Saturday, October 30, 2010

Pumpkin French Toast

I quite possibly might be turning into a crazy pumpkin lady, but I am OK with that. This morning I was trying to come up with ideas to use up the last of a bit of pumpkin I had opened and then it hit me like a ton of bricks! Pumpkin French Toast. Why had I not thought of this before, so yummy, and so easy! I just made my usual french toast eggs mixture and then added 1/4 cup of pumpkin puree and 1-2 teaspoons of pumpkin pie mix. Yum! I ended up putting some pumpkin greek style yogurt in to make a sandwich. Will be repeating this one again.

It's another gorgeous fall day here in southeast Kansas, which makes it even better that we have no where we have to be today! Plans for the day include yogurt making, bread and cupcake baking, popcorn ball making, and a run. And I need to run out and get candy for trick or treat giving, I always wait until the last minute to get the candy, because I cannot be trusted with candy in the house.

What's on your agenda today?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Corn Casserole

Favorite side dish ever.

Corn Casserole

2 cups macaroni
1 can creamed corn
1 can sweet corn - partly drained
1/4 package Velveeta - cut into chunks
1/2 stick butter - sliced (do yourself a favor and use real butter)

In a casserole dish with a lid put all ingredients and mix together, cover and bake in 350 degree oven for 30 minutes. Stir and bake for an additional 15 minutes uncovered, letting the top brown a bit. Enjoy. This goes with everything, fish, meatloaf, chicken, hamburgers, sloppy joes, and it travels to pot lucks perfectly.

I have also combined everything ahead of time and then made in the microwave, my microwave has one of those top browner things, (no that's not the technical term) so I just use that at the end to brown the top. Works like a charm when I am in a hurry.

Can you believe it's November 1? This year is going by much too quickly. We have one more week of PeeWee football left, both Fredonia teams made it to the Championship games! I am so excited for both our teams, they have worked so hard this year and have every right to be proud of themselves. I am hoping that the nice weather we have been enjoying lasts through the weekend.

What's your favorite side dish?

Meal Planning

One of the questions people ask me a lot is how do I plan our meals. I have used various ways, but my most successful tool is the meal planner at I like it because on the site you can both plan meals and keep your grocery list. I really like that I can access it from any computer in case I think of something I need at work, I just log on and add it.

As to how I actually chose what I am making, it's mostly using the following variables, what sounds good, what's on sale at the grocery store, and how much time will I have to prepare a meal each night.

So with those variables in mind here what will be cooking in my house:
Saturday - Grilled shrimp, baked potatoes, salad, roasted asparagus and squash - obviously I will have quite a bit of time to prep and cook this meal
Sunday - Sloppy joes and corn casserole (recipe will be coming) this will be a quick meal I can make ahead of time so we can enjoy a Halloween party and trick or treating
Monday - Minestrone Soup and bread sticks- my attempt to adapt Meatless Mondays shh, don't tell the Hus
Tuesday - Bierock casserole and whatever veggie the kids pick out, I find my kids will eat their veggies better if they help decide which one we are eating
Wednesday - this is the day the Hus goes to night class, so the kids and I usually just eat leftovers or PB&J's or try and find someone to feed us
Thursday - Black beans and Chicken in the crock pot - one of Dev's favorites
Friday - Shrimp Boil

Now I am not 100% guaranteeing that we will have all these meals on these nights, sometimes things come up, but when I do my grocery list I make sure I have everything to cook these meals, and if I decide to go out of order or change something it's OK, but I know I will be able to make all of these meals without any additional trips to the store during the week.

Morning Musings

Christmas Shopping

I have decided that this year I am going to attempt to purchase as many presents as possible in town. Of course since those I buy for might check my blog from time to time I can't show you the goods, but don't worry I will try and keep a tally of how I am doing. Last Saturday Alco had 25% off ALL their toys in the store, and I scored big! They really have a great selection right now. Today I just received an email and Alco has a coupon for 20% off anything in the store that is good this weekend, so I am going to go buy another present or two this weekend ;)

Half Marathon Training

I have thought on and off about whether or not I was going to talk about my training here, but have decided to, I find great motivation in reading about others training plans and have decided I would like to share mine. Currently I am starting to work towards a goal of running in the Oz Marathon Half Marathon. This morning we ran just over 3 miles in the very chilly morning, I have never ran with other people before, I was not in track or any other sports as a teen, so I was really worried about what it would be like to run with more than one other person, 'what if I am too slow' or 'what if I need to walk' or 'what if I need to fart' but so far everything has been great, I push myself harder because I am with a group, and we all tend to run around the same pace, unless they are just humoring me!!


I am currently reading In Defense of Food and it is seriously making me reconsider exactly what I call food. It is a very interesting look into how our food have became more like 'foodlike' substances than actual natural food. And how this actually was allowed to happen. Nothing could have made him point to me more than last night I was delivered some cookie dough I had purchased from a fund raiser and while I was reading the very long list of ingredients that I cannot even pronounce let alone have any idea what they were I notice the cookie dough has a room temperature shelf life of 21 days. How is that even possible? And am I the only one that finds that gross??


Tonight is the playoffs for the youth football teams, both of Fredonia's teams are hosting their opponents and it should be a fun evening of football and good crisp weather. Best of all, there is no admission charges, so come on out and support the boys, they have had amazing seasons this year and stop by the concession stand and see me!!

I will be back this weekend to show you how to turn your jack-o-latern into pumpkin puree!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Turkey Pot Pie

I promised I would be back to share how to use some of those turkey leftovers. This is one of my families favorite meals, I had originally used this recipe and made actual crusts for the pot pie, oh how I wish I had blogged back then, because it was gorgeous, but honestly, it's so much yummier over biscuits!

Turkey Pot Pie
1/3 cup butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 cups chicken broth
2/3 cup milk
3 cups cooked turkey or chicken, cut into small pieces or cubes
1 bag frozen vegetables
1 potato cut and boiled

First cut up and boil your potato, so it's cooked when you are ready for it. Then melt butter over low heat and onions and saute, then add flour, salt, and pepper. Cook this until nice and bubbly. Remove from heat and whisk in chicken broth and milk, return to heat and bring to boil stirring constantly, until thickened, 3-5 minutes. Reduce heat and add turkey, vegetables, and potatoes, cook until vegetables are done, 15-30 minutes.

Now for the biscuits, this is actually the recipe I base my Cheddar Bay Biscuits.

2 cups all-purpose flour
4 teaspoons baking powder
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter cold
3/4 cup milk cold

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Mix the first 4 ingredients together. Cut in butter with your pastry blender or two knives, if you took Mrs. Evan's 8th grade Home Ec you know how to do this, does anyone else still make Cowboy Coffee Cake?

Once all your butter in cut in then add the milk, stirring gently. After countless batches of biscuits I feel I can say a key secret is to be gentle to your dough, they turn out so much softer if the dough hasn't been overly handled, I don't make this stuff up, promise.

I usually roll/pat my dough into a rectangle and then cut into squares, so that there is no need to roll the dough again.

Yes, I know biscuit making can be art, but I am mostly just going for speed and taste ;)

Sorry Grandma, but at least they aren't from a tube, right??

Now if you really want your biscuits to be round, you can gently shape each biscuit after cutting before putting on your baking sheet, honestly they taste the same and soon they will be covered in turkey pot pie, but I won't judge if you insist on having round biscuits.

Bake at 425 degrees for 10-12 minutes. This recipe supposedly serves 5, but I usually double the batch just to be on the safe side, and haven't yet had a biscuit go bad waiting to be eaten.

If square buscuits are wrong, I don't wanna be right. Take out of oven, cover with turkey pot pie and enjoy!

And maybe have one covered in butter and honey as a before bed snack? Mmmm. . .

Monday, October 11, 2010

Crock Pot Turkey

This is one of my absolute favorite dishes to cook. You cannot really call it a recipe, because it is just that simple. Everyone will be amazed to come home after a busy day to Thanksgiving turkey for dinner. It's amazing what a home cooked meal can do for you after a busy day.

Crock pot Turkey
1 whole turkey breast, thawed
Salt and Pepper
1-2 teaspoons dried Rosemary

Put the turkey breast in the crock pot and sprinkle salt, pepper and rosemary on top, sometimes your turkey breast may be so large that your crock pot lid will not seal completely, it's OK, make a little foil tent and then set your lid over top. I used to always have to do this until my amazing sister-in-law and brother bought me a new Kenmore crock pot for Christmas, it's huge, so no more foil tents.

Cooking times vary by crock pot, my old crock pot would cook the breast in 7 hours on low. The new crock pot was on medium for 3 hours, then I turned in up to high for 3 hours, and then back down to low for an hour. The internal temp needs to reach 180 degrees, note the skin doesn't brown the way it does in the oven, so check your temps to make sure you don't over cook your bird. Anytime you are following a crock pot recipe always keep in mind how your crock pot cooks, because in my experience no two cook the same.

Serve with some mashed potatoes, green beans, and rolls. Don't worry that you will have too much leftover turkey, I 'll be back in a day or two to share my favorite way to use up your leftovers - turkey pot pit - it's epic.

One last tip - G&W regularly has their frozen turkey breasts on sale usually between $1.29 - $1.49 per pound, so watch the sales ad and get ready to dazzle your family.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Pumpkin Pie for Breakfast

Fall is definitely upon us, and I am starting to feel the usual disheartening of getting out of bed before the sun is up and hitting the pavement, other years this is when working out goes out the door until spring, but I am determined to continue this year. This morning was one of those mornings when I really just wanted to hit snooze and forget about my morning run, don't get me wrong, I love running, and was looking forward to try a new path, but when that alarm went off, I forgot all about my excitement and just wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

But I also knew if I didn't get up I would miss out on the opportunity, with a full time job, kids, and life running either happens first thing in the morning, or it just doesn't happen, so I peeled myself out of bed and got dressed. I am not going to lie, it was a pretty rough for the first mile, but finally Willie and I settled into a good pace and managed to get in a decent session, although we did walk more than usual this morning, but still we made it and even managed a couple hill repeats.

As usual this morning my mind turned to food. Mainly breakfast. It's amazing how thinking about what to have for breakfast can really inspire you to finish strong, or at least run faster in order to get home to make breakfast.

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal
1/2 cup oats
3/4-1 cup water
1/4 canned pumpkin, or fresh pumpkin puree
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tablespoon real maple syrup - you could use brown sugar, but the real maple syrup is amazing (also I do not usually sweeten my oats, so if you are used to sweeter oats you are probably going to want to add more maple syrup)
4-5 walnuts

I put oats, pumpkin, and spice in a bowl and add the boiling water, stir and add more water if necessary so it's the right consistency, I like my oats thick. Then drizzle maple syrup over and top with walnuts. The rest of the pumpkin from the can will keep in the fridge for 4-5 days, when using the chilled pumpkin I usually have to microwave the bowl after adding the water for about 30 seconds in order to get it warm enough for my tastes.

Between the pumpkin oats and a call from my MIL about when she is having Christmas, I feel the holidays are fast approaching. I would like to say, 'I love the holidays!' but I am feeling rather 'Bah Humbug-y' tonight. I am really not ready for the stress this holiday seemed to always cause us. :( I guess I better go have some banana pudding!!

Night all!!