Monday, May 30, 2011

Breakfast Requests

Rowan has really gotten the cooking bug lately and it is very cute. I had made some really tasty tarragon biscuits to go with dinner on Friday, partly because I am trying to overcome my fear of baking and also to use some of the overgrown mass of tarragon that was taking over my garden. The rest of the stash got put into the dehydrator to be saved for later. Anyway, back to Rowan. She was really impressed with the biscuits and requested that we have some breakfast the next morning. How can you say no to this face?


So Saturday my tiniest munchkin and I mixed up a batch of biscuits to be made into breakfast sandwiches with egg, cheese and sausage.

Rowan whisked together flour, salt, sugar and baking powder.


Then she worked in some butter flavor shortening until the dough looked like coarse ground cornmeal.


We added in some buttermilk and patted out the dough. Rowan cut the dough with a biscuit cutter and we baked it at 425 for 15 minutes.


The biscuit do not really brown on the tops, just a bit around the edges. My husband thought they should be more brown so he put them under the broiler. They were .. forgotten and overdone (burnt) on the top.  They were a still tasty, but didn't look that great. Rowan was still happy to get her breakfast biscuits.

Biscuit Recipe

For the tarragon biscuit I added about 3 tablespoons of chopped fresh tarragon to the dry ingredients.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon white sugar
1/3 cup shortening
1 cup milk


1.Preheat oven to 425 degrees F (220 degrees C).

2.In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and sugar. Cut in the shortening until the mixture resembles coarse meal. Gradually stir in milk until dough pulls away from the side of the bowl.

3.Turn out onto a floured surface, and knead 15 to 20 times. Pat or roll dough out to 1 inch thick. Cut biscuits with a large cutter or juice glass dipped in flour. Repeat until all dough is used. Brush off the excess flour, and place biscuits onto an ungreased baking sheet.

4.Bake for 13 to 15 minutes in the preheated oven, or until edges begin to brown.
Check out more great ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen at Kids Cook Monday and Mom Blog Monday

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Back to Meal Plans

Summer is here and it is going to be full of movies, splashpads and trying not to burst into flames from the heat. We are going to be doing some camps and having lots of fun that will unfortunately make hanging out in the kitchen unlikely. Time to get planning some meals again!

This week I have a batch party and a training for next weeks Girl Scout camp, so we will be having lots of easy to put together meals.We kind of went smoker crazy this weekend so I will be using lots of yummy goodies from that. There is nothing like a week of bbq goodness! Since it is all cooked already I won't even have to heat up the kitchen. Hooray!!!

Monday - Smoked Pork with quinoa salad
Tuesday  - Chili cheese dogs with grilled veggies
Wednesday - Brisket, baked beans and potato wedges
Thursday - Blue cheese burgers with carrots and green bean salad
Friday - Leftovers
Saturday - Spaghetti and Meat sauce

What is your plan for the week? Anything new and exciting?

Get more meal plan ideas at

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Vegetarian Pot Pie

We are still on our quest to have one vegetarian meal a week over here. Unfortunately, I still have a couple holdouts, but this hearty pot pie was a sure way to win them over.

The fennel, onions and carrots were cooked butter. The smell of this was amazing.. There really is nothing like the smell of cooking fennel.

Mushrooms and potato are added to the yummy mix.


I like to make individual pot pies. The kids think they are cute and it keeps the filling from running out from under the crust. I am not going to lie- I used a pre-made pie crust. I just didn't have the time to go homemade.


This finshed pot pies smelled and tasted amazing. Rowan and Kodi definitely approved of everything coming out of the oven.


This recipe is a great way to start introducing a vegetarian diet to your family. the vegetables are hearty and can be substituted with your family's favorites.  Honetly- who doesn't love a good pot pie?!

This recipes will make one large pot pie, or 4 individual ones.



• 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
• 2 small heads fennel, finely chopped (about 3 cups)
• 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
• 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped (about 2/3 cup)
• 12 ounces white button mushrooms, sliced (about 5 cups)
• 1 small russet potato, peeled and diced small (about 2 1/2 cups)
• 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
• 1 cup low-sodium mushroom broth
• 1 cup whole milk
• 1 cup frozen baby green peas
• 1/4 cup thinly sliced fresh chives
• 1/4 cup parsley
• 1 tablespoon white vinegar
• 1 large egg yolk
• 7 ounces store-bought puff pastry or pie dough, defrosted if frozen


Heat the oven to 400 degrees F and arrange a rack in the middle.

Melt butter over medium heat in a 3- to 4-quart Dutch oven or heavy bottomed saucepan. When it foams, add fennel, onions, and carrots, and cook until just soft and onions are translucent, about 2 minutes. Add mushrooms and potato, season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper, and stir to coat. Cook, stirring rarely, until mushrooms have let off water and are shrunken, about 6 minutes.

Sprinkle flour over vegetables, stir to coat, and cook until raw flavor is gone, about 1 to 2 minutes. Carefully add broth and milk, stirring constantly until mixture is smooth. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.

Remove from heat, add peas, herbs, and vinegar, and stir to coat. Season well with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Turn filling into an 8 by 8-inch baking dish.

Whisk egg together with 2 teaspoons water and a pinch of salt until evenly mixed. Set aside.

With kitchen shears, cut dough to fit over the baking dish. Place dough over filling and tuck into the edges of the dish. Brush dough with egg wash and cut slits in the top to vent. Place on a baking sheet and bake until crust is golden brown and mixture is bubbling, about 25 to 30 minutes. Let sit at least 5 minutes before serving.

Check out more recipes like this at Wanderfood Wednesday

Monday, May 23, 2011

Alan Bakes English Muffin Bread

I can't believe school is almost out. 5 more days and I will have 3 kids at home wanting to do 3 different things at the same time. We decided to try to give the older kids a bit of individual time this weekend before we become just a mob for the summer. David took Ashley to go see Thor on Saturday and Pirates of the Caribbean 4 on Sunday. Yeah, she basically got to spend a weekend watching some hotties on the big screen. That's a dream come true for an 11 year old girl!  While they were at the movies, I distracted the littlest one with a fun Toy Story Wii game and decided to do some cooking with Alan.

On Saturday we made English muffin bread. I had sampled a bread like this at our local HEB and really wanted to try my hand at making it at home.  There was a really easy recipe posted on All recipes so we decided to give it a try.

This type of bread making is really easy to do with your little kids. Alan loved greasing the bread pans and shaking the cornmeal around to coat. I premeasured the dry ingredients into a bowl (with his help) and then he put them in the mixer.


He was very careful to get it all in.


We then added warmed milk to the dry ingredients and let it mix into a thick dough.


We put the dough into 2 prepared pans and let it rise for an hour.

After baking for 25 minutes we ended up with a very tasty and chewy bread. It really is just like an English muffin when it is toasted.


Alan and I will definitely be making this again. He loved tasting his new bread and it was great for me to get a chance to spend some time alone with him before the craziness of summer starts.

This is the recipe from that we used. Try it with your favorite munchkin and let me know how it goes!

English Muffin Bread.


2 cups milk
1/2 cup water
2 tablespoons cornmeal
6 cups bread flour
2 (.25 ounce) packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon white sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda


1.Warm the milk and water in a small saucepan until very warm (125 degrees F/50 degrees C). Lightly grease two 8x4 inch loaf pans; sprinkle cornmeal inside pans.

2.In a large bowl, mix together 3 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and soda. Stir milk into the flour mixture; beat well. Stir in the remaining flour, 1 cup at a time, until a stiff batter is formed. Spoon batter into prepared pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

3.Bake in preheated oven until golden brown, about 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately and cool.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 168
Total Fat: 1.2g
Cholesterol: 2mg Powered by ESHA Nutrient Database

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Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Magical Dining- Eating in the Happiest Place on Earth Part One

We recently returned from our vacation to Disney World and all the eating fun that goes with it. Dining at Disney can be really expensive and as a family traveling on a budget we had to figure out a way to cut down on the costs quite a bit. Don't get me wrong, we definitely did some splurging, but eating in the parks for three meals a day just wasn't feasible for us.

My next post will be on how we cut the corners but, this one is going to focus on our splurge days. We have 3 children and just could not pass up the character dining options while they are still young enough to enjoy them. The character meals can be extremely expensive. Disney considers ages 9 and up to be adults so my 11 eleven year old was charged adult prices at all restaurants. After some research I found out the the Chef Mickey's breakfast and Cinderella's Dinner at 1900 Park fare were two of the less expensive options and luckily were exactly what we were looking for.

Our first character meal was at Chef Mickey's. They serve breakfast and dinner at the Contemporary Resort with Mickey Mouse, Pluto, Donald and Goofy there visiting tables, signing autograph books and taking pictures. We had the last reservation for breakfast, so we arrived at 11:50. We treated it like it was lunch and it worked out really well for us.


When we arrived we walked up to a podium where they asked for our name and we were presented with a pager. We then went over to a statue of Chef Mickey where we all had our picture taken. Later they bring the pictures by your table in a folder with some other pictures of the characters and recipes for you to purchase. We bought ours because we were all looking at the camera. That's a big thing for a family of 5!

We then went to a sitting area where we waited for our table to be ready. When we were called we were brought passed the giant buffet tables to our seats where Goofy was already visiting tables. The server arrived with orange juice and coffee and described the buffet options. The restaurant did not have Coke Zero and he kindly offered to go buy one for me at the gift shop! I stuck with a diet coke and went off to check out the grub while Ashley tried to sneak some coffee.


The food itself wasn't anything stellar. It was your basic breakfast buffet of bacon, sausage, scrambled eggs, quiche, egg pizza and fruit. There was some really cute Mickey Mouse shaped waffles, but nothing out of the ordinary that you would expect when paying $40 each for breakfast. This was definitely not one of the dining experiences that you paid for the food. But the character interaction was great and my kids really loved it.

The even did a little "Celebrate" dance party where the character and kids twirled their napkins in the air and danced. My son LOVED this and his smile was totally worth the price.


Our second character dining experience was Cinderella's Happily Ever After dinner at 1900 Park Fare in the Grand Floridian. This is not the one in the castle at Magic Kingdom. The castle was being renovated and the  reservation were scarce so we decided to try the one at the Grand Floridian resort. We were all so excited about this and we thought that my youngest would love it. 4 year old girls love Cinderella and she in no exception. She however is not fond of the costumed characters, but told us that the princesses would be different because they are people. We went with high hopes.

The procedure was basically the same. We went to the front desk and gave them our names and then they shuffled us over to get our pictures taken in front of a mural of the castle.  This is where things fell apart. Rowan REFUSED to have her picture taken with the rest of us. There was not a character to be seen, but she was just done with the picture taking. We had spent the day at the water park and our dinner reservation was at 8:30, so she was tired and a total mess. As we sat in the sitting area trying to figure out what to do, she said she wasn't hungry and wanted to go back to the hotel. Alan said the same thing, but when you asked him is he wanted to see Cinderella he said he wanted to stay. Ashley was very vocal in her opinion that we stay and honestly I wanted to meet the princesses too, so we did. David was a bit ticked about getting ready to spend $180 for dinner that the little ones didn't want, but we stuck it out.

I AM SO GLAD WE DID.  Our server came out to meet us and took us in the cutest restaurant to the nicest and biggest table I had seen.  Cinderella and Prince Charming were on the other side of the room and Rowan kept peeking over her chair to see them. The food was definitely better than the typical Golden Coral buffet. We had Paella, Roast beef, Chicken Marsala and several various pasta. The salads were amazing and it had a great selection of soups. Honestly, I was surprised at the quality of the food. It was definitely worth the price. The kids had their own little buffet with Mickey Mouse shaped plates and macaroni and cheese, spaghetti, steamed corn and broccoli and cheese pizza.

The best part of the experience was not the food though. Of all things it was one of the stepsisters. First the evil stepmother came by. She was great and very in character as she scolded children for not sitting right and advised them to mind their manners.

I love Alan's face here. It's like he is saying" She is behind me isn't she?"


 Rowan was still being resistant to seeing the characters and just giggled a bit when Cinderella's step sister, Anastasia came by the table and planted this kiss on her brother. He was instantly love struck. Very cute!


When Rowan refused to talk to her, Anastasia sat down at our table and asked her why. She asked Rowan questions and they talked about dogs and chores and sisters, all the while staying in character and asking Rowan why she was scared of her. This went on for almost 10 minutes. The 2 of them just chatted away with Rowan explaining to her why she was scary but her dog is not.


Then Drizella showed up to our table and the the three of them talked about why she could now talk to them, but wouldn't take her picture with them.


So they presented Rowan with a proposition. She could sit right where she was and they would just stand behind her for a picture. This is what we got.


Honestly, I couldn't stop laughing. The entire thing was hysterical and only made sense in the mind of a 4 year old.


While this was going on, out wonderful server brought us the best dessert.

 It was chocolate and vanilla bean ice cream on a sponge cake with Bananas Foster and strawberries.


After having all the time with the stepsisters, Cinderella and Prince Charming came by but were kind of a let down.



Rowan definitely perked up and kept talking about how they talked to her. We all ended up having a great time and I am SO GLAD that we didn't leave.

She even wanted to have her picture taken by the mural. Too bad the photographers were long gone by the time we left.


The cost of these meals was a bit steep for us, but I am really happy that we did it. The next time we make it to Disney the kids probably won't be as in to the characters and it was definitely an experience that they will remember.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Even Little Bitty Kids Can Cook- Breakfast Cookies


They look great don't they? Can you believe that this tasty looking treats are actually a great breakfast cookie to eat on the run. We went on a nearly 2 week trip to DisneyWorld and were looking for easy breakfast items to grab and eat while on the shuttle to the parks and in the car for the 2 day trip there and back. These tasty breakfast cookies are easy, portable and much more nutritious than a PopTart.

For this round of cooking, little sister Rowan wanted in on the baking action. This little girl is my cookie monster and will eat just about anything if it is in the form of a cookie. She is very proud to be getting to help.


The girls creamed butter and brown sugar in the mixer.  Here they are scarping down the sides.

The cookies are really large and a fill a 1/4 cup of dough per cookie.


The whole wheat flour and bran from the cereal make the dough dark. I am normally not a fan of dark cookies, but these are so good and moist that I can get past a bit of color.


These are an awesome grab and go breakfast that make any weekday morning easy. The girls made 2 dozen and  we froze the cookies and just heated them in a damp paper towel in the microwave in the hotel. The recipe is really versatile and you can substitute any of the flake cereal and fruit combos. I have made this recipe with Raisin bran, Red berries and Chocolate flakes.  Sometimes I will add a handful of extra raisins or dried strawberries. Pick your family's favorite and give it a try.

Check out more fun blogs at Photobucket

Breakfast Cereal Cookies

1/4 cup butter
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 3/4 white whole wheat flour or whole wheat pastry flour
3 cups mulitgrain cereal flakes

Turn on the oven to 350°F. Coat the cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.
Put the butter in the mixing bowl. Beat with the electric mixer for 30 seconds. Add brown sugar and baking soda. Beat until mixed. Add the eggs; beat until mixed. Add flour and beatuntil the mixture no longer looks dry. Use the wooden spoon to stir in the cereal.

For each cookie, pack the mixture into a 1/4-CUP measuring cup. Use the rubber scraper to scrape it out of the cup onto the prepared cookie sheet. Press mound of dough with your fingersto flatten it slightly. Repeat with remaining dough, placingcookies about 3 inches apart.

Put the cookie sheet in the oven. Bake cookies for 8 to 10 minutes or until edges are golden brown.
Makes 12 cookies.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I'm Back! -briefly

Hi everyone!!! A great big thanks to Kimberly at It began in Camp 4 for filling for me while I was out.

You may be wondering what happened. Well, we decided to pack up the minivan and drive the family from Central Texas to Disney World for an 8 day extravaganza of Mickey Mouse and his friends. The kids had a great time and so did I honestly. It was great to be able to escape a bit, but driving across 4 states with 3 kids is exhausting and not something I want to repeat soon. 12 days away from home and our crazy dog Kodi was about as much as I can take. Thanks to some great friends he was well taken care of, but I missed his hyper butt.

Anyway, I am glad to be back even though this next week is going to be crazy. I have school meetings, doctors appointments and most importantly, my niece's graduation from college. The entire family will here tomorrow so I need to unpack and get ready to see my sister's and parents tomorrow!!!

I will be back with more details from out trip and lots of great ideas next week. Hope you all are well!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Another Blast From The Past- Ashley's Stone Soup

A few years ago Ashley received Paula Deen: My First Cookbook for Christmas. In it, there is a story of stone soup. Basically a man sits on a street, stirring a pot of water with a stone it. As people come up and ask him what he is doing, he tells them that he is making stone soup and names an ingredient that "would sure be good" in it. The people go and get the ingredients for him and put it into the pot. Soon he has a large pot of a delicious soup  to share with everyone. So yeah, I guess he kind of tricks people into giving him his ingredients for his dinner, but its a cute story and Ashley really wanted to make the soup.

Stone Soup pretty much is a clean out your crisper kind of soup. You can put any mix of veggies in you like, some pasta and a favorite protein. We went with carrots, celery, green beans, corn, potatoes, tomatoes, macaroni and of course, ham. That girl LOVES ham.

Here she is smiling and ready to get started. Look how young she looks!


Scraping carrots

Slicing celery

Look at all those veggies!


That is a good looking soup!

Goofy kid!

Served with a glass of milk to make it a well balanced meal.

Her little sister loved it too!

The soup was great and Ashley was so proud that she made a healthy meal for us for dinner. Her brother and sister were excited to hear her read the story and they all got several servings of vegetables.
To find out more ways to get your kids involved in the kitchen check out

Friday, May 6, 2011

Here is another great post from Kimberly at It Began in Camp 4.  Check out her blog and show her some love! Thanks for filling in and I will be back next week.

Let's talk chocolate. I LOVE chocolate. So it was a bit of a blow to learn more about how chocolate is produced. A lot of the cocoa used comes from the Ivory Coast and child slave labor is used to harvest it. Puts more than a little bit of a tarnish on my fifty cent chocolate bar. Is cheap chocolate worth knowing children were horribly mistreated?

So I've been considering what I should do. Boycott all chocolate? The problem with that is pulling money out of the cocoa industry completely certainly isn't going to help the economic situation that contributes to these problems. Besides that, I'm already totally addicted. So I started reading up on fair-trade cocoa. The fair trade certification indicates that the farmers are paid a fair price (i.e. a higher price) for their cocoa and in return, they allow inspections to be sure their workers are being treated fairly. In the case of chocolate, I've read organic chocolate can be considered fair trade as well because the Ivory Coast does not produce organic chocolate.

Some chocolate bars are labeled fair trade or organic. Many (notably Hershey, M&M/Mars and Nestle products) are not. There was an effort to help consumers know their chocolate was slave labor free through the Harkin-Engel Protocol. This bill was passed in the House, but stopped from passage in the Senate through lobbying efforts and an agreement by the industry to voluntarily adopt some of the provisions. The original deadline was 2005 and when changes had not been made at that point, it was extended to 2008. Obviously, we have no more assurance today than we did before the protocol how the cocoa in most of our chocolate was harvested. While some (mostly smaller) companies make the effort to trace their supply chain and be sure sure their cocoa is slave labor free, others receive their cocoa from multiples sources, so each batch is likely a mix of slave labor cocoa from the Ivory Coast and cocoa from other parts of the world that is produced more fairly. Cadbury (now owned by Kraft) only uses fair trade cocoa from Ghana, but that Cadbury only distributes products in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Since 1988, Cadbury products made in the United States have been made by Hershey. Unless the Raise the Bar campaign is successful, it would seem my beloved Cadbury Mini Eggs are off the table and I'll have to stick to imported Cadbury bars.

The good news is that this fair trade, organic chocolate is REALLY tasty stuff. And let's face it, if you pay more, you're probably going to eat less. Rather than scarfing down a fifty cent Hershey bar and having to wonder if the cocoa was harvested by mistreated children, I can spent $3-$4 on a fair trade bar, and slowly eat one or two squares, then wrap it up to enjoy later. It's easier on the waistline and easier on my conscious. My wallet doesn't even take that big of a hit because I'm spending about the same amount, just getting less chocolate. Recently, I've become a fan of Theo Chocolate and Equal Exchange chocolate. Milk chocolate varieties are my favorite, I tend to steer clear of dark chocolate. My husband likes dark chocolate though, so I've tried those out too. I believe it's simply because the cocoa content is higher, but the dark chocolate version of these brands have more of a coffee undertone to them than a regular Hershey's Dark bar. I have also tried Endangered Species chocolate and didn't like it quite as much...the milk chocolate varieties taste more like dark chocolate to me. I've heard rave reviews about Dagoba too.

And while we're here, coffee has a lot of the same issues as chocolate. I'm not a coffee drinker, so I haven't done as much research on which companies are fair trade and which aren't, but it's another topic worth looking into.

Kimberly Hill blogs almost daily at It Began In Camp 4 about cooking, food preservation, homeschooling, sewing, road tripping with kids and anything else that comes up.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Hooray for Guest Bloggers!!

Wow, this week has been crazy and I can't wait to catch you all up on it! For now though, Kimberly at It began in Camp 4 has written an amazing review of one of my favorite cookbooks - Fix, Freeze, Feast. Make sure to check it out as well as Friday's post on Fair Trade Chocolate, also written by Kimberly. Enjoy!

I have been batch cooking for years. With small children at home, it's just been easier to spend one day cooking a bunch of meals so on those hectic weekdays I just have to pull something out of the freezer and warm it up. I got by with a lot of casseroles and muffins for a while. It was boring. The food wasn't that good.

Then one of my friends bought me a copy of Fix, Freeze, Feast* (the first edition) and my whole batch cooking world changed. There are so many things I love about this book that I don't even know where to start.

Maybe I should start with opening the book. The way it's bound, it easily lays open and flat on the counter when you're using a recipe, which is a key point so many cookbooks neglect. Once you get the book open, it gives you step by step directions for batch cooking. How to plan your shopping lists, prepare your ingredients and assemble and freeze everything. Each recipe makes several meals (6-8 for most of them) and you can easily create a month's worth of family size dinners in an afternoon's worth of work.

The recipes are scaled to "club size" measurements wherever possible, so instead of needing to buy 20 cans of tomato sauce at the grocery store, the recipe is based on the 100oz cans, large containers of dairy products and the packs of meat sold at Sam's Club or Costco. This makes shopping a lot easier. I made notes on the inside cover of my book about the prices for ingredients I use a lot so I can easily compare prices if there are sales at the regular grocery store.

I also love that most of the recipes don't require you to actually cook anything before it's frozen. Not only is it faster, but since you are assembling cold ingredients, you can immediately put them in plastic zip top bags. Even recipes that include pasta have you use raw pasta and compensate by having extra liquid so they cook up properly. Some of the meals, such as lasagna and manicotti, are easy to just throw in the oven on a hectic day. Others, like raging garlic pork stir fry (one of our favorites), require some assembly and cooking, but all of the prep work is done so that you just have to throw everything in the pan in the right order.

Lastly, the book is organized by type of meat. There are chicken, beef, pork, vegetarian, sauces and breakfast sections. Since meat is often the most expensive ingredient, this is helpful for deciding what meals to make. For instance, if chicken is on sale, you can pick several recipes from the chicken section to make. Within each section, the recipes are further grouped by the cut of meat used, so you can focus on chicken breasts or leg quarters, depending on what you're working with.

I can't say enough how much I LOVE this book! The only major change I've made is that I halve a lot of the recipes. Our family consists of 2 adults, 2 small children and a baby, so with a full recipe, we often have leftovers and I don't like leftovers. Also, when I was first trying out the recipes, I didn't want 8 meals of something I didn't like in the freezer (though, it's turned out there hasn't been anything yet that we really haven't liked).

The "look inside this book" feature on Amazon lets you see the basic layout of the book and several recipes, it's definitely worth checking out if you are interested in batch cooking. The only thing easier than this book for getting started on batch cooking is hiring a service like Menus, Meals and More to do the leg work for you and help you through the process while enjoying an evening with friends!

*Affiliate link. I was not compensated for this post and all opinions are my own!

Kimberly Hill blogs almost daily at It Began In Camp 4 about cooking, food preservation, homeschooling, sewing, road tripping with kids and anything else that comes up.

Check out other posts like this on Wanderfood Wednesday

Monday, May 2, 2011

Cookies and My kids- Yeah they go together

I was digging through some old pictures and found these from a couple years ago. My kids have always been into cooking, even the little ones. Ashley got her first cookbook as a gift for her 4th birthday and Alan has always loved to pull a chair up to the counter and watch me make his lunch.

These pictures are from a couple years ago when Ashley was 8 and Alan was 3. Ashley was doing a project on the Middle East, so my mother sent her a wooden cookie press and a recipe for Al Mamool cookies that she had used when they lived in Saudi Arabia. She made a big batch to take to school for her classmates to try.

Balls of  dough were formed around a filling of sugar and walnuts. The dough balls were pressed into a wooden cookie mold.


The pressed dough balls had to knocked out of the mold. It was a bit tough to do, but even little Alan got into it..

He had a great time helping out.


Sometimes they both had to wack them out of the mold.


Eventually Ashley took over.

After baking, they dusted the cookies with powder sugar and anxiously waited for them to cool enough to test. They were very proud. Aren't they cute?

The cookies were kind of dry for my liking, but the kids and Ashley's classmates loved them. She got an A for her project and learned a lot about the Middle East. Alan had a great time and loved eating his part of the project.

Here is the recipe if you would like to try them out. The balls of dough can be mashed with a fork if you don't have a wooden mold. To find other recipes and ways to get kids involved in the kitchen check out

Al Mamool
2 cups semolina flour
1 1/2 cups shortening
1 cup boiling water
3/4 cup white sugar
2 cups ground walnuts
1/2 teaspoon of cinnamon for flavoring
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar for dusting (optional)


1.Place the semolina flour into a medium bowl, and cut in shortening using a pastry blender or a fork. Pour in boiling water, and mix to form a solid dough. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead for a minute or two to be sure the dough is well blended. Cover dough and let stand for at least one hour, or as long as overnight.

2.In a medium bowl, mix together the sugar, ground nuts, and cinnamon so that the mixture is uniform. Set aside.

3.Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets, or line with parchment paper. Knead dough again briefly, and form into walnut sized balls. Make a hole in the center using your finger. Fill the hole with the nut mixture, and seal the dough up over it. Gently form into balls or crescents, and press into wooden cookie press. Place cookies at least 1 inch apart onto the prepared cookie sheets.

4.Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, or until lightly browned. Dust with confectioners sugar while still warm if desired.