21Mar

Saying yes.

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Today has been one of those days…we’ve had a lot of them lately.  Something about that lost hour has really affected my boys this time around, and we’re just now getting back to normal around here.  So, I decided to drown my grumpiness in cupcakes.

The boys, of course, were quite excited as well.  It came time to ice them, and  I hear an excited voice, “Can I help put the icing on?”

Big sigh inside.

I can do this infinitely faster without their particular brand of help.

I was in no mood to have a short task turned into a long one, or to clean up the mess made by a 3-year-old and a 5-year-old trying to put icing on cupcakes.

Everything in me said “No.”

I reasoned that they were getting cupcakes, and fun colored icing to boot…that’s treat enough, right?

But in that moment, another little voice reminded me that these days are fleeting. We all hear it so often, and we all know the truth of it.

That other voice also reminded me that living with a mom who suffers from depression means that my kids get less fun mommy moments than I would like.  There are far too many “no’s”.

So, in that moment, I grabbed a couple extra snack-sized bags from the pantry before I could give myself time to think about it.

They had so much fun.

It was worth the mess.  And you know what I’ve found? It almost always is.

Note: If anyone is interested, I simply made homemade butter cream frosting (similar to this recipe, although you could use store bought as well), and then colored it with food coloring. I put it in zippered baggies, and cut a small hole in one corner to squeeze out the icing. It helps if you refrigerate it for a bit, so it’ll be firm. Otherwise the heat from squeezing on it makes it kind of melty.

Concentrating:

 

Logan’s favorite part (licking the icing off his fingers):

Caeden was actually pretty good at it:

Having Fun:

And, of course, the best part:

When is the last time you said “yes” to spontaneous fun with your kids?  What inspires you to have more fun moments?


 
06Mar

Cinnamon Swirl Quick Bread

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I couldn’t get a very good picture of this bread, but I wanted to share the recipe anyway because it’s so yummy :) This is a slightly modified pinterest recipe…so you can see a better photo there.  And, this is one of those great breads that just gets better with age, so let it sit a while. I made some to share with our Sunday School class last week, and it worked out perfectly because I made it on Saturday and then let it sit wrapped up overnight.

 

I’m usually an icing queen, so I was all ready to make some for this bread, but it really didn’t need it.

 

What you Need (Batter):
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
What you Need (Filling)
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon

What to do:
1. Preheat oven to 350, and prepare (grease) loaf pan.
2. In a large bowl combine flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar.
3. Add egg, milk,  and oil to flour mixture, stirring just until moistened.
4. In a small bowl, combine 1/2 cup sugar and 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon for filling.
5. Spread 1/3 of the batter into bottom of prepared loaf pan. Sprinkle 1/3 of the cinnamon sugar  onto the batter.  Continue to layer 1/3 of batter and 1/3 of cinnamon sugar.

When you sprinkle the final third of cinnamon sugar on top, use your spoon or a knife to swirl the top layer of cinnamon sugar lightly into the batter mix. You don’t want it to be completely mixed up, but you do want the sugar to be slightly moistened by the batter. The cinnamon-sugar on top creates a nice crusty yumminess–almost like a streusel, but not quite.
6. Bake at 350 degrees for 50-60 minutes.

 

And, enjoy :)


 
20Feb

Homemade Chicken & Dumplings

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I shared this photo with my weekly meal plan, and received several requests for the recipe. I’d been dragging my feet with this one, but here it is.  This is comfort food at it’s best for me! One of my favorite meals, and it’s frugal. The entire recipe costs less than $2 using homemade chicken broth.

Note: I like my dumplings to be more firm/tough and not fluffy. Also, I prefer the broth to be thinner, as opposed to a thicker gravy.  So, if you like fluffy dumplings in a thick broth? These are not going to be for you.

Also, the absolute BEST way to make these dumplings is with crock pot chicken and homemade chicken stock. I worked it into my meal plan this week, but sometimes I just make the chicken, pick it all off and then freeze it. I also freeze the homemade chicken stock separately, so that I can make them whenever.

What you need:
7 cups homemade chicken stock (If you don’t have real, homemade chicken stock, I recommend Knorr’s Homestyle Chicken Stock–no, I’m not being paid in any way to say that!)
-Additional salt/pepper to taste
-About 2 cups of shredded chicken

For the Dumplings:
-2 cups all purpose flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/4 tsp baking soda
-1 tsp. salt
-4 tbsp. butter
-1 cup chicken stock (taken from the 7 cups given above)

What To Do: 
-Heat up 7 cups of chicken stock. I usually turn it on at med-high heat and let it heat up while I’m making the dumplings. When it starts getting warm, remove 1 cup of the chicken stock to be used for dumpling dough.

To make dumpling dough:
1. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Cut in butter.
2. Mix in warmed chicken stock/broth.  Add flour as necessary to make the dough more workable.
3. Knead your dough for about 5 minutes, or until it becomes smooth.
4. Roll out your dough to about 1/4 inch thick, and cut into pieces (about 1 inch), using a pastry cutter or pizza cutter.

-By now, your remaining 6 cups of broth/stock with shredded chicken should be boiling pretty good. Add dough pieces, dropping them in one at a time. Stir gently so as not to crush or squish them together. (Some people put the extra flour in too, for a thicker gravy but since I prefer mine a bit thinner, I don’t do this. Some of the flour from the dumplings still thickens up your broth a bit so it isn’t watery)

-Cook on medium for about 5 minutes, then turn down to simmering for about 10 more minutes.

And serve.  The dumpling broth is great over mashed potatoes too :)

And there it is…let me know if you have any questions or if something isn’t clear. It’s actually easier than you’d think.

(For more recipe ideas, check out: Tasty Tuesday,  The Country Cook)


 
11Feb

Frugal Meal Plan, 2/11

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We ended up making changes to our meal plan last week, and having different things than what I’d planned, so some of the meals this week are carried over from what we didn’t have last week.

Monday

Lunch:  Leftover Roast Beef
Dinner:  Spaghetti with salad and garlic bread (Caeden plays Upward from 6-7, so we wanted something quick to eat around that)

Tuesday
Lunch:  Brown Rice w/ Veggies and tomato slices
Dinner:  Cheesy Bacon Chicken (pictured above), with green beans, tomato slices, cheesy mashed potatoes, and homemade breadsticks.

Wednesday
Lunch:  Leftover Brown Rice w/ Veggies
Dinner:  Fellowship dinner at church

Thursday
Lunch:  Ham Roll-ups with veggies
Dinner: Breaded pork chops with fried potatoes and green beans (on our meal plan last week, but we didn’t have it)

Friday
Lunch:  Out (I have a dr. appt at 11:00, in a town an hour away.)
Dinner:  Valentine’s Day Date!!! Yay :)

Saturday
Lunch:  Out (traveling)
Dinner:  Chicken pot pie casserole

Sunday
Lunch:   Leftover Chicken pot pie casserole
Dinner: leftovers/sandwiches…something simple since we go to Awana at 5:30.

(For more meal planning inspiration, check out: Menu Plan Monday, This Week For Dinner, The Better Mom)


 
04Feb

Butter & Herb Broccoli

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What you Need:
12 oz package frozen broccoli
2.5 tbsp. butter, melted
2 tbsp Italian seasoned bread crumbs
½ tbsp parmesan cheese
¼ tsp Garlic Herb Mrs. Dash (Love this stuff!)
¼ tsp Salt

What to do:

1. Cook broccoli to crisp-tender

2. Whisk together melted butter, seasoned bread crumbs, parmesan cheese, Garlic-Herb Mrs. Dash, and Salt.

3.  Pour butter mixture over broccoli, making sure it’s evenly coated. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, just enough to let all the flavors get really soaked in.

We all enjoyed this side dish.

(For more recipe ideas, check out: Tasty Tuesday,  The Country CookFor the MommasFamily Table Friday)


 
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