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i <3 cinnamon rolls!

To make an extra special breakfast treat, without much effort, I tried these heart-shaped cinnamon rolls. You can do the same with canned rolls or homemade. My family was delighted.

Summer Breezes

Our unusually cool spring has left us daydreaming of walks on the beach. This drink grants a little taste of warm days at the beach, while offering a boost to our immune systems.

There is tremendous nutritional benefit found in coconut water. Some consider it to be “nature’s blood transfusion” because of its abilities to help build the blood. It’s high in vitamins, minerals, enzymes, electrolytes and amino acids.  Some even claim it helps skin problems when applied topically! You might want to read up on coconut water! I’ll leave a couple of interesting links below to get you started.

[This is not an endorsement of these sites - they're just articles I found interesting.]

Back to the drink! We pour a can of the coconut water, a can of pineapple (or some fresh!), some ice and a tablespoon of Stevia. Blend until you achieve the consistency you prefer. The taste is lighter than the syrupy sweet piña colada. Mmmmm… delicious!

Close your eyes and pretend you’re at the beach.

http://www.nutrition-and-you.com/coconut-water.html

http://www.homeremediesweb.com/coconut-water-health-benefits.php

This is a dream come true.

Did you know you could make mac & cheese in the crock pot?

Without  boiling the pasta?

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat?

A few weeks ago, a friend sent me this link -

http://tipgarden.blogspot.com/2011/09/one-pot-mac-and-cheese.html

- and I was so excited!

Tip Garden’s Crock Pot Macaroni and Cheese
Ingredients:
Cooking oil spray
2 cups skim milk
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated milk
1 egg
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 cups pre-shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 cups uncooked elbow macaroni
Directions:
Grease the pot of the slow cooker. In a mixing bowl whisk together milk, evaporated milk, egg, salt and pepper. Pour milk mixture into the crock pot.  Add cheese and uncooked macaroni. Stir gently to mix.

Turn slow cooker on low and cook 3-4 hours, or until the custard is set and the macaroni is tender.

(Do not cook more than 4 hours, or the sides will begin to dry out).

When I finally tried it, I was not disappointed. I suggest cooking it on low for the first 2 hours, then check it every 1/2 hour after that. Every crock pot is very different, so the result will vary. It will cook much faster on high, but you sacrifice texture in the pasta for speed. Sometimes it’s just worth it.

It's so easy! Just mix the liquids, pour, and stir in the cheese and pasta.

It’s so easy! Just mix the liquids, pour, and stir in the cheese and pasta.

It really is simple enough for the most inexperienced cook. I mix my milk, egg, salt and pepper in a jar that shows measuring increments, to minimize mess.

After a trial run, you’ll know how long it needs to cook. You can just throw in the ingredients and come back to this -

Oh. YUM.

Oh. YUM.

This recipe is also very versatile! You can use a variety of cheeses or combination of several. You can use any milk, from reconstituted powdered milk (did NOT sacrifice taste!) to cream – it will be so good. You can use other pasta shapes. You can even substitute jarred alfredo sauce for the evaporated milk.

Delicious.

Oatmeal in a FLASH!

I really love oatmeal for breakfast. Smooth. Warm. Sweet. Mmmm.

Once upon a time, my family loved it too. In the last year so, it has lost its appeal with my children. It gets old hearing sighs of disappointment when you serve food, doesn’t it? I tried variations, which were met with similar reactions.

I decided to make an instant oatmeal for myself. As you might guess, once I did, they LOVED it! I have made it three times now and we have all enjoyed it. I love how inexpensive, nutritious and easy it is.

After reading several other people’s recipes and adapting those, here it is!

DIY Instant Oatmeal

  • 2 cups toasted oats
  • 6 cups old fashioned oats
  • 1 cup powdered milk
  • 1 cup sugar (I use a combination of powdered and brown)
  • 1 teaspoon salt

Pulse briefly in food processor. Use 1/3 cup of oat mixture with 1/2 cup boiling water. Allow to sit 2-3 minutes and enjoy. Optional add ins – cinnamon, vanilla, maple syrup or flavoring, dried fruits or nuts.

DIY Instant Oatmeal

DIY Instant Oatmeal

By using toasted oats, it brings out a slightly nutty flavor. If you prefer. use all plain old fashioned oats.

By using toasted oats, it brings out a slightly nutty flavor. If you prefer. use all plain old fashioned oats.

When you pulse the oats, do it for a couple of seconds at a time. The goal is to leave some oats still intact for texture, but you can adjust this according to your preference as well.

When you pulse the oats, do it for a couple of seconds at a time. The goal is to leave some oats still intact for texture, but you can adjust this according to your preference as well.

I store this in a Tupperware container, with the directions written on the side in a water-erase marker.

I store this in a Tupperware container, with the directions written on the side in a water-erase marker.

Every time I make this, I am concerned that it seems to be too much water. Just stir it and leave it!

Every time I make this, I am concerned that it seems to be too much water. Just stir it and leave it!

So yummy!

So yummy!

Our family is often on the look-out for fun food ideas. We recently made a pound cake for a friend’s birthday. But how to dress it up? After all, you can really frost a pound cake. Here is the result: a fitting cat for one of our favorite cat lovers!

Birthday Cat CakeThe dear little face is fashioned after our friend’s cat, but you can adapt this idea to nearly animal.

Eddi made the front and back images of the head and secured them to a skewer, cut for the proper length. She repeated this to have a tail coming up from the opposite end of the cake. FUN!

Image by Eddi.

Easy Snow-Cream

 

We haven’t had much snow in the last couple of years, but we’ve had some recently. Drama Princess loves to get a bowl out once it starts to fall, anticipating some SNOW-CREAM!

Bringing in the snow!

Bringing in the snow!

First, loosen up the snow in a large bowl, leaving plenty of space for stirring.

First, loosen up the snow in a large bowl, leaving plenty of space for stirring.

You will need to gauge how milk you use by the feel of the Snow-Cream.

You will need to gauge how milk you use by the feel of the Snow-Cream.

 

Pour and start to stir.

Pour and start to stir.

Try to loosen up any large snow chunks.

Try to loosen up any large snow chunks.

Add some sugar. You really don't need a lot - Snow-Cream is fun and doesn't need much sweet! :)

Add some sugar. You really don’t need a lot – Snow-Cream is fun and doesn’t need much sweet! :)

 

Add a little vanilla or another flavor.

Add a little vanilla or another flavor.

 

Give it a taste and add more sugar, milk or vanilla as desired.

Give it a taste and add more sugar, milk or vanilla as desired.

Some like to sprinkle Snow-Cream with cinnamon or some orange juice.

Some like to sprinkle Snow-Cream with cinnamon or some orange juice.

 

Perfect!

Perfect!

 

Photos by Eddi.

Hearty Oat Round

I love this bread. Seriously. It stirs together quickly and is always so moist and perfect. I love it with soup, especially one with a lighter broth. Last night we enjoyed it with Cheeseburger Potato Soup. Mmmmmmmmmmm!
Hearty Oat Round

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup oats
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 2 additional tablespoons of oats, for the top

Combine flours, oats, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Add egg, milk and oil, stirring gently by hand. When batter is just moistened, spread into greased baking dish. I prefer a 10 inch round. Sprinkle oats on top.

Bake 40-45 minutes at 350F. Allow to cool 5 minutes before slicing.

A note on substitutions:I have had success in using skim, 2% and whole milks, half and half, and soy milk. I have also used egg substitute without compromising texture or flavor.

 

 

 

In truth, I don’t love yellow cake. Unless it’s robed in chocolate. Chocolate frosting – dark chocolate! Or chocolate sauce. Or… something other than white frosting. That said, we made this recently, and the rest of our family dubbed it the

Best. Yellow. Cake. Ever.

 

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 1/4 cups flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 10 tablespoon butter

Grease 9×13 baking dish. Preheat oven to 350F.

Beat eggs on high for 5 minutes.

Gradually add sugar. Beat until fluffy. Beat in vanilla.

In a separate bowl, mix flour and baking powder. Gradually add to batter, stirring slowly and gently.

In a small sauce pan, heat milk and butter, just until butter has melted. Gradually add to batter, stirring slowly just until combined.

Pour into the baking dish. The batter is thick. Bake for 30-35, until toothpick comes out with small crumbs.

 

Our family just celebrated a birthday, and Eddi wanted to try her hand at decorating the cake. :)

Using small chocolates and and a Toblerone, she constructed an igloo and a snow covered hill!

Using some (freshly washed!) plastic animals and lots of white frosting, she created a fun winter scene! There’s a bunny in an igloo, and penguins playing on a “hill”. She made animal tracks and piles of snowballs. She even covered the penguins with bits of snow. Too cute!

This was inspired by a cupcake, but I can’t imagine that would make it any better. Mmmmmm!

A tender, moist sugar cookie (from scratch), topped with cream cheese frosting, strawberry slice and a blueberry.

My daughter requested them instead of cake for her birthday!

Seriously, amazing.

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