Saturday, June 29, 2013

Cheerio Treats

Cheerio Treats
Today is graduation day from Skills training for my son. He just finished all his training in anticipation of becoming a police officer. Very exciting!

     I know that I talked about the college graduation in May, but this is different. This class was training that was to prepare him for being an officer. He always had stories to tell as everyday was different and sometimes challenging. 

     We are traveling down to Mankato for the ceremony.  Then after the ceremony we will be packing up what is left in his apartment and bringing it home. We shouldn't have too much left to bring home. Thank goodness it was a furnished apartment.

     He also just got his gun permit so he is ready to purchase his handgun. That is our graduation gift to him. I think he already knows what he wants he just needs to go and check out a few guns for fit. Yes, I said fit. It has to feel comfortable in ones hand, so he'll be seeing which one fits better.

     Oh and for those of you that are cringing with the idea of a gun in the house don't worry. He will have a gun safe to keep it out of the wrong hands.

     So the recipe I am posting today is an easy and quick treat to make. Also you don't have to use the oven and heat up the house. All you need is the microwave.

     These have become a favorite for my family. They don't last very long in my house, so be prepared to make a second batch.

     This recipe is from Taste of Home and the original recipe calls for mini marshmallows, but I have used both mini and large marshmallows. Hope you enjoy them as much as my family does.

Cheerio Treats
1 pkg mini marshmallows
3 T butter
1/2 C peanut butter
5 C Cheerios
1 C M&M's

Place butter and marshmallows in a microwave safe bowl and microwave for 2 minutes. 
Take out of microwave and stir in peanut butter. Add Cheerios and mix well. Add M&M's and mix lightly. Spread in a 9X13 pan that you have sprayed with cooking spray. It will help if you spray a spatula with cooking spray when you are spreading it in the pan. Let it cool down and once it is cool cut into squares.  


Monday, June 24, 2013

Over the Top Chicken Pot Pie

Over the Top Chicken Pot Pie
 What a beautiful day! The sun is shining, the birds are singing and there is a wonderful gentle breeze blowing. The perfect day for a bike ride. Today is actually a carbon copy of yesterday and both days I went for a bike ride.

     I am still amazed at how many people do not wear bike helmets. Sometimes I think they look at me and snicker because I'm wearing one and they think it looks ridiculous. I get it. When we were younger we never wore helmets and we were fine. I just prefer not to take that chance.

     Now I usually ride with my husband when I bike ride and he does not wear a helmet. I have tried to convince him to but he refuses to. He is one of the reasons I wear a helmet. He has several times crashed into me or run me off the path. I don't know what it is but I've learned to never ride to close to him and to anticipate his next move. lol

     Another thing that we like to do is watch the Food Network, HGTV, and DIY. We are the do it yourself kind of people. We have totally fixed up our house to our liking. Not that our house was in need of repair it just wasn't to our tastes.

     We also like to hang out at home and do our own cooking. Sure I like to go out to a restaurant every now and then, but I'm expecting some awesome food when I order. A lot of times we say to ourselves, "We could do this at home".

     So Sunday we were watching the Sandwich Kind on the Food Network and he was making this Chicken Pot Pie Sandwich. It looked amazing so I decide I could make something like that too. I wasn't going to make a sandwich though. Mine was going to be more of a biscuit smothered with this amazing chicken pot pie filling.

     Well the end result? It turned out better than I ever imagined and it was very easy to make. I used a biscuit mix that I bought at Sams Club. It's called Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix. They were very good. One could always use Bisquick to make biscuits similar to these. Just follow the package directions, but add 1/2 cup of cheddar cheese to the mix.

So here's my Minnesota Morsel original Over the Top Chicken Pot Pie!

Over the Top Chicken Pot Pie
1/2 onion, diced
3 carrots, peeled and diced
1/2 C flour
1/2 C half & half
2 C chicken broth
1/4 t thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1 C frozen peas
2  cooked chicken breast, diced ( I cooked mine in my mini crock pot)

Baked biscuits

Saute the onion and carrots in olive oil until the onions look clear.
Start mixing your biscuits up and put in the oven to bake.
Add the flour to the veggies and mix well. Slowly add the half & half to the flour mixture, stirring until absorbed. Then slowly add the chicken broth stirring until well blended. This is the roux.
To the roux add the thyme, salt and pepper, frozen peas and chicken. Mix well and heat it thoroughly.
Take the biscuits from the oven and place two on a plate and cover with heaping spoonfuls of the chicken pot pie and serve.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

     Last night was one heck of a storm here in the Twin Cities. I could not believe how violent the winds got. It was really scary. Streets and highways were flooded. Thousands of people are without power and are not expected to get power until at least Monday.

     I'll say it again it was really scary! The sky just got black out and the rain and the wind where intense. At one point my husband and I were looking out the living room wind and the trees came swooping towards the house and we both jumped back from the window. At that point I went downstairs and gathered the doggies to go into the crawl space.

     Well once the storm had subsided I decide I needed something sweet to eat. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted, so I started looking through my recipe box. Yes, this time I did not resort to the web for a recipe. This time I looked up an old favorite, something that I've never seen on Pinterest or on any recipe post for that matter.

     This recipe I have no idea where it came from but it is almost cookie like. If you like peanut butter and chocolate you will like these bars. I also like it because more than likely you will  have all the ingredients in cupboard. Enjoy!

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars

Peanut Butter Swirl Bars
1/2 C peanut butter
1/3 C butter, softened
3/4 C brown sugar
3/4 C crystal sugar
2 eggs
2 t vanilla
1 C flour
1 t baking powder
1/4 t salt
6 oz. chocolate chips

- Combine peanut butter, butter & sugars.
- Beat in eggs & vanilla.
- Blend in flour, baking powder & salt.
- Spread in greased 9x13 pan.
- Sprinkle with chips.
- Place in 350 degree oven for 3 minutes.
- Remove & run a knife through dough to marbalize.
- Return to oven and bake 25-30 minutes.
- Cool & cut.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Banana Oat Muffins

Banana Oat Muffins
It was such a wonderful morning today and I again I had those slightly browning bananas staring at me on the kitchen counter. I don't know what it is, but I just can't eat the bananas in my house fast enough and no one but me eats them at my house.

     Now bananas are one of my favorite fruits, but obvious not for anyone else in my family. However, they do like when I make baked goods with bananas. I am thankful for that. If they didn't I would be as big as a house or my coworkers would be eating very well, because I would have to take my baked goods to work.

     This recipe is a healthy and very yummy treat. It was hard not to eat a couple when they were fresh out of the oven. A little butter on them.....Yum!

    These are simple to make and do not take much time at all. Now give them a try I know you have some bananas just waiting to be made into these scrumptious muffins.

Banana Oat Muffins
1 1/2 C all -purpose flour
1 C old fashion oats
1/2 C sugar
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
1 egg
3/4 C milk
1/3 C canola oil
1/2 t vanilla extract
1 C mashed bananas (about 2 bananas)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a 12 cup muffin tine with paper bake cups.
Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
In a large bowl beat the egg lightly. Stir in milk, oil and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined.
Divide the batter among the 12 muffin cups.
Bake for 18-20 minutes.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas
      My son has graduated from college this year! His major? Law enforcement. He currently is taking his skills class which will finish up at the end of June and then he'll come back home and get prepared to take his POST test to become a police officer.

     It's all a process to become a police officer. Most people think that you just graduate from college and poof! You're ready to work as a police officer, but it just doesn't work that way.

     There are a lot of steps to take to actually becoming a police officer. One has to first be certified as a first responder. Then there's the background check and the traffic violations check. All this and the college credits earned must then be submitted to the department head to sign off on before the POST test can be taken.

     There were other things that he needed to do like take a class on DWI training, learning how to drive a squad car, learn how to clear a building and shooting a gun. Of course all these classes have technical names that I don't know, but regardless there are a lot of steps to becoming an officer.

     I don't think your average citizen realizes the training that one must go through to become a law enforcement officer.  Also I don't think people realize how much continuous training they must go through to keep up to date and well trained throughout their careers.

     I also wonder if people realize the great sacrifice that these men and women give everyday to keep our communities safe. I know we are all guilty of complaining about getting busted for speeding or what have you, but the truth is what would happen to our communities if we didn't have them. Something to think about.

    Well I'm am happy to say that soon my son will be home and we are going to celebrate his great accomplishment by having a party. We are going with a Mexican theme and I of course had to test out a recipe ahead of time to see if it was worth serving for the party.

      I found this recipe on facebook and I copied the recipe thinking that maybe I might make it sometime and then I got the bright idea of making it for the party. I just want to say that this fajita recipe is totally awesome. I don't think I'll ever make fajitas on the stove top again. This recipe is quick and easy. I made it with fully cooked frozen chicken from Aldis, but I'm thinking I could easily do this with the frozen beef for fajitas that I've see at Sam's Club.
Fresh out of the oven Chicken Fajitas

     I only slightly tweaked the recipe, but my family thought this was a winner. I hope you enjoy it.

Oven Baked Chicken Fajitas
1 pound fully cooked frozen chicken
2 T canola oil
2 t chili powder
1 1/2 t cumin
1/2 t garlic powder
1/4t seasoned salt
1 (15oz) can diced tomatoes, lightly drained
1/2 can (4oz) of diced jalapeno peppers
1 medium onion, sliced
1 green pepper, cut into strips

flour tortillas
sour cream

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Place chicken into a greased 9x13 inch pan. In a small bowl combine oil, chili powder, cumin, garlic powder, and salt. Drizzle the spice mixture over the chicken and stir to coat. Next add the tomatoes, jalapenos, onion and green pepper and stir to combine.
Bake uncovered for 25 minutes or until chicken is cooked through and the vegetables are tender.
Serve in warm flour tortillas and top with sour cream.

Green chilies can be substituted for the jalapenos and red pepper can also be added or combined with the green peppers.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Banana Bread
 My summer vacation is finally here! Eleven weeks off of work to recharge the batteries. Teaching is a very mental and emotional job. It is very draining on a person. I, however, would not trade it for the world. I don't know what I would do if I didn't teach. I love it too much!

     I do still plan for the kiddos a lot during the summer. Yesterday I started making book bags for reading time for all of my students. So far I have 9 bags completed. I would like to have 30 bags done by the end of summer, but I'd be happy if I got at least 27. I'm going to keep plugging away on them until I'm done. Once I'm done I'll be making 30 more for a friend, but they will be awesome!

     Most of my fabric was bought on clearance at the fabric store and I found some at Goodwill. My bags so far are costing me about 80 cents a piece. Can't beat that deal. I'll keep checking the clearance rack at the fabric store and Goodwill for more fabric.

    I also did some baking yesterday morning. I of course had some banana's that needed to be made into something quick. I didn't want plain old banana bread again so I scoured Pinterest for a new recipe. I did find one that I thought sound different and it was well worth the effort.

     The only thing that I would change in this recipe is to make sure to use a really good flavorful peanut butter. I used a generic brand and it just didn't have a strong enough peanut butter flavor. When I make this again I would make sure I buy Jif. Jif peanut butter has a wonderful peanut flavor that it would make this bread taste just awesome. 

     Even though the peanut butter I used wasn't the best I would still make this bread again. My daughter just spread a little more peanut butter on a slice and said it tasted wonderful with that little extra spread of pb.

Peanut Butter Chocolate CHip Banana Bread
makes one loaf
2 cups AP flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 medium ripe mashed bananas
1/2 cup creamy Peanut butter
3 TBSP butter, softened, divided use
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup milk
3/4 cup semisweet, dark, or milk chocolate chips (I used more, duh.)
1 1/2 tsp Turbinado sugar for sprinkling
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a 9 inch loaf pan with cooking spray or butter.
IN a medium sized mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together banana, peanut butter, 2 TBSP butter, and both sugars until creamy, about 2 minutes; beat in eggs and vanilla extract until combined. Reduce mixer speed to low and beat in milk and flour mixture until just combined; stir in chocolate chips.
Pour batter into prepared pan; bake for 50 minutes. Remove pan from oven, melt additional TBSP butter, brush evenly over the top, and top with Turbinado sugar. Continue to bake for an additional 5 minutes or until golden brown.
Cool for 20 minutes before running a knife around the edges, removing, and transferring to a wire rack to cool an additional 30 minutes before slicing.

Recipe from