Friday, May 27, 2011

Strawberry Season!

Here is a new recipe that I found:

Strawberry Swirl Bread!

As you can see, I doubled this recipe and figured that it might work stretched out among 3 loaf pans because it overflowed and made a mess on the bottom of my stove! :( Live and learn. :)

Sorry for the blurry photo - it was 10pm at night and I was tired and in a hurry.

The taste is really good! It's a nice moist strawberry bread with a hint of cinnamon.

Strawberry Swirl Bread

  • 1 3/4 cups flour

  • 1 1/2 cups sugar

  • 1 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tsp. cinnamon

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg

  • 1/2 cup margarine, melted

  • 1 egg, beaten

  • 1 cup fresh or frozen (not in syrup) strawberries, mashed

  • 1/3 cup water


  • 1 (8 oz.) package cream cheese, softened

  • 1/4 cup sugar

  • 1 egg, beaten

Make swirl first. Mix all ingredients together until smooth. Set aside. Grease and flour one 9x5 loaf pan. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Make bread. Combine dry ingredients. Combine strawberries, margarine, egg, and water. Mix strawberry mixture into dry ingredients just till moistened. Pour all but 2 cups into prepared loaf pan. Pour cream cheese swirl mixture over strawberry batter: top with reserved strawberry batter. Cut through batter with a knife to create swirl. Bake 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes, remove from pan, cool completely before cutting. Store tightly wrapped in plastic in refrigerator. Keeps several months if wrapped well and frozen.

You could probably make this into a coffee cake and bake it in a 9x13 pan.


Thursday, May 12, 2011

Making your own cereal....

Granola is a easy, healthy, filling, and a wonderful yummy breakfast cereal! You can save money by making your own granola at home.

Here is the recipe that I use:


  • 6 Cups uncooked oats

  • 1/2 C. brown sugar

  • 3/4 C. wheat germ (I usually leave this out because I never have any on hand....and it works quite well without it)

  • 1/2 C. flaked coconut

  • 1 C. vegetable oil

  • 1/3 C. honey

  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Heat oats in 13x9 ungreased pan at 350F for 10 minutes. Remove and combine with remaining ingredients until well coated. Bake at 20-25 minutes.

See - it's super easy!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Cooking for a crowd: My first turkey ever!

I hope all you moms had a wonderful Mother's Day this past weekend. I enjoyed being able to host two Mother's day dinners. It was a lot of work, but a lot of fun!

Between 18 people we managed to go through entire 10lb bag of potatoes. Both my mom and my mother-in-law happen to be gluten-free so I had to plan meals accordingly, which really wasn't hard at all.

On Friday we had corn, green beans, and shepherd's pie along with a wonderful mint chocolate brownie topped with mint chocolate icecream that my sister-in-law made! That was my favorite part of the meal! I made one 9x13 pan and one smaller pan of shepherd's pie. I mixed sour cream, bits of cream cheese, and milk into the mashed potatoes and learned that if I use more milk the farther the potatoes will stretch. I used just one 1lb of cooked ground beef and 1 1/2 jars of sauce in my shepherd's pies.

On Sunday, we had mashed potatoes, green beans, homemade rolls (made by my brother-which were so good!), turkey and gravy. We also had a gluten-free blueberry pie-type dessert made by my sister topped with whip cream!

This was my very first time to bake a turkey and I felt quite intimitated over the whole idea - especially since I was going to be letting it cook while we were in church. I got up at 7:30am to prepare the turkey. It had been frozen and been thawing since Thursday morning. This 15lb fellow was quite a dandy. I worked hard at "gutting" it and pulling out all the inners. I recuited my wonderful husband to help me because I had no idea what I was suppose to pull out and/or leave in the lil fellow. After we accomplished pulling everything out, I put the turkey in one of those plastic turkey bags and pulled out all my spices. I thawed about 3/4-1/2 amount stick of butter to pour over the turkey and then sprinkled all the spices I could think of that might taste good on a turkey - rosemary, basil, garlic powder, onion powder, sage, and anything else that smelled and looked like it would taste good. I then tied the bag, placed six little slits in the bag and placed in the roasting pan and into the preheated oven. By the time I placed the turkey in the oven it was quarter 'til 9am! I was hoping that it would be cooked by time we got home from church.

We hurried home from church and as we walked in the door we were greeted by a wonderful smell of a non-burned turkey that had actually cooked and turned out very well! I was so happy! I must admit that I'm in no hurry to go cook a turkey again, but at least now I know I can manage to cook one if the need arises again.

Here is a picture of the cooked bird just removed from the oven:

Friday & Sunday weren't the only days that we entertained guests. We also enjoyed a cookout with siblings & friends and roasted hotdogs (that had been in the freezer waiting to come out for such a time as this). I did end up spending some extra $$ on buns, chips, and ice cream (which we didn't eat - but it freezes quite well and lasts for a long will be used later - trust me!) but overall I think I managed to stay under $170 this month.

This afternoon, I'm going to make several quiches to freeze and also freeze the turkey and put it in a casserole. Tonight for supper we are having baked ham, peas, and hmmm.......haven't decided whatelse yet or I might just wait until Sunday to cook the ham and instead have turkey tonight. We're going out of town next week, so I'm making sure all my foods line up to leave us no leftovers, because I don't want to be cleaning out the fridge when we get home!

Well, I'm off to bake and while everything is in the oven, I'm going to suprise my husband by mowing the yard!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Let's Bake!!!

It's great to go pull something out of the freezer on mornings you don't feel like making breakfast, or on busy days when you don't feel like fixing a big meal, but getting the meals and dishes there is a lot of work. Set aside 1-2 days and get the majority of your cooking and baking done for the month! Yes, it takes a lot of work, but it's so nice to be able to just go to the freezer and pop a meal into the oven or crockpot.

Today, I'm making breakfast foods: cinnamon rolls, waffles, quiches, and homemade granola.

Here is the recipe for the cinnamon rolls - the BEST cinnamon rolls I have EVER made!!! They taste like store-bought cinnamon rolls! :) They freeze very well and make a wonderful treat for breakfast!

Here is the first step after the dough has risen.........

Putting on the butter, sugar and cinnamon mixture before rolling up into a jelly-roll shape:

Here is the jelly-roll - try to make sure you roll it long ways - you'll get more rolls that way.

All the dishes you need to make cinnamon rolls:

This is what it'll look like after you cut it:

Cinnamon Rolls

5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
1 package (18-1/4 ounces) yellow cake mix
2 packages (1/4 ounce each) quick-rise yeast
2-1/2 cups warm water (120° to 130°)
1/4 cup butter, melted
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

6 tablespoons butter, softened
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 to 3 tablespoons milk

In a bowl, combine 4 cups flour, dry cake mix, yeast and warm water until smooth. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.

Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half. Roll each portion into a 14-in. x 10-in. rectangle. Brush with butter; sprinkle with sugar and cinnamon. Roll up jelly-roll style, starting with a long side. Cut each roll into 12 slices; place cut side down in two greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking pans. Cover and let rise until almost doubled, about 20 minutes.

Bake at 400° for 10-15 minutes or until golden brown. Cool for 20 minutes. For frosting, in a bowl, cream butter, confectioners' sugar and vanilla. Add enough milk to achieve desired consistency. Frost warm rolls. Yield: 2 dozen.

If you bake them in a foil pie pan and then cover with handy-wrap or foil you can freeze them! :)