Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

When I have time in the morning, I love making a batch of fresh muffins for breakfast before everyone wakes up. My daughter always gets excited when she smells something yummy coming from the kitchen for breakfast. And these muffins definitely smelled - and tasted - yummy. So yummy, in fact, that my lil' guy kept crawling up on the chair trying to steal one as I was attempting to take a picture of my latest batch of these muffins...

Blueberry Muffins (from Miserly Meals: Healthy, Tasty Recipes Under 75¢ per Serving by Jonni McCoy)

2 c. flour
2/3 c. sugar
1 T. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
¼ tsp. nutmeg
1 c. milk
4 egg whites
1/3 c. butter, melted
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 ½ c. fresh or frozen blueberries

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients. Stir until well mixed.
In a separate bowl, mix the wet ingredients, except blueberries.
Add the wet ingredients to the dry.
Mix just until blended, do not overmix.
Add the blueberries, fold twice just to distribute berries.
Pour into paper-lined muffin tins, filling them 2/3 full. Spring the top of each muffin with a little sugar.
Bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. Let the muffins cool completely to ease removal of paper liners.
(If using frozen berries, rinse first and pat dry to avoid added moisture to recipe).

Monday, June 28, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 6/27/10

I believe this will be the first week in quite a while where my husband, the kids and I will all be home this week and no one is traveling. I look forward to a relaxing week at home with my family. I also hope to post a few more recipes this week, including the blueberry muffins, Italian breadsticks, and pancakes listed below.

Here's what's on the menu this week:

Blueberry muffins (freezer), fruit
Cold cereal, toast
Buttermilk pancakes (freezer), bananas
Oatmeal, toast

The kids and I have picnic lunches outside every day it's nice, so we'll have a lot of sandwiches, carrots, pickles, apple slices, and chips. On the "inside" days, it will be leftovers, chicken strips, or Poor Man's Pizza.


Sunday: we had leftovers from Saturday night's barbeque...ribs, chicken wings, homemade mac 'n' cheese, watermelon

Monday: Spaghetti with this slow cooker red sauce, lettuce salad, Italian breadsticks

Tuesday: the kids and I have a late-afternoon playdate so likely leftover spaghetti

Wednesday: Chicken Tacos, refried beans with cheese, chips and salsa

Thursday: Cheesy Beef and Rice(freezer), lettuce salad, mixed vegetables, pineapple

Friday: "Clean out the fridge" leftover buffet

Saturday: Honey Mustard Lime Chicken Drummies, brown rice, broccoli

Baking and extras:
Banana bread
Banana Prune Muffins (for the freezer to keep on hand for breakfast)

Please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie for more menu planning ideas.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Friday Fail - My kids' diet this week

Anyone who glanced at my menu plan for this week read that my wonderful husband was going to be traveling out of town for work Monday through Thursday (yeah!! he finally arrived home last night!). So my plans for supper this past week were pretty fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants. I have found that my key to losing baby weight was to not eat much during the evening meal, so I decided I was just going to have a little of what the kids were having this week and not cook anything too "special" for me. Well, my definition of "nothing too special" really took a turn. Normally, my goal for this family is to try to eat as little processed foods as possible. We aren't completely processed-food-free (my kids adore Goldfish crackers, Dum Dum lollipops and the like) but I'd say, as a whole, we are eating healthy and unprocessed foods about 80% of the time. I consider that a victory.

Except for this week.

On Monday evening, I made grilled ham and cheese sandwiches with canned tomato soup for supper. Tomato soup (a.k.a. "red soup", as my daughter calls it) is a favorite of my children's, so they were thrilled. Hey, doesn't tomato soup (even out of a can) count as a vegetable? Or is it a fruit? Either way, this didn't seem to be too bad of a start.

While grocery shopping on Tuesday, my daughter spotted a can of Dora Spaghettios (without meatballs, so no recall concerns there!) and begged to try them. Why not? At only 79 cents a can, Daddy being out of town, and Mommy too tired to cook... let's go for it. So on Tuesday evening my kids dined on Dora Spaghettios, crackers and fruit. (Yes, I snuck some fruit in there).

And Wednesday? Why, it was time to break out the box of Kraft Mac'n'Cheese I had in the pantry along with a can of green beans.

My poor children are probably suffering from sodium overload, but...they were THRILLED. My daughter has proclaimed this to be the best week ever of mom's cooking. It was a nutritional fail on my part, but it led to very happy kiddos.

For more "Friday Fails", please visit Myra at My Blessed Life.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 6/21/10

I've been in a bit of cooking rut lately, which is amazing considering the amount of time I spend online surfing blogs for new recipe ideas. But really, shouldn't this be considered "research" necessary for my job as CEO of Our House, Inc.? Actually, the amount of extra hours I spend on this research should result in quite a sizeable year-end bonus.

But I digress.

My rut was temporarily halted last week by trying two new recipes: Spinach Pasta Bake and Black Bean and Beef Salsa Skillet. Both turned out super yummy and my currently picky preschooler asked for seconds on both dishes. This equals a hit!

This week, hubby is traveling for work so it's just me and the kids most of the week. I won't plan anything "special" on those nights; just kid-friendly, easy meals. Here's my plan for the week:

Cold cereal and toast
Blueberry banana smoothies
Pancakes (leftover from Sunday morning, from the freezer)

Poor Man's Pizza
Grilled cheese and tomato soup
Hummus, crackers and carrots

Sunday: Happy Father's Day! Grilled hot dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, watermelon, chips, and Key Lime Pie Poke Cake.

Monday - Wednesday: easy stuff for me and the kids- probably some pasta and grilled sandwiches

Thursday: Hot Beef Cheddar Subs, oven fries, frozen green beans, fresh fruit

Friday: Homemade pizza, lettuce salad

Saturday: ?? I'm going to suggest going out to eat; if not, it's leftovers!

For menu planning ideas, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 18, 2010

My High-Tech Recipe Holder

I love a good cookbook. I have quite a collection of cookbooks on my bakers rack, and I probably check cookbooks out from the library more often than I do actual novels. However, I find that most of the time I am not actually referencing an actual cookbook when I cook or bake. I find most of my recipes online and I have also compiled my favorites in a Word document on the computer. When I need to find a recipe, I just open the document and print out that page.

Which leads to my recent issue of losing a single piece of paper under the pile of pans, measuring cups, cans of diced tomatoes, or whatever else I happen to be cooking or baking with at the time. So I devised this fool-proof method of quick single-page recipe referencing:

I just clip it on to my stovetop range hood. I use a magnetic clip that I think I got at Dollar Tree in a pack of three or four. Genious, I know. :-) So simple but it really is so slick that I just felt I had to share. It's great to be standing at the stovetop, stirring whatever I need to be stirring at the time, and then easily glancing up to see what I have to add next.

This "newbie" cook is just so proud of herself. :-)

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 6/13/10

Middle of June already? I can tell that this summer is seriously going to fly by way too fast. I'm trying to incorporate some lighter, "summer-type" meals into my meal planning lately, but find that it is really hard to incorporate those kinds of meals when my toddler and preschooler won't touch them. My family is definitely the comfort-food, casserole-type crowd.

The big hit from last week was the Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake. I used whole wheat penne pasta and some cubed turkey ham that I had in the freezer - it turned out very tasty and was a hearty, yet healthy, meal. My husband and little boy couldn't get enough of it! Plus, I made this chocolate cake for my husband's birthday on Friday and it was out of this world!! I went outside my comfort zone for this one, as I am a sheet-cake kind of gal and this was my first attempt at a layered cake. But it was well worth the extra effort! I recommend it for any type of special occasion!

As for this week, I'm excited to try out two new recipes that I think my family will enjoy. Here's what I have planned for the week:

Cinnamon Raisin Toast, bananas
Cold cereal and toast
Waffles (from the freezer)and bananas
Pancakes (my hubby's weekend recipe - I'll post the recipe soon - from the freezer), fruit

Grilled cheese, tomato soup
Chicken Strips (my kiddos are lovin' Trader Joe's chicken strips), carrots and fruit


Sunday: Winding down hubby's birthday weekend by eating out at Famous Dave's - he's been craving BBQ

Monday: Slow Cooker Pork Chops, baked potoates, green beans

Tuesday: Minestrone Soup (from the freezer), honey wheat rolls (from the freezer)

Wednesday: Salsa, Black Bean and Beef Skillet (new recipe), frozen mixed vegetables, lettuce salad

Thursday: Baked Spinach Pasta (new recipe), lettuce salad, fruit

Friday: "Clean Out the Fridge" Leftover Buffet

Saturday: Turkey Cheddar Enchiladas, chips and salsa, fruit

For menu planning ideas, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Pineapple Zucchini Bread

I found this recipe from the $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook I checked out from the library and immediately thought it was a terrific way to use up some shredded zucchini I had in the freezer plus sneak some additional veggies into my kids' diet! It turned out fantastic and my 3-year-old gobbled it up. My husband, who isn't a big fan of sweets, also loved it because it wasn't too sweet. I also love the fact that with the exception of the eggs, there is no added fat in this recipe. I froze the extra loaf and brought it to my daughter's early childhood class picnic on Tuesday, and this bread really freezes quite well. Enjoy!

Pineapple Zucchini Bread
(from The $5 Dinner Mom Cookbook: 200 Recipes for Quick, Delicious, and Nourishing Meals That Are Easy on the Budget and a Snap to Prepare by Erin Chase)

3 eggs
1 c. sugar
1 c. applesauce
2 tsp. vanilla extract
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1 c. chopped walnuts (I left out the nuts)
2 c. shredded zucchini
8 ½ oz. (half can) crushed pineapple, drained

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease two loaf pans.
In a large bowl, cream together eggs, sugar, applesauce and vanilla.
Add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Mix well.
Fold in the walnuts and shredded zucchini and drained crushed pineapple.
Pour the batter into prepared loaf pans.
Bake for 50-60 minutes or until knife inserted in center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Menu Plan: Week of 6/7/10

After another extended weekend of traveling, the kiddos and I arrived home last night and will hopefully stay put for a while. The kiddos spent nearly a week at Camp Grandma's in South Dakota, then spent three nights at home, only to get strapped in the car again for another trip to Farm Nana and Papa's to celebrate my niece's high school graduation. We had a wonderful time but are glad to home and will hopefully be settling back into our routine quickly. I’m actually looking forward to some menu planning, cooking, and SAHM normalcy (if there is any?!) again. It’s always fun to travel but it’s also always good to be home!

This is a day late, but here is my menu plan for the remainder of the week:

Cereal and toast
Oatmeal muffins
Waffles and bananas

PB&J, crackers, fruit
Cheese Quesadillas, chips and salsa
Smoothies with cheese and crackers


Sunday - Monday: out of town

Tuesday: Grilled ham and cheese sandwiches, tomato soup, pasta salad

Wednesday: Cheesy Ham and Pasta Bake, lettuce salad, green beans

Thursday: leftovers

Friday: Hubby's birthday...his request is homemade pizza, fruit

Saturday: Turkey Broccoli Lasagna (from the freezer - carryover from last week), lettuce salad

Watergate Cake for hubby's birthday (recipe to come next week)
Banana bread

For menu planning inspiration and ideas, please visit I'm an Organizing Junkie.