Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Tastebook and Memories

We are on the last day of our holiday and I am sad to leave. This will be our last holiday at my in-law's big house. It goes on the market in a few months and will hopefully be sold before a year is out. Holidays from here on out will be divided between us and my brother and sister-in-law. 

One thing I have noticed in the past when holidays have been at my house my in-laws have come with a folder of copied pages of recipes. Last time they did this I copied those recipes into a Tastebook Collection. This year I took pictures and added a few additional recipes. For Christmas I am going to publish several of these books for each home. 

Now when the holidays roll around we will have all the recipes my husband's family loves to eat when they get together. And no one has to pull out a bunch of rubber banded pages to look for the Marinated Vegetable recipe.

Here are a few of the pictures I took this year that did not make the book.

Making crust handprints.

A personalized pie.
All get to help with crushing crackers.
Check out Tastebook.com for your personal cookbook. Better yet, send me your email and I will send you a personal invitation. Once I get 10 friends then I can get a free cookbook.

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Sunday, November 25, 2012

Pork Chop Casserole #SundaySupper #HelpingHands

Only two chops left.

Thanksgiving is behind us but we are still with relatives. Everyone is tired of turkey but no one wants to cook. When that happens we ask the girls to help with a meal and make a yummy casserole. Since we did not have a green bean casserole this year we decided on a close relation, the Pork Chop Casserole.

My helper this week was Maurene. I should say I was her helper as I did little more than brown the chops and tell her the steps in the recipe. As soon as she can read I have a feeling I will be obsolete in the kitchen.

Pork Chop Casserole

  • 8 boneless pork chops
  • 1/3 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tbsp cooking oil
  • 1 10 3/4 oz can condensed cream of mushroom soup
  • 2/3 cup chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary, crushed
  • 1 2.8 oz can french-fried onions or chow mein noodles
  • 10-14 oz bag frozen green beans
  • Hot cooked noodles or rice
Place flour, salt and pepper in shallow dish. Drag pork chops through flour. Heat oil in large skillet over medium heat. Cook pork chops until brown on each side. Mix soup, broth, sour cream, ginger, and rosemary in a medium bowl. Add half the fried onions then pour into a 9 x 13 pan. Add green beans to pan and toss to coat. Place chops on top of beans and  bake covered at 350F for 25 minutes. Uncover and place remaining onions on top. Cook uncovered for 5-10 minutes or until chops cooked. Serve with noodles or rice.

So easy and so much fun.

This week is also a special #SundaySupper as the group is putting together meals to help those affected by Hurricane Sandy. Anytime we are asked to bring a dish to someone in need at church Audrey always signs us up for this meal. It really is a favorite and so easy to transport.

If you would like to make a small donation to help those impacted by Sandy please check out the links at the bottom of the post.

Breakfast and Brunch:
Comforting Casseroles and Entrées:
Warming Soups and Sides:
Sweet Endings:
If you are interested in making a donation to help the hurricane victims, here are links to the two charitable organizations we recommend:

Please join on us on Twitter for #SundaySupper on November 25, 2012, throughout the day. In the evening, we will meet at 7 PM EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe ideas for #HelpingHands on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board so we can share them with all of our followers.

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Monday, November 19, 2012

Get Cooking! Kids Cook Monday

Such concentration.

She has an apron on!

The holidays are a great time to get the kids in the kitchen. You might think I am crazy with all that is going on during this time of year but I promise, kids can help.

This holiday we are heading to Milwaukee to spend the last holiday with my in-laws at their current home. They are putting the home on the market and we will likely never have another gathering there. 

Every holiday I learn more about the traditions my husband enjoyed growing up. The girls usually get curious about the activity and head into the kitchen. Since my in-laws were the first to invite Audrey to help they are always accommodating.

I am not certain what the girls will be helping with this holiday but I am sure it will be enjoyable. There is so much young helpers can do to help and feel a sense of accomplishment.

  1. Set the table. Have them help with non-breakable items like flatware and napkins.
  2. Help with salads. Tear lettuce, add ingredients, and tossing are all easy tasks.
  3. Mash the potatoes. Fun for the kids just make sure to get the potatoes out of the hot pan.
  4. Stir the ingredients for pies. Pumpkin is so easy for the kids to make.
  5. Help with the stuffing. Kids love to stir, let them help mix.
These are just a few tips on how to get your kids in the kitchen this holiday. Make this a new holiday tradition!

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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Turkey Cranberry Muffins #SundaySupper

Turkey Cranberry Muffins

Thanksgiving is this week! Where does the time go? The family and I leave on Tuesday to go spend the holiday with my husband's family and enjoy all that is yummy. This really is one of my favorite holidays. There is no pressure to do anything other than show up and each year the girls and I get to learn to make more of the family favorites.

Like most families we will have a turkey this holiday and always plan enough for leftovers. My husband will eat turkey sandwiches until he can't stand it and then my father-in-law will make a nice soup out of the turkey bones. But what is to be done with all the leftovers when you are tired of turkey sandwiches? This year we will make these, simple and tasty:

Turkey and Cranberry Muffins
  • 2 cups flour (we usually make one cup whole wheat flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar 
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1 cup juice (cranberry would be nice but apple would work well)
  • 1 cup chopped turkey
  • 1/2 cup cranberry jelly or jam
Place flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar in a medium bowl and mix. Add egg, oil, and juice to a large bowl and stir until egg is beaten and all ingredients are mixed together. Stir turkey and cranberries into egg mixture until combined. Add flour mix to wet ingredients and stir until incorporated. Do not over mix. Place batter in greased or lined muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees 15-20 minutes or until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack and then enjoy with butter.

I let her mix the wet ingredients in the mixer.

The #SundaySupper team has been working on other great ways to use up Thanksgiving leftovers. Here are their ideas:

Breakfast & Brunch

Main Course

Soups, Salads, Sides & Starters

Sweets & Desserts

Wine Pairings for the Recipes Featured

Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on November 18.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your recipe for Thanksgiving Leftovers on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.

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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Gluten-free Fruit and Nut Cookies #SundaySupper

Fruit and Nut Cookies

As the holidays approach the girls and I are starting to plan what we will make for our family. Usually it is something fun the girls can assist with as well as eat. We may give out cookie mixes in a jar and there will definitely be some cookies made with Papa and our cookie press. For many of our relatives we try to make healthy options over the holidays that are either gluten-free or no added sugar. This recipe is both.

Fruit and Nut Cookies
  • 1/2 cup almonds
  • 1/2 cup dates
  • 1/4 cup pistachios
  • 1/4 cup dried unsweetened cherries (we actually use frozen)
  • 1 tsp coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 egg
Place fruit, nuts, cinnamon and oil in a food processor and process until they are broken down and mixed.  Mine sticks together when it is done. Transfer to a bowl and stir in egg. This makes a gooey mess. It is easiest to scoop a small amount onto a large spoon and scrape mixture onto cookie sheet with a small spoon. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-15 minutes. Watch them closely because they go from underdone to burned very quickly.

I did not get any good photos of these this time because my camera is not at home and I was surprised to learn that I had no good photos of them from last Christmas. When my camera comes home, if there are still cookies to shoot, I will post a yummy photo.

Watching the food processor.
The #SundaySupper Team has put together a list of their favorite gifts from the kitchen as well. Check out what they are gifting this year:

Breads / Breakfast

Condiments / Ingredients

Soup and Snacks



Please join on us on Twitter throughout the day during #SundaySupper on November 11.  In the evening we will meet at 7pm EST for our weekly #SundaySupper live chat.
All you have to do is follow the #SundaySupper hashtag or you can follow us through TweetChat.
We’d also love to feature your own posts for Gifts From the Kitchen on our #SundaySupper Pinterest board to share them with all of our followers, too.

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Saturday, November 10, 2012

Perfectly Simple Nutrition Bar and a Race

Today is the big day. I am running my first half marathon. It is predicted to be a beautiful day and I have done all of the prep possible. If you had told me a year ago I would be doing this I would have laughed until I cried. I was not a runner. And then I convinced my friends to run a 5k with me this past April. 

From that race I made a wonderful friend and running partner out of a close acquaintance. She and I have known each other for years but never realized how much we had in common until we started running together.

It is so much easier to do something you have never done before if you have a good friend to do it with. Especially if that friend can plan a training schedule, buy race fuel, and pick up your race packet for you. I have the best running buddy.

She has stuck with me through all of the canceled training runs because I got stuck at work and has slowed down for me when I could not keep up because I fueled incorrectly (or not at all). I really appreciate her.

Recently my life has been busier than normal because of an increased work load, destination wedding, and training and I seem to always forget to eat. The girls and I have also spent a great many hours in the car driving to get stuff for the wedding, running errands for work, or going to play dates. This has meant way too many meals on the go.

If I am lucky we have the fixings for a yummy meal or snack in the house. When I was at Type-A Parent Conference in June I met some fabulous people from ZonePerfect and they shared several of their new Perfectly Simple Nutrition bars with me.
We loved the Coconut most but really, they were all amazing. The girls begged to have them in their lunches and I would split one in half for them. They are 10g of protein per bar so I had to limit them to only half a day. I love that they were low calorie and high protein with ingredients I could pronounce and identify. 

When I am on the run I may not realize until it is way past meal-time that I forgot to eat. With a Perfectly Simple Nutrition Bar in my purse I can fuel up and not tank a training run because I was too busy to eat.

Simple snack on the road.

It's a long drive, snack and a movie.

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Sunday, November 4, 2012

Fall Back and New Emergency Kits

Last Spring we put together a 24-hour supply of food and liquids. I got the idea from an LDS website and their recommendation was to update the kit twice a year during a conference. Since I don't know when those conferences are I decided we should replace our supply when we change the clocks. This weekend we got out our food and had a fun little party with the goodies inside.

I knew that when it came time to update the food I would not want to throw away that much food nor would I enjoy the girls eating a lot of junk so I tried to find food that was a little healthier. That is a little hard to do with consumables meant to last 6 months. My girl-friend was here when we ate the food and she was shocked the yogurt was shelf stable. 

Our original supply.

The best part about having a fun, eat the emergency kit day was that I was able to see what foods went over better and update accordingly. To the supply we added Horizon Chocolate Milk and Chicken Salad Kits as well as several bottles of water. This time we will leave out the Vienna Sausages and add  more yogurt.

Today we plan to head out to replace all the supplies and pack the four gallon zip-top bags back up with food. I will take a few pictures and hope to post them soon.

Enjoying the supplies.
Do you have an emergency kit for your family? Something as simple as a few hundred calories and some water will go a long way if you get stuck without supplies. I had no idea when I planned this post 6 months ago that it would come on the heels of a devastating storm that has some still without power and water. For us the most likely use for our kit would be if we got stuck after a tornado, but you never know. 

Please share your favorite emergency ideas or websites so we can read up on ways to keep our family safe.

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