Garanimals Blog

Archive for the ‘recipes’ Category

December 23rd, 2014 at 6:16 pm

Welcoming Santa

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Our family has some special traditions for preparing for Santa’s visit. First, we make a batch of “reindeer food” to leave on the ground for Santa’s reindeer. In the evening, we sprinkle it on the ground outside so the reindeer have something to eat while Santa is inside. We don’t have a fireplace, so we know that Santa parks on the front lawn. Check out the recipe for Magic Reindeer Food below.

We also prepare a plate of cookies and a glass of milk that we leave on the table. Santa usually only leaves crumbs, since he is a big fan our our cookies.

During the evening, we check out where Santa is in the world on Norad. It truly is a great learning activity so the kids can learn the parts of the world, the time changes, and the distance from place to place.

Other families hang stockings for Santa to fill, leave a magic key outside, and more. What do you do on Christmas Eve to welcome Santa?

Magic Reindeer Food Recipe

In a small zipper sandwich bag, mix:

  • 1/4 cup uncooked oatmeal
  • 1/8 cup sugar
  • 1/8 cup red or green sugar sprinkles

 

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December 22nd, 2014 at 3:42 pm

Holiday Appetizers

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I  love the appetizers that come with holiday gatherings. To me, all those little bites make up the perfect meal! Here are some of my favorite appetizer recipes:

Cold Veggie Pizza

Ingredients:
1 can refrigerated crescent rolls
8 oz Cream Cheese
1 1/2 tsp mayonnaise
1 tsp Dill Weed
Salt and Pepper
4 Cups fresh vegetables: mushrooms, carrots, green or red peppers, tomatoes, cucumbers, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini
1/4 cup Shredded Cheddar Cheese

Preheat oven to 350° F. Arrange crescent dough on baking stone and pinch seams together. I like to spread it out flat on a baking sheet. You can arrange in a wreath circle pattern. Bake 10-12 minutes until lightly browned. Remove from oven and cool.

Blend softened cream cheese, mayo, dill weed, salt and pepper. Spread over cooled crescent dough. Chop vegetables and sprinkle over pizza. Top with grated cheese. Refrigerate.

 

Here are some other recipes I love:

White Pizza Dip

Garlic Herb Roasted Shrimp 

Spinach and Artichoke Dip

French Onion Soup Stuffed Mushrooms

Crispy Baked Ravioli

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December 16th, 2014 at 4:32 pm

Making Christmas Treats

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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.

 

 

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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!

 

 

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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!

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September 9th, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Apple Recipes

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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.

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August 29th, 2014 at 1:18 pm

Muffin Recipes

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Breakfast is one of my nemesis’. The boys get bored with the same thing, so I try to mix it up as much as I can. This muffin mix allows you to use one mix and change it up with different ingredients to make different types of muffins. These also freeze wonderfully!

Plain Muffin Mix

Ingredients:

3 cups all purpose flour

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

10 tbsp unsalted butter, softened

1 cup minus 1 tablespoon sugar

2 large eggs

1 1/2 cups plain yogurt

Cupcake wrappers, vegetable cooking spray or butter for greasing tins.

Directions:
Heat oven to 375 degrees. Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together in medium bowl; set aside.

Cream butter and sugar with electric mixer on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in one-half of dry ingredients. Beat in  yogurt. Beat in remaining dry ingredients, until incorporated.

Spray 12-cup muffin tin or put wrappers in it.  Spoon batter into tins and bake until muffins are golden brown, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool 5 minutes and serve. They freeze wonderfully!

Different kinds:

Feel free to add chocolate chips, nuts or blueberries to main mix or follow some of the variations below.

Raspberry Almond Muffins
Follow the main recipe and add 3 tablespoons almond extract with butter and sugar. Spoon one-half of a portion of batter into each cup. With small spoon, make a well in center of each cup of dough. Spoon 1 to 1 1/2 teaspoons raspberry (or other flavored) jam into each well. Cover with remaining batter.

Lemon Poppyseed Muffins
Follow the main recipe and add 3 tablespoons poppy seeds to the dry ingredients, and 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest to the butter-sugar mixture. While muffins are baking, heat 1/4 cup granulated sugar and 1/4 cup lemon juice from 2 small lemons in small saucepan until sugar dissolves and mixture forms light syrup, 3-4 minutes. Brush warm syrup over warm muffins and serve.

Banana Walnut Muffins
Follow the main recipe adding 1/2 teaspoon grated nutmeg to dry ingredients, substituting 1 cup packed light brown sugar for granulated sugar and folding 1 1/2 cups finely diced bananas (about 3 small) and 3/4 cup chopped walnuts into finished batter.

What’s your favorite kind of muffin?

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August 26th, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Meal Planning

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“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?

 

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August 18th, 2014 at 3:37 pm

Online Recipe Storage & Organization

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I am a recipe hoarder. I have cookbooks, printed recipes, written recipes, and tons of bookmarked recipes stored in so many places on the Internet and on my computer.  I am in the process of trying to consolidate all these recipes in two places…on paper and online. My tried and true recipes that I make regularly are stored in a binder. These are printed and slipped in plastic sheet covers so they are easy to refer to and don’t get messy while i’m cooking.

Everything else is stored online. I also store my tried and true online so I can refer to them when out and about. Sometimes when you are grocery shopping you decide you really need to make that one favorite recipe for dinner. Here are a couple of ways you can organize your recipes online for safekeeping.

Evernote

I am currently making my household as paperless as I can with Evernote, and a desktop scanner. I bookmark my online recipes to Evernote, and scan my paper recipes and save them to the app as well. I love that i’m able to add tags so the recipes are easily searchable, and if I save my scanned documents right, the handwriting or typing becomes searchable too. I use the app Evernote Food on my phone and iPad to help search for the perfect recipes and view them when i’m on-the-go.

Paprika

This app can be used on mobile or desktop and is strictly for recipes. There is a nice built-in browser which helps you import recipes easily. One of the best parts is the grocery list, which adds up all your recipes and make a list from all the ingredients you need.

Pinterest

This is a great way to access recipes through imagery. Make different boards for food categories and save each recipe link cataloged there by picture and description. You can even add your own descriptions.

Online Storage Service (Dropbox, iCloud, or Google Drive)

Save each recipe as a file and organize by folders. This is a great way to access recipes from many different locations.

How do you organize your recipes?

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August 13th, 2014 at 1:01 pm

First Day of School Treats

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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

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