October 29, 2012

Foodie Friends Friday Linky Party Give-a-way Sponsor

This weekend I will be sponsoring one of the give-a-way items on the http://www.foodiefriendsfriday.com/ Linky Party, one of my hand knit multi-colored scarves from my Etsy shop. If you have a blog, you can link up a recipe in the contest, but EVERYONE can enter to win one of the prizes even if you don't have a blog! Just click the above link sometime between Thursday evening and Sunday to register for the random drawing.  You can visit my Etsy shop at http://etsy.com/shop/adornedwell to check out all the other items I have in my shop.

Foodie Friends Friday

October 28, 2012

Low Carb Stuffed Green Peppers Recipe

I mentioned in a previous post that I am definitely a stress eater.  Life always seems to be too stressful, so you guessed it, I had been stress eating!  I decided to try to eat a low carb diet lately in order to kick start weight loss and healthier eating.  For the most part, I am sticking to low carb veggies (green ones mostly), lean meats, eggs, salads and healthy fats and oils (olive oil).  The challenge has been to incorporate low carb options without adding unhealthy carbs and fats and also to not get bored with my food options at the same time.  Today I decided to whip up a modified version of stuffed green peppers.

I used Jennie-O ground turkey mixed with some ground beef to improve the health slightly and omitted the rice.


1 1/4 lbs Jennie-O ground turkey
1/2 lb ground beef
6 small green peppers (if using large, reduce to 4)
1/2 large white or yellow onion
2 cloves fresh garlic
3/4 cup tomato puree
2 Tbsp salsa
1 tsp salt
1 tsp season salt
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 Tbsp dried oregano
2 Tsp dried basil
2 cups shredded monterrey jack and colby cheese blend (divided)


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cut tops off green peppers (reserve tops) and clean green peppers. Place empty pepper cups in a pot of boiling water for approximately 5 minutes to slightly cook and soften the pepper. Remove, drain and place in a baking dish.

Meanwhile, dice reserved green pepper tops (discarding stems), onion and garlic. Place in a skillet along with the ground turkey and ground beef. Cook at medium-high until done. Reduce heat to medium-low and add spices, salsa and tomato puree.

Continue to cook until heated through. Turn off heat and add 1 cup of the shredded cheese and stir until mixed well.

Fill each pepper cup to the top with meat mixture. Top with remaining 1 cup of shredded cheese.

Place baking dish in oven and cook just until cheese has melted and starts to slightly brown. Serve along with a spinach or tossed salad or other vegetable of your choice.

I decided to only fill 4 small pepper cups and use the remaining meat mixture this week in some other dishes. . .I think it would be great mixed in with scrambled eggs!
I estimate that this entire recipe has approximately 18 carbs.  Since it will serve 6, that averages out to be only about 3 carbs per serving.  This is low on the carb scale, but much higher on the taste scale!
Foodie Friends Friday

October 19, 2012

Peanut Butter Cup-Cupcakes Recipe

For a while this year, my son worked for a horticulture company and had a job right across from a well known cupcake bakery here in St. Louis. His boss treated the work crew once in a while to their cupcakes. They make fantastic cupcakes, and I bought some for his 18th birthday instead of a traditional cake. His absolute favorite is the chocolate peanut butter ones. They are fantastic, but quite pricey in my opinion.
For his graduation party this past June, I decided that in addition to a traditional "congratulations graduate" cake that I wanted to make him some homemade chocolate peanut butter cupcakes similar to the ones he first fell in love with from the local bakery. So, like most people do these days, I jumped on Pinterest to see what I could find for a good recipe. I found one that was similar to what I wanted and I just modified it from there. The original recipe is titled "Take 5 Cupcakes".   I have changed this up to use Reese's Peanut Butter cups instead of the Take 5 candies.  I think it is the best peanut butter-butter cream frosting I have ever tasted, if I do say so myself!

Peanut Butter Cup-Cupcakes

(Originally titled "Take 5 Cupcakes")

Yield: 24 Cupcakes
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 22 minutes


For the Cupcakes

1 (18.25 ounce) package devil’s food cake mix (I use Betty Crocker Super Moist)
1 (5.9 ounce) package instant chocolate pudding mix
1 cup sour cream
1 cup vegetable oil
4 eggs, lightly beaten
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup warm water
24 Fun Size Take 5 Candy Bars; cut in half (I used miniature Reese's Peanut Butter cups instead)

For the Peanut Butter-Butter Cream

3 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 cup creamy peanut butter
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 pounds confectioners’ sugar, sifted
6-8 tablespoons heavy cream (if using milk, amount will be less)

For the Chocolate Glaze

4 oz bittersweet chocolate, chopped into very small pieces
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons light corn syrup
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract


For the Cupcakes

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line muffin tin with paper liners or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat together the cake and pudding mixes, sour cream, oil, eggs, vanilla and water. Beat for about two minutes on medium speed until well combined.
  3. Using a large cookie scoop or measuring cup, distribute the batter between 24 muffin wells; about 3 tablespoons of batter per well. Press 1/2 Fun Size Take 5 candy bar into the center of each cupcake. Use a small spoon to spread the batter over the candy bar. (I skipped the part of this step about adding candy to the batter completely.  I did not include candy in the cup cake and honestly, the recipe is so rich I couldn't image adding more candy!)
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-24 minutes or until the tops of the cakes spring back when lightly touched. There may be a small sink hole in the top of the cupcakes from the candy bars if you used them, that’s okay - you’ll cover that with frosting. Allow cupcakes to cool inside muffin tins for about 10 minutes.
  5. Remove cupcakes from muffin tins and allow to fully cool on a wire rack. Once cupcakes are cool, prepare your frosting.

For the Peanut Butter Buttercream

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, cream butter and peanut butter on medium speed until fluffy. Turn your mixer down to low speed and slowly add in the confectioner’s sugar, and continue mixing until well blended.
  2. Add vanilla and 4 tablespoons of heavy cream. Blend on low speed until moistened. Add an additional 1 to 4 tablespoons of heavy cream until you reach the desired consistency. Beat at high speed until frosting is smooth and fluffy.
  3. Pipe frosting onto cooled cupcakes. I just used a gallon sized plastic zipper storage bag and cut off the bottom corner since I didn't have a decorator's piping bag.

For the Chocolate Glaze

  1. In a small saucepan over medium heat, warm the heavy cream until very hot, but not boiling.
  2. Place chocolate pieces in a heat safe bowl. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 5 minutes. Whisk the cream and chocolate until smooth and thoroughly combined. Whisk in the honey, corn syrup, and vanilla. Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Do not let the glaze sit for too long or it will harden up before you spoon it over the frosting.
  3. Spoon the glaze on the tops of the frosted cupcakes, allowing it to drip down the sides a little bit. Don’t add too much glaze or it will drip all over your liners.  I put mine in a plastic bottle with a pointed tip and drizzled it that way.  I think it was probably less messy than the spoon method.
  4. If desired, finish each cupcake with a piece of a Take 5 candy bar. (I definitely didn't skip this step, but again, I used chopped up pieces of Reese's Peanut Butter Cups instead of the Take 5 candy bar).
Notes: Storage Store cupcakes in the refrigerator. Remove them to room temperature one hour before serving.

Source: My Baking Addiction http://www.mybakingaddiction.com/take-5-cupcakes/ Cake adapted from allrecipes

Foodie Friends Friday

Also featured on:  Hungry Little Girl blog post The Very Best of 2012 Dishes of My Closest Foodie Friends

October 18, 2012

Loving Someone Who's Bipolar

If you have never had someone close to you suffer from Bipolar Disorder, it can be hard to understand what they go through, sometimes on a daily basis.  My son was diagnosed about 2 years ago. . .and living with this disorder hasn't been easy.  As a parent, I find it extremely frustrating when people make comments or statements that he is making a choice regarding some of these behaviors, that when he's going through an "episode" that he is just being a lazy or rebellious teen.   

Even with proper medication, a bipolar person will still cycle through manic and depressive states, sometimes on a very severe and/or frequent basis.  Their anxiety is real.  Their struggles are real.  What should be a common everyday task to most people can be overwhelming and seem impossible to the bipolar individual.   Managing basic daily tasks can feel like climbing Mt. Everest. 

I found this article on bipolar disorder.  It does a great job of outlining what goes on in a bipolar person's life and helps provide an understanding of what its like living with someone who suffers from this disorder.  I hope this provides some insight and just might prompt someone out there to not be so quick to criticize an individual as being "lazy" or "defiant" and instead show some compassion for the bipolar individual and the loved ones trying to help them through their journey. 

Bipolar Disorder:  Symptoms

Bipolar disorder is a brain disorder that causes unusual shifts in mood, energy, activity levels, and the ability to carry out day-to-day tasks. Symptoms of bipolar disorder are severe, but it can be treated, and people with this illness can lead full and productive lives.


What are the symptoms of bipolar disorder?

People with bipolar disorder experience unusually intense emotional states that occur in distinct periods called mood episodes. An overly joyful or overexcited state is called a manic episode, and an extremely sad or hopeless state is called a depressive episode. Sometimes, a mood episode includes symptoms of both mania and depression. This is called a mixed state. People with bipolar disorder also may be explosive and irritable during a mood episode.

Extreme changes in energy, activity, sleep, and behavior go along with these changes in mood. It is possible for someone with bipolar disorder to experience a long lasting period of unstable moods rather than discrete episodes of depression or mania.

A person may be having an episode of bipolar disorder if he or she has a number of manic or depressive symptoms for most of the day, nearly every day, for at least one or two weeks. Sometimes symptoms are so severe that the person cannot function normally at work, school, or home.

Symptoms of Mania or a Manic Episode

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling high, or an overly happy or outgoing mood
  • Extremely irritable mood, agitation, feeling jumpy or wired

Behavioral Changes

  • Talking very fast, jumping from one idea to another, having racing thoughts
  • Being easily distracted
  • Increasing goal-directed activities, such as taking on new projects
  • Being restless
  • Sleeping little
  • Having an unrealistic belief in one's abilities
  • Behaving impulsively and taking part in a lot of pleasurable, high-risk behaviors, such as spending sprees, impulsive sex, and impulsive business investments

Symptoms of Depression or a Depressive Episode

Mood Changes

  • A long period of feeling worried or empty
  • Loss of interest in activities once enjoyed, including sex

Behavioral Changes

  • Feeling tired or slowed down
  • Having problems concentrating, remembering, and making decisions
  • Being restless or irritable
  • Changing eating, sleeping, or other habits
  • Thinking of death or suicide, or attempting suicide
One side of the bipolar disorder scale includes severe depression, moderate depression, and mild low mood. Moderate depression may cause less extreme symptoms, and mild low mood is called dysthymia when it is chronic or long term. In the middle of the bipolar scale is normal or balanced mood.

At the other end of the bipolar scale are hypomania and severe mania. Some people with bipolar disorder experience hypomania. During hypomanic episodes, a person may have increased energy and activity levels that are not as severe as typical mania, or he or she may have episodes that last less than a week and do not require emergency care. A person having a hypomanic episode may feel very good, be highly productive, and function well. This person may not feel that anything is wrong even as family and friends recognize the mood swings as possible bipolar disorder. Without proper treatment, however, people with hypomania may develop severe mania or depression.

During a mixed state, symptoms often include agitation, trouble sleeping, major changes in appetite, and suicidal thinking. People in a mixed state may feel very sad or hopeless while feeling extremely energized.  Sometimes, a person with severe episodes of mania or depression has psychotic symptoms too, such as hallucinations or delusions. The psychotic symptoms tend to reflect the person's extreme mood. For example, psychotic symptoms for a person having a manic episode may include believing he or she is famous, has a lot of money, or has special powers. In the same way, a person having a depressive episode may believe he or she is ruined and penniless, or has committed a crime. As a result, people with bipolar disorder who have psychotic symptoms are sometimes wrongly diagnosed as having schizophrenia, another severe mental illness that is linked with hallucinations and delusions.

People with bipolar disorder may also have behavioral problems. They may abuse alcohol or substances, have relationship problems, or perform poorly in school or at work. At first, it's not easy to recognize these problems as signs of a major mental illness.


What illnesses often co-exist with bipolar disorder?

Substance abuse is very common among people with bipolar disorder, but the reasons for this link are unclear. Some people with bipolar disorder may try to treat their symptoms with alcohol or drugs. However, substance abuse may trigger or prolong bipolar symptoms, and the behavioral control problems associated with mania can result in a person drinking too much.

Anxiety disorders, such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and social phobia, also co-occur often among people with bipolar disorder. Bipolar disorder also co-occurs with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which has some symptoms that overlap with bipolar disorder, such as restlessness and being easily distracted.

People with bipolar disorder are also at higher risk for thyroid disease, migraine headaches, heart disease, diabetes, obesity, and other physical illnesses. These illnesses may cause symptoms of mania or depression. They may also result from treatment for bipolar disorder.

Other illnesses can make it hard to diagnose and treat bipolar disorder. People with bipolar disorder should monitor their physical and mental health. If a symptom does not get better with treatment, they should tell their doctor.

U.S. National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Mental Health. (Reviewed 2012, May 16). Bipolar disorder. Retrieved July 27, 2012, from http://www.nimh.nih.gov

October 17, 2012

From Granny Squares to Loving Granny

Whenever I am sitting around watching a show on TV, a movie or in a waiting room, I get antsy very quickly.  I am so used to multi-tasking through out the day that I find it hard to just sit and do nothing. I make a lot of scarves and jewelry, but from time to time I also make these really cute and functional dish cloths.  They are crocheted out of 100% cotton yarn and are extremely durable.  Last year I made dozens of them.  I kept a few and gave some away as gifts. 

This past week mom and I had a garage sale and just sitting there between customers was driving me crazy. So I pulled out mom's book, some yarn and an old crochet needle that use to belong to my Granny and I made up a few new ones from mom's new pattern book. I think they turned out pretty nice. 

I can't post the actual pattern directions due to copyrights, but here is a copy of the cover of the book, 2-Hour Dishcloths by Darla Sims.

I have been crocheting since I was a girl.  I grew up in a family of women who all crocheted, knitted, quilted and just basically did everything crafty and for the home!  My mom tried to teach me when I was very young, but I was a pretty stubborn, easily frustrated child.  At some point she just gave up.  :)

My Granny was the most patient teacher.  I told her I wanted to learn how to crochet.  She would sit with me for hours (and through a few tantrums!) until I understood the basics.  I couldn't tell you how many crocheted granny squares I made when I was young. 
My Granny passed away almost 2 years ago and almost every day something reminds me of her.  This picture of the two of us is the last Christmas that we got to spend together. I was in the process of crocheting a lap afghan for her at the time since she was always cold and a regular sized quilt or afghan would get caught up in the wheels of her wheelchair.  I will admit. . .I never did finish that project.  I just couldn't bring myself to work on it once she was gone.
I am so thankful that I had a loving, close relationship with my grandparents.  I treasure all the special moments that we shared over the years!

Country Girl

Almost a year ago I travelled to Manhattan, KS to attend my boyfriend's graduation ceremony.  Driving across Missouri and through Kansas was a pretty boring drive as far as the scenery was concerned.  Lots of flat fields of corn, soybeans and cows. 

I happened to have my cell phone in hand as we came upon one farm that I though was postcard quality material. . .While traveling down the highway at 65+ miles an hour (no, I wasn't driving!) I snapped this photo out the car window.  I was really pleasantly surprised at how nice the photo turned out.  While it certainly isn't professional quality, I thought it would be all blurred and uncentered.  I pull it up and look at it from time to time and wonder if I could cut it as a farm girl???

What do you think?

October 16, 2012

Loaded Life - Loaded Potato Soup Recipe

I am an emotional eater. . .I've come to accept that about myself.  I guess its a good thing I like to cook.  I've been stressed out over some things recently, so I've been cooking quite a bit.  This past weekend I made a pot of delicious loaded potato soup.  I think I ended up eating leftovers of it all weekend long.  Hey, at least I didn't bake up several dozen loaded chocolate chip cookies and eat all those!  I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did.  I've had this recipe for several years, just printed off of a word processing program, so I'm really not sure where it came from originally.  If you know where its from, please let me know so I can give credit to the chef!

Loaded Potato Soup

6 large russet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes
Foodie Friends Friday
1 large onion, chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
3- 14 oz cans chicken broth (or vegetable broth for vegetarian option)
1/4 c butter
2 1/2 t salt
1 1/4 t freshly ground pepper
1 c whipping cream or half and half
1 c shredded SHARP Cheddar cheese
3 T chopped fresh chives (I used about 1 T dried chives)
1 (8 oz.) sour cream (for garnish only if desired)
4 bacon slices cooked and crumbled (OMIT for vegetarian option)
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

  1. Combine first 6 ingredients in a stock pot (or in a 5 qt. slow cooker).
  2. Cover and cook on medium-high until potatoes are tender (slow cooker: high for 4 hours or on low 8 hours).
  3. Mash mixture until potatoes are coarsely chopped and soup is slightly thickened; stir in cream, cheese and chives. Top with sour cream and sprinkle with bacon (OMIT for vegetarian option) and Cheddar cheese before serving.

Foodie Friends Friday

The Ultimate Soup Recipe List ~ Linky Party

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