Thursday, September 16, 2010

Granola Bars

If you read my last post you know my family and I have been enjoying homemade granola. A friend of mine, and fellow BMCC member, shared this Granola Bar recipe with me. I just had to try it.

I just made them tonight for tomorrows Girl Scout meeting snack. We just had to taste. They are really good! I did not add the raisins as a request from my daughter (and husband), but I think they would be good. Here is another recipe that would be fun to experiment with.

I have a feeling I'll be making these again very soon.

Playgroup Granola Bars

2 cups rolled oats
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup wheat germ
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup raisins (optional)
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup honey
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 350˚ F. Generously grease a 9x13 inch baking pan.

In a large bowl, mix together the oats, brown sugar, wheat germ, cinnamon, flour, raisins and salt. Make a well in the center, and pour in the honey, egg, oil and vanilla. Mix well using your hands. Pat the mixture evenly into the prepared pan.

Bake for 30 to 35 minutes in the preheated oven, until the bars begin to turn golden at the edges. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars while still warm. Do not allow the bars to cool completely before cutting or they will be too hard to cut.


Monday, September 13, 2010

Homemade Granola

This past Summer we took a wonderful road trip. We stayed with family and friends along our two week adventure. One of the many benefits to staying with family and friends is the delicious meals they make. I must say we are blessed to have family and friends who are great in the kitchen!

One of our new family favorites is from our road trip, Maple-Nut Granola! Every time I make it I think of our wonderful friends (family really) who made it for us, our visit, and our road trip. I love how food keeps memories close to our hearts.

Maple-Nut Granola is wonderful for breakfast or a light lunch with Greek Yogurt and fruit. I also just like it with milk. My husband and daughters can't get enough. Good thing it only takes about 35 minutes to make (from start to finish).

Also try adding 1/4 cup dried blueberries and 1/4 cup raisins. Fresh blueberries are good too. Mmmm

Friday, August 27, 2010

Korean Glass Noodles - Jap Chae

This was one of my husbands favorite dishes growing up. It's also one of my favorite dishes my mother-in-law makes.

You can imagine how excited I was when I found the recipe on the Steamy Kitchen blog.

Tonight was the big test. Nothing is as good as mom's, but I was hoping I would come close. My husbands reaction when he tried it? "It's perfect."

Thank you Steamy Kitchen! Thank you for helping me bring this wonderful Korean dish into our home. Not only for my husband, but for our two daughters.

NOTE: The only thing I didn't add was the spinach. I would like to try it with the spinach, but my mother-in-law didn't make it like that. I was going for "mom's" recipe.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Getting Back on Track

Him: "Who's coming over?"
Her: "No one, why?"
Him: "You cleaned the bathroom."
Her: "I don't only clean the bathroom when someone comes over."

In my defense, it hadn't been that long since I cleaned the bathrooms.

I am reminded of this poem that I have on my refrigerator:

My Children

I hope my children
look back on today
and see parents
who had time to play.

Dusting and scrubbing can wait 'till tomorrow
for babies grow fast
we learn to our sorrow.

There will be years
for cleaning and cooking
but children grow up
when we are not looking.

So settle down cobwebs
and dust go to sleep.
I'm rocking my baby
and babies don't keep.

Author: Unknown

Since I was cleaning my bathrooms today I printed my Motivated Mom's Chore List. When I stick to this chore list, my house stays clean and more organized. (I've got to stick to this chore list!) It also gets me to plan my weekly dinner menus, which makes life so much easier!

The Motivated Mom's Chore List is ON SALE right now, so it's a perfect time to try it out.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Is This Still Good?

We have all asked that question as we pull something out of the fridge. Here are two great websites that will help you determine if you should eat it or toss it.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Oven Baked S'mores

There is nothing else to say about this recipe than YUM!

This came from a parent at school. She made them for our teacher appreciation lunch. Let me tell you....the teachers appreciated these so much! I don't think they lasted past that first day.


Oven Baked S'mores

12 double graham crackers, (5x2.5 inch)
2 cups miniature marshmallows
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350˚F. In ungreased 15x10x1-inch jelly roll pan, place graham crackers side by side to cover entire bottom of pan. Sprinkle marshmallows and chocolate chips evenly over crackers.

In heavy 2-quart saucepan combine brown sugar, butter, and vanilla. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until butter is melted and mixture begins to bubble around the edges (4 to 5 minutes). Pour evenly over crackers, marshmallows and chocolate chips.

Bake for 8 to 12 minutes, or until lightly browned. Cool completely. Break into pieces (or cut into bars).

Monday, May 17, 2010

T's Pasta with an Italian Sausage Sauce

I have made this "quick" sauce many, many times. This time I decided to add Italian sausage. It was a huge hit. During dinner, my 7 year old says to me, "Thank you for making dinner Mommy. Good job!" with a thumbs up. Gotta love that!

T's Pasta with an Italian Sausage Sauce

2-14.5 oz cans of Italian Seasoned diced tomatoes
3 cloves of garlic (chopped finely)
about 2 tablespoons fresh Italian Parsley, chopped
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
salt and pepper
3 links of Italian Sausage
1-14.5 oz box of multigrain pasta (I use Barilla Plus)

Take the Italian sausage out of it's casing. In a large pan, brown the Italian sausage. Remove from pan and set aside.

In that same large pan, heat Extra Virgin Olive Oil (maybe once or twice around the pan) over medium heat. Add garlic. Gently fry garlic until soft and fragrant.

Add tomatoes, with juice. Crush them as they are cooking until they are the consistency you like. Once it reaches a low boil, simmer for 25 minutes.

While tomatoes are cooking start a large pot of salted water for the pasta.

Add browned Italian sausage into tomatoe and garlic sauce. Add chopped Italian Parsley and salt and pepper to taste. Let simmer for another few minutes, just to let everything incorporate.

Once your salted water is at a hard boil, add pasta. Cook just 1 or 2 minutes shy of al dente. Drain your pasta and add it to the large pan of Italian sausage sauce. Cook on low, for a minute or so, while mixing sauce with pasta. You may also add a little grated or shredded Parmesan cheese at this point.

Serve with your choice of vegetable or salad.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Have The Kids Help. It Helps Them Too.

I have asked my 1st and 3rd grade daughters to help me since they were walking. Grocery shopping, cleaning the house, folding laundry, making meals.....etc. However they can help, even in the littlest way. They are not only helping me, but I am teaching them at the same time. Always in a fun way.

Tonight, I was making the girls lunch for school tomorrow (a HUGE time saver in the morning, BTW) and also needed to add some things to the grocery list. My 1st grader needed something to do while my 3rd grader was doing some homework. Perfect! She is plenty old enough to add a few things to the grocery list.

Kiki's milk
Daddy's milk

Great! I made lunches while she added to the grocery list. Nice job! (and yes, we buy about 3 different kinds of milk in our house.)

What did she learn while she was helping mama?

1. spelling
2. practiced her writing
3. thinking about what to add to the grocery list
4. organization

All that in about 5 to 8 minutes. I love teaching my kids!

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Peeps Krispies Treats

I found this recipe online and just had to share.

One of my most vivid childhood memories is seeing Peeps at my grandmother's house every Easter. Yellow Peeps lined up in their little boxes. Sitting there waiting to be eaten. I don't care for Peeps too much. My grandmother must love them. When I see Peeps I think of my grandmother and for that I love Peeps.

My daughters and I made these Peeps Krispies Treats to bring to my parents on Easter. They are colorful and sweeter than normal Rice Krispies Treats. I think they're going to be a hit.

Happy Easter

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Chili with Chocolate (Slow Cooker/Crock Pot)

I am trying to find some slow cooker/crock pot recipes that my family likes. I was going through this little grocery store cookbook with my two girls (7 and 8 years old), asking them which recipe sounded good to them. We got to this recipe and they both thought it sounded wonderful. What could be has chocolate in it!

I wasn't sure how they would like it. As long as it wasn't too spicy, I knew my 8 year old would like it. She likes chili. My 7 year old has never really eaten chili. Recently she has loved sloppy joes. The recipe only serves 4 so I thought it was pretty safe to try.

THEY LOVED IT!!!! Did you read that? LOVED IT! Both girls went back for seconds! I couldn't believe it. SCORE one for mom! This is a keeper!

Chili with Chocolate
Makes 4 servings

(When I made it, I cut down on the chili powder and did not add the hot pepper sauce.)

1 pound 90% lean ground beef
1 medium onion, chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced and divided
1 can (28 oz) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 1/2 oz) chili beans in mild or spicy sauce, undrained (I used Ranchero Style Chili Beans)
2 tablespoons chili powder (I used 1 tablespoon)
1 tablespoon grated semisweet baking chocolate
1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin (I used about 1 teaspoon)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce (I did not add this at all)

1. Brown ground beef, onion and 1 clove garlic inlarge nonstick skillet over medium-high heat, stirring to separate meat. Drain and discard fat.

2. Place meat mixture in slow cooker. Add tomatoes with juice, beans with sauce, chili powder, remaining 2 cloves garlic and chocolate; mix well.

3. Cover; cook on LOW 5 to 6 hours. Add cumin, salt, pepper and hot sauce during last hour of cooking.

Meat and Potatoes

Mmmmmmm, roast beef! If you are a meat and potatoes person, this recipe from America's Test Kitchen is for you. You can go online to America's Test Kitchen website to download the full recipe. Which includes why they chose the cut of meat they did, but you will need to register with them to do so. I feel it's worth the trouble of registering because, unless you want to purchase their entire book, it's a great way to get just a few recipes from them. I did type up the basic recipe for you below.

As a side dish America's Test Kitchen made Mashed Potatoes and Root Vegetables. My husband and I love mashed potatoes. Our daughters on the other hand aren't big fans. They did like these. It's a great way to sneak in some vegetables in a meal. You can also go online to America's Test Kitchen to download this recipe (with specifics), but I did type the basic recipe below.

Slow-Roasted Beef
from America's Test Ktichen
from the Episode: Resurrecting the Roast Beef Dinner
(for the FULL recipe, please go to America's Test Kitchen website)

Serves 6 to 8

1 boneless eye-round roast (3 1/2 to 4 1/2 pounds) (see note in online recipe)
4 teaspoons kosher salt or 2 teaspoons table salt
2 teaspoons vegetable oil plus 1 tablespoon
2 teaspoons ground black pepper

1. Sprinkle all sides of roast evenly with salt. Wrap with plastic wrap and refrigerate 18 to 24 hours.

2. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 225 degrees. pat roast dry with paper towels; rub with 2 teaspoons oil and sprinkle al sides evenly with pepper. Heat remaining tablespoon oil in 12-inch skillet over medium-high heat until starting to smoke. Sear roast until browned on all sides, 3 to 4 minutes per side. Transfer roast to wire rack set in rimmed baking sheet. Roast until meat-probe thermometer or instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 115 degrees for medium-rare, 1 1/4 to 1 3/4 hours, or 125 degrees for medium, 1 3/4 to 2 1/4 hours.

3. Turn oven OFF; leave roast in oven, without opening door, until meat-probe thermometer or instant-read thermometer inserted into center of roast registers 130 degrees for medium-rare or 140 degrees for medium, 30 to 50 minutes longer. Transfer roast to carving board and let rest for 15 minutes. Slice meat crosswise as thinly as possible and serve.

Mashed Potatoes and Root Vegetables
from America's Test Ktichen
from the Episode: Resurrecting the Roast Beef Dinner
(for the FULL recipe, please go to America's Test Kitchen website)

Serves 4

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

8 ounces carrots, parsnips, turnips, or celery root, peeled; carrots or parsnips cut into 1/4-inch thick half-moons; turnips or celery root cut into 1/2-inch dice (about 1 1/2 cups)

1 1/2 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled, quartered lengthwise, and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices; rinsed well in 3 to 4 changes of cold water and drained well

1/3 cup low-sodium chicken broth

Table salt

3/4 cup half-and-half, warmed

3 tablespoons minced fresh chives

Ground black pepper

1. Melt butter in large saucepan over medium heat. When foaming subsides, add root vegetables and cook, stirring occasionally, until butter is browned and vegetables are dark brown and caramelized, 10 to 12 minutes. (If after 4 minutes vegetables have not started to brown, increase heat to medium-high.)

2. Add potatoes, broth, and 3/4 teaspoon salt and stir to combine. Cook, covered, over low heat (broth simmer gently; do not boil), stirring occasionally, until potatoes fall apart easily when poked with fork and all liquid has been absorbed, 25 to 30 mintues. (If liquid does not gently simmer after a few minutes, increase heat to medium-low.) Remove pan from heat; remove lid and allow steam to escape for 2 minutes.

3. Gently mash potatoes and root vegetables in saucepan with potato masher (do not mash vegorously). Gently fold in warm half-and-half and chives. Season with salt and pepper to taste; serve immediately.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Room Temperature Eggs

I was watching Ciao Italia on PBS and Mary Ann Esposito gave this great tip.

I often forget to take the eggs out to come up to room temperature before baking with them. If you also forget, Mary Ann Esposito suggests to put them in a bowl of warm water. They will warm up nicely.

Great tip! Thanks Mary Ann!

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

The Christ Child's Birthday Cake

I know....I'm a little late, but I didn't make this until Christmas morning. Even if I had time to post it then, it would have been too late. So, I thought I would post it now then you will have it for next Christmas.

Growing up my aunt would make a birthday cake every Christmas. After all, that is what we are celebrating on Christmas, Jesus' birthday. At some point my aunt found this recipe. Now that I'm a mother and aunt I have continued the tradition.

This is a wonderful spice cake. Another alternative to the icing is to just sprinkle powdered sugar on the top before serving.

The Christ Child's Birthday Cake

Preheat oven to 350˚ F

3 1/3 cup flour, sifted
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp allspice
1 tsp nutmeg
1 tsp cloves

Sift dry ingredients together twice and set aside.

Cream together in large bowl:
1 cup butter
1 2/3 cup white sugar

4 eggs
1 cup black walnuts (I can never find black walnuts. I just use regular)
1 cup buttermilk
1 cup seeless blackberry jam

Add eggs to sugar and butter and beat for 5 minutes.
Sprinkle small amount of dry ingedients over walnuts and set aside.
Add buttermilk alternately with dry inredients to creamed mixture.
Stir just until well blended. Stir in blackberry jam. Add walnuts and mix well.

Grease a 10 inch Angel Food pan. Line pan with waxed paper, then grease waxed paper. Pour in mixture. Bake in preheated 350˚ oven for 1 1/2 hours. Cool thoroughly before icing.


1 box brown sugar
1/2 cup evaporated milk
1 stick butter

Bring to a boil and boil 1 minute, then beat until thick enough to ice cake.

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Wimpy Burgers

First I would like to wish all of you out there a very Happy New Year! Since our family traditions usually revolve around food I thought I would share this New Years meal with all of you.

This is my step-dad's traditional New Years Eve dinner. We have been lucky enough to have it twice now. Thank you Papa!

Wimpy Burgers

• Ground Beef (the leanest you can find)
• French Bread Baguette
• Any burger condiments you like; mustard, ketchup, relish....etc

Slice your baguette into 1/2 inch thick slices.
Now just put a little bit of ground beef on each slice of baguette.

Put them in a jelly roll pan and broil them until done. Watch it very closely. They cook very fast. The bread and the meet will get brown on the edge. That is a good time to take them out of the oven. They will finish cooking for a few minutes on their own.

My step-dad serves his wimpy burgers with cheese fondue. Some wonderful french bread and a fruit to dip into the fondue.

Add a wonderful glass of wine or a beer and sit and enjoy this fun meal with some good friends and family.