Muffins Aplenty

I’ve been in the kitchen a lot lately and I’ve been in the mood for making muffins. I really love baking from scratch and my family loves when I do. Sometimes I start with a box mix and doctor it up, but most of the time I make things from scratch.

Lately, I’ve made pumpkin crumble muffins with a cinnamon crumble in top. Yummy! These were such a big hit that next time, which may be tomorrow, I’ll make them by adding chocolate chips in some of them for the kids. They’ll gobble those right up! And they couldn’t be easier. 

Another one that got big kudos from my kids was my all time favorite muffin, Apple cinnamon strusel muffins. These are loaded with tiny chunks of apple and cinnamon. It only takes one Apple and they are so simple to make. My kids probably would like less Apple but that’s my favorite part. 

Nothing beats the homemade variety of this one, but you can also use the box of cinnamon strusel muffins and add one finely diced and peeled Apple. Depending on which recipe you use, you will have delicious muffins within 30 minutes! Fresh and hot out of the oven to go with a cup of coffee or a tall glass of milk. What could be better. 

There are so many recipes out there and do many things you can put into a basic muffin recipe. I’ve decided to simply be creative. Of course, now it’s pumpkin season and my family loves their pumpkin so we will have lots of those for a while. I love fruit in my muffins so I’ll make peach, strawberry, blueberry, zucchini, lemon, raspberry, you name it. The sky is the limit! Nothing is better than a little muffin made with love!

It’s a Birthday Coffeeshare Weekend!

I celebrated my birthday on Friday and what great friends I truly have. My friends took me out for dinner minus one of my besties who was trying to get her pool closed for the year as well as not feeling great. We had a blast! The 5 of us are out hearts out, fixed all the world’s problems over food and good wine and just had such a good time together it was hard to say goodnight when our evening was over. I am so truly and utterly blessed to have the very best friends in the world. Thanks to my T for managing to throw it all together and make it a memory that will surpass some of the other birthday memories that were not nearly so pleasant. 

Earlier in the day, I was blessed to go pick up my beautiful daughter from school and take her out for lunch at a great diner! What a truly fabulous gastronomic adventure! If you are ever in St. Louis and looking for a superior diner atmosphere to partake of, look no further than the loop. Fitz’s diner is phenomenol! The burger and the fries! Plus homemade sodas and floats that will absolutely bust a gut! We shared, and did not finish, a black forest float made with their black cherry soda and rich chocolate ice cream! Yummy! 

The best part of that was spending time with my girl! I missed her do much! Catching up on everything is so important in the grand scheme of life. A bond between a mother and her children can not be broken. Well, not in my case. My oldest sweet daughter even came home.

I didn’t get to see her until yesterday, but it’s so much fun to hug my girls. I miss them so much. She bought me the cutest clock and it matches my living room colors perfectly! 

I always say I will always love my kids even if I don’t always like what they do. I say this often to my youngest when he is driving Hubs and I crazy in the evenings over the old homework issue. Most of the time it’s been a lot better, but there are those nights when he is just so tired and we have both worked all day. When that happens, homework time leads to a screaming banshee child and it just stinks. Homework generally gets deferred to 6 am the next morning with me and then he’s like a brand new kid. This weekend he’s been terrific though. He even spent the night at his friend’s house and had a wonderful time doing so.

I have been on a baking kick lately. Its all about muffins. Cinnamon apple muffins more precisely. I make them from scratch. Although I prefer larger pieces of apple in mine, the family prefers the pieces to be diced very small. The tops are dipped into butter when the muffins come out of the oven and then into a mixture of cinnamon sugar. My 15 year old have me the greatest compliment ever. He said they were the best thing he had ever eaten. How cool is that for a mom to hear, especially when it’s not heard very often from a picky eater!

So that’s what going on in my neck of the woods. What’s going on in yours? You know I love to hear from you. Today I’ll be making homemade granola and some pumpkin muffins for the family! Family and food. What more could you ask for? Well… Maybe hockey and football…but that’s another story for another day! Take care and have a great day!

It’s Coffee Time

Oh how I love this time with you in the weekend! This weekend let’s sit down for some cookies with our coffee. Fresh, warm cookies just out of the oven. I baked than just for you!

What have you benn up to this week? I had a relatively interesting week myself. It wasn’t too much out of the ordinary until the end of the week, but sometimes those are the best weeks to have. 

Most of this week I’ve been working on homework with the boy. Let me tell you, a 9 year old boy with ADHD and a bunch of homework is not a good mix for harmony in the home. We manage somehow and I’m sure 4th grade will get easier in a few week’s time. At least that is my hope. He is on medication and we are trying to adjust it to his optimal level. He is my work in progress and we will get there as a family but it takes a small suburb to raise this one and get him a good education. 

Work is progressing well. I’m working less at my newer job. I’ve had to relearn everything since returning a couple weeks ago. I do like it but I do miss seeing my little patients very much. I miss the autonomy I had with my old job but I don’t miss the stress or the crazy long hours. Once I know how to do this job well, I will love it. That much is sure.

My week ended in great fashion. A family wedding! What a wonderful celebration of love to be sure. It was simple and elegant. The church ceremony, a Catholic ceremony, was absolutely beautiful. You could see the couple beaming throughout the mass. They even took part as Eucharistic ministers during communion. What a truly lovely touch.

In between the mass and the festivities of the reception, we had 4 hours to kill and 2 college kids who just so happen to go to school down there. They needed a Target run. 

We piled into the minivan, had my dad and brother meet us at a restaurant near campus and had some lunch at Pickleman’s Deli. Yum! Delicicious subs and not too huge either. Well prices too! After lunch, we walked to the kids’ dorm and they checked us in to show grandpa and Uncle James the dorm. What a good time, especially since my dad went to the university in 1955 for his ophthalmalogy residency. Great chats ensued and fun was had as my brother and I reminisced about how easy these kids have it compared to our dorm rooms that didn’t even have air conditioning and were the size of postage stamps! And remember the party lines for the telephones?

We parted as dad and James drive around campus and we went off to Target. Hubs and I stayed in the car. Relaxation time for us. The kids, however, were in the store forever! An hour and a half later they emerged with there loot. Then back to the dorm to drop it all off. Then on to the reception. 

The reception was a blast! So many relatives, so little time! We introduced my daughter’s boyfriend to many of them who all remarked on his great height. He’s 6’5 and that side of the family averages 5’6. He was definitely the tallest one there. The kids and I danced, we visited, we are really well. And there we’re the famous pizelles. My Irish aunt, as we are all Irish, married an Italian and learned to make these delightful cookies. My favorite. I know the girls must have made them. They were scrumptous and even though there was a table full, Hubs and the boyfriend and my daughter’s wanted mine! Can you imagine? Shocking. Stealing one’s pizelles. No way unless I offer you one. Would you like one by the way?

My Dad’s Apple Pie

wp-1462056657340.jpgThis gorgeous masterpiece is my dad’s apple pie.  Yes, my dad!  Never did I imagine that he would be making beautiful pies like this at 85 years young.  In fact, a month ago, he didn’t know how to make one.  He has learned to cook so much in the last 5 months and I am so very proud of him.  He never ceases to amaze me with his ability to learn new things.  He is the most awesome role model for our family. That being said, I never thought he would become such a good chef.  I guess I also didn’t want to think about that possibility.

Mom was an extraordinary cook.  Ask anyone and they will agree.  When mom had her knee replacement, she was unable to do the cooking so dad had to learn.  They were never big on take out or even going out to dinner.  Who would when mom could cook so well! You’d have to be mad to say no to her cooking.  I miss her cooking and I know dad does too, but he is learning. He’s come a long way in these last 5 months.

20141107_163830_HDRI showed dad how to make his favorite pie just once.  He ate the whole thing.  I didn’t even get a bite and I was a bit disappointed about it!  It looked so good coming out of the oven.  We talked about the kinds of apples, and dad assisted in the preparation of the first pie.  Since that pie a few weeks ago, he’s apparently made several.  Did I mention that he really loves apple pie?  Let me tell you, he’s becoming an expert.  This man can do anything!

We talk about food now among everything else.  He’s come a long way from asking if he should use the bake of broil setting on the oven. He cooks all his own meals and does a fantastic job.  His specialty is potatoes, but he’s an Irishman.  If he doesn’t have a potato for his supper, he hasn’t eaten yet. Perhaps we will take on pound cake next if the notion hits him.  Yes, the most delicious pound cake from scratch.  Life is always an adventure with dad and I wouldn’t have it any other way.  He is the greatest dad a girl could ever ask for.  I thank God every day for blessing me with such a wonderful dad and role model.  And dad, if you do happen to read this, I love you with my whole heart, always.

 

Taco Pasta, Yum!

taco pasta

I’ve never been a big fan of boxed dinners when I know I can make it taste better and it will be just as quick! Here’s one such dinner I created years ago and my family absolutely loves it. You can use any type of pasta you like, but we prefer Barilla macaroni noodles best.

  • Barilla macaroni
  • 1.5 lbs. 93% lean ground beef or sirloim
  • 1 packet mild Old El Paso taco seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded sharp cheddar or Mexican cheese
  • Tortilla chips
  • 1 small can tomato sauce]
  • can of Mexican corn
  • can of rinsed and drained beans  if desired
  • taco toppings

Boil the noodles till they are al dente. No one like overcooked noodles!

In separate pan, Brown beef, I always add a small diced onion to the beef because I don’t like the smell of ground beef browning. In also like the taste it gives the meal, but it’s not necessary.

Once browned, drain meat, if necessary, add the taco seasoning and follow the directions but add extra water and tomato sauce. Once done, combine with the drained pasta, add cheese and now thoroughly. Serve with crushed tortilla chips on top! Delicious!