A Spoonful of Sugar

Making every day life as a mom just a little bit sweeter.

May Moving Madness! Catering Amongst the Madness! May 19, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings!,May Moving Madness!,Teenagers! — Janine Chance @ 11:24 pm

Whew! Only…

Well, I’ve got about 80% of my packing done…not so bad! Today I have my home economics class coming all day to prep for tomorrow night. We are catering the Graduation for their school. Am I crazy? Probably. But it’s gonna be awesome! This will determine their final grade for the year. We will prep and make food today, and tomorrow, and serve the Graduation Party afterwards. We will be preparing hors d’oeuvres (yes, I had to look that one up….boy was my spelling way off!) and dessert for 100 people…in my little kitchen which is inundated with boxes and packing tape. Yup, I’m nuts. Must be from smelling those big ole sharpie markers I’m using to write on my boxes. Oh well, we’ll just pretend we’re doing an episode of ‘Dinner Impossible’! I’ll be sure to post pics of our craziness and my pretty cardboard box decor this weekend!

In the meantime, here’s the modest menu:


Turkey, Ham and Salami ‘Fake Out’ Sushi Rolls

Bruschetta Rounds

Oreo Truffles

Mini Caramel Cheesecake

Punch (provided by Ms Linda…thanks!)


Not bad, eh?

Stay tuned for pics and recipes next week!


May Moving Madness~Stuffed London Broil Recipe May 18, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,May Moving Madness! — Janine Chance @ 2:22 pm

Stuffed London Broil

4 pieces of sandwich bread (white or wheat)

1 c. milk

2 T. Olive Oil

1 small onion, diced

2 cloves chopped garlic

1 lb sweet Italian sausage, crumbled (I use turkey sausage, but whatever you like)

¾ c. pine nuts (pinoli)

1 pckge. Frozen spinach

2 t. dry basil

1 T. hot sauce

(1) 2 – 3 lb. London broil

1 c. fresh herbs (basil, thyme, oregano, marjoram or whatever you like)

Take the crust off of the bread and soak it in the milk. Preheat a pan on high; add olive oil and onion and sauté until translucent. Add garlic and cook about a minute, then add the sausage and pine nuts and cook for five minutes.

Squeeze the juice out of the spinach, and squeeze the milk out of the bread and add them to the sausage mixture, along with the dry basil. Season the mixture with the hot sauce and some salt. Heat it through, mixing well to incorporate the bread. Spread the mixture out onto a sheet pan and allow it to cool.

Cut a pocket into the London broil. (You want to have as much ‘stuffing room’ as possible, so carefully cut the pocket as close to the outside without puncturing through the sides. It’s like making a big ‘meat pita pocket’!)

Shove all of the fresh herbs inside, distributing evenly. Take cooled stuffing and stuff it inside the meat, packing it in tightly. Close the edges with either toothpicks or wooden skewers, cut into 3 in. pieces. Rub the outside of the London broil with olive oil and fresh garlic, and season with salt and pepper. Grill on high for 5 minutes, carefully flip it over, lower the heat to medium, and grill another 5 – 7 minutes or until it’s done to your liking.

This is an excellent recipe for a grill-out party with family or friends! Serve with vegetable skewers, roasted potatoes and corn on the cob for a great summer menu! Enjoy!

This post was linked to:



May Moving Madness!!! ~Thai Turkey Burgers May 11, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,May Moving Madness!,Movin' on up! — Janine Chance @ 12:21 am

Thai Turkey Burgers

2 lbs. ground turkey

½ c. Roasted garlic

2 T. ginger root, coarsely chopped

¼ t. red pepper flakes

½ t. black ground pepper

½ c. soy sauce

2 T. Olive oil

1 T. sesame oil

1 bunch (about 4) chopped green onions

¼ c. chopped fresh basil

Cheese of choice (opt…I used provolone)

In a mini blender, or chopper, combine roasted garlic, (click link for recipe) ginger root, red pepper flakes, black pepper, soy sauce, olive and sesame oils. Let ‘er rip until it’s made into a paste. Add the paste to turkey, along with the green onions and basil, and mix completely. Shape into 6 – 8 patties, depending on size. Spray the grill grates with cooking spray to avoid sticking, and grill burgers until no longer pink, adding cheese (opt.) the last-minute or so until melted.

I served these on thin buns with grilled onions, my Asian slaw, seasoned fries, and roasted asparagus… DELISH!

Definitely putting this one in the recipe arsenal!

This recipe was linked to:



Dip, Drool, Drizzle and Giggle! May 8, 2010

Today is our Mother-Daughter Banquet at church. I certainly have the whole ‘mother and daughter’ part of this shindig covered, wouldn’t you say? The church asked my Mom-in-Law (who is a pastor) to speak. My oldest daughter will be playing the guitar, my middle daughter will be on the drums, I will be singing, and of course,my little one will be greeting people at the door. Pretty awesome, huh? Talk about a family affair! My hubby is the pastor, but he’s not invited.  No boys allowed!

Anyway, I went shopping yesterday afternoon for the decorations and such, then went to the church to set it all up. I took Gracie and Monkey with me to help (my middle and youngest.) It’s a good thing, too, or I’d have been there forever! They were such a huge help…(although I did allow them the choice to either keep their punishment from earlier and go to bed early, or come help me set up. Of course, they chose to help. Smart girls! Who am I kidding…smart mommy! I was outta there in like half the time!)

Afterwards, I came home and started on my ‘dessert offering’ for the banquet. I was also going to make my ‘meal offering’ which was my rockin’ chicken salad on croissants, (to be posted next week) but it was already quarter to eleven. Oops. Oh well, late night again! As I started to set up, all three of my girls came into the kitchen, washed their hands and turned to me with a smile. Now, it’s certainly not routine for my children to be awake and ready to go at eleven o’clock at night, much less me being ready to begin a project like this at that time, but looking at the amount of work  ahead of me, I smiled back and set up their stations. My little sous chefs were ready to party!

OOOHH! Chocolate covered strawberries drizzled with white chocolate!

(I think the inevitable ‘chef’s snack’ as I call it, was definitely an incentive!)

Don’t they look yummy? I am definitely not a big fan of chocolate, but even I get excited about these!

I know, I know…you’re thinking “She’s nuts! Not a big fan of chocolate?!”

Nope…I don’t really get into sweets all that much.

However, I can be a sucker for Starburst and the most hard-core sour candy you can dish out from time to time!

How am I doin’ Mom?

I think she said, “I can’t wait until tomorrow…” like a hundred times!

Oh yeah, I think my help is fading….she’s using her non-dipping arm to hold her head up!

I think I lost the two younger ones around 11:45…and my oldest bailed about a half hour later.

I know it’s late, but we had fun, and it was a Friday night. They can sleep in.

We dipped. We drooled. We drizzled…and we definitely giggled.

Another fun memory for the “Remember that time we…” box.

Here’s the finished product in the fridge ready for the banquet:


Good thing I took this picture…I’ll use it as evidence if there are any missing strawberries when I take them out for the banquet in the morning…

Hmmmm we’ll see……?

Happy Saturday!


Asian Broccoli Slaw ~ Healthalicious! May 3, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food,To your health! — Janine Chance @ 6:29 am

I make this slaw for almost any summer gathering. It’s a great alternative to a mayo-based coleslaw…much lighter and just plain yummy. You won’t disappoint!

Click on any of the highlighted ingredients for nutritional values. You are what you eat!

Asian Broccoli Slaw
2 (12 oz) bags of broccoli slaw (I like the one with carrots and purple cabbage..mmm!)

1 bunch of green onions (about 4) sliced on the bias using all white and ½ of the green

2 packages of Oriental Flavored Ramen noodles (seasoning inc.)

1/3 cup rice or rice wine vinegar

2 – 3 T. sugar (more or less to taste)

1 T. sesame oil

1 T. vegetable oil (optional)

4 oz. package of almond slivers or slices

4 oz. package of sunflower seeds (shelled)

In a large bowl, combine the broccoli slaw and green onions, set aside.

Toast the almonds and sunflower seeds in a pan (keep watch on these suckers…they burn quick!)

For the dressing, combine both packs of oriental seasoning from the Ramen Noodles, vinegar, sugar, and oil. Taste it and make sure the combination suits you. Adjust accordingly. (Some like more vinegar, pepper, a little salt…you know…make it your own.)

Place Ramen Noodles in a large Ziploc and crush with a rolling pin. Not too small, but enough to where there are no large chunks.

(If you are taking this to a picnic, or won’t be eating it right away, seal everything up, and assemble about ½ hr. before.)

Place Ramen Noodles, sunflower seeds and almonds on top of the broccoli slaw and green onions. Pour dressing over the top and combine well. Again, taste and adjust seasonings to your liking.

This post was linked to:  MmmMonday @ Mommy Living the Life of Riley!

and will be linked to:


Roasted Garlic and Feta Cheese Turkey Burgers and Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries…can you say, Yum? April 20, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,To your health! — Janine Chance @ 4:00 am

These burgers rock. Turkey can be difficult to keep moist, but not with this recipe! I made these the other night. My 7 year old took a bite, looked at me and said, “Man! These things are moist! Is that the right word, Momma? Moist?” So, there you go! It’s also a much healthier twist on the traditional ‘burger and fries’!

Roasted Garlic and Feta Turkey Burgers

(I always make 8 burgers because my fam loves leftovers…if you don’t want to make as much, cut the recipe in half!)

This is what your garlic paste will look like!

3 lbs. ground turkey (Click here for a beef vs. turkey comparison!)

6 oz. crumbled feta cheese

Roasted garlic paste (see my easy roasted garlic recipe here. Once you have your roasted garlic, simply mash or blend with about 4-5 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil…wa-lah! Roasted garlic paste!

Kosher (or whatever kind you use) salt and Fresh black cracked pepper to taste

Provolone or mozzarella cheese (Or none! Whatever you prefer)

Burger outfit (A.K.A. hamburger buns…I use the word ‘outfit’ because everyone has their favorite. It ‘dresses’ the burger so you can get it into your mouth without making your hands a mess! I love those thin buns by Earth Grains...it’s just enough bread without taking away from the burger..yummy! My kids love them, too!)

Burger ‘Accessories’, or Topping suggestions: Sliced tomato, fresh spinach, avocado, crispy sautéed red onions or bean sprouts..it’s all good!)

Now, for the 1-2-3 burger process*!

Place turkey, feta, roasted garlic paste, salt and pepper in a stand mixer, or you can just use your hands (don’t forget to take your rings off…yuk!) Gently mix all ingredients until well blended. Shape the meat into a ball. Using the side of your hand, score the meat into fourths. Take each fourth and split it in two. This will keep your burgers all the same size. Place on heated grill about 4 min. each side, adding the cheese the last minute to melt.

*Here’s the 1-2-3 burger process:

1. Mix

2. Shape

3. Grill

Seasoned Sweet Potato Fries

4 medium sweet potatoes, washed, dried and cut into fries. (I leave the skins on …tons of fiber and other vitamins!

(Click here for quick sweet potato info.!)

extra virgin olive oil

kosher salt and cracked black pepper

seasoning of choice (suggestions: paprika, cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, or, you can even use a pre-packaged taco seasoning mix if you like!)

parchment paper (important!)

(regular potatoes can be made this same way…I make a combination sometimes depending on what I have on hand, as seen in the picture at the top!)

Pre-heat oven to 425°.

In a bowl, place the fries, oil, and all seasonings. Toss until all of the sweet potatoes are completely coated. Place parchment paper on a large

baking sheet. This is important because of the high natural sugar content in a sweet potato. The parchment paper ensures that the fries won’t stick. If you have to use foil, make sure it is coated well with olive oil cooking spray.

Bake at 425° for about 30 – 40 minutes. If you can’t serve immediately, turn oven to 150° to keep fries warm.

Most kids don’t look at potatoes or sweet potatoes as a vegetable on their plate, so it’s easy to throw in some broccoli or asparagus for additional veggie intake! Enjoy!

How do you get your kids to eat their veggies?

This post was linked to:

Blessed With Grace

Balancing Beauty and Bedlam

All the Small Stuff

$5 Dinner Mom

Bacwoods Fern’s ‘Two Things I Love’ Tuesday

Kelly the Kitchen Kop’s

and will be linked to

Designs by Gollum’s


Scooby Snack~ Tip of the Day! Prelude to a recipe… April 19, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Home Ec Happenings!,Scooby Snack~Tip of the Day — Janine Chance @ 7:00 am

I love garlic. My family loves garlic. Being Sicilian (that’s way down in the boot Italian), I grew up with garlic in every way shape and form. My dad would pop whole cloves in his mouth like it was candy. Ok, I’m not that extreme. Needless to say, there are very few of my recipes that don’t have garlic in the first few ingredients. It’s a good thing that it’s good for you, and fat-free! Go here to see the nutritional and medicinal properties. It might surprise you what these little stinky nuggets have to offer!

Having said all of that, one of my favorite ways to use/have garlic is roasted. Roasted garlic is definitely one of my top 10 faves as far as flavor goes. Garlic goes from strong and pungent to sweet and nutty in just one hour with little preparation or work. It’s so simple to do it’s almost sickening, so I decided to share this little morsel of cooking 101 with you, so you can utilize it in your future menu planning and recipes.

Here’s how we do garlic in our house:

I told you we love garlic! I even gave it a spotlight!

3 lbs. at a time baby…gotta love Sam’s Club!

Ingredients for roasting garlic:

Garlic cloves

(No duh! Seriously, though, I usually use about 20 cloves. Once you mash them up, it’s really not extreme.)

Extra virgin olive oil

Kosher salt (or whatever you use)

Fresh cracked black pepper

Tin foil


What to do:

1. Fold a decent-sized piece of tin foil in half to make it sturdy.

2. Place garlic cloves in the center in a pile.

3. Drizzle a generous amount of olive oil over the top of the garlic.

4. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

It will look like this:

(I used a piece of my ‘recycled’ foil…that stuff’s not cheap!)

5. Fold the foil around the garlic tightly to form a nicely sealed pouch.

(You don’t want garlic leakage in your oven! Yikes!)

6. Place the sealed pouch of goodness into your oven at 400° for one hour.

I use my countertop convection oven…LOVE that thing! No need to fire up the big ol’ oven for this!

(Time to clean off the crumb tray…eek!)

After one hour, this is what you’ll have:

Click Here.

We REALLY love garlic.

Stay tuned for my recipe for Roasted Garlic Turkey Burgers coming next week!

What are some of your recipes that call for roasted garlic?

This post was linked to:

the Tuesday 30-minute blog challenge at steadymom.com .


Potato and Leek Soup~Ode to the root vegetable! April 15, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food — Janine Chance @ 6:57 am

This is definitely a worthy re-post. Healthy, versatile, and warm-weather friendly!

My Potato Leek Soup

3 TBSP. butter

3 leeks, sliced thin

1 large onion, diced

2 – 3 garlic cloves chopped fine

8 red potatoes, sliced thin with skin on

3 – 4 c. ‘Medicine Soup’, or broth of choice (you can use vegetable broth and make it a vegetarian meal also!)

1 c. heavy cream (don’t freak, health nuts, it only amounts to a few TBSP. per serving!)

1/2 lb. deli ham of choice, diced

salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

On medium heat, melt the butter in a Dutch oven, or heavy bottomed pot and add leeks, onion, and garlic. Saute, stirring until onions are sweated out and starting to brown. Add sliced potatoes and almost completely cover with chicken broth. Cook until potatoes are tender. Using a potato masher or an immersion blender, mash the potatoes until you reach the consistency you want. The soup will thicken as you mash the potatoes, so turn the heat down as to not scorch the soup. Add the heavy cream, salt and pepper to taste, stir, and cook about 10 – 12 minutes more, stirring often. Add ham and cook another 5 minutes or until ham is heated through. Serve with a side of crusty bread.

By using the ‘Medicine Soup’, I am serving up some serious all natural goodness. By adding potatoes and leeks, plus more garlic, onions, etc… you’ll be running a marathon in no time! (Disclaimer: This is not a guarantee. Eating this soup will not ensure marathon greatness.) Below are some links you can follow to learn more about the properties of these ingredients. I posted links about garlic, onions, carrots, ginger root, and celery in yesterday’s post, so here are links for leeks and potatoes, if you’re wanting more of an education on what you’re serving up!



Enjoy, friends, enjoy!

This recipe was linked to:


‘Maters ‘n’ Bread’ A.K.A. ~Bruschetta April 13, 2010

Filed under: Calling all bloggers!,Crazy Good Food — Janine Chance @ 7:14 am

Bruschetta, (or as my southern friends like to call it, ‘Maters ‘n’ Bread’!)

*Disclaimer – I never measure with this recipe, so I had to guesstimate all of these amounts. Some may need to be altered, just use your best judgment!

I make a whole loaf of this at once, because if I don’t, people get upset. This recipe makes a whole loaf of bruschetta. You certainly could make individual slices, I just find this to be a much easier, quicker route, and it feeds a crowd without bending over the counter for an hour topping each little piece of bread. I’ve done up to 4 loaves of these babies in under an hour!

One loaf of your favorite crusty bread (I like to use ciabatta, or a focaccia loaf, but whatever makes you smile is fine)

2 – 2 1/2 lbs. ripe Roma tomatoes, diced (You can use petite diced tomatoes in a can, drained, but I think fresh is best)

4 cloves garlic, minced

1 shallot, diced (can substitute 1/2 an onion, diced)

1/4 c. extra virgin olive oil

3 – 4 Tbsp. red wine vinegar

1/2 – 3/4 c. fresh basil leaves, roughly chopped

1/4 c. fresh parsley, roughly chopped

salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste

8 – 10 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese, cut or broken into small chunks

8 oz. goat cheese

1/3 c. parmesan cheese

Pre-heat oven to 400°.

In a large bowl, combine tomatoes, garlic, onion, olive oil, vinegar, basil, parsley, mozzarella cheese, salt and pepper. Mix thoroughly. Allow the mixture to sit for about 15 minutes. After 15 minutes or so, drain the ‘juice’ from the tomato mixture. You don’t want soggy bruschetta..yuck! You’ll still have some in there, and that’s okay, you just want to get rid of the bulk of the water from the tomatoes.

Slice the bread evenly down the middle into two pieces. (If you are using a loaf that is rounded on the bottoms, slice off a 1/4 inch of the rounded part to make the bread lay flat, so it will be easier to work with and you won’t lose any yummy stuff!) Spray or brush bread with olive oil, then lightly salt and pepper it. Place it in the oven and let it toast to a golden brown.

When bread is toasted and slightly cooled, spread goat cheese on both halves.

(If you don’t dig goat cheese, you can use provolone slices. Just put the provolone slices on, then stick it back in the oven until it melts.)

You can put the bread back in the oven if you want to warm up your goat cheese a little, but it’s not necessary.

Using a slotted spoon, heap the tomato mixture on top of the bread, spreading it out evenly. Top with parmesan cheese and a little extra basil, for garnish.

To serve, I just use a large knife and cut each half in sections according to desired size. I’ve made this as an appetizer, but also as the main course served with a green salad.

Yum….I think that’s what’s on the menu for tonight!

This post was linked to:




Monkey See, Monkey Sous! April 9, 2010

Filed under: Crazy Good Food,Parenting 101,Parenting Pre-teens,Parenting Toddlers — Janine Chance @ 8:32 am

While my two oldest daughters were working with their Dad yesterday afternoon, I recruited my youngest to be my sous chef. I love getting my kids in the kitchen, one-on-one. Love those private lessons!

We made a marinated grilled leg of lamb, homemade mint jelly, roasted rosemary potatoes and sautéed broccoli. Yum! (I’ll post that one next week!)

I know, I know, it sounds like Easter Dinner! Well…it was! We went out-of-town last-minute on Sunday afternoon, so I made my Easter dinner last night!

So, Monkey came to me and asked if she could play the Wii while I made dinner.

(That’s what we call my youngest daughter because she literally climbs the door jambs and plasters her skinny little body to the ceiling. She’s nuts!)

I reminded her she was punished from the Wii…”Oh yeah, I forgot,” she said with a weak smile.

Honestly, I was so sleepy because I hadn’t slept good the night before, and the thought ran through my mind…’Oh, just let her play the Wii…just this once…what’s the big deal?

Then you can get your therapy session (cooking) in alone…with no distractions…nice and quiet…’

I snapped out of the fantasy, brushed the devil off of my left shoulder, smiled at the angel on my right and said,

“Why don’t you come in the kitchen and be my sous chef?”

Disappointed about not getting to play the Wii, but realizing that this option wasn’t so bad, she looked me quizzically and said, “Do I get to chop anything?”

Of course, that’s their favorite part…it makes them feel like real ‘chefs’!

“Absolutely,” I replied.

This was the prep work for chopping the mint. Selecting the best leaves, discarding the yucky ones…

Sorting, measuring, fractions…ahhhh…makes a home-school mama’s day!

Then comes the fun part…chopping!

I have this great little knife my MIL gave to me years ago.

It’s got a handle on it that her little hand fits into perfectly which makes it easy to control and it’s a ‘rocker’ knife. I love it!

Carefully…hand on top, keeping the little fingers from becoming part of the recipe!

You can really see the knife in this pic …if you don’t have one, get one! It’s got a great handle that her little hand fits into perfectly, and it rocks back and forth easily.

Oh yeah! She’s got the hang of it now, baby!

I’m so glad I stuck to my guns and said no to the Wii…for her sake, and mine!

I kept my promise.

My promise to love her enough to follow through and help her make positive decisions.

Giving in is so tempting ! However, it will never serve you or your children well.

The easy, non-confrontational road looks so serene and pretty for the moment, but inevitably ends up either a dead-end, really rocky and you end up blowing out a tire, or sends you both off a cliff.

This alternate route ended up being quite picturesque, very smooth, and we reached our destination without a hitch!

The dinner was yummy, too! Bonus!