Category Archives: cooking

My New Breakfast of Champions

 

Experts say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.

A healthy breakfast starts the day out right and prevents that mid-morning slump. Since 1933, General Mills has promised that eating a healthy  breakfast can make you a Champion.  Their slogan inspires and sells.

As parents, we’ve repeated this expert opinion and bought those cereals. We’ve given the breakfast lecture repeatedly and freely advise how to make this a lifestyle commitment.

 

    • Get up early enough to allow time to eat.
    • Keep breakfast food on hand so you’re prepared.
    • Choose simple breakfast options so you’ll follow through.

 

We need to set a good example.  We need to fill up in the morning so we have the energy and ability to carry on until noon. A hungry mommy can be a crabby mommy.  Along with traditional healthy breakfast options, I keep my pantry stocked with dried fruits and nuts. I’ve tried a variety of breakfast casseroles, quick breads and instant options. There’s always a quest to make a healthy breakfast faster.

 

 

After friends visited Colombia and brought me a present, I have my new favorite ethnic breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Breakfast of Champions

 

This is MY favorite Breakfast of Champions, what’s yours?

The Ol’ Bag Lady Has Dinner in the Bag

 

New readers may not know that I am fondly called The Ol’ Bag Lady” by my husband.  Sometimes, he shortens it to just “Ol’ Bag.”  He may or may not be referring to my attitude, but certainly he is referring to my love for bags to organize my life.

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For years (OK, I have to admit, I should use the term decades here), I’ve sewn drawstring bags to organize toys at home, in the car and to use as gift bags for toys I give away.

 

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An organizing series I wrote a few years back was called Flying Frantic, which describes the lives of most women.  We have more people, projects and personal goals than we know what to do with.  The post on using tote bags to organize your life according to commitments was popular. I have one bag for church, one bag for homeschool coop and one bag of special things for my daughter in the car.

This Ol’ Bag Lady has found one more way to organize using bags – this time in the kitchen.

There are amazing women  who cook a month of meals at a time and throw them in the freezer.  Sounds like a great idea, but my family is not particularly fond of food that has been frozen.

“The noodles are mushy.”

“The hamburger tastes funny.”

And those were just my complaints.   I know, picky, picky, but there is nothing like a freshly cooked meal.  It’s just another thing to fit in a busy life. It’s easier to dream than do.

There are other amazing women who plan a week of meals and shop according to their meal plan.  I stand in awe.

Then, there are women like me.  I shop with a list and still forget items. The week I plan the entire menu is the week my husband ends up traveling out of town.  I grocery shop, but am too tired to cook dinner. I am embarrassed to admit how many days 4pm rolls around, or 5pm, and I’m slapping my forehead thinking, “UGH! Why do people in this house need to eat dinner every. single. night?”

We have a few standby crock-pot recipes, but it never fails, I run to the pantry and find I am short one item. Or I discover somebody put the spice jar back in the drawer, but it was empty. GGRRReat!

That’s when I had my Light bulb moment.

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Yep, I have children.  My stapler never works correctly.  And I was lucky to find the black Sharpie in my junk drawer without stabbing myself with a rusty nail or box cutter.  Not Pinterest pretty, but Got ‘Er Dun pretty.

White Chicken Chili Bag

The ingredients for one meal were bagged with the recipe, the ingredients to be added highlighted in case anybody else wanted to make dinner. Anybody? Anybody?

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The only ingredients purchased and added to the stuff in the bag.

Mindy’s White Chicken Chili

Sauté until soft, about 5 min:

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 1 medium green pepper, minced
  • 1 large onion, chopped

Add and sauté another minute:

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon ground cumin
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground coriander
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder

Add and simmer:

  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 2 limes, juiced

Add:

  • 2 (14.5-ounce) cans white beans(drain, mash one slightly)
  • 1 rotisserie chicken, remove skin and shred meat

Although this is called “chili” it is more of a chicken and bean soup.  It is quick, easy and filling on a cold, rainy day, which is nearly every day during the winter in the Pacific Northwest. We serve with sour cream and grated cheese.

The other recipe  I bagged up for the pantry is the Southwest Roast.

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It’s one of the few recipes I have blogged, I’m not really a recipe kinda’ girl.

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The Southwest Roast with the Special Ingredient was another popular post because the recipe is simple and delicious.  You start is 24 hours ahead of time, so when you’re cleaning up dinner one night, you throw the ingredients for tomorrow’s dinner in the crock and go to bed. 

If you get a little organized with your family’s  favorite recipes, you can have dinner in the bag.

Making your home sing Mondays               WHWButton#2

MOM! What’s for breakfast?

Why is it that kids always wake up earlier and hungrier than their parental units? 

It never seemed right that the most energy buzzed in the people with the least amount of responsibility.

I used to get up early and make a nutritional breakfast for my kids every morning.

Used to.

Somewhere between babies #5 and #6 and three bouts of thyroid cancer, it wasn’t easy anymore.  Yep, the kids had to eat, but it wasn’t going to be homemade waffles, muffins or pancakes.

We ate a lot of cold cereal, instant oatmeal, cold cereal, fresh fruit, cold cereal and whole wheat toast.

Sometimes mommas gotta’ do what mommas gotta’ do.

Of course, getting my kids in the kitchen greatly improved our culinary fare. One of the recipes that got us through many mornings was Baked Oatmeal.

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I blogged about having Kids in the Kitchen a few years ago.  It’s true.  Kids make a mess.  But, if you don’t let them mess up the kitchen, they can’t learn to cook for you.  Simple as that.

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Beka and I wanted to be ready for school this year, so decided to make those cool jars people are always making and pinningimage and giving away for gifts.

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All the dry ingredients were placed in the jar.  We’re “git’ ‘er dun” kinda’ people, not “perfectionist you can pin me now” kinda’ people.  The layers aren’t perfect, the lids don’t match, but hey, Beka finished this quickly.

I also learned the hard way, the more you demand perfection from non-perfectionist people, the less they wanna’ work with you. You can either allow the children to do a project and accept how they do it, or you can do it yourself and have it perfect.

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We  substitute the butter in the original recipe with applesauce, so one small organic (did that impress you?) no-sugar added cup of applesauce is placed on the top of the jar.

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Since I can never find my tape, why yes, I have blogged about that, thank you for asking, you can read that blog here,so my son, who just got his drivers license and will go anywhere if I hand him the car keys, drove to three different stores looking for blue tape.

I have just enough residual OCD that this look was really, really bothering me.

Yes, I know the jars will be in the cupboard.  I know nobody will see them. But, they were buggin’ me.

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I had these….

Northwest Christian Writers Renewal 2013 156

leftover from these quart milk bottles I’d decorated for our writers conference last May. The decorative fabric was slipped off and put in a scrap drawer.  The bottles are being decorated anew for an October wedding.

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Slipped them over the top, added the tag with the wet ingredients to add and we were dun.

D.U.N. dun.

We make a smaller batch now that so many kids have flown the coop, so this recipe fills an 8×8 pan.

Beka’s Baked Oatmeal

Place the following in the jar:

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups oatmeal (we use quick or old fashioned

Tape to the top:

  • 1 – 4ounce unsweetened applesauce

Wet ingredients to add:

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs

Bake 350° for 30 minutes in a greased 8×8 pan.  You may add any combination of nuts, fresh fruit,  or dried fruit to this. 

I love putting almonds and dried cranberries in one corner just for me.  The kids think it is yucky, so I let them eat theirs plain.  You can serve it in a bowl with milk or on a plate as a piece of breakfast cake.  Yea, tell ‘em it’s cake for breakfast.  It can also be topped with warmed applesauce as frosting. 

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Baked Oatmeal.

It’s what’s for breakfast.

 

 

Help Yourself Hospitality–Breakfast

A lot of women get up and make delicious breakfasts for their company.

I get up.

Years of living with cancer has changed my view on life
and my definition of hospitality.
I’ve learned to accept my limitations.

If my guests haven’t stayed overnight in my home before,
I casually let them know that if I haven’t slept well,
I won’t be up early.
(Sometimes, I need to sleep until 8 or 9am)

They’re shown where everything is in the kitchen,
the bathroom and the linen closet,
so if I can’t meet their needs,
they can

Help Themselves.

Mornings come too quickly.

Especially during the holidays.

Especially if you’ve been up talking with relatives,
drinking decaf,
watching holiday movies,
wrapping presents,
or reading a good book.

It’s hard to be up-and-at-’em early in the morning,
with a house full of early-rising old,
I mean experienced, people.

I like to have things out and ready, so if I’m not out in the kitchen,
my guests feel comfortable

Helping Themselves.

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I start with one jar of regular rolled oats, for those healthy on-a-diet kinda’ guests.

Add one jar of Trader Joe’s low-fat vanilla and almond granola.

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Add one tub of instant oatmeal packets of various flavors.

I try to find ones that are low in sugar,
but it can be a challenge.

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Take jars from your craft room, wash, and fill in with healthy mix-ins for the cereals.

(L to R) I have dried cranberries, dried apricots, raisins and slivered almonds.

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Display on a tray with a doily and you’re almost ready for breakfast.

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These three jars are always on my counter filled with cold cereal.

I was tired of having so many opened boxes in the pantry,
spilling and getting stale,
so this was a pleasing solution for all of us.

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This is another standard on my kitchen counter.

In our early years of marriage,
someone wisely advised it’s cheaper to eat healthy,
than to pay for a doctor.

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The bread basket is another company staple.

I fill it with good breads, bagels and English muffins,
so my company has a lot of options for

Helping Themselves

in the morning.

Cancer has taken much from me,
but I won’t allow it to take hospitality.

I’m healthier and stronger today
and have learned to PACE not PUSH.

But, there are three meals in a day,
I know I can’t give them each100%,
so I choose where to put my energy.

I help myself
by allowing my guests to

Help Themselves to Breakfast.

What Me Do I Smell?

When one of my kids was a toddler, she struggled with syntax.

Yea, only one of them.  The other five were perfectly,  grammatically correct from birth.

She’d crinkle up her little toddler nose, sniff as loudly as a two year old could sniff with boogies plugging her little air passages,  and ask, What me do I smell?”

Of course, for the past three decades, my hubby and I have rarely asked each other, “Hey, what’s that smell?” like normal people.  We always wrinkle up our growing adult noses and ask, “What me do I smell?”

One day, me smelled something awful.

Being an experienced mother, I quickly narrowed it down to new plastic, even though I was at the end of the hallway and had only sniffed the air a few times. Yea, moms have amazing skills, don’t they?

Also, being an experienced mother, I was pretty sure I sniffed the danger from a distance faster than the plastic-burning culprit who had not yet asked themselves the question of the year, “What me do I smell?”

Oh, ya’ wanna’ know how come I knew it was new plastic?  Simple deduction.  The newer the item, the more likely it will be broken, dropped, cracked or burned alive.

I have other powers of deduction that would make Sherlock proud. If the smell occurs late in the evening, I know something fell onto the heating element in the dishwasher ‘cuz that’s when we run the dishwasher.  If this smell occurs during the day, I know something fell onto the burner.  The one of the four that is on, of course.  Plastic never touches cold burners. That rule just goes without saying.

However, since I have mostly adult children living in my home,  I left the smell to the culprit. Several moments after me smelled something , me heard exclamations from the kitchen and me knew danger had finally been spotted.

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I woke up to this love letter.

When the kids were younger, they left notes that said things like,  “You’re the best Mom in the whole wide world!”

Nowadays, notes have to do with the grocery list,  errands and confessions.

Like this note.

Like the splashes?  Hmmm….do ya’ think it was another child using another burner?

Yer’ so right!

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I also woke up to this.

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And this. 

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In case you need to see that up close, here it is.

The offending adult child graciously offered to clean it up, because my kids are perfect like that, but I stopped this person. I needed pictures.  After all, I have full blogging rights, right?

Right!

Me warned them in my very first blog.

“Anything you say and do, can be blogged against you.”

Jealous you don’t have kids that cook for you?

You should be.

This is what has happened to

my mixer

my eggs

my microwave pan

my cutting board

my burners

my spices

Not jealous yet?

Now you will be. ‘Cuz look what all that practice produced.

Jon cooked Thanksgiving

Bethany cooked Thanksgiving

Grace cooked Thanksgiving

Jon’s Bread

Not’cher MinnesOtan Fud

Husband Catcher Bars

You should be jealous.  Now, let your kids in the kitchen and burn something.

Just remember these magic words,  “What me do I smell?”

 

Southwest Roast with Special Ingredient

I’m not that clever in the kitchen.
I love tablescaping
more than cooking.
You know, if you set the table in an enticing manner,
company might not notice you overcooked the roast
or you have lumps in your smashed potatoes.
Once everyone oohed and aahed over my table setting,
complete with nut-filled  tiny wicker baskets edged with lace
sitting by each place setting,
my creativity came in handy because while they were nibbling,
I was dividing the uncooked  meatloaf into my muffin pans and
trying to get them cooked in less than 15 minutes.
I shoulda’ actually put the meatloaf in the oven,
BEFORE
I set the table.
So, when I do find a good recipe
that I can make and my family will enjoy,
I like to pass it on.
**********
Southwest Roast
Put 1 cup dry pinto beans in the bottom of a Crock-pot.
Put enough water to generously cover the beans
(If you soak the beans ahead of time, you won’t need to cover with water.)
Place boneless roast on top of beans.
 Add 1 tsp garlic salt,
1 tsp cumin,
 1 tsp oregano
 1 tsp pepper
 one can green chilies
  one can Rotel tomatoes
one can of beef broth or water
Pour this mixture over the roast.
Cook 20-24 hours on low in Crock-pot.
After about 18 hours, stir so the meat will fall apart.
Add water if necessary as cooking.
Serve in flour tortillas with grated cheese and sour cream.
I like to double all the ingredients,
to make my roast extra spicy.
I also use 5-6 pounds of roast,
because I cook for a large crowd
and like this for leftovers.
This meal can easily be started one evening
when you are cleaning up after dinner.
Then you have almost 24 hours free of worrying,
“what’s for dinner?”
We also have started it on Saturday afternoon
to have ready when we come home from Sunday fellowship.
My thoughtful hubby threw this recipe together one evening
when we knew the next day was going to be really busy.
Are you wondering about his special ingredient?
I discovered this in the roast while serving,
but you really don’t have to include it.
I’m pretty sure your roast will turn out just fine without it.
But that’s not the secret ingredient.
Proverbs 15:17
Better is a dinner of herbs
where love is,
Than a fatted calf with hatred.
But, beef with love?
Oh, yea.

It’s what’s for dinner.

**********
Linking up!

MomsTheWord

Beka’s Tea Party With Daddy

Daddy made a list of things he wanted to do during his ten-day Christmas vacation.

He fixed things, made things, visited friends, had friends over,
ate sushi and explored Seattle with his family.

But, there was one extra-special item on his list,
making cookies with Rebekah using her new Easy Bake oven.
Beka was excited about her Daddy time,
but I think she was a little skeptical about his culinary skills.
 


They begin by gathering all their tools, Daddy reading all the directions.
Did you read that correctly?
A man reading all the directions.

It was a great moment for more than one reason.

Beka is being powdered with flour to keep the dough from sticking from her hands
as she rolled the Easy Bake dough into six very small cookies. .
 
 
“Daddy, I don’t think you know what you are doing,”
Beka had giggled skeptically at this time.
 
 
Dad’s great advice was to eat the dough off her hands. MMM good!
This isn’t your typical culinary school, as you can imagine.
 
 
 Beka is using the special wand to guide the pan into the oven.
Daddy cautioning her to not push it out the other end.
 
“Rebekah, these are perfect,” Daddy affirmed and drooled at the same time.
 
 
At about $3 per bag, the cost came to about $.50 per bite, but all together,
I figure it wasn’t expensive, it was priceless.
 
 
Somebody is using very good manners during this tea party.
She is also enjoying the chocolate milk, because Mommy never buys it. (Mommy doesn’t let her lick her hands in the kitchen, either, but sometimes you just get to break the rules.)
 
 
 


Someone is using very bad manners during this tea party.
Daddy is slurping the chocolate milk because he carelessly poured too much.

But, despite this social faux pas,
Daddy can be totally commended for
making very special cookies
and very special memories
with his very special little girl.