Tag Archives: life

Pumpkin Pancakes

This year we successfully grew 4 pumpkins in our garden. After making 2 pumpkin pies and several breads I had just a little leftover (from just 1 pumpkin!).  We often make pancakes on the weekend. The boys love to help measure, mix and flip until the first 2 pancakes are off the griddle at which time they seat themselves and dig in while I finish making the rest.

So one morning I added the leftover pumpkin puree and some spices to make some thoroughly delicious and festive pumpkin pancakes! Great for Halloween, Thanksgiving or any other time of the year. Since pumpkin is full of nutrients, I don’t mind serving these all the time!

Ingredients:
2 cups flour
6 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 tsp ground allspice
2 eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1-1 1/2 cups pumpkin puree
1-2 cups milk

1. Combine flour, baking powder, sugar and salt and spices in a large bowl. Add eggs, oil, pumpkin and 1 cup of milk. Mix together and add more milk as needed until you reach a good pancake consistency. You don’t want it too thick more on the runny side is better.
2. In a heated pan  or griddle over med to high heat, pour batter in 2-4″ circles. When the batter starts to bubble it’s time to flip. I use a non-stick griddle so I don’t have to butter the pan.
3. I serve this with warm real maple syrup and a dash of powdered sugar.  These are delicious the next day as a little snack served cold or with apple slices.

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Ghost Lee Good Sign

I have had this project in my head for years!  I think I finally had to get it out of my head today!  I found a few old boards in the wood pile. They are 1″ thick and assorted lengths, perfect for this sign. Hubby helped me with the large post, I think you could definitely do this with a shorter/smaller board for the stick in the ground 🙂

Please note the words are not misspelled but rather I played on our last name. I thought I would have some fun with the sign!

Time: Approximately 1 hour
Level: If you can paint or nail a board, you can do this!
Materials:
4 1″ x various length boards ( minimum board length here is approximately 2′)
White paint
Black marker
Nail or screws to attach boards to stick
3-4′ stick to attach boards to (longer will also work)

1. Decide what spooky words you want for your sign. Select the appropriate size boards for each word.
2. Using white paint and small paint brush, paint words onto boards. Let dry
3. Use black marker for accents. See the skull.
4. Screw or nail boards to the long stick and drive it into the ground.

Halloween Fabric Garland

I think Halloween just might be our families favorite holiday. Maybe it stems from the years I spent as a teenager helping my mom in her costume shop. I loved seeing the enthusiasm customers brought to finding the right costume for 1 night of the year. It’s a chance to pretend to be something else good, pretty, scary, strong. It’s a holiday that even lets adults pretend to be a kid!

This Halloween garland is so easy and the kids loved to help. Ripping the fabric was productive destruction and with my boys guided destruction is usually best!

Time: 45 minutes
Level: EASY peezy

Materials:
1/2 yard of 4 different Halloween fabrics (makes 4 1/2-5 ft of garland)
7-9 ft of jute string
scissors

1. Fold 1/2 yard matching up selvage edges. Make small cut through both layers of fabric every 1″.


2. Rip fabric strips by grabbing fabric on each side of small cut.  You may be able to rip both layers at the same time. This was what the boys loved most!


3. Tie jute string between two posts, chairs, something to give you a taut string.
4. Fold strip in half to make a “loop”. Place fabric loop behind string. Reach from behind through the loop and grab the lower section (tails) of loop, pulling them through the loop. Pull tight .


5. Repeat step 4 for the remaining strips of fabric until you reach the desired length of garland.
6. String you garland where all will enjoy. Ours is currently on the front porch entrance. You may place yours inside on the mantel, hallway entrance, above a doorway, etc!

Fun to make Irish Brown Bread

It doesn’t have to be St Patty’s day to enjoy a little home-baked Irish goodness!  There is just nothing like the smell of fresh-baked bread in the air. This super easy recipe is full of whole-grain goodness and the kids have so much fun getting their little hands gooey while mixing it.

I LOVE this bread hot from the oven with a little strawberry or mango jam on top! Of course it’s even better while sipping a cup of tea 🙂

I pair this dense bread with soups, stews, roasts and just about any other down home recipe you can

come up with. And it’s really quick to make up, no time waiting for it to rise. I think you could cut down on the cook time by make 2 smaller loaves.

Hope you enjoy!

Ingredients:
2 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup rolled oats
1 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp sugar
2 1/2 cups butter milk


1. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the ingredients except milk in a large bowl. Stir with hands. Make a well in the mixture and pour in 1 1/2 cups of buttermilk.
2. Continue mixing with hands. Add remaining cup of buttermilk as you combine ingredients. The dough will be very wet and sticky….kids love it!
3. Dust hands with flour and shape dough into a ball. Place on a floured cookie sheet or non-stick baking mat. Score a X on the top with a knife.
4. Bake the bread until golden brown about 45-50 minutes. Let cool for 10  minutes before slicing.

 Originally found in Family Fun magazine March 2008

Mexican Corn and Chicken Chowder

If you recall an earlier post, we have quite a bit of home-grown corn now frozen just waiting to be consumed. There is only so many times I can serve corn as a side dish. Plus it’s been a little chilly this week in MT so I thought maybe a chowder would put some corn to good use.

This recipe cooked up quick and was so delicious my 5 year-old kept proclaiming “This soup is really good!”.  I lightened the calories a bit using 1% milk which I don’t think anyone noticed what with all the cheese in there!  I also added an extra 1/2 tsp of cumin for a little extra flavor.  Cumin, aahhh, it’s my new favorite seasoning!
I doubled this as I was serving 2 men, 2 kids and myself and we had a few servings remaining it was so filling.

Mexican Corn and Chicken Chowder
Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 lbs boneless chicken breast
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 clove garlic, minced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 2 chicken bouillon cubes (or I use chicken stock paste-2 tbsp)
  • 1 cup hot water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 2 cups half-and-half
  • 1 – 1 1/2 lbs shredded monterey jack cheese
  • 3 cups frozen corn thawed, mashed or quickly chopped in food processor
  • 1 (4 ounce) can chopped green chilies, undrained
  • 1 medium tomato, chopped
  • Cilantro to garnish

Note: Add some spice with a few dashes of tobasco. I omitted this for the little ones.

1. Cut chicken into bite-sized pieces.
2. In a large pot, brown chicken, onion, and garlic in butter until chicken is no longer pink
3. Dissolve the bouillon in hot water.
4. Add to pan along with the cumin; bring to a boil.
5. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 5 minutes.
6. Add cream, cheese, corn, chilies, and Tabasco.
7. Cook and stir over low heat until the cheese is melted.
8. Stir in tomato.
9.Serve immediately; garnish with cilantro if desired.

adapted from http://www.food.com/recipe/mexican-chicken-corn-chowder-47828

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies

I think I’ve mentioned our household fondness for chocolate. It’s been snowy and cold here this early October and it’s sent me back into the kitchen for some baking.  After daddy devoured the peanut butter cookies (with Hershy Kisses on top) I felt a little sad for the boys. Mostly my oldest coming home from school hoping to have a cookie and alas, no cookies. I didn’t feel like making another batch of regular chocolate chip cookies so I gave this one a try. It makes about 4-5 dozen cookies so you could easily cut in half.

Now I’ve mentioned my unusual lack of obsession with chocolate. I think one note should be made here. I LOVE chocolate cookie and brownie and cake dough/batter, mmmm.  However, once baked I generally can take or leave the finished goodies. These cookies are truly delicious!  The dough is rich and chocolatey and the cookies come out soft and chewy, just the way the hubby likes them.  Hope you enjoy them too!

Chewy Double Chocolate Chip Cookies
Ingredients:

1. Cream together the margarine, sugar, then add the eggs and vanilla
2. Blend in the cocoa and add baking soda, salt and blend well.
3. Add the flour into the creamed mixture and fold in the chocolate chips.
4. Bake at 350° for 8-9 minutes.
Pair with some home-made hot cocoa for a deliciously chocolatey treat! https://justcutthescrap.com/2012/10/05/delicious-hot-cocoa

Originally found at http://www.food.com/recipe/chewy-double-chocolate-chip-cookies-53301

Delicious Hot Cocoa

It’s the first week of October and we are already thick into the “snow”!  Yes for the past 3 days we’ve had freezing temps and snowy conditions making us all just a little uneasy about the length of winter ahead.  However, this is MT and we could see 70’s again next week (not likely but possible).

One of the boys favorite treat after playing in the snow is a warm cup of hot cocoa. For the longest time #1 would request a cup of “warm cocoa” because a hot cup would burn his mouth, so smart! Since this cold spell hit us at the end of a beautifully warm September, I am all out of hot cocoa mix (usually Ovaltine since in my mother’s mind it must be a little healthier since it has all those vitamins in it, right?)  What is a mom to do? Two boys, cold from their snow fort building on the lawn begging for a warm cup of cocoa…hmmm?

Well once a long time before all our prepackaged foods, powdered mixes and sliced bread, moms must have served their little ones something that was probably so much more delicious! And they did, home-made hot cocoa. This is super easy and fun for the kids to help!

Both boys proclaimed this to be so much better than hot cocoa mix in a can – their words not mine. This then lead to a short chanting of “home-made hot cocoa, home-made hot cocoa).

Ingredients:
2 tbsp sugar
2 tsp cocoa powder
Dash of salt
2 cups warm/hot milk
1/4 tsp vanilla

1. I used a pint mason jar, one for each boy. Add sugar, cocoa and salt.
2. Pour in warm milk and vanilla.
3. Put mason jar lid on securely. Let the little ones shake.
4. Remove lid and serve…in the jar! So fun!

Enjoy with some fresh baked chocolate chocolate chip cookies.  I think you could even put this mix in jars and take it with you or have it prepared for sledding parties. Hopefully we don’t have enough snow for one of those for a few more months, crossing fingers and toes, please!