Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Brown Sugar Cookies

Anyone out there seen The Princess Bride?  There is a line where one of the characters says, "Let me 'splain.  No, there is too much.  Let me sum up."  That is my line for the day concerning why I've been MIA on my blog.  So, let me sum up.  My husband passed that test I told you about, my son had a birthday, my dad had a birthday, my mother-in-law had a birthday and we are in the middle of moving. Yes, your sentiments are correct, its been crazy around here.  Hence, the lack of posts recently.  Now, on to this post...

I saw a recipe similar to this on Pinterest and decided they were a "must try".  They did NOT disappoint.  These cookies are chewy with just a hint of spicy deliciousness.  My whole family LOVED them!  They stayed chewy right up until the end, too, instead of getting hard after a day or so.  P.S.  They also make your house smell great!!!

Brown Sugar Cookies

3/4 C softened butter (1 1/2 sticks)
1 1/4 C brown sugar
1 egg
2 C freshly, finely ground whole wheat flour
2 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ginger
1 tsp. cinnamon

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Mix together butter brown sugar and egg.  Add flour, baking soda, salt and spices.  Batter may be slightly crumbly...that is okay.  Drop by tablespoon onto greased baking sheet.  I use a medium scoop for my dough.  Bake for 8-10 minutes.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Chocolate Zucchini Cake

I thought it was time for the BEST chocolate cake recipe ever!  I'm not kidding...this is TO DIE FOR!!!  As you can see, it is moist beyond compare.  It has DELICIOUS flavor and has two secret ingredients! It is 100% whole wheat AND has 3 WHOLE CUPS OF ZUCCHINI!  Yep, its zucchini cake that your family will  NEVER recognize as zucchini cake!  My husband raved about this cake and I waited until he was done to tell him about the zucchini.  I said, "you know, veggies are great when you learn how to cook with them in a way your family loves." He said, "This is my FAVORITE way to eat zucchini!"  So, here it is Zucchini Cake/Cupcakes!

Chocolate Zucchini Cake/Cupcakes

2 C freshly ground whole wheat flour
2 C granulated sugar
3/4 C cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. salt
4 eggs
1 C vegetable oil
1/2 C unsweetened applesauce
3 C finely grated zucchini

Preheat to 350 degrees.  Mix lightly flour, sugar, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add eggs, oil, applesauce.  Mix on high speed for 2 minutes.  Stir in zucchini.  Pour into greased 13X9 pan.  Bake 40-50 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean.

For cupcakes bake at 350 degrees for 20-24 minutes.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Green Smoothie Fix...Waste your spinach no more!!!

Waste Your Spinach No More!!!

I saw this on Pinterest and it is the BEST IDEA ever!!!  I think they actually mixed smoothies up and froze them this way, but it works well for just the greens as well!  If you are like me, your greens (especially if you buy them at Costco) go bad before you can use them all.   It always makes me sad to throw away all those greens that are so good for the bellies of each member of my family.  This way, you don't have to throw out any greens!  I like to mix spinach and kale together and freeze them to use later.  Then, you can mix it up and make different kinds of smoothies depending upon which fresh fruits and veggies you have available.  When you pull out those frozen pellets of greens, be sure to add some water to the blender (probably about a Cup or so).  Throw in the frozen greens (2 or 3), fresh or frozen fruits, etc., to make delicious smoothies for you family!!!


3-4 large handfuls of spinach
1/2 bunch kale (just the leafy parts)
fill water up to 12-16 oz. in blender after kale and spinach are in

Fill muffin tins...24 will be the right amount
Freeze solid for a few hours.  Store in freezer bags!

Here are some pictures of the process:

This is after blending the spinach and kale and pouring into muffin tins and freezing:

This is after removing them and putting them in freezer bags to store in the freezer for future use:

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Roasted Yellow Squash

Because its Saturday, I have to mention that I got quite a few yellow squash a few weeks back in my Bountiful Baskets.  If you are unfamiliar with Bountiful Basket, scroll back a few posts and you'll understand to what I'm referring.  Anyway...I don't really care for yellow least I didn't until I found this recipe...I loved it!  I devoured the yellow squash!  So, if you are an unlover of yellow squash and find these vegetables in your refrigerator for one reason or another...unlove them no more!  They are great!

Roasted Yellow Squash

1/4 C olive oil
2 cloves garlic

Saute garlic in olive oil for 3-5 minutes...don't let it brown.

Cut yellow squash in half width-wise and then in 1 in. sections length-wise.  You need them big enough that they don't go through the grill grate.  Brush on garlic olive oil and then add salt and pepper as desired.  Grill until edges are browned...yum!

Thursday, May 17, 2012

The "Best" Sandwich

So, we got AMAZING news yesterday!!!  We found out that my husband passed his seventh and final ARE exam!!!  He has been testing for 3 1/2 years and we've had successes and major disappointments in that time period...its been a LONG process...but he PASSED!!!  In honor of his success, I thought I'd post his favorite sandwich recipe.  He claims this is THE BEST sandwich, and I have to admit, its pretty dang good!

The Best Sandwich

2 slices of whole wheat bread
Jarlsberg cheese (sliced to cover the bread)
Microwave the above for about 20-30 seconds
Spread a thin layer of guacamole on top of the melted cheese
Slice fresh tomato and layer on top of guacamole
Sprinkle jalapeno peppers (if you like spice) over the tomato (straight out of the jar)
Drizzle olive oil and then balsamic vinegar over the tomato.
Salt lightly.


Monday, May 14, 2012

Baked French Toast (prepared the night before!)

Does anyone else out there have crazy Saturday mornings?  I know I always post about our Saturdays during soccer, but from 9:00 A.M. to 2:00 P.M. make for a very busy Saturday.  Anyway, that aside, because we are gone for so long and because we have to all be out of the house early, I like to do easy, quick breakfasts, but I also like to have energy-sustaining ones.   I tried out a recipe that is going to be a new favorite at our house for sure from now on.  Why?  Because you make it the night before!  Then, the next morning, you get it out, bake it for 35-40 minutes while you are getting the kiddos up and at em' and then they eat a carb-loaded, delicious breakfast and they are out of the house! This was so easy and so yummy!

Baked French Toast

1/2 C butter
1 C brown sugar

Melt butter and mix in brown sugar.  Spread evenly in the bottom of a 13X9 pan.  Layer whole wheat bread over the brown sugar/butter mixture in the pan.

Mix the following:
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 eggs
1 1/2 C milk

Spoon half of the egg mixture over the whole wheat bread.  Use the spoon to make sure each and every piece is covered with the egg mixture.  Layer the second piece of whole wheat bread in the pan.  Cover that with the second half of the egg mixture.  Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next morning:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Bake for about 35-40 minutes.  Serve with maple syrup, my favorite syrup or powdered sugar.  Yum!!!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Banana Bars

You know how you go to a shower and there is that one food item that imprints itself on your brain and you HAVE to have the recipe? mom tasted these ethereal treats made by the one and only Lori Pearce and then again by the one and only Lorna Cox and she was hooked.  My mom then took them to a shower, where I got to sample them, and, well, they became that imprinted food for me.  They were AMAZING.  She had told me about them before, but she'd never actually made them.  It is a recipe from a friend of her's who just happens to be an incredible cook.  Some of my favorite recipes come from her...her name is Lori Pierce and her food is pretty much to die for.  Anyway...after trying this recipe with white flour, I just knew it could be transferred into a 100% whole wheat recipe and sure worked!  So, now fast-forward to yesterday.  My daughter had some friends over and I pulled out my banana bars and guess what one of those dear sweet girls told me.  She said everyone is jealous of my daughter's lunches because she always has really good BANANA BARS!  Talk about making my heart swell!  Thanks made my year!!!  Without further ado...I give you the one and only Banana Bars...

Banana Bars

1 1/2 C sugar
1/2 C butter, softened
Cream sugar and butter

3 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
1 1/2 C mashed banana
2 C finely, freshly ground whole wheat flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/8 tsp. salt

Mix on high speed for 1 1/2 - 2 minutes.  Spread evenly on greased baking sheet or 2 - 13X9 pans or two 9X9's.  Bake 20-25 minutes until bars are light brown on top.  Cool.  Either cut into bars immediately and frost each bar with cream cheese frosting OR freeze cake for a few days, thaw and then cut into bars and frost.  Yep, you can really make this fabulous dessert ahead of time and freeze it!  Perfect for events that are time-crunched!


Cream cheese frosting
1/2 C butter
8 oz. cream cheese
4 C powdered sugar
2 tsp. vanilla

Monday, May 7, 2012

How To Use Whole Wheat in Kid Friendly Recipes

Hi,  This is Heather, I write the blog Cooking With My Food Storage.  Sueann asked me if I would share one of my favorite whole wheat recipe with you today.  I’m a busy stay at home mom and one of the things that is important to me is to provide my kids with lots of experiences with healthy foods.  My kids are pretty normal, they would be happy to eat Cheetos and fruit snacks all the time, but that is not the diet I want for them.

One of the ways that I have helped my kids eat healthier foods is by choosing kid friendly foods that I make with whole wheat. When I started using whole wheat it was pretty easy to get them excited to each homemade whole wheat pretzels.

As I have introduced my kids to more whole wheat recipes I have found that it is really helpful to start with kid friendly recipes.

This Kid Friendly Whole Wheat Pretzels is everything my kids want in a recipe: 

  • Dough they can play with.  I always give them a little dough to shape, they love it.  My 1st grader is getting old enough that he can help me shape the pretzels.
  • Sprinkles, when making this for the kids I always let them choose the toppings.  They always choose sprinkles.  If you are a kid everything tastes better with sprinkles.
  • Finger Food, there is something about being able to pick food up in their little hands that really speaks to my children.  
  • Dip, when we eat soft pretzels we always dip them in something.  Try peanut butter, cream cheese, apple sauce, or caramel sauce.
  • Start with recipes that are half whole wheat and half white four.  My little kids tummies are pretty sensitive to any change and for us it has been best to make the change gradually.

How to Shape Homemade Pretzels
Step 1:  Roll section of dough into a long “snake”  Place in an upside down “U”Step 2:  Cross the the ends over each other. 

Step 3:   Cross the ends over each other a second time.

Step 4:  Bring both of the ends straight up and afix to the loop.  Press Firmly into place.

Step 5:   Adjust so that each of the holes are nicely shaped.

Whole Wheat Pretzels With Sprinkles
from: Cooking With My Food Storage
Adapted from:  White Wheat Pretzels from King Arthur Flour


The Pretzels
1 tablespoon sugar
2 cups room-temperature water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast OR 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant yeast
2 1/2 to 3 cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon salt
3 cups White Whole Wheat Flour or Traditional Whole Wheat Flour

The Water Bath
6 cups water
2 tablespoons baking soda (optional, I usually make it without)

The Glaze
1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water and a pinch of salt
Sprinkles (I like the crystal sugar kind), or Kosher sale  or seeds to sprinkle on top of the pretzels
Dissolve the sugar in the water and add the yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer.  Add 1/2 cup all-purpose flour and let sit for about 10 minutes to get your yeast going. Add the salt, and the white whole wheat flour. Stir well, then add the balance of the all-purpose flour, a cup at a time.

Knead dough, either in your mixer or by hand, adding more flour as necessary, until the dough has formed a smooth dough. It should be a little tacky and slack, but not sticky. Put the dough in a bowl and drizzle a little oil on it to prevent the formation of a skin due to air exposure. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk.

Preheat the oven to 450°F. Grease two baking sheets or line them with parchment paper. Start heating the water up to boil.

Punch the dough down and knead it briefly to expel any air bubbles. Let the dough rest minutes.  Roll the dough into a thick log.  Divide the dough in half and keep dividing the halves into halves until you have 16 more-or-less equal-sized pieces.

Roll each piece into a rope about 1/2-inch in diameter. The best way to do this is to roll each piece halfway out, and then let it sit to relax. Go back to the first piece and finish rolling it out. The important thing here is to avoid tearing the dough.

Take each rope and make a loop with fairly short ends. Fold the loop over the ends to form the traditional pretzel shape.

By the time that all of the pretzels are formed, the water should be boiling. Turn it down to a simmer and add the baking soda (if you are using). Carefully pick up the pretzels and add them to the water. Cook about four at a time, making sure that there is plenty of room. The pretzels will expand quickly and dramatically. Cook for about 1 minute. Use a spatula or a slotted spoon to transfer the pretzels to the prepared baking sheets.

When all of the pretzels are done, brush with the egg wash and sprinkle with sprinkles or kosher salt. Bake the pretzels for 12 to 15 minutes until well browned. Yield: 16 pretzels.        

Friday, May 4, 2012

The Absolute BEST Buttermilk Syrup

My friend, Sara, gave me this recipe and said it is "the best buttermilk syrup" you will ever eat. I tried it and I have to say, "this is the best buttermilk syrup I've ever eaten." Everyone who has tried it (which is my entire family and extended family) says this is the "best buttermilk syrup they've ever eaten".

Buttermilk Syrup

1 1/4 C white sugar
3/4 C buttermilk
1/2 C butter
2 T corn syrup
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. vanilla extract

In a large sauce pan, stir the sugar, buttermilk, butter, corn syrup and baking soda. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, stirring constantly. After boiling starts, boil for another 5-7 minutes, stirring occasionally. During this time, it will boil very high in the pan and it will also start to turn a golden brown color. When time is up, remove from heat, add vanilla. Let sit until cooler...but serve warm!!!

Note: The actual recipe calls for 1 1/2 C sugar, but I decreased it 1/4 C and we still loved it!

Resurrection Rolls and Cookies

Resurrection Rolls

1 pkg. crescent rolls
large marshmallows (as many as the number of rolls you want to make)
1/2 C butter
cinnamon sugar mix (2 T sugar to 1 tsp. cinnamon = a good ratio)

Melt about 1/2 C butter.

Put cinnamon sugar mixture in a bowl.

Discuss how white represents purity and, therefore, the marshmallow represents Christ.

Roll each marshmallow in butter and then in cinnamon sugar. Discuss how the body was prepared with spices.

Roll the marshmallow in the crescent roll and seal it up, discussing how the tomb was sealed.

Bake according to package directions. When they are done, the marshmallow is gone! Discuss how this has to do with the empty tomb and the resurrection.

Resurrection Cookies:

1 C pecans (I opt out of these, but you are supposed to put them in a baggie and have the kids hit the body. Discuss how the Romans beat Christ John 19: 1-3)
1 tsp. vinegar
3 egg whites
pinch of salt
1 C sugar

Preheat oven to 300 degrees

Do pecan step, if performing

Have kids smell vinegar and discuss how when Christ was thirsty on the cross, to be mean they offered him vinegar to drink. John 19: 28-30.

Add egg whites and discuss how eggs represent life and that Christ died to save us all and gave up his own life for us. John 10:10-11

Add a pinch of salt and discuss the tears shed by Mary and Jesus's disciples Luke 23:27

Add sugar to mixing bowl. Discuss how this is the "sweet" part because he loved us enough to die for us so that we could be resurrected and live with him and Heavenly Father again. John 3:16

Beat all of the above ingredients on high with an electric mixer for about 15 minutes or until the egg whites form stiff peaks.

Fold in nuts, if using.

Drop by teaspoons on cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Explain that the mounds represent the tomb where Jesus' body was laid. Matthew 27:57-60

Put cookie sheet in oven and turn oven off. Explain that this represents the sealing of the tomb. Matthew 27: 65-66

Discuss how the disciples were very sad when the tomb was sealed John 16:20, 22

In the morning, open up the oven and eat a cookie...they are hollow! Matthew 28:1-9

Does anyone wonder why I'm sharing all these things we are doing? Its so I have a record of what we do every year. Some of these things are traditions, and every year, I have to look them up. Some of them, are things I want to make traditions. My computer is acting up, or I would show you the resurrection rolls, too. Many of you have done them already, though, so it probably doesn't matter. We are also going to plant jelly beans and see what happens...I'll show you soon!

Conference idea and April Fools tricks for tomorrow

This is just a really quick post about tomorrow. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Many people know that in the time of Jesus Christ, we had Prophets and apostles, but they don't know that today, we still have a prophet and apostles. We have a weekend every six months when we get to hear the Prophet, President Thomas S. Monson and the 12 apostles, and other church leaders speak to us on inspired topics. They are amazing, life-changing talks. If you would like to listen, please click here: LDS conference April 2012 and you can watch it can also listen to the talks from yesterday. Now...conference is wonderful, inspiring, uplifting and life-changing for me...but for my kids...not so. I finally found a way to make them listen! See all the baggies? I'm actually not going to use all those baggies, but you get the idea. Pick 3 or 4 of them, fill them with candy and when they hear one of the words, they get a piece of candy. It works awesome! They listen amazingly well and actually pay attention to conference! If you want them to have less candy, make them do tallies and maybe when they hit three of the same word, they get a piece, and so on. You can taylor it for your family, but my kids LOVED this!!! And...I liked paying attention because my kids were occupied.

On to April Fools Day...which is also tomorrow. I made these chicken nuggets with this recipe:
Faux Chicken Nuggets and the sushi with this recipe: Sweet Sushi and I cut the bottoms of fruit cocktail cans (leaving a tiny bit in tact), emptied them and rinsed them out and filled them with candy...I can't wait for my kiddos to open it up! Tomorrow morning, I'm going to cook up some jello, pour it into cups and stick a straw in and refrigerate...then for lunch, we'll have some "juice" with our chicken nuggets and sushi!!! Fun, huh!!!

Note: For next year, during conference, we'll always have puzzles, blocks and legos out for younger kids to play quietly in the same room. That worked well this year when my two-year-old had honestly had all he could take of sitting and listening to conference. Also, you can use the candy as bargaining chips...take a few away for irreverant behavior...add a few for good behavior.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

My "go-to" whole wheat pancake mix

Growing up, I had the mom who gave us "brown bread" when all of my friends had white.  I quickly ate that brown bread sandwich as fast as I could because I was so embarrassed and didn't want anyone to see me (yes, these were the days when self-consciousness is at an all-time high) Oddly enough..."brown bread"...or "whole wheat" as I like to refer to it now, is all I make these days and I count myself very blessed indeed to have had such a forethinking mom.  Needless, to say, she got me the wheat grinder and gave me some of her favorite "whole wheat" recipes...which, to this day, I use.  One of them is for the most amazing whole wheat pancakes you've ever had.  I've posted about these before, but since EVERY SINGLE person who eats them, wants the recipe, I thought it was appropriate to re-post this pancake recipe.
This is my "go-to" pancake mix. Most of my pancake varieties have this base to them. They are fluffy, very fluffy (especially considering they are WHOLE WHEAT)! Everyone who tries them switches to this recipe for their morning breakfasting of pancakes. They really are delicious.  So, here it is "go-to" pancake recipe.

Nana’s Light and Fluffy Pancakes 

11⁄2-13⁄4 C whole wheat flour, sifted
1 T baking powder
1 tsp salt
1⁄4 C brown sugar
2 eggs, separated
11⁄2 C milk

Heat the griddle. Sift the flour, baking powder, salt and brown sugar. Separate the eggs. Beat the egg whites in a separate bowl until they form soft peaks when the beaters are lifted. Beat the egg yolks, milk and oil. Add the yolk mixture to the dry ingredients and blend. Fold in the egg whites. Bake on a hot, greased griddle. Serves about 4 people, depending on the size of the pancakes. I usually double the recipe because my family devours it.
Note: I make about six times the amount of the dry ingredients and keep it in my refrigerator for quick access to pancakes. Then, when I want to make pancakes in a hurry, I get 1 1⁄2 -1 3⁄4 C of the dry mix (depending on how much flour you used) and then mix in the yolk mixture. I beat this really well to get rid of any settled chunks of brown sugar and then fold in the egg is great and QUICK!

**L** Use 1% or skim milk

P.S. I ALWAYS double this...ALWAYS! Then I keep the batter in the fridge and PRESTO: breakfast.

P.P.S.  Stay tuned for the absolute BEST buttermilk syrup recipe EVER!!!  I'll post it next...its a gift from my friend Sara to me...and me to you!!!