Archive of ‘Food’ category

Sweet Memories of Childhood

I don’t know anyone who says they had a great childhood, except my hubby. This, despite the fact his family moved around a lot as a child and there was lean times when his dad was unemployed. He still claims he had a great childhood. What a little optimist.

Childhood is what you spent the rest of your life trying to overcome. -Hope Floats

Yeah, that sums up my childhood.

Sure, there were happy times, like wondering the woods behind our house. I found solace exploring the forest floor, following the creek to see what lay around the bend, and catching a lizard or two.

We also had a cherry tree growing in our backyard. Living in the country, our property had several fruit trees. The apple trees were too sour to eat or to bake a pie. But, the cherries…that was a different story.

My ‘lil sister and I would climb the cherry tree, perch ourselves on a limb and pluck the sweet, red fruit from the stem, popping it into our mouths. The burst of sweet, sour, juiciness exploding in our mouths. I savored every bite!

From childhood, cherries have signaled the beginning of summer.

Cherries are a healthy summer treat but add a little sugar, butter and flour and you’ve got yourself something truly amazing.

I’d like to share with you two of my favorite cherry baked desserts.

First up is Grandma Mary’s Cherry Chocolate Cake

CherryCake

The best cherry chocolate cake ever!

This cake is from Grandma Mary’s recipe files. She takes 1 box of chocolate cake mix, 2 eggs and 1 can of cherry pie filling. That’s it. Mix those three ingredients together. I hand mixed the cake so the cherries remained intact. Mary uses a hand mixer and the cherries get broken up. Either way this cake is sooooo good! Bake per cake mix directions in a 9×12 pan, let cool, then top with your favorite chocolate icing (homemade or store-bought). Mary brought this cake to a family dinner and fooled everyone into thinking it made from scratch.

Cherry Chocolate Chip Blondies

cherry chocolate blondies

photo by Averie Cooks

I made these Blondies by Averie Cooks a few weeks ago to take to a dinner party with friends. There were no leftovers! These Blondies are chewy, gooey, goodness.

You Know You’re Addicted to Starbucks When…

You know you’re addicted to Starbucks® when you write a poem about their caffeinated drinks!

*This poem was written by my 12-year-old daughter, who is in love with Starbucks®. She wants her first job to be as a Barista. Maybe she’ll get me a discount?

Starbucks poem Starbucks…
The flavor is the sweet smell of a red rose.
Rich, creamy whipped cream.
Buttered croissants.
Unsatisfactory…never.
Cookies and cake for everyone!
Kindness comes in every drink.
Strawberry cake pops,
A shower of sweet sensations;
Favorite flavors just for you.
Frappiccinos topped with caramel and
Every size fits you.

I hope this made you smile today. Maybe you are craving a drink now?

Quick Food Gift: Christmas Crunch Recipe

THE COUNTDOWN IS ON | I’ve wrote how I am not  in the mood for the holidays this year. I am not a Grinch, I am just not feeling it.

I know I am not alone. Right? Anybody?

I have given myself a hall pass this year. I don’t have to host a cookie decorating party. I don’t have to over-decorate my house and take pictures that are Pin-worthy.

I think Pin-worthy should be added to the dictionary.

The same goes for baking, Advent calendar gifts, books creatively and neatly wrapped under the tree (’cause they’ll get peed on), or custom designed Christmas cards which involve an ill-planned photo shoot, matching envelopes and a trip to the USPS for decorative stamps. Nope. I’ve done none of it.

I am cool with it. So, stop calling me a Grinch.

But, if I  feel up to it I will make another batch of this Christmas Crunch to hand out to neighbors this weekend. If I don’t, I won’t beat myself up about it.

Christmas Crunch recipe

Christmas Crunch

QUICKIE HOW TO | Pop a large bowl of plain popcorn. I use the popcorn that comes in a jar, pour some in a brown paper lunch bag, close bag and use the “popcorn” setting in the microwave until you don’t hear popping noise. Melt some Almond Bark. (I used vanilla flavor, but chocolate would be yummy too.) Pour Almond Bar over popped popcorn and stir. Work quickly to keep the Almond Bark from setting up. Sprinkle in some festive sprinkles and red/green M&Ms, stir. Spread out on wax paper to let it set up. Once set, gently break apart, then package in cute bags. Hand out to friends, family, co-workers, and neighbors. Sit back and enjoy the oohs and aahs.

Cool school lunch box ideas

School is just 2 weeks away from starting here in our world. I am excited and dreadful at the same time.

A new school year means…besides that I am now cash-poor from school supply shopping, clothes shopping, registration fees and sports fees…I must figure out what to make the kids for lunch every. single. day. I almost hate this part as much as I hate homework!

Our kids attend a Charter school, which means there is no cafeteria in the traditional sense. Lunches are catered. I know, right? Actually that happens a lot around here and I have an issue with it but…until I win a million dollars, I can’t build a cafeteria for the school, so I pack lunches most days.

I pack lunches for two reasons: To control the food my kids are eating; and to keep the expense down. Okay, I’ll admit the expense is the real reason. At $3.85 per hot lunch x 2 kids, that can get pricey. I don’t even spend that on my own lunch!

And, on the occasions that I do let the kids pick a hot lunch (because I am just plain tired of making lunches) they inform me that they didn’t have enough time to eat…AND DIDN’T FINISH THEIR LUNCH! Money thrown away.

I’ve been pinning ideas, mostly to get the kids excited about trying new things, or they will get a PB&J every day. Do you have the same problem? Here’s is a few of the kids’ favorite ideas. Also, some of these ideas would work great for your brown bag* sack lunch at the office too!

Cool Lunch Box Ideas Roundup:

lunch box ideas Source: parents.com

back to school lunchesSource: Back to School Holidays

back to school lunchesSource: Alpha Mom

school lunch ideas Source: Super Healthy Kids

easy lunch box ideasSource: Easy Lunch Box Ideas (100s of ideas)

lunch box ideasSource: This Box Rox

lunch box ideasSource: Canadian Family

**********

*According to Seattle’s Office for Civil Rights the politically correct term for “brown bagging” is now “sack lunch”. Thanks Seattle. I will never think of a brown bag the same way again. Don’t you just love America?

For the Love of S’mores

selfies

Selfies of me and the girls at Saltgrass on Mother’s Day…

selfies

It was a 45 minute wait at 3 p.m. I had to keep the girls entertained some how!

We have a gas fire pit in the backyard and the girls favorite summertime treat (besides popsicles) is s’mores. We either make the traditional version with Graham Crackers, Marshmallows, and Hersey Bars…or we make these:

We made these simple s'mores

Easy s’mores

I am thinking we may need to try something new. Something exciting. Something different. The girls are traditionalist. Me, I need experimentation.

s'mores

Love Pinterest…

Do you need to try something new this summer? Check out my Pinterest S’mores Love Board.

I am really liking the S’mores Buffet for our next barbeque; and the S’mores Bars (no fire required).

Ooooh, what about smearing the new Mocha Cappuccino spread from Jif on Graham Crackers and smashing a gooey marshmallow in the middle? Just thinking…

Crock Pot Red Beans and Rice

red beans recipe

Crock pot red beans and rice

Glenn talks fondly of his years spent growing up in Slidell, Louisiana. Mostly it’s about the crazy things he did as a kid, but also he misses the red beans and rice served in the South. Apparently, Colorado don’t know nothing about red beans and rice. This is the only recipe that passes his taste test:

Louisiana-style Red Beans and Rice

  • 1 lb. red kidney beans, dry (note: no need to pre-soak, just add them to the crockpot)
  • 8 cups boiling water
  • 1 large meaty ham bone
  • 1 lb. hot sausage (fried & drained)
  • 2 stalks chopped celery
  • 1 large chopped onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic salt
  • large pinch of dried thyme
  • 4 bay leaves (removed before serving)
  • salt, pepper & cayenne pepper to taste.

Layer in crock pot and cook at least 8-10 hours on high. The longer it cooks, the better it gets! About 45 minutes before serving, mash about 1/4 of the beans to help thicken. Serve over rice (optional). Could serve with crusty bread or cornbread…yum!

I said the rice is optional because I don’t eat the rice. I guess it’s just me. It’s so good you don’t need the rice!

The best things I ate this weekend:

atkins diet salad

Spinach, arugula, feta, Roma tomatoes, leftover prime rib and Greek vinaigrette salad

Ham greek salad-blog

Spinach, cucumber, tomato, avocado, green olives, ham, feta with Greek Vinaigrette

Both salads are Atkins Diet (Phase 1) friendly; the red beans, not so much. So, 3 months of serious cardio and calorie counting and I only lost 5 pounds. Very frustrating. After careful evaluating of my food log it was clear: too many carbs and not enough protein is my problem. Hopefully, Atkins will get the scale moving in the right direction…

Peel hard-boiled eggs easy-peasy

Okay, okay…that sounded a little hokey, but check this out…

I am thinking ahead to Easter and making deviled eggs. We eat organic, cage-free eggs (cause they taste the best), but once boiled they can be hard to peel. Well, I came across this genius tip for brain-damage-free peelingseriously, it will change your life! I had to try it out just to be sure it would work as well as she claimed.

easy peel boiled eggs

Easy Peel Hard-Boiled Eggs from The Cozy Old Farmhouse

Parker was being awfully quiet…too quiet. I found her in the tub with pillows, blankets, stuffed animals and her Kindle. She said she needed “some alone time”.

Parker in tub-blog

“Alone Time”

Um, I hope the tub was clean…

I am a mother of a tween

Today my first born is 11-years-old. Geez, how did I get to be a mother of a tween? It may be cliché but, seriously?

Alex at 11

It’s good to be eleven!

Her birthday cake of choice: Angel Food Cake (high altitude recipe here)

Ever try to bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch? It is a high maintenance cake. And hell if you don’t whip the meringue into submission you’ll end up with a flat, dense cake. Try number one was a bit dense but tasty.

I turned to YouTube for tips because I was going to figure this out! Why can’t I bake a “simple” Angel Food Cake? I had to dig out my stand mixer that I hadn’t used in so long it had a thick layer of dust had formed. Try number two was perfect! I was doing my happy dance in the kitchen. And then…disaster. I had a little cake-fall-out-of-the-pan mishap.

Try number three? Two words: King Soopers. I fought the cake and the cake won.

angel food cake

We added a little glaze to the store bought cake…yum

Eleven is a big deal. It’s the end of elementary school. Next year is middle school, which I hear is scary, for her and me. She is becoming a young lady. There are so many things I want her to remember. Like, when things get tough: this is only a moment. It won’ last forever. Or, the interests and hobbies you have today will be different next week, next year, 5 years from now. It’s okay to explore everything that interests you.

It is things like that that prompted my gift to her.

things to know at eleven

Eleven things you need to know at eleven

Eleven Things to Know at Eleven Book:
(I saw a similar list somewhere in the blogosphere. I wish I could credit her with this idea. )

  1. I love YOU
  2. I am your biggest fan
  3. Keep your panties on at all times
  4. Don’t do drugs, alcohol or cigarettes
  5. Be you…everyone else is already taken
  6. As your parent I will say no, so that you can say yes to wonderful things
  7. Don’t be afraid to be smart
  8. Learn to bake (especially Angel Food Cake)
  9. Friendship and popularity are not the same thing
  10. Love your sister
  11. Never stop having fun
  12. And one to grow on…When in doubt, pray!
eleven things to know at eleven

#7 Don’t be afraid to be smart

With each “thing to know” I added my own journaling, or pearls of motherly wisdom, for Alexandra. This is totally a book she will keep forever in her hoard.

book for your eleven year old girl

#9 Friendship and popularity are not the same thing

She is constantly leaving me little “love notes” on my iPhone or iPad’s Notepad app. I hope she doesn’t stop doing that.

everything you need to know at 11

#1 I love YOU

She is such a great kid with a big future ahead of her. I love seeing the lady she is becoming.

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