Tuesday, April 28, 2009

A New Tradition

For two weeks now, my bigger boy and I have gotten up before Dad and the little boy to make breakfast together. It has been a special treat to work together and make something special for everyone. Many people have probably had this sweet "Monkey Bread" before, but I have a couple tricks up my sleeve for cutting down the calories (if that is even possible for Monkey Bread) and making it faster.{Sunday Morning Sweet Bread}
1 can refrigerator biscuits
1/3 pkg butterscotch pudding powder
4 Tbsp butter
3 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon

Take out your bundt pan and spray "lightly." Open the bicuits, cut each biscuit into quarters. Roll each quarter into a ball, and drop in a single layer in the bundt pan. Sprinkle with the butterscotch pudding powder (only 1/3 of a box). Mix together remaining ingredients in a saucepan. Stir until melted and combined. Pour over the bicuits in pan. Bake according to biscuit instructions, maybe a minute or two longer. (I know, very precise.) Remove from oven and let rest for 5 minutes. Invert onto a serving plate. I make a simple, thin frosting to drizzle over the top.

My big boy loves to roll and squish the dough to form the balls. He is also very good at helping me count measurements for the ingredients.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Did you know . . .

That the Pretzel gets it's own National Day. Yeah, it's true. So in honor of it being National Pretzel Day, I share our family's adventure in pretzel making. I used this recipe that I found, but I cut it in half. No problems. They tasted great!My big boy helped mix, roll, and shape the pretzels. Although, I think, his favorite part was dipping them in the soda water; followed by eating what he had made.

{Homemade Pretzels}
Combine: 1 1/2 C warm water with 1 1/2 pkts dry yeast
Add: 2 Tbsp brown sugar and 1 tsp salt
Add: 1 C bread flour and 3 C regular flour
Knead until smooth. Place in an oiled bowl and let rise for 1/2 hour.
Mix together: 2 C warm wate and 2 Tbsp soda
Pinch of some dough and roll 12-14 inches in length. Dip into the soda water, and shape into a pretzel. Brush with melted butter and sprinkle with coarse salt. Bake at 450 degrees for 10-12 minutes.

This Week's SHORT Dinner Menu

Sunday - flank steak, Grandma's rice, Tri Colore Orzo Salad, asparagus
Monday - BBQ Chicken Salad (black beans.grilled corn.jicima.cilantro.pepper jack cheese.grilled chicken.avocado.bbq ranch dressing)
Tuesday - leftovers

We're off to Mexico (maybe, who knows with this Swine flu issue). I'll see you in 2 weeks! Or, maybe later this week - darn, swine flu . . .

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Oh, the BBQ . . .

Bless the warmer weather we are having. A few weeks ago, I was cursing the snow. Yeah in April, what's up with that??? Now, the weather has given way to some sunshine, days in the yard, walks to the store and the park, and playing outside. And, of course, the GRILL.

Well, I had seen this episode of Boy Meets Grill on Flatbread. And it all looked so tempting. So, Saturday night gave way to pizza on the grill. We did use Bobby's recipe for flatbread but, I thought, it lacked a little flavor. Next time, I will add more salt and some honey to bring out some more flavor! We did the suggested Herbed Ricotta and Tomato flatbread (with pesto), which my littlest one LOVED! And, two of our personal favorites - Award winning Pizza and a funky version of BBQ chicken mixed with Hawaiian.

It was a fabulous Saturday night dinner!

Things I Would LOVE to Have in My Home

The Beaba Babycook Yes, I am getting beyond this phase of life now. But, who could help themselves. Watch the video here and, I guarantee, you're going to want one too! I'll start saving my pennies. Plus, combine it with this recipe I just found and I may just get some variety into my little one.

Kid's Cookbook The toddler loves to cook, and I am always looking for ideas to involve him in our cooking. This book may be just the thing to freshen up our repertoire. Slightly more attainable in price. You can find it here and on Amazon.com.

A gal from Church has these for her kids. I saw them up on the wall at our last Freezer Meals Cooking Night. She said that her kids really like it. And, I am always trying to encourage healthy eating over the usual, "Mom, I get one fruit snack a day." A phrase I hear too often. Go here to get them for your kids. I will be purchasing and posting about our success with them, so check back for first-hand reviews!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Celebrate the Earth!

It is here again, Earth Day! The wonderful thing about crossing the year make is that I can look back to see what we did last year! I think that this year will be Earth Cookies. And since I didn't get to these cookies, I can still use the Meringue Powder that I had to hunt down.

Monday, April 20, 2009

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Cannelloni, Aunt Terri's Salad, Peas, and "Artisan Bead" (from the 5 minutes a day book)
Monday - Potstickers, Chow Mein and Sweet & Sour Pork (Last two for the Chinese counter at the grocery store)
Tuesday -leftovers
Wednesday - The husband has a work dinner. The rest of us will be having Tomato Soup with "swimming" fish crackers and Grilled Cheese sandwiches
Thursday - Tuxedo Salad
Friday - Tacos
Saturday - We'll see, this will force me to go to the store on Saturday . . .

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Artisan Bread on a Sunday Afternoon

Recently, I check a book out from the library titled "Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day." I had seen it mentioned on other sites and I was curious if it was really possibly. Well, the idea is that you make a large bath of dough and, then, store it for later use. I decided to try it.

I mixed up a half batch (2 loaves) on Sunday morning to eat with dinner that night. Followed the instructions and left it in the fridge while we went of to Church. Now, comes the tricky part, I had a meeting directly following Church so I left my husband in charge of the bread. He was nervous, but we read through the book together and HE DID IT! The bread turned out great. The only thing I forgot to mention to him was to make one, not two loaves.
{Artisan Bread}
makes 4 loaves
3 C warm water
1 1/2 T yeast
1 1/2 T kosher salt
6 1/2 C flour

Mix water, yeast, and salt together. Add in flour. DO NOT knead the dough. Cover and let rise until the top starts to cave back in (about 2 hours). Place into the refrigerator for at least 3 hours.

When ready to bake, remove the dough from the refrigerator. Cut off a grapefruit-sized ball of dough. Gently shape the dough by pulling the dough around to the bottom, forming a smooth ball. Place on a pizza peal dusted with cornmeal. Let rest for 40 minutes.

20 minutes prior to baking, preheat the oven and pizza stone to 450 degrees. Place a broiler pan below the stone while preheating. After 20 minutes of preheating the oven is ready. Dust the top of the dough with cornmeal and slash the top. Move the dough to the stone, and quickly pour 1 C water into the broiler pan. Bake for 30 minutes.

Herbed: 1 tsp thyme and 1/2 tsp rosemary
Baguette: Form the smooth ball, then, gently stretch to shape baguette. Brush the top with water and slash it. Bake for 25 minutes.

Monday, April 13, 2009

This Week's Dinner Menu

Sunday - Easter dinner with family
Monday - "Clean out the fridge" nachos
Tuesday - Tuxedo Salad
Wednesday - Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Crostini
Thursday - Wedding Reception (That I planned!)
Friday - Recover and Eat Out
Saturday - Pizza

Sunday, April 5, 2009

This Week's ABREVIATED Dinner Menu

Sunday - Thai food at home with friends (Mussaman Curry with beef and potatoes, Phad Thai, Chicken Satay, and Sticky Rice with strawberries)
Monday - takeout Pizza
Tuesday - Baked Ziti, salad, green vegetable, bread
Wednesday & Thursday - my husband is out of town on business, so we'll be eating leftover and whatever else is in the fridge and fast.
Friday - Church Potluck (I haven't decided what I'm taking yet.)
Saturday - hmmmm . . . .


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