Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Sun-Maid Raisin Bread-A Review

This December, Sun-Maid, the brand behind the classic favourite-Sun-Maid Raisin Cinnamon Swirl Bread, turns 100!

A little background on the company before we get to some really delicious recipes!

Founded in 1912, Sun-Maid is the largest raisin & dried fruit producer worldwide, selling its product to consumers in more than 60 countries around the globe.  As a cooperative, Sun-Maid Growers of California is owned by nearly 1000 family raisin grape growers all located within 100 miles of each other in the Great Central Valley of California.

Ever wonder if the Sun-Maid Girl was a real person?  The answer is YES!  Her name was Lorraine Collett Petersen and she was discovered in May 1915 drying her black curly hair in the sunny backyard of her parents home in Fresno, California.  She was then asked to pose for a painting while holding a basket of fresh grapes.  This image was first applied to the packages of Sun-Maid raisins in 1916.  In 2006, for the first time in 90 years, the Sun-Maid girl stepped out of the package and into life with the release of an animated spot for television.

In honour of 100 years, the company has released a commemorative book, Sun-Maid:Raisins & Dried Fruits, serving the world since 1912, which shares the company's journey, memories and inspired recipes. You can download the book at

How about 2 recipes??

Sun-Maid Cinnamon Raisin Bread Apple Cupcakes

This 30 min, easy to bake dessert is filled with apples, brown sugar and ginger, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.A celebratory and seasonal recipe perfect for the holidays!

Prep Time: 10 mins
Bake Time: 25 min
Makes 12 Cupcakes


12 slices (1 loaf) Sun-Maid cinnamon swirl raisin bread
2 Tbsp melted butter
3 cups 1/4 inch diced tart apples (2-3 medium apples)
3 tbsp granulated sugar
1/2 tsp grated fresh ginger
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
2 tbsp cold butter, cut in pieces
vanilla ice cream


Preheat oven to 325*F (160*C).  Brush 12 muffin cups with melted butter.  Press one slice of bread into each muffin cup.
Combine diced apple, sugar & ginger.  Divide evenly between bread cups, mounding the top.
Blend together brown sugar & butter with a fork.  Crumble over apples.
Bake until apples begin to soften and the bread is toasted, about 25 min.
Serve each apple cupcake warm or cooled topped with 1 scoop of vanilla ice cream.

Sun-Maid Raisin Bread Banana French Toast

I hope you've enjoyed this post!  Tell me, do you like raisins?  I find with most people they either love'em or hate'em.  I am a raisin lover, myself!  :)

Bye for now!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

It Finally Felt Right.....

Look what I got up to this week!

After many years of going back and forth, I finally went out and got the tattoo that I've wanted to represent my family.  It took a long time for me to settle on what....and where....I wanted this tattoo.  I always knew that when the right idea hit, I would commit asap.  And that's exactly what happened.

When I went into the tattoo "shop", all I knew was that I wanted 3 butterflies showing some type of movement.  The artist and I worked together to come up with what you see.  Here's the story behind it...

It all starts with the lily, which was the main flower in our wedding and represents Jason & myself.  The 3 butterflies are the kids and are done in their birthstone colours.  So the blue butterfly represents Braeden, who was born sleeping on Dec 2, 1996.  The green butterfly is Sarah, born in May and the red butterfly is for Noah, born in January.

Did it hurt?  Some areas were definitely tender, but as a whole, not too bad!  It took the better part of 3 hours, but the time went by super quick!  And I am thrilled with the end result!

Crazy town, yes???  LOL

Do you like tattoo's?

Bye for now!!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Link Love-Dinners, Sides & Sweets

Hi All!  I've been battling a head cold this week and have been lying low, drinking lots of hot tea and drinking Buckley's like it's my job!  I've got a fun weekend planned and a cold is NOT invited.  What's on the agenda, you might ask?  Well, Friday I've got an appointment to have my tattoo drawn up by the artist who will be marking me for life, Saturday involves a hair appointment, Breaking Dawn: Part 2 and dinner with friends and Sunday will be a Christmas shopping day.  I'm excited!  :)

While lying low I've been browsing plenty of websites for recipes to bookmark.  I thought I'd share a few with you today.  I've put together a few each of dinners, sides and sweets.  Check'em out!


Thai Shrimp Coconut Rice
(Name That) Tuna Casserole


Classic Beaked Beans
Chana Masala


Graham Cracker Chocolate Chip Muffins
Chocolate Caramel Oatmeal Bars

Did any of these catch your eye?  Feel free to share some link love in the comment section!  I'm always on the look out for new recipes to try.  :)

Bye for now!!

Friday, November 9, 2012

An Edible Mosaic-Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair

I have a very special post for you today. My friend Faith Gorsky from An Edible Mosaic just had her first cookbook released: An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair. I’m excited to be participating in her virtual book launch party and sharing a recipe from the book!

The book has over 100 Middle Eastern recipes, with a focus mainly on dishes from the Levant, but also a few recipes from other areas of the Middle East. Faith has a pretty unique story…after getting married Faith spent six months living in the Middle East, where she fell in love with the culture and cuisine. Subsequently, she returned four more times for visits, each time delving deeper into the cuisine and deepening her passion for and appreciation of the region. Recipes in her book are authentic Middle Eastern (taught to Faith mostly by her mother-in-law, Sahar), but streamlined just a bit for the way we cook today, with unique ingredients demystified and cooking techniques anyone can follow. If you didn’t grow up eating Middle Eastern food, it can be a difficult art to master; Faith understands that, and explains complicated dishes in an approachable, easy-to-follow way. The book is available to order on Amazon and Barnes & Noble!

After you check out the recipe below, please head over to Faith’s blog to check out her virtualbook launch party to see the other bloggers who are participating. Also, as part of her virtual book launch, Faith is hosting a giveaway of a fabulous set of prizes. Be sure to head over and enter!

The recipe from the book that I’m sharing with you today is for Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, along with a variation for Mixed White and Yellow Rice. The recipe is actually vegan so you won’t have any trouble incorporating it into a vegan or vegetarian meal, but it is just as delicious served with chicken, beef, lamb, or seafood, and it would be really fantastic with just about any curry dish. (In the cookbook, Faith recommends pairing Shrimp in Aromatic Tomato Sauce with this rice dish.)  

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts, Pictured with Shrimp in Aromatic Tomato Sauce, another recipe from An Edible Mosaic: Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair.

Saffron Rice with Golden Raisins and Pine Nuts

Recipe courtesy of An Edible Mosaic:  Middle Eastern Fare with Extraordinary Flair by Faith Gorsky (Tuttle Publishing; Nov. 2012); reprinted with permission.

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 tablespoons pine nuts
1 onion, finely diced
4 tablespoons sultanas (golden raisins)
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon saffron threads (or ½ teaspoon turmeric)

1.      Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
2.      Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan over medium heat. Add the pine nuts and cook until golden brown, about 1 to 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Transfer the pine nuts to a small bowl and set aside.
3.      Add the onion to the saucepan you cooked the pine nuts in, and cook until softened and just starting to brown, about 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add the rice and cook 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in the sultanas, boiling water, salt, and saffron (or turmeric), turn the heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil.
4.      Give the rice a stir, then cover the saucepan, turn the heat down to very low, and cook until tender, about 10 minutes (do not open the lid during this time). Turn the heat off and let the rice sit (covered) 15 minutes, then fluff with a fork.
5.      Transfer to a serving dish and sprinkle the toasted pine nuts on top; serve.

OPTIONAL Add two pods of cardamom, two whole cloves, and one 2-inch (5 cm) piece of cinnamon stick at the same time that you add the rice.

 Mixed White and Yellow Rice

Mixed White and Yellow Rice

Serves 4 to 6
Preparation Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 20 minutes, plus 15 minutes to let the rice sit after cooking

1½ cups (325 g) uncooked basmati rice, rinsed
2 tablespoons oil
1 onion, finely diced
1 bay leaf
2 whole cloves
2 pods cardamom, cracked open
2 whole peppercorns
¾ teaspoon salt
1¾ cups (425 ml) boiling water
1-2 pinches saffron threads or ½ teaspoon turmeric dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

1.      Soak the rice in tepid water for 10 minutes; drain. While the rice is soaking, put half a kettle of water on to boil.
2.      Add the oil to a medium, thick-bottomed lidded saucepan, cover and place over moderately high heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
3.      Add the rice, bay leaf, cloves, cardamom pods, peppercorns, and salt, and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the boiling water to the rice, turn heat up to high, and bring it to a rolling boil. Give it a stir, cover the pot, turn heat down to very low, and cook 10 minutes (don’t open the lid during this time).
4.      After the rice is cooked, let the pot sit with the lid on for 15 minutes, then fluff the rice with a fork. Transfer 1/3 of the rice to a separate bowl.
5.      Stir the saffron or turmeric-colored water into 1/3 of the rice (the rice will turn yellow). Mix together the yellow rice and white rice; serve.

I hope you've enjoyed this post!  Please feel free to share this post/review on your own blog or which ever form of social media you like best.  The more people to see it, the better, yes?  :)

Bye for now!!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Fall Recipe Round Up

Happy Monday, all!  Seeing as the cooler temps are here to stay and, dare I say it?  Snow is just around the corner, I thought I'd compile a few of my fall-ish recipes that I've made over the past few years.  Enjoy!!

 Vegetable Ragu 

-1 medium carrot, sliced
-1 garlic clove
-1/2 cup sliced zucchini
-1/4 cup onion
-a few mushrooms, sliced
-a small tomato, chopped
-1/3 cup of Hunt's fire roasted tomato's
-2 Tbsp chopped roasted red pepper strips
-1 Tbsp fresh basil/parsley
-S & P

Pour a quarter cup of water in the frying pan. Add carrot, garlic, zucchini, onion, mushrooms and tomato and S & P. Simmer for about 10 minutes. Add fire roasted tomato, red pepper strips & herbs. Cook another 5 minutes. Serves 2.

Sweet Potato Barley Risotto

-1 tsp olive oil
-1 small onion, diced
-1 cup pearl barley
-3 cups broth or water
-1 sweet potato, cubed
-1 tsp each coriander & cumin
-1/2 tsp each chili powder & cinnamon
-salt & pepper to taste
-2 Tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

*cube sweet potato and microwave in a bowl with a touch of water for 6ish minutes or until fork tender. Side aside
*heat oil in saucepan and cook onion about 5 minutes
*add barley and spices and cook 1 more minute
*Add broth/water, cover and cook on low heat for 15 minutes or until thick, checking every so often that the liquid hasn't dried up. Add more fluid if needed.
*Once barley is cooked through, stir in sweet potato and cheese. Remove from heat and serve.

Smoked Turkey, Lentil & Kale Soup

·                     2 carrots, peeled and chopped
·                     1 onion, chopped
·                     3 ribs of celery, chopped
·                     2 crushed garlic cloves
·                     2 tbsp avocado oil
·                     4 cup stock
·                     2 cups water
·                     2 cup green lentils
·                     2 bay leaves
·                     1 smoked turkey leg
·                     1 packed cup of chopped kale
·                     salt & pepper to taste
1.             Heat oil in a large pot and add all chopped veggies.  Cook until soft 5-8 minutes
2.             Add garlic, bay leaves, salt & pepper.  Cook 1 minute more
3.             Add smoked turkey leg, stock and water.  Bring to a boil
4.             Add lentils, bring back to boil then turn temp down to a simmer
5.             Partially cover and let simmer for 1.5 – 2 hours, stirring occasionally.
6.             With approx 45 minutes of cooking time left add chopped kale
7.             Remove turkey leg and set aside too cool slightly.  Puree soup with an immersion blender.  **If you  like your soup a bit thinner, add water accordingly.  I added an extra 2 cups**
8.             Keep soup on low heat while you remove and chopped all the meat from the bone.  Add turkey back to the pot and cook just a few more minutes to heat

Lentil & Rice Pilaf Stuffed Peppers

-1 onion
-1/2 cup shredded carrots
-1 cup lentils
-3 + 1/2 cups water
-1 can fire roasted tomatoes with juice
-2 minced garlic cloves
-1 cup brown rice
-1/2 cup pepper pieces (I used the tops of the peppers to be stuffed) 
-1 Tbsp basil
-salt & pepper
-6 peppers, tops cut off and inside cleaned out
-grated asiago cheese

*Pre-heat oven to 350*

*saute onion & carrots for about 5 minutes. Add water and lentils. Bring to a boil & then turn down heat, cover and cook for 10 minutes.

*add can of tomatoes, garlic, rice, 1/2 cup water, pepper pieces, S & P and basil. Cover & cook for another 15 minutes. Check to make sure mixture doesn't dry out. Add more water if needed.

*Put peppers in a casserole dish trimming bottom as needed so they stand straight. Fill with about 1/2 a cup of lentil/rice mixture. Sprinkle about 1 Tbsp of grated asiago on top.

*Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Enjoy! 

Pumpkin Nut Muffins

·                     1 cup WW flour
·                     2.5 tsp baking powder
·                     1/2 tsp salt
·                     1/2 tsp baking soda
·                     3/4 cup oats
·                     1/4 cup agave
·                     1/4 cup Egg Beaters (or 1 egg)
·                     3 tbsp melted butter
·                     1/2 cup vanilla flavoured “milk” (I used USVAB)
·                     1 cup pure pumpkin puree
·                     1/4 cup chopped walnuts
·                     1/4 cup chopped hazelnuts
1.             Heat oven to 400*
2.             Combine flour, baking powder and soda, salt
3.             Add oats
4.             Add remaining ingredients
5.             Stir to combine
6.             Fill greased muffin cups 1/2 way and bake for 20 minutes

You can check out all my recipes by clicking on the Recipe Tab at the top of the blog.  And don't forget to visit my Krista's Kravings Facebook page!!  I'd love to see some love over there, too.  :)

What is your favourite fall recipe??

Bye for now!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

It's That Time Again.....Five Things Friday!!

How on earth did Friday roll around so fast?  Not that I'm complaining or anything!  LOL  You can see last Friday's 5 things right here....

1) There are just some cookbooks that you go back to again & again.  We all have those few favourites, right?  Well, these are mine!

Those Podleski sisters have never steered me wrong and you can often find me browsing through one (or all four) over my lunch hour....just like today!

2)  Noah has been invited to a Halloween party tonight.  The hours are 7-11pm.  The kids are 10.  Is it just me or does that sound a bit late for that age group?  I told him he could go, but only until 9:30...

3)  The sun is shining today!  It's been almost 10 days since we've seen brightness here and it looks as though it will continue into the weekend.  It will be chilly, though!

4)  Chicken Cacciatore with's what's for dinner tonight....

5)  I am lusting after this necklace, with my kids names, of course.

I really hope Santa is reading!!

Bye for now!!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Loaded Baked Potato Soup

Hi ya!  Happy first of November!  Not sure what the weather is like where you are, but we've had rain for the past 9 days straight.  Whenever I feel like complaining about that I remind myself that we're fortunate where I live that we only got the "tail end" of Hurricane Sandy.  My heart goes out to all who has suffered serious losses....

The culmination of dark skies and damp temps have had me craving comfort foods something serious.  Usually I pull something out of the freezer for dinner in the morning but forgot to yesterday with the chaos of getting costumes & make up on for the kids.  All day at work I was mentally going through my food stock trying for figure out what to make for dinner that was fairly quick, yet hardy.  My mind kept going back to the potatoes I hadn't used yet and before I knew it, a recipe was brewing in my head!

Now, I'm positive I'm not the first person to come up with a potato soup recipe like this, but I thought I'd share how I made it seeing as it was a HUGE hit with the fam!  In fact, there was barely a cup leftover when all was said and done.  That, my friends, is a successful meal at my house!  :)

Loaded Baked Potato Soup


* 4 slices of bacon, chopped
* 2 lbs of potatoes (I used a bag of mini white potatoes, skin on)
* 1 onion, chopped
* 1 tsp crushed garlic
* 1 Tbsp dried thyme
* 4 cups broth (I used homemade chicken stock)
* 2 cups milk (I used 2%, but feel free to use what ever is in your fridge)
* salt & pepper to taste
* 1 tbsp chili powder
* 2 cup grated cheddar cheese
* 1/2 cup of chopped chives


1.  In a large pot, cook bacon until crisp.  Remove with a slotted spoon and drain on a paper towel.  Set aside.

2.  Add onion & garlic to bacon drippings and cook until softened, about 5-7 minutes.

3.  Add the potatoes, thyme, chili powder, salt & pepper.  Cook for 10 mins letting the potatoes brown slightly.

4.  Add the broth.  It should cover your potatoes.  Let boil, reduce heat and cook until soft.

5.  Hit up the mixture with an immersion blender until smooth, or, if you prefer, a bit chunky.  Add some water if you find it's too thick.

6.  Stir the milk in and bring back to temperature.  Don't let it boil as the milk may separate on you.

7.  Serve with bacon pieces, cheddar cheese & chives.

8.  ENJOY!!

What is your favourite fall/winter comfort meal?

Remember to check out the pa Krista's Kraving's Facebook page.  I post lots of neat things there!!  :)

Bye for now!!