Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Brainstorming Breakfast

Okay, so I’ve been thinking a lot about my breakfast options, partly because I’m pregnant and unmotivated (especially in the mornings!) and partly because I want good, healthy options, hopefully with more protein.  I like variety and don’t want to spend too much time in the morning fixing food.  We tend to eat pancakes, oatmeal, cereal or scones.  Yep, we’re stuck in the grains!  We don’t eat eggs really because my children and I get stomach aches often from *scrambled*eggs.  I don’t know why.  I read something about how scrambling eggs oxidizes them (whatever that entirely means ;-) ), so maybe that’s why?

This morning I made creamy maple oatmeal that originated from Martha Stewart’s site.  I followed the recipe exactly last time and served it with the dried cherries too which was yummy.  This time I just made a pot of oatmeal and doused it with some maple syrup and a bit of cream.  Then I served it with raisins and glazed walnuts, instructions courtesy of my friend, Maegan.  It turned out well, and everyone liked it.  I was glad to add the raisins for more nutrients (especially iron since my iron is low right now) and also the walnuts for more, you got it!, PROTEIN!  :-)

I hope to post more exciting breakfast ideas and recipes as I continue my journey!

Post a comment:  What do YOU eat for breakfast?

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

The Moon

Have you seen the moon the past couple days?  It’s been absolutely gorgeous!  Sorry I don’t have a picture to share!  Last night I noticed how big and bright it looked and marveled at it with my children.  Tonight, I was driving shortly after darkness hit, and saw the moon, just above the horizon, peeking out and resting on some clouds as if it were framed.  It appeared large and golden, just like the sun.  It was great!

I’m not sure how much longer the moon will look like this, but check it out if you can!

How marvelous are God’s works and ways – much higher than ours!

Genesis 1:16

 Then God made two great lights: the greater light to rule the day, and the lesser light to rule the night. He made the stars also.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Pizza Dough – Part Two – Stromboli

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My sister-in-law made this for us a few years ago when we visited her in NY.  It was so yummy!  I have finally gotten the knack of making it.
After making your pizza dough, roll it out into an oblong shape.  I roll mine so it will fit on my baking stone lengthwise once it is assembled entirely.  Line the middle of the dough with plenty of meat and cheese.   IMG_4619Fold the sides in (or roll it up, if your deli meat will let you!) and score the top if you’d like.  It does look prettier that way.  Bake at 500 degrees for about 15 to 20 minutes, until golden brown and the dough is cooked thoroughly.  I then brush the top of mine with softened or melted butter and serve with dips like:  mayo, dijon mustard, and salad dressings.  YUM!
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This time, I made one with grilled vegetables inside, too, and that was so good.  I chopped up the deli meat, some green and red pepper and some onion and sauteed it a bit in some butter.  I lined that down the middle with some mozzarella cheese and then rolled up the dough, rather than just folding the sides in.   This turned out SO yummy!
ENJOY!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Pizza Dough – Part One

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This is a great pizza crust recipe.  I use it all the time.  For the flour, I either use half whole wheat and half unbleached all-purpose flour OR I use all of another favorite flour I find at Costco – Eagle Mills Unbleached All-Purpose Flour made with Ultragrain.  I tried to use half whole wheat flour with this Ultragrain flour, but it was too heavy.  I think I would have to use less whole wheat.  Anyway, try this crust!
This recipe only makes one crust, so I double it to make two crusts for our family of six.  Eventually, I think I will have to make more or at least make breadsticks every time in addition!

Preheat oven to 500 degrees before starting the dough.

Pizza Dough
Mix together and then let sit for 5 minutes:
3/4 c warm water (recipe says between 105 and 115 degrees, but I just make sure it is a little warmer than my wrist)
1 1/2 t sugar equivalent (I use honey)
2 1/2 t yeast

Meanwhile mix the following in a large bowl:
2 1/4 c flour
1 1/2 t salt
1 1/2 T oil

Then add yeast mixture.  Stir until combined. Turn dough out onto a floured counter and knead until smooth, for a few minutes. Let rest in bowl while you assemble your sauce and toppings.

Roll out pizza dough and either put in an oiled pizza pan or on a cornmeal-dusted pizza peel if you are using a pizza stone. Cover the dough with pizza sauce and toppings and bake the pizza at 500 degrees. For thin crust pizza, this will only take about 5 to 10 minutes. For thicker crusts, it will take about 15 to 20 minutes. I usually double the dough recipe and put it in a half-sheet pan, making a thicker crust pizza.

If you are using a pizza stone, place the stone into the oven while the oven is preheating, so it can preheat too. Then slide the pizza onto the stone once it is topped and ready for cooking. You will need the peel to take the pizza out when it is done cooking.

Keep an eye on the pizza as it cooks. The cheese should be bubbly and start to golden when the pizza is ready. 

SOON I will post “Pizza Dough – Part Two”, which shows you how to make stromboli with it. YUM!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Plant Philia

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Philia (Phileo) is a Greek word for brotherly love – one of the loves in the Bible.

Last summer we remodeled our basement.  Included in that remodel was the establishment of a “man cave” (i.e. office) for my husband.  It is one of the most used areas of the house now, well at least by my husband.  Somehow, something was missing, though.

Last week my husband came home with a grin on his face and a large, stapled shut, paper bag in hand.  I asked him what was inside.  To his delight, he replied, “My plants!”  Sure enough, he bought some plants for his man cave!  He even bought special pots for them, as you can see from the photo.  I told him he must be getting lonely down there and needed some friends.  I’m starting to think that is true because he has even named his plants, according to their kinds - “Philo”, “Jade” and “Freckles”. 

Men need their caves, but they need friends too.  :-)

Monday, March 22, 2010

Pinewood Derby

Over the weekend, my son participated in our church’s Pinewood Derby.  Last year he won first place for speed in his class (K-4th grade) as an unexpected blessing, so this year he said he wanted to try to win first for design.  Well, guess what… he did!  He and Daddy spent a lot of time thinking about a good design and worked hard at it.  Lo and behold, their hard work paid off!  They made a car to look like Sonic the Hedgehog.  He is a video game character, if you aren’t familiar with him.

          Sonic

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Easter Menu Help

Yes, I know…. Easter is still a couple weeks away, but my mind is thinking about it a lot.  I’m hosting this year’s Easter meal and will be cooking for 12 to 14 people.  About half of those people are children, but everyone has hearty appetites, so I don’t consider that too much.  I’m trying to think of a good menu.  I am not a big ham person.  In fact, I’ve never cooked one in my life!  Should this be my big debut?!  What are you serving, taking, or eating for your Easter dinner this year or if you don’t know the answer to that yet, what have you eaten in years’ past that you have enjoyed? 

Friday, March 19, 2010

Baked Potato Soup

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Well, here it is!  The promised recipe!

It is very delicious!  I double it for our family of six and have leftovers for most of us to have it for lunch the next day.

HINT:  Just make sure you bake the potatoes in advance!  That’s what takes the longest time.  Otherwise, the recipe is quite easy!

Baked Potato Soup

  • 3 bacon strips, diced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 2 large baked potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 1 cup half-and-half cream
  • 1/2 teaspoon hot pepper sauce
  • Shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Minced fresh parsley
Directions
  1. In a large saucepan, cook bacon until crisp. Drain, reserving 1 tablespoon drippings. Set bacon aside. Saute onion and garlic in the drippings until tender. Stir in flour, salt, basil and pepper; mix well. Gradually add broth. Bring to boil; boil and stir for 2 minutes. Add the potatoes, cream and hot pepper sauce; heat through but do not boil. Garnish with bacon, cheese and parsley.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Good Job!

I’ve got a serious backBLOG.  Yes, you read it correctly… I’ve got a backBLOG – you know the kind you get when your mind thinks faster than your blog and time can keep up.  I have pictures and blog posts waiting for you.  I just need to keep up with my mind and camera.  :-)  So… where to start?

Today was an interesting day, and I felt encouraged in the end so I thought I would share what happened.  The day started off and proceeded to be crazy.  I was in and out of the house so much, juggling my three children of course, one of whom was coughing continually.  I had an unexpected visit to my niece’s school in the morning, music class for the kids at noon, and dentist appointments in the afternoon.  Plus, I was TRYING to fit in school and normal duties, like cooking dinner.  We all have days like this, and they are just hectic!  Little did I know there would be treasure waiting for me at the end of the rainbow.

At the dentist’s office, I was extremely blessed by everyone there.  My children had behaved beautifully (don’t you just love moments like those?!), and the receptionist, hygienists, and dentist all remarked about how great they were, in different ways, and also encouraged me about my homeschooling, saying in essence, they see it is making a difference in their lives.  I felt so tremendously blessed.  It was like these women were following me around, patting me on the back, saying, “Good job, Lisa!”.  Let me tell you… I needed to hear that.  I have plenty of discouraging and trying moments, but the moments in the dentist office boosted me greatly.  I realized, once again, how great it feels when you feel like you are doing a good job, that what you are doing with your life IS making a difference. 

We walked out of the office, into the wonderful spring sunshine day and proceeded to the bread shop where I was again blessed, but in a different way.  The bread shop had made too many loaves of potato bread yesterday, so they were handing them out for FREE to customers today.  Doesn’t this look scrumptious??

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I took the bread home and used it as part of our dinner, serving it as a side to the delectable baked potato soup I made.  YUM!  Again, I felt the Lord smiling down upon me.

Think if there is someone in your life who needs to hear “Good job!”.  You don’t even have to say it in those words, but just encourage someone in what he or she is doing in life.

Oh, and tomorrow, I will plan to post the baked potato soup photo and recipe so be ready!  :-)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Meal Planning

Meals for the next week or so.  I still have to decide some of the side dishes!

*Baked Potato Soup, Biscuits

*Beef Hot Dogs on the grill

*Chicken and Cheese Stromboli

*Lasagna, Broccoli

*Chicken Fajitas

*Cashew Chicken

*Beef Taquitos, Creamed Corn (homemade, of course!)

*Rio Grande Quesadillas

I’m getting hungry already!  :-)

Monday, March 15, 2010

Hoping in God’s Character

What do you do when you are in a situation you really don’t want to be in?  What do you do when you feel exasperated and to the end of your rope, wondering when life will change?  Our pastor has made a good statement - “Hope in God’s Character”.  We can not hope in ourselves for we know our failings and shortcomings all too well.  We can not hope in others, for we do not know if and when they will change.  We can not even hope in our circumstances, because we do not know what tomorrow brings.  However, we can hope in God’s character.  He is Good.  He is Perfect.  He is Loving.  He is Wise.  He is All-Knowing.  We can trust that His eye is on those who love Him and hope in Him.  He has a plan for our lives.

Psalm 33:18

Behold, the eye of the LORD is on those who fear Him,
         On those who hope in His mercy.

No matter what the valley is, no matter what we face, we can turn to Him and hope in His great mercy.  It may not be easy, yet through blood, sweat, and tears, we can turn our eyes to Him.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Some Family Splurging

We had an eventful start to the day today. We took our two youngest children to a sports class. Then we hopped to one of the local mall areas so my daughter and I could look for her flower girl dress. She is standing up in my brother-in-law’s wedding in May. Unfortunately, the “men” of the family had to waste time because the hobby shop they were going to hit closed. With success, my daughter and I left the bridal shop and headed over to JCPenney, once again with the men chauffeuring us. We shopped a bit, while the men wasted time again. In the end we walked out with some fun items for ourselves, including this adorable purse for myself. Doesn’t it scream “WELCOME SPRING!”?

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We treated ourselves with a lunch at Sonic. My husband and I had never been there, but the kids had been. We enjoyed our lunch and then headed home to start devouring the dozen variety of doughnuts Brian had picked up from Krispy Kreme. Ah yes, it was a day full of too many calories!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Scrumptious Brownies!


I made these brownies tonight. I’ve made them before, but I think they were even better tonight – maybe just because I haven’t had freshly cooked brownies in a while. Regardless, these are absolutely delicious and easy to make! I have tried several homemade brownie recipes, and this is truly one of the best. Each time I have made these brownies I have added chocolate chips, but I would like to try other additions as well. If you have a chocolate craving moment, try this recipe. Be careful… our household of six can nearly demolish the entire pan in one sitting!
35 min | 10 min prep
SERVES 16
WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT
  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Grease an 8 inch square pan or line with foil.
  3. In a medium bowl combine melted butter and cocoa and stir until cocoa is dissolved.
  4. Add sugar and mix well.
  5. Add eggs one at a time and stir until well combined.
  6. Stir in vanilla, flour and salt until you no longer see any flour (do not overmix).
  7. Fold in "WHATEVER FLOATS YOUR BOAT"!
  8. Spread in pan and bake for approximately 25 minutes.
  9. DO NOT OVER-BAKE -- your brownies will come out dry. Adjust time/temp accordingly for your oven. If you do the knife/toothpick test, it should come out with moist crumbs, not clean.
  10. Cool completely before cutting into squares.
  11. For vegetarian omit the marshmallows.
  12. For double recipe, bake in 9x12 pan and add 5 minutes to baking time.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwiches

Well, it looks like it’s time for another recipe! A while ago, I was stuck on food – on my blog and in my mind. I thought I might have to start calling my blog, “The Cozy COOK”. :-)

Nikki’s Nacs posted these yummy sandwiches the other day, and I made them for breakfast this morning. She got the recipe from that good ol’ southern belle, Paula Deen (picture me saying that with a big southern drawl). I used wheat bread (and only had creamy peanut butter), and the sandwiches were yummy – maybe not as pretty as Nikki’s, but still yummy! :-) ENJOY!!

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Paula's Fried Peanut Butter and Banana Sandwich

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3 tablespoons honey
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 to 3 ripe bananas
  • 8 slices white bread
Topping:
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Directions

In a frying pan, melt 3 tablespoons of the butter. Make sure butter does not burn. In a small bowl mix together the peanut butter, honey, and cinnamon. Slice the bananas into 1/4-inch thick slices. Spread the peanut butter mixture on 4 slices of bread and cover with banana slices. Top with the remaining 4 slices of bread. Spread the remaining butter on both sides of the sandwiches. Grill the sandwiches in the frying pan until each side is golden brown.

For topping, combine the sugar and cinnamon in shallow plate. Coat the grilled sandwiches with the mixture. Cut diagonally and serve hot.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Cupcakes and Tea Time

My six year old daughter had some friends spend the weekend with us. I tried to think of some fun things for them to do, especially since it was partly a birthday celebration for one of the girls due to my daughter missing the party the weekend before.

I made chocolate cupcakes and had the kids decorate them on their own, which all kids love of course! I put out whatever decorating item I could find in my pantry and didn’t even buy anything special. They had a fun time decorating and eating!

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The next day we had a tea time. Groceries were actually getting low in my house, so I rummaged through my brain, pantry, and frig. and came up with a decent collection of graham crackers, Hershey Kisses, cheese slices, and apple pieces for a nice addition to some raspberry peach tea. The girls enjoyed their girl time, set at a special table for themselves, with pretty dishes to boot!

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Friday, March 5, 2010

It’s in the genes!

My daughter loves to grab the camera here and there to take pictures. Today I asked her to straighten up the boots and shoes. A short while later she came back to me and said with camera in hand, “See what I did”.

Before:

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After:

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She took these photos while she was sitting on top of the washer. You can see her little pink pants in the corner of the second photo. :-) The kids know that I have a blog and catch me blogging from time to time. I guess my daughter is taking after me. I told her she’s a natural blogger. :-)

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Scrubbing Away!

My husband asked me a while ago if I could clean the handles on the refrigerator. It’s just one of those things that goes unlooked in the midst of everything else, I guess. When he pointed it out, I realized how uncomely the handles were. Last week, I made a bucket of bleach water and SCRUBBED the handles. I had to scrub inch by inch to get the desired outcome. Nonetheless, it was a job well worth the effort.

IMG_4406If you look at this picture, you can see the embarrassing unbleached handle on the left with its cleaner companion to the right.

If this doesn’t inspire you to tackle one of those “hidden projects”, I don’t know what will. ;-)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

The First Sign of Spring

Some people look for robins and tulips, but we noticed a different sign that told us spring is coming.

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Yes, that’s right… the local ice cream stands are now opening their windows again! We celebrated with them and already had our share of dipped ice cream cones. Happy Upcoming Spring!