Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Coconut-Oatmeal Cookies

Last week was our turn to host playgroup at our home. I really love getting to see all of these wonderful ladies and kiddos weekly. 

All of the mommas have delicious snacks for usually, and I love trying new recipes!
The night before, I was so tempted to just run to Wal-Mart and grab some yummies, but we have been trying to stick to our budget so I set off on an adventure to make something with what I had on hand in the pantry.

I cruised over to Pinterest and searched "coconut cookies" because, well.. I have tons of coconut in the refrigerator waiting to be used.

I did an adaptation from this recipe. 

They turned out great, although a little hard! They were considerably tastier right out of the oven, and I think I will use more coconut oil next time around. My mix was a little too crumbly for my taste.




                         Coconut-Oatmeal Cookies

2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cup granulated sugar (or 1 cup granulated, 1 cup brown)
2 large eggs
1 to 1 1/2 cup coconut oil (measured solid), melted and slightly cooled
1 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup shredded, sweetened coconut
1/2 cup quick oats

Directions:
1. Mix dry ingredients in a separate bowl. Set aside. 
2. Mix all wet ingredients and slowly fold in dry ingredients. Add coconut and oats last. Mixture will be lumpy. 
3. Drop onto a silpat, and bake for 10 minutes at 350*. 
4. Remove and let cool for 2 minutes, then remove from sheet and let cool on a wire rack.


  



Friday, January 25, 2013

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Chicken "Low" Mein

I really really love chicken lo mein. Like really.

In an effort to make lo mein more on the "low" side, I tried my hand at making my own.

The recipe is pretty simple and can almost all be made in one pan (sans the noodels, because well, they need water).

I'm pretty sure this will be a repeat!

Chicken "Low" Mein
Ingredients: 
1/4 box wheat spaghetti, uncooked
1/2 lb chicken breast, cut into strips
2 cloves garlic- minced
1/2 onion cut into strips
2 T soy sauce
1 bell pepper, cut into strips
1/4 c chicken broth
2 T peanut butter
1 T chopped peanuts

Directions:
1. Boil spaghetti. Drain. Set aside.
2. Saute chicken, onions, peppers in oil for 3-5 minutes. Add soy sauce and garlic.
3. Add peanut butter, and broth and stir fry on hot heat for 4 minutes.
4. Add spaghetti to chicken mixture and incorporate well.

Serve with chopped nuts on top.
The entire meal is around 400 calories for one serving. Makes 4 servings. 

Enjoy!

Nothing fancy, but super yum. 





Winter?

What a beautiful week it has been!

55* in January??

We have been playing outside so much the last few days because of how unseasonably warm it has been.

Today, we drove to Fayetteville to go to the gym (C loves going and walks straight to the child care door when we enter), but unfortunately their child care worker was out sick this morning. So we couldn't stay.

Connor was not quite prepared to leave so quickly, but we sat for a moment and I told him we couldn't stay and why, and that we would go to the park instead to play outside.

When I say the word "outside" he gets so happy.

We played at Wilson Park for almost two hours and made some new friends.

When C plays, I try to just stand back and let him figure things out. Today he figured out how to go down the park slides all by himself. He has figured out our slide at home, but I wasn't sure he'd be able to get up to these slides since they're higher and a little different. I don't know why I worry. He was up and down in like 5 seconds...

C has also been eating much better lately and ate a hearty fruit salad snack, and all of his lunch. Praise for this because we have to go back to the pediatrician in a couple of weeks because he hadn't gained any weight at his last two check-ups!

Yesterday we had a nap strike at the Cavalier house; however, I think C just went to dream land, so I'm going to go get busy, and then maybe have a quick rest!!




Monday, January 21, 2013

Au jus!

This has been the week for recipes around here.

My apologies if you're tired of hearing about our cooking escapades! (caution: don't read ahead if you are)

We just really enjoy sharing a meal together each night after a long day of work (hence the crazy amount of food posts you see from me) and preparing a good meal is pretty therapeutic.

After a long, crazy day of playing, running, errand-ing, and making a good mess, creating something yummy from start to finish is like therapy.

Dinner today actually started before breakfast. One word.

Crockpot.

It is probably my favorite kitchen utensil just because it makes cooking (and clean-up) super simple.

This recipe was one I first tried a few years ago. Unfortunately, it sat in my recipe book for the last three years because I simply forgot about it.

How unfortunate, too because it's delicious! (and ridiculously easy).


French Dip Sandwiches
Ingredients:
14 oz beef broth
2 oz onion soup mix (1 pkt)
1 lb thin cut sirloin steak
1/2 loaf wheat french bread
1 c shredded mozzarella

Directions:
1. Combine beef broth, onion soup mix, and steak in crock pot.
2. Let cook on low for 6-8 hours.
3. Shred meat in crock pot with a fork/spoon.
4. Cut bread lenghwise. Spoon meat onto bread, and top with mozzarella.
5. Heat in oven at 375* for 10 minutes or until cheese is fully melted.
6. Serve with a bowl of au jus from the crock pot for dipping.

It's delicious with a cucumber salad, or greens.


That's it! Super simple and tasty. I cut my sandwich in half just because it made dipping easier.




Au revoir! (thanks to my favorite French speaking friend)                                                                       

Saturday, January 19, 2013

2013 Mommy Project

I've gone back and forth about where to blog this project.

One one hand, it's about photography, so would bode well on our photography blog, but on the other hand, it's about our family. Capturing our moments.

So it has landed here instead!

The project is called 2013 Mommy Project by 516 Photography. The goal is to capture more of our own family's memories. Each week for the year of 2013, there is a different theme. There is a flickr group to post photos, and 516 might even share your photo on their blog/facebook each week, too!

This really hits home because we have begun making our days about photographing other families, and so it's nice to remember to keep the camera handy and to capture some of our own memories more often, too.

We missed the first two weeks, but we did a catch-up of sorts this week.

It's such a beautiful day, and the sun was shining in through the windows, so today we had a lot of photo fun.



Week 1 | Teaching

Week 2 | Playing

Week 3 | Musical

Thanks, 516 Photography for such a wonderful concept. 


The Breakfast Blog

We eat breakfast.

It's one of our favorite parts of the day. Making a hot pot of coffee (that I rarely drink, but like to smell), and sifting through different ingredients and recipes... it's a great part of our day.

At the end of breakfast, we have a quick clean-fest, too. Chase usually mans the dishes because he's a dishwasher loading professional, and I'm simply not.. I usually put them in the dishwasher in no specific order or pattern. I think it's drives him a little batty, but that's okay. ;) I usually put away food, utensils, leftovers, and ingredients.

Today was no different. Well it was a little different in the fact that Connor slept until past 9. But when we DID finally all crawl out of bed, we all went to the kitchen.

Connor started out with some yogurt, and I worked on making biscuits, gravy, and bacon.

Not exactly a fruit parfait, and lean turkey bacon, but it's Saturday morning.

The leftover gravy from fried chicken night needed to be eaten, so biscuits are the natural pairing!

It has taken a few takes, but I think I've finally figured out how to make the biscuits fluffy every time.

Leave the dough alone... 

Don't mess with the dough too much. Just shape it and press it out with your hands, and cut the biscuits. Leads to great biscuits every time.

So here's what our biscuits looked like this morning!


This recipe is so simple and super easy.

Biscuits
Ingredients:
2 cups flour**
1/2 cup shortening*** 
3/4 cup milk

1. Heat oven to 450*
2. In a medium bowl, cut shortening into flour mixture. 
3. Stir-in milk (dough will be soft and sticky)
4. Place dough on a floured surface. Shape into a round mound and press out with your fingers to about an inch.
5. Cut cookies and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. 
6. Bake 10-12 minutes. 

 **(we use self-rising, but add 1 tsp salt, and 3 tsp baking powder if using all-purpose)
***(we used butter flavored crisco... you could just use butter)



The best advice for making fluffy biscuits I can give is don't work the dough. In my recipe books it says to knead 10-12 times, and roll out with a rolling pin. When I do that, my biscuits turn out so hard. I also leave mine much thicker than they recommend in the recipe books, too. Thicker biscuits=happy mama.

So, don't knead the biscuits!






Thursday, January 17, 2013

Not your grandma's fried chicken...

But it's pretty close!

Some days just call for comfort food. Today... was one of those days.

Lately, Connor has had a few meltdowns. By meltdown, I mean, "the world is going to end if you don't pick me up"... those kind.

The last two weeks, they have just coincidentally happened at playgroup. We're pretty sure it's because he's overwhelmed with the amount of awesome kiddos, and noise, and he's not quite sure how to communicate that yet. He just gets really upset.

I can see the signs though. He starts rubbing his eyes, pulling me towards the door... so today we were gathering things to leave, and it happened.

 I felt like World's #1 Mom. We're also watching my friend's daughter this week, so I had her on my hip, and Connor was definitely not going to walk beside me. I had all my awesome playgroup friends offering to help, but I was in survival mode, and just wanted to get the kiddos outside.

It was like a light switch was flipped as soon as we walked outside.

He was cool then. The world was most definitely not going to end.

The rest of the day was smooth. We played inside, then we played outside.. we played in the dirt, and we played on the slide.

So to celebrate (haha.) the day, I made my most comforting comfort food. I've been trying really hard to eat sensibly, and return to a normal routine. Tonight was not one of those nights. I indulged, and it was great.

So, here's the recipe. It's pretty simple and straightforward.


Fried Chicken
2 cups flour (I used self rising, because it's what I had)
1 T salt
1 T pepper
1/2 T onion powder
1/2 T garlic powder
1 1/2 cups milk
Assorted chicken pieces (we just so happened to have drumsticks only)
Skillet (I use a cast iron)
1 cup oil of your choice for frying



1. Heat oil in your skillet (medium-ish- not too hot)
2. Mix all dry ingredients in a medium size bowl. Place milk in a separate bowl.
3. Wash and dry your chicken pieces
4. Soak in milk for 3-5 seconds
5. Dredge in flour mixture
6. Place in skillet and let fry on each side for 3-5 minutes, turning to each side.
7. Temperature should reach 180*- remove and place on a paper towel.

Eat and enjoy. 







Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hey, Cupcake...

This week, the two C's and I have been getting back into our routine.

After being gone for nearly two weeks, traveling, visiting, holiday-ing, photographing, and much more, we are finally back home.

Being gone made me realize how much I enjoy our home, and our routine. I love making dinner, keeping the laundry at bay, baking, cooking, and crafting with my family.

Chase and I have had a super busy month of projects (headboards, painting, building a wall for our booth- all to be shared in due time!), but tonight was a simple project.

Cupcakes.

While at Target today, I found a lovely tub of sprinkles on the $1.00 aisle. (I know... that aisle will be the death of me). At that moment, I decided it was a cupcake kind of day.

Fast forward a few hours, and we have homemade cupcakes cooling on a rack and icing in the blender.

I wish I could share with you a few "during" photos, but I was too busy licking icing off my fingers to be bothered with taking pictures.






Here's the recipe I used! It was super simple and good. You could easily dress it up with some lemon, or strawberries in the icing or cupcakes themselves.

Yellow Cake Recipe
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cups sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened (1 stick)
1 1/4 cups milk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 large eggs

1. Heat oven to 350*. Put cupcake liners in cupcake pan. 

2. In a large bowl/food blender/processer, beat all ingredients with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds. Scrape sides constantly. Then, beat on high speed for 3 minutes until frothy. Scoop into cupcake tins.

3. Bake 25-30 minutes until  cupcakes spring back to the touch. Cool on a wire rack 10-20 minutes, then remove cupcakes and let cool completely. 

4. Frost with cream cheese frosting.

(if using self-rising flour, omit baking powder and salt)



Crean Cheese Frosting
1 package (8oz) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup butter, softened
2 to 3 teaspoons milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
4 cups powdered sugar

1. In a bowl/food blender/processer, beat cream cheese, butter, milk, and vanilla on low until smooth. 

2. Gradually beau in powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. 

3. I piped my frosting by using a small zip-lock baggie and cutting off the end and twisting the baggie to dispense the frosting. Worked like a charm! Top with your desired topping! Fresh fruit would be a nice addition!



 The result? A really delicious, and pleasing cupcake.