Our Autumn Beauty Maple Tree

We have only once deciduous tree in our yard.  It’s a autumn beauty maple (at least I think that’s the name of it).  It gets gorgeous during the fall.  It has not completely turned yet.  However since the lighting is great outside today (sun shining), I decided to take some pictures of it.

Enjoy the beauty:

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

For a long time, I had wanted to try Larabars but was afraid because I didn’t know how they would like it because of the dates.  Once I finally tried one of the bars, I decided it was not as bad as I thought it would be.

This past weekend, I picked my first container of dates with the intention of making some energy balls to eat as a snack and for breakfast.  At first I was going to make regular no bake energy balls but then found a recipe for pumpkin no bake energy balls.  I decided to make them instead.  Oh my goodness, they are delicious!!!!!!!  :)’

The best things about this recipe is you don’t need to bake them.  I also like all the different textures and flavors within one little ball.

 

Pumpkin No Bake Energy Balls

adapted from Gimme Some Oven

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1 packed cup pitted and chopped dates
  • 1/4 c. honey
  • 1/4 c. pumpkin puree (make sure it’s not pumpkin pie)
  • 1 Tbsp. chia seeds or ground flax seeds (I used chia seeds.)
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 c. old-fashioned oats (dry, not cooked) (I used quick oats.  Those worked great.)
  • 1 c. toasted coconut flakes
  • 1 c. pumpkin seeds

Steps:

  1. Combine the dates, honey, pumpkin puree, chia or flax seeds, and spices in a food processor. Pulse until it’s smooth and combined.
  2. Put the mixture into a large mixing bowl.  Stir in the remaining ingredients until evenly combined.
  3. Cover and refrigerate for a minimum of 30 minutes.
  4. Once it’s cool, using a spoon or cookie scoop to shape into desired size of energy balls.
  5. Store covered in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.  (When they are stored in the refrigerator, it helps the energy balls hold their shape.)
  6. Enjoy – Savor the textures and flavor as you are eating them.

Printable Recipe

Coffee

I love coffee so much when we go to Walt Disney in late March/early April, I’ve trying to find ways for me to have my morning cup.  It’s part of my breakfast routine.  Unfortunately they don’t have a coffee maker in the hotel rooms but we have come up with a solution which is buying a resort cup so I can have my coffee in the morning and the rest of the family can use it for other drinks.

Several years ago, I was wanting Keurig.  I thought it looked totally cool and economical because I am the only coffee drinker in the house.  A week for Christmas, I told my mom and Hubby.  They both wanted to get me the machine.  Finally it was my mom who got me the machine and Hubby got me the K-cups.

I love using the K-cups but it can get expensive.  I bought the reusable K-Cup but it was a pain because you had to take the insert out in order to put the filter in.  I still have it but use it rarely.  I got another reusable K-cup but it did not have a flat bottom.  So it was a pain to put the grounds in because the grounds could fall out and get all over the place.  At Easter time this year, I found Cafe’ Cup reusable K-cups.  There was four in a pack with a scoop for the coffee.  I love them because they are flat.  I use them all the time instead of K-cups.  The only problem is from time to time, the lid does not seal.

The best part of using reusable coffee filters is the economical benefit.  I can buy ground coffee for cheaper then K-cups.  One of y favorite brands is the Target’s Archer Farms Ground Coffee.  Some flavors I have liked are the Caramel Apple flavor, Autumn Roast, Pumpkin Spice, S’Mores (summer flavor), and Dark Chocolate truffle (summer flavor).  As you can see, I love flavored coffee.  I usually get it when it’s on sale.

Another coffee I like is from a local coffeehouse – Boston Stoker’s.  I usually 1/2 pounds of this coffee.  Two of my favorite blends are Snickerdoodle and Highlander Grogg.  Both are delicious!!!!

I also like another local coffeehouse – Winan’s Chocolates and Coffees.  I’ve discovered 2 favorites – Cashew Crunch (I believe that’s the name) and Buckeye (which is named after the delicious chocolate peanut butter candy).

Finally my favorite non flavored kind is from Tim Horton’s.

Another benefit from using a reusable coffee filters is not putting all that waste in the landfills.

What is your favorite coffee or even tea?

(No one has reimbursed me for my thoughts on these coffee flavors and reusable coffee filters.)

Mom, What’s For Dinner? ~ Week of November 4

Can you believe it’s November already?  I sure can’t.  Soon it will be Thanksgiving and then it will be the Christmas season.  We decided that this year we are going to go light with Christmas gifts for the boys.  Their big gift is coming in late March/early April when we go to Disney.  I or do you mean Santa will get them something small so they have something to open on Christmas morning.  

This week is my semi-annual parent teacher conferences (late October/early November and then February).  My principal makes sure we are all fed so I don’t have to pack two meals.  However, the boys at home still need to be fed.  

Monday – pork chops and gravy sandwiches, chips, and hopefully veggie or fruit (Parent teacher conferences for myself)

Tuesday – Chicken soup and either pretzel rolls or biscuits

Wednesday – bramble beans with either pretzel rolls or biscuits

Thursday – Teriyaki bbq chicken legs and baked rice

Friday – slow cooker meatballs and spaghetti sauce over spaghetti, salad

Saturday – ?????  Maybe breakfast for dinner or pizza

Buttermilk Biscuits Revisited

This weekend I was reading Mel’s Kitchen Cafe blog about uses of coconut oil.  I’ve had a jar of the stuff in my cabinet forever.  Maybe not that long but long enough.  I started to use it on my body as a moisturizer/lotion.  The Imaginative One loves it because he can also use it for around his lip area and it doesn’t matter if he gets it in his mouth (refined) and our dog loves to lick it off of my fingers.  He has really dry skin so maybe this will help him.

I also got a jar of it for my kitchen so I could cook with it.  I decided to make my buttermilk biscuits.  Instead of butter, I used the coconut oil.  My father-in-law is a diabetic and he can’t remember things at times.  Coconut oil is suppose to be good for those two things.  So he can have one of the biscuits (still has flour (carbs) in it.)

Can we say AMAZ-BALLS!  They were amazing (singing voice)!!!!!  I tried one of them and have to refrain myself from eating the other dozen of them.

Buttermilk Biscuits

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Stars of the recipe:

  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 2 1/4 c self rising flour
  • 1 1/4 c buttermilk (or whole milk with a tablespoon of lemon juice added)
  • flour for dusting

Steps:

  1. Put coconut oil on top of flour.   Cut coconut oil into flour with a long tined fork or pastry knife until crumbly.
  2.  Cover and chill 10 minutes. Add buttermilk, stirring just until dry ingredients are moistened.
  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface; knead 3 or 4 times, gradually adding additional flour as needed. With floured hands, press or pat dough into a 3/4-inch-thick rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches). Sprinkle top of dough with additional flour.
  4.  Fold dough over into itself, like you are folding a piece of paper into a letter, in three sections. Repeat entire process 2 more times, beginning with pressing into a 3/4-inch-thick dough rectangle (about 9 x 5 inches).
  5.  Press or pat dough to 1/2-inch thickness on a lightly floured surface; cut with a 2-inch round cutter, and place, side by side, on a parchment paper-lined or lightly greased  cookie sheet. Try to make sure they touch because this will help them rise higher.
  6. Bake at 450° for 13 to 15 minutes or until lightly browned.   (Mine take about 12 minutes.)

Printable Recipe

 

Foodie Pen Pal – October Edition

This is my one year anniversary of participating in Foodie Pen Pals.  Shania, who lived in New Jersey, sent me my first box.  I remember worrying about her last October because she was in the path of Superstorm Sandy.  Luckily she was fine.  She sent me magnets which is funny because Katie, my partner this month, also sent me magnets.

 

This time I sent to and received from Katie who lives close to Chicago.  For information about what I sent her, please visit her blog.

Here is what she sent me:

Mom, What’s for dinner? – Week of October 28

Happy Halloween!  This week is another crazy week!  I’m going to be cooking dinner this week though.  

Monday – ham, French fries, corn

Tuesday – barbecue chicken sandwiches, chips, veggies

Wednesday – chiropractor and then parent teacher conference for the Imaginative One so I need a quick meal – Pizza

Thursday – ghoulash over noodles

Friday – breakfast for dinner

Saturday – soup and biscuits