Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Grandma's Waffles

I'm about an 8 hour drive from both my husband's and my family. So, we try to make our time with family special. We don't get together for everyone's birthdays, or get to enjoy Sunday afternoon dinners, or have grandma's at our soccer games. Not because we don't want to, we just aren't able with this >400 mile distance between us. However, there are some very precious memories made during those trips, and I'd like to share one of them.

My mom battled cancer for 16 years before she lost the battle in 2008( a little sad, but it gets better I promise). However, when we came in with the grandchildren, there were times you wouldn't even have guessed she had cancer. One of the things she always did for us while we were there was fix a BIG breakfast. It was more like a brunch actually because it was always around 10:30 or 11:00 before we all sat down to eat. One of our favorites was her homemade waffles. I always had the privilege of eating them, but until my husband and children always praised her for them, I had taken them for granted. I can honestly say, there were very few times in my childhood days that I had to eat one of those frozen, stick it in the toaster waffles, YUCK!!! As a matter of fact, after my mom fixed hers for the kids, they wouldn't eat the frozen ones anymore either.

The most amazing part, they're not that hard!!! Here goes:
2 cups flour
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
2 cups milk
4 eggs (beaten)
6-8 tbsp melted butter (I usually use the whole 8, it seems to help keep them from sticking)

Mix all together and you're ready to go. I use my mom's cast iron waffle iron, aren't I lucky? After my mom died, that's one of the first things I asked for, because it's one of the first things my kids said they'd miss; "Grandma's waffles". If you have the cast iron, I do them about 4 minutes on each side, the time varies greatly depending on your stove and what you use to make them in. Of course, the electric waffle irons beep when they're ready ( that's what I used before the cast iron).
They always turn out a beautiful golden brown!!

Pour on some maple syrup and ENJOY!!!!

And for those of you whole like to add fruit, I always make hubby's with blueberries. I do his last and add about a 1/2 cup of blueberries. If you're going to do all of them with blueberries, 1 1/2 -2 cups would do it.

This one was mine and it was a little sparse on the blueberries. Hubby and oldest son put more in theirs. It was delicious none the less.

The best part, if you have extra (which I never do), you can freeze them and pop those in the toaster. If I had a waffle from the toaster when I was young, that was the reason. When mom made them on Saturdays, whatever was left, she froze for use to eat during the week before school. So, it wasn't leggo my eggo for me, these were/are much, much better.

Friday, July 23, 2010

Blueberry Muffins

An absolute favorite in this house is muffins!! We love them, all kinds. On my journey to make more foods from scratch, this was one of my first efforts. I will say, it is a bit more complicated than the box mix, but well worth it. The recipe is called "To Die For Blueberry Muffins" and they are delicious!!! The recipe can be found at allrecipes.com.

Don't those look yummy?
The recipe makes 12 muffins, but my children had already tore into them before I got the picture, so that's why there are only 7 pictured. I told you they were good!!

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Grease muffin cups of line with muffin liners.

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (I used King Arthur Flour half all-purpose, half white whole wheat)
3/4 cup white sugar
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1 egg
1/3 cup milk
1 cup fresh blueberries

Crumb topping ingredients:
1/2 cup sugar To make crumb topping: melt butter, then mix in
1/3 cup flour sugar, flour, and cinnamon.
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, 3/4 cup sugar, salt and baking powder. Place vegetable oil into a 1 cup measuring cup; add the egg and enough milk to fill the cup. Mix this with the flour mixture. Fold in blueberries. Fill muffin cups right to the top, and sprinkle with crumb mixture.

Bake for 20 to 25 minutes.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Benefits of a Large Family

It's happened to me more than once. I'm walking through Wal-Mart with my 5 children and inevitably, someone is caught counting, or will even ask me "are all of those yours?" . I find it annoying and amusing all at the same time.

This week, I've discovered yet another benefit of a large family. We have spent the past week with family in WV. Some have called it a vacation, but I've worked harder here than at my own house. My in-laws have a wood buring stove and use it quite a lot in the winter to help with the heating costs. It gets cold in WV! Well, my father-in-law has not been feeling well, and had a whole pile of wood in the back to stack for this winter (wish I had taken a picture of that). My hubby, being the good man he is, wanted to help. For three mornings, we stacked firewood. The very first day, the kiddos wore out quickly so, hubby started THE LINE. We lined the kids up and passed the logs down to daddy to be stacked, that worked out very well and the kiddos didn't complain near as much. Again, I wish I had gotten a picture but, I was in the line.

My hubby had heard and adopted the saying "Many hands make light work". He had heard it in a Sunday School Lesson at church and it absolutely fits our family. With everyone helping, what might have taken many, many hours only took about 6. They also got the added benefit of feeling good about helping someone out. What a blessing!!!!

Here is the crew line having some fun after the work was done (well, all except me of course, I was taking the picture as usual). Yes, they are all mine, except the oldest girl is our niece, she was a big helper too. Even the baby, peaking out around dad, carried her fair share of wood.
John Heywood

Monday, July 19, 2010

Living In The Dark Ages

This title is courtesy of my sister-in-law.

I recently went to visit my dad in WV. I grew up out in the country, way out according to today's standards. I can hardly believe I grew up without internet, cell phones, or cable tv, and I think I turned out ok. My children had a hard time believing it too. Today however, my dad has gotten dish tv, so at least they had some tv channels to watch.

Today is the world of technology, even children who can't drive yet have cell phones. Now, my question is, if they can't drive, why on earth do they need a cell phone. I mean where are they going to be that they do not have access to a phone? That statement gets me in a lot of trouble, seeing as how most everyone I know gets their children cell phones. My poor children will have to wait until they need one, and by that I mean driving on their own. They aren't anywhere that they can't ask an adult to call their parents. Tough I know.

My brother however made the comment while we were at Dad's that he was going anti-technology. I got to thinking about that. I just don't see how I could, isn't that sad? I mean, we use our cell phones as our home phones, and who can do without facebook and blogging??? I do think however, that for the rest of the summer, the computer, video systems, and cable tv will be extremely limited in my house. I mean, they made it a week at camp without any of those things and actually had FUN. Can you believe it, fun without a video game or cell phone? Well, we're going to try it again at home. I'll let you know how it goes. I believe I will wait until it's not so hot in SC, maybe around September or October. I want them to be able to go outside and enjoy themselves.

Living life in the dark ages wasn't so bad. Life was so much simpler then, if you stop and think about it. I'm having one of the nostalgic moments where I wish things hadn't changed so much. Then again, my life is so blessed right now, I wouldn't change that either.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

On The Road Again! Travel Tip #1

In the past two months, we have logged over a thousand miles on the interstate. Though our residence is in South Carolina, our "hearts" are in WV. Most of our family still reside there, and during the summer months, we spend a lot of time going back and forth. Yesterday, hubby and I traveled back up to pick up the kiddos. Our two boys are at camp and the little girls stayed with Grandma. Our traveler this time though was our German Sheperd, Bella.

Now usually, I travel with a bag (for car sickness), a roll of paper towels and some type of cleaner. I have a little girl that gets car sick and has since she was just a newborn, poor thing. But, I didn't grab all of that stuff since the kiddos weren't with us. BIG MISTAKE!!!!! Bella has traveled with us every time we've come to WV since we got her last August. However, this time, she evidently got into the garbage the night before and ate the leftover squash and carrots. Needless to say, going 70+mph on the interstate did not agree with her. So, because of my lack of preparedness, we had to stop at a gas station (in a not so nice area) and buy paper towels and some cleaner. LESSON LEARNED, even though we did not have kiddos, I have decided to make a little caddy with garbage bags, paper towels, and carpet/fabric cleaner, and just keep it in the van at ALL times. I'm also thinking that I need to be sure and put the garbage out of puppy reach the night before :)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Maple Orange-Glazed Pork Chops

Being tired of the same ole' things, I've been trying some new recipes. Some I've liked, some, not so much!! However, this one was great. I've always had trouble with pork chops, unless they were fried. That method though is not so good for my waist line. So, this summer, I've been grilling almost everything. These had a great flavor and I managed to not over cook them.

Printed from Pork Chop Recipes at http://www.porkchoprecipes.net/
Maple and orange are spiced up with a dash of chili powder to create a saucy glaze worthy of any grilled
meat. Cooked until just done, these juicy chops are perfect served alongside a crispy salad and fruity dessert.

2 tablespoons maple syrup
2 tablespoons orange juice
½ teaspoon chili powder
½ teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
4 pork chops, 1-inch thick

1. Preheat grill to medium-high.
2. In a small bowl, combine the maple syrup, orange juice, and chili powder.
3. Season both sides of chops with salt and pepper and brush generously with glaze.
4. Place on grill and cook 3 to 4 minutes per side, until no longer pink.
Author: Kim Stakal

Don't those look delicious? They sure were. I served them with the caramelized butternut squash, green beans and corn on the cob. Delicious and nutritious dinner!!!

Monday, July 12, 2010

A Magical Birthday Party

As hard as it is to believe, Princess 1 and Princess 2 both had a birthday last week. It's a fascinating story, but I'll give you the short version. Three beautiful princesses were born on July 8, two of them in the same year, and one 2 years later. Two of my girls share a birthday with their cousin, how cool is that? Well, for now, they think it's great. Every year, we have a combined birthday party for them and this year was a magic party. It was a very busy week last week. Our house has been under construction and we RUSHED to get things put together presentably. However, the party was a huge hit. I tried my hand at making the birthday cake for the very first time. I found this idea on the web, and I must say, it turned out rather nicely.

Not too bad for the first time, huh?

We were also fortunate enough to get a very good magician. I was a little skeptical when my husband came home one day and said what we were doing for the girls birthday this year, but it all turned out very well. Magic by Marty was very good. He had the kids mesmerized from the very beginning (well, all except the little ones). Even the adults were paying close attention!!! He did a great job getting the kids involved in the show.

It was a great party, and I think the three little girls would agree with that. They had a blast.

They're already planning next years party.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Caramelized Butternut Squash

I recently have been making a conscious effort to feed my family more fruits, vegetables, and homemade foods. Mostly because our oldest daughter, Princess 1, has developed multiple food allergies. It all started about 2 years ago, she broke out in these awful hives. They looked awful and drove her crazy!!! At the time, we thought it was the dyes in foods and drinks, since then, we have discovered it is the high fructose corn syrup that seems to be causing the problem. We closely monitor what she eats and anytime she has something with high fructose corn syrup, we will see the hives shortly. So, I have been surfing the web and trying multiple new recipes. I found this one on foodnetwork.com. I was tired of the same ole thing: green beans, corn, peas and potatoes. I grew up on those staples and that seemed to be what I turned to in my cooking. So, I'm branching out, and these were delicious!!!!

2 medium butternut squash (4 to 5 pounds total)
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Cut off and discard the ends of each butternut squash. Peel the squash, cut them in half lengthwise, and remove the seeds. Cut the squash into 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch cubes and place them on a baking sheet.

Add the melted butter, brown sugar, salt, and pepper. With clean hands, toss all the ingredients together and spread in a single layer on the baking sheet.

Roast for 45 to 55 minutes, until the squash is tender and the glaze begins to caramelize. While roasting, turn the squash a few times with a spatula, to be sure it browns evenly. Taste for seasonings and serve hot.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Happy 4th of July

On the back of our church bulletin this morning was a poem, I would like to share it with you.

Jesus on the 4th of July

We gather 'round to celebrate on Independence Day
Pay homage to our country as the children run and play.

With barbecues and picnics and fireworks in the air
The flag we own is proudly flown to show how much we care.

The stars and stripes spell freedom she waves upon the breeze
While bursts of colors can be seen above the towering trees.

This is all quite wonderful we revel in delight
But God above in divine love has brought this day to light.

With just a stroke of liberty a touch of His great hand
He gave democracy to us and helped this country stand.

The stripes upon our stately flag were touched by His sweet grace
Each star of white that shines so bright reflects His loving face.

So as you turn to face the flag for battles that were fought
Filled with pride for those who died and freedoms that were bought.

But don't forget to thank the One who gives the bright display
The reason why we paint the sky on Independence Day

By: Marilyn Ferguson

I hope all take the time today to appreciate the freedoms we have in this country and especially the men and women and their families who have sacrificed so much for those freedoms. Most importantly, thank God for giving us this land and all the freedoms we've been privileged to have. I have frequently heard the statement;

Please remember only two defining
forces have ever offered to die for you...JESUS CHRIST and the AMERICAN
SOLIDER. One died for your soul, the other for your freedom.

I can say it no better.

Wishing you and yours and very Happy 4th of July. Never take for granted this beautiful country we live in!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bicycle Safety

I'm not going to share the usual kids need to wear helmets here. I have an entirely different issue to talk about. I most recently about ran over a bicyclist, not intentionally of course, but it happened none the less. I live in a very bicycle populated area. More and more people are choosing to ride bikes for economical, environmental and health reasons. I'm okay with all of that. The problem I have is, some of them do not believe they should have to obey the rules of the road. I have encountered this on multiple occasions. Once, I was sitting at a stop light and had a bicyclist ride around me and go through the light. The issue I spoke about earlier where I almost hit one was very similar. I was at a 4 way stop and it was my turn to go when a bicyclist came around me on the driver's side and sped through the 4 way turning left. Not only was this man not obeying the rules of the road, but had no safety gear on whatsoever. If you're going to ride like that, you better at least wear a helmet because eventually someone is going to hit you!!! I did some research because I honestly just wasn't sure what the rules were for a bicyclist riding on the road. Here's just one statement that I found for SC: Rights and duties of bicyclists generally.

Every person riding a bicycle upon a roadway shall be granted all of the rights and shall be subject to all of the duties applicable to the driver of a vehicle by this chapter,

It continues on with specifics, but this was enough for me. I realize, I should give bicyclist their privilege to ride on the road, but they in return should obey the rules of the road.

I continue on with the fact that these rules need to be taught to children. Today's children seem to think everyone else should be looking out for them. When I was a child and occasionally got to ride my bike on the road, my mom said, "Get off the road when a car comes!!" My mom might have been a little excessive, but the theory is the same, get out of the way of the car!!! Too many times, I've heard of children being hit because a driver didn't see them. We need to teach our children to be aware. If they aren't responsible enough to pay attention to things around them and ride the bike, maybe they need to stay in their own yard. We can't control what other people do, but we can control ourselves. It is our responsibility to make sure whatever we are doing is done safely and by the rules!!