Monday, December 5, 2011

chocolate granola bars

I love making things in the afternoon as my little ones nap and my oldest son is at school. I feel like our evening starts well when we can walk in the door from picking Jaxon up and sit right down to a yummy snack and catch up on our day together before we press forward. It's even fun to bring a friend or two home from school and let them pig out together and listen to their laughter. Such a fun time to be a mom to a 7 year old boy!! I recently tried these out and they were a fast hit! There is good stuff in them and they taste good too. My 4 year old thinks they are a candy bar, so I let him assume away :) These can be thrown together in about 20 minutes.... give 'em a try!

Chocolate Granola Bars

1/2 cup (natural if have it) peanut butter
1/3/ cup honey
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup whole oats
2 Tbsp wheat germ or flax seed
1/2/ cup shredded coconut
1/2/ cup milk choc chips

Melt butter, peanut butter, and honey in pan over medium low heat. Stir often. Once melted pour in oats and wheat germ or flax seed. Let cool and then stir in coconut and chocolate chips. Or, just stir in right away and get melted choc chips for an over-all chocolate taste.  Pour and flatten into greased 8 by 8 pan lined with wax paper.Let cool in fridge until hardens. Flip out of pan and cut to your preference. I store these in a Rubbermaid container in fridge.

Friday, December 2, 2011

sweet as pie

One thing I love about Thanksgiving is the variety of dishes you get to try out! Now I know Thanksgiving is all wrapped up, but if you want to try a new recipe out for Christmas or for next year...I suggest this one! Not a lot of people love sweet potatoes, but they are REALLY good for you, so I try to use them when I can. I like to boil them, run them under cold water, and just let the peel fall off easily. I mash them up and sometimes freeze them for throwing into tomato sauce foods (spaghetti sauce, lasagna, meatballs sometimes, you get the idea). It is an easy way to sneak some good nutrients in (and by sneak, I mean you don't tell your kids or husband you put it in what they are eating. What they don't know just helps them in this case :) 
However, I do "sweeten" this dish up quite a bit, but it is super yummy in the end. And what's a Thanksgiving without a super sweet yummy dish on your plate!!

Sweet as Pie, Sweet Potatoes Dish

Boil sweet potatoes until soft. Peel and mash. About 3-4 cups needed.

Mix sweet potatoes with:
2 eggs
1 cup sugar
3/4 cup soft butter
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup orange juice

1/2 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup flour
2 Tbsp soft butter
1/2 cup chopped pecans
3/4 cup mini marshmallows

Combine above ingredients and then place into 13 by 9 greased dish or use a casserole dish of your choosing. Hand mix your topping together until crumbly and sprinkle over sweet potatoes mixture. Bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes or until lightly brown and bubbly. Serve warm!

 Mashed sweet potatoes

 ready for oven


Friday, November 18, 2011

Jiffy Corn

Something I've taken my kids and done the last few years is go and help cook for our youth groups heading to God's Mountain Camp in Missouri. I love serving, especially when my kids can be involved in some way, and I really enjoy feeding people well on mission trips because they are also serving so much in between their meals. The first year we made this it was a hit and it is also one of my most requested dishes at family gatherings. Thanksgiving is just around the corner and if you are supposed to be bringing a side may want to try this! My whole family loves it... I know yours will too!

Jiffy Corn

1 can creamed corn
1 can whole kernel cor (drained)
1 box Jiffy corn mix
1 egg (beaten)
1 cup sour cream (8oz container)
1/2 c melted margarine (I often only use 1/4 cup too)
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese

Mix all your ingredients together and place in greased pan. I use a variety of pans, but a stoneware is my favorite giving it a nice even baking. Depending how thick you want it, choose anywhere from a quart casserole dish to a 13 by 9 pan. Bake at 350 for 45 minutes or until center is firm. Sprinkle with cheese and brown top or just let cheese melt. Serve it up!


 Ready for oven...

Serve it nice and warm...

Friday, November 11, 2011

easy caramel bars

I love baking in my kitchen with kids. Both my mom and my grandmothers let me as a little girl climb up by them at the counter and help them bake or cook. It is some of my fondest memories as a child and probably because my passion for making food and using it to love people was part of my build-up when God made me. I would help my grandma grind whole wheat to make bread from scratch, sit and eat cake crumbs as my grandmother created beautiful cakes, or help my mom drop pork chops into flour so we could throw them in the oven for dinner. Whatever I was learning as I watched, I now know that those moments were not only teaching moments, but also a great way for my family to use my love language with me. I cherish those times and sometimes want to drive across town and let my grandma show me some more in her kitchen while I just soak it all in.

If you want an easy and yummy dessert to throw into the oven before the kids get home from school, try this out! Seriously too easy and pretty delicious :) I had two good little helpers this week to make some caramel bars. Get your helpers in the kitchen and try these out!

Easy Caramel Bars

1 pkg. white or yellow cake mix
2 Cup oatmeal, uncooked
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 cup oil
1 egg
12.5 oz jar caramel ice cream topping (This last batch I used caramel-butterscotch topping)

Mix together dry cake mix, oatmeal, and brown sugar. Add oil and egg. Mix well. (will be a dry dough like texture) Spread half of batter into 13 by 9 greased pan. Press around with fingers. Spread caramel topping over first layer. Sprinkle remaining batter on top. Bake for 30ish minutes at 350.  Enjoy!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

baked oatmeal

Alright, I have managed to make my first post about food. With a new babe in the house adding anything to my list these days takes lots of consideration as to whether it is worth my time and efforts. Starting this "addition" to my blog has been on the fence for some time now (even pre-baby!) and I'm happy to say I feel good about taking time to blog about....well, oatmeal. Now before you decide that I have really got my priorities screwed up, let me just put a disclaimer out there: I enjoy cooking and baking. It is very therapeutic at times for me, as well as something that energizes me often too. I feel like myself when I have a good batch of anything baking in the oven and I love the chance to feed the loves in my life well. While I enjoy the food end of this project, I also have a heart for encouraging others to love their family through the art of cooking. Anybody can love their family and friends through food if they want to. People learn new things everyday! 

There is a lot to be learned from preparing food and sharing something delicious around a table together. It takes some prep time and some resources. And a heart that cares about providing that experience for your loved ones regularly.  I hope to be a resource for you with this blog. I do not in any way consider myself a gourmet cook or even an outstanding cook. I am your typical mid-west, grew up on a good ole Iowa farm, meat and potatoes kind of cooking girl. I learned a lot from my farm wife mama, grandma's, and yes, even 4-H. I like simple recipes and I like home-cooked anything. You won't find a lot of health crazy recipes on this blog, but more like recipes that call for butter, buttermilk, and chocolate chips :) I do think eating well is important though and I try really hard to provide fresh and organic as often as possible (both availability and financial affordability are always considered). I have fun with cooking, include my boys (and any others kids in my kitchen at the time) as often as I can, and share my recipes with anybody. I have made some really bad things and have a few things I'm known well for. One of those few that I will share today is my favorite baked oatmeal!

With 5 people now in our family and 2 of them leaving the house daily I like to attempt to make a hot breakfast at least 3 times a week. I think breakfast is important to start the day right and what a perfect opportunity to begin the day gathered together at the table. We use this time for a variety of things... morning conversation, Bible or devotion time, chat about your day time, homework time, get dressed as you eat time, nurse a baby time. I try to have things organized each night before bed so we can wake and have the first few things happen on that list, rather then the last few things... but you just never know!

An easy recipe to throw together the night before so you can serve a hot breakfast in the morning is baked oatmeal. Even if you don't like oatmeal, I almost can promise you will like this. I like to make a big 13 by 9 pan and warm it up in the oven the next day too. It takes about 10 minutes to put together and you get 2 mornings of hot breakfast for your crew. Also makes a great dish for those mornings you have guests staying over! Serve with fresh fruit and a glass of milk and you are set!

Baked Oatmeal

1 1/4 c oil
2 1/2 c milk
2 1/2 c sugar (brown or white, I use mostly brown)
5 eggs, beaten
7 1/2 c oatmeal
5 tsp baking powder
2 1/2 tsp salt
cinnamon (to your tasting)

Cream together sugar, oil, and eggs. add oatmeal, baking powder, salt, milk,and cinnamon. Put in greased 13 by 9 pan.  (I prefer stone pan) Bake at 350 degrees for 30-45 minutes.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

something new

I have been brewing this idea in my head for awhile now and I'm excited to get it off the ground! Along with caring for my three boys, husband, daycare kids, and what ever else makes up our life here, I have this passion for a few other things too. While I know my purpose these days, in this season, is mostly for my family... I also know I have a few things I need to keep letting my heart dip into as I go to keep myself  "me".

So, this is where I am starting with a new place for me to be creative... whether in my kitchen (which I LOVE), between books, amongst relationships, or within my community. I am totally loving this stage of life (most days) and learning so much as I go. I am fairly good at a few things and finding I am really bad at a few things just the same. In an effort to continue to grow (in both the good and bad things about myself) I am going to use this blog as a place to record my lessons...both good and bad. Look for a new face lift in the coming days and while you're here you may just find a recipe to use, a book to check out at the library for your kids, or find yourself having the same kind of day I am having here. Either way, I invite you to learn with me and hey... I'm sure we'll both learn a few things on the way!

Cheers to my first new place on my blog... this site is sure to have you hungry for more! I am pretty certain people love to eat and just as certain that when you take time to cook something tasty, they will feel your love for them. I love to cook, I love to love the people in my life, and I really love to show people that I care over a tasty meal or treat sitting around my dinner table. I saw this on my friend's fridge the other day and it totally summed up what's in my heart. Love others. Make them tasty food. Let's do just that!