Sunday, November 29, 2009

Happy Cats :)

Auntie Brenda gave us this Kitty Condo/Tree thing because her cat didn't really ever use it. Well, it has new life now! All of my cats love it. They nap there, scratch (with their nubby toes) on the branches, and Piko is always playing on the top with her toys! You can see one of her string-toys hanging over the side.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Sounds good - Spinach/Artichoke dip in a crock pot

Slow Cooker Recipe: Spinach-Artichoke Heart Dip

You can make this dip ahead of time, keep it covered in the refrigerator and then, about an hour before the party, spread it into a slow cooker crock and heat on HIGH until bubbly.


1 tablespoon minced or chopped garlic
1/4 cup chopped green onions
10-ounce package frozen chopped spinach, thawed and gently squeezed of excess water
1 14-ounce can artichoke hearts (water packed), drained and chopped
1 recipe Alfredo Sauce (see below)
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
1/3 tablespoons shredded or grated Parmesan cheese

Coat the inside of the crock of the slow cooker with canola cooking spray.

Add garlic, green onions, spinach, artichoke hearts, Alfredo sauce, mozzarella cheese, and Parmesan cheese to a large mixing bowl and stir to blend.

Spread mixture into the bottom of the prepared slow cooker crock and heat on HIGH until bubbly (about an hour). Serve warm with slices of wheat baguette bread, reduced fat-tortilla chips, or reduced-fat whole grain crackers.

Alfredo Sauce
1 tablespoon whipped butter or stick butter
2 cups fat-free half-and-half (or substitute whole or low-fat milk)
4 tablespoons Wondra quick-mixing flour
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
4 tablespoons shredded Parmesan cheese

Melt butter in medium, nonstick saucepan. Stir in 1/3 cup of the fat-free half-and-half, 4 tablespoons Wondra flour, and nutmeg and pepper. Slowly stir in remaining half-and-half. Bring mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to gently boil, stirring constantly, until sauce thickens (about 4 minutes). Stir in 1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese.

Yield: 16 servings

Nutrition Information: Per serving (just the dip): 75 calories, 6 g protein, 5 g carbohydrate, 3.5 g fat, 2 g saturated fat, 11 mg cholesterol, 2 g fiber, 150 mg sodium. Calories from fat: 42%.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Old Fashioned Pumpkin Pie Recipe

I used a store-bought pie shell; omitted the cardamom (don't like that smell in my pumpkin pie!); and skipped the lemon zest because I don't have any.  The pie is in the oven right now and it smells wonderful!  Oh, and yes, I did use a sugar pumpkin instead of canned puree.  Pictures later...

  • 2 cups of pumpkin pulp purée from a sugar pumpkin* or from canned pumpkin purée
  • 1 1/2 cup heavy cream or 1 12 oz. can of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup packed dark brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs plus the yolk of a third egg
  • 2 teaspoons of cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
  • 1 good crust
To make pumpkin purée from a sugar pumpkin: start with a small-medium sugar pumpkin, cut out the stem and scrape out the insides, discard (save the seeds, of course). Cut into sections and steam in a saucepan with a couple inches of water at the bottom, until soft. Scoop out the pulp from the skin. Or you can bake whole or halved in a 350°F oven until fork tender. Optional - put pulp through a food mill or chinois to make extra smooth.

1.  Preheat oven to 425°F.

2.  Mix sugars, salt, and spices, and lemon zest in a large bowl. Beat the eggs and add to the bowl. Stir in the pumpkin purée. Stir in cream. Whisk all together until well incorporated.

3.  Pour into pie shell and bake at 425°F for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes reduce the temperature to 350°F. Bake 40-50 minutes, or until a knife inserted near the center comes out clean.

4.  Cool on a wire rack for 2 hours.

Serve with whipped cream. Serves 8.