Finding Joy in Him

Through Every Season

Tag: Recipes

Making Meal Planning and Preparing Easy

Cooking has never come naturally to me.
So I’ve been working on making 
cooking and shopping as easy as possible. 
I’ve been finding recipes on line and 
printing them on 4×6 cards for a while now.
I like using this protective photo magnet sleeve to hang 
them on my oven vent while cooking… easy and accessible.
I list the ingredients on the left with what to do with each one on the right.
Once abbreviated, most recipes will fit on the front of a 4×6 card.
Longer recipes are usually too complicated for me.
I write notes right on the card while using it; making it easy 
to adjust the recipe to our taste and reprint it on a new card.
This one called for too much red pepper.
I found this mini planter at Michaels to hold my 4×6 recipe collection.
If at least three of my four kids like a recipe, 
I give it a star for each and it goes into my box.  
If fewer than three want me to ever make it again,
it goes into the trash.. unless I really like it.
A few months ago I made this menu planner out of a 
14.5″ x 24″ frame that I found on sale for $10 at Michaels..
I used scrapbook paper in my favorite colors to define each section.
There’s space for six 4×6 recipe cards in the top half. 
Keeping these visible helps keep me inspired.
I’d seen many ideas on how to hang recipe cards;
on a string with clothes pins, in pockets, on cork board…
I like magnets and decided to attach 
washers to the glass to attract the magnets.
Learn from my mistake and don’t use hot glue ..
Many burnt fingers later and.. it peels right off the glass.
Double stick tape does the trick.
I decided week day magnets would be a set-up for failure,
and made vegetable themed bottle cap magnets instead.
The bottom half of the frame holds a list of 
 easy meals that I made years ago to help me stay
out of the rut of making the same thing every week
And this shopping list..
I had hoped framing these would inspire the kids to 
mark their wish lists on it..  so far they haven’t. 
Occasionally they’ll call out, “Mom we’re out of ____”
And I’ll tell them to add it to the “list”.
Dry erase marker wipes right off the glass.
On “Shopping Day”, I print out a new shopping list,
and one or two new recipes from my “Recipes to Try” computer file.
Then I mark my list as I go through my recipes, 
check my menu planner/list, fridge, and cupbords.
It’s working pretty well.  We’ve tried a bunch more new recipes
since making the menu board.  Even Judi has gotten on line
and helped me find new recipes to try.
Love,
Jenny

What’s Cooking for Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is my kids’ favorite holiday, “because we get to eat.”  
Joel and I spent 3-4 hours on Monday grocery shopping.
He had to take his car in for an oil change and 
was happy to hang out with me while he waited.
  
Judi is my regular grocery shopping helper.  
She is so well trained.  
I made a Thanksgiving Shopping List that 
I re-print every year and she knows it well.  
She’ll be home from Guatemala late tonight.
It doesn’t usually take quite so long.. 
but we were out of EVERYTHING after 10 days of no fridge.  
I am so glad Mike fixed it.  So far so good.  Yay!
As my mom pointed out, it usually takes me several days
to do all the cooking for Thanksgiving.. but
I don’t mind because the kids enjoy it so much.
Yesterday, I made some stuff that turned out great:
Cranberry-Orange Relish
1 lb. cranberries
4 apples, peeled
1 orange with about 1/2 of the peel
1 1/2 c. walnuts 
1/2 c. pineapple with juice
1 c. sugar in the raw
Blend in blender.
Refrigerate overnight.
Will keep in freezer for 2 months.

Spicy Pumpkin Ginger Soup (for lunch)
1 onion, chopped
2 ribs celery, chopped
1 apple, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
1 oz. ginger root, grated
2 T. butter
1/4 c. peanut butter
1/4 c. roasted pumpkin seeds
salt
black pepper
4 c. pumpkin
4 c. vegetable broth
thyme
nutmeg
Two pumpkin pies (one sugar free).
Then the sugar-free Peanut Butter and Oatmeal cookies
didn’t turn out so great.  I so need help with those. 🙁
Today I made some Banana Pudding with Xylitol.  
I hear it’s good, but can’t eat it because the xylitol comes from corn.
  
I also made some Pumpkin Chip Muffins.. the kind we eat every year 
for breakfast ..and a gluten free recipe I tried for the first time.  
I had to run to the store for muffin liners mid-mixing them 
(I added them to my grocery list for next year.)
 and almost forgot to add the pumpkin in when I came back.  
Thank God they looked funny and I realized my mistake.
They went really well with my leftover pumpkin soup.
Pumpkin Chip Muffins or Cake
4 eggs
2 c  sugar
14 oz. can pumpkin
1/3 c vegetable oil
2/3 c apple sauce
In a small bowl whisk together,
 adding each in order until smooth.
3 c  flour
2 t. baking soda
2 t. baking powder
1 t. cinnamon 
1 t.  all spice
1 t.  nutmeg
1 dash salt
Mix in a large bowl.  Make a well.
1 c walnuts
1 c  chocolate chips
1 c  raisins
Stir in wet ingredients about 25 strokes 
until just combined.  Don’t over stir.
Spoon or use a 1/3 c. measure to fill well 
greased or paper lined muffin tins about 3/4 full.  
Bake in a preheated 350 oven for 20-25 min. 
or 55 minutes in a bunt pan.
I made the gluten free muffins basically the same way with only 2 eggs, 
and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar, then substituted 1 and 1/4 cups teff flour 
and 1/2 cup tapioca flour for the flour.
I just finished the Strawberry Jello Salad – and realized that 
I could probably safely eat it.  🙂
I stumbled across this recipe this morning 
Olive Oil and Vinegar Dipping Sauce:
3 large cloves garlic, minced
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon fresh rosemary, chopped
1 pinch salt and black pepper
and decided to add it to my Thanksgiving Dinner list..
I think I’ll enjoy it more than gluten free/corn free gravy.
Tonight, I am making Cheesy Spinach Burritos (for dinner).
Then I’ll put the turkey in the oven to cook over night on low.
And we’ll go the the airport to pick up Judi!!!
Tomorrow we’ll make:
Garlic Mashed Potatoes
Green Been Casserole
Ore-ida Crinkle Crispers
Crescent Rolls
Gravy
Turtle Pie

 and
APPLE MALLOW YAM YUMS  
4 med. sized apples
2/3 c. pecans or walnuts
1 c. raw sugar
1 tsp. cinnamon
1 pkg. frozen sweet potatoes, thawed
1/2 c. butter, sliced
Cut apples and sweet potatoes
 into chunks and toss together.
Layer in buttered dish.
Dot with remaining butter.
Cover.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35 to 40 minutes. 
It will probably all last a couple of days at the most.
3 Large boys who “get to eat.”
Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving!
Love,
Jenny

My “Usual” Breakfast

I tend to eat the same things all the time.  
A few months ago I did some research on what the healthiest foods were.
I was surprised by what I learned.. and promptly forgot most of it.
A couple of things I remembered was that 
onions and kale were really good for you,
so I started making myself this breakfast.
Chop some onions.. this one looks like a heart.  🙂
 Add in some frozen bell pepper.  I usually buy several at a time,
 chop them up and put them in zip lock bags in the freezer. 
I also started buying bags of carrots and chopping a couple of them 
up in my Ninja Blender, which I love.  It only takes about 5 seconds.
 I keep the carrots and my onion in containers in my fridge door.
 I buy organic red kale.. making my number one super food pesticide free.
 Fry it all in olive oil for a few minutes while..
 I let Zoe outside.
 Then I add in an egg for protein.
Add a little salt and eat it up.

James’ Birthday

James turned
A few of his good friends helped us celebrate after church.
We only make this awesome cake when we have friends to help us eat it..

Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup Cake
1 chocolate cake mix
Heat oven to directions on box. 
Prepare 2 layer cake as directed. 
Cool completely.
Cream Cheese Peanut Butter Frosting
12 ounces cream cheese, room temp.
1/4 cup butter, room temp.
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter 
and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. 
Add the powdered sugar and peanut butter and mix until smooth.
To frost the cake, place one layer on a serving plate. 
Spread 1/4 of the frosting over the top. Place the second layer on top. 
Spread the remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake.

Do you keep calling your kids “kids” when they become adults?

Should I be calling them our young adults?
James loves to serve
@ church
@ his job
and sometimes.. 
@ home, too.
We are so blessed!
Jenny

Ratatouille

I made some Ratatouille last night.  It was our first time to have any.
I always wondered what the fuss was about in the movie with mouse.
It was awesome!
It even got four stars.. meaning all the kids liked it.
Each kid gets a star (an up or down vote).  
If I make something and it gets 3-4 stars, I keep it in our family recipe stash.
 I found the recipe on All Recipes while looking for something
to do with the eggplant I got at the Farmer’s Market on Saturday.
I love eggplant; need to buy it more often.
Love,
Jenny

Recipes for Supper Club

Today is gymnastics/ grocery day. I finally decided what I am making for Supper Club.

Supper Club is the Marriage/Bible Study Small group that we are attending twice a month at our new church, Valley Fellowship. The small group isn’t very small; 12 or so couples. Every other week 2 couples prepare a meal for everyone.
The couple who’s helping us with the meal is bringing Chicken Alfredo and bread. Here is what I am bringing.. hopefully it will turn out.

Tossed Salad
Ingredients
• 2 hearts romaine lettuce
• 2 small plum tomatoes, diced
• 1 Kirby cucumber or 1/4 European seedless cucumber, diced
• 1 small yellow onion or 1/2 red onion, chopped
• 1 carrot, peeled and shredded
olives
shredded cheese
Salad dressings … ranch .. Italian
Crock Pot Winter Fruit Crisp
Nonstick cooking spray
6 C. peeled, cored and sliced Golden Delicious apples
6 C. peeled, cored and sliced pears
1 C. dried cherries
1/2 C. sugar
1 T. grated orange peel (colored part only)
3 t. ground cinnamon, divided
1 C. flour
1 C. uncooked oats, quick or regular
3/4 C. brown sugar
1 t. dried ginger
1/4 t. mace
3/4 C. butter, softened
Fresh whipped cream or ice cream

Spray the bowl of a slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine the apples, pears, dried cherries, sugar, orange peel and 1 teaspoon cinnamon; toss well.

In another bowl, mix together the flour, oats, brown sugar, remaining 2 teaspoons cinnamon, ginger and mace. Crumble the butter with your fingers, add it to the flour mixture, and knead the mixture to incorporate the butter. Sprinkle this mixture over the fruit, patting it down lightly.

Scrape the fruit mixture into the slow cooker. Cook at high temperature until the fruit is bubbly, about 4 hours.

Serve warm with fresh whipped cream or ice cream.

Makes 12 servings.

AND..
Peanut Butter Cookie Bars
1/2 c. butter, melted
1/2 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. packed light brown sugar
1 egg
1/2 c. peanut butter
1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1/2 c. whole wheat flour (You can use only all-purpose flour if you’re so inclined.)
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. salt
1 c. quick oats
1 (13 ounce) package chopped peanut butter cups
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
Stir together melted butter and sugars and thoroughly combined. Add egg and mix well. Stir in peanut butter and vanilla extract. Add flour, baking powder, and salt; stir to combine. Stir in oats.
Optional: fold in 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
Press mixture into a 9×13 pan (lightly greased).
Optional: press in peanut butter cups
Bake at 350 degrees for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and sprinkle chopped candy cups and chocolate chips on top. Return to oven until golden brown and baked through, about 8-10 more minutes.
I am looking forward to spending time with Judi making it all.
J

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