Wednesday, December 7, 2011

"Healthy" Pancakes

A little mom tip for you today:

Take your Aunt Jemima (Hungry Jack,Kroger brand, Publix, they're all the same to me) complete pancake mix and add a 1/2 cup whole wheat flour, a 1/4 cup instant oats, and a mashed up spotted banana, add milk or water until desired thickness and voila! You have an EASY healthier pancake to serve your munchkins and your beloved munchkin maker before he heads out to work.

In our family we like to add a few fresh blueberries and some of us even like to add chocolate chips!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Squid Dogs, Kid Squid... Halloweenie Fun!

Squid Dog swimming in SpaghettiOs
No matter what you call these goofy hot dog and spaghetti monsters they're some fun for kiddos. We had ours take a swim in a SpaghettiO sea. And of course they are easy enough to have your own little monsters help make them!

hot dogs
all you need are hot dogs and spaghetti noodles (and boiling water!)
uncooked/dry spaghetti
optional SpaghettiOs

1.  Cut up your dogs
2. Insert your dry/uncooked spaghetti (I broke my noodles in half)
cold dogs with their spaghetti tentacles ready to be dropped in the pot
3.  Boil them until noodles are desired softness and dogs are hot

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Sirloin Tip Roast Dinner Party

sirloin tip roast... and yes granny's china made another appearance
I had the honor of having a few friends over to try out my latest lesson in cooking.  For the first time I pulled out my crockpot and gave it a whirl to make my first, yes my first, roast.  I am not much of a meat gal, but I figured my poor husband deserved some red meat after 5 years of marriage.  So when I saw the Publix guy describing how to cook it to someone else I took a deep breath and bought my first Sirloin Tip Roast.

It turned out delicious!  And guess what Mamitas... it is oh so easy!!!  Three cheers for my new crock pot. 

Sirloin Tip (mine was 2 1/2 pounds)
2 packets (1 box) of Lipton Recipe Secrets Onion Soup
Carrots (I greatly dislike cooked carrots so I opted out on these orange veggies and made some grilled asparagus instead)
Water (I used about 2 1/2 cups)

1. Sear/brown the meat in a pan with melted butter or oil (my friend said she skips this when she is in a hurry and it turns out just fine)
2. Mix the soup packs and water in the crockpot and throw in the roast (my roast was mostly under water, but not covered so I flipped it over once or twice since I was afraid it might dry out)
3. Turn crockpot on low 8-10 hrs (I did 10 hrs)
4. About 1 1/2 hrs before eating time toss in your potatoes and carrots (peeled of course!)
5. Enjoy!!! 

The finished product just falls apart into juicy, tender pieces.  Potatoes had great flavor and were tender but not mushy.  I served it with grilled asparagus (olive oil, garlic salt, and a shake of red pepper), and hot dinner rolls.  All in all I was pleased.  Glad I tried something new!  

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sweet and Simple Pecan Bars

the last pecan bar sitting on my granny's china... sigh
Made these Pecan Bars this weekend and they were so yummy! Crumbly shortbread cookie bottom with a sweet and gooey pecan filling. Not to mention so easy to make. Serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream for a true home run!  



  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt 
  • cups flour
  • cup softened butter (salted butter makes this shortbread crust even tastier) 


  • large eggs
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
  • tablespoons melted butter (I used salted)
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar (I used half brown sugar, half white)
  • 1 1/2 cups light Karo syrup
  • Dash of cloves (optional, but sure doesn't hurt)
  • 2 1/2 cups pecans (I didn't have quite enough in my cupboard, but they still turned out tasty and were extra gooey)

  • Directions:
  • 1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a 9 by 11 pan with wax paper.  No spray/grease needed that way.
  1. 2. In a large bowl, stir together flour, 1/2 c sugar, and salt.  Cut in 1 cup softened butter (2 sticks) until it resembles coarse crumbs (easiest to do with a well washed hand).  
    3. Press firmly into the bottom of your lined pan.
  2. 4. Bake 20 minutes (took me a little bit longer)
  3. 5. While baking crust prepare filling as follows: Beat eggs, corn syrup, sugar, butter, vanilla, and cloves until smooth. Stir in pecans.
    6. Spread pecan filling over the hot crust as soon as it comes out of the oven.
    7. Bake for 25 minutes or until set.  Cool and enjoy!  Don't forget to try it with some vanilla ice cream.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Busy Bag Swap

busy bag photo compliments of PlanetofTheApels
On your way to the doctor's office? Another cold wintry day? Downtime in an airport? These are the perfect solution for those moments when you need to keep your little one "busy."

My sister-in-law organized a swap and I greatly enjoyed it. Figured I should pass it on to other Mamas out there.

Premise: To end up with a stash of self-contained activities

Rules: All activities need to be
  • self-contained (we used zip lock bags- easy to grab and go)
  • reusable (no upkeep/restocking)
  • inexpensive
Swap: Everyone makes 1 activity multiple times and then they all get together and swap them. So each mama ends up with one of each activity.

Popcicle Stick Puzzles

I made these for a Toddler Grab Bag Swap. They are easy to make, fabulously inexpensive, and so much fun I made more than I needed for the Swap.
  • Popsicle sticks (large are better for toddlers)
  • Old magazines
  • Glue (I liked the glue stick best)
  • Scissors
  • Tape (I used blue painter tape)
  • Xacto knife

Step 1 - Find colorful pictures and cute them out. I found this owl, isn't he cute?!

Step 2 - Prepare your popsicle sticks. Line up the appropriate amount of
sticks for your picture and place some blue tape to hold them together.

Step 3 - Paste your picture. I found that glue stick ALL OVER your picture works best. I also placed an
outline in regular Elmer's glue just for good measure. Now sit back and let it DRY.

Step 4 - Cut it up. Take an Xacto knife and run it down the edge of each stick.

Step 5 - Remove tape and have FUN!