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Our Menu (Week of January 13, 2013)

Mamas tofu 1My mom’s simple tofu…one of my favorite dishes.

I’m working on some projects this week so I’m keeping it very simple in the kitchen.  Since it’s unusually cold for us these past several days, I added a soup to the menu, but might add a stew or another soup if the cold sticks around.  I’m not complaining–I love me some cold weather.  Have a lovely week!

Here’s what’s cooking in our home this week:

Breakfasts

  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2
  • Egg-in-a-hole, fruit parfaits
  • Quiche, berries, o.j and tea
  • Scones, sausage, eggs, fruit salad
  • Greek yogurt with all the fixings & fruit, grainy toast strips
  • Homemade cereal, bananas, o.j.

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade Napa berry jam, cheese and fruit
  • Tuna salad sandwiches, bananas, crunchy snack
  • Mama’s tofu, rice, sunchoke kimchee, Chinese greens
  • Munchie’s choice for snacky lunch
  • Quesadillas, guacamole, spritzers
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Take out treat
  • Turkey meatloaf, mashed potatoes, sautéed green beans, salad
  • Chicken and rice soup, biscuits
  • Wraps, tossed salad, sautéed veggies
  • Beef stir-fry, brown rice, kimchee, sautéed cabbage
  • Spaghetti, garlic bread, tossed salad
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers with hummus & cheese, yogurt with fruit, granola

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s cooking in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, please do leave a link! 🙂

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Our Menu (Week of January 6, 2013)

The days are short, the weather’s cold, by tavern fires tales are told.” ~ New England Almanac, Dec. 1704

I found this quote while sifting through Susan Branch’s Christmas book.  The book itself is a bit of the familiar for me, warms me…come winter, familiar, warming meals are what I desire for myself, my family.  My wish for you in this new year is that you’re sitting snug by a crackling fire with those dear to you, swapping tales, sharing memories.  ♥

slow-cooker-beef-stewSlow Cooker Back to Basics Beef Stew

Here’s what’s cooking in our home this week:

Breakfasts

  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2
  • Eggy Sausage Bites (named by Munchie), fruit, hot cocoa
  • Breakfast tostadas, peaches & berries
  • Parfaits, o.j.
  • Breakie Potatoes, ham, pears (let you know if this new recipe is a keeper!)
  • Breakfast pizza, fruit salad

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade Napa berry jam, cheese and fruit
  • Veggie wraps, apples
  • Chicken quesadillas, guacamole & chips, fruit
  • Taiwanese pancakes, veggie bowls
  • Munchie’s pick
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Vegetable noodle soup, rolls
  • Back to Basics Slow Cooker Beef Stew, crusty bread
  • Mozzarella chicken, roasted veggies, salad
  • Chicken pitas, spinach salad, garlic broccoli
  • Taiwanese noodle bowls, green veggies
  • Garlic chicken tacos, Spanish rice, corn salad
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers with hummus & cheese, yogurt with fruit, granola
  • We will see if we have time for some baking fun. 🙂

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s cooking in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, please do leave a link! 🙂

Blueberry Cream Delight Muffins

blueberry cream muffin whole

It seems most people have “their” blueberry muffin recipe.  My mom has a delicious blueberry muffin recipe that I use as my own, but sometimes I like to switch it up and try something new.  I made these blueberry cream muffins on a whim because I had an open container of sour cream I wanted to use up, lots of frozen blueberries, and a little girl who said, “I desire muffins this morning, Mummy!”

I think I watch too many BBC programs.  Her accent is spot on and her need for “tea and biscuits, dear” is growing daily.  🙂

blueberry cream muffin split

If you like more blueberry and less sugary sweetness in your muffins, these could be the muffins for you.  I find frozen blueberries work wonderfully in baked goods and I kept the tradition with these.  If you like your muffins on the sweeter side, do add more sugar or go for all white/granulated sugar.

Danielle’s Blueberry Cream Delight Muffins

Ingredients

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • heaping 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups frozen blueberries

Crumb topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup butter, cubed very small
  • 1 1/2 to 2 tsp cinnamon

Preheat oven to 400°.  Grease a 12-cup muffin pan (or fill with paper liners).  Beat eggs in a large bowl.  Add sugar and beat until mixed completely.  Add oil and vanilla.  Mix until well incorporated.  In another bowl, mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Alternate adding flour mixture and sour cream to egg mixture.  Gently fold in blueberries.  Fill muffin cups with batter.  These make large muffins–If you feel they’re too big, you can make more than 12 muffins.  Sprinkle crumb topping generously on top of each muffin and bake for 20 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean).  Enjoy!

Cozycakes Suggestion:  We like our muffins split when warm & spread with a generous helping of butter.  ♥

Our Menu (Week of December 9, 2012)

108Easy beef mushroom stroganoff

“Heap on more wood!–The wind is chill; But let it whistle as it will, we’ll keep our Christmas merry still.” ~ Sir Walter Scott

I’m having a lovely and c-o-z-y season.  Lots of cooking happening in my kitchen this week from basic meals to holiday baking.  I’ll share some recipes with you this week. 🙂 Wishing you all a blessed season.  ♥

Here’s what’s cooking in our home this week:

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.

Breakfasts

  • French toast, fruit, cider
  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2
  • Baked cider doughnuts, winter fruit salad
  • Scrambled eggs, fruit parfaits
  • Breakfast pizza squares, o.j., bananas
  • Lemon blueberry muffins, winter fruit salad

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade blackberry jam, peach-banana fruit salad
  • Tortellini bake, fruit
  • Turkey tea sandwiches, berries,
  • Zucchini cakes, fruit, smoothies
  • Munchie’s Choice Snacky lunch
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Dinner out for date night/Munchie eats with grandparents
  • Breakfast for dinner: lemon blueberry pancakes, veggie omelets, sausage, toast with marmalade, fruit
  • Savory chicken with potatoes, green beans, rice casserole
  • One-pot pork chops, garlic sautéed broccoli, sweet potato bake
  • Broccoli cheddar soup, dilly bread
  • Easy beef mushroom stroganoff, rosemary potatoes (yes, carb overload, problem? 😉 ), spinach salad
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers with hummus & cheese, yogurt with fruit
  • Lots of holiday baking–wheeeeeee! ❤

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking until the new year!

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 4

It’s the 4th and last week of Women Living Well’s Making Your Home a Haven: 31 Day Fall Challenge.  Here’s the challenge as written by Courtney of Women Living Well:

Decorate! The holidays are upon us. Ann Voskamp says “Creating is good theology. In the beginning God created.” Be creative as you make your home warm, cozy and inviting for the holidays. Think about ways you can keep Christ in Christmas even in the way you decorate.  Decorate – to the glory of God!

I’m finishing up some cleaning today and Munchie is eager to decorate for Christmas.  The candle is glowing, the Christmas music playing softly and Munchie’s happy squeals and giggles fill the house.  How thankful I am that I have a home to call my own–a place to create traditions this season.  Wherever your home is, whatever the size, you can decorate it to fit YOU and make it all yours.  Take a little time this week to decorate for the season and feel the spirit of Christmas grow around you.

I’m a bit sad that this is the last week of the Making Your Home a Haven series.  It has encouraged and inspired me.  And, in some ways, calmed me.  Those close to me, know I can be an anxious and nervous gal.  That’s a huge part of why I started my organized Christmas series this year and why I strive to be as organized as possible.  It truly helps calm my soul.  I plan to keep up these challenges all season and into the new year.  Won’t you join me?

As Courtney said, it’s not the things you do or don’t have that make your home a haven–YOU are the key to making your home a haven.  🙂  Light your candle, turn on the music, and let Christmas into your home with home cooking and decorating.  ♥

Have you joined this challenge yet?  It’s not too late to begin!

xx ~Danielle

Our Menu (Week of November 25, 2012)

Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Spaghetti

I’m back to using a menu plan after WEEKS of not having one.  It was a bad idea to not have a plan…a very bad idea.  No way am I going without one during the busy weeks ahead.  This week I’m keeping it easy and will use as many pantry and freezer items as I can.  I have a lot of chicken in the freezer so we will have a bit of chicken overload, but no one has ever complained about multiple chicken days around here.  I dare em… 🙂

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.

Breakfasts

  • Herbed egg-in-a-hole, berries
  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2
  • Breakfast casserole, fruit, o.j. x 2
  • Baked apples, berries, tea
  • Spinach Quiche, tea/coffee/juice, fruit salad

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade blackberry jam, peach-banana fruit salad
  • Potato cakes, tomato basil soup
  • Chicken salad sandwiches, berry smoothies
  • Veggie quesadillas, guacamole
  • Munchie’s Choice Snacky lunch: hard-boiled eggs, cheese bites, grapes, pears, crackers
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Potato corn soup w/bread
  • Baked tacos, guacamole, corn salad
  • Dilly baked salmon, sautéed green beans, whole wheat couscous w/veggies
  • Baked chicken w/gravy, green beans, potatoes, broccoli, and carrots
  • Sesame chicken, short grain brown rice, garlic broccoli, spicy cucumber, sautéed cabbage
  • Sun-dried Tomato Chicken Spaghetti
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers with hummus & cheese, yogurt with fruit

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 3

It’s week 3 of Women Living Well’s Making Your Home a Haven: 31 Day Fall Challenge.  Here’s the challenge as written by Courtney of Women Living Well:

Focus on the kitchen, the heart of the home. Cook things with pleasant aromas – like homemade bread, pies, and cookies. Don’t wait to have a reason to make something special – do it simply to show love to your family. Invite your kids and/or hubby to cook along side you– make memories in the kitchen – test tasting, being creative, laughing and loving. Remove discontentment and give thanks to God for the home God has given you in which to create a haven for your family.

This might be my favorite challenge to date.  I love an excuse to be in the kitchen.  My little girl is always asking to help in the kitchen and although there are certainly days when I just want to cook alone and not clean up additional messes, I like this reminder:  I create my home, I create my haven.  Letting my daughter help in the kitchen is a wonderful way to help her feel nourished and create memories.  Sacrificing a clean kitchen for the sake of building traditions, instilling a love of home and caring for family, while working together in the kitchen, is worth it to me–I just have to remind myself that some days. 🙂

Because many of you are traveling for the holiday, staying with family or friends, you can take part by helping out in the kitchen wherever you’re calling home this week.  When you return home, keep up the challenge by warming up your home with something freshly baked or something simmering away on the stove top.

As Courtney said,it’s not the things you do or don’t have that make your home a haven–YOU are the key to making your home a haven.  🙂  Keep that candle burning and the music playing and let’s get cooking! ♥

Have you joined this challenge yet?  It’s not too late to begin!

xx ~Danielle

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 2

It’s week 2 of Women Living Well’s Making Your Home a Haven: 31 Day Fall Challenge.  Here’s the challenge as written by Courtney of Women Living Well:

Play soft music everyday in your home. Choose worship, classical or another form of peaceful music that the family enjoys. I’ll be playing Christmas music! Focus on using peaceful words and maintaining peaceful relationships. Work on gentleness this week.

Like Courtney, I  played Christmas music yesterday and for most of today.  In the morning, when I’m the only one up, I choose classical music to ease me into my day.  I could certainly use reminders to focus on using peaceful words and being more gentle.  I am one crabby lady some days.  I’m already loving this challenge and plan to keep it up even when the entire challenge series ends.

Courtney speaks of Proverbs in this challenge and I find it a wonderful companion to the challenge.  Here are two of my favorite Proverbs verses:

Reckless words pierce like a sword but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18

“A man of knowledge uses words with restraint, and a man of understanding is even-tempered.” Proverbs 17:27

I’m practicing being more gentle with my daughter.  I often tell my husband that I hate to see her spirit broken by harsh tones and a rough manner.  This challenge assists my focus in this area since I can be quick with the tongue and regretful just moments later.

What a difference my candle (Week 1’s Challenge) and this soft music makes.  As Courtney said in her post last week, it’s not the things you do or don’t have that make your home a haven–YOU are the key to making your home a haven.  🙂  Keep that candle burning and the music playing!

Have you joined this challenge yet?  It’s not too late to begin!

xx ~Danielle

Making Your Home a Haven: Week 1

Yesterday morning I saw that my very organized friend, Erin (you are, don’t say you’re not!), who blogs over at My Mommy World joined Women Living Well’s Making Your Home a Haven: 31 Day Fall Challenge.  I love these types of challenges because 1) I’m competing against and pushing myself and 2) My family as well as my soul benefits.  So…I’m in!

I’m a week behind, but no worries.  I started Week 1 yesterday and will start Week 2 right on time.  See?  No one to scold or  shout at me to “RUN, RUN HARDER!” (That’s how I picture a personal trainer challenging me and I cringe at the thought.)

For Week 1’s challenge, Courtney (the gal behind Women Living Well) suggests we get a large candle, choose a spot for it in your home, and light it daily.  Each time the candle catches your eye, say a prayer for peace in your home. 

I love this challenge.   I like the reminder to take a moment to say a prayer during the day.  And, as Courtney states, it’s not the things you do or don’t have that make your home a haven–YOU are the key to making your home a haven.  🙂

I chose to put my candle on my mantle for the weekend.  As we pass through our family room a gazillion times each day, we have a gentle reminder of the blessing of our home and I can say my prayer for peace many times a day.  I strive to make my home a haven for my family and for those dear friends who stop in.  But I often find myself frustrated with piles of clutter or rushing to clean up quickly when someone calls to say they’re stopping by.  I like this simple gesture, the tangible reminder–the lit candle–telling me that I have control over the mood and feel of my home.  And I’m choosing to make it a warm, welcoming haven for those I love and those in need.

What makes YOUR home a haven?  What do you do to make your home a comfortable place for those you love?

xx ~Danielle

A Cozycakes Christmas: My Organized Christmas Series

In my dreams I enjoy each and every day of December until Christmas.  From the 1st through the 25th, I’m baking holiday treats for family, friends, and neighbors.  Sharing the Christmas story with my little girl through crafts, books, and the Bible.  Creating a winter wonderland in my home with kiddie craft decor, homemade garland, and treasured ornaments and figurines.  Hosting Christmas gatherings on a whim because everything is “ready” for last minute guests festivities.  Frolicking (I’m a fan of frolicking, it’s cool) to and fro, soaking in the Christmas spirit through music, festivals, church bells, and whimsical store displays.  Carving memories and building traditions without the stress of self-induced holiday hustle and bustle.

And most importantly, sharing the (pardon the cliche) reason for the season with my family, specifically my little girl.  Taking our time to explore the meaning of Christmas without the negative impact of hyper-scheduled lives, growing shopping/gift/to-do lists, and an unorganized home.

In my dreams.

Some years are better than others, but, for the most part, I need to make concerted efforts to organize and plan the days leading up to my favorite time of year in order for me to make the best of December.  And this year I’m determined to add November to the list.  I’m launching A Cozycakes Christmas Series today to get organized in these fast-moving days before Christmas.  I’d love you to join in if you, too, find a bit of organization and reflection helps you enjoy the season.

Lofty goals.  Here are a couple of reasons why I’m putting more effort into this than usual:

  •  I don’t like stressed Danielle.  I don’t like over-scheduled Danielle.  I don’t like waking up in mid-January with a bit of regret in my belly and a whole lot of longing for what I didn’t accomplish or savor during the holidays.  If my home is out of order, my mind is out of order.  And that means that the good stuff–the quality time with family and friends, the heartening worship, the QUALITY–drops off my list of important things.
  • A couple of gals on my Cozycakes Cottage Facebook page requested that I share my Christmas/To Do List Christmas TEST.  I mentioned I was in the middle of creating my holiday lists and they were eager for me to share what helps me get through the season.  If I can help you out a wee bit, then I’m happy to share.  I wanted my lists to be as helpful as possible so I’ve been working on them, burning the midnight oil.  That’s a lie–I haven’t burned the midnight oil, but I’ve tried to put more time in them than I normally would.  Because, let’s be honest, by helping YOU, I’m helping ME.

And there you have my reasons for organizing my Christmas in this public forum.  Some of you are way ahead of me and already done with Christmas prep.  Kudos to you!  I envy you and I think you’re awesome. 🙂  But if you need a little help or support, here I am!  I’m here to support your Christmas heart.  Stick around for the next few weeks and let’s get ready together.  I got your back, you got mine.

  • Later today I’ll be posting Day 1 of this series.  I’m keeping it as simple and straightforward as I can and I hope you’ll join me!  See you soon!

xx ~Danielle

Other posts in the A Cozycakes Christmas: My Organized Christmas Series:

Printables:

*Printable Worksheet for Day4: Christmas Card List

*Printable Worksheet for Day 3: Gift List Planner

*Printable Worksheet for Day 2, Task 1: Christmas Priorities: Master To-Do List (Printable)

*Printable Worksheet for Day 2, Task 2: Christmas Calendar

*Printable Worksheet for Day 1: All I Want for Christmas: Your Christmas Heart Worksheet (Printable)

1,000 Likes and Giveaway Fun!

UPDATE: THIS GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED.  THANK YOU!

A couple of weeks ago my Cozycakes Cottage Facebook page reached 1,000 likes.  Heavens, I never expected to make so many “friends” over there and I’ve had a darn good time meeting such fun gals, sharing and learning from one another.  ♥

That being said, welcome to Cozycakes Cottage’s 1,000 Likes Giveaway!

One of my favorite people (or favorite people who I don’t know personally) is the artist and author Susan Branch.  I discovered her work when I lived on my own, far from home.  I was in my early 20s and I would visit the bookstore on weekend evenings, getting lost in the aisles of adventures and inspiration until closing time.  I always hit the clearance racks on my way out the door and that’s where I discovered the most darling little book (Sweets to the Sweet) by Susan Branch.  I don’t know who thought she belonged on the clearance shelf (for shame), but I thank them just the same.  Who knows how long it would’ve been until I happened upon her charming, handwritten, water-colored books again.

Susan Branch’s books include all of her own water-color artwork and she hand writes each word on every page which include recipes, seasonal/holiday tips and ideas, and more.  She is the epitome of cozy and her blog and website offer sweet peeks into her life on Martha’s Vineyard.  SIGH.

Can you tell I adore her?  Seems everything I adore, she adores.  How can I not like her?  So, dear friends, I’m giving away the Susan Branch personal recipe binder keeper pictured above.  You can see her work on the cover and then you fill it up with your tried and true, beloved recipes.  This 8×9 personal recipe keeper includes recipe pages, 6 tab dividers, 2 splash guards, 6 vinyl sleeves, measurements, hints and cooking tips.  I own 2 (or 3) myself.  I wish I had a copy of one of her cookbooks for you, but this will give you a taste of what those have to offer–they include page after page of charm and cottage loveliness.

I was perusing the stores (I peruse too often.  Dave Ramsey would tell me to go home and clean out my closet) recently and found a few copies of The Cottage Journal Seasons Magazine.  But, sweet friends, it isn’t just a read-toss type magazine.  The $10+ price tag clues one in on that fact (yes, fact).  As is my custom when I find a steal and gem, I snatched up a copy for myself, a copy for my sis, and…a copy for one of you!  This is the Christmas 2011 issue, but I tell ya, you won’t care what year it is.  It’s Christmas magic in paper form (high-quality paper form, mind you 😉 ).

If you’re interested in winning my 1,000 Likes Giveaway for the Susan Branch personal recipe keeper & The Cottage Journal Seasons Magazine Christmas 2011 issue all you need to do is leave a comment answering the following questions:

  • What favorite recipe would you add to this personal recipe keeper and what is your favorite holiday season tradition?  (I’m in the all-holiday spirit!)

For an additional entry you may do the following and come back here and leave a SEPARATE comment for this additional entry so you have multiple entries:

  • Follow Cozycakes Cottage via email by entering your email address in the “Follow Cozycakes Cottage” box on the right hand menu (or fellow WordPress.com bloggers can just click “follow”).

And though it’s against Facebook regulation for me to count Facebook “likes” as entries, I would love for you to stop by my Facebook page and follow me there. We have a good time over there and I’d love for you to join in!

Best of luck to you and thank you for visiting my cottage!

This giveaway ends Monday, November 5, 2012 and is open to residents of the U.S., Canada, and the United Kingdom.   A winner will be chosen by Random.org and announced here on my blog.  I was not compensated for this giveaway nor was I sponsored by the book’s/magazine’s authors, publishing company, or WordPress.  I just wanted to share the love with you! 🙂
*Although you’re welcome to “like” Cozycakes Cottage on Facebook, Facebook comments at the Cozycakes Cottage page do not count as entry into this giveaway. 

Our Menu (Week of October 7, 2012)

Apple Filled Pull-Apart Bread

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.

Breakfasts

  • Taiwanese breakfast, melon, tea
  • Sunrise berry flax smoothies, toast strips
  • Egg n’ hashbrowns, watermelon, o.j.
  • Apple pull-apart bread, watermelon, tea/juice
  • Herbed egg-in-a-hole, berries
  • Oatmeal with bananas, dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2

Lunches

  • P.b. sandwiches with homemade blackberry jam, peach-banana fruit salad
  • Avocado cucumber rolls, pears
  • Corn-dog muffins (to use up the all natural dogs we’re using for chili dog dinner–which are GOOD, btw), crudités, apples
  • Autumn lunch for Munchie, healthy milkshake 🙂
  • Lunch out
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Dilly baked salmon, sauteed veggie couscous, cauliflower with bell pepper
  • Slow cooker beef stew, rolls (didn’t get to this last week)
  • All-natural uncured chili dogs, dill salad, crudités
  • Homemade potstickers (my mom’s recipe), broccoli & peppers
  • Pizza roll-ups, chopped salad
  • Kogi tacos, cucumber slaw, sauteed cabbage
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers & cheese, yogurt with fruit

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Our Menu (Week of September 30, 2012)

My little Munchie took this picture of a tea party where she set her table for us.  Love her.

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.  Just thought I’d share!

  • Oatmeal with dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 3
  • Breakfast apple rounds, cider, yogurt with blueberries (so simple and yummy, I’ll share these with you this week!)
  • Breakfast burritos, o.j.
  • Baked apple donuts, fruit smoothies
  • Herbed baked tomato egg toasts, green monster smoothies

Lunches

  • P.b. and jelly, apple slices, crackers
  • Snacky lunch (Munchie’s choices)
  • Salad wraps, fruit salad
  • Egg salad sandwiches, apples, salad
  • Chicken pesto wraps, fruit salad, smoothies
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Slow cooker beef stew, rolls
  • Chicken Olivia over short grain brown rice, sautéed broccoli
  • Garlic herb chicken sausage,potato & mac gratin, spinach pine nut salad
  • Bubble Pizza, fruit salad, tossed salad
  • Black bean burger quesadillas, avocado salad
  • Dinner Out for Daddy/Daughter time, giant salad for me at home (mmm!)
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers & cheese, yogurt with fruit
  • Harvest muffins

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*I’m in “autumn cleaning” mode…so I’m cleaning out the freezers and not packing them up yet.  ahhhhh, feels good.

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Our Menu (Week of September 23, 2012)

Best Friends Forever. 

Uh, this has nothing to do with my menu plan, but I love this picture.  It makes me happy.  I found them this way one day in the garage.  They love “driving” together.

I’m not feeling that great this week.  Not exactly sick, but feeling a little run down and isn’t that when the ickies like to strike?   I’m going to keep it as simple as I can this week and save my energy for making a special meal for my husband’s birthday later in the week.  I hope you’re all having a lovely week!

Oh!  And I keep saying I’ll share recipes and life is just flying by and I’m NOT posting them.  I promise to try to post at least a couple this week!  Thank you for your patience!!!

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.  Just thought I’d share!

  • Denver sandwiches, peaches, o.j.
  • Bagels with cream cheese,watermelon, smoothies
  • Harvest bake, bananas, cider
  • Baked French toast, berries, o.j.
  • Multi-grain cereal, raspberries, o.j.
  • Oatmeal with dried cherries & flax, smoothies x 2

Lunches

  • P.b. and jelly, bananas & peaches, crackers
  • Taiwanese noodle bowl with broccoli
  • Grilled ham & cheese sandwiches, tomato basil soup
  • Quesadillas, apple slices, watermelon
  • Snacky lunch (Munchie’s choices)
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Bbq chicken, grilled asparagus, mushrooms and onions, short grain brown rice
  • Random Ravioli Night 🙂 I didn’t feel well last night so my husband made ravioli and a few other random items for himself and our girl.  Sometimes you gotta do whatcha gotta do.
  • Meatless tortilla bake, simple tossed salad
  • Pulled pork sandwiches, German potato salad, baked beans
  • Buttery dill baked salmon, short grain brown rice, sautéed cauliflower & green bell peppers, balsamic mushrooms
  • Husband’s birthday dinner of his choice, birthday cake (his choice)
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies, crackers & cheese, yogurt with fruit
  • Fall baking & birthday cake

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking this week.

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Favorite Things Friday: Quenching My Cherry Lime Thirst

Happy FridayAnd let me tell you–I’m especially thrilled that it’s Friday.  Bring on the weekend.

It’s Favorite Things Friday!

Just a quick and simple weekly post where I share some of my favorite things.  I welcome you to share YOUR current favorites, too–so that I can add more items to my “to buy”, “to make”, “to love” lists. 😉

Today’s Favorite Thing

Torani Cherry Lime Flavoring Syrup.  Yum.  I’m sure many of you have had an Italian cream soda featuring a Torani syrup.  They’re a common offering today in restaurants.  I like one now and then, but my admiration is for this particular cherry lime flavor.  The cherry with a bit of tart lime adds a little somethin’ somethin’ to beverages, virgin & non-virgin. 🙂  A popular restaurant has a delicious adult beverage on the menu with this in it, but my favorite way to enjoy the sugary treat is much simpler than that.

How simple?  I grab a caffeine-free, citrus-flavored, carbonated soft drink, fill a glass with ice, pour the soft drink in, add a splash of cherry lime syrup, squeeze a bit of fresh lime in, pop in a straw and voilà!  I’m sipping on a refreshing drink (needed in this heat. in. late. SEPTEMBER) in under a minute’s prep time.  Can’t beat that!

I’ve made milkshakes with this syrup, a cocktail with cherry vodka, and more.  Endless possibilities.  Got a snow-cone machine?  Perfect, use this syrup!  I’m sure my love for this stems from the lime addition.  Cherry is great and all, but when you add a bit of  lime pizzazz to something?  I usually fall in love.  🙂

When I was taking the pictures for this post, I turned around to find my little Munchie had tried to create her own beverage.

Aw, cutie pie.  She filled a glass with water, plopped in half a lime, and added a straw.  She’s never had any type of soda even those of the caffeine-free variety, but I couldn’t resist watering a bit of the soda down and making her a mini thirst quencher, too.  How could I not?  She’s too adorable!

There you have a simple favorite in the beverage department–Cherry Lime syrup. If you haven’t tried it, I’d highly recommend it.  Torani syrups are available in many stores and you can find great deals at World Market where they’re often on sale.

What’s your favorite easy beverage ingredient?  Please share–I’d love to try your thirst quencher!

Thanks for stopping in for Favorite Things Friday!

xx

Our Menu (Week of September 16, 2012)

This isn’t a picture of today’s session, but this is what a typical meal planning session looks like. 🙂

I did a fairly good job sticking to our menu plan last week and it certainly made my life easier.  It’s been so darn hot here that I’m reluctant to use the oven much, but I need to get my autumn spirit going so I’m doing a bit of baking this week–hopefully, the weather cooperates.  I don’t have links (yet!) to recipes listed in the menu below, but I will share some recipes this week.  Have a great week!

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almond milk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.  Just thought I’d share!

  • French toast (with Italian bread), bananas &  peaches fruit salad, o.j.
  • Apple cinnamon pull-apart loaf, raspberries, hot cider (didn’t get to this last week)
  • Multi-grain cereal, raspberries, o.j.
  • Ham/turkey, avocado, egg on homemade English muffin bread
  • Breakfast hashbrown minis, fruit salad
  • English muffin tomato & egg toasts, berries
  • Oatmeal with dried cherries, smoothies

Lunches

  • Cucumber turkey wraps, apple slices
  • Tea sandwiches, cheese, strawberries, mini muffins
  • Tomato basil soup, cornbread
  • Snacky lunch (Munchie’s choices)
  • Chicken rice rolls w/dip, peaches & berries
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Shredded beef and bean burritos, cilantro avocado & tomato relish, chips and salsa
  • Potato soup, salad, garlic bread
  • Chicken Caesar sandwiches, veggie couscous, melon
  • Asian beef, sautéed spinach, broccoli, rice
  • Beef flying saucers, corn salad, melon
  • Mini pot pies, salad
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies
  • Fall baking

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

*No freezer cooking session this week.  I’ll get back to it in cooler weather.

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

One Pan Chicken

I hesitate to share this with you because a) it’s been around the block a time or two and b) it’s not really a recipe.   But then, what the hey, why not share it in case someone hasn’t seen it yet?  Dinner doesn’t get much easier than this (unless you count the root beer float my husband had for dinner the other night) and there might be a frazzled person out there who is in need of a quick-as-a-wink meal.  I’d like to help that person if I can. 🙂  Heaven knows I’m so appreciative of the quick and simple recipes that have saved me from 5 o’clock fridge/dinner panic.

It ended up being h-o-t today.  In a humid and sticky kinda way.  I was a bit rushed in the afternoon and since I already had the a/c on, I decided to bake this up.  I placed two chicken breasts in the middle of a 9×13 pan and then put the veggies on both sides of the breasts.  I usually use more chicken breasts, but I wasn’t very hungry and I knew my kiddo wasn’t either.  You could fit about 1 more breast in the pan or use a larger pan for 4 breasts.

I poured melted butter over everything then sprinkled dry Italian dressing mix over it all, too.  I covered the dish with foil, stuck it in a 350° oven and 45 minutes later dinner was served!

Okay, not the prettiest picture, but it has good flavor.  No really, it does.

Easy, huh?  I served it all with a side of brown and wild rice and my little family gobbled it up.  Then they headed outside to play while I lounged on the couch since I had only 1 pan to wash up.  Nice plan, Danielle.  Nice plan.

I might have indulged in a bit of rainbow sherbert.  I had to because I didn’t make the apple cake I’d planned on.
😉

One Pan Chicken

Note: You could/should replace the green beans, broccoli, mushrooms, etc. for veggies of your choice.  I use whatever I have on hand.  Quartered red potatoes work very well.

Ingredients

  • 2-4 chicken breasts
  • about 2 cups of broccoli
  • 1/2 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/2 white/yellow onion, thinly sliced,
  • 1/2 cup mushrooms, sliced
  • 1.5 cups green beans (I used Trader Joe’s French haricot verts since I had them in the freezer)
  • 1 packet dry Italian dressing mix (I used Good Seasons Italian All Natural Dressing Mix): since I only used 2 chicken breasts tonight, I used about 3/4 of the packet.
  • 1 stick of unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350°.  Place 2-4 chicken breasts in a 9×13 or larger pan.  Place broccoli, bell pepper, and half of the sliced onions on one side of the chicken.  Place green beans, mushrooms, and remaining sliced onions on the other side of the chicken.  Distribute melted butter evenly over chicken and vegetables.  Sprinkle dressing packet over chicken and vegetables.  Cover pan with foil and bake for 45 minutes or until chicken is done.  Serve with a side of brown rice or a simple salad.

Our Menu (Week of September 9, 2012)

I’m back and I’ve got a menu plan (said in a Superhero voice).  I was a victim of 5 o’clock fridge panic last week and I don’t like it.  Since I’m still looking ahead to autumn I’ve included more fall-inspired recipes.  I just hope the weather cooperates and dips about 20 degrees!

Buttercup the slow cooker hard at work making chili  for us today.  Yes, her name is Buttercup.

Breakfasts

Note: I often eat a different breakfast than the ones I feed my family.  For example, lately I eat a bit of Greek yogurt with fresh berries, peaches, ground flaxseed, wheat germ, almondmilk, and a few other ingredients.  It fills me up and is incredibly nutritious.  Just thought I’d share!

  • Apple cinnamon pull-apart loaf, raspberries, hot cider
  • Warm & Cozy Oatmeal, bananas (by Gooseberry Patch)  x 2
  • Texas-style breakfast casserole (by Gooseberry Patch), smoothies x 2
  • Toast with jam and/or banana muffins, watermelon, o.j.
  • Multi-grain cereal, raspberries, o.j.

Lunches

  • PB and homemade jam sandwiches, fruit salad
  • Fried egg & avocado sandwiches, watermelon
  • Zucchini cakes, berries, potato salad
  • Baked mac’ n cheese w/corn, apples x 2
  • Leftovers plus fruit x 2

Dinners

  • Chimichangas, sweet corn cake, avocado & tomato relish
  • One pan chicken dinner, apple cake
  • Hubby’s Chili, honey cornbread (didn’t get to this last menu plan)
  • Cilantro chicken burgers, zucchini fries, potato salad
  • Mini sausage pizzas, tossed salad, honey fruit salad
  • My husband is bringing home dinner from a fave restaurant for an easy Monday Night Football gathering
  • Leftovers Night

Snacks, Desserts, & Fun Extras

  • Fruits & raw veggies
  • Double crunch bars (by Gooseberry Patch)
  • 2 sweet treats–I’ll share them if they work out

Freezer Cooking & DIY Session:  I don’t do a traditional once-a-month session, but generally choose 2 or 3 recipes. 

  • Slow cooker applesauce:  We love this and keep it in the freezer.  I’ve used it in a lot of baking so I’m making a bigger batch this week.

What’s going down in your kitchen this week?  If you have a menu plan on your blog, leave a link! 🙂

Favorite Things Friday: A-tisket, a-tasket…I’m loving baskets

Happy Friday & welcome to my 2nd Favorite Things Friday!

Just a quick and simple weekly post where I share some of my favorite things.  I welcome you to share YOUR current favorites, too–so that I can add more items to my “to buy”, “to make”, “to love” lists. 😉

I’ve been cozying up my home, attempting to add little cottage touches here and there.  I recently made a few changes to our family room and my favorite addition?

My coffee table basket!  I intended to use it to corral clutter like t.v. remotes and the such.  But then it hit me–Ew.  I hate visible clutter.  And I purchased a new coffee table that has two drawers for such clutter–woo!  Now the basket is just for a few little pretties.

Right now the basket holds a little vanilla candle, French “creperie” coasters, a bit of greenery, a white metal candle holder which travels from room to room as my mood changes, decorative matches (love them!), and one of my favorite English mugs.  I love the flower in the inside of it.  I placed it there so I can see it daily as I lounge on the couch, read a book, work on the laptop…

To be honest, I originally bought this handled basket as a gift.  But I’m selfish and greedy.  So I kept it for myself.  (I did buy another basket for the gift.  I did!)

I also have other baskets in this room.  You can see a banana leaf one in the background of the first picture with the bee pillow on top of it.   Here’s a bad shot with it in the background.

It holds some of my daughters toys.  She loves having “a place for everything” just as I do, therefore, baskets are a wonderful organizational item for her as well.  Bonus: I don’t have to stare at the mess of toys.  Win-win!

Here’s another basket across the room filled with a few favorite items.  A darling vintage plate given to me by my husband’s grandma as well as a matching antique cream pitcher & sugar bowl.  Again, I can see them multiple times a day as I walk by and I don’t have to hide them away in a cupboard.

I’m in love with baskets.  I don’t mind if they’re not “matchy-matchy” (as my friend Jes says who is a decorating phenom).  I like it when they’re all a bit different.  It adds to the cottage feel I adore.  Plus, they’ve so many uses in each room of the house–how can you not love baskets?

And there you have one of my Favorite Things–Baskets!  Useful AND Lovely. 🙂

Are you a basket lover, too?  What’s your favorite use/room for them?  Please share in the comments below–I leave to hear from you!

Thanks for stopping in for Favorite Things Friday!

xx

Recipe: Applesauce muffins

It’s no secret that I love autumn.  Also not a secret?  Despite living in a top travel destination and “enjoying” warm weather, beaches, flip-flops, and sun all year?   I prefer rainy days, chilly breezes, boots, and sweaters.  I’m not a fan of 95°+ at the pumpkin patch in late October.  Sue me, I’m not.  🙂

So this week I’m itching for a taste of autumn and willing the heat away (I’ll let you know how that turns out for me).  Apples are on our menu in various forms.  This morning I cranked up the a/c (sorry hubs!) and baked applesauce muffins.  They were just what I was looking for.  If you love cinnamon, apples, cloves, and moist muffins then these should make an appearance in your oven soon . 🙂  Next time I’m going to add finely chopped apple to the top of the muffins before baking.   Mm.

I also used my homemade applesauce.  It’s slightly chunky and adds great flavor. If you have any homemade applesauce around, I’d suggest it instead of store-bought.  Although I’m sure the store-bought would work just fine, I believe the added flavors from homemade make this extra-yummy.

Enjoy!

Applesauce Muffins

(Adapted from “With Heart and Soul” by Roxie Kelley & Shelly Reeves Smith)

Ingredients

  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cups of flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. kosher salt
  • 1 & 1/2 tsps. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cloves
  • 3/4 cup homemade applesauce:  I used mine which is slightly chunky, not too smooth and has lots of cinnamon and a bit of lemon 🙂
  • Optional: Finely chopped apples

Preheat oven to 350°.  Spray cups of muffin pan with non-stick spray or place liners in each cup.  Cream the softened butter and sugar together with a hand mixer and then add the egg.  Beat until smooth.

In another bowl, combine sugar, egg, flour, baking powder & soda, salt, cinnamon, and cloves.  Add to the butter and sugar mixture and beat until just combined.  Add the applesauce and mix again until combined.  Spoon or use a spring-handled ice cream scoop to fill muffin cups. Suggestion:  Top each muffin with a teaspoon of finely chopped apple if you like.   Bake until just golden, about 18-20 minutes.  Note: I used a toothpick to check the centers and took them out JUST when they’d set/cooked thru at about 20 minutes.

This recipe is featured on Walking on Sunshine & Foodie Friends Friday–such fun parties!

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