Saturday, December 13, 2008

Our little one has arrived!

God is so good to us:
Titus Michael
Born at home, December 10th
9 lbs 2 oz
20 inches long
Visit our family site for pictures

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Pumpkin Puree

I was hoping to get this posted before Thanksgiving, but I didn't get done quite as soon as I would have liked.
There are many different ways to cook your pumpkin- basically just bake or boil, etc. until the pumpkin meat is soft and then make a puree.
You can bake the pumpkin skin side up (cut pumpkin in half, oil the edges, place on baking sheet that has some kind of edge so the juices don't spill), you can piece it up and put in in a pot of water to steam or boil, you can even microwave it with water. I prefer an oven method, then I don't have bother removing excess water.
Here's what I did:

Cut the pumpkin.

Remove "guts" (I do have a recipe for pumpkin seeds that are really good- not sure when I'll get that posted though!).

Place in baking dish. Bake at 350˚ until fork tender- somewhere between 45 minutes and 1 1/2 hours- depending on the pumpkin.

Here they are out of the oven, soft enough for a fork to go in with no resistance.

Allow to cool so you can touch it without burning your fingers, then peel the skin off and discard.

Here is all the pumpkin meat. I used a hand held blender (the type you can use in a drinking glass). I tried a regular blender once, but the pumpkin was very hard to get in and out of it and it took a long time. A food processor would be great as well. With my hand blender it took 1-2 minutes to get it to a smooth consistency.

Once the pumpkin is smooth it is ready to use in your favorite pumpkin recipe. I froze mine with 2 cups of puree in each bag. I don't have a set recipe but was planning to try this one: Homemade Fresh Pumpkin Pie.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


Just wanted to let you all know, that life is in the way of the blog right now. :-) I'm trying to get everything ready for the baby, who can come at any time (but hopefully will at least wait till next week!) and am tired and napping each afternoon while Naomi is napping.
I have a few posts that I can edit and post, but not sure that I will even get that done- so it might be a month or more before you hear much from me on this blog. I will try to post something after the baby is born and I will probably get some pictures up on our family website.
Thanks for hanging in there!

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Rhubarb Torte

I love this one so much I have to make myself not take that second piece. This is really sweet- so if you like your rhubarb tart, then you might want to ease up on the sugar a bit, but we love it this way.

Rhubarb Torte
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup margarine
2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
Mix with beater until it forms a ball of dough. Press evenly into a 9" pie plate and bake at 350˚ for 20 minutes.

Rhubarb filling:
1 1/2 cups white sugar
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
3 egg yolks
1/3 cup milk
3 1/2 cups chopped rhubarb
In a saucepan, combine 1 1/2 cup sugar, 3 tablespoons flour, yolks and milk. Stir together, then add chopped rhubarb. Cook, stirring constantly, until thickened. Pour into hot crust.

3 egg whites
1/4 cup white sugar
Beat egg whites until foamy. Gradually add 1/4 cup sugar, continuing to beat until stiff peaks form. Spread meringue over rhubarb filling, covering completely.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10 to 15 minutes, or until golden brown.

Monday, October 20, 2008


Stephen had his birthday this week, so he got to choose what he wanted for dinner that night. He chose Haystacks. Sorry I didn't get a picture of this on a plate- I was too busy scarfing it down. :-) I love this!

Turkey or Chicken Gravy*
Chopped turkey or chicken mixed into the gravy
Shredded cheese
Shredded coconut
Chopped fresh tomatoes
Chopped onion
Chopped bell pepper
Pineapple chunks
Sour cream
Tortilla chips

Layer everything on your plate- starting with the rice and gravy, then adding whatever else you want. The combinations might not sound appealing, but it's really delicious. We mix the rice mixture up, then scoop and eat with the tortilla chips.

*I normally use a soup stock to make this gravy. I start with about 4 to 6 cups of stock, stir in the flour/milk mixture, add salt and pepper to taste and then stir in the meat.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What do you strive for?

I set up a poll to get an idea of what my readers are looking for in my blog- There are 7 days left before it closes, so please let me know!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake

I've been trying to blog this one for the last month... the first time I made it I wasn't thinking (typical pregnancy brain) and put in twice the amount of milk- so the streusel and cranberries sank. I took a picture, but it didn't look right (took me a while to figure out what I did wrong), so I made it again- well, then I didn't keep track of the measurements for the topping. Then there were 2 times I got it right- but forgot to take pictures. LOL- no one has complained that I keep making the same coffee cake.

Cranberry Streusel Coffee Cake

2 c. white flour
1 c. whole wheat flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
1 c. milk
2 eggs
1/3 c. oil
1 c. dried cranberries

Mix well, spread into greased 9" x 13" baking dish. Sprinkle cranberries over the top.

Streusel Topping:
1/4 c. butter melted
1/4 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp cinnamon

Mix Streusel topping and sprinkle over cranberries. Bake at 350˚ for 40 minutes.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pizza Rolls

I apoligize in advance: I don't have a "recipe." This is one that I wing it, I know that will bother some of you but here's what I do:

Pizza Rolls
1 recipe basic roll dough
5 c. shredded cheddar cheese (approximately)
Artichoke hearts
(This would also be good with: onion, bell pepper, mushrooms, etc.)

This works best if you split the dough in half and roll out each half separately, which is what I normally do- but didn't this time and it was alot harder to manage.
Roll the dough into a rectangle, place pepperoni pieces on, followed by cheese and separated artichoke hearts.
Roll up like a cinnamon roll and cut into equal slices (full recipe makes 24).
Place in greased muffin tins, let rise for about 30 minutes. Bake at 350˚ for about 30 minutes- until slightly brown on top.

A picture to show you the approximate amount of pepperoni I used. This counter is 21" x 25".

Naomi only pigs out on cheese when I'm cooking.

And she only eats artichoke hearts when I'm cooking... See my torn up kitchen? I'm getting used to it.

I cut the rolled dough into 4 equal portions, then marked out 6 on each piece before cutting.

If you just work with 1/2 of the dough at a time these look alot prettier. Though after they are cooked, they all look the same.

And the finished product!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Pork 'n Beans 'n Biscuits

Not the healthiest meal, but fast and easy and cheap too! This reminds me of camping. :-)

Pork 'n Beans 'n Biscuits
4 cans pork 'n beans
1 pk hotdog- diced
~heat through in oven proof skillet~

Drop Biscuits
2 cups flour
4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. salt
3 T. oil
1 c. milk
Drop by spoonfuls over pork 'n bean mixture. Bake at 450 degrees for about 15 minutes, or until biscuits are lightly brown.

Meal cost

4 cans beans $2
I pk hotdogs $.68
biscuits $.30
Meal Total: $2.98

Monday, September 22, 2008

Sweet Potato "Pie"

Again, another breakfast pie. How else would we eat veggies for breakfast??
I skip the crust when I make breakfast pie.

Sweet Potato "Pie"
4 cups mashed sweet potatoes
1/4 pound butter, softened
2 eggs
1 c white sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 can evaporated milk

Mix thoroughly. Pour into 9" x 13" baking dish.
Bake at 400 degrees for 10 minutes, turn the oven down to 350 degrees and continue to bake for 40-45 minutes, until it doesn't "jiggle" anymore.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

School Lunches

We qualify for free lunches through the school- which is nice, it does save us alot of money... but I'm not happy with what the school has availible.
Each month we go through the calendar of lunches and cross out the entrees that are not healthy choices and the boys can pick from whats left. Last year the selection was much better- this year, they have one choice. The school does offer something else on those days- salad or meat sandwich. But really, a salad is not going to fill and keep full a growing boy and the sandwich is just 2 slices of store-bought bread and some deli meat... again, not filling- because I know if I were to serve the same thing, my boys would eat at least 3 sandwiches.
This year is even worse in that, as you can see there are a couple days where there is nothing on the menu that I approve of:

And the choices for those days?
Cheesy Macaroni
Corn Dog
Pepperoni Pizza

So, I have been sending a sack lunch on those days.
Regardless of the lunch at school the boys come home starving- they're like hobbits needing 6 meals a day.
The boys are very honest and do only eat what I say. Since the school offers salad or sandwiches they do have a choice between say Spaghetti Spirals or a turkey and cheese sandwich.
They don't drink chocolate milk- I don't know why the school even has that as an option, but they do.
The boys do catch some flack from other kids and many times have been told to lie and just take what they want. But they also understand what healthy is and that pizza or hamburgers every day is not good for them.
I have noticed that with the problem of obesity the school lunches have changed- but only to smaller portions. It would be so much better if they served good food! Growing kids need alot of food- but they need alot of healthy food.
It saves enough money each month that I can't justify only sending lunches, I need to take advantage of the free lunch. But I'm not too concerned- they eat a second lunch when they get home anyway. So overall, their diet is pretty good.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Mexican Lasagna

I know alot of you are fans of The Pioneer Woman Cooks. She has a guest poster on there some times, Pastor Ryan and he made a Mexican Lasagna.
This was more complicated than I normally do- I like as little dishes as possible, but it looked tasty and I had everything except the Salsa Verde- so I got some at the store last week determined to try it.
It did not smell like I wanted it to while I was cooking... but that might be more because of my overly sensitive pregnancy nose. It was very tasty though.
His recipe was pretty flexible and it was a huge amount and not super easy to try to break it down to the size I needed, but here's my version:

Mexican Lasagna
2 c. uncooked brown rice
4 c. water with 2 heaping T. chicken bouillon
salt to taste
~Cook like usual~

4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 large onion, diced
3 large cloves garlic, pressed or minced
2 to 3 T. Taco seasoning
1 c. dried black beans, cooked (about 1 1/2 to 2 c. cooked)
~Saute and mix into cooked rice~

1 lb ground meat, browned
2 to 3 T. taco seasoning
~brown meat, mix in seasoning, set aside~

1 jar Salsa Verde
I jar enchilada sauce (I made my own... recipe to post later)
2 c. frozen corn, heated and drained
3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
flour tortillas (I used 3- because I happened to have the huge ones)

Layer into a 9"x13" baking dish:
1/2 jar salsa verde
flour tortillas (I used 1 1/2, because they were so big)
1/2 of the rice mixture
1/2 of the cheese
flour tortillas
enchilada sauce (about 1 c.)
Browned meat mixture
The rest of the rice
The rest of the salsa verde
The rest of the cheese

Bake at 375 degrees for 35 minutes.
Top with fresh cilantro and sour cream.

Everyone in our house enjoyed it- Naomi especially. This still made quite alot of food and we ate it for 2 dinners- with still 1 dish of leftovers, enough for someone's lunch.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

"Cinnabon" Cinnamon Rolls

Ok guys- I finally got around to taking pictures of these. Most of the time they are never around long enough to do that- so yesterday I made it a point to get some pictures. Luke was the main photographer here. He regretted he couldn't capture the smell for you. :-)
Anyway, for those of you who keep asking if it's on my blog yet: this is for you!

These are so yummy- and do taste like Cinnabon. We don't have a Cinnabon in our mall, though I heard we were going to get one again- after 5 years or so without it. I really missed having one, so found a recipe online, though I have changed it a bit, so here's mine:
This makes 16 large rolls- two 9" x 13" pans full.

"Cinnabon" Cinnamon Rolls
2 c. warm milk
1 c. sugar
2 T. yeast
3/4 c. butter (room temp)
2 tsp. salt
4 eggs
6 c. white flour
2 c. whole wheat flour
Combine everything in the mixer (kitchenaid, bocshe, etc) and knead for 10 minutes. Let sit with the lid on and rise until it reaches the lid (this might take 45 minutes to an hour), then knead the dough for a minute or 2 and roll out on floured surface.

2/3 c. butter (room temp)
Spread the butter onto the rolled out dough.
2 c. sugar
1/4 c. molasses
--mix together then add:--
1/3 c. saigon cinnamon*
1/4 c. flour

Mix the sugar, cinnamon and flour together and sprinkle/spread over the butter.
Roll up Jelly-roll style and mark 16 even marks for the cuts on the roll. Cut out 16 pieces and put 8 in each 9" x 13" greased baking dish. (Two 9" x 13".)
Let rise until doubled and bake in 375 degree oven for 22-25 minutes. The tops will be brown. Frost while warm.

1 c. butter (room temp)
3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 c. (4 oz) cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 teaspoon salt
blend thoroughly and then spread over warm cinnamon rolls.

*Or another high quality- don't use the generic that is just labled "ground cinnamon", this makes a big difference. I buy mine at Costco: $3. for a large container.
This counter is 21" x 25".

Spread the warm butter on the dough.

Mixing the sugar and molasses.

Mixing the cinnamon and flour into the sugar.

Spreading the sugar/cinnamon mixture over the buttered dough.

Start at one of the longer edges and roll the dough.

Mark out 16 even marks where you are going to cut.

Cut the roll.

Set 8 cinnamon rolls into each 9" x 13" greased baking dish.

Let rise until doubled before baking.

Rolls will be brown on the top, but still the soft doughy-ness we love in the middle, and not uncooked.

Mix the icing and spread over warm rolls.

These are really best served warm-- oh yummy!

Now I think I'll go eat the leftovers...

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lentil Chili

I've posted this recipe before, here, but have changed it enough from HBHW's recipe, I figured I would tell you what I do. (And I see I angled the camera in such a way that it makes the bowl of chili seem quite small under Brian's hand... but it was a normal size bowl, really!)

Lentil Chili
1 lb. package lentils
Water to cover with about 1 to 2 inches above the lentils. Bring to a boil, then turn down and let simmer with a lid slightly cocked on the pot. Simmer until the lentils are soft- about 30 minutes.
4 c. freshly chopped tomatoes
1/4 c. finely chopped onion
1 tsp. salt
1 heaping Tb chili powder
4 to 5 shakes of tabasco sauce
Simmer for approximately 30 minutes and serve with chips and sour cream.

Meal Cost:
Lentils: $.72
Tomatoes: free- from garden
onion: ?? cheap
Chips: $1.
Meal Total: $1.72

This feeds our family of 5 big eaters with 1 bowl leftover.


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