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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Doggy Treats

We love giving home baked goods as gifts for Christmas! We have been busy at work making everthing from candy to beef jerky. It is a busy time of year, but we couldn’t forget about our dogs! They are part of the family, we call them the puppy sisters, and between the two of them and my daughter they fight and tell on each other like sisters do. Making dog treats is enjoyable but it is much harder to incorporate my daughter in that process, so when I seen a recipe for homemade Frosty Paws I ran to the store to get the ingredients that I needed.

They have been a hit, and we have given them out to our extended family’s animals as well. Nothing has brought my daughter more joy than making this and “treating” her sisters to this chilly snack.

Recipe
32 oz. plain yogurt
1 mashed ripe banana
2 tablespoon peanut butter
2 tablespoons honey
Ice tray, these sizes are much better for our little dogs then the large bowl available at our Target

1. I started by measuring the honey and peanut butter slightly, so that it would be easier to stir for my daughter. I threw in all the rest of the ingredients in and let her stir till her heart was content.

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2. Then she spooned it into the ice tray. I popped the tray in the freezer until it was ready to treat them.

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That’s the only mess she made! I’ll have to remind her next time she gets sloppy.

3. Let them enjoy! I thought wrangling kids for pictures was difficult, but two dogs and one kid was a killer. So I couldn’t get a good picture.

Happy Holidays!

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 Potato/Potato Salad

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Being a mom is exhausting. So when I plan family vacations I try to stay away from theme parks, I always fell those vacations are more tiring than working and coming home. For the past couple of years we have been picking different cities, going to explore them, and see what things they have to offer that we do not get to do when we are home. This year we went to Portland and while there we visited The Blue Heron French Cheese Factory. Yes, my husband and daughter have quiet the sense of humor, to take someone with a milk allergy to a cheese factory and go cheese tasting.

While we were they I tried this heavenly potato salad, I had never had anything like it. It was delicious! My daughter requested it be served at her birthday party, and the guests were very impressed.

5 Russet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
3 Sweet Potatoes, large (peeled and chopped)
2 Hard Boiled Eggs, chopped
1 Cup Mayonnaise
1/4 Cup Milk (I used rice milk)
2 stalks celery diced
1-2 tbsp dill, chopped
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar

1. Boil the russet potatoes and one sweet potato. In a separate pan boil the remaining two sweet potatoes. The reason for the separation is you want one to be soft enough to mash and the others to be fork tender. Once both batches are fork tender strain water out.
2. Mash up the sweet potato that was boiled with the russet potatoes. Now add in the mayonnaise, milk, dill, salt, and sugar. Mix together until fully incorporated and add the celery in.
3. Combine potatoes (russet and sweet) and chopped hard boiled eggs in a large bowl. Gently fold in “the dressing” that was made, folding until the potatoes are coated. Some of the sweet potatoes may be come mush thats okay, it adds to the character.
4. Refrigerate for at least three hours or overnight.
5. Enjoy!

If you are a lover of eggs you can add more, I am not, and it will be just as good.

BBQ Pizza

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I love pizza, more than I care to admit. When our family ordered pizza I would look forward to eating it for breakfast the next morning! But recently I developed was cursed with a milk allergy! As an adult that means I know all of the great foods I am missing out on: cheese, Hot Cheetos, ice cream, the ease of purchasing bread at a store, etc. But I digress. Back to the pizza, I am no longer able to call up my local pizzeria and get my pizza. So we have a great alternative… we make our own, and it is fantastic!

My daughter loves making pizza and each person in the family gets to customize their pizza. So my husband and daughter are still able to enjoy the melty and heavenly mozzarella and I get a great dairy free pizza with no fear of anaphylaxis. Some days if I am feeling very adventurous I’ll even make it vegan.

Pizza Dough Recipe
Makes 2 medium or four small individual pizzas
1/2 cup water, warm
2 1/4 tsp. instant yeast or one individual package
1 tsp. sugar
4 cups flour
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 cup water, room temperature
2 tbsp. olive oil, more to coat

1. Start by putting the warm water in a small bowl or cup, sprinkle the sugar in and stir until it has dissolved. Now sprinkle the yeast into the sugar-water mixture. Let sit for 19-15 to allow yeast to activate. After 10-15 minutes the mixture should have a foam on top. You can omit the sugar, but the sugar causes the mixture to foam. The foam shows that the yeast activated, I’ve been burned far to many times by yeast that was a dud. Lesson learned and solution found. Add the room temperature water and oil to the yeast water mixture.

2. Now in a large bowl combine the salt and flour stir to blend together. Slowly incorporate the water into the dry ingredients with a wooden spoon. This is where the kids get involved! Have them continue to mix using the wooden spoon, while they are doing that flour the surface.

3. Knead on a floured surface until smooth, the kiddos can do this or you can. Coat a bowl in the olive oil and put the dough in the bowl and cover, let it rest for about an hour.

4.This is my daughter’s favorite part, punching down the dough. We call this Hulk Smash, on a side note we are complete nerds at my house!

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5.Divide into two medium or four small dough balls. Let rest for 10 minutes.

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6. My daughter loves using her very own rolling-pin and rolling out her own crust. They may not be perfect but they are delicious.

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7. At this point you can bake in the oven at 400 degrees for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown. But since I am a California girl and I love my grill, I like to take it to the patio…

8. Does that sound scary to you? It shouldn’t be, I was frightened for so long but now it is a family favorite. Just turn on half the burners on high, allow it to pre-heat. Grease the grill. Put the dough (sans toppings) down after about thirty seconds to one minute it will start to puff up, let it puff for thirty more seconds and flip. Cook the uncooked side for one minute to a minute and a half and it will be all done.

9. Now put the toppings of your choice. Some suggestions: artichoke hearts, roasted bell peppers, mushrooms, tomatoes, onions, pepperoni, sausage, and whatever else tickles your fancy. I like to put a store-bought pizza sauce on mine, but some days when I’m feeling feisty I’ll opt for an infused olive oil. Once you have your toppings put them on the side that wasn’t lit, close lid and let the toppings warm. For those of you lucky enough to enjoy cheese, let it sit until it’s nice and melty.

10. Enjoy!!!

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It is such an easy thing and we run it like a buffet so while I’m at the grill my daughter and husband are getting their toppings ready. We have done this when we have family over for dinner and it goes over smashingly… Or should I say Hulk Smashingly