Brown Rice Blender Waffles Wednesday, Jul 25 2012 

I recently purchased a Vita-Mix, and am having fun trying new recipes. We are loving this blender pancake recipe, and so I wanted to try a blender waffle recipe! I cam across this one, by Sue Gregg, that is made from brown rice and oatmeal. I’m always game to try new ways to incorporate more grains (less wheat) in our diet, so I gave them a try!

They are more crumbly than my regular waffle recipe, but we still enjoyed them. 🙂

Rice and Oatmeal Blender Waffles

1 1/2 cup milk
2 Tbsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 cup brown rice
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 egg
1 Tbsp flax seeds
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt

Put milk, oil, vanilla, brown rice and oatmeal in blender, blend on high for 3-5 minutes, depending on the strength of your blender. Add in egg, and flax seeds, blend 1-3 minutes. Finally add baking powder, baking soda, and salt, blend just until it is mixed through.

Bake in waffle maker according to directions, but make sure to spray oil before every batch! These are not as high in oil content as other waffles, and stick easily. You can also bake these like pancakes, if desired!

Waffle Vanilla Sauce Wednesday, Nov 30 2011 

Doesn’t that look good?? These waffles are delicious, and the vanilla sauce is a nice variety to maple syrup! It isn’t as sweet, and is made with eggs and milk. The vanilla sauce recipe is from Mennonite Girls Can Cook, a really great website full of awesome recipes!

We also ate some of them with pieces of bananas under the white sauce. Yum!

 

Waffle Vanilla Sauce

2 cups milk, divided
2 (rounded) Tbsp flour
2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 egg yolks

In a small pot, heat 1 cup milk until it begins to boil. (med heat) While you are doing this: mix dry ingredients, add just a little of the 2nd cup of milk, blend the egg yolks in well, and then the rest of the milk. Just before the milk in the pot begins to boil up, stir in the sauce and stir with whisk until the sauce begins to cook and thicken. Done!

Chocolate Waffles Monday, Aug 29 2011 

I’ve developed an addiction to chocolate since Jedidiah was born… and I’m ok with that! 😉  The other day I was doing a big batch of waffles for the freezer (great easy breakfasts for Korban!), and decided to make some chocolate ones.

The one pictured above is a half white and half chocolate waffles. 🙂

Chocolate Waffles

2 cups waffle batter
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
4 Tbsp mini chocolate chips

Bake according to your waffle maker’s instructions. These freeze really well, and I put them in the toaster to reheat them. Toooooo yummy. 🙂

 

Waffles Wednesday, Jun 8 2011 

We love waffles in our house. When I make them, I often double to quadruple the recipe and freeze them for future breakfasts. They’re easy to reheat in the toaster, and make a quick and healthy breakfast. We especially like these made with spelt flour!

Waffles

1 3/4 cup wheat flour (2 cups spelt)
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp baking powder
2 eggs
1 3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup oil*
1 tsp vanilla

Mix wet and dry ingredients. Cook in waffle maker according to your waffle maker’s instructions. Once cooked and cooled on a cooling rack, they freeze well. Reheat in toaster.

We enjoy eating our waffles with real maple syrup, apple sauce, or peanut butter. My young son likes to eat them plain for a snack!

* Replace all or some of the oil with apple sauce, and/or flax seeds. For example, 1/4 cup apple sauce, 1/8 cup ground flax seeds, 1/4 cup oil. Heathy and yummy alternative!

Additional note: I find these cook best if I spread the dough in the waffle maker instead of dumping it all in one glob. This way it takes less dough, leaves more room for it to rise, and creates fluffier waffles.

Starting from this batter, try Chocolate Waffles!

Homemade… everything? Friday, Oct 26 2012 

I was recently showing a friend a batch of these yummy homemade crackers, and she made a comment I haven’t forgotten. She said “Wow, you really don’t buy much from the store, do you!” I hadn’t stopped to think about it before, because I DO buy a lot. But what do I buy? Mostly all basic ingredients, meat, fruits and vegetables. I do buy some ready-made stuff (i.e. perogies), but very little of those things.

How is it possible that I buy so few pre-made items? I make my own condensed cream soups, my own crackers, my own bread crumbs and croutons, my own taco seasoning, etc. That’s a lot of things to make from scratch!

I figured out the answer, and wanted to share. 🙂  I have two boys, my family eats a lot, and yes, I make most things from scratch. There are two reasons why I am able to do all that:

1. I make bigger batches, and freeze things for quick meals later. I freeze cooked chicken, so I can quickly make chicken salad sandwiches, chicken patties, stir-fry, chicken casseroles, etc. I cook dry beans and freeze them for later (instead of buying cans). I keep loaves of bread in the freezer. When I make chili, sloppy joes, spaghetti sauce and such, I make large batches and freeze the extras for meals on days when I don’t have time to do it all.

2. We eat simply. It takes a bit of time to make a homemade “can of condensed cream soup” (about 8 minutes or so?), and while I could make an extra large batch to freeze in 1 cup portions (which equals one can), I just end up not making recipes that use condensed creams soup. I don’t end up making recipes that require a lot of work, and are very involved. We eat simply. Simple eating is the key to eating healthy meals from scratch! My family loves the meals I make, and we keep the fancy meals for special occasions. 🙂

So yes, I make most things from scratch and buy little pre-made. But the only way that is possible is by preparing things ahead, and eating simply.

What do you make from scratch? How do you manage to cook healthy for your family on a busy schedule?

I also want to put a reminder here: if you try and start making everything from scratch right away, you’ll get discouraged. Start slowly. Incorporate one new habit at the time, then move on to the next one. When you run out of taco seasoning? Instead of buying some, make it yourself (one recipe lasts a few meals). When you run out of crackers, don’t buy some, try this recipe. Slowly build up your repertoire of things you make from scratch, and then it won’t be overwhelming?

It’s also OK, if you can’t do it all from scratch. We can’t do it all. Decide what is important to you to do from scratch, and let go of the things are aren’t. For example, to me, it’s not worth it to make perogies from scratch. I found a brand that makes whole wheat ones for a good price, and stock up when they’re on sale. But to me, it is important to make taco seasoning from scratch because then its not filled with preservatives and MSG. Choose what is important to your and your family, and focus on that!

Freezer Cooking Thursday, Sep 6 2012 

With school starting, activities to go to and from, fall tends to be a busy time of the year! Have you ever tried freezer cooking? You take a day or two and make assemble a lot of meals and freeze them. It makes dinnertime very stress-free! Simply take out a frozen dish the night before (or morning of), and cook it for supper. Make a simple salad and bread on the side, and you’ve got a healthy meal. Not only does it simplify life, but it also saves money and usually means healthier eating!

Towards the end of each of my pregnancies, I prepared meals for my freezer, as well as breads and muffins. It allowed me to relax, recover, and enjoy my newborn cuddles. 🙂  Last year, when preparing meals before the birth of my 2nd (before starting this blog), I wrote down the recipes I made and some basic directions. While not necessarily thorough step-by-step instructions, I wanted to post this here in hopes it may give some of you an idea of what freezer cooking can look like.

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First, I chose my recipes. They were all (except one or two) recipes I had made before and knew my family enjoyed. It wouldn’t be very fun having a freezer full of meals we don’t like! 😉

Secondly, I decided how many times I would make the recipe: doubled? tripled? quadrupled?

Thirdly, I wrote down all the ingredients I would need for each recipes, and compiled it into a master grocery list. (I’ll include it below) I made sure I had all the ingredients on hand, even basic things like salt! It would really complicate and slow the process down to run out of ingredients half way through your “big production”. 🙂

Fourth, I bought all the ingredients I needed and didn’t have on hand. Doing it this way allows you to buy ingredients in larger quantities, and you usually save money by doing this! I also bought disposable foil pans to freeze my meals in. I bought a huge stack of them for a cheap price. This meant no casserole dish to scrub after the meals! Yay!

Fifth step: the day before I plan on assembling my meals, I did prep work. I cooked all the meat that needed to be cooked for my meals. I set out all the ingredients on the counter/table. And I cut up the vegetables (onions, celery, etc). This is not a necessary step, but it makes it way less stressful the next day.

Sixth step: this was my day to assemble all the meals! Thankfully, my little sister and her friend agreed to come help, which made this step a breeze. Since I had done all the prep work, it was simply a matter of assembling everything, packaging it into the foil pans, putting the lid on, labeling each with a permanent marker, and freezer it! We did one recipe at the time. They had fun writing the names of each dish on the lid, and it made it fun to see what all they wrote on it each time I took a casserole out of the freezer. 🙂 As a side note: I didn’t cook the casseroles, we just assembled them and put them in the freezer. We finished by doing the dishes, which was surprising little considering the 40+ meals we had just made for the freezer. Doing it all at once really creates hardly more dishes than preparing one or two meals at the time.

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Here is the list of meals I prepared for our freezer cooking:

Sloppy Joes

Chicken Enchiladas

Chicken Casserole

Shepherd’s Pie

Chili

Spaghetti Sauce (recipe isn’t on this site?! Gonna remedy that soon!)

Lasagna

Beef, beans and rice Burritos (recipe is for beans and rice, but I added ground beef to it!)

Chicken Broccoli casserole

Meatballs (made them plain and could then choose to cook them plain, or Pineapple Meatballs, or Stewed Meatballs)

Hamburger patties

Soups: Tomato Hamburger, Barley Beef, and Chicken Beans Rice.

I also made some muffins, loaves of bread, waffles, granola, and cookies for the freezer. 🙂

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As for ingredients, this is what my ingredient list looked if you’re curious. 🙂  I had quite a bit of these on hand already, but writing it all out like this allowed me to make sure I was set for smooth sailing! 😀

Ingredients:

24 ½ cups cooked chicken pieces
8 cups grated cheese
7 cans cream of mushroom (or make your own cream of celery!)
¾ cup salsa
8 ¼ cups chicken broth
12-24 tortillas
30 oz froxen mixed veggies
2 cups frozen corn
1 ½ cup margarine/butter
1 ½ cup flour
17 cups chopped onion (1 large= approx 1 cup)
8 ¾ tsp salt
6 ¾ tsp pepper
¾ tsp garlic
4 tsp fennel seed
4 Tbsp chili powder
3 tsp cumin
24 cloves garlic
6 cups milk
10 oz frozen broccoli pieces
½ cup mayonnaise
4 oz can of mushroom stems and pieces
¼ tsp curry
16 celery ribs
36 oz stuffing
20lbs ground beef
5 cans tomato soup
1 cup ketchup
3 Tbsp vinegar
¾ cup brown sugar
5 tsp Worcestershire sauce
3 cans beans
3 ½ cups carrots (7 carrots)
4 tsp sugar
8 tsp oregano
16 tsp basil
1 cabbage
12 cans diced tomatoes (28oz ea=336oz)
5 cups potatoes
4 Tbsp beef bouillion
2 bay leaves
3 cups uncooked rice
Lima beans
2- 500ml cottage cheese
2 boxes lasagna noodles
160oz tomato sauce (6-28oz cans)
4 cans kidney beans (16oz ea)
Oil
4 boxes spaghetti noodles

I hope this is helpful for some of you! Crystal, over at MoneySavingMom, also has a bunch of information on freezer cooking. Check it out here. Happy cooking!

Breakfast Burrito Friday, Mar 2 2012 

Our breakfasts are usually quite simple. Usually a green smoothie, occasionally I’ll mix up a double batch of baked oatmeal to last a few breakfasts, cream of wheat, or waffles I made and froze earlier. When Josiah is off work, then we do fancier breakfasts such as pancakes, waffles, eggs/sausage/toast, or breakfast burritoes!

I don’t have an exact recipe here, just some ingredients and general directions. Throw in what you want, omit what you don’t want, and enjoy!

Breakfast Burrito

Scrambled eggs
Onions
Garlic
Mushrooms
Peppers (red, orange, green, and/or yellow)
Cheese
Salsa
Sour cream
Whole wheat tortillas

Saute the onions, garlic, mushrooms, and peppers. When tender, add eggs and cook them scrambled. Scoop eggs mixture into center of tortillas. Top with grated cheese, sour cream, and salsa. Wrap, and enjoy!

Breakfast Ideas Thursday, Jan 5 2012 

It’s the beginning of January, which means a lot of us are hoping to start eating healthier, or to go back to our routine after yummy-but-not-so-healthy holidays! Right?! 🙂

I wanted to highlight a few breakfast ideas for you, because starting the day off with a good breakfast is important!

Who doesn’t want to start the day with this healthy, yet delicious Breakfast Banana Split?!

I love Overnight French Toast. It’s a great way to use stale bread, and it’s awesome to prepare breakfast the day before!

This is one of my all-time favourite breakfast: Baked Oatmeal! I love that stuff. You can make it plain, with blueberries, coconut, nuts, or even chocolate chips. 🙂  I’m not huge on regular oatmeal, but baked oatmeal?! YUM! This is also a breakfast you can prepare the night before!

At half of our breakfast each week is a Green Smoothie. We never seem to get tired of it! Since we make it from frozen ingredients, it almost tastes like ice cream. Obviously, my 3 yr old likes it! 😉

This Pancake recipe is our absolute favourite. We make it regularly! You can make extra to freeze for later, or just cook however many you want, and stick the batter in the fridge to finish the next day for breakfast (you may need to add a little more baking powder to add some fluffiness the next day). You may want to try these Multi-Grain Pancakes for variety too!

Then comes these yummy Waffles! I almost always make a double batch of these, and freeze the leftovers for super easy breakfasts later on. I made some of these yesterday to take on our trip this week-end. They make less mess in the car as a snack for my 10-mth old! They are so good plain, that most of the time my sons and I munch on these without any toppings.

Of course, muffins are always a hit too! My favourites are the Double Chocolate Oatmeal Muffins, Bran Muffins, and Healthy Chocolate Banana Pecan Muffins.

There you have it, a few ideas to start the day off with a good breakfast! What is your favourite breakfast?

 

Shared at Holy Spirit Led Homeschooling!

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins Monday, Oct 24 2011 

Pumpkin. I love pumpkin! 🙂  It’s great in biscuits, waffles, pancakes, cakes, cookies, bars, pie – so versatile! I’ve been looking for new recipes to use my pumpkin this year, and am glad I tried this muffin recipe. It’s a very healthy muffin, which I love, and tastes great too. 🙂

This recipe is from Eat More Whole Grains, by Winnie’s Winning Ways.

Healthy Pumpkin Muffins

2 eggs
1/2 cup liquid honey
1 cup cooked pumpkin
1/2 cup bran
1 cup spelt flour
1/2 cup flax, ground*
1/3 cup oil
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup raisins (optional)

Combine dry ingredients. In another bowl beat eggs, then mix in honey, oil and pumpkin. Add dry ingredients and mix only until moistened. Add raisins, if desired. Spoon into muffins pans and bake at 375F for 15-20 minutes.

*I grind mine in a coffee grinder!

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