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Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

27 Oct Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - www.kidsworkdinner.com

I do not like pumpkin! There, I said it. The only problem is that, prior to two weeks ago, I had never actually tried “pumpkin” anything. While at a women’s retreat a couple of weeks ago someone brought “Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins”, and while the muffins looked good, as soon as I heard the word pumpkin I was like, “No thank you!”  I had instinctively turned up my nose and mumbled something about how I do not like pumpkin (very reminiscent of something my kids would do). A friend insisted that I try them, and not wanting to appear rude (or difficult), I obliged. Wow, was I surprised! The mini muffins were moist, delicious, and most importantly, full of chocolate! After my third muffin, I was hooked and was asking, no begging, for the recipe. The next day, the recipe appeared in my Facebook inbox and I could not wait to make these with my kids!

Mini Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins - www.kidsworkdinner.com

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

1 c. flour
1 c. sugar
1 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground cinnamon
2 eggs, beaten
1 c. ground pumpkin (canned)
1/2 c. cooking oil
1/2 c. chocolate chips

Mix together. For mini muffins, just spray the muffin pan, fill about half-way, and bake at 350 for about 12 minutes. Make about 40 mini muffins. For full size muffins, fill muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes.

The Verdict

Really, do we need a verdict? What more can I say? Oh, that my kids LOVED them! Yes, my son was a little grossed out at the muffin mixture (looks a little like baby food), but thankfully the final product looks nothing like the mixture. The muffins were incredible and you will kick yourself if you do not try them.

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Kraft Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix – Product Review

23 Aug

Years ago I joined Kraft Foods’ First Taste program to have the opportunity to try new products and, of course, to get coupons. A few months ago, I got a coupon to try Kraft Fresh Take Cheese & Breadcrumb Mix for free, and I am just now getting around to using it. Why did I wait so long?!?  I loved this product! Just see how great my chicken looked!!!

 

Baked Chicken - Kraft Fresh Take Review

 

 

I used the “Italian Parmesan” kit and it was not only easy to use, but it made a great crunchy coating for my chicken breast.  Check out this YouTube video on Kraft Fresh Take.

My Macaroni & Tuna Salad

9 Aug

It has been a long, hot summer here in North Carolina and I have been trying to avoid using my oven, I have resorted to my salad arsenal to get us through until things cool off. So, why was I surprised when my ten-year-old son, B3, asked the other day, “Mom, may we have some of the tuna stuff with macaroni?” He was referring to my macaroni & tuna salad, which is usually reserved for summertime cookouts. So, I shrug my shoulders and say, “Yeah, Macaroni & Tuna Salad, that sounds good.” I cannot take credit for this recipe, my Aunt Wendy makes the best mac & tuna salad, so I stole here recipe years ago and made it my own.

Macaroni & Tuna Salad

 

Recipe 

1 box Elbow macaroni

2 can tuna, drained

1/2 cup sweet pickle relish

1 cup mayonnaise or salad dressing

3 tablespoon mustard

1 teaspoon sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon pepper

 

The Verdict 

My family and I love Macaroni & Tuna Salad on a summer day. It is perfect as a side dish with hamburger or fried chicken. Although in my house, you are just as likely to find one of us eating a large serving of Macaroni & Tuna Salad all by itself, and probably out of a cereal bowl!

Me, Putting up Corn????

26 Jul

Yep, I did it…I put up corn! If you are a city-born girl like me, you might be asking, “What the heck does that mean?” Putting up corn just means I took my summer harvest and prepared it to be stored for winter.  You can “put up” any vegetable, so that you have access to fresh veggies all winter long. With easy access to the frozen food aisle, why would anyone take the time to put up vegetables themselves? Two answers…taste and money.

I grew up in Washington, DC and now live in a small town in North Carolina. My co-workers tend to bring in fresh produce that they have either grown or were grown by someone that they know. I have had organic eggs, cucumbers, tomatoes, etc. So when someone was selling corn for $.20 an ear, I jumped on it. My co-worker talked about putting up corn for the winter, and even though we could have easily eaten the 10 ears of corn that I bought, I wanted to give “putting up” a try. I found a great site (www.HeavenlyHomemakers.com) that walks you through the process, with lots of great photos.

Putting up Corn

Only cost me $2.00 and little time!

If you decide to try putting up corn, a few things that I would add to the instructions on the HeavenlyHomemakers site. If you do not have a vacuum sealer to remove the air from the bag that you are storing the corn in, you can use a zip-loc bag, insert a straw into the top, and suck the air out of the bag. Also, when you are ready to eat the corn, I was told that, to prevent overcooking it, boil the corn for about 5 minutes, then turn the heat off and let the corn sit for about 10 minutes.

So, for $2.00, I got 10 ears of corn, nine of which actually got put up, yielding me four 2-cup bags of corn. My son begged for an ear to have with his dinner, and I couldn’t say no. While the putting process was work, a little time consuming, and somewhat messy, it was also great fun! My 10-year old, B3, helped me shuck the corn, and who can put a price on quality time with your kids???

So Simple Chicken Salad Sandwich

19 Jul

On the way back from the salon on Saturday, I was talking to my sister on the phone when the hunger pangs hit me and I needed something to eat, right then and there. As I pulled into McDonald’s, I realize that everyone in my small town must have decided to go to McDonald’s at the same time. Living in a town with only one McDonald’s occasionally has it drawbacks! As I was complaining to my sister, she began telling me about the chicken salad sandwich that she had just finished eating and it sounded really good. Chicken Salad? Hmmmm….I have not had chicken salad in a long time. So, I pull out of McDonalds’ drive through and head home to make chicken salad. Oh, I promptly thanked my sister for not only saving me money, but calories as well.

 Chicken Salad Sandwich

Recipe

1 cup shredded chicken (I  had leftover rotisserie chicken in the fridge)

2 tbs mayonnaise

1 1/2 tbs relish

1 tsp ranch dressing

Mix all of the ingredients in a bowl and serve on toast, on crackers, or eat it plain.  By the way, my sister was the one who suggested that I add a little ranch dressing to the salad and it made it taste even better!

The Verdict

Confession, this was only my second time ever making chicken salad, but I am so glad that I did…it was delicious, just want I needed on a hot summer day.

Sappy Saturday Post – Am I losing my baby???

14 Jul

After a busy week of running around, Saturday is the perfect day for reflecting on my life and things that transpired during the past week.  This reflection has given birth to a series of posts called “Sappy Saturday”.

My oldest child recently graduated from high school, and now that college is less than a month away, we seem to be arguing more instead of enjoying these last few weeks together as a family, and it is breaking my heart. The arguments run the gamut, from the state of his room (which is never clean), to his spending almost all of his free time away from home. I have to wonder is this bickering normal? Are we going through some pre-college arguing ritual, whose sole purpose is to keep up from missing each other too much when dorm move-in day comes? I am not sure if that is the case, but whatever it is, I do not like it, not at all.

Ask my oldest, B1, and he will tell you that I love to argue, but, believe me, that is not true. I am just so worried about the future, about his future, that it is causing me to lose my mind in the present. Should I stress out about the state of his room? Don’t all 18-year-old American males keep their rooms messy? I am sure that most, if not all, are sloppy, but I HATE sloppy! Should I stress out because all of his free time is spent with the girlfriend and not us, his family? Are most recent high school graduates spending the summer before college hanging with the friends that they most likely will not see again until Thanksgiving or Christmas? According to B1, he has spent 18 years with his family and he only has a month left with his girlfriend. Point taken, but I feel slightly abandoned. Wow, I feel silly saying that. Then, there is all of the stuff that needs to be done before school. Should I stress out that his “to-do” list is nowhere near done? He says that he will get it all done, not to worry. I ask, why can he not just get it done NOW?!?

I feel like I am losing my baby and it may be my fault. I do not want to be one of those moms who only yell, but lately, my relationship with B1 has turned into an argument fest. I do not want him to leave soon, all too happy to get away from his overly critical mother. So, I made a decision, I have to let go. No, I am not letting go of B1, but of my expectations for B1. It is so funny that we raise our kids to be independent thinkers, but when those thoughts happen to be in direct contradiction of our thoughts, we get upset. I want B1 to want to come home to visit, so I am going to back off. I can live with a messy room for three more weeks. I will plan more family activities, which include the girlfriend, so that he is home more. As for the to-do list? As he said, he is 18, so it is time for him to live with the consequences of his actions. I hope he gets it all done!

Not So Sloppy Joes!

28 Jun

Kraft Recipes has a recipe called “Cheeseburger Joes” that I have been making for the past few years. While my husband likes the Manwich Sloppy Joes, I have never liked the canned stuff, so I was thrilled to find a “Joe” recipe that I could easily make myself.

Cheeseburger Joes

My version of Kraft Recipes Cheeseburger Joes.

I followed Kraft’s recipe to the letter, except I used shredded cheese, instead of sliced american cheese.

RECIPE

1 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 cup KRAFT Original Barbecue Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
4  hamburger buns
4  KRAFT Singles

BROWN meat in large skillet; drain.  ADD barbecue sauce and ketchup; mix well. Cook 5 min. or until heated through, stirring occasionally. FILL buns with meat mixture and Singles.

The Verdict

Easy dish to make that the kids love.

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