Thursday, July 31, 2014

Don't Forget Your Veggies!

I am trying to make a more conscious effort to serve more vegetables as side dishes. Here is a fantastic and easy recipe I found.

Grean Beans Amandine


1 pound fresh or frozen green beans, cut into 2 inch pieces
1/2 cup water
1/4 cup slivered almonds
2 tablespoons butter or margarine
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon seasoned salt


In a saucepan, bring beans and water to a boil; reduce heat to medium. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes or until the beans are crisp-tender; drain and set aside. In a large skillet, cook almonds in butter over low heat. Stir in lemon juice and seasoned salt, if desired. Add beans and heat through.

Source:, submitted by Brenda DuFresne. I can't actually find it on their website anymore though. I had gathered this recipe years ago, and just finally got around to trying it. I'm glad I saved it since it isn't on the site anymore!

Notes: I used sliced almonds instead of slivered (it was what I had). I also only used 1 tablespoon of butter, and I increased the lemon juice to my taste (probably more like a tablespoon because I like things lemony).

Oh, and I forgot to cut my green beans into 2-inch pieces. Definitely make sure you cut them! It makes them easier to eat!

This was so good. I definitely wouldn't skip the seasoned salt because it added such a nice flavor.


You know how in the movie "Serendipity," they go and have some frozen hot chocolate at a fancy place in New York City? Well you can too...and you can do it at home. It is so easy and absolutely delicious.

Frozen Hot Chocolate


4 cups ice
5 packets hot chocolate mix (about 0.71 oz each)
1 1/2 cups milk
Whipped cream, optional


Fill a blender to the 4 cup mark with ice. Add cocoa mix and milk. Use the "high" or "ice crush" setting to blend for about 30-40 seconds.

Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream, if desired.

Makes 2 large or 4 small servings.

Source: A wonderful website called Jen's Favorite Cookies. You can find the original link here. Be sure to check out her site. First of all, her pictures are way better than mine, and she also has so many amazing recipes there.

Notes: I am amazed at how well this worked. Have you ever tried to mix hot cocoa mix into cold milk? It gets all clumpy and the mix doesn't dissolve all the way. I wondered if this might happen here...but it didn't! The blender kept things smooth.

I opted to skip the whipped cream because I was trying to watch my calories, and this was so rich and satisfying without the whipped cream. I can only imagine that it would be even more decadent (and beautiful) with the whipped cream. I might even throw some grated chocolate on top of the whipped cream for a special touch.

So, if you are in the mood for a hot cocoa flavored smoothie, this is definitely what you need!

Everything is Rosy

You know, I love roses. We had such a beautiful rose bush at the house that I grew up in. It grew such beautiful long stemmed light pink roses. They were the most heavenly smelling roses I have ever smelled. When we moved, I was so tempted to dig that bush up and bring it with us! It turns out that the new owners pulled the bush out, which broke my heart, and made me REALLY think that I should have just dug it up and taken it with me. I have no idea what specific kind of roses they were either. I'll have to do some research one of these days and see if I can get a bush of my own that is like that one. I remember even making rose syrup with those petals once upon a time when I was in high school, because yes, even the taste of roses is heavenly (they are non-toxic and completely edible, which is why you can put them on wedding cakes).

Here is a recipe that will allow you to appreciate the beauty of roses at any time of the year.

Rose Petal Jelly


2 cups water
3 cups unsprayed pink rose petals, thicker tissue at the base of petals removed
2 1/2 cups sugar
1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
3 ounces liquid pectin
1 tablespoon rose water


Bring the water to a boil in a medium saucepan; remove from heat. Add petals; cover, and steep for 30 minutes. Strain liquid into clean saucepan. Discard petals.

Add sugar and lemon juice to pan. Bring mixture to a boil, stirring, over medium-high heat. Boil 2 minutes; add pectin, and boil 2 minutes (for firmer jelly, boil up to 2 minutes more). Remove from heat, add rose water. Pour into sterilized jars, and let cool completely. Store in refrigerator up to 6 months.

Source: Martha Stewart. You can find the recipe here.

Notes: Holy cow, this was the easiest thing to make ever! I did boil my jelly an additional 2 minutes (so it would be more firm).

I also did not trim the ends off of my rose petals.

I think rose flavoring is a pretty acquired taste, but I love it. Oh, and do not be tempted to use more than 1 tablespoon of rose water. It is pretty potent stuff. If you use too much, it will taste like perfume.

As is, this was sweet and delicate. Oh, and you can find rose water at middle eastern markets. My mom got me three jars of rose water at a market in Salt Lake! I will have to research some more rose recipes! I will definitely be making some Turkish Delight (which is traditionally rose flavored) in the near future.