Monday, September 26, 2011

He keeps me laughing

Now that Colin is talking more, he says some things that can get me really laughing.

He loves music. I know there will be plenty of music lessons in the future for him, and hopefully from his very talented Uncle Will. When I have music on in the car, he will tell me "I like this song!" or "I don't like this song." Sometimes his choices are what makes me laugh. For instance, he proclaimed that he like My Humps by the Black Eyed Peas one day and the next he said he liked the jingle from the insurance commercial. I will admit it makes my heart happy when he says he likes a song I like too.

My radio was out for a couple days b/c my battery died and I had to go to Honda to get it reset. It was the longest 2 days of driving ever. He yelled the whole time that he wanted music. I offered to sing.

If I am stopped at a red light and he is tired of not moving, he yells "go go go!" I explained to him that red means stop and green means go. One time I even eyeballed the lights going the other directions and told him to watch as I blew (like blowing out birthday candles) as the light turned green (from the movie Corrina, Corrina). The next time he yelled "go go go!" I told him again that the light was red and we couldn"t go until it turned green. He started blowing like I did the previous time, trying to get the light to turn green.

This week I bought a pair of boots. Kind of coyboy-ish boots. A new buy for me. I am trying to get brave enough to wear them out - maybe tomorrow. I was trying them on with a couple dresses/jeans Saturday morning and Colin walks into my room and says, "Boots! Are you a cowboy?"

He melts my heart every single day.

Cinnamon Rolls

Here is the original recipe. I went with more whole wheat flour and skipped the icing in favor of a dusting of powdered sugar.

1/2 cup very warm water
1 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp yeast
1/2 cup melted butter
2 eggs
2 tsp salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cup warm milk
3 1/2 cups whole wheat flour (plus more for flouring surface)
2 cups all purpose flour
brown sugar

Combine water, 1 Tbsp sugar and yeast. Set aside for 5 minutes to activate.

Mix 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, eggs and salt. Add yeast mixture.

Stir in warm milk.

Add 5 cups flour, 1-2 cups at a time.

Knead dough on well-floured surface, adding flour as necessary, until dough isn't sticky.

Let rise until doubled in a clean, oiled bowl.

Punch down risen dough. Separate into two pieces.

Roll out dough in a large rectangle. Spread with softened butter. Sprinkle liberally with brown sugar, white sugar, and cinnamon

Roll dough. Floss dough into about 12 1-inch rolls. Place in a 9x13 pan. Let rise until doubled.

Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes.

Makes 24 rolls.

Make sure all your ingredients are room temperature (NOT COLD!). You don't want to shock the yeast. Place the eggs in a cup of warm tap water to help bring them to room temp.

Don't need 24 rolls? Me neither. After flossing the rolls, place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Place in the freezer. Once frozen toss them into a Ziploc freezer bag and pull them out as you need them. Take out the number you need the night before and place them in the baking dish on the counter. Cover with saran wrap. Allow to thaw and rise while you sleep. Pop them in the oven the next morning for fresh warm cinnamon rolls.

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Leftovers
  • Homemade Freezer Meals
  • Mac 'n Cheese
  • PB&Js
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Smoothies
  • Pasta Primavera
  • Pork Roast with carrots, potatos and peas, and whole wheat rolls
  • Dinner at Grandma's
  • Turkey Meatballs with spaghetti and veggies
  • Frozen Pizza Pockets
  • Pantry Meal  - see what I can make with what I have left in the fridge/pantry/freezer
  • Fruity Flakes
  • Raisins
  • Soy Nuts
  • Pretzels
  • Cheddar Bunnies
  • Fruit

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

A Soldier's Child

Please watch this video and read this article from the Daily News Journal's website.

If this is something that you think you could help with please follow this link over to their website to donate.

The children this organization gives to gave a great gift: their mom or dad. Although this doesn't bring them back it lets them know that they are not forgotten.

Without more donations they will have to turn away new children signing up for the program. If you have a little money to give this month, consider giving some to A Soldier's Child.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Cereal
  • Oatmeal
  • English Muffins
  • Fruit
  • Waffles
  • Eggs
  • Left overs
  • PB&Js
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Homemade Freezer Meals
  • Soy Nuts
  • Almonds
  • Fruity Flakes
  • Raisins
  • Cheddar Bunnies
  • Applesauce
  • Fruit
  • Pretzels/Yogurt Pretzels
  • Popcorn

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Harvest Pumpkin Cookies

My friend, Cassie, gave me this recipe a few years ago and now I always make several time in the fall. It is such a great way to kick off fall.

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground all spice
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup canned pumpkin
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla
1 1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 375.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, salt and all spice.

Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl on medium speed until light & fluffy. Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla. Gradually add flour mixture. Beat at low speed until well-blended. Stir in Chocolate chips. Drop heaping tablespoonfuls of dough 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown.

These cookies already have a cake like texture to them. Today I decided to replace 1 cup of all-purpose flour with whole-wheat pastry flour and used mini chocolate chips. This batch actually came out more like muffin tops than cookies. So if you are into those, you might want to try that little switch.

New Blog Name

With a new fall background I also roll out a new blog name:

Home is where the cookies are

Why? Because although my cute little guy does make his appearances on here, I typically am posting recipes and meal plans. So with that I decided to give the blog a name that is a little more fitting.


Crock Pot Chicken & Dumplings

I think I made this one day too early - today is perfect chicken & dumpling weather. No worries as I will be making this again during the cold months!

4-6 boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 Tbsp butter
2 cans cream of chicken soup (I used two boxes of these instead of the usual Campbell's and it turned out great)
1 can chicken broth
1 onion diced
1 Tbsp dried parsley
5 refrigerated biscuits (I used the Immaculate Baking Co Buttermilk variety)

Put the chicken, butter, cream of chicken, chicken broth, parsley and onions in the crock pot and cook on high for 4-6 hours.

As the chicken cooks and gets tender, break it up with a spoon or fork.

Get your biscuits and cut them into nine pieces. Stir into chicken mixture and cook for another hour.

Add chicken broth, if necessary, to thin out.

Please keep in mind, every crock pot is different. With this recipe I only cooked it for 6 hours on low and then added the biscuit dough. One of my crock pots cook very high even on the low setting. The other does not. I have to watch new recipes closely to figure out what works for each one.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Spot Cleaning the Carpet

I had these spots on my carpet. They were in the play room. It almost looked like someone (not naming names) had dropped milk or juice from the spout of their sippy. And now those spot had turned a a shade of grey. My little green machine spot cleaner didn't get them out.

I stumbled on this link on Pinterest the other day and although I pinned it, I kind of avoided it because it used vinegar. And I hate vinegar. The smell makes me want to vomit.

But I finally gave in. And I am so glad I did. Those spot are gone!

She gives quite a few steps, but honestly, all I did was mix it up, dab the stain with the solution, blot it, and then repeated with clean cold water.

Here is what you mix:

1 Tbsp white vinegar
1 Tbsp clear dish soap
2 cups warm water

Hope that is helpful to someone!

Whole-Wheat Pizza Pockets

Found this on the 100 Day of Real Food blog. It was a huge hit with Andrew (Colin likes his pizza in slice form. He wasn't so sure of this pocket version) and I will be making it again!

1 cup water
2 tsp dry active yeast
1 tsp salt
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cups whole-wheat flour
Filling: mozzarella cheese, Parmesan cheese, sausage, onion, green pepper

Preheat oven to 425.

In a glass measuring cup heat 1 cup water until warm. Drop in 2 tsp yeast and let rest for a minutes

After the yeast foams up a bit add the salt and olive oil to the water mixture and gently stir if necessary.

In a food processor or mixer with a dough blade/hook add 3 cups flour. Pour in the water mixture and process until a dough ball forms.

Coat a large bowl with olive oil, add the pizza dough ball, and cover with plastic wrap while you prepare the other fillings. Let the dough rise on the counter for 20-30 minutes.

Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces. Shape each on into a ball and then flatten it out with a rolling pin. Don't roll it too thin.

Add the filling and fold up the edges of the dough with your fingers to seal as best you can. Flip it over so seam side is down on a greased baking sheet. Make a couple of holes with a fork in the top and top with raw sesame seeds if desired.

Bake in the oven for 12-15 minutes and once done let cook for a few minutes.

Serve with warm pizza sauce for dipping and enjoy!

For the filling, I cooked up the sausage in a skilled wtih the diced peppers and onion.

Next time I make this, I am doubling the recipes and getting creative with my fillings. I want to freeze them so we have something quick and easy to take to work for lunch or even a breakfast pocket.

My ideas so far are: scrambled eggs with onions and red pepper, ham, pineapple, and cheese; broccolii and cheese, BBQ chicken with caramelized onions, cheese, and cilantro.

Have any ideas for me?

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Weekly Meal Plan

  • English Muffins
  • Cereal Bars
  • Oatmeal
  • Cereal
  • Smoothies
  • Fruit
  • Homemade freezer meals (trying our own version of a lean cuisine)
  • Leftovers
  • PB&Js
  • Fruit
  • Raisins
  • Yogurt Pretzels/Plain Pretzels
  • Cheddar Bunnies
  • Fruity Flakes
  • Freeze Dried Peaches (pretty good!)
  • String Cheese
  • Applesauce
  • Graham Crackers
  • Soy Nuts
  • Almonds

Friday, September 9, 2011

Cincinnati Chili Mac

1 Tbsp light olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
1 medium green bell pepper, diced
1 medium red bell pepper, diced
1 small fresh hot chili, mined, or one 4-oz can chopped mild green chilies
1 28 oz can diced tomatoes
4 cups cooked kidney or red beans or 2 16 oz cans kidney or red beans, drained and rinsed
1 to 2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
12 to 16 oz spaghetti

Heat the oil in a large saucepan or stir-fry pan. Add the onion and saute over medium heat until translucent. Add the green and red bell peppers and continue to saute until the onion is golden.

Stir in the remaining ingredients except the spaghetti and bring to a simmer. Cover and simmer gently for 20 minutes, or until the vegetable are tender and the flavorings completely blended.

Meanwhile, cook the spaghetti in plenty of rapidly boiling water until al dente, then drain.

For each serving, place a small amount of spaghetti in a wide shallow bowl and top with some of the chili. If desired, top with any or all of the following:
  • Diced ripe tomatoes
  • Chopped onion or thinly sliced scallions
  • Grated cheddar cheese

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Pulled Pork Chili

I would call this more of a stew than a chili, but I think it is because it called for "chili-ready diced tomatoes." I didn't find that (and I am not sure what that is) but next time I am going to dice up some hot peppers or something and add it to this recipe. Give it a little heat.

It made a TON! We had it for dinner tonight - put some aside for left overs tomorrow night - and then  froze three more portions for easy lunches or quick dinners.

2 cans (14.5 oz each) fat-free reduced-sodium chicken broth
2 cans (14.5 oz each) chili-ready diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15.5 oz) red kidney beans, rinsed
1 can (15 oz) black beans, rinsed
1 large onion, chopped
2 Tbsp chili powder
2 tsp ground cumin
1 boneless pork shoulder (2.5 lbs)
Shredded cheese and sour cream for topping

Combine all ingredients except meat, cheese and sour cream in slow cooker. Add meat; cover with lid. Cook on low 10-12 hour (or on high 7 hours).

Remove meat from slow cooker. Shred meat; return to slow cooker. Stir

Spoon into bowls; top with cheese and sour cream.

Weekly Meal Plan

  • Oatmeal Waffles
  • English Muffins
  • Eggs
  • Toast
  • Cereal
  • Banana Bread
  • Oatmeal
  • Fruit
  • Leftovers
  • PB&Js
  • Ham and Cheese
  • Chicken Nuggets
  • Pulled Pork Chili with corn bread
  • Leftover chili
  • Ravioli with marinara sauce and veggies
  • Taco Salad
  • Slick Pig BBQ and Wings, homemade sides
  • Frozen portions of Veggies Cincinnati Spaghetti (will post recipe this week)
  • Fruit
  • Smoothies
  • Soy Nuts
  • Cheddar Bunnies
  • Yogurt
  • Pumpkin Bread

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Chicken Enchiladas

This recipe was found over at Skinny Taste.

Make them even yummier: make your tortillas for this recipe!

For the sauce:
2 garlic cloves, minced
1-2 Tbsp chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
1/2 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/2 tsp ground cumin
3/4 cup fat free chicken broth
salt and pepper to taste

For the chicken:
1 tsp vegetable oil
8.5 oz (2 breast halves) cooked shredded chicken breast
1 cup diced onion
2 large cloves garlic, minced
1/4 cup cilantro
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp chipotle chili powder
1/3 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup tomato sauce
8 flour tortillas
1 cup shredded Mexican cheese
1/2 cup chopped scallions or cilantro for topping

In a medium saucepan, spray oil and saute garlic. Add chipotle chiles, chili powder, cumin, chicken broth, tomato sauce, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 5-10 minutes. Set aside until ready to use.

Preheat oven to 400.

Heat the vegetable oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Saute onions and garlic on low until soft, about 2 minutes. Add chicken, salt, cilantro, cumin, oregano, chili powder, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and cook 4-5 minutes. Remove from heat.

Spray a 9x13 glass baking dish with non-stick spray. Put 1/3 cup chicken mixture into each tortilla and roll it.

Place on baking dish same side down, top with sauce. Then top with cheese.

Cover with aluminum foil and bake in the oven on the middle rack for 20-25 minutes. Top with sour cream or scallions if you wish.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Crockpot Swiss Chicken Casserole

This dish used a can of cream of mushroom soup. I found a recipe to make homemade cream of mushroom soup, and if it turns out well I will come back and link it up to this recipe. We avoid cream of such-and-such soups b/c of the MSG and the sodium. But this recipe is excellent and I can't wait to make it a few times in the fall.

6 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
6 slices Swiss cheese
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup milk
2 cups stuffing mix
1/2 cup butter, melted

Lightly grease crock pot (or use a liner!). Place chicken breasts in crock pot and top with sliced Swiss cheese.

Combine the soup and milk, stirring well.

Spoon over cheese.

Sprinkle with stuffing mix.

Drizzle melted butter over stuffing mix.

Cook on low 8-10 hours or high 4-6 hours.