Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Family Fun - Stir Fry Bowls

I know I posted something similar to this a month or so ago, but this is different and even more fun, so I wanted to share it with you!
Last night I made fried rice using the packets in the photo at the top. It was GREAT!  Although, I've made some from scratch that were great, too. In fact, I posted a recipe from my sister not long ago that she said is really good.
I used chopped up bell peppers, sliced red onions,  chopped squash, carrots, fresh green beans, and broccoli florets.   I also opened up the sweet and sour chicken sauce, stir fry sauce, and the small seasoning packets and put them in separate containers.  Salt and pepper were out, as well. I used chopped up chicken for the meat, but steak, shrimp, pork would all work, too!
Each person got a bowl and placed their meat, veggies, and sauce/seasonings in there, then brought it to me - the make-shift Hibachi chef!  I rinsed out their bowl (because of the raw chicken) then stir fried each bowl of goodies individually.
The fried rice was placed in the bowl, then was topped with each family member's creation.  It took a while with five people (good thing Lauren isn't here!! Ha ha!), but it was lots of fun and well worth the time.  It all tasted great!  We're looking forward to making this a regular family meal that's healthy and delicious.
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Friday, August 29, 2014

Corn Shucking the Easy Way!

Blog reader, Marsha, sent this wonderful tip for shucking corn:

1.  Cut the stem end off about 1 ½ inches and leave husk ON.
2.  Put one ear of corn in the microwave and cook for 4 minutes.
3.  Take corn out and hold by the top (I call it the furry end) and shake and the corn will fall out almost 100% free of the silk.
4.  Adjust if cooking more than one ear at a time.
5.  Enjoy!

Thanks, Marsha!
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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baked Corn

I really don't like to cook food in the microwave. I don't mind heating something quickly, but don't want to nuke my food too long, you know?  So, when I bought this corn, I planned to just put it in a pan on the stove.  This "experiment" started out to be roasted corn, but maybe it just didn't cook long enough or at a hot enough temperature, but we ended up really, really liking the way it turned out, anyway!  So, I thought I would share it with you.

2 packages frozen corn (I used Valley Fresh Steamers Extra Sweet Niblets Corn from Green Giant)
6 tablespoons salted butter
1 teaspoon sea salt (can use regular salt)
1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place corn in baking dish.  Slice butter into 1/4 inch pieces and place over corn.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Bake uncovered at 350 degrees for 45-60 minutes (my oven cooks slow, so it took 60).  Stir once or twice while baking.

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Monday, August 25, 2014

My Ford Pickup

For years and years I had wanted an old Ford pickup.  I didn't care about how it looked, whether rusty or painted, but I had a certain style I wanted.  THIS STYLE!
(Decorated: "Fair Theme" at night)
Finally I found one, but I thought it cost too much.  But then my husband said if he could sell a little tractor he had setting out in the field, I could get the pickup. It sold the next day! In fact, we could have sold 10 of those little tractors! Ha! 
(Decorated: "Fair Theme" with flash)
And when my husband went to get the pickup, he was going to offer less on it.  The guy told him it was much less than he had told me (man vs. woman thing, I think) and less than what my husband was even going to offer!!  YAY!!
My whole reason for wanting the pickup was for pictures.  Here are most of the girls from my son's Senior class.  The girls were so excited to get to take a pic out there with the Seniors 2015 banner!  One of them commented that they could take a picture there each month and see how much they grow! Ha ha!  I reminded her that they really don't want to "grow" this year :).  Maybe she meant "mature"!

Right before our daughter left for college, I realized we hadn't taken any family pictures during the summer. We quickly took a few pictures when we could.   The sun was too bright to get closer to the pickup, but they still turned out well! Thank you to our niece-in-law, Marisa, for coming over to snap a few pics on short notice!

I'll be decorating this pickup for fall, and Christmas, and all of the other holidays.  I can't wait until it's time for hay bales and pumpkins and corn stalks!  I envision lots of family pictures taken here.  And others are welcome, too!  In fact, it's already been used by the cheerleaders and some of the Seniors for senior pictures!  That's exactly what I got it for!

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Monday, August 18, 2014

Stir Fry Bowl

One of the  boys and my favorite restaurants is Genghis Grill.  I have only been there twice, and them only once, but it's so good and fresh, that we really liked it!  Plus you can make it just as you like it.  The only draw-back is that it's a little expensive....about $10 a person for a bowl.  And the portion size it's really big enough to divide and keep half for another meal. But, it's delicious!

I found this sauce packet at Target and decided to do our own "bowls" at home.
Here's how to do it:

Grill onions and peppers in a small amount of oil - sweating them to make them tender and caramelizing the onions (putting a lid on and letting it cook until golden, only stirring occassionally). 

Slice partially frozen chicken tenderloins really thin, stir-frying them in with the onions and peppers until done.
Add the sauce, salt, and pepper....serve over rice.  Now you have your own "bowl" for a fraction of the chain's cost per bowl!
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Friday, August 15, 2014

There's a New Cinnamon Roll Maker in the Family

Cinnamon rolls are a big deal on my husband's side of the family. My hisband's grandmother started the tradition many, many years ago - coming up with a bread and roll recipe that's been passed down for decades. 
My father-in-law became the hot roll and cinnamon roll maker in the family, continuing to do so for many years before his health declined at the very end of his life. A few have strived to follow in his steps, and come pretty close, but I'm not sure it will ever be a perfect match. I'm certain that his elongated hot roll shape will never be completely replicated. They were special.
Our oldest son, Zachary is probably the youngest and only grandchild (that I know of, anyway) who has even attempted the cinnamon roll feat. His grandmother helped instruct him on the bread, then his Uncle Ken helped him learn to roll them up nice and tight. 

His first batch was wonderful!!! His second ones were good, too, but we had a pan/fire/smoke/oven/liquid/smoke detector malfunction (you had to be there, but most likely you were in bed when the catastrophe happened. Zachary was in bed, too. I was in charge of baking the cinnamon rolls, but the catastrophe wasn't totally my fault. I blame Zachary for part of it. Moms can do that, right??! :) )so they weren't quite as good!  He fed them to his Senior classmates this morning, and they didn't seem to think there was anything "smoky" about them, so that's good! 
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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Salted Caramel Browned Butter Bars

I made these bars Sunday afternoon for a youth rally.  They were sooooo good! Unfortunately, I went to get them after the youth rally was over and they were all gone. Well....maybe that's a good thing! I didn't need them, anyway!

The original recipe is for muffins, stuffing each muffin with two caramels, but I didn't have time to do that and needed a bigger amount of servings.  The addition of the whipping cream, plus making them into bars turned out great!  If you want to see the original recipe, HERE is the link.

3/4 cup butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 cups flour
2 teaspoons corn starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
20 caramels candies, unwrapped
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
kosher salt, for sprinkling 
Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat. Whisk constantly until butter turns a deep golden brown, about 5 minutes. Pour the butter into a mixing bowl. Stir in the brown sugar until well combined. Stir in the egg and vanilla and mix well. Mix in the flour, corn starch, baking soda, and salt until well combined.  Pat down half of dough into a jelly roll pan (10.5 x15.5 x 1 or 1/2 sheet pan size)

Melt the caramels with the whipping cream in a saucepan over medium-low heat, stirring often.  Pour the melted caramel over the bottom cookie dough.

Sprinkle mini chocolate chips over caramel layer, then sprinkle kosher salt.  I used a teaspoon or less, but you may like more!

Pinch off small pieces (about a teaspoon size) and sprinkle over the caramel and chocolate.  Pat down some.  It may cover most of the chocolate and caramel, but don't worry if it doesn't.

Scoop 1 tablespoon of dough into 10 muffin wells each. Flatten with your fingers to cover the bottom of the muffin tin. Place two caramel candies on top of the cookie dough. Sprinkle with a a bit of kosher salt. Top each with another tablespoon of cookie dough.

Bake at 350 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until beginning to brown slightly.

Let cool then cut into bars.  (Or eat while warm with a spoon!)

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