Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds

If you haven’t already picked up on the peanut butter baking theme, then maybe now you will.  My ultimate weakness is when you combine peanut butter and chocolate.  It doesn’t matter what recipe you make, when you add these two lovelies to the mix, the end result is always better. 🙂  I love experimenting with new baking recipes, but I end up drifting back to the ones containing these two ingredients.

This is a yummy recipe for an oatmeal cookie with a twist.  The peanut butter adds a little extra softness to the baked cookies as well as a hint of salt.  The original recipe calls for optional nuts added, but I prefer to add chocolate chips.  Oatmeal raisin cookies are good, but peanut butter oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips are hands down the BEST.

Mix 3/4 C. softened butter with 1/2 C. peanut butter on high speed for 30 seconds or until combined.

 

 

 

 

 

Beat in:

  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 C. flour

 

 

Blend in 2 C. oatmeal and 1 C. chocolate chips.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Drop by the teaspoon full onto greased cookie sheets and bake at 375 F for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned. (I always prepare two at a time to make the process go faster.  As soon as you pull one pan out, immediately pop the next one into the oven.  Transfer baked cookies onto a cooling rack and fill the pan again with cookie dough so it’s ready to be put into the oven.)

 

 

 

Makes about 48 cookies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Peanut Butter Oatmeal Rounds – by Better Homes & Gardens

INGREDIENTS:

  • 3/4 C. butter, softened
  • 1/2 C. peanut butter
  • 1 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1 1/4 C. flour
  • 2 C. oatmeal
  • 1 C. chocolate chips

DIRECTIONS:  In large bowl mix butter and peanut butter on medium to high speed about 30 seconds or until combined.  Add sugar, brown sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  Beat until combined.  Beat in remaining ingredients.  Drop dough by rounded teaspoon onto cookie sheets.  Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Transfer cookies to wire rack to let cool.  Yields: 48 cookies.

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Easy Banana Cream Pie

First off, this is NOT from a boxed mix that tastes more like pudding than cream.  This is a genuine made-from-scratch banana cream pie!

Over the years, I’ve learned that Tim does not really like any type of frosted cake and that his all-time favorite dessert is cheesecake.  Another fun Tim-fact is that he hates celebrating his birthday.  I on the other hand LOVE to celebrate family members’ birthdays. 🙂  So with his dislike of cakes and birthday celebrations, I was hard pressed to find a compromise.  Hence the banana cream pie recipe came into play.

I promised I would go easy with the birthday celebrations as long as I could make him a special birthday cake (a.k.a. pie).  That at least would satisfy my desire to make something special just for him.  Since I don’t make this pie very often, it is always a big hit with the family, especially Tim. 🙂  You get the wonderful richness of a cheesecake with the tangy sweetness of the bananas all mixed into one.  Such a great springtime dessert!

This pie is absolutely addictive!  Thankfully it is so easy to put together; about the hardest part is holding yourself back from digging in right away instead of waiting until after it chills in the refrigerator for a couple hours. 🙂  Hahaha!

Cream one package (8 oz) of softened cream cheese until light and fluffy.

Slowly beat in 1 can sweetened condensed milk, 1/3 C. lemon juice and 1 tsp. vanilla.

In a 9-inch baked pastry shell, slice 1-2 bananas and arrange to cover the shell.

Recipe deviation – pour half the batter over the sliced bananas and then slice 1-2 more bananas, arranging them to cover the pie.

Top with remaining half of the batter.

Top with whipped cream and cover.  Place in refrigerator to firm, at least 2 hours.   ENJOY!!!!

Easy Banana Cream Pie – by cooks.com

INGREDIENTS:

  • 1 (9 inch) pastry pie shell
  • 3-4 medium bananas
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/3 C. lemon juice
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • Cool Whip

DIRECTIONS:  Slice 2 bananas; arrange in pie shell to cover.  Beat cream cheese in small mixer bowl on medium speed until light and fluffy.  Gradually beat in milk until well blended.  Beat in lemon juice and vanilla.  Pour into pie shell.  Refrigerate until firm, at least 2 hours.  Slice remaining banana; arrange on pie.  Serve with Cool Whip.

Steak Fajitas

Here’s one that was simple yet delicious to throw together for dinner.  I was especially pleased with the fact that it was so inexpensive thanks to the Kroger Manager’s Special. 🙂  I was planning on making my own tortilla shells, but I ran out of time so we ended up using the packaged variety instead.  Next time I will plan out my time better.  I can only imagine what the fajitas would taste like on the homemade tortilla shells.  Yumm-O!

I used :

  • 12-oz package of thin sliced beef
  • one onion, sliced
  • one bell pepper, sliced
  • 2 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • liberal dash of Greek seasoning
  • black pepper
  • 6 tortilla shells
  • shredded Cheddar cheese
  • Homemade yogurt

Learning to Walk

The clock is ticking down toward Isaac’s second birthday with the huge goal of “walking” yet to be achieved…sigh…  He’s getting better and better every day, but just still doesn’t want to let go and balance on his own.  I’m telling you, this kid will do anything to get out of working harder than necessary.  He lives by the motto “Work smarter not harder!”  If there’s a shortcut to doing something, Isaac will find it faster than you can blink. 🙂

Click the link below to see a video of Isaac’s latest attempts.

http://youtu.be/zEOy_6Bhrss

Great Beef Stew w/ Southern Biscuits

Never made stew before so this was a fun learning experience for me.  Just like PW’s Pot Roast I tried last week, this recipe started out preparing the meat in the same way.  Let me just add that I’m not big on having all the fancy kitchen gadgets in the world because they take up so much space, but having a Dutch Oven is WONDERFUL!!!  I don’t think I can go back to cooking certain dishes without its use.  It seems like all the really good meat recipes call for a Dutch Oven.  I’m beginning to think that pot makes all the difference in the world to a recipe’s success.

Okay well enough about the Dutch Oven.  While the stew was simmering on the stove and smelling oh-so-yummy, I started on the Southern Biscuits by Alton Brown from the Food Network. 

The only tweaking I did with this entire meal was to make my own buttermilk for one of the biscuit ingredients (1 T. white distilled vinegar + 1 C. milk) and to use deer steak instead of stew meat. (When I checked stew meat prices it was $4.45/lb.  No way I wanted to experiment with a new recipe and spend almost $13.50 for one ingredient!)  However, the next time I make the stew, I think I’ll back off on the pepper.  It really gave you a kick in your mouth with each bite. 🙂  I’m just really happy that Tim said he liked how it tasted.  Yay!  Success!!!

Hope you enjoy the recipes!  They were extremely easy to follow and fun to make. 🙂

The finished product…. Now to show you how it started.

Start by cutting your 3 pounds of meat into bite-sized pieces.  It is easier if you do this while the meat is still somewhat frozen.  You can tell that I had thawed the meat on the right inside the microwave a little too long. (Totally by accident!)  The meat on the left side was still semi-solid.

 

 

 

Get 2 T. olive oil nice and hot then drop in the meat chunks and brown on all sides.

 

 

 

 

 

After all the meat is browned, add in:

  • 2 medium onions, sliced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 2 bay leaves, whole
  • 1 T. salt
  • 1 T. black pepper
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tsp. Paprika
  • 2 C. water

Put lid on pot and simmer for 1.5 hours on low, stirring occasionally.

While the meat and seasonings are simmering, prepare:

  • 6 potatoes, diced small
  • 6 carrots, diced small
  • 2 stalks of celery, diced small

After 1.5 hours, add the diced vegetables to the pot ensuring that they are covered with liquid.  If not, add enough liquid to cover.  Bring to a boil on high heat.  Replace lid and simmer on low for 30-40 minutes.

 

 

After adding the vegetables to the stew for the final cooking time, begin prepping the biscuits. Preheat oven to 450 degrees.

Combine:

  • 2 C. flour
  • 4 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 3/4 tsp. salt
  • 2 T. butter, cold
  • 2 T. shortening

Using your fingertips, rub butter and shortening into dry ingredients until mixture looks like crumbs.  (The faster the better, you don’t want the fats to melt.)

Make a well in the center and pour in the chilled buttermilk.  For homemade buttermilk mix 1 T. white vinegar +1 C. milk in a cup before adding.

 

 

 

 

 

Stir just until the dough comes together. The dough will be very sticky.

Turn dough onto floured surface, dust top with flour and gently fold dough over on itself 5-6 times. 

 

 

 

 

Press into a 1-inch thick round. Cut out biscuits with a 2-inch cutter (or cup – one less gadget in my kitchen!), being sure to push straight down through the dough. 

 

 

 

 

 

Place biscuits on baking sheet so that they just touch.  Reform scrap dough, working it as little as possible and continue cutting.

 

 

 

 

 

Bake until biscuits are tall and light gold on top, 15-20 minutes.

 

 

 

 

 

Thicken finished stew with cornstarch before serving over biscuits.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 Beef Stew Recipe located at http://mymilescity.com/how-to-cook/beef-stew.html

Southern Biscuit Recipe located at http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/alton-brown/southern-biscuits-recipe/index.html

Strawberry Yogurt Muffins

I got the idea for using yogurt in a muffin mix when I found a recipe from allrecipes.com for a fruit and yogurt muffin.  I specifically wanted to try making a muffin batter with the homemade yogurt as well as incorporating some of the pureed fruit I have in my freezer.

After searching around for a while, I found a recipe for Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins by www.epicurious.com.  I figured I could substitute the buttermilk for yogurt and the oil for fruit puree.

Mixed the liquid and dry ingredients in two separate bowls.  I did add a little more than 1/2 C.strawberry puree and even a dash of oil just in case it needed something to help bind it all together.

Chopped up 1 C. of fresh strawberries and added it to the batter.

Instead of using cupcake liners, I just sprayed the cups really, REALLY good with non-stick cooking spray.  I also filled them all the way up instead of the 3/4 which you normally would do with muffins.

I let them cool a few minutes before turning them out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely.

And here’s the finished product!  Yay!  For making a healthy muffin with as little saturated fat as possible, these turned out GREAT.  I am very pleased with the texture and taste.  I think the strawberry puree perfectly balanced the sweetness of the sugar.

Here’s the original recipe if you’d like to give it a whirl.  There are so many ways to play around with this one.  Don’t forget if you don’t want to use yogurt in place of the buttermilk, you can make your own buttermilk by combining 1 T. lemon juice + 1 C. milk.

Blueberry Buttermilk Muffins – by www.epicuriuos.com

INGREDIENTS:

  • 2 C. flour
  • 1 C. buttermilk
  • 1 C. blueberries
  • 1/2 C. sugar
  • 1/2 C. vegetable oil
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp. salt

DIRECTIONS:  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all the dry ingredients in one bowl.  Whisk together buttermilk, vegetable oil, egg, and vanilla in another bowl.  Add buttermilk mixture into dry ingredients and stir till just combined.  Fold in blueberries.  Divide batter among muffin cups and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center of a muffin comes out clean.  Yield:  12 muffins.

Enjoying a Little Grandma-Time

Isaac and Adam enjoying a little time with their grandma out on the porch swing before dinner one night during a short visit this past week.  Mom’s new nickname for Adam is “Twinkie” because she said he feels like he’s full of fluffy filling. Hahaha! 🙂  Just love all of his rolls!!!!

I believe they all enjoyed relaxing on the swing together – especially Adam.  He passed out two minutes after I snapped these pictures.