Monday, October 20, 2014

Stuffed Pancakes

I didn't have a very good plan for dinner as we were heading out the door this morning. I quickly pulled out a package of sausage from the freezer to thaw and decided it was a breakfast for dinner kind of evening. It's one of my favorite nights and I don't think anyone else complained.

We had some fun with our traditional pancakes. I decided to add some of our favorite spreads to the inside and make them sort of like dessert pancakes. Some had a warm, gooey Nutella filling, we tried peanut butter and also Biscoff cookie spread. Almond or any other nut butter would be good, as well as jam. Then lightly dusted with powdered sugar, there's no need for maple syrup here!

Give these a try next time you've got pancakes on your menu, whether it be for breakfast or in the evening like we decided. The kids will love helping and picking out their desired fillings. Feel free to use your own favorite pancake recipe or my go-to version listed below.

Stuffed Pancakes

2 cups flour
2 tbsp sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup oil {canola, coconut, etc}
1-1/2 cups milk
Filling options: Nutella, nut butters, Biscoff, jam

In a medium sized bowl, combine together all dry ingredients. Add in wet ingredients and mix together well using a whisk.

Preheat a griddle or small pan over the stove. Ladle a small amount of pancake batter onto the pan, place a large dollop of desired filling directly onto pancake. You can try to sort of spread it out a bit, but it's not necessary. Add another small amount of pancake batter on top to cover the filling. Let cook as usual, until browned and pancake is cooked through.

Repeat with remaining batter.  Before serving, lightly dust pancakes with powdered sugar if desired.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Homemade Chicken Strips

Chicken strips or nuggets are always a favorite by children and many adults for that matter. No matter the cuisine served, you can almost always find them on any restaurant menu. And I can see why, they're just really good.

I know for a fact before we had any of our younger children, I purchased store bought chicken strips in a bag. It makes my stomach turn just thinking about it, but hey; it was convenient and something effortless for us to make. For several years now I've been making my own instead. It's still pretty easy and tastes so much better, and better for our health too. None of those preservatives and ingredients that we can't pronounce.

Many times I'll just throw these into the oven and let them bake, but I do like the extra crispy texture from pan frying them in a little olive oil. It's not much at all I promise, but if you'd rather, just bake in the oven and they'll taste just as good. By using panko crumbs you're guaranteed that crispiness that everyone loves.

Homemade Chicken Strips

2 lbs. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cups panko crumbs
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
salt and pepper, to season
choice of seasonings: garlic powder, paprika, cayenne, Lawry's, etc

Start by cutting chicken breasts into strips using a sharp knife or a pair of kitchen sheers. Set aside. Set up your dredging station by placing flour in one bowl, eggs {slightly beaten} in another and panko crumbs in the final bowl. Season the flour with salt and pepper. Add desired seasonings to the panko crumbs next, I don't always use the same seasonings. I like to change it up.

Heat olive oil in a large skillet, add more as needed when cooking. Start by dipping chicken pieces in flour first and shake off excess, then dip in eggs and finally, the panko crumbs. Add prepared chicken strips to the heated skillet. Let cook in oil for a few minutes on each side, until completely cooked through.

Remove from skillet and place onto a plate lined with paper towels. Serve warm with desired sauce.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Streusel Pumpkin Bread

It's already been an exciting for week for me. After what seems like forever, well more like the past several weeks; I am officially a permanent employee for our local school district. I've accepted the position in which I've been subbing for since the end of August. I work with special needs preschoolers and let me tell you, they are so much fun! I completely felt at home right away and I'm so excited to start my career with an awesome school.

With that being said, I also made this spectacular bread a couple nights ago. We love pumpkin bread, but this streusel on top is really the moneymaker. I love the buttery, brown sugar and walnut topping. The pumpkin bread itself is full of spice and very moist.

It's really a perfect fall dessert. The loaves freeze really well so why not add a couple loaves to your freezer while you're at it?

Streusel Pumpkin Bread

1-1/2 cups pumpkin
2 eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup oil {coconut or canola work well}
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking soda
1-3/4 cup flour

for topping:
4 tbsp butter, cubed
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup flour
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

In a large bowl, whisk together pumpkin, eggs, both sugars and oil until mixed together well. Gradually add in dry ingredients and mix until well combined. Pour batter into a lightly greased loaf pan and set aside.

In another bowl, combine all topping ingredients and cut in butter using a pastry blender. Mixture should resemble coarse crumbs. Generously sprinkle over batter and pack down. You may end up with some extra topping.

Bake in an oven at 350 degrees for 60-70 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in middle comes out clean.

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

5 Things I'm Loving Right Now

It's been awhile since I've shared some of my favorite links from around the web, a lot of you tell me you like reading these types of posts and I like sharing them with you. So let's sit down and chat for a bit, shall we?

milky way tart 1

My friend Yudith is quite the baker, I haven't had the privilege to try anything yet but I drool over her photos each week.  My birthday is this Saturday and I usually like to make some sort of dessert, whether it be a cake or something else to share with my family. I'm still undecided, but her milky way tart most definitely caught my eye! This will be on my list for weekend projects for sure.

halloween craft

Today's the first day of October and Halloween will be here before we know it. I love letting the kids make crafts for each of the holidays and this one caught my eye. It will be perfect for the preschool class I've been working with. Something easy for them to do on their own but really cute!


I'm pretty sure I've shared a couple posts from this particular blog before. I love just about everything Kristen writes. This recent article totally hit home as I have three girls myself. There have been times where one of the older two have come home to tell me about an incident at school that has upset them. None of them haven't been anything that they couldn't handle on their own but it's still upsetting to see your own child hurt by another classmate. Moms, I encourage you to take a few moments and read this.


I know many of us utilize our crock pots year round, but I always think of fall and winter as the perfect time to take advantage of this appliance. Check out this awesome round-up of recipes all made in the crock pot! You're bound to find some new inspiration for your weekly menus.

My friend Kelli recently wrote about her experience in using essential oils. I've been intrigued for some time now but have yet to take the plunge. I really dislike taking over the counter meds, always have. I just don't like putting medications into my body if I don't have to, does that make sense? I'm especially nervous for this coming winter season; our family has been very fortunate regarding our health. I'd like to think a large part of that has to do with the nourishing foods we eat as well as washing our hands many times throughout the day. Now that we're around many more germs than we're used to I don't want to be relying heavily on over the counter medications if we happen to get sick. So that leaves with me this question, do you use essential oils? I'm really interested in hearing about your own personal experiences, feel free to share them below!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Veggie Fried Rice

I really do enjoy using my crock pot year round, but especially during the fall and winter months. Nothing compares to warm, comfort food that has been cooking away while leaving you with minimal dishes to wash.

This dish is based off a favorite recipe I've shared before; chicken fried rice. I've been working hard to not waste any of our CSA veggies and it's hard when we're gone all day and a few nights a week I'm not home due to working a second job. The hubby is doing great preparing meals for our girls, but let's face it. He could care less about these darn vegetables, let alone know how to prepare many of them in a delicious way.

It turned out to be a great way for me to use up some broccoli, carrots and corn kernels plus it made for a nice lunch for me and the girls to take with us during the day. I love when that happens. You can easily prepare this on a weekend afternoon and then dish out small portions for the upcoming week. Stack the containers in your fridge and grab one as you're going out the door in the morning. It reheats nicely in the microwave or could be enjoyed cold.

Of course if you can't live without your meat, add some in there. Whether it's chicken, pork or beef; they all taste great. But I really do love this meatless version, I know we can all use that extra serving of veggies in our day. This is one painless way to do so!

Veggie Fried Rice

2 cups cooked brown rice
1 cup chopped broccoli
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 cup corn kernels
4 tbsp butter
1 egg, slightly beaten
pepper, to taste
2 tbsp soy sauce
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
drizzle of honey

Add all ingredients into a crock pot that has been lightly oiled. Stir well to combine. Cover with lid and cook on low for three hours. Make sure to stir a couple times while cooking. Season with additional soy sauce if needed when ready to serve.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Freezer Fridays: Spiced Apple Waffles

Waffles are a favorite in our house for breakfast, I usually try to have at least one bag in the freezer at all times. They are quick to reheat in the mornings but never seem to last long enough. A couple weekends ago, I decided it was necessary for us to sleep in and skip one weekend of church service. Mom just needed a break and some relaxation. Of course something special for breakfast was in order. I wasn't surprised when the kids cheered for waffles.

Since apples are in abundance right now, I wanted to incorporate them into our meal. I took my standard waffle recipe and added a little bit of autumn flare to it. We've already got a great apple pancake recipe we love so I knew waffles would be just as good. And they were.

They've got just the right amount of cinnamon spice and taste wonderful with maple syrup drizzled on top. You know that whipped maple butter I made the other day? It will be the perfect addition to these waffles. If you're like me at all and adding tons of apple recipe ideas to your menu plans, make sure to give this one a try. Toss a bag or two in the freezer for weekday mornings, your family will thank you!

Spiced Apple Waffles

1-3/4 cups all purpose flour {many times I use half whole wheat flour and no one notices the difference}
1 tbsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 eggs
1-3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil {coconut, canola, etc}
1 grated apple

In a bowl whisk together all dry ingredients. Add in eggs, milk and oil. Mix together until combined. Add in grated apple and stir well.

Add batter to a lightly greased waffle maker and cook according to manufacturer's directions. Once done, turn waffles onto a plate and repeat with remaining batter. When ready to serve, lightly dust with cinnamon if desired and drizzle maple syrup over top.

For freezing: place waffles onto a large cookie sheet and flash freeze for one hour, or until solid.  Transfer to large freezer bags. Make sure to label with date and contents. When ready to enjoy, simply reheat in the toaster.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Whipped Maple Butter

Flavored butters are really a fun way to jazz up your food. They're also incredibly easy to make too. Your options are pretty endless whether you prefer a sweet or savory spread. I messed around a little bit in the kitchen this past Sunday and came up with this sweetened maple butter that is perfect for the fall season.

I'm thinking I can spread this on just about anything. My parents invited us over for dinner that night and sent us home with homemade corn muffins, of course I had to try one for breakfast the next day. It was the perfect addition to my muffin. Pancakes, waffles, warm bread straight from the oven, baked sweet potatoes; everything will taste that much better with this maple butter on top!

What are some of your own favorite flavored butters?

Whipped Maple Butter

1 stick butter, softened
1/2 cup pure maple syrup

Add butter to the bowl of a stand mixer, whip butter using the whisk attachment just for a couple seconds. Add in maple syrup and whip together until mixed well and light and fluffy; about 3 minutes. Scrape butter into a smaller bowl to store in fridge. Use as desired on your favorite baked goods, baked potatoes, roasted vegetables, etc.

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