27 September 2011

Welcome, Fall.

I'm not trying to hurt the other seasons' feelings, but I just want to wish Fall a happy welcome. We all know it won't last long enough, so let's treat it kindly while it's here. ;)

*Tuesday: Homemade Macaroni & Cheese (see recipe below)--unfortunately my 2 year old learned about Mac & Cheese. For some reason she's starting to request it more and more (why is it cute when she asks for Hummus, but not as cute when it's "mac & cheese!"?). So I'm going to make us both happy. I think I may even experiment and throw some roasted Sweet Potatoes in the casserole. We all love them around here, and it seems like it would add a nice extra flavor to the pasta & cheese. I love finding recipes that don't require meat (I'm not a vegetarian--but we try to eat meat sparingly), but easily fill my family up. This would be one of them.

*Wednesday: Glazed Salmon with Parmesan Squash wedges

*Thursday: Leftovers

*Friday: Panera Bread--I'm feeling extra lucky these days in the coupon department. We got a flyer in the mail the other day that offered 3 free kids meals at Panera Bread. This happens to be one of my kids' FAVORITE places ever. And since Burke will be working late tonight, I'm making our dinner easy and taking the kids out!

*Saturday: Our friends--the Wilkinson's--are coming from Michigan for the weekend. Pretty sure they've never tried Chicago Style Pizza, which means Giordano's is in order...

*Sunday: General Conference Breakfast: THESE Cinnamon Rolls and Baked Eggs (the recipe Burke prides himself in being able to make perfectly every time--see recipe below) General Conference Dinner: Chicken Enchiladas with Black Beans, Lime Rice & Guacamole


-2 c. uncooked elbow macaroni
-2 TBSP finely diced onion
-1 tsp. salt
-1/4 tsp. pepper
-3 c. shredded cheddar cheese
-1 large sweet potato, diced into small cubes
-2 c. thin white sauce*

Heat oven to 375*. Cook macaroni as directed on package; till tender. Place sweet potatoes on baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil. Add salt and pepper. Roast in the oven until tender, about 30 minutes, stirring once. Place half the cooked macaroni in ungreased 2 qt. casserole dish. Sprinkle with half of the onion, sweet potatoes, salt, pepper and cheese; repeat layers. Pour white sauce over all. Cover; bake for 30 minutes. Uncover and bake 15 minutes longer.

*White Sauce
-1 TBSP butter
-1 TBSP flour
-1/4 tsp. salt
-1/8 tsp. pepper
-1 c. milk

Melt butter in saucepan over low heat. Blend in flour, salt & pepper. Cook over low heat, stirring until mixture is smooth and bubbly. Remove from heat. Stir in milk. Heat to boiling, stirring constantly. Boil and stir for 1 minute.


-1/4 c. butter
-18 eggs (beaten)
-1 c. sour cream
-1 c. milk
-2 tsp salt
-1/4 c. green onions, chopped
-1 c. chopped ham (or bacon, sausage, etc.)
-1 c. cheese, grated
-1/4 c. green pepper, chopped

Preheat oven to 350*. Melt butter in the bottom of a 9x13 pan. Mix all remaining ingredients together in a large bowl. Pour into prepared pan, and bake for 45 minutes.

19 September 2011

Sort of giddy around here...

*To go with our soup & bread on Thursday, I decided at the last minute to make my first ever Peach Jam. It was SO simple and SO delicious on the warm fresh bread. And it's always fun to bake bread in miniature pans leaving me with a few extra loaves to take to neighbors.

I can't stop smiling when I think of fall being just around the corner. Sorry to you "summer lovers" but I'll take the chill in the air, leaves falling from the trees, sweaters, soup & baking any day of the year. And now, for my "excited it's almost fall" weekly menu:

*Monday: Baked Potatoes (broccoli, corn, cheese, tomatoes, and other yummies on top)

*Tuesday: Corn Cakes--I was instructed to try this recipe "pronto", so here it goes. I'm especially excited about the ripe avocados I found on sale to go on top!

*Wednesday: Had a request for THIS, so we'll eat ours with a yummy green salad

*Thursday: Taking dinner to the sweet Ames family--Broccoli Cheese Soup (also had requests for this...but I've been waiting for it to get a little chilly out...and it finally is!) & homemade bread (scroll down this link for the "Lottie Roberts Recipe")

*Friday: Headed to MI for the weekend. I'm sure we'll think up some tasty dinner for tonight!

17 September 2011

A Saturday Lunch...

My little Ellery really really likes Hummus. So much, that the other day that was her first word spoken at 7:01 am. I picked her up out of bed and with a sleepy voice she said, "hummus breakfast". And she asks for it EVERYDAY for lunch. Since it can be a little pricey, I try to make my own. Today was no exception. It was lunch time, so I made my girl some hummus. For some reason it was extra fun...maybe because it's Saturday, maybe because there are leaves on the ground and the sun is shining outside, or maybe because I let her add the salt and push the button. A perfect lunch for a perfect girl...

I don't think I have THE BEST recipe yet. But each time I make Hummus it gets better. Today we used:

-1 can Chickpeas
-1/4 cup Tahini (sesame seed paste)
-1 roasted Red Pepper (place on rimmed cookie sheet in the oven at 375* for about 20 mins. Rotate pepper every 6 mins. or so until soft and browned on each side)
-salt and pepper to taste
-lemon juice from 1 lemon
-1 garlic clove

Mix all ingredients in food processor until smooth and creamy.

14 September 2011

Me Again

Here are a few recipes to share from our last week or so:

Chicken Pesto Stromboli - I used a pizza dough recipe instead of the Rhodes bread loaf. If you try the pizza dough, be sure to brush it with some olive oil and garlic salt (or any other flavors you like) after you've rolled it out. And pesto can be a bit pricey so I usually make it:

Pesto - Blend parmesan cheese cheese, pine nuts, garlic and olive oil (I use 2 garlic cloves and about a 1/4 cup of each of the others) Add basil (about 2 cups). That's it. Piece of cake.

Pulled BBQ Chicken

1/4 Cup butter
1/2 Cup brown sugar
1/4 Cup vinegar
2/3 Cup catsup
1/3 Cup water
2T. Soy sauce
2T.Worcestershire sauce
1T. Mustard
1/4 t. Pepper
1 t. Salt
3 breasts shredded chicken

Melt butter and brown sugar in sauce pan. Add all other ingredients. Pour over chicken in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes. Serve on buns, in a BBQ chicken salad, or any other concoction; the options are practically endless.

If you've got a hankering for something sweet I can give you three choices:
1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Squares
2. Cheesecake-Stuffed Peaches
3. Salted Fudge Brownies

Those brownies provided me the perfect exit at a work meeting. Just like they're doing for me now.

10 September 2011

Our eats...

*Monday: Yesterday ended up being much busier than I anticipated, so I didn't even make dinner! Terrible, I know. So we're going to make our stuffed shells tonight instead. I'll have a huge green salad to go with mine.

*Tuesday: Pesto Pizza with Grilled Onions--we had a super yummy pesto pizza at a restaurant in MI last week. I'm going to recreate (but make it even better) by grilling some sliced onions to go on top of the pizza. I've also been meaning to make a bunch of pesto (and thanks to Laura's reminder), so I'll use this recipe (and fyi-Pignolis = Pine nuts). Add a few kinds of cheese (along with the pesto and onions) on top of the easiest crust (see recipe below) and enjoy!

*Wednesday: Tomatoes stuffed with Grilled Corn Salad (see image above) On a night like tonight, I can pretty much guarantee the kids won't be too thrilled about dinner. But I also know Burke would love this recipe, and it's really important to me that my kids try new things. However, I don't like whiny kids at dinner time. So it's common around here for me to modify a recipe to make the kids and adults happy. For instance, tonight's meal, I'll probably serve the kids their Grilled Corn Salad over brown rice (instead of in a tomato). Some kids would love the tomato too, and Elle does on certain days. But usually it's worth it to me to make the kids happy--as long as I'm not making a separate meal.

*Thursday: Leftovers

*Friday: Grilled Sweet potatoes with Scallions & Trader Joe's Wild Rice (I think Haven will especially enjoy this dinner!)

*Saturday: A few weeks ago, we attended an out door story time. Lucky for us they were giving out lots of coupons--one of which was a free kids meal at Qdoba. We ended up with about 6 coupons (I swear I don't even know how that happened). I've only eaten here once or twice and haven't been a big fan, so I guess I'll give it another shot (for the sake of the free meals ;)

*Sunday: Leftovers


1 T honey
1 T oil
1 c warm water
1 T yeast
1/2 t garlic salt

2 1/2-3 c flour

Preheat oven to 475. (If using pizza stone, let heat for at least 30 minutes in the oven before baking pizza.) mix all pizza dough ingredients, except flour, together. Add flour and knead for a bit. Spread onto parchment paper sprinkled with corneal. Let rest for a few minutes to let dough rise a little if you want fluffier crust. Add sauce, toppings, and cheese. Slide onto pizza paddle (or sided cookie sheet) and then slide onto hot stone. Bake about 8 minutes (check after 5 or 6 if stone has been oven for a long time.) Makes 1 large pizza.

07 September 2011

Cinnamon Swirl French Toast...

Ever tried Kneaders' famous french toast & syrup? So sorry if the answer is no, but don't fret! Here are the recipes. And I'll have you know the syrup is good enough to drink--for real (like, I drank some ;). This would be the perfect thing for a delicious General Conference breakfast in a few weeks...


-1 loaf Kneaders Chunky Cinnamon Bread cut in 8 slices (we used Great Harvest Cinnamon Bread)
-8 eggs
-3 c. milk
-1 T. brown sugar
-3/4 tsp. salt
-1 T. vanilla
-2 T. butter
Butter a 9x13 glass baking dish generously. Place the bread slices flat in the baking dish. Mix all remaining ingredients, reserving the butter, and pour over bread. Cut butter into pieces and dot over the top. Refrigerate for at least one hour, or overnight. Bake 45-50 minutes at 350*. Serves 8.


-1 c. brown sugar
-1 c. cream
-1 c. light corn syrup
Blend together and heat on stovetop until sugar is smooth and mixture is warm.

06 September 2011

Busy Week.

Because of getting into town late last night from Michigan, and Burke + Haven leaving us this weekend for a Utah getaway (Congrats Aimee + Nathan...we'll be thinking of you!), this week is going to be a little crazy. I feel like I already have a fridge stocked with half eaten meals, and I also have SO much going on right now. So I think we'll have a couple leftover nights, maybe a treat night out with just me and my 2 big kids, and 1 or 2 homemade meals that I've been wanting to make. If you'd like to join in with our craziness, here's the menu:

*Tuesday: Leftover night (delish pizza from a restaurant in MI last night...more about that later)

*Wednesday: Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps - I'm going to marinate my chicken in THIS dressing and then cook it on the grill. I will then fill my "lettuce cups" (I like to use Boston leaf) with roasted peppers & onions and my chicken.

*Thursday: Leftovers again

*Friday: Zucchini Quesadillas.....yummmmmm. The kids and I are planning to have a movie night in our tent (camping in the living room, wahoo!). Which means we have to have smores. Since we won't be making a fire, we'll make THESE instead. Almost as good as real camping, right?!

*Saturday: Out to eat with my buddies. I'm SO excited about this date. We don't eat out much, and I think as long as we don't end up at Chick-fil-a, Panda Express or (*gasp*) McDonald's, it's going to be a super fun date--just Ryder, Ellery and me.

*Sunday: As a welcome home, we'll have these yummy Stuffed Shells. I'm also working on perfecting my peach cobbler crumb topping. I attempted last Sunday and failed miserably. So tonight I'll switch up the filling and make some Strawberry Rhubarb crisp. For the topping I'll mix:
- 2 cups granulated brown sugar
-1 1/2 cups flour
-1 1/2 cups sliced almonds
-1 1/2 cups COLD butter
-1 tsp cinnamon
-1 tsp nutmeg
-1 tsp salt

01 September 2011

snack time-

About 3 years ago, I bought a package of these Quaker granola bites from Costco. The box has remained in our cupboard, holding granola bars, raisin boxes and crackers over the years. Ryder frequently sees the box and asks if we can buy the granola bites again "some day". I haven't seen them in stores since then (not that I've looked real hard), so to finally make my boy happy, I decided to make them myself. Actually it was quite an enjoyable activity, while the 2 girls slept (for 3.5 hours each!), Ryder and I created our own recipe including all things yummy. Our final product tastes MUCH better than the store bought version and has all natural ingredients (that is, if you count chocolate chips as "natural"). Here's the recipe:


-1/2 c. peanut butter
-1/3 c. honey
-2 TBSP butter
-1 tsp. vanilla
-1 c. oats
-1 c. mixture of chopped nuts (we used peanuts & almonds), wheat germ, flax seed meal & coconut
-1/2 c. chocolate chips or dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, etc.)

Mix first 3 ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove. Once incorporated/melted, add vanilla.
Remove from heat and add remainder of ingredients. Roll into balls (or use a small ice cream scoop), and place on a wax paper lined cookie sheet. Place in the refrigerator until chilled/solid. Then enjoy!
*These also freeze really well. I actually made some individual bags of them for Burke to grab in the mornings as breakfast, or a snack for during the day.