continue to bake for an additional 20 minutes.

Serves 6.