Saturday, October 16, 2010

Recipe: My Favorite Mexican Rice

We do alot of Mexican inspired dinners in my house for many reasons, they're easy, relatively inexpensive, most can be made ahead of time and lets face it Mexican food is delicious! I used to buy the premade Mexican rice in a package but it seemed they were either too spicy for my daughter "Too Phicy Mommy!!" or the flavors between brands were inconsistent. So now I make my own and it is SUPER easy and I enjoy my side of rice even more (and so does everyone else which makes dinner much more pleasant) Plus everything needed I keep on hand so I can whip up a batch at anytime.

Mexican Rice

1/2 c. White Rice
1 14oz can of diced tomatos & their juice
1/2 a med. size yellow onion chopped
1 clove of garlic chopped
3/4 c. water
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper

Heat stove to medium and place olive oil in a med-large size frying pan. Cook onions for about 4-5 minutes, add garlic & cook 1 more minute. Add tomatoes and their juice, rice, water and salt & pepper to taste. Turn heat down to low and cover stirring about every 5 minutes. Cook about 10-15 minutes or until all water/juice is absorbed.
Yummy :)

Quick & Easy Cupcakes To-Go

It always seems like a good idea offering to bring cupcakes to events, and usually when I sign up I have a million ideas how I want to decorate, flavor, etc. But then reality sets in and its 9pm the night before and I have completley forgotten! So here is my "short cut" cupcake plan for last minute treats that look pretty darn cute.
You will need:
1 box cupcake mix (such as Betty Crocker)
1 tub frosting (such as Betty Crocker)
Cupcake mix ingredients: vegtable oil & eggs
1 bottle of sprinkles

Make the cupcakes according to box direcions, cool - then frost and decorate in alternating designs. When you plate them altogether they look great and no one will know it took less than an hour :)
*Added bonus: 2 dozen cupcakes for about $5

  • To get the all over sprinkled look: Pour sprinkles in a low bowl or on a plate. Frost lightly and holding the bottom of the cupcake place frosting side down onto sprinkles and lightly roll till entire cupcake top is covered.

  • To get the rimmed sprinkle look: Pour sprinkles into a low bowl or on a plate. Frost cupcake and holding cupcake from the bottom set side of cupcake onto sprinkles and roll only the edge till a "rimmed" look is achieved.

  • To get the center polka dot look: Frost cupcake, and with fingers pick up a small stack of sprinkles and place in center.

Halloween Decor A la Pottery Barn

I saw in the latest Pottery Barn Halloween edition cute little mini pumpkins wrapped with ribbon and I thought they looked so cute, so I created my own version with some Halloween ribbon I found 50% at Michaels. I think it turned out cute, and they looked great sitting in a large bowl scattered with some wicker balls I had.
*I even took the leftover ribbon, curled it and made a korker for my little one to wear for her Halloween party and to the pumpkin patch :) For a korker tutorial click here

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

All That and A Bag of Carrots

With everything in my life becoming so chaotic, I've given myself a fun little challenge to try and find 101 things to make out of a bag of carrots - my favorite grocery store bargain. $1.79 for a 5 lb. bag of carrots is a steal considering all the things you can do with carrots! Definitely an underutilized veggie. Here are my first 10:

  1. Carrot sticks - an all time favorite, dip them in ranch or hummus or simply eat them plain. Nutritious, low calorie and tasty! Trust me if you cut them up and set them out - they will get eaten
  2. Roasted Carrots with Parsley - peel and slice carrots, mix with a little olive oil, salt, pepper and chopped parsley. Bake in a 350 oven for 15 minutes or until roasted
  3. Homemade baby food - Peel and steam carrots, blend in a blender with a little water till desired consistency and your done! Short Cut Mommy tip: freeze in freezable container up to 2 months and defrost in microwave when ready to use.
  4. Carrot Soup with Crab - A fabulous recipe found in Sunset Magazine years ago. Sooo Good!
  5. Stock - Throw some carrots (peeled or not) in a pot with celery, (cooked) chicken remains, onions, parsley, salt & pepper. Fill pot with enough water to cover everything and boil for 2 hours. Strain and instant homemade broth! Short Cut Mommy tip: Fill reusable ice trays with broth, freeze. Pop out and keep in a freezable plastic container to use as needed.
  6. Carrot Juice - Full of vitamins and tasty!
  7. Chop up and throw in a stir fry - Carrots are a great addition to any stir fry and add gorgeous orange color.
  8. Shred on top of salads - Short Cut Mommy tip: If you have a food processor with a grate blade, shred a few and keep in the fridge ready to use.
  9. Carrot Cake - I LOVE carrot cake especially this recipe from Barefoot Contessa
  10. Shrimp & Veggie Summer Rolls - Delicious, refreshing, actually easier than you think! Check out the recipe found in Food & Wine Magazine.

I look forward to posting the next 10 great carrot finds!!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Quick Dust

I am one of the lucky ones who have light colored Pergo wood floors in my kitchen, and I have to say they look great when they are clean and shiny! But, they show everything - and I am constantly getting out my swiffer to do a quick dry mop. But I have to say the swiffer dry mop pads are a little costly when using 1 a day, so the other day I tried using a used dryer sheet that was left in the laundry basket and it worked great! I take 2 of them (so the cover the entire mop) and wrap them and tuck them into the grooves provided. A great (cheap) way to dry mop!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

My Favorite Granola Recipe

This recipe is AMAZING! The original recipe is actually for the chewy granola bar (sort of like the ones Quaker makes) but I altered it a little and make my own version, plus a version of regular granola to put on yogurt, oatmeal etc. Here are my 2 versions adapted from the original recipe found at

Chewy Granola Bars

2 1/4 c. rolled oats
1/2 c whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/3 c. butter (softened or melted)
1/4 c. honey
1/4 c. brown sugar
3/4 c. chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325, and grease (I use PAM) a 8x11 (or comparable) pan
Mix all ingredients together in a stand mixer, until combined. Spread in the greased pan, and pack down. Bake for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool 10 minutes then cut into bars.

Crumbled Granola Version

Same ingredients as above EXCEPT chocolate chips. Same procedure except use a baking sheet (still need to grease) and bake 10 minutes then use a spatula to turn/ spread, bake 5 more minutes or until golden.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Party Planning

I am a huge fan of planning, organizing and hosting parties, especially when I find helpful short cuts to help me get through an event happily and without exhausting myself! So I will be adding a new section to Short Cut Mommy with planning ideas, strategies and tips. I am organizing a party this weekend for my sister's college graduation so that will be my first blog entry! In observance I am posting a preview of a little addition I am making...the idea came from Bakerella and they are SO cute and creative, I love them! Stay tuned for the complete photo gallery post after the event this weekend. Cheers!