Scorching would be an apt description of our current weather conditions. Apparently, we are experiencing the hottest week of our summer — right now – as I’m typing. Really! It’s true. I’d go outside to show you, but it’s too hot, and I’m typing, and what with me being an air conditioner weeny and all [...]
Scorching would be an apt description of our current weather conditions. Apparently, we are experiencing the hottest week of our summer — right now – as I’m typing. Really! It’s true. I’d go outside to show you, but it’s too hot, and I’m typing, and what with me being an air conditioner weeny and all — I just think it’s best you take my word for it. :)
Even as warm as it is, now that school is in full swing, I can’t help but let my mind wander ahead to fall. It’s my all time favorite season and this last little burn-off of summer is making me even more excited to have the crisp, cooler weather of fall visit our neighborhood. I love the smell of the air, the vibrant, earthy colors and the crunching of leaves under foot. I love being able to pull on a sweater, but still not need a coat, when I head outdoors. I also love what fall does to my kitchen and the way I cook. The warm, spicy aromas and the fresh-baked smells that waft through the house in cooler weather are so homey and inviting. So, as you can imagine, the timing was perfect when I was asked to create recipes for fall – one that utilized the limited edition Fall M&Ms and one that put a creative twist on apple cider, using Mott’s Apple Juice. Hmmm…chocolate and fall and recipes and … umm…..YES! I think I can do that. :)
Let me introduce you to crisp, sweet and salty M&M Puppy Chow Snack Mix and smooth, creamy Apple Cider Milk Shakes! They would be great family movie-night snacks, or as a treat after raking leaves. They would be a hit at a birthday party or sleepover and you would definitely move up the scale of rock-star moms, if these showed up as after-school snacks! The recipes are pretty simple and the flavor pay-off is big!
If you know what Puppy Chow is, then you’ll see that this snack mix simply substitutes M&Ms for the chocolate chips and then blends the finished product with some crunchy, salty snacking goodness. I LOVED what the Fall M&Ms did to the texture and color of the puppy chow! The chocolatey centers melt really well and some of the shells melted, too, but there were still colorful bits of candy coating floating in the creamy, smooth melted chocolate which added gorgeous little fall colored speckles to the Puppy Chow coating.
My guess is these shakes could be made with apple cider, as well as juice, but I liked the idea of being able to use the Mott’s Apple Juice and know that everyone from the youngest to the oldest was going to enjoy it. When I think of cider I think of citrus and warm spices, so I incorporated those and the apple juice into vanilla ice cream and created the most heavenly Apple Cider Milkshake.
What creative ways do you have for using M&Ms? Have you tried the limited edition fall varieties?
And, if you’ve never had an apple cider milkshake, there’s no time like the present to start experiencing those warm, spicy aromas and tastes of fall! Make this delicious treat for your own family! Enjoy!
.When I need a fast and easy solution for a delicious sit-down dinner, I don’t always have time to run to the store for a long list of specialty herbs and spices to create that “something special” dish. Tuesday was one of those nights where I wanted to make something wonderful for my family, but [...]
.When I need a fast and easy solution for a delicious sit-down dinner, I don’t always have time to run to the store for a long list of specialty herbs and spices to create that “something special” dish. Tuesday was one of those nights where I wanted to make something wonderful for my family, but the time I had to complete it was very limited. I also wanted the flavors to be exciting and different from the ordinary. Do you get bored, cooking the same things, week after week? Me, too. I like to mix things up sometimes and make something to really “wake up” our taste buds. I’m the first to admit that unique and flavorful doesn’t usually happen in the time-crunch of preparing quick family meals, but that WAS what I wanted. That’s when I remembered the Kraft Recipe Makers in the pantry. I was fortunate enough to be selected to try them out at home, so I decided that this would definitely be the night. The only real problem was that I had purchased the Yankee Pot Roast Variety. Not only did I not have a pot roast, I had hamburger thawed for dinner. Hmmm…..A little creative license and voila! Something delicious, something simple, something different from the ordinary, Tuesday night fare –I decided to incorporate all those special seasonings and brown gravy in a meatloaf. Let’s just say, I MIGHT be a genius! :) Seriously, it was wonderful!
You get me, right? You’ve all felt the same as me, haven’t you? Wanting to create something new and different, without blowing the budget and in a limited amount of time, can’t be unique to me, alone. :) I think we all want to create meals that are nutritious, delicious and filled with the home-cooked love that creates warm and fun-filled memories around the dinner table. Some days, that’s an overwhelming task, with all the other jobs we have to juggle. Some days, we just need a little help. Wouldn’t it be nice to have everything you needed, just waiting on the shelf in the pantry, so you could create an appealing family meal, quickly, and with ease?
Herbs, spices and seasonings are the secret to elevating an easy meal into something special. Those ingredients can be costly, however, and they lose their potency if not used within 6 months to a year. I typically keep quite a few on hand and use them, often, but if you don’t use them regularly and understand all the ways they can be used, it might not make sense to purchase them individually. For instance, a small jar of cardamom or saffron, if you would only use it once, is incredibly expensive; and what a shame to have to throw out such gorgeous spices if they weren’t used up before they lost their “flavor power”. And even for me, it isn’t uncommon to start a recipe and find that I’m out of something. Kraft has a solution for those who want a well-seasoned dish, without the expense of individual seasonings and the time investment to run to the store for the ones that aren’t in your pantry collection. Kraft Recipe Makers, added to your choice of protein, will produce a deliciously-seasoned and satisfying main dish that has the traditional flavor of slow-simmered, love- and herb-infused recipes. You supply the love and let Recipe Makers develop the flavor, either in your crock pot, on your stove top or in the oven.
Kraft Recipe Makers come in a variety of flavors: New England Pot Roast, Chicken Cacciatore, Chicken Bruschetta Tacos, Asian Fish Tacos, Hickory BBQ-Beef, Tex-Mex Chicken Fajita, Three Cheese Chicken Florentine, Sweet and Sour Chicken and Verde Chicken Enchiladas. Each variety contains a simmer sauce and a finishing sauce which busy cooks looking to create flavorful, appealing meals for their families, can use to “dress up” their own fresh meat and produce. Recipe Makers reduce prep time and help to get dinner on the table quickly, whether you’ve allowed it to cook in the crock pot all day, while you were working; or decide to whip it up quickly on the stove top or in the oven. There is a flavor profile to manage any craving and I’m delighted to say after using the New England Pot Roast variety, in a rather unconventional way, on Tuesday night, that we enjoyed something new and delicious thanks to Kraft Recipe Makers AND I will definitely be trying some of their other varieties.
So, what’s for dinner? Is it flavor-packed and “calling” out to your family with its delicious aroma, to come gather around the dinner table and make some memories? It doesn’t take much time and it doesn’t have to cost a lot to do it. For more information and tasty recipe ideas, check out Kraft’s Facebook page or their Recipe Makers page.
What are the snacks you most enjoy giving your kids? We all love it when they’ll eat a piece of fruit or some raw veggies, but when they’re wanting something that doesn’t “seem” healthy to them, do you have an arsenal of snack ideas that they love and you are comfortable will still offer at [...]
What are the snacks you most enjoy giving your kids? We all love it when they’ll eat a piece of fruit or some raw veggies, but when they’re wanting something that doesn’t “seem” healthy to them, do you have an arsenal of snack ideas that they love and you are comfortable will still offer at least a modicum of nutrition? One on the list at our house is pickles. My kids (and my husband) never met a pickle they didn’t like. :) I’m a dill girl, all the way, but the rest of the family are hardcore pickle aficionados, looking forward to any and all varieties — bread and butter pickles, sweet pickles, dill pickles, pickled peppers, pickle relish and on, and on …… When I was unable to supply any other variety, from our pantry, I have one child who actually filled a cereal bowl with hamburger dill chips to go down and watch a movie! lol I told you… they love pickles. With such a huge fan following, you would think that pickles would be something I have made often, but I have to confess, I haven’t. My first attempts at canning pickles, yielded mushy, definitely un-crisp disappointment and I haven’t braved it again, in awhile.
However, I’m finally getting such a good yield from the garden and I had an opportunity to test out Heinz’s new Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, so I’m cinching up my apron and diving in one more time. The difference this time is that I’m trying a refrigerator pickle, instead of canning them. I’m hopeful, and to tell the truth, more than just a little excited about making a good pickle, at home, with my own fresh ingredients. My inspiration came from a blog called At Home My Way. I loved the idea of a cooled brine being poured over the pickles and it makes sense to me that this will help them maintain their crispness, as opposed to covering them in boiling brine and then dropping the jars in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes.
Heinz is a brand that I have known since childhood, and when it comes to vinegar, it’s the brand you’ll find in my pantry. Whether it’s for making my own cleaning supplies or cooking, Heinz Vinegar has always proven to be a quality product. I love their White Cleaning Strength Vinegar and always have Apple Cider vinegar on hand for marinades, dressings and cooking. I was really excited when I heard that they now make Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar, which is great for cooking, but may also have health benefits. Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar is made from pulverized apples, just like plain Apple Cider Vinegar, but it has not been strained and filtered or pasteurized. It still contains the “mother” which grows during the fermentation process and makes it the most natural and wholesome form of vinegar. Prior to this, we had to order Raw Unfiltered Vinegar online, or drive into the city, to purchase it at a health food store. It’s great news to know that most Walmart stores will now carry this healthy product and I can buy it right in town, at an affordable price.
For my foray into making refrigerator pickles, I used Heinz Raw Unfiltered Vinegar, to flavor and preserve my cucumbers. I hope you’ll enjoy this recipe as much as we do! It makes a full gallon of pickles and I packed them into a gallon jar, but you could just as easily divide them into 4 quart jars. I would recommend using the wide-mouthed jars to make them easier to get in and out of the jars.
You can learn even more about Heinz Apple Cider Vinegar and Raw Unfiltered Apple Cider Vinegar on the Heinz website, and you can get some fantastic recipes and ideas for using vinegar in your own kitchen by checking out their Recipe Page and Pinterest boards.
Another of our favorite recipes using Apple Cider Vinegar is Chicken Teriyaki. What are some of your favorite recipes using vinegar? What other uses do you love it for?
.Whether you create them as a breakfast-on-the-go or serve them with a perfect salad for dinner, these simple, delicious and easy little muffins are loaded with nutrition and flavor. They pack a great protein punch and they are incredibly versatile, adapting easily to what you have in the freezer or pantry. The baking mix is [...]
.Whether you create them as a breakfast-on-the-go or serve them with a perfect salad for dinner, these simple, delicious and easy little muffins are loaded with nutrition and flavor. They pack a great protein punch and they are incredibly versatile, adapting easily to what you have in the freezer or pantry. The baking mix is made with whole grain flour and laced with organic coconut oil. The filling is roasted white meat chicken and all the veggies you can gather in the kitchen. Not only are they easy and loved by the entire family, these will freeze like a dream! So, I can make them ahead and just pull out what we need. I’m going to have to make several different varieties, I think. DELISH!
Sometimes, the quick convenience of baking mix is SOOOO hard to pass up, even though I know that what is commercially available is loaded with hydrogenated fat, artificial colors and preservatives and, most likely, some GMO ingredients. In the past, I have made a scratch version, to save money, but it called for unbleached white [...]
Sometimes, the quick convenience of baking mix is SOOOO hard to pass up, even though I know that what is commercially available is loaded with hydrogenated fat, artificial colors and preservatives and, most likely, some GMO ingredients. In the past, I have made a scratch version, to save money, but it called for unbleached white flour and shortening. I would always want to substitute butter, but then it would have to be refrigerated….and yada, yada, yada. I eventually quit using baking mix. Now, that we have easier access to much more healthful ingredients, I threw together this easy baking mix and it has worked out fantastically! It’s a quick fix for whole grain pancakes or biscuits, in the morning, and wait until you see the yummy Pot Pie Muffins I made with it!
First here’s the simple recipe for the baking mix. No refrigeration needed and NO hydrogenated fat! Just keep it in the pantry in a tightly sealed container and you’ll be just minutes away from your favorite baked goods!
Tonight, the first thing I made with this simple baking mix was delicious Chicken Pot Pie Muffins for our dinner. Be sure to check out the recipe.
In the morning, I’ll test it out on some fresh, homemade biscuits. I’ll let you know how they come out! In the meantime, here are a couple of the staple recipes that you can use the baking mix in, and I promise, there will be more coming in the days, ahead. Enjoy!
Thursday was one of those days where I had actually thawed chicken for dinner, but been so busy with other things, that I hadn’t given much thought to what I would do with it. When I did get around to making supper, my crew was already near to expiring from hunger. :) “When is supper?” [...]
Thursday was one of those days where I had actually thawed chicken for dinner, but been so busy with other things, that I hadn’t given much thought to what I would do with it. When I did get around to making supper, my crew was already near to expiring from hunger. :) “When is supper?” “What is supper?” “How long before supper?” “Is it supper, yet?” Not wanting to risk an uprising, I calmly stated, “About half an hour.” What? Am I nuts!??!! Clearly, I should have thought that statement through! Oh well, now I was committed. Here we go! (It’s actually took me about 45 minutes, but that’s because I took pictures. You can just cook. It’s gonna be fine.)
You’re only going to need a few items from the pantry and garden and you’ll be able to set this delicious, and really quite beautiful meal on the table. It’s simple and everyone will be looking for the restaurant chef you have hidden in the broom closet! :) Enjoy!
And there you go! A fabulously, flavorful and gorgeous dinner in just about 30 minutes! Hope you love it as much as we did!
Chicken Teriyaki is a dish I have never made, before. Silly me! At one point, way back a zillion or so years ago, David and I went out to eat and he ordered chicken teriyaki. He HATED it! I mean like really truly disliked it. And this is the guy I can cook just about [...]
Chicken Teriyaki is a dish I have never made, before. Silly me! At one point, way back a zillion or so years ago, David and I went out to eat and he ordered chicken teriyaki. He HATED it! I mean like really truly disliked it. And this is the guy I can cook just about anything for and he’ll eat it. Nothin’ doin’. He was pretty decisive on the issue. Needless to say, I’ve never bothered to try and make him any at home.
We typically have 10-12 people at our home for Sunday dinner. I love the noise, the chaos, the three conversations going at once and all the laughing around the table. I love hearing, “Grandma, sit by me.” “Uncle Michael, come down here.” “Here’s your chair, Grandpa.” (Picture chubby fingers patting the seat beside them. :) ) When feeding a crowd, that will be starving before church service has even dismissed, I usually have something in the crock pot or set the delayed start on my oven and have a wonderful big casserole piping hot and bubbly, when we walk in the door, after church. Last week, I still needed to feed the whole tribe, but I was in the mood for something different. I wonder what would happen if I made Chicken Teriyaki? :)
One thing I WILL say about getting older, that seems to be working in my favor, is that David doesn’t always remember that he was emotionally scarred by a particular dish. :) Maybe it’s just a maturing palate? Anyway, I went out on a limb, Sunday and made my version of a Chicken Teriyaki dish. I knew I would only get one shot at changing his mind. But, before you get your mouths all set, and hankering for teriyaki, let me say, again, I have never made this before and it is, likely, NOTHING like a traditional teriyaki. It IS however one of my husband’s favorite new dishes. lol Go figure.
After reading through several different teriyaki recipes, I started pulling ingredients from the pantry and fridge. This is what I started with. It was not the final roster of ingredients, however. As you know, when you embark on a grand experiment like this, in the kitchen, it requires starting with what you think you will use, tasting and adding a little somethin’ somethin’ that the dish still needs, simmering a bit and then tasting, again, – adding, adjusting and finally — nirvana! Yup, I have to say, it’s pretty darn good! And the beautiful thing is…I remembered to write everything down. Now, you can make it, too! It’s actually incredibly easy!
What is written, below, is the true recipe for the finished product, with no trial and error and tasting and adjusting necessary on your part. It also includes all the ingredients I added AFTER the above picture was taken. :) Enjoy!
Do you have a recipe book that is well “loved” and often used? Is it that one you stick in a drawer when someone drops in unexpectedly? You’re hiding secret family recipes, right? What? OOOOHHHH! Me, too. :) This cookbook is one of my treasures. I’m not a “stuff” person, so even for sentimental reasons, [...]
Do you have a recipe book that is well “loved” and often used? Is it that one you stick in a drawer when someone drops in unexpectedly? You’re hiding secret family recipes, right? What? OOOOHHHH! Me, too. :) This cookbook is one of my treasures. I’m not a “stuff” person, so even for sentimental reasons, there are only certain things that I hang on to for like, forever and ever. This is one.
It was my mother-in-law’s and before her, it belonged to Auntie, who raised her. When she gave it to me, it had already been well loved, but I have definitely put some miles on it and I’m guessing MY girls will, too. It’s not that there are tons and tons of recipes that I get from its pages, but there are a couple of tried-and-trues that I always go back to. Banana Bread is one of them. And if you need the gory evidence….
From the pages of this treasured tome, comes the recipe that makes our family the most moist, delicious banana bread you have ever dreamed about! It’s good. REALLY good. Typically, I bake it up as muffins, so we have fast, easy and portable breakfasts and snacks. It freezes beautifully! And, in my opinion, the flavor is even more exquisite after it has been frozen or at least refrigerated, overnight. And the same is true for the loaves that come from my new twist on our old and favored recipe. Refrigerating or freezing it only enhances and intensifies the flavors of this already incredibly moist bread. It will be your go-to recipe for home-baked gifts or a treat at a potluck. However you use it, it will be gobbled up in minutes, so be sure to make the whole batch, even if it seems like a lot, right now. You want a loaf or two for the freezer. Remember? Enjoy!
I’m definitely a Grandma, but I’m not Italian. So, I’ll never pass for a little Italian Grandma with all the cooking skill and wisdom of the ages. However, I have stumbled onto a happy, not-so-traditional spin on a classic Italian dish and it’s started making a regular appearance on our dinner table. This simple, delicious [...]
I’m definitely a Grandma, but I’m not Italian. So, I’ll never pass for a little Italian Grandma with all the cooking skill and wisdom of the ages. However, I have stumbled onto a happy, not-so-traditional spin on a classic Italian dish and it’s started making a regular appearance on our dinner table. This simple, delicious casserole is a family favorite that beats out even a traditional spaghetti supper. If you’re fortunate enough to have leftovers, they reheat easily; and Baked Spaghetti freezes well, so the recipe can be doubled to have one for the freezer and one for dinner. It would be perfect to take along to a potluck or as a dish for a family with a new baby. This recipe makes a 9 x 13 pan and generously feeds 10 - 12. A fresh green salad and some cheesy garlic bread and you’ll think you’re eating out! Enjoy!
This recipe is linked to Weekend Potluck.
It’s funny how we associate different foods or flavors with a season or event. For me, summer is a uniquely “lemon” season. It isn’t that I don’t love lemons all the other times of the year. It’s just that the fresh, bright flavor of citrus, and specifically lemons, tastes like summer to me. [...]
It’s funny how we associate different foods or flavors with a season or event. For me, summer is a uniquely “lemon” season. It isn’t that I don’t love lemons all the other times of the year. It’s just that the fresh, bright flavor of citrus, and specifically lemons, tastes like summer to me. :) Lemons are perfectly paired with blueberries in a myriad of summertime recipes and my most favorite are usually ones that don’t require heating up the kitchen to prepare them.
This recipe is an ever-so-slight variation of a recipe sent to me, on a gorgeous recipe card, by the good people at Lucky Leaf. Lucky Leaf makes pie fillings, apple juice, apple sauce and canned apple slices. They are part of the same parent company as Musselman’s and I was introduced to them almost exactly one year ago. Delicious Lucky Leaf pie fillings have become a staple in my pantry, because of the quality. They’re loaded with fruit, unlike other brands who are heavy on the syrup, but stingy with the main ingredient. We have many fruit pie filling favorites from Lucky Leaf, but until this recipe, I had never tried their cream pie fillings. I won’t be making THAT oversight, again. We found it to be as flavorful and rich as the fruit fillings we already love. In my area, I find Lucky Leaf products at Hy-Vee. You can visit the Lucky Leaf website and use the store locator to find a market that carries them, near you.
You won’t need to heat up the house to make this tasty dessert, and all who taste your handiwork will sing your praises. Be humble and use your power for good! :) I think this recipe could easily be dressed up for your Fourth of July celebration, too, by simply adding layers of raspberries with the blueberries. Lemon is a great complement to both types of berries and the colors would be gorgeous on your holiday serving table! Enjoy!
GIVEAWAY: Lucky Leaf is sponsoring a DELISH giveaway for a lucky Busy-at-Home reader. The winner of the drawing will receive a can of Lucky Leaf Lemon Pie Filling, a one pint canning jar with lid and ribbon, plus a gorgeous recipe card with the Lucky Leaf version of the recipe I shared, above.
Mandatory Entry: Leave a comment, below, telling me your favorite summertime flavors. What are the foods that tantalize your taste buds and just scream warm weather to you? Do you make lots of cold main dishes and desserts or do you fire up the grill to keep the heat outside? When you’ve completed your comment, be sure to register it on the Rafflecopter form, below. Good luck!
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