Saturday, September 16, 2017

Leader Enterprise - Sept. 13, 2017 - Starting School Right



With school starting and homework piling up, the structure and routine of the school year quickly replaces those relaxed summer days we've all enjoyed. The school year can go smoother with a planned study space for students. Less stress..more success.



The place where kids study should be comfortable, quiet and free from distractions. They can go to their room, close the door and kill as many distractions as possible - like music, television, and even the internet and their phone. 

Whether or not your child takes their own lunch every day or just occasionally, try not to fall into the 'brown bag rut'. Try new foods in lunches - whether for school or work. Watch for what's in season and vary between fruits and veggies.

You can pack healthier options, and most kids won't even know the difference. Replace chips with pretzels or goldfish. Place them in ziploc snack bags-a great way to have perfect single-serving sizes. Mix assorted snacks like dried cherries or apples, raisins, yogurt raisins, banana chips, goldfish, cheerios and raisins to make your own 'trail mix'. If your kids want chips, try a healthier baked version. Multigrain Pringles are great.

Purchase items like teddy grahams, granola or animal crackers to satisfy their sweet tooth. Instead of purchasing pre-sliced apples at the store, make your own! Toss apple slices in lemon-lime soda for about 10 minutes, then drain. Store in snack size ziploc bags and be sure to squeeze all the air out. This will prevent the apple slices from browning.

No matter what the kids are taking in their lunch, a note from mom or dad can always brighten their day, so parents:don't forget to add a little love note to your child's lunch or backpack. Knowing you are thinking of them while they're gone helps boost their self-worth and aids them in their school progress in ways you may never know.

This is a healthy snack your family is sure to enjoy.
CAFETERIA PEANUT BUTTER BALLS
1 c. honey
1-1/4 c. natural creamy peanut butter 
1-1/2 c. dry powdered milk
3 c. quick or old fashioned oatmeal, uncooked
1-2 Tb. wheat germ,optional
1-2 Tb. flax seed,optional
1/2 c. mini chocolate chips, optional

Mix all the ingredients together with a electric mixer. Form into balls with hands and freeze on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper until firm. Remove from freezer and store in a large zip lock bag in the refrigerator. Yield: 
about 30 peanut butter balls.

CHOCOLATE CHIP GRANOLA BITES
2-1/2 c. quick or old fashioned oats
1/2 c. crisp rice cereal
2 Tb. flax seed, optional
1 Tb. wheat germ, optional
1/2 c. semi-sweet, white chocolate or butterscotch chips

1/2 c. brown sugar

1/2 tsp. salt

1/2 c. coconut oil, melted (or butter)
1/3 c. honey
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract 

Preheat oven to 350. Spray mini muffin pan with cooking spray. In large bowl, mix all ingredients except for chocolate chips; stir with spoon until well blended. If mixture seems too dry, add more honey or coconut oil. Add a little at a time until mixture sticks together (but will not be like cookie dough). Stir in chocolate chips. Using a small cookie scoop, place granola mixture in mounds; press mixture firmly with your fingers or back of a spoon. Bake 12-13 minutes. Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 30 minutes to 1 hour. Remove from pan with knife and enjoy. Store in airtight container or place in ziploc bags and freeze to be tossed into lunches later.

William Butler Yeats has been quoted as saying "Education is not the filling of a pail, but the lighting of a fire". 

Friday, September 15, 2017

Flashback Friday - Irresistible Cookies


WELCOME TO FLASHBACK FRIDAY! 


Tickled to share some favorite tasty cookie recipes with you today!! 



Start with 2 cookie mixes, add some oats, butter, eggs and candies and you're all set!  Great when you need something quick for tomorrow...or tonight. 




This one begins with a cake mix..add coffee if you'd like...roll in powdered sugar and bake.  MMMM good! Great with a cuppa coffee. 





A from-scratch cookie that will knock your socks off!  
AH.MA.ZING & AWE.SOME! 





A luscious combo of hazelnut, chocolate & butterscotch.
How can you go wrong???  Pour a glass of milk and enjoy!






Saturday, September 9, 2017

Copycat Cracker Barrel Buttermilk Biscuits {New Recipe}

Who doesn't love a great biscuit?

In our opinions....
 Cracker Barrel's have some of the best. 

Love them slathered with butter and some apple butter, or honey.
Or that yummy blackberry jam you can get at this favorite place to eat. 

This is an easy recipe as it begins with a biscuit mix (Bisquick or Jiffy Mix)..
add a little sugar, some buttermilk and butter...

Knead a little bit - cut out and bake. 

Even a novice could make these special bites of yum. 

And it's hard to believe a biscuit THIS GOOD came from a mix...they won't taste like it! 

So don't waste any time...run to the kitchen and mix them up now.

These are great served with eggs and breakfast meat, sausage gravy or alongside a pot roast, gravy and veggies. You can't ever go wrong serving them
any time of day. 


CRACKER BARREL BUTTERMILK BISCUITS 

2-1/4 c. Bisquick mix (or Jiffy)
2/3  c. buttermilk 
(use the real stuff for best results)
2 tsp. white sugar
3 Tb. butter, melted, divided
1/4 c. all purpose flour for kneading

Preheat the oven to 450*. Spray a glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. (I like to use an ungreased cookie sheet). 

In a large mixing bowl, stir together Bisquick, buttermilk and sugar. Add 1 Tb. melted butter and mix until well blended. 
Sprinkle a cutting board surface with the all purpose flour.  Knead the dough at least 20 times, using the flour to coat as you work it into the dough. 

Roll (or pat) dough 1/2" - 3/4" thick. Cut out into rounds (I use a drinking glass for my 'cutter') Place on baking sheet.  (They need not touch each other). 
Brush tops with melted butter. Bake for 8 - 10 minutes or until tops are golden brown. When you remove from the oven, brush tops with remaining melted butter again.

Enjoy warm!! 

Linked to 
Meal Plan Monday





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Friday, September 8, 2017

Flashback Friday - Soups on!

WELCOME TO FLASHBACK FRIDAY! 


As the temps drop...here's some luscious soup recipes to help warm you up...

This easy and delicious soup will satisfy your
hungry brood...SO good! 5 basic ingredients!





This tasty simple soup comes with Weight Watchers points too, if you're
interested.  Add rotel tomatoes for some 'zip'.  Only 4 ingredients!






With pasta and tomato soup, it can be ready for your family to enjoy without much time!  Serve with sandwich or salad for a feel-good meal. 





This comforting soup has Healthy Options if you'd like. With squash and other veggies, it's sure to fill you up so you can sleep good. 



Thursday, August 31, 2017

Paula Deen's Moist Zucchini Bread {New Recipe}

HAPPY LAST DAY OF AUGUST! 

Can we even believe summer is coming to an end already????

Having a farmer's market baked goods stand in the summertime, I try a lot of quick bread recipes.  I have an awesome Zippy Zucchini Pineapple Bread recipe that I love...the pineapple adds moisture, you don't really taste it. 

I also make a Chocolate Zucchini Bread using my 'regular' zucchini bread recipe and substituting 1/2 c. baking cocoa to replace all purpose flour. It's really good too.  

Other times I use the 'regular' bread recipe and toss in a few chocolate chips.
It's all good!

It seems I've gotten more requests than usual for zucchini bread this summer, so when I tasted this fabulous bread at my S-I-Love's (Thanks Vicki!) I HAD to have the recipe.  It's moist straight from the oven! And I mean moist...

ALL THE WAY THROUGH! Without being frozen.  I do think quick breads gain moisture when frozen, but this one is moist from the start! 

SO here you go....hope you'll enjoy using up the abundance of fresh zucchini this summer to make this irresistible bread. 

It does freeze well, so if you know you have company coming in a few weeks, go ahead and make it now. They will sing your praises either way!



Paula's ZUCCHINI BREAD 

3-1/4 c. all purpose flour
1-1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground nutmeg
1 tsp. ground cinnamon 
2 tsp. baking soda
2-1/2 c. sugar 
(original recipe calls for 3 c.)
1 c. vegetable oil
4 eggs, beaten
1/3 c. water
2 c. grated zucchini
1 tsp. lemon (or orange) juice
1 c. chopped nuts, optional 

Preheat oven to 350*. Spray 2 standard loaf pans with non stick cooking spray; set aside. In a large bowl, combine flour, salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, and baking soda. In a medium bowl, beat sugar, oil, eggs, water, zucchini and lemon juice; add to flour mixture and beat until blended.  Fold in nuts. Bake 50 - 60 minutes until tester comes out clean. 

You can also bake in 5 smaller (mini) loaf pans for about 40 - 45 minutes. 

Cool about 10 minutes; remove from pan. Allow to cool on rack. 

Wrap in saran wrap and place in a ziploc freezer bag to keep in freezer. 






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Friday, August 25, 2017

Flashback Friday - Fabulous Fruity Salads

WELCOME TO FLASHBACK FRIDAY!
So glad you're here...hope you will try these simple, fruity dishes soon!





This dish is mixed up in minutes, using canned fruit and instant pudding.
SOOO good! 

Easy Fruit Salad (Sugar Free Option)





This lovely and crunchy salad has such a flavor blast with craisins, celery, apple chunks and nuts! 





Ready in minutes, this tasty fruity dip is wonderful served with fruit, vanilla wafers or angel food cake cubes. Sugar free option! (You'll be the only one who knows it's not full of sugar!) 






Enjoy these 'dressed up' grapes as a salad or dessert...oh so creamy and delicious. Keeps well in the fridge too, so can be made ahead. 





Saturday, August 19, 2017

Leader Enterprise - August 16, 2017 - Tips for Easy Meals




As you all know by now - I love simple and easy recipes.  I've been thinking about my third cookbook, FORK FAVORITES, that's recently been delivered to my door, and decided I should share some suggestions for making quick, easy meals. Even if you are just learning to cook, these ideas can help save you some time when you want to get a meal on the table quickly. 

1. Always read through a new recipe before starting. It's too tough to adjust mid-way through it. Check the size baking dish needed and the oven temperature. 

2. I like to get all my ingredients out on the counter, then place them in a different spot as I use them.  That way, if the phone rings and I forget what I was doing, I know where to begin again. In order to avoid confusion, I think it's easiest to add ingredients as listed in the recipe. 

3. We keep cleaned and cut up veggies on hand in the fridge. They're great for snacking. If your recipe calls for chopped onions, celery and/or carrots, chop them ahead of time. You can even freeze this combo. That's one less step you have to do when throwing your meal together. You don't have to do a week's worth of prep at once. Anything you can do ahead will help when mealtime rolls around. 

4. Keep cooked chicken and beef on hand in the freezer. Feel free to season your meat with taco seasoning, ranch dressing or whatever your family prefers. 

Here's a great recipe for preparing cooked chicken for the freezer, along with ideas how to use it.  

CREAMY CROCKPOT CHICKEN TACOS (OR NACHOS)

5 frozen chicken breasts
1 (16 ozs) jar salsa or picante sauce (your favorite) 
1 (1 oz) pkg. taco seasoning mix (= to 3 Tb.)
1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. cilantro
1/2# (more or less) Velveeta cheese, chunked
(cheddar or pepper jack would be great too) 
taco shells or tortilla chips
GARNISHES: chopped tomatoes, shredded lettuce, chopped green onion, sour cream and/or guacamole 

Spray 4-qt. crockpot with nonstick cooking spray.  Lay chicken breasts (still frozen!) in the bottom; cover with salsa or picante, then sprinkle taco seasoning over top.  Cook on high for 3 - 4 hours or low for 5 - 6. When cooked, remove breasts and shred with 2 forks.  Return to crockpot and stir in milk and cilantro.  Place Velveeta over top and heat (on low) until melted. Stir before serving in taco shells, warm tortillas or on tortilla chips with garnishes of choice. Cool before freezing. Yield: 6 - 7 servings 


MAKE AHEAD OLD-FASHIONED BEEF STEW

1 lb. beef stew meat
3 cups (24 ozs) V8 juice
1 cup (8 ozs) beef broth
1/2 onion, sliced
1 tsp. worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. dried marjoram
1/2 tsp. dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 cup (8 ozs) frozen green beans
1 cup (8 ozs) frozen whole kernel corn
1 cup chopped carrots
(To save time and effort, I opted to use a bag of frozen stew vegetables instead=)

Pour all the ingredients, with vegetables still frozen, but broken apart as much as possible, into a 10-cup freezer container (gallon ziploc freezer bag works fine).

To serve, thaw.  Pour into a slow cooker.  Cook on low for 6 - 7 hours. Serves 8

(I suggest you always use fresh meat before freezing...refreezing meat that has once been frozen, is not a good idea) If you want to thicken sauce, mix some cornstarch with water then stir into stew before serving. Serve with biscuits for a filling meal. 

Instead of a sharing a quote, I thought I'd add a couple of jokes for the kids.

Q: How do you get a tissue to dance?
A: You put a little boogie in it

Q: How does the ocean say hello?
A: It waves