Tag Archives: cooking

Homemade Cream Soup Substitute

Alright….I’m slowly straying away from canned foods. This includes “cream of ___ soup” that is so commonly used in recipes. I’m a casserole girl. Love ’em. Cream of “whatever” soup is so necessary in American cooking….so I found a substitute using ingredients I always have on hand!

fontcandy.pngYeah, I’m not willing to pay for any apps so I can’t remove that watermark in the corner…anyway…back to the recipe…

Cream of mushroom, cream of chicken, cream of celery, you get the picture. 

It takes about 10 minutes.

One batch equals one 10.75 oz can of cream of ___ soup. 

Here’s what you need:
-2 Tablespoons butter (I use unsalted)
-3 Tablespoons flour
-1/2 cup chicken broth
-1/2 cup milk (I use 2%, but you can also use 1% or whole)
-1/4 teaspoon salt (you can also use garlic salt!)
-1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Here’s what you do:

  1. Measure everything out, since you’ll need it ready to pour when it’s time. 
  2. In a small sauce pan, melt the butter over medium-low heat.
  3. Whisk in the flour. It will become a clump that looks like Play-Doh. Let it cook, stirring it around, for 1-2 minutes.
  4. Slowly stir in chicken broth. This is where I had to use a spatula to scrape the flour mixture out of the bottom edges….
  5. Slowly stir in milk.
  6. Whisk until it begins to thicken….it takes a few minutes.
  7. Let it simmer for a few minutes, stirring occasionally
  8. Add the salt and pepper and STIR. 
  9. Add to your recipe of whatever you’re making!

It’s that easy! 
Here are some pics of my process. 

Gathering the goodness….

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And when you add the flour, it gets lumpy like this and can get stuck up in the whisk….just shake it off…

And add the liquid and stir….I had to use a spatula here to get the flour mixture out of the edges…

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Add the rest, and let it thicken!

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Enjoy! Let me know how yours turns out!

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The Easiest Way to Shred Chicken

Seriously. The easiest way to shred chicken. I used to use 2 forks to shred my chicken and it took so long. Not any more!

First, cook chicken breasts on high in Crock Pot for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours with whatever seasonings you want.

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2. Place in Kitchen Aid mixer and mix for about 1 minute, until all is shredded!

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There you go! Easy, right? I told you. 

Make sure the chicken is warm when you are shredding it!

Here’s a video if you so desire…

Now go shred all the chicken!

If you’re looking for a good recipe to use your shredded chicken in, here you go!

Click here to see how to make Chicken and Cheese Lasagna Roll-ups

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Best Croutons Ever

There was this one time when I made croutons…OK, I’ve made them like 5 times. They are so good. 

About a year ago, my friend Trish gave me the crouton recipe that she uses, and I made them…AND THEY WERE AMAZING. I made them with both white bread and wheat bread. My friend Trish makes them with gluten-free bread. Any way you go, they will be amazing. 

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Super easy AND super delicious. And when you make them, your house smells fabulous.

This recipe makes about 3 or 4 cups of croutons. It depends on what size and type of bread you use, and how small you make them. 

Here is what you will need:

  • 6 slices of bread
  • 3 Tablespoons melted butter
  • 1/2 teaspoons garlic salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • grated Parmesan cheese

Here’s what you do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Trim the crust off of the bread.
  3. Slice the bread, and then cube it. You can decide on the size. However you choose, that will be the size of your croutons.
  4. Mix melted butter, garlic salt, parsley, and Parmesan until no longer lumpy.
  5. Toss butter mixture with cubed bread in a medium bowl until the cubes are evenly coated.
  6. Cover a baking sheet with foil. You don’t need to do this, but it really makes for an easier cleanup.
  7. Spray the baking sheet (or foil, if you covered it) with non-stick spray.
  8. Spread the coated bread crumbs in a single layer on the baking sheet.
  9. Bake for 15 minutes and check to see if they are dry, crispy, and golden brown.
  10. If they need more time, check it every 3 or 4 minutes. Sometimes mine are done in 15, sometimes it’s 25. It depends on the kind of bread I use. 
  11. Take the croutons out and turn them over. I just use my fingers for this. They’re not super hot, and it doesn’t take as much time as you think it would.
  12. Bake for 15 more minutes, until they are done. Again, if it needs more time, give it more time.
  13. Let them cool. Eat some while you wait. 
  14. Store the croutons in an air-tight container, or a Ziplock bag (my preference).
  15. Enjoy!

They are great on salad, in soups, or just eaten as a snack! I took them to class plenty of times and my friends enjoyed eating croutons with me. 

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Living in Romania: Things I’ve Gotten Used To

I have been living in Iaşi, Romania for the past month and a half, which  means I’m about halfway through my internship. So hard to believe!

I have gotten used to a different lifestyle than I am used to. Here is a sampling of some of the things I have gotten used to while living here. This has become my life, and it will be weird to go back to my old ways when I get back to the United States. 

1. Walking everywhere.

I was the girl who had a car, had 3 jobs in 3 different cities (within an hour of each other, don’t worry) and drove everywhere. I am now the girl that is used to walking to get groceries, go to work, go see friends, go have fun, anything. And I love it. 

2. Only buying what I can carry home.

I was the girl who was used to shopping at Costco every other month, and driving to and from the grocery store every other week or so. I am now the girl who that is used to walking to and from the grocery store every time I need something, and carrying it home…or simply going without.

3. Running the water for 5 minutes before I can shower.

I was the girl who was spoiled by the convenience of hot water straight from the tap (okay, sometimes I had to wait, but it was always less than 1 minute). I am now the girl that knows to start the water early when I know I’ll want to shower soon.

4. Paying for drinking water.

I was the girl who was spoiled by the clean water coming through the tap whenever I was thirsty. I was the girl who always ordered water when she ate out, because that is my favorite drink. I am now the girl who is used to buying all her drinking water. I buy it at the restaurant. I buy it from the store to take home. And if I forget to bring my water bottle with me during the day, I have to buy it when I am out and about.

5. Cooking and baking without measurements.

I was the girl who was ever so precise when it came to cooking and baking. I had to measure out everything that went into the food I was making. I am now the girl who is very apprehensive to try to bake, knowing that I am guessing on how full the mug is and if I think it’s the right amount. This is something I totally still struggle with, and I can’t wait to get back to my own kitchen gadgets.  

6. Delicious chocolate.

I was the girl who enjoyed a chocolate bars when I was in the mood. Now I am the girl who is obsessed with Kinder (and Milka) chocolate at any time of day, and am convinced that American chocolate is a joke. As my friend Emily says: “The US probably has some FDA regulation about candy tasting too good.”

7. Lighting the oven and the stove.

I was the girl who was just like most Americans, with the oven and stove that starts right when you want it to. Now I am the girl who is used to making sure we always have matches so we can light the stove and the oven when we need to use them.

8. Hang drying my laundry.

I was the girl who would wait until the last minute to do her laundry, knowing that it would be good to go in less than 3 hours once I finally got around to doing it. I am now the girl who has a tiny washer and no dryer, with a balcony, a clothesline, and clothespins. It takes a few days for the clothes to dry on the balcony. Luckily, we have 7 hangers so we can hang stuff inside, and it only takes overnight to dry…usually. Then we can rotate the outside clothes to the hangers inside. I’ve gotten used to this process.

9. Volunteering all day.

I was the girl who was a full-time student, with 2, 3, or 4 part-time jobs (depending on the year), and still found time to volunteer sometimes. I am now the girl who wakes up, volunteers at an orphanage, goes home and eats lunch, volunteers at a hospital (or a Kindergarten, depending on the day), and then goes home and eats dinner. And most nights, I am on my computer becoming best friends with Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically Pro as I make boards for the 15-year old I work with. Or, you can find me trying to think of ways to adapt games that I love to play, so that he can play them as well. And I love it.

10. Leaving the windows open.

I used to be the girl who would leave my house and not worry about if I’d remembered to leave my windows open or not. I am now the girl that has to remember to crack the windows open before I leave to avoid mold. And I must say, my roommate and I have gotten pretty good at remembering!

However, I realize that when I get back home, most of these things that I’ve gotten used to will no longer be applicable to me in America.
And that’s okay.
It is simply two different lifestyles, and I love them both.

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Easter

Happy Easter! It is wonderful to know that Jesus Christ has risen!

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Here is a short video about Easter and Christ:

Here is a longer video about the story of Easter:

To learn more about Easter, check out this website.

I encourage you to find time today to thank our Heavenly Father and Jesus Christ for their sacrifice. It is such a great and wondrous gift.

I also hope you find sometime to bake today! Here’s some recipes that might make your Easter delicious:

Sheridan’s Speedy Rolls

Thick, Soft Sugar Cookies

Easter Basket Cupcakes

Easter Bunny Cupcakes

Easter Bird Next Cupcakes

Again, Happy Easter! He lives!

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Reindeer Cupcakes

Merry Christmas!

These are some of the easiest cupcakes ever!

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For each cupcake, you will need:

  • chocolate cake mix
  • chocolate icing
  • two mini pretzels
  • one Nilla Wafer
  • one brown or one red M&M
  • two white M&M’s
  • black gel icing

Here’s what you do:
1. Make the cupcakes according to directions on the box.
2. After they are cool, frost one cupcake.
3. Add a Nilla Wafer for the face.
4. Add two pretzels for antlers.
5. Dip one side of the brown or red M&M in the frosting.
6. Place it on the Nilla Wafer for a nose.
7. Put the two white M&M’s on for eyes.
8. Using the black gel icing, put a small dot on each white M&M to finish the eyes.
9. Repeat with the rest of the cupcakes.

Friendly tip: Don’t frost all the cupcakes first, and then expect to go back and add the toppings. The icing will harden as you go, so do each cupcake right after you frost it. 

Where do I find white M&M’s? Well, I got mine at a party supply store, Zurchers. They have M&M’s there that you can buy by color. So I’d suggest checking with your local party supply store. If you can’t find them, you can also just use upside-down white chocolate chips!
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Aren’t they so cute?

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Let me know how yours turn out!

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