Saturday, September 15, 2012

Honey Whole Wheat Apple Cinnamon Pancakes!

I wanted to find a new, fiber-rich, yummy breakfast item, and this is what I came up with!  Very tasty, and very filling!  Enjoy!!!  :)

2 cups whole-wheat flour
1 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 tablespoon baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 1/2 cups milk (can use buttermilk, too!)
3 tablespoons applesauce
2 eggs
3 tablespoons honey

Whisk dry ingredients together.  Add wet ingredients.  Mix well.  Let sit 10 minutes while you heat the griddle.  Spray the griddle with non-stick cooking spray.  Cook the first side until they start to look set, flip, cook the other side to a golden brown.  They are big, fluffy, and FILLING!  Top with fruit compote or cinnamon-applesauce, or use your favorite syrups.  Enjoy!!!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Fun!!!

Now that summer is upon us in full swing, I decided I would share my tricks and tips that I use with my kids to make the best of the warm weather and extra time!

First, on days that it's just too scorching hot to go outside, my kids go stir-crazy!  Once chores are done and "electronic box" time is exhausted, I break out this fun little recipe!  Enjoy!

Edible Play Dough
1/2 cup powdered milk
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup Karo syrup
1/2 cup peanut butter
Mix well.  Play with it like regular play dough, and enjoy eating your creations!  To store, just put it in a zip-lock bag!  SO quick, so easy, so fun!!!

On my days off (weekends---YAY!!!), I always try to find something fun to do outside the house for the kids.  Just playing outside, like running through the sprinklers, is reserved for weekdays.  So here are my tricks to finding fun things to do that won't break the family budget!

* Find out if your community has any free events, discount programs, etc.  My county has a list of free activities every Saturday!  I have taken my kids to an aquatic center and the dinosaur park for free so far!  My old community offered scholarships to children who qualified financially, and I was able to use these for swimming lessons, baseball, and dance lessons!  

* Do some research on places in your community that are fun and cost little to nothing.  We have an air force museum here that is free and always a lot of fun, and a historical fort located in a park where admission is only $1, and you can add canoeing for not much more!  This will always provide you with a quick "I'm bored" solution.

*  Do not discount your local park!  A picnic lunch with playing on the equipment for an hour afterwards is always a sure kid-pleaser!  As a bonus, many parks host activities for kids in the summer afternoons!

One of my favorite things to do is also to just look in my son's Boy Scouts handbook to see what he needs to pass off.  Often, there are ideas in there that the whole family can enjoy, and it carries the added bonus of counting towards his requirements!

I hope these ideas help other parents who are facing that age-old cry of summer, "I'm bored!"  If you have any other ideas, please feel free to share them in your comments!  Best of luck with your imps in the heat!!!  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Red Mush!

This was one of my grandmother's recipes.  It's a super-yummy Danish dessert that my cousins and I all grew up on and all still love and make for our own families.  It's a MUST on my Thanksgiving table.  Enjoy!!!

Red Mush (ie Grape Tapioca Pudding):

2 qts. (8 cups) grape juice
3/4 cup tapioca beads
Half & Half (or milk for a healthier version)

Pour juice into a pot.  (You can add sugar to the juice if you want it sweeter.)  Sprinkle tapioca beads over juice.  Let sit for 5 minutes.  Cook over medium heat until boiling, stirring constantly.  Remove from heat.  Cool 20 minutes.  Stir.  To serve, dish into a bowl and top with a little bit of Half & Half. 

Friday, November 11, 2011

Ex Recipes

One of the best things I got out of over a decade of failed marriage was a small collection of recipes that my ex-husband's mother and grandmother gave me. I decided to share the best of them on here for everyone to enjoy. :)

 1/2 pound round steak
1 small cabbage, shredded
1 small green pepper cut in thin, small wedges
1 onion, cut in small wedges
1 large carrot, cut in thin strips
1 pkg. Yakisoba or Chukasoba stir fry noodles
1 bottle Ikari Tonkatsu cutlet sauce

 In small amount of oil in bottom of a wok, cook the round steak until the steak loses its color. Add all of the vegetables and cook to desired doneness. Stir often. While vegetables are cooking, place noodles in strainer and rinse with hot water. Let drain. Add noodles to cooked vegetables and meat. Stir well. Add cutlet sauce to taste. (Stir often, will burn on bottom.) Serve with rice.

1 pound round steak, cut in thin pieces about 1" (type and amount of meat can be varied, according to taste)
1 medium onion, sliced thin
Schilling minced garlic (equal to 1 clove)
1 can cream of mushroom soup
8 oz. sour cream
1 large can mushroom bits-do not drain
2 T ketchup
2 t Worcestershire sauce

 Brown steak in small amount of cooking oil. Add onion and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add garlic. In bowl, mix soup, sour cream, mushrooms including juice, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Add to meat and onions. Heat well. Serve over noodles.

6 eggs
1 cup milk
1 cup flour
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup butter

 Melt the butter in a glass pan in a 350* oven. Mix the eggs and milk, then add the flour and salt, mixing in well. Pour the egg mixture over the hot melted butter and bake for 20 minutes. Serve hot out of the oven.

 6-7 large potatoes
1 can evaporated milk
1 carrot
2 cups salted water
4 tsp chicken bouillon
3-4 cups cheese
1 cup water

 Peel and grate potatoes and carrot, then put into pot. Grate cheese and set aside. Prepare chicken broth in water and set aside. Add salted water to potatoes and carrot, and cook on high heat until potatoes are thick (about 15 minutes), stirring constantly. Add bouillon, canned milk, and cheese. Continue cooking until cheese is melted, then turn down heat and simmer for two hours, stirring occasionally.

 2 cans cream of chicken soup, undiluted
1 cup grated Mozzarella or Monterey Jack cheese
1 cup sour cream
3 cups chicken or turkey, cooked and chopped
Garlic salt to taste
Onion powder to taste
Salt and pepper to taste
1 cup sliced black olives
12 flour tortillas
1/2 cup grated Mozzarella cheese

 Make a sauce by mixing soup, cheese, and sour cream. Pour 1/3 of sauce into bottom of 9x13 baking dish. Mix turkey, seasonings, olives, and 1/3 of the sauce together. Put a small amount of turkey mixture in each tortilla. Roll and place on top of the sauce in the baking dish. Pour the remaining sauce on top. Sprinkle remaining cheese on top. Bake 350* for 20-30 minutes or until slightly browned.

 1/2 pound ground beef or leftover roast
Chopped green onions with tops
Finely grated carrot
Chopped water chestnuts
1 egg, beaten
Chopped bean sprouts
1 tsp soy sauce
chopped mushrooms
won ton skins

 Mix ingredients all together and put in won ton skins. Deep fry in oil until brown. Serve with seafood sauce.

 1 cup ketchup
1 teaspoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons horseradish

 Stir together.

 1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream
1/2 cup margarine or butter
1 bag frozen sliced strawberries
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup finely chopped nuts
1 pkg. Danish Dessert
6 cups rice crispies

 Mix together coconut, nuts, and rice crispies. Heat brown sugar and margarine until melted and well blended. Mix with rice crispies. Press half of mixture into a 9x13 baking pan. Top with sliced ice cream. Cover with the other half of rice crispie mixture. Freeze. Cut into serving-size pieces and serve individually with a topping of frozen sliced strawberries in Danish Dessert sauce.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

My Fun, Unsavory Heritage

I was discussing with someone today our fun, unsavory ancestries. His are quieter, and probably a bit more unsavory than mine, but mine are fun and interesting nonetheless, so I figured I'd share some of them. It might shed a little light on the less fun aspects (read stubborn) parts of my own personality. ;) I am the descendant of members of the James gang for one (yes, the gang who rode and wrought havoc with the notorious Jesse James). My ancestors were fond of guns...and disobedience. They didn't often do as told. Another less-famous ancestor was hanged for being a horse thief. Apparently he was good at the disobedience, but a little less handy with the gun. And he got greedy...that's always a bad thing. I had one who was thrown in jail because he wanted to play cards on Sunday. Scratch that, not wanted...did. He was told to stop, and I imagine he just laughed...all the way to his cell. Not sure why he didn't just use the dang gun. Maybe he lost it in a hand? I am a descendant of the Booth family. Who comes to mind there? My infamous cousin, ole John Wilkes Booth, who was a little bit pissed off, used the gun, and shot Abraham Lincoln. Oops. I should also mention that my family has always been a little quick to temper, too. ;) I come from good stock, too, mind you. I had some very well-to-do ancestors who were plantation owners in Virginia...oh, yeah, they were slave owners, too...but I'm sure they treated their guys well! And me? Well, I learned a long time ago that I like guns, too, and that if needed, I will pull the trigger. There's a reason I don't keep one on me all the time, although I would love a job where I could just shoot someone if they piss me off. It must be in my blood. I have done stupid things, too, just out of stubbornness and disobedience. I was arrested for trespassing and breaking & entering, until it was discovered that I just had the wrong address. Oops. I double-check now before I forcefully enter a house. ;) I was only armed with a flashlight that time, though! It should have been a good tip-off, except the police out there also seem to enjoy the thought of shooting someone at random. Hey, we must be related!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Matters of the Heart

"I love you." Seems a simple enough phrase, no? I've been giving some thought to those three little words, and their meanings that they hold for different individuals in my life. I decided to collect my thoughts here.

From the moment my children were born, I knew that I loved them, although to be honest, sometimes it took a few days to really feel the connection with the little stranger sleeping on me. I never doubted my full devotion to them, and knew that the overwhelming feeling I had to be near them and to care for and protect them was love. I understood then just why someone would give up their own life for someone else. It is a very pure form of love. Now, with my children at ages 8, 5, and 2, I tell them often that I love them, and never forget that those words mean that I will always be there for them, and that I will forever be willing to sacrifice anything and everything for their well-being.

For my parents and siblings, "I love you" coming from me is a reminder that I am grateful that despite our differences, we remain family, and that our bond is that of blood. We have survived fights, divorce, death, estrangements...and through it all, when one of us reaches out for help, the others immediately throw out any and all available resources to pull through together. I would have been homeless during my divorce if my mother, whom I had not spoken to in nearly 4 1/2 years prior to my reaching out for help, hadn't realized this deep bond and opened her door to me and my children. I share that same drive to assist when my siblings come to me in need of food to help them get to their next paycheck. It's just what family does. No questions asked; no request refused.

I tell my closest friends that I love them, too, and that is my seal of my devotion to our friendship. There is nothing I would not do for those friends. Some friends in my life have come and gone, others have been fair-weather friends, but some are true friends, and those are the ones to whom I profess a love. Those are they who know my strengths and my weaknesses, and still accept me unconditionally. They are the ones I know I can turn to in my times of need and they will do everything in their power to help me, and they know that they can reach out to me, as well, and I will do anything to help them. They are they with whom hours fly and feel like only minutes when we are together. They are they who can pick up a conversation after a long period of time right where we left off and we are totally comfortable talking about everything, as well as with a silence that sometimes speaks more than words. My love for them is a platonic, unbreakable love.

Of course, these words generally bring straight to mind a romantic love. I have spoken them to a few different men in my life, but not every boyfriend I ever had was worthy of hearing those words from me, so some did not. As a teenager, I felt compelled to speak them as a way to make sure that my boyfriend knew I was wanting to be there with him. I learned quickly that such a thing does not work (the one time I tried it, I was dumped the same day). Next, I felt that I should use the phrase to solidify a sexual relationship (also does not work, especially when the heart simply isn't in it). After that, I became far more discretionary, and used it only with the man I married, and that didn't work out so well, either. Although I meant it at the time, circumstances changed my life path and also altered my emotions to where, although I "like" him as a friend and the father of my children, I do not love him in the romantic sense. I have since discussed this with someone with whom I entered a romantic relationship, and realized that I now am in tune with my emotions enough to realize when that emotion is present (and when it's not), and then am quick to voice it, while he disclosed to me that with him, love is something that must develop gradually and make him realize that he would do anything for the person that he professes it to before he could utter the words. Difference between male and female? Perhaps, but I think it is more a difference of background. I want always to have my romantic partners know where I stand in a relationship, so when I recognize that I am at that point, I voice it. He had been in situations where it was voiced, but not shown, so he must make sure he really feels it prior to voicing it.

In short, those are the four versions of love that my heart beats for: parental love, love for my family of origin, friendly (platonic) love, and romantic love. The same three words profess one of these four versions of the love that I feel toward certain individuals. I really enjoy the movie "Made of Honor" where the leading male character tells the leading female character, "You're an 'I love you' say it to everyone!" That about sums me up, too. I say it to many, but now when I say it, it is because it is true, and there is real meaning and emotion behind the words, even if the meanings and emotions vary slightly depending on the person to whom I profess the love. :)

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Storms

Last night I had the privilege of being out in one of nature's most perfect creations--the summer storm. Summer storms are a complete sensory experience, and combine the 4 elements perfectly. To understand the value of something we tend to take for granted, we need to explore our senses and the elements and how they all come into play in this grand display of the power of nature.

The four elements are air, fire, water, and earth. Air comes into play first, using a breeze or wind to usher in the storm and to keep it moving along. As the cooler air of the storm meets the warm stagnant air, fire makes its entrance, sending dazzling whips of lightning across the sky and to the ground, where it combines with earth to make the sound of thunder. Water pours from the sky as rain, and combines with earth to sustain it. All four elements are completely in harmony for the short duration of the storm.

But how do we fully experience the storm and all its wonders? It requires the use of every one of our senses. Smell--Close your eyes and breathe deeply the smell of the warm, damp earth. This is one of life's greatest simple pleasures. Sight--Open your eyes up again and watch as sheets of rain come to the ground and lightning dances across the sky. Simply take in the wondrous sights. Hearing--Listen to the rhythmic pattering of the rain on the earth, interrupted here and there by the boom of the power of nature made manifest in thunder. Taste--Turn your face up to the rain. Allow it to pour over your face. Either catch raindrops on your tongue, or lick them off your lips. Savor the flavor of the storm. Touch--Feel the cool wetness of the rain on your warm skin, and then notice the feel of the breeze as it glides over the water, cooling your body.

Allow yourself to experience all of your senses on alert and in harmony with the elements in the storm. Be a part of nature while you simply experience the storm. Done correctly, it is akin to a state of nirvana, or enlightenment. A total calm, a total peace, a reconnect with nature.