Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Weekly Menu for: October 20-26, 2012

I just wanted to quickly say a big "THANK YOU!!!" to all those who have read my blog over the past week. My numbers have jumped quite a bit! Continue checking back, and don't forget to please offer any suggestions, comments, or questions you have for our family blog on here, through my personal e-mail, or through my Facebook page!

There is a large use of potatoes this week on the menu. I bought some earlier in the week, and then a friend from church gave us another bag because she got some as a part of a BOGO free offer, and wouldn't need that many potatoes for just her and her husband. As most of you know, I will rarely turn down free vegetables! *wink*

You'll understand why the breakfast options are only two this week once you see the recipe for Breakfast cookies!

Here's our family's menu for this week! As always, I'll post the recipes within the next few days J


Homemade Granola with milk

Breakfast Cookies


Ham, cheese, and chives scrambled eggs, apple, blueberries, and clementine

Peanut Butter and Raspberry Preserve Sandwiches, cantaloupe, blueberries

Oatmeal chocolate-chip pancakes, apple, yogurt

Ham, cheese, and spinach "hot pockets" (using "Multi-Purpose Dough" recipe found here )


Pirate Booty


Veggie Chips



Spinach Lasagna

Parmesan crusted tilapia (bought already seasoned at farmer's market), Cheesy Mashed Potatoes, steamed mixed vegetables

Pizza topped with chicken, pepperoni, spinach, and tomatoes, breadsticks (using "Multi-Purpose Dough" recipe found here

Potato Soup, side salad, homemade breadsticks


Breakfast Recipes for: October 20-26, 2012


As some of you may know, I've been on the quest for a great granola recipe. My first "real foods" attempt was…spicy and weird. This is my second attempt at doing it. I like the fact that it has brown sugar (you can substitute if you want, but brown sugar is one thing I have no intentions of eliminating from my life anytime soon.), and aside from the brown sugar it is mostly considered "real food". We used this as a substitute for cereal this week, and it was very filling. We also used it as a part of peanut butter granola balls for snack time and the kids love it.

I have no idea where I got this recipe from, but it's a huge step up in flavor from my first attempt.

2 cups rolled (aka old fashioned) oats

¾ c. packed brown sugar

½ c. wheat germ (optional)

¾ tsp. cinnamon

1 c. whole wheat flour

¾ c. raisins

¾ tsp. salt

½ c. honey

1 egg, beaten

½ c. oil (or applesauce)

2 tsp. vanilla

-any dried fruit/nuts/coconut/chocolate chips, etc. desired


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.
  2. Mix first seven ingredients. Make a well in the center.
  3. In the well, add remaining wet ingredients (except the dried fruit, etc.).Mix well.
  4. Fold in dried fruit, etc. that you are using.
  5. Pat the mixture evenly into the baking dish.
  6. Bake 30-35 minutes, or until edges turn golden. Cool for 5 minutes, then cut into bars (or chunks if making for cereal, to top yogurt/ice cream, etc.) and remove from dish.


Breakfast cookies

From: Martha Stewart Magazine

Makes- 8 mega cookies, 16 super large cookies, or 32-48 normal-large sized cookies(see below)

I must warn you in advance- this makes a LOT of cookies! Even with my "seconds please!" bunch, these cookies lasted us a week! You may need to use the biggest mixing bowl you have to make this. I don't have very big mixing bowls, and found out the hard way that if you're not prepared, you will make a HUGE mess with it! I ended up using the ceramic bowl from my crockpot to finish- it was THAT much cookie dough by the end! But, even with the transferring bowls (and the large amount of butter…) it was totally worth it! And don't let the name fool you, these cookies are good for breakfast, snack, dessert, or just about anytime you want a sweet cookie! These cookies are proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy. Trust me- they are that good.

2 c. whole-wheat flour

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 ½ tsp. baking soda

½ tsp. coarse (or sea) salt

4 sticks butter, room temperature

3 c. packed dark-brown brown sugar

4 large eggs

1 TBS. plus 1 tsp. vanilla

4 c. rolled oats

1 c. Raw chopped almonds (can be found in bulk dried goods section of most supermarkets)*

½ c. raw pumpkin seeds*

½ c. raw sunflower seeds*

½ c. shredded unsweetened dried coconut*

½ c. raisins or currants*

½ c. chopped dried mango*

¼ c. finely chopped papaya*

1 cup dried banana chips*

*If you can't find a certain dried nut/fruit in your local grocery store, just double-up on the ones that you can.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  1. Whisk together flours, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl.
  2. Beat butter in an extra large bowl with a mixer until light and fluffily. Add sugar; beat until well combined. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla; beat until just combined.
  3. Slowly add flour mixture, and beat until well combined. Add oats, dried nuts and dried fruits, and beat to combine.
  4. Form dough into large cookies(the original recipe says 1 cup each for 8 mega cookies, or ½ cup for 16 larger than normal cookies, but I just used a large serving spoon and got about 32 cookies). Place on 2(or more, I ended up using 4) parchment-lined baking sheets.
  5. Bake until golden and firm, 15-25 minutes (depending on size of cookies). Let cool completely on baking sheets, 25-30 minutes. Cookies can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week.



Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Dinner Recipes for: October 14- 19, 2012

Not-Fried Cheesy Chicken
This is a very flexible recipe. You can make it according to what you have and what your family prefers.
Makes: about 8-10 servings
2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken (your choice-breast, tenderloin, or thighs)
1 cup Italian breadcrumbs (see below)
2 eggs, scrambled
4 Tbs. butter, melted, plus extra for pan (see directions, optional)
½-¾ cup shredded cheese (your choice- cheddar, mozzarella, or Monterey/Monterey Jack, etc.) to taste
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. Put eggs in a small bowl and breadcrumbs in a medium bowl. Spray a 9x13 inch baking dish with cooking spray, or rub bottom of pan with butter
  2. Dunk chicken into eggs, and then put egg-coated chicken into bowl with breadcrumbs. Make sure both sides are covered with breadcrumbs.
  3. Put chicken in baking dish.
  4. Mix ½- ¼ cup cheese with remaining 4 Tbs. butter. Spread mixture on top of breaded chicken pieces.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

You can buy breadcrumbs pre-made, or you can make your own. Recipe adapted from Family Fun- To make 1 cup, all you'd need is 2 pieces of your favorite bread, torn up and pulsed in a blender or food processor until crumbled. If you want to make them Italian, all you have to do is add Italian seasoning mix. Most stores sell it. You can toast it in the oven a few minutes if you want to brown it, but I'm not very good at this so I can't speak of it from experience. I tend to burn things trying to toast them(I tend to think anything in the oven=a chance to sit down and read a story to the kids, or check Facebook…thus why I burn things that only need to be in the oven for a small amount of time).

Cauliflower Macaroni and Cheese
Makes 8 servings
I found this from Family Fun
2 Tbs. butter, plus more for buttering the dish
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Cup breadcrumbs (see recipe, above)
1 small head cauliflower (to make about 7 cups of small florets)
1 lb. macaroni
12 oz. sharp cheddar, grated
1 cup sour cream
Salt and pepper
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Butter a 9x13 inch baking dish with additional butter
  1. Put a large pot of water on to boil and salt it heavily. Make sure to taste it. If it's not as salty as seawater, add more salt.
  2. While the water is coming to a boil, melt the butter in a medium pan over medium heat and sauté the garlic until it's fragrant, about 2 ½ minutes. Add the bread crumbs and stir them in the butter and garlic just until they're coated, 30-45 seconds. Set the bread crumbs aside.
  3. Cut off the end of the cauliflower. Discard any ragged leaves (if you have a reptile or other vegetarian pet, feed these to him/her-check it's not toxic to them first!) Cut the head into very small florets and, if you like, thinly slice the stalk.
  4. Check the pasta package for the cooking time. Stir the pasta into the pot of boiling water. When there are 8 minutes left, add the cauliflower. If the pasta takes less than 8 minutes to cook, start with the cauliflower, and then add the pasta at the right time. Just make sure the cauliflower cooks 8 minutes!
  5. In a heat-proof bowl, mix the cheese and sour cream. Place over top of boiling pot of cauliflower/pasta, stirring the mixture occasionally until melted(This is optional, I mixed the two together and skipped to step 6, and everyone said it came out fine). Add pepper to taste.
  6. If heating cheese/sour cream mixture, remove the sauce carefully using oven mitts once the cheese is melted. Once the pasta/cauliflower is tender, reserve ½ cup of the cooking water, then drain the pasta and cauliflower. Return them to the pot, add the cheese/sour cream mixture and the reserved pasta water, and stir to combine. Add salt to taste.
  7. Put the pasta and cauliflower in buttered 9x13 baking dish. Sprinkle the bread crumbs on top, and put the pan in the oven.
  8. Bake about 12-15 minutes, until the bread crumbs are browned and the sauce is bubbling. Serve hot.

Multi-purpose Dough
The original recipe uses this dough for pizza, but I've found at least three uses for it since I've had the recipe- pizza, breadsticks, and dough for hot pockets. I've tried a lot of pizza dough recipes, and it seems as though they either took too long, didn't yield the results I hoped for, or weren't very friendly towards other uses. This one doesn't take too long, yields a healthy (and yummy!) result, and as I mentioned earlier, is very multi-purpose friendly.
You can bake it as intended immediately, or you can also freeze or refrigerate the dough until you need it. Just make sure to punch the dough down and wrap it tightly in plastic wrap if freezing it. Thaw it for 2-3 hours at room temperature or in the fridge overnight.
Makes- 1 large pizza crust, about 10-20 breadsticks (depending on how big you want them), or about 10-15 hot pockets
1 1/3 cups warm water
2 ½ tsp. (or one ¼ oz. package) active dry yeast
1 tsp. sugar
2 ½ Tbs. olive oil
1 ¼ cups whole wheat flour
¾ toasted wheat germ
1 ¼-1 ½ cups bread flour, plus more for dusting
1 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
  1. In a large bowl, stir together the water, yeast and sugar. Set the mixture aside until bubbly and foamy, about 5 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, mix together the wheat flour, wheat germ, 1 ¼ cups of the bread flour, and salt.
  3. After yeast mixture becomes foamy and bubbly, stir in the olive oil.
  4. With a wooden spoon, slowly mix the flour mixture into the yeast mixture. You may need to work the last bits of the flour mixture into the yeast mixture with your hands.
  5. Sprinkle a little of the bread flour onto a dry work surface.
  6. Put the dough onto the work surface, and knead the dough until it's soft, about 10 minutes. If it's too sticky to handle, add a few tablespoons of bread flour into the dough as you knead it.
  7. Put a little oil in the large bowl you used for the yeast mixture. Place the dough in the bowl and roll it around to coat the dough with oil.
  8. Cover the bowl with a kitchen/hand towel, set it in a warm spot (on your stovetop, etc.), and let rise for about an hour or until double in size.
  9. Once double in size, use the dough as intended. See below for ideas.
  10. Bake about 10-20 minutes, let cool a few minutes before serving.

For Pizza-
Roll out onto pizza pan or baking sheet. You can lightly dust the pizza pan or baking sheet with flour or cornmeal. Top with your choice of sauce, cheese, and veggie/meat toppings. Bake 20 minutes
For Breadsticks-
Roll out dough and cut into 10-20 pieces with sharp knife/pizza cutter. You can either twist the dough or leave the pieces as they are. Lay dough pieces onto a lightly dusted baking sheet, optional (see "For Pizza"). For garlic breadsticks- Melt 5 tablespoons butter. Mix melted butter with ½ tsp. garlic powder. Brush onto dough pieces. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
For cheesy garlic breadsticks- melt 5 tablespoons butter. Mix melted butter with ½ tsp. garlic powder and about ¼- ½ cup cheese of your choice (cheddar or mozzarella or a mix of both). Brush onto dough, follow directions for garlic breadsticks.
For Hot pockets-
Roll out dough until it's about as large as it would be for a pizza. Cut into about 10-15 squares with sharp knife or pizza cutter. Add desired fillings (don't pile it on!), making sure to leave some space on each side of the square. Stretch and fold the dough overtop of the filling. Place on a baking sheet. Bake 15-20 minutes.
If you have any questions or suggestions about any of the recipes, feel free to comment below or contact me on my Facebook page!
Happy Cooking!



Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Breakfast Recipes for: October 14-19, 2012

BLT Quesadilla Wrap
Makes- 1 wrap
1 homemade tortilla (see recipe, below) OR 1 flour tortilla
1 tsp. butter
¼ cup shredded cheese
3 slices cooked bacon
2-3 tomato slices
A little spinach, lettuce, or any other leafy green you have available
Ranch/mayo/honey mustard dressing (your choice)

  1. Heat large skillet with medium heat. Melt butter on skillet. Lay tortilla in the skillet and add bacon and cheese. Fold in half with a spatula, and cook 2-3 minutes on each side until both sides have brown spots and tortilla is somewhat crispy.
  2. Transfer quesadilla to a plate, open carefully. Lay leafy green and tomato down the middle. Drizzle dressing of choice. Roll or fold tortilla.
  3. Enjoy!
Homemade Tortillas
You can use these immediately, or make them and fridge/freeze them for a later time.
Makes 6-10 tortillas
1 tsp. salt
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups flour
1/4 cup shortening or lard
  1. In a mixing bowl, combine salt and flour.
  2. Add shortening or lard to flour mixture. Working mixture with your hands, smoosh the shortening or lard into the flour. It may stick to your hands at first. Just keep smooshing until it comes to fine, even crumbles in the bowl.
  3. Add water mixture slowly, still mixing with your hands until mixture is chunky. If using whole wheat flour, you may need to add a few additional teaspoons of water to make it wet and chunky.
  4. Turn onto a floured surface, and knead gently about 5-10 times, or until it forms together into one big ball.
  5. Divide big ball into 6-10 balls (depending on what size pan you're using, or how big you want them).
  6. Sprinkle a clean, dry surface with some flour. Roll each ball  to desired size with a rolling pin.
  7. Cook in a (pre-warmed) skillet on medium-high heat for about 30-45 seconds per side until browned (or a few brown spots appear).
    *NOTE* it might sizzle a little when it hits the pan. If it starts smoking, reduce the heat.

Raspberry Cheesecake Oatmeal
Makes- 1 serving
½ cup old fashioned oats
½ cup unsweetened milk OR
½ cup vanilla flavored milk
1 mashed medium banana
Splash of vanilla
2 Tbs. softened cream cheese
1 tsp. powdered sugar or more (suit to taste)
1 Tbs. raspberry preserves
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Combine oats, milk, vanilla, and banana. Pour into a lightly greased baking dish.
  2. Combine cream cheese and powdered sugar. Put in a plastic Ziploc bag, snip off one end and squeeze two horizontal lines (space apart!) on top of oatmeal.
  3. Put raspberry preserves in another Ziploc bag. Snip off one end and squeeze two horizontal lines in between cream cheese lines.
  4. If desired, drag a knife over the cream cheese and raspberry lines to create a zigzag swirl
  5. Bake 20 minutes. Enjoy!

Pumpkin Spice Donuts/Muffins
Paleo-friendly! Thanks Heather from A Sweet Simple Life :D
1 cup almond butter
4 eggs
¼ cup raw or regular honey
2 tsp. vanilla
½ tsp. Sea or regular salt
½ tsp. baking powder
2 tsp. cinnamon
2 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
Honey to drizzle
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
  2. In a medium bowl, put almond butter. Beat with a hand mixer until creamy. Add eggs, honey, and vanilla. Continue to beat until thoroughly blended.
  3. Add salt, baking powder, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice. Mix well.
  4. Place donuts in a well greased donut/muffin pan or an 8x8 baking dish. Bake 12-15 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the middle comes out clean.
  5. Let cool 10 minutes, remove from pan. Drizzle with honey just before eating.


Monday, October 15, 2012

Weekly Menu for: October 14-19

Food is such a big part of our lives. I've debated on if I should share with everyone our weekly menu or just stick to topics related to our lives, and I've decided I need to do both. But since I have very limited time to blog today, I'm just going to post the menu. Later on this week, I'm hoping to post the recipes for each menu item.

When it comes to cooking, I've learned to try and work smarter not harder. I could easily cook a different meal, every meal, everyday, but I would be too exhausted to do much else by the end of the day (Ask me how I know this…). So, instead, I plan out three or four things to make for each meal and just double it.

Lunch is becoming my easiest meal of the day, because of a wonderful "friend" of mine on Facebook who runs a blog called, My4kiddos "Cooking and Homeschooling". She is a "real foods" lover, and does some wonderful lunch menus on her blog. If you want to see her lunch menus or recipes, click on the link below.

Now, without further ado…my menu for this week! J
BLT Quesadilla Wraps
Raspberry Cheesecake Oatmeal
Pumpkin Spice Donuts
Corn on the cob, strawberries, slices of cheese from a cheddar block, hard boiled egg
Toasted bagel thin with Peanut Butter and Banana slices, strawberries, clementine, granola peanut butter ball.
Cheesy Quesadilla, banana, cantaloupe, raspberries
Apple slices
Granola Peanut Butter Balls
Brown bag popcorn with butter, salt.
Not fried Cheesy Chicken, rice, broccoli
Cauliflower Macaroni and cheese, mixed veggies
Pizza with chicken, bacon, tomatoes topping, breadsticks, simple salad

What about you? Are you trying out any new recipes this week? Feel free to share them here or on my Facebook page.

Trying not to stuff my face with food,