Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Veggie Bake

My refrigerator is not operating corrrectly. I have been shopping for a new one, but our snowy weather has kept me from finalizing my purchase. In the mean time, we are doing our best to eat up what is in the fridge and freezer. Last night we had this Veggie Bake. It is a great cold weather, comfort food recipe. 

Hopefully, we are able to keep most of our food from going to waste in the transfer from the old refrigerator to the new one. In the mean time, I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the old one will hold out until I can have a new one delivered.

Veggie Bake

16oz. pkg. frozen vegetable mix, steamed (we like broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot mix)
4 oz. cream cheese
½ cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
Salt and pepper to taste
15 crushed crackers 

Stir together steamed veggies, cream cheese, and half of the parmesan cheese. Spread mixture into an 8x8 pan. Salt and pepper to taste. Top with crushed crackers and remaining parmesan cheese. Bake at 350º for 30-35 minutes. 

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Peanut Butter Bars

Every Sunday afternoon we visit with some friends from our church. Our time together is a great encouragement and support to us. And each week I bake a dessert to share. Recently I brought these Peanut Butter Bars. They are similar to brownies in texture and can be eaten by hand like a cookie. Although I like to put a thin layer of icing on top, they don't really need it. 

Peanut Butter Bars
½ cup butter, melted
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup peanut butter
1 egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup flour
½ cup oats
1 tsp. baking soda
¼ tsp. salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

In a bowl, stir together butter and sugars. Add peanut butter, egg and vanilla and stir until combined. Add flour, oats, baking soda, and salt and mix until thouroughly blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread into a greased 9X13 pan. Bake at 350º for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly browned.

½ cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp. peanut butter
2 Tbsp. milk

Stir together all ingredients and drizzle or spread over warm bars. Cool completely and serve.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

French Toast Sticks

My last loaf of Bread Maker Bread did not turn out well. It did not rise properly and was too dense for sandwiches. So, to keep it from going to waste, I made French Toast Sticks with it. I cut the bread into one inch slices and then cut each piece into four sticks. I dipped the sticks into an egg and milk mixture and then cooked them on a griddle just like traditional French Toast. My kids really enjoyed eating the sticks with their hands and dipping them into syrup. (Two of my kids dipped theirs in Cinnamon Syrup and my little one dipped hers in Chocolate Syrup.)
I refrigerated the leftovers and reheated them in the toaster oven for my little one to eat for lunch the next day. Next time, I would like to try an oven version instead. Seems like it would be simpler and I wouldn't have to stand over the griddle tending to them. If you have tried making homemade baked French Toast Sticks, I would love to hear about it.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Snow Ice Cream

We are home from school again for the third day in a row. I think that I am starting to get a little stir crazy. But, my kids are thrilled to be home to play in the snow another day. Yesterday I mentioned to my neighbor that I planned to try out a recipe for Snow Ice Cream that I had seen floating around on Facebook. He said to me, “I was always told, don't eat the first snow.” I grew up in Maine and I had never heard this before. But, yesterday afternoon when I spoke to my Aunt Shirley, who lives in Deleware, she said the same thing. So I did an internet search on it. Some people say that the first snow contains lots of germs, etc. However, I wasn't able to find any real proof of this.

We made the Snow Ice Cream anyway and we all loved it. We just stirred together the ingredients with a spoon and ate it immediately. I have a feeling my kids will want to make it again today.

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Snow Day!

My three kids along with one of their best buddies.

Snow is rare in North Carolina. So, when there is a prediction of a flurry, people get excited. So excited in fact that yesterday school was cancelled without a flurry in sight! Very disappointing. However, we woke up this morning to a blanket of snow and thankfully our second day off is justified. 

My kids wanted to go outside immediately this morning, but I insisted on breakfast first. I put some Mandarin Muffins in the oven, and while they baked, we gathered together all of our winter gear. Sadly, only my two younger kids had the correct clothing, but this didn't stop my oldest from going out to play. (She is hot natured at least.) 
Over breakfast, I learned that my son got up in the middle of the night and looked out the window and saw all the snow. He then woke up the girls to show them too. All of this happened while I was sound asleep!

I anticipate a day filled with outdoor play and hot cocoa. And, that sounds just about perfect to me. 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

My Favorite Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is by far my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe and the one that I told you about a few days ago. I photo copied it out of a book several years ago, but I did not make note of the name of the book. The paragraph written about the cookies along side the recipe claims that this is the original “Neiman Marcus” recipe. But, I'm not sure that this is true since I have tried other recipes that have been quite different from this one over the years that have claimed the same thing. 

I think that the reason I adore this recipe so much is that it has a slight coffee flavor. I am a huge coffee lover and coffee flavored desserts, ice creams, and baked goods are my weakness.

Chocolate Chip Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
3 Tbsp. white sugar
1 egg
2 tsp. vanilla
1 ½ tsp. instant coffee powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
1 ¾ cup all purpose flour
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

In a mixer, cream together butter and sugars. Add egg, vanilla, and coffee powder. Mix until fully combined. Add baking soda, baking powder, salt, and flour. Once dry ingredients are incorporated, stir in chocolate chips. Drop onto cookie sheets. Bake at 375º for 8-10 minutes, or until set. Remove from oven and cool for 10 minutes. Then, move cookies to a cooling rack. Yield: 24 cookies.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Happy Birthday!

This week my oldest celebrated a birthday. For her birthday dinner she requested hot dogs and chips with nacho cheese dip. Not exactly “real” food choices, but I was happy to comply for my birthday girl. And, instead of a traditional cake, she asked for Chocolate Chip Cookies, which were homemade. (I will share my favorite Chocolate Chip Cookie recipe soon.) I think that this was the most simple birthday meal I have ever prepared! And, my birthday girl was thrilled.
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