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Breaking the Rules

 There is a little coffee shop here in town that we like to frequent. The Country Club Cafe is a great hangout for moms because it provides us with a nice, relaxing environment to chat with our friends while our kids get to play quietly in the designated kids play area. The coffee is great, the staff is welcoming and the pastries are always so tempting. When we go to the Country Club Cafe, it is usually at breakfast time.  As we approach the counter to place our order, the first thing my kids always notice are the big cookies from Miss Molly's Bakery. The cookies come in an array of flavors... M&M, Chocolate Fudge Brownie, Snickerdoodle, etc. It never fails that the second my kids set their eyes on the cookies, they start begging for one. I have to explain to them that I know those cookies are out of this world, but cookies are not a breakfast food.... they are a dessert. I then convince them to choose something from the muffin basket which begrudgingly they do. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think I broke my own rule this weekend and I have someone other than myself to blame. I can stand up tall and point my finger at someone else... It is all Peabody's fault. Last week she wrote a post on her blog about some Snickerdoodle muffins. In addition to the mouth watering description she wrote, she also posted a picture that made me want to reach in and grab a muffin right off the screen. Since computer to computer muffin transport hasn't been invented yet, I decided … [Continue reading]

Well Worth Subscribing

 Written for Paper Palate on the Well Fed NetworkI only recently became a Gourmet magazine subscriber. I’ve been tempted to subscribe for quite awhile but I finally took the plunge a few months ago after realizing that a large percentage of the meals I make each month usually come from the Epicurious website in the form of recipes from the past Gourmet and Bon Appetit issues. The March 2007 issue of Gourmet has been my fourth issue since subscribing. I have loved each and every issue so far, but this issue has made my menu planning for the month a cinch. It is jam packed full of recipes that my family will love and that I can do fairly quickly on a busy weeknight. A few of the March issue highlights are: Kitchen Design – I love color…bright, bold color. This section shows the hottest trends in kitchen appliances and cookware, which includes the Turbo Chef oven in red that I would love to get my hands on!Good Living – Besides finding out that there are some great dates in March to look forward to (Something on a Stick Day March 28th…Chip and Dip Day March 23rd) I was excited to hear of the new product that actually can remove the caffeine stimulant out of beverages simply by using this little plastic stirrer which snags up the molecules. Technology is amazing.Gourmet Travels – Bruce Feiler writes of a visit to Nambia. The people, the culture and the landscape are all breathtaking.Recipes, recipes and more … [Continue reading]

Off Limits

I was so excited yesterday when I stumbled across a recipe for Malt-Fudge brownies over at the Tummy Treasure blog. I needed a dessert to take to our Mom's Night Out game night and chocolate anything is usually a hit with women. I knew I had a lot of leftover malted milk balls from the Malt Ball Cake I made last month, so this recipe wouldn't require an extra trip to the store, which was a big plus.We were pretty busy yesterday so I didn't get around to starting the brownies until around 5pm.  I wasn't worried as the recipe was straight forward and simple.... nothing at all complicated about it. I was mixing the ingredients together and got to the part that required coarsely chopped malt balls. I walked into my pantry, found the box of Whoppers and picked it up. I opened the top and went to pour them into my food processor. Much to my surprise, my box that should have been over half full had 5 tiny little malt balls trickle out. 5 malt balls and I needed a full cup. I looked up to see my husband's face... he looked like a kid caught with his hand in the cookie jar.  "What happened to all of the Whoppers?", I asked. "Ummmmmm.....yikes. I didn't know they were off limits. You didn't tell me that I couldn't eat the Whoppers."This used to happen all the time when I was pregnant. I'd have something I was savoring... taking my time eating. One day I'd reach in to grab it and it would be gone. My husband is a snack stealer... a candy thief... a … [Continue reading]

Happy Bisquick Day

 Bisquick is one of those controversial ingredients that can cause quite a stir among people who cook. Are you a "real" cook if you use a pre-boxed mix for anything or should everything be from scratch? The same controversy surrounds cans of cream soup (cream of chicken, cream of mushroom, etc). Is it considered cheating to use such ingredients instead of whipping up your own cream sauce to utilize in recipes?In my opinion, if it comes out of your kitchen...your oven... your mixer... it is homemade. Everyone has time limitations, budget limitations, health limitations, skill limitations. People shouldn't feel ashamed for using shortcuts, like baking mixes, when they cook. If it is easier and if it gives them the confidence they need to bake something great in the kitchen, then I think they should go for it!Mimi at French Kitchen in America dubbed March 15th as Bisquick baking mix day. It had been awhile since I had purchased Bisquick but I was excited to have the excuse to make one of my favorite Bisquick breads... Red Lobster's Cheddar Bay Biscuits. The recipe I use has white wine in it, verus the versions with the milk. This adds such a unique flavor to the biscuits. These are so quick and easy and impressive to throw together for a quick weeknight meal. Get our your Bisquick and bake something up today!From Recipezaar:Cheddar Bay Biscuits  2 1/2 cups Bisquick baking … [Continue reading]

Lunch Time Blues

Written for Kids Cuisine on the Well Fed Network I often struggle with our weekday lunch. It is the most frustrating part of the day for me because I have a hard time getting creative and making a quick and healthy lunch that my kids will enjoy. I am also very tempted at lunchtime to scrap the whole idea of eating at home and instead going to the nearest restaurant to grab something for the kids to eat. This option rarely includes healthy choices and often results in a budget buster.Over the past couple of weeks I've decided to shake up our lunch time rituals. I want lunch to be healthy but also to be an interactive and fun time for my family. I have made some simple changes and they have been very well received by my kids. We don't rush through lunch anymore... it is a fun event that my kids look forward to now.  Here are some of the fun things we have been doing at lunch time. ABC - A few weeks ago we had days where everything we ate at lunch time had to correspond to a letter of the alphabet. For example, one day was the letter "P". On "P" day we had pepperoni personal pizzas, pineapple and pudding.  On "S" day we had salad, sandwiches, strawberry yogurt and a few Starburst for dessert. I get my children involved at the grocery store, helping me to pick out food that matches the corresponding letters for the week.Picnic Lunch - Indoors or out, changing the venue of your lunch from the kitchen table to a blanket spread out really … [Continue reading]