Thursday, July 28, 2011

We Ate the Hole Thing!

I recently embarked on a new adventure in the kitchen -- attempting something I had never dreamed of making myself -- Doughnuts!

They were an epic success!   (and the kitchen was an epic mess!)  ;)

I made the dough and let it chill for a couple hours.  Then, Hannah helped me roll out the dough and cut out the doughnuts while I fried them in the electric skillet.  (I think this part of the process is a two-person job.  I would have been pretty stretched to roll out the dough, cut out the doughnuts, and fry the doughnuts in oil all by myself!)







It is fun watching them puff up in the skillet!





When done, we rolled our doughnuts in confectioner's sugar and cinnamon-sugar.  They were so yummy eaten warm and just melted in our mouths! 



I'm guessing you might like the recipe?!?


I used the recipe for Buttermilk Pancakes in the Taste of Home cookbook:

4 eggs
2 cups sugar
1/3 cup butter, melted
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups all-purpose flour (plus flour for rolling out)
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted)
2 cups buttermilk
coconut oil for frying
additional sugar, cinnamon sugar, or confectioner's sugar for rolling

1.  In a large mixing bowl, beat eggs and sugar until light and lemon-colored.  Add butter and vanilla; mix well.  Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg; add to egg mixture alternately with buttermilk.  Cover and refrigerate for 2 to 3 hours.

2.  On a lightly floured surface, roll dough to 1/2 inch thickness.  Cut out with floured 3-inch doughnut cutter.  (Or improvise, like we did!)

3.  In an electric skillet, or deep fat fryer, heat oil to 375 degrees F.  Fry doughnuts, a few at a time, for 1 minute on each side or until golden.  Drain on paper towels.  Roll in sugar.

Yield: 4 dozen

ENJOY!!   :)

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

The Coolest Recipe Ever!!!!

This is the coolest, most amazing recipe you've ever seen, and is perfect for a Fun, Easy Breakfast for a group!  It is ideal to serve if you do sleepovers at your house (we don't), after church on a Sunday night, when camping, or just for fun!  This amazing recipe is Omelettes in a Bag!

This is what you do:

Prepare ingredients of your choice and place in bowls.  I used diced bell pepper, mushrooms, green onions, tomatoes, and grated cheddar.

Give every person a quart-size, zip-lock FREEZER bag, and instruct them to do the following:

  • Write their name on the bag with a Sharpie.
  • Break two eggs into their bag.
  • Fill each bag with toppings of their choice.
  • Seal tightly, pressing the air out. 
  • "Smoosh" eggs and toppings together, until well mixed.











Place as many as 6 bags into a large pot of boiling water, and set the timer for 13 minutes.



Remove the bags with tongs.  Carefully open each bag (watching out for steam!) and roll the omelette out onto a waiting plate!  Let cool, while you marvel at the perfect omelette, and Enjoy!!




Sunday, July 24, 2011

The Perfect, Stress-free Sunday Dinner

Sunday, which is supposed to be a "day of rest," is often the most hectic and exhausting day for a mother.  Sunday mornings are always Busy, with trying to get everyone bathed and dressed in their best clothes and out the door on time!  Add to that the challenge of trying to get something on to cook for the noon meal . . . and Sunday morning is easily the most stressful day of the week!

Plus, it never fails that your family will be hungrier on Sunday than any other day!  In fact, you may hear tummies rumbling down-pew if the pastor gets a bit long-winded, and for sure, everyone will tumble in the door from church "starving" and asking, "When will dinner be ready!?"

I don't have a magic cure for those Sunday morning challenges, and as my church family will tell you, I'm no expert at getting the family to church on time!  ;)  But, I can help you with the Sunday dinner dilemma!

The ideal solution is to have a few favorite Crockpot meals, which you rotate for Sunday dinners.  It is just so easy to throw a few ingredients in the crock pot on Sunday morning before church (or on Saturday night), and come home to a house that greets you with the aromatic announcement, "Dinner is Ready!"  It also helps you focus on your pastor's message as your mind won't be wandering to that ever-popular Sunday morning sermon distractor, "What on earth am I going to make for dinner??"

I've relied on various recipes for easy Sunday Crock pot meals over the years, but my current favorite is "Rotisserie Chicken in the Crock Pot."

I discovered this delicious recipe a few weeks ago, and found it to be an Easy and Delicious Sunday dinner.  It can be rounded out by adding some potatoes and carrots to the crockpot, or by pairing with mashed potatoes (or rice), steamed broccoli, buttered carrots, and maybe a tossed salad when you get home.  Then, just throw the carcass right back into the crockpot after dinner, and follow this recipe, and you are well on your way to some delicious and nutritious chicken stock for use during the week!

Based on how much I loved this concept, I tried a variation today -- I made a Lemon Pepper Rotisserie Chicken in the crockpot.  I took two whole chickens, rinsed them well, and stuffed the cavities with chunks of sweet Georgia Vidalia Onions, and sprinkled the outsides with plenty of Lemon Pepper seasoning.  Then I topped with butter slices and cooked on high for 3 1/2 hours. 

This is what it looked like before we left for church:


And this is what it looked like when we got home from church:



And currently, what's left of this yummy meal is back in the crock pot, simmering into a rich chicken stock.  Plus, I will take the pieces I pick from the bones and make some chicken salad for tomorrow's lunch. 


Do you have a favorite crockpot recipe that is nutritious, delilcious, and well suited to a stress-free Sunday dinner?  If so, please share!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Tiffany's Birthday Celebration

Tiffany loves her birthday about as much as Matt loves his!!!  ;)


She started off her special day eating a big southern breakfast of eggs, grits, bacon and biscuits!  (Thanks to her wonderful Mom who made it for her!)    ;)



 
Then we went to the island and walked around the Village, where we enjoyed browsing in all the neat little shops.  Some of our shoppers got carried away trying on hats and sunglasses, but I would never want to incriminate anyone by telling you who it was . . . .   ;)






 


Then we did Tiffany's favorite thing in all the world -- eat Ice Cream!!
















Bethany was So Cute eating her Huge ice cream cone!  Especially when it started dripping everywhere! 

 








We finshed off the day with Tiffany's birthday dinner -- Chicken and Spinach Alfredo, Honey Glazed Carrots, Tossed Salad and rolls, followed by her Publix cake and ice cream!  I can guarantee one thing -- she didn't go to bed hungry!!!!  ;)




Happy 26th Birthday Tiffany!!

Nine Candles for Matthew

Unbelievably, Matthew turned 9 on July 3rd.  He loves birthdays, celebrations, and being the center of attention!  He is a very dramatic, expressive, enthusiastic, loving little boy . . .  but getting him to focus on school work is a daunting task!!!! 

I made him this cake for his birthday.



And he blew out all nine candles without a bit of trouble!




He didn't want to start opening his presents until everyone was watching!  LOL!




I can't look at this picture without wanting to laugh with Chris!  :)



Matthew received some much needed shirts and shorts . . . .



And a Star Wars bathing suit . . .




And some Halo building sets . . .





I Love this picture of Matt . . . even though Tay had to stick his big foot in there!!!!!  ;)




Happy Birthday Matt!! 

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cow Day, Part 2


Just when you thought I was done blogging about Cow Day . . .  here's another post!!    LOL!


After my earlier post, I found two more pictures from Cow Day that I just had to share.  The first one shows Tiffany's new Cow shirt -- I just love the creative slogan she created!!  Isn't it great?!?




And don't you love this picture of Joe finger painting cow spots on Luke's face??  ;)  It was just soo cute, I had to post it!



OK -- that should be all the cow pics until next summer!!  ;)

What We Do for Free Food!

Would you dress up like a cow for free food?? 

I must confess that we've been doing it every year since 2006 as part of Chick-fil-A's Cow Appreciation Day.  It's a highly anticipated day on our family calendar!

Another homeschooling mother told me she wouldn't even consider dressing up like a cow just to get free food!  My response to her?  We don't do it just to get free food -- we do it mostly for the fun of it!  ;)  Yes, we're a little crazy like that!!!  ;)

Would you like to see pictures??  This year, we joined forces with families from our church, which made it even more fun!!  Here is a picture of the "herd" from Lighthouse Baptist Church!!!







Luke's best friend, Jase, was here visiting for the week, which was perfect timing, because he was able to join us for Cow Day!  He has gone with us to Cow Day many times, so it wouldn't have been the same without him!!



Chris!!!!



Our friend, Maddie, was a cute little cow!  :)



Want to see pictures from previous years of Cow Craziness???

Cow Day 2010

Cow Day 2009

Cow Day 2007 and 2008



How about you?  Did you and your children dress up for Cow Day 2011?  If you have pictures on your blog, please share a link in the comments section, so we can check out your Cow Day costumes!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Resourceful Cook

Have you ever needed to make something to serve your family or take to an event, but you were missing a necessary ingredient, and you didn't have the money, the time, or perhaps a vehicle to go out to the grocery store and buy the missing item?  That is when we have the opportunity to develop creativity and resourcefulness as cooks!  We can look for ways to substitute ingredients and use what we have on hand, or we can find a recipe that uses the ingredients we have available to us.  The internet is an invaluable tool for searching for a recipe that uses what we have in our home pantries.  Did you know that allrecipes.com even has a search feature based on ingredients?? 

http://allrecipes.com/Search/Ingredients.aspx

Yesterday, I needed to make something to take to a meeting I was planning to attend, but I knew we were totally out of butter.  :(   Have you ever tried to make a snack or dessert without butter?  It is pretty hard!  After a bit of searching online, I discovered this recipe, which used ingredients that I had on hand (for the most part!) and didn't require butter!!


Chewy Nutella Crinkles

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 (11 ounce) jar Nutella (1 cup)
1/4 cup shortening (Of course, I didn't have any shortening in my pantry, but I had some coconut oil!)
1 1/3 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 eggs
1/3 cup milk
1/2 cup chopped hazlenuts (I didn't have these either -- so I just omitted them!)

finely chopped hazlenuts
confectioner's sugar


Stir together flour, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Combine Nutella and coconut oil in mixing bowl.  Beat with electric mixer on medium to high speed until well combined.  Add sugar.  Beat on medium speed for another minute or two.  Add vanilla and eggs.  Beat until thoroughly combined.

Alternately add flour mixture and milk to creamed mixture, beating on medium speed until just combinted. 

Gently stir in chopped hazlenuts.  (Optional -- I did not have these, so I left them out.)

Cover and chill for several hours.

*Shape dough into 1-inch balls.  Roll in finely chopped hazlenuts, and then roll in confectioner's sugar. 

Place on lightly greased cookie sheets 2 inches apart.  Bake 10 minutes at 350 degrees F.



*I used my mini cookie scoop to quickly and easily scoop out balls.  I then rolled the balls in confectioner's sugar alone, since I did not have the hazlenuts.




Make sure you place balls 2 inches apart, as these cookies will spread out and "crinkle" as they bake.





This ended up being a great discovery!  These cookies were delicious and looked pretty!  I look forward to trying them with the chopped hazlenuts one of these days!





I'd love to hear about a time when you had to be resourceful in the kitchen and either created or adapted a recipe to fit what you had on hand.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Another Winning Recipe

Did you know that my Creamy Cucumber Dip isn't my only winning recipe??  Actually, my special cheesecake won second place in a dessert contest that was part of the fun at our church's Freedom Fest during the July 4th weekend.


Here is a glimpse at the competition . . .




And here are the judges earnestly performing their duties!



My cheesecake, adorned in red, white and blue for the occasion, was the second place winner . . .  (beat out by a mere trifle!)
 



Tiffany also entered a dessert, which should have won an award for "Most Creative!"  I believe her creation best reflected the theme of the competition -- "What Does America Taste Like?"  She made a huge sheet cake which she decorated with an outline map of the USA, and adorned with the state fruit for several of the states.  Her creative juices were definitely flowing when she thought of this idea!!!




In addition to the dessert competion, there were three-legged races, watermelon eating contests, and fiercely competitive seed spitting contests!!  :)  It was a fun day!!!






Have you ever witnessed a bunch of sweet, Christian ladies competing for the title of Watermelon Seed Spitting Champion???  Check out this hilarious video!!  ;)




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