Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Fun Pancakes for Kids

There's nothing more fun for kids than eating fun food!  This Mr. Potato Head pancake looks extra-fun to eat!  
This owl pancake is cute! Kiwis and strawberries trim out the face, feathers, and feet.
I made these puppy dog pancakes several years ago. They were so much fun to make, but our kids thought they were even more fun to eat!  Find the recipe HERE.

When food looks fun, children especially enjoy eating!  It doesn't have to be fancy, but  just take a little more time in preparing or presenting. That makes all the difference!

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Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Oklahoma State Fair - Food, Crafts, and Cute Ideas

The Oklahoma State Fair was great again this year! 
I found many ideas for future projects!  This painted Christmas tree was so airy and pretty!  
These decorated cupcakes were so cute! I've never worked with fondant (don't care for the taste), but it sure makes cute things!
These were adorable! I would have given them a 1st place blue ribbon, too!
This must have taken many hours to make all of these flowers and intricate designs.  Gorgeous!
This was really cute and could be scaled down to cupcake size easily. But, I just figured out it's a pumpkin!!  Didn't remember! How clever!
Need to decorate a pumpkin?  Here are some ideas.
I had to show this FFA emblem out of metal. That was a LOT of work!
And now for "Fair Food"! The turkey leg!

The Okarche, OK, cinnamon rolls. Not quite up to "Gramps" cinnamon rolls in our family, but will do when you want something sweet!
And the FAMOUS Indian Taco from "Dan's Famous Indian Tacos"!  We were so excited to get this traditional "meal" again!  However, we do wish that there were more than a 'few' pieces of beef in the bean mixture.
The table decorating contest is my favorite.  My daughter and I both entered this contest the very first year they had it. We both won, too!  I was excited because we both won $100!!!  That is an incentive to enter!  We had to decorate large tables, so this is much better. I won because my table setting was the only one correct!  That is because table settings are important to me! (My boys doesn't understand why I care where the knife goes or how it faces, but it matters to me! Ha ha!)

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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Barbecue Beef Open-Faced Sandwiches

A few days ago I made this for my football-playing son. I think I've mentioned he eats a big lunch because sometimes it's late before he gets to eat anything again. He goes from classes to football practice, and then many times to his lawn-mowing business.  He needs protein!

Growing up, our family ate hamburger with barbecue as "Sloppy Joes".  I didn't know that they weren't sloppy Joe's until I married!  And I still prefer this type of "Joe" (besides my husband, Joe, that is!) over the "real" thing.

Barbecue Beef Open-Faced Sandwiches
Browned Hamburger Meat
Your Favorite Barbecue Sauce (our's is Oklahoma-made "Head Country)
Hamburger Bun
Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Heat browned hamburger meat (ours was frozen that I keep handy in the freezer) and BBQ sauce together.  Melt a little butter in a skillet and grill the insides of both buns.  Place the buns (grilled side up) on a plate, top with the BBQ meat, and add lots of cheddar cheese. Delicious!

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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Whole Jar of Peanut Butter Cookies

These cookies are GREAT! I doubled the recipe, made some for our after-the-football-game Friday night "5th QUARTER", then made up the rest last night for a teacher's meal later on in the week.  It makes a LOT.

The recipe is from Kevin Ryan on Allrecipes.com.  I changed only one thing. I added mini chocolate chips instead of the chopped peanuts.


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
2 egg
1 egg yolk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 (18 ounce) jar peanut butter (Choosy mothers choose Jif!) :)
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chips (original recipe says 1 cup chopped peanuts)

In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth. Add the eggs, yolks, and vanilla; mix until fluffy. Stir in peanut butter. Sift together the flour, baking soda, and salt; stir into the peanut butter mixture. Finally, stir in the peanuts. Refrigerate the dough for at least 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a cookie sheet.

Roll dough into walnut sized balls. Place on the prepared cookie sheet and flatten slightly with a fork.  (Dip in flour first, if needed.) Bake for 12 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven. Cookies should look dry on top. Allow to cool for a few minutes on the cookie sheet before removing to cool completely on a rack. These cookies taste great when slightly undercooked.
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Friday, September 12, 2014

The TRUTH About 4-H and FFA

NOTE: This is from my "Shine Like Stars" blog, but since it has to do with food, I'm also posting it here. Plus, it's really an important topic for everyone!
Interesting that I should see this post...not five minutes since my 16-year-old son came home to rescue our goats. A few of them had gotten out of their pen and the huge Boer buck was trapped in a knot with a halter on his hoof.  He was lying there looking dead when I ran out to help.  I thought he was dead, all sprawled out and not moving.  He was scared, and if he could have talked, I'm certain that he would have said, "Thank You" if he could have, once he was freed.

And then this:  CNN'S article asking, "Does 4-H Desensitize Kids to Killing Animals?"   It's amazing really, that people really believe 4-H hurts kids or could hurt kids.  It's amazing too, that so many that cry out about animals being killed for food, actually do eat animals themselves, or animal products.  The article does show positives and negatives, so it's not totally bashing 4-H.  But, in this post, I'm focusing on those who are against it.

What people like this don't realize is that God made the animals for PEOPLE to use.  He provided them for us. That was his plan. Too many in the world have mixed it up and think that PEOPLE were created for ANIMALS.  Completely, completely false.  God said for man/woman to rule over the animals.  Care for the animals. Tend to the animals.  And after the flood, to use the animals for food.  

The fear and dread of you will fall on all the beasts of the earth, and on all the birds in the sky, on every creature that moves along the ground, and on all the fish in the sea; they are given into your hands.  Everything that lives and moves about will be food for you. Just as I gave you the green plants, I now give you everything. Genesis 9:2-3

God set man/woman apart from the animal world.  Man/woman have souls.  Animals do not. Contrary to the popular movie, "All Dogs Go to Heaven", no they don't.  In fact, NO ANIMALS go to heaven. Heaven is reserved for God's people - those who have become followers of His Son, Jesus.  

God blessed them (Adam and Eve) and said, "Be fertile, increase in number, fill the earth, and be its master. Rule the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that crawl on the earth." Genesis 1:28

Sure animals bring joy to our lives, but they can also teach us things - like responsibility through the 4-H or FFA program. They teach a strong work ethic - something that is missing in many families today who want everything handed to them.  

I remember like yesterday leading my calf onto the trailer to go to market. I cried all the way there.  And then "Sam" slammed me into the side of the trailer, making my shoulder bang up to the metal side with his 1000 plus pound body.  I wasn't happy with Sam for hurting me. I was crying because he was going and crying because he was hurt.  Sam came back home in different packaging than he went on that trailer.  Our family was fed by Sam.  Sam couldn't live forever.  He had served his purpose.  Now the work and feeding program he was on during his life was benefiting my family in his death.

If I didn't care about that animal project, why would I still remember it so vividly?  I wouldn't.  I remember the good times with Sam...and that one bad time of him hurting me.  I remember all of my calves that same way.  

My children do the same with their goats and pigs.  It's a learning experience that they will take with them for the rest of their lives.  They are learning great lessons.  4-H is GOOD.  It's GREAT!  FFA is GOOD. It's GREAT!  

The  4-H and FFA programs are vital to our communities and even our cities.  I think it would be great if those who are so opposed to "farm" and "agriculture" saw how those two entities would affect the very products that are in their homes.  Almost EVERYTHING is tied to agriculture in some way.  If I could snap my fingers and make "their" stuff with ag-related products disappear, they would be shocked at what would be missing!  Ha! If only that could really happen!

So, parents....don't be afraid your child is going to be warped from joining the local 4-H club or FFA chapter.  If anything, it will make them stronger.  It will make them appreciate the things God has given to us - the things He created for us.
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Thursday, September 11, 2014

Candy Corn Marshmallows

Do you like candy corn? My husband does, and he likes marshmallows.  In fact, I found some Kraft Candy Corn Flavored Marshmallows and bought them for him. He said they were great! They smelled great, but didn't fit the no flour, no sugar diet at the moment!

Here's a really cute way to make Candy Corn Marshmallows:

1 bag big or giant marshmallows
8-10 oz of white chocolate
Vegetable Oil (to thin chocolate)
Yellow and Orange food coloring
Black Gel Icing

In the microwave or in a double boiler, carefully melt the chocolate. Once melted, divide the chocolate evenly into two bowls. Add enough yellow food coloring to one bowl until the desired yellow shade is achieved. Then add orange food coloring to the other bowl to get the desired shade of orange. *Hint: To make it easier to dip the marshmallows, I thin out the chocolate by mixing in about 1 tsp of vegetable oil. Dip a marshmallow in the orange first about 1/3 of the way up and then set on a piece parchment paper.  Repeat with the rest of the marshmallows until you use up all the orange chocolate. Put the marshmallows in the refrigerator for 10 minutes to set the chocolate. Remove from fridge and repeat, only half-way up the orange, with the yellow chocolate.  Set on parchment or wax paper. Finish by dotting two circles with the gel tube to form the eyes. Let the chocolate set and then enjoy!
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Monday, September 8, 2014

Breakfast Skillet

My 16-year-old son is a football player, so he needs a lot of protein and calories to get through the rigorous practices and games.  I especially want him to have a good breakfast, as carbs seem to make him a little "foggy-brained".  It's not good to have a foggy brain at school, or any time, for that matter!!  

So I came up with something that is quick, easy, and packed with protein: Breakfast Skillet.  I think Denny's restaurant used to advertise something like it.

Breakfast Skillet
1/2 tablespoon butter
3 eggs
Dash of salt
Dash of pepper
2 tablespoons milk
Real bacon bits OR cooked sausage OR chopped ham
Cheddar Cheese

Melt butter in small skillet over medium heat.  Break eggs into skillet and add milk.  Stir.  Cook on medium until eggs are done, stirring often.  Add meat and cheese.  Stir until warmed.  Serve.

Of course, if you want to you can serve this in a tortilla or on toast, but it's perfectly tasty just out of the skillet.  And serving out of the skillet is one less serving plate to wash!
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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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