Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Black Bean -n- Pumpkin Chili

I found this recipe in my latest Taste of Home magazine. The original recipe is listed on their web site, you can find it here:  Taste of Home Black Bean-n-Pumpkin Chili recipe

I changed it up a little.  This is my "veggie" version.

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium sweet yellow pepper, chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 cups veggie broth
  • 2 cans (15 ounces each) black beans, rinsed and drained
  •  vegetarian chicken
  • 1 can (15 ounces) solid-pack pumpkin
  • 1 can (14-1/2 ounces) diced tomatoes with chiles, undrained
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley flakes
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • 1 can corn, drained
  • 2 jalapeno peppers seeded and chopped, optional


In a large skillet, saute the onion, yellow pepper in oil until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer.

Transfer to a 5-quart slow cooker; stir in the remaining ingredients. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or until heated through.

Enjoy! Excellent chili, very healthy and you don't taste the pumpkin in it at all.  A new favorite at our house!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Chocolate Mayonnaise Cupcakes

2 cups sifted flour
2/3 cups unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 large eggs
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup reduced- calorie mayonnaise
1 1/3 cups cold water

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Ready your cupcake pans with liners.  Onto a piece of wax paper, sift the flour cocoa baking soda, and baking powder.

In a large bowl, with an electric mixer on high, beat the eggs, sugar and vanilla for 3 minutes or until fluffy.  Reduce the speed to low and blend in the mayonnaise.

Using a wooden spoon, stir in the flour mixture into the egg mixture, 1/3 at a time, alternating with the water and beginning and ending with the flour.

Fill your cupcake pans 2/3 full

and bake approx. 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with moist crumbs.

I made a chocolate cream cheese frosting.

8 oz. cream cheese
1/2 cup unsalted butter
4 1/2 cups confectioners sugar
1 to 2 Tbsp. sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
(and then I added 4 squares unsweetened melted chocolate)

With a electric mixer, beat on high cream cheese and butter until creamy.  Gradually beat in sugar.  Stir in sour cream, vanilla and chocolate.

Next I drizzled the tops with some melted Peanut Butter chips sprinkled them with crushed chocolate cookies.

My daughter was a little freaked out when she found out these cupcakes had mayonnaise in them, but it made them very moist.  :)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Ribbon Flowers

I found this fun creative project on the Drab to Fab web site.  You can find the instructions here: Fabulous Accesories. They were so fun and easy to make.  I did make a change.  Instead of material, I used ribbon.  Not that I don't have material to use, I have a wider selection of ribbon.

Hot glue gun
Various seed beads to make necklace

You can use these flowers as various accessories.  On a necklace as I did.  Attached to a headband.  Pinned to a T-shirt. Use your imagination!

Cute necklace!

Crafts2u Online Crafts Superstore

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Parmesan Cheese Pizza Dog Biscuits--RIP Dexter

I haven't made any dog biscuits for a while, because we found out one of my dogs (my 13 year-old senior dog) was diabetic.  We had a very difficult time getting his glucose regulated.  While his sugar was registering so high, I didn't want to give him anything his Vet had not authorized or suggested (even though my dog biscuits have no sugar or salt).  Unfortunately, we lost Dexter last week due to the diabetes.  He was a big, lovable part of our family since he was 8 weeks old and he is missed terribly.

Over the weekend, I decided my two little dogs had gone long enough without their homemade treats.  I made some Parmesan Cheese Pizza dog biscuits.  I hope your dogs enjoy them as much as mine do.


2 1/2 cups flour
1/2 cup powdered dry milk
1/2 tsp garlic powder
3/4 cup water
1 egg beaten
tomato paste
Italian seasoning
Parmesan cheese topping

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line cookie sheet with parchment paper or light oil.  Combine flour, dry milk, garlic powder.   Mix in egg.  Add water (a little at time) so that mixture forms a ball.

Roll out dough 1/4" thick. 

Cut out with a cookie cutter.

Mix tomato paste with water.  Add tomato topping and Italian seasoning.

Add Parmesan cheese topping.

Wait patiently while baking 17 to 20 minutes or until golden on bottom.  Remove from cookie sheet and cool on rack.

Store in an airtight container.  You can also freeze them for a longer shelf life.

RIP Poochie!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Mod Podge Halloween Lanterns

Several years ago, my aunt made this cute pumpkin lantern for me.  She filled it with a fun candied popcorn that uses kool-aid in the recipe.  I'l try to remember to dig out that recipe later, make a batch and post it.  Anyway, I love this little lantern.  I put it out every year,it's one of my favorite decorations.  This year I decided he needed some friends, so I attempted to make:


a witch

and a ghost to join him.

Supplies I used: 

Mod Podge
colored tissue paper
empty jar
brush (to apply the Mod Podge)
sponge (for Frankenstein's bolts)
hot glue gun & glue
wire for the handle
tea light candle
black sharpie (to color Frankenstein's bolts and draw stitches)

Cut out a face for your character and decide your placement prior to beginning project.  Mod Podge the top of your jar (green for your pumpkin stem, black for your witch's hat, etc.) and then begin to Mod Podge the characters strips down the jar.  Mod Podge the face in the place and allow to dry.  Twist the wire around the jar and up over the top to fashion a handle.  Drop a tea light candle down inside and voila!  A darling Halloween lantern.

My daughter and I decided to get all the women in our family together once a month (or so) for a craft day. For our first get together, we made these Halloween lanterns.  Here are a few pictures from our day together.

My niece, Sam, and her one-eyed Cyclops.

My D-I-L Amber, making Jack for her Halloween obsessed two-year-old.  :)

The cheesy poser, Courtney.

My big sis forbid me to post her picture.  :)  My mom, her twin sister, and my M-I-L also joined us. 

A collection of the day's lanterns.

Crafts2u Online Crafts Superstore

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Mod Podge Storage Cans

My newest Mod Podge creation.  Storage cans for my paint brushes, pens, scissors, and assorted tools.  These items were already being stored in jars and cans, but they were just plain old jars and cans.  I decided my craft closet need some sprucing up and out came the Mod Podge and tissue paper.  Isn't Mod Podge just the greatest stuff?

My supplies:
Mod Podge
variety of tissue papers & homemade or recycled papers (papers that give the deckle-edge when torn)
variety of ribbons, raffia, embellishments
hot glue gun & glue sticks

Mod Podge the tissue paper to the can and allow to dry.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Caramel Crunch Bars

I found this recipe on the back of the bag of Kraft Caramel Bits.  They are tiny caramel balls ready for melting in any recipe.  No more unwrapping caramels!  This recipe is super easy and very yummy.  I have made it a few times now and the only thing I changed was the graham cracker layer.  The recipe called for a layer of graham crackers lining the bottom of the pan, but the first time I made it I didn't like the way the crackers cut.  So after that I made a graham cracker crust layer first and then followed the recipe exactly.

4 1/2 honey graham crackers
1 pkg. (11 oz.) Kraft caramel bits
 2 Tbsp. milk
 1/2 cup Cocktail peanuts
1/2  cup miniature marshmallows
1/2 coarsely crushed pretzels
 4 squares semi-sweet baking chocolate melted

Line 8-inch square pan with foil, with ends of foil extending over sides.  grease the foil.  Place grahams on bottom of pan cutting to fit if necessary.

(Like I said above, I made a graham cracker crust instead of the graham crackers along the bottom.)

Microwave caramel bits and milk in microwaveable bowl on HIGH 2minutes or until caramel bits are completely melted and mixture is well blended, stirring every 30 seconds.  Pour over graham layer.

Top with peanuts.

Then add the marshmallows and pretzels.

Drizzle with melted chocolate.  Refrigerate 1 hour.  Use foil handles to remove from pan before cutting into bars to serve.

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