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Easter Egg Extravaganza

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Yup, its that time of year again. We cook dozens and dozens of eggs for our children to color, but do we stop to think who is going to EAT all those eggs? If you're like me, not until after they are all cooked. And you may think boiling an egg is easy, but that's where you'd be wrong! Don't you hate it when half of them burst or crack? So I've done a little research and came up with some tips for successful boils and in a few days I'll post some recipes so you know what to do with all those beautifully colored eggs.

Tips on boiling eggs:
First of all, fresh eggs are very hard to peel – if you bought your eggs yesterday they are too fresh, last weeks eggs would be better. If you need to make hard cooked eggs tomorrow but only have fresh eggs, leave the eggs out at room temperature for 24 hours. To prevent eggs from cracking while cooking: pierce large end with a needle before placing them in the water, this will also make them easier to peel.
How to boil your eggs: Actually, you don't “boil” them at all – is a misnomer. Boiling them makes them rubbery and gives them a greyish/green color. Instead, follow this method:
1.Place eggs in single layer in saucepan. Add a splash of vinegar
2.Cover with at least one inch of cold water over tops of shells.
3.Cover pot with lid and bring to a boil over medium heat.
4.As soon as the water comes to a full boil, remove from heat and let stand.
5.Large soft-cooked eggs: let stand in hot water 1 to 4 minutes, depending on your tastes.
6.Large hard-cooked eggs: let stand in hot water 15 to 17 minutes.
7.When cooked to desired level, drain off hot water.
8.Immediately cover with cold water and add a few ice cubes.



Making Deviled Eggs? Remember this tip: when you buy fresh eggs (because honestly, who knows a week ahead of time that you're going to need to hard-boil eggs?), turn them UPSIDE DOWN on the counter over night. If you do this, your yolks will always be perfectly centered, thus allowing you to make deviled eggs that don't suck.

And the last (but not least ) tip of the day: An egg ages equally in one day at room temperature, in one week on the fridge door, and in two weeks in the back of the bottom shelf.
I will make a post later about using up those cooked eggs. If you have a favorite recipe you'd like me to use, please send it to me or leave a comment for me to contact you. Some idea's I'm already thinking of include Egg Salad Sandwiches, Aunt Pam's Potato Salad, and Deviled Eggs (of course!). Until then...happy coloring!

oATS, Oats, and more OATS!

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It started out a regular morning, getting my daily yogurt out of the fridge and wishing I had some granola to go with it. When I decided that I would immediately make my own. I tried a recipe a few days ago, but burned it because I didn't realize that the crunchiness of granola comes when you let it sit for a bit after it comes out of the oven, instead of cooking it longer.

I formulated this recipe myself from combining several online recipes to give me the ingredients I wanted. I actually made it two times today, tweeking the amounts just a little bit. Originally I had brown sugar and honey. But I felt all the sweetness was not needed. I wanted to take out "half the sugar", but decided instead to take out the brown sugar completely and leave all the honey since I needed the sticky/wet consistency to help hold the granola together.


2 cups rolled oats (I actually used half rolled oats and half steel-cut oats)
1/2 cup slivered almonds
3/4 t cinnamon
3/4 t salt
1 t vanilla
1/4 cup honey
2 T oil
1/2 cup raisins

Preheat oven to 325. In large bowl, combine all ingredients except raisins and mix well to fully coat the oats. Spread in cookie sheet and bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven and add raisins. Cool in pan and store in air tight baggies or container.

12 servings, 136 cal, 5.2g fat, 20.9g carb, 2.8g pro

With the yummy smell emitting from the oven, I couldn't resist the urge to make oatmeal cookies. I know they are not the healthiest thing on the planet, but to please my husband I did use HALF the sugar and cut out a third of the butter. You know what, you would NEVER tell the difference! So here is my adjusted recipe taken from the back of the chocolate chip bag:

2 1/2 cups flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup butter (2 cubes)
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tsp vanilla
2 eggs
2 T milk (why is this ingredient here? I'm not sure!)
1 3/4 cups chocolate chips
2 cups oats (I like to use half rolled and half steel-cut)

Preheat oven to 375. Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. In mixing bowl beat butter, brown sugar, granulated sugar and vanilla until creamy. Add eggs. Gradually add in flour mixture and milk. Stir in chocolate chips and oats. Drop by spoonfulls (I use my Pampered Chef medium scoop) onto un-greased pan (Pampered Chef stoneware rocks). Bake one pan at a time for 12-14 minutes on middle rack until edges are crisp, but middle is still soft. Cool completely. Makes 32 cookies.

182 cal, 9.2g fat, 22.1g carb, 2.8g pro. (I saved 46 cal, 2.9g fat, 5.4g carb, and 0.1 pro. per cookie by using less sugar and butter. Is that significant?)

The best part is that I did not snitch ANY chocolate chips while making the cookies. I did, however, snitch some just now while typing this from the bag. So I guess its not the best part after all. I guess the truly best part is that I made the granola while holding a baby half the time and entertaining a 2 year old the other half.

Sunday Dinner Crescent Rolls

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4 T. yeast
½ c. + 2 T. warm Water
6 eggs
1 c. oil
1 c. sugar
2 c. warm milk (use a microwave on low setting to warm milk)
10-11 c. flour
2 T. salt

In large mixing bowl, mix yeast and warm water together and allow to sit for 10 minutes. In seperate bowl mix together eggs, oil, sugar, and warm milk.

Add egg mixture and warm milk to the yeast mixture. Mix all together until combined.

Add 1 cup of flour at a time until combined together. Continue to mix/knead for 5 minutes on med-high speed. Allow to raise 2-3 hours.

Separate dough into 6 even balls. Roll out each ball until the size of a dinner plate on a lightly floured surface. Cut into 8 pizza wedge slices. With each wedge, roll down ward wrapping bottom skinny bottom piece down and around to make pretty crescent shape.

Allow to double in size (about 15 minutes). Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Bake 6 minutes on bottom rack and then 5 minutes on middle shelf until light golden brown. Once they are perfectly golden brown, brush tops with melted butter once removed. Makes 48 rolls.

Recipe from myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com, "The BEST crescent recipe around!". 167 cal., 5.6 g fat, 24 mg chol., 304 mg sodium, 24.9 g carb., 4.1 g pro.

This recipe came from one of my favorite food blogs (myfoodstoragedeals.blogspot.com). It makes a lot, so consider yourself warned. You may want to half the recipe, or plan to give some away to neighbors. I'm sure you could also freeze them for awhile if necessary, but I have not tried that yet.

Sweet Potato and Barley Chili

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1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes
1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into cubes
1 16-ounce can red beans, rinsed and drained
1 14-ounce can chicken broth
1/2 cup chopped onion
3/4 cup chopped bell pepper (any color)
1/2 cup regular barley (not quick-cooking)
1/2 cup water
1 T chili powder
1 T lime juice
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp oregano
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
Lime wedges and/or fresh cilantro for garnish

In a slow cooker, combine all ingredients (except lime wedges and cilantro) and stir. Cover and cook on low setting for 6-7 hours or high setting for 3 hours. Serve with lime wedges and/or cilantro if desired. Makes 6 servings

Recipe from Better Homes and Gardens Special Interest Publications, "Ultimate Slow Cooker", March 2010. 198 cal., 1 g fat (0 sat. fat), 1 mg chol., 930 mg sodium, 41 g carbo., 11 g fiber, 9 g pro.

I made this soup last week and was pleasantly surprised at how flavorful it was. In the afternoon I started to make it when I realized it was a crockpot recipe that needed several hours to cook. So I sped up the process by putting the chicken broth, sweet potatoes, onions, peppers, and garlic in a pot on the stove. It came to a boil and cooked for about 5 minutes - until the potatoes were getting somewhat soft. Then I transferred everything to the crock pot and finished the recipe. It turned out great! Served with homemade bread.

First Post

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Six children? I have six children? When?... How?... WOW! It's starting to hit me that I have six children. Of course, I knew that this was coming upon us for quite some time, but like some things, it has taken awhile for reality to set in.

I gave birth to our 6th child, 5th daughter, last month. As often happens in our family, it happened with much drama and interesting points - mainly that she was born on the same day and exact minute as our oldest daughter. How weird is that?

So as our family has been adjusting to life with a newborn again, I have been trying to get myself back into the kitchen. I usually like to cook, but pregnancy had a funny way of robbing me of the joy-of-cooking. At the same time, my husband has been increasing his physical fitness and is "in training" to do an Iron Man Triathlon next year. Therefore, I realized I needed to revamp most of my recipes and family favorites to accommodate a more healthier lifestyle and a growing family.

Budget is always an issue at our home. Trying to cook with what is on sale and what we have in food storage is important to me. Now I have the added twist of making sure it is somewhat healthy so my husband can eat with us. It is difficult to cook all the "healthy" recipes that you find online and in books, because they are not often kid-friendly. So I reached a compromise of sorts with my husband. I would cook and prepare our meals more from scratch and with less frozen foods. I am also trying to avoid recipes with a lot of cheese, cream soups and sauces. Not to say that I never use those ingredients, just trying to keep it limited.

I've had several people ask me for my recipes as I've been talking about our family food-revolution. So I've started this blog to keep myself motivated and also share my recipes and findings with others. I'm certainly no professional when it comes to cooking from scratch. Nor am I a health-nut guru who will be touting whole wheat and whole grains are the only way to go. I'm just a mom of six kids and an incredibly sexy husband who is trying to keep the grocery budget in tact at the end of the month.