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Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

I am so, so behind! This year has become quite busy and I haven’t had time to keep up with everything. It’s been so hectic! Here’s what I’ve been doing:

  • I’ve gone on a couple of different short trips including: a trip to visit friends in San Francisco and a work conference
  • I got a promotion at work (yay!), which comes with more work
  • I’m volunteering with four different groups (Baha’i children’s classes, the team that plans the Baha’i holy day activities, and with two non-profits in the community)
  • I plan and host a monthly devotional and craft night with a friend
  • I have a fairly intense exercise regimen and, at the same time, am trying to be more calm and meditative
  • Lastly, I’m trying to keep up with all of our friends and, take some time for me!

Anyways, here’s the last of the recipes I plan to share back from our game night in November. (It’s May now and I’m recapping from November?! Whoops…)

Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip

This was so easy to prepare and so, so, so delectable! I absolutely love dips and I love finding ones that are easy to make at home. It didn’t take long to make – probably about 45 minutes including chopping  and oven time. First I mixed the garlic powder, BBQ sauce, and softened cream cheese. (Low-carb/keto tip: Buy or make your own sugar free BBQ sauce!)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Then I mixed in my shredded chicken. (Preparation tip: Cook a large quantity of chicken and shred it. Freeze it in smaller quantities for use in recipes. I thawed this overnight.)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Below is a picture of the other ingredients, plus a can of black beans that isn’t pictured. I mixed these all in to the chicken mixture, transferred it into an oven-safe lasagna pan, and cooked it at 375 degrees F for 25 minutes – until it was golden on top and the cheese was bubbly.

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Lastly, I sprinkled the dip with the remaining onion, cilantro and BBQ sauce and served with chips! (Low-carb/keto tip: Serve with sliced vegetables like carrots or celery instead of chips.)

Cheesy Chicken Dip | Stone House Rock

Here is the link to the Cheesy BBQ Chicken Dip recipe that I used. (Low-carb/keto tip: Cut out the black beans to keep this very low carb!)

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Caprese Skewers

Caprese Skewers

I made these yummy caprese skewers back in November at the game night. They were so simple to make!Caprese Skewers | Stone House RockYou only need four ingredients:

  1. Cherry tomatoes or another small variety
  2. Fresh basil
  3. Small mozzarella balls
  4. Balsamic reduction – this means the balsamic is thick and less runny than your run of the mill balsamic vinegar. You can buy this in stores or make it yourself. I got mine from a lovely coworker. 🙂

Caprese Skewers | Stone House RockThe first thing you do is slice the ends off your tomatoes so you can sit them upright without falling over. I put the toothpicks in first but quickly found out that that made everything harder… though it did make for a pretty picture!Caprese Skewers | Stone House RockThe reason it made it harder was that it took longer to put on the basil and the mozzarella balls. In the future, I’d put the tomatoes on the plate after cutting them, tear up bits of basil into a pile and then while holding the basil and mozzarella on top of the tomato – spear all of them at once with the toothpick. It would save so much time and effort!Caprese Skewers | Stone House RockThis is what it should look like when done – whether you use the toothpicks the most efficient way or not. Ha!Caprese Skewers | Stone House RockLastly, you drizzle all the caprese skewers with the balsamic reduction for a pretty and sweet result!

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Jalapeño Poppers

Jalapeño Poppers

I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday season and a happy new year! I took a much needed 11 days off from work during the holidays and slept, crafted, played games, and saw friends and family. Now that we’re well into the new year though, I’m making plans and goals and trying to be productive.

A few of my goals are to write blog posts and post on Instagram more regularly, finish P90X3 (which I started last week), craft at least two nights a week and get more sleep!

Today’s post is about: jalapeño poppers!!

I made these for my husband’s birthday party/game night in November. It was my first time making them and they turned out soooooo goood! They were eaten up fairly quickly out of all the treats that I made. If you want the full recipe, please visit this blog.

Jalapeno Poppers | Stone House Rock

I didn’t think far enough in advance, so I had to heat the cream cheese in the microwave a little to bring it to room temperature. After that, I mixed it up with chopped jalapeño (de-seeded). Instead of wonton wrappers, I found egg roll wrappers at the store. Those worked great! I cut each piece into 4 and used 3 of them per popper to form the nice crispy shell.

Jalapeno Poppers | Stone House Rock

After loading the top with cheese, bacon and one slice of jalapeño, I baked the poppers for about 10 minutes until the edges were crispy and the cheese was fully melted. Looks so good doesn’t it!? By the way, if you’re vegetarian, you can easily just not add the bacon – like I did on the the right half of the picture below.

Jalapeno Poppers | Stone House Rock

Just thinking about these makes me want to make them again… such a cheesy, gooey, delicious treat!

Jalapeno Poppers | Stone House Rock

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Preparing an Appetizer Dinner for 25 Guests at Game Night

Preparing an Appetizer Dinner for 25 Guests at Game Night

My husband had a birthday last month! We have a habit of throwing a game night to celebrate. We love having people over, and most of the time we have everyone brings an appetizer while I provide an entree dish. This time, however, I decided to do it all myself! I had an idea in my head and wanted it to be perfect.

I spent much of the week preparing for it and this was the state of the fridge the day of the party:Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Phew! That’s a full fridge! As you can tell from all the prepared food, my theme for dinner was:

Appetizers and Bites

The easiest appetizer to prepare was the cheese. I bought some crackers and cheese from Fred Meyer and set it out on my cute cheese plate.
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
I also had a fruit salad with strawberry, pineapple and melon; chips and a cheesy BBQ chicken dip, caprese skewers, veggies and dip, bacon asparagus skewers, and jalapeno poppers. A good friend also brought some banana bread to share!
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Over the next few posts, I’ll share some of the recipes that I found for these various appetizers. They were SOOOO good! (Especially the jalapeno poppers.)

For dessert, I made a giant cookie in a cast iron pan. The ingredients were simply 2 of the pre-made chocolate chip cookie dough packs and 8 oz of chocolate in-between the two packs! It turned out so gooey and delicious.
Preparing for 25 Guests at Game Night | Stone House Rock
Both the cookie and the bacon wrapped asparagus recipes are part of this three-course Tuscan meal that I found here. Try it out and let me know what you think! By the way, the entree dish in the three-course meal was incredible too, though I made it on a different day that same week.

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My Hobbit Menu

My Hobbit Menu

During the Weekend Surprise Getaway that I planned for my husband, I created an entire hobbit menu complete with all the important meal times:

  1. Breakfast
  2. Second Breakfast
  3. Elevensies
  4. Lunch
  5. Afternoon Tea
  6. Dinner
  7. Supper

Here was the menu I created, with help from a little Google to know what hobbits like to eat:

A Hobbit Menu

If you missed the post about how I created the crisped edges on the parchment paper in the picture above, please click here.

My husband really got a kick out of having an entire hobbit meal plan, so much so that I plan to reuse this for a Hobbit movie marathon sometime with our friends. I spent 3-4 evenings before our getaway cooking everything on this menu, except for the meat pie and the dinner rolls.

Without further ado, here is the meal plan!

Breakfast (9AM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - First Breakfast

Breakfast was Lavender Lemon Muffins with coffee. The lavender lemon muffins were easy to make, other than finding cooking lavender, which I eventually ordered off of Amazon. 

Also, I just love the atmosphere in the hobbit hole! A small fireplace, a chess table/dining table, all the coffee and tea you could want and a “barrel” of water up on the wall. So cute. So quaint. So much craftsmanship and love.

Second Breakfast (10 AM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Second Breakfast

We moved outside to continue drinking our coffee while I used the camp stove to heat up the sausage. Second breakfast included the coffee, sausage and nonfat Greek yogurt with blueberries. There wasn’t a lot to prep here, but I wanted to make sure we got some good protein for the day, since it seems that hobbits love baked goods!

Elevensies (11 AM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Elevensies

Of course elevensies is at 11 AM. Our elevensies snack was Elven Lembas Bread. While this is an Elvish snack and not 100% perfect for a hobbit menu… I couldn’t resist! I found many different recipes online and tried the one that looked the most appealing. In reality, Elven Lembas Bread is supposed to be a food that a single bit will sustain you for an entire day. In our world, we can’t quite match that with a baked good! Instead, I went for a sweet option. 

My husband LOVED these, so I know I’ll be making them again sometime soon… but perhaps a no sugar version, since these are full of sugar!

Lunch (1 PM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Lunch

Again, since we were having a lot of sugary/baked goods, I wanted to make sure that we had a balanced, nutritional meal plan for the day. I made a “Forest Salad” with a lot of different ingredients. This was our main source of veggies for the day, so we ate quite a bit!

Afternoon Tea (3 PM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Afternoon Tea

For afternoon tea, I baked Bilbo’s Tea Cake. I cut two slices off of this and wrapped them up to take with us into the town of Chelan. We got some chai tea lattes at a coffee shop and sat outside on a bench to munch on the tea cake.

Definitely delicious, but also super dense food. A single slice is more than filling, especially when you feel like you’ve been eating nonstop all day long!

Dinner (6 PM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Dinner

I sauteed green beans with garlic for dinner along with “Rosie’s Shire Pie.” I didn’t make this pie. Instead, I bought it from a local pie shop that delivers on Amazon Fresh. It was a lamb pie. I did have to cook it before leaving for this getaway, or else it would have taken forever to cook while here. It still took nearly 30 minutes to heat up in a dutch oven!

Supper (8 PM):

Stone House Rock: A Hobbit Menu - Supper

I wanted to keep things light for supper, so I made a homemade cream of mushroom soup and paired it with a dinner roll. Hobbits apparently love mushrooms, so I had to put something with mushrooms on the hobbit menu. It was a great end to a full day. Ha!

What would you put on the menu for your hobbit menu? 


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Chicken and Creamy Mushrooms

Chicken and Creamy Mushrooms

We’ve been eating very healthy lately – with a lot of home cooked meals. It’s a lot of fun, but can be a lot of work too. I try to make one meal a week that is a more extensive and time consuming meal, which usually happens on the weekend. For a weekday night, I either try to do crock-pot meals or something that will take no more than 30 minutes to prepare!

This is where today’s post comes in: Chicken and Creamy Mushrooms.

Chicken & Creamy Mushrooms - an easy and healthy weeknight dinner | Reflections of Happiness

Here’s everything that I needed for the recipe:

Chicken & Creamy Mushrooms - an easy and healthy weeknight dinner | Reflections of Happiness

Per serving, you’ll need:

  • 6 ounces chicken breast
  • 1/8 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/3 cup chicken broth (fat-free, low-sodium)
  • 1/4 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon green onion, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons low-fat sour cream

I cooked enough for my husband and I for dinner and leftovers for the next day at work for me!

To create this meal, you start by chopping the chicken into 1″ bits and browning them with oil and pepper in the pan.Chicken & Creamy Mushrooms - an easy and healthy weeknight dinner | Reflections of HappinessThen, you add the broth and lemon juice along with the mushrooms. Simmer for about 20 minutes (or until the chicken is done.) While the concoction was simmering, I threw together aside salad to go with it.
Chicken & Creamy Mushrooms - an easy and healthy weeknight dinner | Reflections of Happiness
At the very end, throw in the chopped green onion and sour cream – mix it all together and then serve. A simple meal that took less than 30 minutes to cook!Chicken & Creamy Mushrooms - an easy and healthy weeknight dinner | Reflections of Happiness

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs – Keto Treat

Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs – Keto Treat

Reflections of Happiness: Chocolate Peanut Butter Fat Bombs - a delicious Keto, low-carb, no sugar added treat!While the term “fat bomb” may seem strange to some people, but in the ketogenic community this is a normal term. My husband and I occasionally do the “keto diet” to maintain where we are. Basically it’s a low-carb, high-fat diet. The reasoning behind this diet and information about how it works can be found here. I’m not going to tell you how great a diet it is – it works for some people and not for others, just like any other diet.

I want to share with you a struggle I have when trying to maintain a low-carb lifestyle: sugar cravings. These so-called “fat bombs” are a sweet treat that satiate that sugar craving while giving your body more fat to burn for energy.

I do indulge in sweet treats occasionally, but I also like to find sugar-free alternatives. These treats are a great alternative to a chocolate bar… though please note that they still have calories in them. If you eat a lot of them, the calories will add up quickly!

This will make about 20 servings, depending on how you break it up. What you will need is:

  • half a stick of your favorite butter
  • 4 tablespoons of unsweetened peanut butter (look for the natural ones without processing… containing only peanuts if possible!)
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 tablespoons unrefined coconut oil
  • 1 tsp of stevia
  • any ingredients you’d like to sprinkle on top (like unsweetened coconut flakes)

Here’s how I made it:

Melt the butter in a bowl in the microwave.20150727-134201-49321030.jpgAdd in the coconut oil, cocoa powder, peanut butter and stevia. Mix it together until it looks like melted chocolate.20150727-134202-49322539.jpgAt this point… if you have silicone molds, pour the chocolate in the molds, making around 20 total. I didn’t have any molds when I tried it for the first time, so I used a silicone baking tray. Using a mold will be much easier.

After pouring the mixture into the molds/whatever you have, sprinkle any toppings you want. I put coconut sprinkles over half of it to taste the difference later. I also lightly salted it for a salted caramel feel.20150727-134206-49326069.jpgI froze it for about 30 minutes until it was hard. As you can see, it hardened and started to lift off the bottom!20150727-134305-49385901.jpgSince I didn’t have a mold, I put it on a cutting board to chop into bars. Didn’t work too well as you can see – it crumbled in a few places! If you use a mold, you can just pop out the pieces at this point and put in an airtight container. Have one or two servings at a time for a sweet treat!20150727-134307-49387488.jpgIf you make 20 servings this is the nutritional breakdown:

  • 64 calories, 60 calories from fat
  • 6.7 g fat, 4.2 g saturated fat
  • 6 mg cholesterol
  • 31 mg sodium
  • 30 mg potassium
  • 1.0 g carbohydrates
  • 0.9 g protein
Mini Sweet Pepper Nachos

Mini Sweet Pepper Nachos

20150325-100941-36581222.jpg

I recently made low-carb nachos by using mini sweet peppers instead of chips. It was seriously so easy to make and a filling and delicious way to get your ‘carb’ cravings without actually having too many carbs.

Make it exactly how you want your normal nachos, but instead of chips buy a bag of mini sweet peppers and cut each one in half, taking out all the seeds. You could make cheese nachos with just shredded cheese, or add green onions, sour cream, bacon, etc to load them up. Use some form of shredded meat or black beans to add some protein!

If you want the nachos with meat, you should probably pre-cook the meat to save some time. I put some chicken thighs on low in my slow cooker for 8 hours with my selected sauce and by the time I came home from work, they were falling apart! Once you’ve halved the sweet peppers, lightly spray a cookie sheet with baking spray while pre-heating the oven to 450.  Lay out the peppers in rows spaced tightly together. 20150325-101004-36604282.jpg

I then took my pre-cooked and pre-shredded chicken and put more sauce in it (I used barbecue sauce), chopped green onion, and a little shredded cheese. I mixed it all together and then spooned it onto the sweet peppers.

20150325-101026-36626189.jpg

After that I placed chopped tomatoes, cilantro, more chopped green onion and sliced black olives on top of everything. Sprinkle as much shredded cheese as you want on top and then place the pan in the oven! Wait till it looks all melty and hot (it was 8 minutes for me) and take it out of the oven. Serve immediately and enjoy your mini sweet pepper nachos!

Mini Sweet Pepper Nachos

It’s March Already?

It’s March Already?

It’s nearly halfway through March – this year is speeding by so quickly! I’ve been a bit slow to post recently and I wanted to acknowledge that. Hubby and I have both been so busy, at work and at home, and I’ve been working on a couple larger projects that I’m not quite ready to post yet.

Today’s post is just a little recap post about the past month in cooking and crafts!

Cooking:

Food in February

Of course, I’ve been cooking a lot and trying to keep things interesting while staying healthy. Working from left to right, top to bottom, these were some of my favorite dishes this month:

  • Pan-fried chicken tenders with oven roasted sweet potato fries and a side salad
  • Pork chops with oven-roasted brussel sprouts and a side salad filled with goodies
  • Oven-cooked salmon in foil with a large salad
  • Filet mignon with asparagus

There were a few other favorite meals that I’m hoping to write posts about in the next few weeks.

Crafts:

As I mentioned above, I’ve been busy with a couple larger projects that I don’t want to talk about yet, but these are two of the things I did this month!

Mr. and Mrs. Signs:
photo 2 (17)

I’m a bridesmaid in a wedding in a couple of weeks and the bride asked me to create some signs for the chair-backs at the reception for her and the groom. I used the signs that I had for my wedding (that were handed down to me) that say Bride and Groom on the other side. I used the back/wooden part of the sign and painted the entire thing teal.

I then found a font and a flourish that I liked and printed it out. I cut it out with an exacto knife to create a stencil that I used to pencil the design onto the teal sign. I painted the design in very carefully and slowly with the thinnest tipped brush I could find!

Ayyám-i-Há  Sign:

photo (9)

I don’t talk about the Baha’i faith much on this blog, but with this project, it’s important for you to know that I am Baha’i. Ayyám-i-Há is a Baha’i holiday that’s basically the equivalent of the “Baha’i Christmas.” It’s at the end of February each year  and Baha’is celebrate with presents, service projects and parties/gatherings.

I took some fun printed paper and cut out the letters for the holiday using an exacto knife. Then I cut little holes in the top of each letter and drew a piece of string through it. Lastly, I hung it up with some painters tape.

I’d really love to create more of these hanging signs for our house for other holidays and birthdays! (And, also, find a way to hang it without using tape.)

Anyways, that’s what I’ve been up to in the world of cooking and crafts. I hope to have time this week to work on the next set of Travel Tuesday posts and some more in-depth cooking and craft posts. Thanks for reading!

Meatless Mondays

Meatless Mondays

A few weeks ago, I saw a Pinterest post about Meatless Mondays and a “Rainbow Salad” that someone created. I decided to try my own take on a Rainbow Salad for Meatless Monday. While we do eat meat, I realize that too much of one thing is definitely bad for our health. I feel like Meatless Monday is a good thing to try so we can find other sources of protein!

I started by laying down chopped romaine. On top of that, I set out sliced vegetables and fruits: cucumber, carrot, green and yellow bell pepper, tomatoes, green beans, olives and avocados. I also put out crumbled feta and walnuts.

IMG_6669-edited

To add protein, I made an egg over easy to lay on top of the salad and then drizzled a small amount of balsamic vinaigrette on top. To add some carbs into the meal, I had two slices of an asiago cheese bread. I usually opt for wheat, but I couldn’t pass up the cheesy goodness at the grocery store!

IMG_6672-edited

What veggies would you put on a Rainbow Salad? Any recipes that you’d make on a Meatless Monday?