Friday, June 28, 2013

A Cup Of Cookie

It was a Monday. Not only a Monday, but it was a Monday. You know, one of those days that has you running to the baking cupboard to grab the closest cookie recipe?? Yep. It was a Monday.

This recipe saved my sanity AND didn't expand my waistline because we all know, if I would've made a whole batch, I would've eaten a whole batch.



For this cookie in a cup, you will need:

1 Tbsp softened butter
1 egg yolk
1 Tbsp white sugar
1 Tbsp packed brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
a sprinkle of salt
3 Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

Place all ingredients EXCEPT chips together in a bowl or a mug (I use a dip dish) and mix with a fork until there are no signs of any one specific ingredient. Stir in chips. 

Microwave for 45-50 seconds and enjoy!



Seriously, this is SO good!!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Homemade Baby Food

Guest Posting this on Never the Same Spice Twice today! Love her! Go check out this awesome mama-to-be!

When I became pregnant last year, I knew I was going to do my very best at being a mom. I knew I wouldn't be a perfect mom... but that wasn't going to stop me from trying! Now, I may not be able to control everything my kiddo sticks in her mouth (like my phone or her toes or her thumb), but I can control what food she eats! I vowed from day one to make all of her food.

When I say her, I am referring to this kid:

I'd say she's well fed, right?
Now I will warn you: I was faced with a lot of criticism for deciding to go this route from both friends and family. They would say things like why would you do that if you can just buy it? and how do you find time to do it?! I let this slide because while they don't understand, I do. Making baby food is cheaper (per serving), healthy, it takes very little time if doing it in bulk, and you know everything that goes into it! Yes, once in a while I do go out and get the pouches of baby food for baseball games and whatnot but that's because I don't have a way to always keep the food cold. Otherwise, while at home or daycare, she only eats mom-made food. And she loves it! We do about 1-2 months worth of food in advance and store the cubes in freezer baggies.


Below you will find some recipes for homemade baby food. Really it's usually only one or two ingredients. SIMPLE! I did buy the baby bullet but have never used it (Tyler is real impressed). I just used my regular food processor the first time and haven't turned back. If you want to buy it, let me know!

Once the food is cooked, you'll notice we freeze it in ice cube trays or mini muffin tins. We started with one cube and worked our way up. Now Kylie eats 3 cubes with rice cereal and it fills her right up! Know that you can mix and match foods to give your kiddo a variety of flavors and textures. As they get older and more familiar with baby food, feel free to add more rice to give them a different, more firm consistency.

To warm food, place in a microwave safe dish and heat on high for 30-45 seconds, stir, and return to microwave for 15-20 seconds until melted and warm. Add cereal and serve! Some of the recipes we use are:

Broccoli: steam your broccoli until it is very tender (borderline mushy). When finished steaming, reserve water from steaming to help loosen the consistency of the broccoli when in the food processor. Place broccoli and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the broccoli is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Sweet Potatoes: steam or boil your potatoes until they are very tender. When finished, reserve water from steaming to help loosen the consistency of the potatoes when in the food processor. Place potatoes and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Blueberries: boil your berries until they are very tender and the skin starts to peal off. When finished, place berries in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). You may have some leftover skin from the berries so I always run the mixture through a mesh strainer. Spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Peas: boil or steam your peas until they are very tender. When finished, place peas in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Add water if mixture becomes too thick. You may have some leftover skin from the peas so when she was first starting with food, I would run the mixture through a mesh strainer. I don't have to do this anymore. Spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Carrots: steam or boil your carrots until they are very tender. When finished, reserve water from steaming to help loosen the consistency of the carrots when in the food processor. Place carrots and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Avocado: This one is easy. Peel, core and slice the avocados (make sure they are nice and squishy and ripe). Depending on the squishiness (oh, not a word, Mr. Red Squiggle? I still think it is.), either put them in the food processor, or mash them up so they are nice and creamy. Freeze this mixture in cubes right away to prevent from turning brown.

Squash: I use Butternut Squash. Heat the oven to 400*. Slice squash in half the long way, scoop out seeds, and place in a casserole dish with the exposed halves down in 1-2" water. Bake until the skin collapses or peels (time really depends on size of squash). Remove from oven and place the halves on a cutting board and reserve water from casserole dish for consistency adjustments.  Cut into cubes and place squash and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Beans: boil or steam your beans until they are very tender. When finished, place beans in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Add water if mixture becomes too thick. You may have some leftover skin from the beans so when she was first starting with food, I would run the mixture through a mesh strainer. I don't have to do this anymore. Spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Peaches: I buy frozen, unsweetened peaches from the frozen berries section because it is SO much easier than pealing and slicing them. Thaw them in a microwave safe dish submerged in water. When they are soft and room temp or warmer, place peaches and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Pears: Peel, core, and slice your pears and toss them in boiling water until they are tender. When finished, reserve water from steaming to help loosen the consistency of the pears when in the food processor. Place pears and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer.

Apples: Peel, core, and slice your apples and toss them in boiling water until they are tender. When finished, reserve water from steaming to help loosen the consistency of the apples when in the food processor. Place apples and some of the water in the food processor and use the grind and chop functions until the mixture is smooth and creamy (might take a minute or two). Once smooth, spoon into your ice cube tray or mini muffin tin. Freeze till solid. To remove, fill a sink with warm water and place only bottom of tray in water for a couple seconds and use a knife to (carefully) remove. Place in labeled freezer baggy and return to freezer

Bananas: We usually don't freeze this one. Once in a while we just open a banana, slice it up, and use the back of a spoon to mash it up good and smooth. Kylie LOVES them!!

As of TODAY, we are getting into big girl food and making her pastas and homemade baby mac-and-cheese.

Friday, June 21, 2013

Food Friday Favorites

I have shared a lot of recipes on this here blog and I have a lot more NEW ones on the way (which I am really excited about). Today, I thought I would reflect on the last couple years and which were my FAVORITES!

Taco Pie. So so so good and easy.

Apple Turnovers - A classy yet simple recipe.


Fruit shortcake - for when you want something light and sweet


Fried Green Beans! - A viewer favorite!!

Frozen crockpot dinners - Best thing ever. You just load up a ziploc with veggies, meat, and whatever else and FREEZE! I'm thinking of throwing together some other recipes for frozen crockpot meals. What do you think?


Wonton Fruit Cups - a low cal dessert.


Banana Pudding Cake - We actually made this for company last night and it was a HIT!


Finally, my favorite: Lemon pesto chicken. I can't tell you how amazing this is.


Visit my recipe page for over 70 delicious, simple recipes!


Friday, June 14, 2013

Samoas

These are my FAVORITE Girl Scout cookies... but they don't sell Girl Scout cookies year round so I had to improvise.

 photo Samoas_zpsf882a3a4.png

Ingredients:

For the cookies:
  • 2 2/3 Cup flour
  • 2 sticks salted butter, softened
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 tsp vanilla
For the caramel coconut topping:
  • 1 bag (2 cups) shredded sweetened coconut
  • 15 oz caramels, unwrapped (I used Werther's) 
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 tsp salt
For dipping and drizzling:
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 baggie
Instructions: 
  1. To make the cookies: Stir flour and salt into a medium bowl; set aside. Put butter in a separate bowl. Mix on medium-high speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add sugar; mix until smooth. Mix in half of the egg (beat and separate into halves) and the vanilla. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture; mix until just combined. Roll the dough and wrap it in plastic wrap, and refrigerate until firm, about 2 hours.
  2. Preheat oven to 350* F. Roll out dough on a lightly floured work surface to 1/8 inch thick.  Cut into circles (for easy/efficient baking/caramel spreading) or use cutouts to make them cute (never have I regretted anything as much as I regretted the heart shaped devil cookies... SOOO tedious. I will forever stick with square or round.).  Using a spatula, transfer circles (or hearts) to baking sheets lined with parchment paper.
  3. Bake cookies, rotating sheets halfway through, until edges are barely golden, about 12 minutes. Transfer to wire racks using a spatula to let cool completely. (Cookies will be FRAGILE!)
  4. To make the caramel coconut topping:  Spread the coconut out in a single layer on a baking sheet. In the 350 degree preheated oven, toast the coconut for 10-12 minutes, tossing halfway through as the pieces on the edges start to brown. 
  5. Once the coconut is uniformly browned (do not let it get crunchy while in the oven!!!), transfer it to large bowl and let it cool – it will crisp as it cools. 
  6.  Heat the caramels in a small saucepan over low heat with the cream and salt until the caramel is melted, stirring to combine the ingredients.  Pour the caramel over the coconut and stir everything together with a silicone spatula. 
  7. Spread a layer of the caramel coconut mixture on top of the cookie, spreading it out to the edges. Repeat with remaining cookies, setting them back on the parchment-lined baking sheets.  If the caramel topping hardens in the bowl, heat briefly in the microwave to soften. Allow the caramel topping to set for 30 minutes at room temperature.
  8. In a microwavable bowl, heat chocolate according to directions on package until smooth.  Dip the bottom of each cookie in the chocolate and place them back on the baking sheets to harden. 
  9. Once all the cookies have been dipped, place the remaining chocolate in a baggie, snip the end, and drizzle the remaining chocolate over the cookies.  Store at room temperature. 
 photo Samoas_zpsf882a3a4.png

Friday, June 7, 2013

Shredded Beef Sandwiches

If you're like me, you've never had these before. It wasn't until I moved to a small town that I was introduced to efficient yet delicious cooking.

Over Memorial Day, we went to the cemetery as we do every year to show our appreciation and remembrance of those who have died for our freedom. After the salute, we all disband and go to lunch. This year, we went to Tyler's aunt and uncle's house where they served pulled beef sandwiches.

Oh. My. Gosh guys. They were outstanding. The only problem is that I forgot to ask for the recipe. I ended up having to improvise with what we had in the house and it turned out AMAZING!

 photo 424642_10100560917933321_102298442_n_zpsc1e7d71d.jpg

Here's what you'll need for 6 sandwiches:

1 - 2 lb roast
1 packet onion soup mix
3 beef bullion cubes
4 cups of water
1 small yellow onion cut in 4 chunks (will break apart in the crock)
1 green pepper cut in half dollar sized chunks
1 packet of Knorr Homestyle Stock (I love this stuff)
6 Kaiser rolls

Before we get started, know that I just started using crockpot liners because if there's anything in the world I hate more than folding socks, it's cleaning the dirty crockpot. These things are brilliant.

Now, place the bullion, stock, soup mix, and water in the bottom of the crock. Give this a quick stir then toss in the roast followed by the onion and pepper.

Cook on high for four hours.

Remove roast from crockpot and shred using two forks.

Return juice to juices for serving and turn crockpot to "keep warm" or "low"

When you're ready to serve, open Kaiser roll, place meat on roll using tongs, and if you love a gooey sandwich (like me), add a couple tablespoons to the meet before placing the top bun on the sandwich. YUM!

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!
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