Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Toddler Snack Mix

Monkey Mix
Chocolate Chips
Mini Marshmallows
Chocolate Teddy Grams
Dried Cranberries  or Raisins  {my baby picks these out and gives them to me, but you can't blame me for trying}
Pops cereal - or any other kind you like
Peperidge Farm Gold Fish crackers

Mix equal parts in a zip lock baggie for your toddler.

My little 18 month goes to the cupboard and snatches out HER mix when she wants it.
She carries it around the house and shares & spills.  She "cooks" some on her play kitchen too.

The 1st things she picks out to eat are the marshmallows and chocolate chips, she's no dummy.

I like making up these little mixes for her, because it's easy to take in the car or throw in the diaper bag.  Most of the time she only wants a bite or two, so this way she isn't wasting a whole cereal bar or something like that.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Boston Cream Poke Cake

 It's almost like an eclair.
aka "that disgusting dessert"- my husband sarcastically says.

1 box yellow cake mix (eggs, oil and water)
                 * If the recipe calls for 2 eggs, I always use 3.
                    * I use milk rather than water.
                    * And instead of oil I use my either yogurt, applesauce or my favorite: apple butter.

1 can of chocolate frosting
(2) small vanilla pudding mixes and milk

Bake the boxed cake mix in a well greased 9X13 dish,
     When it's down to about 10 minutes, make the pudding and let it sit aside.
When the cake is done poke holes about 1" apart using a wooden spoon or a straw-
not your finger, it's hot!

Let it cool for just a little bit, but while its still fairly hot spread the pudding on top.
Let it sit for about 5 minutes or so... I tried to pick up the dish and drop it from a few inches to get the pudding to sink down into the holes {careful!}.

Then put it in the fridge to set.
After about an hour you can take it out to "frost" it.

Remove the foil seal on the frosting and microwave it for about 20 seconds.
Stir it up and pour it over the cake, smoothing it out.

I had to eat it at this point, there was no way it was going back in the fridge.

Then you can put it back in the fridge if you don't eat the whole thing.

Credit: Stop over at the country cook for more yummy poke cakes!

Monday, August 20, 2012

More Tips and Tricks

Just found another site with lots of great tips!

My favorite one so far is:
22. When defrosting meat from the freezer, pour some vinegar over it. Not only does it tenderize the meat; it will also bring down the freezing temperature of the meat and cause it to thaw quicker.

   I must try.

37. If your loaf of bread is starting to go stale, just put a piece of fresh celery in the bag and close it back up. For some reason, this restores a fresh taste and texture to the bread.

Interesting, huh?

If only I had known this 5 years ago!!!
48. To help old wooden drawers (without runners) open and close smoothly, rub a candle on the tracks.

What tips and tricks do you know?

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Freezer Meal Update

I tested out onceamonthmom freezer meals {traditional April 2012 & toddler snacks}.  I have to say it was a LOT of work.  Not so terrible that I wouldn't do it again.  I would do it a little different, but over-all I would say it was totally worth it.  If I had a bigger kitchen and air conditioning I would probably do it a LOT more often. 

It was SO nice to be able to just grab a meal and put it in the crock pot and not have to worry about what's for dinner.  Also it cut down on extra trips to the grocery store and we didn't eat fast food so much- which is a plus in my book.

The recipes are doubled so you eat each meal twice- I found that there was more than enough for us to eat twice. I ended up packaging up the "extra" and giving it to a friend with a new baby. 
My sister was wanting help doing freezer meals and I had the brilliant idea {and I haven't told her}, maybe we could swap meals, so we don't have to eat everything twice. Nice.
The main thing that I wouldn't recommend is freezing pasta.  It's yucky when you re-heat it.  Not so much stuffed shells or lasagna type- those are ok.  Spaghetti or fettuccine type noodles reheated = not so good.  I would put together the sauces/ veggies to freeze and then when you are ready make the noodles fresh.

I had a hard time re-heating the Bacon and Egg Uncrustables too.  I'm sure there's a trick to it, I just haven't figured it out yet.

Our favorites were:
Peanut Butter and Oat Granola Bites  I tripled this recipe, because I knew it would be yummy
Herbed Beef
Cheesy Chicken Ranch Lasagna  The friends liked this too
Chicken Bites
Little Monkey Bread Bites  Baby girl LOVED these things!!!
Strawberry Freezer Pops  These things are a life saver with a teething babe, much better than a big popsicle

When I tried some other freezer meals several months ago (my 1st try) I found that it's best to use boneless/skinless meat in all your recipes.  Some veggies don't freeze and reheat very well either; like broccoli for instance- gross.

We did like: (all found at mama and baby love)
Healthy Momma BBQ Chicken
Stephanie's Goulash
Chicken Curry

Anyways, I know most of this is a copy and paste job but hopefully my "re-search" is helpful in your freezer meal adventures.