Saturday, February 21, 2009

Breakfast Solutions

Breakfast on a busy morning can be a nuisance but we shouldn't ignore this most important meal. It revs up our metabolism, gives us energy for our busy morning and gives us time to connect with our family and talk about our plans for the day ahead.

I've found the best way to handle breakfast is to have a set menu. Lists are the friend of a busy mom. While I have a monthly menu for supper, I have found that a weekly menu for breakfasts and lunch works just fine. I work in some choices to change it up a bit. I give myself permission to stray from the menu if we feel like it, but when I'm busy, I find that leaning on my menu is comforting.

BREAKFAST

MONDAY - Bagels or Hashbrowns
TUESDAY - Pancakes or Muffins
WEDNESDAY - Cereal, Grits, Oatmeal
THURSDAY - Yogurt Smoothie or Eggs & Bacon
FRIDAY - Frozen Fridays*
SATURDAY - Waffles or French Toast
SUNDAY - Biscuits or Cornbread

*Frozen Fridays - I freeze any leftovers from the breakfasts of week before. Kids can help themselves to what they want. (waffles, muffins, pancakes, biscuits, cornbread, french toast)

Of course, you should customize your menu for your family's tastes. It only takes a few minutes to pull together a quick menu and then post it so everyone can see it. Older children can even pitch in with some of the easier meals. Be sure and cook double batches of pancakes, waffles, biscuits, cornbread or french toast so you can put some in the freezer for Frozen Friday. Below are three of my favorite recipes:
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Hashbrowns are a good way to stretch your eggs. Here's how I fix them.

Hashbrowns
2 Tbl. Butter
2-3 cups of frozen loose hashbrowns (not the ones formed in a small loaf)
1/4 c. finely chopped onions
2-3 eggs
1/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/4 c. Grated Sharp Cheddar Cheese (a little goes a long way so this is a good budget stretcher)
1/4 c. sour cream
Kosher Salt
Black pepper

Melt 2 Tbl. Butter in a pan
Cover the bottom of the pan with hashbrowns & add chopped onions
Let them brown a little and flip them over
Let this side brown a little and add 2-3 eggs, salt & pepper, garlic powder, cheese and sour cream. Mix well and break it up as it cooks.
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Another favorite is a smoothie. It is quick and delicious. Here's our current favorite:

Banana/Peach Smoothie

1 frozen banana (remove the peel from an over-ripe banana and stick in the freezer in a bag)
1 cup frozen peaches (you can find this in your frozen fruit section at your grocer)
4 Tbl. honey
2 tsp. vanilla
3-4 c. of plain yogurt
1/2 c. of milk

Mix all together in blender and enjoy. It tastes like melted ice cream! The frozen fruit make it possible to make a thick smoothie without adding ice. Extra smoothie can be kept in your fridge until the next day.
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I was on a mission a year ago to find a delicious biscuit recipe. This one fits the bill very nicely.
Biscuits

2 c. flour
1 Tbl. baking powder
1 Tbl. sugar
1/2 tsp. salt
1/3 c. Crisco
3/4 c. Buttermilk (or regular milk)
1/8 tsp. baking soda

Mix together flour, baking powder, sugar & salt. Cut in the Crisco.
Make a well with your thumbs in the center of the mound. Dissolve 1/8 tsp. baking soda in 3/4 c. buttermilk and pour into the well. Mix all completely into a dough and knead till smooth and elastic. Kneading is the secret to these biscuits rising high. Pat out 1 inch thick, and cut out with round biscuit cutter. Push straight down on the cutter, don't twist as this will seal the edges and not allow the biscuit to rise properly. Prick each biscuit with a fork 2-3 times to allow it to rise evenly. Put on a greased sheet or use parchment paper (My favorite is my well-used Pampered Chef stone). Bake 450, 15-18 minutes or till golden.

Serves 8 Persons

Saturday, February 7, 2009

Karen Foreman's Chocolate Cloud Cake

When I was a teenager I used to babysit for Karen Foreman's darling kids. One day she made us this amazingly delicious cake. She was even sweet enough to give us the recipe. The frosting is so wonderfully fudgy and it hardens up a bit. It became our family favorite. Recently, it was published in our area homeschool cookbook. I made it for a dinner party tomorrow in my heart shaped pans in honor of Valentine's Day. I plan to top it with sliced strawberries right before serving. I thought I would share it here for those that would like to try it out. I hope you enjoy it!

Karen Foreman's Chocolate Cloud Cake

1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. cocoa
1 3/4 c. sugar
2 1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. vanilla
3 eggs (room temperature)
1 2/3 c. cold water
1 1/2 tsp. baking soda

FROSTING
1/4 c. melted Crisco
1/2 c. cocoa
1/4 tsp. salt
1/3 c. milk
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla
3 1/2 c. confectionery sugar

Cream butter & sugar. Add vanilla & eggs.
Sift salt, flour, cocoa & soda together twice.
Add dry ingredients to creamed mixture alternately with cold water.
Pour into greased & floured pan. 13" x 9" or two 8" pans
Bake in preheated oven at 325 for 40 min. (or two 8" pans at 350 for 30
mins.)

FROSTING
Melt Crisco and remove from heat. Add cocoa & salt. Stir in milk and
vanilla. Pour into sugar & beat well. Optional: Add chopped pecans.

Outer Space - the Great Preacher

This week I got out in my garden a bit and did a little trimming and a little mulching. I enjoy the changing of the seasons here in Houston, subtle as they are. In our study of Astronomy this year in Apologia (Exploring Creation with Astronomy), we learned just how special our planet is. I stand in awe. As much as nature tells of God's love and power, the study of astronomy shouts of his wisdom. God put our planet in exactly the right place in our solar system to support life. We rotate at exactly the right speed and our planet is at exactly the right tilt so that we experience seasons. He has the other planets in exactly the right place in their orbits to keep our planet in place.

The God that created all this also knows exactly how many hairs are on our heads (Luke 12:7) I find great comfort in knowing that the God that created the heavens and keeps track of my hair count, is in control of my future. Yup, I'm in amazing hands.

Psalm 19:1 The heavens declare the glory of God; and the firmament showeth His handiwork.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Interview with Mom

AllyJo at AllyJo's Erudition had an adorable Interview with Mom. I've done it with my boys and here are there answers.

Lucas - my 12 year old

WHAT DOES MOM ALWAYS SAY TO YOU?
Lucas, get over here.

WHAT MAKES MOM HAPPY?
Talking to her friends.

WHAT MAKES MOM SAD?
When Dad does not rub her feet.

HOW DOES MOM MAKE YOU LAUGH?
She makes goofy faces.

HOW OLD IS MOM?
40

HOW TALL IS MOM?
5 foot 6

WHAT DOES MOM LIKE TO DO?
Go on the computer.

WHAT IS MOM’S JOB?
She is a kind of a helper of an attorney. Attorney aide.

WHAT IS MOM’S FAVORITE FOOD?
Lasagna.

HOW DO YOU KNOW MOM LOVES YOU?
She tells me so.

Zack - my 10 year old

WHAT DOES MOM ALWAYS SAY TO YOU?
No, you can’t have it.

WHAT MAKES MOM HAPPY?
Chocolate.

WHAT MAKES MOM SAD?
Don’t know. I know stuff that makes mom mad!

HOW DOES MOM MAKE YOU LAUGH?
When you tease me and say “Don’t smile Zack. Don’t you dare smile Zack.”

HOW OLD IS MOM?
40

HOW TALL IS MOM?
about 6 foot something

WHAT DOES MOM LIKE TO DO?
shop

WHAT IS MOM’S JOB?
Work for Mr. John, whatever his name is.

WHAT IS MOM’S FAVORITE FOOD?
I have no idea.

HOW DO YOU KNOW MOM LOVES YOU?
When she takes me out for ice cream.

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