I have parent teacher conferences this week. My principal provides my dinners but the boys and Hubby need to still be fed. I have slow cooker kits in the week. I’ll put one of those meals in the slow cooker on Monday and another on Wednesday so they have supper.
The rest of the meals are recipes from my blog. We’ll have fun revisiting these recipes.
Links to the recipes on my blog:
Waffle House Waffles
Root beer BBQ sauce
Mac and Cheese
I’ve come up with a new idea for Tuesdays. There might be a tip every Tuesday or every other Tuesday.
On Saturday, we tuned into “America’s Worse Cooks” on the Food Network. It was interesting watching those novice cooks trying to work their way through the kitchen. If they knew some tips and tricks in the kitchen, they might have had an easier time while in the kitchen.
This week’s tip is one that I used today. When I went to use my brown sugar, I discovered it was completely hard. So I used my back up plan.
Did you know brown sugar is just granulated sugar and molasses? Dark brown sugar has more molasses in it. I actually learned this while reading one of my favorite book series – Joanna Fluke’s Hannah Swenson series. She provides different recipes and tips through the book along with the mystery. I don’t remember which of the books I found the tip but Hannah or one of her friends did not have brown sugar so she suggested using molasses in granulated sugar.
To make your own brown sugar:
(I added more sugar to the bowl after I took this picture.)
After making the brown sugar.
DIY Brown Sugar
Stars of the recipe:
- 1/4 c. granulated sugar
- 1 tsp. molasses (not blackstrap), more or less depending on your taste (Use cooking spray on the measuring spoon before measuring the molasses.)
- In a mixing bowl, combine the sugar and molasses until incorporated.
- Use in your recipe or as a topping.
I have a few ideas for other tips. Do you have any other tips you would like to see?
The boys and I have had cabin fever lately. We’ve been either sick or the weather has not been nice. So far we’ve had between 42 and 45 inches when we normally get about a foot of snow during the whole winter. Our first snowfall was a week before Halloween. That is also unusual. Anyway on Saturday, we went to Home Depot for a free DIY session for the boys. They had fun hammering and creating their own race car. Afterwards we went to Starbucks and Meijers to grocery shop. The Imaginative One hates to grocery shop but because of his cabin fever he didn’t mind.
They got some foods they enjoy but I don’t normally buy for them. They also got to get a Valentine’s treat because all the Valentine’s Day merchandise was half off. Of course the Imaginative One got chocolate and the Wee One found a stuffed animal. After grocery shopping, we ate lunch at Frisch’s Big Boy. The server was great because she gave us coupons for free kids’ meals. I made sure I left her a tip for that.
Our last stop was to Tropical Smoothie. I get text message deals from there. They sent me a Valentine’s Day deal for buy one smoothie get one free. The Imaginative One loves the Jetty Punch Smoothie so this was a nice treat for him. After we got home, we took our dog over to my mother-in-laws’ house to be groomed. He was glad to be out of the house but wasn’t too happy to be groomed.
Onto the menu: We are going to be trying new recipes and eating a recipe that has one of the highest amounts of views. Hopefully the family will love these recipes.
Links to the recipes on my blog:
Baked French Fries
Baked Spaghetti (One of the most viewed recipes on my blog.)
Easy Rolls or Buttermilk Biscuits
In the last week, we’ve had homemade pizza twice. Last Sunday I made a pizza for our Sunday night dinner at my mother-in-law’s house. We then had it for supper on Saturday night. I tried two new crust recipes and enjoyed the second one. In fact, Hubby told me that the pizza was great on Saturday night. Coming from a man who works in the pizza business that is a compliment.
The only problem with having homemade pizza is the Imaginative One does not like pizza. He likes a few kinds but overall will not eat pizza at all. He is allowed to eat something else for dinner when we have pizza. It’s usually a peanut butter and jelly sandwich.
The Wee One loves pizza and could have it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if allowed. We had gone to the Home Depot for a DIY project for the kids earlier on Saturday. They gave him an apron to wear when he’s doing projects. He’s decided it’s his cooking apron. He put it on to help me put the sauce, pepperoni, and cheese on the pizza. We had strawberries for dessert and he put on the apron to help me prepare the strawberries.
While the pizza was baking, he watched the timer and would give me updates that were usually “2 minutes until 7 minutes.” So cute and funny!
Onto the recipe:
That’s the Wee One’s hand – He was fake cutting the pizza.
Stars of the Recipe:
- 1 c. warm water (105 -115 degrees)
- 1 Tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2-1/2 c. flour
- 2 Tbsp. olive oil
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. sugar
- Make sure the water is 105 to 115 degrees Fahrenheit so the yeast can dissolve. Add the yeast to the water.
- After the yeast is dissolved, add the rest of the ingredients to your mixing bowl.
- Using either your mixer or with a spoon, mix the ingredients.
- Knead your dough either using a mixer or with your hands on a clean floured surface for about 3 to 5 minutes.
- Place dough in greased bowl covered with a damp towel. Allow it to rise in a warm place. (This is the first time I’ve tried using my oven. Turn it onto the lowest temperature. Mine was 170 degrees. Then turn it off and allow the dough to rise for 30 to 45 minutes.
- Spread out on a cooking pan or pizza stone. Top with sauce and your favorite toppings.
- Bake at 450 degrees for 15 to 20 minutes.
If you don’t have enough time you can do steps 1 through 4. Skip step 5. Then do steps 6 – 8.
The Imaginative One could live on chocolate, popcorn, and French Fries. I’ve started baking my French Fries. He loves them and will eat any fries left on the tray.
The first hundred times (maybe not that much), it would take the fries a long time to bake which doesn’t help when I have to get dinner on the table between 5 and 5:10 so hubby can eat and get to work. So I decided to do something different. I cut up the potatoes and then out them into a microwaveable bowl, cover the potatoes with water (about an inch above), and then parboil them in the microwave for 5 minutes. Then I drain the potatoes, spread them on a greased cookie sheet, and then bake. They turn out perfect.
To cut the potatoes into fries, I first cut the potatoes in half length wise. I place one of the half flat size down and cut it half. I then cut each half in half once again. If the fries are still too big, I once again cut it in half. If not, I place it in the pile of fries. I repeat with the other halves. Here’s what the look like after I cut the potatoes:
Here is the potatoes in the water:
I used my 8 cup measuring cup so the fries were able to stand up in the water.
Baked French Fries
Baked French Fries
Stars of the recipe:
- 2 – 4 potatoes
- Cooking spray
- Salt or your Frenchy fry topping
- Preheat oven to 425 degrees
- Cut the potatoes into French fry sized slices.
- Place in a large bowl.
- Cover with water.
- Parboil in microwave for 5 minutes.
- Remove from microwave and drain.
- Place on a cookie sheet that has been slightly sprayed with cooking spray. Make sure it’s in a single layer.
- Bake in oven for 15 to 20 minutes.
- Turn the oven up to broil.
- Broil for 4 more minutes.
- Remove from oven.
- Sprinkle salt or your favorite topping.
So this week I decided to do something different with my menu planning. Instead of typing it out on the blog, I used PicMonkey and used designer to type up my menu on. Isn’t it cute?
On Tuesday, we are having the soy sauce pork chops. My father-in-law used to make them all the time so this is a tribute to him. It’s been almost 2 months since he passed so I thought this would be a great way to remember him.
Wednesday is on your own night because the Imaginative One’s parent teacher conference. I’ll be going there on the way home from work so I won’t be able to fix dinner before Hubby goes to work.
Links to recipes:
The Imaginative One could live on 3 different foods – chocolate, popcorn, and French fries. Sometimes in the evening, he’ll pop up some popcorn to eat as his nighttime snack. I’ve shown him how to make microwave popcorn without all that mess that’s in microwave popcorn. It’s as easy as 1 -2 -3 to make. Now instead of grabbing a bag of microwave popcorn, he’ll grab a paper bag, a measuring cup, and popcorn kernels.
That’s all you need: a paper bag, a measuring cup, and popcorn kernels. Oh you’ll also need different popcorn toppings.
First melt some butter or coconut oil or use a little extra olive oil. Then add whatever topping you want.
Here is a list of possible popcorn toppings:
- ranch dressing (Or buttermilk ranch – add some buttermilk powder to your ranch dressing spice blend)
- taco seasoning
- Greek seasoning (one of my fav’s)
- garlic powder (Use extra virgin olive oil.)
- cinnamon and sugar
- pumpkin pie spice or 5 Chinese spice
- a Tbsp. or 2 of mini chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, butterscotch chips, or white chocolate chips. Don’t use butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. Add while the popcorn is still hot.
- Italian seasoning (Use extra virgin olive oil.)
- Parmesan cheese (Use extra virgin olive oil or butter.)
- Barbecue seasoning blend (Use butter.)
or you can go for the old standby, salt.
The Imaginative One loves only butter and that’s the only time he’ll eat anything with butter.
The medicine I was given yesterday really has helped me feel better. Plus the 11 hours of sleep I got last night has really helped me. I’m still not at 100% but I’m at least at 70%. Much better than I was feeling 3 days ago.
My father-in-law had diabetes and blood pressure issues. For a few years at Christmas time, I would buy him treats he could enjoy. These treats contained low sugar and low sodium. He also couldn’t swallow almonds all that well and I would buy him lots of almonds. He kindly told me not to any more. Plus he hated coconut. So what did I get him? I would go to Trader’s Joe and get him various nuts but not almonds with no salt, pumpkin butter, and Larabars.
I thought Larabars looked interesting but did not try them for the longest time because I didn’t know what the dates would taste like. I know, I know I’m such a chicken. Then when I did I was hooked. They are so good.
This Christmas I had planned to make him some homemade ones. In fact, I bought the dates the Friday before his death. It took a month or so after his death to make the homemade ones for myself. I ended up making coconut cream ones which I know he would have hated.
Let me tell you, they are delicious!!!!! I would take one of those and a cheese stick and would be set for breakfast. Yummo!
(Sorry I don’t have a picture of one. I forgot to take one but will post one as soon as I make another batch.)
Click on the recipe so you can print it.
My Whole Food Life
I haven’t been posting any recipes or my menu plan this week. Last week I battled a nasty sinus infection. I thought I got better from it. Then my boys got sick. They were very sleepy and weren’t eating very much. The Wee One ended up staying home from school for two days last week. Fortunately the Imaginative One got sick over the weekend so he didn’t miss school.
Monday night came and I started to come down with a headache and sore throat. It was persistent into Tuesday, Wednesday, and into today. I went to Doctor’s Urgent Care and it isn’t the flu or Strep A. I’m on antibiotics for it. I’m not allowed to go back to work until Monday. Since I was basically down for two days I haven’t been in the kitchen or at the computer.
Tonight was the first time I was able to tell Hubby what was in the fridge/freezer that he could cook up or warm up. His mom provided their supper last night and we did Tim Horton’s the night before. I’ve been just trying to force myself to eat something. Food is not too appealing to me right now. It looks good but doesn’t taste the I would expect it to. The bummer is that I’m not digging chocolate right now. 😦 I’ve enjoyed cuties. I also craved Whopper Jrs. and Dr. Pepper. Hubby got me those after the doctor’s appointment. He was glad I wanted to eat something.
So when I feel better I’ll be back to blogging.