Sunday, January 27, 2013

Dutch Apple Pie Muffins

With the streusel and some butter, yummy!
I really enjoy apple pie but don't make it often as it can be time consuming. With that in mind, I saw a special for $2 Dutch Apple Pies (the good kind in the freezer aisle) so I cheated and bought one to have when our company was here yesterday. This morning I was struggling with what to make for our usual "take along Sunday breakfast". Then I thought to myself, I bet I could make a muffin with flavors similar to Dutch Apple Pie. They turned out really well (Jared even told me that they are his new 2nd favorite). I would have added a streusel topping but I ran out of time, so I've added the recipe for it in case you have time to try it. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Shape up, Mr. Biscuit!

Biscuit Cars with Mixed Berry Jam
There are days when I know that the kids want need me to turn the mundane into something special and lunch is usually my ticket. It was time to think outside the [recipe] box... Sometimes I get the cookie cutters out and we make PB&J shapes but today needed something just a tad more interactive. Hmmm...pancakes?  No, we just had French toast... Biscuit pizzas? Nope, not enough cheese... Aha! I had it, biscuit shapes with  homemade mixed berry jam!

Miss E. and I made up the dough (just your standard fluffy, flaky biscuit recipe) and rolled it out. Then Mr. R., Miss A. and Miss E. picked out cookie cutters and cut out some shapes. We baked them according to the recipe and then ate them warm with some mixed berry jam. There were footballs, stars, cars, and circles to enjoy. And enjoy they did for they didn't leave even one to share with daddy! Poor daddy will have to wait till next time!

Stars, circles, cars, and footballs make for a fun lunch!

Jalapeno Hot Sauce

A couple of years ago I had an AMAZING pepper crop. I harvested over 150 jalapenos (off 4 plants) and around 75 cayenne peppers (off 2 plants). The only problem was that we couldn't use them up or give them away fast enough so I knew I needed to do some research on what to do with large crops of hot peppers. That is when I stumbled on this recipe for jalapeno hot sauce. My hubby LOVES him some hot sauce and  uses it all the time so I decided that this was the recipe for me! I have made a couple of minor changes (increased the garlic and salt, added cayenne peppers, and added black pepper).
  • 1 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 22 fresh jalapeno peppers, sliced
  • 3 fresh cayenne peppers, sliced (I added these for a little extra kick so if you'd rather just use only jalapeno you can sub extra jalapenos for the cayenne)
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup minced onion
  • 1 teaspoons salt
  • fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cups distilled white vinegar
  1. In a medium sauce pan over high heat, combine oil, peppers, garlic, onion, black pepper and salt; saute for 4 minutes. Add the water and cook for 20 minutes (still on high heat), stirring often. Remove from heat and allow it to cool to room temperature.
  2. Transfer the mixture to a food processor or blender, and puree until smooth. With the processor/blender running, slowly add the vinegar.
  3. Pour into a sterilized jar with a tight lid. This sauce will keep for 6 months when stored in the refrigerator. 
I bought a dozen 10oz hot sauce jars and filled them all with only 2 batches, so 1 batch would give you around 7 cups. I gave about half away as gifts, you just have to be sure you tell people to put them in the fridge.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Restaurant-Style Chicken Wings

Our family really enjoys chicken wings. In fact, before we started really pinching our pennies BWW was one of our "go to" Sunday lunch options. We've tried wing recipes in the past and they've turned out pretty good but never had that restaurant-style taste, until now. Once a month our college/career's group meets after the Sunday evening service for a time of food and fellowship. Each month we do a different theme (subs, tacos, nachos, salads, etc.). This month we did sweet or savory snacks/appetizers and we made chicken wings. I did change up the recipe a little because I am a huge fan of seasonings.

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2-1 teaspoon cayenne pepper (depending on your personal taste)
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 20 wings
  • oil for frying
  • dipping sauce or sauce for coating (if you use a prepared sauce I suggest Sweet Baby Ray's creamy buffalo wing sauce, honey chipotle BBQ sauce, or signature sauce, but then, I am a HUGE fan of anything Sweet Baby Ray's)
  1. In a small bowl mix together everything but the chicken and oil. ;o) Place chicken wings in a large nonporous glass dish or bowl and sprinkle flour mixture over them until they are evenly coated. Cover and refrigerate for 60 to 90 minutes.
  2. Heat oil in a deep fryer to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). The oil should be just enough to cover wings entirely, an inch or so deep. 
  3. Fry coated wings in hot oil for 10 to 15 minutes, or until parts of wings begin to turn brown (12 minutes seemed about perfect when I made them). Remove from heat, place wings on a paper towel to remove some of the excess oil. If coating prior to serving, toss in your sauce. If not, place them on a serving dish along side your dipping sauce. Enjoy!

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Goals for 2013

I am not a fan of "New Year's resolutions" per se, but I do believe in setting goals. I figure if I post these goals I will have to give an update on how I'm doing at accomplishing them. :o)

Financial Goals -
  • Pay off our remaining non-mortgage debt.
  • Learn how to manage a budget and actually live by it.
Fitness Goals - 
  • Get back into a regular workout routine.
  • Lose the remaining 45 pounds and reach my goal weight.
Personal Growth and Development Goals -
  • Read my Bible through in a year.
  • Read at least 6 other nonfiction books.
  • Develop a weekly/monthly cleaning routine.
  • Declutter, simplify, and organize my home.
  • Start a regular filing system for family paperwork.
Your turn: What are some of your goals for this year?

Friday, January 4, 2013

Menu 2013: December 31-February 3

I am finally getting caught up on things. We had a nice Christmas break and spent some time relaxing with immediate and extended family on both sides. Unfortunately, we did not get any of our remodeling stuff done as everyone wound up sick at some point or another during break. Both Jared and I had bronchitis, and the kids have all had nasty colds and a stomach bug over the last 2 weeks. The one good thing was that we had lots of time with our kids as no one wanted to go anywhere or do much of anything. :o)

We have so much going on this month and lots of potential changes in the coming weeks so I plan to keep things simple (and hopefully light). We are trying to get back into the swing of things with our food and fitness  goals, and I am going to attempt to get things more organized around the house with the possibility of a move in the near future. Yes, I do plan to share any tips and tricks that I come across in the process.

I plan to stick with the following format for this month - Comfort food, Salad/soup/sandwich, Spicy (cajun, tex-mex, etc.), Italian, and a Miscellaneous dish (breakfast for dinner, new recipe, etc.)

December 31-January 6
  • Our New Year's Eve celebration (Comfort food): Steaks, fresh veggie tray, loaded mashed potatoes, side salad, and fresh fruit salad for dessert
  • Salad - Chef salad with grilled chicken and bread bowls
  • Italian - Penne with Garlic Cream Sauce and Shrimp, mixed veggies, and French bread (I roasted an extra head of garlic and then rolled it up into the French bread, which was delicious!)
  • Spicy - Stuffed pepper soup and corn bread muffins
  • Misc. - Appetizers for dinner since we'll be watching the Packer game: chicken wings with assorted dipping sauces, cucumber cups with tuna salad, antipasto kabobs, and baby carrots and dip
January 7-13
January 14-20 
I am only planning 4 meals this week as we have a calendar planning meeting at church. We will also be out of town.
January 21-27
  • Spicy - Chicken Enchiladas with Creamy Green Chile Sauce (I also plan to add the leftover black beans and rice to the enchiladas)
  • Comfort food - Garlic herb pork loin roast, steamed veggies, and mashed potatoes.
  • Italian - Olive garden type salad (red onions, olives, homemade Italian dressing, croutons, pepperoncini, etc.) topped with grilled chicken, and breadsticks
  • Soup - Creamy chicken and wild rice soup
  • Misc. - BLTA (bacon, lettuce, turkey, and avocado) pitas, fruit salad, and fresh veggie tray
January 28-February 3
For more menu ideas, check out the master list or last year's menu.