Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter M&M Cookie Bars

Happy *day after* Easter!

In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen!  Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee:  'The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.'"  Then they remembered his words.
Luke 24:5-8


In celebration of Easter/Resurrection Day, I made these tasty M&M Cookie Bars not once but twice!  The first time for my family and the second to share at church on Sunday.  They were a hit both times. :)


Here is the recipe.
I just switched out the regular M&Ms for pastel-colored ones.

I spent basically the whole day alone with my little guy.  My husband spent the day at his daughter's volleyball tournament...PS, when I find out who was in charge of scheduling a tournament on Easter Sunday, they will get a piece of my mind!  Anyway, my husband and I did get to out for a nice dinner Saturday evening to celebrate and I made the best of the day I had to spend with my little guy.

I started by making us (well, really just myself) Sticky Buns and an egg.  I may have had an extra cup of coffee or two or three...but I'll never tell!


Then, we served in the nursery at church surrounded by lots of little crawlers and toddling new walkers dressed their Sunday best.


After what seemed like a very short nap-time, we decorated real hard-boiled eggs, which my little guy preferred to throw because they looked more like balls then decorations.  I ended up having to retrieve one from underneath the stove with two pool sticks...


When dada got home, we set up a fun little egg hunt around the house.  He was so proud when he spotted a hidden one and loved splashing his little hands in the basket full of candy-filled eggs.


Overall, it was a good day.  I am thankful for the fragrant jasmine growing on my front gate, the day's cool weather, and the quality time spent holding and hugging my little guy.  But, I'm most of all grateful for a Savior who suffered and sacrificed while purposefully preparing the way to eternal life for all who believe.  What a journey for the precious Passover lamb.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Sleep, Baby, Sleep

Awhile back, I did a post on napping.  My little guy is still taking a good long afternoon nap, knock on wood, I hope it continues.  Being a working stay-at-home mom, this is really the only time I have to get any sort of focused work completed.  Sure, I can do little things here and there when he is awake, and believe me, he does love to help.  But generally, I try to be attentive and available for him during the non-sleep times.  After he goes down for the night, it's pretty hard to get motivated to sit at my computer to work on a spreadsheet or reconcile an account in Quickbooks, so that leaves me with about 2 1/2 hours each afternoon (if I'm lucky) that is dedicated to work, whatever that might consist of on a given day.

As my little guy grows, his sleep needs change as well.  This chart I found on BabyCenter.com has come in very helpful when making sure he is getting the shut-eye he needs.

AgeNighttime SleepDaytime Sleep *Total Sleep
1 month88 (inconsistent)16
3 months105 (3)15
6 months113 1/4 (2)14 1/4
9 months113 (2)14
12 months11 1/42 1/2 (2)13 3/4
18 months11 1/42 1/4 (1)13 1/2
2 years112 (1)13
3 years10 1/21 1/2 (1)12
*Note: number of naps in parentheses

According to Parents.com, studies show that many kids stop napping around age 4; however, little ones are encouraged to continue daytime sleep (or at least quiet time) throughout their preschool and kindergarten years.

"Without enough sleep, we all become tall two-year olds."
~Author, JoJo Jensen

Monday, March 31, 2014

Muffin Frittatas

All of the sudden, I have a picky eater on my hands.  Basically if it's not bread-like, cheesey, or crunchy, it's not going in my 17 month old little boy's mouth.  Being somewhat of a healthy eater myself, this is causing me some distress!  Much to my dismay, the kid won't even try a blueberry.  :(  Hoping it's just a phase, I must press on being creative and sneaking fruits and vegetables into his diet when I can while still offering him the real thing so he knows they are available.  Thank goodness he loves these Peter Rabbit Organics veggie blend pouches...


They say it can take 15 to 20 exposures before a child will try something new...not sure I have the patience but I must find a way!

He will NOT try eggs in any of the forms I have tried so far but I thought he would for sure go for these Muffin Frittatas.  I think he might have taken one bite...but I loved them!


Here is how to make them:

Muffin Frittatas

Ingredients:

6 eggs
1/2 cup milk
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup chopped zucchini
1/4 cup chopped red bell pepper

Directions:

Heat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat eggs, milk, salt, and pepper in medium bowl until blended.  Add cheese, zucchini, bell pepper and turkey sausage.  Mix well.  Spoon evenly into 12 greased muffin cups, about 1/4 cup each.  Bake 20 minutes until just set.  Cool on rack 5 minutes.  Remove from cups and serve warm.

Tip:  To save time in the morning, bake them the night before and refrigerate.  Quickly re-warm in the microwave when ready to serve.

Another option is to reheat the frittata and sandwich it between a sliced and toasted whole wheat English muffin.  A quick and healthy way to start your morning! :)


Enjoy!

Source

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Chicken Broccoli Bake

Here is another casserole recipe that I highly recommend!  My whole fam loved it and they didn't even know I made it with whole wheat pasta and low fat sauce!  Score!


Chicken Broccoli Bake

Ingredients:

4 chicken breasts, cut into small cubes
8oz light cream cheese, cubed
1 can cream of mushroom soup
Shredded Parmesan cheese
1 head of broccoli, cut into florets
Whole wheat rigatoni pasta
Milk, as needed to thin the sauce
Salt, pepper, and garlic powder for seasoning

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Boil pasta as directed on package and set aside.

Meanwhile, place broccoli in a large microwave & oven safe dish, add 1 Tablespoon of water, cover with lid and microwave for 3 minutes.  Drain any excess water and lightly season with salt & pepper then set aside.

In a large skillet over medium heat, drizzle 1-2 Tablespoons of olive oil.  Season chicken cubes with salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Cook chicken for about 2 minutes on each side or until golden brown.  *The chicken doesn't need to be cooked all the way through because it will finish in the oven.  Transfer the chicken to a plate and turn skillet to low.

Add cream of mushroom soup and cream cheese to the skillet on low heat.  Stir until combined adding milk as needed to thin the sauce.

Add cooked noodles, chicken cubes, and cream sauce to broccoli in the large baking dish.  Stir a little to combine.  Top with shredded Parmesan cheese and bake for 15 minutes until cheese bubbles and chicken is cooked through.

Enjoy!

Monday, March 10, 2014

Snickerdoodle Bread

Wow!  I mean, WOW!  This stuff is awesome!


My mom loves Snickerdoodle cookies so I knew she would love this twist on a old classic.  I made this bread and my first ever pot roast in the crock pot last time she came to visit.  We enjoyed this sweet bread in the morning with our coffee and during nap time with our coffee.  :)  Lots of coffee being consumed these days with a 16 month old even with a solid night's sleep...but that's a different story.  Moms of boys, are you with me?!

Back to this delicious bread...here is the recipe link.

Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Blueberry Banana Bread

I have made this amazing bread twice already and cannot wait to make it again!  I was a little disappointed when my friend at church said they already had enough treats for this Sunday morning because I thought I had an excuse to make this bread yet another time. :(  I might make it again anyway just because my little guy and I love it SO much!


Every oven cooks different so be sure to check your bread with a toothpick before removing it from the oven.  The loaf pictured above was from my mom's oven (electric) and was baked for exactly 60 minutes.  Came out perfect!  The loaf below was from my oven (gas) and could have gone about 10-15 minutes longer as it was still a little doughy in the middle.  Although, I didn't mind! :)

The difference could also have been the bread pan I used in each setting.  At my mom's, I used a 9x5 glass loaf pan.  At home, I used this new adorable ceramic orange ruffled loaf pan I found at World Market. :)  Whatever the case, double check your bread using a toothpick inserted into the middle.  It should come out clean.


Look at those fresh,whole blueberries bursting from inside!  Give me a slice now!


Here is the recipe...Giada's Blueberry Banana Bread!


Enjoy!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Apple-Pear Crisp with Peanut Butter

Funny story about this recipe...


The original recipe comes from the February 2014 issue of Good Housekeeping magazine.  It caught my eye right away when I saw the unique crisp topping made with peanut butter!  I had a few nights alone ahead of me and all the ingredients patiently waiting in my kitchen.  I halved the recipe and had dessert for myself for 3 nights!

The funny thing is...on a recent flight to Indiana, the woman next to me was reading the same magazine and I commented that I had just made this dessert!  She said she would think of me when she made it after she returned home.  Wonder if she tried it out and what she thought?


Here is how you can make it.  Let me know what you think!

Apple-Pear Crisp with Peanut Butter

Ingredients:

1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
3 small Gala apples, peeled and chopped
2 medium pears, peeled and chopped
1 Tablespoon water
2 teaspoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chunky peanut butter
3 Tablespoons whole wheat flour
Vanilla ice cream

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Spread oats in single layer on jelly-roll pan.  Toast 5-8 min or until golden brown, stirring once halfway through.

Meanwhile, in a 4-qt saucepan, combine apples, pears, water, sugar, cinnamon, and ginger.  Cook on medium for 10-12 min or until sugar dissolves and fruit softens, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat.  Stir in cranberries.  Pour into a shallow 2 quart baking dish.

In a medium bowl, combine oats, peanut butter, and flour.  With fingers, rub to form small clumps.  Sprinkled over fruit mixture in baking dish.  Bake 15-20 minutes or until browned and bubbling.  Serve with a scoop of vanilla ice cream!

Serves 6.


Enjoy!
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