Monday, March 19, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Pancakes

I saw a recipe for these on new favorite place to waste significant amounts of time on the internet. Anyway, I decided to try these with my all-time favorite whole wheat pancake recipe and all I have to say is "WOW". There really isn't another word because when you combine fluffy whole wheat pancakes with brown sugar, butter and cinnamon and then top with a thin layer of icing...what else would you say. You might say, "that doesn't really sound like a healthy breakfast". might be right because once you top those pancakes with frosting, what's underneath doesn't matter quite as much. However, when you remember that what is underneath is a pancake made from whole wheat don't feel quite so bad. Just think of it as a healthy alternative to a cinnamon roll...that helps with the justifying part. Anyway, I figure, I can make these for holiday mornings and thrill the souls of my troops and not feel too bad about it because compared to what they might normally eat on a holiday morning...we are still doing alright!

I used this recipe for the pancakes: it is my all-time favorite pancake batter: Nana's Light and Fluffy Pancakes

Then, in another container, I melted 3 T butter. I stirred in 1/2 C brown sugar and 1 tsp. cinnamon. Then, I poured this mixture into a squeeze bottle (you can use any type of squeeze bottle). Pour your pancake batter onto a hot griddle and squeeze the brown sugar mixture in a swirl pattern (if you can also just do dots of the brown sugar mixture all over and that is a little easier). Bake until golden brown, on both sides. Top with your favorite frosting. I used this cream cheese frosting that I used in this recipe: Pumpkin pillows with Cream Cheese Frosting. You will want to make WAY less of this frosting, though. I just used some I already had leftover in the fridge because this makes A LOT! Yummy!!!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

St. Patty's Lunch Ideas!

I know St. Patrick's Day is on Saturday, but why not add a St. Patrick's Day treat to your child's lunch on Thursday or Friday? These are EASY, really EASY. I'm sure that is obvious from the picture. But, the fact that they are easy doesn't mean my kids won't think they are REALLY fun when they find them in their lunch over the next couple of days! Easy, Cute, Fun...isn't that the best kind of treat???

So, to make these, simply melt green candy melts (you can get them at craft stores, or at Walmart, probably). To melt them, put them in a bowl (you'll want at least a cup of them, if not a bit more). Melt them in the microwave for 15 seconds at a time. Then stir. Put back in for another 15 seconds. Stir. Keep doing this until they are all fully melted. Then of course dip your graham crackers, Oreos, or any other type of cookie, cracker you want green, half-way in and sprinkle with green sprinkles. Let cool on wax paper. Store in the refrigerator in a sealed baggie until ready to eat.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Congo Bars

These are super sweet, but so yummy. Butterscotch...butterscotch...mmmmmmm. I've actually been trying to find a Congo Bar recipe for a long time and just located this one and fell in love. I do have to warn again...they are sweet and one will definitely satisfy your sweet tooth...but how wonderful is it to have one treat satisfy that ever-present sweet tooth of mine.

Congo Bars

2 C brown sugar
2/3 C oil
1 tsp. salt
1 T baking powder
1 1/4 tsp. vanilla
2 3/4 C whole wheat flour
3 eggs
1-11 oz. bag butterscotch chips

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Mix all ingredients except butterscotch chips until well-blended. Mix in chips. Pat down in greased 13X9 pan and bake for 18-20 minutes.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

"Greena" Colada

And...yet another "green" St. Patty's Day shake. We got a huge pineapple from our Bountiful Basket this weekend, so I made a drink I affectionately call a "Greena" Colada". Once again, I'm looking very festive, while sneaking in some serious "green" nutrition. Yes, I know, this one has a bit of sugar. Our pineapple wasn't too sweet. If you get a really good pineapple, you can definitely cut back on the sugar. The other thing you have to consider is that when you put juice concentrate in a pina is LOADED with sugar. This has no juice, just raw fruit and coconut milk...thus the added sugar. Besides, its the holidays, right and with all that green and raw fruit, you'll still feel good watching your kiddos guzzle it down!

Greena Colada

1 huge handful fresh spinach leaves
1 whole pineapple cut into chunks
approx. 4 C ice (more or less depending on how thick you want it)
1 C coconut milk
1 frozen banana
3 T Powdered Coffee Creamer
1/2 C sugar (I know...sugar, right? At least there's Spinach and hey, it's for the holidays!)
Try substituting honey...

Note: If you want the smoothie to be even more flavorful, freeze the pineapple AND the banana and add less ice...yum!

"Thin" Mint Chocolate Chip Shake

Okay, people...its green week! You need to take advantage of this time to sneak in some "green"! Your kids will fully believe that you are "tinting" everything green because of St. Patrick's Day...and lets pretend that you are. I mean, they are "green", right? I've been sneaking in spinach all weekend and the absolute truth kids have LOVED it! They think we're just having a grand old St. Patty's Day week and I'm loving seeing them guzzle that green goodness! Here is a recipe that my whole family loved. With Girl Scout Cookies in abundance right now, this is the perfect shake. These are delicious and my four year old was literally shouting for more shake. To which, I calmly added a little more of that vitamin-loaded shake to his glass. Drink up buddy!

"Thin" Mint Shake

6 Thin mint cookies
3 T vanilla instant pudding mix
1/4 C coffee creamer powder (coffemate, or cremora)
1 1/2 C milk
approx. 3 C ice (add more if you want it thicker)
1/8 tsp. peppermint extract
1 LARGE handful of fresh spinach

Hint: If you want it creamier, add more coffee creamer. If you want it thicker, add another T pudding mix and more ice.

P.S. For five servings of this shake, each serving has only 114 go ahead and have one!!!

I've got a few more "green ideas" up my sleeve, so keep checking the next few days. Aren't you proud of me for all my green posts after my near retirement over Christmas?

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Wild Rice Chicken Soup

I found this wonderful soup recipe on another website and thought I'd try it out. I'm not sure if people are aware, but you can totally thicken soups and gravies with whole wheat. Its true! If you don't believe me, try it out! I do it all the time. Anyway, I was going to try this recipe, with some changes for my own family and I found flour in it! Well, what do you know...there can be whole wheat in this after all!

2 1/4 C cooked wild rice (cook this ahead of time so it is ready to throw in the soup)
1/2 C butter
1 C frozen corn
1/4 C onion, chopped finely
1/2 C celery
1/2 - 1 C carrots
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (approx. 1 lb.)
3/4 C whole wheat flour
6 C chicken broth
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. Madras yellow curry powder
2 tsp. dried parsley
1/4 tsp. black pepper
2 C milk

Melt butter in a large skillet. Add vegetables and chicken and saute until chicken is cooked throughout and vegetables are somewhat tender (they won't be completely tender, but don't worry). I sauteed mine for about 15 minutes to get the veggies pretty tender. (If your skillet isn't large enough to hold the broth, you may need to transfer the chicken/veggie mixture to a large sauce pan now). Add whole wheat flour and stir into veggies. Add the chicken broth and spices, stirring constantly and bring mixture to a boil. Pour in rice and stir to evenly distribute. Stir and boil until the broth begins to thicken. Stir in milk and bring to a slow boil over medium heat. Reduce heat and let simmer for 45 minutes to an hour. Stir the soup periodically to make sure the veggies and rice do not sink to the bottom and burn.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Caramelita a word A-MAZ-ING

I've been trying to find a recipe that incorporates chocolate and caramel for a long time...I've found it. When I say "it", I mean it. This recipe is divine. It is gooey and rich with oozing caramel and semi-sweet melted goodness. They are soooo good! This will be one of my new favorites for any party to which I'm asked to bring a dessert because, really, can you think of anyone who doesn't love chocolate and caramel? Me neither.

Divinely Gooey Caramelita Bars

68 caramels
1 C whipping cream
1 1/2 sticks butter (3/4 C)melted
3/4 C brown sugar, packed
3/4 C + 2 T whole wheat flour
1 C rolled oats
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 C chocolate chips

Melt cream and caramels in a sauce pan over low heat, stirring constantly. This takes a while, but keep stirring. You don't want the caramels to stick to the bottom of the pan and burn. When caramels are completely melted, remove from heat and set aside. In a separate bowl, combine butter, oats, flour, brown sugar and baking soda. Pat 1/2 of this mixture into a 13X9 pan. Bake for 10 minutes at 350 degrees. Remove from oven and sprinkle chocolate chips all over the hot crust. Pour melted caramels all over the chocolate chips. Top with remaining oat mixture. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. Let cool for several hours! They are VERY hot and take a long time to cool. I even put mine in the refrigerator for an hour or so once it was cooled to help it solidify. Just be sure to remove it from the refrigerator so it has a chance to get back to room temperature before you serve them!

If you prefer a thicker crust, you can double the crust. Here are the new measurements for the crust if you want a thicker caramelita bar. You will still need to divide it in half and put half on the bottom and top with the other half. The layers will just be a lot thicker. I've made it both ways and they are DELICIOUS both ways!!!

Thicker crust:

1 1/2 C melted butter (3 sticks)
1 1/2 C brown sugar
1 3/4 C whole wheat flour
3 tsp. baking soda
2 C oats

P.S. I put these on and then immediately overshadowed them with my Easter treats. So, here is the limelight for my Caramelita bars.

Sunday, March 4, 2012

St. Patty's Trifle

Once again, no whole grains, just pure fun. This trifle is easy, fun and perfect for St. Patty's day "month?" I know I go way overboard for holidays, but really, what is more fun for kids AND adults than celebrating holidays one month at a time and ALWAYS having something to look forward to? I LOVE holidays! I'm going to apologize, again, for the lack of presentation of this dessert. I have realized I have to make them look a little prettier, so I'm going to try...after today. I'm even trying to learn some more about my camera from some tutorials on Pinterest. We'll see. If, all of a sudden, my desserts start looking like Paula Dean made them...then you know I've mastered the art of photography. For now, just know this was yummy, and my kids thought it was really fun, even if the layers weren't even.

St. Patty's Day Trifle

1 - 8 oz. pkg. cream cheese, softened
2 pkgs. vanilla instant pudding
3 C cold milk
1 container cool whip (divided)
Oreo cookies (or other chocolate sandwich cookie)

With electric mixer, beat cream cheese until fluffy. Add pudding and milk and beat until pudding firms up. Add 1 C cool whip and stir in with a spoon. Stir in as much food coloring as you want to make it as green as you desire. Using a blender or food processor, grind cookies into dust. Layer 1/4 cookies, 1/4 pudding mixture and then alternate four times until all cookies and all pudding mixture are used up. Top with the remaining cool whip and any extra cookie dust. Refrigerate until ready to eat. Easy and Yum!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Oreo Chocolate Chip Cookies

I saw a recipe like this on Pinterest, and I thought, "hmmmm...Oreos, Chocolate Chip Cookes...what's not to love!" At that point, I obviously decided to try them out and let me tell you, they did not disappoint! They were well-received by every single person in my family and my husband exclaimed and I quote, "These are AWESOME!" I

Oreo-Stuffed Chocolate Chip Cookies

31⁄2 C whole wheat flour (make sure it is sifted or freshly and finely ground)

3⁄4 tsp baking soda

1 tsp salt

1 C butter, softened

1 C packed brown sugar

3⁄4 C white sugar

1 T vanilla extract

2 eggs

1 C semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream sugars and butter together. Add vanilla extract and eggs. Beat for three minutes. Mix flour, baking soda and salt. Stir dry ingredients into wet ingredients. Stir in chocolate chips. Get a large scoop of cookie dough (maybe about 2 T) and form it around an Oreo cookie, completely sealing off the cookie. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Wait until cool to move the cookies.

Note: You can also make smaller cookies by dividing the Oreo cookie into fourths and putting a fourth inside of each "regular-sized" chocolate chip cookie. Either way, they are wonderful!!!