Prime Pantry Box(A Review)

Hey y’all, hope everyone is having a blessed day so far! Yesterday I was inspired to write this blog post after we received a rather large and heavy box in the mail (USPS). Large and heavy as in only JJ could lift it and bring it inside. I am not being paid for this review in any way, I receive nothing other than the opportunity to share information and the traffic it brings to this blog ๐Ÿ™‚

Last Thursday Mom decided to give Amazon Prime Pantry a try, after seeing that they carry a lot of things we buy on our weekly grocery list(minus perishable items). Since I can’t access the Prime Pantry–you have to be a Prime member–I personally cannot tell you how the process works when you go to add the items to your “cart” or rather “box” in this case. So today, I’ve asked my Mom to share that with everyone. ๐Ÿ™‚

As a curious person, I always like to get as much information as possible, and that’s what drove me to see what Prime Pantry was all about. I got the feeling that the service is relatively new as there are lots of products not listed as yet, and the NEW category was chock full of items. There’s even a place to suggest items you’re looking for. Any product that’s available for inclusion says “Prime Pantry” next to it. Everything is divided into categories, so I didn’t need to sift through endless pages of products to find what we usually shop for. Of course, you can also use the internal search engine for specific items. There’s also a section of items that have coupons that are applied at the time the item is placed in the box. Best of all, you can shop by either the percentage the box is full or by pounds (45 lb. max). And it ships for only $5.99!

It was just a matter of adding items to my “box.” Each time I added an item(s), the pop-up box told me by what percent my box was full. When I got it to 98.4% full, I simply added an additional item from my box to tell me I had reached max capacity. There’s also a sidebar that has suggestions for topping off the box with items that won’t start a new box (which it will do if you go over 100%).

The whole process was fun and easy–even Checkout. Arrival was estimated at 5-7 days, the earliest date being Tuesday, the 9th. Imagine our surprise when it arrived on Monday, the 8th!

As Mom said, our box arrived a day early, kudos on Amazon, and I refrained from opening it without my Mom present. It was her package after all! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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(Orange sticker…very important for those with bad backs. Take extra care!)

It felt like Christmas! The box itself is very substantial, double layered for extra sturdiness, and yeah a few dings in the box but that’s typical. All the items inside were not damaged in any way. I swear Amazon must have expert Tetris players working in their packing department. I can’t explain it, so I’ll just show you!

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Excellent packing material on top!

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The BIG reveal! (Whispers…Tetris)

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TA-DA!!!! And there it is, it’s amazing just how much stuff was in that box and the uber cool thing was that they divided the soft packaged items from the canned and boxed items. Very nicely done.

We will most likely be doing this again, perhaps once a month. I think the only downside, which really isn’t a downside but rather a preference, is that it says Prime Pantry on the box. If it just said Amazon that would be enough. Even better, if it didn’t say anything at all. But that is a personal preference, I’m just glad we always have someone here at home who can bring in such packages right as they arrive. I would hate to leave such things outside all day. The fear of someone taking it or leaving it exposed to the elements bothers me. Especially since we had a bad thunderstorm pass through yesterday dumping all kinds of rain. That box would have been soaked through.

Hope this helps someone out there decide to give this a try and build up your food storage.

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Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread *UPDATED*

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Afternoon everyone! A couple of weeks ago I asked everyone on Facebook and Instagram what their favorite pumpkin recipe was. Sadly, only one person responded BUT her response was the best one I think I’ve ever made!

On Instagram a dear friend Melissa suggested a pumpkin banana nut bread. I asked her if she had a specific recipe for it or if I should just fly by the seat of my pants…and fly away I did! I looked around for a 5 star recipe, and sure enough I scored a delicious, delectable, and delightful quick bread recipes from the test kitchen of Nestle. It’s moist and it’s received raved reviews from those who purchased the mini loaves and muffins from me. Everyone loves the combination of the pumpkin and banana, and quite honestly I never would have thought to have put the two together! I can’t thank Melissa enough for suggesting it!!

Alright, enough blubbering… y’all just want me to get to the recipe already ๐Ÿ˜›
I did take a few liberties with the recipe. I don’t keep canned pumpkin(butternut squash) in the house. We process fresh pumpkin, or try to, every year. So I took out the fresh pumpkin from the freezer(2 cups worth) and let it thaw. Just like I do for the Amish banana bread recipe that my Mom has used for as long as I can remember, I let the banana’s get as ripe as I possibly could. And this particular quick bread recipe called for 4 tsp cinnamon. Now, I personally love to use a Chinese cinnamon called Cassia. It’s a very pungent cinnamon and a little goes a long way. Naturally I cut that back as well, but if you’re using a store bought cinnamon you may want to use the full 4 tsp amount. But I leave that up for you to decide, you all know how much cinnamon you can handle ๐Ÿ™‚

Pumpkin Banana Nut Bread

Prep Time: 8 minutes

Total Time: 78 minutes

Makes: 24 slices (12 slices per loaf)

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 4 teaspoons baking powder
  • 4 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 can (15 oz.) LIBBY’Sยฎ 100% Pure Pumpkin
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup (2 medium) very ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

PREHEAT oven to 350ยบ F. Grease and flour two 9 x 5-inch loaf pans.

COMBINE flour, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, baking soda and salt in medium bowl. Combine pumpkin, eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar, bananas and vegetable oil in large mixer bowl; beat until smooth. Gradually beat in flour mixture; stir in nuts. Spoon into prepared loaf pans.

BAKE for 55 to 60 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire racks for 10 minutes; remove to wire racks to cool completely.

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There is enough batter to make four mini loaves and 6 muffins(or two large loaves as suggested in the original recipe). I think the muffins turned out perfectly! I have enough ingredients that I plan to make more and this time add a streusel topping(per my Mom’s request)!
You can certainly use muffin papers if you like, it does make for easier clean up. If you do choose to do muffins, don’t bake them any longer than 20 minutes. The mini loaves were done in about 52 minutes or there about. I tested each one with a sharp knife, if it came out clean then it was time to take them out. It really is an easy recipe, and with the fresh pumpkin you’ll need to drain it slightly. I just placed the pulp in a mesh strainer over a bowl in the sink and gently moved the pumpkin around to help it drain faster. You’re not going for a dry consistency, you just want it less soupy.

AND These freeze up nicely too! If you want to make several batches before the Thanksgiving holiday and give them out as gifts, just be sure to wrap them up in plastic wrap, foil, place in a freezer back(remove all the air), wrap in freezer paper and if you want to make sure to preserve the freshness place them in food saver bags before freezing. Sounds like a crazy way to freeze them but trust me, it works! Just be sure to let them thaw out completely before gifting in a pretty wrap with a bow and tag!

I hope you all enjoy this recipe, it has become a family favorite for us!

Have a blessed day!!

 

****

UPDATE!

Yesterday I had to use up the remaining bananas, they were oh so ripe! I followed the above recipe to a certain point. With the exception to adding the nuts into the batter. I left those out and put the batter in a greased and floured pan. I went ahead and used one of the large aluminum casserole pans to fit all the batter. So what did I do with the nuts?!

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Yep, I went there! I added the nuts to a streusel topping ๐Ÿ˜€ For. The. Win.

Nut Streusel Topping

1 stick butter, softened

3/4 cup flour

3/4 cup light brown sugar

1 tsp cinnamon

1/2 cup oats

1 cup chopped nuts

Mix all ingredients in a small bowl using a fork your fingers. Sprinkle over the cake batter and bake until cake tester comes out clean. Serve warm with whipped cream or ice cream.

 

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Enjoy!!

To freeze or not freeze…that is up to you!

Hello my lovelies!

Thought I would refresh everyone on how easy it is to freeze leftovers ๐Ÿ™‚ If there is anything I love more it’s on a day when I don’t feel like cooking dinner and be able to go to the freezer to grab a yummy leftover. Makes for easy clean up as well ๐Ÿ˜‰

A couple of weeks ago I threw together a crock pot pork loin meal that the fam just went to town on it! I honestly wasn’t too sure about it at first because the flavor wasn’t something I hadn’t ever paired with pork before. It worked out really well and has proven to be a keeper, tried, true, and oh so yummy!

 

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Crock Pot Onion Mushroom Pork Loin and Mashed Potatoes

2–3 pound pork tenderloin

1/2 cup water

1 small onion, chopped

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 1/2 packets lipton onion soup mix

Mashed Potatoes with a Country Gravy

In a large crock pot(I used my 7qt crock) add in water and half a packet of lipton onion soup mix. Sprinkle in chopped onion and place your pork loin on top. Add the mushrooms around the pork loin. Sprinkle the remaining soup mix over the pork loin, cover and cook on low for 8 hours. Just before serving, slice into medallions and spoon the au juย  over the meat. Prepare your mashed potatoes, gravy and serve alongside a medallion of pork with a spoon au ju sauce and mushrooms.

To Freeze:

Properly label a quart size bag with the name of the contents. Don’t forget the date you are putting it in to freeze. I usually stick with the month and year. When loading the bag I like to place the meat in first followed by the leftover gravy and mashed potatoes. Flatten out making sure to squeeze out as much air as you can. Freeze for up to three months.

Reheating:

Place the frozen meal pack in the microwave and depending on the power of your microwave you can either nuke on high for 1 minute or defrost according to the weight of the package. You’re just wanting to do it long enough to loosen it up from the package. Place in a microwave safe container and finish cooking for 2–3 minutes until completely heated through. Re-season potatoes and gravy if needed. You can certainly reheat this on the stove top if you prefer.

 

Even if you choose to not freeze the leftovers, this recipe is just as yummy the next day. My Dad was very impressed with the pork loin, might be his new favorite way to eat it ๐Ÿ˜‰

Have a blessed day!!

Beef Tips and Rice

Good morning!! Hope everyone is staying dry, cool, and enjoying this break. Though with these temps it feels like it’s already summer in some places. I would just like for all this rain to stop, starting to feel waterlogged ๐Ÿ˜‰

I finally broke out the smaller crock pot since my nephew is away. It’s been quite a while since I’ve used that one ๐Ÿ™‚ Since Dad and I have been on a salad binge lately I’m trying to figure out how to keep our nightly salads interesting. I remembered I had some previously cooked grass fed cubed steak (from another meal) languishing in the freezer. I pulled that and some grass fed stew meat out to thaw overnight in the fridge knowing ahead of time I was going to put it all in the crock pot the next morning. We’re not cube steak fans around here, but after it cooked all day in the crock pot even the cube steak was tender. So let that stand, you can use a cheaper cut of meat, slow cook it all day, and get a delicious tender meal that really everyone will enjoy! And yes even my pickiest eater gobbled it up!

 

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Beef Tips and Rice with Peppers and Onions

Beef Tips and Rice

1–1 1/2 Lbs stew meat or meat of your choice

salt, pepper, and onion powder

1 TBLSP peanut oil

1 large onion, chopped

1 large green bell pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 can diced tomatoes

1 can beef broth

Rice, to serve with

Instructions

Go ahead and plug in your crock pot and get it warmed up. Add in chopped onions and bell pepper. Since the cubed steak was already cooked, I went ahead and added it to to the pot. For the stew meat, my pieces were actually really big, too big to just pop in your mouth. So be sure to cut down any large pieces, at least in half since it will render down in cooking process. Season each piece with salt, pepper, and a sprinkle of onion powder. Sear in batches in a hot pan with peanut oil on both sides, then add each batch to the pot. After the last stew meat batch, pour the diced tomatoes on top, add about half a can of beef broth and the minced garlic. Cook on low for 8–9 hours. Give the mixture a quick stir to see if you need to thicken up the gravy. If you do, take 2 TBLSP flour and enough of the leftover beef broth and make a quick roux. Pour over mixture and stir in. It’ll tighten up quickly so don’t use too much! Serve over rice, potatoes, or buttery noodles.

A Night Owl’s Quick Rice for Six

 

Now I can only take so much credit for how I fixed up the 5 minute rice. What you choose to add to this makes it your own, the fact that I reduced the water a bit and replaced it with the leftover beef broth helps to tie in the flavor of the beef tips. The recipe for the ratio of water and rice is on the side of the box, so you can make as little or as much rice as your family needs. I just like having extra to mix in with leftovers, which I did and froze it all in a gallon size bag as another family size meal. So, very simply add to a medium pan the following…

2 3/4 cups water

1/4 beef broth, that’s leftover

2 tsp dehydrated minced garlic or 1 clove minced

1 tsp of onion powder

Bring it all to a boil and add 3 cups of 5 minute rice. Stir it in, remove from heat and cover with a lid. Do not mess with it. Just set your timer for 5 minutes and let the rice absorb all that liquid. Fluff with a fork and it’s ready to serve! It really is THAT simple!

 

Now, you can serve this with your favorite side veggie, ours tends to be green beans. You can skip the rice all together and just eat the beef tips over a salad as my Dad did. It’s a very versatile, quick, and easy meal! Minimal dishes which is so nice for a change ๐Ÿ™‚ Hope you all enjoy and have a very blessed day!

 

Handy NOK Kitchen Tips:

  • It’s important to keep the lid on your crock pot while it’s warming so as to keep the heat inside the crock pot. Each time you add something else to it be sure to place the lid back on.
  • If you have leftover beef broth and you don’t want to pour it down the sink, grab a clean ice cube tray, doling out the beef broth to each section and freeze. Pop them out once frozen and store in a freezer safe container or bag. They come in handy when you want to add a beef flavor to noodles, rice, and soups.

TBT: Bisquick Mix and Recipe

Yesterday was a productive and mentally exhausting day. The cherry on top was finding out that one of my Pinterest posts had been re–pinned 100 times! That really made my day and in honor of that popular NOK(Night Owl Kitchen) post I decided to do a variation of it. You can check out the popular NOK Pinterest post here. I can’t thank you all enough for sharing that post, it’s been exciting for me to watch it being shared nearly multiple times a day ๐Ÿ™‚ And I hope this variation will be just as popular!!

Here in the south, sausage balls are a staple at most get togethers.You can always count on at least one person bringing them. I wasn’t always a fan of them because they tend to be dry and hard, always had to eat them with a little dip to add some kind of moisture back into them. So, yesterday I decided to make a batch only we don’t keep Bisquick in the house. But luckily my Mom has a homemade recipe for a Bisquick Mix just waiting to be used ๐Ÿ˜€

It’s such an easy recipe you’re going to be kicking yourself for not having thought of it before (I know I was). Plus making it yourself you’re able to bypass all those unwholesome ingredients that are found in the store bought Bisquick. Did you know that there’s aluminum in Bisquick? We know that it’s not good for us yet we’re willing to use it because that’s what a recipe calls for or it’s quicker than making it from scratch. But it’s not healthier, it can lead to serious health issues and making such a simple mix from scratch will actually save you more money and be better for your health overall!ย 

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Just looking at the picture it doesn’t seem any different from the store bought stuff. But the results of my homemade sausage turkey balls were 100 times better than I thought it would be!

All you’ll need…

6 cups all purpose flour

3 Tblsp baking powder

1 Tbls saltย 

1 cup vegetable shortening (I used palm shortening)

Whisk together the first three ingredients. With a pastry blender, cut in the vegetable shortening until it looks crumbly (refer to above picture). Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 months, or store in freezer safe bags(2 cups per bag), labeled, and freeze until needed.

See…simple! Now on to an even better recipe, ready?!

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NOK’s Sausage Turkey Balls

1/2 pound sausage

1/2 pound ground turkey

2 cups homemade Bisquick mix

10 ounces cheddar cheese, shredded

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Mix together all ingredients in a large bowl. Line several baking sheets with release foil. Using a melon baller or other small scoop dole out sausage turkey ball mixture onto each pan. Bake for 10–12 minutes, drain on paper towels before serving.ย 

These came out perfect! Tender, juicy, softer than the ones I grew up with.ย 

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Making them smaller yielded close to 100 balls. You can make them larger if you prefer, but these were the perfect size to just pop in your mouth. Leftover homemade Bisquick mix can be used to make pancakes or muffins, just substitute it for the store brand Bisquick mix in all your recipes. There is a big difference, there’s no chemical after taste with the homemade mix, baked goods come out lighter and fluffier. I wasn’t a Bisquick fan before but this is something I will definitely be keeping on hand from now on ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy eating!!

Holiday Food Storage and Recipe Review

Good morning everyone! I hope you all are just as excited as I am ๐Ÿ˜€ This is our last day of school before Thanksgiving week break. I love this time of year, it’s a great time to reflect, relax and get in some much needed rest before jumping back into the daily schedule that is our lives. Another reason I love this time of year is because I get prep all kinds of goodness for an up and coming food-fest without killing myself in the kitchen!

Much planning goes into our food prepping, we have to decide what gets made and put into the freezer, what can wait to be made a couple of days ahead of the holiday and when to begin taking stuff out of the freezer to thaw it out almost completely before baking it. It all makes for an easy holiday when you can put semi-frosty casseroles in the oven to bake, no more getting in the kitchen at 9am to get veggies chopped, cornbread crumbled, casseroles combined and baked…trust me you’re going to have a more enjoyable time in the kitchen this year by going ahead now with your baking and feel more relaxed with more time to spend with your family (which is more important than slaving away in the kitchen)!

Roast chicken, the most commonly eaten white meat

Roast chicken, the most commonly eaten white meat (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • First let’s start off with the bird. Goose, turkey, chicken, or duck whatever your choice of fowl is you’ll want to go ahead and get that bag boy cooked up and deboned. Unless you have a tradition of slicing it up at the table. In which case continue on McDuff! Our family isn’t big on slicing Mr. Turkey up on the table, Dad has always taken it to task to slice up the turkey himself and placing an assortment of dark and white meat into a disposable aluminum pan with a little of the turkey stock ladled over it. Cover it up with foil and keep it in the warming drawer until you’re ready to serve. Same works for ham too! You can cook it up several days in advance, freeze it, thaw it, add some ham stock to it, cover and keep warm in your lower oven. The meat is moist, tender, and no on will be able to tell that you cooked up ahead of time.
Green bean casserole

Green bean casserole (Photo credit: Mandajuice)

  • Casseroles are a must this time of year. Festive Squash Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, Sweet Potato Casserole, and the list goes on ๐Ÿ™‚ Any casserole can be placed in the freezer, thawed and baked. We add our crunchy bread toppings and cheese on top before freezing and during cooking everything crisps back up and melts beautifully. The key is to thaw it all out, take everything out as soon as you get up and set it out unwrapped from its freezer paper cocoon. By about 2pm you’ll have mostly thawed casseroles ready to bake, and the key is to bake them gradually. You’ll probably have some cold spots that are going to need extra time baking, keep the casseroles covered with foil until everything is thoroughly hot. If you want your crispy toppings to crisp back up, remove the foil and cook until it’s nicely browned and bubbly around the edges. Might take 10–15 minutes, keep an eye on it. If you’re a marshmallow fan on your sweet potato casserole you’ll want to leave those off of you dish as it reheats in the oven. Once the casserole is heated through you can then add the marshmallows to the top and return it to the oven til it reaches a desired doneness.
Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie

Thanksgiving Pumpkin Pie (Photo credit: Jim, the Photographer)

  • Pies: I have fond memories of my Mom making pumpkin, pecan, apple, and chocolate pie a couple of days ahead before Thanksgiving and Christmas. The house always smelled amazing and I can remember taking teeny tiny pinches off the flaky crust…I was a sneaky child ๐Ÿ˜‰ How can you prep pies for the holidays? Start by making and freezing your dough. Yes, you can freeze pie dough. If you can buy it from the store frozen, honey you can freeze the homemade dough as well! Freeze in a square or circle wrapped in plastic wrap, then wrapped in foil, and finally wrapped in freezer paper. Sounds like a lot of fuss it’s better to be safe than sorry. Thaw it out overnight or from the time you get up and make your pies. You could skip this step entirely, go ahead bake your pies up, freeze them and take them out the morning of the feast. You can even stick them in the warming drawer for that warm right out of the oven feel ๐Ÿ™‚
Turkey Dressing

Turkey Dressing (Photo credit: M. Manning)

  • Cornbread dressing or stuffing? We’re not into the whole stuff the turkey with seasoned bread. That might be a hold over from my Mom’s childhood. She learned to make cornbread dressing from her mother in law and has perfected it over the years. It can certainly be made ahead of time and reheated. I won’t delve too much into this because of the growing debate between stuffing and dressing…to stuff or not to stuff…just know that if you make the casserole version you can bake, freeze, thaw, reheat it and still have and amazing casserole for your harvest table! Just don’t forget the giblet gravy ๐Ÿ˜‰
    gravy

    gravy (Photo credit: pluckytree)

     

  • Gravy is it’s own food group in our family. It is great on a slice of homemade bread, dipping yeast rolls in it, smothering cornbread dressing in, floating a slice of turkey, or just right off the spoon. Yes, we love our gravy, you can either freeze the turkey stock or go ahead and make the gravy to freeze. When warming it up check the seasoning to see if it needs more salt and pepper.
  • Mashed Potatoes!!!

    Mashed Potatoes!!! (Photo credit: Manuel Alarcรณn)

    About the only thing I’m not going to instruct you on in making ahead of time are the mashed potatoes. Freezing potatoes can offer iffy results, might not be as creamy or fluffy as you prefer them. It’s the one thing freeze leftover potatoes to use for potato cakes but on Thanksgiving or Christmas Day it’s important to serve the very best to your loved ones and friends. So whether they are mashed from freshly peeled or it comes from a box, make the mashed potatoes on the day of so it will be at its freshest!

  • Cranberry Sauce 009

    Cranberry Sauce 009 (Photo credit: MGF/Lady Disdain)

    Have I left anything out? CRANBERRY SAUCE! Yikes, almost forgot about that saucy perfection *oops* Ok make that two things I wouldn’t recommend making ahead. I prefer the homemade stuff though I grew up on the jellied version. I actually grew up hating that stuff because it didn’t look or taste right, but my Dad had to have it every year because it’s what he grew up with. Three years ago I decided to make it from scratch, the recipe is on the back of ever bag of fresh cranberries, I make a sugar free version that’s sweetened with xylosweet. Flavored with orange zest and instead of water I like using diet cranberry juice instead of orange juice.

So now you should be ready to get a jump start on your holiday, getting started this weekend will be a great way to get ahead even if you choose to only freeze a couple of things. You’ll be slicing your time in the kitchen by more than half!

And for your out of town guests, serve up this buttery sweet blueberry biscuit cake (which is my variation on The Simple Cook’s Bo Berry Biscuits). You could make them into individual biscuits or save yourself some time and spread the thick batter into an 8×8 inch baking pan. The recipe doubles easily and can be baked in advance minus the lemony glaze.

It’s a simple recipe:

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Picture from The Simple Cook Blog

Bo Berry Biscuit Recipe

Biscuits:ย 
2 Cups Flour
1 Cup milk
1/3 Cup sugar
5 T of butter
4 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
3 oz of blueberries (fresh or dried)

Glaze:ย 
1 Cup of powdered sugar
1/8 Cup of water
1 tsp of vanilla
ยฝ tsp of lemon juiceย 

Directions:ย 
Freeze butter. Preheat oven to 450F. Mix salt, sugar, flour, and baking powder in a bowl and sift. Add the cold milk into dry ingredients and mix. As dough begins to form, use a cheese grater to grate your frozen butter evenly over dough. Fold dough, and kneadโ€ฆ repeat until all butter is spread evenly throughout dough. Fold in the blueberries. Gently pull of chunks of dough and pat to form biscuits. Place on ungreased cookie sheet or cake pan. Place in oven and bake for about 7-12 minutes (until golden). Melt 1 tablespoon of butter in the microwave, and paint finished biscuits with pastry brush. Mix glaze ingredients in a bowl, and drizzle over BoBerry Biscuits with a fork.


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Now, the variation I did was using frozen blueberries. I didn’t thaw them out, and I loved the idea of shredding the butter with the cheese grater. I have never done that before and really it helped to get the butter incorporated into the batter. When I pulled it out I could see little pools of melted butter on top, heart flutters.ย 

I like an intense lemon flavor with blueberries and strawberries so I added extra lemon juice to the glaze. But other than those slight changes, I followed the recipe and this turned out perfectly! If you wanted to add some lemon zest to the batter you could, or do a medley of orange, lemon and lime zest for a citrus cake (minus the blueberries). I think that would be very yummy with a citrus glaze!! It’s a wonderful treat and pairs nicely with hot tea ๐Ÿ™‚

You can definitely serve this up with your choice of breakfast meats, scrambled eggs, or enjoy it all by it’s lonesome self. I think it would also be great with cranberries for a more harvest feel, just adjust your sugar since cranberries are really tart, add some orange zest and some orange spiced glaze on top.

This is going to be my final post until December 2,2013. I hope you all have a blessed holiday, stay safe and warm.

From my family to yours Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Rosemary Thyme Marinade

Sorry so quiet today folks, just a lot going on ๐Ÿ™‚ I didn’t forget my promise to share my marinade recipe. I use this for chicken, it’s flavorful and the chicken remains tender with each meal.

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Rosemary Thyme Marinade

1/4 cup lemon juice

1/2 cup peanut oil

1 tsp garlic powder (or 3 cloves minced)

2 tsp dried minced onion

1 tsp each salt and pepper

1 tsp dried rosemary

1 tsp dried thyme

Place into a jar with secure lid and shake.

Very simple, I normally don’t shake this up in a jar. I just place it in the bag with the thawed chicken and mush it around before placing in the fridge overnight. Makes for easy clean up, I did the jar for today’s sake ๐Ÿ™‚ Today I’m going to slice the chicken into tender strips and add this marinade on it, cook it up tomorrow after school and have it for lunches or dinners this week.

You can definitely sweeten this up with some light brown sugar or honey if you prefer or add a little heat with cayenne pepper flakes. Making this into lemon pepper chicken is very doable too! Add a little lemon zest to help punch up the lemon flavor. Play with the seasonings and spices, mix things up! Happy eating ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Book Nook Freebie & Friday Food Saving Tip

(Click the above picture to download your free copy)

Hello everyone! Since getting back to full on lower carb and alkaline lifestyles I have lost 5 pounds in a week. I’m sure that’s just water weight but that’s 5 less pounds that I no longer have to carry around. WOO-HOO!! I haven’t even really been able to work out with the way my schedule is and yesterday with my back being out. It was solely because of eating the right foods for me, so yes it can be done and you can do it too! One of the main things I’ve been eating are salads. Nothing special with a lot of ingredients, just lettuce, organic cucumber, chicken, and a little dressing. Lunches have been a hit or miss this week, I know that’s not good,ย  but when I do remember to eat I usually go for a simple chicken salad with black and green olives and shredded cheddar cheese that’s been mixed with some homemade mayonnaise. Sounds gross but it’s actually really good and filling! I was excited to see the above ebook on Amazon, love trying new things after all.ย  As I shared on Instagram this morning, it’s important to change up your meals to keep things interesting. For low carb eaters it can be difficult when there are certain things we can’t have. But of the foods that are safe and low in carbs I say load up on them, especially if they are carb free.

Now salads don’t have to be green in order to be healthy. There is a delicious pasta salad recipe in this book that looks very promising! I love using Dreamfield’s Pasta for pasta salads (I don’t recommend even Dreamfield’s Pasta for diabetics, please be aware that there not everyone can tolerate even that low carb pasta). It always comes out al dente, which holds up better in salad form and I love that these recipes can be tailored to your specific dietary needs! If you know you can’t have a certain ingredient or prefer a lighter or fattier version of oil you can use whatever you prefer. What’s important is that you pick and choose the right ingredients that will promote a healthier you! So be sure to head on over to Amazon to get your free copy of this yummy cookbook and start eating for a healthier you!

For two weeks now I’ve been cooking up turkey bacon, marinading chicken, boiling eggs, and keeping egg muffins in the fridge for quick and easy meals. It’s been nice going to the fridge and pulling out some cooked eggs and bacon for breakfast, and slicing up the chicken to eat on a wrap with lettuce and spicy brown mustard. It just takes a little planning, making sure you have everything for the first round of cooking, and by mid week cooking up an alternative to help keep from getting bored with my meals.
There have been days where I just chop up some cucumber, red onion, kale, and eat it for a meat free meal. That’s good to do every once in a while, kind of like a cleanse to detox your system. Be sure to balance out the fruits and vegetables that are safe for you to eat with the proper amount of protein and fiber.

For breakfast I like to prepare the following:

Boiled Eggs

Egg Muffins

Pork Sausage Patties

Turkey and Regular Bacon

Boiling eggs is pretty much the easiest thing to do. Well, I learned earlier this year the trick to getting the eggs to peel with ease it by putting salt in the water. I get liberal with the salt every time I boil up some eggs. Depending on the size eggs you’re boiling will determine how long you will need to boil them.ย  I always peel the eggs once they are cooled, wrapping them in a moist paper towel and store either in a plastic bag or container. This way my Dad won’t have to take the extra time in peeling them himself, he can just grab an egg or two and go. Makes his morning that much easier!

Egg Size

Degree of Doneness

Time Required

Medium

Soft-cooked yolk

3 minutes

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Medium-cooked yolk

5 minutes

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Hard-cooked yolk

12 minutes

Large

Soft-cooked yolk

4 to 5 minutes

ย 

Medium-cooked yolk

6 minutes

ย 

Hard-cooked yolk

17 minutes

Extra Large

Soft-cooked yolk

5 minutes

ย 

Medium-cooked yolk

7 to 8 minutes

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Hard-cooked yolk

19 minutes

Above is a chart that I have found to be extremely helpful when boiling large eggs. Print it out and keep handy on the fridge or in your favorite family cookbook! Image is courtesy of What’s Cooking America.

There are oodles of egg muffin recipes out there, which one to pick will be up to you! I am quite fond of the egg muffin (click here) recipe I shared from last week.ย  You can definitely add any vegetables you like, use different cheeses, use egg substitutes if you prefer, and really make it your own. The egg muffin recipe I used was a pretty basic recipe, nothing over the top and versatile enough to change up the flavors. I make a dozen every time, after turning them out of the pan you must let them cool completely before storing them in a ziploc bag or container. Everyone has enjoyed having them for breakfast and/or snack in the afternoons. These also freeze well so make up a bunch of egg muffins, wrap in saran wrap and place in freezer safe bag or container. All you’ll need to do then is take one or two out before you go to bed, place them in the fridge and reheat in the microwave the next morning.

ย ย  ย ย 

(The images above are not mine, I found them through Bing Images, I love how neatly organized they are and how easily everything can be found. Even my fridge doesn’t look like this ๐Ÿ™‚ If nothing else, let this serve as inspiration in how to store your prepared meals for the week. I’m definitely thinking of attacking my own this weekend to make it more efficient for our family.)

Feel free to cook up any breakfast meat you and your family will enjoy. Let it cool completely before storing in a ziploc bag or container. For a family of five I usually make a dozen patties because some mornings a family member might eat three instead of two patties and that’s all they may want for breakfast. Having a little extra for those occasions is a good idea! We make up two different kinds of bacon in our house, regular and turkey. Some family members like to eat both, so we buy it in bulk from Sam’s Club and keep it in the freezer until it’s time to cook up some more. Having cooked bacon in the fridge is a nice quick snack, addition to a salad or wrap. I never like to reheat it once it’s been cooked but you can certainly do that if you prefer. My son sure does ๐Ÿ™‚

I haven’t branched out into make gluten-free breakfast muffins or quick breads. While it’s a nice treat to have, it isn’t very filling, the idea is to make meals that will hold everyone over until their next snack or meal without leaving them groggy or hungry two hours later. So choose wisely my young padawans ๐Ÿ˜‰

For lunch and sometimes dinner I like to keep marinaded chicken cooked up and ready to go. It has become my staple these past two weeks, I’ve enjoyed them on salads, wraps, and even for breakfast with a boiled egg. You can use any marinade you like, I just kept it simple and used flavors that I’m familiar with. For seven chicken breasts I used:

Lemon Juice

Peanut Oil

Thyme

Rosemary

Garlic Powder

Dried Minced Onion

Salt and Pepper

Place it all in a gallon size bag. Mush it all around and let it marinade overnight. The next day either grill, bake or pan cook the chicken till it is completely done (or till the meat reaches 165 degrees). There is no reason to reserve the marinade, I just toss it out. Let the meat cool completely and store in a plastic bag or container. The chicken was the most tender I had ever eaten! I think letting it sit overnight in the marinade really helped tenderize it, even after reheating for a minute in the microwave it still retained it’s tenderness. I was very pleased! Note I did not include any measurements, it was literally something I threw together and didn’t think twice about being specific about (my Mom gets on to me for that a lot). However, below I’ve included some links to similar recipes like mine and this weekend I will write down measurements in case anyone is interested in trying my marinaded chicken ๐Ÿ™‚

Have fun prepping and getting your family ready for a new week! Take care and have a blessed weekend!!

 

Apple Invasion

This week Dad brought home four very full plastic bags of homegrown apples that he got from a coworker. Once I doled them out into other bags during inspection we wound up having seven bags of apples. In other words, we’ve had a very busy two days. Slow cooking more apple butter for 16 hours, and the rest of the apples will become apple sauce a bit later. Below is our apple invasion from the first wave of attack ๐Ÿ˜‰

Apple Invasion Photo Session 007

Apple Invasion Photo Session 010 Apple Invasion Photo Session 011

Using an apple peeler, it worked ok but eventually we had to break out the vegetable peeler and pairing knives.

Apple Invasion Photo Session 076 Apple Invasion Photo Session 077

The second wave of apples, even the scarecrow wasn’t safe ๐Ÿ™‚

Apple Invasion Photo Session 105

Apple Invasion Photo Session 107 Apple Invasion Photo Session 099

Apple Invasion Photo Session 117

Apple Invasion Photo Session 137 Apple Invasion Photo Session 122

It’s been a fun couple of days but I’m going to be so happy when I don’t have to look at another apple for a while.

Related Articles with Apple Recipes:

http://davsart.wordpress.com/2013/08/19/apple-hand-pies/

http://thebyrdhouseblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/12/reflection-post-apple-recipes/

http://www.lovefromtheoven.com/2011/11/01/apple-recipe-round-up-bites-from-other-blogs/

http://paleocafeblog.wordpress.com/2013/08/21/recipe-roasted-beet-soup-with-apple-fennel-by-paleo-cafe/

http://mycrossfitpaleojourney.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/crockpot-honey-apple-pork-loin/

http://applerubber.wordpress.com/2011/08/31/apple-recipes-incredapple-salad/

http://blog.ziplist.com/easy-as-apple-pie-20-apple-recipes/

http://katarina017.wordpress.com/2013/04/04/roast-chicken-with-sweet-potatoes-and-apples-recipe-myrecipes-com/

Book Nook Freebie & Food Storage Friday

Got a yummy free ebook for y’all! It’s all about easy jar recipes which can all so be stored for long term storage! If you find yourself running out of time to make holiday goodies for everyone on your Christmas list (teachers, neighbors, close friends, co-workers, extended family members, etc) then try your hand at making some jarred goodies and help free up your holidays just a tad more!

(Click the above image to download)

Just spent some time going through this book and already I want to get started on making up several jars to give away this fall and Christmas to friends and family. I love how simplistic Bonnie Scott has made it and she tells you what to include on the labels. Now the only thing missing are said labels…

I do have a few links of some free printable Mason jar labels.

http://limeshot.com/2012/free-printable-mason-jar-labels

http://www.overthebigmoon.com/holiday-jar-labels/

http://www.tipjunkie.com/organize/how-to-make-labels-jar-canning/ย  (There are 15 free printables here)

http://printthistoday.com/free-printable-christmas-and-holiday-labels-2/ย  (Various Holidays and Other labels)

Now I love printing these out on card stock paper, punch a hole at the top and thread some ribbon or twine through it to tie onto the jar. You can use coordinating ribbon to keep with the festive flare, or if you prefer you can print these onto adhesive label sheets for easy placement onto the jar lids.

Cookie mixes are always hit with most folks, but a lot of people just like having something ready to munch on. That’s why crackers, bridge mixes, chex mixes, and granolas are always on the top of my list to give! It helps to give others a break from the hustle and bustle of the holiday, allowing them to take a break from a hot kitchen and just relax before a roaring fire with their loved ones ๐Ÿ™‚ Which there is nothing better than making sweet memories around the holidays!

So now’s the time to get started, get your bulk ingredients ready, buy up those summer canning jars while they’re on sale and that way you’ll be set to make some fantabulous jarred gifts instead of waiting to the last minute worrying about what to give everyone. That is never fun and causes more headache than enjoyment. Have a blessed Friday!!