Friday, June 25, 2010

Because I like to do things the hard way. . .

Devin has been begging me to make Taco Ring for awhile, anyone who has ever attended a Pampered Chef party will know what I am talking about, but don't worry if you are in the dark, I will clue you in. Finally when an evening with no baseball games or other planned activities came along I decided I would make it for him (the fact that I had some homegrown tomatoes thanks to the Farmer's Market didn't hurt either) the only problem was I didn't have any crescent rolls, you know the kind in the tube you buy at the store, that is the kind the Pampered Chef recipe calls for? I was too lazy busy to go to the store, so I googled crescent rolls and found a recipe, what did people do before Google?? It must have been like the dark ages for cooking.

Easy Homemade Crescent Rolls
2 1/4 tsp active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, warm (100-110F)
1/2 cup milk, warm (100-110F)
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups bread flour
1/2 tsp salt
4 tbsp butter, room temperature

Combine yeast, water, milk, and sugar and let sit for 5 minutes until foamy. Mix in flour and salt with mixer dough hook, if you have one, or by hand if you don't. Cut up the softened butter and add, either knead by hand or with dough hook for 2 minutes. Cover and let rise in a warm location for 45 minutes.

While you are waiting, you can make your hamburger mixture. Brown hamburger and add taco seasonings, about a pound of hamburger and as much taco seasoning as your family likes. We like ours kind of weak.

Add cheese, Hiland is my personal favorite. I always shred our own because someone once told me that manufactures add chemicals to shredded cheese in order to keep it from sticking together - ewww! Of course said person was selling me a cheese grater from a Pamper Chef party, so who knows, but I am not taking any chances.

Add as much cheese as you like to the hamburger - we like cheese in my family. That's about a 1/3 of the block of cheese.

By now if you are a slow chef like myself then it will have been close to 45 minutes, if not go pet your dog and explain that laying in the middle of the kitchen floor could be hazardous to his (and your) health!

Now turn out dough on lightly floured surface and roll into circle, cut like a pizza and you have your crescent roll dough.

See those cucumbers, fresh from the garden! Want a closer look?

Now lay out your crescent roll triangles on your pizza sheet and don't bother to wipe the flour from your counter, I didn't LOL.

Add the hamburger and cheese filling and tuck the ends of the triangle under itself.

Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes depending on your oven.

Serve with lettuce, tomato, sour cream, salsa, basically whatever floats your boat.

Sit back and enjoy the compliments, and if you did make your own crescent rolls try and brag about that a little - my kids were quite impressed, they thought they had to come from a tube! I try to work it into as many conversations as possible, i.e. 'Hi, I'm Miranda, nice to meet you, I can make my own homemade crescent rolls.' Although so far, no one seems that impressed ;)

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Humboldt Speedway

Looking for something close and fun to do with the family this weekend? Humboldt Speedway has races every Friday evening at 8:00 throughout the summer.

Photo from Humboldt Speedway website

Their facility is very family friendly, just ask my kids, they absolutely LOVE to go. Just make sure you find some ear protection (as its VERY loud) Steve's Hardware sells earplugs and I highly recommend them for the kids! The Speedway has a very well stocked concession stand and clean bathrooms, hey a girl has to have her priorities, right?? I think one reason my kids love going is for the glow in the dark alien suckers. So cool.

I am a newbie when it comes to dirt track racing, last year was my first trip ever to any type of racing event, my brother decided it would be fun to give my mom a heart attack racing a try. He is now addicted, he occasionally races in Coffeyville on Saturday nights, but someone used the word portapotty in reference to Coffeyville, so I have been busy those nights ;)

He even comes up and sit with his fans between his heat race and feature if the car is not requiring his attention. (Notice the big beers, just another perk.)

We won't be able to go this Friday, as we have a baseball game to attend, but we will make it next Friday, in addition to the races they will have a great fireworks display after the races, and we are all about fireworks in this house!!


Where are some local places you and your family like to have some fun? Have you ever been to dirt track racing?

Hendrickson's Salad Dressing

My sister in law, Amanda, had recommended Hendrickson's Sweet Vinegar and Olive Oil salad dressing available at G&W, I do love my homemade vinaigrette, but I decided that it would be nice to be able to just open a bottle every once in awhile. This year I have been on a quest to eat better, and with that idea, I have removed Ranch dressing from my diet, I am not a low-fat or fat-free kind of person, and still the ingredients on my bottle of Original Ranch had me wondering exactly what was in the bottle? So I was excited that her recommendation was a Vinegar and Oil dressing with natural basic ingredients.

Ingredients - Vinegar, sugar, salt, olive oil, garlic, spices. Wonderful on top of my salad with veggies straight from our own garden!

Pure heaven, I would tell you I had enough self control to not lick the bowl clean, but my mother taught me not to lie. ;)

And on the side I had a WASA cracker/crisp bread thing, its yummy, its a sesame seed type cracker with some Laughing Cow cheese on top, I didn't even know G&W had Laughing Cow cheese and I had been dying to try it, and one Wednesday evening while waiting in line at the deli for my chicken I looked down and there it was, this is also where you can find the WASA crackers. It gives a lunch of salad some carb appeal!

Are there any products at G&W that you love? I love how they have some unique items tucked away just waiting to be discovered. Let me know your favorites, so I can try them too!

Disclaimer: G&W nor Hendrickson's, Laughing Cow, or WASA asked me to review their products, these thoughts are all my own and I share them so you might try and enjoy them yourself!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Not too late

Can you believe Sunday is Father's Day. It's OK, don't panic, there is still time to pick dad up something, I was just in Heartstrings yesterday and they still have some great dad gifts. . .

Priceless, I would never lose my keys again if I had a key ring this cute!

Is this not the cutest backhoe you have ever seen?

And a dump truck, you could have an entire construction company out of clocks.

Oops, how did those get there. I won't tell anyone if you pick up a little something for yourself, I cannot go in there without being amazed at all the custom jewelry and items they have.

Need more local gift ideas?

Most of the local stores/restaurants have gift cards, I know Carl has gotten a Western Diner gift card on more than one occasion. Alco has an excellent assortment of KU and K-State team wear, can't go wrong with the classics, right? Another place I frequently buy gifts is at Green's, they have a great selection of fishing supplies. Have a dad that has everything, then you could find something at Lighthouse Liquor. The list of local places with excellent gifts for dad could go on and on.

What are you getting your dad? You will have to wait until Sunday to find out what my dad is getting, hate to ruin the surprise for him, not that he has any clue to how to get to my blog, but you never know!!

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Healthy Cookies?

I will be the first to admit have a bit of a reputation, I love cookies, I love to bake them and to eat them. It's a bit of an obsession, the only problem being, they are far from healthy and tend to have a tendency to make my pants tight. I have never been a person who can eat just one, usually I call it a victory if I eat less than a dozen! Yikes!

Last week I spent some time googling healthy chocolate chip cookies, and believe me there are some recipes out there, did you know its possible to make vegan chocolate chip cookies? Would it really be a cookie without butter?? I am not ready to give up butter, but maybe a little less wouldn't be all bad?

I finally found a recipe that used basic items that were in my pantry, but then life got in the way and honestly I wasn't that excited about them, I was sure they would be blah. . .

Fast forward Wednesday, Thursday's schedule goes like this - busy with a side of crazy. I was trying to come up with things to pack for snacks and just kept coming back to cookies, it's always the cookies. So I decided to go for it, you only live once right, and honestly I cannot be a mom without making cookies, it's a basic part of what makes me, me. But I do want to fuel my kids with healthy foods. So I dug out the whole wheat flour and started.

I will be the first to admit, I was sure they would be horrible and taste more like a granola bar than cookie, which is fine because we do love granola bars, I decided to try the dough, I am a HUGE dough eater, it's a horrible habit, and I didn't think I would like this dough, but guess what, it tasted like chocolate chip cookie dough, granted it was chewier than regular cookie dough, but still wonderful. I quickly dropped the dough on cookie sheets so that I would quit eating it!

And the finished product. . .

The verdict. . .

One happy family, no one said a word that these were not my usual butter and shortening filled cookies, mom had just made the first batch of homemade chocolate chip cookies in months, they were in heaven and kept their mouths full hoping that this might be the end of the dry spell.

Whole Grain Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup butter (told you I wasn't given it up)
1/4 cup canola oil
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1tsp vanilla

Beat the butter until smooth, all the rest and beat until smooth and creamy - it will look kinda gross, but it will be good. (I would have taken more pictures but someone forgot to charge her camera)

3/4 cup oatmeal - grind it in the food processor
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup chocolate chips

Mix all the dry ingredients together in a bowl and slowly add them while the mixer is on, mix until just combined, don't ask me what happens if you over mix - I follow recipes, at least on my first attempt to make something! Then hand mix the chips in, drop by rounded teaspoon fulls and bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees.

The best part about these cookies - they are filling, I couldn't eat a dozen if I tried. . .

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Happy Hump Day

Wednesday, you are one of my favorite days of the week, and it's not just because the deli at G&W has their chicken special, but am I ever thankful for your chicken, so yummy, so cheap! (I always buy 2 just so I can have leftovers!)

Served with some parsley potatoes, so simple, yet so perfect.

And some baked beans, how I love beans, and these are great, and although I would never give up real homemade baked beans, these are great for when you want baked beans but don't have an hour to bake them. (Also on sale this week @ G&W, so stock up!)

Roasted Asparagus, my current favorite vegetable, I could have eaten this entire plate.

Farmer's Market Salad

Dinner is served.

Today also started the first day of the new ad at G&W, I typically keep a very close eye on their sales ad and try to stock up while items are on sale. This week after looking through the ad I started to put together my list for Friday's shopping trip. I usually do my large shopping trip on Fridays, and then make quick runs when we are out of fresh fruits and veggies, or I decide I want something other than what I planned to make that night :)

These are the items in the sales ad that will definitely be going on my list this week.

Corn on the Cob
Ribeye steaks
Split Chicken Breasts
Ice Cream
Bush's Baked Grillin' Beans - seriously these are great for quickie dinner nights!
Hormel Black Label Bacon
Hiland Cheese - I LOVE this cheese!
Best Choice Diced Tomatoes - my favorite is the sweet onion kind
Pork and Beans, because that is a staple in this house
Tony's Pizza - kids love em for lunches
Red peppers
Red Onion
KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce

What items do you like to stock up on at the store? Do you watch the prices and buy extra when on sale, or just run in and grab what you need when necessary?

Some of dinner ideas based on this week's sales ad I am considering -

Bacon Wrapped Grilled Chicken Breasts
Roasted Green Beans

Baked Potatoes

Grilled Shrimp
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Corn on the Cob

Bacon Tomato Sandwiches

Have you looked through the sales ad yet? If so what are items you are going to stock up on? Any meal ideas based on items on sale??

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Bierocks for Dinner

Evening all! Do yourself a favor and pick some of these babies up next time you are at G&W, if years past are any indication they will not be around for long.

While I was at the Farmer's Market this morning I picked up some Bierocks for dinner. There is a local lady that brings bierocks and other baked goods each Tuesday, each person makes their bierocks differently, but hers are wonderful. She puts hamburger, cabbage, seasonings, and just a bit of cheese in them, yummo.

Corn on the Cob has been very good from G&W lately, and a family favorite around here. Am I the only one constantly searching for veggies my kids will eat? Right now around here its corn on the cob!

No kitchen is complete without a helper. Seriously, does anyone else's dog just lay there in the middle of the kitchen floor while they cook? Someday I am going to break my neck falling over him all the time. Ah, but he is a sweetie!

I decided to give some sweet potato fries a go, started with 2 huge sweet potatoes from G&W

Discovered that cutting sweet potatoes takes some real muscle, so hubby to the rescue!

What a uniform cutter, he is such a keeper

They were a little limp, but still tastey

Some cucumber and onions that I put together today from the Farmer's Market

And cantaloupe and strawberries from G&W (the strawberries had somehow migrated to the back of the fridge, but were still delish)

Dinner is served, and yes I know my plate isn't very uniform, I didn't even think about taking a picture until after I filled it, so I will try better next time, Bo just kept asking, 'Aunt Miranda why are you taking pictures of all the food?'

I hope you all took some time to enjoy the weather this evening, it is wonderful! Now it's time to get these kiddos off to bed. Night all!!