Saturday, August 30, 2014

Flourless Peanut Butter Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins


 
I'm kidless this weekend!  Well, I still have the little babe with me, but she is so easy it's like not having a child here at all.  After the week I've had, it is a welcome relief.  There.  I said it.  I'm not afraid to say it....I'm happy to have a bit of a break.
 
Having a husband who works crazy hours and then was out of town for 3 days, put us a bit over the edge.  Let's just say our middle child has been testing my buttons.  I know I'm not the only mom out there with this problem!
 
My kids love muffins, so in an attempt to distract the naughtiness from our house I made yet another batch of these blender muffins.  Anything to keep them from bickering for a moment to scarf one of these down is welcome relief.
 
I also guest posted this recipe on this blog earlier this week.
 
What can I say, people are requesting them!

 
The muffins are also gluten free.  Regardless if you can/can't have gluten, you can feel a bit better eating these as they do not contain any flour, and minus the peanut butter hardly any fat.
 
Regardless of all of that - they still are tasty!  So tasty in fact, that you may need to ration yourself.  Back this spring when I was still working I would bring a couple of them with me to work for a mid-morning or late afternoon snack.  They also freeze well, so don't be afraid to throw a batch in a freezer storage bag for later eats.
 
And on a totally random thought...
 
College football starts today!  Go Hawkeyes!  And Panthers!
 
Sadly they are playing each other.  Hmmpf.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

How to Make Homemade Pizza Sauce


 
I hope you are not sick of tomato recipes....I know they are circulating the web like something fierce.  Bare with me for one more!  But lets be honest, it is the end of August in the Midwest, therefore we all have a TON of tomatoes.
 
We planted three plants earlier this spring and the husband declared yesterday that next year we should just plant two. 
 
He is sick of all the tomatoes littering our kitchen counter.
 
But I bet he won't complain later this winter when I can pull fresh frozen sauce out of the freezer!  I've already made three batches of this pizza sauce, with another batch on its way later today.  And I need to get my butt back out of the garden to pick more tomatoes.  It is the story that never ends.
 
So, I featured a sauce like this last year, and this one is pretty similar but I'm using it in different ways and tweaking it just a bit.  I am also taking advice from Jenny and freezing the sauce in muffin tins, popping them out and placing them all in a freezer storage bag.  That way when I need sauce for pizza, calzones, pizza burgers or a simple marinara for dipping later in the year I can just grab a few of these and thaw them out.
 
Genius, right?
 
 
What's even better about this sauce is that it takes just an hour.  One hour in the oven people!  Cannot be more simple.  Then let it cool a bit, ladel into muffin tins, freeze, pop out and throw in a bag.
 
Here are the simple steps.  Try this one today!

How to Make Homemade Pizza Sauce

Print the Recipe!

10-12 tomatoes
1 onion
1 clove of garlic
salt
pepper
Italian seasoning

1.  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2.  Remove the stem and inner guts of the tomato {squeezing out most of the juice}.
3.  Slice tomato into large chunks and place in a 9x13 baking dish.
4.  Peel onion and slice into large chunks and place into the baking dish, along with the clove of peeled garlic.
5.  Sprinkle tomatoes liberally with salt, pepper and Italian seasoning.
6.  Bake for 1 hour.
7.  Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
8.  Place contents {minus the juice} into a blender and puree until smooth.
9.  Pour into greased muffin tins {I used silicone muffin tins for easier removal}.  Place in the freezer until solid.
10.  Pop out the solid chunks of sauce and place into a freezer storage bag.
11.  Sauce will stay fresh in the freezer for up to 1 year.

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In other news.....

My two older kids start school next week!  They NEED to go back.  We are all itching to get back into a routine.  We have their open house last night and they are super excited.  I'm excited to have a bit more quiet time with just the little one during the week.  Have you kids started back?

Also, this year I am joining our local MOPS group.  I'm looking forward to that outlet twice a month, meeting new local moms and having something just for "me". 

Anyone here in MOPS?

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Jalapeno Hot Corn Dip


 
I am very thankful for the weekend we've had.  You see, the husband works weekends, which as you can imagine makes it very hard for us as a family to do things "normally" when other families do.  But since, he has to travel out of town for work next week, it allowed him the weekend off.
 
We invited some friends to our house, took all the kids to our town's annual celebration, watched a parade, let the kids ride rides, ate some yummy food {hello....funnel cake!} and ended the night putting the kids to bed and laughing at the many hilarious stories being told.  It was a great day.
 
I also made this dip.
 
Oh, this dip.
 
It's heavenly.
 
You see I had just frozen about 20 bags for fresh sweet corn the previous week and had picked a handful of fresh jalapenos from the garden in the morning.  My brain started turning....how about a hot dip with jalapenos and corn?  Yes!

 
 
So, on a whim yesterday afternoon I whipped up this dip and it turned out fabulous.  We all stood at the stove when it came out and preceded to stuff our face.  I'm pretty sure no one even helped themselves to a plate.

It is the perfect blend of sweet and a bit of heat.  I did not de-seed my jalapenos and it still wasn't that hot, just a kick every once in a awhile if the bite was just right.  If you have corn and jalapenos in your garden right now {heck, even if you don't go out and get some!} you need to try out this dip. 

So good!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Soft Baked Chocolate Chip Yogurt Cookies

 
Anyone out there have an egg allergy?  We don't, but if you do these cookies are for you!  Imagine the horror when I went to bake cookies last week and we had NO EGGS.  Between the husband boiling a dozen a week {don't ask} and us just plain eating eggs for breakfast or dinner at least once a week, we go through a lot of eggs.
 
A lot of eggs.
 
I had already told the kids that we could bake that day, so after researching a bit online I started to sense a trend.  You can replace Greek yogurt for eggs in cookie batter!  Now, don't quote me on this with all cookie recipes, but for this one it works.
 
 
Another thing we always have on hand is a big tub on Greek yogurt.  We buy the tub as it is more economical and if I bought the individual cartons my kids would eat them up way too fast {they are suckers for pretty packaging}.  So instead we serve it up by the scoops in bowls, usually with a sprinkling of whatever cereal we have on hand to make it a bit more like a parfait.
 
These cookies are super good straight out of the oven, but I found even two days later they are still soft and yummy.
 
If they last that long. 
 
I made two batches of these in two days.  I sent a dozen of them to my friend in this care package, and I'm sure you're not at all shocked....we ate the rest.
 

These would also make a great freezer cookie.  Scoop out the dough on cookie sheets, freeze and throw in a plastic baggie to freeze for later baking.

And now that many schools have started, wouldn't your child love one of these in their packed lunch?

Get baking!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Fun Food Care Package for New Moms


 
For living in such a small town this summer has been the year of the BABY.  Not only are all my friends having babies, but I had one too!
 
We are now 3 months in having baby number #3 in our house.  I will say the transition from two to three kids has been the hardest.  The husband and I can no longer each take "one" and tackle the day ahead of us.  And since I'm breastfeeding the baby is always with me.  I call her my partner in crime.
 
Now that we have hit our third month, things are getting a bit easier.  Our middle child seems to finally be a bit more tolerant to her new sister and with the baby sleeping through the night, everyone seems a bit less tired.
 
If there is one thing I absolutely LOVED about coming home with a new baby was the out pouring love from friends and family.  For the first two weeks after she was born our fridge was stocked to the nine's with meals and snacks.
 
Beef enchiladas, meatloaf, twice baked potatoes, spaghetti, salads, beef stroganoff, fresh fruit, cookies....the list was endless.
 
The best feeling for a new mommy is not having to worry what to make for dinner when you are elbows deep in diaper changes, feedings and sleepless nights.
 



 
In the past week I had one friend also have her third child and as we speak another is waiting to deliver.  Yesterday I went to visit her and delivered this care package as well.
 
What I packed up:
  • Freshly cut watermelon
  • Homemade chicken salad
  • Fresh garden salsa
  • Bag of tortilla chips
  • Chocolate chip cookies
You see sometimes I make a "meal" and sometimes I just make up some random stuff like today.  Chicken salad to grab a quick sandwich for lunch, chips and salsa for an afternoon snack, fresh fruit for anytime of the day and of course cookies.

Because every new mom NEEDS COOKIES.

Or is that just me?

So the next time you have a new baby cruising around consider take them this food care package.  Trust me, as a new mom (three times over) I enjoyed homemade meals made with love over a new onesie any day.
 
What have you taken new moms?

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Restaurant Style Chicken Strips


 
First off, let me give credit where credit is due.  My friend Jenny shared her homemade chicken finger recipe with me the other day.  I was craving these for some reason, but had never had much luck with making them homemade.
 
So I took a look at her recipe, tweaked it a bit and made it my own.  Thanks for the inspiration Jenny!
 
We no longer purchase chicken nuggets, fingers, strips, whatever you want to call them from the grocery store.  Ugh, I just cannot get myself to eat those, let alone my kids.  Have you seen the ingredients on the backs of those bags?  Not exactly "food".
 
With sweet corn already on the menu the night I made these, along with some baked beans, I figured this night was as good as night to try them out.  I will say I cooked these outside.  I cannot stand the smell of things pan frying in my house.  Yuck.
 
 
The verdict?
 
Super good!  We all liked them, dipping them in barbecue sauce and ranch dressing.  Killer crunchy, just like you would order off a menu in a restaurant.
 
Instead of deep frying like Jenny did, I pan fried them in coconut oil.  Have you used coconut oil for cooking yet?  You need to!  No, it will not make your food taste like coconuts.  I buy mine off Amazon.  You can purchase yours here.
 
I also rub coconut oil on all of my kids boo-boos {which is a lot!}, but using it for beauty and health regimens is a whole 'nother post!
 
Oh...and before I share the recipe, I wanted to share the photo of the Little Miss that we took on vacation.  It pretty much sums up her personality.  She can turn it on and off like a light switch.  Very dramatic, yet super sweet, all while acting like she is 18 instead of 3.  We have our hands full with her.
 
And by the way, she loved these chicken strips!

 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Butterscotch Funfetti Birthday Blondies

 
Yep, you guessed it.  Today is my birthday.  And with birthdays come sprinkles.  As sprinkles make everything better right?
 
I've always loved having a summer birthday.  Growing up I'd have huge birthday parties with my friends.  Our house growing up had a big wrap around screened in porch and we'd spend the afternoon and evening at the pool {I lived just a block away from the city pool}, then we'd proceed to all spend the night sleeping out on the porch.  Usually half the group was back inside before their eyelids shut {if they shut at all}, but it was fun. 
 
I have great memories of my birthday parties.  They were never anything fancy, but since it was the dog days of summer it always involved swimming and being outside.  Kudos to my parents for letting 10+ teenage girls stay over at our house.

 
 
Another fun tradition we had growing up was choosing our birthday meal and dessert.  Whatever we wanted our mom made.  Sticking with the summer theme, I usually picked hamburgers on the grill, potato salad and baked beans.  For dessert?  More often then not yellow cake with chocolate frosting {double layered, of course}.
 
It must be rubbing off on my kids as the little man asked me today what cake I wanted for my birthday.  I'm still trying to decided if I'll make myself a cake {seems kinda weird} or just remember the taste of these wonderful blondies we made a few days ago.
 
Oh, and Mom?  If you are reading, your grandson is already requesting strawberry cake with strawberry frosting, lot of sprinkles, along with diggers and Lightning McQueen on top of his cake next month.
 
Quite the combo, huh?
 

Until then, make these blondies.  Your kids will love dumping in the sprinkles and you will love the deep, rich butterscotch flavor.