Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘food’ Category

December 16th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Making Christmas Treats

christmastreat

One of my favorite days in the month of December is the day we make our Christmas treats. The kitchen is filled with the smells of cinnamon, caramel, chocolate, and more. The tradition started with my sister-in-law’s family, and we baked cookies together as her children grew up. Her children are now all in college, so we carry on the tradition in our home.

The variety has changed over the years. Plus, sometimes we try some new things. Once we experimented with cake balls, another time was peppermint bark.  This year was white chocolate party mix. I probably gained a pound or two just taste testing, and now have to hide most of the treats from all the boys in my family, but we always make a lot of memories!

What is your favorite treat to make? Mine is Turtle Pretzels. Simple to make and yummy to eat, plus a fun activity for the kids.

turtle pretzels

Turtle Pretzels

Ingredients:

  • Square Pretzels
  • Rolo Candies
  • Pecan Halves

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. Arrange the pretzels in a single layer on a cookie tray lined with a silicone mat or parchment paper. Place a rolo candy in the middle of each pretzel. Bake for 4 minutes. Press a pecan half onto each candy-covered pretzel to spread. Let cool completely before packaging.

 

 

Pin It

October 13th, 2014 at 1:53 pm

Fun Treats for Halloween

caramel apple

Trick or Treat?

Halloween is really all about the treats, right?

There are so many ways to get creative with treats for this fun holiday. Here are some of my favorites.

Little Frankies

Frankenstein Cupcakes

Goldfish Filled Pumpkins

Monster Pudding Cups

Witches Hat Cupcakes

Frankenstein Rice Krispies

Mummy Hot Dogs

Pumpkin Rice Krispies

Yummy Mummy Treats

Frankenstein Halloween Treats

Candy Corn Cupcakes

Halloween Spider Chocolate Chip Cookies

Jello Worms

Banana Ghosts and Orange Pumpkins

Spookey Halloween Bones

Dracula’s Dentures

Mini Donut Spiders

 

I definitely will be making several of those for my boys over the next few weeks. An easy Halloween snack my boys love is caramel apples. Here’s how I make them for my family!

Caramel Apple Supreme

Ingredients:

Apples
Caramel topping for Ice Cream
Whipped Cream
Maraschino Cherries
Various Toppings: nuts, Heath bar pieces, mini M&Ms, Reese’s Pieces, chopped candies, sprinkles, and more!
Cut the apple into slices and place in a bowl. Cover with heated caramel topping. Sprinkle on how many toppings you would like. Top with whipped cream and a cherry!

Super easy and super yummy!

 

 

Pin It

September 26th, 2014 at 11:33 am

Pumpkin Recipes

Pumpkin Recipes

One of my favorite fall flavors is pumpkin. I buy canned pumpkin starting the first week of September all the way through the end of November. Below are several of my favorite recipe links, as well as my personal favorite recipe for pumpkin bars! There are so many delicious options!

Ann’s Pumpkin Nut Bread

Pecan Pumpkin Dessert

Libbys Pumpkin Roll

Pumpkin Cookies with White Chocolate Chips

Pumpkin Crunch Cake

Pumpkin Pie French Toast

Pumpkin Pie Coffee Cake

Pumpkin Pie Oatmeal

Low Fat Pumpkin Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Muffins

 

Pumpkin Bars

Ingredients:

  • 4 eggs
  • 1 2/3 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 (15 oz) can pumpkin puree
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 (3 oz) package cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cup confectioners sugar

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. 
  2. In a medium bowl, mix the eggs, sugar, oil, and pumpkin with an electric mixer until light and fluffy. Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Stir dry mix into the pumpkin mixture until thoroughly combined.
  3. Spread the batter evenly into an ungreased 10 x 15 jellyroll pan. Bake for 25-30 minutes. Cool before frosting.
  4. To make the frosting: Cream together the cream cheese and butter. Stir in vanilla. Add confectioners sugar, a little at a time, beating until mixture is smooth. Spread evenly on top of the cooled bars and cut into squares.

Enjoy!

Pin It

September 9th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Apple Recipes

DSC03389

Fall is in the air…and when I think of fall, the first thing that comes to mind is apples!

Here are some of our favorite apple recipes that you might want to try out this fall. You’ll also find my personal recipe for Apple Crumble Pie at the bottom! Every year we visit an apple farm for apple picking. Check and see if there are any near you!

Apple Pork Chops

Caramel Apple Salad (This is my go-to dish for pot lucks, birthday parties, and every event we host. There are never leftovers!)

Apple Pancake Ring 

Chicken Apple Wrap

Bacon, Apple Raspberry Vinaigrette Salad

 

Apple Crumble Pie

Ingredients:

● 5 cups of baking apples, cubed and peeled
● 1/2 cup sugar
● 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
● 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
● 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
● 1 unbaked pastry shell (9 inches)

~~ — Topping — ~~
● 1/2 cup sugar
● 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
● 1/2 cup butter or margarine

Directions:

In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients and spoon the mixture into the pie shell. For the topping, combine sugar and flour, then cut in butter until the mixture resembles coarse crumbs. Sprinkle the topping on the pie filling. Bake at 400° for 10 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375° and bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until the topping is browned and the apples are tender. Cover the crust edges with foil during the last 15 minutes if needed. Cool the pie completely before cutting. Yield: 6-8 servings.

Pin It

August 26th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Meal Planning

image-3

“So…what’s for dinner?”

This doesn’t have to be a nightly question that you scratch your head over. Having a menu planned out means you never have to wonder, and you’ll save time and money!

Setting a plan for 1 week, 2 weeks, or even 1 month can:

  • Eliminate those pesky multiple trips to the grocery store every week.
  • Make use of what is on sale at your local stores, saving you money.
  • Cut back on wasted food
–cut back on eating out, take out, pizza delivery, etc.
  • The ability to buy in bulk from planning ahead can save you money as well.

How Do I Start?


First, consider how much storage space you have. Planning a menu for an entire month may not be possible if you don’t have a place to stash all of the ingredients you’ll need. Make an estimate of what your storage areas can accommodate.

Start small. Try planning for a few days at a time, then work your way up.

 Think about how and what your family eats, i.e. When a recipe says “serves 4,” does it really serve 4 in your family?
 Do you eat leftovers for dinner, or is this not an option?
 Does your family like to eat bread with every dinner? Is dessert a nightly occurrence? If so, will you have to make dessert nightly or can a pan of brownies last 2-3 nights?

A “Master Plan” may be a good starting point:
Sunday = Beef
Monday = Chicken
Tuesday = Leftovers
Wednesday = Pasta
Thursday = Vegetarian
Friday = Fish
Saturday = Mexican

Or, have a themed night every night (Italian night, Mexican night, Asian night, etc.).

To make things easier, keep a list of “family favorites” to rotate into your menu plan…customizing the plan to your family will help make it work for you.

When you’ve created a base for your meal planning, decide on the actual recipes/meals you want to make each night. Check the recipes against your existing items to avoid buying ingredients you already have on hand. Create the shopping list and head to the supermarket for an efficient trip!

What is your favorite menu planning resource?

 

Pin It

August 13th, 2014 at 1:01 pm

First Day of School Treats

wefwe

The first day of school is a day filled with excitement and nervousness. It also is the perfect day to come together with your child after school to talk. Celebrate with some special treats! Your child will most likely be hot, tired, excited and most of all starving!!

Peanut Butter Sushi

Frozen Grapes – String some grapes on a stick and freeze. This is great for the child that is overheated!

S’mores Brownies

Crudite Platter – If your child loves veggies, cut some up and serve with their favorite dip!

Waffle and Peanut Butter – heat up a waffle in the toaster and cover with peanut butter.

Muffins

Smoothie

Peanut Butter Popcorn

Cookies

Pin It

August 11th, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Corn On The Cob Made Easy

unnamed2

Our family LOVES to buy corn on the cob from the local farm stand. It is just starting to hit its peak here in Wisconsin, but in the meantime we have enjoyed summer corn from the grocery store. One of my favorite ways to make it is in the oven. You don’t have to shuck it, remove the stringy things or boil water, all you have to do is cook and enjoy!

Preheat oven to 350˚ F.

Place corn husks directly on the oven rack and roast for 30 minutes.

Peel down the husks.

The corn will be steamy hot when you peel it, so be careful! The strings and husks peel away from the corn easily.

Enjoy with salt and butter, or however you like!

unnamed

This same method can be done on the grill, but I like to soak my husk-covered corn in water for an hour or so. This helps prevent it from burning on the grill.

Pin It

July 28th, 2014 at 12:43 pm

Recipe: PB&J Sushi

PB&J finished

Sometimes we go weeks of just eating peanut butter and jelly every day. I try to mix it up by cutting it into squares, rectangles or even triangles. My kids love it that much! I started using this fun recipe to make it even more exciting. You don’t have to limit yourself to just PB&J though, it works with meats and cheeses. Tip: use a condiment to keep it rolled up and together.

PB&J Sushi

Ingredients : Bread, Peanut Butter, Jelly

Preparation:

First, take a slice of bread and cut off the crust.

PB&J bread start

Use a glass or rolling pin to flatten bread.

PB&J  roll bread

Spread on as much peanut butter and jelly as you like! You can also use chocolate or marshmallow spread or add items like bananas.

PB&J Jelly

Roll up the bread.

PB&J roll

They can eat it as a big roll, or you cut it into smaller pieces. The kids LOVE these, so be prepared to make a bunch!

PB&J rolled up

What are some ways YOU make food different and special for your kids?

Pin It

July 18th, 2014 at 9:00 am

Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake Recipe

cookiecake

One of our go-to desserts for celebrating special occasions is my Giant Chocolate Chip Cookie Cake. This is a great dessert that you can decorate or leave undecorated. I personally like to use store-bought frosting to decorate it. I typically use one can of white frosting and one of chocolate frosting. Use your imagination to bring this cookie to life!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  • Shortening or baking spray
  • Frosting

Instructions

Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease a 14-inch round deep dish pizza pan with shortening or baking spray.

Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time. Gradually add flour, salt, and baking soda and beat until well blended. Then add chocolate chips.

Put batter in greased pan and bake at 375 degrees F for 20-25 minutes. Cool completely in pan on a cooling rack. Decorate with frosting.

Pin It

July 10th, 2014 at 3:19 pm

5-Ingredient Recipes

By

5-IngredientRecipes-2

 

I’ve been trying some new recipes, and it seems like they involve so much time and so many ingredients. I try to plan my meals and visit the food store once a week, but that one visit to the food store always takes forever because there are so many things to buy! After a particularly long night of cooking, I decided to check out some simple 5-ingredient meals and was pleasantly surprised at how much less time they took to prep and cook, and how much less cleaning I had to do after! Simple recipes often end up saving you money because there’s less to buy and the ingredients are usually common.

Sloppy Joes in Corn Tortillas

Jalapeño Basil Pork Chops

Flank Steak Pinwheels

Chicken Parmesan

Express Shrimp and Sausage Jambalaya

Cornmeal-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Sundried Tomato Chicken

Black Bean Quesadillas (or any quesadilla, in fact!)

“Last-Minute” Lasagna

Pin It