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Saturday, February 11, 2012


The kiddos begged for pancakes this morning, and I have to admit - I'm a sucker for tons of warm pancakes, loaded with maple syrup and butter on a cold, snowy day. It all just seems to fit together. Instead of wimping out with my Bisquick batch, I made them from scratch - and they were delish! This made about a dozen or so.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1 1/4 cups milk
1 egg
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 tsp vanilla extract

  1. In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking powder, salt and sugar. 
  2. Make a well in the center and pour in the milk, egg, vanilla and melted butter; mix until smooth.
  3. Heat a lightly oiled griddle or frying pan over medium heat. 
  4. Pour or scoop the batter onto the griddle, using approximately 1/4 cup for each pancake. Brown on both sides and serve hot.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Chicken and Dumplings

I've been doing a lot of crockpot meals lately - they're so much easier to throw together and have ready in time rather than fighting the clock (and the kiddos) for a decent meal. Everyone eats this one (well, Luke picks at it and takes a few reluctant bites), so we do it every once in awhile. The sodium content has to be out of control, but it's a good way to sneak in some vegetables and I admit I love the mushy biscuits!

Chicken and Dumplings
3 skinless, boneless chicken breast halves
2 tablespoons butter
1 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of chicken soup
1 (10.75 ounce) cans condensed cream of mushroom soup
1 onion, finely diced
2 (10 ounce) packages refrigerated biscuit dough, torn into pieces
1 can mixed veggies
1 can chicken broth

  1. Place the chicken, butter, soups, veggies and onion in a slow cooker. (It will look VERY liquidy, but that's what you want.)
  2. Cover, and cook for 5 to 6 hours on High or 10 hours on Low.
  3. About 2 hours before serving, place the torn biscuit dough in the slow cooker. Cook until the dough is no longer raw in the center.

Banana Bread

I was really excited about this banana bread recipe - it substituted honey and sugar-free applesauce for the brown sugar and oil in a normal recipe, and was made with whole wheat flour. I've been trying to get all of us eating more natural foods, along with more fruits and vegetables, so I thought this was a great recipe to try out.

The end result was decent - although not nearly as sweet and addictive as my other banana bread recipe. It's very moist, though, which was a pleasant surprise. Linds took one bite and refused the rest of the piece, which is highly unlike her, so I have a feeling this may not be a keeper. I'd give it a 6/10 - tastes decent enough to finish the loaf, but not something we're going to be craving anytime soon.

"Healthy" Banana Bread
2 cups whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup sugar-free applesauce
3/4 cup honey
2 eggs, beaten
4 mashed overripe bananas

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x5 inch loaf pan.
  2. In a large bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. 
  3. In a separate bowl, mix together applesauce and honey. Stir in eggs and mashed bananas until well blended. 
  4. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir just to moisten. 
  5. Pour batter into prepared loaf pan. Bake in preheated oven for 60 to 65 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean. 
  6. Let bread cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack.

Fried Pickles

This has been a serious craving of mine throughout the pregnancy. I've had them at Cheeseburger in Paradise and Buffalo Wild Wings, and when I saw the link on Pinterest for homemade fried pickles, there was no stopping me! I opted to wait until Superbowl Sunday to make them (perfect game-day treat) and boy were they delish. Linds begged to help, so I let her do the dipping and I dropped them in the pan of oil. It was a huge mess, but well worth it. The picture below doesn't accurately represent the level of messiness, but it's a glimpse of it.
Fried Pickles
1 large egg
3/4 cup milk
1 cup cornstarch, divided
1/2 cup yellow cornmeal (I ran out and used 1/2 cup out of a box of Jiffy Mix)
2 teaspoons dill
2 teaspoons paprika
2 teaspoons black pepper
1 teaspoon salt
36 dill pickle slices, cold
Canola oil
Ranch dressing for dipping

  1. Beat egg and milk. 
  2. Place 1/2 cup cornstarch in a shallow dish. In another dish, mix 1/2 cup each cornstarch and cornmeal with dill, paprika, salt and pepper.
  3. Dip cold pickle slices in the plain cornstarch, then the egg wash, then the cornmeal mixture. 
  4. Fry in 2 inches of 375 F (medium-high stovetop heat) canola oil until golden, about 3 minutes.
  5. Drain on paper towels and serve with ranch dressing.

Preschool Snack - Part 2

After pretzels and apples on Monday, and S'mores Trail Mix on Wednesday, we decided to make dirt dessert pudding cups for preschool snack on Friday. This was another easy one to make and Linds and Luke helped throughout the entire process. The end result was delicious and after we set aside enough for her class, there were three left. I thought this was perfect since the boy doesn't really do desserts (especially one this juvenile!)...but lo and behold, when I pulled them out last night for dessert, his eyes lit up and he exclaimed, "oh, YES, I love dirt dessert!" Needless to say, I shared half of my pudding cup with my grateful husband :) Lucky for us, too, there were four sent home from school today - so we each got our own tonight.

We garnished ours with a single gummy worm on top (mostly because I managed to eat the rest of the gummy worms over the course of the week we had them in the house and didn't have any extras to mix in with the batter - totally the baby's fault?!). The pudding cups taste much better after sitting overnight in the fridge, but can always be eaten pretty much immediately after making, too.

Dirt Dessert
1 (3.9 oz) package instant chocolate pudding
2 cups cold milk
1 (8 oz) tub whipped topping
15 Oreo cookies finely crushed
Gummy worms

  1. Beat pudding mix and milk in a large bowl with wire whisk for 2 minutes.
  2. Let stand 5 minutes.
  3. Mix in whipped topping and 1/2 cup of cookie crumbs.
  4. Spoon into ten 6 or 7 oz cups and top with remaining crumbs.
  5. Refrigerate for an hour and top with gummy worms before serving.

Our doubled batch for her class:

Preschool Snack - Part 1

Lindsay was in charge of snacks for her preschool class this week and we decided to go a little creative with them. I always feel bad - since her birthday is right at Christmas, she usually gets to bring her birthday treat on the same day of the holiday party. Everyone's already filling up on cookies and fudge and all that other holiday goodness, that cake and cupcakes are an afterthought. The fact that "mom guilt" over the pending arrival of our third is settling in doesn't help either. I know when this little guy is born that dividing my attention three ways is going to be tough, so I'm trying to do extra special things with Linds and Luke now just to leave them with happy thoughts before my mind (and time) goes.

So, anyways, we decided to do some theme snacks and the letter they were learning this week was "P." On Monday we brought in individual bags of pretzels and apple slices - big hits with 5 year olds! And on Wednesday, we decided to make a trail mix snack that we've been excited to try - s'mores trail mix. Didn't quite fit in with the theme, but it was probably one of the tastiest treats I've snacked on that a 5 year old would enjoy, too. It was super easy to make - in fact, both of the kids made it for the most part. All they had to do was dump the bags/boxes of stuff into a big bowl and mix it up.

S'Mores Trail Mix
1 box of Golden Grahams
1 bag of miniature marshmallows
1 bag of chocolate chips (I used the Ghirardelli milk chocolate chips - better than Hershey's and I'm a Hershey native!)
1 cup of peanuts (optional - we couldn't add them because of school rules)

  1. Combine ingredients in a large bowl.
  2. Try not to eat the entire thing yourself before serving ;-)

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Veggie Pizza

I was looking to make a veggie pizza for a family gathering this weekend and dug out this recipe - I forgot I had it and I remember enjoying it when it was served at a party we threw awhile ago. Wanted to post it before I forgot where I stored it ;-) The original called for 2 packages of crescent rolls, but I have a TON of the "sauce" spread left, so I increased it to 3 and it possibly could be 4 depending on how heavy you like the "sauce." I don't care for it to be too thick, so I may try 4 next time. Enjoy!

Veggie Pizza
3 (8oz) pkgs refrigerated crescent rolls
2 (8oz) pkgs cream cheese, softened
1 cup mayonnaise
1 (1oz) pkg dry ranch-style dressing mix
1 cup fresh broccoli, chopped
1 cup chopped red pepper
1 cup chopped green bell pepper
1 cup chopped cauliflower
1 cup shredded carrots
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Roll out the crescent roll dough onto a 9x13 inch baking sheet and pinch together edges to form the pizza crust.
  3. Bake crust for 12 minutes in the preheated oven. Once finished cooking, remove crust from oven and let cool 15 mins without removing it from baking sheet.
  4. In a small mixing bowl, combine cream cheese, mayo and dry ranch dressing. Spread mixture over the cooled crust. Arrange broccoli, tomato, green pepper, cauliflower, carrots and cheddar cheese over the cream cheese layer. Chill for one hour, slice and serve.

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