Thursday, April 30, 2009

Cherry Almond Granola

Cherry Almond Granola

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup nonfat dry milk
1/2 cup honey
1/3 cup unsweetened apple juice concentrate
2 T of canola oil
3 tsp almond extract
6 cups Old-Fashioned Oats
1 1/2 cups of dried cherries or cranberries
1 cup slivered almonds or pecans


In a saucepan, combine the brown sugar, milk powder, honey, apple juice concentrate and oil. Cook and stir over medium heat until sugar is dissolved. Stir in extract. In a large bowl, combine the oats, cherries and almonds. Drizzle with the sugar mixture and mix well.

Spread in a thin layer in two 15x10 baking pans coated with nonstick cooking spray. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes or until golden brown, stirring occasionally. Cool completely. Store in airtight container.

Uses or serving suggestions: Serve with skim milk for breakfast, top with vanilla yogurt or frozen yogurt for dessert.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Pre-planning helps with Chaos and Routines.

If I can find a way to save time or nonsense in my day I am willing to try it. The evenings and bedtime for our little toddlers can get quite hectic in our household. Our mornings can be crazy too, if we have appointments or errands to run with the kids. So I try to find ways to save time, be better organized with routines, and eliminate chaos in our lives.

Here are a few things that keep me sane.

1) Set out Pajamas in the morning for the night time.

2) Before bath time, put PJ's and fresh diapers on the bed.

3) Before bedtime, select clothes for the next morning.

4) Fill sippy cups after bedtime, put in fridge for the morning.

5) Have a basket of snacks in Ziploc snack bags to grab and go.

6) Keep a few snack bags of crackers or cereal in van or diaper bag for hunger or meltdowns.

7) Have a few books, learning or activity toys in the van for quiet time or crankiness.

8) Have the kids help pick up their rooms and/or family room before nap time and bedtime.

9) Have my teenager do the dinner dishes to give me a break in the evenings.

10) Keep a family calendar in site to help keep us all on schedule with events or appointments.

11)I have a dry erase board on my fridge for items that I have run out of and need to replace.

12) Meal plan- On my fridge I have a weekly meal plan to help me stay organized and stay with in a budget.

13) I am the only one that administers medicine or vitamins. So we don't double medicate.

14) I hire a helper/teenager (once or twice a month) to help with the deep cleaning or yard work.

15) Make ahead meals and freeze for quick and easy dinners, for those hectic days.

Some of these things saves us time, eliminates chaos, saves us money or keeps us organized. Pre-planning creates good habits and routines and we have more time to spend as a family.

If you have any other ideas or advice please do share.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Homemade Pizza Crust

I have given this pizza crust recipe to a few friends and it was a big hit with there families. It is delicious, easy and super cheap to make. So I thought that I'd share it with all of you too.

Pizza Crust

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 package of dry yeast
1 T plus 2 tsp olive oil
1 cup of lukewarm water

*Preheat Oven to 400 degrees. Lightly grease a 12x 9 inch baking sheet. Sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. Stir in the yeast. Make a well in the center and add olive oil and 1 cup of lukewarm water. Mix until a soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead gently for five minutes.

Roll out dough and press into a prepared baking sheet. Cover and allow to rest for 10 minutes at room temperature, then bake for 5-7 minutes.

Remove crust from the oven (spread your pizza sauce on top and top with mozzarella cheese and your favorite toppings). Bake an additional 15-20 minutes or until golden.

Helpful tips: I rub my hands with olive oil to help crust from sticking to my hands, when pressing out. I like to sprinkle my baking sheet with a touch of cornmeal before pressing out dough, for a chewy/crunchy crust.