Sunday, September 9, 2012

Homemade Applesauce

It's apple picking time again!!!!

I love apple picking time each year!  Not only is apple picking a great family tradition for us, apple sauce is the only fruit my little guy will eat without a fight.

For this recipe you will need:

Any variety of apples
1/4 c water
cinnamon to taste
sugar to taste
big pot
a food mill - optional

The best applesauce is made with a wide variety of apples.  I like Red Delicious, Golden Delicious, Granny Smith, Gala and Jona Golds.  Any apples you have on hand are fine for this recipe.

Variety of apples washed and chopped

Wash and apples.  If you DONT' have a food mill, peel and core the apples.  If you have a food mill don't worry about the peels and cores.

Apples steaming in a large pot with 1/4 c. of water (cook with the lid on)
Chop the apples into quarters or 1/8ths.  Cook the apples and 1/4c of water over low heat in a covered pot.

Soft apples ready to mill (or mash)

Once the apples are steamed and completely soft it's time to run them through the food mill to remove the peels and seeds.

my food mill (a garage sale special)
I mill to remove seeds and skins
Ready to enjoy!!!

If you don't have a food mill you will need to peel and core the apples before they are cooked.  Once cooked, simply stir and mash them.  they will be so soft that they will fall apart when stirred.

Adding sugar, honey or cinnamon is a personal choice.  Taste the apple sauce and see what it needs.

That's it!  Soooo easy!

Garden Fresh Tomato Sauce

One day's tomato harvest
This summer the kids and I decided to grow tomatoes in the garden.  The original idea was to plant just a few little cherry and grape tomato seeds.  The problem with seeds is that once they in the ground they never seem like enough.  So, we planted a LOT of seeds and where a little surprised to end up with a LOT of tomatoes.

Somewhere long the line a plum tomato seed got into the mix and so now we have plum, cherry and grape tomatoes.  LOTS of them.

In the beginning harvesting was fun.  In pretty short order I had more tomatoes than i wanted to deal with.  Each day the kids would harvest a batch of tomatoes.  I would wash them, inspect them for bugs, bag them up in ziploc bags a toss them into the freezer.

bags of frozen tomatos

For this recipe you will need:

Fresh (or frozen) tomatoes
1/4 c water
your favorite spices (like garlic, oregano, basil, fennel seed, salt and pepper)
large heavy bottom pot
stick blender, blender or food processor
food mill

Once i had a nice stash of frozen tomatoes i dumped the (still frozen) tom ates into a heavy bottom pot with 1/4 c. of water.

Frozen tomatoes + 1/4c water

 I cooked the tomatoes over low heat until they where no longer frozen.  Turns out fresh tomatoes give off A LOT of water.  Before too long the tomatoes were basically boiling in their own juice.

Adding fresh tomatoes to formerly frozen tomatoes.

 Once the frozen tomatoes where soft, I add the fresh tomatoes from that days harvest.  Next, just let everything cook uncovered on low heat.

After 2 hours of cooking they looked like this
a few hours later it looked like this
Once a good deal of the tomato water had cooked out i used the immersion blender to chop the skins and any remaining flesh.  Then I used a food mill to remove the seeds.

here the skins are blended in and seeds have been strained out
I had never made sauce from fresh tomatoes before so I wasn't sure what to expect.  I was really surprised to see how much the tomatoes had cooked down.

Once the sauce reached my desired thickness, I stirred in salt, pepper, garlic, basil, fennel seed and a bit on onion powder.

The only thing left to do was to put it in jars.

This sauce can be frozen, canned or used immediately!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Brownie Ice Cream sandwiches

Brownie Ice Cream sandwiches
Mix up you favorite brownie recipe.  Instead of banking them in a pan, make the in the waffle iron!

Allow the Brownie waffle to cool completely.

I used a biscuit cutter to make my finished product perfectly round.  This step is completely optional.

Next, sandwich semi soft ice cream between waffles.

That's it!!!


my kids love the waffles warm and sprinkled with powdered sugar.

I cant have lactose, so I use non-dairy whipped topping in place of ice cream.


Sunday, June 17, 2012

Shake Up your coffee routine

I love an iced coffee most summer mornings!  I have neither time or inclination to fight the long lines at Starbucks first thing in the morning.  A few years ago I started shaking my own coffee and i've never looked back!

Here's what you'll need:

Instant coffee of your choice
sweetner (I like Equal)
milk (I prefer evaporated skim)
cocktail shaker
water and ice
chocolate syrup (optional)

To the cocktail shaker add 1 rounded tablespoon of instant coffee, sweetner, milk, ice and water.

Shake, shake, shake.  Then pour!

The cocktail shaker will strain out all the foam and just give you coffee.  If you like the foam, you can add that too!

This method allows you to quickly make the cup of iced coffee that perfect for you! 

Add in chocolate syrup, cinnamon and any extras you like!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Baked Corn dogs

My kids and I LOVE corn dogs!  The problem is that we try to avoid too much fried food.  I'm still playing with this recipe, but so far, so good.

These oven baked corn dogs are sweet and tasty.  They're great as an snack school snack or breakfast on the go!

Corn dog Batter Recipe

1 cup cornmeal
1 cup flour
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup powdered milk
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup soft shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon yellow mustard (like the kind you use on hot dogs)
1/2 cup water

Mix up batter and set aside.  It will be very thick.

Next, cut the hot dogs in half and dry them thoroughly with a paper towel.

Submerge the dogs in the batter until full coated.  Then place on a greased cookie sheet (I sprayed the sheet with PAM cooking spray.

Bake in a 425 degree oven until golden brown.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Making Swirl Bread

Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Basic Swirl Bread (1 loaf)

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cup uncooked plain oatmeal
2 Tablespoons sugar
1 ½ teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon oil
1 envelope of yeast
1 1/8 cup warm (NOT HOT) milk (room temp milk is fine)

Swirl: 1 Tablespoon melted butter, 1 Tablespoon cinnamon, 1/8 cup sugar

Make the sponge by combining 1 cup flour, oats, sugar, salt oil, yeast and milk in a large bowl. Mix well. This mixture is called the sponge.


Stir in remaining 1 ½ cups of flour.


Cover with a damp cloth and allow it to rise in a warm draft free place. I usually just leave it on my counter top. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Risen dough

Once the risen dough, grease 1 loaf pan and set it aside.

Turn dough onto a floured board or counter.

Turning risen dough out to knead

Knead the dough about 5 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

Kneading dough

Done kneading

Using a well floured rolling pin, roll the dough out until it is a ½ inch thick rectangle.

Ready for the swirl

Add the swirl:

Spread melted butter over dough rectangle. Mix sugar and cinnamon in a bowl. Sprinkle evenly over melted butter.

Butter, cinnamon and sugar added

Starting at the long end of the dough, to roll it as tightly as you can.

Roll the dough tightly

The roll is too long for the pan. 
Tuck the ends under so that the loaf will fit snugly into the loaf pan.

Tuck the long ends under the dough

Now the dough fits in the pan

Waiting to rise
Cover and set aside to rise. Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size. (About 1 hour)

1 hour later, the bread has risen

Once dough has doubled in size, bake for 30 minutes in a 350 degree oven.

Fresh from the oven!

Remove from pan immediately. Set on a cooling rack.

Once cooled, slice and eat!


For plain white bread: Don’t add the swirl (butter, cinnamon or sugar)

For pesto swirl bread: Use fresh or store bough pesto instead of cinnamon and sugar

For Garlic bread: Add 1 Tablespoon of garlic powder to sponge

For Wheat Bread: Make the sponge using 1 cup of wheat flour and 1/2 cup of all purpose flour. Once the sponge is mixed, add 1 ½ cup all purpose flour.

For Honey Oat Bread: Substitute honey for sugar in the dough.

For raisin bread: add ½ cup of raisins to sponge.

Special notes:

- If your milk is too hot it will kill the yeast and your bread won’t rise. Use room temp or slight warm milk for best results

- If you add oatmeal to the dough it will be a little wetter than usual. Don’t panic. That’s normal. Use a little extra flour when kneading and rolling.

- Be patient! As long as you didn’t kill the yeast, your bread should rise. It usually takes an hour or so.

- Don’t let the dough sit all day to rise. If you forget about it for a long time (4-5 hours) then come back, your bread will have risen and then fallen.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Homemade DQ Blizzard Machine Refills and that thing with Snoopy

Ice cream mix for the Dairy Queen Blizzard Maker

3/4 c. 1/2 and 1/2
2 tablespoons of sugar (or 1 Tablespoon of splenda)
1/2 t. vanilla
dash of salt

Follow directions on the Blizzard maker for making soft serve ice cream

A few Christmas's ago there was an ugly incident with a snoopy snow cone maker (more on that later). So when the dq blizzard machine showed up under the tree (a gift for the kids from my sister) I vowed to stay far away. The first few days of blizzard making went just fine and the kids had a good time. This afternoon I returned to Walmart to buy more of the little packets of ice cream mix and Walmart was all out.
Normally this would not be a big deal. But I am the mother of 3 young sons. I have sent the better part of the last week cooped up in a house full of visiting relatives, Christmas toys, dirty dishes and too many people asking me too many questions - often all at the same time. I promised the kids that if they would quit fighting over bay blades they could have ice cream.  Now the damned Walmart was out of mix and I was this close to a nervous breakdown.

"Don't worry" i told the boys "mommy knows how to make blizzards!" In my dream scenario this is where they cheer and declare me the best mommy ever. In real life they gave me the side eye and mumbled something out "wanting real blizzards and the fire bey blade."

Back at home I sent them out of the kitchen and threw open the cabinets. "No, sweet heart, you cannot help. Please go play." Mommy needed a moment to figure out a recipe and possibly pop a zanax.

I assembled the blizzard machine and began making ice cream. Turns out I had the machine put together incorrectly and all of the mix ran out onto the counter. On my second try I got it right and had yummy ice cream in about 5 minutes.

This time they did cheer and declared me the best mommy ever! [fade out on me wearing a crown and sash as I wave to the crowd]

In other mommy adventures:

The Snoopy Snow cone debacle

The holidays are always a stressful time in our house. There's just too much everything. Too much food, too many people, dirty dishes and way too much noise.  I do best with a schedule and some kind of order. Holiday time in our home is the extreme opposite of that. The stress sometimes leads to odd behavior on my part (don't judge me).

So a few years ago Santa brought the kids a snoopy snow cone maker for Christmas. I make the syrup on the stove (sugar, water and 1 kool aid packet) and let it cool. Once cooled i poured it into the the little syrup dispenser.

Next we gathered ice cubes and began grinding them according to package directions. Before too long the kids were enjoying yummy snow cones.

I too tried a snow cone and found them to be delicious. I finished my first thimble sized snow cone and wanted another.

Maybe it was the icey deliciousness, maybe it was the stress of the holidays but for some reason I could not get enough of these tiny snow cones. Later, after the kids went to bed I found myself up in the middle of the night grinding ice cubes like a fiend and eating snow cones by the vat.

By morning the handle was broken off the snow cones maker, the syrup was gone and there I stood with a red mustache and all lying to the kids: "no kids, I have NO IDEA what happened to tongue, my tongue is always red, what are you walking about, it wasn't me!" There was no 2 ways about it my I had been caught red mouthed having devoured the kids goodies and broken the children's new Christmas toy. The shame of it all.

But mommy's are magic.  Later that day we marched right down to target and got an electric ice shaver and a dozen kool aid packets. Voila-all better.

We still eat too many icees, they are just so delicious. Only now its guilt free. they younger kids are too young to remember the unfortunate icee incident and the older kids have forgotten (I hope).

Icee Syrup

1 packet of unsweetened powdered drink mix and flavor (I like kool-aid tropical punch)
1/2 c. water
1 c. sugar

Mix everything over medium heat. Stir constantly until sugar is melted and water just begins to boil.

Remove from heat and cool.

Spoon or pour over shaved ice.