Monthly Archives: May 2013

Strawberry Season + GIVEAWAY! (giveaway now closed)

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GIVEAWAY HAS ENDED- and the winner is LAURIE! Congrats!! (winner was chosen using random.org)

Strawberry season is coming close to an end. So far we’ve made 2 trips to the strawberry patch that is, conveniently, less than 10 minutes from our home. The kids were such great pickers this year- I was impressed! With almost every strawberry you could hear one of them cry “Mom, look at THIS one!!” or “WOW!- this one is SO perfect!!” I think they really were enjoying the adventure of finding the “perfect one”. I always look forward to picking berries together- such a simple activity, but always rewarding and always a nice memory to tuck away.

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Our Favorite Light,Tender,Wheat and Oat Pancakes

P1040005I used to rarely make pancakes. I mean, I like breakfast to have some nutritional value- and, let’s face it- pancakes made with white flour and then coated with a sugary syrup doesn’t really bring much nutrition to the table- at all!

On the other side of the coin, I do not like to make something simply because it is healthy. It MUST still taste good. So many “wheat” pancakes are too dense or too dry, and less than satisfactory. Just forget it!

And then I found this Wheat and Oat Pancake Recipe from King Arthur Flour. These are SO much better!  It is the only pancake recipe I make now- and all of us love them!

Here’s why I like them:

1. Healthy- almost all wheat flour and oats

2. Still light, still tender, still tasty- like a pancake is supposed to be!

3. So fast!- The initial time you make these, you prepare a very large amount of the dry ingredients, and then you freeze what you do not use. Then, whenever you want pancakes for breakfast- you just pull it out and add it to the wet ingredients. Couldn’t be easier!

4. My kids enjoy pancakes and I no longer have to feel guilty about giving them a worthless breakfast- and actually am giving them a nutritious breakfast!

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Fresh Strawberry Syrup (no added sugar)

P1030992Wondering what to do with all the strawberries you picked this spring? You’ve already made jam, pies, and strawberry shortcake!

Well, here is a special treat- perfect for using up fresh strawberries that might be getting a little too ripe!

This syrup/sauce is sweet and slightly tart, sweetened only with pure maple syrup. (Making it a much healthier option than store-bought syrups.)

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Pour this over your pancakes or waffles for an outstanding breakfast! We loved the taste, and doesn’t it look beautiful, too? (Later this week I will post my very favorite (healthy) pancakes that we enjoyed with this syrup!)

I think this would also be a very yummy ice cream topping- similar to my Ruby Red Raspberry Sauce– though I have not tried it that way…yet 🙂

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Loaded Potatoes and Sausage Casserole

P1030869This was dinner last night, and it was SO good.

I’m a big potato lover.

I love a good baked potato loaded with all the good stuff, like butter, sour cream, cheese- Oh my! Butter, sour cream, cheese- Oh my! Butter, sour cream, chee…ok sorry, I’ll stop now!

Anyway, this casserole uses those same ingredients common to a loaded baked potato. Of course, many people also add bacon to their loaded spud. So, keeping with the pork, I substituted ground breakfast sausage sausage.  Add some red pepper- and it was perfect. (if I had some green onions on hand, I would have chopped them up and added them, too) I ate too much. My husband was in love, as well.

Make some tonight!

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Homemade Vanilla Ice Cream (no eggs)

vanilla ice creamVanilla ice cream is so basic. I love it. Its flavor is simple and pure and light. If I’m eating ice cream by itself, I might not choose vanilla- It will probably be chocolate or raspberry.  However, if I am going to be adding any toppings or sauces or eating it along with cake or pie- it HAS to be vanilla!! No contest! Its simple subtle flavor doesn’t compete with the other components, rather just compliments everything perfectly! Yep- good ‘ol plain vanilla might be the ‘boring’ ice cream flavor to some, but I think it’s the perfect backdrop to a beautiful dessert!

P1030855We recently went strawberry picking, which is always a favorite springtime event. I hope to go one more time before the strawberry season is over because there are just so many wonderful ways to eat strawberries! One of our very favorite ways is on top of vanilla ice cream! So simple, but so delicious.

This Vanilla Ice Cream is similar to the recipe for my Homemade Chocolate Ice Cream. However, I opted to use a higher ratio of heavy cream, and obviously a heavy dose of vanilla!

I was so pleased with the outcome. The vanilla flavor shined bright! And our strawberries looked beautiful on top and tasted great, too!

PRINTABLE RECIPE

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Slow Cooker ‘Baked Beans’ (made-from-scratch..not canned)

P1030813Baked Beans! They’re sweet and saucy and a favorite staple at summer cookouts. I love eating deviled eggs topped with a little taste of baked beans- or a little coleslaw and a little baked beans on the fork together. Perfect combination!

I’ve been in the process of replacing the processed foods that my family eats. Slowly but surely, progress is being made and I am finding acceptable replacements. One of these foods that we enjoy that needed replacing was canned baked beans.

I had tried a few different variations of ingredients, looking for a similar taste as the Baked beans I was used to, but kept falling short.

BUT- I am finally pleased with this version I am sharing today! You even start with dry beans- nothing canned!

But, you might be thinking- “Sorry, Kari, I don’t want to be going through the whole soaking beans process and get that involved just to have something simple like baked beans.”  And I say- “Yes- I completely agree! But you don’t have to do all that. This uses a slow-cooker- and there is not preliminary soaking required. Start the beans in the morning, go about your day, and with just a couple other steps, you will have baked beans-completely from scratch- for dinner!” How does that sound?

PRINTABLE RECIPE

  • 1 1/2 cups dry white great northern beans
  • 1 1/2 cups dry pinto beans
  • 12-15 c. water
  • 1 T salt
  • 1 tsp pepper
  • 1/3 cup molasses
  • 1/2 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup pure maple syrup 
  • Large squirt of ketchup (i recommend an organic variety)
  • Large squirt mustard
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 whole onion, diced
  • 1/2 of a Green or Red pepper, chopped

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Golden Parmesan Crusted Chicken Tenders

P1030781These chicken tenders are so good and perfect for a family meal. Skip the pre-packaged chicken coatings- this is so easy to prepare at home with just a few ingredients.

You will be serving up golden and nicely-crusted chicken tenders that taste great and that are healthy, too!

Here’s why I like them:

1. Healthier! Anytime I can add nutrition to a dish, without  compromising the taste- I’m happy. This recipe uses Wheat Germ as a coating. It mimics bread crumbs, and results in a nice and crispy texture, but wheat germ is also a great source of Folic Acid, Fiber, and many vitamins. I love using it!

2. Baked- though I do like the taste of fried tenders, baking is lower-fat, less-messy, and easier to prepare.

3. Quick- Chicken tenderloins only take about 20 minutes to bake

4. Juicy and Crispy- This coating gives a nice crusted finish to the tenders- no soggy coating for me, please.

5. Completely homemade- Milk, Wheat germ, fresh Parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, paprika- that’s it!

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Perfect Sausage Gravy and Biscuits

P1030748I so love Biscuits and Gravy. You know, any person who fancies themselves to be a southern cook, really should know how to make this dish- and hit the ball outta the park with it!

I do think this is the PERFECT Sausage gravy. Here’s why:

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Baked Apples

P1030722I adore the smell of apples baking!! Whether it’s apple pie, apple butter, applesauce, or these Baked Apples cooking away-It makes the house smell so cozy and inviting and just… “homey”.

This recipe is my favorite way to prepare Baked Apples. And there are sooo many ways you could enjoy this dish…I usually prepare them as a side dish to go along with dinner. It offers something sweet and tart, and pairs well with many meals- to name a few, pork roast or chops, baked chicken, cube steak, or if you are doing a breakfast, it is perfect along with eggs. But, this recipe would also taste delicious if it was served warm on top of vanilla ice cream, or enjoy on top of your morning oatmeal or serve with biscuits and sop up all the good sauce with the biscuit. Oh, yum!

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Fresh Eggs!

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Here is 2 Day’s worth of Eggs from our chickens. I thought they looked so pretty all lined up- so I had to snap a picture and share it.

My husband and I have been raising chickens, together, for almost 9 years now. When we began I had never even touched a chicken, and was  not sure I wanted to eat the eggs. “City Girl” Tim would say. ( much to my chagrin!) Yeah- I was pretty dumb.

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