Thursday, September 29, 2011

Fruit Salad, Yummy Yummy!

    This is one of my daughter's favorite things that I make. We've taken it to many pitch-ins and everyone always asks what the special "dressing" is. The Sierra Mist helps keep the apples and other fruits from browning.
     When Miss E goes through those toddler days or weeks of not wanting to eat at all, we make this because we know she will fill up on good stuff. She could pretty much live solely on fruit.
     And, yes in case you were wondering after reading the title, we do watch the Wiggles....I should say E watches the Wiggles, but I hear it as I do other things. I know the day is coming when we will move on to shows with storylines, and I can't wait.

Fruit - your favorites
1 cup mini marshmallows
1/2 can Sierra Mist Natural

  • Chop up your favorite fruits. We like strawberries, blueberries, (any berries), grapes, bananas, pineapple, honeydew, watermelon, apples, pears, mandarins, peaches, plums...
  • Pour in marshmallows and Sierra Mist. Toss to coat. Refrigerate until ready to eat. 

Pumpkin Pancakes with Maple Creme

      Nothing screams fall more than pumpkin! These pancakes were just the right thing for a cool Fall morning. These were so rich and delicious...and seriously, make the maple creme. It makes them even better than they already are!

3/4 cup whole wheat flour
2 Tbl whole wheat flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 Tbl cinnamon
1 tsp nutmeg
3 egg whites, whipped
3/4 cup pumpkin
3/4 cup plain yogurt
2 Tbl brown sugar
2 tsp vanilla

4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup maple syrup

chopped pecans

  • Whisk dry ingredients together. 
  • Separately, combine wet ingredients. 
  • Combine wet and dry ingredients and rest for 10 minutes.
  • Scoop pancakes onto hot griddle using 1/4 cup measure. Flip when edges turn to brown the other side.
  • Top with maple creme (cream cheese and maple syrup) and chopped pecans
Submitted to

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Menu Plan 9/25-10/1

     I used to think Summer was my very favorite season. Now that I'm 'retired' from teaching, I'm finding that I really like fall (although, it might be tied with summer). I love making s'mores in the firepit, apple picking, hayrides, leaves changing, and of course Conner Prairie's Headless Horseman event. After a summer filled with above 90* temps almost every day, I'm glad for slightly cooler weather and hoodies.
     I've had my menu plan done since last Friday since I had to go to the store to by the supplies for s'mores and bacon wrapped jalapeno poppers. I was so on top of things. Then, since I was so ahead of my regular schedule, I forgot to post it!

french toast w/maple syrup
chocolate chip bran muffins
yogurt and fruit
toast and eggs

cookies (I can't believe I haven't posted this recipe yet!)
yogurt and berry smoothies

Dinners/leftovers for Lunches:
Peanut butter and Jelly w/banana
Chicken Casserole I forgot how much I love this!
Crock Pot Chili
Meatloaf and broccoli
BBQ Chicken Tortilla Pizza
grilled burgers
stir fry
mushroom topped polenta "pizza"

need more Ideas?
Visit OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

     My friend's step mom makes these for every cookout and tailgate party I've ever been to. They are pretty much my favorite things. I finally got up the nerve to make them myself, and I almost couldn't stop eating them! It's a good thing we had several friends over to help me out.
     I had a little extra filling left over, and I had a little extra bell peppers left over from my garden. I filled the bell peppers and grilled them the same way, and they were amazing! I almost couldn't decide which I liked better.  Either way, I'm sure everyone will love them.

13 jalapeno peppers
8 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded cheddar (optional-I've had them both ways and they are all good!)
turkey bacon (or the real stuff)

  • Slice the peppers in half lengthwise and scrape out the seeds and membranes with a spoon. If you don't want your peppers to be hot, let them sit in cool water for a while. The longer they soak, the more mild they will be. I let mine soak for about an hour.
  • Combine the cream cheese and cheddar if you are using it. 
  • Spread the cheese to fill the peppers. Wrap it with bacon and secure it with a wet toothpick. Note toothpicks need to be wet so they don't burn on the grill!
  • Place on grill and cook until bacon is crispy.

Meatfree Monday: Enchilada Casserole

      I found this recipe from McCormick on the back of a seasoning packet. This is another recipe that I just skipped the addition of meat. If you aren't going for a meat free meal, it called for one pound of ground turkey (or beef or pork or chicken). I thought it turned out wonderfully. It was filling and full of flavor. Actually, it reminded me a lot of one of our favorite recipes: Southwest Lasagna. And, since it doesn't have meat or cottage cheese, it's a lot more budget friendly too.

2 tsp chili powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp minced garlic
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (if desired)
1/2 cup onion, chopped
16 oz tomato sauce
15 oz black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can corn, drained and rinsed
Chopped banana peppers (I used 4)
whole wheat tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese

  • Heat onion in skillet. Add tomato sauce, beans, corn, and banana peppers. Stir in all the spices (except red pepper) Bring to boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer for 5 minutes. Add red pepper if desired.
  • Spread about 1/2 cup of the bean mixture in a 9x13 pan. Top with a layer of tortillas, overlapping as needed. Layer with half of the remaining bean mixture and half of the cheese. Repeat with more tortillas and the rest of the mixture and cheese.
  • Bake at 350* for 15 minutes or until heated through. Let stand a couple minutes before serving.

Meatfree features of the week...
a small collection of my favorite meat free recipes that I come across as I search the web each week. All the recipes that I post from various blogs will be stumbled to bring a little extra love to their posts...and if you happen to be one of my featured recipes you can grab my "I was featured on Meat Free Monday" button for your post.

Nutella French Toast from The Kitchen is my Playground
Well, who doesn't love Nutella?

Homemade Apple Butter from the Suburban Settler
I'm pretty sure I'd have a Euro style dinner of biscuits and apple butter if I had this!

Lavish Flatbread Pizzas from SkinnyTaste
Simple and delicious!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Menu Plan Monday: September 18-24

     If you read my menu plan last week, we knew ahead of time that we would be eating out for two dinners. We didn't expect my Meatfree Monday dish I had planned to be a total failure...I  mean a go out to eat, there is no fixing it failure. For those of you who were anticipating a Lo-Mein recipe this'll have to wait until I find a better recipe. The one I used wasn't the one. I need to start having a backup plan if this happens. It's not good for your budget, or waistline for that matter, to go out to eat when things don't go as planned.
    For this week, we have no anticipated dinners out. We probably need to take it easy anyhow. I don't know about your schedule, but we are busy every weekend through November now! Weddings, apple-picking, pumpkin patches, Fall Festivals. I love Fall.

sweet potato muffins (new!)
fruit and yogurt parfaits
toast and fruit, scrambled eggs

carrot sticks and hummus
apple chips
Sweet for the week

Grilled Cheese with Smoked Cheddar
Hot Dogs with homemade buns, chips
Quesadilla Casserole (New meatfree!)
Noodles with Asparagus and Bacon
Stir Fry

Need more menu plan ideas? Head over to OrgJunkie for her weekly link up.

Secret Recipe Club: Sour Cream Coffee Cake Muffins...sort of

     I have the pleasure of participating in the Secret Recipe Club again this month. Haven't heard of it, or want to join in next month? Check out the link back to the site. Basically, you will get assigned a blog (and a secret blogger will be assigned your blog). You have to pick one recipe from their blog and make it, making any changes you like. Then, you blog about it with a blog hop on the assigned day. It's so much fun to see who has your blog and what recipe they pick...and what they think of it. You also get to find a lot of other neat blogs that you may not have found otherwise.
     This month I was assigned . She has a lot of interesting and delicious looking recipes on her blog, but I finally decided on these sour cream coffee cake muffins. I've really been on a coffee cake kick lately. My previous post for the cinnamon coffee cake was amazing, and I expected no less from these muffins. Coffee cake in muffin form is so much easier to eat and make. It takes much less time too! I don't normally buy sour cream, but we always have plain yogurt on hand so that is what I used to make these muffins. They turned out very moist and my husband claims they are the best muffins I've ever made. I'll have to agree, they are somewhat addictive.
     I did make a couple of changes to the recipe including using whole wheat flour and real eggs. I also ground up the pecans because I have a toddler  who sometimes has texture issues.

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup chopped pecans (or ground)
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream)
2 Tbl water
1 tsp vanilla extract
1-3/4 cup flour (take out 3 Tbl for whole wheat)
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

  • Preheat the oven to 400*
  • Combine the brown sugar, pecans, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Cream sugar and butter together. Add eggs. Then, beat in yogurt, water, and vanilla.
  • In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Make a well in the center of mixture and add yogurt mixture. Stir until just combined. 
  • Place about 3 Tablespoons of the brown sugar mixture in a small bowl and set aside. Sprinkle the surface of the batter with the remaining brown sugar and gently fold in 4 times. 
  • Place 18 liners in muffin tin. Spoon batter in cups and sprinkle evenly with reserved brown sugar mixture. 
  • Bake @ 400* for 20-25 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
linked up to
sweet tooth friday
sweets for saturday

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Pizza Monkey Muffins

     I've been seeing pizza monkey bread popping up all over food blogs lately. I love pizza, and I love monkey bread so naturally I had to try my hand at pizza monkey bread. I decided to take a little bit different spin on this though.  Basically, I took my monkey muffin recipe  and turned it into pizza monkey muffins.
     These were just the perfect size and would be so fun at a party...a small party because they were pretty time consuming. Miss E thought they were fabulous because she could dip them in marinara...and to a toddler, anything that you can dip is the best thing ever.
     This time around I used mozzarella and mushrooms, but if you were not going for a meatfree meal you could easily use pepperoni or any other pizza toppings you like. Also, to save a little time you could skip the homemade dough and use store bought biscuits.

3-1/2 cups whole wheat flour (or 4c AP flour)
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
3/4 cup butter, softened
1-1/4 cup buttermilk (or 2 Tbl vinegar + enough milk to make 1-1/4c)
sliced mushrooms
mozzarella cheese, cubed
2 cloves garlic, minced
4 Tbl butter
1-1/2 tsp Italian seasonings

  • Dough: Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, butter, and buttermilk. Knead about 20 times. 
  • Pinch off 1 inches pieces of dough and roll into a ball. Flatten the ball with the bottom of a cup. 
  • Place a cheese cube and other toppings on your dough and roll into a ball with the toppings in the middle of the ball. 
  • Plop 3-4 balls into each muffin cup
  • Heat garlic and butter until garlic just begins to brown. Remove from heat and stir in Italian seasonings.
  • Pour the melted butter into each muffin cup.
  • Bake at 350* for 12-15 minutes.
  • Remove from pan and serve with marinara sauce for dipping.

Meatfree features of the week...
a small collection of my favorite meat free recipes that I come across as I search the web each week. All the recipes that I post from various blogs will be stumbled to bring a little extra love to their posts...and if you happen to be one of my featured recipes you can grab my "I was featured on Meat Free Monday" button for your post.

Grilled Vegetarian Tostadas by Better Recipes

Chickpea Curry by the Vegan Stoner

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Cinnamon Coffee Cake

     I had to take a couple continuing education classes this summer to keep up my teaching license. I got to meet a really neat lady named Kara, who happened to be in both of my classes. During the first week, we were all assigned a day to bring in a snack and she brought in this most amazing coffee cake. She told a story of how her nephews band wrote a song about this coffee cake. It really is that good.
     A couple of weeks ago, I convinced my mom that we needed to have this when we all came to visit. It's super easy to make, and tastes just a good as I remember. One lesson I learned from making it at home though...the glaze is really supposed to be a glaze that gets soaked into the cake (Kara's recipe called for a 9x13 pan and we used a bundt pan). We changed it a bit and made a thicker icing by adding more powdered sugar. Our icing almost overpowered the coffee cake. If you like it that way go ahead, but I think next time around I'll stick to Kara's original...which is what is posted below.

2 cups crushed graham crackers
3/4 cup brown sugar
1 stick butter, melted
1-1/2 tsp cinnamon
yellow or white cake mix
1/2 cup oil
3 eggs
1 cup water
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup water
2 tsp vanilla

  • Mix the graham crackers, brown sugar, butter, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  • Beat cake mix, oil, eggs, and water for about 2 minutes. 
  • Grease a 9x13 pan. Pour in half of the cake batter. Top that with about half of the graham cracker mixture. Add another layer of cake and graham mixtures.
  • Bake @ 350* for about 30-35 minutes. 
  • Meanwhile, make the glaze. Mix the powdered sugar, water, and vanilla. 
  • Pour the glaze over cake immediately after baking. 
  • freezes well too.
Linking up to 

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Taco Pizza

     I was inspired to create this by this Taco Pizza recipe. When I saw this, I had just posted a taco salad recipe with the best "dressing." Well, it wasn't really a dressing. It was more like diced tomatoes with some flavoring. Anyhow, it really made the taco salad. When I saw Closet Cooking's recipe, I knew I would change it a bit and use that diced tomato idea.
     It turned out so well! I just love how the flavors melted together and the beer batter pizza dough really enhanced the taste too. If you don't have time to do homemade dough, I'm sure the store bought would be fantastic too.

Pizza dough
taco seasoning
ground turkey
shredded cheese
2 tomatoes
1Tbl olive oil
1 Tbl lime juice
salt and pepper

  • Brown meat and add taco seasoning.
  • Spread dough onto pizza pan. Top with salsa, meat, and shredded cheese.
  • Bake pizza until cheese is melted (or according to crust directions).
  • Combine tomatoes, olive oil, lime juice, salt, and pepper. 
  • Spread tomato topping on pizza after removing from the oven.

Monday, September 12, 2011


     This quick and easy sandwich is perfect for nights when you don't have a lot of time, but want something delicious. When we were first married, before food blogging, I would make these at least once a week. I had forgotten all about them, until I ran across something similar a few weeks back.

1 lb ground turkey or desired meat
1 cup salsa or Texas Caviar
1 cup shredded cheese
flour or corn tortillas

  • Cook meat in skillet until browned. Drain.
  • Stir in salsa or leftover Texas Caviar and cheese. Cook 2-3 minutes.
  • Spoon about 1/4 cup filling in center of tortilla. Fold tortilla in half, pressing edges to seal.
  • Heat a pan and cook empanadas a couple minutes to brown .
  • Serve with additional salsa.

Menu Plan Monday September 11-17

     I hate when you week gets crazy after you already plan everything out. I found out there are two nights this week, we'll be "forced" to eat out...or suffer with peanut butter and jelly. On the topic of peanut butter and's really good sandwiched in between banana bread pancakes.

Sour Cream Muffins
Fruit and yogurt

Fruit and yogurt smoothies
pretzel crisps and hummus

Sausage Braid (I made this tonight and it's so good!Savory breakfast for dinner)
LoMein (new Meatfree!)
Omelets and Toast
Fruit and Cheese Danish
Egg Noodles with Asparagus, Egg, and Bacon

Head over to OrgJunkie's Menu Plan Monday for more menu ideas!

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Rice Krispie Treats with Cinnamon

     We bought a fire pit this summer, and we have really enjoyed having smore's whenever we feel like it. One day, I decided to use the leftover marshmallows to make Rice Krispie treats. It seemed like I had everything I needed, but I fell a little short on the cereal. I replaced the Rice Krispie's with some Dora cereal. What's Dora cereal? It's what you end up with when you take your two year old shopping with you. No, really it's a tiny star shaped cinnamon flavored cereal. It's actually pretty good...think churros. I might even buy it even if I didn't have a temper-tantrum throwing, "Mom, I will die if I don't get Dora cereal" toddler in the cereal aisle.
     Anyhow, these Krispie treats came out even better than the originals, which is pretty hard to beat in my opinion. It makes me think of other cereals to experiment with in the future. What have I been missing out on all this time?

Only 3 ingredients...How can these be so good?
6 cups Rice Krispies (and Dora cereal)
7oz jar Marshmallow cream or 10.5 oz pkg marshmallows
3 Tbl butter

  • Melt butter on low. Add marshmallow cream or marshmallows and stir until smooth and melted.
  • Remove from heat.
  • Add cereal and stir until well coated. 
  • Spray a 9x13 pan with nonstick spray.
  • Press mixture evenly into pan. Allow to cool before cutting into squares. 
  • Lick spoon. This is quite possibly the best part...warm Rice Krispies. 

Meatfree Monday: Beans and Greens Burrito

Chili cheeseburger & Chili 3-way @ Blue Ash Chili-Cincinnati
     We took a vacation to Cincinnati last week. That is about as far as we thought could go with a toddler who we like to call "Mimi Banshee." Somehow long car trips seem to induce screaming to no end. Two hours is plenty of time in the car.
     While we were there we visited Great Wolf Lodge, Ikea, EnterTRAINment Junction, and the Cincinnati Zoo. We had so much fun. I was pleasantly surprised by the train museum. I really thought I wouldn't like it, but we all agreed that we'll be going back. In addition to all of our fun activities, we ate. We did try a few local places...or at least places they don't have here in Indy. A couple of highlights include Quaker Steak & Lube. Be sure to heed their warnings about their hot sauces and order their apple nachos for dessert. Another must-eat is the ice cream at the historic Aglamesis Brothers.  The original on Madison Rd is complete with marble, Tiffany lamps, and of course really good ice cream. Finally, you must have chili in Cincinnati. We decided to go to Blue Ash since it had high recommendations and it was featured on a Food Network show. I loved it for the nostalgic feel and of course their chili  was awesome. (See picture).
      Now that we are back and supposedly on track, it's time for Meatfree Monday. This week's recipe is adapted from Mark Bittman's cookbook Food Matters. I really liked this one and his approach to moderating the meat in your diet. These bean burritos tasted pretty standard the night we ate them, but they were delicious the next day. I almost recommend making the bean filling ahead of time so the seasonings can meld together.

whole wheat tortillas
2 Tbl olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1 Tbl garlic, minced
1 Tbl chili powder
1 lb spinach, chopped
2 cups black beans (I used two cans)
shredded Mexican blend cheese
Pico de Gallo or salsa

  • Heat oil to medium. Add onion and garlic and saute for a few minutes. Sprinkle with chili powder, salt and pepper. Add spinach until it wilts. 
  • Stir in beans. Add liquid if it seems dry. 
  • Put into a tortilla and top with cheese and a little salsa. Roll up burrito style and place in a  panini press to lightly toast the outside.

Meatfree features of the week...
a small collection of my favorite meat free recipes that I come across as I search the web each week. All the recipes that I post from various blogs will be stumbled to bring a little extra love to their posts...and if you happen to be one of my featured recipes you can grab my "I was featured on Meat Free Monday" button for your post.

Pizza Spinach Wraps at Cooking Creation
Don't you think these look awesome?

Caprese Pizza with Pesto at Double Dipped Life
What's my deal with pizza this week? I don't know, but this one looks yummy too.

White Pizza at the Sugar Plum Blog
Well, now I'm I have a pattern that I didn't want to break. This white pizza sounds so good...and a homemade crust to boot!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Double Dipped Oreos

     This week we visited Conner Prairie's Apple store. While we were there, I got my daughter a chocolate covered pretzel rod. As she was eating it I noticed that it was first dipped in caramel, then in chocolate. I tasted it, and it tasted just like a Twix candy bar! Then, I was inspired to try out that dipping combination with Golden Oreos.
     I wasn't sure there could be any improvement to Golden Oreos, but I found out there could. These are so good. It's too bad I only ate one since my husband had to take them to work for a pitch in!
    I think the combinations are time I might try dipping in peanut butter and chocolate or using regular oreos.

1 pkg caramel bits
2 Tbl water
4 squares chocolate candy coating
1 pkg golden oreos

  • Place greased wax paper on a cookie sheet.
  • Melt the caramel bits and water over medium-low heat. Stir constantly.
  • Dip the oreos in the melted caramel and place them on the wax paper cookie sheet.
  • After you dip the oreos, place the cookie sheet in the refrigerator to set for about an hour.
  • Take out of the refrigerator and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. This will loosen up the wax paper so it won't be stuck to the bottom of the cookies.
  • Melt the chocolate.
  • Dip the cookies in the chocolate making sure to cover the caramel on the back side so it won't stick to the wax paper.
  • Set on wax paper to cool.
linked up to
Sweet Treats Thursday

Monday, September 5, 2011

Meatfree Monday: Stir Fry with Teriyaki

     Stir fry is probably one of the easiest ways to go meat free. With all the vegetables, it's so filling and healthy. This time around, I used a frozen stir fry veggie mix and made my own sauce. I prefer this homemade teriyaki to the store bought kind and it has so much less sodium and other preservatives in it. You can also create your own veggie mix too. If you do that, you'll be sure to get all the things you like. This particular one had water chestnuts in it, which I picked around. To each his own.
     I recommend serving stir fry's with rice for an even more filling meal.

Stir fry mix or your choice of cut up veggies
1/2 cup soy sauce
1/2 cup dry sherry
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup ground arrowroot (for thickening)
3 Tbl red wine vinegar
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp ground ginger
1/4 tsp hot pepper sauce

  • Heat about one tablespoon of oil over medium high heat. Add in veggies and cook until just tender. Stir frequently.
  • For sauce: In a food processor, combine all the ingredients for sauce and pulse until smooth. 
  • Top veggies with sauce and stir. 

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Amish Bread Cookies

     I wanted to make some muffins the other day, so I turned to Debbi's blog and all her amish bread recipes for help. I ended up making this Bananas Foster Bread into muffins, and they were so good. Since I still had about a half cup left of my frozen starter, I needed to find another recipe. Following Debbi's link, I headed over to the Friendship Bread Kitchen. I could not believe all the recipes and ideas for using the starter! It was hard to decide, but I finally chose to make a half recipe of the basic cookies.
     Let me tell you, these things are so addictive! They have the subtle yeasty taste of the starter and the perfect chewiness of a sugar cookie. Classic, but just different enough to stand out. I will definitely make these again!

This is a half recipe and it makes plenty! For the full and original recipe, follow the link to basic cookies above.
1/2 cup Amish Starter
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/4 cup applesauce
1/4 cup shortening
1-1/4 cups brown sugar
1/4 cup honey
1/4 cup white sugar
1 tsp vanilla
1 egg
1-1/2 tsp flax seed
1-1/2 Tbl water
1 tsp baking soda
2-1/2 cup flour (take out 5Tbl for whole wheat)
1/4 tsp salt

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F (176° C).
  2. Cream butter, shortening, eggs and sugars.
  3. Stir in rest of ingredients.
  4. Drop tablespoon size dough onto ungreased baking sheet.
  5. Bake 10 to 12 minutes.
  6. ENJOY!
Linked up to 

Special Note

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