©Life of a Foodie and Her Family 2008-2013, Lynn Tabor



August 19th Lunch

Today's lunch is a Spinach Wrap with Salad Mix, Roast Beef and Colby Jack Cheese.

Red Pepper Slices, Snap Peas, Strawberries, and Red Grapes.

Snacks:  Pretzels, Key Lime Pudding and an Iced Oatmeal Cookie Clif Kid Bar

Capri Sun


First day of school lunch

Salad Mix from a bag and I added in shredded carrots, yellow pepper strips, cucumbers and grape tomatoes.

Deli Turkey, cheddar cheese cubes and Ranch Dressing

Iced Oatmeal Cookie Clif Kids Bar, Cheese stick, Cantaloupe, Strawberries, Sweet & Salty Popped Chex Mix and Capri Sun.

The only thing left after lunch was the Chex Mix and Z Bar which she ate on the way home from school.


Duck Dynasty Cupcake Toppers

One of Miss V's friends has a birthday coming up and his mom asked if I could make Camouflage Cupcakes again for him.  Sure!  She told me his theme is Duck Dynasty, so I went searching for cupcake toppers.  I didn't want the cheesy plastic rings.  I found a shop on Etsy called Printable Parties to Go that had the topper and wrapper.  I bought them right away.

I printed them this weekend and then started thinking of what to put on the back of the topper.  I usually use thick scrapbook paper.  So Miss V and I found some camo paper at Hobby Lobby.  Sometimes it is a pain to keep the papers together until dry so I started thinking again.  I thought maybe camo duck tape or contact paper.

Yesterday we all went to Walmart and picked up a roll of Real Tree Easy Liner.  While looking at it I started thinking it might be a bit to busy, so I picked up a roll of taupe too.

This morning I decided to make a sample of each.

Well I am liking the camo more than I expected.  What do you think?????


Back to school shopping

I also have been thinking that this school year, I am going back to blogging what Miss V has for lunch. I had a follower comment a while back that they didn't really want to see all sorts of school lunch posts and that kind of made me upset. Comments on blogs are personal whether they are positive or negative. As much as I love Pinterest, I have noticed now since everyone uses it, I get way fewer comments. I know that when I try a recipe from Pinterest and it is good I do try and leave a comment for the blogger. School starts in a couple weeks so I will be posting regularly again.

Back to school shopping has begun.  Miss V starts back next week and while at Walmart last week I saw the Rubbermaid LunchBlox on sale.  So I picked up the Salad Kit and Sandwich Kit.  The main reason I wanted to try them, is the Blue Ice pack.  I like how the components snap onto the ice pack.  One of Miss V's complaints has been that the ice packs that we currently use sometimes gets to close to her crackers or chips and they feel soggy by lunch time.  At her school the kids have to bring lunch all 5 days as we don't have a kitchen that serves food.  In a couple weeks, usually after Labor Day, Pizza Friday starts.  You can choose to order pizza for the whole school year and I am really hoping that it comes from Marcos again.

And speaking of Pinterest, what is up with all those OVER THE TOP lunch ideas.  Do people actually do that everyday for their kids?  I can see once in a while, but wow....

I think Miss V and I need to talk a bit this week about what she wants in her lunches next week.  The first week of school sometime is hard just getting back into the routine.  We are working on getting her back into a routine this week by going to bed early and using her alarm to wake up at 6:30.  Next week she will be getting up at 5:30.  I know she isn't looking forward to that part.  She is looking forward to seeing some of her friends that she hasn't seen all summer.

When do your kids start back to school and how often do you have to pack lunches?  I would love to hear your comments.


Florean Fortescue Chocolate Fudge Brownie Sundae

Continuing with the Potterhead weekend we had leftovers on Sunday night and had a different Sundae for dessert.

Chocolate Ice Cream
Fudge Brownie
Chocolate Syrup

Place a piece of warmed brownie in a sundae glass.  Add 2 scoops of chocolate ice cream and top with chocolate syrup.  Eat before the ice cream melts.

Of course these were yummy, you can't go wrong with warm gooey brownies and chocolate ice cream.


Florean Fortescue Lemon Meringue Pie Sundae

As part of our Potterhead weekend dessert, Miss V first chose Pumpkin Pasties.  We didn't have that much time, so I asked her to find something that can be made a little quicker.

She went right to the Ice Cream Sundae page and chose Lemon Meringue Pie Sundaes.  Besides being out of whole chickens, Walmart was also out of Lemon curd and Meringue Cookies.  So we went to Publix across the street and picked up a jar of Lemon Curd and the cookies.

Vanilla Ice Cream
Lemon Curd,
Meringue Cookies

Place 1 scoop of  Vanilla Ice Cream in a sundae glass.  Add 2 tablespoons of store bought lemon curd and sprinkle broken meringue cookies one top.  Repeat the layering once.

We all enjoyed these very much.  It was different and refreshing.  Miss V wasn't sure of the lemon curd at first, but liked it when the ice cream melted a bit.

Herby Roast Chicken with Onion Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Since it was Potterhead weekend on ABC Family, Miss V picked out a yummy recipe from her Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook.

For the Chicken

1 medium onion
6 cloves garlic, peeled
1 3-pound chicken
2 Tbsp softened butter or margarine
1/4 tsp ground thyme
1/4 tsp ground sage
1 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
salt and freshly ground pepper
1/2 cup water

For the potatoes
2 1/2 lbs (about 6) Yukon gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
2 Tbsp vegetable oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/2 cup vegetable oil (subbed unsalted butter melted)
1 cup chicken broth
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees and lay the onion slices and garlic cloves in a baking dish. Rinse the chicken and pat it dry. Mix the butter or margarine with the thyme, sage and parsley and spread it under the skin of the breasts and thighs; you will need to loosen the skin first by lifting up the flap of skin and sliding your fingers under it. Lay the chicken in the pan, breast-side up, on top of the onions and garlic and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Pour the water into the pan.

Bake for 50 minutes. Rotate the pan, raise the temperature to 450 degrees and bake for another 30 minutes or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the thigh reads 170 degrees.

While the chicken is roasting, prepare the mashed potatoes. Cover the potatoes with water in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Heat 2 Tbsp oil in a skillet and add the onions. Cook the onions over medium heat, stirring frequently, until nicely browned, about 10 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 15 seconds. Remove from the heat.

Drain the potatoes. Add the onion-garlic mixture, 1/2 cup oil (subbed unsalted butter), chicken broth, and salt and pepper. Mash with a potato masher.

Now....unfortunately when we went out shopping at Walmart after lunch, they did not have a single whole chicken.  So....we picked up a rotisserie chicken.  Next time I go grocery shopping I will pick up a whole chicken so that Miss V can try the herby chicken.  She was very disappointed.

The potatoes were pretty good!  I think next time we will make them with russets though.  I like a really starchy potato for mashed potatoes.


Patriotic Cake

Miss V loves Pinterest and we signed up to bring a dessert for our Church's July 4th picnic she started searching for the perfect thing to make.

She spotted this cake called Red, White and Blue Velvet.

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cocoa powder
1 cup vegetable oil
1-1/2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
2 large eggs, room temperature
2 tablespoons red food coloring (she used Americolor Super Red)
2 tablespoons blue food coloring (she used Americolor Navy blue)
1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Spray two 8" cake pans and line them with parchment.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large mixing bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, vinegar, and vanilla. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined, scraping down the sides several times.

Divide the batter in half and gently fold the red food coloring into half, and the blue into the other half. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for about 30 - 32 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cakes with a toothpick to make sure they baked through. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

1 pound cream cheese, softened
2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until light and smooth.

I also made Miss V a batch of marshmallow fondant and colored half super red and the other half navy blue.  She rolled it and cut out stars in different sizes.

Miss V asked if I could frost it for her as she doesn't to do that.  After she decorated the cake with the fondant stars, foil picks that look like fireworks, and two little mini pinwheels, she had me pipe little stars at the bottom of the cake.

Miss V was very happy with the way her cake came out and I think she did a fantastic job!  I am very happy to say that her whole cake was eaten and we didn't have a crumb left over.


Baked Pork Egg Rolls

I have been wanting to make Egg Rolls again.  We made them a few times when I taught at Young Chefs Academy.

Anway, I combined a few different recipes and came up with this.

12 egg roll wraps (I ended up making more since I had a lot of filling)
1/2-1 lb ground pork
2 teaspoons chopped fresh ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 teaspoon sesame oil
1 (16 ounce) bag shredded cabbage and carrot coleslaw mix (not quite the whole bag)
4 green onions, sliced thin
1 egg, beaten with 1 teaspoon water

Preheat oven to 425.

Spray a cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Brown pork with ginger and garlic in pan; drain any grease.

Mix salt, sugar, soy sauce and sesame oil. Add to pork and mix well.

In large bowl combine cabbage mix and green onions.

Pour hot meat over vegetables and stir well. Let cool slightly.  The cabbage will soften.

Lay wrap in front of you so that it looks like a diamond.

Place 3 tablespoons pork filling in center of egg roll wrapper.

Fold bottom point up over filling and roll once.

Fold in right and left points.

Brush beaten egg on top point.

Finish rolling.

Place Egg Roll on the cookie sheet and repeat with remaining filling.

Brush the rolls with vegetable oil or spray with cooking spray.

Bake for 10-15 minutes until golden brown and crispy.

Serve with soy sauce, plum sauce, Hoisin Sauce or hot mustard.

These came out great and I loved that they weren't greasy from frying.


Snickerdoodle Scones

I have been in a cooking rut and last night I went through my Breakfast Pinterest board and decided that I would get up and make something yummy for breakfast today.  I settled on Snickerdoodle Scones.

For the Scones:
1/2 cup sour cream
1 large egg
2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/8 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (fresh is best!)
1/2 cup cold unsalted butter

For the Cinnamon/Sugar Topping:
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

For the Glaze:
1 cup plus 3 tablespoons powdered sugar
2 tablespoons milk or cream
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg (use fresh)

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set aside.
In a small bowl, whisk together sour cream and egg; refrigerate until needed.

In a separate small bowl, make the cinnamon/sugar topping be stirring together the sugar and cinnamon; set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the metal blade, pulse together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, cream of tartar, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg until combined about five 1-second pulses. Add butter and toss with a fork to cover in flour mixture. Pulse until mixture looks like coarse cornmeal flecked with pea-sized bits of butter, about 10 to 12 pulses. Transfer mixture to a large mixing bowl.

Add sour cream mixture to flour mixture; fold with spatula until just combined. With rubber spatula, transfer dough to lightly floured work surface. Knead dough 6 to 8 times, until it just holds together. Shape into an 8-inch circle. Sprinkle with cinnamon topping. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the dough into 8 wedges.
Place wedges on prepared baking sheet and bake 15 to 18 minutes until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.

While the scones are cooling, make the spiced glaze. Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix until you achieve a thick icing.  Place into a ziplock bag and snip the tip off to drizzle over the scones. Mine was a little on the thin side.  Allow glaze to cool and set up, about 10 minutes.


These came out wonderful!!!  I will definitely make them again!!


Asian Noodle Salad

Oh boy have I been in a cooking rut lately.  Just making lots of the same old things and I am just tired of them, but nothing else on Pinterest is wowing me.  I saw this recipe for Asian Noodle Salad the other day and it just looked yummy, different and perfect for summer.  I did change a couple things below is what I did.

12 ounces whole wheat pasta (thin spaghetti)
32 ounces broccoli slaw (2 16-ounce bags)
1 half of a large bag of shredded carrots
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons honey
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons + 1 teaspoon vegetable oil or canola, divided
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
2 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons sesame oil
3 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
1 teaspoon kosher salt
2 teaspoons Sriracha
1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
2 teaspoons minced garlic (about 4 cloves)
1 cup roasted, salted peanuts, roughly chopped

Cook pasta according to package directions. Drain and toss with 1 teaspoon oil to prevent sticking. Set aside.

In a very large bowl, combine broccoli slaw and carrots. Add pasta and toss. Set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together honey, remaining 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons oil, rice vinegar, soy sauce, sesame oil, peanut butter, kosher salt, Sriarcha, ginger, and garlic. Pour over noodle mixture and toss to combine.

Toss in peanuts and cilantro. Serve chilled or at room temperature.

This came out wonderful!  The only thing I would do differently next time is to make the dressing in a blender to make it really smooth.


Boston Cream Pie in a Jar

My daughter's school like to celebrate the teachers that have summer birthdays.  In the past what ever class hosts the teacher luncheon will do a cake.  This year my friend that oversees it asked if I could come up with something.  Usually all the teachers throughout the year will get a single cupcake from the store, a balloon and a card.

I think there were 10 or 11 birthdays so I start looking at cute little desserts in jars.  I settled on Boston Cream Pie in a Jar.  I did change the chocolate layer as I really dislike canned frosting.  I found a great recipe on the Joy of Baking site.

2 (1.4 oz) boxes French Vanilla or Custard Pudding, prepared and chilled according to package directions.  I think I used the larger boxes so that I could have a bit leftover.

1 box French Vanilla Cake Mix, prepared and baked according to package directions.  I split the batter into two 13x9 pans and baked it about half the recommended time one 13x9 pan.

Chocolate Sauce
14 (8 oz) mason jars

Prepare the chocolate sauce while the cakes are baking and cooling and the pudding is chilling in the refrigerator.

24 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate, cut into small pieces
2 cups heavy whipping cream
2/3 cup granulated white sugar
2/3 cup light corn syrup
3 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Place the chopped chocolate in a medium sized stainless steel bowl and set aside.

Combine the cream, sugar, and corn syrup in a saucepan and place over low heat. Bring to a boil, stirring often.

Remove from heat and pour immediately over the chocolate.  Let stand until the chocolate has melted, then stir until smooth.

Stir in the vanilla extract.

Store the sauce in the refrigerator in a tightly covered container for up to two weeks. Reheat over simmering water before serving.

Makes about 4 cups. Preparation time 15 minutes.

When ready to assemble cut cake into circles. I used a 2 inch circular cookie cutter.
Start with a heaping tablespoon of pudding followed by a cake round and then a heaping tablespoon or more of the chocolate sauce. Repeat the process again, ending with the chocolate sauce.

I made these a day ahead and kept them in the refrigerator.  I took them out the next morning to warm up since the sauce gets very hard.  I also used a clear Goody Hair band to attach a spoon to the jar.  At school my friend attached a balloon to the jar.

The teachers all said they were great!  Miss V and I got to test one and we both thought they were really good.  As for the jars the teachers know if they return them to the office I will make them another treat for Teacher Appreciation Luncheon.  


Carnitas and Mango Salsa

Last night for dinner and Cinco de Mayo I tried a new version of tacos.  You can find the original recipe at Girl Inspired.

I can't even begin to tell you how wonderful this smelled cooking all day!

2-3 pound pork butt roast
olive oil
1 tsp cumin
1 orange
½ large sweet onion
2 Roma tomatoes
1 yellow bell pepper
1-2 mangos
1 jalepeno
½ cup frozen corn
juice of 2 limes
2-3 cloves garlic
salt and pepper
2 avocados (add just before serving)

For the meat: Brown the roast in a frying pan with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper.

Place the browned meat into the crock pot with about a teaspoon of cumin, more salt and pepper, and one orange (squeezed and then thrown in the crock). Cook the meat on low heat for 8 hours.

Once it's done cooking, pull the meat apart with two forks - it should fall apart easily.

For the salsa: Chop all fruits and vegetables (except for avocados).

Add lime juice, crushed garlic, salt and pepper and stir.

Cover and set in refrigerator for 6-8 hours.

Just before serving, chop avocados and mix in.

Load your meat salsa into baked corn tortillas serve immediately.

For the tortillas I preheated the oven to 375.  Sprayed the tortillas and then hung them over two rungs of the oven rack.  It was a pain in the butt.  I might try a different way next time with a cooling rack and cookie sheet.

Anyway.....that was one of the best tacos that I have ever eaten!  It was light, flavorful, and not dripping with grease.  I am looking forward to left overs!  Oh and I made a black bean salad to go along with it.


Order of the Phoenix Dinner and Movie

Miss V has been asking for a long time to have another dinner and movie night.  She got out her Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook and decided on her menu.

She picked out Molly's Meatballs with Onion Sauce, Fluffy Mashed Potatoes and Buttered Peas.  For dessert she picked out Triple Strawberry Burst Sundaes from Florean Fortescue.

1 lb. Extra-lean ground beef
1/2 cup fresh or dry bread crumbs
1 Large egg
1 Onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 Tablespoons oil

Onion Sauce
2 Tablespoons vegetable oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 14-ounce can chicken broth

For the meatballs, combine the beef, bread crumbs, egg, onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and nutmeg in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.

Heat the oil in a skillet. From the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls, and working in batches, fry the balls on each side until well browned, about 4 minutes per side. Transfer the meatballs to a dinner plate.

For the Onion Sauce, add 2 tablespoons oil to the skillet and heat. Add the chopped onion and cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until golden brown. Add the flour, and stir to combine. Pour in the chicken broth and cook, stirring constantly, until thickened and bubbling. Return the meatballs to the skillet and simmer for 15 minutes. Serve over rice, mashed potatoes, or wide egg noodles. (Serves 6)

Fluffy Mashed Potatoes

6 Idaho or russet potatoes (about 2 1/2 lbs.), peeled and quartered
1 stick of butter (8 tablespoons)
1 cup whole milk
2 teaspoons salt
Freshly ground pepper to taste

1. Place the potatoes in a pot and cover with water. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer about 25 minutes or until the potatoes break apart when pierced with a fork.
2. Drain the potatoes. Add the butter, milk, salt, and black pepper. Mash with a potato masher until the potatoes are light and fluffy. (serves 4)

Buttered Peas

1 pound frozen peas
1 cup water
1/2 tsp sale
1/4 tsp pepper
2 Tbs butter
1 Tbs granulated sugar

Thaw the peas in the microwave and place into a small sauce pan.  (The cookbook wants you to boil and drain and I think that loses a lot of the nutrition.)

Add salt, pepper, butter, and sugar. Stir until the butter melts and is well combined. Serve hot.

Triple Strawberry Burst Sundae

Place 1 scoop of strawberry ice cream in a dish/sundae glass. Cover with chopped fresh strawberries and strawberry syrup. Repeat layering once if desired.  We even bought three little sundae dishes at Walmart.

The meal and dessert were very yummy!


Asian Quinoa Salad

I made this yummy Quinoa salad on Monday night.  This is from Two Peas & Their Pod.

1 cup quinoa, cooked to package instructions and then cooled
2 cups water
1 cup thinly sliced red cabbage
1 cup shelled and cooked edamame
1 red bell pepper, chopped
1/2 cup shredded carrots
1 cup English cucumber, diced

For the dressing:
1/4 cup soy sauce
1 tablespoon sesame oil
1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
2 tablespoons chopped green onion
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 tablespoon sesame seeds
1/4 teaspoon grated ginger
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
Salt and black pepper, to taste

 Place the quinoa in a large bowl and add the cabbage, edamame, red pepper, carrots, and cucumber. Set aside.

 In a small bowl, whisk together the soy sauce, sesame oil, rice wine vinegar, green onions, cilantro, sesame seeds, ginger, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

Pour the dressing over the quinoa salad and stir to combine.  As with all these kinds of salads, I portion it out into small gladware containers.

This was good, but when I make it again, I am leaving out the Cilantro.  It is just to overpowering for my tastes.

Southwest Quinoa Salad

I have been on a quinoa kick for a while.  Sorry if I have blown up everyone's Pinterest feed.  This Southwest version looked yummy and I made it the other day.

1 cup quinoa cooked according to package directions
1 – 14 ounce can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 – small bag of frozen corn, thawed
1/2 of a large red bell pepper
4 green onions, sliced thinly
Juice from 2 limes
1/3 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon salt

Cook 1 cup quinoa according to package directions.

When the quinoa is done cooking, fluff it with a fork, transfer it to a large bowl, and allow it to cool completely (about 15 minutes).

In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, olive oil, ground cumin, black pepper and salt.

When the quinoa has cooled, add in black beans, corn, red bell pepper, and green onions.

Stir in dressing and toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least an hour before serving.

I like to portion the salads into small gladware containers so it is a quick and easy lunch.


Easter Bunny Peep Cake

Whew, it has been a busy few weeks and I just realized that I didn't post Miss V's Easter Bunny Peep Cake.  Word of advice, buy the Bunnies early!  I bought a couple packs of yellow a week or so before Easter and the Saturday before Miss V decided to make this and wanted a couple other colors and well Target, Walmart, and Walgreens had ZERO bunny peeps.  Only the chicks.

2 prepared cake layers (either square or round – 8×8 or 9×9)
1 jar of white frosting (I made butter cream)
1 cup shredded coconut
green food coloring
1 tsp water
jelly beans
3 packages of Peeps® (bunny shape)
And other Easter candy like chocolate eggs or bunnies  I found a cute package of tiny Lindt Bunnies to use.

Lay one prepared cake layer on cake plate.

Frost a thin layer on top of cake and lay the other cake layer on top of it.

Next frost the whole cake on top and sides; set aside.

Place shredded coconut into a ziploc bag, add 5-6 drops of green food coloring and 1 tsp of water. Close bag and shake until all of the coconut is dyed green.

Sprinkle coconut on top of the cake.

Open Peeps® packages and assemble around the sides of the cake. Place jelly beans on top of the cake and decorate with chocolate eggs and bunnies.

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