January 30, 2012

English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas

Thank you to my awesome sister for sharing this recipe with me! It's just what I needed, something new, different & yummy that can be made ahead of time for busy school mornings. It seems we've been in a breakfast rut since Christmas break. The kids are getting tired of pancakes & waffles and even tired of my breakfast burritos which they used to love. And I get a great big frown when I set the cereal out in the morning (yeah, they're a little spoiled). But I love having variety in my breakfast foods so I don't mind the challenge of coming up with new & different things to eat in the morning.

Anyway, this recipe for English Muffin Breakfast Pizzas is from Our Best Bites. It's a simple recipe that can be changed up depending on what toppings you want on your breakfast pizza. I topped ours with some cut-up pre-cooked sausage, shredded spinach and finely diced jalapenos then some shredded mozzarella. I made a few non-veggie ones for the pickier kid. Here they are heading into the oven.

The unique thing about these pizzas is that the English muffin is dunked into the egg mixture before baking which gives it a moist, eggy texture. They aren't dry like they might be if you just put all the toppings on top. I made this batch on Sunday, let them cool, then froze them. I just love having such a good breakfast all done & ready. Just pop them in the microwave for a minute or so and they're done!

Just look at the adorable little orange juice! Yes, I pay a slight premium for the cute packaging but it's a fun little breakfast juice treat.

January 29, 2012

Potato Soup or Waffle Batter...

Hopefully this will win the prize for my strangest blog post title. And I'm only sharing this to prove that I did indeed make another new soup last week. It's a potato soup recipe that is in our Blentec blender cookbook. I added more potatoes than it called for and I think I blended it too long (hense the thick batter consistency). I roasted a few extra veggies to add- onions, a couple carrots and a jalapeno pepper. I blended it all in the blender and it had a nice flavor, but something about the texture and its apprearance...and the fact that it did indeed have flour and butter in it...whatever it was, I just felt like I was eating waffle batter. The strange thing is that the kids liked it! So, not a total fail. Here's a pic:

It's a bit hard to get motivated to make more soup when the forcast calls for 60 degree weather the next couple days....maybe a gazpacho or a chilled cucumber soup? Sounds good to me!

January 26, 2012


I ran across this idea last year but by the time I did, it was too late to make them before the big holiday. So I was excited to try it this year and we had a great time making them! They are a fun, unique card for kids to hand out to friends.

Here's the basic idea, take a picture of your kid with their hand stretched out like they are holding a giant lollipop. Then edit them with borders and text, or whatever else you choose. After they are printed, cut little slits above & below their hand and slide a sucker stick through the holes.

Here's our original pics:

Here they are after editing:

And here's the finished cards complete with dum-dums:(you can click on any of these images for a larger view)

I used PICNIK to edit and add borders and text. If you have never been to that site, check it out! But, do it quick and don't fall in love with it too hard because they are 'closing' in April. Don't even get me started on how upset I am about this. I use Picnik all the time and have never found any other online editing that is as easy & fun. I'm hoping somehow they will change their mind and stay open.

I had these printed at Walgreens, they were kind of a test run. I pasted two 'cards' on each 4 x 6 print then cut them apart.

I think I may get them on 5x7's for the final products so they are bigger and I will definitely get a matte finish. They'll end up being quite economical. If I used 4x6 prints, they would end up being less than $2.00 for a classroom full of kids and for 5x7's closer to $5.00. Not bad! And dum-dums are cheap ;)

January 23, 2012

African Peanut Butter Soup

Here's my first soup of the week. Here's a clue as to whose recipe this is:

I like gooey peanut butter
You may not like gooey peanut butter
Still we like each other

Do you remember who sang that cute little song? I'm dating myself because it was sung on Sesame Street in the 70's. It's Grover! And I found his recipe in this cookbook:

It's a great kids' cookbook I found at Goodwill. This copy is in perfect condition and it has some wonderful kid-friendly yet mostly healthy recipes.

I thought this one would be fun to try, something different but simple and it used ingredients I already had on hand.

I ended up making just a half a batch and I added a diced carrot but didn't use a red pepper. Other than that, I think I followed the recipe pretty closely.

African Style Peanut Butter Soup

1-2 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 stalk celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1/2 t chili powder
1 T olive oil

Saute above in olive oil till chicken is done. Then add:

1 can diced tomatoes
1 can chicken broth
1/2 peanut butter

Bring to a simmer till all heated through then add:

1 cup prepared rice (brown or white)

I really loved the way it turned out, the rest of the family was just kinda 'eh' about it. It was very low in salt, I used low sodium broth and didn't add any salt so it was a bit bland, but actually that is one of the reasons I liked it so much.

I'm still deciding on my next soup. I'm kinda remembering that I'm the only one in the family who likes soup very much. I know they all like stuff like chili & chunky potato soup. But the more brothy, vegetable-y ones are not so popular. I need to work that into my game plan or else just invite my Mom over for dinner 2 x's a week for soup then make something else that everyone else likes too. I don't want to have to do that (well...the Mom part would be okay, but the extra cooking part NO) I really just need to work everyone's likes into my recipe choices or else I'll be enjoying lots of leftovers & lots of whining.

January 19, 2012

A Good Breakfast

A couple months back, Subway had one their breakfast sandwiches on sale as their $5 footlong of the month, so I gave it a try. When the lady asked if I wanted any vegetables on it, I thought not. It seemed weird to have tomatoes, peppers, lettuce, etc on a breakfast sandwich. But I tried it and I loved it!

So, I've been sort of duplicating this sandwich at home. I made one this morning. I scrambled one egg with half a turkey sausage, put that on toasted bread then topped it with a little grated cheese, some tomatoes & peppers. Onions would be good too but I don't like the smell of onions on my hands (or on my breath) in the morning. Blech.

Such a nice filling breakfast with fiber, protein & some fresh veggies. Yum!

January 17, 2012

Soup Challenge Part 2

I did this last year about this time and I've decided to do it again! This year I'm going to challenge myself to make 2 new soups every week for the next month. That will hopefully take me through the worst part of winter, entertaining myself with new recipes and hopefully feeding the family some good healthy meals.

So, I started today. I planned to just make my regular stand-by tomato soup which is wonderful but then I remembered hearing a buzz about this Roasted Tomato Soup. I tracked down the recipe but didn't quite follow it as written, big surprise. I had a yellow pepper I really wanted to use up so I thought roasting that would be a nice addition. And I didn't have that many fresh tomatoes so I used some fresh and some canned. The end result was superb! Here's what I made:

Roasted Tomato & Yellow Pepper Soup

4 roma tomatoes, cored & halved
1 yellow pepper, chopped
1 onion, sliced
4 cloves garlic
4-5 T olive oil
salt & pepper

Put these veggies in a roasting pan, drizzle with oil and sprinkle with S&P. Roast at 400 degrees for about 30 minutes. When they are done, place them in a saucepan and combine with:

1 can chicken broth
1 can diced tomatoes
2 T butter
1 T sugar

Bring to a boil, reduce heat & simmer for 20 minutes or so. Blend with an immersion blender till smooth then add salt & pepper to taste. This recipe makes about 4 servings, two adult size and two kid size.

We had ours with grilled cheese sandwiches, which is always a no-brainer. The kids liked dipping their sandwiches in the soup. So did I actually. It was a great meatless Monday meal (a day late) that no one complained about!

My next soup will be an African Peanut Stew...my mouth is watering just thinking about it, and I have to giggle a bit when I think about whose recipe it is. Stay tuned ;)

January 06, 2012

Cranberry Bounty

I hit the cranberry jackpot yesterday. First at Walmart they were tring to get rid of them for 50 cents a bag. I paid almost $3.00 a bag two weeks ago! So, I bought 4. Then I went to get more groceries at Aldi and they had their's marked down to 25 cents! I bought 6 more. I just love cranberries and so does my bladder. Came home and made a nice big batch of Cranberry Salsa, this time without pears since I didn't have any. Didn't have cilantro either. I just doubled the apples and it still turned out delish. And, you know what's awesome? These cinnamon sugar chips dipped in cranberry salsa! The store was trying to get rid of the chips the other day too for a dollar a bag. Super yummy snack here:

And then I got a recipe from a very odd source. I 'like' Sonic on facebook and they actually linked to this recipe for a fancy dessert called a Cranberry Lime Galette. I guess they figure it has some of the same flavor as their famous limeades. The recipe was posted right after I returned from the store with my Cranberry Bounty so I figured fate was telling me to make it.

Today was my husband's and my 16th wedding anniversary. We're saving our nice night out till tomorrow so I figured at least we can have a fancy dessert with our leftovers tonight to make the meal a wee bit more special. This 'galette' looks gourmet, but it is very simple to make. I already had some prepared pie crust so that made it very easy! Here's the recipe:

Cranberry Lime Galette
2 cups cranberries, fresh or frozen (let thaw and pat dry)
1 medium apple, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2 inch chunks
1/2 cup moist, plump dried cranberries
3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
1 inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and finely chopped
Grated zest of 1 lime
Juice of 1/2 lime
3 tbsp raspberry jam or jelly

1 prepared pie crust
3 tbsp ground nuts (I used a combo of almonds & walnuts)
3 tbsp dry bread crumbs, unseasoned

Combine cranberries, apple, sugar, ginger, limes and jam.

In a small bowl combine nuts & bread crumbs.

Roll out pie crust to a 12 inch circle. Place the nut/crumb mixture in the center spread to about 2-3 inches from the crust's edge. Spread cranberry mixture on top. Fold up the edges of the crust, wet lightly with water then sprinkle with sugar.

Bake at 375 for 40-45 minutes.

Here's the crust w/nut mixture:

Here's the pie before baking:

and here it is all done:

Isn't it beautiful? It tasted wonderful, albeit a bit sour but if you top with some vanilla ice cream or whipped cream it's a perfect mix of tart & sweet. I think I'll try to remember this recipe for next Thanksgiving. I think it would be a nice addition to the dessert table!

Now, I'm off to search for more delicious cranberry recipes...

January 03, 2012

Blogger's Choice Fabric Bundle Contest

I just found out about this awesome contest! It is over at Quokka Quilts and if you love fabric, quilting or spending hours & hours browsing Fat Quarter Shop, you just have to go check it out.

The deal is this...you choose 15 fabrics (12 prints, 3 solids) in a combination you love (or think someone else would love) and they will judge and choose 3 winners to receive a half yard of ALL their fabric choices!

When I first heard about it, I poo-pood my fabric choosing abilities because, really, I'm not that good at picking coordinating prints & colors. I'm relatively new at quilting and I usually let someone else pick the fabrics or I get ideas from magazines or books. But to win all that fabric? I was up for the challenge.

My first idea was to match a Pottery Barn wall hanging I bookmarked probably 3 years ago when we were deciding on paint colors for our new house. I love the color combinations! Here it is:

So, I searched & put together this bunch of fabric:

I like it a lot but I don't LOVE it.

So...I thought some more about things that I DO love and things that make me happy and I decided to try to match the colors & patterns of a sunset. I am a bit nuts when it comes to taking pictures of the sky and ooo-ing and aaah-ing at the beautiful sunsets we have here in Kansas. We don't have any pesky mountains or hills around here to block the horizon and I have a particularly wonderful view of the evening sky from my westward facing deck. Here's a sampling of some of my favorite photos:

And here is the fabric I found that I think captures some of the colors, textures & tones:

It's deep & bold & different and I think it would make an amazing quilt!

I don't even want to think about how long I spent browsing fabric for this. But, it was fun. And what would be even more fun is if I was one of the 3 winners. If I'm not...I just might have to get some of this fabric anyway.

So, thank you to Quokka Quilts and to Fat Quarter Shop for this fun project and the chance to win!

My fabrics in order:
Rainbowesque Batiks Navy with Teal Scroll SKU# 22022-497
Aunt Grace Centennial Solids Royal Blue SKU# 5901-2706
Simple Pleasures Purple Cloud Texture SKU# 0871-3
Royal Gardens Purple and Gold Sparkles SKU# 8555-14G

Brown Bear, Brown Bear Purple Paint SKU# 3875-P
Floral Folio Dark Violet Allover Leaves SKU# Y0816-46
Juicy Blossoms Orange Spreading Seeds SKU# 21822-O
Sew Heavenly Orange Rolling Clouds SKU# 0832-2

Early Morning Batiks Orange Leaves and Flowers SKU# 22025-885
Bella Solids Golden Wheat SKU# 9900-103
Little Apples Lollipop Leaves SKU# 18512-46
French Dress Teal and Walnut Woven Texture SKU# 8629-113

Tavern Blues Black Floral Vine Texture SKU# 4047-112
Black Tuxedo Batiks Raven Floral SKU# 2349-494
Bella Solids Black SKU# 9900-99

January 02, 2012

Christmas Gifts

I had so much fun making several Christmas gifts this year. There's just so many great ideas out there for handmade gifts! Here's some of what I made...

Table runners for Mom & Mom-in-Law:

Both runners are very simple disappearing 9-patch patterns.

Then I got ambitious right before Christmas and decided to make three more smaller 'table toppers' using the same pattern but just one block. I used a "Flurry" by Kate Spain charm pack. I made the reverse side a wintery non-Christmassy print so they could be used after Christmas too.

Then I made some Hot & Cold rice warmers. I absolutely LOVE these things. Perfect for sore muscles or cold tootsies. I used this tutorial from Make It & Love It.

And for my special niece, I used this tutorial from the same blog to make a "Re-purposed Sweater Sling Purse." I thought it turned out cute!

I also made her a Pleated Knit Scarf using another Make it Love it tutorial. It used a LOT of fabric but was very simple.

I hope everyone liked what I made. I know nothing was without it's little charming flaws but I enjoyed making it all!

Now my dining room table (aka sewing station) is so sad & empty now. Gotta come up with some new projects for the new year...