Thursday, October 8, 2009

Baking Day Recap w/recipes...

I'm tired today. My son is fighting off a cold (poor little guy) so he was up most of the night all stuffy and not able to breathe out of his nose unless he was elevated. So, of course, the only way he would stay elevated is if I held him up all night. So, as a result this morning I am VERY tired and very sore. At least I feel good about what I accomplished yesterday!

The picture of what I did is above (minus the strawberries I cleaned and sprinkled with sugar for strawberry shortcake tonight).

The breakdown?

2 quarts Chicken and Veggie soup (made in crock pot)

I had a bag of chicken drumsticks in the freezer (about four of them) so I pulled it out and threw those into the crock pot with a box of chicken broth I had in the pantry. I then threw in a variety of frozen veggies I had, fresh carrots and beet tops and a LITTLE bit of hot pepper (from my sister-in-law's stash she gave me), put in a can of diced tomatoes and a can of kidney beans (both cans drained) and put in three bay leaves, some grill seasoning, about 5 pepper corns, a handfull of the fresh parsley my sister-in-law gave me, some rosemary and some salt (but not much since I wanted to check it later to see what seasonings I would need later). I then just put the crock pot on high and let it go for 8 hours (since the chicken was a frozen CHUNK when I put it in originally). I ended up throwing in about a tablespoon of Taco seasoning (yes taco seasoning) to give the soup a little extra "spicy zip" and reseasoned it before I felt it tasted right. I then picked out and deboned the chicken and put it into two freezer containers (pictured).

The soup came out sweeter tasting than I normally make it just because I used canned beans, but overall I like it. This is going to be lunch for the kids and I today (if Armina will eat it) because I figure this will be good for cold fighting influence.

1 Recipe Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Muffins

Warning to all: This makes a LOT! I used a 6 spot jumbo muffin tin AND made 12 muffins in a regular muffin tin with papers and I STILL had batter left over that luckily (almost) my daughter threw a whole bunch of flour into to "help" and I ended up throwing it away. I think it saved me from drowning in muffins, but I hate to have wasted the food.

Ironically enough, Crystal over at Money Saving Mom did a baking day the same day I did and one of the first things she made was these muffins. Since I'm trying to find recipes to use pumpkin (my husband HATES regular squash and I don't want the inevitable Halloween jack o' lantern to go to waste), I defintitely wanted to try this. So, I took my original plan of "Cinnamon Rolls" for breakfast and replaced that plan with these.

I ALWAYS have chocolate chips and nuts in my freezer from Christmas baking, so I went looking and found my chocolate chips. All I had for regular chocolate chips was bitter-sweet chocolate chips (and huge honking ones at that) so I added a half of a bag of those and then did the other half in white chocolate chips (since I had a half a bag I hadn't used in holiday baking in my freezer).

They are not bad. They don't really TASTE like pumpkin to me, but they are very moist and very decent. If you are looking for a more "pumpkin pie" type of flavor I'd add nutmeg, a little ginger and probably a little more cinnamon and vanilla. These came out more tasting like chocolate chip muffins that are just good for you (NOT a bad thing by any stretch of the imagination :-).

1 Batch of 12 cupcakes These were just made from Jiffy Mixes I had in the pantry that were getting OLD, so I wanted to use them before they ended up tasting just like the box. I used the chocolate frosting I bought at the store the other day because I couldn't FIND the other thing of frosting I SWEAR I have somewhere, but oh well. If you are wondering why there are some missing...Armina managed to get ahold of them (which is why the icing looks wierd on some of them) and so did my husband after dinner. SO, I might need to make some more of these (I rarely make sweets like these, so my family overly enjoys them when I do.

1 loaf white breadmaker bread Just followed the recipe in the manual.

1 Recipe Sugar Cookies

This is a family recipe and I'd like to thank my sister-in-law, Anastasia for passing it onto me.

GOOD SUGAR COOKIES (don't ask this is how my sister-in-law worded it)

4 c. shifted flour
2 1/2 tsp. double acting baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2/3 cup shortening
1 1/2 cup sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla
4 tsp milk

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Sift flour with baking powder and salt. Mix shortening in another bowl with sugar, eggs, and vanilla until light and fluffy. Mix in flour in 1/3 increments alternating each installment with the milk (I usually end up using more like 4 tablespoons milk just because my unbleached flour is pretty absorbant). Refrigerate until easy to hand (I usually skip this part and just make sure the dough is in rollable condition by adding as much milk and/or flour as needed to make it into a workable me you'll know when it's workable because it won't act like taffy on your hands anymore and you should be able to form it into a ball and place it on your counter without it totally falling apart). Roll the dough out onto a floured surface (and trust me if you don't refrigerate this make sure you have plenty of flour on that surface). Roll to about 1/4 inch thickness and cut out the shapes of your choice (I couldn't FIND the fall decoration shapes I had, so I just used an inverted water glass as a cookie cutter...I'll just paint on fall decorations with icing in the next couple of days). Bake 1/2 inch apart for 8 to 9 minutes until the cookies are done (little golden around the edges, but not too dark).

I'll show the results of the painting of the cookies when I do them because I LOVE to do that and it's fun to do.

1 recipe Bannana Bread

3 Frozen Dinners

I made a couple home made "frozen dinners" for go to lunches later on. I made a big pot of Penne pasta (like the entire box) and split it up. About 2/3 of it went into another pot with the jar of Alfredo sauce I got at the store the other day and the chicken that I pre-cooked day before yesterday. I then put part of it into gladware containers I got YEARS ago that have three sections just like a cafeteria tray. Then I put some frozen brocoli with cheese sauce added to it into one of the other sections and then for the desert I took a can of apple pie filling I got YEARS ago and put a couple of spoonfulls in the one section and then sprinkled the top with some cinnamon brown sugar instant oatmeal. Since this is basically what "frozen dinners" do in the stores, I figured I'd just copy them and see how it turned out when I microwaved it. I did the same layout with some penne pasta with pasta sauce (makeshift baked ziti) and spices and then put some frozen mixed veggies in the one part and then another apple crisp desert in the other section. So, now I have two microwave dinners for myself for lunches.

I then took what was left over on the Chicken Alfredo and put it into another oven safe container so that I can just take it out of the freezer and either pop it in the oven OR pop it in the microwave (yay versatility!).

Breakfast Items

I TRIED to make some breakfast burritos with some corn tortillas I had, but they just would crumble and fall apart every time I tried to fold them. So, I ended up taking a huge amount of scrambled eggs (which turned out totally awesome! Just the right amount of salt and pepper...I ate them for lunch actually) and put some ham deli meat in the tortilla after I put the scrambled eggs in (my free deli meat from Carrs a little bit ago). Then I added some cheese I grated from a block in the freezer. I tried to fold a couple of them up, but it didn't work very well (the two little things in the sandwich bags are the result of those experiments). I took what was left over of the scrambled eggs, instead of trying to do another burrito, put it in a microwaveable container on one side, stuck a couple of pieces of ham on the other and figure I'll stick it in the microwave for a quick breakfast and just eat it with toast. It seemed easiest.

And there you have my day in a nutshell yesterday. I felt pretty good since I didn't even get a CHANCE to get started until after 2:00 because of the kids, lunch and cleaning out my fridge, pulling stuff out of the freezer to defrost and other side projects.

And now, onto feeding my kids lunch and figuring out what to eat myself! Enjoy :-).

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