All posts by momwithagoldenfork

Helpful Hints with printable shopping list

This week I was asked to speak at my MOPS group (Mothers of Preschoolers) about cooking, recipes and a little about my blog. It was such a honor to address my friends and fellow MOPS mommies!

Being a very awkward public speaker with minimal experience, I was a little nervous but I got in a groove. Especially since this a topic I feel comfortable talking about with good friends. I thought I would put some of my talking points and printed pages out there so others might benefit as well!

Cooking and prep tips

-do a little prep work at home on day you shop. Find the recipes, browse your fridge and pantry and write down the specifics on your list.

– make weekly shopping list and menu items
(use below shopping list) forecast all meals

– do shopping only 1 time a week to lower costs

– wash and prep fruits as needed (apples grapes berries strawberries in sink full of water and Tbl of white vinegar for 20-30 minutes)

– prep/make dinner when your time is available. You don’t always have to do it 30 min to an hour before dinner time.

– make meal prep a fun family activity- turn on music, age-appropriate kitchen tasks, ask kids to smell or taste some ingredients.

– eat dinner as a family as often as possible where everyone eats the same thing.

– don’t give up on kids that don’t eat certain things. Sometimes it takes 30 times before they eat.

– set the table to eat

– blogs that I enjoy cooking from or give me ideas to make something similar

– do what works for your family with your time

– get kids involved in your shopping prepping and cooking

**This is a shopping/prep list that I made from an E-meals list and a weekly calendar. Its helpful to write down the meal, whether it be breakfast, lunch or dinner and where that recipe is found. That way, you can post the paper at home to alert your hungry family member of the meal and find the recipe quickly when its time to start.**

Shopping list

This list is great from those wanting a fresh start to meal planning or just a reminder of things you will need to have on hand to make a variety of great meals. I find it helpful to glance over every once in a while to keep a good stock of staples in case you need that corn starch (or whatever) and thought you had it in the back!

pantry-essentials

This is also a wonderful list to consult to get out of a rut of foods that you always eat. Need something new? Try a food in the current season since it will be ripe in season and more nutritionally good for you. It might also be helpful to try and cook a food you know your family loves, Broccoli per say and try roasting it if you usually always steam it.

food by season

My favorite recipes that I printed and included in my presentation were:

Easy Cauliflower Puree

Cider Oatmeal

Chicken with sweet potatoes and spinach

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Taco soup

Honey grilled chicken 

Thanks again to the Point Baptist Mops group for asking me to speak!!! I loved it 🙂

cookie jar mix

Cookie Jar Mix

Christmas time is the best! We all enjoy this season’s festive decorations, happy moods and the magical time of complete and total mental breakdowns!!!! AHHH! Just kidding.

But part of the wonder of Christmas is seeing your kids experience it all. Santa Claus footprints, the reindeer food and the hopes of snow. Unfortunately, Florida or Texas (where Santa will be visiting us) won’t be having a white Christmas this year and one little 5 year olds dreams will be crushed. Maybe it will be cold at least!

IMG_3737santa

That being said, Christmas cookies are always a must. I love making cookies with my kids…. (obviously check it out here or here). This year though, I decided to do a cookie jar mix in pint size jars. We gave them to our preschool teachers, neighbors, family and friends. They were super easy to make and both kids loved helping. I just set up an assembly line of ingredients and made sure each one had the right amount. Of course we had to taste test a few recipes to make sure they were going to be ok, haha! But you could just swap out for the basic color m&m’s for any holiday or event, you know, like a Tuesday.

M&M Cookie Jar Mix

Layer in jar:

1/8 tsp salt
1/2 tsp each, baking powder and baking soda
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup M&Ms (red & green for Christmas!)
1/4 mini chocolate chips
1/4 cup light brown sugar (spread with back of teaspoon to press down)
1/4 cup white sugar

*If any room remains at top, add a few more chocolate chips!*

Cookie Jar Mix Cookie Jar Mix

Instructions:

Screw on lids tightly. Add a festive square of fabric and tie with cord or ribbon under lip of jar rim. I printed a card to include the recipe. Here is my directions:

Empty cookie mix jar into a mixing bowl; mix well. Add 1/4 cup melted butter, 1 beaten egg and 1/2 tsp vanilla. Mix until blended. Roll or scoop into 1″balls and place 2″ apart on uncreased cookie sheet. Bake @ 375 until edges are browned, 12-15 min. Cool 5 min and transfer to wire racks to cool. Enjoy! Yields 1 dozen.

cookiemix1

They are incredibly easy to make from the jar. I still love my cookie scoop for these! It’s so much easier than rolling out the cookies and having them be different sizes and getting your hands dirty! No thanks.

I adapted this from Bakerella‘s recipe.

Cookie Jar MixCookie Jar Mix

IMG_3872 Cookie Jar Mix

Cookie Jar Mix
Author: 
Recipe type: baked goodies
 
This mix can be made in a jar to give away or keep for a rainy day. It includes instructions for the cookie jar mix as well that can be printed.
Ingredients
  • ⅛ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp each, baking powder and baking soda
  • ¾ cup all purpose flour
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • ¼ cup M&Ms (red & green for Christmas!)
  • ¼ mini chocolate chips
  • ¼ cup light brown sugar (spread with back of teaspoon to press down)
  • ¼ cup white sugar
  • *If any room remains at top, add a few more chocolate chips!*
Instructions
  1. Layer above ingredients in a jar. Screw on lids tightly. Add a festive square of fabric and tie with cord or ribbon under lip of jar. I printed a card to include the recipe.
  2. Here are my directions:
  3. Empty cookie mix jar into a mixing bowl; mix well. Add ¼ cup melted butter, 1 beaten egg and ½ tsp vanilla. Mix until blended. Roll or scoop into 1"balls and place 2" apart on uncreased cookie sheet. Bake @ 375 until edges are browned, 12-15 min. Cool 5 min and transfer to wire racks to cool. Enjoy! Yields 1 dozen. Here is my directions:

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Cookie Jar Mix! I would love to hear from you!

easy cauliflower puree

Easy Cauliflower Puree

This recipe comes from a few years ago when my family wasn’t eating grains, dairy, sugar and many other delicious things. (This post explains why we were doing that.) Thankfully those days are behind us! But the best thing that happened from that experience was some new and different recipes that I never would have cooked before that time. My kids learned to eat some new things and it opened them up to some new foods I hadn’t really thought about or even attempted to cook.

Easy Cauliflower Puree is my favorite thing to make when I’m scrambling to put dinner on the table. Its about 20 minutes from start to finish. Also, it can be put on subbed by replacing the sweet potatoes on top of the Cottage Pie. Don’t knock it until you’ve tried it!

I will say this: I don’t pretend this is potatoes. We call it cauliflower and they still eat it! Haha! It has a different flavor but it can be seasoned as such.

Sometimes I add other ingredients if we want to mix it up:

1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and 1/2 cup shredded cheese

2 TBL butter and 1/2 cup milk

3 chopped slices of bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

Easy Cauliflower Puree

World’s best and easy cauliflower puree. I promise. Of all the recipes I make on a regular basis, I use this one the most.

You will need:

1 large pot to cook in

an immersion blender like this one (or traditional blender)

Ingredients:

cauliflower head (mine was about 9-10 inches across)
1 TBL olive oil
3 garlic cloves, chopped
1 1/2 cup chicken broth
salt and pepper

Directions:

Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn’t count here!

easy cauliflower pureeIMG_3615

 

Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.

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Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.

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When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.)

easy cauliflower pureeeasy cauliflower puree

Taste for seasoning.

 

This is what my kids look like after dinner:

easy cauliflower puree easy cauliflower puree

Told ya 😉

Easy Cauliflower Puree
Author: 
Recipe type: side dish
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Easy Cauliflower Puree is a versatile and easy side dish to complement any meal.
Ingredients
  • cauliflower head (about 9-10 inches diameter)
  • 1 TBL olive oil
  • 3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 1½ cup chicken broth
  • salt and pepper
Instructions
  1. Cut the cauliflower into quarters. Diagonally chop the core out of each quarter and roughly chop into 2-3 inch pieces. Neatness doesn't count here!
  2. Add the oil and cauliflower all in the pot on medium high heat. Stir until the cauliflower stars to brown in a few spots, 3-4 minutes.
  3. Add the garlic cloves and continue stirring for 2 more minutes. Add the chicken broth and salt and pepper. Turn heat down to medium low and cover. Cook 15-18 minutes, stirring 1 -2 times. Add a splash of broth if it cooks away to quickly.
  4. When florets are soft and easily mashed with a spoon, turn off heat and blend with immersion blender until smooth. (Either in pot which is easier or spoon into traditional blender.) Taste for seasoning.
  5. Additional stir-in for extra flavor:1/2 cup greek yogurt or sour cream and ½ cup shredded cheese OR 2TBL butter and ½ cup milk OR 3chopped slices of cooked bacon and sautéed chopped onion and jalapeños.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Easy Cauliflower Puree! I would love to hear from you!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

Now that my kids are getting older, I find them playing together as peers more and more often. Especially since my 5 year old can read to my 3 year old, they really do seem like best buds together! Not that they don’t get into sibling spats and brawls but I often find them like this:

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And this is bedtime the other night. Of course.

dress-up

And before a run last week. Those rain boots usually make an appearance, even when the sun is brightly shining!

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Anyways, enough about the kids!

Over here at my house, we are always looking for a different (but easy!) way to flavor meat.  However, this is the recipe we use when we DON’T do something interesting and new. Its the old stand-by, the easy no-brainer and simple as anything! It gives the meat moisture and a delicious seasoned flavor. Now, I’ve only been using the homemade version for a short time. The other way was a bottle of something store bought but this tastes better, and there’s nothing mystery (or hard-to-pronounce) about it!

everything marinade

The Everything Marinade

This could be used for steaks, chicken breasts, chicken thighs, burgers, pork tenderloins or pork chops or whatever you like to cook! We usually throw it on the grill after marinading but it can be baked, sautéed or whatever kind of cooking method floats your boat!

Ingredients:

  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional) I don’t usually use this but it just adds that little something extra.

Directions:

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

 

We like to have our marinaded steaks with mashed sweet potatoes and roasted broccoli. It always gets gobbled up every time!

everything marinadeeverything marinade

The Everything Marinade
Author: 
Prep time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 2 recipes
 
This marinade is great for any and everything!
Ingredients
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 2 T apple cider vinegar
  • 1 T ground ginger
  • 1 c soy sauce (low sodium)
  • 1 c water
  • ½ tsp liquid smoke (optional)
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir or use a mason jar and shake vigorously.
  2. Pour half of recipe into zip top bag or container and add meat to marinade. Leave for minimum 30 minutes or up to 8 hours.
  3. Store remainder of marinade tightly closed with lid for up to 1 week. Can be used in a freezer bag with meat for 1 month.

Please let me know what you thought of the Everything Marinade! I would love to hear from you!

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Since school is now starting back up and we are getting into a good routine, I have a little more time on my hands! As any parent knows, summer is a blessing with the long days and excitement of vacations and endless ice cream popsicles. However, good things must always come to an end and school is back in session. (Thank Goodness!)

I was thinking that these cookies would be a good teacher gift, but really they are great for anytime of year. When you feel there’s a need to bring a gift to someone, maybe a family member or a friend that’s having a hard time, these cookies are wonderful. They take minimal time and a mixer does all the work for you. Plus my kids love to help with this since everything is just dump it in and scrape the bowl sides every one in a while.

Plus it makes a whole bunch so you can really spread the wealth very easily! And with oats and coconut in these, they could almost be breakfast, right?!

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Ingredients:
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup flour
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened. If using sweetened, reduce sugar to 1/4 cup)
1/2 cup raisins and/or dried cranberries (I like to mix them half and half)
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Directions:

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the electric mixer bowl, cream the butter by mixing on medium speed for 15-20 seconds. Add the sugars, baking powder and soda.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Beat until combined and scrape down side to incorporate all ingredients. Add in egg and vanilla and beat again, scraping sides if needed.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Turn mixer on lowest speed and add flour in 1/4 cup at a time to incorporate slowly. Add in oats, coconut, dried fruit and chocolate chips.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Drop cookies with a scoop 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. (I use a scoop like this one.) Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are set throughout and edges have browned slightly. Transfer off sheet to let cool.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies

Makes about 3 dozen.

Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies
Author: 
Recipe type: Baked Goodies
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 3 dozen
 
Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies are a delicious, easy-to-make drop cookie with a hearty bite of raisins, dried cranberries and a sweet surprise of chocolate chips.
Ingredients
  • ½ cup softened butter
  • ⅓ cup sugar
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ tsp baking powder
  • ¼ tsp baking soda
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1¼ cup flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1 cup shredded coconut (I use unsweetened. If using sweetened, reduce sugar to ¼ cup)
  • ½ cup raisins and/or dried cranberries (I like to mix them half and half)
  • ½ cup chocolate chips
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. In the electric mixer bowl, cream the butter by mixing on medium speed for 15-20 seconds. Add the sugars, baking powder and soda.
  2. Beat until combined and scrape down side to incorporate all ingredients. Add in egg and vanilla and beat again, scraping sides if needed.
  3. Turn mixer on lowest speed and add flour in ¼ cup at a time to incorporate slowly. Add in oats, coconut, dried fruit and chocolate chips.
  4. Drop cookies with a scoop 2 inches apart on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes until cookies are set throughout and edges have browned slightly. Transfer off sheet to let cool.

 

Please let me know what you thought of the Oatmeal-Coconut Cookies! I would love to hear from you!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Time just keeps getting away from me and I can only hold on for the ride! We just sailed through Thanksgiving (from when I started this post!) and Christmas (we traveled) and New Years (friends came in town) and now broaching on March!

This cauliflower pizza recipe is one I’ve made a handful of times. I like to add some herbs and seasonings to the crust, which otherwise is bland. Also, we haven’t topped our pizzas the same way twice. It’s very versatile and easily accommodates a variety of flavors. We like the more traditional toppings, usually some vegetable like bell peppers or mushrooms and a meat like sausage or pepperoni. Although, you could get really creative and change it up to your heart’s desire!

The kids and I ate this cauliflower pizza quite a few times with my husband gone and it was always super easy. The kids love to help pick out the toppings, prepare it, and then eat it! It would be a little too light if all 4 of us were to eat it but I bet it would be perfect with a lot of toppings and a big side salad.

I first got the idea from a friend who used Rachel Ray’s cauliflower pizza recipe. I made just a few changes based on my experiences with making this a handful of times.

Cauliflower Pizza Crust

Ingredients:

1 lb cauliflower head
2 eggs
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp basil
salt & pepper

IMG_3293

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F.

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Cut up cauliflower into florets about 1 inch in size. Using a food processor, chop cauliflower until chopped evenly and finely.

IMG_3299 IMG_3307

Pour cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, and cook for five minutes or until tender. Allow to cool and place cauliflower in a paper towel then wrap in towel, and ring out all the excess water so it is completely dry. (Also this towel might have some lingering scents, so do yourself a favor and throw it in the wash, just experience talking here!)

IMG_3312 IMG_3320

Back in the bowl, mix egg, spices and cauliflower until well-combined.   On a parchment-lined baking sheet, press out and shape cauliflower dough until it resembles a pizza round. Your hands are really the best tool here. My kids love this part!

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Bake for 40 minutes.  Remove and top with desired toppings and bake in oven for 7 minutes or until cheese and toppings have cooked and melted.

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We have used a variety of kinds of toppings: bell peppers, pepperoni, sausage, fresh mozzarella and fresh basil. Anything goes here!

Cauliflower Crust Pizza
Author: 
Recipe type: Dinner
Cuisine: Gluten Free, Dairy Free
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 4 servings
 
Cauliflower is transformed into a yummy pizza crust for a light, easy dinner.
Ingredients
  • 1 lb cauliflower head
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • ½ tsp oregano
  • ½ tsp basil
  • salt & pepper
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Cut up cauliflower into florets about 1 inch in size. Using a food processor, chop cauliflower until chopped evenly and finely.
  3. Pour cauliflower into a microwave-safe bowl, and cook for five minutes or until tender. Allow to cool and place cauliflower in a paper towel then wrap in towel, and ring out all the excess water so it is completely dry.
  4. Back in the bowl, mix egg, spices and cauliflower until well-combined. On a parchment-lined baking sheet, press out cauliflower dough until it resembles a pizza round. Your hands are really the best tool here.
  5. Bake for 40 minutes. Remove and top with desired toppings and bake in oven for 7 minutes or until cheese and toppings have cooked and melted.


Please let me know what you thought of the Cauliflower Pizza Crust! I would love to hear from you!