Thursday, March 6, 2008

Another winter storm on our way...

...which means its time for some comfort food for dinner. Tonight we're having Chili con Carne and this great Cornbread Muffin Recipe I found from a Cooking Light Magazine (October 2007). Hope you enjoy them as much as we did...

Chili con carne


1 tbsp oil
1 large onion
2 tbsp minced garlic
1 tsp chilli powder
1 tbsp ground cumin
1 lb extra-lean ground beef
796 ml (18 oz) can crushed tomatoes
1 cup beef stock
1 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp sugar
2 tbsp tomato paste
398 ml (14 oz) can beans in maple syrup


Heat the oil in a large pan and add the onion. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes or until soft and golden. Add the garlic, chilli and cumin and cook for 1 minute.

Add the ground beef and cook for 5 minutes, or until browned, breaking up any lumps with a fork as it cooks.

Stir in the tomato, stock, oregano and sugar. Bring to the boil, reduce the heat and simmer, partially covered, for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.

Run a hand blender to thin out the meat mixture.

Stir in the tomato paste and beans. Cook for 5 minutes to heat the beans, then serve with cornbread to mop up the juices.

Corn Bread Muffins
from: Cooking Light, OCTOBER 2007


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (2 ounces) cheddar cheese
1/2 cup reduced-fat sour cream
1/4 cup thinly sliced green onions
1 (10-ounce) can cream-style corn
Dash of hot sauce
1 large egg, lightly beaten
Cooking spray


Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon the flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl. Combine cheese and remaining ingredients except cooking spray in a small bowl; stir with a whisk. Add to flour mixture; stir just until moistened.

Divide batter evenly among muffin cups coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 17 minutes or until golden brown. Cool in cups 2 minutes on wire racks; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Baby Shower...

I am a firm believer that every baby should be showered with love, friends and family, whether its the first, second or seventh child. Maybe you don't need an elaborate baby shower with hundreds of gifts but why not get everyone together and celebrate the meaning of life with some laughter, some yummy home-cooked food and a few games. So we decided to throw a small and intimate baby shower for our cousin, who is expecting her second baby any day now.

Below are some games we played to get everyone up and moving:

Baby Pictionary
Create playing cards with the words below that have to do with babies. Divide into teams of 3 and give each team a pen or pencil and pad of paper. Each round, one person from each team views a card and draws the word or phrase for her team to guess. No words can be used. The team that guesses correctly first earns one point. Set a timer for two minutes to keep the game moving along. If the timer goes off before a team guesses correctly, allow someone new from each team to draw and choose a new card. After playing 5-10 rounds, each team adds up their points and the team with the most wins. A prize should be given to each person on the team. Here are some of the words we had:

Dirty diaper
Burp pad
Baby wipe
Water broke
Due date
Morning sickness
Umbilical cord
Stretch marks

Any guess what this word was?

Baby Sock Game
(Materials: 14 pairs of baby socks that can be given to the mommy to be after the game, timer). Take the 14 pairs of new baby socks of different styles and colors and mix them up. Next, start and timer and tossed them in the middle of the floor, each guest has 30 seconds to try and "match" as many socks as they can.

Guess Mom's Tummy Size
Materials- String or yarn and scissors)
Have each woman pull the yarn to the size they believe would fit perfectly around the Mother-To-Be's center of her pregnant tummy. After everyone cuts their string, compare the results to the Mommy-To-Be's actual tummy. Give a prize to the woman who is the most close! In this case our strings were soooooooooooo long that we had to invite the daddy-to-be to stand back to back with his wife and then had everyone measure around BOTH their tummies to see who was the closest. Crazy to think that alot of the strings were still too long :)

Pregnant for a Day Co-Ed Game
Don't tell the object of the game up-front. Make a statement to the women in attendance-- "How many of us women wished that men could be pregnant just for one day?" Ask the men to come to the front of the room. Hand each man a balloon. For each man that doesn't have on shoes with shoe laces, tie the piece of yarn around each of his slip on shoes to mimic a shoestring. Instruct each man to blow up his balloon and tell each man when to stop filling it with air. The balloons should be filled with enough air that it could fit under each participant's shirt, yet be a bit uncomfortable for them to sit down and tie their shoes without popping the balloon. Start the game and whoever ties their shoes without popping the balloon, or lifting their feet from the floor wins. This game usually provides some great picture moments. At the end of the game we had all our "pregnant" men pose with the mommy-to-be.

Do You Know What It Is
Sort the following items into paper bags (one item per bag) and number the bags 1-10
1. Bottle
2. Aspirator
3. Bib
4. Yellow Rubber Ducky
5. Shampoo
6. Hanger
7. Onesie
8. Wash cloth
9. Ear Medicine dropper/Ear syringe
10. Receiving Blanker

Give each guest a pad and pen and have them number 1-10 and then hand out the bags randomly to the guests. Each guest or team at the baby shower will try to figure out what is in each bag based on what they can feel and/or hear (the bags can not be opened). The bags are passed around until everyone has had a chance to touch and write down their answers. The mother-to-be then opens each bag and shows it to the guests. The guest who gets the most correct gets a prize. (A clue that was passed to the guests... The first letter of each item spells out baby shower)

Finish the Baby Rhyme
As the new mom was opening her gifts, a part of a nursery rhyme was read out loud that was to be finished by the individual who gave the gift she was opening. It was a great activity for the gift opening section and a great laugh. (some of us had remembered them quite differently ;)

1) Mary had a little lamb, it's _____________.
2) Baa, baa, black sheep, _____________?
3) Mary, Mary, quite _____________?
4) Rub-a-dub-dub, three men in a tub, ____________?
5) Pat-a-cake, ________________!
6) Little Jack Horner, sat in a corner, ______________
7) Little Miss Muffet, sat on a tuffet, ________________
8) Peter Piper picked _____________.
9) One, two, buckle my shoe, _____________.
10) Peter, Peter, pumpkin-eater, ____________.

Answers to the questions.
1) fleece was white as snow
2) have you any wool
3) contrary, how does your garden grow?
4) and how do you think they got there?
5) pat-a-cake, Baker's man
6) eating his Christmas pie;
7) eating her curds and whey
8) a peck of pickled peppers
9) three four, knock at the door
10) had a wife but couldn't keep her

This game is a lot of fun and any age can play. You need 2 laundry baskets and assorted size and shape balloons. Place a basket at either side of the room or at any distance, and place the inflated balloons in the starting basket. The object of the game is to have the players fit as many balloons between their legs and waddle to the other basket and without using their hands get the balloons in the basket. This game is really funny because sometimes the balloons stick to the players legs, fall out or if the squeeze their legs too tight the balloons will pop.

Have fun!

Quick Lunch

I remember being in college and I came across a recipe in a Chatelaine magazine that had a twist on the classic tuna salad. I had passed on the recipe to my family and since then this recipe has gone through many changes, deletions and additions. This has been my take on the recipe and a favorite around here whenever a quick lunch is needed.

Tuna Salad


1 cup of rigatoni, penne or elbow macaroni pasta
1 tbsp salt
2 small cans of tuna, drained
¼ cup chick peas
¼ cup of chopped stuffed pimentos
4 mini pickles, sliced
¼ red onion, chopped (or ¼ cup green onions, chopped)
1 tbsp of hot pimento paste
2 tbsp of mayo


Bring water to boil. Add salt and pasta. Cook for 10-12 minutes. Drain.

In a bowl add tuna, chick peas, pimentos, pickles, green onions, pimento paste, mayo. Mix well. Then add pasta and mix well. Place in bowls .

Serves 2