Jul 31, 2010

All Star Muffin Mix

I found a recipe for All Star Muffin Mix in Taste of Home's Simple and Delicious Magazine.  The recipe makes a dry mix that you can either store in your freezer or cupboard for up to six months.  When you make up the mix, you can either make the mix without adding anything to it or you can add different ingredients.  When I tried it without adding anything to it, it was delicious because the cinnamon and nutmeg are two of my favorite spices.  Another time, I tried adding dried cranberries and pecan pieces.  The result was pure deliciousness.

Today I will post the basic mix.  After I try successful add-ins, I will post the recipes so that you can bake a bunch of different types of muffins using one mix.

All Star Muffin Mix


Stars of the recipe:



  • 8 cups all-purpose flour

  • 3 cups sugar

  • 3 tablespoons baking powder

  • 2 teaspoons salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg


Additional stars:



  • 1 cup of milk

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 cup of melted butter (1 stick) - When I did it, I melted it in the microwave for a minute.


Steps:



  1. In a large bowl, combine the first six ingredients.

  2. Divide the mix into 2 and 3/4 cup portions.


To prepare muffins



  1. Place 2-3/4 cups muffin mix in a large bowl.

  2. Whisk the egg, milk and butter; stir into dry ingredients just until moistened.

  3. Fill paper-lined muffin cups three-fourths full.

  4. Bake at 400° for 18-21 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

  5. Cool for 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack.

  6. Serve warm.


You can make a batch of the plain muffins and then flash freeze** them.  When you are ready to eat a muffin, place it on a microwavable plate and warm it up at 40% power for a minute.  If it is still not defrosted, continue warming it up at 30 second intervals.

**To flash freeze, put the muffins on a cookie sheet.  Place the cookie sheet in the freezer until the muffins are frozen.  Then place the muffins in a labeled gallon size freezer bag.
  • Store in airtight containers in a cool dry place or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Yield: 4 batches (11 cups).

  • Variations:


    Cranberry-Pecan Muffins

    Pumpkin Spice Muffins

    This recipe has been posted on Mommy's Kitchen's Potluck Sunday.

    Jul 26, 2010

    Homemade Hamburger Buns

    A few months ago, I found this recipe for homemade hamburger buns.  Since then, I've made them three times.  My fourth attempt is currently in the bread machine.  If I could describe them in one word, it would be delicious.

    After I make them, I wrap each one in foil and then place about five in a gallon size ziplock freezer bag.  Then I place them in the freezer.  When I want to use one or two, I pull them out of the freezer, unwrap them, and defrost them in the microwave.  My favorite sandwich that I make with them is a chicken patty, muenster cheese, and a tiny bit of olive oil based mayo.  Yum!

    Pictures from the St. Louis Zoo

    On Saturday morning, we decided to go to the St. Louis Zoo.  It's free to the public; however, some of the exhibits cost money.  Between eight and nine o'clock, visitors can visit certain exhibits for free.  We went rode the Conservation Carousel and petted the sting rays during that hour.

    We loved the zoo and probably would have stayed longer if it wasn't so hot (90 plus degrees).  By the time we left, the heat was beginning to become unbearable.  I was drinking liquids like crazy because I was so hot.

    These pictures are the best of the pictures that were taken at the St. Louis Zoo.

     [slideshow]

    Jul 25, 2010

    Menu planning week of July 26



    Last Tuesday, I ended up with a stomache virus so I didn't cook anything. So we didn't have the almost famous chicken sandwiches.  I am going to save the meal for the first week of August.

    Since I'm going to be going back to work in two weeks, I need to start planning out the meals for certain days of the week so that hubby can help with the meal.  Sometimes I will have the meal prepared and all he has to do is cook it.  Sometmes I cook it in the crockpot and he might have to do the side dishes or bread.  It all depends on what we are going to have supper.  I assume since I am going to get home earlier in the day it will be easier for me to get the meal on the table without rushing like I have been for the past two years.  (For those who don't know, I'm an Intervention Specialist (special education teacher) during the day and the primary care taker in the evenings.  My hubby is the primary care taker during the day and a pizza delivery person in the evenings.  He leaves for work soon after I come home.  We eat supper before he goes to work.)

     Dinners

    Monday - pancakes or waffles, bacon or sausage, fresh fruit

    Tuesday - 50's Prime Time Meatloaf (in freezer), mashed potatoes, pasta roni, or mac and cheese, veggies

    Wednesday - Skyline chili made in the crockpot  The chili will be served over spaghetti.  I will use the extra spaghetti on Friday.

    Thursday - chili dogs, chips, fresh veggies

    Friday - spaghetti with meatballs (in freezer), Italian breadsticks, salad, applesauce

    Saturday - left-overs

    This post is linked to Menu Planning Monday at I'm an Organizing Junkie.

    Jul 24, 2010

    Easy Rolls

    A while ago, I was looking for a recipe for biscuits or rolls on Paula Deen's website.  I found this recipe for Easy Rolls.  They looked easy so I decided to try them.  Once I tried them once, I was hooked.  They have a slightly sweet taste and are so tender.

    The Imaginative one tasted one and his response was "M-M-M."  After you try them, I'm sure you will say the same thing.

    IMG_1723[1]

    Stars of this recipe:



    • 2 cups of Self Rising Flour

    • 1 cup of milk

    • 2 Tbsp. of sugar

    • 4 heaping Tbsp. of mayonnaise


    Steps:



    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

    2. Mix together flour and milk.

    3. Add sugar and mayonnaise.

    4. Bake in slightly greased (I use a cooking spray.) muffin tins for 12 to 15 minutes or until brown.


    This recipe makes 12 rolls.

    This recipe is linked up to Mommy's Kitchen for Potluck Sunday.

    Pictures of the Gateway Arch

    This weekend, hubby and I went on a weekend away without the boys.  Our destination was St. Louis.  He had driven through the city many times when he went on his super trips with the Explorer Post (Boy Scouts).  They would go on long trips to places like Yellowstone National Park.  They never stopped so he was fasinated with the Arch. 

    Me on the other hand had only been the Arch once in my entire life and that was almost 25 years ago.  I had flown out to Colorado to visit my aunt.  We then drove home and went past the Arch.  I fell asleep soon seeing it.

    Here are some pictures of the Arch, inside it, and then the view from it.  Enjoy!

    [slideshow]

    Jul 20, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday

    My Great Uncle Lew was an artist. In the 1970's, he painted some pictures for a local tavern/hotel. When I went there in 2004, I took a picture of the painting.

    This post is linked up with Wordless Wednesday at And Miles to Go Before I Sleep.

    Jul 19, 2010

    Brown sugar carrots

    In April, my mom gave us various vegetable seeds. My hubby decided to plant some of them.  One of the vegetables was carrots.  Last night, I harvested some of the carrots.  I decided to make brown sugar carrots for dinner. 

    This recipe is so simple but the taste is superb. 



    The Stars of the Recipe:



    • carrots cut in circles (about 2 cups)

    • 2 Tbsp. of butter or margarine

    • 3 Tbsp. of brown sugar (more if you want it sweeter)

    • 2 tsp. of ground cinnamon


    Steps:



    1. Cut up the carrots.  Put in a microwaveable bowl.

    2. Put the rest of the ingredients in the bowl.

    3. Place the bowl in the microwave and cook for 3 to 5 minutes.  You want them tender crisp not mushy.

    4. After they are finished, take the bowl out of the microwave and then stir the syrup up.

    5. Serve and enjoy!


    This recipe is linked to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday at Blessed with Grace.

    Jul 18, 2010

    Menu for week of July 19 - with recipe



    Welcome to my kitchen. 

    On Thursday of last week, the Imaginative One and I ventured to a local fruit/vegetable stand for their delicious corn on the cob.  While there, I got some fresh green beans so I changed up my menu for the next day.  Instead of making the quick pork lo mein, I opted to make green beans, potatoes, and ham which was something my grandma made often.  It's budget friendly and easy which are two positives.  I'm moving the quick pork lo mein to this week's menu.

    Later on in the week, my hubby and I are going on a long awaited trip to St. Louis.  We haven't gone on a vacation by ourselves for nine years.  So I don't need to plan for much this week.

    Green beans, potatoes, and ham


    Stars of the recipe:



    • green beans - either two pounds of fresh greens or two to three cans of green beans, drained

    • peeled and diced potatoes - I used four potatoes when I made mine.  You can use more or less.

    • 2 c. diced ham

    • salt to taste


    Steps:



    1.  Put the potatoes, green beans, and ham in the crockpot.

    2. Fill the crockpot with water to cover the potatoes, green beans, and ham.  Add salt

    3. Cook on low for 8 hours.  Enjoy!


    Menu for this week:


    Breakfasts:


    cereal, mini pancakes, mini bagels

    Lunches:


    sandwiches, left-overs

    Dinners:



    Desserts:


    Grandma's White Salad
    Reese's Peanut Butter Cookies - I found this great recipe on Mommy's Kitchen blog.  I decided that this would be great to take along on my road trip.  That is if they last until Friday!

    What is on your menu for the upcoming week?

    For more great menu plans, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for Menu Plan Monday!  Have a great week.

    Jul 17, 2010

    Grandma’s White Salad

    I have so many memories of this salad.  One of my best memories is from when I worked in Walt Disney World in 1995.  My grandma sent me various family recipes so that I could have a little bit of home while down there.  When Thanksgiving time came, I decided I would make a Thanksgiving meal for my friends and I to share.  We had a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings except we had chicken instead of turkey.  One of the dishes I made was white salad.  For two weeks afterward, I would take portions of the Thanksgiving meal to work for my lunches.

    That Thanksgiving weekend was also the weekend I almost met Rider Strong and Ben Savage from Boy Meets World.  At Disney-MGM Studios, now Hollywood Studios, they would have celebrities put their hands in cement at the Chinese Theater.  Both Rider and Ben put their hands in the cement and then went to have a talk.  I "ran" along side of their convertible as they traveled between venues and then ended up sitting behind their families.  Too bad, Fred Savage was not there.  I would have gone up and said hi to him.

    My Grandma's White Salad



    The stars of the recipe:



    • 1 sm. lemon or lime  jello

    • 2 c. hot water

    • 1 - 8 oz. package of  cream cheese

    • 1 - 15 oz. can of crushed pineapple drained (med. can)

    • 1 and 2/3 c. mini marshmallows

    • 1 and ½ c. chopped pecans or walnuts (My grandma used pecans.)

    • 1 - 8 oz. container of Cool Whip


    Steps:



    1. Mix jello with water.  Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.

    2. Put in fridge until semi solid.  Remove and then put in the rest of the ingredients.

    3. Chill.


    Or how my grandma made it:



    1. Mix jello with water.  Add cream cheese and beat until smooth.

    2. Put the rest in ingredients in a in flat pan (9 by 13 glass dish).  Put it in the fridge to chill.


    This recipe is linked to Mommy's Kitchen for Potluck Sundays and Eat at Home's Ingredient spotlight!

    Jul 15, 2010

    Imaginative One’s seventh birthday

    [slideshow]

    A Fight to Success

    I'm an Intervention Specialist which is a fancy name for special education teacher.  During the past ten years, I have worked in elementary schools and the middle school.  During my last tour of duty at the middle school, I had the pleasure of teaching between 10 to 13 students.  I had ten of those students for both their seventh and eighth grade years.  One of them was an inspiration for not only me but for my other students.  I was told that when he was in kindergarten no one could understand him because of a severe speech impediment.  By the time I had him in the seventh and eighth grades, you would never known he had any speech issues.  In fact, he "graduated" from speech during his eighth grade year.  At the end of his eighth grade year, he gave a speech to the entire eighth grade class at their recognition.  Since he did so well, he was invited to give the same speech the next day.  I kept a copy of the speech and found where I had kept it tonight.  I've decided to post it on my blog as a reminder to me and as an inspiration to all.

    Jul 13, 2010

    Wordless Wednesday – Carrots

    When I dug up the garden tonight, I dug up this beauty.





    The rest of the carrots.




    This post has been linked up to Miles to go before I sleep for Wordless Wednesday.

    Jul 12, 2010

    Menu planning week of July 12

    The Imaginative One's birthday went great except for the Wee One not understanding that it was his brother's special day.  Here is a picture of his cake.  He did all decorating on the cake except for the icing.



    Last week, meals that the family enjoyed were the chicken ranch quesadillas, scrambled egg-wiches, sloppy joes, and roasted chicken in the crockpot.  I attempted to make the Cantonese sweet and sour chicken in the crockpot.  However, I did not plug in the crockpot so we had to throw the contents away.  I made Johnny Marzetti for dinner instead.

    Johnny Marzetti (my grandma's favorite recipe)

    In one pot, cook a box of elbow macaroni.  Follow the directions on the box. 
    While the macaroni is cooking, in another skillet or pot, cook up 1 pound of ground beef and chopped up onion.  After the meat is done browning, drain the fat.  Add a jar of your favorite spaghetti sauce to the pan.  Let the sauce warm up.  After the macaroni is finished, combine the macaroni, hamburger, onion, and spaghetti sauce.  This makes a lot of food.

    My meals for the week:


    Breakfasts:
    cereal, mini-pan cakes

    Lunch:
    sandwiches, left-overs

    Dinners:

    • Homemade pizza - Cheese for the Imaginative One and pepperoni for the rest of us

    • Pretzel Chicken - Either from Cooking During Stolen Moments or Rachael Ray - French Fries (frozen or fresh), veggies

    • Asian pork loin (the recipe calls for a pork roast - I have a pork loin in my freezer), mac'n'cheese, mashed potatoes, or pasta roni, veggies - The recipe is from once a month cooking.

    • Quick pork lo mein, egg drop soup, egg rolls, fortune cookies

    • Left-over Johnny Marzetti

    • left-overs or forge for yourself

    • Dinner at in-laws (Sunday)


    For other great menus, visit I'm an organizing junkie for Menu Planning Monday.

    Jul 7, 2010

    Watermelon cookies

    IMG_2359


    In an earlier post, I mentioned that I enjoyed reading murder mysteries.  One of my favorite authors is Joanne Fluke.  Her main character Hannah Swenson owns a cookie shop.  Joanne includes recipes with her books.  This is one of the many recipes I have found in her books.


    Even though the recipe calls for watermelon kool-aid, you do not have to use watermelon flavored kool-aid.  You can use any flavor which is great for holidays.  You could use lime kool-aid for one batch and cherry (or any other red kool-aid) kool-aid for another batch at Christmas time.  Your choices are endless.

    When I made these, people loved both the color and flavor of the cookies.  I even shared some grape ones with my students.  They thought they were delicious.  In fact, one of the students was still talking about it at the end of the school year.  They must have been memorable.


    Mixing up the dough.



    The dough


    The cookies before they were baked


    IMG_2357


    Without further ado, here is the recipe.

    Ingredients:

    • 1 package (.16 ounce) watermelon (or any other flavor) Kool-Aid powder (Don't get the kind with sugar or sugar substitue added.)

    • 1 2/3 c. white sugar

    • 1 and a 1/4 c. softened butter (2 and 1/2 sticks, 10 ounces)

    • 2 large eggs, beaten (just whip them up in a glass with a fork)  I usually poke the yoke first so it is easier to beat them.

    • 1/2 teaspoon salt

    • 1 teasppon baking soda

    • 3 cups all purpose flour (pack it down in the cup when you measure it)

    • 1/2 c white sugar in a bowl


    Steps:

    1. Mix the watermelon Kool-Aid (or whatever flavor you choose) with the white sugar.

    2. Add the softened butter and mix until it's nice and fluffy.

    3. Add the eggs and mix well.

    4. Mix in the salt and the baking soda. Make sure they're well incorporated.

    5. Add the flour in half-cup increments, mixing after each addition.

    6. Spray cookie sheets with Pam or another nonstick cooking spray.

    7. Roll dough balls one inch in diameter with you hands.

    8. Roll the cookie balls in the bowl of white sugar and place them on the cookie sheet, 12 to a standard-size sheet.

    9. Bake the Watermelon Cookies at 325 degrees F. for 10 to 12 minutes or until they are just beginning to tun golden around the edges. Don't overbake.

    10. Let the cookies cool on the cookie sheets for no more than a minute, and then remove them to a wire rack to cool completely.


    Yield: Approxiamately 6 dozen pretty and unusual cookies that kids will adore, especially if you tell them that they're made with Kool-Aid.

    This recipe has been linked up to Potluck Sunday.

    Jul 6, 2010

    Sloppy Joes

    A few years ago, I got this easy recipe from Menus4Moms.  This is a family favorite.  I think the Imaginative One loves it because it combines two of his favorite foods - hamburgers and ketchup.  The reason I like the recipe is because of its ease.  Since I work all day and then come home to cook, I need recipes that come together easily.



    Without further ado, the recipe:

    Ingredients:

    • 2 pounds of ground beef - I usually half this recipe and do only one pound of ground beef.

    • 1/2 cup of chopped onion

    • 1/2 cup of chopped green pepper

    • 1 tsp garlic powder

    • 2 tsp prepared yellow mustard - Shh!  I usually put more in.  I am the only one who likes mustard so this is our little secret that I put more in there.

    • 1 and 1/2 cup of ketchup

    • 1 Tbsp. and 2 tsp. of brown sugar - That is 6 tsp. of brown sugar.

    • salt and pepper to taste


    Steps:

    1. In a skillet over medium heat, brown the ground beef, onion, and green pepper; drain off liquids. 

    2. Stir in the next 4 ingredients; mix thoroughly.

    3. Reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes.

    4. Season with salt and pepper.


    This recipe is linked up to Tempt My Tummy Tuesday.

    Jul 5, 2010

    Fourth of July (Pictures)

    [slideshow] 
     

     

     

         
















     















        



    Fourth of July

    When you live in a military town, you have great Fourth of July celebrations.  This year was no exception.  On the third, we attended a small parade in the next town over.  We usually do not get to go to that parade because it is usually on the Fourth and our town has a huge parade.  The boys had a great time at the parade especially when participants threw candy.  Later in the evening, we attended the annual block party.  We stayed only about an hour.  It was hot and loud there.  The boys were not happy that we did not stay longer because they did not have enough fun. 

    On the Fourth, we went to church.  Our pastor decided to do a colonial litergy to celebrate the holiday.  One of the church members did an excellent rendition of Lee Greenwood's God Bless the USA during the service.  During the heat of the day, we attended our town's huge parade.  My hubby had it easy because he sat in the shade while I stayed on the front lines to make sure the boys did not get themselves hurt while running after the candy.  We had to laugh because they did not want only candy.  They also wanted any piece of paper that was given by the participants of the parade.  The Wee One actually growled and got upset because the Stanley Steamer guys did not give him a doorhanger.  The person just laughed and handed him one.  When the hour and half parade ended, I was soaked from head to toe with sweat but it was worth it to see the joy in my boys' faces.

    We rested at home for a while and then headed out again.  The next stop was a relatives' house for a cook-out.  Since it was so hot, she ended up grilling the food and then we ate in the house.  The boys had fun playing with another child.  When it was time to eat, they did not want to stop playing. 

    We stayed there for about 2 hours and then headed home for a few minutes before heading out for one last time.  This time it was so we could see fireworks.  When we went past the high school (right by where the fireworks were going to be launched), we noticed a steady stream of cars heading there.  We decided we better get our rears over to there.  So my sister, the boys, and I headed home to pick up hubby and then headed over there.  We paid the dollar to park in the non premium parking lot and then just waited the hour for the fireworks.  The boys wanted to be read to during that hour so that made the time go by quickly.  The fireworks were beautiful.  After they were finished, we were able to get out of the parking lot rather quickly.

    I will post pictures in a different post.

    Jul 4, 2010

    Menu Plan July 5

    Last week, we didn't have the crockpot Cantonese sweet and sour chicken.  When I looked at the fridge on Friday morning, I noticed we had lots of left-overs.  So I decided that Friday night was left-over night. 

    It's going to be a semi-busy week.  The boys have enjoyed attending various Vacation Bible Schools so I have signed them up for one.  It's in the evenings so I can get things ready for the Imaginative One's birthday, go grocery shopping without them, and clean the house.  They don't have much going on during the mornings this week so the Imaginative One is looking forward to being able to sleep in most of the week.

    Next Sunday is the Imaginative One's seventh birthday!  I can't believe he is going to be that old.  For his birthday, he has asked to watch Despicable Me and go out to Wendy's for lunch.  We are going to celebrate with some friends from church that evening.  He's also planning out his pirate cake.  When we get it finished, I will create a post about it.

    Onto the menu for this week:

    Breakfasts:

    cereals, muffins, mini-pancakes

    Lunches:

    sandwiches (meat or peanut butter), left-overs

    Dinners:

    Roast chicken in crockpot, mashed potatoes, veggies, and easy rolls - Use the left-over chicken for the quesadillas.

    Either Monterrey Chicken Quesadillas or Chicken Ranch Quesadillas for the grown-ups - Plain cheese ones for the children (The Wee One told me that we haven't had quesidillas in a while so I'm putting it on the menu.)  This will probably be on Wednesday.  I've got to go pick up my mom from the airport so this will be a quick meal that I can bring with me if necessary.

    Sloppy Joes on homemade hamburger buns, chips, oven fries, or potato chips, fresh veggies

    Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice

    Egg Sandwiches, fresh fruit, hash brown

    left-overs or forge for yourself

    Dinner at in-laws (Sunday)

    For more great menus, please visit I'm an organizing junkie.

    Have a great week.

    Jul 1, 2010

    July Meals

    Later this month, hubby and I are taking a long deserved trip by ourselves to St. Louis. We have not had a vacation by ourselves since before the boys were born so I think it's been long enough. The Wee One tells us that we are going on a date. Both of the boys are excited because they get to sleep over at their grandparents for a few nights.

    I'm planning for 5 to 6 meals per week.  We usually eat at my in-laws on Sunday nights so that is pretty consistant. 

    Meals by weeks:

    Week of July 1 -4

    1. Cantonese Sweet and Sour Chicken over rice

    2. Italian Beef Sandwiches on homemade hamburger buns with potato chips and fresh veggies

    3. Cheeseburger Macaroni, easy rolls, and veggies

    4. Cook out at a family member's house


    Week of July 5 -11

    1. Roast chicken in crockpot, mashed potatoes, veggies, and easy rolls - Use the left-over chicken for the quesadillas and stir fry

    2. Either Monterrey Chicken Quesadillas or Chicken Ranch Quesadillas for the grown-ups - Plain cheese ones for the children (The Wee One told me that we haven't had quesidillas in a while so I'm putting it on the menu.)

    3.  Sloppy Joes on homemade hamburger buns, chips, oven fries, or potato chips, fresh veggies

    4.  Chicken stir fry, rice

    5.  Egg Sandwiches, fresh fruit, hash brown

    6. left-overs or forge for yourself

    7. Dinner at in-laws (Sunday)


    Week of July 12-18

    1. Homemade pizza - Cheese for the Imaginative One and pepperoni for the rest of us

    2. Pretzel chicken, french fries - either homemade or frozen

    3.  Pork loin (don't know how I'm going to cook it just yet), mac'n'cheese, mashed potatoes, or pasta roni, veggies

    4.  Quick pork lo mein, egg drop soup, egg rolls, fortune cookies

    5.  homemade corn dogs (in Food Network magazine July/August 2010), potato chips, fresh veggies

    6. left-overs

    7. Dinner at in-laws (Sunday)


    Week of July 19-25 (This is the week we are going to be gone so we will have less meals to cook.  I need to plan for only 3 meals and one day of leftovers!)

    1.  mini hamburger sliders on homemade hamburger buns, oven fries, fresh veggies

    2.  soft tacos, quesadillas for kids, veggie or salad

    3.  almost famous chicken sandwiches on homemade hamburger buns, oven fries or waffle fries, fresh veggies

    4. left-overs


    Week of July 26-August 1

    1. 50's Prime Time Meatloaf (in freezer), mashed potatoes, veggies

    2.  chili made in the crockpot, cornbread

    3.  chili dogs, chips, fresh veggies

    4.  pancakes or waffles, bacon or sausage, fresh fruit

    5.  spaghetti with meatballs (in freezer), Italian breadsticks, salad, applesauce

    6.  left-overs

    7. eat at in-laws (Sunday)


    For more monthly menus, visit Mommy's Kitchen.