Wednesday, March 23, 2011


Instead of posting a recipe, I wanted to share with you my two favorite food items this week.

The first is is called Kefir (pronounced kee-fur, as in Sutherland) and is a drinkable yogurt that I buy at Trader Joe's in the dairy section. It was recommended to me by a friend when I was suffering from chronic sinus infections and had been on 6 different antibiotics over a 3 month period. The antibiotics had caused me to have even more infections because they had killed all the good bacteria in my body and I was absolutely miserable. I was complaning about this to my friend Kate, who is married to an anesthesiologist, and she told me to go to Trader Joe's, buy Kefir and drink about 1/2 a cup everyday. Within a couple days of drinking Kefir, I could feel a huge improvement and my infections went right away!
The way Kate explained Kefir to me is "it's like Activia on crack."
According to the
Kefir can actually colonize the intestinal tract, a feat that yogurt cannot match.
Kefir contains several major strains of friendly bacteria not commonly found in yogurt, Lactobacillus Caucasus, Leuconostoc, Acetobacter species, and Streptococcus species.
It also contains beneficial yeasts, such as Saccharomyces kefir and Torula kefir, which dominate, control and eliminate destructive pathogenic yeasts in the body. They do so by penetrating the mucosal lining where unhealthy yeast and bacteria reside, forming a virtual SWAT team that housecleans and strengthens the intestines. Hence, the body becomes more efficient in resisting such pathogens as E. coli and intestinal parasites.
Kefir’s active yeast and bacteria provide more nutritive value than yogurt by helping digest the foods that you eat and by keeping the colon environment clean and healthy. Because the curd size of kefir is smaller than yogurt, it is also easier to digest, which makes it a particularly excellent, nutritious food for babies, the elderly and people experiencing chronic fatigue and digestive disorders.
Another good think about Kefir is that it actually tastes good! It's tart (like Pinkberry) and I personally like the strawberry flavor. It tastes just like strawberry yogurt, just a little more tart. It also comes in plain and pomegranate. You can use it in smoothies and as a substitute for buttermilk in any recipe.
My second recommendation of the day was found at Jamba Juice this morning. After Pilates, I stopped by to use a coupon I had and saw they had new items in their baked goods display. My eye was immediately drawn to the "sweet waffle." I was a little confused seeing a small, plain waffle just sitting there and thought there's no way I'd ever order that, so I had to ask the girl at the counter about it. She said "It's 300 calories and worth every bite!" She said it's her favorite baked good at Jamba juice and I had to try it. Well, I did try it and it was like heaven in my mouth! Honestly, one of the best tasting treats I've ever had. You've got to try it next time you go to Jamba!!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

When I first started this blog I posted a recipe for banana muffins, and while that one is a family recipe that's been passed down through generations, I actually think this recipe is much better (sorry great great great grandma!). I made these muffins on Sunday for my family and as of today, there are only 2 left (out of 2 dozen). I love that they have oatmeal in them, it makes them a little more hearty and filling. And I don't think there's a better flavor combination than bananas and chocolate-it's one of my all-time faves! Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup chocolate chips (mini, semi-sweet, milk chocolate, or whatever you like to use)


  • In a large mixing bowl, beat egg, oil, and sugar until smooth.
  • Stir in bananas.
  • Combine the flour, oats, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
  • Stir into the banana mixture just until moistened.
  • Stir in chocolate chips.
  • Fill greased muffin cups three-fourths full.
  • Bake at 375 degrees for 18-20 minutes.
  • Cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a wire rack.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies

I know I already have a few chocolate chip cookie recipes posted on this blog, but I figured you can never have too many right? Since I use different recipes for different occasions, I thought I'd title the recipe according to the reason I use it. Thus, this recipe for "quick and easy chocolate chip cookies" is one that I use if I just need a quick dessert or something to take to a playdate. There is no sifting or extra mixing necessary, just pile everything into your mixer and they turn out perfectly everytime!
A few posts back, I wrote about Mexican Vanilla so I thought I'd show you exactly what I was talking about. This vanilla actually came from my Aunt Stacie who brought it back from Mexico for my Grandma, and she gave it to me the last time she was here visiting. I LOVE it and I'm so sad I'm almost out! It's clear vanilla and its absolutely amazing, so if anyone knows where to find this vanilla in the states, please share!

Quick & Easy Chocolate Chip Cookies
  • 1 cup butter-flavored Crisco
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 & 1/4 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 cups chocolate chips


  • Mix the first 6 ingredients together.
  • Add the flour and soda and mix well.
  • Add chocolate chips.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 8-12 minutes.

*Makes approx. 3 dozen cookies

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Picante Chicken Enchiladas

This is one of those "tried and true" recipes I've been using for years and I just love it. It always turns out great and it's one of those casserole-style dishes that is easy to make and also super delicious! I recently tripled the recipe and made it for a family birthday dinner, served it with chips and salsa, mexican rice and refried beans. It was a hit!

Picante Chicken Enchiladas


  • 1 jar (16 oz.) salsa
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp. chili powder
  • 2 cups cooked cubed chicken
  • 1/2 cup monterey jack cheese
  • 6 flour tortillas (8-inch), warmed
  • 1 green onion, thinly sliced


  • Stir 3/4 cup salsa, sour cream, and chili powder in a medium bowl.
  • Stir the salsa mixture, chicken, and cheese in a large bowl.
  • Spoon about 1/3 cup chicken mixture down the center of each tortilla. Roll up the tortillas and place seam-side up in a lightly greased 11 x 8 inch shallow baking dish.
  • Pour the remaining salsa over the filled tortillas. Cover the baking dish with foil.
  • Bake at 350 degrees for 40 minutes or until the enchiladas are hot and bubbling.
  • Top with the onion.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Irresistible Peanut Butter Cookies

I think I've tried every possible recipe for peanut butter cookies, so I can honestly say this is my favorite recipe! I found it in a magazine at Christmas time, so in stead of the usual fork-prong design, they suggested using the edge of a fork to make a star pattern. I thought it was so pretty and I've been doing it ever since...who cares if it's not Christmas, stars are always "in season" right?

Irreisistible Peanut Butter Cookies
  • 3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
  • 1/2 cup Crisco (I always use butter-flavored)
  • 1 & 1/4 cups firmly packed light brown sugar
  • 3 tbsp. milk
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract (If you can find Mexican vanilla, I highly recommend it. I get it at Cost Plus World Market and it tastes amazing)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 & 3/4 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt


  • Heat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine peanut butter, shortening, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in a bowl. Beat at medium speed until well blended.
  • Add egg and beat until blended.
  • Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to creamed mixture at low speed.
  • Drop by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto greased baking sheet.
  • Flatten slightly and draw star pattern with edge of fork.
  • Bake 7-8 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown.
  • Cool 2 minutes on baking sheet then remove cookies to cooling rack to cool completely.
  • Makes 3 dozen cookies