Kevin is out of town, finally got the boys in bed. We'll see what I can get done! Still having fun trying out lots of different recipes and falling back on some favorites.
First of all, I've got a new "kitchen helper". (She says with a big sigh!) Sam has figured out how to move a dining chair to pretty much wherever he wants. His parking place of choice is usually at the kitchen sink. Now this wouldn't be such a big deal, but I've now got to make sure I know where he is and what he's doing at all times, AND I have to keep all dangerous things (like knives) out of his reach! Let's just say the last two days he's been driving me crazy! He will even fall off the chair, be hurt (just a little) and get right back up. I've tried putting him in his crib for a timeout when he keeps doing it at times that I can't have him doing it. That sure makes him mad! But he just comes out and does it again. Sigh! If he's not climbing in the kitchen, he's climbing on the couches and reaching light switches. I've thought maybe if I just try not to make a big deal of it and ignore him (when the situation permits), that maybe he'll get bored of it faster and stop doing it. We'll see. We've already had to remove the lamp and books from the end table between the couches. But I'm not sure how clean I can keep the kitchen counters. I'm sure it's only a matter of time until he actually climbs from the chair onto the counters. Oh boy! None of the other boys were climbers. This is all new and well, let's just say really FUN for me! And need I even mention the ice and water dispenser to the fridge! It is actually pretty funny when the water comes down and gets him right in the face when he doesn't have the cup positioned correctly!
We made a fun breakfast the other day. I'm LOVING homemade oatmeal lately, so here's my latest. I usually just love piling whatever fruit we have on it. It is so yummy. You can get some great oatmeal ideas from a great health food blogger at www.katheats.com. Love this gal!
Scott is the only one who will eat oatmeal, but the boys had already had breakfast, so I just made them some silly fruit faces. They loved them!
We have color coded plates, Purple Parker, Taylor loves frogs, so his is green and Scott is blue. We have several plates that are colored to remember whose plate is whose, it's especially helpful at dinner. Oh and here's my lunch from that same day. Nothing like having your food stare at you while you eat! I loved the fresh strawberries on the peanut butter bread. That's the way to go instead of jam or jelly!
Recipes and yummy things!
I bought a box of All Bran to make bran muffins. The box is TOO much to make THAT many muffins, so I needed to find some other things to do with the bran. Low and behold, www.allbran.com has lots of recipes. So I made these Raspberry Streusel Bars. I followed the recipe exactly. They are very low in fat and are good, but seem a little dry, not bad though. I would bake them a little less time next time and would use an All Fruit Preserves, which since these are pretty healthy with bran and whole wheat flour, I wish I would have done so, but didn't think about it until it was too late, so I used Smucker's Raspberry Preserves--great tasting, but the number two ingredient is high fructose corn syrup. Real healthy people, I should write to the company. Now and then I do that kind of thing, just with suggestions or compliment or complaints and will get coupons in the mail for doing so! Anyway, I like the bars and used up one whole cup of All Bran. Only about six or so cups to go!
Next up--Lemon Nut Cookies courtesy of Giada De Laurentis from the Food Network. Here's the recipe. I did everything according to the recipe, but only made half the batch. This half recipe probably made a good three dozen cookies. I think I made mine a little smaller than Giada, she says do 1 1/2 inch balls, but I did about 1 inch. She also rolled them in powdered sugar after they baked and were still warm, but after I did a few and didn't feel like doing that anymore, I turned the powdered sugar into a quick glaze by just adding a teaspoon or two of lemon juice to the sugar. I mixed it up well and put it in a snack size sandwich bag, snipped off a tiny corner and drizzled the icing over the cookies. I liked them better this way. But both ways are great. These are crisp little nutty lemony bites that melt in your mouth.
I know, you're thinking, "Wow, she did this all in one day!" No, these are all over the span of this last week, I just can't post things daily! That being said, up next is an amazing brownie (again)!
Anna, at Cookie Madness, made another brownie the same day I was about to make some brownies to give away. She was interested in seeing if someone else liked them as much as she did, so I made these One Bowl Cocoa Brownies. The only thing I did different was instead of using 3/4 cup cocoa powder, I used 1/4 cup regular cocoa powder and 1/2 cup Hershey's Special Dark cocoa powder. I also added about 3/4 cup semi sweet chocolate chips to the batter. I actually haven't liked how strong things have been when I've used the dark cocoa, but these brownies were very good since I used some of both kinds. The nice thing about this recipe using cocoa instead of melted chocolate is that it is cheaper and still a GREAT brownie. I will use this recipe time and again, I'm sure. (Thanks, Anna.)
These brownies were made in a 9x13 baking pan and I cut them into 35 squares. You can cut them any size you wish. I'm going to make the cookie dough brownies again and use this recipe.
And finally, I may have found what I consider to be right up there with the darn best oatmeal raisin cookies yet. These come from the same lady whose cookies I love that are Chock Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies from her book, The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook. Another book I have of Elinor Klivans is Cookies, Brownies, & Bars and these Oatmeal-Raisin Crisps are superb! I halved the recipe and here it is as I made it:
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder (slightly less than 1/2 t.)
3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar, firmly packed
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
1 cup raisins
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.
In medium size bowl, combine flour, soda, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Set aside. In bowl of mixer, cream butter and sugars together until well combined. Add egg and vanilla and mix well. Scrape down sides of bowl with rubber spatula. Add flour mixture and beat on low speed just until incorporated. Stir in the oats and raisins (I do this by hand, so not to over mix the dough).
Drop by teaspoonfuls onto baking sheets. (I made mine about 1 inch balls and this made about 4 dozen cookies-that's half a recipe.) Bake 9 minutes or until golden brown. Elinor's cookies look dark and crispy, but I didn't bake mine quite as long as I wanted crisp chewy cookies. Let cookies cool on baking sheets for five minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool. These were great still just slightly warm!
And now it's late and I must get to bed! Goodnight!