Crazy Wonderful Days

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Chili

Posted on: November 3, 2017

This is the Chili that I think of when I think Chili — it is the one that my mom has made for as long as I can remember!   Growing up (and I still do!) we would put this Chili over mashed potatoes!!   When I make it now, my husband puts his over elbow macaroni (which is how he did it growing up!)  So I ask you… how do you eat your Chili??

Click here to see the recipe:

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So a friend of mine posted on Facebook her dislike of meal and menu planning which sparked comments from other friends about how they complete this tedious task in their routines.

I must admit that I have not always been regimen with this task myself.  When my husband and I were first married, I cooked (and when I say cook, I mean like 4 course meals! LOL) almost every night – I allowed myself to cook “from a box” once a week.  As time went on, I went back to school for my master’s degree, then I got pregnant with Munchkin and there seemed to be less time to dedicate to this task.  Fast forward to life with two kids and I have been “on” and “off” with routines for days that I plan, grocery shop, etc.  We always eat, but it isn’t always a structured well planned out meal.  So how might we fix this problem?

Well, one of the people that commented to my friend’s Facebook post that she uses something called, Plan to Eat.  So I thought I would check it out…

Here is what I found:

First, I found the website, which is:  www.plantoeat.com/welcome

At the top right, I clicked on the arrow pointing to the right labeled Tour to start reading what this has to offer.  At the very very bottom, there is a video that you can watch that shows how you can input your recipes from cookbooks, family/friends, online, etc, add them to a calendar for planning, create a grocery list and even download an app to view it all!  Sounds pretty awesome to me!  But do I want to commit?

Well, there is a 30 day free trial – NO PAYMENT INFORMATION REQUIRED!   (How awesome is that?!?!)

So sign me up!!  If I like it, I will sign up for a membership during their Black Friday Special!  I will post another blog entry after trying it!  If you check it out, let me know your thoughts!!

We had some friends over last night and they brought the Ice Cream Ball for Munchkin and Monkey to have some fun while making homemade ice cream!!  (I did find it for sale at Amazon.com, here).

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I can honestly tell you that I was VERY apprehensive to try these pancakes. I can’t stand sweet potatoes (in any form) and since this recipe packs one-half cup per 10 pancakes, I thought for sure that was all I would taste! I am thrilled to say, I was wrong!! Not only are they delicious, but they may just be the best pancakes I have ever had!!! And I don’t think that I’ll revert back to the ‘old-fashioned’ way! 🙂 Here’s how I make them:

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Well, the plan for today was to make Sweet Potato Pancakes for breakfast however, Munchkin and Monkey opted for the Pumpkin French Toast again.  Since I had not yet replenished my stock of Sweet Potato Puree, this was fine with me! 

So I thought I would write a post about how I prepare my sweet potato puree (which I did this evening).  While this post is dedicated to Sweet Potato Puree, be sure to check out the ways that I puree (or preserve) other fruits and veggies to “hide” in other dishes!  🙂

 

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First, I fill my Pampered Chef Deep Covered Baker with scrubbed sweet potatoes cut in half or quarters (depending on the size). I then put about 1/2 inch of water in the bottom of the baker, place the lid on and microwave on high for about 15-20 minutes (for the amount you see here).

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Once the sweet potatoes are tender, I peel the ‘skin’ off with a fork — it should peel right off very easily if your sweet potatoes have been cooked long enough.

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Once I have scooped all of the sweet potato out of their skins, I am ready to start pureeing.

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I use a small 3-cup food processor and loosely fill it with sweet potatoes. Pulse for 1-2 minutes until the sweet potatoes look like the picture below.

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Note: The picture on the left is what they look like initially when you take the lid off (still looks lumpy, right?). The picture on the right is after you stir them, nice and creamy!

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So how do I store these beautiful creamy sweet potatoes? I usually store my purees in one of the following methods:
1. I use ice cube trays because each well holds 2 tablespoons perfectly! (Once frozen, I ‘pop’ them out and store the frozen cubes in storage bags until I am ready to use them so that I can re-use the ice cube trays for the next food that I puree.)
2. I use the snack size storage bags to store 1/4 cup or 1/2 cup servings.

The sweet potatoes pictured above filled the two ice cube trays — that’s 24 servings of 2 tablespoons each — PLUS 2 half cup servings (one is pictured, the other is already in a bowl in the refrigerator waiting for the rest of the ingredients to make pancake batter in the morning!)

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If you have a picky eater like my Munchkin, then you probably understand how hard it is to convince his/her strong willed mind to try new fruits/veggies. We have tried just about EVERYTHING to get Munchkin to try 1-2 bites of foods, but so far Munchkin has not expanded the list of “likes” very much. The short list of fruits/veggies on the “like” list include: Bananas, Applesauce, and Carrots. Which means that we are now “hiding” fruit/veggies in foods. I first got the idea from a cookbook that my cousin gave me called Deceptively Delicious.

I modified the recipe in this cookbook for French Toast to fit my family’s preferences and came up with this. 🙂

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1. First, you will need a place a griddle (or frying pan) on the stovetop on medium heat. Then, I use 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree that I buy and freeze in 2 Tbsp servings (shown above). If using frozen pumpkin puree, place in microwave to soften.

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2. Once softened, smash the pumpkin puree. Now you are ready for the other ingredients!

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3. Add six eggs and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Dip bread (I use Homemade Bread) in the mixture for about 5 seconds on each side and place on griddle.

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4. Let cook 2-3 minutes, then flip!

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5. Let cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.

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6. Add butter, powdered sugar, fruit, syrup, honey — whatever you like! Doesn’t this look delicious?!?

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7. Enjoy! 🙂 My Munchkin and Monkey ask for more more more of this recipe every time I make it!!

Homemade Pumpkin French Toast

Ingredients:

  • 4 Tbsp. pumpkin puree
  • 6 large eggs
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 10 slices of bread
  • butter, powdered sugar, honey, syrup, etc.

Directions:

  1. First, you will need a place a griddle (or frying pan) on the stovetop on medium heat. Then, I use 4 tablespoons of pumpkin puree that I buy and freeze in 2 Tbsp servings (shown above). If using frozen pumpkin puree, place in microwave to soften.
  2. Once softened, smash the pumpkin puree. Now you are ready for the other ingredients!
  3. Add six eggs and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon to the pumpkin puree and whisk until smooth. Dip bread (I use Homemade Bread) in the  mixture for about 5 seconds on each side and place on griddle.
  4. Let cook 2-3 minutes, then flip!
  5. Let cook 2-3 minutes on the other side.
  6. Add butter, powdered sugar, fruit, syrup, honey, etc.
  7. Enjoy!

As I was looking through a cookbook for my Pampered Chef brownie pan, I found this recipe and thought it would make a good snack tonight. Overall, the recipe was simple, quick and delicious!!

Here’s how I made them:

Ingredients:

1-3/4 cup flour
1-1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
3/4 cup milk

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1. Prepare all supplies and preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Mix together dry ingredients of flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg.

3. As wet ingredients of oil, granulated sugar, egg, and milk.

4. Mix all ingredients together with a whisk.

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5. Divide evenly between the 12 brownie pan wells and bake for 10-15 minutes.

6. While the loaves bake, prepare the topping:

1/4 cup butter, melted
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1 Tablespoon cinnamon

Melt the butter in one dish. In a 2nd dish, combine the cinnamon and sugar.

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7. When loaves have finished baking, remove from pan immediately. Dip tops into butter then dip into cinnamon sugar. Serve warm.

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