Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Stone Soup

We are on our second snow day this week. The girls are loving the time to play with puzzles, make cookies, and watch too much tv. I am enjoying this time to make yummy soups. Here is a favorite, Stone Soup from a party we had not too long ago. Stone Soup is a great story about sharing and working together. My girls love that we read the story each time before we make the soup and decide different ingredients each time.

We don't actually follow the book we have for items to add as our story includes milk and meat which I do not eat. So I just allow the girls to decide what looks yummy. A few months back I found an article about how to make your own soup recipe in Vegetarian Times. It has served us well.

First a link to Stone Soup for all of those who have not read it. Amazon has several copies of the book if you want a hard copy. If you click the link we get a few pennies from the order.

Some ingredients and our stones.

Starting to saute, one stone showing in the middle.

Adding more vegetables.

Time for the broth.

Finished product. Best soup ever.
Now for the recipe/tips:

Heat 2 tablespoons oil in a large pot. Add chopped carrots, celery, onion. Usually 1 onion, 1 medium carrot, and 1 stalk of celery. Mushrooms also go in at this point, about 8 oz. Sprinkle 1 teaspoon salt to draw out moisture in vegetables. Cover and cook for 5 minutes. Uncover and saute 5 more minutes or until beginning to brown. 

Add 1 to 2 cloves minced garlic and 1 to 2 tablespoons dried herbs. We typically use and Italian Herb mix. 

Toss in slow cooking vegetables like potatoes, squash, turnips. We added sweet potatoes to this pot. Add water or broth at this point, 6 to 8 cups. Simmer for 10 to 20 minutes.

Now is time for delicate vegetables like corn, zucchini, green beans, edemame. Now is a good time to add cooked beans, grains or uncooked pasta. Simmer 5 to 10 more minutes.

Stir in 1 teaspoon citrus juice or vinegar, taste and adjust seasonings. 

This is such a forgiving recipe and always comes out amazing. Good ahead, have a Stone Soup Party at your house and enjoy the results!

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Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Holiday Vanilla Chex Mix

For the holidays we made several road trips to visit family. For these trip I wanted to make sure the girls had plenty of yummy snacks to keep them from complaining and begging for a non-bathroom stops. The girls helped me pick out two recipes to enjoy. I was not surprised they want the Peppermint Crunch Snack Mix shared yesterday but I was surprised by this choice. Then we went shopping for the ingredients and I learned why. 

When we went to select the M&Ms the girls wanted to make sure they were red and green colored for the season. You can simply change the color of the M&Ms to make them fit with any season.

  • 4 cups Vanilla Chex cereal
  • 1 1/2 cups whole almonds
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp oil
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 3 tbsp sugar
  • 1 cup M&Ms
Preheat your oven to 300 degrees. In a bowl, combine the almonds, cinnamon, oil, and water until there's no liquid on the bottom. Pour the almonds in a single layer onto a non-stick baking tray and roast for 10 minutes or until the cinnamon sugar begins to clump on the almonds. Remove the almonds from the oven and let them cool briefly. In a clean bowl, combine the almonds, Chex cereal, and M&Ms and toss well before serving. Keep in a sealed bag at room temperature when not enjoying.

I want to state that this is not the type of recipe one can simply substitute plain Rice Chex if Vanilla Chex is not sold in your store. I thought since the girls enjoy Rice Chex so much they would be fine with the plain version. I was wrong. They picked out all the candy pieces and daddy ate the almonds. I through the rest in with some fruit and had it for my snack. We will get the real thing when we make this next. 

Spreading almonds.

Messes happen.

Ready to serve! One for sister too.

Enjoy for any holiday.

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Monday, January 13, 2014

Peppermint Crunch Snack Mix

Happy New Year! Hope you had some good family time. We were able to spend the holidays with family. Christmas found us in St. Louis and then we made a short trip to Tulsa to visit my family. With two long car rides (both trips are around 4 hours) I wanted to make sure the girls had plenty of snacks. The girls helped me pick out Peppermint Crunch Snack Mix by Sally's Baking Addiction and Holiday Vanilla Chex Party Mix by The Wannabe Chef (check back tomorrow for that post).

Peppermint Crunch Snack Mix
  • 5 cups Rice Chex
  • 10 oz melting chocolate or vanilla flavored Almond Bark
  • 1 cup crushed candy canes
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
Pour 5 cups of cereal into a large bowl. Melt white chocolate according to package directions. Pour melted chocolate over cereal, stirring and folding until the cereal is completely covered. Fold in the crushed candy canes.

In a large zipped top bag or covered container, add the powdered sugar. Pour the chocolate covered cereal into the large bag and seal. Shake until the cereal is coated with the powdered mixture.

Audrey loved smashing the candy canes. She did such a good job I had to get a second bag to put the entire package in to keep the dust from spilling out.

Crushing candy canes.

Folding in and trying not to spill.

So happy to have the first sample.

Another yummy mix.

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Sunday, December 29, 2013

Baked Oatmeal #SundaySupper

Baked Oatmeal, healthy fast food.

I don't know about you but I have New Year traditions and always make New Year Resolutions. This year, like many, I am resolving to eat healthier and continue to get in shape. The girls and I have not been planning when it comes to meals as much and we have not been exercising near as often as we should. To combat that I purchased myself a Fitbook to track all of my food intake and exercise.

For the family I decided we needed to start eating a healthier breakfast, even if that means something to go. That is where these easy and tasty Baked Oatmeal Muffins come in.

Baked Oatmeal
  • 1 egg (or egg replacer)
  • 1 cup applesauce
  • 2 1/2 cups rolled oats
  • 1 mashed banana
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 tbsp flax seed meal
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
Mix all ingredients. Place in greased or lined muffin tin and bake at 350F for 25-30 minutes. We had enough batter for 12 regular and 12 mini muffins.  

These could not be easier to make or easier to adjust. Add dried fruit or fresh for a tasty variation. We like them with a little peanut butter and cocoa powder as well. After they have cooled you can freeze any that don't get eaten right away and save them for another rushed morning.

More getting healthy.
What are you going to do with the New Year?

Let's see how the #SundaySupper team is going to celebrate:

Appetizers & Snacks
Main Dishes & Sides
Desserts & Drinks
Sunday Supper Movement  

Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our#SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos. Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy! You can sign up by clicking here: Sunday Supper Movement.

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Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Spaghetti and Better Jarred Sauce #WeekdaySupper

Do you have those evenings that are so busy you don't even have time to make a simple dinner?

Do you just want to give up and get drive-through meals?

Would you rather have a simple, cheap, tasty meal?

Here it is.

Better Jarred Sauce over Buckwheat Soba Noodles.

Better Than Jarred Sauce came about during our SNAP Challenge. We had less than $4 a day per person to eat a healthy meal. I planned a lot of simple dishes but none were as tasty as the homemade sauce and spaghetti dinner we had the first night.

This is a great recipe to make ahead and freeze. Then dinner is as simple as boiling water for pasta. My girls help make the mirepoix which helps them learn to chop and I get some assistance in the kitchen. Here is a short video Audrey made to demonstrate her chopping skills. In it we chopped mirepoix which is the base for this recipe.

Better Than Jarred Sauce

  • 2 tsp olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 1/2 to 1  medium onion, depending on your taste
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 28 oz container chopped tomatoes
  • 1-2 tbsp Italian Seasonings
  • 2 tsp salt
  • cracked black pepper
Heat oil in medium saucepan. Add onions, carrot, celery and saute until onion is translucent and veggies starting to soften. Stir in garlic and saute another 3-4 minutes. Add a little water to the pan if veggies start to burn before they are cooked. Add tomatoes and Italian seasoning and cook on low for 15-20 minutes. Place sauce in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth. Add salt and pepper to taste. 

At this point you can serve over your favorite pasta or divide the sauce into freezer safe containers. We like to make a batch of this on the weekends and keep a serving thawed in the fridge for quick meals. We freeze the rest for later. I boil up some Asian Soba noodles that cook in 5 minutes and we have a homemade dinner in less time than it takes to drive to a fast food restaurant. If you add leftover chicken or meatballs you can customize this meal to your family's taste. I like mine with smoked tofu but my family enjoys Italian meatballs on top. I get a large bag from the freezer section and heat up what we need. Add a salad or cook some frozen peas to make a complete meal.

For more easy #WeekdaySupper Meals check out what the others are bringing to the table this week:

Weekday Supper Menu for the week of December 23-27

Stovetop Pasta with Sausage and Peppers from Hezzi-D’s Books and Cooks 
Pasta tossed with  bell peppers, spicy andouille sausage, fresh tomatoes, and herbs in a cream sauce.
Roasted Salmon Lettuce Wraps w/ Mango Salsa from Sue's Nutrition Buzz
Roasted Salmon Lettuce Wraps w/ Mango Salsa from Sue’s Nutrition Buzz 
Refreshing roasted salmon topped with a fresh mango salsa nesting in lettuce wraps make a healthy, low-carb weeknight supper.
Spaghetti and Better Jarred Sauce from In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene
Spaghetti and Better Jarred Sauce from In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene 
Keeping a container of this homemade sauce in your fridge means that your family can eat not only a simple meal on a busy night, but also a healthy one.  Adjust proteins for a custom meal any night of the week.
Spiced Pumpkin Soup from Happy Baking Days
Spiced Pumpkin Soup from Happy Baking Days
A warming, hearty soup with roasted pumpkin, butternut squash and plenty of Christmas spice.
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from Alida's Kitchen
Roasted Red Pepper Pasta from Alida’s Kitchen
This delicious, creamy roasted red pepper pasta dish is made healthier with Greek yogurt.
Fore more quick & easy Weekday Supper recipes, click HERE.  Also, check out the Weekday Supper Pinterest Board.

Sunday Supper Movement

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Sunday, December 22, 2013

Raisin Bran Muffins for a Crowd #SundaySupper

Rain Bran Muffins, warm with spread and a coffee.

It is the week of Christmas and my husband has watched "National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation" at least four times already. He didn't even wait for me to watch it with him this year. I bet we will watch it together tonight or tomorrow so he will see it at least five times. And this year is no different than others. He loves that movie.

When I think about all of that family showing up for Christmas it makes me start to panic and wonder what I would feed everyone. My kitchen is small and you can't get too many cooks in it. My solution is to have a big bowl of muffin batter ready to plop into tins and bake. First one awake heats up the oven.

This recipe is supposed to last six weeks in the fridge but I could not tell you if that is true because we always eat it within a week. Make a bowl and heat up a warm, yummy batch of muffins whenever you are hungry.

Mo, my helper.

Raisin Bran Muffins
  • 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups sugar
  • 5 tsp baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 7 1/2 cups (20-oz box) Post Raisin Bran
  • 4 cups (1 quart) Buttermilk (or milk substitute with vinegar)
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 4 large eggs, beaten (or egg replacers)
This year I made the recipe plant-based and it tasted just as good. I used almond milk and vinegar for the buttermilk and a chia egg replacer. Get a big bowl and dump in all of your ingredients. It is best to add dry to one bowl and mix wet in a separate bowl. Then slowly add wet to dry and fold in until mixed. This is always a little bit of a mess. Once the batter is mixed you can bake or place in a sealed container to store in the fridge.

Helping measure ingredients.

She is such a careful stirrer.

To bake place desired amount in greased or lined muffin tins and bake at 350 F for 20-30 minutes. They are done when a toothpick poked in the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack and let cool. Eat as soon as they are cool enough.

We partnered up with the #SundaySupper crew again to bring you a lot of Holiday Music and Movie inspired dishes. I dare you to check them all out. That is what I plan to do over this fun holiday break.

Party Appetizers & Snacks:
Oven-Roasted Applesauce Scented with Rosemary & Vanilla-Inspired by the song
“Christmas in the Trenches”Shockingly Delicious
Roasted Chestnuts Inspired by the movie “The Christmas Song” – Food Lust People Love
A Popcorn Trio
 Inspired by the song “Let it Snow” - Hot Momma’s Kitchen Chaos
Chai Tea Abominable Snow Buddies
 Inspired by the movie “Rudolph” – Cupcakes & Kale Chips
Raisin Bran Muffins for a Crowd
 Inspired by the movie
“National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” - In The Kitchen With Audrey and Maurene
Icicle Candy and Reindeer Snacks Inspired by the movie “Snow” – Treats & Trinkets
A Christmas Carol Plum Pudding
 Inspired by the movie “A Christmas Carol” – No One Likes Crumbley Cookies
Yukon Mashed Potato Cakes
 Inspired by the movie “Rudolph” - Cookin’ Mimi
Christmas Pudding
 Inspired by the song “Over the River and Through the Woods” A Kitchen Hoor
Pumpkin Pudding Inspired by the movie “Nightmare Before Christmas” - Basic N Delicious
Elf-Inspired Christmas “Grams”
 Inspired by the movie “Elf” - MarocMama
 Inspired by the movie “The Nutcracker” – Happy Baking Days
Chai Spiced Roasted Nuts
 Inspired by the song “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” - Take A Bite Out of Boca
Festive Main Dishes
Maple Syrup Spaghetti- Inspired by the movie “Elf”- Momma’s Meals
Who Hash Inspired by the movie “How The Grinch Stole Christmas” -girlichef
Ginger Orange Glazed Cornish Hens Inspired by the song “The 12 Days of Christmas” -Sue’s Nutrition Buzz
NY Hot Dog with Sabrett-style Onion Sauce Inspired by the movie “Die Hard” - Small Wallet, Big Appetite
Classic Caesar Salad Inspired by the movie “The Santa Clause” – The Little Ferraro Kitchen
Individuals Meatloaves & Horseradish Mashed Potatoes for Mommy’s Little Piggies - Inspired by the movie
“A Christmas Story” – The Not So Cheesy Kitchen
Christmas Waffles Inspired by the TV special “A Claymation Christmas Celebration” – Curious Cuisiniere
Filthy Animal Pizza
 Inspired by the movie “Home Alone” – Foxes Love Lemons
Chicken Orzo Soup
 Inspired by the song “12 Days of Christmas” - Family Foodie
Brandied Candied Sweet Potatoes
 Inspired by the song “Christmas Is The Time To Say ‘I Love You’ ” -
Cindy’s Recipes and Writings
Sweet Holiday Treats:
Gin and Tonic Cupcakes Inspired by Adam Sandler’s ” The Chanukah Song” - The Girl In The Little Red Kitchen
Chocolate Chip Shortbread Bars Inspired by the movie “Love Actually” – Magnolia Days
Gingerbread Marshmallows Inspired by the song “Marshmallow World” – Jane’s Adventures in Dinner
Hazelnut Chocolate Chip Cookies Inspired by the movie “The Gremlins” – Killer Bunnies, Inc
White Chocolate Peppermint Fudge Inspired by the song “I’m Dreaming of a White Christmas” –Alida’s Kitchen
Snowball Cookies - Inspired by the movie “White Christmas” -The Foodie Army Wife
Penuche Fudge
 Inspired by the movie “Elf” – Pies and Plots
Hot Chocolate Cookies
 Inspired by the movie “Santa Clause” - Mess Makes Food
South Pacific Coconut Tres Leche Cake
 Inspired by the movie “South Pacific” -The Ninja Baker
Cookies & Cream Fudge
 Inspired by the movie “Elf” – The Messy Baker
Cozy Drinks:
Toasted Coconut Hot Cocoa- Inspired by the song “Let It Snow”Chocolate Moosey
The Christmas Gram Inspired by the movie “Elf” – An Appealing Plan
Eggnog Hot Chocolate Inspired by the movie “National Lampoons Christmas Vacation” - Peanut Butter and Peppers
Vermont Hot Cocoa
 Inspired by the movie “White Christmas” – Kudos Kitchen By Renee
Spiked Hot Chocolate Peppermint Ice Cream Floats
 Inspired by the song “Holly Jolly Christmas “ -NeighborFood
Join the #SundaySupper conversation on twitter on Sunday! We tweet throughout the day and share recipes from all over the world. Our weekly chat starts at 7:00 pm ET. Follow the #SundaySupper hashtag and remember to include it in your tweets to join in the chat. Check out our #SundaySupper Pinterest board for more fabulous recipes and food photos.
Would you like to join the Sunday Supper Movement? It’s easy. You can sign up by clicking here ? Sunday Supper Movement.
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Monday, December 16, 2013

Holiday Gift Guide and #Giveaway

I hope you are one of those shoppers who has all of your holiday shopping complete. If, however, you are more like me and have yet to finish, is here to help. They have several gift guides with coupon savings to help. And we have put together one of our own with just as many money saving links!

If these lists don't already have you excited then the Holiday Sweepstakes should. They are giving away several $500 gift card baskets.

Here are a few of our favorite items from Target

  1. Oster Reversing Motor Blender This blender makes an amazing smoothie, we love it.
  2. KitchenAid 4.5 Quart Stand Mixer Our stand mixer makes short work of cookie and pizza dough
  3. Crock Pot 6 Quart Slow Cooker A slow cooker allows us to have dinner ready when we get home
  4. Keurig Home Brewer I get the girls hot chocolate cups and they can have a treat any cold morning
My girls love to pretend and play. Here are a few favorites from FAO Schwarz
  1. Play Kitchen My girls still love to pretend they are cooking
  2. Kids Scooter This is fun to ride when we can't get out with bikes
  3. Radio Flyer Wagon They have had this since they were little and still play with it
  4. Lady Buggy Folding Tricycle Both girls loved loading the basket with toys and racing
And a few running attire favorites for me from Kohls!
  1. Sports Bra A simple bra is all I need
  2. Zip Front Hoodie This is for those cold mornings
  3. Running Tights I wear tights most of the year
  4. Moister Wicking Running Top Keeps me from getting too hot/cold

If you need more ideas for the kids on you list check out this Holiday Gift Guide for Kids.

We are also hosting a giveaway for a $200 Amazon Gift Card to help with the rest of your shopping. There are several ways to enter. Enter all the giveaways for more chances to win!

I was compensated for this post. This lists and ideas are all my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

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