Thursday, July 31, 2008

Malted Milk and Peanut Butter Cookies (No, Not Together)

I've been baking cookies.  Surprise!


I have some malted milk that I've wanted to use more of, so I found two cookie recipes that use malted milk.  I loved one and really don't like the other.  Here's the ones that are really good.  These are a yummy crisp and chewy cookie.  I used milk chocolate chips in these, instead of malted milk balls (like Whoppers).  The milk chocolate was perfect.  I found the recipe at   I halved the recipe that I was using and it made about 3 dozen small-medium cookies.  I think these would be really good with a vanilla malt shake.  Yummmm.  

Malted Milk Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup granulated sugar

1/4 cup brown sugar

1 large egg

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon sweetened condensed milk (plan to then use the opened can of milk as I've done for another recipe)

1/4 cup plus 2 T. malted milk powder

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 cups milk chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  Mix together butter and sugars until combined.  Add egg, vanilla, condensed milk, and malted milk powder and mix well, but don't over mix.  Combine the flour, soda and salt in a small bowl, then add to wet ingredients and mix by hand just until incorporated.  Stir in chocolate chips.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheets.  Bake for 14 minutes for crispy cookies, or 12 minutes for chewy.  (Both ways are good!)


The other malted milk recipe I made baked the cookies at 350 and they seem to have almost burned as I only baked them for the exact time the recipe stated.  I only baked 12 cookies and I think I'm going to make a bar cookie with the rest or something and I really liked how the other malt cookies baked and they were baked at a lower temperature, so I'll probably try that.  I had some m&m's and threw a few of those in just to separate the two kinds of cookies, although that wasn't really necessary, as they baked completely different.  The m&m's do add a nice "crunch" like crushed Whoppers would have.  The recipe for these can be found here at a site I found called   I only made a half batch.  The cookies aren't horrible by any means, I just don't like the way they baked, they are puffier, but still crunchy.  They may be better just baking for less time than the recipe calls for.   


UpdatedI said I am going to bake the rest of these malt cookies in a bar and I did.  They still taste the same and baked the same, but now I'm done with them.


Now, on to peanut butter, because we just can't get enough of those, huh!  I have the Mrs. Field's Cookie Book.  I've had it for years and years and used to make cookies from it often, but haven't for quite some time.  I also recently received an email about a copy-cat version of Mrs. Field's Peanut Butter Cookies.  I was curious, so I looked in my book and it was the exact same recipe.  These cookies are soft and chewy, but mine look like they flattened much more than the picture in Mrs. Field's book.  I added some extra flour after baking the first dozen.  Here is the recipe as I made it.

Soft and Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar

1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons brown sugar

1 1/2 large eggs (I used 1 egg and 2 tablespoons Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk)

1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (I used Skippy Natural)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/3 cups all-purpose flour (I used unbleached)

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 300 degrees.  In small bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt with whisk.  Set aside.  Cream together butter, peanut butter and sugars until well combined.  Add egg and vanilla until blended.  So not to over mix, add the dry ingredients and stir with spoon.  Drop by teaspoonfuls on parchment lined baking sheet.  Press a crisscross pattern on each cookie with a fork.  It is a bit sticky, so it works well to dip the fork in sugar first.  Bake for 12 minutes.  Cool a few minutes on baking sheet, then transfer to wire rack to cool completely. 

I think these cookies would be good for using as sandwich cookies with a creamy peanut butter filling and will try that next.


Updated:  I went ahead and made up a quick filling and made these into sandwich cookies.  They are GOOD!  They are soft and I think next time the cookies should be baked a little longer to make them a bit more crispy and firm.  I didn't even really measure as I made the filling, but here's close to what I did.

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons butter

1/4 cup creamy peanut butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

2-3 tablespoons milk (add a little more depending on desired consistency)

Mix all ingredients together and beat with electric mixer for 3-5 minutes until filling is light and fluffy.  Spread some on cookies and put them together. 


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

More Buttermilk Cookies


I made these for the 4th of July, they were good and yesterday I decided to make them again, mostly to use up some remaining buttermilk I had.  Again, I followed a recipe that I found here at Allrecipes.  The only thing I did different was add one tablespoon fresh lemon juice to the cookie dough when adding the buttermilk.  Last time I made them I'd made the icing slightly lemony and we really liked it, so I decided to bump up the lemon a little more.  But I must say that these cookies are great without it.  I actually kind of like the buttermilk flavor and adding the lemon takes that a way a bit, you just taste more lemon than buttermilk.  Still, either way, they are good.  These are a soft, cakey cookie.  The recipe on Allrecipes has a frosting that you could make and then the cookies are sprinkled with chopped nuts.  I have yet to try them that way as I really like this glaze I made and drizzle over the top, then sprinkle them with colorful sprinkles.  The kids love them that way, too!  We're talking sprinkles here.  I wouldn't doubt if sometimes my boys dream about sprinkles.  They especially love it when I let them have the sprinkle container and they get to do it themselves.  Here is what I used to make the glaze:

2 cups powdered sugar

2 tablespoons softened butter

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1/2 teaspoon lemon zest

2-3 tablespoons milk (water would work fine)

Mix all together until smooth and drizzles easily from spoon.  I put mine in a pastry bag with a small round tip and pipe it onto the cookies.  Then sprinkles the cookies with colorful candy sprinkles. 

I've been trying to make cookies small and made a few of these to see how they would work really small.  I love seeing plates full of lots of little cookies.  These worked great and I will make more smaller ones next time.  You could color the icing glaze to match different occasions or use sprinkles for specific holidays. 


"Taylor's" Easy Brownies

I've been making such ooey and gooey brownies, well, okay, twice.  But Taylor does not even like nuts added to brownies.  He wants them plain (and boring), so after I made the two recently with the cookie additions, he begged for just plain brownies.  About the same time, Anna at Cookie Madness made these One Pan Brownies.  Perfect.  Taylor will love them!  I followed the recipe that she got from the Food Network from Sara Moulton exactly.  The brownies were easy and all made in the same pan that the chocolate is melted in.  Spread dough in an 8 inch pan lined with foil and sprayed lightly with cooking spray.  I baked these for about 22 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center came out clean.

You'd think Taylor would be super happy, but after giving some of these away and Daddy eating quite a few of them, he only got two in two days and wasn't very happy when I informed him that they were all gone.  They are good and fudgey, not cakey and super simple.  A great go-to quick brownie, instead of using those boxed mixes!  Taylor thanks you for finding this one, Anna!


Monday, July 28, 2008

Can You Say "Whoa!" Brownies!

I made some more ooey and gooey brownies. 


These are my take on Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Brownies.  I put balls of cookie dough that had been frozen in the brownie batter after the brownie batter was put in the pan.  Then baked them.  After the brownies cooled I spread a cookie dough on top, the dough is okay to eat because it does not have eggs.  I need to tell you that I was in a hurry when I made these, and I used a boxed brownie mix that I'd found on sale.  I have never tried this brand of brownie before, so I bought them.  It is Ghirardelli Ultimate Fudge Brownie Mix.  Talk about an amazing, rich, dense brownie.  Sorry to say, but Betty Crocker and Pillsbury boxed mixes have nothing on these!  (I still keep a small stock of brownie mixes in storage for times when I'm in a quick pinch and you can't beat those Betty Crocker or Pillsbury boxes being on sale for $.99 from time to time!)  For the frozen cookie dough balls, I used the dough I'd made the other day when I made the Nestle Toll House recipe. 

For the "dough" that was spread on top of the brownies, I'd found a recipe on Recipezaar that I used, but changed slightly.  Here is what I did:

1/4 cup butter, softened

1/4 cup packed brown sugar

2 tablespoon granulated sugar

2 tablespoon milk

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup flour

1/4 cup mini semi sweet chocolate chips

Mix together the butter and sugars until fluffy and combined well.  Add milk and vanilla and mix well.  Stir in flour until combines.  Add chocolate chips, stir to combine. 

After brownies are cooled, spread cookie dough on top evenly.  These were made in an 8x8 pan that was lined with foiled and sprayed lightly with cooking spray. 

I then frosted the brownies with a fudge icing mixture that came with the Ghirardelli mix.  I thought they cut beautifully and tasted great.  A little slice goes a long way!  If you are a cookie dough lover, which I must admit I am, these are for you.  I tasted these, but have committed myself to not eating another bite.  Any takers?  Come get them! ;)


Saturday, July 26, 2008

Ooey and Gooey Frosted Chocolate Chip Cookie Brownies

I saw this recipe here at a cute blog by a sixteen year old girl.  The blog is called A Peek In Priscilla's Kitchen.  She bakes up some great things, especially for being so young.  She made some yummy looking brownies recently and since I was looking to make something ooey and gooey, this is what I decided on.  The brownies were GREAT.  I changed things up a bit, so I will write the recipe as I made it, but please go check out here recipe and brownies and get a look at all the yummy things she bakes!


The recipe from Priscilla used a tube of refrigerator cookie dough, but I made a batch of Nestle Toll House cookie dough (I've been wanting to make that recipe anyway, haven't actually made that recipe forever).  The tube of store bought dough is 18 oz., and the recipe says to spread that in a 9x13 inch pan and bake for 10 minutes.  As I was spreading the 18 oz. I'd measured of the Toll House dough, I didn't think it was quite enough, so I ended up using 24 oz. of dough.  I baked a Toll House cookie today as I'd chilled the rest of the dough to see how the cookies would bake.  Here is a Nestle Toll House Cookie baked after 24 hours chilling the dough.


I used about 1 1/4 oz. of dough for this cookie which measured 2-3 inches after baked.  These cookies are just okay, they just are not The Times Ultimate or JT's or Levains, but I am ever thankful for Ruth Wakefield and her creation of the chocolate chip cookie at the Toll House Inn so many year ago!  Okay, back to the brownies.

The cookie dough baked for 10 minutes, while I whipped up the brownies.  The recipe used melted chocolate, marshmallows and butter.  I thought it was interesting to use the melted marshmallows and I happened to have a bag in the cupboard that needed to be used as the mallows were all starting to become one.  The brownies were added to the cookie layer and baked.  I think they ended up slightly over baked and would try this again, but either not bake the cookie layer a bit first, or bake it for less time.  While still delicious, the cookie layer was just a bit dry.  The brownies are great and for the frosting layer, I didn't use the recipe from Priscilla's brownies, but used one from a cookbook, Cookies, Brownies & Bars, by Elinor Klivans (who may I remind you has one of my favorite chocolate chip cookie recipes called Chock Full of Chocolate Chip Cookies (which is in her book, The Essential Chocolate Chip Cookbook).  This frosting recipe is SO good!  And why wouldn't it be?  It has one stick of butter for only one cup powdered sugar.  So yummy.  I don't make or eat frosting very often, but to taste this one made me want to make a chocolate cake or something, just to make the frosting again.  And I'm reminded why I'm NOT eating these things and will just wink and tell you that this whole amazing brownie recipe just has a little bit of butter, that's all! ;)


Here is the recipe as I made it.

Ooey Gooey Frosted Cookie Brownies

24 oz. Nestle Toll House Cookie Dough made exactly as written on the bag of chocolate chips, you will have extra dough for some cookies.  Darn it!  ;)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spread dough in a 9x13 baking pan lined with foil and sprayed with cooking spray.  Bake for 10 minutes (I would do less or not at all for a more gooey cookie layer).  In the meantime, make the brownies


3 cups miniature marshmallows

12 oz. (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

1 cup butter

4 eggs, slightly beaten

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup chopped walnuts

Stir over low heat until melted and smooth the marshmallows, butter and chocolate.  Transfer to a large mixing bowl and cool slightly.  Whisk in eggs and vanilla until well incorporated.  Combine flour, baking powder and salt and stir into chocolate mixture.  Stir in nuts.  Spread over cookie layer.  Bake for 30-35 minutes (I only baked 24 minutes and still thought they were a little dry).  Cool completely on wire rack.   

Chocolate Frosting:  (from Elinor Klivans) (adapted every so slightly by me)

2 oz. unsweetened chocolate, chopped

1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature

1 cup powdered sugar, sifted

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 tablespoon milk (I used whole milk, Elinor says heavy cream--I didn't have any)

Melt chocolate in a double boiler, or carefully in a microwave stirring every 15-20 seconds.  Stir until smooth.  Let cool until lukewarm, about five minutes.  In a large bowl, combine butter and powdered sugar.  Using a mixer, beat until well blended, about one minute.  Add vanilla and beat until combined.  Scrape bowl occasionally with rubber spatula.  Add the cooled, melted chocolate and beat until evenly mixed.  Add the cream (or milk) and beat until mixture looks fluffy, about one minute.  (This frosting is SO good, oh, I think I already said that!)

Frost brownies when cool.  Enjoy and ignore the 5 sticks of butter and 5 eggs (the cookie dough has 2, but since we didn't use it all....)  These are worth a bar once or twice in your life, right!


And since this blog isn't just about baking, here's a boy or two!  Parker has been riding a bike with training wheels for a couple years now (this is Kevin's preferred method of the boys learning to ride a bike, I say just teach them without the extra wheels.  Both methods work.)  So yesterday we finally took the extra wheels off Parker's bike for him to begin his journey of riding a bike like a big boy.  He IS almost 7!  Scott just learned last year because we kept the training wheels on WAY too long and because he was just too nervous about learning to ride.  We took Parker's extra wheels off yesterday and within 30 minutes he was riding the bike like a pro!  Go Parker.  The boys have really been having fun riding bikes with the neighbors since then!  Now we just need to get Parker a bigger bike!



Can't find a picture of Scottie riding his bike, but we went to the zoo last Saturday and here's a fun picture of the group.  We went with some friends, the Berghouts, so also in the picture are Laura and Frances.  It was SO stinking hot and humid at the zoo, I don't know what I was thinking as the zoo was all my idea, but we toughed it out and had a good time.


That's right, at the Topeka Zoo the animals are all statues!  Ha!


This one is just because I'm sure they will really appreciate it!  Liz and Dan Berghout,  uh, ride 'em cowboy?



We saw monkeys.....oh wait, that's Scottie!


Sam and the goat became friends.  Kevin doing some pretty cool photography.  Yep, it's a well rounded zoo, goats and bees!


To finish off our adventures to the zoo, we stopped for frozen custard afterwards.  It really helped cool us off.  While eating my sugar free/fat free custard, I saw a sign for a .50 cent cookie dough cone.  Now seriously, do you think I could pass that up?  It was cute to say the least!  And I totally spoiled my trying to be good having sugar free/fat free custard.  Next time I think I'll just go for the regular custard, make mine chocolate chip cookie dough please! ;)


Thursday, July 24, 2008

Pioneer Day Goodies

Today is Pioneer Day, if you are not aware, that is the day the pioneers of long ago walked across the U.S. in search of a place to build their new Zion and settled in Salt Lake City, Utah.  It was 161 years ago.  This was after Joseph Smith restored the church on the earth and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints had been established.  You can go to to learn more about it. 

It is a big celebration on this day every year as we remember the pioneers and all they endured for their rights and in finding peace for their families.  If you're in Utah, it's even a government holiday.  There are lots of celebrations with parades and food and games.  I thought it would be fun today to find some good old pioneer recipes to try and make with the kids.  And when I say with the kids, I mean with Taylor, basically.  The other two are playing at a neighbor's house and, well, Sam just isn't a big helper in the kitchen yet.  One thing the pioneers did as they crossed the plains in covered wagons was live very frugally with very little means.  The cookies I chose today are just that, while even then, I'll bet the pioneers didn't have all these things even on hand.  While they did settle in a few places for a few years at a time, such as Kirtland, Ohio and Nauvoo, Illinois, they were driven west by mobs of people who didn't think they should have freedom of religion in their areas at the time.  So these cookies I found are called Nauvoo Ginger Cookies.

Remember that I mentioned they used frugal ingredients in their baking!  I first thought these would be yummy and similar to a good ginger molasses cookie, as that is some of the main ingredients.  Well, these "little rock" cookies really aren't very tasty and in truth, I'll probably throw them out.  Taylor does NOT like them and didn't appreciate the smell of the molasses as he helped mix ingredients together.


When I noticed the first sheet was looking like stones, I flattened the second with a glass.


So they looked better, but that didn't change the taste.  They aren't very gingery.  And, well, when I saw that the recipe only called for 1/2 teaspoon of ginger, I wondered if that was enough.  They are somewhat dry and kind of gummy and just really bland on taste.  I even rolled them in a cinnamon/sugar mixture that was not even part of the recipe.  Oh well, we had fun pretending we were pioneers.  I am not going to post the recipe, but you can find it here.  I'm really glad I wasn't a pioneer, as I just know they never had one of these: (The New York Times Ultimate Chocolate Chip Cookies with some added pecans-yum!)


Okay, so bomb number one with the ginger cookies.  We decided to make one more pioneer favorite.  This was said to have been one of Joseph Smith's favorite "treats".  The Johnnycake!  Now I knew this was similar to cornbread, so we found a recipe (also found on the link above to the ginger cookies) and quickly whipped them up.  There was a lot more wet ingredients compared to only the cornmeal and a few leavening ingredients.  When I poured it in the pan (the recipe makes 8x8 pan, which I cut in half and made mine in a bread pan), it looked like milk/egg liquid.  We baked it up and, well, made some cornbread.  That's really all it was.  At first taste, I thought it was a bit too eggy, but I tasted it again and it really wasn't too bad.  So if you're looking for a simple cornbread recipe, check this one out!  It also has no refined sugar but just a touch of molasses and honey, as well as very little fat (1 T. butter for the 8x8 pan).  So there you have it, a serving of grains and a reason to think about the pioneers and what they had to do for us.  They really endured a lot as they traveled and I am thankful for them and thankful that I wasn't one of them!


Now, I really need to go make something ooey and gooey.  It's killing me not to!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Look, Mom! My Own "Garden" and some Oatmeal Cookies


Can you see the three tomatoes? 


How 'bout these jalapenos?  There's just two, but lots of flowers and little ones starting.  Aren't no rabbits or coyotes getting 'em this time, they are up on the deck.  I forgot to photo the basil, two gorgeous plants that just won't quit.  Love it.  Next year I will do a lot more up on the deck.


I tried something today that I've been wanting to try for a while now.  I made some cookies using all natural xylitol.  It is a natural-occurring sugar alcohol that comes in the form of small crystals much like sugar.  While it being newer is more expensive (I paid $5.99 for 16 oz.) it was fun to try and I will probably make more goodies from time to time trying it along with some other natural sweeteners, like honey, evaporated cane sugar, agave nectar, to name a few.  The cookie recipe I used was from a box of The Silver Palate Thick & Rough Oats (steel cut oats), but I have totally adapted the recipe and will post it how I made it.

I made the dough and then divided it in half and made half with some cinnamon and raisns and half with some chocolate chips (so I guess the chocolate chip ones have some sugar, not much though!)

No Sugar Oatmeal Cookies

1/2 cup Smart Balance Buttery Spread

1/2 cup xylitol

4 tablespoons honey

1/4 cup liquid Egg Beaters w/touch of yolk (1 egg)

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup plus 2 T. whole wheat pastry flour

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 cup Silver Palate Thick & Rough Oatsl (old fashioned oats would work)

3 tablespoons mini semi-sweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup raisins

dash or two of ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.  Set aside.

In mixing bowl, combine buttery spread with xylitol and honey, mix well until creamy.  Add Egg Beaters and vanilla extract.  Mix well. 

In another medium size bowl, combine whole wheat pastry flour, baking soda, salt and oats.  Whisk together.  Add to wet ingredients.  Mix until combined.  If you'd like to separate to do half with chocolate and half with raisins, this is where I separated the dough and added the specified amounts of chips and raisins.  Both cookies are good.

Drop by rounded teaspoons about two inches apart on baking sheets.  Bake for 8-9 minutes.  Let cookies cool on baking sheet for five minutes.  Remove to cooling racks.  This recipe made 31 cookies.

The Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies


The cookies are a bit more cakey than I'd wanted, but that is probably because of the Smart Balance.  They probably don't even really need the honey, or maybe less.  These cookies are pretty healthy as they have Smart Balance for the butter and Egg Beaters for the whole egg as well as the natural sugar and whole wheat flour.  They still taste great though.  I will make these again.

The Oatmeal Raisin Cookies


Xylitol has 10 calories and 4 carbs per teaspoon and sugar has 16 calories and 4 carbs per teaspoon.  While that may not seem like a significant amount, it is the fact that sugar is chemically processed and xylitol is all natural that really makes a difference.  You can substitute it for equal amounts with granulated sugar in recipes.  Now I want to try a good old full fat chocolate chip cookies using xylitol and see if they come out just as good.  JT, Levain, hmmm, which to try??

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Summer At Its Finest And Some Stripes

Besides the corn on the cob that I love in the summer, THIS says it all.  I got this at the Saturday farmer's market.  So juicy and delicious!  The taste does not even compare to the melons you buy in the store!


We cut it in to chunks along with some watermelon and served it for dinner last night.  The boys LOVE it.  Of course, when I say we, I mean I had a certain helper to cut it.  And he loves to be photographed! ;)

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Stripes, what stripes.  Well, I saw on Baking Bites, Nicole made a fun Zebra Cake and decided I had to give it a try.  I'm wishing I would have just made one whole cake, as Nicole did, but decided to make little bread tin size cakes to give away.  So I didn't get as nice and as many stripes as if I'd made one cake.  Still turned out to be kind of a fun thing.  On Baking Bites, she gives the recipe and some links to others who have made the cakes.  They are fun to look at.  I'm glad I tried it and whenever I make the cake again, (shhhhh) I will probably just use a white or yellow cake mix and add some cocoa to it.  I would use a dark cocoa also.  I felt like the cake didn't have enough flavor, so you could just tweak that, too, if you want.  Also just beware that this is not a low fat cake in any way (hence my reason for wanting to give it away!)  I am curious to try a white cake mix, since that only uses egg whites and is lower in fat as well as not quite so much oil.  I think it would still work.  I thought the cake wasn't very sweet, so I would definitely put some kind of topping on, like frosting, or as I did some chocolate flavored Cool Whip.  I also dusted mine with powdered sugar.  Nicole didn't put a frosting on her cake and I can't blame her--her cake is gorgeous and you wouldn't want to cover that up. 



So, back to boy stuff for a minute.  Look at what I caught Sammie doing yesterday!  He was being very quiet (which is always trouble).  I assumed he had found some little Legos of his brother's and was getting away with playing with them, or eating them.  Here is what I saw when I went into the room he was in-----

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There had been an empty laundry basket that Sam was playing with.  He turned it upside down and used it to step up on the piano bench and then on to the piano.  That little stink!  I'm glad I caught him (and just happened to have the camera in my hand at the time).  He really could have just leaned back slightly and fallen a good one!  So, no more laundry baskets for Sam!

And the real reason Sam's hair is curly----

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Right, Matt?  Once your curl your hair, it stays curly forever.  (The real story, which I only need to clarify since Sam recently burned his fingers on my flat iron, is that this is an iron I never use and he got it out of my bathroom cupboard while I was getting ready for the day the other day.  I let him "play" with it for a minute.  Darn that face!  He's so cute and really developing such a fun and funny personality!   My younger brother, now in his 30's, maintains that he has had curly hair his whole life because our older sister curled his hair one day when he was little!

Taylor also recently has this thing for wanting to help me make dinner by cutting up vegetables (which isn't always the most convenient thing to let him do.  So the other day I let him make a salad for daddy.  By the way, in all his cutting, I only let him use a butter knife.  So he chopped away at some carrots, cucumber and lettuce and made this beauty.  I wonder if any of the Iron Chef's need a sous chef?


Here he is loving the camera again.

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I made this yummy salad last week that I got from Judy at Judy's Kitchen for Broccoli Tomato Salad.  It was really good!  I added a bunch of other veggies to mine.  Check out Judy's salad and get the recipe on the link above. 


I added some chopped green peppers, zucchini, yellow squash and corn cut off the cob, all from the farmer's market.  Once again, it's Judy's vinaigrette that makes the salad so yummy.  It's a simple dressing with lemon, garlic and olive oil.  Oh, I'm seeing some sugar snap peas in there as well.  I really just start chopping up whatever veggies are in the fridge.  Make this one for a great refreshing summer side salad.  I ate this with some green beans someone had given me from a co-op exchange, a few boiled potatoes and sweet potatoes (also from the market) and a bit of chicken leftover from the night before as well as a little spoonful of sloppy joe meat (which is what I'd made for everyone else for dinner--I just don't care for sloppy joes nor should I eat the bread.)


Gonna go find some more leftover salads in the fridge for lunch right now!  Go to your farmer's markets!

Monday, July 21, 2008

"Are You Going to Put This Picture On the Internet, Mom?" (And A Healthy Oatmeal Snack Bar Recipe)

Last night as the boys were having a snack, as they were eating it, Parker asked if I was going to put these pictures "on the internet".  So here they are.  When the boys know they are on camera, they do not have the most photographic faces.  BUT I must say their snack was GREAT.  Scott mentioned more than once that this is the best!  All I did was have some brownies (made with Egg Beaters and applesauce instead of whole eggs and oil) and chocolate pudding and let them make their own "trifle".  They piled whatever the wanted into their cups.  I had lots of berries and other fruit, but they mostly chose the chocolate.  I had some chocolate chips, butterscotch chips, nuts, toffee bits, Cool Whip all for adding to the dessert.  Love doing this!  This is what we do for birthdays instead of cake because no one really loves cake here, except we do it with ice cream sundaes, they can have as much as they want and put all kinds of candies and things on top.  The boys love this and feel like they made their own treat.

Scott filled his cup to the brim and even went back for seconds!




Even Sam loved his!  By the time he finished, his entire tray and tummy and arms were covered in it.  I think he just wanted to get a bath out of the whole deal!


I have so many recipes I'm behind on posting, but here's one that I made a few days ago that is so yummy and has NO sugar.  I had to quickly wrap each of these individually and freeze them so I wouldn't keep eating them.  A great healthy treat for taking on the go.  I got this recipes from another site I love reading called Kath Eats Real Food.  This gal is a rock star to me in eating healthy and exercising daily.  She photographs everything she eats so that she can be accountable for all her calories, etc.  She made these yummy Baked Oatmeal Bars.  What I like about them is that you can really add whatever you want to the oatmeal mixture, nuts, dried fruit, even chocolate if you'd like.  It's really just a method for a great "bar" instead of buying those expensive not-as-tasty commercial ones.  I did think there was a bit too much milk in the recipe, especially after mixing it all and dumping it in the pan, but it baked okay.  They are like a soft chewy bar, not crunchy.  I'm going to try them next with a bit less milk to see how they turn out.  I also added about 1/2 teaspoon baking powder just to give them a bit more lift.  I really like these and love that they are healthy, with no added sugar.  Her recipe calls for no sweetener at all, but suggests you can add some honey if you'd like, so I added two tablespoons of honey to mine.  Kath adds cinnamon to hers, but since I added a couple tablespoons of mini chocolate chips, I left that out.  Next time I make these, I'm going to do no chocolate and add the cinnamon.  I used dried cranberries, dried apricots (cut up), hmmm, what else, oh some freeze dried bananas, walnuts (as the recipe says) and I used Egg Beaters with a touch of yolk for the one large egg.  Okay, here, I'll write the recipe as I made it, but be sure to check out Kath's on the link above!

Baked Oatmeal Snack Bars

1 1/2 cups old fashioned oats

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1/3 cup chopped walnuts (you could substitute pecans), toasted

1/4 cup dried cranberries

1/4 cup dried apricots (cut into small pieces)--I love these

2 tablespoons toasted wheat germ

2 tablespoons chopped almonds, toasted

1/3 cup Funky Monkey Carnival Mix (freeze dried bananas, pineapple, apples, not sure what else was in it--but it's good)

1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

1 1/4 cup skim milk

2 tablespoons honey  (you could also add some brown sugar if you'd like)

1 Egg Beater With Touch of Yolk

1 teaspoon vanilla

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Mix dry ingredients in medium size bowl.  Set aside.  Mix wet ingredients in another bowl.  Stir together.  Add wet to dry and combine well.  Pour into a 9x9 baking pan coated with cooking spray or lined with foil, then sprayed with cooking spray (this is my preferred method as the foil always easily lifts right out, after cooling the bars and you don't scratch your pan by cutting bars while they are still in the pan.)

Bake for 40 minutes.  Kath cut her into 9 squares, I cut mine into 16 squares.  You choose.

Here's the yummy bars.  Enjoy a healthy treat!