Friday, October 29, 2010

Halloween Class Treats - Little Lemony monsters

I love these little guys...they are so DANG cute. By far - our favorite Halloween tradition!

In the past, I've made these blue, using blueberry mini muffins (upside down) and just frosted over the wrapper with blue frosting. This year - Ta dah! I found little lemon bites at Costco (love that store) which had frosted upside down lemon muffin/cake treats.

Imagine that - already frosted on the outside, and I didn't have to worry about a muffin wrapper. I love it when life gets easier!

My kids requested this one - this is our third year in a row since we discovered them, and they and their friends still love (and request) them...they are just SO cute.
The bonus is that the kids can help make/assemble these.

Frosted upside down muffins or cupcakes
Whoppers - cut in half
Pull apart string licorice cit into 1 inch lengths
Bubble gum pieces, cut in half lengthwise
Decorator's frosting

Note: I found that whoppers stay more intact when cut in half - the swifter the slice.

I mixed together 2 c. powdered sugar, 2 t. butter, 1/4 c. milk, 1/2 t. vanilla for my decorators frosting and put it in a decorating bag.

Frosting glue is the key here. Starting with the gum pieces, apply frosting to the top back half, and stick them under the muffins/cupcakes.

With the frosting bag tip, poke a hole in the middle of the muffin, going down about 1/4 - 1/2 inch, then apply two blobs of frosting to glue on the eyes.

Place two licorice antennae in the hole on the top, and then two whopper halfs on the frosting for the eyes.

Allow to set/dry, then serve to lots of happy little children, and be ready to make them the next year by request.
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Friday, October 15, 2010

Today's cooking

Here's what I did today:
Yep - canned tomatoes...our winter staple, and basis for all good soups, chilies, stews etc.    

Butternut Squash Pancakes

I know - it sounds pretty yucky doesn't it?  I promise it isn't.  I made these for breakfast yesterday and my husband commented on how much moistness the squash lends to the pancakes.  High praise indeed!

I love using pureed squash and pumpkin in my pancakes for several reasons.  First, because I am able to sneak more vitamins and a vegetable serving into my kid's breakfast, and because it adds a great moistness and is virtually undetectable.

On a busy morning, I use a general pancake mix.  
In the freezer, I've frozen 1 - 2 cup baggies of squash or pumpkin puree.  This can be microwaved and mostly thawed within 1-2 minutes (or set it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw).  

Add approximately 1 cup of the puree to prepared pancake batter, and mix in 1/2 t. cinnamon.
Cook like normal pancakes and see if you can tell the difference!

Yep - healthy pancakes.  Even better with wheat flour.    

Butternut Bisque

Looking for a new way to get your family to enjoy squash? I tried out this Butternut Bisque (a smooth creamy soup) earlier this week and am still enjoying the left-overs!

While this can be made all at the same time, I decided to use my slow cooker and made this in two parts.

1/2 large Butternut squash
1/4 c. chopped onion
2 T. butter
2 T. flour
1 can chicken bouillon 
2 t. Knorr Caldo de pollo seasoning
1 quart milk
salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Using potato peeler, peel squash and discard peels.  
Chop into 1 inch squares.  
Place in slow cooker, cover with water and allow to cook until soft, OR place in a pot of boiling, lightly salted water and boil until soft.  

Remove with slotted spoon and puree in blender, using remaining cooking water to slightly thin the mixture. 

In a large pot, melt butter and sauté the onions until translucent.  Add flour and mix to coat onions and make a roux.  

Once flour is heated and incorporated into butter, add squash - mixing with a wire whisk to eliminate any lumps.  Add chicken bouillon and seasoning, and finally enough milk to bring to desired consistency.  Heat until thoroughly warmed, but do not bring to a boil.  

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Cheesy Bacon Pull Aparts

I recently ran across this recipe in a "Good Things Utah" cookbook. As one of my kids loves bacon, this recipe caught my eye. I like the simplicity that I can throw it together and even use all store bought ingredients (biscuits, pre-cooked bacon, shredded cheese) if I'd like. This is a great one to toss into the oven this morning, get kids ready for school, and come back to as a hot breakfast, paired with fresh fruit and/or yogurt.

1 egg
2 T. milk
1 can Pillsbury Grands Flaky Layers Refrigerated original Biscuits
1 package precooked bacon, cut into 1/2 inch pieces (or cook it and crumble it)
3/4 c. shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 c. finly chopped green onions or chives

Heat oven to 350*. Spray 11 x 7 or 12 x 8 glass baking dish with cooking spray.

In large bowl, beat egg and milk with whisk until smooth.

Separate dough into 8 biscuits; cut ieach into quarters.

Gently stir biscuit pieces into egg mixture to coat evenly.

Fold in bacon, cheese, and onions.

Spoon mixutre into sprayed dish, arranging biscuit pieces in a single layer.

Bake for 23-28 minutes (28-33 for high altitude), or until golden brown.

Cut into squares to serve.
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