7 Easy Dessert Recipes for Kids (DIY)

1. Rainbow Fruit Kabobs and Rainbow Colors Scavenger Hunt

I have a fun activity and snack for you today to help your little ones learn and have fun at the same time.  My 2 boys have been having so much fun participating in the Hogwarts Summer Fun Challenge over at Puddle Wonderful Learning.  One of their challenges was to go on a rainbow color hunt.  They loved it!  Want to send your kiddos on a rainbow color scavenger hunt?  Here’s the rules, okay so there’s not really any set rules.  We just went out side and I would say the color and then my boys would run around looking until they found the color.  Some colors were easy, like green, but indigo? Not so easy!  I’m not sure if we even really found indigo.  I even went so far as to do a google image search for the color indigo and was surprised to see the huge differences in colors all claiming to be indigo,  so we guessed.  Don’t judge if we’re way off 😉 To add to the fun we took a picture of the item we found for each color and turned it into a photo collage for them to look at and use to practice their colors.

This was such a fun activity to help my boys practice their colors and learn the order of the colors in a rainbow.  Another idea for doing this activity with a little bit older kids would be to just give them the camera and a list of the colors and see what pictures they come back with.  Or if you have a group of kids you could split them in 2 teams and which ever team comes back with a picture of each color first wins.   Or instead of pictures you could give them each a bag and the first one back with an object for each color wins.  There are so many ways you could do this scavenger hunt, but the point is to let them have fun while learning at the same time.
After our scavenger hunt we were ready for a snack.  I decided to stick with the rainbow theme and made these fun Rainbow Fruit Kabobs.  Simply choose a fruit for each color, cut them into bite size chunks, and slide them onto the skewer in order of the rainbow colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo(I’m not aware of any indigo colored fruit, so we left that color out of our kabobs), and Violet.  For our kabobs we used Strawberries, Mandarin Oranges, Pineapple, Kiwi, Blueberries, and Grapes, but don’t be afraid to switch it up to use any fruits you have on hand, fresh or canned.  These were a simple, fun and healthy snack that my boys absolutely loved helping me make and eat!

Rainbow Fruit Kabobs

Choose a fruit for each color.
Red Fruit: Strawberry, Raspberry, Watermelon, Apple, Cherry
Orange Fruit: Orange, Mandarin Oranges, Cantalope, Peach, Apricot
Yellow Fruit: Pineapple, Banana
Green Fruit: Kiwi, Apple, Grapes, Honeydew Melon
Blue Fruit: Blueberry
Indigo:???
Violet Fruit: Grapes , Plums
Wash, dry and cut all of your fruit into bite size chunks.  Slide the fruit onto the skewers making sure to keep them in order of the rainbow colors: Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo(not included in our kabobs), Violet.  Enjoy!

2. Mint Truffle Hot Chocolate Cookies

The other day while grocery shopping I was picking up some more Mint Hot Chocolate, my new favorite, when I spotted something new.  You know the so delicious, cute, teeny tiny little marshmallows that come in some hot chocolate, but of course not in my favorite mint hot chocolate.  There was a whole container filled with just marshmallow bits.  Are these new, or have I just been missing out all this time?  Needless to say they made their way into my cart.  I started thinking that these marshmallow bits would be great in cookies or brownies too, so I decided to see if I could figure out a way to turn my favorite hot chocolate into a cookie. These cookies turned out Awesome.  They seriously taste just like mint hot chocolate, but in cookie form.  Thanks to 3 secret ingredients:  mint hot chocolate mix, Andes mint chips for a little extra mint and chocolate flavor and Marshmallow Bits

Mint Truffle Hot Chocolate Cookies

1 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 tsp Vanilla
1 tsp Baking Soda
1 tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Mint Hot Chocolate Mix (dry)
3 Cups Flour
1 Cup Marshmallow Bits
1 Cup Andes Mint Baking Chips

Cream the butter and sugars together.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix well.  Add dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Stir in the marshmallow bits and mint chips.  Cover and chill the dough in the fridge for 30 minutes.  Roll into heaping tablespoon size balls.  If you want the marshmallow to stick out poke a few more into the top of each dough ball.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 8-10 minutes.  Cool on baking sheet for 2 minutes, transfer to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!

3. Chocolate Chip Cookies

Everyone needs a good chocolate chip cookie recipe. So I thought I would share the one I like and share a few tips to help make any batch of chocolate chip cookies better.

 

Tips:

 

1. When the recipe says to cream the butter and sugars together it really means it! When making this recipe I will usually cream the butter and sugars for 3-5 minutes. I know it seems like a long time, but you want the mixture to be nice and fluffy. This allows more air to be whipped into the batter and gives the cookie just a little bit of crispiness on the outside while still keeping the soft and chewy inside.
2. Make them BIG! I like to use about 1/4 of a cup of dough per cookie. Doing this gives the cookie different textures, a crisp firm edge and a soft chewy center. And come one who wouldn’t want a bigger cookie:)

 

I know these are just two really simple things, but the first time I made these changes my husband(CCC are his all time favorite dessert) loved the cookies and told me I should use this new recipe all of the time. Well it wasn’t a new recipe, just a few simple changes that make a huge difference.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup shortening
2/3 cup sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 3/4 cups flour
2 cups chocolate chips

 

CREAM the butter, shortening and sugars together. Add the eggs one at a time mixing after each one. Add the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Fold in the chocolate chips. Bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes. Enjoy!

4. Sweet and Salty Granola Bars

Salty? Sweet?  Salty?  Sweet?  Why not both?  Sweet and Salty is one of those classic flavor combinations that are so hard to resist.  It’s one of my favorites, right up there with chocolate and peanut butter, mint and chocolate and of course peanut butter and jelly.  Some flavors are just meant to go together.  These chewy sweet and salty granola bars are loaded with pretzels, chocolate chips, and white chocolate chips giving them that perfect sweet and salty flavor combo.

I love making a batch of these to keep in the freezer.   Then we can pull them out whenever we need a quick breakfast on the go or an easy snack.


Sweet and Salty Granola Bars
1/2 Cup Butter
2/3 Cup Brown Sugar
2/3 Cup Honey
1 tsp Vanilla
4 Cups Quick Oats
2 Cups Crispy Rice Cereal
1 and 1/2 Cups Pretzels, chopped
1/2 Cup Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips

In a large bowl mix together the quick oats, crispy rice cereal, pretzels, and both chocolate chips.
In a medium sauce pan add the brown sugar, honey, and butter bring to a boil stirring continually.  Boil for 1 minute, just until the brown sugar dissolves.  Do not boil longer or the sauce will turn hard.  Remove from heat and stir in the vanilla.  Cool for 10 minutes.  Pour over the oatmeal mixture and stir until completely combined.  Press into a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Cool completely, about 2 hours before cutting.  Makes 18 bars.  Store in an air tight container at room temperature for up to 5 days.  To freeze individually wrap bars in plastic wrap and place in a freezer bag.  Freeze for up to 1 month.

5. Giant Zebra Cake

Whenever my hubby goes grocery shopping with me a box of Little Debbie Zebra Cakes always seems to mysteriously make its way into our shopping cart.  Then, just as mysteriously as they appeared in our cart, they magically disappear on the car ride home:)  Seriously, a box of Zebra Cakes never seems to last us longer than the 10 minute car ride between the grocery store and home.  In our defense, we totally earn this treat for making it out of the grocery store without having lost a child, broken something, a meltdown in the middle of the aisle, etc….  If  you have ever taken 3 little kids grocery shopping before I am sure you would agree.  I decided to see if I could come up with a homemade version of Zebra Cakes.  This cake was a pretty close copycat to the boxed version.  I love how even with making it into a giant version it kept the same look, but turned it into more of a fancy dessert instead of a snack. If you have any Zebra Cake fans in your house you need to make this cake.  I’m willing to bet they will be just as excited as my family was when I suprised them with this Giant Zebra Cake for dessert.

Giant Zebra Cake:Little Debbie Copycat

Cake
1 Yellow cake mix, plus ingredients to prepare(oil, eggs, water)
Grease and flour two 9 inch round pans.  Prepare the cake mix according to box directions.  Divide the batter evenly between the two pans.  Bake according to package directions.  Allow the cakes to cool in the pans for 10 minutes, remove to a wire rack and cool completely before filling and frosting.
Filling
2/3 Cup Vegetable Shortening
1/3 Cup Marshmallow Creme/Fluff
1/2 teaspoon Vanilla Extract
1and1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1-2 Tablespoons Milk
Beat the shortening, marshmallow creme and vanilla until fully combined.  Add the powdered sugar and beat until combined.  Add 1 Tbsp of milk and beat on high for one minute, until the filling is light and fluffy.  Add the remaining milk until the filling reaches your desired consistency.  Place one of the cakes flat side down and spread the filling evenly on top.  Top with the other cake, flat side up.  Frost.
Frosting
12 Ounces Vanilla Almond Bark
6 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
1/2 cup Chocolate Chips, (I used semi-sweet, but dark or milk would work to.)
2 Tablespoons Vegetable Shortening
In a microwave safe bowl combined the vanilla almond bark and 6 Tbsp shortening.  Microwave, stopping to stir every 30 seconds, until fully melted and combined.  Pour the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly.  I found it easiest to frost the edges by pushing some of the frosting over the top edge and then spread as it drizzled down the sides.  You will want to work quickly as the chocolate will set up pretty quickly.  Allow the white chocolate frosting to set up completely.  Using the same method as the vanilla bark melt the chocolate and 2 Tbsp shortening together.  Drizzle over the top of the cake.  Allow the chocolate to set.  Enjoy!

6. Pumpkin Cheesecake

Here is another great fall dessert for you. This is definitely one of my favorites. I tried it for the first time last fall and loved it. Last year I made it as one big cheesecake, but this year I decided to switch it up a little bit and make mini individual sized cheesecakes. They turned out really cute and would be a great addition to any Thanksgiving dessert table.

Pumpkin Cheesecake
Crust:
38 ginger snaps, finely crushed
1/4 cup finely chopped pecans(optional)
1/4 cup butter, melted
Mix all ingredients together.
Cheesecake:
4 (8oz) pkgs. cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
1(15oz) can pumpkin
1Tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
Beat cream cheese and sugar with mixer until blended. Add pumpkin, spice, and vanilla, mix well. Add eggs, 1 at a time, mixing after each just until blended.
Mini Cheesecakes:
Place cupcake liners in a muffin pan. Press 1 Tbsp of crust into the bottom of each liner. Fill each of the liners almost to the top( probably like 99% full:) with cheesecake batter. Bake at 350 for 20-22 minutes. Cool in the pan for 15-20 minutes then move to a wire rack to finish cooling and then to the fridge to chill before serving. Store in the fridge. Top with whipped cream and few sprinkles of nutmeg. Enjoy!
Regular Cheesecake:
Press all of the crust into the bottom and 1 inch up the side of a 9-inch spring form pan. Pour the cheesecake batter over the crust. Bake at 325 for 1 hour 20 minutes to 1 hour 30 minutes or until center is almost set. Loosen cheesecake from rim of pan, cool before removing rim. Refrigerate for at least 4 hours before serving. Top with whipped cream and a sprinkle of nutmeg. Enjoy!
-Recipe adapted from a magazine, but I just wrote the recipe down and I can’t remember which one it was.

7. French Toast Muffin

Several months ago I saw some french toast muffins at Costco. I couldn’t resist I had to try them. They were delicious, just as I suspected they would be. Has anyone else tried them? So now every time I head into the store I check for the muffins, but sadly I have never been able to find them again. So I decided to make my own. They turned out to be a pretty close comparison and best of all they satisfied my craving. I like them best with the maple glaze just drizzled over the top, but my hubby, and his sweet tooth, wasn’t satisfied until I dipped the whole top in the maple glaze. They are great either way.

French Toast Muffin
1 cup milk
1 egg
1/2 cup butter, melted
1 tsp maple flavoring
2 cups flour
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
Combine the milk, egg, butter, and maple flavoring together. Add in the dry ingredients and stir just until combined. Divide the batter into a greased or paper lined 12 cup muffin tin. Bake at 375 for 20-22 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow the muffins to cool for 10 minutes, poke a few holes in the top and drizzle or dip the tops in the following maple glaze. Allow the glaze to set up and Enjoy!

Maple Glaze
1 cup powdered sugar
2 Tbsp butter, melted
1 Tbsp Milk
1/2 Tbsp maple flavoring
Combine all of the ingredients and stir until smooth.
Recipe adapted from: grouprecipes.com

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10 Quick Homemade Recipes for Dinner and Lunch

1. Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

Several months ago I shared  with you the recipe for the  best  Whole Wheat Bread  ever.  I had been on a hunt for a long, long, long time to find the perfect recipe for me and I was so excited to finally find one that I absolutely LOVE!  This Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread is made using the same base recipe as my whole wheat bread.  After you the dough is finished mixing you simply roll it out, drizzle a little honey over it, sprinkle with some cinnamon, roll it up and you have Cinnamon Swirl Bread.  If you are a fan or raisins (I am not)You could probably even throw a few in and make it cinnamon raisin bread.  This is the perfect breakfast bread.  It’s so yummy toasted and slathered with butter and a little honey.  It also makes for some pretty amazing French toast.

 Whole Wheat Cinnamon Swirl Bread

2 1/4 Cups Hot Water
1 Teaspoon Honey
2 Tablespoon Yeast
5 Tablespoon Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
1/3 Cup Oil (Vegetable or Coconut)
1/3 Cup Honey
2 Teaspoons Salt
5 1/5 – 6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
Filling
4-6 Tablespoons Honey
2-4 Tablespoons Ground Cinnamon
In the bowl of your mixer add the water, yeast, and 1 teaspoon honey.  Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.  Add vital wheat gluten, vinegar, oil, 1/3 cup honey, salt and 3 cups of flour.  Mix until smooth.  Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the edge of the bowl.  Once you have enough flour set the mixer to low/medium speed and let it mix for 5-8 minutes.  Dump the dough onto a lightly greased surface.  Divide the dough into two even balls. For each loaf:  Using a rolling pin roll into an 8×20 inch rectangle.  Drizzle with 2 to 3 tablespoons of honey and sprinkle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of ground cinnamon.  Leave a half an inch border with no honey or cinnamon all the way around the rectangle.  Starting with the short end of dough closest to you roll it up.    You want to roll the dough as tight as possible.  Once completely rolled pinch the dough together on each end to seal it up.  Place seam side down into a greased loaf pan.  Repeat with the other loaf.  Cover and let rise until double, about 30 minutes to an hour.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from bread pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.  Store at room temperature or freeze any that won’t be used within 5-6 days.  Do not refrigerate, it dries the bread out quickly.  Enjoy!

2. Blackened Tilapia

My fish used to be served with a more than healthy dose of tartar sauce just to make sure I didn’t taste any hint of a fishy flavor(not that tilapia really has any anyways).  The first time I tried this blackened tilapia I was surprised to notice at the end of dinner I had not even

touched my heaping pile of tartar sauce.  The seasoning on this tilapia is seriously amazing and it would be a crime to drown it out with tartar sauce.  Looks like I can leave the tartar sauce in the fridge from now on, or even at the store for that matter.  Tilapia is such a quick healthy dinner.  The tilapia itself cooks up really quick and the seasoning mix takes less than 5 minutes to mix up.  You can even double or triple the seasoning mix and store the extra in an airtight container in your spice cupboard to save you some time on the next go around.  Oh and don’t be afraid of the cayenne pepper in the mix.  It adds just a hint of heat to the mix, but not to much. My kids love it and will usually even ask for seconds.

Blackened Tilapia
2 Tablespoons Paprika
2 Teaspoons Kosher Salt
2 Teaspoons Lemon Pepper
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Garlic Powder
1 Teaspoon Cayenne Pepper
1 Teaspoon Dried Basil Leaves
1 Teaspoon Onion Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Dried Thyme
6 Tilapia Fillets
8 Tablespoons Butter, divided
In a small mixing bowl add and mix together all of the dry seasoning ingredients.  Melt 6 tablespoons of the butter in a shallow dish big enough to dip each tilapia fillet in.  Add the other 2 tablespoons of butter to a large frying pan and heat to medium.  Dip each fillet into the shallow dish of butter.  Rub the seasoning mix on both sides of each fillet.  Place in the heated pan and cook each side for 3-5 minutes or until thoroughly cooked and the fish flakes apart easily with a fork.  Enjoy!

3. Teriyaki Chicken

I love slow cooker meals.  They are so quick and easy to throw together.  I love being able to get dinner all ready earlier in the day, instead of trying to figure out what to make at 5:00 when the kids are begging for dinner.  Which is exactly why I love this teriyaki chicken.  This chicken really couldn’t be easier.  Simply put the chicken and sauce in the crock pot, turn on low and cook for 5-6 hours, serve over rice and steamed veggies and you’ve got yourself a quick, easy, stress free meal.

Teriyaki Chicken
3/4 Cup Sugar
3/4 Cup Soy Sauce
3 Tbsp Apple Cider Vinegar
1-2 Cloves Garlic, minced
2 Tbsp Water
1/4 tsp Black Pepper
1 lb. Chicken Breast or Tenders
Place the chicken in the crock pot.  In a mixing bowl, whisk the remaining ingredients together and pour over the chicken.  Cook on low for 5-6 hours.  1 hour before serving shred the chicken in the crock pot using two forks to pull it apart.  Replace the lid and finish cooking.  Enjoy!

4. Quick Bread

Almost every Sunday growing up we would whip up a batch of quick bread. If we were having roast and potatoes we shaped it into rolls or if we were having spaghetti it was breadsticks. I love this recipe because it is easy, quick and versatile. You just mix up the ingredients shape it into either rolls or breadsticks let it raise for 15 minutes and bake. If you chose rolls simply brush them with butter and for breadsticks you brush with butter and sprinkle with garlic salt, and a little parsley.

 

Quick Bread
3 cups warm water
3 Tbsp yeast
3 Tbsp sugar
1/2 cup oil
1 Tbsp salt
6-7 cups flour

 

Mix the water, yeast and sugar together. Cover and let it sit for 1-2 minutes. Add the oil, salt and half of the flour. Mix well. Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until the dough forms a ball and no longer sticks to the side of the bowl. Shape the dough into either rolls or breadsticks. Place on a greased baking sheet. They should be close together but not touching. Raise for 15 minutes. Bake at 425 for 15-20 minutes or until the tops are a deep golden brown. Brush with butter. For breadsticks sprinkle with garlic salt and parsley. Enjoy!
Recipe inspiration: Mom

5. Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

When I first saw this idea it was one of those, why didn’t I think of that, moments. Anyone else ever have moments like that? Cooking baked potatoes in the crock pot is so nice. It’s great in the summer you don’t have to turn on the oven and heat your house up or if you are cooking a big meal and need your oven for another dish you won’t have to wait for the potatoes to finish cooking. You can put them in the crock pot in the morning, not worry about them all day, and at dinner time they are ready to eat. I have tried to make microwave baked potatoes before, but have not been pleased with the results. I was pleasantly surprised when these came out tasting just like they had been cooked in the oven.
Crock Pot Baked Potatoes

 

-wash and dry your potatoes
-wrap each potato in aluminum foil
-place in the crock pot
-cook on low for 7-8 hours(depending on how soft you like them
– load with your favorite toppings
-Enjoy!!!

6. Zucchini Bread

Every summer I look forward to zucchini bread. I can’t believe that it is getting close to the end of summer and I just barely made zucchini bread for the first time this year. I have been waiting all summer for my zucchini plant to actually produce some zucchini’s. First it had a pretty rough start since it didn’t get warm here until pretty late in the season, then for some unknown reason the first few zucchini’s on the plant got about 2 inches long and then just quit growing. Finally about a week ago I had a zucchini growing that I just knew was going to make a tasty loaf of bread, well much to my dismay I went out to check on it and our chickens had pecked holes all over in it along with the leaves of the zucchini plant and many other plants in my garden. I couldn’t believe it! So I gave up trying to grow my own zucchini and just bought some at the store the next day. I couldn’t wait any longer. I didn’t even let the first loaf cool all of the way before spreading some butter on a nice thick piece and enjoying my first taste of zucchini bread this year!

 Here’s a tip for anyone with zucchini coming out your ears(I’m jealous!) You can shred the zucchini and measure the amount you need for a recipe(this one calls for 2 cups) into a freezer bag and stick in the freezer. Then when you are ready to use it simply thaw it and its ready to use. I have done this in the past and I love being able to bake up some zucchini bread in the middle of winter instead of having to wait until summer to enjoy some.

 

Zucchini Bread
3 eggs
1 cup oil
2 cups sugar
1 Tbsp vanilla
2 cups shredded zucchini
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp salt
1 Tbsp cinnamon
3 cups flour

 

In a mixer beat the eggs, then add the oil and mix it into the eggs. Add the sugar and vanilla. Mix well. Add the zucchini. Add the dry ingredients and mix until well incorporated. Pour the batter into two greased 9×5 loaf pans. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for about 10 minutes then remove and finish cooling on a wire rack.

7. Pico De Gallo

This is such a great summer recipe. I love how light and fresh it is. Which makes it great for those hot summer days when you don’t feel like turning on the oven. I know this is probably supposed to be an appetizer or side dish, but I have to admit we have had just tortilla chips and Pico de gallo for our main dish on more than one occasion. That’s how much we like it. It is also great on tacos or fajitas.
My husband likes it with tiny shrimps added in. Just the smell of them about makes me sick, so I usually split it into two bowls. One with shrimp for him and one without for me.

Pico De Gallo

5 plum or Roma tomatoes

1 small white or yellow onion
1-2 Jalapenos (seeded)
1/2 a bunch of cilantro
juice from 2 limes
salt
1 can of mini shrimps (optional)
Dice the tomatoes and onion. Finely dice the jalapenos and cilantro. In a medium bowl mix the onion, tomatoes, jalapenos, cilantro and shrimps(if you choose to add them). Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice over the mixture. Salt to taste. Stir it up. You can serve it immediately, but I think it is much better after it has been chilled in the fridge for 2-3 hours. Enjoy!

8. Pancit Canton

I have to admit the first time my husband asked me to make some Filipino food I was a little hesitant. You see I had heard all of his stories about how he ate chicken heads, feet and intestines, balot(rotten duck eggs), pig ear, and lots of other exotic stuff while he lived in the Philippines for two years serving an LDS mission. I also have to admit thatI sure am glad I finally gave in and made him some. Because I discovered that I really like Filipino food.(minus the exotic stuff) And I bet that if you like pasta, veggies, chicken and a little soy sauce flavoring you will love it too! We now have several Filipino dishes that we enjoy on a regular basis.
You will need a few special ingredients for this dish. You will need the Mama Sita’s chopsuey/pancit canton stir fry mix(the one on the left, the other one is for another recipe to come soon) and some Excellent Bihon noodles. I pick them up at our local Asian foods store but you can also purchase them online here.


Pancit Canton
1 lb. mixed vegetables(cauliflower, broccoli, bell peppers, mushrooms, onions, carrots, peas any or all of these will work)

1/4-1/2 lb. meat -chicken or pork
1 cup water
2 Tbsp oil
8 oz. Bihon noodles
1. Pour the Mama Sita’s stir fry mix in the 1 cup water and stir to dissolve. Set aside.
2. Heat the oil over medium/high heat in a large frying pan or stir fry pan. Cut the chicken into bit sized pieces and add to the oil, browning on both sides. Add the vegetables and stir fry mixture. Cook until the sauce thickens and the veggies are fork tender. Stir continually.
3. Fill a large sauce pan 2/3 full of water and bring it to a boil. Plunge the Bihon noodles into the boiling water for 1 minute. Remove from heat and drain.
4. Add the noodles to the meat and veggies. Stirring continually, cook over high heat for 2 minutes.
5. Enjoy!

9. French Bread Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich

I recently made this sandwich for a party and had several requests to put the recipe on the blog.  Ask and ye shall receive:)  This really is a great party meal for lots of reasons.  It makes enough to feed a crowd, works for lunch or dinner get togethers, it’s quick and easy, and my favorite part is you can prepare it ahead of time.  You can prep all of the toppings the day before and then quickly put it all together just before the party starts without having dishes and a big mess to clean up.  Toss it in the oven just as your guests are arriving and you’ll have fresh hot sandwiches in less than 15 minutes.  Now, instead of being stuck slaving away in the kitchen, you can enjoy the party too.
All the reasons that make this sandwich such a great party meal also make it perfect those busy days when you know you’ll only have a few minutes to get dinner prepped and on the table.

French Bread Chicken Bacon Ranch Sandwich
3-4 Chicken Breasts
1 (15.5 ounce) Can Chicken Broth
2 Tablespoons Montreal Steak Seasoning
1 Loaf of French Bread
Ranch Dressing
4 Slices of Bacon,cooked & crumbled
7 ounces(half of a can) Black Olives, sliced
1 and 1/2 Cups Shredded Cheese Cheddar or Mozzarella
1 Avocado, sliced
1 Tomato, sliced
Place the chicken, broth and montreal steak seasoning in the crock pot and cook on high for 4 hours.
After about 3 and1/2 hours shred the chicken in the crock pot so that it soaks up all the marinade.
Cut French bread loaf long ways in half.  Place on a baking sheet.  Spread Ranch dressing on both sides of the loaf.  Then add toppings in layers…chicken, bacon, olives. Cover each side of  the french bread loaf with cheese.
Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 10 minutes, leave the sandwich in and turn to broil for another 2-3 minutes or until the cheese is completely melted and a little bubbly. Top with avocado and tomato.  Slice and serve.  Enjoy!

10. Whole Wheat Bread

This is my favorite recipe I have ever made. I can’t believe I am saying that and it’s not even about a dessert!  For a few years I really wanted to start making all of our bread.  I probably tried at least 10 different bread recipes.  Some of them were terrible and some of them were okay, but none of them were great.  Then I had a neighbor share this recipe with me and I’ve been hooked ever since.  I have been making this bread at least once a week for about 9 months now and can honestly say I have never had a bad batch.  It meets all of my requirements: moist, doesn’t take all day to make, tastes great for longer than 1 day, my hubby will actually eat it(instead of sneaking a loaf of bread in the cart at the grocery store),  my kids love it, 100% whole wheat,  freezes well, healthy.  The list could go on, but I think you get the idea.  I really love this bread.

 

Whole Wheat Bread
2 1/4 Cups Hot Water
1 tsp Honey
2 Tbsp Yeast
5 Tbsp Vital Wheat Gluten
1 Tbsp White Vinegar
1/3 Cup Oil
1/3 Cup Honey
2 tsp Salt
5 1/5 – 6 Cups Whole Wheat Flour
In the bowl of your mixer add the water, yeast, and 1 tsp honey.  Cover and let sit for 2-3 minutes, until the yeast begins to bubble.  Add vital wheat gluten, vinegar, oil, honey, salt and 3 cups of flour.  Mix until smooth.  Add the remaining flour 1 cup at a time until the dough begins to pull away from the edge of the bowl.  Once you have enough flour set the mixer to low/medium speed and let it mix for 5-8 minutes.  Dump the dough onto a lightly greased surface.  Divide and shape into two loaves.  Place into greased loaf pans.  Let rise until double, about 30 minutes to an hour.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 30-40 minutes.  Remove from bread pans immediately and cool on a wire rack.  Store at room temperature or freeze any that won’t be used withing 5-6 days.  Do not refrigerate.  Enjoy!

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10 Homemade Recipes Cake and Cookie You Should Try

1. Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

My mom has been making this Chocolate Zucchini Cake ever since I can remember and it has always been a favorite of mine.  My gardening skills are pretty limited, so I don’t usually have an over abundance of zucchini like those of you with zucchini growing in your gardens.  This year, however, my zucchini plant is cranking out zucchini like crazy and I am loving it.  It gives me a good excuse to make zucchini bread and of course this Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake.  To make this cake you start by mixing up a simple chocolate cake batter, stir in some zucchini for moisture, sprinkle it with some chocolate chips, and top it all off with a simple powdered sugar glaze.

Double Chocolate Zucchini Cake

3 Eggs
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Cup Vegetable Oil
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
2 Cups Zucchini, shredded
6 Tablespoons Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
3 Cups Flour
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
Glaze:
1 and 1/2 Cups Powdered Sugar
1/4 Cup Water
 Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.  In a mixing bowl whisk together all of the dry ingredients. Set aside.  In the bowl of your mixer add the eggs, both sugars, oil and vanilla. Mix until combined.  Stir in the shredded zucchini.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Pour the batter into a greased 9×13 cake pan.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips evenly over the top of the batter.  Bake for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool for 10 to 15 minutes before adding the glaze.  For the glaze whisk the powdered sugar and water together until fully combined and there are no more clumps of powdered sugar.  Drizzle the glaze evenly over the cake.  Allow the glaze to set up for a few minutes and then serve warm or allow the cake to cool before serving. Enjoy!

2. Peanut Butter and Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

With the temperature really heating up around here lately I’ve tried to use my oven as little possible.  These rice crispy treats were the perfect way to satisfy our sweet tooth with out having to turn on the oven and heat up the house.  I even took it one step further and did all the heating and melting in the microwave so there’s no time spent stirring melting marshmallows or chocolate over a hot stove.  I also love that these can easily be made from start to finish in less than 15 minutes.  These just might be one of the fastest and easiest treats I’ve made yet.  And with Chocolate and Peanut Butter basically being a match made in Heaven you know they’ve got to be good!

Peanut Butter Rice Crispy Treats

3 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter, divided
10 Ounces Marshmallows, regular or mini
6 Cups Rice Crispies Cereal
1 Cup Chocolate Chips, Semi Sweet or Milk Chocolate
3 Tablespoons Chopped Peanuts, optional
In a large microwave safe bowl add the butter, 1/2 cup of peanut butter and marshmallows.  Microwave on high stirring every 30 seconds for about 2 minutes or until everything is melted and combined.  Remove from the microwave and stir in the rice crispies until they are evenly coated with the marshmallow mixture.  Press evenly into a greased 9×13 pan.  In another microwave safe bowl add the chocolate chips and remaining 1/2 cup of peanut butter.  Microwave on high, stirring every 30 seconds, for about 1 minute or until melted and combined.  Spread evenly over top the rice crispy treats.  Sprinkle the chopped peanuts evenly over the top.  Cool and Enjoy!

3. Oatmeal Fudge Bars

If you haven’t noticed already from this  recipe, just to name a few, I am a big fan of oatmeal in any type of recipe.  These Oatmeal Fudge Bars are no exception.  If you’re anything like me then I’ve got a treat for you today.  These bars are like a thick chewy oatmeal cookie filled with a layer of fudge.  I’ll take two please!

Oatmeal Fudge Bars

1 Cup Salted Butter, softened
2 Cups Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 and 1/2 Cups Flour
3 Cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Ground Cinnamon
Fudge Layer:
14 Ounces Canned Sweetened Condensed Milk
2 Cups Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
2 Tablespoons Salted Butter
1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

In a small mixing bowl whisk together the  flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  In the bowl of your mixer beat the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy(about 2 minutes).  Add the eggs one at a time beating for one minute after each egg.  Beat in the vanilla.  Add the dry ingredients.  Mix just until combined.  Stir in the oats.  Set aside 1and1/2 to 2 cups of the mixture.  Spread the remaining oatmeal mixture evenly in a greased 9×13 pan.  Set aside and prepare the fudge layer.  In a medium saucepan add the sweetened condensed milk, chocolate chips, and butter.  Heat over low heat, stirring continually,  just until the chocolate is melted and the ingredients are combined.  Be sure to watch the chocolate carefully.  Pour the warm fudge mixture into the 9×13 pan over top the oatmeal layer.  Drop small bits of the reserved oatmeal mixture evenly over the fudge layer.  Don’t try to spread it.  Dropping it creates an open lacy pattern allowing the fudge to show through.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the top is golden brown and the chocolate layer is dull and starting to come away from the sides of the pan.  Cool on the counter for 2 hours and then refrigerate for 1 more hour before cutting.  Store in an airtight container at room temperature or we liked them best refrigerated.  Enjoy!

4. Mint Chocolate Cookie Bars

These bars have got to be one of the best things I’ve made in a while.  It’s so hard to say that, because I truly love every recipe I put on here(if I don’t love it you won’t see it!), but I REALLY love Chocolate and Mint together. These bars have that amazing cookie texture, crisp top and bottom and soft gooey center.  After loading them up with some Andes Mint baking chips you’ve got the makings of a simply irresistible dessert! On a side note:  While working on this photo shoot I had my 3 “little helpers”  playing close by.  I guess I got so into it I didn’t even notice “little helper” number 3 sneak up next to me until I saw her adorable chubby little hand come into my field of vision.  I was already in the motion of snapping a shot when it appeared and this is what I ended up with:

The cutest Baby Photo Bomb ever!  Maybe she thought if she tried sneaking one up top she wouldn’t get caught, but she did!  And I even have a photo to prove it. 🙂
These bars remind me of one of my favorite cookies ever,  Andes Mint Cookies.
Mint Chocolate Cookie Bars

1/2 Cup Butter, softened
1/2 Cup Shortening
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar
2 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 Teaspoon Salt
1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
1/4 Cup Cocoa Powder
1 and 3/4 Cups Flour
1 and 1/2 Cups Andes Mint Baking Chips
Cream the butter, shortening and sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add the salt, soda and cocoa.  Mix well.  Add the flour and mix just until combined.  Stir in 1 and1/4 cups of the mint chips.  Spread the dough evenly into a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Sprinkle the remaining 1/4 cup of mint chips evenly over the dough.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 25-30 minutes or until the center is set.  Cool and Enjoy!

5. Mini Cinnamon Muffins

A while back I started seeing recipes for donut muffins pop up all over the web.  They sounded amazing.  Of course I had to check them out.  Who wouldn’t?  I was surprised to find that most of the recipes were the same idea as these amazing Cinnamon Muffins my family had loved ever since I was a kid.  I had never thought of them to be like a donut before, but I guess they are kind of like a cinnamon sugar donut in muffin form.  These were always a favorite of mine growing up and now my own kids love them too.  When I first started making them for my kids I was not surprised to find several muffins with the just the top cinnamon-sugar dipped portion eaten off.  If you have been around kids at all you know that no matter how good the rest of the cookie, muffin, cake, etc.. is if it is topped with any sort of frosting, sprinkles, or in this case cinnamon sugar the topping will be eaten off of several and the remaining portion left behind.  So I came up with a solution to our little problem.  Mini Cinnamon Muffins!  My kids love them.  They have the perfect cinnamon sugar topping to muffin ratio to satisfy them and they are…..

…just the right size for little hands.
Don’t worry these mini cinnamon muffins are not JUST for kids.  I love that I can have 2 or 3 with out feeling guilty and isn’t anything in mini form just so much cuter and fun to eat!?  Trust me they will be devoured by kids and adults alike.
 
Mini Cinnamon Muffins
1/3 Cup Butter or Shortening
1/2 Cup Sugar
1 Egg
1/2 Cup Milk
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 and 1/2 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/4 Teaspoon Nutmeg
1/4 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1 and 1/2 Cup Flour( I use 1 cup white all purpose flour and 1/2 whole wheat flour)
Topping:
3 Tablespoons Butter, melted
1/4 Cup Sugar
1 Tablespoon Cinnamon
Cream the butter and sugar together.  Add the egg, milk and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Fill each cavity of a greased Mini Muffin Tin about 2/3 to 3/4 full.  You should get 24 mini muffins*.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 10-12 minutes.  Allow the muffins to cool for 2-3 minutes or just until cool enough to handle.  In the meantime in a small bowl melt the 3 tablespoons of butter.  In a separate small bowl  stir together the cinnamon and sugar.  Dip each muffin top into the butter and then swirl around in the cinnamon sugar mixture until the top is evenly coated.  Place on a wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!
 *You can also bake these in a regular size muffin tin.  Simply adjust the bake time to 20-22 minutes.  You will get about 9 regular sized muffins.

6.Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

 

I have a confession to make……I don’t like banana bread.  I know it’s weird.  What’s even weirder is that I really like bananas. I just don’t like banana flavored stuff.  I’ve tried banana flavored cakes, cookies, breads, candy and I’m not sure why but it’s just not my favorite.  However, there are others in my house who love banana bread, so when I’m feeling nice and I have a few over ripe bananas that need used up I will occasionally make banana bread.  This go around I used my Mom’s traditional banana bread recipe, but decided to jazz it up a bit in hopes that I would enjoy it too. I added peanut butter and chocolate, because we all know chocolate and peanut butter makes everything taste better.  After letting it cool I cautiously took a bite and now I have to confess that I don’t like banana bread…..except this Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread.  The addition of chocolate and peanut butter kind of mellow out the banana flavor a little bit and make it not as strong as it is in plain banana bread.  Which was a good thing thing for me, but if you are a banana bread lover don’t worry there is still plenty of banana flavor.  The three flavors compliment each other perfectly to create the best banana bread I have ever tasted.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

1/3 Cup Butter, room temperature
1/3 Cup Peanut Butter
2/3 Cup Sugar
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Cup Ripe Mashed Bananas, about 2-3 bananas
1 and 1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
3/4 Teaspoon Salt
1 and 3/4 Cup Flour
1 Cup Chocolate Chips
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In your mixer cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugar.  Add the eggs, milk, and mashed bananas.  Mix until completely incorporated.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Stir in the chocolate chips(I reserved a few to sprinkle on top) until evenly distributed.  Pour into a greased bread pan.  Bake in a preheated oven for 60-65 minutes.  Or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Cool in the pan for 10 minutes then remove to a wire rack to finish cooling.  Enjoy!

7. Cookie Dough Brownies

My husband requests chocolate chip cookies for dessert about 95% of the time.  I, on the other hand, think there are just way too many good desserts out there to stick with the same one all of the time.  Don’t get me wrong I love myself a chocolate chip cookie, but come on you gotta switch it up.  I made these brownies with the hopes of pleasing his chocolate chip cookie craving and my desire to try out a new dessert.  These were the perfect combination.  This cookie dough frosting is Amazing.  If you like cookie dough you are going to love this frosting.  It tastes just like cookie

dough, except there are no eggs so it is perfectly acceptable to eat it by the spoonful or better yet spread it on top of these thick fudgey brownies.

 

Cookie Dough Brownies
Brownie Batter
1 Cup Butter, melted
1 Cup Sugar
1 Cup Brown Sugar
4 Eggs
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1/3 Cup Cocoa
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
2 Cups Flour
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  In your mixer add the butter and sugars.  Mix until completely combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and stir until fully incorporated.  Spread the batter in a greased 9×13 inch pan.  Bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean or with just a few crumbs.  Cool completely before frosting.  Enjoy!
Cookie Dough Frosting
1/2 Cup Butter, softened
3/4 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
1 and 1/4 Cup Flour
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
5 Tablespoons Milk
1 Cup Chocolate Chips(mini or regular)
Cream together the butter and sugar.  Add the vanilla and mix well.  Add the flour and salt stir until combined.  Stir in the milk and beat until the frosting is fluffy.  Gently stir in the chocolate chips.  Spread on cooled brownies and frost.  Enjoy!

8. White Chocolate Snickerdoodle Blondies

These blondies are so good.  Seriously, a thick chewy snickerdoodle loaded with white chocolate chips and topped with a flaky cinnamon sugar crust = Yum.  I don’t know that I’ll ever have a desire to make regular snickerdoodle cookies again.  These will definitely be making a regular appearance in my kitchen.  I love how quick and easy they are and they use simple ingredients that I almost always have on hand.

 

White Chocolate Chip Snickerdoodle Blondies
2 Cups Brown Sugar
1 Cup Butter, room temp
2 Eggs, room temp
1 Tbsp Vanilla
2 2/3 Cup Flour
2 1/4 tsp Baking Powder
1 1/2 tsp Cinnamon
1/8 tsp Ground Nutmeg
1/4 tsp Salt
12 oz. White Chocolate Chips
Topping
2 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
2 tsp Cinnamon

Cream the butter and brown sugar together until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs and vanilla.  Mix until well combined.  Add the dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Stir in the white chocolate chips.  Spread in a greased 9×13 pan.  Mix the topping together and sprinkle evenly over the batter.  Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 27-32 minutes, until the center is set and the top is golden brown.  Allow the bars to cool for at least 1/2 an hour.  These are great warm or completely cooled.  Enjoy!

9. Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes

C is for: Chocolate Cookie CupCakes.  Yep, that’s what I’ve been teaching my kids.  I recently decided to try and start doing a little at home preschool with my 2 1/2 and 4 year old.  Nothing big, just a few hours a couple days a week where they learn a new letter then read a few books, do a simple activity and have a snack that go along with the letter of the day.  I was doing so good with the snacks.  For Aa we had apples, Bb we had bears(Teddy Grahams) and bananas, for Cc we had….. oops somehow I totally forgot about a snack.  And wouldn’t you know that there wasn’t a single Cracker or piece of Cheese to be found in our house.  I decided to not mention a snack and hope they wouldn’t notice.  What was I thinking?  Of course they would notice.  The first thing they asked was “What’s a snack for C Mom?”  I tried to explain that I forgot and we would have a snack next time.  There’s no way my determined, organized, never forgets a thing 4 year old was going to let me try and explain my way out of a snack.  So I decided if we were going to get creative and make a Cc snack it should have as many C’s in it as possible. As a result Chocolate Cookie CupCakes were created.  My boys loved helping make a very simple chocolate cookie dough and rolling it into balls.  We baked them in a mini cupcake pan and topped them with marshmallows, one of my kids favorite treats.   Then, we added some Chocolate glaze and dug into our Cc snack.  After tasting our creation I don’t think  any of us were still upset that I spaced having a snack prepared.  Next time you find yourself in the dog house try making a batch yourself and see if all is not forgiven.

I am happy to report that we have since done letters Dd and Ee and I have been 100% prepared with acceptable snacks.  Wish me luck with the next 21 letters.

Chocolate Cookie Cupcakes

Dough
1 Cup Butter
1 and 1/2 Cups Sugar

2 Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
2/3 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
3/4 teaspoon Baking Soda
2 Cups Flour
Mini Marshmallows
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs and vanilla. Mix well. Add in the dry ingredients. Roll the dough into heaping tablespoon size balls.  Bake in a greased mini muffin tin. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 7-9 minutes. You want them to still look just a tad underdone in the center.  Remove from the oven and top each cookie with 3 mini marshmallows.  Return to the oven for about 30 seconds to 1 minute or just until the marshmallows start to puff up.  Cool and top with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze
I have to admit I am really bad at using exact measurements when making frosting.  These measurements are all a pretty close guesstimation(is that a word?) to what I used.  You want it to be a thick glaze, but still thin enough to drizzle on with no need to spread.  You can add more or less milk or powdered sugar to get the thickness you desire.
1/2 Cup Butter, melted
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 Cup Powdered Sugar
1/2 Cup Unsweetened Cocoa Powder
Milk
Mix the butter, vanilla, powdered sugar, and cocoa together until fully combined.  Add enough milk to reach your desired consistency.   Spoon some glaze onto the center of each cookie cup.  It’s all right if some spills over the edges.  Let the glaze set up.  Enjoy!!!

10. Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel, Oatmeal Cookie Bars

I know the name for these is really long.  But any other name just didn’t sound right.  I just couldn’t leave the word chocolate, peanut butter, pretzel or oatmeal cookie out of the title, cause each one is equally vital to the yummyness of these bars.  I contemplated calling them Dream Bars, but come on who could resist a treat with the words Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzels, Oatmeal and Cookie in the title?  Obviously, NOT Me.  For these bars I started with my all time favorite oatmeal cookie bar recipe.  Then I threw in a handful of chopped pretzels, added a layer of  peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk and topped it all off with a layer of chocolate.  YUM!

Chocolate, Peanut Butter, Pretzel
Oatmeal Cookie Bars

3/4 Cup Butter
1/2 Cup Sugar
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1 Egg
1 tsp Vanilla
3/4 tsp Baking Soda
1/4 tsp Salt
1 Cup Oatmeal
1 3/4 Cups Flour
1 1/2 Cups Pretzels, Coarsely Chopped
1/2 Cup Peanut Butter
7oz Sweetened Condensed Milk(half of a can)
2 Cups Chocolate ChipsCream the butter and sugars together.  Add the egg and vanilla, mix well.  Add the dry ingredients and mix until combined.  Stir in the chopped pretzels.  Spread the dough in a greased 9×13 pan.  In a small microwave safe bowl add the peanut butter and sweetened condensed milk.  Microwave in 30 second bursts until melted and stir to combine.  Spread evenly over the dough and swirl into the top a little bit with a butter knife.  Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven for 18-20 minutes. Immediately after removing evenly sprinkle the chocolate chips on top, let sit for 5 minutes to melt.  Spread the chocolate evenly over the bars.  Cool and Enjoy!

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Human Foods Dogs Can and Can’t Eat

Most pet owners are very kind people. They can share both their hearts and homes with their pets. So, there is no reason why they don’t share their favorite foods with them too. But, there are many foods such as vegetables and fruits that can wreak havoc on a dog’s body. As a result, their dog has to suffer from severe health problems. In addition, there are also some of the human foods that are good for a dog’s diet. They can even be able to provide health benefits such as better breath, joint strength, as well as allergy immunity. Now, let’s take a look at human foods that your dog can and can’t eat.

Human Foods Dogs Can Eat

Bread

You can feed your dog pieces of bread. Although it doesn’t hurt your dog, it can’t be able to provide any health benefits. It’s best to feed him homemade bread instead of one from the store. Indeed, bread bought at the grocery store typically comes with unnecessary preservatives.

Cashews

Well, you can feed your dog cashews. They are ok. But, you just should use them only a few at a time. Cashews contain antioxidants, magnesium, proteins, and calcium. But, they can lead to weight gain. In addition, they can cause other fat-related conditions to your dog. So, you just should use a few cashews that are unsalted.

Cheese

You can feed cheese to your dog in small to moderate quantities. This is a great choice as long as your dog can be still able to be in canines. But, there are some kinds of cheese that are high in fat. That’s why you need to look for low-fat varieties such as mozzarella or cottage cheese.

Coconut

Actually, this fruit is also Ok for your dog. This funky fruit can help to strengthen the immune system because of its Lauric. This can fight off viruses. In addition, the fruit is a great choice for bad breath as well as clearing up skin conditions such as flea allergies, hot spots, or itchy skin. Moreover, coconut oil and coconut milk are also great for your dog as well.

Eggs

You can allow your dog to eat eggs. Make sure the eggs have to be fully cooked. This is considered as a wonderful source of protein. Moreover, they can help a dog with an upset stomach. On the contrary, avoid feeding your dog raw egg whites. They can give him biotin deficiency. That’s why you need to cook the eggs before feeding your dog.

Corn

Your dog can eat corn. This is considered as one of the most common ingredients in the foods for dogs. But, your dog may be in the difficulty when digesting the cob. So, before feeding your dog corn, you have to remove it from the cob.

Fish

As you know, this food contains good fats as well as amino acids. They ensure to give your dog a nice health boost. It’s best to feed him salmon and sardines. They contain vitamins and protein, and extra calcium. In addition to sardines, you should choose all the tiny bones. But, it’s wrong to feed your dog under-cooked or uncooked fish. And, don’t feed him fish more than twice a week.

Peanut butter

If you are looking for an excellent source of protein for your dog, you can’t ignore peanut butter. This food offers your dog heart-healthy fats, niacin, vitamins B and E. It’s best to feed him raw and unsalted peanut butter because they are not toxic to dogs.

Human Foods Dogs Can’t Eat

Almonds

Well. Your dogs shouldn’t eat almonds. They can be able to block the esophagus. Also, they can tear the windpipe of your dog. In fact, salted almonds can increase water retention. That’s why your dog is prone to heart disease after eating almonds.

Chocolate

Chocolate has very toxic substances that can stop your dog’s metabolic process. After eating chocolate, your dog may get diarrhea and vomiting.They can even cause death by a large amount of chocolate. So, if you see your dog eats chocolate, take him to your vet right away.

Cinnamon

It’s best to avoid feeding your dog cinnamon though they are not actually toxic to him. They can make your dog irritate the inside of his mouth. Moreover, they can also lead to vomiting, diarrhea, decreased heart rate, as well as liver disease.Your dog also may get coughing, choking, and difficulty breathing.

Garlic

Garlic is also a part of the Allium family. It can cause anemia in dogs. Also, it can make side effects as elevated heart rate, collapsing, weakness, and pale gums. So, if your dog eats some garlic, it’s best to monitor him for a few days.

Macadamia nuts

Don’t feed your dog macadamia nuts. They actually are one of the most poisonous foods for your dog. They are the cause of many problems such as increased body temperature, lethargy, inability to walk, and vomiting. In addition, your dog’s nervous system may be affected by macadamia nuts.

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How to make your own homemade cat food?

We may not know that cats tend to have sensitive digestion systems. As carnivores, they need to eat meat but avoid eating unhealthy food which contains indigestible. Finding the right food for a kitty, especially a cat with a sensitive stomach can be very challenging and sometimes frustrating. you can immediately see the signal by look or smell at their litter box . So keep in mind that feeding cats with the wrong diet can cause serious health problems and even ultimately lessen the length of their lives.

Being aware that there are high levels of chemicals, additives and preservations in many commercial cat foods, lots of cat people look for alternative home-made cat food recipes and cat treats to offer their cats a healthier option. Because as with human nutrition, cats are healthiest when they eat a minimum of processed food. Instead, cooking for your kitties is really a great way to make sure that they get the proteins needed and it can be an enjoyable pastime for cat-parents.

If you are thinking of making your own cat food, some tips below may be helpful for you.

Know the nutritional requirements of cats.

In fact, cats have dietary requirements that are significantly different from our own which requires careful consideration and planning of the food they are receiving. Basically, cats need a high level of protein and fat in their diet which is twice than what dogs need. To be more specific, cats need about 85 percentage of meat, fat, offal and bone in their diet while vegetables, herbs, and roughage only make up 15 percent of feline dietary requirements. You are advised to consult with a qualified veterinary nutritionist who can ensure your cats will be getting all the necessary nutrients before embarking on feeding them with home prepared foods.

Water is an important factor in cats’ diet because it contributes to overall health in every living creature, let alone cats but it will be particularly bad if you keep your cats on dry food systems. Cats do not have a strong thirst drive which leads to dehydration so it’s necessary to keep them hydrated as they can’t do that alone. Unlike dogs, cats are not the most diligent drinkers and have to be lured to drink water. Cats prefer fresh water and may think it is contaminated if their water bowl is placed where they eat. Today, cat-focused water fountains are purchased by many pet owners because they keep water fresh with a natural taste. Moreover, these fountains have filters which get rid of impurities appearing from sitting out for a long time. The movement and sound of cat fountains also mimic a running tap which will encourage cats to drink more water.

What is a healthy cat diet?

A balanced feline diet should contain clean water (needs to be available all the times and easily accessible), approximately 50% protein (most cat won’t eat food which contains less than 20% protein) and 20% fat, a good dose of vitamins including vitamin A, vitamin B and vitamin E, calcium is also important part of building and maintaining cats’ bones. In addition, taurine is an amino acid that is essential to cats’ diet. If your homemade foods lack taurine, your cat may suffer from central retinal degeneration, irreversible blindness as well as heart failure because of taurine deficiency.

On the other hand, avoid giving your cat foods that are dangerous or toxic to them. What you can eat doesn’t mean what your cat can. Home-prepared food should not contain onions, garlic, chives, grapes, raisins, chocolate (even white chocolate), sugar, uncooked yeast dough and spices from your pantry such as nutmeg, baking powder, and baking soda. Other ingredients you also should avoid are alcohol, dog food, candy and gum, coffee, tea and other caffeinated products such as cold medicines, stimulant drinks, and painkillers, human medication of any kind.

Formulate or find a recipe and start cooking

Even though you have identified all the parts of a healthy cat diet, essential nutrients can negatively affect your cat’s health if you get the recipe wrong. That the balance of nutrients is so crucial, you had better consult your veterinarian or an expert on cat health to find a recipe. You can get one formulated by someone else.

After your searching to create a balanced diet that meets all of your cat’s need and getting your vet’s stamp of approval, you are ready to start cooking homemade food for your cats! To begin with protein, you can purchase free-range, antibiotic and hormone-free whole chicken thighs from a reputable source or else use chicken livers, turkey, and egg yolks, among other options. But it’s important to remember that meat needs fully cook to destroy bacteria then remove some of the meat from the bone and cut it into chunks of about ½ inch. You can grind the animal protein to make it easier for your cat to eat. After that, mix meat with additional ingredients with the recipe: for every 3 pounds (1.3kg) of meat, pour in 1 cup water, 400 IU (268 mg) vitamin E, 50 mg vitamin B-complex, 2,000 mg taurine, 2000 mg wild salmon oil, and 3/4 tsp light salt (with iodine). And finally, make meal-sized portions and freeze. Generally, the cat eats about 4 to 6 ounces per day. Don’t forget to keep your cat’s meal in the freezer.

Should an undesirable weight loss occur, contact your vet immediately to make an adjustment in your cat diet plan.

Hope that with some tips mentioned above, you can find a better way to increase your companion’s health and longevity by incorporating fresh whole food into her daily diet. A change in food can bring about dramatic improvements in unhealthy cats and even healthy ones will be glossier, peppier and more radiant than before.

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Honey Almond Granola

Warning:  This granola is highly addictive!  I don’t know what it is, but I can never stop with just one handful.  Usually I’ll be munching away and half the batch is gone before I even realize how much I’ve eaten.  Oh well, it’s healthy right?  When you bake this granola be sure to press the mixture down firmly into the baking sheet and wait until it is completely cooled before

removing from the pan.  This is what forms the big clusters of granola making it perfect for snacking on.  I love mixing up a batch before road trips to keep us from loading up on less healthy treats at the gas station.  It’s also great mixed in with some fruit and yogurt for breakfast.

Honey Almond Granola

4 Cups Rolled Oats
1 Cup Sliced Almonds
1/2 Cup Brown Sugar
1/4 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1/4 Cup Wheat Germ
1/2 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 Teaspoon Cinnamon
1/3 Cup Coconut Oil
1/3 Cup Honey
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  In a large bowl add and stir together all of the dry ingredients.  Heat a small sauce pan over low/medium heat.  Add the coconut oil and honey.  Whisk together.  Can also be warmed in the microwave in a microwave safe bowl.  Heat stirring every 30 seconds until melted and combined.  It’s okay if the honey and coconut oil do not completely combine together.  Just warm and whisk until the oil and honey are melted.  Pour over the oat mixture.  Stir until completely combined.  Dump the granola into a greased rimmed baking sheet.  Spread evenly and press down firmly.  Bake in a preheated oven for 12 to 15 minutes.  Cool completely before removing from pan.  Store at room temperature in an airtight container.  Enjoy!

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Homemade Playdough

This time of year can be so hard.  Summer feels so close, yet so far away.  We have been lucky with quite a few nice days this spring, but there have still been plenty of days spent cooped up in the house.  On one such day I needed something to entertain my boys to keep me, uh them from going stir crazy.  This play dough did the trick.  It kept them entertained for hours.  And the best part is it takes less than 10 minutes to make.  In fact, it was so easy that I ended up making three batches just so there was plenty to go around.  It has been played with almost every day for a few weeks now and it is still as soft and pliable as the day I made it.   Next time you find your self cooped up in the house try making a batch and see if it doesn’t keep your family entertained, or at least save your sanity!

Homemade Playdough
1 Cup Flour
1 Cup Water
2 teaspoons Cream of Tartar
1/3 Cup Salt
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Food Coloring
In a medium sauce pan mix everything together, except the food coloring.  Cook over medium heat, stirring continually.  As the mixture just begins to thicken add the food coloring until you achieve your desired color.  Continue stirring until the play dough thickens and begins to gather around your spoon. It should look like play dough at this point.  Remove from the pan and cool.  Once the play dough is cool enough to handle you can squish it around a few times to remove any remaining lumps.  Store in a zip lock bag or airtight container.  Have fun and Enjoy!

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Homemade Granola

When I first decided to try making this I thought I would like it. I was surprised at just how much I love it! This is such a great snack or it works great for breakfast sprinkled in yogurt. And I love how I can at least feel a little bit healthy since I’m eating granola instead of a cookie or candy. This has quickly become one of my favorite snacks. The only problem is once I start eating it I can’t stop.
Homemade Granola

In a large bowl mix:
4 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup sliced almonds
1/2 cup coconut
1/2 cup miniature semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
Your choice of dried fruit(optional)
Sauce:
1/3 cup honey
1/3 cup peanut butter
2 tsp vanilla
In a saucepan warm the honey and peanut butter until melted and combined. Do not boil. Whisk in the vanilla. Pour over the dry ingredients and stir gently until evenly coated. Spread granola on a lightly greased baking sheet. Press down firmly. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes. Allow the granola to cool completely on the baking sheet. Store in an airtight container. Enjoy!

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Homemade Tortillas

Wow, I was pretty excited when my post for No Bake Cookie Ice Cream Topping was featured over at A Thrifty Mom today. So in honor of being featured over there I decided to share the recipe for home made tortillas that I originally got from the A Thrifty Mom site.

If you have never had homemade tortillas before you are missing out. Ever since trying these several months ago we have only had store bought tortillas one time, and that was cause we had to bring them to a party. Seriously they are totally worth the little extra effort it takes to make them. They also store well in the fridge, so they are great for leftovers or another meal later in the week. Oh and if they don’t roll out into perfect circles don’t worry they still taste great. Don’t ask how I know!:) Let’s just say a tortilla press is pretty high up on my kitchen tool wish list.

 

Homemade Tortillas
4 cups flour
1/8 tsp baking powder
1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 cup + 3 Tbsp hot water

 

Place the flour, baking powder and shortening in a bowl. With a fork cut the shortening into the flour until it is blended well. In a separate bowl add the hot water and then the salt. Stir to dissolve the salt. Pour over the flour mixture and knead until blended well. Cover the dough and let it rest for twenty minutes. Cut the dough into four even pieces. Divide each of the four pieces into three even pieces to form twelve small dough balls. Roll each ball into a circle and roll it out with a rolling pin(or a tortilla press) as thin as you can get it without it tearing. Cook over medium/high heat for 15-30 second on each side, or until you start to get small brown areas. Be careful not to over cook your tortillas or they will be crunchy. Enjoy!
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