Monthly Archives: October 2011

Jack-O-Lantern Smoothies

Am I the only one who enjoys watching holiday TV specials on the night they’re aired, instead of on DVD whenever you want? There’s something about watching a Charlie Brown special on TV and knowing that everybody you know is watching it at the exact same time as you.  Which, due to DVD players, TIVO, DVRs, Netflix, online viewing, etc, etc, etc… probably isn’t even true. I don’t care, I still like to watch them on the night they’re on. Which means I’ll have to leave the PTO meeting a wee bit early this week, so I can watch It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown with my kids (and every other person I know who will also be watching it at the exact same time as me).

Just kidding, PTO, I actually have something really important that I have to do that night at 8:00 EST, that’s why I have to leave early.

Drawing by Curious George, age 5

Jack-O-Lantern Smoothies

makes 4 small child-size smoothies

  • 1/4 cup chocolate chips, melted
  • 1/2 cup frozen peaches
  • 1/2 large banana
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • small, clear plastic cups

Directions:

  1. Using a small utensil or toothpick, create a Jack-O-Lantern face on the inside of each cup with the melted chocolate.
  2. Place remaining ingredients in a blender together and blend until smooth. Pour into prepared cups.

Jack-o-Lantern smoothies

We had some guest critics over the morning I made these. Everyone loved them, kids and adults alike. They were especially impressed that the faces were made with chocolate, and not drawn on the cups with marker, as they originally thought.

I got the idea for these from someone else’s blog about healthy Halloween treats. I like to give credit where credit is due, but for the life of me, I can’t remember which blog it was, and googling it has not helped. So if it was your blog, or you know whose it was, please let me know!

Happy Halloween!

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Pumpkin Face Pancakes

To My Neighbor Mrs. Kravitz:*

I’m so sorry I picked your children up late for school today. But you see,  I had a very good reason. I mean, other than my usual “running late” excuse.

It all started when I decided to make pancakes for breakfast. Because, you know, of all the free time we usually have on school mornings. But I didn’t want to make just any pancakes. No sir. They had to be pumpkin pancakes. I used this recipe.

After I ladled out the first batch onto the griddle, I had the brilliant idea of making faces on the pancakes by pressing chocolate chips onto the top of each pancake while the underside was cooking. Then I flipped each pancake and realized I should have made stems.

So I took a small, 1/2 cup portion of remaining pancake batter and put it in a small bowl and added a few drops of green food coloring.

Okay, so now the first batch was no longer any good. I threw it to the dogs gave it to the kids to munch on while they eagerly awaited the second, more impressive batch.

Second batch: I ladled out four circles onto the griddle. Then I spooned a little bit of green batter at the top of each circle, making sure the green bit touched the big orange circle.  I signed homework, packed lunches, and unloaded the dishwasher with one hand while I pressed chocolate chip faces into the pumpkins with the other. All the while yelling things like, “Go get dressed! Find your shoes! Brush your hair!”

I flipped the pancakes, finished cooking them. Oh, they looked so cute. ‘Maybe I should put this on my blog,’ I thought, as I ran to get my camera, find the best light, take some pictures, realize I don’t like the plate, find a different plate, take some more pictures, yell some more at the kids, then finally feed them.

Oh, it’s time to go? “HURRRRRRY UUUUUP!!!! WE’RE GOING TO BE LATE!!!!”

And then we came to your house. And we didn’t miss the bus. And that’s good. And I learned a very important lesson.

Never make pumpkin pancakes without stems. I mean, really.

Sincerely,

Your Most Awesomest Neighbor*

*Not our real names

Pumpkin Face Pancakes

Ewww, get out of here, scary black Halloween cat.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup

This is going to be a quick one. It’s 5:24 a.m. and I’m supposed to go for a run in 6 minutes. And that’s all I have to say about that.

Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Soup

Adapted from A Year of Slow Cooking

  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 1/2 onion, chopped
  • 3 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 cups cooked and cubed (or shredded) chicken
  • 3/4 cup chicken broth
  • 2 cups fat free milk (or no higher than 2%)
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup hot wing sauce
  • 4 oz Velveeta, cubed

Directions:

  1. Melt the butter in a small saucepan over low heat. Whisk in the flour. Set aside.
  2. Put the chopped onion and celery into the slow cooker. Add the chicken, broth, and milk. Sprinkle the garlic powder on top. (Note: The original recipe calls for celery salt and garlic salt. I don’t like to add much salt to soups when I’m cooking (and as the recipe states, the cheese and broth have enough salt on their own), so I leave it out. But feel free to add it if you like salty soups)
  3. Stir in the flour and butter mixture. Add hot sauce.
  4. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours, or on hight for 3-4 hours. Stir in Velveeta 20 minutes before serving.

Buffalo Chicken Soup

 Click here for printable

Wow this is good soup. This is “Cook it for lunch and then “forget” to tell your husband that you made it so you can eat the rest by yourself all week” good.

The soup thickens the next day, and it’s fun to dip tortilla chips into it, but still eat it with a spoon, so it counts as a meal.
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Don Corleone and I love this soup. I don’t give the little Critics any. I think it would be too spicy for them, plus then I’d have to share.
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And in case you were curious, here’s an update on my morning. Between 5:24 when I started this post and 7:00 or so (or whenever I get around to publishing), my kids woke up at 5:30, I ran one mile and it took 13 minutes, my 5-year-old (Curious George) drank two cups of milk and then puked it up all over the carpet (and me), I couldn’t figure out a formatting problem with this post (hence the random periods after each paragraph), and I posted a recipe.
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And that’s all I have to say about that.

Pumpkin Waffles with Warm Cinnamon Syrup

Pumpkin waffles with warm cinnamon syrup.

You’re welcome.

Pumpkins are everywhere. I love the colors of autumn. I have to say, God really knew what He was doing when He colored fall.

I’ve talked before about how my family is obsessed with Star Wars. Not a day goes by when I don’t hear things like, “If Luke and Obi-Wan battled each other, who would win?” or “Who do you think would win between the Rancor and a Bantha?” A lot of “Who would win…” scenarios.

Even my little Elmo will walk around the house saying things like, “hooo-pah… Luke I am your father.” My husband is so proud.

Do any of them ever say (over a plate of pumpkin waffles, maybe?), “Hey, do you remember that episode of Little House on the Prairie when Ma bought new fabric to spite Mrs. Oleson, but then instead of using it to make a new dress for herself, she selflessly used it to make new dresses for Mary and Laura, and then Laura stood in front of the whole school and the parents and spoke about how amazing and wonderful Ma is?” (for the record, I do remember it; it’s Season 1, episode 2, “Country Girls“).

No. Nobody ever says that.

Well sometimes me, but nobody listens.

And for the record, I’m pretty sure Pa could whoop Obi-Wan and Luke together, Jedi or not.

Wow. This is really not at all where I thought this post was going.

What I was going to say is that little Elmo is my only hope (help me, Obi-Wan Kenobi). Sure, she does a mean Darth Vader impersonation, but for the most part, she likes princesses and twirly dresses and sparkly things. So that’s why I let her watch Disney Princess movies when the kids are out. Like Cinderella. Which brings us back to

Pumpkins.

Cinderella? And a pumpkin coach

Cinderella knows about pumpkins. Or at least her Fairy Godmother does.

Pumpkin Coach

Pumpkin Waffles with Warm Cinnamon Syrup

adapted from The Idea Room

  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup canned pumpkin
  • 2 tbsp canola oil
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/8 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt

Directions:

  1. Beat egg with fork in a large bowl. Add milk, pumpkin, and oil, and whisk together.
  2. Mix in dry ingredients just until moistened. Batter will be lumpy. Cook in waffle maker.

Cinnamon Syrup:

  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup water
  1. Stir together sugars, flour, and cinnamon in small saucepan. Stir in vanilla and water. Bring to a rolling boil, stirring often. Continue to boil and stir until mixture thickens to syrup consistency. Remove from heat; cool slightly before serving.

Click here for printable

Pumpkin Waffles with Cinnamon Syrup

This recipe got an enthusiastic 10 thumbs up from my Critics! It probably would have gotten 12, but I didn’t get to try any 😦 There wasn’t enough.  Stupid sacrificing-for-your-children crap.

I should have doubled the recipe. Next time I’ll know.

Sarah Crewe: I don’t even know what to say, it’s so delicious!

Batman: I think it’s sooo delicious!

Curious George: It’s the best waffles ever!

Elmo: I’m sticky.

Don Corleone spent several minutes trying to come up with something insightful about Ray Bradbury, autumn, and pumpkin waffles, but finally decided on: I think they’re great!

Oh, and just a note about the artwork for this post. My kids did the pictures. Now, I’m not one to criticize the artwork of children; however, if I had said, “Please draw me some pictures of Star Wars; it’s for my blog,” I probably would’ve gotten several masterpieces worthy of the Louvre. But I ask for Cinderella pictures, and I get a big circle with scribbles all over it and a Jack-o-Lantern in a dress.

I’m just sayin’…

"Sing sweet nightingale..."