Eat New Round 2

Well my family survived being guinea pigs for a week!  If they are honest, I think they might say they actually enjoyed it!

In my last post, “Eat New Challenge,” I detailed recipes that we were going to try for supper last week, along with providing links to the recipes.

What were the results?  Well, since you asked….

Sunday – The copy cat recipes for KFC Extra Crispy Chicken and Cheddar Bay Biscuits were tasty as was the jalapeno corn dip.

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Sunday is also the day I prepared the Vanilla Bean Cream Pie.  Let me just tell you, this is THE best pie I have tasted in a very, very, very looooonnnnggggg time. Everyone wanted a second piece and was asking for another pie to be made!  So it is definitely a keeper!

Monday – Corndogs – these were good, and I don’t like hotdogs much.  I used white coarse ground cornmeal, instead of the yellow specified in the recipe, because it’s what I had and what I use.  I didn’t want to buy something new for just this single use.  I found the procedure easy and using a glass to batter the hotdogs, was complete genius!

Tuesday – The Crockpot Carnitas were one of my favorites for the week.  Super easy and super tasty.  No complaints in this house at all.  I decided to serve it with some Mexican fried rice.  The recipe was pretty straight forward and was easier than I anticipated.  You can find that recipe here.

Wednesday – The Cuban Beef tied with the Carnitas this week for me, for being the best.  It had a few more steps than I was prepared for, especially when preparing a side dish that needed a little babysitting, but it was amazing.  And, surprisingly, this was my kids’ favorite dish of the week, beating out corndogs!  Can you believe it??  The Avocado fries were not as tasteful as I hoped for.  I believe they have great potential, but I couldn’t put my finger on what ingredient I would want to add to give it a kick.  Some may find them excellent, but for my family, we will probably pass next time.  A good result that did come from making these, is learning the flour, then egg, then panko breading procedure.  I am planning on trying this to create baked onion rings!

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup.  Delicious, easy to make, and best of all, my kids devoured kale like there was no tomorrow!  Next time this graces my table, it will be accompanied by some crusty garlic bread and tossed salad.

Friday and Saturday are our unpredictable days and so meals are always prepared with our pantry/freezer staples.

One thing I learned in trying new things is it is hard to plan side dishes that compliment the meal (e.g. Thursday).  I think this is something I may develop a better skill for as we continue our “Eat New Challenge.”  I don’t have really picky eaters, but even so, I also learned this past week that it’s even easier to have them try something new when my husband and I are joining in!

Although the week has already begun, I want to share with you what’s for supper….

Sunday:  White Cheddar Chicken Pasta

Monday – White Bean Soup with Bacon

Tuesday – LEFTOVERS 🙂 Easy peasy

Wednesday – Crockpot Beef Stroganoff

Thursday – Sweet & Sour Pork Chops

This week’s dessert is Peanut Butter Chip Cupcakes!

I’m really looking forward to the soup tonight.  It’s 64 degrees here and breezy, so it’ll be the perfect meal on this fall-like day  Plus it has bacon, it’s hard to go wrong when bacon is involved!

What about you?  Up for trying something new?  Join me in the “Eat New Challenge!”  Comment below with a new recipe you’re trying, I’d love to hear about it!

Thanks for dropping by ~Kim~

Eat New Challenge

It’s been a long time. I have taken the word “slacker” to a whole new level. Don’t think I haven’t missed you, I have. The summer got off to a rocky start in my house. Including gall bladder surgery for me, followed by recovery. All with my poor kids being home on their, oh so short, summer break.

We’ve been back to school for over a month now. It’s hard to believe!

With getting back into my groove, I have decided to try something new. First, let me remind everyone that I grocery shop on Fridays, so my menu plans normally cover Friday through the following Thursday. Because weekends are unpredictable (which is allowed for in my planning), I have decided to challenge myself to eat something new for supper each day starting Sunday, going through Thursday!

After scouring my pinned recipes, this is the menu (with links to the recipes) that I plan on preparing for my family.

Sunday – Kentucky Fried Chicken (copycat), Red Lobster biscuits, and jalapeno corn dip

Monday – Corndogs, probably with some green beans and fries, unless something else sparks my interest!

Tuesday – Crock Pot Carnitas (with rice). This is a link to the Pin, the recipe is listed there.

Wednesday – Cuban beef with baked avocado fries

Thursday – Tuscan Tortellini Soup

This week’s dessert – Vanilla Bean Cream Pie, probably will be made on Sunday!

So there you have it! Finally, my Pinterest time has come in handy 😉 They all looked sooo delicious! I figure my kids will be the most excited about Monday…and probably Sunday.

I’m looking forward to all the new flavors, and, if this coming week goes well, maybe I’ll give it another try the next week!

Now I challenge you to try something new. Maybe one of the recipes I’m trying out, or another one you’ve had tucked away. If you accept the Eat New Challenge, I’d love to hear from you, leave a comment and let me know the outcome!

Thanks for stopping by! ~Kim~

Anyone Want Waffles?

“YES!!!”  was the answer I received to this question, from all three boys, almost in unison.

We had some milder temps here yesterday, accompanied by some freezing rain.  The result?  Our schools were on a two-hour delay.  That means the bus doesn’t pick the kids up until 9!  Just enough time to prepare them a tastier breakfast than the normal cereal, yogurt or oatmeal.

I don’t know about you but I love cooking with buttermilk.  Pancakes, bread, biscuits, and even cake, all taste amazing with buttermilk as an ingredient! 

One thing that I think everyone should have in their recipe stash, is a tasty take on buttermilk waffles.  So to help you with that, I’ve decided to take this opportunity to share my recipe with you.

Buttermilk Waffles

Buttermilk waffles

  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 stick of butter, melted (or 1/2 oil, in a pinch)
  • 1 3/4 cups of buttermilk
  • 1 Tablespoon of packed brown sugar
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • optional ingredients – 3/4 tsp vanilla or maple extract, 1/2 tsp cinnamon

Beat eggs, then add the remainder of the ingredients.  Stir until it’s just smooth.  Don’t over do it! 

Pour prepared batter onto a preheated waffle iron.  If you would like to (and who wouldn’t) sprinkle some mini chocolate chips onto the batter before closing the iron, or even some chopped nuts.  Or blueberries….

Blueberry Waffles

Yum!

I have a 6 inch Belgian waffle iron.  A single batch of this recipe makes approximately four for us.  I normally make a double or triple batch.  Then the kids reheat the leftovers in the toaster to have for breakfast throughout the week!

Buttermilk Waffle

If you’ve never make a recipe with buttermilk, I think you should give it a try.  It definitely adds to the flavor and texture of whatever you make.  A great benefit of buttermilk is even after it is opened, it still keeps for a good while.  Just close that lid up tight! 

Are you looking for more tasty sweet breakfast treats?  Check out these past posts:

Bananas for Breakfast

Fancy Banana Bread

Do you have a post you made about a great breakfast treat?  Post a link in the comments!

If you don’t already, follow me by email by entering your email address on the side of the page.  If you’d rather, jump on over and like my Facebook page or follow me on Twitter!

Thanks for stopping by ~Kim~

 

How ’bout Them Buns?

Hamburger buns of course 😉

Wow!  I like snow, but it feels like I moved in with Santa or something.  I think we’ve had snow on the ground since before Thanksgiving.  My kids may have had a full week of school since then also, but then again, I don’t really think so.  They were off school yesterday and today.  It’s nice having extra hands to complete the chores, but at this rate I don’t know if they will get a summer break!

Today was busy and fun.  They of course played outside.  We also had our weekly bible study today.  It’s normally on Wednesday, but I wasn’t feeling all that well, and the benefit of teaching them myself, is I can postpone it.  Rarely do I, but it is always an option if necessary!

A slight glitch in my day occurred when i checked the scheduled meal for tonight’s supper.  Hamburger and french fries.  Ground beef:  check.  Potatoes: check.  Buns: buns???  how do I put hamburgers on the menu and forget buns? ~sigh~

How to solve the dilemma?  Pinterest.  How else?  It’s a one stop shop for absolutely everything.  Search:  hamburger buns.  I found a super easy recipe that claims to be the best.  We’ll just see about that.  So I assembled the ingredients and went to work.

The result?  AAAAHHH- Mazing.  Look if you don’t believe me……

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They smell and taste just as good people.  Seriously……when will they invent smell-ivision?

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The buns were just slightly big, so when I make them again, I might make 10 to 12 of them instead of 8.  I guess it depends on how big you make your burgers!

If you want to give them a try, and I highly recommend that you do, head over to Parsley, Sage and Sweet for the recipe.

Need a burger recipe to go with it?  I have one you just might enjoy, here!

Stay warm, and thanks for stopping by,

~Kim~

P.S. I am making progress on the office, here is a peek,

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always messy while in process, right?  I can’t wait for it to be finished so I can share the before and after shots!

 

 

THE Best Christmas Cookies

Christmas is just over a week away. Eight days, if you’re counting. My kids are. I am too! This time of year is so full of traditions. I think that’s why I love it so much!

Making Christmas cookies has been a tradition I have participated in ever since I was little.  I can remember helping my Mom and Granny making them, and now I make them with my own kids!

I’m guessing if you’d type in “Christmas cookie” for an internet search, it would probably get millions of hits! That could be overwhelming!!  So to help you out a little, I thought I’d share with you my favorite cookie recipes of all time.

<< The following links take you to a printable copy of the recipe or the web page the recipe originates from.  I do not claim any of these to be my own creation, but they were passed to me as a handwritten recipe from my Mom.  The origin is unknown>>

 

Pecan Tassies

Peanut Butter Cookies – I have tried many, but this is still the best.  I guess Jiff might know a think or two about peanut butter after all 😉

Walnut Frosties

Sugar Cookies – These are the best to make with the kids, they LOVE to cut them out and of course decorate them!

Fudge – This isn’t “real” fudge but it tastes pretty darn close, plus it’s super easy!  It is a great versatile recipe.  You can omit the nuts, or you can change it up by using different flavored chips.  I’ve already tried it with peanut butter chips, and a mix of semi-sweet chocolate and peanut butter!  I bet it would be amazing with some mint and chocolate mixed!

Chocolate Chip Cookies – the use of pudding in this recipe makes it unique.  They stay thick even after they cool.  If you still have trouble keeping the cookies from flattening out, use 1/2 cup solid shortening and 1/2 cup butter, in place of a whole cup of butter!

IMG_0304Walnut Frosties - Christmas Cookies

I wish I had more cookie pictures to share with you, but my kids and I are planning on baking Sunday and Monday.  They are so much looking forward to it, maybe more than I am!

 

Whether you’re leaving cookies out for Santa or giving them as a gift, there’s just something special about homemade Christmas cookies.  I hope one of these recipes catches your eye, maybe even inspires you to start a new baking tradition in your family.  If you try any, I’d love to hear how they turn out!

What is your favorite Christmas cookie recipe?  Would you share?

I Need Marshmallows in My Hot Chocolate

Brrr!  It’s still “fall” here in the midwest, but you couldn’t tell it by looking outside.

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Old Man Winter has decided to make an early appearance.  Which, quite frankly, happens pretty much every year.  The only people who seem surprised by it are the meteorologists.

Having snow for us, often leads to the start of the school day being delayed, or in the case of both Friday and today, canceled.  A snow day can only mean:  snow ball fights, building snow forts, sledding….and getting cold!  And what better to remedy the cold of wintry weather, than a steaming cup of hot chocolate, topped with marshmallows!

But, what do you do when you don’t have marshmallows?  I don’t know about you but I need marshmallows in my hot chocolate!!

Well, it is something I’ve always wanted to make.

But, I don’t have corn syrup.  Most recipes call for corn syrup. 😦

So I turned to the web for a recipe using only sugar.  Yay for me, I found one!!

The recipe I used is on food.com, you can find it here.

I followed the instructions word for word (almost!).  It was easy….and I took pictures to further illustrate the steps.

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn't sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

I buttered the pan so the powder sugar would stick (the butter part I added because I wasn’t sure the sugar would stick otherwise!)

After transfering the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After transferring the mixture from the pot to the bowl, it should look like this.

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this.  I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After mixing for approximately 10 minutes, it looked like this. I decided it was ready to pour into the pan!

After it was poured in the pan.  Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

After it was poured in the pan. Now just wait until it sets up. (It will, I promise!)

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I’ve decided after today, that hot chocolate is waaaay better with homemade marshmallows!  It was unbelievably easy to make these, I really hope you give it a try!

Maybe next time I’ll try mint extract instead of vanilla….or maybe strawberry….or….

What do you do to warm up from the winter’s cold?

P.S. Here is a recipe for AAAA-mazing hot chocolate!

Who I Am: September Edition

Summer is coming to an end.  It’s a bittersweet time of the year.  Summer is filled with so many fun activities, that at times it’s hard to see it go, but where one season ends, another begins.  Soon we will be greeted by brisk fall air and beautiful trees putting on their colorful display.

In our house, the end of the summer usually means canning season.  Which is why I am sharing this hobby with you this month!

Canning was introduced to me by my mother-in-law about 12 years ago.  Only later did I learn that both of my Grandma’s did it!  Which I found very cool!

What is canning you may wonder?  Dictionary.reference.com defines it as, “the act, process, or business of preserving cooked food by sealing in cans or jars.”  (For specific methods and guidelines, go here.)

Before I tell you why I do this, let me tell you why I don’t.  I don’t do it to save money.  At all.  There is far too much time invested in the finished product.

So, if it takes so much time, why do it?  I love it.  But if that isn’t reason enough…..

Canning lets me preserve what we grew in our garden.  What we took care of from seed to harvest, all summer.

My family appreciates it.  Let me tell you how awesome it feels to be able to use this as a reason!  Not only do they like the finished product and have actually told me, but they also like lending a hand in the process!  Anything from breaking beans, cleaning carrots, running apples through the food mill, etc.  I’m thankful that they’re thankful.  It makes your time feel well-spent.  Plus it’s a hobby, so it’s definitely a win-win.

It gives me a deep feeling of connection to the past knowing that generations of women before me did the same thing I was just doing hours ago.  Especially this year, with a bountiful harvest of nearly everything, it reminded me of how fortunate we are.  We, as a family, grow this food, because it is a way we enjoy spending time together.  I can it because I enjoy it.  It’s a hobby.  Could you imagine living, as our ancestors did, when getting through the winter depended on how much food was grown in your family garden?  Knowing in years of draught or extreme weather conditions, that food would have to be rationed to make sure there was enough to put meals on the table until the next year?  The worries I have dull in comparison.  Definitely another reason to be grateful!

I’m sure if I thought hard enough, I could come up with many more reasons, but for me, the fact that I enjoy it, is enough.

So what do I can?  Everything from jams and jellies, to salsa, spaghetti sauce, to green beans and carrots.  I did get to try something new this year, and that was canning peaches and nectarines.  Let me just explain that I am NOT a fan of either.  The rest of the family is, though.

With the goal of making my hubby and kiddos a treat, to the market I went.  I came home with a half of a bushel each of peaches and nectarines.

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Ok, so I will give it to the peaches, they are pretty photogenic!  Now to try out some recipes.

I made some Peach Amaretto Jam.  It smells amazing!  And good news?  Tastes just as good!

I also tried my hand at Nectarine Jam.  It’s amazing how it can go from this

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To this

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Tasty and pretty!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also tried canning them both in a very light syrup, which was recommended to preserve texture, otherwise I would have used just water.  I hope they taste as good as they look!

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If you can, I’d love to hear what you’ve done this year!  Just leave a comment please!

Here are past months’ editions, in case you missed out:

Who I Am:  February Edition

Who I Am:  March Edition

Who I Am:  April Edition

Who I Am:  May Edition

Who I Am:  June Edition

Who I Am:  July Edition

Who I Am:  August Edition

There are only a few months left in this series, so if there is anything you’d like to learn about me, please let me know!  I just may use it for an upcoming edition!

Thanks for stopping by!    ~Kim