Mother’s Day GIVEAWAY & REVIEW ~ The Rustic Thorn ~

April 26, 2016 by  
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Giveaway Winner will receive a 12 X 20 sign similar to the above picture!  ~ The Rustic Thorn ~ Mother’s Day GIVEAWAY & REVIEW I’m not sure if it is just my hubby, or typically...

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It’s here!

April 21, 2016 by  
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What you can do during Autism Awareness Month

April 2, 2016 by  
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What to read next

March 6, 2016 by  
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Caramelized Apples with Dried Figs & Walnuts

February 28, 2016 by  
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I have loved cooked apples, in all of their various forms, for as long as I can remember. In fact, it’s one of the first thing I remember cooking for myself without a recipe.

I honestly have no idea how old I was, but I was old enough to be home alone, so I’d have to guess 11 or so. I really wanted some cinnamon apples, but I had no idea how to make them. Google did not exist (let alone the internet in homes…but, let’s not go there…), so I just had to wing it.

I diced up an apple, put all the small pieces into a pot, poured in some water, and sprinkled a bunch of cinnamon into the water. I let it simmer on the stove for a while, then scooped up the apple pieces with a slotted spoon. I fell in love with the apples, and with the entire process of dreaming up a “recipe” on my own.

caramelized apples with figs and walnuts

This recipe is a bit more involved than that early one, and infinitely more tasty, if I do say so myself.

Caramelized Apples with Dried Figs & Walnuts
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: side dish
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • ½ c. butter
  • 1 c. brown sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • ¼ t. cinnamon
  • ⅛ t. nutmeg
  • 1 c. dried figs, quartered
  • ⅓ c. chopped walnuts
  • 5 - 6 apples, diced
Instructions
  1. Melt butter over medium heat in a large skillet. Stir in brown sugar and cook for about 5 minutes, until it just begins to bubble. Stir in vanilla, cinnamon, and nutmeg.
  2. Add dried figs and and walnuts and continue cooking for 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
  3. Stir in diced apples and cook for 8-10 minutes, until apples are tender.

I’d love to hear about some of your early kitchen experiments, and how they’ve evolved over the years. Do you still make yourself any of those recipes you used to make as a kid?

Are you looking for some meal inspiration for March?

I’ve got just the thing for you!

Grab your FREE March Menu Plan + Grocery Lists right here.

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Stuffed Jalapeno Chicken Rolls

February 24, 2016 by  
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stuffed jalapeno popper chicken rolls

Every Friday night, Eric and I have a date-night-at-home while the kids have what we’ve affectionately dubbed “fun night.” That basically means that they get to have a fun dinner of frozen foods or convenience foods that they’re in charge of making. This is usually a sampling of different frozen appetizers, or frozen pizzas, or hot dogs and shells and cheese. All 5 of them absolutely love these nights, and Eric and I love that it gives us a night off!

The two of us have the same thing every single Friday night, and our menus haven’t varied in probably 2 or 3 years. For me, I have 8 – 10 Jalapeno Poppers (I’m not picky and I’ve yet to really find a frozen brand of poppers that I don’t like!) with some kind of fun dipping sauce. Eric grills himself a steak either outside or on the stove, depending on the weather, and then some of our favorite kettle-style potato chips as a side. We both get exactly what we want, and we’ve yet to get tired of it. Every week I wonder how those poppers can still taste SO good.

In case it’s not obvious, I am a big Jalapeno Popper fan, but my favorite frozen ones are reserved solely for our Friday nights. So, when I, or anyone else for that matter, want that flavor during the week, I get a little creative. Just like with these Stuffed Jalapeno Chicken Rolls!

jalapeno chicken filling

 

Stuffed Jalapeno Chicken Rolls
 
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Author:
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 6 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 fresh jalapeno peppers, seeds and membranes removed, finely diced
  • 1 t. salt
  • ½ t. garlic powder
  • 1 - 1½ lb. boneless, skinless chicken breasts or tenderloins, pounded flat
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • 3 T. melted butter
  • 1 c. breadcrumbs
Instructions
  1. In a small bowl, combine the cream cheese, diced jalapenos, salt and garlic powder. Use immediately or refrigerate for a while to allow the flavors to combine.
  2. Spread some cream cheese-jalapeno mixture down the center of each piece of chicken.
  3. Roll up tightly and secure with a toothpick. Season each roll with salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Dip the chicken in the melted butter and then roll in the bread crumbs. Repeat until done. Place in a casserole dish and bake at 375 degrees for 20-25 minutes, depending on the thickness of the chicken, until fully cooked.

stuffing chicken jalapeno

These are super freezer friendly too. What I find works the best is prepping them through the breadcrumb step, and then freezing on a cookie sheet before putting into a freezer bag for long term storage. Then, I just cook them right from the freezer without thawing for about 45 minutes to an hour at 400 degrees. Perfection!

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National Chili Day – Chili Recipe Roundup

February 20, 2016 by  
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Did you know that every year, the fourth Thursday of February is National Chili Day? You can read all about this annual celebration here.

There’s definitely an abundance of food-focused holidays throughout the year, but this is one I can definitely get behind! We absolutely love chili around here, so it sounds like the perfect excuse to simmer up a big pot.

Check out some of these killer chili recipes and pick one to party with this Thursday!

national chili day recipes

Beef Chili

Chicken Chili

Vegetarian Chili

Miscellaneous Chili Dishes

The post National Chili Day – Chili Recipe Roundup appeared first on Cooking During Stolen Moments.

Sour Cream & Jam Muffins

February 18, 2016 by  
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sour cream jam muffinsI used to make muffins at least once a week, but that hasn’t happened in years. Now when I make muffins, it’s usually a big batch baking day that I use to stock the freezer. I think muffins are probably one of my favorite things to have in the freezer too, because they are perfect for a grab-and-go breakfast, to toss into lunch boxes, for an after school snack, and even as a dessert in a pinch.

These Sour Cream & Jam Muffins are a special treat because they’re just slightly richer than ordinary muffins. They almost taste like bite-sized coffee cakes, without all of the extra work. That’s a big plus in my book! Oh, and they also go great with a cup of coffee!

sour_cream_muffins

Speaking of coffee, I’m going to go off script for a minute here. We are big (HUGE) coffee drinkers in this house. Between the two of us, Eric and I go through at least 20 cups of coffee a day. I know…that’s a lot of coffee! For a few years, we were big fans of our Keurig because we loved the convenience of on-demand coffee. We definitely felt spoiled with every cup we drank. But it slowly started to dawn on us just how much this habit was actually costing us. Eric sat down one day and did the math.

Needless to say, within a day or two, we made the switch back to a regular coffee pot. Only since we were now completely spoiled with the on-demand, fresh coffee aspect, we also bought an awesome carafe to keep up this habit. We bought the Thermos 34-oz Stainless Steel Carafe and it is honestly amazing! It holds about 8 cups of coffee and it literally keeps coffee hot and fresh-tasting for hours and hours. We’ve actually filled it up and taken it on the road with us when we drive to my parents’ house 5 hours away. And whenever it’s stormy and seems like we might lose power, making a new pot of coffee to fill up the carafe is a top priority.

All that to say, it’s insane just how much we save every month by ditching the Keurig and going old school. The last time we figured, it broke down to just under $90. Crazy, right?

Anyhow…enjoy these muffins with a cup of coffee, no matter how you brew it!

Sour Cream & Jam Muffins
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Breakfast
Serves: 12 or 24
Ingredients
  • ½ c. butter, softened
  • 1 c. sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 c. flour
  • ¾ t. baking powder
  • ¼ t. salt
  • ½ c. sour cream
  • 1 t. vanilla
  • Preserves or jam of choice (I used blackberry preserves.)
  • Additional sugar for topping, optional
Instructions
  1. Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixing until creamed, about 2-3 minutes. Add egg and beat until well combined.
  2. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder and salt. In a second small bowl or measuring cup, combine the sour cream and vanilla. Add half the flour and half the sour cream mixture to the mixing bowl and stir just until combined. Repeat with the remaining flour and sour cream, being careful not to overmix.
  3. Grease and flour a muffin tin, or line with baking cups. Fill muffin cups ⅓ full with the batter. Add a dollop of jam or preserves on top of the batter and then top with remaining muffin batter. Sprinkle additional sugar over the tops of the muffins, if desired, for a crispy muffin top.
  4. Bake at 350 degrees for about 15-20 minutes for mini muffins or 20-25 minutes for regular sized muffins.

Alright, now I’m just dying to know – all of you other coffee drinkers out there, how many cups do you drink each day?

*This post contains affiliate links, which means I’ll earn a small commission on any purchase you make after clicking that link*

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Italian Stuffed Squash

February 16, 2016 by  
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I am huge fan of Italian Sausage. I love its strong or subtle flavors (depending on if I use the hot or sweet variety). I also believe it can make any dish taste better. Adding it to my spaghetti sauce or lasagna is a no-brainer for me. But I really like adding it to other dishes that might seem less obvious.

italian sausage stuffed squash

I’m also a big fan of squash of all kinds. The kids? Not so much, but they all enjoy this one because they’ll at the very least pick out all of the stuffing. I comfort myself with the thought that they’re still getting some extra veggies in there without really realizing it. Right?

 

Italian Sausage Stuffed Squash
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: Dinner
Serves: 4 - 6
Ingredients
  • 3 links Italian Sausage (flavor of choice)
  • ¼ c. diced red pepper
  • ¼ c. diced onion
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ⅓ c. bread crumbs
  • ⅓ c. Parmesan cheese
  • 1 T. diced parsley
  • 4-6 yellow or green squash, depending on size
  • Olive oil
  • Salt & Pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Cut and remove the casings from the Italian sausage links and crumble into a skillet. Add the red pepper, onion and garlic. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the sausage is fully cooked. Drain. Remove from heat and cool.
  2. Once cooled, combine the sausage mixture with the bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese and parsley.
  3. Cut the squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the centers with a spoon. Discard or reserve for another purpose. (I froze mine to add to the pot next time I make a homemade stock.)
  4. Spoon the filling into the cavities in the squash in generous portions. Drizzle the squash halves and filling with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.
  5. Bake at 425 degrees for 15-20 minutes, until squash is completely tender and lightly browned.

 

I haven’t tried freezing these, but I bet they’d freeze really well. I’d probably bake, and then cool and freeze on a cookie sheet before transferring to plastic freezer bags for storage. The reason I’ve never freezed them is because I love the leftovers (if there are any) for lunch.

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BBQ Ranch ‘Fried’ Chicken Salad

February 15, 2016 by  
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bbq ranch fried chicken salad

I know I’m totally dating myself with this Seinfeld reference, but I absolutely agree with Elaine’s love of the Big Salad! Part of my love is the eating of the salad itself, but the other part is coming up with what to add to it. I kind of geek out over thinking of fun, new mix-ins to add to a big salad. And I’m biased toward the greens either – I am an equal supporter of all greens, from spinach to romaine to kale to plain old iceberg. Put ’em all in a bowl, toss with some awesome ingredients, and drizzle a tasty dressing on top and I am good to go!

Fortunately, everyone else in this house seems to enjoy the big salad too, as long as I don’t make it too much. If I put a big salad of any kind on the menu plan once or twice per month, I know it will be happily eaten up by all of us. Any more than that though, and it just won’t get eaten as well. In fact, when I made this BBQ Ranch ‘Fried” Chicken Salad last week, there were fights over who would get seconds.

bbq ranch big salad with fried chicken

 

 

This one is definitely one of our favorites. Surprisingly, it even beats out taco salad. I rarely serve any sides with this when I make it, but some plain fruit is always a good option.

BBQ Ranch 'Fried' Chicken Salad
 
Prep time
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Author:
Recipe type: salad
Serves: 6 - 8
Ingredients
For the Salad
  • Pre-made chicken fingers (frozen or refrigerated - we use gluten free refrigerated chicken fingers when we're in a hurry, or the GF version of Homemade Chicken 'Things' when we have time)
  • 2 t. butter
  • 2 c. frozen corn
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  • Romaine or Iceberg lettuce, chopped
  • 1 c. quartered grapes tomatoes
  • 1 avocado, cubed
  • 2 hard-boiled eggs, cubed
  • ½ c. shredded cheddar cheese
For the Dressing
  • ¾ c. Ranch dressing
  • ¼ c. Sour cream
  • 3 T. Barbecue sauce
Instructions
For the Salad
  1. Cook chicken according to package directions, if using refrigerated or frozen, or per the recipe. Slice or cube once warmed.
  2. Melt butter in a small skillet, add the corn and season to taste with salt and pepper. Cook until corn starts to crisp and brown. Remove from heat.
  3. Add all ingredients into a large bowl and toss to combine.
For the Dressing
  1. Stir all ingredients together until well combined. Toss with the salad, or serve on the side for individual dressing preferences.

What are some of your favorite big salad mix-ins?

 

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