Tag Archives: snacks

Party Like a Toddler

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His Majesty had a Halloween Party at play school yesterday, which gave me the opportunity to try out two new recipes that I pinned to my Halloween Board.

The first was a twist on our Valentine’s Day success: I call it “Monkey Munch”, but my husband, and the recipe that I used, call it “Puppy Chow”.  The other play school parents just called it “Really Good”.  The source of the recipe is a blog called Your cup of Cake, and it’s written by a college student at BYU.  She has tons of recipes for sweet treats, like this one for hot chocolate truffles.  Betcha Santa would take those over the same old chocolate chip cookies we leave him every year!

The recipe is very easy to follow.  The only thing I did differently was to mix the coated cereal and the powdered sugar in a (clean, unused) kitchen trash bag.  It’s bigger, so it’s easier to spoon the cereal into it, and there is more room to shake the cereal around and coat it evenly in the powdered sugar.  I just used one trash bag for the white chocolate mixture and one for the chocolate chip mixture.  I used about 2/3 of a big bag of Reese’s Pieces, but you could add M&Ms, candy corn, pretzels, whatever you want, to dress it up to your satisfaction.

The second recipe I tried was this pumpkin shaped cheese ball from Family Fresh Meals.  I served it with pretzels, crackers, bell pepper slices, and nacho chips.  It looked so pretty that people will think it takes you a lot of work to create it, but it doesn’t.  Not including the time it spent in the fridge overnight, it took me about 20 minutes, including time to cut up the peppers and set up the crackers on the platter.   It was a hit with the kids, and His Majesty tried to eat some of the leftovers with a spoon.

These two snacks went over very well with both adults and kids.  I still can’t get over how much toddlers eat, those little ones sat down around the table and gorged themselves to their little costumed hearts’ content.  Even so, these recipes make a lot of servings, so if you are watching your waistline, I’d definitely suggest that you have a plan for how to pawn the leftovers off on your friends generously gift the leftovers so that you aren’t tempted to overindulge.  These treats are can be dangerous!

Happy Halloween!

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Getting Caught Up

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Whew, am I behind on blogging.  As life happens, sitting down to blog has taken the back burner for me.  Summer is just about over, our (home) school year is in full swing, and we have been packing our days full.  Christopher is involved in all sorts of activities, His Majesty is in play school a few mornings a weeks, and is able to tolerate being out and about for daily outings with friends, and my husband and I are enjoying the ride.  While I haven’t had time for much crafting, one thing that I have found time to do is to try a few new recipes that are worth talking about.

Pizza stuffed crescent rolls: Super easy appetizer, and a hit with kids and adults (don’t let make them ahead and then try to warm them up, they are definitely better a few minutes after they’ve come out of the oven).  Check out the recipe over at Plain Chicken.

Pretzel Chocolate Chip Cookies:  Salty and Sweet, these babies were a hit with my brother and his girlfriend when they visited us this summer.  I’d have taken a photo of them when they were finished baking, but they disappeared pretty quickly, and I didn’t get the chance!  Find out how to make them at Sugar Cooking (isn’t that such a great name for a blog?).  You know how after you drop regular chocolate chip cookie dough in rounded spoonfuls, it will kind of flatten out as it bakes?  I guess these won’t really do that, so I read the comments, and it was suggested that you flatten the dough out a little bit with your palm or a cup if you want them to have a thinner appearance.  It doesn’t really matter though.  People are going to eat in pretty much any form.

Chickpea and Tomato Basil Salad: Christopher is not a fan, but my husband, His Majesty, and I could eat our weight in it.  At least, His Majesty would eat his weight in the garbanzo beans (which is hilarious to hear him pronounce, by the way), as evidenced by this photo of him picking them out one by one and loading them onto his spoon.  The recipe is from Green Lite Bites, and it is a great summer salad, not to mention a good way to use up grape tomatoes, which, if you’ve ever grown them, you know can become an issue.

“P.F. Chang’s” Style Lettuce Wrap from Iowa Girl Eats:  Messy, and lots of prep work compared to my usual meals, plus you have to watch the skillet, which I’m definitely not used to doing, but oh boy, is it worth it.  These are incredible, and I mean incredible.

Make Ahead Banana Oatmeal Breakfast Cookies: They are supposed to be a healthier recipe, and they don’t taste like a “real” cookie, which is why they are suggested as a breakfast cookie. I didn’t like the taste of them, personally, but His Majesty did, and they froze well, which made them very convenient to have on hand for quickie morning meals with very little effort or clean up.   You can read about how I made them at Parents Connect.

Peanut Butter Brownie Trifle from Taste of Home: This is sinfully delicious, and way too easy to make for as amazing as it is.  Chocolate brownie and peanut butter cups, how can you go wrong?  You could do them in small plastic tumblers for an easy party dessert, too!

Sneaking Zucchini into Everything (and freezing lots of zucchini bread for winter):  Our zucchini crop peaked early this year, and then died off rather suddenly, but not before we had picked almost 100 of them.  I had to get creative with how to use it, so I took a cue from a pin of The Daily Spark and shredded it up like noodles so that I could then sneak it into pretty much every sauce I made.  This allowed me to serve my family an extra veggie serving without altering the taste of the dishes themselves.  Christopher, who doesn’t like zucchini served by itself also apparently doesn’t pay too much attention to what I do in the kitchen, or what’s on his plate, because he went most of the summer without realizing what was going on, and I never got a complaint out of him.  I just popped the “noodles” in the slow cooker about 45 minutes before we ate, stirred it into the sauce, and let it go.  This worked with cream based/alfredo sauces and red sauces.  

Another way I used up zucchini was by making a bunch of blueberry zucchini bread (see the recipe here at All Recipes).  I had to make a bunch because it is so good that we ate a whole loaf in two days, then another loaf went at a game night we hosted, and my husband wanted to take some to work and… well, you get the point.  As fast as I could make it, they ate it, which makes it a great use for extra zucchini– or any zucchini for that matter!

So, as you can see, while I’ve been absent from the blogging world, I’ve been busy in the kitchen, and in the home caring for my family, which is my true love.  As things settle, I hope to be able to pop on for more than a check in, but you know how life is, and how quickly days pass.  Before we know it, it will be Thanksgiving!

I’m sure you have been busy over the past several weeks, too.  What have you been up to?  Trips?  Books?  Lessons?  Let’s catch up!

Y’all Come Back Now

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In yesterday’s post, I mentioned that our birthday party menu included Comeback Sauce.  When I read about it on Pinterest, I was intrigued, because I’m very much a condiment person.  I love dijon mustard, and avocado paste on my sandwiches, A-1 on pretty much anything, I can (and have) eaten salsa with a spoon, and I basically treat vegetables like a simple means of shoveling hummus and French onion dip into my mouth.  So, I figured the party was a perfect time to take this Comeback Sauce on a test run.

The recipe comes from Jackie, a Southern Belle living down in Florida at a sight called Syrup and Biscuits.  She sounds like my kind of lady: retired nurse, author, gardener, and a family woman who appreciates the little things in life that make it good.  Plus, she wrote this awesome and funny Southern Speak Translation Dictionary that I wish I had seen 7 years ago when I transplanted myself down here in good ol’ N.C.  I should print out a few copies of Jackie’s translation dictionary and stick them at rest areas when you cross the Mason Dixon Line; I could consider it my civic duty.  I could definitely get down with having her as a friend and neighbor, especially if anything else she makes is as good as this Comeback Sauce.

It can’t possibly be any easier to make either.

To make a pint sized Mason jar full, Jackie says you’ll need:

1 cup mayonnaise (Jackie recommends that you use Duke’s mayo, so that’s exactly what I used)

1/4  cup ketchup

1/4 cup chili sauce  (not thai chili sauce, just regular old chili sauce, in the aisle with the mayo, dressing, Heinz 57 sauce, etc).

1 heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard

1 teaspoon onion powder

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce

1 teaspoon black pepper

1/4 teaspoon Tabasco sauce

1/4 cup light olive oil

juice of one lemon (I used 2 tablespoons of lemon juice)

Put all of those ingredients in a bowl…

and mix them all together until they are well blended.

That’s it.  Then you just pour your well blended concoction into a container in the refrigerator overnight to let the flavors blend together.  I put mind in a Mason jar because, well, Jackie did, and because, to be honest, I’ve come to learn that pretty much everything can go in a mason jar.  Candles? Yep.  Spices? Of course.  Matches? Sure.  Crayons? Why not.  Flowers?  Uh-hum. You get the point.

I put the sauce out at the birthday party to accompany the sandwich platter, but Jackie says that it is also good as a veggie or chip dip, a salad dressing, and a sauce for seafood.  My husband said that it reminded him of “Big Mac sauce, only way better”.  Christopher dipped his sandwich in a big pile of it.  My friend Don, whom I referred to as my “work husband” until we both retired, gave it praise as well, and his wife (a lovely true Southern woman herself) is an amazing cook, so any compliment that he gives my kitchen concoctions is always well received.  Plus, as easy as this sauce was to make, it seems suitable that I should keep some on hand to serve in the future.

Comeback Sauce.  It’s as easy as that!

Microwave Popcorn, Without the Chemicals

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I love popcorn in the unhealthiest, worst possible way.  I can pass on many snacks and desserts, and exercise moderation in consuming many others, but I can not resist my urge to consume popcorn, and what’s worse is that once I start eating it, I can’t stop until I am literally so full that I am uncomfortable. I have actually intentionally skipped dinner in anticipation of digging into a giant tub of popcorn at the movie theater, and then sucked down the entire bucket, and most of a refill.  We’re talking about the buckets that are roughly the size of a Smart Car.  It defies physics how much popcorn I can consume.  My friends tease me about it.  It’s embarrassingly unhealthy, but yet, I make no effort to stop myself.  When I was pregnant with His Majesty, I even had my husband stop at a theater on his way home from work several times, just to get me movie popcorn.  That’s how much I love popcorn.

Now, if I’m not at the movie theater, the bags of microwave popcorn sustain me pretty well, and I typically keep a supply of it on hand.  But, I always wonder what the heck I’m actually eating, because it sure isn’t butter (mind you, that doesn’t stop me from actually EATING it, but it does make me wonder.).  My husband gets pretty grossed out wondering this same thing though, and right before I went out and bought an air popper, he found this idea about making air popped popcorn in a plain old brown paper bag in the microwave.  We decided to see how this method worked before I bought a big air popper that I then had to store somewhere in the kitchen.

I admit, I was skeptical.  I’ve seen those “special” microwave popcorn bags get hot enough that a hole was burnt into the side of them.  Those bags have to lie with a certain side facing up, and they are, well, just special.  Could a simple paper lunch bag really work?

Yes.  Yes it can.

1/4 cup of popcorn kernels in a plain paper lunch bag.

Pour it in.

Fold the top of the bag over once and stand it up in the microwave.  We put it on high for 3 minutes, and stood by to listen for the popping to slow down.  It ended up taking about 2 minutes to pop the bag.

It rolled over on its side as it filled up.  Then, we opened it up and poured it out. Almost every kernel popped, and we had perfectly air popped popcorn.

We popped two bags to share among the three of us, since the baby was in bed.  Had His Majesty been awake, he’d have needed his own bowl.  He loves popcorn as much as I do (I initially whined about dividing this meager amount 3 ways, but I silently thanked my husband for the skimpy rations the next day when my jeans still fit).   My husband made the perfect mixture of melted butter and salt for one bowl, and a cinnamon/sugar/honey blend for that he read about on the source page for the second bowl.

Pretty great discovery, and it saved me from having to buy and store an air popper.  Try it the next time you have a craving for popcorn!