Thursday, September 20, 2012

Are you ready for some FOOTBALL?



Last week my niece sent me a facebook message asking if I could make her baby son a football beanie (crochet)?  "Uh.... YEA....!". I'm always looking for someone who actually WANTS some of the busywork that keeps me occupied.  I whipped this up in only about 20 minutes and its so adorable!

From the picture that my niece found on Pinterest, I searched for a basic double crochet baby beanie pattern and found a terrific blog that actually had beanie patterns for different sizes.  Perfect!

This is what I came up with.  Turned out cute and fit her baby's little head perfectly!  And we think he liked it.  He didn't even jerk it off his head like my babies would have done.

Here's the blog I found with the instructions for the beanie.  Easy peasy!

http://familybugs.wordpress.com/2012/09/14/basic-beanie-free-crochet-pattern/

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Banana Nut Bread Baked Oatmeal




Update to this picture made 5/9/17.  Also - Love making this in my big muffin cups now!  Perfect service size and easy to eat on the run.

I made another one of Lynn (from Lynn's Kitchen Adventures) wonderful Baked Oatmeal recipes this morning.  Lynn calls hers Banana Baked Oatmeal. This is truly delicious!   She is such an inspiration! 

I made mine with bananas, chopped walnuts and cinnamon and it tasted just like a piece of banana bread. (Lynn bakes hers with chocolate chips, which would be equally as delicious!) 

I keep overripe, thick chunks of banana in my freezer for making smoothies and I just thawed some banana chunks in my microwave, drained off the water, and mashed them for using in this recipe.  My kitchen smelled delicious this morning and breakfast was a definite treat!  So easy and so inexpensive.  Mmmmmm!  It reminded me of my Tin Can Banana Bread

If you want a truly "fall" smell to waft through your kitchen along with that cool breeze, make some Banana Bread Baked Oatmeal.  You will be so happy you did!  And I would say that if you have picky eaters at home who don't eat oatmeal, but they do eat banana nut bread, this would be the way to sneak in some oatmeal.  Wow!  That's all I can say about this recipe - WOW!

Here's how I made Banana Nut Bread Baked Oatmeal AT HOME MY WAY:


BANANA NUT BREAD BAKED OATMEAL
  • 3 cups quick oats (old fashioned works fine too)
  • 1/2 cup chopped walnuts (this really perfected the banana nut bread flavor)
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
  • ½ cup oil (I used canola) 
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 3/4 cup mashed banana (approximately 3) 

Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix oats, chopped walnuts  brown sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt (I did this step the night before to ward off the morning rush). In separate dish, mix together milk, egg(s), oil and vanilla and mashed banana. Combine wet and dry ingredients. Spread into a casserole dish (sprayed or lightly oiled) (or even two loaf pans). Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes or until browning at the edges.
**I halved this recipe this morning since I'm the only one home to eat it.  It certainly won't go to waste because I'll probably eat it leftover until its completely gone!  Very, very yummy!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Lemon Glaze Cake

Lemon Glaze Cake
 
This past weekend my daughter and her boyfriend were in from college.  We didn't do a whole lot, but it was SURE good to see them!  I always like to feed college kids.  I think it is in college when kids most appreciate the person who cooks in their family.  They eat enough cafeteria and restaurant food or their own cooking to really be grateful for a plate homemade family favorites!  

I had a smoked pork loin in the freezer so Friday night I mixed up some Homemade Tangy Barbeque sauce and made pulled pork sandwiches with cheese fries.  Definitely cannot go wrong there and since I already had the meat cooked and in the freezer, it was simple enough.

I made homemade biscuits Saturday morning which we ate with the homemade peach jam that my daughter herself made from the few peaches we got from the little tree in our backyard.  There's really nothing like a pan of hot biscuits slathered in butter and homemade jam! 

I knew my daughter's boyfriend likes the Chicken & Dumplings at Cracker Barrell and so I decide to cook up my Homemade Chicken & Dumplings (that taste just LIKE Cracker Barrell's) for Sunday dinner.  Not everyone at my house likes chicken & dumplings (crazy, I know!) so my husband also fried a few chicken strips (we used the gas grill burner and an iron skillet to keep the heat, the grease, and the mess outside for that little adventure).  Of course, we had seasoned green beans and mashed potatoes (for the child who doesn't like Chicken & Dumplings) and because here in the Midwest, everyone loves mashed potatoes with just about everything!

For dessert, I made a Lemon Glaze Cake.  My daughter's boyfriend just loves lemon and since we just love him, I decided to make it especially for him.  This cake is light and beautiful.  I usually make this cake in a bundt pan but I wanted to send some home with Rachel and Kyle so I baked it in two loaf pans, one for me, and one for them to take home.  That worked out perfectly!  My Mom made this recipe alot when I was growing up.  It's glazed, not frosted and I remember being really excited to see it on the counter!

Here's how I make LEMON GLAZE CAKE - AT HOME MY WAY:

Lemon Glaze Cake


  • 1 box yellow cake mix (not the "butter recipe" - use a regular yellow cake mix)
  • 1 box (small) lemon jello
  • 3/4 cup oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 eggs

Combine all ingredients and beat 4 minutes.  Bake at 350 degrees for 40-45 minutes in a well sprayed bundt pan.  (If baking in two loafpans, the baking time will only be about 30 minutes).

Let cool about 5 minutes before removing from the pan(s).

Pour the glaze on the still warm/hot cake:

Glaze:

1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
1/4 cup lemon juice (bottled or fresh) or use orange juice/pineapple juice

Mix until smooth and drizzle around on the cake.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Super Simple Vanilla Icecream


 
Super Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
 
 
I have been craving ice cream all week!  Really longer than that.  This week I decided to mix up a batch of vanilla ice cream.  My mother-in-law has a fabulous recipe that uses sweetened condensed milk, half & half, whole milk, and vanilla, and she uses one of those big ice cream makers which uses lots of ice and rock salt.  I happen to have one of those big ice cream makers (several actually since we have the electric version, the hand crank version, and a new one with a plastic tub).  But I also have a smaller countertop ice cream maker, which my mom got me for Christmas one year (thinking I would never use it) but I use it all the time!  It makes a perfect small batch of ice cream.
 
This is my ice cream maker:
 
I found some on Amazon here.
 
I also remembered seeing a recipe similar to the one my mother-in-law uses on one of my most favorite blogs, Finding Joy in My Kitchen.  SnoWhite always has delicious, easy recipes and I knew I could depend on this recipe. 
 
I had a can of sweetened condensed milk in my pantry and some 2% milk in my refrigerator (even though SnoWhite lists whole milk or half & half in her recipe).  I changed the recipe just a teeny bit to use what I had in the pantry and my craving for icecream was over!
 
This is how I made Super Simple Vanilla Ice Cream AT HOME MY WAY:
 
Super Simple Vanilla Ice Cream
 
 
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 4 cups milk (I used 3 cups of 2% milk plus 1 cup milk prepared using powdered milk)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla.
 
Mix well and refrigerate until cold.  Add to ice cream maker and churn away until its ready.
 
  • I prefer my homemade vanilla ice cream to be the texture of melty soft serve.  But I do freeze the remaining ice cream in a lidded container and it hardens nicely, although it won't be as creamy as if you used cream in the recipe.  It turns out after its frozen more like ice milk.  This was a super easy, super cheap and super delicious way to use what I had in my pantry to make wonderful treat!
 

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Easy Lunch - Corndog Muffins



Last night I made one of our favorite crockpot meals, Chicken -n- Biscuits.  While I had the oven cranked up, I decided to pop in one of my favorite things to have for lunch.  Corndog Muffins!  My husband thought this was a hoot.  He thought I was making cornbread muffins for supper and so when he saw hotdogs peaking out of the muffins, he just about cracked up!  (He doesn't know what he's missing!)  These little jewels are so tasty.  The combination of sweet cornbread and salty hotdogs really is yummy.  I especially love that in the morning, when I'm tired and can't dream up a thing to take with me to the office for lunch, I can grab these out of the freezer, stick them in a little container, and out the door I go.  At lunchtime, I just pop them in the microwave for a few seconds to warm them.

I use my favorite homemade cornbread muffin recipe to make these Corndog Muffins.  This recipe is one that I got from the Hillbilly Housewife site.  The main recipe is for plain muffins which you can add fruit or chocolate chips to, and she has a variation in the fine print for corbread muffins.  These are outstanding!  My family really loves sweet cornbread like Jiffy cornmuffins and this recipe is a close replica.  Whenever I make cornmuffins, I just usually put hotdogs in half of the muffins (because it seems like we never eat them all without some of them getting stale), bake them, bag up and freeze the corndog muffins and I'm all set!

I think these would work great for kids lunches or even for taking to potlucks (for some reason my kids never could find anything simple enough for them at potlucks since they weren't crazy about casseroles) and these would be big kid pleasers!  If you are packing them in a kids lunchbox, maybe take them out of the freezer the night before, warm a little in the microwave, wrap in foil or pack in a thermos and they would lunchroom ready!

Here's how I made Corndog Muffins AT HOME MY WAY:

Corndog Muffins
  •  1 cup all-purpose flour (unbleached is best)
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal (not self-rising)
  • 1/3 cup sugar (white, granulated)
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder (not baking soda)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil (I used canola)
  • hotdogs - uncooked
Instructions:
In a medium sized bowl, mix all of the dry ingredients.
In a 2-cup measuring cup, add 1 cup milk.  Add 1/4 cup oil to the milk.  Plop in the egg.  (I find its easiest to measure liquid ingredients as I go - all in the same measuring cup.)
Blend really well to fully mix in the egg  (I use a fork or a whisk). 
Mix the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir just until moist.
Spray a muffin tin.
Fill the muffin tins half full with the muffin batter, top with about four little hotdog chunks (you can also just cut the hotdogs into thirds and put a one-third section in each muffin but I found it easier to eat the muffin if I didn't have to bite off the hotdog - it made less mess!).
Top each with the remaining muffin batter. 
Place in preheated oven (350 ° for about 20 minutes or until browning).
I remove them to a cooling rack before bagging them up.
Gina



This shows topping with batter, ready for the oven!

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