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 ūüėČ 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~

Who I Am: June Edition

I’m late, I know. Honestly, I forgot about this series! My kids summer vacation started last week. Well it was their first full week off. Now I’m in rescheduling mode, trying to figure out what we should be doing, when, and, most importantly, who will be doing it. I have extra helpers now, I can’t miss out on that!

I am hoping this post will move me in a more regular posting pattern…fingers crossed! I really enjoy sharing things with my readers, but I also don’t want to miss out on the time I can spend with all my kiddos¬†during the much too short summer vacation.

Today I thought I’d talk a little about baking.

Do you like to bake? I love it!

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I will try baking just about anything (as long as coconut isn’t involved..YUK!). My favorite ingredient is chocolate. Cookies, cakes, it doesn’t matter. If chocolate is an ingredient, then the recipe shoots right to the top of my “to try” list!

Lately I have been baking quite a few cakes. I am the opposite of an expert cake decorator, but star tip in hand I can make something decent looking! My kids always want some sort of crazy character, but last spring I made my first cake for someone besides my kids.¬† It was my in-laws 50th wedding anniversary, and they asked me to make their cake for the party….

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They approved, and there wasn’t any left, so I will call that a success!¬† Now next week I get to make a cake for my nephew’s graduation party (wish me luck!).

I don’t really recall¬†specifically being taught how to bake, but remember helping my mom and grandma make cookies at Christmas time.¬†¬†I’m pretty sure that was the beginning of it all.¬† I remember taking home-ec in middle school and being completely bored with it, as I had already mastered most of those basic skills.¬† In high school, I was the birthday cake baker.¬† Nothing fancy.¬† Often times something comical written on the cake, as we were teenagers and everything¬†funny.

Now that I have a family of my own, I love baking even more than just the occasional cake.¬† I, of course, try to teach my kids to eat right, but to me anything is acceptable in moderation.¬† Baking the treats at home gives me control over the ingredients.¬† Being able to pronounce them all is a big plus.¬† So is the fact that I don’t include preservatives ūüėČ

My little boys love cookies, and who wouldn’t?¬† It’s a portable dessert!¬† Grab and go.¬† My husband likes just about anything I bake, which makes it super easy!¬† The way to a man’s heart, is through his stomach, right?¬† I guess I kind of look at it that way with everyone.¬† To me baking is a labor of love.¬† I love doing it, and it makes it more special when those I love can enjoy it also.¬† I always say my secret ingredient is love!

As I already mentioned, chocolate is my favorite ingredient, but one of my favorite things to bake¬†doesn’t even include it.¬†¬†It’s bread.¬† Just about any type.¬† There is something about the whole process of watching the yeast grow the bread, the smell of it baking, and the amazing taste once it is finished!¬† I even dabbled in sourdough for a while, but I let my starter die (it has to be fed with flour to keep the yeast active!).¬†¬†I really need to start that up again, as sourdough bread makes the absolute best french toast I have every tasted!

Now with summertime fast approaching, zucchini bread will also frequent my oven.  This is definitely a family favorite!  Good plain or with some cream cheese frosting on top.  Excellent of course with a hot cup of coffee!

Baking with the seasons is a great way to make use of your own garden, farmers market, or local grocery store.¬† Buying produce “in season” is cheaper and makes for wonderful pies, tarts, and even cakes!¬†¬†¬†Do you enjoy any seasonal desserts, like strawberry shortcake, rhubarb pie, zucchini bread, etc.?

Now to end this month’s “Who I Am” post I want to share a family recipe with you, but first a little secret about me.¬† I once ate an entire pie.¬† Yes, the whole thing.¬†¬†It was¬†Christmas Day.¬† I wasn’t very old, maybe 8 or 9, and who¬†else would let you have so much tasty sweetness, but Grandma?

Thanks Grandma, for the pie, the memory, and the recipe……

Butterscotch Pie

1 cup packed brown sugar

3 Tbsp cornstarch

1/4 tsp salt

2 cups milk

3 slightly beaten egg yolks (reserve whites for meringue)

3 Tbsp butter

1 tsp vanilla

1 –¬†9″ baked pie crust

In saucepan combine the sugar, cornstarch, and salt. Gradually stir in milk.  Cook and stir over medium heat until mixture boils and thickens.  Cook 2 minutes longer.  Remove from heat.

Stir in small amount of hot mixture into yolks.  Return yolk mixture to hot mixture.  Cook 2 more minutes, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Add butter and vanilla.  Cool to room temperature (to prevent a crust from forming, put plastic wrap or waxed paper directly on top, touching surface of hot pudding to the sides of the pan)

Once cooled, pour into pie crust and prepare meringue.

Preheat oven to 350¬į

Using a mixer, beat the 3 reserved egg whites with 1/4 tsp cream of tartar & 1 tsp vanilla, until¬†foamy.¬† Gradually add 1/2 cup of sugar, continue beating until stiff peaks form and all the sugar is dissolved.¬† Spread on top of pie, sealing it to the edges.¬† Bake for about 12-15 minutes, or until nicely golden brown.¬† Sometimes after the pie cools moisture may appear on the meringue or it may pull away from the edges.¬† It is either under-beat¬†or over-beaten, but still tastes great, so don’t worry! (and don’t forget I ate a whole one once, so it has to be good, right?)

If you don’t already bake, I hope you give it a try.¬† You may find that you enjoy it!

If you already bake, what is your favorite thing to make?  I love to hear from my readers, so please comment below!

To find out more about me, check out my past “Who I Am” posts:

Who I Am:  February Edition

Who I Am:  March Edition

Who I Am:  April Edition

Who I Am:  May Edition

Also, don’t forget to follow me on Facebook and Twitter!

The Un-Brownie

Do you love chocolate?¬† I absolutely do!¬† You could cover just about anything in chocolate and I’d eat it. And if it’s dark chocolate? There’s just no passing that up!

Sometimes I have to put my love, ok my¬†obsession, with chocolate aside.¬† I need to try recipes that don’t have chocolate as their main ingredient (gasp!).¬†¬†Like¬†yesterday.¬† I¬†was having company for¬†lunch and thought I’d whip up a simple dessert.¬† I checked my supplies only to find that I was out of cocoa.¬†¬†Oh, no! That means no brownies.¬† So, instead I decided to try a recipe for blonde brownies.

By the way, I don’t like the fact that they are called blonde brownies.¬†¬†They just aren’t that brown.¬† So we will call these Blondies instead.¬† Here is the recipe…..

Blondies

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2/3 cup butter, melted

2 cups packed brown sugar

2 cups flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/4 baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 cup chopped pecans

2 beaten eggs

2 tsp vanilla extract

semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix butter and sugar together in a large bowl and set aside.  The butter will cool while you prepare the dry ingredients.

In another bowl combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, & salt (I use a whisk, instead of actually sifting the ingredients together).  Stir the pecans into the flour mixture.

Add the eggs and vanilla to the butter mixture.  Then gradually add the flour mixture into the butter mixture.  Do not over beat.  The batter will be thick.

Spread (you really do have to spread, remember it’s gonna be thick!) ¬†into a greased 9×13 pan.¬† Sprinkle the desired amount of chocolate chips on the top.¬† Mine looked like this…..

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Bake in a 350¬į oven for approximately 30¬†minutes, depending on oven. A toothpick should test almost clean in the middle.

 

The finished product….

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This recipe was definitely a hit!¬† I suggest you give it a try ūüôā

Which do you normally prefer?  Brownies or blondies?

 

 

Christmas Time’s a Coming

Can you believe Christmas is less than a week away?  My kids only have two days left of school, and I have very little time to get my Christmas cookies baked.  Sure, I LOVE to bake, but this last month has seemed extra busy.

So, now, here I am. The final countdown. It can get no later (technically, I know it could, but what would I call them??¬† New Year’s cookies?)¬† So tomorrow, with no where else I need to be but my very own kitchen, I will begin the baking binge.¬† Along with the¬†little hands of my¬†sons, we will add another year to our traditional bake-off.¬† Yes, we will probably eat more dough than cookies.¬†¬†And, yes, we will make a mess that only seconds in comparison to a natural disaster.¬† BUT, we will also be making memories.¬† Memories¬†I hope my boys will look back on and smile.¬† This is why, even though it is busier this year than normal, I will make the time.

Memories are made of the time we share!

 

What special things do you do to make memories during the holiday seasons?