Monday, January 28, 2013

Hash Brown Potatoes

It has been unusually cold here. Yes, I know I live in Maine. Yes, I know it is cold here but not this cold. Well, we try to keep the house pretty warm. It helps to bake a lot in the winter too! I can't always tell if my children are warm enough since my oldest will wear shorts no matter the temperature outside. I just want to make sure the younger children are warm enough. This weekend when we were listening to the music countdown my son decided he should substitute his own words for the songs. He did pretty well but I had a feeling maybe the house was a little too warm for he was singing, "I'm so toasty" and "Cozy, I'm cozy warm". I really liked the dancing too. Another way to stay warm is to make these hash brown potatoes. My family really liked them but next time I'm going to use left over potatoes to save time so we will be eating breakfast and not a late brunch. Stay warm!
Hash Brown Potatoes
6 potatoes, peeled and washed
1 onion
1 tsp paprika 
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
vegetable oil for the skillet
  1. In a medium pot, add the potatoes and fill with water until the potatoes are cover. 
  2. Cover and boil the potatoes for about 20 minutes, or until tender. Drain.
  3. Shred the potatoes and then rinse well under water.
  4. Drain and pat the potatoes dry.
  5. Shred the onion and pat dry. 
  6. In a medium bowl, mix the potatoes, onion, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  7. In a large skillet, heat over medium heat.
  8. Add about 1 tsp of oil and allow to heat for a minute.
  9. Scoop about one spoon full of potato mixture and pack into a tight disk.
  10. Add the potato disk carefully into the heated oil.  (I cooked about 3 disks at a time before repeating.)
  11. Cook the potato hash brown for about 2 minutes per a side or until golden brown.
  12. Flip the hash brown and cook the other side until golden brown.
  13. Remove and place on a paper towel lined plate for about a minute.
  14. Serve warm. 
Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker cookbook.
One year ago...................I made Mushroom Burgers.
Did you already know.....
-Hash Brown Potatoes are a variation of Swedish Roesti.
-Hash Browns are a great way to use left over cooked potatoes.
-Hash Browns are a popular breakfast food found in diners.

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Boss

Yesterday, I told my son to tell his sister to wear a sweater or sweatshirt to school. He said she wouldn't listen to him. So I replied, "Tell her you are the boss." Well, I guess I shouldn't have said that but I wanted her to listen to him. Excited, my son told both of his older sisters that he is the boss and they better listen to him per Mom. My younger daughter was not happy especially when her older sister confirmed that I made the youngest person in the house the boss. My son was more excited about just being boss since he didn't boss his sisters around. So last night, my youngest daughter was complaining that she is never the boss so I told her she could be boss today. She then informed us all that we better listen to her since she will be boss. Then I had to clarify that I was making her the leader. My children told me leader and boss was the same thing. I said it wasn't. I asked them what a leader was and I like my son's definition of a leader. To quote my son, he replied, "A leader guides the team through an adventure." What a great way to look at life. Guess what? My daughter has already reminded us that she is boss today. It will be an adventure.
My children told me these are the best biscuits they've had.
Baking Powder Biscuits
2 cups all purpose flour
3 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1/4 cup shortening
1/4 cup butter
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
3/4 cup buttermilk
  1. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
  2. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the flour, baking powder,  baking soda, and salt. Cut in the shortening and butter into the flour until it resembles coarse crumbs. ( I use my fingers with my daughters help but you can use a pastry blender or forks.)
  4. Mix in the cheese. 
  5. With a spoon, stir in the buttermilk until the mixture leaves the sides of the bowl and there is a soft, moist dough. (Add more milk if needed.)
  6. On a floured surface, roll out the dough to about 1/2 inch thickness. 
  7. With a floured 2 inch round cutter (or top edge of a glass), cut out the dough pieces and place on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake for 8 to 12 minutes or until light golden brown. 
  9. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from Pillsbury The Complete Book of Baking cookbook.
One year ago................I made Petite Pavlovas.

Did you already know..........
-According to Psychology Today, leaders are made.
-It also says extraverts tend to make better leaders.
-There are many different leadership styles and ways for one to improve on being a leader.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lunch Time

I am really bad at making my lunch for work. I will normally bring a frozen meal or grab something out. If I'm home, I'll make lunch. I know it would be healthier to bring my lunch so I'm trying out different things to make then just bring a normal sandwich. Well, my oldest daughter loves bagels. So when she went to the store for me, she picked up mini bagels for our breakfast the next day. (It is wonderful to have a daughter who can drive and loves to run to the store.) Well, I wanted to use the bagels up. I decided to make bagel sandwiches. My son thought this was a great idea. My youngest daughter wasn't so sure. They loved it. I did too. It is always great when the kids like a meal that is quick-remember my son loves baby back ribs. I used cherry tomatoes since I prefer the taste. Since my family really liked this simple lunch, I thought maybe you would too.
Bagel Sandwich
1 mini bagel, split
2 slices of deli ham
1 tsp mayonnaise
1 slice of provolone cheese
3 cherry tomatoes, sliced


  1. Lightly toast the bagel. Allow to cool for a minute.
  2. Add the slices of ham.  
  3. Spread the mayonnaise over the ham.
  4. Add the slice of cheese. 
  5. Top the cheese with the tomato slices.
Wrap well and bring to work for lunch. (A reminder to me.)
Last year at this time..............I made Orange Chicken
Did you already know.....
- The exact origin of the bagel is unknown. 
-In 1610, the bagel is mentioned in an article published in Poland. 
-In the early 1900s, New York city had a bagel union to represent bagel workers.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I love chocolate cookies which is strange since I normally prefer vanilla ice cream and yellow cake. I gave my children several options for some cookies I wanted to make and they picked this one. Of, they are so good. I told my husband he needed to take these to work for them. They are butter rich with a sandy texture. They need to be refrigerated but it is worth the wait. If you can't wait, the dough is really good. 
World Peace Cookies
1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
11 Tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
2/3 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup mini chocolate chips

  1. In a mixer, cream the butter until creamy.
  2. Add the sugar to the butter and cream until fluffy.
  3. Add the salt and vanilla to the butter mixture and mix for a few more minutes.
  4. In a separate bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, and baking soda together.
  5. Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture and pulse about 5 times.
  6. On low speed, mix the dough for 30 seconds or until the flour has been incorporated. The dough will be crumbly but do not overwork the dough. 
  7. Separate the dough onto two separate pieces of plastic wrap. 
  8. Shape the dough into logs and wrap well. 
  9. Refrigerate over night or at least 3 hours.
  10. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 325 degrees F.
  11. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  12. Slice the hard dough into 1/2 inch rounds.
  13. Arrange the dough onto the baking sheet with 1 inch space between slices.
  14. Bake the cookies for 12 minutes and remove from oven.
  15. Allow the cookies to rest for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.
  16. Option: Top a few with a sweetened whip cream.
Recipe adapted from Baking From My Home to Yours cookbook by Doris Greenspan. 
Like the different nail polish? Peace Out!
Did you already know......
-In August 2011, the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial opened.
-The memorial in Washington, D.C. had a paraphrased quote which will be removed from the statute since Dr. King didn't say the inscribed quote.
-The corrected statute will be completed in the Spring of 2013.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Italian Ranch Dip

What is your favorite condiment? I like salsa. My husband would pick mayonnaise. My children would pick ranch. I have at least talked them into trying lite ranch which they liked. I tried this twist on the ranch dip and they liked it a lot. The best part was the vegetables I had for them to dip into their new dip. It helps to put the vegetables in cool little dishes.
Italian Ranch Dip
2/3 cup buttermilk
1/3 cup light sour cream
1/2 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp salt

  1. In a medium bowl,mix all the ingredients together. 
  2. Serve with desired vegetables.
Recipe adapted from Healthy Recipes Kids Love cookbook.
Did you already know.....
-In the 1950s, Steve Hensen served his dressing at his ranch in California.
-The name of the ranch was Hidden Valley Ranch near Santa Barbara.
-He would give his dressing as a gift to his guest and it became very popular so they began selling it in packets.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Banana Bread Cookies

Since I have been trying to eat more fruits and vegetables, I have been buying more bananas. Well, I like my bananas a little green. So when they are ripe, I don't want to eat them. I try talking the kids into eating them but they tell me maybe later. I realize it really means they won't be eating them either. Since I need to use them up somehow, I decided to make some banana bread. My son had no problem eating the banana bread and told me it was a healthy choice since there are bananas in it. I like his way of thinking. My daughter likes muffin tops so I figured I would attempt to make them with the banana batter. Well, the end result were more like cookies. Cookies are good and these cookies are too since they have banana in them, right? If you like banana bread, you will like these cookies.
 Banana Bread Cookies 1 1/2 cups sugar 1/2 cup butter, softened 2 eggs 4 bananas, mashed 1/2 cup buttermilk 1 tsp vanilla 3 cups all purpose flour 1 tsp baking soda 1 tsp salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Cream sugar with the butter until well blended.
  3. Mix in the eggs and blend well.
  4. Add the bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla. Beat until smooth.
  5. Stir in the flour, baking soda, and salt until combined. The batter should be thick if not add another Tbsp of flour.
  6. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter onto a parchment lined cookie sheet. 
  7. Space the cookie batter about 3 inches apart.
  8. Bake the cookies about 15 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  9. Remove the cookies from the oven and allow to cool for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe adapted from the Betty Crocker 40th Anniversary Edition Cookbook.
Last year at this time..............I made Jalapeno Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms
Did you already know....... 
-One banana has about 90 calories. 
-Bananas are a good source of potassium, Vitamin B6, Vitamin C, & fiber.
-Bananas are normally shipped green since they are easier to transport and not so fragile.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Bran Banana Muffins

Did you make any New Year's Resolutions? Are you still keeping them? My resolutions are to eat more fruit and vegetables plus drink more water.
During the past holiday season, we were all sick so my main goal was to feel better. The flu season swept in like wild fire. When I was starting to feel better, my husband started to feel awful so our friend gave him some chest rub ointment to help with his breathing. So, I was applying the ointment to my husband's chest when my seven years old son walks into our room. He looks at us and asks what we are doing? I reply that I was helping Daddy grow more chest hair. My son pulls down the collar of his shirt and asked, "Can I have some too?" After I stopped laughing, I told him that it was medicine to help Dad breath better. Then my son informed us that he can't wait to grow a mustache. Why a mustache?
Bran Banana Muffins
2 cups All Bran cereal
1 cup skim milk
1 egg
1 egg white
1/2 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup honey
1/4 cup vegetable oil
2 overripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cup white whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp baking powder
Additional cereal and sugar for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Line a muffin tin with muffin wrappers. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, stir together the cereal and milk. Allow to soak for 7 minutes. 
  4. In a medium bowl, whisk together the egg and egg white until slightly frothy.
  5. Add the brown sugar, honey, oil, bananas, and vanilla extract.
  6. Pour the brown sugar mixture into the cereal mixture. Stir until combined.
  7. In another medium bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking powder. 
  8. Add the flour mixture to the cereal mixture and stir until the flour has been combined about 15 strokes.
  9. Evenly divide the batter into the 12 muffin wrappers.
  10. Sprinkle each muffin with a little cereal and sugar on top.
  11. Bake the muffins for about 25 minutes or until the muffins are golden brown. A toothpick inserted in the middle should come out clean.
  12. Serve warm.
Recipe adapted from The Pastry Queen cookbook by Rebecca Rather. 

One year ago....................I made Lemon Frosted Cupcakes.
Did you already know...
-It is recommended for woman to eat 25 grams fiber a day.
-Men should be eating 30 grams a fiber a day.
Bran helps lower cholesterol and promotes good digestion.