Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I LOOOOOVE RASPBERRY ICE TEA! DO YOU??

(Hmm....I just found this draft in my posts...my intention had been to share it earlier in the summer, but I figured 'better late than never', so..  Even though it's a bit late, I hope you will enjoy it - you can use raspberries from the freezer if you prefer).

Raspberries are my favorite all-around fruit - any way they're served.
credit: K. Kendall


When we go out to eat, I love to order raspberry tea - this recipe for tea is simple to make right at home. Hope you enjoy it often....

Feel free to sweeten it with Splenda....YUM! Click on the
link for the recipe - it's printable at that site.



MAKE-YOUR-OWN RASPBERRY ICED TEA

Friday, September 24, 2010

"Homemade" Pumpkin Puree

I'm SO excited because I finally found canned pumpkin on the grocery store shelf today. (9/23/10).

I was aware that there had been a shortage as I haven't been able to find any ANYWHERE for months!  And had recently heard that we would have it available for the holidays.  Hurrah! 

I love pumpkin and use it for many things.

It's a great substitute for oil.  I will share some pumpkin recipes soon, but for now, I want to share with you how I recently made pumpkin puree  for my freezer.


I purchased some smaller 'pie pumpkins' from a local vegetable/fruit stand a few miles from our home for $1 each.  They are 'meatier' than a regular larger-sized pumpkin, which contains a lot of water.  (I know - I've baked them up in the past and can testify that these smaller pumpkins produce much more of the solid pumpkin.) In the picture above, I got all that puree in the bowl (about 4 cups) from one small pumpkin that size!


I cut them open, cleaned out the 'gunk' inside, and layed them upside down on a foil-covered cookie sheet, added about 1/4 c. water and baked them for about 1-1/2 hrs. or until tender.

I baked 2 pumpkins together with a large butternut squash. I had baked 1 smaller pumpkin the day before. I let them cool and the peel came right off the fleshy meat.


I put the 'meat' in my food processor, about 3-4 cups at a time, and whirred it until it was the right consistency - butternut squash mixed in with the pumpkin, for color, texture and flavor too. (Did you know the two can be interchangeably used?) I actually added water when needed to make a smoother texture.


And the best part was - I spent $3.50 for 3 small pumpkins and the butternut squash, and ended up with 16 cups of pumpkin!

I placed it in freezer containers then will let it thaw in the fridge for a day before I'm ready to use it.

Isn't it just beautiful!??

Oh my!  I'm thinking...

Paradise Pumpkin Pie...Pumpkin Cake Roll...Pumpkin Sheet Cake...
Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Cake, Pumpkin Dump Cake,
Chocolate Cake Muffins...Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread...and MORE!

Stay tuned for upcoming holiday recipes - you'll
have a hard time choosing which ones to try.

Or maybe you will be like me, and try them all!

Especially now since pumpkin is available once again!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mini Meat Loaves from Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms Cookbook

OK - try saying that 3 times in a row huh?  All I can say is...MMMMM!  *-*

Meatloaf is one of my all-time favorite meals and I guarantee this one is tasty! I recently made this recipe while at my daughter Deb's and the house smelled divine while they baked in the oven.

More MMMM!  MMMMini Meat Loaves!!!

photo: Jane Doiron

Actually, I made meatballs and browned them in the oven. After they cooled, I put them in the freezer for Deb to make something later.  They tasted divine!

The author of this great cookbook, Jane Doiron, has become a special email buddy. She has done much to help me get things set up at Facebook and my blog, to spur more traffic. She's a busy school teacher, mom & wife. I certainly appreciate her sharing her expertise with me.

Check out this delicious dish and then check out many others she shares.  She has wonderful recipes and great ideas for cooking ahead. Her cookbook is available online at
Amazon.com - click Here

Friday, September 17, 2010

SECRETS OF FAST COOKING

Some great hints here from Reader's Digest online - hope they help ease your work in the kitchen and help you get a healthy meal on the table quickly!

SECRETS OF FAST COOKING: FRUITS & VEGGIES

credit: mauspray

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Tag...I'm it! (And I'm so tickled to be!)

I have a lovely new friend Mandy at Mandy's Recipe Box  She's playing a game...and I've been invited to play. How fun is that?

The game is called Eight to the Eight to the Eight...ever played?

The idea is that I'm supposed to answer Mandy's eight questions, then pose eight of my own, and tag eight people to answer those. And so on and so on...

I am excited to do this and see who plays along with me. I think it lets people get to know the bloggers. So here are the questions Mandy asked me......and my answers!

1. What is your cooking tool/gadet that you can't live without?
I would probably have to say my spatula scrapers - I have several...curved, colored, smaller sized...and when I'm busy in the kitchen I use nearly all of them.


2. What is something that you can't make unless you are sharing it, otherwise you'd eat it all yourself?
This was easy!  Definitely PAYDAY Bars - WAAAYYY too good, and I could eat the whole panful if left alone in the kitchen.  I must know who I'm going to share them with before making them, or I'm in real trouble! (Recipe is on page 81 of my cookbook=)

3. Favorite cooking memory growing up?
I'm tickled to get such an easy question!  I wrote about this memory in my recent cookbook.  Favorite memory is coming home from school and seeing the kitchen counters and table covered with many kinds of cookies. Mom would spend a day in the kitchen during the winter (oh how special to think of those fogged up windows!) to bake cookies to entertain guests or to go in the freezer for lunches.  She gave me much freedom to do cooking, unaided, while I was growing up. She'd be so proud if she was here now.

4. The one recipe you love from someone who inspires you? (Mom, Grandma, friend, etc.)
Apple dumplings from my mom - the recipe card is covered in smudges/grease and it's a real memory-jogger to think about the times mom would bake all day on a Sat., making pies, and dumplings, and we'd get dumplings for dinner.  We had no clue how spoiled we were!

5. Where would you love to visit if money was no object, and why?
I would love to go back to St. Kitts in the Caribbean.  My brother and wife own a villa there and blessed me greatly by allowing me to take 4 girlfriends along and spend a week there this last Feb!!  It's a very beautiful place, and being there reminds me of how spoiled we Americans are, and that's a good thing. I absolutely love sunshine & water!

6. Why do you blog?
Mostly because my daughter insisted I begin one.  =)  I love cooking and sharing great recipes, and I love getting to know other bloggers - just like doing this fun game.
Sharing recipes is a natural passion of my heart.  

7. What is your favorite book?
I truly love reading autobiographies the best, but any Chicken Soup for the Soul
book is a favorite!

8. Who would you love to have dinner with who is dead, alive, or famous?
After my mama - Paula Deen!

My questions to pose to others:

1. How many new recipes would you say you try (on average) in a week's time?

2. What's your favorite kitchen tool or appliance?

3. Who is your favorite Food Network personality?  Why?

4. What is your favorite movie?  

5. What/Who inspired you to begin blogging?

6. What dish is your family's 'most often requested'?

7. What's your favorite recipe ingredient? 

8. Share your favorite childhood memory connected with food..

9. What do you order most often when eating out?

10. Where did you go on your most favorite vacation?

OK - I've tagged these bloggers...


1. Make Ahead Meals for Busy Moms


2. Fun Foods on a Budget!

3. The Pioneer Woman

4. Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker

5. The Queen Mommy's Cafe

6. Mommy's Kitchen

7. Eat At Home

8. A Feast for the Eyes

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Leader Enterprise - September 2010 - Breakfast for kids

Isn't it amazing how the fresh air,sunshine and summer activities cause some children to grow an inch or two(or more!)during summer break? I appreciate the thought in this short poem.

SHRINKING TEACHER

I saw my last year's teacher,
Had she shrunk an inch or two?
It took me time to figure;
she was no shorter,I grew.

Research shows that kids who eat breakfast fare much better in school.It not only helps maximize school performance, but helps them grow properly also. Consider these ideas to help simplify your routine so your kids can start the day out right by having time for breakfast.

Make sure homework is finished and the bags packed ready for school by bedtime.

Get up 15 minutes earlier if need be.

Give up TV and computer games before school.

Children should decide what they're going to wear to school before going to bed. Know where shoes are to save time. Relieve morning stress by planning ahead.

Here's some easy ways to get nutrition in your kids in the morning. Breakfast doesn't have to be a victim of the early AM rush. Some of these things can be eaten on the go. Be sure to stock healthy foods;allow children to choose favorite yogurt or cereal when shopping.

Breakfast Split - place vanilla yogurt in a bowl, top with fresh banana slices,strawberries,raspberries or favorite fruit and top with granola. Place in a disposable cup or bowl and let children eat breakfast on the way to school if need be.

Banana Pancakes
- Mix 1/2 banana with 3/4 cup milk in blender. To 1-1/4 c. pancake mix, add 1 lg. egg, 2 TB.peanut butter,1 TB. oil,and banana milk. Cook until bubbly;turn. Top with peanut butter.

Fruity Milkshake - In blender place 3/4 c.milk, 1/2 c. frozen whole strawberries and 1/2 cup (frozen) vanilla yogurt. Cover with lid; process until smooth.Pour into glass. 1 serving.

I was thrilled to find a recipe for making your own instant oatmeal. Those little packets are handy, but cost more. Have your children help make this and they'll be more excited about eating it. There are options listed so it doesn't have to be boring. It's a real money-saver as everyone gets their favorite flavor without the expense. To speed time, the oatmeal mixture may be premeasured and bagged in small ziploc bags.


INSTANT OATMEAL ALA-HOME

1-18 oz container quick cooking oats
1/3-cup dry powdered milk (omit if lactose-intolerant)
1/2-cup packed brown sugar,or less
1-2 tsp. cinnamon
1-cup raisins or dried fruits

Mix all of the ingredients together and store in an airtight container. Label the container with directions. Yields 16 servings.

To prepare oatmeal: scoop 1/2 cup oatmeal mixture into a bowl and mix with 3/4 cup water. Add more water if you prefer it thinner; less water if you like it thicker. Microwave on high for 1 minute; stir and enjoy. Older children can help younger ones.


Options:

-Fruit/cream-add 1 TB. nondairy coffee creamer and 2 TB. dried fruit,or applesauce.

-S'Mores-add 6 mini marshmallows and 1 TB.milk chocolate chips to prepared oatmeal.

-Celebration-add 1 tsp. sugar and 1/2 tsp. "Pop Rocks"-this is fun for a birthday.

-No-Bake Cookie-(my personal favorite. Stir in a TB. peanut butter to prepared oats,then add 1-2 TB.of (lite) chocolate syrup. It's very filling and satisfying.

The following recipe is both delicious and easy - and is found in my new cookbook. This may be made ahead and re-warmed in the microwave. Add some bacon or sausage to provide sustaining protein in the morning.

INVISIBLE BANANA FRENCH TOAST

2 eggs
1 banana, sliced
1 tsp.ground cinnamon
6 slices white bread
1 TB. margarine or oil

Place eggs,banana slices and cinnamon in blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into bowl-heat margarine. Dip bread into batter and fry. Serve with warm maple syrup or even peanut butter. For a quicker breakfast, roll up and eat on the go.

Here's a couple of ideas for healthy and fun after-school snacks. Make Apple Smiles by cutting a red apple in half; core; then cut each half into 4-5 slices. On one side of each apple slice spread peanut butter, add 4-5 mini marshmallows (to represent teeth), then top with another slice, peanut butter side down. You'll have 2 'lips' and 'teeth'.

BANANA MONKEY CRUNCH

1-14 oz. can crushed pineapple,drained
3 cups vanilla yogurt
1(4-serv.size) instant vanilla pudding mix
1 c. granola cereal
2 bananas, sliced

Drain pineapple juice into large bowl. Add yogurt and pudding mix to juice and whisk until smooth and thick,about 2 minutes. Add crushed pineapple; stir well. Let stand a few minutes or refrigerate. Spoon into dessert bowls. Top with granola and banana slices.

Here's a list of seasonal foods that will be cheaper to purchase in the month of September:

Apples, bell peppers, corn, cucumbers, eggplant, garlic, grapes, mangoes, melons, onions, pears, pistachios, plums, potatoes, pumpkins, summer and winter squash, tomatoes.

We've had a heat wave this summer, but winter is just around the corner, so enjoy time outdoors as much as you can. And keep canning and freezing those fruits and veggies to enjoy when the snow is blowing when they will taste extra good.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Homemade Dinner Rolls from a Cake Mix? You got it!

As the weather cools down, aren't you thinking more about baking?  It not only warms the kitchen, it warms the heart to have home baked goods on your table to share.

This recipe is unbelievable!  I had to try it right away, and these rolls were wonderful.  Please check out this lovely post at the link below - complete with 'beginning to end' pictures - at Mommys Kitchen - I follow her blog - She's incredible!!!!

This is a great recipe to make when you want yeast rolls and you're in a pinch for time.

photo: Mommy's Kitchen 

For me, nothing smells better than fresh bread baking - and tastes better than eating it warm with butter.  Oh my!  My mouth is watering just thinking about these rolls.....

CAKE MIX DINNER ROLLS

Friday, September 10, 2010

Strawberry Pretzel Squares Madeover

This is a wonderful recipe and a favorite of mine.  The combo of sweet and salty is always appealing to my taste buds...trust it is to yours also.

This recipe has been 'tweaked' to reduce fat/calories!  If you want to use frozen strawberries, reduce the water amount to 1-1/2 c. MMMMMMMM!!



MADEOVER STRAWBERRY PRETZEL SQUARES

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

STREUSEL APPLE PIE BREAD

Fall is falling and time for enjoying more apples in season!

This is a recipe from long ago and it missed getting into my cookbook. If I ever 'do' another, this will definitely make it in.

I found a similar recipe online recently and tweaked it a bit and this is what resulted.


It's wonderful - tastes as good as it looks.

I substituted one cup of wheat flour for the white, and used part splenda.  Always remember the Splenda 'rule'...it bakes faster....watch it so you don't dry your baked goods out.

STREUSEL APPLE PIE BREAD

1/2 cup butter or margarine, softened
1 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1/4 c. sour milk
2 c. grated apples (about 5)
2 c. all purpose flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt

STREUSEL TOPPING
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
3 TB. flour
1/4 c. light brown sugar
2 TB. cold butter
1/2 c. chopped nuts

Preheat oven to 350 and spray a 9" X 5" bread pan with nonstick spray; set aside.
In large mixing bowl, cream together margarine, sugar and eggs.  Add vanilla, milk, and then apples; mix on low speed until smooth.
Add dry ingredients and mix on low just until blended. Pour the batter
into prepared loaf pan and spread evenly.

In small mixing bowl, combine first 3 streusel ingredients. Add small pieces of
butter and mix until blended.  (a pastry blender works well for this).
Add the nuts and stir. Sprinkle streusel over bread batter evenly.

Bake for 60 - 70 minutes (until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean).
Let stand for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and cool on wire rack.

If you want to freeze, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and then
place in freezer bag.  Don't forget to date it - use within 2 months.