Saturday, September 28, 2013

Skinny Butternut Squash Mac 'n Cheese

So this weekend I'm tending my friend's daughter.  She is so much fun and we have had a blast so far.  She is the same age as Marcus and they get along so well, and of course Astrid loves having another girl to play with all day.

The thing is, she isn't always super easy to feed.  Sometimes she eats what I make when she comes over and other times she will pick at it and turn up her nose.  But that's okay, she's five... I wanted to make this weekend go super smoothly, and so I decided to make a no fail macaroni and cheese recipe.  The good news, she ate the whole bowl!  The better news:  It has squash AND onions in it and no one under five was the wiser! ;)

I have recently been on a quest to eat healthier, and I know that this isn't the *most* healthy thing I could be eating, but it's better than blue-box yellow death and it's better than six cheese full of butter and white flour and cream.  So, here it is.  It makes a big 9" x 13" dish and one serving is 1/6 of it, enough for a big bowl!

  • 1 pkg small shells (I used regular this time, my store didn't have any whole wheat)
  • 2 1/2 cups milk (I used 1%)
  • 2 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
  • 1 onion, diced and sauteed til soft
  • 3 cloves garlic, sauteed with onion
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 package frozen cooked, pureed squash, thawed. (I just used the brick kind in a pinch, you can substitute canned, or roast/boil your own and puree it.)
  • 1 1/2 cup low fat Italian blend cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup cheese for topping

1. In a large pot combine milk, water, Greek yogurt and noodles.  Bring to almost a boil and let the noodles cook.  Stir frequently so it does not burn.  When noodles are almost done, add in the sauteed onion and garlic.

2. Add in the cottage cheese and pureed butternut squash*.

(I normally would just heat and stop at this point, but with feeding three kids under five including one hit or miss eater, I decided to cheese it up a notch and bake)

3. So to cheese it up, add the Italian Blend cheese and mix.  Put in a 9" x 13" dish and top with breadcrumbs and 1/4 cup cheese.  Bake until browned, about 5-10 minutes.  Enjoy!

Nutrition Info 1/6 of a 9" x 13" baking dish:

*For the skinnier version:
389 calories, 4 g fat, 69 g carbohydrate, 17 g protein
  For the "Cheesed Up" skinny version:
466 calories, 8.2 g fat, 74 carbohydrate, 22 g protein Pin It

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Peach Cobbler

I recently went to the grocery store and came across these ginormous Chilean peaches... I could not pass them up because you could literally smell their sweetness as you walked by.  I scooped up four of them and took them home because luckily in my recipe box I have an amazing peach cobbler recipe.  This cobbler has lots of topping because, well, it's my favorite part.  It's like a snicker doodle dough almost, and so delicious with the peaches, but you can use any type of fruit. It would be good with pears, apple, skinned plums... yummy.  Anyway, here you go!

  • 4 large Chilean Peaches, sliced (or 8-10 smaller size, you can peel them if you want to but I really like it with the peel.)
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/4 cup UNPACKED brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 (or to taste) teaspoon cardamom

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup PACKED brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 16 tablespoons unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup boiling water
  • cinnamon and sanding sugar mix for topping

Preheat your oven to 425.

In a large bowl, combine first six ingredients and toss so that all the peaches are coated in the dry mixture.  Pour into a greased baking dish (I like to use an 8x10 so it's tall and thicker, but you can use a 9x13 too, just keep an eye on your cooking time as it might be a bit sooner than in the recipe.)  Put the baking dish into the oven for 10 minutes.

(I put an electric kettle on boil during this step so you water is nice and hot for the topping step next. 

In the same bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix well.  Then using your fingers, pinch in the butter until it resembles breadcrumbs (-ish) and then add in the 1/2 cup boiling water.  

Mix with a large spoon (or hands) until it's like cookie dough.  When the peaches are ready, pull them out of the oven and then top with this dough mixture.  

Sprinkle cinnamon sugar mix on top before baking.  Bake for about 30-40 minutes until the topping is cooked through (or pull it out a little bit early for it a bit more doughy...about 30 minutes for a 8-10 dish).

Let stand for at least 10 minutes to cool a bit because it will be bubbling hot!  Enjoy with whipped cream, ice cream, or eat it just how it is.  Enjoy! :)

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Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Jaunting Back

I was in the car with my mother in law and sister in law earlier this week and we got to talking about BLOGS...

And then the conversation that mine at the moment sucks, needs some love.  The problem is, while a lot has happened in the past year, it's not necessarily

You know what I mean?  But then I got to thinking, and they actually are pretty cool... So I'll give you a recap of FIVE big things that happened since the new year.  (Mostly Chronological...)

1. We Moved.  

   We are still in good 'ole SL,UT but in a different location...and I'm loving it.  We walk EVERYWHERE, I have probably driven myself somewhere MAYBE twice a month.  It's LOVELY!

Since I don't have a picture of the house readily available, here is a new wreath for our door.  Heh.

2.  I started a business...

I've been doing transcription with my mom for the past year and recently started my own business with it.  Basically I type out audio files for movies, businesses, and people doing investigative work.  It's pretty cool.   And I've learned A LOT!

 So far I've worked on 3 documentaries and with various companies, and most recently the 2013 America's Cup.  Pretty fun! 

Here's my website:

3. Cooper turned the big 3-0.

Oh boy!

4. Astrid turned TWO! 

We had a total blast.  In the morning I decorated the house, made birthday cake pancakes (*Recipe on bottom of post!), Mr. Chuck-E-Cheese hosted a lovely family party, and had cake a presents at home.  It was low key and very, very fun!

5. Marcus started Kindergarten!  

He is having THE BEST TIME EVER.  Every day he talks about something fun he did, like today he painted tigers with ink in art...! Mmm-kay bud!

So it's been a pretty fun year so far.  Probably blog worthy... sorry I didn't let you in, dear readers... I'm starting anew (again!), and am going to try harder (again, again!), and make more time for y'all (again, again, again!).  I'm going to try to add more tutorials on fun C-R-A-F-T-S and add more yummy recipes!  And of course lots of kid pics and (hopefully) funny, good stories.   So to start it off... 

*Here is that recipe I promised...

No-Fail Pancakes 
(Birthday-Cake Pancake Variation Below!)

2 c flour
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 t baking powder 
1/2 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
3 T melted butter
2 c milk
1 T lemon juice

Preheat oven to 200 degrees (to keep made pancakes warm) and put in a heatproof plate.  And preheat your griddle to 350 degrees. (Or a skillet on medium/medium-high for five minutes)

Whisk together milk and lemon juice in a small mixing bowl.  In a separate bowl, add all dry ingredients together and whisk.  Make a large hole in the middle of the dry ingredients.  Add egg to the milk and whisk, pour into dry ingredients, then fold in melted butter.  Mix until JUST together and STILL LUMPY!

Cook pancakes until brown, flip and put in the oven until ready to eat!  Enjoy! :)

*Birthday Cake Variation:  add 1/2 cup powdered sugar instead of granulated sugar and lots of sprinkles into the batter to liking.  When the first side of your pancake is cooking and the other side is still runny, add more sprinkles!  We serve ours with a thinned down royal icing made of powdered sugar and milk.  (And happily only enjoy this on birthday mornings!)

*Whole Wheat Variation: Substitute whole wheat flour for regular flower, add 1/4 cup applesauce to wet ingredients and 1/4 cup wheat germ to dry ingredients.  Cook as usual.  

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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 Recap

The Jensons have had quite the adventure this year!  We started out our year in Columbus, Georgia and are ending it back in Salt Lake...

Here is a photo bomb of fun things that happened along the way...

We made messes... 

Went on Adventures, and discovered new things...

Had Fun with Colored Eggs and Bunnies 

And Just had Fun!


We Planted a Garden (and this is about all that we got!)

Played Outside in Humid Georgian Air...

But then we moved...(again.) Back to Salt Lake... 

And said goodbye to good friends...

But "Hello" to New Ones...
Marcus' New Turtle, Tortuga Two that Cooper
"Rescued" while crossing the road on moving day.

We Had A Few Birthdays...


 And Ate Too Much Cake...

And Kept on Playing...


And Enjoyed some Christmas Festivities...

 Until We Got Tuckered Out!

Happy New Year....

Til' Tomorrow...

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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Astrid is ONE!

Can you believe it?  I'm a little late on posting, but this past Friday we celebrated her first birthday!  (Read more about a year ago here!)  We had an ice cream social and grilled hot dogs at the park.  It was a total blast.

Doesn't she look just SO excited it's her birthday?!

We had hot dogs, macaroni and cheese, coleslaw and potato salad.  I made yummy cupcakes (to look like soft serve ice cream *of course!* and a cake for her to dig in to.  We also had a ice cream bar stocked with sprinkles of all kinds, cherries, coconut, chocolate chips, and caramel and chocolate syrup for topping. :)  It was a great day.  So many of our friends came, and after being in Georgia for so long, it was lovely to see everybody!

Here are pics!

yummy cake and cupcakes!

We put our goodie bags in ice cream quarts with an ice cream spoon attached.  Filled them up with crayons a note pad, bubbles, and some candies.

Astrid LOVED the cake!

When she got sick of eating the cake, she got up and walked toward the car. Saying, "bye bye... bye bye"!


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