Thursday, July 31, 2014

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Chickpeas

I decided that I wanted to try something new for a crunchy snack... I feel like when I am trying to eat healthy I can't find anything that has that "crunchy" taste that I am looking for. Carrots, celery and so on just don't have the same effect. So, I thought that these sounded fabulous... . The calories are a little high for a snack for me, but they were super addicting and I ate half of the batch on my own! Watch them carefully when you are baking them, they tend to cook quickly and they are a bit like granola in the fact that they will crisp up more after you take them out of the oven.

Honey Cinnamon Roasted Garbanzo Beans
(recipe found at

1 (15 ounces) can garbanzo beans
4 teaspoons canola oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon honey

Preheat oven to 375. Drain garbanzo beans and rinse them under cold water until starch is removed. Place beans on a paper towel to dry. You can peel off the skins if you want. In a small bowl, whisk together the oil, cinnamon and sugar. Place beans in a bowl and stir until all the beans are evenly coated. Spread out the beans on a large baking sheet and bake for 35-40 minutes or until beans are crunchy and no longer soft in the middle. Place hot, roasted beans in a small bowl and coat evenly with honey. Spread beans back out on baking sheet and allow to dry. Store in an airtight container at room temperature.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Peanut Butter Granola

Granola has gotten to be one of my kids favorite snacks... They are yogurt freaks, so they love being able to put something crunchy on top of it. They must get that from their mom! :) I have my quick go to granola recipe that we all really enjoy, but I wanted to try this recipe, mainly because I liked the sound of peanut butter! And every once in a while you need to switch it up a bit...

Peanut Butter Granola
(recipe found on pinterest via

4 tablespoons creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons honey
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups old-fashioned oatmeal

Preheat oven to 325. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with baking spray. In a large bowl, combine peanut butter and honey and microwave for about 30-45 seconds until the peanut butter and honey have all melted. Stir together and then add in cinnamon and vanilla. Add in oatmeal and stir until covered. Spread in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Cocoa Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal

This wasn't one of my favorite refrigerator oatmeals, but it was still tasty. When you need a chocolate fix in the morning this would be a good option! :) Next time I make it, I might have to add some peanut butter to the recipe - peanut butter, banana and chocolate?? Now that would definitely be my type of combo!!

Cocoa Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned oameal
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low fat greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1 tablespoon cocoa powder
1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
1/2 diced banana, or enough to fill jar

In a half pint jar, add oatmeal, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, cocoa powder and honey. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add bananas and stir until mixed. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Monday, July 28, 2014

Dairy Queen Buster Bar Dessert

Every Sunday we head over to my mom's house for Sunday dinner. It is a crazy affair with 16 kids and 10 adults all gathered in one spot, but it is loud, obnoxious and tons of fun! While my mom makes all the meal, I like to contribute every once in a while with dessert - usually around the time of someone's birthday, but sometimes at other times too if there is a dessert that I have been dying to try! :) I hate having it lying around MY house... So, for my sisters' birthday, I asked them what type of dessert that they wanted. My one said "nothing with pure chocolate" and the other one was a little more specific... "ice cream, peanuts, some chocolate" ummm.... okay, I'll see what I come up with! :) Well, this is exactly what she described and every LOVED it! It is pretty rich so one pan goes quite far. Although not everyone chose to have dessert this served all of us that wanted it and a couple extra pieces for the birthday girls! :)

Dairy Queen Buster Bar Dessert
(recipe found on pinterest via

2 cups powdered sugar
1 1/2 cups evaporated milk (12 ounces can)
2/3 cup chocolate chips
1/2 cup butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound oreo cookies (crushed)
1/2 cup melted butter
1 1/2 cups spanish peanuts
1/2 gallon vanilla ice cream (softened)

Mix powdered sugar, milk, chocolate chips, butter, and vanilla together in a sauce pan. Bring to a boil for 8 minutes, stirring constantly. Cool completely. Add melted butter to crushed oreos. Spread in a 9×13 cake pan. Refrigerate until set. Spread softened ice cream on top. Freeze until ice cream is firm. Top with cooled chocolate mixture and peanuts. Freeze overnight.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 7/25-7/31

This week is going to ROCK!! For the month of July our school has been offering free lunches to the kids (while they have summer school going on) so this momma hasn't had to make lunch all month. Now pair that up with the fact that the kids have bible school this week where they also get to eat supper and I am one ecstatic momma!!! Top it with the fact that this year all four of my kids get to go to bible school and I am actually not helping with this one thing in their lives and that means I have some free time... I already warned the hubs that there will be no meal making around here this week - it is all cereal and eggs and toast for me and if he is actually home we might, JUST MIGHT go out for supper! Can you hear the excitement in my typing??? Anyhow, with all that going on I decided this week would be the perfect week to get a jump start on some of my freezer cooking for our vacation that is coming up... So, that is the line up that you are getting! Enjoy your week, I know that I am going to!

Friday - Hot Dogs
Saturday - Class Reunion
Sunday-Thursday - Vacation Bible School

Extras: *Pizza Log, *Grill Chicken for Quesadillas, Potato Bar Chili for the Camping Haystacks, Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Strawberry-Banana Jam, Strawberry Jam and Strawberry Shortcake

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Blueberry Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal

This was another super easy oatmeal recipe! I didn't mash the fruit together like it was suggested because I like to have some chunks in my oatmeal - the whole texture thing and oatmeal! :) Again, the kids though that these were super delicious and wanted to have another one later in the day for snack... I can't keep these in my fridge, they are flying out like crazy!

Blueberry Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/3 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup almond milk, slightly overflowing
1/2 banana
1/4 cup blueberries

Mash banana and blueberries together in a bowl until blended together. Stir in oats, yogurt, and milk. Cover, and refrigerate overnight. Top with additional blueberries and bananas in the morning, if desired.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal

I had to try a few more flavors of refrigerator oatmeal since the kids are enjoying it as much as I am... Seriously, I made up about 6 of them and then ran out within 2 days because everyone was eating them!! So, I picked up the supplies to make a bunch of them and spent about a half an hour one day making up 12 new oatmeals, we'll see how long these last! :) My son tried the apple cinnamon first and after the initial bite was freaking out about how good it was. He wanted to eat the other one and was mad at me when I made him pick something else to eat with it. I swear, that kid is going to eat me out of house and home and he's ONLY 9!! This one is super simple to throw together and I usually have all the ingredients on hand... LOVE IT!

Apple Cinnamon Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low fat Greek yogurt
1-1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon honey, optional (or substitute any preferred sweetener)
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce, or enough to fill jar

In a half pint jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, cinnamon and honey. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add applesauce and stir until mixed. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or up to 2 days. Eat chilled.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Wii Remote Birthday Cake

I knew when I pinned this cake that at least one of my boys was going to want it for their birthday... I was right! As soon as I showed it to my 9 year old, he jumped at the chance to have it for his friend party! I love the way that it turned out and it was super easy to put together. It did require buying a variety of candies though...

Wii Remote Birthday Cake
(idea found on pinterest via

1 (13x9 inch) cake
1 can (16 ounces) vanilla frosting or I made my own cream cheese frosting
black food coloring
4 pieces white hard-shelled Orbit gum
7 white Mentos (I couldn't find these, so I used mini marshmallows)
3 brown, 2 blue and 1 red M&M's Minis
1 large marshmallow
1 blue licorice twist (Twizzler rainbow)

Trim the top of the cake to make level. Cut a 2 inch strip down one long edge of cake and discard. (or eat, whatever is your preference...) Round corners of cake with a small knife. Transfer cake, cut side down, on a serving platter. Add a small amount of black food coloring to 1/4 cup of the frosting to tint it gray. Spoon the gray frosting into a resealable bag. Tint 1 tablespoon of the vanilla frosting black with more food coloring. Spoon the black frosting into a resealable bag. Spread the remaining vanilla frosting on top and sides of cake and make smooth. Snip a very small corner from the bag of gray frosting and the bag of black frosting. Pipe a thin line of the gray frosting about 1/2 inch in from outer edge of cake, as pictured. Press the M&M's Minis, Mentos and Orbit gum into the top of the cake as pictured for the controller's buttons. With the black frosting, pipe 6 rows of 3 black dots. Cut the blue licorice twist in half, leaving 2 inches at one end. Press the uncut end into the flat side of a marshmallow and press the licorice twist into the side base of cake. Press the cut ends of the licorice twist together to make the hand strap.

Monday, July 21, 2014

Spinach and Artichoke Rigatoni

Mmmm... spinach and artichoke! Love that combo! This recipe was amazingly easy to throw together and I love that you only have to cook it for a few minutes to finish it off. I had it ready to throw in the oven when the hubs got home from work and by the time he walked in the door it was out of the oven already! :) Hot and ready to eat... We paired this with a side of fresh pineapple and called it good - worked wonders for our first night of eating on the deck! I love when the weather is nice enough to eat outside and the bugs aren't super annoying, gotta take advantage of that when you can!

Spinach and Artichoke Rigatoni
(recipe found in Taste of Home)

3 cups rigatoni, cooked according to directions
1 package (10 ounces) frozen creamed spinach, cooked according to directions
1 can (14 ounces) water packed artichoke hearts, rinsed, drained and quartered
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper

Preheat broiler. Combine pasta, artichokes, 1/2 cup mozzarella, parmesan, salt, pepper and spinach. Transfer to a greased 2 quart broiler safe baking dish; top with remaining mozzarella. Broil 4-6 inches from heat 2 minutes or until cheese is melted.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 7/18-7/24

So, summer in Minnesota seems like the best time ever for our Arizona family to come and visit... They get to beat the heat and enjoy the Minnesota summer weather and not deal with our nasty winters! :) So, Josh's mom just left and now his stepdad is coming in for a few days. Combine company with finishing cleaning out our freezer and we are game for some tasty meals this weekend that mostly involve beef products! :) New cow coming in so we have to make room for the fresh stuff... Yum!! I also need to get going on the cookies that I provide for National Night Out and our Cub Scout food booth. I haven't been baking quite as much this summer, so I am slacking on filling up my freezer with cookies like I did last year! Only a few weeks to get those hammered out! :)

Friday - *Sirloin Casserole
Saturday - Root Beer Pulled Pork/Corn on the Cob
Sunday - Egg Brunch Casserole/Fruit, Steaks on the Grill/Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Monday - *Easy Garlic Chicken
Tuesday - Pick Your Own
Wednesday - Spaghetti
Thursday - Tacos

Extras: Chocolate Sugar Cookies, Chocolate Chip Cookies, Big Dipper Oatmeal Cookies and *Chocolate Chip Almond Butter Muffins

* = New Recipes

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Scones

I've been on a bit of a scone kick lately! I'm not sure why - I think part of it is how easy they are to make. You would think that they are this fancy schmancy pastry that you get at a coffee shop and that they would be a lot more involved. They really aren't! I love that you can just whip up the dough, throw it down, push it into a circle and bake it. How easy is that?? Plus they are so yummy!! These scones aren't as sweet as the ones that I have been making and this is a not necessarily a bad thing. They taste delish and if you wanted to up the sweetness factor, you could brush some milk over the top and sprinkle with some additional sugar. That would be a great addition as well... But, from the way the kids and I chowed them down, I don't think they were lacking anything at all!

Cranberry and Chocolate Chip Scones
(recipe found at

1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup sugar
6 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
1/2 cup cranberries
1/2 cup chocolate chips
1 cup plain yogurt
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 egg

Add flours, baking powder, baking soda and sugar to a mixer and blend together. Add cold butter and mix in with a pastry cutter or two forks. Add cranberries and chocolate chips and mix in. In a small bowl, stir egg, yogurt and vanilla together. Pour into flour mixture. Mix until just combined. Press together to form a ball of dough and then place on greased baking sheet. Spread dough out into a circle about 1/2 inch thick. Cut into 12 wedges. Bake at 400 for 12-14 minutes, or until tops are slightly browned and scones are cooked through.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Parmesan Baked Pork Chops

I can't personally attest for these pork chops because I ended up not eating them the night that I made them... What?? Yeah you read that right - I was jazzed to try these pork chops... you all know how much I love pork chops in the first place and my sister-in-law raved about them! So, I knew that I wanted to try them and they were on the schedule the night that my second son made his goal that we had set from his behavior chart from school.

SIDE NOTE: We have been really working hard with him to make better choices and keep his impulses in check in the classroom. So, trying to go for the positive reinforcement method, I made a chart for him to achieve "supper with mommy" once he had so many good days. I tried like crazy to talk him into breakfast the next day, but that wasn't happening! :)

Back to the recipe - so, the hubs and the rest of the kids got to have these pork chops. I figured that I would be able to try a bite when we got home - I mean I made 8 chops and there were only 4 of them eating... My 8 year old and my 5 year old both had 2 1/2 chops EACH!! What the heck?? Obviously they were super excited about this recipe and I am definitely going to have to make these again since I didn't even get the chance to try even a little bit!!

Parmesan Baked Pork Chops
(recipe found on pinterest via

4 boneless pork chops, 1/2" thick
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup parmesan cheese
1/2 cup italian bread crumbs
1 teaspoon black pepper
1 teaspoon garlic powder

On a plate combine the last 4 ingredients. Rub the pork chops with olive oil and then coat each one in the cheese mixture. Press the mixture over the pork chops to make sure they are well covered in it. Line a pan with tin foil and spray with cooking spray. Place the pork chops on the pan and bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Raspberry Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal

This is the last refrigerator oatmeal that I made up in my first batch of oatmeal making! :) I promise there will be something new tomorrow!! This started out as a strawberry banana refrigerator oatmeal, but I prefer the taste of raspberries and so that is usually what is in my house. So, obviously you can mix it up as much as you want and add whatever flavors you prefer to the oatmeal. I found this recipe to be to big for my pint jar, so I just split it into 2 pint jars and it worked perfectly for adding your mix ins the next morning! The kids were also happy with this one, although they did add a LOT of mix ins as they continued to eat it lower! :)

Raspberry Banana Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
2/3 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon chia seeds
2 tablespoons raspberry jam
1 small banana, chopped

Combine the oatmeal, yogurt, milk and chia seeds in a small bowl or 2 pint jars, cover and allow the mixture to sit in the refrigerator overnight.
In the morning, stir in the desired mix-ins and enjoy!

Monday, July 14, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal

I wasn't sure if I was going to post this version of refrigerator oatmeal or not... I wasn't a big fan of the flavor (even though I LOVE pumpkin) and if I don't care for it a lot, I usually don't post about it. But, my 3 year old got a hold of the half full jar of this oatmeal that his siblings had left on the table when they ran out the door for school and WOULD NOT PUT IT DOWN!! Seriously - he finished off his brother's jar and then went to the fridge and got the other jar that was in there and ate that one too!! It was crazy... he sat at the table and ate breakfast for about an hour - like he was SAVORING every bite! He never sits still for that long! :) So, I had to post this flavor in his honor... should have taken a picture of his pumpkin filled face, but that's a whole 'nother story!

Pumpkin Pie Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/2 cup old fashioned oatmeal
1/2 cup almond milk
3-4 tablespoons pumpkin puree
1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a pint jar or small bowl, combine all ingredients. Top with nuts if desired. Put a lid on the jar and refrigerate overnight.

Friday, July 11, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 7/11-7/17

Finally a weekend is rolling around where we aren't going anywhere and we aren't running a million miles an hour the whole weekend. Don't get me wrong - I love being busy and I love heading out camping, but it is a lot of work! We are kicking back this weekend and enjoying some family time... The MIL is in town visiting and the BIL will be here for the weekend, so I am cooking every night... Ready for some quality time at home!

Friday - Pizza Casserole
Saturday - *BBQ Country Style Ribs
Sunday - Steaks
Monday - Thai Peanut Chicken Wrap
Tuesday - Pick Your Own
Wednesday - Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken
Thursday - *Connie's Sirloin Casserole

* = New Recipes

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Chunky Monkey Refrigerator Oatmeal

This was the second flavor of refrigerator oatmeal that I tried. I only made a single batch of this one and my son grabbed it out of the fridge to eat, so I made him give it to me so I could snap a quick picture and try a bite! :) OMGosh, it was delicious!! He ate about half of it and then had to run out the door for school so I finished the rest of it for my own breakfast... Definitely a redo, it was so yummy! The only problem? The calories were a little higher then I would like for a breakfast, for me!! Half a one was perfect and actually kept me full for most of the morning, which really surprised me! So, if I can control myself and just have a half a jar (yeah right, who am I kidding), this would be a great breakfast for me! Once again, easy to throw together and nice to have stocked in the fridge for breakfast in the morning!

Chunky Monkey Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/3 cup greek yogurt
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/3 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon peanut butter
1/2 banana sliced
handful of chocolate chips

In a pint jar or bowl combine all ingredients together. Cover and place in the fridge overnight or for at least 4 hours.

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal

I went through a phase of these a while ago, but never took the time to take pictures or blog about them... Oatmeal is kind of hit or miss for me. Sometimes I love it, while other times it just tastes blah to me. So, I decided to give these a try and I'm so glad that I did! They are easy to prep up and throw in the fridge to have ready for breakfast in the morning. They were also great to make before a camping weekend and bring along with us. No getting up and getting breakfast ready for the kids, they could just grab their own jar! I have a few more flavors in the fridge waiting to be tried, but I knew that I had to start with the raspberry vanilla flavor because anything raspberry is a sure hit for me!! Delicious...

Raspberry Vanilla Refrigerator Oatmeal
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/4 cup uncooked old fashioned rolled oats
1/3 cup skim milk
1/4 cup low fat greek yogurt
1 1/2 teaspoons dried chia seeds
1/4 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon raspberry jam, preserves, or spread
1/4 to 1/3 cup raspberries, or enough to fill jar

In a half pint (1 cup) jar, add oats, milk, yogurt, chia seeds, vanilla and raspberry jam. Put lid on jar and shake until well combined. Remove lid, add raspberries and stir until mixed throughout. Return lid to jar and refrigerate overnight or as long as 2-3 days. Eat chilled.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Pumpkin Coffee Cake

Here is the second recipe that I welcomed the hubs home with... Pumpkin brownies were waiting for him that night but I also wanted something delicious that I would not have to get up early in the morning to make for breakfast. Seriously, had to slap my own hand to stop from eating some for a treat before bed! I cut a few pieces for the kids to have in the morning so they didn't have to wake us up and couldn't resist trying a few bites. Delicious!! This is probably more of a dessert recipe, but when I hear coffee cake I like to believe that it can be a treat for breakfast also... Love to start the day with a yummy treat every once in a while.

Pumpkin Coffee Cake
(recipe found on pinterest via

1/3 cup water
1 can (15 ounces) pureed pumpkin
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1 box yellow cake mix
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar, divided
1/2 cup flour
4 tablespoons butter, melted
1/4 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cups heavy whipping cream

Preheat the oven to 350. In a large bowl mix together the water, pumpkin, eggs, 1 tablespoon of vanilla, and pumpkin pie spice until well combined. Add the cake mix and baking soda and mix until just combined. Grease a 9×13 pan and pour batter into pan. In a small bowl mix together 1/2 cup of brown sugar, 1/2 cup flour and melted butter. Use your fingers to sprinkle over the top of the cake. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean. For the glaze, combine the other 1/2 cup brown sugar, sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and heavy cream in a saucepan and bring to a simmer. Remove from heat and stir until all sugar is dissolved. When cake is finished baking, poke holes in the top with a toothpick. Pour glaze over the cake, making sure to cover all surfaces. Serve cake warm or at room temperature.

Monday, July 7, 2014

Slow Cooker Sausage, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili

This soup was a huge hit for me... not so much for the kids. They got it down, but it was tough going for a while. The promise of no pumpkin brownies that I had made earlier or popcorn on movie night were enough to get them to finish eating supper. My mom came over for supper though and she and I both agreed that it was pretty tasty! I needed to cook this a bit longer, usually my slow cooker cooks everything fast, but this time the potatoes weren't all the way done. Still yummy, but not the soft potatoes that are usually in soup. I paired this with my whole wheat bread... It seems to go well with any soup and it is super thick and hearty! I just love it!!

Slow Cooker Sausage, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Chili
(recipe found on

1 pound italian pork sausage
3 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
3 cups beef flavored broth
1 can (28 ounces) fire roasted crushed tomatoes, undrained
1 can (14.5 ounces) diced tomatoes, undrained
1 can (15 ounces) black beans, drained, rinsed
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 3/4-inch cubes (about 4 cups)
1 cup shredded mexican cheese blend

In 10-inch nonstick skillet, cook sausage over medium heat 8 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until sausage is thoroughly cooked; drain. Spray slow cooker with cooking spray. In slow cooker, mix sausage and remaining ingredients except cheese. Cover and cook on low for 5-6 hours or until potatoes are tender.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Weekly Line Up - 7/4-7/10

Happy 4th! We are off to my aunt and uncle's to spend the day with friends and family like we usually do. Hoping that it's not too hot, not too cold and no rain in sight! :) Tomorrow we are heading out to the lake with our friends and I'm praying the same prayer! So, a lot of potlucks this week and looking for some yummy recipes that are also gluten free for my brother in law... Here's hoping that he likes them. After the running of the weekend it is back to the running of the summer... Appointments are taking up a lot of my days, but at least I am able to get them all done during the summer months and not have to pull them out of school so much in the winter!! Have a great one and don't forget to thank a Veteran for giving you the freedom that you are enjoying today!

Friday - *Weight Watchers BLT Pasta Salad
Saturday - No Bake Cookies, Make Ahead Mashed Potatoes
Sunday - Eggs and Toast
Monday - *Cornbread Topped BBQ Chicken
Tuesday - Pepperoni Pizza using this crust recipe
Wednesday - Creamy Swiss Steak

* = New Recipes

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Pumpkin Brownies

This spring my hubs had a training in Tennessee for work and was gone from Sunday until Saturday. Well, dang it all, I missed him just a little bit! :) So, the day that he was flying home I decided to make up some sweet treats to welcome him through the door. I had just made a bunch of refrigerator oatmeals (recipes coming!) and one included pumpkin so I had a big can of pumpkin sitting in the fridge waiting for me to do something with it. Well, I decided the time was right to try these pumpkin brownies and also this pumpkin coffee cake (recipe will follow soon!). These were super yummy and I was glad that I cut them quite small or I would have been gorging myself! :) The kids each had 2 when they came home from snack and had to be beat off with a stick to keep them from having more!! I think they were a hit... I was extra careful about overbaking them and while my knife came out clean showing they were done, I think that I would have liked them cooked a little bit longer. So, make sure you check them carefully for doneness! Enjoy!!

Pumpkin Brownies
(recipe found on pinterest via

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chopped
3/4 cup butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup flour

Pumpkin Swirl
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon vanilla

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 350. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted. While the chocolate is melting, prepare the pumpkin layer. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer well combined and smooth. Set aside. Once the butter is melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until chocolate is melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour; stir until just combined. Spread 3/4 the batter into prepared pan. Spoon pumpkin filling by tablespoonfuls evenly over batter. Spoon remaining brownie batter over filling. Use a knife or wooden skewer to cut through the batter several times in different directions to create a swirled pattern. Bake for 30-35 minutes. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Before serving, prepare the ganache. To make the ganache, pour the chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl, set aside. Pour the heavy cream into a microwave safe measuring cup and microwave on high for about 1 minute or until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Take care to not overheat because the cream will boil over. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. Use a small whisk to combine the mixture into a smooth chocolate glaze. Spoon the ganache over the brownies. (I like a thicker ganache, so next time I would try using only 1/4 cup of heavy cream so that it is not quite as runny.)

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Chocolate Chip Scones

When the going gets tough, the tough get cooking! I had some drama in my day the day that I made these and I needed to work off some of the anxiety and cooking is how I do it! So, I whipped up a huge batch of granola, some refrigerator oatmeal and these tasty scones! I think the kids were glad that I had a rough day because they were super excited about this snack when they came home from school. It was delicious warm, but good the next day also! It was a very easy recipe and I had everything that I needed in my kitchen already... Perfect!! You can cut these pieces into 12 or 8 depending on how big you want them! :)

Chocolate Chip Scones
(recipe found on

2 cups bisquick
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/3 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
Additional heavy whipping cream
Additional sugar

Heat oven to 425. Spray cookie sheet with cooking spray. Stir bisquick, chocolate chips, whipping cream, sugar, egg and vanilla in medium bowl until soft dough forms. Pat into 8-inch circle on cookie sheet (if dough is sticky, dip fingers in bisquick). Brush circle with additional whipping cream; sprinkle with additional sugar. Cut into 12 wedges, but do not separate. Bake about 12 minutes or until golden brown; carefully separate. Serve warm.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Meatloaf Cupcakes

Our last night of E.C.F.E. was on April 1st. We had a potluck and gym night and everyone had a blast! For the potluck, I originally was planning on bringing this easy linguine casserole, but then realized... hey - you are better then that - you have to do something for April Fool's Day!! So, a "day of" search began! :) I knew that I wanted to make meatloaf cupcakes, since most kids like meatloaf and they would eat it and most kids like cupcakes, so they will definitely fall for the gag! I'm so mean!! So, I mixed these up, asked my own kids what color "frosting" they wanted on the cupcakes we were having for supper and away we went. I ended up fooling a few kids that had the most hilarious faces when they took a lick of the frosting and were a little grossed out for a second! Ha, Ha! :) They were just as good for lunch with the daycare kids the next day and they appreciated the trick, even if it wasn't still April Fool's Day...

The unfrosted cupcakes

The "frosted" version!

Meatloaf Cupcakes
(recipe found on pinterest via

For the “cupcake”:
1 lb lean ground beef
1 cup mixed vegetables, if using frozen, thaw first
1/2 small onion, diced
3/4 cup breadcrumbs
1/3 cup milk
1/4 cup shredded parmesan
2 eggs
Salt and pepper

For the “frosting”:
1 box instant mashed potatoes (2 pouches)
Milk, per package instructions
Butter, per package instructions
Beet juice from canned beets

(I chose to use homemade mashed potatoes for the frosting and since it was a spur of the moment "day of" decision, I didn't have beets, so I just colored with food coloring.)

Preheat oven to 350. Mix all ingredients for the cupcake in a large bowl until an even consistency is reached. Place meat mixture in greased muffin tins and bake until brown and shrunken away from the sides, about 20-25 minutes. Remove from tin and cool on rack. (I used cupcake liners to make these more portable. I would definitely suggest using the foil wrappers for this recipe. The grease from the ground beef soaked through my wrappers and made them kind of disgusting! I had a few foil ones that I used and they definitely turned out less slimy to handle!)

For the “frosting”, Prepare one sachet of instant mashed potatoes according to package instructions. To prepare the other, substitute beet juice from canned beets for the water called for in the instructions. Allow to cool. If using fresh mashed potatoes, prepare as usual, whipping to smooth texture and color as desired. Transfer each batch of mashed potato into a separate pastry bag (or Ziploc bag with a snipped-off corner) with your favorite pastry tip. Pipe onto cupcakes and decorate.