March 20, 2013

Granola Cereal

We go through a lot of cereal in our house.  The girls mostly eat Cheerios, which I am fine with.  I am not a sugar cereal person, so I'll eat boring, healthy stuff.  The Hubster is the wild card.  He'll eat Cheerios, or Honey Nut Cheerios, or Frosted Mini Wheats, or Bran Flakes, the list goes on.  

Goodness though, have you noticed how expensive cereal is these days?!  It wouldn't be terrible if it was just the girls and me eating it.  But the Hubster eats more than a normal serving size.  Probably a normal portion for a grown man.  It just means we go through a box of whatever it is very quickly.

Not to mention the crap in those boxes.  Lots of sugar.  And lots of who knows what else.

A while back I found a recipe in a magazine (and I can't find it for the life of me, so I have no idea which one) for Granola.  I gave it a shot and the Hubster raved about it.  It was pretty delicious.  Also, very easy to throw together.  The part that takes the longest period of time is just letting it cool so you can put it away.

I always double the recipe, because again, we go through it fast.

This is about 3 bowls short of the recipe being doubled.

Granola Cereal

Preheat oven to 300degrees

3 c oats
1 1/2 c chopped pecans
3 Tbsp unsalted butter, melted
1/3 c honey
1/4 tsp salt

Mix to coat.  Put on parchment lined (I use a silpat) cookie sheet for 30min.  Mix half way through.  You want it to be lightly golden.

Cool completely.  Store in airtight container.  Makes 4 1/2 cups.

Serving size 1/2 c.  272 calories.  16.6 g fat.  3.2 g saturatedfat.  5.8 g protein.  27.4 g carbs.  4 g fiber.

My oven runs a little bit hot, so it took about 25 minutes to cook.  One full recipe is enough to put on two cookie sheets.  

We are sort of plain janes around here, but you can add craisins, raisins, or whatever dried fruit you'd like to jazz it up a bit.  


March 14, 2013

Olive Garden Breadsticks (Knock-Offs) Recipe

Yesterday was a busy day!  I had my two girls home, and was watching a friend's twin boys (so a 4 year old and three 2 year olds).  It was fun!  And believe it or not, quiet!  They were so busy playing together they really didn't pay much attention to me at all!  I even got some Banana Bread made!

Later in the afternoon, I had three of my girlfriends over and all of their kiddos.  We were so very outnumbered.  Three adults and seven kids all ages four and under!

I made stuffed shells and was planning to do a short cut for garlic bread.  I bought the boxed stuff.  I love a good frozen garlic bread.  I don't often get it because of all the extra who knows what is in it.  And really, it is a lot cheaper to make my own.  It also leaves more room in my freezer!

... Then my girlfriend warned me that even if her kids don't eat dinner, they will eat all of the breadsticks.  I got worried.  Clearly one box of Texas Toast wasn't going to cut it!

I saw this recipe online for a Knock Off of Olive Garden's breadsticks.  And if you know me at all, you know my love for OG breadsticks (and alfredo sauce!).  I had all of the ingredients and I figured why not.  I threw all of the ingredients into my bread machine on the dough cycle (in the order recommended) and then formed them and let them rise for another hour before baking.  Easy!

They were delicious.  I forgot to take pictures.  So.  Here is the pic from the blog I grabbed the recipe from:
Mine were actually shaped nicer than that!  Woot!
There wasn't an indication of how many bread sticks the recipe would make, so I sort of winged it.  Started dividing the dough in half.  And again.  And again.  I ended up with 18 good sized breadsticks!

They went like hotcakes!  By the time everyone left, there were three left!  After the Hubster came home, they were all gone!

One thing to note, mine did not take the full 15 minutes!  I should have put the timer on for 8 minutes and started watching them at that point.  I suppose the blogger made less.  Had I counted the picture I would have figured it out, eh?

I will definitely be making these again.  And again.  And again.


March 13, 2013

Peggy's Famous A-Z Bread

One of my favorite smells is my Mom's (Peggy) Famous A-Z Bread baking in the oven.  I have memories of this scent in all of the homes I ever lived in.  It is a piece of my childhood.

A-Z Bread?  Ah, yes.  A-Z Bread.  Most of the time that means Banana Bread for me.  But you can put whatever you want in it.  While we were very little, my mom was known to put leftover baby food in there.  Apples (or apple sauce), Bananas, Cranberries... all the way to Zucchinis.  This recipe is a fabulous way to use leftovers.

Even nicer?  It is a quick bread.  No scary yeast to worry about.  Seriously, this recipe is pretty fool proof.  You can even mix different items together.  I often have over ripe bananas, but not quite enough for the recipe, so I add some apple sauce to make up the difference.  And it makes two loaves of bread, eat one now and throw the other in the freezer for when you are having company overnight!

Peggy's Famous A-Z Bread

3c Flour
1 tsp Baking Soda
1/2 tsp Baking Powder
3 tsp Cinnamon
2 c Sugar
2 c A-Z (*note for apples and cranberries use 3c) mashed/grated/diced
3 tsp Vanilla
3 Eggs
1 c Vegetable/Canola Oil
1c Chopped Nuts (Optional)

1.  Sift dry ingredients in a large bowl.
2.  Beat eggs.  Add oil and sugar.  Cream well.
3.  Add A-Z and vanilla
4.  Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients.  Mix well.
5.  Add nuts (optional).  Mix well
6.  Spoon into two greased loaf pans.

Bake at 325 degrees for an hour.


Ingredients (after I mashed four bananas)

Consistency is more like batter than dough

About to go in the oven!

Your house now smells delicious!

And now your children are pulling down your pants begging for banana bread!

March 12, 2013

Pure Joy at 10pm

The last few days we've been breaking the habit of having lights on at bedtime for Big One.  Nightlights are fine, she actually has two of them.  But Big One is a reader.  She will read for hours until she passes out from exhaustion.  I love that she loves to read!  But not at 10pm.

So Big One is not thrilled with this change, but has been falling asleep a little bit earlier.  Until tonight.  I heard her on the video monitor just a few minutes ago, but couldn't make out what she was saying.  I turned up the sound and melted.

This little light of mine, I'm going to let it shine....

Be still my beating heart.

My baby is getting big.

March 11, 2013

Nutella Cookies

I saw a Pin for Nutella cookies months ago.  I was waiting for the perfect opportunity to make them (aka bring them somewhere).  The other week it was yucky out and I felt like baking.  So despite the fact that I knew I'd end up eating the majority of them.... sigh...

They were absolutely delicious! 

I loosely followed the recipe on the link.  But I prefer the base of the cookie from Tollhouse.  I cook eat their chocolate chip cookies all day long.  

2 1/4c flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp salt
1c softened butter
3/4c granulated sugar
3/4c packed brown sugar
2tsp vanilla extract (Yes, I know the recipe says 1tsp but I always double the vanilla.  Trust me.)
2 large eggs


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Combone flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Gradually beat in flour mixture. 
  3. Grease mini muffin tins.  
  4. I used my smallest cookie scoop to fill the muffin tins.  
  5. Bake for 10-12 minutes until they just start to brown around the edges.
  6. After cooling for a couple of minutes, use a shot glass or a spoon to push down the middle.  You need a spot to put that yummy Nutella!
  7. Scoop some Nutella into each hole.  
  8. If you are a perfectionist (I am not), swirl the top and make it pretty.
  9. Enjoy.

March 2, 2013

Baked Cod Recipe

I grew up with this recipe.  My mom used to make it a lot.  Most of the time with Haddock, I believe.  I was perusing the fish counter yesterday and saw Alaskan Cod.  Sold.  I'm sort of picky when it comes to fish.  I have yet to try Salmon (::ducking from the flames::), I have a feeling it will be too fishy.  One day I will grow the courage to make it... and eat it.

So anyway.  I like mild fish.  It also has to be from the USA.  I don't know... just feels safer to me.  Heh.  

So this is an easy, fast recipe to throw together.  And delicious.  

I wish I had a picture for you, but I was starving last night.  

So my changes.  I got 3/4 lb of fish and used 1 sleeve of crackers.  I threw them in the food processor because I'm lazy.  I also used garlic powder, salt, and pepper on the fish before putting the crackers on top.  

Oh, and if you think I pulled out some pliers you don't know me very well!  Heh.


February 5, 2013

January Vaca

Well, there I went disappearing again.  Sorry about that.

We had a busy January.  We drove several hours away to do a belated Christmas with the Hubster's family. We had a great time.  We spent time with the Hubster's parents, sister, nieces, Grandmother, Aunt, Uncle, Cousin, and Great  Aunt.

As always, the time flies by too quickly  We did have a very nice visit.  And we were all spoiled rotten!

It was so chaotic that I didn't get many pictures at all!  I'm hoping my fabulous In-Laws will send some soon!

After we left there, we headed to an enormous indoor water park.  This was the best family vacation we could have picked.  Our girls are water babies.  They loved every second of it, and the Hubster and I did too!  We stayed for two nights and three days and it was perfect!  Little One even slept in the bottom bunk!  No more Pack-N-Play for us!  Woot!  A funny from Big One... she insisted that she was Ariel every single time she was swimming.  She cracks me up.

See them under there?!

On our way back home, we had lunch with the Hubster's family.  It was so great!  I saw it on Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and knew I wanted to try it when we visited!  The Leaping Lizard Cafe was tiny.  They had real chickens roaming around the property!  They have their own garden and all of their ingredients are fresh (hence those chickens).  It was delicious.  The sweet potato biscuit with ham and jam was amazing!  I had the tuna sandwich and it was the best I've ever eaten!  I imagine they get very busy at lunch time, so if you plan to visit, plan accordingly.  Also, they only had one high chair; really not a super kid friendly place, although we didn't have any issues with the girls.  Their website is lacking, but I assure you, the food is not.  A must try if you are in the area!

When we returned home the Hubster decided we needed to transition Little One into her toddler bed.  I had quite a bit of anxiety about this.  Little One is a pretty good sleeper, and I knew when she could run around her room there would be much less sleeping.  She actually has done rather well.  Several nights she has decided to sleep on the floor, right in front of the door.  Pitiful.  Sort of breaks my heart, but she doesn't seem bothered by it.  She moves her two pillow pets over and her dream lite and she is happy as a clam.

Loving her Big Girl bed!

Ballet has also started again for the girls.  Big One is loving it, especially tap.  She is doing a great job learning to follow the teacher's lead.  I think one of the bigger challenges is filtering out the girls who are not paying attention.  I'm happy to see that she is not a follower when others aren't obeying.  Proud Mama moment.  Little One really surprised me.  She runs straight into class each week!  No tears!  No fighting me to get dressed!  Amazing what a few weeks of growth will do!

My girls are getting big.  I am so proud of them.