Favourite Recipes of 2012

My favourite recipes of 2012 included an easy, homemade, chocolate cake (and by “homemade” I mean made-in-my-home but not from scratch) and a complete breakfast we had for dinner. Kid-friendly and le simple – you will love these recipes…

Food

Best_Ever_Chocolate_Sour_Cream_CakeBetty Crocker and I spent many an afternoon together creating the best ever chocolate cake.  Using her mix cut my measuring and pouring time in half allowing me to make the most of nap time. TIP: add in chocolate pudding to make the cake more dense. And yes, I passed this cake off as my own at potlucks and tea parties – why not? It was homemade (see my definition of homemade above).

Ham_And_Broccoli_Quiche

 

 

I switched up this Ham and Broccoli Quiche Recipe by deleting the ham, finely chopping the broccoli (the kids don’t like chunks) and baked them in mini muffin tins for 25 minutes. I was so tired of having the same foods for dinner (and the same fight over kids not eating the four food groups at one meal) so I declared “breakfast for dinner” night and served these mini Quiche with baked peameal bacon. Complete dinner WIN that evening.

Life is busy…cooking shouldn’t be! :-)


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Pre-Cooking and Freezing

I hate cooking at 5pm. The baby bugs the kids. The kids bug me about the baby. (sounds like a segment of “Farmer in the Dell right?!). Chopping and roasting at 5pm is almost impossible. These chilly nights and long days have turned me into a pre-cooking and freezing Mom. When I cook ahead – I’m a better Mom at 5pm – because I can be present with the kids…and not chopping and roasting.

My slow cooker has been my saving grace. I have been making chicken rice soup, tomato sauce, and beef stew – almost weekly in it. A gift from my Mother-In-Law, I never knew how much I would love my slow cooker. Prep everything at lunch and have it cook away the afternoon. Love it.

Next on my list Slow Cooker Grandmas Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe

Looks yum right?! However, I would omit the tomatoes (because I always feel the need to tweak a recipe and make it my own.)
And since I am making turkey tonight for dinner (sigh – I will be roasting at 5pm – bad planning on my part today)…this Wild Rice-Turkey Pot Pie Recipe will turn a fail into a win – by pre-cooking it with our left-overs tonight and turning it into tomorrow night’s dinner.
Isn’t turkey a great comfort food? – makes me think of holidays and family get-togethers! Here’s how to make it (via http://lifemadedelicious.ca)

Ingredients:
Filling 2 cups cooked wild rice 2 cups cubed cooked turkey 1 1/2 cups  Green Giant®  frozen mixed vegetables, thawed, drained 1 can (10  oz/284 mL) condensed cream of mushroom soup 1/4 cup milk 2 tablespoons dried minced onion Topping 1 1/2 cups  Bisquick® mix 3/4 cup milk 1 egg

Method:

    • Heat oven to 400°F. Reserve 1/2 cup of the wild rice in medium bowl. In ungreased 2-quart casserole, stir remaining wild rice and remaining filling ingredients until mixed.
    • Into reserved 1/2 cup wild rice, stir all topping ingredients with fork just until blended. Pour over turkey mixture.
    • Bake uncovered 25 to 35 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Slow Cooker Recipes

I call it “arsenic hour” – the hour before dinner when I am supposed to be chopping, cutting and cooking however instead I am supervising, coaching and baby-holding. The end of day rush (after-school yet before dinner) is my most frustrating time of the day. The kids need my attention, the baby is fussy and I am simply tired. I find the days I use my slow cooker – end of day is so much better.

My mother-in-law gave me our slow cooker years ago (she had one and thought it was great). Over the years, I have used the cooker for stews, soups and tomato sauces. It seriously saves my sanity. I can do the chopping, cutting and cooking in the afternoon when the big kids are at school and the baby is down for his nap. Then it cooks away without me.

The end of day rush becomes less rush-y as dinner is already on the go…giving me time to supervise homework, hear the stories of the day and give our hugs with reckless abandon.

I’m already menu planning…

Slow Cooker Grandmas Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe to make now for when those fall coughs and colds start visiting.

Slow Cooker Three-Bean Chili Recipe for my husband and dear daughter #2 who both enjoy chili on a chilly day.

Slow Cooker Beef and Barley Soup Recipe because we just started eating barley and this recipe sounds delish!


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

First Cheerios

The first year of a baby’s life brings so many firsts…my son’s first word was “Papa”, his first love was Elmo, his first steps were at 10 months, and the first snack I gave to him for self-feeding was Cheerios (recommended by the nurse at my Mom and Tot group). So many firsts in that year…this is my first time to actually write it all down. And celebrate just a little.

Though my son has grown past all those first – he now has a 17 word vocabulary, he loves trucks a bit more than Elmo, he now runs rather than toddles – he still holds on to one first…Cheerios being his go-to snack.

Portable, healthy, yummy, and safe as baby’s first finger-food – Cheerios is our go to. My 12-year-old still takes dry Cheerios as her desert after dinner (she just likes the taste!).

General Mills together with Cheerios are celebrating tot’s First Cheerios across Canada. The first 1,000 participants, who share a picture on that Facebook page, of their little one First Cheerios moment will receive a coupon for a FREE box of yummy Cheerios, with a $1.00 off coupon for everyone after the first thousand who submit a photo!

PLUS you could see your baby on a box of Cheerios! Watch the shelves in Spring 2013, when we’ll be unveiling the completed mosaic on limited-edition family-sized (400g) boxes of Cheerios!

Imagine…

Yes, that is my little one on a Cheerios box (ok, I photoshopped it…but you could actually get YOUR child on a Cheerio box  if you take part in the mosiac…not a bad souvenir for the baby’s first memory box!)

Visit http://www.facebook.com/LifeMadeDelicious to take part in the mosaic and enter to receive your coupon for a FREE box of Cheerios.


Legal details: Limit of one (1) Free Box of Cheerios coupon per household, and one (1) $1.00 Off Coupon per household per calendar year.
Disclosure – I am participating in the First Cheerios Blog Tour by Mom Central Canada on behalf of General Mills. I received compensation as a thank you for participating and for sharing my honest opinion. The opinions on this blog are my own

Summer Salad Ideas

File this under: BBQ Ideas. Sub-head: crunch!

Click here for BBQ recipes that would go great with these salads.

Apple-Cheese and Toasted Walnut Salad

Honey-Lime Berries and Greens

Corn And Black Bean Salad

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

BBQ Ideas

File this under: BBQ Ideas sub-head: Yum!

Easy grilling recipes for your family or even a larger crowd.

Glazed Beef Tenderloin with Herbed New Potatoes

Grilled Salmon with Sugar Snaps and Corn

Grilled Bacon-Cheeseburgers (Crowd Size)


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

Mother’s Day Brunch

It’s coming!  It’s coming!  Mother’s Day and the required brunch is upon us.  Here are a few foodie ideas to get your Mother’s Day Brunch on.

Ingredients:

1 box frozen spinach, thawed, squeezed to drain 1/3 cup (75 mL) garlic-and-herbs spreadable cheese Additional freshly grated Parmesan cheese, if desired 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded mozzarella cheese 1/4 cup (50 mL) shredded Italian cheese blend 3 tbsp (45 mL) freshly grated Parmesan cheese 2 tbsp (25 mL) finely chopped shallot or onion 1/4 tsp (1 mL) garlic powder 1/8 tsp (.5 mL) pepper 1 can (8 rolls) Pillsbury* Original Crescents or Pillsbury* Multugrain Crescents 24 paper-thin slices (about 4 inch diameter) smoked ham

Method:

  • STEP 1 – Heat oven to 375ºF. In medium bowl, mix all ingredients except crescents and ham until well blended. Set aside.  Unroll dough; seperate into 4 rectangles. Firmly press perforations to seal.
  • STEP 2 – Cut each rectangle into 6 (2-inch) squares. Press 1 square in bottom and up side of each of 24 ungreased mini muffin cups. Pat each ham slice dry with paper towel. Place 1 ham slice over dough in each cup (edges of ham will be higher than side of cup.) Spoon rounded 1 teaspoon spinach mixture onto ham in centre of each cup.
  • STEP 3 – Bake 14 to 18 minutes or until crust is golden brown and filling is hot. To prevent excessive browning of ham, cover lightly with foil after first 5 minutes of baking. Cool in pan 1 minute. Gently remove from pan; let stand 3 minutes. Sprinkle lightly with Parmesan cheese before serving. Serve warm.

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

Oprah Lifeclass in Toronto

Last night, I had the opportunity to attend Oprah’s Lifeclass in Toronto (big thanks to lifemadedelicious.ca and momcentralcanada.com) at the Toronto Metro Convention Centre.

8,500 people (pretty much all female) lined up down the road, around the block, around another block and another (seriously longest line evah!) for hours and hours to see Oprah.  The line up…not so enjoyable.

The Lifeclass speaker lineup – that’s another thing…Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra (I met him, in person, years ago – very nice man), Bishop T.D. Jakes and Iyanla Vanzant.  The theme for the pre-show seemed to be “Be pregnant with purpose“.

My dates for the evening were Sarah, Jaime, Cora and Lena (all rocking the wind-swept hair).

 Inside big screens projected the speakers to the thousands and thousands (most of them with blackberries, iphones and ipads clicking pictures, writing notes and sending tweets #OinTO).

The evening show was live streamed on the Oprah Winfrey Networksite as well as her televised Lifeclass.

Me with Lena

The theme was “forgiveness” – acknowledging, asking, finding and letting go.  Not just from others but from ourselves.  My take away was that we all struggle to forgive which pulls us into the past rather than allowing us the freedom to move forward.

I know I often don’t forgive myself (I’m a shoulda, woulda, coulda type).  I declare this year to be “Be more gracious year.  Also the year to start forgiving more”.  I’m already happier….see me smiling with Lena ->  :-)
Attending Oprah’s Lifeclass was an experience.  7 hours of speakers.  8,500 human bodies cheering as one group.  1 dynamic Oprah who was as gracious speaking to the masses during commercial breaks as interviewing Tony Robbins on air.

Lifeclass…it was.

 

Homemade Cupcakes

Homemade Cupcakes – with a twist.  Check out these awesome ideas for your next birthday party!

Cookie and Cone Birthday Clowns

Just Bugging You Cupcake Cones

Let's Party Cake

Frosted Cupcake Cones

TIP:  You CAN bake ice cream cones – just fill each cone 2/3 full of cake batter – stand on cookie sheet – and bake 20 min.

For the recipes to each of these awesomtastic cupcake ideas click on the picture or surf over to homemade cupcakes.


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own

Flowers for the Teacher recipe

What a cool craft/baking with kids activity!  This Flowers for the Teacher recipe is neato.  I also think this would be a great activity to usher in spring (or at least usher in the a Sunday afternoon in spring).  And the Mother’s Day table  could use a center piece!

Ingredients:

1 pouch (496 g) Betty Crocker* Sugar Cookie Mix (or Chocolate Chip Cookie Mix or Oatmeal Cookie Mix) 1/2 cup (125 mL) butter or margarine, melted 1/4 cup (50 mL) flour 1 egg 20 wooden sticks with rounded edges Decorating gel (any colour) Candy decorations (as desired) Sliced almonds Small planters pot Floral foam Green pipe cleaners Mini-chocolate chips

Method:

  • Heat oven to 375°F (190°C) for shiny metal baking sheet or 350°F (180°C) for dark or non-stick baking sheet. Stir cookie mix, melted butter, flour and egg in medium bowl until soft dough forms.
  • Roll dough on floured surface until about 1/4-inch (1 cm) thick. Cut dough with 1 1/2-inch (3.5 cm) round cookie cutter. (Dip cutter in flour for easy cutting)
  • Place 2-inches (5 cm) apart on ungreased baking sheet. Carefully insert a wooden stick into bottom of each cookie.
  • Bake 6 to 8 minutes or until edges are light golden brown. Cool 1 minute before removing from baking sheet to wire rack. Cool completely, about 30 minutes.
  • Decorate as desired using decorating gels, candy decorations and sliced almonds.

Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Kid Friendly Meals

Meals can get redundant (and boring) really quickly – well, in my house anyway.  Pasta night.  Steak night.  Chicken night.  Same ol’ same ol’ here.

I’m on the look out for some kid friendly meals that might have a yum factor for us adults.  I stumbled on Top 10 kid-friendly March Break Meals (insert A-Ha moment here…and not the 80s band type of A-Ha moment).

Oven-Fried Chicken Tenders and Family Favourite Macaroni and Cheese might just be the switch ups I need.   Yes, still pasta and chicken – but kid friendly.

I am guilty to catering to the tastes of my kids when it comes to cooking dinner.  But I want dinner to be a pleasant experience rather than a war of “try it” “eat it”.  The dinner table should be a happy place n’est pas?


Disclosure: I am part of the Life Made Delicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliation with this group. The opinions on this blog are my own.

Healthy Snacks for Kids and Travel

Having just returned from California (read my Disney tips) with 3 kids + 2 five hour flights + 2 three hour car rides…yes all in one trip!…I can tell you snacks are super when you’ve got kids en route.

Dry cereal is my go-to snack because A) no refridgeration required B) fits in a ziplock bag C) all 3 kids can now munch on some sort of dry cereal.  And I like that you can mix it up to personal choice.  For example…

Gluten Free Snack Mix with Chex

DD1 would love this with just the popcorn and Chex .

Cheerios Snack Mix

And both biggies would like this with just the Cheerios and pretzels

Cheerios

And the baby is more than happy with good ol’ Cheerios.

It’s good to have healthy snack choices when you are travelling with kids.  I should know.  I’ve travelled with kids!


Disclosure: I am part of the Life MadeDelicious Blogger program and I receive special perks as part of my affiliationwith this group. The opinions on this blog are my own