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My Son’s Birthday

My sons birthday was this week. We let our kids pick their menu on their birthdays. My son choose pancakes for breakfast, waffles for lunch, and mom’s pizza (homemade) for dinner. He also wanted a Lego cake. (I hope to post pictures of that later this week) Only a child would pick a menu like that.

I have to include this even though it is non food related. I was in the kitchen working and my son walked in and said, I am not any bigger now that I am six. I said what do you mean, he again said I am not any bigger. I tried to explain that you do not grow overnight it is a slow process that you do not even realize is happening. He still did not quite understand. I guess he thought six was the magic number to growing up. Then this morning he informed me that he thought his voice was changing now that he was six. He really does think six makes him officially a grown up. Where do they get these things.

Granola

Crunchy Breakfast Cereal

This is a recipe I got from an old Taste of Home Cookbook

6 cups old-fashioned oats
2 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups packed brown sugar
2 cups flaked coconut
1-1/2 cups chopped pecans
1 cup toasted wheat germ
1 cup all-bran cereal
3/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup raisins
Directions: In a large bowl, combine oats, flour, brown sugar, coconut, pecans, wheat germ and cereal. In another bowl, mix oil, water, vanilla and salt. Pour over oat mixture; toss to coat. Pour into two greased 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pans. Bake at 275° for 1 hour, stirring every 10 minutes. Add raisins. Store in airtight container. Yield: 16

The next two I got off of epicurious.com

Molasses-Peanut Granola

In addition to being great with milk at breakfast time, this is nice sprinkled over yogurt, fruit or ice cream, or baked into your favorite granola cookies or bars.
Servings: Makes about 7 cups.

3 cups old-fashioned oats
1 1/2 cups lightly salted dry-roasted peanuts
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1/2 cup mild-flavored (light) molasses
1/2 cup (packed) golden brown sugar
1/4 cup water
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup golden raisins
Position rack in center of oven and preheat to 325°F. Spray large roasting pan with nonstick vegetable oil spray. Mix oats, peanuts and coconut in prepared roasting pan. Combine molasses, brown sugar, 1/4 cup water and oil in heavy small saucepan. Bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Pour hot molasses mixture over oat mixture; toss to coat well.
Bake granola 20 minutes. Stir raisins into granola. Bake until granola is deep golden, stirring frequently, about 15 minutes longer. Transfer pan to rack. Using metal spatula, scrape bottom of pan to loosen granola. Cool completely in pan, occasionally scraping bottom of pan with spatula to prevent granola from sticking.
(Can be made 1 week ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Vanilla-Scented Granola

4 cups old-fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup (packed) brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup honey
2 tablespoons sugar
4 teaspoons vanilla extract

Position rack in middle of oven and preheat to 300°F. Lightly spray large baking sheet with nonstick spray. Mix next 5 ingredients in large bowl. Combine oil, honey, and sugar in small saucepan; bring to simmer over medium heat. Remove from heat; stir in vanilla. Pour hot liquid over oat mixture; stir well. Using hands, toss mixture until thoroughly mixed.
Spread granola on prepared baking sheet. Bake until golden brown, stirring occasionally, about 30 minutes. Transfer sheet to rack; cool granola completely. (Can be made 2 weeks ahead. Store in airtight container at room temperature.)

Freezer Meals

I started doing freezer meals about six years ago when I was having some health problems. On the days I was not feeling well I would end up having my husband bring home pizza or he would have to cook. I realized I had to make a change that enabled our family to eat healthy even when I was not feeling up to cooking.

I have been doing freezer meals since. I have changed over time how I do them though. I now am in better health and can focus more on cooking. My problem now is I am busy. I have three kids that I home school. We have piano lessons, trips to the library, church, and many other things that keep our lives busy. I want my family to eat healthy but still allow for the days when I do not have time to cook.

When I first started doing freezer meals I would do around thirty meals at one time. I would shop one day and cook for the next two. This worked well at that point in my life. I would cook a lot when I was having a good week and then I would have plenty of meals in the freezer for when I wasn’t. I know that this is the way a lot of people do it. I have found this is not what works best for me now.

I have adapted my freezer meal planning to fit our life better now. I usually will double or triple recipes and eat one freeze the rest. I will do this over the course of a week or two. That way I do not have to take up three days to do meals but I can still get quite a few meals in the freezer. I have also found that we did not need as many meals in the freezer at this point in our life.

I have found that a lot of the recipes in cookbooks that are on freezing meals are not recipes my family really liked. I have read a lot of them and I owned several at one point. I even have a computer program that helped calculate recipe amounts and tasks that needed down. But I found a lot of the recipes were just not things I would cook, they were not very healthy and I did not like doing a cooking marathon over a couple of days. I have had the most success by adjusting my own recipes a little and learning what types of recipes freeze well.

I really think having meals in the freezer can be a great help and blessing. It enables me to always have a meal ready to take to someone in need. It is very beneficial for those preparing for the birth of a baby or a mother this is facing surgery. I plan on doing several posts over the next few weeks about freezer meals. I hope to give ideas and recipes. I also will tell you some of the things I have found that worked or did not work for me.

I know a lot of you probably already do freezer meals to some extent. If you have any tips that I do not cover let me know. I am sure others would be glad to hear them.

The View From My Kitchen Sink

I was cleaning up the kitchen and doing dishes this afternoon when I began to think how the Lord has blessed me with this view.

I love living in the country. I get to look at this every day as I do dishes. When I first moved to this house I was so thrilled with the view. I even thought I wouldn’t mind doing dishes with a view like this.

Well, over the last couple of years I have begun to take for granted what a wonderful thing it is to be able to see this as I look out my window. I have a window to look out and see what the Lord has made. I truly am blessed to see this and to watch it change from season to season. Let us not take for granted even the little things the Lord as blessed us with.

Oatmeal Muffins

My mom used to make these muffins all the time when I was growing up.

They are not a fancy muffin but good. It is a great way to use up leftover oatmeal if you have some or you can make some just for the recipe. They are also fast and easy to make.

Frosted Peanut Butter Brownies

What better combination is there than peanut butter and chocolate?

We love these. I have been making these brownies for years and they are a family favorite. If you love peanut butter and chocolate as much as my family does than you will love these.

Whole Wheat Buttermilk Pancakes

I have been making these pancakes for years. They are a favorite in our family and we eat them almost every Saturday.

Easy Chocolate Cookies

These cookies are so easy to make. I saw these on a t.v. show quite a few years ago. I usually try to keep a chocolate cake mix on hand for them. They are great if you need a quick dessert for company or to take somewhere. My 10 year old daughter loves to make them.

Chicken Enchiladas

This is just my basic recipe. I change it around a little depending on what I have. If you want to use less meat add some cooked rice or a can of black beans.

Dough Enhancer-Kitchen Tip Tuesday

This is my first time posting a tip for Kitchen Tip Tuesdays at Tammy’s recipes.

My kitchen tip is using dough enhancer in recipes that call for whole wheat flour. I have been baking bread for quite a few years but had not used dough enhancer until recently. My sister was telling me about the dough enhancer she had tried and how she thought it made a difference.

Well, after hearing her talk about it I had to try it. I have tried it in several recipes and I love it. It really does make Whole Wheat recipes better. They have better texture and are much lighter. Overall, it really makes it better. I know that it does raise the cost of making my own bread but I feel the results are well worth it.

I have tried to make whole wheat pizza crust before. It was not my husbands favorite. He likes his pizza crust thick and fluffy, more like a deep dish. The whole wheat just changed the texture too much for him. He liked my regular kind better. I recently tried whole wheat pizza crust with the dough enhancer and he really liked it. It was much lighter then when I had tried it before. He said to make it with whole wheat again. So I know it must have made a difference.

I have tried it in bread, pizza, rolls, and even cookies. I have really liked the results I have gotten with it. I am planning on trying it in a lot of other recipes.

Has anyone else tried dough enhancer? What have your results been?

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