And Now It’s Saturday

January 24, 2009

One of my kids had an overnight guest, so yesterday was a flurry of cleaning, making beds, buying chips and pizza.  AND my sewing machine was put away- I can’t wait to get it back out!! 

I’m WAAAY behind on my birthday quilt- surprise surprise!  “Stuff” has just come up, as stuff does.  I’ve also been working on items for my church’s craft bazaar this Spring.  I belong to a few church groups that will be selling things, one of which is my quilting group.  We are making coasters – yeah, I know it’s not an original pattern, but it’s quite basic, and it’s not like we are selling these on etsy.  So I’ve made LOADS out of all kinds of scraps and other donated fabrics not suitable for quilts (frugal!).


Did you celebrate National Pie Day yesterday?? I did!  We went with a basic apple pie.  DH requested peach, but I had to remind him that it’s not peach season (I like to eat seasonally- kids need to know strawberries = May/June where we live!!!).

I need to make my soup swap soup today too- YES!! anyone  in my swap reading this- I put it off to the last minute. Happy Soup Swap Day too!

Off to get ready to go to a memorial service- I’ll leave you with a TNT bar cookie recipe I’m taking with me.  Quick tonwhip up, fairly healthy, and everyone always likes them.  I’ve used all kinds of preserves too- blackberry, apricot, strawberry, etc.  My only change- I often don’t have fruit juice, so I just use water.  With the sweet fruit spread you can’t taste the difference.

Apricot Oatmeal Bars

1 c. quick oats
1 c. flour
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar

1/4 t. salt

1/4 t. baking soda

1/4 c. vegetable oil

3 T. apple or cranberry juice

1- 10 oz. jar apricot preserves, preferably “all-fruit” (1 scant cup) (or other flavor all-fruit) (Regular preserves work too- just has more sugar)

– Preheat oven to 325*. lightly oil (or spray with non-stick spray) an 8×12″ baking dish; set aside.

– In a large bowl, work oats —-> soda until no lumps of sugar remain. Drizzle with oil and juice and mix with fingertips until evenly moist and crumbly.

– Set aside 1/2 c. for topping; press remainder evenly in bottom of dish. Spread preserves over top. Sprinkle with reserved oat topping.

– Bake 30-40 minutes or until golden.

– Let cool in baking dish on a rack. Cut into 15 bars. Store at room temp. in airtight container.





Soup Monday- Split Pea

January 19, 2009

Even though it was a day off for the kids, I had a meeting at church.  And after additionally working on the computer this cold day, I opted for the easy and simple Split Pea Soup.   This isn’t the exact recipe I used, but it’s a basic one if you need it. 

As long as you have the peas, onion, garlic, celery, a bay leaf, some stock ,water, etc. you are good to go.  Best with a ham bone too!

I’m going to serve it with garlic or cheesy garlic toast.

I’m holding a soup swap again at my church this Sunday.  I’ve been looking and looking for a new soup to make, and I found some candidates!  Number 1 choice is Vegetable Tagine– it sounded good and nutritious, a little different.  The other two in the running are Spinach Lentil with kielbasa and rice, and Sweet Potato, Carrot, Apple and Red Lentil Soup with cumin and ginger and chili powder- mmmm!!!  So hard to decide……………


Cold as a ______

January 16, 2009

You can insert your own word or expletive!!  It’s a balmy 21* here in my part of Virginia.  I tacked towels over most of the windows this morning……..

And I’m getting ready to bake!!

I meant to tell you the other day that I made some delish apple caramel muffins.  I saw the Kraft Caramel Bits in the store and immediately thought of this recipe.

apple caramel muffins

This is the Basic Muffins recipe from Mad About Muffins by Dot Vartan.  This is what I use for muffins, unless I make a specialty recipe.  The beauty of this recipe is that you can use it as a base for your favorite ingredients. 

Basic Muffins

  • 2 c. minus 2 T. flour
  • 1 T. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 5 T. granulated sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. milk
  • 4 T. melted butter

Oven 400*.  Sift dry ingredients together.  Beat egg, milk, butter.  Pour wet into dry.  Mix to moisten.  Fill greased muffin tins.  Bake 22 minutes.  Makes @ 10.

**For apple caramel muffins, add about 1/2 of an apple, grated, to the wet ingredients, then proceed with the recipe. [I think I also added some protein powder, a dash of cinnamon, some vanilla and subst.ed brown sugar for white]  Before popping into the oven I sprinkled some caramel bits over the top- MAKE SURE to push them down into the dough, or as the muffins rise the caramel will melt and spill off the muffins and onto the muffin tin (guess how I know that….).  I used mini-muffins tins, so I lessened the baking time accordingly (to about 13 min.s for my oven).

This recipe is great becasue you can add any fruit or other ingredient.   Just be mindful of how “wet” the ingredient is- I wouldn’t put pumpkin in this recipe for example.  But I knew I could add protein powder because of the fresh apple.  You can also play with the sugar- I like to substitute brown sugar sometimes for added flavor, or reduce the amt. of sugar in general.  And of course add spices!!

And today, I’m going to throw ingredients into the bread machine for crusty potato bread and by hand whip up this downeast Maine pumpkin bread some carrot bran muffins (surprisingly, I don’t have any pumpkin on hand!).  I’ve tried neither before.

And dinner will be chili or spaghetti!!

Bye!  Keep warm!


Again I’m posting this on Tues.- I meant to do it yesterday, but as Mary Engelbreit says, life is just so daily!!

Yesterday I made Mexican Chicken Soup.  I got the recipe from the January 2009 “Go To Market”, published by a local grocery store (the Disney land of grocery stores I might add!), Ukrops.  It went over fairly well- DS ate it, DH of COURSE ate it, and DD is a bit picky these days and wasn’t as thrilled.

I chose it because it sounded good, I was hankerin’ for something spicy, and I had all the ingredients (beans, tomatoes and veggies on sale 50 cents a can!!).  As always I made some changes, which will be italicized. I think it could use some more tweaking, but it’s good as it is. The recipe says it serves 4, but with the rice it gave 2 kid servings, 2 big man servings and 2 regular servings (I was hungry!).

Mexican Chicken Soup

  • 1 T. canola oil
  • Approx. 1 lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • chopped onion
  • minced garlic
  • 1- 15.25 oz. can no-salt-added whole kernel corn, undrained
  • 1- 14.5 oz. can chicken broth (I made my own)
  • 1- 14.5 oz. can diced tomaotes with chilies, undrained
  • cumin (at least 1/2 t.)
  • chili powder (about 1/2 t.)
  • 1- 15 oz. can black beans, rinsed and drained
  • Mexican blend shredded cheese (I grated my own cheddar)
  • sour cream
  • cooked rice (optional)

Cut chix into bite-sized pieces.  Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat and add onion, then chix and garlic.  Cook 5-7 min.s or until browned.  Add can of corn, chix broth, tomatoes, cumin and chili powder.  Stir in black beans.  Simmer for 15-20 min.s or until warm and slightly reduced.  Serve over rice (optional) topped with cheese and sour cream.

Then chow down!!

Soup Monday

January 6, 2009

Yes, I realize today is TUESDAY, but so what!!!  I think I’m going to start having Soup Mondays- hopefully often featuring a soup recipe I made that day. Or… this case, the night before.

Last night I made Hungarian Mushroom Soup – two thumbs up!!!  It was very easy, I actually followed the directions (not something I usually do)- except I didn’t have any parsley.  My kids liked it too- REALLY!!! (But my kids are weird- they like beets and asparagus and such).

soup (not my photo!)

Daughter asked what we were having for dinner, and I replied “hungarian mushroom soup.”  She said that’s good, because she was very “hungar-y.”  Ha ha!!!

I also made herb bread in the bread machine.

Onward and upward- I need to get on with the day.  I also need to start on my birthday quilt- I’ll show you later, when it’s underway.


A New Year

January 3, 2009

Here we are- a new year is upon us. 

And it’s hard to believe that my 365 photo project is over- yesterday was my last day.  I need to figure out what to “do with it” now.  My mom wants me to come up with a presentation, a talk I can give to her library or church.  I want to look over my pics and calculate the stats- how many cat photos, how many kid photos, etc.

I’m not sure what my new project will be.  Or if I will have a specific project.  I like taking pictures- and it’s weird to not take one today.  Maybe I’ll think up a theme and start later this month.

I want to work on my birthday quilt for sure.  Milestone birthday- bleecchhh!- but better than the alternative.

And right now I need to make a dish for a birthday party we will attend tomorrow.  Don’t give a rat’s patoot about nutrition?  Here is what I am going to make- a “keeper” from Christmas:

Bavarian Party Dip
1/2 c. minced onion
1 lb. Braunschweiger
3 oz. cream cheese
1/4 t. black pepper
Sauté onion 8-10 min.s, stirring frequently; remove from heat and drain.  Remove casing from braun. and mix meat with cr. cheese until smooth.  Mix in onion and pepper.  Serve as a liver spread on crackers, thinly slice party rye or serve as a dip accompanied by a variety of raw veggies.
[Sam’s note: when I had it over Xmas the preparer added more sauteed onions than required; placed the whole mixture in a plastic-lined bowl and chilled; and when ready to serve, inverted on a plate and iced it with a mayo/sour cream mixture and sprinkled with chopped onions. We had it with bagel chips]
I’m also going to make this for church for Epiphany (I’ve never made it before- the notes are not mine)-
Gift of the Magi Bread  (makes 2 loaves)
1/2 cup softened sweet butter (do not substitute)
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (2 medium or 3 small)
1 (11 ounce) can mandarin oranges, drained
1 cup coconut
1 cup semisweet mini-chocolate chips
2/3 cup sliced almonds, divided
1/2 cup chopped maraschino cherries
1/2 cup chopped dates

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease 2 loaf pans and set aside.

In a mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla extract (can add coconut or pineapple extract for extra flavor).

Combine flour, baking soda and salt and add to the creamed butter mixture alternately with the bananas. Stir in mandarin oranges, coconut, mini-chocolate chips, 1/2 cup almonds, cherries and dates; mix well to combine.

Pour into 2 prepared loaf pans. Sprinkle with remaining almonds (I like more almonds on my bread). Bake 50 to 55 minutes (45 minutes is what I bake it at; it will depend on your oven) or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool 10 to 15 minutes on a wire rack before removing from pans. Cool completely.

(Sorry the page isn’t formatting correctly- my paragraphs are running together.)

Off to cook!