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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Peanut Butter Bars


We love Peanut Butter Bars. Who wouldn't like a yummy peanut buttery cookie bar topped with delicious Chocolate Frosting? Well not anyone at our house. We made these delectable treats to share with our family at a get together. They are perfect because the recipe makes a lot!
A while back I was venting about how much I loved these but hadn't found a recipe that I really liked so my Mother in law gave me a wonderful idea. She said that she always makes a basic peanut butter cookie dough, then just tops them with chocolate icing. So I tried that out and they were super yummy and easy especially since I had a prepackaged mix.
But today I didn't have a mix and decided to try out a new (good old) recipe from the wonderful Snow family cookbook.
Here it is:
Cream together:
1 c. softened butter/margerine
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2/3 c peanut butter
1 t. vanilla
Add:
2 c. flour
2 c. quick oats
1 t. soda
Spread evenly in a jellyroll pan (11x17?)
Bake 350 degrees 15 to 20 minutes, cool and
Top with Best Ever Chocolate Frosting.
 

My little helpers are always ready to mix up something sweet. They love dumping ingredients in and watching them mix up... and the best part of all licking the bowl clean!
 

Kind of a crazy day...First little brother helped by turning on the mixer when it was raised out of the bowl. We had a big mess and he was pretty upset. But we laughed about it and cleaned it up. Little sister had a story to tell everyone about peanut butter everywhere... Then we got interrupted with a phone call and after I have spread the batter in the pan I realized I had forgotten the soda. So scraped it all back in and mixed it up with the soda. But after all the effort they really did turn out wonderful! I will say that they are a bit milder peanut butter taste, so if you like peanut butter possibly spread some on the hot top after they have baked. Enjoy! ;)
 
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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Somewhat Simple
All Things Heart and Home

Miz Helen’s Country Cottage

Strawberry Topped French Toast

So I thought I'd share a favorite breakfast at our house. French Toast. We love our french toast, and have a little family secret that makes it extra good! We also tested out a new idea from the Meal Makeover Moms: a strawberry topping.
 

So here's the basics for a good french toast. I love making it battered style with a little pancake mix thrown into the standard eggs and milk. Try it, it's awesome!
 

Here is our usual toppings for french toast: peanut butter and homemade maple syrup. Now I am very picky about my syrup and have passed on my good taste to my children. I usually pass up pancakes and the like at hotels, community breakfasts ect because I HATE the yucky cold syrup out of the bottle...ewwwww! Also if you haven't tried the peanut butter on pancakes/french toast/waffles it is soooo good!
 

So here's the idea from Meal Makeover Moms they are nutritionists with some fun ideas, we'll have to try some more out. This is just some frozen strawberries, a little water and some sugar boiled down a bit. www.mealmakeovermoms.com
 

My little breakfast helper. She was so proud of cracking her own egg!
 

Little sister wasn't so sure about the strawberry sauce (although she is always the first to eat 2-3 strawberries whenever I pull them out to wash) so she tried the dipping method. Overall it was pretty good. But I kind of like sliced fresh strawberries and a little cool whip on top of my french toast better!
 

A happy little guy, he loves "beckfast time" and "cakes" (he calls french toast and waffles cakes too)
 
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Friday, May 20, 2011

Cheeseburgers

So my kids love Cheeseburgers from McDonalds.. but when I've made hamburgers at home, they often turned up their noses. SO today I am putting this whole invoved with cooking thing to the test!
To make it fun I let them cut out their cheese into cute shapes ;)
Little sister made a heart.
 

Little brother made a star. Side note: I never buy this processed cheese stuff, but thought it would work better to cut out into shapes. I don't know that it really mattered, next time we'll try to good stuff!!!
 

Little burger flipper in training look out fast food industry...he he he, just kidding!
 

 

A pretty yummy little lunch..
 

I decided to try these products out, in case any of you are wondering... My kids never eat a whole hamburger so when I found these 'mini' slider hamburgers I thought I'd give them a try. They actually worked out pretty good, and fit just right on our little cheap $1 buns. I thought The Turkey burgers were really good, though husband was a little iffy on them, but he'll eat anything I make cause he loves me ;).
 
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Watermelon "fries"

To go with our Cheeseburgers I got out some watermelon. Normally kids love watermelon huh? And 2 of mine do, but little sister... not so much. However she decided she loved watermelon "fries".
Practicing her knife skills.
 

Just give this kid somthing manly (knife) and he's happy ;)
 

Yum! Eating watermelon 'fries' while waiting for her cheeseburger to cook. She actually had to cut up more..!
 
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Magic Potatoes

Tonight for dinner we had Chicken Cordon Bleu. I have made this from scratch before, but it is quite a bit of work, and my kids really love the predone frozen ones. But we did make a couple of sides to go with that I thought I'd share. I had my daughter help me mix up some instant mashed potatoes.
 

She dumped the potato 'pearls' in the boiling water and stired them up. I told her to watch them become potatoes, "It's like magic".. so we called them magic potatoes, she was very excited to tell her big sister all about it!
 

 

Instant Mashed potatoes are really handy, but how to jazz them up? Well I decided we could each stir in our own choice of extras: cheese, bacon, ranch dressing, sour cream, Italian seasoning.. whatever you like its that easy!
And an interesting side note it ended up being a teaching discussion about flavor and taste. We put some stuff in and tasted it, then decided if we needed to add more, and even took tastes of each others to see who's tasted the best.
 

We also made a favorite at our house: Sweet Carrots
My mom made carrots like this for me when I was a kid, so I'm passing it on. It is so easy, but yummy! Just cook up (steam/boil) any carrots you have until they are fork tender, and add a couple Tablespoons each of brown sugar and butter. Makes a sweet glaze that no kid can resist...

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Apple Flower snack

My daughter needed a snack this afternoon, so I told her to choose a fruit. She loves fruit: peaches, apples, strawberries and her latest discovery pears. Today she chose an apple, but she has learned she likes it without the 'scraps' (peel). Now the lazy mom in me sometimes just makes the kids wash it and eat it, skin and all, but today I had some time and succumbed to her plea. I usually let the kids choose to dip their apple in peanut butter or carmel (I have been using Hersheys syrup carmel... convenient)
 

Anyway we thought we'd make it extra fun and share with you all so we arranged the apples in a little flower shape with carmel in the center. Simple snack, yet satisfying and fun! I also have been thinking a lot about eating and cooking with my kids (I started this blog didn't I?..) I realized that the appereance of food for kids is a really big deal. Whereas for me its nice if it looks good but I've learned that the most important thing is the taste. But the way the food looks to a kid is immediately a trigger...does it look scary, weird or fun? Usually if it looks kind of fun they are more likely to at least give it a try. Anyway just some random thoughts.
 
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Thursday, May 19, 2011

Something Sweet

My kids always want to help make something sweet. This week they helped with a couple of treats. We made our brownies on Sunday afternoon (the perfect time to make treats ;), but a couple of days later my daughter really wanted to make cookies. It has been rainy and wet so we needed an indoor activity. I have been using Betty Crocker cookie mixes lately, they are so convienent and easy for the kids to help with. So she picked out a sugar cookie mix, and we had fun mixing, rolling out the dough and cutting out bunnies, hearts, stars and gingerbread people. I wish I would have taken pictures, my little 2 year old was loving it too! After they each had a turn rolling and cutting they started snitching little peices of dough, so I had to hurry and finish them up.
While the cookies were in the oven we made some buttercream frosting (my favorite!) I have made it so many times that I never measure anymore just dump till I get the right consistency.
Basic Buttercream Frosting:
3-4 T. butter (we always use margerine cause thats what we have), softened
2-3 T. milk (just keep drizzling till you get the consistency you like)
3-4 c. powdered sugar
1 t. vanilla
Beat the butter till smooth, gradually add powdered sugar and milk and vanilla till you get the right consistency. Add food coloring, and enjoy!
 

The rainclouds went away so the cookie makers drove their jeep around the yard.
 

Sunday afternoon Brownies
1 1/2 c. flour
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 c. oil
1/2 c. cocoa
1 t. vanilla
1 t. salt
Combine wet indgredients, then add dry. Spread in a 9x13 baking pan, Bake at 350 degrees for 30 mins. Take the brownies out and turn on the broilder top with mini marshmellows, then 'toast' under broiler.. watch carefully they can burn fast!
Spread the melted marshmellows around a bit and pour over
The Best Chocolate Frosting Ever!
Bring to boil in saucepan:
1/4 c. margarine
2 T. cocoa
2 1/2 T. water
Pour over and beat well:
1/2 lb. powdered sugar
1/2 t. vanilla
 
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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Killer Nachos

Killer Nachos comes from a novel I read by Josi Kilpack. She is a fun author, check out her books!
We usually just microwave our Nachos but this recipe said to do them in the oven. I have to say they did turn out better!

Killer Nachos
corn totilla chips
cheese
ground beef browned and seasoned with taco seasoning
other toppings you like: peppers, onions, olives
Put a layer of chips in a 9x13 baking dish heat in oven at 350 degrees for 5-6 mins chips get nice and crispy, then pull out and layer on toppings, add another layer of chips and toppings if you like, and heat another 5-8 mins. Top with salsa and sour cream.
 

 
So I knew the kids wouldn't go for any peppers or onions... but I had them help cut the bananna pepper and learn about it. A couple of kids actually got brave and tried a bite of the pepper. They didn't like it, oh well at least they tried!
 

 

Tonight we husked some corn to go with our dinner. It's a great way to get the kids involved! And they love corn on the cob.
 

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Chicken and Cheese Quesidilas

Easy and yummy! and The kids liked them :)

Chicken and Cheese Quesidilas
Flour tortillas (6-8)
Cooked chicken breasts
1 1/2 c. shredded cheese
1 can cream of chicken soup
2 T milk
2-3 T. butter
Step 1: cut up some cooked chicken (the girls helped me do this)and put in a saucepan.
Step 2: Add 1 1/2 cups shredded cheese (a big handful from each girl)
Step 3: Add a can of cream of chicken soup and 2 T. milk
Step 4: Warm on stove over Medium heat until cheese melts and its bubbly and warm.
Step 5: In a saute pan melt about 1 T. butter (add more as needed)
Step 6: spoon chicken mixture on tortillas (about 1/3 to 1/2 cup), fold in half and brown in butter on each side. These can be spiced up with a little taco seasoning in the chicken mixture, or just serve with salsa and sour cream.

 

Anna's Apple Salad (she came up with this on her own)
2-3 apples
1 c. cool whip
cinnamon
can also add mini marshmellows
Wash and cut up apples, add 2 spoonfuls of coolwhip and a shake of cinnamon!
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