Today’s topic is Gingerbread Houses… Hmmm I’ve never actually made a gingerbread house. I think they are pretty cool to look at and checking out the ones at Disney were always on the list of to dos when we lived in FL. We got to see a HUGE one on the Disney Cruise when we were on the Disney Cruise two years ago.
But, I don’t get the point of them. Who would actually eat them? If you aren’t going to eat them then why go through the process of making them? Isn’t that just wasting food? And the time it takes to bake them, make the icing, and then assembly them? It also seems like an engineering nightmare. Does it take forever to get all the walls actually standing and staying upright?
So, while I will go see the overly decorated and over sized gingerbread houses around…. I won’t be making one anytime soon.
Make sure you hop over to the other bloggers who are joining in the Blogmas fun!
CHECK OUT ABBY, AJ, MISCHENKO, AND AMBER’SBLOGS TO SEE THEIR 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS!
When we travel, Richard and I try to do some research on places to eat. We love trying local places instead of eating at places we can visit here in PA. The internet is a great place to start the search. We google the location and there is often a list of suggested places. We then try to look them up on google places and other review sites.
Another place we get great suggestions is the front desk of the hotel. What better place to get local places than by asking the people who are local. Now know that often times hotels have lists of places to suggest. We often ask “Where do you like to eat”.
While in Bowling Green, KY, we tried a lot of different places, but only one place did we go to TWICE. Griffs Deli. We were intrigued by their “Mega Spuds” when we looked on-line. We went there the first night we arrived in Bowling Green. Originally we were going to go somewhere else since it was a deli there was a concern that it wouldn’t be enough for a dinner… it was!
I didn’t take pictures the first night since I didn’t plan on doing any restaurant posts, but the second trip involved photos of my meal as well as Richards. The first night I had a 1/2 grilled chicken spud. Richard had a 1/2 Texas BBQ spud and 1/2 Wise Guy Sandwich. Blake had a ham and cheese and Colby had a turkey club. The boys both thought there was too much meat on their sandwich (yes you read that correctly)
The second trip was after our visit to the train museum. This time I had a 1/2 veggie spud and a cup of roasted veggie soup. Richard had 1/2 steak panini and 1/2 fajita spud. Blake had a quesadilla and Colby had mac and cheese.
If we are ever back in Bowling Green, we will go back to Griffs!
Today was one of “Those Days” at work. One of my favorite ways to de-stress is to bake. I didn’t decide to bake until it was too late to soften butter, so off to the web I went in search of a recipe.
I found the recipe for “The Best Soft Chocolate Chip Cookies” on Pinch of Yum
I pulled all the ingredients together and got to baking.
Chocolate Chip Cookies with melted butter
- 8 tablespoons of salted butter
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 egg
- 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup chocolate chips (I used Ghirardelli’s grand chips)
- Preheat oven to 350
- Melt butter
- mix together butter and sugars
- incorporate vanilla and egg
- mix in dry ingredients
- when mixed to the proper cookie dough consistency, add in chocolate chips
- bake 9-11 min (do not overbake) I let mine go a bit under actually
After I made the oatmeal pumpkin spice cookies, I decided I needed to try pumpkin spice snickerdoodles. Come on, who doesn’t love a good snickerdoodle cookie? They are buttery and tasty.
Well this weekend I decided it was time to try out this theory. I looked up a snickerdoodle reicpe and then tweaked it with pumpkin spice. I have a recipe I normally use, but decided to just find one quickly online.
I decided to bake bar cookies instead of cookies. This gives it more butter flavor and is also faster because it is all one 9×13 pan
Pumpkin Spice Snickerdoodles Bars
- 1 cup butter, room temperature
- 3/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup light brown sugar
- 1 egg, plus 1 yolk
- 1 tablespoon vanilla
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 tablespoon ground pumpkin spice
- 2 3/4 cup flour
- 1/4 cup granulated sugar
- 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice
- Preheat oven to 325°F.
- Spray a 9×13 pan
- Cream the butter, granulated sugar, and light brown sugar together
- Add in the egg, the yolk, vanilla, baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, and pumpkin spice and mix for 1 minute, scraping the sides of the bowl as necessary.
- Turn mixer to low and add in flour, mixing until just combined.
- Turn mixture into the 9×13 pan and spread it out
- top with sugar/pumpkin spice mixture
- bake for 20-25 min
- allow to cool completely before cutting
Richard and I both brought these to work. They were a big hit. I really enjoyed the fact that the pumpkin spice was added to the actual cookie and not just as a topping in this recipe. It made it less buttery, but the spice carried through the whole cookie. I’m not sure they tasted like snickerdoodles due to this change, but it still was tasty.
Each day one child in my class brings in snack for all of the students. About a week and a half ago one of the children brought in bananas. We had two leftover. The bananas then sat on the counter. So I decided we needed to bake banana something.
I have little guy in my class who is allergic to eggs. He can not touch eggs in any form. I didn’t want to bake something that would be harmful to him so in my searching I found a recipe for no egg banana muffins. Ok well they were originally banana chocolate chip muffins, but I left out the chocolate.
We made these today in class. Most of the children who tried one enjoyed it. These tasted a lot like banana bread. It did seem like a lot of butter when they were cooking, but it might be because I mixed this all with spoons (well a group of 4 year olds did anyway). So the butter may not have been mixed in enough. I would try it again with the same measurements, but whip the butter with my mixer instead of a spoon.
Banana Muffins (no egg)
- 1/2 c. room temp butter
- 3 mashed bananas
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 2 c. flour
- Preheat oven to 350
- Cream together butter and sugar
- mix in bananas and vanilla
- add dry ingredients
- stir until just blended
- bake in lined or sprayed muffin cups for 20 min
- makes 12-15 muffins
This weekend my school held their fall festival. This was an opportunity for the children to show off their classrooms, play games and play in the bounce house. We also had the book fair open and were selling items at a bake sale. All the staff members were asked to bake items to sell at the bake sale. So, I got thinking… what am I going to make.
I decided to bake two different cookies. First I baked S’more cookies, and messed up the recipe. It turned out ok, but would have been better if I followed ALL the steps.
The second kind I decided to bake at pumpkin spice oatmeal cookies. I figure, oh everyone is head over heals for pumpkin spice these will sell like hotcakes. Well they didn’t, but I don’t care they still tasted really good (and I am not a huge pumpkin spice person).
Pumpkin Spice Oatmeal cookies. (edited from Food Fanatic)
- 1 cup Butter, Softened
- 3/4 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 cup Brown Sugar
- 2 Eggs
- 1 tablespoon Pure Vanilla Extract
- 1 teaspoon Cinnamon
- 2 cups All-Purpose Flour
- 1 teaspoon Baking Soda
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 3 cups Old Fashioned Rolled Oats
- 2 tablespoons Pumpkin Pie Spice
- Preheat oven to 350°F, line your baking sheets
- Cream together the butter and sugars on medium speed for 3-4 minutes.
- Scrape down the bowl, and mix in the eggs one at a time. Stir in the vanilla
- Add the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, baking soda, salt, pumpkin spice and oats). into the wet ingredients, and mix until just combined.
- Scoop out dough with a large cookie scoop and place on the lined baking sheets about 2 inches apart.
- Bake for 10-12 minutes, until the edges are golden brown, its okay if the middles look slightly undercooked, they will finish cooking on the pan as they cool.
- Allow to set for 4-5 minutes before transferring to a cooling rack.
These cookies were REALLY tasty. They were not dry in the least. Colby took home some of the extras from the bake sale and they were sticking together. Colby was hesitant to try it at first and then loved them. I think he took home 4 bags from the bake sale. I guess I will have to bake these again. I bet they would be very tasty if you used apple pie spice in lieu of the pumpkin pie spice. I have more pumpkin pie spice now I want to make snickerdoodles with the pumpkin pie spice… yummy!
I always menu plan the night before I go to the grocery store. I really don’t know how people shop without menu planning!
Well this week, we had one night that was unplanned. We just could not come up with something to have as one of our weekend meals. I looked when I went to the grocery store and we looked again yesterday when we were at Costco for something to get for dinner. We did buy pork chops and ground turkey. But, I just did not feel like pork chops tonight. So… I started to think and think of something to make. I ended up making a recipe off the seat of my pants.
In the past I’ve made “TOTchos”, but I always made them Tex-Mex. I didn’t want that. I have been on an anit-taco meat kick lately. But the concept of TOTchos sounded like a perfect meal for tonight. So I created Cheeseburger TOTchos. (it tastes better than it photographs! )
- -ground turkey (or any ground meat you like)
- -small onion-minced
- 1/4 c. Worcestershire sauce
- 3 Tbsp steak sauce
- 3 Tbsp ketchup
- 2 Tbsp Steak seasoning (I use McCormick Montreal Blend)
- 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or whatever cheese you like on your burgers)
- -tater tots
- Preheat oven and bake tater tots according to the package
- In a large cast iron pan (or frying pan of your choice) sauce the onions (seasoned with S&P) in some EVOO
- When the onions begin to brown add in ground turkey and cook it while breaking it down into chunks
- Add Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, steak seasoning, and ketchup to the meat and continue to stir
- I popped this into my second oven at 350 to continue to cook, but you can do it all on the stove top.
- When the tots are done, season the tots with S&P
- Put the cheese on top of the meat mixture
- Put the tots on top of the cheese and pop back in the oven for 3-5 min to melt the cheese
Serve with your favorite tot and burger toppings. I used ketchup, mustard and pickle slices, Colby used ketchup, Blake and Richard didn’t t add anything to theirs.
This was really good. Richard felt it needed a bit more seasoning. I think the tots needed to cook a bit more so they were super crisp. I think the next time I’ll cook them for the longer time on the bag instead of the shorter. I will certainly make it again.
So, yesterday when I walked in the house, I decided that I wanted to bake. It wasn’t because I’d had a tough day or anything it just was a need to bake. (granted the world imploded after the kids got home.)
I decided that since I had homemade applesauce from the weekend that I’d use it to make applesauce muffins. I found a recipe for healthy applesauce oat muffins on Tastes Better from Scratch, and decided to alter it.
Applesauce Oatmeal Muffins
- 1 cup applesauce (I used homemade)
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1 large egg
- 4 Tablespoons butter , melted
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
- 1/2 cup AP flour
- 1/4 cup wheat germ
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- Microplane a few swipes of nutmeg
- Preheat oven to 375. line muffin pan with liner or spray with pam
- Stir together wet ingredients in one bowl (applesauce, milk, egg, butter and sugar)
- Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl (flour, wheat germ, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and nutmeg
- Stir wet mixture into dry mixture until just mixed (do not over mix)
- scoop into muffin liners
- bake 15-20 min or until a toothpick comes out clear
- cool completely
Chicken salsa is a recipe I created years ago. It started as a quick recipe of just chopping chicken up, popping it into a skillet. After the chicken cooks a bit, I would add in salsa and let it finish cooking. Then I would put it on top of couscous and top it with cheese.
Over time I’ve made this in the crock pot or even in the pressure cooker. With both of these cooking methods I would just cut the chicken into bite size pieces and put the salsa in to start. When you do it in the pressure cooker, it makes it more like shredded chicken which is perfect for nachos!
Well, since we have been working on adding more veggies into our meals I decided to revamp salsa chicken.
- 1 package of chicken thighs
- 1 red pepper
- 1 onion
- 2 cubanelle peppers
- 3/4 stocks of celery
- chili powder
- put pressure cooker on high
- trim up chicken thighs, add to crock pot
- dice up onion, peppers and celery, add to crock pot
- add spices to your taste preferences
- add 1/2 jar of salsa
- put the lid on and cook for 3-4 hour on high
I served it over farro as well as couscous to serve this over. Colby added cheddar cheese to his chicken salsa. We ate the WHOLE crock pot worth of chicken salsa. We did have farro and couscous leftovers, but I’ll take that. I enjoyed the increase of veggies and felt it added to the taste as well as the health levels.
Colby had requested pancake for dinner tonight. So we had pancakes and bacon for dinner. While I do get one cheat day/meal a week I decided I wanted to have a slightly healthy addition to our pancakes.
While Richard made the bacon, I whipped up our favorite homemade pancakes. Here is the link to the pancake mix we use.
I also made a batch of mixed berry sauce. I have frozen mixed berries for my smoothies, this bag was strawberry, blueberry and raspberry,
I used the berries as a topping on my pancakes as well as topping a dish of vanilla yogurt. Since I did not add any sugar to this mixture the sweetness totally came from the berries.
Mix Berry Sauce
- 2 c. mixed berries
- 1 lemon
- put berries into the sauce pan over high
- zest and juice the lemon adding both to the pan
- once it comes to a boil, reduce the head to low and let the mixture simmer
- stir to assist in the breaking down of the berries
- remove from the heat and let cool
- serve over pancakes, yogurt, ice cream… whatever you want/need a berry sauce
This batch had a strong raspberry flavor, but it was very tasty. I am planning to make a batch of just strawberry, and then experiment with a peach sauce since I have frozen peaches too. I really liked this over the yogurt and the fact that I can control the amount and quality of berries added to my yogurt!