Monday, May 21, 2012

Banana Crumble Muffins

Oh Bananas!!!  Always looking for a way to use up those banana's sitting on the counter getting brown again?  Here's a new twist on banana muffins I'm sure you & your family will LOVE!  Give 'em a whirl and let me know what ya think!



1 1/2 C. White Flour
1 tsp. Baking Soda
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
3 ripe banana's all smashed up
3/4 C. White Sugar
1 Egg
1/3 C. Melted Butter, Unsalted if ya have it


1/2 C. Brown Sugar
2 TBS. Flour
1/4 tsp. Cinnamon
1-2 TBS. Butter Firm, that you chop into the topping until crumbly.

Grease or line your muffin tin. This recipe will make 12 nice size muffins. 

Mix the first set of ingredients to make the batter and distribute throughout the muffin tin.

Next, this next step is totally optional...I did it just because it gave a little extra touch to the muffins.. take a small little handful of brown sugar and sprinkle it over top of the muffins...when the brown sugar bakes into the muffins it falls down into small swirls through the muffin and just looks extra special.

Now mix up your Crumb topping ingredients and add the firm butter last until it becomes crumbly and is ready to sprinkle onto the muffins.

Bake at 375 for 18-20 minutes.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Friday Game & Movie Night

Tonight will be filled with a game and a movie here at our house so I’m sitting here racking my brain for some quick and easy snacks that I can throw together to feed my hubby and kids. In order to satisfy their appetites and still maintain some bit of a waistline I have to be sure to have healthy snacks and one comfort food snack. So far my shopping list consists of all the ingredients I will need for a big salad, almonds & pistachios to snack on, carrot sticks and fruit. That should cover the healthy nibbling that will need to be done for the weekend. Now onto the yummy fattening stuff! This past New Year’s I made a recipe I had found on, Warm & Creamy Bacon Dip. It is very delicious, takes about 5 minutes to throw together and then you just bake it. Give it a try, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Warm & Creamy Bacon Dip

8 Ounces Cream Cheese, Softened
2 Cups Daisy Brand Sour Cream
3 Ounces bacon bits
2 Cups Shredded Cheddar Cheese
1 Cup Chopped Green Onion (I only had 3 green onions so I chopped them up and used what I had)
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Combine all ingredients. Place the mixture in a 1-quart baking dish. Cover. Heat the dip for 25-30 minutes or until hot.
We actually used this method when baking this dip- Serving option: Placed dip in a hollowed square sourdough loaf, wrapped in foil and heated in 400 degree oven for 30 minutes.
Serve with veggies and crackers.
This seriously tastes like a baked potato, it’s wonderful!

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentines Day, Bone Collector, Hockey… That all goes together, Doesn’t it??

Our Valentine’s Day began with pink heart shaped pancakes and by afternoon involved eating a quick pizza while watching Bone Collector then off to the rink for hockey practice.  It was a fun evening watching Dawson skate around and do the drills. Bella enjoyed watching while snacking on her favorite food, cheese puffs.  Kids zonked out after 10 and I followed within minutes. J
Our fun Valentine’s evening will be celebrated tomorrow night. On the menu is: Cheese Crusted Flat Iron Steak, Lobster Tail, thanks to Giant Eagle having it on sale, Roasted Asparagus , Smash Potatoes and for dessert, chocolate covered raspberries. I wanted strawberries but the grocery store was out. I think raspberries will be just as good. This is a big deal for us. Quite the fancy meal I think. I’ve never cooked a lobster tail but have watched my parents steam crab legs every Christmas so here’s to hoping I don’t ruin it! Here is the steak recipe I’ll be using.
Cheese Crusted Flat Iron Steak

1 lb of Flat Iron Steak
1/8 Teaspoon Salt
1/8 Teaspoon Black Pepper
½ Cup Shredded Cheddar
3 Tablespoons Crumbled Blue Cheese

Heat Broiler.
Season steaks with salt and pepper.
Broil, about 6 inches from heat, 8 minutes or until done the way you like your steak, turning after 5 min. Meanwhile, mix cheeses together.
Top steaks with cheese mixture.
Broil about 3 minutes until cheeses are melted and lightly browned.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Looking for a quick and easy dinner?

Last night we enjoyed Creamy Chicken and Dumplings for dinner. It took 25 minutes from start to finish. Not much time for a great home cooked meal.

Creamy Chicken and Dumplings


2 Tablespoons Butter
1 Cup (4 medium) Carrots chopped (I like mine in chunks)
1 Medium Onion chopped (not too fine)
1 Teaspoon Poultry Seasoning
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Combine the above ingredients and saute for 5 minutes on low-med heat.

5 Cups of Chicken Broth

Add in the chicken broth and bring to a boil (this took about 5 minutes)

2 Cans of cream of chicken soup (10.5 oz size)
1 Can evaporated milk (12 oz.)

Bring back to a slow boil on medium heat (this took another 5 minutes)

2-3 Cups shredded cooked chicken

Add in the cooked chicken.

Get a separate bowl ready to whip up the dumplings.

Dumpling Mix:

2 Cups Flour
1/2 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Milk
4 Teaspoons Baking Powder
1/2 Teaspoon Salt

Finally mix up the dumpling ingredients and drop in small teaspoons into the soup base which is at a slow boil. Cook this for about 5 more minutes with a lid or a few minutes longer if you don't have a lid. Thats it! Super easy and Super delicious!

Monday, February 6, 2012

I'm a Hockey Mom...

I’m a Hockey Mom…
After a hockey filled weekend, I thought it would be fun to share some of my thoughts about the game and my role as the mom. This the first year my son Dawson is playing in an organized league, with a team and traveling to games and all that fun jazz.  Dawson held his first hockey stick at about 6 weeks. He barely held his held up but you should have seen his dad’s face when he held onto that stick. It was a glimpse into my future. One that you can only understand if your living it.  He first stepped foot onto the ice at 18 months. Another proud moment for dad, and this time, the mom too.
Hockey isn’t like any other sport. I knew nothing, absolutely NOTHING about hockey until I met my husband. Hockey fans have a passion like no other. They have a burning desire to play, to watch, to be around it, to follow it. It’s amazing. At first I was annoyed by how consuming it was. And I won’t lie and say that I still don’t get annoyed with it at times. Boy do I ever! Training camp starts in September and The Stanley Cup Playoffs go into Mid-June. It’s basically a year round sport. I get jealous of the time that goes into being a hockey fan.
As I said above, Dawson has skated since he was 18 months. We went through the frustrating learn to skate sessions when all he wanted to do was roll on the ice. That was a treat to stand in a freezing rink and just watch as he did that. Thinking back on it now, I was so frustrated that he wasn’t out there at least TRYING to skate, but the thing I think that he took from those days was that feeling. That feeling that he knew at that moment that he loved the ice. He didn’t want to skate on it, he wanted to be as close to it as possible.
Dawson started playing hockey at a league about 45 minutes from our home. We live in a small town and there are two rinks, both the same distance away. The 45 minute drive really isn’t bad. We would drive further if we had to.
There is something about the hectic schedules and traveling that makes this sport so worth it. It’s that moment when your boy comes up to you and says “I can’t wait to feel the ice again” or when he looks up to you after he gets that goal with the “did you see that??” look. It melts your heart and just makes you happy. It’s that moment of pure joy that you know it’s all been worth it.
More to come as more hockey filled weekends occur. Enjoy the videos!

This first video was taken at home when Dawson was just 4 four years old.

My husband created this video for Dawson's team and shows some highlights from the season so far.. He is #5 in red.

P.S. CHICKEN & DUMPLINGS on the menu for tonight...Recipe to follow!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Parenting is a Process....

 I received a call last night from a wonderful mother who wanted to know if my daughter, Bella, who is five years old, could have a play-date at their house after preschool today. This will be the first time Bella has gone to a friends house to play without mommy. She is beyond excited! Myself on the other hand got a little wacko. You know, the usual thing mothers do before play-dates. Called my husband to see if he thought  BELLA was ready for this big step. In NO WAY was I checking to see if I was ready for this step.  I went online to Mapquest to see how far away they lived from us. A little nuts?  Maybe. Don't judge me, I know what your thinking, Mapquest, Really??  I had to know where she would be in case they needed me to pick her up in the rare incident that Bella might miss me too much.  I like to think of it as protective parenting and I’m okay with that.  Bella wants me to be at her school today at the end of her class so I can give her hugs and kisses before she goes to play. This makes me happy and gives me some relief.  Another important item to note is that the family she will be with for these few short hours today is wonderful. They are such kindhearted people.
Bella will be gone for a few extra hours today. If this is a preview of what a whole day away from her will be like this fall once she starts kindergarten I am in NO WAY ready.  Parenting is a process, I am stuck in the “I know it’s time to give a little freedom” stage and the “I CANT LET GO AT ALL”  stage…Please tell me this does get easier??

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

See what happens when the kids sleep in...

Happy Wednesday everyone, we have made it to the middle of our work week! My son had hockey practice last night so we didn’t get home until late. The kids are sleeping in which is wonderful. Dawson slept until 7:50 and Bella slept until 8:10, that’s a few extra hours than normal in this house. So I thought I would create something new and different to try for dinner tonight. There are more steps than I would normally do for a weekday meal but now that it is done and ready to throw in the oven all the fuss seems worth it. Plus the house smells AMAZING!

Sweet Potato and Onion Stuffed Manicotti with Butternut Squash Sauce

1 large onion chopped
3 Tbs butter
1 tsp garlic power
¼ tsp salt
8 oz. box of Manicotti
¼ C. Chicken Broth
¼ C. Apple Juice or Cider
1 ½ C. Mashed Sweet Potato
1 C. Shredded Asiago Cheese

Saute onions and butter until soft, then add garlic powder and salt. Turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes.

While the onions are cooking boil the Manicotti according to box directions.

After the onions have simmered for 15 minutes add chicken broth and apple juice. Cook until most of the liquid is absorbed.

Add the onion mixture to the mashed sweet potatoes. You could use left over mashed sweet potatoes or peel and boil your own before making. It is an extra step but doesn’t take too much time. In order to get the amount of sweet potatoes that you’ll need for the recipe I used 2 small and 1 large sweet potato.

Once the manicotti is boiled you can start to stuff them with the sweet potato mixture.

Preheat oven to 375 and begin making the Butternut Squash Sauce.

Butternut Squash Sauce:

1 1/2 cups butternut squash
2 cups chicken broth
2 cups apple juice
Dash of Cinnamon
1 Bay Leaf
1 Tbs butter
½ C. Parmesan

Peel and cut butternut squash into small chunks. You can even buy butternut squash cubes in the produce section. That’s what I did and it saved a ton of time!

Boil all ingredients except butter and parmesan until squash is soft. Separate the liquid and the squash.
DO NOT throw away the liquid!

Mash the squash, butter and parmesan together with a mixer. Mashing will leave the sauce like more of a chunky sauce, kind of a marinara sauce type texture. If you want a smooth texture you can puree the ingredients.

Grease a 9x13 pan and pour just enough of the sauce into the pan to coat the bottom. Place the manicotti in pan. Top with the Sauce and Bake for 15 minutes until bubbly.

Try to leave a little bit of the sauce in a bowl so you can top the manicotti with some before serving. Make a big side salad and you’ve got yourself a heartwarming comfort meal!

We will be taste testing ours tonight and will let you know what reviews I receive. I do know that the Sweet Potato & Onion filling tasted delicious! And the Butternut Squash Sauce was mighty tasty also. The two combined should be a treat!