Sunday, July 31, 2011

Ever wear too many hats?

Stack of hats found here
I think most moms (and dads!) can relate to the feeling of wearing too many hats.  On a normal day, I wear the hats of mom, cook, house-cleaner, laundress, nose-wiper, referee...did I miss any?  On top of those, I added (just for fun): blogger, knitter, and baker.  And, just for an extra busy weekend, I added cake decorator, birthday party planner, and jewelry designer.

So which hat falls off?  This week, it was cook and blogger...sorry.

It was a week about spaghetti, frozen pizza, cheese & crackers, and other easy meals.

On the plus side I made this:

#2's 8th birthday cake (that's a horse, in case you can't tell)

And this:

My first ever attempt at making jewelry
Drank a lot of this:

And I went here:

The zoo, with all four of my monkeys.

<------#3 loved the penguins

#4 and a gorilla --------->

We ate sandwiches, drank from juice boxes, had ice cream...and there were meltdowns, tantrums, whining...oh, and the kids did some of that too.

I did manage to make one experimental recipe, which went over pretty well...probably because the main ingredient was marshmallows.

Here is the recipe:

3 tbsp butter
6 cups marshmallows
7 cups cheerios
3/4 cup craisins

Butter (or spray) a 13x9" pan.
Melt the butter and marshmallows in the microwave until creamy, stirring every 30 seconds or so.  Stir in cheerios and craisins.  With buttered hands, press the (extremely sticky!) mixture into the pan.  Cool in the refrigerator for 10 mins, or until firm.  Cut, and serve...but don't forget to have wipes handy!

The picture:

The official tally:

Oh, and:

The dog loved them too!  I dropped one on the floor and...well, you know how that goes!

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

WARNING: Unexpected broccoli appreciation ahead!

Knit broccoli found here
Off topic for a may have noticed that I feature knit, felt or other fake foods as the main picture in my posts.  Why?  I think they're cute.  That's it, no good reason at all.  Oh, well, and it does link back to one of my other favorite hobbies, (besides torturing my children with vegetables) knitting.

While on a search for the perfect adorable broccoli to accompany today's recipe, I came across this word: amigurumi.  Intrigued, I had to check wikipedia:

Amigurumi (編みぐるみ?, lit. crocheted or knitted stuffed toy) is the Japanese art of knitting or crocheting small stuffed animals and anthropomorphic creatures. The word is derived from a combination of the Japanese words ami, meaning crocheted or knitted, and nuigurumi, meaning stuffed doll.[1] Amigurumi are typically animals, but can include artistic renderings or inanimate objects endowed with anthropomorphic features.

So there you go.  Learn something new everyday!

Back to food.

I usually make my fancy-schmancy recipes for dinner, but I came across an idea for a "breakfast muffin" that I thought would be I made it for lunch.  I don't know about you, but we don't do much more than cereal for most breakfasts.  The mornings, even in the summer, are just to hectic to try and cram in a bunch of baking too.

I took a couple of different recipes, smashed them together, used what I had on hand (go figure!), and here is what I came up with:

Breakfast Egg Muffins

1-10 oz  package Green Giant broccoli and cheese sauce, defrosted
1 cup Bisquick
1/3 cup plus 3 tbsp milk
3 eggs
3 Morningstar vegetarian sausages
1/2 cup shredded cheese

Heat oven to 350 degrees
Spray 12 cup muffin tin with cooking spray
Cut broccoli into small pieces (especially for picky broccoli eaters), set aside
Mix Bisquick and milk, knead 10 times. Roll into small (about 1") balls, put about 4 into each muffin cup

Cut up sausage, mix in with broccoli
Divide sausage and broccoli mix evenly among muffin cups (about 2 tbsp per)

Beat eggs w/ 3tbsp milk, pour into muffin cups
Using a knife or spatula, gently lift biscuit balls to get egg underneath
Sprinkle with cheese

Bake for 20-25 mins, until egg mixture has stopped bubbling

Now, this may sound like a hit or miss recipe...and true, #2 hated the broccoli, #1 complained about the fake sausage, but they both ate their muffins, and said they loved everything else about them.  The real surprise is that #3 and #4 gobbled up TWO muffins each!  Plus, while eating, #3 asked, "Is this broccoli?"  As you can imagine, my mind raced with how to answer...No!...Yes!...Maybe?...What do you think it is?...She answered her own question, "Yes. It is broccoli.  Yum."


You could have knocked me over with...well, a stalk of broccoli!

Here's the official tally:

Edited to add pictures...and fix the thumbs!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Home again, home again...

Happy bacon found here
...jiggety jig!

It really is nice to be home again.  

However, my absence has not changed my children's opinion of my cooking.  They still like pancakes, bacon, and hate spinach.

My husband was nice enough to make the pancakes and bacon for their breakfast, which they loved.

I should mention...I'm a vegetarian.  I still serve meat to my kids, but I don't generally cook it.  Sure, I'll bake chicken nuggets, but I draw the line at frying bacon.  Which of course makes my husband much more popular at breakfast time.

For dinner tonight, I thought I'd try a twist on something that had worked before, by making spinach-bacon pinwheels.  I included the bacon for two reasons: 1. There were two pieces left over from breakfast.  2. If I made the pinwheels with bacon, I wouldn't eat all of them!

Here is my recipe:

Spinach-Bacon Pinwheels

1 tube crescent rolls 
1 pkg frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained
4 oz cream cheese
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1 shake of garlic powder
2 shakes of italian seasoning
2 pieces cooked bacon, cut into small pieces

Heat oven to 400 degrees. 
Mix cream cheese, cottage cheese, garlic and itailian seasoning.
Spray cooking sheet with cooking spray.
Roll crescent rolls out onto a cooking sheet, pressing seams together.  (Or cheat like I did, and buy the seamless dough roll!)
Spread cheese mixture on dough.
Spread spinach over cheese mixture.  (Alternatively, mix the spinach with cheese mixture, and spread together...I think this would have helped the end result go over better, since the spinach wouldn't have been quite so obvious, or so easy to pick out!)
Sprinkle bacon over spinach.

Roll into a tube.
Cut into 8 slices.

Bake 14-16 minutes.

Finished product:

The verdict was mixed!  #2 (of course!) was the one picking out and avoiding the spinach.  The littles sorta ate theirs.  My husband was the one that really liked them, probably because I included the bacon!  

The official tally:

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Week without Kids: Day Five

Knit pizza found here

After last nights complicated recipe, and a rather long day, mom and I decided to take a break from cooking, and just put a frozen pizza in the oven and open a bottle of wine.

Only problem with that plan? The bottle we chose to open was without a doubt the driest Pinot Grigio ever. Yech.

What to do with all that wine? My solution:use it in recipes! One of my favorite recipe search sites is You can search by ingredients you have on hand, which is BRILIANT!

I searched for "dry white wine" and "spinach" (because I had a teensy bit left over from last nights recipe), and found a couple of recipes for spinach salad. I took the bits I liked, skipped the bits I didn't, and here is what I came up with:

Spinach Salad


1/2 cup white wine
1/2 cup basalmic vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp paprika
2 tsp diced onion

Toss spinach with 3/4 cup slivered almonds and one cup of cranberries and/or golden raisins. (I used a mix of both, it was what I had on hand.)

Pour dressing over salad, toss, and serve.

By the way, you may notice that the dressing only calls for 1/2 cup of wine. Since I hate waste, looks like it's spritzer time!

Of course, since there isn't any club soda in the house, and I'm not venturing out in almost 90 degree weather, I did improvise...again. So here is a bonus, second recipe, that I don't expect anyone to try, ever:

1 part white wine (even the driest stuff you have)
1 part Blueberry Pomegranete Propel Fitness Water

I just invented the Blu-Pom-Fit Spritzer, think it will catch on? (Surprisingly tasty, by the way!)

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A Week without Kids: Day Four

Swiss cheese scarf (and pattern!) found here

Do you know that feeling, when you're on vacation, and you not only lose track of time but you forget what day it is? Yep, I'm there. I sat down to write this post, and I couldn't remember what day it was, three or four. Hopefully I got it right...

We spent the day helping my sister reorganize her kitchen (someday we'll help her on a remodel, but not this trip), which was perfect, because I really needed to know where everything was to cook today's grown-up recipe.

Here's a link to the recipe (which I found on Pinterest):

Greek Macaroni and Cheese

Now, keeping in mind that I am in a tiny town in the middle of nowhere, Nevada, so I did have to make some substitutions and omissions.

The recipe calls for a Greek cheese, Graviera, which I don't know if I could even find in the fabulous cheese bins at Central Market or Trader Joe's. So, I did a google search, and found a website that had cheese substitution recommendations. They suggested either Gruyere or Jarlsberg. The local grocery store only had smoked Gruyere (yech!), so, Jarlsberg it is!

Also, I couldn't find shallots or scallions (seriously, what the heck is a shallot??), so we used green onions instead.

The only other change I made was to reduce the amount of spinach. The recipe calls for two pounds of baby spinach! I only used about 9oz (one and a half packages of bagged stuff), and that was more than enough.
Seriously, that's a lot of spinach!

The result? YUM!!!

And, I can't tell you how nice it is to be appreciated, not only for the end result, but for the effort put into a complicated recipe. Thank YOU, Mom and sister, for all of the compliments. *sniff*

Edited to add PICTURES!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

A Week without Kids: Day Three

Knit bean (and pattern!) found here
So, it turns out that I'm not the only one who sets aside recipes thinking, "Maybe some time when I'm not cooking for the kids..."

My sister requested that while here, my mom make Spiced Beans in Coconut Milk, one of my sister's favorites, but one that she could not talk her kids into eating. So, while Mom and I are here, and her kids are away on a camping trip with their dad, we get to have Spicy Beans! (Perhaps it is a good thing that we are all sleeping alone tonight.)

Here is the recipe:

Spicy Beans in Coconut Milk

2 cans kidney beans, drained & rinsed (or use 1 kidney and 1 garbanzo)
1 onion, chopped
2-3 tomatoes, chopped, or one 15 oz can diced tomatoes
2 tsp turmeric
1/2 tsp - 1 tsp cayenne pepper (less if you have a sensitive palate, more if you like things SPICY!
1 can coconut milk

Sauté onions in oil, add the rest of the ingredients and simmer several minutes until very tender.
Serve over rice.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A Week without Kids: Day Two

Knit hoagie found here

You know what another thing is that my kids won't eat? Subway sandwiches. Which is too bad for them. I happen to like Subway, but I haven't eaten there in ages, so it was a nice treat (and a welcome break!) when my mom and I stopped there halfway through a twelve hour drive.

I love my siblings, I just wish they lived CLOSER!

No recipes or cooking stories to share today, but I did have the most amazing cabbage salsa at the local Mexican restaurant.

If you are intrigued, here is a link to a recipe that sounds about right: Cabbage Salsa

Sunday, July 17, 2011

A Week without Kids: Day One

(knit lasagna found here)

What would you do with an entire week with no children? Party? Sleep in? Watch R-rated movies?

I (thanks to my very wonderful husband) have one whole week with no kids, just my mom, my sister and me, and the one thing I am really looking forward to (besides the margaritas and sleeping in) is eating food that my kids don't like.

I have decided that I will try to do a lot more of the cooking than I would usually do around my mom (because she is an AWESOME cook), and to cook mostly things my kids won't eat. Fueling this recipe craziness is Pinterest. So many recipes, so little time. If you are not on Pinterest, may I suggest that you only join if you are not addicted to Farmville or Zombieland, as Pinterest rivals Facebook as a major time-suck. That said...I love it, and I hope to see you there.

First night away from the kiddos, and the first thing we're eating is lasagna...and not just any lasagna...SPINACH lasagna. My opinion: OM NOM NOM NOM! My kids opinion: "Eww!"

Here is the recipe, just in case you a)don't have picky kids, b)have an evening to yourself. (oh, and credit where credit is due, this is my mom's recipe, thanks Mom!)

Easy Cheesy Spinach Lasagna

One 28 to 32 oz jar (3 1/2 cups) spaghetti sauce
3/4 cup water
One 8 oz package NO BOIL lasagna noodles
2 cups (one pound) ricotta or cottage cheese
1/2 cup grated parmesan
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 clove garlic, minced (look, no kids=real garlic!)
One 10 oz package frozen, chopped spinach, thawed, drained
3 cups (12 oz) shredded mozzarella cheese

Heat oven to 375 degrees.

In a small bowl, combine ricotta, Parm, onions, garlic, spinach, and 1/8 tsp nutmeg.
In another bowl, combine sauce and water.
In 13x9-inch baking dish, layer one third of sauce mixture, half of Uncooked lasagna noodles, half of ricotta mixture, and half of mozzarella; repeat layers, ending with sauce.
Cover tightly with foil.
Bake one hour.
Uncover, sprinkle with parm.
Let stand 10 minutes before serving.

Oh, and if you are looking for thumb ratings, there won't be any this week! I like it, and for one week, that's all that matters.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Quick tip for pumpkin eaters!

Pumpkin beanie found here

Quick tip:  add a tablespoon of canned pumpkin to applesauce, sprinkle a little cinnamon sugar on top, and, ta-da!  A vegetable spiked concoction that children will eat.

One tablespoon of pumpkin provides 35% of your daily Vitamin A.

Second tip:  read your recipes carefully.  I occasionally make pumpkin bread, muffins, or cookies, and almost every recipe, without fail, has called for less than a can of pumpkin.  Which is why tip #1 was born.  However, last night when I decided to make pumpkin bread for breakfast (thinking ahead: rare for me!), I neglected to read the recipe before putting pumpkin in the girls' applesauce with dinner.

Hungry Girl 1-2-3's recipe for Perfect Pumpkin Bread is, of course, the exception.  She calls for 1 whole can of pumpkin.

So, no pumpkin bread today...but maybe pumpkin cookies later!

Pumpkin Pie Applesauce

Monday, July 11, 2011

Oh, yeah, that's right...

Felt play spaghetti found here.
I remember now why I named this blog: My Kids Hate My Cooking.

I tried not one, but two new recipes tonight, both mostly original mash-ups of my own creation.

The first: baked spaghetti.  I knew this was risky, because #3 has been iffy about spaghetti for a while, and #2 usually refuses to eat spaghetti with tomato sauce.

No surprise, #4 took two bites and said "blech", #3 wouldn't touch it, but #1 loved it and SURPRISE, so did #3!  So, baked spaghetti is a moderate success!

Here's the "recipe":  cook spaghetti, mix with marinara sauce, a dash of feta, and pour into a greased pan.  Cover with a little more marinara, shredded cheese, and some parmesan.  Bake at 375 for 30 mins, or until the cheese is melted.

The second part of dinner was a complete failure, in more ways than one.  I mixed cream cheese, chopped red pepper and minced garlic and spread the mix onto flat crescent rolls, then rolled them up, cut each roll in half, and baked them for 10 mins.  The garlic was the start of the fail.  I always forget that minced garlic is much more powerful than garlic powder!  The filling was waaaaay too garlicky.  I didn't even like it, and I like garlic!  The other failure on my part was that my monkeys raced to the dinner table before I was ready, and started eating the rolls before they had cooled down.  #4 bit into one, burnt her mouth, then dropped half the roll onto her bare leg, and burnt her leg with the hot cream cheese!  So, not only do my kids hate my cooking, my cooking hates my kids.  Sigh.

Lessons learned: don't use minced garlic.  Ever.  And, do not put hot food on the table!  Only plate after the food has cooled to a reasonable temperature!

Here is a picture of dinner, for the morbidly curious:

The red pepper was my attempt at a visible vegetable.  The littles didn't eat that, either.

So, two verdicts this evening:


Crescent roll-ups