Chicken & Pasta Soup

So, I know this has NOTHING to do with baking or cupcakes… BUT… I got a new crock pot for my birthday (Thanks Mom & Dad) and needed to make something fabulous in it!! I’ve been working on eating healthy lately so I thought a good chicken noodle soup would be perfect!

And let me tell you… this soup was soooo yummy! Even better the second day after it had a chance to soak up all the juices and flavors!

Ingredients:

  • 1 large can (oz) condensed chicken broth
  • 1 lb chicken breast
  • 1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes with juice
  • 1 medium chopped onion
  • 3 medium celery stalks, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced or chopped into bite size pieces
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried leaf basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • dash garlic powder
  • 1 heaping cup of whole wheat pasta shells (or any shape you like)
  • 1 cup frozen peas
  • salt & pepper to taste

Preparation:

  1. In a pan, brown ½ the chopped onion.  Add salt/pepper to taste.
  2. While that is browning, cube chicken into 1 in squares.
  3. Add chicken to the onion and cook until there is no more pink in the chicken and it is lightly browned.
  4. In a slow cooker, combine the chicken broth, water, cooked chicken, tomatoes, onion, celery, basil, parsley, and garlic powder.
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 5 to 7 hours, or until the vegetables are tender.
  6. After the 5-7 hours, cook the pasta in boiling salted water as directed on the package.  Drain.
  7. Add the pasta and frozen vegetables to the slow cooker. Cover and continue cooking on LOW for an additional 30 minutes.
  8. Enjoy!

Emme’s Banana Bread

My daughter Emily has always loved being in the kitchen with me and today, while we were washing the dishes before we started she says to me, “Mom, I love it when we’re in the kitchen together.  Even if we’re just doing dishes or we’re baking cupcakes, I really like spending time with you in here.” [Read more…]

Substituting Whole Wheat for White Flour

I’ve been adding whole grains to my diet more and more lately and wanted to incorporate it into my baking as well.  But I wondered, is whole wheat flour an even substitute in most recipes?  I set out on a quest to find out… and this is what I learned.

Tips for Substituting Whole Wheat for White Flour:

1.  Substitute an equal part of whole wheat flour for white flour as long as it’s the same type of flour. In other words, 1 cup of whole wheat bread flour can replace 1 cup of white bread flour, and 1/2 cup of whole wheat all-purpose flour is an acceptable substitute for 1/2 cup of white all-purpose flour.

2.  Sift whole wheat flour more than white. The problem cooks tend to run into is that because whole wheat flour is more dense, the end product can often seem heavy or solid. No one wants to eat bread that has no air in it, so if you’re using whole wheat flour, lessen the density by sifting the flour a couple of times. This helps incorporate more air into the dough.

3.  Adjust your recipe to keep your baked goods from drying out. If you do a complete substitution and there is no white flour in your recipe, you’ll end up with a baked item that is a bit drier than normal. There are two ways to avoid this: you can adjust your baking time and take the bread or muffins out of the oven sooner, or you can increase your wet ingredients ever so slightly. For example, if you’re making an applesauce muffin with whole wheat flour, add just a bit more applesauce to compensate for the dryness of the whole wheat.

4.  Avoid over-mixing when you use whole-wheat all-purpose flour in baked goods such as cookies or muffins. Too much mixing will cause the flour to form glutens, which gives you a tougher, chewier end product. Some cooks choose to use a combination of whole wheat and white flour for a slightly fluffier end result. Depending on what you’re cooking, you may want to substitute anywhere from half to all of your white flour with whole wheat.

 

Source:  http://www.ehow.com/how_2299938_substitute-wholewheat-flour-white.html

Luck ‘o the Irish

Since I’ve been sick this week, my plans to make all kinds of delicious St. Patrick’s Day cupcakes and goodies has been halted.  Ugh.  But, because I’m still excited about St. Patrick’s Day, I decided to round up some of my favorite bloggers recipes for the holiday!  I hope you enjoy!! [Read more…]