Strawberry Walnut Crunch

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I have a small family… Just the three of us. So it isn’t cost effective for us to have a Costco membership… All the food ends up going to waste. Often recipes are too large for the three of us, which is why I look forward to having family over to eat with us. I get to make large quantities lots of food and it doesn’t go to waste. Or there are some dishes that are my favorite but the work that is required for three people outweighs the “Yummy in my tummy” feeling I would get once I was able to sit down to eat.

Aside from spending time in the kitchen, I love spending time in the living room watching Food Network. While watching the Pioneer Woman she made these delicious appearing Strawberry Oat Bars. But the quantities would be far too much for the three of us, so the recipe below is halved… Also I added walnuts because I wanted to make sure it had a crunchy texture.

Recipe adapted from Pioneer Woman

1 stick butter plus 6 tbsp., cut into pieces
3/4 cup flour
3/4 cups oats
1/2 cups brown sugar
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
4 oz. strawberry preserves (My daughter went a little crazy with the preserves and it still turned out great!)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your baking dish with non stick spray.

2. In a large bowl add the the butter, flour, oats, brown sugar, baking soda, and salt. I gave my daughter the 1/4 measuring cup and put those math skills to the test.

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3. Then have your little chef use a pastry cutter, mix all the ingredients so that it now resembles a crumble. Mixed in the chopped walnuts with a spoon or fork.

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4. Put half of the mixture into the bottom of your baking dish and press with the backside of the spoon. Now spoon and spread the preserves across the bottom layer. Put the remaining crumble mix on the top and gently press down.

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5. Put it in the oven for 35-40 minutes.

6. Enjoy! This is intended for breakfast but my husband and daughter could not wait until the morning and dug in after dinner.

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Mine may look different then what you make because I used Earth Balance which is a dairy free butter.

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Raisin Persimmon Cookies

Holy Moly! Holidays are done and boy were we busy. A house full a family, lots of cooking and baking, but I would not have it any other way. My daughter and I were able to spend lots of quality time in the kitchen but since I was basically running an assembly line for treats, there were very few pictures.

I mentioned before that we give baked goods for gifts at the holidays and this year we tried something new. Persimmon cookies! I made the most unbelievable mistake a few years ago when trying persimmons… I tried it raw. Yuck, Yuck, Yuck! Recently a co-worker brought them to work, from their tree, and told me I should try making them with my daughter. I began quizzing them about persimmons and told them about my horrid experience. The secret is baking soda! After the persimmons have been pulped put some baking soda in and mix that up let it sit for several minutes, the baking soda will neutralize the acidity in the persimmon pulp.

Excellence ensued once I got this recipe into my kitchen. And what type of work did I have my daughter do while I was running around like a crazy person? I had her pulp the persimmons! She is a country girl at heart who loves to get dirty, so giving her persimmons to pulp was right up her alley. She just squeezed until the inside till it plopped out, she wanted to be thorough so she also scooped any remaining pulp out. Below is the recipe we used which was really a combination of several recipes that I received from my co-workers and a picture of my daughter “pulping” the persimmons.

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1 1/4 cup persimmon pulp
2 tsp baking soda
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 stick, unsalted butter (room temp)
Pinch of salt
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp baking powder
1 slightly beaten egg
1 tsp vanilla
2 cups flour
1/2 cup raisins (California… Of course!)
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

1. Mix the persimmon pulp with the baking soda, and let that sit for about 10 minutes before incorporating into the rest of the batter. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

2. Beat together the butter and sugars. Once they are well combined add in the salt, nutmeg, cinnamon, baking powder, egg, and vanilla.

3. Slowly beat in the flour… Adding a little at a time until each addition is fully incorporated.

4. Fold in the raisins and walnuts in until evenly mixed in. You can add more raisins and walnuts, which is what most of the recipes I received suggested, but my husband perfers his cookies not to be too crunchy.

5. Portion onto a lined cookie sheet and cook for 12 minutes. These cookies are very moist.

6. Enjoy!

I hope everyone had an amazing holiday and wish you all a very Happy New Year! I am focusing on making time for myself and my family. I will be competing in my first half marathon at Disneyland in a few days. I say competing very loosely as my goal is just to finish, I am not much of an athlete. So here is to a New Year and a new me!

BBQ Biscuits

This is a family favorite! My husband will ask for something this simple for his birthday. I would never complain about that not only do they enjoy being able to eat it but my daughter loves helping me cook it!

1 lb. ground beef
1 can buttermilk biscuits
1 cup cheese, I use whatever is in the fridge, shhhh!
1 1/2 ketchup
4 tbsp BBQ sauce (Sweet Baby Rays for the win)
1 tbsp chili powder
1/2 cup brown sugar

1. Preheat oven based on what your biscuit container says.

2. Cook your ground beef all the way through. While I am doing that I have my daughter roll out the biscuits. And putting them into greased muffin tins.

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3. I have my daughter make the BBQ sauce by measuring and whisking together the ketchup, BBQ sauce, chili powder, and brown sugar. Pour this over the cooked ground beef until the meat is evenly coated.

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4. I have my daughter spoon the meat into the “biscuit cups”. Once all of them are filled, they will be over flowing, sprinkle them with cheese.

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5. Pop in the oven for whatever the suggested cooking time is for the biscuit, for mine it was 15 minutes.

6. Enjoy!

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We have tons of variations on this, that I will share in the future, but this is a great weeknight meal! After a long day of work for me to just brown ground beef and pawn the rest of the work off on my all too excited daughter, I am a happy Momma!

Sweet and Sour Chicken

Today is a special day in my house, my daughter turns six! In all honesty I pretend that she has Peter Pan-itis and will never grow up, we live in Neverland, and all you need is faith, trust, and pixie dust Like I do for everyone else’s birthday, I asked what she wanted to do for her birthday dinner. Since she is six I was assuming she would want to go to Red Robin or a similar establishment. Boy was I wrong, she wanted sour chicken… Aka sweet and sour chicken. When I told her that I wouldn’t be able to make that because of the time it takes to fry the chicken. (She is a hungry girl and I wouldn’t be able to fend her off while it cooks) She then said Panda Express, it was clear to me that she wasn’t going away from the Chinese food theme meal. So we negotiated, (she has a future in negotiations) we compromised… I would make it the Sunday before her birthday and we would go to a restaurant where they sing to you the day of her birthday.

The thought of frying chicken may be scary to some home cooks, it was for me. But the sauce recipe can easily be poured over breaded chicken from the freezer section. For my family it’s not an option because of my allergy curse, but in the good ole’ days it was do-able and just as fantastic.

You may already be asking yourselves… Isn’t this a blog about getting your kids in the kitchen? Yes! Did you say homemade fried chicken? Yes! Part of getting your kids into the kitchen is finding jobs within the kitchen that fit your child’s ability. With meals like this I put my daughter on “sauce duty”! Which entails her measuring out the ingredients for the sauce and stirring it. It has been a great way to introduce her to measuring, and for her to practice her math skills. That is right, I trick her into practicing math, she will thank me when she is older.

Recipe
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup vinegar
4-5 tbsp ketchup
1 tbsp soy sauce
1 tsp garlic salt

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, or what the freezer package says if your are not frying the chicken breast.

2. Help your chef in training measure out the ingredients. Unfortunately for me, my child is not coordinated enough to get the ingredients into the tbsp. or tsp. so we eyeball it. Have your child whisk the ingredients together, if your kids is anything like mine they will love the whisk!

3. If you are not frying your own chicken, skip this step. Begin heating Canola oil on high. For our chicken we cube three breast into 1 inch pieces. Set up two pans one with 1 cup cornstarch, 1 tsp. salt, 1 tsp. pepper, and 1/2 tsp. ginger in the other pan three lightly blended eggs. Coat the cubed chicken in cornstarch mixture, egg, and fry until it is golden brown on each side. Remove from oil until all chicken is done. (NOTE: I Do Not let my daughter fry or touch the chicken. I usually do this step myself but she wanted to drop the cornstarch mixture over a couple pieces)

4. Spray 9×13 pan with non-stick cooking spray, put all chicken into the pan. Pour the wonderful sauce made by your little chef over the chicken. Mix to coat chicken with sauce.

5. Cook for 15 minutes, turn chicken to coat with sauce Return to oven for 15 more minutes. After 15 remove from oven, turn to coat, allow to cool 5-10 minutes.

6. Enjoy! I know my birthday girl did. I caught her sneaking out of her bed to get more. How many dinner meals can you say that about.