Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad

I found part of this recipe on the back of a Ranch salad dressing packet. The rest, I improvised with what was hanging around my kitchen and sounded like it would go well with the ranch flavors. I brought this to a BBQ recently and my neighbors loved it!

Ranch Bacon Pasta Salad
Half of package of bacon, diced and cooked
1 cup mayo
1 pkg Ranch dressing mix
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/2 cup milk
1 box pasta- I used rotini, cooked and drained
Grape tomatoes, halved
1 can slice black olives, drained
3 green onions, sliced
Any leftover veggies that you want to use up

Mix mayo, ranch mix, and garlic powder. Stir in milk until smooth. In large serving bowl, place pasta, tomatoes, olives, onions and any other veggies. Pour dressing over top and stir until well combined. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and chill well before serving to let the flavors set up.

I think that you could easily make this into a main dish with some grilled chicken thrown in. I liked that it doesn't heat up the kitchen much, and you could always make it in the morning and have it in the fridge ready for dinner time!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Races

My boys are typical boys. They love cars, races, crashes, and I do too! We spent last Saturday night at the local race track. They were celebrating their 15th anniversary and let everyone in for free! It was hot. It was crowded, but we had such a great time.

This is my sweet baby, he was so hot! We kept spraying him with water, but he just looked like a cherry tomato!

Son#3 had so much fun sitting with his brothers, picking who he thought was the winning car and cheering them on!

My 2 year old LOVES the cars, the noise , but he really like the "Big crashes!!"

These next two pictures are of the Train cars. These were so ridiculous that they were the best race of the night! You have three cars chained together, the first car has the engine and is the one who steers the contraption around the figure 8 track. The middle car is empty, and the rear car has a "driver" whose only controls are the brakes. He is responsible for braking and stopping the crazy train!

Lastly, this is my oldest. He has loved race cars for years!
What do you do with your kids that is a little unusual?

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread

This Sunday I signed up to bring our Sunday School class breakfast. I was trying to think of something a little different than what has been brought in the past. We often have egg casseroles, fruit of some kind and many different coffee cakes. I think that I have decided to bring Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread- if my bananas make it to Saturday! I really like this recipe, because I love banana bread, and I LOVE chocolate!

Chocolate Swirled Banana Bread
2 cups flour
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cup mashed banana, 3-4 bananas
2 eggs
1/3 cup sour cream
1/2 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350°. Combine flour, baking soda, and salt. In separate bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add bananas, eggs and sour cream until just blended. Add flour mixture and beat until moistened. Microwave chocolate chips in a small bowl for 1 minute, stir until smooth and melted. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup plain batter to chocolate. Spray loaf pan with non-stick spray. Pour plain batter in. Add chocolate batter and swirl with a knife. Bake for 1 hour and 10 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack, then remove and cool completely on wire rack.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friendship Bread

Today is Friday. On my street, that means trash day. My trash men come at the earliest hour that is legally allowed, I think. Son#4 loves all trucks, but he adores the trash truck. So at 5 am, he is up in his bed peeking through the blinds at the trash truck, yelling at the top of his lungs, "TRUCK, MAMA!! TRUCK, MAMA!" He will yell this until I drag myself out of bed to come and look at the truck with him. So that was the scene this morning, and since he is not willing to go back to bed after seeing his precious truck, we usually go in search of breakfast. This morning I knew I wanted to make Friendship bread. I went to get out all the ingredients, but it seems Son#1 has drank all the milk. Not an unusual occurrence. So, after I get to the store today, I might make this bread, then again, I might go take a nap and pray that the Recycling truck waits until my nap is over!.
I got this recipe from an Awana book that my son had- it is in one of the Trek books.

Friendship Bread
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup buttermilk
1 cup flour
1 tsp flour
1 pkg. yeast

Combine and set aside for 10 minutes.
In a separate, large bowl combine the following:
2 cups milk
3 cups sugar
4 cups flour
2/3 cup canola oil
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1 egg
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda

Add in milk mixture. Preheat oven to 350°. Grease 4 loaf pans and divide dough between them. Bake for 1 hour or until golden brown on top.

Don't let the quantity of loaves scare you, just wrap them up and throw them in the freezer. Or go bless your neighbor or a friend. It is called Friendship Bread after all!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Easy Summer Drinks

When school ends for the year, I tend to let certain rules relax a bit. Instead of limiting my boys to a soda a week, I might let them have 2 or 3. We might make sun tea, Kool-Aid, or lemonade. I have even made Kool-Aid slushies before. I am on a quest to find cheap and not so bad for you drinks that my guys will grab before a soda. Here are some of the things that I make, and am considering making for the hot months ahead.

Cheap and Easy Lemonade
2 cups sugar
2 cups lemon concentrate- found in the juice aisle
14 cups of water

Mix well.

Raspberry Lemonade
1 can frozen lemonade concentrate
1 pkg. frozen raspberries, partially thawed
3-4 Tbsp sugar
1 liter club soda, chilled
Ice cubes

In blender, combine lemonade, raspberries and sugar. Process until well blended. Strain to remove seeds. Transfer to a pitcher, combine raspberry mixture, club soda and ice. Mix well.

This recipe for Berry Mango Slush sounds really refreshing!

I would love to try out this recipe for Mock Sangria.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Caramel Pecan Apple Dip

Our friend brought this super yummy apple dip to our BBQ last weekend. It is so tasty- and super easy to make. She just whipped it up while we stood there talking. So I am going to keep this short so you can go make some for yourself. Better yet, come on over and I will stand there talking to you while you throw it together!

Caramel Pecan Apple Dip
1 block cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
Mix these two ingredients well. Then stir in 1/2-1 cup pecan pieces. Drizzle with caramel ice cream topping. Serve with sliced apples.

Friday, June 3, 2011

BLT Dip- Amazing!!

We had a little Memorial weekend get-together last weekend. One of the things that I made for our party was a really good little dip that I found at Taste of Home I cut the recipe in half however, it seemed really large. This dip was so good. It went super fast. I served it with chips, but I think that you could serve it with little bread slices, crackers or even veggies. Here is the recipe (already halved for you):

1 cup sour cream
1 cup mayo
1 package real bacon bits (I found the Hormel brand in the salad dressing isle, near the croutons)
3 Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
3 green onions, diced

Mix well. Refrigerate for a couple of hours before serving. Serve with chips, crackers, veggies or sliced mini breads.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

Today I am going to share with you a recipe that my son will be needing for a bet that he made this week. He owes a family friend Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies, because his favorite baseball team lost to her favorite team. I am glad that she asked for this flavor- I haven't had a good Oatmeal cookie in awhile. Here is the recipe Megan- I will make sure he doesn't add any raisins or bugs or anything like that!!

Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Cookies

1 stick butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tbsp water
1 tsp vanilla
2 1/4 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 1/2 cups oatmeal
1 tsp salt
1 Bag chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugars. Add eggs, mix well. Add water and vanilla and mix. Separately combine flour, oats, salt and baking soda. Gradually add to the sugar mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Drop by spoonfuls on cookie sheet. Bake at 350° for 10-15 minutes or until light brown.