Saturday, February 28, 2009

Keep on Dreaming!

Awhile ago I made a post about my gratitude for our son Jade (click here to read)
and ended with a link to the song
"The Impossible Dream".

On a related note, my husband and kids
love this Honda advertisement using that same music.
It makes us laugh and cry every time!
Great message... just keep on dreaming bigger!




It's funny to us how the guy starts out on a classic Honda "mini-bike"
because we have a mini-bike (1971 Honda CT-70)
and we have had many years of fun on it.
We look pretty funny ourselves as three people
pile on it and ride it around our neighborhood.
*********************
Here's some pics from 2004 & 2005 of my boys enjoying our 'mini-bike"!
Memories....
I enjoy a walk down "memory lane"
on a weekly basis!
Ethan was always an excited kid
when we pulled out the motorbike to ride.


Ethan is really excited to "push the buttons"
and make it go!


Before we put in our yard we had
piles of dirt everywhere to climb!


Getting Ethan all ready for Jade to take him on a ride
(the year we got our yard in!)


WOO HOO---I can drive this!
You better hang on tight Ethan!!


The joy of kids enjoying "Simple pleasures"!
This makes me smile everytime!!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Sunshine!

I was SO excited to walk in the house this afternoon and have the sun shining in our windows so brightly!
I had to snap a quick photo of it because it was so beautiful!

It has been a very grey, bleak, cold week and we have had very little sunshine.
**********************
Sunshine feeds my soul and gives me so much energy!
It's amazing how much the grey sky can actually
"drain your energy" and make you feel unmotivated!

3 weeks from today is the first day of Spring
(
can't wait for tulips and blossoming trees!),
March 8th we go on Daylight Savings
and I am looking forward to have more LIGHT at the end of the day!

Sunshine is welcome
ANYDAY at my house!

************
I've got to go and figure out dinner for my kiddies
because it's my favorite day of the week.
DATE NIGHT with my SWEETIE!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

For the love of Buttermilk!

Ahh....Buttermilk, I don't know what I would do without you!!
Buttermilk is a staple in my house and it is used to make our weekend Buttermilk pancakes, many of my muffin recipes (click here) and also Biscuits.

*************

Tuesday was a hectic day because I have been trying to get my house "organized" (thanks to Ann Marie)....

Last week Jade was sick for 3 days,
Saturday Tracy and I spent all day working in our food storage room and
Sunday was church
and so it meant that when I went to work on Monday I had piles of laundry in the laundry room and piles of paper to go through piled all over the kitchen table.
It was driving me crazy!!

I told myself that I wouldn't do email or Blog
until these 2 things were taken care of and that would be my reward.
**************

I reflect
often on a quote that was given to me by one of my favorite people in the world Joleen in one of the community classes she taught and it has stuck with me and I can truly attest that this is true:

"Family members get along with each other better and are happier when they leave the house in the morning and happier when they walk in the door each night when TWO things exist:


1. The house is in order

2. There is a plan for dinner"


Which leads me to my Tuesday.
...
Planning and making dinner takes time out of your afternoon and since I wanted to get these 2 projects done (so I could have my sanity back), it meant that when Tracy called me at 5:45 to tell me he was on his way home I asked him if he could figure out something for dinner.
S0 he stopped by Albertsons and grabbed an 8 piece chicken from the deli for $4.99 and then he called me and told me to make up some
"instant potatoes", "country gravy" and a "can of corn"
from our food storage and some "buttermilk biscuits"
(as he wanted to have our own KFC dinner at our house).


I have to admit it, even though I'm not a fan of "cheap food" it was delicious! We each ate a piece of chicken (and put the other piece in the fridge to have for lunch the next day) and we really felt like we were eating a meal at KFC!
(Since we only ate 1/2 the chicken the chicken only cost $2.50 and the rest of the items were less than $1.00 versus spending $15.00 to $20.00 going to eat at KFC).

The thing that made this the yummiest was the
HOMEMADE Buttermilk Biscuits
(which were ready in less than 20 minutes from start to finish and cost pennies to make).

Thanks to husbands who make their wives burdens lighter by adding some "man meals" to dinner once in awhile.

(funny sidenote....Tracy said that while he was getting the chicken, Albertsons was having some extreme coupon special going on and women were running around piling lots of Pillsbury GRANDS biscuits, cookie mixes, Fruit Gushers, etc.... into their carts. He came home and told me how much he is grateful that I can take simple ingredients and cook almost anything from scratch).

I'm the LUCKY one to have a hubby
who is so appreciative and thoughtful!
*******************
By always having Buttermilk on hand, it means that if we don't have any bread, I can whip up a batch of Buttermilk biscuits in less than 20 minutes and they are the perfect compliment to any soup.
They also make great "Egg Biscuits" for breakfast
and are yummy with fruit smoothies.
*****************
TIDBIT...if for some reason you don't have any buttermilk you can always add 1 Tbsp of vinegar or lemon juice to each cup of milk and let it stand for 5 minutes to "Sour" and you will have buttermilk to add to your recipes.

Yummy, flaky Buttermilk Biscuits!!
Hot Buttermilk Biscuits
(really easy and really good)
2 cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
3 teaspoons baking powder
¼ teaspoon baking soda
3 Tablespoons butter
2/3 cup buttermilk

Sift together dry ingredients. Cut in butter until mixture resembles coarse cornmeal. Add buttermilk all at once. Stir lightly with fork. Knead gently on lightly floured board. Roll ½ inch thick. Cut with 3 inch round cutter. Place on baking dish with biscuits touching. Bake at 450 degrees for 12-15 or until lightly browned.
*****************************

My hubby Tracy
is our weekend breakfast Chef
and he makes either of these pancake recipes
for our weekend breakfasts!

YUMMY!!
Light & Fluffy Buttermilk pancakes
Whisk together:
1 cup flour
2 tsp. sugar
¼ tsp salt
½ tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda

Microwave the following for 30 seconds (twice until butter is melted)
1 cup buttermilk
2 Tbsp. butter

Then whisk into the milk mixture:
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

After wet ingredients are whisked together add to dry ingredients until just barely mixed.

Cook on 380 degree skillet using ¼ cup scoops.
Cook 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side

Enjoy with REAL maple syrup and butter!
(also great topped with
fresh strawberries and blueberries and vanilla yogurt)
*********************
Whole Wheat Buttermilk pancakes
(mix together)
1-1/4 cup whole wheat flour
¼ cup wheat germ
2 Tbsp. sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt

(whisk together wet ingredients)
1-1/2 cups buttermilk
¼ cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla

Add wet and dry ingredients together until just barely mixed. Let stand 10 minutes.

Cook pancakes at 380 degrees on oiled skillet. Use ¼ cup scoops
and cook 3 minutes on the first side and 2 minutes on the second side.


These are the yummiest topped
with real butter and either a fruit syrup or home made jam.


Our Tradition on the weekends is we usually make light and fluffy pancakes on Saturday morning
and Whole Wheat pancakes on Sunday morning.
They are such a yummy treat that we look forward to all week because the rest of the week we have “
steel cut oats for breakfast each day.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sunday Sweet & Sour Chicken Stir-Fry!


I
guess you could say that we aren't your typical family
that has Roast and potatoes for Sunday dinner.
In fact, for years to keep Sunday simple we would just have grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup for Sunday dinner and our big meal would be on Monday before Family Home Evening.

However, Tracy has created the most fabulous stir-fry that has become a family favorite and that is what we had this week and most Sundays.
This is very economical and tastes better than any Chinese takeout I have ever eaten, PLUS, it doesn't have all of the extra sugar, MSG
and deep fried meat that most Chinese Sweet and Sour has in it.
******************
Our kids really look forward to our Sunday dinners
and this dish tastes even better the 2nd day.

Sunday Sweet and Sour Chicken Stir-Fry
(this is often our Sunday meal , instead of doing a roast like most families do.
We look forward to having the leftovers in our lunch on Monday!)


2 chicken breasts
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp corn starch
1 onion
2 Tbsp olive oil

Cut up chicken into bite sized pieces and coat in soy sauce and cornstarch mixture. Sauté meat along with chopped onion in olive oil until chicken is browned.
Add ½ cup water and simmer covered for 10 minutes stirring twice.


(sauce)
1/3 cup vinegar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 cup chicken broth (or 1 bouillon cube in 1 cup water)
1-1/2 Tbsp corn starch
¼ tsp garlic powder

(veggie mixture—cut all veggies thin)
5 carrots
3 stalks celery
1 bell pepper

Add sauce to veggies and then add this to the chicken mixture. Return to a boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes stirring often.

Add in 1 cup pineapple and ½ to 1 cup cashews until heated through.
Serve over rice.


(optional veggies: broccoli, zucchini, fresh corn, summer squash, etc….)

RICE:
(white rice)
2 cups of rice into 4 cups of boiling salted water. Cook 20 minutes

(brown rice)
2 cups of rice into 4 cups of boiling salted water. Cook 45 minutes.
******************************
How Frugal is this meal?
The chicken cost $1.50
The sauce cost about .30
Onion cost .19
Carrots and celery .75
Bell Pepper .69
Pineapple .39
Cashews $1.00
Rice .66

TOTAL---$5.48

This meal fed 4 people 2 dinners and 3 people 1 lunch

This means each meal we ate cost about $1.82.
WOW! I would sure rather stay home and eat Chinese
than go and spend over $20.00 on 1 meal,
PLUS
, this has a minimal amount of sugar in it (compared to how much sugar is in Sweet and Sour chicken at a Chinese Restaurant), no MSG and it doesn’t have deep fat fried chicken in it either..

***********************************

NOW, what to do with all that extra leftover rice you have...
another favorite of ours..."Rice Pudding".
Rice Pudding
1 cup Rice
2 cups water

Put on stove and cook until almost dry.
Add 2 cups milk (I use POWDERED MILK)and
cook at lowest heat about 1- ½ hours.

Beat
1 egg, ¼ cup sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1 teaspoon lemon extract, ½ teaspoon cinnamon and ½ cup raisins.
Add to boiling rice and milk.
Cook for 2 minutes and then take right off heat.

***************
(this great to make up and night
and then eat it in the morning for breakfast!)
***************

Thursday, February 19, 2009

French Bread and some yummy soups!

Since we have been working on our storage room, my wheat grinder has gotten moved to a corner and I haven't had access to it to grind up some wheat
and so I have been making French Bread,
OR, Multi Grain Bread (click here)
every week instead.

Even though it's not as healthy as whole wheat bread,
it is still homemade from ingredients I control
and it is quick and easy to throw together in the afternoons after work.
It tastes delicious and makes yummy sandwiches as well.
***************
It sure makes eating soup more fun
if you have a slice of homemade bread to go with it!

French Bread

Mix and set aside.
½ cup warm water
1 tsp sugar
2 Tbsp yeast

In a Kitchen Aid Mixer:
2 Tbsp Olive oil
3 Tbsp. Sugar
2 tsp salt
2 cups HOT water

Add yeast mixture to above ingredients, mix well.
Add 1-1/2 cups wheat flour and ½ cups unbleached white flour. (this will be lumpy). Add 3-4 more cups unbleached white flour until you have soft dough...it should be soft, not overly sticky, and not stiff (I add in 3 cups of flour and then add in more flour in 1/4 cup intervals until you have a nice soft dough)
Knead and put in a greased bowl and let rise for one hour. Punch down every 20 minutes.
Punch down and then divide dough in half, roll into 2 large rectangles, roll into French loaves.

Put loaves on greased cookie sheet and let raise for 20 more minutes.
(I cook my French Bread on a baking stone)

Slash top of the loaf 3 or 4 times and brush with beaten egg white.
Bake at 350* until golden brown (about 20-25 minutes). This bread is a treat!
***********************
Here are some yummy soups
we cooked up this last week.

The Cabbage Soup can be made with cabbage, broccoli or cauliflower
and is very economical to make as well.
************************


Broccoli, Cauliflower or Cabbage Soup

In a large pot in a little bit of olive oil cook:
1 large chopped onion
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped ham
Cook until onion/celery are soft.

Then add:
2 cups chicken broth (or 2 tsp boullion in 2 cups water)
1 cup chopped carrots
1 large bunch of broccoli chopped (or you can use 1 head cauliflower or 1 head cabbage)
1 to 2 tsp Lemon Pepper

Add just enough water to barely cover vegetables.
Cook until veggies are tender.
Add (1) 8 ounce package of ‘LIGHT” (Neufchatel) Cream cheese.

Cook until cheese is melted. Enjoy!


****************************
How Frugal is this soup?
Well, I got cabbage for .33 for a HEAD of cabbage (not per pound)
The ham was about .30
The onion was .19
the celery and carrots were about .75
the bouillon and seasonings were about .15
and the Cream Cheese was .99
.....SO our soup cost us $2.71

(even if the cabbage would have cost more, it still makes this meal under $5.00
and we got 3 different meals from it)

This fed 4 people 2 dinners and 2 people 1 lunch!

Very economical and nutritious way
to feed our little family of 4!


Beef Stew (over mashed potatoes)
1-2 pounds of stew meat (or cut up roast)

Dip
stew meat in flour and coat well.
Cook in olive oil in a skillet until well browned.

Put cooked meat in a large pot.

Deglaze the skillet with 1 cup of red wine, OR 1 cup apple juice/cider, OR 1 cup chicken broth (any of these 3 will work)
Get all meat scrapings into liquid of your choice and cook for 1 minute. Pour this mixture over meat. The skillet is now clean.


Add more olive oil to skillet and cook
1 large onion until browned and soft. Pour this over meat mixture. (you are now done with the skillet)


To the meat mixture—add:
2-1/2 cups chicken broth (or 2 bouillon cubes in 2-1/2 cups water)
1 can Italian stewed tomatoes
1 cup chopped carrots
1 cup chopped celery

Simmer 45 minutes.
Serve over hot mashed potatoes.

This is the most filling, yummy dinner! It’s one of our favorite!

***************************

HELPFUL TIP!!
If you have a more tough” cut of stew meat, I made up this stew for the whole cook time and then threw it in my crock pot for 2 hours on high and it made the meat VERY tender, but yet the veggies were still tender-crisp.
****************************
How Frugal is this soup?
Well the meat was FREE as my parents are very generous and give us quite a bit of meat during the year from their cows,

HOWEVER, if I would have bought meat
it would have been about $1.99 per pound.

The apple juice was about .25
The onion was .19
the celery and carrots were about .75
the stewed tomatoes were .79
the bouillon and seasonings was about .15
The potatoes were FREE
but if we would have made paid for them it would have been about .50 for potatoes.
.....SO, our stew cost us $2.13

(if I would have paid for the meat and potatoes
the soup would have cost $4.63)


This fed 4 people 2 dinners and 2 people 1 lunch!

I love thrift!!!

****************************

And don't forget dessert! This is my basic cookie recipe and I have been making up alot of PLAIN oatmeal cookies to save on chocolate chips. The kids don't seem to mind them and these give you GREAT energy!
Kimberly’s Cookies
(very versatile recipe)

1 cube REAL butter
½ cup white sugar
½ cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ cups unbleached flour
1 cup oatmeal (enough to make a nice dough)
½ teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoon salt

(add in your choice of chocolate chips, chocolate/butterscotch chips mixed, M&M’s or GUMDROPS cut into little pieces)


Cream together sugar and butter.
Add egg, vanilla, salt and soda.
Then add flour and oatmeal.
Then add in chocolate chips, M&M’s or gumdrops.
Bake in 375 degree oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly browned. ENJOY!

*************************
This is a basic recipe that I use for all my cookies. At Christmastime I add in cut up gum drops…during holidays I get holiday M&M’s and add in….
also a combination of chocolate chips/butterscotch chips is good,
OR, my favorite RAISINS,
but the thing that I put in the most is
just plain ole semi-sweet chocolate chips).
These are always a hit anytime they are made!



Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Gratitude!!

Thankful for Jade!!
Well, it was back to work and school after having a wonderful 3 day weekend!!

It started off as normal day and the afternoon was pretty typical, until Tracy called me at 3:50 and told me that Jade was at the High School because he had a seizure on the bus.
WHAT? (I said to myself)
---how could this be. Another seizure?!?


(the sweetest part of the whole day was when I picked Jade up and I was asking him who he was sitting by on the bus and if there was anyone he knew on the bus , etc... and then he said "Gosh mom, thanks for the yummy lunch you sent me to eat today". What a sweetheart Jade is....always thinking of others, even when he's just had an ordeal himself).
In January (2004) when Jade was in 4th grade he collapsed in our hallway and was having full body convulsions, turning purple and then dazed for about 20 minutes after this happened. Before we could get him to the hospital this happened 2 more times.

Tracy knew that Jade was having a seizure, but we didn't know why and quite frankly we were both scared and worried that we might lose our son.

Well, they ran every test possible and they couldn't find anything abnormal in his brain. We even took him to Primary Children's hospital and they couldn't find anything wrong either.
They told us he had "Idiopathic" Epilepsy (of unexplained origin)...
meaning he has seizures, but they don't know why.
And so for the next 2 years every 6-8 weeks Jade would have a "seizure day" and would have 3-6 Gran-Mal seizures in a 12 hour period.

These are were hard on Jade and he would be physically exhausted
and sleep all day, hardly waking up at all.
The next few days of school would also be hard as he would try to remember things and couldn't.

(I think it was hardest on us as parents watching our sweet son going through all of this and feeling absolutely helpless not being able to do anything to help him).
Well from March of 2006 to May of 2007 Jade didn't have any seizures at all and so we worked really hard that summer weaning him off his seizure medication
as he did NOT like taking it as it made him feel like he was always in a fog
and numbed his senses.
He took his last medication in August of 2007
just a few days before he started school.
Jade was 1 thrilled kid
to be off his medication!

************
It was SO nice for Jade to finally feel like a normal person!! We felt like Jade was out of the woods. He went from August 2007 to November 2008 doing great. However, the day before Thanksgiving Ethan found Jade on the floor of his room having a seizure.

I was feeling so grateful as a mom that this was an "early out" day for the kids and that Jade was having a seizure in his home and not on the bus in front of his peers.
It's really hard as a parent to admit that your child has Epilepsy, but Jade does and it is not something that is going away anytime soon.

The saddest thing of all is that Jade has struggled his whole life with learning disabilities. He is a few years behind all of the kids his age in reading math and social skills and for him to have to struggle with Epilepsy on top of this leaves me saying: "Life is just not fair for my son"!
*************
However, he is "bright" in many areas and is excelling in art,
which I am thankful for.
There is nothing that a parent wants more than for their kids to have
SUCCESS in life!
I am amazed that through all of this Jade just remains a happy, kind hearted kid and never complains and he is always caring about others problems more than his own. He is amazing in this way and he teaches me ALOT!

So, each day I wake up with gratitude in my heart for a loving and kind husband who cherishes me as much as I cherish him and for two healthy boys who show me what life is REALLY all about!

I wouldn't change my life for anything...challenges make us stronger and the good days far out weigh the bad days!
Jade teaches us to keep putting
"
1 foot in front of the other"
and we can make it to the top
of any mountain we choose to climb!


As a side note...
Thanksgiving Day 2008 (the day after Jade had a seizure)
I sang in a local choir presentation at the Rexburg Tabernacle.
One of the numbers was performed by a local opera singer with an amazing baritone voice...
he sang the song

"The Impossible Dream"
My husband, who is usually "stoic" was in tears as he thought about Jade and the struggles he'll have succeeding in life.
Here is a link of Andy Williams singing this song...
listen to all the words, it's touching!

(link)
The part that really gets Tracy is:
"This is my quest, to follow that star,
no matter how hopeless, no matter how far...."


***************
I
"Cherish Every Moment" and wonder what I ever did to be blessed with such wonderful, amazing kids and the worlds greatest hubby!
Life really is GOOD!!

Monday, February 16, 2009

Some of Life's Greatest Treasures.....

Friendship!
I love and appreciate all of the many friends that I have and it makes any day better when I get a phone call or email from a friend or when I see them when I am out and about. I cherish friendships!

I am also appreciative of new friendships that I have made, with the most recent one made just a few weeks ago
Tracy was trying to find photos of different food storage room ideas and came across a great photo on the following Blog:
Click here:

I made a comment on her Blog and then she commented on my Blog and we became friends. I just wanted to let Ann Marie know how much she has inspired me greatly in the area of “organization” as I am a neat and tidy person, without much rhyme or reason to how my closets and drawers are organized and I can’t believe how much I have learned from her.

I LOVE her great ideas and fun sense of humor and she has made me have gratitude in my heart for different things that I have taken for granted in my life. My last post on Valentines Day I had taken all of the photos and had my post written, but I ended mentioning being grateful for love letters from my Sweetie because of something that Ann Marie had mentioned on her Blog.
Thanks for helping me reflect on the wonderful things that I have going on in my life Ann….I appreciate it immensely!

*************

Family!
What a wonderful blessing family is!

We went and spent part of President’s Day weekend with my parents in Utah. My dad just had shoulder surgery last weekend and we couldn’t make it down because of different obligations we had going on and so I wanted to go and spend time with him.

He is doing better than I expected and he really wants to get feeling better. It is making him go crazy to not be able to do anything and so we hope in the next few weeks he will be able to start doing more.

Tracy and my brother were able to help him do the chores of taking care of his cows and we helped shovel walks and just had a wonderful time visiting, eating my mom’s yummy meals and watching movies. I also gave my dad a fresh hair cut.
It was just a great time!!

My dad has had some different health problems that have developed over the past few years and so I am SO grateful to have him here with us
and treasure every moment I get to spend with him!!
My Wonderful Dad!

Family MEMORIES...
memories from the last few get-togethers we've had with my family!
My Wonderful Mom's
60th Birthday Celebration!


Wagon Ride singing Carols
at Christmas Time!


Adorable Cousins acting out the Nativity!!
nat 08
dec 08
nov 08

Friday, February 13, 2009

I'm in the mood for what....?



Valentines Day 2009!

It's funny how kids LOVE Traditions! Jade is in the Jr. High this year and they don't exchange Valentines there and so I thought I wouldn't have to make as many cookies. WRONG....Jade came home on Wednesday and told me his teachers were SO excited to try his moms "Pink Cookies". So, I was silently telling myself..."My son knows we have a Valentine Cookie Tradition and that thrills me", but I was really thinking, I am going to have to make up more cookies than I intended too....when I am going to find the time to do that?!?
I'm grateful for a son who is proud of his parents and enjoys having Traditions and things to look forward to. I'm also very lucky to have a hubby who takes the time to create "Family Fun" in our home and so grateful for appreciative kids!!

Well, everything came together and the cookies turned out great. PLUS, I finally got to take photos of MY pink cookies to put on my Blog.
(click here for recipe)

Here is a photo of Ethan and I after we got the first batch made.
Ethan is such a good helper!!

I
LOVE Valentines day and I really enjoy my "Holiday Jar" that I have in my living room. I bought it at WalMart and Tracy painted the lid for me to look like "tarnished copper".
This is a jar that is always full of treats for the holidays
and this month it has been FULL of
Red Hot Cinnamon Lips!!
********
At Easter I fill it with Easter M&M's,
*******
during the summer
it is full of "Red and White" Salt Water Taffy
*******
and during the Fall
time it is full of "Candy Corn Salt Water Taffy".
*******
That way when company comes over we can offer them a little treat.
(HMMM....I wonder if that is why our neighbors kids love coming over so much...they always seem to raid the candy jar!) (wink)

My Holiday Jar!!

I feel SO blessed to have such a loving and kind husband, who feeds my soul in everyway. This Valentines day I am grateful for all the little "Love letters" that he has written to me over the past 18 years. They are my treasures!
I'm thankful for a husband who always compliments me (even on my worst days) and who always has a heart of gratitude and cherishes everything that me or the kids do for him.
*********
I am grateful to have a husband who is on the same page as me in every aspect of life, who appreciates all the "little things"
and who fills my everyday with laughter, joy and sunshine!
**********
He is the first person I want to see in the morning , the person that I want to hear from in the middle of the day
and the last person I want to see before I go to bed.
He is my everything and truly the Love of my Life!
Happy Valentine's Day!


Tracy + Kimberly =
"True Love"
This is my favorite card Tracy has ever given me...he was on a business trip in Denver Colorado and brought me home this card (the LOVE POTION card) with a Love Letter written inside it. He always either makes or finds the most unique and clever cards....he can even take a post-it note and make it into a work of art.
He is a doodler and always does some kind of illustration or doodle along with kind, loving words
that make a simple piece of paper something that I want to keep forever!!

I cherish my life with Tracy!!
(and am grateful for the LIFETIME
"love affair" that I am having with him!)

(collage)

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Muffins and Eggs saved my day!!

First...I know that my Blog has been very "Random". If I waited until I could do it perfectly the way I want to, than it would never get done. I am just posting things on my Blog as they happen in my life as far as meals, thoughts, events and so I hope it remains interesting and enjoyable to read!

So how could muffins and eggs save the day??


First the Muffins...

I usually make muffins a few times each month and try and freeze 1/2 of the batch. There are several times each month that we either don't have leftovers, beans/tortillas for "roll-ups", OR bread to make sandwiches for our lunches and so MUFFINS save the day
because I pull them out of the freezer...
add either a boiled egg OR string cheese,
throw in an apple
and a handful of carrot sticks
and we all have a LUNCH to take
(so we don't have to buy school lunch or buy something at work).

Here are my favorite muffin recipes.....
Regarding the Bran muffin recipe; Tracy and I have Bran muffins and stewed prunes (I know we're getting old) when we go on our cruises for breakfast every morning and I was so thrilled to come across this recipe as it is the closest I have been able to find to the ones we had on the ship. These are our favorite!


Cereal Muffins
2-1/2 cups whole wheat flour
2-1/2 tsp soda
½ tsp salt
2 cups ALL BRAN cereal (OR 3 cups quick rolled oats)
1 cup boiling water
½ cup melted butter
½ cup brown sugar
½ cup white sugar
¼ cup wheat germ
2 eggs beaten
2 cups buttermilk

Combine whole wheat flour, soda and salt….set aside. In a large bowl stir together bran cereal or oat cereal and stir in boiling water…cool slightly To the cereal mixture stir in butter, sugar, wheat germ, egg and buttermilk. Add in flour mixture, stirring just until blended.

To bake… spoon batter into buttered muffin cups about ¾ full. Bake in 375 degree oven for about 25 minutes or until golden. Makes about 2-1/2 dozen muffins.

If you don’t have anything to make sandwiches with for lunch,or leftovers, you can always boil up an egg and grab a muffin, take an apple and it makes a yummy lunch.

************************
Pumpkin Muffins
½ cup REAL butter
¾ cup sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 ½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon soda
¼ teaspoon salt
2 cups flour
1 ½ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon cloves
1 cup pumpkin (or leftover squash)
¾ cup raisins OR chocolate chips

Mix all ingredients together and bake at 350 degrees for 20-30 minutes. These are really good and freeze well.

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Oatmeal muffins
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup buttermilk
1 large egg, beaten lightly
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 cup dried currants (I use dried cherries…..raisins would work well too, OR blueberries)


In a large bowl, combine oats and buttermilk and let stand 1 hour.

Preheat oven to
400°F. and grease twelve 1/2-cup muffin tins.

Add egg, sugar and butter to oat mixture, stirring until just combined.Into another large bowl, sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda and add to oat mixture, stirring until just combined. Fold in currants.

Divide batter evenly among prepared muffin tins. Bake muffins in middle of oven until golden and a tester comes out clean, about 20 minutes. These freeze well.

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How could eggs possibly save the day?
Well, having the sometimes hectic life that we do there are those occasional nights where I don't have time to make anything for dinner and so EGGS save the night! (thanks to our wonderful chickens who provide us more eggs than we can use)

While we all love Fried eggs and toast, I like to throw in some veggies and make what my kids call "Omelette Eggs". (although Tracy doesn't think that's a good name for them, my kids do and so that is what I call them).

PS.....contrary to Old School Belief, eggs are healthy. Check out this link for some good documentation on this topic:
(click here)

FRUGAL TIP: I enjoy buying a big ham at Christmas time and Easter time and then cooking it in the crockpot at night and we enjoy it for breakfast the next morning. NOW the frugal part....I cut the ham in small pieces and divide it into "snack size" bags and then store it in the freezer and then anytime we need some ham for eggs, OR a bean dish I just pull out a bag and add it in. It's saves so much time and money to have things like this on hand.

Omelette Eggs
1
tsp. butter
1/2 a bell pepper, finely chopped
2
finely chopped carrots,
2 large slices of onions finely chopped
and 1/2
snack size bag of ham that I pull from my freezer.
6-9
eggs (depending how many you want)

Saute
ham and veggies in 1 tsp. butter until the veggies are tender (5-10 minutes). Add in another 1 Tbsp. butter and crack in eggs and scramble all together.

This is a yummy and fun way to get your kids eating more veggies. And it's an inexpensive dinner or breakfast also.